Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Kindergarten Teachers of Missouri Unite!

July 29th - July 30th I attended the "Kindergarten" Conference of Missouri.
Again I will say..... I attended a Kindergarten Conference. I was definitely knew to this very "grade" specific type of conference. I will even take it to say that I had asked one teacher what grade she taught. I was given a response with a crowd of laughter around me, "Kindergarten". Oh well!
After attended this conference I know I am meant to teach this grade... (please don't make me eat my words later). All of the presenters and attendees made Kindergarten look FUN sound FUN be FUN and made learning look FUN!  {Isn't this the reason all of us educators go into teaching... to make learning fun and produce little people who just burst at the seem for more knowledge?} Now these same presenters and attendees made Kindergarten seem easy AHH.. I don't want to use that word... but they make it seem like learning is everywhere and opportunities to grow are at each and every corner. They don't make it seem easy, but they make it seem like everything is possible! I hope I can give this enthusiasm to my little Kindergarteners coming up in just a few short weeks. Now if only I could sort through all my ideas and make a PLAN & stick to it.
Before the conference I attended I had never heard of Jack Hartmann. Well how could I be a Kindergarten teacher and never attended a session presented by this MUSICAL MAN. I was lucky to see him in action before I start my first year. This man is awesome.  I am obsessed with this song... Penguin Dance!
At the conference I also heard from Mrs. Jump's Class (and of course bought a couple of her products). Her "All Set? You Bet!" packet has some goodies. I heard from Cheryl's Classroom Tips and she teaches in Missouri, so I thought she was fabulous. Check out her video mini-lesson on writing! The other two presenters I appreciated were The Stem Lady (amazing quick setup up, but high quality centers) and Hey, You Look Like A Teacher's Lori Elliott.   
Time to get Back To School ready!

Thursday, July 25, 2013

10 Things I Learned from Teaching

1. There is never such a thing as too many BOOKS.

2. To go along with #1... the same goes for Pencils, Glue, Tape, Crayons & Ect.

3. Ms. is the same to children as Mrs., Miss, and sometimes Mr. A prefix doesn't matter to 7 year olds.

4. A teacher is never fully "prepared" for what might come next. Road bumps are a daily occurrence and teachers deal with them gracefully.

5. My classroom will never be 'Perfect' or complete ... no matter how many compliments it may receive. There is always something I wanted to do and couldn't get to or I didn't have space for something. {This year I got lucky with a decent size room, but I still can't create the "areas" I want.}

6. Being patient as a teacher is different than being patient as an aunt, nanny, or customer at store with yelling kids! There are usually 20 other students needing your assistance or attention, so your patience is stretched ....

7. #6 leads me to... Multitasking! I have never been able to accomplish so many tasks during a day than since I have been a teacher. Holy Moly. 21+ students needing your assistance or attention can lead to a plethora  of simultaneous tasks.

8. Even those behaviorally challenged students get deep inside my heart. {I usually miss them more at the end of the year}

9. My job is literally never done for the day and it begins the moment I wake up... Even during the summer!

10. I honestly couldn't have any other job I would physically and emotionally be exhausted from but love so much.


Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Color The Alphabet

I am creating an exciting batch of Alphabet "Animals" (some letters just cannot be represented by an animal easily therefore they are objects) to color the beginning of the school year when letters are introduced. I got this idea from a former colleague; who found it through Pinterest. Here is the original link... It is awesome! A book is given to "explore" each letter and besides a coloring page it describes a craft to create each letter.

I wanted to get a head start since this is my first year in Kindergarten and I am not sure what all to expect. Planning is difficult in a new school district and new grade. I am planning on implementing Daily 5 and was hoping to integrate these Alphabet "Animals" into the writing center. {The students would color the "Animal" and write A is for Alligator} Only 1 other Kindergarten Classroom (out of 8) is using Daily 5 during their reading instruction block. I tried my version of Daily 5 last year in 2nd grade, but am hoping to use it with fidelity this year.

I am thinking I might scan in a copy of the Capital Letters and place them on Teachers Pay Teachers as a freebie!  Let me know what you think.. I am in the processes and going over each with permanent marker and creating Lower Case Letter.


