Monthly Archives: June 2014

Twitter Chat

Have you ever wanted to participate in a Twitter chat, but you don’t know where to begin?  Join me and several of my blogging friends for a fun laid-back hour of non-stop tweeting fun! July 1st @ 9pm EST is when the fun begins and don’t forget to use the #TeacherFriends to get in on the fun!  Hope to see you there!!

My friend Debbie Clement will be moderating, so its sure to be a good time!! 🙂

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Shell Science Teaching Award–Sonoma Race

Do you remember back in March when I told you about being surprised at an all school convocation?  I thought that was unbelievable, but there was more to come that has left me speechless! February 28th is a day I won’t soon forget!
(This video may or may not work if you are reading this by e-mail–click on “being surprised” above to see it). 
After sending me to Boston to attend the National Science Teachers Association conference, I was told that I would also be attending the Toyota/SaveMart 350 in Sonoma, California to meet the driver of the Shell Oil sponsored car, Joey Lagano!  My husband and I just got back from California and all I can say is that I am speechless!  It was one of the most unbelievable experiences I’ve ever had in my life!!  Totally, unreal, unbelievable, exciting, and humbling all at the same time.  I cannot even begin to put into words how unbelievable this whole experience has been.  
One of the other cool parts of this trip was being able to see my name on the back of Joey’s #22 car!!
This is it in the garage before the race on the 22nd.  Seeing it gave me goosebumps and I teared up!  I had to look away or I would of been a hot, blubbering mess before the race even started!
Sprint Cup Practice
Here is a shot of Joey’s car during the race. Sprint Cup Practice
My husband and I got to meet Joey Lagano, driver of the #22 Shell/Penzoil car!!  So nice and down to earth…he knows a lot about his car and the science behind it! Logano M&G
Logano M&G
I got goosebumps everytime Joey’s car went by during the race.  Seeing your name on the back of a NASCAR car for 110 laps–well…there are no words to explain the feeling!CUP PRACTICE
Joey and I pre-race!DSC_1150
Joey with my husband and I.  DSC_1152
We got to stand on “this side” of the red carpet before the drivers meeting. 
We also got to stand behind the stage and look out at all the drivers during the driver’s meeting before the race.
Here I am being interviewed by Claire B. Lang from 24/7 NASCAR Talk on Sirius XM Radio before the race.  DSC_1167 Karen Labat (The Social Investment Manager-Education for Shell), my husband and I on the track before the race.  We are standing at the beginning of Turn 11.  DSC_1171
I got to stand next to Joey’s car pre-race in the pits so I could see my name on his car!!DSC_1173
Joey was nice enough to take a picture with us before the race started. DSC_1183
This is Todd Gordon, Joey’s Crew Chief. 🙂DSC_1185
For about 1/2 of the race, we got to sit atop Joey’s pit box–talk about incredible!!  This is the part of my trip that made me want to cry tears of joy and humbleness!! I kept looking around thinking…how lucky am I to be here??  There are SO many other deserving teachers out there, so I was excited to be able to represent all of you and the work you do everyday!!DSC_1187
This is the only way to see a pit stop!! 🙂
Look at the awesome jump drive my host Ron gave me with these pictures on it!!
I couldn’t stop smiling the entire time I was there!!  I am super excited to bring racing into my classroom and to teach my Kinders all about the science at work in racing (plus it’s fun to watch!!)
For all of you teachers reading this…I just want you to know when you are having a tough day (or let’s face it…a tough year!), there is lots of LOVE out in the world for teachers!  I heard it and felt it loud and clear during this trip.  I was thanked so many times for being a teacher and for doing the job that I do; so I wanted to make sure to pass that along to all of you!
I actually sat down and cried when this trip was over…it was so MAGICAL (in that take your kids to Disney for the first time magical kind of way) that I didn’t want it to end…and four days later I still don’t want it to end!!
Then I got home and Googled myself…AMAZING!!  So many media outlets have been so wonderful in sharing my story and every time I read a new story, I just shake my head in disbelief!  I’m telling you…there are no words to describe this!!
But now the fun begins!  Getting the word out to you to apply for the Shell Science Teaching Award
Getting other teachers, parents, administrators, and community members to see that science education can and SHOULD be starting in early childhood classrooms. 
Getting my hands deeper into the world of science education. 
Getting out of my introvert ways and into ways of sharing my love of science with everyone. ❤
Much love and many thanks to all of you who have supported me on my journey!!  I can’t do what I do without the love and support from each and every one of you, so THANK YOU!! ❤ 
A BIG shout out to Ron, Sam, Karen, and Joey for making the weekend so special–you guys are all amazing people and I can’t wait to get to know you all better! 
I think NASCAR has gained a new fan…despite growing up in Indy all my life and loving my IndyCars…I think there is room in my heart for NASCAR too. 🙂

Frugal Friday #1

Welcome to my favorite day of the week! 🙂

Frugal Friday | Kristen's Kindergarten

During the summer on Friday’s, I will share with you some frugal ideas I use in my classroom.

