December 30, 2013

Teachers of Instagram Linky Party

2013 is winding down and 2014 is knocking at the door!  It's hard to believe; '13 FLEW by.  This year has been fantastic in so many ways.  Of course, there have been some rough moments, but those are fleeting.

I'm linking up with Elizabeth from Kickin' It In Kindergarten for her Teachers of Instagram Linky Party.  I began using Instagram in 2013, and boy, has it changed a lot of things for me!  It has surpassed all other types of social media as my favorite form.  I have made so many connections and "Insta-friendships" through Instagram.  I'm much more faithful to post to that as opposed to blogging also.  Before you read any further, follow me!  @mrsbanisterskindergartenkids

Anyway, the point of this link party is to post your three favorite pictures from your Instagram account.  Here we go...

1.  This picture is amazing to me.  I am a huge fan of tech integration.  It definitely doesn't replace quality teaching, but effective technology use can enhance a learning so much.  In this picture, every single one of my students are logged into and using a MacBook Air.  My school currently has three MacBook carts that we can check out often, as well as six iPads per classroom.  Next year, the plan is that we will be 1:1 with iPads.  I'm excited to say the very, very least.  We haven't done too many crazy things with the MacBooks yet, but I have big plans. :)

2.  This picture is obviously from last school year, but I just love it so much.  Our school does a huge kindergarten graduation ceremony.  This picture signifies all of the blood, sweat, and tears that go into a school year.  These babies become my own each and every year, and this picture just sums up the bittersweet feelings that naturally come for me at the end of each school year.  Plus, they are pretty stinkin' cute.

3.  Obviously, any picture of these two kiddos will instantly become my favorite.  This picture was taken over fall break while we were on a wagon ride to pick pumpkins.  These two are my life.  They can make me smile no matter how bad my day is.  I love them to the moon and back. 

Now it's your turn!  Go to Elizabeth's blog to link up yourself!  While you're at it, follow me on Instagram {@mrsbanisterskindergartenkids}.

My TPT store will be on sale from December 31-January 2!  Make sure to stock up!

November 11, 2013

Time Savers {I'm SO Thankful for Linky Parties!!!}

Real talk, people... I'm horrible at keeping up with this thing.  It's right in the midst of CRAZY time in kindergarten.  When I get home, I'm ready to get in my jammies and saw some logs.  I get flat worn out!

I'm linking up with Blog Hoppin' to tell you about how I keep my sanity, which is debatable some days.

If it weren't for time savers, I would literally lose my mind.

At Home

I always get my clothes ready the night before.  If I don't do this, I'm guaranteed to try on 12 outfits and get out the door of my house 10 minutes before kids enter my classroom.  That does not equal a happy teacher. :)

I also always make my lunch the night before... Or the week before.  How you might ask?  Salads in a jar, people.

You can make them any way you want...  Find out more about them here.

At School

I have learned over the years that anything I can do to save myself precious minutes will make my job (and life) SO MUCH EASIER.

1.  Make the kiddos responsible for their own supplies.
In my first years of teaching, I ran around like a crazy person making sure supplies were stocked up and that each kid had what they needed. 

I made supplies easily accessible for students.  I keep them in the plastic drawers and added labels.

Students can just waltz right over and get what they need.  Perfection.

2.  T-E-A-M-W-O-R-K

I am blessed to work on a team with two of the best teachers I know.  We take turns organizing our lessons for the week, matching standards and making copies.  So rather than me having to do it every. single. week., I only do it every third week.  Here is what our planning guide looks like:

This doesn't take the place of formal lesson plans, but we are able to turn it into our principal since it is aligned with our standards.

3.  Organizing it all.

Having a place to organize all of your stuff is essential.  I keep each day's lessons inside a file folder in this cute holder from Mardel.  

(Excuse the horrible picture... I'm in a hurry.  It was a time saver, right?)

But don't look at my to-do stack... SIGH...

