Sunday, July 22, 2012

Caught the Painting Bug...

     I was hit with the news this summer that I was going to be moving my classroom for the upcoming 2012-2013 school year.  After dealing with moving the million things a Kindergarten teacher stores over the summer, I turned my frown upside down and began creating a few new things for my classroom.  I am someone who constantly needs to change and re-vamp things.  I was inspired to make the hall passes through some ones I saw on Pinterest and came up with the lunch choice canvas on my own.  Something I have been blessed with the past few years that my new classroom does not have: a bathroom.  So, I'm hoping that by teaching the Kinders to clip the passes to their shirts, they won't end up on the group bathroom floor to collect God-knows-what-germs. 

They are made on flat canvas.  The Hall Pass sign measures 8x10 inches.  You can purchase one HERE!

     Students will use the lunch choice board to pick what they want to eat each day.  They will have a clothespin with their name on it that they will attach to the ribbon below the choice.  Since I teach Kindergarten and most of them can't read at the beginning of the year, I will probably have to attach a picture to the ribbon of the choice.  You can purchase one for your classroom HERE!

    I hope you all are soaking up the last month of your summer break!

Sunday, May 6, 2012

Lately in Kindergarten...

The year is winding down, but we're still busy in Room 105.  The dreaded End of Grades tests are right around the corner, and even though our students don't have to take them, they feel the effects!  We don't have specials for a whole week and are busy brainstorming activities to fill in the gaps of time.  We're going to decorate t shirts for field day, but other than that-- my mind is blank!  

Recently I added a new item to my Teachers Pay Teachers Store-- It's a bunch of centers all wrapped into one "Calendar, Graphing, and Time" pack.  These are our end of the year topics and I felt that my students needed a little more practice with these concepts.  Here are some samples from the pack--

We also made these "Yesterday, Today, & Tomorrow Wheels" to practice the days of the week.  My kids do a fabulous job of naming the days of the week, but are less than fabulous when it comes to "What is yesterday...?"  These wheels allow them to practice at home- and they're adorable. I got the idea here.

We've also been preparing for Mother's Day and planted some flowers for our Mother's Day Spa --

And last-- I thought I'd share a picture of my "Writers & Readers Wall."  This year, we've really been pushing kid-friendly objectives.  So, when we learn a concept, I try and post the objective on our wall so my students can refer to it when they need help.  It has especially been helpful during writer's workshop.  Students can look at the Writer's Wall to make sure they have included punctuation, colors in the drawing, etc.  Some of the resources I hang come from TpT sellers and other educational bloggers and I create some myself.

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

A Few Freebies For You...

     I started selling on Teachers Pay Teachers in January and have been amazed 1.) How many things are available for free and to purchase on the site & 2.) How many people have supported and purchased my products.  The TpT community is fabulous.  Recently I read the article about how some teachers are against selling products to make a profit for yourself.  The idea being that people have been sharing with each other for years without a market to sell and have been doing it out of the goodness of their hearts. Also, some argue that as teachers, we should be willing to share our materials to contribute to student success.  Both are opinions that I can understand and respect, but in the year 2012, things have changed.  Teachers in North Carolina are going on their 5th year without a raise, meaning some people who are tenured teachers are being paid as teachers with 0 years of experience.  Money is cut all of the time from different areas and teachers are not compensated for their time on committees or extra work completed.  So, for us teachers missing that climb up the NC salary chart, Teachers Pay Teachers has been a lifesaver.  The yankee in me is about to come out, so I apologize, but teachers work their asses off and deserve to be compensated for it.  If Pearson comes out with a new textbook or resource, they don't share it with me for free ... I have to buy it, and usually with my own money.  If SAS comes out with a new fabulous piece of educational software, they don't let me borrow it in hopes that it boosts the achievement in my class.  It's the world we live in: people are paid for the work they do.  If you are someone who creates activities, materials, and lessons for your class, JOIN TpT TODAY!  You have nothing to lose and it's about time you felt some credit for your hard work.

