Tuesday, November 10, 2015

Rainbow Sight Words!!


So we have officially started our second trimester at school. Grades are in; conferences are done. I can breathe a sigh of relief! Now that we have started our second trimester I have officially started teaching sight words! This concept isn't "graded" on our report card until third trimester (so end of the year) but I start teaching it now because many of my kiddos like having the extra time to really master this concept.

Since I am in TK I don't have specific words that I need to teach per my report card. I chose 30 words from the Fry's High Frequency lists that they need to know for kindergarten. TK is all about preparing them for kindergarten so I figured using the same words would be beneficial.

I arranged my words into a set of "rainbow" lists which are put up in my room in color coded pocket charts. (THANK YOU WALMART!)

White list: I, a, in, it, at, or.
Purple: like, see, to, my
Blue: is, he, and, go
Green: the. are, for, play
Yellow: said, of, she, have
Orange: on, with, that, you
Red: was, were, me, can

I introduce the words in a variety of ways. I start with printing out 30 pictures of a bus and writing the words in the middle of each bus. Then we sing the song "The word on the bus..." We cover one word a week. I also write the word on index cards and create necklaces for each word that I wear and the kiddos must name before they leave the room to go to the bathroom or recess or going home. Once I have covered the word I tape the bus to the floor on the tile (these are great for line-up activities) and I tape the necklace to the door. (These are great for the "Slap it!"activity we play once we cover the whole list.)

The kiddos also each get a sight word sticker book that has the words organized on color paper by each list.

As they master a word/list they get stickers next to that word. When they master the whole list they get different parts of our rainbow on our "Rainbow Sight Word" wall. The white list they get to write their name on a cloud, and for each colored list they get a sticker on their cloud until they have the whole rainbow.

After the kids get their stickers and rainbow pieces they get a certificate, their picture taken and a class cheer. They also get their kindergarten sticker book too (I made the first 100 Fry words into a sticker book too. The kiddos get really excited about getting their blue kindergarten sticker book!)

I'm hoping that by starting earlier the kids get more exposure to the words and are able to master more of them. 

I love this time of year and all the fun things we get to learn and experience! Always remember, every moment can be a learning moment!

Sincerely from TK,

Wednesday, October 7, 2015

5 Facts About Me!


So, throughout this wonderful blogging and TPT journey, I have met many wonderful people who have challenged me to become a better teacher, helped me to strengthen myself, and just generally boosted me up in many different ways. One of those amazing people is Nikki, from Teaching Autism (you should totally check out her blog if you haven't already!) and she is hosting a link up!

I have shared many different fun stories about my shenanigans in the classroom, but I feel like I haven't really shared much about myself or my personal life. So here I am...sharing five random facts about me! I hope you enjoy.

1. I am a shoe-aholic. I confess it...I totally am. I have a problem with shoe shopping and if I'm not monitored I'll spend every last penny on cute shoes! At one point in time (before I was married) I owned 63 pairs of shoes!!! When I moved in with my lovely husband I had to cut down. I am down now to 20 pairs of shoes total. 6 pairs of heels, 2 pairs of tennis shoes, 5 pairs of flats, 3 pairs of sandals, and 4 pairs of boots. It was so hard to cut down, but I did it and now live by the rule...if I get one I have to give one! It has saved my life! (If only I could apply this mentality to my clothes now...hmmmmmmm...)

2. My heart breaks when I see dogs in an over crowded shelter. I know exactly what happens to dogs when shelters get over crowded and many dogs don't have a fighting chance to find their forever home. I want to cry when I think about it. My biggest goal is to open a non-profit dog rescue to rescue loving dogs that are not adopted for whatever reason (be it breed-target legislation, age, health issues etc.) I hope to not just open a rescue, but I'd love to have different "sectors" of this rescue to help out many areas of the country with over crowded shelters. 

3. I am newly married. I will be celebrating 3 years of marriage with my husband (7.5 years together total) this November, and I cannot believe how the time has flown. He is my best friend, my other half, and even through our rough times, he does everything he can to show me loves me and I'm appreciated. I love him very much!

4. I write stories for fun. Usually with people, but I write stories for fun. Through high school I wrote 4 novels (over 300 pages each) and countless short stories. I would love to get these stories published, but I'm too insecure about my writing, I don't think I could EVER send it in for editing and to be considered for publishing! Eek! The idea is terrifying. 

5. I would LOVE to travel! I want to travel the world! I want to visit every country on the planet before I pass on. I don't know if I'll get there, but I want to do my best. I've already visited Mexico, Honduras, Grand Cayman, and 20 of the 50 states in America. It's not a lot yet, but it's a start for being only 26. I would love to see more of the world once I'm settled into my job, maybe after the kids (who are not born yet) are in college? I don't know. I don't have a plan yet...just a deep seated desire!

