Monday, January 4, 2016

Homework Menus

In years past I have had a love-hate relationship with kindergarten homework. (Read: I love to hate it.) Then I discovered homework menus. 

I tried them out at the beginning of the year, and I don't know that I'll ever go back. Menus mean I don't have to haggle with parents over whether or not they can juggle homework with their jobs, after school activities, or a crazy home life. They have the power to fit academic conversations in to their life in a way that suits them. 

I ask families to complete three items a week, and the items with a star in the box are "must do" items for the month. I do not grade homework. In my opinion, homework is meant for independent practice and/or promoting conversations between school and home. I want my students to practice skills and help keep their families informed about what we are doing in the classroom.

If this works for you, grab your copy of January's menu by clicking the picture below.

 How do you manage homework in your class? Have you used a menu system? Let me know in the comments section below.

#2getherwearebetter Setting the Pace for 2016

Some of y'all are heading back to the classroom today.
Others, like me, will head back later in the week, and a few of you are looking forward to next Monday. Whenever you head back to the classroom, I hope it is joyful for you and everyone who shares your space.

I've participated in a couple of New Year's link ups (here and here), and have enjoyed reading through others' lists, hopes, and goals. None of these lists has been so inspiring as the #2getherwearebetter link up via Angie from Lucky Little Learners and Ashley from Schroder Shenanigans in Second. If you haven't done it yet, take some time to read through a few and let these colleagues inspire you, make you say amen, bring tears to your eyes, and leave you laughing. 

I have minimally participated in online teacher communities up to this point, but I am certain that collaborative inspiration is the key to staying motivated. So here's a look at my goals for 2016:

Classroom Goal

I have two on this front. 
  • I will clear my teacher table each and every day, leaving the classroom ready for the day that follows. I'm pretty good about this on Fridays, but Monday through Thursday, I tend to wing it in the mornings. Monday mornings tend to be a breeze, and the rest of the week, well...let's just say it's time I catch on here!
  • I will be the undeniable positive voice in my space, both for students and colleagues. As much as it depends on me, positive things will be said, cherished, and honored in any space I occupy.

Business Goal

I opened my TPT store this summer, so I'm pretty new to the whole process. My goal is to double everything: products, store followers and income. Essentially, to fully commit to making Kindergarten Crossroads a viable business.

Personal Goal

I want to be purposefully grateful and gracious. As a born and bred southern gal, this is a cultural staple, but we often use good manners to deliver a back-handed compliment. This year I want to be purposeful about being grateful for all the gifts and opportunities presented. I also want to be purposefully gracious to anyone (kid or adult) that I come in contact with. There is nothing more attractive than a person who lets others know they are heard, valued and appreciated. This year I want to focus and make sure I am hearing and seeing the beauty in others.

And there's this one little word:

It comes from this quote:

Very often the word "enough" has a desperate or resolved to mediocre connotation. For perfectionists though, "enough" is an unattainable goal. Einstein reminds me that I am enough of an artist, enough of an entrepreneur, enough of a dreamer to put great things into motion.  Sometimes, I don't put my efforts out in the world because I am afraid they are not perfect. But this year I am committed to trusting that my best efforts are simply enough and are worthy to be seen. I have a lot to learn, and I'm sure I'll mess things up as I go, but there's very little in life that can't be edited or improved along the way.

Happy New Year to you! I hope you find it's the best one yet!

Saturday, January 2, 2016

Currently in January

Happy New Year! I am linking up with Farley over at Oh Boy 4th Grade for 2016's first installment of Currently. 

