Monday, January 30, 2012

Counting On... Some Are Catching On!

I actually had a student tell me it was faster to just say ten and then count on with the additional cubes! So now I'm not alone in my understandings and I am starting to feel hopeful. So many of these concepts are developmental and cannot be rushed. I get it but the standards are still staring me in the face so I will stay with it. My students found this activity engaging and I am big on keeping them engaged. We are also working on addition with our counting sticks which have been a big hit in kinderland.

Sunday, January 29, 2012

What Do You Love At School?

I made this little emergent reader because love is in the air and I thought it would be perfect for the month of February. It could be used on Valentine's Day and even the boys won't think it's yucky. You know how they react to words like love and kiss! So if you want this it's in my TpT store and I made a teacher version in color so you can print it quickly and easily. Follow me in my store and leave a comment and you will be my valentine! Click here!
Yes, I have dots under the text for the little ones who still have no idea of what a word is.
I know that it will happen and I hope I am still their teacher when it does. I'm just saying...

Counting On... Not In My Room

When you have a really young class the concept of  "counting on" becomes a real challenge. My students are probably not ready for this developmentally but it is something I am expected to teach so I will whisper under my breath "exposure, exposure, exposure." I made this little book just to focus on this skill and I am hoping (fingers crossed) some of them will have their light bulb turn on! First grade teachers need to love me for trying-right? If you think this is worth a try, it's available in my TpT store or at Teachers Notebook.

Saturday, January 28, 2012

Cutting or Tearing? What Are You Doing?

Here are some of the activities we did this week while I was busy assessing my students. It is so hard to accomplish this and still give them meaningful work. So what did I find out? Some of my kids are still rotating their letters and gluing them upside down! ( OMG I am in trouble).  On top of this some of the cutting that I saw looked a lot more like tearing to me. Holey moley!

The Expo Is Over But You Can Still Get a Ticket And See This

Seriously, I am still in my jammies and I am emotionally exhausted. How did the Expo go? I think it was pretty great. I think the 3 other presenters knocked it out of the park. If you enjoyed this please follow all of our blogs and stores and leave a comment if you have the energy. Are you going back to bed or taking a nap? I don't blame you. This was a lot of drama for me but well worth the work. It was a great experience and I hope more of you will participate in this wonderful world called kindergarten.
Thanks for all your support and helpful comments.
Everyone was so patient about the traffic jams. I appreciate that so much.
Remember that you can watch these presentations again but my family thinks once is more than enough when it comes to me and they might have a point there. 

Virtual Teaching Expo Question and Answer

Whew! That was a big project and I hope you got something out of that presentation. I have used all those routines and strategies in my classroom so if you have a question ask away... I hope you leave a comment on the blog and any great ideas you would like to share. Thanks for joining me this morning for some professional development.

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Really? You Still Don't Know These?

My students still do not know all their numbers to thirty and this is a big standard in kindergarten. I have hit this hard but obviously not well enough. When I started assessing them for progress reports I got every possible answer but the one I was looking for... Lets see for thirteen I got 3, 31, or my mom hasn't taught me that one yet! I can even accept that but where have you been while I have been working on it? I need help! I'm calling in the mentors so I can keep smiling. These adorable graphics are by KPM Doodles and you can find her at Teachers Notebook if you want to grab them.
 It sounds like you need them as much as I do so grab a set here!

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

In My Room:

I'm not so sure this looks like pony beads and a pipe cleaner but I think the kids will get the point. This is an addition recording sheet so I have some evidence that my students did some work while I am working with a small group. They can color the beads and fill in the numbers. Let's see how this goes.

Not Walking Sticks...Not A Talking Stick...A Counting Stick

I have a bizillion (yes that's a number) pony beads from all the retelling activities I've made. What do you do with them? This is an old idea I re-invented today to keep the kids busy and interested in addition. We made counting sticks to use when doing addition. They had no problem making them and I put all the supplies on a paper plate.
However, do not ever try to give a five year old boy pink beads because it horrifies him and he can't bear to use them. The best part was watching them put these on the pipe cleaner and keep track of 10. Once these were made we practiced simple addition problems by sliding the beads to the right (just like you read) and counting the total. They really loved when I made up stories with their names. Cute huh... ? I store them all in a cup in the front of the room and plan to use them as part of my morning opening. I call them "counting sticks."

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Don't Get Dressed On Saturday

Saturday I am setting the alarm for 6:00 to get ready for the Everything's Kindergarten Expo. Yup, you people on the east coast do not have to get up at the crack of dawn but I do.So I will be ready to answer all of your burning questions after you watch the kindergarten presentations. Pete the Cat and I are gearing up for the big party and I can stay in my PJ's until it is over. I better grab a pound of Starbucks and plug in the coffee pot. Even if you don't have a question come on the blog and say hi cause I am a nervous wreck and need serious support. Thank goodness my closest friend is a therapist. I will be texting her if I start to panic!
If you don't have a ticket you can't come to the movies! Get yours now. How does popcorn at 7AM sound to you?

