Saturday, December 24, 2011

Christmas in July...

Merry Christmas Eve, y'all!  :o)  The pumpkin cheesecakes have been put in the oven for their hour-long warm and toasty nap.   The oreo balls for tonight are finished.  ALL our presents are wrapped.  Starbucks hot chocolate is long gone.  I have to apologize to y'all - I have been very sporadic in my postings this school year (I feel like I say this every time I post!)...but the truth is, things have been a little different for this kinder teacher this year.  I have to say, I'm very grateful for Christmas Break.  I have been exhausted this first half of the year.  Surprising as it is, my tiredness has not come from my kindergarteners.

If you read back to my very first-ever post, you will find out that ever since I was a little girl, I wanted to be a mommy when I grow up.  I wrote that post almost one year ago.  We weren't quite ready to make our two-some a three-some back then, but guess what??

This was our announcement picture!  We took about a million of these, and we were going to put up the calmer version, but I laughed to the point of tears every time I looked at handsome's face in this picture, so this was the winner.  :o)  This was an idea I found, where else?, Pinterest!

So as the post title says, our Christmas will be in July.  I'm due July 1st - officially out of the first trimester and finally getting my energy back!  So maybe I'll be able to crank out more posts when we start our week of nothing next week.  :o)

Please, if it's your thing, offer up some prayers for our little lovey.  Everything is going great, and I pray and hope that it continues this way.  Being "Prego" is awesome!  But, it is such a huge responsibility, and I get very nervous about doing everything just right for this sweet little baby.  Thanks for all your love! at peace, and all will be well...

An Award :o)

Thanks to Mrs. Futch's Class for awarding my blog the "Liebster Blog" award.  :o)

The goal of this award is to spotlight up-and-coming blogs with less than 200 followers. 
The rules are:
{1} Copy and paste the award on your blog.
{2} Thank the giver and link back to them.
3} Reveal your top 5 picks and let them know by leaving a comment on their blog.
This is hard , tried to pick great blogs that did not already have the award! :)

Here are my top 5 Picks...


Sunday, December 11, 2011

Amazing Last Minute Printables!

Y'all, go to this girl's site.  Right now.  :o)

I think I've blogged about her before, but it's worth another look!  She is about to have her first baby TOMORROW and just put up a post with all kinds of cute and very free printables to download.  Talk about a Super Mama and Super Teacher!

Anyway, she started her blog around this time last year, so a lot of her cute ideas from last year can also be used now.  I've used a lot of her printables for my learning centers, and my students always eat them right up!

One more blog definitely worth mentioning is Mrs. Cupcake's "A Cupcake for the Teacher"

A Cupcake for the Teacher

She's having a giveaway right now that is totally worth checking her out.  Also, she has some really cute craft ideas and cute items on TpT.  Go ...right now! :o)

Sooo....what's your countdown?  Mine is t-minus 5 days left.  Last day of school is Friday with a 1/2 day.  How am I going to fit all my fun stuff in???  :o)  Wishing you all very happy thoughts on these last few days before a well deserved break for spending time with family and friends. at peace, and all will be well...

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Elf Update

Snowflake (our Elf on a Shelf) has been so sneaky these last few days...  Check him out...  :o)

Tuesday we came in to find him just finishing up a bath in our sink...the water was still warm!

This morning he had made a campfire and roasted some marshmallows.  He's so sweet, he even shared them with us!  :o)

Sunday, December 4, 2011

Our Sneaky Elf on a Shelf!

Last year I was BLESSED with a class mom who went over the top for us.  All the time.  Like, I'm talking weekly she would check in, make sure we had everything we needed and took some requests (I'm very slow to give requests...don't ask me why, I don't know).  Anyway, right after Thanksgiving, she came Monday morning bright and early to decorate our tree in our classroom.  She shared about this new Elf on a Shelf "thing."  I LOVED it, but couldn't afford the $30 for the doll and book set.  She asked if we wanted one, and I regretfully declined (I did NOT want to ask her to spend that much on us!!!).  Anyway, long story short: we came back into the classroom after lunch that same day to find a big cardboard box addressed to us "from the North Pole" under our Christmas tree.  Inside was the Elf on a Shelf set with a note inside the book that said "Merry Christmas, Team Johnson.  Love, Santa."

