Saturday, December 31, 2011

Writing a Resume and Holiday Photos

I am trying to write a resume:( I have had the same teaching position for 12 years and since my school is changing to a Tap School they are reinterviewing (not sure if that is even a word) for every position!  It is really hard to write a resume and explain all the things that I have done in 12 years.  So I took a break and started looking through the pictures I took at the Christmas party I had with my students.  I like to take lots of pictures to post on my classroom website so parents can see what we are doing in class.  I thought I would post a couple here too. 
We made Christmas trees from upside down ice cream cones. 
This was a nice and easy project for the students (they especially liked the clean-up).

We played "Pin the Nose on the Snowman" and the kids loved it!
Sunday, December 18, 2011

TAP School??

This week we learned that our school will become a TAP school next year.  I was wondering if anyone is at a TAP school or knows anything about them.  We were pretty devastated as a staff because we were told that we would all have to reapply and interview for our positions (if we want to stay).  We started two other TAP schools in our district last year but they are so new and I need to find more information so I can start making a decision on whether I want to stay and interview for my position again or try to find a position at another school.  It was a lot to drop on us the week before Christmas Break!!  So if anyone has information I would love to hear it!  Thanks!
Monday, December 5, 2011

New Laminator!

I am so happy I just got my new laminating machine in the mail today!  I ordered it from Lakeshore on Cyber Monday so it was 30% off.  It is so cool, I have already tried it out of course!  I was running around my house trying to find something to laminate.  Laminating can get so expensive so I decided to use some money raised at a school fundraiser to purchase this and I am so glad I finally get to see if it works.  It will be so much nicer than driving out to Lakeshore!

Just a tip for those who do not like to spend a lot of money laminating: use page protectors for any literacy or math mats (like all of the Shari Sloane game mats) that you use over and over.  I just print on cardstock and then put it in a page protector and I have been able to use the mats for a few years now and they are still holding up.  You can even use whiteboard markers to write on the page protectors and it comes off.  I got this tip from a colleague of mine and it has saved me a lot of money!
Friday, November 11, 2011

Number Posters

I wanted to share a very simple way to reinforce number identification.  A colleague of mine shared this idea with me a few years back and it was one of those times when you say "why didn't I think of that?".  First cut out large numbers from construction paper.  Then have the students cut out numbers from grocery store ads to glue on to the large numbers. I had this at one of my math stations so as they rotated through the stations each child was able to contribute to each number.  Last year we did the numbers 0-9 but this year I only had the students do 0-5 (I ran out of space).  I will post a picture of all of the finished numbers when I get them all up, we were almost finished but one of my sweethearts slid across the floor one day and ripped two numbers.  We had to redo them so it is taking longer then expected to finish.  Here is a picture of some students working on the number 4 (the second time around).

***I forgot to take a picture of the number posters but I did find them in these two pictures so you can kind of see the finished product:


Saturday, November 5, 2011

New Blog I Found

I was on Smartboard Revolution today and I stumbled across a blog by Patricia Newman.  It is a new blog and already there are so many great resources!  She has created smartboard activities for ten frames and rekenreks (if you don't know what a rekenrek is see my previous post about them here.).  She also has a great website called that is also full of great ideas! 
Sunday, October 23, 2011

Smartboard Freebie

I created a smartboard file to help with number recognition.  It is on my TpT store for free.  The students have to say a number, click on the pumpkin with that number, and see if they found the hidden candy corn.  My students love playing these "hide and seek" games.  I have created them for other themes that we are doing in class and I will work on creating one for teen numbers as well.  Just click here to get this freebie!
Friday, October 21, 2011

Guess The Letter

This week in one of my literacy centers the students played "Guess the Letter" and they loved it!  All you need is an old plastic container (or cup), a tube sock and large magnetic letters.  Place the container inside the sock, I use tube socks so there is a long reach between the opening of the sock and the container (that way they cannot peek at the letter).  The students play this game with a partner.  One child closes his/her eyes while the other child places a magnetic letter inside the sock and container.  Then the child whose eyes were closed opens them and reaches into the sock.  They have to feel the letter and try to guess before pulling it out.  After they pull it out I had them record which letter it was by highlighting that letter on a paper with the alphabet on it.  Then the children switch roles and play again.  It is amazing how good they are at guessing the letters!  They wanted to do this game over and over, so I will be bringing it back and next time I will do lowercase letters.

