Saturday, December 14, 2013

Love For Sandy Hook

As educators, we remember and honor our fallen colleagues and their students from Sandy Hook School.  We honor them each day in our classrooms in which we continue their dream of teaching our children.  We honor their memory with our service.  Join with teachers everywhere in committing random acts of kindness to show our love for Sandy Hook.

Five for!

This is my first time linking up with DoodleBugs Teaching for the Friday linky....and I'm already a day late!

I'll just jump right into it:

Our Elf on the Shelf made his appearance this week! The kinders decided to name him Jaden. I have NO idea how they came up with that name!

Grades, grades, grades! Our progress report grades were due this week, so all of the teachers were knee deep in testing and grades. Then our entire network slowed down, so we were given an extension until Sunday afternoon. I stayed up until 11pm last night to get mine finished.

This week, we did a review of 2D shapes and talked about where we would see shapes in real life. We then created a wreath using circles, triangles, rectangles, and squares.

We also did a review of story elements and used the story Don't Let The Pigeon Drive The Bus! by Mo Willems.

I know that Hanukkah has come and gone, but our district timelines had Kwanzaa and Hanukkah scheduled for this week. This book is wonderful! It follows the tune of the "12 Days of Christmas" and it kept my students engaged. We read it about 3 times this week and by the time we finished they were able to remember what came next.

Have a Wonderful Weekend!

Monday, September 2, 2013

Currently September!

I am one TIRED teacher!
School started for us on Aug. 26...and what a week it was! However, I have a class full of super sweet kindergarteners and I couldn't be happier!
I'm linking up with Farley at Oh' Boy 4th Grade for this month's currently.
Here's my currently:
1. I've been wanting to see the movie version of "Les Miserables" for a while. It's on HBO for the next few days, so I'm glad I was able to see it. I had NO idea the actors did all of their singing LIVE while filming. Crazy talented group of actors/actresses!
2. Labor Day! Granted we've only been in  school a week, this day was still much needed. Rest shall occur today.
3. One of my goals for this school year was to plan and prep before I left for the weekend on Friday's, even if it meant staying late a few days during the week. I would rather enjoy my weekend to the fullest, than work on lesson plans and activities.
4. & 5. I am wanting and needing absolutely NOTHING! I am truly in a happy place.

**Edit: I do want something. I want our reg. ed kindergarten class numbers to go up. Yes, you read right..UP. We are currently sitting at 16-18 students per class (5 classes). However, our first grade team is sitting at 24-26. If our numbers stay low, we'll lose a kinder teacher and have to split their class. I DO NOT WANT TO LOSE A TEAMMATE!!!!! And while I'm on my soapbox, our first grade team has been whining that they're sitting at 24+ kids since the 2nd day of school. Guess what?!? Our kindergarten team sat at those numbers for over 9 weeks last year. We didn't get relief until a week before THANKSGIVING! We just did what we had to do and made it work until help could arrive. I really want to tell our first grade team to suck it up and deal with it...but that would be rude. :-/ That group of students is just extremely large and they will continue to be if they stay at our school until 4th grade.
Stepping off my soapbox now**

Love myself: I want to be able to leave work at work this year. I did an ok job of it last year, but when I decided to take on the role as Co-Lead for my team, the work just seemed to pile on. I expected that much. So, I'm going to make sure I prep and plan for the upcoming week ahead of time so that I can enjoy my weekends and rest.
I did a really good job during the year with eating healthy and exercising. Then, Summer happened. I just want to get back into the groove of exercising regularly and eating right.

Well, that's it for my currently! How about you?
Happy Blogging!

Monday, August 12, 2013

Teacher Week 2013--Meet the Teacher!

It's officially "Teacher Week" in the blogging world! I'm linking up with BlogHoppin to participate.

Here are 10 things about me:

  1. I'm an only child. But, I have a TON of cousins and a very close knit family.
  2. My favorite color is purple!
  3. I am entering my 6th year of teaching! I can't believe it's been 6 years...time has really flown by. I've been at the same school for the last 6 years. I actually did my observations and student teaching at the same school, so technically, I've been there 7 years.
  4. I'm a book nerd! If it has words, then I'm reading it.
  5. I enjoy taking road trips. Locally. If I can get there in less than 6 hours, then it's for me. This summer I traveled to New Orleans for "EssenceFest", Galveston, New Braunsfels, San Marcos, and a few other places.
  6. I can play the piano. I began taking lessons at the young age of 8. I used to play for a church service, but once I started college, it had to take a back seat. I'll still tickle the ivories every now and then.
  7. This is my 3rd year teaching Kindergarten. I love this age! The growth that I see from August to May is absolutely amazing!
  8. If I hadn't become a teacher, I would have become a pediatric nurse. Anything that has to do with children.
  9. My favorite book is "The Coldest Winter Ever". I could read it day in and day out. Some days I have done just that!
  10. I love music! I could spend an entire day (and night) listening to music. Some of my fav's are pictured below. However, Whitney Houston is my absolute FAVORITE!