...Thanks, "Santa!"   :o)

Did I mention how much I am blessed?  Last year we named our little elf Jingle Bell, and he did his duty of watching and reporting, and then flew back to the North Pole on the last day before Winter Break.

Our class elf made his first appearance this year this past Tuesday morning.  He was hiding on the Christmas tree with his Elf on a Shelf book in the read aloud chair beside it.  We read the book together (only 2 of my students didn't know what it was), and voted on a name.   His new name this year is Snowflake.

Then on Wednesday morning, we found him on the top shelf of our Writing Center.  He even colored and elf picture for us!  He left it under the tree with a letter from Santa the next morning.

On Thursday morning, he was in the middle of reading one of our favorite books, Merry Christmas, Splat. Some of our other classroom friends were listening to the read aloud!  :o)

Friday morning, Snowflake was camped out in his stocking-sleeping bag, reading his Elf on a Shelf book.  We think he really likes to read!

This was a combined idea of mine and something I saw on Pinterest.  Snowflake has brought us some "Elf Kisses" ...can you see him eating one of them??  :o)  I'm using these as an incentive...students earn an Elf Kiss when s/he finishes the day on good behavior OR s/he demonstrates an over the top nice behavior to another student or teacher.

I'll let you know how the elf kisses go.  This is what they'll find tomorrow morning when they come in.  :o)

Do you have an elf in your classroom?  What is it's name?  Go to pinterest RIGHT NOW to get some wonderful and hysterical ideas for your elf.  Or just Google "Elf on a Shelf" and go to the images results.

Smiling's My Favorite!

...Y'all, we have entered my favorite time of year!!  My most favorite holiday of them all is Christmas.  There just isn't enough time to get in everything I want to...not enough for all of the books I want to share, not enough for all the projects and fun activities...but we pick and choose and hopefully help to deliver some cheer each year to our students.

Last weeks centers consisted of the following....

Art Center (inspired from a pin on pinterest!  A Santa's beard Advent Calendar.  My assistant made her own version of the patterns, and each student cut them out and put them together.  The circles on his beard are a guide to where to put each cotton ball.  It's ordered at random like a calendar with doors.

Each afternoon, my assistant and I put a Glue Dot on the next circle.  When they come in the next morning, after they unpack, the students stick their next cotton ball on the correct number.  We put them all under the board at the front of the room like this...

In the Math Center, just because we wanted them to put together this project (we read the book When Santa Lost his Ho, Ho, Ho, and made a Santa that looks just like him)'s a Santa puzzle - starts out with the rectangles jumbled up.  The students have to cut them out and glue them into a rectangle on the red paper to put him together.  Then they color him.

Then in our Word Study center we have a Christmas Tree Beginning Sounds activity.  They color the pictures, cut them out, and glue them onto the circle with the beginning sound.  It looks like ornaments on the tree.  They only put the glue at the very top of the circle, so a flap is created that we can check.  I actually created this last year due to a lack of Christmas-cheery educational word study activities (clearly I had yet to discover the world of teacher blogs!).

Happy Sunday, everyone!  :o)

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Turkey is All Gobbled Up!

Happy Sunday, everyone!
So this blogger is just being plain old lazy!  I've been extra busy and extra tired these days...but not when I'm in the classroom (well, we're busy, but I don't have time to be tired in front of the kiddos!).  We brought back some great projects for the kinders this year, and we had a blast reading our books and making connections with them!

Before Halloween, we talked about farms and how scarecrows "protect" gardens...we made these scarecrows and they've been in our windows since the beginning of October.  (Thank goodness they don't scare away the birds at the bird feeders)  :o)

Here are some of our favorite Thanksgiving books...

