'Tis the Season to Give...Giveaway and FREEBIE!!!

Hi friends:

How is everyone spending this well-deserved school break? I am having a blast with my family! Was able to work on things around the house, school stuff and as soon a I finish this post, hubby and I will begin planning our road trip to San Francisco. We are planning to spend about four days in the bay area after driving 9 hours..each way. Let's see how that goes with a 4 and a 12-year old!

I've been working on some pretty cool things this past few days and I would like to share them with you. But first, grab your FREEBIE here!




2013 has been a great year for our family! And we should give back to our community, especially to out teaching community. I am doing a unique GIVEAWAY!!!

For the first 15 people who leave a comment on my blog with their favorite product from my TpT store....I will email the product to you....no strings attached! Make sure you specify the product and your email.

Check out my most recent MLK products!


Happy Holidays!!

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Christmas in a Red Envelope

Merry Christmas!

I just want to share with you a special card I received today.

When I began teaching in 2003, I had a couple of great mentors, and one of them told me about the "Good Box". The purpose of this box was to save memorable items from my students and families. Throughout the years I have been collecting cards, pictures, drawings, and special items that have a special place in my heart. 

Teaching is challenging. When I am stressed-out and overwhelmed I dig into my box and "recharge" my batteries to keep going. I still have a rewarding note from Mrs. Tirado, my second grade teacher who inspired me to become a teacher.

Today I was given something that definitely will go in my "Good Box" and in my heart.

My Christmas present came in a red envelope!

Here's the translation (for my English speaker readers)

Ms. Janice, there's many reasons why we are grateful to you. In our daughter's behalf we thank you for accepting the call to be a teacher, by the way, not any teacher but the best teacher we have met. Thank you for opening your heart and your classroom doors to our daughter. For welcoming her every morning with a smile. You have changed our lives and filled us with teaching strategies and ideas on how teach our daughter. Thank you for making your class so entertaining and special with activities, crafts and projects and for the extra time you've invested in our daughter. For every homework you send home. Thank you for teaching our daughter to recognize her name and begin to write it independently, just thank you for each detail of your job, it's reflected in our daughter's development. 
We appreciate your work!
Blessings to you and your family. Your family should feel very proud of you.
The Delgado Family

I was feeling a little overwhelmed today, besides deadlines, assessments and meetings - we had to organize and prepare two Winter Programs, one in Spanish and one in English - with 20 students in each class. Each program had four songs, a cookie decorating activity and the visit of our surprise visitor, Santa Claus! 

When I read this beautiful card, I felt like I was alone in that room, so peaceful! This is the exact reason I began teaching 10 years ago....to make a difference in the children's life and I am very please to say I have. 

This family is just amazing! Mr. and Mrs. Delgado, you are the parents any teacher could wish for - involved, supportive, loving, understanding, advocates and just amazing! Thank you for allowing me to be part of your lives and serve you the best way I know how. 
Just remember this: "Only special parents have special children".

What to you keep in your "Good Box"?

Merry Christmas!
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The Polar Express: Flash Freebie!

Hi friends,

I'm sure you are counting the days until Christmas break....I am (four more days and counting!). This upcoming week will be filled with winter-inspired activities, goodies from our elf friend, Snowy; and lots of surprises for my kiddos!

The past week we watched a six-minute documentary on The Polar Express, and they loved it! Because of that I have created this great bilingual language and literacy product to satisfy their craving for more Polar Express.


Get your freebie {{HERE}}
For limited time only!
How are you going to celebrate this last week of school before the winter break?

Keep learning!

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The Adventures of Snowy the Elf

Hi friends!

And the countdown continues, only 17 days until Christmas! The tree is up, the decorations are displayed, the shopping is in process, and our elf has arrived!

This is the very first time I incorporate the Elf on the Shelf in my classroom, and my kiddos are loving it! A very cold package was delivered on Monday. Everyone was curious about what was in that special delivery package.
Sorry about the poor lighting on this pic. I guess the North Pole workers were working double-shifts and were extremely tired!

Everybody helped opened the package and we read the Elf on the Shelf book. The reactions from my kiddos varied. Some were pretty excited about the elf's arrival and some of my students were scared. I was asked lots of questions: how big will be the elf? will he be scary? will he take me to the North Pole? will he bring presents? do we need to leave him cookies and milk like Santa? This "simple" introduction took a loooong time! 

On Tuesday, we had the so much anticipated visit. Choosing "her" name was an adventure itself. After negotiations, voting, and consensus our elf was named Snowy, like Snow White!.....so cute!
Snowy arrived into our classroom with some very nice behavior cards. Courtesy of the North Pole and Rebecca Stone - you can download them {{HERE}}.

