More Teacher Discounts

I just got an email from my very favorite teacher clothes store, Ann Taylor Loft.  On National Teacher Day, May 3rd, they are giving $10 to every single teacher who has filled out this form, plus their regular 15% off!  I love deals, so I'm heading over there right now to fill it out.

Quick and Easy Dinner Recipes for Busy Teachers

 This is the first recipe from Rachel Ray's 365: No Repeats cookbook.  I made them last night, using ham and American cheese.  I skipped the hot sauce because it makes me nervous.  Even my egg-hating boyfriend liked it, so it must be good!

This is so delicious and so easy.  It was honestly better than ice cream you buy at the store, and only has three ingredients!  I followed the recipe exactly, but next time I will definitely cut back on the sugar or try substituting with Splenda.  I also think it would be good with some banana or other fruit in it.  Yum!  A quick warning, though: if you have a cheap-o blender, watch out!  I almost burned out the motor and it left my kitchen smelling like an electrical fire, which is not exactly what I was going for.

Pet Unit

Here are a few photos from the pet unit I posted about yesterday.  I hope you will head over to my Teachers Pay Teachers Store and download a free copy of the Animal Mini Word Wall and Animal Writing Prompt & Art Activity

 Student work... How adorable are the cat and guinea pig?

 Here is the word wall displayed on my writing table, double sided and in a clear plastic frame

The Grand Opening of my TPT Store!

I am just launching my Teachers Pay Teachers Store and I would like to offer you, dear readers, some free downloads to enjoy!
My favorites are the Animal Mini Word Wall and Animal Writing Prompt & Art Activity.  These two activities go hand in hand.  I printed out the two word walls on cardstock, trimmed them to 8 x 10" and put them (back to back) inside one of those clear display stands from Christmas Tree Shops.  The kids then use them to brainstorm what pet they would have if they could pick any pet in the world... from a cat to a camel and anything in between.  This is also a great vocabulary builder.  The little ones did this in our writing center today and LOVED it.  They were cracking up thinking of all the crazy pets they might choose.  (Oops... I forgot to take pictures.  Coming soon!)

This is my favorite book to use with this activity!


Hoppy Easter Everyone!



As soon as I get to 25 followers, I am going to host my first giveaway!  Spread the word...

In My Dreams...

It is a rainy, yucky day here in New England, and I was just surfing around the internet.  Look at this ADORABLE playhouse I found!  Add a few fluffy pillows, and how perfect would this be as a super special place for the little ones to read?  Or as part of your dramatic play?  Now if I only had an extra $2,000 laying around...

Listening Center Cards - The Finished Product

I just finished my little project for the day... the listening center response cards.

Step One: 
Print these adorable response cards from Mrs. Randall's Learning Library 

Step Two:
Pick out two sheets of corresponding 12" x 12" scrapbooking paper.  Mine are "grass green" and "leaf green."

Step Three:
Cut the response cards into 3" by 3" squares, and the scrapbook paper into 4" by 4" squares (six of each color).  Glue the response cards onto the scrapbook paper.

Step Four:
Laminate and trim the cards.  Punch one hole in each upper left hand corner.

Step Five:
Put the cards on a binder ring and put it in your listening center... ta da!

Great Clip Art

Cindy from In the Teacher's Lounge is having a clip art linky party.  I am totally in love with Digi Clip Art.  The best part is that unlike a few other popular clip art sites, they allow you to resell printables made with their clip art.  The two I have purchased so far (for only $1.00 each!) are Zoo Animals and Barnyard Friends.

Word Clouds

I have just discovered the amazing world of "word clouds" (or wordles).  ABCya has a super kid (and teacher) friendly version.  I just whipped up a quick one about some of my favorite things in the classroom, but you could use them for just about anything.  Some ideas I had were: content-specific vocabulary, poetry, a gift for a volunteer, an "all about me" study, to summarize the main idea of a book, to introduce a new concept or unit of study and much, much more.

Here is my teaching word cloud:


I have gotten a few questions asking me what I use for curriculum.  Here it is:

It is important to note that I am now teaching what my district calls "K1" which is a kindergarten program for four year olds.  I guess you could call it pre-k, but it is much more academic than many people think.  I taught K2 (regular kindergarten) for two years and am on my second year in K1.

I love the OWL curriculum because it is thematic and play based, and you can change the centers often based on what the children are interested in.  OWL is a literacy curriculum that incorporates great literature, poems and songs.  There is also a socio-emotional component and a science component.

The building blocks math is great too!  In my opinion, it is actually more advanced than the math we used in K2.  Lastly, the genres of writing is not so much a curriculum.  My school is lucky to be working with a professor who is teaching us how to implement this style of teaching.  Right now, my little ones are about to start writing animal reports!

Listening Center Response Cards

I am on school vacation this week (woo hoo!) and could not be happier.  But of course, I am still thinking about school and have a couple projects to do this week.

