Three for Thursday!

I hope you're enjoying teacher week over at Blog Hoppin' as much as I am! Without further ado... my three favorites: font, blog, and online resource!!

Font
I am so happy that I learned about all the Kevin and Amanda fonts this summer...  I have had so much fun exploring them!  There are a lot of favorites!! But the fonts I always gravitate to for school are from a little CD I got way back when (I think my 1st or 2nd year teaching).   It's called Fonts for Teachers.  I love ABC print and ABC print lined, because they look just like the print we want them to do (and "lined" adds standard handwriting lines). 

Blog
I have found so many UNBELIEVABLY talented teachers this summer... through all my blog hopping.  It is so hard to choose just one favorite blog!!  But I really was inspired by Hadar at Miss Kindergarten to start my own!  I think she has terrific ideas and a wonderful way of sharing them... THANKS, Hadar!  




Online Resource
Anyone who knows me, knows that I LOVE using and integrating technology in my classroom. There are so many amazing resources available to use in the classroom that make your day to day lessons and activities so much more effective! 

One of our favorites is BrainPop Jr.  The kids love the little snip-its and they are short, sweet, and to the point--while being right on target with our SOL's (Standards of Learning)



Be sure to link up and check out everyone's favorites!!
Blog Hoppin

Where It All Goes Down Wednesday--Classroom Photos!

I've really been enjoying looking at everyone's classroom pictures... in all the various stages. My room is still in the VERY initial stages, but I will update this as I make more progress (teachers start officially next week and the kiddos join us on September 6th).  Link up with Blog Hoppin' to share your pics and check out other classrooms!!


BEFORE!
Last Wednesday and Thursday, we did our Kindergarten Round-Up (initial assessments before school starts).  We were booked solid from 8:00 AM till 6:30 PM both days, so I really didn't have any time to work in my room... but I did snap a few *before* pictures. 


This is my BLANK slate!  A plain room with shiny floors and everything pushed to one side of the room. 
SO much to do!  But, I do love this time of year... as a new classroom community is built!!  :o)  








Day 1!
 Monday was my 1st official day working in my classroom.  I got all my furniture set and the carpets shampooed. (No, my rugs will not stay randomly in the middle of the room... although that would be interesting!)


You can see my Promethean board and my library book carpet--2 of my favorite things!  
I also washed all my shelves and started cleaning and setting out book tubs.  This is one of my work station "nooks".  One of those lovely carpets will go here with the short table and pillows (for listening station).   



Day 2!
On Tuesday, I worked on washing up more tubs (these are for Social Studies and Author's tubs).  I also noticed that I need to update some of my labels!







We got a 5th student computer... which was so exciting!  (Of course, that also meant making a place for my 5th computer)  I got all my other computers hooked up too.  You can see my science book tubs and closet door.  


I switched out one of my round tables for another rectangle-- just learned that I'm up to 27 kiddos!!  Can't wait to put out my chair pockets (my assistant made them, and they match the binder boxes for table colors).  



Here's a close-up of the binder boxes that my assistant's husband made last year (I'm SO UPSET that she won't be back this year--she's amazing!!).  We attach their name tag to the Velcro.  The baskets are from Really Good Stuff and slide right underneath (for pencils, crayons, glue sticks, and scissors).  This saved us SO MUCH time last year... compared to having my EAGLE notebooks in a central location, like I used to have them.  


Stay tuned for more updates as my classroom comes together!
Hop over to link up and see more classrooms!!!