So, those are a few facts about me!
Here's a description of what topics we'll be posting about during Teacher Week:

 Be sure to link up over at BlogHoppin if you plan to particiapte!

Happy Blogging!

Friday, August 9, 2013

Erin Condren Planner is Here and a New Blog Design

It's here!!!!!!!!
My Erin Condren "Teacher Planner" has arrived!

It's so pretty!

I'd heard a lot about the Erin Condren planners. Many teachers used them in their day to day school life to write lesson plans, keep up with meetings, dates, etc.
I started looking into these planners last year, but I couldn't justify spending such a large amount of money on a planner. Especially since I hardly ever used them.
Then...I was named "Co-lead" of my team.
I knew with the various meetings that we have monthly (1 leadership meeting per month, 2 staff meetings per month), I would need something to help me keep up.
I went online, found the perfect planner (for me) and ordered.

Pretty Packaging

Even though my district requires us to submit our lesson plans online, my teammates and I must meet once a week to discuss our upcoming TEKS (common core standards) and plan our lessons for the upcoming week. More than likely, I'll end up writing my upcoming plans down before I submit them online. In the previous years, I've procrastinated up until the very last minute. Our lesson plans are due at the beginning of each week by 8:00am. I would literally be submitting my plans at 7:59am.
Sad, I know.
So my #1 goal this year is to have my lesson plans submitted before I leave the campus on Friday afternoons.

Here are some more pics....
She added a few "samples" of her other products to my package.
Great customer service!

Front Cover
(My name is blacked out to protect my identity. From what...I don't know)

I'm excited to use my planner! I'll be sure to update the great features of this planner as I use it throughout the year.

Finally......I have a new blog design! I decided to keep my blog super simple! The colors in my old template were starting to give me a headache, so I decided to tone it down a bit.

That's it for now. My district returns for staff development next Wednesday, so I'm going to try to milk the last of my vacation days for all it's worth!!

Happy Blogging!

Tuesday, August 6, 2013

Hi! My name is........ & Daily 5

It is soooooooooooooooooooooo HOT here in Texas!!!
Temps of 103 with a heat index of 110-113! I'm doing my best to stay as cool as possible.

It occurred to me after linking up with Farley's August currently at "Oh' Boy 4th Grade" that I have never formally introduced myself. A few commenters began their comments with "Hi, Lynn..." and I was left wondering:

Who is "Lynn?"

So, allow me to introduce myself:
I am Nicole at "Krazy Kute Kinders"!! For now, I'm going by my nickname since no one at my current school knows that I write a blog, and it would be very much frowned upon if my admin found out. I'm keeping a low profile at work. :-) I will also update my 'About Me' section.


Daily 5!!!!!

Here's a look at my current Daily 5 rotation chart.
*I printed this from TpT, but I can't for the life of me find my jump drive to look up the creator. Once I find it, I'll be sure to edit and give them credit!*

Normally our classroom sizes range from 18--24 students. Looking at my chart, a minimum of 24 students, can work within the Daily 5 stations without meeting with the "Teacher." I set my chart up this way purposely. There are times during the year when I must test students one on one. This set up works because I can test independently and students can still work independently without interrupting me or the student I'm working with.

At the beginning of the year, I introduce each station whole group and students are allowed to practice and learn routines & procedures for as long as they need. Some stations they learn in 3-4 days, others in 1-2 weeks. I usually begin with Read to Self starting the 1st (YES FIRST!) day of school. We begin with 30 seconds of Read to Self and build on it each day. By the end of the week, we are up to 2 1/2 minutes of Read to Self. The second week of school, we continue with another 30 seconds of Read to Self, but I also introduce Read to Someone/Buddy Reading and we practice that for 30 seconds. So by Tuesday of the 2nd week of school (we always start the week before Labor Day & we're off the next Monday), the students are doing 3 minutes of Read to Self and 30 seconds of Read to Someone. Each week I introduce a new station and the students practice procedures at the new station for 30 seconds. 
But, they continue to practice routines and procedures in the stations previously taught. 
This sounds uber confusing, I know. I'll break it down like this (BR= Read to Someone/Buddy Reading):

Week 1:                                                   Week 2:                                           
M-R2self (30 sec)                            M-R2S (3min) BR- (30 sec)   
T-R2S (1 min)                                   T-R2S (3min, 30 sec ) BR-(1 min)
W-R2S (1min, 30 sec)
Th-R2S (2min)
F- R2S (2min, 30sec)

...........................And so forth. (I'm actually TOO lazy to type all of it out. If you want to see more detail, just let me know and I'll update it.

