Monday, August 29, 2011

Classroom Pics Continued....

First of all, we hope  everyone came through Irene ok!!!!
We go back to school tomorrow and I still feel like I could use another week preparing for those kiddos.  The room aspect is as ready as it's going to be.  Due to Irene we had a half day of inservice and an Open House all in one.  It felt like a whirlwind, but those children are just so adorable and excited to come to the big school, it can't help but get you excited. Here a few more of my classroom pictures:

As you walk in, these are the cubbies and hooks for the children.
It looks a lot busier than it feels, but this is looking in from the door.

This is my calendar and circle area where most of our morning is spent singing learning songs, doing Everyday calendar math activities, morning message, and calendar work in our mini offices.
This is the dramatic play area.  Small and confined, yet perfect size for 3 which is all I allow in that area at one time. This area is changed every month.  For the first month, it is just a general market area so the children can get used to the rules and expectations.

To the left of the dramatic play area, we have a nice TV area with storage.  I use the storage area as my block center.  The children sit at the city rug ( a great find from IKEA) and build with blocks or use the cars and city workers.
Picture is below.

This is my word wall area.  That table that lines the wall, houses my computer station, on the top are my fine motor trays. The children can choose these when they first come in, and underneath are the puzzles and legos the children may choose at free choice center time.

Here is a zoomed out version of my writing center that I had mentioned in an earlier posting.

In front of the writing center I have a non carpeted area we use for  Shared Reading. This area is at the back of my room. The students choose a carpet square and sit to listen to our weekly story.
To the left of the Big Book area, is my listening center and bulletin board that for the start of school will have our Rainbow Names from Deanna Jump's Names unit. The bucket houses our journals, and on the floor to the left are our pointers for reading the room.
Here is the view from the back corner where our writing center sits.
I still need to take a photo of my Literacy and Math center( oops, just noticing I forgot those.)  Finally for today, is one thing I could not live without in the classroom, my class Ipod and docking station.  As soon as I found out I was moving from fifth grade to Kindergarten four years ago, I was frantic about how to best teach with all the awesome learning songs available.  I thought this is going to take forever to change CD's in and out, etc. My husband had the idea of going on ebay and finding a cheap used ipod.  WHAT A TIME and LIFESAVER!  It sits on my desk and gets used constantly.  The docking station was a great find from the Brookstone outlet.  
Well, there you have it my room.  (Jess) We hope everyone has a great year!


Saturday, August 27, 2011

Three For Thursday

Favorite Font
Pam-hmmmmm, there are sooo many!  I guess I love Rebeka's Birthday from Kevin and Amanda.
Jess-Rebeka's birthday

Favorite Blog
Pam- I think I am most inspired by Mrs. Jump's Class.  I first started blog stalking after finding her blog.  Then I decided I couldn't live without purchasing every item she sells on TPT!  I haven't bought everything yet, but I am getting closer!

Jess- Krazy for Kindergarten because she has great ideas and downloads.  I'm just sad she's moving to third grade!

Favorite Online Resource
Pam- I love Making Learning Fun.  I get literacy, math, developmental center ideas-just about everything from there.  My newest obsession is our Pinterest boards.  It is addicting.
Jess- Reading A to Z to get levelized books for my kinders.

Hop on over to Blog Hoppin' to check out other's favorites.

Friday, August 26, 2011

Free For All Fridays

Hope you're still having fun blog hopping!  I couldn't find labels that had all my categories for my book bins, so I decided to just create my own!  I used Lettering Delights for the background.  The font is Candy Randy from Scrap Village.

Book Bin Labels

Hope you like them!! Head over to I'm Blog Hoppin for more freebies today!

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Welcome to Our Classrooms

Here are some before pics of my classroom.
Above and below are from the door to my classroom.  This was partly into my "renovations."  It always gets worse before it gets better-right? 

This is from the opposite side of the room.

