Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Things that Go Unit

Back in this post with my word family trains I talked about hopefully getting around to putting together more train/transportation themed activities for a unit. I finally got around to it! I'm excited about all the activities myself & can't wait to use it in the classroom. I never got around to a transportation theme last year, so I'm really looking forward to it as a new theme too!

There are 7 different activities included in this unit:

Alphabet trains: fill in the missing letter on the set of train cards.
Memory game: print 2 copies of each card and play a memory game.
Read, trace, and write: vocabulary cards to read the word, trace the word, and then write the word yourself.
Counting trains: roll a dice and add that number of train cars to the train. For older students, write the number from the dice in the box on the engine car.
Sorting trains: mix all of the train cars and sort them out to their engine train.
Counting cards: flash cards for counting
Driving letters: "write" the letter by driving a toy car along the lines.

This unit is listed on my Teacher's Notebook Store and my TpT store! Head on over to see them if you're interested!

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Open House

Open house was a success!! I didn't wear two necklaces by mistake this time and I had 14 out of 22 families show up! I'm super excited about these little kiddos! A few might try and give me a run for my money in the beginning, but hopefully with time, we'll get things figured out!

Guess who left their camera OUT ON PURPOSE and STILL did not take pictures of open house! I wanted some pictures for our classroom blog to post! Darn.

Well, I got home at 7:45pm & have to get up and be right back bright & early in the morning. This post is short. I had Italian ice for dinner. Goodnight.

Lemon Puppy Chow

So, as mentioned in my last post, I also made Lemon Puppy Chow in my prep for Hurricane Irene. This was the biggest hit, as, it's already gone!

For the same reasons on my last post, I didn't take step by step photos while making this. The original recipe is from Smashed Peas & Carrots. This is the first recipe I've made from here and I loved it! It was super yummy! Definitely a fun twist on puppy chow.

I promise I'll be back to my step by step photos on my next baking post, which might be fairly soon because I recently pinned these awesome cookies that I can't wait to try...
Did you click to check them out? I know you did. Are you as excited as I am?!

P.S. I was able to go into my classroom yesterday after all! I was so glad! I was able to get some final touches done & ready for our Open House that we are having tonight! I can't believe we're ready to start the school year!! Wish me luck! (Maybe this year I'll be sure to NOT wear 2 completely different necklaces by mistake...)

Monday, August 29, 2011

Banana Chocolate Chip Cookies

So, prior to the arrival of Hurricane Irene I was anticipating losing power for longer than 24 hours so I went on a baking spree so we'd have lots of goodies to eat!

Turns out our power never went out, and instead I ate waaaaaay too many goodies during my "hurricane boredom" of being stuck in the house!

I made some granola, banana chocolate chip cookies, and lemon puppy chow. (That post to follow) This post features the recipe for banana chocolate chip cookies!

I'll be honest, I didn't take step by step photos this time because my camera battery was charging and well, the source of the recipe has already created that wheel. You can find the original source here, at How Sweet It Is. (Another one of my favorite baking blogs!)

Jessica was definitely right when she said the cookies have a bread like texture! Due to that, I find them totally acceptable to consume for breakfast. Not sure if that's a good thing or not! I love them, but next time I think I need to have more VERY ripe bananas. I only had 1 VERY ripe, and 1 kinda ripe.

I would also like to try these with more of a cookie texture, than a bread texture just to see what the taste is like. I love finding recipes that I like, that I think I can tweak.

Let me know if you give these cookies a try!

P.S. I do not have work today because of the Hurricane. They cancelled 2 days of our professional development prior to the storms arrival. Our Open House was suppose to be tonight as well. I'm really curious to see how they work out rescheduling all of this!!

Sunday, August 28, 2011

Grand Opening...Teachers Notebook!

I finally went ahead an opened a Teachers Notebook store. I've been debating for a while whether or not I should move over to Teachers Notebook or not, but then I started noticing that a lot of people are opening TWO stores. One at Teachers Notebook & Keeping their Teachers Pay Teachers store too!

So on that bandwagon I went! Click here to head on over to my Teachers Notebook store. Right now I'm still working on getting everything at TpT uploaded to Teachers Notebook--that takes some time. Unless there's some fabulous awesome way to do it faster that I don't know about!

