Tuesday, August 7, 2012

August Currently, Monster Helpers and Such!

Okay, I am back from slave labor in Pittsburgh. The last two days were actually pretty awesome. My mom told my gram that I needed a break (I HAD hoped to see some friends while I was there, however, I didnt get a chance, that stinks because we dont go up that often) so on Friday I went to her house (yes, still driving across the city from my dog sitting at my sister's) and helped her move some stuff in her garage, we had lunch (Pittsburgh Italian Hoagie!), and then the girls and I went to play mini golf! I won! Woo! We had ice cream and it was fantastic! We then went back over to my sister's house and walked to the church fair. Catholic churches in Pittsburgh all have big fairs (well a lot of them do) I got some super cute things for my teacher BFF and for me. :) The girls and I got dinner (hotdog/fries for them, stuffed cabbage and halushki for me!) we shared a funnel cake, played some bingo and went on a scary ferris wheel (TWICE!) We got to sit and listen to a pretty fun cover band (www.randomplay.info)

Saturday I went to my friend Mindy's bridal shower, and then her bachelorette party! Super fun times!

Now Im back home - after surviving driving home with a migraine!

Here is the August Currently from Oh Boy 4th Grade!

Yes, I am terrified of flying. Always have been. I place the blame on the first time I flew, with just my sister (I was 6, she was 9) down to Florida... one of us had the flu going down, the other had it coming back. I now get medicated to fly. Its super great. We are leaving Thursday for Florida, staying in St. Pete for a few days and then heading on our cruise to the eastern caribbean. 

Next, I have something Ive been working on... it started as monster stuff for me, since I am doing a monster theme this year, to something that I may put on TPT... so here it is: Monster Helpers

Its a classroom helpers bulletin board kit. I also made a name tag/classroom sign kit and a bulletin board (welcome) kit.

Well, just let me know what you think! Its really the first thing I have made!

Have a great night - I hope to be on here before we leave, but who knows! :) Prayers for a safe trip would be great!

<3Alison :)

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Adventures in cleaning & teaching resolutions

So I am exhausted.

Ive been cleaning the stuff in my grandmas basement for almost 16 hours now (over two days, Im not that awesome...) Im fighting the water that keeps coming in the basement as well as the dust/dirt/mold/mouse presents that I am finding in the boxes/bags.

Again, these are all of the things that were in my old house (that before it was foreclosed, no one really lived in for a few months) that got moved to my mom's old-new house in 2004 and sat in the basement, and now in the basement of my grams, as of June.

(*before I began today, I had to wrangle my grandmas fat cat - that we never see, so my husband doesnt think she is real - into a carrier to go to the groomers. This cat is huge. She is mean to anyone who is not my gram... it was real fun ;) )

So, I believe I was destined to be a teacher. First, there are TONS of books. TONS. All kinds, many brought back happy memories from being a kid. Some made me mad because they're in pretty bad shape. THIS is due to my older sister moving the boxes of books to our carport at the house we grew up in, when she moved into the basement. This was when I was in college... yeah, the carport, not safe from elements or animals.

Next, I have TONS of stuffed animals. All need washed, some need surgery. Some got the mouse treatment... ugh. There are a TON of teddy bears, my sorority's local mascot is the teddy bear (our national is the sphinx, there arent many cute sphinx things out there!). I got millions in college. I may donate some of them back to the house.

I went through a lot of clothes (oh the 90s and early 2000s...) most are being donated, however, sorority shirts, musical shirts etc... keeping - as well as the AMAZING PLAID PANTS I found... I hope they fit!

I also have knick-nacks, TONS of pictures, journals, awards (yeah, cheerleading & debate trophies!)

I found stuff from MIDDLE SCHOOL, as well as HS and college. I found a TON of neat things for my class (MAGNETS! WOOHOO) and some teaching books I forgot I had. I found things from my first "real" (non-prek) teaching job at an inner city charter school... woah. (like a gazillion referrals!)