October 27, 2013

Visual Lesson Plans DONE...Thanks to Fall Break!

Fall break has come and gone.  My kiddos and I had a great time together doing a whole bunch of nothing.  We made lots of great memories together over the last week.  It's always sad for breaks to come to an end, but I am excited about the upcoming week!  I am linking up with Deedee to show my visual plans for the week.

This week is all about spiders, bats, owls, Halloween, and finally, our 50s day celebration!  It will be crazy, hectic, chaotic, but FUN and full of learning.  Here's what's on tap for the week:

I'm off to enjoy the last day before the craziness begins!  Have a wonderful week!

October 25, 2013

Five for Friday

I'm linking up with Doodle Bugs' Five for Friday Linky!

Fall Break is coming to an end for me {tear}.  In my district, we get an entire week off the last full week of October.  It's amazing!  Next year, my district is looking at a balanced calendar, which means we will start the end of July/first of August, but we will get two weeks at Fall, Christmas, and Spring Breaks, as well as a full summer.  It has my vote. :)

Here, in no particular order, are my five randoms for the week!

Seriously, that is not even funny.  It's 26 degrees outside right now.  Twenty. Six. Degrees.  It's October, not January.  I love winter, but October is my favorite month.  Stop crushing my style, Mother Nature.  (Seriously though, I'm just glad I haven't had to go outside to scrape ice off of the windows this week.  True story.)

I knew Monday was the only day that would be halfway warm this week (65 degree high), so we headed to the pumpkin patch to find the perfect pumpkin.  It was a wonderfully fun day!

And no, I have no idea where my kids get the red hair.  Recessive gene, maybe?

We carved said pumpkins last night.  We have one traditional pumpkin, and one one-eyed pumpkin, per request.  

These are both horrible pictures, but after carving two pumpkins and making them pose for pictures in the 30 degree weather, we were all over it.  It was the best we could do. :)

Next week is jam packed with all kinds of fun learning!  We will start Monday with spiders.  This is on the agenda, along with some spider fun from Deanna Jump's Spider Unit on TPT:

Tuesday will be all about BATS!  I loathe bats.  They scare the poo out of me.  We will be making this graph again this year:

{Graph idea taken from The First Grade Parade.  Can you tell I love her ideas???}

We will also make a non-fiction book about bats from Deanna Jump's Bat Unit on TPT.  

Wednesday will be owl day!  I love those creatures.  We do a lot of fun activities about owls, but my favorite is our owl pellet dissection.  Here is a fun picture from last year's kiddos.  

Thursday is Halloween, so we will be doing lots of fun stuff that day.  

Friday is the 50th Day of School celebration.  We are having root beer floats, bubble gum blowing contest, and a sock hop!  This is our first year of doing this, so no pics yet. :)

I have a professional development day on Monday.  Yes, Monday.  :)  I'm helping write curriculum for a grant our district received for the state level.  I'm very excited about the opportunity to help our district as we go toward thematic/PBL style of teaching!  With that said, I will be back Sunday to link up with Deedee with my visual plans.

Thanks for reading!

September 29, 2013

Peek At My Week

This week will be all about bringing in fall!  It's the first week of October, and we are sure going to be celebrating it this week!  While we are right in the middle of end of the grading period assessments, we will be squeezing in some fall fun.  Here is a peek at what we will be doing this week:

Now I have to finally head to bed to watch my favorite story on DVR... Nashville!

September 22, 2013

I'm Baaaackkkk... Visual Lesson Plans Link-Up!

Seriously, could I be a worse blogger?  It's been well over a month, school is in full swing, and I have not blogged once!  It's a whirlwind, I tell ya.

I have the BEST little class this year.  They are sweet, cute, and make me laugh.  They are making my life pretty easy.

So far this year, we have done the following units:  All About Me, Friends, Family, Community Helpers, and Apples.  Next week is a continuance of apples and moving into FALL. :)  I love fall so much, and we drag out as much fall as we can over the next few weeks.

