Friday, July 31, 2015

Sayyy what?!

Hey everyone!  I wanted to do a short post for you about how I'm feeling at this point in the summer. This GIF below basically sums it up.

Gilly (Kristen Wiig) is my favorite SNL character.  A close second would be Stefan (Bill Hader).

Anyways, yesterday I was walking out to my car after working 7 hours in my classroom.. I was trudging along due to feet being tired and climbing up and down a ladder the day before.  If I had the energy I would have walked out doing what Gilly is doing. ^

I AM DONE GETTING MY ROOM READY GUYS!  If the kids came on Monday, my room would be ready for them.  I have just a couple of random little printouts to hang up and a few book bin labels to stick on that I've added.  Other than that, I have less than 30 mins worth of work.

I won't give you a tour just yet, in a week or so.  :)  But here is the outside of my room.  Our hallways are camping theme for our PBIS theme this year.  I'm putting stars with the kids names on them on the bulletin board when I get the class list.

Out of four summers, I think this is the first one that I am finished cleaning, organizing, and rearranging before August!  This year I also changed out some bulletin board colors and purged and donated.  Whew.

My district goes back the 13th for teachers and 20th for the kids.  So I plan on using the next couple of weeks to relax, catch up on some more books, mentally prepare myself for my first semester of grad classes, and do some planning!  I should probably throw in the whole "not spending anymore money" part.

I'm excited for this upcoming school year.  I'm doing some new things in my classroom.  The few major ones are:

1. Math Tubs - students go grab one of the tubs after completing their independent work and working with a partner.
2. Close Reads - whole group close reads with my kinders.  I'm using Tara West's (Little Minds at Work) close read bundle.  I have put together a binder for her fairy tale close reads already because this year we are starting with retelling so I am doing the classic Gingerbread Boy, 3 Little Bigs, Goldilocks, etc. She has a bundle for that!  :)
3. A designated science/social studies time- 3 days a week in the afternoon for about 20 mins.  Before we tried to squeeze stuff in on occasion and mostly teach it through read alouds.  This year my grade level partner and I are going to do more! 

I'm feeling pretty great right now.  I had a nice and rejuvenating summer.  I needed it badly.  I was talking with a few people at the school yesterday and we all said we are just ready to see the kids again.  :)

I have also been so excited lately being a part of the Kinder Tribe and being an admin for the Facebook group and collaborative blog.  I've been introduced to lots of awesome people!  I now have almost 100 followers on Bloglovin.  A few weeks ago I had 11.  Talk about being shocked!  You all are awesome!

I hope everyone is enjoying their break, whether you have a few days left (that must be painful and somewhat hot to go back this soon!) or whether you have a month left.  Just remember to take things in stride.  Go at your own pace.  If you need another week or so to relax before getting in the school mode, so be it.  If you are like me and were just itching to get out of the house and get things done, then so be it.  I've been thinking a lot lately (and seeing a lot in the blogging community) about how we need to not lose ourself in everything. Continue making time for you and finding something to relieve the soon to be busy and stress that is looming ahead. 

Go do something fun with the little summer we have left!  Have a great weekend everyone!

Blog posts coming up:
Goals for the school year
Classroom tour
How to get your kindergarteners to be independent!

Wednesday, July 22, 2015

About This Kinder Teacher Linky!

Hey!  Today's linky is all about YOU.  Go link up at Kinder Tribe to get the image and link your blog post up!

I'm Katie, I'm the blogger and TPT author of Miss Kate's Desk.  I am one of the administrators of Kinder Tribe collaborative blog.  I've been in kindergarten for going on 4 years now (and I never want to leave!).  Here's a little about me.

Amanda from Polka Dots & Pals made this for me a month ago.  It's me exactly!  I have a scarf on and my iced coffee.  Also my favorite color is teal and I have on earrings (I feel naked without earrings!)  We are giving away a pal on the Kinder Tribe blog.  Go check it out yesterday's post with the giveaways!

My can't live withouts are a MUST. I wish on the school supply list I could only ask for Ticonderoga pencils, but it's a district list.  :)  I LOVE Pete the Cat.  I have two giant Petes in my room.  

I teach in the district I went to from K-12th.  I didn't apply for anywhere else and I was crossing my fingers for K.  This year will be year #4 for me.  Kindergarten has always been my ideal grade.  I just love the hilarity of it, the growth, the shaping of little people, the love for school, showing them my love of reading, being silly and they get me, and the fact that I don't have to teach multiplying and dividing fractions (can I get an amen?!?).

