Monday, July 30, 2012


I was looking through my "stats" and have to say I am quite surprised at what keywords are being searched and how those come to my blog.  If you have a blog and have not looked at your stats recently, go for it.

I think my most incredulous search phrase is "kids open each other pants."  Seriously? How did that bring someone to my little blog?  I know I mentioned pants in my clothesline post.  This make me a little uncomfortable now in what I am sharing and how I am sharing it.  All the other searches listed were normal searches that would bring one to a teaching blog.

I'd love some thoughts and do you all feel about this?


Saturday, July 28, 2012

Math Website to share

I have been going through my bookmarks to find some lovely blogs to pass the Leibster award onto, and happened upon this one I used in the past.  In case you have not seen it yet, I thought I would share it with you.

Math Teaching Resources for K-5

This site offers activities aligned with the Common Core Standards.  There are literacy suggestions in there too, which of course I LOVE!  In case you missed it is a previous post, I love children's literature and use books in my lessons where ever and whenever possible.

The second reason I love this website is their section on math journals.  The push to write more in math really forces the journals back into the math curriculum; there are a lot of great ideas and suggestions by grade level.  You can even purchase pre-made journals to make your life easier, or download their preview to get  yourself started.  Great to use in the beginning of the year when things are crazy!



Thursday, July 26, 2012

Wow & Thanks!

I've noticed increased traffic to my blog this week and last, and I think today I figured out why!  I have been awarded the Liebster Award by Elizabeth at Mrs Hodge and Her Kindergarten Kids!!  Thank you so much!

Thanks so much!! I just found out about this, even though it was a few days ago.  So I am wondering what I need to "click on" to find out when people link to me?  

Okay, so here are the rules for receiving this award:

1. Link back to the person who gave it to you.
2. Post the award to your blog.
3. Give the award to at least 5 bloggers with less than 200 followers.
4. Leave a comment on the 5 blogs to let them know that they have been offered this award.
This award is named for the German word "Liebster," which translates to "beloved" or "favorite", and is given to a "new, up and coming blogger."

Now I need to figure out how to post the award on the blog.  This old dog is trying really hard to learn new tricks!!

I will be back to give out my awards: there are so many fabulous blogs to choose from, and my top favs have already received it!

Thanks again Elizabeth!!

1. Pam at Pocketful of Centers
2. Melody at Teaching Melodies

Monday, July 23, 2012

Clotheslines in the classroom

I have often used a clothesline in my classroom as a special workstation.  I am careful NOT to use it too much; I want to keep it special for the students.  When they would come into my class and see it hanging, the students would get so excited!  One thing I have noticed, especially with the older students, is they remember what we have done, and how often we have done it and if I put something out too often they do not choose it unless it is a "MUST DO" workstation.  My Kindergarten class last year was not happy repeating the same file folder games more than twice.  The clothesline is a fun way of changing up an activity while using the same base materials.  What the students do not realize is that they are also working on strengthening their hand muscles, to make them better writers.

Here are some pics from my clothesline:

These Kindergarteners are matching sweaters to pants.  The pants have a number on the leg; the sweaters have dots.  They count the dots and match it to the pants with that number!  Sometimes they hang them next to each other, sometimes they attach them together; it's up to the student.  I have this set up to the number 20; higher than that and I could not fit the spots on the sweater.  If I had a smaller circle punch I would have made from 20-30.  This idea and patterns came from Mailbox, I believe.

Other ways I have used the number line (which apparently I do not have any pictures of) is matching mittens; ordering numerals; making patterns.  Before I left my job I went through all the pictures we had online and tried to find as many examples of my work as I could.  Unfortunately I did not have access to all of the pictures, so I am missing quite a bit.

Maybe my next product will be a clothesline set!

Have a great day!  Kathy

Friday, July 20, 2012

Pre-K Assessment

I have put together an assessment to be used for pre-kindergarten students.  I know most of my followers are Kindergarten aged teachers, but this could be helpful for the beginning of the year to see what skills your students are coming in with.  It's very basic, and I created it with the Kindergarten Common Core Standards in mind.

