Saturday, July 30

New Aprons...which one do you want to win?

I'm still trying to make it to 200 followers and 100 Facebook "likes" this weekend so I can give away an apron! I think we can do this! To inspire you I have added several more aprons to my Etsy store in some new designs. Which one do you want to win? Remember it will be delivered with pockets full of goodies! Spread the word!

Here's a sneak peek of the newbies! Head over to Etsy to see them all!

Thursday, July 28

Freebie and a goal...

Part One: I am a happy girl this morning. I've sold four aprons, I've sold my first Teacher's Notebook item, my Facebook is up to 40 "Likes", and my blog has over 170 followers! Oh my goodness...I'm feeling the love! Thank you, thank you! In celebration, here is a freebie for you. I hope you can use it in your classroom!

Part Two: I have a goal. I am sitting so close to 200 followers that I think my little blog can make it there this weekend with your help! And wouldn't it be cool if my Facebook made it to 100? So, here's the deal. When Just Love Teaching hits 200 followers and 100 Facebook likes, I will give away the apron of the winner's choosing and load the pockets with goodies (including amongst some teacher favorite supplies...a surprise gift card)! Spread the word...can we do it this weekend??? Check back so you don't miss your shot at an apron!
Angela :o)

Wednesday, July 27

Do You Etsy? Let's Mix it Up!

Until recently, I've heard of Etsy...but not really checked it out. I had an "idea" what it was and figured I would look at it someday. As it turns out, it is a really neat place to visit and look around. And I'm wondering why I didn't check it out sooner...there are a lot of creative ideas out there! I have seen several bloggers with Etsy links and I've recently started crafting/sewing again myself and jumped on the Etsy wagon. So, I thought it would be a fun idea to provide a place for us all to link up our Etsy shops and see just how many of us there are! Many blogging teachers have items that you might love to have in your classroom, accessories to wear, and just plain good ideas! Do you Etsy? Link up! Spread the word...I know there are a lot of you out there! Afterwards, I will attempt to categorize the shops and post a sqworl list.

I'll start...make sure you link your Etsy shop in your blog post so it is easy to find and then link your post (not your main blog) here. This way readers will be introduced to both your blog and your Etsy shop. I can't wait to see what you've got! :o)

What's for Dinner?

Kathleen from Growing Kinders is hosting a recipe exchange linky party. We all know how it feels to teach all day, come home exhausted, and with no more motivation left in us have to figure out "what's for dinner?" Thankfully, I am blessed with a husband who has taken on much of this task for me during the last year. It is probably the best gift he has ever given me...

Before though, I definitely had some favorite easy recipes that I relied on to get me through the week. The easiest fix is to use the slow cooker...just don't forget to put it all together and turn it on before work in the morning! Kids are not always fans of slow cooker all-in-one pot meals...the veggies touching the meat and all. But, I always got away with meats which take the longest to prepare at dinner time anyway. The kids two favorites are pulled pork and cranberry chicken.

For the pulled pork, I throw a 3lb. pork tenderloin in the slow cooker (I've used other cuts and they are terrible to shred later). Premix the McCormick Slow Cooker Pulled Pork seasoning packet, ketchup, brown sugar, and cider vinegar following the directions on the packet. Pour over pork. Cook on low all day. When you get home from school, use two forks and pull the pork apart. We like this on delicious kaiser rolls with some coleslaw.

Cranberry chicken is an old standby. I use boneless chicken breast (but choose your favorite). In the slow cooker, put chicken, a can of whole berry cranberry sauce, a small bottle of Russian dressing, and a packet of onion soup mix. Cook on low 6 hours and serve with rice and your favorite veggies.

I also love baked potatoes and have found that because of the variety of toppings, the kids love them too. But, there's not time to bake potatoes after work when the crowd is famished...the solution? Slow cook them. Wash your potatoes, dry them, prick several times with a fork, rub with oil or butter, and place into your slow cooker. Do not add water. Cook on low 6 to 9 hours (or on high for 3 to 5). They will be ready when you get home...just gather some toppings to serve on top. We like cheese, any chopped leftover meat or bacon, any cooked veggies, salsa, sour cream...even leftover chili. You can't go wrong!

For fancier recipes I picked up a fun book called Not Your Mother's Slow Cooker Cookbook. Many of these take more prep time (chopping, etc.) and ingredients. But, I have had some yummy meals.  So it is nice to have on hand for a change of pace when the family gets tired of having the same things. Now it's your turn...what's for dinner??? Link up HERE.

Happy cooking!

Tuesday, July 26

Made me smile!

I had to share some very sweet feedback I received that made me smile! :o)
Thank you ladies for making my day! More aprons are on the way!

Monday, July 25

Facebook Mixer

Kinder Fun is hosting a Facebook Mixer. I'm having fun seeing who else is on Facebook and linking up with their pages. I'm slowly gaining followers on my own Facebook...will you join me? Please leave a comment telling me what types of posts you would like to see and be sure to link up with Kinder Fun to join the mixer!

