July 30, 2012

Made It Monday - Lining up!

So sorry I have been MIA :( I am still in Ohio having a great time with family though! I felt sick about missing last week's Made it Monday and I was determined to not miss it again this week! Since I am far from home, I couldn't make any physical items for my classroom..BOO, but I was able to make some digital products. If you make it all the way to the bottom of the post, you can grab your freebie too!

Do you spend hours watching Teacher Tipster videos online, or is it just me? I love this guy! Anyway, as I was thinking about DAY 1, I knew I needed an effective way to line up my kids. I use several ideas already, but I wanted to add a few more to my teacher toolbox! I plan to print these, add a binder ring and hang them by my door so I don't have to try to remember the words to all the different songs!

Here are the ones I made for my classroom. I made these on my moms ancient less than ideal computer, and there was no option to save the document as a PDF. I saved them as JPEG's to Google Docs, I hope that it works!!! You should be able to click on any of the pictures to grab your copy. Then, head on over to Tara's to see what everyone else is making this week!

July 21, 2012

Kickin' it in Ohio

Hello friends! For the next few weeks my family and I will be in Ohio visiting all the grandparents, aunts, uncles and old friends! I love this time and I am so blessed to have a job that allows me the flexibility to stay connected even though we live so far away normally. However, this is putting a serious kink in my blog stalking reading, creating, and posting :( We are about to hop in the car and head to our next stop... before we go I wanted to show you what I have been working on.

First, I posted this Owl themed classroom decor pack to my TpT store. If you are interested in it, I have it on sale for $5. This is my first time to create anything like this, so if you have suggestions for improvements, or would like me to add something, please let me know!! All the labels, nameplates, and binder inserts are editable :)

The other thing I am working on right now is a traveling scientist unit!! I adore this activity and my third graders LOVED it. I can't wait to use it with my kinders. The idea is you pick one student a week to be the "traveling scientist" and they conduct an experiment of their choosing at home with their family. All experiments can be completed with materials you find commonly in your home. They record their experiment following the scientific process and then share with the class. Students all record in the same scientific notebook and are encouraged to decorate their page with photos or stickers, etc.. The kids absolutely love looking back through our book and they get such joy out of sharing pictures of themselves being a scientist at home! Here is a little sneak peak of what the packet will look like, I hope to have it finished in the next day or so!!

Until we meet again, take care,

July 17, 2012

Owl Love

As you can tell, I am loving me some owl stuff! I have been creating a bunch, but have been slow to blog about it. Here are the first 2 things I got listed at TpT.
I always send home a postcard to say hello to my new friends before meet the teacher. I created these postcards in Power Point so that you would be able to edit your own message and even type in the addresses if you'd like. There are 3 different versions and I have included kindergarten through 5th grade of each version. 

Get it here

I also created this banner to hang on my door or in the hallway. Each owl is about 6 inches tall and 4 inches wide!! 

Get it here

Both items will be on sale for $1.50 until Thursday. Let me know what you think!

July 16, 2012

Monday Made It

Linking up with Tara again for this week's Monday Made it! I so look forawrd to these, but today I am feeling a little bummed. I made LOTS of stuff this week, but in my typical fashion, it is all about 7/8 finished. That is how I roll people... I almost finish lots of stuff, then 8 months later, it will be done! Stresses me out - why do I do it?? Hmmm, I may need to sit on a couch to figure out this one!  

photo of whisper phones

Any who, I did finish my whisper phones. The first time I went to Lowe's and asked a guy to cut the PVC pipe, he told me no! I went back a week later with a plan. It went like this. 
Me:"can you please cut this for me? I'm a teacher and I need it for my classroom!" 
Employee" I can make one cut. Why, how many did you need?"
Me: (big smile) "Um, about 25... you would be helping kindergartners learn to read. Please!"
Employee: "I can sell you some cheap cutters... "
Me: " Did I mention I am a teacher and I am really trying not to spend more money, I already spend so much for my classroom. Seriously, I am using these as whisper phones, it really helps the kids with reading... want to try one out?"
Employee" (laughing and shaking his head) "okay, just this once!"

Moral of the story. Be very nice, explain why and lay it on thick!!!