I just found these great listening center cards from Mrs. Randall's Learning Library.  They guide students with specific questions to discuss after listening to a book at the listening center.  I LOVE this idea.  Most of my class is ELL students, and the listening center helps them gain fluency and comprehension in English.  I love the idea of pushing them a bit farther with questions to develop their comprehension skills.

A few of my kiddos can read the questions independently, but those who can't can ask for assistance from a friend or teacher.  I already printed these suckers out, and I plan to mount them on cardstock or scrapbook paper, laminate them and put them on a binder ring to leave at the listening center.

Great Garden Giveaway

Kindergarten Crayons is having a giveaway.  You can enter here.

A Few of my (Non-Teaching Related) Favorite Things!

Persnickety Pickles is having a linky party of your top 7 non-teaching related favorite things.  Here are mine:

1.  Traveling
I love exploring new and exciting places, especially if they are warm and tropical.  This photo is from our hotel balcony in Cozumel, Mexico this February.  I am dying to get away again somewhere soon.  On my "dream vacation" list are: Greece, Dominican Republic, Spain & almost anywhere in South America, just to name a few!

2.  Havianas
These are the most comfortable flip flops in the world.  I LIVE in them all Summer!

3.  Shopping
I don't do it very often, but once in awhile I love to splurge on clothes and especially shoes!
4.  My Cat
This is so dorky, but I can't help it.  He has so much personality and keeps us laughing all the time.  He is snuggled up next to me as we speak.  In this picture, he's helping me with lesson plans!

5.  Reality TV
My new favorite channel is Bravo, but I will watch pretty much anything that is trashy and entertaining.  Jersey Shore, American Idol, Teen Mom, Bethenny Ever After... the trashy list goes on and on!

6. Cupcakes
I taught myself how to cook in college when I lived in a house with 24 girls and we cooked for each other a few times each semester.  I had to teach myself how to crank out huge quantities of food fast.  BUT, my true love has always been baking.  From cookies to banana bread, I will make anything at least once.  My new passion is cupcakes.  My best friend bought me this book for my birthday and I am obsessed!

7.  Reading
Between teaching and grad school, I don't have much time to read anymore, but reading for pleasure is definitely one of my favorite things. 

More Easy Dinner Recipes

These sandwiches could not be any easier or any more delicious!  Plus, the secret ingredient is root beer.  Who knew?  I love them, and my boyfriend is obsessed.  He begs me to make these!

This recipe is not quite as easy, but it is so delicious that it is definitely worth trying.  I use a store-bought deep dish frozen pie crust (in the pan) for the bottom crust, and a store-bought refrigerated rolled up pie crust for the top crust. 

TO. DIE. FOR.  Enough said!


I just found a super cute blog called Queen of the First Grade Jungle.  She is having a great giveaway!  You could win a book, Meet the Planets...

AND a great space unit from Sarah Cooley.  I am entering this giveaway as we speak!

New Ideas!

A few days ago I was lucky enough to go on a "learning walk" with a few other K1 teachers and our early childhood coach.  We visited 3 classrooms in 2 schools in our district, and it was so inspiring!  The teachers had done things I had not thought of, and were using materials in new and interesting ways.  It also gave me many ideas about organization, parent communication, displaying student work and much more!

Here are a few of my favorite ideas from the learning walk:
  • Tape a picture of each child onto a block in the block area.  The kids in this classroom loved having their "friends" visit whatever they were building in the block area.  It was also a great literacy opportunity because the teacher wrote the child's name on the back of the block. 
  • Call your art area the "Art Studio."  Display art materials beautifully in clear containers, and be sure to include items from nature too.  It is a little hard to tell from the pictures, but the Art Studio was super inspiring, and all of the kids were flocking to it.  Here is what the art area looked like:
  • In your parent engagement area, keep a binder that shows each child's progress.  This binder had a tab for each child.  The teacher had included one self portrait per month, and you could see amazing progress from month to month!  I am definitely going to do this next year.

    More ideas coming soon!

    *I hope that the fabulous teachers we visited will not mind me sharing their great ideas.  They were too inspiring not to!

    Free Literacy Activities

    I was just perusing Deanna Jump's blog, and I found two fabulous activities that she created.  The first is Stretchy the Word Snake... perfect for guided reading!  Just print, laminate and teach the children how to segment words.  You could also use this as an independent literacy center after you have taught it.  I am thinking about making some picture cards of three letter words to go along with it.
     The second activity is Word Detective.  The children use a magnifying glass to read sight words.  Then they record their words on a recording sheet.  They will love this!  You can find both activities here.

    Great Deal!

    I went to Target the other day and found these cool new Crayola markers.  The tag said that they cost $1.04.  Of course, I didn't believe that you could buy markers for a dollar, so I scanned them and they really were!  Run out and grab a package (or five)!