Monthly Archives: May 2013


Summer is finally here!Β  I hope most of you are close to the end of your school year or soon will be!


You may notice that I don’t post as much during the summer and that’s because I’m going to be a busy girl!

I am once again training teachers through the Indiana Science Initiative around the state of Indiana to help them improve their science instruction.

I’m also going to work with the DOE on some new ideas for Science in Indiana.

I’ll also be busy trying to learn all about our new Literacy curriculum–Journeys.Β  How many of you use this already and what kinds of resources do you use to supplement?Β  You can count on me creating new products in my Tpt store to help add to what’s already there. πŸ™‚

I’m going to be catching up on some rubber stamping and making some new handmade greeting cards.Β  My hands need to be inky again! πŸ™‚

I’m hosting several Thirty-One parties for some friends and if you’d like to host one (even if you’re out of town) let me know! πŸ™‚

I’ll also be reorganizing parts of my house as my 9 year old needs some major cleaning help to get rid of some of his baby things. πŸ™‚

I also get to see my mom, visit IKEA, travel to the Cincinnati Zoo and Aquarium, and take my son to Lincoln’s boyhood home in Southern Indiana.

I’m trying to come up with a regular posting schedule and here’s what I’ve gotten so far:


Monday: Magic Monday (I’ll share my newest “magical” pins from Pinterest)

Tuesday: Technology Tuesday (this could be anything related to Technology)

Wednesday: Wishful Wednesday (I’ll show you what’s on my wishlist)

Thursday: *Not sure about this one yet–what would you rather see?Β  “Thrifty Thursday” (I could show some inexpensive idea) or “Thoughtful Thursday” (I could show something I’m thinking about–a new book, product, etc.)

Friday: Freebie Friday (I’ll try to have a freebie to giveaway each Friday or at least 2 Friday’s a month)


What are your plans for the summer?


Kristen πŸ™‚


Bird Beaks

About a week ago, we explored different kinds of bird beaks.Β  I attended a workshop at NSTA in April that was all about My Big Backyard where the presenters shared an exploration of bird beaks.

I collected a variety of materials that birds might eat or use:

Fish (found in the bait section of Wal-Mart)

Worms (found in the bait section of Wal-Mart)



We also used wooden skewers, spoons, and clothespins to represent different kinds of beaks.

The kids then had a chance to test out each beak.


I buried the worms in a little bit of soil to make it more realistic. πŸ™‚IMG_5013

The string that a bird might use to make a nest. IMG_5014







The kids put what they were able to pick up in their stomachs (cups)Β  πŸ™‚IMG_5021

The “warm” sticker on the cup above was from another activity we did–I needed more cups so each kiddo had one. πŸ™‚IMG_5022



The kids loved it and we created a chart in our notebooks to show what each beak was able to pick up easily.

Kristen πŸ™‚


Thanks to everyone who sent me suggestions during my creative slump! πŸ™‚Β  I just wanted to let you know that I’m slowly working on them and I’m going to get them done soon! πŸ™‚

Let me know if there is anything else you’d like to see for the beginning of school next year. πŸ™‚


Kristen πŸ™‚

Oriental Trading

I was given the opportunity to be a Community Blogger for Oriental Trading Company. I got a gift card and could buy anything I wanted to use in my classroom, so here’s what I got!Β  (I’m SO excited!!!)

This is the Awesome Alphabet Pocket Chart. Β I’ve wanted one of these for a long time!Β  I’ve seen these on different sites and they were always so expensive so I kept waiting.Β  Now I have one and it didn’t break the bank!Β  I love this chart because it comes with the pocket chart which can be hung on a garment rack with a pants hanger or book binding rings.Β  It can also be hung on the wall with some of those 3M Command hooks (love those!)Β  I also love how I can use this pocket chart over and over with a variety of activities:


The pocket chart comes with all these different cards.Β  IMG_5158

The kids can put the picture cards in the appropriate pockets on the chart. IMG_5159

Each picture card is labeled with the word on the back–I’m thinking how great this would be later in the year during Writer’s Workshop.Β  How do you spell raccoon Mrs. Poindexter?Β  The kids can go get the picture card!IMG_5160

Also included are the lower case letters so the children can match lowercase letters to the correct pocket. IMG_5161

And of course there are uppercase letters as well! πŸ™‚IMG_5162

I also got these Center Organizing Charts.Β  I didn’t know that Oriental Trading carried Carson-Dellosa charts, but they do! πŸ™‚Β  These are going to be great next year for my Literacy Work Stations.Β  Sometimes there just isn’t any room to put a center activity in my already crowded class room, so these will hang wonderfully from the wall or door!Β  IMG_5163


Each chart (there are 3 in the package) has two larger pockets on the top and a smaller clear pocket on the bottom.Β  I’m thinking that any materials for the activity will go in the top two pockets and dry erase materials or small items like dice will stay in the smaller pocket.Β  They are super strong too!Β  They will hold up to 5 year old use! πŸ™‚ IMG_5165

