IRC 2015 and my first Teacher Blogger Meet-Up!

Well, hello October! Where did September go, am I right? I can't believe we've already been in school over a month. The group I have this year is absolutely fabulous and we are having a great time in Kindergarten! Recently, my staff and I were able to attend the Illinois Reading Conference held in Peoria, IL. I took away many wonderful tips and tricks from some of my favorite social media teacher friends as well as some new friends, too!

Illinois Reading Conference 2015

This is a favorite conference of my staff and I. We love being able to learn about reading instruction, books, new authors, strategies, and new ideas over the few days we are at the conference. This year I was able to attend many wonderful sessions, but I narrowed those down to my 2 favorites. 

Can You Read It? Yes We Can!

I had the pleasure of attending a session that was given by Kathy Brown and Sarah Martino who are the authors of "Kindergarten and the Common Core! It's Easy as ABC!" I highly recommend that you check their book out if you are a Kinder-teacher. My eyes were opened by their developmentally appropriate, Danielson based, simplistic ideas of how to incorporate assessment all throughout your daily teaching and class work. My favorite suggestion they gave was to create an observational assessment clipboard for yourself. On the left side list all the students names, and then in each column create a space for each of the Common Core standards or Report Card standards that you will be looking for. As you go through your daily activities (they are big proponents of the "turn and talk" method) you can check for your students' understanding. As you observe them completing a standard or report card task, simply write down on your clipboard the check, plus, or minus (or whatever method you use for your report cards). This way when you get to report card or data gathering time all you have to do is take out your clipboard and enter your information. No need to be pulling students to do individual assessments, and you have a daily/weekly/monthly checklist of your students' progress! I am definitely going to start doing this in my own classroom. You can visit their TPT store by clicking the picture of their book below!

Transform Your Teaching with the Power of Social Media

My second take away is a session which was given by Colleen (Literacy Loving Gals) and Michelle (Big Time Literacy) all about the power of social media! What I love most about finding and connecting with teachers on social media is the ability to have professional development at my fingertips! I am a self-proclaimed Instagram obsessed girl, and I have found it is my favorite mode of social media to keep up with new teaching ideas. Instagram gives you a quick snapshot of a great idea someone is using in their classroom, and for us teachers the quicker the better! Colleen and Michelle did such a great job highlighting all the different ways you can use the power of social media to build up a PLN or Personal Learning Network of teachers, many of whom you will never meet in person. Social media is the best outlet for teachers to lean on each other, learn from each other, and support one another. Check out Colleen and Michelle on their blogs! 


Chicago Teacher Blogger Meet-Up

I closed out the weekend with a FABULOUS Chicago Blogger Meet-up hosted by Kristin from Teaching in a Nutshell! Thank you again, Kristin!

I got to meet some amazing teachers, make some new friends, and even meet some of my favorite teachers and TPT designers that I follow on Instagram and other social medias. We ate at Lou Malnati's (deep dish is my kryptonite...) and had a wonderful time getting to know each other! Of course there were some fabulous prizes and giveaways as well, and I am pretty pumped about my swag bag. I can't wait until my next meet up!

Have a fabulous week, pals. Keep smiling! 

Sunday Scoop 8/9/15

Hi pals! Here's my Sunday Scoop for this week! Can you believe summer is over?! Where did the time go??? I have had such a great summer seeing friends, taking adventures with my family, and doing some of my favorite activities. I don't want it to end! But I also can't WAIT to meet my new kiddies!

The "Have-to's"

I will be setting up my classroom this week. I am SOOOO excited for the Avengers theme I am using this year and can't wait to get my room super-fied. I already made some custom "welcome" post cards for my class which were super easy! I created the main image on Powerpoint and saved it as a .jpeg file. Then I went to VistaPrint and uploaded the image. The postcards came super quickly and turned out great! How cute is this clipart from Dorky Doodles?!

The "Hope-to's"

Who else is Pretty Little Liars obsessed like I am?! I CAN'T WAIT for Tuesday! They keep telling us all will be revealed, but as any good PLL fan knows, one can never be to sure. I just hope they aren't lying and we really get all the answers we've been DYING to know since the pilot episode. Fingers crossed! I am also hoping to get a few more adventures in this week, maybe even take a trip to a pool or beach (I have done neither of these things so far this summer!!) :)

I'm HAPPY to...

clean out my condo AND my car of what I like to call the "traveling classroom"
The pile kept growing and growing over the summer, it has a mind of its own I swear! I can't wait to get it all put together and get to using all the fun things I bought this summer.

Check back soon for a little room reveal 2015 and fun SUPERHERO filled posts!
Until then,

Kinder Tribe!

