Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Very Hungry Caterpillar Sequencing Lesson

It was 55 degrees and sunny today! I cannot believe the weather lately.  Crazy!

Today in class we created  butterfly life cycle posters based on the book, The Very Hungry Caterpillar, by Eric Carle. This was a great way to discuss story sequencing and get some science in too!

First, we read the book, The Very Hungry Caterpillar, by Eric Carle (Kindergarten is just not complete without a little Eric Carle action, right!)

The students then began their sequencing project!

First we folded a large piece of construction paper into four quadrants(4 stages of the butterfly life cycle) and numbered each quadrant.

1) In quadrant 1, the students drew a caterpillar egg. The students glued a leaf(pre-cut) onto this square and colored a small caterpillar egg onto the leaf, just like in the book.

2) Next, in Quadrant 2, the students drew their very best caterpillars.

3) In quadrant 3, the students made a log and glued a cotton ball onto it, which represented the caterpillar "chrysalis." 

4)Finally, in the last quadrant(4) the students drew fabulous butterflies!

 The finished projects looked awesome! The students took turns retelling their stories to a buddy in the correct sequence.


The entire project took approximately 20-30 minutes(for planning purposes). Another successful day in the classroom:)


Sunday, January 29, 2012

I've been Tagged

I've been tagged by Shawna from The Picture Book Teacher's Edition 
  1. You must post the rules.
  2. Post 12 fun facts about yourself on the blog post.
  3. Answer the questions the tagger set for you in their post, and then create 12 new questions for the people you tagged.
  4. Tag 12 people and link them to your post!
  5. Let them know you've tagged them!

12 Fun things about me!
  1. Teaching is my second career... my undergrad degree in is Public Relations and Communications! 
  2.  Family is a huge part of my life... there is nothing better than spending time with grandma:) Believe it or not, I have 32 cousins on just one side of my family!
  3. I am 32. I am divorced. I live with my parents while I'm finishing school. (I know, just slap a huge L on my forehead!)
  4. (Continuation from number 3....)Sometimes I feel like such a loser because it seems like everyone else has everything figured out(career, family, kids....) and I am just finishing grad school!
  5. I have two dogs(Jack Russells) named Baylee and Josey.
  6. I have lost 20 pounds since May! I spinned, zumba'd and bootcamped all last summer! I just started back up and hope to lose another 15-20 pounds by summer.It's not looking so good. LOL (Probably shouldn't have eaten that chocolate cake!)
  7. I am addicted to the Real Housewives of.... Beverly Hills, Atlanta, New Jersey,  and OC! I like my reality TV! 
  8. My last name is 13 letters. 
  9. My mom is from Finland. Her entire side of her family still lives there. 
  10. I have just one sister, named Ingrid. She just had a baby(named Evelina) in April!
  11. I love the outdoors. My family has a cabin in northern Wisconsin and I try to get up there as much as possible.
  12. TJmaxx, Target, Barnes and Noble, and Hobby lobby are my favorite stores:)

Shawna's questions for me.....
1. Are you a reading workshop school or do you teach using a reading series? We use the Harcourt Series
2. What are your school hours? 7:30-3:30. School starts at 8:30.
3. What is your favorite subject to teach? So far I like phonemic awareness the best!
4. What is your favorite picture book to read to your class?  I haven't read too many picture books yet to this class(I just started student teaching) however, I would love to read "The Pout Pout Fish!" It's one of my favorites and kids love it too!
5. Why did you start blogging? I started blogging because I wanted to document my teaching journey. Also, I always see so many good teaching ideas, I figured what a great way to organize my thoughts and collaborate with teachers I'd normally never speak with!
6. How many students do you have in your class? 15 am kindergarten, 15 pm kindergarten
7. What is a typical lunch that you bring to school? Salad, yogurt, snapple
8. Do you watch the presidential debates? not normally. I read the papers. NY times, Tribune.
9. Coffee or tea? Tea! It has to be orange spice with Honey! But then again I do love my non fat, no whip, iced white mocha latte from starbucks:)
10. Who is your favorite Sesame Street character? Why? I have always loved Bert and Ernie. I'm not sure why. Probably because I loved that they were best friends. 
11. Would you rather get roses or daisy's? Roses. There is nothing better than getting flowers when you don't expect it!
12. Salty or sweet? Both? This made me think of those yummy kettle chips called sea salt and vinegar!

Now for 12 blogs to tag.... (hopefully you guys haven't gotten this yet!)

And Finally....
The 12 questions for my 12 picks...
1. How long have you been teaching?
2. Has your school ever had anyone famous visit?
3. What is your favorite subject to teach?
4. What did you want to be when you were growing up?
5. Where was the last place you went out to dinner?
6.  Do you work out?
7. Does your school have art class?
8. Coke or Pepsi?
9. Have you ever been to Wisconsin?
10. Driver or passenger?
11.  How many siblings do you have?
12. What is the ratio or male to female teachers at your school?


Friday, January 27, 2012

My first award!

