Five for Friday
I am linking up with Five for Friday... and it's actually still Friday {just barely}!

1. My laptop speakers at school kicked the bucket.  After looking and looking on Amazon {and buying a pair then returning them} I found this adorable panda.  Not only is this little guy cute, he has some serious sound!  My kids love him too :)

2.  I just finished this butterfly unit last night.  No joke, I have been working on it for a year on and off {mostly off!}.  It is over 100 pages of science integrated with ELA, math and art.  You can check it out {HERE}.

3.  The kids have been loving our new theme, Shadows and Reflections.  Today we used straws to blow bubbles in soapy water, then look for reflections in the bubbles.  They loved it!  We used a disposable turkey cooker tray pan thingy to add some extra reflectiveness.  
4.  I got this Tory Burch clutch when I was in NYC two weeks ago and am officially obsessed.  It is oversized and gold and gorgeous.  As Rachel Zoe would say, "BA-NA-NAS!"



5.  We are thisclose to picking a wedding venue!  We have been looking for two months now {and scrimping and saving every.single.penny - well except for the Tory Burch} and going back and forth between a few that we love.  Aren't they gorgeous?  I am getting SO excited!  Only fourteen and a half months to go ;)


I have been using Instagram for awhile now in "real life" and am so excited to have made one for my teacher life!  You can follow me at AdventuresInKindergarten or check it out {here} to get fun glimpses into life in kindergarten.
Here are a few favorites:
I foolishly bravely let my little ones use my phone camera.  They took some really funny pictures, and it was so cool for me to see things from their perspective.  I loved this one which is our writing center through the fishtank.
The unit we are working on now is Shadows and Reflections.  Here we set up a shadow puppet theater {it's really super fancy: a white blanket draped over a chart stand and an old overhead projector that I rescued from the trash pile}.  The kids made animal puppets using stencils, construction paper and popsicle sticks.  They LOVE acting out dramatic scenarios {today I overheard "Oh please don't eat me, Mr. Alligator.  I'm just a young cat trying to take care of my kittens!"  haha}.  They throw in some dinosaurs and other animals I have in the block area, too.

We are learning the concept of symmetry.  A quick and easy introduction was to fold a piece of paper in half, have students paint on that half, then flip the folded side onto the top.  Just rub, rub, rub and voila!  A symmetrical painting.

Last but not least, here is how I have been introducing my little ones to the animals we will have in our classroom soon.  I start out with one clue, and then sneakily add more clues throughout the day.  They can't get enough!  And I can't get enough of their crazy guesses.  "A monkey? A baby?  Babies are hairy.  My baby is REALLY hairy!"  When I got to the last clue for caterpillars, some of them guessed correctly.  I took that poor caterpillar out of it's hiding spot, and they went WILD.  There is nothing like building up anticipation, while sneaking in some reasoning skills too :) 

Five for Funday


Okay, so I am more than a little bit late to the party.  To say that it has been a wild and crazy week would be a HUGE understatement.
Boston Strong at the Red Sox game

Crowds cheering for our amazing Police officers
 Celebrating the capture of Suspect 2 (aka White Hat) in the Boston Common

1.  I am so happy, excited and relieved that both of the Marathon Bombers are off the streets of Boston.  The manhunt lasted all day on Friday.  Everyone's work was cancelled, and we were told to stay inside.  Streets that would normally be bustling on a gorgeous 70 degree day were eerily quiet.  We were GLUED to the television, just waiting for them to find "Suspect Number 2."  It honestly felt more like a movie than real life, happening mere miles away.  When they finally did, cheering erupted.  People flowed out into the streets to cheer for the incredibly brave policemen and FBI, many of whom had been working for at least 24 hours straight.  I have never been so proud to be a Bostonian, or so thankful for the amazing men and women who keep our city safe.  I can't wait to have my little ones make thank you cards for our local police station.

Those five days have shown me the amazing strength of human spirit, and that there is ALWAYS far more good in the world than evil.  There is nothing more heartwarming than watching hundreds of thousands of people come together.  Case in point:

This video gives me chills every single time!

2.  Today is the last day of April vacation.  Wahh!  Because of the insane amount of snow (and snow days0 that we had this winter, we are in school until June 28th.  Only 48 more days to go (not that I'm counting or anything...).

