Monday, November 17, 2014

Attack Of The Squirrels!

Greetings friends. It’ s me, Crystal. Owner of this hot mess establishment we call Kreative in Kinder. We are still friends aren't we? I know, I’m the MIA chickadee that’s been swimming upstream this year. Things are getting better though. I think. Wait, I need to go knock on wood. Ha!

Seriously, I am determined to make this year work. This year is known as the year of changes. And changes. Oh, and changes.  Objective changes, curriculum changes, overall atmosphere of kids kind of changes. Yep, ch ch ch changes. (You are either singing that song OR you don’t know what the heck I am talking about and I am officially OLD, sigh.) These changes have me stretched to the max. Lots of pulling at my heart, shedding of tears, my nerves, my sleep schedule. I know, I am preaching to the choir here. I hear you screaming, PREACH. Ha!

And, because my life isn’t crazy enough, my middle child had the flu last week. Yep, he’s starting us off nice and early. At least I was a crazy proactive mom that ran straight to urgent care as soon as he started running a fever so he kicked it in three days.  I think Jesus has jokes. Love me some Jesus but man oh man, he thinks I have a cape or something lately. I keep looking in my closet for it. All I can find are jeans that don’t fit! Ha! I think my super hero name would be Super Hot Mess, or Captain Hot Mess. Can girls be Captains? I will have to ask my youngest. He can school me on all things super heroes. I think my super power would be to have the ability to clone myself. It only makes sense. I can have one chase that kid, one read to a group, one pass out tissues because the snot problem has run amuck, one monitor the bathroom because apparently it is cool to miss the toilet lately, and one that can play with my hair because that relaxes me. Ha!

I have asthma. I am sure I have complained about this before. Well, today I had a lot of trouble because of the constant weather changing so I had to take a few breathing treatments and a steroid. This is why I am still awake at midnight. And why I am all hyped up like I broke into the convenience store and drank all the coffee, mountain dew, and ate all the candy.  OMG why am I still awake?! Why am I talking a million miles an hour in my head? 

Oh, and guess what else? I created something new today. Can you believe it. It’s been months since I had time to sit down and actually make something I needed. I was looking at my calendar and honestly, December could have me breathing into a paper bag already. I kind of went into a panic yesterday. As in, I already bought all of my own kids Christmas presents on Amazon yesterday because I don’t think I will have time shop. I know, that’s super crazy but they are all teens and only wanted a few things, usually one big thing. 

Can I tell you the most ridiculous thing? (Sorry, I’m being attacked by squirrels and can’t focus) My daughter wants a mermaid tail. Yes, my soon to be 18 year old daughter would like her very own mermaid tale that she can swim in that has super special fin to make it real. Um, how can it be “real” when mermaids are not real? Secondly, do you know that those things cost up to $400!! No thank you. She will swim in it three times and I will have to supervise this situation to make sure she doesn’t drown and then she will get bored or it will be too hard and she won’t wear it anymore. People, I can’t make this stuff up! I did find one for $100 on amazon though. She said that if I won’t buy her one then can I just give her money (so she can buy her own). It’s a lose-lose mermaid tail situation here.

Back to my first thought. December will be craziness with special activities, field trips, studying holidays around the world, and topped off with the beloved holiday party. So, I made this HolidayHelper set. Want to know something else crazy?! (I’m full of all kinds of random information tonight, or is it this morning, idk.) I was thinking as it posted that stuff must of frozen over since I finally made something since THIS SUMMER, and guess what happened? It started SNOWING! And in right now! In Texas. In NOVEMBER! What on Earth?!  Is that a good sign? I hope so. Pure craziness. This also means that when I wake up in a few hours, if I can ever go to sleep, I need to leave even earlier because the roads could potentially be wet and people in Texas do not know how to drive in any sort of cold weather. Truth.

Do you have a week of Thanksgiving off? I do and I am so stinking excited about it too! My kids do not because they are in a different district and I am also excited about that because I can go grocery shopping and prep everything before they go on break without chasing my tail.

Okay, I am out of control with this post. I’m pretty sure I will read this tomorrow and say, what the heck?! Ha! Ugh, this medicine gives me a super headache. My friend was super sweet and dropped off some essential oils to help with my asthma. I’m not sure if I am supposed to bath in it, smell it or drink it but I think I will read the instructions and then attempt to go to bed. I’ve got 22 littles to attend to in the morning.  They come to school wired for sound too. I wasn’t at school on Friday because I was home with the flu kid so I am sure I have great things to look forward to upon my return. Ha!

Click the pics to see more of my latest and as always, it’s on sale for its debut. I'll do my best to come back tomorrow to post what we have been up to in our classroom. 

I also added some fun t-shirts to my store this weekend too.

Click the pic to see more!

Love and virtual hugs! 

