Back to School Sale {Aug 1 & 2}!

Save up to 25% on everything in my TPT store August 1 & 2!  This is a great time to save on some of the more expensive products, such as student portfolios and editable "I can" statements.  Be sure to add the promo code BTS2017.


CCSS Kindergarten Data Tracking Forms {FREE}

After tracking all of the common core data last year, I decided to make my life easier THIS school year.  I whipped up data tracking forms for all of the ELA and Math standards that contain room for three terms worth of data per standard/strand.

Click here to download this packet for FREE!

I used forms last year that someone else made and they were very cute, but the lack of lines to separate terms nearly drove me batty.  So for the sake of my eyeballs, sanity, and keeping an entire school year worth of information on one page, here's my solution.  I hope it helps you, too.

• CCSS kindergarten data tracking forms
• Covers ELA and Math
• 3 terms / grading periods per standard
• Editable name fields
• Section / strand dividers included

Here's how I go about editing the names.  I do it this way because I only want to type the names ONCE!  After I type them one time, I highlight, copy, and paste my way through the remainder of the document.

Step 1:
Starting with student #1 on your roster, begin typing names.  Simply click the word "name" that I provided as a placeholder and start typing.

Step 2:
Highlight the name fields.  You now either A) right click your mouse to find the copy feature or B) press Ctrl C on your keyboard.  {I have a PC...I have no idea how Mac users would utilize such a feature.}  When your fields are highlighted, they will have little boxes around each name.

Step 3:
Go to your next standard that requires the names of students 1-15.  Delete the name fields on that page/slide so that the page has blank name slots like this...

Step 4:
Use the Ctrl V feature on your keyboard OR right click your mouse and choose the "paste" option to paste names 1-15 onto your new page. 

If some of the names do not line up 100%, just move them around by dragging the text box.  I never bother to do this.  The way it looks above it literally how I will leave it for printing.  :) 

You will do this for each of the first pages per standard.  Then, move on to your page 2 kiddos.  Print the pages when you all done.  

***Be sure to SAVE the file!  Print it in color so you can see the difference between math and ELA standards in a snap.***

Please remember, this is a FREE file. If you have something snarky to say about it, please address it with me first by sending me an email before leaving negative feedback in my TPT store.  I might actually be able to help you with whatever issue you are having.  It took me hours and hours to make this for myself (and my team of eight kindergarten teachers).  I am sharing out of kindness.  We allllllll need a little more kindness in our world. kind.  :)

Happy data tracking!


The Good for NOTHING Button! Story Retell Character Crowns {FREE}

Teacher friends, have you discovered the book, The Good for NOTHING Button!, and all of the joy it brings?  I caught wind of it just this summer, and I can hardly wait to introduce it to my new kindergarten students. My husband picked up on my intense level of excitement...check out what he constructed to go along with the book...

That's right!  It's a good for nothing button!  Guess what it does.  Absolutely nothing!  Ahhhhh...I love it so much.  I decided to whip up a few character crowns that I will have students wear as they act out the book as I read.  I sometimes laminate my character crowns in order to get the most use out of them, but you certainly do not have to.  I do find they work best and are super sturdy when printed on card stock.  Enjoy!

Click image or here for your FREE download.

Link to free file:

Have fun with this story, and watch out...that good for nothing button might just make you smile.  :)

Writing to Read in Kindergarten with Nellie Edge and Julie Lay

Can I just say, this was my third time attending this particular conference in the past four years.  I love it that much.  I learn something new or discover a new way of implementing authentic writing in my classroom each time I listen two these two ladies speak.

Best of all, I am reminded of why ALL the things I do in my classroom are important to the lives of young children.  Sometimes we are not supported by the forces that be, and the lines of what we are doing in the classroom become foggy due to the demands of administration.  With that being said, I feel revitalized after this week's two day conference, and I can't wait to  roll out a new schedule for Writer's Workshop this school year.

One change I will make this year will be with my writing journals.  I will follow Julie's Writer's Workshop model, which requires students to only write in their official journals when they are at my teacher table.  Last year, I had each child write in their journal at once, and it was a constant plate spinning show, even with an instructional assistant in the room during our writing block.  Instead of  that hot mess, Julie suggests having four to six writers per day visit your teacher table.  This gives you a much smaller audience for teaching critical writing skills, and it certainly makes me more accessible as a teacher.  The rest of the class will also be writing during this time, but they will be assigned a type of writing that does not require nearly as much teacher attention.  {Kindergarten teachers, you know what I am talking about!}  I am looking forward to starting this our first full day of school.

