Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Terrific Tuesday!

Yesterday I was WIPED OUT. I finally caught that my self-talk was getting really negative as I fell asleep. "You need to to this... you should have done this... I thought this year would be different... why aren't you prepared?" But I woke up knowing that today would be fun... and it WAS! Best of all, I can take a moment to reflect that I'm doing some pretty awesome things.

First of all, Conscious Discipline is taking off in my room. It's so exciting to see the phrases from the  Seven Skills of Discipline become a second language. For example, my favorite skill to teach is assertiveness. So often a child will expect you to tell others how to treat them when it should be THAT child! When an offended child comes up to me with some tattle or report I simply ask, "Did you like it?" Of course they say no! Then you coach them on what they could say to their friend to teach them, not police them. My kiddos are REALLY receptive to using my suggestions on their friends. It puts less shame on the offender and empowers the child that needs assertiveness! That's just one of many teachable moments that Conscious Discipline encourages. I should write a whole post about it, for sure.

Another WONDERFUL example of Conscious Discipline working in my room is that our I Love You Rituals FINALLY took off today! My group loves to sing, yes, but they get a little shy about singing to each other. For whatever reason they got into "I Wish You Well" this morning after four other mornings of little participation. But you know what, I am gonna take credit for this!!! My constant encouragement is working!

I can also be proud of the other fun things I'm striving to do with my kids.
I finally got around to setting up a Pete the Cat Hunt (like the Gingerbread Man) and at the end we found Swedish Fish waiting at our tables! They were SO excited about finding out where Pete went and coming back to a treat. Such a good idea! I got it from Chalk Talk here.
We also made a music video in our technology studio! Our tech specialist put a few of us in front of the green screen as we sang and dance to this song:

I simply bought a karaoke version of "Respect" and sang over it just like these ladies. They LOVED it!  I can't wait to use the green screen again. Sure, not everyone can participate, but we can all enjoy the video for the rest of the year.

I'm also doing a GREAT job of calling parents this year. It is so nice to have a little chat with a few a week and they all seem to appreciate me calling. I get some good tidbits about the child that way. Talking to them lets me know of the best piece to be proud about:
My kids love me! 
I wasn't sure if I loved them until about last Wednesday... (c'mon! The first few days are ROUGH!) but the love I HAVE shown them is paying off. They call me crazy (with all the singing and dancing), miss me on the weekends, rush up for hugs in the morning, and aren't afraid to tell me what they're feeling, especially when it's to say, "Teacher, I love you."

...and that IS pretty awesome. :)

Monday, August 29, 2011

Musical Monday: The Learning Groove!

Everyone has something they "geek out" about... mine happens to be *cool* children's music.

My train of thought went like this...

Needed to download this video for my kiddos on Friday:

But I (finally) noticed the song Pete chose to dance to was from this album:
Rockin' Red by The Learning Groove
Upon investigation I found out who was responsible for such a cool tune!
Eric Litwin!
I mean... duh! It's on his website! But I fell in love and immediately bought the album. HELLO brain breaks! My favorite tracks are "I Love It" from the Pete video, "The Good Stuff," "Dance, Freeze, Melt," "The Number Dance," and "Hip Hop Body Rock."

Monday, August 22, 2011

Musical Monday: Thank goodness they love to sing!!!

First day with the kiddos!!! We sang "Together" this morning for our I Love You Ritual as a whole group. About half will willingly sing to anything; the other half are a little more reserved but seem to enjoy it just the same. Tomorrow I'll pair them up to sing to each other!

I sang the "Walk in Line Rhyme" without music. The lyrics are so cute! Best of all they love it!

Peanut butter lips,
marshmallow toes,
hands glued to your sides
and follow your nose!

Right before dismissal we sang "See You Later Alligator" and I'm so happy they love to freestyle dance! We just made up the moves as we went along.