Monday, October 27, 2014

Trick AND Treat Just For YOU!!!

Who said kids get to have ALL of the fun? If anyone deserves a good ole treat, it’s YOU!  We've got your back! I hope you brought your bag because you're about to embark on some ah-mazing 
Teacher Trick & Treating!

I have teamed up with my Freebielicious friends again to share some teaching tricks and special free treats for you!  

I have a few TRICKS up my sleeve that I would love to share. Brace yourself people, it's not rocket science so set a medial expectation pretty please but hopefully it's something you can use. 

First, do you have "reading glasses" for your kids? My kids LOVE reading with their glasses. I always go to Oriental Trading online a few times a year and I buy a few dozen when they are on clearance. They usually have holiday themed ones that I purchase after the holiday for next year. Pop out the lenses and wha la! Magical reading glasses

Next, did you notice what he is reading? I love the scholastic weekly reader but can't always afford to do it every year (like this year) so last year I was diligent to laminate all of my science issues for future use. I switch out the issues in their book boxes so they have different issues to read. I also do that with old issues of kids national geographic and other magazines. I take out the binding, laminate them and put them on a ring. My kids have read the same ones for years and they LOVE them. 

Another tool for reading is a fun pointer finger. I purchased these martian fingers from Oriental but I can always find them around Halloween at the store too. I usually wait until after Halloween to find them on clearance and buy them for their summer bags. They have ones that glow in the dark too, which is super fun for flash light reading. Seriously, fingers and glasses puts my kids in reading heaven and they haven't been a distraction *yet*. 

Moving on...I don't know about you, but fine motor ability seems to be a MAJOR issue with my students and each year it gets worse. I can't pinpoint what the reason is though. I try to have regular activities for them to increase strength in those little muscles. 

During our last round of centers, I wrote their name a few times on a sentence strip and they traced it with different colors of glue. Just add a few drops of food coloring to a bottle of glue and there ya go. 

So, for our new round of centers, I am writing five different sight words on a sentence strip for them to trace with glue. I like to do similar centers as often as possible to help with independence. We won't glue words all year but we will do it for one more round because the kids LOVE it, it's easy and it's purposeful in more than one way. I ask them to say the letter (spell) as they put glue on it and when they are finished, they have to read the words to their center partner. Then, if they finish early, they practice writing the same words on a dry erase board. Easy peasy.  

Now, for your freebie! I have decided to make a huge class turkey next week. I am going to print these out on white cardstock and send them home. I will create one to show my students before I send it home too. It will include pictures of my family, pictures from magazines or newspapers of things that I am thankful for, etc. I hope they will have fun with this and I look forward to how different each feather will be. Just click this picture below to grab your freebie. I hope you like this idea!

Now hop along to the next Freebielicious friend to see what their Trick & Treat is! Fill that bag up friend! 

Kindergarten Smiles

Love and virtual hugs!!

Sunday, October 19, 2014

This AND That

Oh. My. Goodness. 

Have you ever watched a dog chase their tail over and over and over and wonder why they keep doing it? Well my friends, welcome to my life. I wish I was cool enough to be the dog trainer but nope, I'm the girl chasing my tail. I'm Ms. Frizzle but the hot mess version. ;). I told my teammate that I'm living one of my favorite lines from Steel Magnolios..."I'm not sure if I need to scratch my watch or wind my butt." Ha! 

I really can't put my finger on that one thing that has me struggling this year so I'm just praying over anything and everything. Our new math TEKS (objectives in the country of Texas, ha!) are a fierce beast and in my opinion initially too hard for the average kindergartner's developmental capabilities. But, I teach. And they try. And I teach. And then we all need a hug. Sigh. 

It will be okay. God is definitely stretching me this year but my heart is big enough for all of it. I just have to remind myself that no matter what expectation is put on me, my expectations for my students need to for that of a five year old. I think our world is in such a rush to grow children up to be little geniuses but we forget to let them be little. I wish social development was part of our objectives. There is something to be said for the teacher that teaches the WHOLE child. That is the child who walks away changed. 

Clearly, I have a ton on my mind and any time I could just explode with my opinions but I thought of give you a little peek to what we've been up to instead.

So..on to this and that!

What's in out pocket chart....

Last week we read several books about fall and the kids loved the apples book. Apples really weren't in the plan but my kids were inquisitive. I saw a door open and ran through it! We had some quick, impromptu learning fun.

I found this chart on Pinterest by my friend Abby from the Inspired Apple (that makes me giggle bc the inspired apple inspired my apple..ha! I know, I'm lame.) and I made my own. :)

On Thursday everyone brought an apple and we observed them. We sorted them by color, short/no stem or tall stem, big or small and sticker or no sticker. Then we graphed our results. 

On Friday we made applesauce. We peeled and cut about ten apples and tossed them into the crock pot. I put a little cinnamon and about a cup of water in it. It took about four hours to cook and man did our class smell tummy! 

