Spring Teacher Blogger Meet-Up Blog Hop

You may remember me telling you about my amazing weekend with other mostly Indiana bloggers in French Lick two weeks ago.  We decided one of the things we wanted to do was have a blog hop, so you could get to know the bloggers that met up there! There are over 20 of us participating and we each have something to share with you, some tips to pass along, and some important information about a giveaway we are having along with our blog hop!

SpringHopButtonOne of the things we did at the Blogger Meet-up was to have a Teacher Tool gift exchange…I got one of my most favorite things….


The Quietest Classroom Pencil Sharpener!!IMG_7243It is one of my most favorite things in my classroom…and I don’t feel like I’m on high alert when the kiddos use it!  They can totally use this sharpener by themselves, its quiet, and I can move it where it needs to be!!

I also just found out that they now have a sharpener that will sharpen the “fat” My First Ticonderoga Pencils!! Perfect for those of us K teachers that are using those pencils–so I just ordered one of those. :)

Click here or any of the other links above to get one for yourself at Classroom Friendly Supplies. :)

Next, I want to share with you some new things that I learned from other bloggers at the Meet-up:

1) Phonto is my new favorite app on my iPhone!!!  It lets me add text right to my pictures and then publishes them to Instagram with just a few taps!  You have to download it now.  I’ll wait…seriously….go!!

2) I was also reminded of the importance of using Instagram to help followers get to know me on a more personal level.  After all, I am not a robot typing these posts! LOL! You can follow me on Instagram by clicking on the camera on the right.

3) I am guilty of this…but no more!!  Every time I take a picture on my camera, it assigns it a number and I just happily insert it into my blog post without a second thought…but what happens once that picture gets pinned on Pinterest?  There’s no way to search for it…how many times have you searched for IMG7994 on Pinterest—yeah…me either!  So by naming your pictures (yes…it takes 1/2 a second more!), my pictures will come up in a search, helping more pinners get back here to reading my ramblings. :)

I’m also going to work on figuring out how to insert a watermark on my blog posts and see about getting one of those cute little signatures at the bottom of my posts. :)  Everything is different about blogging over here in WordPress.com land. :)

As if all the goodies we received at the meet-up weren’t enough…there were several generous companies donated prizes to put in a raffle for each one of the bloggers…

My prize arrived today…These are all from Creative Teaching Press!!  I am SOOO excited about them and since I’m currently addicted to chevron…well…this helped to feed my addiction!! :)

Creative Teaching Press Prize 1

Check out this cute Apple Appeal bulletin board set!!  LOVE those chevron apples and LOVE the hexagons (another one of my favorites!!)Creative Teaching Press Prize 2

Do you see how cute chevron and hexagons are together?  These calendar numbers will be great for sequencing numbers and I can’t wait to use the labels on my book bins!! :)Creative Teaching Press Prize 3

Oh my word…check out the yellow (the pack is actually multicolored) chevron pockets!!  They are at least 5×7 sized!!  I think I’ll put some “What to do when I’m finished activities” in them!  There are chevron name plates and even stickers!!! :)Creative Teaching Press Prize 4I had to show these labels again…just can’t get over how cute they are!! :)

Okay, so on to the giveaway…

image photoONE person is going to win all these prizes (and MORE!!!). All you have to do is enter when you see the Rafflecopter!   It’s hidden on one of our blogs and when you find it, just follow the directions to answer.


Now hop on over to Nicole Swisher’s Blog…All Things Apple in 2nd to see her teacher tool, prize, tips, and to enter into the giveaway again! :)

All Things Apple in 2nd
Kristen :)

Letter Vests!

Were you able to guess what I couldn’t wait to show you last week??

Remember this picture?

Alpha Vests

Well, today I get to show you what it is! :)

The nice folks at Constructive Playthings sent me a box of these Letter Vests to try out with my kiddos.


