Thursday, May 31, 2012

Organization Day 3 (Freebies)

I had some requests for the theme labels from yesterday so I went ahead and made them into a pdf that you can get here for free! If there are any other themes you want let me know and I'll see what I can come up with! In case you missed it, here's what they look like:

Also, if you'd like to get some binder labels, Laura over at Kinder Kraziness made some and is offering them for free!

Today's organizational task was putting the labels on the boxes and starting to put everything into the boxes.
I am going to try to keep my beginning of the year themes upstairs in my computer room closet for easy access. This means I'll have to rotate boxes at some point in the year, but that's what husbands are for, right?

I also played with spray paint today! There are two things I like about spray paint -1) they card you when you buy it at Walmart which always makes me giggle. And 2) it's super easy so even I can't mess it up! I sprayed my clothespins and then organized them because this year I was constantly searching for my different colored pins. I used the 7 tier behavior chart and every time a student ends the day on the top color they got a sticker on their clothespin. After 5 stickers they got a new pin in a different color. I underestimated my kiddos last year - they worked for those pins lol. Last year I started with a plain wooden pin, then they earned a bronze, then a silver and then a gold. I meant for the gold to be the last clip and didn't think many would get it, but I had some that even went beyond so in the 3rd Quarter I was frantically buying more clothespins and trying to figure out what could top gold! Thus I added more colors this year. Oh and I'm changing the stickers to hearts or stars drawn on the clip with a Sharpie because the stickers were forever falling off and getting lost.

Here are my clips for the year:
 After a plain clip they earn their green clip.

 Then they earn a blue clip.
 Next is purple
 Then bronze.
 Silver.
 And finally gold!

I decided to change up my clip chart to match my "Where the Wild Things Are" theme, so look for that in the next day or two. I ordered mine from Vistaprint last year when they were having all the specials, so that's what I'll hopefully do again this year. I got the small banner size and that fits 3 clip charts so I just cut apart the charts and gave the extras to my neighbor teachers. This year since 3 of us are doing the "Wild Things" theme it works out perfectly!


Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Freebies & Oraganization Day 2

Kleinspiration has a great link going with tons of bloggers linking to freebies on their blogs! Head on over to check it out! For my freebies, just click here to go to all the freebies I've ever posted on my blog - isn't it nice having them all in one spot? Make sure to follow my TPT store too as that's where I put all my freebies now! Now onto Day 2 of Organization Mode:

Today I woke up and did not want to organize at all! Luckily my sweet daughter who has culinary aspirations made me an awesome omelet and my sweet son made me a huge mug of coffee. After we ate breakfast and cleaned up a little I sat down to organize. I had to think long and hard about this one. How do I need to organize my materials - what will be the most effective way? Since I have limited space and part of it is indoors and part of it in the garage, what am I going to put in which location? What am I taking back to school with me and what am I going to leave at home? As you can imagine, answering these questions took a bit of time - I did a ton of blog surfing while I thought :)

Here's what I came up with:
Since I teach by themes, I'm going to organize my boxes accordingly rather than by month or skill. For example: generally I teach Apples in the Fall sometime and thus all of my apple stuff has beginning of the year skills. Some months I use one theme for the whole month, other themes are just a week or two long. It really depends on a) how much stuff I can find on that theme and b) how much I enjoy the theme. I've taught themes I didn't like in the past and it wasn't a fun experience for anyone, so now I skip over themes I don't like - gotta leave something for other teachers to cover, right? So, here's my theme list, arranged somewhat in chronological order:

So, that's about 24 themes which means I need 24 storage containers - some larger than others! What I put in my containers is varied - generally there are classroom decorations for each theme - cut outs, window clings, a tablecloth for housekeeping, maybe a stuffed animal or two, all of the math/literacy stuff that corresponds to that theme, any special t-shirts or apparel items that I wear exclusively during that theme, and any art items that solely relate to the theme, including templates and samples. My books I have organized ala this idea:
(click the picture to be taken to the post about it which links to the book dividers freebie)

