Winner! And Saturday Ramblings

Good afternoon everyone! I am having a lazy Saturday, playing on the computer. My mind is whirling trying to think of things I'll need for the first few weeks of school. To be honest, trying to think back to last August is hard! Part of me wants to play ostrich and not even think about school until at least August, but I am trying to ignore that part.

But, onto something more pleasant:

Lisa from Learning is Something to Treasure won my Texas Giveaway! I will be mailing her the Cowgirl Clipboard and Texas goodies :) Speaking of clipboards... I've been on a roll with them! Check out some of the ones I finished this week:

 Aren't the sock monkeys sweet?
 This one has lots of words of affirmation that make me smile!
This one is a mini clipboard, the picture is a bit washed out, the paper is much more green.

I love making them and have several more in the works - I do them in stages - I cover them all one night, then the next I do the trimming, the next I put the ribbons on etc. Since I've become addicted to The Mentalist lately and they keep showing marathons I've got a bunch of episodes dvr'd. So whenever I sit down to watch I grab a clipboard to work on. Tonight I'm putting the ribbons on a farm one, a mini pink board, and an ocean waves board. My only problem is that I now have way more clipboards than I could ever use! I'm going to make a set for my kinders to use for Write the Room, but those will all be foresty to match my "Where the Wild Things Are" theme. I also give these as gifts to my coworkers to match their classroom themes, but even still, since I have a stack of clipboards in the closet I'm going to be wading in fancy boards pretty soon! You'll probably see them for giveaway pretty regularly lol!

I am thrilled to announce that I will be guest blogging over at Castles and Crayons next Thursday! Kelli is having a whole week of guest bloggers and she's also giving away 28 prizes! Head over to her blog to leave a comment before the 4th to enter!

Alright, I am off to work on some center signs and some sort of freebie for when I guest blog for Kelli - if you have any ideas for me let me know! And, if you feel like giving me some virtual love, please Rustle up a Response below and let me know what you're up to this Saturday!

Picture Book Math Linky Party! (Freebie!)

 First up - don't forget to enter my giveaway, it ends soon! Just click the picture to go to that post :)

Yesterday I tried to combat my LTT by attending a webinar from Marygrove College. If you're not sure what LTT is, head over to Going Nutty for the full story -  basically it stands for Lack of Teachery Thoughts. Some days it's really hard to sit down at the computer and come up with something interesting to blog about!

Anyways, I saw this free webinar about Picture Perfect Math and decided to tune in. It was kind of fun to listen in - like a  talk show just for teachers! They had some good resources that I hadn't used before and recommended a few books that I don't have yet, so it was well worth the time!

I'm considering going back to school to get my Masters - it's the only way to get a pay raise in my district as all of the step-increases for years of experience are on indefinite hiatus - basically someone with 5 years in the district makes the same as a year 1 person!

I'm just not sure that I could continue teaching, wifeing, mothering and blogging while going back to school (yes I know wifeing isn't a word, but there should be some kind of word for it since it really is a big responsibility!) Not to mention I really don't feel like adding even more to  my student loan bills! Decisions, decisions!

Anyways, I looked up some of the books that they talked about and put them together here for you in case you're wanting to increase your math library too:

There were also a few websites that were interesting - - this one is kind of cute, maybe a little advanced for kinders, but I do like the "Exactly how old are you?" activity which calculates how old you are down to the second, the "Polygon Playground" which would be great for patterns and symmetry, and the Elapsed Time calculator - I have 1 month, 14 days, 20 hours and 51 minutes before I am officially back at work! - fabulous lesson for getting students to count without manipulating objects - using tally marks, drawings, etc. - you can search by grade level for online activities that would be fabulous for whole group lesson on the smartboard or for individual practice on student computers. - this site lists more picture book by math skill!

I'd love to turn this into a linky party! Do you have any picture books that you love to use for math instruction? Any websites that  are your go-to sites for math instructions ideas and activities? Please link up below!
(the super cute frame is from The 3am Teacher of course!)

Of course I can't throw a party without having favors, so click the picture below to get your freebie! I plan to use it along with the "Chicka Chicka 123" book, it's a fun little matching activity that we'll use in a pocket chart!

To Bee Continued

18 Wonderful Bloggers teamed up with me to create a continuous story over the next few weeks. Each day one new blogger will add to the saga. Click the next button to read what happens next...
Make sure to check out the blogs listed at the end of the post.

I had a big oops and totally forgot about getting my part of the story out! This is a fabulous idea from Michelle over at The 3Am Teacher. It's actually something my family does around the dinner table sometimes - one of us will start the story and then pass it to the next person. Michelle had the brilliant idea of making it a blog hop! I was supposed to write mine on Saturday but since I was at the marriage retreat it totally slipped my mind! Thankfully the next person in line, Allie from The Gypsy Teacher forgot as well and when she remembered she came over to remind me too! So, I recommend heading to the beginning of the story, or at the very least the segment right before mine. 