However, today was not all fun and games. Yesterday I had my mom with me, it was nice to talk to her and have her there to help me. Today, I was all alone. Well, I found a lot of things that brought back memories. For those of you who dont know, I lost my dad suddenly in 2007. That was my second year in Virginia. My dad had trouble with drugs/alcohol most of his life. I am not embarrassed to say this, I let people know because if I share my story, I may help someone. When my dad died, he was trying to get himself back on track. He lived with a bad room mate who didnt notice my dad was really sick. He had pneumonia, he went into a coma and never came out. I still deal with this each day, and of course, today I was finding a lot of things from when I was little, as well as things of my dads. I also found my sister's old journal (haha, had to read!) and she had an entry from when my dad's mom passed away in 1993 and she went into detail if how hard I took it... a lot of emotions. I really needed my husband!

Well, I needed to get that out. I was so tired that I was bad step-mom and took the kids to McDonalds. We never do that, so it was okay! We did go night swimming in my sister's pool, after chasing the dog and the cat who got out!

Oh yes, and the dog update... she has not peed (as far as I know, but who knows really?) however, she has thoroughly chewed up one of my youngest's new flip flops and was starting on the second. Good thing they were cheap...  She also is very very jumpy. Otherwise, she has been good, a nice cuddle buddy in the bed at night, however, a bit of a bed hog!

NOW, for my teaching resolutions:

2012-13 Resolutions:
  • Be more organized, get books organized so kids can use them easier.
  • Read more stories and sing more songs!
  • Put in time at work when I am there in the morning, so I dont have to do anything at home. I am lucky to get out on time, only because I pick up my kid!
  • Collaborate more! We all kinda did our own thing this past year, since we were all in the same boat in a new school... 
  • Start simple reading groups early!
  • Create more "centers" for the kids to do during word work
  • STICK TO MY SCHEDULE! :) Im so bad at this!
Im sure there are more things I want to do... but they're not coming to my brain right now. Brain is tired. 

Love to you all,
Alison :)

Monday, July 30, 2012

Hooray for Gotham City (erm, Pittsburgh...) & my first TpT thing?

So, I am in Pittsburgh right now at my sister's house with my kids. My sister and her family are away in Michigan. So, my chore when I got here today (after stopping at my mom's on the other side of town, her new house is great!) was to go to the kennel and pick up their dog. This dog is a puppy. She is crazy. She's either a year, or almost a year, but its like she's 6 months. She LOVES to pee. She peed all over the kennel floor. She peed all over the house. She DID NOT (as far as I know) pee in my car, that would not be a good thing for her. I also encountered a dead gecko. This made me sad, my oldest had to dig it out of the cage. I felt bad for the gecko, however, my sister said he was looking bad when they left.

Okay, so, last night I had begun to work on a thing for TpT, actually, something for my classroom that I believe could also be good for others... so last night I couldnt sleep, totally wanted to work on it. Driving 5 hours in the car? Wanted to work on it. Got to my sisters? Worked on it. And two more things... and I want to keep making things... but I am getting tired...

I need a mouse. I am using my teacher laptop from school, since its stuff for school. For a while I was going back and forth between the school laptop and my personal laptop, which is a net book.... huge size difference!

So, those of you who sell things on TpT, how do you make the cute little things that show a couple of pages and the title page?

So, this week in Pittsburgh will be eventful? I am cleaning out my grandma's basement which is full of my stuff that was in my childhood home basement & room (then that got foreclosed) which was in my mom's old house... now in my grandma's... I went down for a minute and immediately found a few things I want to use in my classroom... eek. (like my old cheerleading megaphone..) I also get to go to a bridal shower and bachelorette party, and keep this dog from peeing all over...