I'll be honest. This morning I woke up feeling let's just say not so good.  I have my first cold from my Kindergarteners and I was just praying to the heavens for strength to get me through the day with a big smile on my face( After all, student teachers CANNOT miss school!) THEN I CHECKED MY EMAIL. I could not believe my eyes! This very blog had received an award!  All my cold symptoms went away instantly. Woohoo! I felt like I won an academy award I was so flipping excited!

The award was given to me by Ms. Shawna Devoe (bless her heart) over at The Picture Book Teacher's Edition.
Her blog is loaded with information on children's literature,  reading strategies, freebies and more. She also has a TPT store that I highly recommend. She is just... awesome:) Thank you so much Shawna. You made my week!

Reading with Monster Fingers?!

Today, as I was sorting through Miss M's goodies,  I came across these awesome monster finger pointers that our class uses during guided reading centers.What a great idea!  Anything to keep the kids engaged and interested!

(I of course had to try the monster fingers on!!!!)

Inspired by our monster fingers, I decided to find some other items you could use as props to keep the kiddos interested in reading during centers or to assist in word tracking. Here is what I found:

 From Tunstall's Tidbits blog:
 This tracker is a Popsicle stick with googly eyes!

How about a fake nail on a Popsicle stick?

 "Magic" reading glasses anyone?

From Lesson Plan SOS Blog:
These kiddos put on a fancy headset and they feel like superstars!(Headsets are from WalMart and cost $2.00!)

From Primary Graffiti's Blog:
Encourage students to read to self with whisper phones!(This blog has a very thorough tutorial on how to make your own whisper phones for very little money).

What does your classroom do to keep the kiddos engaged during guided reading?

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Tasty Tuesday!

Every Tuesday I will feature my favorite  recipe(s)! Now I have to let you know that 1) the recipe may be from Pinterest AND, 2) I can't honestly tell you I have tried every recipe I will post, but the ladies at school like to cook(ALOT). FROM PINTEREST. So I will do my very best to post tried and true recipes.

My first recipe is straight out of my mom's 1970's RED Betty Crocker Cookbook. This is my favorite birthday cake. Well, one of them. I like to eat.
An oldie but a goodie and it tastes DELISH!


  • 1 package (15 oz.) fudge brownie mix
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/2 cup chopped walnuts (I use chocolate chips because I do not like nuts too much)
  • 1 1/2 cups chilled whipping cream
  • 1/3 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1 tablespoon powdered instant coffee or espresso
  • Shaved chocolate for garnish

1.) Preheat oven to 350 F. Mix brownie mix, water and eggs. Stir in the nuts. Grease and flour 2 8-inch cake pans. Divide the brownie mix evenly in the pans.
2.) Bake for 20 minutes. Remove from the oven and let cool in the pans for 5 minutes. Remove the cakes from the pans and let them cool completely on a baking rack.
3.) Chill a big metal bowl and your beaters in the freezer for a while. Pour the whipping cream into the cold bowl and beat with an electric mixer for 2 minutes. Gradually add the brown sugar and powdered coffee. Continue beating until stiff peaks form.
4.) Put one cake down on a serving tray, flattest side down. Top with one cup of the whipped cream frosting. Put the other cake on top of the frosting, so the flattest side is up, and use the rest of the frosting to cover the top and sides of the torte. Grate or shave some dark chocolate over the torte and chill for at least an hour before serving.

Here is my two sense on this recipe... like I said, do chocolate chips rather than nuts. Also, the longer this cake sits chilled the better. This gives the coffee time to "marinate" the whipping cream. This is one of those cakes that tastes even better the second day! So it wouldn't hurt to let the cake chill maybe 3-4 hours, or maybe whip the cream ahead of time and let this sit in the frig for a while before adding this part to your layers. Also, this cake is super rich(Ohhh...yeah) so we serve ours with raspberries and raspberry sauce on the side to just add a little something extra. Because I love berries too.


Monday, January 23, 2012

The Green Giant- A Visualizing Lesson

Today we worked on "visualizing" in our class during Language Arts. We used the poem Green Giant by Jack Prelutsky(below). To prepare, I wrote the poem on sentence strips and displayed it where the class could see.

 During the lesson, Miss M. read the poem several times as the class closed their eyes and "visualized" a Green Giant using descriptive clues the poem provided.
After discussing each descriptive piece of the poem, the students had the opportunity to draw their own Green Giants! I cannot believe how awesome these little guys turned out! The students really embraced the idea that everyone's mental image is different and took the time to create unique and independent pieces! We decided to cut the giants out and hang them around our poem for all to see! This was a great lesson!

