sELFless Challenge Week 1

I am here to admit to be 100% addicted to Krista Wallden's clip art. She is amazing. The quality can't be beat. On top of all that, she is a generous artist. I have been a member of the Summer and Fall VIP clubs. I am anxiously awaiting tomorrow for the first week of the Winter VIP. 

She does numerous FREEBIES throughout the year, usually giving a full set, not just an image or two. WOW. Talk about impressive. For December she is doing Operation ELF, everyone loves freebies. The clip art includes a sELFless challenge for the week. 

Here is week one, and my progress to date.

3. Done, I posted an Operation ELF freebie last week. 

4. Someone at work had already started this. It was a perfect combination of projects. 

That is it for this week. I will be stalking, waiting patiently for this weeks Operation ELF.

Too Much Tech?!?!?

With it being a long weekend, I decided to bring home all the devices I use in my classroom. After all, apps need updating, songs changed out, etc.. It is a good time.

Just for fun, I collected all the devices I have available in my classroom and took a picture. WOW! Even I was a little amazed at what I have. This doesn't include the 6 desktop and 12 laptop computers.

Here it is, in all its glory! With a brief explanation of how each item is used.

1. 3 iPhones (3GS) and 1 iPod touch. These are used daily during center time. The students work on Teach Me Toddler or Hooked on Phonics, depending on what they need. I use the guided access feature to make sure they are working in the correct app. 

2. Various MP3 players and an iPod Nano. The Riptune MP3 players were purchased to send home with an Interactive Alphabet activity, but they are a little tricky to get to work. I am using them in the classroom with the activity in the classroom. I may use them for read along books in the future. The Nano is used with a student who is learning letter names. The student listens to a letter song while doing activities to practice the letter. 

3. CD Players. Would you believe that CD players are hard to find and getting expensive. (which is why I was looking for cheap MP3 players) I use them with my books on CD. I color code the buttons so it is easier for my 5 & 6 year olds to work them independently. 

4. Various cameras and video cameras I have gotten at trainings through the years. They are not currently being used. I am going to try Paper, Slide, Video projects next semester, these will come in handy. 

5. An iPad 2. I use this in direct instruction. I play songs for small group time, use an app with the students, and use the FarFaria app for read alouds during assessment weeks. It keeps the kids engaged and learning while I assess the others one on one. 

6. A Nook Color, the original one. This is great for the library center. I found several FREE read to me books on the B&N site and downloaded them. The kids love to 'read' the stories. 

Where did I get all this? The iPhones, iPad, Nano, and Nook came to school when my family upgraded our devices. The iPod touch was purchased with a Donors Choose grant a couple years ago. The MP3 players and CD players have been purchased over the years with our district adopt-a-class program funds. 

Why am I sharing? Well, I was recently told about the MobyMax tablet. I am getting to play with one this weekend. It is $69 and I think I want some for my classroom. I can already think of several uses. Plus the iPhones and iPod cannot be updated anymore. One day the apps will stop working. 

Maybe I need an intervention instead. I hope not. I kinda like technology! 

November Currently

Here we go again. A new month, a new Currently post, hosted by Farley at Oh' Boy 4th Grade.

At this moment I am listening to the quiet hum of my computer. It is early and I haven't turned on the music yet. My current ear worm is Benedictus by 2 Cellos. Check out their You Tube page. Fantastic music. 

The cool weather here in south Florida. This weekend has been perfect, cool mornings, highs in the low 70s, great weather to sit on the porch with a good book (see reading) and a mug of hot green tea. Relaxation shall commence! 

It is Sunday, that means I am thinking about all the things I need to so for the week, school related and personal.... 

More time to create! It is hard during the school year. I am a scrapbooker, card maker, learning to paint kind of gal. Not to mention creating items for TPT. 

Really, everything is good here. I can't think of any real 'NEED'... anything here would be a want, so they don't go here. :) 

Hubby & I are reading the John Sanford Prey series. We read a couple last year and enjoyed them. I am on book #18. We will have to buy the latest soon. He has moved on to the Virgil Flowers series. I have a James Patterson book from the library I need to read this week. 

Who knew my "Reading" section would be the longest.

Thanks for stopping by. Don't forget to stop by Oh' Boy 4th Grade and check out other teacher bloggers are Currently doing. Have a great November. 

You Might Be a Kindergarten Teacher...

If this is how you dress for Halloween. Not because it is a book character, but because this is how you dress for Halloween. 

Happy Halloween Y'all!

Technology Awaits

The district I work for is piloting a laptop program this year. Each school was allotted a number of carts, depending on the student population. The carts hold 12 laptop computers. The aim of the program is for a 2:1 ratio to enhance project based learning. 

