Monday, September 2, 2013


So, I've been blogging off and on for a couple of years. I've been reading blogs for a lot longer. This is what I've learned, blogging is really hard work. It's hard to gain an audience and keep them interested. I have great intentions. Really I do!!!! However, life gets in the way. I don't get how the really great bloggers balance all of their responsibilities. I really admire their ability to do it all! But, I do not have that same ability. Doesn't mean I don't have a lot to share, just never going to be a daily blogger.

I've also learned that NOT all Kindergarten classrooms are the same. I read about some of the amazing things going on around the country and I cry. I mean I literally cry. My students will never be able to do what is going on in these classrooms. My Cubs are poor! My Cubs don't speak English! My Cubs are homeless! My Cubs have very young parents (20 and 21). My Cubs come to school hungry! My Cubs have seen things that NO one should ever witness let alone see as a child. My Cubs have gang members as parents. My Cubs have one or both parents in prison. I could continue listing all the strikes my Cubs have against them. Not all my Cubs have all these strikes against them, but most have several. However, with all these things that are wrong in their life, they never stop surprising me with the desire they have to learn and how much they learn in the year I have them. I also need to say, my Cubs' parents love their children and do the very best they can.

I guess my question is, do you get frustrated reading all the amazing things going on around the country? Are your students able to do those things? Or are your students like mine?

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Best Intentions...

Today is the very last day of my summer vacation. I officially start back tomorrow. I have been a very busy girl working in my room. I have had some "help". My boys have gone with me every day I have gone in. I must say that it took twice as long to get my room almost done. However, I would not change a thing. It was wonderful to spend these last few days of summer with them.

As for my room, I mentioned in earlier blog post that my theme was Enchanted Forest. I was so excited to have fairies, butterflies, gnomes, and all the other wonderful forest creatures visit my room this year. But, somehow my room had a mind of its own and it is now Once Upon A Time. Don't know how it happened. But I am really excited how it all came together. I have only taken one picture so far. I made the banner and the pom poms and think this bulletin board turned out pretty cute.

I love the colors and can't wait until I'm actually done with the entire room. I'd better hurry, school starts on Monday.  Stay tuned for the rest of my room.

Sunday, August 11, 2013

And so it begins...

On Friday I took my boys to "help" me work in my room. My youngest is having a hard time adjusting to "Cub Camp". He is very anxious and is nervous to the point that he is making himself sick. So to give him a break, I let him miss a day and join me and his brother working in my room. Any suggestions on how to help him transition to middle school would be greatly appreciated. I do have a Dr. appointment for him to see what he suggests. Now I don't know how many of you take your children with you to help you in your rooms. If you do and they actually get stuff done, I want to know your secrets. When I take my boys one on one, we get a lot done. If they are together, not so much. What I did get done was to empty one of my big storage areas and organize what was inside. This is the mess we made trying to organize my room.
I am not going to post any of my after pictures until I'm completely done with my room. That being said, I have been a shopping fool. I have been on the look out for a new chair to use during circle time. I found a couple that I LOVE, but they cost way to much. So, I decided to save a little at a time and in the mean time, I did find this fun chair at Big Lots for under $30.
 Hello, I had NO idea that Big Lots had so much fun stuff for the classroom. I also found book baskets for my reading area. Big Lots is now on my official list of favorite places to shop for school stuff.

Monday, August 5, 2013

Not Such a Great Day to Work in My Room!

Well, I went to work in my room this morning and walked into a surprise! Apparently our school is getting a new intercom system. Guess whose room is being used as a staging area? MINE! This is the mess I walked into.

When I went to the office to find out when they would be done, they couldn't give me an answer and suggested I find one of the workers. So, I did. The two gentlemen I found were amazing! Without skipping a beat they offered to move all of their supplies, promised to be out by the end of the day. As you can tell from the pictures, I need as much time as I can get. Should be a little better once all of the construction stuff is gone. Whew!!!!

Sunday, August 4, 2013

Going to School Tomorrow!

