Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Classroom Tour 2014-15

Hey ya'll! I'm so excited to be back! I have a few changes coming up next week, but until then I'm going to leave you with a fun post! A classroom tour!
In case you can't tell from the photos, I love all things colorful and polka-dotted! =) Some of my favorite classrooms that inspired my own are....
Mrs. Lee's Kindergarten
Welcome to Room 36

I know there are plenty more that I love... these are just the few that come to mind as I type this! =)

I snapped a few pictures before I left school yesterday so I could share them with you! I am LOVING my room this year. It's organized and I got rid of a lot of junk and materials I never used.  I will post a few more pictures later next week of some things I forgot that help keep me organized! (I don't know about you, but I LOVE seeing how other teachers set up their rooms and stay organized!) 
Anywho, here are some pictures!
When you first walk in my classroom

All the tables need are name tags, school supplies and the kids! (My mom sewed all the chair pockets- isn't she talented?! She even made a clear slot for the kids name-tags! I love them!)

Just a few of the awesome reading buddies I have that go along with books we read! (The rest are all on my dividing wall that you'll see pictured behind my small group table.)

The kids' computers: they get to go to computers twice a week! (Once during reading stations and another during math stations.)
Our word wall will house all the sight words after I have taught them. The best part is- it's magnetic! So the kids can go up and grab a word if they need help spelling it in their writing then put it back when they are done. They LOVE it and do really well after some practice. The pink tubs with zoo animals are the reading center tubs and the blue ones below them are morning or wake-up tubs for when they finish their morning journal work! (And see those ABC posters on the top... you can find those on my TPT store! I made them in polka-dot and chevron!)

I finished painting my rocking chair and side table! Don't they look great!? I think next summer I'm going to paint all the shelves in my room different colors: red, orange, teal, pink and purple! I can't wait! Anywho, behind my chair is where I post our "learning target" each day. (You can find the printables for FREE on my TPT store in polka dot and chevron! But I'm actually changing these ones from last year to new Daily Objective Charts I made that give me a little more space to write.) Then on the gray board with yellow trim, I have picture icons that remind the kids what order to complete the work in (write your name, write with a pencil, color, cut, and then glue! You can find them on First Grade Factory's blog! Just click the link.), our Letter of the DAY chart and our schedule. The green board is all our calendar activities we'll do and then the blue board is some more calendar activities and our ABC chart we sing from Teaching With Love and Laughter! The green tubs on the shelf hold all our math center tubs (see the ocean animals... that's how my kids will know what their table needs to grab each day!) Then a few baskets on top to hold things I'll need daily for them! (The vowel glue bottles at the top of my wall are from The Teacher Wife.)

I love the bumble bees! (Copied from Life in First Grade.)  I've got our writing portfolio and math journals stored to the left and the colorful baskets are where the kids will get to choose books they can read after I've taught them how to read them in small groups. Then our pencil stash and the "turn-in" basket! Underneath the counter, behind my beautiful curtains I made, are all our math stuff!
A view of my small group table... (I would put the kidney-bean table I'm requesting from donors choose if I get it funded and take out the big brown table!)
The kids pictures will go in the pocket chart for our reading station rotation chart! The ocean animals are for our math tubs.

These are word attack strategies I teach the kids to help them when they get stuck on a word. (These are on my TPT store. Also in polka dot or chevron.)

The top drawers I need to label. but it will hold papers that need filed away, stickers, scholastic readers and misc. things. The bottom are labeled with cute labels I made last year.

Where the kids can grab supplies when they need them! (With my permission of course- otherwise these would be empty after a week! lol)

ABC tubs! This is where my students can CHOOSE a tub to work on anything alphabet-related! This is a FAVORITE every year b/c they have a choice. The great part is, I can leave it out the majority of the year b/c they love them so much. I will change them out as I see kids getting bored with certain activities. (I need to fill a few more tubs in at the bottom! oops!)

The top of this cart holds the famous "glue sponges" that Kindergarten Smorgasboard thankfully posted about! I can't wait to try them out this year! So much better than glue bottles and glue sticks! The cans below are for "lost crayons". If a child finds a crayon on the floor, they can put it in the matching tub for their friend who may need it later! The buckets are just sitting on the bottom b/c I don't have a use for them right now. (the usually hold pointers, but I threw all my old ones away b/c they were all broken after 5 years. lol) Gotta make new ones!