These are pictures of some of the more finished areas of my classroom.
 The writing center I pinned from Mrs. Gilchrist's Class.
 This is our home living area.  I start to save my "trash" now to add some environmental print.  The kids get excited to see what "new" things are in here each week like cereal, soap boxes, and cookies.
 This is my area for small groups.  I also have lots of teacher resources on the bookshelves behind the table.  I think I will try to have our team meetings here.
 This is my classroom library.  The books are mostly sorted by theme.  I like to have lots of different genres and reading levels in each bucket.  The Rainbow Names activity is from Deanna Jump's Name unit.  I printed each letter of the name in color (ROYGBIV order).  I will take them down for the student's to "mosaic" them.
 This is my calendar area.  We use Every Day Calendar Counts.

This is the Market.  In September, it is just a market.  Each month I change it up a bit: pumpkin patch, Pizza Hut, bakery, travel agency, pet store, candy store, and flower shop.
Jess' Room:
Here are a few of the work in progress photos of my room.  I will have some updated ones in a couple days.  
This is the before, as you all know, lot's of work to be done! This is my initial set up of where I think I want my furniture and centers.

We are fortunate to have a beautiful built in bump out area that already has book shelves and this is where I naturally set up my library center...
   (I still need to get my cute picture labels on these bins!) The red bookcase is for all of our class made predictable chart books we work on throughout the year.
To the right of these bookshelves is a bulletin board.  I set this area up with a table and chairs with all the bells and whistles for a writing center.  Again, the writing center signs are from Mrs. Gilchrist's Class (see the link above). 
{In my next grouping of pictures, I will zoom out a bit on the camera, to show you all a bit of the surroundings.}
Again, those are just a few snapshots.  I will post some more by the weekend as I finish setting up my room, and get it ready for Open House.
Check out Teaching Blog Addict for more classroom photos!


Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Teacher Talk Tuesday

We are still linking up with I'm Blog Hoppin. Today's job is to offer advice for new teachers.
Pam says. . .
I tell new teachers to take everything in. Any time someone offers you an idea, worksheet, book-take it.  Later you can make a decision about what to use.  Offer to help out at your team meetings!  Smile-everyone likes working with happy people!
Jess says...
I like to tell new teachers to establish that routine and be firm from the get go.  You can always lighten up and be more flexible, but if you don't have those clear expectations and firm ground rules from the beginning, you can lose those kiddos for the whole year. It's too difficult to back track and not fair to the children.


Great Video to start the year with a new class and set of parents! Good idea for open house.


Monday, August 22, 2011

Meet the Teacher Monday - Blog Hoppin'

We are linking up to I'm Blog Hoppin for Meet The Teachers.

About Us:
We searched everywhere for a picture of the two of us together.  We finally found this one from a couple of years ago.  Jess is in the middle with her oldest. Pam is on the right with her daughter.  We're at the Harry Potter Exhibit at the Museum of Science.  We met 14 years ago.  Jess was in her second year of teaching fifth grade and Pam was starting in fourth grade.  Two years later, Pam looped to fifth grade.  We had a tight team.  We began planning together every week and got really close.  We began hanging out outside of school.  Our daughters play together nicely.  Pam is Jess's youngest's godmother.  Our husbands get along great.  We are Vacation Buddies.  We've been to Sesame Place, Hershey Park, Disney World, and some overnight trips together.  
Jessica - I teach Kindergarten. This is my fourth year with Kinders and I love it. I have a wonderful husband, we've been together since middle school (26 yrs., wow!) and two beautiful girls, Alexandra, 9, and Lauren, 4.

Pam- This my third year in kindergarten.  I also have taught first, fourth and fifth.  I am married and have an adorable daughter, Madison, 8.  
How long have you been teaching?
Jessica - We live up here in NH. I'm going into my 15th year of teaching. I taught 11 years in fifth grade, and when the district decided to start a Kindergarten program, I knew I had to do it. This will be my 4th year and I can't imagine doing anything else. I love how the children are excited about learning and everything is new and magical to them.
Pam-This is my 14 the year teaching. Although, unofficially I have been teaching since I started kindergarten!  I used to play school and force my brother and any other children in the neighborhood to be my students.  My friend and I would go to the library and take out the same books so we would have "multiple copies" for reading groups.  We would spend hours coloring a paper with black crayon so that we could make copies of our worksheets.

