Saturday, October 27, 2012

YAY...I've been Boo'd...TWICE!!

Earlier this week I walked up to my classroom door to find a cute little pumpkin stuffed with chocolate and other candy.  Notice I tend to focus on the chocolate.  I am such a chocolate freak!  I was super excited and then I read the note.  The candy was meant to be shared with my class.  Say what????  You give me a large bucket of chocolate, get all my hopes up, and then tell me I have to give it away?  To a bunch of 5 year olds who can not possibly understand the significance of such a gift?  I seriously thought about hiding all of it and just passing the bucket on without letting my kids know we were ever boo'd.  Yes, I know this makes me a horrible person but we all have our weaknesses right?;)

You will be proud to know that I overcame my initial reaction and did indeed share my bucket of chocolate.  Did I mention it was the good stuff?  Like Reece's Peanut Butter Cups, Kit Kat bars, and Hershey's?  I did, of course keep a handful for myself and stashed it behind my from the kids.  Little did I know I needed to also hide it from my colleagues, who kept sneaking behind my desk and taking from my stash.  It's a good thing I like them so much!  LOL

So that was my first "Boo-ing" of the week and then I got Boo'd on my blog.  Not chocolate this time but something as equally exciting.  I got to choose an item from Rebecca Stone's (Landing in K) TPT store.  Rebecca is a fellow Kindergarten teacher right here in the lovely city of Winston Salem, NC!  We haven't had the chance to meet in person but I can see from her blog and all the FABULOUS items (lots of which focus on Common Core) that she must be an amazing K teacher!  Check out the item I got to pick for treat for being boo'd:

If you aren't a follower of Rebecca's...go join now!  She has some great stuff going on and a terrific TPT store...

Landing in K

So, there are a few rules to follow if you are Boo'd and they are:

1) Choose a fellow blogger that has more followers, another that has about the same number of followers, and someone that has less followers.
2) Blog about each of them and include this cute linky party icon in your blog.
 3) Lastly, leave them love by offering them a goody from your store as their "treat." (If you have a store)

OKAY!  So here are the fellow bloggers I would like to share with you:

A blogger with MORE followers:

Heather's heart 
Heather is -hands down- one of my favorite bloggers!  She has some of the BEST original ideas and an awesome teaching philosophy.  I am clearly not the only one who feels this way seeing that she has over 2,500 followers!!!  She's awesome...seriously:)
A blogger with about the SAME number of followers:
Krazy about Kindy 
Another Heather...equally as awesome!  So she doesn't get to post too frequently but how could she?  She is a mother of four littles, a full time kindergarten teacher, and is working on her Master's!  I have never met her but she is CLEARLY super-woman!  LOL  When she does post, she is always super funny and witty and has some GREAT things to share.  Go check her out!
A blogger with LESS followers:
 Landing in K

And I am sure I'm not supposed to do this but I can't think of a better blogger (with less followers) to link to than the one who boo'd me in the first place.  I honestly don't understand WHY she has less followers, she is clearly way more creative...check out her TPT store!!!  

I can't really follow rule number 3 because I only have one item in my TPT store and it's Free...LOL but I hope these bloggers know how much I love them!

Happy Halloween everyone!  I hope you all a great time.  My two cuties will be walking around as Mr. Potato Head and a Cupcake...can't wait to see how much CHOCOLATE "they" get!  LOL

Saturday, October 13, 2012

Shapes and Theraputty!

We spent this past week introducing 2-D shapes in our kindergarten classroom!  While planning with our team, one team member (aka colleague, friend, teacher) stumbled upon a unit plan with several links to these super fun songs by Have Fun Teaching.  I am sure many of you have already discovered these fun and super addictive songs but just in case, I just had to share!


