Saturday, September 20, 2014

Organizing Crayons and Markers AND No More Clogging Glue Bottles!

Hello Friends,

I am linking up with another Bright Ideas linky! Yay!

I posted this idea awhile ago, but it continues to be one of my favorite organizational tricks.....

First I removed the inner trays from a cupcake carrier. (I purchased my cupcake carrier at Hobby Lobby, but I have seen them at Walmart and Target.) I attached a piece of heavy duty Velcro to the bottom of each section and then attached cute cupcake wrappers to the Velcro. I attached clear tacky dots to the bottom of a plastic cup and affixed it to the inside of the cupcake wrapper. I then sorted crayons into the plastic cups and VOILA!.... no more "I can't find a red!" "I don't know where the yellow is!" I absolutely love this crayon tray! This year the cupcake wrappers match the tables, so that also makes it super easy to return the crayon holder to its proper table. The neat thing about this is that the cupcake carrier can be used from year to year. The only changes are the cupcake wrappers and plastic cups.

I store Unifix cubes in the carrier itself which makes a cute and HANDY way for my kiddos to take their cubes to the tables.

I also organized our classroom markers in a similar way.... I used a regular sized cupcake tray and added cupcake wrappers and plastic cups. Through trial and error, I found that you MUST use HEAVY DUTY Velcro as the fixative to the bottom of the pan. Nothing else will work. Hot glue does not work. Gorilla glue does not work. Duck tape works for awhile.......

I love how easily my students can find their markers and this helps WONDERFULLY with keeping lids on markers and not rolling around on the floor!
One more Bright Idea that I wrote about a few months ago STILL is working wonderfully..... Using condiment bottles for glue. Each condiment bottle holds about 2 bottles of a regular sized glue botte. It works so well; honestly! No clogging glue; kids can work independently. LOVE!

For more Bright Ideas, please browse through the links below and find a topic that interests you!

Until next time!


Friday, September 19, 2014

Find your Pirate Treasure!

Ahoy, me Hearties!

Today is 'International Talk Like a Pirate Day'! To celebrate, I have joined with some friends to give you the chance to find lots of pirate booty!

Each blog will have some different treasure for you to find!

I want to share with you a free sample from my MAPS and GLOBES For Little Kids resource. Yer all know how much pirates love maps, right mateys? 
You can find it by clicking on the image below, and download it from Google Drive:

If you like this sample, click on the image below to find the entire packet....

You can also click on the image below to find my whole TpT store on sale! Blimey, that is good news!

And here is the direct link to my Pirate Fun Drawing and Writing Pack!

Don't forget to pillage some other bloggers buccaneer's posts for more great teaching treasures!

Thanks for stopping by! 

Monday, September 15, 2014

Revised Fire Safety Literacy, Posters, and Firefighter Craftivity

Hello Friends,

This is going to be a quick post...... It is 8:00 p.m. and I am super exhausted! I just purchased "Whole Brain Teaching" and have been reading this in every free minute and THEN trying it out in my classroom, so my energy reserve is drained! It is ONLY Monday..... sigh..........

I thought I would share that I revised my Fire Safety pack.  It has a cute firefighter craftivity and colorful posters for teaching fire safety. If you purchased it, make sure that you re-download! Here are a few examples of the posters in the pack.

 Here is the bulletin board that I created from the firefighter craftivity....

Click the preview image below to find the packet....

We have just begun our Apple unit. Last week we learned about the seasons of an apple tree and the kids created a simple book about them. Today, the kids painted their apple seasons mural. You know... I do this mural painting every year and it is so cool that every year, the murals turn out so differently. When they are dry and mounted, I will post them here! :)

I wrote a post today on Blog Hoppin on color mixing. I love to begin the year with colors and this is such a fun way to do it. Here is a picture of some of the monster faces that my kiddos painted.... Hop on over to Blog Hoppin to read more! There's a freebie over there!

Until next time!


Sunday, September 7, 2014


Hello Friends,

It is Sunday morning and as I sit here on my patio drinking my Chai, I am reflecting upon the last 12 days of school.  I ALWAYS  forget that August/September kinders are TOTALLY different from May kinders. Every morning, I have to tell myself that these are little guys just out of preschool and coming off summers with their families. Who wouldn't be upset to go from playing at the lake and the playground to sitting in a classroom doing things that make no sense to them? I have been thinking about what it must be like to be a child in my classroom and thought I would put myself in their shoes for awhile.......

  But, I don't want to use a crayon to color that picture! I want to use a marker.

Criss cross applesauce? But I want to lay on my back and stretch my legs in front of me.

I have to SHARE the crayons? Really? But I helped my Mom buy them this summer. I thought they were mine. 

Writer's Workshop?

 Daily 5?

Teacher, can you wipe me? What? I'm a big kid? I have to do it myself? But, my Mom always helps me..

Wow..... I never knew scissors could cut hair, too..... Let me try them on my friend's hair.... What? Scissors are only to be used on paper? 

I am supposed to use my WORDS to settle my problems? But, she HIT me, Teacher, and I hit her back........ Ohhh....... I didn't know hands are to be used for helping; not hitting.........

 OOPS....... I ACCIDENTALLY knocked over the cup of water I was using for my watercolor painting.......

Line up order? But I want to stand next to my friend.........

But those look like TOYS in the Math boxes.............

Teacher, I have something REALLY important to say and I am RAISING MY HAND! Why are you not calling my name? Well..... I am going to say it anyway........... What? You won't always call on me even if I am raising my hand?

But..... I want to build a snowman with the playdough; not make letters....... oh...... playdough is a tool not a toy for this activity.......