Well, that's it about me! Those are my 5 random facts. I hope you found them interesting? Maybe...just a little?

Thank you for reading, and always remember: every moment can be a learning moment!

Sincerely from TK,

Friday, October 2, 2015

Glue sponges!!


So we've been busily working through our year, getting used to classroom norms and routines. I've been POSITIVELY SWAMPED! I logged on to my blog to check how things were going with my redesign...and I realized, I hadn't posted since mid-August!! I'm horrible! 

I wanted to give a little update on some fun things we've been working on in my classroom and the wonderful tools that have helped with making that possible! Now, a good portion of my report card focuses on motor skills...and I've been doing {these} wonderful guided art lessons by TLC Lessons that I purchased (they are AMAZING) but...they require A LOT of glue so the construction paper sticks. My solution? GLUE SPONGES!! 

Now, I can just about HEAR you all saying, "But Nichole...what about glue sticks!? They're less messy, and easier to use!" and I completely agree...they are less messy and easier to use, but the glue sticks we get from our supply closet seem to be construction paper repellent. It takes A LOT of glue stick to make the construction paper pieces stick. Back to my solution: glue sponges. Last year I was able to use glue bottles, but I found my kids still used  a ton of glue no matter how I tried to remind them not to. I taught them "dot, dot, not a lot" and I told them that "we don't want to make our papers cry." Yet still, every time I did an art project I was wiping up glue off the tile in my classroom.

This year, my kiddos are younger, and in need of more time to grow and mature with our materials. I didn't want to waste a lot of glue while trying to teach them the different methods I'd used. I did a lot of research and decided to try out glue sponges. I already had these cute little orange containers that I bought at the dollar store (2 to a pack) that I used for "piggy banks" a couple years back!

I numbered them for my kiddos so they could keep track of their lids.

I went to the store by my house and found sponges on clearance! CLEARANCE! A pack of 4 for $1.35! Did I mention these were massive sponges that I was able to cut into quarters?? Yeah. So one pack of 4 got me 16 sponges! I bought another pack of 4 (smaller) sponges that I cut in half and viola! I had 24 sponges cut to just the right size for my little containers. 

These were the last few left that I didn't cut up.

Now I have to put a disclaimer out there...I didn't actually READ a lot of how-to's on how to make glue sponges...I just assumed toss a sponge in a container and cover with glue. WRONG! After I made a complete mess of the first one, I went back and did my homework. I found out that I'd skipped not one - but two crucial steps to help make glue sponges work! *Sigh* This is why you do your homework kids! 

So day 2...this was how I made my glue sponges. I started by taking my sponge pieces and dropping them all into my sink in my classroom. I filled the sink with a little bit of water just to dampen the sponges and get out any chemicals that might be in the sponges. Then I went to the containers and put a thin layer of glue along the bottom. I grabbed a sponge and wrung it out. You do not want a ton of water in your sponge because it will not soak up the glue! You just want it damp. I placed the sponge in the puddle of glue and then put another thin layer of glue on top of the sponge. I placed the lid on it and then walked away. I'm so glad I walked away. The next morning there was no glue in the container! It had all soaked up into the sponge. I put another layer of glue on top of the sponge and left it. The glue settled around the sponge and viola! My handy-dandy glue sponges! Here is the finished product!

 I love them! The kiddos just have to press down on the sponge and it deposits just the right amount of glue on the paper. There is no spilled glue, no wiping glue off the tiles! I did a little happy dance after our first art assignment when I noticed there were no crying papers!! 

One draw back is, I do have to fill them once a week, but I typically pour a little glue on top of the sponge on Friday afternoon before I go home for the weekend and then by Monday the glue has settled properly. It's just amazing! I don't think I can ever go back to glue bottles again. 

Did I mention that they're the perfect size for students to share? I put one down between two students and they can each use it! It's just perfect. It teaches the kids about taking turns and sharing, while also teaching them the appropriate amount of glue to use. Did I mention perfect? (I did...oh. Ok.)

Anyway, I hope some of you find this helpful and maybe you can make your own glue sponges for your kiddos! Always remember that every moment can be a learning moment!

Sincerely from TK,

Monday, August 17, 2015

Help with Holding a Pencil!


So I have officially started school, and boy, this years class has some new challenges that I wasn't faced with last year! I am excited to tackle each one head on. First, I have a good portion of my class that have never held a pencil before, at least not "correctly." So that is what this post will be about!

