Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Whew - I'm beat!

Okay -so it's been quite a while since my last post.  SOOO much has happened. Spent way too much money on TPT for the cyber Monday sale (but I got really amazing stuff!), attended Fl Kindergarten teacher conference - I spent 2 days listening to and learning from Heidi (of Heidisongs fame) and the one and only Deanna Jump (I so want to steal her- for like a year or two!! AH-MA-ZING!!!!) We had our elf, Buddy, come to our class. the kid love it. I bought a regular house mailbox from Lowe's, added a Christmas bow and VOILA!! an instant delivery system for our daily letters.  the kids have sent things to the North Pole though the mailbox, too.
I bought the Elf on the Shelf super-pack from Jennifer Drake - she has the best idea - elf seeds. We are planting ours tomorrow - I'm so psyched!!
I even put the"snow" (confectioners sugar) in the freezer, so it looks and feels like snow!
We are winding down, 3 early release days left. Then 2 weeks of break - I have lots of planning, printing and laminating to do :)
January brings our new themes of snowmen (about 2-3 weeks) and penguins-polar animals (2-3 weeks).
I hope everybody has a rested, happy and healthy Christmas and holiday break!!

Saturday, November 24, 2012

TpT Sale - WOOHOO!!!!!

While my blogging is limited and, honestly, kinda sad... my ability to spend at TPT is never in question.  My purchases - um. like 20+ pages (seriously!).
I know many people are posting their cart for the big sale.  Well, right now my cart has 60+ items - a pre-sale total of over $300.00
Since I am not very technologically smart - here are some of the titles I am planning on getting.
Kindergals - snowman surprise, ocean animals, frogs and butterflies, comprehension pack, numbers 1-10, units 3-5 readers workshop (I have 1, waiting on 2), science blasters (zoo unit)
Jamie Mayas - polar express. pocket charts all year, faces at the zoo (I have everything else!!)
Deeanna Golden - plant unit, under the sea unit, counting and cardinality,  common core math
Greg Smedley - measuring packs (turkeys, gingerbread, Christmas and winter)
Kindertrips - growing and changing units, garden units, construction unit 
and a few other items
We'll see if I need to add anything else before Monday morning.
Happy Shopping!!

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Youtube - GRRRRRR

I've seen pinterest pins and links for really cute, awesome youtube videos.
My school system blocks ALL things youtube.  I've checked schooltube - not as much stuff is there.
How do you guys get stuff from youtube? Does it get past your schools security?  Is there a way to download (at home) and save on flash drive?

Thanks in advance for the advie :)

Monday, November 12, 2012

My Library

A while back I posted a question regarding an online catalog of teacher read alouds. Today - on my day off- I decided to re-explore my choices.  Low and behold...I already had a lifetime (paid) account with librarything.com (started back in 2007).  SO I added in about 100 books today -and ordered the cue-cat scanner to add in the rest of my books.  Isn't it cool when something unexpected (like an already paid in full account) arises :)

Happy Veterans Day
I Love our troops!!

Saturday, October 20, 2012

Help for me - help for you too

So I have been searching -and searching the blogs and googling till my eyes are google-ey.
What am I searching for, you ask?? Books. Great, fabulous, engaging read alouds.  Books that help me teach a CCSS concept - whether reading, math, writing - whatever.

So I ask all of you - what are your favorite books? 
I would love to have a theme-type list.  Is there a place to find this?  Does anyone have some suggestions of some books I can add to my library?
Thanks in advance for the info.

Hope all is well on this chilly Saturday nite in Florida

Monday, October 8, 2012

Freebies, cont'd

Okay - so I am actually (somewhat) figuring out google docs.
So here are some more freebies

Find the A's

apple number order puzzle

spider pages -various  (for the spider pages, I included some of the graphics /tens frames/letters needed to make the "answer card".  I print the spiders or webs on colored paper, then add the letters/tens frames and mount on cardstock)

Hope they are helpful!!

Sunday, October 7, 2012

Apple Fun and Freebies

We just wrapped up our two week long apple unit Friday, Sept 28th.  We graphed the apples we brought to school (by color), had a taste test and graphed our favorite apple to eat and even made crock-pot applesauce - the overwhelming majority of the kids said "ick!!" (guess I wont be making that recipe again)

I have been hving a hard time trying to upload my apple freebies. Of course that hard drive is at school this weekend, so I am going to try and upload some spider freebies.

Hope it works!!

Spider Counting

spider web letters and numbers

If this works I do have a bunch more I need to upload.

Saturday, September 22, 2012

I need help!!!!

I need help - seriously!
The problem - my book collection.  I buy books - I had my husband build me a wall of shelves to hold my teacher books (read alouds and professional dev stuff).  I have so many books, and even though I have attempted to organize the books into categories, they always get rearranged/out of order.
I have looked online and I have found a couple of book organization systems.  One is library thing. $25 for more than 2000 books (lifetime), buy a $20 scanner. Not bad.  Hard to tell what it's like.
Collectorz - $50, plus $20 scanner.  Lots of screen shots - seems okay.  And the Intelliscanner - $80. Seems really cool -  I just wish I had some guarantee it worked awesomely (21 day unopened return policy - not impressed with that).

So I am wondering - how do you guys compile and keep track of books?? I would love to get all my books uploaded to a system (love the idea of ISBN barcode scanning!!) and then be able to sort by theme (fall, spiders, Christmas, transportation, etc) so I can quickly and easily grab my books for  a given theme.
Make sense??
I really appreciate your help - let me know if you or someone you know has/uses one of these systems!!

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Apple Happy :)

We have started working on our apple unit this week.  So far we have learned a new song (A-P-P-L-E, sung to bingo) read some books and started by coloring a picture of an apple on day 1.
Today - we played a shape matching game - shapes on apples, (with recording sheet) to reinforce shapes and to practice how to "complete" the paper (we will do a lot of these types of games in months to come - so we need to practice the method).

I saw on Pinterest, Musings Of Me blog has a new AMAZING apple unit - right up my alley - it's even F-R-E-E!!! to bloggers who post about it.  Now I would've bought it, but free is definitely for me!!  You can find more info at her site  here .    Or see her TPT store, HERE (FYI - this is the first link I ever did - um, yeah, cuz I didn't know how. How cool!!)

