Education · PreK class · through my camera lens

PreK color week

This year I am going to add more education to my blog. Yes, I know that not everyone who reads my blog is a teacher, or mom or into kid things, but at the same time it is a part of who I am. I’m not saying I’ll post things weekly, but I will share more the things I do in my classroom.

The month of September’s theme is Changes. This is the first full week and we are learning about colors. Our work stations this week were:

art table– Mix It Up Art project. We watched the story Mix it Up on YouTube on Monday. In the story they do magic to make a hand appear on a page that is covered in finger prints. I told the children they could either put their fingerprints inside or outside the outline of their hand. We gave each child a paint pallet with red, yellow, blue, white and black and let them use however they wished. I like this concept because they can mix it without upsetting other children or making it so another child couldn’t use the paint too.

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Theme table- The children each took a coffee filter and drew a design on one half of the filter with markers. They then folded the filter twice and then sprayed the filter with water to let the colors spread and mix. No photo description available.

Writing table– I wrote each child’s name out on a long sheet of paper. The children used bingo daubers to cover the letters of their name to practice spelling their name. We are focusing on writing their names so it starts with a capital and the rest are lowercase letters.

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Math area- I put out a bin of mini erasers and had the children sort the erasers by color. They had to grab a handful of the erasers. They put the erasers into brown paper bags that are labeled with color words.

We also did a few whole group activities:

Melting ice cubes. I colored water red, blue and yellow and froze them into ice cubes. We observed the cubes melting in cups that we set up as red+ yellow, red + blue, blue + yellow and red+blue+yellow.

We did a STEAM experiment where the children again used coffee filters. They only used one color this time. We used secondary and tertiary colors. With this project, you color around the circle that is formed at the edge of the ridges of the filter (not on the flat part). You want to make it a thick line. Then fold the filter three times to make it a small cone shape. dip the tip of the cone into water and let it wick up to the color line. The colors will separate to show the colors that mix up to make the secondary and tertiary colors.

We also did a favorite color graph.

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We are finishing the week tomorrow by baking sugar cookies. We have three cans of vanilla frosting that we will color yellow, red and blue. The children will get a little of each color and be able to mix them and frost their cookies in the frosting color(s) they choose to use/create.

Education · life · PreK class · through my camera lens

First day of school… for me!

I’m taking a break from my blog hop for the day. You can go back and read my posts here, here, here, here AND here. Also go check out AJ at A Petite Slice of Life and Alley Bean at Spectacle Bean to see their posts on my blog hop. Are you ready to join in the fun? Please join in and post on my blog hop topics… it’s fun to go on a trip down memory lane… or talk about your children starting school…. or even you teaching or going to college now!

But I wanted to take a break from the actual blog hop topics to tell you about my actual first day of school! I went back last week for teacher prep week and then this week we had our meet the teacher nights… today we started school!

I revamped my whole room, I almost always do this… I guess I don’t like things being the same? So here you go… a peek into my room. Oh and the day went better than I expected. Let’s see what tomorrow brings!

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blog hop · Education · life

Back to school blog hop- day 3

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Here is how it will go. I have posted seven different school/fall topics for you to use as blog posts. You can write them for seven days in a row, scattered throughout the month or however you so choose! Here are the topics: first day of school, favorite school supply, teacher who made a difference, apples, a new box of crayons, new friends and what’s in your lunchbox

All I ask is:

  • Please copy and post this image with your post
  • link back to my blog so we know who is playing along
  • have fun! remember you can take these topics in any direction you want… just use the idea as a jumping off point.

A Teacher Who Made a Difference

Over the many years of schooling I had teachers who made a difference for both positive and negative reasons. Both of these types of teachers have influenced the teacher I am today.

Here are a few who made a positive impression on me:

My kindergarten teacher– my mom actually worked in the kindergarten room after I finished kindergarten. This meant that I spent a lot of time with my kindergarten teacher after I finished kindergarten. I was able to help the kindergarten children and saw the love she gave the students and that it was important to instill independence and choice making in the youngest students in the school.