I have many methods that I use to work with my kiddos on correct pencil grip. The first one is a fuzzy ball! I give the kids a pom-pom of their favorite color and I tell them to hold the ball with their "bottom" three fingers. This method was really successful last year, but unfortunately was not so successful this year. And, as an added downfall...my kiddos this year termed the pom-pom hand method as "making a gun." Big no no...so I had to find something quick to help my kiddos that didn't look like I was teaching them to play guns with their writing hands!

In came the rubber bands! Now, you may  be saying, "Nichole...how do rubber bands help a kid hold a pencil?!" Well, I'm here to show you! First I wrapped the rubber band around the pencil so that it was secure...like so...
Like this...except around a pencil
 Then I had the kiddos slip the big loop around their wrist, with the pencil resting on their arm and VIOLA!! It worked! I had two wonderful models show me exactly how it had helped them in holding their pencils!

I still have a few that need some other method (this and the ball method did not work) so I'm still on the hunt for new ways to work on pencil grip! If you have any suggestions, let me know! I'm always willing to give things a try!

I hope this helped anyone who might be struggling with pencil grip!

Always remember: every moment can be a learning moment!!

Sincerely from TK,

Sunday, July 19, 2015

What *is* TK??


So, over the past weekend I was lucky enough to have the opportunity to explain to my aunt (who is from Texas) the wonders of what I do. I gushed and I enthused. I shared about the wonderful things I get to do with my kiddos each year, and planning for subsequent years. I went on for about thirty minutes before she stopped me with a question that had me frozen in shock: 

"What is tk??"

What is tk? WHAT IS TK? I was so shocked it took me a hot minute to really form a decent answer for her. I had, in my blissful ignorance, assumed that EVERYONE knew about TK. What it was, how amazing it was to teach it, the benefits...what "TK" even stood for. I was so surprised to find that this is definitely not the case!

Now, I want to put a disclaimer out there: I AM NOT AN EXPERT! These answers are based on information I have received from my district, some personal researche I have done on my own time, and discussing with other TK teachers. These answers are not written in stone, and more often than not will change in the future. I just want to shed a little light on the TK world. 

1. What is TK?
TK (also known as Transitional Kindergarten) is a new program being implemented in the state of California. As far as it has been explained to me, California is trying to split kindergarten into two years. The first year is TK. It is different from preschool and PreK, as well as regular kindergarten (those differences will be explained in a later question.) TK is completely optional. It is not mandatory in the state of California to have your child in school until they reach the age of 6, so TK and kindergarten are not mandatory at all. (I think they should be but, that's just me.)

2. What does TK consist of?
A day in TK is very different from a day in kindergarten. My day consists of teaching reading, writing, math, science, social sciences, P.E. and art. On top of all of this I also focus a good chunk of my time for developmental play. My principal actually wants me to focus a good 45 minutes each day on just developmental play because that is the distinguishing factor between TK and kindergarten. 

Expectations will vary from site to site, as well as district to district. In my TK students are expected to learn their ABCs, 123s, sounds, and basic sight words (my rainbow program that I created for my class consists of 30 sight words.)  I focus on teaching the mechanics of scissor working, holding a pencil, proper glue etiquette, and peer-to-peer interactions. I work towards writing a complete sentence by the end of the year so when they move on to kindergarten, they can focus on putting simple sentences together to form easy paragraphs. My job is to prep the students I get and help them get ready for a year in a regular kindergarten class. Hopefully, if I've done my job properly, kindergarten teachers can focus their attention on students who haven't been exposed to academic concepts. Basically, kindergarten teachers get to spread themselves a little less thin because a portion of their students (the ones who came from me) will have already mastered certain things (ex: their ABCs, 123s, writing their name, beginning reading and writing skills etc.)

3. How is TK different from preschool or PreK?
A lot of this is actually licensing. To be a preschool or PreK teacher in my district you have to have special early childhood development credits. I must have a valid California teaching credential, BUT (please notice the bolding and underline) that is because I have been "granfathered" into the program. (This will be discussed in the next question.) 

TK is also different from preschool and PreK because EVERYTHING I do is 100% aligned with the kindergarten California common core standards. I cannot speak for every preschool or preK class, but that is the stipulation laid down for me by MY DISTRICT. I must follow the CCSS in everything I do, and everything I do must be justified by a standard. The only aspect of my classroom day that is not aligned to the standards is my "developmental play time" and again, this is something I am required to focus on. (My background is 3 years of kindergarten instruction so cutting a big chunk out of my day for this is tough for me because I can think of so many more ways to use it.)

