Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Introducing the New Other Half of A Dot Does A Lot…

Hello, I am Kristie! I recently moved to North Carolina and was lucky to be introduced to my colleague Ms. Sarah Swilley (soon to be Stephens)! In a few short days (yes, days!) we really hit it off together, both professionally and personally!  She has quickly become a very close friend and colleague and shares a strong passion and love for teaching. We both agreed that we could get much more accomplished if we teamed up and put our minds together, so HERE we are… The NEW “A Dot Does A Lot Team”…

So a little about myself! I am also a Kindergarten teacher, (with my classroom and Sarah’s separated by only a column!)  I grew up in Arizona and New York and now reside in North Carolina. My boyfriend, Nick (who is also an elementary school teacher!), and I made the big move to NC and love the area and are even making plans to buy a house! Although it has been hard to move away from family and friends, we are incredibly lucky to be blessed with such awesome friends and coworkers…

Personally I have many loves, which include teaching, shopping, reading, teaching, chocolate, Italian foods, and did I mention teaching?!?... My dream job has been to be a Kindergarten Teacher, since I was in KINDERGARTEN myself! I am so excited to be fulfilling that dream and to have the opportunity to share my experiences with the teacher blogging community. I love reading your blogs and ideas and bringing them into my own classroom. I also truly enjoy having someone to collaborate with in addition to Nick. Nick and I have always been a good team together and continuously bounce ideas and resources off of one another. Having Sarah around to discuss our ideas has greatly influenced us both and we both appreciate her constructive criticism and positive collaboration...

I am huge literacy advocate; I believe it is important to include reading and writing in every aspect of the day! I think that we as teachers need to portray our love for reading and writing (as well as math and other subjects across the board) so that our young scholars learn to be confident in those academics…  I am also a huge advocate for Children with Special Needs. I always take each student’s individual needs into consideration while planning and creating activities. This is something that comes easily for me, as I grew up with a sibling who has had to overcome several struggles presented by his ADHD and Asperger’s. I also saw where and how he struggled throughout his schooling and aspired from a young age to help ensure that other children didn’t come home from school feeling the way he did…

I could go on forever about my interests and beliefs about education, but I want to stop before I get too involved!  (I want to make sure I still have something to blog about later!)  I am very excited for this opportunity to blog with Sarah and look forward our future as team bloggers! We both hope you like what you see and decide to continue reading! J

Thursday, March 28, 2013

First OFFICIAL product on TPT = Giveaway!!!

Hello everyone!

Whew!  I already looked up to all the wonderful teacher bloggers out there that have created so many great products for us to purchase on TPT, but I have a new found respect for them!  I have been working on a packet of reading logs that contain nightly tasks for students to complete that are directly correlated to the Common Core Standards and will hold students and parents more accountable to the nightly reading homework!  I am slightly embarrassed to admit that I started this project several months ago and have just now finished it TONIGHT! Yikes!

Regardless, I feel like it is finally ready to be posted!  And for the first week it is up, I have marked it down to only $6!!!  Click the picture below to go directly to my store. But..... if you are one of the first 6 (I'm just liking that number today:) people to become a follower and post a comment about my new product, you will get it for FREE!

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

New Blog Design!

Ta-da!  You know how you feel when you lose a couple of pounds and put on a new outfit!?  You feel like you can conquer the world! Getting this new blog design kinda feels like that!  I am so, so excited!  I have to say a huge thank you to Sweet Bella Roos!  Emily did an awesome job setting it up for me and creating custom icons for facebook, etc.  Everyone should go check out her etsy store and blog!

I'm sorry I haven't been posting much lately!  If you have ever gone through the process of buying a home, you will completely understand when I say it feels like it is consuming us!  Almost every day we are trying to track down a new document or piece of information!!  I know this is completely normal, but I still can't wait for the moment they hand us the key and tell us we are done! :)

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Another Amazing Giveaway!

