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Let's Talk Resolutions

I used to always think that I had to make a New Year's resolution each year.  I'd be great about it for like 2 or 3 weeks, maybe even through the month of January.  But ever so slowly, I'd give up on whatever I resolved to do.  I'm a bit of a perfectionist so it never felt good to feel as if I'd failed and I couldn't follow through.

As I've gotten older, I've realized that long term resolutions don't work very well for me.  I do better with short term goals that I can focus on and check off the "to do" list so to speak.  This isn't to say that I never set long term goals...I do.  But I try to not be so hard on myself and just take things one day at a time.

This year, I decided to try something different.  I have some short term goals that ultimately will help me accomplish a long term goal.  The best of both worlds, right!?!  If you know me in real life, you know that I'm a pretty organized person.  I like to have my ducks in a row, I'm a total planner, and chaos makes me crazy.  But then I have certain spots in my life where things just sort of....pile up.

Yeah....it's like Monica's secret closet.  I have areas at home and in my classroom where I put things to deal with later.  Then later comes and I don't deal with them!  So I've decided that each month, I'm going to tackle one space at home and one space at school that needs to be gone through.  I'm going to purge and get better organized so that it doesn't take me so long to find the things I need.  I'm hoping that if I handle it in small chunks, I can feel the small successes that will eventually lead to a less cluttered life!  

For the month of January I've set the following goals:

Home - organize my jewelry 
School - organize my guided reading materials
Wish me luck!  Ha!  

Do you make New Year's resolutions?  What are you hoping to accomplish this year?  

Let me know in the comments or link up with my friends, Jessica and Kristi!

 Pelicans & Pipsqueaks

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Favorite Books for January

It's a brand new year!  I love coming back to school after winter break feeling refreshed and ready to take on the second half of the school year.  My kinders show so much growth in this half of the year.  And with the beginning of a new month comes new units and new themes. I'm excited to share some of my favorite books to use in the classroom throughout the month of January with you!

Living in a part of the country where you have to drive 3-4 hours to find snow, makes it difficult to teach the seasons.  I like to bring the seasons into the classroom through hands on activities and rich children's literature.  Here are some of my favorite books about winter and snow!  You can click on the images to find the titles on Amazon.

This post contains affiliate links for Amazon.  By purchasing an item on the Amazon site using these links, I will receive a small commission on your purchase, at no extra cost to you.  This helps to support the blog so I can keep it up and running and share ideas with you.  The views and opinions expressed are purely my own.


The Snowy Day by Ezra Jack Keats
One of my absolute favorite books ever!  Such a beautiful story of a boy exploring a day in the snow.  This book is fantastic for retelling, sequencing a story, and talking about what you can do in the snow.  If you are an Amazon Prime member, then you also have access to the animated production of this fabulous story!

The First Day of Winter by Denise Fleming
Written to the tune of the 12 Days of Christmas, a young boy receives all of the things needed to build a snowman!  The students love to read along with the predictable rhythm of the text.  The illustrations are beautiful, too!

The Winter Train by Susanna Isern
This book is absolutely beautiful!  It's a wonderful story of friendship and working together.  The story also shows the transition of the season from fall to winter.  


Animals in Winter by Henrietta Bancroft & Richard G. Van Gelder
The "Let's Read And Find Out Science" series is one on my favorites to use in the classroom.  This is a great book to compare and contrast with The Winter Train.  This is a fantastic book for introducing vocabulary such as migrate, hibernate, and den.  It introduces students to the different ways animals cope with the winter months.

Over & Under the Snow by Kate Messner
Such a beautiful nonfiction picture book that explores life under the snow during winter.  I love teaching my students about the world under their feet.  They are always surprised to learn just how much is going on in places they cannot see.

The Story of Snow by Mark Cassino
This is a great nonfiction book all about the science of snow!  Student learn how snow forms and the book includes real photos of snow crystals.  I love to use this book during our Snow Science unit (you can read more about that here).  The explanations are very clear and engaging even for little learners.

What books do you love to read in January?

