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Hi, friends!! Can't wait to link up with you all for #teacherweek2015 !

Today is Monday, which means 5 Fun Facts!!

Here they are, in no particular order:

1. I am a Disneyland Annual Passholder! I have held a pass since 2009, and can't imagine what I did for fun before! ;) I try to jam down there (I live about 5 hours north of Disneyland) after school on Fridays for long weekends, and go during summer break, spring break, winter break, and any other time I can!
My favorite character is Minnie

I even RUN sometimes!

2. I drove the same Ford ZX2 from 2002 (the year I graduated from high school) until 2013. I bought my very first car on my own with my own down payment the weekend before the school year started. I love the color of this car, but I love that NO ONE helped me purchase it even more! :)

Not sure why my tan is funky in this picture....

 3. I may be slightly seriously addicted to Dr. Pepper. I am Christian, but practice the Catholic tradition of Lent most years, and I pretty much ALWAYS give up Dr. Pepper. Not soda. Dr. Pepper. I take major offense when a server at a restaurant offers "root beer" in its place.When my family visited Texas 3 summers ago, I made sure to visit the Dr. Pepper Museum in Waco. Do you believe my love for the 23 flavors yet?

4. My whole family cheers for the San Francisco Giants. I was raised in a SF Giants household, but I am *GASP* an Oakland Athletics fan... I joined the fandom in 2006, and haven't looked back (even when the bandwagon fans jumped ship during the 2010 World Series)!!

5. In February 2014, People Magazine contacted me because I had won a trip to Fox Studios (I had entered an online contest on a whim), and would get to visit the sets of New Girl and The Mindy Project. I was a New Girl fan already, but quickly became a fan of The Mindy Project as well. It was a trip of a lifetime, and I am glad I got to share it with my sister and parents!

I hope you enjoyed reading my fun facts! Link up at Bloghoppin' to share yours! 

Catching up... and a GIVEAWAY!!

Ok, friends! We have made it through Day 10 of school!!!
I wanted to just do a quick update on what has been going on in my life...
This week, we really focused on jumping into our curriculum and routines. I taught ENY all week, and have been beefing up and teaching our ELA curriculum this week as well!
One thing I was feeling last year was that waiting to teach the letter sounds until later really hinders the rigor and momentum students have when they are learning about letter shapes and identification. One way that I have been teaching letter sounds and identification is through Deanna Jump's Chit Chat Messages, but I have also been creating my own at home, which makes it easy for me to personalize what we are reading (and writing) about, and how I review prior knowledge.
Another success in literacy that I have had is by using "rainbow words." This is something I learned about through a colleague last year, and I found it to be SO motivational!! Every student starts out with a list of "red" words, which go home to be identified and mastered as a homework piece. The lists are all the same, but the order in which levels are "added" are entirely up to the students' progress. One way I am changing it this year is the manner in which they are sent home. Last year, after a student mastered a level, they were sent with a new list of the next color to be mastered. I was finding that while students had mastered levels before, they sometimes forgot some of the previous level's words. This year, I am sending them home on binder rings, and students must bring the ring back to add the next color level, so they can continue to build on what they know. This is what my wall of words looked like before sending home the rings:

When students had mastered their "purple" words, I would purchase a book in their area of interest from Scholastic, and wrote a personalized note on the front cover for the child. This has been one of the most successful changes I have made to my ELA homework, and I had kiddos reading second grade words by the end of last year! (They would continue on to first grade words after mastering the K words)

This weekend, I had the opportunity to go see Kelly Clarkson in concert for a friend's birthday. Pentatonix opened for her, and KILLED it, of course. I really LOVE a cappella groups!! A ca-believe it! ;)
I didn't take any pictures of Kelly because A. I didn't want to be an annoying concert-goer who filmed instead of experienced a concert and B. I have the worst phone known to woman, and am FINALLY getting a new one. I can't wait!!! 

Finally, I have reached several of my goals and milestones this week, and I wanted to celebrate with you!!! I will be giving away the items shown below (some of my faves) AND a $10 TPT gift certificate to say thank you:
Pin Hooks: the best way to hang items on binder rings and clips. I use these EVERY-where in my classroom
Mr. Sketch: Who DOESN'T love smelly markers?!
Flair Pens: No introduction necessary! ;) A teacher staple!
Island Margarita hand sanitizer from B&BW. LOVE the mini mental vacay I go on when I use this. 
Grey-ish purple nail polish
A gold canvas quote
Watermelon Lemonade B&BW scent disk... Ahhh, summer. You were JUST here!
FINALLY, I did NOT have this item in the picture, but I LOVE Nickel and Suede Earrings (Thanks, Amy Lemons, for introducing them to me through your Instagram), so I have purchased an additional pair of the Olive earrings for my lucky winner!!
**I am NOT sponsored by this company. I purchased this item for my winner!!**

ANNNNNNNNND, I have a Large Hole Sharpener from Classroom Friendly Supplies!! You NEED this in your life!!

Please, enter below!

a Rafflecopter giveaway Thanks for following! I appreciate EVERY one of you!!

Back to School Bash; The first week AND another giveaway!!

