Tuesday, May 29, 2012

You are cordially invited to my first Linky Party!

My summer vacation officially starts in 7 days!  I.can't.wait!!!!!  Right now I am running around like a mad woman trying to put the finishing touches on the school year buuuuuut my mind keeps wandering to teaching blog land.  Recently, I have been stalking my favorite blogs and getting tons of end of the school year ideas.  Thank you blog friends!   As my mind wanders away from stressful end of the year preparations and towards blogin' summer days I picture myself looking a little something like this...

and this....

Carrie Bradshaw is my FAV!

There are some technical difficulties though... technically I don't live in a swanky apartment in Manhattan and technically I don't write a saucy column in a New York newspaper.  What I do have is my mac laptop, my tiny cottage, and my blog Sprinkle Teaching Magic.  I started this little blog back in February and can't believe how fun the blogging journey has been thus far.  I have learned so much about blogging these past months thanks to online tutorials but there is still so much to learn AND try AND so many new blogging friends to meet AND blogging adventures to be had!   This summer along with vacations, bbqs, and setting up a new classroom, I am looking forward to extra blogging time (time to brainstorm blog post ideas, time to set some blog goals, time to connect with fellow bloggers, time to read and watch blog tutorials, etc)  With all of that being said now is the perfect time to host my first LINKY PARTY that focuses on Blog Love!  Come celebrate the end of the year with me and summer kick off; join the linky party fun! 

Summer Blogging Bonanza Linky Party!
Keep Calm and BLOG ON!

All you have to do is tell the blog world about your personal blog journey and post about it.

You can use these questions just copy and paste them in to your post:

1. Why did you start blogging?

2.  What blogs do you stalk?  What blogs inspire you? (These blogs can be teaching blogs, non-teaching related or both.  Make sure to link them so we can check out your blog favs!  Hello!?!?! We will certainly all need new blog reading material this summer)

3. Blogging tips, tools, and great ideas you have learned along the way

4. Blogging and balance

5. What are your blogging goals for the summer?

Then, come back here and link up!  Enter the exact link to your post. (see very bottom of this post)

Add this Keep Calm And Blog On Button by right clicking on the button and saving it to your computer. Insert the image at the bottom of your post with a link back to this party! 

My Blogging Journey

1. Why did you start blogging?

I played with the idea of starting a blog for a LONG time.  I kept putting off starting a blog and came up with a million excuses such as: a blog would be hard, I would not be able to keep it up, I don't know how to set up a blog.  When another year of pink slips hit I realized there was not much I could do to control job uncertainty, moving classrooms, grades, and schools.  What I could have control over was a blog and what I love most is my passion for teaching.   With encouragement from Mr. Winemaker and my mom I decided to start this blog that would give me something to look forward to during job uncertainty and a way to share my fun curriculum ideas.  I am officially a Teaching Blog Addict and I love it!

2.  What blogs do you stalk?  What blogs inspire you? (These blogs can be teaching blogs, non-teaching related or both.  Make sure to link them so we can check out your blog favs!)

Click on the banner above that says Blog Love.  This link will take you to my FAVORITE blogs that I read daily. 

3. Blogging tips, tools, and great ideas you have learned along the way.

One of the best purchases I made was the Blogging 101 event on Virtual Teaching.   I especially loved the Blogging Basics presented my Hadar Maor.  Hadar's tips really helped start me off on the right foot.  I also did blog research on Erica Bohrer's, Cara Carroll's, and Teaching Blog Addicts blogs.  (click on the names listed to see the posts that helped me)

4. Blogging and balance

When I first started blogging balance was hard.  My brain was constantly spinning about what to post, who was following the blog, did I have enough followers, do people like my blog, how to get my blog OUT THERE...  the excitement of blogging quickly turned in to a frenzy.  As much as I admire/adore/ and am inspired by Deanna Jump's success, I realize success like hers is not going to happen overnight.  Patience, letting go of control, and seeing what happens has never come naturally to me so blogging has helped me face this character flaw head on!  With much practice I now step back and enjoy the ride and am more patient letting things happen in their own time.  Amen!

5. What are your blogging goals for the summer?

-Get organized and put together a blog binder.

-Hopefully meet up with some fellow bloggers!