Be sure to check her site for this and other cool stuff - she's awesome.
Have a great Tuesday !!

Monday, September 10, 2012

Help, please :)

Right now one of my biggest - and quite frankly, most annoying problems, is lining up. This can also be listed as one of my top 5 annoyances from last year.

I *know* how to line up kids.  I actually think I'm quite good at it.  ABC order by first name.  I call each kid up one at a time to find their spot, giving verbal reminders who to stand behind ( they are still learning each others names).  So here is the problem. The door is less than 2 feet from the bathroom door. And I am in a portable - line up space, not so much.  I love the numbers/shapes on tile floors.  I have carpet.  I thought about stapling shapes/colors to the carpet floor .  Custodians will.not.be.happy!!
Once we get in line (remember, we are 16 kids, ages 3-5) and start moving - we are pretty good. 
I would love to hear suggestions/thoughts.

Thursday, September 6, 2012


Busy week with the kids - yes.

But he last 3 nights, my evenings have been filled with stinky dogs.  REALLY stinky dogs. A bath every night stinky.  We can not find what they are rolling in - but, it is not good.
I am in NO mood to wash dogs when I get home from working every nite after 5:30 

I really need a nice calm Friday 

I hope you have a fabulous Friday too!

Saturday, September 1, 2012

9 days down - and going strong

I start today's post with an admission - I slept until 8 AM today!!! My normal wake up time is 4:30 AM (5:30-6 on weekends) and boy - did it feel good to sleep til 8!!

The first 9 days went by fast - and we were busy!!  2 new little guys started on Wed and Tues, 2 more boys start - bringing my boy total to 12, girls - 4!

The kid are enjoying singing, they love centers and daily computer time (we use the Waterford program). Next week we will start focusing on colors.  I am thinking of doing a color a day for the next 2 weeks, then do a Brown Bear unit.  Since I bought a ton of Brown Bear units/activities on TPT, guess I will use some :D

By the way - Heidisongs.com (a fave of mine) is having a 20% off sale.  school20 is the code.  I have almost every CD and DVD, but I had to get the new wiggles book (wiggles goes to school) and I also picked up a second wiggles book (wiggles learns to listen).  You can never hit those topics enough!!
Hope everyone has an awesome, restful 3 day weekend.

Monday, August 27, 2012

Pictures are here!!

Good news - Issac left us alone here in Hernando County.  We hardly had any rain after 11 AM.
I did check my portable - it has leaked before.  All was dry and okay.
Here are some pictures -in no particular order

This is my visual data wall.  The first poster is for capital letters, the second for lowercase.  I track the kids and will put their names on each poster showing how much they know.  I change the data 3 times during the year (although I check them at least monthly - more if I am doing RTI)

 I got this from Julie Lee's "Schools in Session" unit.   We completed the first day.
My take on the famous birthday board (I think original was Erica B, first grade teacher). Since I'm getting new kids this week (after IEP's), I'm waiting to take pics of kids and teachers.

My new cute color posters - I love that these were available in half size - I am so limited in wall space.

Class rules - we start by singing the Rules Rap by Dr. Jean, then I will go more into these rules - I love that they have movements associated with them.  Motions help solidify stuff for my little kids.
So this pic is my question of the day.  I post the question in a plastic sleeve taped to the whiteboard.  My hubby painted some old cookie sheets black and I made the kids names (pink for girls and blue for boys, thought it might help with name identification, we have lots of kids with the same first letter).  After kids answer, we go over data (more, less, equal)

I ran out of wall space - so I stapled these numbers on the ceiling : )  Even if kids aren't paying attention to me - if they look up, they are still learning!!

Super cute, new bright polka dot alphabet and my blank tens frames for counting to the 100th day.

  Same stuff from left side of white board. The blue paper is blank because we are working on that ten frame, so it is closer to our calendar area (makes it easier to put up daily picture)
Sideways pic - I made a pocket chart for the kids to recognize their names. 
Well, that's what I've got for now.
Happy Monday everybody!!

Sunday, August 26, 2012

Day 6 - Not Tomorrow!!

Well, after 5 happy days in my PreK class, school has been canceled tomorrow, due to possible weather issues from Hurricane Issac.  Thankfully - we are not in the cone, however, we may gets bands of bad weather.  I'm not too excited about this!  Reasons: 1. it's the beginning of the year; I need to build routines, an extra day off, not always helpful; 2. we will have to make the day up - losing either a day at Thanksgiving break (we only get wed-fri to begin with) or Christmas (we go through Dec 21st); 3. worst case scenario, the weather is super nasty and my fragile portable does a Dorothy from the wizard of oz!!  All my personally bought stuff (99.9% of what's in that room) - gone, destroyed, so sad for me!!

I certainly hope tonight/tomorrow is tame.

Question for all the super smart, super organized teachers out there.
How do you do your lesson plans?? DO you use a preprinted book?  Create your own template? Use an online lesson planner??
I am not happy with my current system - looking for most efficient way.
I'd love to hear what works for you guys!!

Tomorrow  is picture posting day, stay tuned
(I want to make sure the portable is still there - don't want to post pics and jinx it!!)

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Day 3 and counting

Today was the third day of our new PreK class and happily, it's still going well.  woohoo!Lining up and walking - could still use some improving, but, we will get there.  All 12 kids I currently have (5 new ones start next week) can recognize their name in print - woohoo!
We are continuing to practice our daily routines and they are beginning to know what the expectations are - with a little less prompting.
Definitely need to work on the "ms. connie  ms. connie  ms.connie" - they just keep saying my name over and over - regardless of who else might be talking or what I might be doing.  I have a couple of kids who have not been to school before, so they need to experience group dynamics/social rules.

On a side note - I brought my camera - and took pictures - 3, then my cameras memory was full. Huh, - oh crud, hubby didn't replace memory card.
Good news, I got it, it's in camera.  Picture taking will happen tomorrow. Posting probably on Friday or Saturday.

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Day 2

Today went really well!! I redid the spots on the rug where the kids sit, that made a huge difference.
I also introduced "smarties" (candy) and told them that if they can remember where their carpet spot is, they are super smart - so they earn a smartie.
Boy- did that work!!
We did centers and they did much better at staying in their center.  Still a fair amount of wandering and "I'm done", but we are working on building that stamina, so all in all, pretty good.
(BTW - all of the centers are play centers - playdough, home, legos, beans, manipulatives, etc)

My goal for tomorrow - take pictures!!!
And write 4 IEP's for the new students I am getting next week.  Busy, busy :)

Monday, August 20, 2012

HappyFirst Day of School!

