Sunday, July 29, 2012

First day of kindergarten linky party


All you fabulous Kindergarten teachers out there!! You are not going to want to miss this Linky party hosted by:


Teaching With Z
I am joining in on the fun and adding my 2 cents about the First Day of Kindergarten! Just click the picture to head over and link up as well!

If you are new to Kindergarten.. Welcome!! You are going to love it!! If you have taught Kindergarten before it is always nice to see the way other people do things! Here are a few of my “must dos” on the first day of K!

*Know how the child is going home! I think this is the most important one of them all!! During parent orientation, I always have the parents fill out a form that has their child’s name, parents name, phone numbers and how they are going home the FIRST day of school. In a different spot I also put on there how they will be going home the rest of the week as well. (In my school we do a phase-in for Kindergarten so it can get confusing.) I then have the parents SIGN the paper. I always send the child home the way it says on the paper they fill out. If there is any confusion I can always show the parent the paper that they signed telling me how the student was to go home.

*Take pictures! I always take one of each student so that I am able to go ahead and print out their pictures to put around the classroom. I always like to see the difference between the first day of school and the last day of school. Some years (if I am not too busy answering parents questions) I try to take a picture of the student with his/her parent for their memory book at the end of the year.

*Remember, this is most likely the first school experience for a lot of your students. Do not be surprised when they want to run down the hallway and touch EVERYTHING! (Breathe!) They will learn. It will take patience and it may drive you crazy  make you feel like you have no control, but you will! Those sweet kiddos are just super excited to be there and soon they will listen to everything you say!

*Get to school early that first day. (or the whole first week) There is nothing worse than feeling rushed especially on the first day of school. Get up early, get some coffee (if you drink it or even if you don’t!) and eat a good breakfast. You are going to need the energy.

*Over plan- It is better to have too much planned than too little. I always write out my first day plans and then the rest of the week follows based on what we got done. It is going to take a LONG time to do certain activities so don’t worry if you don’t get to everything.  (Check back soon because I will be posting about my first week plans)

*Procedures, Procedures, Procedures!! Everything you do will need to be explained! Yes, this includes walking in a line, getting a drink, going to the bathroom (that one is always fun to explain), cutting, gluing etc… you get the idea. Do not rush through these things! You will thank yourself later for taking your time and thoroughly explaining everything! It may seem like all you do that first week is procedures and if it is, pat yourself on the back!

*Lunch Money/Snack- Depending on if you have a whole day or half day- make sure you know who is buying lunch or needs to give you money for lunch/snack. We always have a half day the first three days where we only have 1/3 of our class for the phase-in but we still take them up to the cafeteria to practice lunch procedures. It is important to know who is supposed to eat just incase someone forgot their money. You do not want to send them home without lunch on a half day  thinking their mom/dad did not want them to have anything when in reality, they did. I also always bring a snack up to the cafeteria for those students whose parents said no to the lunch because they will eat after school. Now I know we are eating “lunch” at 9:30 in the morning just to practice but I still feel bad for those sweet kiddos who have nothing.

*Sing and Dance :) Make sure you plan for LOTS of movement activities!

*Practice transitions and attention grabbers

*Have something for them to do when they get to the classroom. I always put out a sign in sheet for each student. (I use the one without lines first)

sign in sheet 2sign in sheet

When the students arrive in my room they find their seat and then get started writing their name. This tells me right away who can write their name and who cannot. I always have name tags out so they can copy their name if the need to. I will of course write their name for them to trace if they need me to. This is also good because the parents walk down with my students the first day (if they want) and they can help them too. We continue with sign in sheets for at least the first  month to practice writing our names correctly. Students can then move on to last names and lines if they are ready. Click here to get your copy!

Once students sign in I always have a red tub for students to put their sign in sheet in (This becomes a daily routine for them). They then get a coloring sheet from the green tub. (They are the ones from the Target dollar spot.) This is a great way to introduce them to our morning routine. Plus, giving them the coloring sheet gives me some time to get things together.