-Try out teaching ideas I have pinned on pinterest and share how they turned out on the blog!

I am excited to hear about your blog journey! 

Stay tuned for these upcoming posts: 

-Crayon Melting Art!  An end of the year student gift!
-A Father's Day gift idea!

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Drom roll please.... Sprinkle Teaching Magic Makeover! What do you think friends?

Teacher Friends, I have missed  you!!!! Welcome to Sprinkle Teaching Magic's makeover episode.  Ok so maybe this is not an episode of What Not To Wear, but seriously I am SO excited about the new look for the blog and an unveiling is in order.  Ta Da (with jazz hands)!  Please poke around and tell me what ya think!  Now here is the scoop.  School is almost over, my blog is revamped, my kids are zany, and I am too, and tomorrow is FRIDAY!  I think this calls for a GIVEAWAY!  And you know I LoVe  a giveaway!!!!  Not just any giveaway, but a stupendiferous giveaway.  Ya, that's right; I am just making up the words today.

I was lucky enough to have Erica over at Cutest Blog On The Block do my custom blog redesign.  She took my vision and made it come to life.  Thank you, Erica!  How would you like to win an $80 gift certificate to Cutest Blog On the Block and turn your blog from drab to FAB?????  Maybe you want to finally start that blog you have been thinking of starting for ages.  With summer vacation around the corner it could be just the perfect time.  Or maybe you have a blog that needs a makeover; well the essentials treatment could be right up your ally.  The essentials package includes a custom background, matching header, custom 2/3 column template, and labor, revisions, and installation.  Or maybe you LOVE your blog, but want to add some extras to spruce it up.  The extra package could be just the ticket for you.  Just think, you could have your very own post signature, your own buttons for your TPT or Teacher's Notebook site, a custom blog button with grab box, custom  favicon....seriously the possibilities are endless.  Check out the Cutest Blog On The Block menu by clicking HERE.  Regardless of your blog makeover needs you will have $80 to spend to your hearts content!  Woot Woot!  I know, I know great, right?  You want to huuuuug me...you want to loooooooove me...you want to smooooooooch me... (maybe not smooch but imagine me saying this in my best Gracie Hart, Miss Congeniality voice)

How can this fabulosity of a blog makeover be yours you may ask???

Here's what you need to enter....  There are 7 ways to enter PLEASE leave a comment for EACH ENTRY.  Don't forget to leave your email! 

*Become a follower of Sprinkle Teaching Magic (see the sidebar on the right above)

*Follow me on  Pinterest 

*Check out my other blog, She Said G Said and follow me there!  We just redesigned (not professionally just in house)  our blog and will be posting content SOON!

Spread The Word

*Blog about this giveaway on YOUR fabulous blog and comment with a link to your post!

*Blog about this giveaway on your Facebook page!

The giveaway ends on Thursday, May 31st.   I will announce the winner on Friday June 1st!!!

I wish I had classroom photos and juicy curriculum stuff to share, but alas this week has been assessments, report cards, moving my classroom into storage (boooooo teacher pink slips), applying for teaching jobs, and end of the year fun kinder shenanigans.  Thank you for your continued support, blog love, and for being you! 

Cheers to the weekend!  Annnnnnddd break! 

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Open House, Community Week Continues, And Teacher Appreciation Fun!

Open House and Appreciation For Teacher Curriculum Innovators!

Tomorrow is Open House!  One step closer to the end of school.  This year my Open House is very different.  Usually I stick to a theme like Farm or Ocean and then all of the displays in my room relate to that theme.  I like to call this year a little of this and a little of that.  You will see what I mean as we start the Open House photo journey.

Students filled out this Open House writing page.  They drew the friends they play with at recess, made a list of important things they can do (sing, work, help, read, sound out words etc.) drew a picture of their favorite memory from the year (field trip to the farm, Coconut Day, Andy Z concert, etc) and students took their papers around on clipboards and had classmates write special words describing them.  Click the picture below to head to my TPT store and get your free copy of this)

Here kinders sit and think about what special word to write on their classmates paper.  After students wrote their word (nice, silly, smart, caring, hard worker...) they wrote their name.  I could tell students were beaming when they heard a classmate give them a compliment.  Warning:  before I had students do this part we brainstormed a list of words to choose from when giving compliments to classmates.  