While I had an "end of VPK" celebration 17 days ago - today was the first day of school.
A new group of kids - and boy were they busy.
I swear, I do not know if every year they roll on the rug, cry that they are tired/hungry (all day long) and get into all my teacher stuff, but they did today.
They also participated really well during songs, listened during a story (yahoo!!) and everybody said they were happy to be at school.
Did I get to everything I planned - no.  The stamina of these newbies is pretty small.  But we will build upon it and in a couple of weeks - we'll be doing some awesome learning and playing.

All in all, a great first day!!

Thursday, August 9, 2012

Feeling a little better...

Summer vacation day #4.  But I have sooooo much to do and while next week is "preschool" week; I have all day meetings on Mon and Tues and Open House is Thursday afternoon.  Which leaves 1 1/2 days to get my room ready.  That's not going to work!  SO I went in today to do a little bit.
I had to change some of my thoughts about what I might get done, because when I went into the classroom, the custodian was in there cleaning it.  She told me she would be there all day to thoroughly clean the room.  Great - it needs it!, but, now I have to work around cleaning and scrubbing and I really can't put anything where I want to, because the carpets need to get cleaned. Grrrr.
Here's what I did do.
I put up my new (50% off) fabric and boarder on my bulletin board.  I also put up my birthday board (the one I love from pinterest, where you take pics of the kids holding their date number and post them on a month card).  98% done - I ran out of border! UGH!!
I also laminated my tens frames for counting the 100 days of school and I printed out and made all the names I need for various things in my classroom - 6 sets total!! (cubbies, mailboxes, center chart, question of the day board, "are you here today?" pocket chart and  I also make 1 set and put magnets on the back to post on white board.  I use this for picking a "helper of the day".  All my kids are always in ABC order by first name and so they can see where they are in the order and figure out when it will be their turn).

Pics to come - once my husband surrenders the camera -- new Harley, so he's in picture taking mode!!
I hope to go in tomorrow and put up my new alphabet line (purchased through Live Love Laugh Everyday in Kindergarten) and maybe tape down some names.  Monday's coming fast!

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

summer vacation, day 3

Friday was my last day of summer VPK. It was great! But not having to rush out of the house in the morning - fabulous! (even if it is only for 1 week).
So far I spent the 3 days going to dr appts (waiting in dr offices... for-ev-er!!) and doing a little bit of back to school prep.  Still so much to do.
Only 2 more days of vacation left.
Back to school on Monday, kids come on the 20th.  It's going to be busy!!

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Where has the time gone????

Wow - my last post was over 2 weeks ago.  This summer has sped by sooo fast!.  This Friday is the last day of my summer VPK program.  It has been a great summer - I had a really great group of kids - AND - I got to teach all summer in my own room, that is awesome!!! (last 3 years, had to go to area daycares, not fun)
Anyway, 2 more days of VPK, then I have to get CRACKING on my room, oi vey!!
I have so much to do.
At least all my "back to school" centers are printed, cut and laminated and, I have to add, in labeled folders, organized in file totes :)

July is over, August is here
19 days til a new group of kids

Hope everyone has a great start to their year!!

Monday, July 16, 2012

Do I need it??

Okay teachers - I am here for more advice.
All this cute stuff on blogs/pinterest.  It seems like people have those electronic cutting machines.  So my question...do I need one? I'm not too crafty (yet?). If I do decide to drop 3 large bills (YIKES!!) do I go with the cricut expression or silhouette cameo.  Basically it seems like cartridges vs computer downloads.  Help me out here :)

Saturday, July 14, 2012

planning question????

I am looking for some guidance here.  What better place to find the answer than blogland :)
So here's the deal.. I have purchased almost 1000 items from TpT (seriously! - teachers out there rock!) anywho, I am thinking about the first week of school.  With all my new stuff, where should I start?  I teach prek kids (special ed/reg ed inclusion ages 3-5) and I have total flexibility/control with planning/curriculum.  I have a bunch of back to school units (Julie lee, Deanna Jump, Rachelle Rosenblit, and a bunch of others).  I also have a bunch of name studies/activities, a ton of brown bear, chicka chicka boom boom and pete the cat stuff.
Part of me think go with names - BUT - will it make as much of an impression if they don't know their letters at all (very common!).  Do I start with Brown Bear/Pete to focus on colors (while integrating other stuff) than move on from there?
So many choices!  I cant imagine spending one week on a theme as I have seen on other blogs.
Thanks in advance for your input :)

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

What's Not Wrong Wednesdays

Hello there! :)
So here it is - Wednesday - and I am happily posting about what's not wrong. 
1. Summer VPK is going really well.  The kids are having fun and learning!  The time is flying by.  22 days done, 17 to go.  (I can hardly believe that school starts in less than 40 calendar days - YIKES!!!!!)

2. I upped my workout intensity today and yesterday (after a couple of months of majorly weak workouts due to feeling like a big pile of poop 24 hours a day).  Tomorrow I have a turbofire HIIT workout followed by Jillian Micheal's Body Revolution (wk 3).

On another note - I am bringing my new camera to work tomorrow to take some photos of my classroom. I (well,okay,  my husband) recently painted some old file cabinets ( a green one and a grey one) as well as a TV stand.  I forgot to take before pics, but I'm going to take some photos and port my pics - hopefully the crafty and creative people out there will give some thoughts/advice for  my room (planning/design/etc)

Monday, July 9, 2012

Wow - My first nomination :P

So, I have been nominated for the Lovely Blog award :)

Being my first nomination, um, I hope I do this right.

There are 3 rules to follow when receiving this award:
1. Follow the person who gave you the award
2. Link back to the person that gave you the award

3. Pass the award on to 15 new bloggers

So number one - easy, done :)
Number two - (I'm not sure exactly how to link back - help,please!)
Number three - 15 new bloggers; I shall do my best...

