Friday, January 31, 2014

Last Five for Friday of January

Friday I'm in love..... my favorite phrase to start my Five For Friday... So here I am linking up again...

Ready....Set.....Here we GO.....


1. Kids are sick.... it's that time of year, right?

Even though we've had nice....even hot....weather everyone is still getting sick!

I only had 23 kids in class yesterday...although that may sound like a normal class size.... for me that means 6 absences!

One of the teachers at my school had this great idea....to put a container of Lysol wipes at each table for the parents or aides or any human who has hands able to clean a table..... so this week I stole this idea and am crossing my fingers it helps us all healthy....
Just click HERE to download your copy of these tags! 
P.S. The second page just has one tag on it in case you have the little containers and want to wrap it around  the container... the size is perfect for the top of the larger size {both sizes in the picture above}... and let's be honest... We need the large size!

Not only is this a germ stopper.... it is a time saver as I usually spend a good 20 minutes cleaning the tables at the end of the school day. Ain't nobody got time for that!

2. For some reason I started two big art based endeavors for February.... I say it like that because why would I do string painting, sponge painting and starch/glue nonsense all at once? And let's also remember it is still January.... and why start a second project when the first isn't done? I actually do have a reason for that, but I won't bore you with it......

First, we started the Valentine Vest/Poncho as I call it...the littles are dressed up as a Valentine card...
See post HERE {includes a freebie} and directions

And next... these "Stained Glass WIndow Styled" Hearts:
See post HERE for directions on how to make these


3. Earlier this week I shared some pictures of my classroom as I try to do a mid-year makeover....mainly adding a Here is just one from that post:
This change is a work in progress.... although zero progress has occurred since Tuesday when I last shared......But you can check the original post out HERE and enter a $150 gift card giveaway hosted by TCR as they launch some chevron fun!

4. This is my random one for the week... there's always one of these.... but I want to talk about "chevron" as in the exact word....

I mean chevron is all the rage... the trendiest trend right now... so of course we all know what it is... or do we? 

I was laughing at something a friend wrote on Facebook...."Can someone please tell me what is the difference between chevron and zig zag?"

And I thought....hmm, good question.... as someone who is "chevron obsessed" I should know the answer.... and I found this on Honest Blog:


So if that is accurate......apparently I am "zig zag obsessed" but I am sticking to calling it chevron because that's part of the trend and I like it.

Do you have any opinion to add to this?  Please share.....


5. A few weeks ago I shared on Instagram that my husband and I were going to be in Louisville, Kentucky for 6 weeks this summer. Yep, six!

He is at USC {Go Trojans!} for PA school and has to do a variety of six week rotations...we requested that he get one rotation far from home, but never thought it would actually happen.... and it is!!!

So if you are wondering....um, what is new about that? How did that make the top Five list this week....because I think we found our place to stay and the relief that gives me is AMAZING!

Thank you dear internet for making life so much easier! I don't want to jinx anything, but looks like we will have a cute house.... yes, house! Here is Southern California I have an apartment, but I think we will be in a house!

P.S. If you are from Louisville or even have been there and have some tips on restaurants, fun things to do or anything...please share with me!!

Stop by Doodle Bugs Teaching to see everyone else who has linked up this week:


Enjoy your Super Bowl Weekend!

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Valentine "Dress 'em Up" Cards!

Who doesn't love Valentine's Day?

Today I am going to share my favorite valentine I have my little ones make for their parents.....
There you have it.... it's them! It is those cute faces that I can't show you.... but believe me they're cute.... dressed up as the actual Valentine!

Here is a year with red.... and a little crown action too:
It is a vest/ sandwich board/ poncho style valentine!

In the middle is this poem:

I'm giving you a Valentine
Don't put it on a shelf!
It's one that you can hold and love,
I'm giving you myself!

I can share the poem with you... that's easy.... just click on the image below for your FREE copy:

For the "vest meets poncho" thing you need to draw a giant heart template. I used to cut two hearts out separate and tie them with yarn at the top.... more like a sandwich board.

