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A Kindergarten Teaching Blog

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    My 9th shipment from Stitch Fix arrived last week and oh-my-word was it a good one! This was actually my favorite fix so far. (Spoiler alert: I decided to keep all of the clothes!) With fabrics and colors this gorgeous, I couldn't possibly return any of it. I have so many wonderful photos to share with you today, as well as a really great giveaway. 

    Check out this blogger's autumn "fix" from Stitch Fix!
    If you're new to Stitch Fix, keep on reading!
    I promise to tell you all about how this amazing service works at the end of the post :)

    Check out this blogger's autumn "fix" from Stitch Fix!

    The first item I tried on was this gorgeous Lydia Floral Print Key-Hole Blouse. I loved the rich colors and this blouse will be a wonderful addition as my wardrobe transitions from summer to fall and I get ready to go back to school. 

    blue keyhole floral print blouse from Stitch Fix

    The Lydia blouse was a perfect fit. I love the keyhole detail and vertical stripe down the center of the top. It's unique and oh-so-feminine.  

    blue keyhole floral print blouse and Kensie bootcut jeans from Stitch Fix

    I took my stylist's advice and paired the keyhole blouse with the Malin Bootcut jeans from Kensie which were also included in my fix. 
    Kensie bootcut jeans from Stitch Fix

    The jeans fit PERFECTLY around the waist and in the back. 

    Kensie bootcut jeans from Stitch Fix

    I wanted to play with the gorgeous colors of the blouse's floral print as I start to prepare my wardrobe for the change of seasons; so I added a chartreuse 3/4 sleeve cardigan from my closet, my black Fossil watch and my Lovestruck Tieks. I love everything about this outfit!

    blue keyhole floral print blouse, chartreuse cardigan, and Kensie bootcut jeans from Stitch Fix

    The jeans are great, but I can't usually wear denim to school. To make the ensemble a little more kindergarten teacher-appropriate, I swapped the chartreuse for a similar tan sweater, my J.Crew Pixie pants (a fall wardrobe ESSENTIAL), and some brown riding boots. 

    gorgeous blue floral print blouse from Stitch Fix

    The complete ensamble was comfortable, stylish, and work-appropriate! 

    floral blouse, tan sweater, pixie pants from J Crew and brown boots = LOVE

    Next up was the Bowie Solid Dolman Sleeve Top in a vibrant coral/orange. I do not own any orange clothing and I was immediately drawn to this color. It was just so different from everything else in my closet. 

    gorgeous orange dolman sleeve sweater from Stitch Fix

    I kept the Pixie pants and boots on for this outfit and just traded the blouse for the Dolman top. When paired with a few simple gold necklaces, the ensemble was perfectly laid back and fashionable. 

    gorgeous orange dolman sleeve sweater from Stitch Fix dressed up with leggings, boots, and gold necklaces
    gorgeous orange dolman sleeve sweater from Stitch Fix dressed up with leggings, boots, and gold necklaces

    My stylist also included a Jalie Denim Jacket from Liverpool Jeans in the fix. Denim is the perfect layer to many of my outfits because it goes with everything, and provides just a little extra warmth without adding a lot of bulk. 

    Liverpool brand stretch denim jacket from Stitch Fix

    I added the Jalie denim jacket right on top of my orange dolman top. This particular jacket has much more stretch than the two denim jackets I already own. It was unbelievable comfortable to wear over a long sleeve top. 

    denim, orange sweater, leggings, gold neckace = LOVE  #StitchFix 

    I am not a fan of cool temperatures, but this outfit instantly put me in the mood for a pumpkin latte and a day of apple picking!

    denim, orange sweater, leggings, gold necklace, brown boots = LOVE  #StitchFix

    The final item in my fix was the Rhianna Scoop Neck Gathered Maxi Dress. My stylist must really want to see me in deep blue clothing because this was nearly the same shade as the Lydia keyhole blouse and the fit and flare dress that arrived in my 6th fix.

    gorgeous blue maxi dress with a gathered waist #StitchFix

    I don't often wear jersey dresses or anything with a scoop neck, but this dress was a winner. The front and back featured a panel with gathered fabric. This helped draw attention away from those "problem areas". When paired with my cropped denim jacket, this outfit was a perfect to wear as warm September days turn to cooler evenings. 

    gorgeous blue maxi dress with denim and pearls #StitchFix

    The Breakdown

    So there you have it! 
    All five items included in my most recent fix were gorgeous and fit like a dream. 
    I decided to keep each piece. 

    Lydia Floral Print Key-Hole Blouse, $68 KEEP
    Malin Bootcut Jean, $98 KEEP
    Bowie Solid Doman Sleeve Top, $58 KEEP
    Jalie Denim Jacket, $88 KEEP
    Rhianna Scoop Neck Gathered Maxi Dress, $74 KEEP

     Check out this blogger's autumn "fix" from Stitch Fix!

    How Stitch Fix Works

    If you love all of these great clothes, but are wondering how Stitch Fix works, let me fill you in! Stitch Fix is an online personal styling service for women. To get started, simply complete a free style profile on the website. When you are ready, you can schedule a "fix" and you will be connected with a personal stylist. She will hand-pick five items she thinks will be a perfect fit for your figure, sense of style, and budget. The service costs only $20 and includes free shipping. 

    When your fix is ready, the clothes are shipped direct to your door so you can try them on in the comfort of your own home. You have three days to try the items on and decide which clothes and accessories you wish to keep.  Simply ship back the items you don't want in the pre-paid shipping envelope (returns are also free). If you choose to keep any of the items, your $20 styling fee is deducted from the price of your clothes. 

    Once your selections are made, check out online and give feedback on each garment. Your stylist will use the feedback to provide an even better fix next time! 

    Buy All Discount

    One of my favorite things about Stitch Fix is that if you choose to purchase all of the clothes in your fix, your order is automatically discounted 25%. Since I bought all of the clothes in my fix, I saved $91.50! The fix cost me $274.50 instead of $366 (which would have been the price without a discount.)  This is the second time I have bought my entire fix. (You can read all about the first time I bought it all in this blog post.)

    Have you tried Stitch Fix yet? If not, you need to to read this blog post!

    Stitch Fix Giveaway

    Now that you have seen MY latest fix, how great would it be if you won a fix of your own? I am giving away a $20 Stitch Fix gift card that will allow you to try out the service and schedule a fix risk-free. 

