Monday, July 29, 2013

And the Winner is...

Congratulations to Robin B. She has won the amazing "Best from the Midwest" bundle of products! 

If you weren't the lucky winner I hope you still had a blast hopping around from blog to blog grabbing your freebies and new ideas! 

I have something special for you today. 
As a thank you to all of my new followers the Search and Find unit is 25% off for the next 24 hours! 

Click the pictures below to check it out! 

I'm also offering a FREEBIE from the unit so that you can see what it is all about! 

Click the preview below to download your free game!

I hope you enjoy your FREEBIE. 
Don't forget to show some love and follow me on TPT and Bloglovin'! 

Have a spectacular day!
Classroom Freebies Manic Monday

Thursday, July 25, 2013

Best From the Midwest

It's here! It's here! It's a blog hop! 
It is time to explore some great blogs from Minnesota and Wisconsin. 

To start things off, here is a fun freebie for you and your students to enjoy. This is a set of 2 alphabet sorting mats that are perfect for back to school. I use mine in many different ways. The first way is printing and laminating the mats and then letting the students use magnetic letters or other manipulatives to sort. The other way I use them is by printing off a class set (I like to use colored paper - it is always much more fun!) and giving the students magazines. They search for letters to cut out and glue into each box. Obviously, this second activity is a little more time consuming and is best saved for a little later into the year if you are a Kindergarten teacher. 

It could easily be adapted to fit older students by having them search for words that begin with each letter or by having them illustrate a picture for each box. The possibilities are endless!

While you are out exploring and downloading freebies don't forget to sign up for the amazing giveaway! These are the items that you could win:

Here's your chance to win! 
a Rafflecopter giveaway

I hope that you will find some new favorite blogs and some great freebies! Don't forget to enter the giveaway! We have some very talented folks here in the midwest that are just waiting to giveaway their products and favorite items! Now what are you waiting for? Get hoppin'!

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Mission Organization and a Freebie!

A couple weeks back I was able to attend the MN Kindergarten Conference. There were so many fun ideas shared that I was on information overload! The ONE easy-peasy idea that I brought back was to have a bin somewhere in my classroom that will house all of the random items/papers that accumulate throughout the day. Deanna shared this tip during her Organization Station session.

I already have a bucket in my classroom that collects missing toys, manipulatives and game pieces. Every so often during Free Choice time there is a student looking for something to do. I often point them in the direction of the bucket and they get a kick out of helping put things away. It might help that they get a sticker if they find the homes for all of the items!

So, why didn't I think about having one place for all of MY things that pile up each day? I teach the children to put things away, but it isn't always so easy for me to do it while in the middle of teaching. I have decided that if I make it a cute container, I will be more likely to use it. So I created a few labels that can be printed, laminated and then added to the side of a bin or basket. Now all of my things will go in there and I will NOT leave school until they are put away. Wish me luck! I hope that you will also find it useful!

Oh, and stay tuned for something super fun tomorrow! :) 

Monday, July 22, 2013

Library Pockets

I have been seeing a ton of great ideas on Pinterest that are centered around library pockets. I thought I would show you what I have done with the ones in my classroom!

I purchased some super-cute pockets from Creative Teaching Press last summer. I then laminated them and used a craft knife to slice them open along the top.

Next, I added the classroom jobs that I purchased from Tricia Lyday on TPT. They are adorable! Check them out here.

The last thing I did was put pictures of my students on popsicle sticks. 

Sometimes they share a job and sometimes they do it all by themselves. The sticks are rotated each week. The best part is that once a student has learned how to do a job, they train the next person. Truth be told... I used to just have a "Star of the Week" and that student was my helper. I thought it was easier that way. The kids love this new system and they check to see what their jobs are right away when they come to school! I love my new job chart and won't go back!

I would love to hear about how you organize and manage classroom jobs. Leave a comment letting me know what you do!

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

What a surprise!

Whew! I just got home from working in my classroom. I have so much filing to do it is crazy (I think I've downloaded too many things from TPT!) Do you ever struggle with how to file things? Do I file the whole unit together? Should I break it into parts and file each activity separately?  How do I keep it all straight and remember where I put it!? Don't get me wrong... I love TPT and all of the creative lessons and activities, but sometimes all of the ideas are overwhelming!

OK, so I survived my adventure with the files and came home to mow the lawn. My baby girl is at daycare today so I'm trying to cram in as much as I possibly can! And what to my surprise did I find? I had an email from Stacey at Ray of Kindergarten Sunshine saying that she had nominated me for an award. How exciting is that? I feel so honored to be recognized for my thoughts and ideas. Thank you Stacey! She has nominated some other great blogs as well. Make sure that you head over to check them out!

