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Literacy Station LOVE - Part Two!

Welcome back, Peeps!

Can you say LIME GREEN?  Seems to be our color this year :)  I keep all of the literacy station materials we will be using for the week in these lime green tubs.  I get them down at the end of the day and place them in their location so they are all ready to go in the morning when we start our rotation:

And, as promised:  here are some pictures of my students in action during our literacy station rotation:

These students are rolling Play-Doh to practice correct letter formation using letter formation mats that are specific to the letters in their names (this is great fine motor practice):

The station you see below is the letter sound matching station; station teams work together to find pictures of objects that start with the given letter(s) (I bought these Learning Journey stations at Home Goods this summer; check out The Learning Journey website - the games are inexpensive, visual, and effective):

At the SMART Board, station teams are dragging pictures of the given letter to the barrel you see in the picture - we are focusing on the different toolbar options and practicing "page reset" to reset the SMART Notebook for our teammates; they love learning about "troubleshooting!"

Below, you see one of my Kinders practicing penmanship on the "Write and Wipe" mat (purchased these "Write and Wipe" mats from Lakeshore Learning):

We have our word work/name work station on the carpet this week (see below) as we have a lot to choose from and seem to add more each day :) The giant, transparent letters you see in this picture come in the Letter Construction Activity Set I purchased. The students read the picture card that "tells" them how to construct each letter, gather the parts needed to make each one, and construct it. They LOVE "constructing" with the giant letters and I love it because it really helps them focus on letter formation and directionality. We will also be using them to "construct" sight words…and then sentences!

This student is lacing a classmate's name using the letter necklaces. I also have name puzzles in this station.  Lots of FUN, relevant activities!

And…our library station for read to self or read to a partner; I have a variety of familiar fiction and non-fiction out right now while we are building stamina and becoming familiar with our literacy station rotation:

And…our writing station!  They are encouraged to make cards, letters, stories, lists, recipes…and the list goes on!  The "Write the Room" chart/clipboards "live" here, as well as the magazines they can find/cut pictures out of and label by "stretching" their words using their letter sounds (we will eventually make this into a GIANT alphabet book):

Stay tuned for more pics and MORE stations!

Have a great week!

Literacy Station LOVE - Part One!

Hi, Peeps!

We had Jet's FIRST birthday party and my Granny's 93rd birthday on Labor Day weekend (weekend after the first week of Kindergarten - whoa!) at my mom and dad's lake house in Marble Falls and it was so much fun!  I still can't believe he is ONE!  What?  When did this happen?!

Here is a picture from his birthday party!  This is my sweet, beautiful friend, Lindsay, who I went to college with at Texas Tech and lived with when we both taught in Houston/Katy! She just had her little boy in March and he is PRECIOUS!

I am so glad I stayed at home with him last year and decided to work part-time at UT this spring as he stayed so incredibly healthy and we really bonded!  My pediatrician told me he is the healthiest little boy he has ever seen. I don't think he ever really got sick ONCE!  Such a blessing! 

So...I have gotten several e-mails and messages on Kinder Peeps' Facebook page asking how I start work stations/how I set them up…so, here it goes:

I like to have a lot of choices/several stations so that the station groups are smaller.  This year, I have 9 stations (the SMART Board is a station and the Chromebooks/computer table are a station) and 18 students…so, I have two students in each group.  This has worked out nicely!  Before I introduce the actual stations and how the rotation works, I observe my students' interactions/personalities/strengths throughout the first week and make anecdotal records based on these observations.  I then assign my students to a partner based on these observations and put them in their station groups on paper:

I then have these partner teams spread out around the room and brainstorm/come up with a team name.  They LOVE this!  They then share their team name with the class and I record it and add their team names to the station charts.  I am going to change their station partners each nine weeks (we have four nine week grading periods so they will have the chance to be with 4 different people in literacy stations).  See our team names below (hehe):

We then practice our rotation by role playing and listening for start/stop/clean up signals. My station rotation is clockwise and makes a big circle around my classroom. I print station signs and hang them accordingly. During our morning meeting on Monday, I introduce all literacy stations in whole group and what they will be doing in each one (I schedule my literacy work stations for first thing in the morning after morning message/morning meeting; I set their station tubs out before I go home the day before…this way, their station tubs are ready to go in the morning). I revisit the station activities during morning meeting the rest of the week if I feel like they need any reminders of what they will be doing in certain stations, etc.  

