Tuesday, November 29, 2011


Okay...so I was able to create my button but I am having a difficult time with the text box below.  I have looked at several tutorials and have tried every one of them, but nothing seems to be working.  If anyone has a simple way to get the text box below...please let me know.

I am bound and determined to create a working button for my blog!


I am working on creating my button.  I am having some difficulties but I will never give up!

Keep you posted!

:) Ann

Monday, November 28, 2011

It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas...

I'm back from my wonderful vacation with my hubby to Sanibel Island, Fl.  The weather was beautiful and the shelling was fabulous.  We had a great time!  I highly recommend this vacation destination to all of you!  One of the highlights...we went on a speed boat name Sanibel Thriller...look it up on the internet.  What an awesome tour!  We had dolphins playing in the wake of our boat.  Not just one...a dozen or more at a time.  What an THRILLING experience!

Any who, while on vacation I didn't turn on computer once...can you believe it?  Not once!  So now, as I am catching up on all of my favorite blogs, I am noticing a seasonal trend!  The excitement of Christmas is in the air.

All this talk of Christmas even got me excited...especially tonight while at Wally World, in the seasonal section mind you, my seven year old daughter spots a pink Christmas Tree.  Seriously, it was pink!  The twinkle in her eye told me that we just had to buy it for her bedroom.  I guess you can call me a softy because I gave in and now she is the owner of a small (but I have to admit cute) pink Christmas Tree.  There has to be a story in there somewhere.  My brain is thinking something like Pink Christmas tree...Pink Christmas tree...What do you see?  I see a blue Christmas tree looking at me...etc...etc...etc.

So there was my daughter, in the car on the way home, proudly carrying her pink Christmas tree on her lap for the entire ride home.  She already has it on display in her heavily pink and black decorated bedroom.  So...apparently Christmas is in the air and, although it isn't even December yet, it is time to change the appearance of my blog to keep up with the seasons.

Let me know what you think of the new look.  Oh...and I will be posting a few of my favorite Christmas ideas that I have found within the next day or so.

Lastly, if anyone out there knows an easy way to create a button for a blog,  PLEASE LEAVE ME A COMMENT.  I am a self taught blogger and there are some things that a just a bit too complicated for me to figure out.  I would love to have a button to share with all of you.

Happy Blogging!


Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Hello fellow bloggers!  Is anyone as happy as me that we are on Thanksgiving Break?

Today was our annual Thanksgiving Dessert Feast.  Yes, I did say dessert!  My team came up with this concept a few years back and it seems to be a hit with the little kiddies.  We ask each child in K to donate some type of dessert and the entire grade level meets in the cafeteria or outdoor pavilion to feast together.  It truly in amazing the amount of desserts we get.  And what is more amazing and that most of it gets eaten.  We never hear the words "I don't like that!" or "Do I have to take that?"  All kids love desserts!

I know!  I know!  You are wondering....how do you possibly survive the day with all your kiddos on a sugar high?  We don't feast until around 1 pm and they go home at 2 pm.  The sugar rush seems to hit them right about the time of dismissal and I am sure the parents love us for it.

Anywho, it is a fun day filled with Pilgrims, Indians and the best part of Thanksgiving...sharing desserts!  You should try it some time.

If you have the time, let me know what your team does to celebrate the Thanksgiving holiday.  I love to hear new ideas.

Oh...and for Christmas...we do Donuts with Santa.  I think I see a theme here...my team loves to eat...especially desserts.

I send out my apologies now...I will be gone from the blogging community for the next few days.  My husband and I are taking a much needed couples vacation to Sanibel Island.  I'm looking forward to the R & R.

Happy Thanksgiving!

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Where are all those Storytelling pieces?

I bet if you have been around awhile, you will remember Monkey Mitts.  I love them and use them often; however, either I or my students were always misplacing the pieces that go with each story.  This kept getting frustrating and I would often find myself not using them because I didn't have time to locate the pieces.  I knew I had to find a way to keep all the pieces together and make these storytelling mitts more useful for kinders.

The solution:  Hot glue gun and cheap fabric gardening gloves from the Dollar Tree.  

This summer, I brought home all of those  Monkey Mitt sets that were dumped into a bin and sorted through all of their pieces.  I hot glued all of the pieces onto a fabric gardening mitt and now store them in a ziplock baggy with the book.  I can very quickly find what I need to model retelling a story with my kinders and the added bonus is...the pieces can't get lost.  After modeling how to use the retelling mitt, I add it to a bin at my puppet area with it's corresponding book.  I am finding that this method is much more user friendly for my little ones and more storytelling is taking place because they don't have to go hunting for the missing pumpkin or monkey.