First up…black socks!

Yes, black socks!!

Best idea ever!

Frugal Friday | Kristen's Kindergarten

We use black socks in our classroom for a couple of things, but mostly as erasers.

We used to use tissues as dry erase erasers on our whiteboards, but each child would have to get up and get one each time we needed one…wasted too much time!

I thought that there had to be a better option–I started thinking of things that could erase the dry erase marker and came up with SOCKS!!  Black socks of course…they hide all the mess that gets erased, so they are perfect for the job!

The best part is that when they get dirty, I can bring them home, toss them in the washer and they are good as new!

They work great on dry erase boards, sheet protectors, clear pockets, and my dry erase stick on stars!  They even erase dry erase crayon. 🙂

We have also been known to use them as mitten substitutes if someone cannot find one of theirs. 🙂

Do you have any Frugal Friday ideas you would like to share?

Leave a comment below and I’ll pick my favorite Frugal Friday idea to receive my dry erase friendly Binder Pack #1!!


Tutorial Thursday #1

I’ve decided that this summer, I will share some tutorials with you on Thursday…they might be simple things you can make or ideas on how to fix something up. 🙂

Tutorial Thursday | Kristen's Kindergarten It doesn’t sound so great together, but we are going to go with it and have some fun!!

My first tutorial is one that I shared last summer.  I made seat sacks for my classroom last year and they lasted…for awhile.  It was pretty clear after about 5 months that I had chosen the wrong fabric to make them.  I used a lightweight cotton.  Enough said. 🙂  I made them last…I had to resew each one 2-3 times up the side seams to get them through the year and eventually, I got tired of sewing them up and decided to make some new ones this summer.

I’m pretty sure it was meant for me to make new seat sacks this summer!  I decided back in May that I was going to use the much heavier duck canvas this time–EXPENSIVE at $10.99 a yard!  But the day I decided to bite the bullet and buy the fabric (which will make them last for years!), I walked into my local Jo-Ann Fabrics store and it was ON SALE!!! $5.99 a yard–SCORE!!!  So I got 10 yards–I think my husband nearly had a heart attack figuring up how much that was going to cost.

But, it gets better–being the thrifty shopper that I am, I noticed a coupon sitting on the cutting counter that said if I text a code to a number, I would get 20% off my entire purchase (including sale items!!).  MEANT TO BE!!  The total with three spools of turquoise ribbon to add some color…$68.00!!  The 20% off basically helped me to get the three spools of ribbon for FREE!!  HELLO GOOD DEAL! 🙂  Please ignore the prices in my tutorial–they are from the cotton fabric last summer (you can still use your 40% off coupon or teacher discount card this summer though).

Here are some pictures to help you make your own seat sacks! 🙂  I got the original idea here.

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I cut mine at the same dimensions this year and because I only got 10 yards of fabric, I got 25 seat sacks, so I’m going to have to go back and get another yard or two using a 40% off coupon so that I can have a few extras–just in case. 🙂

Let me know if you have any questions. 🙂



Wishful Wednesday

Kristen's KIndergarten | Wishful Wednesday

As I just begin my summer vacation…how sad is it that I’m already wishing for more time??  For the last two days, I’ve done nothing but sit on the couch (except when I exercised!!) and watched TV.  I feel great sitting there watching nothing and letting my mind wander, but then around 3:00, I start to feel guilty for just sitting there all day.

I talked with my neighbor about it yesterday.  I told him that I feel like I had wasted my whole day!  I felt guilty about not getting any of my projects done or getting anything around the house done.  My neighbor then asked me how I felt about watching all the shows on TV.  I told him that it was nice to sit and do nothing for a change, just relax! 🙂  He said that it didn’t sound like a wasted day to him–just someone who is always on the go taking a rare day off! 🙂

How many times as a teacher have you felt guilty for doing nothing during the first few days of summer vacation?  For me, its hard to think about sitting and doing nothing because for 181 days, I’m always doing SOMETHING! 🙂  It takes a little while to wind down from that.

So I challenge you teachers out there…what’s one thing (non school related) that you wish you could spend your day doing?

And it is OK to just sit and stare at the TV for a few days!  You’ve worked harder in 9 months than most people do in 12 months! 🙂


P.S. Okay, I’ll admit…there was some Pinterest pinning happening in there too…and some list making for a workshop next week, and I did take some time to rubber stamp! 🙂

Technology Tuesday #1

Technology Tuesday BannerWell…I’ve failed already! I thought this post was going to post yesterday, but something got messed up in the scheduling department (me!) and it didn’t post…so you will get two posts today! 🙂

On to the technology!