                                                                THE SQUARE SONG

                                                              THE TRIANGLE SONG

                                                            THE RECTANGLE SONG


Now on a totally different note I also stumbled upon something else that can best be described as magic!  Okay, so I might be exaggerating slightly since this product (or something very similar) has been around for ages but in my house and in the mind of my four old who is struggling with fine motor's magic!  My little guy is in preschool this year and is (always has been) developmentally delayed with his fine and gross motor skills so we are doing everything we can at home to help.  While googling for answers this week I found out about this stuff called theraputty.  It is fragrance free, it doesn't flake or stick in your carpet (like play dough) and it comes in several different resistance's.  We got our first container of it in the mail yesterday and my little man has bee playing with it NON-STOP!  This particular container is the firmest of the three that we ordered and let me tell's firm!  Tough even for my hands but he absolutely loves it and has been twisting it and pulling it apart for hours.

So how can this be used in the classroom?  The possibilities are endless!  I don't know about you, but in my K classroom there are about 4 students who are in need of this kind of occupational therapy as much as my little guy is.  I can't wait to share this product with my students. I am particularly anxious to see how it will be helpful with a student I have from China.  He speaks no English and he is very delayed with his fine motor skills.  I am bringing some of the theraputty to the classroom on Monday and will see if it will keep him as occupied as I hope it will.  If it works, it's a win-win for everyone.  I ordered mine through Amazon and googled "theraputty exercises", here are the links to the things I found:

click on this image for a direct link to great theraputty exercises! 

Thursday, September 27, 2012

A Balloon Party!

What a FUN way to celebrate!  My kiddos earned all their compliments and were able to put all the pieces on Mr. Potato Head so we had our first compliment party.  The kids came up with ideas for a celebration and for the first time in eleven years of teaching, someone suggested a balloon party!  What a FAB idea, all I had to do was sit on my couch last night to blow up the balloons (my husband pitched in as well so it was done in about 10 minutes) and deliver them today.  The kids were over the moon excited!  Seriously, their eyes lit up and their smiles beamed so bright I was sure they were would all just burst at the seams!  We waited until recess time and then spent 15 minutes indoors playing with our balloons before going outside to the playground.   Of course, my teacher brain found a way to make it an educational opportunity as well:)  After 5 minutes of balloon play time, we took the time to sort the balloons by color and then by size (because thanks to my husband some were small and some were big).  We also had to count out loud as each student tried to hit their balloon 10 times without letting it touch the ground.  We took a few minutes to discuss balloon safety and surprisingly NONE of them popped!  Each student got to take their balloon home with them and they were all so excited to about carrying them home.  The magic of balloons...absolutely amazing!

Sunday, September 9, 2012

Did someone say FREE???

Hello Friends!

Wow, this is the longest time I have gone without blogging since beginning my blog in July!  Of course, you all know started! Which means I barely have time to write lesson plans much less write for my blog. The good news is that I think things are finally starting to smooth out and my new goal is to write at least 3 posts a week. So much has happened since that first day of school two weeks ago!  I am still completely shocked at how incredibly hard kindergarten teachers work, not to say EVERY teacher doesn't work incredibly hard, but our wee little kinders seriously demand attention every single second of the day.  So from the time I wake up to begin taking care of my own little monkey's to the time I get them to sleep around 7:30 or 8pm each night, my attention is required of at least one little person every minute of those 13-14 hours. It is physically and mentally exhausting.  Now after saying all that, I have something to add that will probably confirm the suspicion you may have that I am nuts for taking on this challenge but here it is....I LOVE IT!  Seriously, I am having so much fun in Kindergarten!

Just to add to my excitement over teaching such a fun grade level I have stumbled upon something else that makes me want to dance a little jig.  If you are a parent or teacher of a preschooler or early elementary kiddo and haven't discovered then let me tell you are truly missing out.  I fell in love with this amazing online educational resource this summer when I used it with my son Jackson.  Now I love it even more.  You know why?  Because it is FREE for all public elementary schools.  Yes FREE!  I actually logged in under my son's account this past Friday and projected it on the smart board to play a game called The Great Ticket Hunt in which the students each got to take a turn touching one of the letters to see if there were any hidden tickets behind it. Once a letter was touched the students were shown how to form the letter and a picture clue was given with each letter to help students attach a sound to each letter.  The kids LOVED it and each student couldn't WAIT to have a turn picking a letter. When the hidden tickets were discovered the class just went wild!