Just Love Teaching

Promote Your Page Too

See you on Facebook! :o)

Sunday, July 24

I Wonder...Writer's Workshop

Writer's Workshop...I've been doing a lot of reading this summer on teaching young students to write. I'm neck deep in Katie Wood Ray's About the Authors, Already Ready, and In Pictures and in Words, Jennifer Jacobson's No More "I'm Done!", as well as Martha Horn and Mary Ellen Giacobbe's Talking, Drawing, Writing. All of these are amazing books by the way and I am devouring every word as I try to get a handle on what I need to do differently. Don't get me wrong, writing time goes "okay" in my class. But, I still feel like I'm fostering dependence on me rather than independence while they write. I am tired when writer's workshop is over, because I have run around for an hour helping 20+ students think of ideas, sound out words, find supplies, and so on. It's exhausting and I'm not getting to conference often enough.

The big idea that both Ray and Jacobson promote is that students should be independent during writer's workshop. Providing ample, well-organized writing supplies (pencils, markers, crayons, paper in multiple sizes and varieties, scissors, glue, staples, post-it notes, etc.) need to be available and in an area for the kids to access on their own. They need to be taught to get what they need on their own as well as how to appropriately get and put away items. When I try to be the "master of the materials" I am taking away independence and making more work for myself. Additionally, both authors dislike writing prompts or any directed writing. They say that allowing students to choose what to write about during each and every writer's workshop time is essential for fostering independence and inspiring a joy for writing.

Another big take away from my reading so far is that writer's workshop is less about the mechanics and more about the authors. I teach kindergarten...most of them are still learning to form their letters and what sound each letter makes. Getting words on paper is a giant task to ask. I am reminded to see them as five and six year old writers and revel in how they craft their stories. Words or no words, they are sharing a story and if I celebrate what they are doing well, they will begin to see themselves as authors. I love when Katie Wood Ray share examples of students comparing themselves to well-known authors as though they are on par with them. It is precious! So another goal I have is to be sure to let them see themselves as authors...not just as kindergarteners doing writing. It really is amazing the stories that they can tell...if we don't get caught up in thinking "but, they're not where they need to be yet!"

Jacobson begins each workshop with ten minutes of music and calls it the Quiet Ten where even she sits down and quietly writes for ten minutes along with the students. Modeling quiet writing and being able to tell students how you solved problems and came up with ideas...priceless...why haven't I been doing this??? The Quiet Ten is going in my planbook! After those ten minutes she begins conferencing and the students are permitted quiet collaboration with each other while they continue writing. Love it.

I will also have the materials form the get-go for the students to actually make books. I usually offer books, but not necessarily always. For the most part I use 12x18 story paper folded in half so it is essentially a book...and I will still have that as an option. But from the beginning I also want to have a variety of book writing options. Ray suggests that calling the writing task "making books" is a more concrete idea that young kids can more easily relate to and willingly attempt...after all, they love making things! Also, since books have multiple pages students are more likely to stay with a single story longer with the goal to finish filling each page (they will need to be taught the expectation that they are not to waste materials, but need to fill each page).

I'm still working through ideas in the books and taking notes. But, I was curious...what do you all do? Please comment!

Friday, July 22


Mrs. Tabb of First Grade Awesomeness is at it again...I just love her creativity! She has a new unit on what else! The kids will LOVE it! Click on the link to find out how you can get your shoe fix too! Shoe-bee-doo-wop-doo-wop!

Sew Enjoying Summer!

Too cute not to share...check out my little man at my sewing machine!

He asked if I would help him make a pillow. I'm not sure he was anticipating sitting at the machine himself, but he did it...and learned a few things in the process. 1. Keep your eyes on what you are doing. 2. Slow and steady is best. 3. Keep on the straight and narrow. 4. Pins can be boogers! He even learned how to whip stitch his pillow closed by hand after he stuffed it with fluff...with big ten-year-old boy stitches of course, but he was elated with the result. Where is he now? Still sleeping with his new squishy soft orange pillow!
Gotta love summer and the time you get to spend with your kids...this never would have happened during the year between his homework and my obsessive compulsive after-work/before-work behavior!  So, just a reminder to savor each day of summer while it lasts and have some fun with your kids! :o)

Thursday, July 21

Lessons from a week of VBS

I have spent the week at Vacation Bible School at my church. I have had the immense pleasure of teaching the preschool crafts sessions to 54 oh so sweet 3-5 year olds. It has been a barrel of laughs and a reminder of where they all come from before coming to kindergarten! I cringe giving kinders scissors on the first day of school...preschoolers...yikes! But, at least I'm giving them a smidgeon of practice before they go to school!

Something the pastor's wife said this morning during our morning gathering struck home for me and I wanted to share. She asked how many times it is mentioned in the New Testament to come to Jesus as children. (She didn't know the number either, but it is a lot). The idea is that children love you, want you to love them, and they want to spend time with you. The purpose of her comment being VBS related, it still struck me as an important reminder.