Now, you're probably wondering how I manage my rotation chart and decide which students go where.

I don't. They do. They being the students.

I am very big on choice in my classroom (within reason of course). My thinking is, if a student has the opportunity to choose their station, they are more willing to work. 
The one choice my students don't have is when they "Work with Teacher." I decide that.
I base my guided reading groups on their skills and needs. These groups change often, which is why they don't decide when to meet with me.
Within the 1st week of school, I take pictures of my kiddos. Their pics are glued/stapled/ welded (whatever works) to magnetic strips. I call out the names of the students that will meet with me for that particular day. They place their pictures behind the numbers in the "Meet with Teacher" section and they head to the small group table. The rest of the students are called by group or seat color and they choose which station they want to work with. I make it known that each student MUST visit each station by the weeks' end. NO EXCEPTIONS! I track their stations with an Excel printout. Every now and then, I have to tell a student to choose between my picks ("You may go to either Read to Someone or Listen to Reading") when it seems as though they're picking the same station, but I track their choices for this very reason.

My Daily 5 Block is set up as:
Mini Lesson: 10 minutes
Rotation 1: 15 minutes
Mini Lesson 2: 10 minutes
Rotation 2:15 minutes 
Mini Lesson 3: 15 minutes 

Only 2 stations per day, and 3 mini-lessons. small group stays with me for both rotations. So they get 30 minutes of direct small group instruction.
I want my students to experience working with all of their classmates, not just who I choose. 
Yes, of course to choose to work with their friends. Duh..they're 5! But they WORK. They hold each other accountable too, and it's more fun working with a friend anyways. Routines, procedures and expectations play a huge part in my classroom management during Daily 5, and any other lesson.

So that's how I do Daily 5 in my classroom!
I'll be posting later this week with classroom pictures. I went to work in my classroom today and I am SORE and TIRED, but I got a lot done!

Happy Blogging!

Thursday, August 1, 2013

Currently August!

I can't believe it's August already! It seems as though I just started my summer vacation.
Well....technically, my vacation didn't begin until June 30th. So I haven't had much time off.
Oh well.....
I'm linking up with Farley at Oh' Boy 4th Grade for this month's Currently!

 Here's my currently:

  • I love NCIS. My summer has consisted of waking up late and catching re-run episodes of Criminal Minds and NCIS. 
  • I have so much to finish before I go back to work! My district returns to work on August 14, and I still have a to-do list a mile long.
  • I also want to get into my classroom to start setting up. Teacher's are usually able to enter the first week of August. However, our roof was being repaired and the custodians were still working diligently to get our rooms clean. Hopefully we'll be in my next week. I have already sketched the layout of my classroom, all I have to do is set it up.
  • I need to get started on my B2S work packets and activities. Nothing major, just a few things to get us through the first week.
B2S Must Haves:
    • Personal Laminator--this thing is a necessity the first few weeks. I laminate my students' lunch tags and dismissal tags to make them last longer....and it NEVER fails....the lunch tags last throughout the year, BUT, I swear my parents must tell their students to throw their dismissal tags away every day. I'm constantly re-doing dismissal tags the first 10-14 days of school.
    • A good planner--for this school year, I was named co-lead of my Kindergarten team. I'm excited and terrified at the same time! In order to keep up with all of the instructions and notes during our leadership meetings, team meetings and staff meetings. I need a good planner. I received an Erin Condren gift card, so I ordered a Teacher Planner. I hope it lives up to the hype!!
    • Composition Notebooks--these notebooks are our life in Kindergarten! I use them as "Writer's Workshop" journals, math journals, Reading Response journals...EVERYTHING! I try to stock up as much as possible during the B2S sales!
So, that's what I'm doing currently! How about you?

Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Deals & Steals

As I gear up for another successful school year, I find myself gravitating towards the school supply aisle (as much as I try to fight it!)
A few teachers that I know have claimed they are in denial until mid-August. Here in Texas, most teachers return to work between August 14 --August 20, depending on the district. My first "official" day back is August 14. However, I've been asked to attend a few leadership meetings as well as a few staff developments before the 14th.
Anyways, the purpose of this post is to share with you a few deals & steals that I've come across while preparing for the school year.

 A little bit of everything.

First up: My FriXion pens and highlighters!
I came across these pens a few years ago from my 2nd grade team leader. She bought them as a gift for all of the teachers during Christmas time. I loved how these pens wrote and ERASED! This was the only pen that erased ALL of the markings made when writing.
I've seen other bloggers rave about these pens, but hated the fact that they had to take the pen "top" off in order to erase. Well.......these particular FriXion pens are retractable! 
No need to take the top off, simply turn it over and erase. I've never used the highlighters, but I'm anxious to see how well they do. Once my Erin Condren teacher planner arrives, I'll put them to good use.

