December 18, 2014

Christmas Questionnaire 2014

Linking up with Fabulous in First for her annual linky!

When do you decorate?
In a normal holiday season the husband is very adamant about not decorating for Christmas until after Thanksgiving. However, if it were up to me, decorations would be going up in early November. This year, though, I got lucky and was able to decorate because we were going out of town and celebrating Thanksgiving with friends. I explained that, “wouldn’t it be nice to return home and it already feels like Christmas?” *wink*

Elf or no Elf?
Elf on the Shelf seems creepy to me (am I the only one?!) and since we don’t have kids yet we don’t put up the Elf. However, I do look forward to one day taking the time to come up with different mischievous things for him to do. The kids seem to really enjoy this tradition.

Christmas cookies or no baking for you?
Of COURSE Christmas cookies! It’s one of our favorite traditions and usually we go to TX and do cookies with his mom and sister. But, now that we’re staying home we are doing as much holiday stuff together as possible.

Favorite holiday tradition?
We are beginning to develop our own traditions now that we’re newlyweds. See my post here with all my holiday date nights/ traditions. A couple in particular that were really fun was decorating a gingerbread house and going ice skating :)

Favorite Christmas movie?
If it were up to my husband the answer would be Jingle All the Way...but mine is A Christmas Vacation. It’s not Christmas without the Griswolds. Also Home Alone is a definite go-to!

Snow or no snow?
I’ve never had the chance to see snow on or around Christmas but I love the snow. Of course, not so much being in it but I love the ambiance it gives. Just makes you want to cozy up and relax by the tree.

Favorite Christmas song?
Anything Michael Buble! I love his Christmas album and his deep Sinatra....can never get enough.

Favorite gifts to give and get?
I will always be a fan of gift cards, even if they seem impersonal. It gives me the chance to really get what I want versus the hassle of trying to return or exchange things on the chance I wanted something different. Plus there’s super cute ways to gift, gift cards to others via Pinterest, so there’s a little more thought in it than you’d expect.

A few gift cards I’d love to give and get are:
Stitch Fix
Teachers Pay Teachers
VISA gift cards

October 23, 2014

Creating Your Own Teaching Portfolio

Hello! I feel like it’s been a while since I’ve been able to actually write a post and share something! I’ve officially (almost) finished my first week in preschool and wow, what a game changer it’s been....but a pleasant one!! Three year olds are a different breed than my seven year old second graders but it’s a fun new experience!

Tonight I wanted to quickly share with you all about something that I feel doesn’t get too much attention but is extremely helpful when you find yourself in my position: needing to find your next teaching job! What do you do and what do you need in order to be prepared? How can you stand out? These are a few questions that I’ve asked myself when transitioning from one school to another and I’ve found that keeping a Teaching Portfolio is a fantastic way to showcase your talents and expertise in one convenient binder. 


A Table of Contents is a necessary tool to have in your binder because lets say you’re waiting in the office to be called back for your interview and you give your portfolio to the principal. During this time it can be assumed that they have a moment to look through ALL the wonderful info and documents about you. The best thing is to be super organized so they can find the info they’re looking for quickly because we all know interviews are scheduled and typically last between 15-20 minutes.

This component is important because it summarizes your purpose as an educator. What experiences brought you to teach and what values and beliefs shape your approach to instruction? This is a good place to reflect on your practice and share those experiences and how they’ve shaped you as a teacher today.


Your resume. The most important pieces of paper that somehow has to tell your future employer ALL about you. I mean, I always have difficulty writing my resume only because the longer you teach the more you put into it! However, with that said its good practice to keep your resume up-to-date with the most recent experience, duties performed, start/finish dates, etc. about every employer or position you hold. There’s a lot of different formats to use when writing a resume so take your pick and use something simple and to the point.

One tip: include your volunteerism both in and out of school. This shows your commitment to your school and community!


These are important and every employer is going to ask for them. Have them on hand and not only do you appear professional, you appear prepared! A number of times I’ve been complimented on my portfolio having references included so they can quickly read over their letters. Other times principals will ask for emails or phone numbers. Have those ready in your phone in case they ask. Also, it’s important to promptly respond with that contact information for references. Again, it’s professional but it also kickstarts your process of getting hired ;)

When it comes to references employers also like having a couple of personal references too. This lets them figure you out on a personal level and see if you would be a match to any grade level team. I always include references that could be personal AND professional (those work relationships pay off in more than one way!).


How do you control the chaos?! Every classroom is different and therefore every classroom needs different and differentiated classroom rules and discipline plans. At the beginning of each year I usually give a copy to my parents in their welcome folder so they become familiar with how I run my classroom and how their participation is key to reinforcing the behavior. At the end of the day, a well behaved class gets to spend more time learning! 

It’s a good idea to include your discipline plan in your portfolio because another famous question you’ll be sure to be asked would be about how you would handle a particular behavior situation or to state what classroom management tools you use or would use in your classroom. Be sure to include how you would reward students who are on track and use their example for those little guys who can’t seem to get it.


This is seriously the biggest and most often asked question at an interview: 

How do you use/would you use technology in the classroom?

Most school districts are beginning to get on board with using iPads another devices in the classroom. I remember just a few years ago having to pitch this idea to my principal and him not seeing it as an effective use of school money. Nowadays most classrooms are equipped with at least one iPad, which is awesome to see. 

