Tuesday, July 19, 2016

Tell All Tuesday: Summer Snapshot!

Happy Tuesday!! Last week was so fun linking up with My Day in K and Teach, Talk, Inspire for Tell All Tuesday and I am excited to be back again! Today the linky is about our Summer Snapshot! This summer has been full of fun and exciting things for me so choosing one that sums it up was a little hard!!

 Here it is! 

For starters, my sister got married!! All of the planning and the appointments came down to this beautiful day! It was the most amazing experience and I am so glad that I was a part of it. I have never had as much fun as I did with my family that night! We spent the whole time either taking pictures in the photobooth, singing on stage with the band (some of us had real talent!), and dancing the night away...literally! It was amazing to see almost every single person was on the dance floor for the whole night and that alone made it a great time. It was definitely a night to remember and the highlight of my summer! I cannot wait for another family wedding!

The other part of my snapshot is from my summer volleyball league! A group of teachers from my school decided to join our park district's summer volleyball league for fun, emphasis on the FUN!!! We play every week and laugh so much I sometimes can't stand up. I am glad we know how to have fun because we really don't know how to play volleyball...haha Let's just say we are a sight to see!! Thankfully, most of the teams we play enjoy our humor and make the games fun, even if we don't win ;)

Thanks for checking out my post!! Make sure to link back up and share your Summer Snapshot! :)

Tuesday, July 12, 2016

Tell All Tuesday 2.0: 7/12/16

I am so excited that the summer linky party with Teach, Talk, Inspire and My Day in K is back!! I love their linky topics and linking up with so many fun teachers! It has been a busy summer so getting back in the game with these fun summer linky is just what I need!!!

I am excited to kick it off with sharing two truths and one lie! Have fun and good luck trying to figure out which is which ;)

1. Originally when I went into college, I wanted to teach high school.

2. My favorite food is cheeseburgers.

3. When I worked at a local ice cream shop, we were robbed and held at gun point. 

Believe it or not, it is actually really hard to come up with these!!
Which is my lie?!? Leave a comment with your guess!
Thanks for checking out my post! Make sure to link back up and share your Tell-All-Tuesday fun!

Sunday, April 17, 2016

Sunday Scoop!

Happy Sunday!!! Once again, the weekend seemed to go by with a blink of an eye, but I am ready to head into the week strong! We are finalllllly getting some amazing weather in Central Illinois (WOO!!) which means keeping my kiddos busy and motivating them even more because we ALL know, warmer weather makes for spring fever kinders ;)

Anywho! Here is my scoop for the week!!

Have To Do:
I have lots of set up and prep with the committee for our District's Kindergarten Transition Fair! I also have to get our ABC Countdown started and make sure I have all of the materials and items prepped for the week! One last thing that I have to do is get ready for our field trip to the zoo! My little rays are SO excited and ready to go to the Peoria Zoo and the Peoria Playhouse.

Hope To Do:
I hope to get a manicure this week! This girl's nails are in desperate need of some help ;) I also hope to run outside each day! I don't know why, but running outside is always so much easier than being bound to a treadmill!

Love To Do:
I am so excited for my sister's bridal shower!! My aunt is hosting a fun celebration for her and I cannot wait to take part!

Sunday, April 10, 2016

Sunday Scoop: 4/10/16

Happy Sunday ya'll!!!!! Hope your weekend has been relaxing (who am I kidding, it flies by quicker than imaginable!) My little rays and I survived the first week back from Spring Break better than I thought! Check out my scoop below!

Have to: I have got to get myself signed up for my next grad school class for this summer (boo!). I also have to finalize some of the things that are needed for our District's Kindergarten Transition Fair. I have loved being a part of the committee and getting to see the 'behind the scenes' for how the whole thing gets put together! I also have got to get my wardrobe cleaned out! Time to say buh-bye to all of the clothes I do not wear as well as my winter clothes as I bring out the fun spring and summer ones!

Hope to: I hope to have all of my materials printed and ready to go Monday so that I am prepped and organized for the week! I also hope to get to run outside a few times this week! Running inside is NO comparison to the beauty of the outdoor runs!

Love to: I would love to be able to wear SPRING clothes this week. Considering it is April, it would be nice to finally have some weather that DOES NOT involve my winter coat.

