Liebster Award - Take 2!!

Wowie Wow Wow! I am so honored and super excited that I have been nominated a second time for the fantastic Liebster Award!
Thank you soooo very much to Jill Cruz over at Cruz'n In First!
Here are my answers to her sparkling questions:
How long have you been a teacher?
*I am currently in my third year as a kindergarten teacher!

What was your best purchase from TPT?
*Deanna Jump's Common Core Standards Posters for kindergarten
*This saved me soooo much time and they are adorable :)

How do you celebrate Christmas in your classroom in one or two sentences?
*Lots of fun, music, and food! I do weekly holiday themes for the 4 weeks up to the christmas break, for example: elf week, snow week, gingerbread week, etc.

How did you discover the blogging world?
*A friend of mine mentioned BabblingAbby's blog 'The Inspired Apple' and that was it, I was hooked!

What is your favorite read aloud?
*I looooove the book 'Big Pumpkin' by Erica Silverman. This was my favorite book as a child and my kids just adored it this year. I make sure to do all the voices and my kids were rolling on the floor when I did the vampire voice!

What are you wishing for this Christmas-money is no object?

*A Canon EOS Rebel t3i DSLR Camera with both a 18-55mm lens and a 75-300mm lens! Please oh please santa, let's make this happen!

How do you incorporate learning goals into your day?
*In our classroom we set weekly and daily goals! You can see my goal posters by clicking here!

What is your favorite treat to order from Dairy Queen?
*A banana split! Mmmmm....

Do you wear heels, flats, boots, or other in the classroom?
*I wear heels most days, but lately with the cooler weather I have been on a boot 'kick' (heh heh)

What is your favorite song to listen to when you are sad? ...when you are happy?
*Sad Song: Butterfly Kisses by Bob Carlisle - it gets me every time!
*Happy Song: Valerie by Amy Winehouse - I just love it!!

What was the best field trip you ever went on or planned?
*We went to the circus this past year and it was such a blast! My favorite act was the dancing dogs - they were so darn cute!

So there you have it!! Thank you so much again to my amazing nominators, you have warmed my heart! Have a terrific Tuesday everyone!

Liebster Award Nomination - WOO HOO!!

Oh my goodness me, I am so super excited! As I checked out my blog today I found a comment from the lovely Kimberly Ann from http://livelaughilovekindergarten.blogspot.com/. I have been nominated for a Liebster Award and am absolutely thrilled! This is such a fantastic way to help spread the news about new bloggers (such as myself!) Thank you so much to Kimberly Ann :) I cannot wait to pay it forward to other fabulous blogs out there.

So here are the official Liebster Blog Award rules:
*If you are tagged/nominated, you have to post 11 random facts about yourself.
*Answer the 11 questions the tagger has given you & make 11 questions for the people you are going to tag.
*Choose and tag 11 more fabulous blogs out there and link them in your post (the blogs you tag must have less than 200 followers)
*Tell the people you tagged that you did.
*No tagging back (but if you are tagged by me, please leave a comment on this post with a link to your Liebster post!)
11 Random Facts About Me
1. I love music! My classroom is filled with music each and every day, both from my iPod and from me (though I'm no Celine Dion!)
2. Reading is my passion in life! I have a Kindle and a Nook (which is a bit redundant, I know)
3. My favorite book series is Harry Potter!
4. Fashion is a huge joy of mine. I love high heels, jewelry, and everything in between!
5. I really enjoy being creative! Painting, drawing, and doodling - such fun!
6. I am not at all athletic. I trip over my own feet daily.
7. I loooooove TV! My favorite shows are Pretty Little Liars and Once Upon a Time!
8. I used to live in St. Louis and so miss the snow!
9. I'm very superstitious!
10. My best friend is my mommy :)
11. My favorite thing to do in the entire world is laugh!

11 Questions From My Nominator - Kimberly Ann
1. If you didn't teach the grade you do now, which grade would you want to teach?
Hmmm... That's a toughy, I just love kindergarten soooo much! I would have to say either 1st grade or go in the complete opposite direction and teach a creative writing course at a university!

2. What is your favorite holiday?
Oh this one is obvi! CHRISTMAS OF COURSE!! Who doesn't looooove Christmas?! It's just the best!

