All About This Kinder Teacher: {A Kinder Tribe Linky Party}

This past month was seriously crazy busy with all things wedding, and then following the wedding, Alex and I went to Gatlinburg for a relaxing honeymoon.

Now I'm back as a married woman, and boy does it feel like the world has been lifted off of my shoulders with the wedding being over. Don't get me wrong; it was the absolute best day of my life, but it was a lot of hard work leading up to it. {Can I get an Amen?!) It is nice that for the first time in awhile I don't have anything to do. Perfect timing too since I return to work next week for our Kindergarten Jump Start program, a week long, half day class for our incoming kinders to get them acclimated before the first day of school. I have spent two days this week working in my classroom and now have the rest of the week to myself to do nothing. I'm looking forward to doing just that...  nothing. 

(I wanted to share some images that our absolutely wonderful photographer shared with us seriously the night of our wedding! We were so shocked to see them added to her business Facebook page the day after when we woke up. Such a sweet surprise to get such an immediate look at our day. We can't wait to see the rest! To check out her work via her Facebook page, click the images below.)
{Photography by: Christine Cherry Photography}

Okay, so now that all of the chaos of July has ended, I have time to do one of my favorite hobbies... blog!

I am linking up with the Kinder Tribe ladies for their first link party celebrating the beginning of their collaborative blog. Click the button below to check out their blog.

NAME: Did you notice the name change? :) Although I'm no longer Miss Law, I decided not to change the name of my blog. I wish I had taken the fact that I could get married in the future when I created my blog a couple years ago, but oh well! I kinda like the fact that it is still my maiden name because, and it might sound cheesy, but it is the name given to me obviously from my father, and since he passed away almost seven years ago, it is a little sentimental to me. 

YEARS TEACHING/YEARS IN K: This is going to be my third year of teaching, and all three years have been spent in kindergarten. I really love the age, and I love my team!

I CAN'T LIVE WITHOUT MY: Dr. Pepper. If you know me at all, this is a no brainer. I don't typically go to work without first getting a large Dr. Pepper from McDonalds. It is the best part of my day. Seriously. lol. (McDonalds sodas are seriously the best, but I would take a Dr. Pepper from just about anywhere.) I go through spurts where I give up soda and caffeine and try to live a healthier lifestyle alongside my hubby, but it never lasts too long. My addiction is just too strong. I also can't live without music. I do just about anything and everything with music on: studying, reading, blogging, getting ready in the morning, cleaning, cooking, etc. I, for whatever reason, just function so much better with music in the background. If you step into my classroom, chances are there will be Kidz Bop playing in the background during work time. I'm thankful to have always had students who work well with music as well... or maybe I'm just making them more like me. Either way, we are all happier with music on in class, and that is my best classroom management tool!

FAVORITE SCHOOL SUPPLY: Tacky! More specifically, the blue tacky. I can't think of the brand name, but I always get them pretty cheaply at Walmart, and I go through several packs a year. After painting my classroom walls two years out of my three years of teaching, I made a vow that I wasn't going to put anything on my walls that could mess up my paint, so I put EVERYTHING up with tacky. It is my favorite thing ever. Want to ever get me a gift or make me super happy? Refer to the above paragraph, or get me tacky. They all rank pretty high in my heart. ;)

FAVORITE KINDER BOOK: Have you heard of the Charlie books by Ree Drummond a.k.a. The Pioneer Woman? They are my absolute favorite books, and I love that there are several out. I always start the year with Charlie the Ranch Dog because it lets the readers get to know Charlie pretty well, so that when you read the others, you will understand his behaviors and get a good laugh out them. My students also like to look for the hidden chipmunks on the pages. It is a nice little added fun that was creatively added. Charlie also reminds me of our family beagle that we had when I was growing up who passed away a little over a year ago, so the books make my heart happy. (Click the picture below to check the book out for yourself. Check out the entire Charlie series while you're there!)

FAVORITE KINDER BLOG: Not exactly a kinder blog, but The First Grade Parade by the beautifully talented Cara Carroll. I get a ton of my anchor chart ideas from her blog. 