The 3AM Teacher   MsT3     Aril  Wolfelicious                              

Classroom Management in Kindergarten

Classroom Routines for Classroom Community 

I think the most important classroom management tip is to focus on building classroom community. And yet, it's also one of the most vague statements.  A community is built on relationships, but how do you build a relationship with a child when you have 20+ others also wanting your attention AND you still have to teach lessons?! The key that I've found is to introduce little "I see you" rituals throughout the day. These are moments when the students KNOW that you are focused on them and interested in what they have to say. Sometimes its during morning greetings, when I anticipate which greeting they're going to pick because I know Isabella always goes for the high five or Asher always wants a fist bump. It might be at the end of the day during our farewell ritual when I tell them goodbye in a special way. Sometimes its during calendar time when I ask about a sibling or let them tell about a trip or activity they did. It might be during writing time when I let them choose to make a card for their parent's birthday and spend a moment chatting with them about dad's favorite colors and helping them fold the construction paper. It's definitely when I rotate around during free play and participate in their game - eating fake food, taking care of a baby doll or rolling a marble through a Lego maze. These little moments add up throughout the day for most children, and they feel seen and loved. 

Today I'm sharing these FREE Rhyming Farewells: 

My students leave out my back door, so right beside it I have my farewells posted. Each child gets to pick a farewell for me to say to them as they leave. They look forward to the ritual and often spend those last few moments in line discussing with their friends which farewell they'll pick. Some students choose the same farewell all year long, others try out a new one every day, some go in order from the top of the list down and still others have a couple of favorites that they rotate through.

Not only is it a great end-of-day routine, it helps with rhyming and reading as well! Since the farewells are always by the back door, students frequently go over to look at them - sounding out the words or copying them down for write the room. When I first introduce the farewells to my kinders, I gather them at carpet and show them each one and discuss that they all rhyme. Sometimes later in the year I notice that they'll glance back at the farewells when we're doing rhyming activities. I have quite a few ELL students, so we need all the rhyming we can get in our day!

I usually post up two sheets at the beginning of the year and then add the next two after the first semester. This helps to prevent my kinders from being overwhelmed by choices in the beginning of the year and also refreshes the ritual midway through the year. 

I hope your students enjoy these Fun Farewells as much as mine always do! Taking those few minutes at the end of the day to reconnect with each child as you say goodbye is an easy activity for building classroom community! 

Made-it Monday + a Giveaway!

I had a great time at the Gaylord Texas Resort down in Grapevine TX this weekend. Our marriage retreat covered the 8 Habits of Successful Marriages. The most interesting part for me was discovering our love languages - my husband and I are total opposites and it helped us to learn about those differences!

The hotel was gorgeous - here's the view from our balcony of the indoor courtyard:
Here are some of my favorite memories:
We were walking up the sidewalk to the hotel, and my two older boys were in front of us. They got to the crosswalk and my 8 year old started to cross. My 10 year old threw out his arm in front of his brother in that classic "mom" move - you know when you're in the car and have to put on your brakes hard and your arm naturally goes up in front of your passenger? - he had seen a car coming down the street and his first instinct was to make sure that his brother didn't step into the crosswalk! I just loved that example of brotherly love!

Speaking of brotherly love, my middle child is outweighed by his younger brother by at least 10lbs. Still, he's got that older brother mentality, so when it looked like my youngest was having difficulties while swimming, Tommy swam over and carried him to safety. Granted, my youngest wasn't really in danger (especially since I was right there) but Tommy wasn't taking any chances lol!

My husband and I also had a "date night" on Saturday since day care was provided. We headed over to the hotel's nightclub because they had an 80's band playing. We have not been to a club in 3 years, so it was interesting to see that scene again - definitely not something I'm missing lol! As I sat on the balcony, talking with a friend's wife while the guys made a drink run, a group of people stopped right in front of our couch. We watched in curiosity as one of the men got down on one knee and proposed! Their friends were taking pictures with their iphones and I just know that I am now in the background of all their engagement pics ;P  Since the girl and the guy both had to juggle their drinks while putting on the ring, and the girl didn't seem entirely sure what was going on, I'm not sure if they even remembered getting engaged the next day!

Anyways, I did miss being able to blog and stalk this weekend, so when we were leaving I picked up a few items in the gift store. I didn't have anyone at home to buy souvenirs for, so I thought why not have a giveaway?!
Texas coffee, Texas Chicken Seasoning, Texas mints and a candle made in Tyler, TX!

This morning I also made a Hobby Lobby run so I could create a Cowgirl clipboard! I'm linking it up to Monday Made-it over at 4th Grade Frolics:

I took a regular clipboard from Walmart and spray painted the back and sides with silver:

Then I used my handy dandy Mod Podge and a sponge brush to adhere some neat denim scrap paper to the front:
 I also gave the paper a mod podge coat (or two!)
 Once the Mod Podge dried, I flipped the clipboard over and used an exacto knife to trim the edges.

 I took the scraps and finished the top of the clipboard, again putting another layer of Mod Podge.

Next I picked some coordinating ribbon. I used 3 colors and I chose to do an ABBC pattern since the blue was sheer. I cut it into pieces about 3 inches long - about 16 pieces of pink and cream and double that for the blue. Then I just tied the ribbon onto the metal of the clipboard:

Next I took some fun cowgirl stickers and arranged them to my liking on the board before sticking them down and painting a final coat of Mod Podge over the entire thing:

 Didn't it come out cute?!

So now I'm going to have a Texas Giveaway! To win this little prize package, just follow the rafflecopter instructions. Good luck!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Oh! I was reminded today that my blog is up for a Fascination Award. Normally I wouldn't ask for votes, but it just so happens that the winner will be declared on July 2nd which is my birthday! So, if you've enjoyed my blog and would like to help me win a great birthday present, please click the image below and vote for me :) 

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