Friday, December 27, 2013

A little story of weight loss

Hi all! I hope that you have had an amazing holiday break (aka Christmas Break). I'm having a GREAT year, well I keep telling myself that. No really I do have a great team that I work with, and some great kids. I wanted to post something that is BLOWING my mind!! 

At the beginning of the school year my buddy April and I started working out. Honestly, I wasn't seeing the "change". One would think being a K teacher and knowing that you have to look back to see the growth. Yea but in this I didn't think to look back until now. I started drinking the Plexus Slim and WOW did I feel better. More energy. Sleeping better. Stress seemed to be dropping off (not that it was). 

Fast forward to today... I'm a Plexis Slim ambassador and I FINALLY decided to do a side by side comparison. Here that is...

The pictures on the left are from the beginning of school. And the pictures on the right are from today. I don't know if you can see it ... The top picture really shows it all! So when I saw this I had to share! If you have EVER thought about loosing a few pounds or getting healthy you NEED to look into Plexis and their whole line of products.  There is SO much I could say how happy I am in what I am seeing on the scale and in how my clothes fit or that I feel so much better. But here is what I hope you walk away with... Plexis Slim was created to help people with type 2 diabetes. It helps levelize blood sugar and keep cravings at bay. There are wonderful testimonials on my website (karenday.myplexusproducts.com). I hope that you check out my website and that if weight loss is one of your goals for 2014 that you try plexus slim. 



Monday, August 12, 2013

Teacher week is finally here!

Tuesday is our first day of teacher meetings. But it's not my first day back in the building, I've been working for about two weeks. I know crazy! But I really didn't spend more than a few hours each day in my room. I had SO many mister projects that I needed that time to fit them in to the misters schedule.

The misters biggest project was using homasote board. This board can be used as a bulletin board. It's real purpose is sound proofing. This picture is before I made it cute ;). It's the grey board next to the way to stinking big TV. I found some super cute fabric at Hobby Lobby that is grey chevron. I decided that all the fabric in my room this year would be grey. I have two. The chevron fabric on the front board and grey with white polka dots everywhere else.

Another mister project was to finally give me coat hooks! They are tight but I finally have somewhere for backpacks to be hung .Right now they have the kids everything bags hanging on them. At the end of the day we are going to hang them there. Last year I used buckets but I was never really happy with that.

We have a new school wide economy system (jury is still out on this working for me or not). And I created "wallets" for each kinder to keep their money in. I think they are SO cute!!

And the biggest news is that my BFF is moving to my school!!! I am so excited to be working with her again! I feel like our Kinder team is going to be the strongest ever! So I've been helping over in her room too. And so has the mister!


All about who? That's right ... me!

Morning all!! This week is teacher week. I so hope to share each day of the week. Today's theme is meet the teacher.
I am the mom of two middle school babies! Where oh where did the time go?!? My little man is starting middle school and my oldest is in 8th grade... next year she will be in HIGH SCHOOL!! The mister and I have been married since 1996... yea I'm feeling old right about now ;)

I hold a BA in early childhood education and an MA in curriculum and leadership. It's still hard to believe that I completed my masters. See WAY back in the late 70's I was diagnosed with ADD. At that time NO ONE had a clue what it meant. Teachers didn't know what to do with me. I loved to create things but at the end of first grade I really could not read. Now the expectations back then were different but children were still expected read by the end of the school year. That summer I spent every Tuesday and Thursday morning with a retired teacher learning to read. I fell in love with reading and my reading tutor was AMAZING! She listened to me tell stories, read me stories, and helped me learn to read. She is the reason that I love loosing myself in a good book.

I love all things Disney. We get the chance to visit often and I LOVE it!! I also love Dr. Pepper. My mornings usually start with a trip through Sonic to grab a drink at happy hour. I am definitely at 21st century teacher. I love technology! I am self taught on many programs (like Photoshop). I love taking pictures and once thought that I would use my hobby to make money. Um... yea not an easy field to break into ;)

My school is amazing!! Our leadership drives teachers to follow their professional dreams. I LOVE it! Last year I begged to have the tables taken out of my room and my principal let it happen. I am really excited about what this school year holds.