    Enter to Win a Stitch Fix Gift Card!

    Use the Rafflecopter below for your chance to WIN! 

    a Rafflecopter giveaway

    You also want to stop by A Differentiated Kindergarten for another chance to win! Marsha just enhanced her back-to-school wardrobe with Stitch Fix and is also giving away a $20 gift card!


    Check out More Fixes

    Want to see more photos from my fixes? You can read all about my previous Stitch Fix shipments. If you're new to Stitch Fix and want to give it a try, please consider signing up using my referral link (included throughout this post). I receive a small credit each time someone signs up using my link, which helps me continue to fund and share this type of blog post.

    Pin Your Favorite Pieces

    Did you love a particular garment or style in my photos? You can your favorite pieces with your stylist and request more items of a particular style. Just pin any thing that you love to your style Pinterest Board and add the board link to your Stitch Fix Style Profile. Happy pinning! 


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    A few years ago my teaching partner and I put a stop to the Nickel and Dime Cycle in our classrooms. You know what I'm talking about. The note that goes home saying
     "We are working on a special holiday craft… please contribute $2." 

    Six weeks later, that note is followed by another note explaining that
    "We would like to order a magazine subscription for each student in the class… please send in $5," and throughout the year, the notes requesting money for special events continue to be sent to classroom parents.

    The pattern of continually requesting money from parents was daunting and inconvenient for the teachers and the parents, so my teaching parter and I devised a better way to collect money for all of our Kindergarten special events and materials.

    A Better Way to Collect Money for the Classroom
    We spoke with our principal and decided to charge a one-time Kindergarten fee. We collect a set amount from each family at the beginning of the school year, make very clear how the money benefits their children and also clearly explain the type of expenses that are NOT covered by the fee (usually field trips and special school-wide collections). Once the money is collected, our school bookkeeper handles payments out of the account for us and we keep track of our expenses with a simple spreadsheet to ensure that we do not spend more than was collected.

    A Better Way to Collect Money for the Classroom

    I will walk you through suggestions for starting your own classroom or grade-level fee, points to consider, and how to handle parents that cannot afford the added expense.
    DISCLAIMER: This is something that works for the parents and students at my school, which serves upper-middle class families. The fee fits into the vast majority of family budgets at my school. Since I teach at a private school, I cannot create funding projects on Donors Choose. If you work in a public institution that serves underprivileged families, a grade-level fee will probably not work for you and I highly recommend seeking funding from Donors Choose.

    Special Items that are Funded by My Kindergarten Fee

    My teaching partner and I request that all families pay a $25 Kindergarten Fee. We budget that money very carefully to make it last all year and make sure that students get the maximum amount of resources from the fee. So what exactly does the fee cover? The list is EXTENSIVE.

    1. Kindergarten T-Shirts

    Each year we order a set of class t-shirts. Last year's t-shirts came from ClassroomFaces.com and they were a HUGE hit! We received so many compliments on these adorable t-shirts from staff and parents all year long.

    adorable kindergarten class t-shirts

    2. Magazine Subscriptions

    Each child in the class receives a subscription to National Geographic Young Explorer Magazine. Throughout the year, students receive 7 issues of the magazine. They are right on-level for my little readers and are loaded with fascinating articles and beautiful photos. My students are always excited when the newest issue arrives. As an added bonus, previous issues of the magazine are available for anyone to view online for FREE.

    National Geographic Young Explorer Magazine


    3. Christmas Parent Gifts

    The gifts that students create for their parents are often funded through the Kindergarten Fee money. The exact gift often changes from year-to-year, but previous gifts have included framed water color paintings of Christmas trees and a keepsake CD with each child in the class reciting the lyrics to popular christmas songs.

    framed watercolor Christmas tree painting… such a sweet parent gift!

    4. Q and U Wedding

    Each year we add a fun twist to our alphabet study - the letters Q and U get married. We have a ceremony and reception (complete with cake, decorations, and music!) A portion of the Kindergarten Fee funds this annual silly celebration.

    celebrate a Q and U wedding in your kindergarten classroom


    5. Mother's Day Tea Party

    A big tradition at my school (over 20 years in the making) is the annual Mother's Day Tea Party that we throw to honor the moms of the kindergarten students. Each year we replenish the party supplies and purchase materials to make a sweet gift for the moms.

    Mother's Day Tea Party ideas to celebrate Mother's Day in the classroom


    6. Graduation Sashes

    Graduation is final big event for our Kindergarten students. We have a sweet & simple ceremony and order each student in the class a custom graduation sash as a keepsake. The remaining portion of the Kindergarten Fee covers this final expense.

    custom sashes for kindergarten graduation

    Tips for Successfully Launching a Class Fee

    Let's face it. For many families, $25 is a lot of money. While I truly believe that it is a small price to pay for all of the materials that are funded by the collection, I don't want parents to be upset by the amount of the fee. Especially when I know that previous classroom families paid the same amount of money for special classroom materials (just in smaller doses). So I always take special measures to ensure that parents are fully-informed about the fee in a way that hopefully will not be too upsetting. Here are a few tips I have learned along the way. 

    Tell Parents About the Fee in Person

    If you have the option of informing parents about the fee face-to-face or with a note sent home, always choose to deliver the news in person. I begin collecting money shortly after school begins in the fall when most wallets are still feeling the pain from shopping for school supplies. I explain the kindergarten fee to the families at Parent Night during the second week of school and I have found that most parents appreciate my direct candor. 

    Explain the Reasons for a Class Fee

    If you are considering the launch of a grade level fee, you probably have a good reason for doing so. Explain to parents why you feel a need to implement a class fee. In my case, I clearly explain that previous families were paying this same amount over the course of the year. It was inconvenient for the parents and myself. With a class fee, parents only have to pay money one time and it is one less thing they have to worry about through the school year. 

    Show Parents What their Students will Receive in Return

    Assure families that their fee money will come directly back to the students. I always have extra samples on-hand of some of the goods that their child will receive throughout the year. Since I have purchased the same type of materials each year, this task is easy for me. I display my own class t-shirt, a graduation sash from a previous year and an extra copy of National Geographic Young Explorer Magazine. 

