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Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Tally Ho! Ok, Just Tally.

Hi Bloggy Friends,

I made a huge packet of Tally Mark Calendar pages. I just downloaded a bunch of fonts from KevinandAmanda and I couldn't decide which one I liked the best so I made lots of different versions. Lucky you! haha
This idea was inspired by the lovely Mama Jenn. She uses tally mark pages during her Calendar Time with a little guide and a lightbulb went off over my head- I just had to make this in my own style!
Laminate the page or stick it in a page protector and display it on your Calendar Time board and use a dry erase marker to mark on it.
Print a class set for students to use in their Calendar Binders to mark independently.

As I mentioned before, I am running out of Google Docs space, so I placed this on my Teachers Pay Teachers page. Don't worry, though. It is FREE! :) Just click on the picture for the link.

There are 16 pages in this packet!!! Lots of different fonts and versions. As you can see above, there's a version that includes a guide for making the tally marks as well as numeral formation guides. The first page goes to the 100th Day of School. The second page goes to the last day of school (I went ahead and made it go to 200, it just looked too funky ending at 185). :)

There's also a third BLANK page in each different font style for older kiddos to make their own tally marks and write their own numerals.

Happy Tally Marking!

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Clifford Homework Bag Freebie!

Oh, now this is just too cool! Your work is basically done here!
Hop over to Lory's Page for a fantastic Clifford Travel Log for a Clifford Homework Bag!!!

Thank you, Lory!


Happy Homework Bagging!

Monday, August 29, 2011

Follow the Directions Icons Freebie!

I've seen a few versions of these floating around lately so I thought I would try my own version. They are cards with  icons for Emergent readers and ELL students to be able to follow directions easily. Just post the pics in the order you would like them followed and place the numbers beside them!  The cute clipart is a Back to School set from www.LetteringDelights.com. Click on the picture below for a link to the free download. Enjoy!

Saturday, August 27, 2011

Small Blocks or Construction Center "I Can" Posters

Have you heard of Sparklebox? It's a fantastic site from across the pond! Seriously, when I found it I spent WEEKS downloading stuff like crazy. My hubby was truly concerned. Oh, well! :D

They have an ahhhhhhmazzzzzzzzing set of beautifully illustrated  "I Can" posters for your Legos and other small building manipulatives. I plan on making them into a book to make it a little less space consuming and connect reading into THAT area. :P
See how pretty?

Some of the language and spelling patterns are different so you may want to A) either recreate  them or B) just discuss the differences with your kiddos. I know my kiddos always giggle when I bust out an accent. Then I end up giggling when I hear them imitate me. :D

To give you an idea of just how fast you should get to hoppin' and downloading this set of posters, here are SOME of the "I Can"s:
  • I Can choose what I want to use.
  • I Can write a label for my model.
  • I Can tidy (tee hee) away what I used.
Oh, BTW this is FREE! Now, not everything on Sparklebox is completely free. They would like you to sign up for their toolbar to have full access. That's up to you. What they do have for free is a gracious plenty and well worth the visit!

Happy I Can-ing!

Friday, August 26, 2011

Shinkies! 30 Followers- Thanks for your kindness!

I was blown away to wake up and see 3 tens in my followers! Of course, I feel I must celebrate so I'm sharing some number order and skip counting puzzles I whipped up. They are normally on my TPT store, but for a limited time only I am providing them here for FREE!

Whaddya know, this also ties in just perfectly with Free for All Friday over at

Be sure to hop over and enjoy all the Mensa level teacher creations being graciously shared over there,too!

Thanks again for all your kindness and support, inspiration and expertise!


Thursday, August 25, 2011

No More Boogies! A book about blowing my nose instead of picking it.

Are you laughing yet?  I saw this idea SOMEWHERE (if you know where, please tell me so I can give credit where credit is due!) on the internet and laughed till I cried! How perfect is this topic? I made a few changes to the original and here is my version of this oh so hilariously necessary subject when teaching Early Childhood. If you like this book, please leave me a comment letting me know. I hope I'm not the only weirdo out there actually giving a lesson on this! :P

And THIS is what I blog about at 10:30pm. 'Night, all!

