Friday, May 27, 2016

Year End Reflections: Year 10!

I have officially wrapped up my 10th year of teaching.  It's crazy that I've been in the classroom doing what I love for 10 years.  It sure doesn't seem like that.  But it's true!  How do I know??

Well, I got this 10 year pin from my it must be true!

Don't be jealous of my awesome 10 year award....

So the other night, I was doing what all teachers do late at night...laying in the bed...  I was on Pinterest and found this image:

And I thought...what a great idea for teachers at the end of the year!   (But I'm not going to that many of each...)  So here are some of my real and honest reflections on the school year.


Working with a new population of students!  This was my first time working with an almost entirely EL population!   And it was AMAZING!   15 of my 18 students were EL and a majority of those Spanish.  I also had one Mandarin speaker and one who spoke Arabic.    Can I just say how much I loved these kids and their love and respect of school and learning?   

Getting a large classroom shaped like a square!   My old classroom was tiny and shaped like a W!  So this large, bright, open space was amazing!

New technology!   I teamed up with Alive Studios to bring augmented reality into my classroom and it was amazing!  We used Letters Alive and Math Alive as part of our instruction.  Mind blowing stuff!

Growth and progress!   Every year I am amazed at the growth and progress I see in my students!   But this year it was different.  When I think about my students coming into the classroom not knowing letters or how to write their name AND not knowing the language, I am floored to know that we left kindergarten READING AND WRITING!    That's a powerful testament to the hard work and perseverance of my 'staches!

The Kindergarten Smorgasboard of course!   This blog and my social media pages allows me to keep in touch with teachers all over the world.  These teachers inspire me, teach me, and help me be a better teacher and person!   And I get to share my passion and love of teaching!     

Game Changers

Augmented Reality.  Game changer.  This new technology brings learning to life in an amazing and hands on way!

Flexible seating.  No tables and no desks is a huge game changer every year.  It totally transforms the space and the learning.  Every classroom should be doing it!

Click the link and the image for blog posts about no tables no desks!


This year I focused on my students and my classroom more.  I tried to ignore the "stuff" that surrounds teaching and kept my eye on the prize:  the kids.  Because really, it's all about them and that "stuff" doesn't matter!   Bonding with my students and their families made a tremendous impact on our classroom and what we accomplished this year!

Guided Reading.  I really tried to buckle down on our guided reading lessons and tried to protect that time as much as possible.  It worked!   Our reading scores were great.  All but 2 of my students are at grade level.   


My transition to a new school was tough.  I wasn't accepted and was looked at as the principal's favorite because I was one of a handful of people he brought with him.  My methods were questioned and frankly, people didn't like me and they openly admitted that.   That's hard.  But again, I tried to focus on the students and rise above.  And if we're being honest, I could have done more to bridge the divide and work on that relationship.  I am pumped for next year and I think it's going to be a great year.  I'm going into the school with a fresh attitude and a desire to build relationships with my co-workers so we can make our school THE BEST school in our district!

There were so many things we didn't get to, dinosaurs, missed science experiments...those things always disappoint me.  

Vocabulary.  I dropped the ball on vocabulary instruction and this is something I want to do better with next year.  I'm thinking TPR (total physical response) to teach new words and definitions.  I'm thinking lots of vocabulary charts with pictures.  This will be focus area next year for my instruction.

And of course, the biggest disappointment in this year was the sudden loss of my mom.  I told my families on our last day that I couldn't have made it through the last 2 months without my 'staches.  They'll never know how much they helped me this year.

And so my 10th year of teaching saw the hardest year of my personal life but the best year of my teaching career.  This group of students pushed me and challenged me and got me through the lowest days of my life.  This group will forever be my favorite students ever.   I stumbled as a teacher and a person many times, but I got up, dusted off and learned from my mistakes.   Next year will be a new and bigger adventure and I am excited to share my journey with you!

THANK YOU for the support and friendship and encouragement and inspiration you give me each day!   I am truly blessed by each person who stops by The Kindergarten Smorgasboard!   Ya'll make me and the world a better place!

Monday, May 23, 2016

SmorgieVision: Meet The 'Staches

I am so lucky that I get to share my classroom and my students with the world!  You see how our classroom operates and functions!  You see what works and what fails.  You see our growth and our struggles.      You see real life with us...the good...the bad...the hilarious...and the ugly!

At the end of the year, I love taking a few minutes each year to introduce you to some of my little mustaches!  You see them, you hear their stories and now you get to meet Danie and Chloe!

Wednesday, May 18, 2016

Submissions For Smorgie LIVE GIVEAWAY!


We're answering questions about centers and ABC BOOTCAMP!

