Monday, December 31, 2012


I'm sitting around waiting to go out tonight.  I always get excited and finish getting ready too early.  So, I'm posting my "Currently" early too!

Currently, I'm...
Listening to Little Big Town.  I'm seeing them in concert tonight.  They are the best :)

Loving my new running shoes.  Aren't they cute?  Half Marathon here I come!

Thinking about school starting back Wednesday.  I'm a little jealous of those of you off all week!

Wanting the perfect pair of black boots.   I've searched everywhere and can't seem to find the ones I'm picturing in my head.   I want flat black leather boots, but I find something wrong with any I find.

Needing my dog Harper back.  She has to stay at the kennel while I'm in Atlanta, and I can't get pick her up till Wednesday.  I hate being home without her...the apartment seems incomplete.

One Little Word - Joyful.  I really want to focus on the positive this year and find joy in all areas of my life.

Share your currently over at Farley's blog!  Happy 2013!

Resolutions for Downtime and Fitness

I'm a day behind, so I'm linking up with Amy and Deedee today for downtime and fitness resolutions.
For downtime, some of the things I love to do already are knit...


and read (some of my favorites this year)...

and of course hang out with my family and friends.
Me and my niece on Christmas Eve
In 2013, my resolutions for downtime are to spend more time with my family...hopefully get down to Georgia more to see my sisters and niece and nephew.  I'd also like to spend more time writing.  It's something I've done for a long time, but I'd like to commit more time to it.  It is one of the most therapeutic exercises I've found.  My sister keeps encouraging me to try sewing, so I may add that to the list as well.

For exercise, my big goal this year is to run my first half marathon.  I am not at all confident that I'll be able to do it, but maybe posting on here will make me more diligent in my training, ha!

What are your resolutions for 2013?

I hope you all have a safe, fun New Year's Eve! 

Sunday, December 30, 2012

January Plans

Have you been thinking about your plans for the coming month?  I have!  And I can't believe I go back to school on soon!  I am excited about some of our upcoming units though.  This week, we're going to talk about the new year and our goals as individuals and as a class.  We're going to use this emergent reader:

Like my holiday emergent readers, this book has the same content with three different word work options - circling/highlighting focus letters or words, writing in the missing word "for", and sounding out and writing the vocabulary word on each page.  It really helps me during word study to have the same book to anchor my class with different challenges for my unique students' needs.

I also added in 2 writing extensions to this book.  There's a page where students write their favorite part of 2012 and another page where they write their goal for 2013.  I think the kids will be excited to add their own pages to the book.  Click on either of the pictures above to check out the book.

During January, we'll also be talking all about winter.  We'll be reading my *favorite* winter book, Sneezy the Snowman, by Maureen Wright.
I love this book.  It's a great one to retell with props.  Get a scarf, hat, coat, and you're good to go.  The repetitive text is great for helping the kids follow along and participate in the readings.  

We'll be using these emergent readers to go along with this text.
Here's some samples from In Winter that show how it's differentiated.  (The Snowman has similar differentiation.)

I'm still working on some of the other activities we'll do with Sneezy, but I know we will write some problem solving pieces related to the book.  And we'll do a How To writing/snowman craftivity.  Click <here> for the free how-to writing template we'll use.

We're also going to use Heather's awesome snowmen to learn and sort blends.  And I'm hoping we'll get some real snow, so the kids can actually experience the winter weather! So far, we've just had flurries one day.

Do you have any fun winter plans?

Saturday, December 29, 2012

Resolutions for Professional Growth

Today, I'm linking up with One Extra Degree to share my professional growth goals for 2013.

 I've thought about this a lot...I finished up my Master's degree in July and decided to take a little break this year before getting my National Boards.  So starting next fall, the National Boards are my biggest goal.  Kind of scared...but we'll see how it goes, ha!  

Another thing I want to do is renew my NAEYC membership and begin receiving the Young Children journal again.  Staying up to date with the current research is easier, I think, when I'm receiving journals in the mail rather than just promising myself I'll read stuff online.  I may even go for the comprehensive membership and receive some books as well! 

I also want to read this book:
I heard Pedro Noguera speak at Duke a few months ago, and he was excellent.

What are your professional goals for 2013?  Link up with One Extra Degree to share and enter the great giveaway!

Friday, December 28, 2012

Organization Resolutions!

I am linking up with 2nd Grade Shenanigans for Organization Resolutions!  Organization is one of those things that I think will always be a work in progress.  I'd love to believe that I could get organized this year and then everything would be great, but I know there will always be something new to organize or re-organize.  

One thing I did this year for the first time is organize the supplies in my art center by color.  Always before I'd organized by type - crayons, colored pencils, markers - but things always seemed a mess.  Especially the markers!  I was constantly nagging the kids to put the tops on their markers and to make sure the color of the top matched the color of the marker.  I found small buckets like these from Hobby Lobby:
They had almost every color I needed, but I got a few extras and spray painted them for the missing colors.  All my crayons, colored pencils, and markers of each color go into the corresponding bucket.  It has made a huge difference.  My art center stays way more organized and the kids are able to find what they need easily.

Now for my resolutions...

