Monday, July 28, 2014


My official countdown begins today.

There are only 4 days left before TEACHERS can go back to school.  That's right! FOUR.
After that there are only 10 days (*including weekends) until Open House. 

 The next week and a half are going to be BUSY BUSY BUSY! 

I don't know about you, but I am a big fan of countdowns. It gives you something to get excited about.  I count down each month for something be that a holiday, a birthday, or a day off.  Some things I count down for months such as I count down til Christmas (only 24 weeks left!) OR I countdown til the END of school (*it's never too early to think about that!).  

To get your kiddos excited about starting school you could do a countdown with them!  Print this countdown (or make your own) and starting NEXT Monday Aug. 4th, get them pumped up to come back to school!

Thanks to Happy Home Fairy for the countdown to school!

Friday, July 25, 2014

Teaching with an Apron

Can I tell you something?
...I secretly LOVE aprons.

My mom always used to wear an apron when she did her baking and always on major holidays so she didn't ruin her outfit.  She made me aprons of my own and even one to match hers.  There is just something about aprons that make me feel special.

I have had painting aprons that I have used in my class before.
I have seen "reward" aprons before that have multiple pockets all over filled with little tokens to give for classroom management.

I had some old jeans and some polka dot ribbon.
so naturally, I made some aprons.

Now I am not good at sewing.  And hot glue guns TERRIFY me.
Luckily I found a way around those things! :)

I cut the jeans next to the seam.  Next I used a ruler to mark and then cut across below the pockets that way there is room for an adorable fringe to occur if we need to wash them. Then I used my ribbon in two ways.  The first apron I looped it through the belt loops to keep it on the apron for tying.  In the second apron, I tied the ribbon on the last belt loop to give a little extra room to tie with.  All together I was quite pleased how they turned out, especially since I used supplies I already had at the house!

How will I use this apron?  My very best friend and fellow teacher has already asked me that.  I envision using this apron as my "DON'T FORGET TO USE THIS TODAY!" apron.  I don't know about you but some times I make cute cards and have fun things to use, but if they are out of sight they are out of mind.  So hopefully if I can keep them on me, I can remember to use them!

 I am going to keep questioning cards, Dr. Jean  cheer cards or attention getters like bells, and maybe even use circle rings or clothes pins to clip reminders to it, etc.

I AM EXCITED to use my new aprons to help me remember to use the awesome resources that sometimes I may forget to use, because quite frankly, I am busy teaching.

Monday, July 21, 2014

I'm busy "not working"

As many of you know, "Teachers have the summer off."

Yes, it is true that we do not have to physically drive to school and start work with children at 7:30am. However, just because your child's teacher is not working in the building it does NOT mean she or he is in fact not working.
Click the image or the link above to get my FREE lesson plan template 
Click on the image or the link 
to get my FREE Lesson Plan Template

By 7am I already had my new curriculum book out and was filling in my lesson plans for the first month of school.  And plan to keep filling in the spaces until my eyeballs can't focus on the screen anymore!

I hope if you don't already have a template you can use the one I have created for this curriculum model or you can use it to create one of your own.

This is just a quick post today so I can get back to "not working" :)

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Yoga and Preschool

My husband and I are always talking about ways we need to get up and get moving.  Our ideas of physical fitness activities are different though.  I enjoy dancing, yoga, bicycling and he wants to jog/run and do weights. Oy. the classroom I have a variety of ways to get the kids up and moving. Most of them include my favorites like dancing, music, and even yoga.

Yes, yoga and preschoolers go together like peanut butter and jelly!,  to teach yoga I don't ring a gong or ask for silence and deep breathing.  I actually turn to Cosmic Kids to teach the kids how to do yoga all while making it seem like an adventurous story they are getting to be a part of.

The yoga teacher, Jamie, has a brilliant accent that the children love and the stories fascinate them.  The moves are easy to follow and easy to do.

I have actually done these yoga videos with both regular education preschool students as well as in an early childhood special education room.  It is amazing to see how they ALL follow along and do their best during yoga time.  During summer school, I had us do yoga during a rainy recess.  After that they requested to do yoga EVERY DAY.  It was fabulous!

I am going to post some of Cosmic Kids Yoga videos from youtube (Squish the fish is my FAVORITE!) today and hope that you enjoy and can use them in your classroom when you just need a new way to get up and move with your prekinders!

   This one is Squish the Fish!!!                       Joybob the Polar Bear

 and Enzo the Bee!

I hope you can enjoy Cosmic Kids in your classroom, too!

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Back to reality

 I am blessed by being a teacher that I do have some time off in the summer.  I convinced my husband to take an extended weekend vacation to Gulf Shores, AL.