Here are a few pictures of my user friendly Monkey Mitts:

     Also, here are a few pictures of some Thanksgiving Day Crafts that we made together.  I just thought I would share them because they turned out so cute this year.  I just love our scarecrows; however, I think they are too cute to spook anything away.

Happy Thanksgiving!


Friday, November 18, 2011

Friday's Funny!

If our student's parents could hear the conversations that take place in our classroom, wouldn't they be shocked!  Here is one from today:

Student:  "Look at my nails, Mrs. ????.  My mommy painted all of them and she put crackle on it."

Teacher:  "Those are very pretty and your mommy is very talented.  Do you think she would come in and do mine?"

Student:  "I bet she would because she is the Crack Queen."

You gotta love what they say.

Happy Friday!


Wednesday, November 16, 2011

What in the world are QR Codes?

I bet you have seen these around everywhere lately.

This is a QR code.  I really didn't pay much attention to them until this afternoon. 

 I mentioned in my last blog that I work at a school that is using a great amount of Apple equipment.  In addition to all this wonderful equipment, we have a group of teachers who meet once a week (on our own time) to discuss new and innovative ways to use this technology in the classroom.  Well today, I learned how to make my own QR code.

Now I know what you are thinking!  How can this be useful in kindergarten?  Especially when the kids can't read yet and it wouldn't be feasible for the teacher to be walking around all day reading everyone's scanners.  Well, the neat thing is that when you create your own QR code...you can type in ANYTHING.  

So, my brain got thinking...what CAN my kinders read?  Sight Words!  Color Words!  Number Words! Numbers!  Letters of the alphabet!  Names!  So there began my "AH HA" moment on how I can use this amazing new technology!   

Yes, there I was, incredibly excited about inputting our 31 District Based Sight Words into the QR Code Generator so that I could create codes just like the one above.  I am going to place these codes in various locations around my room for my students to scan with their iTouches (Think of it as a "Techy's" version of read around the classroom).

If you are interested in how to create your own QR codes to use in your classroom, just click here.  It is amazing how technology keeps creating new ways for us to teach our students.  Don't forget to download a QR scanner app on your phone, iPad, or iTouch to complete this activity.

Let me know if you try this.  I would love to hear from you!



Monday, November 14, 2011

Got Apps?

Hello blogging friends!  I was just wondering if any of my fellow bloggers out there use iPad's or iTouches in the classroom.  If so...do you have any favorite apps?

Last year one of our wonderful teachers wrote a grant to the Apple Corporation and our school benefited greatly!  Our school and several other schools in the area received $750,000 worth of Apple Technology to use in the classroom.  In kindergarten, we all have one MacBook, one iPad and four iTouches.  I am currently learning how to use this AWESOME technology and trying to find the most effective way to use it in the classroom.  I have found that I can use the four iTouches as a work station and I am currently using the iPad during whole group and small group instruction.  Also, the kids will do JUST ABOUT ANYTHING to use the iPad so I use it as a reward on those "special" occasions.  The MacBook is mostly used as a charging station and another computer with internet capability.

Anyway... here are a few of my favorite apps:

1.  Little Speller 3 Letters/Little Reader 3 Letters (made by Grasshopper Apps)

2.  Letter of the Day (made by Lakeshore and is free until December)

3.  Sound Sorting (made by Lakeshore and is free until December)

4.  Candy Count (made by Camigo Media and it is free...there is another version you can pay for that is just as awesome)

5.  Howie Hungry Monster (Build Words) (made by PlaySmart)

I would love to hear from you about your favorite apps.  Most of the ones that I listed are free, but I am more than willing to pay for an app if it is great to use with my kindergarten students.

Thanks for visiting my little blog. I am a newbie in the blogging world and I get so excited when I see new faces following me.   It makes me feel special! :)

Happy Blogging!!!

Thursday, November 10, 2011

A Thought For Thursday!

I just thought I would drop a line before school and then my family heads to the "Most Magical Place on Earth" for the weekend...yes, we live close to Disney World and sometimes I think we go WAY too often, but my kids love it.

Anyway...over the years I am sure all of you have collected a vast number of pictures that go along with your Letter of the Week instruction.  I use to spend a large amount of time on my Friday afternoon, recreated a bulletin board to display all of these wonderful pictures.  Well one day I had an epiphany!  Why not just glue all of those picture to a permanent display?  Not only would it save time for me, but it would free up a bulletin board for another valuable teaching display!

So, here is what my Letter Focus boards look like...

They are great to put at my writing center for the children to refer to when writing sentences.

I hope you can use this idea or it helps you to have an epiphany of your own!


Tuesday, November 8, 2011


Thanksgiving is right around the corner and some of my favorite bloggers have shared some TERRIFIC ideas to use with your kinders.  If you haven't seen them yet, here are two of my favorites for your Tuesday viewing...