Happy... um...er... Teaching! :P

Three for Thursday

It's Three for Thursday! What's your favorite font, blog, and online resource? If you know me, you know I have a problem making decisions. You also know that my personality lends itself to do nothing by 1/2's so I tend to go WAY overboard on things I'm excited about. :) shrug. So, I couldn't decide on my favorite blog. I mean, COME ON! There are just too many fabulous ones out there!
You can't make me!!! (Crossing arms and stamping my foot now). Hmph!
Here's what I've got. I made a Wordle of my faves- and of course, it was still too many so Wordle did the editing for me. Phew! Outta my hands. :D

In other news, it looks like we're gonna have to hunker down for this hurricane. Hubby's higher ups have sent the word down the chain that if sailors choose to leave town and can't get back by report time they could be considered AWOL. Really?!?! There goes my awesome plans for roughing it out in some little B&B in the foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains. Sigh. Guess I'll be breaking out the paper umbrellas and hooking up the generator instead! Wish us luck! :)

Happy Thursday!

Where It All Goes Down

Today's Yesterday's post topic was to show off your classroom. Well, as you know, I don't currently have one! :/ However, I have had quite a few since 2003, so I figured I could show you that at least! :D

One thing I've learned from this post- I need to document my classrooms better! Ha! Another thing I've learned,-after cringing from the messes I see in the background and all the rookie mistakes I see now (gotta love hindsight)- these pictures are REALLY fabulous learning opportunties to improve future classroom designs! So, if you haven't been taking pictures of your classrooms I highly suggest you start NOW! :)

Now, you're just going to have to forgive me for not having pictures of my very first classroom on here. That was before I had a digital camera. GASP! I'm going to have to dig those out of my huge Teacher Portfolio and scan them to show you at some later date. Mental note to add that to my To Do list after I get over feeling really old. ;)

Happy Classroom Documenting!

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Free Teacher Supplies!

Hop over to Fabulous in First to find about an incredible program where you can fill your car with school stuff fo' FREE! Seriously, this is worth the hop!

Thanks for letting us know Fabulous in First!

Tuesday, August 23, 2011


Oops! I just realized that I posted this on my personal FB page, but I neglected to tell my bloggy friends! Here's the news (beep beepbeep beep):

I just wasn't the piece to fit their puzzle- or was it the other way around? After careful consideration and some great advice from those who love me, I decided not to accept the job at the preschool after all. It is a charming place and I really like the Director, but I have a program that I believe in and decided that I would rather stick to it and wait for the place that believes in it, too. :)

So, since VA report dates were this past Monday, it looks like I won't be getting a call to teach this year. I'm trying not to take it poorly.
{What's wrong with me??? I must be a truly horrible teacher! waaaaaaaaahh }
I realize that there are MANY wonderful teachers in the same situation due to the economy. This just means that I'm meant for something else this year! Perhaps it's finally time for... dare I say the M word? Yes, as long as they don't touch my dear Sailor's GI Bill, I WILL be starting a Master's program! EEEEeeeeek!

Of course, there is a cute little elementary school within walking distance  of my house so I'm sure I'll be making my way over there to get my fill of  hip hugs while I offer my help- I know I would sure appreciate it if I were in their teaching shoes!

I can't wait to see all of your genius ideas this year and hey, this means I'll have more time to share my stuff with you. Sweet!

Advice for New Teachers

Today is Teacher Talk Tuesday over at Blog Hoppin'. It's an opportunity to go back in time and offer new teachers the valuable "If I'd Knew Then..." advice. Hmmm... that's a hard one to narrow down! Haha! The biggest tidbit I can give is this:

Know that you will never be finished learning- and that's the best part!

  • Invest in Music. If you know me, I can hear you chuckling and saying, "Of course, this would be her first bullet!" Dr. Jean, HWT Get Set for School, Hap Palmer, Greg & Steve, etc. These are great CDs that have the standards built in and connect learning across multiple learning modalities. The more connections you can make, the more chances there are for the material to stick! These songs make great transitional activities to build learning into every second of the day. They also make great intros into different sections or subjects. I like to use the songs as quick focus activities to get our brains geared for learning in a new direction (math songs to get ready for a math whole group lesson, nursery rhyme songs to get ready for a poetry lesson, etc.).