Thank you for checking out my scoop!!

Wednesday, April 6, 2016

What Worked Well Wednesday: Mini Books

I am SO excited to be linking up with Kinder Tribe to take part in What Worked Well Wednesday!! After racking my brain on what to use for this post, I thought of something that I learned recently at the ILASCD Conference and have since implemented!

My students have always enjoyed our writing station during Daily Five. Whether they are doing a write the room, practicing sight words or other activities, they are always engaged and active the whole time. Towards January/February, however, we were kind of hitting a wall! We needed something new and exciting to add some flavor to our writing station. I attended the IL ASCD Conference In the beginning of March and BOOM it hit me! It was actually in the FIRST session that I learned about the newest addition to station: MINI BOOKS! (Pictures will be added!!!)

I was intrigued the moment that Sarah Howe started talking about the mini books and new that they would be a hit! The whole idea behind a mini book is that the students are practicing their parts of a book, being authors and illustrators, and gaining confidence in their writing!

Mini books are essentially 4-8 square pages (and easily less or more to differentiate) of paper stapled together on one side. (Again, pictures WILL be added ;) ) My students are allowed to choose any appropriate topic to write about. We always review how our words and pictures need to correspond and that a pretty picture needs COLOR! At the beginning we were a little stuck on what to write about, but since they have gotten used to it, I have seen SO many different kinds of stories! They are SO proud of their writing and always ask if they can show me, another teacher, or their friends what they produced.

We use the mini books in other areas besides Daily Five. When we read There's a Wocket in My Pocket, we made our own mini book using new rhymes to go along with the book! It was such a fun activity and my little rays loved showing their parents during conferences!

Pictures will be added tomorrow (I am a little scatter-brained!!!)!!

Thanks for checking out WWW Wednesday! LINK UP with Kinder Tribe and share what works well in your room!!!

Tuesday, April 5, 2016

Two Months to Go!

Here we are folks! Two months to go until the end of the school year. Whether that means kick it into overdrive or survival mode, here is the friendly reminder that


The question is, how are you going to make it to the end?? Maybe your students are feeling the spring fever, maybe their work is a little on the lazy side, what can YOU do to help motivate, stimulate, and ENGAGE your little rays of sun?!?!!? 

I thought I would put together a few ideas for how I am going to keep my kiddos engaged in our learning, excited, and focused to finish out the year STRONG!!

Stay Organized: Don't let the rainy weather or fact that you are almost done keep you from staying on your A game! You have made it so far to get lazy now!! I always find this is the most important time of year to keep myself organized both personally and professionally. My plan is to stay after on Fridays for about an hour. Hopefully this will give me the time to print my copies for the next week and have materials prepped! This plan will HOPEFULLY keep things running smoothly and will make a few less gray hairs happen ;)

Keep Things Fresh: Fresh & Fun! Even in the end of the year, it is important to hold your kiddos to the same high standards as you have throughout the year. That being said, make it your intention to bring FUN into their learning. The more engaging your lessons and activities are, the less likely that the SPRING FEVER will strike and take down the class!!! I am thrilled to begin our A-Z Countdown that will get us through the last 26 days of school! Besides that, I am making sure that we switch up centers more frequently and am giving my students more partner work to get them using their vocabulary and strategies that they have learned. I am so excited to see them interacting more and more with their peers and using what they have learned to explain their reasoning in both math and reading!!

Set Goals: Setting is goals is a huge way to keep yourself on track and finishing STRONG through the last two months! Not only setting goals for yourself, but helping your students set goals is a major way to keep them motivated, focused, and invested in their learning. We are working on creating our Word Worms (thank you Mr. Greg!!!) to help us really master our sight words as well as upping our A.R. goals so that we are pushing ourselves to read more and strengthening our comprehension!! When your students get to be part of the goal-setting process, they are SO much more likely to stay true to it and put in that extra effort!! While setting goals and throughout the rest of the two months, ENCOURAGE, ENCOURAGE, ENCOURAGE!! Be your kiddos #1 fan and supporter! Be the cheerleader that pushes them! I know we are all these things for them regardless of the time of year, but NOW is SO important!!!!