You can find it at my TpT store: Pre Kindergarten Math Assessment

And yes, I finally got borders to work!  This was one document that I wanted them for.  I ended up only using on on the cover page.  The assessment includes a set of number cards at the end.  My plan was to put a border on each card, then I realized if I am designing these for the students to cut out, single basic lines are best.  After all, this is designed for 4 year olds!

When going back and looking at the assessment, it makes me realize what these students are capable of at such a young age.  The school I worked at the last seven years was considered an "academic" preschool; each year was going a grade level above what would normally be expected of them.  I had a conversation one day with a Facebook friend; she was so proud of her son, who was just turning 5, that he had written his name "almost legibly" (her words) for the first time!  It brought me back to reality, as I was used to my students.  My incoming pre-kindergarten students were writing their names legibly on a daily basis.  Part of our three-year old program included writing first names, in pre-K they learned to write their last name.  So back to my friend; she posted pictures on Facebook, so very proud; and it really made me think about the difference in a school like mine, the 3 hour twice a week preschool her son went to, and even the kids who do not have any previous schooling prior to entering Kindergarten.  These students are all over the place, and you wonderful ladies deal with it every school start.  So kudos to you!!!  Having a differentiated program in each and every classroom is so important.  I don't see as much of that; if you can afford to send your child to where I taught, then your child (unless there was a learning disability) was prepared for what we expected.

I hope my assessment is found to be helpful; I designed it to be used three times, so growth of knowledge can be documented.  It is multiple pages, so you can do as much or as little as time allows.  When a student has "mastered" that page, it does not need to be repeated.

Well, off to errands, in the rain.  Sigh.   But I guess it's not 100 degrees again, so should be thankful for that.

Have a great weekend everyone!  Kathy

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Pet Peeve of mine

My husband laughs at me; so I thought I would bring this to the blog world and hear what you all have to say.

Look at this:  4 4 4 Worksheet   What is wrong with it?

The fours are different!!!  Way too often I get these worksheets with different types of the same numeral.  Four and nine are the worst offenders.

Does this drive anyone else crazy?  I feel like it's a waste to buy a set of worksheets, to not be able to use one cause it's wrong.  I do agree that the students need to be able to recognize numerals in different fonts, but when we are learning how to write, shouldn't the worksheet be consistent?  I am not picking on the creator of this particular sheet; I have some from Scholastic that are the same way! 

So does this bother anyone else or is it just me?  Do I need to get over it?

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Happy Tuesday!

Happy Tuesday! 

I am sitting at my kitchen table, finishing my yummy breakfast, trying desperately to figure out why Open Office is making  my life miserable. Ha ha.  I can't get it to recognize any of the fun frames and borders I found.  I click on the one I want, the pop up goes away, then the list comes right back up.  I just don't know what I am doing wrong.

So today, one of the hottest days we have had since the last heat wave, my goal is to search and research till I find the solution!  I have two great products ready that are borderless at the moment.  So once I figure this out I will bring them on over.

I am so thankful at all the traffic I am getting the last week!  My view count has risen dramatically, both here at at TpT.  So thank you!!  I am looking at joining Teacher's Notebook as well this week.

Welcome to my new followers as well!  I have hit the magic 10! 

So in the meantime, I don't know about you, but I love watching videos of classrooms around the world.  I really enjoy seeing different methods of teaching and firmly believe that we can learn a lot from other countries.

Here is one I watched recently that I LOVE: the hands on approach and how they use small groups in Year 1.  My classroom looked very much like that last year.  The more active you can make learning, the more the kids will learn!

Early Childhood Math: Building Confident Problem Solvers

I would love to hear what you think!

Saturday, July 14, 2012

Common Core Posters

I hope you like the new posters I made for the Kindergarten Common Core Math Standards.  I tried to make them bright and colorful to draw attention in a quick and easy manner by the reader.  I think they will be a fun addition to your hallway or classroom bulletin boards.

