Friday, October 27, 2017

Halloween Party

Since becoming a mom, Halloween has turned into one of my favorite holidays! They just love all of the 'buzz' around the big day--there are school parties, church parties, neighborhood get togethers, and more all leading up to the big day!!
I have turned to Oriental Trading the past 2 years now for my costumes! I used to shop at Party City or in those pop up Halloween stores, but there were always CRAZY and I could never find the right size.  Boy, shopping online has been so much easier!
 I sat down with both kids and let them choose their costumes.  Their choices usually seem to surprise me haha! Kayla went with Batgirl this year and Brayden went with Pokemon!
 We invited our cousins over for a little Halloween playdate!
Each kid decorated a pumpkin. We did this early on in October so we would be able to enjoy our pumpkins for the month!
 Ahhh! How precious are they? They pumpkin decorating kits were from the Target Dollar Spot!
 Then, we got ready for our Monster Egg Hunt.  This may be a new one (it's pretty much like an Easter egg hunt), but the kids loved it! 
 They ran all around the house searching for their monster eggs! Florida is just too hot still to hide the eggs outside!
 Then they counted their eggs up!
Inside the eggs there were stickers and candy. Juliet decided to add her stickers onto her pumpkin too!
 Then it was cookie decorating time! I use these trays for all of my crafts and cooking projects with the kids. It definitely helps with the mess and they can just go straight into the dishwasher! I bought these trays on Oriental Trading as well. 
 Looks sugary...must be good!
 Love what Savanna did! They look like owl eyes! 
I am always down for any excuse to get our cousins over or neighborhood friends over! We can't wait to have a Thanksgiving play date soon too!!

Thursday, October 26, 2017

My Bridal Shower

I can't believe that as I am finishing writing this post, not only has my bridal shower come and gone, but so has my wedding! Everything happens so quickly!

Meeting the love of my life and getting married has been a day that I have prayed for since I was a teenager. Sometimes I wasn't sure if my prayers would be answered, but they were when His time was right.  They weren't answered the way I imagined either...not only did I meet one love of my life, but I met three! All pretty much at the same time! My fiancĂ© has two of the most previous little ones and there is nothing better than officially being their step mommy! 
 Before the wedding, Phil and I kept saying how we thought the kids were more excited for the wedding than we were.  It had been the talk of the house for the past year and little Miss Kayla actually packed her bags for the wedding a couple of weeks before we even left haha! 
She was so excited at the bridal shower to be my 'something blue'. We even went and got our nails done together for the first time. She got flowers painted on her thumb nails so everyone would know that she is the flower girl!
My bridal shower was absolutely perfect! Look at this amazing set up full of some of my favorite things--sunflowers, donuts, and rainbow sprinkles! Haha! My sister made the 'Future Mrs. Berk' sign and the other two garlands are from Oriental Trading. The black and white table runner is also from Oriental Trading. I have used it for almost every party that I have hosted this past year! It's great!
The munchkins were dipped in a little icing and then dipped in rainbow sprinkles...so good! and so cute!
My sister, Bridget from Little Lovely Leaders,  made these awesome water bottle labels. I love the small details.
My now hubby wanted to contribute to the bridal shower so he made this awesome meat and cheese platter for us! Then we kicked him out for some girl only time ;)
I can't even tell you how amazing these donuts were. I probably had 5 of them! No joke! Those ring toppers I absolutely love too! 
We found these 'thanks' bags on Oriental Trading and knew they would make the perfect, and easy, take away gift.
My sister filled each bag with my favorite candy and Phil's favorite candy.  Again, such a nice touch!!
Of course at the end of the shower we let the boys come back home! 
The day was beyond perfect! I can't wait to share our wedding day with you too!

Tuesday, October 3, 2017

Fall Centers

Our Fall Centers are up and running and we are LOVING them!! 
These centers work on a variety of skills that meet the needs of all of my students.  If you have students that can complete them independently, you can leave these centers at a center for independent work. However, if you have students that cannot do these independently, then you can use the activity during your guided reading time!

