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My first Made it Monday

I'm linking up with 4th Grade Frolics for my first Made It Monday!!!

So I had posted this picture on facebook last week to ask for some suggestions as to what exactly to do with this bookshelf that I've inherited.

Here is a picture of what it looked like before:

I went to Michaels (used my coupons) and bought some scrapbook paper, and Mod Podge.  I got right to work on these UGLY boring shelves!

I added a border - black/white to match my classroom decor and walla! :)

Here's a close up of a couple of the shelves!  It turned out beautiful if I do say so myself. :)

It's in a corner in my guided reading area.  The options that I have for using this are endless!

Here are a few shots with my baskets added.

It was a busy day setting up my new room! :)

Make sure to stop by Tara’s Monday Made It to see all the fantastic things teachers are making!

Christina Mauro

Classroom supplies and books!

Hello all :)I have to say that I am a sucker for school supplies at any store during any time of the year. I have been frequenting stores like the dollar store, Target, and Michaels since school has let out and let me tell strength to resist is dwindling. I keep telling myself I won't buy anything until I set up for next year and see what is truly needed, and after I go through my own supplies and see what I can donate, give away, or keep.

However, this strength has not held so well when I have seen some children's books I want to add to my classroom library. Barnes and Noble has had some specials on different books in the stores and I couldn't resist one buy in particular. 

The series by Laura Numeroff including If You Give a Pig A Pancake and If You Give a Mouse a Cookie are two that I couldn't pass up....2 for $10.00! I figured $5.00 per book was reason enough to purchase them :) I have also seen lots of activities themed to these books so it was a good buy in my opinion!

I also saw two titles that our librarian read to us this year that I would LOVE to get, but might have to look those up on Amazon, titled I Want my Hat Back and This is Not my Hat (by Jon Klassen). These two books have awesome illustrations and let the children infer in the end what they think happened. My students last year loved deciding individually what they thought happened in the end!

I am also willing to purchase books over other supplies because I love read alouds or shared reading, however I am still struggling with choosing popular titles, placing them into the year at appropriate times and using them to teach skills that are centered around those times as well. I want to eventually have a shared reading calendar for the whole year and know what book series, or pairs of books to read each week of the year centered around content or language arts goals.

Does anyone else struggle with this? Or does any one have a plan or list of books that go with different learning goals or time periods throughout the year?

Stephanie :) 

Summer School

So I'm SUPER jealous of everyone that's in Vegas right now but I am teaching summer school and we started this week!  I have 9 wonderful little children who are going in to first grade next year and there are two of us in the classroom!  Too bad we can't have numbers like that during the school year. :)

During morning meeting we are trying to keep the kids excited about books so we have wrapped up a book for everyday!  The kids get to come up and pull a piece of paper out of a bag.  All but one are blank papers but one of them says "Unwrap the book."  The student that picks that paper gets to come up and open the package!

This week we are reading Mo Willams books - the kids are SO excited!

We are reinforcing their writing skills by writing in a journal daily.  Check out Madeline's perfect handwriting! :)

For reading we are using LLI (Leveled Literacy Instruction.)  Most of the kids are reading at the same level so I have to do 3 groups of the same book back to back!!!  I'm sooooo glad it's not like that during the school year - BORING! For me but not for them - they LOVE it!

De'Marcus and I did a sort with some S and T words and pictures.

Our summer school is only 3 weeks but I can tell that it's going to be so beneficial for these kiddos.  I'm so glad that they are there and that I'm there with them.  Even if I'm missing ALL the fun in Vegas!

And I just have to add that Gina started Summer Camp too!  It's her first "school" experience.  She'll be at the same school for pre-school next year and I thought camp would be a great transition!  Here she is with her backpack and lunch box on the first day!

And this is her in her classroom - no tears and she just jumped right in - LOVE HER!!!

Christina Mauro

Liebster Award!

How Exciting!  We've been nominated by Lauren of Mrs. Thomson's Treasures for the Liebster award!  Thank you so much Lauren!!!  We are so excited to share our blog and nominate others for this honor!