So now I don't have to worry about fitting theme books into each theme box - which saves me a ton of space in each container! So today what I decided to do was to create a label for each theme, so I can see at a glance what is in each box. Some may call this procrastination, but I promise I will start the real organizing soon! I used 3 1/3" x 4" Avery labels which come 6 to a page. Large enough to see easily, but small enough to be economical when printing.
It took me forever to make them because it's in Word and I've grown used to the ease of using Power point instead. Still, they came out rather cute I think :) If you'd like a set, let me know and I'll see about making them into a PDF, right now I'm headed to bed - I think tomorrow will be our first pool day of the summer :)


Edited: Click here to download the labels for free in my TPT store :)


Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Organizing Day 1

I thought about taking Before and After pictures, but honestly, you don't want to see my mess. Don't get me wrong, I'm not worthy of Hoarders or anything, but it's still not something I'm proud of. My Dutch mother is probably rolling in her grave about the state of my closets/garage! She was one of those "so clean you could eat off the floor" type of people while I'm more of a "I've got a full-time job and 4 kids, I'll get around to cleaning that some other time!" person. Of course she was a stay-at-home mom even when all of her kids were school aged, so it had to have been easier to keep a clean, organized house. Not to mention she didn't have a mini Mount Rushmore of teaching supplies to clean and organize!


Alright, enough about my mother. On to my day at Walmart - I say day because I ended up going to two Walmarts. The nearest Target is 1 1/2 away, so don't judge me for going to Walmart instead :P

I started off at the regular Walmart, spent an hour wandering aisles and then decided that the "fancy" Walmart might have a better selection so I headed there. Does your town have a "fancy" and a "trashy" Walmart?  Ours are seriously totally different - one is clean and has more selection while the other is dirty and has more "clearance" merchandise.
Unfortunately I live closer to the trashy one, so I stopped there first, but didn't have much luck. So then I headed across town and went to the nicer Walmart. Once there I spent at least an hour - most of that in the container aisle, trying to find lids to match the various containers, or trying to find containers to match lids. Seriously, there were a ton of lids that just didn't fit on any of the containers. I debated colors and sizes and types and stood there in a dither because I had no clue how many to buy and the sizes I needed. In the end I went with four 58qt blue containers. I already have some that are about that size, although in a myriad of different colors, so hopefully I can fit everything.

I also bought this baby which only took me 20 minutes to put together and is super cute! I think I'll put it by my desk and use 5 of the drawers to hold Monday-Friday work and the other 5 drawers to hold forms and Literacy 1st  and Title I files.

So that's where I stand - Day 1 and no organizing done, just containers bought lol! Oh! My Happy Nappers came in - Best Buy had a deal on them a couple weeks ago and I ordered 6 just because I couldn't pass up the price - I figured they might become reading buddies or something in my classroom. I didn't count on my family loving them so much though! You would have thought it was Christmas when I opened the box! My husband claimed the unicorn to bring to work for when he takes a power nap at lunchtime. He has a thing with unicorns, so it was no surprise that he wanted that one. My 4 children claimed the monkey, dog, dragon and penguin though which leaves me with the ladybug which is perfect because I collect ladybugs! Here's a pic of my kids with their new pets:
Yes I know my youngest looks crazy in this pic - but trying to take a picture where all 4 kids are a) looking at the camera, b) smiling and c) not putting  up bunny ears takes a small miracle. By the way, do you like the boys' summer haircuts? Daddy buzzed them all last night. It's topping 95 degrees here already so they needed the cooler hairdos!

Monday, May 28, 2012

Summer Agenda and a Pete Freebie!

