Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Christmas Questionnaire 2014

I love link parties.  This one is from Fabulous in First and it's all guessed it...CHRISTMAS.

1. When do you decorate? 
 It's always been my family's tradition to put up the tree and decorate the day after Thanksgiving.  This year was a little bit a different.  Instead blasting our 5 million Christmas CDs and fighting over which ornament will get a spot front and center on the tree we were on way here... 

Now if you're not familiar with this little piece of paradise let me explain.  This is Bryant Denny Stadium and home of THE University of Alabama Crimson Tide and it's one of my favorite places in the world.  We are HUGE Bama fans in my family and we try to visit once a year for a game.  This year's game was the Iron Bowl, Alabama vs Auburn.  It was incredible.  If you're wondering how the game ended, I'll just say had it ended badly for us I probably wouldn't have mentioned it ;).  Moving on..
2. Elf or no elf?   If you've read my previous post you know we were lucky enough to receive an elf in our class again this year.  I believe there are a lot positives and negatives when it comes to the elf but I'll share those thoughts later.  For right now I'll leave you with a picture of our mischievous girl and just say that this year we are doing elf on the shelf with a twist.

3. Christmas cookies or No Baking for You?

Umm YES!! Personally I feel like Christmas is really the only time of the year when it's acceptable to gorge yourself on cookies.  I especially love to bake for other people.  Today the teacher across the hall came over to my room and for whatever reason I could not remember something that I wanted to ask her.  She asked me if had anything to do with me baking her cookies or bringing Hershey kisses.  The girls next door LOVE all things Hershey.  She laughed and walked out.  Little does she know that the cookies I was baking last night were specifically made to put in their Christmas gift bags.  I think they'll be surprised!
4. Favorite Holiday Tradition

Without a doubt, Christmas Eve.  Every year we spend Christmas Eve with my moms side of the family and by that I mean the WHOLE side, mainly my relatives on my grandma's side of the family.  There's lots of people, lots of fish, and lots of wine.  It's a very Merry Italian Christmas and sometimes I think you have to experience that kind of fun Italians have to understand the true meaning of fun but trust me, it's fun.  It's one of the few times a year that all four generations are together at the same time and I think that's pretty great.
5. Favorite Christmas Movie

A Muppet Family Christmas. I like a lot of Christmas movies but I LOVE the Muppet Family Christmas.  I don't really have a reason why I've just always loved it.  As a teacher, I frown upon so many of the television shows and movies that my students are frequently watching.  One my biggest concerns about future generations is the lack morals and positive role models.  I love the Muppets because they are entertaining, fun, and they do the right thing.  Yes, we will mostly likely watch this at some point during our Christmas party, you're welcome Kindergarten.
6. Snow or No Snow?Snow. Snow. Snow! Okay maybe just one snow.  I love snow on Christmas.  It just makes everything look and feel so much more festive and of course WV is no stranger to snow so it's pretty much a winter way of life for us.  I never thought I would get sick of snow until that awful polar vortex last winter.  I can't even remember how many days we spent in negative temperatures and snow days?...well they were fun for a couple of days but after TWO WEEKS of snow, -18 degrees everyday, roads that were shut down because they couldn't clear the snow off fast enough, and no end in sight we were all miserable.  So I'll just take a little snow for Christmas and then it can be spring.
7. Favorite Christmas Song

I love music so this is a really hard one for me.  I like just about all Christmas songs sung by just about any artist.  I am partial to Little Drummer Boy, Mary Did You Know, and I really like Gold and Green by Sugarland.  I also love Ave Maria but I don't really feel like that is a Christmas time only song.  Honestly though, I listen to it all.
8. Favorite Gifts to Give and Get

Just like I love baking for other people, I love buying for other people, too.  Aside from the fact that our school year got off to a very overwhelming, very intense start...and I feel like I've been in a race to even have a prayer of catching up at some point...AND it sometimes dampens my Christmas spirit...I really do love the whole idea of the season of giving.  I think there are so many ways to give and just because it's Christmas doesn't mean you have to buy the biggest items every store has to offer.  My favorite part of giving is seeing the look of surprise on the faces of people I take my little Christmas goodies to..especially the ones who aren't expecting me to think of them.  I'm wondering if I'll get those looks from the girls next door when I drop of their Christmas bags later on this week.  I hope I do.  Teaching has made me realize that the smallest, simplest thank yous mean so much more than anything that can be bought.  Appreciation, especially for teachers, is one of the greatest gifts.  So this year I hope you will remember to thank a teacher who meant something to you on your journey.  I know I will.       

