Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Monthly Self-Portraits

Deanna Jump (the queen of TpT) inspired me with one of her end-of-year projects.  She has her students draw a picture of themselves each month and puts it together in a book at the end of the year.  I thought it was a super cute idea but wanted to add a writing element.  So I made a file with a picture frame outline and a place for the child to write their name.  Remember that the point isn't for it to look good, but to show progress.  So if your kindergarteners are like me and they scribble their names on their papers in August underneath a green smiley face with arms and legs sticking out from it...that's ok!!!  :)  It's all about the progress.

Click the pic for my file or see Deanna's original entries on her blog.

Thursday, August 18, 2011

clip chart cuties.

I am psyched that we're moving away from the card system this year.  You know the paper strips in a pocket and once the kid gets away with enough warnings {which varies based on whose class you're in} then they have to pull the green card out and they're on red to blue to whatever you choose.  5 greens in a week = treasure box.  You know the drill.  We've had the same system forever and it's worked well but I was ready for a break.  And yay yay, it's my favorite day becaaaaaause we're switching!

Our school has adopted the clip chart system instead.  And while I'm not saying you're a horrible teacher if you still use the color cards {hello, I used it the past 7 years} this one has way more benefits.  For example, you know that precious little lovie in your class whose name you can't remember for the first two weeks of school because you never have to redirect her?  Well, with this system, she gets to move, too.  UP.  Up for good behavior, down for not so good.  And wait for can move more than once!  Mind boggling.

Ok, so maybe I exaggerate a little but I really do think there's more freedom with this system.  Kids are more motivated to do better because they can advance back and fix their mistakes and the kids who never get in trouble don't have to wait for Friday afternoon to be rewarded!  It's also a headache reliever for people like me who get sick of Treasure Box Friday Afternoons {you know, when parents pop in, extra announcements are being made, the office calls for early dismissal, assemblies are scheduled and the apocolypse takes place}.

We have some freedom within our own classrooms to praise and punish as we wish.  I've chosen the classic 9 step program for my little learn-a-holics:

Pink: Superstar
earns a cape or crown {I love a sentence strip crown any day!}
*also received a jewel on their clip to make it extra blingy* 
Red: Fabulous
earns lunch or reading time with a friend
Orange: Rockin
earns treasure box
Yellow: Good
earns candy jar or gumball
Green: Ready to learn
earns a sticker or tattoo if moving back up
Light Blue: Warning
earns the chance to fix-it 
Dark Blue: Cool Down
earns a few minutes in the cool down corner
Purple: Parent Contact
earns an email or phone call home
Black: Office Referral
earns a trip to see the principal

I also backed each one with cute scrapbook paper in the appropriate color.  {red has sparkly apples and orange has slick pencils...those are my favorites!}  Now that I've had this in place for a while, here's an update: I hung them vertically in that order near the bathroom by stapling just the middle and leaving the edges free.  My kids needed some help {even with a stool} once they got up above Fabulous but they loved needing to ask me "Can you move me up to Superstar?!"  I also made a hall of fame in the hallway so when the students got 5 jewels on their clip they got to move it out there and start a new one!

Get your own adorable grahics {here}.

And get your own 9 step-program {here} complete with 2 sample parent letters.

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

how do you inspire?

As teachers, I think we all have that little bug in us.  The one that crawls around whispering "Who have you inspired today?  Can you be as creative as {fill-in-the-blank}?  Will your students light up because of what you've done?"

I certainly have it.  In teaching.  With people.  In every aspect of my life.  I want to be inspired and inspiring.  I want to achieve greatness with my life, not waste it.

My amazing friend, Stephanie, has taken it to the next level to inspire others with her business.  She designs beautiful stationery {including our wedding invites & such!}, custom photo albums that would blow your mind and other graphic designy things that I still don't fully understand.  But it all comes together beautifully at the Inspire Design Studio.

She's dedicated part of her business to reaching out to others {coming soon!} and part of it to writing a blog on all kinds of things to inspire all kinds of people.  Yours truly was the guest blogger today!  Shockingly enough, it's related to teaching.  You just may enjoy it...

Click the picture to read my little post on her blog and if you like either what I have to say or her concept, consider following her as well.  I know she isn't a teacher per se {although she has taught graphic design at our near by university!} her business is definitely something that can be conducted over the internet and she has such a big heart to reach others and serve people that I just want to get her as much business as I can!