Yesterday I told you all a little bit about myself, and today you get to know more! #kindertribe has a new fabulous blog and I am linking up with all these fabulous kindergarten teachers to tell you a little bit more about me! Make sure to follow the KinderTribe blog for lots of tips and tricks if you are a Kindergarten teacher! You can find our group on Facebook, also.
Kinder Tribe
So here is a little bit more about THIS kindergarten teacher! :) 

  • I have really grown to love teaching kindergarten. Honestly, when I started off the whole idea totally scared me! I was so used to teaching little youngsters, toddlers and preschoolers! I was terrified of messing up and failing my students. But some wise and wonderful mentor teachers along the way encouraged me that God chose me to hold this position and because He put me there I would do amazing things. I am so grateful for this opportunity of spending time with these kids helping them to grow and learn in such an early year of their life.

  • Of course I can't live without my iPhone and my Erin Condren planner. These two items paired with post-its and flair pens should be enough to help me remember all the things I need to do all the time, right? WRONG. For some reason my memory seems to be getting progressively worse, but I just accredit that to all the classroom ideas, meetings, and appointments that are swirling around in my brain. It helps to have tools to help me with my to-do lists!

  • I LOVE MO WILLEMS. He is seriously a children's literature genius and his books are fabulous. The Elephant and Piggie series is great for emergent readers. I have EVERY book in the series and they are constantly read in my classroom. My kiddies are always asking to read them. He also writes another hilarious series about a Pigeon who wants things that are probably not the best idea for him. So great..


  • Kinder Craze has always been a favorite of mine. Maria's style is so clean and classic and I love her ideas. The best part about Kinder Craze are all the ideas for Christian schools! I teach in a Lutheran school and Maria makes and blogs about fabulous ideas for religious curriculum! Thank you, Maria for being an awesome inspiration! :) 
There you have it people! More to know about me. Check out the link-up on the KinderTribe blog and share with us a little more about you! :) 

Tell Us About You Tuesday

So update on my Sunday Scoop, for those of you who saw, I was hoping to get to take a day trip to the city one day this week and today was the day! Beautiful weather, yummy cupcakes, and good times with my Momma. SO much fun!

Now, to get to the post for the day - Tell Us About You Tuesday! 

 Well, I am beginning my 4th year of teaching Kindergarten this fall, and I have loved every second of it! I worked as a preschool/daycare teacher during my summer/winter breaks senior year of college and I loved that as well. I have a BA in Early Childhood Edu and am currently in the process of deciding where to begin my adventure into Grad school, with a focus on Early Childhood Special Ed.

My family is great, and we like to do lots of fun things together. We especially like to take trips to Disney World, our main vacation spot! This summer (in 1 WEEK) we're headed to Disney Land in California and I CAN'T WAIT! 
The Disney PhotoPass guy who took this picture was the most charismatic man I have ever met. He had to be to get us to take this photo!
I recently moved out of my parents house, leaving my precious Penny Lane to hang with Mom and Dad. She is a sassy little princess Cavalier King Charles Spaniel and we wouldn't have it any other way. 

I have some of the greatest friends around and I couldn't imagine life without them! 

If you know me, then you know I LOVE DISNEY. Some may say it's unhealthy (ahem, my best friend) ;) but I love it. I've always been a Disney girl, ever since I could talk, according to my mom. It's a big part of my life and I love being able to share that joy with my Kindergarten kiddies!

I think that's all I will share for now, but I can't wait to get to know all of you a little more. Make sure you head over to Freebie-Licious to link up and post your Tell Us Tuesday! :)


Must Have Monday

I love these link-ups, and especially this week's link up thanks to Freebie-Licious!

My Must Haves

Papermate Flair Pens. Enough said, right? I am obsessed with these pens and love how they come in a variety of colors. I found the set on Amazon during the school year for about $8 and I bought a bunch! Amazon is a great resource for finding great deals on fun things! :)

Swiffer sweepers are a life saver in the classroom! Things get dusty really quickly in my room thanks to our fabulous air conditioning (which I love). Swiffer sweepers are so great for getting that dust up quickly.
Cardstock has become my new favorite thing. I never really used it prior to this summer, and the possibilities are endless! I worked with a fabulous teacher this summer during our early childhood summer session and she had some fabulous ideas using card stock. We created mini books for our students of all the pet visitors who came to help us learn. The books were super sturdy and a great keepsake! 

Creative Teaching Press makes some fabulous stuff. For me, I never have enough yellow chevron bulletin board boarder! It's the perfect accent to my bulletin boards and allows me a pop of yellow to go along with the primary color theme I have in my room. 

My last must have is my #KinderTribe and social media. Without social media I would not be able to easily access all of the genius knowledge you all share about your classrooms, management, songs/poems, math, science and exploration activities, and all around fun things for Kindergarten. Click up by my header to follow my various social media accounts (including my brand new Instagram account @kindergartenalphabetsoup too!)
There you have it! My Must Haves for the year!! Can't wait to read about all of YOUR must haves and maybe acquire some new ones myself! 

