Tuesday, February 18, 2014

If You Give Me a Cupcake...and Giveaway Results!

Like many of you, snow days have had a major impact in my classroom. Last week, we had FOUR snow days! That means we missed Valentine's Day!! While we are not going to get to everything I had originally planned we are finishing up some of my favorite projects and we will finally have our party this Thursday.

One of my favorite books to read to keep some fun seasonal activities in this room is, "If You Give a Cat a Cupcake."
This books lends itself to teaching sequence of events and cause and effect. My kinders love this book and always laugh when the cat decides he needs to go to the gym and learn karate. I love reading this during Valentine's Week because it is not the overly girly glittery, lovey dovey book. It is a great balance for the boys and girls.
This year, with the huge emphasis on informational text, I sometimes feel that literary text has really been lacking in my classroom and has had an impact on my students' creativity. So for our writing activity, my students imagined what would happen if someone gave them a cupcake.  We spent time discussing how good writers add details to their writing and had a little chat about how boring it would be if you just said you would eat it. This was a fun activity for them to use their creative side. It is sad how many of my students were lacking the ability to be creative and think out of the box.


This student wrote "If you gave me a cupcake, I would want 10 of them!" It is always exciting when they don't copy from their neighbor.

Our cats were super simple to make.
  • Large circle for the head, 2 small ovals for the paws and 2 triangles for the ears.
  • Then then used a white crayon to add the details!

For their cupcake:
  • We cut out the cupcake holder from various scrapbook design paper
  • used white/pink/yellow/red etc paper for the icing
  • half circle (brown, pink, white paper) to make the cake
  •  red circle for the cherry on top. YUM!
You could even add some fun sprinkles on top using gems, glitter or even real sprinkles. This is always a fun writing project for my kiddos! Comment below with some writing projects that you do this time of the year!

A The Winner is.....

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Congratulations Jessica! Please check your e-mail! The gift card is on the way!! (This entry did not use a last name or last initial so if that was you be sure to be checking your e-mail!!)

Friday, February 14, 2014

Happy Valenine's Day!

This year I am celebrating Valentine's Day at home and soon to be on the road to Cincinnati thanks to snow days! I am super excited about this trip to Cinci to see family that I havn't seen in years, for Andrew to finally get to meet  them and to celebrate my SIL's baby shower!!!

Yesterday, I became an aunt again to a little boy, Ethan John! EEK He is a cutieeee. He was 3 weeks early (planned induction) and is spending some time in NICU to get his breathing under control and to help him start eating. Please send some extra thoughts and prayers his way if you don't mind!

 Just wanted to spread some love to my followers and what better way than some cute pictures! These are some pictures from Andrew's 9 months photo session!! I could just eat him up!



It was a little strange not being in a classroom full of excited kindergartners ready to party. I have to admit, I missed the craziness today. I know they are at home enjoying the snow but I love watching them pass out and receive their Valentines! I hope your Valentine's Party were a blast and stress free. And just think you have now officially made it to the weekend!

 Happy Valentine's Day!


Thursday, February 13, 2014

Learning about George Washington!

Like many of you out there, I am adjusting and modifying plans. This past week we were supposed to have some fun with Valentine's Day  (including a party!) and begin our President's section of our America Unit. However, I have not been at school this entire week! I was out Monday due to the Destination Common Core Training with Kid Adsit (Read about my AWESOME day here!) and then the rest were snow days!

The week before the Epic Snow Storm of 2014 hit, we began our American Unit. You can read all about it here! We learned about our country's symbols. Here are a few pictures of their completed work!
Each child made their own flag by measuring and cutting strips of red paper and drawing their 50 stars! I didn't realize until after I took the picture that one of his red stripes fell on the floor oops! They then wrote facts that they learned about the flag!

Just some fun Americana d├ęcor in the classroom!

This is our bulletin board! Their flags and writing are the main focus! They made the Bald Eagles with their hands and feet! So cute. I jazzed up the board with some fun 4th of July Decoration!

