Monday, August 31, 2015

Blog Hoppin' Teacher Week! 5 Fun Facts

Happy Monday, Ya'll!

The gals over at Blog Hoppin' are hosting a fun linky party all week! My goal is to participate each day this week, let's hope my week doesn't get too crazy! Ha!

Here we go! 5 fun facts about me!

1. I am an only child! Or at least I was growing up. Now I have the BEST sister in law. Like for real ya'll. She's the bomb dot com. 

Isn't she beautiful!?!

2. I don't really like sweets. I would much rather have fruit than a piece of cake. There is one exception though... 

Ice Cream.

And not just any ice cream.

The BLUE BELL ice cream.

If you aren't from the south, it's the best ice cream on the planet. But it was recalled earlier this year and we have been without it ALL summer. 

But it comes back today. I am taking a spoon with me to the grocery store. #notashamed

3. I am a total animal lover. We have our pup, AB, of course, but we also have 2 cats and a hamster. I don't have any recent pictures of our kitties, but they live outside and bring me dead grass snakes and keep the boogie men away. We have Alice and her cousin, Harry Clyde Batman. Yes. You read that correctly. We call him H.C.B. for short. The story of how he came to get his name is long. I'll save that for a later story. Then, our hammie's name is Maude. PetsMart was giving her away one day because she was older and "strangely marked." I thought she was precious. So of course I brought her home. 

Here she is training for Hamster Ninja Warrior. ;)

4. I have a strange ability to remember what year songs came out. I know, super random.

5. I collect nativity scenes. Christmas is my favorite time of year and since hubs and I got married, we have started collecting nativity scenes from the places that we visit. We have them from Costa Rice, Grand Cayman Island, Cozumel, and several others. If it were my choice, we would keep them up all year!

So that's a few things you might not know about me! I hope you had a fabulous Monday!

Saturday, August 29, 2015

Five for Friday (on a Saturday!)

Happy Weekend, Friends!

I am linking up with Doodle Bugs Teaching this morning for a Saturday edition of Five for Friday!

Well, we survived the first week of Kindergarten! We (yes, we) shed a few tears but overall had a great week. I have a sweet group of 19 nuggets this year. I didn't take any pictures for the blog on the first day--I was a tad busy making sure we all go fed and home in the correct way. No one got lost or cried on the first day so I call that a success!

During the first week we do a lot of projects with our names. I start by making name mats for everyone. I have a font on my computer that looks like the tracing letters. This is the first activity that we use them for, I give them their name mats and a sheet of those little metallic star stickers that you can get at the grocery store. This makes for great fine motor skill practice and they look super cool when they are finished. The kids love it! 

We did some exploring with the light table this week. It was a hit! I just let them play with the materials and check everything out. I plan on creating some light table activities to use during our stations soon. 

On Thursday, I introduced them to morning work. I use the Read, Trace, Glue, and Draw from Deedee over at Mrs. Wills' Kindergarten. The kids did a great job with it and we used our glue sponges for the first time. I'm telling ya'll, I am never going back to glue stick or glue bottles. These sponges are sent from heaven. Here is a link to the directions if you want to know more about them. ~HERE~

Yes, I realize his scissors are upside down. We are working on that! ;)

Glue sponges! *Cue the angels singing* 

Overall we a great week, but this girl is tired! Did anyone else's desk look like this at the end of the week?! I was so tired yesterday afternoon, I just left it.

I hope you all have a wonderful weekend. If you need me, I'll be over here napping.

Sunday, August 23, 2015


After only 2 weeks to get everything ready, my room is finished and ready for 21 kittens to arrive in the morning. I can't wait to show you my room!

A few things to tell you first...
-My room is super duper small. Like tiny. But I am going to call it "cozy."
-One entire wall is windows. That is great because I love natural lighting vs. overhead lighting, but it makes for terrible pictures.

Okay, here we go! Welcome to the Wonderland!

Here is my hallway door. I don't really have a "theme" this year, more of a color scheme but I am adding touches of Pete the Cat here and there! Props to my  sweet momma for making this Pete for me!

