Tuesday, December 23, 2014

Fourteen in '14

WOW, I can't believe 2014 is coming to a close!! What a year it has been! I am excited to recap 14 memories from 2014 and join Hadar, Kristin, and Tracy in their linky party!

1. I rang in 2014 out in California for the National Championship football game.  Even though Auburn didn't win, I had an AMAZING time with my high school bestie!! I think my favorite part was enjoying the San Diego pier!
2. In January I celebrated my niece Savanna's first birthday! She definitely brings so much joy to my life! Sometimes I am not sure what I would do without her--she has gotten me through some hard times this year!
3. I spent my spring break up at my parents' house in the mountains of North Carolina... and it snowed!! One of my favorite things!  I spent most of the trip hiking and exploring with my mom.  North Carolina is the most relaxing trip!!
 4. In June, my entire family (mom, dad, 3 sisters, and all of my brother in laws) went to Ireland.  We had an amazing time together...
 and even got to visit family that I've never met before! My Aunts live on the same property where my Nana's dad lived.  You can still see the ruins of my Great-Grandfather's house.  Such a cool thing!
5. At the end of June I went to China!  I went with two friends from high school. We explored Hong Kong and I tried MANY new foods! (which is huge for me)
 6. Then we were off to Hoi An, Vietnam. We met some locals that took us out and showed us what a day was like in their life.  We farmed, planted seeds (yes, they ride the water buffalo to help farm rice), and fished. It was an amazing, eye opening, day!
 7. Went to Halong Bay, Vietnam and surprised myself by being able to rock climb! Can you find me on the left below?  ;)
 8. Then we went to Patera Elephant farm in Chiang Mai, Thailand- how cute are elephants!?
We were all assigned one elephant for the day.  We had to bathe the elephant, take them for a walk (while we rode them) for exercise, and so much more! These were all rescued elephants and they are very well taken care of here. 
 Saying bye to my elephant, Mag!
 9. We were off to Tiger Kingdom (also in Chiang Mai). This was the day I was sooo looking forward to on my trip, being an Auburn Tiger of course!
 They had the cutest baby tigers EVER!
 10. Obviously you are staring to see a pattern here...I travel... a lot!  My next stop in July was Phuket, Thailand. We took a boat out to the middle of the ocean and kayaked around.  We stopped in caves and explored.  Through the caves we would find these amazing blue lagoons!
 It was absolutely breathtaking, this picture doesn't do it justice!
 11. We had my sister's gender reveal party, she is having a girl!! In January I will be an Aunt for the second time.  I am SO excited!!
 12. I bought a new house!  I'm not moving too far away from where I currently am; however, I am SO excited! My new place should be ready in February or March and I am already shopping for new home decor!! Yay!
 13. I went up to Auburn for a football game with my sister.  Auburn has such a feeling of 'home' for me.  Everyone is so kind and we always have a blast when we are there!
 14. Unfortunately I finished off the year having to say bye to my Nana.  In October we found out that she had stage 4 pancreatic cancer and sadly a month later she passed away.  My Nana was my best friend, I talked to her every night and saw her at least two or three times a week.  Life is very different without her, but I am very thankful that I had such an amazing person in my life.  She was truly one of a kind and I will miss her everyday!

Click below to read all about some other bloggers 2014!  Or to join up yourself!

Monday, November 10, 2014

November Centers

I have NO idea where the time has gone, but November is already off to a great start!! This month we focus on maps, wants/needs, and comparing children of the past to children now.  It is easy for me to tie in all of those skills while learning about Pilgrims and Native Americans!
One of my students' favorite activities is always using white boards.  I leave the writing and word work cards at the word work center and students are allowed to write thematic words/draw pictures on the white boards when they are finished with their work. 
 I love sneaking over and catching them in action! They are so cute!
 We are also working on reading and spelling our sight words.  They did an awesome job with this 'Serving Up Sight Words' activity from the November Word Work pack.
This is the second time we have worked on building sentences in the pocket chart and ALL of my students were successful in completing this independently.  I LOVE to see that!
 At the writing center we continue to use Deedee Wills' writing pack. I prepped this pack last year and my life is so easy this year!! 
 Magnetic letters are also a class favorite!  
 Students chose to either work on beginning/ending sounds or CVC words or both! ;)  Again, they completed these activities last month with my October Word Work pack, so this month they all are acting like pros! 
On Friday I am hoping to get our Pilgrim craft made and hung to spruce up our bulletin board! They always turn out SO cute!!

Monday, October 27, 2014

Trick and Treat!

Fall is upon us and that means it's time for some Teaching Trick & Treating!
 That's right - I have teamed up with my Freebielicious friends again to share some teaching tricks and special free treats for you!

My little tip for you is nothing new, but just in case you haven't invested in these yet...you must!  Dry erase pockets!  There are a lot of AMAZING activity sheets out there on Teachers Pay Teachers that I am just in love with.  They work on the perfect skills, match my theme, etc. But, I don't want to always have students fill out activity sheets and hand them in.  

Instead, you can insert ANY activity sheet into a dry erase pocket and have students complete the activity sheet with a dry erase marker.  Right before students switch centers, you can take a quick peak at their work, have them erase it, and there you go...it is ready for the next group! You can find dry erase pockets HERE. 
If you already have dry erase pockets and want to test it out at a center, then you can start with this FREEBIE from my October Math Centers Pack.  

Friday, October 17, 2014

Fight For Your Write!