For the Statue of Liberty, I had a premade cut out for them and they added their writing from their research!

Moving on to learning about Washington!

     We are going to spend the week learning about George Washington! We will begin by look at this picture:
Some questions I will ask my students:
  1. Do you know who this is?
  2. Do you think he is still alive today? Why or Why not?
  3. What do you notice is different about how he looks than how we look today?
We will also be using our Scholastic Magazine that I am beyond grateful to have received these as a DonorsChoose Grant! This edition describes about Washington's life prior to becoming the President. The kids will love it!
Anchor Chart- TL chart (What I think I know and what I learned)
Everything that we think we know will be in blue on sticky notes and everything we have learned along the way will be in red. After researching, if  we find out something that is on a Think I know  sticky is found to be true we will place the sticky on the anchor chart. If it is found to be  not true we will create a misconceptions charts.
Together we will read through the magazine. The magazine is broken up into sections with matching pictures and text. I am going to cover up each section as I introduce it.  I will read a section while pointing to the illustration that describes the text. (Teaching the standard, describing the relationships between texts!) For the next section, I will reveal the picture only. I will explain that I know pictures describe the text. I will show them what I mean by modeling it with the picture then the text. The last 2 sections I will ask them to practice with a partner and then by themselves.
After reading the magazine, we will play the sequencing game provided on the website. The students will have to place the pictures in order of how they occurred in Washington's life. We will also watch the video biography provided on this site. Throughout this whole process we will be stopping and adding to our chart!(This will take several days!!)
Some other videos that we will be using:

Great video that we will use during our George and Abe study!

A fun rap about Washington!!

We will be busy researching, charting, and exploring about George Washington this week. We will make a George Washington craftivity to help us anchor our learning! Picture and updates will be added next week!

Visit my America Pinterest Board for more ideas!

Don't forget enter for a chance to win a $10 Gift Card to TeachersPayTeachers!!!!

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Pin it to Win it! TpT Gift Card!

It has been snowing/sleeting since Tuesday morning. I have accomplished a whole lot of nothing. However, I have stalked on facebook, browsed on TPT and dreamt about my future home thanks to Pinterest. Little man and I have enjoyed extra naps and some goodies. We have cuddled and watched some movies. Of course, we made it seem we were very productive once Richard got off shift. :) Now you know you do the same thing after you have been lazy all day!

Once he got home, thankfully he did not have to run a lot of calls, we made it outside quickly to take a few pictures. Andrew was plenty warm. He had on 2 shirts, sweat pants, jeans, a little Under Armour jacket, socks, shoes, mittens, his jacket that his daddy was proud of and of course his flippy hat. We may have only been out for a few but that boy was going to be warm!!


So in honor of my laziness and another snow day tomorrow. Let's celebrate with some of my favorite things! Grab some hot cocoa (or the beverage of your choosing), log on to TpT and hop over to Pinterest. These are a few of my favorite things!

I am hosting a giveaway for a chance to win some hard cash for TpT!!! Get your wish list full so you will be ready to spend!

All you have to do is visit my TpT store find some products you like, pin them to pinterest and follow the directions on the Rafflecopter!

You have until Sunday at 11:59 EST to enter! I will announce the winner on my blog and send over your gift card to use at ANY STORE on TpT!! :)

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Stay Warm!

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Destination Common Core with Kim Adsit!