Here are some of MY favorites (they may or may not be new - but definitely work looking at!)
1. Life is Sweet ... in Kindergarten
2. Kinderbabies
3. Miss Chamblees Kinderfriends
4. Sweet Life of Teaching
5. Mrs. Huffs Kinderblog
6. Kindergarten Khronicles

Okay - so 6 is nowhere near the 15 needed.  Hopefully effort counts :)  I tend to see the same blogs regularly - and I know all of those have gotten awards 10 times over.  I really like these and think you should take the time to visit - these ladies are fabulous!! 

Sunday, July 8, 2012

So Sad!!

I, apparently, am one of 3 people who are NOT going to I Teach K in Vegas :(
I would love to go - but 1. I can't afford it, and 2. I work every summer teaching VPK.  I have been to I teach K - when it was on Orlando (about 4-5 years ago).  Why doesn't SDE switch coasts anymore - UGH!!!!!   I am hoping to attend the Florida K teachers conference in Nov.
Question - do you guys pay for everything yourself, or does your school help you out?? Right now, it looks like I have to fund all out of county training myself (which makes Vegas a no).  Just wondering...
To all of you going - have a great time and please blog about your favorite sessions/trainings :) 

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

What's Not Wrong Wednesday

OMG - I am posting What's Not Wrong Wednesday - and it's Wednesday!! Stop the presses!!!
Anyway - what's not wrong...
I love my country - even with all the things I could complain about, I can't imagine living anyplace else.

I really believe in the men and women who defend and protect us - from our troops to the community helpers (I'm so PreK) like the police and emergency workers like firefighters and EMT's.  Much like a teacher - life would not be the same without them and all they do for us.

Hmmm - that's all I've got at the moment.
Happy 4th of July!!

Saturday, June 30, 2012

CCTA - a new support group

Welcome to Craft Challenged Teachers of America.

Hi! My name is Connie and I am craft challenged
:(   I am the founding member and I think from what I've seen on blogland, the only member.

It is sooooooooo sad.  I see all the blog entries and links to pinterest with the amazingly fabulous designs and DIY projects, not to mention the general "classroom interior design" that is evident in  - like EVERY classroom on the web.
I have a hrd time committing to a theme/color scheme, so i have a kind of mish mosh of stuff (and I mean I have stuff!  I like to shop, so since I moved to Florida in 2001 and started teaching in the public schools, I have - no joke -  easily spent over $15,000.  However, the one thing I yearn for is a photo worthy classroom.  I know I can teach the little guys - I just want my room to look  more "polished" - even for a prek room.
Problems: 1. I am in a portable (read - trailer).  Yes you can staple to the walls, but they are a light blue pattern of sorts.  It looks like a solid light baby blue from far away.  2. I moved classooms 2 times in 3 years - kinda hard to do too much in a "permanent" way. 3. Portables = small!! Me = stuff. (Did I mention no closets?)

So my goal for this year is to streamline my class style and pick a color scheme and STICK TO IT!!! (I have a lot of primary stuff - baskets etc, and the lakeshore rug).  I had intended to go with the zoo/jungle theme - but I see many teachers are focusing more on colors than themes.  Your thoughts??

I seriously need the "extreme makeover, classroom edition" - to visit me.
More to come as I figure it out - or try to :)

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

What's Up with You???

Hello all of you out there in blogland.
I figured I would just write a quick post to catch up with all of you.
So what am I up to, you ask? Thinking I am relaxing by my pool, chillin'.  Actually, no.
I am teaching a summer VPK (voluntary prek) program for kids going to kindergarten in the fall.
I have a small group (7 kids) and other than our current weather (thanks Tropical Storm Debby) the class is doing great!  We are building stamina for work and moving towards being kindergarteners.  I have a span of levels - one who has never been in school and knows no letters (even those in his name) to kids who have been exposed to letters and words and know all 26.  We spend a lot of time of the routines of school.  Reading block, calender/morning meeting, recess (when there's no rain!), centers, etc.
All in all - it's been a great 12 days (and I would know because this is the 7th year I've taught VPK in the summer - this group, definitely one of my most enjoyable)

I hope the summer is treating you well :)

Thursday, June 14, 2012

What's Not Wrong Wednesdays (Thursday edition)

Wow - Wednesday was busy, so I did not get post all the things that are going right :)
Here's my list
1. I am teaching VPK (summer voluntary prek) in my own classroom at my own school (after 3 years of going to various daycares and having to schlep all my stuff and be less than happy). As of today - 4 days done and it's going super duper!!
2. I am one week back onto my armour thyroid meds. Not 100% yet - but starting to feel as if the fog of gloom and tiredness might actually be lifting. Hallelujah!! :)
3. I write a blog post about my room theme for 2012-2013 and I got a whole bunch of responses!!! (almost unanimous - I'm going Zoo/Jungle)

Monday, June 11, 2012

Help Needed

I am writing this post to ask for help - your help.  If you are reading this 1. thanks :) and 2. I need your help.  My quandary.... my room theme for next year.  This is huge, I know!  I am feeling torn between "beach" and "zoo".  Thoughts???  I am in a portable, the room is basic - so I can go with either theme. 
Thanks for chiming in :)
I'll keep you posted as to the final decision. 

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

What's Not Wrong Wednesdays

Hello all - I saw this while blog stalking and I think the idea is phenomenal!  I can totally admit to the fact that I have a hard time being grateful for what I do have - I want to have/do/have done so much more.  So I am going to try and be grateful for what is happening today - even in the midst of my real life :)
Here it goes...

1. Today is the last day of the school year for kids!! Whoo-hoo
2. One of my favorite little guys brought his teddy to school today.  The name of his teddy - Connie (that's me - how super sweet!!)
3. An amazing mom (and her son) gave me TPT money for an end of the year gift.  :)

There is probably more - but this is a pretty good start
Happy, grateful Wednesday!!

Saturday, June 2, 2012

3 days left, but who's counting :)

So I have 3 half days left (BTW - who counts it as a half day when school ends at 2 PM??) and 2 post school days.  Starting Monday I begin my seventh (that's tight 7TH!!!) summer of teaching VPK - a 40 day summer program for kids entering kindergarten. 
The last 2 months have been soooooo hard. UGH! I had my meds altered - not in a good way - and I am dragging!  All I want to do is lay in bed.  Not a great mood for a prek teacher of 19 kids.
My workouts - virtually nonexistent, of those I have done, they are short and less than stellar.  I have gained weight - never a good thing and felt miserable in general.  Silver lining -  my regular meds are being shipped as we speak, so there is a small ray of hope :)
I plan on spending my summer working :) and checking up on all my favorite blogs - and buying lots of stuff on TPT!!