I'll have links to both stores on my sidebar under the "my stores" headers. 

From now on I'll be uploading items to both stores! Do you have a preference for one over the other? Either has a seller or a buyer?

Saturday, August 27, 2011

Cookies N' Cream Kiss Cookies

My Pinterest board of recipes is getting pretty lengthy & with the Kitchen Aid mixer I got for my birthday, I decided I'd start picking some recipes off that list to try!

First up... Cookies N' Cream Kiss Cookies!

The recipe I followed for these cookies comes from With Sprinkles on Top. I have several recipes pinned from there, including several other Kiss cookie recipes! (maybe I'll get to them one day)

Here are the ingredients that you will need:

2 cups all purpose flour
1 tablespoon cornstarch
1-1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
4 ounces cream cheese, softened
1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened
3/4 cup granulated sugar
1 large egg
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/4 teaspoon almond extract
1 cup coarsely chopped Oreo cookies
24 cookies ‘n cream kisses

Start by preheating your oven to 350 degrees. Then crush your Oreo cookies to get 1 cup "coarsely chopped". I hit them with a hammer in a baggie..

Set Oreos aside and sift together your dry ingredients in a medium bowl: flour, cornstarch, baking powder, & salt. Set this aside with your Oreos.

In a large bowl, beat your cream cheese until soft. Beat the butter in with the cream cheese until creamy & then add your sugar-beat-egg-beat-vanilla-beat-almond-beat. Got that?

Now it's time to gradually add in your bowl of dry ingredients.

Once you have mixed in all of your dry ingredients, add in your chopped Oreos!

Once everything has been mixed you are going to chill your dough for about 5-10 minutes before spooning onto a greased cookie sheet. I pushed my dough down into a ball in my bowl prior to chilling.

Scoop out spoonful/tablespoon size balls onto a greased cookie sheet. Please excuse my spray butter's explosion spots on the cookie sheet...

Bake your cookies for 12 minutes, until puffed and golden brown around the edges. *At this time you can unwrap a gabazillion about 24-28 cookies n cream Hershey Kisses for your cookies. When you take them out of the oven, they definitely are PUFFED!

Soon after removing them from the oven, place your kisses into the tops of your cookies. Yes, I was thinking the same exact thing...won't the kisses melt in the hot cookies? Well, they don't look like they're melting, unless you touch them...

I put my cookies in my fridge for a bit to harden the kisses back up. Worked perfectly & they never lost their shape! 

I'd love to know your thoughts if you decide to make these cookies! I'll be heading over to With Sprinkles on Top to let them know I gave their cookies a try! I think it would be a great idea for a Christmas cookie gift to make these, their cherry chocolate kiss cookies, and mint chocolate kiss cookies!

Friday, August 26, 2011

Free for all Friday

It's the last day of teacher week! It's been fun! Today it's share a freebie! I can't wait to read everyone's posts and find some great resources!

I have a few friends doing jungle/safari classrooms and I guess I have monkeys on the brain, because I put together some jungle/safari action cards for my Free for all Friday Freebie!

Jungle Action Cards

These will be perfect for our large group time when we do jungle/zoo animals later in the school year. I hope you enjoy them!

I'm off to prepare for this hurricane. Fingers crossed everything is ok! We're expecting an announcement of mandatory evacuation for our area pretty soon! Eek!


Thursday, August 25, 2011

Three for Thursday

First, I must say, DANG I'm exhausted! All of those in blog land who started back at school before I did and talked about not having enough time for blogging...I thought you were crazy. I told myself I'd have time.... You were right, I WAS WRONG! I'm beat! (Taking an interest back into running here recently, probably is not helping the cause!)

Today is favorite font, favorite teaching blog, and favorite online resource. Now that I've downed half a mug of coffee, maybe I can pull this one out before going to work.

Favorite Font

It's hard to pick a favorite font! I've recently downloaded some new ones, but the ones I tend to favor are still those listed on my favorite fonts list...

The newest one to add to that list would be "Turtle Club" It's the font used on my sidebar headers and you can find it for free, here.

Favorite teaching blog

How dare you ask us to pick just one! *gasp* Since there are not many pre-school teaching blogs out there, I find myself LOVING the ideas on kindergarten & first grade blogs & then finding ways to adapt them. If there's one blog I can't even miss a post reading on it's The Inspired Apple.

