Thursday, June 23, 2016

Summer Teacher Steals!

So, I'm not trying to break the bank on my personal budget towards my classroom, but man is it hard to resist! Here are a few of my summer finds to use in my classroom. (Warning, I am not being paid by any of these stores to write about these finds. However, if they choose to do so, HEY, I obviously need to recoup my teacher spending!)  

Let's start with Target. 
Target, Target, Target! 

Your "Dollar Spot" should just be called the "Target Teacher Zone" because we know who you are marketing! Let me tell y'all, they have put out some super cute things in their $1 and $3 bins. Pegboards, bins and baskets, bulletin board sets, wall decals, and more.  My new calendar set is my FAVORITE, but I can't remember if it is $1 or $3. It was well spent regardless because it has really vibrant colors and fun graphics. 

I know, right!? Colors galore and Pintrest worthy finds! I was at a Super Target, so you may have to check around if smaller Targets have less of a supply. 

What about my other favorites? That's right, HOBBY LOBBY, DOLLAR TREE, and AMAZON!

You can always find your staple items at the Dollar Tree. I think teachers probably keep that place in business anyways. Every time I go to one of my Kindergarten math workshops, we share our Dollar Tree finds and how we are using them in our classroom! Also, check out those cute little test tubes with holders! They'll be great in my science center, and since they were only a dollar, it won't be a problem if they get a little extra loved! 

I really made a Summer Steal at Hobby Lobby. The bright pink and yellow card stock was clearanced to $2.15! Don't forget to always look online for the 40% off coupon to help on any big item - I know some of my friends have used their Teepees in their reading areas. My Amazon finds were scented markers (Mr. Sketch) and Paper Mate Flair Pens. 

Although I like hitting up all these great spots, nothing beats the experience I have at my local teacher store! I will be making my need list for there soon. 

I'm sure you all can relate. We "have the summer off," but do we ever "turn it off?" No. Our teacher brains are always running at full speed, and we spend way more time (and money!) in our classrooms during the summer than most would think. I'd love to see your Summer Teacher Steals, let me know what deals you find! 

Comment Below or Share on Facebook! 

Sunday, June 19, 2016

Meet the Teacher Brochures - QR Code Tutorial


So I've uploaded a new product to Teachers Pay Teachers! I hope you will love and utilize these Meet the Teacher Brochures that you can edit for your grade level/classroom and print in either color or black and white. I have included PreK - 6th grade and a blank one for complete personalization!

When folded, these brochures have a contact info section on the back. I think QR codes with contact information are very impressive to parents, so I choose to not only type out my contact details but also add a QR code so parents can easily scan and save contact information into their smart phones/devices. Many teachers tell me they do not know how to create one, so I want to show you a little video tutorial to help you out here. Not only can you insert your QR to this product, but maybe this tutorial will also help you know how to create and use QR codes more in your classroom. They aren't as tech scary as you think if you aren't the most savvy computer person! Watch and see how simple you can create one to insert into these brochures! The video doesn't have volume, just pay attention to my screen clicks and steps! 

Let me know what you think or if you have any trouble or questions! 
Comment Below!!

Wednesday, June 15, 2016

My First TeachersPayTeachers Product!!

For years I have been saying I am going to start selling on Teachers Pay Teachers, and I have finally uploaded my first product! Every kinder teacher needs a Student Information Form for the beginning of school, and it's a FREEBIE too! Use it on Meet the Teacher Night, Open House, or Back to School Night. It is printer friendly as black and white, but how awesome would it look on neon or colored paper!? Please check it out, and I hope it makes your back to school form process much easier!

 I am very excited to work on some more and make them available to you all. Don't forget to check back at my store for more in the future! 

Tuesday, June 14, 2016

A Day in Kindergarten

To the untrained eye, a day in kindergarten may look like a complete three ring circus act. However, I assure you everything we do is intentional and purposeful for the benefit of growing as little learners. We are working hard, exploring the social setting of school, becoming friends, and growing our independence and confidence. Yes, I do get asked what we do all day in kindergarten a lot and about naps and centers. So, I would love to share what our day looks like in kindergarten.

Welcome to the Class
- Morning Work, Attendance, Lunch Count, Pledges, etc.

Morning Routine - Calendar, Lots of daily math and some literacy skill practice. This is where a lot of my math challenge work comes in! (15 - 25 Minutes)

Math - Math Topic, Manipulative Practice, Student Practice. We may also incorporate videos, create anchor charts, act it out, or connect it in a real world way. (1 Hour)

Phonics Time! - Flashers routine, Lessons, Student Practice - We are moving, see a phonics clip, navigate SmartBoard lessons, practice letter formation, and build words!  (45 Minutes)

Break & Get ready for lunch, Student Lunch, Activity Time

Restroom and Regroup - Story, quiet desk work, coloring, etc. (15 Minutes)

Read and Write! – Sight Words, Texas Treasures, Theme Stories, Close Reads, Direct reading and writing instruction with daily journals. (1 hour)

(Note: Daily Journals - We try to write everyday practicing a certain skill or responding to literature usually at end of our Read and Write time. We may do journals before theme and centers or after depending on the flow of the topics and day.)

Theme Studies - Engaging in thematic studies for science, social studies, and/or seasonal activities. We do week long or two week theme studies throughout the year that are cross connected to Texas Treasure topics and any holidays/seasons. We also create artwork to match our writing projects during this block of time to display in the halls. (30 Minutes)

 Centers! - Learning disguised as play! (30 Minutes)

Pick Up and Pack Up

Snack and Recess 

Nap time? 
No, but I do allow some quiet moments, and I can adjust when I notice my class is needing downtime. Quiet music, Junie B. Jones, or some calming art works wonders!