We’ve had so much fun the last two days trying these out!  I’ve got lots more ideas on how we are going to use them, but I thought I would get you started with these…


First, I love these vests because they are made of durable, thick, coated paper.  I can tell they are going to stand up to the wear and tear of my Kindergarten classroom.  They also have a nifty slot about 2 1/2 inches long right through the top of the letter to help the kiddos take them on and off easily and without ripping the paper!Lettervests2

Second, in the box there are ideas on how to use the vests and an entire list of all the word families you could ever want to make using these vests!Lettervests3

Also, I don’t know if you noticed or not, but on each vest, one side displays the lowercase letter and the uppercase is printed on the other side!!  I also love how the vowels are a different color from the consonants!  In addition, there are several extra letters (for a total of 32) so you can spell those words that have double consonants or vowels in them!!  They’ve thought of everything!! :)


I immediately thought of our blending and segmenting that we have been working on during our phonemic awareness portion of our day.  I thought the kiddos might be more excited about the words if they actually got to BE the words!


First, about 1/2 of my class donned their letters.  I purposely mixed all the letters up so that the kiddos weren’t dependent on alphabetical order to help them make words. getting ready2


Here are some fine letters after they helped us make the word “lap”.

reading the word1

We then had a student point to each letter and we made the sound that the letters made and then we read the sounds together.


Again, here we are saying each sound and then reading the word as a whole.

To segment the words, I had a different set of kiddos come up with different letter vests and we again made some words.  After we made the word, and before reading it aloud, I asked the letters in that word to take one step away from each other, so they were separated a bit.  I then asked the kiddos to tell me what sounds they heard in that word.  For several of my kiddos who were struggling with segmenting, having the letters visually together and then separate, helped to cement in their minds what segmenting means.

*********************making make

I also know my kiddos love to read, but that we needed to add a new sight words game to the arsenal so they wouldn’t get totally bored learning them! I called one student to the front to be the pointer.  Her job was to point to the word that she wanted the kiddos to make.  The letters were supposed to come to the front and stand.  I didn’t tell the kiddos anything about putting themselves into the correct order, some groups did right away, and others (as you will see) left themselves scrambled.

reading make

Making the word “make” led us to a terrific review of the “silent e”.  What really helped the kiddos to see that there was a silent e, was the fact that the vowels were a different color than the consonants.  Even the child who was pointing to the words noticed it when she was pointing for us.  She pointed to the “m”, “a”, “k”, and then the “e”.  I noticed that she hesitated a second on the “e”, as she noticed that it wasn’t making a sound that fit with the rest of the letters!  One of my student suggested that there we a third color of letter “e” in the box, so that it could be used to represent the silent e.  Powerful learning moment!!

How easy would it be to also practice a few word family words this way too??  Just change out the beginning sound…

Or how about nonsense words?  Just call a few random kiddos up and have them stand in a mixed up order…how fun!!


Next, she pointed to the word “play”.


Here are the letters coming to the front…

silly letters

These letters aren’t quite in the right order…


One of my students noticed that as we were reading “play” aloud slowly, that it was difficult for her to separate the “p” away from the “l”, so we had a little mini review about letter blends.  How they are two letters that are more hooked together than other letters.  I no sooner had said those words than the moment below happened.


The little boy who was wearing the letter “l”, moved right next to the boy who was wearing the letter “p” and put his arm around his shoulders…to help signify that when we read these letters aloud, they should be read together. :)  WOW!!

switchingplacesOf course…there was lots of this taking place as we all tried to figure out where we belonged in our “new” sight words!!

One of the last things we did before putting the letters up, was to have everyone wear a letter and then I asked the kiddos to put themselves into alphabetical order so that it would be easier for me to find the letters next time we use them.

Thank you so much to Constructive Playthings for sending these my way and letting me try them out with my kiddos!!  We definitely have a fun new game to play to help us learn all our sight words!

Also, the folks at Constructive Playthings shared that they are doing an April Showers Giveaway.
Throughout the month of April, Constructive Playthings will be showering gifts on their friends and fans. To qualify, like their Facebook page and sign up with your email address. They will be choosing winners randomly two times per week. Click here to enter.