3. Where would you want live if you didn't live where you currently live?
I'd have to say somewhere in the midwest - maybe back to good ol' St. Louie!

4. What is your favorite hobby, besides blogging?;)
Reading reading reading! I looove to read!

5. What is your favorite sports team?
Ew, sports! HA!! I am soooo not a sports fan, but I'd have to say the St. Louis Rams!

6. Are you a risk taker?
Absolutely! I try to be at least...

7. Are you a Black Friday shopper?
Oh yes, I went a bit crazy this year! I'm wearing my brand new comfy pants right now!

8. Favorite place to visit?
My parents house! It always makes me feel like a kid again!

9. Favorite season and why?
Winter - I love cuddling up in cozy blankets and drinking warm drinks!

10. What was your first ever job?
Sigh, Mcdonalds! At 15 years old I worked the drive-through!

11. What is your favorite teaching memory?
Making a break through with one of my little ones who had struggled all year long! It was amazing to finally see him understand :)

11 Questions to My Nominated Blogs
1. What is your favorite thing about teaching?
2. If you won $2 million, what would be your first purchase?
3. What was your favorite movie/tv show as a kid?
4. If you were a crayon, what color would you be and why?
5. What is the last book you read? Did you like it?
6. Do you have a special talent (other than teaching of course!)?
7. What did you want to grow up to be when you were little?
8. What is your favorite flavor of ice cream?
9. What is your guilty pleasure?
10. If you were stranded on an island, what one thing would you take and why?
11. What is the kindest thing anyone has ever done for you or that you have done for someone else?

11 Blogs I Am Nominating
1. Clearly Kindergarten
2. Fun in K/1
3. Ms. Mentzer's Kindergarten Class
4. Peace, Love & Pencils
5. Mrs. Janelle's Kindergarten Kingdom
6. Heidi's Krazy Kinder
7. The Lower Elementary Cottage
8. The Constant Kindergartener
9. Kindergarten Kel
10. Mrs. Kelly's Klass
11. Cruz'n In First

YAY BLOGGING! Isn't it just the best?! Don't forget about Cyber Monday!! I have posted a few more holiday inspired things in my TPT store - stop by and check it out! Have a fabulous week!

Cyber Monday



HAPPY THANKSGIVING!! I hope everyone is enjoying the three Thanksgiving F's -  friends, family, and (most importantly) FOOD! I am relaxing in my favorite recliner with a glass of hot apple cider and my 2 fuzzy puppies curled up next to me. Ahhhhh, this is the life! I know that as a new blogger, there are not many people out there reading this, but I am so grateful for those of you that are! I just love being able to participate in such a fun community of teachers sharing and learning from one another. In order to celebrate my blog, my lovely followers, and my TPT followers, I am throwing a CYBER MONDAY SALE! Starting Monday, November 26th, enjoy up to 28% off of my products! Please visit my store and roll in the discounts by clicking the link below:

Cyber Monday

This is a fabulous time to start preparing for December! Here are some of my festive products that will be on sale!
(click on the picture to take you there!)

SANTA'S ORDINAL SLEIGH RIDE: This fun activity is a great and festive way to practice numerical order (putting numbers in order) and ordinal numbers (first, second, etc.) Your kids will love coloring and ordering the reindeer for Santa's holiday sleigh ride! Don't forget to color in Rudolph's nose!


SHOPPING FOR SANTA'S SUIT: This festive activity is engaging, educational, and fun! Your students will LOVE using their number and/or money skills to shop for Santa's Suit! There are two options included in this package. The first option allows students to use a coin spinner and 'money' to buy Santa's suit. The second option allows students to roll dice and numbers to buy Santa's suit. This can be used as an independent center or as a whole group activity. The activity is lots of fun and the outcome is adorable!

 CHRISTMAS COUNTDOWN CHAIN: This festive activity is engaging, educational, and fun! Your students will LOVE using their number skills to link together the days until Christmas! With a complete chain, students will cut one each day until they reach the star. When they cut the last link and reach the star, it will be Christmas Day!

I am so thankful for all of you! Enjoy this time off to relax with loved ones! Happy Eating Everyone!


