Sunday, September 20, 2015

Spotlight Saturday: Weekly To Do Lists

I am so excited to link up again with Kindergarten Dragons for Spotlight Saturday

I love the Basic Shape Roll, Trace, and Color she spotlighted this week - it's perfect for my class this upcoming week - and it's FREE!!

My spotlight this week is my newest product on TPT.... 
Weekly To Do Lists

I have the most RANDOM schedule ever when it comes to prep and planning time.  I needed something that I could quickly and easily jot down things I needed to do that were in relation to my lesson plans for the week and that would help me ORGANIZE MY LIFE! Since my whole motto is "Work Smarter, Not Harder" this was the perfect solution.  I love that it gives me direction and focus.

This helps me know what I need to do and pick things based on how much time I have at that moment.  Here's my list in action from one of my Instagram posts:

This has helped tremendously already!! I just hole punch it and throw it in my planning binder in the front - that way I can see it and know exactly what I need to do! 

Make sure to check out Kindergarten Dragon's post!! I hope you also decide to link up as well!

Saturday, September 5, 2015

The first week of TK

It has been a great first week of TK!! 
(If you're asking "what is TK?" Check out my friend's post What *is* TK? explaining perfectly what TK is all about!)

We had our parent orientation the week before school started and I was able to ask for a few volunteers to come in on our first day - which was HUGE! My lovely mother in law also came in and helped out too!

There are SO many routines to learn at the beginning of the year in general, but given that this is most of the kiddos' first time at school (depending on if they went to any type of preschool), there are even MORE routines to learn!! I LOVED getting to tell them about some of our classroom routines, introducing them to our class rules, and setting our classroom up for success. 

It's crazy to me to remember that they are 4.  Just babies!! Coming from 3rd grade, it's quite a bit different, but I just absolutely LOVE the age level! I am looking forward to getting things established in the classroom in order to promote as much growth and development as possible.

I'm such a problem solver and a "work smarter, not harder" kind of person, so I've already noticed a couple of things in our classroom that I've needed to change up to be more fitting to the kiddos and to me.  One of them was our station rotation routines.  I had the kids "line up" on a certain line based on what table they were just finishing at stations, then when everyone was on their lines, we'd rotate to the next group.  It was chaotic.  Imagine 20 four year olds just buzzing around the classroom "finding" their line.  Once the parent helpers and I got them to their line, some would buzz away from their line and it would start all over again! Now we are pushing in our chairs and standing behind the chairs waiting to rotate.  Much better so far!!

Another was our dismissal procedures of "coloring in our day."
(I'm still working on getting 20 four year olds packed up and ready to line up, but that's another story!)
I use my Clip Chart Behavior Calendars to help communicate and document our daily behavior.  This has always been a great tool as it reinforces behaviors on an individual level and helps communicate these things to parents each day.  Well, given that my kiddos are 4, hardly know what a "homework folder" is, let alone a "calendar," nor could probably not tell you very easily what day of the week it is...... Some say this might be a challenge... I say it's a learning opportunity!!
School started on the 31st of August which was a wacky day to start a behavior calendar on!! But, with the parent's help, we got all of the calendars colored in!! Day 2 and day 3, my mom volunteers and I worked out a system to color in our days by having me call all of the kiddos who were "pink" to go color their day, then "purple" and so on.  This worked out well too, but I knew there had to be a better way!  I came up with the idea to have a plastic tub full of crayons that were separated by color into different cups.  I set up Go Noodle or You Tube on our projector for the whole class to watch.  Now I can call each group of colors, hand each kiddo their crayon and point to the day on the calendar for them to color!  When they are done, they put their crayon back into the right cup, and go sit down on the carpet with their folder.  This went SO great!! I am planning to have a printed out copy of the month posted by our mailboxes and our homework folders with an arrow pointing to what day to color to help them remember in case there isn't an adult who is always able to be standing there.

It's so fun to have one week down in the books already.  I'm excited for this year and all of the learning and growing we'll be doing!!

I hope everyone is having a great start to the year!

Saturday, August 29, 2015

Audio QR Codes Video Tutorial!

If you saw my post in Instagram (or even if you didn't see it..) on the Audio QR codes I made to quickly and easily play songs around my classroom - you know how excited I am to eliminate having to shuffle through CDs to find the song(s) I want to play.  As teachers we KNOW how much this really derails a lesson!  I created this video tutorial to show you how to quickly and easily create an Audio QR code!!

I am SO excited to be able to use this process in the future - there are SO many uses!! I hope this is helpful to you!!   Please leave a comment below if you found this useful!!


Friday, August 28, 2015

Five for Friday [August 28, 2015]

Another Five for Friday!! I love this linky party hosted by Doodle Bugs Teaching!