Anyways, technology is only going to continue to keep advancing and it’s up to teachers to find cool new ways to implement technology into their curriculum. Pinterest alone has a billion cool and interesting ways to use technology!


And this should be a no-brainer but including a couple sample lesson plans is a huge plus to any teaching portfolio. It demonstrates everything you just wrote about and included in your portfolio BUT actually shows it in action! Remember to attach any standards or objectives and PICTURES! I can’t say enough how much principals love, love, love to look at all the pictures of your kids engaged in their learning. It really backs you up!

Walking into an interview can be frazzling especially once the questions start firing, but when you come prepared with your portfolio you’ll not only be ready to share, you’ll have a visual that backs up everything you say :) I’ve done interviews without a portfolio and there’s a huge difference in terms of their impression you. 

These are just the items I have included in mine and I hope you find this helpful. Be sure to post a comment about what you include in yours if it differs from mine! There’s a lot of different things you can put in your portfolio and I’d love to hear about yours!

October 7, 2014

Coming to Our Senses: 5 Senses Kinder Resource

Today I have a special updated version of my Super 5 Senses download! With fall in full swing, many classes are beginning to teach all about apples and pumpkins. Back when I was teaching kindergarten my class and I spent about a week or so discussing our 5 senses and how they help us make choices but also how they help us observe and describe things around us. Keeping in tune with all the apples and pumpkin's my 5 senses resource - now with new graphics and activities!

Let's take a peek at what's new!

Sensory Posters

Now introduce your class to the senses using this bright and easy-to-read posters for your classroom! Keep them posted year round or display them on your focus board :)

Matching Activities

This resource also includes a couple of different matching activities that practice cutting and gluing skills as well as fill-in-the-blank style writing practice!


These handouts have students practice their vocabulary by having them label and match the name of the sense to the correct body part. The other handout is a color, cut, and match worksheet. So many skills these cover! Labeling is always a fun skill and practice for my little guys! These worksheets come with word banks too :)

Seasonal Writing Prompts

Something new that's added to this download are seasonal writing prompts that students can use to practice their handwriting and writing skills. Take the class outdoors on a  nature walk or have them creatively write in the classroom!

Science Observations!

Last, but not least, is our science observations using our 5 senses! This, again, is a favorite part of studying the senses and apples (or pumpkins!) for my little kiddos. Use this activity by setting up observation stations or spend a part of your day outside making observations as a whole group! The best part is using the data collected by students to compare apples to pumpkins and see how using our senses helped us understand more about them!

I've always loved teaching the senses because there are unlimited ways to approach the material! Plus it's always fun to get the kids engaged with different hands-on activities. Include these pages as a collective workbook or print individually to fit the scope of your lesson plans!

Happy sensing, everyone!

August 18, 2014

Punctuation Posters


This week I would like to share my newest punctuation posters! These are a companion to my writing  process posters I made last year. These posters will be new to my classroom this year and I can't wait to put them up! I have to say that I am in love with the clip art from Melonheadz!! In this download I've included editable pages since each grade level uses the different punctuation marks differently...I've used simple definitions but I wanted it to be something any teacher could use.

I'm in the process of finishing up my Story Elements Pack so be sure to check back soon!!

February 27, 2014

Fraction Action: Gumball Fractions!

Hooray for Fractions!

OMG have we been b-u-s-y with fractions this week and I am happy that I actually have some time to share it with everyone! Today we continued with our review and I love the time we have to take a little bit of a break and do some fun activities where the kiddos get to demonstrate what they know versus completing just some handout. So, today we got started on our gumball fraction machines!

Students were given the template and I had the kids decorate their own machines (I technically was going to print the template on red construction paper but I ran out of time and couldn't get to I just made them design it- which came out pretty cool).

Then, they were to pick four colors of their choosing and begin drawing in their gumballs. As you can see some students drew MAAANY gumballs and some drew only a few (I told them to draw at least 10). Luckily those who drew almost 100 found a way to keep track of them but next time I may just give them the amount.

But, with that said, I was really able to see how much they knew. The objective was to review locating fractions within a set and being able to write fractions correctly using numerators and denominators. I'm happy to say that my kiddos did great with this activity and I'm happy to share their work!

For more fraction fun for your classroom, check out my BUNDLE! This download features three different treat activities you can use to help build your student's understanding of fractions!

February 26, 2014

More Fraction Action!

Fraction Sundaes!

This week we have been doing so much thinking with fractions and I am always happy to get away from worksheets for a while! Today we reviewed a bit with identifying equal parts and we are now just beginning to identify parts within a set. What better way to do that than these fun Fraction Sundaes!? I also have to point out that my kids get quite creative with their ice cream flavors!

First students are given a piece of construction paper, a bowl template, and the scoops template. The copy I gave them have about 9 scoops/page so I printed off two per kid so they had the choice of doing as many scoops as they pleased. I did tell them that they HAD to at least have 4 different ice cream flavors and it was interesting to see what the little guys came up with...

Some students chose many scoops and one of my lower students was able to show me that he understood parts of a whole by having only 1 scoop per flavor but correctly writing the fraction! I love how this activity lends itself to differentiation all on its own.

Next, the class will be extending their understanding by using marshmallows! This has always been one of my favorite lessons to reinforce fractions because it gets the kids moving around and engaged with figuring out the different numerators and denominators. Highly recommend this activity!

Check out more from this fraction BUNDLE over at my shop!