We made apple investigator hats for all of our apple adventures too. I baked an apple pie the night before so we could taste our applesauce, apple pie and apple juice. I'm always surprised how many kids have never tried all of these before. It was a ton of fun! We needed to have some fun!!! Objectives are great to keep learning focused but there shouldn't be too many of them that you have to limit experiences to squeeze them all in. I loved how my students referenced our matter unit w our applesauce too. It's all about experiences and connections! 
Friday we also had flash light reading. It's definitely a Friday favorite (other than free centers lol). If we can do our best at Read to Self Mon-Thurs, on Friday we turn the lights off and read by flash light. 

Here is our Read to Self chart. I like to use real picture of students following the rules instead of clipart for this chart. They also love to see themselves on the chart. :) 

One of the letters we learned this week was "G" so we made these ghosts to hang from our ceiling. They are made out if paper plates, construction paper and white streamers. They are pretty funny because I just gave my kids construction paper and told them to make it however they wanted patterns. They were super proud of their work. :)

Did I mention that we had a fire truck visit was on Friday too? I can't possible explain how much me crammed into one day. Ha! 

I got my school pics. Usually we just get a proof but this year I got a big package lol. I'm not sure if I should mail them to all my BFFs or put them in Christmas cards?! Ha! And can we also notice how my dress appears to be off of my left should a tad AND it looks like I have this crazy tan line that does not exist by the way. How does that happen? lol Can we say retakes?!! ;)

Okay. That's all I've got for now. Actually I have a gazillion other things I want to share with you and even more pictures but let's be honest, I'm blogging from my phone and I'm already in bed. Ha! 

Monday isn't here yet and I already feel it. I hate complaining about Mondays because I feel like that makes it look like I don't love my job because I do. I really really do. That doesn't mean it isn't hard and unpredictable. Loving my job doesn't take away the stress and concern I have for my kids...but love makes it worth it. That, my friends is why I set my alarm every day. I go ahead and give tomorrow to God and just pray he walks with me. 

I'm not sure what he is doing this year in my life, career and classroom but I dont have to see the bigger picture to know my job is not to be in control. My job is to just be available. 

I read your messages and comments on Facebook and know that I'm not the only one that feels this way. Just know that what you do is important. The seed you are planting can change the life of your student. Some days they need your love more than they need your lessons. When you're teaching the whole child, that is important too!! 

Tomorrow the pumpkins are coming! I can't wait. Pumpkin week is my favorite and on Friday everyone carves one. It's great. We use my pumpkin unit too! The whole school stinks like pumpkins  on Friday lol. It's good times!!

I'm drifting off. Good night moon.

Sending you love and virtual hugs! 

Friday, October 3, 2014


Greetings friends! I am SO EXCITED to share with you some exciting news. If you follow my blog, you know I am a BIG fan of ESGI.  You can read my previous post here. I included lots of pics and details in it.

I discovered them last year and man oh man did it save me hours upon HOURS of time last year. ESGI provides an online software for assessing students and keeps track of all the data. Amazing. Some of the awesome things you can do are:

·       Print out parent letters that show exactly what they know and what they don’t know.
·       Print off flash cards for certain skills they did not master in an assessment.
·       Monitor whole class progress through pie graphs for each assessment AND bar graphs to show exactly what letter, number, word, etc. needs to be worked on in your class.

Really, these are just a few things you can do with this program. There is SO much more. The data alone has been a life saver for my team and I. So long making spreadsheet after spreadsheet. Before I would take a week to assess for report cards. Now, I can assess my entire report card each grading period in one morning (most of the time).

Now, for the BEST news!! For the last few months, I have been creating tests for TEXAS teachers specially aligned to your kinder TEKS. ESGI now offers 57 ELA and Math assessments that you have access to with your license.

You can read their blog post about it here:

If you haven’t tried ESGI, sign up now for a FREE 60 DAY trial.

With this new launch, I am also giving away one FREE year subscription of ESGI software. All you need to do is click the picture below and sign up for the free sixty day trial. Try it out for yourself. This is a special link created just for my blog so by clicking it, you will be signed up to enter this awesome giveaway. A winner will be chosen Monday, October 13th, 2014. You have until Sunday, October 12th, 2014 at 11:59 p.m. to register for a chance to win. No purchase is necessary. I hope you win! 

Seriously, try it out. I promise you won't be disappointed. Have I ever steered you wrong? Well..there was that one time.... Haha! J/K. Try it; share it with your administrator. If they are nuts about data, this will be a lifesaver and they will want it! Use my blog promo code B4477 and get $40 OFF too.

Here is a video about the software along with some input from their website. :) 

So, get to clicking, Sign up and cross your fingers because this is a giveaway you NEED! 
(Click this pic and go!)