Monday, April 28, 2014

Obsessed with Kindergarten Door Decorations

You know what one of my biggest infatuations with the Teaching Profession was before I graduated college? Decorating my OWN classroom door! I literally COULD NOT WAIT! (I can hear the tenured Teachers laughing and rolling out of their chairs this very second.) I basically daydreamed about my plans to cover my door with magnificent d├ęcor. When I finally landed my own door, I would have the most lavish decorations imaginable. Yep, that was my plan and I had it all figured out. Well, guess what college kids? That plan was quickly aborted sometime around August the 1st! Real-life set in within the blink of an eye and former ideas passed away. 

When you have been in a classroom with 27 rambunctious little ones all day, staying after school with a huge roll of paper and a hot glue gun isn't as lovely as it once sounded.  Especially when you are relied on to provide the sole foundation of their entire learning experience within one school year! Not to mention Common Core Standard aligned lesson planning, new-Teacher training and countless ours of PD and Program Review! Shew, the last thing on my mind now is the flimsy paper hanging from my door.

But, regardless of my new grudge against the act of  door decorating, I still find it to be an important aspect to my job. It is not something I'm paid to do, but something worth putting the effort into for the betterment of my classroom environment. The door facing is what welcomes my Students' into their classroom, it is something they walk by every day on the way in and on the way out.  Why would it not be important to make this an appealing aspect of our classrooms?  So yeah, I somehow manage (within all the craziness) to put my big girl britches on and get it done!

So, today I'm sharing my favorite doors from my first year of Teaching. I worked hard on them whether I enjoyed the time involved or not. I'm proud to say not one of them went unappreciated by the little ones that this door closes in every day.  That is the most important thing anyway, right? <3

This is my very first door of the year, from the time I still had that glimmer in my eye that represented a complete misunderstanding and underestimation of what the real life of a Teacher is like. LOL. This door went along with our Looney Tunes theme. I had Buggs Bunny, a childhood favorite. I really enjoyed preparing it for my new Kinders and even had some help from a great Teacher friend. That was an exciting time for me, and a time when I had not the slightest idea about what I was actually getting in to. :)

This is a door for our Red Ribbon (Drug-Free) theme. I found the skeletons at the Dollar General for $1 a piece (SCORE!).  I made the slogan up from there. Then, this next idea spawned from that and EVERYONE loved it, especially my students!!!  "We're not Boneheads, We're DRUG FREE!" I joked with my co-workers that this is a picture of me from when I was a few pounds lighter. LOL!!

  As if putting my students heads on skeletons wasn't cute enough, we did this next. I made a template for them to create their own Penguin and put their little heads on those too!! Cute!!! Waddling into Winter is a theme I found online, but I just decided to put my own little twist on it. It lasted me from November to around February!

Here is the STUDENT FAVORITE door of the year. One parent walked by my room and announced, "You know you just turned your whole room into a circus fun-house, right?" Yeah, she was right. Every day I left it up for them was a WILD day! LOL. 

Even though we had a ton of snow during the months of January, February and March, I still managed to get up a quick Lorax door for Dr. Seuss week! Yay! 

Here is my door right now. We are testing next week and our Kick-Off theme is Disney. I quickly decided on Disney's UP. In my opinion, it is one of the best films of ALL time, animated or not. I love the slogan some friends helped me to develop. "We're flying UP to Distinguished!" Yeah buddy!

So, that is a glimpse at some door decorating action from this past year. I wonder if I'll find the time or energy to put effort into one more before summer?

We'll see I guess! :)

God Bless! 

Monday, April 14, 2014

Free CVC Center: Rattle, Roll & Read

Mondays are tough. No Primary Teacher could look you straight in the eye and deny it. So, I'm hoping to brighten your first-day-back-after-a-short-and-restless-weekend just a bit! Personally, nothing brightens my day better than finding a great Free Resource online that I can use with my students.  It is like instant smiley emoticon, truly. So, I'm spreading the love on this Manic Monday. :)
This is a center that I introduced to my students a few weeks ago and they really seem to enjoy it. I call it, "Rattle, Roll & Read!" 

You will need: 
  • Cheap Foam Dice: One color for consonants, different color for vowels (I heard Dollar Tree has them but I got mine from a Math training.) 
  • Cups (Dollar Tree!)
  • Printer & Lamination (if desired)
So, I initially began writing random letters on the dice until I realized the possibility that a bad word may pop up. I could just here 27 astonished gasps filling the atmosphere. It would be tragic for my center-management skills. Ha! So, I very tenderly thought about my letters and left out any bad-word-inducing combinations that I could think of. :) 

After I had my letters written on the cubes, center cards printed (and laminated) and cups purchased... I let my darlings go to town! (In case you are unaware of my country-fied slang, that means I let them loose to play with it.) They really enjoy it, especially the RATTLING part. Any excuse to make excessive noise (that doesn't immediately get shot down by me) is a win for my kiddies. 

