Giveaway Winner and Elf in the Classroom Freebie!

Coming back to work after a week of PJs and couch surfing has been exhausting so I just wanted to pop in to announce the winner of my Interactive Giveaway and share a freebie with you! Congratulations won my Interactive Alphabet Bundle (a $78 value!), you should have an email from me shortly :) Thank you to all of you who entered! I loved reading about your favorite holiday children's books and I have even ordered some that y'all mentioned. You can still grab the Interactive Alphabet Listening Center Bundle for 28% off its already reduced price until midnight tonight :)

I also wanted to share an Elf in the classroom freebie I made. Our special visitor will be arriving tomorrow so I made a journal for us to document his adventure in our classroom. You can grab it [here] for FREE!


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Great News and a Giveaway!

I found out the best news last week! You know when you work so hard for something and you want it so badly...well, my hard work paid off! I logged in to my account to this message...

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Ecstatic is an understatement! I wasn't expecting to certify my first time but I am so glad that I did. I have my portfolio tucked away and won't have to look at it for a long, long time :) I learned so much about my practice and have become an even more reflective teacher due to the process. I encourage any teacher to pursue National Board Certification, the hard is so worth it! 

I always want to tell you about something that has been a total game-changer in my classroom. As early childhood teachers we have SO much to teach...foundational literacy and numeracy, vocabulary acquisition, oral language development, social emotional much that it can be overwhelming! Most of my students entered my classroom knowing zero letters or numbers, didn't know colors, and couldn't recognize their own names. I sure had my work cut out for me! At our school we follow a Letter of the Week curriculum and for the first few weeks our mastery for the letter was around 80%...pretty good but I wanted 100%! I wanted to give my students more exposure to letters in an interactive way. Thus, my Interactive Alphabet was born. I started just making them for my classroom use but once I saw how effective it was for my students, I just had to share! Each letter has an interactive book and an 8-10 minute audio file. Students just follow along with me as we learn all about the alphabet! Since implementing this Interactive Alphabet Listening Center we have been at a solid 100% mastery for the letter of the week! I have the Letter Aa Interactive Book for FREE in my TpT shop so you can check it out and see if you like it. Click the image below to check it out on TpT :)

You can purchase each letter individually for $3 or you can save over 25% and buy the bundle! The bundle includes nearly 4 hours of audio by yours truly and an interactive book for each letter. I think that's quite a steal!
I would love to give the bundle away to one of you!
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Don't forget about the TpT Cyber Monday and Tuesday sale! Enter the code "cyber" at checkout and get up to 28% off your purchase! My entire store is 20% off so start filling up your cart :) 


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A Bad Case of Tattle Tongue

I'm so excited to team up with a bunch of blogger friends to share some of Julia Cook's amazing books! One of my favorites is A Bad Case of Tattle Tongue. I read this book at the beginning of each school year and throughout the year when my students need a gentle reminder about tattling versus telling.

A Bad Case of Tattle Tongue is about a young boy named Josh who doesn't have many friends. In fact, everyone at school called him "Josh the Tattler." His mom grew tired of the tattling and warned him of getting tattle tongue. With the help of Tattle Prince, Josh learned the difference between tattling and telling! You can learn more about the author, Julia Cook, by clicking the book cover below. 

I love this book because it describes scenarios that happen in all of our classrooms each and every day. Sometimes it can be very hard for students to distinguish when they need to tell or when it is best to solve the problem on their own and the examples Julia included illustrate it very clearly. I really like the Tattle Prince's Tattle Rules--what a great way help our students become independent and proactive problem solvers!

I've created a visual reminder that I display in my classroom. When I notice a student that is just dying to tell me something I remind them to look at the poster to make sure that they really need to tell me. Just click the picture to download it.

There are lots of great ideas to curb the tattling in classrooms. Some teachers have a stuffed animal that students can talk to, students can "tell the shell" and whisper into a conch shell, or create a tattle pledge that all students sign to remind them of their responsibility in contributing to the caring classroom.

What are your tips and tricks for dealing with tattling in your classroom?


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Celebration Sale!

I'm sure you have heard the news but if you haven't let me be the first to tell you...Teachers Pay Teachers is celebrating reaching 100,000 fans on their Facebook page by throwing a sale! A bunch of my friends and I are throwing sales to save you even more. My entire store is 20% off and you can use the code FB100K to save 10% so that's a total of 28% off! 