Monday, July 22, 2013

Monday Made It 7-22

My "Made It Monday" with 4th Grade Frolics is special to me... It is my first TeachersPayTeachers product! Today it is on sale for $3.00. I created Chalkboard Dolch Sight Word - Word Wall Words. I have only included Pre-Primer -- 1st Grade at this time, but am working on included 2nd & 3rd later this week. The reason I "Made It" was to have word wall words that weren't HUGE. I have small space for my word wall and wanted to be able to fit other content related words, our friend's names, and introduce more sight words throughout the year. Take a look and would love some new followers on TPT!

Included in the Monday Made It I also created the "all over blogsphere" dyed clothespins!

Of course I forgot to take a finished product picture. For some reason the clothespins did not turn out as dark as I would have liked. Let me know how you have dyed your clothespin or "recreated" them.
... I am going into my classroom today and will show how I displayed this lovely beauties.

Sunday, July 21, 2013

Sunday Smorgasbord 7-21

Tomorrow is my 1 month anniversary! It seems so small in terms of our 9 year crazy relationship. This week we finally received another preview of our wedding photos. Bliss Eleven Studios did a spectacular job and I cannot wait to use her for other "big" milestones coming up in my life.

This photo is wonderful! I had to share it...
These photos show Joe and I's relationship the best!
My first Teachers Pay Teachers product! It is editable.. I am trying to figure this whole blogging/teacherspayteachers thing. I am in the processes of making Chalkboard Dolch Word Wall Words. I was looking for some small word wall words and couldn't find any... so I am creating my own and thought why don't I put it on Teachers Pay Teachers to help others. Stop by: Sunny In Kindergarten

Now on to some teaching randomness this Sunday. I am staring at this daunting amount of work and yet what am I doing...?? Reading blogs and creating a post! I need to finish labeling my classroom library, so I can just take them all to my classroom and switch out themes and categories as I need. It just takes forever and I will be honest I am still deciding on some of the "themes" that will be represented for my fiction books.

My husband should be happy I contained it to one wall.
This past week I also had ALOT of help in my classroom. Thanks to my family I am on my way to being ready for the first day of school. {But wait who is ever ready...}

Lastly.... How do I have so many pencils? I might actually have too many

This is only 1 drawer of 3...
Until tomorrow!

And The Nominee Goes To...

A few nights ago Rachel from A Tall Drink of Water nominated me for the Liebster Award. I have only started blogging in the last 2 weeks and am very excited! The Liebster Award is given to up and coming bloggers who have less than 200 followers. So, what is a Liebster? The meaning: Liebster is German and means sweetest, kindest, nicest, dearest, beloved, lovely, kind, pleasant, valued, cute, endearing, and welcome. Blogging is about building a community and it's a great way to connect with other bloggers and help spread the word about newer bloggers/blogs.

Here are the rules: 

1. Link back to the blog that nominated you

2. Nominate 5-11 blogs with fewer than 200 followers

3. Answer the questions posted for you by your nominator

4. Share 11 random facts about yourself

5. Create 11 questions for your nominees

6. Contact your nominees and let them know you nominated them
My Nominees:

3. Keep Calm and Hoot On by Rissa
4. My Kinder-Garden by Crystal

Here are my 11 questions for my Nominees....
1. What is your teaching background?
2. What is your favorite season?
3. How did you think of your blog name?
4. What is your morning routine?
5. Your favorite vacation has been? and why?
6. What was your favorite field trip as a student?
7. What teaching item can you not live without?
8. Why did you become a teacher?
9. Where did you go to college?
10. Favorite place to shop? and Why?
11. When is your favorite time to blog?

Here are the 11 questions I need to answer:
1. How long have you been teaching and what grades have you taught? 
-I have been teaching for 2 years... I am going on my 3rd. I joined Teach For America and was placed in middle school math (7th grade). Middle school was not for me (elementary was my bachelor's degree), so Teach For America placed me in 2nd grade for my 2nd year. I then was finished my commitment with Teach For America and was hired in the county were I live and will now teach Kindergarten! I am so excited.
2. What was the best concert you attended?
-The best concert I ever attended was.. uh this is hard. I just do not go to concerts. I can't justify spending the money.
3. What is the one thing you must do before going to bed?
-I have to turn my phone on "Do Not Disturb"
4. What is your favorite thing about where you live?
-I love living in St. Louis and having toasted raviolis, Ted Drew's Ice Cream, and Imo's Pizza. Food is always on my mind. I also appreciate all the "free" or cheap parks, zoo, and museums. I do not take advantage enough of the wide arrange of activities available in and around St. Louis City and County. Lastly... home of the CARDINAS!
5. Do you have any pets? If so, how many and what kind?
- I have two wonderful fur-children. Jax and Bandit are brothers from other mothers! Jax is a Pit-Bull and is the sweetest, kindest dog you will ever meet. Bandit is his little brother, a German Shepard-Chow Mix. Bandit just wants to love and be loved.

