Wednesday, August 3, 2016

Back to School Freebie

My school district still has about 28 days left till teachers need to report but I know lots of other teachers around the US are getting ready to head back if they have not already. It always amazes me when I go back to my classroom how much I always have to set up. There are the big things of course such as the furniture and figuring out where I want things to go, but I guess it's all the little things that we always have to do and usually forget something. I have no checklists that I can post since many of them I have gotten from other teachers and paid for, but one such was from Karen Jones. She did a free webinar on Kindergarten 101 (She has another one coming up so click here if you want to register). I found this webinar very helpful and got lots of ideas that I will hopefully be able to implement this coming year so if you are new or been teaching kindergarten for a while, I would recommend her webinar.
I'm hoping to head into my classroom sometime next week. I don't want to head in too early and end my summer but I also know that I will only have about a day to get everything done and ready for my little ones to come and learn. As we all know, there is just so little time to get everything ready so I found my editable first day (and beyond) transportation list for you to use if you would like. I have always found it much easier to have everything on one sheet of paper and separated by each way there is to get home. Please free to share as well. Click on the picture to download.

Sunday, July 24, 2016

Conference, Store, and Blogging, Oh My!

Well I first just have to apologize for this very late post. I have just been enjoying my summer, which basically has consisted of walks, TV, and lots of delicious cider. I have also been trying to maintain (and find) the work-life balance. I was not very good at that this year, so I'm working on it; basically too much work and not enough life was happening. I love my job so it's really hard not to be excited about new ideas, so I'm trying to reign it in a bit and really focus on a few things. First two happened just this week; my FIRST teacher conference ever and I opened up a TPT store Mrs. Barton's Adventures in Teaching.
I went to the SDE conference in Las Vegas. I heard about it for the first time last year and wasn't able to go, so this year it was pretty exciting that I was able to go. I went for one day because I had to pay for it myself. I mainly went and listened to Deedee Wills because she has so many amazing ideas on writing and that is what we are supposed to focus on as a teaching goal this coming school year, so I figured why not go and listen to an expert and someone I admire A LOT. All I have to say is she was AMAZING! I skipped my final session just to go and hear her again. She is super sweet and so funny.
I also go to see Elizabeth Hall, (in her words) y'all it was awesome. She is so cute and I just love her ideas. She is super sweet and just as fun in person as I thought she would be. The first person I met was Mr. Greg and his wonderful husband Jason. OMG are they just the cutest, sweetest people! I was so overwhelmed and shaking with excitement, and both of them just helped calm me down, gave me hugs and lots of advice (and also made me feel really special). It was a great way to start things off. So much great information was shared and I'm really inspired to start my new year (I'm just hoping I can incorporate everything the way I want to).

So my store:
I'm kind of excited about this, but I know it is going to be a very slow process since there are SO many great teachers out there making amazing things and I just have two things (whether or not they are amazing is soon to be seen). If you click on the link above you'll be able to find my free product that was featured on Mrs. Deedee Wills' site about saving paper (which I also blogged about here). I love the concept about saving paper, not just cause I like trees, but because I have been on a mission this year (mainly due to the huge stress of last year) to not make a lot of copies. It's a long story, I don't want to drag you into it, but at my school we need to count copies and if we go over what we are given it comes out of our classroom budget. So I'm hoping to avoid that. :) These Exit Tickets are just one way I came up with to do that.
Another thing, or the only other thing so far, you will find in my new store is Firehouse Fact Families. I have been so inspired by Mrs. Elizabeth Hall and her two creations of Vowel Surgery and Punctuation Police, that I wanted to come up with a math version. So at the time my class was just starting to touch on fact families. We were adding and subtracting, so I liked to bring the fact families in as an additional resource. I have to tell you, they loved it. Yes most were a bit confused at first, but once we went over it and over it, they soon were able to understand it (again we learned that the more you practice, the better you get). So I was really wanted to bring in something like Vowel Surgery or Punctuation Police where the kids could act out being something, while still learning valuable concepts. As I was on a walk with my husband, it somehow just came to me, what community helper starts with F? Firefighters! And so Firehouse Fact Families came to be.
I did this with my students toward the end of the year, mainly because that's when I was able to get the project done. Here are some pictures of them. I spread it out around our school's courtyard so they were able to go to each house just as they would in write the room (another huge favorite of my kiddos).

I am telling you, they LOVED this! It was pretty warm outside so many of them were kind of done after more than 30 mins. So this can be done either a whole group lesson or put out as a write the room (or add and subtract the room I guess you would call it). If you would like to buy this product, click on the picture below to be taken to my store!