Lately my house is all things Pete. Pete the Cat of course. My 5 year old loves Pete. Which is rather astonishing since he's in that stage where almost everything is disdained (like that commercial with the girl that keeps saying "That's for babies!"). Luckily, though, Pete continues to be a favorite and I often hear Joshua singing the story as he plays. Which is really cute because he has some speech difficulties so "My buttons, my buttons" sounds more like "My buh ins, my buh ins" which for some reason is extra endearing. I tried to get a video of him singing/reading the book but he got camera shy :(
Anyways, we talk about Pete's message a lot. About being gracious even when things don't go your way, about picking the things that you get upset about. One of our family's sayings is "Fussing gets you nothing." meaning "No matter how hard you cry, it won't fix anything." That one has been a hard lesson for my youngest to learn. Of course he's allowed to cry when he's sad or injured, but crying because he doesn't get a toy or candy doesn't get him any where and he's slowly coming to realize that lol!
The other day I was over visiting Kinderglynn's TPT store and saw her very cute Pete the Cat posters for "You get what you get and you don't throw a fit". They are adorable! But, I don't use that phrase very much. However, I was inspired to create a sign that would suit my needs better, so I made two that I'd like to share with anyone else who doesn't use the "throw a fit" phrase! Just click the image to download for free over at TPT!


Moving on, I've decided that I need a plan for my summer, otherwise I'll let it slip away, fluttering from one  project to another without ever getting anything finished completely! So! Here's what I aim to take on this summer:

The rest of May until June 14th:
Organizing, organizing, organizing! I am going to spend a small fortune on boxes and containers since I never do and then regret not being able to put things away properly because I don't have a container for it. I figure to tackle at least one box a day, thus whittling down the pile in the garage, making my husband happy :) I am going to go for the hyper-organized look and hope that I can sustain it through out the year. Not sure yet if I'll carry my "Where the Wild Things Are" theme over into that - probably not because then I'd have to change all my labels if I change themes!


June 16th - July 1st:
Creating new units for the new year! This will be my time to work on integrating Common Core, and creating new activities to fully implement it in my classroom.


July 3rd - August 6th:
Lamination, cutting and creating! These will be the best days because I can do this at night while I watch TV with the kids, which leaves my days open completely! I know I'll have a ton of stuff to cut out and laminate, plus I'll be making tissue paper decorations for my classroom like this:

August 6th - August 13th:
Readying my room! We get to come in early this year since our School is not hosting the Summer Lunch Program or Summer school. If I have my old room I'll be repainting the bulletin boards and magnet board, then setting up my "Where the Wild Things Are" decor. If I have the new room I'll be in 7th heaven!


We start back for in-service on August 13th! Oh! I forgot to add that I will attend a 4 day Great Expectations course in July, plus I will be participating in the book study over at Mrs. Will's Kindergarten. She is hosting the book study for:

I had so much fun last summer reading through The End of Molasses Classes and sharing my thoughts, that I can't wait for my book to get here to begin studying it!

Alright, so that's my plan - will you help to hold me accountable please?

Sunday, May 27, 2012

Musings

I wish I could say that I have been busy organizing my teacher stuff, or doing some fabulous activity with my family, or coming up with an amazing unit, but I can't.
Nope.
Not me. I've been watching TV (why is there nothing on in the summer?!) reading books (none of my favorite authors have anything new out!) and attempting not to eat everything in sight (my kids expect me to take them to the pool this week - ack!)
I have created a new Pinterest board for all things "Wild" as in "Where the Wild Things Are" which is going to be the classroom theme for my room, the other kindergarten room AND the Transitional First room next year! We have decided to create 4 foot replicas of each character to display in the hallway. Thank goodness my husband has agreed to help out, otherwise my part would be looking very sad indeed! Aside from that, I still have to come up with some classroom decorations, so I've been pinning everything I've come across - I'm starting to think that a) this is going to be a hard theme to pull together, b) this is going to be a ton of work this summer and c) it's going to look awesome!
Thanks to Nikki over at Melonheadz, I've got some great "Where the Wild Things Are" clipart to play with, so look for some freebies along those lines soon! Now I just have to figure out how to make all these gorgeous signs I keep seeing:



They are gorgeous, but I can't afford to buy all that I want so I'll have to figure out how to make them - remember, we're decorating 3 classrooms! If there's a tutorial for these out there somewhere I'd love you forever if you point me in the right direction! I may have to pass this project on to my teaching partner who is infinitely creative (even if she can't figure out how to open her email!).

I have found some fabulous units on TPT already, so those are on my wishlist - hopefully with my birthday coming up in July I will get some gift card love :)  After spending a year is 1st grade I find I am forgetting what the beginning of kindergarten looks like, so I will have to spend some time studying my CCSS so I can plan my unit.