    If you don't have sample products on-hand, you can always show a quick slideshow with photos of the items their child will receive. It truly makes a difference in parent perception of a class fee. 

    In my classroom, the Kindergarten Fee also funds our Mother's Day Tea Party and parent Christmas gifts. Since the details of those items are intended to be a surprise for parents, I don't display artifacts or photos from previous gifts or tea party decorations. Those events merely receive a quick mention. 

    Inform Parents of Items that are Not Included in the Fee

    Some families may naturally assume that a one-time fee will cover EVERY expense throughout the school year. Clearly state that some events are not  included in the grade level fee. Examples from my own classroom include yearbooks, field trips, and school-wide collections (such as our monthly bagel day).

    Be Sensitive to each Family's Financial Limitations

    Back to school is an expensive time of year for families. After stocking up on new clothes and school supplies, there may not be very much money left in the budget for families to suddenly shell out an extra $25 for the classroom. Be sensitive to this fact. I always give parents a full month to pay the fee for my classroom. Given enough notice (two complete pay cycles) to start saving, families will feel more comfortable and less overwhelmed by the news of paying an unanticipated classroom fee. 

    For some families, the money simply does not exist in their budget at this time. It may never exist in their budget. Especially if the parents have twins or triplets in the same grade level. It's important to be sensitive to those family's needs as well. Make it clear that the fee is not mandatory and that families are welcome to privately contact you if they are unable to pay the classroom fee. (In which case, their child would still receive all of the materials - the class budget would just be slightly smaller). 

    Put it in Writing

    Draft a letter about your upcoming fee to classroom parents. I usually send the note home the same night as my parent presentation. Copy the note on brightly colored paper so it is not easily overlooked. Families are more likely to remember and pay the fee in a timely fashion if your letter grabs their attention. 

    Don't copy the note on red paper - red is an aggressive color :)

    Convenience Pays Off

    Make it as easy as possible for parents to pay your grade level fee. Staple a pre-labeled envelope directly to your letter explaining the fee. Include the amount of the fee, due date, and a space for the child's name on the envelope. Make sure the envelope also clearly states that it is for the classroom fee. 

    Free Printables to Get You Started

    Are you ready to institute a yearlong fee in your classroom? You can download a sample fee letter from my own classroom and labels to get you started from my TpT store. Both items are Word documents so you can easily edit the pages to fit your own needs.

    A Better Way to Collect Money for the Classroom

    Do you collect money from parents during the school year? Leave a comment with your best tricks of the trade. I would love to read them! 

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    Today was my first day back at school and it has revved me up for another fabulous year in Kindergarten. I love dusting off my collection of picture books for back-to-school and I am always looking to expand my collection. Recently, several fans of the Kinder-Craze facebook page shared their favorite stories to read during the first days of school. Here are a few fan favorites that are teacher tested and kid approved! 

    Great stories about Going Back to School

    1. Pete the Cat Rockin' in my School Shoes
    Pete the Cat is back—and this time he’s rocking in his school shoes. Pete discovers the library, the lunchroom, the playground, and lots of other cool places at school. And no matter where he goes, Pete never stops moving and grooving and singing his song . . . because it’s all good.
    Pete the Cat Rockin in my School She's


    2. Miss Bindergarten Gets Ready for Kindergarten
    It's the first day of kindergarten and Miss Bindergarten is hard at work getting the classroom ready for her twenty-six new students. Meanwhile, Adam Krupp wakes up, Brenda Heath brushes her teeth, and Christopher Beaker finds his sneaker. Miss Bindergarten puts the finishing touches on the room just in time, and the students arrive. Now the fun can begin! This rhyming, brightly illustrated book is the perfect way to practice the alphabet and to introduce young children to kindergarten.
    Miss Bindergarten Gets Ready for Kindergarten


    3. The Night before Kindergarten
    It's the first day of school! Join the kids as they prepare for kindergarten, packing school supplies, posing for pictures, and the hardest part of all--saying goodbye to Mom and Dad. But maybe it won't be so hard once they discover just how much fun kindergarten really is! Colorful illustrations illuminate this uplifting takeoff on the classic Christmas poem.
    The Night Before Kindergarten


    4. The Kissing Hand
    School is starting in the forest, but Chester Raccoon does not want to go. To help ease Chester's fears, Mrs. Raccoon shares a family secret called the Kissing Hand to give him the reassurance of her love any time his world feels a little scary. Since its first publication in 1993, this heartwarming book has become a children's classic that has touched the lives of millions of children and their parents, especially at times of separation, whether starting school, entering daycare, or going to camp. It is widely used by kindergarten teachers on the first day of school. Stickers at the back will help children and their parents keep their Kissing Hand alive.
    The Kissing Hand


    5. Chrysanthemum
    Chrysanthemum thinks her name is absolutely perfect—until her first day of school. "You're named after a flower!" teases Victoria. "Let's smell her," says Jo. Chrysanthemum wilts. What will it take to make her blossom again?
    This popular picture book has sold more than a million copies and was named a Notable Book for Children by the American Library Association. "Perfectly executed in words and illustration, Chrysanthemum exemplifies Henkes's talent for creating true picture stories for young audiences."—The Horn Book
    Chrysanthemum


    6. The Crayon Box that Talked
    Yellow hates Red, so does Green, and no one likes Orange! Can these crayons quit arguing and learn to cooperate? Shane DeRolf's deceptively simple poem celebrates the creation of harmony through diversity. In combination with Michael Letzig's vibrant illustrations, young readers will understand that when we all work together, the results are much more colorful and interesting.


    7. Chicka Chicka Boom Boom
    When all the letters of the alphabet race one another up the coconut tree, will there be enough room?
    Of course there is always enough room for this rollicking alphabet chant that has been a children’s favorite for more than twenty years! Bill Martin Jr and John Archambault’s rhythmic text keeps the beat with Caldecott Honor illustrator Lois Ehlert’s bold, cheerful art. This winning combination has created a series of enduring Chicka Chicka favorites, and now, for the first time ever, the complete edition of the original Chicka Chicka Boom Boom story is available as a Classic Board Book. With sturdy pages and rounded corners, this portable edition of an irresistible alphabet romp will delight a new generation ofyoung readers.
    Chicka Chicka Boom Boom


    8. Can I Play Too?
    Gerald is careful. Piggie is not. Piggie cannot help smiling. Gerald can.
    Gerald and Piggie are best friends.