OK, friends! I have made it through half of our first week! This week, I am linking up again for the Back to School Bash. This week is appropriately about The First Week!!
I had planned on taking soooo many pictures, but it is a running joke that my phone is due for an upgrade, and I haven't managed to take any this week (worst blogger award)!! I will just have to use my words... :)

  1. On the first day, my kinders come for a short time in the morning with their parents to meet me and better understand the schedule, where my classroom is located, and a few other pieces of information necessary before the first day. While the parents are engaged with the presentation, I have students color a boy or girl cutout with his/her name on it. I pre-cut these people, mainly because I haven't taught the procedure of using scissors, and because coloring is really what we are going to compare when we do another one (using the same template) at the end of the year. 
  2. Yesterday, I had students for the first full day. We did a tour of the school, and I had them practice walking in a line. At our school, we have lines painted, to make it easier for students to stay focused and engaged in line. I also took them to the cafeteria and explained how to use their lunch card. Another colleague of mine hid paper bone cutouts and read a dog story. The dog had gone to school, and on each bone, she listed a clue about where to go next. This is a fun and simple way to introduce students to important locations on campus.
  3. I also did VERY simple centers yesterday. I ran 3 centers: using pattern blocks, drawing a picture of their first day and writing their names, and a handprint art project with a poem that went along with what we read: The Kissing Hand. Who DOESN'T love The Kissing Hand?! I get teary, and I don't even have my own kids!
  4. Today's centers were also simple. I had printed out each name with a white filled text and had students use dot markers (bingo daubers) to trace their names. This is a way to practice fine motor skills. I also had students at a math center using linking cubes. Finally, I had students working on signing their names and using a stamp.
  5. Another first week activity I like doing is a "How We Get Home" chart. I cut out bus, car, and shoe clip art, label a piece of chart paper, and we get started. This is one way to kill two birds with one stone. Not only do I now know who goes where after school, but students are also actively engaged in an activity. It's also a good way to begin introducing the concept of graphing (sorting) and counting. I was SHOCKED when a student knew the number 15! Shocked, but impressed. :)

I have more that I hope to add to this list this week(with pictures, darn iPhone4!), so stay tuned! Thanks for joining me!

I have some more fun news! The Linky party is also hosting ANOTHER giveaway!! You can enter for some great giveaways below!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Meet the Teacher Night Ideas

HI, friends! I am linking up (a little late) for week 2 of the Back to School Bash! Today's topic is "Meet the Teacher Night Ideas."
I have never had a Meet the Teacher Night, but I imagine it is much like Back to School night, or kindergarten orientation...
Our kinders come on the first day of school for the "big kids" to get a rundown of the day, procedures, and, essentially, to meet the teacher... Last year, I was new to my school, so I didn't really know how everything worked, but this year I am going into the year feeling excited and confident!
One of the things we do at Kindergarten Orientation is go over our schedule. I like to create a Powerpoint to go over things with visuals.
Another idea we had for this year was a slideshow of teachers doing different things on the playground and discussing do's and don't's. I can only imagine that the kiddos' moods will be lightened when they see their teacher climbing up a slide. :)
Next, I usually have parents fill out any important paperwork required by school so that we can get it turned in ASAP. While parents are asking questions or filling out paperwork, I usually have an activity for students to complete such as name coloring, first day portraits, or exploring a book tub I've pre-selected. This tends to be board books, since I have not gone over classroom library procedures yet. I save that kind of stuff for later.
I also go over our classroom management plan. I will be explaining our brag tags and modified clip chart, and how they are intended to be used.
I have created a meet the teacher freebie in my TPT store, and will be copying it on the back of our schedule handout. It is important to have parents understand you as a teacher and a human being. :)
Finally, I will be allowing students to select their first day of school brag tag, and adding them to the rings on our "Wall of Fame." Check back on Tuesday for an updated post with pictures! I didn't take any pictures today (ugh!) of the items I have talked about.

If you'd like to link up with us, please do so below!
AND, there is still time to enter! a Rafflecopter giveaway

Tell All Tuesday! Last Hurrah!

Hello, friends!
I am now up and running with new cable and internet ((Insert "Praise hands" here!!), so I am coming to you live, instead of early with our final Tell All Tuesday of the summer... It is hard to believe that my first meeting for the 2015-2016 school year is this Thursday! And, I get my sweet kiddos on MONDAY! Can you believe it?!?
I have to take a moment to say thank you to Diana and Jayme for hosting this fabulous series this summer?! They are the kindest and most encouraging, and I have had a great time getting to know you all this summer because of this series!
Today's Theme is:
"A Wish, a goal, and a dream for the school year"
I love this theme, because we should always be looking forward and thinking of ways to improve, as well as allowing ourselves to dream for the year ahead! 
Who else feels ENERGIZED by the positive, engaging ideas floating around on social media? I know I do! I plan to use what I am seeing to harness the energy and release it in my classroom. 
My wish is that all students are reading. I LOVED the rainbow word program that I used last year, thanks to a colleague who showed it to me. I REALLY want to capitalize on the concept and make sure ALL students are reading by the end of the year... Literacy is key!
For my dream, I have seen SO many posts using a SMART board in the classroom, but I know they are expensive, so this will remain a dream for the near future. Does anyone know if this is a Donors Choose option??
Ok, I can't wait to see what everyone else has to say. If you'd like to link up, you can do so below! Happy Tuesday!!