Sunday, October 9, 2011

Ten Frame Game

I just posted another smartboard activity on my Tpt store.  It is a very simple game but I thought that others may want to use it as well.  I will be using it next week because we are focussing on the numbers 6-10. The children will click on the random number generator and place that many counters on the ten frame.  Click on the image to get it.
Sunday, October 2, 2011

10 Apples Up On Top!

During our Apple unit we read the book 10 Apples Up On Top by Dr. Seuss.  My kids always love this book and it lends itself to many different activities.  Last year we made these cute hats after reading it.

We also made a class book using the sentence frame; _________ apples up on top ______ will not let them drop.  We added the number of apples (from an apple punch from Michael's) and the child's name on the lines.  Here is a copy of the paper I use for the book.  Right above the words on the paper the children glue a picture of themselves (we just cut our their head so it looks really cute).  Then they glue the punched apples on top of their heads.  The cover to the book is here.

I created a couple smartboard activities for my apple theme and they are posted on my TpT store.  One is based on the 10 Apples Up On Top book.  The children can take the apples off of the animal's head and place them in the 10 frame to count them and then write the number on the line to complete the sentence. Click on the image to get this free at TpT.

Each year I ask the students to each bring in one apple so we can count, sort and graph them.  I use this floor mat to graph the different kinds of apples that they brought in.  At the end of the week we taste the apples and make a graph to show which kind each person liked the best.

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Pre-K Pages Blog: Great Idea
I love the website Pre-K Pages!  There are so many great ideas there and so many free printables!  Today I saw this idea on the Pre-K Pages Blog and I had to share.  This cool game mat is made from ziploc bags and duct tape.  If you go to the link they explain exactly how to make it.  There are so many different ways to use this.  They put dot cards and numeral cards to make a matching game but you could also make a letters/beginning sounds game.  The bags are not taped closed in the back so you can change the cards to make new games.  I love this!!
Sunday, September 18, 2011

Featured on Kinder Kraziness

Laura at Kinder Kraziness has started a new thing where she will feature a new blogger each Sunday.  It is called "Someone New Sunday" and she featured me this week!!  It was such a great idea that she had!  Go over to her blog to see what I said and get the freebie too!!  Thanks Laura!
Saturday, September 10, 2011

Math Stations: Up and Running

My students and I are really enjoying math stations.  I am glad that I decided to try them this year.  I like that the students are working in partners.  I haven't had any arguing yet and it seems to work better than five or six kids in a group.  This week we started working on counting and making sets of numbers 0-5.  Here are some pictures of the math stations we did ( I also added the links to where I got some of these ideas).

These students are building cube towers to match the numbers on the mats. I made these mats a few years back and I use them with all different manipulatives.

Playdough numbers. I got these from Child Care Land (go to almost the bottom of the page, although there are so many great ideas you may want to check them all out).

Roll and Color the Bears.  Mrs. Levin has so many great math printables at pre-k pages!  This student decided to play again and this time wrote the numbers above the bears (I love his teddy bear hat too).

Circle Map for the number 2.  I got these great circle maps from Fran Kramer at Kindergarten Crayons.  She has so many amazing freebies on this page!  Thank you Fran!!

Sunday, September 4, 2011

Star Students (Name Game)

Each day we pick a "Star Student".  That child gets to wear a crown all day and we focus on the beginning letter of his/her name.  We follow the Four Blocks (Building Blocks for kindergarten) way of introducing letters and names.  We also write a story about that person and then we find the first letter of his/her name in their story.  So if they start with the letter "T" we find all of the "t's" in the story and cover them with highlighter tape.  After we do this we all draw a picture of that student and he/she draws a self-portrait.  We take all of these pictures and make a book for the Star Student to take home.  This year I created a special place to display the Star Student's story and self-portrait.  There is also room for the child to build his/her name with magnetic letters.  The kids really like this so I thought I would share.

