Sunday, September 23, 2012

Gingerbread Man Fun!

Run, run, as fast as you can...
I absolutely love the beginning of the year in Kindergarten (well except the being totally exhausted from repeating yourself ALL DAY LONG, and having to teach those precious little babies so many new things and hearing them call out my name what seems like three hundreds times in an hour) Okay, so maybe I don't absolutely love the beginning of the year, but I do love teaching all things gingerbread!!!
I have always done Gingerbread man activities with my Kindergartners and they love it too! Here are a few things we did this year.

This year I made a Language/Literature Chart with some of the Gingerbread stories I read in class. The kids really enjoyed making this chart and it really helped teach them the concepts of title, author/illustrator, characters and setting.

My favorite Gingerbread Man story right now is this little guy,

Love, love, love how cute the illustrations are in this book.  It's also a great story to read right before taking your own students on a tour of their school. After we went searching the school for the GB man, the kids found he had left them a special treat of- what else, gingerbread cookies! We made this graph to see which part of the cookie everyone ate first.

The kids had a ball looking for the Gingerbread man and continue to ask when he's coming back.  Just the other day one of my kiddos was sure she had found a clue from him on the playground when she found an old chip bag!!  Many of these projects are from Deanna Jump's Gingerbread man unit.  It's awesome. There are so many activities though, that I'm saving some for around Christmas time.

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Redecorating Teacher Bathrooms

I love my school! I do not, however, love the stark, sterile teacher bathrooms that we have scattered around the building.  Last year one of my sweet co-workers, Laura, decided to redecorate one of these teacher bathrooms to make it extra special and provide a brief, relaxing  moment for us teachers during our crazy days. She is super talented and has great decorating style.  Check out the beach inspired bathroom that she put together (with the generous monetary donation of another teacher and the sweat equity of our awesome coach!)

I'm a girl who LOVES to decorate.  In fact, if I wasn't a teacher, I would totally be an interior designer. So this kind of thing just warms my heart, seriously! This summer I knew I wanted to decorate the teacher bathroom that is right next to my classroom. I dreamed of the color scheme and searched pinterest for ideas.  When I got back to school a few weeks ago, I talked with my dear friend (and now co-decorating buddy) Laura, and off we went in search of some fab finds.
Here is a picture of the bathroom BEFORE the redecorating.

Boring. Ugly. Cold. Unfriendly. 

Here is the bathroom AFTER...

I love, love, love this chair Laura found at TJ Maxx Home Goods! I seriously went in there the other day and just sat down on the chair and "breathed" for a minute during one of those crazy, busy days during the first week of school. 

Vinyl wall decal from Kohl's will brighten up any plain wall.  Love that it's adhesive and easily comes off if we ever want to change it up. 

Y'all, I got all the accessories at Hobby Lobby! I heart HL! It is one of my most favorite stores. Since we wanted to make it a cozy space we decided to get a table lamp to soften up the space.  One of my team mates turns on this little lamp every time she uses the bathroom- that makes me SO happy!!! 

Our awesome coach used his handy, wood-working skills and framed out this mirror for us.  Something so simple that totally changes the room! 
This bathroom was definitely a group effort and was so much fun to decorate.  Again, we had the generous donation of a sweet teacher from our school to complete this project.  She rocks!

Since we were on a decorating roll, our staff had a great idea to decorate one of the bathrooms in the office for our amazing principal.  I was on a mission to find out her style and favorite colors, etc.  Once we found out black and turquoise were her favs, Laura and I got to work. Actually, Laura did all of the shopping for this one- it was a marathon, speed shopping trip because we completed this in one day. No, one afternoon. Crazy!!! While I was back at school decorating my own classroom and getting ready to meet my little ones, she was shopping up a storm and texting me pictures of all her great finds.  Later that night, we snuck down to the office in a covert operation in hopes of not getting busted by our principal (since it was a surprise) and arranged everything in the bathroom. Here's how it turned out...

 Again, it was a group effort with other teachers helping and contributing money to the project.  Our principal LOVED it and was speechless when she saw it, which we totally recorded- hilarious!!
We are now on a mission to decorate our cute little school, one bathroom at a time! 

Saturday, September 1, 2012

Classroom tour linky party

Join the fun and head over to Blog Hoppin' and share your classroom pics.  So many awesome classrooms to look at! 

Kindergarten classroom tour

Wow! These past few weeks have been crazy with a capital C! It's been ALL about school. I've either been up at school with meetings, professional development, setting up my classroom, or I have been at home working on new pinterest inspired projects for my class. I have a love/hate relationship with the month of August. Hate it because summer is almost over, but love it because I can get back into my classroom and reorganize and decorate, a HUGE passion of mine!!
Here is what my room looked like when I came back after summer (not too bad because we have great custodians, who try and put your furniture back where you had it)

This year, I wanted to change up my room layout a bit.  Here is what it looks like now. 