Blog Hoppin

Teacher Talk Tuesday

I'm linking up with Blog Hoppin' for some new teacher advice... but I think these are good for all of us to remember!  :o)  
  • Surround yourself with *POSITIVE* people!  Beware of gossipers... especially in faculty lounges!!  I always ate lunch in the staff lunchroom.  Then I began to notice that the conversations always turned to complaints about students, gripes about parents, and grumbles about administration.  A few of my colleagues and I started eating in our room instead.  We still eat with fellow teachers... but without all the drama!  (And look, no more indigestion!)
  • Be *POSITIVE* with your students too!  Praise, encourage, and praise some more!!  Treat your students with kindness and respect, and they will show you the same in return.  Share great news with their parents too!  If you need to have more serious conversation later, it will come much easier after sharing happy news.  
  • Prep for new students--before you get one!  There are always those days when... *SURPRISE* you have a new student!!  I remember my first class ever... I called it the revolving door.  Over half of the class left during the year, and were replaced with new students!  I even had a few who left--and then came back!!  :o)  There are so many little things to get ready when you have a new student... and don't have the time to do it.   So, when you're getting things prepared at the beginning of the year, make 5-10 extra of everything to store away for that *rainy* day!  I make extra EAGLE notebooks, laminated name tags, cubby tags, lunch plates, birthday surprises, etc.  It really does save you time (and sanity) later!!  
  • Teach (and empower) your students to be independent!  By taking the extra time to teach your students how to complete tasks independently, they gain confidence and essential skills-- as well as a positive attitude!  This gives them pride and that *I can* mentality.  Kindergartners CAN do so much... if given the chance.  My kiddos get their own mail, stuff their EAGLE Notebooks, and record their daily behavior.   They know how to exchange their nightly reading books using library cards and pockets.  PRACTICE, PRACTICE, PRACTICE is key... do it right from the start! 
  • Organize!  The more organized you are, the easier your school day will be.  Repeat after me... "labels are your friend"!  :o)  Seriously, labels make items easier to find (for your students, parent volunteers, teacher's assistant, and yourself).  Why spend precious time searching for an item?  Last year, I labeled each of the books in my room to match the book tub labels.  This was a *big* project, but saved so much time in the long run, because the kids could return books themselves.  I love using labels with a picture and text.  I also print label sheets with students' names and use them to label supplies, song and poem journals, etc.  I went completely file cabinet free too--and switched to binders!  LOVE it!!  It is so much easier to find things now. 
  • LAUGH and Have FUN!  Start each day with a smile... my kiddos "pick an H" when they walk in the door (handshake, high 5, or a hug).  It helps you have that quick interaction with each and every student.  Throughout the school day--have fun! Don't be afraid to laugh at yourself, and laugh with your students.  Dance, sing, jump, and learn together... this truly builds your classroom community, and makes your classroom a a place where everyone wants to be!
Hope you'll link up to share your tips for both new and experienced teachers!
Blog Hoppin

Meet the Teacher Monday!


I'm SO EXCITED that a wonderful group of teacher bloggers got together for a little Blog Hoppin'!!  It's Teacher Week!
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Here's a little about me for "Meet the Teacher Monday"!
 


Tell us a little something about you...  
I am most proud of two things in my life... my husband Jeff and our daughter Amelia!  Jeff and I celebrated our 7th anniversary this summer.  Amelia turned 2 in April and is a bundle of fun and energy.  Trust me--going back to school is going to be a bit tough... Mommy and Amelia have been enjoying a TON of summertime fun!!!  I mean, how can you resist blue eyes and red curls!? 
I grew up in northeastern Pennsylvania (in the Pocono Mountains).  We now live in northern Virginia, about 45 minutes south of DC.  

How long have you been teaching?
This is my 10th year of teaching.  I started out in half-day kindergarten for a year and then taught first grade for 2 years.  When I moved to my current school, I taught second grade for 2 years.  The next year, our district started full-day kindergarten... I LEAPED at the chance and never looked back!!  This will be my 5th year in full-day K! 


I'm happy to have the perspective from teaching K-2... but my heart is definitely in kindergarten. :o)

You might not know...
that even as a young girl, I knew I would live in Virginia when I grew up!  My Mom grew up in North Carolina, and we lived in Pennsylvania.   Every Easter we would drive (10 hours!) to visit my grandparents, aunts, uncles, and cousins in NC.  Whenever we passed through VA, I would tell my parents--some day, I'm going to live here!  

What are you looking most forward to this school year?
Math Work Stations!!  I got the book after everyone's raves and posts earlier this summer.  I thoroughly enjoyed learning about it through blog hopping and now reading Debbie's work.  I LOVE her stuff!! This is something I have been *trying* so I'm excited to test out some new ideas... because I know it can be better!  Can't wait!!

What do you need to improve?
I think the area I'm most focusing on improving is organization--not the organization that everyone sees (because I am *obsessed* with labels, color coding, and other organization!!).  I'm talking about the behind the scenes stuff...  I completing redid my classroom files into binders this summer, organized my teaching iPod into play-lists, and I want to improve other *hidden* areas.  This is the stuff that REALLY makes your teaching life easier!! :o) 

What teaching supplies can you *not* live without?
BOOKS!  Today was the first day I was back all day working in my room--and what is the first thing I worked on... washing book shelves and book tubs, and getting out my books!  I LOVE having a classroom where other teachers come to look for books!!  


Promethean Board!  I can not believe I ever taught without one... it is such an integral part of our day.  


Music!  We love Heidi Songs, Jack Hartmann, Dr. Jean, Shari Sloane, and more!!  I am a firm believer that if you put it to music, they will learn it!  


LINK UP!!  We'd love to learn about YOU!







Gearing up for our Kindergarten Round-Up!

It's crazy to think that summer is coming to an end already... but, we're already gearing up for our Kindergarten Round-Up (next week!).  

