Thursday, July 21, 2011

What I Love Wednesday---on a Thursday

So this week has been a CRAZY busy week for me, so I apologize that I have been a bit of an MIA blogger. In an attempt to make up for my pathetic abscence, I have decided to do my "What I Love Wednesday"....on a Thursday. Which reminds me of one of my favorite movies, "Laws of Attraction" with Pierce Brosnan and Julianne Moore. Love love love that movie. C'mon....you can admit it, too! There's this part in the movie where the two main characters are trying to rent a car...and the shop owner (in Ireland) goes on and on about the hours of his shop and when he can/cannot rent a car to them.... it's classic! If you haven't seen it, check it out! Okay, on to my five things that I'm loving especially this week!!

What I Love Wednesday (this time, on a Thursday)
1. Air Conditioning--we're in the midst of the hottest forecasted week of the entire summer and I'm just dying. It's too H.O.T. I'm sorry but my lil ol' self is not meant to be in 100 degree weather. So, I'm very very thankful for air conditioning--at work (camp inside), in my car, and at home. God bless whoever it was that invented good ol' AC.
2.Disney movies. They're wonderful!! :) They always make me smile. Actually, ANYTHING Disney makes me smile. DisneyWorld, Disney ads, Disney songs, Disney tweets, .....anything. I think that if you don't appreciate Disney, there's not much of a kid in ya. I'm a sucker for it. I think I could go ever single year.
Go to full-size image3. "Family Stone". Possibly my favorite movie ever. Seriously, it's awesome. It takes you through so many emotions and family memories. I love how much invested you feel in the famly and their relationships. It makes you very thankful for your own family!
4. Sushi. My favorite food. I love it!! Need I say more?!
5. The teachers that I work with. I attended a Mimio (smartboard program) training on Monday and Tuesday afternoon with a bunch of the teachers that I teach with. It was so great to catch up and see everyone. I'm so thankful for them, their guidance, friendship and the fun we have together! Really looking forward to seeing all of them back in a few weeks!!


Speaking of going back to school, I've been reading lots of teacher bloggers who have all started working in their classrooms, getting ready for the fall. S.O.   J.E.A.L.O.U.S. My room's not ready yet and I really want to get in there. The maintenance crew has to work on the floor, and unfortunately, because of all of the construction, I have a feeling that my room is going to be done last. The previous (WONDERFUL) kindergarten teacher left me everything which is so great but its going to take a lot of work to get it sorted and organized, especially since we moved into a new classroom. Thank goodness for my right hand lady--my teacher's aide. She's FAB. Truly a kindred spirit. We usually have workshops and meetings the week prior to school starting, and have the afternoons free to work in our classrooms. I'm really hoping to have my room almost all the way ready by then so that I can work on lesson plans that week. We'll see how it all goes.
By the way, I'm looking for a little advice from all you kindergarten teachers out there. Do you do your unit planning over the summer, as you go, when? I'm working on getting my year sorted out and I'm looking for any and all advice? Thanks!!!!

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Weekend Livin'

Hope everyone's had a restful weekend! I know I've been sleeping like crazy.... so tired lately! My wonderful husband took me to see the last Harry Potter movie yesterday. It was wonderful!!! :) Can't believe that its the last one. I'm so glad that they showed the ending part when Harry, Hermoine, and Ron are all grown up and sending their children off to Hogwarts! I was going to be so sad if that part wasn't included!

Oh, yall have to check out a new blog that I found! Miss Megan over at Kindergarten Teacher Tales has the cutest blog around!! I love that she shops sales!! A girl after my own heart! Anyway, she's having an awesome giveaway! Check it out at her blog!!

Thursday, July 14, 2011

I WON!!

So, if anyone knows me personally, yall know that I NEVER win at drawings, freebies, etc. But today, my luck changed!!! I am sooooooooooo excited!!! Learning with Mrs. Parker hosted a freebie drawing for Heidi Songs: Sound Fun Phonics Music CD and Flashcards. I have been debating about purchasing these for my classroom because they look so fabulous but now I won them!! Go here  to see that I won!!! :) Anyways, thanks soooo much to Mrs. Parker for hosting this giveaway, for having a wonderful blog, and for all of her help to us teacher-bloggers!! Don't forget to check out her helpful and inspiring blog!!!

