Saturday, December 29, 2012

Returning to School on January 3rd

I hope that all of you had a wonderful Holiday!  I was very blessed this Christmas.  Besides spending quality time with my family, my husband surprised me with a new laptop for Christmas.  So,  I am typing this blog post on my new laptop.  My old laptop was at least 5 years old and "died" in October.  Since then,  I have been using my teenagers' laptops.  But sometimes they need their laptops for homework, so I'm not always able to get to use a computer.  I love my new laptop but it is taking me a little bit to get used to Windows 8.  You see, I'm not always good with change.  But, I'm making an effort (and trying not to bug my 18 year old with too many questions).

Like many of you, I return to school on January 3rd.  So I have had to plan for a day and a half of school with my kinders.  (At my school, the students only attend school until noon on Fridays.  Because we teach our own specials during the week, we use Friday afternoons for planning and professional development.)

Since it will be a very short week, I have planned some fun New Year's activities for the students to do.  I thought I would share some of the freebies that I found on Teachers Pay Teachers with all of you, in hopes that you can use them also.

First, I found a New Year's banner for my students to make on the Teaching with Love and Laughter blog.

Click here to see the blog post with the activity.

I am also going to have my students make New Year's necklaces by stringing noodles that have been dyed different colors on yarn and using the "favors" from this "Happy New Year Poem and Printables" freebie by Shelley Rolston.  Click here to find the freebie in her store.

Our New Year's fun won't be complete without hats.  I found this freebie to make headband hats with paper strips in Marta Almiron's Teachers Pay Teachers store.  Click here to get to her free download.

Besides making hats and necklaces, I am going to have a "New Year's Eve" party in the afternoon.  We are going to countdown from 10 to 1 and then jump on bubble wrap.  I think my little ones will love it.  Then we are going to have a small snack, popcorn and juice and play Bingo.

I hope these ideas will help you to make returning to school at the end of a week a little bit easier.

Happy New Year! to all of my friends and followers.

Monday, December 10, 2012

It's Beginning to Look A Lot Like Christmas

Happy December Everyone!

I love the month of December in my kindergarten classroom.  My own kids are teenagers and even though they are excited about Christmas, it just doesn't compare to the excitement of young children.  I feel very blessed to share in my 5 year olds' spirit of Christmas each year.

This year I decided to have an "Elf on the Shelf" in my classroom.  (I received a free one from the company.)  I have a very well-behaved class.  So I figured that they could handle the craziness of finding the elf in a different place each morning.

They love finding the elf each morning.  I love seeing their smiles when they find him.  They also love to share his escapades with the teachers across the hall.

Here are some pictures of our elf from last week:

Our elf, Red, played in the magnetic letters on Tuesday night.....


and he left the students a message.

On Thursday, he brought the class a special treat from the North Pole, to celebrate 
the last day our student from the local college was with the class.  (He began eating
one before the class came in.)

Thank you for stopping by to visit and see the Adventures of Red The Elf,

Saturday, December 1, 2012

My First Freebielicious Freebie

Happy December!

Good Saturday morning everyone!  I hope your weekend is off to a great start.  I know mine is, I love creating freebies to share instead of cleaning my house.  This past week, I had a Gingerbread theme.  So I made this Memory Game for my students to play during Math centers.  I hope that your students like it also.

Click here to get my Gingerbread Memory Game.

I also linked up with Freebielicious Freebies on the First.  Visit them to get more freebies.

Thank you for taking time out of your busy weekend to visit me.

Friday, November 23, 2012

A Late Thanksgiving Idea and a Freebie

Happy Friday After Thanksgiving!

So what did you do today?  Eat leftovers, go shopping, put up Christmas decorations?  It is very cold and blustery here in southern Michigan.  And even though I don't want to admit it, I think I see some snow flurries outside.  Brrrrrr.....

I wanted to share something I did during my small group time with my students last week.  I didn't have my pictures downloaded until now to be able to share.

Who knew that students would love feathers so much?  I found the book, "When You Meet a Turkey" on Mrs. Meacham's Classroom Snapshot page.  The book talks about tickling a turkey and on the last page the turkey runs away.  I made a book for each student (or more accurately, my wonderful teacher's aide did).