6. How did you think of your blog name?
-My bog name came from the idea that when it is Sunny I am happy.. therefore I wanted my students to be Sunny In Kindergarten which means to me "Happy in Kindergarten".
7. Do you have a guilty pleasure?
-ABC Family is my guilty pleasure. I basically watch every terrible TV show on the network and can't turn away. I watched Secret Life of The America Teenager until its bitter end. Pretty Little Liars is my favorite and The Foster's is growing on me.
8. Where was your favorite vacation?
-My favorite vacation was my Bachelorette Party to Vegas.
Picture from XS at Encore our last night in Vegas
9. Where did you go to college?
-I went to Missouri State University and graduated with a B.S. in Elementary Education in Dec. 2010
10. What's the funniest thing a student has ever said to you?
-When I taught 7th grade I had many inappropriate (but funny) comments said around me, but 2nd graders take the cake on silly quotes to a teacher. One of my students last year was talking to her friend and I over-heard... "Ms. Robert is fine, so Joe (my husband) is one lucky man." I couldn't help but feel flattered and just think how adorable little 2nd graders are. It also made me realize how easily 2nd graders can imitate their parents' or adults' actions.
11. What is one thing you cannot live without?
-I cannot live without my cellphone (which is about everyone these days), so the other item I cannot live without is my car. I am attached to the idea of being able to go where ever I want, when I want, and with it packed with my "stuff".

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Patterns Are Taking Over.

Today has been work, work, work in my classroom. I had help from my fabulous little sister (Sammy)and enough was accomplished for myself to feel great about relaxing for a bit on my couch. We decided to ditch what was originally on the walls from my "I want to get this done rant" last Thursday (It was ugly). So after making some design decisions with my sister... Patterns are all over my room! I cannot wait to post finished products in a week. Check back later.

While I was working on my classroom today and making another trip to Hobby Lobby a special package came for me, my Erin Condren Planner! I am beyond ecstatic. After saving 20 months for my wedding and having 2 months of no income... I could hardly justify spending the money, but Hey! I deserve a "new job" present.
(Personalized Notes!)
I would love to know how others use their Erin Condren to its fullest potential!

Monday, July 15, 2013

Made It Monday 7-15

It is my first Monday Made It with 4th Grade Frolics.
I created these this weekend to help with the cleanliness of my Kindergarteners. Last year in 2nd grade my "comfy" accessories in the library were disgusting horrible dirty. Now I am not saying Kindergarteners are more dirty, but I would love to keep germs out of my little kiddos mouths, ears, noses, and hands. The idea is to use the covers like sheets on your bed. I would love to wash them every 2 weeks (but we will see). I also thought it would be adorable to decorate with holiday and seasonal patterns throughout the year.

My mother helped, basically did, create these. We did not make a specific pattern. We decided it would be easiest to just sew a "bag" and place the Arm Chair Pillow inside. After we placed it inside (with the opening on the bottom) we sewed a draw string around the opening and pulled it closed. The buttons helped create the silhouette you see above!
Here are the 3 I currently will have in my room.
** I have a "no theme" theme classroom. I am weird and believe it will be the best for my crazy non diagnosed OCD.
Hope to gain some new followers and comments on this post! Keep cool everyone

Sunday, July 14, 2013

From Ms. Robert to Mrs. Gragnani: 7th Grade to Kindergarten

Below you will find my random blabbering of My Story as a teacher thus far.

Mrs. Gragnani. This is a new name for me... and has yet to take form as "Teacher". My previous two years of teaching were as Ms. Robert. Ms. Robert was often called Ms. Roberts, but was I quick to correct that statement. Now I will have to deal with mispronunciations and weird spellings, but I am happy to be called "Mrs. G" and start yet another school year.

