Saturday, August 27, 2011

Sight Word Fun Freebie!

Sight Word Fun Center

Hi Friends! Kerri here again...
Well, Mr. Bojangles  has settled in nicely. My husband (who is a 7th grade science teacher) thought he was so cool that he decided to get his class one too! We named his bearded dragon Beaker! Hopefully those 7th graders won't scare him to much! HA!

At the beginning of the year, I find that my firsties have a hard time remembering all of the sight words that they learned in Kindergarten. Our district uses Houghton Mifflin, which only has 18 Kindergarten sight words (WEAK!) so when I taught Kinder, I always had my kids practice learning the color words also. 
The center I've created has 36 Kinder sight word cards (including the color words), 2 word building mats, and a "show what you know" worksheet that asks the kids to write the word, rainbow write it, and then stamp it. I plan on giving my kids a baggy with 6 cards in it, and they will then choose a card, read the word,  and build the word on the laminated chalkboard mat with magnetic letters, or whatever letters I have on hand. After reading and spelling all 6 words, they will complete the worksheet using their baggy of words. I think they will enjoy it. For you Kinder teachers out there, this center will be great later on to reinforce the words they are learning.
Click on the picture to download your very own set, for FREE, because I love to share with you, my bloggy peeps!!

P.S. Clip art was DJ Inkers September Whimzee, and the font was DJ Basic, my fave!!

Friday, August 26, 2011

Introducing Mr. Bojangles-our new class pet!!

Hiya Friends! Kerri here...
About a month ago, I was contacted by J'Lyn, a representative for PetSmart, and she had an amazing offer for me! She offered to provide my Firsties and I with a class pet, and PetSmart would pay for everything!! Well, no brainer, of course I said YES! I have been so excited and today I actually got to go and pick him out.  Drum roll please......
Introducing Mr. Bojangles, the baby Bearded Dragon!!
Isn't he so adorable!!

All of the employees at PetSmart were so friendly and knowledgable. Monica, the pet care manager, guided me through the process, helped me pick out all of the necessities to make Mr. Bojangles feel at home, and gave me tips on how to care for him. Here are some photos at the store...
All the necessities

Mr. Bojangles and his friends at the store

One VERY excited teacher who can't wait to take him home!
I cannot wait for my Firsties to meet him! We are going to have so much fun taking care of him, writing about his adventures, and watching him grow to be a whopping 2 feet long! WOWZA!! Thanks so much PetSmart for giving my class the opportunity to take care of our new bearded dragon, Mr. Bojangles!!
Stay tuned for more Mr. Bojangles posts...
See you later, alligators!

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Color Words Graph Freebie!

Hi Peeps! Kerri here again...
I have not been doing a very good job keeping up with Teacher Week 2011. Boo! I only posted Monday so far, and technically this post should be saved for Friday. I wanted to post some pics of my classroom, but since we don't start until September 6th, it is not quite picture ready!! Getting there, but not quite yet...

Lindsay had her baby yesterday (YAY!) and I got to cuddle him today...sooo precious! I am sure she will be posting pictures of him all over this blog as soon as she gets home from the hospital. 

This is a quickie post, just to share a little color words graph I whipped up to have my Firsties work on during the first or second week of school. I plan on giving them baggies of unifix cubes that have all the colors of the rainbow in them and they will sort them, color how many of each, and then analyze the data (just most and least...nothing TOO crazy for the first week of school!) It will also help them practice reading their color words, which most of them hopefully will be able to do (Crossing fingers!)  :)

That's all friends!! Click on the picture above to download. Hope you enjoy it!

Monday, August 22, 2011

Meet the Teacher Monday!

Hi there Blogging Peeps!! Kerri here...
I am linking up with Blog Hoppin' for Teacher Week 2011! What a fantastic idea! Lindsay is having her baby as we speak (literally! She is in the hospital right now and her Hubs is texting me updates!) so she will have to post her Meet the Teacher later! We were in her classroom today putting up one last bulletin board, and when she got home her water broke. Heehee! That's what happens when you're obsessed with classroom decorating! I am just so happy and excited for my Besty to have her first baby...I can't wait to meet him!

