Sunday, September 23, 2012

My New Class and Donors Choose

Be No. 1... Give to Public Schools in Need! - Go to

Hi all,
Wow!  We are on week 4 in school.  It is sooo hard to believe that these little ones have been with me this long.  The crying is less...and everyone is starting to understand and follow classroom procedures.  You might be asking right now why it takes this class four weeks to "get with the Kindergarten program?" 
Well, I have 20 little ones and over 1/2 of them speak a different language at home.  Represented in our class is Spanish, Japanese, Twi, Igbo, French, Danish, and Gujarati.  Some of these little ones speak fluent English, but most do not.  Visual cues and modeling....oh my. 
Although our school is considered Moderate Poverty, my class tips the balance toward High Poverty. 
Most of my parents are awesome and want to help their kiddos.  It is hard for them to help with letter sounds and word families, since they don't speak fluent English themselves. 
I created a Donors Choose project to help both my parents and my students.  Now, I need some advice.  How do you get your project funded?  I'm not having much luck and I don't have any experience with Donors Choose. 
Any advice?

Monday, September 17, 2012

The Happiest 5K on the Planet

I haven't posted in a while...the start of school and all that comes with it drained all my energy and motivation.  This weekend I got re-charged.  I ran in The Color Run in Richmond with a team of 20 teachers, friends and family.  It was awesome.  If you have a chance to participate in this event...go for it. 
You begin with a white outfit...
At ever K, you get a mixture of cornstarch and food coloring thrown, squirted and blown at you.  By the end of the "race" you are a colorful rainbow.  Most of the color blows or falls off, but some stays around in the most interesting places. I still have a faint glow of green and orange in my hair.  I think it will come out with the next shampoo.  
I am planning on dipping my shirt in vinegar to save the color. 
Babies, children, teens, men and women.  Some old, some young.  Men in tutus, girls in fairy wings, kids in capes.  I saw it all and everyone was happy and colorific. 
I can't wait to participate next year.  It was the happiest race on the planet. 

Me after the Colorific Fun. 
Before the race...

The Color Festival at the Finish. 

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

The Color Run in Richmond, VA

Doesn't this look like fun? 

I have a team of teachers running walking this fun race on September 15th. It looks like so much fun and just the break teachers need after the first few weeks of school.
Come join me! You can register here The Color Run...Richmond.  If you want to join my team of team name is Cray-Ooh-La-La and the password is Moncure.  I can't wait!  If you dip your shirt in vinegar after the race, your colors will stay on your shirt and you will have an awesome...colorful shirt.  There are Color Runs all over the USA, so if you don't live close to Richmond, you can run in another one.  Just check out The Color Run website to find one near you. 

Saturday, August 11, 2012

Virginia is for Sweet Bloggers and Sweet Tea.

I met the sweetest Virginia girls today. I attended the Virginia Blogger Meet-Up and it was sooo much fun. I learned a ton, found ladies who share my love of blogging, talked about the Virginia SOL's, shared ideas, and drank tons of iced tea. Yep, it was sweet tea. Virginia is a Southern state you know. If you have a chance to attend a blogger it! I have a page...Virginia is for Blogs and there are links to all the sweet blogs right there. Check it out! If you are a Virginia blogger and aren't included on my page, comment below and I'll link you right up. It is a work in progress.

Thank you to Karen and Kelly for putting this meet-up together and for the goody bags. So SWEET!

Virginia clip art from....

Friday, August 3, 2012

Linky, Swap and Pair Up (Glue problem solved!) to the end to see how I use this product in my classroom! 

Teacher Idea Factory
Kelley at The Teacher Idea Factory is hosting a Perfect Pen Pal Pair Up.  You don't have to be a blogger to enter.  You just have to have a classroom.  It is going to be fabulous.  I signed up my in-coming Kindergarten class.  I will finally get to use that cool mailbox I had my Dad make for me four years ago.  Click on the link and sign up. 

Miss Whiddens Sweet Seconds
Lacey at Miss Whiddens Sweet Seconds is hosting a Post Card Swap.  She is a second year teacher and a brand new blogger.  She still has lots of states left.  You will need some stamps, post cards and labels.  I am so excited to use that cool mailbox again this year.  I signed up to represent the state of Virginia. 

Now I am linking up to share my favorite teaching supplies.  This is also being hosted by Teacher Idea Factory.  Ths girl is a do'er.  Woo Hoo! 

Now for my top five can't live without classroom resources. 
1.  4-oz. Bottle No-Run School GlueI LOVE this glue.  It doesn't run, there is a little clip for the kids to hook the lid onto the bottle during use.  (NO more lost lids) and BEST of clogging!  There is a little tip on the lid that slides into the bottle when you put the lid on.  It keeps the glue bottle from clogging.  I purchases a bottle for each kiddo and I refill the bottle with glue the kids bring to school.  I didn't believe that this would work so last year I purchased four bottles and gave them to my four little stinkers.  It worked!  Buy a bottle and try it. 

2.  Mr. Sketch Scented Watercolor Markers, 18 Colors, 18/SetYep.  Me too!  I love these markers.  The don't bleed through the chart paper and I can use them to help teach the five senses.  They make me happy!

