Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Please vote for my DonorsChoose Project through Sonic's Limeades for Learning

If you don't currently have a project through DonorsChoose and you have a free vote, please help me by voting for my current project to get lots of books for my classroom. Just click on the picture below or the link to take you to Sonic's Limeades for Learning. It's super fast & easy! You can vote everyday through the end of September. Also, you can get two extra voting codes if you make a purchase at Sonic. Vote codes are suppose to be on the bag sticker.

Thanks in advance!

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

A Peek Into Our 2011-2012 Classroom

School started last Wednesday and it seems like the first six days have flown by faster than ever! I'm so proud of my class this year! I think they might possibly be able to out talk an auctioneer on a good day, but I already feel like we are going to accomplish so much. That is such an exciting feeling!

I have student who is visually impaired this year, so I tried to keep my floor plan open so he would have an easier time with orientation and mobility. I spent the better part of last year arranging and rearranging my room to figure out a way that I could handle keeping it the same for the majority of this year. If I rearrange anything that he has to walk around, he will have to be reoriented his surroundings and I feel like that is something we need to avoid so we can spend as much time as possible teaching him academic and life skills.

There are a few blank areas and bookcase shelves that will be filled with environmental print, theme books, student book bags, magnet areas, pocket chart goodies, etc. So, don’t mistake the blankness for lack of a better idea for the space. Smile I didn’t go into detail explaining everything, but I would be happy to answer any questions you might have about our room.


Sorry this one is blurry. I didn’t realize it until I was getting ready to post it. The following two pictures are of some of our Braille materials and resources.


Monday, August 22, 2011

Highlights, The Mailbox & Physical Comedy {Totally at my expense!}

Today has been a crazy day! It was full of ups and downs {literally}. Therefore, my post is all over the place and out of order and just all around wonky. You have been warned!

I was so excited to get our Highlights order forms in the mail today. Does anyone else get anxious to get free products from Highlights like I do? Ha! I usually attach a note to our behavior slips telling parents what products we are working toward earning. How bad is that? Then, I give the kids a special sticker treat the following day if they return their order form with a yes or no response.

If you aren’t getting Highlights order forms, click here to read more about the program or to have them sent to your school. I even had my four year-old helping me out with the stickers on the forms. She thought it was great doing ‘teacher work’ and I was able to get something else done for a few minutes tonight.


This afternoon, I dropped my students off at recess and as I was walking back to my room with my Dr. Pepper can in hand, I slipped on water on the floor by the water fountain and fell. I did some kind of crazy splits and burned & bruised my knee, bruised my arm and pulled what felt like every muscle from my waist to my knees. I just sat there for a minute thinking I wasn’t going to be able to get up and I was even more concerned that I wasn’t going to be able to open my pop because it might spew all over the place. Luckily, two sweet teachers were in the hallway and quickly came to check on me.

Being a HUGE fan of physical comedy, I would have thought this was absolutely hilarious—if it happened to someone else! Ha! For me, not my best moment. It hurt so bad that I cried when I got to my room. Such a baby! Then, I had no sooner sat down to inspect the damage when the secretary. She already heard about it! The Principal, nurse, library aide and other teachers all came in. I got an ice pack, Tylenol and tons of offers to help get my kids. I declined insisting I was fine. All we could do was laugh.

The nurse had to fill out a report to document what had happened and the secretary and principal held up number scores as I walked by the office to pick my kiddos up from recess. They gave me a 10 and a 9.2. I was a little disappointed that the Principal gave me a 9.2 since she didn’t see it happen, so I offered to recreate the event for her for a second judgment. :)

Seriously, I feel like I won’t be able to walk tomorrow because my back and leg muscles are so achy, but it was all very funny! {AFTER the fact!} I am blessed to work with such wonderful teachers and staff members who were all so sweet and concerned—even if they did laugh!

On the way home from school, I was checking the mail and I had an envelope from The Education Center, Inc. with the cute little Mailbox emblem to the side. I couldn’t think for the life of me what it was for, until I opened it. A few months ago I had submitted an idea for one of their idea requests for snack time and now they will be publishing it!


I highly suggest that you check out the ideas they are looking for this month.  Click here to see the topics. Then, go here to submit your idea. It is definitely worth it if you love The Mailbox resource books and products.

If your idea is chosen to be published you can get a $20 gift certificate to use with The Mailbox catalog. Plus, they usually send you a copy of the magazine in which your idea is published.

This Monday is either an indicator of the insanity about to take place this week OR it could be that it will only get better! I’d like to think it’s the latter option! ;) Did anything crazy or exciting happen with you today?

Sunday, August 21, 2011

{A Shape Book} Printable Emergent Reader

Here’s a shape identification book, along with the sight word a.

How do you feel about posting student pictures online with full names included?

As I've been trying to catch up on everyone's fabulous blogs over the last few days, I've seen an increasing number of teachers posting photos of students with the child's full name included. As a teacher, I completely get how we want to show off our students and how proud we are of each of them. Plus, we do some pretty amazing things with our students. :) However, as a parent, it scares me to think predators could be looking at these photos and have all the information they need to find and lure our kids into a potentially dangerous situation. In the last few years, we quit putting name tags on our students during field trips for this very reason. When an adult knows a child's full name, a child might be more inclined to associate trust with identification.

Our school includes FERPA information in the student handbook and part of the federal law states that we can publish/print directory information without consent of the parent. However, the school has to make the FERPA information available to the families and give them a reasonable amount of time to request not to have their child's information included in directory information (i.e. name, address, grade, parents, etc.).

