Saturday, December 15, 2012

Where's Elfie?

Here are a few photos I've snapped of our class Elf. The kids love coming in the room in the morning and looking for him! Several really think he's real, although a couple are suspicious. Either way, it's been a fun addition to our class and a great "good behavior incentive".

Monday, November 26, 2012

Elf on the Shelf!

Meet "Elfie"- our newest classroom addition!
He's the cheaper, plush version of Elf on a Shelf, but I don't care. And the kids didn't even notice! He was sitting on my desk this morning and they were all so curious. I of course played it up and acted like I didn't know where he came from.

First thing we did was name our Elf. The 3 choices were: Santa, Elfie and Johnson. Don't ask me where Johnson came from! Elfie won by a landslide so Elfie it is. 

To play up the whole "he's watching to see if you're good" notion, I made up a batch of Elf tickets. If Elfie sees a kid being good, they get a ticket. They write their name on the ticket and put it in the basket (pictured aboved). Each morning I'll pull a name from the basket and that child gets to have the Elf for the day. I told my kiddos that if we have so many tickets, I'll pull one name in the morning and one at lunch. That way lots of people get time with the Elf! 

Do you do Elf on a Shelf? What do you do? I'd love to hear your ideas! 

Friday, October 19, 2012

My TpT store!

Hi everyone! I jumped on the Teachers Pay Teachers bandwagon and opened a store! I only have a few things listed right now, but I'd love for you to check it out. Make sure to grab my freebie- an M letter search. And if you visit my site, please leave some feedback! Who knows, maybe I'll make $1,000,000 like Deanna Jump?? (probably not, but it's fun to think about!)

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Ms. H and the awesome, wonderful, all-good, very great day

Today's blog post is the opposite of Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No-Good, Very Bad Day. Just one of those days where everything "clicked" and everyone got along. What was so great? Let me break it down for you:

1. A student who has been struggling came up to fill in a letter in our Morning Message and didn't know what to do. He turned to the class and said "can someone help me?" in his sweet little voice and 17 hands flew into the air. Melt my heart.

2. My kids got a great report from the Music and Guidance teachers- they sometimes struggle, so good behavior in those classes was great news!

3. They were all SUPER quiet during Language Centers- this meant I actually could pull my small groups instead of redirecting and shushing kids.

4. We got our 5th "green" in the cafeteria that the kids have been working hard for. This meant that they ALL had great behavior and it was recognized. Their reward was watching a video during snack time, so they were really excited.

5. It was a gorgeous day and everyone got to play at recess :) no kids sitting in time-out

6. my whole class, EVERYONE, ended the day on "blue" which is HUGE! It hasn't happened yet this year, so we really celebrated! Did a cheer and everyone got a piece of candy from the pumpkin on the way out the door :)

The best part? My kids KNEW they did great today. I'm hoping it will continue over to tomorrow, because ending the week on high note is always a great start to the weekend. So proud of my kids today! Days like this make me love my job!!

Sunday, October 14, 2012

Walk to School Day!

In my district (and it many other places), we have "Walk to School Day." It's a day where students walk to school to promote safe walking paths, healthy habits, etc. At my old school, only a few kids did it and they just walked about 2 short blocks. Not at my new school! Pretty much EVERYONE participates and our "route" is about 0.5 miles. Pretty impressive for Kindergarteners!

I started out by meeting my Kinders (Starbucks in hand) at the church half a mile from school. They were so excited!

Then we started walking. And walking. And walking. Half a mile is hard when you have 15 5-year-olds to keep up with! Thankfully I had several parents who joined us to help wrangle my "herd".

Here they are walking down the street, holding up our sign so people could find our class:
How cute?!?! For the most part, they had fun on the walk. Unfortunately, we had several meltdowns when we got to school. Nothing like a crazy start to the day! Luckily, this teacher pulled it all together and we ended up with some great memories!

Apple Unit!

The week before Fall Break I taught my "Apple Unit." Pretty much everything we did was about apples! And it made me want to integrate more thematic units into my daily lesson plans. Maybe a pumpkin unit in a few weeks?

