Tuesday, August 30, 2011

The Aftermath of Irene...

Happy Tuesday!  We are VERY happy here in the south that life is getting back to normal after a horrible hurricane.  We endured almost 48 hours straight of rain and wind.  It. lasted. forever.  We thought the rain wouldn't ever stop!  All over our city and surrounding cities and towns you can't drive a block without seeing at least one HUGE oak tree uprooted.

As the storm came over us on Friday night, my sissy and I camped out in the living room.  She's staying with us as she gets ready to move to Florida.  For some reason, after only one glass of wine, we started singing a song.  That somehow lead into trying to remember (successfully!) all of the words to "Part of Your World" sung by none other than Ariel herself!  THAT lead into changing the Pandora radio station to "Disney."  A little more wine, a little game of Scrabble, and we were in full Disney singing mode.  Here's sissy and my dog Kody and kitty Hank.

On a side note, like many girls our ages, when we were little we OBSESSED about the newest Disney animated film.  When she was 3, sissy "officially" changed her name to Princess Jasmine.  I remember our aunt called us one afternoon and asked for sissy, and sissy wouldn't come to the phone until our aunt asked to speak with "Princess Jasmine."  I can also fondly remember our family road trips to vacation in New York or to Florida (we live right smack in the middle of those two states, so our road trips were usually no less than 10 hours one way).  Our poor parents suffered as we sang at the TOP OF OUR LUNGS to every single song on every single soundtrack (on cassette tapes of course!).  We had to strike up compromises between "adult music time" aka NPR and "children music time."  Looking back, I feel like we were out-compromised because it was something like "y'all can listen to 2 songs and then we'll listen to NPR for an hour.  It's totally the same thing."  We were (and are still) so naive that we didn't ever figure out the difference!

My favorite moment of this Wine Scrabble Disney was "Hakuna Matata" ...somewhere in the middle of the song we were crying harder than we were laughing as the lyrics struck up some hilarious memories!  Love you, sissy!  :o)

Handsome and I were blessed because we suffered very minimal damaged as compared to many others around here.  Saturday morning we came upstairs to find our bay window leaking...no make that dripping water.  We stuck pots, bowls, and cups all along the window sill to try to keep our walls and carpets dry.  Turns out the water was coming in through the molding at the top and was behind the walls, so some of the spots in the walls are ruined.  See those drips running down the wall?  The one furthest to the right is NOT coming from the window sill.  It's seeping out from behind the wall.  Hopefully shouldn't be a big deal to fix.

As soon as the storm let up a little, we headed to handsome's parents house for the night.  We lost power, and so did they, but they had the *da-da-da-daaaa* generator!!  That same day their big tree in the back yard went down.  Luckily it didn't hit the house - it went the other way and landed on their two storage barns.  When the weather cleared, lots of friends came to help start the tree-removal process.

I helped the girls work on the front yard and back yard - my in-laws have lots of wonderful shade tress in their yard...but we all know what happens to those wonderful trees during a storm.  Yep!  Nature prunes them!  Here are our piles in the front...

And here is handsome helping us out in between cutting up the tree...

Because of this stupid storm, we have many friends and even some family dramatically effected by this storm.  Handsome's parents and hometown still have no power.  This is day 4 of no power.  Yuck.  Some have lost homes and/or vehicles.  I am counting my blessings more than you know.

Luckily we get to go back to school tomorrow.  There will still be some teachers and students who cannot come, but we're all going to get through this together!  Please send up your prayers and think of all those involved.  If you are going through this too, know that I'm thinking of you very much!

...be at peace, and all will be well...

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Mrs. Johnson Gets Ready for Kindergarten!

Here we go!  We start Kindergarten tomorrow!!!  I still cannot believe how quickly last year flew by.  Now summer has flown by and it's almost time to meet my new kinders!