I love Abby! She has the most adorable ideas, I love how she writes her posts, and you can tell she really LOVES her kiddos and having fun with them in her classroom!

Favorite Online Resource

Well, currently I love Pinterest and that I can put all of the great ideas I find there and then go back for what I'm looking for, but before Pinterest came along, there was a site I loved checking out for ideas and printables...

Pre-Kinders! I always found great resources & then once blog land came about, I realized they had a blog & even MORE great resources!

I hope you make some of my favorites, you NEW favorites! :) I'm off to work & can't wait to see everyone's link ups when I get home!

P.S.  The retired teachers from my building last year are bringing in breakfast for all of us this morning! How nice! I have a feeling they might spoil us with goodies this year...

P.S.S. Just have to throw this in there because with Teacher Week going on I haven't seen anyone else post anything--is anyone a threat from Hurricane Irene?!?

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Where it All Goes Down Wednesday

Alright, so, time to share your classroom photos! This is probably the day I'm most excited for because I LOVE looking at others classrooms!! Mine is definitely not ready yet, but I can update you from my last classroom progress post!

Let's start in the hallway!

I love how this turned out! Since I don't have a hallway bulletin board outside of my new classroom, this is where I will display student work for the hall!

Another view of the whole display because I couldn't fit it in standing in front.

"Swim in to Miss Blecki's class!" -all students' name right next to the door. Please ignore my messy unorganized book shelf that I didn't take the time to pull the curtain to cover for the photo!

Standing in the doorway. Finally got my alphabet hung up! That takes forever..

The reading loft, dramatic play, and computer area to the right. I decided not to use my octopus for jobs, so he's just fun decor now!

My behavior management board. I adapted the clip chart idea for a pre-school classroom. Our whole building has to use the clip chart idea this year and I felt it had way too many colors for pre-school. I still need to add the colors & descriptions to this board, but I went with green, yellow, then red. And for a really great day you can earn purple! :)

Word wall bulletin board and the writing area. You can sort of see the TON of laminating I have to cut out on the table at the bottom!

Here is where I ended up putting my jobs. I wanted to save some bulletin board space for student work, so I put the jobs on the top cabinets. I have fish to cut out and put student names on and attach to the cabinet.

Last, but not least, my curtains!! I love these things & I've had so many compliments on them! I hope to get a better picture of them later. (The sun was shinning RIGHT in when I took this) They have some silver sequins on them & go perfect with my fish theme!

I hope you like my classroom so far! I can't wait for everything to be DONE. Organized, and put away! I still have a lot of little touches to do & thankfully my *fabulous* para will be back tomorrow! She is such a huge help & so great in the classroom!

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Teacher Talk Tuesday

It's time to share some advice for new teachers. Well, I'm still pretty "fresh" myself with only one year of experience under my belt, but I've already picked up on a few things to share! And, remember for myself this year!

1. Some days, you just gotta, LEAVE.IT.AT.SCHOOL! I can't tell you the number of days I've come home so frustrated from my work day, but there are some days you just gotta leave it all at the door & NOT bring it home with you.

2. Start routines and behavior management from day 1 and stay firm with your expectations. If 3 & 4yr olds can do it, your guys can do! :)

3. Make your classroom FUN and HAVE FUN! If you enjoy being in your classroom & enjoy the activities you plan, your students will enjoy them more too!

4. Advocate for what's best for your students! You know them. Speak up.

5. Give yourself a break lunch break. Not just a break, but a lunch break too. I often find myself eating my lunch AFTER school, rather than when I was suppose to eat because I'm always running around doing something else! 

I hope you find these things helpful for your school year! I know I'm always reminding myself of them! :) Now I'm off to go work on my classroom some more. I'll have picture updates for tomorrow!