  • Listening: Izzy is an olde English bulldog and she snores like a lumberjack. It always makes me giggle.
  • Loving: Winter break is rejuvenating. I have learned not to rush it by too fast, and I am looking forward to the next few slower days with my family
  • Thinking: Maybe I will revamp the whole setup of my reading block...maybe. I'm thinking of doing book clubs for the first center since I'm lucky enough to have two awesome assistants in the morning. Maybe...
  • Wanting: We are just waiting on the closing date for our new house. I am so excited!
  • Needing: My brother-in-law suggested we refinish our table and chairs to coordinate with the island in our new house. I think we're gonna give it a try
  • One little word: Enough. This word has trickled into my heart and finally taken root, I think. It's not the exasperated, hands up, "I've had enough!" cry of desperation. But rather the simple declaration that I have enough. I am enough. I am doing enough. My best efforts are good enough. Enough said.

Thursday, December 31, 2015

2016 here I come!

I am excited to link up with Diana from My Day in K and Jayme at Teach Talk Inspire to share some resolutions for 2016. I am typically not one for resolutions, but I do love lists. 
1. Clear my table every day.
I don't have a teacher desk, so my group table doubles as my desk in the afternoon. On Fridays, I am great about clearing the table and making sure everything is ready to go for Monday morning. Tuesday-Thursday is a different story, though. My goal is to make my life easy every day by clearing the space in the afternoon.

2. Double the TPT fun.
I opened my TPT store in July this year. I have thoroughly enjoyed the creative outlet, professional growth, and extra income (for important things like more clipart, fonts, and TPT wish list items!), and can honestly say that my only regret is not starting sooner. I figure that I have twice as much time in 2016 to use TPT as a resource, so my goal is to double everything: store followers, products, and income.

3. Be purposefully grateful and gracious.
I'm a southern girl, properly trained in the use of the following phrases: Yes ma'am/sir, No ma'am/sir, and Bless your heart. We are polite by nature, even when we are complaining or insulting something or someone. I can get pretty snarky and sarcastic if left to my own devices. So in 2016 I want to be purposefully grateful for the gifts every day presents, and I want to be purposefully kind and courteous to the people I'm blessed to cross paths with every day. 

So there are my resolutions for 2016. What are yours? It'll be fun to link up again a year from now and celebrate the successes! Thanks Jayme and Diana for hosting this event!

Thursday, November 12, 2015

Happy Veterans Day

I grew up as an Air Force brat. We moved about every 3 years or so. I've lived in 8 different states, and moved the summer before my freshman and senior years in high school. It was a fantastic way to grow up. My parents were awesome at making every move an adventure, and my sisters and I had some awesome opportunities to see and do things along the way.

Most of my students don't have a military connection here, but this week we focused on being thankful for our country and our veterans. 

We did this little emergent reader via Deanna Jump

The kiddos were so intent on getting the uniform colors just right.  

We listened to the song for all the branches of the military and even practiced marching to some Sousa tunes.

My favorite project by far was this collaborative poster I picked up from Art by Jenny K. I happen to have 20 students, so each one colored a square. We displayed it at our town's Veteran's Day parade and then sent it to hang at the local veteran's affairs office.

It was a great way to celebrate veterans with my class and with my family as well. Be sure to thank all the veterans you know, and while you're at it, give their spouses and families a nod of thanks, too.

Sunday, November 8, 2015

Sunday Scoop

I'm excited to launch back into more regular blogging with a Sunday Scoop link up. Thanks Teaching Trio for hosting!

Here's to a great week!

Tuesday, September 1, 2015

Bloghoppin' Make Ahead Meals

I love to cook. There is something cathartic about preparing a meal to share with people I love. The thing is...I hate to clean the kitchen. So as long as those folks I love will clean up, I'll cook.

My absolute favorite make ahead meal comes from Real Simple magazine. It is comforting, crock pot easy and oh-so-delicious. Just click on the picture for a link to the recipe.


My other favorite go-to is grilled cheese. The ordinary variety with extra cheese, pickle spears on the side and tomato soup for dipping is great. But I like to jazz up a grilled cheese, too, with bacon and caramelized onions. Sometimes we do white cheddar and apples on a great sourdough bread. On a really rough day, it's marscapone and nutella...don't judge me.

Thanks so much for stopping by and indulging my food obsession! For more great ideas head on over to Bloghoppin'!

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