14 in 14 Linky Party

Today I'm linking up with some of my favorite blogs for the 14 in 14 Linky Party!
1. One Little Word:
This year has been a whirlwind, and if I had to choose one word to sum up the year I would say:
In the best way possible, this year has been so busy with school and my personal life, that I feel like I haven't had a moment to breath!
2: Goal for 2015:

Trying to balance school, my new position as a vice-principal, going through an accreditation year and writing never ending reports, TPT, a blog, and a personal life has been a challenge for me, so next year, I seek to find more balance in my life to be happier, and hopefully not drive my husband so crazy : )
3. Favorite Memory:
Renting a cabin in Big Bear with my friends!
 We went up as a surprise birthday gift for my friend Amanda, and we had an amazing time!  We want to do it again this year, and hopefully there will be some actual snow for us to enjoy!

4. Favorite picture:
Nigel just coming home from the groomers.

 This picture just kills me every time I see it!  I really just sums up all his feelings about me taking him to get his hair cut : )

5. Best Accomplishment:
Becoming the Vice Principal of Academics for our school.
I didn't fully know what I was getting myself in to, and that there would be no training, and that I would just have to figure everything out as I went along.  On top of that, people look to me to be the expert, and come to me with a myriad of questions that I don't always have the answer to.  Despite all of that, I love the position.  It's tricky balancing the responsibilities on top of my normal kindergarten teacher responsibilities, but I have learned SOOOO much, and I am grateful for the opportunity. I know that next year will be a lot easier, after having done it once before (and no longer having to worry about accreditation : )

6. Favorite Blog Post:

My blog post on the 30 Best iPad Apps for Kindergarten was definitely my favorite post.  I learned a lot in writing it, and my students have benefited from the things I learned!

7. Favorite Thing You Pinned:
So.....I couldn't just pick one pin, but I did narrow it down to one board : )  Next year I have a goal of allowing my students to have more STEM opportunities, especially concerning engineering.  This board is helping me to gather ideas not just for my class, but for our whole K-8 school as well.

8. Favorite Gift You Got:
My blog redesign!  My hubby and I were trying to redesign it on our own, and it was frustrating, but we learned a lot in the process.  In the summer, my husband surprised me by purchasing a blog design from The Cutest Blog on the Block! We worked with Kerri, and she was just awesome! She even answers questions I have months after the design has been complete. More than the design, I think the gift was special to me, because my husband showed that he believed in me and was there to support and encourage me.

9. Favorite New Thing You Tried:

Camping!!! I am not an outdoorsy girl, I actually get hives from the sun, that's how white I am!  My friends convinced me to go on a Yosemite camping trip this year, and I loved it! To be fair, we were in a place called housekeeping that had bathrooms and electricity, so I was definitely glamping.  I have never been more dirty and disgusting in my entire life, but we had so much fun, and it was really beautiful and peaceful. I highly recommend Yosemite National Park to anyone wanting a breathtaking camping experience!

10. Favorite Restaurant:
Donut Bar!!! Okay, maybe this isn't a restaurant,  I am going with a loose interpretation of that, but hey, they serve food!  My husband and I went there yesterday, and although we have been to many great restaurants this year, I can't seem to get the salted caramel donut I had there off of my mind. Best donut I have ever had!!!!

11. Favorite TV Series:

When I get home from work, I don't want to think too hard : )  I love the Mindy project for its ridiculous humor, it never fails to make me laugh!

12. Favorite Movie You Watched:
I didn't really watch too many movies this year, but as stated earlier, I am a fan of ridiculous comedies.  I think that is part of the reason that I love teaching kindergarten, because I have their same sense of humor, farts still get me every time, and I have a huge Will Ferrell Obsession : )

13. Favorite Article of Clothing:

My brown riding boots with the red zipper. Something about the red zipper just makes me happy : ) These aren't the actual pair I have, mine are from Francesca's, and I don't have a good picture of me wearing them. Also, I am too lazy to get out of my pajamas and take a good picture (It's Christmas break people!!).

14. Favorite Quote:
I have pinned many inspirational quotes that will soon go up in my office, but this one just makes me smile every time!

I hope everyone has a wonderfully blessed 2015!!!

2015 Calendar and a TPT redo

I had a recent request to update my calendar that I made last year. You can use this calendar for any purposes, school or home.  I have it on my fridge, and I write my husband's work schedule down on there (retail, yuck!), and I write my menu plan on it as well.

