Back to School

My Magical Classroom in Photo’s!

When I walk into my classroom, I feel like I am in a fairy tale! I love reading, books and fairy tales and I want my own children and students to love reading as well. Surrounding them with stories and reminders to read is my tactic- haha!


Shown in the picture above is my reading corner. I found those cute and comfy chairs, both from Target – for under $30! The letters that say READ are chipboard letters that are covered in rhinestones. My daughter and I had fun creating them! The little brown rug is a gem that I found at Ross for $11. I love great deals! The castle turret on top of the book shelf is a simple box that I cut and sponge painted with 44 cent gray acrylic paint.

Small Group Learning Area – This is where I do most of my teaching. The blue table behind the semi-circle table, holds all of my supplies for the day and week. Prior to school starting, the table was black and white polka-dotted. It was screaming to be painted! The bulletin board is covered in simple burlap and is the Reading Word Wall. I add “words/skills” as we cover them.


This Dragon is “Hot for Learning!” – I actually drew this little guy out from a paper box and then painted him with 44 cent acrylic paint from Wal-Mart. The pennant banner is simple scrap book paper, from Wal-Mart and is stapled to thin satin ribbon. I found the “Reading Word Wall” caption letters at Michael’s!


My Teacher Pad – I made a min-pennant banner with the same scrapbook paper. Actually, these are the same pennant banners that I used in my classroom last year. Last year, I used the same color scheme. I made my name sign with a chip board sign and acrylic paint. The frames on my desk are from Micheal’s and were just $1. I was too worn out to paint my filing cabinets, so I just hot-glued my left over material to the side of one! It is the same material that I used for the bulletin board behind my desk.


“The Mystery Word of the Day” – I place the definition of a word on this bulletin board and the students have to use their resources (ask an adult, use the internet or a dictionary) to find the correct vocabulary word. Anyone with the correct answer earns $5 in classroom cash!This lovely material is from Hobby Lobby.


Computer Corner – So, the backpack hooks are above the computers. I didn’t want to rearrange the furniture, so I added extra material to jazz up the wall above the computers. I’m still not loving it 100%, but it will do for now!


Entrance Area – This is not very fancy, yet! The door to enter my classroom is to the left of my schedule.


Learning Goals Chart – Each flower has a students’ name on it, and (now) I have target skills beside the names.


Math Corner –  I made these with “No Sew Glue” from Wal-Mart. It was fun! The table below is covered with a lime green table cloth from Dollar General and the room divider contains the Math Word Wall. This is a quiet area where children work in partners.


Front and Center – This chalkboard was formerly green and dull. I painted it with chalkboard paint from Ace Hardware (which was half the price of Michael’s). Below the Smart Board is a shelf that contains Language and Math materials. I changed the desk arrangement from what is displayed in the picture. The desks are now back to pack so that the students are not facing each other.


Clouds of Inspiration – I absolutely cannot make those cute tissue paper flowers that hang from classroom ceilings. So, I used white felt, hot glued 2 pieces together and stuffed them with whatever I had lying around (paper towels, scrap felt, etc…). I painted the letters with acrylic paint after I wrote it with a sharpie first. I hung 5 cloud from the light fixtures, using see through ribbon.


Mirror, Mirror – I have this hanging for all to read, upon entering the classroom. I made it with a silver colored tray from Dollar Tree. I painted gold acrylic paint around the edges (about 3 coats).


Curtains, Again! – I used these in my classroom last year. I created them by stapling the green material down at the top and then hot gluing blue ribbon over the staples.


Before Pictures!





First Day Catastrophe!


What is the worst thing that can happen on the first day of school? I am sure you can think of many things! I thought I would have to call a sub, because the weekend before school, I had a high fever and an infection. Well, the worst that could happen was not having to call a sub – it was being admitted to the hospital. Yep, I am the Kindergarten teacher and on my first day of school – I didn’t show up. I sit here writing from my hospital bed, frustrated that I could not control my being sick. How humbling it is! So, I will be back on the third day of school, according to my doctor.


My very yucky IV (I hate blood!) Instead, I was hoping to be at school making a first day of school “hat” with my students!


Breakfast in bed (hospital bed, that is). Had I not been here, I would have been eating my granola bar, while driving to school.


My IV meds.  I would have much rather had coffee, to revive me!