Let me ask the teachers out there: this is my 5th year of teaching and I have butterflies worse than EVER before.  Does it get worse through the years?  Does it let up a little?  Can I expect all 30 + years of teaching to do this to me at the beginning of every year??  I was a wreck last week - a jittery, jumpy, OCD wreck!

I'm not nervous...no negative thoughts whatsoever...just very anxious.  Anxious to meet each individual student.  Anxious to watch this group's chemistry.  Anxious to get to know them and love them and watch them grow for a whole year!

It took countless hours to get this classroom ready.  I have mentioned my OCD-tendancies in past posts.  Well, the monster OCD comes out at the beginning of the year.  The room has to be PERFECT.  Every way, shape, and form.  Perfect.  Period.  End of sentence.  Get it yet?  :o)

My assistant has helped me so much in the past week.  We were out at school until an un-Godly hour Friday night setting out all of our name tags, getting homework folders ready, taping down names onto the carpet (this is in lieu of a rug for assigned seating - works like a charm!)...Don't even ask me how many "to-do lists" I have gone through!

My friend Joelle came out on Saturday with me to bring my rocking chair and a few other things.  She put up with me for 2 hours (I couldn't stop finding little things to tweak!).

Here it is...in all its glory...my classroom for the 2011-2012 Kindergarten School Year!

I loved our "Johnson" door last year so much that I brought it back!
Welcome, Team Johnson!

Clothesline outside our door just waiting for brilliant kinder-work!  :o)

Here's the view from just inside the door!  Drop off your bookbags and come on in! 

Our behavior cards...they are color coded...maybe I'll blog about these later in the year...

The wall of cabinets and a view of the Math Center!  Remember what the inside of those cabinets looks like??  They are still happy cabinets!  :o)

My teacher spot in front of our meeting area!  The newest addition is my grandma's rocking chair...I could sit in that all day it is SOO comfy!  It's making me a little emotional right now looking at this picture.  And to think I was fine when I carried it into the room...I miss her so much...She rocked me in this chair about a year and a half ago...and now I get to rock my kinders in it.

Our Calendar Meeting area...plus our monsters on the floor...this is assigned seats for the students.  They are far enough apart that it's a comfy fit.

Our story time side of the front of the room.  Here's my new Big Book easel!  The rocking chair over here is from my mother-in-law!  Love her!  :o)  Also, the pink table is new to this room, but it's not new to me: I had it when I taught first grade in my old school, and the teacher I gave it to didn't want it any more.  It is PERFECT at the front of the room!

Our Reading Center!  Complete with the yard sale rug I found last year!  :o)

View from the front of the classroom.

Our "Ducky Helpers" in front of my assistant's desk.

Our Art Center and student cubbies.  Also, I took some magazine storage boxes and turned them into my planning boxes.  I put all of our projects, supplies, manipulatives, and copies for each day of the week in each box (can you find where they are on the counter?).  Just started it this year.  I'll let you know how I like them.

Waiting on a table, but here is the Writing Center!  We will add items to work with as we introduce this center in 2 weeks.  This is another yard sale find from a few years ago.  I LOVE this bookcase.  It has the letters A, B, and C cut out on each level.  If we are blessed with babies one day, this bookcase may have to come back home with me!

My group table and storage!  I got rid of my teacher desk this year and will be operating from here.  I NEVER sit at my desk, and I have plenty of storage and drawers (as you can see), so I decided to just go with this table.  What do you think of our Mon-Stars bulletin board?

Our Center board.  I still have to add a header to it as well as their names when we figure out our learning center groups.

View from my chair at my horseshoe table.  I'm in love!  :o)

Please be aware that our students find out who their teachers are on the first day of school upon arrival.  I have blurred out any place in our room that has a name for privacy reasons (as I always do), but this time it's extra important to secure the element of surprise!  I hope the blurs don't completely ruin the view!  :o)

This post is a part of a linky-party on TBA!  Check out other classroom picture too...

