Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Love that 5 year-old logic

 We were doing an ever-popular "brace chart" about what penguins can do, have and are. They did a great job giving me relavent facts and staying on-topic/task (which is usually tricky at the end of the day).  My fave comment came at the end when one of my little chickadees says "penguins are animals, not people". . . . .you gotta love the logic of a 5 year-old!

Here's my to-do list in "Petunia" (my planner) for February.  In the next 2 weeks I need to write sub-plans for 3 half-hour parts of the day (all during my Literacy Block).  The joys of being a teacher. . . . it's a good thing that the phonics skill we are focusing on this theme is review of short a/i since I'm going to be out so much,  plus throw in 100's Day (this Friday), a field trip,Valentine's Day and Parent/Teacher Conferences and I will be sooo ready for the 3 day weekend that is coming up in 3 weeks!

I found some super cute mini test tubes at Target last week.  I'm working on creating a fun literacy station with them to help my kiddos with sounding out cvc words.  I should have it ready to post this weekend.

P.S. Don't forget to enter my giveaway.

Sunday, January 29, 2012

I'd like to thank. . . . . . .(plus a giveaway)

I can’t believe I haven’t posted in a week!  I’ve been super busy. . . . . .this last week was my final observation of the year by my principal. 

Now, I get nervous ANY time I get observed, but even more so since last year.  Last year (2010-2011) was the hardest school year yet for me.  I was displaced after 5 days, moved schools and grade-levels and had a class made up of kids that the other kinder teachers gave me (and one in particular gave me some “fun” kiddos).  Every time my principal came in they went crazy, I was off my teaching game (having to go down a grade level).   My evaluation was very bad and full of criticism.

This year however, has gone much better. . . . .I’ve worked hard, gotten routines set up and made the changes my principal suggested. We also have an Administrative Intern in our building for the next month, who is a Literacy Coach at another school in my district.  She came and observed my literacy block for 2 hours and kept asking me where I got all of my cool ideas and tricks. Do you know what my answer to her was? 

From my fellow bloggy teachers!  I’m not quite eloquent enough to express my thanks to all of you who have had a hand in forming the way I teach (and have created so many materials that my kiddos LOVE!)  So. . . . . . . . . I decided to host a little giveaway.

Here's what you could win

A copy of the book Recess at 20 Below.  This is a great book that shows what recess is like up in the frozen tundra where I live (although our threshold is -10).  It's written by a teacher and has amazing photos. (When I was back in the lower 48 last summer, I went in and read this book to students at my former school - they loved it!)


A $10 Starbucks card cause you know how much teachers need/survive on caffeine (I love a grande soy latte on a chilly morning).  

All you need to do is follow me (using that nifty little tool on my sidebar) and leave a comment letting me know you follow me, and maybe what the weather is like where you live (cause this girl needs to dream about some warmer climates).

I will choose a winner randomly (via random.org) on Saturday (so the giveaway ends Friday at midnight my time).

Saturday, January 21, 2012

Cute Shirt! - FREEBIE

So. . . . . . . remember the picture I posted of the swag I brought back from Washington

I convinced my sister to let me share the graphics she designed for the shirts

click to download

click to download

They are backward, so all you have to do is print the designs on transfer paper, iron on to your chosen t-shirt and voila, you have a customized T to wear to school.


Thursday, January 19, 2012

A Day In My Shoes

I've been working on this post since Sunday - seriously.  I have just been worn out. I'm hoping that the "sick" day I took today helps.

I'm linking up with Miss Klohn to share what a day in my shoes {these days either my Bog Boots, or black tooled leather Danskos} looks like.

Here's a typical day in my life, I chose Tuesday {just because}

6:00 - Alarm goes off, I hit snooze at least twice {it's still dark}

Somewhere between 6:15 and 6:30 - I actually get out of bed, head downstairs to eat breakfast and read my Bible

7:00 - Shower then get dressed {I usually pick out my clothes the night before}. Check email/facebook/blogs.

7:20 - Blowdry hair.  I have really fine, but thick hair so it takes a while, plus it gets frizzy even if I let it dry naturally.