You can find them in my TpT store by clicking on the link: Common Core Posters

If the posters are popular, or if anyone wants, I can make them for other grades as well.  Each domain has it's own background, so it is easy to find which ones go together. Plus, there is a blank of one each so you can write any of your own that you need!

I'd love feedback from anyone who wants to leave it, either here or in my store; I am still new to the process so all constructive criticism, good and bad, is welcome.  I want to make products that meet the needs of my fellow teachers!

I spent my afternoon today visiting a local winery; it's "barrel tasting" weekend around the state and each winery is offering a taste of two wines that are still in process.  It's neat to get to try them now, then to go back when they are ready and see the difference time can make.  Hope you all had a nice Saturday!


Thursday, July 12, 2012

Fly products are up at Teachers Pay Teachers

I think I figured this whole thing out and my first set of products are up and ready!  I am excited to see my fly freebie has been downloaded 11 times within a few hours of posting it.  I hope those little guys enjoy their new homes this school year.

Here is the link to my TpT store: My Store!

This afternoon (once my allergy-induced sneezies stop) I am heading into my basement to finish my cleaning/organizing.  I should finish today then it's time to decide what's next.  If you ask my hubby, that should be planning our anniversary vacation.  But he's at work...hee hee. 

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Fly Freebie is ready!

Well, took longer than I expected, but here it is!

I opened a TpT store where you will be able to purchase this cute little guy in a few different formats.  He will be available in color with numerals, letters (upper and lower) as well as word families.

But you my followers and visitors have the opportunity to grab him here in a blank format; you can customize him as necessary.  I have to say he was fun to design; the fly graphic is mine and mine alone - I did not use any graphics from anyone else.

So here ya go!  Enjoy, and please let me know how you plan on using him!

Sunday, July 8, 2012

Kindergarten Math Common Core Standards

I have to share this new find!  And it's FREE!

While blog hopping in my free time, like what ELSE is there to do when it's 100 degrees outside BUT blog hop, I came across 3 Teacher Chicks's blog,  These three ladies teach kindergarten, second and third grade.

One of the projects I have on my to-do list is to create a "kid-friendly" poster set of the math common core standards, to be used when documenting or displaying the student's work.  Could be used for back to school nights, conferences, whenever you have people in your classroom or hallway.  At my previous job, I was required to fill a portion of our very long straight hallway with examples of learning in my classroom.  I would make simple word document, mount it on construction paper, and hang it up with the work.

Something like this: 


This is where we displayed the weekly graph that the 2 pre-K classes made each Monday.

In my defense I can say I did eventually get a background with bulletin board paper and a cute border.  But I can't get my hands on a good pic to show you.

But you get the idea.

So anyway, my plans were to make a kid-friendly version of each standard, make a cute poster for it, this way it looked much more exciting and fun when displayed.  Back to why I mentioned the 3 Teacher Chicks blog.  They have already made a fun and FREE kid-friendly list!  I thought I would share it with you.

Kind Math CCS with kid-friendly language

Is that not great?!  Great minds do think alike!


Update: posters are now available at TpT!  You can find them here Common Core Posters

Saturday, July 7, 2012

One of my favorite places

Good news - our new computer has shipped!  It is expected to arrive by July 12...and in that box is my new software! I can't wait!

In the meantime, I thought I would share with everyone a place that I found quite by accident.  One day I turned on our bedroom tv, which pretty much only gets used at night, to listen to music while I did some stuff in the room.  So the tv was on a channel I don't usually watch, and playing was a show called "The Teaching Channel."  It was a one-hour show filled with short videos by teacher for teachers.  I instantly got sucked in (of course!) and at the end they showed a website for more videos.  Later that day, I got a chance to check out the site and was pretty much glued for the evening as I watched video after video.  I watched videos about the age group I was teaching, the subject I was teaching, and pretty much every one under the middle school age.

Those teachers featured gave me some awesome ideas!!  Some of my best came from a 5th grade literacy teacher, of all things.  I used a bit of this and a bit of that from different teachers, and came up with a great teaching model I used for my math classroom.