So my mission this weekend was to find out how much a classroom membership would cost.  I am only paying $7.95 a month for Jackson's membership but anticipated a significantly higher cost for a class membership.  So you can imagine how excited I was to discover it is FREE for all public schools.  The best part?  You can add each of your students to your class homepage so they can each play whichever lessons you pick for them in class during centers or at home!  For each completed activity tickets are earned.  The tickets can be used to purchase a slew of virtual goodies such as toys, costumes, clothes for each student's avatar, pets, etc.  The site is wonderful and is already aligned to common core.  I DO NOT work for, I am not getting any kind of anything for this post.  I am simply an excited teacher anxious to make sure you are all aware of such a fabulous resource offered to us all for free! If you haven't signed up for a class membership already, what are you waiting for?  I promise you and your students will LOVE it...especially if you have an interactive white board:)     


Monday, August 27, 2012

I Survived the First day of Kindergarten!


 Okay, so I have a whole new respect for kindergarten teachers.  Wow, I mean I seriously had NO IDEA how much harder they worked on the first day of school than all the rest of us.  See the picture above?  That's not me but it is a perfect depiction of how I feel.  The day started at 7am for me as I wanted to make sure I was ready before they started filing through the door.  Now I know that you can never TRULY be ready for a room full of 19 kinders, of which 6 speak little or no English at all.  I did not go to the bathroom until I got to my daughter's preschool at 5:30 this evening.  I didn't finish eating my breakfast until 3:30 this afternoon...yes I said breakfast.  My head was hurting so bad by the time I got home that I was completely useless to my husband.  Bless him.  He was so wonderful, he had a pot of coffee waiting on me as soon as I walked through the door, he fed the kids dinner and put both of them to bed so I could just sit on the couch and do NOTHING for an entire hour.   Now, it's time to get back to it.  Time to plan for tomorrow.  LOL!

I have to share one crazy story with you, one that I am sure many of you will be able to appreciate.  I had one little girl wander down the hall and into my classroom all by herself this morning.  I vaguely recognized her face from open house but certainly couldn't tell you her name.  I asked her what her name was and she mumbled something I couldn't understand.  So I asked again and I still couldn't make it out.  So I looked at the two remaining chairs without students and read the desk plate of the one closest to me.  I asked her if her name was "_______" and she looked at me and nodded.  We played a name game at some point today and when we got to her she mumbled something again that I couldn't make out and that was AFTER she  repeated it three times.  No one could understand her.  Don't worry teachers...I heard the alarm bells going off in my head...she needs a speech evaluation.  Anyway, at the end of the day I put the sweet girl on the bus that she was supposed to go on (according to the school list).  I was back in my room doing what the lady in the picture above was doing when I was called to the office.  Long story short; the girl did not know her own name so she let me call her by the other girls name all day long.  Hence, she was sent home on the wrong bus and the mother was calling the school ready to rumble.  Well since we were completely confused over the names the assistant principal told her that her daughter never came to school today.  Mother called the cops for a missing person report and the cops escorted mom to the school.  Oh boy. The truth was shortly unveiled but wow, I sure did feel like an idiot.  Lesson to self; when a new kindergartner comes into your room all by herself and can't seem to pronounce her name, make sure you take the time to VERIFY the child's identity.  Lesson to all parents: NEVER EVER EVER send your kid to school all by herself if she doesn't know her own name.

On a FANTASTIC note:  I reached 100 followers.  YAY!!!!  What a great way to end the day!  Now I am off to SLEEP and hope for a less dramatic day tomorrow. 

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Classroom Tour...Finally!

Welcome to Mrs. Ziegler's Kindergarten! 

Tonight's open house was a smashing success with 16 of my 20 students coming to meet the teacher.  Half of my class is hispanic so communicating with the parents was challenging on more than one occasion but overall it went rather smoothly.  I only had 1 hispanic family that could not communicate at all (and that includes the kinder of the family) and one little boy from China who has only been in the states for a few weeks and will only be here for one year.  I am pretty comfortable with the challenge of teaching to such a large group of ESL students but have to admit I am pretty apprehensive about working with the little boy from China.  Not only am I unable to speak or understand Chinese...but neither is any other child in the classroom or any adult in the entire school building.  How on earth do I deal with that on day one?  Any suggestions?    