7:40 - Put on coat and boots and run out to start my car.  One of these days I would love to get remote start, but it's not in my budget right now {it's still dark}

7:45 - Straighten hair {love my Chi!} and finish getting ready

8:00 - Grab my lunch/water bottle/bag {all packed the night before}. Put on coat, hat, gloves, and boots and head out the door {it's still dark}

8:15 - Arrive at school, park and grab my stuff.  Walk in through my teammates outside door {our rooms get really warm so we prop our doors}.  Chat with my teammate and head next door to my room.  Set all of my bags on the lunch cart outside my door and unlock my room.  Walk in and turn on lamps, white lights and scentsy warmer {love this}.  Change out of boots and unpack bags, store everything under my desk.

8:30 - Take my lunch bag across the hall to another teammates room to store in her fridge and grab coffee, chat with her.

8:35 - Back in my room, set out Morning Work {usually a practice sheet}, log in to my computer, check email.  My friend's daughter usually comes over to "do a job" fo me.  Make sure I have everything ready, I usually do. {I make sure I get everything ready the night before}.  Chat with sped. TA when she comes to change out behavior charts for my "special friend".

8:45 - My TA shows up, chat with her and finish getting ready.  Explain the plan for the day, and anything special I need her to do

8:50 - The bell rings and the kiddos start coming in.  they "check in", get out their STAR notebook and hang up all their gear.  Once that is done they sit down and start their Morning Work.  I visit with kiddos, chat with parents, read Sight Word lists with kiddos, remind them repeatedly of the routines. {it's still dark}

9:00 - Morning Announcements come on, remind kiddos to turn their voices off and listen, tell kiddos who can't do this to put their heads down.  When announcements are done, give 5 minute warning for finishing Morning Work and take attendance on the computer.  My TA does lunch count and the Star of the Day takes it to the office and drops off the lunch cart.

9:10 - Turn on transition song, kiddos turn in work and come to carpet for Morning Meeting.  Read message, go through Ashlock routines and charts {phonics and phonemic awareness}. Do Brain Gym  Go over schedule for the day.  During this time my special friend is picked up to go to Resource. {it's still dark}

9:40 - Go over expectations for Work Stations and start rotation 1.  I work with my at grade-level kiddos this time, reading the leveled book from our curriculum.  My TA works with another group building words, playing a game or something similar.  After 15 minutes, clean-up, re-group and start rotation 2.  This time I work with my kiddos who are reading above grade-level. {I meet with my struggling kiddos M,W,F and do Reading Mastery}.  My special friend comes back at 10:00 and joins her group.

10:20 - Clean up and come back to rug, sing a song to re-group and refocus.  Do whole-group lesson from curriculum. {and it is finally light out!!!!}

11:05 - Excuse kiddos to start to get ready for lunch.  Remind them to bring all their gear to their seat to get ready.  Zip up coats, put hats and gloves in hoods, encourage kiddos to hurry up so they can get to lunch.

11:18 - They head out the door with my TA {she takes them to lunch and recess}.

11:20 - My lunch, check my email then head to my teammates room for lunch.

12:00 - Bell rings, head back to my room to wait for kiddos.  When they get back, remind them to go to their seat to take their gear off {not in the closet!!!!}.  Remind kiddos to use the bathroom, get drinks etc. . .  My TA takes off her gear and pulls a small group to the hall to do some intervention activities.

12:15 - Invite quiet friends to the rug to listen to a story {right now we are reading the first Magic Treehouse book - they are loving it!}.

12:25 - Calendar, songs, dancing, counting.

12:40 - Math Whole group lesson.  2 kiddos are pulled by our Bilingual tutor.

1:05 - Line up for pull-out, remind kiddos to use the bathroom.  Walk kiddos to Art or Health {it switches every 2 weeks}.

1:10 - Drop kiddos off and I am free for an hour!  Check my mailbox {for the first time}.  Go back to my room and try and get stuff done. {I'm realizing that I have a lot of specials}

2:10 - Pick kiddos up and go back to our room. Snack time!  Remind kiddos what to do if they don't have snack {for the 86th time}.  Check email while they are eating or visit with them.

2:25 - Clean up from snack and meet back at the rug for Social Studies or Science.  My special friend is picked up for Resource again.