My kindergarten team started doing a Kindergarten Round-Up four years ago.  This was one of the best decisions ever!  We are able to pre-assess our students before they walk into our classrooms on the first day of school.  Also, we are able to test the students one-on-one, without the distractions of the first few weeks of kindergarten.  Such a time saver!!

We set two Kindergarten Round-Up days in mid-August (about 2 ½ weeks before school starts).  You could do more or less days depending on the number of staff you have available and the predicted number of students.  We offer both morning and evening sessions (but, you can change this to suit your preference—just “black out” slots that are not available).  Choosing a Tuesday and Wednesday OR Wednesday and Thursday has worked well for my team, since this stays away from families taking those long summer weekends!  J  

When our office staff registers students for kindergarten, they also sign up students for Kindergarten Round-Up.  This is a huge time saver (vs. calling all parents afterwards).  Our district has two kindergarten registration days in April each year, so most students are signed up then. Of course, students trickle in to register throughout the summer… and they are just added to the list later.



Once parents sign their child up for a time slot, they are given a postcard to complete with their home address.  Have parents address it to their future kindergartner—we all know how much fun it is to receive mail! 



The parent takes an information sheet home with them as a reminder.  We save the postcards and mail them 1-2 weeks before the Round-Up as a second reminder!  This helps ensure very few “no shows”. 


When the day(s) of Kindergarten Round-Up arrives, be sure to have an area for parents to sit and wait for their child.  We put a  “please wait” sign on display while we're assessing.  You will also need places for the teacher(s) to assess students individually.  (We usually use the library.  In a pinch, we have set up spots in the teacher’s lounge! It definitely adds some interesting conversation starters!!) 



We use the beginning pages of our Data Notebook for our Kindergarten Round-Up assessment.  This way, all your initial data is already complete before the 1st day of school!  If you hole punch the pages when stapling the packets, it will be easy to put them in data folders or notebooks later!

ü Name writing

ü Capital Letter identification (26 letters)
ü Lowercase Letter identification (26 letters)
ü Letter Sound identification (26 sounds)
ü Sight word identification (25 words)
ü Number identification (0-10)
ü Shapes recognition (4 basic shapes)
ü Color recognition (10 basic colors)

Write down anything the child mentions that may be of interest to his/her teacher--since the teacher doing the Round-Up screening is not necessarily the same teacher the child will have this year (ex. “I like to read Harry Potter books.”  We actually had a kindergartener who could! OR “He looked at nametag to write his name.”)  You can also note behavior concerns here (ex.  “She ran around room during round-up screening.”)

We like to have some special pencils or stickers on hand to give the child when he/she finishes.  The assessment usually takes 15-20 minutes.  Although the above listed items are included in our assessment packet, not all students are ready and able to attempt all items.  Just skip areas that are unknown before they become a frustration—you’re only getting a starting point.  It’s OK if the children don’t know everything yet… that’s what Kindergarten is for!!  

If you think you'd like to try doing a Kindergarten Round-Up... I'd love for you to check it out:
You can get the parent sign as a FREEBIE just for reading through this whole post!!  Enjoy!  







Organize your classroom library... with photos!


I just finished posting the other subjects to TpT!  Each download includes large book tub labels and matching book labels.  I attach these to the lower left-hand corner of the book cover. This really helps the kids to return the books to the proper place... and then they help keep the classroom library organized!!   What could be better!? 



Are you looking for a topic that I did not include?  Just let me know... and I'll add it! 

And don't forget... my sale ends on Friday, August 5th!  

Please leave feedback!!  I'd love to hear what you think!  :o)

Hooray for Blogging Giveaways!!

So excited... I won 3 more giveaways!!  
Thanks so much...


for $10 to Donor's choose!! 
I can't wait to finish my proposal--and then add the 1st $10!  

AND

Thank you...
Teaching Heart Mom
for prize #11:  
How can you go wrong with Fountas and Pinnell?


AND


Thanks to...
Made for 1st Grade
for Musical Math CDs!  
I was actually just uploading the rest of my CDs to my classroom iPod today.  How exciting that now I get to add more!!  


THANK YOU to all of these amazing blogs!!

My 1st SALE!! 30%!!

Join me for my 1st sale... to CELEBRATE the
Back to School Season!!
My entire TpT store is 20% off plus 10% off from TpT
(Use TpT code:  B1T1S) = 30% off!  I'm just getting started with my store, but will add new items all week long to celebrate (freebies too)!
Sale lasts August 1st through August 5th... check it out!  


Want to know who else is having a sale? 
 Check out this linky party on Teaching Blog Addict:


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