Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Crafting with Lollipops

Over the past couple of months my class has experimented with crafting with lollipops thanks to Spangler. Here are some of the things we tried out!

A lollipop plant 

Lollipop spiders

And currently my second graders are making a gingerbread house and including lollipops as lamp posts!


Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Alphabet Recognition

I have a very unique group of kinders this year. A few are still struggling with alphabet recognition so I created this file to reinforce the letters. I'll use this file as a mix of homework and word work activities. What have you found that works for alphabet recognition? We sing songs, do movements to go with the letters, and practice every chance we get.. 

If you would like this file, you can download it here!


Monday, October 22, 2012

Check out this great blog!

One of my best friends and fellow co-founder of The Sara Marie School has started the magical adventure of blogging. I've been telling her for a couple of years that she really needs to get on TpT and share her creativity. Joanna is incredibly inspiring and talented. 

One of my favorite homework ideas that Joanna uses is called the "Homework Caterpillar." To download her file and read more about it, go to her blog "Love for Early Learners." 

Brilliant, right? She is definitely a blogger that you'll want to follow. 


Saturday, October 20, 2012

MPM School Supplies

I just received an order from MPM School supplies. Have you heard of them? They sell just about everything you can think of from rugs to glue at a competitive price. Considering I've spent thousands of dollars out of my own pocket over the course of my teaching career, I'm always looking for great bargains (and I know EVERY teacher can relate to that!)

Here are the goodies I got for a little under $25!

I think I'm most excited about the Expo spray. My kinderkids have been asking me everyday to clean their white boards. I have been kindly responding with a sweet smile "I will, don't you worry, Expo spray is on it's way!" but in reality I want to say "I wouldn't have to if you cleaned them the right way with an eraser!!" :)  

I haven't had a chance to really look through the "Word Family Helpers" book (only $4.84!) but anything Mailbox is a great investment. I did look through the "Advantage Phonics" book and it's terrific, so perfect for homework. It has alphabet tracing sheets, beginning, middle, and ending sound pages, and much more. Definitely going to be using this one a lot. 

I have 2 second graders in my class so I was thrilled when I found these blank books. We are currently working on a fiction unit, so they will publish their pieces in these hardcover books. They are so excited. What a great writing motivator!!

Hope you all have a great weekend! 

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

classroom tour!

Well the inevitable happened... first cold of the school year.. lasted almost a week. You know how it goes though, better for a week, then sick for a week, then better, then sick until June ;) My overused phrase of the week has been "hands and fingers away from your nose and mouth." 

I finally took some pictures as I've started to settle into my new classroom. I also found out this week that I have another new girl starting November 1. So happy to see the school and my classroom growing so quickly!

 My room is not huge, but there is plenty of wiggle space. This is also the first time I can't fit my whole room into one shot, so that's a good thing :D My husband is supposed to be painting a Very Hungry Caterpillar mural for me on that empty wall over the library. This isn't an immediate item.. might be a Christmas break project or something. We (more he) have been super busy making our new house a home. 

This is our meeting area. A lovely colleague and close friend of mine set up her meeting area like this a few years ago so this idea was snagged from her. 

Here is a close up of the calendar area. The pattern pieces are made by me and can be found here. We count to the 100th day by using base ten blocks in separate baggies. This introduces them to place value and counting by 10's. It's similar to the straw system that many teachers use, but I like that the base ten blocks is a concrete manipulative that they'll see for many years to come in math. 

We have been reviewing a letter each day and I found this gem. It has a movement for each letter of the alphabet. My kiddos get so excited to find out what they get to do each day. 

Love the nice long window. Dollar store curtains. Dig? As you can see, I'm also continuing with the clip chart. It's worked well in the past and a HUGE motivator for my competitive boys. 

Word wall.. 

This table set is a work in progress. Another husband project.. he wants to finish sanding and then stain it. This is the word work area. 2 students at a time do word work and those 2 wooden things will also be painted and contain their stamps, white boards, letter tracers, magnets, etc. for word work. 

Here is our classroom library. It is organized the same way I've done it in the past. So you can read an old post about my classroom library here

And lastly, this is Pinterest inspired. As the students walk back in the classroom I'll give them a sight word or letter (differentiation at it's finest!) that they have to high five. My colleague and best buddy teaches prek and she saw this on Pinterest too so has the kids high five their names before they come in. 

