Monday, October 22, 2012

Is that Halloween around the corner??

Hi friends!
Is anyone just completely exhausted like I am?? I feel like I am being pulled in so many different directions, there are so many things going on, so many things to get done and so little time to do them all! Someone asked me today to start thinking about our winter performance. WHHAAATTT? Winter performance?? Can I get through October first?? Wait, what?? It's October??? OH MY GOODNESS!!! There is just too much to do! Report cards are due on Friday so maybe that's why I am in a frenzy. Or maybe it's because I have to email my parents about the awards assembly next week. Or maybe it's because I have to create a (super simple) sign up genius for our Halloween fun day/pure chaos. Ugh. You know what I'm going to do first? Eat a cookie. That's it. Just one cookie and I think I'll be fine. Oh no. I just remembered that my best friend's birthday is tomorrow. Ok, one cookie and on to making her a gift only I can pull off. Any suggestions?? lol.

That's all I have for you all today. A rambling, scrambling mess. Welcome to my world.

Tomorrow I'll have something better. Promise. Maybe.

Sunday, October 21, 2012

Guest Post: Adventures of a Substitute Teacher

Hola amigos!
Read on to hear from the famous substitute teacher from my school! She was my student teacher last year and is patiently awaiting her our class (good luck Sandra!). Until she gets the joy of her own classroom, she is subbing at our school and is rocking it! She is learning from each classroom she enters and is ready to share her adventures here on my little blog each Sunday!

Hello bloggy world!
I will be guest blogging here at KindergartenSchmindergarten on Sundays to share my adventures as a substitute teacher! I finished up my student teaching in Vanessa’s class in April and have now been given the opportunity to be a substitute teacher at her amazing school! I sub for grades K-6 and it has been a fantastic learning experience so far.

Today, I want to share with all you teachers out there what type of class is a substitute’s DREAM! I have subbed in classes that feel like chaos and classes that are set up to run so smoothly that they nearly run themselves! I am talking about classroom management and routines! When I walk into a class that is organized with a clear behavior management system and explicit routines, it makes my day (and the students’ day) fun and productive! Also, a substitute teacher binder ensures that the day runs just how the students are used to it running.  Erin from Creating and Teaching ( has a great FREE substitute teacher binder pack on TPT that I highly recommend!

I know Vanessa has shared her Kindergarten’s behavior management system in a previous post, and I can tell you from experience that it is extremely effective with the kindergarteners. Since I have been subbing in other grades, I wanted to share another type of behavior management system that is really effective with older students and is used by many classrooms in this school (which also makes my job easier!). The system is called CHAMPS. It is basically a very clear and consistent way to share expectations with the class. The “C” stands for Conversation. Students look here to see if they should be using a “whisper voice” or if their voices should be off, etc. The “H” stands for Help. Students look here to see if they can ask a neighbor for help, or if they need to raise their hand and wait for the teacher, etc. The “A” stands for Activity. This shows students what is going on at a particular time and corresponds to the daily schedule. This is a great system because you can easily use it to communicate expectations for all the different daily activities. The “M” stands for Movement. Students look here to see if they can move freely around the room, if they should be at the rug, seated at their desk, etc. The “P” stands for Participation. Students look here to see if they should be working independently, with a partner, in groups, etc. The “S” typically stands for Success. Students earn a happy face, sticker, etc. for meeting expectations during each activity of the day. This is positive behavioral support, just like in Vanessa’s class, and it is so effective at both motivating students to follow expectations as well as building self-esteem. A little later, I will share a great example of something the first grade uses for the “success” part of CHAMPS that is very effective. But first, I want to share a picture from a 2nd grade class I recently subbed in. 

I love her use of the pocket chart so that she can easily change out cards depending on the activity. I believe in the picture the “A” and “M” are switched, but you basically get the point. Now, she uses the “S” for Signals instead of Success. Students use the ASL signs for bathroom and water to ask permission to do these things, and it also reminds students to raise their hands before speaking.

I prefer using the “S” for success, and so now I will share the system that the first grade uses for Success with CHAMPS. 

Students earn smiley faces for each part of the day. If they met all of the CHAMPS expectations, they get their smiley face for that part of the day. If students earn all but one smiley face, they get a sticker at the end of the day to add to their sticker charts. Once they earn a certain amount of stickers, they go to treasure box. You will also notice there is a spot for “Good Citizen,” which Vanessa also talked about in her post. This provides students an opportunity to earn an extra smiley face to make up for one lost, so that they can still earn their sticker at the end of the day.