Speaking of the new year...I am already nervous about starting over with a new group of kiddos. You know, when you have a class for 9 months, and you get to know them, and love them, and figure out their quirks and strengths and all the uniqueness that makes them yours, it is so hard to let go and start over again with loving a new group.

It's kind of like when I became a mother for the third time. The first time, with my daughter I fell in love instantly the moment I saw her. My next child was my first son and it was easy to love him too. With my third child, I worried if I would love him as much as my other two because I already had a son and a daughter.

To be brutally honest, I didn't. Not at first. For the first 3 days or so, it was very difficult. I had a little bit of post-partum blues going, but mostly it was that he wasn't like the other two at all. The other two were dark haired, pale little bundles of sweetness. My third child came out at 10lbs 5 oz, brick red skin and wild orange hair. He was too big, too red and too not what I was expecting. Still, I struggled through, figuring if I faked it I would eventually make it and sure enough after about 3 days I looked down at him in my arms and I felt that overwhelming moment of pure love and connection. He was mine, I loved him and that was that.

Well, every year I get that same feeling all over again. I want my kids back - the ones I know, who know me. The ones who I've rubbed along with for 9 months until all of our rough edges are worn away and we fit like puzzle pieces. Instead I get to watch those pieces of me walk into another room to rub against a new teacher, while I'm face with a room full of strangers with rough edges I can't even begin to imagine.

Of course, along with those rough edges are surprising depth and kindness and creativity. Moments of hilarity, genius and love. I know that eventually I'll come to love this new group of little people, the way I've loved the ones who have gone before them. But, at first, I'll have to fake it.

Wow, can you tell I'm missing school already? The past couple of days I've felt unfinished, like I forgot to turn off the stove or misplaced something important.  I love the summer time since I get to spend it with my family, but I think the beginning is also slightly depressing after the fullness of the school year. Send me some comment love to let me know I'm not alone, please?

Saturday, May 26, 2012

Alphabet Songs

Have you heard of Have Fun Teaching? They have some terrific songs/videos for teaching letters and sight words! I stumbled upon them by chance on youtube when I was looking for educational videos to show my kinders during transitions and to get them up and dancing sometimes. One of the things I love is that the Alphabet Songs identify the letters as either consonants or vowels, which makes teaching them a lot easier! I actually had a first grader come from another school district this year and he had no clue what a vowel was! He knew the letters, he just didn't realize that some were vowels and some were consonants! Luckily our youtube access was still up so I added our letter videos back into our day as review and he caught right on! Here's the letter K video for you to check out:

Isn't it fun? There were times when the whole class would be working quietly on something and then suddenly one child would start singing an Alphabet Song and soon the whole class would join in - still working but singing a catchy little song! I love that the songs hold my students' interest so well!

I mentioned youtube access right? Well, during testing time, our youtube access is cut off! I know, how unfair, right?! We also can't watch streaming videos so all those great animal/bird cams are off limits too! It's something to do with bandwidth and our lack thereof. Well, until May 31st, Have Fun Teaching is doing a great giveaway for a free download of their alphabet songs if you post about them. This is super for me so that I can access the songs through out the year - even during testing! I wouldn't give them a plug if I didn't already like/use them, so definitely check it out and if you're a blogger you can check out the giveaway here.

Alright, on to other stuffs:

My Lazy Day today turned into a Migraine Day. Guess all that stress from the last week finally caught up to me! I spent the day mostly in bed with the covers pulled up over my eyes. Over the counter meds were not helping, but luckily I only get migraines once in a blue moon so I haven't bothered to get prescription stuff. Once the migraine left I got on the computer and finished up a few Roll & Cover games for my TPT store - I just added Fairy Tales, Nursery Rhymes and Outer Space! I will be rolling out new units for all three themes soon, so be on the lookout for freebies! It is now 4am and I am on the computer, getting caught up with blogs since I can't sleep now after being in bed all day! Since I was out in bloggy land, I found a few things you should know about:

Linky Parties! There are two book linkys out there right now and I am going to link this post up to both!