And here are a few of my beauties enjoying the game: 

Here is a good shot of the RECORDING SHEET that is included in this freebie. Students have to decide whether the word they rattled & rolled is a real or silly word. It really shows each students abilities to blend and recognize random CVC words.

I've included two versions of the center mat. One for those ink-drinkers like myself, who have to have everything in vibrant color. And, a version for those smart ink-savers, who know that it doesn't really matter either way.  

Here is the full Recording Sheet: 

I hope this freebie will be enjoyed by many! Follow this link to get your copy from my TpT Store: Rattle, Roll & Read: Free CVC Literacy Center

God Bless!! 

Thursday, April 10, 2014

Easter Centers for Kindergarten and My Kindergarten Math Buddy!

Shew, I thought I could find time to blog at least every month. Apparently, I was wrong! (As I often am.) :) But here I am again, on a weeknight, ready to spill my heart out to the wonderful people in Blog land. I read so many blogs on a daily basis, shouldn't it count for PD credit or something? ;)

I was just going to give a peek inside of my new Easter Activities and Centers Pack. My students have not used this resource yet, but it will be introduced on Monday and placed in our Center tubs for our Easter Theme next week! It is something I created to fit the personalities, strengths and needs of my own Kinderoos. If you find it useful, that just makes it all the better!

I used some super cute Easter Clip Art I found here on TpT by the Enlightened Elephant. It was love at first glance. <3

 One of my favorite activities from the set is this Easter Basket CVC Word game!! I just love playing it myself, so I really can't wait to introduce my students to it. They love anything colorful, and they are totally mastering their CVC word skills right now!

My students are also very fluent with rhyming words, so I created this egg-match activity for their independent center work. If your kids aren't as fluent, it would be very easy to write matching numbers or letters on the back of the rhymes for self-check purposes. This is great for multiple-levels of learners because it has the picture cues as well as the CVC word. I KNOW this will be a hit! My kids love any puzzle-like activity.

We are just beginning our endeavors with addition. They are getting pretty great at it thus far, so I wanted to get an Easter Math Center prepared for next week. Since they aren't experts yet, I will be writing answers on the back of the carrot cards just for self-check purposes. I will also only be using the Sums to Five for the majority of my class, and will have Sums to 10 available for my highest center group. This game is called Feed the Hungry Bunny! I love the CLIP ART! I could stare at it's beautiful colorfulness all day! :) 

Here is another Math Center. It is simply an Easter-Themed Twenty-Frame Center. At this point, my kids do sometimes struggle with their teen numbers so I find this to be great practice. Plus, I just love ten frames and so do my students. I try to use them several times a week, just because they help my darlings to visualize numbers so easily. It has truly deepened their understanding. Here is the center. I think this will also be a great "rabbit trap". (That is a Dr. Jean term. If you haven't heard her story behind it, Google it ASAP!) 

This packet also includes some of the best printable sheets I've ever created! They are ADORABLE and yes, they are kid tested! (I tried, but could not wait until Easter week to use them!) Here are some of my smarties and their work on the "Label the Easter Picture" sheet.

Here are some of the other sheets that are included. So cute! (Did I mention that I LOVE THIS EASTER CLIP ART!??!?!)

All in all, I think this pack is going to make for a great week for my kiddos. They love any holiday, and Easter is such a special time. I am looking so much forward to our upcoming learning experiences! 

Visit this Link if you are interested in purchasing my Kindergarten Easter Activity/Center Pack! 

:) :) :) :) 
On another totally random note, I also want to share another product I created a while back but haven't implemented completely in my room. It is called "My Kindergarten Math Buddy." It came along after a suggestion from my classroom volunteer, Ronnie. 

It was the very first time I presented a "Before and After" number activity to my students and they bombed it! At that time, they had no clue how to count backwards and I had NO IDEA. That was a big ole' eye opener for me, in case you haven't had it happen to you before. After seeing their struggle, Ronnie suggested the idea of providing each student with a 100 chart to keep handy at their desk. (We have one in our room, but it isn't big enough or convenient enough for each student to view as needed. That is something on my to-do-as-soon-as-possible-list.) As a result of Ronnie's idea, I created this and I adore it! I don't know why I hadn't thought of it sooner. Although she refuses to take credit, RONNIE... THIS WAS YOUR IDEA!! :) <3 <3 <3

This "Math Buddy" has so many components that will assist my Kindergarten kids throughout the year. I simply printed the pages, pasted them to a file folder, and laminated. Easy-Peasy Lemon Squeezy!
This is the back cover: 

  These are great to pop right into their little desks so they can have them handy when they need them. It is a great way to differentiate instruction and assessments and provide accommodations for special learners.  

Visit this Link if you are intersted in purchasing a "My Kindergarten Math Buddy!"

As I said before, I created this for my students. But, if you purchase this from my store and find that you need different/more components, I would be glad to add additional pages based on your needs! Just email me your requests at 

I'm going to go into a Kindergarten-Teaching Induced Coma any minute now. Better wrap this up before I face plant into the keyboard. :D 

God Bless!!