The kindergarteners that are in my class each year want to love me (as their teacher), want my love and approval in return, and want to spend time with me. Sometimes on a difficult day, this is hard to remember or accept. But, just that little bit of positive attention every day makes a world of difference. For some, our kind words might be the only ones they hear in a sad as that is. So I am making it my goal this year to be more proactive and intentional about my positive comments.

During the Daily 5 workshop I attended, it was suggested that when working with "barometer" children especially that keeping a chart for yourself to log your positive comments/acknowledgements is important. We need to be aware of how often we interact with these students and look for when we start to lose that. These little guys more than anyone need a lot of positive interaction to gain their trust. They showed us a simple hourly chart that they use for this purpose...something like this...
Simple, but good. Best wishes and more ramblings tomorrow! :o)

Tuesday, July 19

Just Love Teaching Etsy Shop

It's OPEN! Hooray! Please stop by and check it out...aprons for teachers by a teacher!
Just Love Teaching on Etsy!
Pick me Teacher Apron Reading Frogs Apron with Blue Pocket Bees and Apples Teacher apron with red pocket Teacher apron with crayon pattern and green pocket Teacher apron with alpha-numeric print and striped pocket
Meow theme utility apron in brown and orange Teacher apron with alpha-numeric print and crayon pockets Reading Frogs Apron with Green Pocket and Ties Bees and Apples Teacher apron with striped pocket Color me Organized Teacher Apron
Teach with Class Black and White Apron
I'm also working on apple prints, more cats, dogs, owls, ladybugs, and other "classic-wear-with-anything" styles. Many have been left without ties so that colors can be customized. Please let me know if you have a requested theme or style you would like to see and I will do my best to meet your need. I would also appreciate your feedback on Etsy if you stop by! :o) Thank you all for your patience as I worked out the details and technological issues.

Sunday, July 17

Pocket full of posies...

Well, maybe not posies...but the pockets will be full of lots of teacher goodies! I have been working away at new teacher helper aprons. I have several new designs nearly ready to go. Tomorrow I will add the ties and backing material...and upload them to Etsy. But, I wanted to give you all a sneak peak...mostly because I am impatient for you all to see! Let me know what you think!

I am toying with the idea of adding embroidered names or ironed on logos as options. Also, if you have a fun idea you'd like to see...feel free to ask. I will see what I can do! This has been fun...I even got to spend some quality time with my 13 year-old who was inspired to try her hand at sewing! Priceless.
Alright All...calling it a day. I look forward to hearing what you think! :o)

Friday, July 15

The Carpet Song

Miss Kindergarten wants to hear your songs! If you teach kindergarten (or even first) you know how much of a difference songs make in your classroom. We tend to break out in song all day long...often making up our own little ditties to fit the moment! Here is one of mine that works like a charm...

Here's another version that I posted a few months back that is more of a rap or chant. The video can be found if you click here...and the words are below.
What do you sing? Link up to Miss Kindergarten's Linky post HERE.

At Home Planning Space

Under The Alphabet TreeJessica of Under the Alphabet Tree is hosting a Planning Space Linky Party. I was inspired to clean up my own space to get it "presentable" to share with you in pictures! The paper mountains are once again filed neatly away...where hopefully I can find them easily again. So below is where I do my planning (and blogging) at home. You can see my professional reading on the left of my desk, my printer on the right, my beloved nook, my laminator under the desk, my favorite coffee cup and water bottle...and my little blogging buddy budgies that make me smile! And yes, that's my blog page on the MacBook screen...ready to upload these pictures for this post! I love being able to look out the window and use the natural light to work as well. Keeping it neat...another story!

Books,  laptop, printer, laminator...all the workings!
Blogging Buddy Budgies!
T.C. (Two Cents) and Sunny up close!
Favorite mug: "Shh...I'm reading" (from B&N)
Favorite bottle: "I am fairly certain that given a cape 
and a nice tiara, I could save the world."
(from Curly Girl Designs)

I spend tons of time here much that my husband tells me I recreate by working. It's true...but that just means I love my work, right??? Thanks to Jessica for hosting! Now...where do you plan??

Do you use TouchMath?

TouchMath is a unique hands-on experience for students. I love the way it gets kids to touch and count while they build their visual mathematical understanding. It works for different learning styles because it is multi-sensory and is adaptable for kids learning at different levels as well.

Teaching Happily Ever After is hosting a 300 Followers Giveaway that ends very soon...for some wonderful TouchMath materials! If you haven't entered yet, you do not want to miss out! Here is what you can win: A TouchMath Mini Poster Set and TouchMath Tutor Software!

Thursday, July 14

Yearn to Learn is hosting a blog mixer!! Here is what she is looking for:
1. A blogger who is a "New Kid on the Blog"
(Let's say someone who has blogged 2 months or less and has less than 200 followers)
2. Post a blogger in your same grade level
3. Post a blogger in a different grade level
4. It's all about the button. Find a cute blog button and post it.

Here are my finds:
1. New kid on the blog...
Just Reed!

2. A blogger in my grade level...

3. A blogger in a different grade level...

4. A cute blog button...