*Set a timer or have a way to tell parents that you are so happy to have their child and that you will take good care of them and then kindly tell them that you will see them at dismissal!

*Have a name tag ready for each child. I prefer ones that last all year rather than having to make new ones all the time. I keep the name tag on them all day, with my name on it just incase they need redirected back to my room. Plus this is good for when students go through the lunch line and to Related Arts.

*Take a tour of the school. We always go on a tour of the school so that students can learn their way around. I also like to introduce them to the wonderful staff at my school including the principal and office staff.

*Now we all know that if you have fun centers like housekeeping and blocks set up around your room, the students will not be able to focus until they at least touch it. I usually let them play for a FEW minutes but this is mostly because on that first day I only have about 6-7 kids. I always like to fully introduce these centers SLOWLY. If you have a full class and you let them all go to a center, your room will most likely be a disaster at the end of the day. I highly recommend not doing that. Maybe open one or two with some math tubs or something.

*Most importantly, have fun!! Remember, it is not only your first day, but their first day as well! Make it fun and one that they (and you) will remember! Good luck!!

Thursday, July 26, 2012

Newbie Bloggers Blog hop




Grade Three is the Place for Me!

Grade Three is the Place For Me is hosting a  Newbie Bloggers Blog Hop!! Even though I have been blogging for over a year, I still feel VERY new and am always looking for new bloggers to follow and am of course hoping for new followers myself! If you would like to link up just click the button above and be sure to include the following information!!

1. what state you are in-

2. your current teaching position
Kindergarten (I LOVE it!!!)Star

3. your teaching experience
This will be my 8th year! (Hard to believe!!)

4. when you started blogging
I started blogging a little over a year ago and have learned SO much since then!!

5. share a blogging tip / blogging resource
If you have Windows Live Writer I highly recommend you use it when typing up your blog posts! It is much easier!! You can click here to download it if you do not already have it on your computer!


Thank you so much to Third Grade is the Place For Me for hosting this blog hop and my friend Debbie over at K is For Kinderrific for telling me about this!! Be sure to check out both of their blogs!!

Thursday, July 19, 2012

What Have You Been Up To Linky Party!

Traditions, Laughter and Happily Ever After

My friend Vicky, over at Traditions, Laughter and Happily Ever After is having a Linky Party!! Head on over to her page and link up with what you have been doing this summer!! You will also get a chance to check out her cute crate seats she has made!!
I have been spending my summer thinking about (not necessarily actually planning) our wedding! I should probably get started with the planning but we do have a few of the big items including the venue and the food figured out so I would say we are on the right track! There is just so much to do!! I plan on keeping things pretty simple though and am hoping and praying everything falls into place. I figure after I get through the beginning of the school year, I will be able to really get down to business!
I got to go home to my hometown in Pennsylvania for three weeks which was amazing! I got to spend some quality time with my family including my two beautiful nieces!! I mean, how sweet is this video!?? (That is my fiance, Keesy playing guitar :)

Now that summer is coming to an end, :( I have been spending time up in my classroom and trying to organize my life! We are debating on maybe taking one last trip for the summer before Keesy heads back out on the road and I head back to school full time. Camping or the beach is what we are thinking. Do you have any fun (cheap!) ideas? I hope that you all have had a wonderful summer and that the last few weeks go by slowly :)

Back to school Sign in Freebie!