Our Open House writing is proudly hung on the Writing Wall.  When parents read the paper they will really get a sense of their child's experience in kindergarten.  This writing activity was also a great reflection for me to see what the favorite events of the year students remember most vividly and to see what students can do.  Sometimes my perception is very different from what matters the most to them.  For example, one student wrote hula-hoop at the very top of his I Can list.  I can think of many other more academic ways this child has succeeded but to him hula hooping is the ultimate success.  Every day he practices hula hooping at recess and has become a hula hooping champion.  I am glad he can write this celebration on his paper!

I am extremely appreciative to the teachers on Teachers Pay Teachers and Teacher's Notebook who are creating amazing curriculum!  Here are some of my TPT favorites that will blow the socks right of the parents at Open House!  The kids loved these activities and cannot wait to show them off to their parents.

The Handwriting Fairy by Rachelle Smith.  Click the photo below and head to Rachelle's TPT store to pick up your copy of this cute activity! 

Students enjoyed reading the Handwriting Fairy story.  We then wrote letters to the Handwriting Fairy showing her that our handwriting is ready for first grade.  I have never seen my students more tuned in to their handwriting then they are now that the Handwriting Fairy is checking out their work at night.  We have spaces in between words, capitals in the right places, and writing that stays in the lines.  Love it! 

One of my FAVORITE TPT teacher curriculum creators is Babbling Abby.  I adore her materials and everything I have done in my class from her TPT store has been a huge success with my students!    Abby's 'Let's Get Pop-Rockin' comes with lots of great writing activities.  One thing I never want my kinders to feel limited by is thinking their words have to be correctly spelled.  VOICE in writing is huge to me!!!!  I make sure my kinders know that if they are thinking of a big juicy word to add to their writing but can't spell it, they should not choose a less juicy word that is easier for them to write.  We talked about how easy it would be to write Pop Rocks are cool, good, fun; but how boring that would be to read. Boy, once those pop rocks went in their mouth, they thought of a bunch of juicy words to describe pop rocks and used their fishy lips to sound out the word the best they could.  When a student only captured the first sound that was ok with me, and I took dictation for them.  This lesson is another reminder to me to NEVER underestimate a kinder, their vocabulary, and their imagination.  We had pop rocks exploding in mouths like volcanoes, and popcorn popping, and bubbles bursting.  AMAZEing.  Click the picture below to visit Babbling Abby's shop. 

Of course the fantastic Deanna Jump MUST make a cameo in this post if I am blogging about my appreciation for teacher curriculum innovators.  The day after Maurice Sendak died we read the book, Where the Wild Things Are  and enjoyed Deanna's Wild Thing craft and writing activity!  I made sure to put them up all crazy and wild!  Roar!!!!  Click the picture below to find this in Deanna's store!

We completed our symbols unit so our work will proudly be on display in an American Symbols folder.  I used Deanna's America Math and Literacy Fun unit and student's completed the Bald Eagle and Statue of Liberty.  The flag uses dot paint and oil pastels for the 50 stars.  

I love love LOVE Erica Bohrer!  Last week I brought my rabbit, Molly Sunshine, to our classroom.  Nibble nibble nibble.  Since we are getting closer to the end of the year I am reminding my kinders more and more how they are almost First Graders and how much they have grown and blossomed and become such amazing students.  Before I brought the rabbit in to school, students had to show me all the ways they are First Grade Ready!  I was desperate to find curriculum online about class pets and then Erica pulled through!!!!  She had a FREE TPT packet all about having a pet in your classroom.  I highly suggest checking it out if you are thinking of introducing a pet to your room next year.  We read Erica's Classroom Pet Rules.  We read books about rabbits and students completed Erica's Can, Have, Are rabbit paper.  After all of this hard work Molly Sunshine came to our room!  I hole punched and attached the papers to her cage so students can show their parents at Open House!  Students who continue to make good first grade choices get to feed Molly a carrot at recess.  WOW THIS IS WORKING!  Hello amazing rewards system for the end of the year! One day I will have to share more stories about Ms. Molly Sunshine.  She is quite the rabbit. (she even survived the year when a little boy duck taped her to the side of her cage and found my sticker stash and put stickers all over her.  Yes, this was when I was absent, and yes this story will forever live in infamy, and yes this happened WAY before I knew about Erica's Classroom Pet TPT pack!)  Click on the picture below to check Erica OUT!