Anywhoo.... today, I went in to school for the first time since summer has started. I needed to copy a few papers to put together for a few things, and chatted briefly with my principal. It looks so different. The maintenance guys are hard at work waxing the floors and doing some hard-core cleaning. Sadly, my room won't be ready for me to come in for at least two weeks. I'm itching to get back in. I desperately needed some rest and relaxation, but now, I'm ready to start slowly getting back into the groove of things (besides, I'm ready to move my PILES of school stuff out of our apartment). I'm ready to get ready for my little ones. Terrified, but excited. Of course, I think a large part of my anxiety is due to the fact that I have seen so many incredible kindergarten teachers (both in person and online) and I want to live up to the example that they have set for me. Anyone else ever feel that way? I know that I will probably be okay but again, I'm entering into new territory here.
Here are my parents, my brother and my husband and I on our wedding day!
On a personal note, today is my parents' anniversary!! Happy Anniversary, Mom and Dad!!! Love yall!

Hope everyone's having a great week!! So sorry that I've been a little M.I.A. this week....promise it'll go better next week!! Oh---is anyone going to see Harry Potter this weekend? I think that my hubby is going to take me. I can't wait!!! I finished the last book (again) two weeks ago!

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Kohls Cares

I'm sure most yall who are elementary teachers out there are aware of the Kohls Cares Program. I went yesterday and picked up my Clifford animal and my Tbone animal, and got two of the books!! SO excited to use these guys in my classroom this year!! :) If you don't know about this great program, check it out here: Kohls Cares. Last year, it was Dr. Seuss, which fit into my theme last year perfectly!!
Speaking of classroom themes, I've settled on my theme for this year. I really debated doing my Dr. Seuss again....I had so much fun with it last year but I felt the need to do something a little different. I'm still using a lot of my Dr. Seuss materials (lets be honest, it's not cheap putting together a classroom). This year, my theme is....... picture book favorites! For each area of my classroom, I'll have a different book character featured who will 'guide' my kindergartners at that area. Cool, huh? So I bet you're just dying to know which books I picked for which area.... well, here they are!

Outside display: Chick Chicka Boom Boom, Look Who's in Our Room
Computer Area: Click Clack Moo, Cows that Type
Dramatic Play: Where the Wild Things Are
Meeting Spot: Harold and the Purple Crayon
Birthday Board: If You Give A Pig A Party
Science: Diary of a Worm
Social Studies: Clifford
Math: Chicka Chicka 1, 2, 3
Writing Center: Fancy Nancy
Art: My Crayons Talk
Listening Center: Horton Hears a Who
Library Area: Dr. Seuss books

Let me know if yall have any other ideas for other areas of my kindergarten room! I'm really excited about this idea and think it's going to be a great way to build literacy in my classroom and to make books exciting and come alive! Now, I just have to figure out how to extend it to things like the kids' cubbies, etc.
Hope yall are having a great week so far!

Sunday, July 10, 2011

Blog Button

my handsome husband!!
Many thanks out to there to multiple bloggers who posted how-to directions on putting together a blog button and code!! I couldn't have made my NEW BLOG BUTTON!!! without yall!! Can you tell I'm excited about having a button?! Yup... I am!! I feel like I'm beginning to be a real actual blogger. :) Seriously, I've really enjoyed getting involved in blogging, especially in the whole teachers and blogging world. As a new teacher, I feel like I have all these wonderful go to gals that I can figure out answers and ideas from. My stress level about moving to kindergarten in my second full year of teacher would be much higher if I hadn't seen yalls blogs and information. Thank you to all the fabulous bloggers who are teachers out there. I don't know if yall realize the extent to which you are teaching but thank you!! :)

