Friday, July 31, 2015

Five for Friday!

Happy Friday, Friends!

It has been a crazy week in the Allison household but it's all good things! I'll have to wait until next week to tell you more but needless to say, we are excited! (And no, it's not a baby.)

I'm linking up with Doodle Bugs Teaching for my usual Five for Friday!

I finished a fun DIY project this week. I used to have this bench/toy box in my room as a child and then my cousin had it for a while in her room. She's a grown up teenager now and decided she didn't need it any more. Hubs and I recovered it and ta-da! It's going to be perfect for two Kinder tushies in my reading center. I think it looks great!

This is the before--blue with little white birds. 
(Please note the Mickey Mouse dog toy is totally photo bombing in the background!)

After! This green matches my classroom decor a lot better. 

Hubs and I got to enjoy a game last night at our local minor league baseball park. They hosted a Baylor night and it was so fun! We saw some friends, members of the football team threw our the first pitch and Holly Tucker sang the national anthem.

I am working on finding some great iPad apps to use with my kiddos this coming year. What are your favorite apps to use in the classroom?

I am so excited for next week! For two days, I am getting to learn from one of my faves--Dr. Jean! She is coming to Austin and I had a Donor's Choose project funded back in the spring thanks to their new PD program and some very generous donors. I feel like a pre-teen going to a One Direction concert. So. Excited. 

We are planning to have nice and relaxing weekend at home. I'm sure there will be some school projects to work on, laundry to do, and yards to be tended to, but that sounds like a good weekend to me! 

Have a great weekend, friends!

Friday, July 24, 2015

Fun Five for Friday!

Happy Friday, Ya'll!

I am actually joining two different linky parties today. All week I have joined the gals at Freebilicious for a summer fun party and then I am linking up with Doodle Bugs Teaching for my usual Five for Friday.

I spent a day in my classroom this week trying to make it feel a little more like home. I am waiting to post more pictures until I am finished but I wanted to share a little bit of my writing center. I love the way it is coming along! I didn't want to pay for an expensive banner, so I just made my own!

Ya'll. School starts for me one month from TODAY. Let that sink in. One month from today, I'll have a whole new bunch of nuggets in my classroom. Cue the tears and back to school bad dreams at night.

What have you been watching this summer? I watched season 3 of Orange is the New Black back in June but that seems like a lifetime ago. One thing I love about summer is getting to catch up on shows that I have missed out because I fall asleep at 7:30 on school nights. True story. Any way, I am really enjoying the new summer show, The Astronaut Wives Club. It is like Desperate Housewives and Mad Men had a baby. It's wonderful!

For my Fun Friday with Freebielicious, I am going to tell you about two different activities that we enjoying doing in our classroom. The first is Go Noodle. If you are not Go Noodling in your classroom, you seriously need to check it out. It is full of fun brain break videos, and they saved my life this winter with their indoor recess mixes. You class picks a "Champion" and then they earn minutes with the videos they do. My kids favorite part is when their Champion grows in the lab. It is free to use so you should check it out! It is a life saver when your students are getting antsy! 

My last one is a bit of a trick more than an activity. This isn't anything amazing and it probably won't work with every class but I can tell you it worked wonders with my class this past year and I plan on using it again this year. When I would notice a child that is working really hard, standing in line quietly, holding a door for someone, or anything else that I wanted to praise them for, I would walk over and say, "Oh my goodness, look what a great friend Annabelle is being! She helped her Harry pick up his mess without being asked! Way to go, Annabelle! Here is a smellie!" (Cue the "ooohhhs and ahhhs" from the whole class.) I would walk over and smear the smellie on the back on Annabelle's hand. She would smell it and announce to the entire class, "It's green apple!" Then I would see all sorts of little friends helping their friends for the rest of the day. It's a beautiful thing. And I am happy to give out smellies all day long if it keeps them being nice to each other. 

So, what is a smellie?