    In Can I Play Too? Gerald and Piggie meet a new snake friend who wants to join in a game of catch. But don't you need arms to catch?
    Can I Play Too? Elephant and Piggie

    9. Wemberly Worried

    Wemberly worried about spilling her juice, about shrinking in the bathtub, even about snakes in the radiator. She worried morning, noon, and night. "Worry, worry, worry," her family said. "Too much worry." And Wemberly worried about one thing most of all: her first day of school. But when she meets a fellow worrywart in her class, Wemberly realizes that school is too much fun to waste time worrying!
    Wemberly Worried


    10. You Are Special
    Every day the small wooden people called Wemmicks do the same thing: stick either gold stars or gray dots on one another. The pretty ones--those with smooth wood and fine paint--always get stars. The talented ones do, too. Others, though, who can do little or who have chipped paint, get ugly gray dots. Like Punchinello.
    In this heartwarming children's tale from the best-selling pen of author Max Lucado, Eli the woodcarver helps Punchinello understand how special he is--no matter what other Wemmicks may think. It's a vital message for children everywhere: that regardless of how the world evaluates them, God cherishes each of them, just as they are.

    This tale originally appeared within one of the chapters in the award-winning children's bestseller Tell Me the Secrets.
    You Are Special



    11. David Goes to School
    David Shannon's beloved character is back and heading to school! This book is perfect for teaching students school rules in a way that makes them laugh and learn from all of David's behavioral mistakes.
    David Goes to School


    12. My Mouth is a Volcano!
    This book is great to help young children who may need help controlling themselves or learning how to behave in a social setting.
    My Mouth is a Volcano!


    13. Lacey Walker, Nonstop Talker
    Lacey Walker loves to talk. She talks all day, and sometimes all night. But when she loses her voice, Lacey learns the importance of listening.
    Lacey Walker, Nonstop Talker


    14. First Day Jitters
    Sarah Jane is worried about going to a new school. She refuses to get out of bed because she keeps imagining all the bad things that can happen. Readers will understand and sympathize with Sarah's feelings and laugh when they discover the surprise ending to this delightful story.
    First Day Jitters


    15. Owl Babies
    "I want my mommy!" Three baby owls awake one night to find their mother gone, and they can’t help but wonder where she is. What is she doing? When will she be back? What scary things move all around them? Stunning illustrations from striking perspectives capture the anxious little owls as they worry. Not surprisingly, joyous flapping and dancing and bouncing greet the mother’s return, lending a celebratory tone to the ending of this comforting tale. Never has the plight of young ones who miss their mother been so simply told or so beautifully rendered.
    Owl Babies


    16. Planet Kindergarten
    This clever picture book will prepare young explorers to boldly go where they have never gone before: Planet Kindergarten. Suit up for a daring adventure as our hero navigates the unknown reaches and alien inhabitants of this strange new world. Hilarious and confidence-boosting, this exciting story will have new kindergarteners ready for liftoff!
    Planet Kindergarten


    17. Mouse’s First Day of School
    Mouse decides to hide inside a bright red backpack...and ends up at school! As he explores this place full of colors, letters, and numbers, Mouse discovers a world beyond his imagination--and makes some friends along the way. Now a Classic Board Book, Mouse's First Day of School is sure to entertain children with its simple, energetic text and sweet illustrations, as well as get readers excited about their own first trips to school.
    Mouse's First Day of School


    18. The Rainbow Fish
    The Rainbow Fish is an international best-seller and a modern classic. Eye-catching foil stamping, glittering on every page, offers instant child appeal, but it is the universal message at the heart of this simple story about a beautiful fish who learns to make friends by sharing his most prized possessions that gives the book its lasting value.
    The Rainbow Fish


    19. Do Unto Otters: A Book about Manners
    Mr. Rabbit’s new neighbors are Otters.
    OTTERS!
    But he doesn’t know anything about otters. Will they get along? Will they be friends?
    Just treat otters the same way you’d like them to treat you, advises Mr. Owl.

    In her smart, playful style Laurie Keller highlights how to be a good friend and neighbor—simply follow the Golden Rule!
    Do Onto Otters


    20. Don’t Eat the Teacher
    It's Sammy the Shark's first day at school and he's terribly excited about it. But, oh dear, when Sammy gets excited he just can't help biting things. Can he get through the day without causing too much trouble and without eating the teacher? This book has a bite taken out of the top of it!
    Don't Eat the Teacher 


    21. Fill a Bucket: A Guide to Daily Happiness for Young Children
    This award-winning prequel to Have You Filled a Bucket Today? is the perfect gift for anyone with little ones they love.  When children have their buckets filled and learn how they can fill other people's buckets too, they understand how special, valuable, and capable they are.


    22. Don’t Let the Pigeon Drive the Bus!
    When a bus driver takes a break from his route, a very unlikely volunteer springs up to take his place-a pigeon! But you've never met one like this before. As he pleads, wheedles, and begs his way through the book, children will love being able to answer back and decide his fate. In his hilarious picture book debut, popular cartoonist Mo Willems perfectly captures a preschooler's temper tantrum.
    Don't Let the Pigeon Drive the Bus


    23. Owen
    Owen had a fuzzy yellow blanket. "Fuzzy goes where I go," said Owen. But Mrs. Tweezers disagreed. She thought Owen was too old for a blanket. Owen disagreed. No matter what Mrs. Tweezers came up with, Blanket Fairies or vinegar, Owen had the answer. But when school started, Owen't mother knew just what to do, and everyone -- Owen, Fuzzy, and even Mrs. Tweezers -- was happy.
    Owen


    24. You're Finally Here!
    Hooray! You're finally here! But where were you? A bunny bounces through a range of emotions in this funny picture book about how difficult it is to wait. At first he's ecstatic that you, the reader, has arrived. But then he can't help letting you know that waiting for you took too long, was way too boring, and even became insulting. The bunny is ready to forgive everything if you will promise to stay. But hold on—he has to take a phone call. Wait! Come back !Where are you going? Underneath this book's silly, in-your-face humor are feelings true to every child who has had to wait for someone's attention.
    You're Finally Here