4. Do TK teachers need to be credentialed? Do they need the ECD (early childhood development) credits like a preschool teacher?
Yes. Every TK teacher must hold a valid teaching credential. On the cde.ca.gov website it states: "Yes, in California, TK teachers need to have a teaching credential, just like Kindergarten teachers." {source found here} The ECD credits is where it gets a bit tricky. I do NOT have any required ECD units. (My emphasis was in Early Childhood Development and Early Psychological Development but I do not have the necessary units to be a preschool teacher.) The reason I do not need to go back to get my ECD units is because I was "grandfathered" into the program. Basically, I was hired before the state of California set down specific guidelines on what is necessary to be a TK teacher. Again, on the cde.ca.gov website it states: 

That "a school district or charter school shall ensure that credentialed teachers who are first assigned to a TK classroom after July 1, 2015, have, by August 1, 2020, one of the following:
  1. At least 24 units in early childhood education, or childhood development, or both.
  2. As determined by the LEA employing the teacher, professional experience in a classroom setting with preschool age children that is comparable to the 24 units of education described in bullet 1.
  3. A child development teacher permit issued by the California Commission on Teacher Credentialing (CTC). " {source}

Now, Nichole, you just said YOU don't have any special ECD units. How do you qualify?? And you are 100% justified in asking that question. As I mentioned before I was "grandfathered" in. If you continue reading on that page it continues to say:
"Any current credentialed teacher who is or was assigned to teach TK, or a combination class of kindergarten and TK, on or before July 1, 2015, is “grandfathered in” to teach TK without having to meet additional requirements. Any credentialed teacher assigned to teach TK, or a combination class of kindergarten and TK, after July 1, 2015, will have until August 1, 2020, to meet the above-mentioned education requirements." {source}

I was hired July 27, 2014. I eventually will have to go back (simply because I want to at this point) and get the units, but it isn't required of me just yet. 

5. How does a student qualify for TK vs. Kindergarten?
Right now, this is very simple to explain. Way back when I was in school, the cutoff for kindergarten was December 2. California has slowly been moving back the cutoff date. As of right now, it is Sept 1. I get the kids that have birthdays that fall from September 2 - December 2, so they are 4 when they start in my class. They are too young for kindergarten, and too old for preschool. SEND THEM TO ME! They are developmentally at the age where the extra time in TK will benefit them and send them on to a successful academic career. They will be starting with other kids their age, but they will be starting kindergarten AHEAD. I love that idea. 

6. What if a kid is ready for 1st grade at the end of TK? Do they still have to go through the year of kindergarten as well?
This answer is tricky. I don't like jumping kids up. I never have. (I was a candidate as a child and I thank my lucky stars my parents decided against it for me.) By the book, kids must enroll in kindergarten after they finish TK. BUT (and this is a BIG but) there are exceptions to that rule. Last year I had a little boy that came to me advanced. He knew 99% of everything I was going to teach him through out the year and the only reason he wasn't in Kindergarten is strictly because he missed the cut off by a week or two. I taught him above his grade and challenged him with standard kindergarten materials because I didn't want him to get bored. I was approached by my principal and instructed to give a handful of students the ending kindergarten assessment (parents were requesting that they jump.) The required pass rate to jump was 100%...he passed it with 100% accuracy. 

Long story short, if they are 100% ready they can jump (based on your district's requirements) but I rarely recommend it. I think each grade offers their own unique focus and developmental challenges that skipping isn't the best option. (I'll get off my soap box now.)

7. What does a typical day in TK look like? (Daily routine)
I have an early bird/late bird schedule. So my day goes as follows:

7:45-8:30 Universal Access/Developmental playtime (this is when I do assessments, and guided reading/writing)
8:30-8:40 Morning warm-up (clean up and dances)
8:40-8:45 Late birds show up
8:45-9:00 breakfast for the class
9:00-9:30 carpet time/calendar/morning meeting (this takes place on the carpet and is where I do the majority of my teaching)
9:30-9:45 morning math (introduction of the concept)
9:45-10:00 morning recess
10:00-10:15 Math seat work
10:15-10:45 Phonics/ELA time
10:45-11:00 clean up (early birds pack up to go home from cafeteria) line up
11:00-11:40 lunch and lunch recess
11:40-12:25 Universal access/developmental playtime (for late birds)
12:25-12:35 afternoon cool down (clean up and dances)
12:35-12:45 final message (positive shares and thoughts)
12:45 go home

My ELA time and Math time gets the art, science, social sciences, and P.E. all rolled into it. Certain days will have specific lessons, but for the most part that is my typical routine. 

Well I hope I have answered everyone's questions! If I didn't please feel free to leave one in the comments and I'll either make a follow up blog post or I'll answer directly in the comments!

Thank you so much for everyone's feedback and giving me a general idea of what you want to know. I hope it was helpful!

Always remember, every moment can be a learning moment!

