Thursday, July 31, 2014

The End of Summer School

Yes you read that correctly. I am normally not one to do summer school. However, the district I work for set up new summer programs to combat summer learning loss and paid teachers at their normal daily rate of pay. My school was selected as one of the host sites as well. So, for the past 6 weeks I have been teaching a small class of incoming kindergartners (in my own classroom) from 9 different schools in our district. While there has been challenges, it has also had enjoyable moments.

Friday is our last official day- woohoo! I am ready for a vacation, but my brain is starting to get really confused because I am seeing everyone start to get in their classroom and set up. I want to set up too! Since my school was a host site, it has to be cleaned this coming week (it has been contracted out). My principal is hoping we can be in by Thursday. Ummm . . . the husband and I are leaving Thursday for vacation.

In the mean time I have been trying to get as many things ready as I can for the coming year, but haven't had lots of time to create many things on my own. Oh how I love TPT!!! Thanks to these wonderful ladies, this is what I have been up to.

Diary of a Teachaholic had these great monthly labels in her TPT store for free. I printed them on sticker paper and they were perfect for my monthly center storage bins. I was able to revamp my parent handbook as well this last week. For years I have compacted everything into a trifold brochure but this year I stepped out and made this flip book available here. This week I made my first Scentos purchase! I know! How could I have waited this long? Well, thanks to Ms. Wogly and her TPT store, I was able to download these adorable labels for my summer school friends which were free and Projects and Polkadots had these adorable birthday labels in her TPT store for free as well. Every year I create some kind of a magnet for my parents with my name, the school number, and my email. These are ready to go now too.

Big Brother is calling - who will go home tonight and win the next HOH? 

Monday, July 28, 2014

Operation Organize

This last spring, I had this wonderful idea to organize all of my Kindergarten resources I have acquired the last two years. I already knew I was probably going to have to take home most of it, due to one of the district's summer school program being held at my school. Then this happened . . . 

SERIOUSLY? What was I thinking? I had created one giant mess!

Here is what I was able to accomplish from the massive chaos. 

I purchased a LOT of photo boxes . . . as in 35 from Michael's. I know plastic bins would be more durable, but some how whenever I need to go purchase more plastic bins, the style I had originally bought is no longer available. Then I just end up with mismatched bins and drive myself crazy. Michael's always has photo boxes so I can always pick up more if I ever need. So basically I sorted all of my stuff out and started filling boxes. I created a label for each box and used mod podge to adhere it to the front of the box. My favorite boxes are my letter ones. In past years I would have to go to four or five locations to get all of my goodies to teach each letter. This year, I can get one box out and all of those goodies will be in one place! I'm hoping this will be a time saver this coming year!

For almost two years I have been using the plastic scrapbook paper organizers to store anything related to each month. Mostly it holds my centers . . . LOTS and LOTS of monthly themed related centers. While I still need to create some new labels for them, I did take the time to clean them out as well this summer. 

While there are still a few more things to finish as part of Operation Organize, there's something about being organized at the beginning of the year that makes me feel like I can take on anything in the new school year. Does anyone else ever feel that way? 

Saturday, July 26, 2014

High Frequency Words and Vocabulary

How many High Frequency Words are you students expected to know by the end of the year? This is a question that is often on my mind. My kindergarten friends are expected to know 127 words. Yes you read that correctly - 127 words! Is this normal?

So, how do I organize all of those words for the word wall? I use an index card box and three packages of index card dividers. I turned the dividers around and numbered them by week. Then at the beginning of the year, I take the time to sort the cards based on the week they will be introduced. This may not be much, but with the 897 other things that have to be done each week, it is really nice to just be able to pull the exact words I need with minimal effort.

I also sorted my vocabulary words a few weeks ago so they are easier to locate too. I love having visually appealing vocabulary cards for my friends, but in the past have been overwhelmed with trying to dig through to find them . . . maybe it's more like try to remember where I stored them, having no luck, and reprinting them again. So as part of my goal to make this coming year a bit easier, I organized all of my vocabulary cards! First I sorted all of them. I wish I had taken a picture for you to see them laid across the entire floor. After that, I took some scrapbook paper I had laying around and cut it a tad larger then most of my vocabulary cards to create dividers. Each divider is labeled with the content area and the type of vocabulary cards in the section. Originally I thought I was going to have two bins of vocabulary cards, but I was able to fit all of my Reading, Writing, Math, and Science vocabulary cards in the one bin. WooHoo!! 

My husband did not quite understand how excited I was to organize my vocabulary cards. He was more excited that it didn't cost him any money. Oh the little things. 

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

10 Things About Me

1. I make a list for EVERYTHING EVERYDAY!!! It may drive my husband crazy, but it helps keep my brain on track for what I need to get done.
2. I grew up in Northern Illinois. Ten years ago my husband and I moved to Florida.
3. I love Disney World!!! Thankfully I have a season pass that allows me to go whenever I want.
4. I have a secret love for reality TV - all things Bravo, Big Brother, Survivor, Amazing Race, the Kardashians . . . yes it's unhealthy.
5. I have an old dog, Farnsworth and a cuddly cat, Miley.
6. Everyday I am thankful for God's plan. I'm afraid to think what might have happened had He let me do what I had planned.
7. Mod Podge and glitter are two of my favorite crafting supplies.
8. My husband and I are in the process of adopting. You can read about that HERE.
9. I love my friends. Since my husband and I live so far away from our family and where we grew up, our friends are like family to us.
10. I have a secret talent that most of my Florida friends don't know . . . I sing. Music played a huge part of my life in high school and college, but it's not something many people from my grown-up life know about. It's pretty funny when people are walking through my room during calendar time or any other time we're singing and just stop because they had no clue.

Monday, July 21, 2014

It begins . . .

I am so excited, nervous, and scared to be starting my own teaching blog. In the last few years, with the explosion of TPT, Pinterest, and amazing bloggers like Kristen from A Teeny Tiny Teacher, Cara from The First Grade Parade, and Mr. Greg for The Kindergarten Smorgasboard, my teaching has dramatically changed and improved for the better. I have been blog stalking for several years and have always wanted to start a teaching blog, but my fears kept me from it. Well, here I am conquering my fears. I hope this goes well!

I have a very small TPT store already, and am hoping that I can create and add a few more items as I go. Mostly, I hope that I can inspire someone as so many have helped inspire me.