Hubby and I had a great weekend.  He convinced me to go bike riding with him....first time I'd been on a bike in a LOOOOOOONNNNNNNGGGG time, and it was a B-L-A-S-T! We drove about 45 minutes to Reading, PA and went on a trail. We took a picnic and ended up biking about ten miles. We were both a little sore when we were done but it was such a great Saturday afternoon thing to do! It was so refreshing to be outside and active!! Today, we spent most of the day in our newly rented garage....me, reading, hubby, putting on a 3 inch lift on his Toyota Tacoma truck! I've been reading Debbie Diller's wonderful book "Making the Most of Small Groups". It's been such a wonderful too. By reading it, I've realized that I'm going to have to do some serious pre-planning to make my language arts planning and instruction work seamlessly. I can't wait to integrate some small groups into my literacy plans in my kindergarten room. Anyone else read this book and implemented Debbie's thoughts?
Us, taking a break to put our feet in the river!
This week, I'm working camp again...this time, it's a banking camp with older kids. Should be fun--I only have 8 kids and we've got a great field trip planned on Tuesday! I'm hoping to put together my small group planning notebook and brainstorm how I want to organize my small group station... definitely looking at everyone's blogs to get some ideas and help with that!!  Hope yall had a great weekend!!

Go Fourth! With Mrs. Owens Is Having a Giveaway!!!

Go Fourth! With Mrs. Owens: As Promised-100 Follower Giveaway!: "When I started my linky party yesterday, I said I was looking for 100 followers by the end of the month! I never imagined I would have t..."

Mrs. Owens is a fabulous fourth grade teacher! Even though I don't teacher 4th, I still find so much of what she has to share helpful and inspiring!! Check her out!!!

Friday, July 8, 2011

Classroom Book Wishlist

My Garden by Kevin Henkes: Book Cover
I'll probably keep this post pretty short because it is Friday afternoon. I've been a busy bee today! I went to Michaels Craft Store...OH MY GOSH. Got some fabulous deals and things for my classroom. The manager was so helpful and gave me double on my coupons (when he found out that I'm a kindergarten teacher because his little one just finished kindergarten). How sweet was that?! Anyway, I found these goodies.... kids lap work spaces but I'm envisioning them as portable work stations for centers. I got one in every color! They were only 4.99 each!!! What a bargain!
the picture's not great (they're in my trunk) but there's a purple, green, blue, and pink one!
The whole point of me going to Michaels was because of my coupon to get this adorable Cat in the Hat painting framed that my Grandma gave me last year when I started teaching first grade. I did a Dr. Seuss theme in my room, and she wanted to share with me this great art project. Unfortunately, I never got around to it but I just love the painting so much that I wanted to frame it and keep it. So cute, right? Again, the picture's not great (Shelby kept bumping into me while i was taking the picture) but you can still tell how cute it is. Who knows? Someday this could look cute in our someday kids' rooms.
I made these cute birthday buttons from streamers and badges that I found in the dollar clearance section at Michaels. I know that birthdays are a really big deal in kindergarten and I wanted to have something that is reusable for the kids to wear (in addition to birthday crowns/hats that they can take home). I think most 5 year olds would be thrilled to wear these.... I know I would. :) I also made a star button to wear....the streamers aren't as long. It's a little shorter and larger. It's really fun looking. I don't know if all of them will want to wear it when they are the star of the day but I thought I'd give it a go. I used the star clip art from my computer and some fun fonts on powerpoint to print out the star design. Whaddya think?
My blogging friend, 1st Grade With Miss Snowden, had the amazing idea to imitate the Lakeshore Story Wands. I downloaded her file, printed, and decided to hot glue them together with onto pencils to make my story wands. Thanks!! You can check out her blog and story wands at Miss Snowden's Story Wands

Pete the Cat: I Love My White Shoes [Book]
It's even got a website and it's own songs that accompany it!
So I've been trying to start a list of books that I'd love to have for my classroom.... and ever time I try to make a file on my computer, I get distracted, so I thought I'd put them up here. These are a few that I'm eyeing for this fall in my classroom!
Front Cover

LMNO Peas
Front Cover

My Crayons Talk, Patricia Hubbard, Paperback

The Crayon Box That Talked by Shane Derolf: Book Cover

Jake Starts School by Michael Wright: Book Cover

oh, and a fellow kindergarten teacher is having a great give away...Check out her blog for how to score your own freebie! Check out Peace Love Learning for more info!!! :)