Thursday, May 24, 2012

The end is in sight!!

It has been a few weeks since my last post.  The kids have been off the chain crazy!  Florida is H-O-T!! And not in a good way, more like sweat is running down my body as I stand at bus dismissal kind of hot - yuck. 
As of today we have 8 school days left.
Our graduation/end of year celebration is Wed, May 30th.  We have been practicing - and practicing.  This group - not so much a group of performers.  I have done end of year "shows" for 8 years now.  Songs, poems, "active" choreographed dances - I mean business.  But in a fun, look what we've done kind of way.
This year, I've cut out songs (they just weren't getting it - and it was to the wheels on the bus theme!!). Until yesterday, I was seriously thinking of contracting the plague Tuesday night. 
But yesterday and today, while we are not entering Americas Got Talent, it was better.
Two more days to practice and I'm home free :)

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

So here's what I bought!!

I love a sale :)
Not that I need a sale to spend money at TPT - since July 11 I have purchased 16 pages of items - Yowzers!!!
Anyway, I see some people are doing an official here's what I got.
So since they are showing theirs, I thought I'd show mine
Spin and Graph Math and Literacy
Learning Letter Sounds Slide Show
Fun and Engaging Math Centers

Back to School Math and Literacy Centers
Amazing Alphabet
Fun in the Sun Number Sorts
Solve the Room Numbers 1-12
Alphabet Match-It-Up
What Starts With........  (alphabet activity)
October Fun  Math and Literacy Centers
Letter Land Alphabet Pack {Introduction to Letters and Sounds}
Yummy Math match-ups!
Roll-a-Number Math Center Activities

Okay - actually got a few other items - 4 "song books" 3 of them by Kim Adsit - I use these on the computer and big screen - the kids love it!
A cool parent handout about the alphabet is important, an end of year parent survey and some other stuff. 34 items in all!!
Guess what I'm doing tomorrow???? PRINTING!

Monday, April 30, 2012

Fitness Monday

So it seems like my Monday posts are about fitness.  Here is an update on what I have been doing lately.  In addition to my afternoon workout (the Jillian Michaels 90 day Body Revolution system, which I'm doing about 3 days a week - instead of 6 so I might finish in 2012, LOL!).
My morning workouts are more official, more intense.  I wake up at 4:30AM 5 mornings a week and go all out (in the gym my husband made for me the week we moved into the house - he's a doll!).  Currently I am doing PeakFit Challenge by Michelle Dozois. I completed the 8 week program last December and decided to redo the 8 week program - because it was challenging (CRAZY HARD!!!) and I actually got some pretty decent results (a few lbs and some inches lost). 
So PeakFit Challenge is a 6 day a week program - each DVD is an hour - the longest one is 65 minutes.  And she works you.  It is no joke.  But no matter where you start, you get stronger.  You get faster (cardio), you jump higher, you recover (minimally) faster  - sometimes  :)
Would I recommend it - in a heartbeat.  Is it for everybody - absolutely not.  But if you want a challenge and you want to push hard, you might just love PeakFit!!
Anybody doing something they love and think I might love too??
Happy Monday

Thursday, April 26, 2012

How do YOU fit it all in??

So I am guessing that most everybody is teaching full day.  I have my kids from 8:45 - 3:30ish.  Seems like a long day - but when you ave to fit in breakfast, lunch and snack, computer lab, therapies (I teach PreK ESE), recess/gross motor,  and rest time - I seem to always run short - forcing me to choose from centers or classtime (whole group - calendar/circletime, songs, story, papers, etc).  I am not discounting centers, but if its outdoors or centers, I choose sunshine!!  And I need to be able to teach them.  So I guess I am wondering - how does everybody else manage to fit it all in.
While I know most do not do rest - I do not do the full 90 minute reading block plus 60 minute math block (they are just in prek).  I have even tried what I termed the "switcheroo" where I broke the group into 2 smaller groups and they would take turns - half in centers (in another room) and the other half with me doing our lesson.  Then we switch - so yes I was doing most activities twice, however, I did group the kids somewhat by ability, so I could make it harder or easier based on the kids and how they were doing with the lesson/activity that day.
Long post - I tend to be long winded :)
Can't wait to see how you guys do it all.
(PS - I am also wondering how people fit in the curriculum stuff AND all the fun holidays/theme activities that I am buying by the bizillions on TPT).  Thanks in advance for sharing!!

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Your input, please

Today's post is short and sweet - a question.
Do you follow nutrition plan that works for you?  By works for you I mean - somewhat easy to implement, taste good and makes you feel good.
I, currently, do not.
Hence my question - I'm looking for suggestions, thoughts and maybe even some inspiration.
Thanks in advance for replying :)

Monday, April 23, 2012

Monday Funday :)

It is an absolutely beautiful day here in Florida!! I woke up to a chilly (but awesome) 40-something degrees. The high -73, right now all me windows are open and - it's a tad chilly.  Usually at the end of April we are sweating already. It wont last - but it's fabulous!!

Other than that, I am finishing up my Community Helpers unit.  I am using the Pearson Opening the World of Learning (OWL) PreK curriculum.  The program is great!! One of my favorite parts of the curriculum - concept cards - that are on card stock, as well as on the computer - and they are interactive!! SO I pop in the cdrom and the kids and I chat about the picture, then listen to the explanation of the picture.  Some of our words this theme were: library, post office, street, hospital, house (essential question- what is in our community); doctor, policeman, postal worker, job, teacher (EQ - what do workers in our community do?); and gym, mall, supermarket, restaurant, movie theater (EQ - what can we do in our community?).  By talking about and listening to the descriptions, the kids are really developing and understanding of our theme (as evidenced by answers to my questions).
Next week - we begin the next theme - the Farm!!

Thursday, April 19, 2012

stuck in our room

So this week has been hectic, but not exciting or inspirational - so I am not exactly sure what to post about.  Due to the fact that statewide testing for 3-5 graders is all this week and a big part of next, our day is very different.  As I mentioned in an earlier post, no recess and we are doing a modified center time in our small portable.  Needless to say, the kids energy is high, their physical outlet is not there.  So I am praying for a dry Friday - no puddles on the playground (of course we had rain today).
Hopefully next week will be less restrictive as only makeups and 5th grade are involved.