Teachers had to apply for the laptop carts. I was lucky enough to be chosen! I am so excited about the program. Yes, I teach Kindergarten. Yes, there are obstacles to overcome. Yes, there are days the technology doesn't work. Yet I am still excited. 


All the schools were outfitted with Wi-Fi access over the summer. Remember those obstacles... Well, the student logins didn't work for the first few weeks of school. That is behind us. Except the Wi-Fi network went down last week for 4 days. Window authentication problems; that has been fixed now as well. Logins themselves are another obstacle for Kindergarten; numbers, letters, capital letters, etc... make it challenging. However, my kiddos are starting to get the hang of it all. I have several who can login with no help at all. Baby steps. My goal is to be at 80% by December. I know I have a couple kids who may need help all year. That is just fine.

I am fortunate enough to have 6 desktops in my room. Combine those with the 12 laptops and I am at a 1:1 ration. (Yes, I only have 18 students) This ratio is much better for my class. The kids don't have to log out and login when they get to a computer, I can have Google Chrome save the anonymous passwords. Ones I create for sites like or Education City; nothing that is tied to their district information.

Right now we are using our laptops to enhance our learning. My small group time is a digital rotation. The centers are as follows: teacher, computer, iPods, library (which as a Nook color), learning games. I have an aide during centers, she helps with logins and works with the kids at the learning games. I will be talking more about all my digital centers throughout the year. I am still tweaking the whole idea. I plan to incorporate Voice Thread and ActivInspire for digital storytelling. I have the iPods and Nook which can be used for different activities as well. Stayed tuned to hear about our progress.

There is a downside to the laptop cart. The cart itself. It sits directly behind my teacher computer. It has a nice large flat surface. Seeing that I am a pile maker, not a filer, it regularly has lots of papers on top of it. Oh well, at least I can find the stuff.

What's Up This Week

A new week is upon us, so what's up with Krogh's Kids. I get to read on of my favorite books...

There are so many comprehension activities to go along with the book. Because of its repetitive nature, the kids easily remember the story. The kids love adding the sounds as I read and become part of the story telling. I will be adding the felt pieces to our library center for independent retelling.

This year I am adding a new piece to the week, the video. How I have missed this all these years, I do not know. It doesn't matter now. I can't wait to share it this week.

What's up with you this week?

Easy Felt Board Pieces for Story Retelling

I wanted to find an activity to engage my students in story telling and story retelling. I wanted it to keep the students interested and be specific to the books we have been reading, or just fun topics. I've been using a felt board in my library center for a couple of years, with limited resources. After a quick Google search, I realized I could make any felt board pieces I wanted. With the proper supplies. 

First stop Amazon, I buy most office supplies from Amazon. I live in the country and going to Wal*Mart, Target, or an office store is not a 'quick trip'. Instead I pay for Amazon Prime and shop online. 

I purchased the Avery t-shirt transfers and a pile of white felt. I printed some graphics onto the transfer. Your possibilities are only limited by your clipart supply. Just remember to print in Mirror mode if you are printing text or it will be backwards. 

Following the instructions, I preheated my iron, folded my pillowcase, and iron the transfer to the felt. 


These transfers just need  a few minutes to cool off before peeling it away from the felt. 

Presto, instant felt board pieces. These monsters are from They are just for random story telling. 

This year I have added pieces for Mouse Paint, Brown Bear, Brown Bear, and Big Red Apple to my retelling library. The students still play with the sets several weeks after we are done with the book. I leave the book in the bag with the felt to assist in the story retelling. 


Goal: To post to this blog two times a week. 

Not necessarily the same two days a week. I CAN blog two days. I CAN write to posts a week. I CAN do this. 

Not promising anything earth shattering in the life of this Kindergarten teacher, but I WILL blog twice a week. 

You Know You Are a Kindergarten Teacher When...

You know you are a Kindergarten teacher when you wake up on Saturday morning and your the song running through your head is... 

The Octopus's Garden; Raffi Version. 

Time to Cut the Laminating

I have made it the ought the first two weeks of school. Procedures and routines are being learned. Now it is time to add a few more. 

In that order, I have laminating and sticker charts to cut out. Feet up and DRV going, relaxing teacher style.

Don't Miss Out! TPT Boost Sale

Have you heard the news? TPT is having a one day sale this week; Wednesday, August 20th. That's right, a second chance to buy all those things we missed during the first BTS sale. TPT is offering 10% off prices with the code BOOST. If you favorite seller is having a sale, you get the 10% on top of the sellers discount. Be sure to check out your favorite seller on Wednesday.  

Did you buy a lot or a little earlier in the month. I bought a little. I couldn't resist this Color the Room set by Erin from Creating and Teaching. Many of my students aren't ready to write the room in August. Coloring is something they can do. Click on the picture to go directly to the product. 