We tasted 3 different types of apples and made a graph to see which was the class favorite. Here they are getting their samples:

And the taste testing begins!

After they tasted each piece, I gave them a picture of an apple to color according to which was their favorite:

I wish I had a picture of the finished graph! Red delicious were by far the class favorite, followed by Granny Smith (surprised me!) and Yellow delicious in a distant 3rd place. We love making graphs as a class and I love how great my kids have become at interpreting the data and drawing conclusions.

Sadly, I forgot to take pictures of our experiment when we "dissected" an apple. But we talked about the parts of an apple and then the kids labeled their own. They did great with it and were stretching out some tough words- flesh, skin, etc.

Next up- best part of the unit, applesauce day! We talked about the steps to make applesauce:

1. wash them 2. cut them 3 cook them 4. eat them

 1. wash 2. cut 3. sprinkle (because we "sprinkled" in cinnamon and sugar) 4. eat

 1. wash 2. cut 3. sugar and cinnamon 4. eat

Then for a fun math activity, we read 10 Apples Up on Top and made our own version. This was a great end of quarter assessment for me- which kids can write and put in order numbers 1-5 and those who still need help. 

We had a great apple-filled week! Tomorrow I return to school after a week-long break. And dare I say it? I'm actually ready to go back because I miss my kiddos!

Fish Eyes

Wow, can you believe I've been back to school for a whole month already? Let me just tell you, I was more than ready for this long weekend! It's a little bit of a bummer that the first weekend where I don't have any plans, my fiance is out of town for a boy's weekend. Oh well, luckily our schedule is free next weekend and we can enjoy each other then :)

We have been super busy in my classroom for the past month! For the most part, I have a very "high" class so I'm having to think up new ways to challenge them. I'm also trying to come up with more authentic tasks, something that our district is really pushing.

In math we've been focusing on numbers 0-5, so I thought it would be fun to read the book Fish Eyesby Lois Ehlert and then make illustrations based on the book. 
My kids loved the book! And it was a great introduction (for the ones who were ready) for the whole "plus one" concept. We'll revisit that in a few months. But still a great way to challenge those students who are ready for it. I quickly made a sheet on the computer for kids to draw a set of fish to match the number. I put the numbers in order, but I think I'd like to see how the kids do with numbers out of order. Next assignment?

**note- I started this blog post over a month ago! So sorry for the delay- things have just been crazy busy. Starting school, moving in together, wedding planning, etc. I'm hopeful that I will be more on top of things soon :)

Thursday, August 16, 2012

Things I'm Loving

I wish I had some cute pictures of the things I've been doing with my kinders for the past 11 days (can you believe we've been in school 11 days already?? crazy!) But I don't. But I can give you a list of the things I'm loving about my new school.

Here it is, in no particular order:
1. there's a supply closet!!! sharpies, sentence strips, index cards, pencils, you name it. It's heaven.
2. an active PTO- makes all the difference in the world
3. involved parents- I email them, and they email me back! I'm already on a first name basis with most, and I love that.
4. my kids are SUPER sweet
5. my new K team is amazing
6. the classrooms are really big but they go back, so they're actually really close together (read- I can run next door for something and still hear my kids)
7. the faculty has been really welcoming
8. my principal has been in my room at least 4 times to make sure I have everything I need
9. my principal has been in twice to check lesson plans. I love the accountability.
10. I get out of school at 3:00 instead of 3:45. I have a life again!

There are lots others, but there's my top 10. I am so happy where I am, and I can tell this is going to be a great school year!!

Sunday, July 29, 2012

me from A to Z

This is going around the blog world right now, so I'm jumping on the bandwagon!