Make sure you “Like” them on Facebook for your chance to enter to be “showered” with gifts. :) How easy is that??

Click above to enter the giveaway and then click any of the pictures or links above to go get some of these AWESOME letter vests of your own!!

What are some other ways you can think of to use these Letter Vests in your classroom??  I can’t wait to hear all your ideas! :)

Leave me a comment below and I’ll pick a winner in a few days to send a few of my Tpt products to. :)

Kristen :)

Spring IKEA trip 2014

I’ve probably said this a zillion times before, but I’ll say it again!  Vacation = trip to IKEA with colleagues!!!  Seriously, every vacation we have through the year, a few of my colleagues and I pick a date and head to IKEA!! This time, I wasn’t looking for anything in particular, but I did need to get a few things for an after school class I’m teaching at my school soon.  Its called “Mad for Monograms” and each project we complete will have the child’s initial(s) on it in some way.

So off we went!

Screen Shot 2014-03-27 at 11.10.13 PM(Loving this new app I learned about at the blogger meet-up called Phonto!!)

Screen Shot 2014-03-27 at 11.11.36 PM

I added these letter trays to my scrapbook room wishlist. :)Screen Shot 2014-03-27 at 11.11.53 PM

Saw this great idea for a dry erase board, so I bought two similar frames to try this…Screen Shot 2014-03-27 at 11.12.03 PMHere’s all my goods. :)


Not the most exciting thing…but I got pillow cases for my after school class.  We are going to iron on either their name or the first letter in their name to the front. :)IMG_7178

I also picked up these little reusable sandwich pouches.  The kiddos in my after school class will iron on the first letter in their name and then I’m going to help them embroider (by hand) a flower or other little design on them to fancy them up. :)IMG_7179

Saw these cute bandaids and couldn’t pass them up for .79 a box!  Space ships, cats/bears, and plain…my kiddos will love these when they get an owie. :)IMG_7180

These metal buckets were a steal at .79 each!  I’m thinking I might use them as little trash pails at each table, but I might end up using them at home to plant some flowers in too. :)IMG_7181

These marker stampers were a “new” item from the Spring catalog…you get 6 for $3.99 and then stamp the designs you see on the front of the package.  I got them to use in place of stickers when I check their homework packets in.  IMG_7182

Love, love, love this pretend baby bath!  I’m going to use it in my classroom Vet’s office and the kids can wash the animals.  It comes with everything you see, except for the dog.


My 9 year old was in a good mood today and wanted to help model it for you. :)IMG_7184

How cute is this freshly “washed” puppy?  All wrapped up in the included hooded towel!IMG_7185

I also got these new finger puppets.  They are fairy tale themed and will fit right in with the animal finger puppets I got from IKEA last year.  IMG_7186

It comes with this cardboard castle and a white card with these finger like shapes attached to them.  I’m sure it was just in there for display in the packaging, but it seemed like something the kids might like to help hold more puppets than they have fingers for so I kept it–it probably won’t last too long, but we will see! ;)IMG_7187



These are the picture frames I got to try that dry erase idea.  These were $2.99 each and I made sure they had a sheet of plastic in them to use as the dry erase surface.  These colors match what I have in my classroom, so I’m going to insert some cute scrapbook paper and hang them up! IMG_7190I thought I might hang one on our classroom door so I can write sight words on it.  When we are waiting in line, the kids can read them and read one to me on the way out the door.

Kristen :)

Indiana Teacher’s $1 Sale!!

After attending the Indiana Blogger Meet-up last weekend in French Lick…one of the things we decided we wanted to do (among lots of other fun things coming soon!!), was to have a sale showcasing Indiana Bloggers.  So for today only, we have put special items in our Tpt stores on sale for $1.00!!

