Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Guest post from one of my favorites!

Hi!  Do not adjust your computer settings.  Do not hit the screen.  Do not curse at the computer.  There is a dude in Payton's Precious Kindergarten!  I am Greg from Smedley's Smorgasboard of Kindergarten!  I am so happy that Mrs. Payton is allowing me rampage through her blog...

A little about me...then I will get onto the educational stuff!  I am a rockstar of sorts...a male kindergarten teacher!   I know we're rare...but we're out there!  I am a newlywed and a pretty sarcastic dude.  I also like to think I'm funny!  I teach at an inner city school with 16 kindergarteners who I affectionately call my little monsters!  I run a tight ship in my classroom but we also have a lot of fun! And we get MESSY!  My definition of a successful day in Kindergarten is when a parent is upset that we got paint all over us!  So that's me...and now some teachery stuff!

Kourtney asked me to talk about how I teach letters and sounds in my classroom....so here goes!

My goal for letters and sounds is that by the end of October all of my students will know all of their letters and sounds.  This year we're close to that goal but still have a few stragglers.  And that's fine because they will get there because of the near constant exposure to the letters and sounds.

Each week we "do not focus on a letter of the week" (see, there is my sarcasm!)  Long story!  If you want the details email me and I will share.  We celebrate a letter each week to introduce the sound and build a firm foundation for that sound.  During the week we do picture sorts (I am the KING OF PICTURE SORTS!), we do a silly hat on Monday, Tuesday we make a phonics watch courtesy of the Moffat Girls (we use their phonics hats and phonics watches!  SO CUTE!)
 and we do handwriting.  We even incorporate the letter writing into our Morning Meeting. As you can tell, we don't teach the letter and sound in isolation.  It is incorporated throughout the week.

Our district has adopted the Treasures reading series (I plead the fifth!) so we follow their letter order just because it was convenient to already have an order and it actually works very well.  We do not include their review week (which they have after every two week!) so we have time later in the year to do blends and R controlled sounds and long and short vowels!  Here is our letter order:

M  A  S  P  T  I  N  C  O  F  H  D/R  E  B/L  K  U  G/W  X/V  J/Q  Y/Z

I am most famous for my silly hat Mondays!  We make these great alphabet hats that I found at

We make these on Monday as our "hook" for the letter we do not celebrate!  I make one as a model and wear it!  Then I post it all over the internet!  It's become a staple of teacher blog land I think!


At the beginning of the year, I use a letter PowerPoint every morning as part of our morning routine.  This builds our letter naming fluency!   We do the letters in random order (upper and lowercase) every day until the end of October!  I also use this to play quick games of "Around The World!"  If you want this PowerPoint, just click on the picture to download!

I hope you find this information useful!

I would love for you to visit me on Facebook, Teachers Pay Teachers and Twitter!  And come visit my crazy fun blog!

Teachers Pay Teachers

And now for a little give away!  The FIRST THREE (3) people to leave a comment on this post and share a letter/sound activity will receive my beginning sounds picture sorts (Leave your email!)!!  There is a picture sort for every letter!  These the picture sorts I use on Monday as my pre-assessment to see how well we know our sound!  

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Sunday, November 25, 2012

Christmas Center Packet & a Sale!

Don't forget - tomorrow is the big sale on TpT!! Everything is 28% off in my store :) Stop by and see if there is anything you might need!

Cutie little button is from Ashley Hughes - I am addicted to her clip art!

Here is the new unit I posted - Enough centers for 2 weeks! :) I can't wait to use it!

Some of the activities included:

Click on the pictures to head over to TpT and get a full description of what's included.  Happy shopping!!

I have had a wonderful break and rested way too much and will probably die when the alarm goes off in the morning...but I can't wait to see my sweet children and hear all about their breaks!  We will be studying wants and needs this week and then I am super excited to begin talking about Christmas next week!  Have a great week friends!

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Saturday, November 24, 2012

Thanksgiving Rotations, Pie Feast & my little Native Americans

I've been meaning to post this since Tuesday, but I just couldn't quite get to it.  If you remember last Monday, I posted pictures of my Precious Pilgrims.  On Tuesday we got on our Native American gear and spent the day doing lots of fun stuff.  The students started out doing rotations.  If you haven't read my posts about them before, the students rotate through 5 different rooms and the teacher stays in the room and does the same activity with every class.  I did the fingerprint turkey from Pinterest and while I may have been crazy to paint with 100 kids - we made it and they turned out adorable!  Here's what my friends did:

Making Bracelets with Mrs. McGregor (The story of Thanksgiving)
                       Writing names with Native American Symbols in Mrs. Reels Room
Making a Fall Snack Mix with Mrs. Mitchell
Making Butter in Mrs. Biggs' Room
Butter + Cracker =  Finger lickin' good!
Finger Print Turkeys in my room :)

Pie Feast with Mrs. Mitchell's Class:

My Little Native Americans!
Just a smile!