Monday, August 22, 2011

Meet the Teacher Monday

Today is "Meet the Teacher Monday" for Teacher Week! I have an "about me" tab on my blog along with the section on my side bar, but it doesn't have all that much information, so I thought I'd write a new post for getting to know me for this week! I made a list of 20 questions...feel free to use my questions for your own "Meet the Teacher Monday!"
I hope you learn something interesting! :)

Meet the Teacher

P.S. Extreme Home Makeover is here in my town this week building a house for a very lucky family! Ty Pennington surprised the lucky family today!! *Thought that was interesting to share!*

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Teacher Week 2011

It's Teacher Week 2011! I'm excited to start linking up this week! Teacher Week is being hosted over at Blog Hoppin'! Click the link to go check out more! This will be perfect for the last week while I'm setting up my classroom. I won't be posting more classroom pics until Wednesday for Teacher Week! I hope you plan on joining in! :)

This photo originally from Blog Hoppin'

- Meet the Teacher MondayIntroductions, please!  Tell us all about you!

- Teacher Talk Tuesday – A day dedicated to providing advice for new teachers :)

- Where it All Goes Down Wednesday – Pictures, please! Show us your classroom! 

- Three for Thursday Link to your favorite font, favorite blog, and favorite online resource.

- Free for All FridayEveryone loves a freebie!  Link up with a printable that you’ve created and would like to share out with the teaching community.
**All above information from Blog Hoppin'!**

Saturday, August 20, 2011

Badge Clip Winner!

Katherine, I will be e-mailing you! :) You'll have to pick your favorite print and let me know if you would like a clip or a retractable clip! Congrats on winning!

Friday, August 19, 2011

First Day in the Classroom

If you missed yesterday's post, scroll down to see the before pictures of my classroom. BUT do it quick so you don't spoil today's pictures!! :)

Today was the first day I got to do some work in my classroom and I think I brought the best helper with me! My friend helped me get SO much done! She was *excellent* at putting up bulletin board paper, something I do not do well!

We went in just expecting to get all of the furniture set and arranged today, but we did so much more!

Here is a shot standing in the door way to my classroom.

There's still a lot of small item organizing to be done...and I need to make new curtains/covers for that toy shelf in front.

That's the block area straight ahead, and the green curtain to the left is the computer area. There's a table with computers behind the curtain, but since we don't really use them, I block them :)

There's my job octopus! He's still looking for his home. It's been discussed to go many places, but still haven't found one quite right yet!

View from standing up in the loft. And my giant red easel. They are new this year and every teacher got one. We already have a love/hate relationship.

Here's the view from standing over by my desk. You can see my small group table to the left, our toy area, smartboard, and obviously where we will do calendar/greeting time!

Here is the writing area with my word wall..and jellyfish! I guess it's a good thing I hadn't gotten around to my sand castle yet because I don't think it would have fit on the board! There's another shelf for the materials for the writing area, but you can't see if from the photo angle.

Here's my excellent cabinet storage. As you can see I use the inside AND the top of the cabinets to store stuff! The bathroom is also to the back right & these are the two tables we will use for table time, art area, and snack time. Bottom right, I have our sensory table!

And...the reading loft! Below we have the house area, and above there is the reading area and listening area. So many people have said, "Oh! You're going to use your loft?!" Like they're shocked! I thought about it a lot and decided I would wait until Oct to "open" it and once the students are taught how to go up and down the ladder properly and learn the consequences. It shouldn't be an issue. (I run a tight pre-school ship, & plus they climb on the playground!)

There are a few things on my to do list for the weekend, like finding a solid color border and cutting out some laminated stuff. I already found some window curtains at Marshalls that I think will be perfect! I can't wait to get in on Monday & put them up!

Did I mention how much I LOVE decorating a classroom?! I'm a big dork. This, I know.

Thursday, August 18, 2011

1 more day..

..until I can FINALLY go work in my classroom!

I can go work in my classroom tomorrow and I feel like I'm counting down the hours now! I've recruited one of my best friends to come in and help me (I'm not sure she realizes what she's getting herself into yet!)

I'm on a hunt for a few things today and then gathering up everything I have here at home to take back in the morning. Why on Earth I found it necessary to bring home as much as I did is beyond me. But, my bedroom will look nice & clean again after my walls are no longer lined with binders, folders, and books!

I can't wait to share photos of *hopefully* the progress we make tomorrow! Remember, this is where I'm starting out...

Wish me luck, I'm dealing with furniture mountains here!!
And don't forget to enter the 200 follower giveaway for a badge clip! I've also added the choice for a retractable badge clip to the giveaway as well! :)

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Adorable Badge Clip Giveaway!

