Saturday, July 28, 2012

What types of pocket charts do you use in your classroom?

If you are in need of new pocket charts this year and the charts from the Dollar Spot at Target aren't big enough for all your needs, you should check out some of the great prices on Amazon right now. Here are a few pocket charts that I found that I thought were pretty great deals. I tried to only include items that were Prime eligible, so if you have a Prime membership, shipping would be free.

***Moms/Caregivers from prenatal to toddler years can sign up for Amazon Mom and get a free trial membership to Amazon Prime. It's definitely worth it. Just make sure if you don't want to continue that you cancel your membership before the trial is over so your card isn't charged the yearly Prime membership fee. Click here to find out more. If you're a student, they have something similar called Amazon Student and you can get free Prime shipping for six months. Find out more here.***

Here are some of the pocket charts I have in my classroom or that I think I might like to have. :) 

I can't live without my calendar pocket chart! This is soooo much easier than having to attach your calendar day cards to a calendar with velcro or sticky tack.

This pocket chart is great for scheduling, but also for holding lunch cards, behavior cards, etc.

I like these charts for journals or unfinished work. You could also use them for daily folders, writing workshop papers, etc.

I love my counting caddy! It's a bit different than these, but they serve the same purpose. This is perfect for beginning place value to help teach our Common Core State Standards and it's perfect for bundling groups of ten if Zero Hero comes to your school. :) When I get back to school, I show you something I did to make my numbers easier to handle.

I don't use the following pocket chart in my classroom, but a lot of other teachers in my building use this chart for behavior management.

I love that they made a horizontal pocket chart! I could see this one being very useful in that wasted space below my dry erase board or maybe handy below a SMART Board.

This chart looks perfect for learning centers/stations or maybe even your Daily Five rotation or Guided Reading group management.

I got this cute magnetic pocket to attach to my dry erase board.

One of my favorite pocket charts is a free one I got from Highlights magazine  called the Organization Station. It has enough pockets to hold a composition notebook, unfinished or graded work or a journal/folder for each child in the class. If you aren't participating in the Highlights teacher program, you should! If you have any questions about it, let me know. I have gotten so many great gifts from them for sending home their flyers/forms. 

Do you use a variety of pocket charts in your classroom? If so, how do you put them to good use?

Friday, July 27, 2012

Lesson Plan Binders Don't Have to be Boring!

I have been on the search for a cute binder for my lesson plans for the past two years. I have found so many that I like with cute patterns and wonderful colors, but they are either too thin or they don't have inside pockets. I finally gave up and bought a plain white Avery binder that I could liven up using scrapbook paper and my computer. I think I'm ready to start adding lesson plans now!

What do you use for your lesson plans?

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

A little bit of shopping and a whole lot of saving!

Yesterday, I got together with my group of friends we affectionately refer to as the Kindergarten Teacher Crew. It consists of current and former Kindergarten teachers from my school, encompasses three different school districts, and a variety of new jobs! We have a Counselor, a Reading Recovery Teacher, a second grade teacher, two retired teachers and three current Kindergarten teachers. We try to get together several times a year to catch up. I adore this group of Godly women and I look forward to our get-togethers. Lately, we’ve been able to see each other a little more frequently because at the end of the night, we all pull up our calendars on our phones and schedule our next visit. It’s definitely the way to do it.

I carpooled with friends, so we were able to do some shopping before and after dinner. Here are my fun finds from several Staples stores and Target. Most of these items had a limit of 2 or 4, so we weren’t able to get very many at each store. Keep in mind that our nearest Staples is 40 miles away, so we had to make our trip to town count! Smile I haven’t posted about all the fun things I’ve purchased for my classroom. I think I will probably wait until the items are in my room all cutesy and decorated!

The cashier at Staples also let me know that Teacher Appreciation Day is Saturday, August 11. I don’t’ know if that’s everywhere or not, but I thought I would mention it. I have never been. Have any of you? Was it worth it? I was told that there is a goody bag involved.

  • 18 Staples Stickies - 25 cents each
  • 8 Staples Pencil Cap Erasers - 1 cent each
  • 1 Clip & Go Germ-X 2-pk  - $2
  • 8 Staples Index Cards - 1 cent each
  • 16 Post-it Notes (2 per pack) – $1 each
  • 5 Post-it Bags – Free (Buy 2 Post-it products and get a bag for free. Not available in all locations.)
  • 19 Sharpie Highlighters (5 per pack) – 50 cents each
Total: $32.16

  • Paper Mate Pens – $1 – Used $1/1 PaperMate Pens printable coupon FREE
  • Crayola markers 10 pk – 99 cents
  • Wipe Clean Alphabet Cards – $1
  • Dr. Seusss Flash Cards 1-20 – $1
  • Paper Clips – $1 (From Staples)
Total: $4
(Not shown, but this may be beneficial to some of you—Target has a $3 Mossimo coupon that pairs nicely with the $5 camis that are on sale right now. You can’t beat $2 for a cami!)