Ok, so the Gotham City reference in the title, Pittsburgh was the main city in the new Batman move. Also, the town I grew up in is home to the Abby Lee Dance Company (of Dance Moms fame) and it happens to be superclose to my mom's house... and a lot of my friends, and my sister took dance there. My mom didnt put me in dance for many reasons. However, I did minor in it in college!

<3Alison (who is rambling because she is T I R E D, but missing her husband)

Saturday, July 28, 2012

Tell Me More! Linky...

Linking up with Step into 2nd Grade with Mrs. Lemons, and taking a page from Mrs. Stanford's Class... here is my "Tell Me More, ABC's of Me!"

The ABCs of me:
Dont midn the mess in the background!

A- Age: 31, I look anywhere from 18-24 from what I am told. My husband and I get asked if we are the siblings of our kids!

B-Bed size: Queen

C-Chore you hate: Hmm, kids do a lot, but I really dislike moving all of the furniture and sweeping/swiffering/mopping... and that's why I dont do it often!
D-Dogs:  Yay doggies!
This is my first doggy love, Sam. He is my mom's dog. He is a Lhasa-Poo and will be 12 in August!

This is my girl Sparky! I adopted her into my heart when I met Christopher (she is his dog.) She is a 10 year old Boston Terrier/Beagle. She has SO much dog-inality! This is her viciously attaking her s'mores toy!

This is Shirley Girl. She is my neighbor's dog, I am dog sitting her right now. Man I love her! She's an outside dog, and a chunky girl, but she is so wonderful!

E-Essential to start your day: Coffee. I love coffee. Gotta have it. My fifth graders used to "Move my clip" to red if I didnt have it.

F-Favorite color: Yellow! It's sunny and happy!

G-Gold or silver: White gold, which made me just check my ring finger, and I realized my wedding ring is still upstairs from when I was rolling cheese balls! Be right back! Ok, got it!

H-Height: 5'5"

I-Instruments you play: the trombone (since 4th grade) and I sing!

J-Job title: Kindergarten Teacher!"

K-kids: Currently two fantastic step-daughters (14 &15) and hopefully (at least) one more!
Chris and the girls at a Potomac Nationals Game!
(yes, we are also Orioles fans)

L-Live: Northern Virginia, however, we have moved to a more rural part (but still about 30 miles from DC)

M-My mom's name: Holly!

Me and my mom at my co-worker/Partner-In-Crime's wedding!

N- Nicknames: Ali, Ali Rae, A-Rae, Mrs. K, Mrs. Bathroom...
O-Overnight hospital stay: April 2010 with my youngest when she broke her arm when we were visiting my family in Pittsburgh... about 3 days since she had to have surgery on her elbow and a pin put in. AND... my husband was in Virginia at the time!
P-Pet peeves: Table manners, they were drilled into me as a kid! Oh, and people making noise when they eat. I know you cant help crunching when its a crunchy food, but ughhhhhh!
Q-Quote from a movie: From the Hangover... there are way more than this. My "Wolfpack" at work is fabulous, and there are many movie quotes that float around!

"Hello... how bout that ride in? I guess thats why they call it Sin City haha. You guys might not know this but I consider myself a bit of a loner. I tend to think of myself as a one man wolf pack. But when my sister brought Doug home, I knew he was one of my own. And my wolf pack, it grew by one. So there... there was two of us in the wolf pack. I was alone first in the pack and Doug joined in later. And six months ago, when Doug introduced me to you guys I thought "wait a second, could it be?" And now I know for sure, I just added two more guys to my wolf pack. Four of us wolves, running around the desert together in Las Vegas..."
R-Right/lefty: Righy!

S- Siblings: Older sister, she is a year younger than my husband!
T-Time you wake up: I'd like to say 5, or even 6 (because it should be then...) but toward the end of the school year, it becomes 6:30 or "however late I can wake up, look presentable and get the youngest to the bus, and me to work on time"
U-Underwear: "What are you eating under there?"  "Under where?" hahahaha!
V-Veggies you dislike: I like them all! I still have some trouble with some artichokes from when I got sick as a kid...
W-What makes you run late: Sleeping. :)
X-X-rays you've had: chest, knee and teeth!