I don't know about you, but this time of the year is overwhelming to me. You would think after 21 years it would be a piece of cake. NOT! I need to make sure that everything is just right for my cubs. I have been planning for months. I am not sure I will ever feel ready.

Tomorrow I am going to school for the first time since the last day of school. This is a first for me. I have never stayed away from school this long. It seems kind of weird. I am a little (lot) nervous to see what my room looks like. This is how I left it. I can assure you it will NOT look like this tomorrow when I go in. I have a feeling everything will be in one big pile on the carpet. UGH!!!!

 I recently bought Decorate Like a Pro, the Schoogirl Style Way, by Melanie Ralbusky. LOVE this eBook. I would recommend it to anyone looking for styling tips. Following the guidelines in her book, I am going to set up the room tomorrow. I am taking my #1 son to help with moving all the furniture. I liked the arrangement I had last year and may go with that. I do know that I am getting rid of some of my furniture. I have a mismatched housekeeping set and I am still debating whether I should keep it or not. It takes up so much room and we don't get to use it very much. I also have two huge wardrobe closets. I think with some reorganizing I could get rid of them. They are so big and awkward. You can see them in the picture. Why all of the stressing over my room? Because...

Friday, August 2, 2013

Calendar Freebie

Had to make a quick trip to California. Nice to get away, see family, and enjoy cooler weather. I also had to enroll my youngest in "Cub" camp. My son's middle school offers a 2 week boot camp to give new middle school students a quick look at what their next 3 years will look like. So, while he is in "Cub Camp" my oldest son and I are going to start on my classroom. This will be the first year in 9 years I don't have a child attending the school where I am teaching. Have to say I am looking forward to the peace and quiet in the mornings.

Every morning the first thing we do in class is calendar. I am expanding the way I do calendar this year and want my Cubs to be more involved. In the past it has been teacher led and now I want my students to take a more active roll. This year I am adding calendar notebooks. I purchased two different ones from TPT and will mix and match what I want. 

I am going to try using heavy-duty double pocket portfolios with fasteners rather than binders. I use binders for their scrapbooks and don't want to mess with two of them. I may change my mind, but for now it's the folders.  Before I left for California, I gave my calendar headers as a freebie, today I am going to give my August calendar pieces. They are simple but I like that I can pattern with the graphic I put on them. I will put the rest of the year, one month at a time. Hope you like them and if you would like different graphics, let me know, I can easily change them. 

Tuesday, July 30, 2013

New School Year, New Attitude!

So I've been in a funk!!!! I didn't realize how bad its been until I stepped back and really took a long HARD look at myself. In taking that look, what I discovered was, I spent a lot of time worried about what other people thought, wondered if I was good enough, and focused on what's wrong in my life rather than what's RIGHT! So, that is going to change in a big way. Part of the change comes from reading the book, Teach Like A Pirate! If you haven't read it, I highly recommend taking the time to read this book.

I also need to realize that I had a really tough year!  Having two students in diapers, 6 of my 28 Cubs had IEP's and challenges with my school administration really took a toll. The great thing is, that year is over and I get to start fresh. YAY! I hesitate to say bring it on, but BRING IT ON! I am so excited to begin my 21st year. It is going to be the best year ever. It doesn't matter how many kiddos have IEP's, what new programs I have to implement, or whatever else may be thrown at me, my Cubs deserve the BEST teacher. They don't care about the Common Core Standards, what my principal has changed, whether we made AYP, or any other pressure that is placed on me as a teacher, wife, friend, mother... My job is to teach my Cubs! I may have 25 or 35 it doesn't matter. They deserve to come to school and have the best teacher and leave my classroom having learned all they possibly could no matter the obstacles placed in our way.

Change #1- Classroom environment: Since going back to the classroom, I have changed my theme each year. The first year, Bears! I love bears and it was a fun theme, just not one I wanted to continue. The second year, Wild About Learning! Again, another fun theme just got tired of all the animal print. So, this year I changed again. Magical Forest -  Hope I like it as much at the end of the year as I do now.

As part of my 21 years of teaching celebration, I wanted to offer freebies so here's another one.

Monday, July 29, 2013

Celebrating 21 Years of Teaching!!!!!