On a side note - we had a long singing time today.  I had bought a bunch of powerpoints for some of my favorite songs off TPT (Dr. Jean, Shari Sloane and Jack Hartmann songs).  It was great.  Even at lunch I had 4 year olds singing Shari's "Vowel Bat" - and it was only our second time ever singing it.  I just love singing with kids!!

Monday, April 16, 2012

Jillian Michaels Body Revolution - update

I thought I would update readers about my newest fitness program.  I wrote a few weeks ago about purchasing a new 90 DVD fitness program.  I have completed "1 week" of the program so far  - over the last 8 days.  The metabolic circuits are doable.  Jillian's cuing is EXCELLENT and she is really good about giving possibilities to make it harder if you want to push yourself.  The cardio is harder than I thought it would be, based on how Jillian referred to phase 1 being "low impact".  Even though it was not easy - the cardio could also be modified by a beginner. The moves are done for 1 minute each in a circuit - repeated 3 times.  
I will check in next week when I complete DVDs 3/4 - the circuits change the last 2 weeks of the month.

As for school - testing - UGH!! - for totally selfish reasons.  No recess for us today and for the next 3 days we wont have recess or be able to go to our center room (they use it for accommodations). 7+ hours a day in a room with nineteen 3-6 year olds. I just love state testing - not!!  :(

Thursday, April 12, 2012

I survived :)

Today is done - aaahhhhhhh.
Sitting here on my couch, relaxing after our busy, busy day.  We walked to the library - and to my surprise, they did great!! I took us 22 minutes door to door - so we had time to play at the public park next door, before our official visit to the library.  The librarian talked about summer fun at the library and read 3 books.  We all got library cards (me, too!)  and a tour of the library, including all the offices where the "important people" work.  The kids had fun and were able to check out 2 books each.  We had a picnic lunch at the park and then walked back to school, where they rested while I attended a 4 hour ESE teacher meeting.

So glad tomorrow is Friday !!!

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

A very adventurous undertaking...

So we are learning about community helpers and things in a community.  I got a little ahead of myself and planned a walking field trip to the public library.  It's at least 1 mile - mostly uphill (really, I'm not kidding).  I have 17  4 and 5 year olds.
What was I thinking??? LOL

If I make it - I will check in tomorrow with all the details.

Saturday, April 7, 2012

I've been tagged - for the first time ever!!

So Erin, my blog design buddy has tagged me.  I've yet to be tagged in blogville, so I hope I do this right!!

My questions and responses:
1. Meals or snacks?
snacks -  I like to make meals out of snacks (LOL)
2. Soda or water?
Water, no soda since 2005
3. Mountains or beaches?
neither, I'm NOT a nature girl (can you say air conditioning)
4. Cats or dogs?
5. Chocolate or Vanilla?
6. Starbucks or Dunkin Donuts?
DD - but for the donuts, I don't even drink coffee
7. Movie theater or renting?
8. Pool or ocean?
if I had to choose, pool
9. Car or SUV?
car - something small and sporty, hopefully red!!
10. Early bird or Night Owl?
I'm up before the early bird every day!

My 10 questions...
1. What grade do you teach?
2. What was your first job ever?
3. Favorite TV show right now?
4. Favorite theme to teach?
5. If I won $1000, I would ...
6. What are your summer 2012 plans?
7. Casual or dress clothes for work-school?
8. Favorite go to meal at a restaurant?
9. What's for dinner tonight?
10. Name 2 blogs you love right now

Okay so my ten tags:
1. Creating and teaching
2. Loving and Learning
3. Miss Chamblees kinderfriends
4. Kindergarten Kronicles
5. Kreative in Kinder
6. Miss Plants Press
7. Mrs. Albanese's Kindergarten  Class
8. Can do Kinders
9. Ms. McBee's Kinderbugs
10. Under the Alphabet Tree

Thanks for including me in the fun!!

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

My other obsession :)

So I was thinking - while this is my teacher blog, and my life mostly centers around all things school, there is another part of me I figured I could sidebar blog about as well.  OCD number 2 - fitness.  I never did anything team sport wise, or any sport -wise.  In high school I had to take gym every semester. After the first semester of big group gym, I took yoga for 3 1/2 years. I stretched...barely
Anyway - fast forward to 1996. I went to a step class with my sister in law. Holy cow - it was awesome. The 2 day a week class was great, but I bought a step and some dvd's and a fitness fanatic was born (doing a step tape 7 days a week).  Now it's 2012 and I still work out 7 days a week - sometimes 2X a day.  My newest fitness regime is by Jillian Michaels, her new Body Revolution 90 day system.  I have 3 friends at work willing to do it with me (30 minutes a day, 6 days a week) - we took measurements today and I look forward to seeing some positive 90 days results!!  I will update as the weeks go on.

Anyone else have an awesome fitness program they love?? I am always up for something different.

Saturday, March 31, 2012

What's New In PreK??

So this week in prek we began our new theme study - community helpers.  I spend over $100.00 on amazing products from teachers on TPT and Teachersnotebook.  Some favorites: community helpers  unit from in the teachers lounge (teachersnotebook) {probably the most amazing thing I've bought to date!!!}, on TPT: deedee willis fire math games, katie mense fire safety unit (FABULOUS!!) and various community helpers units from Julie Lee, Katie Hoss, Ladybug in Kindergarten, Williams sisters, Kindergarten Kiosk, Jamie Mayas, Jamie Chamblee and a pocket chart set from Rachelle Rosenblit. (Yup - I'm broke now - LOL!!)
These products are great.  Most of them I am using in some creative ways.  My prek kids are definitely not ready to do these independently in centers (for the most part, the reason they were created), but I enlarge them at the copy shop and do them whole - or my newest plan... give the kids a copy of the recording sheet on a clipboard and put the image on my whiteboard (with laptop and LCD).  I write on my recording sheet (the whiteboard) as they do theirs.  This week - it worked out GREAT!!!!!  (no smartboard for me - so I kinda created my own).

No pics yet - was so busy doing, didn't get to take pics.