Monday, January 23, 2012

My Head Is Spinning With Ideas!

So I made this huge Winter Packet and did some adorable mitten activities and left this out of it completely.
My kids love spinner games and would have been so disappointed if I did not make this for them. This is very simple and I am offering it for free in my TpT store here for you to enjoy. I love free!

Sunday, January 22, 2012

Countdown... Blog Expo Is Around the Corner

Okay the big moment is almost here and I want to know if you are coming to this party. There might not be cake but you are in for a treat and naturally we all need our goodie bag of freebies. Mine happens to be rhyming cards that are pretty, darn cute. So please don't miss this opportunity to learn something new. I actually tried out my presentation in another school district and made them do all the routines to make sure they were teacher friendly. They gave me a thumbs up and spent an entire afternoon cutting and laminating their guts out. I can't wait to listen to Hadar, Crystal, and Krissy share their ideas. They are great bloggers so... get that ticket and hang out with me this Saturday. I will answer any questions you might have on my own blog and will probably stay in my jammies all day!

Winter Warm-Ups To Keep Your Room Cozy: FINISHED! WOOHOO!

I can't wait to use this in my own classroom. I need something fresh and new for the kids and I am hoping this is just what will "float their boat.". This packet is exploding with activities with a winter theme. However, it's a bit more demanding since my students are ready for a challenge (maybe) and the emergent readers have more text. I need these independent activities while I do my assessments and hug children who have mastered important standards. Wait, I can hug them anyway-right? If you want this you can go to TpT here or to Teacher's Notebook here.

Saturday, January 21, 2012

Warm Up With This Packet

How cute is this cover? My husband and I have a friend who is an artist and illustrator and he slammed this out for me in a few minutes and I adore it! It has just the right feeling. His name is Michael Smith and my husband needs to do all his dental work for the rest of time so I can bribe convince him to make more drawings for me but he is one busy guy so I am not so sure where this is going but I can keep my fingers crossed- right?
This packet has numerous emergent readers with more language than usual because I expect more from my kids at this time of year. I have some games I think my kids will like once I teach them how to play them during small group instruction. I've stepped up the patterning work and teen numbers with counting on work. I am finishing this up today and hopefully it will be up by tomorrow. As usual it is all standards based. Have a great weekend.

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Come Into My Mitten

The ability to retell a story is an important kinder standard and one that tends to be quite challenging for English Language Learners.My class loves to hear stories and I think this will be a real favorite. Why do I love The Mitten? I like it because of the rich vocabulary it introduces and most students can relate to losing something important.The retelling cards are placed in the pocket chart and look like a Flow Map which is used for sequencing. I made a reader for them that matches the cards and has dots under the text to help them continue to develop concepts of print. Thank you KPM Doodles for the adorable graphics to help me to make these materials. She has a great shop at Teacher's Notebook.

Snowflake Segmentation Fun

Didn't we just get back from vacation? I am still in a state of confusion but I know our students will be tested shortly for progress reports. We do not have segmentation down yet so I am doing a cut and paste activity to practice this skill. They will listen to the parts of each word and glue snowflakes in the grid at the bottom to represent each part. Will they be tricked into thinking this is fun? I'll get back to you on that!
Okay, I'm home from working out and now I can give you the link to the download if you want it. Click here and maybe this will make tomorrow a little easier. Happy Friday.

Monday, January 16, 2012

Drum Roll Please... Announcing the Lucky Winners

Woohoo! Here are the winners for the Kindergarten Expo! I am so excited to announce the winners. I wish I could give everyone a ticket. Your stories were wonderful and some were even heartbreaking.  We want as many people to attend this as possible. Teachers love to share so Tamara has decided to offer scholarships for those interested but really not able to afford this. The owner of the expo will read your request (Steve) and decide if a free ticket can be offered. He can be contacted at Thank you for entering this drawing and think about buying that ticket for your friend or student teacher just because...
If you won (lucky duck) contact me with your email address. You are all winners because you are kindergarten teachers and don't you forget it!

Guess Who Came to Dinner?