This August I will start my 21st year of teaching.That is not POSSIBLE!!!!  In celebration of my 21 years, I thought I would do something different on the blog. I am going to offer freebies, random surprises for my followers, and of course a GIVEAWAY! I will start the giveaway a week before my official first day back and the beginning of my 21st year of teaching! My first contract day is Wednesday, August 21. Which means I will kick off my giveaway on Wednesday, August 14.

To start this off, I want to thank some people who have made this incredible journey possible. I am going way back for the first person I want to thank. Mrs. Butler, my Kindergarten teacher. What an amazing teacher you were. For second grade I had Miss Clegg. My favorite memory was Halloween. Every Halloween, Miss Clegg would dress up for the Halloween Carnival. She told all of her students if they could find her, she would have an extra special treat for them. I looked every year and she never failed to have that special treat for ALL her students. Next Mrs. Weaver and Mrs. Davis, my third and fourth grade teachers. These were very special ladies that always made learning an adventure. There were other teachers who were important, some for the good things they did and some for the bad. But I have to say, my elementary teachers made the biggest difference in my life (kind of scary to think about).

I also need to thank a couple of really important friends. The first is Kim. She was my partner in crime during our University days. I am grateful to still call her friend. Kim is the kind of friend that you don't talk to for several months but the second you reconnect it is as if no time has past. Next is a friend who always told me I should be a Kindergarten teacher. I fought for a long time and many grade levels but your were right, I found my home in Kindergarten - Thanks!

Finally there is my family. From my mom and dad who financed my undergrad work to my husband and children who put up with all of my crazy ideas that I just have to have done in the next 5 minutes. My family (mom, dad, brother, sisters, nieces, nephews, husband, children, and even those honorary members) mean everything to me. They have cut, laminated, put up bulletin boards, taken down bulletin boards, packed my classroom, unpacked my classroom, moved furniture and most importantly listened to my stories, laughed at the funny things my "kids" do and cried with me when things were just "too much!"

Here's to 21 AMAZING  years of teaching.

Sunday, July 28, 2013

Figuring out Freebies

I have been an avid blog hopper for some time now. I love it when a blogger offers a freebie and all you have to do is click on the picture and surprise you are at the freebie ready to download. I have been able to link a doc to my blog but I always have to put a click here for the freebie. Here's an example

 I don't like the way it looks and want to be able to just have people click on the image. I have looked all over Google for a solution, but can't seem to find one. If anyone out there knows how to do this, I would love some help.

Saturday, July 27, 2013

To TPT or Not?

For the last two years I have made many products for my classroom. Most of the decorations in my room I have created and enjoyed doing so. I have been delving into centers but must admit I buy a lot of my centers from Marsha McGuire at A Differentiated Kindergarten. Other favorites are KinderCraze, Smedley's Smorgasbord of Kindergarten, Kreative in Kinder, Kindergarten Lifestyle, and Simply Kinder just to name a few! These ladies and Mr. Greg have been such an inspiration for me. I feel like I am almost ready to "think" about making the leap into Teacher Pay Teacher. Just wondering if I am ready and have anything new to offer. HMMMM!!! Big decisions!

I am also thinking about a redesign on my blog. I loved my design when I first started, but I am really ready for a change. Kind of over pink! Lots to think about.

Thursday, July 18, 2013

Crazy Summer!

I have to say this has been the craziest summer I have experienced ever! Unfortunately, it started with the death of my sweet mother-in-law and an extended stay in CA. Since that trip, I have not been motivated to do ANYTHING school. However, that has to change. I need to be setting up my classroom in less than a month and that means, I need all of my centers, stations, and planning done before I step foot in my room.

Before the crazy started, I decided to change my theme for next year. I wanted to do something fun and whimsical.. So I decided to do Enchanted Garden. Well, there is not much out there using that theme. So, I have added a dash of Once Upon A Time, Magical Kingdom, Fairyland, and anything else that I think works.  I have made a couple of  I have managed to get a few things down. Here are a couple of them. 

