Friday, August 26, 2011

BlogHoppin': Friday Free For All

Can I just say how excited I am my first full week is over?  It's been long and sometimes frustrating but my kiddos are already showing improvements!  Which means I'm starting to remember why I love this job! ;)

Friday means the LAST DAY of Teacher Week!  I'm kind of sad, I'm really enjoying my first linky-party type event.  However, I am really excited about all the freebies I'll be seeing out there today!  Here is my small contribution.  I am always using my SmartBoard and I try to make my own activities that are themed to go with what we are reading/learning.  So I though I would share two of my SmartBoard programs that I made for the beginning of the year.  I have no idea how to embed a SmartBoard file so I've posted links to them on the Smart Exchange.

First up is my abc order and letter matching that is themed for "The Kissing Hand."  It's nothing fancy, but I always start the year with that book and this is a nice and easy activity that is a good introduction to the SmartBoard.  My kids liked it!
Kissing Hand ABC Order and Uppercase/Lowercase Letter Match

This one is a palm tree with all the letters at the bottom.  I used it for retelling the "Chicka Chicka Boom Boom" story.  I also played an "I Spy" game.  I would call a student and say "I spy the letter A" or "I spy the letter that is the last in the alphabet" and ask them to find it and put it in the tree.  Again, pretty simple but a good activity for beginning of the year!
Chicka Chicka Boom Boom Retelling Tree
Here is an image of the chicka chicka boom boom tree.

I hope you find these files useful, I'm very excited to share what I have! :)

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Blog Hoppin': 3 for Thursday

Hallelujah!  It's almost Friday!  This is the first full week of school for me and it is kickin' my rump...getting back into the routine is not so easy this year.  Anywhoo, to celebrate Friday-eve let's talk about my favorite things!

First up: my favorite font.  This is a really tough category!  I'm going to include my favorite "teaching" font and my favorite "fun" font because they are certainly not the same.

Next: my favorite teaching blog.  I look at quite a few and really love many.  I follow around 100 and add more every week!  However, if I must pick one favorite I think it would be April Larramore.  She always have fabulous stuff and lots of themed ideas!

Chalk Talk

And finally my favorite teacher resource website.  As I mentioned a few days ago, I LOVE my SmartBoard!  So I think my favorite website is Smart Exchange.  They have great programs
 already put together that I can edit to be exactly what I need.  Also, their Smart Table programs are fabulous when I have access to the Smart Table!  I also use Jessica Meacham's site a lot.  Especially as I start my Daily 5!  And, like everyone else this summer, I've become a Pinterest fanactic.

So there are my favorites!  Thanks for checking them out :)

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Where It All Goes Down Wednesday

I'm back again with more Blog Hoppin'!  Today is probably my favorite (so far anyway!) because I LOVE looking at classroom photos.  I constantly find new things to do by looking at other teachers' rooms.  

So my room this year is a forest theme because I wasn't sure about going full-on owl theme.  However, after seeing a ton of super cute owl ideas I know what I'm doing next year!  I've already posted some pictures of my room so I'm linking to my previous post.  Go check it out and leave feedback - I would love to know how to improve my shoebox-of-a-classroom! :)

Classroom Photos


Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Teacher Talk Tuesday

Wooo..I am bloggin like crazy tonight!  Time for Blog Hoppin's Teacher Talk Tuesday.  I am supposed to give advice to new teachers.  While I don't feel totally qualified for this (I feel like I can always use more advice) I will give it my best shot!  My top 5 tips:

1.  Take some time for yourself!  It's so easy to get overwhelmed and absorbed in school.  If you let it take over you will burn-out quickly!  

2.  Take it slow at the beginning.  Especially in the early grades, like my kindergarten.  It's so important to establish routines and a sense of community and in the long run the time spent on this will make all the "learning" with curriculum go much more smoothly.  (This is something I have to remember every year!)

3.  Stay out of the "politics" and gossip of the school.  I am always amazed at how much we adults can act like catty teenage girls!  Just keep out of it and stay positive and you will enjoy teaching much more (not to mention being more professional)!

4.  Communicate with parents.  As much as possible.  I try to send home positive notes/phone calls/emails and that way if I do have a not-so-positive conversation that isn't the only communication I have with that family.  I love getting to speak to parents when they pick up my students - I feel like I'm able to better involve them in the learning process!

5.  Lastly, be sure to give clear guidelines on scissor use!  My first year of teaching, I started about 3 weeks into the school year.  I assumed my students knew how to use scissors so I only gave a cursory review on use.  So during a cutting project, as I was helping one student cut his paper, another student came up to me with blood gushing from her mouth and she was wailing.  I panicked, of course, and sent her to the nurse and we finally figured out that she had CUT. HER. TONGUE.  With safety scissors.  She had to get stitches IN HER TONGUE.  It was repulsive.  And I felt like a terrible teacher.  Luckily no one blamed me and I've become much better at explaining scissor use.  This story always gets my new kiddos and no one has ever tried to put the scissors anywhere but their paper!

I hope these tips will be helpful to someone!  And if this is your first year, congrats and good luck! :)

BlogHoppin - Meet the Teacher!

So the fact that I am posting this a day late probably tells you a bit about me!  I didn't even get home until 9:30 last night so the idea of posting a blog just wasn't working for me.  However, I am here now!  And welcome to my small blog!