Thank you so much for stopping by! I'm hoping to be blogging more and posting more ideas!

Saturday, June 18, 2016

Painting and Craft Supplies Made Easy

It's finally summer vacation! I have not posted lately mainly because I haven't had many ideas and I am also working on something pretty special that I'm really excited about. I tried it with my class and they did love it, but it's not perfect yet so I don't want to quite share it with everyone...yet.
I know many other teacher bloggers write about all of their dollar store finds and what they do with them and now I am going to be one of them. One of my favs, Mr. Greg, blogged about finding these flower plates and how he used them for math stations. I was thinking this was a good idea and went to my local dollar store to find them. When I did finally find them, I had another idea when I saw them; paints! So I have round tables, which have been good and bad (that I'll get into in another post). My idea for these little flower plates would be to put different paint colors in each "petal" and then put it in the center of the tables and then the kids each have access to all of the colors. One big container, less mess.
Clean up was so easy with this project! Finger paints are the best, I just have to say that. I have also used these for art supplies. Put everything that is needed in each part of the flower and then the kids have access to everything they need and there is no need to prepare multiple sets of the same thing for either each pair or each student.
Thank you Dollar Store for all your crazy things that teachers find so useful.

Tuesday, May 24, 2016


I don't know about you, but when I discovered Elizabeth Hall's subtraction and sentence chant, I was hooked on them! Love the idea and the kids did too!
I use both of those in my class but while I was going over addition with my class I realized there was no chant for them to remember what to do. So I thought and I thought and then one night (after several months) it just came to me! Thank goodness for Notes on iPhone. I whipped that out and here's what I came up with. 

You can click on the picture to grab your own copy of this chant. 
I wanted to put in words that went with the Common Core and also the vocabulary "sum" so students can start using it and remembering what it means. Of course to go with the chant, there's gotta be some fun moves. We put hand movements to also help us remembering combining and getting bigger. 

Please feel free to come up with over movements that work for you and your class. 

I am also working on punctuation chants. I've noticed in our work with punctuation and sentences, my students know they need to use it but they are always confusing them. So I'm trying to come up with ones to help them remember which to use and when. 

Wednesday, May 18, 2016

Math and Art

It has been a BUSY past couple weeks in my classroom, I don't know about yours. We have 20 more days left till the last day of school.
A few weeks ago, I did a project with my kiddos putting GoNoodle and math together! It was so much fun. I took a craft of Freckles Sinclair that I found from Teaching in the Tongass. She has 3 that I found and my kids REALLY liked making Freckles. Then I also found a ten frame set that is labeled Do You GoNoodle? from Little Kinder Warriors. We used it as a whole group for a long time and then I couldn't decide what to do for math (let's be honest, it was getting to be the end of the year and it was a Friday, so I did art), so I had the Freckles project done since the start of the year and just never got to it. So since it was done, I thought I would just print off the Do You GoNoodle quickly and BOOM! Art and math all together!

So we had been talking about adding to 10 and using the CCSS of "I can add to any number to make 10" so going along with this, I let them choose however many they wanted to put in the ten frame and then fill in the sentences and write the number sentence. Many of them just copied what we had for that day, but others went off on their own, which was fun to see.

The next project I came up with was with Base 10. I got the idea of using pool noodles from Mr. Greg from The Kindergarten Smorgasboard and Mr. Greg came up with the idea of using pool noodles for place value! I did make the big ones like he has but then I had some pool noodles left over so I thought I would make an art project out of em! Why not do the same thing with place value and art! So I cut the pool numbers smaller and in half, so they could glue better, and be 3-D on the paper.

To do this, I gave each kiddo 3 dice for them to roll to get their number. I told them it was going to be between 11 and 19, mainly because I only had enough of the "10" one for each kiddo to have 1, and we are always working on teen numbers. You will need to use white glue for this project. I use glue sponges (thank you Mr. Greg) and they were a little dry, I have to remember to spray them at the end of each week.

So those were the latest projects with math and art that I did. The place value one was great because it only cost me $1 maybe $2 and not many copies for the "I have ____ tens and ____ ones. _____ + _____ = _____"
The Freckles one was a few more copies but I think it was worth it. I'm looking forward to making more if I have enough copies. :) I hope you enjoy!

Thursday, May 12, 2016

Exit Tickets - A New-Old Phrase

So I know for the past two days (which is a record for me on blogging here) I've mentioned exit tickets. I'm not sure why I didn't think of this newer version before now, but this is a phrase I use ALL the time with my kiddos; "Show me what you know".
So I made a new exit ticket, same graphic, with the "I can" statement. Click HERE to download your copy.