I have more recently stream lined the process so that the hearts are connected as one....faster and easier!

Since the hearts are so large {I don't have the exact size, but they cover most of the child from the waist up} I use butcher paper. My school has this on hand, but I think {hope} this is the same stuff if you you click here.  

Then I fold the pieces and trace.... sorry that I can't just let you borrow my tracer.... it's just a bit too big for that.

I pre-cut them.... it's too big for the kids to cut!


And now is the fun part.... decoration time!

This year we are doing a sponge paint - string paint combination.

Sponge painting you saw above and let me just tell you... I don't buy heart shaped sponges.... they are out there, yes, I know... but ain't nobody got money for that... it's called...buy sponges at the 99 cent store and cut them yourself.  Super ghetto... but they work just fine!

We started the string painting side today. They L-O-V-E it! I feel it is one of those old school kindergarten activities that you don't see all the time, but it is great for fine motor skills, plus it is FUN! {It does take a while since they have to do it one or two at a time.... but worth it!}

Here's an action shot:

Here's a finished one {minus the poem}... which may go on the other side with the sponge paint...
If you are new to string painting.... I think the trick is to have "handles" on the string that can't go in the paint.... although let's be real... they do {I end up changing the string every 3 or 4 kids} And to have a paint brush that can help get the string covered in paint....


Need more Valentine's Day fun? Check out my Valentine Mini Unit on TpT!

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

A Little Makeover Action...

I wish this meant that I was getting a makeover! Wouldn't that be fun? Well, a classroom makeover is just as almost as fun.....

Not too long ago  I shared this picture on Instagram:

And what I thought was going to be just a quick little border update to add some chevron to my life became this:
Yep, I called in reinforcements {aka my sweet hubby} to tear down the pale blue fabric for some gray!

Just how big is that wall? Well, it took 21 yards of gray fabric....good thing for the Hobby Lobby coupon and that the 25 yard bolt of gray fabric was brand new!

If you are interested in using fabric, but are worried about the cost another option is to use sheets. The flat sheet works well and you can trim down the fitted sheet. But if you want a specific color like I did...well, then plain ol' fabric it is!

Let me back up. I had found out that Teacher Created Resources is launching a brand new line of Chevron decor and I wanted it in my classroom...NOW!

No waiting for a new school year... so that sparked this mid-year change. {P.S. TCR is having a $150 giveaway... more info at the end of this post!}

I then kept coming up with more and more ideas I wanted to try.... and I am still trying things, changing my mind and adding.... so this endeavor is still not done .... but I wanted to share where I am at this point.....

I added a little sign to the library area using letter stickers from Michaels and the Giant Chevron Accents from TCR.
And those are the four colors I am trying to have everything incorporate: purple, yellow, gray and green.

My little ones have book boxes {from IKEA} that we keep guided reading materials in and other class made books. I used new chevron name tags and number stickers to give them a fresh look:


And then I added some chevron borders......all up in this place...
A little gray chevron with blue waves {I'm not sure how I thought to try this... I like the combination.... but I realize others may find if over the top!} The alphabet is from Ladybug's Teacher Files. The color fish and shapes I just made myself by hand.

Here is my calendar wall.....
The Welcome Banner is old.... and will be replaced soon. I wasn't sure about purple and purple, but it is growing on me. I am also trying to move away from blue so a lot of this will change to more yellow, gray, purple and green.
Here are some links to items you see: Purple Chevron Border, Ocean themed behavior management chart, the "January" title on the actual calendar.... and I am not sure where I got the months of the year and days of the week.

As for the 100 day countdown chart.... I buy a poster {like this one} each year and trim off the edges. I find this a lot easier than some of the other ideas out there...and by trimming the edges I get rid of whatever colors are on it, but still get the odd and even numbers color coded.

Last one....

Here is shot of that enormous board with 21 yards of gray! {Why isn't that catchy like 50 shades of gray?}
It's so big I can barely get a picture of it.... it is for sure a work in progress since it is still empty. 