    25. Rufus Goes to School
    All Rufus Leroy Williams III wants is to go to school so he can learn to read his favorite book. But there's one problem: he's a pig and Principal Lipid says: “NO PIGS IN SCHOOL!” Rufus even gets a backpack, a lunchbox, and a blanket to prove he's ready. But Mr. Lipid won't budge. Is there ANYTHING Rufus can do to change his mind? Kim Griswell and illustrator Valeri Gorbachev have created a love letter to reading that's also a charming, original, and child-friendly first-day-of-school story.
    Rufus Goes to School


    26. Llama Llama Misses Mama
    Strange new teacher. Strange new toys. Lots of kids and lots of noise!
    What would Llama like to do?
    Llama Llama feels so new . . .
    It’s Llama Llama’s first day of preschool! And Llama Llama’s mama makes sure he’s ready. They meet the teachers. See the other children. Look at all the books and games. But then it’s time for Mama to leave. And suddenly Llama Llama isn’t so excited anymore. Will Mama Llama come back?
    Llama Llama Misses Mama

    27. Too Much Glue
    Although Matty’s art teacher has warned him that too much glue never dries, Matty loves glue. After all, he and his dad make oodles of glue projects at home. One day during art class, Matty finds the fullest bottles of glue, and the fun begins. With a squeeze and a plop, Matty pours a lake of glue before belly-flopping right in the middle and finds himself stuck to the desk. When Matty’s dad arrives at the school, instead of being mad, he celebrates his son’s creativity and calls him a work of art. With vibrant language and artwork and a wild, silly plot, Too Much Glue is sure to appeal to all children who love to get messy.
    Too Much Glue


    28. A Bad Case of Tattle Tongue
    Josh the Tattler doesn't have any friends. He tattles on his classmates, on his brother, and even on his dog! He tattles so much that he wakes up one night to find that his tongue is yellow, unusually long, and covered in bright purple spots! Will a bad case of Tattle Tongue teach him a lesson? A Bad Case of Tattle Tongue gives teachers and counselors a humorous, cleverly creative way to address the time-consuming tattling-related issues that often sap classroom energy and thwart teaching opportunities. Parents who "battle the tattle" at home, on the playground, in the grocery store, or anywhere else, can use this book to both entertain and enlighten their children about "The Tattle Rules." Every adult that desires to help children understand the differences between unnecessary tattling and the necessity of warning others about important matters needs this book!
    A Bad Case of Tattle Tongue


    29. Interrupting Chicken
    Now it’s the little red chicken’s turn to tell a story, but will her yawning papa make it to the end without his own kind of interrupting? Energetically illustrated with glowing colors—and offering humorous story-within-a-story views—this all-too-familiar tale is sure to amuse (and hold the attention of) spirited little chicks.

    A favorite joke inspires this charming tale, in which a little chicken’s habit of interrupting bedtime stories is gleefully turned on its head.
    Interrupting Chicken


    30. The Juice Box Bully: Empowering Kids to Stand Up for Others
    Have you ever seen a bully in action and done nothing about it? The kids at Pete's new school get involved, instead of being bystanders. When Pete begins to behave badly, his classmates teach him about "The Promise". Will Pete decide to shed his bullying habits and make "The Promise"?
    The Juice Box Bully


    31. The Name Jar
    The new kid in school needs a new name! Or does she? Being the new kid in school is hard enough, but what about when nobody can pronounce your name? Having just moved from Korea, Unhei is anxious that American kids will like her. So instead of introducing herself on the first day of school, she tells the class that she will choose a name by the following week. Her new classmates are fascinated by this no-name girl and decide to help out by filling a glass jar with names for her to pick from. But while Unhei practices being a Suzy, Laura, or Amanda, one of her classmates comes to her neighborhood and discovers her real name and its special meaning. On the day of her name choosing, the name jar has mysteriously disappeared. Encouraged by her new friends, Unhei chooses her own Korean name and helps everyone pronounce it—Yoon-Hey.
    The Name Jar


    32. Caps for Sale: A Tale of a Peddler, Some Monkeys and Their Monkey Business
    Caps for Sale is a timeless classic, in print for over fifty years, and beloved by generations of readers. This easy-to-read story about a peddler and a band of mischievous monkeys is filled with warmth, humor, and simplicity and teaches children about problem and resolution. Children will delight in following the peddler's efforts to outwit the monkeys and will ask to read it again and again. This is an excellent easy-to-read book that includes repetition, patterns, and colors, perfect for early readers.
    Caps for Sale

    33. Press Here
    Press the yellow dot on the cover of this book, follow the instructions within, and embark upon a magical journey! Each page of this surprising book instructs the reader to press the dots, shake the pages, tilt the book, and who knows what will happen next! Children and adults alike will giggle with delight as the dots multiply, change direction, and grow in size! Especially remarkable because the adventure occurs on the flat surface of the simple, printed page, this unique picture book about the power of imagination and interactivity will provide read-aloud fun for all ages!
    Press Here book cover


    34. Hands as Warm as Toast
    Libby is just plain scared to start kindergarten! Even though Mom tries to reassure her, she is wiping away tears as they walk down the long hall to her classroom. Before Libby can make a dash for home, Miss Darling enlists Libby's help to warm up her cold hands. Libby hangs on tightly but she notices that Miss Darling's hands get warmer quicker as her kindergarten year progresses. This story about those scary first days at school reminds us how good it feels to find a warm hand to hold when we take a big step on our own.
    Hands as Warm as Toast


    It's Okay to be Different
    Featuring Todd Parr's trademark bold, bright colors and silly scenes, this book embraces difference in a unique way. Deceptively simple in appearance, It's OK to Be Different cleverly delivers its important messages of acceptance, understanding, and confidence in a child-friendly package. 
    It's Okay to be Different

    What is your favorite story back-to-school book to read in the classroom? 


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  • 09/07/14--07:00: Staples Gift Card Giveaway
  • Now that everyone is getting into the swing of life back at school, the Freebielicious girls think you deserve a very special treat! We know that your wallet is probably empty at the moment from stocking on on classroom supplies (and decorations if you're like me), so we have just what you need to spoil yourself a little: gift cards to all of our favorite stores! We also have a GREAT BIG GRAND PRIZE that we are giving away on the Freeblielicious blog. Make sure you scroll down to the bottom of this post so you don't miss out! 

