Saturday, November 15, 2014

Blogging - Blogging - Blogging

I love blogging so much that I am going to teach my kinders to blog!! We are fortunate enough to have 6 ipads per classroom and might even be getting more! There is a free app called Kid Blog. It is so easy to use and it it FREE!  The app is very user friendly. You sign up using your school email address and create a class name. You can have multiple classes for if you teach more then one class. After, signing up you create an account for each student in your class, giving them a user name ... I just use my students first name and a password.. I keep mine very simple and the same for each of my kiddos. This way they find it easy to remember and log in. Each child can have a little avatar for their profile. Kid blog gives some cute images for these or you can upload your own images for each child. I plan on adding kid clip art that looks similar to each of my student to make it more personal. I just haven't gotten around to it yet. Maybe I will do it next week in between conferences?

Now don't worry, Kid blog is different then the blogging we do. It is completely safe and private. You can only view these blogs if you are a member of the group. No one from the public has access to the children's blogging or the posts you as the teacher make. You can not Google search for them and no one can comment on them unless you invite them to join your classroom group.

You might be asking your self how would you use Kid Blog
 in your classroom. Well here is how...

1. It is a great way to introduce technology into your classroom. It allows you to teach your students up to date practices in technology. At the same time it gives my kinders a great way to practice typing and letter recognition.

2. I use Kid Blog during centers. My kids have to blog before doing an educational game. The best part is the teacher creates the posts. It allow me to assess my children in any topic I want and I am able to use it as an online portfolio that can show administration and parents how my student are progressing throughout the year. Our first post was for the children to type their first and last name. I taught them how to log in and out, the way to capitalize letter s on an iPad,  and how to type a finger space in between their words.

3. Each week I will have my kiddos type in the weeks sight word as a fun reinforcement. This can also be use for word families and other phonemic awareness patterns. 

4. Kid Blog allows you to leave open ended questions for your children to respond to. Next week one of my posts will be What are you thankful for? My kinders will need to use sight words and their sound map to create a sentence to write about something they are thankful for. As the school year goes on Kid Blog will be a great tool for Writers Workshop. It will be another way for student to publish a piece of the writing and share it with others.

5. Comments - Kid blog allows students to make their own posts as well and any one from the class can respond to it. It's a great way for student to communicate and learn how to respond to other peoples thoughts and ideas. Once, my kids are more comfortable with using the app we will link up with another Kindergarten classroom in district and be iPad pals!

As the teacher, you are the moderator, any comment posted by a student needs to be approved by you before it is published on the blog. You can also comment on your students posts. I was able to tell each child that they did a great job typing their name and remind them to use finger spaces or capital letter if they forgot! My kids are really excited to read my comments that I write to them over the weekend!

So what are you waiting for! Go create our own account and let me know how you use it. I am still new to it and would love more ideas for posts and having my kinders explore more with technology!

Here is what the app looks like. Click below to sign up!

Monday, November 3, 2014

It's November!

I can not believe it is already November! This school year has been going so quickly! I'm linking up with Farley from Oh Boy 4th Grade for 
this month's currently.

Listening: I am listening/watching Saved by the Bell reruns. I just love Zack and Kelly! This was my favorite show. I think I have seen every episode a hundred times. Right now I am watching the Malibu Sands Beach Club episodes, which aren't my favorite. I like Zack with Kelly not Staci. LoL

Loving: I love that I have a week off of school! It is the NJ Teachers Convention and my district is so fabulous they gave us a week off! I leave Wednesday for Disney! I am so excited to spend a few days in the most magical place on earth with my husband and family!  It is called NJ week this week in Disney World, so I wonder if I will run into any of my kiddos?!

Thinking: I should get out of bed and start cleaning my house! I want to clean so when we get back I don't have to do it! I will start in a little bit! :)

Wanting: My new obsession is Dunkin Donuts Chai Tea. They are so delicious and very sweet.  It is like dessert in a cup!

Needing: I need to do next weeks lesson plans so I do not have to do them when I get back from Florida!

Reading: I am reading blogs and books on Guided Math, I am building a Kindergarten Guided Math program with my Kindergarten team. We want to create a rotation that really works in our classrooms and is successful in teaching our kiddos everything they know, while still being appropriate for kindergartners.

Happy November!!

Saturday, October 25, 2014

Happy Grams

I wanted to take a minute and let everyone in on something very simple but that goes a long, long way. 

... Happy Grams... 

This is very simple and does not need to be done all the time. Happy Grams are what I call my positive feedback emails to parents. Its such a cute subject line and I love the way it sounds so happy! My students' parents really enjoy these friendly emails and you will get a ton of positive feedback about it! 