Day 2: Our mischievous Snowy appeared on top of our fire alarm. 

Day 3: Snowy appeared on our white board. To have a closer look to everything that was going on in our classroom.
Stay tuned to learn more about the adventures of Snowy the Elf.

Keep learning!

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24 Days 'till Christmas and a $1 Math Product!

Hi friends,

Well, Thanksgiving vacation is officially over. Time to set the alarm clocks again and get ready for tomorrow.......yay!?!?!!

Here's what's going on in our household right now!


I have {finally} finished with my new product! A math resource for Pre-k and Kindergarten. It focuses on patterns, classification, cutting, organization, and other math skills that can be included in your math guided block or in your morning routine!

For only $1.00 you can get your Math Resource Christmas Nativity product {{HERE}}.

Keep learning!
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Made it Monday & {FREEBIE: Christmas Packet}

Hi friends,

I am sure you all have tried some of the recipes for paint, playdough, paint, flubber or glue on Pinterest, I know I have too! I am always in the search for great sensory/manipulative materials for my kiddos (at home and in the classroom) to explore and experiment.

My favorite recipes are the ones that involve all of the senses enabling and stimulating the sense of smell.

From almost 300 recipes for learning and exploring, I can say I have tried a third of those. Some have not been successful at all and some have been a success in my classroom (and at home).
Cloud dough was the recipe that I tried and loved it! I found this recipe from Paging fun Mums! For only $2.00 I was able to provide my children with hours of exploration and away from the TV or the computer...even my 12-year-old!\

You only need 1 cup of hair conditioner (any brand will do) and 2 cups of cornflour. You can add food coloring and glitter if you'd like. Mix it all together and have fun! It can be easily stored in a plastic container air-tight sealed and lasts for  long time. We are still using the batch we made over a month ago.

On another note.....I reached 1,500 followers on Pinterest...so excited! I am celebrating this accomplishment with a great Christmas FREEBIE!
Download your FREEBIE {{HERE}}

Please share what is the best school recipe you've tried from Pinterest!

Keep learning!
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Fall mural update and Currently

Hi friends,

Not that I have but, have you started you winter break countdown? Cooler weather and holidays approaching...where did this year go? Loving this time of year though!


So, here's what's up!




Here's our final project: A Fall-themed mural!
Above the Colors of the Fall paintings we worked on math skills placing leaved on trees.

Keep learning!
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Pumpkins and Brushes

Hi friends,

To feed into the fall-spirit of my class, I decided to bring some of the beautiful San Diego nature into our art projects and into our classroom.

Using craft sticks, I stapled four silk leaved to be used as brushes when we explore the different colors of the fall.
Will keep you updated with the response of my kiddos.
As part of this week's homework, the students took a pumpkin home and were encouraged to work with their family members decorating the pumpkin. These are just some of the amazing collection of one-of-a-kind art pieces decorating our classroom.
We spent the last 15 minutes today "showing off" our pumpkins with the class! They talked about what they did, how and who helped them. Both parents and students .....and of course, the teacher were very excited about this assignment

Stay tuned for updates!

Keep learning,

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Sensory Exploration Saturday

Hi friends,

This post will be short and sweet, just like my week! In honor to this fun holiday, I have come up with a very exciting sensory table idea which my kiddos loved!


This specific sensory table idea targets the needs of most of my kiddos. To start with, we have color matching - using the same colored -materials, tweezers and tub. Fine motor skills were also practiced with the use of the tweezers. The children were encouraged to use the tweezers to get the pumpkin seeds and put them inside the small plastic pumpkins (which I previously posted, along with the instructions to dye the seeds).
The yellow, green and red leaves were a combination of real and silk leaves - which we practiced classification and sensory exploration.

How's your fall-inspired activities going? Any big plans for Halloween? We are having a book character parade...that should be fun...stay tuned!

Keep learning!
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Five Fall-y Activities

Hello again,

Like I mentioned in a previous post, my kiddos are literally obsessed with anything pumpkin! They even ask if the cafeteria lady would make pumpkin pie for them....really?! That left me to come up with fall-inspired activities that would ease this obsession...I'm sure they will be obsessed about hats next week.....they are really random!


To begin with, in this activity, I am using the pumpkin seeds I dyed (see 10/11/13 post for directions). The mini pumpkins (purchased at the Dollar Tree store) are perfect to place the seeds. Each pumpkin has a number, which the students need to place the correct amount of seeds inside.




On a more Fall-y note, this activity also promotes one-to-one correspondence. The children should put the correct amount of leaves on the trees.
These pumpkin play-dough mats are great to promote imagination in creating their own "carving".