Now onto the good stuff! The rules for receiving the award are as follows:
- Link back to the original nominator's website
- You must post 11 random things about yourself
- Answer the questions the nominator set for you
- Create 11 questions for the bloggers you nominate
- Nominate 5 - 11 blogs (with less than 200 followers) and link them in your post

11 random facts about me: 
1. I did my student teaching in Macon, GA in an inner-city, Title 1 school. It was a completely different experience from small town Minnesota. I loved every minute of it! 

2. My husband proposed to me on the 4th of July during the fireworks. When I said it was the perfect end to the perfect day he asked me if I wanted it to be even more perfect. I didn't know what he meant so I asked him if he was going to go and get me popcorn. His idea was much better!

3. I am allergic to cucumbers. Strange, I know...

4. I enjoy scrapbooking. I try to go on at least 1 or 2 weekend getaways each year. I wish I had more time to dedicate to it. 

5. I have 2 best friends that are sisters. Heidi is a year older than I am and Lindsay is a year younger. We were just like sisters growing up and I miss them terribly when we are apart. 

6. My husband and I have a little girl that is 20 months old. She is into EVERYTHING at this age but it is so much fun to watch her grow and learn new things. She is talking up a storm and absolutely adores our dogs. I think they kind of like her too! 

7. I worked in the children's department of a library while I was in college. I debated changing my major to Library Sciences but decided that teaching was my true calling.

8. I grew up with my mom and my grandma. It was just the three of us and I wouldn't change it for the world. They have taught me to be respectful of everyone that I meet because you never know what that person's story is.

9. I am in the process of purging many things in my life. I have too many papers at school and way too many random items in my basement. If I don't need it, it is going! When the school year starts it really will be a fresh start.

10. I love to dance, however I am a terrible dancer. Thank goodness Kindergarten students don't judge! Even better, my daughter loves any type of music so we dance around together all the time. :)

11. My summer guilty pleasure is Big Brother. Does anyone else watch this? I have watched every season and I can't get enough! 

Here are the answers to Stacey's questions:

1. How long have you been teaching? 
This will be my 10th year in my current school district. I was in charge of the district's preschool program for 4 years and this will be my 6th year in Kindergarten.

2. Did you always want to be a teacher? If not, what did you want to do? 
I have always wanted to be a teacher. In fact, when I was in Kindergarten I told my teacher that I wanted to be a teacher and a bus driver. That way I could pick the kids up, teach them and then take them home at the end of the day. Pretty sure I wouldn't survive as a bus driver... I'll stick with teaching! :)

3. What is your favorite thing about teaching?
There are so many things that I love, but my favorite thing is when a student finally gets it and they get so excited about what they have learned. 

4. How long have you been blogging for? 
Technically I started the blog last year, but I am just now getting serious about it! 

5. If you could travel anywhere in the world, no expense spared, where would you go?
My Grandmother was quite the world traveler. She had been to every continent except Antarctica. I love looking at her pictures/slides and would love to travel like her someday. I would start with Ireland as my family is Irish and I would love to explore our heritage.

6. Do you have a favorite techie tool or any techie advice? if yes, what is it?
Oh boy, I have been experimenting with tons of new programs and apps. My new favorite app is AppsGoneFree and they have some great ones on there for primary students. It can be very hit or miss, but when you find a good one for free it is worth it! 

7. What is your favorite dessert? 
Birthday cake, wedding cake, cheesecake, ANY kind of cake! 

8. What is your favorite movie of all time?
Any chick flick from my college years (Coyote Ugly, Save the Last Dance, etc.) 

9. What is your favorite holiday?
Thanksgiving! I started hosting it when I was in college. Now my husband's family and my family come together each year to celebrate. I love that even though it is a lot of work when it is all done we can sit down and relax together. 

10. Are you a dog person or a cat person?
Definitely a dog person. My hubby trains dogs as a part-time job. Love them! Here's a picture of my hubby and I with our dogs Skip and Star. Skip is the big one and Star is little one. 

11. What was your favorite toy or doll from childhood?
I have a lot of dolls that my grandma gave me as I was growing up. I played with some of them and the others were "hands-off." My favorite doll was named Fallon and she had long brown hair that I would sit and brush all day long. I can't wait until I can give her to my daughter. I think I'll wait awhile because right now she drags her dolls around by their hair! 

Now I need to ask 11 questions. Some might be repeats, but I have changed some of the others. 
1. How long have you been teaching?
2. What is your favorite subject to teach? Why?
3. If you couldn't be a teacher, what other career would you pursue?
4. What is your favorite part of summer vacation?
5. Do you have a classroom theme?
6. How long have you been blogging?
7. What is your favorite food?
8. What is your favorite children's book?
9. What was your first job?
10. What is your favorite school related app or computer program to use?
11. What is your favorite non-school related app or computer program to use? 

And now (drumroll please)... the 11 blogs that I have chosen to nominate for the Liebster Award are: 

5. Our K Crew Rocks

What are you waiting for... go check them out! :)