We survived the First Week with Kindness, Sharing, and Oh My Gosh, It Is Hot!

Hello All!
The first full week of school is past and we survived! Hurray! I have to say that my kinders did such a wonderful job this week, but by this afternoon (Friday), they were beat and so was I! To top it off, we are in the middle of a heat wave here and despite the fact that we have air conditioning, little bodies still know that the weather is miserable and it is hard for them to focus as the days go on.... We are hoping for rain and cooler weather this weekend! Sitting inside the house on a rainy day sounds pretty comfy to me right now!

This week we did some Name activities. I always plan so much the first few weeks of school and then forget how slowly things go at the beginning! Most of our time is spent on routine and rules and procedure and that leaves little time for the "wonderful" things that are written in my plan book! (Smile). We did literacy and math as a whole group this week. We practiced "READ TO SELF" and began letter and sound identification. We started 2D shapes in Math. Here is what we did in between procedure and academics....... !

1.  We read "The Rainbow Fish" and used watercolors to paint a Rainbow Fish. The kiddos added sequins for scales. We talked about sharing and how that is what we do in kindergarten!

2.  We read "Chrysanthemum" and painted flowers and discussed kindness.

 3.  Although "Chicka Chicka Boom Boom" is a book about the alphabet, we used it as a book about names and the kiddos used foam letters to spell their name up the trunk of the tree.

4.  Debbie Clement wrote a really nice blog post about how kindergarten has changed and she found out that the original meaning of kindergarten actually involved a "garden!" She asked if any kindergartens today actually had gardens in which children can play and learn. Well...... although we do not use this garden as much as I would like, we DO have a kinderGARDEN! Here is a picture of it... and you can click HERE to read Debbie's blog post.

 5.  And last...... This a picture of our floor at the end of the day today.... really not too bad after all the cutting we did!

Have a wonderful LONG weekend! For those of you who start school this week, Happy Back to School! To read more posts about Back to School, hop on over to Doodle Bugs Teaching Five For Friday linky party!

Until next time!


Back to School and Five for Friday!

Hello Friends!

We started back to school with our kiddos Thursday and Friday this week. (This is a picture of my classroom before I had the tables completely finished.) It is the first time that our school has started with full days. Usually we start with 2 half days and then jump into full days the third day. We were a bit nervous with starting with full days since we haven't done them before, but at the end of the day today, we were pleasantly surprised with how well the two days went! I think it is because we were not rushed to get things completed and had plenty of time to get our little ones adjusted to the long day.

I am linking up with Doodle Bugs Teaching Five for Friday this week, so here we go!

1.  I gave my kiddos a "Welcome to the Crop" gift when they dropped in to meet me on Monday. If you are interested in this basket, it is free in my TPT store. Click the image to take you there!

2.  We did the gingerbread man runs through the school on Thursday... lots of fun, but I didn't take any pictures! My kiddos made a paper gingerbread man, did a gingerbread glyph, looked for gingerbread shapes, and decorated a gingerbread cookie! This little one went a wee bit crazy with her gingerbread decorations! :)

3.  On Day Two, we read "The Kissing Hand" and did some fun activities with this book, too.
Here is our kissing hand "How I Felt the First Day" project. Each child drew a face that showed how they felt on the first day and then we glued them onto this paper kissing hand.

 This is a close up of some of the first day feeling papers. Click the picture to download the Google doc.


4. We made Kissing Hand paper Chesters and handprints. I precut ALL the pieces for Chester and then we put them together in a "directed drawing style" as a class. We discussed why we glued Chester on black paper instead of blue - He's nocturnal, of course! To get the Kissing Hand printable, click the image below.


 And here is a picture of our Kissing Hand snack - whole wheat bread, salami, and cheese sandwiches cut into a hand shape.

5.  We also made these cute "I Am Special" mirrors from the fabulous Kim Jordano. (Click the picture to take you to her wonderful website!) I took my kiddo's pictures today and when they are printed, they will be glued in the center of the mirrors. Since I teach in a Catholic School, the bulletin board where I put these mirrors will say "Mirror, Mirror on the Wall, Jesus Loves You best of All!"

So that's it for now! I am off to a friend's house for a last "Sit by the Pool" evening!