That's right. The Lip Smackers that we all loved collecting as 24 10 year olds can be turned into an amazing behavior management system. If the student gets a smellie for walking down the hall quietly and then turns around and talks to his neighbor, I just walk over with a baby wipe and take the smellie off. That might seem really mean, but I can tell you, I only had to wipe off one smellie last year. It works. I pick them up here and there but Target usually has the best ones. A class favorite last year was the Dr. Pepper flavored one. 

I hope you all have an amazing weekend! We are headed home to see our families and celebrate a birthday!

Thursday, July 23, 2015

Throwback Thursday, Sort Of...

Hi Friends!

Today's linky with Freebielicious is supposed to be a Throwback Thursday--a blog post that you wrote a long time ago. Well, since my baby blog is only a month old, I don't really have anything for Throwback Thursday. So I decided I am just going to blog about a fun lesson that I did with my kids back in the spring, and we will call it a deal. Sound okay?

Alrighty, here we go. Last spring, right after Spring Break, we started my favorite project of the year, chickens! We incubated and actually hatched baby chickens--and it is AWESOME!

I start the unit out by showing the kids a book on the life cycle of a chicken. I like to use this one because it puts the cycle in terms that the kids can understand. You can purchase it from Scholastic.

Next, I show the students the incubator. I explain how it works and how it is going to keep the eggs nice and warm while the babies are growing. I am very honest with my students and tell them that not all the eggs are going to have babies in them. I also explain to them that when we are eating eggs for breakfast, we are not eating baby chickens. They always get worried and ask, so I just tell them up front. I also show them the Magic School Bus episode called "Cracks a Yolk." They do the best job of explaining the fertilization process, without going into TOO much detail, which shows the kids why some have chicks, and others don't. When it was over, my kids acted like they chicken experts--which they were! 

After that, we put the eggs into the incubator. I got them from a sweet lady that Hubs works with. She raises chickens and was happy to help us with the project. My kids called her the "Farmer." The eggs stay in the incubator for 21 days before they hatch. 

Aren't they beautiful!?!

Fast forward 21 days and they were ready to hatch at any point. The kids were so excited and I was too, but on day 21, we didn't have any hatch. I was super disappointed when I headed home and right before I turned the lights off, I heard a little "PEEP!" from one egg. I could hardly sleep that night! When I got back the next morning we had a BABY!

After they dry off for a little bit in the incubator, we moved them to a box with water, food, bedding, and a heat lamp to keep them warm. My students were so excited when the came in. They named him McPufferson. (Any GoNoodle fans out there??)

About an hour later we heard more peeping from the incubator so we peeked in a saw the smallest crack in another egg. My kids were just beside themselves and so we just sat and watched for a long time. I can't get much more real life experience than this!

When they go back from P.E., we had baby number 2! Her name is Fluffy. Here is Fluffy and McPufferson hanging out in their box!


Fast forward 2 more days and we ended up having 8 babies hatch, and 7 of them survive. I brought them home so we could take them back to the farm. Annabelle was very interested in our temporary house guests. 

Here they are back on the farm!

So that is my Throwback Thursday post-- sort of! Ha! This is one of my favorite projects of the year and the students LOVED it. They were all so sweet and gentle when they would hold them and really took ownership in the project. 

*Quick story that is too funny not to share*
I invited all of the teachers in our school to bring their students by to see the chickens. One of the second grade classes was walking beside the box and looking at the chickens when one little boy said, "Mmm...I hope my mom make chicken for supper tonight!" My kids and his teacher looked mortified and needless to say, he was whisked out of the room rather quickly. I had to hold back my giggles, my looks on my kids' faces was priceless. #kidssaythedarndestthings

Be sure to check out all of the Throwback Thursday posts on Freebielicious today. Tomorrow is the last day of this fun linky party.

Have a wonderful Thursday!

Wednesday, July 22, 2015

Wonderful Idea Wednesday!

Happy Wednesday!