Monday, December 8, 2014

A Very Kinder Khristmas part I Elf on the Shelf edition

Well, boys and girls it’s here.   Christmas time!  And in true holiday spirit the month of December has made a grand entrance.  I don’t know about anyone else but for me the month of December feels like the equivalent of living in a giant snow globe.  The story goes like this..

 Inside the globe there’s a small little town that very much resembles that of Whoville. The town is all bright and “Christmasie” then suddenly, without warning someone picks up the globe and all of its Christmas perfection and shakes it.  The next thing you know snow has blurred your vision and bells, ribbons, two turtle doves,  and a partridge in a pear tree are flying in every direction, Christmas chaos has ensued.  The madness continues until finally someone sets the globe down and you’re left in sea of red and green sprinkled with bits of left over candy canes that your elf on shelf dropped as she vanished into a pile of glitter.  This is my life during the month of December.  Is my story a little too dramatic?  Are you thinking at this point I have a few screws loose?  People, I hate to be the one to tell you this but I teach Kindergarten having a few screws loose was one of the job requirements!  Okay, okay so that’s only partially true.  Anyway here’s what’s going on in our Kinder snow globe.We were lucky enough to receive Santa’s last elf on the shelf this year.  I know! I couldn’t believe it either.  Santa himself sent us a letter and a book from the North Pole.  Don’t believe us?  Ask our awesome lunch ladies.  They were nice enough to bring us our little frozen package that someone had dropped off at the back door.  It came straight from the North Pole AND it was even still cold! I’d love to say I thought of this all on my own but didn’t.  I got the idea from Suesstasticclassroom inspirations.  She has tons of Elf on the Shelf ideas if you want to check them out.

My little minis were so excited they nearly trampled me to get to our present neatly wrapped in gingerbread men paper.  We opened our letter from Santa, they cheered.  We opened the present.  A book!  They were disappointed, I was sad =(.  We read the book anyway =).

 Next, came the task of naming our little girl elf.  Yikes!  Each little mini wanted to be the one to name her and some thought it would only be right to name her after their elf at home.  Insert an image of me standing in the middle of the shaking snow globe and you pretty much have our elf naming session summed up in a nutshell.  So to be fair, we made a list of potential names and narrowed them down until we finally came up with four, I mean one name for our very special final elf from the North Pole.  So without further delay I present to you Lucy Annabelle Sparkle Star…and please before you get any ideas just remember she was named by five year olds…to be continued!    

Tuesday, November 11, 2014


So life in Kindergarten has been even more chaotic in the last few weeks.  I know, you didn’t think it could get any crazier..well it did.  Since school started we have had a very intense visit from the state office of educational performance, were introduced to a new Kindergarten evaluation system, AND were told all of the new information MUST be completed in…oh..let’s say… two weeks!  Yep, you heard right two whole weeks to do it all different and did I mention we were visited by the state department right before the deadline?  INSANITY is all I have to say about it.  I may or may not need to tell you about the ungodly amount of time I spent in the evenings and weekends leading up to these events.  Here’s a little shot of classroom the night before our visit…the calm before the storm.

Truthfully there wasn’t much of a storm.  Our guests walked around building, interviewed students, teachers, and our principal, and sat in on some classes.  Our class was visited in the morning for quite some time and oddly enough my students were great (cue huge sigh of relief).  Complete opposite of my class last year, they were wonderful for just me but as soon as a new person walked in, it was show time.  You all know what I’m talking about.  Long story short, it was nerve wracking but it was fine and more important…IT’S OVER! 

So next up was report cards and Halloween, throw in an Election Day and Veteran’s Day and we are practically at Thanksgiving which means Christmas is right around the corner.  Our year is practically half over. How did that happen?  So little time and so many things to do.

If you had the day off today I hope enjoyed what I’m sure was a very welcomed break.  If you are a veteran and the reason so many of us enjoyed a day off with 70 degree temperatures, THANK YOU.  We try so hard to teach our students about responsibility, teamwork, respect, and appreciation not just today but every day and there are no words to truly express our gratitude for all of the sacrifices you’ve made so that we can have the freedom to teach and learn.  Happy Veteran’s Day!
xo Devon