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Projects

Two posts in one day....yall are lucky!!! :)
So, many of you may know that I'm moving to kindergarten this fall (YAY!!!) so that means moving rooms AGAIN. This will be the third year that I've been a teacher (SORTA) and it will be my third room and third grade. Detecting a pattern here? Please pray that this pattern will end after this year. Fingers crossed for TWO years in kindergarten in the same room.... pretty please. Anywhoooo.... my new desk (ok, it's old but new to me) doesn't have drawers on one side of it. Like all teachers, I need places to put things. So, I invested in one of those cheap plastic rolley 3 drawer units that Target/Walmart, etc sell. I got a black one for 12 bucks (thanks hubby) a couple of weeks ago and it has been sitting out against my counter in my living room. I had been at a loss for what to do to make it cute and without going over the top.

Epiphany---today at Target, I saw these amazing vinyl sticker thingys. Yup. And there were several options to choose from. Now, don't judge but I stood there debating which one to buy for about, oh, 15 minutes. I swear the other customers thought I was loco. But, I made my decision, and ..... voila!!!

How super cute did it turn out? :) 

I was rather proud of myself, to be honest. On the top, it says "Mrs.Booth", the first drawer has the letters A through F, the middle drawer has all the vowels, and the bottom drawer has the word "FUN" cleverly disguised in a bunch of random letters. This was the set --> . It was only 9.99 and I still have letters leftover. What to put them on next. I only wish that they had lowercase letters, too. But I did see the cutest Dr. Seuss set and TWO Eric Carle sets---Brown Bear and the Hungry Caterpillar. I almost got those but wasn't sure how the larger vinyl would look on the drawers. 

My other kindergarten project has been putting together my plan book. After talking with other kindergarten teachers, I've discovered that regular store bought plan books just don't cut it. Since I had major issues trying to make the one that I used last year work and feel comfortable for me, I decided to create my own (with a little help and inspiration from my blogging world). I'm about halfway done with it.... I've redone a few parts as I've been making it, mainly because I've been trying different things. I haven't taken pictures yet....once its more of a finished project I'll post pictures. Promise. Obviously, I'm also working on putting together plans, ideas, etc. and much of that sort of thing. I've found so much online and in different books that I might've overwhelmed myself this first year but that's okay. Thanks to my husband who bought us a new printer (hip hip hooray), I've been able to print like crazy.
I can't wait to get into my room to start setting up. I've drawn up my classroom layout, and I've been working on how I'm going to arrange centers and information and bulletin boards, etc. Next week, the plan is to pop by school and see if / when I can start working in my room. Fingers crossed!!
Oh, and any other Harry Potter fans out there who can't wait for the movie?! Every time the preview comes on the t.v. I get so excited!!! I can't wait!!! Poor E.... he just rolls his eyes every time the preview comes on but he did say that we are going to go see it!!

Top 10 Things to Know About Me

Go 4th With Mrs. Ownes is having a linky party so I thought I'd hop in! :) Check out her blog if you have time--its great!



Wednesday, July 6, 2011

"What I Love" Wednesdays

So on a few fellow bloggers' websites, I found that many of them are doing these catchy fun things on specific days of the week....so .... TA DA.... What I Love Wednesdays. Today, I'm going to share with yall a few of my favorite items to stay organized. I'm well known for my organizational skills. In fact, I'm pretty sure that God might have accidentally given me too much of that particular gift but such is life. Just a word of warning: you can get carried away being too organized. I know that I'm guilty of this (yes, on more than one occasion, Mom). But, it's definitely a positive thing to be organized in the long run. For example, towards the end of the school year (once I found out I was moving to kindergarten), I carelessly let my filing go in my own school files. Now, I'm paying the price for it as I have 2 rather large boxes to file through. Did I mention that I'm tackling that today. Yup. I got a full pot of coffee by my side and I'm ready to roll...but thought that I'd share some of my favorite organizational products with yall today. (disclaimer: I have not been paid or asked to share my opinions of any of these...they are just my humble opinions and nothing more). Wish me luck!! Oh, and yes, that is my pile. YIKES!!