Hope you enjoyed the sneak peek into my classroom. Stay tuned for a post on literacy. A few of my pumpkins with little alphabet recognition in September began reading level A's this week. LOVVVE the glow on the face when I praise them for being READERS. 

Don't forget to follow me on Teachers Pay Teachers, Facebook, and Pinterest


Saturday, September 8, 2012


1,003 followers??! WOW. I guess this means I should do a pretty snazzy giveaway sometime soon, huh? 

This has been the busiest summer ever. My classroom is painted, decor is put up, and just finishing up the minor details. I start school this Wednesday and guess what? I'm now teaching a K-2 so I get the best of both worlds. 
So I had a Vistaprint Groupon and finally got around to using it. I couldn't believe that it came today since it says shipping can take up to 21 days (?). It only took about 4 days so they are just looking for people to pay extra for speedy shipping! Nothing spectacular, but almost everything was free. 

Business cards, cool right? For those of you who aren't in the loop, me and a couple of colleagues opened a school this year to honor my best friend and fellow teacher who died of cancer last October (today is her birthday. You inspire me every day Sara!). The Sara Marie School website and Facebook page

This annoys me. See the parts where it is shaded grey? Well, it didn't look like that on the Vistaprint preview. Anyways, it's a notepad for absentee assignments. 

My favorite quote.. "Teaching is a work of heart." 

Homework passes.. in the past I've given them away for test grades 85+ and put them in the prize bin. I don't like how close "student's name" is to the top but I fill that part in anyways, so I can deal with it. I left white space on the bottom so I can write why they earned it so mom and dad can see. 

And I ordered THOUSANDS of these because I **or child labor** want to put one on all the books in my library. 

Well, I got 4 days to start lesson planning and figuring out next week. I hope you all had a wonderful start to your school year. I'd love to hear about it!


Sunday, August 19, 2012

Well, Hello!

It's been an overly busy summer! Yesterday I worked 15 hours at The Sara Marie School getting ready for our open house today. It's a very exciting adventure and I can't wait to share photos.
I recently announced that I will be teaching kindergarten, well, good news, I will be teaching a 1/2 combo now! So those of you that were *devastated* that I wouldn't be teaching second grade anymore... you're in luck ;) Have any of you taught in a multigrade classroom? I would LOVE advice? 
Many of you are back in school and I wish you a great school year. I start on September 11, so I will slowly be sharing photos and files while getting back into the groove!


Friday, June 22, 2012

School's out for the summer!

Well, I survived! The school year is officially over and as most of you know I resigned from the school I worked at the past 3 years. 

I'm excited to begin a new journey, but my small apartment...not so much! Empty classroom = crowded -already too small- apartment!

I'm sure everyone has heard about Karen, the bus aide by now, right? I can't believe how cruel kids can be. It's almost like they take pleasure in watching other people suffer. With all of the media coverage and threats they are receiving, I still don't feel one ounce of sympathy for those rotten children. 

What does your school do to prevent bullying? I'd love to hear what resources and programs you use. 


Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Blog Get Together!

Capital Region bloggers, don't forget this Saturday is our get together. We've decided on Wolf's 1-11 in Colonie at noon. See you there! :) 


Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Time Capsule Cont'

Last night I blogged about the time capsule project my students are working on. First thing this morning they asked if they were going to work on them. They're so excited about this project. I took a few pictures today: 

This is a picture of the brown envelopes they are decorating as their time capsules. 

This is the picture of the stationery we made. Last names are blurred out for obvious reasons. I also gave them each a copy of our class list so they can cross names off as they write letters to classmates. 

And finally, here is an example of a letter written to a classmate. Is this not precious? 


Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Time Capsule

Back to work today after an 8 day Caribbean cruise (St. Thomas, Antigua, Tortola, and Nassau)! It was gorgeous, relaxing, and I got to kiss a dolphin ;)

Many of you are ending your year, but here in New York we go until the end of June so my class will be working on their final project of the year. Since I had most of my class twice (once in kindergarten and now again in second) they have a super special place in my heart and we've had a lot of great memories together. These kiddos will all hopefully graduate high school in 1 decade so we are creating time capsules. They are decorating large brown envelopes and   their capsules will include letters from their classmates, pictures from this year and kindergarten, work that they are proud of, a note from me, and a letter from their parents/siblings. I cannot even begin to tell you how EXCITED my kids are for this project. 