As always, tonight's broadcast is sponsored by our friends at ESGI!   ESGI is a one on one computer based assessment tool that is a MUST HAVE in your classroom!   Save yourself hundreds of ours and tons of paperwork and make assessing easy!  

We're also giving away a $50 gift card to Amazon or Target! 

ENTER BELOW!  If the Rafflecopter doesn't show up, just click the link to enter!  You only need to enter once!


Monday, May 16, 2016

Ocean Animals Research And Writing!

We've been on an ocean adventure for the last 2 weeks in our classroom and we've had a blast!  We've researched, written about, labeled, created and watched different ocean animals.  The engagement and excitement about each animal has been amazing.   I am very impressed with our writing about ocean animals and how much the 'staches have retained about each animal!

We learned about crabs, sharks, dolphins, jellyfish, octopus, and sea stars!

We kick off our research units with a schema map.

We start with our schema or prior knowledge and record the information on Post It Notes.  I use Post Its because they're amazing and colorful...but more importantly they can be moved around as we learn more and adjust our learning!

As we progress through our learning we add new learning and address misconceptions!

For each animal we did a read aloud and video for our research.  Then we created a tree map and used the tree map to write about the animal.  We labeled the parts of each animal and created a fun art project for each animal!

We then turn our writing and labeling into a research journal!

We also did an interactive venn diagram to compare and contrast sharks and dolphins!  Ya'll just need hula hoops from the Dollar Tree!

We also did ocean measurement!

And of course we did ocean snacks!

Sharks (blue jello and whipped cream!)!

Ocean Water!  (Sprite, sugar, coconut extract, and blue food coloring!)

Submarine Snack!  Twinkies and fruit loops!

And ocean science!

Ocean slime!   1 bottle of Glue, liquid watercolors and 1/2 cup liquid starch!)

And for fun while we worked on our ocean research, we went to the ocean!  I just searched ocean video on YouTube and found this awesome video!   Click the picture to go to the video on YouTube!

Below are the links to the videos we watched:

(I have placed all of my ocean creations on sale for 25% off!  Click the picture to check them out!)

You can also check out our zoo animal research and writing project here!

For more information about Schema maps, check out these posts:

Below are the books we used for our ocean research:

Sunday, May 15, 2016

Schedulin Sunday: End Of The Year

People, this is it!  It is the last Schedulin' Sunday of the 2015-2016 school year.  This year has flown by!   And let me just has been an amazing year with an amazing group of 'staches...but the transition to a new school has been...let's just having teeth pulled.  It was not easy and smooth but I've learned a tremendous amount and I think I've made an impact.  But, let's be real,  it's been a horrible year personally with the loss of my mom.   But I can say that this group of kids has been amazing and we will forever share a bond because of the love and support they have given me as I mourn the loss of mom.  They will forever hold an incredible place in my heart. 

So, with that's to an amazing last week with my class and another week of fun and learning and more cussing from The Cusser!

And no lesson plans this's the last week...and I'm going to Hawaii Thursday through Sunday for a conference...then I'm back for the last day and a half with my mustaches!

BUT you can download everyone of my lesson plans right here!  It's so true.  An entire folder of all of my plans from this year!

Monday we are wrapping up our ocean animals research with a little Venn Diagram action comparing a shark and a dolphin.  And we will be assembling our research journals!

(Stay tuned for a blog post featuring all of the fun of our entire ocean unit!)

Also this week we are doing Cow And Chicken!   This is one of my favorite books and I always save it for the end of the year because it's just so much fun to read and argue debate with the kids!

We read the story.  We debate if it's a cow or chicken.  We write about why we think it's a cow or chicken.  We vote for cow or chicken.  And Mr. Greg never tells us if it's a cow or chicken.  Hello frustration!

click the image to get your freebies!

Also this week we spend some time reflecting and writing about our year in kindergarten, about Mr. Greg and our favorite part of kindergarten!   These get saved and used for our bulletin board for back to school!

Sang your freebies!

And we have some fun with paint and cookies and flyswatters...

We celebrate letter F with flyswatter painting!  Hello epic mess!
Hellp epic fun!

We celebrate G with glitter bombs!

Yes, I glitter bomb my class.  I mean...GLITTER BOMB THEM!
(Click the picture to see the video from last year....EPIC!)

And for c for cookie day we taste different kinds of Oreos and vote for our favorite!

And of course, the final emergent reader of the year!

Free EDITABLE end of the year mustache awards!

Click on the picture to read more about our end of the year awards!

Check out this post for some great ideas for end of the year read alouds!

And of course, we're still rocking our centers so we'll be using these resources this week!

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