Saturday, August 31, 2013

Five for Friday: First Week of School

Phew, I made it through the first week of school!  I am super excited.  I have the sweetest class this year...12 girls, 7 boys, all super sweet.  I don't think I've ever had a group that seemed so ready for kindergarten.  Another teacher came in on Wednesday (our first day all together) and said my class looked they'd been there for a few months already.

I still lost my voice this week...I always do.  I still had to teach them how to walk in line, and get lunch, and all those other things.  But it's amazing that they listen so well!  And...for the first time ever, I had no criers!  On the first day of school, I was so sure some of the moms and kids would cry.  But no one did.  A few moms ran out of the room and I'm sure boo-hooed in their cars, but they held it together for their kids.  It was amazing. 

So without further adieu, here's my Five for Friday! (Or Saturday.  You people who actually post on Friday are such over-achievers! :)  I could barely keep my eyes open by the time I got home yesterday!)

1. I used my new chalkboard for first day pictures.   I love how they turned out.  After reading about Teeny's debacle, I made sure to find a nice clear wall space for picture-taking.

2. On the first day, we read The Kissing Hand (of course) and made these sweet handprints for parents.  One of my team members gave me the poem, so I'm not sure of the source.  Sorry!

3. We also did a shared writing about how we were feeling.

 4. And then they did a response page on their own.  (I let them copy the words from the shared writing if they wanted...I was actually pretty excited if they had it together enough to find their name on the chart and copy the word.  For others, I had to help them write the word in.)

5. I don't have any pictures of this, but we've also done a lot of Pete the Cat activities.  We went on a Pete the Cat hunt the first day of school.  The kids loved it!  They really wanted to keep searching when they came back Wednesday, but they've settled for reading his books and listening to his songs.  I love playing this video and listening to my class sing along and say "Goodness, no!"  It is so precious!
I hope you all had a great week, too!  I'll be posting soon about teaching the first habit - Be Proactive, and working on names!

Monday, August 26, 2013

Classroom Tour and Open House!

I am finally ready to post pictures of my classroom!  The past week has been busy with professional development, PLC meetings, and trying to fit in time to work in my room.  The kids started today and I am exhausted!  I only had 10 today.  I'll have 10 more tomorrow, and then all 20 together on Wednesday!

I'll post about my first day soon, but for now, here's some pictures of my classroom...
 Here's a view from one end of my room.  It makes my room look a lot bigger than it actually is.  It's a long room, but not as wide as I'd like, which can make floor plans kind of challenging. 

 My recovered office chair at my {messy} guided reading table.  I'm really excited about the new fabric.  The other fabric was so old and worn looking.

 Word Wall...I know it's kind of hard to see details, but right now I just have these letters and everyone's names.  We will add words each week as we learn them.

 Here's my carpet area...Smart Board, calendar, number posters below the board, and alphabet posters above. 
I used this leopard print border or zebra border with black paper for all my room boards.  I really like the way everything goes together.  

 View as you go into my classroom library.  You can see more pictures of it here.  I'm going to put big books in the blue crate, as we read them.  I have two little yellow crates they can sit on.  I was going to add fabric cushions, but our crazy fire marshal has outlawed any unnecessary fabric!  So...they'll have to get comfortable on the wooden seats.  We still have stuffed animals to cuddle with though!

 Block Center.  I am LOVING my new rug.  I desperately needed a new one for this area and found this at Garden Ridge.  I had to dig under about 30 other rugs to get to it, but it was worth it!
Since my blocks center is in the middle of the room, I used that area to hang my seven habits posters.   As we learn about each habit, I will also post the habit of the week in the front of the room.

 Most of my homeliving center. 

The rest of homeliving...table and chairs.  I found the brown chair at the last minute.  Another teacher was about to throw it out.  As soon as I get the energy, I'm going to paint it to make a new "Star of the Week" chair.  Our old Star of the Week chair met an untimely death last spring.  It crashed to the floor one too many times.  This one will be sturdier, I think.

 My birthday board on the side of a bookshelf.  Soon to include pictures a la Erica Bohrer.