Teaching was always at the end of my sight. I knew I was going to be a teacher and I was going to love the crafts, projects, field trips, and of course the learning! I graduated from Missouri State University on December 17th, 2010. At this time I was fully aware that jobs in teaching were all who you know. I knew no one "particularly" close, so I tried keeping contacts with my cooperating teachers and sought out new ones. While nannying after I graduated I decided to look into other options. Applying straight to districts was not getting myself any closer to a teaching position.

I had heard of Teach For America while in Undergrad and decided to give it a very close look 5 days before the final deadline of the final application round for the 2011 Corp. (A former high school classmate of mine had posted about applying and thought "why not?") It was a lot to complete in 5 days, but while children nap a lot can be accomplished if you put your mind off Facebook and Twitter.

I fully thought I would never get a phone interview after my application... let alone then receive a final interview in the second week of March. The interview process of Teach For America is lengthy and intense. But the organization keeps with its routines and much of the process (and what they are looking for) can be found on the World Wide Web. I practiced, practiced, and practiced my sample lesson, my interview answers, and how I might respond in the group activity. After my interview... I will be honest, I felt exuberant. I had nailed it and knew this was my chance to finally get a teaching position.

I was accepted in April and cried. I was beyond words and felt such a great pride within myself. THEN I saw the placement. I knew I would most likely be placed in St. Louis (my only choice), but I was nervous about being placed in an Elementary position; St. Louis did not place many Corp Members in Elementary and I was being accepted at the final deadline. My placement was St. Louis in Middle School Math. Excuse me.. Middle School Math. What even do you teach in Middle School Math? Uhh.

Well I went to Institute in Chicago with Teach For America and taught 9th Grade Algebra at Bogan High School.

While in Chicago a middle school in St. Louis hired me to teach 7th Grade Math. It was a good district and I was happy to have a job. Somewhere during that 1st year in all the excitement of having a job and finally being a teacher I realized Middle School Math was not for me. For a lot of reasons I did not fit in with Middle School and especially Math. I conveyed this message to Teach For America and for my 2nd year in the Corp I was given an Elementary placement. This placement was in another district within St. Louis. (My first district does not offer transfers from building to building for teachers with less than 3 years)
7th grade classroom after a looong day
Finally I was teaching at an Elementary School and was placed in 2nd grade. This district is slightly a hot mess and let's say that this year was not all I had hoped it would be. I had a very challenging classroom with high need behavior problems from about 8 of my 21 students. I continued to challenge myself with reward systems of all kinds to keep a safe classroom. One student became homebound at the end of February... I stopped feeling supported by my teammate and school administration... I decided I needed to find a new job for the next school year.
My 2nd grade classroom during Halloween Math
2nd grade Classroom Library
My commitment with Teach For America was over, I was done with my 2nd year of teaching at a 2nd school and district, and I was getting married! June 2013 was seeming to be a great month and it turned into so much more. I was blessed with two job offers and finally accepted my new position teaching Kindergarten!
After a long journey of 2 districts 3 districts and 2 grades 3 grades... Mrs. Gragnani is ready to start a teaching position that turns into a career or at least for longer than 1 year! Ready to share this journey with you.

Friday, July 12, 2013

Erin Condren: SHIPPING

Ahhh! I just posted about how excited I am to receive my Erin Condren: Teacher Planner. Well good news has been given to me... It has shipped. When I placed my order estimated shipping date was July 15th; I will take July 12th! Happy Happy Friday to me.

Favorite Pins Friday

My First "Favorite Pins Friday"
1. Since I am now joining Kinder-Land, the Alphabet crafty pins have caught my eye. I love how the kindergarten teacher at my previous school created a blackline template of these letter crafts to then have the students color them in. Cannot wait to create these with my little ones.
2. Lock Smock. I just ordered a purple polka-dot Lock Smock from The Price of Teaching on Etsy. The idea around the Lock Smock is great.
3. I started following Erin Condren on Pinterest for a couple giveaways... Now I cannot wait to receive my chalkboard lesson planner with my now "MRS." name.
This is all for today! (I am still trying to understand this blogging thing... )

First, Finest, Kindergarten

Time to join the blogging world. A move from 7th to 2nd to Kindergarten in 3 years has left me busy, but now I am ready to share my experiences in the classroom.