3.  Mr. Man gave me an overnight trip to New York City as a birthday gift.  We had SO.MUCH.FUN!  We stayed in Times Square and had so much fun exploring all of the craziness of that area. 
It is lit up so brightly from all of the signs and lights at night that it seems like daytime.  We also went to see Chicago on Broadway and loved it (even he loved it, which was shocking).  This picture was taken at midnight with NO flash and NO filter!

The view from our room

 The best (and unhealthiest) meal of my life

 The Plaza - home of Eloise and Macaulay Culkin

Dylan's Candy Bar

 We went to Serendipity and had frozen hot chocolate. 


We even sat at the table from the movie!  
4  Our eggs are coming this week!  I think I might be more excited than the kids.  Science (integrated with writing and math, of course) in kindergarten just might be my favorite thing to teach :)
5.  This paper cutter {aka guillotine - I don't like that word because it reminds me of Marie Antoinette} has been sitting in my Amazon cart for a few months now.  I have been researching different models, then hemming and hawing over whether or not to buy it.  The Amazon price is $32.79.  Well, wouldn't you know that I went to WalMart yesterday to pick up a few things {then somehow found myself cruising the office supply aisle... shocking!} and found it for $26.  Obviously I had to scoop it up.  Don't mind if I do!  I am planning to use it tonight to cut out my Garden Words centers.  I'll let you know how it is!

I Love You, Boston

My heart is breaking for my city today.  I almost do not have the words to write about the horrifying tragedy at the marathon today.  I debated about whether or not to write anything at all, and decided that I needed to in order to both cope with it and request your prayers and positive energy sent this way.

I came to Boston in 2003 for college, and have never left.  I fell head over heels in love with this amazing city.  I am a very proud Boston Public Schools teacher.  I love this city beyond words.  I love the history, the pride, the accent, the insane sports fanatacism and most of all the heart.  This is an incredible city.
President Obama said it best: 
Today is a holiday in Massachusetts -- Patriots’ Day. It’s a day that celebrates the free and fiercely independent spirit that this great American city of Boston has reflected from the earliest days of our nation. And it’s a day that draws the world to Boston’s streets in a spirit of friendly competition. Boston is a tough and resilient town. So are its people. I'm supremely confident that Bostonians will pull together, take care of each other, and move forward as one proud city. And as they do, the American people will be with them every single step of the way.
So far there have been three deaths, including an eight year old baby, and over 130 injuries.   Please be with us.  Please pray for us, especially for the victims and witnesses and their families.  
 I am continually reminding myself of the heroicism seen today.  When thousands of people were fleeing from the bomb, dozens of policemen, firefighters, military personnel and EMTs were running TOWARD the blast, without regard for their own lives.  Doctors and nurses ran 26.2 miles, then immediately CONTINUED running to hospitals and medical tents to help save lives.  God bless these heroes.  

Please hold your loved ones a little closer, and pray for Boston tonight.

Peep Peep!

We have been learning about chickens all last week and this week, in preparation for the REAL LIVE eggs that our amazing PE teacher is getting for us after April vacation.  I think I might be more excited than the kids.  Really.  

Boston's Museum of Science has so many amazing displays... dinosaur fossils, live lightening displays and animal shows, but my favorite thing in the world has always been to stand outside the incubator and watch the baby chicks hatch.  I am almost beside myself knowing that we will have them right here in school to watch!

I am trying something a bit different for me.  I am frontloading my kids with tons of information about chickens in the hope that this will help them understand the process more deeply when we actually have chicks in the classroom.  

We did tons of research by reading lots of books like these:
I am most obsessed with See How They Grow Chick.  The photographs are amazing and my kids learned so much from reading this.

We also watched three amazing videos.  I was super happy that they squeezed on through my district's YouTube education filter.

I LOVE the simplicity of this one.  The black background and timelapse really allows you to focus on what is happening!
I think it's the dramatic music on this one that kills me.  I do love the excitement of the people talking, and think it's pretty funny when the other chicks are walking in front of the camera and blocking our view of the little guy who just hatched. 

Last but not least, this one is really unique in that it is on a farm setting.  I LOVE that you get to see what Mama Hen does when the chicks are hatching in a natural setting.  I had no idea that she still sits on a bunch of her little fluffies after they hatch!

