Currently September!

September?  Gosh, it's just flying by.  Who else is annoyed by the people on FB that post "19 Fridays till Christmas?"  This girl!
I would like things to just slow down for a minute. 
But I do get a little excited for a new Currently!
Listening:  I am listening to Big Brother. I cheat....I admit it.  I watch all the spoilers online but then I still watch the show to see how it all went down.  Maybe I should apply to get on the show.  I know I'm just not quite hip enough though! 
Loving:  I am loving my new obsession with kayaking and I'm trying to get my hubby on board tomorrow.  I borrowed 4 kayaks to go paddling down the river tomorrow and I am looking forward to a fun family day.  Now we just have to hope that everyone is in a good mood tomorrow...

Thinking:  Seriously people....Kindergarten is hard work.  There is so much to do that sometimes when I sit down to plan I just want to throw it all at them at once!  I know they will learn even in spite of me but it's overwhelming for sure!

Wanting:  I usually just say, "I'm so happy I don't want anything" but this month I really do want something!  I want someone to walk me through my first Donor's Choose project! Seriously. Hold my hand and tell me what to say.  Tell me what to want.  Tell me what will win the hearts of donors to get all my classroom wishes to come true.

Needing: A classroom color printer.  I have a color printer at home....don't get me wrong we live in the 21st century for heavens sake.  But it's a ink jet and I NEED a laser printer to print out all of my wonderful creations and the creations of others.  I was CUT OFF at school this year and it is literally killing me.  I can't even focus on the task at hand because it's not in color! 

3 trips:  I didn't even have to hesitate on this one. Hawaii because I've never been and I just think everyone should go.  Iceland because my hubby served 2 years there while he was in the Navy and I think it would be fun to go back with him sooooo many years later.  And Ireland just because I've always wanted to go there because when I was little I looked up "Heather" in the dictionary and it said it was a flower that grew in Ireland.  On the hillsides.  And it's purple.  Doesn't that just make you want to go?  Ok, maybe it's just people named Heather that get that.  

Now it's your turn to follow the rules and link up!  Don't be scared, the rules aren't hard to follow!
Link up with Farley here...

Peek at my Week: 4 day week!

Oh thank you Labor Day for giving us all a day to renew, relax, and rejoice in the fact that we have a 4 day work week coming up.  Thank. You.

But wait?  How will I get it all done in just 4 days?  So much for celebrating!

Here's a Peek at my Week that doesn't start until Tuesday!

 I think the 2 page spread is what I'm going to stay with.  I tried the one page for a week or two and I just couldn't stick with it.  This is double duty.  I can use it here for my visual plans and then I just print it out and it goes right in my 3 ring binder on my desk.  Win.Win.  I also changed back to the days of the week on the side after many years of having them across the top.  Non teachers are reading this thinking, "This lady is crazy" but I know teachers will totally understand my strange obsession with my lesson plans. 

Here are links to the products I am using this week: 
 This is how we start our day every day!  This week we finish up introducing all the letters of the alphabet and then the fun really starts!
It's a short week so I don't get to use much of this throughout the week but I will be using the listening to reading response sheet and all the posters.   I'm also using the letter writing pages.

I will use these this week for centers to cut down on paper.  I'm interested to see how it works out.
I got these at Lakeshore this summer.  I only use one of them at the doc cam so I can write on my master copy (without ruining it) and use it again for a second set of Kinders.  I have a bunch more so I'm using my letter writing pages from the Miss Bindergarten unit in these so I only had to copy a few.  Fingers crossed it works...I'm all for cutting down on paper! 

