Friday, September 30, 2011

Thank You!

What a great way to end my week!  I got an email from Kristy over at Work Smart not Hard Teaching Kindergarten giving me an "I Heart Your Blog Award."  She has a great blog and it's awesome to be recognized by someone so talented and generous.  Thanks for the smile, Kristy!

Now for the hard part, choosing my favorites to pass the award along to. Many of my choices have already received the award, but here are a few more that I Heart...

Also, I'd like to send a belated thank you to Melissa at Hop Into My Life for awarding me the Versatile Blogger Award. (Do you all find it incredibly hard to keep up with blogging now that the school year has started?  It seems like I'm always behind on reading comments and getting new posts up - sorry!)  Check out Melissa's site, she has some really cute ideas!

Have a great weekend everyone!

Saturday, September 24, 2011

Pete to the Rescue!

     Well, after two and a half weeks of school, I am really getting to know my class well and their strengths and challenges are emerging.  They are VERY energetic but they are also very eager to learn.  One thing that is definitely going to be a focus for us this year is fine motor practice. Pencil grasp, cutting skills and control while writing are all over the place and are going to need some work.  Going hand in hand with this is the biggest pet peeve of many a kindergarten teacher - shoe tying.  Not one of my kids this year can tie their own shoes.  Care to guess how many shoes I tied yesterday?  I actually counted.  23!  I am not a fan of velcro shoes because I think every child should learn to tie their own shoes, but boy was I wishing for some yesterday.
     So, I decided I needed a plan to motivate the kids to learn to tie their own shoes.  Enter our current obsession - Pete the Cat!  Capitalizing on my class's love for all things Pete, I came up with Pete's Shoe Tying Club.  I'm going to send home a note from Pete inviting all of the kids to practice tying their shoe at home so they can join his club. When the kids can show me that they can tie their own shoes, they will become a card-carrying member of Pete's Club!  A certificate with their name will go up on the Pete's Club wall, they will get a membership badge and they will get to choose a new pair of fancy shoelaces.  I hope Pete will be the champion I need him to be so I can sing, "I love your tied shoes, I love your tied shoes..." If you think Pete can help you out with the Curse of the Untied Shoes, grab your kit below.
    If you have any tips to help my kiddos learn to tie their shoes, please leave a comment to help me out!
Have a great night!

Monday, September 19, 2011

Giveaway Winners

Just a quick post to congratulate the winners of my "Life is Good" giveaway.  Congrats to first place winner Allison from Room Mom 101 who will receive a custom made classroom sign.  For second place winner Tessa from Spotlight on Kindergarten and third place winner Kelly B - a set of pencil buckets are all yours.  Just send me an email and we'll set up arrangements for you to get your prizes.  Thanks to everyone who entered. I appreciate your kind words and the time you spend reading my blog.  Stay tuned for some cute freebies in the next day or two...

Friday, September 16, 2011

A "How-To" And A "Ha-Ha"

     First, the "Ha-Ha."  One of the things that makes me laugh the most is when one of the kids sees something with their unobstructed, five-year-old view of the world and then says something so completely unfiltered and true.  For example...  Last weekend I got my hair colored (a few too many grays have been popping up lately!) and cut, but it was really just a trim and barely noticeable.  One of the girls in my class noticed the change however and asked me if I had gotten a haircut.  Pretty impressed with her observational skills, I told her that yes, I had.  After a sweet compliment from her, one of the boys (who is super literal, btw) standing nearby chimed in, "You did?"  He looked and looked at me, trying to see a difference then said, "What did you do, just cut out the white ones?"  I was rolling on the floor!  Note to self - don't go so long before heading to the salon next time!
    Now for the "how-to."  I promised a little tutorial on how to make the sign I have on my classroom door.  (Click here to enter my giveaway if you'd like a chance to win one for your classroom - you have 'til Sunday.)  
     It's super easy.  You can do it in Powerpoint or Notebook software (and probably a bunch of others but these are the ones I know).  I started by inserting a shape, a big black circle in the middle of my page.  Then, I added a text box with a large font with the word "kindergarten."  Just make sure you have the text box formatted as "no fill" and the background will stay transparent.
     Then, I changed to a smaller font and added a text box for each child's name - the quickest way is to choose a color for your first name (let's say pink) and cut and paste it three or four times so your font size stays the same.  Then change the name in the duplicates so you now have four pink names.
     Change one of these to your next color and repeat.  You can rotate the text boxes and scatter them all over the circle. (I had to play a little to get them evenly spaced.)
     When I had those all positioned I went to even a smaller font and using the same cut & paste/color change trick as above, I added "kindergarteny" words like reading, crayons, recess, etc. Scatter those and ta-da!  All done.
     Then, save your page as a jpg and you're ready to print.  Make sure that you save it with a high resolution if you're planning on blowing it up to poster sized.  I had mine done at Walmart - who knew they made posters in their one-hour photo centers?  It was only 10 bucks and totally worth it I think!  If you give it a try and have any questions, let me know, I'd be happy to help.  I'd love to see a picture when you're done!   Happy Creating!