  • 3 HP Ink Cartridge Combo Packs – $31.99 each 
  • Ink cartridges are Buy 2 Get 1 Free right now. I also used a $5 off $30 coupon. This made my ink cartridges less than $10 each.
Total: $58.98

Have you found any great deals lately?

Sunday, July 22, 2012

New Books in the Series There Was an Old Lady Who Swallowed…

I'm so excited! Tonight, I was contacted by a sweet reader, Diane, who I've been in touch with off and on since January and she let me know that there was a new old lady book that came out called There Was an Old Lady Who Swallowed Some Books. She kindly offered to send it to me! How sweet was that? I headed to Amazon to check it out and there is another book being released in November called There Was an Old Lady Who Swallowed a Rose for Valentine's Day. I LOVE this series of books!

The 4-for-3 promotion for books is still going on, so I ordered four new books, including pre-ordering There Was an Old Lady Who Swallowed a Rose. I can't wait to get them all! I also used a $5 Amazon gift card I got for free for using SwagBucks, so it only cost me $16.97 for four books. If you don’t know about SwagBucks, please check out this post. You are missing out if you aren’t signed up!

I am also a huge Lisa Campbell Ernst fan! Ever since I saw her at a convention a couple of years ago and she showed us how she comes up with her illustrations, I have been in awe of her books. One of our teachers (pictured on the left below) was able to get her to visit our school. The kids got to get their books autographed and she even drew an illustration with each autograph. I wish I could find the picture of us when she came to our school and I got my class copy of Gingerbread Girl autographed, but it must be on my school computer. I ordered a copy of her book Goldilocks Returns. It’s a little older, but I don’t have it so it will be great to add to my Fairy Tales unit.

Meeting Lisa Campbell Ernst in 2008 (Sorry it's so blurry!)

Along the same lines, I also purchased Honestly, Red Riding Hood Was Rotten. There are several books in the series. I like using books like this to teach compare and contrast and to discuss the point of view of characters.
What books have you bought lately?

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Winners of the 1,000 Fabulous Followers Giveaway

Congratulations to the following winners in my 1,000 Fabulous Followers Giveaway!

a Rafflecopter giveaway
Jennie J. - $10 gift card
Ann G. - $10 Target gift card
Sandra M. - $10 TpT gift certificate
Michelle T-C - $10 iTunes gift card
Shelley B. - 5 items of your choice from my TpT store

Thank you so much to everyone who participated. I got some wonderful suggestions for resources and other ideas for my blog. 

Winners have 48 hours to claim their prizes or the prize will be forfeited and given to the next randomly chosen winner.

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Monday, July 16, 2012

Does your blog link appear in your profile? If not, you might want to add it!

This may seem like a silly question, but do you know how to make sure your blog link appears in your profile? I have clicked on lots of bloggers profiles from my Followers link and from comments on others blogs and I've noticed a lot of people do not have blogs linked when I know that they are bloggers. This is just my opinion, but if you don't list your blog in your profile, you are potentially missing out on new followers.

I realize that some people may not want their blogs listed and to be honest, I don't allow all of mine to show up for privacy reasons, but you can pick and choose what you want to show up.

If you aren't sure what I'm talking about, log in to your Blogger account and click on your name or picture to take you to your Blogger profile. From there, if your blog is listed under My Blogs, then it will show up for others. If not, you might consider clicking Edit Profile->Privacy, Show My Blogs, and select the blogs you'd like to display. Be sure to save the settings.

If you are using the older style dashboard, you can click on the following link to take you to a tutorial for how to edit your profile. It's pretty much the same, but I thought some of you might need a visual.
Edit Your Blogger Profile

Feel free to ask if you have any questions and I'll do my best to help you.

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Just your average all over the place post! :)

I try not to have many random posts, but sometimes a girl just needs to get it all out! So, here goes...

I am super excited to have won a giveaway at Learning with Mrs. Brinn! Won't these items be great?