I LOVE KINDERGARTEN BECAUSE: Everything is still magical. For example, my favorite time of the year is always Christmas, and now that I am a teacher, it is even more favorite, if possible. In kindergarten, the kids still believe in Santa and his flying reindeer. I love that we can write letters to Santa and to see their excitement when we receive a package from Mr. Claus himself from the North Pole with tickets for us to go to the Polar Express party, complete with extremely cold bell inside for each one of us. Things like that make my job so fun, and it is a nice escape from the state mandated tests that these sweet kiddos have to go through all year long. 

Alright, now that you have read more about me, head over to the Kinder Tribe blog and get to know other kinder bloggers better!

July Currently

I'm linking up with Farley at Oh' Boy Fourth Grade for July's Currently. 

You know what else that means?! Ahh! It's my wedding month, people! :) FINALLY!

Listening: I am currently listening to my television because I am binge watching The Following on Netflix. I am thoroughly enjoying the fact that I can watch new series back to back since I am on break. What in the world did I do last summer without Netflix?!

Loving: I am loving that I only have ten days until I get to marry my best friend in front of God, our loving families, and wonderful friends! No need to say any more.

Thinking: I am thinking about what crafts I am still needing to complete before next week. One thing I know for sure I need to do involves candlesticks and plates. Can you guess what I could be making? 

Wanting: I am wanting to chop my hair off in the worst way. Alex doesn't care for short hair; however, my hair is in some serious need of help. Blonde highlights were not kind to my scalp or to my hair when I began doing them a couple years ago, and I can definitely tell now. I want to get it cut up to around my shoulders in hopes of getting rid of the majority of what is harshly damaged. After all, it will grow right back, right? Lord knows I could use something that would be a little less work when getting ready! I need to keep it it's current length for the wedding so that I can have my hair styled the way I want it, but after that, I have no reason but to go and make a change.

Needing: A full body massage! When I stress, I tense my neck and my shoulders a ton.  Combine that with my poor posture and you have one veeeeeeeery sore lady. I'm hoping I can talk Alex into finding a spa in or around Gatlinburg, TN while we are there for our honeymoon so that we can get some much needed, and well deserved I might add, massages.

All-Star: It is true. I am an all star jump roper! I was on a competitive jump rope team from first grade through sixth grade when I was growing up. Some of my fondest memories from my childhood involves my jump rope team. I am extremely excited about starting up a jump rope team at my school next school year. I received a Play60 grant from the NFL team, Indianapolis Colts, as well as a grant from the Scott County Youth Grant Making Council in my town. I will be using the money to jump start, no pun intended, our jump rope team. I will be having students from first through fifth grade as part of my team and we will practice and perform all school year long. This has some great opportunities that other team sports in our district do not, since younger grades will be able to participate and it doesn't have a particular season such as a fall or spring season sport. Last year we received word that our county, Scott, was 92nd out of 92 counties in the state of Indiana for health. When I heard that, I felt very compelled to try and make a difference since I am in a position where I could greatly impact the health of our young ones. So, the Bouncing Braves was created. Here is the logo I created for our team. Our school is Vienna-Finley Elementary, so the V comes from our school logo. I. AM. PUMPED!!!

Have a great July, and I can't wait to share all of the fun that this month has in store for me with all of you in the upcoming weeks! :)

Tell All Tuesday: Summer Snapshot

I am linking up with Diana from My Day in K and Jayme from Teach. Talk. Inspire for Tell All Tuesday, a summer weekly linky party. 

This week's Tell All Tuesday is Summer Snapshot, which is a favorite summer trip, place, or a memory.

My Summer Snapshot is a picture taken of my fiancĂ©, Alex, and me in the Bahamas last August right before we went snorkeling. This was my first time ever going snorkeling, and I was beyond excited. 

Pictures cannot do it justice. The water was seriously SO clear, and the fish and coral were breathtakingly beautiful. 

Now, head over to My Day in K or Teach. Talk. Inspire to check out other Summer Snapshots.

June Currently

I'm linking up with Farley over at Oh' Boy 4th Grade for June's Currently. Wait... did I just say June?!  

