Friday, August 31, 2012

Back to School Blog Hop- Last Day! (Freebie!)

Ok.  Confession.  I am not just now going back to school.  Teachers have been back to school around here since the end of July!! Sad news is the last day of the Back to School Blog Hop!  I've seen some pretty amazing shares throughout the month of August, haven't you?  Thanks so much to my friend, Mary Amoson of Sharing Kindergarten for arranging this blog hop!
I want to share with you today one of my new tools for positive reinforcement that I am using this year.  In the past, I have always used the whole "Compliment Chart" know, where every time your kids earn a compliment you move the clip to the next letter (or add the next letter in the word)?  Then once you have the word completed your kids earn a treat?  Well, as most of you know I have a slight addiction to Pinterest....and last summer I found a cute alternative to the usual Compliment Chart that uses Mr. Potato Head instead! (See the original I pinned here.)
I had to make one for my classroom this year so I enlisted the Hubs to help me make some cute body part clip art for my sign.  I think it turned out pretty cute!  Every time my boys and girls earn a compliment in the hallway, lunch room, etc. we vote on which body part to add to Mr. Potato next.  Once he is complete...we celebrate and then start over.  The kids have really taken to this already and Mr. Potato usually comes up in our conversations at least once a day.  We have already filled him up once and are now working on a second compliment treat! :)
You can snag your own copy of the sign for free by clicking {here} or the picture below.
I hope you like it!

Make sure you stop by Monica's blog too!  
She's co-hosting the last day with me over at Treasures for Teaching! :)
If you missed any of the Back to School posts from this month I highly recommend hopping through the linky below.  Every post offered a freebie for you to download! That is sure to get your year off on the right foot!  :)

Freebie Fridays

Sunday, August 26, 2012

Classroom Reveal!! {Video, Pictures, & a Winner!}

Hi friends!  We just finished our 3rd week of school (2nd week with kindergartners) and I finally got around to snapping some pictures for you!  My room is pretty much completely finished minus a few more labels and my door displays!  (We will not discuss the condition of my closet. Yikes!)  I attempted to take a classroom tour video with my phone. Be warned.  I am not the best tour guide or video's a little shaky at times- so sorry!  I hope you will still sneak a peek into my room.  :)

Here are some pictures for you!  Click on any image to enlarge it.
Here are the links where you can find some of the things that I have in my room:

Be Great freebie from Fabulous 4th Grade Froggies
Environmental Print Posters
Reading/Literacy Maps & Station Signs
Math Vocabulary Word Wall from Anna Brantley
Multiple Intelligences Poster freebie from A Differentiated Kindergarten
That's A Great Question freebie from Teach the Math
Good Fit Books freebie from Live, Love, Laugh Everyday in Kindergarten
Word Wall Paint Chip Cards idea from Kindergarten Lifestyle
Whole Brain Teaching Posters freebie by First Grade Fever
Picture Direction Cards freebie from A Cupcake for The Teacher

If there is something I forgot to link up that you are interested in just let me know.  I hope you enjoyed my classroom tour!  :)

On a different note, thanks to everyone who entered my giveaway for my latest Transition Music templates pack!  The winners are.....
a Rafflecopter giveaway
I'll be e-mailing the winners shortly!  If you were not one of the winners this time, you can still grab a copy for yourself by clicking on the image below.

Have a great rest of the weekend!

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Transition Music- Finally Done! (GIVEAWAY!)

I had such a tremendous response from my transition music post from last January!  Thank you SO much to everyone that has commented, e-mailed, pinned, etc.  Ya'll are awesome!  I really appreciate everyone being so patient with me while I worked out the kinks with sharing the file.  I ended up re-doing the images (my sweet hubby helped me create clipart for the buttons) and made several different colored templates.