We did a "joint construction" (fancy speak for shared writing) of a chicken report.  We edited it and I printed it out.  My littles are currently in the process of illustrating it.  We are doing black and white so that I can photocopy the pages and send home a book for each child.

Here is a sneak peak of our chicken report.  How precious are these illustrations?

Please excuse the fact that I haven't erased some of the pencil marks yet!

Totally obsessed with this one.  I mean, check out that hen's eyelashes!

Swear on my life that a 5 year old drew this by himself.  Or as the Kardashians would say, "Bible!"

I can't wait to see what the rest of our book looks like :)

Currently April

Let's break it down.  
1. I love Beyonce.  I want to be Beyonce.  In fact, sometimes I am pretty sure I AM Beyonce.  She is magical.

2. My baby sister moved from Michigan to Boston TODAY and I am so excited.  We haven't lived in the same state for 14 YEARS!

3.  I am teaching a class every Tuesday to teachers who want to pass the Early Childhood teacher test in our state.  I was completely terrified at first, but now am head over heels for teaching grown-ups.  Who knew?!  It is kind of fun teaching people who already know how to read, don't stick their fingers up their nose and wait their turn, plus I never ever ever have to tie shoes!  In all seriousness, though, it's great!

4.  I am going wedding dress shopping in June and wanted to lose a few first.  Why is it so hard?!  Getting to the gym is just the last thing I feel like doing after a long day at school.  Wahh!

5. I need some relaxing time with my man, away from the house, the dust mites, the laundry, the projects and all that jazz.  Enough said!

6.  Do what you love!  That was the mantra my daddy said to me all of my life.  It is the reason I switched majors my junior year of college, and now I am doing a job that really truly makes me happy every single day.

Gardens Galore

 I was SO excited today when my fiancee sent me this picture of the crocuses blooming in our backyard.  Our winter here in Boston was extra brutal this year, so these three little blooms have me jumping for joy!  And they are right on time, because I JUST finished my new Garden Word Cards and Word Walls unit.

The reasons I keep creating these products is because I use them in my own classroom and am SO impressed by how they get my babies excited about reading and writing.  They are also so great for vocabulary!  One of my littles who literally spoke NO English at the beginning of the year said to me "The leprechaun is so funny.  He is always looking for gold!"  (Thanks, March Words unit!).

I am so excited about this one... the clip art is to DIE for!

Like all of my word card and word wall products, ALL items shown below are in both English and Spanish.  Perfect for an English speaking classroom, bilingual classroom, ESL teacher, Spanish teacher and so much more!

These are so simple - just cut and you are all done!  You can add them to a word wall, use them as a word work center or use them to inspire great writing from your students.  Personally I love to laminate them, punch a hole in 'em and throw them on a binder ring.  Voila!  Instant word ring.  These are SO great for developing new vocabulary!  You could even create a content vocabulary wall.  Perfect for ELL students or ANY students!

Slap these in an 8 by 10 acrylic frame (I found mine at the Christmas Tree Shop for $2!) and all done!  You have an awesome word bank for your little ones to use.

The bubble map can be used to practice vocabulary or brainstorm.  I love using it as a prewrite for the writing prompt below.

Have students shuffle up the word cards, put them in alphabetical order and record on this sheet.  My kids LOVE spreading the words all over the rug, debating over which one goes next, and writing their answers on this sheet.  I love it because I can put just a few cards for my struggling students, or use all of them for my super smarties.

This writing prompt can be used as an in-class activity or homework.  I love using it with the word cards or word ring to inspire my babies to incorporate content rich vocabulary into their writing.

The missing word sheet is always a favorite!  I use it with the word rings and mini word walls.  Students think of it as a mystery hunt to find the word.  They don't realize that they are getting phonics practice AND working on letter formation all at once.

Describe it is used to practice adjectives.  This is another great way to develop vocabulary!  I sometimes use this for synonyms as well.  This could be fabulous for pretty, beautiful, gorgeous, stunning, etc.

Last but not least is making words.  You know the drill... students cut up the letters in the word "flowers" and mix 'em up to make new words.  Don't worry - I included an answer key to make things a little easier for you!
This product is 36 pages, and is usually priced at $4.00.  For one week only I have marked it down to $3.00 (25% off... woo hoo!).  Click {HERE} to check it out.

Thanks for sticking around to the end!  I will give away a copy of this unit to the first person to leave a comment with their email address!