The Star Student also gets to take home the Name Bag which includes a book (right now it is Owen because I couldn't find my Chrysanthemum book), a small whiteboard and marker to practice writing his/her name, letters tiles to make name, a name puzzle for that child, name songs to sing and a journal for the family to write down their experience with the bag. 
Saturday, August 27, 2011

Color Posters

Last week I read Brown Bear, Brown Bear and we talked about colors.  We picked one color each day to focus on.  Everybody had to wear something for that color, we learned the color song and each child was asked to bring in an item that they no longer needed so we could put it on the color poster.  The students loved doing this and it ended up being a great display for the classroom too!  I cannot take credit for this though, my good friend and fellow teacher Judith shared this great idea with me!  Here is a picture of what the color posters looked like when we were done (click on the picture to enlarge it and you will be able to see it better):

Sorry it is not the best picture, I had to hang them really high because I do not have a lot of good wall space.  We did orange too but it wasn't done when I took the picture.  As you can see we got a good variety of objects (even some trash). I think they turned out pretty good!
Sunday, August 21, 2011

Hoping For a Better Week

Wow!  Last week was a challenge!  I know that the beginning of kindergarten is always a little hectic but I always look forward to those little ones and the funny things they say and do.  Last week took the cake though!  I have never been told "no" so many times!  I have 24 students and like I said before 17 of them are boys.  That is challenging right there but then you add a child with little self control, two students who cry all day (I mean literally all day), and a child who does not want to do what we are doing and I am one exhausted teacher!!  I cannot even explain some of the things that went on in my room this week.  At one point I had two little boys with little to no clothes on running around!  Don't even ask why!!  I am hoping that this week, when I start introducing literacy and math work stations, that I can begin to establish the routines and procedures and we can start settling in.  I have read a few other blogs of teachers who said that they are tired too so maybe we just forget how challenging the first week really is.  I don't know but this week my goal is to keep everyone's clothes on:)  My motto this year (found on a coffee cup in my principal's office): Stay Calm and Carry On!
Sunday, August 14, 2011

Great Blog!

Many of you may already know about this great blog but I stumbled across it last year when I was looking for math journal ideas. I bookmarked it but there were no new posts until just recently.  Kathryn is the owner of this blog and she is back!  I am so glad because she has amazing ideas and wonderful activities to share!  She explains why she took a break from the blog and how she went through a rough time so lets encourage her and let her know how her ideas are appreciated.  We all need that encouragement from time to time, this job becomes your life and it can drain you at times.  Please check out her site if you haven't already and see what a great teacher Kathryn is!
Saturday, August 13, 2011

Oh Boy(s)!!!

Wow!  Last night we had our Parent Orientation/Meet the Teacher Night.  It was so much fun to get to see the children who will be in my class this year and meet their families!  I could not believe how many boys there were.  I have 24 students in my class (a full load) and 17 of them are boys! Not only am I high on boys every class has more boys than girls!!  I felt like there were boys everywhere I looked.  It was a lot of fun but we are now a little stressed because we have so many students and we may end up needing another teacher.  Oh well, I know this will all work out but in the mean time we are packed! 
Sunday, August 7, 2011

Star Word Labels

I posted the Star Word Labels to go in the cassette tape cases in my TpT store.  You can edit the document when you open it so if you use different words just click on the word and change it.  I also left a few blank if you want to add some words. Click on the image to get them.