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Back from Spring Break :)

So today was the first official day back from Spring Break.  Yesterday (Monday) was a professional day so I went to work bright and early and had a whole bunch of planning and preparation planned - unfortunately the technology was not cooperating.  So, instead I rearranged my room - again.  I am never satisfied with my arrangements - but I'm always up for a change - and nothings permanent!  So in about 4 hours, I moved nearly everything (all by myself). 
Of course, the kids immediately noticed.  "You moved my table? You moved the rug? You moved the computer?"  We'll see if this new arrangement lasts til June..

My biggest annoyance - my teacher technology stuff.  How do you all have your LCD/laptop/elmo arranged and stored - so its not in the way, accessible and how do you handle like 20 feet of extension cords across the floor??? Thoughts/suggestions????

Thursday, March 22, 2012

What's Your Favorite Book??

Hello all :)
The purpose of tonight's post is not so much for me to tell you something, but hopefully, to stir up your teaching juices and tell me about your favorite picture books to read to kids.
I have a whole bunch of favorites - different books for different reasons.
My list (always growing and off the top of my head)
Inside a House that is Haunted (alyssa satin capucilli) - I used to have the book WITH the tape - and the sing-song version is permanently imprinted on my brain ( I would love to find the actual audio again) 
A Bad Case of Stripes (david shannon)  Great story fun to read. Great to talk with kids about doing what makes you happy, not whats popular
The Little Mouse, The Red Ripe Strawberry and The Big Hungry Bear (audrey wood) Adorable!!
Brown Bear (eric carle  bill martin) A classic
The Hungry Thing (jan slepian  ann seidler)  Great book for phonemic substitution - kids love it!!
The Tenth Good Thing About Barney  (judith viorst) So sad - I read this book every year as part of a writing minilesson.  And every year, I would cry a little (as would the kids).  Amazing way to show how books/authors make you feel emotions

I love reading variations - so first we read a classic - say - the three bears and then read all the fun variations.  The kids love this - sometimes we even decide we like a silly variation better than the original.

I buy way too much stuff for my classroom - but I could always use some book suggestions!  Let me know some of your favorites.
Happy Thursday :)

Sunday, March 18, 2012

Leapin Leprechauns!!!!

I have a tendency to go a little crazy with certain things.  It's all in good fun.  Take St. Patty's day, for example (which due to Sat and Spring Break, we celebrated a day early). So on Thursday nite I go to the store and get a bunch of "treasure" that the tricky leprechaun can put in his pot.  (Keep in mind - the kids have been driving me a little nutty lately, I wasn't exactly in the "let me spend $30 bucks on the cranky kids who never seem to listen when I talk" mood. But I did it anyway)
So fast forward to Friday morning. The kids come in - room looks normal. We eat breakfast and head over to computer lab.  While we are at recess (and speech therapy for some) that tricky leprechaun came into our class - knocking down chairs, leaving green footprints and magical leprechaun dust everywhere!!! On my whiteboard, on my table, the microwave - even the toilet!!!
The kids found his magical pot of gold (which was hidden in plain sight).  Then - the insanity began.  They (eighteen 4 and 5 year olds) were RUNNING and SCREAMING - one boy at a pitch that could rival an opera singer, about the footprints and the treasure and more about the footprints. It was crazy. But - they were hooked. And happy. (BTW - this was before the candy!!)
Now for spring break. Ahhhhhhhhhh!!
Then 50 more school days to get it all done.
Oh Boy!!!

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

What's Up Wednesday

So it's been a week.  Not a great week, just a week.  The week before Spring Break.  I have started a few little tweaks, figuring we could try them out for a few days and pick them back up after Spring Break.  I feel torn because I want to do all this amazingly cool stuff I buy on TPT from the worlds most amazing teachers (and I have created a few myself) - but the stamina of the class is practically non-existent - UGH!!!  Most days I feel they are (behaviorally) like they were in October.  Thankfully, skill wise we are trucking right along and I feel confident with sending each 5 year old up to kindergarten. 
My biggest problem - rug time.  This is normally not an issue for me.  But this class has resisted all my tricks.  SO if anybody is out there I am wide open to suggestions.
As of today we have 52 school days before Kindergarten.  52 days for me to shape their behaviors and continue to challenge their minds. 
Wish me luck :)

Saturday, March 10, 2012

What's new in PreK??

So this past week we have been working VERY HARD on some basic classroom/school behaviors that should have been fixed by now.  I am super structured and consistent.  I also try to make the class fun and have lots of new stuff to do with the kids all the time.  I am starting to wonder if it's time for me to go back to kindergarten myself....Hmmmmmmm 
Kind of frustrating to STILL be working on these, but that is the way it goes sometimes.  This year my group of kids are extremely chatty.  So we are really working on being kindergarteners - looking like kinder kids, sounding like kinder kids, etc...
It seems like a very long road for the next 55 days of school.
Wish me luck
Suggestions welcome :)

Sunday, March 4, 2012

And for some more good news:)

I went to Target tonight and bought an 8GB camera memory card.

Tomorrows plans include: 2 IEP meetings, laminating some new material AND taking as many pics as possible, all while having fun with my little monkeys.  Wish me luck!!

Tomorrow night -- pic uploads (if all goes according to schedule)

Freebie, part 2

Thanks to those who gave suggestions.
I decided to go with google docs.  I hope this works!!!! (finger crossed, eyes squeezed shut!)

Please leave comments if you like it, hate it or otherwise :P
I am a work in progress.
happy almost monday :)

The link to some St. Pattys fun:

**** For the 2 activites that have clip art - print on colored cardstock. Write/print out numbers/words glue and laminate. Kids fill out recording sheets :)

Freebies!! (I'm going to try)

Okay, so I am going to try and upload some freebies that I made for my Prek kids this weekend.
Bear with me :)

Okay - I'm lost. How do I upload a PDF that I created???
Can anyone help me???

Reality sets in :(

So here's the deal.
I have my camera. I have the cords I received with my camera (school camera , I have a ziploc baggie full of random stuff)
I have an unusually small camera memory card that will NOT fit into my computer or my camera flash drive adaptor.
I have lots of pics of my calssroom and kitchen remodel that I can not UPLOAD.
I'm frustrated!!!!!!!!!
So - today I am going to Walmart to buy a new memory card.  One that fits in my computer. And tomorrow I will take as many pics as I can - while I can not retake the Groundhog themed photos, I will take new ones and hopefully still have a few blog visitors.