Have you heard about GoNoodle yet?  If not…you need to hear about it!  It saved my sanity the last two months of school!!  And even better yet…its FREE!! (Unless you want to upgrade to a premium membership)

What is it?

GoNoodle has taken all those fun and silly YouTube (and other videos) and put them in a kid friendly place so you have have brain breaks without the worry of commercials popping up!

There are there categories of brain breaks…energize, focus, and calm (my favorite!).

Kristen's Kindergarten Go Noodle

When you first log in, you will need to create a free account and then create your class.  Once you have created your class…it will look like the picture below each time you log in.

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You will then select one of the silly monsters to represent your class!  This is the 4th one my class went through in 4 months.  I think the best part about GoNoodle is it not only houses kid friendly videos, but they all help the kids get active in some way!  When you have finished an activity, your progress is tracked so you can see how much activity you have completed!

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There is a HUGE variety in the videos…These are just a few of them and you can also sort them by category (YouTube, Zumba Kids, Calming, Energizing, and many more!).  My kids LOVED the Airtime videos we would watch at the end of our GoNoodle time…they loved seeing which place our bubble would travel to next and enjoyed listening to me read all the fun facts about the city we landed in!   Screen Shot 2014-06-11 at 8.09.49 PM

Its hard to see, but here is my class this year GoNoodling to Everything is AWESOME from the LEGO Movie–this is one of their favorites…along with Let it Go from Frozen and the Sid Slide from Ice Age!

Kristen's Kindergarten | Go Noodle

Here is the Lego Movie part we were dancing and singing to!!Kristen's Kindergarten | Go Noodle

I could really tell that getting up and moving for a few minutes helped my students concentrate better throughout the day.  Sometimes, we just really needed to move, so we would do the 200M sprint, sometimes we just needed to move our whole bodies, so we would dance, and sometimes (and we always ended with this) we just needed to take some deep breaths and calm down, so we would click on AirTime and do just that!

So when your kids are antsy…GoNoodle!!


Magical Monday #1

It’s back!!! I’m bringing back my summer blog posts from last summer.  Each day of the week (minus Sat/Sun) will have a theme and I will blog about something a little different each day. 🙂

First up, is Magical Monday!

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This is a new board I’ve started on Pinterest, where I pin all my “magical” ideas that are currently inspiring me!  You can click the banner above to see all my pins.

I want to share my son’s birthday with you!  He turned 10 at the end of May and wanted a water themed birthday party.  I was relieved at his theme choice because he is usually so specific and this was a more general theme!

I rent out a shelter from our local park (I don’t have to clean my house!!) every year for this birthday because he really likes the outdoors–and with a water theme, well…he wanted water balloons!

OrientalTrading1To go along with the water theme, the nice people at Oriental Trading sent me some party favors and games to help pump up the fun!!  Here is a picture of the favor bags each guest went home with, flip flop erasers, and some cute water themed candy ideas!  Each favor bag contained a Fun Squeeze Fish Squirt, flip flop erasers, and some bubbles.


Everyone came dressed in their swimsuits for the water balloon fight and then the kids all dried off by doing the LIMBO!!  This inflatable LIMBO set is from Oriental Trading…just one trick to setting this up; don’t forget to bring the sand to weigh down the limbo stands–ask how I know!! 🙂  My hubby and sister were happy to help hold it up for the kids though, so no fun was lost!!  I turned on a little Chubby Checker and the kids had a blast!  Here is the birthday boy showing how low he can go! 🙂


Here’s a look at the table that we set up for the party.  In addition to their goody bag, each guest also got a foam visor to wear to protect them from the sun, and a blue, water colored lei!


After pizza, lots of water, and some candy, the kids were ready for the next game!


The birthday boy and his guests loved playing this Going Bananas Monkey Bean Bag Toss Game!!  Even my young niece who attended the party was able to play!  Because we were in a park, we used some sticks we found laying on the ground to mark the throwing line.  3 bananas and 3 chances, each player got a mini beach ball for playing. 🙂IMG_7419



Next, we played Go Fish Toss/3 in a row.  I loved this game when I picked it out because it is 2 sided.  IMG_7421

On one side, you can play Go Fish…there are pink and yellow balls that come with the game (its also inflatable, so it packs up nice and small when you are done!).  To play, each player tries to get their color ball in the same number space; each opening is numbered.  IMG_7422

On the other side, you play 3 in a row.  Its like tic-tac-tow…but you toss the balls into the openings instead of using x’s and o’s. 🙂IMG_7423

After all the fun, it was time for cake! 🙂


What are your favorite party themes?

Join my linky party and tell me all about your favorite party theme!

Thanks so much to the wonderful folks at Oriental Trading for sending me all these goodies that made my son’s party so much fun!!


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