Don't Give Up: You are amazing. You are inspirational. You are life changing. You are a beautiful soul. It takes such a special person to dedicate their life (seriously, unless you are a teacher or are married to one, no one will ever understand the amount of time and love we put into our teaching) to helping students. And not just helping students learn math. Not just teaching reading or showing them how to walk in a straight line.  We show these wonderful little beings how to live, learn, and love. How to be a friend, how to desire to be their very best self, and how to NEVER give up. They aren't just a five or six, or however many years old child that you have for 9 months. They are SO much more than that. You defend them, you cry for them, you laugh with them, you push them. They are your children and they make a mark on your life that you will remember forever. Not only that, but YOU made a difference in their life. No matter the child, the behavior, the academic/social/emotional skill or level, you were there for them. They will NEVER forget that. Don't give up now. You are better than that. They deserve your 100% and you CAN do it. After all, teaching is a super power!! 

Can you survive the last two months? What a silly questions, OF COURSE YOU CAN. You are an educator, a motivator, an inspiration. Keep on teaching on because, GIRL, you work it.

Sunday, April 3, 2016

Sunday Scoop: 4/3/16

Happy Sunday, friends!!! As Spring Break comes to an end for me, I am ready to kick some booty as I head into the April and May (the HOME STRETCH) months! These last two months will absolutely FLY by so I am trying to get myself somewhat on track ;) I am linking up with The Teaching Trio for Sunday Scoop!! I love using this as a way for me to kind of keep myself accountable for things I have this week and being able to see what all my teacher friends are up to!!

Have to do:
I am BEYOND excited to start some new guided reading plans! Thanks to one of my biggest inspirations, Deanna Jump, I am totally ready to do an overhaul and tackle the skills my kiddos need EVEN BETTER than before!!! (More to come about that!) I also am on the committee for planning our district-wide Kindergarten Transition Fair. I work with teachers throughout our district to plan an event welcoming incoming kindergarteners and there are a few things left I need to tackle with that! I also need to do LESSON PLANS! A week of Spring Break has me all kinds of backwards so I cannot wait to get my plans laid out and start the week. Did I really just say that????????? Excited for lesson plans?? WHO AM I?

Hope to do:
I really need to get back into reading each night! For a month or so I dedicated about 30 minutes each night to reading a book as a way to unwind and I loved it! It totally relaxed me before bed and reading is one of my favorite hobbies so I definitely need to get back into it! If you have any book suggestions, COMMENT BELOW!!! I need to get my life in general organized. Spring Break always throws be for a loop so I need to sit down, get my personal and professional lives back on track!

Love to do:
I AM SO EXCITED TO SEE MY LITTLE ONES!!!!! A week that was much needed on both ends is plenty of time to make me miss my little rays! I cannot wait to greet them in the morning, hear about their breaks, and get right back into the swing of things.

Thanks for checking out my scoop!!!! Be sure to head back to The Teaching Trio to link up and share yours :)

Friday, April 1, 2016

Currently: April!

Seriously. Somebody stop the calendar for a second!!! How in heaven's name is it already April?!?!?!!? On one hand I am thrilled and ready for a summer vacation, on the other hand, (a little more on this hand might I add!) I am totally not ready to let my little rays go! This group is one that I have bonded with so much and they have made such a huge impact on my life! Each year I get very attached to the wonderful group of kiddos that come in young and ready to learn and turning them over as older, more mature (HA), and sponges full of knowledge makes me tear up just thinking about it! Okay, sob story done... Sorry I got side tracked!!!!

It is April 1st and that means APRIL FOOLS DAY!!! Well that, and CURRENTLY!! I am headed full swing into April and May as months to truly get back into blogging because let's be real people, it is one of the most relaxing thing for me!!! What better way to start than by linking up with Oh Boy It's Farley for a link up???

Thanks for checking out my currently!! Link up back at Oh Boy It's Farley! to share your currently :)

Happy April!!!!!!!

Monday, March 7, 2016

Peek at My Week: 3/7

Happy Monday!!!!! I am a little off on my week already since we did not have school today (holla at my Polish heritage and Casimir Pulaski)!!! Ready to head into this week with some fun and exciting lessons! Still feeling SO fresh after my conference in Schaumburg this past weekend (check out my post on that here!!)  Tonight I am sharing a Peek at My Week with my teaching twin, Beginnings With Baer to give you a peek at what our week will entail!!