I just came back from the California Kindergarten Conference where I had the best time ever. Friday night my daughter came to pick me up from the airport and we spent the day together shopping, drinking coffee, and laughing. It was pretty fabulous. Yup I even got a new pair of boots on sale.
Saturday morning I woke up ready to check out the conference, vendors, and see if anyone looked familiar from Blogland. I really did not want to wait until 5PM to meet my BFF Cindy. I headed over to the vendors and Heidi's booth was mobbed. She was so busy she never looked up. But I went behind the crazies (kinder teachers needing her stuff) and grabbed her arm. We bonded but only for a second because teachers needed her attention! When I looked up Cindy was standing in front of me. I knew it was her- instantly! We smiled and grabbed each other for a hug! Okay this sounds like a soap opera but she has been leaving the nicest comments on my blog since DAY #1. We talked and talked and I loved her even more in person! It was the best part of my weekend and I hope you check out her blog when you can. She is an accomplished teacher with great ideas.
So then we bump into ... hold on now, Dr. Jean. When do you ever see Dr. Jean without six billion people around her? We told her our story and she loved the idea of a blogger pic! We chatted but eventually class started and we had to add that into the mix.

Cindy and I met up for lunch and chatted like crazy (or at least I talked her ear off). We agreed to meet in the lobby and try to find the others who said they were coming for dinner. Camille and her friend Stacy came by and we grabbed them. She had her Pete name tag on and Stacy told me she was a total blog stalker. Naturally we all loved her for this. Dr. Jean spent time with us and loved the idea of this meet-up but had another obligation. After more pictures we let her go...Finally Kat came by and Jennifer and our group was complete. We headed for dinner right in the hotel. We NEVER stopped talking, hugging, and sharing about our classrooms. We were probably too loud for the restaurant but we didn't care. The waiter took a BILLION pictures and was adorable.

Here is the whole group at dinner for you to check out. There were the nicest, warmest women I have met in a long time.
Cindy: I bonded with her immediately and loved her personality, warmth, and positive outlook. She is full of wonderful teaching strategies and has actually presented at this conference. She was the very best part of my weekend! Thanks Cindy! Click here for her blog.
Stacy: She is an official blog stalker and works with Camille at the same school. She is so funny and adorable. She has been teaching kindergarten for a long time and still loves it. Stacy took Dr. Jean to the airport after a visit to her school. Yup, you heard me.
Kat: When you look into Kat's eyes they actually sparkle, especially when she talks about her horse. She lives in a rural community but is on top of her game when it comes to kindergarten kids. I really liked being with her. Click here for her blog.
Jennifer: This young woman was so sweet and smart. She teaches in a Catholic school and shared so much about her experiences. We even spent more time together on Sunday in a class. I loved her and her passion for kindergarten.
Camille: It was so nice to meet this wonderful teacher. Camille is full of wisdom and unlike me she thinks before she speaks. I can only imagine what a fine teacher she is. Click here for her blog.
Heidi: She was exhausted from working all day but came anyway. What an amazing person she is. She is a classroom teacher, presenter across the country, and is running a business too. She is full of enthusiasm and loves what she does.Of course you know this amazing blog but click here just in case. 
So there you go... It was such a wonderful experience for me. We all talked for hours. I made so many new friends who I hope to see next year since I might be presenting... Will you come next year?

The Giveaway Is Over

I read all of your comments when you entered this giveaway and you are the nicest people on the planet. I can never get over kindergarten teachers and how loving they are! I wish I could buy you all a ticket (how cool would that be?) but I can only pick 3. So hang on, have some fun today, and come back tonight for the big announcement! If you don't win I hope you sign up for this anyway so you can get a few tips and tricks to add some sparkle to your classroom!

Friday, January 13, 2012

Kindergarten Crayons Giveaway! Expo Tickets

Do you have your ticket for Everything's K Expo? If you do thank you for supporting TBA and helping teachers to continue to access professional development. These trainings can continue if we actively support them. The presenters are doing this to help the teaching community and are sharing ideas we know will be useful in your classroom. As the date approaches we have each been given 3 tickets to do a giveaway. If you already purchased a ticket think about participating in this giveaway to hand the ticket to a deserving friend as a gift or your student teacher. Is there someone in your life who cannot afford this? I know that teachers have been hit with drastic budget cuts across the country so please encourage everyone to sign up. I have three tickets to give away and I hope one of them goes to you! I can't wait to see you at the Expo. The goodie bag is full of virtual treats you will love.
What do you need to do?
Leave me a comment telling me why you want this ticket. Easy, right? No other conditions because I want everyone to participate.

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Am I Growing A Pumpkin?

Do not fall over but this is what my pumpkin plant looks like in 2012. Can you believe it? As you show snow activities around the country we are having warm, sunny weather in southern California.I put my plant outside during winter break and I accepted the possibility that it would be dead when I came back. My partner put it near a sprinkler and now the kids are amazed by the size of  it. Remember when we could have gardens and grow things to observe in our classroom? I am going to plant this next to my classroom. Keep your fingers crossed that no one notices.This has been so much fun for my class.