Until next time!


School has started and another fun giveaway!

Hello Friends!

A few of my blogging buddies joined together to create this fun giveaway! Everything you need to know is written in the post below! Enjoy and have fun!

Welcome Everyone!!

         Are you ready to have some fun??
                                              ....Play a game?
                                                              .....Win  prizes and cash?

I have teamed up with 65 AMAZING blogger buddies to put together the ultimate Back to School Linky/Giveaway!!!

Each one of my blogger buddies submitted a cute childhood photo & generously donated something special from their online TpT shops for this occasion!! We have included a fun game for you to play for a chance to win over $300.00 in prizes and a BONUS  CASH-PRIZE raffle you can enter at the end of this post!! 


The game is easy to play....

 Your job will be to try and match each blogger with their childhood photo!!! With over 60 childhood photos and bloggers to match up, this might get tricky!! As I mentioned above, each blogger has generously donated one awesome prize from their TpT store. Successfully match a blogger and childhood photo, and you win the prize offered from that blogger!!! The more you matches you make, the more prizes you win!!! 

Check out some of the prizes you could win!!!

but Wait....
That's not all....

ONE lucky follower will win a $125 Amazon Gift Card!! Scroll to the bottom & follow the directions in the Rafflecopter for a chance to win $$$

The link below will open a form that will allow you to submit your answers for the match up. 

Use the blogger links and numbered images to help you along the way!! Each childhood photo has been assigned a specific number. 

Once you open the form, use the drop-down menu beneath each blog button and select a number that corresponds to a childhood photo. 

The form results will be collected throughout the week. At the end of the week, each submission will be "graded" and you will receive a prize for each blogger and photo you successfully matched up!!

The game closes on Friday, August 23rd at midnight (Arizona Mountain Time). Answers will be announced on Saturday, August 24th. Winners will be notified through email throughout the week. 

Use the blog links below the photos to search for clues!!
Click HERE to Play the Matching Game!!


Follow the directions in the Rafflecopter for a chance to win a $125 Amazon gift card!! 

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Thank you so much for participating!!! Good Luck!!!

If you would like to post about this linky/giveaway, grab the special image below to display in your post and link up below!!! Make sure to use the link to the actual post,,,

Back to School Sale! Yay! And a Fun Linky!

Hello Friends!

I have been waiting and waiting for the Back to School sale on TPT! My Wishlist is sooo filled and I can't wait to purchase some of those items that are there! The Back to School Sale will be Sunday, August 18 and Monday, August 19. I am participating in this sale and I have put EVERY product in my store on sale for 20%. TPT is also offering a discount which means that you can get up to a 28% discount! You must use the code to get the TPT discount. You will find the code on the image above.

Christina Bainbridge is having a fun Linky called "The Best and the Most". She asked us to showcase a few of our favorite resources which was REALLY hard for me!

Here were the categories.....

Teacher's Pet - This is our favorite product..... I chose  "Healthy Me" because it is my best seller and I think it is a unique resource for teaching health to little ones.

Most Likely to Help your Students Succeed...... I chose my Puppy Behavior Management System because I do feel that this has helped my students make good choices.

Best Couple... This was a category to showcase 2 products that work well with each other. I think my "Oviparous Animals Science and Literacy Pack" and "Five Fabulous Oviparous Animal Literacy Centers" work very well together.

 So this summer, I tried to organize my store to make it easier to find resources quickly. I added some custom categories that you will you find along the left side. One of them is my "For Little Kids" packets. Here are a few screenshots of that group of packets. If you click the image, it will take you to the "For Little Kids."

 I also added a custom category for "Draw, Cut, Create"...

I have also created custom categories for "Four (or Five) Fabulous Math and Literacy Centers" which you will find by clicking these links: MATH and LITERACY.

So enjoy shopping and don't forget to hop over to Christina's linky which you will find by clicking the "Best and Most" image above or  HERE.

Happy Shopping!


Teacher Week - Taming the Wild! Classroom Management

Hello Friends!