Sunday, August 4, 2013

Facebook Fan Freebie

Happy Sunday! I know for me this is one of two Sundays left until back to school teacher week starts. WOW it's been an amazing summer. I have enjoyed every second with my children and hubster. We got to travel some, we relaxed at the lake, and I slowly worked on getting my school year put together. I also had some wonderful things happen here at my blog. I got a new look, a facebook page, and today I am announcing that I have finally figured out the world of facebook freebies! Go me!

I have added to freebies to my facebook page. One is the circle labels that I shared here earlier in July, the other is a set of circles that say "kindergarten is brighter with you in my room" and "you really light up my day". I made these to go on the glow bracelets that I found at Target over the summer. I plan on having some other freebies added there that will only be available on Facebook.... just give me some time ;)

I am working on a back to school unit. I hope to have it out by mid week. I need to get some pictures of the pieces in use to help with the explanation pages. I love that this pack is going to help with procedures as well as have activities for the first few weeks.

I also have a couple of make a match sets that I want to get uploaded to TPT and TN, and a new product that is a flat story type reader. But that one is farther from being completed.

Saturday, August 3, 2013

Dental Heath Month

Yes yes I know that it is WAY early to be thinking about dental health month, but Colgate is GIVING teachers kits!! Last year I missed out (read that as totally didn't think about signing up!) and that is not going to happen as second time. And since I love you all I want to make sure all our littles get to be part of this program. So what is the Colgate Bright Smiles, Bright Futures program?



Colgate sends a kit full of teaching materials to help the littles know how to take care of their teeth. Then the icing on the cake, so to speak, is that each child gets a new toothbrush! I LOVE this program and missed it so much last February. Now that you want to be part of the Colgate Bright Smiles, Bright Futures program head over to the website by clicking HERE.

Thursday, August 1, 2013

Little by little

So I shared what  my room looked like when I walked in on Monday. Here it is now... with a couple of days to work on it. This time I took my pictures standing at my back door. ;) Just changing it up a bit. So the big brown squares are our cubbies. Each child is asked to keep a change of uniform in a bag for accidents. We keep this in the cubbie along with "mail". And you see the back of my chart stand. Just on the other side of the cubbies is our whole group area. This area takes up the majority of our room. It's BIG time important in my little world. 
So this ext picture shows the dividing shelves that I have in the middle of my room. Pocket charts hang on the back of the shelves. I choose to talk about our tables as neighborhoods. There are two neighborhoods behind the shelves and one behind my chart stand. I dream of having a room that is a rectangle so that all three neighborhoods could be in a row.  

This is a great shot of the hex table that is behind my chart stand. It also shows the IKEA shelves that I LOVE! They are covered in stuff that will not be there. The bottom step is where we deal with folders. The pink drawer is where we put folders last year. I am considering changing it out to a white and green drawer so that I can have the kiddos change out the folder and homework. We will see. :)

This back wall is going to say "Read, Baby, Read". This summer I had the AMAZING opportunity to work with KIPP: Delta ELA (elementary). The teachers there were so inspiring. One of the KIPP chants that they do is Read baby read. I fell in love with this chant and plan on teaching it to my kids. It shows the importance of reading through a progression of phrases like "reading is knowledge" and "knowledge is power". I LOVE this!! So my little library area will now remind me of the hard working men and women of KIPP: Delta!

Alright for the next few pictures I walked to the front door. See my pink table?? That will be my writing station which goes on the other side of the TV. And the manipulative cart thing is no longer there. I've moved it. I am thinking about getting rid of the little table here at the door. It's been a writing station, sign in table, time out table... just about everything! But my pink table will be the writing station so I think that this one can go!

So here is the back of the shelves. You can't tell but it's that peg board stuff. I have hooks that hang my pocket charts. I plan to line them up from end to end!

And last... looking back at the reading table. I love having my area in this corner. There is a sink behind me... great for art projects that we do in small groups. The metal shelf is no longer up there... that is how I pack for summer.... stack up as much as I can.


Well there is a little tour of my room. I hope to have everything ready to roll early next week. I'm holding out for the fire marshal... he makes me CRAZY!