I used the I Made my Mark ones today after we watched a Cat in the Hat Knows All About That video on elephants. I gave them their ticket and I asked them to tell me one thing elephants can do with their trunk (great comprehension). I have to say, it went great! For some it was hard to fit everything on the card but I think this will be good practice to write a little smaller. Some kids just wrote a word or two and then drew a picture! I think having pens with a sharper tip so they don't write so bold might help, but I think for right now, they're working great.

I hope you find as much use for them as I have.

Tuesday, May 10, 2016

Saving Paper and a Freebie!

As many of you may have read in past posts, I have really been trying to work on saving paper in my classroom this year. I may not have believed this from the amount of copies I made (mainly colored) this year, but that really is my goal.
Some of the ways I have been working to save copies is LAMINATING! Oh my goodness I have spent so much of my paychecks on lamination. But it's been totally worth it and my kids have loved it. They get to play all these different games over and over. Here are some pictures from today of my kids during their reading stations. I have many of the same types of things in their math stations and then I will also put the games into their morning work tubs that they do for morning work (saving copies!)
These girls are doing Deedee Wills' monthly Predictable Sentences. From using laminated papers so much this year, my students discovered they could also just write on the clear part of the pocket chart. So smart! I also have them write their sentences on their white boards. I do have Deedee's monthly writing station that I do use paper in because sometimes you just need paper.

For Write the Room, which I have many different things for, I laminated the pages and the kids just love going around the room over and over again just re-writing the words. This helps them with spelling the words and also with their handwriting since they are getting a lot of practice. The only thing I don't really like, I'll admit, is that using the expo pen, they don't get that drag they can need for fine motor in handwriting. But like I said before, sometimes you just need paper.

Here are Deedee's April and May Math and Literacy Stations.
These are great and the kids love them too. We took the "I Can" cards (which are the BEST creation because I don't have to keep explaining how to do something) and I taped them to the front of the bags. This way the kids and I know which games should be in which bag. They have been able to put things away much better than in the previous 140 days (it only took me that long to think of it). This picture is how I put all of the "I Can" cards on the outside of the big bags so the kids can see what to do. There of course are smaller bags for the cards. I should have bought stock in Hefty and Glad. :)


I also use her Just Roll With It which we use with the big pocket dice (you can find them on Amazon for about $15) and these are great because they can be used over and over again and the Just Roll With It are editable! I should also mention that my students also figured out that you can write on the outside of the dice as well since they have the same clear pockets just like on the pocket chart. This group is so good at finding those little connections.

Yes I did and do spend a fair amount on expo pens and erasers. Mr. Clean Magic Erasers are the very best for the expo and laminated pages. What I ended up doing is getting a few packs of erasers and I just cut them into thirds and give the kids baggies with their name on them to keep their pen and eraser in.

 So now onto the freebie! One thing I know many people are using are exit tickets. I have to say that I really love this idea and have used them a bit this year but they just use a fair amount of paper and I look at them, check off what I need, and then they go in the recycle. So I was looking over Maria's site Kinder Craze where she wrote about using Astrobright paper in her room and she had posted one that said "I've got a BRIGHT idea" write and wipe card and this gave me an idea! Why not use this same idea for an exit ticket? I copied them on my astrobright blue paper and we are going to be using them. I'm going to post a question, number sentence, or whatever I need to on my SMARTboard and then have the kids write on their "I've made my mark" card to turn in for their exit ticket. I'll mark off what I need and then we'll use them again! You can grab your own I've Made My Mark card! I hope you find it useful.

I've also come up with another version that says "I Can Show What I Know!" to correspond with Common Core and all the "I Can" statements that we use. You can read about those here and snag the free copy!

                                                        Graphics are from Whimsy Clips

Sunday, February 14, 2016

Glue Sponges! Such a Life/Sanity Saver

So I have a big love-hate relationship with glue sticks. This year I started collecting the glue caps in a container on my desk and the kids would just come grab one if they ever needed one. Well this year (well let's be honest, every year) we go through glue sticks like water. I have no idea what happens to them. Mr. Greg understands my love-hate relationship and posted a great blog post and video on how to make glue sponges. I was skeptical when I first read about them, I wasn't sure exactly how they could be used in my class. BUT I was at my whits end the other day and just decided to jump in feet first and go for it, and man am I happy I did! The kids love em and they work wonderfully! I've saved the glue sticks for the really big projects, but I think we won't need to use them nearly as often. THANK YOU MR. GREG! Glue Sponges by Mr. Greg

Organizing Never Ends

Well I've finally been able to take pictures of all of the organizing I've been doing in class. Also my idea for the cubbies did not work out the way I was hoping so I used the drawers for something else.