I'm really happy to have some extra storage with this little Target bookshelf.  I added some picture frames with students' from past years.  And in the background I have a new chalkboard I'm super excited about!  (TJ Maxx find)

So that is my room in an nutshell.  It is far from perfect but I am pretty happy with how everything flows, and I think it will work well for my class this year.  

We had Open House last Thursday, and I made these little treat bags for my new students.

And one of my students brought me this treat...
I guess his mom and I can bond over our shared love for printable pinterest finds, ha! 

But I got the best gift the next day during our last staff meeting of the week.  Walmart came by and gave out 20 gift cards for 50 dollars a piece!  I could not believe it.  I kept asking people..."Did they say fifteen?"  And they would say, "No, I think they said fifty."  I literally threw my hands up in the air and cheered when they called me as one of the winners.  And I've totally already spent that gift card!  So nice of Walmart to support teachers :)

I know a lot of you went back to school today, like me.  I promise to post about our first day soon. We did a lot of fun stuff in between talking about how to wash our hands and line up and go through the cafeteria line!  I hope everyone's first days/weeks/etc are going well, too!

Sunday, August 18, 2013

Back to School Sale, Polka Dots, and Owls!

As I'm sure you know, tomorrow and Monday is the event we've all been waiting for!  Teachers Pay Teachers Back to School Sale.  It's a great time to stock up on anything you might need this year, and clear out your wishlist. 

By request, I've added some new Polka Dot and Owl-Themed products you might be interested in.  Click any of the pictures to see more information.
Number Posters 0-20
Word Wall Headers

Calendar and Weather Set

These all match my Polka Dot Alphabet Posters:

 And you can get all 4 products in my Polka Dot/Owl Bundle (for a two dollar savings).  

Happy shopping and good luck to everyone going back to school this week.  Our teacher work days start Monday and kids come the following Monday.  I can't believe how fast the time is flying by (and how much I still have to do to get ready)!

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Come Tour My Classroom...Library

I am loving seeing everybody's classrooms today on Blog Hoppin'.  I really wish mine was ready to share.  My students start back the 26th so I still have a little time, but a lot to do!  Most of the room is organized at this point, I just need to focus on decorating.  And, this is a little embarrassing, but...I don't know how to use our laminator.  The assistants at my school usually do all the laminating, and they're not too eager to teach us, because they're afraid we will break the machine (I probably would).  So I have to wait till they come back Monday and then beg somebody to do a ton of laminating for me!

In the mean time, I've been working on my classroom library and it is finally organized.  So here is a mini-tour.  (I'll post the rest of the room when it's done!)

This shelf holds all my leveled books.  I may flip the baskets so the easiest books are more reachable.  For now, I'm enjoying the alphabetical order!

This shelf is where I put books for whatever theme we're studying.  Right now, it's back to school, of course!  And the top of the shelf holds a slew of fiction books that don't fit into any of my theme baskets.

And this shelf holds all my theme baskets like Froggy, Leo Lionni, Animals, Transportation, etc.  I also have an empty basket that's labeled "Class Books (by us)."  That's where we'll put all the books we write as a class this year and any books individual students write and donate to our library. 

 A close up of one of my labels...
So there's a peek into the most important part of my room.  I promise to share more when it's all done.  Be sure to check out Blog Hoppin' and link up to share your classroom!

Monday, August 12, 2013

Meet the Teacher Monday

I'm so excited for Teacher Week '13!  I have one more week before I officially start back to work (though I'm working some this week), which makes it the perfect time for this linky!  So...let's talk about me...
1. This will be my 5th year teaching!  I can't believe my first group of kindergartners are starting 4th grade this year!!  Time flies.  I have mostly taught kindergarten and one year of first grade.

2. Here's a picture of me from this summer.  People usually think I'm about five years younger than I actually am (25).  I have had this problem forever and it used to really bother me (like when I was 16 and they thought I was 12), but as I get older, I definitely don't mind as much!