2:50 - Choice time, they get free choice, I use this time to assess kiddos.

3:10 - Clean-Up {to the Imagination Movers Clean My Room}, play Find-It, Fix-It.  Kiddos grab their Star Notebooks and head to their seats.  I go and put a star on their behavior calendar they same color that they were on on the Step Chart.  Once they have their star, they stack their chairs, get their gear and get ready to go.  When they are finished they line up at the door.  Special friend comes back right before the bell, but she gets ready to go in Resource {thankfully}.  Say our good-bye poem and sing "Skinnamarink". As we walk out the door I say "follow me, chickadees!"{and one kiddo always says "we're not chickadees!"}

3:30 - Pick Up, wait outside till all my kiddos are picked up

3:45 - Come in, warm-up and rush around getting things ready for tomorrow.

4:10 - Start my car so it's warm when I get in

4:20 - Get all my gear ready to go, leave and drive to my tutoring job

5:00 - Tutor kiddos

7:15 - Drive home, eat dinner, blogstalk, watch some TV.

10:00 - Pack lunch for the next day, make sure my teacher bag is packed up, take melatonin{to help me sleep}, head up to bed.

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

It was one of THOSE days

It has been COLD with a capital C (-5 to -15 degrees)!  We have had 2 days of indoor recess, and will probably continue to have it the rest of this week.  There is a nasty flu going around and I started feeling yucky today.

I'm sitting at my teacher table doing Reading Mastery with some of my struggling kiddos and are trying to say words slow, then fast {mmmaaannn - man} - this is a painful process, when all of a sudden my stomach starts to hurt.  I switch from coffee to water, and keep on teaching {what are you going to do?} but it still hurts, so much in fact that when my kiddos sit down to write in their Journals, I text my friend and sub, Jessica to see if she can come in for me tomorrow.  Thankfully she can.  I send my kiddos off to lunch with my TA, and venture down to the staff room with a couple of my teammates {the ONLY time we eat in the staff room is when we have indoor recess}.

About 25 minutes into lunch/recess, the fire alarm goes off.  I give my teammates a look, and rush out into the hall.  My kiddos are walking down the hall on their way back from lunch, thankfully with my TA.  I get them out of the building, while my TA went back to room to grab their coats {she whispered to me "I don't care if I get fired!"} and we stand in the cold {-13} for 3 minutes until they announce that we can go back in.

Later, I'm checking in with the Resource Teacher {who happens to be one of our Teachers in Charge} and she tells me my special friend from last year {the one who drove me crazy and gave me all my gray hair} is the one who pulled the fire alarm.

I love my job!

Sunday, January 15, 2012


Here's the temp when I left for my tutoring gig at 9:30 this morning {notice the glare?  yup, the sun was still not up}

b to the rrrrrrr!

We've had a 30 degree range of temps this week - snow, melt, snow, freeze, ice, now sub-zero temps.  I need a trip to Hawaii or California!

Here's a recording sheet I created to go with a math game I am teaching my kiddos this week {the one that comes with my curriculum is not cute}.  Basically you roll two dice and add the numbers - easy peasy, lemon squeezy!

I am so happy to have Monday off, but I don't get to sleep in much.  I will be participating in Martin Luther King Jr.,  Day of Service, helping out at the Boys and Girls Club cleaning and playing with kiddos. Click on the link to find projects in your area!

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Quick Pic

Okay, it's late and I have a data meeting at 8:00 a.m. and my TA is out the next 2 days {we don't get subs for our Kindy TA's} so I need to get all the sleep I can.  But. . . . . . . . I just had to share this picture with you.

We did our Mid-Year Writing Assessment today and our prompt is "Tell me about yourself"  Here is what one of my kiddos did. . . . . . .

Seriously, I love my job!

Monday, January 9, 2012

{Pinspired} Art Project

Check out these super-cute snowmen my kiddos made last Friday.

please excuse the unfinished class quilt. . . . . . . .

and here is my pinspiration. . . . . . . .

* side note, my new kiddo has some "boundary issues" {getting in peoples space}, has not yet learned how to solve small problems by herself {gotta love Kelso's Choices!}, and has set off my "special friend" who has here own issues by loudly declaring when special friend arrived late "Hey, your not in this class!!!!" *sigh* it's going to be a long week. . . . . . . . . .