My school and principal has been so understanding. But, I can’t help but think that they think that I am trying to skip out on the 1st day of school. That’s the over-achiever in me, I guess.  So, if you end up having a bad first day of school, just think, it could be worse – you could be in the hospital (against your will!) I wish everyone else a super first day of school. Please share your first day stories!

Ta-da! My Kindergarten Classroom


Welcome to the happiest place on Earth….Kindergarten! This is just a simple virtual tour of my mostly, but not all the way, completed classroom. If it makes you feel all warm and cuddly inside-that’s great! My Kindergarten classroom is not the typical 18-24 student classroom. I have the privilege of having 8 wonderful students, who just happen to have special needs and other obstacles. But you know what? These children are little geniuses in the making. I am so looking forward to this school year! I will post more later….but here we go…on with the tour!

In these pictures, is my Word Wall for sight words, Possible Birthday Board, Home-ade un-stiched mini-curtains and more! The blue material is from Wal-Mart. The border is made out of brown paper towel rolls just all scrunched up and stapled on. My pennant banner was made from scrapbook paper from Wal-Mart and then stapled onto thin ribbon (also from Wal-Mart). The WELCOME sign above the bulletin board was hand-painted by me. I’m so proud of it because I am not exactly an artist. I just hand wrote out the letters on blue poster board and then used acrylic paint to decorate each one.


I made my swirly tree by ripping up brown grocery bags and twisting them at the ends. I’m not sure what I am going to put on the tree yet. Hmmmm… I still haven’t decided what to do with the polka-dotted smaller bulletin board either. I may put my birthday wall there. We’ll see!

20130723-170418.jpgThese cute lime green curtains were so cheaply made. I bought those springy type curtain rods and material from Wal-Mart. Then, I stapled the material around the rod. To cover the staples, I used blue ribbon (from Hobby Lobby) and no-stich glue, because I don’t sew. In this picture you will also see the Block Center and to the left of it, a table for 1:1 work with students. The brown ABC Word Wall letters were made by Frog Street Press.

This is my Reading Center. It’s still in the making.20130723-170443.jpg


Here is my fun desk! The funky flower material is from Hobby Lobby.

I actually hand-painted these capital letters above the Smart Board. The letters are from Lakeshore Learning. It was a fun project. That’s what I did this summer! The calendar, months of the year and shape signs are all from the Dollar Tree. Aren’t they cute?!



This cute fabric is from Hobby Lobby. I simply taped the material under by desk (you know, since I don’t sew).

20130723-170532.jpgThe “Our Schedule” section is at eye-level for the children and I will be putting Board Maker pictures of the schedule there -once I make them!




Our School, Thompkins Early Childhood Center in Ozark, Alabama, is a “Bucket Filling School.” I will write more about bucket filling later. It’s great-but I will stay on topic for now.

This is the most precious little sign that I have outside of my classroom door. All of the classrooms have this sign. I think it’s a great reminder for everyone who enter! I hope you enjoyed this mini-tour!


Silly Back to School Snapshots!

My point of this post is to make you laugh, like I did. We are all so serious with getting our kids off to their “back to school” first day of school. Or/and we are tirelessly working in our classrooms. If you find this post not funny, please send me pictures that are funny! Let’s laugh together now!

Yes, Dad’s backpacks do come in all sizes!

Someone does not spell well!

Probably Bad News: Somebody Took The Summer Off

Off To College FAIL

What the what? No Way! These are not on the school supply list – anywhere!

Hopeful Fail

Yep, parents are celebrating…don’t deny it!

Power Points and Word Walls just added!

I just added Power Points for almost every letter of the alphabet. Some were made by me, some by other amazing teachers! I also added some word wall words that go along with every letter too. Just click on the pages at the top of my blog to access the files. More things you can download: sight words for Kindergarten, colors and shapes Power Points, very short poems, GT items, centers and Science fun!

Book boxes for “The Daily 5”


These are cereal boxes that I cut, and I plan to use them for my book boxes in my classroom. “The Daily 5” book is a great teacher resource, that gives simple ideas about how to instill more reading into your classroom routine. I have only used “The Daily 5” for one year, but I love it and am excited to use it even better this school year. Last year, I used magazine file boxes, that had been given to me-brand new. They did end up falling apart, and I had to tape the bottoms up with book tape. But they lasted for the school year. However, I did not want to go through the same thing again and decided to make my own book boxes-for free. I just need at least 15 more boxes to start out the school year. My parents and family have been instructed to save them up for me!