Here is our classroom reflection board.  Students reflected on ME and our kindergarten classroom!  We have been practicing self portraits and labeling all year; now was their chance to try their skills out on their teacher!  After they drew a picture of me, they labeled words to describe me.  We brainstormed ideas using: Ms. Chako is...... With that simple start, students thought of lots of words (silly, big, happy, a teacher, my friend etc.)  The index cards you see around the pictures are words to describe our kindergarten class.   This was done on a separate day.  We thought of all the words that pop in to our mind when we think of our kindergarten room.   I love how this bulletin board is through the kinder's eyes and paints a picture of our classroom.  

I can't wait for Open House!  My students have been practicing their tour guide skills all week!  They are taking their tour guide job very seriously and are going to make sure their parents see and learn about every nook and cranny of our classroom.  

Community Fun Continues!

Rhyming Fire Trucks

 Short Vowel Apartment 

Police Badge Syllable Sort

 And my favorite is when the Community Book Homework projects are turned in!  I love to see the creativity, uniqueness, and hard work go in to these community books.

Check out my Community Unit.  Click below to find these activities!

 And last but CERTAINLY not least this week is Teacher Appreciation Week at my school.  Students brought in flowers from their garden today and one of my most amazing moms made this cute vase.  She hot glue gunned bright colored pencils to the outside.  The perfect gift for a classroom that brightens up the room.  LOVE IT!  

Have a great week, teacher friends!  Happy Open House! Thank you for reading this long post.  I just couldn't wait to share all this juicy stuff with you.

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Congratulations We Have a Teacher Appreciation Week Winner!

Your $25 Target Gift Card will be waiting in your inbox later tonight!  

Tomorrow is Friday!  I hope everyone has a wonderful weekend AND Mother's Day.  Next week is my Open House!!!!!! If you have any Open House tips that work magic in your classroom PLEASE leave a comment and share the wisdom. 

Saturday, May 5, 2012

Teacher Appreciation Week Kick Off!

Let's Get Teacher Appreciation Week Started Off With A BANG!

Let me start by saying I appreciate all of you!!!!!  Thank you for stopping by my blog, thank you to my followers, thank you to those that leave such sweet and encouraging comments, thank you to all with teacher blogs that I love to visit!  I could go on and on.  I am so appreciative to be in the teacher blogging community.  Every day I am inspired and wowed by the creative ideas and powerful learning that is taking place in classrooms!  You inspire me to be a better teacher and have given me a renewed excitement and passion for my job!  For that I am truly grateful.  So in honor of YOU!  Let's have a............... drumroll please...........  GIVEAWAY!!!!!!!!!  AND I just put 3 items for FREE in my TPT shop!  If you're  happy and you know it clap your hands (ok I think I am a little too excited let me try and tone it down a bit)

Target $25 Gift Card
Here's what you need to enter....  There are 6 ways to enter PLEASE leave a comment for EACH ENTRY.  Don't forget to leave your email! 

*Become a follower of Sprinkle Teaching Magic

*Follow me on  Pinterest 

*Like Sprinkle Teaching Magic On Facebook

*Follow my shop on Teachers Pay Teachers
Spread The Word

*Blog about this giveaway on YOUR fabulous blog and comment with a link to your post!

*Blog about this giveaway on your Facebook page!

The giveaway ends on Thursday May 10th at 11 PM PST.   I will announce the winner on Friday!!!

Kinder Fun Starts Now!

Mother's Day Credit Card Making:

I told my students that my portable laminator was a credit card machine.  They were in awe.  It was all they could talk about the entire day.  "Did you know Ms. Chako has a credit card MACHINE!?!"  I WISH!!! 

Some fronts and backs of the cards.  After they were laminated (I mean turned in to credit cards) we practiced how mom would swipe the card.  My students can't wait to give them to their mom so she can keep the card in her wallet. 

If you are looking for Mother's Day ideas visit my TPT store and check out my Mother's Day Bundle.  Click HERE!

Saw this at the Hallmark store.  Love!