This week, we are focusing on Dr. Seuss (hello Seussville!!!) and will practice our rhyming! We will continue to practice our digraphs by using a lot of whole group and partner work! I am super excited to get some of our new centers up and running. I also want to revamp some of our Guided Reading block so stay tuned for that! We also will be assessing our sight words.

We are continuing with decomposing numbers 11-20 and I cannot wait to get some hands-on learning with manipulatives and interactice tools! With end of 3rd quarter coming, we are working hard to master our skills! Fluency checks will be happening this week to make sure we known our subitizing skills and facts to 5!

Like I mentioned above, DR SEUSS IS IN KINDERGARTEN THIS WEEK! Sorry, I may be very thrilled ;) We will be diving into Dr. Seuss during our writing time! Last week, my kiddos worked on the biography of Dr. Seuss for their social studies and got a chance to explore some close reading through it. We will be reading his books, practicing opinion writing, and sharing new ideas! I cannot wait to get going!!

A fun week is in store for room 103! Thanks for checking out my peek!!!! Make sure you head over to Beginnings With Baer to check out what her firsties are up to!

Sunday, March 6, 2016

IL ASCD Kindergarten Conference 2016

Happy Saturday SUNDAY (okay, it was Saturday when I started writing this!!!)! I should probably change the title of this post to "Two days jam-packed with AMAZING presentations, ideas, and lessons from some of my FAVORITE bloggers and educators" or "OMG I FOUND DEEDEE AGAIN!" (I am only slightly sorry for the slight obsession). Anywho, I was lucky enough to get to go to the IL ASCD Conference that was hosted in Schaumburg, IL for the SECOND time on March 3 & 4. Let me tell you, if you ever have the chance to attend, even if just for a day, GO!! It is SO worth the sub lesson plans, and THAT is saying  something ;)

A little background on the conference itself: The conference is a two-day event that offers over 11 different one-hour sessions to attend as well as two key note speakers and a whole lot of booths and exhibits to see! It is a teacher's heaven!!!! Any topic that you are interested in seeing, there is probably a session for it! Music, technology, literacy, mathematics, fine motor, differentiation, classroom management, assessment, science, yoga in the classroom, etc! There are so many wonderful opportunities to hear some AMAZING and INSPIRING educators speak about. My favorite part is that almost all of the speakers are either currently teaching or recently out of the classroom so the information that they share is RELEVANT and helpful!

Now onto MY experience!!!! I attended this very conference with my teacher teammate Life in the Fast Lane last Spring and fell in love with it. As soon as January rolled around, we knew we had to go again! I could not wait to flip through the pamphlet and see who would be there and what topics would be presented!!! Now selecting the sessions that I wanted to go to came down to a science. Since some sessions repeat, I had to make a big chart on like 6 notebook pages that had all the ones I knew I wanted to go to FOR SURE. Once I made sure that I could go to all those ones, I filled in the blanks. I ran into a few errors when I saw a session that I was not sure about or when I switched a few around, but hours later, I WAS READY TO SIGN UP!!

The sessions I attended:
Sarah Howe: Empowering Little Writers
*My first session was with Sarah Howe, and I LOVED it!!!! She gave an amazing presentation about how she does writing in her classroom. She has an amazing system that she uses and she introduced us to the concept of mini book writing! She gave each of us our own to use as an example when creating our own! (I am sure I will make a post about this later once we begin using them!!!)

Deedee Wills (Mrs. Wills Kindergarten) - Assessment
* Oh me oh my! I mean, c'mon! It is DEEDEE! Of course I was excited to hear her speak, but her presentation was amazing. Her concepts on how to easily assess students informally was so simple and yet I had not even thought about it!


Deanna Jump (Mrs. Jump's Class) - Read, Set, READ
I LOVED this session. So much information that talked about how to use writing and reading in the classroom in a way that excites students. She explained how a reading lesson should go, how to use fun voices to intrigue the students, and how to get students to use inquiry based thinking. One thing that Deanna talked about was how when they do reading and writing prompts, she never asks for an example before they start writing because, like most, once a student hears an example it is the only one that they can think about! I also love her SWBS (somebody wanted but so then) and how interactive it was and concrete for students to fully grasp!

