Falling in love with Sight Words ~freebie~

Fall is officially here! I absolutely love the fall! However, after moving to Florida I have a whole new appreciation for the beautiful fall colors in the mountains of Tennessee that I often took for granted. Sure we have some leaves that change colors here but nothing beats driving through the hills and mountains and being totally surrounded by the beautiful colors.  With that being said, I couldn't wait to get some fall leaves worked into my classroom this week!

My little ones are struggling with some of the basic sight words so this "spur of the moment lesson" helped us work on some sight words while getting some fall writing and bulletin board décor squeezed in. 

There are so many colorful books to read about to introduce fall and point out some of the changing leaf colors.  These are just 2 of my favorites.

After post reading discussion, I gave the students 2 leaf patterns and art tissue paper squares (the kind that "bleeds") and had them lay the tissue pieces flat onto the leaves. It was hard to convince them to overlap the tissue paper AND to not worry about staying in the lines! I encouraged them to choose only 2 colors per leaf to begin with.


I am missing the photo of the dry tissue covering the leaves but hopefully you can get a mental picture. We I lightly sprayed the tissue paper with a water bottle (warning: tissue paper will blow away if sprayed too hard). After the first spray, they could add more tissue paper to cover the white spaces. Then a final spray included enough water to soak through the tissue. Don't forget to lay newspapers on the table or have a Mr. Clean Magic Eraser on hand because it will bleed through the papers.
Once they are dry (it really doesn't take long...an hour or two), just shake the tissue paper off into the trash can & this is the resulting product ...
We mounted them on black paper and then added our sight word writing. After each child shared and read their leaf writing to 3 friends (I read yours/you read mine), they are ready to hang in the hallway!
They enjoyed this so much that we made lots more leaves so I can add them to a tree on our bulletin board. Completed bulletin board pictures to come soon...

Happy Fall Ya'll!
Grab the patterns for this project here!


My Teacher is Missing!

Over Mother's Day weekend, I took a day off from school to travel back home to Tennessee. It was a last minute decision and I did not "prepare" my students that they would be having a substitute. In planning for a sub at the last minute, I pulled some things from my Emergency Sub Plans since they had not been used all school year long. Before reading the book Miss Nelson is Missing, the sub had my class brainstorm some ideas of where I might be & then draw and write about their thoughts.

Their responses were darling!

"I think she is at home watching TV. I think she is playing in her backyard."

"I think she is at home. She is watching TV."

"She is at the bus ramp? I think she is."

"I think she is visiting her grandparents. I think she is having fun."

"She is at home to get her little boy. Or sick."

"Mrs. Young is spying on us. Mrs. Young is out of town."

"Maybe she is going to the doctor. Or she is at Disney World."

"I think my teacher is sick."
So what is your last minute/emergency substitute plan ideas that require little planning or preparation? Leave me a comment of ideas that I can add to my "bag of tricks!"


I Survived!

This month marks the 1 year anniversary of packing up my family and leaving behind the only place I ever knew as home. Moving 7 hours away from my family and friends was not easy and I did shed many, many tears over the last year but I can honestly say I now have no regrets! My husband is a happy man doing what he loves (Charter Boat Captain) and my boys are also quickly falling in love with the saltwater fishing life. Let's face it... life really is better at the beach! The beach is only 3 miles from my house and only 1/2 mile from my school. Imagine hearing the roar of the ocean from INSIDE your classroom! Yep, it is simply torture but I do find my way there to grade papers and plan lessons several times a week. I never leave home without a packed beach bag or beach chair in my car! 
Sound like a dream? Most days are but of course there is a downside. If you take a confident kindergarten teacher of 15 years and take her away from her best friends that are also coworkers and move her to a new state, new school system, and a new and larger school with a totally different socioeconomic make up and you will shake everything she knows about teaching and shatter every bit of her confidence and strip her of her good reputation!  Although it was a very difficult and lonely school year, I am now making friends and built relationships with my new coworkers, earning my good reputation with parents and have my first year here under my belt.  I can't wait to see what the next school year holds. 
If you happen to be one of my TPT customers let me apologize for being slow to respond to emails and slow to update my ActivBoard Calendars each month. It seems that every break or day off from school involved me traveling home to TN or brought friends and family in to visit (one of the perks of living near the beach). All of my other free time has been spent catching up on school things, getting my home put together, learning where all of the hot fishing spots are with my hubby, or just driving around and learning about all of the wonderful things my new hometown & surrounding area has to offer.  In short, I just didn't have any motivation or desire to work on TPT things! Don't worry though, I am working feverishly now to get all of the calendars updated for the 2015-2016 school year. If you drop by TPT next week all of the updates should be ready to download.