What do you mean I have to ASK to use the bathroom? I have to go NOW!

So.... as we all begin this new journey towards another school year, let's all remember that these are CHILDREN that we are teaching who quickly become OUR KIDS...... Teaching is such an adventure and I can think of no better adventure to be on for these next ten months.....

 And by the way, thank you to Educasongs, Graphics From the Pond, and KC Fonts for the adorable graphics for these posters!


Saturday, August 30, 2014

8 Days Under Our Belt and We are Reading to Partner, Creating Shapes, and Learning How to Use our Math Boxes!

Hello Friends,

Well, we have 8 days under our belt and we are S-L-O-W-L-Y starting to settle into a routine. I have a pretty lively class this year, so I think it might take a little longer to get there, but we are on the right path!

This week, we practiced Read to Self and Read to Partner. My kinders actually did a wonderful job sitting EEKK and sharing a book. We still need to work on reading together quietly, but I know we'll get there!

In Math this week, we have been learning about basic shapes. We are using our observation skills to find shapes in our world and then creating a book that shows that shapes can be many things. The children are first practicing drawing shapes on whiteboards and then when they feel they have it down, they are transferring their knowledge to construction paper and creating a picture with their shapes. For only being in school 8 days, I think they are doing great! I actually found, too, that my active, little kinders were able to concentrate on this activity which created some peace and harmony during our math time......

I also introduced "Math By Myself" this week. I have enough boxes for each child in my class to have one box. It was Free Explore and it will be Free Explore again next week. I want them to have a chance to discover what is in each box before we use the manipulatives as tools. I let them find a special place in the classroom to explore their box. Most made the choice to sit on the carpet. I told them if they made the choice to open their boxes on the carpet, it was still Math by MYSELF, so the items in their boxes were not to "play" with the items in the boxes around them!

It was fun to walk around and see what each child was doing with their box. Some children were just playing. For example, one little guy was building a tower with the hexagons in the pattern blocks and another little girl was creating "families" with the dog counters. Others were sorting by shape, size, and colors while another little guy was creating addition and subtraction stories! 

I am thrilled that we have established some routine in these 8 days..... hopefully, the 3 day weekend won't set us TOO far behind!

If you are interested in my "Shapes Can Be Many Things" packet, you can find it by clicking the image below.

Until next time!


Saturday, August 23, 2014

I cannot always be a Pinterest Page

Hello Friends,

This image totally states how I feel right now......... We started Back to School on Wednesday. I felt totally prepared for the arrival of my new group of kinders. After all, I have been teaching kindergarten for 20 years; surely I was prepared for whatever came my way, right? And...... I WANTED to write a post about all the fun Back to School fun we had this week. I WANTED to share some amazing pictures of all the super FINISHED projects that my new kinders did this week. I WANTED to stitch together some cute pillows to add to my reading corner. I WANTED to cook a really, wonderful, delicious dinner tonight. I WANTED to work in my garden and look for the flowers that were there two weeks ago, but since starting Back to School projects, I haven't been able to find.... sigh......... Despite all my "WANTED TO", none of this happened.....

Instead, I am frantically trying to figure out how to get laundry done, my house cleaned, and the grocery shopping finished, so that I can spend the rest of the weekend preparing for our first full week of school.....

I am not sure if it is because I ALWAYS forget what August kinders are compared to May kinders or if it is just my group this year, but I feel like a new teacher all over again..... I came home and COLLAPSED on the couch every day this week. When I was a new teacher, this is exactly what I would do and my roommate at the time (who was a nurse) could not understand how I could be so exhausted working "only" 6 hours a day.......... sigh........

If these 3 days have shown me anything, they have shown me that I cannot always be the Super Woman/Teacher that I envision and despite my great attempts to be the "top of my game", I cannot prepare myself for unknown events that inevitably will happen. And instead of deflating me; I am INFLATED and refreshed with this thought..... because how do you prepare for a little one who does not like her new shoes and spends the entire day kicking them into the air? How do you prepare for the fact that four little guys were best buddies in preschool and came to school with the thought that kindergarten was going to be one big birthday party bash for them? How do you prepare for a little one who found the fish food and proceeded to ask "Are the fish hungry?" while at the same time opening the lid of the tank and pouring in the food in the 3 seconds it took me to get from one side of the room to the other?"  

AND........ Instead of the BEAUTIFUL weather we had all summer, we have been hit with HOT, HUMID, MISERABLE, RAINY summer weather that I am always ready to say good-bye to in September. We had to have INDOOR recess on the second day of school.......  Yes... indoor recess......... on the second day of school..... How do you prepare for that?

So I say to myself, "Self, so what if you cannot be a Pinterest page every day of your life? So what if your house looks like the windows caved in and the wind blew through? So what if you had tomato soup and grilled cheese sandwiches for the second night in a row?"

Life is not always sparkly and glittery. Sometimes we have to put up with the glue and mess before something beautiful is created. So, in these next few weeks of school, I may not be worthy of a Pinterest page, but I WILL be learning and loving my new class of students, striving to make time for my family, and not fretting the small stuff.

Until next time!


Wednesday, August 20, 2014

TEACHER WEEK - Why and a TPT Back to School Sale!

Hello Friends!
Thank you Amy Lemons for the adorable sale button!

I'm a little late to the party because school started today and that has been my focus for the last couple of days! But TPT is having a huge one day sale today - up to 28% discount! I definitely am taking some time to shop tonight - hope you do, too!

One more thing...... I am not participating in the Teacher Week Linky for these next couple of days because I am SUPER, UBER busy with the first few days of school. BUT, click the image below to take you the linky to get some great Back To School ideas! Yay!

Until next time!