Sincerely from TK,

Thursday, July 9, 2015

TpT Seller Challenge week 4: follow frenzy


So my last entry for the #tptsellerchallenge, which has to do with giving a shout out to friends I have made in the process of this whole link up. I have made many friends through this whole process, but there is someone I have to give a really big shout out to because she was my sounding board through so much of my planning and production of my masterpiece found {here}. She helped with editing this monster (which you can purchase {here}) and letting me know whether she thought it was appropriate for kids in our target age range. I must give a shout out to the sweetest person in the world:

Mrs. Becky McNichols from Teaching with Ninjanuity. She was so amazing and so sweet to help me out this past week with my monster (which I affectionately call my masterpiece) and she even shared a couple products with me for my TK class! I am super excited to print them out, laminate and punch out all the things she gave me! My kiddos are going to have so much fun and I cannot thank her enough. 

If you haven't already, you need to stop by her blog and give her some love. She is amazing. She gives amazing tips and tricks for all sorts of different things (most recently she found these round punches that are perfect for punching out letter chips and shared about it. A-MA-ZING!) Please, please go swing by her blog and check her out!

Alright, so I'm actually in Auburn, Alabama for a wedding of my best friend from high school so I can't hang around for very long, but I just wanted to share some love on this amazing woman. (Have I mentioned she's amazing??)

Anywho, I'll be back next week when I get back, so always remember: every moment can be a learning moment!


Wednesday, July 8, 2015

TpT Seller Challenge week 3: Make your Masterpiece


After a year of teaching a new grade I realized there was a serious lack of resources out there for Transitional Kindergarten! So I started my mission of high lighting the key standards I was expected to cover through out the year and create a simple, easy, print and go packet of morning work...this turned into a HUGE bundle of common core morning work! 

Unfortunately, this HUGE bundle got shaved down a bit (more like broken down into 4 pieces) so that I could get this project tackled (otherwise I would never have even started!) What I have to present for (the beginning) of my masterpiece is:

There are 150 pages of ELA morning work! Each page has letter practice, name practice, days of the week writing practice, beginning sounds, colors, rhyming, sight words, and sentence corrections. Students get a week's practice of writing upper and lower case letters as well as identifying beginning sounds, a weekly sight word, a weekly color and name writing practice. 

 I even added the digraphs "th" "sh" "ch" "wh" because at the end of the year I cover these blends as well. They follow the same format as the alphabet pages with sentence corrections, sight words, and rhyming!

Did I mention it's all common core aligned? Yeah it is!! Each page has the target standards labeled at the top so that there is clear identification of the concepts being taught, and assessed. These can also be used as great assessments for report cards!

Coming soon (once I recoup from the craziness of putting together this monster bundle!) there will be a math version as well as some challenge bundles that are targeted more for kindergarten to first grade standards!

I'm so excited to be able to share this with everyone! Please stop by my store to take a look at it {here}!

Thank you so much for stopping by!
And always remember, every moment can be a learning moment!


Thursday, June 25, 2015

TpT Seller Challenge Week 2: Dare to Dream


So, if you haven't yet, take a look at this post for week 1 of my TpT Seller Challenge {brought to you by Third in Hollywood, Teach Create and Motivate, Sparkling in Second, and Peppy Zesty Teacherista} blog post series.

This week we are on the topic of 'Dare to Dream', and I'm so excited to share with you my dreams for my future, and the future of my blog and TpT store, as well as the future of my brand A Learning Moment. 

The one and only time I have ever been on a cruise was for my honeymoon (and the only reason I was able to afford that was because it was GIFTED to me as a wedding present from my Aunt.) That was two and a half years ago. The experience was beyond amazing and I have always had dreams of going on another one and traveling and seeing all sorts of different places. My dream is to have A Learning Moment become a successful business in order to help fund that dream (at least once.)

When I got married, I was the only one with any kind of debt. My poor husband, busted his bottom, to pay off his students loans, his car, AND his credit cards before we got married...only to inherit (kind of) $21K worth of debt! I was mortified, and saddened to bring that into my new marriage, and even though he never once complains or holds is over my head, it is a dark cloud that I see hanging over myself. I would love to pay off my student debt so that my husband and I can focus on our new house and starting a family together. 

After I got married, I had to adjust to feeding another human being and taking into account his metabolism (and my lack thereof), and I gained a MONSTROUS amount of weight. I have been taking steps to get healthy again but after a troubled past with body image nothing seems to really be good enough. I want to take that final step and hire a trainer to teach me what I need to know and help me in the process of getting back to where I was happy and healthy.

I am 26 years old (not old by any means) but one of my ultimate goals is to become a mother and I would love to be able to take that step knowing that I can afford to cut my working hours so that I can be there to watch my children grow. I would love to have the security to know that my husband isn't going to have to completely kill himself with overtime while I raise our children. 