I've recently added a few things to my shop I'd love to share with you! You can click the pictures to check them out :) 

These Alphabet Easy Readers are perfect for reinforcing concepts of print, letters, sounds, letter-sound correspondence, and 1:1 tracking. You can grab the entire unit for only $5.20.
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Here's a picture of the Letter Mm book in action a few weeks ago.

Check out some feedback on this item! 

"Love these!! Great practice for beginning letter sounds! Cute pictures! Kiddos are always asking why can't we color the pictures, why do we have to take it home to color?"

"Great for those kiddos struggling with letters and letter sounds. Very simple for the kids."

They have become my recent bestselling item! We make a new necklace each week as we learn a new letter and sound. The necklaces support letter recognition, sound and word production.

Check out some feedback I've received about these:

"My Pre-K students love these necklaces. My students put them together on Monday and wear them all week which allows us to teach beginning sounds, syllables and focus on one letter/sound."

"Love these! My Pre-K kiddos will love going home every week with a new letter necklace to share!"

These phonemic awareness practice sheets help develop those crucial phonemic awareness skills in my little scholars. We focus on one sound each week and the students complete one page as part of their centers work. True to phonemic awareness form these pages do not contain letters as the focus is listening to the initial sounds in the word. 

Check out some feedback I've received about the Beginning Sound Practice unit:

"This is great for Kindergarten. The pictures are easy to understand. My kiddos think its a game to figure out which one does not belong."

"We did our first letter (M) on Monday. This is great for the first day of the week - focuses solely on phonemic awareness. Once we get more into the swing of things the kids will be able to do these independently at a station."

Be sure to stop by my shop because I have lots of freebies available as well! Happy shopping! :) 

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Letter Rr and Spiders...Chock Full of Freebies!

Before a new week starts I want to share what we worked on last week! Last week we learned all about the Letter Rr. I introduced the /r/ sound by using beginning sound pictures and placing them on our beginning sound wall (it will be converted to a word wall later on in the year).

We also sorted pictures with the /m/ sound (Mm was the letter last week) and /r/ sound.

During centers my students built letters using this fabulous resource from Confessions of a Homeschooler.  

They listened to my All About the Alphabet: Letter Rr Interactive Listening Center. 
Last week was the first week I had used this interactive listening center. All but one of my 4 year old pre-k students mastered the Letter Rr on Friday--including identification, letter name, letter sound, identification of uppercase and lowercase, and word production! I haven't uploaded the Letter Rr set to TpT yet but Letter Ss (our letter this week) is ready to go! You can check it out [here] or by clicking the picture below. 

We also began our Spiders Unit last week! We read The Very Busy Spider and used these stick puppets to act out the story. I placed the stick puppets in a center and y'all should have heard my little scholars retelling the story...precious! You can grab the stick puppets for free [here].

We were focusing on the number 6 last week so we practiced counting and numeral recognition with this I See Spiders emergent reader. We used a stamp pad and our fingers to create the correct number of spiders on each page. Our book only had numbers 1-6 but I've included a page that has a blank so you can write in any number you choose! You can find the free I See Spiders book [here] or by clicking the picture below. 

We're finishing up our Spiders Unit this week and I'll be back to post more pictures! 


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Environmental Print Class Project

Last week we began our Environmental Print Class Project and I thought I'd share it with you too! I sent home a letter on Monday explaining environmental print and how our project will work. Feel free to use the letter below to create your own :)

We follow a Letter of the Week curriculum so each week students will collect print that begins with the Letter of the Week. When my first kiddo brought some in on Tuesday I made a very big deal out of it..."Wow! Look at all the letters you found in your house!" Pretty soon we had more environmental print that begins with Mm than we knew what to do with. We added the environmental print to our environmental print wall door and my students are beginning to notice that letters aren't just in Pre-K-- they are all around us!

How do you use environmental print in your classroom?


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All About Letter Mm [and a freebie!]

Back again friends! I finally had a chance to snap some pictures and I'm excited to share how I taught all about the Letter Mm.