I'll include pictures as we go but today we started by making personalized class stationery that will be used to write letters. I'll take a picture of mine tomorrow, but I got the general idea from this Pinterest photo. I only have 12 students so each day for the next 11 days each student will write a letter to a different classmate to include in the time capsule

This is the letter I'm sending home to include the parents in this project. 
Has anyone ever done a project like this? I'm really excited. I love looking at stuff I did in elementary school so I'm hoping this becomes memorable to the students one day. I'll post more about it as we work on it. 


Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Sunday, May 6, 2012

Teacher Appreciation Week :)

Teacher Appreciation week begins tomorrow! I appreciate all the hard working, talented teachers out there that produce and share amazingly creative products and ideas. I too am participating in the TpT appreciation sale, so be sure to check it out! Happy shopping. I know I can't wait to purchase the goodies on my wishlist. :D Have a great week and I hope your school does something super special for all you hardworking teachers! So check out my store and stock up on goodies for next year. 


Sunday, April 29, 2012

Apostrophe Showers.......

It's almost May and it's Sooo cold here in NY! Waiting for those May flowers :) I've always gotten a lot of emails about my "Apostrophe Showers" bulletin board, so this time around, I saved the template so I can share it. Uploading onto TpT is so much easier than dealing with Google Documents, so you can download the freebie here. If you can't see it that well the contraction goes on the flower (don't) and the parts of the contraction go on the leaves (do not).

I'm telling ya, it's been an exhausting year. I'm now in the process of apply for jobs and that's so much work and emotionally draining, especially when you don't even get called for an interview :/ Don't forget about the Capital Region blogger's meet up next month! 

On another note, I found out last week that I will be giving the IOWA test in 2 weeks. Hello, short notice! Does anyone have any experience with this test? Any advice? Resource book suggestions? I'm meeting Love to Teach at our local teacher store today so we can look at some resources together and hopefully find something suitable for our kiddos :x


Tuesday, April 17, 2012

** Capital Region Blogger Gathering **

So my buddies, Little Literacy Learners and Love to Teach, and I have been discussing how jealous we are of all the blogger gatherings across the state. We've decided to host our own in the Capital Region! We haven't decided an exact location yet because we want to know how many people would be interested first. You can RSVP via email or comment here. Please share this post or invitation to spread the word! Look forward to gabbing with you all!


Sunday, April 1, 2012

Help Wanted

I'm watching Starsky and Hutch, drinking Diet Pepsi, and doing report cards when I realized, wow, I've really neglected my blog this year. 

It's been a crazy year! Last week I presented a literacy workshop and I think it went really well. I discussed what a literacy rich environment looks like, how to conference 1:1 with your students, and our district assessment requirements. 

I also put my resignation in about a month ago. If you know of any districts (preferable public school) in the Albany, NY region hiring for next year, I'm on the market. I am struggling with the thought of not having my own classroom next year, but it's time to move on. 

So last week we finished my matter unit and one of my cutie pies wrote this on her test: 

The arrow says "I couldn't think of anything else!!" This was definitely the highlight of my week. I'm still laughing about it. 

On Friday I played a little April Fools trick on my students since it fell on a Sunday this year. I gave them a spelling test and most of them didn't even notice until the very end that it said something vertically: 

They thought this was hysterical!! It says "there really is no spelling test today. April fools ha ha ha"

We also made ice cream on Friday for our snazzy snack and end of our matter unit celebration. The recipe can be found here. It was so much fun and it was actually really tasty. It was made in a Ziploc bag and they just ate it right out of the bag. It shows a chemical change. 

My friend Laura over at Love To Teach does a weekly blog post about freebies that she finds. I like this idea and I want to share a couple of my finds last night. 

This first freebie is data binder materials. This must be very time consuming BUT I can definitely see this making me a better and more accountable teacher. There will also be no surprises when report cards come around. 

This next freebie is a poetry unit. I hate poetry :( I'm just glad April is a short month and I only have to teach it for 2 weeks. Hopefully this freebie makes it go a little more smooth for me. 

Have a great week!! Since I teach at a Catholic school we don't have school Thursday, Friday, or the following week. I plan on working on a magnet unit so if there is anything you would like to see in it, let me know :)