A- Age: 27
B-Bed size: Queen. I don't know how I lived with just a full for the past 5 years!
C-Chore you hate: emptying the dishwasher. And my fiance knows this so he always does it for me :)
D-Dogs: my sweet baby Biscuit! He's 3 years old 
E-Essential to start your day: coffee! although sadly it's decaf
F-Favorite color: pink
G-Gold or silver: silver
H-Height: I used to be 5'2" but now I'm 5'4"! thank you orthopedic surgeon for straightening my spine to add those 2 inches :)
I-Instruments you play: none. I took piano lessons for maybe 6 months before I quit. I'm just not a musical person. Although ironically I teach 1st-2nd grade choir at my church
J-Job title: Kindergarten teacher extraordinaire
K-kids: none yet (sorry Mom!) probably will happen in the next 2-3 years
L-Live: in my hometown, and I love it

M-Milk? I love milk. Although I try to drink less of it bc of the sugar
N- Nicknames: Clare Bear, momma Clare
O-Overnight hospital stay: twice in my life. 5 days when I was 5 for brain surgery, 7 this past year for spine surgery
P-Pet peeves:  cracking knuckles
Q-Quote from a movie: "There's no crying in baseball!!"
R-Right/lefty: Righty
S- Siblings: I am the neglected middle child (just kidding!) older brother, younger sister
T-Time you wake up: this school year I'm determined to get in wedding dress shape, so the alarm will be going off at 4:45 4 days a week so I can workout. Fridays I will "sleep in" until 5:50
U-Underwear: yes
V-Veggies you dislike: raw tomatoes
W-What makes you run late: getting sucked into Facebook or Pinterest on the computer
X-X-rays you've had: since being diagnosed with scoliosis when I was 5, I've had too many to count!
Y-Yummy food you make: my fiance would say anything I make is yummy :) This weekend I made baked brie bites for my Olympics party that turned out really well
Z-Zoo animal: flamingos! (see favorite color)

what about you? Feel free to copy and then put in your answers!

Thursday, July 26, 2012

Classroom tour!

I finally finished setting up my classroom! And not a minute too soon because I have to report tomorrow morning for inservice. What's that you say? It's still July? I know, but my district is moving towards year-round school. Kids report Aug. 1 :)

Here's what I saw when I first walked in the room:

Not as much cabinet space as I'm used to, but still a good amount:

 And as you can see, I had NO trouble filling it!

One of the best things is that there are 24 lockers in the room. There's no way I'll have that many students, so everyone will get a locker! It was rough having kids share last year. I decided to just number them rather than labeling with student names:

My book center all set up: (I need a lamp or something to go in the corner between the two shelves)

Another great thing, there's room for my rocking chair! I had to get rid of it last year to make room for my SmartBoard (first world problem).

My favorite part: the Word Wall! I spent about 45 minutes this morning measuring and spacing the grid out, including breaking out the level to make sure it was all straight! Pinterest was my inspiration :)

Tons of wall space means I have room to really display student's work. I went ahead and hung clothespins (covered in a cute crayon cut-out to match the theme, naturally). As students complete work and want to display it, I can just put it up on their pin!

These won't last long, but my kids last year had so much trouble with lining up, I felt like it was necessary!

A random corner that I'm not sure what I'll use for just yet. The trapezoid table will probably hold a center. The bookshelf has all of my reading/intervention materials.

My teacher corner:

Now all I need are my students! Meet the Teacher night is Monday night, and I can't wait!!

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

New job!

I am so happy to officially say that I have a new job! I'm staying in the same district I'm already in, just transferring schools. The best part? It's still a kindergarten position!

I know I  already blogged about this, but that job fell through :( I would have moved to another district, but unfortunately that district is under a hiring freeze. I got the call yesterday that the job I thought I had, I didn't. It was a "no good horrible very bad day".

Luckily, I didn't let it get me down and immediately hopped on the computer and searched around for jobs. My sweet fiance did the same and kept emailing me with positions he found online :) I got a call this morning from one of those emails and went immediately for an interview.

The interview went pretty well, and the principal said she'd call by the end of the week. Well, apparently I knocked her socks off because she called right as I got home! I've already officially accepted the position and can start moving into my new room tomorrow. You better believe there'll be lots of pictures!

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

My summer project

Most teachers are spending the summer doing professional development, reading teacher books and planning for next year. Not me! I'm planning my wedding :)

Just ordered these :

Photo Card
View the entire collection of cards.