I introduce each letter with a "mystery bag." Inside said "mystery bag" are various objects that begin with the focus letter sound. I make a huge theatrical production of taking each item out and emphasizing the beginning sound "Mmmmmmmmmmonkey!" and "Mmmmmmmmose!" We then add our beginning sound pictures to our beginning sound picture wall that will eventually turn into our word wall when my little scholars are ready.

I always incorporate phonological and phonemic awareness during whole group and this week I reviewed the sounds from the previous weeks /k/, /h/ and /m/ to practice matching the pictures that have the same first sound..otherwise known as alliteration! Each student was given a picture and they took turns coming up and placing their picture on the /h/ /h/ heart, /k/ /k/ kettle, or /m/ /m/ mug. This activity also served as a great informal assessment.

This week we read the story Monsters in my Mailbox and my little scholars LOVED it! The monsters have names that rhyme (Winky, Finky, Stinky) and there is lots of use of the Letter Mm (they made mudpies, ate marshallows, etc). We had a special delivery in our classroom mailbox....a monster of our own! Tomorrow they will get to make little monsters to take home! :)

During centers my little scholars made the Letter Mm out of play foam--a totally fabulous alternative to playdough since it doesn't dry out, made macaroni Ms, made Letter Mm ABC necklaces, and searched for letters at the sensory table.

Students also reinforced their learning in whole group by using my beginning sounds practice pages to match the pictures that begin with the /m/ sound.

I also worked on concepts of print and phonics using this alphabet reader with small groups. Students read each page"/m/ /m/ monkey." My little scholars were thrilled that they knew how to "read!" You can grab the Letter Mm alphabet reader for free by clicking the picture below :) 
For the complete set of alphabet readers, click the picture below! 

Hope you are having a fabulous week! :)


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Back to School Update!

Hi long lost friends! I feel terrible that it has been a minute (or a few months) since I've blogged. I spent a month of the summer on a fabulous road trip! We drove from Mississippi to California to visit my family then up to Portland to see more family then drove from Portland back home to Mississippi.

A few days after we got home we had teacher in-service then school started before I knew it. I am teaching at a new school this year and teaching Pre-K so it was a chaotic first couple of weeks. Around the second week of school we found out my boyfriend has testicular cancer. He underwent surgery to remove it and is recovering well. I share this news only to spread awareness. Testicular cancer is the leading cancer in men 18-35 and is very treatable if caught early. My boyfriend is young, healthy and athletic--the guy ran a marathon with cancer--but as many of us know all too well, cancer doesn't discriminate. Encourage the men and boys in your life to perform self-exams. My boyfriend was lucky enough to catch it early because he did. Check out the The Testicular Cancer Awareness Foundation for more information and resources!

I captured a picture of what we've been up to at school this past week. We follow a Letter of the Week curriculum and last week the letter was Kk. We made cute Letter Kk necklaces to reinforce our learning. We made them on Tuesday and some kiddos even wore there jewelry back to school on Wednesday. I LOVE when they are that excited about learning! Click the picture below to check my ABC Necklaces out.
ABC Necklaces from The Littlest Scholars
I'll be sure to snap more pictures this week to give you a better idea of what we're up to in Pre-K! Oh, and one more thing...I wore two pieces of jewelry this week, my Letter Kk necklace and this beauty :) My boyfriend fiance and I got engaged this week too!

 I'll be back tomorrow with more Pre-K happenings! 


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July Already?!

Where oh where has the summer gone? I cannot believe I only have one month left then it is back to school I go! To make the most of this last bit of summer, we're headed on a road trip back home to California on Wednesday. I've got lots to check off the to-do list in the meantime but wanted to pop in to link up with Farley today!

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My sweet Duncan is sleeping next to me and my does this pup snore! I'm loving that we're headed on our road trip to California on us crazy but we're bringing our dogs along for the ride! We even bought them seatbelts for the car. Yes, we are those people :) 

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Jackson trying to help me pack!

As for my blogging took me so long to begin this blog because I wanted everything I wrote to be absolutely perfect. My fear of making a mistake and not being perfect stopped me from even starting in the first place! I've learned to just be genuine (flaws and all!) and blogging has become so much fun! Just remember to keep it real :) 

Your turn to link up with Farley! Just click the link below.