Y-Yummy food you make: I love to cook... here are some highlights...(I also have a cooking blog, however, I took some time off! Kitchin's Kitchen)

Home made wheat bread with PB&J       Home made tortillas & enchilada sauce to make chicken enchiladas!


Towel Elephant from the a cruise...

Not one of the mentioned animals, but it is a baby deer in my back yard!

Alpacas from the zoo, however, we have a ton around us on farms!

Just a few more pictures I had that I wanted to share, they tell a lot about me!

Christopher and I took a cruise for our honeymoon and we were hooked! We will be taking our FOURTH cruise this year (one a year!) We have sailed exclusively on the Freedom of the Seas (RCCL) and have done Eastern Caribbean, Western Caribbean, Eastern Caribbean that got re-routed to a western itinerary due to a tropical storm... and this year an Eastern Caribbean with the kids (for the first time!) We sailed without the kids before because we never had alone time, since I married into having kids!

This was at Baltimore ComiCon last year, yes, we are nerds. This is a guy who was dressed (very well) as Martian Man Hunter, one of my favorite DC characters.

This is me trying a durian fruit. Do NOT listen when people say they're delicious. Those people like buying very expensive prickly things that smell and taste like rotting dirty socks covered in old vomit. A friend bought one to try, so of couse, I tried it. Ick.

We love baseball. We cheer for the Os (this is at Oriole Park at Camden Yards) and for the Potomac Nationals (and the Washington Nationals when they're not playing the Os.) I AM a Pittsburgh girl, so I should cheer for the Pirates, but Chris got me into baseball and the Os! (BUT I am a STEELER FAN)

Me and Cookie Monster at the Po-Nats game
I love mascots. I am a little scared of characters with human faces, but most fuzzy cute mascots get my love! I cant find a picture of my favorite, Uncle Slam, the Po-Nats mascot!

Okay, I think Im done sharing! Have a happy night!!!!
Alison :)

Planning.. Olympics.. Magnets..

Oh goodness... Ive been planning again.

This time I have modified my lesson plan format, again, similar to my fifth grade format. (and I am SURE I'll ditch it in the middle of the year...) For those who may have forgot, I DID complete an entire SEMESTER of social studies plans for my team, and "almost" the same for science. I am to the end of Dec. with the science plans. Why? Magnets.

Magnets... nothing too hard... however, I WANT more resources for teaching magnets! What I have is either too boring or too advanced... I need magnet stuff! I have my eye on a set of AIMS books, its only $50, but we are broke right now. I asked the principal if she has any money in the budget for them, we will see.

And, I am also watching the olympics. Swimming and mens gymnastics. I LOVE hearing our anthem. Another fun fact? I am an anthem singer. I mainly sing for the Potomac Nationals ( minor league Washington Nationals team ) but Ive done it in other places too. The gymnastics makes me think of a kid I used to teach (well, I taught him Science, he was in my friend's class for the rest of the day) and I also worked with his mom. He is an amazing gymnast. I know I will see him there some day!

Well, Im going to go back to my boring evening, husband is out, teens are doing what they do best which is who knows - probably video games, reading comics or drawing... I have wonderful kids who DO NOT CARE ABOUT SOCIAL NETWORKING - or even email! I am SO lucky!

Please, if anyone out there in blog-land has any good ideas for magnets, let me know!

Have a fantastic night!
Alison :)

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Sharing is caring! (writing journal freebie!)

So, most bloggers I follow often share things that they have made, I have not yet done this. Why? Well, I have tons of things I have made, however, I would say that I am lazy, or I am on the wrong computer to share. Well, today folks, I am sharing!