Loved the silly face so much the last time I had to do it again - love them!

Have you heard about the Cyber Monday + Bonus Tuesday sale on TpT?
That's right - the whole store!!!

Here are 2 new products I have created for Christmas.  I will be working on more tonight and tomorrow to have posted by the sale on Monday - stop by and check them out!

I hope y'all enjoy the rest of your Saturday/weekend.  My body is going to go into shock when I get up early Monday!!

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Liebster Award

Happy Saturday Friends!  I have truly been enjoying my break from school! I have gotten plenty of sleep, lots of yummy food, and even a little shopping.  I have been hard at work on my Christmas Units for TpT since I am trying to get them posted before Cyber Monday + Bonus Tuesday.  I haven't had a chance to post, but I have been nominated for the Liebster Award from two different bloggers! The Liebster Award is given by bloggers to up and coming bloggers who have less then 200 followers.  It is to show new bloggers that they are appreciated and to help spread the word about new blogs in hopes to get them more followers. I am so thankful for all of you that are following, but I would definitely love to have more followers!

Here are the rules:
- You must post 11 random things about yourself.
- Answer the questions the nominator set for you.
- Create 11 questions for the people you nominate.
- Choose 11 blogs you love (with less than 200 followers) and link them in your post.
- No tag back (but please leave me a common on this post with the URL to your Liebster post so I can learn more about you!)

11 Random Things About Me:
1. My favorite color is pink!
2. I LOVE Cherry Coke!
3. I LOVE Baked Macaroni & Cheese!
4. I'm addicted to Reality TV.
5. I'm addicted to The Young & the Restless even when it's terrible.
6. I've never been on a cruise but would love to go on one.
7. My wedding was slightly disastrous thanks to a hurricane.
8. I love the beach!
9. I would wear flip flops year round if people wouldn't look at me like I was crazy.
10. I live in my PJs on the weekend.
11.  I've had 2 jobs for 9 years - bank teller on the weekend!

Responses to The HiTech Coach's Questions:
1. What is your favorite quote, song or movie?  "What's mean to be will always find a way."- Trisha Yearwood
2. What is your Favorite TV Show? Teen Mom or 16 & Pregnant
3. PC or Mac? PC - I don't have a MAC and have never used one.  I just recently got an iPad though and love it!
4.  Why do you blog? I started blogging as a way to share ideas and pictures with parents in my classroom, but now I use it for that as well as sharing ideas and resources with other teachers.
5. What is your favorite app?  My favorite app is Facebook for sure :) Can't live without it!
6. What is your favorite blog?  I have several blogs that I really enjoy, but I consistently read Kindergarten Smorgasboard - Greg is hilarious!
7. What is your favorite holiday dish? My favorite holiday dish is definitely Baked Macaroni and Cheese!
8. What is your favorite pin on Pinterest? I love to pin on Pinterest, especially school ideas!
9. What achievement are you most proud of? I am most proud of recently achieving National Board Certification!
10. Real Books or E-Books? Real Books
11. What do you like to do when you are not blogging?  Relax and spend time with my family!

Responses to Live, Laugh, I Love Kindergarten's Questions:
1. If you didn't teach the grade you do now, what grade would you teach?  I can't imagine not teaching Kindergarten - maybe Pre-K?
2. What is your favorite holiday? Definitely Christmas!
3. Where would you want to live if you didn't live where you currently live? At the beach!
4. What is your favorite hobby, besides blogging? Scrapbooking! (I am WAY behind!)
5. What is your favorite sports team?  I am not big on sports, but I'll go with ECU because I graduated from their and the NY Giants because my husband loves them!
6. Are you a risk taker?  I'd so not so much.
7. Are you a black Friday shopper?  Absolutely!  Not too terribly much this year just because I didn't see too many great deals, but I still went out the night before and some the next day just not so early in the morning.
8. Favorite place to visit? Myrtle Beach
9. Favorite Season and why? Summer - I love getting to see my family and the warm weather!
10. What was your first ever job? Hostess at Manchester's Crosstown Pub in Raleigh!
11. What is your favorite teaching memory? My sweet Kindergarten Graduations...watching the parents' faces when we do the Cha Cha Slide as a class is so funny :)

Questions to my nominations:
1. Why did you start blogging?
2. If you didn't teach the grade you taught, what grade would you teach?
3. What's your favorite thing about teaching?
4. Favorite place to shop?
5. Favorite drink?
6. Favorite sweet food?
7. Favorite place to vacation?
8. How long have you been teaching?
9. What job would you have if you weren't a teacher?
10. What's your least favorite thing about teaching?
11. What's the best thing that has ever happened to you?