...and all will be well, and all will be very well...

Saturday, August 20, 2011

The Kissing Hand

We're almost ready!  Holy guacamole!  Here it is - my very first post about the first day of school!  We start on Monday and have a full (half) day of school prepared and ready to go!  And I owe most of it to my blogger friends...get ready for LOTS of tags and links to other teachers' sites.  Here is our game plan in all its' glory...

**Before I get started...I found this CUTE scavenger hunt for parents and students to complete when they first come in.  If you do an Open House before you meet your students, this would be an awesome activity to provide while you talk to your families.  We have our Meet and Greet on the second day of school (that night).

Click on the picture to go to
Little Warriors
Download this for free!  Love!!

The first day will be centered completely around The Kissing Hand by Audrey Penn.

We will read the book together and put together a card for our parents.  This was also a blog freebie!

Made by Donna at Peace, Love, and Learning!
Click the picture to go get this cute freebie! 

Here's what mine looks like:

If you are doing The Kissing Hand activities, go check out Little Giraffes' website.  They have a page-long list of things to do to reinforce the book!  :o)

Click on the picture to go
to Little Giraffes' website

I loved this idea - I ordered enough puzzles for all of my students.  On the first day we will get them to put a handprint on each puzzle and stick a heart sticker in the middle (I didn't think to look for these cutie-patootie stickers with the name of the book on them!  Darn!!).  I downloaded the sweet little poem from the website and printed it off.  We will put the puzzle pieces in a paper bag and send them home with the poems on the front of the bags.  LOVE!  :o)

The second day of school we are going to have a Kissing Hand scavenger hunt to get to know the "special people" around school.  This teacher has put together another AMAZING website with great ideas for the first days of school.  There is a link there to download these cute clue cards.  She lets you download them in Word so that you can customize them for your own school.

See!  I told you they're cute!

While we are on the "hunt" for Chester, the students will wear raccoon headbands made from a raccoon picture and a sentence strip.  They are on the same website as the clue cards.

CUTE!  :o)

When we come back to the classroom at the end of the hunt, we will find heart shaped cookies with the final clue (Chester goes back into the book until we read it again another day).

I am SUPER excited to share this with our kinders!  Oh, and P.S. Barnes and Nobles is hosting an online reading of The Kissing Hand read by Audrey Penn herself!  Yes, her veryownself is reading it while the illustrations fill the screen!  LOVE, LOVE, LOVE!  :o)

...be at peace, and all will be well...

Saturday, August 13, 2011

CUTE Clothespins!

Happy Saturday!
Handsome and I just finished our lazy movie morning and now it's breakfast-for-lunch followed by some family time this afternoon...  so before we start all of that, I wanted to take a minute to share with you my classroom clothespins!

I wanted to share this VERY quick project with you...

I bought these wooden cut outs at our Michaels store....

Materials needed:
one clothespin per cut out
one magnet per cut out
hot glue gun

Step One: Glue the clothespins onto the back of the cut outs...

Step Two: Glue a magnet on the back of each clothespin...

Step Three: Use these cuties to hang up your examples, handouts, word cards,
...the possibilities are endless!

**Another spin on this idea is to hot glue push pins onto the clothespins instead of magnets.  Then you can use them to hang up stuff on your bulletin boards!

Countdown...t-minus 9 days and counting till I meet my sweet new kinders!

...be at peace, and all will be well...

Awesome Blog!

Please go check out Growing Kinders.  She has posted printables for her Calendar Notebooks she uses with her students.  I started this a few years ago, but because we started Saxon Math and just didn't have the time in our schedule, I had to stop it right away.  Now that I am at my new school and have a little more flexibility in my schedule, I can start it again!  I cannot wait to do this!  PLUS her print outs are super cute! Much cuter than the ones I used before.  She will re-post each month with the new things...LOVE HER!  Thanks Kathleen!  :o)

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Who Is My Teacher?