So, here's a little bit about me!
My family in Orlando last summer

I have wanted to be a teacher since I was a little girl. I can remember playing school with my cousins and my fondest childhood memory is when Santa brought me vintage school desks filled with school supplies on Christmas. I was 7 and it was like I had died and gone to heaven. What a gift to be living out my childhood dream every day AND getting paid for it!!
 I teach in Newport Beach, California. I have been teaching for 15 years and this next year will be my 16th! WHAT?? I can't believe it! I taught  4th, a 1/2 combo, and then 2nd in my first district, and then after moving to the district I am in now, I taught Kinder for 10 years, before changing schools and grade levels to 1st last year. I LOVE first grade!  I thought I would never leave Kinder, but after 10 years, I was looking for a change and first grade was the perfect grade for me! Plus, my Mom was a teacher for 35 years and taught first grade for many of those years, so I am so proud to teacher the same grade that she loved so much! She helps in my classroom every Friday since she retired and she is SUCH an ANGEL! She literally saves me HOURS and HOURS of prep work, and the quality time we get to spend together is PRICELESS!

My sweet Mommy and I on Mother's Day!
I have 2 sweety little girls who I just LOVE to pieces! My oldest will be starting Junior High in 2 weeks (Gulp! Please pray for us!!) and my little one is going into the 3rd grade. It seems like just yesterday my babies were babies, and I can't believe how the time has flown! 

I am married to a wonderful, Godly man who takes such good care of the girls and I. He is also a teacher (Junior High Science--blech!!) and he is so understanding of my teaching/blogging/crafting obsessions!! :) He is an AWESOME athlete, a super SMARTY PANTS (Thank goodness he can help Sarah with her Math!!) and SO HANDSOME! 

You may not know...
I am O.B.S.E.S.S.E.D with all things Harry Potter! The books, the movie, the spells, the characters, the Theme Park (which I got to visit last summer...TOTAL DREAM COME TRUE!)

Katie choosing a wand in Ollivanders...AMAZING!
Finally, I love Jesus with all my heart. He protected me through a rough childhood, carried me through those crazy high school and WILD college years, and has blessed me more abundantly than I deserve. He has given me so much, and it is by his grace that I am saved!

Thanks for reading, friends! I hope you know how much you all inspire me and give me strength in this profession! 

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

First Week of School Packet!!

Hello bloggie friends!

Just wanted to share one of my all-time favorite Kinder activities that I do with my kiddos every year.  During the first week of school, I have my cute little kindies complete one page a day of this "First Week in Kindergarten" packet.  The packet includes a self-portrait page, a writing letters and numbers page, a dot-to-dot, and finally a page for students to draw (a picture of mom, a tree, etc.). For some of them it is VERY challenging - it also serves as a great informal assessment of what your kiddos can do right away - but it is a great activity to keep . . . . . for Open House!  Then, right before Open House I have my kiddos redo the same packet to show how much progress they have made throughout the year on basics such as writing their name, letters, numbers, coloring, and drawing.  I use 12 x 18 inch construction paper to fold in half and staple the packet from the beginning of the year on the inside on the left, and the end of the year packet on the right, so parents and students can both see the amazing progress! 

Click the picture above to download the whole packet!

This year I revamped the packet and cutsified it a bit - and made a separate cover sheet for both the beginning and end of the year.  Remember not to send these home! Hang on to them and pull them out again at the end of the year!  You will be impressed! :)

Hope you are all getting excited to meet your new group of kidlets!!


Saturday, August 6, 2011

Banner Giveaway Winner and other Crafty news!! Plus, Banner tips!

Hiya Peeps! Kerri here...

Drumroll please...we have a winner!!
Congratulations Kris!! Email us your color scheme and what you would like your banner to say, and we will get right on it!! Thank you so much to all of our blogging friends who follow us and give us such kind comments...we appreciate it so much!!

In other news, Lindsay and I have been busy busy having "Craft Day" once a week! We are trying to get as much QT (Quality Time) in as we can before baby Jack arrives in just over a week!! After he comes, QT will be hard to come by, am I right, fellow Moms??

First, we each made 6 of these FANTABULOUS crate seats for our guided reading tables:

These are mine. I forgot to take a picture of Lindsay's. BOO!  Thanks to What the Teacher Wants for the AMAZING idea! I have already bought double sided white boards to put inside them ($2 at Staples...what a bargain!), and I will also put in index card holders to hold sight words, magnetic letters and boards, and other guided reading tools. I CANNOT wait to try these out with my firsties!

Next, we painted ceramic bowls to hold our doodads and other odds and ends in at school. They aren't fired yet, but when they are, they will be a pretty turquoise, black,  and red/orange. Can't wait to see them when they're done!!