If you would like a free copy of it, click HERE

I'm also trying to redo my old TPT products.  I have been selling on there for a little over a year, and it is crazy to think how much I have learned in that time.  I know the basics of what I want my students to learn and what I want to convey to other people, but it is the marketing piece that is the trickiest.  You might have a great product, but if it is not eye catching, no one will buy it.

I just finished re-doing my vowel sorts, here is a picture of my old product:
Which has now become:

My worksheets before:

My worksheets after:

In September I re-did my Beginning Sounds Sort. It was one of my first products that I put on TPT, and it never had much success.  After re-doing it and fancying in up a little I couldn't believe that it immediately started selling!  My goal is to give all of my older products a facelift over the Christmas break : )

Here's a preview of my Short and Long Vowel Picture Sorts.  It contains whole group sorting sheets and 15 worksheets for your students to practice with.

Have a wonderful rest of your weekend! Christmas vacation is almost here!!!

2015 Blog Post Planning Calendar

Hi everyone!
   I hope your first day back from the Thanksgiving break is calm and productive : )  I am happy to say that I got a lot done over the break!  A lot of things that kept getting pushed from week to week on my to do list finally got done. Woo Hoo!!!!! Now I just need to decorate for Christmas! This year has been insanely busy for me with the new vice-principal role and our accreditation, but things are finally starting to settle down (I hope), and one of my goals for the new year is to be more consistent with my blogging.
  You know that I am a big fan of a good to do list, so I decided to make a 2015 blogging calendar.  If I can see the big picture, and plan out my posts in an organized manner then I should (theoretically) be able to post more often, with relevant information.
I have tried using fancier blogging calendars, but in the end I just like to write down a general topic that I want to write about on a specific day, and go from there.  This is a very simplistic form, but, again it helps me to see the big picture over the whole month/year.
 If you would like a copy of this free blogging calendar, just click HERE

I hope that you find this calendar helpful, and that it can assist you in your future blogging!!

Classroom Pictures .... in November

Happy Black Friday!!!!
   I got a ton of online shopping done this morning!  I am not a big fan of shopping in all those crowds, I much prefer to sit at home in my PJ's with a cup of coffee and get it all done from there!  My family does a secret Santa gift exchange, and now, most of my family creates an Amazon wish list, and we can choose from items on there, I love it!!!  Also, when searching for gifts for my friends, I just spy on their pinterest account and get them things that they have pinned on their boards : ) Either I'm creative and time efficient or just lazy, but I'm going to go with efficient : )

  Over the Thanksgiving weekend I vowed that I would finally get the pictures of my classroom done, so that the "My Classroom" button on my blog would actually go somewhere.  I went in on Wednesday, and took a bunch of pictures with my iPhone 4s.  I got back home and uploaded them, but most of them were blurry : ( I'm don't get an upgrade until February, or maybe I'll win the lotto soon and be able to afford a fancy camera!  Anywho, I dragged my husband into school with me yesterday so that we could use his iPhone 6.  The camera on that one is a million times better than mine!  Anywho, let's begin the tour! Here is a look at my whole classroom from the South West end.
This area is to the left of the white board.  At the beginning of our group time we review the jobs for the day, and the classroom rules with hand motions.  My center labels are in this area as well.
I use clothespin with the students' numbers on them to assign my class jobs.  One of these days I will get around to making them cute with washi tape : ) 
I assign my centers by animals.  They are heterogeneously grouped.  We don't do centers everyday because Monday and Wednesday are filled with special classes, and Friday's are quite often mini days for professional development and staff meetings.
My magnet area is below this.  I used a "fill your bucket" pocket chart to house my magnets, and my husband installed an oil drip pan from Wal-mart on the side of the pocket chart for magnetic activities.
My white board has an area sectioned off for our SLE's (School wide Learning Expectations), lesson objective, bible verse and spelling words of the week.  The SLE's are expectations that the school has created as a goal for what the students will have accomplished when they graduate from our school.
In the past, for my spelling words I had my students work on sight words, but this year I purchased Khrys Bosland's pack: Supplemental Spelling Program for Kindergarten  This product is meant to follow along with the Reading Street language arts program.  We do not have a Common Core language arts program yet, so I thought I would give this try, and I am absolutely loving it!!! I am really seeing a big change in their reading, writing, and sounds blending and segmentation skills because of this!
My library got a major overhaul this summer.  Why are those plastic bins so expensive?!?!  I used Maria Manore's library pack : Editable Classroom Library Labels. I used some of her labels, and created some of my own with her easy to use template.  It was quite a project, but I like how it turned out.
I use the larger boxes for my fiction collections, and the smaller boxes for my non-fiction collections, and other small book collections.  The white boxes are my students' book boxes that I purchase new every year from IKEA.
I also have a section for my leveled books that I use for my guided reading meetings, and that the students take home to practice with.
This is my calendar area, I went in to switch everything over to December, hence the Christmas decorations : )
I use Deedee Wills poetry pack for extra language arts practice, and I love it! I have also started using Deanna Jump and Deedee Wills Common Core Guiding Kinders math units this year, and they are wonderfully thorough!
For my calendar pieces, I created a year long pack that I sell in my TPT shop.  It has different month themes, and different patterns to practice.  In my class, the calendar person calls on someone to name what picture will be next in the pattern, and on another person to name the pattern. i.e. December = ABBC.