Now that  my wheels are turning, I'm thinking up a possible give-away pairing with Stephanie.  If you could choose a great stationery product, what would you want?  Personalized thank you notes maybe???  Let me know and it may happen!

Thursday, August 11, 2011

no cutting. no gluing. no laminating. freebie.

We could all use some help at the beginning of the year, right?!  Even with all of the cute things in blogland, you still have to print, cut, laminate and cut again before you have something you can actually use.  {or in my case...go to Office Depot for a new ink start the process.}  Well you're in luck because I'm teaching a half day kindergarten camp this week and have come up with some easy printables.  yep. just. print.

You've got 2 freebies here to along with two great Back to School books.  I believe they were both from Scholastic and in the one to five dollar range.

As much as I would love to give you the whole unit for free, I would love even more to not be in court for violating terms of use.  So I am listing the 25 page unit on TeachersPayTeachers for ONE dollar.  If you're a 10 month employee like me, you're currently digging change from the couch to pay for gas and have a mile long wish list in TPT of things you'd like to eventually purchase whenever you get a paycheck again.  So hopefully this won't break the bank at $1.  What you can find at TPT are from stories such as these...


So here are your 2 freebies and I hope you'll stop by my TPT store for the rest of the unit!  Each story has a list of ideas & talking points, at least one printable and an extension idea.  If you purchase, let me know how you like it and leave me some feedback.  I cater to you!  ;)

After reading Off to kindergarten:

 After reading The night before kindergarten:

{click any of the pictures to go to google docs & all 3 will be there to download}

Thursday, August 04, 2011

No Time for Flash Cards

I have found the BEST blog while building my newest cyber home on Pinterest.  I was immediately drawn to the name No time for flash cards because my brain started firing off all kinds of responses as I waited for the page to load and guessed what I would find.  hands-on.  interactive.  new thinking.  fun.  excitement.  integration.  And when I got there, I was happy to to see that I was on the right page.  {literally and figuratively!}

The site was started by Allison McDonald and her background in young children is obvious.  In case the tagline "A resource of activities for young children that promote play, discover and learning" doesn't grab you, the looooong list of links to the right certainly will!  There are videos of Allison singing songs related to topics, photos of her adorable son creating projects and enough directions and examples for even the most unexperienced of teachers.  I was immediately drawn to her alphabet posts and LOVE that she has projects not just for capital letters but lowercase letters as well!  {I can hear the cheers and applause from my fellow kindergarten teachers everywhere.}

What are you waiting for?!  Head over to No Time for Flash Cards to get more ideas on the alphabet, back-to-school, superheroes, baseball, popsicles, camping, robots and anything else you could think of!

And don't forget to LINK UP below to share how you organize jobs in your classroom!  :)

Wednesday, August 03, 2011

Pin the tail on my blog!

I'm now on Pinterest!  Just like when I started blogging...I have no idea what I'm doing there...but at least I'm out there, right?  You can pin my blog by clicking below {I think!}  ;)

Tuesday, August 02, 2011

I have a confession...

First of all, I am super jeal of everyone who is already working in their classrooms.  While I scan the pictures of your rooms for cute decoration ideas, I get equally excited & overwhelmed for school to start back at the same time.  I can't wait to get in and feel like I'm actually doing something to get ready!!!

In the meantime, I'm frantically jotting down ideas on my continually growing to-do-when-I-finally-get-to-school list.  Ridiculously, something on my list is {don't tell anyone} "Classroom Jobs."  I know, I know.  I am not a first year teacher yet am asking about a crucial element of the classroom.  I tried having student jobs my first two years of teaching but quickly found that {with  everything else I was trying to figure out} it was something I could easily cut out.  And I've never picked back up with them!

What I want to know is, how can an OCD control freak like me {see my flag flying??} organize student jobs to let my kids have more responsibility without me losing my mind?  LINK UP to share what responsibilities you delegate to your kids.  And of course, share a picture of your adorable job chart...goes without saying, right?!

While you share your ideas, I'm back to the new house for more painting! 12 hours yesterday + paint in the hair + sore muscles = Uggghhh...almost done!!
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