3.    I use these for everything.  Reminders to me...reminders for my Para.  Graphing projects with the kiddos.  I use them for everything and they come in pretty colors.  What Kindergarten teacher doesn't like pretty colors?

4.       I use my Activboard for so much.  I use it for calendar, for center time, for lesson introductions, to show movie clips, for bus call...everything.  I love it. 

5.        Gotcha didn't I?  I love velcro, but no I don't stick the kids to the wall with it.  LOL  I use velcro to hang up stuff on my walls, cubby tags, coat tags, book box labels and for table name tags.  I can move kids in an instant.  Just pull the nametag and move it to a new space.  No tape.  I always put the fluffy side on the table or wall and I always put the rough side on the paper.

Thanks Kelley and Lacey for organizing all these fun activities.  You are both awesome! 

The Happiest Time of the Year...and the Saddest Day

I love Kindergarten screening. I get giddy meeting the new kinders for the first time. They are so excited about starting school. I like being able to meet them one at a time and having a chance to speak to parents one on one too. I don't know about you, but back to school night, the first day of school and open houses are stressful and exhausting. All the parents want to speak to you and ask individual questions, and the kiddos want to have your full attention (which I give them much to the chagrin of the parents.) Today was my first day of Kindergarten screening. I had a blast.

On a much sadder note, my 12 year old daughter's friend passed away on Monday. What do you say to make it all better? My understanding is that this sweet girl went into cardiac arrest at school. I'm not certain what cause the cardiac arrest.  This happened before school (the very last week of school) at an extra curricular activity. The nurse had not arrived at school since school hadn't begun. CPR was administered..however the sweet 13 year old was taken off of life support and died this past Monday.    I believe everyone should know CPR ; especially teachers. Those moments when someone is gathering the nurse (who wasn't at school yet) could make a big difference in the final outcome.   Now my baby is scared to be away from me. She has lots of questions and I am answering them the best I can. I am encouraging her to attend the visitation...just to give her some closure and so she can support this sweetheart's family. Thirteen year old little girls shouldn't die.  If you have the opportunity, take a CPR class this year in memory of one of God's cutest, sweetest and kindest little angel.  You can purchase a personal kit for only $34.00 and learn CPR anywhere in 22 minutes.  Check it out.  The American Heart Association

After screening lots of little kinders and comforting my daughter today I am reminded how parents place their babies in our care every year.  They trust us to keep their babies safe and to teach them all about the world.  What an awesome responsibility gift we have been given.   I LOVE my job! 

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Second Chance Postcard Exchange

I don't know about you, but I was very disappointed that I didn't get to participate in the postcard exchange sponsored by Primary Graffiti. (Cue violins and cellos) Now for the WooHoo....Mrs. Whidde is sponsoring another one. Virginia always goes quick, but I made it! She has lots of states left. If you are interested in participating you can e-mail her. She also has a brand new blog. So new that she is still in the design process. Check it out.

Monday, July 30, 2012

Responsive Classroom Approach/ Printable

I've seen lots of behavior clip charts on Pinterest and TPT.  I don't use that behavior/ classroom management plan.  I've tried it and it just doesn't work for me.
 I used a color system where kiddos could go up and they could go down.  They all started on the color green.  My colors where purple, blue, green, yellow and pink.  Purple was color everyone strived for.  A child on pink was having an awful day.  I had kiddos who would go home often on yellow.  Two parents claimed I was "bullying" their kids.  If you knew me at all, you would know that couldn't be true.  Those little ones were just little stinkers.  Also, my experience with this system is that the classroom focus is on the behavior, not on the learning.  When the kids get home, the first thing the parent was asking was...what color were you on.  I wanted them to ask...what fun thing did you do or learn.  So, after that particular year I went looking for a new behavior/ classroom management plan. 
The approach I found and have adopted in my classroom is the Responsive Classroom Approach

It has changed my classroom for the better and now I don't know how I ever taught differently. 
For those of you who aren't familiar with this approach, I though I would summarize for you.  Basically you model everything.  The kids don't get to use anything until you have modeled it.  I don't mean a simple demonstration.  I mean an in depth investigation, modeling and discussion of each classroom tool and procedure. 
To give you an example.  I model how I want the children to move from their table to the carpet.  First I tell the students what I am going to do...move to the carpet.  Then I model the behavior.  I usually model it more than once.  The class then makes an anchor chart that summarizes all the steps of moving to the carpet. 
Stand up, push in your chair, walk quietly to the carpet, find your spot, sit quietly in your spot, sit facing the rocking chair, sit with your legs criss crossed, put your hands in your lap, wait for instruction. 
We then practice lots and lots of times until everyone has it down. 
The next day, I model it again and we practice again. 
As I said, I do this for every classroom tool and procedure. 

Yep, it takes forever and yes, it works.  My kiddos are in kindergarten, so I would be modeling most of this anyway. However, my kiddos have been shown exactly what my expectations are...and they meet them.   