  • Management, Management, Management. You will probably change this every year for the rest of your teaching life, but it's really important to decide on something now!  What works for you, what do you like about one plan? Take what you like and make it work for you. You don't have to follow one behavior plan to a T. You don't have to do what everyone else is doing. I'm STILL coming to terms with this: IT'S OKAY TO BE DIFFERENT!!! Just be sure you know what your district behavior expectations are, your school behavior expectations are, and then do your research on Developmentally Appropriate Practices for your age group. Check out NAEYC, Conscious Discipline, Love & Logic, Rick Morris' New Management System, and Positive Discipline. Above all be CLEAR in your expectations and take the kids STEP BY STEP through each little area of the classroom. Check out Pre-K Pages for her Classroom Management and  New Teachers Bootcamp Sections for ideas on how to do this.
  • Organize, Organize, Organize: Sigh. My first year teaching, I got a job the weekend before school started. My mom and I spent our time making the room look inviting by painting rabbits on the walls that encouraged kids to read. Ha! I SHOULD have been thinking about the flow of the room. The stability of an organized room would have been much more comforting to my students than a cute little bunny! If you fail to plan, you plan to fail, right? Have a place for everything and everything in it's place. You will not believe the amount of paperwork both on the kids side and on the teacher side (I call it front and back of the house). For the kids side, I have found it helpful to make a tray or file folder in a hanging file box clearly illustrated by subject for kids to place their paperwork. These trays are placed near the area they are needed for me/the kids, but other teachers find it helpful to place them all in one area along a long counter or in cubbies. For the teacher side: binders, binders, binders. The clear view kind so you can illustrate the front to match the subject or meeting. Easier to find when buried. ;) Check out the Clutter Free Classroom blog, Debbie Diller, The Cornerstone, The Daily Five and Cafe, and you DID keep your Harry K. Wong book from college, didn't you? Crack that thing open. ;)

  • Keep it simple. Choose a color scheme with 1-3 colors and stick with it throughout the room to keep it visually calming for both you AND the kids. All the cutesy stuff will come later... from the kids! You don't have to have a completely full room covered with store bought seasonal posters and die cuts on the very first day with every item open and available for your kiddos to rush in and dump all over the floor and step on. Phew! Let me say this again for those teachers who hear otherwise from their admin. YOU DO NOT NEED TO HAVE ALL ITEMS OPEN AND AVAILABLE THE FIRST DAY WITHOUT HAVING INTRODUCED PROPER HANDLING AND SAFETY PROCEDURES FOR THOSE ITEMS. Take it slow in the beginning so that you can fly in the end. If you are lucky enough to have admin who will trust in you and your degree that says you know what you're doing, they will be pleased with the incredible progress your kiddos make later in the year by teaching procedures and routines step by step early in the year.
Now it's your turn! What advice do you have for new teachers? I still consider myself a new teacher and would love to hear from you! Join in, link up, have fun!

Happy, Happy First Year!

    Monday, August 22, 2011

    Meet the Teacher

    Blog Hoppin' is having a week long Linky Party and the first assignment is for us to get to know one another! I loved getting to know more about one of my favorite blog authors Babbling Abby from The Inspired Apple.

    She answered some great questions, but I did mine a little differently. I was already working on this for my classroom (I was inspired from my previous post on my Welcome To School theme) and so, here it is... or here I am... or ... well... :D

    Be sure to hop over and let us get to know you, too!

    Happy To Meet You!

    Sunday, August 21, 2011

    Welcome To School- Arrival Activities

    Welcome to School Arrival Activities

    Mrs. Williamsons Kindergarten blog has a cute Pirate themed color by color word code printable if you would like to set out a quiet activity to focus little ones and anchor them (haha get it?) while you are busy greeting and helping others get settled and... and... and... ;) She has printables for K, First and Second grades.

    Make your Sign-In a learning opportunity! Use a pocket chart to focus on a different letter each day (after plenty of modeling and practice, of course). Have the kids place their name under the appropriate heading: Do you have an (A) in your name? Yes/No
    Change to a different letter each day.