Playing with the Lemurs at the zoo!
I got to take a Helicopter tour of the beach!

visiting the National Naval Aviation Museum
Then climbed the Lighthouse to look out over Pensacola, FL.

This was a very fun and educational trip!  I am always excited to travel and learn new things, but like all good things vacation must come to an end.  It was back to reality this morning with laundry, cleaning out the car, and of course tackling my back to school letters! 

I hand addressed 40 letters this morning.  I contemplated printing out labels, but I felt like a personally written address would feel more welcoming and loving. However, grade cards may be a different story after the year begins ;)

Only 16 more days til August 1st! Let the race to finish planning and preparing begin!
(*If that's not a "back to reality" check, I don't know what is!)

Thursday, July 10, 2014

Pinterest: A Teacher's Best Friend

Since finding Pinterest 3 years ago (Thanks, Mrs. Brittanie!)  I have had a much easier time creating and planning for my preschool classroom.

The challenging thing about Preschool is trying to find a balance.  They need EVERYTHING and everything is hard to give when you only have 3-4 hours a day with them.

Pinterest made searching for projects, music, lessons, parent involvement ideas, and center materials SO MUCH EASIER!  and I love that I can keep it all in one place instead of having a thousand tabs saved on my computer browser.

Some might say (and by some I mean my husband) that I have an addiction to pinterest.
If I am bored or needing to get my mind off of something it's where I go to unthink about what I am thinking about.

Currently, I have 899 followers on pinterest.  Which to me is impressive (even though my mom has like 2,000+!)  I am hoping to grow more followers, to help grow more followers on the blog, so I can evolve and transform the blog into something bigger and better and more helpful to all!

So if you don't have a pinterest of your own sign up for free and/or haven't started following me yet I say JOIN THE FUN

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Back to School Bulletin Boards

I LOVE to plan my back to school bulletin board.  It's the one time of year that I really get the "Go BIG or go home" outlook on the board outside my door.

Each year our school (like all others) picks a theme to go with.  Here are some of my favorites from the last couple of years :)

 This year our theme was "ROCKSTAR" and I went with "Party like a rockstar" only we were going to "Party like a PRESCHOOLER" instead.  I used actual party hats and attached their names to the hats with tags.  This was my first year making a multidimensional board.  It was pretty cute in person.

This is one of my all time FAVORITES!  This was made with brown paper and LOTS of sand :).  Yes.  That is a real sandcastle.  The buckets and shovels were cut with a cricut machine.  My parents are a HUGE help in making these boards.  It's a total team effort when I come up with these crazy ideas. Theme was Island.

 This year we went back to Rockstar, but again I tool creative liberty with the interpretation of Rockstar.  To preschoolers, PETE THE CAT is the ultimate Rockstar!  SO I made a pair of GIANT SCHOOL SHOES. I even found shoes border at Dollar Tree! The white shoes were used at open house!  When a student arrived they brought their shoe inside and colored it!  That way, they already felt like a part of the classroom.

These next few weren't my main bulletin boards in the hallway, but ones that I thought turned out pretty cute :)

Our theme this year is Western.
Let's just say there are going to be some bandanas involved :)

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

Open for business

My teacherspayteachers page is now open for business!...sorta.

Currently, I am only putting on things for FREE until I can find a program to create better documents with and hopefully documents that don't infringe on any type of copyrighted material.  I have always made different types of worksheets for my classroom but I have always relied on google images for everything I need.  I just want to be very careful so that I do not get in any trouble over anything!

I also have a classroom facebook page!  I check my personal facebook all the time, update it, etc.  So why not have a classroom page that I can post reminders on?  (especially when you forget to send that one note home, or want to send extra reminders for that one parent who might not have checked the backpack?!)  I may or may not have also had a parent or two that I could never reach by phone but always had luck with a facebook message ;)

I have also considered perhaps adding in some of my "Teacher Fashion" here and there as well.  Somedays it's hard to come up with an out fit that is comfortable and interesting.  Most times the things I wear is because I think the kids will like it.  BRIGHT, accessorized, patterns and even textures!  I also like to dress on a BUDGET!  Most things I purchase will be from sales, clearance racks, and my most favorite Walmart.  It might be something fun to add on those days when I possibly need a break from worksheets and glue sticks.

This was one of my most FAVORITE outfits from last fall.  A mustard colored sweater with a black or brown cami, cheetah print scarf, skinny jeans, tall boots, and of course a fun bracelet with a flower in my hair. :) 
Thanks to my friend Lacey at Firefly Photography for taking it, and my friend Melinda for wanting a fall colors photoshoot, I have a nice photo to use as my main picture on my profiles for my blog, teacherspayteachers, facebook, and google+ accounts. 