#1  Tammy from Live, Love, Laugh Everyday in Kindergarten has an awesome freebie that you will want for your writing center.  It is a November Write the Room Packet.  It includes some great picture word cards for your students to write sentences about Thanksgiving including what they are learning about Pilgrims and Indians.  While you are there, check out her November Read and Write the Room freebies. They are wonderful too!

#2  Pam at Can Do Kinders has created some adorable Turkey Counting Mats using ten frames.  Gobble them up while you can!  Also, while you are there, check out her other Thanksgiving Freebies.  Her Thanksgiving Write the Room activity is just as cute and is a great way to integrate writing and math.  Thanks, Pam, for sharing such awesome ideas.

Well, that's it!  That is the top two for Tuesday.  It could have been a top twenty, but I have other duties calling my name (cook dinner, help the kids with their homework, laundry, you know the drill!).

Until next time...

Monday, November 7, 2011

Interactive Charts Anyone?

I don't know if anyone even calls them that anymore?  

Years ago (I am not going to say how many)...when I was in college and immersed in the "Whole Language" format of teaching reading...I was introduced to the concept of making interactive charts to get the child more involved with the words they were reading.  For some reason, this strategy stuck with me all of these years and now I have accumulated quite a collection that I use with my kindergarten students. 

I model using these charts with my whole class several times before I place them at the interactive chart center for them to use independently.  What makes them interactive?  Many of the charts have something that the child can manipulate such as adding a name, changing a number, or counters.  All of the items that are manipulated on the chart have velcro on the back.

Here are a few that are currently hanging at my Interactive Chart Center:

The Birthday Song

      On the birthday song chart, the children can manipulate the number of candles (I use to teach Pre-K for 3 and 4 year olds) and attach the name of the child they are singing to at the appropriate place.  This one stays out all year as we use it on every child's birthday.  They just love being teacher on their birthday while wearing a birthday crown and using the special birthday pointer too.

Farmer Brown

      The children can manipulate the number at the top as they pull off the apples.

Way Up High In The Apple Tree

     On this chart, the children can manipulate the apples on the tree as they read the rhyme.  If I were to redo this one, I would have made it so that you can change the number at the top as well.

Pick A Pumpkin

     For this rhyme, the children can pick the pumpkins at the bottom.  When I do this chart, we also write down subtraction sentences (5-2=3, 3-2=1, so forth).  If I were to ever redo this chart, I would add a lot more pumpkins so that we can do more subtraction sentences.

Pumpkin Face

     For this rhyme, the children can manipulate the shapes at the bottom to give the pumpkin a face.  I tell them they can use any of the objects to create a face in any way they want.  They love seeing what the Jack-o-lanterns face looks like when they are done.  As I use this whole group, I ask the children to tell me what shapes they used for the eyes, the nose, and the mouth.  This is great for reviewing shapes at Halloween time.

Leaves Falling Down

     The students can manipulate the colored leaves to retell this rhyme.  This is great for reviewing color words.

The Leaves are Falling Down
(tune: The Farmer In the Dell)

     Again, the children simply manipulate the colored leaves on this rhyme to then retell it in their way.

Ten Little Indians

      For this chart, the children can manipulate the indians at the bottom.  We practice putting them up as we count from one to 10.  We also can put them in a pattern (boy, girl, boy, girl, etc.).  I have considered writing numbers on the indians and having the children put them in number order.  I just haven't done it yet.

     So is anyone wondering, how do you store all of these charts.  Well, here is a picture of what the center looks like.  My husband built it for me years ago.  I don't know if you can see it, but it has a white hook on the end of it for the children to hang the chart they are working with.  Sometimes they like to take the chart over to my easel to use, since that is where I model using the charts with them.  All of the charts are hanging on plastic hangers.

     Any charts that are not in use are stored in a coat closet.  We are an older school and I actually still have a coat closest in my classroom.  I have many interactive charts that go with various literature as well (The Very Hungry Caterpillar, The Napping House, The Bus Ride, I Know An Old Lady Who Swallowed A Fly).  

     I am always looking for new interactive chart ideas, so if you know of any, please share.

Happy Blogging!

Sunday, November 6, 2011

Okay...so it has been quite some time since I have shared one of my own ideas, so I thought maybe I should do my part.  

Our fabulous First Grade team of teachers decided to implement a new project with their students this school year for Halloween and it turned out to be a hit.  The students were asked to decorate a pumpkin like their favorite storybook character.  They had to bring the book and their finished pumpkin to school the week prior to Halloween.  All of the pumpkins were displayed in the media center and the entire school voted on their favorites.  The finished products were absolutely adorable.  Some of our favorites were Nemo, Hello Kitty, SpongeBob Squarepants, Spiderman, and The Cat in the Hat.  Here is a few pictures of my daughter (who is in first grade creating her Storybook Character Pumpkin).