Wednesday, July 31, 2013

First Look at 2013-14 School Year!

Well here it is. My room as I got to see it the first time! WOW... lots of stuff and the bathroom has most of my tables and all of my chairs stuffed into it! That would be my oldest... she is in her last year at middle school. I am very grateful that she likes to come help! So the views are from me standing just inside the hall door... aka the front door. We also have an outside door... aka the back door. 
So straight across from the door is the TV (there is a computer that hooks up to it but that is stored with the other computers during the summer.) And my smartboard is adjacent to the TV. I really wish that when the smart boards were install that they were put at the front of the room and not in the corner. But it is what it is! The wall space between the TV and the corner is where I want to add some of the homasote 440 board. It's kind of waisted space. There is a computer drop that runs the wall but isn't not all the way in the corner nor is it over by the TV. It's horrible where it is placed. So I am hopping that the mister will use some 1x4 boards to lift up the homasote 440 and then I will have a bulletin board area there. I am thinking that this will be my writing center area and it would be great to have a bulletin board there. 
This next picture is the back door, as it appears from the front door. Let me tell you bright read doors DO NOT blend well with room decor!  So this years theme is bright rainbow colors. I'm hoping it will help with the red door and the primary blue computer counters and storage area.  My word wall goes in the open space under the window. The cubbies go in front of the window.. but not up against the wall. The back faces of the cubbies face the word wall. This is where the other part of the homasote 440 is going to go! I am going to turn that into our calendar math area. My chart stand goes next to the cubbies. This gives us the edge of our whole group area. We use carpet squares for our carpet that get picked up when we need to do art projects... which almost always happen on the floor ;) 
In this next picture you see the bathroom door open and my cubbies that the mister needs to fix. I have made new table signs too. You probably see the houses hanging from the ceiling... I call my tables "neighborhoods".  I like how it helps build a since of community. 
Alright now we hit the primary blue counter tops. There is a sink under all of that mess!! My teacher table goes in front. I do not let small children wash their hands without supervision! Before anyone freaks we use hand sanitizer for our classroom bathroom. Then our big trips to the bathroom in the hall everyone, even those not going potty, washes their hands.  Oh and all of that mess comes down and goes else where! 
And now we reach the computers. See primary blue! The bright rainbow theme is going to be the only way to hide the things I can not change. I am lucky to have 5 classroom computers. The first one runs the smartboard and one of them attaches to the TV. But it is wonderful to be in a school that is lucky enough to have technology! I also have the primary smartboard clicker system and 4 ipads that stay in my room. At the end of the computers is a cabinet, I keep a lock on that cabinet because that is where ALL the technology stays. 
So that is where things stand. I've got a lot of work to do. I plan to purge as I go. I just don't have the storage here that I did at the other school. 

Sunday, July 28, 2013

Sunday Smorgasbord!


I am linking up with Fabulous in First for this random post about the little things in my world. My littles and the mister in my life spent last night camping. I am SO blessed that they leave me at home. The mosquitoes think that I am their personal buffet! So I had a wonderful night of me time! And what did I do???

First I set up a facebook page (https://www.facebook.com/ALittleKinder). It's new and little but soon will be growing! I'm really excited about that end of social media!

Then I worked on printing and laminating. The cards in the picture are from DeeDee Wills Nursery Rhyme bundle. SO cute!! Anyway, my love for this laminator has been an uphill climb. But I'm officially in love. It's supper easy and by getting the laminating pouches at Sam's I am saving money! I get 200 pouches for around $20. LOVE it!! Now I've also decided to change my organization of centers. I might be loosing my mind but I am SO tired of loosing pieces to games and then finding them later in the year only to struggle to put them up. Then summer hits and I am remaking games. So I have tried clear pockets and 3 ring binders... nope not for me. So last year I went to a file cube. Only problem here was that pieces fell out of the files. Not to mention that I couldn't decide if they should be filed by skill or by theme or by month!! NIGHTMARE I tell ya!