Monday, January 9, 2012

Guess Who Is Coming to the California Conference?

I just started back to school and I amalready taking Friday off to come to the California Kindergarten Conference. PLEEEEESE  join us for our blog meet-up. I am so excited about this that I am packing tonight! So, here are your name tags that go right into your badge holder for the conference. Subtle-huh? Keep your fingers crossed because I invited Dr. Jean to join us and I would fall over if she showed up. Please stop screaming. If you are there Friday night I will probably be there at some point after I see my daughter (lawyer girl) who lives nearby. Grab this now and getting ready to rock with Pete. If your name is not on here take a blank tag and feel free to put your name on it. Everyone is invited.

Sunday, January 8, 2012

Stripping In the Winter: Brrrrr

Here's what I am thinking- I better take it S*L*O*W tomorrow. I am not sure my students will remember who I am which could be a real problem. So I better not throw too much at them tomorrow after a 3 week break! They have done these little pattern books and will not find them too challenging. Cutting and coloring shouldn't be too demanding... right? Do you need a game plan for tomorrow? Grab this if it helps! I almost forgot, the graphics are by:

At the end of the day everyone loves polka dotted maps!

I had the best time with a bunch of kindergarten teachers from another district. They were so smart, so real, and so funny. I made them do a million routines and they were such good sports and we had a blast. Every time a presented an idea someone talked about how to differentiate the activity or another way to hit the same standard. We sang, we danced, we chatted, we ate lunch together and at the end of the day (I was exhausted from presentation anxiety) we left as friends. Wanna know why? Cause kindergarten teachers are the best! They roll with the punches, they laugh at their own mistakes, and they love new ideas. By the way I brought billions of things for them to make but the Thinking Maps mobile was the hit of the day! We all love cute.
A big shout-out to these guys for making my day so much fun. I walked away with more ideas than I brought.

Saturday, January 7, 2012

The shop is up... finally

I finally got my shop up on Teacher's Notebook and now I can go back to school feeling like I met a goal that has been on my mind for a long time. My hubby did this for me while I did my training and I am so grateful. Honestly, I can only do one big project at a time so I am feeling pretty good about things right now until the next job comes along to overwhelm me! Check it out and see what you think. I love to shop and Pay Pal is my BFF.

Friday, January 6, 2012

Winter Chill

So school starts back Monday for me and I have been working on a weather unit for my class. We live in the OC so not much snow is happening here. However, some of my students have been to the mountains where there is plenty of snow during the winter months. They love learning about it and it is a great opportunity for me to read wonderful literature and build their vocabulary. Are you freezing where you live? Yesterday it was about 85 degrees here! Come and warm up at the California Kindergarten Conference later this month. Sorry I had a big training and forgot the link! Woops don't slip on the ice and enjoy this download

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Calling All Primary Teachers... Are You In?

I am doing a workshop on Friday on kindergarten routines and I made about a billion things for it. What is my problem? Anyhow, I am using the same Power Point that I created for the blog expo. Maybe I will offer up a packet to go with the presentation. Holy Guacamole I hope I don't make them run away screaming! Anyhow, back to the Kindergarten Expo. Have you signed up? If you haven't it hurts my feelings. The other speakers are high powered experts with lots of great ideas. You will not want to miss this. Are you in? Come on... just do it.
By the way I don't do any presentations without Pete.
Right-makes sense to me.

Monday, January 2, 2012

How Cute Is This

I am doing a training at the end of this week and I am worried that the teachers attending will hate me because they are back at work and reality has hit after 2 weeks off. So here is my bribe. Yup, you guessed it- candy. My partner is addicted to m&m's so we cannot have them in the room. She adores them so after Gingerbread Activity Day and the 100th Day I have to sweep the room because she cannot handle the temptation. How cute is this for an ice breaker? Okay, never mind but at least I stuck 2 little bags in there so they will listen to me for umm, 5 minutes. I thought the questions would give me a chance to get to know them. Here is the download if you would like it. How would you answer these questions?
1. favorite movie: I Am Sam (I cried my eyes out but loved it
                             and I am a total Beatles fanatic.
2. favorite food: pizza and you can see it on my hips but
                           I also adore a good bagel
3.favorite children's book: Knuffle Bunny Free and Pete the 
                                          Cat  but I have millions of favorites
                                          Charlotte's Web still upsets me
4. favorite teacher supply: post-it notes in beautiful colors               
                                          and Avery labels, smelly markers,
                                          tabs, blah, blah, I love it all!
5. favorite grade: Kindergarten silly, best grade ever... hands
                             down (do not argue with your elders)nothin'
                             like a 5 year old without a filter!
6. favorite piece of technology: My ipad 2 is my new BFF
Now I can eat my candy. Life is good.

What about you?