So, what is “The Daily 5”? Authors, Gail Boushey and Joan Moser have created these five components to encourage daily reading in the classroom:

1. Read to Self– This is silent reading time. Last year, I began the first 15-20 minutes of the day with silent reading. The students used their book boxes to read. Every book in the box was on the students’ reading level, with nothing too hard or too easy. I allowed students to change books out every few weeks.

2. Read to Someone- This can be buddy reading or reading with a partner. I incorporate this step into my Reading Center, where there are usually 2-3 students at a time. I think that the more students read, the better readers that they will become, as a result.

3. Listen to Reading– I incorporated this into my daily read-alouds. Since I love reading and I love reading to children, I usually read about 2-3 books a day to students. I believe that when children hear more reading, they enjoy more reading.

4. Work on Writing– I this into my Writing Center, where I have pre-stapled books available for students to write and illustrate their own “little books.” Last year, this was the most popular station in my classroom! Writing develops reading skills too!

5. Word Work- I also make this a Center station. I change the activity every 1-2 weeks. This is where I include activities for the phonics skill, which I work on during Guided Reading groups. So, if the skill is -at words, th- words or beginning sounds-I place an activity about it here.

I am excited to use The Daily 5 again this year!

20110919-062136.jpg Here are the boxes-filled with books!

Great Books for Back to School

I absolutely love books! I always teach my students that books are like money-so treat them well. As a child, I always enjoyed reading as a hobby, but I developed a love for books because of my seventh grade teacher, Mrs. Dalyrymple. She was always bringing in a new book to read, that she had just bought at a second hand book store. I don’t even remember any of the books that she read, but I do remember her excitement and joy that came from reading a book aloud.

As a teacher and mom, I can’t help but do the same thing. Books excite me-especially when I find one for less than a dollar at the Goodwill store. I hope that I awaken a love for books and learning, within my students too!

Here are some of my favorite books, that I love to read at the start of a new school year!

The Gingerbread Man Loose in the School

This is my newest favorite. It is such a cute story about how the classroom of students made a gingerbread man and then went out to recess. When they came back-he was gone. Now, they must search the school to find him. Along the way, he is out searching and meets the staff a the school (the nurse, principal, librarian, coach). It also comes with a poster of the cute gingerbread man from the book, which has a black and white copy to reproduce for your kiddos!

mouse_to_schoolI want to use props this year to let students help me act out the story (lunchbox, sandwich, mouse stuffed animal). I think it will be very interactive this way.

   miss-bindergartenI like to think-aloud as I read this lovely story, and have the students help me compare the Kindergarten classroom in the story (full of animals) to our classroom.

Back to School Classroom Pictures


This is the Reading Station. Each basket is sorted by theme based on the books that I own (fairy tales, Dr. Seuss, Eric Carle, Jan Brett, animals, insects, ABC and numbers. I also have animals and hats for role playing.



I traced some puzzle pieces (floor puzzle) to make this bulletin board. Once I get my student roster, I will be writing each child's name on each puzzle piece!


These cute ABC kids signs are from Lakeshore Learning store. I will be ticky-tacking the sight words under each letter, as I introduce them.


This is the Hitachi interactive whiteboard that I have for student use. Check out the cool laptop cart, to go along with it (complete with projector)!


This is the Guided Reading group table-where all the phonics magic of reading will happen!


I got these cute Center/Workstation labels from Teacher Heaven. I plan to assign 2 students per station, to minimize behavior problems.


My new easel arrived! It is magnetic. I plan to use it for my morning message that I write to the students each morning. The rules poster will be completed as a class together. Then each student will sign on the bottom.


My school bought these nice letter/sound tubs from Lakeshore Learning. They have cute little objects inside, for each letter. The tree you see was made out of a Pringles can, felt leaves that I cut out and glitter sticker letters that I got from Wal-Mart.


I ran out of shelves, so I placed my puzzle center under the Calendar area board. The students will be making the puzzles on the floor anyways!


I will be hanging student work here!


My big book station is tucked nicely on a shelf with the books laid flat.