Thank you to the many friends I have made through TPT and the blogging world! It is so nice to get emails from "friends" that I have never met to follow up on my Logan's accident and just to see how my new life has been working out. In a nutshell, Logan is doing well but we are heading back to a trauma specialist next week to see about removing the femoral rod that was implanted in his leg. We were told that if the rod needs to be removed, it usually happens around the 18 month mark. At exactly 18 months he began to have severe pain. Ugh!  We still have not had any financial/legal resolution AT ALL with the insurance of the person who caused the accident so we will just add this to the long list of expenses that we have had to foot the bill for.  Sometimes life is just not fair but you really cannot put a price on a life. I'm just so blessed that I still have my baby boy. 

Hope you are all enjoying your summer break!

Blessings to you!

Teen Number Turkeys

Hi Friends! Surprise! Two posts in one month! I may finally be settling into my new life! I have been home with a sick child today (flu, yuck!) so I threw together an ActivBoard flipchart for Teen Numbers because my little darlings still need lots of practice with this skill! I would love to hear some of your ideas on how you teach the teen numbers!

Click on the pictures below to grab this free flipchart!



Enjoy & don't forget to comment with your favorite teen number ideas or resources!

Huge Sight Word Freebie Pack

Over the summer, we moved our family from TN to Florida and my, oh my, has it been an adjustment!  If you have followed my blog for any amount of time you will know that this move has just been one more major change in our already interrupted lives! We love our new home, schools, and the many wonderful things we have had the opportunity to experience here.  My hubby feels like he is in heaven with being able to walk to the water to fish every single day if he chooses!  Life in Florida is good so far.

Thank you for the sweet emails and notes that some of you have sent concerning Logan!  He has completely healed from his car wreck, was able to graduate from high school on time and I am thrilled to see him as an all grown up college boy.  That means I now have 2 boys in college!!!  

Now for your freebie....I just spent the last 2 years working on sight word packets for the reading series we used in TN and now I have a whole new set and sequence of sight words. This sight word packet is still a work in progress but I have put a lot of time and effort in them and wanted to share! It is sort of a welcome back to my lonely blog and inactive TPT store for the last several months. I have several large projects started and life is finally starting to settle into a routine so maybe I can get them finished soon.

Click on the pictures to download this freebie!

If you use Scott Foresman Reading Street or McGraw Hill Wonders you may be interested in one of those sight word packets instead! See the links below.



Headed Back to School Yet?

It that time of year again when teachers everywhere wonder where the summer went! My summer has been a long time of being unsettled. We made the move to Florida at the beginning of the summer but the foreclosed home we were buying hit a major legal snag and after exhausting every solution we could, we ended up just walking away from it. 

But of course, when one door closes, another door opens and Praise God, the next door that opened was a brand new home for less money! It is only 2 miles from my new school and 3 miles from the beautiful beach! Now we are at the end of summer break and it looks as if we will be closing on our new house within 2 weeks...and of course it would fall during the first week of school!  No complaints though! We have been blessed to stay at a wonderful vacation resort in a townhome for the summer with lots of things to do at an incredibly low price. I'm just ready to stop living out of a suitcase! 

Now back to school...

The annual Teachers Pay Teachers back to school sale is coming up Monday & Tuesday, August 4-5 so I thought I would suggest a few items that you may find helpful for back to school planning!