I made the QR code sign above for my classroom door for Open House. Isn't the template great? Heather at Kickin' it in Kinder has some fabulous freebie templates that you can customize for your own classroom. I liked the yellow chevron and crazy colored QR codes to match my beach/ocean room this year. Are the colors too crazy? When I print it, I'm also going to attach it to colored paper so there's a border.

Thanks to the following sweet bloggers for awarding me the Versatile Blogger award. I want to be sure to give them a shout-out for their kindness!

Lanier's Kindergarten Lions

Am I the only person that didn't know that teachers get a 15% discount on entire purchases at Michael's all the time? You don't even need a coupon, just a valid teacher ID. I was so excited to get 15% off my sale items and $1 items!  Who else is offering teacher discounts that I don't know about? :) Seriously, if I had time today, I'd PhotoShop a picture of me under a rock. Ha! Luckily, I don't. I'm pretty sure no one would want to see that anyway.

For those of you who are not following on Facebook, I learned a lot from other readers when I posed the following question: If a teacher goes into the school (while the janitors are off for the weekend) and there's no one there to hear her, was she ever really there? Well, I did go in and guess what? Two other teachers were there, too!

This is what I came back to. Is it just me or does everything look gray and blue? I wasn't able to stay long, but it made me really want to get back in and start decorating and organizing. I can't wait to see everything in color again!

Just so you know it isn't always like this, here is a picture of my room last year. You can view my post about last year's classroom here.

Alright, I have to get back to work. I have a stack of things next to my computer that isn't going to finish itself. Trust me, I've tried to let it. Instead, it was a like a gremlin and it multiplied when unattended. 

Before I go, you still have a little over a day to enter to win one of the five great prizes in my 1,000 Fabulous Followers Giveaway. Don't forget to enter!


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Thursday, July 12, 2012

Our 2012-2013 Kindergarten Pacing Guide

Earlier this week, I got together with my Kindergarten co-workers and we were able to finish our pacing guide for the year. The best part was, we got to meet our co-workers new baby boy! Can you believe we actually got anything done when there was a sweet baby around?

We no longer follow a basal/textbook, so planning is completely up to us. We are about to enter our second year of Missouri Reading Initiative (MRI) Training, which is all about writing. So, don't be concerned that you don't see writing on our pacing guide. We are waiting until we meet with our new trainer and then we'll decide what direction our writing will be taking. I didn't want anyone to be concerned that we weren't doing any writing. :)

(Click on the picture to see a copy of our pacing guide.)

We know that our pacing guide will change as snow days occur, lessons go over the intended time frame or unexpected events take place. However, we're all about being flexible, right? 

Several people have mentioned wanting to know what the first two weeks of school look like in Kindergarten. I promise to come back once I've met with my co-workers again and I will let you in on our planning. This is our first year in awhile to have everyone doing the same thing at the same time, so we're working on coordinating our plans.

So, what other fun themes do you teach that we might want to add?

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

1,000 Fabulous Followers Giveaway!!!

I'm giddy with excitement!!! Never would I have imagined that one, let alone, 1,000 fabulous people would follow my tiny blog. I am incredibly humbled by the support and bloggy friendships I've experienced through writing this blog. I am blessed to have a creative outlet that not only helps me be a better teacher, but it also helps support the things I want for my family.

I appreciate each and every one of you and I will continue to strive to provide quality resources, activities and ideas that are relevant to you and your students or children. Thank you so much for following me!

To celebrate this milestone, I have several fun items to giveaway. I tried to make the entries pretty simple because I know giveaways can be time consuming. All I ask is that you follow me in as many places as you can and leave a comment with suggestions for products/freebies and how to make my blog the most beneficial to you. I love fun comments, too! :)

Enter for your chance to win one of these fabulous prizes!

 $10 gift card
$10 Target gift card
$10 TpT gift certificate
$10 iTunes gift card
5 items of your choice from my TpT store

a Rafflecopter giveaway
Five winners will be chosen, one for each item listed above. The giveaway ends Wednesday, July 18 at 12:01 AM EST. If you are a winner, you will be notified via email and will have 48 hours to claim your prize or it will be forfeited and given to the next randomly chosen winner.

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Would you like to be a firefighter? Fire Safety Freebies

I'm headed out for the day to shop at a few flea markets with my sweet hubby, but I thought I would pop in really quick and post a fire safety freebie I worked on the other day. I hope you like it! 

Would you like to be a firefighter? 
Class graph headers and labels(color and black/white)
Analyzing Our Class Results 

Click on the pictures below to grab a copy.