My awesome friend and coworker, Katie, who teaches 1st grade just started a blog! Check it out: Living the First Grade Dream She gave me this awesome stand her hubby made (she had an extra that she didn't need) so I'm going to make it a station for my kids on the back side and use the front facing side during small group for sorting picture cards! The purple tub currently had bingo dabbers we use for fun activities and I'll eventually put flash cards and pointers in the other sections.
This cart holds all the materials I need daily for small groups! The tubs are from Dollar tree! Love it! The two silly looking tubs on top are fun games we play to learn our letters and sight words! The kids LOVE em! You can find the adorable crodile game on Growing Kinders blog! (just click the link)

I finally got my # 0-20 charts posted that I made this summer! I love how it turned out! I think I need to add a cute little header for them though! (They are also on my TPT store in polka dot or chevron!) And all my teacher-stuff I'll need is on the shelf. Can you spot my monthly binders in the middle top shelf? You can find the covers HERE and the spines HERE!)

A close-up of the posters I made! I'm pretty proud of them! Find them on my TPT store in polka dot or chevron!)
The big, blue pocket chart is where my kids work on sentence fluency and reading sight words. Above that is the color words poster as a reference (b/c they'll use color words a lot at the beginning of the year in this center!) Then on the closet doors I have a birthday chart, a poster for the kid's bear bucks they earn (positive reinforcement for great behavior) and the clip chart is for when someone is misbehaving. They'll have to move their clip down after a warning and every time after that if the misbehaving continues.---Although I know I won't have to use that much b/c it's gonna be a GREAT year! I have FREE behavior charts (that have more colors where the kids can move their clip up) on my TPT store in polka dot or chevron.

Our specials schedule!
I'll be back with more pictures next week and a few surprises!

Tuesday, June 10, 2014

Living the First Grade Dream =)

Hey ya'll!!!! I am so excited for the upcoming school year! I will be done with grad school and my motivation for blogging is back! I have been creating a few things for the upcoming school year. But first I wanted to share some exciting news! One of my FAVORITE 1st grade teachers (whom I just happen to work with) just started her own teaching blog! Her name is Katie and she is WONDERFUL! I am so excited and definitely recommend you check out her blog! She is just getting started so be sure to comment and follow her too! You can find her blog by clicking her button below:

Living the First Grade Dream

I promise you won't regret it! I spent my day updating some items on my TPT store. I also added some ADORABLE number posters I made for my classroom that match my ABC posters, my behavior chart, word attack strategy posters and daily objective posters. (Which are ALL on my store as well!)

Here are some pictures of how I displayed my ABC posters.... (above the bulletin boards and white board).

Here is my behavior chart and word attack strategy posters:
I use a dry erase marker to write our daily objectives on these $1 store picture frames. I hot glued a 3M hook to the wall.

I also have all of my items in chevron as well!

This post is all over the place! Some of you may remember I made this awhile back... (this is my favorite teacher quote!)

Well my sister saw this and thought of me... and I love it so much! How cute is that? She didn't even know I love that quote! So perfect!

SQUIRREL! Okay, now I managed to get a picture of one cute thing I did before the school year ended. If you follow me on instagram (link at the top right), you might remember this cutie:
I can't take credit for the bumble bee craft b/c it was inspired by one of my favorites! (Click on her link below)...
Some of these first grade blogs make me want to teach first grade...

Well, stay tuned for more this summer! I am so excited to be done with grad school in 3 weeks! =) Hope you're all enjoying your break!

Wednesday, January 8, 2014

Mitten Writing Freebie

Hey ya'll! I have had quite a few emails asking me for this mitten writing page! It's a quick and easy writing prompt I give my kids when we had too many snow days and not enough time to start a new writing one week. I've provided some pictures of examples from the past. We read The Mitten by Jann Brett, then brainstormed things/animals that too big to fit in a normal mitten, illustrate a detailed picture and finish the sentence. This could also be put into a writing center! Hope you enjoy! Click on the last picture to get the free download. =)

Sunday, January 5, 2014

Snowman Science Fun for kids! =) Guest blogger

Hey ya'll!

I've been so busy teaching my kids reading, writing and math, that science and social studies has been pushed to the side. I hate this because I remember LOVING science as a kid and I love teaching it. So I was looking up ideas online and was getting frustrated because I just couldn't find any cool science experiments for kindergarten! But I am so excited to share some news with you! One of my best friends from high school works at a science museum in Indiana and always posts the coolest stuff she does with kids there! So I told her she should make a blog for teachers to get science experiments from. Then she asked if she could just post her ideas on mine! Without hesitation I accepted and am so excited to bring you her first post! I can't wait to do this experiment with my own kindergarteners! I hope you enjoy!......

Since science standards haven't been created in Common core, I'm using the standards we have in my district in TN that you could use as your objective for this experiment:
CFU 7.9.1 Observe, identify, and compare the properties of various objects such as color, shape, and size. (BEFORE AND AFTER EXPERIMENT)
CFU 7.9.2 Observe, discuss, and compare characteristics of various solids and liquids. 
CFU 7.Inq.1 Use senses and simple tools to make observations. 
CFU 7.Inq.2 Communicate interest in simple phenomena and plan for simple investigations.
CFU 7.Inq.3 Communicate understanding of simple data using age-appropriate vocabulary.
CFU 7.Inq.4 Collect, discuss, and communicate findings from a variety of investigations. 
GLE 7.Inq.2 Ask questions, make logical predictions, plan investigations, and represent data.
GLE 7.Inq.3 Explain the data from an investigation.