We went to Mission Beach this past weekend as a way to celebrate the "last" weekend of summer!! I started meetings on Monday for work and have had meetings and teacher prep days all week!  School starts this coming weekend!! Miss Coco stayed at my in-laws house, but we enjoyed the beach and got to play games with my sister in law and her boyfriend!

Coco LOVES her blankies, but she especially loves them when I pull them out of the dryer after washing them.  She pulls them around the house in her mouth.  She ended up with this one in the bathroom so she could kneed it up just the way she likes it!  She's a funny girl.


I made these QR codes to connect to the music I'll be using in my classroom - this makes it so I don't have to switch the CDs out all the time!! Yay! I'm going to work on a tutorial for how to make these this weekend!!

This was my classroom all ready for our orientation!  I am partner teaching with another teacher who will teach in this classroom in the morning with her class of 22 students and I'll teach in the afternoon my class of 22 different children!  Orientation went GREAT! I can't wait to start school on Monday!
I hope you had a great week and I can't wait to read your Five for Fridays!!

Friday, August 21, 2015

Five For Friday [August 21, 21015]

This is a combo of the past two weeks!! It seems like each week, Friday has come so much quicker than I realized!! I guess that's what happens when summer is coming to an end!! Today is my last day of summer - and I'm debating whether or not to go into my classroom.  I've been going the past two weeks but today I am wanting to enjoy the last day by doing anything BUT being in my classroom....

This is Coco the past two weeks.  She's so funny and cute and stubborn all at the same time.  I roll out my yoga mat, and there she is with her ball.  We had family game night and I made some peanut butter rice crispy treats with chocolate/butterscotch top, and she was stalking them all night!! Then lately, when my husband goes to bed, she whines insistently until I clear a spot off a spot on the couch next to me for her to sit..

This is an older 31 bag that I've had.  At the beginning of summer, I got the "Fold and File" from 31 - I was going to use it in my bigger utility tote, but it fits perfect into this one was well and I have room for my water bottle and my coffee tumbler at the other end!! I LOVE how the Fold and File gives the bag more structure and keeps everything nice and organized!! I LOVE 31!!

I went to a So Cal Teacher Meet Up this past weekend with these friends!! There were 12 people total and it was AWESOME!! I can't wait to do it again!!

I had a girls day with the little girl I used to nanny.  Starbucks, helping in my classroom, In-N-Out for lunch, and a trip to target - you can't go wrong!!

I got this bulletin board up in my classroom this week with the help of my mother in law!! There are still a few things missing, but I'm so glad with how it turned out!

Check out this video for how I made the banner!! 

This next week I start all of my teacher meetings and then the kiddos come on the 31st!! I'm so excited!! So, with that, I'm saying sayonara summer! (Don't worry.. we have a trip to the beach planned for the weekend to end the summer!!) :)

Monday, August 17, 2015

Monday Made It - Name Tag - Tracing - Work Mats!

This is my first time linking up with 4th Grade Frolics - Monday Made It!  I am so excited to try a new (to me) link up!
So here we go!!
This week I made.....

These still need to be laminated. BUT - you can see the name tag on the front and the ABCs and 123s on the back!

So what is a name tag tracing mat? I got the original idea for these work mats from this post by Palma Lindsay - My 10 Best Tips for Teaching TK.  She explains a bunch of great ways to make this mixed class really successful!! (Don't know what TK is? Check out this post from my friend at A Learning Moment - What *is* TK?)

These are great for any younger kiddo - including preschool, TK, and kinder!!

So Palma wrote this about Work Mats - "Samples of their names written with a broad tip marker on on a lined name tag and glued to a piece of construction paper can be laminated and used as a personal workspace. Wiki-sticks will stick nicely to the letters and the laminated work mats keep glue from sticking to your tables. Mats can be easily washed and kept clean."

How great is that?!?!  I also love that this mat helps students learn about personal work space.  That is HUGE for the little kids!!

So I took this idea one step farther.. I decided to add a page of ABCs and a page of numbers (1-20)  with the stroke order shown to the back.  This will be great for students to practice their letter and number writing with a whiteboard marker when we have a few extra minutes!

Here's how you can create your own!

Here's what you'll need:
-Name Tags (These are from the dollar spot at Target!!)**
-Construction paper**
-Adhesive of some sort - I am OBSESSED with these tape runners from the 99cent store!
     You could also use a glue stick if you'd like..
-ABC stroke order pages (I will be uploading these in my store SOON!!)**
-123 stroke order pages (I will be uploading these in my store SOON!!)**
 **Enough for your class plus a handful extra - it's always better to make extra now rather than later when a new student comes, or when one something *bad* happens to one of the mats mid way through the year!