Friday, August 5, 2011

Old Cassette Tape Cases

I don't know why but I have saved a lot of my old cassette tape cases (you know teachers, we save everything).  I think most of them are from the listening center tapes because I store my books and tapes in a large ziploc bag and the cases make it too bulgy.  A few years ago a colleague and I were trying to come up with a great way to use all of those cases.  We thought that they would make great containers for sight word letters, to play "Mix and Fix".  Well it took me a few years but I finally got around to making something with them. If you open the case and flip the top around it makes a nice stand.  I printed the "Star Words" on to labels and stuck it to the inside of the case.  Then I added the letter tiles and now I have little letter cases that the children can use to practice the star words we are learning.  The students can dump the letters out and mix and fix them and put them back again.

I am pretty happy with the way it turned out but I want to fix the labels a little.  I can't decide if they need to be able to see the whole word after it is complete or if that doesn't really matter at that point.  When I finish the labels I will post them on my TpT store.
Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Great Giveaway!

Pam at Can Do Kinders is having a giveaway.  She is going to pick someone to receive upper/lowercase letter stamps and numeral stamps!  All you have to do is go to her blog and follow the three easy steps to enter! Thanks Pam!!

New Followers and Random Stuff

Yeah!  I have two new followers.  I was so excited when I got home from a long day in my classroom to see I have two new people following my blog!  Welcome, I hope you can find a new idea or two and please share some of your own:)
Summer school is almost over and I am starting to get in the regular school mode!  My summer school students only stay until 12:00 so today I stayed late and worked in my room.  I have so many ideas floating around in my head still from reading, Literacy Work Stations and Math Work Stations by Debbie Diller.  I started cleaning out my math materials and I could not believe how much stuff I have!  I made a pretty good dent in cleaning things out but I think it will take another day or two to get it how it needs to be.  I think I will review that chapter tonight and get back to it tomorrow!
Sunday, July 31, 2011


At my school this past year we were learning about Singapore Math and Math Solutions. One of the tools they use in Math Solutions is called a rekenrek.  A rekenrek is a counting tool.  Some of you probably already know what these are but I had never heard of them until last year. Click on this link to find out more about rekenreks. To purchase rekenreks for each child in my class would cost way too much so I decided to make my own.  A very resourceful teacher at my school made her own, and they are great, so I wanted to make some for my room.  So a friend and I went to Lowe's and bought a sheet of panel board (it is dark brown and smooth) and we had them cut it for us.  We decided to make two different kinds of rekenreks; one for the beginning of the year with only one line of ten beads and one for the second half of the year with two lines of ten beads. So some of the rekenreks are 3" x 12" and some are 6" x 15".  Lowe's would only cut the board into one foot sections so my dad cut them smaller for me (so nice!!).  He also drilled the holes where the plastic lacing goes. I then went to Michael's and got a large roll of clear plastic lacing and a bag of red pony beads and a bag of white pony beads.  Yesterday I sat and put together 25 small boards and 5 large boards.  My fingers were killing me, I guess from tying all the laces, so I had to stop.  Here is what they look like finished.

There are several online resources with ideas on how to use the rekenreks in your classroom.  Here are a few:

Saturday, July 30, 2011

Apple Counting

I have been going through my smartboard files and trying to clean things up a bit.  I found this very simple apple counting activity where the children roll the dice and put that many apples on the tree.   We do our apple unit in the fall and the children are working on one to one correspondence and the numbers 0-10 at that time.  I posted this in my TpT store and I will be posting more apple activities as I clean them up and create more.  I love using Dr. Seuss' book Ten Apples Up on Top so I am creating a page to go with this book as well.

Giveaway at A Teeny Tiny Teacher

A Teeny Tiny Teacher is having a great giveaway! All you have to do is follow her (that's easy), put her blog or button on your sidebar (easy again), and blog about her giveaway (easy, easy).  After you do all of those things comment on her blog and you may win a $20 gift card to Barnes and Noble.  And while you are there check out all of her awesome ideas!!
Friday, July 29, 2011

More Frog Ideas and A Great Link

Today in summer school I read a Little Critter book called Where is My Frog?. This is a really cute, simple book just right for beginning kinders.  A colleague of mine found it at the library and let me borrow it.  I had never seen this book and I thought it was really cute!  After I read the book I made up a quick game to go with it.  In the story Little Critter looses his frog and looks for him everywhere so I put 12 letter cards in the pocket chart and hid a cut out frog behind one of the letter cards (when the kids were not looking).  Then I asked a child to say a letter and lift the card to see if the frog was behind it.  I kept calling on students until we found the frog.  They loved playing this game and wanted to do it over and over!