Now, it has taken me a bit to figure this one out, I am sharing the first quarter Daily 5 journal that I made. I made these because I was tired of my students coming to me during the writing portion of Daily 5 and saying "I dont know what to write about!" or "I dont want to write about that..." So I made a journal with basically a prompt a day for the nine weeks. I am not sure if I will use it and say which they need to do or give them a choice (1, 2, or 3) or let them choose.

I tailored the prompts, in a way, to our curriculum. I also have squiggles in there (which I will probably draw in later, I did computer versions for this.) If you have never done a squiggle, its great! The kids use the squiggle to draw a picture of whatever they want, and then they write about their creation!

A word about the pages, these all have basically a half page of lines, however, I will probably add an entire lined page for when I print them, so they will have a page and a half. However, I may add the full lined pages in the middle, so they arent so intimidated in the beginning of the year.


I also have fifth grade prompts, so if anyone wants something for upper elementary, let me know!

I have three more of these, if anyone wants to see them!

Those of you on TPT, is this something that could be sold? Im not fantastic at making things, no flashy graphics etc, but I have tons of ideas! I probably would have to purchase graphics if I want to do more...

Next thing coming - my STAR portfolio program that I never got to do with my kids in 5th. It was going to be part of my research, but it just didnt work out.

Monday, July 23, 2012


Noooo! I just lost an entire post! Ugh, okay.

Well, what I WAS saying before I was so rudely intterupted by the internet crashing...

I am very fortunate to work with (and by work with I dont just mean my school, but the entire county I teach in - and yes, for northerners like myself, the schools in the south are run by county, not by district)  One of those teachers has her own blog, and does some amazing things! I have been lucky enough to go to her Make&Take workshops!

Go visit her blog, From Kindergarten with Love! She has one post, "Shake Rattle and Read" where you use a very awesome ball bowl and foam cubes (the same foam cubes that Miss Kindergarten posted about here.) However, I only have the one ball bowl that I got at the Make&Take and it is MINE! :) In the game you make CVC words, real and nonsense. However, my brain began to work just now and you can probably add in blends on a cube, put in more letters and do a "boggle" game (for bigger kids?) and I bet even putting in numbers and operation symbols... woah, summer brain is working!

I couldnt find others, so I did the next best thing, I went to Target. My husband says that I have a problem with Target. (Have you seen the cartoon where the lady goes in for one thing, and then the store says "Look into my eye..." and then she walks out with a cart full? Thats me.) In the dollar spot (oh back to school dollar spot, how I love thee, even if then you're really the $2.50 spot) I found these "snack containers" they're square and come with cute colored lids. I bought six, enough for a center. The cubes fit in well and you can shake it and not even have to remove the lid!

Here are some pictures of the containers...

Now, go, visit Kelly's blog and make this AWESOME game!

On another note, some of you know that in my former life I was a fifth grade teacher, and just as I was getting to the "automatic pilot" mode in fifth (goodness I was amazing... lol...) I decided to switch schools. The standardized testing was just getting, well, annoying. My kids always did well, however, getting them there was taking more and more out of me and it wasnt fair to my family. I had the chance to work at a brand new school (I was at one of the oldest!) and teach Kindergarten, so I took it! (It didnt hurt that my principal, who is amazing... was retiring!) Well, on my website, that I am working on conveting totally over to K, yeah, after a year, has some resources that I used in 5th, as well as some K stuff. If you feel like visiting there! Mrs. Kitchin's Kindergarten is my site, and I figure Ill share 5th grade stuff here as well.

Have a super summer day!! Im off to buy bathing suits for me and my teenage step-daughters! ACK!

Sunday, July 22, 2012

Newbie Blog Hop :)

Newbie blog hop from http://gr3istheplace4me.blogspot.com/

1.  what state you are in: 
A state of confusion? No, really Virginia, which is interesting because I almost put "Northern VA", which if you're from/have lived in VA, you know that NVA is a whole other animal...

    2.  your current teaching position
KINDERGARTEN! Woohoo! I am going into the second year at a brand new school (well, now a year old...) I was at one of the oldest schools in the area, teaching 5th, til last year!