Sunday, July 8, 2012

Back to School Postcards & Fun Stamps

I'm so excited to be getting together with my Kindergarten co-workers, Lisa and Robin, tomorrow! We get to meet Robin's new baby boy and we're going to work on planning the first few weeks of school.  

This year, we got our class lists super early, which has been really nice! I've been going back and forth for the last month on exactly what I wanted to send, a letter or a postcard, to announce to my new students that I would be their teacher. I finally decided to create a postcard that went along with our Positive Behavior Interventions and Support (PBIS) theme this year, which is Beach/Ocean. This is what I came up with.

I created the postcards in Word and Paint using Scrappin' Doodles and Happy Heart Creations graphics. (Can you tell I don't have PhotoShop?) I printed the cards on my Canon Selphy photo printer using postcard paper. I hope to get them mailed tomorrow if I can finish all the writing in time. I will be mailing out a another letter for families before school starts that includes our school supply list, Open House details, etc.  

I recently ordered several $2.99 self-inking stamps from and I can't wait for them to arrive. I'm especially excited for the 'I showed good GRRR behavior' and 'Ask me how I made a good choice today' stamps. I think they will be great for hand stamps for my students to help with positive behavior. (GRRR stands for Get Safe, Respectful, Responsible and Ready to Learn--our PBIS expectations that go along with our bear mascot.)

If you are interested here are the details for getting the name stamps for $2.99 each.

Name stamp - $2.99
All other stamps - $4.99
  ***Free Shipping & No Quantity Limit***

Coupon Code: RUBSTAMPS expires on July 20, 2012.

If you decide to order, please feel free to use my referral link. When you do, you will receive 1200 free prints credits & 3 8"x8" photo books & other great photo gifts credits. *Terms and conditions apply. 

My to-do list before school starts is a mile long, but it feels good to get a few things done. 


Friday, July 6, 2012

Feeling thankful for amazing bloggers!


This week, I've had the most fun emailing back and forth with bloggers, Nicole at Thompson's Tiny Tots and Jennifer at Kindertrips. If you haven't visited their blogs, be sure to stop by and become followers!


I won a great giveaway at 1...2...3...Teach with Me

Charlotte's Clips and Kindergarten Kids

Charlotte at Charlotte's Clips and Kindergarten Kids awarded me the Versatile Blogger Award. Since I've received the award previously, I won't add my details again, but I do want to be sure to share when great bloggers are so gracious and kind to pass along the award.

I am thankful to have new followers on my blog, Facebook page, NetworkedBlogs, Pinterest, TpT, Teachers Notebook, etc. Thank you for being such wonderful readers!


Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Happy Independence Day!

I pray that you and your family have a wonderful 4th of July celebration! Be safe!

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Playing around with my blog design! Be sure to switch buttons!

This afternoon, I decided my blog needed a softer look, so I changed a few things and updated my header and button. If you have my blog button installed on your blog, feel free to update it with the code below. Thanks!

Lil’ Country Kindergarten

Dicy McCullough Autographed Books Giveaway Winners!!!

Congratulations to Shar, Lori and Barbara! They were winners in my Dicy McCullough Autographed Books Giveaway.  Thank you to everyone who entered! 

Shar W.- Tired of My Bath

Lori R. - Tired of School

Barbara L. - Tired of Being Different

The winners have been emailed and have 72 hours to respond with their mailing addresses. I'm extending the response time a bit since they might be away for the July 4th holiday. :) If after 72 hours they have not claimed their prizes, another winner will be chosen.

Sunday, July 1, 2012

Dicy McCullough Autographed Books Giveaway!

Are you feeling lucky? Today's giveaway is from author, Dicy McCullough! She has generously provided autographed copies of her books for me to giveaway to three lucky readers! Winners will be determined by RaffleCopter. Each book is valued at $15.99. 

Dicy is a retired Music teacher who began writing in 2006. Check out her musical book/video, Tired of My Bath via the YouTube video below. We loved to hear the kids singing the story in the video.

Dicy's web site also has tab called Games and More that includes printable coloring sheets, a word search and on online review game.

Dicy's books are Tired of My Bath, Tired of School and Tired of Being Different.  Click on the book covers below to take you to the product pages on Amazon where you can find reviews, details and information on how to order. One winner per book will be chosen.

This giveaway will end at 12:01 EST on Tuesday, July 3.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Thank you so much, Dicy, for providing the books for this giveaway!

I received duplicate copies of the books above in exchange for my honest review of the products. All opinions are 100% my own and were not influenced by receiving the books as compensation.