After reading Turkey Trouble and Run, Turkey, Run, we make turkeys with our families as an "At-Home Project."  They decorate their turkeys to look like anything else to hide them...  (I know that just about everyone in blogger-world does these, but I just had to share mine!!)  :o)

Can you find...the ladybug, Santa, 2 football players, Hula Dancer, Ariel, 2 bunnies, "tree turkey," a hunter, The Cat in the Hat, a Native American, and a clown? They did so well with these!

Next, we made turkey picketers much like the Chick-fil-A cows.  Here is the banner above them...

It came from Mrs. Jump's Thanksgiving Unit.  She rocks!   Click Here to go to her Thanksgiving post on her blog.
(Turkeys on the left: "More Pumpkin, More Corn" Turkeys to the right: "More Soup, More Pie.")

 We've been working on vowel sounds and CVC words, so we were trying to get them to listen to their vowels when they made their turkey signs - I was one proud teacher!  :o)

Do you know how many school days are left between now and Christmas Break??  15!  15!!!  It might sound like I'm excited (I kinda am), but that's me kinda upset because we're faced with the same problem as years past: how do we fit all of our fun stuff in?????  And y'all keep posting MORE cute stuff!  :o)  Hopefully I can share our projects BEFORE we do them this time around.  I appreciate you stickin' with me through my laziness!

Two more pictures for the night... "It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas..." my house!  :o)

 The stockings are hung with care and the tree is up and decorated!  Yay!!!

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Our Month in Pictures...

Hello?  Are you still there?  Oh my goodness, I have been so MIA from my blog that it's already been a MONTH since my last post...a MONTH!  So, so, so, so sorry y'all.  Life has definitely been very busy around here, and I just simply haven't had the blogging time that I had before.  But, I am a creature of schedules (not habit, just schedules), and I have finally put my life back onto a schedule!  (insert loud applause here....).  Plus there's the added benefit that handsome had 2 Fall Baseball games to coach this afternoon, so I got ALL of my big kindergarten bag of stuff finished before the last inning...this is the time I usually break it out, and I am very very happy that I brought it with me to the game!  Oh, one more added yay for today...tomorrow is our Fall Break (just Monday off), so I get an extra day to tackle my to-do lists.

We have be SOOOO busy in kindergarten!  I may be the only one, and if so, that's totally fine with me...but, it seems to take me a little time to get used to my sweet babies each year.  Let me clarify: I fall in love with my classes each year, so the following year I miss my old students like crazy.  Especially when the new group comes in and we have to learn the rules/procedures all over again AND get to know each other.  Now don't get me wrong...I LOVE my new students, but there always seems to come a point in the beginning of the year when it finally starts feels like a "team" and the new feeling wears off (hence our class name: Team Johnson).

It happened a few weeks ago.  We were learning about bus safety, and we were singing "The Wheels on the Bus" song.  We made a makeshift bus at the front of the room using the student chairs.  We talked about the rules on the bus and stuck them to our GI-NOR-MOUS bus that my wonderful assistant made last year.  We sang each rule to the tune of "The Wheels on the Bus" except the song is called "The Students on the Bus Should..." and they loved it!

Then we made these buses (inspiration from Mrs. Jump) in the art center that week.  On Friday afternoon, we wrapped up Bus Safety week with our song and makeshift bus again.  This time, the students replaced the "b" in "bumpity bump" with the first letter of their first names.  This student's name begins with "E."  We brought our buses down to our whole group meeting place on the carpet, and took turns singing the song to each student's name.

They had a blast!  Then we displayed it outside of our classroom like this:

Onto fire safety and community helpers from there...however....I kinda didn't take pictures of that stuff :o(

So, on to Fall and Leaves we go!

First we brainstormed about fall together, talking about all of the things that we LOVE about the weather, FOOTBALL,  :o) watching the trees change colors, etc.  We honed in on the leaves on the trees part.  We made a circle map to list the different things we already know about leaves...

We read some books about leaves...our favorite were...

The Leaf Man is a super cool book about how the leaves blow all over the place and create new images. You have to look close and you have to have an imagination to see each "thing."  We made our own leaf things on Friday from leaf stamps.  The students could pick between making fish, turtles, and/or trees from their leaves.  We let the paint dry and then practiced labeling.  Through interactive writing, we figured out together how to spell each thing.  I left the words up so that they could write their labels on their pages.  If you go ALLLLLLL the way down to the bottom of this post, you can see our Leaf Man art project.  I'm sorry...I forgot to get a closeup!  But they turned out really good!