My wish list is always at least 3 pages long. The majority of the list is clip art, but there are plenty of activities as well. The Listen Up bundle by Fluttering Through First Grade looks like a great way to practice listening skills. 

Finally, I added a new product to my store this weekend. I started out making a quick sorting activity to go with Miss Bindergarten Gets Ready for Kindergarten by Joseph Slate. That spiraled into a letter recognition activity and craft when your are done with the story. All the cards are designed for a Pocket chart and can be used independently for practice. 

The set includes pictures to be sorted be "In the story" "Not in the story". Also a set of alphabet letters that can be used during a reading of the book. The students identify the letter or sound for the characters and place their matching letter in a Pocket Chart. Below is the hat for the students to color and cut out. Great practice for cutting on a curve. I attach it to a sentence strip or extra bulletin board border. 

Don't forget the sale is Wednesday, August 20th. Happy Shopping.  

Ready or Not...

It is official. School starts tomorrow. Bright and Early! Ready or Not! 

I am ready, well my room is at least. I really don't have a theme that carries throughout all my decorations. I like bright colors. I have started putting border around large displays on the walls. It adds a finishing touch to the display. It also helps the display stand out on the cream colored walls.

This is the view from my desk. Complete with my Tervis tumbler. I drink iced tea all day. I have several tumblers that follow me everywhere I go. 

This is the view from the door. We use tables for Kindergarten. I am using shower caddies to hold the scissors, glue, and pencils for the table. Each student will have their own box for crayons. 

I have set my tables and chairs so that everyone will be able to see the piloting a 2:1 laptop program this year, so the kids will need to see the board. Lots more on that throughout the year. 

Here is the reading corner. I found the little andirondack chairs at Big Lots a few years ago. The colors are great. I don't have to worry about the fire code issues of having pillow and bean bags. I  added the felt board last year. I have several felt sets that match stories we will read. I include generic sets for story telling.

The reading corner is in front of my built in desk. I wasn't happy with the view of cords, and computers, etc... I have seen lots of cute "READ" signs on Pinterest all summer I adapted the idea and make them printable instead. I purchased 8 X 10 acrylic frames for the letters, found cute clip art and papers, and voilĂ . 

Yes, the "D" doesn't match. My original plan was different. I bought the wrong frame. I had to turn a vertical frame on its side to make it work this week. I will be  making a trip to AC Moore in the near future to get the correct frame. 

Makeover; Clothespin Style

Oh My! There is so much to do for back to school. I could post something new for a month to talk about all the items I am creating and things I am doing. But I won't bore you.

I have been using clothes pins on my bulletin board for a couple of years. It makes changing out the student work so much faster. As I was redoing the board this week a teacher stopped by and commented that the clothespins would be cute if they were painted. I completely agree, but decided to use washi tape instead. Less Mess!! 

Here are my supplies all lined up. Hot glue gun, thumb tacks, clothes pins, and washi tape. 

I started by gluing the thumb tacks to the clothes pins. 

Once the glue dried, I put the washi tape on the other side. I found this tape at the dollar store. Primary colored hearts will match my bulletin board perfectly. 

The little bit of color adds just enough to go from blah to cute. Add washi tape to your supply list. It is a simple way to add the cute. 

Busy Day

I spent the day in my classroom. It doesn't look as bare as in the earlier post from today. There are no 'in progress' photos. I will do after shots next week.

I have more to get ready than my room though. My goal for the year: Paperless. I have been trying to use Evernote more and more for personal and work related organization. If you haven't heard of Evernote, check them out. It is a cross platform organizational tool. Everything syncs, so your phone, tablet, and web versions are always current.

I love using a really cute desktop calendar. A calendar app is perfect for recording important dates, but they just aren't cute. So I made my own.

I really like the graphics from KHDigi on Etsy. They are bright and colorful. Just what I wanted. I use an iPad; with Pages I will be able to type right on each month. Just like a real calendar. 

For my friends, I posted a PDF version on TPT. Click on the calendar cover or here


My Blank Slate

Here it is. All ready for me to rearrange and decorate. 

August Currently

I am a few days late, but with everything going on this month I shall not fret. I am joining the Currently Linky at Oh'Boy 4th Grade this month. It is my first linky.

Listening: I am listening to my Broadway Musical playlist. Tomorrow?? I change playlists daily, I always have music in the background.

Loving: My new computer, see post a few days ago. :) 

Thinking: About my classroom and the school year. I have rearranged my room at least 5 times.

Wanting: I have lists for Amazon and Home Depot. All for my classroom. FL gives us supply money in September, so everything is a want.

Needing: My supply money so I can get the things I want.

1st Day: Me... 8/7
              Kids... 8/18

TPT Back to School Sale

It seems early to be having a Back to School sale. Yet it really isn't. I have family and friends that all start school this week, the kids not just the teachers.

Here it is, TPT's back to school sale.