One more note-- teachers who sell their materials DO provide resources for free... Like these two :)  ENJOY!  And thanks to all of you sellers out there who have given me hundreds of amazing "freebies."

You can grab it HERE.


You can grab it HERE.

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Flea Market Finds...

I've been dying to go to the Raleigh Flea Market ever since we moved here ... I just never seemed to squeeze it in on those busy weekends.  This past Sunday I woke up and decided I would give it a try.  I left the state fairgrounds that day with some great purchases & with a few thoughts...

1.  Why do I spend so much time searching HomeGoods and TJMaxx for great deals?
2.  Why have I never been here before?
3.  I CAN do this bargaining with vendors thing.
4.  I can bring my dog!?

I snagged a few good buys at the market:
-3 stamped spoon herb labels (I made up that name)
-A fabulous mirror ... The sellers wanted $45 for it but I walked away with it for 30 bucks...   PROUD LADY RIGHT HERE.
-A distressed picture frame (That I will save for my guest bedroom summer remodel)

Here's a pic of the mirror and the frame ... Charlie couldn't help but jump in and pose:

And here are the herb labels: ($1 each!)

I knew I wanted to save the frame for when I re-vamp the guest bedroom this summer, but I had to get my hands on that mirror right away.  I headed to the local ACE Hardware to pick up some paint.  I ended up with two colors: Benjamin Moore's Ocean Breeze Paint & Krylon's Clue Ocean Breeze Spray paint.  Given the shape of the mirror, I wasn't sure which one would work best.  I did a small sampling of each and ended up using the Benjamin Moore paint with a sheer dusting of the spray paint over it.

So, I sweat my booty off in the North Carolina sun while taping, taping, and taping over the mirror area.  I used some paper to slide under the frame of the mirror, rather than having to tape it perfectly.  I know it looks less than fabulous, but it did the trick!  I'm not known for my neat-ness when doing a project.

The painting was the quickest part of the project.  I'd say it only took me 15 minutes to put both coats on ... I think the sun helped the drying process a little bit.  And oh yeah ... I got adventurous and grabbed a white picture frame from my living room and threw it in the mix. I've been trying to get more pops of color into our rather neutral home ... One step at a time!

Now came the hardest part ... waiting to rip that stuff off.  As a Kindergarten teacher, I practice my patience daily, but nothing tests me more than waiting for paint to dry.  It was worth it though, because I am IN LOVE with the finished product.  We have an extremely bare wall in our living room ever since we moved our TV and I hope to share the mirror hanging with the rest of my wall decor soon!  

Here's the frame finished & back in it's rightful spot... I love the splash of color it gives.

And because I had a little extra spray paint leftover and I tend to get carried away sometimes... I went ahead and spray painted our plastic patio furniture end tables.  They were a dull tan color before and actually had quite a bit of paint on them from my previous projects.  I know they're bold, but I love the color it brings to our back patio!  It brings out the blues in the two Lake Erie/Presque Isle pillows my Aunt Wendy bought us for a wedding present last year.  Also, my mother in law is sending some coral/red pillows our way that match the umbrella perfectly ... Should complete the look.

Monday, April 9, 2012

Spring Makeovers...

   We were extremely lucky in North Carolina this year: we never really had a true winter.  It snowed once and it was a light dusting that was melted the next day.  Being from Erie, PA, I like to see a little more of a seasonal change, but I'm not complaining!  I'll take the warmth over the blizzards anyday.

   Now that Spring is officially here, I've got the itch for some DIY projects around the house.  I completed my first one last week and I love the way it turned out.  I got the idea from the blog Positively Splendid.  Hers is a 3-tiered planter...I just can't decide if I want to add another tier to the bottom or create another set.

It looks like it might be complicated, but it's really not.  I had terracotta planters from last year that I spray painted and re purposed.  I had to purchase the spray paint, the sealant, the dirt, the flowers, and a brick.  Most of these things I would purchase anyway around Springtime ! 