Also, I found a great emergent reader about frogs and colors and it is a counting book too!.  It is on the site The Virtual Vine.  If you have never been to this site you should definitely check it out!  There are so many great ideas and printables! Click here to find the book.  It is almost half way down on the page and it is called, "How Many Frogs".  There are two different versions, one with the numerals and one with the number words.  There are also many other great frog ideas!
Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Summer School

Summer School is going so much better than I anticipated!  I only have 10 students in my class...can you believe it!  I am so lucky because they are very cute, sweet children and they are eager to do everything I have planned so far.  I have used the song "Five Little Speckled Frogs" as a theme for my activities but I have also used some other great frog books as well.  Frog and Toad by Arnold Lobel and Jump, Frog, Jump by Robert Kalan are great books!  In Frog and Toad Are Friends there is a chapter called The Lost Button and I used that chapter to help introduce sorting buttons (which my class loved).  Jump, Frog, Jump has a repetitive text and the children joined in with me saying, "jump, frog, jump!".  I also found retelling pieces for that story at (great site). I created a frog counting smartboard file to help reinforce the numbers 1-5.  I posted it at my TpT store for free:) Check it out!

Saturday, July 23, 2011

Jump Start Summer School

I am starting Jump Start Summer School on Monday and I feel so unprepared!  I thought this time summer school would be so great because we are doing it the two weeks before school starts instead of right when school is out in May, but now I am feeling overwhelmed!  I was so caught up in "summer mode" that I am not ready to go back and I cannot get my summer brain to work!  We had time on Friday to get our rooms ready and I spent most of my time dusting everything and wandering around.  I am so not ready for Monday!  We have decided to base our instruction on math literature and we have chosen "Five Little Speckled Frogs" as the book/song to help introduce the numbers 0-5.  This is our first year to do Jump Start Summer School and our first year to have incoming kinders coming to summer school.  It will be interesting to see these students, and what they can do, before school actually starts!  If anyone has any great activities for "Five Little Speckled Frogs" or the number 0-5 please send them my way, I can use all the help I can get!!
Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Brown Bear Smartboard Lessons

I finally finished creating the Brown Bear smartboard lessons and put them on sale at my TpT store.  We do a unit on bears at the beginning of the school year and of course we read Brown Bear, Brown Bear by Eric Carle.  The smartboard lessons I created are based on some of the beginning of the year skills that we are working on (color sorting, rhyming, beginning sounds, characters in a story).  I hope some of you can use this with your students too! 
Monday, July 18, 2011

Some of my Favorite Smartboard Sites

Thoughts of a Third Grade Teacher had a great idea for us to share some of our favorite smartboard resources.  If you go to her site you will see there are already dozens of great resources!  I have had my smartboard now for a year and a half and I love it!  There are so many great websites out there!!  Here are some of my favorite sites for kinders:
Another great site I always go to is Smartboard Resources by Mrs. Sears.  Mrs Sears has so many wonderful notebook pages that you can download for free!!  I love that!

You can also visit my TpT store and download my Brown Bear Color Sort (it is also free).  Hopefully I will add more of my pages soon.  Thanks!
Saturday, July 16, 2011

Music Linky Party

Miss Kindergarten is hosting a linky party and she wants you to share songs that you sing with your students in your classroom.  I feel like I sing all day long!  I am always making up songs!  The kids don't care they just love singing (even though I cannot sing).  There are some songs that stand out in my head that I find myself singing a lot during clean up or transition times.  The first one is a clean up song. They love hearing their names in this song and others start cleaning up so I will sing their name too.