Many of us include our own names (full, first or last), our school, state, city and the grade we teach somewhere on our blogs. If we add a picture of a child with his/her first and last name and we've basically given someone all the information they need to find the child. I know there can be privacy issues with non-custodial parents, as well. In Kindergarten, we take an insane amount of pictures and include them on newsletters, online, on picture CD's at the end of the year, graduation slide shows, programs, etc. We hand out picture permission slips at Open House for parents to grant or deny permission to use their child's picture in print or other media sources.

I urge everyone to be careful about what you are posting in regards to your students and identifying information. Be sure to follow the policies and procedures set forth by your school district. 

How do you feel about posting pictures online with full student names? Does your school have a policy that you have to follow? Do you agree with it or disagree?

Saturday, August 13, 2011

I Can't Wait for Pete the Cat!

Mrs. Larremore at Chalk Talk: A Kindergarten Blog mentioned her Pete the Cat bundle arriving on her doorstep and I thought I shouldn't miss out on such a great deal. Now I'm anxiously awaiting my bundle, too! There's still time if you haven't gotten your copies.  Just scroll down to the near the bottom of the page to find the set.

There are so many great resources and videos online right now that go with these books. I'm so excited to use them in my room this year! Plus, if anyone purchases this deal from the following link, I will get credit. If I get two referrals before August 25th, I will do my best to order another set as a giveaway.

{Photo Source}
 For $19.99 + tax, you'll get the following bundle:
Offer expires Thursday, August 25th at 11 PM EST. 

Sunday, August 7, 2011

Huge Shout Out to Amy from Kute Klipboards by Amy!

I absolutely fell in love with the clipboard that How About Them Apples? is giving away in this post.
Photo Source: Kute Klipboards by Amy
So, I headed over to Kute Klipboards by Amy on Etsy. As if the clipboards weren't cute enough, I fell in love with the I {heart} teaching binder clips because they go tremendously well with our school colors and our new calendar planners the school provides. Who doesn't love matching accessories? :)

I sent a special request to have the words added upside down so the clips would read correctly when placed on our planners and Amy quickly said yes and had a reserved listing set up for me in no time! Amazing customer service! I ordered the clips this morning and Amy had them made this evening and they are ready to ship tomorrow (and the shipping was free, by the way). I am thrilled to be giving these as gifts to several co-workers at the beginning of the school year. 
Photo Source: Kute Klipboards by Amy
Love what you see? Kute Klipboards by Amy will be offering free shipping with a minimum purchase to all Lil' Country Kindergarten blog readers who like her shop on Etsy or one of her items. Just mention my blog when you place an order. Amy is a former teacher and now a stay-at-home mom. She knows what teachers like!

{Disclaimer: I am not getting reimbursed for this post. I genuinely feel gracious that Amy is providing such great service, affordable gifts and a product that is customized to fit my needs. I'm just one happy customer!}

Question of the Day {Graphing}

Photo Source: Amazon.com
Photo Source: Amazon.com

Photo Source: Amazon.com

I love graphing! I think it's because I'm a visual learner, but there's just something fun about seeing numbers being represented in such an easy to understand way, especially when there are lots of vibrant colors and die cut pictures involved! The first day of school we generally do a boys/girls graph and a How did you get to school? graph. I use the books above, along with a couple of others to help make connections later in the year.

When I was looking for more questions for graphing to use this year, I found lots of great resources and thought you might like them, too. I would like to start incorporating a daily graph or at least graph a couple of times a week. We could keep the graphs/charts out for students to use during math.

Really Good Stuff has two free graphing PDF files.
Please fill out the form below to share your favorite graphing links.

See responses from the above form here.

Friday, August 5, 2011

Create Your Own Button Slideshow

I don’t know about you, but this summer I think I’ve started following 50+ new blogs. I love everyone’s buttons, but honestly haven’t felt like I have enough room on my sidebar to show everyone off without my page being extremely long.

So, I searched for a way to add a slideshow for the buttons. I had to play with the code a little bit to get the buttons to be clickable links and to have them open in a new browser window. For now, this is what works for me. 

Obviously, it’s a little more work than just adding the buttons, but it saves a TON of room on your sidebar.

The code is below. Be sure not to change ANYTHING other than the text in red or it might now work for you.

<marquee direction="up">

<a href=LINK TO THE BLOG  target="_blank"><img src="LINK TO THE BLOG BUTTON IMAGE SOURCE" /></center>

<br />
<a href=LINK TO THE BLOG  target="_blank"><img src="LINK TO THE BLOG BUTTON IMAGE SOURCE" /></center></a>


I found all the code I needed by copying and pasting code from everyone’s ‘grab my button’ type boxes.

Check out the slideshow in the left sidebar. What do you think?

{By the way, if you don’t have a blog button, you need one! It’s a wonderful way for others to gain free exposure to your blog.}

Help! I need a creative way to introduce myself...

Next week we are having a parent night to introduce ourselves to the new Kindergarten parents, as well as, help them become familiar with our expectations of them and the expectations of their children. Each teacher has to come up with a fun way to introduce themselves. What would you do?

Graphic: www.scrappindoodles.com

Keep in mind, I am one of those people who fears public speaking worse than dying! :) I have absolutely zero trouble looking ridiculous in front of my students with my bad singing, horrible dancing and hideous drawings but it's just different! I don't feel judged by my students.

We can use props or whatever. Pretty much anything goes. 

Help! I need your creative ideas!