 So this is what I came up with. These are the same tubes that my math stations are housed in. I like how neatly they store and our fire marshal doesn't freak about them being stacked in our rooms. That could be a WHOLE other post... why the fire marshal makes me CRAZY! Any way.... I have decided that each month will have a tub. The tubes have super cute labels. In the tub will go ziplock bags with centers in them. I have also decided to laminate the black line master! Really this is a sanity issue, because I am known for handing out the master to that last child who does not have a copy. Then I'm rushing around to find the file to make more. Super easy now... if it's laminated it's meant to be in the tub!! I've also turned some of the recording sheets into dry erase practice. My thought here is for those kiddos who rush through and still have time at their station. They can practice on a laminated copy first and then transfer to a "turn in" copy. I also thought that this might be a good way to manage what is turned in and what isn't. 

I will be back in my room tomorrow. The mister is going to work on adding some wheels to my cubbies and some hemasote 440 to the back so that it can be a bulletin board. I'll be sure to take some pictures!

Saturday, July 27, 2013

This little thing called Facebook....

Well I have finally made a facebook page for my blog. I'm a little freaked out to let everyone know because I'm still learning about how the whole facebook page thing works. So here is the link... https://www.facebook.com/ALittleKinder feel free to like the page. I would love to have some followers. And I promise to figure out all the fin workings of having a page.

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Thank you Honey Bunches Blog Design!!

I am so excited to show off my new blog! The AMAZING team at Honey Bunches Blog Design. I can not share how wonderful it was working with them. Nikki at Melonheadz did the "me" in my signature and they reworked my banner to be WAY better than the one that I had made. If you are thinking about a blog redesign... run as fast as you can to Honey Bunches Blogs! You will not regret it!! Oh and they just opened an etsy account for pre-made designs.


Monday, July 22, 2013

Circle Label Freebie

Happy Monday! I wanted to share with you the labels that I made for my classroom. These use Melonheadz Kiddlets, which make me smile, and my favorite rainbow chevron background. Today  I am working on a back to school pack that uses all my favorite back to school activities! Kind of exciting! Just some of the things in this new pack: class books, anchor posters (including the glue song that I use!), and activities that I use on the first day!

Now for the freebie. These little circles I printed and hand wrote what I wanted them to say. I hope that you find some way to use them in your room too! I am trying out google docs as a way to share. Please let me know if you can not get to this freebie!!
Click here!


Sunday, July 21, 2013

10 things I've learned from teaching....

I loved reading the others, so I decided to make my own list ;)

1. Over the summer EVERYTHING multiplies.
2. No matter how many times you remind the children that while in mini lessons that the bathroom is closed, someone does the pee pee dance AS SOON AS you start!
3. Make the janitor and secretary your best friends!  They are the first people you see in the morning and the ones you need when there is a sick child.
4. Taking the few extra seconds to get your students settled into pull outs or lunch are worth their weight in GOLD to those teachers.
5. Make a copy of EVERYTHING you turn into your principal or central office.
6. Find a day to do parent shout outs. (Shout outs are when you call or mail a post card to a parent letting the know something wonderful about their child.)
7. ALWAYS go to the bathroom in the first 2 minutes of any break! You never know when you will get a chance.
8. If I get everything done at school, and leave it there, then I get to read blogs and pintrest at night!
9. When a child calls me "momma" by mistake it makes my heart happy.
10. Dr Pepper makes even the most stressful day better!!

You too can link up with your list at Miss Kindergarten.

Saturday, July 20, 2013

Rhyming Practice


I love whole group learning that is meaningful! One of the things that ELL students struggle with is
rhyming. This past year I had a student who this was his first year in the U.S. It was so hard on him, but his growth was AMAZING! One way that we supported that growth was with make a match type games. We matched everything letters, shapes, rhymes, anything that we could think of. We practiced as a whole group activity were each child got a card and had to find their match. I loved this! And when I realized how easy it was to uses this activity for formative assessment I was in heaven.

I also used these cards in small group RTI type instruction. One activity that I did was called code breakers. I would set out several cards face up. Then I would say the sounds to make one of the words. For example if one of the cards had a cat on it I would say the sounds /c/ /a/ /t/. Then the children would decide which picture matched the word I blended. As this group got better recognizing just sounds. I would show two pictures that did not rhyme, like tree and box. Then I would give them the code of a word that rhymed with one of the pictures, in this example it might be /f/ /o/ /x/.