Do I have behavior issues?
Yes.  I still do.  I use a "time out" system.  Not the kind of time out that The Nanny uses.  Kinda different.  When I see someone who needs to regroup or be redirected, I kindly tell them to visit the "polka dot rug."  I have two of these little bathroom rugs that I got at Ikea.  The kids go quietly to the rug, count to 20 (this number increases as the year progresses) and quietly returns to the activity at hand.  They may not question me at that time.  I do not tell them to think about what they did.  That just makes them mad/ madder.  Yes, I model this like crazy and depending on my class, I introduce those rugs as early as the second day of school.  Everyone will visit the "polka dot rug" at some time during the first week of school.  I try very hard to take the negative stigma from the rug and yes, I do visit the rug myself. 
I also use logical consequences in my classroom.  For example, if a student doesn't use scissors correctly...he loses his scissors for the day.  Try doing your classwork without scissors for a day and that student learns pretty quickly not to mess around with his scissors again.
Most behavior issues are handled in my room right when they occur. 
I do have the occasional little stinker and I might need some parental support.  I have a behavior ticket that I send home and the parent must sign and return. 
Obviously if a child is hurting another student, being disrespectful or not following the school code of conduct...I will send them up to adminstration.  This happens rarely. 
The Responsive Classroom Approach has lots of different parts.  I am only summarizing a little of it. 
I thought I would share the handout I send home to parents at Back to School Night that summarizes my classroom management. 
If you want to learn more about Responsive Classroom.  Click on this link.  It will take you to their website and some introductory videos.  They also have a few on YouTube.  They also have a blog, newsletter and lots of support materials too.
I love to hear from others who use this approach in their classroom too.  I've only used this approach for two years, so advice is very welcome.  Classroom Management

Saturday, July 28, 2012

Tell Me More...a Linky

I'm excited to join a linky that I've been stalking for a few days. The linky I am joining is hosted by Step Into Second Grade.    I've loved learning some more about my favorite bloggers and thought I would share a few things about me. 
1.  I met my Mr. when I was just 13.  We started dating when I was 16.  We grew up together and I love him more now then ever. 
2.  My first car was an orange Mustang.  I thought I was so cool when I drove it.  I had to sell it when I had my first child.  It was too hard to get the car seat in the backseat. 
1980 Ford Mustang Base picture

3.  My class pets are Madagascar Cockroaches.  My lady cockroach is currently pregnant.  I have also had stickbugs, fish, butterflies and ladybugs.  I am currently looking for a new stickbug.  The kids love them and they are so easy to take care of. 

4.  I love Ikea.  Most of my classroom furniture is Ikea furniture.  I was hired at the last minute four years ago and my classroom was empty.  My hubby and I made a trip to Ikea and supplied my room with cubbies, bookshelves and carpets. 

5.  I lived in Hawaii for 2 1/2 years.  We were as poor as church mice, but I loved it.  We went to the beach every Friday all year long.  We even had Thanksgiving dinner at the beach.  I would move back to Hawaii in a second.  This was our favorite beach.  Ko Olina. 


Friday, July 27, 2012

Virginia Blogger Get Together

Mrs. Stamp is putting together a VA Blogger get together.  It would be nice to meet some other VA bloggers.  Check out her blog...I'd love to meet you. 

Mrs. Stamp's Kindergarten: VA Blogger Get-Together!#c6908885060510310553

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

An Award...

Wow!  A Lovely Blog Award.  Thank you Karmen for this sweet award. 
I also want to send a thank you to Pamela at The Posh Box Blog DesignsI won a giveaway and she redesigned my blog.  I LOVE it and I think it is One Lovely Blog too. 

Now for the rules...
1. Follow the person who gave me the award.  I am more than happy to follow Karmen.  She is a fellow Virginia Kindergarten Teacher after all. 

2. Link back to the person that gave me the award.  Here is the link.  You should check out her blog.  I just began checking it out and can't wait to finish this post so I can spend more time there.  Karmen's Kinders of Room 103

3. Pass to 15 new bloggers and then let them know they have received the award.  Okay, the hunt begins.  There are lots of beautiful blogs, but to find one who hasn't already received it is the trick.  If you get this award more than once...just think of yourself as extra fabulous.  Okay...I've been at this for a few hours.  I'm new at this and it takes a while.  I found 10 blogs who haven't received this award and although I think that there are lots of beautiful blogs, it is 11:43 PM and I am stopping the hunt.  I know I'm cheating a little and I'm sorry. 
Congratulations to the following bloggers...Click on the link and check out just how lovely their blogs are.  I can't wait to see who these ladies give this award to.  There are so many lovely blogs out in blog land. 

2,  Rene at A Passion for Primary

3.  Sue at
4.  Amy at 
Adventures in Teaching

5.  Ms. Smith at

6. Kelly at Apple for the Teacher

7.  Jenna at Blog Button

8.  Kelly at First Grade Fairytales
9.  Meghan at First Grade With a Cherry On Top

10.  Elizabeth at

Goodness Everyone Has a Giveaway!

Goodness.  Everyone has a giveaway.  These are just a few of the ones I found this morning.  As I find more, I'll update this post.  Click on these buttons to find fabulous prizes...

Just Reed!Photobucket