Make a Guide
So, when I opened my name tags from Target, I had to split them all apart.  I noticed one set (2 name tags) had this awful crease in them.  When I checked through my construction paper - I noticed I had one piece of light blue.  Oh my gosh, PERFECT! You can use the same color as your construction paper if you have extra, the light blue worked perfect for doing a tutorial..
To make the guide.. 
-Fold a piece of extra construction paper in half
-Fold an extra name tag in half
-Adhere the folded name tag where you want it to the folded piece of construction paper.  I eyeballed where I wanted it.
-Now I was able to use this guide to line up my name tags to be straight without having to measure each one!

Adding Name Tags
-Line the guide up against the edge of the construction paper.
-Add adhesive to the side that will be touching the mat first (in the picture, this is the edge closest to my tape runner).
-Line up the non adhesive side on the name tag on your guide - this will make it straight.  You can't even see the name tag on my guide because the name tag on top is lined up perfectly.
-Press down on the edge with adhesive to "anchor" the name tag.
-I like to assembly line my projects, so I did this for EACH of my mats before moving to the next step.

Adhere the rest of the name tag
 -This was the name tag just sitting on top of the construction paper before I adhered the rest of it.
-I added a strip of tape down the center of the name tag (I actually ran it along the paper where I knew the name tag would cover it so I wouldn't bend the name tag).
-Add adhesive to the final edge of the name tag.
-Flatten out and secure by running your hands over the name tag.

Adding the Tracing Pages to the Back 
 -Unfold your guide page and on the back, add on your number tracing page and your ABC tracing page. I liked my ABCs on the left side and my numbers on the right side.
-Fold your guide back in half so one page shows up.
-This helps to show you how much of your construction paper is half.
-Add adhesive to your tracing page (I added it to all four corners).
-Holding your tracing page in the middle (where there isn't any adhesive), place your page where you want it on half of the construction paper.
-Press down the top corners and smooth out until you reach the bottom corners.
-I assembly lined this as well - I did all of my number pages before moving onto my ABCs.

Adding the Second Tracing Page
 -Removing the guide page, you can easily see how much space is left for the second tracing page - this makes it really easy to just place the page down!
-Add adhesive to your tracing page (I added it to all four corners).
-Holding your tracing page in the middle (where there isn't any adhesive), place your page where you want it on half of the construction paper.
-Press down the top corners and smooth out until you reach the bottom corners.
-I assembly lined this as well - I did all of my number pages before moving onto my ABCs.

Adding names - you can either add names now or wait to laminate the pages and then add names.  I will be adding names after I laminate since I do not have my list of names yet and I want to get this project as close to finished as possible before school starts.  I will just add the names with permanent marker.  I know having the kiddos trace their name with a white board marker will erase the permanent marker on top of the laminate - but I'll cross that bridge when it comes! I might just have the students use their fingers to trace their names as we get started before introducing the whiteboard markers!

**Laminate!! (I still need to do this part!!)

Wa-LAH! You're finished!! 

Leave me a comment and let me know if you followed this tutorial to make your own mats!!

Friday, August 7, 2015

Five For Friday - August 7, 2015

What a fun week this has been!!  Each week is going by so fast, it's crazy to me!!  Here's my Five for Friday hosted by Doodle Bugs Teaching!

We had our friend over on Sunday morning for breakfast.  He just got back from a month in Taiwan and then left just last night to go back to Oklahoma for school.  We played Ticket to Ride with him - which is one of our FAVORITE games!
Our cousin got married on Sunday!  It was a beautiful ceremony and reception!! I love weddings so much!! It always reminds me so much of our wedding just last summer! I love how simple yet elegant weddings can be!  Especially when they are focused on God!
I got to spend another day at the beach! I consider myself SUPER lucky to live close to the beach.  I recently heard two people talk about how people who live near the beach don't ever go to the beach.  I have been determined to not be one of those people!! I LOVE THE BEACH!! I am getting "super good at going to the beach!" I've got my backpack Tommy Bahama chair from costco, a beach back, a little lunchbox/cooler, my beach bag, towel, sunscreen, and perfect hat!  I LOVE IT!

I swung by my new school on Wednesday and I got to see my classroom! I am so excited!! I'm so looking forward to this year and working at this school!

I got to go to coffee with one of my sweet friends on Thursday!  It's so great getting to see her and catch up with her!  We both moved down around the same area around the same time this summer and it's been fun to meet for coffee in new places.  We checked out this Coffee and Tea house and then took her puppy for a walk around the surrounding area.   There was a park nearby with this crazy playground!  How awesome!  My friend is also SO great at taking artsy Instagram photos like this one of our feet and the sign.  I think she should teach a class to the rest of us! :)

I hope you have had a wonderful week!!