    3.  your teaching experience
Wow, ok... through student teaching and various advising/coaching positions, I have worked with kids from birth-> college... I have TAUGHT (including student teaching...) Pre-K K, 1 (student teaching) 2, 4, 5, 6 (student teaching)
I taught Pre-K in Pittsburgh, and 2nd in inner city Pittsburgh (where I am from,) I then moved to Northern VA, and taught in a rural school for 5 years (1 year K/4 and 4 in 5th). I am now in a more suburban school teaching K.

    4.  when you started blogging
Ehrm, well I had a livejournal in college... now I have a few blogs, one for food, one for my family, one for random thoughts and this one. How often do I update? Well, not often for the other three.

    5.  share a blogging tip / blogging resource
I really dont have one :) Reading blogs makes me want to blog!

Saturday, July 21, 2012

Hoping to do this right... CURRENTLY!

So, I have been looking through teaching blogs, and you know how that goes, one links to another, and to another... its an endless cycle. I think I have now followed about 5 new blogs tonight alone!

However, many have been posting this "Currently" thing, well, I tracked it down to an awesome blog (of someone who I believe would fit right in with me and my friends) Oh Boy 4th Grade

Let's hope I am doing this right:

Im not terribly interesting, however, Ive had a VERY relaxing summer for once!


Friday, July 20, 2012

Summa time!

Yes, teachers get the summer off... however, what most people do not know, we have a LOT to do over the summer!

So far I have completed the first two nine weeks of science and social studies plans! I am SO excited about these because I think I have made them super, duper, FUN! I also have made a science notebook for the kids to use in conjunction with the science plans. I was inspired by the show "Sid the Science Kid" that we watched in school last year. There are more hands on activities and more time to sit and process the information that they're learning!

I am hoping to have a fantastic year, I am going to keep planning things and keep you informed!

-Alison :)

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Welcome to Kindergarten!

Welcome to my little corner of the kindergarten blog world! I will admit, I LOVE the idea of blogging. I have four blogs. Do I update them often? No. Bad, bad, bad blogger. However, I do at times get the itch to blog and then I share with the world.

I was inspired to create a kindergarten blog today at a training.I am hoping to be able to share some great ideas, and strike up some conversation about K.

About me, I have been teaching for eight years. Through my pre-teaching work and teaching - I have worked with kids from birth through college. In the elementary world, I have taught in all grade levels, besides third! After moving to Virginia six years ago, I have taught half-day kindergarten, and then four years of fifth grade. I was getting REALLY good at fifth grade! However, I was itching for a new adventure, so I moved to a brand new school and into full day kindergarten! I did get to move with my partner in crime, and teaching friend - so that transition was easy!

All day kindergarten is its own beast! Our day is packed full of learning and fun... this is what we are doing this year:

8:50-9:15 Morning Routines, announcements and Plus-5 Fitness
9:15-9:30 Morning Meeting (a la "Responsive Classroom")
9:30-11:00 Centers/Daily 5 (what ever you want to call it, its modified!) and Reading Groups
     -I used to TRY to fit in each reading group, each day. I had five. It was crazy. I now pull 3 each day. In DRA Land, I have a group of 4's that I see each day, then groups of 6's, 8's, and two groups of 12's. I see the 6's and a group of 12's two days, and then switch. On Fridays we are all off so we can do spelling tests. I feel my kids are doing great, our end of year target is a 4, our on grade level range is 4-8!

11:00-12:00 Writing, and sometimes we throw in some recess.
12:00-1:30 Lunch / Specials
1:30-2:45 Science/Social Studies/Math
2:45-3:20 Recess / Snack
3:30 HOME!

Its a long day! Poor kinders! But, my class is rocking it out this year!

I hope as I get more comfortable teaching K, I will have more cool things to post about! I had a TON of fifth grade stuff! Haha!

<3 Alison