Let the FEASTING begin!

HAPPY THANKSGIVING FRIENDS! Today is the first day of our Thanksgiving break and I am so excited to have some time to catch up (on sleep, on reading, on dvr shows, and of course, on work). This past week we have been busy little bees working to prepare for our upcoming feast! We started by making paper bag turkeys:
In the process....

Finished turkey! They made adorable table decorations!
We also made placemats and they came out super cute! The kids weaved thin strips of colored paper through a large sheet of brown construction paper to make the mat. Then they colored pictures and glue them on. When they were finished, I laminated them and they were ready to go!
While making the placemats

A finished placemat!!
We also did some cooking for our families. The first thing we made to celebrate our classroom family was "Friendship Soup". I have my kids make this every year and they always eat it up! I cut up the ingredients in advance, put them in baggies, and scattered them around the room. Then I gave each student a picture of the ingredient that they would be looking for. They searching the room to 'gather the harvest'. Then we put the ingredients in the crock pot and let it cook all day. The room smelled delicious!
The kids with our soup!

Adding the most important ingredient - LOVE!

Enjoying the soup with our friends!

We also made two types of pies: pumpkin pie and pumpkin cheesecake! On our way to the kitchen, one of the trays went flying and pie went EVERYWHERE! We were covered. It was a straight up pie-splosion! Luckily, we saved one of the trays. So we ended up with pumpkin cheesecake only, but they were soooo good!

Then (finally) yesterday we had our fabulous feast! Many of the students families joined us and it was just lovely!

I'm so sad it's over, it really is such a nice time of the year! But I am soooo thrilled it is almost December - I am already gearing up for snow, gingerbread men, and other classroom fun! I can't wait!! Are you as excited as I am?! Hope everyone has an amazing Thanksgiving! HAPPY TURKEY DAY!


Time To Be Thankful!

This week we are learning about The First Thanksgiving. The kids love listening to the stories and discovering what life was like in the 1600's! I just get a kick out of how shocked my little ones are as they find out what kids their age did in the past. As we read the book "The Story of the Pilgrims", I explained how the pilgrims were on the Mayflower for 66 days and related it to the number of days we have been in school this year (67 days - how perfect!) It really shook one of my kiddos, who screamed, "WE'D ALL BE DEAD! JUST DEAD!" Sigh! Sometimes I wonder what it is like inside their brains :) They were rolling on the floor laughing when I read the name "Squanto". I asked one what was so funny, and he said "That's what we do in PE." I kindly explained "No honey, that is called squatting." I love them! They truly make my days full of laughter! So here's a breakdown of what we've been up to so far!

We started our week by reading two wonderful stories about the first Thanksgiving! We then created a flow map to sequence the events that occurred! First we discussed the sentences and decided the order. We glued them onto the chart. Next we found the corresponding pictures for each sentence. After gluing all the sentences and pictures in the correct order, the students filled in the missing words - most of which were sight words we are focusing on! They really loved this activity and I loved that it combined sequencing, critical thinking, and sight words!

 The finished product:
 If you would like to make a First Thanksgiving flow map with your class, feel free to purchase the activity in my TPT store by clicking the picture below:

We also learned about the trip on the Mayflower and discussed what three things we would bring with us if we had to go on the journey!
 One of my very favorite activities is our "Pilgrims & Native American Thanksgiving Plate" activity. We have been discussing healthy foods and the different sections of the 'MyPlate'. We decided to see how healthy the first Thanksgiving feast was! We researched and read about the foods that they ate and organized them onto the MyPlate. (For more information about MyPlate visit: http://www.choosemyplate.gov/food-groups/) Didn't it turn out great?
 While we created the large plate, the students also completed a visual by drawing and coloring the plate! Click on the link below to grab a copy for yourself:
Finally, we created a Venn Diagram comparing the Wampanoag Children to the Pilgrim Children that we read about. The kids had some fantastic ideas!
Oh what fun! We have a few more activities planned the rest of this week and for our SUPER short 2-day week next week so I'll be sure to share! As we get closer, all I can think about is Thanksgiving dinner - yum! I am so THANKFUL you stopped by! Hope to see you again soon :)


So Long Halloween, I'm Feelin' Fall-y!