One of the things I have done since my first year teaching Kindergarten is have the students sign in every morning the first few weeks of school. This has been a great tool for me because on the very first day you will know who can write their name and who cannot. I usually do this for about a month (you could do it longer or shorter if you wanted to). I have created a new sign in sheet for this year and wanted to share it with you! There are two versions. One without lines and one with lines (you may have a few kids ready for lines). Each day has a different shape so that students are able to easily find the day of the week. For those kids who cannot write their name I usually place their name right in front of them to copy or I “dot” it for them to trace in the box. I also encourage those students who can already write their name to work on their last name. (This is of course after they have proven they can write it correctly- without the random capital letters) Click here to get your copy!! Star
sign in sheet 2
sign in sheet

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Healthy Habits


One of the best compliments I received at the end of this past school year was when a parent told me that because of me, her child would no longer eat at McDonalds and that I have motivated her and her husband to start eating healthier. Well this got me thinking. This past year, I only allowed students to bring in healthy snacks to eat during snack time. If they brought in something unhealthy, I would simply write a note home and return the snack. I then would give them one of my “extra” snacks I had to eat in place of it. (This rarely happened because my parents were pretty good about sending their child to school with something healthy!! )I think that it is SO important to stress the importance of eating healthy at a young age. It was actually pretty refreshing to have my students check with me to make sure their snack was a “good choice” and then be proud of it and talk about it with their friends. It was also pretty funny because they knew when someone brought in something “not so healthy”. It wasn’t that they laughed or made fun of each other, they just had actual conversations about it which I thought was great!

So as you know, I have been spending a lot of time up at school trying to get my room ready for the new year! One of the things I decided to tackle was my “prize box”. I decided that since I am pretty strict about healthy snacks, I wanted to go through my prize boxes (as you can see I had 4!!?!!?!) and take out all of the candy and only keep the “goodies”. Now don’t get me wrong, we still have “parties” when we can and I do allow cupcakes and sweets but I always try to balance it out with something healthy as well. Smile  Now back to my 4 prize boxes. I have NO idea why I had 4 of them. (I think  I just kept adding stuff and they just kept growing). I did go through them and after about 10 minutes of sorting, I ended up with ONE box full of erasers, pencils, stencils, markers, stickers and more.


prize tub


prize tub 2

Ahh… much better!!

Now, I do not just give away prizes all the time. (Only on Fridays to the table that has the most points and maybe here and there for something special) I actually switched over to using this last year after finding it on Pinterest!! I absolutely LOVE it!! Students are given a punch card and after they get 10 punches they get to choose something from the catalog! My kiddos loved it too! (Especially lunch with a friend when I let them come eat in the classroom) If you used this you technically wouldn’t even need another “prize box”!

Head on over to First Grade Fever to grab these for free!! Yes FREE!! (Can you even believe it??)

So what do you do in your classroom? How do you handle your snack time and prize box? 
Have a great day!! Star

Monday, July 9, 2012

Classroom Theme Linky Party

Head on over to Surfin' Through Second to link up to the Classroom Themes linky party!! Lots of great blogs and great ideas!! I added my link back to my classroom setup post but be sure to check back later this week because I will be working on my classroom and posting more pictures and ideas!!

Surfin' Through Second

Thanks to Heather over at Teach It Today for telling me about this!! I suggest you check out her blog as well! She has a great freebie on there!! :)

Sunday, July 8, 2012

Wonder Words (Vocabulary Freebie)

Since I am soooo close to 50 followers ( I am at 49!!!) I decided to go ahead a post a freebie! As you saw in an earlier post, I found some really cute letters at The Parent Teacher Store that I am using to create my "Wonder Words" Wall... To go along with this I created a page for each subject where you can just print it out and laminate it and you will have a place to write your vocabulary words for the day/week!! Thank you to all of my followers and please continue to share my page!! :) Click here to get your copy!! :)

Friday, July 6, 2012

Classroom Setup!!

Today was the first day I was able to get back into my classroom to start setting it up for the new school year! It is hard to believe that we go back to school in one month!!! Ahhh!! So much to do!! When I got to school today this is what my classroom looked like...
After removing some of the items that didn't belong to me and arranging my furniture, it looks something like this...
Still VERY messy and A LOT to do, but at least I got the furniture where I want it!! This is always a BIG step!! :) After working on my room a while I went to the Parent Teacher Store, Jo-Ann Fabrics, and Target and got a few things! I got this awesome contact paper from Target and thanks to Pinterest, I made over my filing cabinet!!