Whew! This post was longer than I expected! At the end of each blog, I want to share a “Great Idea!” that I saw in a classroom I subbed in. This week I want to share this great idea for a writing bulletin board. Don’t you hate it when all but a few of your students have completed work and there are a few empty spaces on the bulletin board? I would hate for a parent to come in and wonder why there is NOTHING under their child’s name. WELL, this idea is the perfect solution!
This assures that there is no empty spot under any students’ name and assures parents that their child is working hard to get some work up there.

Until next week…

Friday, October 19, 2012

Friday Freebies??

Hi everyone!
Well... I kinda sorta have freebies... I have some new products up on TPT today and I want to give some away! So... FREEBIES!!! Freebies for those who would like to comment today =)
Here it is...
We just finished our Body unit and we talk all about the different things going on in our bodies and the things to do to keep us healthy and strong. I put together this little workbook to make it more fun & meaningful for our kiddos. I also made it so that those who are reading and writing already can use it too! Something for everyone (I hope). If you would like a copy comment below and say "My Amazing Body Rocks!" hehe.
 Here are a few shots of the students actually using it...

Next, I have one of my favorites to teach numbers 1-20... A TREASURE HUNT! We give students a paper towel tube and use it as their "telescope" then we post the ships all around the classroom and the kids have to use their telescope, count the ships on each page and mark it on their maps. It is so much fun! The kids LOVE it! If you'd like a copy leave a comment below and say: "TREASURE HUNT HERE I COME"
 I'm giving away 3 of each, you can get 1... which do you want?? Come on, they are free! lol.

That's all I got for you today... I've been in such a funk today that all I want to do is sleep and give away free stuff!

Get yours while you can!


Thursday, October 18, 2012

How I Became a Genius

Hi friends!
I've missed being here! My husband's birthday and my brother-in-law's is today so we've had a week long celebration for those guys. Lucky ducks, right?? I've also had a whirlwind week at work. I don't know about all of you guys but I'm pooped! We don't get a fall break like you other lucky ducks out there so by this point, my colleagues and I are hauling through... just barely making it past the boogers, fevers, coughs and sneezes. =) Kindergarten teachers understand that one, right?
Well, let me tell you HOW I BECAME A GENIUS!

Last year, my school started using a site called SIGNUPGENIUS.COM to schedule our parent conferences. We could use it for other things as well but we were required to use it for our parent teacher conferences. All of us teachers moaned and groaned upon hearing this BUT it was the BEST decision ever! We use for everything now! Our technology committee uses the site to check out equipment, classrooms use it to schedule volunteers, potlucks, and other things. You know all those parties and celebrations that are coming up... Halloween, Thanksgiving, Christmas/Hanukkah...well... all of those can be set up quickly by you and you don't have to worry about it again! The free site has a quick and easy process to getting your signups up and running and my favorite part? It automatically sends reminders to all those who have signed up!!! Seriously, that is genius. I can't tell you how many times I've had parents forget things on me (I'm sure you understand!). My second favorite part? You can see, of everyone you have sent the sign up to, who has viewed the sign up, how many times and on what day. Now you can't have any of those parents say, "Oh, I didn't get that email, did you send it to the right one?" ("YES! I send all my emails to the same one!" is the response I say in my head)  Well, those parents can't say that anymore because I can tell! Am I the only one with those parents?? lol. As long as you sign up, you can use it for anything really, not just school stuff!
So I put together a little tutorial about my favorite parts and how simple it really is... I tried my best and I hope you can use the site too! Here it is...

Look at all of those responsible families of mine looking at the sign up list. Many of them multiple times (though I still don't have everyone). Now I can keep my desk clear of unnecessary papers, etc, it's online, ready to go AND sends the reminders for me. All I have to do is keep track of who hasn't responded. On the day of my conferences, I print out the sheets and I am ready to go!
I plan on setting another one up soon for our Halloween centers celebration & parade and then our Thanksgiving Feast and then our Cultural Celebration (around the winter holidays). This site has done a great job of eliminating wasting time, energy and paper! It sets up the time frame for me, emails the parents for me, reminds them for me, reminds me for me, keep me organized and clutter free!
Has anyone else used this site?? I'd love to hear from you. I suggest everyone use it, let me know if you do! thanked me with a gift card for reviewing their site. The gift card was not dependent on a postive or negative review of the site, but was a compensation for spreading the word. All opinions expressed are my own and I say: GO TO THIS SITE BECAUSE IT IS AMAZING!

Have a great night everybody...