I do not do it every month. I typically send out the first round in October, this way it gives me time to really get to know each student and their unique personality from when school starts until the time I send it out. November we have conferences so I send my second round until December or January. I try to send out my Happy Grams every other month.  In my note I only give positive feedback. I do not put anything about what the child needs to work on or any weaknesses in academics or social behaviors. This is meant to let parents know I see something special in every child in my classroom. Every parent wants to know their child is being loved and cared for while they at school all day long. Especially in Kindergarten.
Here is an example of what a Happy Gram looks like.

Subject: *Happy Gram*

Hello Mrs. Ryan!

This is a Happy Gram. A Happy Gram just lets you know something wonderful about your child!

I wanted to let you know that Jenna is doing very well in Kindergarten! She is a super, sweet girl. She loves participating in class and is 
really great at dancing and doing our yoga with Maximo. She did a
 great job as Star and Helper of the week! She had a very busy
 week! Leading the ABC Chant was her specialty!

Thank you for  sending in the cookies!

Mrs. Quigley

Many of the parents reached out to me saying how this email made them so happy. It even made a few cry! It really is the little things that mean the most to people. My kids even loved that I sent the Happy Grams! They told 
me how their mom or dad read it to them!read It made everyone feel 
warm and fuzzy inside!!

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Liebster Award

I can not believe that I have been nominated for a Liebster Award by 3 FABULOUS, fellow teachers & bloggers!! I want to thank Jillian Star from The Starr Spangled Planner, Karen from Applejacks Teacher, and Martinique from Ms. Perry's Peaches. I also follow your blogs and would have totally nominated you as well!!! This truly means so so much to me!

So what is the Liebster Award you might ask? I had to look it up to find out myself! The Liebster Award is given to up-and-coming bloggers {with less than 200 followers} by fellow bloggers.  It's an exciting way for new bloggers to connect with other bloggers to show how much we support and love one another's ideas, creativity, and passion for teaching! I am so excited to be apart of this and I accept this award and am happy to be paying it forward!


I started blogging this summer in the middle of July. I have not been doing this long at all and I am still really trying to figure out the whole blogging world and how to make my blog super cute! I Google many tutorials!! 

Over the summer, I was very excited to be starting a new job teaching in public school as a kindergarten teacher. I spent allllllllll summer looking up ideas and classroom themes. I was obsessed. In my obsession, I stumbled across two blogs: Miss Kindergarten and Little Minds at Work. I fell in love. I did not know this two girls but I loved their blogs and felt like they were my new best friends! LoL  I read all of the old blog posts, found their TPT Stores, and Facebook pages. I was hooked! After reading their blogs every day I thought to myself, I could do this!  Even if my blog wasn't as popular as theirs is at least it would be a way to share and document everything I do in my classroom. I thought it would be such a fun journey to start!


Fun.  I like to have fun and for my kinders to have fun while we are learning. I like to be creative and find lessons and activities to do that are engaging and inspiring. I do not want to have a blog where I post complaints about school or my students. Nothing negative. I want to be positive and show others how much fun it is to teach Kindergarten and how it is my true passion and I am so happy to be doing what I love.


I am still learning so much! I need to learn to post more! I am so busy in the classroom and preparing for teaching that I forget to blog. I Instagram pictures all the time because it is super quick. But I need to make sure I set aside a specific time to blog about topics in the classroom to showcase what I do. I would also love to learn how to make the fonts on my blog post not just be the basic ones given in Blogger. 


I love to spend time with my husband. We go out to eat and love to watch TV. Our DVR is always stocked with shows to watch. I love to play with my Golden Doodle Dexter. He is my fur baby! I also love to go shopping. It can be for my classroom, house, or for me. I just loveee to shop!


Definitely not enough! I am learning that I need to schedule blogging time and plan out what I am going to blog about. Linky parties make it easy to have a topic, but I just wrote a blog about a labeling lesson I did in writer workshop and it was so much fun!!


I love blogs that focus on the younger grades, K - 2! There are so many amazing ideas on these blogs, I can't even stand it. I feel like a kid on Christmas when I read them. I especially love posts on guided reading and writers workshop. Which are my favorite things to teach! :)


As I mentioned in the first question. I got my inspiration from fellow fabulous bloggers. My other inspiration was getting my new job. It really allowed me the opportunity to get excited and to want to share and creative fabulous lesson to blog about. I am also inspired every day by all the amazing posts I see everyone do every single day! You always keep me learning, excited, and wanting to be a good as you all are!