They were super easy to make and I think the whole project cost around $19 and that is with the $7 I spent on the colored duct tape. If you want to make them, you will need (1) 10 foot piece of 3/4 inch PVC pipe cut into 3 1/2 inch pieces and (2) 3/4 inch elbow pieces per phone.

I cleaned my pieces with nail polish remover (although you can buy actual cleaner at the store) and then put an elbow on each side. Wrapped a piece of colored duct tape around the middle and that's it! The whole project took me 15 minutes once I started! Click here to see the video I watched before making them.

Next up was my alphabet line. I LOVE all the ones I have seen while blog hopping and in TpT stores, but I plan to use Zoo Phonics next year and I really wanted the alphabet line to match. If you have never heard about Zoo Phonics, I highly recommend you visit their site now. I plan to post more about it later this week. Stay tuned!

I bought their font CD and I love it. The only problem is the fonts only came in black line. I really wanted color for this, so I found some graphics online. I am not sure which ones I'll use. I love the colored graphics, but I wonder if I should be consistent and use the actual Zoo Phonics picture even though it wouldn't be colored. Any thoughts?

                                 With random graphics                      With Zoo Phonic graphics

I also made some flash cards to use with my class while teaching the letter sounds. The front has the animal cue and the back has the description of the movement. I love the way they turned out. I printed one last night (just to be sure) I just folded down the middle, added some double sided tape in the middle and laminated. Perfect, thick and sturdy! 

Front                                Back

 Lastly, I created some number labels so that I could make number magnets. I number all my students and thought this would be an easy way to see where everyone is during Daily 5. I already use a clip chart for behavior so I didn't think I wanted another clip chart with more clothespins for my daily 5 board.  I am tossing around the idea of using my smart board for this, but then the kids can't use it as part of their rotation and that seems silly. If you like these number circles, you can get a free copy by clicking on the picture below. The numbers came from Print Candee. So fun!

Here is the unfinished board. I will post another picture of the final product when I decide what I am going to use it for! 

 As always, thanks for coming over here and checking out my stuff and sticking around through my super long posts!

July 14, 2012

QR Codes for Meet the Teacher

Classroom Freebies Manic Monday
**Edited to post for Manic Monday

I saw this amazing pin the other day that linked to a post on Pencils, Paper and Pixie Dust. The idea is you create a QR code with your email, phone number and teacher blog address so parents can get and SAVE that information right away! How many times have you sent home paper with this information only to have it either not used or lost? My plan is to have this sign hanging on my door for meet the teacher and for the first day of school. I will probably shrink it down and include it in our first weekly folder too.

 I used QRstuff.com to create the codes. I loved this site because it is super easy, free, and I could color the codes to match my poster! The picture I have above does not have my real info... figured I didn't need everyone having my school email! Did I mention it was easy? 4 steps!

Here is the barcode app I have on my phone, I am sure there are others.

Imagine all the possibilities!! I don't like to post anything as "public" on You Tube with my kids on it, I always had to email a link for the unlisted videos. The problem is I have lots of parents that do not have internet access at home or they never checked their emails. This way, I can make a QR, print, and send it home with each child.. almost all my parents have cell phones. Parents would be taken directly to the class video. Or, take pictures of the class and send home direct links to them via this teeny tiny little code! What other ways can we use these in the classroom? 

Click the link below to go grab a free copy to use in your room. Simply print your codes and paste them on. Or get your codes lined up on a blank document and print onto the poster like you would a certificate! If I knew how to make editable power points, I would have done that option for you! (anyone out there want to teach me how??)


July 11, 2012

Monday Made it... a little late!

Sorry friends, I have been MIA! I had 2 baby showers, one of which I was hosting over the weekend and then we had to put my sweet dog to sleep on Monday so I was not in a happy place :( She was my first child and I miss her so much. I know she is in doggy heaven now though, and that she is not in any more pain! To take our minds off of our loss, we went to the beach yesterday...