Last year I introduced a version of Hide and Seek to my students. It was a simple rhyming game and my Cubs LOVED it! Rules are simple they had to chose two pictures that rhymed. When the pictures were turned over to show they were already matched up, they would check for a bee. If they found the bee, the game was over and whoever found the bee would get to hide the bee during the next round. 

So, with that in mind. I designed a new game. Just like the other hide and seek game you hide a picture under the another picture in the pocket chart. This is the twist, instead of one hidden picture, I made 3; a king, a queen, and a frog. If students find the frog, they remove it and keep it until their next turn. IF the king or queen is found before their next turn, the game is over and they are "Stuck with the Frog!" If the king or queen is not found, they get to hide it behind a picture that has not been called. Once the king or queen is found whoever finds it gets to hide ALL the pictures for the next round. 

My Cubs love playing hide and seek. They are totally engaged and whenever they were able to pick a center, that was always the first center they picked. With that in mind, I want to make this a semi-permanent station/center and change the skill by changing the picture cards. The first skill I am focusing on in math is K.CC.A.3 Know number names and the count sequence. So, the outside picture cards all have a number from 0-10 in three different colors. If after I assess my Cubs and if I have any that already know their numbers to 10, I will add numbers to 20.  

Here is my Behavior Chart. My Cubs love the idea of being a Mega Star and likewise, hate it when they are a Rock Star. I would be happy to share either of these creations with any of you. I will send them to you all I need is your email address and they are yours. You can either leave me your email in comments (they are private until I publish and you can ask my not to publish your email) or you can send me a private message on Facebook. 

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Claiming my Blog

This is a very short post. In order to claim my blog on bloglovin, I need to post the following.

 <a href="">Follow my blog with Bloglovin</a>

Friday, March 29, 2013

Let me introduce you to my little friend

I don't know how many of you have your own personal laminator. I have one and I LOVE it. 

I found this little lovely at Costco and it has been one of my favorite teaching tools for the last couple of years. It was under $20 and is made by Purple Cows. One of the things I didn't like when I first started laminating at home was the cost of lamination. I hated paying $20 for 20 sheets and rarely did. After all, I bought the laminator WITH lamination for under what 20 sheets cost. That was until I discovered I now buy all my lamination from them (this is my personal opinion I am not receiving any compensation). 

This box of 100 lamination sheets cost $10 AND the shipping was free, yes I did say free. I prefer laminating at home for many reasons. The two most important reasons are these, I love the convenience and the lamination is thicker which means more durable and is easier for my Cubs to erase after using. 

I have been working on a couple of little things to share, I will be posting within the next two days with a couple of freebies. 

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Little Leprechauns

Wow! Only 47 days left with my cubs! This year has been challenging  to say the least. I have laughed, cried, and pulled out my hair. I was not sure I would ever get through November, let alone make it to Spring Break. Not giving lots of excuses, just doing the best I can. However, I did want to share a little something we have been doing in my world.

St. Patrick's Day has always been one of my favorite holidays to celebrate in school. Since moving to Kindergarten, it has only reinforced my love of this holiday. First, I have to give a shout out to Allie, she is the Kindergarten teacher right next to me, our rooms are attached by a Jack and Jill bathroom. Allie is responsible for making all of the Leprechaun prints in both our rooms. We do all of these activities together. It's great to have a partner in all things fun!

Here is a sampling of what our little friend left for us.

These footprints are leading into the bathroom from my classroom.

First stop, a little fun at the sink area.


Oh NO!!!! He didn't!
(My little boys were so freaked out, they didn't use the bathroom all day)

In the classroom, he was up to a lot of mischief. My cubs could not get over the fact that he messed with our morning message and left us one of his own.

Oh what a mess he left. Hard to see in the picture, but our room was a disaster!

After seeing what our little friend left us, we were off to find him and his pot of gold. After all, he did leave us a challenge. 

 Along the way, our little Leprechaun left us gold coins, jewels, and other treats.

Finally, we found his pot of gold! 

The pot was full of gold coins, necklaces, bracelets, and of course Lucky Charms! 

It was a fun day and we were all worn out.