Saturday, September 10, 2011

A "Life is Good" Giveaway

     Well, I've been MIA for a whole week because Holy Moly - what a week! On the tails of the Hurricane Irene clean-up, my bathroom pipes burst and rained all over my kitchen, we got a bunch of rain from the remnants of Hurricane Lee which flooded my basement, and we had the first day of school.  Never has the saying, "When it rains it pours" been more fitting!  I am exhausted!  The good news is that you often see a rainbow after the storm, and luckily I have - my pipes have been replaced, my basement is now dry and I survived the first week of kindergarten. My new class is an energetic bunch with a lot of personality, but I can already tell that they are going to be eager learners and I'm looking forward to an exciting year. Life is good!
     I thought I would celebrate my "rainbow" with a giveaway.  I've gotten a ton of emails this week asking about the sign I made for my classroom door.  I tried to make one with Wordle and Tagxedo, but I wasn't happy with the colors and formatting, so I just made my own.  It's super easy to make (I'll post a "how to" later in the weekend) and I've gotten a lot of compliments on it at school.
     Since so many people seem to like it, I thought it would be a great giveaway prize.  I will custom design a sign for the first place winner and have it made into a 16x20 poster.  I will either mail it or arrange for the winner to pick it up at their local Walmart (did you know they do 1 hour posters at Walmart??)
     What's a giveaway with only 1 winner?  For the 2nd and 3rd place winners, I thought I would offer a goody from another previous post.  So many people emailed or commented on the cute pencil buckets I found for my "Ready to Write" and "Sharpen Please" buckets.  Apparently they are pretty hard to find, so I picked up a couple of extra sets to give away.  I'll print and attach the labels and send them to the winners in the mail.
     So, what do you have to do to enter this giveaway?  No jumping through hoops for this one, just leave your name and email address in a comment.  I'll chose the winners with a generator at 11:59pm on Sunday, September 18th, so be sure to enter before then.

May you always see a rainbow after the storm . . .

Friday, September 2, 2011

Turned My Frown Upside Down!

If you've read my last couple of posts, you know that I made it through Hurricane Irene relatively unscathed. I consider myself very lucky not to have had the massive water issues and overall cleanup that many around me have had to deal with. But apparently some cosmic force with a warped sense of humor decided that I was not off the hook entirely.  I went downstairs last night to find it raining.  In my kitchen.  In. My. Kitchen! The plumber confirmed this morning that I have a broken water pipe in the ceiling and he's going to have to rip apart the kitchen to repair it. Yuck, yuck, triple yuck! Again, in light of what others are dealing with I know that this is no big deal, just an annoying inconvenience at a very busy time.  But I was still pretty bummed.  Then, I opened my email and found something that, in kindergarten teacher lingo, completely turned my frown upside down. Katie from Little Warriors chose my blog for a Top Ten award!
How sweet is that?  She really made my day and completely cheered me up.  You should definitely pop over to her blog and check it out.  She has some really great ideas and just posted some terrific Chicka Chicka Boom Boom centers that are awesome for the beginning of the year.  Thanks again for the smile, Katie!