Friday, May 29, 2015

Fun Day Five for Friday! 5/29

Holy smokes! Today was a riot!

It was Olympic Fun Day, and y'all know what that means - coffee AND a diet coke. free play. movie. pure exhaustion. sunburn.

It's one of my favorite days of the year and one of the most exhausting. It means the school year is almost over and your babies have all grown up. And as I sit here going through the pictures from today, it's one of the most emotional days. Just scroll and see what I mean....

Oh - and the last picture is a link to my latest FREEBIE!! Whoot whoot!

 It down poured on us with 30 minutes left of games and the kids couldn't have been more content. We danced in the rain and it was pure joy. Plus I love the blue wall background. Love this.

More smiles! This is before the rain. Their zest for life makes me fall in love with being a teacher again and again. 


Here we are soaked after the rain (ok I promise this is the last picture of my class). We called it quits during a break in the clouds and headed back to dry clothes and a movie. My co-teacher and I CRACKED up watching 3 Pigs and a Baby With Them. 

 So poor grades 3-5 had to have the afternoon Olympic Fun Day inside but when the rain broke in the afternoon our (AWESOME) secretary's firefighter husband brought over the truck and soaked the kids anyway! Notice how far away I am standing? Hah! They had a blast! I love how organic and simple it is for kids to enjoy the little things.  


FREEBIE time! No, sorry, not sending you bubbles and glow sticks. But, you can grab that bag tag for FREE in my TPT store. I like sending all misc. trinkets and a treat in a little gift bag over the summer so I threw these tags on there to brighten up the bags a bit. 

Don't worry, yours do not say <3 Mrs. McGinnis & Mrs. Alper 

How was your Friday? Still have kids? Do you send anything home? I would love your links!

Tuesday, May 26, 2015

Ending the year... bittersweet isn't it?

Of course I am excited to start my summer, get some sun, and recharge. Even so, I can't stop thinking about how far my kids have come because they have fallen in love with learning. I'm thinking of those little guys and gals that depend on coming to school for stability and enjoy being with their friends daily. My group this year was definitely challenging form time to time, as I was also going though a rough patch trying to find my way in a new position.

This year was like starting over for me and I'm totally feeling the first year nostalgia. That's why I am excited about our writing project for this week. I know how I have viewed this year, but I want to get a feel what it looked like from my kiddo's eyes.

We are doing a last day of school portrait and 4-page flip book to recap the year. I know they are either going to be total goofballs on this project or write like 1 word because they are checked out. BUT I am pumped to see how it turns out. I know many of you are doing the same, so I would love to share it with you (fo' free) HERE!

Anyone have some good end of year writing to share? Can't lie, it was kind of like pulling teeth to plan this, so I would love some fantastic ideas for next year! Feel free to share a link you have!

Friday, May 22, 2015

Five for Friday 5/22

It's Five for Friday time again! This week has been busy as ever, and I am working hard to balance everything and maintain grounded in my purpose as a teacher. Love this job, but man does it overcome you sometimes! 

 I love this quote. Especially this week, when my kiddos are antsy, I am antsy (and feeling lazy), and I want to accomplish so much for them and with them before the end of the year. I have been having a hard time with a few of my lil friends because of issues outside of their control. This quote embodies what I wish they could remember forever - that they are loved and they should never stop exploring!

We have been working this week on making a piƱata project! And by "we" I mean all 60 kinders! Thanks to our bilingual teacher, Ms. Gelacio for the idea, supplies, and volunteering her sister and friend to help! 

Love this little girl who has come so far this year. Look at her researching the desert habitat and writing down what she learns. WHAT?! I am amazed that my kiddos can do this. And that they WANT to do it! I didn't even ask her to organize this way. #proudteacher #learnersfuellearning

We released our butterflies this week! The kiddos were amazed and so were we! 

Wine. Nails. Rice crispies. I need more of this in my life...that is all. 

Also - got my FREEBIE Friday act together and am offering my Getting Started on iPads pack to help any teachers new to iPads to get going on making tech work for your class!


Hope everyone had a great week and is closing off the school year with success!

Thursday, May 21, 2015

Butterfly Firsts and YouTube Kids (iPad Must Have)

Disclaimer: TOTALLY geekin' out tonight.

I have never done the butterfly life cycle with my class before - until this year - and ohemgee, HOW COOL!