Hey all you awesome teacher bloggers out there! I’m glad you’re all here reading Jessica’s blog. Isn’t she a fantastic teacher? I’ve known Jessica since she moved to Illinois in middle school. I was given the duty to show her and her sister around the school and we became immediate friends. She’s been one of my good friends for a looooong time and one of the most hilarious, caring, creative and sweetest people I know. I have to admit that I’m a little sad she lives in TN, but it’s a GREAT excuse for me to travel and get my “country” on. ☺

Anyway, here’s a little about me. I went to Indiana State University and have a Bachelor’s in Recreation and Sport Management with a focus in Youth Leadership. I worked at residential summer camps for 7 years prior to my college internship (man do I have stories). After two internships at the Terre Haute Children’s Museum I was hired on in 2010. People tell me I have the coolest job ever, and I rarely disagree. I’m currently the Program and Special Event Coordinator. Out museum is considered “small”, we only have 6 full-time staff members and operate with about 6-10 volunteers every day. This means I do A LOT of the hands-on science with kids of ALL ages, learning abilities and demographics. We’re also a non-profit in a small city... so basically we have no money. Ok, ok, we have SOME money; but I operate on a very small budget, so a lot of the experiments I do are CHEAP!

Jessica is always commenting on my social media pages about the cool experiments we do and mentioned I should start a blog.... WHOAH! Let’s not get ahead of ourselves. I mentioned doing some guest posts on her blog and she agreed! So here I am, to give awesome teachers cheap and easy experiments to do in your classroom!

 Since we’re in the middle of winter, here’s a “cold” experiment.

Melting Snow Man Materials: 
  • Baking Soda- I used about 1 Cup-ish (exact amounts are not crucial) 
  • Shaving Cream- 3+ Cups. May need more or less depending on the consistency of the mixture. 
  • Foam Shapes (cut into carrot noses, coal eyes, buttons, etc...) 
  • Vinegar 
  • Spray Bottles 
  • Foil Cake Pans (Invest in these. I used them ALL the time for tons of experiments!) 
Before any science experiment I like to pass out safety goggles to kids and give them instructions on safe practices. I always make it a point to tell children to NOT EAT anything. The ingredients in this experiment are not harmful, but sometimes I use borax or other harmful chemicals that they should not ingest. So I’ve just made it a rule to not eat anything they experiment with. If we do use something that is edible (twizzlers for DNA models), I give them extras after the experiment.

Pass out a cake pan with some baking soda to each child. I let the kids touch it and tell me what it feels like. Does it smell like anything?

After that you can pass out the shaving cream. Depending on your class size you may want to prep containers with it beforehand. If you have a smaller class, you can go around and put the cream in their pans individually. (Exact amount varies. It’s best to do the experiment first and find what ratio works best for you. I ended up adding more shaving cream to the amount pictured below.)

Have them use their hands to mix the two ingredients together. Now what does it feel like? Does it smell differently? Is it warm or cold? (Yes, this is VERY messy!)

Encourage them to make a snow man with their mixture. They can use the foam pieces to personalize their snowman. Is your snowman tall and thin or short and squat?

Put the vinegar in spray bottles. We have one for each child, but one for each table is fine too. One per table will allow the children to witness the experiment several times. Have the children spray their snowman with the vinegar. What happened? What does it smell like? Is the snowman warm or cold now? What are some things you noticed when your snowman “melted”? Did it make a noise?

What is the science behind the experiment?
The vinegar is an acid and the baking soda is a base. When and acid and a base come in contact, they create a reaction. In this case, they react and create a gas, carbon dioxide. The reaction is an endothermic reaction which means all the “heat” is used to create the reaction leaving the product cold. The children should let you know that the melted snow man got colder.

Tuesday, December 17, 2013


Hey ya'll! If you haven't noticed, I've taken a little hiatus from blogging. I honestly wasn't enjoying it as much as I used to, so I have been taking a break, while I'm finishing up grad school. I hope to return next school year (2014-15), but until then I'll try and post a few old freebies that I have had a few requests for!

Today I'm bringing back the hot chocolate ten frames that I made a year or two ago. I have uploaded it to my google drive for you to download for free.  Just click on any of the photos below and you will be directed to your free download! =)

This one I tweaked a little bit! I now have it so the kids write down the number words and color words (since those are the words my kids need extra practice with!) And now my kids only need to read number words to ten, but I still included the teen numbers for older grades or for students that may need enrichment. Again, click on the pictures below for the free download!