Then when it came time for me to meet with my small groups, I called one group over at a time. I allowed each student to pick out a feather from a large box of  feathers (I have no idea how the box got into my classroom).  Then I took a piece of yarn and taped one side to the feather and the other side to the inside of the book.  Next, the students and I read the book together and the students used their feathers to point to the words in the book and to "tickle" their turkey.  They loved using the feathers to track print.  Now, some of my students were able to read the book, others could read a few of the words and still others were able to read it because of the repetitive text.  But it was exciting to see all of my students enjoying reading the book.  (Many of my students said, "Mrs. Lattea, can I really take the feather home?"  I love it when I can tell my students, "Yes, you can." and make them smile.)

Here is a picture of one of my students using his feather:

I have also decided to link up with Teaching Blog Addict for their freebie Friday:

Freebie Fridays
My Freebie is a game that my students love to play.  We call it our hidden picture game.  The students play it during center time.  They put 8 to 10 pictures up on the magnetic board or felt board.  Then one student takes down a picture while the other students hide their eyes.  The other students take turns guessing what picture is gone.  The students who guesses correctly gets to hide a picture the next time.

Here is a link to my freebie:

Click here to visit my TPT store and download this game for free.

Enjoy your weekend!

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

I'm Thankful for My Followers

Happy Thanksgiving Everyone!

I hope all of you are going to find time to spend with your family and friends this 4 day weekend.  I am so thankful for all of my followers.  So I decided to post a freebie for you.

Next week, I am going to have gingerbread theme for my centers.  One of the centers will include a hidden picture game.  My students love to play this game.  It is one of those centers where you just have to teach them what to do one time and they know exactly what to do when you have them play it.

Here is a picture of my students playing the game with Thanksgiving pictures:

One of the student is hiding a picture and the other one is guessing what picture it is.

This freebie has the game with a gingerbread theme.  I hope you are able to use it in the next few weeks.

Click here to download the freebie from my TPT store.

Thank you for visiting today.

Sunday, November 11, 2012

My First Presentation

Happy Sunday Eve!

Are you already for Monday?  I hope so.  Where does the weekend go?  I'm so sorry that I haven't posted recently.  My laptop decided to only turn on for 5 seconds and then shut off, no matter what I did or how nicely I talked to it.  It is still being looked at by my brother-in-law.  He says that it isn't looking very good.  He is still hoping to get my important things off of my hard drive.  (I also received a speech from my 18 year old about how I was supposed to "back up everything".  Seriously, who has that kind of time.)  

All of this happened as I was making a PowerPoint to use when another teacher friend and I presenedt at the MAPSA Conference in Detroit, Michigan.  Luckily, I had backed up the PowerPoint on my Dropbox.  So, we didn't lose anything.  Yay!  I have stolen  borrowed my son's laptop to work on now.

Anyways, we presented last Monday.  Can I just tell you how wonderful it was?  This was our first time presenting.  We shared about how we each do centers in our classrooms (I teach kindergarten, as you know, and she teaches 1st/2nd across the hall from me.)  The teachers who attended our presentation seemed to like what we shared with them.  I discovered that I love presenting.  I don't usually like talking in front of so many people.  But the other teachers were friendly and attentive and asked questions.  It was the BEST day ever!  (A PowerPoint, a projector and (this is the best) a wireless microphone makes you feel powerful.)

This is a picture of the board that had our session listed on it.

This is the room we presented in.  We checked it out in the morning before the presentation.
  I was a little overwhelmed by how huge the room was.

Many of the teachers who attended our presentation wanted a copy of the PowerPoint.  So, I thought other teachers might be interested in it also.  If you click here you can download it from Google Drive.  It is a very large file because there are over 80 slides in the PowerPoint.

We are also presenting at the Illinois ASCD Conference for Pre Kindergarten and Kindergarten teachers.  It is being held on March 7th and 8th in Schaumberg, Illinois.  I can't wait.  We get to present on both Thursday and Friday.  

Hopefully, I can continue "borrowing" my son's laptop and post more regularly.  

Thanks for stopping by,

Saturday, October 6, 2012

My 2nd Product Swap

Happy Saturday Everyone!