I am linking up with Nicole & Eliceo from Teacher Tips Around The World to share the sale with my fellow bloggers. Check it out here to see other fantastic stores on sale. 

Happy Shopping. 

A Creative Weekend

I really enjoy creating things, art, whatever you want to call it. I can't draw my way out of a box, but give me some materials and I am good to go. I have discovered I don't care what medium those materials may be, as long as I can manipulate the into something pretty.

In my life I have tried my hand at quite a few things: hook and latch, sewing, photography, scrapbooking, card making, mixed media, painting, crotchet, probably some I have forgotten, and now digital design. Who knew it would be so much fun?!?!?! Clip Art, Design Elements, Digital Papers, Fun Fonts... all put together to make art. I am hooked. So what does this have to do with my classroom you ask? Read on. 

One of my classroom goals this year is to blend play into the content areas as much as possible. It is so easy to get carried away with the academic expectations. I strive to make those interactive and engaging, but I want to add more play elements this year. Besides, I need to be reminded of that as well.

I searched Pinterest and Google for meaningful quotes about the importance of play. I found several by notable people in education. The next step was to design a way to display them round my room. Since my theme is more about being colorful; I decided to make Subway Art. I got to play with my wonderful fonts and all the great clip art I have been collecting for a couple of years. 

Here is my favorite piece I created. I tried to design it as a child might, not concerned with it being straight, not caring about the placement of the pieces, just making it fun and pretty. 

My printer does borderless printing, so I printed this, and the others I made, out onto card stock. I fired up my personal laminator, everyone needs one of these, and laminated them all. 

You see, even my desk has been stamped. Actually, that is a piece of acrylic that covers the white desk. I did stamp on the surface so the desk doesn't look dirty when I am stamping or painting. This is the messy side of the office/studio. 

The advantage of the personal laminator, less cutting. For the Subway Art, I am leaving the border of laminating film. Other options would be to print the Subway Art, trim off the border, mount on colorful paper, and laminate. You could also print them as a large format poster, the options are available in Adobe Reader. I include the directions in the Subway Art files on TPT. 

I have posted several posters in my TPT store. Including the one shown here, which is a FREEBIE. Stop by and pick some up for your classroom. 

Unwrapping a New Computer

After 10 years with a laptop, I decided to return to a desktop this year. I have an iPad that goes with me all the time, greatly reducing my need for a laptop. I went to the Apple store tonight and came home with this.

A new iMac. The box itself is pretty to look at. But what's inside is even better. First out if the box are the keyboard and mouse. Both are Bluetooth, so no cords. 

Next came the computer itself. The iMac is all wrapped up like a Christmas present. 

The iMac contains everything in one piece, no separate CPU tower. This also means no cords. Can you tell I am excited about the lack of cords. I have a love/hate realationship with electronic cords. I love the devices they power. I hate the way they get tangled up. 

I plugged the power cord into the battery back-up, ran it up the back of the desk, plugged it into the iMac and I was ready to go.

Well, almost. I had to get my files and iTunes library from my old MacBook. That didn't take long and then I was reaady to go. 

I am happy with the decision to go back to a desktop. The iMac has a 21.5" screen, which is a great size for photo editing and other digital creating. The design actually gives me more room on my desk around the computer. I have been using a Mac for 10 years now and have always been pleased with the computer. I use a Windows machine at school and have no problems chagning systems. Everything is compatible these days.

Time to go create something.... 

Blog Design

I completely and wholeheartedly understand why blog designers charge the prices they do to create beautiful blogs.

Last week I started finding tutorials and examples of blogs I like. I went through my clip art; deciding what I liked best. Because I like all of it. All the papers, and designs, and elements, and shapes, and, and, and...

I finally decided on elements by KDH Designs. Her Etsy store can be found here. Her spring morning designs are bright and fun to work with. I wanted to carry over my Teachers Pay Teachers store name, Teaching Under the Sun, without being tied to lots of oranges. These papers and elements are perfect.

The sun is the work of Ashley Hughes. You can find her on TPT. The sun and sunglasses are from her Summer Lovin sets.

I still have a few tweaks to do; the font styles and colors, the sidebar, adding a navigation bar, and other minor things. Those can wait a few days.

Thanks for looking, please let me know what you think; positive or constructive.

Tuesday's Tip

Here is my favorite tip for handling dry erase markers and erasers. After struggling for years over lost markers and paper towels that don't erase, I found this somewhere. (I didn't say it was an original idea) 

Use a Sock!!! 

I just got a cheap pack of white socks from Wal*Mart. I store the markers in the socks. 

This has reduced the lost markers. The socks erase better than anything else I have found. Plus, the students only have less to carry with them as they move. 

When the socks get dirty, I take them and wash them. No worries about missing pairs. :) I don't even worry about getting them white; they still work. 

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