My students go to three stations each day.  Each station lasts roughly 12-15 minutes depending on the time my guided reading groups need that day. You will notice on the chart below that the station rotation doesn't repeat until Thursday…this keeps these stations "fresh" and fun! I try to change them each week based on what my students need more practice with, etc.  I read from the chart during the first two weeks and tell the teams where they will start. Once they become familiar with the process, I have a station helper come up and announce daily station starts.

Tomorrow evening, I will post pictures of different stations I have in the rotation this week.  We are doing a lot of work with names and beginning letters/sounds right now! You may have seen the name puzzles I posted on Kinder Peeps' Facebook last week.  My students really like those and I plan to do them with sight words, too.

Among the blank books, cards, and letters I have out for my students in the writing station, I have clipboards with copies of the Write the Room chart (see below) on it. I print them on colored paper and put 10-15 on each clipboard for the week.  Students are encouraged to walk around our classroom and find words that start with each letter. This not only increases print awareness, but also helps them practice tracking words from the wall, etc. to their paper. You can download this for FREE from my TPT store:

Be sure to check back tomorrow evening for pictures of my literacy work stations!

Have a Marvelous Monday!

Organize with Tumbler Cups, Sight Words, and Color!

Hi, Peeps!

Jet and I had a lunch date today and ventured on over to The Container Store after our date :) Can you say teacher heaven? :)  I just posted these pics on Kinder Peeps' Facebook page and wanted to make sure and blog about it, too!

I learned about this whole cup thing from my cooperating teacher in Lubbock while I was student teaching at Texas Tech! She is the most organized/brilliant [now Pre-K] teacher on the planet and I LOVE HER and everything she does...because it WORKS! And she is a great friend and makes me laugh like no other, ha! Just had to throw that in there ;-)

Having a good supply "system" for your students is key; each student has a short tumbler cup (I buy the short ones because they are less likely to tip over) with a glue stick, pencil, scissors, and crayons. When they are done with their work, the cup goes back in the box that corresponds to their table (I name tables using sight words to increase their exposure to addition to table colors to help them stay organized at the beginning).

When students are not finished with their work and we have to transition to specials or lunch, etc., they place their cup on top of their work. This way, I can quickly see who needs extra time and who has started on their finished menu choices.

Side note: if they need their cup during a work station in the morning when I am pulling my guided reading groups, they go and get it from their table's container. This way, student supplies don't get sorted and misplaced during literacy stations because all cups are in their containers unless they need them as I described above.

Once I have my final roster, I print student names on Avery labels and secure them to the top of their cups. So…go get your short tumblers at the Dollar Store…and if you have a Container Store near you, I suggest checking these out (they were on sale today):

5,100+ Followers!

Good evening, Peeps!

I just want to thank you all for your support this summer! I have been blown away! I am having so much fun networking with all of you on Facebook and Teachers Pay Teachers and love that the Internet makes it possible for us to all connect!

If you follow Kinder Peeps on Facebook, you have probably seen me use the hashtag #readysetclassroom in an effort to start getting my classroom together/hold myself accountable via social media, haha! I want to invite YOU to join the conversation and post any "fun findings" or anything you're doing to get your classroom ready! Post pictures, activities, rugs (I found some super fun rugs at Garden Ridge here in Austin earlier this week) or anything you can think of that will help other Kindergarten teachers get their classrooms ready!

Until then…enjoy the rest of your summer break!  I can't believe it's almost August! What?!!!  Which also means my sweet Jet is going to be ONE on September 3rd!  We are having his party on Labor Day weekend at the lake house and I am SO excited to celebrate him!  What a blessing he has been!

I hope you all have a wonderful weekend!

Full-Sized Alphabet Cards for Your Word Wall

Hi, Peeps!

My blog designer, Dreamlike Magic, added Kinder Peeps' Facebook button and my TPT store button…and we centered it at the top…I really like it!  The social media icons are much easier to access!  :)

I am working on about a million different things right now (for the first few weeks of Kindergarten) but wanted to share these word wall cards with you if you haven't already seen them.  We are constantly playing games with our word wall and refer to it at least 234853405 times during the day.  My kids love to play "Swat the Word" which is basically a version of "I Spy" with sight words…we just jazz it up a little bit with a fly swatter, haha!