I am however finally ready to share pics of my classroom.  Do you remember how bare it was the first time I stepped in and then how messy and disorganized it was while I moved in?  Well, all the hard work payed off because I absolutely LOVE my new room...

 View of the doorway entry from the hallway

View as you enter the room!

 Our Calendar Area.  I made all the cute calendar headings myself and am considering adding them to my new TPT store!

My BEAUTIFUL carpet:)

 My center-block word wall.  These letters are in my TPT store and they are PERFECT for this space.  I have to thank my best teacher friend (Mrs. Morgan from Asheville) for this inspiration!

Our Reading Center!

 Our Math Center.  The golden framed area will be for our math vocab words.

 One of my favorite parts of the whole room.  If you looked at the pics of my old first grade classroom you might recognize the blue and yellow pages.  I used to have them on our word family wall.  Now they will be used to help display student work.  Notice the super adorable banner hanging above?  That is all thanks to my amazing new assistant.  I was talking out loud about how I couldn't think of a cute or catchy heading for our student work and an hour later she had whipped out this adorable banana banner!  LOVE.
 My Corner.  Isn't it wonderful?  If you look REALLY close you can see my teachers toolkit peaking through the arms of the chair.

 This is the entry to our classroom bathroom. Also pictured are the backpack and coat hooks for the kids.

 This will be our block and games and puzzles station!   I still need to add labels and I wish I didn't have to keep my teacher resource bookshelf RIGHT's so ugly but oh so necessary!

So that's it, my new classroom.  I have worked super hard and now I'm ready to focus all that energy on teaching the sweet sweet kiddos that I got to meet tonight for the first time.  Hope you enjoyed the peak into my room!

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

The Countdown Begins!


The title of this post is referring to a number of things: Less than 24 hours before Open House and the first time I get to meet my sweet kinders! Just 2 school days away from the first day of kindergarten! And finally....just 48 hours away from the BIG REVEAL.  As promised, I will share pics of my classroom very soon, I know that open house is probably the cleanest and neatest the room will be for the rest of the year so I wanted to wait until just before open house to take the pictures. I doubt I will have the chance to post the pics tomorrow night simply because I will be EXHAUSTED and the husband will be demanding my attention since he will be in charge of the kids all day tomorrow but  look for them on Friday.  The most exciting countdown of all?  I am only 3 away from having 100 followers...YAY!  I know it makes me a dork but I am so excited about almost reaching the 100 mark:)

Overall,  I am feeling pretty prepared for open house but majorly bummed about an announcement my principal made at the end of the day today.  Apparently we aren't supposed to send ANYTHING home with the parents tomorrow night.  Instead we have to save it all until the first day.  I'm bummed because I have always sent home a super organized parent packet with all kinds of great information about the class.  Most of the parents usually sit down on the spot to look through the packet and many fill out all the paperwork during open house.  It gives me the chance to address any questions about the enclosed information and it's a super easy way to make sure you get the paper work turned in.  I know, I know, waiting until the first day isn't that big of a deal but I would imagine it will make things harder to get things returned and there will be many unanswered questions from parents.  With this being said I just have to shrug the shoulders and roll with it.  All will be well.  Right?


On a different note I am overly stressed FOR my team members.  Of the four of us, I was the only one who had the chance to work in her room before the first workday on Monday.  Since Monday, we have all been in meeting after meeting after meeting.  My three new friends are all scrambling to get everything in it's place and presentable by 5:30 tomorrow night.   I wish I could do something to help but they are all at the stage where they have to decide how they want to arrange furniture and what they need to hang up.  I think I am being most helpful by just staying out their hair and trying not to distract them too much.  I am thinking ahead to lesson plans and LOVING my First Day of Kindergarten Linky Party.  I am so glad for that linky party.  For real.  Hopefully I will be able to get activities and everything planned out and simply share it all with the team, If I can help them by taking the stress of planning those first few days off their plates I am more than happy to do so!