So there is the wonderful place I still frequent: Teaching Channel

They offers a play to "make notes," and even one of those cute little buttons you can add, so that you can save things from other sites back to your note area.  There are weekly newsletters you can sign up for, to let you know about new videos.

I thought today I'd share a video I found to be cute!  I am VERY into kinesthetic learning, especially for the younger classes.  I incorporated music and movement as much as possible into my daily math lessons.  I did not get to try this one out - I ran out of time at the end of the school year but I would love to know if any of you have done it, or plan on it next year.

What do you all think about this activity?  I'd love to hear what YOU think!!

Mingle & Count


Thursday, July 5, 2012

Playing the waiting game

Waiting patiently (well, not so patiently, especially when there is a holiday stuck in there) for my software to arrive so I can start creating!  In the meantime, I am almost done with my cleaning task in my basement.  I am almost at the point where I can get into my school-related pile! 

Today I will finish going thru the mounds of stuff my own kids have brought home this year.  I usually take my time going thru those, keeping their best work (not that they will look at it again, ha ha) and some examples of their no-so-best work.  My kids are 1 year apart in school so I also keep study guides and review packets from my oldest for my youngest to use the next year.  They do not get the same teachers, so it's not like getting the tests ahead of time or anything, but it's nice to have something extra for when you get one of those teachers who does not like to help the kids prepare well.  I shake my head at this, being a teacher myself.  My oldest, who just completed 8th grade last month, had a terrible Algebra I teacher last year.  By terrible, I mean she presented the material, and expected the kids to figure it out on their own.  This same teacher also taught 7th grade regular math, and her 7th graders said she did the same thing in their classes.  My son, who has always had high As in math (for as long as my district has given out numbers) is now struggling to get a B cause he was teaching himself.  So anyway, every now and then a teacher who presents comes our way, so having the extra for our younger son is that is my task for today.  Everything that is not saved - goes into a box and we have a burning party in our fire pit. The temps have been so high, and with very little rain, it is not safe to do it yet.  Hopefully next week!

Also this summer I have been walking - 3 miles - as many days a week as I can.  I am new to this whole "exercise" thing, as being a preschool teacher for so long I got all my exercise during the day.  I was a very physical teacher - lots of dance and movement in my classes, plus my classroom was down at the end of a very long hallway, so I got plenty of exercise.  So I was determined not be be obese by the end of the summer.  So walking here I went!  After a couple weeks, my feet hurt, my heels hurt, my calves hurt...ughhhhh.  But I will stick with it!

Since I am still waiting for my software, I have been enjoying the time searching for borders, fonts, clipart and loving it!!  It is a lot of fun, I must say... :)  But you all out there appreciate that, don't you.  I want to send out a big THANK YOU to my new friend Sarah at Miss A's Kindergarten who has been helping me figure this whole thing out.  So thanks again Sarah!!  If you have not been by her blog yet, please stop on bye and say hi!  Lots of great things going on over there!

Time to go wake my little guy (who is almost 13, lol) to go to the orthodontist.  He was not happy when I told him yesterday he could not sleep till noon today!  Ahhhhhh...summer!

Keep cool!!  Kathy

Monday, July 2, 2012

The flies are a'comin!

To all those peeps visiting my "Swat Those Numbers" post, the flies are coming!  Working hard to get them done and properly formatted.  My fly is quite cute, I must say.  Planning a freebie of the plain fly, then available on TpT will be a full set of numbers, letters, and word families for purchase.

As they are not quite finished yet, you have the opportunity to offer up an opinion on how you would like the finished product to look.  I am planning on 2 or 3 to a page; I know wall space can be a premium in some classrooms.  One of the cute things about these is they can be hung in a hallway too, so take the kids out of the room and have some fun!

I know a lot of people do not have access or funds for lots of color copies; would you prefer black & white and you color them in...or me to offer them in color?  Or even better GET THE KIDS INVOLVED AND HAVE THEM COLOR THEM FOR YOU! 

So let me know your thoughts, if you have any, and I will make sure I take them into consideration when offering my first product!

Thanks, Kathy