New Year's Writing Activity

I can hardly believe that 2017 is almost here!  This past year has had plenty of ups and downs but I'm choosing to focus on the positives of 2016.  As we look at the new year ahead, many of us are beginning to set goals and make resolutions for the new year.  When we return to school in January, I love to talk with my Kindergarteners about their own hopes and dreams for the year ahead.

Here are a couple of my favorite books for talking about the New Year.  Just click below to find them on Amazon!


As a class, we love to share our goals with each other.  I write students' ideas down on chart paper to help spark ideas for those who are having a harder time coming up with a goal.

We love to make class books!  Once our goals are set, we write about them and put our pages together in a book.  

You can grab this freebie from my Teachers Pay Teachers shop by clicking on the image below!
There are 3 different sentence frames and a book cover in color or black & white.

What are your goals for 2017?
Share them in the comments below!

This post contains affiliate links for Amazon.  By purchasing an item on the Amazon site using these links, I will receive a small commission on your purchase.

Teaching Kindess

With everything that we are expected to teach in a single school year, it's hard to find time to focus on the social-emotional skills that our students so desperately need.  I have found myself pushing these lessons to the bottom of the list over the last few years to make more room for writer's workshop, reader's workshop, math instruction, science, and more to make sure I am hitting all of the standards.  What I've noticed is that the population I work with needs these lessons more than ever and I miss teaching them.

As I drove in to school this Wednesday, I thought about my lesson plans for the day.  I thought about my phonics lesson and the teaching point I had ready for reader's workshop.  I thought about the math games I had prepped and ready to go.  Yet, none of it seemed as important as talking to my Kinders about the meaning of kindness.  So, I pulled into school, threw my lesson plans for the day out the window (which anyone who knows me, knows that's unheard of!), and decided to give my students what I thought they needed the most in this moment.

We started our discussion about kindness with this amazing book!

You can find it here!

It sparked a wonderful discussion about the ways in which we can be kind to others, both at school and in life.  I was so impressed with the compassion, thoughtfulness, and empathy that my students demonstrated.  We brainstormed a list of ways we can show kindness toward others.

I created this writing page for my students to share their ideas.  I just adore the way they represent their thoughts through drawing.

You can grab the writing pages for free in my TPT store, here!

How do you encourage kindness in your classroom?

This post contains affiliate links for Amazon.  By purchasing an item on the Amazon site using these links, I will receive a small commission on your purchase.

Hands On Pumpkin Science

It's pumpkin time!  I absolutely love this time of year.  Routines and procedures have been established and my kindergarteners are ready to dive head first into our science units.  Our pumpkin theme is spread out over two weeks in October but it could easily be done in just one.  The prep is minimal.  All you need are a few different pumpkins (many grocery stores will donate the funnier looking pumpkins to teachers!), a tub of water, something to measure with (we use linker cubes), and some carving tools.

Week 1

Investigating the Outside of the Pumpkin

We begin the unit by observing the outside of the pumpkin and talking about what we notice.  Students discuss size, shape, color, texture, temperature, similarities and differences, etc.

As all good scientists do, we record our observations and investigation results in our Pumpkin Journals.

We also count the ribs (lines) on the outside of the pumpkin and measure the height using linker cubes.


Then comes the real fun!  Will the pumpkin sink or float?  We always make a prediction before testing it out.


We also learn about the life cycle of a pumpkin.  I love these's Read and Find Out" books for science topics.

Week 2
Investigating the Inside of the Pumpkin

Students love to get their hands on their learning.  They can't wait to get inside the pumpkin to find out what's in there!  Estimating the number of seeds is always a ton of fun.  It's great for counting to 10 and skip counting.  We use counting mats to help us keep track.


It's amazing just how many seeds can be inside a pumpkin!

Last, we work on labeling the parts of the pumpkin that we find.

After 2 weeks of pumpkin fun, we celebrate by roasting pumpkin seeds!

You can find all of the activities and journal pages in my Pumpkin Science unit.

What are your favorite pumpkin activities?

This post contains affiliate links for Amazon. By purchasing an item on the Amazon site using these links, I will receive a small commission on your purchase.

