Let Them be Little: My Back to School Ramblings

The time has come my friends.  Summer is quickly coming to an end for me and before I know it I will be...

It is during the end of July early August that I start to think about myself as a teacher.  I think about the classes I have had and the lessons I have learned.  I start to prepare myself for the new year ahead. 

Tomorrow is the first day I will start to venture into my classroom and begin to do one of my favorite things, set up my room.  I swear it never gets old.  Every year I am as excited as I was the first year I set up my room.

But before I go back I wanted to spend a few minutes expressing my thoughts about being a kindergarten teacher.  So bare with me as I ramble (quite possibly having a lot of run on sentences) and share the number one thing I always try to keep in the forefront of my head as I work with these impressionable five and six year olds.  I always try to remember to...

Yes, that is right!  No matter what I have planned, or the activities we are going to do I always try to remember that these little humans I work with are in fact only five and six.    

So I always try to...
Let them be little
 let them play
let them move
let them ask questions
let them explore
 let them talk to their peers
let them socialize
let them problem solve
let them investigate
let them laugh
let them inquire
let them be excited for learning!

Being a kindergarten teacher is the absolute best!  We get them as babies, we get them first, we get to mold them and influence them, and help to shape their brilliant little minds.  

We leave the first impression of their school career.  That is a powerful thing.  I want to be the kindergarten teacher that taps into their excitement for learning.  My goal is to cater to their inquisitive minds and help them as they explore the world around them.

The start of the year is such an exciting time.  It is new, it is fresh, it is clean!  It is a blank new page that you get to write and create with your new group of kiddos. 

There is something to be said about the months of August and September.  The new school supplies, the new name tags, the new smiles...I could go on and on...

It is my favorite. 

This time of year always makes me appreciate my job!  I feel so fortunate to be able to do what I love.

I could go on and on, but I think I will wrap it up for today. 
 Thank you for allowing me the chance to share my feelings.  I love this small part of the universe I have with my blog.  I love all the connections I have made with other teachers who love what they do as much as I do.  It's inspiring!

To all my teacher friends, I hope your end of summers are wonderful and I wish you a very Happy Back to School.  Your students are lucky to have you!

Assess Me - Get to Know you Linky

You know when you are on summer break when...

You can write two blog posts in one day!!  I'm not going to lie I am loving the extra time to devote on blog posts and my TpT store.  I'm so glad summer school is over.  

I stumbled upon this fun get to know you linky from The Tattooed Teacher.  

Thanks for stopping by!  Be sure to check out The Tattooed Teacher to link up and read other self assessments! 

Made it Monday

Happy Monday!  I hope you all had a wonderful weekend.  I am excited to link up with 4th Grade Frolics for her fun Made in Monday linky.  

I want to share something I had made last summer for my classroom.

Our Classroom Rules

To start the year I always like to read Cat and Dog at School when we discuss classroom rules.

I like how each page is simplistic and the author gives a strong and weak example of classroom behavior which lends itself nicely for discussions.  

After we read the book we brainstorm rules for our classroom.  I like to keep the list short.  We usually have at the most 5 rules.  

I wanted to try something different for posting our rules.  After we brainstormed the list I went home and wrote them on small canvases I had already painted black over the summer to look like chalkboards. 

I used paint pens that I had found at Michael's to write each rule on a canvas. 

Last year these are the rules we came up with.  

(our mascot is an owl ;))

Afterwards we talked about the rules as a class and what was expected as I showed them each canvas.  Then I hung them under our whiteboard by the rug where we do whole class lessons.  

They were eye level for the kids so they could see them easily and if we ever had to refer back to them they were easily accessible.

Thank you for stopping by and reading my Made it Monday.  Be sure to check out 4th Grade Frolics for some more great items. 

Have a great Monday!

Five for Friday

Happy Friday friends!!  I feel like it is the start of summer all over again for me because I am done with summer school!!   I am excited to take the next few weeks recharging and preparing for the upcoming school year!  

