$75 Giveaway!

Do you want a chance to win a $50 gift card to Lakeshore AND a $25 gift card?  I know I do!  Head on over to Erica's Elementary Excitement for your chance to win!

Three Easy Dinner Recipes

This week I was feeling a little inspired, so I decided to try three new recipes using one main ingredient: chicken.  
First, wash two pounds of chicken breasts (I used chicken tenderloins) and pat dry with paper towels.  Dust them with seasoned salt and pepper to taste.  In a large Ziploc bag, combine 1/3 cup of olive oil with four cloves of garlic.  Add the seasoned chicken breasts and shake well.  Marinate in the refrigerator for at least 30 minutes.  Cook thoroughly in a saucepan on the stove.
Here's a little hint that I learned from a friend whose family owns a restaurant.  When chopping garlic, press each clove with the side of the knife before cutting.  The skin will fall away easily.

Day One
California Pizza Kitchen Salad
Find the recipe {HERE} with the following modifications:
Use slightly less lettuce (I used a bagged mix)
Use 1 1/2 cups lowfat mozzarella
Use two Roma tomatoes
Use 1/3 of your cooked chicken rather than the turkey breast
Use slightly less salami

This was SOOO yummy, and pretty healthy too!  I doubled the dressing, so that I can make this salad again soon with less prep time.  I used my absolutely favorite kitchen tool, my dressing mixer from Crate & Barrel.

Day Two
Pasta Primavera
You can find the recipe {HERE}.  I made the following changes:
Use skim milk
Combine the milk and vegetable soup mix.  Microwave for two minutes.
Add one cup of cooked vegetables (I used red peppers, peas, carrots and corn)
Use only 2 tbsp butter


Day Three
Chicken Pesto Pizza
The original recipe is {HERE}.
I used wheat pizza crust.  I also omitted the artichoke hearts and added two roma tomatoes, scallions and caramelized onions (made ahead of time and refrigerated). 
Yummy, yummy in my tummy!  Next time I might try it with shrimp.

Happy cooking!


Okay, I'll admit it... I am a children;s book hoarder.  Every time I go to a bookstore, fill out a Scholastic book order or shop on Amazon I just can't help myself!  I am ashamed to admit that this has led to piles of books in my classroom.  Piles of sad, unorganized books just waiting to be read.  Recently, it got to the point where books were bursting out of bookshelves and cabinets, sliding from the top of my desk and exploding out of our classroom library.

On Monday, we had no students and were almost done packing up our classroom (EVERYTHING has to be put away and piled up for the summer).  I decided that SOMETHING had to be done.  I gathered all of the books onto a few tables and piled them into about 34234435 milk crates.  I thought of as many themes and authors as I could, wrote them on index cards and got to work sorting.  I added more themes and author study authors as I went along.  I also created an area for authors in alphabetical order.

 This is the gigantic mess when I first started sorting... so embarrassing!

 Here are a few of the themed piles (in alphabetical order, of course)

Finally, I placed each pile of books into milk crates by theme and stored them away for the summer.  This felt SO good!

In the fall, I hope to find a beautiful bookshelf like this one to store all of my newly organized books in.  I also created a bunch of dividers on my computer to print out on cardstock, laminate and stick between the books.  Yay for organization!


Here are a few of my favorite classroom inspirations.  For all of my favorite kindergarten ideas, click {HERE}.
 I love how children's artwork is beautifully displayed here, with a huge chalkboard on the child's level.  I would LOVE something like this in my art area!

 These storytelling stones are amazing.  What a great idea to inspire creativity and build oral language!  Also, they would last forever.  I just might have to make some this summer.  Does anyone know what kind of paint would work best?

What an organized, warm and inviting writing center.  It is both beautiful and super functional.  This will be first on my list when I win the lottery :)

What a gorgeous way to display books.  And, it is super cheap (they are rain gutters!).  This would be ideal for "special" books: inspiration for writing or art, special read alouds, books on a special theme, etc.  I also love the banner she has hung above the books.  Do you think they are made out of fabric or paper?  That might be another project added onto my to do list!

Bad Teacher

I saw this last night, and it was hilarious!  Cameron Diaz is just awful, and she says the things that you secretly think but can't say out loud.  For example, when grading papers she writes: "STUPID" "STUPIDER" and then "ARE YOU F-ING KIDDING ME?"  So rude, but you just can't help laughing.  There is also a "goody goody" teacher that you just can't help hating.

Definitely worth seeing!

I am Obsessed...