Typically as any southern teacher when you wake up and look outside and see this....
you then turn on the TV and see all the school closings you would be excited. Typically I would be excited. BUT NOT TODAY! I was supposed to go back for Day 2 of Destination Common Core with Kim Adsit! Today, was the day to figure out everything I was doing wrong and how to make it right in my math block. I was and still am so disappointed that I am not there right now! Everything is closed down here...schools, daycares, businesses, pretty much the whole town! If you are from the South you get it. If you are from the north you will never understand it! (I promise I am originally from Cincinnati so I have seen both sides.)
However I cannot be too upset when I get to look at this sweet face all day!
I am pretty sure any working mom would be thrilled at spending an extra day with their baby. So no complaining here for that reason. Richard will be busy working...oh the joy of being married to a full time firefighter. It will be a me and Andrew day. Love this kid!
But hello! I am missing Kim Adsit!!!!!
However, I did get to spend a full day of laughing and learning with Kim Adsit yesterday. Lots of laughing! She is hilarious. Makes you feel good. Backs up everything with standards. And most importantly keeps learning FUN!
I got there bright and early with Carrie, one of my teaching buddies and was stoked to get personally greeted by  The Kim Adsit, see my name tag and my very own book! EEK I just knew it was going to be a good day!
We got settled in and every where we looked it was like fabulousness everywhere. Hanging up were all the awesome anchor charts and work samples that I have drooled over from seeing on her blog, facebook and of course my many TpT purchases (shh don't tell my hubby!)
Go ahead and drool! :)
We got started promptly around 8:30 and was very shocked to find that only 25 teachers were in attendance. It was like we had our very own private session and were really able to ask questions and have a better understanding. I am beyond blessed that my school district believes and invests in quality professional development!
We started with diving into Writers Workshop. I was feeling good with this topic. I have a solid 45 minutes WW block in my classroom. We write. We write A LOT. They share. They have their own journals. And then it was like a smack across the face! Adsit was talking about the parts of WW and what should be going on and all I could think big dummy!!
1. Mini lesson: A quick 5-10 lesson. Connect to Prior Knowledge (check!) Teach new concept (Check MINUS!) Active Engagement (Lots of Room to Improve!)
2. Work Time: Check! My students go off and work for approx. 20-30 minutes  by themselves.
3. Share Time: Check! My kiddos LOVE to share!
So here is my plan!
  1. I feel very good about connecting to prior knowledge. (Remember yesterday how we...) I would say most of us have that handled. Now the teach new concept part. Yes, I have a plan every day of what concept/skill/strategy I am focusing on. HOWEVER, I am very guilty of allowing myself to get more hung up on the mechanics of writing instead of the craft. For example, last week my kiddos did some outstanding fact writing about our country's symbols. After reflecting, I realized my kids did great on the mechanics. We triple dog checked our capital letters, finger spaces and periods. However, did I really do a good job of explaining why writers write facts, the purpose. Being honest, no I did not. Teaching the mechanics is important but should that overshadow what you are teaching? No. I promise I will do better! 
  2. Kim also said something that was like DUH!! While talking about your mini lesson, your students should have an active engagement part where they are able to practice on the carpet! DUH!!! Now my students do some major practicing but they spread across the room, talk about major management issue and how am I able to really see the kids that need help? I can't! Okay so from now on before we spread out, we need some active engagement right on the carpet. In FRONT of me. I am completely smacking myself across the forehead right now!
Then we got into Reader's Workshop!! Ahh Anchor Chart time. LOVE anchor charts! I have them in my room. Posted on pretty poster boards for all my kids to see.
I have been using some not all of my anchor charts as more of a poster than an anchor chart. Your anchor charts should be in a place in the room where students always know where to look. Have an anchor chart wall. This will provide the student's with predictability. They LIKE predictability! Build the anchor chart in front of the students but you are the one giving them the information. You could cover up the pieces and reveal the parts you want for the day  or add to the laminated poster board using Velcro. Whatever your fancy! (I have always built my anchor charts in front of my students so at least I get one thing right!)This is a great way to close a lesson. Remember how we... this chart will remind us to....
Time to get back to my room and do some fixing, apologizing to some kiddos and get back on track! :)
Hearing Kim said this really helped validate what we all do in our rooms every day. Principals, administrators and other teachers may look at our "crafts" and say well that is cute. THEY HAVE NO IDEA!! Our kids need this. Their brains learn this way. They need to be able to have a connection to their learning. So by creating a fun little book cover craft, it allows their learning to be anchored in their brain.
Kids (heck me too!) are naturally interested in eye catching material. Hello! They can sing every word to their favorite song and spend hours on their favorite game system. They need and want something eye catching!
So as educators it is our responsibility to use the tools that will engaged our students while still teaching the standards. Do not back down from adding novelty to your classroom just be prepared to defend your reason (if you teach in a school that does not understand the brain of a primary student).
For example...My students need to make these character puppets because they will be able to retell the story by having the character travel through their writings or pictures. This will anchor their learning. 
I could go on and on about all of the fabulousness of Kim Adsit and the wealth of knowledge I gained but it just wouldn't be the same. If you are not a fan of KinderGals on facebook hop on over! Make sure you are also following her blog!! Don't forget to check out her TpT store!!
Rub some elbows with your District Office and convince them in buying some school licenses! I promise your her Writing and Reading Workshop Units are better than any curriculum guide you have seen!!
Thank you so much Kim for sharing all of your experience and knowledge. WE LOVED IT!!!!!
(myself , Kim Adsit and Carrie)
I hope to come back to a workshop or seminar soon!!!! Still kicking myself that I am missing the Math portion!
Now to figure out how to get to Vegas for the I Teach K conference....