This blogging thing is not going as smoothly as I had hoped!!

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Crazy Life!!!!!

I am a do-er.  I get it done. 
True - yes, except aparently, when it comes to my blog - UGH!!!
I promised my readers pics by the weekend - and then the weekend came, and with the weekend came more kitchen remodeling (I went to Lowes 12 times in 2 days!!).  The kitchen came out great, so we painted the kitchen - and the living room.  And the hallway.  Just went back to Lowes today for more paint - the kids rooms (let them pick their own colors). (PS - we bought house Dec 2010. House was flipped, so it was all clean and painted. Newer - CHEAP cabinets, flooring etc. Bland - walls off white everywhere.  It looks like a home now :)
I brought home my camera - the dumb memory card is too small for my memory card reader.  Guess where the cables were to connect to the computer - um, school!
And so it continues. Lots of pics in the camera - none on the blog.
My ONLY goal for this weekend - blog pic uploads.
I WILL do it this weekend.
Anyone who is out there - please be patient.  I'm trying to get it all done (and boy did it get crazy busy fast!!)

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Forgive Me :)

I was all into blogging - I even took pictures of my classroom and had grand plans to post them and share my classroom and some of our work with the blogging world.  Then...life changed.  Kids arrived - holy cow - we SHOPPED!!!. School clothes, school supplies, so much food!!!  Nightly homework, more trips to the store - Oh, my!  And in the middle of all this -  I bug my wonderful husband to knock down a kitchen wall this past Sunday and redo the kitchen, and yes he did it! (we are about 75% done with the mini project - will finish this weekend)
So - as my title begs - please forgive me. Pics WILL be posted no later than this weekend.
Posting and normal life will resume!!
Thanks - hope everybody had a great Valentines and plans for a wacky Dr Seuss week :)

Monday, February 13, 2012

Today I had a rhyming activity as part of m morning message.  In addition to "reading" our message, I used some valentine theme rhyming graphics and the kids had to find  the matching picture card.  I only had 1 choice for each of the 4 pictures posted. Surprisingly, they did really good!  I think one got really lucky - as she picked cat to rhyme with hat (I'm not sure this child gets rhyming - as she has pretty significant language delays, so I think she connected to the cat-hat, cartoon, book, etc).  Anyway, I am repeating the activity tomorrow - but with different rhyming words. We'll see how it goes.

On a side note, I also have changed our daily counting activity.  For the first 100 days of school (our 100th day was Feb 2nd) we had a zoo animal chart I purchased from really good stuff that grouped animals in 10, each tenth animal having its number written in red, the rest in black.  Now we are counting down the last 80 days til summer vacation.  I printed out 8 blank tens frames and posted each on a different color of card stock.  Each school day we add one smiley face sticker to a ten frame.  When the 1o frame is filled, we move on to the next one (they are taped to my wall in a top to bottom descending order) with the last box on the last tens frame being highlighted  (woohoo!!! Summer Vacation here we come.)  They are getting really good at "seeing" how many are filled in the ten frame, and how many are left. I am so proud of my little ones :)

Sunday, February 12, 2012

Thrilling Thursday!!!

Well - I know this is supposed to be a blog about my journey as a prek teacher. Well, on Thursday Feb 9, 2012, my life changed dramatically - forever.  My husband has been in a huge custody battle with his ex for his 2 children. We hoped for more visitation. On Thursday - we got primary custody! So now I am a fulltime stepmom to 2 kids and a fulltime prek teacher.  Boy- things are about to change!!

On a side note - I am so excited that some amazing teachers are checking in on my little blog.  I will try not to disappoint!  Thanks SO MUCH to Erin from Creating and Teaching for my blog design and mentioning my blog so others can check it out :)

Monday, February 6, 2012

Monday Madness! :)

Is Monday ever really any other way?  No matter how much I do on the weekend to "feel" prepared, something undoubtedly pops up and throws my AM hours into a tailspin.  Today was no different.  While the event that stirred up my day was personal (needed to go to building dept to get permit to do my roof), it was one of those things that got my happy morning routine in a tizzy!  The kids don't seem to mind - but I definitely feel flustered and like I need to catch up all day.

Enough about my crazy Monday morning.  On to school stuff.  One of the new things I have started doing in class with my prek kids is a daily morning message. We read the message I wrote (before they came in that morning) and there is usually some task to complete. For example today was missing numbers.  I had a 3 number sequence and one of the numbers was missing -  the kids had to figure
 out the missing number and we talked about how to correctly write the number ( thirteen is a 1 and a 3).  I have a number line near the easel the kids could use to check their thoughts.  They did great!!!
(I have got to start taking pics - I know.  Stay tuned for visuals)

Saturday, February 4, 2012

A thought about my week...

That really started the week before.  I attended a training with Kim Adsit (DI for the Little Guy) in Tampa on Jan 26th.  I was super fortunate to have SAC pay for my registration :)
I was so inspired!  I have been to many wonderful tranings since I have moved to Florida and began my public school teaching career - but due to financial issues with the county (and mine, too) - I have not attended any top notch trainings in about 2-3 years!!!
Anyhow - back to Kim's training.  First of all - if you get the opportunity to attend one of Kim's trainings - GO!!!!!  You will not regret it. She is funny,  smart and has a wealth of  experiences to share. 
One of the things that invariably happens at these trainings for me is I get energized to do more and start planning all the changes improvements that will take place upon my return.  First order of business - my room arrangement.  I know I'm going to have to bite the bullet and post some pics - kinda unwillingly.  I am in a portable (trailer).  A not big trailer.  I have A LOT OF STUFF (school stuff).  I have 19 kids. Therefore we are cramped!  I don't even do centers in my room (we go to another trailer that is set up in centers for the kids to work in). On the way home from Tampa I called my wonderful husband who came with me to school and he moved all my big heavy furniture for me :)
The next morning I got to school at 6:30 AM and was finished with just about every detail by the time the kids arrived at 8:45 AM.

Whew - I can get long winded! More on some classroom/curriculum changes next time!

Introductory Post!

After months of lurking on the fabulously inspiring pages of prek and k teachers, I have officially joined the world of bloggers!  I hope to post some of my class' trials and tribulations, highlight some of our successes and share my world of creating kinders!  I hope you can find something worth stopping by for :)