Monday, October 15, 2012


Hi everybody!
I've had an VERY eventful weekend and now I'm back to the grind ANNND I've been BOO-ed by Amy at Adventures in Teaching! I love linky parties! Actually, I love all kinds of parties but linky parties let me meet more virtual friends ;) 

So, here are the rules...
1. If you've been boo-ed, copy and paste the above pic and these "rules" into your post.

2. Give a shout out to the blogger who booed you and link back to their site!

3. Share 3-5 October activities, books, products (maybe yours or someone else's) or freebies(s) that you love!

4. Share the Boo love with 5 bloggers-make sure you check this link so that you don't repeat the "Boo"

5. Link up {here} so that others can find you and read about your October ideas! While you are there check out the other great blogs!

Here are my fave October activities...
1. It just so happens that we teach counting and graphing during this time so I love activities like this freebie from Lisa at The Lower Elementary Cottage...

Isn't it cute!!??
2. I also like this one...

Is it messy? yup! Is it adorable? yup! After they ripped and glued and ripped and glued, we cut them out and will hang them in the classroom (pics to come soon!) Anything candy corn is cute!
3. Lastly, since October means everything PUMPKIN, we always do a pumpkin tasting & graph!
I have the kids taste each one of these and then fill out the graph to decide the class favorite! It is the best! And it's free on TPT! Click on the picture to take you to the download. I wish I had pictures of this in action but I don't, I know, I'm a slacker.

Here are the friends I'm going to BOO!

Lovely Little Learners
The Lower Elementary Cottage
The Teacher Wife
See ya!

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

What a Wednesday

Hi friends!
So today was quite a day! I had 5 students out today. 5!! And my student teacher was out too!! Flu shot, here I come!
Can you imagine what it was like in my classroom today?? It was so calm and quiet. We do centers each day for an hour and I usually have parent volunteers but my parent volunteer was sick today, too! So it was just me and my students today. It was so nice. After our calm centers, we started our Language Arts block. Do you remember D? Well this is the worst part of the day for him. Language Arts time is the time he dreads the most so he decided he wouldn't come back to the classroom. I gotta figure something out for that kiddo. Anyway, during our language arts block, it happened... dun, dun, dun! The fire alarm!!!! This was my train of thought: What's that noise? Is that the bell? What time is it? Are those more bells? Crap! (I go outside to make sure that those were bells because my classroom is far from the bells) Crap! What's today? Did I miss the drill? Crap! Then, "Ok boys and girls we are going to STOP what you are are doing, stand up and get in line." Yeah, I scared them a little with my serious-get-in-line-now voice. So D was already outside of our classroom, he saw everyone else and jumped in line (with a little prompting). We head over to the field to line up and D starts running. Running laps around the field. Just running. Having the time of his life. The entire school is outside at this point and D is running laps. What could I do? I giggled a little. There was nothing else. We figured out quickly that he just needed to let out some energy. When he was tired, he returned to class. After the drill- oh wait, it was a drill because a 4th grader accidentally pulled the alarm- we returned to class, finished out language arts lesson and moved right into Social studies where we continued to talk about the Statue of Liberty. No pictures of that today. Bummer. We watched a great youtube clip of a tour of the Statue. It was awesome, the kids were really excited about it. So during this lesson, I got a little surprise...I's parents showed up! With cupcakes, and juice, and goody bags for I's birthday. Surprise! Ugh. I hate when that happens. I really do. An entire hour before lunch. Double Ugh. We were still in the middle of the lesson. So I made them be volunteers for a few before I said we could actually eat those cupcakes and have those juices. Then I look over and mom is cutting I's statue for her. REALLY? Come on, mom, let your kid do her work. Can you tell I was annoyed?? So finally, I said it was ok to have some cupcakes BUT I had to inspect the ingredients first because I have students severely allergic to nuts including things that are made on shared equipment of nuts. Luckily, these were safe. Next, I had to inspect the ingredients again for gluten because I have a student severely allergic to gluten. Not safe. This student now has to eat fruit snacks while everyone else gets cupcakes. See why I hate these surprises? Then it was lunch time. Finally. But I have lunch duty today so I have exactly 15 minutes to heat up my food, get homework ready to be copied, help R find his lost lunchbox, scarf down my food, and report for duty. Ugh. After lunch, the birthday girl went home so now I have 6 students out and Art class. Pure bliss.
Here are some shots of my students at centers today. They were math centers 2 focusing on graphing, 1 reviewing patterns and 1 fun, creative one.
hmmm... one of these pages doesn't look right... We graphed the candy corn in our bags

We graphed the dinosaurs on the table

This one is from yesterday but I put it here because I love to see them on task and working together.
 Ok friends, be back soon!