(Sung to the tune of London Bridges)
I see _________ cleaning up, cleaning up, cleaning up.
I see __________ cleaning up.
Just like ____________.

This song is a name song too but I use it during transitions to quiet the students down.

(Sung to the tune of Brother John)
B is for Brooke (I sing, then students echo for each line)
/B/, /B/, /B/
Brooke starts with B
/B/, /B/, /B/

The last one is a transition song,

Everybody eyes on me, eyes on me, eyes on me.
Everybody eyes on me
Time to listen!

Friday, July 15, 2011

No Calendar?? Say it isn't so!!

With the new common core standards being put in place next year our administrators have told us that we will not have calendar time in our classrooms anymore! I can't quite wrap my brain around this yet!  I have been teaching for 11 years and every day we begin with our good morning song and then go right in to calendar.  So I have been trying to figure out what the morning routine will look like without calendar time.  I was wondering if anyone else has been told not to do calendar anymore and if so what are your thoughts on this.  I was told that the days of the week and months of the year are not in the standards and we do not need to spend the time on it.  I do think that I will keep the following activities...but include them in my math time:
  • Number line - how many days we have been in school
  • Place value straws - hundreds, tens and ones (again how many days we have been in school)
  • Weather graph - maybe only during our unit on weather??
  • Birthdays and Lost a Tooth charts
I would love to hear other ideas on what to do instead of calendar or what you would keep.  Thanks!!
Thursday, July 14, 2011

Linky Party

This is my first Linky Party and I am so excited! Yearn to Learn is hosting this Linky Party. Here are the things you need to find:

1.  A blogger who is a "New Kid on the Blog"
(Let's say someone who has blogged 2 months or less and has less than 200 followers)

2.  Post a blogger in your same grade level

3.  Post a blogger in a different grade level

4.  It's all about the button. Find a cute blog button and post it.

The New Kid on the Blog that I found is Little Life Coaches, I love the name of her blog!
The blog at my grade level is Growing Kinders, I love this site and it is one of the reasons I started blogging!
The blog I chose from a different grade level is Curls and a Smile, her site is great and full of good ideas!!
And the cutest button I found is Mrs. Jump's Class but unfortunately I am still new to this and I do not know how to add a button here:( Maybe someone could help me with that!

Nursery Rhyme Big Books

Really Good Stuff 
I just got my order from Really Good Stuff and I love the big books designed by Debbie Diller!  They are not too big, which is nice because they are easier for the children to handle, and they have great illustrations.  I ordered three of them; Hickory, Dickory Dock, One, Two Buckle My Shoe and Little Miss Muffet.  They are in the outlet section right now and they were only $2.99 each!  Also, there are retelling pieces that you can also purchase that go with each book (only $1.49).  I am so excited that I found such a good deal!  These are perfect for the big book station I will be using during Literacy Work Stations!!
Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Great Website!

I love finding great websites to use at the computer center and especially on my smartboard.  I came across a website called and I love it!  This website not only has great phonics games it also has nursery rhymes with comprehension questions.  You have to register to use this site but it is free (as of now).  I really like the games on this site!  They are child friendly and they are ad-free games.  There is also a convenient list of skills that tells you which games cover certain skills.  Check out this great site!!
Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Smartboard Freebie

In honor of starting my new blog I decided to share a smart notebook page that I created.  At the beginning of the school year we read Eric Carle's Brown Bear, Brown Bear What Do You See? and we focus on the characters in the story and on colors.  This notebook page is a very simple color sorting activity.  At the beginning of the year I find that the children are very excited to use the smartboard and they need simple activities to help introduce the rules of using the smartboard and basic procedures too.  I hope that you like this activity.  This is my first time sharing on TPT so please let me know what you think and if there are any problems. Click on the link below to go to my TPT store.

 Brown Bear Color Sort

New Blogger

This is my very first blog!  I love teaching kindergarten and cannot wait to learn from and share with other kindergarten teachers!!
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