This is me. These are my dreams for myself, my brand, and my future. What are your dreams?

Sincerely from TK,

Wednesday, June 17, 2015

New! New! New!

Hello lovelies!

So as the first week of the lovely #tptsellerchallenge {read all about it here} comes to the halfway mark, I am excited to say that the Makeover Madness has really gotten my creative juices flowing! It started with just revamping my Numbers Poster Pack to fit with themes I've seen in many other classrooms and the theme I wanted to put in my own room. {You can read all about the changes I made on my blog post found here or you can check out my TpT store here}

You see, I have fallen in love with the "chalkboard" style of decor and now I want to theme my room that way...but seeing as I just bought a new house, and I am a little short on funds {read: I have no money to buy all the decorations I wanted} I decided to make my own! I am far...FAR from done, but I wanted to share about the products I have created so far. 

First: My Numbers Poster Pack 
(which I know I've already mentioned, but it's going to be part of the huge bundle when everything is completed)

This pack contains numbers with guideline arrows to help students learn which way each stroke goes, as well as how many strokes it takes to form a number. There is also a ten-frame under each number to help students learn how to represent the number with a group or an image {which loosely corresponds to CCSS.K.CC.3.} Each number also has a little poem or saying on how to write the number {which helps students focus on penmanship!} You can print these out and place them side by side on a 12x18" piece of paper, laminate, and put up on the wall as a poster for the kids to see all year! {I did this with the former pack, and I plan on doing this again with the new pack.}

Second: My Weather and Season Poster


This product allows students to identify the season, the weather and the temperature each day. There are pieces that can be switched out as the season and weather change. Most of the weather tiles have little images so students can relate the word (or rather letters in my case) to the physical weather. The pieces help create full complete sentences that can be repeated to work on correct speech patterns.

Third: My Chalkboard Months of the Year

This is separate from the calendar pieces that will be coming soon. I use these so my students can see the months in order. I have included little pictures as well as the abbreviated versions of the months so that students can associate certain holidays or events with different months.

Fourth: My Chalkboard Number Chart Numbers

These are simple numbers made up in the chalkboard style. I have a hundreds chart that I have dyed black {to go with the chalkboard theme} that I will put these numbers into. These numbers go all the way up to 120 so whether or not your students are learning to count to 20, 30, 100 or 120, you can use these numbers to help with that. These numbers are also great for number recognition, and I put them in a rainbow pattern so they are easier to put in order.

There are still calendar pieces, a day of the week poster, as well as word wall letters and sight words that will be coming out in the chalkboard style. When those get completed I'll be doing a follow up blog post about them and making a huge bundle. Keep an eye out!

Always remember every moment can be a learning moment!

Sincerely from TK,

Monday, June 15, 2015

TpT Seller Challenge Week 1: Makeover Madness

Hello! In an effort to revamp my image and get my creative juices flowing, I joined the TpT Seller challenge. Each week we focus on a different idea and complete a task. This week we are focusing on Makeover Madness!

I took a very popular product and totally revamped it! Ta da!

I redid the background from just the pretty borders to the chevrons and black chalkboard design. I also changed the fonts to my newest favorite! Also, to help align with common core (loosely anyway) I added ten frames at the bottom of the number pages. The number pages still feature movement arrows so students can see exactly which direction they should move as well as how many strokes each number really should take. 

The rhyme pages I touched up by keeping the original poems and changed their looks. I also added a few other poems as alternatives to my originals. I know my kindergarten team really liked this pack but they used different poems, so I added them for my friends at work because "sharing is caring!" 

If you want to pick up your copy of this product please feel free to stop by my TpT store {here}. Also, please leave feedback if you do pick up a copy. I can't grow as a teacher-author if I don't get feedback from others! 

Thank you so much, and always remember: every moment can be a learning moment!

Sincerely from TK,


So it has been a long while since I posted anything about...well...anything! I am so sorry for that! The end of the year got crazy and I'm buying a house and just...life got complicated. But I am on summer break and wanted to send a quick update about the fact that I am doing multiple things right now!

1. I am working on a new bundle for classroom decorations. I am so very excited for this! I'll post a link to everything when it's all completed!


2. I am also participating in a special challenge! I am participating in the TPT Seller Challenge to help revamp some of my older products and get me back on track with blogging and creating!

Keep an eye out for blog posts about the challenge and my new products! I will also be blogging about different things as I prep for next year. I hope everyone enjoys!

Thank you so much for stopping by, and always remember: every moment can be a learning moment!