For Writer's Workshop I pulled out Deedee's (and Deana Jump's) Writer's Workshop unit to inspire me.  I found a couple of mini lessons in there to work into my routine and some book ideas to share.  Thanks Deedee for the inspiration!
Whether you are brand new to Writer's Workshop or are like me and have been teaching it for years this unit is a great way to get started.  I pretty much have my own little "start up" I do but sometimes I need a little inspiration on where to go next.  We have worked on our routines, learned how to be a good writing partner, and focused on adding our details into our stories.  This week we are talking about telling a story rather than naming parts.  I needed the push to get this mini lesson planned. 
Ok, need more inspiration?  Visit Mrs. Wills' Kindergarten for Peek at my Week 
(she has never ending ideas!) 
and visit all the other great link ups.  
Happy Labor Day 
and happy teaching to you!

Extreme Makeover: Classroom Edition 
Did you do any redecorating this summer?  I found a great linky party to share some new (and old) ideas in the classroom. 
It's a big job to get a classroom ready!
Where did I start?  Empty (but clean!) room. 

And in a few short days I filled it full of stuff!  Stuff everywhere!  It took me all summer to get everything straightened out but here is what I finally ended up with... a mess!
 Messy right?
I posted a classroom reveal here:
 And everything I used to decorate my classroom:
Click on the pic to see it in my store. And....
I'm putting this on sale for the long weekend.  50% off now through Monday.  
Happy hopping through the fun classroom makeovers.  Now it's your turn! Link up with The Primary Gal here!

Five for Friday: August 29

Did you make it? 
I did! Five for Friday time!
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We introduced Listening to Reading and Word Work on the computer this week.  It added a lot of excitement to our morning routine!
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We've been working in our math journals all week too.
After our whole group lesson each student works through the skill in our journals and when they are done they move on to math tubs.
I stayed late today to modge podge these cute numbers on them.  Now right now we are still exploring sorting and counting materials, but in the future I can use the numbers to differentiate instruction for all levels of kiddos.  I just like having things labeled truth be told!
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I introduced Read to Someone too but just a tiny bit different.  I use our Read to Someone time to practice reading fluency.  We introduced it with letter naming fluency practice this week. They did a great job practicing together this week and I think they have it down!  Now we can use this quick 5-10 minute activity for fluency practice all year. :)
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I FORGOT how spooked Kinders are by thunder storms.  We had a huge storm this week with tons of rain, lightening, and thunder. (this picture doesn't do it justice)  I wanted to turn out the lights, open the windows, and enjoy the show but my kiddos faces told me I needed to downplay the fact that it was like a hurricane outside and play some uplifting music so they couldn't hear the storm.  It was really beautiful though....

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 Can you say 3 day weekend?  YES!  I almost didn't even realize it was already here.  4 weeks of Kindergarten are done (probably the hardest 4!)  It's all downhill from here :)  
Have a great weekend!

What I did right this week!

I love this linky title!  Oh my goodness I feel like I have a longer list of what I DIDN'T do right this week but I got few things right so let's celebrate that!

Math journals are off to a great start.  We are recording our "Counting Jar" activities in our journal right now.  I am REALLY TRYING to integrate our Investigations curriculum and math journals.  I learned so many good things last year during my CGI (Cognitive Guided Instruction) training.  Math journals are an important part of everyday math instruction.  

Writer's Workshop: 
We are focusing on adding details to our stories (like setting and characters) AND little details like using the right colors, drawing our people CLEARLY and making sure we don't scribble over the top of our picture.  Yes happens.  

Daily 5: 
I want to scream it from the roof tops!  Daily 5 is amazing and this model will change your life.  I promise. If you haven't read the book.....go buy right now!  I love the changes this has made in my teaching and the sense of purpose, independence, and love of learning it has created in my classroom.  There is nothing sweeter than hearing a kindergartner say, "I want to be a better reader!" before they go off to read for Read to Self time.  We are working on setting our own goals each day right now.  Before I dismiss them each day they state their goal, "Today I will....(read quietly, keep my eyes on the book, sit by myself, not disturb my neighbors).  It has been AMAZING!

That's what I did right this week!  What is working for you in your classroom?  

Book Talk Tuesday: Not Your Typical Dragon

I took a little break from Tuesday Book Talk with Deanna Jump but I'm back!  This is a great linky with a lot of great ideas about my favorite thing....BOOKS!