Label. Label . Label is my favorite post so far. It is the first post I have done that was not an all about me or a linky party. I took a lot of pictures and was able to share a terrific lesson that my students had so much fun participating in. I think the best part about blogging is that when we do something in our classroom, we then can show and tell other teachers how it worked in a real classroom.


I would love to do a post on my center rotations. I do not do the Daily 5, like most teachers do. For me I could not figure out how to fit it into the schedule. I love my centers and the way we rotate. I would like to show people my spin on incorporating some of the daily 5 components into weekly centers.


I really love connecting with other bloggers. I feel as if you are all my friends and we have a special relationship! I am so excited to come on to the computer or my phone to see what others have posted about or the pictures that you all put up from your days and I hope you enjoy my ideas and pictures as well!

I am happily paying this award forward and nominating some of my
 new teacher blogger friends!!

Rebecca from Phys Ed is a Hoot

Michelle from Glue Sticks & Crayons

To those who have been nominated, here are the "official" rules for accepting:

1. In your post, link back to the blogger who nominated you as a thank you and "shout out." (Follow their blog if you haven't already!)  

2. Answer the 10 questions given to you (the ones I answered above).

3. Nominate 5-10 blogs of your choice that each have less than 200 followers. Provide them with 10 questions to answer or have them answer the questions above.

4. Let your nominees know that they've been nominated and provide them with a link to your post so that they can accept.

5. Send your nominator a link to your post so that s/he can learn more about you as well! (You can just put your post link in the comments below!)

Have Fun!

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Label . Label . Label

Writers Workshop is probably my favorite thing to teach during the day. Most kindergarteners come in barely knowing how to write their name properly, yet alone a full sentence! It can be a challenge to jump into Writers Workshop, but it should be done the first few weeks of school! I start writers workshop the 3rd full week, so my kinders get into a routine first and then we can begin the exploration to becoming authors!

We start off by making our individual Writers Workshop folders. My students take them home as a project and decorate their folder with things they love and pictures of them and their family. I make labels for the inside, for easy use. Green = Still in Progress Red = Completed

We start by learning about the different types of papers and writing materials and where we can find the writing center in our classroom. We practice getting our folders and returning them to the correct basket where they belong.

In the beginning of Writers Workshop I like to begin the focus on labeling our pictures. This puts my kinders minds at ease. They always go on and on about not knowing how to write and instead of insisting that they try to sound out the words they are saying I simply tell them to LABEL their picture.

I like to introduce labeling in a fun and silly way so we can refer to it all year long!!

We begin by labeling the teacher!! We do this using post it notes that I label ahead of time.

After we label the teacher, I put up my drawing. I also photo copy my drawing for each child to have the exact same drawing in front of them to label along with me. We go through each item in the picture and say it over and over to hear the beginning sound of that word. We look at our sound map to help us incase we don't know the sound of the letter.


My kiddies LOVE LOVE LOVE to use the sound map. We have a poster size version on magnets for me to move around the room anytime we need it. I also give the kids a copy of their own sound map, they color in and make "their own". They keep it in the Writers Workshop folder. It is there to help them figure out letter sounds and them better writers. We also say our sound map chant every morning while doing our calendar routine!

When we finished labeling the teachers drawing my kids colored in the drawing and were encouraged to add their own details to the picture, like a frog sitting in the pond and label the new additions.

Here is a freebie for you to enjoy!! This is the letter I send home to my students parents. I like to try to make the directions for decorating the folders as clear as possible. The folders are meant to spark ideas of topics during Writers Workshop.

 Writers Workshop Parent Letter

Friday, October 3, 2014

Tricks and Treats Blog Hop

Hi Everyone! I am linking up with Jessica from Mrs. Plemons' Kindergarten for her Tricks & Treats Blog Hop! I am so so so excited to be apart of this linky party! I hope you find my tricks & treats helpful to you and your classroom!

My first trick is a very simple one. Do you ever find yourself wondering how to label your classroom library bins or even your weekly teacher bins???? I spent time thinking what style labels should a make? What font should I use? But then I had an idea.... Bulletin Board Cut outs!!!  I took premade bulletin board letters and numbers laminated them and tapped them into my bin! They look so pretty and the labels are very large so it is easy to see! Looking at them makes me soo happy!

My next TRICK is for classroom management or should I say hallway management! Do you have a hard time finding ways of keeping your kiddies walking nicely and quietly in the hallway? What about behaving like stellar students during specials?!?! In my school we need to keep our students quiet in the hallways so we don't disrupt the learning of other classrooms. Students also, do not always listen to and respect specials teachers as much as their classroom teacher, so to fix this I use COMPLIMENTS to help us be the best we can be in and outside of the classroom!