Freebie Bible Verse poster

Hi pals! Here's a quick link to a little freebie Bible verse poster I made today. Comment with a verse you'd like to have created into a printable poster!

The Sunday Scoop 7/19

It's my first Sunday of summer, basically meaning I don't have to go to school for any reason tomorrow for the first time since we got out for the summer! Woohoo!! So here's my Sunday Scoop as I prepare for my week of summer. :)

My "have to do's" aren't even that bad... I just need to remember to do them! That laundry thing really gets away from me. 
I am going to be giving a little QR code seminar to my coworkers once I come back from vacation in 2 weeks or so and I am looking for ideas! Share your favorite posts/ideas/tips about QR codes in the comments below! I will compile them together and do a big post about it later.

I am really hoping that I get a chance to go downtown and to the beach this week, as I haven't done either yet this summer! I love visiting the city and exploring, let's just hope the weather in Chicago cooperates!

And of course, I am counting down the seconds until we leave for California! The Disney anticipation is KILLING me!!! 


Out with the old...

...and IN WITH THE NEW! My new blog reveal is SO adorable and I love love love everything that Tenille did for my new layout! Make sure you all go to Designs By Tenille to check out her work. She's incredible! Thanks, Tenille!! :) Also, how cute is my custom pal, created by Polka Dots and Pals, included in the blog header?? Love love love!

Along with my new blog layout I am launching a brand new teacher Instagram account! Click the little Instagram logo on my blog header to follow my new account, @kindergartenalphabetsoup :)

Also, it's officially my summer! I finished everything at church with Vacation Bible School in mid June and today finished teaching our Early Childhood summer session Pet Shop! We had so much fun learning about different types of pets, and I even acquired a class pet in the mix.
Meet Rizzo the Hermit Crab (named after Anthony Rizzo on the Chicago Cubs)

That's all for today. Have a fab summer pals!!

Chalkboard Giveaway #3, #4, #5!!

Congratulations to Lanie White who was the winner of the 2nd Chalkboard Giveaway! I am going to be doing the last 3 giveaways simultaneously so make sure you enter all three! You'll have many chances to get your name in the running a few times so be sure to check all the options out. Good luck, pals!!!

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There you have it, folks! I can't wait to hear how you're all spreading some kindness the next few days.


Chalkboard GIVEAWAY #2!!!!

UPDATE! Here's Giveaway #2! Our winner from giveaway #1 is Holl Homestead! :) Congratulations! There are a few new ways you can put your name in the pot this time around. The 2nd giveaway will be live until Saturday at midnight! Good luck, everyone!

Well teacher pals, I am officially addicted to the Target Dollar Spot! My "Currently" post from last week stands strong this week again. I am an ALLSTAR Target Dollar Spot addict. But it paid off today. I know MANY of you are on the hunt for the "First Day Of" chalkboards, and I had some good luck today and found 5!!!! My big goal when I started this blog was to share ideas and collaborate with teachers to make our lives a little easier, and a little happier. Therefore, it's GIVEAWAY time! I bought all 5 of the boards, and I will give each one away to 5 lucky followers! There's a few things you can do on the giveaway to get your name in the pot more than once.

I am giving away one chalkboard at a time, so check back for the 2nd-5th giveaways if your name isn't chosen the first time. Good luck!!!!!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

xoxo, July!

I just realized that my Add Comment buttons are NOT working, check out my instagram if you have questions or comments until I get it all fixed :) You can find me @xo_teach Thanks guys!

Hi fabulous friends! Can you believe it's JULY?! I decided to link up with Oh Boy Fourth Grade and share with you all my July "Currently" :)

I am listening to LOTS of country radio this summer. Chicago's new Country station (95.5FM) is SO GOOD! Also, who doesn't love that dreamboat Sam Hunt?

I am LOVING the weather, especially after we had the wettest June in a while. It's so nice to have the windows open all the time!!

I am so excited for my little spontaneous trip to visit my bestie Brittany from Nifty in First Grade for the 4th! We're going to take her cutie cute son to his first 4th of July celebration. I can't WAIT!

Anyone have any good DSLR travel tips? I am so excited to finally have my camera to bring with us on our vacation to Disney Land but I am currently struggling to figure out how to carry it around! I already have only planned to bring it 2 out of the 4 days so I'm not lugging it around the whole time, but any tips would be appreciated!

I need to stop spending money, the struggle is real. I keep eating out (because it's so convenient!) and hitting up Target...sometimes twice a day...which brings me to my AllStar section, I am an AllStar Dollar Spot fanatic. I can't get enough, the products are SO CUTE! 

I am also using this post as a teaser for something really exciting that I am planning on doing very soon involving the Container Store and my classroom! :) 

Until then, be kind to one another! 

How to Catch a Leprechaun!

This week was full of sunshine and rainbows! We got to go outside to the park EVERY DAY (No more inside recess!!!) We are LOVING the warmer Spring weather up in Chicago. 

Not only did we learn about rainbows, thanks to St. Patrick's Day we also got to make Leprechaun Traps! It is such a great group activity to build communication, problem solving, and creativity! The kiddos made some great traps! 

I created a little sequencing recording sheet freebie to go along with this activity, which you can find on TeachersPayTeachers.

Happy teaching! Happy Spring Break to any of you joining me this week! :) 


The TRUTH about being a Kindergarten Teacher

Hi all! What a week I have had. I had the pleasure of attending the ILASCD Pre-K/Kindergarten Conference in Chicago. I love every single second of this conference!! (Even the super long lunch lines..) I always feel so refreshed and ready for new and exciting things to get rolling in my classroom. I think that my favorite part of the conference is the general feeling of "We're all in this together!" I was lucky enough to hear many wonderful Kindergarten teachers speak this weekend, some of my favorites were Shari Sloane, Kim Adsit, and DeeDee Wills. While they had many of wonderful ideas to share (which I am so excited to start to implement in my classroom) their general message was this, we are not alone in this thing called teaching Kindergarten.

Linking up with The Kindergarten Connection, click the picture to check out her blog! 

To a Kindergarten teacher it's no secret that we have our work cut out for us. However, to the world, they may not realize it. There are a lot of misconceptions about Kindergarten, but that is because it has changed SO much in such a small amount of time. I don't think many people realize what Kindergarten really looks like today! I love those shirts that say things like "I am a shoe tying, poster laminating, hug giving, book reading, tear drying, question asking, life changing Kindergarten Teacher." We wear many hats as Kindergarten teachers and the best part is we don't have to do it alone. I have the amazing gift of a co-teacher at my school who I can collaborate and create with. She and I bounce ideas and procedures back and forth, working together to help better our students' learning. Some of you may not have that luxury, but I want to remind you, there are MANY other Kinder-teachers out there that are tying shoes, while singing a transition song, and using the eyes in the back of their heads to see the student who is lined up and waiting patiently for you to say "Wow! Great job!" That is what I love about blogs, Instagram, Pinterest, and Twitter. There are so many outlets for us Kinder-teachers to collaborate, plan, learn, and grow with our fellow teachers around the globe!

So keep on, keeping on Kinder-teachers! We have the BEST job in the world, and we get the privilege to spend a year in the lives of these future presidents, artists, professors, and creators, who will most certainly change the world someday.

Keep Smiling!

Compassion International

Hi Pals!  Well, it's COLD up here in Chicago, therefore no school for today. What a perfect excuse for a little bloggin'! Today I wanted to share with you all my journey so far with Compassion International.

Compassion is a Christian organization that provides sponsors for children in different parts of the world who are in need of schooling and other resources. Through their sponsors, these children are able to attend a good school, learn about Jesus, and help to give themselves more opportunities to better their lives and the lives of their families. When students attend a Compassion center they receive good meals, Christian fellowship, and an education.

I was introduced to Compassion at an event that I chaperoned called Youth Quake. This country wide youth retreat gives Junior High students the opportunity to worship, discuss, and enjoy fellowship with other youth groups in the area. Compassion partners with Youth Encounter, and each year many of the coordinators of the program share their personal testimonies and stories about their involvement with Compassion.

I began sponsoring for a few reasons. One of those reasons is that I am a teacher. As a teacher I feel it is my calling to help bring up and build students to their fullest potential. Another reason I decided to sponsor is my belief that one of my callings is to help out the children of our world. Sometimes living in a suburb of Chicago I find myself totally ignorant to the trials of the world, or I even find myself turning away from learning more about how to help out of laziness. This is unacceptable. I believe that God calls us all to help our neighbors of all kinds, whether close to home or far away.

So long story short, I began sponsoring Josthin, a 5 year old boy from Nicaragua. Since sponsoring him he has sent me 2 letters (written with the help of his school tutor). Each time I receive a letter from him it's like Christmas morning! I am so happy to be so personally involved in his life and showing Christ's love to him. On the 1 year anniversary of my Compassion sponsorship of Josthin I decided to sponsor a little girl, Lucky. Lucky is a little girl from Africa who I fell in love with when looking at her little picture. Because I have recently sponsored her, I still haven't received any information about her, but I am looking forward to hearing from her soon!

The COOLEST part of Compassion is that they offer opportunities to go to your sponsored child's country and meet them. One day, I will do this. I am going to finish off this post with a picture of my two cuties. I would love to hear from you if you sponsor a child, or if you decide to sponsor a child after learning more about Compassion! You can find out more information by visiting or finding them @compassion on Instagram!