So if you want a little new classroom decor to spice up the end of your year you will be happy to know that Teacher Created Resources is having a $150 GIFT CARD GIVEAWAY!

If you enter you can stock up on your chevron resources.... or use it to buy other fun stuff from TCR!

Good luck! And you know what... I am going to wish good luck to myself {are you allowed to do that?}... not for the giveaway... but with this makeover that has become a bigger job than I thought it would be!

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Valentine Love Bug Unit {Updated}

I spent a good chunk of the 3 day weekend re-vamping my Valentine's Day Love Bug Mini Unit. And before I go any further I will ruin the surprise with... this unit is ON SALE all week!!

It needed it.... like badly!

In the same way that I badly need to get my hair done.... hopefully it won't take my hair girl 3 days to freshen me up.... uh, oh... it is possible though....


I think my favorite part of this little ditty is the Valentine Lion Card.... I can't wait to make these little guys soon!


The unit includes a Valentine word bank {in color and black and white}

Four versions of a Heart Sight Word Game:


And Love Hearts.... the game below comes in a variety of versions...including blank hearts so you can have your kiddos grab real candy hearts and record the message from there!

There is a reader that practice rhyming words....

In math....

Then there is love bug patterning...using thumbprints {if you are feeling brave} or just coloring {if you just want patterning practice with no mess}


There are three heart number games shown below that practice sequencing numbers in different ways.

And so there you have it... that gives you a glimpse at almost the whole thing... but a few more goodies will be waiting for you too!

Because I am so happy to have this re-vamp done I have put it on sale this week for $3.50! Grab it by Friday for the sale price. Just click HERE!

Thank you for stopping by today!

Sunday, January 19, 2014

YouTube in the Classroom

I am aware of the fact that YouTube isn't a 2014 invention.... however it was just recently that my district has allowed us access to YouTube in the classroom and so I am excited to have sooo many new resources to share with my little ones.

And that being said, if you are not allowed to use YouTube there are several ways to download or save videos and therefore still be able to share them.

Why didn't I do this before... I'm not sure.... I really don't have a solid answer for that one.

I know KeepVid is a popular option for this, but I have never tried it.... and I just watched {THIS} little YouTube video which said you can just add a "ss" to the front of a web address and download it that way...if my blurb isn't making sense please see video because I really don't know.

Moral of the story I should have been using YouTube as a classroom resource earlier... oh well, I am now!!

This is my list... it is a work in progress....

Let's start with the alphabet....

We use Alphafriends {from Houghton Mifflin} and this simple, yet perfect for kinder, song is a great one for a brain break or transition time:
Another good alphabet one {which eerily is exactly the same length as the one above} is more upbeat and has a "rap feel" which the kids LOVE:

Let's break down the video above with some pros and cons. 

Pros: kids are super engaged... they do the alphabet with capitals AND lower case AND the sounds. 

Cons: When they do the sounds they show how to pronounce it so for q it is /kw/ and for x we see /ks/...and to be honest that is probably a good conversation to have with the kids, but for your low ones who are just learning the sounds I think it is a little confusing, but that's just my opinion.

So that ABC song above is from Have Fun Teaching and they have A LOT of videos. They have sight word songs. Now, I use Heidi Songs to teach sight words and I will get back to that in a bit. 

But the Have Fun Teaching peeps have songs for several sight words. I have only shown the "For" song so far. 

I was skeptical because they start by saying the word many times... almost too many....then they spell the word over and over.... 

So I thought, um, this isn't that great. Then they do a few sentences with the word like "One for you and one for me" and "Two for you and two for me" etc etc....all the way to four {which led to a short four vs for convo...not sure how that went over, but we had it.}

But I take it back.... it has a modern, rap-style to it and the kids are in to it...don't know if they'd be into for every sight word... but they liked this!

So there you have it...watch this "for" yourself and you can go online to see there are MANY more sight word songs all with the same formula.

Oh yeah... I almost forgot... I like how they show the sight word on the computer keyboard at the end of the song too! You can also go to their site Have Fun Teaching for all their materials. And I haven't shown my kiddos this one yet... but the Shape Song is next on my list.