Open House is around the corner!  Yikes! We made jazzy covers for our science journals:

I love Deanna Jump's 'What Do Scientists Do?'  freebie so I stapled it to the inside cover of each child's science folder.  The covers of the 'Wood and Paper' and 'My Tree Journal' were designed by the fabulous Camille at An Open Door.  Did I mention Camille is my teaching partner?  She is fabulous and I am very lucky to have her on my team.  (hugs Camille!!)

You can find this science journal cover craftivity for FREE in my TPT store! 

Writing Binder Covers:

You can find this writing binder cover for FREE in my TPT store! 

Subway Art Covers for our end of the year Memory Book binders!
 Students wrote their names in special colors nice and big and fancy above the banner!

You can find this end of the year subway art for FREE in my TPT store.

Click HERE!

I would be happy to do custom orders of this subway art for your classroom! Let me know the specific words you would like displayed, and the grade you teach and you will have a personalized piece of subway art JUST FOR YOUR CLASS! $5!!!!


Here is a taste of the inside of our binders!  Lots of special work collected and hole punched throughout the year!

 Wowzers!!!  That was a lot of juicy stuff!  Thank you for stopping by.  Good luck with the giveaway and I hope you enjoy the freebies!  Have a great weekend!

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Community Maps, Mother's Day Adventures, and Spring Diversions

I feel a bit frazzle dazzled this Tuesday afternoon.  Anyone on the same page?  It seems like as the year winds down there is SO much to do and NO time.  Tonight my plan is to sit down and map out the next month.  Ambitious, right? I always feel better when I have a plan of attack.  On the 'to do list' are the following items: open house, report cards, applying for jobs (booooo lay offs yet again!), figuring out my classroom packing up plan, and much more.  Yowzers!  Sometimes I look at my cat sprawled on the couch as I work away and think hmmmmm if only I could put you to work my little friend.  

I found this on Pinterest and just about lost it.  My cat looks JUST like this!  I adopted her when she was already a grown kitten and she had a litter of kitties I never got to see.  I TOTALLY think this is what she looked like as a kitten and her kittens were definitely this spunky.  *swoon* Ok I have no children at the moment just a cat so thank you for bearing with me! 

And in the midst of all the end of the year craziness I am going to remember this... summer is more and more within reach!


Now on to kinder cutie FUN!
Community Unit

Our Community Unit is well underway.  Here students are coloring in fun-funky houses, community buildings like post office, police station, grocery store, our school, they even came up with their own favorite places in the community.  We had Starbucks, Target, The $1 store,  pet shops etc.  After cutting these small pieces out we kept them in a zip lock bag. 

A few days later students pulled out their community pieces and started mapping them out on a large white piece of construction paper.  The key now was sorting the pieces and then planning where they would go all the while keeping in mind transportation and how the cars would get from each place on their map.  Students bustled and chatted using the community vocabulary we have been discussing.  "I want a neighborhood by the school that way kids can walk to school" one girl said.  My students got a kick out of arranging the houses and having a community where they could live next to their best friend from class.  This activity ended up being an assessment of sorts.  I realized quickly which students could use their critical thinking skills, make a plan, and problem solve.  

Rulers were used to make roads.  

Some serious community planning going on here.  One little boy had just seen a helicopter land at a hospital.  He made sure to put the landing pad near the hospital on his community map.  

Some of our finished community maps.

 (The community map cut out pieces can be found in my Community Unit click HERE)

Mother's Day Writing

If I could send my mom on a Mother's Day vacation I would send her to..... Disneyland, Paris (wi wi ooooo la la)

Mexico, Hawaii...
(This writing activity and more can be found in my Mother's Day Unit.  Click HERE!)

Weekend Excursions Spring Diversions
(just a little taste of the last few weekends)

Discovered while on a hike.  Reminds me of The Great Gatsby.

Mr. Wine Maker and my favorite winery.  We ALWAYS find an excuse to head here on the weekends.  

Mr. Wine Maker has quite a swirl.

 My favorite tree.  

 We met Giada!!!!!  Not only did we meet her but she signed our cookbooks and so did her daughter.  Her new cookbook looks great.  The focus of the cookbook is quick weeknight meals.  Yes please!!!

Cheers dear teacher friends! Adieu.