Thursday, March 12, 2015

Fairy tales

We have been working on Fairy tales all month. We have read a wide variety of fairy tale and folk tales and the kids are having a blast. The first activity we did was after we read the books The Three Little Pigs and The Three Little Fish. The students had to identify what each house was made out of for the different stories and we wrote the name of each material and glued a sample over the house. The kids loved this activity and the parents loved looking at this during our Open House this week. What do you think?

After that we read Cinderella, and did some independent writing. The kids were asked to think about what they would do if they had a magic wand. Their answers were really touching. We worked together to inventively spell different words. I think they came out great for some of their first independent writing for the year.

I will make everyone happy.
I will do magic.
For our art we worked on "collage"-ing and mosaics (kind of) with our stained glass castles! The kids had to glue tissue paper over the picture of the castle and then they needed to carefully spread a layer of glue over the top of their art work. The kids loved, loved, LOVED this activity and I cannot wait to do it again for our butterfly unit. 

The next fairy tale we read was Jack and the Bean Stalk. The kids had to sequence the story and they learned about what Jack's magic bean needs to grow! 

Our sequencing board

Hello Science! This really leads into our next unit and the kids really enjoyed figuring out what Jack's magic bean needed to grow! 
Teacher poster!

I have a couple other activities we did that I will add once I get my pictures loaded onto my computer! I hope you enjoyed and maybe find some ideas you can use in your own classroom!

Always remember: every moment can be a learning moment!

Sincerely from TK,

Arctic Animals

Phew! I cannot believe it has been over a month since I've posted anything on this blog!! Well, I'm here to fix that with not one, not TWO but THREE blog posts today so stay tuned for the next two installments. This first post is all about our arctic animal unit I did through out January. 

The kids had so much fun learning about penguins and polar bears. I got to introduce some science readers and some informational texts to the kids so we really got to explore new forms of writing! The kids LOVED it!

We did our traditional guided art lesson that the kids really, REALLY enjoyed! I wanted to introduce expository writing (writing about facts) so we spent over a week practicing our 'can, have, are' charts and finally I taught them how to transfer the facts from their chart to our writing paper. The kiddos were so proud of their writing they couldn't wait to show their parents.

I had them hung up above their desks so that parents could look at their student's work when they brought them in for the beginning of the day. I was surprised at how many of the parents were surprised and moved at seeing their student's work. I guess, being in the classroom with them every day, I forget that this is all new for the parents to see. These are their babies and they're growing up and doing things they've never done before. It was exciting to see the kids and their parents so proud of everything they've been doing. 

It makes my job so enjoyable.

Well I'm off to prepare for tomorrow! I hope you enjoyed!

Always remember: Every moment can be a learning moment!


Thursday, January 22, 2015

A Wonderful Fundraiser

Hello ladies and gentlemen! I am stopping by to let everyone know that a good friend of mine is holding this amazing fundraiser! My friend Melissa from A Teaspoon of Teaching is participating in a fundraiser to raise money for the Make A Wish Foundation! She has put together 3 different bundles targeting 3 different age ranges!

Each bundle is comprised of different products put together by different teachers that teach those grades. (I donated a set of alphabet flashcards) The products, if purchased, total over $70 a bundle, but you can have each one for $25! The best part? All the profit goes directly to the Make A Wish Foundation! You can read more about the fundraiser on Melissa's blog @

or you can click directly on the picture of the bundle and it will take you to her store! This really is a for a great cause. 

There is a K-2 bundle. 

A 3-5 bundle!

And a 6-12 bundle!

Again, EACH BUNDLE TOTALS OVER $70 BUT YOU CAN HAVE ONE FOR AS LOW AS $25! (Have you bought a bundle yet? Cause you really should!)

I hope everyone has been having a great week!

Always remember, every moment can be a learning moment!

Sincerely from TK,

Sunday, January 18, 2015

Top 5 Teacher Hacks

As a teacher I am constantly trying to streamline my day and make things easier. Managing a class while working with limited space and only so many resources can be a bit over whelming. Today I am going to blog about my top 5 teacher hacks that have made my teaching experience so much easier. 

1. Clear containers for construction paper

I know they're file containers but I use them for my construction paper. I can see exactly what I have!

Ok, so I don't know if this is so much a hack, as I discovered these awesome containers and I love them because I can store my 9x12 sheets of construction paper in them perfectly. I can see inside and know what colors I have, what I don't have, how much of each color etc. These babies have saved me so many times when I needed to quickly pull out some construction paper for a co-worker, project, or what ever I have planned. 

2. Salt/Pepper shakers for glitter

I filled them up about 1/3 of the way with a color of glitter. I have about 1 set of 8 per table. 