A Sprinkling of Morning Work Set 1....It has a sprinkle of math, a sprinkle of ELA, and a dash of science and social studies. Many of my customers use this as morning work, seatwork, or even homework! It is a great resource for spiral review.
Don't forget to pick up sets 2-4 also!
Know it All Numbers for ActivBoard
This is a wonderful interactive tool for teaching number sense and numbers 1-10!

ABCs of Back to School
These editable resources are perfect for organizing your Parent Orientation Meeting, Open House, or to go over procedures with your students. Available as an ActivBoard flipchart or Power Point. Themes include Stick Kids, Owls, Pink & Black. Just search my store for ABCs of Back to School to see all of the options.

Sight Word Worksheets for Wonders Reading series and Scott Foresman Reading Street. Supplement your reading series with these fun and engaging sight word activities. 

Enjoy these last few days of summer!
Be Blessed!

Smores Decor & Freebie!

My bestie recently redecorated her classroom with an adorable camping theme and needed a few things to complete her project. Here are a few of the things I made for here. Click on the pictures below to find them in my TPT store.
Don't forget to grab the Word Wall Words for ~FREE!~



More Chalkboard Decor!

For all of my Chalkboard Décor loving friends...I just finished up my Learning Center Signs and Labels in the Chalkboard Theme.  They will look great on my new neon colored baskets and bins!  If you are interested, click on the picture below to grab your copy now!


More than 50 Learning Center Signs include:
Block, iPad, Computer, Word Work, Game, Library, Read to Self, Buddy Reading, Partner Reading, Meet With Teacher, Writing, Sight Word, Making Words, Read the Room, Write the Room, Journal Writing, Creation Station, Puzzle, Snack Table, Pocket Chart, Listening, Big Book, Games & Puzzles, Music, Reading, ABC Center, Math, SMARTboard, Interactive Whiteboard, Game Center, Whiteboards, Alphabet, Home Living, Spelling, Social Studies, Science & Discovery, Art, Poetry, Bean Bag Center, Drama, Lego, Make it-Take it, Language Arts, Fine Motor, Magnetic Letters, Pokey Pin, Sticky Word, Magnet Play, Play Dough, Sand & Water, Cooking, Overhead Projector, Sensory Table, DVD Center, Manipulatives, Lincoln Logs.
Pair these with my ~FREE~ coordinating Color Words Posters...
...and Chalkboard Alphabet...


...and Chalkboard themed classroom Leaders/Helpers Job Chart....


Chalkboard Freebie!

Last year I added some black chalkboard décor to my classroom to tone down some of the many bright colors I had going on. I firmly believe in a bright and cheery classroom but I think I had gone overboard with all of the colors and it was becoming a crazy over stimulating mess! The black really did tone it down and made those bright colors pop like I originally intended.  If you are into the Chalkboard décor, I would like to offer you my Chalkboard Color Word Posters freebie!  Click on the picture below to grab your copy! Don't forget to follow me on TPT and leave some feedback love!

If you are happy with these, you may want to consider purchasing my Chalkboard Alphabet Posters.
...or my Classroom Leaders/Helper Jobs Chart.
Hope you are having a wonderful summer break!
Be Blessed!

Got Lunch?

If your students must enter a lunch number on a keypad you may be interested in the letter below that asks parents to help their child learn their number at home.
Click on the picture to download it for free!



Project iPads

Thanks to several grants, I  currently have 5 iPads in my classroom. Since introducing them into the classroom, I have used them in small groups and in independent learning centers.  However, it didn't take long for my little smarties to figure out how to download non-educational games and videos to play when they were supposed to be on learning games.  So now I am on a quest for ideas for iPad projects that will keep those little darlings engaged in learning activities using the iPads as a tool rather than a toy.

Here is one idea that I found that kept them on task. Students worked with a partner or two using our jumbo magnetic numbers (flashcards will work just as well) and went around the room creating sets to match each number using objects they found in the classroom. As evidence, they had to take a picture of their sets and include the number in the picture.   

Once the students finished their number sets, I let them exchange iPads with another group to share their number set pictures and check to see that the other group had the correct number of objects in their pictures.

How have you used iPads in the classroom?

Decorating Mayday!

