Rockstar Room

As we all know, the beginning of the year is one CRAZY time. I'm not sure how everything gets done, but it always does! This year was a particularly close call.

Picture This: 
It is Friday evening, the custodians are literally standing by my door kicking me out, and my classroom looks like this:

Note that there is crap stuff absolutely EVERYWHERE! My school happens to be closed on the weekend and we only had 2 hours to work in our rooms on Monday until open house. EEK! Imagine the horror I was feeling. I have never felt that stressed in my entire life. (I actually had a panic attack while unsuccessfully attempting to remove sticky residue off the wall with Goo-Gone. "Why won't it come off? Why does the world hate me? Somebody kill me!" cry, cry, cry. Overly dramatic? Yes. But my fellow teachers, you, too, understand the stress of an unprepared room.) Even if I worked every second of that 2 hours on Monday, I knew it would never be ready. I called my lovely principal, who is amazing BTW, and begged her to let me into the school on Saturday. This is how the conversation went:
Me: "Oh my gosh, Mrs. P I am so sorry to bother you on a Friday night. I am feeling a bit stressed about my room. Is there anyway possible that I could work in my room for just a few hours tomorrow?"
Mrs. P: "Khrys, does your room look like it did when I saw it earlier this afternoon?"
Me: (completely embarrassed) "Well, I got a few things on the walls, but basically."
Mrs. P: "Good grief. Well the problem is that there is no one to let you in. The custodians won't be there."
Me: (feeling as if every organ in my body stopped working) "Oh, ok, I completely understand. Just thought I would try! Don't worry though (hiding shaking voice), it will definitly be ready on Monday! I'll just have to work quickly (faster than the speed of light to be accurate)! Thank you!"


What on earth was I going to do? 2 minutes into my emotional spiral, I hear: "HEY, I JUST MET YOU! AND THIS IS CRAZY!" (my ringtone - pathetic, I know) and guess who it is?!?! MRS. P! I tried to bury the small seed of hope that was growing inside me.

Mrs. P: "Hey Khrys! I spoke with Mr. AP (our assistant principal) and he said that he would not mind unlocking the doors for you to work for a few hours tomorrow. Would you be able to go in around 10am? "
Me: (jumping in circles, holding the phone away from my ear, silent screaming "HALLELUJAH!") "I can be there! 10 am is perfect! Thank you so much! You are my hero!"

And so it went.... 9:30am rolled around, I grabbed my trusty hibiscus Tervis Tumbler, filled it with my favorite Passion Iced Tea from Starbucks (which you can buy in teabags for only $4 and it makes like 6 pitchers!), tucked my 4 mile long to-do list into my bag, and headed out the door! I worked SO fast and really made a lot of progress. By the time Open House rolled around on Monday, I was actually prepared and ready to go. Can you believe it? Me neither! So here is how the room came out this year. It is much different than last year. I didn't necessarily have a 'theme' last year, my room was just extremely colorful. I guess you could say it was rainbow themed (or as a fellow teacher told me - seizure themed because of the color overload - I resented that comment just slightly) I got SO many fabulous ideas for my Rockstar Themed classroom from Abby Mullins over at http://theinspiredapple.blogspot.com/. If you haven't seen her blog yet (which I'm sure you have!), you must check it out! She is amazing! I also found some great ideas on Pinterest. Here it is:
Outside of Our Rockin' Room
My adorable new sign for outside our room!! SO cute!
Morning Check-In Area: Notice the morning steps on the wall. These REALLY helped my students at the beginning of the year and continues to help my *forgetful* students! During check-in students start by doing their sound check and move their guitar pick onto the guitar, put their binders & RED Folders on the shelf, sign their name, and take their morning work from the basket.
The clocks at the top are to keep us on schedule and remind students of important times. Some of them really rely on them! The white board is to write little reminders on (transportation changes, etc.). The Rockin' Walkin' Work bags are for my 'take home' volunteer projects. At the beginning of the year I have students sign up to be 'in-room' or 'at-home' volunteers. I often send home things like cutting out laminate or organizing projects with the kids!
My adorable desk! I was super excited with how it came out!
Above my desk - still needs a bit of tidying up!

The front of the room! It looks a bit overwhelming, but we use EVERYTHING that's up there!
The calendar corner and chit-chat carpet. This is where we start our day!
Our Class Job Chart
The Wizard of Words Wall - Our class sight word challenge!

Our Rockin' Behavior Clip Chart
Bucket-Filling Area
Classroom Library
We have a Kagan school! This is where we write all of the Kagan Structures that we use throughout the year.
The Word Wall
The fabulous treasure box that I made for under $30!!! My kiddos went crazy over this!
My kindergarten bestie gave me this adorable frame! Isn't it the cutest?!

So I hope you love my room as much as I do - I am thrilled with how it came out! Stay fabulous everyone! Talk to you soon!


EEK! I'm finally here!