    ENTER TO WIN A $300 VISA GIFT CARD and so much more!

    Right here at Kinder-Craze I am giving away a $25 Staples gift card. 
    Staples is my go-to place to stop when I run out of labels or cardstock and I don't have time to wait for online shipping. 

    Enter to win a $25 Staples gift card

    Use the Rafflecopter below for your chance to win a $25 Staples Gift Card. Please remember to enter with integrity. 
    a Rafflecopter giveaway

    But this giveaway is SO MUCH MORE AMAZING than just the chance to win a $25 Staples gift card! The Freebielicious ladies know how much money goes into supplies, tissues, books, and classroom decor to get your classroom "kid-ready" and we want to put some of that money right back into your pocket. 
    We are giving away a $300 Visa gift card on the Freeblielicious blog

    That's right… $300!!!

    To enter the BIG GIVEAWAY, click here or on the button below! 

    ENTER TO WIN A $300 VISA GIFT CARD and so much more!

    Plus, many of my Freebielicious friends are also giving away some truly spectacular prizes on their own blogs. Look at some of the other prizes up for grabs! 

    ENTER TO WIN A $300 VISA GIFT CARD and so much more!
    If you're ready for a chance to win gift cards to all your favorite stores, you definitely need to stop by the Freebielicious blog for links to all these fabulous giveaways. 

    Best of luck and I hope your school year is off to an AMAZING start!


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    As a kindergarten teacher, I find that I am constantly looking for ways to improve instruction. Whether that means using finding great new videos to teach kindergarten concepts or hanging visual resources that are cleaner and easier children to read; my job is to keep finding what works EVEN better than how I did things before. 

    This fall, I was determined to overhaul my calendar/circle time space. It looks better than ever, is more interactive for my students, AND can easily include some extra interest (thanks to the musical innovation of Harry Kindergarten!) I'll get back to my space with LOTS of photos in a minute, but first let me tell you more about Harry Kindergarten!

    Beautiful kindergarten calendar area

    All About Harry Kindergarten

    If you don't know about Harry Kindergarten, YOU ARE MISSING OUT! For starters, his name is Pete Harry and he is a real-life kindergarten teacher who spends his days in the trenches just like you and I. Pete knows the importance of keeping students engaged in learning and he has a natural talent for creating music. A few years ago, Pete put his skills as a teacher and music-maker to work for his own kindergarten classroom - and just like that Harry Kindergarten was born!

    Harry Kindergarten Music keeps students rocking while they learn

    Pete originally created a set of videos for his own classroom, but was sweet and generous enough to list the videos on the Harry Kindergarten YouTube channel. Since then, Harry Kindergarten Music has become a YouTube sensation with over 65,000 subscribers! He has videos to cover virtually every element of kindergarten classroom management and curriculum. From sitting how to sit Criss-Cross Applesauce, to sight words and the Needs of a Plant, to Numbers in the Teens and everything in between; Harry Kindergarten videos are guaranteed to get your students rocking and learning at the same time! 

    Rockin' Calendar Concepts with Harry Kindergarten  

    Since I had plans to freshen up my own classroom calendar time this year, I was immediately intrigued to discover that  there several Harry Kindergarten videos that teach calendar concepts. Here are a few of them along with the Kinder-Craze calendar resources that go-hand-in hand with each video.


    MONTHS OF THE YEAR

    Through the Year monthly label cards from Kinder-Craze



    Days of the Week

    Through the Week Daily Label Cards from Kinder-Craze



    Seasons of the Year

    Season Cards for a classroom calendar



    Weather and Temperature

    Weather Cards for a classroom calendar


    More About My Classroom Calendar

    Kinder-Craze fans love seeing photos of my kindergarten classroom. In the past, I haven't shared many photos of my calendar area because it wasn't a particularly attractive area in my classroom - until now! I spent several weeks this summer creating sweet, child-friendly calendar resources that teachers and students will LOVE. I use many of the sets in my own calendar area and I ADORE the fresh, cohesive look of my updated calendar area. Most of the items in the space are attached to the my whiteboard using dot magnets

    Printable resources to create a beautiful classroom calendar

    The grid for the actual "calendar" in my calendar area is from Creative Teaching Press's dots on black collection. Each month, I use a different set of numbers from my Through the Year Calendar Numbers pack. Every number collection in the set features seasonal images arranged in a different pattern. My kindergarten students LOVE figuring out which number will be the next picture in the pattern. 

    I display upcoming special days with my Through the Year Calendar Holiday Cards. My September calendar depicts the school's annual fall book fair, Constitution Day, the first day of fall, and the first day of October. When my kiddos know that a special day is coming up, they are ALWAYS asking how many days it will be until the event. Thank to my Calendar Holiday Cards, my students can find the answers to all of those "how long until…" questions without any help from me!

    Printable resources to create a beautiful classroom calendar

    Although it may not be a teaching topic for our calendar time, I also display my classroom daily schedule beside the calendar. My Schedule Cards are available in the {Black Series} or {White Series}.  One of my teaching standards is for students to name objects that measure time. Clocks are always the obvious answer, but the calendar and schedule cards also help my students keep track of passing time. 

    Printable resources to create a beautiful classroom calendar

    We take a few minutes each day to discuss the weather, temperature, and seasons. The class loves moving the magnetic pieces onto each sign to complete the sentences. 
    Printable resources to create a beautiful classroom calendar


    Harry Kindergarten + Kinder-Craze Calendar Giveaway

    How would you like to win some free digital music from Harry Kindergarten and a special calendar prize pack from Kinder-Craze? Sounds great, right? Here's what's up for grabs:

    Your choice of 3 Harry Kindergarten video downloads OR 6 audio downloads
    PLUS

    Kinder-Craze plus Harry Kindergarten GIVEAWAY!

    What are you waiting for? Use the Rafflecopter below for your chance to WIN!

    a Rafflecopter giveaway

    What is YOUR favorite Harry Kindergarten video to play in the classroom? 


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    My favorite time of the month is here again… Stitch Fix time! My personal stylist at Stitch Fix sent the most wonderful assortment of fall clothes in my latest shipment. I love Stitch Fix because new clothes are one of my all-time favorite things but I am so busy I never have time to shop. Stitch Fix solves that dilemma for me. I just complete an online style profile and pay a $20 styling fee, then a personal stylist selects 5 garments just for me! Shipping is free and I can try each piece on in the comfort of my home. I love the convenience of pairing each piece with clothes, shoes, and accessories that I already own. I keep the items I want, check out online, and return the garments I don't wish to keep in the pre-paid shipping envelope that is included in my fix. Returns are free too! 