First, organize my guided reading materials.  I have my plans organized well in a binder, but the books, letter cards, dry erase boards, etc. drive me crazy!  I have a few of these plastic drawers and I want to use one set for guided reading group in each drawer.
daily lessons
I love the way Denise at 2nd Grade Ponderings decorated hers.

I would also love to teach my students how to keep my classroom library organized.  I have everything labeled and sorted, but it drives me crazy because the books always end up in different bins.  I've seen this idea a few times...
image source:

Kids pin the clothespin with their name on it to the bin where they got the book from.  When they put it back, they take back the clothespin. 

We'll see how it goes!  Link up with your organization resolutions at 2nd Grade Shenanigans and enter the great giveaway!

Sunday, December 23, 2012

Christmas Friday Flashback

I am linking up with Teaching Maddeness for Friday Flashback!  
 This week has been a whirlwind, as I prepared for Christmas at school and at home.   At school, we made the ornaments I wrote about in my last post, and we wrapped them in reindeer bags.  Thank you, pinterest! 
I traced the kids' hands and had them cut them out themselves, and then they just drew the eyes and nose.  

We also had a special visit from Santa on Thursday.  He is the real deal.  He does such a great job...he collected fairies and explained how Rudolph got a red nose, and even said many of the kids' names throughout his presentation.  They were amazed.

 My favorite part of the week was during our Christmas party Friday.  A few weeks ago, we had a used book sale at our school.  I had each student draw a name and pick out a book for Secret Santa.  We wrapped them and handed them out one at a time on Friday afternoon.  The kids were so excited to give their gifts and were so grateful for each book.  It was like the true meaning of Christmas had hit them and they just loved watching each other open the books.  I wish I could show you the looks on their faces as they said "Thank you" and "Merry Christmas" to one another.  

I hope all of you have a wonderful Christmas and a happy new year! 

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Christmas Can't Be Very Far Away

You know that old Amy Grant song?  That's what keeps going through my head as we move through this last week of school before break!  Our classroom is a combination of Christmas cheer and chaos.  We've been busy working on Christmas presents and activities.  And we're counting down to Santa's visit Thursday and Friday's Polar Express Pajama Party.

Today, we worked on these Christmas trees in math (ordering from shortest to longest).  I found a TON of sequins and buttons, so I let the kids use those as ornaments.
 They were obsessed with the sequins.  I need to find some creative ways to use them to engage them in other activities.

We also made our Christmas book to review the word "like."
 My favorite thing we've done this week are these ornaments:
Cinnamon applesauce ornaments!  I'm sure many of you have made these before, but this was the first time I tried them and I'm so glad I did.  To make them, I used equal parts cinnamon and applesauce and cooked them at 200 degrees for 2 hours (flipping every thirty min.)  I followed <this recipe> but had to add some extra cinnamon.

We used some different strategies for decorating.  Some ornaments were decorated with glitter pens:
For others, we used a paintbrush to spread glue all over and then sprinkled glitter on top.

Added bonus?  My apartment and classroom both smell super good and cinnamon-y! 

Saturday, December 15, 2012

Las Posadas and a Sale

On Thursday and Friday, the kindergarten team at my school had our annual Holidays around the World celebration.  Our students rotated to 4 different classes to celebrate Hanukkah, Christmas, Kwanzaa and Las Posadas.  They had so much fun!  I planned to have someone take pictures of all the activities in every room but...I was distracted by the 75 kindergarteners passing through my room.  So I only have pictures of the activity they did with me.

My room was Las Posadas.  We read The Legend of the Poinsettia, by Tomie dePaola.  Does anyone have any other Las Posadas book suggestions?  I always struggle with this.
The Legend of the Poinsettia
And we ate chips and salsa, danced to the Las Posadas song, and made these poinsettias.  You can find directions {here}.
Yesterday afternoon, my class made their Las Posadas books.  My English Language learners confuse she and he a lot, so this book was good practice for them.  On each page, they had to look and see if it was a boy or a girl, then write the appropriate pronoun. 
One more week till Christmas break!  If you're looking for some holiday activities to get you through this last week, check out my store.  All my December holiday products are 15 percent off through Tuesday!

Thursday, December 13, 2012

The Gingerbread Man

We've been reading all the gingerbread stories this week - The Gingerbread Boy, The Gingerbread Girl, Gingerbread Friends.  Yesterday, we made these super cute gingerbread glyphs, inspired by Krissy's Goofy Gingerbread Man Pattern.
(please ignore my messy desk in the background)
  The kids had so much fun making the gingerbread boys/girls and when we finished, we looked at all of them and made this list.  (I don't really have 12 students...just a lot out sick with the flu this week):
We've also been doing lots of comparison charts.  One of my team members came up with this awesome idea for a Venn Diagram about the gingerbread boy and girl.
After we filled this in as a class, the kids each wrote on their own.  For a free printable, click the picture.

We also did this Venn Diagram comparing The Gingerbread Boy and The Runaway Pancake, by John Lithgow.  (We watched The Runaway Pancake on TumbleBooks...such a cute story!)
In the art center, the kids watercolor painted new ways the gingerbread could move, instead of running.  They came up with great ideas - scooter, skateboard, tiptoe!  And they wrote new refrains for the gingerbread man.

Have you been doing gingerbread activities?  It's one of my favorite themes!
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