Black Friday SALE!!!
Happy Thanksgiving to all who are celebrating!
In honor of Black Friday, I am joining a whole bunch of my blogging friends, and putting my entire teaching store on sale on Friday, November 29!

On Friday only (yes, that's tomorrow!) you can save 20% off

 of every single product!

However, if you want to hold out until Monday and Tuesday, you can save 28% off of everything in my store because Teachers Pay Teachers is having a Cyber Monday (and Tuesday) sale! Everything in my store will be 20% off on Monday and Tuesday and Teachers Pay Teachers is offering an additional 10% off, which actually comes out to a savings of 28%! Make sure you use the code CYBER to save the extra 10%.

So whenever you shop, either this Friday to save 20%, or on Monday and Tuesday to save 28% the savings are fabulous!

While you are there, you might want to look at some of these products to get you ready for the holidays...
Have a wonderful weekend!
Gobble Gobble!

My new classroom...a complete transformation!

The day finally came...this past Monday.
Can you sense the excitement in my writing?!?!  This move was long overdue!
With my class of 27 students, the classroom we were in since school started in September started to feel smaller and smaller as each day went on.  We made it work, but, boy, did it ever feel GREAT to show the students our new class and officially move in yesterday.
When I went to work on Monday, this is what I had to work with.
So many possibilities were running through my head.  It is a MUCH bigger classroom than I had ever been in and I knew that I didn't necessarily want more stuff in it, I wanted more space for the kids to move.
If you've been following my blog for the last couple of months you will know that I am currently taking a Kindergarten Part 1 AQ course with Joanne Babalis.  She has been such an inspiration, sharing her classroom and insights with me, and has the patience of a saint!  Really!
I think I ask way too many questions when I'm with her!
You can check out her fabulous blog here.
I've modelled quite a few things you will see in this new classroom after ideas I've picked up from being in her classroom.  It's such an inviting and family-like environment that I really wanted the children in my class to feel the same way when they come to school each day.
Here's our new classroom (a view from the door).

My students are used to self-regulated snack.  Simply put, when they are hungry for a snack, they choose something to eat and sit at the snack table which is open all day long.  To help make this a little easier for the children, since we all know that it can be overwhelming for a child to open a lunch box and see so many things, we ask parents to label snacks #1 (morning) and #3 (afternoon) and lunch foods as #2.
On top of the cubbies we placed photos of all the families.  Students brought these in at the beginning of the year.  On the wall above are our Nature Names.
My favourite area of the classroom has to be the Writing Centre.  In my old room nearly ALL of the kids loved the writing centre.  It was a small trapezoid table with some unorganized papers, a container of markers and crayons and a drawer full of stencils.  It looked messy and the kids left it that way all the time.
I decided that since this was probably the most popular centre in the room, it had to be much bigger to accommodate everyone.  It also had to be neat and organized.
Let me tell you that when something it presented in an orderly way, kids will put things back where they are (okay, maybe not 100% of the time, but so far it's working!).
Here it is....the new Writing Centre!

The last picture shows my Vocabulary Flip Books.  Students use these like mini dictionaries.  They are arranged by theme.  You can find these here.
My ECE, Mrs. Petrone, and I decided to create an inviting place to read (which we call the Book Nook) and do other quiet activities, such as the Imagination Board and Puppet Centre.
This is my small group reading and writing area ... it doubles as my teaching desk too!
(Please excuse the mess - long day and I still have to tidy up!)
This is our classroom birthday bulletin board.  I just love the idea of using the students' photos!

Here is our new bulletin board called our Wonder Wall.  This was taken from Joanne Bablis' classroom.  Once she explained how she utilizes her photos, I knew that I wanted to showcase my students wonderings as well.
This is my beautiful new carpet.  I wanted to keep with the natural colours theme.
You will notice an alphabet above our bulletin boards at the front of the classroom.
We made that alphabet using "Beautiful Stuff" that we brought in from home.  There was a lot of work before the alphabet took shape.  Students discussed what they brought in and why it was important to them, they sorted everything in various piles, and then choose what would be appropriate to use for each letter of the alphabet.  We wanted to use things that started with that letter (i.e. I - insects, J - jacks and Jack-o-lanterns)
This is our Blocks area.  I decided to have the students use the carpet to build instead of a small space which we used in our old classroom.  You should have seen the creations that were taking place!  It's incredible what a difference giving students more space to explore and build makes!
I have a few other areas of the class...sand, sensory bin, math carpet area, listening centre, dramatic centre.  I promise to post these pictures soon (still a work in progress...the dramatic centre is reverting back to a McDonald's...the children haven't finished assembling it all).
I'm loving my new classroom and so are the children! 

Dramatic Centre: It's McDonald's!

The Dramatic Centre is always such a hit in my class.  In the past, I used to refer to it as the "House Centre" but this year we have been changing it to so many different things that we just had to change that title.
The day after Halloween, I immediately take down my Halloween decorations - including the Monster CafĂ© which was happening over at the Dramatic Centre.  No, I am not the type to switch them out for Christmas ones (it is still WAY too early for me!) so I told the children we needed to come up with something new for our classroom centre.
One student said that she went to McDonald's for dinner the night before and wanted to turn it into McDonald's.  Well, it took about 4 seconds before the whole class chimed in and agreed!
So that was the beginning of our McDonald's.
We spent the first day or so looking online to see what the "M" in the McDonald's logo looked like and begin to work together to recreate it.  We brainstormed other things that we wanted at our McDonald's, such as a Drive-thru and speaker set, menus posted and a seating area.
Last weekend I took my own children to McDonald's for lunch (with the excuse that I had to start collecting real things for our Dramatic Centre, of course) I began to bring things in.  So did other students.  Before you know it, we had set up what felt like a real McDonald's in our classroom!
The students quickly realized that being organized is they got straight to work.
Menus needed to be sorted.
Food needed to be organized.
Food items needed to be on display.
This week we are going to add a "car" (one of our large empty boxes the students will decorate) so that we can start "driving up" to our drive-thru entrance.
Tomorrow is MOVING DAY!  FINALLY!  After nearly 3 months, my brand-new, larger, much larger, classroom is ready for me to move in!  We hope that all will be ready and in order for the students to move in on Tuesday.
I think it's going to be a l-o-n-g day tomorrow so I'm off to bed.  Lots of pictures to come!