Kim Jordano (Kinder by Kim) - Move Over! Here Comes the MATH WALL!
*I mean, could you find a funnier educator? Seriously, she brings the real talk to teaching! I love how personable and real she is! Kim explained the Math Wall that she uses in her classroom and I am in love. Like actually figuring out where I can put this kind of wall in my room. She does so many things with her students that push them to think and are INCREDIBLY differentiated for all of the needs of her students!

Greg Smedley-Warren (Kindergarten Smorgasbord) - Reading Rituals & Routines
*I loved learning about Mr. Greg's Reading Routines (seriously amazing!) The amount of things that his students are able to accomplish in set time frames is amazing and definitely something I am eager to apply in my classroom!


Kim Adsit (Kinder Gals) - Prop Up Your Centers
*Besides being a great end to the first day, Kim shared how her centers were full of hands-on and interactive activities that kept her kids busy and working effectively. I love the variety of activities that she used!

Jen Jones (Hello Literacy) -Word Up! Vocabulary Instruction in the Primary Classroom
*I mean, what a way to start day two! I have been dying to see Jen Jones present and I was NOT disappointed!!!  She brought some amazing technology into her presentation and showed us how to integrate it into our students' learning vocabulary. We even got to get up and play a quick round of Quiz, Quiz, Trade (holler at me Kagan!!)! I never realized how easy it is to put tier two and three vocabulary into everyday conversations and how switching words around helps students grasp the concepts. I love how she mentioned that we should never ask our students to define something, but rather EXPLAIN it. With this way, you are able to see if your student truly understands the word! She showed us Flocabulary (which I am totallllly going to be using! PLAIN AND SIMPLE, GUYS, SHE ROCKS!


Deedee Wills (Mrs. Wills Kindergarten) - Peek at My Week
*Of course I had to see Mrs. Wills again! She gave us a glimpse at her week, how she sets it up with lesson plans and how her daily routines happen. I would love to be a fly on the wall in her room! Seriously she has so many amazing ideas. I love her visual lesson plans and hope to begin those again after a long hiatus!


Kathy Griffin (Kathy Griffin's Teaching Strategies)- Procedures for the First 30 Days
Kathy took us all the way back to beginning of August/September and those fist 30 days with our BABIES (literally, they are so small when they start!!) She shared how she gets her procedures started right away and how she teachers quiet signs as well as strategies for students to get their wiggles out while listening.


Deedee Wills (Mrs. Wills Kindergarten)- Math Stations
*Oops, signed up for another session with Deedee ;) I was eager to hear about math stations because our school does them quite different from many of the teachers that I have looked at. I love how structured her Math Stations are. I am currently trying to figure out how I can work the structure that she uses to fit my math workshop needs. I love that she regroups between stations so that students are able to process what  they did and explain what they learned or how they were successful! Also LOVE her math tool kits! Each student has a partner with a binder that has all of the math manipulatives and templates that are needed for the week.



Deanna Jump (Mrs. Jump's Class) -  Guided Reading 101
*Going out with a bang!! Ended my amazing two days with Mrs. Jump (and loved every second of it!) Deanna shared how her guided reading set up is and the strategies she uses to teach each group. She explained how she doesn't start her guided reading groups until after the first 4 weeks of school. I love the strategies and songs that she uses to help strengthen her student's fluency. I currently have like all of her guided reading materials sitting in my basket on tpt ;)



The sessions that I attended provided me with such a wealth of information, and not just statistics or blah blah information. No no no! I am talking useful information and ideas that I can take and ACTUALLY apply in my classroom. Deedee and Deanna both had great sessions on math and literacy stations as well as guided reading (definitely a huge fan of Deedee's students' seats with dual storage purposes!) and all I can say is I am ready to revamp and organize how to best meet my students' needs efficiently and effectively. I also LOVE the idea of a "Dessert Tub" that Deedee shared. She got the idea from another one of my FAVORITE bloggers Cara Carroll from The First Grade Parade! It is a task for students to do if they complete work early. Remember, not all students will get dessert ;) The ideas that they share are seriously SO simple and require little prep! There was not one point at any of the sessions where they told you to buy their products, instead, they provided so many ways to do these stations without having to buy a thing!