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Hi friends! I got a blog makeover..what do you think? Kimberlee from Doodle Blog Designs designed it for me and she was so wonderful to work with! She didn't stop until I was completely happy :) You can check her blog designs out [HERE]!

I also gave my crate seats a makeover! I made them last summer and they desperately needed some new fabric. Although I used Scotch Guard to protect them, they were quite dirty and faded by June. My new classroom has just about every color under the sun in it so I thought this fabric would be perfect!

While I don't have step-by-step directions since I made them last year, I do have some pictures to share with you!

A kind gentleman at the local lumber store helped me measure the crates and then rounded the edges of the wood so they would slide in perfectly! If you're using Sterilite crates you'll need the following measurements:  15 3/4 inches x 12 3/4 inches.

I bought 2 packs of these foam seat cushions for a couple of bucks and just had to trim one side to get them to sit atop the wood perfectly! 

I used this sturdy fabric under my decorative fabric to provide a little more durability. 

Here's what they looked like before the makeover. I moved the cushion off so you could see just how dirty the top had become. 

I just added another layer of new fabric to the top and voila! 

Even Jackson approves :)

I've linked up with Tara, click the picture below to check out the projects that other teachers have been working on! 

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It's My Birthday!

Hi friends! Today I am celebrating my birthday the best way...relaxing, lunch and dinner out, shopping and a pedi. I couldn't ask for anything more :) I thought I'd throw a sale in my TpT shop so all my friends can join in the celebration as well! Everything in my shop is 20% off until Monday. I just uploaded my new ABC Necklaces this morning and I cannot wait to use them next year. Its a hands-on, engaging way to teach phonics and phonemic awareness. I just know my little scholars will LOVE them! Just click the picture to check them out.

ABC Necklaces....hands-on way to teach letters and sounds! $3
Just for a little birthday fun...If you'd like to win my ABC Necklaces packet, like my Facebook page and come back here to leave a comment with your email and I will choose a winner tomorrow! :) 

Update 6/24/13: Thank you all for the birthday love! I used to select a comment and the winner is
Check your email shortly! :) 


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Done and Done!

I just got back from my National Board assessment and am so relieved! I can actually enjoy my summer now :) Since I dedicated a year of my life to this thing, I figured I should reflect on it so that I (and maybe some of you) can learn from this experience. Whether I certify or not, I can say without a doubt that I grew so much as a teacher throughout the process and I became so much more reflective and analytical about my practice. My only regret is that I didn't start seriously working on until December and PTL they extended the submission until May 31st and let me tell you, this girl was working until May 31st 11:30pm. Ha! If you are thinking about pursuing National Board Certification, you absolutely should! I'll be compiling some resources that helped me and creating a tab on my blog so anyone pursuing early childhood generalist certification can access them. Here are a few tips that should make the process much smoother for you:

1. Start collecting documentation ASAP! Paperwork can be a nightmare if you wait until the last minute. Make sure you read all of the requirements and start collecting right away.
2. Find a cohort, community, or a mentor. Contact your local university to see if they have a NB support program. My mentor was my biggest cheerleader and offered the best advice and encouragement!
3. Join the online community. There is a membership fee for this website (I believe its $30-40) but it is worth every cent. There are more resources than you will know what to do with! The online community offers forums, chat rooms, and hundreds of NBCTs willing to offer support at your fingertips!
4. Do not let the cost stop you! Find funding opportunities through the National Board website. I have heard of school districts that will pay the fee and some states even offer reimbursement after you submit.

Have you thought about pursuing National Board Certification? Does your state offer any incentives for teachers to pursue the certification? 

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Giveaway Winner and a Giveaway You Need To Enter!

Yesterday I had a little giveaway of my newest Phonemic Awareness Printables Pack and I used to select a winner....

Deborah there's a special treat for you in your inbox :)
Thanks so much for all who joined in the fun! If its any consolation, I just marked down the 28 page packet to 50% off until midnight tonight, so you can grab it in my TpT shop for only $1.50! 

There is another fabulous giveaway going on right now! You can enter this giveaway to have your chance at winning a $50 Erin Condren gift card. That means if you win you could have the life planner or teacher lesson planner of your dreams! Just click the link below. Hurry and enter because it ends tonight :) 

Hope you are having the happiest of Mondays! 

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