Classroom management is something that all my student teachers struggle with. They know that they need to be in control, but it is difficult for them to find the happy path between being kind and being commanding. Learning classroom management from a book is not the same as actually being in control of a room full of squiggly and excited children! I still remember the day when I was a student teacher and my coop left me alone for the first time! I didn't think I had that much sweat in me! BUT, I was forced to take control and something inside me rallied and I got through that first day. And each day after that, I became more and more aware of the tools I needed to keep my students aware and on task.

My classroom management tools have changed throughout the years, but one thing that has not changed is the fact that any kind of management system must be fair to all students. Here is one of my favorite quotes.  It is from Ms. Fultz's Corner.

I have gone back and forth with whether to reward good behavior with tokens or just EXPECT good behavior from my students and reward them with kind words and shoulder pats. I have read many, many documents from educators about the value (or NO value) of rewarding kids with trinkets. Here is my take on it........ When an adult takes a job, he/she expects some type of payment for their work. Most adults would not stay at a job very long if the only reward they received was a pat on the back from the Boss or a Star Worker sticker! Our student's job is to be a student. Their job is to listen and follow directions, complete tasks to the best of their ability, and be kind and respectful to others. This is hard work and I feel it needs to be rewarded. So, I DO reward my students with a tangible reward. 

I use a red, yellow, green color system. I base my behavior system on Puppies and it is a HUGE hit! I built the system around the "BEST IN SHOW" awards from the Westminster Dog Show . I have both an individual and a classroom system. In the individual system, my students work to stay in the green area of our behavior chart. I assign each student a number rather than post their name. They quickly learn each others' numbers BUT it does support the anonymity of kids when parents and other adults are in the classroom. At the end of the day, students color their dog red, yellow, or green on a recording sheet that they keep in their daily Take Home folder. My student's parents LOVE this system! It is an easy way for them to stay informed as to the type of day their kids had and promotes some interesting conversation at dinner!

Each of my students have a cloth pencil pouch that they keep in their cubbies. If they have a green day, they are paid ONE token which they keep in their pencil pouch. If they end on yellow, they are paid nothing and if they end on red, they pay ME one token. If they pay me more than 3 tokens a week, they miss recess or free play. After they have 5 tokens, they can use them to purchase something from THE FIVE STORE. They can save their tokens until they get 10 and then purchase something from THE TEN STORE. They can save 20 tokens and purchase something from THE TWENTY STORE. I do not allow them to save more than 20 tokens. I tell them that once they hit 20, they MUST buy something. I say this because I have a limited amount of tokens and I need for them to turn them in so that I can keep my supply up; just like the nation's economy!

My classroom system works like this:
I have 3 puppies OUT of the doghouse on a poster. The kids want those puppies to stay there! If the class as a whole is misbehaving, one of those dogs goes into the doghouse and stays there all day. As long as classroom behavior is positive, the dogs stay out of the doghouse. At the end of the day, we count how many dogs are OUT of the doghouse and that is how many "bones"we feed our classroom puppy! (We collect the paper bones in a plastic dog bowl.) You decide how many bones must be collected in the dog bowl before the class is rewarded with a special treat such as movie and popcorn or an extra recess.
No matter what your system, you need to find something that works for YOU! The behavior system that works for one class doesn't necessarily work for all classes. I also think it is okay to tweak your system throughout the year. Kids sometimes become immune to a system that stays static all year, so I will change expectations or rewards throughout the year. Classroom management is an important part of a teacher's day. Our job is to teach and unless we have a climate that promotes learning, teaching is difficult. Stay strong. Stay kind and don't get discouraged!

Make sure you hop over to Blog Hoppin to read more classroom management ideas!

I have two Puppy Behavior Management packets available. They follow the same system, they just have different styles of puppies.

Until next time!


TEACHER WEEK...... Organizing For Instruction

Hello Friends!

I am linking up with Blog Hoppin for Organizing for Instruction....

First of all, I thought I would share how I organize crayons in my classroom. I used to have a tub on each table where all the crayons were dumped. It would drive me CRAZY to watch my students struggle to find a particular color of crayon. That just took up too much time for instruction. In my classroom, we use crayons ALL the time, so this tool is an important part of my student's day. Last year, I purchased muffin pans, used Velcro to attach them to the bottom of each cup,  and then we sorted the crayons by color. This worked amazingly well! It wasn't until the end of the year that I heard "I can't find a red, Mrs. Feeney!" The thing I did not like, though, was that the muffin pans took up a lot of space on the tables and by the end of the year, the Velcro had lost it's "sticky."