    Check out this blogger's latest arrival from Stitch Fix… she bought it all!
    This month's arrival was so great, I kept EVERY item! I don't want to hold you in suspense so let's dig right in to these pretty pieces. First up was a printed dolman sleeve top. My stylist sent me a gorgeous lightweight dolman sleeve sweater in my previous fix. I raved about the sweater on my fashion Pinterest board so I was treated to a similar top once again.
    berneen printed dolman sleeve top from stitch fix

    This month's dolman sleeve top had a fun teal and indigo geometric print. I paired it with my favorite skinny Kensie jeans (also from Stitch Fix). I added some gold jewelry, brown boots and my favorite rose gold & white ceramic Fossil watch.

    berneen printed dolman sleeve top from stitch fix with jeans and gold jewelry #stitchfix

    The entire ensemble looked great and I felt so comfortable in my new printed dolman sleeve top. 

    berneen printed dolman sleeve top from stitch fix with skinny jeans, brown boots, and gold jewelry #stitchfix

    My next item was a twist-back striped cardigan. I get cold very easily and I often have a lightweight summer or jacket around on the hottest of days. Especially in the classroom. The AC makes me freeze and I am always on the lookout for a stylish new cardigan to add to my collection. 

    Clove Twist Back Striped Cardigan from Stitch Fix

    I loved the  bold look of this striped sweater and wanted to pair it with something FUN. I dug deep into my closet and paired the cardigan with the pink sleeveless fit and flare dress I received in my 5th fix. At the time, I wasn't a huge fan of this solid bright pink dress but it was cheaper for me to purchase every item in my fix (Stitch Fix offers a 25% discount on all items if you purchase your entire fix) than it was to return the pink dress and keep everything else. I am so glad I kept the dress, because it was the perfect match for this black and white striped cardigan!

    Clove twist back striped cardigan with a pink fit and flare dress from Stitch Fix #stitchfix

    When worn with black tights, plain black riding boots, a simple strand of black beads and my black Fossil watch, this outfit is bright, bold and completely adorable. I love how the black tights take the emphasis off my legs and make the outfit seem much fore school-appropriate than if I wore it with bare legs and a pair of flats. I adore this outfit and it will help keep my mood lifted as the cooler temperatures begin to take over in Michigan. 

    Clove twist back striped cardigan with a pink fit and flare dress and black boots from Stitch Fix #stitchfix

    Just in case you were wondering, the back of this cardigan is even more beautiful than the front. There are several pieces sewn together than give the sweater an interesting architectural quality. It also gathers and twists at my lower back, which gives the sweater a slimming effect. I'm telling you, this sweater is GORGEOUS and you need to have one for your closet. 

    Clove twist back striped cardigan from Stitch Fix #stitchfix

    This fix also contained a beautiful abstract print tulip sleeve blouse. At first, I wasn't sure what to think of the print. It was definitely different. 

    Cathleen Abstract Print Tulip Sleeve Blouse from Stitch Fix

    Feeling inspired by fall, I wore the blouse with a pair of brown dress pants and some gold jewelry. Then I fell in love. The blouse was a perfect fit and the colors looked so rich. 

    Cathleen Abstract Print Tulip Sleeve Blouse from Stitch Fix

    The slight ruching detail on the sleeves is subtle but I like how they give the blouse a little something special.

    Cathleen Abstract Print Tulip Sleeve Blouse from Stitch Fix

    I will happily wear the tulip sleeve blouse to work in my kindergarten classroom, but I also wanted to make it part of weekend-ready ensemble, so I added a cardigan, my skinny Kensie jeans, and brown boots. Perfect and ready for a trip to the cider mill or a drive to Northern Michigan to see the fall colors. 

    Cathleen Abstract Print Tulip Sleeve Blouse from Stitch Fix with skinny jeans, brown boots, and a plum cardigan

    The next item in my fix was a gray pleated swing skirt. This knit skirt will be perfect for the cooler temperatures of fall and winter. I don't own many skirts or dresses for winter. I'm always cold so it seems crazy to me to willingly wear skirts instead of pants when it's 20 degrees outside, but sometimes an occasion arrises where I just need to bite the bullet and dress up. This skirt will be perfect for those occasions!

    Charissa pleated swing skirt from Stitch Fix
    I paired the gray swing skirt with jeweled heels and a fitted royal blue cardigan and the look is perfect! I love how polished this outfit looks. I may not wear it to school, but I am certain I will wear this outfit occasionally during the cold months. 

    Charissa pleated swing skirt from Stitch Fix

    The fifth and final garment included in my fix was a fit and flare dress in a rich purple color that is perfect for fall!

     Aleisha fit and flare dress from Stitch Fix

    Initially, I styled this dress with the denim jacket that was included in my 9th fix, a mustard scarf, and some gold jewelry. LOVE!
     Aleisha fit and flare dress from Stitch Fix with a denim jacket and mustard scarf #stitchfix

    I was feeling experimental so I switched the scarf to an ivory knit scarf and changed my watch from white to black, but kept the black tights and plain black riding boots. 
    Aleisha fit and flare dress from Stitch Fix

    Finally, I added the denim jacket to the ensemble once again. 
    Aleisha fit and flare dress from Stitch Fix with a knit scarf and denim jacket

    I love each ensemble that I was able to create with this simple purple dress and black boots. By swapping out a few accessories, it completely changed the look of the dress. I'm gaga over the look with the mustard scarf, but I'm dying to know which version of this outfit is YOUR favorite!

    Aleisha fit and flare dress from Stitch Fix styled 3 different ways

    The Breakdown

    You already know that I decided to keep every item in my fix this month. Here is the price breakdown of each item: 

    Berneen Printed Doman Sleeve Top, $58 KEEP
    Clove Twist Back Striped Cardigan, $68 KEEP
    Cathleen Abstract Print Tulip-Sleeve Blouse, $68 KEEP
    Charissa Pleated Swing Skirt, $58 Keep
    Aleisha Fit and Flare Dress, $88 KEEP

    Buy All Discount

    Don't let those prices fool you! Stitch Fix has an amazing deal that provides customers with an automatic 25% discount on every item in their fix if you decide to keep the entire shipment. Since I purchased every item in my fix, I saved $80! I also earned back my $20 styling fee (which is automatically deducted from the price of any item from your fix). This fix only cost $240 instead of $340. This fix was a bargain and the convenience can't be beat! This is actually the third time I purchased my entire fix. You can read more (and see photos) from the first and the second time. 

    Stitch Fix Giveaway

    Now you can enter to win a $20 Stitch Fix gift card - that's enough to cover the styling fee of your next fix so can enjoy the service risk-free! Use the Rafflecopter below to enter the giveaway!
    a Rafflecopter giveaway

    Another Chance to Win

    You should definitely check out A Differentiated Kindergarten this week too. Marsha posted photos of her latest fix (spoiler alert - she kept every item too!) and she is also giving away a $20 Stitch Fix gift card on the Differentiated Kindergarten blog.
    Stop by for another chance to WN!

    Differentiated Kindergarten


    Sign Up For Stitch Fix

    If you're new to Stitch Fix and are ready to sign up and try it for yourself, please sign up using my referral link. I receive a small commission that helps me to continue sharing my fixes (every single blog post takes more than 8 hours to photograph, edit, and write). Thank you so much for your continued support!

    Stitch Fix online personal styling service for women

    Pin Your Favorite Styles

    If you are already receiving shipments from Stitch Fix, let your stylist know what you love! Be sure to include a link to your favorite style or fashion Pinterest board. If you see something in this blog post that you love, pin it to your style board and let your stylist know exactly why you love it.


    Until next month… have a very fashionable day!

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    Today we celebrated Constitution Day in my kindergarten classroom. Since the Constitution can be such a very BIG idea for young little minds, we always put a patriotic spin on this very special day. To begin, the students arrive at school dressed in red, white and blue. Then the fun begins!


    The highlight of our day is creating patriotic hats! With this very simple activity, students receive a 4" band of red construction paper and several 2x4" strips of white construction paper rectangles. The children use glue sticks to attach the white strips to the band. Each student then cuts out 4 blue construction paper stars and glues the stars onto their headband. Once all of the cutting and gluing is complete, I wrap the decorated band around each child's head and staple the ends together.


    This project is so simple, but so adorable and the kids have a blast! 


    You can download a FREE template and instructions for making your own classroom patriotic headbands in my TpT store. Just click the cover below to download your freebie! 


    FREE Constitution Day Videos

    Looking for some great video resources to share with your children on Constitution Day? There are MANY great options on YouTube!



    Books to Help You Teach About the Constitution

    If you are looking to enhance your classroom library with some books about the Constitution, here are a few selections that were written for early elementary students. Click any book cover to shop!



    Happy Constitution Day from my classroom to yours!


    How did YOU celebrate the Constitution today? I would love to hear your ideas!

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    Today we celebrated Constitution Day in my kindergarten classroom. Since the Constitution can be such a very BIG idea for young little minds, we always put a patriotic spin on this very special day. To begin, the students arrive at school dressed in red, white and blue. Then the fun begins! The highlight of our […]

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    Or the chicken pox. Today is a red letter day for day for my humble little blog. Perhaps I should call it a “pink letter day” since pink has been such a visual component of Kinder Craze since the very beginning. Now that you have arrived and are reading this post, I am certain that you have […]

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    My 11th box from Stitch Fix arrived earlier this week. I seriously cannot believe I have received 11 shipments from the fabulous online personal styling service. Each fix is always a delight and makes me just a little more stylish than I was before the box arrived at my door. For a mere $20, my […]

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    Last week we wrapped up our apple unit in my classroom. In addition to all of the usual apple activities, I took the opportunity to work the apple theme in to my math and handwriting lessons. In math, my students are working on counting and number recognition. Most of my students can easily count objects […]

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    It’s a beautiful day for a GIVEAWAY and today’s giveaway is BIG. Really big. Over $750 big. You know how much I love sharing my newest fashions on the blog and Instagram. Most of the time, those fashions are from Stitch Fix, TJMaxx, and Marshalls. Sometimes, though, I  dress a little more “teacher-y” and a […]

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    During our apple study, my kindergarten students made the cutest apple window decorations with clear contact paper, tissue paper squares and a little construction paper. I make many of these “stained glass” decorations throughout the year and I love how festive they make my classroom feel! These decorations are also very quick to create and they […]

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    Friends, I have news. BIG news. Many of you have been patiently waiting my next big announcement ever since I revealed the new look of Kinder Craze. For several weeks now, I have been busily working behind the scenes (trying to get every last detail just right) and I am SO excited to finally share my […]

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    If you follow me on Instagram, you already know that my latest shipment from Stitch Fix arrived this week. I love when they send me a big box! It usually means that warm, cozy things are tucked inside. I’m sure you have been dying to see what treasures arrived inside my 12th fix. Best mail […]

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    This week I completed my first round of classroom DRA assessments and informed each parent of their child’s reading level. When parents ask where to find developmentally appropriate books for their children, I always direct them to Scholastic book orders. Any kindergarten teacher knows how difficult it can be to find DRA level A, 1, 2, 3 […]

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    Halloween is almost here and the Freebielicious girls have a very special treat for you . It’s time to Trick AND Treat! This very special blog hop will help you stock up on classroom freebies and great teaching tips. Sometimes in the Halloween frenzy, a teacher just needs a few moments of sanity and my […]

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    Halloween is almost here and I have a super-simple craft you can create inside the classroom or at home with your little ones! The best part is that pumpkins are in-season all through the fall so this cute window decoration can stay up right through Thanksgiving. Before you begin this craft, you will need to […]

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    My students had a BLAST in our kindergarten classroom for Halloween last week, yet they were amazingly well behaved. We didn’t have a week full of candy and silliness. We had fun, but it was more academic in nature and it really helped my students to remain in control of their actions. Our first order […]

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    America Recycles day is November 15. In the spirit of “going green” my students created some posters to hang around the school promoting our lunch program’s “Waste Free Wednesday” campaign. The idea behind Waste Free Wednesday is simple: students that pack a lunch from home are encouraged to pack only reusable items in their lunch. […]

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