I did it! I did it! I am finally a part of the blogosphere (or blogiverse?) I am so super excited to start contributing to the fabulous world of kindergarten blogs, hopefully I can make an impact in some small way. I have a few goals for myself when it comes to this blog:

1. Always keep it fun: I must remember that this is not an obligation, it is a choice. I can blog as much or as little as I want (though secretly I hope it is a lot)
2. Make connections: I would love to connect with other teachers from anywhere and everywhere to share ideas and a passion for this wonderfully crazy job!
3. Inspire: If even one of my posts sparks an idea for just one person out there, it will be worth every second!

SO, there we have it. I'm going to check back on my goals periodically and see how well I am doing. You'll have to help keep me on track if I begin veering away from time to time. Now, lets talk kindergarten! How much fun is it?! I mean seriously! I feel like a kid again everyday. I think that is why I love it so much. All of my favorite childhood memories are centered around books, holidays, and fun. These 3 things are so wholly integarted into my job that I literally have the best time doing it! I have been teaching kindergarten for 3 years now. WOW - totally can't believe that... I guess what they say really is true, time does fly when you're having fun!

A Quick Trip Into My Past
*I grew up in St. Louis, Missouri with my wonderful older sister, Amanda (who is also a teacher - 4th grade - totally different teaching universe than mine) and my magnificent, incredible, marvelous parents!

I really had the best life a kid could ask for, full of: love, hugs, food, support, excitement, comfort, toys, fall leaves, snow days, and a fireplace. Gosh, I miss that fireplace. One of my besties (also named Amanda) gave me a wood wick candle for my birthday last May that stopped. my. world. So recently I bought a wood wick candle with 3 wicks (!!!)  from Target and the smell is "Bonfire Nights". I light it next to my bed when I watch TV everynight and I swear it feels/sounds/smells just a bit like the old days. If you have not yet been introduced to the world of wood wick candles, you must go out and buy one. They are life changing.

Oh geez, I'm already digressing! Pull it together Khrys. Let's move on...
During my sophomore year of high school we moved to Tampa, Florida. Not at ALL what I was expecting, but I made it out alive. My sister transferred to FGCU in Fort Myers and I followed in her footsteps! We lived together all through college until I graduated a few years back with my education degree!

The history was probably unnecessary, but I feel like I can move forward now. ONTO TEACHING! I entered into my first year of teaching 2 months into the school year. I interviewed at two different schools, one of which I was really hoping for and the other I was a bit iffy about. OF course, I got the job at the school I was unsure of. Boy was I wrong, it was the best thing that ever happened to me! I love my school so darn much. It is full of amazing people and feels like a family. I also met my bestie there, a fellow kindergarten teacher. We bring each other up in this world :) My first year of teaching was absolutely INSANE! Unbelievable really. The class had quite a few (ahem... 8 out of 18 to be exact) children with behavior problems and I was fresh out of college, picturing rainbows and butterflies. Imagine my surprise on the first day, walking in with only a Starbucks to keep me sane and a completely skewed vision of what would actually happen. Needless to say, by the end of the first week, we had 3 ruthless brawls, 2 bloody noses, and 1 suspension. Now keep in mind, THIS IS KINDERGARTEN!! I was floored. Sheesh! I cried just about everynight and  didn't know if I was actually going to make it. The next week (Ok fine, I'm lying. It was more like a month of the self-pity, then this...), I pulled myself up by my bootstraps and told myself, "Khrys, this is it. You're either going to do this or you're not. If you're not going to do this, then just get out now. If you are going to do this, let's pull these kids together and make it happen." Guess what? I did it! I brought that group together in a way I never thought possible. By the end of the year we were some sort of misfit, renegade family. To this day, I still have them stop by my room every morning to give me hugs. It made me feel so empowered, like I could do anything! Looking back now, I am so thankful for the experience. I know that year prepared me for anything. After that year, I was anticipating another crazy year, but I was wrong! My second year of teaching was absolutely INCREDIBLE! My kiddos were little angels. We all got along so well, like we were meant to be together. Every single day was filled with fun, laughter, and love! We just had a blast together. That year is filled with some of the best memories that I know I will carry with me forever.
Look at my little ones at the end of the year! So sweet!!!

And that takes me to this year! My third year as a teacher! It is unreal how much it helps to have experience now. They say this graph shows how teachers feel during the first year of teaching (which is so accurate!):

http://blogs.edweek.org/teachers/coach_gs_teaching_tips/First-Year%20Teaching.gifThen the second year comes along and you are a bit more prepared, still experimenting to see what works and what doesn't. Then the third year arrives! I have experienced every behavior problem in the book and how to handle it, I have seen which methods/activities work and which ones absolutely do not, and I have witnessed the incredible growth that students can make in just one short year. I am so excited about this third year! I walked down the first grade hallway the other day and saw student work posted outside the rooms. I welled up with tears as I scanned every single piece of work, reading the amazing stories my past bitty ones had written. This year I hope to gain more knowledge and experience to become an even better teacher next year! I am by no means a pro yet, but I do feel more confident in my abilities, having seen the amazing little learners I helped create! So here we go, into the future! I hope you'll join me in this journey and help me grow! There is so much to learn, and that my friends, is what sparks the fire in my heart. Take my hand and let's work as one to ignite our passion onto others! Thanks for reading, I hope you'll come back again and check out what happens as my year continues!