Here are the questions that Lauren has asked:
1. If you could live anywhere in the world, where would it be?
Hmm...I would have to say Charlotte, NC.  We have some close friends that live there and the people seem to nice! Not to mention it's a heck of a lot cheaper than Northern Virginia. :)
2. What is the best vacation you have ever taken?
I have a tie for this one - Disney - because it really is the happiest place on earth! And my honeymoon to St. Lucia - it was AMAZING!
3. What are you most proud of in your life?
My two kids!  Gina is 3 and full of SO much energy and smart. Anthony is just about a year and a half and even though he is a MAJOR handful my heart just melts when he gives me kisses.
4. What time do you wake up on school mornings? In the summer?
During the school year I get up around 6am!  I have to get the kids and myself ready for the day.  In the summer I was getting up around 7am because that's when Anthony makes me get up. LOL
5. What is your favorite thing to cook?
I'm not a big cook but I love steak.
6. What is something  you can't live without each day?
Caffeine! Either a skinny vanilla latte from Starbucks or RedBull Zero.
7. What movie could you watch over and over?
Fast and the Furious. I know SO random but I just love it.
8. Did you always want to be a teacher?
I always wanted to work with kids. Either a pediatrician, social worker, but I'm so very happy I decided on the teacher route.
9. What is your favorite restaurant?
On the Border - I love me some Mexican food.
10. What is your favorite season of the year and why?
Fall! I love jeans and a t-shirt and HOKIE football!
11. If money were not an issue, what kind of car would you drive?
Ready for my mom answer - Brand New Honda Odyssey - fully loaded!!! :)

11 Random Facts About Me
1. I lived in Japan for 3 years as a child.
2. I was princess for a day at Disney in Japan because I pulled a sword out of a stone.
3. I've known my husband since 7th grade.
4. I don't like scary movies (ever since I had kids) but love shows like Dexter and True Blood.
5. I watch WAY too much TV!
6. My first car I bought at an auction. It had to be returned because you had to hold the steering wheel 45 degrees off to go straight.
7. I just paid off all my credit cards.
8. I'm a beer girl - wine make me emotional and gives my horrible hangovers (even just a few glasses)
9. I started off working as a kindergarten assistant.
10. My first year teaching I was also taking 5 classes for my Masters and working as a waitress at night.
11. I hate doing my hair but have to put on makeup to go to the grocery store.

My nominees for the Liebster Award are the following:

My questions for the nominees are:
1. What's your favorite subject to teach?
2. If you won the lottery would you still teach?
3. Do you have kids?
4. What's your favorite thing to wear?
5. What's your favorite month?
6. What's a food you couldn't live without?
7. Have you traveled?
8. What made you start blogging?
9. What's your favorite book?
10. What was your favorite class in high school?
11. If you had one wish, what would it be or be for?

For my Nominees - to accept the Liebster Award please do the following!
1. Link back to my blog
2. Answer the questions I wrote for you
3. Share 11 random facts about yourself
4. Nominate between 5-11 other blogs (with less than 200 followers) for the Liebster Award
5. Create 11 questions for your nominees
6. Contact your nominees to let them know they've been nominated
That's it!! Have fun!

Christina Mauro

Favorite Read Aloud Linky Party

I've decided to host my first Linky Party! Hopefully this will all work! :)

As the school year is getting closer I start to think about all the books I love to read to my class.  One of my favorite books that I enjoy reading with my Kinders is Emily's First 100 Days of School by Rosemary Wells.

If you have never read this book you HAVE to check it out.  There is a short paragraph for the things that Emily does counting up to the 100th day of school.  I start this book on day 1 and only read day 1.  Then day 2 we count to 2 and read day 2.

The fun thing that I love about this book is that I have made "special days."  So bare with me but if we were on day 100 we would count and certain days have a fun phrase.