Saturday, September 20, 2014

Dear 2015 me

 NOTE: I actually wrote this a couple days ago but I’m just getting around to posting it. It was a long week!
So I’m participating in my first link party thanks to Crystal from Kreative in Kinder. She is one of my inspirations for becoming a teacher blogger and I absolutely LOVE this idea! Not only because I can’t even begin to count the number of times this week I’ve asked myself, “was it really like this last year?” but also because the thought of knowing that there are other teachers out there asking themselves the same question is a slightly comforting feeling.  I do believe I’m making a difference, I believe we’re all making a difference but let me tell you after a few a day or weeks…maybe even months of saying
Sit down,
Keep your hands to yourself,
Walk please,
And my personal favorite…raise your hand if you want to talk
I can no longer drown out the voice in the back of my head that screams I CAN NOT DO THIS ONE MORE DAY!  Oh the joys of Kindergarten.  You truly can’t understand until you’ve spent a few days with TWENTY THREE 5 year olds who don’t really understand the concept of school.  We are surviving though, really we are.

So here it is a letter to my 2015 self.  Last year I kept a notebook of things I wanted to do differently and some lists of things I should do ahead of time to make my life a little easier this year.  I think this letter will fit nicely in there.  And as for the screaming voice in my head…I CAN do it one more day.  I did it one more day every day last year and I WILL do it one more day tomorrow…but then I won’t have to do it again for two days because it will be the weekend!! Hello light at the end of the tunnel! 

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Transformation Tuesday

Well we are halfway through week three of school and it already feels like we’ve been here for years!  It’s that time again, the beginning of the  school.  The only way I can describe this blessed time of year is, insanity.  Even though this is my second year of teaching Kindergarten, I honestly don't feel any more prepared than I did this time last year…okay maybe a little more but not a lot.  There’s just something about starting all over again with a new group of students who’ve never experienced school that I just don’t think ever really gets any easier.  A lot of my students did go to Pre-school last year but still, Kindergarten is different.  We’ve had lots of tears, some good days, and some not so good days but we’re working through it.  The beginning of school is tough and some days I just feel like I’ve failed miserably.  However, there is bright spot in all of this chaos, a silver lining, the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow, you get it.  ORGANIZATION!

 Last year I was not officially hired until October, so that meant I had to make do with what was in my classroom and where it was until summer when I actually had time to clean out and organize all of it.  The teacher that retired left a lot of supplies which was awesome, the only problem was I had no clue what all was in the classroom.   My goals for the summer, 1. clean out my filing cabinets, 2. update my classroom furniture, and 3. organize my bookshelf.

First, I took on the filing cabinet.  I don’t have any pictures of that but it’s kind of boring anyway so I’m sure you won’t miss it.  It wasn’t too bad, couple of weeks and I had it all cleaned out and put back together.  It was amazing! I was so excited I dove right in to the bookshelf. I couldn't wait to see what was in there so I pulled every book off the shelf.  It was great…until I looked down at my floor.

The books were everywhere and I thought for a minute I was way in over my head.  Long story short, I DID get my books organized.  It took a little longer than I expected but I know what books I have now and where they are and that to me is priceless.

 Finally, my chairs and bench had really seen their better days and it was time to give them a boost as well.  Now I can promise you I am the furthest thing from an artist but I got a little dose of inspiration when the mom of one of my former students redid an old wooden chair for me.  At first I had all of these creative ideas and I was just sure that I could mirror many of the designs I saw on pintrest but I quickly realized my best option was just to go with a solid color =).  Like I said, I’m not an artist.  I do have some pictures but I'll save them for another time.  
So there you have it, transformation Tuesday bookshelf style.  It's the little victories that get you a long day of Kindergarten.  Oh, and for all you teachers out there, I have more good news...Friday is only two days away!
    XO ~ Devon

Sunday, August 24, 2014

Welcome to the blogging world

Hello fellow bloggers!  I’m really excited to finally be a part of the blogging craze!  I have to admit I’ve wanted to start a blog for a long time.  I’ve just never been able to work up the nerve to actually do it…until today.  Summer is coming to an end and it’s amazing how quickly my mind has snapped back to “school mode” (as if it was ever really free of school thoughts) and with a new year and new students rapidly approaching, why not add one more new challenge!

I spent a lot of time this summer to blog hopping/stalking.  I found so many blogs full of great ideas and I quickly grabbed as many as I could for my own classroom.  Your endless creativity has been both inspiring and intimidating to me at the same time.  I also loved seeing so many other teachers that think about school as much as I do.  I’ve learned so much from so many of you already and I hope to share even more in the very near future.  So be my virtual, blog friend! Leave some comments, let me know who are, and follow me also, please!  I can’t wait to keep learning and sharing with all of you!

xo Devon