Here is my hallway display. I just laminated the card stock and the hot glued the clothes pins to it. I am hoping this will make it quick and easy to change out student work this year!

Here is what you see when you walk in the door. Remember what I said about all of that wonderful natural lighting? I LOVE it, but pardon the poor quality of picture. This is my whole group teaching area. My rugs are from Ikea. That is two rugs set side by side.

Here is the middle of the classroom. I have two white boards so I turned one into a magnetic interactive word wall. That way, the kids can just go get a word and take it back to their work station if they need to. I have 21 nuggets so far so I have 4 different table groups. The space above the board is blank because that is where the number anchor charts will go after they are introduced. I don't want them to be too overwhelmed.  

Here is the rest of the classroom. My little library is on the left, writing station up at the top, and center storage in the middle.

So that is an overall view of our room! Here we are going into a little more detail...

Here is a view from the carpet, looking towards the door. They will turn completed work into those little baskets with the team colors on it. The silver magnetic board is from Ikea, they will use that to make their lunch choice. 

This is my whole-group behavior management system. Whenever an adult, other than me, praises them or gives them a compliment they get a jewel in the jar. Ten jewels = a class wide prize. I let them vote on the prize at the beginning of the each jar. Sometimes it's a special snack that they want, other times they have chosen extra recess or drawing with chalk on the sidewalk or something. Once the jar is full and we have celebrated, we start over and vote on a new prize. I've used this since the very beginning of my teaching and the kids LOVE it! I love when the adult compliments them and they know it's the tenth jewel. Their faces are priceless! They look like they are going to burst but they know they have to stay cool! It's hilarious. This is just my WHOLE GROUP management. Not individual. 

A quick shout out to one of my sweet friends from high school! She owns her own business and can customize just about anything for you! She sent this to me and I can't get over how cute it is! You should totally go check out her store on Etsy. I love supporting small businesses and my friends!

Here is the other half of that white board. This is our calendar area. The days, months, and days of the week cards are from Kinder Craze --here--. We start out very simple and then build as the year goes on. I really love the way this came together this year. Above the calendar are the Seven Habits for Happy Kids that our school uses. It is from Dr. Covey, just like The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People. I highly recommend you check it out!

Past the cubbies, where they keep their backpacks and other things that little kids hoard (rocks, snacks, papers, lizards?!?...), is my little home center. Not much to say about this except ---PLAYING is IMPORTANT! They are 5 and 6 years old! Please explain to me why the higher ups in other places are taking these types of things out of classrooms. It drives me crazy to hear of schools removing time in the schedule for play in Kindergarten. Give me a break. 


*Steps off soapbox* 

Here is my little corner behind my small group table/teacher desk. I keep the essentials back here. I keep my materials and supplies organized in the rainbow drawers. 

This is a closeup of my super precious scrap garland. Mom and I whipped it up this past weekend and I LOVE the way it turned out. Easy peasy lemon squeezy.

This is my Kindergram board. I will change out the pictures and hashtag every few weeks based on what they are doing. I got the idea for this from Kindergarten Smorgasboard. I love having their pictures in the room, it gives them so much more ownership of our space.

Here is a close up of the magnetic word wall. The letters are from The First Grade Parade. Above the board is our timeline. I plan on putting a picture of the whole class from each month. I think they will love seeing themselves grow over the school year. That idea also came from Kindergarten Smorgasboard.

Last on that board is the birthday display. Under the board is my light table that Hubs made earlier this summer. I can't wait to use it!

Here is my writing table. I will keep different forms of writing paper in the little drawers. The magnetic board will hold seasonal words that they may want to use. Those are from The First Grade Parade.

Not much to see here, this is just where I keep my math manipulatives and items for Free Centers at the end of the day.