 Here are my small group tubs. As I said before, I laminated the little cards with the group name on it so I can change the kids in the group whenever I want or need. They are on a shelf by my table so I or my volunteers can just pull the tub and read with the kids on the list. I put games in the tubs as well. I also put some kids together so we know who to pull to read with together.

Here is what I ended up doing with the cubbies. I got these baskets at the dollar store and now they just keep all their things from their cubby in the basket. I'm debating getting rid of my tables like Mr. Greg from The Kindergarten Smorgasbord and if I do that I would loose their chair pockets but they could just put everything from those into the baskets in their cubbies. I'm thinking it can work! I'm going to see if the school has another big grey rug that I could put down and use my extra carpet squares and/or write to local stores and see if they would be able to donate any bath rugs to my classroom. The worse they can say is no.

So I got these drawers and I had to use them for something. So since I have been doing everything by a monthly theme thanks to Deedee Wills and Elizabeth Hall, I had to put all the amazing-ness somewhere where it would fit better. So these drawers worked out really well and the longer ones I got for the cubbies ended up working to store some writing, science, and math materials.

I'm hoping to make a list of ideas and to get better at these. As I always tell my students, the more you practice the better you get.

Tuesday, January 26, 2016

New Ideas Just Keep A'Coming!

So I have been taking some webinars online for PDUs for my teaching license. This one I am doing today corresponds to one I did last week and I just had a great idea I wanted to share.
Todays is about using blog and wikis in the classroom. Well being a Kindergarten teaching, I think it is very difficult for the little ones to use a blog or a wiki since they can hardly type their name on the computer. So I'm going to be starting a new blog or different section of this blog for my little authors to have their stories published online! How am I going to do this you ask? Well I'm going to be using AudioBoom (a website where you can record things) and also use text to speech on a mac so the kids can read their story and it will type it out for them.
I'm pretty excited to try this idea. I am out sick tomorrow but I'll be telling my kids about this idea on Thursday. I'm hoping it will get them excited about writing. I love writing but I've just been struggling with how to get the kids excited in Kindergarten because so many of them just either "don't know what to write" (even though they can tell you the most amazing stories verbally) or those that just want to copy what you write.
I'll be sure to write about how it goes once I get it off the ground.

Update: If you would like me to post one of your student's writing publications, please feel free to e-mail me and I will be happy to post it! It should be full of lots of kinder authors, not just mine. It could be a picture, or a picture with an audio recording (I will figure out how get it on there).

Saturday, January 23, 2016

New Year and Still Making Changes

Do you ever get to that point in your year where you just want to change stuff around? I've never been a huge fan of my room. I've moved rooms in my building about 5 times and this last room that I am now in, I've never been able to set things up where I think "wow this is great, I love it!" This year I've come close, but of course there are still things I'd love to change. My cubbies for one, the kids don't really use them except for storing things in there that won't fit in their chair pockets. But of course things still fall out and it drives me crazy. The other reason I'm not a fan of them is that the way I put them this year is they cover up the sight line to the entry and I can't see when kids come in. It forms a great little nook for my reading corner, but I'd love to see the kids as they walk in. My thought is to get those plastic drawers that are fairly big, put baskets inside for them to put their writing journals, science notebooks, headphones. Then we they need them, they simply pull out the basket, bring it to their table, and use em! Oh did I mention I would just have everything labeled by their table group? So in my head of course this sounds awesome and I really think it could work. I haven't tried it yet, but I'm getting close.
The other thing I have finally done, is made reading groups. Yes I have gone for almost 80 days this year and only been pulling kids one or two at a time that really need help. This has been great for me, but for my parent helpers who really want to help, they don't know and they need more directions. I've been giving them a list of a few kids to pull and read with, but this has been more work for me and hasn't been consistent and even. So I hit up my local dollar store and $33 later I have bins (and prizes) for groups! I printed off my cute little animal cards and matched them to the color tub, then laminated the card so I can just take my sharpie and write kids' name on there and change the groups when needed. I'm pretty excited about this. It seems like every year I'm able to get things just a little but more organized.

(I will edit this post to put in the pictures. This organization amazing-ness just happened yesterday and I was so tired from the night before I didn't even think to take pictures.