Thank you for joining me and the girls at Freebielicious for Wonderful Idea Wednesday!

Let's start out by me letting you know that this idea is not rocket science or life changing or anything. It's just something that helps me and my students stay organized. 

I learned this idea from my mentor teacher when I was student teaching in college. At Baylor, they placed us in a classroom full time for an entire year, which is amazing. I learned so much from my amazing mentor and we are still friends. Any way, she used this in her classroom and I have just tweaked it a little to fit my room. I am having to show you with pictures in my old classroom because my new one is not ready yet. I used this organization in my Kindergarten room last year, and in my second grade room the year before so it works in multiple grade levels. I apologize for the lack of pictures, I am just having to use what I had from last year--I promise I'll have more once I finish my new room.

Presenting...Colored Teams!

I group my tables or desks into "Teams." This past year I had a small class so I only had 4 teams. Each team has a color, blue, pink, green, and purple. I am adding a yellow team this year. Over each table I have put some little decorations from the party store, you could use anything you find that matches your team colors. This year I am planning on using the paper lanterns. Then on each table there are baskets in the same team color and that is where I keep pencils, bottles of glue, and other odds and ends that they might need. I keep the decor above and the baskets on the table for two different visuals for the kids. Lastly, I have baskets where the kids turn in their papers. These are called their "Team Box." (Like I said, not rocket science.) I don't have to grade papers in Kindergarten so what I normally do is when the kids finish a project, they bring it to me, I check it, stamp it, then they put it in their team box. **Quick tip! If you can't find baskets in the colors you want, I just bought clear baskets from Dollar Tree and then put ribbon on the basket! You can find ribbon in any color you need!** When it is time to put papers in the folders to take home, I just plop the baskets on their tables and they take turns sorting papers to their team. It is one less job for me and gives this kids some good responsibility. Kids love organization, it makes things a lot easier for them!

So that's my wonderful idea! Easy peezy, lemon squeezy! Be sure to check out all of the wonderful ideas that are on Freebielicious today! 

Have a great day! 

Tuesday, July 21, 2015

Tell Us About You Tuesday!

Hi Friends!

The gals over Freebielicious are hosting a fun week long linky party and today is Tell Me About You Tuesday!

For those of you who don't know me yet, my name is Ashton Allison and I am a Kindergarten teacher in Central Texas. Welcome to Mrs. Allison's Wonderland! I taught second grade for one year and am about to start my second year in Kindergarten. I just adore my little Kinder nuggets! I am moving schools this year so I have been working like crazy to get my room ready.

Here are a few things about me!

I am an only child an am very close to my mom and grandparents. Even though I have moved away from home, I still see them often and am so grateful to have such a supportive family in my life.

My sweet hubs and I got married 2 1/2 years ago. We actually started dating when we were 15 and 17, just babies in high school. I am thankful for him every single day, he truly is my best friend.
We love doing home improvement projects, traveling, and cheering on our favorite Baylor Bears!

We visited the Grand Cayman islands this past year and got to visit a Sea Turtle Nursery! So cool!

I graduated in 2012 from Baylor University (sic 'em bears!) with a BS in Elementary Education. I LOVED college, I am ready to go back for my Masters!

Hubs and I don't have any human babies but we are obsessed over our fur baby. (Shhh...don't tell her, she doesn't know she's a dog.) Our pup, Annabelle is 4 years old. Ryan adopted her for me as a Valentine's Day gift back when we were in college. We think she's the best dog on the planet. 

Meep! Isn't she precious?!?

Here are some other random things about me:

-I LOVE school supplies. (What teacher doesn't?) Even though I love my summer, I get excited when I see rows of perfectly placed crayons and pencils.

-I need to start each morning with an iced coffee. I am not fully awake until after coffee. 

-Speaking of coffee, I have a little bit of a problem when it comes to collecting travel cups. I have an entire shelf in our cabinet dedicated to my Tervis tumblers. 