One of my favorite things about being a kindergarten teacher is creating a cozy and fun classroom that is super kid friendly and conducive to learning.  I love using bright primary colors with the little ones but somehow over the years I have gotten carried away and all of the bright colors became too "busy" and overwhelming. An easy solution I found was to add in a black chalkboard theme to tone the colors down a little and I loved it! Here are some pictures of my former classroom that I found that show some splashes of the black.




I love that our walls were painted Concrete Gray because it offered a neutral background for all of those colors and the sink storage cabinets and trim around the doors was red.
Well, now that I got a job in my top choice school, its almost time to start thinking about getting the new classroom ready! I haven't actually seen "my" classroom yet. There are 3 classrooms to choose from but I have only been able to see 1 so far because the floors were being waxed and carpets cleaned.  However, I did take some pictures to start getting some ideas. I was absolutely blown away to find out that all of the classrooms have a teacher office in them! A big office! With lots of storage cabinets!
So this is where I need your help! I LOVE the huge classroom and office but I am not very fond of the colors on the cabinets and cubbies. They were popular colors from the late 80's and early 90's...dusty mauve and hunter green! Not primary colors at all!  Ugh!

Look at that huge classroom and office! I'm in love!
But what should I do? Go ahead with my black chalkboard and primary colors and just hope the pink and green cabinets & cubbies under the windows blend in? Or do I change my color scheme all together and try to go with something that centers around the cabinet colors?  I'm not sure I should ask if I can paint them...at least not yet.  My former principal didn't care what we did to our classrooms as long as the school looked kid friendly....(paint furniture, shelves, file cabinets, wall murals, curtains, etc). Fortunately, he trusted the teachers and as a result, our school had a great reputation of being very well decorated, inviting, and kid friendly.
Do you have any ideas for me?
How about your school? Do you have freedom to paint and/or decorate as you wish?

Cleaning out the Cobwebs!

Anyone out there?

Let me dust these cobwebs off of my little blog and explain how this place has become such a ghost town!  If you have time, grab a cup of coffee or bottle of water and sit down and take a little journey with me! If it gets too lengthy, feel free to take an exit out of here but I just feel the need to share the highlights of the last 5 months of my life! It has truly been unbelievable!

As you probably remember, our lives turned upside down last September when our 16 year old, Logan had a car accident and spent a month in the hospital and 4 more months recovering at home & doing home bound school.  Praise God, he is now completely healed and back to a normal life!

After those stressful months of being stretched to my limits, I felt like I had been isolated and going through a depression. I went from round the clock nurse, teacher, mom, cook, etc. to having my life back...no one needed me. I just felt lost! I knew God was doing something inside of me but I didn't know what. Little did I know, He was just preparing me to shake my life up a whole lot more!

You see, the wonderful man that I married 24 years ago grew up in Florida and has always wanted to move back. But before we knew what hit us, we were married, had good jobs, 3 little boys, a mortgage, and roots! We had planted our roots in the same hometown where I was born and raised and life was good!  Just like I always dreamed of.

Now, fast forward 24 years and you will find us getting close to entering the "empty nest" stage of life. Our oldest has moved out to go to college, the second son just graduated high school and the youngest is in middle school. We have been blessed beyond measure!

Now the important part that I left out is that over the last 10 years or so, the ocean has been calling to my hubby and he has reminded me many, many, many times that he is ready to go back to Florida. I’m not sure exactly how many years I have ignored his request but in the last couple of years that request has become more of a desperate plea and longing. To be completely honest, I truly worried that he would disappear one day and head south without us. He never gave me any valid reason to believe that he would but I began to prepare myself financially and emotionally to be a single mom…“just in case”. Looking back I realize that was selfish on my part just to ignore him and not even consider talking about it for so many years. I just didn’t want to uproot our boys and take them (or myself) away from my family & life as we know it.

Well this past February, hubby was again saying he was ready to move and our youngest began crying saying he did not want to move. For some reason, this time it just irritated me and in frustration, these are the words I said....