I created the templates in a PowerPoint presentation so that you do not have to have an interactive whiteboard to use them!  Of course, if you have access to an interactive whiteboard, you can use it there as well! There are 12 templates plus 12 editable text templates.  Directions are included for adding text and linking sound clips.  Because of copyright violations, I could not link the sound clips up for you....but I did include step by step instructions on how to link up your own clips as well as where to download your own clips for free.  :)

Do you use music to signal transitions in your classroom? I LOVE doing this because it is a great way to incorporate nonverbal cues into your routine.  This usually becomes so automatic in my room that the kids respond to the different sound clips without me saying a word.  It is one of my favorite classroom management strategies! I use music to signal clean up time, line up time, moving to the next location, carpet time, "think, pair, share" time, etc.  The kids absolutely love it and it makes life much easier for me!  If you want to read more about how I incorporate it, and how I use a daily class D.J., you can check out my previous post {HERE}.

If you are interested in checking out my templates, I've posted the set in my store for $3.00.  Click on the pic!  I'm giving away 3 copies so make sure to enter using the Rafflecopter below!

a Rafflecopter giveaway
I'm hooking up with Blog Hoppin' today for Technology Tip Tuesday!  Hop on over.  :)

Sunday, August 19, 2012


I survived the first full week with my new kindergartners!! I have loads to share about our first week so stay tuned (look for a post about it later this week).

With all of the prep and excitement over the last 2 weeks, I feel like I have become so behind on everything that is happening in blogland!  I'm not sure I'll ever catch up...but....I figured a linky frenzy sounded like a good way to start.

My sweet friend Debbie is a Pinterest Guru.  She has started several Pinterest Party Link Ups.  If you are looking for some great boards to follow, make sure you check out her list.   Here are two that I joined up on.  (You can add your Pinterest address too!)

The lovely Jeannie from Kindergarten Lifestyle is hosting her latest "You Know When" link up.  I could probably think of hundreds of ways to finish this sentence but here are a few of the first ones that popped into my head!

Even though August is now more than halfway gone....I still have to link up with Farley's Currently!

Moving on....I purchased some fabulous things at TpT's Back to School Sale last week.  I'm linking up with Blog Hoppin' to share some of my finds.

Love this new craftivity from A Cupcake for the Teacher!  It is super cute and I can't wait to make our little Johnny's next month. 

I know my kids are going to get a lot of use out of DeeDee Will's Sequence Games and Sorts for letters.  What a fabulous idea!  I plan to use this in my guided reading group this month.

I also purchased Babbling Abby's Crazy for Kinders! Back to School Unit.  We made her Jitter Juice this week and had a blast with it! :) I have her 2nd grade unit too (it's another great one!).

Phew!  That's enough link ups for one post.  If you made it this far....thanks for hanging in there! :)  Now that I'm settling into the new school year I think I'll be able to get back into the swing of things and begin posting several times a week again!  I'm finalizing my transition music template this evening so I'll be able to share it with you soon!

Sunday, August 12, 2012

It's Finally Here!!

Have you been waiting for the Teachers Pay Teachers Back to School Sale?  IT'S FINALLY HERE!  My wish-list has been full of "must haves" for weeks and I was finally able to move them over to my cart today!  It feels almost like Christmas, don't you think? :)

Everything in my store (along with most sellers) is 20% off for the 2 day sale!  You can use TpT's promo code for an additional 10% off...that equals to a grand total of 28% off everything!

Now is the time to stock up because TpT only holds a few sight-wide sales each year!

Here are a few products to get your year started off right.

Happy shopping! :) 
{P.S.- Let me know if you come across something else I need to add to my cart!}

Thursday, August 9, 2012

New Rock, Paper, Scissors Game {Free!}

BWS tips buttonYou can find me today at my friend Leanne's blog! She is having a fantastic "Stuff Your Files" event that you should definitely check out. There are TONS of freebies for us to download throughout the month of August!

 Today I'm offering my brand new Rock, Paper, Scissors game on her blog for FREE! Make sure you stop by her blog to download it.  You can click on a picture below to head straight there.  I hope you like it! :)

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Writing Folders {Freebie}

Today was Day 2 of the new school year!  Things are pretty much pulled together in my classroom and I'm still planning on sharing a video tour as soon as I can find a spare moment to record!  Anyone else completely exhausted??

A few weeks ago I shared my writing folders on my friend Tammy's blog {Live Laugh Love Everyday in Kindergarten}.  I wanted to share it with all of you as well, in case you missed it.