You get three charts in each package, green, blue, and yellow. IMG_5166

The next item are these dry erase stars.Β  (They also come in apple shapes too!).Β  I’m going to use these at my small group table next year so my kiddos can write down their work and not have to waste anytime getting out paper and pencils.Β  The stars are removable and reusable!Β  I hung this one on my wall to try it out and it was super sticky and took a little effort to pull off, but the paint wasn’t harmed! πŸ™‚Β  IMG_5167

I took this picture after I erased the words just to show how cleanly they erase. πŸ™‚IMG_5168

I also picked up this 100 Days of School Countdown Banner.Β  It was a steal at $1.49! πŸ™‚Β  I’m going to hang this up in my classroom and we are going to have some fun counting up to the 100th day of school next year! πŸ™‚IMG_5169


I can’t ever have too many dice! πŸ™‚Β  I got a dozen of these foam dice (1 1/2 x 1 1/2) so my kids could play some math games.Β  We always loose the traditional sized dice so these will be great and easier for us to find!Β  I also like them because they’re foam.Β  That means they will be quiet! πŸ™‚Β  I liked that there are two of each color, making them easier to put 2 in a center and to figure out what center is missing a die. IMG_5171

I got these Laser Smile Face notepads because I had a great idea about how to use them!Β  I watch my kiddos when we are out and about collecting information in our science notebooks and although those are wonderful, they are sometimes really bulky to carry around.Β  I thought we could use some of them as travel sized notebooks! There are 6 dozen in a box–that’s 72 of them in all, so they will last me a few years!Β  When we are done writing down information, the kids can tear out a page and put it right into their bigger science notebook.Β  IMG_5172

I also thought I might order some more notebooks with the spiral biding and use them to respond to math questions.Β  I’m thinking I could write and number on each page and the kids could flip to the correct number that answers my question. πŸ™‚

Did you also know that Oriental Trading offers FREE shipping on orders over $25 until August 24, 2013?Β  That’s a great deal!Β  I’ve already got a wishlist going there! πŸ™‚

What are your favorite Oriental Trading products?Β  I’m always on the hunt for more! πŸ™‚

Kristen πŸ™‚

The opinions expressed in this blog post are entirely mine and were not influenced by Oriental Trading in anyway.Β  I was provided with a gift card by Oriental Trading Company. πŸ™‚

Jack’s Beanstalks

We’ve been reading lots of different Jack and the Beanstalk versions this week and we finally decided that we needed to plant some beanstalks:


First we all got a cup and labeled them with our names…


Then we filled them 1/2 to 3/4 full of soil…



Then we dug holes with our fingers and planted the magic beans (beans that I’ve spray painted gold!)IMG_5000


Next, the kiddos made castle sticks for their beanstalks to climb!


Here are a bunch of them in the greenhouse. πŸ™‚IMG_5002

I used my handy dandy Cricut machine to cut out the castles and clouds:

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I used the Doodle Charms cartridge for the castle (it’s really a sand castle, but I had it cut out without the flag on top).Screen Shot 2013-05-05 at 8.34.38 PM

Then I used the cloud (at the end of the rainbow on the bottom row) from the Simply Charmed cartridge.Β  Screen Shot 2013-05-05 at 8.38.15 PM

I used construction paper from school to cut out these cuties and I could get three castles from one 12×6 paper and three clouds from a 12×6 paper.Β  It reminded me that it was time for a new blade! πŸ™‚

Kristen πŸ™‚

Best. Day. Ever.

Today was probably the best day of Kindergarten this year–maybe ever!Β  Debbie Clement came to visit me and my class!!!!!!Β  Are you jealous yet??Β  You should be!! πŸ™‚

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Debbie is giving the Keynote presentation at the National “I Teach K!” conference in Las Vegas this summer, so if you’re going, be SURE to go see her!! πŸ™‚

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Debbie also has her own blog where she shares her wonderful singing talent (among other talents!).Β  You can also purchase her books and CD’s from her site…and after reading this post…please GO and do that!!! πŸ™‚

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IMG_5028We made Debbie this banner to welcome her!Β  Each K student created a block on the quilt! πŸ™‚


Debbie got started right away singing her songs…


Here we are singing “Glad I’m at School”IMG_5034


I’ve had requests to play this one again tomorrow–it’s a new favorite!! πŸ™‚


Then we sang my most favorite Debbie Clement song EVER!!Β  “You’re Wonderful!”

Debbie sewed all the quilts that were scanned and used as the illustrations in her books–they are GORGEOUS!!!



Here we are singing Jumpin’ Jamboree!

We also sang the Pollywog song and “All Together Now!” (two more favorites!!)

Here are some more pictures of our fun day!! πŸ™‚IMG_5118





Tall Giraffe. πŸ™‚IMG_5106

Pollywog Life cycle πŸ™‚IMG_5096








Debbie sang with us for over an hour!Β  The kids LOVED her.Β  How many people do you know that can keep 125 Kindergarten kids engaged for over an hour?? Not many!!Β  But Debbie can!