Oy...August is forever away when you want to get started NOW!
(at least I am looking forward to August!)I am anxious to put all of these things into full effect. 
I am excited to post pictures of the work we are going to be doing.

Let's do this!

Saturday, July 5, 2014

a lot to learn

I have been looking through several other teaching blogs and I knew I had a lot to continue to work on, but Jiminy crickets! Some of those blogs are AMAZING!

I am learning what I need to improve on.
what features I need to add.
what I need to link up to.
where I need to sell from.
what companies I need to include.

One great thing about teachers is we love learning.
We learn new technology.
New teaching methods.
New curriculum.
New state standards.

So I will continue to learn as much as I can about blogging for the classroom to make it as successful as possible.  This is going to be a process.  A slow and steady process, but hopefully one that will be worth it!

so in the's an adorable picture of a puppy :)

Thursday, July 3, 2014

Classroom supplies are my kryptonite :)

I am ALWAYS, ALWAYS looking to score a good deal on supplies for my room.
Packages of classroom decorations, dicut letters, notepads, and new pens are kryptonite to a teacher.

It's always fun to go shopping and find things you really weren't even looking for especially at an awesome price!  At Dollar Tree (MY FAVORITE STORE, EVER!) I found these pointers to put in the language and literacy centers, paper lanterns to add to my oriental trading post score (12 lanterns for $15! Click here to get yours!), and these tiny orange road cones will be put in the building center!

I will say though, my love and affection for Dollar Tree was put to the side yesterday after my Micheal's finds!   I found some adorable polka dot tags that I will laminate and use to write names on for group work.  I have been searching for something cute but functional for what I needed!  Those are nice but the real finds were the feathers, inkpads, and new ink pen!  The feathers were $0.99 a package (which is FABULOUS for feathers!), the new ink pen was $0.50 (and it's SO CUTE!), but best of all I got 2 ink pads for $0.44 and one more for just $0.01!!!!!

Sometimes you find things in places you didn't really think you would find "teacher things."  I found this pack of Dicut letters at Staples!  It was a dual pack of polka dots and chevron.  Two of my favorite things :)

I know teachers have a budget that we spend each year and trust me, I try to make the most of that money, too!  But sometimes wouldn't it be nice to get some type of refund on all the things we spend on our own?  I am not sure people realize just how much money it takes to make our classrooms look like these amazing learning spaces.

And lets face it...How many other jobs do people use their own money to purchase hundreds or even thousands of dollars in supplies/materials each year for their jobs?  My guess is very few.

Happy Spending! :)

Tuesday, July 1, 2014

It's official-official

I got my class list yesterday.
It's like really official.

Sure...I have been moving furniture and decorating for a month.
SURE! I have been talking about my new class.

...but it's real now! I am now in charge of 40 little learning lives.

I went back to school yesterday to get that list.  Then I had a moment of "OH MY GOSH! I have to get my letters printed! I have to get envelopes! I have to get their folder materials sent to print shop!"

So I created my welcome letter, and supply list.  Then I decided that this year with so many children, I wanted to know as much as I could about them so I didn't waste anytime trying to just "figure it out".

I searched a while before I could find one that was appropriate for PreK AND that was FREE!  I finally found it!  A blog called A Differentiated Kindergarten had this super cute survey with student interests that actually help you understand the life of a preschooler.  I was so happy to find something that was already created and adorable to boot, so THANKS Marsha McGuire for putting this on your Teachers Pay Teachers site for FREE!!  Click on the Teachers Pay Teachers link to download the free student interest survey and to see more of Marsha's creations!  OR click the picture below to download this document now :)

I also sent my Parent Contact Log to be printed.  I really like using this particular form that was created by Mrs. K at Confessions of a Primary Teacher!  This form has it all.  A place for their personal information and contact information as well as a place to write down when and how you contacted the parent and a spot to write any notes you might need.  It's my favorite :)

You can find this communication log by either clicking the link to visit Mrs. K's blog or by clicking the image to the left!

So after I got the first few things taken care of I started thinking about my very helpful teacher friend next door.  I remember her saying that she has a binder that she sends home with some very basic information in it that she has the parents and student practice with at home.  In Kindergarten they call these binders "Jacket Packets".  Essentially that is what she has created, only for the Prek minds!  I did a lot of thinking about her binders. SO, Thanks Mrs. McK!  I will be following suit this year!  I found the neatest document to add to this folder! Another FREE Teachers Pay Teachers find!  It has Alphabet pages, color/shapes, and calendar practice for days/months!   I added an alphabet chart and created some work for recognizing/writing numbers and chose not to use the "sight words" page.  Click the images or the links to download this FREE! :)

After I finally got it all printed or sent to print, I felt pretty accomplished.
Happy first day of "summer break" to me!

...because you know teachers don't work for 3 months out of the year. :)