Hot Cocoa Math Fun!

At my school, we periodically have to change bulletin boards to reflect current and updated student work.  Work must be standards related, differentiated, and graded with a standards based rubric that includes glow and grow comments --- Sounds like a lot right??  Naturally, every time bulletin boards are due, my mind goes a little haywire!  What can I do that's different?! ... What reflects my students and the work we are doing currently?! ... What can I do that will show a little creativity or originality?!  Are you puzzled like me??  It's always a huge, what can I showcase on this this outdoor board anxiousness kind of moment?  Can you maybe kind of relate??  

Well this month, I decided to do something a little different.. something fun... bright... hands on... and math related!  (my previous 2 outdoor boards from this school year were ELA related!).  All that is really needed are the materials from this packet... some pretty border for your bulletin board... and marshmallows!!!

So here's what I came up with ... hot cocoa addition!!  Such a cute concept once I started really pulling my ideas together!!  Click on any of the pictures or the link at the bottom to bring you to the actual packet.

Even the students enjoyed this because it demonstrates addition that really made sense to them and it allowed them to do fun things like color and use marshmallows as manipulatives... and hey... isn't that what being a kindergarten student is all about??

I will be honest that I did do this project in 1 day, however it could really be broken up into a 2 day (or 2 part) project.  Coloring for part 1 and then math work for part 2 would be my recommendation... and truthfully, that is the only thing I would do differently next time!  I go into more tips and tricks in my actual packet!  Everything that is on my board is included in this packet!  Plus additional images and bulletin board letters (I didn't have letters created when I put up this bulletin board)!  I just thought that it would be a nice addition to the packet for all of you!  Next year, I just may use those bulletin board letters in this packet as well. :)

You can find that packet here!

Hope you enjoy!


Classroom Setup, Tour and Organization 2014

Wow!  It has been a crazy beginning of the school year!  My first day back to school with students was on September 4th and boy have I felt like I've been in full speed since then.  Actually.. probably even since before then!  I've been working on s-l-o-w-l-y revamping my classroom all while trying to enjoy the last remainders of gorgeous summer-like weather.  

On today's post I'm going to share parts of my classroom with you.  I will continue to share additional parts of my classroom this week as things transform and take more shape.  I have so many different projects and ideas and products to share and I can't wait!

This year I decided to entirely go for the bright, colorful, vibrant look.  I have had so much fun organizing and setting up my room.

Here is an example of what the majority of my bulletin boards look like.  (No student work yet).  I love the colors that I chose ... especially the lime green border and turquoise paper!  I love the way it all pops!

One thing that I decided to do this year was paint my clothespins.  I used acrylic paint of various colors.  Pink... yellow... green...  The pink and blue clothespins I used for my student behavior chart.  The yellow, green, and orange pins are being used for my writer's board.  I spent a lot of time painting, making a mess, and hot glueing pushpins on the back of clothes pins for my writers board.  

I was actually informed of a little trick from Hadar of Miss Kindergarten via Instagram ... So now I'm going to share this with you in case you think it's a cool, neurotic, thing to paint your clothespins like me... The advice is this: Put clothespins on a sturdy box (i.e., a shoebox) and then you can paint the sides of the clothespin without making a mess!  Sheesh.. I wish I  knew this before painting clothespins on 3 separate occasions!!  :)

This was a beginning of the school year writing piece that we did.  It was a great way to quickly assess if students knew how to write their names, letter formation, and overall familiarity with writing.  As you can see, it is hanging up on my Writer's Board and I am using the clothespins to make my life a little bit easier and well thought out this year! :)

Isn't Kindergarten work seriously the cutest?!  It's just so innocent!

Here is one of my behavior management systems that I use in my classroom.  Although now that I was introduced to DoJo - Thank you Erica Bohrer for HIGHLY recommending it - I will be focusing on a combination of behavior management modifications... but that's a whole other topic for a whole other post at a whole other time! :)  Don't mind the blurred out names on the painted clothespins! ;)

I used Carson Dellosa's amazing bunting for my Focus Wall!  What do you think of the bunting?  I personally LOVE it!  I found it in the teachers store and knew I had to have it!  I used this same pack of bunting and bulletin board letters to make a "Library" sign as well.