Sunday, February 9, 2014

Kindergarten Science Fair Project


At my school, every kindergarten class is required to complete a science experiment and make a Science Fair Project Board. Yes, KINDERGARTEN!

So I spent some time brainstorming different ideas, that would be easy to implement, the kids would get something out of it and I could get it completed in one day. Just being honest, I did NOT want it to take up a lot of time. So I came up with: Store or Name Brand? If we were going to complete a project, we were  going to have a little bit of fun and what 5 or 6 year old does not like food? We taste tested 2 different chocolate cookies. YUM!

I bought a store brand chocolate chip cookies (courtesy of Publix) and name brand cookies (courtesy of Chips O'hoy). I showed both packages to my kiddos. Of course a loud, excited cheer was had when they saw the Chips Ohoy! I explained how the store brand cookie was over a $1 cheaper. Compare that to McDonalds Happy Meals and they get it.

I had 2 different colored napkins: blue and pink. Every child received both napkins and my assistant took the cookies out of the package in our office. The kiddos had no idea which package she brought out first. She gave every child a cookie on the blue napkin. Then went and got the next package and placed a cookie on every pink napkin. Do you notice how similar the two look??

If you look at the top picture you will notice blue napkin represented the store brand cookie and pink represented the name brand cookie. We first taste tested the blue cookie. Had a little bite and place it back on the blue napkin. Then tried a little bit of the pink and placed it back on the napkin. I gave a short little spill about how we had to be scientists and keep everything controlled and they could not tell their neighbor which cookie they liked. We did not want to influence someone else's choice. They were then free to eat the cookies and go back and forth and drink a little bit of apple juice along the way.

After all of the yummy taste testing, it was time to take the vote. Everyone placed their head on the table and closed their eyes. They were to raise their hand for their color choice. I was SHOCKED when the majority of my class voted for the blue cookie. The Store Brand Cookie. The Cheaper Cookie!! I then told them to go home and tell their mommies not to spend the money on the more expensive cookie! I was still flabbergasted and I think they were too.

Now the experiment was over but we still had to put together a board. I decided this year, I would call some students over and ask them to explain each part and then write. So our write up may be short but it was their work.
For the purpose a student wrote: "We wanted to find out which cookie was the best!"
For our hypothesis: "We predicted that more people would like the name brand cookie"
For materials: cookies, blue napkins, pink napkins
I placed the title in the middle using some foamie letters: Store or Name Brand?
For procedures: Put out the pink and blue napkins. Place cookies on the napkins. Taste test the cookies.
For the results: a student completed a bar graph.

The last part was conclusion: We found out more people like the store brand cookie.

I told you. It was easy. The kids did the writing. And I think it shows a kindergarten science fair project. Nothing real in depth but they got it.

I did add some pizzaz by placing some chevron  border, pictures and foamie letters but it was all completed in one day. I met my goal! So there you have it, a kindergarten science fair project!

