Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Summer Break/School Prep Part Four!

OK, scrapbooks!  Where to begin...actually, as soon as you complete one class set at the end of the year, you take a few week's break and you get a serious start on next year's set!!  Seriously.  I know this must seem like a crazy endeavor and as a team, we do question our sanity somewhere in mid-May every year when we show up at school bleary-eyed and comparing how many hours we spent on these things over the weekend, griping and carrying on!  BUT, it is a labor of love and I imagine we will keep it up until one of us cries uncle!

I can't explain how proud the children are to present this collection of their year's work to their parents on our Awards is priceless and I wouldn't trade it for anything.

Every year, we (our team) all come up with what we can do throughout the year to make this an easier here goes...

I start with a few pages that I can prepare beforehand during the summer.

I use the die cut in our work room before the building closes for summer
and cut out a few shapes that I like to use (school, shamrock and turkey).

I print the scripts and back them with scrapbook paper.

I make scripts for each page and file them in the order that we would
complete that page within the school year.

First Day of School, Chicka Chicka Boom Boom, Apples, Pumpkins, etc...

I cut out the pirate ships for the front cover.

This was the cover I used this year.  I included a photo of each child wearing our
pirate hat on the left side of each cover.  So cute!


Messy...keep plenty of scissors, glue and water bottles on hand!

This is what my First Day of School page looked like before I started using the school
die cut as the background for their photo.

On this page I include a class photo from the first day, their Kissing Hand and script.
I also use their First Day Homework page on this layout.

This is our 50's page that I prep by making the TV and having it ready to go!

I print the poem and have it cut out and ready.  I file the poems but I do go ahead
and get their handprints done the first week of school at some point!

K Scrapbook Handprint Poem 

Wow! 200 Followers!!

I just wanted to take a moment and say thank you to all the wonderful friends out there who are following my blog! All of your wonderful blogs have so inspired me and my ideas about teaching that I feel very thankful that we all have this as a positive way to share ideas with each other. Thank you for all that you offer to share and for your encouragement in making what can be such an amazing job (although a difficult one at times :)) even better!


Friday, June 24, 2011

First Day of School!/ School Prep Part Three

Here are a few things I like to have for the first day of school.  I actually have this sheet on a clipboard in my hand when parents come to the room on Orientation Day.  I don't think anything is more important to know on the first day of school than HOW each child is going to get home that day!!  Our former principal liked to say that all of our efforts to educate were useless if we failed at getting each child home safely...truer words were never spoken!   And as we all know, with brand-new dazed, tired kindergartners this is no easy task. prepared!  Have this sheet in your hot little hands as you meet parents at Orientation and the morning of the first day to grab each parent as they come in.  Michele Potts has used a similar format for years and yes, I stole, stole, stole!

First Day Checklist

OK, so this is a bit cheesy but I AM a bit cheesy...I give this to parents as they are standing at the door trying to muster the courage to leave their baby with me at BIG school that first bittersweet morning.  I remember so clearly taking my first born to Kindergarten and standing in disbelief at her classroom door realizing that my job was to LEAVE her there!  Any small reassurance helps, I think...

First Day of School Poem

This goes home in the BEE binder the first day.  Parents help their child complete the Homework page and I include it in the Kindergarten sweet.  Again, Michele Potts shared this with me several years ago...thanks, Michele!

First Day Homework Letter

I usually print this on school-themed computer paper that I find at Dollar Tree in the teacher section.  Yay, Dollar Tree!!

First Day of Kindergarten

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Summer Break/School Prep Part Deux!

Well, in my never ending quest to ATTEMPT to remain organized and calm (ha!) I have updated most of my forms, letters, charts, etc. to have ready to copy when we go back for teacher workdays.   I will post them here through Scribd.  I hope they help!


