Saturday, August 25, 2012

Let The Games Begin! (& A Freebie For you!)

I just survived finished survived my first week back to school!  Wow.  Exhausting!  I will definitely be needing my "toolbox" to get through this year, but overall I feel good about the group and their potential.

I am really happy with how my classroom looks this year and how functional it is for the students!  I re-did all the walls and bulletin boards.  They needed refreshing!

Here are a few "Before" pics:
It always amazes me how much work there is to do!

Everything was (as always) in the middle of the room.

 I decided to do a little rearranging since I had to move everything anyway!

Here are the "After" pics:
My new "Popcorn Word Wall"
I got the Popcorn Words unit HERE.  It's a fabulous yearlong unit that follows the sequence of the program we use, CA Treasures.  I got the cute Popcorn Cart HERE. 

Cat in the Hat wall, Calendar, Behavior Chart, and my classroom buddies.
My library.  In the basket are these comfy cushions for sitting or laying on.
 Number Wall
Back of room-- final product!

Front of room-- final product!

All ready for 26 little learners!!!

To celebrate the beginning of the school year, here is a FREE ABC Sight Word Reader!

I hope your school year is off to a great start or you are ready to go if you haven't started just yet!  I am still getting to know my new friends.  We have some challenges ahead, but I know it's going to be a GREAT year!

Sunday, August 19, 2012


Getting ready to start a new school year always gets me to thinking.  This is one of my favorites-- I thought I'd share it in case you haven't read it in awhile.  

All I Really Need To Know I Learned In Kindergarten

by Robert Fulghum
Most of what I really need
To know about how to live
And what to do and how to be
I learned in kindergarten.
Wisdom was not at the top
Of the graduate school mountain,
But there in the sandpile at Sunday school.

These are the things I learned:

Share everything.
Play fair.
Don't hit people.
Put things back where you found them.
Clean up your own mess.
Don't take things that aren't yours.
Say you're sorry when you hurt somebody.
Wash your hands before you eat.
Warm cookies and cold milk are good for you.
Live a balanced life -
Learn some and think some
And draw and paint and sing and dance
And play and work everyday some.
Take a nap every afternoon.
When you go out into the world,
Watch out for traffic,
Hold hands and stick together.
Be aware of wonder.

Thursday, August 16, 2012

Back to School & A Freebie!

 My blog is still pretty new and I would love to have you follow me!  Please leave a comment, too, if you have a minute! Thanks for stopping by!'s that time!  I am officially back to school tomorrow, Friday.  The students come on Tuesday.  Of course, I've been working in my classroom for over a week, but that was by choice.  Now, I have to set my alarm and get up at some horrific hour!  (Which is any time before 8:30 a.m.)  Let's all have a moment of silence...... 

I have done a lot of work and updating in my room and will post pics as soon as it is finished.
I am loving how it looks!  I need to change things every couple of years just for my own comfort.  I get tired of things looking the same from year to year.  I have made use of some GREAT freebies in my room this year!  So to pay it forward and to thank you for supporting my new little blog, I am offering a Color Sorting Freebie that may remind you of a favorite cat we're looking forward to reading about this school year.

I hope you will pay it forward, too!

Please follow my blog and double-please leave feedback on TpT if you download this cute activity!

I better go set that alarm!  


Sunday, August 12, 2012

Scented Playdough

My blog is still pretty new and I would love to have you follow me!  Please leave a comment, too, if you have a minute! Thanks for stopping by!

Ahhhhh playdough.  Every year before school starts I make a big batch of playdough for my new kiddos.  I love to use playdough at the beginning of the year because 1) It's fun for the kids. 2) It's versatile-- they can make shapes, letters, numbers, or just play creatively  and 3) It's so good for working those fine motor muscles in the hands that we so need to develop in order to write!  AND I like to make scented dough because that just doubles the fun factor!

There are lots of good playdough recipes on the internet and they're all pretty similar.  The recipe I've included here will give you a nice big batch so that a small group of children can use it and everyone will feel they have a sufficient amount of dough to work with.

First, you will need

Flour (4 1/2 c), Salt (2 1/4 c), Canola or Vegetable oil (3 TBSP), Cream of Tartar (1 1/2 TBSP), 2 packets of Kool Aid (any flavor~I used fruit punch), and water (4 1/2 c)

Mix all of the ingredients in a stock pot and place on a burner set to medium-low. 
(It's about a 3 on my stove.)

Stir occasionally and  do not leave your dough unattended so that it doesn't burn.  It does take a little muscle to stir it once it thickens up!

When it starts to look more dough-like, it is done cooking. 
 (6 to 9 minutes)
Remove from heat.

Lay out a sheet of waxed paper and dump your dough onto it, letting it cool for a few minutes before you handle it.

Once it's cooled down a bit, you can knead it into a smooth texture and store it in a Ziploc gallon bag or airtight container.  My batch made 8 tennis ball sized pieces.  Perfect for my class of 26 which will break down into 4 groups of 6 or 7 kids-- there will always be enough for one group to use the playdough!

And oh it smells YUMMY!

The first week of school, I let my kids just "play" with the dough, using cookie cutter shapes.  After that I give them playdough centers such as letters and numbers.

You might enjoy these free counting mats for playdough from Kindergarten Celebrations.
They have an adorable Chicka Chicka Boom Boom theme and use playdough to represent numbers 1-10 on a ten frame. 

Super CUTE!!  Check out Melissa's blog while you're there !

I also have these mats with the same theme from another great teacher.  The kids use the playdough to form the letters and numbers:
They're on sale on TpT right now!

Now that my playdough is made I know the first day of school is around the corner.  I have one more week....well just four days until I have to report back but so much to do in my classroom before that!  At least I know I have this great bundle of centers ready to go now!

Oh yeah-- you might want to mention to your kiddos not to eat the playdough!  It smells so good.........I can hardly blame them! 


Friday, August 10, 2012

Back to School Sale at Teachers Pay Teachers!

I am so excited for the Big SALE at TpT this weekend!!  Everything's on sale in my TpT store Aug. 12-13!  I can't wait to get the items that have been on my wish list all summer!

At the top of my wish list are Pokey Pins activities from Mrs. Miner's Kindergarten Monkey Business!

What's on your Wish List?

Thursday, August 9, 2012

Welcome to my blog!

If you are just popping by, I would love to know more about you!  Please leave me a comment and please follow me.  We'll get through our Kinder adventures together!

I am busy, busy this week getting my classroom ready.  We start school on August 21 and there is so much to do!  I will post some pictures soon and share my progress.

Here's a freebie to say thanks for stopping by!