I'm linking up with the talented Doodle Bugs Teaching for her fun Five for Friday link up! Here we go...

Jayme from Teach, Talk, Inspire and I have been loving our summer link up!  We have loved having the opportunity to connect with so many bloggers and get to know each other better.  Thank you for linking up and for your support each week!

This Tuesday, 7/28 we will not be having a link up.  We will continue on 8/4. 

Oh happy day! My Erin Condren planner came this week.  I have been using this planner for the past five years and I love it.  I love how everything is organized and in one spot.  I also love how the lesson plans are blank and I can tailor it to my needs.  I could go on and on, it's the perfect planner for me.  

This week I uploaded a blog post about how I use capes in my Superhero classroom.  If you missed it you can check it out here.  Last year was the first year I tried this and the students loved it!  They were hooked from the moment I introduced the cape.  I am excited to use this behavior incentive again in my classroom this year.

It's beginning to look a lot like a....SALE!!!  I am teaming up with some of my favorite bloggers for a fun surprise on Sunday.  Be on the look out for a great giveaway!  

I couldn't resist ending my Five for Friday with this lovely picture.  I pretty much reenacted this scene as I made my escape out of the building! ;)

No alarm clocks for me for the next few weeks!!

Thanks for reading.  I hope you have a great Friday and a wonderful weekend!


How I Use Capes in my Super Hero Classroom

capes, superhero, behavior chart

I have a small confession.  I am a big fan of Superheroes.  Batman, Spider-man, you name it, I love the adventure.

When I was looking for a classroom theme last summer it dawned on me to tap into my love of Superheroes and turn my classroom into a Super Kids room.  As I started to browse my favorite back to school catalogs I wasn't finding a lot material to use.  This was when I was inspired to get creative and start making some of my own decorations.

One of the first things I made was my behavior chart.  In the past I had used the green, yellow and red light and wasn't the biggest fan.  I found that when I used the chart with integrity I always had the select few who would always wind up on yellow or red within the first half hour of school.  Then, it was the constant struggle of how to get them back on track because they knew they had already blown it for the day.

As I started to look for a new way to encourage positive behavior I started to see a lot of six color behavior charts.  I loved the idea of focusing on positive behavior.

The behavior chart posted below is what I created and used in my classroom.  It has five colors.  Super Student, Wow! Great Job, I'm Ready to Learn, Think about it, and Parent Contact.  All Kiddos start on green "Ready to Learn."  Throughout the day they have the opportunity to move up the chart "Way to go" and "Super Student" or down the chart "Think about it" and "Parent Contact".  The key part of this chart is the ability for students to move up and down throughout the day.  If a student is having a rough day, but can turn their behavior around they have the chance to move up the chart.  On the flip side, students can also move down the chart if they have a change in their behavior.  

Now for the fun part...If a student displayed excellent behavior and was a great peer role model they got "Super Student" status. We would stop whatever we were doing and SPOTLIGHT that child (give a cheer) and then they would get to wear the Super Student cape as well as take home a Super Student Certificate.  My kiddos bought into this the moment I introduced the capes.  They loved it. In fact I think it really helped to solidify our classroom community.  Everyone would get excited for the Super Student and cheer each other on.

In fact, I had one student last year who never wanted to come to school.  When he found out about the capes he came every day and earned "Super Student" status quite a bit.  He beamed from ear to ear whenever he got to put the cape on.

Designing the capes was the easy part, when it came down to actually making the cape I had a bit of a dilemma.   I do not have a crafty (is that a word?!) bone in my body.  I wish I did.  I admire anyone who knows how to sew.  I struggle when it comes to sewing a button on a shirt.  Luckily, my mother-in-law loves to sew.  I asked her last summer if she would be interested in making the capes.  She gladly accepted the challenge and created two capes for me.  They were such a hit that I asked her if she wouldn't mind making me a few more this summer just so I had some extra.  