OH!  And I can't forget the BEST buy of the whole project: I purchased from Michael's some Martha Stewart Circle Sponges-- they are FABULOUS.  I can't tell you how many circles I have hand-painted over the years.  I was done with the circles in about 5 minutes for this project.  This blog has a picture of the sponges (and some cute uses for them).

    I also used the leftover spray paint to paint another boring pot I had from last year (the one in the middle of this picture).  I think I've fallen in love with spray painting & can't wait to get started on some nightstands for our guest bedroom... 

Monday, March 12, 2012

My March Door...
    So decorating my classroom door is what keeps me going as a teacher, as weird as that sounds.  I started college as an Graphic Design Major and quickly switched to Art Education , thinking I would merge the two worlds of being good with kids and being good at art.  I quickly realized that I didn't exactly "fit the mold" of the typical art student.  It frustrated me that I had to do many more art classes than education classes and eventually my frustration led me down the path of Elementary Education.  It's weird looking back, because I wasn't one of those little girls who always dreamed of being a teacher.  Sure, I played school at home and loved to put my little sister in time out, but if you look in my 5th grade yearbook it says I'll be a Veterinarian or a Marine Biologist...yeah right.  Try:  Most days you'll feel like a glorified babysitter, but every once in awhile you have a moment when you realize you are making small differences in the world, child by child, and it makes it all worth it.
     So back to my door... I love getting the opportunity to still feel like an "artist," even though it's just some tempera paint and bulletin board paper.  Here it is-

And oh yeah... this dog won't stop growing! ...

Thursday, March 1, 2012

Hello March...

March is one of my favorite months of the year...It's my birthday month!  I also love celebrating Dr. Seuss's birthday and St. Patrick's Day with the kids...they're two holidays you can have tons of fun with.

Today, in preparation for Dr. Seuss's birthday, we made "The Cat in the Hat Magic Dough."  We have been learning about "How-To" writing, so it was the perfect activity/shared experience for writer's workshop.  I got the idea from a friend who made the dough with her toddler (Thanks Haley!) and put the Seussical-Spin on it.  It's amazing what adding colored glitter can do for a 5 year old's excitement level.  You would have thought it was Christmas morning when I let them mix this stuff with their bare hands.

Here's the recipe we used:
(We made 4 separate bins at our tables) ...
4 cups flour
1/2 cup baby oil
red and blue glitter (as much as you want)
**Be specific with your measurements.  We had a group thinking it would be "cool" to add a little more flour and theirs ended up being the hardest to work with.

Mix the ingredients with your hands.  It forms a dry dough that can be formed in balls but easily broken back into its original form- very cool.

Following the activity I had the table teams write the steps to the activity together.  As a class, we voted on and discussed which group was most specific with their writing.  It was a fun way to collaborate and tie-in our writing objective for the week.

At the end of the day, I sent each child home with a sandwich baggie filled with 1 cup of the dough.  I made labels to go on it so their parents wouldn't think they were bringing home glittered kitty litter. :) (Oh-- and we discussed that you DON'T eat it! Hey, it's Kindergarten)

HERE is the link for the labels! -FREE @ my TpT store.

Here is another fun Dr. Seuss activity we completed in our literacy centers this week...I created the sheet to go along with the book "Green Eggs & Ham."  We are turning this into our own classroom book...

**Thanks to for the cute border!


Last- we went with a "1 Fish, 2 Fish, Red Fish, Blue Fish" theme for math centers this week.  The kids made fish tanks using colored goldfish and created an addition sentence to match-- so much fun!  I came up with a catchy poem to go along with it:
____ fish and ____ fish in water so blue
How much do you get when you join the two?

(my example)

(kids work)

Annnnd as if Dr. Seuss days are not exciting enough-- I came home to see these beauties popping up in my yard!  I guess it's safe to say Spring is on the way!!

Annnddd as if this were not the longest blog posting already... Something else made my week extra special. :) Last Friday we brought our first "new addition" home... Meet Charlie Laver! She's such a love.