So excited! Everyone says I'm on top of things, which is true. But then I say I'm a teacher and they're like "that explains it." Gotta love my organizational skills!

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Behavior Management

One of my big goals for the 2012-2013 school year is to have better behavior management. I know it'll be better because I'll be at a different school with (generally speaking) better behaved kids. But kids in the suburbs have meltdowns just like inner city kids! And I need to be prepared.

I came across this on Pinterest:

Source: via Clare on Pinterest

However, the link doesn't offer any source or download or anything. So I just looked at it and did what teachers do best- copied it! I changed a few of the choices to make it fit my classroom, and here's what I came up with:

I love the "I can" statements and the choice that it offers kids. I'll probably laminate it and hang it somewhere in my room. Then when I can sense a meltdown coming on, I can just direct a child over there and tell them to make a choice. Hopefully it works! 

(you can click on the picture above and it'll take you to my Google Docs where you can download your own copy!)

Friday, June 1, 2012


Well, my first giveaway didn't exactly go as planned. I only had 3 comments and one was from my former 2nd grade teacher (hi Jan!). I guess I'm still working on getting a big blog following. Oh well!

The good news for Megan, Jan and Summer is that you're all winners!! It just didn't seem right to only pick one of you. Megan, I already have your email address. Jan and Summer, if you'd like your pdf copy of my standards list, leave a comment with your email address.

Hopefully the next giveaway will be a little better than the first!

State of the Classroom

Ever wonder what an entire classroom looks like in boxes in someone's house? Well, it's your lucky day! Here are some pics:

This is my main living area. Behind all this stuff is my fireplace. The crate at the bottom corner is on my coffee table.

And my living room. Can you find the table? Guess who's been eating meals on the couch for the past week!

Hopefully soon I will hear from my new principal about moving into my new classroom. Because not only is all of this stuff taking over my house, my classroom rug is taking over my car. And I clearly don't have any more room in my house for it!

Saturday, May 26, 2012

My first giveaway!

I've never done a giveaway before, but no time like the present! School just got out for us (yay!) and I'm already working on how to do things better next year. I've been working and perfecting my kindergarten standards charts that are aligned to the new Common Core Standards. I have 4 pages- one for each of the 4 quarters (which is how my district is set up) and all the standards are in friendly "we can" statements. And I've decided to give it all away to one lucky winner!

Here's how to enter:
1. become a follower of my blog and leave a comment
2. blog about my giveaway and leave a comment (with a link)

That's it! Super easy! I'll pick a random comment and e-mail the lucky winner with the file. Giveaway ends on 5/31. Have fun!

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

A journey to the grasslands

 This quarter my students have been studying all about the grasslands. Because there are grasslands all over the world, we focused on the ones in Africa. We started by watching the opening scene from "The Lion King", which is great because it shows all of the different animals that live in the African savanna/grasslands.

Here's one of the boards outside my room showing off all their work and what they learned:

How cute are these lions? I cut strips of paper in yellow, brown and orange and showed my kinders how to curl them around a pencil. Great for fine motor skills and it kept them busy for a LONG time!

And here's the information we learned about lions:

I wrote it out with the blanks, and the kids helped me fill it in.

They made these elephants in Art class, so I'm not sure exactly how they did it. I can tell that they used paper plates and it looks like they cut a circle in a spiral shape for the trunk. Super cute!

And our elephant writing:

We talked about giraffes and all the different body parts. I traced the giraffe on butcher paper and painted it yellow. Then when it was dry each child got to add a spot and then we labeled it. I love doing this activity!

Our final project was a writing assignment. Each student had to pick an animal and give clues to have people try and guess which animal they were. I was really surprised at the level of my student's work! 
Translation: I live in the grasslands. I eat leaves. I have a long neck.

a giraffe

We did a lot more with this unit, including looking at zebras and using map skills to locate the grasslands on a map of Africa. Very proud of my kiddos and their work. They have come a long way from the beginning of the year!