Our next endeavor was inspired from the wonderful Miss Abby over at THE INSPIRED APPLE. She had the most ADORABLE ceiling tile art that she made. Seriously, that girl is talented! And, yes, we did copy her design just a little bit, except for the colors. It was so so cute! I went with my dots on turquoise theme, and Lindsay's matched the banner that we made for her class!!

Our next project is going to be this...
Aren't these chairs to die for!! I found these TODAY at Jo-Ann's for 70% off!! That's right Peeps! I paid $9 for the frog and $12  for the flowers. Isn't that such a steal?? They are so cute already, I almost hate to do it, but we plan on decoupaging them with the cute scrapbook paper like it is patchwork and using the hard coat Mod Podge. Did you know there is a Mod Podge blog?? It is AWESOME!! That girl has some serious mad crafting skills!!

On to my Banner tips! A couple of you asked about me selling them. Yes, I will sell them if you are interested in one, for probably $12-$15, depending on what you want it to say. Just email me if you are interested!! :)  
If you want to make one yourself, and you don't have a CRICUT machine, you can buy the punch out letters from Lakeshore, like these from Creative Teaching Press...
Glue them onto 1/4 of a 12x12 piece of cute scrapbook paper, punch holes in the top, and add a cute ribbon!! Voila!! You will have your very own banner, just like this one! But, if the thought of all that work makes you tired already, just email me the deets and I will whip you one up for a very good price!! Toodles!!

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Goodbye Third Grade, Hello Kindergarten!

Greetings blogger buddies!

Okay, okay . . . I have to admit that I have been totally MIA on our blog the last few weeks.  The end of the year was a whirlwind and I can't believe it's already August - yikes!  Here's a peek into what I've been up to!

As I wrapped up my year with my wonderful Third Graders, Open House was a huge highlight!  Our room showcased my wonderful writers, artists, readers, mathmaticians, and scientists!  Here are some pictures to give you a peek:

This was our Native American wall for Social Studies.  Each child made a clay doll, made a hand-woven basket, and several books and maps showcasing the various Native American groups of the regions of California.

Across our classroom clothesline I hung self-portraits that my students did of themselves using oil pastels.  They loved the challenge of drawing themselves realistically, and especially had fun with their crazy, colorful backgrounds!

Across the front of the room I hung their wonderful "Third Grade Gazette" newspapers, which featured articles they wrote about their favorite field trip, the best book they read, and what they were most proud of this year in Third Grade!  I also hung their dioramas that they created based on a story from our Language Arts anthology.
Probably our favorite project was creating a Solar System in our classroom.  Actually, it worked out great - since I had 24 students, they each got to research, write about, and create their own paper mache planet, so we had a total of three Solar Systems on display - along with our GIANT sun!!  (The sun was made of a HUGE balloon and took several coats of paper mache and many hours of work from students, parents, and myself before it was ready to be displayed.)  Along with each planet, my students wrote a "Postcard From Space" to their parents on what it was like to be visiting their planet of choice.  Click HERE to download a template of the postcard to use with your kiddos!

As I wrapped up this year with my students, I received news that I will be teaching KINDERGARTEN next year - WOOHOO!!  I am so excited to be going back to a grade that I am so passionate about!  Unfortunately, once school was out and my new room was clean and ready, I only had TWO DAYS to move in all of my things and get set up for next year before I had to turn in my key for the summer! Whew!  Thanks to Kerri for coming and helping put up some fabulous bulletin boards (pictures coming soon), and to my husband for doing some serious heavy lifting . . . As of yesterday, we are only two weeks away from my due date for little Jackson to arrive!!  Here are some recent belly shots from our maternity photo shoot.  Can't wait to meet the little man inside that belly!!

So now as I anxiously and eagerly await Jack's arrival, I have been filling my sleepless nights with lots of kinder prep: getting things organized for my long-term sub, loading up on school supplies, and digging up all my kinder files.  I wanted to share my Kindergarten Classroom Rules that I made a few years ago and still love.  They are: Quiet Voice, Raise Your Hand, Give 100%, HFO (stands for keeping Hands, Feet, and Objects to yourself!), Show Heart Behavior (which covers being kind, respectful, etc.), Listen, and Walk.  Hope you can use these in your rooms as well!

Click on the image to download a PDF of my classroom rules!

Hope you are all having wonderful, relaxing summers.  I will keep you updated with baby news and hopefully lots of helpful Kinder resources as well!