Here's something that has been in the back of mind forever to make and I've had the materials to do it just haven't gotten around to it. ID badge clips!

And what a great idea for a 200 follower giveaway! Thank you so much to all of you who follow my blog! Here's how you can enter & be sure to leave 1 comment for each one!!

**UPDATE: you may choose to have a retractable badge clip if you'd like! They are not in the photo, but if you'd prefer that style, I can put the pattern of your choice on one! :)

1. Follow my blog
2. Follow creating & teaching on facebook
3. Follow my TpT store
4. Blog about this giveaway and post a link to it in your comment

Contest ends on Friday August 19, 2011 at midnight. After that a winner will be chosen at random. Winner may pick which badge clip they like best! WAIT! There's more!

If I reach *250* followers during this giveaway, I'll select a SECOND person to pick a badge of their choice!

If I reach *300* followers during this giveaway, I'll select a THIRD person to pick a badge of their choice!

Now, please forgive my modge podge of work out attire and other clothes to demonstrate how you can wear this badge clip. And have mercy on me and these slightly embarrassing photos..

And after I took all these pics, I even thought you could clip it on a cute long necklace! Good luck to all on the contest!

Monday, August 15, 2011

Blog Design Crisis.

If you've been following my blog for any amount of time, i.e. longer than 2 weeks, I'm sure you've noticed I have a wee-bit of blog design ADD. If you tune into Andy Cohen's Watch What Happens Live, you're familiar with "the family of 1,000 hats", well, I'm "the blog of 1,000 designs!"

I've made almost all my designs, and I love doing it. Every time I find new clip art OR learn how to do something new to create a layout, I almost immediately change it. I'm always perfectly happy and content after each blog design and think, THIS.IS.IT. Then, the novelty wears off and I want something new.

I don't think I've settled on 1 design yet because I'm still looking for that perfect design that I feel suits my blog.

Should I just buy a cute blog design? Will I be less likely to change it 50 bagazillion times if I've purchased the design? But wait, I can't make my mind up on one to purchase! Oy vey.

There are also several posts just like this one. Where I'm explaining myself hoping for your forgiveness for my constant design change...

I need help. I need your help. Am I driving you nuts with my incessant design change? Am I hurting my "blog brand" by changing it so much? I need some feedback! All positive and/or negative comments or suggestions are welcome!

Sunday, August 14, 2011

...TO ME! To celebrate my birthday in blog land, I'm having a sale in my TpT store. Every item over $1.00 is 20% off! (I wanted to do 23% but couldn't :( ) Head on over and see what goodies you can find!

My safari theme birthday bulletin board was a hit, so I've put together a few more birthday theme sets! Go check them out!

Pirate theme birthday set:

Frog theme birthday set:

Can you guess why I wanted 23%?! Ha, not like that's a tricky questions or anything...

EDIT** woo hoo!!! I have reached 200 followers on my birthday!! It's like a blog land birthday present!! :)


Saturday, August 13, 2011

Word Family Trains

I never got to do a transportation theme last year, and I really hope that I get to it this year. (I'll have mostly boys, so I better make it a priority!) I have some great clip art from Digi Web Studio to put together some activities for transportation.

Don't ask me why, but when I was looking at the trains word families came to mind. No, I don't teach my little guys word families. :) But I know that a lot of my readers DO teach word families, so I put together this activity!

Really peeved that word cut off the right side and I didn't realize it til later...

If I taught Kindergarten, I'd probably know the order in which word families are introduced, but since I don't I just picked 6 different ones! :) The ones included are: -all, -ing, -ot, -an, -at, and -in.

The activity set includes 6 blank engine trains and 8 blank train cards so you can make more word families if you choose. Right now, there are 58 train cards with words matching to the word families.

I also created a record sheet so you could easily turn this into a literacy center. Once students match up the word family trains they can choose 3 word families to record on their sheet with up to 6 words for each family. **Finish your work early? Flip the page over and draw your own word family set- trains, a gumball machine, etc!

I hope to have more train activities soon. I like posting activities separate because sometimes you might want only one 1 thing that's featured in a set/unit! :)

Please visit my TpT store if you'd like to purchase your own set of Word Family Trains!
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