I was absolutely enamored (and disgusted) by the process.

When we got the caterpillars they were pretty little, and grew in this cup. Side note: we were in the middle of discussing habitats, so we took the opportunity to research and discuss the natural habitat of caterpillars.

After a few days, they all made chrysalis'. We were all amazed at this process!

While we waited for the butterflies to appear (almost 2 weeks!), we spent some time on the YouTube Kids app and with trade books researching the butterfly life cycle. YouTube Kids has a voice recognition feature so that the kids don't have to spell what they are searching, but can speak it, making the app way more functional for kiddos. 

We made a Very Hungry Caterpillar bug chain, write about the butterfly life cycle and talked about the process with friends. 

After what seemed like FOR.EV.ER, the butterflies came out! One of my little ladies discovered it during the middle of centers and you would have thought she saw Santa. All H-e-double hockey sticks broke loose and we took some time out of reading block to just watch the butterflies

(I projected their activity on the SMART Board using the Reflector app. Just kept the video option open on my phone and AirPlayed through Reflector on my computer)

Guys/Gals, I could have watched the butterflies all morning. You could see all the details since it was projected larger. One of them even stuck out his proboscis! The kids noticed what it was and used the right word! Proud teacher moment :o)

After all were hatched we had to let those big guys go. Our literacy coach caught the release on camera, TGFLeah! :o)

If you haven't done this in your class I would totally suggest it. My co-teacher and I were completely disgusted at times, but it was absolutely worth it! 

Thursday, May 14, 2015

Five for Friday 5/15

WHA! I think its been almost two weeks since I did this! I swear, in May I do not know where the time goes. We've been planting flowers, watching the caterpillar life cycle unfold, F&P know. All that fun end of year stuff.

Also this has been on my mind for weeks and it finally got posted!


This week, I was featured on Education to the Core with my post "Making Technology Meaningful in Primary."  If you use tech/iPads in your classroom I would LOVE to know your thoughts on how I am integrating tech and if the suggestions I have make sense/work for you.  I am always looking for more iPad classroom teachers to bounce ideas off and brainstorm with.

How cute is this? We planted flowers for Mother's Day and made theses bags to put the flowers in. First off, let me say I am psyched that the flowers even grew. Secondly, look at that cute little drawing of one of my kiddos giving his mom the flower. AND he wrote, "I love my mom, today is Mother's Day. I am giving you a plant. I love you mommy." I hope my future-not-yet-conceived child loves me that much! Seriously can't get over it. :o)

Something else I just can't get over is how much I love teaching with tech - iPads to be exact. Last weekend, I was able to present at my district's first Ed Tech Conference - iEngage. I just did a poster session, but had some really great convos like with Christine at If You Give a Teacher an iPad

Obligatory dog picture warning. I know you all love my dogs as much as I do so you'll feel my pain here. Is this not the saddest picture ever? Murphy HATES the rain and when we pack and he got BOTH on moving day.  Poor guy just sat in the truck and got rained on as we moved. You will notice his sister is no where in sight. All she cared about was the empty house she could sprint around in.

Lastly, I am super pumped that I have 270 TpT followers (trying to make 500 by August). I know that's like nothing, but in January I had like 50. I am glad to know that the hard work is paying off and I should keep hustlin' to make this part of my dream come true. I am very thankful for all the kind bloggers I have come across and the opportunities that I have to grow in my career! 

So that's my week! I can't wait to share the butterfly updates next week!

Education to the Core Guest Post

Linking up for Tech Tuesday today to share my Education to the Core post!

I was THRILLED last week to be featured on Education to the Core! Thanks to Emily for giving me the opportunity to appear on her blog where I chat a bit about technology in the classroom. Now, I also get to share with you!

In our class, iPads open doors I never dreamed of. Check out how we use iPads to redefine education and what it means to mindfully integrate technology.

I also posted a FREEBIE to help you get started or re-energized!

Monday, May 4, 2015

Hey there! Did you all get in on entering the HUGE Teacher Appreciation Week Day Giveaway?! If not, you can get in on it HERE and gather a few teaching tips and tricks as well! There are two insane prize bundles, so make sure you enter into both for double the chances to win!

Enter to Win Prize Bundle #2 Here

Enter to Win Prize Bundle #1 Here

For Teacher Appreciation Day #2, we are offering a collection of high quality classroom resources at a huge discount.  Below is a list of Best Selling Resources that have been discounted by 20%.  You can receive an additional 10% off at checkout by using the code THANKYOU.