Sunday, January 8, 2012


I'm linking up with Oh' Boy 4th Grade and sharing what I am currently doing. . . . . .

Have a great Monday blog peeps!  The snow finally stopped {we got a good foot}, but we have a high wind alert for Tuesday - hello indoor recess! {blowing snow, plus temps in the teens equals indoor recess even for tough Alaska kiddos}.

Saturday, January 7, 2012

I Love Weekends

Uff da!  I am so glad the week is over.  Something got into my kiddos yesterday and they were wild!  I have a new kiddo starting Monday so it's the perfect opportunity to go over the rules and expectations *smile*.

It's Saturday night and I am at home, wrapped up in a blanket drinking tea.  It is 14 and snowing outside *sigh*,

I was super excited to get the. . . . . . .

{seriously - I did a little happy dance}

The rules for this reward are as follows:
1. Thank the person(s) who presented the award to you and link back to them.
Laura at 

Holly at

Stephanie at

and Desiree at

2. Tell seven things about yourself.
1.) I have not had a Diet Pepsi since Monday {or any soda at all}.  I'm trying this whole "no processed, no preservatives" thing and I typically drink at least 2 a day.  Amazingly, no headaches.
2.) I work 2 jobs.  Obviously I teach Kindergarten, but I also tutor 3 days a week at one of those chain tutoring places.
3.) I was hired on a Friday night and was on a plane to Alaska by Wednesday and started work on Thursday.
4.) I love Twilight, like seriously *love*.  I've been to Forks, Washington and went on a tour people {it made my fan-girl heart squee}
5.) At some point I want to do my National Boards, just trying to pay off some debt first.
6.) I took 8 years to get my BA.  I went to Community College and got my A.A, then worked for a couple of years before I went back.  I then worked full time {teaching preschool and running a daycare} while taking a full course load.
7.) I have a tattoo and nose ring, I've also had blue and purple streaks in my hair.  My reward for losing 50 pounds is going to be a white tattoo that says "shine" on my wrist.

3. Pass this on to 15 newly discovered blogs and let them know they've received the award.
I tried to find blogs that hadn't already received the award
{no blog buttons this time - sorry}

Monday, January 2, 2012

Pigeon's Christmas Vacation

Goodness sakes I am t i r e d tonight.  My kiddos were fabulous, but I am still worn out.  Here are the pages from the book I created to share all about Pigeon's trip home with me.  I created them with Photoshop, had them printed at Costco and then laminated and bound them at school.  I can't wait to share the book with my kiddos.

I've been nominated for the Versatile Blogger award by Laura at Kinder Kraziness and Stephanie at Kinder Kiddo .  I am super excited (it totally made my day!) but the post will have to wait till tomorrow, I'm off to cut out some letter cards for my TA to use with my struggling kiddos.

One Little Word

I've been reading about "One Little Word" all over blog-land.  In the past I set goals and resolutions, but I really love the idea of having one word to focus on.

Here is my OLW. . . . . . . . .

This word really encompasses the things I want to work on in all areas of my life.

Health - I need to be more disciplined in what I eat and the amount of exercise I get, especially during the school year.  It's easy when I get stressed out and busy to bypass the gym and stop for fast food or get take-out on my way home.

School - I need to work on my lesson plans done before the end of the week and getting things prepped ahead of time.  I have planning time built into my week and a TA but I usually end up going in on the weekends and working in my room.

Spiritual - I want to spend time in my Bible in the morning before I get ready for school, but it's super easy (and very tempting) to hit snooze until the last possible moment.

P.S. -  It's back to school for me in the morning. . . . .15 kiddos who have been out of their normal routine for 2 weeks.  I'm planning on reviewing and practicing all of our routines and procedures tomorrow (with a few fun things thrown in too!).

P.P.S - It is f r e e z i n g here right now.  Seriously, my car said - 6 when I was running errands yesterday.  It's so cold that when I go outside, my nose hair freezes (sorry, TMI).  Hopefully it won't be cold enough for us to have to have indoor recess tomorrow, that may send me over the edge!