Below are the images/links to my full-sized (the size of a regular piece of paper; 8.5 x 11) alphabet cards (I would suggest printing them on glossy photo paper…this will save you time, they will look great, and you won't have to laminate)!  I have created them in 8 different colors and the letters feature numbered strokes. Each image is linked to that color on TPT:

And here is an image/link to the ten frame packet I created for my math word wall (1-20):

I hope you're all having a great summer!  I should have the next round of new resources posted by next week (I work when my sweet Jet naps)!  And…be sure to Like Kinder Peeps on Facebook if you haven't already!  I enjoy our conversations and know you will, too!


Hi from Galveston, Peeps!

Our view from our room here at TCEA's Tots and Technology Conference isn't too shabby :) We ate dinner earlier at Landry's on the Seawall and had some GIANT gulf oysters!

I am really looking forward to presenting tomorrow (and some much-needed R&R by the pool)! If you haven't already, Like Kinder Peeps on Facebook to join the conversation...or, tweet to me @kinderpeeps on Twitter and use #TCEAtots! TOTS!

Do You Dojo?

Happy First Week of Summer, Peeps!

And...Happy 9 MONTHS to my incredibly healthy, precious baby boy, Jet!  How cute is he in our new Kinder Peeps t-shirts?  Thanks to my lifelong friends who own All Out Graphics in Bryan, Texas for our new, super cute t-shirts!  I can't wait to wear mine at the conference!

I am getting really excited about presenting Do You Dojo at TCEA's Tots and Technology Conference in Galveston next week on June 16th!  If you're attending, please let me know!  I would love to meet you!  Like Kinder Peeps on Facebook to join the conversation!

As you know, I am extremely passionate about classroom management and positive reinforcement in the primary classroom.  In order for our students to thrive and really blossom, we must foster a safe, collaborative learning community that consistently directs attention to positive behaviors.  I have found Class Dojo to be so effective in increasing positive behaviors in so many different learning environments.

So...Do I Dojo?  YES!  And here's what I LOVE, how I use it:

Why do I like Class Dojo so much?  It is POSITIVE and SPECIFIC!  I can award points to students for exhibiting desired behaviors. Moreover, I can customize the categories/expectations/class "rules" to meet the needs of my students. If there is a particular expectation I want my students to focus on (ex: raising a "quiet hand"), I can add that to the expectations and award points for students who are raising a "quiet hand."  Along these lines, I am also going to use iMovie on my iPad to record students exhibiting these behaviors on the first day of kindergarten!  We are going to read No, David! and record the opposite of what they should be doing...and then we will record them exhibiting the positive expectations below.  I think the kids are going to love the role playing (and seeing themselves on the SMART Board when we play the videos)!  I think this will really increase their engagement!

Another reason I Dojo?  It is SEAMLESS!  What do I mean by "seamless?"  I can award points for students who are using "helping hands" or kind gestures on the playground at recess with my smart phone or tablet...and, the same goes for transitions to/from lunch and specials.  Because it is web-based, it knows NO boundaries.

Oh...and another reason?  It automatically logs data!  This is useful for parent conferences, report cards, analyzing different times of the day, and informing change, etc.  Once you sign up, Class Dojo gives you the option for automated e-mails to parents informing them of their child's progress, etc.

In the past, I have only used Class Dojo to reinforce individual student behaviors; however, I think I am going to switch things up this year and try using it to reinforce positive behaviors in my literacy station groups while I am reading with my guided reading groups as well (I think my guided reading groups will really benefit from this; this will minimize distractions and I can look up and award points to groups on my tablet from my guided reading table).  I like to have 10 station groups if I can (I like my partner groups to be smaller in literacy work stations so I can really customize what they are learning in each station), and I will have each group create an avatar and team name for their group.  In the examples below, you will see avatars that groups have named and also color groups (I am going to try to jazz it up this year and get away from the color groupings, haha)!

So...what incentives do I use with Class Dojo?  I decided to create these for my groups this year.  Also included is an editable version so you can customize the incentives and the amount of points you are awarding accordingly. I will be changing these pretty frequently to keep things fresh and fun.  I didn't customize them in increments of 5 points because I think increments of 10 points = a bit more challenging.  I also think the key to these incentives is keeping them "alive" and referring to them throughout the day!  I am going to enlarge these at an office supply store and have them displayed around the SMART Board and around the center of instruction.  Be sure to check them out!  I think you will really like these.

Products/resources:  I created parent letters introducing Class Dojo to my students' parents...and, included an editable version.  There are 3 letters total in this download.  This is one thing that my students and their parents will definitely see at our Meet the Teacher night!  After I print this letter to place at each student's desk on Meet the Teacher night, I will print the Class Dojo parent codes for each child and attached them to the letter; once they get home, parents can enter their e-mail addresses and sign up (this way, they can receive their child's progress in their inbox)...and just like that, we're ready to go on the first day of school!