Tell us a little something about you...

I'm Samantha and I live in Oklahoma.  It's miserably hot and I hate that.  I love the fall and can't wait for the weather to change!  I am almost 30, just bought my first house 6 months ago and got engaged.  We are getting married September 29th, 2012.  I am probably crazy for planning a wedding while school is in session but like I said, I love the fall!  

How long have you been teaching?

This is my 3rd  year as a "head" teacher.  Before that I was a tutor and an assistant teacher.  I've been in kindergarten each year (unless you count summer school, where I've also taught 1st and 2nd).  I really love kindergarten - they are so precious and sweet and excited to learn!  Even the little ornery ones just grow on me <3

You might not know...
Well since I'm new to the whole bloggin' world there's a lot you don't know.  However to pick something in particular, you might not know that I've played the clarinet since I was seven years old.  I don't play it too much anymore but I miss it.  Unfortunately my teaching takes up way too much time!

What are you looking most forward to this school year?

I'm excited to be trying new things this year.  As my third year,  I'm finally starting to feel comfortable in my "teacher's skin" and starting to branch out and do things different from my co-teachers.  I'm anxious to see how it goes and hopeful that this is my best year yet!

What do you need to improve?

My center time; this year I'm trying daily 5 and I am super excited to get it started.  I've always felt like centers were the hardest thing for me to figure out and I never feel like they are quite good enough.  But I think that daily 5 will help me tremendously if it goes well!

What teaching supplies can you *not* live without?

I *LOVE* my SmartBoard.  Last year we were "displaced" for about 8 weeks and I didn't have a SmartBoard and it was like I had to re-learn how to teach!  

Also I need lots of notepads...I am addicted to making lists.  To-do lists, book lists, birthday lists, gift ideas, lesson ideas...

So that's me in a nutshell!  Thanks for stopping by! :)

Sunday, August 21, 2011


So through my classroom blog, I stumbled onto a parent's blog and was reading her entry about the first day of her kiddo in my class. I know that this is her first child to go to kindergarten and I imagine that is extremely difficult for a parent.  But she expressed a concern that I may not be as caring as I need to be.  My first reaction and shock because we only spoke for about 5 minutes so how can she possibly know how caring I am?  My second reaction is disappointment that a parent would get that first impression.  I am a very caring person; I don't think you could teach kindergarten (or any grade really) and not truly love the students in your class.  I really hope that I can alleviate her fears and make this mom see that we both care of her child and want what is best for her.  I guess maybe that is just what I get for peeking onto a parent's blog..I won't make that mistake again. :(

Saturday, August 20, 2011

First 2 days and Classroom Pictures!

Well, I've completed days 1 and 2! I have 22 little friends (2 of which I got on the first day of school) and they seem pretty sweet. This is the first year I have a student that is the child of someone I knew from high school. Also I have a fellow teacher's child for the first time. Hopefully I will be everything they expect!

Now I just have to prepare for the next week. I do feel like I'm much more confident now than the previous two years, but I still feel like there's too much to do and not enough time! Next week I have Parent Orientation so I'll be getting that ready as well as my lessons. I will try to post some of my more helpful parent pages soon - maybe they can help someone else!

Anyway, here is a slideshow of my classroom. I really <3 it this year but I think I may need to make some adjustments for my 22 kinders to fit! My room is just too small...
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Sunday, August 14, 2011

VistaPrint Goodies

After spending my summer addicted to teaching blogs, I decided to join the others in their VistaPrint fun!  I ordered a bunch of fun stuff for $30!  Hopefully all my notecards won't get forgotten through the year ;)
First up, a "thank you" card for volunteers.
Then a positive communications notecard..."something to hoot about" fits my owl/forest theme :)
Last, conference reminder cards.  I *love* how shiny and professional they are!

Fun notepads for me!  Owls because I <3 them and a dolphin because it is our school mascot.
Business card magnets with my contact information for my parents!
Bucketfillers poster.  It's pretty basic but I'm going to read the book/discuss with the class and then we will all sign the poster and hang it by our buckets to fill!
My favorite thing!  A small banner to hang outside my room for the first of school!
Thanks for checking out my fun VistaPrint loot!  I will *finally* have some classroom photos up soon, so check back!

Saturday, August 6, 2011

First Steps...

I'm taking my first steps into the blogging world!  I've been following blogs for probably close to a year and finally decided to try my hand at it.  So I figure I should start with a bit on an introduction.  

My name is Samantha and I am a kindergarten teacher in Oklahoma.  This year will be my third and I am very excited! The first year was about making it to the end and my second year was about getting more comfortable.  But this year I feel like I really have a true teaching style and I'm actually branching out and doing things different from my teammates!  Anyway, I am 29 and engaged (getting married Sept. 29, 2012!).  I love bad tv shows, the color orange, being crafty and teaching!

This summer I joined everyone in the pinterest rage and fell in love with some crafty school projects.  Here are a few that I did for my classroom.  Please excuse the picture quality; photography has never been one of my creative excursions.

My crate seats!  I <3 them!
This is a close up of my fabric.  Cute letters!

I made these initials for my teammates.  I love how they turned out!

I made the wreath for me since my initial will be changing after I get married.
It's not the best wreath but it's good enough!
So thanks for stopping by my new little blog.  Feel free to leave suggestions for improvements :)