Welcome to THE BIG TOP!

My welcome sign just inside the door.

View from the door.

My math tubs.

View from my desk area.

Computer area. Love, love, love the lollipops around the room- my sweet mom made those for me a few years ago! I have a lot of empty space on the walls right now that will soon be filled with student work and anchor charts.

Here are my students' cubbies above their backpack hooks.

Many years ago I started organizing my stuff for the week in daily tubs. This has helped me tremendously to stay organized.  I just love these tubs from IKEA that are large enough to throw in all the materials I need for that day. 

Word wall above the cubbies.

Reading Strategy posters behind my guided reading table.

Guided reading table and my desk/work area. 

Another view of my desk/work area. I'm lucky enough to have a lot of storage space for TE's and guided reading materials.  I also have a huge, walk-in closet; praying the fire marshal passes by my classroom on his next visit, it is pretty full! 

Here is the House Station and yes, I think it is SO important that Kindergartners still explore in this center.  They learn so many important developmental and communication skills while they are here, plus this year I plan on making it into other places like a doctor's office, supermarket and pizza parlor.

My classroom library.  I have TONS and TONS of books and this year I expanded the library that the kids can use.  I found these classroom library labels on Teacher's Pay Teacher's (a teacher's best friend) from the amazingly talented Reagan Tunstall.  Check out her store, she has so many great products and I also happen to love her because she has taught in California and Texas, just like me! 


I have two of these little wicker chairs for the kids to sit in and read.  This year my mom and I made some precious little pillows that they can use to lay on the floor and read. 

Here is a close-up look at the pillows.  My mom came into town for literally 24 hours and man, did I put her to work.  Thank you so much mommy- I love the way they turned out and was so happy to spend some time with you. 

This is my back wall.  The writing station is on the shelves and the blank wall will be covered with student work very soon! 

Math action wall and teaching board.

Science & Social Studies Station

My new behavior clip chart (pinterest inspired and purchased on TPT from Melissa Freshwater.  She also has a behavior reward catalog which is a great alternative to a traditional treasure box. Check her store out too!

ABC/Word area 

I plan on using the Daily 5 this year for the first time. This is going to be my management system- I just need to write a students' name on each clip.  This summer I followed a blog study on this book- I really think it is going to transform my language arts block.  If you have used Daily 5 in Kindergarten before, leave me a comment on how you make it work, I would love to hear your ideas!  Many of the teachers that participated in the blog study created materials for the classroom.  Head over to the Teaching Reef  because she has the most amazeballs Daily 5 unit for FREE! Yes people, it's free. Us teachers love a freebie.  

Another view of the class and close up of the student tables, aren't they precious y'all? Not as practical as a traditional square or rectangle table, but super cheerful and cute! I'm all about the cute, I guess that's why I teach a primary grade!

My teaching area.  This glider is so comfy that a former co-worker just about fell asleep in this chair during our planning period.  I guess it's a good thing she is retired now and can take naps whenever she wants! Haha!!

One of my outside boards.  I wanted to create a "family, fun photo booth" for my students.  So, at meet the teacher, I put out all sorts of props (sunglasses, clown noses, cowboy hats, feather boas, blow up guitars, mo-hawk wigs and the kids and their parents went to town! These pics turned out SO cute and I plan on printing them out and posting them up on the board.  A special thanks goes out to our awesome P.E. coach and art teacher for standing outside my room for 2 hours taking the pictures- they said it was the most fun they had ever had at meet the teacher!!

This is my main bulletin board for student work! 

Some first day fun student work! I made all the circle cutouts with my cricut and scrapbook paper. 

Obsessed with my new carpet from Big Lots! Love me some chevron!

I'm sure you've seen or even done a variation of this for your own kiddos on their first day of school.  I had each of my students hold this sign and took a keepsake photo that the parents will no doubt love.  Isn't this little girl precious? Thanks to my dear friend and co-worker Lesley, for letting me borrow your sweet daughter. Adorbs!! 

Well, that's my classroom peeps. I love me a good theme and am constantly changing things up, so stay tuned! I am so inspired by so many amazingly talented teachers out there and love sharing new ideas and learning from my peers. 
Now, I gotta go rest up and enjoy this 3 day weekend, a MUCH needed vacation after our first full week back with the little ones. I'm so glad to have that under my belt.  My kiddos are beyond precious, but Oh. My. Word. they are exhausting!!!