The thing that makes me cringe is the phrase..."Well my kindergarteners can't do _____".  A lot come in without hardly any learning/academic experience but weighing them down with "you can'ts" won't solve the problem.

I think collaboration is important.  I'm blessed to be in a K-2nd grade hallway that works well together.  I also love the teacher blogger, TPT, and Instagram community because they give you a kind of support that is different from talking about specific situations and kids at your school.  It's more of a "Look what I tried and it worked..." , or "Oh yes I have that much laminate to cut out too!"

I'm so excited to be a part of this Kinder Tribe and grow and learn together!

Tuesday, July 21, 2015

Kinder Tribe Collaborative Blog Launch!!! #kindertribe

The Kinder Tribe blog launches today!  I am one of the administrators of the collaborative blog!  Go check it out right now at  Seriously, tons of giveaways!

We have some great giveaways to check out so head over to the blog!  Click the image below to go to the blog post!

Melonheadz clipart, TPT gift card, a pal from Polka Dots & Pals, & resources from some awesome TPTers. Go enter to win now!

If you are a kindergarten teacher we want you to be a part of the Kinder Tribe.  Search for us on Facebook and join our Facebook group.  We share advice, giveaways, things about the blog, support, and more.  We will have original blog posts from the admins, What Worked Well Wednesdays (a linky), and Feature Fridays (featuring other Kinder Tribe teachers).  This blog is to connect and learn new ideas from other K teachers. 

When using social media, use this hashtag:

Also here is my short bio from the blog under Meet the Teachers:

I really hope you guys find Kinder Tribe on Facebook and visit our new blog that launched today.  We are excited to share with you blog posts, What Worked Well Wednesdays, and Feature Fridays.  

I did not go to Vegas this year (next year my friends!) but a big takeaway that people were talking about was connecting and sharing with each other.  That together we are better (shoutout Lucky Little Learners and Schroeder Shenanigans in 2nd).  If you are not a kindergarten teacher, I've been seeing other tribes pop up.  Use your grade level hashtag and go find your tribe!

Friday, July 17, 2015

New Stuff!

Flash back to the month of May.  I remember telling my awesome grade level teaching partner aka TBFF (teacher best friend forever) that I was not going to spend that much money this summer since I wasn't updating my theme.  I knew I was buying a cubby shelf and trays for it and other than that, I didn't plan on spending a lot.  Now, I've kept a few receipts because at my school we can turn in $150 worth teach year.  I know I've met that.  Haha.

So, here I am now when I think back to that statement I made to Bobbie.

Target Dollar Spot and Zulily are my weakness.  Enough said.

So today I want to show you some things I purchased this summer that I am super excited about and I'll tell ya what I'm using them for.

Boogie Boards
I LOVE whiteboards.  Don't get me wrong.  I have been seeing on other blogger's blogs how cool these ewriters are.

You use a stylus (it attaches to that black thing at the top) to write on the black board.  

When you are finished all you have to do is push the white circle at the top and the writing is gone!  There's no charger, no battery.  It's awesome.  It is also supposed to be scratch resistant.  I'm sure my five and six year olds will test that.

Sam's metal organization cart (aka IKEA knock off)

My mom picked this up for me all excited because she thought they were cool.  I found a spot to put it in my classroom next to my tiny desk and I'm excited for a little bit more storage space.

Cubby Shelf

I posted this before this summer, but I'm so excited to get it out of the box and assemble...well, not so much the assembling part.  

I bought similar tubs from Lakeshore.  They are having a back to school sale and the tubs were pretty reasonable.  

This cubby shelf will house my math tubs.  This is something new I'm finally trying this year.  Students will work independently or with a partner when they finish their math assignment until math is over.  I don't know about you, but some of our math lessons are pretty short and the assignments do not take very long.  So this gives them more practice plus me time to work with struggling students for math in a small group.  Before I'd pop something on the smartboard for them to do but still wasn't totally freed up to work with math groups.

I made little labels and I can't wait.  (Math Tub Labels coming soon to my TPT store)


Male Kindergarten Teacher posted on his Instagram a couple of days ago about some headphones that came in that are made for younger students.  They are called Kidz Gear Headphones.  Mine should be arriving today.  There are lots of bright colors to choose from. I ordered 4 blue ones for my Listening to Reading station.