The Pumpkin poem. The pumpkin will have a smile and eyes cutout and will be placed as a smile or frown...according to the poem.


This is my fave! spooky spiders inside GAK. To maintain the circular form, I stored the GAK with the spider inside in individual circular plastic containers. They will be investigating and exploring using their magnifying glasses.

I just wonder what their next obsession would be?

Keep learning!

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Pumpkin Seeds

Hi friends,

We just came back from our district's fall break...two weeks of wonderfulness! Apparently, all of my kiddos visited pumpkin patches in our area and are totally into everything pumpkin.

I've been wanting to incorporate pumpkin seeds into our daily activities, especially math. After doing some research on easy ways to dye the seeds, my mom and I came up with a very easy and clean way to do it.


Preferable using already dried pumpkin seeds, place them in a plastic bag. Add several drops of food coloring. Close the bag and spread the color all over the seeds.

Once the seeds are covered with the desired color, place them on a napkin and in the microwave for 20 seconds. Let it cool for about a minute and save the seeds in a clean plastic bag. Once the seeds are dried it should not stain hands.
Ta-da! The final product!
Care to share how would you use pumpkin seeds in your classroom?

Keep learning!
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Monstober Monday...and a FREEBIE!

Hi friends,

Where did the summer go? We have welcomed fall, our fall break has ended, and furloughs are all over the nation...well, that's for another blog!

As soon you see everything made out of pumpkin is when you realize that October has arrived. Fall is my favorite season! Fall festivals everywhere, great weather, the leaves and its amazing colors and of course Halloween!

Today was our first day back after our two-week fall break. I went to visit my family in Puerto Rico...lots of beach, sand, and sun...had a blast! Well, vacation is over and we're back in school!

My kiddos also love Halloween, and I have prepared some goodies for them, to get into the fall/Halloween spirit!


I intend to use this 10 frame activity with my kiddos during math to assess one-to-one correspondence. Parent teacher conferences are around the corner!
Grab your freebie {HERE}.

Stay tuned for more Halloween inspired classroom activities!
Keep learning!
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Public School Rookie Teacher Diary CLASS - Part 2

Hi friends,

This is the continuation of my rookie teacher diary. Everyday I find out new things that I did not have any knowledge about - not necessarily negative, but things that I was just not aware of.

We just attended a training last Friday, very informative and valuable for us. Some things that I have just learned is that the classroom is not being cleaned on a daily basis...I know that some teachers experience similar situations with custodians personnel, but it was just something that I wasn't expecting, so naive! you may think!

We are part of the school district and we are also partnership with Head Start, we have different deadlines and requirements that other preschools in the district..go figure!

New teachers are assessed and reviewed by CLASS: Classroom Assessment Scoring System, to learn more about CLASS click {HERE}. Well, after being given a one-week window for my review, I got reviewed and received my results on Friday. I would say, I did pretty good! very proud of myself!

I was very relieved to learn that a first-year teacher (in the public system) did much better than veteran teachers. The review itself was a  bit overwhelming. The reviewer stood a couple feet away from me and was taking notes of her findings and observations without a peep coming out of her mouth.

I decided to celebrate my first public school rookie teacher success with a freebie!
Click {HERE} to get your freebie!
Only available until 9/17, don't miss out!

Till the next one!

Keep learning,

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Name, Name

Hi friends,

These past couple of weeks have been very busy for me. I was reviewed for CLASS - Classroom Assessment Scoring System, received two new students and finished assessing my students on ASQ and ASQ-SE - Ages and Stages Questionnaire. We've been in session for 8 weeks already - well, just one more week before our two--week fall break, let's hang in there!

Besides the battery of assessments these past weeks, my kiddos and I have been very busy in our classroom practicing the letters in our names in different ways.


We began by learning a chant about names.



Because the letters in the child's names are the ones that are the most meaningful, we explored the letters in different ways. We used the WONDERFUL Phonic Watches - you can find more information {HERE}.
The watches were used to introduce the letter/sound A. Each one of my students wore the watch all day and couldn't stop looking at them...mission accomplished!!!




We also practiced tracing names following yellow marker.
 

 Letters on bottle caps was a great hit in the classroom, as well as name puzzles! I wrote letters on circle-shaped stickers and then placed them on the bottle caps.

 As part of our parent involvement program, the students have homework. The name puzzle was an activity sent as homework this week. It involved cutting, gluing and accommodating the letters of their names in the correct order - they did great I must say.

The writing notebooks is also homework. Each week the students are giving a topic to draw a picture about and the parents take dictation of their work -   oh my, the things they say.....that's for another post :)

How do you practice names in your classroom?

Keep learning!

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