    This transitions very well into a Letters in Our Name Class Book. Cut up an alphabet line or poster to make a page for each letter of the alphabet. Title each page, "Look who has a (letter) in their name!" Then type each corresponding student's name on the page and highlight the featured letter. Be sure to include a picture of the students for those very emergent or ELL readers. If no one in your class has a particular letter in his/her name, still include the page, but leave it blank!
    You could make this book interactive and include it in your ABC Work Station by including a magnifying glass and a deck of letter cards to pull from. The kids have to search through the book (great beginning "reference book" skill practice) and find the students who have that letter in their name. For older kids, you could have them record their findings on this sheet:

    If you don't mind having family members come into the classroom during the first few days of school (sometimes it's necessary for those really extreme cases!) have a bit of play dough out on trays and invite that parent to spend a few minutes squishing and pounding the dough with their child. The active engagement and physical activity can help ease those first day jitters. Just be sure that the child doesn't begin to think that throwing a royal fit will get them their way! ;P Of course, if you have an aide, you or he/she could sit with the child and begin forming a trusting bond of your own. 

    Pledge/Focus Activities
    KinderKorner has an adorable poem that would make a great focus pledge to get kids in the right frame of mind every morning. I made a printable of it here using Lettering Delights Paper and Pea Cassie font by Kevin and Amanda:

    KinderKorner also has a heartwarming poem for your self-portrait displays. I made a keepsake/portfolio page with the poem on the bottom using a frame from Lettering Delights:

    More Themed Behavior Clip Charts!

    Here are some buggy themed clip charts I made upon request. I think I'm in love with the snail one. :) Clip Charts are a positive discipline behavior management system developed by Rick Morris. There is a link to his site in the previous Themed Behavior Clip Charts post. If you would like to check it out as well as a whole slew of other clip charts I made, just click here. If you like them, be sure to leave a comment letting me know! :)

    Lovebug Theme     Love Bug Labels

    Bee Theme    Bee Labels

    Snail Theme     Snail Labels

    Happy Clip Charting!

    Vista Print ideas!

    The lovely Mrs. Bee has a GREAT post about all the things you can do with VistaPrint- for CHEAP! She was also kind enough to make a really cute noise level poster using one of MY freebies!!!
     You can find more of those here. I scrolled across her super handy post in my Google Reader and about fell off the couch when I saw how cute she made my poster. I am so totally making some labels and post-its thanks to her great tips! Thanks again, Mrs. Bee!

    Saturday, August 20, 2011

    Funny Back To School Commercials- Just to Make You Smile.

    How many times have I said the exact same thing about tape?!?! I love it!

    I could actually rock out to this one. :)

    Wednesday, August 17, 2011

    Neat and Tidy Cord Storage

    Here's a link to Martha's (do we really need to say her last name anymore???) site with a neat idea on storing cords so they don't get tangled up or *gasp* damaged. I'm thinking maybe this would work with Fun Noodles for a more colorful kick... too big?  hmmmm... I like that you cant cut them to your desired length. this would be especially useful if you had to run your cords along the wall for any length if you want to move your computer station a bit away from the outlet to have more flexibility in your room arrangement! I would double stick secure the foam noodle to the baseboard for added security- just be sure you can still access the slit you make in the noodle. :)

    Tuesday, August 16, 2011

    Busy, Busy, Busy!

    Hi Bloggy Friends,

    I'm so sorry to neglect you, but I have a very good reason. I GOT A JOB!!! :D I will be teaching Pre-K at the cutest little school. I went in today to check out the classroom. Yes, I took 'before' pictures and then got to planning (with my Debbie Diller Spaces & Places book) and cleaning. Then my dear friend and I went to lunch and got carried away with teacher talk (does that ever happen to you?).
    I take my VCLA Reading test tomorrow (I haven't studied NEARLY enough so wish me luck!) and we are on the lookout for a cheap, but reliable second vehicle. Phew!
    I promise to post more soon. I have lots of great stuff to share with you! I hope you are having a wonderful back to school season.

    Happy Prepping!

    Monday, August 15, 2011

    Saturday, August 13, 2011

    Garage Sale Scores!

    Mr. Moneybags took me on a shopping spree around the neighborhood this morning. We rolled out late, only hit 3 spots, and got all this for $10 bucks! Look at these book titles! I am sold on garage sales!