Teacher Week 2016

Happy Back to School!  I hope you're having an amazing start to the year.  I joined the bloggers of BlogHoppin' this past week for Teacher Week 2016.  Check out my photos from the week below to learn a little more about me!

Meet Me Monday

These are a few of my favorite things!  My family and my girls are the most important thing.  I can't imagine not having them in my life.  I absolutely LOVE live music!  Though being a full time working mom doesn't leave me much time for going out, we do enjoy getting to concerts when we can.  Our city has many opportunities to see some amazing artists.  The beach is my favorite place on earth!  Um, pumpkin...'nuff said.  My favorite accessory is my bracelets.  I have many Alex & Ani and I'm loving my Keep Collective from Stella & Dot.  What teacher doesn't love Target!?!  Oh children's books...they're like shoes, you can never have enough.  GIANTS baseball...can we say 3 time World Champs!  Kindergarten teacher...yeah, it's who I am.  And I love it.

Teaching Tuesday

When I started teaching, science was the subject that scared me the most.  I had zero idea how I would make scientists out of 20 something 5-year-olds.  Now, it's my absolute favorite thing to teach!  Hands on science is engaging, real, hits so many common core standards and is just plain fun!  You can check out my science units here.

Where I Work Wednesday

Have I every mentioned that I get to teach in the most beautiful city!?!  San Francisco is my home and I'm so blessed to teach in an amazing public school.  My classroom is HUGE!  I have two walls of windows and an amazing view (see that sunrise above!?).  There's no way I'm giving up this amazing learning space...I plan on retiring here!

Threads Thursday

I really do enjoy dressing up.  Most days I'm dressed professionally.  I typically wear capri pants, a blouse, cardigan,and ballet flats.  But let's get real.  Kindergarten teachers need to be comfortable.  We are up and down, back and forth, covered in Kindergartener, all day long.  Some days, it's a cute t-shirt, jeans, and my chucks.  You will never find me without a wrist full of bracelets though!  I just love them.

Friends Friday

My Team: I have the most amazing team to work with every day.  These girls are my rocks and they make coming to work so much fun.  They are dedicated, supportive, and loving friends.  I can't imagine the day to day without them.

The Punchbowl Girls:  My Tribe!  The ladies of The Primary Punchbowl have been so great on my journey as a blogger and TpT author.  We are all on this road together and they are my village.

Bloggy Loves:  These girls!  I can't say enough good things about them.  Molly (Lucky to Be in First) is my Fairy Godblogger.  She has encouraged me since the beginning of this road and is my biggest cheerleader.  I'm so blessed to have her in my life and to call her my friend.  Greta (Learning with Mrs. Leeby) and Vera (The Tutu Teacher) were virtual friends until this summer when we finally met in real life in Orlando.  I hate that we live so far away because these girls are my jam.  Just the best!

I hope you had fun learning a little more about me!  Do we have anything in common?  Let me know in the comments below.

Then hop on over to Blog Hoppin' to check out the others who have linked up!

Fall Math & Literacy Centers

Hooray! September is here.  I absolutely LOVE fall (and not just because I'm a fall baby).  There are so many fun themes this time of year...apples, seasons, pumpkins, just to name a few.  I love to incorporate our themes into all parts of our day.  My Fall Math & Literacy Centers do just that!

Here are a few of the activities that are included:

Apple Pickin' Rhymes

Fall Letter Match Up

Gobblin' Up Shapes

Apple Seed Count & Match

There are 10 activities in all, 5 for math and 5 for language arts.  Other skills covered in this resource are color words, ordering uppercase and lowercase letters, sentence building with sight words, non-standard measurement, numbers 0-20, and matching number to quantity to 10.  You can see the complete unit by clicking here!

How would you like to win a copy, just in time for fall!?!
I've linked up with my friends Jennifer and Sara for Winner Wednesday!

All you have to do is enter the rafflecopter below!  Then head over to A Dab of Glue will Do or Sara J Creations to see some of the other fabulous products you can enter to win this month.

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