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Lock those apps & candy corn...

Hi friends!
It's day 2 and I've made it to sit down and blog... yay! I have been super busy with school & birthday parties & an upcoming wedding on Friday & my sister-in-law's baby shower on Saturday & you know, life! Phew! Still, I find such comfort in reading blogs, writing my own and, especially, reading comments.
Ok, ok, that's enough of that, on to the good stuff!
I found this pin floating around, clicked on it, followed the link and it made me SOOOO excited!
Enable “Kid Mode” on iPad, iPhone, or iPod touch with Guided Access in iOS

The link takes you to step by step directions on how to LOCK your ipad/ipod in a specific app! REALLY!? FINALLY!!! I thought of all of the times that I say, "We're playing this game today," only to find out that someone was taking pictures, playing Draw Free, etc., etc...
You can read the step by step directions by following this link OR keep reading...
1. Update your ipods/ipads with the new software, iOS 6
2. Go to Settings > General > Accessibility
3. Under the Learning section go to Guided Access
4. Switch Guided Access to ON
5. Set a password
6. You may want to Enable Screen Sleep, I did.
Now you have the settings all ready!
What's next?
1. Open the app you want to lock
2. Triple click the home button
3. Click START
4. Do a happy dance!
5. To get out of the locked screen, triple click the home button again
6. Enter password and click END
Things to know...
*Volume control is also locked during the locked  screen
*The home button will not work unless you triple click and enter password
*If you do not Enable Screen Sleep, you cannot put the device to "sleep"
*Sorry I didn't take pictures! I meant to and forgot!
Look at these kids...learning... having fun... staying engaged... where are the rest of them? lol. There are 3 kids missing from this group... lol.
They are playing TeachMe:Toddler. In case you haven't heard of the TeachMe games, look them up! They go all the way up to 2nd grade  and they are awesome! They track all of the questions asked and give little sticker prizes to the kids for each 3 questions they answer correctly. If they answer incorrectly, the app gives a reason why it is incorrect. For instance, she'll say, "Find the letter D" If they press B, she'll say, "That is the letter B, find the letter D," and so on. I am using the Toddler version right now because it goes over Letters, Letter Sounds, Numbers, Shapes and Colors. The Kindergarten version goes over Spelling, Addition, Subtraction and Sight Words; not where my students are at this point. I have some students on the Kindergarten version and that is the beauty of having the Guided Access on... they can't resort to the "easy" one! Everyone gets what they get and gets what they need! Oh and another thing about the Teach Me apps, you can lock the players as well so the kiddos cannot create new games/characters each time AND it allows up to 30 students to have their own game...30! I love that app...

I wanted to share another Pinterest inspired activity... CANDY CORN! Candy corn means everything Fall, don't you think? So the original pin had tissue paper squares but one of my kindergarten team members said that cutting all of those tissue paper squares was just too much! (I agree! We divide and prep materials for each of the 4 kindergarten classrooms so that was just too much work!)
Instead of using the tissue paper squares, we used ripped construction paper... look at how cute they are... 
Look at how messy that is!

They will still cut them out but I think they look adorable! I am kinda cringing looking at these pictures because everything looks so messy but it was a really fun activity and they cleaned it all up! lol.

Ok friends, adios! I'm going to work on my aunt's wedding gift =)

Monday, October 8, 2012

Currently & a Window

Hi Friends!
I have figured out why I'm such a blogging slacker... I have no plan! Well that and I try to see my nephew as often as possible and when that happens, I'm too tired to lift a finger! Still, I have no plan! I have set up a little schedule for myself and I'm ready to commit!
Here it goes...
First up? Currently!!
I love these things! I love to read other people's responses and I think it's funny when I see some that are similar or have the same answers, great minds think alike huh?
I am LOVING my new whiteboard... I have rearranged my classroom, set up things a little differently and have been using that baby every day! I am going to post the current state of my classroom soon. I can't tell you how exciting it is! Well, maybe some of you know already because you have one BUT there are only 2 on our campus: one in my classroom and one in a fourth grade classroom. That's it.
I am THINKING that I need to put another project up soon! I just got another one funded for some interactive games to go with the whiteboard but I'm not sure what to do next...
I am WANTING some new clothes because, well seriously, doesn't everybody? And if my husband tells me that I have plenty of clothes one more time... I'm gonna lose it!!!! lol.
I am NEEDING a day off of work, Monday off? Shortened Day? Something! We started earlier than ever this year and it is really taking a toll on my body.
BOOK: There was an Old Lady Who Swallowed Some Leaves because reading this to kindergarteners is just so much fun! They are so cute and silly when they hear silly stories, it's so fun to read to them.