In math, we have been learning about to count them, how to write them, and how to use a dice.  This activity was PERFECT!  It's from

...they have a teachers pay teachers packet called Happy Fall Y'all!  And it made this teacher VERY happy!  It has TONS of very cute and very appropriate kinder games.  Too much for us to make/use this year, but we definitely used about 1/2 of this 100+ page packet.  VERY worth it, I promise!  :o)

Here is the first part of the packet we comes with a poem that I cut out, mounted on red paper, and laminated.  It was a very simple and quick poem for my students to learn...

These leaves were spread out on the floor in front of the pocket chart (we made a 1/2 circle around it).  Each student came up and turned over a leaf (they were just copied on leaf-color paper and laminated).  S/he had to tell us quickly what number the picture represents.  We did this 2 days in a row, and by the end of day two, they were very competitive on who could recognize it the fastest!  :o)  (Please ignore my orange toes!  I was trying to give some kind of size reference...the leaves are the size of your palm.

 THEN!  I found THIS super cute Graph-a-Leaf math activity.  We did this on Friday.  We did everything whole-group, because it's technically a first grade math activity.  Most of my students were able to complete it with no help, but I still had a few who struggled with the questions at the end...

If you like this, go to Mrs. Oakes blog and then on to her teachers pay teachers page.  She rocks!  Thanks Mrs. Oakes!  :o)

As Fall Intro/Leaves week came to a close, we read that book up there called The Leaves on the Trees.  It is a WONDERFUL book that describes the different shapes/colors of leaves on different trees.  It names a different tree on each page, and is sung to the tune of "The Wheels on the Bus."

Here are some leaves a parent sent in with her daughter (mom is a science teacher at our school and has so much cool stuff to share!)...we were able to look at them and point out the different parts of a leaf (stem, blade, veins).  Thanks Catherine!

She also sent in leaf rubbings.  I have never seen plastic ones like these before.  Aren't they cool?  We didn't have any time left in the day on Friday for each student to try it out, so it will be in the Art Center for them to try when they finish their art project.

 During our last science meeting this week, we came up with a tree map about leaves.  I have to say a HUGE thank you to Babbling Abby.  Girl, I saw your post about bats and was totally inspired!  I have never, ever seen a tree map like this...with the "can, are, have" words at each branch.  I fell in love!  We did this with leaves, we will do it for bats and spiders in the upcoming weeks, and I'm sharing it with every teacher I know!

Go to Abby's teacher blog "The Inspired Apple" to see her thinking maps about bats.  If you check back here next week, you'll see that I just about copied it point-blank...I know my students will love it! Click on the VERY cute bat tree map to check out her stuff!  :o)

On a very separate note, I created this bulletin board to display some student work.  We started the year with a Monster theme, and I thought it was appropriate to have a Monstrous Work board!  Still haven't been able to put up the title...ugh!  This is all work from our learning centers.  We have 5 centers going each is the art center, so that automatically gets put up around the room or outside.  This bulletin board shows SOME of the great work from the other centers.  I switch them out almost daily so that everyone has a turn.  They love seeing their work up on the board.  :o)

And here was my desk at 5:30 on Friday...last thing left to do was to put up the leaf learning in the hallway before I shuffled on home for girls' night out!  Whew!  I leave my big calendar on the left side of my table, and my lesson plan notebook (aka my LIFELINE at school) on the right side.  Every Friday before I leave literally everything else must be gone from my desk.  Nothing can be left for Monday (it comes home with me).  You can also catch a glimpse of my newest and most beloved coffee cup....

Here's the display I just couldn't leave school without finishing....

Anyway, once again I have created a terribly long, drawn-out post, but I hope it helps with planning either for this year or the future!  :o)  Happy Sunday night, and I hope you have a wonderful week! at peace, and all will be well...