I consider professional development workshops to be one of the best resources for teachers.  This is especially true when the topics are meaningful, research-based, and test driven in the classrooms of REAL classroom teachers and students.  Kindergarten (and preschool) teachers, if you ever get the change to attend a Nellie Edge conference, please do.  Be sure to check out her home on the web.  She has a bajillion and one FREE resources for meaningful and authentic literacy lessons.


Teacher Time Saver: Slow Cooker Mexican Style Pork

I will admit something here on my blog that I am very proud to talk about to others.  I have a borderline unhealthy love for cooking...and eating.  I am an amazing cook, and I do quite a bit of meal planning in order to keep up my little habit.  I indulge in small kitchen appliances simply because they make me crazy-happy.  My trusty slow cooker decided to die this week.  I suppose that makes it not so trusty, but I miss it already.  It died after cooking this amazing Mexican Style Pork.  I have mixed feelings about it conking out on me, but I do love buying new small appliances.

After shredding the pork roast with two forks, I served it over rice with a squeeze of lime juice.  It was amazing and quite simple to make.  Here's what I did...

You Will Need:
1 (2 lb.) FROZEN pork roast (any cut you like)
1 can of Rotel (any heat level you like)
1 large sweet onion, chopped or diced
1 green bell pepper cut into short strips
1 yellow bell pepper cut into short strips
1 big Tbsp of minced garlic (from a jar or fresh)
about 1/2 cup fresh minced cilantro
some salt
some pepper
blow it a kiss for extra love

Cook Time:
Toss the frozen pork with all of the ingredients on top of it.  Let it cook on high for 6 hours.  That is all.

If my roast had been fresh, not frozen, I probably would have cooked it for 6-8 hours on low instead of high.  You really can't go wrong.  Just cook it long enough so that it shreds when you try to pull it apart with two forks.

I cooked some plain rice to serve with the pork, but you could easily stick this shredded goodness in tortillas or serve over mashed potatoes.  It is very open ended, in terms of versatility.  It was also pretty tasty eating it straight off the cutting board.  :)  You might also be able to see from the picture that I served this with a salad and a skinny margarita!  (A must have for teachers on summer vacation!)

Do you plan meals for hectic school seasons?  I find meal planning especially helpful at the beginning of the year, anytime assessments/report cards are due, and the end of the year.  It is a life saver, and after losing 80 pounds in 2002 and keeping it off all this time, planning ahead is a huge part of my success in keeping my weight down and my health sparkly.

ReadyGEN Unit 1 Vocabulary Notebook Prompts

This will be a quick little ditty about my Unit 1 Vocabulary Interactive Notebook Prompts for ReadyGEN.  After an entire school year of refining this vocabulary's finally complete and ready to share with other teachers!   Click the images or links below to pick up a copy of your own.

Click here to purchase this 5 book vocabulary packet!

Click here to purchase this vocab packet!

All five stories from Unit 1 ReadyGEN Kindergarten are included.  There are 18 to 25 key vocabulary words per story.  If you would like to see the quality of my work before purchasing this packet, please download Unit1B: Life in a Pond as a FREE sample.  If you like it, be sure to buy the complete set.

These vocab prompts make for easy, engaging vocabulary work with your littles.  Use it with a full size composition notebook, or cut them in half (like I do!) to save space and money.  The vocabulary prompts were designed to fit into comp notebooks that have been cut.  So no worries about trying to make full size sheets fit into tiny journals.  Whatever you choose to use in your classroom, your students are SURE to benefit!