I am very excited to have had the opportunity to join Jessica Stanford's 2nd Product Swap.  I love seeing other bloggers products.

This time I have been paired with Deborah at The Paper Maid.  She has wonderful items for the primary level (not just kindergarten) and many freebies.  Make sure you take time to visit her blog.

The Paper Maid

The product that I am reviewing is her Beginning Sounds and Writing Book.  It has cute illustrations that are black line so that the students can color them in (that is always important to me because my students don't like to color in pictures that have gray parts of them because they were actually in color to begin with).  I found that there were many uses for it in the classroom.

First of all, I have a group of students who need extra practice with identifying beginning sounds.  So I made copies of some of the pages in the book to work on with this small group together.  The students enjoyed looking at the pictures and they were very easy for them to identify.  Since there are only 3 letters for them to pick from that the picture might begin with, it made it easier for my students who are struggling with this skill to be successful.

There is also a space for the students to write the letter.  This gave them extra printing practice, which is always a good thing.

I also printed off the pages, glued them to construction paper and laminated them.  These pages I placed at a center for the students to write on with a dry erase marker.  This provided extra practice with beginning sounds for all of my students.  The students loved using the dry erase markers.  You could also place the pages in page protectors and let the students write on them with the dry erase markers.

Thank you Deborah for being my partner in the Product Swap and for letting me review an item that was so useful in my classroom.

Don't forget to stop by Jessica's blog to see the other wonderful items in the product swap.

Thank you for taking the time to visit today.

Monday, September 24, 2012

A Manic Monday Freebie

Happy Monday!

I have just begun my 4th week of school today.  I have to say I have one of the best classes ever.  I was sitting at a table today, just watching them.  It was so wonderful.  Everyone was on task doing what I had asked them to do.  There was a hum in the air of little ones hard at work.  I was very impressed.

Because of my good fortune of having such a terrific class this year, I have decided to share the graph I made with my class last week as a freebie.  The students graphed their favorite color.

Here is a picture of it:

Click here to download my freebie to make this graph.

Check out the other freebies at Manic Monday.

Classroom Freebies Manic Monday
Thank you for visiting my blog.  I hope to see you again soon.

Sunday, September 9, 2012

A Reason to Write - Parent Journals

Well, I have survived my first week of school.  It was only 4 days but, that is long enough for my little kinders.  I love my class.  They are doing a wonderful job of learning all of the rules and  procedures.  Most of them are catching on very quickly.  We are going to have a great year!

My school is focusing on teaching writing this year.  I know that when my students have a reason to write they are more likely to want to write.  So after much careful thought and a little luck while looking for a file on one of my jump drives, I found an idea I had used several years ago.  I had my students write in Parent Journals.  A Parent Journal is a spiral notebook where the students write (or draw) a note to their parents/grandparents/their family.  Then whoever the note was written to writes a note back to the student and returns the Parent Journal the next day. I had my students write in the journal on Friday and take it home.  Hopefully, each of my students brings the journal back on Monday.  The the students can share their journals and responses with each other.

Here is a link to the note I attached to the front of the spiral notebooks.  It is in Word, so that you can change it to suit your needs.  

I have linked this freebie with Manic Monday at Classroom freebies.

Classroom Freebies Manic Monday

If you are unable to open the letter, please email me or reply to this post and I will email it to you.  Thank you for visiting my blog today.

Saturday, September 1, 2012

My Bulletin Boards

Woohoo, I woke up this morning and checked my blog to find out that I have 100 followers.  YAY!  I'm so excited that 100 people have chosen to follow my blog.  Thank you so much for your support.

I promised earlier this week to share my bulletin boards that are in my classroom with you.  So here goes....

I made this bulletin board based on one that I found on Pinterest.  It is on Mrs. Saylor's log.  One of the teachers across the hall let me borrow her Dr. Seuss bulletin board stuff and I printed out the words and attached them to Dr. Seuss scrapbook paper that I found at JoAnn Fabrics.

Here is another one....

This is my Family Tree bulletin board.  My aide cut out the apples on our die cut machine and she made leaves for the tops of the apples and wrote each students' name on an apple.  I took pictures of my students and their families at our Meet the Teacher/Ice Cream Social night.  I am going to print them out and put them on the tree so my students can see the pictures on the first day of school.  I'm hoping it will help some of my kinders not miss their families so much.

This is my job board.  I have the students' names on hands attached to popsicle sticks.  Then I put the popsicle stick in one of the job's pocket to show the students who is doing which job each week.  I purchased the banner at the top at The Dollar Tree.

This is my Parent Information board.  My classroom theme is children's literature so I found The Very Hungry Caterpillar fabric on Ebay to use for the top and bottom border.  The banner at the top I purchased at The Dollar Tree for a $1 of course.

Thank you for taking the time to visit my blog today.  I hope to see you again soon.

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Pictures of My Classroom

I am so embarrassed.  I was doing so well with posting on my blog at least once or twice a week this summer.  Then I am back in the classroom for just a couple of weeks, getting my room ready (not even teaching) and I can't manage to get one blog post in.  I'm so sorry and I will try to do better as the school year begins.

Onto my classroom, I have many pictures to share with you.  Last night was our Meet the Teacher/Ice Cream Social.  I met almost all of my students.  It is going to be one of my best years ever.  (I have 20 students and a full time aide.  I am a very lucky girl.)

The sign my daughter made to welcome my students.

My whole group area with the Phonics Dance cards on the wall.

My cubbies with new cubby clips.  An idea I found on the Organized Classroom blog.
I used name tags I found at JoAnne Fabrics, instead of printing ones (I already used a bunch of color ink in my printer and this seemed like a better idea for me).

This is my lunch board.  The students put up a magnet with their name on it to show if they are buying lunch or packed a lunch.  On the shelf, is everything I need to put together my G.O. (get organized) binders.  There is always something else to do, isn't there?

My library center.

The "smart cookies" that each student received after finishing his/her Lake Ontario Scavenger Hunt.  I found the idea on the Dilly Dabbles Doodles blog and adapted it to my classroom.

Thank you for sticking with my blog and coming back to visit me.  I will post pictures of my bulletin boards later this week.  (I promise.....)

Monday, August 13, 2012

My 3rd Monday Made It

Three weeks from tonight, I will be getting ready for my first day of school.  I went to school to really begin getting ready.  I had my daughter take pictures after we had begun moving stuff around.  (I am "picture-taking" challenged, so I have learned to have her take pictures.  And I forgot to take pictures when were first got there.)

Here are a few of the pictures:

This will be my calendar wall and my whole group carpet.

My library center is the white shelf in the corner.

This is my mess that still needs to be cleaned up.
But at least my furniture is where it needs to be (besides the tables).

Hopefully, I will be able to post pictures of my room looking done (or almost done) at the end of the week.  I need to get my room pretty much ready by next week, because I have the kindergartners comes in for beginning of year assessments next week.  I don't want to scare them with a crazy classroom.

I have also linked up with Monday Made It.

I know there are many Teacher Toolboxes all over Pinterest.  But I would like to add mine.  The teacher across the hall and I worked on them last Wednesday afternoon.  I think they came out looking very good.  The "toolboxes" we used had been used before and had sticky stuff on the front of the drawers.  So we laminated the signs on the front of the drawers and used velcro to attach them to the front of the drawers.

My Toolbox

Check out all the other wonderful things on Monday Made It.

Thank you for looking at my classroom today.

Sunday, August 12, 2012

My 1st Sale

I love to buy things on sale.  That might be why Kohl's is one of of my favorite stores.  I bought a cardigan, a pair of pants and a blouse for under $40 yesterday.  I save $109 according to my receipt (and the salesperson).  It really is like "getting paid to shop".  (Not that my husband ever looks like he really believes me when I tell him that.)

So since I love a sale, I have decided to join TpT sale that is taking place today and tomorrow.  I have 20% off all items in my store plus with the sale that TpT is having, that makes everything 28% off.

Click here to go to my sale.

I am going into my classroom tomorrow and trying to get furniture moved around and put where it belongs (with the help of my 2 teenagers).  So hopefully, I will be able to share some before and after pictures of my classroom with you next week.

Enjoy the sale!