All of the songs are from this album... which quickly becoming my favorite! Gonna need some tea tonight if I want to do it all over again tomorrow! :)

Saturday, August 20, 2011

Sneak a Peek!

So this is what my room looked like for... you guessed it, Sneak a Peek (Meet the Teacher)! I'm STILL waiting on two bookshelves (grrrr...) but I'm pretty pleased with how it turned out. Meeting the kiddos was a blast, too! And I spent some time talking to parents like a real pro this year. Yep... I'm Ms. Bueno! :)

Cute sticker from Dollar Tree!
Sooo thrifty by covering a plastic tub with tablecloth scraps!
Don't mind the moving stickers on the chairs... :/
Student desks!
So happy I got the Conscious Discipline posters I wanted!
Guided Reading table and student computers
I LOVE my word wall!
Listening Station, tub table for my phone, and my cute block center!
Calendar is looking a little sad... but it'll get better tomorrow!

Overall I'm awfully proud of how I'm starting out my second year! :)

...trying not to FREAK OUT!

Oh geeze... school starts Monday and I have so much left to do! I met my 18 kiddos yesterday and can't wait to see how they grow... but I wish I had another week. WHERE did my work days go?!

Right now my boyfriend is fixing me up some dinner while I take a moment to share what I've been up to! Keep scrolling... these are good'uns! The cute clipart is from Scrappin' Doodles!


Rules Posters!
Can't forget this one!
Take Home Folder Labels!
A handmade poster for my Denim Calendar set!
And then I updated my Schedule Cards so you can download them faster (I hope)! 

Whew! :)

Monday, August 15, 2011

Musical Monday: A Wonderful Woman

Still on I Love You Rituals because my first day with my new kiddos is next Monday! I may wait to show them this song until we get to nursery rhymes and folk tales but it's one of my favorites from this book:
(I don't know if I like this thing... I may take it off...) 

I was all ready to record myself singing this song for you and posting it on youtube... but that little copyright reminder scared me off. I'll just jot it down for you instead... it's on the back of the book, anyway!

A wonderful woman
who lived in a shoe.
She had so many children,
she knew exactly what to do.
She held them, she rocked them,
and tucked them in bed.
"I love you, I love you,"
is what she said.

The book I mentioned above is GREAT for parents of little ones, but makes an awesome opportunity for eye contact, touch, and fun in the classroom, too. Children can sit facing each other and one child will rub their partner's hand deeply (which feels sooo good... the presenter sang this song to me, I'll never forget it) for the first 2 lines. Then they count the fingers on both hands for the next two and hold their hand, rock it, and put it against the receiving child's chest. The last two lines is a sweet, sweet hug. 

In my recording I showed you with Pete the Cat... I love that guy! :)

Sunday, August 14, 2011

Scrapdoodlin' away!

Ok... I made that up.

But I'm so excited I finally found Scrappin Doodles! I have KinderTastic and her fabulous Daily 5 posters to thank...
All laminated and ready to go!
...that and being up FAR too late last night thinking of my ever-growing TO DO list. So somehow I found the Stick Kids collection and went shopping! I bought 6 collections for $20... I'd say that's a steal compared to other cliparts.

THEN I made these...
Schedule Cards!!! I'm just beaming with pride over here. I can't wait to use them! As you can see I incorporated KinderTastic's posters on my Daily 5 card!

*Update* Click here for the *arrival* cards, here for the blank enrichment cards, and here for the rest!

I left the enrichment/specials/whathaveyou cards blank because I plan putting those teachers' pictures and names on them. I also experimented with including some of the Conscious Discipline and Capturing Kids Hearts strategies in my schedule like the morning greeting, I Love You Ritual, and launch. The font I used is called Thick Chocolate if you want to give it a try.

Yay! I feel like a real blogger now! Let me know what you think!

Saturday, August 13, 2011

I'm a nut (click click) I'm a nut (click click)...