    Thursday, August 11, 2011

    Apple Theme Book Wordle

    Hi Bloggy Friends,

    I apologize for being MIA for a few days. My family came up to celebrate the 10th anniversary of my 24th birthday! :D Here's an Apple Themed book Wordle for you. Enjoy!

    Friday, August 5, 2011

    Community Helpers Theme Book List Wordle

    Are you kidding me- 25 Followers?!?!?
    You have made this girl's day! I have been throwing a little pity party for myself while reading about you fabulous teachers gearing up for a new year while I sit here waiting for the phone to ring.
    I know, He's Never Late. sigh
    So, when I hopped on my blog today and saw that I now have 25 followers, my heart did a little flippy flop. THANK YOU so much for making me smile. :) I love this little community of outstanding teachers I have found through my blog.With that in mind...
    Here is a little Wordle I made listing my favorite Community Helpers Books. I hope you like it. I am fiending for a shiny black picture frame to hold this one! Leave me a comment and let me know if you like it!

    Happy Community Helper-ing!

    Thursday, August 4, 2011

    Book Study Party Literacy Beginnings Chapter 8: Phonemic Awareness and Phonics: The Sounds of Language

    Thanks to Vanessa Levin for throwing this Literacy Beginnings Book Study Blog Party!
    Pre-K Pages

    Chapter 8 is being hosted by No More Worksheets

    Here are my thoughts:

    This chapter explained exactly what Phonemic Awareness and Phonics is and what it involves. Phonemic Awareness is the ability to hear the individual sounds in words. Phonics is is knowing the sounds represented by the symbols (letters). I saw this at a conference and it helped me, so maybe it will help you: 
    Click on the picture for a larger image

    The authors also included a wonderful quote by Marie Clay:
     "Phonemic Awareness is NECESSARY for success in learning to read and write."

    With this goal and the knowledge that children learn through play we can build children's phonemic awareness and phonics skills by:
    • using Nursery Rhymes
    • poetry
    • songs
    • tongue twisters
    • games
    • Interactive Writing
    • Individual Writing
    • Shared Reading and
    • just plain ole GETTIN' SILLY!
    One of my favorite ways to get kids motivated and interested in working with letters and sounds is by making mistakes! I make mistakes in the Morning Message, when I'm talking about sounds and letters, when I'm reading (rhyming books especially), when I'm trying to write a letter on the board and form it incorrectly. Kids love to show what they know- let 'em!

    Play lots of games involving the manipulation of sounds and letters:
    • Use picture sorts for letter sounds, syllables, and rhyming.
    • Have kids clap out the syllables (or word parts) or use a drum to drum them.
    • Play What's My Word by separating simple words into their individual sounds (phonemes) and have the kids tell you the word. /c/ /a/ /t/= cat!
    • You say a word (Make It) and they tell you the individual sounds (Break It).
    • Play What's My Sound by naming 4 words that begin with the same sound (bear, bun, big, bird) and have the kids tell you what sound they all begin with. Then name words with the same ending sound.
    • Name 3 words that begin the same sound and 1 word that is different and have them tell you which word doesn't belong.
    • Play beginning sound Memory or Concentration. Kids turn over two cards and if they begin with the same sound, they keep the matching pair. Click here for a free version- I included both long and short vowel sounds so you can play either way.
    Read, Read, Read and Repeat the Story, Repeat the Story, Repeat the Story! The more times you read a story, the more exposure the kiddos have to rhyme, rhythm, sounds, etc. Here are some of my favorites:

    and the entire There Was an Old Lady Who Swallowed A ___ Series of books by Lucille Colandro. Those are great for leaving out the rhyming word and having the kids fill in.

    Use phonemic awareness and phonics games as transition and classroom management tools:
    • Call students using the same first letter. Rick, Cindy, and Samantha become Lick, Lindy, Lamantha.
    • Call students by having them move when they hear a word that rhymes with their name.
    • Call students when they see their name or the first/last letter of their name written or held up on a card.
    Bottom Line: We have a fun job! Let's play!

    Wednesday, August 3, 2011

    Listening Loving Thinking Wanting Needing Stalking

    Oh Boy Fourth Grade is hosting a linky party!