Run! Miss Nelson's Got The Camera! is having an "All Time Favorite Read Alouds" party:

and Jeannie from Kindergarten Lifestyle is having a "Picture Book Party":

I am going to feature three of my favorite authors for these linky parties:

Pretty much anything by Mo Willems is on my list of favorites - if you love Pigeon as much as I do check out my post here that links to a freebie! All of his books are great to read aloud - I particularly like the Elephant & Piggie series for helping my students read with emotion!

Judy Schachner is also at the top of my list with all of her Skippyjon Jones books! He is so funny and my ELL students love the little bits of Spanish in the stories! Check out my parting gift to my firsties this year:
Yep, each of them got an "I am Skippyjon Jones" book! I got them from Scholastic and they came in 10 packs which was great! There's a new book coming out in October too which looks like a ton of fun!


Anna Dewdney's "Llama llama" series is also fabulous - so loveable! I identify with Mama Llama so much! These books are lots of fun to read aloud too - there's always a gentle lesson that the kids pick up on easily, yet it doesn't feel as if it's being shoved down your throat or preachy. I've already pre-ordered the new one coming out in September!

Now run over and check out the parties - tons of other book ideas are flying around bloggyville! I always like to stock up during the summer so I have some new reads for Back to School!

Wait! Before you go, check out this fun giveaway too:

Lisa from Learning Is Something To Treasure is having a giveaway for two $25 TPT gift certificates! Who couldn't use that?! It ends at midnight on Saturday, so hurry over to enter!


Thursday, May 24, 2012

Guess What???

I'm teaching kindergarten next year! One of our K teachers resigned, so I get her spot :). I am thrilled to be going back to kindergarten! I might miss the independence of my firsties and their superior writing skills, but I was meant to be a kindergarten teacher.
This was me when I was told I would get to move back to Kindergarten.

Now I just have to work on convincing my principal that the new rooms should go to kindergarten instead of 1st grade. I did mention to her today that she should move kindergarten down to the nice new addition, to which she replied "Write me a proposal." Hah! She thinks I won't! I am going to write a great proposal about the need for kindergarten to have the larger rooms for our kinesthetic learners etc. I can already picture my centers and how I'll finally have space for everything I've wanted to do!

Since I am now definitely on Team Kindergarten I also got to discuss the new theme for next year. The Transitional-First grade teacher is going in with us on a "Where The Wild Things Are" theme for our  classrooms - including plywood cutouts of the characters and trees to line the hallway! Now I just have to be sweet to my husband so he'll agree to make us some neat stuff! He's very creative and likes to use his airbrush, so hopefully I won't have to bribe him with too much - a couple Oreo Blasts maybe lol!
By the way, my classroom was cleared, my records put up and lesson plan book turned in by 4pm! That is an amazing first for me - usually I am still standing in the middle of a mess while everyone else is driving away for the summer! Not sure how I did it, but I actually got everything packed and cleaned with time to spare this year. Maybe I'm learning!

Now I just have to unload my car and start organizing everything I brought home with me. On Saturday. I told my husband that I was sorry, but tomorrow is going to be my Lazy Day - pajamas, TV, computer games, and Hazelnut coffee. I'll tackle the housekeeping and teacher-stuff-organizing starting on Saturday thank you very much - I need a day off first!

Speaking of time off, I can't wait to start creating some new stuff for Kindergarten! I'm going to be working on Nursery rhymes at first, and of course "Where The Wild Things Are". But I need a plan for after that. Any suggestions?

Oh! And just because I've lost a lot of sleep over this, I made an award for someone. You see, when I heard she hadn't been given an award for the amazing bubble blowing that she did, it really hurt my heart. Golly gee willikers, it's unfair! When someone puts in that kind of time and dedication to a craft, there should be some type of recognition! Since her school didn't see fit to reward her, I decided to create an award for her. Thus, without further ado, I hereby present Miss Squirrels with the "Most Amazing Bubble Blower Award" :
Graphics courtesy of Resale Clipart.