My music teacher- I had the same music teacher for elementary school and then again when I started high school. When I was in the 5th grade, things were tough. I’d been bullied for the last 2 years. In 4th grade we figured out that I had a learning disability. Well in 5th grade my music teacher asked me to take on the lead role in the musical the school was putting on for the Christmas show. I never realized that I had any talent in this avenue, but I took it on… and love it. When I was performing everything in my life was better. I continued to sing and act until I got to college. When I was there I didn’t need the escape of the stage anymore.

My early childhood adviser- she pushed me to be the best teacher I could be. She placed me into the most sought after placement for early childhood placements. I was placed in a school that was only for preK, K, and first grade students. They only took a few student teachers each year and had dropped colleges when they didn’t send their best students. I went there for both my junior and senior teaching experiences. She was one of the people who told me that I should look into becoming a professor at some point too.

My grad school adviser- his focus was on early childhood math. He let me see that my love of math is just as important as a love of reading in the early childhood years. So many times most teachers are into reading and math takes a backseat. His feeling is that they should be equals or math should be more important because of its connections to  the STEM jobs.

Each of these teachers saw something in me. They wanted to bring out the best in me. They wanted me to see what I was capable of doing and that in doing that I can be a better version of myself… isn’t that what makes a good teacher?

Ok, your turn! Tell about a teacher or someone who could be similar to a teacher (mentor, preacher, director, boss… whatever works for you)


blog hop · Education · family · life

Back to School Blog Hop- day 2

I hope you are enjoying my first blog hop, and even more I hope you join in the fun!

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Here is how it will go. I have posted seven different school/fall topics for you to use as blog posts. You can write them for seven days in a row, scattered throughout the month or however you so choose! Here are the topics: first day of school, favorite school supply, teacher who made a difference, apples, a new box of crayons, new friends and what’s in your lunchbox

All I ask is:

  • Please copy and post this image with your post
  • link back to my blog so we know who is playing along
  • have fun! remember you can take these topics in any direction you want… just use the idea as a jumping off point.

A Favorite School Supply

I decided to get a bit of help with this topic, so we discussed it at dinner the other night. Here are our answers:

Image result for mr sketch markersMe– Mr Sketch Markers. While I do like these for their smell, (Who doesn’t love a smelly marker?) I actually like these because they are strong colors, they last a LONG time and they write really well. They have a chiseled tip so you can get a fine line, bold line or some combination of both. When I taught first grade, they students LOVED when I corrected papers with these, especially if they got to pick the color/scent. I found this box of 22 markers this year and I will really enjoy the color selection while making charts and other items at school this year.

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Richard– old school trapper keeper. All the cool kids had them! It was a way to keep everything in one space. The teachers like them because it kept everything organized in one spot. There were 2 pocket folders, dividers and spots for all your important papers. Plus you can’t forget the flap that held everything in.

Image result for pencil case 3 ringBlake– a pencil pouch. He likes that this is a place to keep all your tools in one spot.  He prefers the ones that can go into a three ring binder. In his you will find: pens, pencils, erasers, glue sticks, color pencils and probably a lot of scraps of paper. He has used the same one for the last few years, I guess he really likes that one.Image result for loose leaf notebook paper

Colby– loose leaf paper. Colby loves to write, doodle and just create and craft. Loose leaf paper can be used for a variety of academic and non-academic activities in school, and trust me he uses it for both purposes!

Ok… your turn! What type of school supply did you like when you were in school? Or what type do you like now. Post about it on your blog and join up in our blog hop!


blog hop · Education · family · life

Back to School Blog Hop- day 1

Ok here we go… this is my first post in my first blog hop on my blog. Yep!

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Here is how it will go. I have posted seven different school/fall topics for you to use as blog posts. You can write them for seven days in a row, scattered throughout the month or however you so choose! Here are the topics: first day of school, favorite school supply, teacher who made a difference, apples, a new box of crayons, new friends and what’s in your lunchbox

All I ask is:

  • Please copy and post this image with your post
  • link back to my blog so we know who is playing along
  • have fun! remember you can take these topics in any direction you want… just use the idea as a jumping off point.

First Day of School

Ahhh the words every child, teacher and parent waits for each fall, “It’s the first day of school.” For me this takes on so many different feelings and meanings.