3. I have the cutest niece and nephew and I'm kind of obsessed with them!

4. My other new obsession is the show Scandal.  It is so addictive and I can't wait for the new season this fall!  But I did have to give up on Revenge because I can only handle one show with this many plot twists.

5. I love Mexican food and margaritas.

6. Mo Willems is my favorite children's book author.  When I taught first grade, I even had my kids do Readers' Theater with his Elephant and Piggie books.  They were the funniest, cutest,  most dramatic performances.  Wish I could show you the videos on here!

7. I have two amazing sisters!  They are the BEST.

8. I am a graduate of UNC-Chapel Hill and a big Tar Heels fan!

9. The first year I taught kindergarten I got hired two days before my students started.  Looking back, I have no idea how I got my classroom together in time.  My kindergarten team was a huge help, of course!  But at the time, I was so excited and relieved to have a job I really didn't stress too much about the timing.

10. I love country music.  I grew up in Nashville, TN, listening to Alan Jackson and Garth Brooks, so I was pretty much born into it.  Now some of my favorites are Miranda Lambert, Luke Bryan, Little Big Town, and Eric Church.

I am looking forward to everyone's classroom tours tomorrow! But...unless I get a crazy amount of work done between now and then, there is no way I'll be ready to show off mine.  I might have to show a few pictures, and then post the rest next week when everything is (hopefully) all together.

Friday, August 9, 2013

Five for Friday

It's been so long since I've linked up with Five for Friday.  But I have plenty of random pictures and thoughts to share tonight!
 1. My apartment is currently consumed with stuff for my classroom.  I ordered a bunch of Really Good Stuff this year, and I am so excited.  I love the colors.  (This is just some of it...I already took a bunch to school.)  I have to brag on Really Good Stuff, too.  I ordered 3 boxes worth of stuff in mid-July and received two boxes within a week.  I kept waiting on the other box, and finally got online to check into it.  I'm not sure what happened but it tracked the other box to a post office somewhere in my town.  Which is really weird, because the other stuff was delivered by UPS.  So then I gave it a few more days, because if it was in town it had to show up soon.  On Monday, I finally gave up and emailed customer service.  I had a response within ten minutes and they priority shipped another box of the items I was missing.  I was so impressed...I already liked Really Good Stuff, but now I really love them!  Still have no idea what happened to the other box though!

2. Another purchase from Really Good Stuff - book bags.  In the past, I've used boxes for kids to store their Read to Self books, but they take up so much room and couldn't be stored at their tables.  These seem like they'll be durable and easier to keep in a basket on the tables or in their chair pockets, so they'll have access to their books all the time.  Harper likes them!

 3. I've been doing some more painting.  The chairs on the left used to be white and have been in my homeliving center forever.  Like since before I started teaching.  When I went in my room this summer, I noticed they really needed a fresh coat of paint, and I decided to try something new.  I love the green.  (It looks darker in person and less like the color of a highlighter.)

And I painted two wooden crates.  I had originally planned to add a fabric-covered cushion to the top, for a cozy reading/storage area.  But...literally the day I was going to add the cushions I got an email from our principal.  Apparently our new fire marshal has outlawed all pillows and fabric products of any kind.  I swear we have the strictest fire marshals.  We can't even put paper on our doors.  So anyways, I'm still going to put the crates in my reading center, along with my rocking chair.  They just won't be so cozy.  (Maybe I can sneak on some cushions once the fire marshal finishes his inspection.)

4. No picture for this, just a question.  We just got our schedule and kindergarten lunch is way earlier than what I'm used to (11:10).  We're supposed to do math in the morning and literacy in the afternoon.  I've never structured my day this way, and I'm a little concerned about the adjustment.  My kids love literacy centers, so I think having those in the afternoon will be okay.  I just don't know about writing.  Do any of you do literacy - reading, writing, or both - in the afternoon?  I'd love to hear your thoughts!

5. My sweet bloggy friend Sara from Polka Dot Kinders is celebrating 400 followers.  She has a great giveaway going on and a BOGO sale.  Go check it out!

Have a great weekend!
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