I made those Literacy/Reading/Writing/Math/S.S./Science focus wall headers.  Do you like them??  I will be adding these to my store ASAP!!  I'm having some trouble right now with my Adobe!  (Grr)!!  Anyways, this product is completely black and white and I simply printed it onto color card stock.  

I set up the schedule pocket chart.  My little tip for extra pieces (calendar pieces, schedule pieces, where are we now pieces, is to keep them in a brightly colored pocket envelope.  It keeps everything neat and organized.  Also find this schedule set in my store for free!!

I kind of really enjoyed using Washi Tape for my special project that I can't wait to share with you!

This special project is another form of Behavior Management that I got for free from A Cupcake for the Teacher.  Check out Are You a Secret Star here.  

I used washi tape on woodsy sticks.  I put one color on one side of the stick and another color on the opposite side of the stick.  I hand wrote numbers onto the sticks.  I still haven't introduced this to my students and I might give it a little bit more time before I do.. but seriously I adore it!!  

Here's how it works... I used 2 kinds of washi tape so that when I pick a stick, I can flip it over so that I know I already picked that stick.

I also put some washi tape around my picture frame.  (Did I mention I bought this frame at A.C. Moore for $5.00?! - This girl loves a good deal! :))

Here is my 2D Shape Wall.  Right under there is my behavior management ladder and underneath that are an additional 2 shape posters.  I have my 3D shape posters on the other side of this large column.

I hope you enjoyed part 1 of my classroom tour!  I'm hoping to come back with EVEN more photos later this week of things like my classroom door... My classroom library... different back to school projects and hopefully some new products coming your way!!  

Don't forget to follow me on Bloglovin' so you can get my latest posts! 


Back to School Classroom Prep

Okay ... it's official!  I am officially in "oh my goodness there are so many projects to finish to prepare for Back to School 2014" mode!  That means it's time to finish all of my latest back to school packets so I can have them printed and laminated and ready for the beginning of the school year.  It also means, hurry and print and cut and laminate so I can make everything look good in my classroom!!  My first official day with students isn't technically until September 4th, but I will be going in next week to start setting up.  

The funny thing about being TpT obsessed is that I constantly feel the need to improve ... improve my products for buyers and improve my classroom by constantly creating and finding better things to add or use for the most current school year.  Does anyone else have this problem?

I am excited to get my hands in there and try to make this my prettiest, nicest, most organized classroom yet!  Combine a little OCD and a little perfectionistic tendencies and you have a girl on a mission!!

In case you are a tad bit curious, these are some of the items that I have been working on.  Click on the pictures or headers to bring you to links.


{ The bright colored alphabet cards will be coming to my store soon in a handwriting packet I am putting together.  Stay tuned!!  :) }

Here is a new rules freebie that I posted!  I absolutely ADORE it for the primary grades!!  I haven't decided if I will use this in addition to my adapted Whole Brain Teaching rules or not.  They are so different that I just might decide to use them both!

Here are some Schedule Cards, an editable freebie.  There are so many more cards than this but this is all I could get in my picture!

Finally today I got my "Where We Are" Poster Set uploaded that I've been meaning to do for quite a few days!  I spent a long weekend away with my boyfriend so I haven't had the time!  I love this one because there are so many choices (polka dot, sunburst, and chevron - with 3 different font choices).   It's SO cute!

I made that heart out of lime green and hot pink glitter polka dot ribbon!!!

Meanwhile ... I have been working on cutting all of this while ... **** Wait for it ... and drum roll please **** working beach and poolside!  

Word Wall Cards

Those are Fry's sight word wall word cards from my TpT shop.

Here are product covers to go along with the above pictures:

I promise that a new blog post with more classroom preparations will be coming soon!!  I have so much more to prepare and share! :)

P.S. - That handwriting packet will be finished SOON!  I promise!


My Back to School 2014 Must Haves!!

Okay this is my first link up ever and I hope I'm doing this right!  I'm linking up for "Show Us What You Bought" by Blog Hoppin'!  Feeling exhilarated and really want to share some of my must have recommendations with you!

Classroom Purchases

I seriously feel like I bought some amazing items that are going to be so amazing essential for my classroom!!  