Okay, onto happier things. Since I was a busy, busy lady, I didn't get anything done for school. This is causing me some major axiety as I feel the summer is slipping away and I am NOT ready!
For my Monday Made It, all I can offer are some non-school related items! I made 2 diaper cakes to match the shower themes. Check 'em out.
bee themed shower - love the stuffed bee from Kohl's

Moose themed shower. I added scrapbook paper to the G but forgot to snap a new picture.

little party favors. Hershey Nuggets covered in scrapbook paper with a topper.. my pictures don't do them justice, they were so cute. IMHO

banner for above the cake. Again, I really need to stop using my cell phone to snap pictures :(

 a close up of the banner

food tents to match the theme

I loved the labels I used with ribbon to add to the drinks

I had lots of fun making stuff for the shower. When the other person helping me through the shower sent me the invitations, I couldn't believe it.. they had the Scrappin' doodles moose on theme! Score - I knew I could make perfectly coordinated decorations!  So, not school related, but fun nonetheless! 

July 7, 2012

And the winner is...

Andrea P! Congratulations. I am emailing you right now!!!

Thank you all for making my first ever giveaway so amazing! I had over 1000 entries and made 75 more bloggy friends! I plan to post a little something on Monday to spread the love. I wish I could do it sooner, but I have a baby shower today and I am hosting a different baby shower tomorrow~  Until then, have a great weekend!

July 5, 2012


Do  you use pieces of Whole Brain Teaching? I used class/yes and the 5 rules last year. I also tried to talk less, use hand motions more and partner the kids up to teach each other the material. I want to go "all in" this coming year with my kindergartners. I know the importance of giving short chunks of information and having the students use that information in some way. I am so guilty of getting the kids on the carpet and talking WAY to long. Then they get frustrated and I get frustrated and no one is learning all that information at one time. This year I vow to talk less and really stick to doing mini lessons.... I know it will be hard for me, but it is my number 1 goal.

I read a blog post the other day by ?? (I am so sorry, I can't remember and couldn't find it. If it was you, please let me know!) she mentioned her principal told the staff to" do 5 things well" I needed to see/hear/read/digest that! I am the queen of having too many irons in the fire. I get really excited about what I am learning and I want to do everything right now! Is that a teacher thing? Anyway, for accoutnability sake, here are my 5 things I am going to do really well (at least I am going to try to do them really well!)
1. Implement Whole Brain Teaching
2. Daily 5 - scared to death about this one but I am committing myself to the process.
3. Daily 5 for math - I did lots of this in third grade but I want to get even better at pulling small groups in kinder.
4. Use pieces of Singapore math during my guided math lessons. I think it is SO important to really focus on number sense and S-L-O-W down where needed.
5. Blogging - I am going to try hard to really document my first year as a kindergarten teacher and write about what is working/not working for me. I am also going to try to create things for my classroom and share them through this blog.

I created a whole brain poster to match my classroom colors. I decided to make 2 different versions. One with the kindergarten rules as heard in this famous video below, and one with the "regular" rules. I made them in rectangles and circles for your displaying pleasure :) If you find any mistakes, please let me know!

Click here to get your copy

So, what are your 5 things? I would love to hear about them!

July 4, 2012

Daily 5 : Chapter 4

Well, since I have NO prior knowledge in working with kindergartners, I am going to take this as an opportunity to plan what I will do with my class this fall. So the following answers are my "plan" not based on my actual experiences. 
1)  How far into the school year do you think kinders need to be to be able to begin the process of Read to Self?  What is realistic?  When do you plan to begin implementation? While reading the chapter I keep wondering if this is doable. I think since we will be working on read the pictures and retell the story, we can start early in the year. I am not sure I will be ready to start day 1. I think I need some time to teach classroom rules/expectations. Teach them where supplies are kept, etc... I also want to start doing calendar math the first day and I believe that will take up a large chunk of time. Realistically, I would like to start on Monday of week two. 

2) How will you make sure that each child views him/herself as a reader (whether they are reading words or not)? I will just keep telling them and referring to them as readers. Since I have a kindergarten aged daughter, I think this comes naturally to me! See, I have been practicing, "Oh, my goodness, you are such a great reader! I love the way you told me what was happening in the pictures!" I will also send home a note that first week explaining this to the parents and encourage them to encourage their children! Update: Click here to see an awesome parent note I found on Google Docs. Unfortunately, I couldn't find the original author or pin.

3) What are some ideas you have about "Launching Read to Self" in kindergarten?  How will you go about it and what are some ways to make sure it is "kinder friendly"?  I like the way the sisters explain it in the book. I will use their strategy. I like the part about placing them around the room and making sure to put them in a different spot each time. I am guilty of giving too much independence too quickly so it definitely won' t be natural to me to physically pick a place for them to sit, but that is my plan!