So, a few weeks ago, I was walking through Hobby Lobby and saw these cupcake carriers..... hmmmm........ I wonder if they would work for crayons.......... Well, I purchased them and I think they will work GREAT! They store nicely, do not take up much room, and have plenty of space for sorting crayons! I added color labels to each section and I AM SO EXCITED to use these this year! If you would like the labels, click HERE.

Also..... a few weeks ago, I wrote a post on how I tweaked Daily 5 to suit my needs. I gave some tips for how I organize my literacy block. If you are interested in reading this post, click the button below.

Until next time!


Classroom Digs! (Under Construction)

Hello Friends!

I am participating in the "Peek at my Classroom" linky on Blog Hoppin, BUT my classroom is NOT done! It is kind of done, though, so I thought I would show you my "work in progress" classroom,,,,,

So...... here we go...... My classroom theme this year is polka dots with an emphasis on apple colors AND because I am a quilter, I was always taught that you pick out 3 main colors and then add one color to be your "splash." My splash color this year is black.

 I thought I would first share the curtains that are in my classroom. I got this fantastic idea from Melanie from Schoolgirl Style. This is wrapping paper wound around spring rods. The bottom is border trim and then I added ribbon for a little color. I love the look! The letters that spell Kindergarten are from Charlotte's Clips. This is such a colorful splash of color when you enter the room!

 I love these polka dot numbers from Erica Bohrer! They are above my Promethean and white board.

This is going to be my Word Work station. It's not finished yet. I plan to label the trays and tubs.

This is a reading nook. I made these little stools last year and they stood up very well. I do not have to do anything to them this year. The umbrella is a beach umbrella stuck into a patio umbrella stand. I covered the pole with the same wrapping paper as the curtains.

This is another reading nook. I made the Chicka tree 5 years ago and it still looks beautiful!(Don't look above my cabinets! I still have A LOT of work to do on that!  If anyone has an idea for how to tidy up this space, please let me know! I keep everything in clear boxes and I have my chick incubator up there that fits in nothing! Help! I would love some suggestions!

This is the beginning of my technology center. It is not finished yet. I love the bulletin board next to it!

This shows my classroom behavior management system, some of my classroom library, and a partial view of my Word Wall. I will be changing the words this week because I made some different ones to match my alphabet posters hanging above.  Here is the link to my alphabet cards if you want to get a closer look of them. My classroom library needs a TON of work!

This looks pretty bare, but it will eventually be my religion bulletin board. Below will be my supply tubs and to the right, you can see some of my literacy and math tubs. Not much has been labeled yet....

Here is my little nook. I got rid of my desk this year, but I felt that I still needed something to call my own. So, I found this small folding table that I covered with red and white polka dot heavy duty wrapping paper. I purchased an office chair acrylic floor protector. I folded it in half and put it on top of the table. It provides a nice cover to protect the paper from tearing as well as provide a smooth area in which to write. I still have some work to do on my supply tubs to the left!

I like this little sign! The clip art is from Mel (Graphics From the Pond.) 

This will be my bulletin board to showcase student work. It is hard to tell, but this bulletin board is really pretty. The trim is green polka dot. I added yellow polka dot ribbon under the trim.

Here is a view of our gathering space. The anchor chart on the easel is from Kim Adsit.

This is a one view of the whole classroom from the window side. The tables are a mess; full of things that need to find a place to live this year!

Here is another view of the whole classroom from the door.

This is my unfinished door...... When I get my class list, I will put the kid's names on the flowers as well as their picture that we took during our spring assessments. I says "Bumblebee, Bumblebee, What Do You See? I See Kindergartners Looking at Me!"

 Here is another unfinished bulletin board. My birthday graph will go at the top of the board. What you see is my individual behavior management system. To the right is the beginning of my classroom helper rotation chart.

So that's it for now.... I still have a TON of work to do!
 Make sure that you link up with Blog Hopppin to share your story!

Until next time!