That seems to be my favorite phrase lately.
I worked in the classroom today and will return tomorrow. Why? I'm a nut! But I'd like to believe the best kind...

Today my efforts yielded me tables with clever storage underneath.
Now you see 'em...
Now you don't! 
The cute tablecloths came from BigLots!
Do you remember the ottoman from earlier this week? It had to match, too!
A curtain for my Safe Place and the writing station table
 I labeled my library tubs with Velcro dots this year... genius!
Brought out just what I needed for the first few weeks and...
Stored the rest on my built-in!
 The Velcro dots also worked for my math cubbies (in my built-in... sweet).
If you still need some you can grab these here and here.
I need to make more,  any sugesstions?
Whew! I think I'm all pooped out from the matchy-matchy cuteness goin' on here!

Now I feel a little better about being a part of this linky party!

Check out my "friend!!!"

I regularly describe y'all as my blogging "friends."

"Well, my friend showed me this..."
"I made a new friend today!!!"
"Ok, hold on, I need to tell my friend something..."

And then non-bloggers look at me like I'm a stalker. A BLOG stalker!!! Har, har, har. They just don't get it.

Anyway, my friend, Pre-K Mom Dot Com is celebrating her 35th follower today!

She is offering some cute giveaways from Lakeshore!
This one's my favorite!

Thursday, August 11, 2011


Needless to say... I'm not done? But I've moved furniture in and around, organized books (not yet labeled), and planned where Daily 5 stations and other centers are going.

It's going to look AWESOME, I promise!

From the guided reading table... check out those built-in cabinets!
From the work on writing shelf... notice the pretty blue bookshelf my boyfriend and I made! :)
From the listening station
I'm still waiting on 2 more bookshelves and a filing cabinet, but I know exactly where they're going. I feel so behind! 

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

I need to stop!!!

Whew, just got back from playing Pokeno with new(ish) and old(ish) friends... such fun! Heard from an experienced teacher the struggle of unpacking years of stuff in our new rooms! I seem to have a different problem...
I keep buying new stuff!

But I do love what I found today:
Big Lots, Target, and Zapppos, oh my!
So excited to have an ottoman ($20) like Clutter Free Classroom's! I also found buckets (Target Dollar Spot) for who knows what and cups (3 pk for $1.40 ea.) for crayon storage. My real finds were these babies at Big Lots ($2.50 ea.):
I envision each kiddo at the block center having their own and also having them available during Daily 5 Read to Self! I love them!!
Also grabbed two of these so I can later decide which color to use:
We got our new kinder team shirts today, too!
My favorite things, however, are my rockin' school shoes and new best buddy!

Whew! I think that's enough for one day... but I've got MORE on the way!

Monday, August 8, 2011

Musical Monday: I Love You Rituals

Let's face it: as teachers, we are pros at pre-season training... more so than those helmet-head NFL boys! We work so hard at getting the room, lesson plans, and various other things ready before the game begins, but there's a HUGE thing missing in our game plan... THE KIDS! Now, don't get me wrong, I wish I could've started in my room WEEKS ago and will certainly worry about what border I should use here and what basket to place there, but ultimately, those babies (and their parents) don't care about how your room looks. They care about if you will be caring.

I want to place a strong emphasis on developing a caring classroom this year. I was lucky enough to attend a workshop on Conscious Discipline and read this book over the summer:
Dr. Becky Bailey empowers her readers with an understanding of the brain so that we may be conscious of how our inner state influences our behavior and how our behavior serves as a model for the students in our classroom.
She speaks a lot about developing connections not only with our students but between the children themselves. She calls these "I Love You Rituals" because they are done everyday to build a sense of unity in your classroom.

I would love to show you a song I plan on using as an I Love You Ritual, but it's not available online. It's called "I Wish You Well" on this CD:

I was, however, able to find this video of Dr. Bailey and the song is in it! Here she is speaking about using I Love You Rituals with older children and explains her thinking on why it works. If you're interested in the song it's at 2:08.