Image result for first day of schoolAs a mom, this means that everyone is back to routines. It means I should have purchased all the needed school supplies, lunches are packed and the boys are cheery and ready to start the new school year, maybe. For my boys the routine of school is the most important part. While we LOVEEEE summer and the slowness of the summer break, they thrive on routines and school is all about routines. It also means they see more people than our neighborhood and house.

As a teacher, it means a new group, a new start to the school year. I doesn’t matter what grade I’m teaching I’m always a mixed bag of emotions starting the new year. What will my class be like? What will their parent expect? What is the new “in” thing that administration will drop on our laps this year? But, it is also exciting to see the children come in also a mixed bag of emotions. Will they be excited, scared, nervous, exhausted, who knows. What baggage are they bringing to the classroom and what can I do to help them learn to love to learn?

I almost never sleep the night before school starts. (And now that the boys start on a different date than me that means two nights of not sleeping). It is just the anticipation. The what if. The what’s going to happen of that magical day.

And then there is day two and we move forward into the routines and procedures of life.

There is my thoughts on the first day of school… I hope you decide to hop on my blog hop and join in the fun. Talk about what the first day of school means to you. Does it mean you are going back to school? Are your children going back to school? Or does it just mean that there is more traffic and the neighborhood is quiet during the day?

Tune in tomorrow to read my second post about my favorite school supply. Hmmm maybe I’ll have the boys chime in too??


Education · family · life · through my camera lens

First day of school

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Yesterday was a tough day for the boys. They are not ready to start school. They asked me if I felt like summer went fast or slow. My answer? I said I felt like it’s been forever since the end of the year, but it seems like the start of school came too fast. This is very true. I can’t believe the school year is here. We had a great summer. Our vacations were good, but more important than that, the boys had fun. They were always off on their bikes going and doing things with friends.

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This is the first time the boys will be in different schools since Blake was in kindergarten and Colby was in preK. Colby asked to set his alarm early enough to say good-bye to Blake.

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This morning they were both in good spirits and found their independence and were ready to go. Richard drove Blake to the bus on his way to work, Colby set off walking to the bus. Dixie wasn’t sure what to think about everyone leaving. I wonder what she will think on Monday when I have to go to work too?

So here are my thoughts: I wish for them both a year of learning, growth and discovery. I hope they find their voice, confidence and sense of self. I hope they remember they are loved, they have a space and a purpose, and that the world is theirs to grab. I hope they are kind and understanding and yet strong and independent.



Education · family · life

School visits

The last two days found me driving around from school to school. Yesterday we went to the middle school. We spent time walking Blake’s schedule, practicing locker combinations and just getting accumulated to the new school.

Today we went to check out Colby’s class. He already knew where it was and it is actually the same teachers Blake had last year. I really wanted to go so we could get his supply list.

While we were there, Colby discovered a few people who would be in his class this year. He has other friends in his biome (collection of 4 classes who travel together for lunch and recess). We stopped in and chatted with the librarian. The library is always a place my sons love to hang out.

Blake saw a few other 7th graders and found out that he knows a few people who will be in his class as well. This was a big relief to him. Up until that time he hadn’t found anyone who was working on the same rotation schedule never mind the same classes.

Over the years, I only had a few moments where I was concerned about the boys starting school. I was NOT the mom crying while dropping off for pre-K or kindergarten. All the grades moving forward while in FL were fine. I had moments of concern more in wondering who would be in their class and would there be someone there for each of them.

When we moved to PA, I was concerned about Blake going into 5th grade. Colby was entering 4th, which is the major transition age in our school district. There are three elementary schools that service children K-3. Then they all transition to the upper elementary school for 4th-6th. This meant that while some children would know each other, there would already be a mixing of students from different schools. Blake was entering when the mix up was already complete.

This year, Blake is entering middle school. I hope that he has a better middle school experience than I had, or Richard for that matter. These years are so tough. It is such a personal transition for all the kids. I just want him to feel comfortable in his place. To find an activity to get involved in. To have people to sit with at lunch. To feel safe in the hallways. To be confident enough to show what he knows and not too cocky that he tries to outshine. I hope he continues to have a love of learning and begins to figure out what he wants to do with this knowledge going forward.