1. Post Its. Need I say more?! Seriously though, these babies are awesome for, well, just about everything. From my personal to my professional life, I have found many many uses for these.... grocery lists, to do lists, quotes, reminders, notes to my husband, notes to my aide, notes to my students, reminders on student desks.....I personally prefer to have the vibrant post its, but sometimes, the pastels are whats on sale, so... :)

2. Pilot Precise V5 pens. They're WONDERFUL. I might be just a tad bit of a pen snob, but I love love love these pens. I generally buy a big box of the blue and black ink at the beginning of the year, and then periodically buy the colored pens. For all my Tri Sigma sisters out there, they do make a really pretty purple color, too, but that one is sometimes hard to find. Worth the money. 


3. Avery Notetabs.A new Avery product...have been out for about a year or two. They're great for permanently marking a page in a book, such as a planning book or teacher's resource book. I like to use these in my plan book and resources to help me remember where I found a resource that I might need to go back to frequently. These summer, I've used these as dividers in my plan book (more on that in a later post).

4. Sharpies. A teacher's best friend. I know that last year I went through about 10 of these.... and this year, it'll probably go up even  more.I'm personally a fan of the basic black, but I do like to have various colors on hand. Biggest complaint....they're NEVER on sale.Can I get an Amen on Sharpies?!

5. File folders. Now, some teachers are fans of binders, others of folders, others of piles, but me, I'm a fan of file folders. Love that I can label them (in color coded labels, of course), and I don't have to worry about hole punching or anything else. My personal preference is purple folders but they don't always make an appearance. Some people absolutely HATE file folders, but I love 'em. I even used them during graduate school instead of binders. When you're carrying a lot of files around with you, they're much lighter than if you're carrying big ol' binders. But that's just my personal preference. I'm not a fan of hanging file folders. I dislike the metal hooks on the end and they're just not as practical (in my mind) but to each his own. A great thing about file folders is that places like Target and Staples will often have really cute girlie ones available---just in case you have to have pretty ones. :) Vera Bradley also has these: Cute File Folders. They're a little bit more money than the ones at Target but oh so fun!

So now I'm curious....what go-to products or advice do yall have about staying organized?

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

July Deadline

I can't believe it's already July. I'm officially at my .... deadline, for lack of a better word, about when I can start planning for next school year. I told myself that I wasn't going to touch school work until after the 4th of July...... Hmmm...if I was grading myself, there'd be a big ol' C next to my name. But come on, to be fair, there are a TON of school blogs out there that are just TOO fun to read. I feel as though I have this whole community out there of valuable resources and teachers to bug, ask questions, and learn from. As a (almost) second year teacher, I can't imagine having made it through without blogs, the Internet, and Google. Seriously. Just to showcase my point, I've linked up to a few amazing bloggers who have already helped me plan and prepare for kindergarten this fall.
Step Into 2nd Grade with Mrs. Lemons She has this incredible phonogram cards that you can download, print, and laminate. Trust me when I tell you that they are too cute!!! My favorite is G....it's a giraffe and he's a cutie!! She saved me so much time, effort, and energy!!! Although, when I printed them out, I added a hint of color buy coloring in the dots and the solid line around the border. But, completely perfect for kindergarten! Plus, when they wear out ....I can simply print, color, and laminate another one. I won't have to buy a new set! Thank you, thank you, thank you, Mrs. Lemons!!
Okay, onto another fabulous blog.... Chalk Talk: A Kindergarten Blog Seriously, she is my go-to gal for any and all kindergarten questions. She is such an awesome teacher, and I love all of the pictures that she posts. One thing that I love about this fabulous lady is the number of hands on and active learning activities she does with her kiddos!
Miss Kindergarten how I love you!!! Miss Kindergarten hosts these fabulous linky parties...of which I have yet to participate but I faithfully view. Lots of followers share all these wonderful ideas.... obviously, my wonderful ideas are not yet tried, so I'm a little hesitant to share but still, I love seeing how she pulls together the blogging world of teachers to discuss and share ideas, professional development, and their collective love of teaching. Did I mention that she always shares her stuff? True! Sometimes its on her blog, and other times it's on TeachersPayTeachers.com but still...amazing! Just today she put up this great chart on volume control, and I've decided to incorporate it into my room. Definitely a vital skill in a kindergarten classroom.
I would be remiss if I didn't mention this fabulous blog....Teaching Blog Addict. This site may be primarily responsible for my growing addiction to teaching blogs. Thanks ladies!! :) They have websites sorted by grade level (which makes my organization loving heart flutter) and multiple blog postings a day! And if that wasn't cool enough, they have a shop! Yup, a shop! Check it out: Teaching Blog Addict SHOP. Right now, I'm loving the "I teach, then I blog about it" stuff in the bar design with hot pink (HINT HINT).... but I keep checking back for her promised new designs....especially "I eat, I teach, I blog". Seriously cool.  These are my top 2 wish items... :)