If you are looking for more Science Fair Projects, visit my Science Board on Pinterest!
Do you have to do Science Fair Projects? If so, comment and share below!

Sunday, February 2, 2014

Kindergarten America Unit

Like most of you, I am sitting at home thinking next week's lesson plans though my head. We are beginning a unit that I am very excited about. So many students do not realize how big our country is, what our symbols represent much less even know that we have symbols. Time to get the room looking less wintry!!

As I was doing little pinterest-ing (is that a word?!) and looking through some of my old stuff I have saved on my hard drive, I thought I would share what my little kinders will be doing next week! (whew that was a long sentence!)

First, I found this sweet video!! I really encourage you to watch it! I love the song choice in the background and the pictures of our country. A negative to this video for kinders is that there is a lot of written narration but I think I can easily narrate for them. Maybe just watch first and talk about different things we saw in the pictures and then narrate the facts.

This week we are going to use Google Maps to find SC on the map and then zoom out to see our whole country. We will pin point various destinations that they are familiar with. (Disney World, California, Hawaii)

This BrainPopJR video will be a perfect starting lesson to introduce the symbols and the vocabulary. If you do not have an account, have no fear this video is one of their FREE ONES!!!!

Throughout the week, we are going to use different types of media (texts, articles, videos etc) to explore and research American Symbols. Each student will be creating their own book with an illustration to match. (great for describing how illustration match text and vice versus) We are going to learn about The Flag, The Liberty Bell, The Statute of Liberty and The Bald Eagle.

During writer's workshop time my students will independently be working on items found in my America Unit. They will go on a scavenger hunt using my word wall picture cards. They will write sentences using the words they find. Then they also have some fun writing sheets that they have to find a word that starts with each respective letter.

Here are a few example of what is included in my America Write the Room Unit!

Click here to see examples of my students' work!!!!

What are your favorite activities and lessons to do during your America Unit??


I have become obsessed with linky parties. I LOVE reading different blogs and getting a little glimpse into someone else's life. Sometimes its just nice to know I am not the only crazy teacher out there! :)

So I have linked up with Oh' Boy 4th Grade for her "currently" linky party!

My sweet little boy is fast asleep in his crib and my hubby is working a 48 so I am hanging out being facebook nosy (I decided that sounds way better then facebook stalking!) working on some school work and have the TV on in the background. I love late night TV because that means it is time for WSSL TRAX! I am such a southern girl even if I was born in Cincinnati. :) Right now, Sweet Annie is playing in the background. I also happen to love Zac Brown Band and that was the first concert my now husband and I went to.

Oh my...I am about to have  a little dance party right NOW! I am have been trying to embed videos into my flipcharts all week and it just won't work but I thought I would try on blogger! OH MY OH MY, you just have no idea how excited I am...okay well hopefully it works for you and not just for me here in the edit post....

Most of you know, my little boy was born unexpectedly 5 weeks early. After spending time in the NICU and not having pictures, my husband and I decided we were going to invest in first year pictures. So he has had those cute newborn, 6 months and 9 month photos. I cannot believe how fast he is growing (even if he is wearing 3 month old pants). He is now even standing up! EEK Okay could NOT resist sharing a picture from last night when he realized he could stand by himself! He was just so darn proud of himself!

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SO his 1 year photo session is coming up and I have been checking out some precious photo props!
I mean cute are these?!!?
Don't worry, I have had my reality check...I need more MONEY so I could afford some of this super ubber cute stuff!!
Sitting somewhere by the beach with an umbrella drink in my hand sounds really good right about now!
And yes it is midnight but no I have not eaten. I really need to get better with eating dinner when my husband is working. I just really do not like eating my by myself. Weird...I know...I have come to terms with that.

So Do YOU know me. 2 Truths and a Fib??

