Wednesday, March 22, 2017

The Magic of a Can of Spray Paint

This past summer we transitioned from living in a townhouse to a single family home. I was beyond excited for the move. One of the things that I was most excited for was finally having the space to display all of my favorite treasures that have been passed on to me from my parents, grandparents and great grandparents.

I searched and searched for furniture that would fit the space. I needed something that would be able to house and display all the special pieces that I had. I just couldn't seem to find what I was looking for, until one day when I happened to find the Habitat for Humanity ReStore. I found a piece that needed some TLC, but with help from my parents and friends, I was able to fix it up!

The piece had mirrors and to me they immediately dated the piece. I came up with a quick, inexpensive solution that I want to share with you.

First, I removed all the mirrors from the piece and cleaned them thoroughly.

For this job I used tape, a quatrefoil design stencil {from Michael's} and Krylon Frosted Glass Finish Spray Paint. Make sure to do this project in a well ventilated open area.

Next, I laid the stencil on top of the mirror and started to spray paint the mirror, moving the stencil as I went until the entire mirror piece was painted. 

*Sorry for the reflection on the mirror!*

Then, I let the mirror dry and reinstalled it into the piece. Here is the outcome!

I hope I inspired you to give a not so pretty piece of furniture a second chance! A little can of paint can go a long way! :)

Sunday, February 12, 2017

Anchor Chart Parts & Independent Reading Mats

-Anchor Charts- It's a love hate relationship for me...I love the value they add to my lessons and I hate making them!

Sometimes I use these anchor charts, which I love.

They are great because they are already prepared and they are bright and colorful with illustrations for the students. However, sometimes I need my anchor charts to be just a bit larger, and unfortunately I don't have a poster maker available to me.

For a while I tried to write out my anchor charts, but I can't lie- that just became a hassle and a major waste! Maybe this sounds familiar...there you are at the end of your reading mini lesson, the lesson was fantastic and you are creating an amazing anchor chart. It's the home stretch, all you have to do is write the word "independently". That's when it happens. You spell "indepdently". You attempt to squeeze in the missing "en" but of all times that is just not an option. Ahhhhhhh! You finish the lesson and know that during your planning period you will use another piece of your precious chart paper and create the chart ONE.MORE.TIME! :( If that has never happened to you, then you are just amazing...and I'm jealous.

On the days that I wasn't spelling words incorrectly on my anchor charts, my carpet looked like a circus by the end of my lesson. Ineffective.

After wasting too much of my precious time and chart paper, I started creating “Chart Parts” for my anchor charts. Here’s what I do…I print out the chart parts and laminate them. This way I can reuse the chart pieces each year. Next, I lay out the anchor chart and assemble (with tape) the “skeleton” of the anchor chart. I leave a space for the few important parts  of the anchor chart off, so that those pieces can be added in front of the students. To create my anchor charts, I like to use large (24x18 inch) construction paper or chart paper. *You can use and assemble however works best for you!* With everything laid out, I am able to finish the anchor chart with the students present in a snap! Sometimes I build the anchor charts piece by piece for multiple days.

If you are interested you can check out the first set of anchor chart parts {everything you need to create 8 anchor charts} and independent reading mats HERE!

Saturday, February 11, 2017

Do SmALL Things With Great Love

Life can be so busy. There can be so much happening at a is so hard to keep up. The other day I was reading and came across a beautiful quote by Mother Teresa. "Do small things with great love." How many times do we forget to do just that?! I know I do and equally I forget to appreciate the small things that others do for me with great love. Shame on me!

I wanted to have this quote as a daily reminder, so that I remember as I walk through my classroom door, into the gym or into my haven at home to take the time to share love in smALL ways. I created this little sign to print out and frame for my home and classroom, and now I share it with you!

Tuesday, August 2, 2016

Simple Decor and Teacher Gifts

Making your classroom feel like your home is so important. A little decoration goes a long way. Just adding a few pieces here and there can really change the atmosphere. I know it is easy to look on pinterest or instagram and see all the beautiful and picture perfect classrooms. Although I love cute and organized classroom, perfection is not always realistic. Redoing your classroom decor and theme every year can become really overwhelming, expensive and time consuming. 

I haven't changed my overall classroom decor in the past few years. {I won't lie, I have been very tempted to do so!} Every year I like to add a few things into my classroom to "spice" it up and keep it feeling new and exciting. One of the easiest ways that I have done that is by purchasing a few frames from the Dollar Tree or Walmart and adding some printable pieces. Super easy and simple!  
teacher door sign

Going back to school can be a drag, but who doesn't love a gift?! If you like to share a little gift with your team, these make a great personalized little treat that will help them decorate their classroom at the same time! #winning

If you are interested, check out all these goodies HERE



Thanks for stopping by! :)

Monday, August 1, 2016

Goal Setting in Kindergarten {FREEBIE too!}

One of my favorite parts of teaching kindergarten is how excited my students are about learning. Learning new things is exciting for my little friends and they love a challenge. One way that I try to empower my students is by holding them accountable for their own learning. We do this by setting goals and monitoring their learning throughout the year.

Once your kiddos start setting goals and reaching for them, they are hooked. My kids get so excited when they move to a new reading level…cause they are one step closer to reaching their goals. I use this chart in my classroom to help my students visually see how they are progressing through the reading levels. My kids learn to celebrate one another, because they come to understand the hard work it takes to reach their goals and are proud when a classmate has done just that!
guided reading level chart

I find that one of the most important things when setting goals with kindergarten students, is that they need to revisit their goals frequently to self-monitor and keep track of their accomplishments. And yes, when there are accomplishments it is very important to CELEBRATE their success. All students make learning gains, maybe not at the same rate, but they all do…and they deserve to be recognized for their hard work!
tracking and celebrating reading

Another way that my students track and monitor their learning is through their Kindergarten goal book. At the beginning of the school year each student records what they know, then throughout the year they get to update their progress. This book helps them have a very clear understanding of what they will learn in kindergarten and how they are progressing towards those expectations. Taking out the goal book is always one of my students’ favorite activities, especially at the end of the year when they get to see how far they have come since the beginning of the school year. {Read more about how I use these GOAL BOOKS here!} These are a great tool to use during parent conferences, too!

My students are also accountable for their learning during writing time. During writers’ workshop, my students conference with me. During these conferences, the students decide what they would like to work on to become a better writer. The students use the chart below to help them be responsible for their own learning and deliberate in their writing improvement. The next time I conference with the students, they are very excited to tell me what actions they are taking to reach their goal. {Read more about how I use the WRITING GOALS here!} If you want to try out this approach in your writing conferences, try out this writing conference checklist to help you out! (I use these conference checklist in parent conferences as well!)

To keep the students motivated, I try to throw in some fun ways to set goals. I use these craftivities after we finish up units of studies in reading to help reflect on what we have learned and to look forward to new goals that we have as readers.

Teaching kids how to set goals at a young age will help them stay focused and determined. I know that I am so grateful that both my parents and my teachers instilled this mindset in me from such a young age. I feel like I was more prepared as I got older to be responsible and independent. May we give our students that same confidence as they leave our classrooms!


I hope this year you and your kindergarten friends set goals and strive to reach them!