Here's how it goes:

1,2,3,4,5,6,7 days in a week, 8,9,10,11, 12 is a dozen,13, 14, 15, 16 ,17,18,19,20, 21,22,23,24 is two dozen, 25 cents in a quarter, 26 letters in the alphabet, 27,28, 29, 30 days has September, April, June and November, all the rest have 31, except February now we're down, 31,32,33,34,35,36 inches in a yard stick...that's the last "special day."
The kids LOVE reading and counting everyday.  This becomes a book that they also love to check out of the school library.

So I know you all have books and activities you love to do with your class.  

So link up and share. :)

Christina Mauro

Creation Castle Giveaway!

I'm so excited to be part of yet another giveaway this summer!!!

Creation Castle is celebrating and has 50 Top Selling items that you can win including my Roll and Cover Beach themed games!  How fun!  Click below to go enter!  Good Luck!

Christina Mauro


Back to School - Math Stations for Kindergarten

Looking for a fun way to introduce your students to Math Stations - look no further!!! :)  Here is a closer look at my Back to School Math Stations for Kindergarten.  Can you say FUN?!?

There are 8 math stations that are just perfect for training your little ones in small groups or at their math stations.

Here's a peek at what's all included:

Christina Mauro :)

Crayon Tray Organization Help

We have always used some type of crayons trays on our tables in kindergarten. They hold the pencils, erasers, and crayons sorted by color. The ones I used last year are these:

I like the fact that the kids can sort the crayons and quickly grab the color they need. What I don't like is that they are big and bulky on the tables. 

We have little caddies from Really Good Stuff that we use for glue and scissors. 

What do you use in your classroom?  

I'm looking for something that can possibly hold crayons, pencils, erasers, and even some little helper charts that I've made. 

If you have any pictures that maybe you've blogged about or products that you love please leave a comment below. 


Number Sense

I just finished two bundles for September and October!!! There are one of my best selling products and one of my kids favorite math stations! Number Sense! I work really hard with the kinders to recognize very quickly the different ways to show numbers (numerals, number word, pictures, tally marks, and ten frames.) I started making these last year and they were such a hit!

In the September Bundle I have included the following themes:

Kissing Hand - Number  1-10

In the October Bundle I have included the following super fun themes:

Do any of you have fun games or activities to teach number sense in your classroom?

Christina Mauro

Teaching Letters and Sounds, Facebook Freebie & Another Giveaway

It's going to be a long post - but I promise it's worth it....

I've been working for awhile on a new line of products to use this year with my Kindergarteners. We are changing the way that we introduce letters after taking a Word Study class last year.  We used to do "letter of the week."  We had many discussions about it this past year and finally decided to try a new approach.

We are going to be introducing 2 letters a week; except vowels which will get a week on their own.  Then the question became what order to use to introduce the letters.  In our word study class we received a copy of Kathy Ganske's book Word Sorts and More.

Product Details

This book has a TON of sorts that are just perfect for my kids.  The order that she used is based on the letters that kids use most frequently.  So why reinvent the wheel - we decided to follow her order.  But I want to do more than just the sorts provided in the book so I created a packet for each set of letters.

The first letters that she suggests you introduce are M and S.  So here is what I made:

I made a flip book for the students to sort their letters in

I used the same pictures (in color and larger) for the students to use in a pocket chart station or in small group.

Handwriting sheets for the students to do in a writing station.

And two papers that I plan to use for an assessment.  One of the papers they draw pictures for each letter.

And the other they would use the color code to color the pictures.

Since it's summertime and I haven't used these yet I MIGHT be adding other pages once I see them in action. :)

I bundled all the consonants together in a money savings bundle at my TpT store:

I'm still working on the vowels and then I'll be doing some digraphs and blends when I can find the time! :)

I also JUST figured out how to add a Freebie for Fans on my facebook page! :)  It was a PAIN!!!  But if you jump over to my page here and "like" me you'll find a GREAT resource for Back To School!!! :)

Finally I'm helping Learning 4 Keeps celebrate 500 Followers and 1 Year Bloggiversary!!!

Learning 4 Keeps

Click the image above to go over to her blog and enter to win some fantastic products!!!

Christina Mauro :)

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