As you can see, this month's currently isn't the typical monthly themed currently to go along with the summer fun that June has to offer. That is because Farley is raising money for Wimberley, Texas. This town is very dear to heart for many reasons and has been hit hard by the horrible weather that has been going through Texas lately. Along with people and houses being washed away from flooding, pets are becoming homeless. There, thankfully, is a shelter in Wimberley called the Wimberley Adoption Group and Rescue, also known as WAG, where the pets can stay until their owners come and claim them. Since there are so many pets going to WAG due to the devastation of the flooding, Farley felt it was a good time to collect donations for WAG, and I completely support that. Being an animal lover, and a golden retriever mom, this completely touched my heart and I didn't think twice to click the donate button. If you are interested in reading more about how you can help, head over to Farley's blog by clicking the blog button above or by clicking here to see how you can donate, too.

Okay, now onto my June Currently.

Listening: I am currently listening to the various songs I have on my End of the Year DVD that I am working on for my sweet Kinders. If you follow my Facebook page, you have probably noticed that I post tons of pictures of my class doing anything from arts and crafts to working in literacy centers. I take pictures, and document in a sense, the big things that occur in kindergarten, such as field trips, while also focusing on the things that we do every day as part of being a kindergartener, such as literacy centers. I do this so that at the end of the year when I create a movie for them, it captures every essence of their time in my class as possible. This year my video is THIRTY. MINUTES. LONG. Think I might have overdid it a bit? Oh well... It'll be well worth it to have all of those moments in one place for them, and their families, to look back on down the road. While DVDs are burning, I am also cutting out the DVD covers and telling myself that I will not cry this year at graduation. Better yet, I better just not volunteer to speak at the end. I was good until then last year.

{These are my DVD covers this year.}

Loving: This one was hard because it is a bittersweet kinda thing. I am loving that there are only six more days until summer break, only five with students, but it also makes me sad because I am going to HATE to give this group of kiddos up. Like seriously, going into slight depression mode over it. Kindergarten, probably more than any other grade, you can really tell just how far you took your kids. How so? Well, let's be honest. I had kids coming in who had never even held a pencil before the first day of school and several who had no idea what kind of contraption a pair of scissors were. Now, they are reading and writing sentences! It's remarkable! I love teaching kindergarten for this very reason of growing a student so much in your time with them, and it is SO rewarding; however, it is hard to believe that I will be letting these sweet, remarkable kiddos go on to first grade while I get a whole new set of kiddos who are back at square one. Can you say hello, ain't-no-tired-like-the-beginning-of-the-year-kindergarten-tired?

Thinking: I have an aide that I am so grateful to have in my classroom every morning for about an hour, and sometimes at other times if other classes don't need her during their time. I am trying to come up with a gift for her before the end of the year, but haven't been able to find the perfect one yet on Pinterest. If you have any ideas, shoot them my way. :) 

Wanting: Popcorn. My favorite snack is popcorn, and it is so hard for me to sit down to watch any of my favorite shows without having some. I am out, and The Bachelorette is preparing to come on. This is a crisis if I have ever seen one!

Needing: I was really tempted to put popcorn here, too. lol. I may have a serious problem. No, but seriously, I am needing a good massage. I am a teensy bit high strung. Okay, maybe a lot, and it tends to make me tense up when I get stressed or anxious over things. I'm forty days out from my wedding, and there are six days left of school. To say I'm stressed and anxious may be putting things lightly. When I go to bed at night my back and shoulders ache, and a good massage would do me good. I'm thinking we may have to schedule that for our honeymoon when this is all over and done with. 

Summer Lovin': Like I said before, only forty days out from my wedding, so that means that the majority of my summer break will be devoted to all things wedding. I have my dress alteration next week, my trial hair run in two weeks, my bachelorette party in three weeks, and the list goes on and on for what I have got going on. I'm looking forward to every single bit of it, but I sure do wish the summer was longer so that I could have more time to get some R&R after the wedding before jumping back into school. Oh well, it'll all be worth it. :)

I hope everyone has a great June!