On the right side of my white board, I have my "how many days have we been in school" count, 100's poster, graphing question of the week, behavior chart, and schedule. (This is obviously a picture I took with my 4s : )
Here is a picture of my word wall from the beginning of the year. I start with just the students names at the beginning, and we grow from there.  I put up letter owls, and put flash cards from our Open Court language arts program in the same box, just as a picture reminder of the sound.
This is my center area, which I probably like the least out of anything in my classroom.  The students find their work or materials in the boxes on the shelf, and when they are done, they return it to the drawers up above.
In the future, I would like something more like this:
TROFAST Storage combination with boxes IKEA A playful and sturdy storage series for storing and organizing toys.
Once again, when I win the lottery ....

Here is our donation door.  Parents at our school have to put in 20 hours of service per family.  If they can not come in to do hours, they can always donate money.  1 hour = $5.  I use this door to let parents know what they could buy for our class if they would like to complete their hours that way.
I wrote more about that in this post, and there is a freebie to go along with it!
Here is a picture of our computer area.  I allow my students to use computers as part of early finishers  activities.  Our school website has a great kids page that has all sorts of educational games.  They're learning and they just think they're playing games, ha!  We also use computers during center time.
Here is a picture of my messy teacher area.  I work in a very old part of the school.  We have those old heaters there, but they don't work, and are not connected just in case anyone is concerned : )
Here is some of my paper storage.  I try to make everything accessible to the students and teach them to be responsible for the classroom as a whole, and not to over use paper.  The majority of them are very good about it.
Here is our prayer area.  I absolutely love the quotes created by Maria Manore!  They really liven the area up!
Thank you for sticking with me through this long winded post!  Have a wonderful rest of your Thanksgiving vacation!!!

Kindergarten Science Interactive Journals and a FREEBIE!

Hi everyone!
  Today is the first day of our 5 day Thanksgiving break!!!! I thought Monday and Tuesday were going to be a breeze, but all of my energy suddenly left me, and all I could think about was laying around and stuffing myself with turkey!  My kids also seemed exhausted, and begged me to reinstate nap time, even though when they had nap time, this class never went to sleep, and I spent the entire time reminding them not to talk!  Anywho, I've been meaning to blog about this pack that I made for a while now, but I couldn't seem to find the time until now : )
This year I have really started to get into interactive journals!  I love that I can have all the students' work in one place, and that I can check it quickly and even enter in a grade in our grading system all at the same time.  When the students are done, they come up to me and I give them a "smelly star" with a Scentos Marker, and I enter in their grade.  It allows me to immediately see who is not getting the concept, who is having difficulty with their fine motor skills, and who needs just some slight re-direction to get it right.

I've used a couple of different interactive journal products out there, but the ones that are made for a larger range of students i.e. Kinder-2nd can be a little challenging for my kids.  I created this pack to bring science to their level, with activities that make it easy for their little hands to manipulate.

I also wanted some whole group sorts that I could do with my students to introduce or review a certain concept.  I use these cards with my over head projector, but they could also be used in a pocket chart.

I also wanted vocabulary cards to accompany each lesson that I could put on my focus wall. We review the focus wall everyday so that visual reminder will help my students internalize each words' meaning.

I've already started using this with my students, and I have to say, that I am a little bit obsessed with it.  I probably shouldn't say that about my own product, but I'm going to anyways : )  My kids are loving the activities, and I am hearing them use more of the vocabulary in their everyday speech, which is a big deal for my 100% English Language Learner class!
Here is a list of the topics covered.
If you are interested in this product, you can find it in my TPT store: HERE
If you would like a states of matter freebie out of this pack you can find it: HERE
Have a wonderful Thanksgiving!!!