So we went back to the middle school today and practice opening his locker again. We went under the premise of bringing in his school supplies, well his binders anyway. We will spend the first part of the week adjusting to the new sleep schedules (he will have to wake up at 5:45 to be ready for the bus).

A week from today. I will send him off on the bus to start middle school… I just hope I’m ready.

Education · family · life · PreK class

back to school

It’s that time of year. Back to school! Today I stopped in a work to get the postcards to mail off to my students and then we headed to the library. This will be our last library day for the summer, other than dropping off the books we checked out this time. Tomorrow the boys get their class information. On Wednesday, we will go to both schools so they know where their classes are and Blake can try out his locker.

Yep, it is the start of the new year. This summer has been a good one for our family. In addition to our cruise and visit back in Orlando, we spent a lot of time together. The boys enjoyed three different weeks of camps. They spent time at home and lots of time out and about with friends. The addition of the fire pit has been great for our family too. Most weekends we have one if not two fires and just spend the evenings hanging out together. Some times we experiment with cooking. Some times we get out the football. Most of the time we just put on music and sit around singing, laughing and just being together.

I typically look at the start of the school year as the start of the new year. I live my life on the school year calendar. So it’s time to look at what I can and will change this year. There are some major changes in that Blake is going to middle school and the boys will not be in the same school for the first time in forever. They will not ride the same bus either.

I am staying at the same school and working with the same age group. This means that I will be home before both the boys. This will help with that transition, I think!

My goal is to continue to eat healthy and workout on a regular basis. I want to continue to see myself and my body in a healthy light. I want to continue to work on creating new items to sell on Teachers Pay Teachers. I want to relax and enjoy the chaos of the school year and all that it brings.

So, as I get ready to mail off the postcards to my new students… I will enjoy these last few days before school starts, and the new year begins.

Education · family · life · through my camera lens

I’d rather you get a B for your own work…

Image may contain: 1 person, standing, shoes and indoorLife with a tween is hard. I’ll be the first to admit this… I have two of them.

Over the years the boys have had MANY projects to complete. They have done science fair projects, book report posters, built models, built egg cars and so much more.

The last few months Blake has had a few different projects to complete. While he is more than capable of completing them, he is not the best with creating timelines of work, or getting things done over time. He knows this. We know this. But, while we will remind him to do things, help him set goals for things to be done, and are there to support him; we WILL NOT do the work for him! (or Colby for that matter… but this post is spurred on by one of Blake’s projects)

So the latest project he had was a Wax Museum of Greek Gods. He knew this project was coming all year. He talked about it all year. He was so excited when he got to pick his God and was able to pick Hermes. Having devoured the Percy Jackson series as well as other books about the Greek Gods he knew who he wanted to be, and all about the God.

He completed the research. Wrote out his speech and was managing to turn in everything on time. Well this weekend he remember that he needed his costume for today. (Well I might have reminded him about this step too).  He had an idea in his head as to what he wanted it to look like. But, he struggled. He wanted it to be perfect. He wanted the vision in his head. When he couldn’t get it right there was some yelling, some frustration. He asked us to do it for him. Our answer was no. I will help you find things. I will give you suggestions. I will print things out… but I will not do it for you.

I looked at him and said “I’d rather you get a B for something you did on your own, then an A for something I did for you.” He looked at me strange. But it won’t be perfect! Life isn’t perfect. Teachers know when students do their own work and when someone does it for them. This is your project…. you do it. He wasn’t happy at the time, but in the long run he was proud of the costume he put together. It is his interpretation of a 21st century Hermes.

While I want him to do well on this project, what I hope he walks away knowing is that he was proud of his work. That he figured it out. That he made it himself. That he did it… and that is what life is about. Stepping up and taking responsibility. Doting what needs to be done and owning the results.


Education · life · PreK class

Last Day of School

Getting ready to head back to work for our preK graduation… today was my last day.  Tomorrow and Friday I have to work, but it is just cleaning out the room and helping around the school. The nice thing is I have a few weeks before the boys get out. This will allow me to participate in their end of the year items. It will allow me to get the house in order and life as well. All I know is…..

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