Help!  I can't stop pinning!  If you haven't checked out pinterest yet, I highly recommend it.  It is a great way to keep all of the great ideas you find on blogs organized.  Check out my boards here.

Our Movie Star Publishing Party

Thank you so much to Sarah at First Grader... At Last! for the fabulous party theme idea.  I also got a few ideas here.  I just couldn't resist the thought of the little ones dressed up as movie stars.
This sign pointed to the Red Carpet (just a long sheet of bulletin board paper)

 This is our Hollywood sign in the block area.  We used it as a photo booth
 This is a box of celebrity props that the kids could use to pose (microphone, director's clapboard, boa, sunglasses, etc).  They loved it, and the parents did too!
 They loved directing their friends

I was so busy at the party that I did not have time to take any more pictures!
For food, I made star cupcakes with edible silver glitter.
We also had an adorable wall that said "And the nominees are..." and everybody had a star with their name and picture on it.  They loved it!

The children also shared their published stories with their parents.  I could shoot myself for not getting a photo of one of their books!  They chose their best work and I bound the stories into a book using my handy binding machine.  My favorite part of the books was the About the Author page.  I interviewed each child and typed it up real quick.  I adore the random answers.  For older students, you could have them write it themselves.  How cute is that?

Six More Days

Can you believe it?  How am I still in school?  Curse you, snow days!  Is anyone else in the universe still in school?

In other news, I am super busy baking cookies and cupcakes for our Hollywood Endings publishing party tomorrow.  This little lady is my "fancy" inspiration.  Not only are the kids super excited, but the parents seem to be excited too.  I can't wait!  My friend Kendra came over to help me bind all of the kid's best work into a beautiful book.  Yay Kendra!  I can't wait to take pictures and write about how much fun we have tomorrow.

The Librarian's Recommendation

I noticed that my kids were not quite as interested in using our classroom library as they used to be, so I decided that something had to change.  One of my classroom jobs already is the Librarian.  I decided to have the Librarian recommend books to his/her friends to read.  The only rule was that it could be any book in the library EXCEPT one that I had read during a read aloud.  After the librarian drew a picture and wrote the title of their book, they gave a two to three minute book talk to their friends.  Of course, I modeled how to hook the audience and not give away the ending.  I was so excited how well this worked!  Kids were fighting over who got to read the book next!

All I did was laminate a super cute piece of scrapbook paper (from A.C. Moore) and make a little sign to hang over it.  The walls in my library are carpeted (I could not for the life of me tell you why) so I stuck a few pieces of rough velcro on the back to attach it to the wall.
Then I paperclipped the Librarian's recommendation onto the paper and Voila!  If You Give a Pig a Party was the most popular book of the week :)

Also, I just made a cute worksheet to go along with this activity.  Click on the picture for a FREE download from my TPT Store.  All I ask is that you rate the item after you download it.

Great Deal from Vista Print

I was so excited to see this fabulous deal on Living Social this morning... I paid only $10 and will get $50 worth of products from Vista Print!  I am ecstatic, because I order school supplies from them every August.

If you are not familiar with Vista Print, you should be!  You can design all kinds of products and they will print it and mail it to you.  Some things I have ordered in the past are:
  • Super cute return address labels
  • Notepads... these are extra great because you can include your phone number and email address at the bottom, and parents will have all of your contact info on hand to get back to you
  • Stamps
  • Business Cards
  • Postcards (for celebrating special occasions, homework super stars, etc)
  • Christmas cards
And much, much more!  I plan to make a personalized calendar, a tote bag and maybe some gifts for friends and family with my gift certificate.  $50 can buy you TONS on this site!  Here are some more fabulous ways to use Vista Print from Mrs. Meacham and Pre-K Pages.

Father's Day: The Finished Project

Here are the amazing cards that Ms. C made with the kids today.  Aren't they cute?  I love how they all look different from one another.
 Here is one on the inside.  Super cute!
Here is the project that I did with them today.  I can't believe that I actually got to all 20 little feet today!  I found out the hard way that it is easiest to line up 3 or 4 kids, have them take their right sock and shoe off and wash their foot with a baby wipe.  I then painted their foot, helped them to step on the paper and wash the paint off of their foot.  Click {HERE} to download the template from my TPT store. 
Happy Father's Day!

Father's Day Ideas

This might be a little late, but here are two of my favorite Father's Day ideas.

The first idea was dreamed up by our fabulous para, Ms. C.  Each child picks his or her father's favorite color, and a coordinating color for the tie and pocket square.  They then decorate the tie and pocket square any way they like (polka dots, lines, stars, squiggly lines, etc).

