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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Father's Day and a Giveaway!

Happy Sunday, friends! While I love the work I do here in MS, its days like today that make me miss home a lot. I don't get to be with my dads today but I figure a blog post is the next best thing!

My parents divorced when I was very young so I always grew up with two sets of parents! This is my dad, Doug. I visited him every summer and we spent a lot of time at this fabulous park in Portland called Imagination Station. He is incredibly smart, funny, and selfless. 

I've lived with my mom and dad, Steve since I was a year old. Steve is a fabulous cook, gives great advice, and is such a hard worker! I definitely won the egg drop contest and the jello box car contest because of him :) 

Give the dads in your life a great big hug today! I sure wish I was near mine so I could too :)

Now on to the giveaway! I want to giveaway one of my Phonemic Awareness Practice Packs! You'll get all of the pages below :) This packet is perfect for developing those phonemic awareness skills in young learners. 

Fun and engaging phonemic awareness printables: beginning sound color, cut and glue from Littlest Scholars

Fun and engaging phonemic awareness printables: beginning sound color, cut and glue from Littlest Scholars

If you'd like to win just pin the image above and leave the link to the pin and your email address in a comment below! I'll select one winner tomorrow morning :) 
Thanks for playing, friends! Giveaway is now closed. 

Have a beautiful Sunday! 

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Phonemic Awareness Printables and an Organization Freebie

Happy Saturday sweet friends! I spent a few hours today finishing up one of my phonemic awareness products. Developing phonemic awareness skills is crucial in becoming a successful reader so I am spending a lot of time this summer creating printables and activities to address these skills. This product addresses the phonemic awareness skill of identifying beginning sounds in a fun and engaging way!

Fun and engaging phonemic awareness printables: beginning sound color, cut and glue from Littlest Scholars

There are 25 printable pages included and they are all in black and white for easy (and cheap!) printing! 

Fun and engaging phonemic awareness printables: beginning sound color, cut and glue from Littlest Scholars

You can use this packet as a center activity, homework, intervention, or assessment! Grab all 25 printable pages for  only $3 in my TpT shop! 

 Now, on to the freebie! I posted about my monthly theme boxes a couple months ago and I've finally updated the labels so you can have them too :) I laminated each of them and then used hot glue to affix them to empty copy paper boxes. You can grab them for free by clicking the picture below! 

FREE monthly box labels to keep your classroom organized!

Click the picture below for more organization ideas!


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Five For Friday!

Hi y'all! I'm popping in to link up with Doodle Bugs Teaching to share 5 pictures from this week. Here goes...

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We just moved and now this sweet boy has a HUGE yard to run around in. We've been spending lots of time outside playing fetch :)

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Our new house has a GINORMOUS family room so we bought a treadmill since we have the extra space. I'm working out using the C25K FREE app...I love it because it tells me exactly what to do and when it comes to working out, I need someone to boss me around!

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I've been studying for my National Board assessment and have been reading this book to help me prepare. It is such a wonderful resource for early childhood teachers and has tons of research and data about how important play is in the classroom!

Missing this guy! He left last week to visit his family back home (we're both MS transplants), attend a college reunion, and backpack through Alaska! Two more weeks then he's home :)

I posted about this social emotional skill strategy earlier this week but wanted to post it again in case you missed it! You can read about it [HERE].

Hope you're having a fabulous Friday friends! :)


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Goodbye Google Reader, Hello Bloglovin!

So unless you've been living under a rock (like me the past few months) you know that Google Reader will no longer exist as of July 1. Never fear, I have found the PERFECT (and FREE) solution! I recently created an account with Bloglovin' and well, I just LOVE it! It is super user-friendly and even imports all of the blogs you followed through Google Reader! It takes about 3 minutes to set up an account and I've made a quick tutorial to make it even easier :)

Bloglovin' has tons more features that I am discovering each time I use it! If you make the switch, I hope you are as pleased as I am :) 

What RSS reader do you use? 


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Teaching Social-Emotional Skills with a Solution Chart

As early childhood teachers, we know how important it is to teach not only academic skills but also those social skills that will last a lifetime! Children who have well-developed social skills tend to do better academically than children who are less socially adept (Lin, Lawrence, and Gorrell 2003). I want to share what I have been using in my classroom to help my students in their social-emotional development...introducing
Teaching social-emotional skills using a solution chart!

This solution chart supports my students in solving their own problems! In the beginning of the year, I introduced each solution separately by modeling a scenario and how this solution can help resolve a conflict. Eventually, all of the visual reminders went up on this door and when a conflict arose, I encouraged my students to find a solution to their problem. They walked over to the solution chart and chose a solution that made sense in that situation. I provided a lot of support in the beginning of the year in selecting a solution and eventually my students were very good doing this independently. I found this solution chart to be incredibly empowering for my students because they were able to keep the peace by solving their own conflicts and I could spend more time teaching. Win win! 

Vanderbilt's Center on the Social Emotional Foundations of Early Learning has some fabulous resources for teaching those crucial social-emotional skills. This website has scripted social stories that are great for teaching students how to act and respond in a variety of situations as well as ideas for teaching social-emotional skills through storybook read-alouds, among many other resources. You can find the visual reminders seen above under the Teaching Social Emotional Skills heading on the CSEFEL website. You can grab the header I made [HERE]. I've also compiled some other social-emotional development resources on Pinterest [HERE].

How do you teach social-emotional skills in your classroom? 

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Reunited and it feels so good!

I'm back y'all! What a whirlwind the last couple of months have been. I'll give you the lowdown....I finished and submitted my National Board Portfolio, packed up my classroom and said goodbye to a school I spent 4 years at, packed up my house, moved all my teacher materials to my new classroom at my new school, and moved into a new house in a new city! Now can you forgive me for my absence? :) 

I am incredibly excited about this upcoming school year. I'll be teaching at a great school with a wonderful, supportive administration and the best part....I get to teach pre-K! I will truly be teaching the littlest scholars! 

I'll be taking a road trip to CA all of July, so I'm planning for the upcoming year now and getting ,y new classroom ready...what's on your summer to-do list? 

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