This is our little reading nook. I think this is my favorite place in the classroom becuase it is such a miss mash of things. The little bench was mine as a kid, I just recovered it this summer. The little green chair is from Pottery Barn kids but I found mine at a garage sale for $4. I found the yellow shelf beside a dumpster outside of a daycare close to our house. It was the natural wood and some friend had taken a red marker to it. Hubs and I sanded it and gave it a coat of paint and it is as good as new! I am not past pulling things out of the trash! Those bookshelves are expensive, people! I have my little reading buddies that the kids can read to in the corner. They were all nice and displayed in their bin until meet the teacher happened. Poor Little Critter is standing on his head back there on top of Charlie Brown. Womp. Haha.

Well...that's all folks! I hope you enjoyed the tour! I hope my littles are comfortable and feel that they can be themselves with me. I am excited and nervous all together for tomorrow. The first day of kindergarten is always survival for me, as long as they get fed, go to the bathroom, and get home correctly, I'll call it a success! Everything in between is just a bonus! Ha! Good luck to all of you teachers out there--may you have a wonderful year and remember why we are in this business--the kids! To all of you parents out there sending your babies into the world of school tomorrow, please know I will treat them as my own and take good care of them. 

Happy School Year, Friends!

Friday, August 7, 2015

Five for Friday- BIG WEEK!

Happy FRIDAY, Y'all!

It has been a busy week for the Allison household! I have been going pretty much non stop since last week but it's all good and fun things!

First things first. Last week I was invited to an interview that turned into a job offer at a charter school here in Austin. It was completely unexpected and it was such a amazing offer that I could not turn it down. It is only 2 miles from home which is going to make my daily commute about 10 minutes round trip. I am used to driving 1 1/2 hours round trip. I am so looking forward to being home with Hubs and AB more. So Hubs and I moved my stuff out of my old classroom and now I am steadily getting things ready in my new room! Meet the Teacher is in less than a week and we go back for 2 weeks of PD on Tuesday, so I am trying to hurry and keep it exciting and meaningful for my students all at the same time. Hopefully I will be able to take you all on a tour next week. Here is one picture I can show you, I am loving my wall of windows! I don't think I'll ever have to turn on the overhead lights--which is fine by me!

It's crazy hot in there right now since the temps here are in the triple digits, but it is going to be amazing in the fall!

In the midst of all of our crazy moving this week, I got to catch up with one of my dear friends from college. Hubs helped her set up her blog and we were able to chat while he was doing all of his techie stuff that goes over our heads! Ha! Even though she lives hours away, we always pick up right where we left off. You all should go over a check out her blog, (Dragons in First) she did a great job designing it! Love you, JB!

Here we are back in our early years at college!

I have been struggling this summer to decide on a behavior management plan for my classroom this year. All I knew was that I did NOT want a clip chart. If you are a clip chart user and lover--more power to you. It doesn't work for me so I am breaking up with my clip chart and moving on! I've been perusing my favorite blogs all summer to try to help me come up with some inspiration. I have finally decided that I am going to try the Warm Fuzzies system that Mel D over at Seusstastic uses. I have read every blog post, watched every video, and even read her e-book on the topic of Warm Fuzzies. I am tweaking it just a bit, but for the most part I am going to do it just like she does. We will see what happens and hope for the best. I can blog about it later or you can read more about it over on Mel's blog but the short story is that the kids are working on earning "Warm Fuzzies." AKA: pom poms. At the end of the week, they can cash in their fuzzies for a reward.  Hub helped me work on their fuzzy containers--you gotta love power tools and plastic-ware in the living room!

This past spring I was blessed to have a Donor's Choose project funded that allowed me to go to an amazing workshop yesterday and today. I got to spend 2 days with THE Dr. Jean! I have been a fan of her since I student taught in college. My mentor teacher used a lot of her songs and so in turn I started using them when I got into my own classroom. After two jam packed days of singing and make and takes, my brain is on overload mode! It was so much fun and she did a great job getting us excited and energized to go back to school. It was by far the best workshop I've ever been to.

Isn't she precious?!?!

I love being in a room with like minded people. Here we are learning a new song!

I will be spending most of the weekend getting my classroom ready. We go back to work on Tuesday and meet the teacher is on Thursday! Yikes! But I know it will all get done in the end--it always does!

Have a great weekend, friends!