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!