I read the best book today about being yourself!  We are discussing the IB Attitude of Independence and today I happened upon a great book.  

I love it when that happens! 

I use two websites to read books to my class during snack time.  
Sometimes I use Storyline Online...
I use this one when I need someone else to read (like when I'm really hungry, or thirsty, and I just need a little break!)

I also use We Give Books.....
This one is a copy of the book and you have to do the reading.  I use this because I can put the book on the big screen and the kiddos can really see the pictures.  We can have class discussions about the characters, setting, and specific text features in a meaningful way because it's large enough for everyone to see. 

So today I looked up a book by Genre and picked "Independence".  I found this little gem...
Not Your Typical Dragon by Dan Bar-el and Illustrated by Tim Bowers.  

Quick Summary: The little dragon can't wait to turn 7 so he can start breathing fire but on his birthday the unexpected happens.  Instead of breathing fire he breaths whipped cream, and every time after that he breaths something else (bubbles, beach balls, streamers).  He runs away from home because he doesn't fit in and a knight in shining armor helps him find his true self.  He ends up saving the day!  

It reminded me a lot of A Bad Case of the Stripes by David Shannon. (on Storyline Online....we read that one yesterday!)
I love using literature in my classroom to explore important topics.  It's even better when you can use a little technology to make it happen.  
(plus...if you don't own the books they are available for free!)

What are your favorite books about being Independent?  Tomorrow we are reading David Henkes!

Peek at my Week! (and a letter naming Freebie!)

Is the weekend over already?  Seriously!

We made a lot of progress last week so I'm actually kind of excited to go back Monday!  We have lots of new things to introduce this week and I think the kiddos are going to love them!

On the list to share with them is Listen to Reading and Word Work (on the computer).  Can't wait!

Here is a peek at what our week will look like this week!

I'm playing with my lesson plans again....I've gone to a two page spread.  We'll see if this one sticks!

 I think I will be able to add more details with the two page spread instead of just one, so this might be the ticket.  This is also what I have sitting out on my desk so it fits nicely in my 3 ring binder. 

If ANYONE knows how to keep hyperlinks in a PDF (on a MAC) will you please direct me to the best tutorial for that?  I've been searching for over a year now and can't figure it out.  So each of the links are listed here.  

You can get the copy of the PDF if you want to see it close up and personal. Just click on the picture.

This week is all about cooperation at home!  We are going to discuss how families can show cooperation at home.  It will be fun to see what this inspires during Writer's Workshop!

We are focusing on the IB attitude of Independence this week.  We've talked a lot about that during Daily 5 with our Independence charts but I'm going to add in my favorite story this week.  

We are continuing with our Routines lessons from Jessica Meacham.  I love the lessons she has put together.  This week we are introducing our date stamper and a little more of our praises for share time.  Last week our favorite praises (you may call them cheers) were Firecracker, Looking Good, Ketchup, and Cheese Grater). 

I'm also introducing Read to Someone along with our fluency practice this week.  How about a freebie?  I made this yesterday so I have a nice clean sheet to start letter naming fluency practice.
 Click on the pic to get it free!

Just a note***I don't plan on doing letter naming for an extended period of time.  I am using this to train them to practice fluency with a partner.***
Our goal is first sound fluency and phoneme segmentation at this time :) 

In math we are continuing our work with math journals and learning our routine with Investigations.  I found the PERFECT place in my room to put math tubs so I'm going to experiment with this throughout the week.  One thing I have learned so far this's hard to experiment with Kinders! So when I say "experiment" I mean....I have a pretty good idea how I want it to look but I know it may not go perfectly at first!  

So that's my week!  Do it once, then do it all over again day after day after day.  Interesting for sure.  I'm still not a fan of half day but I'm learning to go with it! 

Link up with Deedee for Peek at my Week and she even has a classroom tour posted!  Have a great week!