My heart to your heart, I wish you well!

Saturday, August 6, 2011


Inspired by Pre-K Mom Dot Com, I finally made myself a button!
As my brother says, when you have a question: Google it! I found this tutorial that was super easy to follow.

Friday, August 5, 2011

What a find!

Whoa, whoa, whoa, whoa... Just like A Place Called Kindergarten I am blown away by the freebies on this blog!
You simply MUST check out KinderTastic's awesomeness!

She has the assessment sheet of my dreams (literally, I have been thinking about it all summer and viola! she made one!), sight word journals, Daily 5 posters, and the cutest alphabet flashcards and charts!

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Hi, I'm Nicole and I'm a Nut...

Um, yeah... I'm kinda going overboard with this Pete the Cat thing... if I start buying prints you need to commit me. I don't even like cats!!!!

But this guy is blue and smiling and mine! Chalk Talk had some AWESOME ideas for using Pete that I had to share. And buy my own Pete for.

Hop to it!

Attending my 2nd to last training (whew!) this week. The 2011 CSCOPE State Conference is pretty spectacular, but there are way, way, WAY too many people for my liking. I am, however, excited about what I learned the first day!

Dr. Rich Allen was the keynote speaker and had such a clever, and adaptable, movement activity. Get yourself a hopscotch, 100s chart, alphabet chart, calculator, whathaveyou for your classroom floor!
The possibilities are endless with a blank hopscotch on a shower curtain, tarp, etc. Dr. Allen showed an example that used alphabet bean bags for children to toss onto the hopscotch and jump through the letter sounds/names.
Ack! These are so cute!! Another wish list item, I suppose...
Although I think I have a more economical solution with laminated cards on the squares, perhaps using a shower curtain and page protectors like this teacher.
Created by Simply 2nd Resources!
Whatever the design, I think this a great way to get movement into whole-group activities! My friends and I brainstormed using the hopscotch or alphabet chart for shapes, numbers, colors, word families, beginning/ending sounds, and more!

In the next sessions I learned a bit about creating a class science notebook in kindergarten, which is aligned with my commitment to use interactive writing this year! The presenter was the woman who wrote the science curriculum for kindergarten; it was so nice to put a face to the lessons. She shared some of the same concerns I have about integrating the TEKS better throughout the units and not using written assessments for kinders. It's good to know that there ARE mindful curriculum writers like her!

Tomorrow I'll be attending two sessions with a favorite presenter from the Texas Kindergarten Conference. I can't wait!

Monday, August 1, 2011


Lets face it. Small things are cute.

Like tiny boxes...
Really Useful Boxes from Staples for $.25 this week.
Don't know what I'm using these babies for yet!
And tiny bins...
Metal Storage Bins from Office Depot for $1 each and Vinyl Pouches for $.05 each this week.
Can you tell blue is my color? And those pouches will be great for student binders. (I'll return throughout the week to get more, hehe!)
And tiny water squirters. 
Gotta love Dollar Tree!
I think the puzzle pictured above will be the one I use for my 100 days of school project recommended by Peace, Love and Kindergarten. I will purposefully build the puzzle from the bottom up so they have a challenge in figuring out what it is! 

The water squirters can supplement my Write Out of the Box kit (another great training that I failed to mention). Inside this fun box are fine motor activities like Squishy Fish, which these little creatures could imitate. 

However, the cutest thing of all are the tiny prices! :)

Musical Monday: Pete the Cat!

Ok, ok... this might be old news for some, but Pete the Cat is AWESOME! I can't wait to read this to my new batch of kiddos in... oh geeze, 3 weeks!!!

Thanks to Chalk Talk for sharing this great deal to both books for $19.99 and free shipping!

I love books that I can sing and how Eric Litwin bops his way through the text in the recordings and in  live tellings.

I've got a new tune stuck in my head today!
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