Sunday, August 19, 2012

Calling all Past and Present K Teachers...and a Reminder!


What do you do for homework? 

Okay blogging buddies!  As you all know I will be teaching Kindergarten for the first time in a decade this year.  What you may or may not know however is that I will be working with three other teachers who will also be brand new to Kindergarten this year.  One of which will be a first time teacher (EVER), one who has NEVER taught K and one who hasn't taught K in OVER a decade.  So as you can imagine...we will need some guidance from some FABULOUS and experienced K teachers.  Tonight I am coming to you to ask about your Homework policy.  I personally have very mixed feelings about homework in general.  I know about all the research out there that says homework is really quite useless, in fact it was one of the topics I researched and reported on in graduate school.  However, I am transferring from a school with a very high parent participation and I would argue that homework for those students did indeed make a difference.  My new school (from what I have been told) will be the complete opposite with little to no parent involvement.  So as our team sits down to discuss our plans for the year I would love to know what other K teachers do or don't do for homework. If you have a post on your blog already addressing that subject let me know or if you have more to say than what will fit in the comment box please feel free to email me at

I also wanted to remind you all about the fabulous First Day of Kindergarten Linky Party!  I know that most of you just had your first day or will have it within the next week or two so be sure to share your awesome plans:) 

Saturday, August 18, 2012

My First TPT product!

So when I sat down to work on my own word wall letters it was not with the intention of turning them into my first Teachers Pay Teachers product.  However, when all was said and done I thought "Why Not?"  So please follow my new TPT store, I have grand hopes of filling it with tons of goodies over time.  The first product is a freebie and I hope it will be helpful to someone out there.  I needed some letters for my new word wall and just couldn't seem to find what I needed even though there are already a TON of word wall letters available on TPT.  I needed small but not too small and I needed the vowels to be a different color than the consonants.  I wanted a cute font but not too cute so I went with good ol' comic sans.  The file is fully editable so if it looks like something that will be useful to you please download and feel free to change colors, fonts, and sizes!

BTW, I would love some great TPT tips as far as how to create things with all the adorable clipart, frames and fonts.  Any suggestions of a blog with great TPT tips?


North Carolina Teacher Bloggers: It's a Blog Hop!


I am having so much fun in the world of blogging and have really enjoyed getting to know so many marvelous teachers from around the country and a few from around the globe!  As I have seen a few fellow bloggers post about meeting up with teacher bloggers in their area I can't help but be a bit envious.  I think it would be LOADS OF FUN to meet up with some bloggers from N.C.  The question then is, how do you find who is close and who isn't without going to blog, after blog, after blog, and reading the profile of every single one?  Well, by creating a blog hop of course!   So if you are a teacher blogger in North Carolina join in the blog hop so we can all get to know each other.  Who knows, I might have a fellow blogger living right here in my own neighborhood!  Wouldn't that be somethin'?  Be sure to use the image above at the top of your own post sharing this blog with others and of course linking it back to this original post.  Also grab the inlinkz code at the very bottom for your own post. more thing; If you are in the triad area be sure to leave a comment letting me know where you are:) I can't wait to meet all my fellow Carolinian teacher bloggers!

This is a blog hop and has been linked up to the Teaching Blog Addict's Ultimate Linky Party!

get the InLinkz code

Monday, August 13, 2012

Sneak Peak

Well friends I met the goal for today!  I found a home for every unplaced item in my new classroom.  For the most part my room is ready but I will wait until it is COMPLETELY ready before the big reveal.  With that being said, I am so excited about an uplanned yet amazing accomplishment that I just have to give you a sneak peak...

Some of you may remember a post I made a couple of weeks ago about wanting to use the white board in the back of my room as my word wall.  Well I have since changed my mind.  Instead I have decided to make that white board the back drop to my small group reading table.  I will eventually put my workshop stations pocket chart on the board.  Above this white board are 3 super ugly metal strips for the adjustment of the board.  Well today, I was staring at those ugly strips trying to decide what to do about them when I had a "lightbulb" moment.  Earlier this summer I had purchased 7 green hoola skirts from the dollar spot in Target.  I had no idea how I would use them but I was feeling impulsive that day and brought them home with me.  Today I found out EXACTLY how I wanted to use them.  I cut the skirts in half to make them long strips and then hung them to cover the super ugly metal strips!