Sunday, January 22, 2012

Compare and Contrast Lesson

I recently came across a great book by Laura Rankin called Ruthie and the (Not So) Teeny Tiny Lie.
Book information:
Theme: Honesty, friendship, feelings
Reading skills and strategies: Strong thought, cause and effect, sequencing, beginning, middle, end, plot, problem & solution, story elements, connections, characterization, compare & contrast, and leveled questions using Bloom’s.
Genre: Realistic fiction
Vocabulary: Imaginable, treasures, twirling, startled, mumbled, and guilty (I have added “guilty” not because it is a word in the story but because it is a feeling that Ruthie experiences.)
Writing: Letter writing, personal narrative using dialogue, journal entry

Students can use this book to Compare and Contrast 3 ways!
  • Characters:Compare Ruthie to Martin
  • Student to Characters: Students can compare themselves to Ruthie or Martin
  • Book to Book: Students can compare this book to another text
Visit Shawna Devoe's TPT store(click here) For a FREE DOWNLOAD of the following Venn Diagram example and bonus worksheet! This TPT site has some good stuff!!!!!
(P.S. Shawna Devoe has an awesome Blog called The Picture Book Teacher's Edition, which I highly recommend. Did I mention she is giving away a $20.00 Amazon Gift Card right now! Hurry up! The contest ends 1/23/2012!)

To replicate this image, simply go to the TPT site mentioned above and download this plus more, for FREE!

Saturday, January 21, 2012

A Linky Party....

Oh' Boy 4th Grade has as fun lil linky party going on and I thought I'd go ahead and do it. Why? 1) because I have no followers and I was bored, and 2) if you participate, you have the opportunity to win an incredible free pencil sharpener. Which brings me to an important characteristic you should know about me... I get excited about free things. I like free things. Example: I joined 5am bootcamp over the summer for a free T-shirt. This led me to run in a race over the summer (which I had no business running in) just so I could receive a fluorescent green T-shirt. Thus, you can understand the appeal these linky parties have on me.

100th Day

The 100th day of Kindergarten is a really big deal. In fact, the anticipation of Zero the Hero arriving in 10 school days has even me excited. Therefore, I am happy to share with you my random 100th day projects I plan on completing for this very special day!

1) ZERO THE HERO MASCOT! On Friday morning, one of my students asked if Zero the Hero was real, which got me  thinking about a neat post I saw on the Blog, Read Write Sing

 Chrissy over at Read Write Sing took a $5.00 doll, a red washcloth, some golden pants from an old Rapunzel doll, and some red thread and WALLLLA!  DONE and DONE! I cannot wait to make something like this for 100th day. Just another reason to go to Target this weekend:) Thanks Chrissy for this brilliant idea!

 Check these puppies out.


 Found these over at Mrs. Gilchrist's Class Blog.
The designs are free, but you have to make the shirts :)  All you need are white t-shirts and t-shirt transfer paper(I use Avery Transfer paper, which you can also get at Target!)

FREE 100th day T-shirt printable

3)100th DAY HATS! Pretty cool.. and everyone loves a hat!

I found these cool hats on the blog The Teacher's Wife. According to her post, the students used 100 paper strips and it only took them about 30 minutes! I would probably have the strips already pre-cut.

Sight Word Snow Ball Fight!

This week our class was very excited because we FINALLY had a major snow fall.
This snow was long overdue for the Midwest considering that last week we had temperatures well into the 50's!
As a celebration, my cooperating teacher, Miss M., decided to harness the extra energy only a new snow fall can bring, and have a SIGHT WORD SNOW BALL FIGHT!!!
Here is a summary of this activity for you to try in your classroom!

Sight Word Snow Ball Fights
In this activity, students each are given a piece of paper with a sight word on it. The paper is then crumpled into a "snowball." Students either pass the snowballs around a circle or throw the balls safely at one another until a timer goes off or you the teacher asks the students to stop.  Then, each student opens their snowball and reads their new sight word!
Fun times, great way to get some energy out, and students learn with 100% engagement!
**NOTE: You will want to discuss classroom safety prior to starting this activity( we set rules including no throwing at one another, no diving for balls, no running, etc.)
Picture from www.littlegiraffes.com

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Valentine's Day

I was surfing the blogs and found this incredible site: http://www.notimeforflashcards.com
Not only are there hundreds of crafts for children to choose from, but this woman has taken the time to find children's literature that relates to all of her projects. LOVE IT!
Here are just some of her awesome V-day projects!

Heart Suncatcher
Heart Dump
A big hug


Monday, January 16, 2012

So I've become a blogger

Well this is different. 
I would say welcome, but I have no followers. It's probably for the best.  Silly me, I jumped into this blog experience thinking it would be easy! You know, the student teacher reflecting on her first teaching experience... how "unique." However, before you become discouraged, please note that MY fun, interesting, and SUPER exciting blog will have a special twist because I am addicted to Pinterest. This of course means that I will be adding lots of FAB pins and opinions{cue cheers!}.

So about me.
I am a student teacher currently obsessed with all things kindergarten! I am also pursuing my special education endorsement. On a personal note, here are a few fun tid-bits about me! I L-O-V-E my two Jack Russell Terriers named Baylee and Josey, I try to pretend I like exercising(does anyone else sing the Dirty dancing theme song over and over in their head as they run?), and I need Mexican food weekly to be happy. I also enjoy a lil' SC(sour cream- that's right, we are on an initial basis) on everything, and  I have a weakness for anything Real Housewives(they should just have a TV channel called RHTV)! Did I also mention I am the world's biggest Green Bay Packer Fan?
I hope that my future followers will enjoy this blog as much as I will!
Baylee was looking especially darling at Christmas!