Now, I may be crazy for this one, but it actually works for me and my kiddos. Use at your own discretion! I found a bunch of small clear salt and pepper shakers at the dollar tree one visit and I snagged up as many as I could get my hands on. I bust these bad boys out on VERY special occasions so the kids can experience shaking and aiming their glitter on their glue. They have to share a color (I wasn't rich enough to get one set of 8 for each kid) between about 2-
3 kids. Now, I want to put out a disclaimer. I HAVE VERY RESPONSIBLE KIDDOS THIS YEAR! They have really gone above and beyond to show me they know how to take care of my things, their things, their supplies and the classroom. They know better than to waste glitter by dumping it on the floor, or dumping a whole lot onto their paper and then throwing the majority away. I trust them to use the glitter properly, and we use it so rarely that they know it is a treat. I have not had a problem with my kids this year...ask me again next year and it might be a completely different story.

3. Indoor drying rack

I use clothes pins to "attach" student work to the rack. SAVES SO MUCH COUNTER SPACE!

I cannot gush about this product enough. My sister-in-law bought me an inexpensive indoor clothes drying rack for Christmas and I have used it almost every single day in the classroom. It is a super easy way to have kids dry their work when working with paint or glue. Mine is collapsible, so I can easily collapse it and tuck it away in a cabinet or under a counter and then just as easily pull it out and set it up. It holds 22 8.5x11 pages easily with clothes pins, and depending on the size of the project can hold as many as 44 student work samples. It is light weight and I just love it. I no longer have to lose counter space (of which I have precious little). I have been working with my kiddos on how to use liquid glue properly and this has been a great tool. Before they didn't understand WHY a puddle wasn't ok, other than it was just a waste, now they can see that when they use too much glue their paper "cries" and some of the pieces fall off. It has really cut down on glue puddles and wasting glue. Also, I've had less messy hands because they are using the appropriate amount of glue instead of glopping it on all over the place. 

4. Gallon ziplocs

I label mine for the classroom Monday-Friday and then put my papers inside!

My team lead, and good friend, taught me this trick at the beginning of the year. She has little baskets that are about 9"x12" big (perfect for laying paper down flat in) and she uses one each week. I started out with a basket a day, but when you're planning 2+ weeks into the future it can get space consuming. To help get me prepped and ready for future lessons I turned to my friend and what she said CHANGED MY PREPPING LIFE! She takes a gallon ziploc bag and writes the day on it. One for each day and then stuffs all her prepped materials for the day into each bag. She then stacks the bags (Friday on bottom) into the basket. She can get 6 weeks of planning and prepping down to 6 baskets which takes up half of a cubby top for her! It is genius. I have been stock piling gallon ziplocs because I use them so much. She also showed me that I can prep out my guided art lessons and make a bag specifically for those that can be used year after year after year. Fill the bag with all your pieces and then restock as needed, the bag holds the extras so eventually you wont need to prep for that year/activity. Maybe I'm just behind on this trick but it really has changed my life. Because of this trick I was actually able to plan AND prep almost 6 weeks into the future, allowing me to focus on other things like my intervention groups. 

5. Colored stickers

I used smiley faces, stars, push pin and plain dot stickers to code my library.

Ok...this isn't so much a teacher hack as I just use these darn things for EVERYTHING. In particular, this year I have been having a hard time with my kiddos putting library books away in the correct areas. I'm mildly OCD and my library was the biggest expense to me to put together so I want my books to be taken care of and treated nicely. They also need to be put back rather than just tossed on a shelf. I started with the idea of just putting a colored dot inside the front cover, but that wasn't a visual enough cue for me to see without opening the book, whether or not it was in the correct place. I created color coded labels for my baskets (maybe one of my five should have been little dollar tree baskets) and then placed matching colored stickers on EVERY book that belonged in that basket. Now I have and organized library and I don't have to worry about going and rearranging every week. It's a beautiful thing. My kids kind of think of it as a game. They love to match the stickers to the color label and then show me what a good job they've done being responsible. This is especially helpful during our reader buddy time. Imagine 50 kids all trying to pick out and put books back...before my colored stickers it was a nightmare! Now, I have those 4th graders as well as my little TKs matching the stickers and taking care of our materials. It's a beautiful thing. I do still have the occasional student who doesn't care and just tosses a book where ever they feel like it, but between others "reminding" them about the stickers or others correcting the mistake on their own, I rarely have to do any super big reorganization of our library. 

These are my top 5 hacks so far. They have really worked for me to make my classroom function better or to help keep me more organized. I'm constantly looking for new hacks and creative ways to use products. Leave me a comment below to let me know if you have a hack that wasn't featured. I'd love to hear about them!

I hope everyone has been having a great time in your classrooms and homes. Always remember, every moment can be a learning moment!

Sincerely from TK,
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