Now it's your turn... link up! I'm a few days late on this one and there are already 289 people linked up! 289!! That's amazing!!! Way to go Farley! 
Next up?
I have to share with all of you my Fall Window. This is our first year making these and I think it is so cute! Now the picture doesn't do it too much justice but I swear it looks good up close. Each of the students chose the leaf shape that they wanted and sponge painted it with "Fall Colors" orange, yellow and red. We (myself and my student teacher) cut them out and put them onto the window as this display. I also wrote all of the students' names on their leaves so that they could all be a part of our classroom tree. To make the trunk and branches, I used a brown paper bag crumbled up and flattened out.
Here it is...
Ok friends, Happy Monday!

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

First Grade Common Core

Hi Friends!
Remember when I said I had a fever yesterday? Well, I still have one! So, I'm not going to work tomorrow... writing sub plans sucks right? I almost said forget it, I'll just go in! Writing sub plans is the worst! Luckily I'll have an awesome sub, she is the rockstar student teacher I've mentioned a few times... Anyway, on to First Grade Common Core...
A few weeks ago I posted about the Kindergarten Common Core Workbook and it is an awesome workbook!! I got it for free and I've been browsing it and bookmarking the pages I like. We haven't fully made the switch just yet but we will soon and I want to be as informed as possible! My first grade friends will appreciate this First Grade Common Core Workbook. It has over 500 pages worth of worksheets, activities and posters that will align exactly with the common core standards. How perfect is that?? Wait a minute, I almost forgot... it includes BOTH ELA and Math standards... BOTH! Easy peesy!

Check it out by clicking on the picture of the workbook and find out how you can snag your own...

Ok everybody, I'm off to rest, relax and watch New Girl!

Monday, October 1, 2012

Look at my new toy!

Hola amigos!
It's Monday, I had a long day! Really... long day... It was 110 degrees in my neck of the woods today. Well, my tip of the valley... it was so hot and since it was so hot we had to stay inside, ALL DAY! It was like a rainy day but worse! Anywho, I finally got the interactive whiteboard I've been dying for!! Wooo Hooo! I spent the ENTIRE day at school yesterday rearranging and fixing and playing and rearranging and fixing and playing. It was so exciting! My husband and my dad came to campus at 8am to help put it up (of course before the football games), I brought my own car because I knew I wanted to play all day.... Here was the process...
 My husband getting one last use of the old, non-magnetic, non-interactive whiteboard...
 There was some trouble figuring out how exactly to get it up and, more importantly, how to get it to stay on the walls. I have a portable classroom where the walls are fabric-type panels. Good thing my dad came with his toolbox and didn't rely in the screws given because they wouldn't have worked! AND, good thing the stud is centered exactly where I wanted it! Makes me and my OCD very happy!
 Notice how I had to take everything down? Well, turns out I didn't really have to...
 Alright, there it is! Isn't she a beauty? I had to also rearrange the seating arrangement so that the students aren't directly in front of the projector...
 I spent most of my day trying to figure out a way to get rid of this jumbled mess of cords and wires... I hate that!
 Goodbye old whiteboard! My dad and my husband left before this was put outside... Do you know who put it out there? ME! All by myself! And it was hot!
 Here's a full view, see the new seating arrangement?
 There is the final product... I used binder clips to clip all of the cords to the bookcase. The shelf is adjustable so I pulled it out a little to let the cords hang down from the back. Then I used the binder clips to attach the cord to the carpet. This is what it looked like yesterday, today I spent some more time fixin' it up but I didn't get any pictures of it yet. I think I might put a fabric little curtain to cover the bottom shelf. Yup, that's what I'm gonna do...
Soooo... now that I have this bad boy up, does anyone have any good tips on what to do with this thing?? lol. I've got some great ideas but I'm still at a loss on it's full capabilities... Anyone have a mimio or something like that? That's basically what this is. It's not the SmartBoard brand so I don't have the notebook software that comes with it but it's made of steel so it's magnetic and I can write on it with dry erase marker. Does anyone know if I can still use that software even without the brand whiteboard? This board has it's own software but I haven't figured out how to use it plus the software doesn't really wow me just yet...

I'll put up some more pics soon, right now I need to rest because I have a fever! Could it do with the boy who came to school today with an ice pack on his eye? Why, you ask? "Because my eye has mucus in it!" (boy rubs eye with hand and gives me a hug) Oh kindergarten!

Please let me know if you have any good tips! Be back tomorrow...