First Look at 2013-14 School Year!

Wednesday, July 31, 2013
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 Smorgasbord!

Sunday, July 28, 2013

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 ( 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!


This little thing called Facebook....

Saturday, July 27, 2013
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... 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.


Thank you Honey Bunches Blog Design!!

Tuesday, July 23, 2013
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.


Circle Label Freebie

Monday, July 22, 2013
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!


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

Sunday, July 21, 2013
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.


Rhyming Practice

Saturday, July 20, 2013

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:


Happy Fourth of July!! And a TPT Flash Sale

Thursday, July 4, 2013
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. 

Number Sense chapter 3

Tuesday, July 2, 2013
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. 

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