I'm linking up with DeeDee Wills in her Visual Lesson Plan Link-Up!  I'm hopeful this will become a Sunday evening tradition for me.  I am using some fabulous activities this week by some fabulous teachers.

Take a Peek at Our Week

August 10, 2013

The BUSIEST Summer of My Life...

Well, hello there!  It's been way too long since I've blogged, but I have really good reasons.  This last month has been PACKED with getting ready to go back to school, tying up loose ends, and packing in every ounce of fun I could with my two sweet kiddos.  I have barely had time to breathe, let alone blog!

First things first...  My classroom.  To say I'm proud of it would be an understatement.  I spent two days in mid-July painting my room.  I work in a district that allows us to paint if we wish; they buy the paint, but we do the work of painting our rooms. :)  Here are some pictures of my FINISHED classroom.

Here is a fun picture of my best friend and I in mid-painting.  We spent an evening away from our kiddos to paint my room.  I returned the favor by helping her paint her classroom one Friday night in August!  Her room looks beyond amazing as well!

The entryway.  Banner is from Vistaprint.  Little owls and border on the windows from Mardel.

 My old desk chair made new.  Just don't look at the back. :)

My most favorite part of my classroom--my library.  The tree was painted by a friend of mine.  I added pom-pom flowers for leaves.  I think this will be a favorite for kindergarten kids for years to come!

And a shot of the table area.  Above the ELA focus wall/word wall, you will see my ABC banner!  I hung it using Command hooks, accented it with pom flowers, and voila!  Totally adorable!  You can find the banner (in print or D'Neallian, as well as in a jungle print background) in my TPT store.
This was taken before my new reading series was organized and stored, but this is my cubby area.  In the first six blue baskets, I keep my math tubs.  I do six stations a day, one per table.  In the last six baskets, I keep individual student math manipulatives organized by table.

This is my math meeting board/focus wall.  This was taken right after it was done painting.  I now have a pocket chart with math vocabulary (EnVision Math Vocab Cards are available in my TPT store!) in the empty right corner.  The cork board on the left side of the picture is now beside the door of my classroom and will have our class promise with student signatures on it after school starts.

My hallway bulletin board.  Tree by Carson Dellosa, owls and letters by Mardel.  Poms made by moi.

My student work hallway display.  I adore this display.  It makes switching out student work SO MUCH EASIER!!!  Banner by Vistaprint.  Scrapbook paper from the Lob.  Clothespin names were created on Pages using clip art from Ashley Hughes and white font.

A close-up of the adorable clothespin names.  I'm in love.

And now some before pictures...  Definitely not terrible, but oh my...  The paint has made my room SO MUCH MORE BEAUTIFUL!

I worked my tail off in my classroom this summer.  There's no denying that.  Two of my teacher friends also painted their rooms this summer, and they worked their tails off too.  Other teachers in our district have also painted their classrooms this summer, tails worked off as well.  Did we have to paint?  No.  Will our students receive a better education in a painted vs. non-painted classroom?  Absolutely not.  Does it make our curriculum better or help our students get better scores on standardized tests.  LOL... No.  I tend to agree with the argument of teachers who say that decorating a classroom should be your last priority.  {Did I really just say that???} The most important thing is always those kids who are in your classroom.  Meeting their needs and making sure they leave your classroom with the skills and knowledge they need to become successful in the future trumps everything else.  My classroom looks amazing, but if my teaching was the pits, it wouldn't matter.  This was just a fun little extra I took the time to do this summer. :)

On another note, my little guy started preschool this week.  He goes to our church's preschool, so he is familiar with his surroundings.  His class has 8 boys.  0 girls.  Most of them will come to my school next year.  I'm thinking it will be another boy-heavy year. :)

Last week, I was featured as a new blogger on Common to the Core.  Head on over there to check it out!

I was also nominated for a Liebster Award!  I will post tomorrow about that! :)