Tuesday, July 31, 2012


I went to a conference last winter, and the theme was Wellness in Early Childhood.  Many of the speakers advocated starting school gardens and teaching kids about where food really comes from.  I'm sure you can imagine all the benefits of allowing children to take ownership of the garden through its  care and maintenance.  Ever since that conference, I have dreamed of putting in a garden for my students.  

Unfortunately, I am BAD at taking care of plants.  
The only reason any of the plants I have at home stay alive is because my husband waters them. 

I mentioned in my last post that my mom came to visit me this weekend.  Well, apparently she kept all of the green thumb genes for herself because she has always had gardening success. 

So guess what I had her do while she was here? 

The great thing is that I actually already had a large bed, but it looked like this.  
Sad and weedy.

So, after a trip to Home Depot, a bunch of Miracle-Gro (the special kind for lazy people, as my mom put it), and some good old-fashioned elbow grease, we got this:
Hopefully my lazy-people Miracle-Gro will counter-act my lack of green thumb, and things will actually grow.  We planted tomatoes, begonias, dusty millers, and some green beans (they're seeds, so you can't see them). Everything looks teeny tiny right now because it's new, and we covered everything in sawdust to prevent weeds.  

Has anyone else ever had to plant/maintain a school garden? I would be curious to hear thoughts about how these things actually work. 


Sunday, July 29, 2012

BIG Project

My mom came from Michigan to visit me this weekend! I would like to say that we just had fun shopping and basking in the sun for a couple days, but who has time for that? We spent most of the time in my classroom working on BIG projects.  

Actually, the projects weren't that complicated, they were just on a large scale. 

First off, take a look at this painting on the wall of my new classroom.  It's 8 feet long!
Please tell me I'm not the only person who thinks this is ugly. (My mom actually kid of likes this painting.) I teach in a Christian school, so a picture of baby Jesus and some angels is very appropriate.  I guess I just don't like the colors and the little laughing angel. And the fact that it is HUGE.  Forgive me, but I just couldn't look at this every day for the next several years. 

So, Operation-Cover-Up began. While I may not like the painting, I didn't want to ruin it or put holes in it, and I couldn't take it down.  My dad built a big wooden frame that we could cover in fabric to make something like a bulletin board. My goodness, it's hard to commit to one piece of fabric that big! 

Here's my mom posing with the fabric I (finally!) chose. Hello chevrons! 
We placed the frame on the fabric... 
...and used a staple gun to hold the fabric in place.
The fabric covered frame was made to fit inside the frame of the original painting.
We (meaning my mom) only had to drill 4 holes in the wall, and we used some aluminum clips that my dad made that went over the frame of the original painting to hold our new fabric frame in place.  
Voila! You can see the clips holding everything in place.  No destruction here!

This is much more pleasing to my eye! It adds a nice cheery backdrop to the room, I think.  A woman at the fabric store told me it was "loud in a good way" so that sounds like a good sign to me.  I think I'm going to put some words at the top and affix student work on the rest of it.  Since I can't put staples or pushpins in it like a normal bulletin board, I'm thinking I might put ribbon across it like a clothesline and clip work on with clothespins or something. 

What do you think? 

Head on over to Kindergarten in Heels for a chance to win a $25 Amazon gift certificate!


Sunday, July 22, 2012

Freebie + Organization

Happy Sunday! I spent the majority of my weekend in my classroom (I know - bummer, right?), but I also got to walk in a parade to promote our school! And I had a little bit of time to crank this out:
Click here to get your free copy! Those of you who teach the very little ones will love this! We all know how much kids love to play with Legos/Duplos, so I think this will be a great way to develop patterning skills. You could even use it during an assessment. 

I also want to share my great discovery from yesterday. I had this shoe organizer laying around that I had picked up off a clearance rack a couple years ago.  I finally have a door to hang it on! 
This door divides the two parts of my office, and it's usually open (therefore hiding the shoe organizer). You know that bin filled with craft odds and ends that you don't really have a good place for? Well, my bin got emptied and organized into this handy dandy shoe organizer! I kind of wish it was clear, but at least it's made from netting that is pretty easy to see through when you're up close.  This thing makes it so simple to grab what you need and GO!

I'll let you know when I devise a good way to label the pockets...

Oh, and if you would like to win an Erin Condren lesson plan book, stop by Just Reed! She's doing a fantastic giveaway right now!


Wednesday, July 18, 2012

The Move

Let me start out by saying that I never really pictured myself in this situation.  