We can get compliments from any adult in the school. It can be for walking nicely and quietly, for doing a great job in music class, or being super creative and following directions in art class. BUT it has to be a COMPLIMENT for the WHOLE class. Everyone needs to be doing their best. When a compliment is given, once we get back to the classroom we add a letter up to the board. I simply write them on the dry erase board, but you could use bulletin board letters as well. The best part is when we spell out COMPLIMENTS,  my class comes up with ideas for a group reward: extra playground time, pajama day, or even an ice pop party. We then vote and the idea with the most votes is our winner!!!  We have already spelled out COMPLIMENTS and our having our first group reward today!! Bring your favorite stuffed animal to school!

My last trick, is one the I have recently discovered! Go Noodle!! 

It is the best brain break system I have EVER discovered!!!  I did not make or design it, but creative genius' did and I have signed up for my FREE account and so should you! In the morning we do yoga with Maximo and then throughout the day we earn brain breaks to sing and dance to silly songs and even go zumba! After, 10 brain breaks your classroom monster grows and my kinder love love love  watch Freckles Sinclair grow!!

You can find this freebie on my teacher pay teachers store! I use this printable EVERY DAY. The first few days of school I figured out who belongs in aftercare, who goes on a bus, and when children are walkers. I filled out my dismissal log and made a ton of copies. I attached them to my clipboard and its ready to go! If I get a change of dismissal for the day I mark it down on my form in the morning and then when it is the end of the day I just looked to see who goes where. There is no forgetting that someone is changed to aftercare for the day or even the name of someones aunt who is picking up and I know what name to look for when I am checking a drivers license.

I hope you enjoyed my tricks and treats!! If you use any of them in your classroom please stop by and let me know how they work out for you!!

Enter my raffle to win my Letter Sound Puzzles 


and my A-Z Letter Review Pages


Check out my teachers pay teachers store! This weekend everything is on sale for 20% off!

Saturday, September 27, 2014

. . .Classroom Reveal . . .

This is my first year teaching Kindergarten in a new school and I have been anxiously awaiting the day that I could get into my classroom to begin setting up! Its ALL I thought about all summer long while I was sitting out by the pool and making classroom crafts! Imagining in my head where I would put the students tables, calendar, classroom library, and my very own teacher desk (It's my first one)!  I played with so many different room layouts and color schemes my brain turned into a rainbow of mush!

Then the day comes, F-I-N-A-L-L-Y! I get to go into my room and begin setting up! So that morning I get up super early to get there as early as I possibly can!  I am sure the school secretary saw NEWBIE tattooed on my forehead as I rang the doorbell with a huge smile on my face! She pointed me in the direction of my room and off I went...

When I got to my classroom door I stepped in and BAM... realty hit...

This is what I saw:

I must admit I panicked. But, then I took a few deep breaths and started moving furniture. I moved tables this way and that way, back and forth until I stepped back and saw a classroom. I took a moment to be proud of this little accomplishment and then began the fun stuff: DECORATING!!!

This is my classroom library. I still need to label the bins and I am on the hunt for a cozy lounging pillow for my kiddies to lay on! I found all of these bins and chevron rug at Big Lots! 
(My new favorite store!)

This is the view of the student tables. I love my color combo!

I just LOVE my colorful polka dot sight word wall! I purchased these awesome product from Crayonbox Learning,

 These pictures are of my teacher desk are. I used some of my Big Lots bins for organizing all my papers for the week! I used bulletin board letters to label my bins so they were bright and big! I use the front of my desk for my essential questions and standard for the week. The district I work in requires them to be posted and I simply do not have enough wall space, so I laminated the posters and essential question strips and added magnets to the back! It is so easy the change them weekly or even daily and they are super cute!

Here is my carpet area, where we do calendar every morning.

This is my Math area. All of our math manipulative are in the clear bins and I just love that my math buckets have a shelf all for themselves. I also laminated bulletin board numbers and tape them onto the buckets so they are clearly labeled for our math center time. I still need to find a home for my treasure chest. (We are not allowed to have anything in the window shelves because of the heaters)

Back behind our classroom library is our coat closet. I house all of our Journeys materials on these shelves and my kinders put their backpacks and coats on the hooks. Don't our parts of an apple projects look so cute and festive?!?!

I went with black tablecloth as my hallway bulletin board background, so I don't have to change it all year. I love how the black makes everything POP! I didnt want to do my classroom all black so I stuck to the hallway :)

So that's my classroom! I know there is still so much to add to it. But thats for over the course of the school year and with the help of my little kinders!

I hope you enjoyed getting a peek into my classroom!