What are you looking forward to?
Jessica - This year we will be have both full and 1/2 day programs for Kindergarten. I can't wait to see how that all goes down and my new group of kiddos. I am also going to be trying Debbie Diller's math and LA stations and am excited about all the new independent learning that will be going on.
Pam-This year I am looking forward to teaching kindergarten FULL DAY.  I bounce between being excited to have the kiddos for a couple of extra hours, to thinking how am I going to keep them entertained for the entire day those first couple of weeks!

What I need to improve on?
Jessica - I am always trying to improve on my communication between home and school and trying to find systems that are easy to keep up with and effective. I also can always use help trying to balance the mommy, work, wife, and amount of time to be the best me juggling act that starts back up in September.
Pam-I want to improve my workstations.  Jess and I read Debbie Diller's books and spent countless hours this summer trying to fine tune our ideas. 

What I can't live without?
Jessica - 1. Target dollar spot 2. Exercise/listening to my ipod time 3. My best friend, Pam to keep me sane 4. Mountain Dew 5. My cricut
Pam-It goes without saying-Jess.  We can finish each other's sentences or sometimes not even have to say it out loud!  It is nice to have someone who has the same values and beliefs to share so much with!  I cannot live without my laptop, color printer, and laminator.  I am on the laptop constantly to check my Google Reader or to Skype with Jess.  I need the printer and laminator for all the ideas I find out here in Blogland.   For instructional purposes, I love my ipod.  We sing and dance our day along!


Sunday, August 21, 2011

The Most Wonderful Time of the Year Linky Party

I LOVE back to school shopping-clothes, supplies for me, supplies for my daughter, everything!  I always sign up  with the Salvation Army to fill a backpack for a child.  This year my daughter's friend was back to school shopping with us, and I bought most of the stuff on her list too.
I love the new supplies-markers, crayons, notebooks, bags.  Everything is new and clean!  This year I was able to get some things free with coupons-even better!

Clutter Free Classroom is hosting a linky party.  Check out what everyone else likes about back to school.


Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Work station chart and beginning of year teacher gift.

I'm going to be using the Debbie Diller workstations, LA and math this year. I have a 1/2 day kindergarten class, and not enough time to do two separate station times so I am going to blend them and have 4 math stations and at the same time 4 LA stations running. I made this work station chart using the station labels from Primary Graffiti.

Like my cohort, I made a version of a back to school teacher gift using the cricut, vinyl, and my Target dollar spot find. I hope my daughter's new teacher enjoys her new treat!


Monday, August 15, 2011

Vinyl Cricut Projects

Here are some projects I have been working on at home.  I can't wait to get into my classroom!

 It took me 6 trips to Target to get the colors of the rainbow for these projects!  I used the Designer Calendar cartridge to label each bin.  I had an extra one and wanted to make a "To Do" bin, but the closest image I could find (that matched in style!) was the Back 2 School label.  Notice that bin is already filled!

This is a gift for my sister in law for watching my daughter before and after school.  I also made one for M's teacher.  They are filled with back to school items.

Finally, I was cutting, laminating, printing, and labeling so much stuff I needed a place to store it.  Inside I have cubby labels, work station labels, pieces cut for projects (portfolio covers, hundredth day, Chicka Chicka Boom Boom, etc).  Each is in a baggy with a label reminding me what it is for and if I need any more supplies.


Pinterest Projects

Here are some projects I pinned and then completed.  Although I spend hours pinning, I think it is
actually making me more productive!

I pinned this from Beg, Borrow, Steal

Daily 5!
and then I made mine!  I added pictures from The Very Hungry Caterpillar to help my kinders remember.

I pinned this from Growing Kinders and used her printables 
to make my version:

It is laminated so that I can use a dry erase marker to change it.  I think I will use it for letters, popcorn words, numbers, shapes, and more!

Check out more inspirations here at Plumdoodles Pinterest Linky Party.