So here's the board in the back of the room.  See the super ugly metal strips?  Also notice the HUGE mound of unpacked boxes and tubs.  Those are gone now!

Waa Laa!!!  Ugly strips GONE!  But something is missing?  What could it be?  OH YEAH!!!  The super cute monkey's I bought for a hallway display.  Isn't it adorable? The green and blue ottoman seats from Five Below are also just perfect for this spot! 
I am so proud of this.  Mostly because it was very unplanned and a completely orginal idea.  It's so cute I think it's pin worthy...dont' you?  LOL

Hope you enjoyed the sneak peak.  Stay tuned for the Big Reveal.  Open house is next week for us so it will definitely be ready by then!

Saturday, August 11, 2012

Shop 'til you drop!

Remember that $25 gift certificate I won to TPT store?  Well, boy am I glad I held onto it because it is going to be so useful tomorrow when I finally get to purchase the things in my cart.  I can not believe it has taken me this long to discover all the AMAZING things at TPT and Teacher's Notebook.  WOW.  Yet another thing I love about joining the blogging world; my eyes have been opened to a whole new world.  Sometimes I daydream about how AWESOME it would be to teach in a school with all my fellow blogging teachers.  Can you imagine that awesomeness?  A school full of teachers who LOVE to share and are incredibly creative.  Ahhhh...if only.

So back to my shopping cart.  It has been a week long shopping trip!  Every night this week I have been shopping on TPT and adding item after item to my wishlist.  Tonight I sat down and filtered through making sure I only added enough to my cart to stay within budget.  The goal was to make sure I didn't go over my $25 gift certificate.  Well, I almost met the goal.  I figure that once I get the added 10% discount that starts tomorrow I should only be over by $5.00 $15.00.  Yes, I am proud of the discipline I have shown.  So here's a look into my shopping cart, these are the items that will be downloaded tomorrow as soon as the transaction is complete!  I am crazy excited:)

From Nicole Lanier of Lanier's Lions I'll be the proud new owner of this great pack that will be a HUGE time saver for this "new-to-kindergarten" teacher!

Number Math Centers

From Jessica Standford of Mrs. Stanford's Class I'll be purchasing these super-cute monthly reading logs. I love how simple this will be for parent's, kids, and ME to keep up with!

 Home Reading Logs (per month)
These reading logs will fit into my Bee Binders perfectly!  Visit my post on the Amazing Mrs. Meacham for more information about Bee Binders...or just check out this great Bee Book packet from Mrs. McHaffie of Beg, Borrow, Steal.  I was so excited to find this product because now my BEE binders will be even BETTER than before:)

 BEE Book Binder

And I just LOVE so many products from Caitlin Clabby of Kindergarten Smiles especially this one:

Common Core Math Hot Seats (Kindergarten)

AND this one:

Our Daily Schedule Cards
Tammy from Live, Love, Laugh Everday in Kindergarten has some amazing things as well but I am MOST excited about these ten-frame number posters...great for subitizing! (this is one of my favorite words btw...I just think it is fun to say!)

Number Posters 0-20 {Bright Polka Dots and Stripes}

Marsha McGuire of A Differentiated Kindergarten has an UHMAZZING store and I had to be very careful while shopping her's like the Target of department stores.  Really, if I had the money I would probably download all her things.  But, again, I disciplined myself and picked my two favorite and what I predict to be the most useful items..

Top Bananas-A Letter Mastery Unit Aligned to Common Core

And last but not least are these great playdough mats from Tina Larivie of Laugh, Live, Love, Learn:

 ABC and 25 High Frequency Word Work Mats 

So that's it!  I can't wait to download all these wonderful new resources and put them to use this year.  YAY for gift certificates to TPT!