Yay! It's Saturday! Though I always get excited it's the weekend, I usually spend most of my time catching up on school work that I never got to during the week. It is absolutely IMPOSSIBLE to catch up! Every time I think "Wow, I really accomplished a lot!" I turn around and remember 15 other important things that I need to do. Ahhhh, the life of a teacher :) Boy is it fun though!

Well Halloween was a fabulous time in our classroom! We had such a blast! Here's the low-down on what we did! I loved our pumpkin unit. There is so much fun to be had when it comes to pumpkins! You can see some of our fun creations later in this post in our fall display. One exciting part of the unit that the kids are always "pump"ed (haha gosh, I'm clever) about is pumpkin carving!! Before the scooping began, I passed out small papers with blank pumpkins on them. I asked the students to draw a picture of the jack-o-lantern that they would want us to carve. They did an awesome job! We then voted as a class which we liked best. Here were our winners:

 After the vote, it was time to get down to business. I brought in 3 pumpkins and put the class into 3 groups. Some of them had never scooped a pumpkin before! Most of them were thrilled to touch all the goopy yuck, but two of them literally threw up. Good grief.

 And after all the scooping, we carved them together. We did our very best to make them look like the pumpkins we voted for. Unfortunately the pumpkin on the left was supposed to have one tooth but it broke off as we pulled the mouth out. It worked out ok though, we just called him our "Happy Pumpkin"!
 And of course the best part of carving pumpkins is eating the seeds!! They LOVED them!!
 And then it was the glorious day itself! HALLOWEEN! We all dressed up in costumes and went trick-or-treating around the school!
I am the big pumpkin in the middle! And just to be clear - despite how it appears in this picture, I have two legs. The witch on my right is my intern Chelsea and the pumpkin on my left is my fellow kindergarten teacher (and good buddy) Amanda.
 The kids looked spookalicious in their adorable costumes!
 After our fun trick-or-treating adventure, we came back to the room for our Halloween party! There was freaky food, gory games, and creepy crafts galore!
Our "Witches Brew" made with lime sherbet (my kids called this lizard guts), pineapple juice, and gingerale. And don't forget the hand!! This is always a winner!

We also made little witches broomsticks with pretzels and reeses!

Making "Spageletons" - Skeletons out of spaghetti (I was so proud when I came up with the name!)

Making graveyards with chocolate pudding, oreo crumbles, gummy worms, and milano cookies (tombstones)

Pumpkin Bowling!

Pumpkin Painting
The snack table! YUM!!

One of my kids moms brought this in! They were so cute and the kids gobbled them up!
 And just like that Halloween is over! I love holidays (maybe more than the kids! Ha!) In the aftermath of all our spooky fun, I finally got my fall decorations up this week. I felt awful that it took me 7 days into November to get them up. I spent lots of money and even more time to make it festive, but it was well worth it! It looks adorable and my kids were ecstatic when they came in. So here's how it came out:
The inside of our room!

The hallway right outside of our room! The kids loved all the pumpkin activities that we did. You may be wondering why I have 600 scarecrows. All I have to say is: Sale. At Michaels. No self-control.
In the middle row of the wall are our 'Pumpkin Life Stage" projects. After reading "The Pumpkin Book" by Gail Gibbons, the kids colored and cut out the life stages (seen above) and glued them in order on a piece of string. They then made pumpkins from paper plates and glued the string to the top to become the vine!
Don't you just love our little pumpkin patch? The kids made the little orange pumpkins and they came out great. They stuffed paper bags with newspaper and closed the top with a rubberband. They then painted them orange and brown (stem) and added a green pipe cleaner to hide the rubberband and become the vine! At the end of the vine is a little green leaf that has each child's name on it.
Our Pumpkin Diagrams - these were super easy to make! I printed all the words on labels and all the kids had to do was stick them on the correct place instead of messing with sticky glue!
"Leaf Pile Kids" - Super cute! I got this idea from April Larremore's blog and created my own templates.

 So there we have it! I hope you are getting ready to cozy up and enjoy the season. The very best time of the year has just begun! Here's to a fabulous fall ya'll!