The major thing that I took away from the conference as a whole is to DO YOU. Take the ideas, the lessons, the guidelines and make them YOU. Your classroom will not look like anybody else's classroom. It isn't supposed to. You have to find what works for you and your babes. How remarkable.  I mean it. How remarkable that your classroom is completely different from all others. Your classroom is where YOU and YOUR STUDENTS get to challenge each other to dig deeper, work harder, and have fun learning. By listening to the PASSION and EXCITEMENT in each and every presenter I was blessed to listen to, I felt so happy, so at peace. I loved all the ideas that I got. I am so eager to take WHAT I learned and manipulate it so that it works in my classroom, it has MY spin on it, and it helps MY kiddos.

Thanks to the wonderful and inspiring teachers that work so hard and LOVE what they do!!! If you ever get the chance to attend this conference, I 100% recommend it!

Sunday Scoop: March 6

It isn't just any Sunday, it is the Sunday of a 3 day weekend! So really, it is like an extra Saturday, right ;) Anyway, today is the day to link up with Teaching Trio for Sunday Scoop! I love this link up and getting to see what other awesome teachers are doing or plan to do for the week!!!

Finish Dr. Seuss plans. We are starting our Dr. Seuss two week unit and I could not be more excited!!! I cannot wait to get the room decorated and ready and all of the lessons up and started! It will be a little Seussy in Room 103!!!!! I also have to build my new organizer that will hopefully keep me prepped and ready week by week ;) ANNNND I have laundry that is long over due to get done!

I hope to get my closet reorganized for spring clothes! Love the switch out and seeing the brighter colors (I may be guilty of a very black winter wardrobe)! I also hope that I will get to be outside more! I would love to get some miles in outdoors, because everyone knows outdoor miles feel SO much better than indoor miles!!

I can't wait to get a mani and pedi with my blogging twin! Some much needed relaxation and twin time! A little pampering never hurt anyone, right ;)

Thanks for checking out my scoop!! Make sure and head back to Teaching Trio to link up and share yours!!!

Monday, February 29, 2016

Peek at My Week!

Monday is here and I am in shock that it is already March (well, tomorrow is)! This year could not be flying any faster! This week is a short week for me because I will be heading to the ILASCD Conference in Schaumburg, IL (EEK YAY!!) which means sub plans (ick!). I know my little rays will be just fine with a sub but at the same time it kills me to leave them for two days!!! You can bet I will be hugging them a little too tight when they leave on Wednesday ;) Anywho, here is my Peek at My Week! Check out what my little rays will be focusing on this week. When you're done, head over to my teaching twin's blog Beginnings With Baer to see what is going on with her firsties!!!

We are continuing with digraphs and blends as well as making connections with stories we are reading. We will be working on some small Dr. Seuss stuff this week as well! Our stations for Daily Five are ready for some SPRING cleaning so I will be introducing a few new activities for my kiddos!

We have done a lot of work with base ten and composing numbers in the teens so now it is time to break it on down! We will be turning our focus from creating teen numbers and making connections with base ten to breaking apart teen numbers and showing their relationship via base ten blocks. I am super excited to see how we rock it out!

March 2nd this week AKA EVERY ELEMENTARY TEACHER'S FAVORITE DAY. We get to celebrate the wonderful man, Dr. Seuss (aka Theodore Geisel)! We will do a brief introduction this week along with some activities before we SEUSSIFY our room and hallway for a two week unit on Dr. Seuss books! I am THRILLED! This is probably one of my top favorite units to do (for obvious reasons!) Stay tuned to see what we do to celebrate!

We have been working on our WIZARD WRITING and every student in room 103 is currently enrolled in Miss K's Writing School for Wizards. At the end of each day, we get our wizards attire on (hats, robes, wands, and all!) We have focused on quite a few elements of writing so far, such as how to write a complete sentence and how to add details to a sentence. My little rays have done an AMAZING job. I am so impressed with the writing I have seen and cannot wait to see what we will have this week! We will be working on editing a sentence, sharing with peers, and using descriptive writing to share about our favorite things.

Thanks for checking out my Peek at My Week!! Be sure to head over to Beginnings With Baer to see what she has planned for her week :)