Yes, I am OBSESSED with the news. What can I say I am little nosy but more just like to be in the know. I want to know what the weather forecast is, any major political happenings, crazy things going on in the community or even just random laws. For example, did you know in W. Virginia it is against the law to touch a pregnant ladies belly?? Well know you know. Aren't you glad you stopped by and did a little reading? LOL
I used to start my mornings off with a cup of coffee, well more like 10. No seriously, I used to be obsess with coffee. IT.WAS.BAD I am now coffee free. (for the time being)
I am all about some adventure and taking a spontaneous trip. I really wish life allowed more of those moments. I am a live for the moment kinda gal.
 I would love to hear what you are currently doing! Comment below or link up!

Saturday, February 1, 2014

100th Day Fun & Freebie!

Our 100th Day was on Tuesday. Unfortunately, I had a sore throat and had to call in a sub. Thankfully, Mrs. Myrtle Mayberry could save the day! She was a little slow getting around but my students started to make their fun 100th day hats!

 However, snow decided to make a threat and living in the south we were promptly released early. The snow started late that afternoon and caused school to be cancelled on Wednesday. By Wednesday afternoon most of the snow/ice had melted but the National Weather Service issued a black ice advisory until noon on Thursday and therefore we were closed again on Thursday!! Oh the perks of living in the South!

We finally made it back to school on Friday. I came back to a sweet little note left on my table by a sweet girl that read: Mrs. "Farr I hope you are feeling better" It helped brighten my morning and I got a little chuckle that some of them were still unsure if Mrs. Mayberry was me or not!  Friday was a BUSY day as we tried to finish our 100th Day math, writing and snack activities!!

My students enjoyed the 100th Day Breakfast of Champions! (Well ended up being the late afternoon pick me up snack!) :) I gave my students a pretzel rod and 2 doughnut holes and they had to form 100. They had some yummy apple juice to wash it down. Yum YUM!!

 We made the traditional fun 100 day snack! Each student received a fun "snack mat" to help them count by 10s. This was a great way for students to see the 10 different groups and also helping them to read a 100s chart. After place their snack on the mat we practiced counting by 10s and then placed it into our fun snack baggie. This is always a class favorite!

Click here for The Snack Freebie!!

We will be finishing these next week. Got to love the snow but it messed up our fun schedule! My students will receive another hundreds chart to help their sort their fruit loops. They get to choose 5 different colored fruit loops. They will make 5 groups of 20 on their hundreds chart, After they have shown their 5 groups, we will count by 20s (great extension for my higher students and just great exposure of another way to make 100) They then get to glue their 100 fruit loops onto the gumball machine and add their name to the tag. They LOVE this!

We are still finishing up our Me at 100 years old writing. I took their picture using the Aging Booth App. If you are not familiar with this app, you must check it out!!! Click here for the APP! It instantly ages you! Here is a picture of me using the aging app.

I took all my students' picture without telling them why. Then I shocked them with a little slideshow view of what they would like when they were 100 years old!! After all the giggling and laughing and even the "oh no I look like my grandpa!" comments, we started  brainstorming what do 100 year old people wear, look like, where do they live, what they will do etc. My students never shock me and came up with some great ideas!
  • I will rock on my rocking chair drinking some hot chocolate and tell everyone else what to do!
  • I will race around in my wheelchair!
  • I will spoil my grandkids and let them eat all of the chocolate they want!
  • I will lay in my bed all day!
  • I will travel to the beach!
I created a fun frame to place their picture inside (This is included in my 100th Day Unit.) On Monday, they will complete the writing piece. I cannot wait to read what they have to say!

We will not let a little snow ruin our 100 Day Fun! We might just celebrate until day 110! :) Maybe next year we will get it all completed in one day and be able to do the 100 day necklace, building, write 100 words etc. Oh well, until next year!

This unit is easy to implement. Buy today and use tomorrow!

Click here for the full 100th Day Unit!

I linked up with Mrs. Miner's Kindergarten Linky Party! Lots of other posts about the 100th day!

Click here to read other neat ideas!!!

What are your MUST DO activities every year. Come rain, SNOW, or high water that you will do? Share below!