Blogs I am nominating:
I Dream of First Grade
First Grade with a Twist
The Constant Kindergartner
Fashion Craze Learning Days
Leah Fullenkamp
Teaching in Progress
Kindergarten Faith
Drowning in Paper Clips
The Reinspired Teacher
Love 2 Teach 2
First Grade in Foxwell Forest

More to come later from Thanksgiving and introducing some new products! :)

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Monday, November 19, 2012

Precious Pilgrims

Today our internet didn't work.  It was like the dark ages friends!  I am obviously dependent upon it to check email, but I have stuff linked in my SMART Board lessons...and they didn't work.  We were supposed to go to the computer lab today...umm the internet and network are down.  SOOO we had to improvise.  We made our Pilgrim hats. (And by we I mean Mrs. Domer did most of the work, I just tied a few bonnets :)

Cuties! They separated themselves like that!

 I told them to take a silly picture - clowns!

 And another - just too hilarious not to share.

We had a block of extra time in the morning so we worked on our Christmas Bulletin Board.  It was touch and go for a minute, but Mrs. Domer did an awesome job leading the group on this one :)

And because all of that wasn't enough excitement, I put up our Christmas tree while they were at PE....and they were beyond wowed and immediately began hoping there were x-boxes and other expensive presents I can't afford to buy coming soon underneath the tree. I hope I can contain their devastation when they realize the (coming soon) presents are from the Dollar Tree! 

Tomorrow - rotations and pie feast and then a nice 5 day weekend (minus the day I work at the bank).  Tune in tomorrow to see my sweeties dressed as the Native Americans.

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Sunday, November 18, 2012

Back with great news and a freebie!

It has been forever since I posted - I know you are dying to know what's been going on with my sweet Kindergarteners.  I was sick last week and just haven't been able to get up the energy to post.  Let me start by sharing my great news - I am OFFICIALLY a National Board Certified Teacher!!!  I have been working on this process for 3 years...oh..my...gosh!  The scores were posted yesterday and I woke up in the middle of the night after dreaming about passing and checked my scores and the first word I saw with groggy eyes was "Congratulations!" and I immediately burst into tears of joy.  I couldn't do it in 1 year like I wanted to, but I persevered and finally got it 3 years later.  Now, I have a clear mind to get my masters.  Must start studying for the MAT!

In other great news, I was nominated by my awesome colleagues as Teacher of the Year.  We voted last week and I should find out tomorrow if I won!  What an honor that my colleagues think that I am teacher of the year worthy!

Moving on, we have been talking about Thanksgiving the past 2 weeks.  The students have learned all about it using my Thanksgiving Unit.  We have a 2 day week this week and we will be talking about Thanksgiving traditions, reading There Was an Old Lady Who Swallowed a Pie and doing some fun activities with it.  On Tuesday, we will be having Thanksgiving Rotations in the morning.  (If you don't know the story behind rotations basically the kids rotate around 5 Kindergarten classrooms doing different theme related activities.) I have ALWAYS made an edible turkey....but 7 years later, I have had enough of requesting all the ingredients and icing everywhere, so we are going to make this Pinterest Inspired turkey - cute right?

Fingerprint Turkeys

Yes I said I was tired of messy icing, but I am going to let 5 classes paint a turkey.  I must be crazy!  We will also be having a Pie Feast with Mrs. Mitchell's class.  We will be dressing up as Native Americans and her class will be the Pilgrims.  I will post pictures later in the week :) 

The week before last, we reviewed the three shapes we learned and added 2 more.  As a final activity  the students worked in cooperative groups to create a tree map of the characteristics of the shapes.  I snapped some pictures of my sweet friends working together.

Just in case you are interested in doing it in your class, I uploaded it to my store as a freebie - enjoy!

One last thing, if you are still with me that is.  The week after Thanksgiving, we are going to be learning about Wants and Needs.  It's the perfect time with Christmas right around the corner.  Stop by my TpT and pick up my unit.  Hope everyone has a great short week!!

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