“There is no reason to cry!
I don’t want to move to Florida either so if that is what God has in His plan for us then He will open our hearts & minds to the idea and He will change our desires. God loves us and won’t take us kicking and screaming so there is no use in crying about it.”
Why didn’t I just keep my mouth shut?!?!
Within 1 short month, I had applied for and received a Florida teaching license, began preparing our home to sell, searching for a home in Florida, and applying for teaching positions! Now it is the beginning of July and I am packing the last few things and will be making the big move in just a few short days!
You might wonder how did so much change from February until July? The only answer...God!  (Me and my big mouth!) He began changing my heart and answering my prayers literally within minutes and hours of praying! It was completely crazy and actually became quite comical at the number of answered prayers I received.  My coworkers came in each morning asking what God had done to get my attention in the last 24 hours!  Here are just a few examples...
Miracle #1- An open mind and change of heart in me was the first miracle but I'll spare you the details of how that happened! Lots of tears and tissues involved!
Miracle #2- Hubby went to "Sea School" and got his Charter Boat Captains license and has dreams about beginning his own chartering company. So one morning while praying, I asked God how could I let him follow his dream, but yet still give our family stability (his health insurance coverage is now a must for Logan's future complications from car wreck) and a steady income. When hubby woke up 15 minutes after my prayer, he told me that a coworker had told him that there was a job opening in Destin, FL doing his exact same job with his same company!  No loss of benefits or financial security and he can begin the charter boat business on weekends and evenings until it grows and takes off!
Miracle #3- The following morning I was praying again & telling God that we can't move...we have a mortgage on a home that will be paid in full in just a few short years! We can't just walk away from that! Again, 15 minutes later, the hubs woke up & told me that a neighbor stopped by the night before and said "hey, if you ever think about selling your home just let me know because we need a bigger home & yours would be perfect." Ummm, we had told NO ONE we were even discussing a move AND he has never even been inside our home!
Miracle #4- I can't leave my oldest son! He will be a senior in college, will marry someday and have some grandchildren for me. I don't won't to live far from my future grandkids! This one took about 8 hours for an answer... that evening, our oldest sent me a text asking how to get in-state tuition for Florida State University!  When I questioned why he was asking, he responded that he had been considering a change of scenery & fresh start somewhere & FSU had a great business department and a paintball team!
Now by this time it is getting pretty hard to convince myself that these are all just coincidences. Just for good measure (and to "test" God) I decided to write a wish list for what I wanted in a new house. I love my home so He is really going to have to show off to make me happy with a new home. Just to be difficult and a bit of a spoiled brat #1 on my wish list was to be close to the beach (for me!) and/or the bay (for the hubby's fishing pleasure).  I'll post that wish list below...note the highlighted items...those are things our new home has! Looks like I will be putting up my own fence!
I have always doubted if I was hearing from God or not so He made it VERY clear to me that this is His will for our lives.
And the miracles continued! 
Among some of the other answered prayers...

  • I got a job at my first choice school in my first choice grade (kindergarten) AND it is just 1 short mile to the beautiful beach and 1 mile from my new house!!! Did I mention that I found out that I have a 3rd cousin that works at this school?!? We haven't seen each other in 20 years & I had no idea she had moved to Florida!  Small world!
  • My husband did interview for and received a job transfer with no loss of benefits and a few added perks.
  • My little one that always cried at the mention of moving... he now says he will be disappointed if we don't move!
  • BIG MIRACLE! We were able to pay our current home mortgage off IN FULL and also have money for a good down payment on our new home! 
  • The new home was a model home and wasn't available for us to move into until end of November so we walked away without signing a contract and told them we would have to pray about it first. Twenty minutes later we got the call to name our closing date and they would make it happen!
The list can go on and on but I guess this peek into the last 5 months of my life explains my absence and slow responses to TPT feedback and questions. I am certainly not telling you all of these events to boast or brag...I give God ALL of the Glory!  Trust me, I have asked God "why" many times. The only answer I hear is "watch and see". I can no longer doubt that this is just His plan for my life and my steps are ordered by Him!
Now to Him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to His power that is at work within us. Ephesians 3:20 
May I suggestion you write down your wish list for your life?!?