-I love to read! It can be a professional development book, or a just for fun book--I'm all over it!

-My favorite color is pink and glitter. Also chevron. And cheetah. (Yes, those are colors.)

-I love a good craft project. Pinterest and I have a very close relationship. 

-My favorite food is ice cream. This southern girl is missing her Blue Bell this summer!

-I love the Lord, and he loves you, too!

-I could eat Mexican food 3 meals a day, 7 days a week. 

-Ever since we bought our home, I have found a hobby in decorating our house. I love finding unique things to embellish our cute little abode. 

Well, that is pretty much me in a nutshell! I hope you enjoyed this Tell Me About You Tuesday! Be sure to visit the other teachers that have linked up with Freebielicious!

Have a great Tuesday!

Monday, July 20, 2015

A Linky Party! Must Have Monday

Hi friends! The bloggers over at Freebielicious are hosting a week long linky party and I thought I would join in. Today is Must Have Monday so I will be showing you some of my must haves in my classroom.

My first must have is Paper Mate Flair Pens. They come is so many pretty colors and I love how vibrant they are when you write with them. I buy mine from Sam's Club because you can get a huge package of them for about $20.

My next must have lives on my teacher desk. I keep all of my supplies in a tool turnabout. Where did I find this? Pampered Chef! Yes! It is supposed to be used for kitchen tools! My mom purchased it for me years ago and it is perfect for the things I need right beside me on my desk. As you can see, I like to have a choice when it comes to writing tool options. I also house paper clips, scissors, and other odds and ends I might need when I am working at my desk, (which is also my small group table.)

My last must have is my personal laminator. I actually own two, one has the capability to laminate larger sized pages. This lamination is thicker than your regular school lamination so I like to use it on things that are going to be used more often. They are not expensive at all, actually this same one is on sale this week at Office Max/Office Depot for $15. I buy the laminating sheets in bulk at Sam's Club, you get 200 sheets for $20. You can also purchase them on Amazon.

I'd love to hear what your Must Haves are at home, work, or school!

Friday, July 17, 2015

Five for Friday

Hi there! Sorry about the two week absence--I have been busy! I hope you all have been enjoying your summer, it has been a scorcher here in Texas the past few weeks! They are forecasting the temps to hit triple digits later next week-- that is my cue to find a swimming pool!

I'm linking up with Doodle Bugs Teaching for a quick edition of Five for Friday!

Hubs and I went to Houston last weekend to visit some of our best friends and celebrate a birthday! We enjoyed a weekend of catching up, eating yummy food, and some bowling! They even brought me a tiny gluten free cake so I could eat dessert with the rest of them. It was delicious! Somehow, this was the only picture I took all weekend!  

They cleaned my classroom early this week so I started moving my things in once the carpet was dry. It is a work in progress but here is a sneak peek that I shared on Instagram a few days ago. I have a HUGE bulletin board and it was perfect for my word wall. I used the alphabet anchor charts from The First Grade Parade. I love the way it turned out! Hubs and I are headed up to the school in the morning with another load of my junk stuff. 

I finished a Pintrest project today! I have been wanting to do a gallery wall in our living room for a while now but couldn't decide how I wanted it arranged. I picked up the frames at Ikea, the A is from At Home, and the little hearts are from Michael's. I am really pleased at the way it turned out! The hearts are staying sideways like that. I was waiting for hubs to get home from work to help me with the nail placement. 

The school supply aisles are in all the stores now. I feel very torn, part of me is sad because that means summer is coming to a end, but the other part of me is going down every aisle because I want to see all of the neat supplies they have come out with. I even bought some crayons and a spiral today. #teacherprobs 

Hubs and I have big plans for the weekend. Or not. ;) We are going to take a load of things to the school, maybe work in my classroom for a bit. After that, probably a lot of hanging out at home with Annabelle. Maybe we will get a wild hair and go see the new Minion movie! Ha! Have a great weekend friends!