Just the other day I was sharpening pencils for our math benchmark test and I thought to myself... "ugh, what was the name of that pencil sharpener that I read about online that is supposed to be so quiet and so amazing??  I wonder if I'll be able to find the name of it if I google it..."

And then a few days later I discover that Kimberley Ann, on her blog Live, Laugh, I LOVE Kindergarten, is GIVING AWAY one of these famous sharpeners!  I haven't had a chance to try it yet, but they are supposedly THE greatest thing!

Click on the picture to hop over to her blog and get yourself entered!

Thursday, January 31, 2013

Tackling Misconceptions about Kindergarten

Hey everybody!  Tonight our school hosted a Curriculum Night and each grade level set up a few stations to provide parents with more information about what our students are learning and how they can support them.

For Kindergarten, I was in charge of the station dedicated to the Common Core Standards.  To make things a little more fun, I created a "pop quiz" for parents to take about the standards :)  Several of the questions address some of the misconceptions our team has found many of our parents have about Kindergarten.  It ended up initiating many AWESOME discussions with parents tonight!  There were lots of ah-ha moments and many misconceptions were erased :)

Here it is for you to grab!

Let me know what you think!

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

GIANT Giveaway Over at Keepin' It Kool

Wow!  I am so impressed!  Khris, of Keepin' It Kool in Kinderland, has reached 100 followers and is having a crazy huge giveaway!  I can only aspire to be that successful by the time I hit 100 followers!!!!  (Right now I'm super ecstatic about my 5... hehe :)  Click on the picture below to go check out the amazing packets you can win and start entering!

And while you are at it, go ahead and follow me too! :)

Monday, January 28, 2013

Class Dojo and Our Clip Chart

Mrs. Wills (one of my absolute favorite Kindergarten bloggers) mentioned a great new app/website called Class Dojo in her most recent post.  I commented on her post about how much I loved class dojo and mentioned that I was using it in conjunction with our clip chart that had already been established in the room.  

Then later this evening a fellow teacher asked me to describe in a little more detail how I had made this work.  (Thanks, Jena, for inspiring this post! :)

Rather than respond in the comments section (I'm having some trouble figuring out how to change the font color on the comments on my blog so they are currently very difficult to read) I figured I'd do a quick post about this!  

Like many of you, my kiddos start on green every day (see the image above).  Prior to class dojo, they would move up the chart when caught doing the right thing and down after a warning or two... When we (my  instructional assistant and I) decided to give Class Dojo a try, we realized that we were frequently giving points but clips weren't getting moved as often and we didn't have a clear system for communicating points to parents.  

So we started looking at their point balance at the end of the day and moving clips up or down based on how many points they have.  Every 5 points (good points) equal one move up the chart.  So for example, let's say Susie has 8 points at the end of the day and was already on blue (when we were lining up for lunch she was the only one in 'traveling position' without a reminder so she got to move up for remembering the expectations when no one else was) so she will go home "on purple".   Once I explained that 5 points equals one move up the chart they were much more eager to earn those points!

In my newsletter I explained to parents that we were utilizing the new app and it would factor into their color for the day.  I also asked for updated email addresses so parents could be entered onto the website and a report could be sent to them each week.  

I love that Class Dojo makes it so easy to quickly provide positive reinforcement to several children at once. My instructional assistant keeps her iPhone with her at all times and can give or take points in a matter of seconds.  It eliminates the loss of instructional time associated with having to go over to the clip chart all day long!  By incorporating the two together, it gives me the flexibility to utilize either one at any given time and my students seem to be even more aware of their choices....  

The greatest thing about it is that you can tweak it to meet the needs of your kids!  Maybe some classes need to set the expectation at three points at first, some classes may get so many points in one day that they need to earn eight or ten... it just depends on your kids!   Please don't hesitate to comment if you have any other questions!  Or if you utilize Dojo another way, I'd love to hear about it too!  I love to hear new ideas!