Oviparous Animal Life Cycles Update-{Butterflies}

A couple weeks ago we studied oviparous animal life cycles in our classroom, and as part of that study, we received five painted lady caterpillars from InsectLore.

We watched those caterpillars for weeks continue to grow bigger and to enclose themselves into their chrysalides. This week we had our butterflies emerge from their chrysalides, and as soon as their wings were dried off, we took them outside to release them.

(Side story: One of our butterflies had actually gone belly up at one point today, and I had to have the conversation with my students that he didn't make it because I, of course, didn't notice that it was belly up until I let my students go look at the butterflies. I decided that in order to keep the others alive until we could release them later today that I would put a piece of a peach that I had in there with them. I placed the peach in their netting and that butterfly flipped itself over and began walking around and went straight to the piece of peach, which made my class cheer. It was like witnessing a resurrection. I realized at that very moment that the poor butterfly was probably near death due to starvation. Moral of the story, put fruit in the netting BEFORE the butterflies emerge from their chrysalides. Whoops!)

We did notice that one of the butterflies had lost one of it's back wings when emerging from it's chrysalis, so it was unable to fly properly. I found a nice spot near our school with lots of flowers to place it, in hopes that it will continue to live. Fingers crossed!

One of the other butterflies didn't want to leave us. He landed on me for awhile and then on a student's brightly colored shoe. My class loved getting up close looks at these beautiful creatures. 

At the end of the day, all five butterflies had been released into the wild, hopefully to live and thrive on their own.

Space Unit-{Earth's Rotation & Moon Phases}

As part of our space unit, we talked all about Earth's rotation and moon phases today. We began our day by going outside to our playground at 8:30 a.m. in the morning and tracing our shadows. I didn't tell the class why we were doing it, and they really didn't ask since they love any excuse to use sidewalk chalk. I'll explain more about this activity later...

We went about our day until it was theme study time. We began our Earth's rotation and moon phases study by watching a short video all about the moon on Brainpop Jr. and then reading two short moon books on the MyOn app on our iPads.

After the video we talked about what causes the moon to be different sizes when we look at it on different days. We created a craft to help them understand the revolution of Earth around the Sun, and the moon's rotation around Earth, which causes the phases.

We then completed a yummy activity from Khrys Bosland from Keepin' It Kool in KinderLand. We used Oreos to show the phases of the moon. This activity looked and sounded so much easier than it actually was, but my students got the gist of it regardless of how some of them turned out, and they got to eat their cookies in the end, so that is really all that mattered to them.

We then headed back out to the playground at 2:15 p.m. in the afternoon and we had our partners trace our shadows again from the same spots we stood this morning. Can you guess what we found out? Our shadows had moved and they were smaller! It was a complete "ah ha!" moment for my kiddos because they took what we had been learning about all day and put the pieces together to realize that the sun was in a different spot in the sky because of Earth's rotation, so that made our shadows move and change size.

Here are our shadows at the end of the day.

Tomorrow we will begin studying the planets in our solar system a little bit more closely.

Space Unit-{All About Astronauts}

We began what is quickly shaping up to be one of my favorite units this year, SPACE! There is so much that I am wanting to do this week, so I have had to break down my days to make sure that I can fit it all in. Today we began by learning all about astronauts. 

We began by hopping onto one of our favorite iPad apps, MyOn, and reading the book If I Were an Astronaut

This book was a perfect introduction into the lives of an astronaut while they're on the job. With the help from descriptive, and adorable, illustrations, my students were completely engaged in this book.

Following the book, we created an astronaut can, have, are chart. 
{Bet you can't guess what my favorite clipart store is, huh?}

We then completed an astronaut application writing prompt...

and created an adorable astronaut craft to go with it.

After packing up at the end of the day, I added all of our learning and fun about astronauts to our hallway bulletin board.

If you are interested in grabbing my Astronaut Craftivity for yourself (it comes with four other writing prompts along with the astronaut application prompt), click the picture below to grab it up for your own kiddos.

Along with my Astronaut Craftivity, I am using my products below to complete my Space unit this week. Click the pictures below to check them out for yourself.