I have bought cheap Walmart headphones for under $10.  I've even bought some close to $20 or slightly more from there or Target and they never last more than about a year.  The sound either goes out in the headphones or they break.  I've also had the problem with some of my very small kindergarteners having them slide so much even being adjusted.  I've read lots of reviews and decided to give them a try!

These are the 3 bigger purchases that I'm excited for this school year!  Sorry if I just made you want to spend money.  ;)

Monday, July 13, 2015

Weekly Summer Linky: Best Trip of My Life

Today I'm linking up with I Heart Grade 3 for the Weekly Summer Link Up.  This week's topic...

Oh man!  This one is a tricky one for me because I have been on 4 amazing trips to 7 countries.  Here's the 4 trips I attended with MSSU's Teacher Education Department as either a student or alumni. In China and England we were able to do observations at elementary schools.  In Belize I student taught in a kindergarten aged class for a month.

May 2010: China! - Beijing, Xi'an, Shanghai
May 2011: Europe! - Southampton (England), London, Paris, Barcelona
October 2011: Belize- San Ignacio - did 1 month of my student teaching there
June 2013: Europe again...Italy & Germany - Rome, Florence, Venice, and Munich

It is really hard to just choose one of these trips to show you.  I'll show you my latest trip I did a couple of years ago to Italy and Germany.  I love pictures, so I'll post some below from each city.


Some of these are Instgram photos with filters.  Venice was beautiful but surprisingly not a whole lot to do.

Inside the Colosseum. We arrived right at the opening and had a pass so that's why it's not full of tourists.  :)  It was impressive, gave me goosebumps.

Ponte Vecchio.

Above Florence.  We got this view when we first arrived.

The Forum in Rome.

You know what this is.  :)  Haha.  

The food.  My goodness.  It...was..AMAZING.  Each meal I thought was the best.  The pasta, the pizza, the wine.  Sigh...

There was a thunderstorm when we arrived at Pompeii.  The "streets" are all stone...we had came from Positano and the beach so we were in flip flops. It's no wonder that someone didn't break an ankle.  I slid around everywhere.  It made it memorable though.

In Rome at St. Peter's Basilica a few of us were waiting to go down to the crypts but they closed it for a mass.  So we waited, and waited.  Little did we know that it was worth it because the POPE came out and did a mass.  Seriously!  There he is!  The day before we had arrived in time to see him speak at his window at the Vatican.

Sienna, Italy.  We took a few little day trips here and there to Sienna, Pompeii, Positano, and more.

The Spanish Steps in Rome.  It was packed!

We had a lovely meal at a winery for about 20 euros.  It came with TONS of wine and a 5 or so course meal. It was the absolute best lasagna ever.  It had truffle oil on the top.  

Why hello Munich.  Munich was the only city we went to in Germany and only spent a few days there.

The glockenspiel in Munich.  It chimes and is like a cuckoo clock.  It's really neat.

We took a train to nearby Dachau.  It was a concentration camp in WW2.  When we got off the train an old lady told us which bus to take to Dachau.  We waited, waited, and waited some more.  We finally realized she told us the wrong bus #.  I'm pretty sure she did it on purpose.  They're not too proud of that time in German history and a man we talked to later on in Munich said so many still deny it in ways...that they didn't know what was happening.  
I have never in my life been in a place that has given me more shivers.  

It was also one of the quietest places that wasn't "nature" that I've been to. Mostly everyone walking around taking it all in somberly.

Our last day we went to Neuschwanstein Castle.  Ludwig II had this castle built.  It's nestled high up and quite the trek to walk up to it.  It was gorgeous inside.  He was obsessed with fairy tales and Wagner's operas.  Disney used it as inspiration for Sleeping Beauty's castle.

My pictures weren't that great.  It was kind of overcast that day.

The picture looks amazing but being there in real life was one of those mouth hanging open moments.  This was from inside the castle...a little balcony area.  Look at those gorgeous mountains.

Well, I overloaded you with pictures.  There could have been many more.  ;)  

I have loved having the opportunity to travel so much in college and as an alumni.  One professor who I went on this trip and another with recently retired but plans to still take alumni and friends on more trips when she can.  She's planning on Greece possibly for 2017!  Um..yes!

Monday, July 6, 2015

Weekly Summer Link-Up - 5 Years Ago

Hello!  I hope everyone had a fantastic 4th!  This week's link-up with I Heart Grade 3 is about where you were five years ago.

5 years ago was 2010 and I was 21 years old.  I was an Elementary/Early Childhood major at Missouri Southern State University.  I took my first international trip with the education department, spent tons of time with my friends, went to class, and worked at an after school program at a local elementary school through the Y.

College: 5 years ago I had one more year left of college.  Here's me doing a selfie in the teacher education work room (die cuts in the background).  Come to think of it, I took a lot of selfies when I was younger.

We did a lot of projects and lessons.  Here's a history trunk we had to do.  I did civil rights and found lots of cool things at flea markets including some great LIFE magazines.  My dad and I stained that trunk.  No clue where it is now.  :/

Down Time:  I loved to go visit my friends at their schools (Mizzou and Missouri State).  I also spent lots of evenings and weekends at my brother's baseball games.  

At Mizzou in front of the columns. 

I loved sitting on the hill over the ball field at the old high school watching JHS play.  Unfortunately a year later on May 22, 2011 we had an EF-5 tornado level the middle of our town from one end to the other (5 or 6 miles I believe) and the high school was smack in the middle of town.  The new field that opened last year is beautiful but I miss that hill.

China!: In May 2010 I went to China with a group from the ed dept at Southern.  We went to Beijing, Xi'an, and Shanghai for 11 days.  It was amazing.  I don't know why I signed up.  I do know that I thought I'd never get the opportunity to go there again and to seize it.  

We visited some schools in Shanghai!  This was in an elementary school.  Their gov't party lady who led a gov't club at that school didn't leave our sides.  Haha! Desks, work books, and reciting.

The Great Wall!  Whew, climbing that thing in 85 degree weather packed with people was exhausting.  The steps are very uneven and different sizes so that made it tricky as well.

Lastly, here I am at the Temple of Heaven in Beijing before we went on to Xi'an.  I had to wear my Packers shirt and do the pose that EVERYONE does in China.

I didn't have a classroom 5 years ago being only 21 and not finished with school.  I enjoyed that year.  It was the start of lots of great things.  

Now onto my 4th year of teaching!

Wednesday, July 1, 2015

Teaching With Intention Book Study Chapter 5

Hello!  This week's "Teaching With Intention" book study focuses on Chapter 5- Swimming with Sharks.

This chapter is all about a lesson in its entirety focusing on information about sharks through reading texts.  The students make connections using old and new knowledge, also throwing in the mix...misconceptions.

I want to start off with this quote straight from the book:
"Once we define our beliefs, align our practices, and know our children & curriculum well, we can create purposeful lessons anytime..."

I loved her questions to ask yourself when you analyze your lessons that are on page 69.

Debbie Miller went into a classroom in Denver and did a 2 day lesson with students about sharks.  She learned they had already done some previous lessons on sharks.  She explained how we have "files" in our brain that help us remember important things.  We make connections between things we already knew and our new learning.  The connections help us understand what we learned. One clever student described these files almost like a computer.

Debbie Miller set this up in 3 parts:
*materials- sticky notes, black pens, chart paper, and a variety of books on the topic you are teaching
*organizing the file

She had to explain to students about the "file" in your brain about sharks.  She made a file with poster board and drew a line in half (like the file is laying open) and put "Schema"-what we think we know at the top and New Learning at the bottom.  Then she had a little square in the bottom right corner for misconceptions.  She had the students share out what they already know about sharks and they put those on sticky notes on the file.  She then started reading from a shark book and shared how to model "New Learning" and how to write that short and sweet on a sticky.  She then called on students to share their new learning.  Lastly, she had them work in partners to read a shark book (a few pages) and share with each other their learning.

My Connections:
I have done a similar lesson in the past, but with penguins.  I like her idea of explaining it all like a file and having that visual.  I do use sticky notes A LOT.  So I was excited to see that.  I also gave them time to go through penguin books with a partner.  We did a lapbook project to go along with it.  I'm excited this year to explain schema and making connections more.  I'd like to try the file visual too!  The key is modeling how to think about old knowledge and the connections to the new knowledge.  Misconceptions are also a biggie for my group...we are 5 years old and have just a few misconceptions about things.  ;)

This was one of my kiddos who was so excited to make his interactive lapbook and that was what he said right before I took the picture.  That was the day that I realized I needed to do many more similar lessons/projects.  We get so busy doing the little assessments and making sure we are on track with district pacing guides that sometimes we forget to make it FUN!  I found my kids were so much more engaged when it was hands on (duh!) and they got to take charge of their learning and somewhat lead where we were going with our research. You can click the picture to see it in my store.

I'm excited to do more lessons like Debbie!