Stress Reducers


Let's face it, as teachers, there are going to be days where the stress gets to be too much.  Luckily, I have found ways to relax and unwind after days such as these. 

1. Driving home with the radio off.  This is really hard for me to do!  I listen to the radio all.the.time.  I may even occasionally sing along (come on - so do you!)  But, there are some days where my head needs a break from noise.  There is a lot of noise in a kindergarten classroom.  Sometimes, a quiet drive home is all it takes for me to relax.

2. Family.  I love coming home to enjoy their company.  They always lift my spirits when I'm down.
3. Ghiradelli bittersweet chocolate chips are my favorite go-to dessert snack.  I lost a lot of weight a few years ago and I have been able to keep it off.  (Yay!) Regardless, a girl can't give up her chocolate!  I love these bittersweet chocolate chips and a serving of these definitely puts a smile on my face!

4. Playing with our family dog (an English mini goldendoodle).  Is there anything better than coming home to a waging tail that belongs to a happy pup?  Nope!

5. Laying down on my bed and reading a good book.  I love being able to escape into another world.  It definitely calms me down when things get to hectic.

So... what do you do after a long stressful day at work?
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Classroom Tour


Well, it is finally looking like a classroom again... rejoice!  My classroom was painted this summer (yay!), but that meant that everything had to be taken down at the end of the school year.  Big, big project.  However, everything has found its spot again (for the most part, let's be honest) and I am a happy teacher.

Shall we get on with the tour?

This is the view when you first walk into my classroom.  Hello natural light!

My favorite area in the room is our rug area.  This is where the kindergarteners spend the most time learning.

You can't see it from the picture, but four of the squares on the rug create a larger square outlined with a dotted pattern.  I assign each child a large square (their name is written on the rug).  Transitions are so much easier!

The info center bulletin board houses my classroom job assignments and future center rotation.  Then, we've got the "star" of the week, chalkboard, and calendar.

We are starting a new calendar program called "Every Day Counts" that will coordinate with our new math curriculum, "Math in Focus".  I am really excited to start both!

I made the clip up and clip down chart for this year.  I kept seeing the idea on Pinterest and then researched the idea over the summer.  The kids should love the extra praise from being clipped up!

I am trying hand signals this year.  Have you used these before?  I bought these awesome signs from The Clutter-Free Classroom.  (Love that blog, by the way!)  It is going to be my students' homework assignment the first week of school.  They have to practice the hand signals with their parents.

When you walk into the classroom, this is what you see when you turn to your right.  Art!  It also stores all of my science materials (five big bins!)  The green bulletin board will house the students' first artwork project in the next few weeks.  For now, it remains empty!

I have tried to make my classroom library really cozy and comfortable.  I have a couple of mini rocking chairs and folding chairs.  I made six large square pillows that rest against my puppet theatre.  Each bin of books is labeled.  The bulletin board will later feature an author of the month.

Our puppet theatre!

House!  I love that my kids have some time to "play".

My writing center.  It will also be a student work table since I have two big class sizes.

My desk area.  No, it never looks this clean.  I wish!

Thank you for stopping by!  I look forward to seeing your pictures, too! :)

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American Symbols and President's Day

Last week, I started introducing American symbols to my kinders.  Some of my students knew a lot about the symbols while others did not know any.  Each day (Wednesday-Friday), we covered something new, which included the American flag, Statue of Liberty, and Bald Eagle.

Below, you can see the anchor charts we made together to show what we learned about each symbol.  I started each day's lesson with the chart and asked students to tell the class what they already knew about the symbol.  Then, after reading the picture book and having a discussion, we went back to the chart and added things we had learned.  I hung the charts near my carpet so that we can reference them this week.

I bought Deanna Jump's America Math and Literacy Fun! unit on Teacher's Pay Teachers and it has been a great help in planning my lessons.  It's such an awesome unit!  I am looking forward to using it this upcoming week to teach about President George Washington and President Abraham Lincoln.  Woohoo!
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My Teacher Bag

One of the main reasons I finally decided to create a teaching blog was so that I could post to the Clutter-Free Classroom blog!  It's very gratifying to take pictures of the before and after cleaning process, wouldn't you agree?  It makes you want to organize more!

This week, the challenge was to clean our classroom teacher bags.  Yikes!  I am guilty of letting my bag and rolling tote jam with materials that need to find a home.  Lately, I couldn't even see the bottom of my teaching bag and I had no idea what was down there!

Let's take a peek, shall we?  This is what I found in my bag today after school:

* Three Ziploc baggies of picture cards for a sound sort game, a giant Tootsie Roll (a Valentine's Day gift from one of my kinders) that never made it home, a school and staff directory, my journal of ideas, sentence strips, my black gloves, two Jolly Phonics sound rings, and my zip/id case.

* When I left school today, the only items in my bag were my idea journal, the Tootsie Roll, directories, and zip/id case.  Awesome!

I also use a rolling tote to transport my curriculum manuals and lesson binder.  However, the tote is luckily organized. :)

Thanks for looking!
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Welcome to my kindergarten blog!  I am very excited to share my classroom ideas and learn from others, as well!
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