For anyone out there who has a Superhero themed classroom or is planning to have one this year I hope I gave you an idea to use in your classroom.  If you are interested I have my behavior chart, Super Student certificates, as well as a few more class decorations available in my TpT store.  Click on the picture below.  

Thank you for stopping by.  I hope you have a SUPER day! 


Tell all Tuesday: My Dream Classroom

Happy Tuesday friends!  It is time for Tell all Tuesday.  

This week we are talking classrooms and we are dreaming big.  If you had the chance to design your dream classroom what would it look like?!

When I first sat down to write this post my first thought was to browse my Pinterest boards.  I have so many pins about my dream classroom. For example, I always stumble upon this pin and my heart is happy.  I love the warm feeling of this classroom.  It feels like someone's living room.  I love the neutral colors, they are very soothing.  I also love the lamps.  There is something for the glow of a lamp that puts me in a very calm state of mind.  I just think this classroom screams come and learn with us!

Another weakness of mine is chevron.  In fact shortly after I stumbled upon this pin, I also stumbled upon how to make a reading bench tutorial so I think that is my next project.  I can't wait to have a few reading benches in my classroom with chevron patterns.  

I love the idea of using crates to make a bench.  Also, I remember someone posting on Instagram that Walmart had these crates for $1.  

While we are on the topic of chevron, I also love this idea of covering a book shelf.  Plus, the organization of the table buckets is brilliant!

Before I wrap up my dream classroom ideas I can't help but post one of my all time favorite classrooms.  One can not possibly talk about dream classrooms without mentioning the creative work of Maria from Kindercraze.  I mean, her classroom, just gives me goosebumps!  I love everything about it.  

Pictures from Kinder Craze

Thank you for joining me as I shared ideas for my dream classroom.  My hope is that you got some great ideas to use in your classroom too.  Be sure to check out the other blogs to get more inspiration and learn about their dream classroom!

Here's how to join in on the fun:
1. Grab the picture and banner and use it to link back to this post on your blog.
2. Write a post about the topic of the week.  
This week is: My Dream Classroom...
3. Add your link below.
4. Advertise your post using any social media of your choice.  


Five for Friday

Happy Friday Friends!  

I am excited to recap my week with Doodle Bugs Teaching's Five for Friday. 

I stumbled upon this quote on Pinterest and I just love it.  I have said it time and time again, but I am so thankful for the connections I have made through this TpT/blogging journey.  We are all in this journey together and when we have the opportunity to support and encourage one another it is inspiring.  A big shout out to my blogging buddy Jayme from Teach, Talk, Inspire.  If you haven't checked out her blog or store you should!  She is so talented and I have learned so much from her.  I appreciate our conversations and her support.  

This week one of my grad class assignments was to explore a collaboration tool to use with your students.  I decided to look into Kidblog.  It seems easy to use and I want to explore using it with my kiddos this year.  I think it would be a fun way to tie technology into my lessons, or I thought about using it as a homework activity where parents could connect with our learning.  Has anyone used Kidblog before?  Any tips and advice?

Have you seen these cute Pals?  I made this Pal using Polka Dots and Pals's "Create a Pal" pack.  I love it!  Lauren includes tons of options to create your own Pal and it is really easy to do! I highly recommend it!  

This week I got some really fun mail.  A+ Images, Inc. is giving away free, yes you read that right FREE tshirts to teacher bloggers.  Be sure to go to their website to check it out.  I will wear my blogger shirt proudly because I love this journey!

Before I sign off for the weekend I am excited to share that it is my birthday on Saturday.  I am turning the big 3-2 and I am excited to celebrate.  So far my thirties have been a great time in my life and I am excited to see what this year will bring.  To celebrate, my whole store is 20% off through the weekend.  

Thanks for taking the time to read through my Five for Friday.  Be sure to check out Doodle Bugs Teaching to read other recaps.  

Have a great Friday and a wonderful weekend!