Also in this photo is a picture of my ProStapler. This is by far the best stapler I've come across. It staples with ease and I never have any issues with it. I have my old one from last year, but it was blue and I just couldn't pass up getting my favorite stapler in my favorite color.
Oh, and these items weren't really a deal or a steal but more of a splurge purchase.

Next: Composition Notebooks. These bad boys are on sale for .25 (limit 3) at Office Depot. I found out today that teachers are able to purchase 4x the limit on Back-to-School items. So if the limit is 3 normally, then teachers are able to purchase 12.
Each student has a minimum of 3 composition notebooks. We use them as Math Journals, Science & Social Studies Journals, and Writer's Workshop Journals. I tend to use the "primary" journals (blank on top half, lines on bottom half) for Reading Response. I think I had enough of them left over from last year, so I don't need to purchase anymore.
I have to say, I'm REALLY lucky with my school. We have a teacher store within the campus. Usually any supplies we need for our classroom we can have, all we have to do is ask. My principal is usually very good with ordering supplies if it's something thats not in stock. I do ask for these journals at the beginning of the school year, I just get frowns when I ask for 60+. I pick up the slack when I can.

Sale Item Number 3: Duct Tape!
I picked up two rolls at Office Depot for $2.99 each. I'm not sure if thats a deal, but every other place I searched had them for $4.99 or more. My plan was to exclusively decorate my classroom in these colors.
That's not gonna happen.
Nope, not at all.
I am going to use the tape to "hide" my computer and cable cords that I have to stretch  across the room. I tape them to the floor/wall and they stay put all year long.

Last but not least: Poly folders with prongs and paper folders without prongs.
The black poly folders were on sale for .50 a piece. I typically don't see them less that price. Well, I do at Wal*Mart, but by the time I get to take advantage of the sale, the folders have been picked over and placed elsewhere and it's just not worth the trouble to me.
The poly folders were limit 10, but since I'm a teacher, my limit was 40! I'm not sure what our class sizes will look like this year, so I'd rather be safe than sorry. We'll use these as homework folders.
The blue paper folders will go inside of the black poly folders. They are on sale for .10 limit 10 (40 for us!)
Last year, whenever I sent any papers home, they either slid out of the folder or got lost amongst that pile of papers that I was required to send home 2-3x a week. I hope that by putting the paper folder inside the poly folder will eliminate papers getting lost or falling out.
I hope. I really do.

I've picked up a few other items, but I'm not ready to share those just yet. I will soon though!
I hope to link up with Farley over at Oh' Boy 4th Grade for her August "Currently" later this week!

I forgot to mention.....head on over to Bloglovin and follow KrazyKuteKinders there!

Happy Blogging!

Friday, July 26, 2013


It's been a long time since I've posted. Over 6 months.
Talk about taking a break!
I'm pretty sure "LIFE" happened and I just stopped posting.
I'm hoping to do a much better job this time around.

*Fingers Crossed*

I guess I'll do a quick recap, just to catch up on everything:

  • I'm still teaching Kindergarten! This will be my 6th year teaching and my 3rd year in Kindergarten. I absolutely love Kinder! Just to see the progress they make from August--June is amazing! Plus they are hilarious.
  • My 2012-2013 school year was wonderful. NO behavior issues at all. I'm keeping my fingers crossed for the upcoming year as well. Hopefully no students come in with a BIP (Behavior Intervention Plans).
  • This summer I was named "Co-Lead" of our Kindergarten team. Basically, we have 2 leads per grade level. We have a "team lead" for Regular Ed teachers and a lead for Bilingual teachers. We work together to share ideas and plans throughout the year. I'm excited and scared all at the same time.
  • Speaking of teams...I adored my Kinder teammates this year!!! We had each others back, supported one another, shared ideas and most importantly created a safe and wonderful environment for our students. Out of 10 teammates, 5 have transferred and resigned to teach at different schools. I'm really gonna miss them. 
  • Speaking of transferring and resigning (see what I did there?), our school had over 20+ teachers transfer to other schools in the district or resign all together to continue their career in a different district. Even one of our Asst. Principals resigned. 20+ people left ONE school. Let that sink in for a minute............... So. I'm extremely interested to see how this year will turn out.
I think that's pretty much it for now. I plan to participate in a few upcoming linky parties, so that I can get back into posting on a regular basis. 
I have kept up with reading all of my favorite blogs. I've seen so many great ideas that I can implement in my classroom.
I also purchased my very first "Erin Condren" teacher planner, so be on the look out for my review once it comes in.

I *do* plan on posting and updating my blog more often, definitely not every 6 months. With that being said, Happy Blogging and Happy Reading!