I not only had rhyming cards but alphabet cards, number/ set cards, beginning sound cards, and ending sound cards. We used these to review skills, make partners, and to fill those minutes between activities when time was short. After much begging, I have decided to make these public. I am giving away my upper case letter match as a freebie. I am also going to be adding the other sets to TPT and TN.
You can find the first set here:
http://www.teacherspayteachers.com/Product/Make-a-Match-Rhyming-Set-1-781112


Thursday, July 4, 2013

Happy Fourth of July!! And a TPT Flash Sale

Hope everyone is having a great day!  

To celebrate EVERY item in my TPT shop is 20% off July 4 and 5! This is a great time to pick up my new math journal prompts or the super cute behavior charts. 

Tuesday, July 2, 2013

Number Sense chapter 3

This chapter was about building routines that instill visual images based on numbers. That is getting children to mentally see what three dot and two dots look like so that they can come up with five. This is huge in mental math strategies. One of the kindergarten CCSS in addition (oa5 I think) talks about fluently adding and subtracting with in 5. It hit me while reading this chapter that subitizing is mental math fluency. How cool would it be to get to teaching addition and the kids "see" it because you spent so much time building mental images of what numbers look like. There were two quotes that really stuck out.
This quote I feel supports the need to use dot cards and ten frame cards so that children are able to see numbers. Along the way we heard the story of a child who could match 3 dots to 3 fingers but didn't know the number name three. This child could see the dots and recreate them but didn't know the name. Using the dot cards would help her grow in seeing the number with the name but since the teaching could include the showing of fingers this child could be successful in a whole class setting. I have seen it time and again that if a child is successful then they are willing to try. 

The chapter spent a good deal of time talking about how to use dot cards and ten frame cards in the classroom I won't go into much detail here, but I am excited to think about how these could be used in my room. Starting the first day we could look at cards and talk about how many dots we see and learn how to show that many fingers without shouting out the answer. We can use ten frames or five frames to start seeing numbers in groups and talk about how many dots are there and how many more do we need to fill the frame. This chapter excited me. And then I read this:
Do you see the power of the dot cards? This quick routine that shouldn't last more than 5 or so minutes ( once it is up and running) impacts SO much of future math work. 

This chapter also introduced me to a new item, a rekenrek. Have you ever heard of this tool? 
They have ten beads on the top row and ten on the bottom. In the book it also talks about a version where you can hide beads behind a white board... Like this one. 

I'm going to find out if our math coach has ever used these and see if she will come model it for me, since I'm struggling to understand it. 


Friday, June 28, 2013

Bloglovin...

It's sad to see google reader go. I loved loved the search feature! But come Monday it is a thing of the past. Like so many others in the blogging world, I too have started using bloglovin. 

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Ch-ch-changes....

Lots of changes coming over this summer. Ones that I am super excited about! I am getting a new blog look, starting several new features, and revamping some of my TPT and TN products.

Let's start with blogs and blog designs. I am working with the WONDERFUL team at Honey Bunches Blog designs . I am so excited and can not wait until it's finished. But the new blog got me to thinking about my classroom. It's been the same forever and honestly, I'm tired of it. When I started teaching umpteen years ago I had a cute bears and bees theme. EVERYTHING was bees or bears and red gingham. Cute! Then I changed over a few years ago to a zoo theme. I made a lot of my items using KPM Doodles clip art. Very cute! But now I'm tired of that! I kind of think I'm tired of looking so "baby-ish", not that we really looked baby. I think you get what I mean. The teachers I teach with are AWESOME! There are 4 of us and they all have super cute rooms!! My neighbor does an amazing Hollywood design! So awesome! And across the way we have a super cute zebra print and pink room. I worried that the boys wouldn't like it but either they didn't notice the pink or it wasn't a big deal. And her neighbor has a construction theme! Hard hats, caution tape, and tools everywhere!