Must Haves!!

Click on the names to take you directly to the products I purchased for my classroom!

A Teeny Tiny Teacher - Reader's Theater

Creation Castle - Calendar Cards

Karen Jones - Kindergarten Interactive Math Notebook - For the Year!

Owl in a Vowel Tree - Editable Book Bin Labels

Reagan Tunstall - All About Me Flip Book

Clip Art

And of course I couldn't not get clip art!!

Here are some of the people that I purchased all of that BEAUTIFUL clipart from.  Click on the name below to take you to some of the products that I purchased!  

Ashley Hughes

Whimsy Clips

Teacher's Gumbo (I JUST discovered her clip art and it's freaking amazing)!

Krista Wallden

Graphics From the Pond

Teaching Super Power

Essentials from My Store

Miss Teacher Resources 101

Here are some back to school items that you can find in my store as well!  These are some of my favorites and are (in some cases will be) staples in my classroom.  I hope you will check some of them out!  Here are some links:

Word Wall Posters - Colorful Polka Dots {Maches Fry's First 200 Sight Words)
Scoopin' Up Beginning Sound Sundaes
Beginning Sounds Phonics Printables
Fry's First 200 Words - Colorful Polka Dots {Matches New Word Wall Posters}
Fry's First 200 Words - Black and White Polka Dots
Center and Early Finisher Choice Cards
Editable Lesson Plan Book & Organizer
Seasonal Word Cards - Part 1
Plane Shape Posters with Faces

I hope you have had a wonderful 2 days of shopping galore!  But since I DEFINITELY know that feeling of discovering must have items too late (meaning after the sale), I am going to keep everything in my store discounted at 20% for the next 24 hours!!  

Also, don't forget to link up with your Back to School 2014 "Show Us What You Bought" here!


Center Rotation Organization Break Down - A Must Read!

Why Centers are Beneficial to a Primary Classroom

Center time in my classroom is one of my students favorite times of day, as well as my own.  It allows students to explore for themselves, communicate and collaborate with one another, and most importantly have fun all while learning from each other and the centers.  While my students are occupied in their specified center, this allows me to work with Guided Reading groups ... Doesn't get much better than that!!!

My Set Up

I'm going to give you the entire run down of how my center system works as quickly and briefly as possibly.  I created my center pack last summer and had them printed and ready to go for the beginning of school last September.  In my classroom, I have 2 different center boards.  One for literacy and one for math.  I use bright colored pocket envelopes for posting the center activity that each group will work on (the labels in my packet).  Then I took photographs of every student in my class and put the students into groups using their pictures.  BTW, my center groups are based on reading levels and homogeneous grouping ability.  

Now this system was good... until around November or so, I decided that it was time for some updates to make my center rotations run a little more smoothly.  I found that my students were too dependent on me to get all of the materials, so I needed something organized and easy.  I designed a system that has been EXTREMELY effective in my classroom.  Even though I have been using my new rotation system for quite a few months, I just recently got around to updating the pack in my TpT store... So on a side note, included in the additions are 2 sizes of numbers to 18, picture frames (to back the student pictures - so you will NOT see that in my sample picture), stars for group captains, and there are some additional center cards.  So, if you already have this packet, simply go to "My Purchases" or to the product here and redownload to get ALL of the updates.   

For my centers, I simply place a number next to the center group and then put that same number on the center tub or binder or basket that I want them to work at.  In each center tub, there are usually different choices of activities that revolve around their station theme.

For each group, I assign a "captain."  A little star indicates exactly who the captain is for that group number. Students can easily reference who the captain is because of that star and it works out beautifully, taking some of the attention away from the teacher (which is the goal!).  The center captain is responsible for getting the tubs/baskets/binders/materials.  That person is also responsible for helping their group if they need help or have a question.  

This system has truly helped to foster independence in my students. I actually can't wait to do this again next year, except next year everything will be in place for the very first center rotation!

Different Size Cards Included!

Large Numbers and Small Numbers Are Included for Different Size Tubs!

Like I mentioned before, all of the updates have been included in my center pack.  If you have already purchased this pack, just re-download to get all of the new updates.  If you are interested in checking out more of what this pack is about you can visit: