Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Just keep blogging!!!

Sooo, small fact about me...I'm not very patient when it comes to myself. I have all the patience in the world for the munchkins (most days anyway!), but not so much for me! 

Along with blogging, I've also recently started running. The problem is...I have always DESPISED running! I always said this girl was never going to run, I'm happy on my yoga mat thank you very much! But my husband is a runner and I thought it would be fun to be able to do that together. We got a pair of running shoes...how about the fact that I was completely overwhelmed in the sneaker department? Umm...we do bare feet in yoga!! Anyway, I put them on and away we went. I'm getting better, but I way slow Matt down! And typical me, I get frustrated with myself! "I want to be good at it right now!!" says the person who's NEVER run EVER unless something was chasing after her!

I see a huge similarity between running and this whole blogging/teachers-pay-teachers world! I want to be good at it right now!!! I see all these fantastic blogs with lots of followers sharing in their wonderful ideas! And I think why can't I do that? Well, I found this quote on pinterest today, and it definitely rang a few bells!

So the moral of the story is, I'm gonna stop comparing myself and my humble beginnings to those who have been at this for a long time and have put in a lot of hard work to be where they are! Instead of it leading to frustration, I will see those people as inspiration! I have so much to learn from so many of you!!!

And on the topic of running...I think if I have this tank top, I will be such a better runner! Pretty sure I need it! ;)

Top Ten Tuesday Linky Party

I'm linking up with Courtney over at Swimming into Second for her Top Ten Tuesday Linky Party. So my top ten classroom must haves are....

1. A good stapler that doesn't jam!! I seem to have the best luck with swingline. I really want this cute pink one!!
2. A good pencil sharpener is a MUST! This little guy has treated us pretty well!
3. POST ITS!!! I wish I was the inventor of these little guys! I use them for everything! I think these cute little star shaped ones are fun! 
 4. The Letter Factory DVD! This DVD is amazing! I swear it's how most of my kids learn their sounds! We watch it a lot during snack time in September. It's set mostly to music, and it's pretty catchy! You'll go home singing..."every letter makes a sound, the j says juh!!"

5. These chimes from really good stuff! This little guy will save your voice! I always play the same little tune to get their attention. We practice how to respond to the chimes over and over in September and it is so worth every penny!!
 6. My guitar! We love to sing in the blue horse room! With all we have to do, most of the time we only sing with the guitar on Fridays! But it is a much looked forward to time in our room! And they do not EVER let me forget about it!!
7. Pachelbel oh Pachelbel...I like to play classical music a lot throughout the day! Especially in the morning as they enter and also during writing time. Also anytime I feel they are really wound! Just a little Pachelbel can sometimes set us to rights again...or maybe at least me! Haha!

8. So I don't have my own laminator, but I'm starting to think I need to! I fear I overwhelm our laminating lady sometimes! I may have put a chocolate bar in my laminating folder to keep her on my good side! You spend hours making those classroom materials, you've got to keep them protected right?!
 9. My Wand! I love my wand! I use it to point to oh so many things...big books, shared reading charts, the hundreds board, the sight word chart, the abc chart, phonics sorts...the list goes on and on! Also there is the fact that it's sparkly and blue and the kids love to use it as well!

 10. Your basic light switch! Weird, I know! But we use the lights to help us transition quietly! Lights off means clean up and get quiet! Lights on means push in your chair and walk to your square on the carpet and get ready to learn!


Thursday, July 25, 2013

Kindergarten Kid Writing Paper

Today I fixed up all of my writing paper for the school year! I really love this paper! I love everything about it! I love how easy it is for the kids to use. I wanted to clean up my files so that they all matched, making it an easier transition for the kiddos when it comes time to change paper. 

I use various types of paper throughout the year. All of them have boxes for the kids to write in. I feel like this helps them to contain their writing sooo much better than just a blank line. It also trains them to write smaller.

 In September, we have a box to put your name in and a box for your picture. This gives us time to work on our pictures and work up to labeling our pictures with beginning sounds. In September, that is pretty much enough!! I really work on getting my kids to love writing, I don't worry at all about putting down sounds. Whatever they come in with, that is what we do! There is plenty of time to stress about letters and sounds! We also practice writing our name, the smiley face tells us where to start making our name and the stop sign tells us where to stop. This helps us to avoid the backwards writing...how do they even do that???

In October and November, we move on to a box at the bottom for writing. This is where we practice trying to get one letter for every word we want to write. You'll know it's time to move in to the next type of paper when your students are hearing more than one sound for every word...they will not have enough room...Enter the 2 writing boxes paper!

The 2 boxes paper gets used in December and January. And then in February, we move on big time! You guessed it...enter LINED PAPER!!! Don't be scared, they can and will do it!!! 

From there, it's just a matter of shrinking and adding more boxes! Their writing will naturally get smaller and smaller without them even knowing they are doing it! Magic!! 

If you would like to purchase this set of writing paper for your own use, you can find it here...http://www.teacherspayteachers.com/Store/Jamie-Neely

Hope you find them helpful!!!

Ten Pin Linky!

I am linking up with Ashley Reed for her ten pin back to school linky party! Oh pinterest, how I love you! I can literally spend hours pinning away!! And since I pin a lot of school stuff and follow a lot of school teachers, guess what kinds of things come up in my feed?? And so I pin more and more school stuff...even in the summer! It's a sickness! But I can't not pin a good idea right!?? So here are some of my recent pins I like for back to school!

 1. I love Chrysanthemum by Kevin Henkes! And this little activity is just too cute! Such a good visual reminder for them to use kind words to their friends. We don't want any wrinkled hearts! Ahh! Love it!

2. And what kindergarten bathroom wouldn't be complete without some cute little reminders for exactly what it is we are to do in there...besides sing...and climb on the toilet...and flush toys!

3. I love these cute letters to hang up! Something simple and cute for the first week!

4. This teacher has cute ideas for talking about cafeteria expectations! Cute book ideas, charts, and a little craft!

5. Love these cute little table caddies!

6. I am so making this little ribbon chandelier from the amazing Abby at The Inspired Apple for over my guided reading table. Oh my word, so cute! I can't even wait! I loooove ribbon!! Such a cute use for it!

7. And also from Abby...this cute little pennant banner! I have wanted to make one of these little guys for awhile! She has easy no sew directions! Because...."Ain't nobody got time for dat!"

8. I love the pic! I really, really, really want yoga mats for all my munchkins!! How much fun would that be!! Maybe I'll have to look at writing a grant or something...because I think it needs to happen! Go yogi's go!

9. I like this idea for my math board...which i have to say was somewhat pathetic last year! I didn't do a whole lot with it! Math isn't so much my thing! But...I'm trying to get better! Definitely one of my goals for this year! 

10. Wow...ten already! So fun! Anyway...this is a project in the making!  Every room in our K wing is named after a different Brown Bear character. We are the blue horses so.... I want to make a horse shape with all my munchkins names in it and frame it. Cute huh!

Have fun getting those classrooms ready!!!

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Dollar Tree Treasures!!!!

I love the Dollar Tree!! What teacher isn't completely happy scooping up fun finds for only a buck?!? So on my last successful outing, I picked up these treasures...

 These are little mini puzzles and heart shaped beads for my fine motor box. The kids love to play with the stuff in this box. I've noticed it's also very calming. Sometimes I break out this box when we're having an off day!
 This little calendar almost matches the Dots on Turquoise set from Creative Teaching Press! So excited!!! I thought I would use it to jot down blogging ideas! Yay! Also pictured are sentence strips and a cute pink zipper pouch. I like to throw one of these in my school bag to keep all my pens and markers in! I may have had a bad experience or two with an uncapped sharpie marker at the bottom of my bag!

I found some more magnetic doodle boards and these giant shoes with shoelaces!! I saw an idea for making these on pinterest...but hello! Already done and only a dollar! I bought 5 to use as another fine motor center!! Yay for not tying shoes all the way until June!! They're gonna learn how baby!!!

And for my favorite purchase...these little glittery beach pails!! For starters, I can't say no to things that sparkle!! Also, I like to use them for Chicka Chicka Boom Boom week! I put sand in them and then throw in a bunch of magnetic letters. Then we pass the bucket around the circle and take turns pulling out a letter and identifying it! Now we will be able to play this game at our tables too!
What have you found at a dollar store lately???

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

10 Things I've Learned from Teaching!

Miss Kindergarten is hosting a fun linky party
called the 10 Things I've Learned from Teaching! Follow the link if you want to share your top ten too!

1. I've learned that flexibility is a must! Things happen and will not always go as planned!! Sometimes the perfectly planned lesson will be interrupted by tantrums or sickness or the fire alarm...and you've just got to smile and roll with it!

2. Be super careful when turning around quickly in your classroom! I have realized that my elbows are basically weapons! So many times I have gone to turn around and bonked a munchkin in the head with my elbow! Haha...I tell them to slow down all the time, but  I've really gotta remember to do it myself!

3. The pop-in observation isn't so scary after all! I realized that I'd much rather have an administrator walk in and see us doing our normal, every day thing as opposed to a pre-planned observation. Seriously, those kind make me more nervous anyway...more time to worry about it! So keep calm and teach on!

Really needed this reminder earlier today.......
4. Take the time to get to know your kids! It really pays off to spend the time getting to know each and every child individually. Get to know their likes and dislikes, their learning style, and about their home life. This will help you to build strong relationships with your class which will also help you HUGELY with classroom management. 

5. Along with that, let your kids get to know you!!! Share stories about your life AWAY from the school buliding...haha and don't be surprised when their eyes get all wide, they really do think you live at school!
If only this wasn't true :-(

6. Teaching is hard work! You've really got to LOVE it! It is not an 8:30-3:50 kind of job! You will spend hours and hours devoted to your students, lessons, and classroom! But the hours you put into it will pay off!! The real payoff is at the end of the year when you see how far you have taken your class!

7. Read quality books!!! If you want your Kindergarteners to love to read, then you've got to read books that are going to instill in them a passion to want to learn how to read!!! I love it when my kids go to the library and get so excited to take out a book that I've already read to them! They are always soooo excited to show me!

8. Do whatever you can to get a crazy amount of books in your classroom! I have scooped up a ton from garage sales, donations, scholastic book orders, ebay...the list could go on and on. Having a huge variety is key! Find out what your kinders are interested in and find books about those interests! I had a huge Indiana Jones fan one year, he even dressed up as Indy for Halloween! So cute! I happened to find an Indiana Jones book and brought it into the classroom. This book never left this little guys book box all year! Make sure they know how to use your library and where to find books they might be interested in!

9. Also, do yourself a favor and organize all those books! I put a different color coded sticker on the bin where the book is to go and on the back of all the books so they know where to return it! I spend a good amount of time teaching my kids how to use the system in September. I also put two extra bins in the library, one for lost books....that way if they can't find where it goes they don't just stick it in some random bin! I also have one labeled "Boo Boo Books." This is where those torn and broken books go until you have time to deal with them! 

10. Have fun! I read a quote once that said, "It is my daily mood that makes the weather." It is so true!!! If you walk into your classroom in a negative mood....the day does not bode well for you!! So slap a smile on even when you DO NOT FEEL LIKE IT!! It is so much better to project a bright and sunny spirit!! Sooner or later someone will do or say something cute and you will find yourself feeling better anyway!

Thursday, July 18, 2013

These are a few of my favorite things....

So when I'm getting ready to think about the new school year (not that I am of course!), these are some of my must reads and must haves!

  • I always read The Daily Five and CAFE before going back. These 2 books have transformed the way I run my literacy block. It is definitely my favorite part of the school day!

  •  Another must read is Setting Limits...I always read this one towards the very, very end of summer! Whenever I read this one, the back to school nightmare is sure to follow...you know the one where your entire class is running around the room laughing at your efforts to get them to listen??? Anyone else have those nightmares?!? Seriously though, this book has helped me sooo much to deal with those little munchkins that like to give you a run for your money! Rereading always helps me to get the language back in my head...that way I'm ready for the "You can sit quietly on the carpet with your friends or you can sit quietly at your seat...what would you like to do?" moments!!!!
  •  The Fountas and Pinnell Kindergarten Phonics cd....a little bit expensive, almost $50.00...but sooo worth it! It allows you to quickly make up your own games and sorts super quickly...like while you are eating lunch and have only 5 minutes left before you have to pick up the kiddos kind of quick!

  •  A blog I have been reading for a few months....littlemindsatwork.blogspot.com! Tara has some seriously amazing ideas and printables to help teach math! Math is so not my strong point...we could read and write all day and never do any math if it were up to me! But it is not, so Tara's blog to the rescue!  
  • Last but not least, my favorite teacher tools...Mr. Sketch Markers, Post- It's, and B2P Pens!!! These are always my favorite items to pop out of my school order box in August!

What are some of your favorite things???

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Baby Blogger!

Hello Everyone! My name is Jamie Neely and I am a Kindergarten teacher in New York! I am brand spanking new to this whole blogging world and I have to say I am a bit intimidated by all of the amazing teaching blogs out there!! But I really want to give this a try, and if I can share something that helps someone the way soooo many of you out there have helped me....then fabulous!!! :)

So why the Wizard of Oz theme? Well, it was my favorite movie when I was a Kindergartener...who am I kidding?? I still long to wear a sparkly pair of ruby slippers and belt out Somewhere over the Rainbow!  Also, I tend to call my students my munchkins! I plan to post the goings on in my classroom as well as to show you how I use some of my teachers-pay-teachers products.

I'm not gonna lie....it's going to be slow going! It has taken me forever just to set up this little blog! I have googled the phrase "how do you....???" a gazillion times the past few days! Who knew you needed a degree in graphic design to be a teacher these days? Despite my lack of knowledge in all things html, I am super excited to join the teaching blogger world!!! Thanks for stopping by!!!! :)