I would love to hear more about how YOU Dojo!  Like Kinder Peeps on Facebook!

Hope to see you in Galveston!

Like Kinder Peeps on Facebook!

Happy Friday, Peeps!

Well, I can't believe it has taken me this long to get Kinder Peeps' Facebook page up and going (well, actually...yes I can, haha!  Having a 9 month old baby might be the reason)! Please like Kinder Peeps on Facebook and help me spread the word!  

Click the image below to like our Facebook page! Dreamlike Magic is going to create some Facebook goodies for my blog! So, until then...please click below! :)

We are off to greet the newest addition to our brother and Clare's baby boy, Theodore Douglas Ivey! Pictures to follow!

Have a wonderful weekend! Cheers!

FREEBIE ALERT! Last Day of School Signs!

 Hi, Peeps!

As a "thank you" for reaching my goal of 850+ followers on Pinterest (Pinterest drives most of the traffic I get on my TpT store), I made these Last Day of School Signs! I hope you have some fun with them!  

There are 18 pages included...I added grade levels Pre-K through 5th grade with both May and June 2014 dates. This would definitely be a fun photo op! Click on the images below and they will take you directly to the download. And last but not least, please leave me feedback after you download them! Thank you, thank you!

Night, night! This mama needs some ZZZzzzzZZZ!

BEST Behavior Bundles: Clip Chart, Weekly Behavior Sheet, and Parent Letter

Happy Memorial Day, Peeps!

It has been raining all day here in Austin but we still managed to get some pool time in with Jet when it [briefly] stopped today!  We had a great weekend and Jet got to see his Bebe!

On Saturday night we went and saw Godzilla in 3D with Jarred's mom!  We had to get a quick 3D selfie in, haha!

I am so excited about presenting at TCEA's upcoming Tots and Technology Conference in Galveston and hope to have all of my products uploaded by then (FINALLY)! So...those who know me (especially my student teachers) will tell you I have a passion for classroom management and positive reinforcement! I believe it should be our goal as educators to focus on creating a classroom climate that fosters mutual respect and most importantly, draws attention to/promotes positive behaviors. There are many strategies and systems teachers use; I encourage my student teachers to "try them on" and see what works best for their group each year. 

Not using a clip chart system...using Class Dojo this year? You can click the image below to purchase my Editable Parent Letters Introducing Class Dojo...and, be on the look out for MORE DOJO!

Please e-mail me with any questions (

Have a wonderful week!  And cheers to SUMMER!

If You Like Monograms and Fabulous FREEBIES...

Hi, Peeps!

These discoveries just made my "Marvelous Monday" even MORE marvelous!

I wanted to first share this free and customizable planner cover from  If you like monograms, you need to be sure and take a look at their website!  They have many, many templates to choose from...and they are FREE!

Once you decide on a design you like and click their link to share on social media, the download is enabled and you can then personalize the design with your own monogram using Adobe (it automatically prompts you once you download the design you choose). Pictured below is the design I downloaded from their website and then personalized in Adobe (click on the image and it will take you directly to the download).  I plan to use it as my planner cover this year.

As I was perusing free printable planner pages on Pinterest, I also came across a FREE, super fun, undated calendar printable created by Lorrie over at The Mac and Cheese Chronicles and wanted to share with my Kinder Peeps! As a teacher, I feel like I go through about a million calendars a month, haha!

Here's a Texas-sized hug and "thank you" to talented, generous bloggers like Lorrie!  You can click the screen capture below and it will take you directly to her blog and this SUPER awesome download (and more):

Jet had an orange breakfast (his beloved sweet potatoes) Friday morning in honor of my student teachers who also graduated from The University of Texas this weekend; Mommy and Jet are so excited for them!

We spent Saturday at Mimi and Papa's in Marble Falls and enjoyed some time in the pool!  Jet has become quite the fish ;-)  On Sunday, we went to the reopening of the famous Toy Joy in downtown Austin...such a cool store!  He added to his maraca collection, haha!  The picture below makes me laugh because his new maraca is as big as his head!

And today, Jet hosted his first play date at our house! We had so much fun with all of the sweet Moms and babies! Can't wait to do it again!

I hope you have a great week and enjoy these fabulous freebies!  I am just so appreciative and wanted to make sure and pass them along!

Good night, Peeps!