One of the things that has worked well for me in the past are my kids' writing folders.  I've used spirals for journaling, but folders seem to work best for my classroom for writer's workshop.
I combine folders with brads and folders without brads to make a 4-pocket folder for each child.  I like for all of my folders to be uniform so I usually go out and purchase them myself when they get cheap enough at back to school time.  That way, I can have them assembled and ready at the beginning of school.  I label each section of the folder so my kids can organize their writing tools, ideas, "work in progress" items, and finished products that are ready for the author's chair.
You can grab a copy of my labels and instructions on assembling the folder {here} or by clicking the picture below. {Free}

Do you have a designated area for "authors" to present their work?  This is a definite motivator in my room!  There's something about that proud moment of feeling accomplished and sharing your completed work with others.  I just have a slipcover that transforms one of our chairs.  The mom of one of my former students made it for me!  Isn't it adorable?  I usually slip it on the afternoon before or the morning of- when I know that one of my students will be ready to present.  The kiddos are usually bursting at the seams with anticipation and it becomes a huge guessing game of who is ready to present their work!  I just love that buzz of excitement.  :)

The last thing I want to share with you is a book I found that was just released on July 24th!  It is about a little dog named Rocket who struggles to find something to write about.  With the help of a little bird, he learns to look more closely at the world around him and ends up finding great inspiration for his story writing.  Doesn't this book sound perfect for writer's workshop?  It's wonderful!! You can click on the picture below to read the description and/or order yourself a copy too if you think it is something you might like to incorporate in your classroom.

I'm off to get some sleep!  :)

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Pokey Pins Galore! {Product Swap!}

The lovely Jessica from Mrs. Stanford's Class had the wonderful idea of hosting a product swap!  Genius! :)  I was so excited when I found out that I had been paired up with Krissy from Mrs. Miner's Kindergarten Monkey Business.  I LOVE her things!  You may remember when Krissy guest blogged for my 15 Days of K.  She introduced me to a fantastic fine motor activity for the classroom.  I was simply amazed at how something as simple as a push pin could be used to create a meaningful learning experience for our kids!  I was absolutely in love with this activity after seeing her before and after pictures:

                        Before                                             After

How cool is that?  I don't know about you but I don't know a kid in town that wouldn't want to do that!

{Revisit Krissy's post from June HERE and make sure to grab her free "We <3 K" Pokey Pin sign!}

When I realized I'd been paired up with her, I immediately knew I wanted to try out her Pokey Pin Bundle Kit.  She's created a pack that includes Pokey Pin activities for alphabet letters, alphabet words, and popcorn sight words.

Guess what?  She sent me her Pokey Pin for numbers too! :)

I love how I can use these activities in my literacy AND math stations!

Did I mention that this does not require laminating? :) These activities require practically no setup!  All you have to do is print off a page, staple it to a piece of construction paper and provide a push pin.  The kids can use the carpet to lean against while making their holes in the paper.  Krissy made the suggestion of letting the kids push against a carpet square or a mouse pad.  You can usually round up some carpet remnants for free!  I plan on putting new or used mouse pads on my class wish list this year too so that I can create a few "tubs" with all the necessary materials inside of them.
 I already have the alphabet letters, our first few weeks of sight words, and numbers zero through five printed up and ready to go.  I'm sure that this new activity will be a huge hit with the kids this year.  I can't wait to take pictures of them in action!

Krissy has given us another freebie to use for the beginning of school!  You can program this document with the first initial of each of your students' names!  I love how Krissy has given us suggestions for differentiation.  She says that those with fine motor difficulty can just focus on staying in between the lines.  Children with adequate ability can work on poking the letter and the border through.  Those with excellent fine motor skills can work on pinning the outline of their letter as well as the border.  You can click the picture to grab your copy!

If you haven't checked out Krissy's blog you should definitely stop by.  
She's on Facebook too!
Don't forget to grab your own Pokey Pin sets by clicking on the links or images above!
Mrs. Miner's Kindergarten Monkey Business

Anyone else a fan of Pokey Pinning?  
I'd love to know how it works for you in your classroom!