ReadyGEN Kindergarten Vocabulary Interactive Notebook Prompts {FREE}

When I first began teaching ReadyGEN to kindergarten students, I tried to come up with an engaging way to keep the vocabulary momentum going, and I invented a vocabulary journal.  I did this mainly because my students really love anything that is tucked inside of their very own journal or notebook.  It's somehow ever better if I cut the composition notebook in half and make it a mini-notebook, which is exactly what I did for our vocabulary notebooks.  Whatever works, right?!?  The outcome was phenomenal.  My students enjoyed vocabulary so much when conducted this way, I felt the need to share it with other ReadyGEN focused Kindergarten teachers!
I whipped up quarter size vocabulary words to fit inside of composition notebooks that have been cut in half, but they can also be used in full size notebooks! (I cut my notebooks at home on my band saw. I find the fine blade on that type of saw keeps the pages from fraying. Table saws tend to “chew up” the notebooks.  Tutorial on cutting notebooks coming soon...pinky promise!)
Click here to download this FREE packet from my TPT store!
Download Link:

Teachers Will:
Choose the version that will best support your students: 
     • Vocab word with 3 handwriting lines for word writing practice
     • Vocab word with definition and 2 handwriting lines for writing practice
Copy the page of words you need for the day/lesson. Cut each full size sheet of paper into four pieces (one per quarter sheet per student).

Students Will:
Students will glue their vocabulary word (quarter sheet) into the notebook on the left hand side. Write the word on the lines provided. Draw a picture of the meaning of the word on the right hand side of the notebook.

Vocabulary Words Include:
• pond 
• body 
• still 
• shallow 
• forests 
• cities 
• farms 
• lakes 
• breathe 
• dive 
• shines 
• gills 
• underwater 
• bloom 
• together 
• need 
• full of life 
• cattails 
• insects 
• water lilies 
• float 
• full 

More vocabulary to cover every ReadyGEN Kindergarten unit and module coming soon!  If you like this free Unit 1, Module B sample, please follow my TPT store to find out when the bundled packet for all of Unit 1 is released.  It will be half price the first 24 hours after being listed in my store!

Check out my Units and modules story map HERE!

Butterfly Life Cycle Science Journal {FREE}

Observing caterpillars later in the spring season was so much fun!  Each day, students filtered into the classroom, and they would wander their way over to the science counter to see what changes had taken place to all of our various critters overnight.  Sometimes, their discoveries were shocking!  What was once a little caterpillar was no longer a caterpillar.  What was once cute and fuzzy...changed into something that looked hard and black.  Before we knew it, we were having our annual butterfly release party!

In honor of all the science fun we had in my kindergarten classroom this past spring, I am posting a set of butterfly life cycle observation journal pages for FREE in my TPT store.  As a teacher, I always appreciate freebies!  I use the heck out of those I collect from other teachers, and I have decided to start sharing the love with my early childhood colleagues.

Click image to snag your FREE download!


Chicken Life Cycle Journal Pages {FREE}

Cluck, cluck!

We had the BEST time observing chicken eggs in the incubator this spring.  We were in the middle of a math lesson when we heard a faint "cheep, cheep cheep" from the other side of the room.  You can imagine the excitement from all 22 students!  As you would imagine, the math lesson abruptly ended.

In honor of all the fun we had in my kindergarten classroom this past spring, I am posting a set of chicken life cycle observation journal pages for FREE in my TPT store.  As a teacher, I always appreciate freebies!  I use the heck out of those I collect from other teachers, and I have decided to start sharing the love with my early childhood colleagues.

Click here to download this FREE science resource!

Ending the Year: ABC Kindergarten Countdown

Do you host a countdown to the end of the school year in your classroom?  I do!  Families enjoy participating, and it makes the concept of things coming to an end a little more tolerable for children who are not quite ready to part from you or your classroom.

Mine is fairy simple.  It is a mash-up of several countdowns I found on Pinterest.

I hope this gives you a few ideas for ending the school year with a fun tone.  The kids had SOOOO much fun with this, and they could not WAIT to hear all about the fun we would be having each day.

If you would like to download the PDF, here's a link to the file:

ReadyGEN Kindergarten Units and Modules Book Map

When I began teaching kindergarten this past school year, I was unfamiliar with ReadyGEN's curriculum.  It took me a while to find all of the teaching materials needed for this quest, and looking back at my particular situation, I can see how a simple map of each unit and module would have helped me tremendously throughout the year.  Although my circumstances were unusual due to coming in as a teacher in late October, after the rest of the school had been chugging along since the beginning of September, I would imagine a map would help anyone new to the world of ReadyGEN.

I want the upcoming year to go smoothly, so I whipped up this map to keep me on track.  It's free.  It's simple.  It is to-the-point.  I have printed my copy and will keep it in my planning binder.  I hope someone out there finds it helpful; especially if ReadyGEN seems a bit foreign to you.

Click image or this text for your FREE copy!

Text Link: