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 things.works.  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.