Abby Painting her pumpkin...

Abby painting the face of The Cat in the Hat...

We painted whiskers, ears, and a bow...

The final product (without the hat...it was stored in a bin in my classroom).

Here is the final product on display in our school's media center.  I am so proud of my little Abby.  She did an awesome job.

Like I said, this was a great and fun project for the first graders.  You may want to try this next year. 

Happy Pumpkin Designing!

Saturday, November 5, 2011

OMG!  A second post from me in a day!  Get out of town!  But, I just had to share what I just discovered.  I am so excited!

As I was searching blogs this morning (while drinking my third cup of coffee and thinking to myself that I really should get started on my weekend duties...you know clean the house...do laundry...feed the kids...etc), I discovered the coolest blog.  You MUST check out...

This is the answer to all bloggers dreams.  It is a website that connects you to other teaching blogs and it is ORGANIZED BY GRADE LEVEL.   SHUT THE FRONT DOOR!  What a useful tool!

I hope you enjoy this find as much as I have and Happy Blogging!
Happy Saturday all!  It was so nice to sleep in this morning...even if it was only until 7:15.  That is sleeping in for me.  How about you?

Anyway, here are some wonderful ideas that I have found this week while searching some of my favorite blogs.

1.  Marlana over at  Lil' Country Kindergarten has shared a very cute labeling activity just in time for Thanksgiving.  It is free printables to help your students label the parts of the Mayflower.  Marlana is such a creative teacher!

2.  Rachelle and Natalie over at What a Teacher Wants always share some wonderful ideas!  The ladies shared a really cute writing prompt free downloadable titled My Favorite Part of Halloween.  They have it for both primary and upper grades.  Grab it while you can and save it for next year.

3.  Fran at Kindergarten Crayons is amazing. If you haven't yet, you MUST check out her stuff on TPT!  However, she does have a cute freebie on her website to use at Thanksgiving with your little ones to check their beginning sound knowledge.  You can grab it here.  Also, take a look at her pumpkin science activities; they are just as cute.  She is such an awesome teacher and us bloggers are so lucky to have her.

4.  I recently discovered a new blog:  A Teacher's Touch.  Linda has shared some awesome ideas and has lots of freebies for you.  I especially loved her fall songs and free fall patterns.  These freebies are great and just in time for my unit next week on Fall.

5.  I must leave you with probably the funniest teacher story I have ever read.  If you want a GREAT laugh...click on over to A Teeny Tiny Teacher and read Kristen's True Halloween Story.  I laughed so hard my husband heard me and then I had to read it a second time to him.  The first time I laughed; the second time I laughed so hard I cried.  I hope no one ever has anything like this happen to them during their teacher career.  Bless you Kristen for surviving such an ordeal and thanks for sharing!

Well, that's it!  That is my top FIVE for this week.  I might have to up it to my top TEN, because my lists just keep getting longer and longer as I search blogs each night.  Thanks to all those wonderful teachers our their in blogging land!!!

Happy Printing!

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Okay...so I may not have the time to post my own ideas, but I sure can find the time to search the world of blogs for great ideas.  Here is what I found...

1.  Marlana over at Lil' Country Kindergarten posted some free downloadable number worksheets a few weeks ago. I love them.  I have used them with my kinders and they are wonderful.  Check them out.

2.  Lindsay and Kerri over at Teacher Bits and Bobs recently shared two wonderful ideas.  First, I just love their color assessment worksheet which is a free download.  It is a quick and easy way to assess your kinders on colors.  Next, I loved their Halloween sorting and graphing free download.  It may be a little late, but it is never too late to save it for next year.  Thanks to both of them for sharing!

3.  Abby at The Inspired Apple shared some great ideas to use with all those pumpkin seeds you probably have sitting around from carving pumpkins.  She even included some cute free downloads.  You don't want to miss out on these ideas.  Abby always inspires me!

4.  Check out the free Thanksgiving printables and black cat puppet at Wild About Kindergarten.  I am always wild about the cute ideas that she posts on her blog.

5.  You can also print out some free Thanksgiving Calendar Cards at Doodle Bugs Teaching.  Kacey always shares some very cute calendar headers for each month.  I just love the cute clip art she uses too.

Well, that is my top 5 for today.  I actually have 5 more great ideas to post...but my bubble bath is calling me.  My husband installed a new jacuzzi tub and I am putting it to good use every night.  It is a great way to unwind after a busy day with little ones.

Happy Teaching!!!