Cutting the contact paper wasn't so was the putting it on that was tricky! But overall very easy and definitely worth it!!! At the Parent Teacher store I got some more of the star border I used last year and changed all of the border in my room so that they all match ( I will post a picture later when my room is complete) I also picked up this cute border on clearance for like $1.50!! I have these ugly white pipes in my room and have had them covered with paper but decided to change it up a little!!
I also got these really cute letters! I am working on fancying up my Vocabulary Wall (Wonder Words). I will post a picture of this as well when I get it all put up. I think I may have to create a freebie to go along with this :)
I went to Jo-Ann Fabrics to look for some fabric to use to cover some bookshelves and tables but didn't get anything. I want to go back with exact measurements so I don't waste any money! I did however see this cute map fabric that I got last year and never used! When I got back to my room I immediately got it out and hung it up and put a little border around it! How cute is this! I mean it was like $3.00 or something for this cute map! (You can see my star border on the chalkboard) :)
Finally, I headed to Target to get some painting supplies to paint a new bookshelf that was handed down to me from another teacher. (I LOVE free stuff!!!) I of course used Rust-Oleum paint!! (my dad works there) I have decided to paint my shelves black this year so that I can use color throughout my room and not have "too much" color...I have another one to paint when I go back up! I am excited about all of the extra shelf space I will have!! Plus they are kid sized which is awesome!! :)
Well, this is pretty much all I have done today!! I cannot wait to get back up there and work some more! I actually enjoy setting up my classroom!! How is your classroom coming along? Do you enjoy setting it up or would you rather not have to? I hope you are all doing awesome and enjoying your summer! It is going by fast!!
Oh yeah, one more thing! One year from today, I get to marry my best friend!! How cool is that?? Super excited :)

Thursday, July 5, 2012

Blog Hopping Fun!!

Head on over to Kreative in Kinder to join in on the blog hopping fun and grab lots of freebies and link up your own as well!! :)
Follow for Freebies

Kreative in Kinder

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

An Amazing Giveaway!!!! :)

What an amazing giveaway!!!!! This is the last day to enter so head on over to Kleinspiration to enter!! There are Books, Software, Memberships and Tons of TpT items. Don't miss out!!!!!

Monday, July 2, 2012

A fun filled weekend!!

I have not been around my computer for a few days because this was my Niece Daisy's first birthday!!  I also got to go the Brad Paisley concert to pick up my fiance who is out on tour with him and bring him back to my hometown in PA for a few days before we head back to Nashville on Friday. When we get back to Nashville, he will be leaving me to go to his hometown for 2 weeks so I will have lots of time to work in my classroom, print out TONS of freebies and purchases that I have gotten from all of the amazing bloggers I follow, and work on some of the freebies and things I have for my TpT store!! Anyways, back to my sweet niece! I cannot believe she is a year old already! My other neice Lily just turned 2 and it was pretty funny to see the difference in how they ate their cakes on their first birthdays! Lily was very cautious and slow but Daisy had no problem diving in! Here is a picture of Daisy and Lily helping her :)
I was so excited to get to go to the Brad Paisley show to pick up my wonderful fiance and see him in action as well! He is the MC on the side stage where he works with Jana Kramer, Love and Theft and Kristen Kelly!! My sister and brother-in-law went with me and we had a blast!! We got to have VIP all access passes and got to go on stage with Brad for his last song! So much fun!!! Scotty McCreery and The Band Perry were also there!
                                              This is Jana Kramer, The Band Perry, Brad  :)
I am so thankful for my amazing life and all of the wonderful people in it! I am truly blessed!! Here is a picture of Keesy reading to Lily. (She LOVES to read!!)
Now I am off to go spend the day with my 2 favorite girls and Keesy. I believe we are going to feed the ducks today :) I will be back in about a week with some new things! Be sure to check back!!