Now back to Heidi Songs... LOVE all of her stuff and use her CDs ALL the time.... in fact, her sight word songs are a staple in my room and how I introduce new words.

I haven't really used her things on YouTube.  The only exception being the Let's Build a Snowman Song. I explained in {This Post} how I shared the link for parents to be able to sing the song at home.

This song is great for counting to 100! {but the way the 4 looks drives me crazy!} I played this last week to 80 for the 80th day. We also do Dr. Jean's song for 100, of course!



And just about any story I search is on YouTube from Chicka Chicka Boom Boom to No David! and so many others. Sometimes it is animated and other times it is a child reading it which could be a fun twist for your little ones during read aloud time.

I am just kicking myself for not using this resource as thoroughly as I should have been!

To keep track of all of this I started a new board on Pinterest just for YouTube Videos! There isn't too much on there now, but feel free to follow it and we can build our YouTube library together!

You can click {HERE} to read a post where I shared music {CD or iPod style}

And please share any great YouTube videos you know about... like I said, I am new to this!

Have you entered my pencil sharpener GIVEAWAY yet? It ends tomorrow.... click HERE and don't miss out!

Friday, January 17, 2014

Five for Friday Time!

Finally Friday... Even sweeter that we are off on Monday... Thank you to Doodle Bugs Teaching for this fun linky!

What do I got to share with you?

Well.... not to sound like a broken record, but it's still hot around here. As in HOT, HOT {see those capital letters emphasizing the amount of heat!}. And as someone who LOVES "the hot" as I call it...... well, I am a little bewildered by the fact that it is January. I think we need a cool down.

Anyway.... on with the five.... just like the post office... I deliver posts to you regardless of the weather.

1. Snowman Pattern Block Freebie. I shared this on Wednesday, but it's always good to kick off your Five for Friday with a treat for YOU!


2.  You know those handy dandy pencil sharpeners from Classroom Friendly Supplies that everyone raves about?  This one....
Well, all the talk is true and you can get one for FREE... sorry, but you need to have a US mailing address...
a Rafflecopter giveaway  or click here to read more about this giveaway.


3.  Do you use Heidi Songs in your class? If not... you need to start! I love all her sight words songs and the seasonal ones on the Language Arts CD. This week we sang the song, "Let's Build a Snowman."

What makes this project a bit more interesting is that they are working in cooperative groups over the course of the week to create one book as a group of four. I love this because it is less prep... but mainly because they have to learn to work together as a team....sounds so "common core-y" doesn't it?

I assign a group leader as well as a supply manager... these jobs change each day so each group member will have gotten the chance to be one or both.

It is so interesting to see who can and can not handle this. One of the rules is that only the supply manager can approach me and that is only if it is about a supply item they need. And of course we have the chat that anyone can approach me for an emergency.... and you know what... I see some of them wanting to come tattle about something.... because it is hard for them to let go... hard to create one end product with your peers.


Here is two pages of the finished product:


And note to self.... Work on your snowflake cutting lesson. I guess had never thought about it nor taught it... and well, they really are new with this one and I feel like I need to try and teach the "steps to making a snowflake" a little better next time. And this part was done as a lesson as opposed to in the group format mentioned above.


Slapped a cover on each of the seven books:
And now each of them get to take it home and share it with their families. I include a note making sure the parents know to return it to class the next day and I share THIS LINK where they can listen to the song at home!

4. I discovered my new favorite scissor!!

Can I use "scissor" in a singular way like I just did? I don't know... but I like the sound of it.

These Titanium things are ahhh-mazing! And I'm a lefty so I can picky with my scissor selection. They come in fun bright colors too! I have green and purple.

5. Last up is my most random item to make the Five for Friday...... I have had a complete shampoo frenzy this week.

Like out of control!

There is a sale at Ulta. I love Ulta... it's a new obsession and that's just it... I'm obsessed.