This is just a small amount of the 300 pictures I took today!Β  Be sure to hurry over to Debbie’s Tpt store (her store is on sale!!) and get some of these songs for yourself!Β  Tell her Kristen sent you. πŸ™‚

Thanks for visiting Debbie!Β  My kids miss you already! πŸ™‚

Kristen πŸ™‚

TpT Teacher Appreciation Sale

As a way to say Thank You to all the wonderful teachers out there Tpt and lots of Tpt sellers (including me!) are having a sale!

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My entire store will be 20% off with and additional % off from Tpt, making everything 28% off!Β  Make sure you go stock up for school next year, or even something to send home with your kiddos for the summer!Β  You can click the picture above to go to my Tpt store.

Here are some of the items in my store you might want to check out! πŸ™‚

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My kiddos always struggle with middle sounds:

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Add your Tpt store below so we can all see the awesome things you have on sale!

Kristen πŸ™‚

Reusable Dry Erase Pockets

I’m not sure about you, but I love all things dry-erase!Β  I do get tired of having my kiddos tied to writing on just the plan surface that dry-erase boards have.Β  We are locked into the plain surface, and can’t really be creative with our responses on them.

That’s where these Reusable Dry Erase Pockets from come in!Β  They are 9 x 12 sized which is an awesome size for little Kindergarten hands!Β  The binding around the edge is super strong too!

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Some of my favorite things about these pockets–

1) I can insert ANY pages I want to!Β  We used a plain piece of paper inside because we were working with word families, but I so could have put lined paper inside or a quick review sheet inside.Β  You can put anything you can fit in these awesome pouches!

2)Β  My kids can write on BOTH sides of the pockets.Β  They thought that was cool!Β  I asked my kiddos to write their word family on one side and then some sentences on the other side.







3) I love that the kids can choose the color they want, or I can assign each table a color to keep at their table. πŸ™‚Β  You can get both ROYGBP or Neon colors!

4) The dry erase markers erase SO WELL from the pockets!Β  None of those messy streaks left behind like on my dry erase boards!

5) We can store our markers in the pouches, so they are always ready to go!

6) You can use these on the overhead if you use one of those! πŸ™‚

7) I can quickly change out what’s inside!

8) These are going to be great in centers!Β  I can put check lists in them that my student’s can check off to make sure they have done their jobs at their work stations

9) When my kids practice their name writing at the beginning of the school year, we can put first name on one side and last name on the other, for lots of room to practice!!

10) The flexibility!Β  I can use the pockets in a TON of different ways!Β  Also, using these pockets makes me feel “greener”!Β  I can make a few copies of things and my kids can practice over and over using the same copies without the need for more! πŸ™‚


The opinions expressed in this post are mine and have not been influenced by the company in anyway.Β  I did receive a set of Reusable Dry Erase Pockets to try out in my classroom and I’m happy I was able to! πŸ™‚


Kristen πŸ™‚

Marathon, Meetings, Data, and a Film Crew!

I feel like I’ve been neglecting my little blog lately, but I’ve had so many things going on, that I just kept forgetting to post something!Β  Here’s what’s been keeping me away…

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I participated in my first Mini Marathon yesterday with my hubby and some friends of ours.Β  13.1 LOOOONNNGGG miles!Β  2.5 of them were around the Indianapolis Motor Speedway.Β  One of the hardest things I’ve ever done in my life!Β  I was able to finish 10.5 miles of the marathon, but my body just gave up!Β  My hubby was able to finish while I rode the struggle bus to the end!Β  I was able to get off the bus and cross the finish line and was able to get my medal–I might try again next year…not sure yet!Β  πŸ™‚Β  It was perfect walking weather–in the low 60’s with total cloud cover and low humidity!Β  I’m happy to still have all my toenails and no blisters!

At school, I’ve been giving the DRA to all my little kiddos to see how much their reading skills have improved this year! πŸ™‚

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I’ve also had so many meetings that I can’t even begin to list them all, with even more to come!!Β  17 days of school left, so there are many to attend. πŸ™‚Β  I’ve been keeping track of them on my new calendar/life planner:

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I got it from Erin (click the planner above to go there).Β  I love that it’s 9 x 7 ish and that each month is tabbed and there are lots of extra wonderful goodies added in. πŸ™‚


Last Monday and Tuesday, I had a film crew in my room to capture us during a science lesson.Β  I am a trainer for the Indiana Science Initiative and they needed a Kindergarten teacher to film to show what the science kits look like in a Kindergarten classroom.Β  I’ll admit, I was really nervous about the whole thing, but everything went well (if you don’t count me spilling water on a student’s science notebook and the fire drill!!).Β  The 50 minutes of film will be edited down to about 5-10 minutes to share with other ISI teachers as they receive PD this summer. πŸ™‚

I’m off to write a few more posts about other things we’ve been up to! πŸ™‚

Kristen πŸ™‚

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