There, all is right with the world once more! Alright, I'm off to get a headstart on my Lazy Day by lounging in bed and catching up on all the shows I wasn't able to watch this crazy week. If you're not out for the summer yet, hang in there!

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

The Year Is Over!

The year is finally over. All of my kiddos have gone home for the summer and I am sitting at my desk, procrastinating. I have to have everything packed and cleaned and hauled out of here, plus I have to make sure the cumulative folders are complete and file away the last of my paperwork. But I'm sitting here procrastinating because I am drained. This was possibly the longest day ever.
I did not shed one tear as I pushed the kids out the door waved goodbye to my kids. I was happy to see them go to be honest. I love every stinking one of them, but I am done! I have also made my decision - I want back in kindergarten now! So badly that I am willing to give up the cool new room! Unfortunately I've heard through the grapevine that my principal thinks I'm a phenomenal 1st grade teacher and doesn't want me moving back down to K. Hmmmm, thinking back, I should have screwed up an observation or ticked off some parents or something!
So, here I sit, trying to figure out a way to get back down to K (and still get the new room too!). I am going to get up and start cleaning/packing in a moment, but here's a picture tour of our last day:

Here's the goodies I gave to my kiddos for the last day:

They got an activity pad, new pencil, balloon, bookmark, and sucker, plus a crazy straw, a Kool-Aid packet and a Skippy Jon Jones book! I got the cute little tag from Teri @ A Cupcake for the Teacher, which saved me a ton of time!

 My son had his Kindergarten Superhero Play today, doesn't he look cute? His teacher made the capes, shirts and masks!

 My class got to go see the presentation, which they enjoyed!

 My son even had a line: "A hero would never complain!" which he delivered with gusto :)

Afterwards they had a super hero word challenge - check out this cute little "Onomato Man" with all of his onomatopoeia words!


They also had a sight word contest:


Did I mention his teacher's SuperHero name is "DoubleVision"? She has eyes in the back of her head!


After the kindergarten production we went back to class and had our BragTag ceremony and everyone got to wear their necklace home:
 This little guy was just as proud of himself for earning 3 as some of the others were for earning more!

 I can't wait for next year when I can start off with my BragTags right from day 1! Just think how heavy that necklace will be lol!

 We also cleaned off our tables with shaving cream, watched Land Before Time and ate cupcakes!

Okay, I've had a moment to catch my breath and recover from today's whirlwind. Now I miss my kids and I want them back! I can't believe I'm going to go from seeing them every day to missing them for months! Some of them won't come back since our school is so transient, so I may never know what becomes of my babies over the summer. Here come the tears....

Monday, May 21, 2012

You're Invited! Summer Vacation Linky Party!

"There's 104 days of summer vacation, then school comes along just to end it. The annual problem of our generation is finding a good way to spend it!"

If you got that song reference then you've either got youngsters at home or you're a consummate Disney fan. I started watching the show due to my kids, but every once in a while I watch it even if they're not in the room! There's just something about Phineas and Ferb that appeals to me - mainly their extreme imaginations! Of course, my summer break isn't quite 104 days long, but it's close enough!

Anyways, if you've followed my blog for a while, you probably already know that I love linky parties. Can't join enough of them! It's always so interesting to see what different people will have to say about the same topic! I join them all the time, but I haven't hosted one in AGES. Mostly because the last one I hosted was back when I was starting out blogging and I didn't have very many attendees! But, I'm going to jump back into the linky party pool and hope that some of you will join me! Please don't leave me hanging! I'd hate to be the only one at my party!

My linky party topic is "How will you spend your summer vacation?"

I actually had a little one asked me that in the hallway today and I replied "Sleep!" which made her giggle. Actually I will be spending a lot of time at the pool with my four little fish (aka kids), then heading to San Antonio, TX to visit Sea World (big shout out to them for their military appreciation program!). My husband used up most of his leave time on our recent trip to California for his sister's wedding, so we'll be making the most of the long weekends this summer. Six Flags Over Texas will see a lot of us as I live with a family of coaster fanatics. There will be lots of day trips to OKC for the Zoo and the Science Museum too! One thing I'm really looking forward to is Great Expectations training in July. It's 4 days long and so much inspiration and fun is packed into those 4 days! I always come away eager for the new school year to begin! Of course I will do the prerequisite organizing and getting ready for the new year, plus some Pinterest-inspired crafts, but I'm mainly going to relax and enjoy my kids - my niece just got accepted into college and it hit me that my oldest only has 6 more years before she goes to college too! I intend to make the most of our summer times from now on!