    Here's what you have to do:

    Write down what you are currently:

    • Listening
    • Loving
    • Thinking
    • Wanting
    • Needing
    • Stalking (Choose 3 Blogs, One has to be non teacher)

    I love this!
      It is a great way to get to know each other a little better.

    Here's mine:
    (Click on the picture for a larger image)
    Happy Linking!

    Tuesday, August 2, 2011

    Birthday Theme Book List Wordle

    I was afraid of this! I had seen the buzz about Wordle and I knew that if I went there I would be hooked- and boy, was I right! After making several lovey dovey ones for the house. :) I started making Theme Unit Book List ones and I LOVE it! As I am Slowly, Slowly,
    Slowly Said the Sloth adding to my themes section in my blog, you will see them appear. (I am struggling with how to organize/add to my pages-that's what's taking so long!)
    Love reading other blogs, too-even if I may be way late adding to them! I guess great minds think alike, though because just after I finished making several book list wordles, I was catching up on my Google Reader posts (over 400! I am so behind) and saw this post asking for your favorite Birthday Books! PERFECT!

    Click below if you would like a copy of this Wordle for your very own!

    TPT Back to School Sale!

    Head on over to my TPT store- ALL items are discounted 20% until the 4th! HURRY!

    Happy Back To School!

    Birthday Unit Free Stuff!

    Head over to this site called 2TeachingMommies and check out their Birthday Theme printables! FREE! Math, Literacy, Science- really great stuff. :)

    Happy Saving!

    Monday, August 1, 2011

    Book Study Party Literacy Beginnings Chapter 7: Developing Strong Oral Vocabularies in PreK

    Here are my thoughts on Chapter 7 of the Literacy Beginnings Book Study Blog Party hosted by Vanessa Levin of Pre-K Pages.
    Pre-K Pages

    Chapter 7 was hosted by Brick by Brick:
    Click on the picture for the link

    This chapter addressed Vocabulary Expansion in PreK. Through reading this chapter, I realized I have not put enough emphasis on vocabulary as I should. That will be changing. :)

    The authors divide vocabulary into 2 sections:

    Reading/Writing and Speaking/Listening.

    My favorite quote from this section:
    "Vocabulary contributes significantly to reading comprehension."
    Whoa. That puts a lot more weight on the subject of vocabulary than I anticipated.

    The authors also inform the reader that vocabulary is cumulative.
    "The more words we know, the easier it is to make the connections that help us learn more."

    Those connections take a while to build. Children must have several exposures to a new word in a meaningful way befoe it becomes part of ther personal reertoire. Did you see that?
    "A meaningul way"
    That means that those oh so popular word drills are ineffective in vocabulary expansion! I am so thrilled to see this in black and white! 

    What is effective? I'm glad you asked. :)

    Ways to expand vocabulary:

    Intentional Planning  with Theme/Inquiry Study and Read Alouds: Plan for ways to connect vocabulary expansion to your current unit of study. Immerse your students in a subject by using new words related to your theme of study. Labeling animal, plant, and body parts, introducing and discussing types of transportation, studying types of insects and habitats, etc. Soon, you will hear your students adopting those new words. Check out KinderCorner for a HUGE resource and a great example of immersion and vocabulary expansion. She has tons of poems and songs for each theme. I am linking you to the pumpkin page because it is a great example, but please be sure to set aside a good chunk of time to browse her entire site- it is ginormous!
    Remember those themed word walls from last chapter? Also, choose your Shared Reading Stories carefully and use them to introduce new and interesting words. Check out Hubbard's Cupboard for a fantastic Focus Story schedule of study! Be sure to take a look at her Quick Reference Shared Reading Book List found on this page.

    Listening Center: Remember that children must hear and use a word several times before adopting it into their vocabulary bank? Let the Listening Center help you by providing that repetition! Record your voice, enlist family volunteers, use books on tape, cd, MP3, iPhone apps, etc. to allow students to hear their favorite stories, songs, poem,s and nursery rhymes over and over.

    Shared and Interactive Reading: involve children in reading and singing poems, nursery rhymes, predictable charts...

    Create a Print Rich Environment: label, label, label your room! Use children's interests to entice them into expanding their vocabulary by incorporating their names into familiar rhymes and activites like circle time games.

    Here are some of my favorite resources:

    Happy Vocabulary Expansion!