When the new school year started, I received all sorts of goodies from my friends over at BIC!  BIC is the first line of children's writing instruments in the U.S. that were designed specifically to help children learn to write.  The products were all designed with the help of teachers too, which I LOVE!
Literally the first day of school I put the BIC dry erase markers to use!  Their dry erase markers don't have an odor like some others and they erase super easily! One of my students' favorite centers is the dry erase boards.  You can see the student below using my word work cards that you can find free HERE
BIC also sent over some 'wite-out'.  Well, teachers make mistakes too and we showed that to our students, haha!  My intern was making our A-Z Community Helpers chart with the students and wrote 'U.S. Coastal Guards' next to the 'O'.  It was so cute when she did this because I didn't want to disrupt the lesson, but another student kept asking her why that would be an 'O' word and I couldn't help but giggle.  Perfect timing for the BIC 'wite-out'! 
This next BIC product is for sure my FAVORITE! Notice the students grip below...
Now look at her grip using the BIC kids pencil!
The pencil above is a mechanical pencil, but the lead in the pencil is so thick that it does't break.  My room mom actually just bought us five packs of these pencils to use! They are that amazing! You can check out the pencil by clicking on the image below:
My kids are loving all of our new BIC products!!  It makes writing more exciting!

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

Reading Corner and More!

My students favorite part of the classroom is our classroom library!! It is so comfortable and cozy! It is in the corner of the room and the students love to lay or sit there when they write, read, go on the iPads, and more!  I know I can get my best work done when I am laying on the couch, so I let my students get comfortable when they are working!
I wanted my reading corner to match my classroom colors of yellow, pink, green, and blue.  I found these AMAZING pillows on Oriental Trading this summer and I love them.  They are very well made and I can tell they will last me years!  Oriental Trading makes the pillows in a smaller size too...I didn't realize that until after I placed my order...I may need to order more!
 This next purchase from Oriental Trading is definitely one of my new favorite classroom must haves!! They are dry erase sleeves and you can use them for EVERYTHING!!
When my students are called over for reading groups, they always begin by tracing their letters.  Before I start conducting a reading group, I walk around the room quickly to make sure all of the other students are on task.  While the reading group waits for me this is the perfect activity for them.  I printed out both upper and lower case letters and inserted the paper into the dry erase sleeves.  They erase SO well!!
I also use the dry erase sleeves to hold my examples.  I don't always leave examples out, but this was the second week of school and their first time labeling at the writing center!
I also found these amazing clipboards on Oriental Trading.  My kids use clipboards for write the room all the time!! I use write the room in both reading groups and math centers.  These clipboards are very kindergarten friendly and they match my classroom colors...that's always important! ;)
I love the items I received from Oriental Trading, they are getting more and more teacher items!

“This review is based strictly on my opinion. Others may have a different opinion or experience with the product listed above. I was provided the sample free of charge by the company or PR agency and I provided my honest opinion. No other type of compensation was received for this review.”

Monday, September 22, 2014

My Classroom Reveal--finally!

I had planned on writing this post wayyyy back in August before school even started; however, life takes over and that never happened!  Here is a little glimpse into my classroom :)
 My classroom library.  I split my books into themes and labeled them with numbers.  This way the students can read the number on the cover of the book and they know what bin to return it to.
 My girls did not want to leave the library for me to take pictures, so we have some lovely library models!  I always get asked where I bought my library chairs.  They are actually from the Container Store, but I haven't seen them there since I bought them a couple years ago!
 In the front of the class I have our centers board.  I have a post about how I run my centers HERE and you can find my center cards HERE.
 I don't know what I would do without my back counter!  On the left side of the picture below you can see the bins labeled 'apples', 'hearts', etc.  These are my reading groups.  I keep the materials I need for each group in the bin.  Then, on the right side of the picture you can see the same bins labeled 'M', 'T', etc.  I keep my activity sheets or center activities for the week in these bins.  Lastly, the binders you see below are used for their memory books.
 My storage shelf! Another thing I don't know what I would do without!  Each bin at the top of the shelf holds a different thematic unit.  All of the center work, activity sheets, craftivities, etc. for each theme are kept in the bin.
 Our word wall.  (which I need to add words too!)
 Here is our writing center.  I love using Deedee Wills' monthly writing work stations!  Those combined with my Work on Writing pack makes for the perfect (and easiest to set up) writing center! I introduce one writing activity at a time and as I introduce an activity I leave it in a organizational pocket chart at the center (not seen in the photo).  Then, when all of the different activities are introduced, students will get to choose which activity to work on.  They work so much better when you let them 'choose'! 
 More storage space! You can find shape posters HERE or HERE. You can also find color posters in my store HERE or HERE.
 Our listening center...it just isn't totally set up and running yet!
 Our clip chart...you can read more about how I run behavior management in my classroom HERE.
 Below you can see our calendar area.  You can also see our class birthdays and job chart!  The job chart can be found HERE.
 Number posters hang below the white board. We use these at calendar time as well.  Number posters can be found in my store HERE or HERE.
 I have some bins behind my teacher's desk with sticker and activity sheets for our next unit.  I also have a bin for all of the word work activities for each month. I use a 2 gallon zip lock bag to hold each month.  It makes it so easy to just pull the bag out before the month begins.
 Some more organization behind my desk ;)
 And a view of the classroom from my desk!
Thanks for stopping by and taking a peek into my room!!