This is a relatively simple project to make.

1. Fold a sheet of construction paper in half "hamburger style."
2. Cut about one inch off of the top of the left side of the paper, and cut about two inches from either side of the right half of the paper to make two tabs (see diagram).
3. Glue the tie onto the front of the card.
4. Fold and glue each tab down on top of the tie to make the shirt collar.
5.  Add the pocket square and buttons.

The second idea is a super cute poem that was given to me by a friend down the hall.  Of course, I had to jazz it up a little with fonts.  You can download the poem for free at my TPT store {HERE}. Just have each child do one painted footprint and voila!  I will be mounting the poem on construction paper and laminating it (hopefully).  You could even create a child-made frame if you were feeling really inspired.  Enjoy!

Field Trips Galore

It feels like we have been going on about eleventy billion field trips lately, which is great!  Two weeks ago we went to Boston Common to ride the swan boats, last week we visited a local farm and tomorrow we are going to the Zoo!

To be completely honest, field trips stress me out to no end.  BUT the things my kids learn on field trips are endless.  They are city kids, and many of them do not go on many outings and adventures.  I am always amazed at the vocabulary they learn and the connections that they make.

We read Make Way for Ducklings about four times, and then we followed a similar route that the ducklings do in the book.  The kids were searching for Michael the Policeman and were amazed that we were in the same pond from the book.  They screamed "THERE'S MR. AND MRS. MALLARD!"  They were especially excited to find the statues of Mrs. Mallard and her eight ducklings in the park.  How adorable is this?!?

The farm is my personal favorite field trip of the year.  It is a small farm run by the Audobon Society, so it is centered around learning and family experiences.  Here are a few of my favorite photos from the trip (please excuse the terrible photo quality... they are from my cell phone camera):
 The kids loved this hen and her "fancy hat"

 The barn

 Adorable lambs


 The kids thought that these goats were dogs at first... so funny!

Teacher Pet Peeves

My number one teacher pet peeve is bad grammar and spelling.  It seems like I notice it wherever I go, and I can't help myself from absolutely HATING it!  This weekend, my boyfriend and I are at a wedding in Saratoga Springs, NY.  It is a beautiful little town and we are having so much fun meandering in and out of the little shops on Broadway Street.  We popped into one shop to buy a Christmas ornament (we buy one every time we go away, and it makes our tree so fun and special).  In the shop I saw this sign:

AHHHH!  The your and you're mix up is enough to make my skin crawl!  Does anyone else have crazy teacher pet peeves?  I hope I'm not the only one!

Organize Your Life

Have you seen this amazing life organizing binder from Mrs. I's Class?  It is magical how it combines real life and school life into one place.  I also love her free download lists.  There's nothing I love more than lists.  I am making a binder as we speak!

My biggest goal before the end of the school year (YES, WE STILL HAVE 12 MORE DAYS OF SCHOOL) is to organize my "closet."  First, I should explain that I do not even actually have a closet or any built in shelving or storage whatsoever.  I rigged up a thin pipe that hangs from my classroom ceiling, and hung a bright, fun shower curtain to section off a small part of the room into a closet area.  However, as you can imagine it is super disorganized and hard to store things in.  Sarah from First Grader... At Last! has inspired me with her closet makeover.  Check it out {HERE}.  Stay tuned for updates!


Have you heard about Pinterest?  I have just discovered it in the last two weeks or so, and am already loving it!  It is a very cool way to organize photos, links and ideas all in one place.  You create themed "boards" where you can collect links to many different sites that inspire you, all with the same topic.  Of course, I created a kindergarten Pinterest board immediately, but you could use it for a billion different themes... wedding, food, fashion anything your little heart can dream of! 

Click {HERE} for my Adventures in Kindergarten Pinterest board.

Teacher Movies

I don't know what it is, but I LOVE going to the movies in the summertime.  Last night we went to see Bridesmaids, which was hilarious.  I was pumped to see two previews for teacher movies coming out in the next few weeks.

The first was the super sweet looking Larry Crowne starring Tom Hanks as a lonely man fired from his job and Julia Roberts as a community college professor... they are two of my favorites!

The second is a movie I am already DYING to see... Bad Teacher!  Cameron Diaz looks hysterical as a teacher who does pretty much the opposite of everything you are supposed to do as a teacher.  I can't wait!

In the spirit of teacher movies, here are a few more of my favorites.  I always pop one of them in the DVD player when I am having a bad day/week/month (haha) at school and feel inspired and invigorated right away.

What are your favorite teacher movies?