Screen Shot 2014-03-29 at 12.16.21 PM

I’ve got my Ways to Make pack on sale for $1.00:

Screen Shot 2014-02-16 at 4.14.43 PM

and my 2D and 3D shape game packs on sale for $1.00 each!! :)

2D Shape Games

3D Shape Games

Here are the rest of my Indiana Blogger friends who are also having a $1.00 sale today! :)

(Click the link below to see all of them!)


Kristen :)

A Sneak Peak…

I was contacted a few weeks ago by Constructive Playthings about doing a product review–and because I literally drool over the catalog each time we get a new one at school (my wishlist is huge!!), I told them I would be more than happy to review a product…but I’m not going to show the whole thing to you just yet. :)  I need to build up some suspense…okay, not really, but I want to show you how this product works in a Kindergarten classroom–I’ve already come up with a bunch of ideas for using these:


This is the only clue you’re getting for now. :)  What do you think it is and what might I be going to do with it?  I will tell you, its not my Super Teacher cape–although…that does sound like something I should look into. :)  Because we are on Spring Break, I don’t have any models to show you this product in action just yet…it will all soon be revealed. :)
Also, the folks at CP Toys shared that they are doing an April Showers Giveaway.
Throughout the month of April, Constructive Playthings will be showering gifts on their friends and fans. To qualify, like their Facebook page and sign up with your email address. They will be choosing winners randomly two times per week. Click here to enter.
Make sure you “Like” them on Facebook for your chance to enter to be “showered” with gifts. :) 
Any guesses on what the product might be?
Kristen :)

Blogger Meet-up

I had the privilege of attending the Indiana Blogger Meet-Up last weekend in beautiful French Lick Indiana.  There were over 50 other bloggers who attended–on their own time!  We had some great conversations, planned some awesome things (be looking for those), and exchanged some great ideas!


We also had a little teacher tool gift exchange and I’ll be showing you soon what give I gave and received!  I LOVE my gift!!

Holly Ehle from Mrs. Ehle’s Kindergarten planned and hosted the entire weekend and she was the hostess with the mostess!  She thought of everything and had even been sweet enough to contact companies that might like to donate to some teachers. :)

Thank you Holly!! It was SO much fun–can’t wait to do it again! :)

Look at all the goodies we received!!


Each teacher received a new Vera Bradley bag! IMG_7164

The nice people at Scentos donated a box of their brand new scented markers to each of us!!  We are some of the first people in the US to get them!!  They won’t be on the market until Back to School time!IMG_7165

We also got these awesome Scentos Ten color ink pens–LOVE that each color has a different scent! :)IMG_7167

Jamberry nails (Holly!) gave each of us some nail samples to try–I’ll show you those when I get them on! :)IMG_7168

SDE and Crystal Springs also sent information about their books and upcoming conferences. :)  Erin Condren sent each one of us a $10 gift card too!! IMG_7170

These were the Vera Bradley patterns we had to chose from. :)IMG_7171

Just love all these colors!IMG_7172



One of the highlights of the meet-up was that I got to meet Mr. Greg from The Kindergarten Smorgasboard!!  IMG_7175

He helped to lead our Blogger Tips and Tricks session where bloggers old and new could ask questions of each other and exchange ideas. :)IMG_1658

We also exchanged business cards so we could keep in touch!  Look at all the new blogging friends I made!! :)

Kristen :)

New Design…

I love being on Spring Break!!  I wish I could go some where warm this year, but there was too much to do here at home!  I decided to check into getting a new blog design…couldn’t find anyone who might be able to help me with a wordpress blog, so after some research in the wee hours of the morning…I figured out I could tackle it myself! 
What do you think so far?  It’s my first attempt at this, so I have some cleaning up to do here and there, but I like how its starting to come together.  I am a crafter/rubber stamper, so to get the color scheme, I picked out my 5 most favorite colors of card stock and worked from there.  I also love the polka-dot background. :) 
I’ll be working on adding some new social media buttons soon (Facebook, Pinterest, Twitter, etc.), so you might see things change and be replaced as I figure out how to get the code right!
Thanks for reading! 
Kristen :)