So the giant shampoo and conditioners are on sale for $12.99 or $15.99 add the Ulta coupon in the mix and that equals shampoo that is comparable to Kirkland or Pantene in price.

Sidenote: You can the $3 pump top thing for free too.....

So I've gone  a little overboard.
And yes, I make my hubby come with me so I buy the shampoo and he gets the conditioner each with our own  coupon because I want my $5 or $3.50 off each and every bottle...... and I'm not usually "Miss Coupon Clipper" at all... but it's one way I feel less guilty about the quantity of hair cleaning things I am buying.

And yes we are going back for one more set. Oh and... they got me with the AG which was actually $19.99 {regular $54...which is a problem} but $19 was almost a problem. And I will be honest when I saw it was regularly so much I thought...let's try that one!

Do you see that I am still rambling about shampoo?

I don't know what it is, but so far it seems 2014 is the year of nice shampoo for me! What is wrong with me?!

Now go enjoy that weekend...all three days! But don't forget to say Happy Birthday to this guy:

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Snowman Mania.... plus a freebie!

It has been snowman craziness up in my classroom!

Did I mention the part that it was 86 degrees today? And in the 80's every day.  Yes, it is January. Yes, I am in the Northern Hemisphere and yet.... it's hot...like hot, hot!

But dang it... we are still learning about winter....

Since no one will be making a real snowman we are making them in other ways.

First up... on the computer....


We are just learning how to use Pixie and how to create a text box people... so everyone had the same sentence... which ironically is a blatant lie! I see snow.... or perhaps "No one sees snow" would have been better!


Next up.... my favorite may be these clay snowmen! I blogged the step by step directions for these little guys last January, so just click here!

Don't fret... they won't look like strange aliens for long! You can see my sample {with a missing button} in the far back!

We have also done several activities from my Snowman, Snowman Winter Unit...

They loved this Brrr! Sight Word game:


And here we are painting the covers to our "Snowman, Snowman What Do You See?" books.... You may notice that I added a bit of salt to the white paint. That gives it a little texture that the kids enjoy!

I blogged HERE more about that winter unit!

We are working in groups to make this messy, but worth every second of it, Let's Build a Snowman Book by Heidi Songs.... LOVE all of her music. This song is on her Language Arts CD... which honestly is so great.... But {HERE} is a little YouTube Video of the Snowman Song that I show the kids when we start the whole project. And then it is time to make these books {I bought the CD with the "printable projects disc" and it has directions to make these darling books!}


Now the best part... a freebie! I love pattern blocks... love them! My kids enjoyed creating the pattern block snowman too!

Here is a little pattern block snowman action..... you know, another snowman that doesn't include real snow for those of us living in summer-like conditions!


What fun snowmen activities do you do?

Oh and don't forget.... I am giving away a pencil sharpener this week... Don't forget to enter HERE!

And thank you to Molly at Lucky to be in First for hosting her linky Fabulous Freebies on the 15th! I am happy to be linking up with her today.... and look at that.... it is actually the 15th...me! on time?! That's new!

Monday, January 13, 2014

Pencil Sharpener Giveaway!

Last month I wrote sharing my new love for this little pencil sharpener...you can read all about that right HERE!

It is from Classroom Friendly Supplies and I love it!

And want to hear something exciting? Since I last wrote to you... I now own two.... here is my newest...
It was a sweet gift from my principal.... she got each and every classroom one of these and now our whole school is sharp and ready!

And in case you missed it... here is my original sharpener...also with a bit of washi... because I am obssessed:

I am so excited to announce I am hosting a giveaway so that you too can have one of these beauties. Thank you to Classroom Friendly Supplies for your generosity to make this giveaway possible.

Good luck... because believe me, you need this little thing! Hurry up... the giveaway ends on Tuesday, January 21!

The only unfortunate thing is that this little giveaway is for anyone with a U.S. mailing address. We are not able to ship this internationally... sorry!

So here is the rafflecopter... and and the winner will get to choose their color....groovy green, cool blue, firehouse red, midnight black or precious pink....ooh la la!!

a Rafflecopter giveaway