Then again, how can we ever really plan for the future? If you have read my "About Me" page, then you know I have taught in a couple different positions at my school.  Halfway through this last year, I was offered the position of Preschool Director starting with the 2012-2013 school year.  I struggled back and forth with whether I wanted to make the move or not, but ultimately I decided it would be a wonderful step forward in my career. 

I'm very happy, and I feel very blessed to have been considered for this position. I am truly excited for what this year will bring.

That is, I will be excited once this move is over! Where is the moving crew when you need them? Here is my old classroom, mid-packing:
Believe it or not, it actually looks remarkably better in this picture than it did a few days prior. 
Unfortunately, the classroom I'm moving to is what feels like lightyears away. Let's just say that there are a lot of carts and doors and stairs involved.  It's not pretty, and it's taken me a really long time. I will say that having keys to the building so I can come and go as I please is super nice, though!

And here is my new room, complete with the mountain of furniture and stuff in the middle (I'm hoping to get the room painted this summer.)
This mountain is the least of my worries.  I get my own office (yay!), but I had to clean it out first.  This  is the pile of trash and recycling from the office after one day's work:
I have made at least five more piles this size so far this summer. And I'm not done yet! 

I am really looking forward to ending the cleaning phase and beginning the set-up phase. Maybe someday I will post pictures of my office so you can see how far it's come!

Also, don't forget to enter Faithful in First's fantastic blockbuster giveaway! This is seriously HUGE!


Friday, July 6, 2012


Hello friends, 

After only 7 months of blogging, I was sick of the look of my blog. So, I changed it up today! I LOVE the chevron look. What do you think? 

Also, I am in love with these new earrings I picked up yesterday. I'm not really sure this picture does them justice.  They're so sparkly. 

I just found a new blog today! 

And wouldn't you know it, Teaching Joys is having a giveaway! A $25 giftcard to Target!Stop by and give her some more followers!

Thursday, July 5, 2012

Follow the Road to a Pot of Gold!

Happy International Blog Hopping Day!

Follow for Freebies

My favorite part of blogging is freebies, so I am linking up to share my latest freebie! Click here to get these number puzzles that are perfect for Pre-K and Kindergarten. 

Thanks for stopping by!


Monday, July 2, 2012

My Birthday!

It's my birthday!

So, this post has nothing to do with teaching or my classroom and everything to do with food! 
My husband took me out for breakfast this morning at a cute little restaurant in Andersonville (a neighborhood by us in Chicago). After that, it was simply too hot to go outside. So we ate in tonight!

We just got a new pasta maker for our stand mixer. Here's my husband making bucatini:
 And here's the finished dish: 
 Did I mention that my husband is a professional chef? 
This is the herb-roasted lamb rack with some veggies and mustard sauce. 
 And because I didn't want to force him to make a cake after all that other cooking, we picked up some cupcakes from the Swedish Bakery in Andersonville.  
I am stuffed!

Also, I just finished my Barnyard Number Stories Work Station for Kindergarten and first grade!
Here's the link to the product in my store: TpT
And because it's my birthday and I just bragged about all the yummy food I got to eat, I will make up for it by sending a copy to the first 3 people to comment with their email address! 


Sunday, July 1, 2012

Catching Up!

I really should have written this post a long time ago. After all, school ended a month ago for us.  Somehow summer has become just as busy as the school year, only in different ways.  Anyway, the last week of school was filled with such fantastic activities for us, that I couldn't not blog about them.

Better late than never, right?

Well, during the last week of school, our classroom turned into a camp: Camp Learned-A-Lot!

Here's a close-up on the little tents on the door. I made them with foam, construction paper, puffy paint, hot glue, and those mini picture stickers we get from the picture company. 
I made a fire using paper towel tubes, tissue paper, napkins, and a few other things I found.  The kids LOVED this thing! 
 I put carpet squares down so we could have discussions "around the campfire". 
 I also made a tiny tent using an easel and a plastic tablecloth.  The little moose is waiting inside for a friend!

Here are some first graders reading in the "tent", and some writing in their journals around the campfire. 
Not only did we get to go to camp, we also got to have water day! A little bit more sun that day would have been nice, but I think just being able to wear a bathing suit to school was super exciting! 

 What's a day in the water without a popsicle?
 And of course we had to do a water balloon toss! 
And then the police showed up and told us we were having too much fun at school!
Just kidding! The police really did come, but only because we had a fire drill that we passed with flying colors.  Chief Paulus brought the fancy police vehicle to show off to the kids.  Strange how excited they are to be in the back of a cop car...

Enjoy your weekend!