Then there is me... a half hearted zoo. It's not cute. It's not complete. It's kind of well tired. So I've been looking and NOTHING is getting me excited! NOTHING! UGH! I know that I like bright colors and the rainbow chevron is something that I love, but a theme it does not make. I guess I'm worried that my kinders will feel slighted (or maybe its more the parents) if my room isn't themed. At least I've got time to figure that part out. ;)

Now about the blog features that I am working on. I love Elsie's blog called a beautiful mess. I was thinking about how she plans her blog... what she shares seems so effortless. I am betting it because she has a plan. Me, I've not had a plan. I've posted when and whatever was on my mind. I don't want to change that but I do want to have some regularity to my blog. So here is the general plan. Tuesdays are going to be math days. Right now the posts are mostly about the book study number sense but during the school year I want them to be more about what is happening mathematically in my room. Thursdays will be literacy days. I LOVE what my writing instruction has become because of the Little Rock Writing Project. I also am going to include new products and random thoughts but I think that having a plan will help me stay focused.

Now for a request. I am looking to add a few people who blog to be "product testers". The details are this.... while I am in production of a new product I would need to be able to send you a working copy for you to give me feedback on. This would have to stay private, that is no blogging about it...yet. That is the second part of the deal. Once the product goes up on TPT or TN I would need for you to blog about it and pin it to pintrest.  If you are interested please email me at keday56@gmail.com, I won't be pulling names from the comments below.

Monday, June 24, 2013

Are you ready for this....

I had to go to Office Depot today to get some photo paper and guess what?!?!?!? They were putting out school supplies! My jaw hit the floor... ALREADY? The gal working the section said that they will start running specials in July. Then it hit me that July is NEXT week! Yep one month is almost gone... and soon it will time to start stalking Target dollar spot!

Thursday, June 20, 2013

Talking, Drawing, Writing chapter two The drawing and writing book.

Chapter two is all about the drawing and writing book. It is full of lessons, much like chapter one was. In this chapter I was really impressed with the time taken to build up the drawing and writing book that the children will be using. I also found it interesting that the teacher had the students to build their work caddies. I use community supplies but I haven't ever had the children build the table caddies. I think this year I am going to do more of this in the first week. I had planned to have the children use travel soap dishes to hold their crayons....
I used these to hold my station crayons. A pack of 24 will fit...with no extra room. 

Tis year we are going to keep 11crayons in the box (red, orange, yellow, green, blue, purple, black, brown, white, grey, and pink. Maybe a light blue too. I had planned on giving the sorting assignment to my student teacher but now I'm thinking that I will have the kids do it. 

Tis quote really stood out because it speaks to the importance for drawing out the introduction process of the drawing and writing book.  The rereading of stories is something that I struggled t teach last year. I almost think that I waited too long to introduce the idea. In the mindset of my students using drawing to tell a story then I should be teaching the idea to reread a story by looking at the pictures and deciding what is still needed. All of my kinders could have done this if I had modeled it for them. How wonderful is this going to be to teach rereading stories! Although I felt that I did a lot of teaching children to draw I see now that I did not do enough! We will be doing more this year. I am going t wait later to introduce labeling and writing words. I might even do it as a incidental type thing as I model writing, just to see who picks up that's kill naturally or wait to see who is already doing that with the people in their pictures.  Oh gosh am I excited about teaching writing this year!!!
This screams to me! It's what I've said over and over in PLC meetings. I think that there are two types of literacy teachers, those who believe that you read to write or the other track is you teach writing to learn to read. I'm the second. And this quote speaks to why I am that way. A child who can write, stretch sounds to put on a page and can read the words back is a child that can read books. There is very little that I need to do instruction wise. I believe that segmenting is a harder skill than blending. I am surprised by the words that my kinders tried to spell. Oh did they make me happy! 

On my here is a HUGE idea! Not only do words tell stories..so do pictures and voices! Thi is so powerful. Children start out seeing themselves as story tellers. They are valued members  of the literacy club because they too can tell stories! Then we start talking to them art putting those stories on paper so that others can "read" the story without them there to interpret the story.  Then at some point we are going to start adding words to these picture stories.

I want to make an anchor chart (that looks better than this quick sketch) that deals with the idea of rereading.  Maybe even include some procedure type things like have a neighbor read the story back to you. I'm still knocking around this idea.