Once we get our class lists (and yes, this is usually just a few days before school actually begins so this is always a JUST BARELY MADE IT sort of thing!).  Even still, the children love to get a letter from the teacher before school officially begins.  I did not come up with this format, I did find it on the internet a few years ago and would give credit if I remembered where I found it!  :) 

Welcome Letter2

I also like to send a letter of encouragement to my students beginning First Grade. I want them to know that I am thinking about them and wish them well! I print this on school themed computer paper that I usually find at Dollar Tree this time of year.

K Former Student Letter

Here is a copy of my handbook that I provide for each parent. I send this home in each child's BEE binder on the first day of school. I do have a Parent Signature page on the back of the Handbook to be sent back for my records. This alleviates MANY negative issues throughout the year. It is all there in black and white! :)

Kindergarten Handbook 1

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Summer Break/School Prep Part One!

I hope everyone is enjoying their summer break so far...I don't know about you but it is sooooo nice to get some extra sleep!  We have been very busy these first few weeks of summer but it has been nice to take a break from thinking about DIBELS, bus duty, grading work, etc.  It never fails, though, once I catch up on some sleep I start thinking about all the ways I need to get ready for the NEXT school year. I want to be prepared! 

Like all of you, there are so many things I like to do over the summer that will make next year run all the more smoothly.  For the first day of school, I give all of the children a Back To School Bag at the END of the day.  This isn't an original idea, of course, but I like to start gathering the bags, candy and other items over the next month and put these together before we head back for Teacher Workdays.  Once we go back for workdays, this is the kind of thing that falls by the wayside so I like to have them ready beforehand.  
There are many variations to this idea and you can find them by googling "back to school treat bag". 

We are the Providence Pirates so I like to have a friendly pirate theme to anything that I can.

I found these bags at Michael's last year so I had better start looking for them now!

For this script, you can change the clipart to coordinate with your school mascot
 or any other design you would like. 

Here are the items you will need to fill the bag:
Tootsie Rolls
Hershey Hugs

K Your Back to School Bag

Check back for other Back to School Prep ideas!

Thursday, June 2, 2011

Famous Americans!

I thought I would share our finished Famous Americans books with you. 
 I really like their covers...I tell them that THE most Famous American that needs
to go on their cover is THEM!  They love it!! 

Ok, while I am happy with our finished product, I know I fell short on this book.  My aim for next year is to try and have one famous American that we study each month and then add to our book.   We'll see..if wishes were fishes and all that.  I had wanted to include a child (Ruby Bridges), Eric Carle (since we did study his work for a solid month!), women (Mae Jamison, Helen Keller-both from Alabama) and George Washington Carver (also from Alabama).  I have gathered books on all of these historical figures and will work to get my patterns, lessons, activities compiled over the summer.   That being said, I am still happy with all that we did accomplish with these books and how they tie in with our Course of Study.

The artwork for Martin Luther King Jr. is based on a TLC unit. The Johnny Appleseed
patterns were made based on a project that I saw in an Oriental Trading Co. catalog! 
I get some great ideas from them!! 

The George Washington and Abraham Lincoln artwork came
from Deanna Jump's American Symbols unit. 

OK,  for Dr. Seuss, I just used the same patterns that I used for Martin Luther King Jr.! 
I didn't think he would mind.  :)

Here is one of our favorite Famous Americans, Mrs. Lawson!  She selflessly has come to my room every Monday for the past two years to read to my students.  They absolutely love their time with her!  I cannot express what an invaluable gift this is that she so freely gives to these children.  Thank you, Mrs. Lawson!

Here is another Famous American, one of my fabulous Peer Mentors, Kionna!  This is a huge perk from having a K-8 school.  We are able to request some of the best middle school students to help in our classrooms for one period a day.  Kionna has been assisting in my room, however, since she was in the fourth grade!  How lucky am I?!

Brittney, another wonderful Peer Mentor, came to say goodbye after her 8th Grade Graduation. 
There were tears...

...and some laughter!  We will miss her terribly but wish her
well as she moves on to high school.