Are centers play oriented?
In the past I have done really structured centers working on skill concepts. I have also done play only centers with a kitchen and dramatic play, but now I have a great middle ground with learning disguised as play. Students work with freedoms and choices while also incorporating an element of skill practice. Students work with partners or groups of three so social/emotional growth is taking place as well. I have Art, Library, Writing, Magnadoodle, Math, Science, Computer, iPad, Magnets, Book Boxes, Word Work, Puzzles, and "Fun Center Fridays." I also do small groups or one-on-one interventions during center time. I sometimes interact with the children in centers and get in on some of their fun, but mostly I allow them peer time.

Which activities incorporate technology?
All! Our Morning Routine starts on the SmartBoard (I couldn't live without it!) and our math, phonics, reading, writing, and theme studies all have Smart lessons I have created or incorporated from TpT. I also use my Elmo document camera to display activities/manipulatives and use online videos or games to support our lessons. Students also rotate for computer and iPad time in centers. I set up activities, websites, and apps to use but also allow them choices to navigate as they would like. I  LOVE technology in the classroom!

Approximately Per Day 
1 Hour, 15 Minutes: Math
2 Hours: Phonics, Reading, Writing
30 Minutes: Theme Studies (Science, Social Studies)
30 Minutes: Centers
1 Hour, 15 Minutes: Playground and Activity

Although I set time aside for each of these skills, they are intertwined throughout our day. We make connections across curriculums no matter what activity is at present. Making learning relevant and connectable is so important to kindergarteners. Being the only kindergarten teacher gives me a great autonomy to follow the interests and abilities of my students. Some days we may have to completely rework our schedule to fit in a special activity or guest. Some days we take a quick morning recess or have extra reward time. I can truly tailor my instruction and schedule for what is BEST for my students, and for that I am truly blessed as an educator! I really like that I have a very supportive administration that allows me to make those decisions as well.

Let me know if you have questions or would like to share what your day in kindergarten looks like! I love hearing other perspectives and seeing what other schools and states are doing!  Comment below or email me at Thanks!

Thursday, June 9, 2016

The Journey to a Million

"Success doesn't come and find you, you have to go out and get it." 

When I was a first year teacher, I felt I was pretty well prepared for the classroom. Henderson State University gave me an incredible foundation as a entering teacher, but to be completely honest, I was still a tad bit clueless. So, what do you do when you want to know something? You Google it! That's how I found April Larremore's blog, Chalk Talk, and it quickly became my inspiration hub. She had  great articles and reviews for products sold on Teachers Pay Teachers. One of those TpT sellers, Deanna Jump, stood out from the crowd for kindergarten resources. (I STILL teach some of her units and use her products every year! She creates phenomenal things!) As I followed some of Deanna's successes over the past few years through TpT, I  have felt more and more compelled that this is a great avenue for revenue! 

Deanna Jump has become a SELF-MADE MILLIONAIRE! (Yes, you heard that right. An elementary teacher millionaire!) And she points to the quote, "Success doesn't come find you, you have to go out and get it." I think this is an American dream attitude that seems to be lost these days. So, I applaud her all the more. After all, her story is part of the reason I am here today, five years later, starting a blog and beginning my adventures on TpT.

I encourage you to watch her keynote speech as she tells about how she went from cashing in her emergency fund piggy bank each month, to making a huge difference in her family's  financial lives!
(Caution: you may start a blog or seller's account after watching! It is that inspiring!)

Wednesday, June 8, 2016

Contact Me

If you have comments or questions related to my work or blog, feel free to reach out to me via social media on Facebook. Like and Share anything that inspires you from my posts! You can also send me an email. I'd love to hear feedback and any advice that you can offer as well!


I look forward to hearing from you!

Tuesday, June 7, 2016

About Me

About Me... Personally
My career as a kindergarten teacher is very important to me, but above that comes my greatest accomplishment: my family. My soul mate hubby and I met in college and were married our senior year. We have two beautiful girls. They are the light of my life and keep me on my toes for sure! I hope to raise them as southern belles, true ladies with grace and charm. But let's face it, playing in the mud and covering themselves in Popsicle juice is more their definition of fun. At least for now. We choose to enjoy the little things and cherish ordinary moments as a family, for in the end they make up the big picture of life!

My Education
I grew up in a small Texas town where there wasn't much else to do but work hard. I graduated with only 17 classmates. Working hard helped me earn my way to Henderson State University, renowned for their Teacher's College program and historically specializing in education. I had an incredible undergraduate experience tailoring every course study to relate to early childhood education. God truly put people, places, and events in my path to build me up as an educator. Can you find me on the front row? (Note: my twin sister is in the picture too!) 

My Career in Education
My dream job was always to teach kindergarten at my small little hometown school. After graduation, that became a reality. I LOVE my job as the only kindergarten teacher. I have an incredible autonomy that helps me make decisions for the best interests of my students, however sometimes I do long for that team atmosphere most other kinder teachers have in larger districts. My twin sister is the only first grade teacher as well at our school, and I must say, we make an awesome team! Here we are on the first day of school 2014.

My Faith
My faith is anchored to the hope I have in Jesus Christ. I hope you will see Him through my posts and personality. He is my guide and comfort, a true living God. Blogging and connecting online with other teachers has been my dream, and I dedicate all efforts to Him. Psalm 37:5 Says, "Commit your way to the Lord, trust also in Him, and He shall bring it to pass." I leave you with my favorite verse and hope you enjoy this blog!

For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, says the Lord, thoughts of peace and not of evil, to give you a future and a hope. - Jeremiah 29:11