We have been working on rhyming lately and this center was so much fun! All of the rhyming words are also CVC words which made it easier for my high students to do independently. I did this center at my reading group with three of the four of my groups to make sure they understood the concept and were listening to the rhyming words correctly.
This sight word center was a HIT! Even my ESE students were having a blast with it and this was one of the first times that I saw them super excited at a center--they didn't want to leave! I think they really enjoyed using different writing utensils to write their words. I am telling you...normally my ESE group doesn't even want to write! Look at how great they did!
Nouns were another skill that we started during the first month of school and my kiddos pretty much have nouns down pat! They sorted their noun cards in a pocket chart before recording them on their activity sheet.
We played another rhyming game, Rhyme Time, during reading groups. I gave each student a tongue depressor with a 'thumbs up' on one side and a 'thumbs down' on the other. 
I would flip two cards over and students would have to figure out whether the cards rhymed or not. Then, they would change their tongue depressor accordingly. We had lots of giggles during this game! It was fun!
Another center that my students worked on was Fall Sentence Scramble.  The sentences were all predictable sentences using very simple sight words that we have already worked on in class. I made sure to point out beforehand that all of the sentences should start with a capital letter and they all should end with a period.  Pointing that out to students always makes building sentences a little bit easier. I left a small pointer at this center as well for students to use as they reread the sentences to each other. 
I always leave an 'I Can' chart at the center in hopes that my students can refer to that if they aren't sure what to do next.  These 'I Can' charts also have the standard in the bottom right hand corner which makes lesson planning easy!
My Fall Centers pack includes all of the above skills and more! There are activities to work on letters, letters/beginning sounds, short vowel sounds, middle sounds in CVC words, and an activity to work on building sight words. 

Wednesday, September 13, 2017

Behavior Management

I have used the same behavior management system for years and I still love it!! There are SO many different behavior management ideas out there so you'll have to do your research and see what works best for you!! But for now, this has been working in my classroom successfully for years so I am sticking to it!

I downloaded my clip chart for free HERE. 

We always start the day at 'Ready to Learn'.  When I catch students displaying positive behaviors, they move their name up one time (to one color).  If I see students displaying poor behavior, they move their name down one time.  If students move to 'Slow Down' that is just a warning.  It doesn't have a consequence.  However, if they are on 'Teachers' Choice' then I get to pick the consequence.  There are different consequences for different students.  You need to know the differences in your children and pick something that will impact them. For some children I take away 'free choice', but others don't care about missing 'free choice' so instead I take away the iPad or something that will make them care, and think about their actions! If students end the day on 'Parent Contact' then not only did they get a consequence during the day, but they will also be taking a note home that needs to be signed (or sometimes I make a phone call). 
I also reward the positive behaviors.  If they end the day on 'Good Behavior' they just know that they had an awesome day and that I am proud of them! If they end the day on 'Outstanding' they will earn a sticker for their star (note the 'Star Students' next to the clip chart). If they end the day on 'Great Job' they will earn two stickers for their star.  Once their star has ten stickers, they earn treasure box.  Now, there have been some special days where students have gone above and beyond--they have made it to 'Great Job' on the clip chart and then continued to show amazing behavior.  Well, now what? Where do they go now?  I move these students onto my teacher necklace (my keys and teacher i.d.) and if they stay there all day--they earn a diamond on their clip!! This is rare in my room so it is SUPER exciting when this happens! You can see some students with a diamond in the image above.
 At the beginning of the year I stock my treasure box with new items.  I think it is important to make the treasure box enticing for the kids! If they want to pick from the treasure box, they will have good behavior in order to earn that!  
 I also don't want to spend a fortune on my treasure box.  I usually ask parents for donations throughout the year to help keep the treasure box stocked.
 I also find amazing treasure box items on Oriental Trading in bulk for a great price.  This is where I purchase from to start the year off.  This year I bought slime, fidget spinners, footballs, and emoji bags. These items seem to be the craze down here right now so I knew it would make students excited!
My students are SO excited when they earn their ten stickers! Treasure box is always an exciting day in our classroom!
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