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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!


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!


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!


Teacher Week - WHERE do you teach?

Hello Friends,

Today I am sharing WHERE I teach. I am sharing pictures, but we haven't had our first day of school yet, so things are a bit bare. You also might see some things sitting out on counters or tables that won't be there when my kiddos arrive!

Okay...... This is a view of my whole classroom from the inside entrance.

This is a view of my classroom from the other side.

Here are my two cozy and fun reading nooks...

I love my window! The curtains are wrapping paper with border trim. This is my first year in a LONG time that I will have a fish tank in my classroom... fingers crossed that they survive!

I have had an organized classroom library for a few years, but this year, I changed its arrangement. I wanted to make the books easily accessible for my kiddos.

My Word Wall is going to be on my white board this year. It is magnetic and it is my hope that my students are able to grab the words they need much easier than where they were last year.

This is my small group table. I am looking forward to using Kim Adsit's wonderful idea to cover tables with a vinyl tablecloth. I added small plastic grips at even intervals around the table. I am HOPING that they will define the space around the table. Last year, when I brought kiddos back to me, they practically sat on each other's laps! I'll let you know if this works!

This is our technology table. It is not totally set up. I will have 2 iPads, 2 old Mac iBooks, and a MacBook Pro. I also will still have a CD/cassette tape player!

Lastly..... I am lucky to have a sink in my classroom, but I do not like the unsightly look of the cabinet area under the sink. So, I purchased a small spring rod and added a paper curtain that matches the window curtains. I'm not sure how long PAPER will last under sink, but right now, it's nice!

So.... that's a small look at my classroom. Make sure to link up on Blog Hoppin with a look at YOUR classroom digs!

Until next time!


Meet the Teacher..... 2014

Hello Friends,

I am linking up with my friends on Blog Hoppin for Teacher Week! Today is WHO.......... So, here is a little bit about me....

I married my best friend. We will be married 31 years in November and I can think of no other person with whom I would want to spend those years! 

We have 3 beautiful, kind, and smart kids... all grown up now, but they continue to be my daily joy.

My oldest son married his best friend and we are blessed to have her as a part of our family.

We own a farm, but live in town. My husband commutes to the farm - odd, I know, but this way of life has worked for us for 31 years! We have corn and soybeans and a small herd of Hereford cattle. That's my son this spring with one of our newborn calves.

I am sooo lucky to be able to spend time with BOTH my parents. This is a picture of my Mom and me when we were vacationing together in South Haven, Michigan. (I got my hair cut REALLY short this summer; still do not know how I feel about it.... )

I LOVE flowers! I inherited this love from my Mom and Dad..... This is a picture that I took of one of my Mom's sunflowers. Isn't it gorgeous?

I have always wanted to be a teacher... for as long as I can remember! I happen to have a picture of my first class......

Yep.... Two of those dolls are almost as old as I am and were my students when I was practicing my "student teaching" at 6 years old!

I actually do have a couple pictures of ME that show the longevity of my teaching career...... I haven't changed at all, have I? (smile)

This is a picture of me in our local newspaper YEARS ago when I received a grant for a listening center....... sigh............ I might still have that listening center somewhere......

So that's me in a nutshell......... Tell us about YOU and hop on over to Blog Hoppin and link up! We love to read "All About You!"

Until next time!

Blessings, Cindy

Tweaking Daily 5 - Part Two!

Hello Friends!

I wrote a blog post awhile ago about how I tweaked Daily 5. Since then I have tweaked it again AND am looking forward to trying Math Daily 3. If you would like to read about the changes I made, hop on over to my post on Blog Hoppin'! 

Until next time!


A Few Freebies for My Friends!