Hey y'all!  Happy Wednesday!  I wanted to share my teacher book that I made last year.  I have made 2 others in the past...I had to re-work them because my life has changed DRASTICALLY in the past 4 1/2 years of teaching!  Think about it...I have only known my handsome for 2 years and I've been teaching longer than that...

Here is my most recent version of "Who Is My Teacher?"  It is inspired directly from a book done by my teaching-idol Dr. Jean!  :o) I attended one of her Camp Kindergarten workshops (this is where my dreams of being a kinder teacher officially started!).  At this workshop she shared her book with us, and I went home the next day and created my very own!

I used Century Gothic font and kept the pages pretty simple.  No borders, no clip art...just words and photographs.  You'll see how I made an OOPS when you get down to the page about my graduation.  It has polka-dots all over it, but the polka dots were supposed to go on the NEXT page!  My handsome was kind enough to point that one out AFTER I had laminated everything...I had it laminated at Staples with their thickest laminate.  I punched holes in the left side and used binder clips to secure the pages together.

My students LOVE this book.  I also put it out for Open House so that the parents can read it too - most of them seemed to enjoy it.  :o)  Plus it is SUPER FUN and SUPER EASY to put together!

Front Cover

I'm going to need to add another page for my sissy!
Totally forgot to put her in my book!  I am a BAD big sissy...

He just got a new job at a new school teaching 4th grade
...need to update this page too! Oops!

I am blessed enough to work with my daddy!  :o)

This is my Hanky-Panky!  :o)

I swear y'all...this is the goofiest dog you will EVER meet!  :o)

See?  Polka dots?  Oops!
PS: those were the signs my family and friends made
when I graduated...they held them up, cheered,
and sounded their fog horns as I crossed the stage!  Love them!!

Would love to see your teacher book if you have one!  Let me know...give me a link or send an email!

Monday, August 8, 2011

Happy Cabinets

Remember that "Organized Chaos" post?  Guess what?  My cabinets are now officially happy!!  :o)  And so am I.  It took all day, but all of my cabinets are organized...whew!  The only way to explain/show is in pictures...

So THIS is my GIANORMOUS wall of cabinets...you know, the ones where I just stuffed all my stuff into throughout the year last year.  This was a two-day project...I cannot believe I am finished!

As you can see in the picture on the right I have waaaaaay too many books...I'm one of those teachers who can't say no to free stuff!  It's my public school teacher roots!  BUT I got all of my books re-organized and put all of the ones that I'm not going to use until after Christmas Break up in the tippy-top cabinets and used the rest of the space to organize our school supplies and paper and bulletin board stuff.

Before and After!

Below, the cabinets on the right is now transformed into our Math Center.  All of the manipulatives on are now completely accessible to students.  The next step will be to print out all of the CUTE labels that I have collected all summer from some sweet blogging teachers who gave them out as freebies!  The cabinets on the right hold ALL of my seasonal Big Books, pop-up posters, regular seasonal posters, seasonal bulletin board decorations, and at the very bottom is my stash of pocket charts.  THAT side took me about 2 hours to go through today!  :o)  On the right side is where our "Brain Games" Center is.  The items on the top shelf are the current puzzles/games that the students can play with.  The bottom two shelves are for storage. 


Here is where you can literally watch my OCD tendency...  :o)
The cabinet on the far left was going to hold instructional aids (from top to bottom): Math, Math, ELA, ELA, Science.  I was finished, took a picture, done.  THEN I looked at it again and realized that I had MORE ELA stuff.  So the middle picture shows the same cabinet turned into the ELA cabinet.  Writing stuff is on the top and reading strategies is what takes up most of this space.  I moved all Math and Science stuff to the cabinet in the picture on the right.  It also stores our calendar materials since this cabinet is very close to our calendar board.

Now it's time for this teacher to pick up her Twilight book and chill out!  :o)  Happy Monday, Happy Cabinets!