Alright, please grab my cute little picture and link up - we probably can't rival Phineas and Ferb for creativity, but I'm betting we all have a lot of plans anyways! Who knows, we may get some great ideas from each other!  If you don't have a blog, feel free to Rustle Up a Response below and let me know your plans!




Sunday, May 20, 2012

Dinosaur Writiing (Freebie!) & a Dilemma

On Friday we finished writing about dinosaurs, and I thought I would share some samples of our work, as well as the paper we used:
 This little guy decided to make his dinosaur look more like a dragon since it's name means "Dragon King". You can see he started out writing very small, because he wanted to make sure he had enough room for everything. He looked up his dinosaur in one of our non-fiction books and found out some facts about it which he incorporated into his writing!
 This little girl focused more on the actual activity - she's not much into dinosaurs but she did like the excitement of trying to get the skull out of the ice. You can see that she's still starting her sentences with "And" so that's something I need to improve next year.
 This little guy quoted facts from one of the books I read aloud - glad to see he was paying attention!
 This darling snuck her work into the "done" pile without coming to me for editing - which is alright since now you can see what an unedited piece of writing looks like in my class :) I think her 5th sentence is supposed to read "When dinosaurs die they leave fossils." I think this isn't bad for an unedited piece of work!
This little darling was a bit all over the place but I love that she thinks her sister is very intelligent! I can clearly hear her "voice" in this piece. The hearts on her i's are a new thing, not sure where she came up with that!


Alright, if you'd like the dinosaur writing papers, just click here to download them for free in my TPT store! I also found a new book at yesterday that I will be adding to this unit. It's hilarious and I am totally going to be making activities that go with it, so look for those this summer!

 





Alright, on to my dilemma.Here are a few pictures of it:

View from the front of the sink, cubbies and tons of cabinets!
 Window wall - look at those shelves!
 The cabinets at the end of the cubbie wall - look how much storage space there is! Everything could have it's own space and be tucked away neatly out of sight so no more clutter!
 View of the back wall - this room is huge! A SmartBoard will take up some of that whiteboard space once it's installed, but the bulletin boards on either side would still be free.
View of the front of the room - more whiteboard space! That would be perfect for a word work area I'm thinking!

Alright, so what's the dilemma? This room is mine..if...I agree to teach 1st grade again next year! Talk about holding out a carrot in front of me! Of course I want this gorgeous, huge, new room! But, do I want it enough to give up on teaching Kinder next year? I absolutely love teaching Kinder and I missed it so much this year, but teaching 1st wasn't all bad. I think that if I teach it again next year I might like it more since I am more prepared and have a better idea of what I'm doing. The main reason I wasn't crazy about teaching 1st is because I felt like I was behind the whole year (I got switched to it the day before school started so I never felt prepared) and I felt like I didn't do as good a job for my firsties as a more experienced 1st grade teacher would have (not that we actually have any of those hanging around, most people in our building are relative newbies like me anyways!),

So, do I agree to teach 1st again next year and get this fabulous room (oh the ideas I have for setting it up!) or do I stay in my perfectly fine if slightly shabby room and teach my adorable Kinders again?! My husband is advising me to go with the new room because I know what I'm doing (mostly!) in 1st now and he thinks it's more important to have a good 1st grade teacher than a a good kindergarten teacher (debatable!) so I would do more good as a 1st grade teacher. What do you think? Would you take the new room or keep the "raggedy" (as my husband puts it) room? Would you even let a new room sway your decision? I can't help feeling a bit materialistic...but it really is a great room! Rustle up a response below and give me some advise please!

Oh, and just for fun, here's a picture of my youngest who lost another tooth! He's now missing three at the top lol!
 
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