Hello Friends,

As I have been working on my preparations for Back to School, I thought I would share with you a few links to some FREE Back to School resources in my store.....
If you are looking for something to "break the ice" on the first few days of school, play this game with your kiddos. To play, children are asked questions that can be answered with a YES or a NO. Thumbs up and thumbs down posters are located on opposite ends of the classroom and students stand between the two signs. As questions are asked, they move to the side of the room with the poster that shows their answer. As they move, they learn that some kids are like them and some kids are different from them. At the conclusion of this game, kids are giggling and feeling comfortable with their new environment! I have been playing this game with my kiddos for the last 5 years and it is a hit every year!
I am not sure how your kiddos put their supplies away, but we do a little scavenger hunt with our students the first day of school. Actually, our kinders bring their supplies to school when they come in to our "Meet the Teacher" morning. With their parents, they explore the classroom while at the same time putting away their supplies. I LOVE doing this because the HUGE job of organizing supplies is half done when the morning ends!
Finally, this little freebie is a fun way to practice early number sense with your kiddos at the beginning of school.

 I hope you enjoy these free resources!

Until next time


Teacher Week on Blog Hoppin is Next Week! Yay!

Hello Friends!

This is going to be a REALLY quick post sharing with you the fact that Teacher Week will be August 18 - 22 on Blog Hoppin! I love this week because it is such a fun way to share and get excited about Back to School!

When I left school yesterday, I FINALLY could see the light at the end of the tunnel in my classroom! We start teacher meetings on Friday, so time is getting short! Yikes!

Until next time!!


Making Progress on My Classroom Clutter From Yesterday!

Hello Friends!

I worked all day today and I can finally say that I am making progress - yay! I still have tons and tons to do, but at least the mess from yesterday is cleaned up! 

Now.... Looking out over to the other side of the room..... sigh........ Our classroom supplies were delivered today, so my once clean tables are now filled again. Hopefully I will get the tables cleared by Monday and then I can get started on labeling student supplies!

Until next time!


Being Brave and Showing You The BEFORE pictures of my Classroom..... Yikes!

Hello Friends!

With all the beautiful classroom pictures being shown on teacher blogs, I am a little bit scared to show you "my work in progress" classroom! But everything has to have a beginning, right? So I am taking a big breath and showing you what my "decluttering" is looking like right now......

So....... Here we go........... gulp............

It REALLY it is not as bad as it looks...... This is just one side of my classroom; my storage cabinet side. My under the cabinet shelves are not really designed for classroom storage. They would be awesome if I was storing pots and pans and cookie sheets in them, but I am not... I am storing laminated games, game pieces, science equipment...... Ugh....... 

This winter I was so exasperated with these cabinets. I KNEW that I had science thermometers, or mirrors, or a polar animal game BUT..... Do you think I could go right to them when I needed them? Nope..... I would take everything out of the cabinets searching for the item I needed and then when I found it, I would literally push everything back into the cabinets before the kids came in and the cycle started all over.... sigh.......

So...... I told myself that THIS year, this was NOT going to happen! This morning I started with a purge. I had some things in those cabinets that have been there since I started teaching kindergarten which was 20 years ago! I have no idea why I was storing things I did not need, so they were the first to go........ My next step will be to organize what I want to keep and label the boxes inside as well as the OUTSIDE of the cabinets.... Stay tuned.......

As I said, the above picture is only one side of my classroom. I AM making headway..... Here are a few pictures of what I have accomplished so far... I still have a long way to go, though! 

These crate seats are the perfect size for "little bottoms." I tried to get more of them this summer, but was told by Sterlite that they were a BTS promotion for Walmart a few summers ago and are no longer available..... so sad......

 Here is the beginning of my Hungry Caterpillar bulletin board. I plan to attach my student's photos to pictures of fruit and place them around the caterpillar. I just used squished up tissue paper to make the caterpillar and attached to the board with staples and tacks. Oops! Looks like some of the letters need to be straightened!
 Here is the beginning of my door. I used this same idea last year. I just changed it around a little bit this year! I cut circles from the extra polka dotted trim and will attach my student's photos to the circles. I will add the circles around the flower.... Eric Carle style!
 I am ALMOST finished labeling my classroom library. I used the Library Labels that I purchased from Maria Manore during the BTS. I love the clean, crisp look! Since this is not a close up picture, you really cannot see the labels, but trust me, they are CUTE!

So... that is it for the beginnings of my classroom.... I will share more when things are looking better than they are now!

Until next time!