An InLinkz Link-up

We have also put together a collection of $1.00 Deals (My Sight Word Scramble has been discounter from $5 to $1!!) to help stock up your classroom. I mean it's May, right? Time to start lookin' ahead, I know I am. And I LOVE all the $1 options to choose from. It's like the Dollar Spot at Target...seriously good. :o)

 Don't forget to use the code THANKYOU at checkout for maximum savings!

Hope you were able to get some new products for your classroom! I cannot wait to start using what I bought...I totally want to start tomorrow. Ha! Thanks for stopping by! Have a fantastic Tuesday and rest of your Teacher Appreciation Week! :o)

What Works! Teacher Appreciation Linky & Giveaway!

I don't know about you, but I could definitely not be in this career without the mentorship and support of fellow teachers.  The girls that I started working with my first years of teaching made me the teacher I am, and I will forever be grateful to them! So HOORAY for Teacher Appreciation Week! I am beyond blessed for my past and current co-workers - they have been co-creators of the following secrets. Maybe you too share some of these tricks? Or you have advice to make them work better? I would love to hear your thoughts and input - collaboration is key for me! 
Use a mentor text for your behavior system. Make it unique, attainable, and a way that kids can buy back in.

 I use the Very Hungry Caterpillar as my mentor text. The caterpillar eats and grows so he can become a beautiful butterfly and discover newness. That is like learning for us, we learn and grow so that we can discover new things.

  Each child starts the day with 5 food sticks in her/his cup.  She/he can lose sticks or gain "sweet' sticks. The goal at the end of each day is to have 5 or more sticks.

I start the year strictly adhering to the behavior plan and wean off it as we go. This week I haven't used it at all and I now only usually mention it as a way to get some friends back on track.

For me, this helps to mold the behaviors I expect and gradually give over the control of those behaviors to the students. It can be a beautiful thing. 
Don't over do it on Pinterest!

Listen, no one has, or should, have the time to completely re-do your classroom and every element to be ready to be professionally photographed for Pinterest. It's ugly in here folks. Day to day is a hotmess. I take to Pinterest when I am looking for a change-up or visual of new ideas. But I honestly can't spend too much time there because I wind up comparing myself to perfection. I have learned to listen to my students needs. They love "fishing" for sight words, so I used velcro to make this center and I am going to change the sight words to word problems, QR codes etc. Find what they love and what's easiest for you and go with it.  Authentic, good teaching doesn't coming from Pinterest. 

Side note: You know how people post Pinterest "fail" pictures of dinner/crafts/etc. I want to do that of a classroom I said sometimes it's just not cute in here!
Use a password for your teaching point of the day.

 I use one literacy password and one math password. The literacy password is usually the sight word or vowel combo of the day and math can be any concept I am spiraling through. The kids have to say/do the password in the morning when they come in, and each time they come and go from the room. 

 Here is the math password on the way out!

Sorry, I should have put arrows - but can you see the passwords other there by the door? I make sure they are at eye level and bright so I catch the little's eyes!

What works for you? I would love if you left me some of your own ideas or thoughts on mine! 

Alllrighty then....

There are two HUGE prize bundles, each valued at $475 each - crazy talk! Make sure you enter using all the options on rafflecopter! There are a ton of blogs involved so make your rounds, and grab up all the entries that you can!

Here's what's included in the prize bundles...
Can you believe that one super lucky reader will win all this! I am seriously wishing it could be me! Check out the grand list below.
Prize Bundle #1 Includes
PLUS....$140 Gift Box of Fabulous Teacher Supplies sent to you from Amazon
Here is ANOTHER mega bundle! More teacher swag, and a TON of it! $100 to TPT, $50 Amazon gift card AND more?! Enter to win both and you'll be set for next year- seriously this is too good to be true...but it's true, I promise. :o)
Prize Bundle #2 Includes
PLUS....$140 Gift Box of Fabulous Teacher Supplies sent to you from Amazon
Be sure to enter both rafflecopters for a better chance at winning one of these amazing prize bundles!

Enter to Win Prize Bundle #1 Here

Enter to Win Prize Bundle #2 Here

You won't want to miss out on all the other great secrets being shared by successful teachers!  Be sure to check out all the other great posts below.