Living and Nonliving

We started one of my most favorite units this week–our Living and Nonliving unit!  I had the kiddos draw and write about what they thought Living and Nonliving meant and had them write or draw about it in their Science Notebooks:





I LOVE Kindergarten writing!! :)IMG_0108

She’s writing “We are living”.IMG_0109

“Mrs. Poindexter, this is a paper heart, not a real heart, real hearts beat, paper hearts do not”. IMG_0110



IMG_0113As they notebooked, I walked around asking them what “living” and “nonliving” meant to them and why they chose to draw or write some of the things they did.  I used this as kind of a pre-assessment to help me figure out how long we needed to spend on defining what living and nonliving mean to this group.  They did a pretty good job with their choices and were able to give several reasons why they drew and wrote what they did.

We got together in partners after they had 10 minutes to draw and write to discuss with their partners about what they chose to write or draw about.  Its always so interesting to me to listen in on their conversations and hear what their thinking is and the understanding behind their thinking.

Kristen :)

Visiting the Vet

The kiddos have had so much fun learning about how to be Veterinarians this week.  I posted last week about the awesome resources from Twinkl that made it so easy to set up my vet’s office quickly and simply!

The conversations that the kiddos are having with each other about the problems of their pets are incredible.  To hear them ask each other about their pets, what is wrong with their pets, and their suggestions for fixing the problems are so cute!

Screen Shot 2014-03-12 at 9.29.19 PM

They love sitting in the waiting room waiting for their pets to be seen!  Twinkl has a wonderful Pet Details sheet that the children fill outto let the vet know about the problems their pet is having. Screen Shot 2014-03-12 at 9.30.18 PM

Here are the vet’s of the day, fixing up an invisible parrot!

Screen Shot 2014-03-12 at 9.31.34 PMOne of my kiddos waits patiently for her pet dog to be brought back to her while the other two wait with their jaguar and polar bear!  We are an exotic animal hospital after all!

Has anyone tried Twinkl yet?  They have so many resources, its fun to get lost in sorting through all of them!  What is your favorite so far?

Vet’s Office via twinkl

Yesterday, I shared about twinkl with you!  Who went and looked around?  What awesome stuff did you find that you could use?

Today, I’m going to share how I used the resource pack from twinkl to transform my home living area into a Vet’s office.  I laminated each item so it would last for the next month or so. :)


Every Vet’s office needs appointment cards!IMG_6897

 I used these cards in the pocket chart that is in my vet’s office.  The children can use them to help diagnose their patients. :)IMG_6898

These are the beautiful, real pictures that are included in the pack.  I hung these around my vet’s office as they were appropriate. IMG_6899

Love this sheet that the humans have to fill out about their pets. :)IMG_6900

I made two copies of this Pet Care word mat and placed them different places in the vet’s office.  The children can use these as a guide to write sentences about their pets.

IMG_6901You can’t have a vet’s office without a way to keep track of your appointments!

IMG_6902This sign showing when the office is open will help my kiddos learn to tell time. :)

IMG_6903 IMG_6904

My kiddos love the OPEN and CLOSED signs. They like to be the one who flips the sign over to OPEN the store. IMG_6905

Also included, are these great posters to include in your vet’s office area as advertisements for services that are offered there. :)  Love the variety!


And of course, worried human mommies and daddies will need a place to wait while their pet is being looked at!

Now a look at how this all looks in the vet’s office!IMG_6907



Inside the vet’s office.  The patients are on the right, the vet’s exam table is in the middle and the stove holds important tools and bandages. IMG_6910


Love these signs! :)IMG_6912

Pet wash area!! :) IMG_6914





Vet’s bag of tools. IMG_6919


This appointment sheet is laminated so that it can be used over and over again. :)IMG_6921







The kids voted and determined that we will have an exotic animal vet’s office, complete with polar bears, jaguars, horses, cows, beavers, and ducks!  We looked through all the stuffed animals I had in the closet and these won out!

I’ll post more pictures of everything in action soon. :)

Kristen :)


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