I can just picture using this mug at school.... and the flip is on my list of wants for my classroom. I'm really hoping to incorporate a lot more multimedia efforts into my classroom this year. I envision my students recording themselves "reading" together ....putting it up on the computer, and watching it back on the smartboard. What an AWESOME way for the kids to reflect and get even more excited about reading. Plus, what parent wouldn't want a way to have eyes in the classroom periodically?! Too cool. I have a birthday coming up... (okay, not until October) but still.... I may have to break down and purchase earlier than the end of October because I am just so excited about my ideas of how to incorporate into the classroom.
Shelby in her Tiger collar! Lookin' good!
the 3 men in my life looking at boats....
Alright, I'm sure I'll link yall up to more teaching blogs down the road... moving on to other topics. E and I went to visit family this weekend back South. It took us 15 hours....yup, 15 hours to make a 10 hours drive on Friday afternoon. I-95 was a NIGHTMARE. Couldn't believe how incredibly slow it moved. The worst part was DC to Richmond. Seriously, the cops (bless their hearts for having to work a holiday weekend) sometimes had 3 cars pulled at a time. There were several points where we were literally stopped on the interstate. Then my sweet husband wanted to get me a Starbucks coffee. Now, you know that when you aren't looking for one, you can see one practically every block. No such luck. That was a nice little side trip around Mt. Vernon area that resulted in no coffee. :( We FINALLY found a Starbucks about two hours later. But we had a great visit. We had breakfast in Anderson, SC with E's parents. Yummy! We left breakfast with a loaf of homemade pumpkin bread. E's momma makes the BEST pumpkin bread E.V.E.R. No joke. I have her recipe but I'm still not as proficient at it as she it. My brother was also in town, so we had a wonderful visit with my family. The guys went out and played golf at the Clemson Walker course, and did a bit of boat shopping.Did I mention that my parents live near Clemson University (E's alma mater?)? Yup. They do. This resulted in not one, but TWO visits to a Clemson apparel and gifts store. Yup. Got the cutest t shirt, headband, dog collar (for our sweet Shelby), E got a polo shirt, hat, and croakies, and we had to give my Mom, Dad, and brother some Clemson apparel. Very very important!!! :) We went to church with them at their new church, which is actually in Clemson; plus, we drove up to Gvegas (a.k.a. Greenville, SC) on Sunday night to head to the Greenville Drive game complete with fireworks. Despite the downpour of rain before the game, the weather was wonderful and we had a blast! It was great to be with family over the 4th of July weekend, and it was even more fun to see M and D's new hometown. Seeing the new house (inside of it) will have to wait until after they move in at the end of July. I'm going to down to help them move in and unpack. :)
This week, I'm going to be tackling my summer letter and activities to my new kindergartners and work on getting ready for fall. Hopefully I'll be able to get a lot done this week. We're buying a new printer today so I'm excited to get to use that to help get things ready. Next week, I'm working half days at camp, and am hoping to get in my classroom some in the afternoons. We'll see! Hope yall had a blessed 4th of July! Aren't we so fortunate and blessed to live in this country?! God bless the U.S.A.!
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