4) How will you/do you build the children's belief that this IS important?  What can we do to encourage the ones who do not value it and create disruptions for others? I think this is where we are lucky as kindergarten teachers. Most kids come to us ready to believe anything we tell them. They have not had enough experiences yet to tell them they are not readers, or reading is not important. If we make it important and fun and we make it seem urgent, I think they will believe in it too. I can also see making an anchor chart where we brainstorm "why people read" We can refer back to this whenever someone is not taking reading seriously. I know there will always be disruptive kids, but perhaps if these children are shown a little extra love/attention/support they will thrive on the structure and choice provided to them in the Daily 5. 

5) How valuable is Checking In and Reviewing with kindergarteners?  How often will you do it?  When will you do it? What are some different ways to "check in"?I think checking in is extremly important with all grades. Students learn very quickly how to "play" the game if they see there is no accountability. We need to show them that we care about what they are doing during this time everyday. I also think this is a perfect time to review expectations and have class meeting to nip things in the bud before they get out of control. This is a perfect time for those teachable moments. Therefor, I plan to check in every day (at least for the first few months). It will probably be at the carpet most days and be very short. Maybe we can come up with some fun ways to check in after we get our feet wet! I am thinking a song or chant like, "my name is Heather, and I chose read to self" clap, clap. You get the idea!

6)What are some problems that can occur during this time (either that you anticipate with your kinders OR that you have experienced)?  How can we be proactive about these issues?  I think the biggest problem will be staying on task (even for 3 minutes) one thing I can do is continue to model, model, model (again, not a strength) and refer back to our anchor lessons. I will stop as soon as a child is off task as to not build the wrong muscle memory. I think making a big deal like class cheers and maybe a song/dance when we meet our goals will help them feel excited and happy to be a part of our "team." When we are team, everyone will work together to see that we are all successful! 
**Sorry, I am feeling all "everything is going to be rosy in my classroom", a sure sign of summer break! Let me try that answer again.**
I still agree with what I posted above. However, perhaps there will be a child or two that does not get to pick which daily 5 they are working on or where they get to sit during this time. Perhaps I will have to choose for them until they have earned my trust back. By picking for them, or having them work at a location away from other students, I can be proactive in keeping the rest of the class on track. 

Thanks to Krissy for hosting this chapter. Click on her button to take you back over there and read more about chapter 4. 

Mrs. Miner's Kindergarten Monkey Business

Happy Fourth of July! Be safe and have fun!!

If you haven't read about my amazing 100 follower giveaway, take a look at what you could win!

July 2, 2012

100 Followers and an Amazing Giveaway!!

Stop the presses (I may be a bit dramatic) I am at 100 followers!! I can't believe it - I just started this blogventure (I love me some made up words) in early June! I am having so much fun and learning so much at the same time. I can't imagine ever having the creativity to create whole units like some of my favorite bloggy buddies do! I hope that after I get my kindergarten feet wet so to speak, I will be ready to make some stuff that can help other teachers the way their blogs are helping me! Okay, enough mushy talk. On to the fun! To celebrate my 100 followers, I am having an awesome giveaway. Check out what you can win.

Kelly from Teacher Idea Factory will give away 1 item of your choice from her awesome TpT store. I just adore her watermelon back to school unit. What will you choose?

Sour Apple Studioj

Crystal from Kreative in Kinder is going to give away her Zero the Hero pack. Be still my heart... I love teaching math and this ca-ute unit gets kids excited about making 10's!!

Kreative in Kinder

Krissy from Mrs. Miner's Kindergarten Monkey Buisness is giving away her Numbers 1 - 10 pokey pin kit. What an awesome way to help our friends build their fine motor strength!
Mrs. Miner's Kindergarten Monkey Business


The lovely ladies over at Primary Possibilities are going to donate two items from their TpT stores. First up, Stephanie is giving away her Super Hero behavior and classroom management pack. Love it! As if that wasn't awesome enough, Stephany is giving away her Summer Fun Awards pack! 

On top of all that awesomeness, I will donate a $10 gift card to TpT to help with your back to school shopping! Can you even stand it???  To enter, just use the rafflecopter below.  I will pick one very lucky winner on Saturday!! "May the odds be ever in your favor!"
  a Rafflecopter giveaway