Thursday, June 14, 2018

Becoming A Lady Of Leisure!

Linda:  Some of you may have retired recently or you’re getting ready to retire at the end of the next school year. Think it’s an easy transition from the classroom to home?  I thought it would be but found out it wasn’t so easy and I wasn’t so prepared!  

Did I really have to prepare to have time on my hands?  Not have to set the alarm? Do whatever I wanted to do when I wanted to do it?  Not as easy as I thought!  
Living in Phoenix, AZ, I played golf every weekend with a singles golf group and thought I’d be able to get in a few extra rounds during the week.  My golfing friends called me during June and July to find out how my retirement was going.  What retirement?  I’m always off during June and July!  But no one could tee it up with me during the week - they were still working!  The summer dragged on

The first Monday of August came and teachers reported back to school.  I should have been kicking my heels up and sleeping in!  But no, I found myself sad and somewhat depressed.   Why couldn’t I go back?  Why couldn’t I enjoy the potluck breakfast they were all eating?  And what about lunch at a restaurant, like people could do in the “real work world.”  I felt left out. 

I remember on the first  Thursday of that teacher week, I stopped by school to give Lisa some papers she needed for sending out products (yes, we used to sell paper copies!!).  I went into my old classroom only to find another K teacher had moved into it.  Well!  She had the whole room arranged wrong!  Didn’t she know that group time wasn’t over there?  She put the computers in the wrong place!  And where are the filing cabinets?  WHAT???  In the back of the room?  I couldn’t stay - I had to get out of there fast! 
The following week the students arrived.  Where’s my class?  What do you mean I don’t have a class?  All I could do was sit at home in my bathrobe and read the newspaper.  I was the first in my circle of friends to retire and there was no one to hang out with.  Retirement was not going very well.  
Becoming A Lady Of Leisure!  Think retiring is easy?  Think again!  Read my story here!
On Thursday afternoon of that week, I looked at myself in the mirror at 2 pm and thought, “Linda, you can not live the rest of your life in a bathrobe!”  But what was I to do?  Yes, I did sub a little but that just made me want my own class again!

I dug out my old sewing machine and thought maybe I could learn to quilt.  All my relatives in New Hampshire were quilters so how hard could it be?  My trip to the local quilt store was the turning point for my retirement!  I signed up for a beginner class and spent my time at my kitchen table sewing up a storm!  
Then I had another turning point - my son and daughter-in-law in Georgia announced I was going to be a grandma finally!   I knew just what I had to do.  Within a year my house was sold, my furniture was on a truck, and I was driving across the country!  

Although I was excited about being close to my family, I didn’t want them to think they had to “entertain” grandma and have me over all the time.  So I was back to sitting around with few friends and little to do.  I would sit in front of FaceBook playing FarmTown and FarmVille all day!  

I did sign up for subbing in my new county but their idea of a fair hourly wage was nowhere near what I had been making as a sub in Phoenix! 

Then, at my granddaughter’s first birthday, a friend of my son’s invited me to a quilt guild meeting the following week.  Time to dig out the sewing machine again!  I set up an extra bedroom as a sewing room and off I went!  Everyone was getting quilts for Christmas, birthdays, anniversaries, etc!  

I also joined the St. Vincent de Paul Conference at my local Catholic church and found myself doing home visits to the needy in my new town several times a week.  
Within a year, I was involved as the president of that ministry at church, secretary of the quilt guild, and member of a second quilting group.  I’m just now completing my two-year tenure as president of the guild and am the official part time babysitter of two grandchildren! Far cry from the days of sitting in my bathrobe! My son says he has to make an appointment to visit me! 

Is retirement good now?  You bet it is!!!

Suggestions for retirement: 
  1. Have something special to do during the back-to-school season.  A trip? A church ministry? A home party? 
  2. Get involved with a hobby or a sport, maybe a new one for you or revitalize an old one.  Unpack those supplies you thought you’d never use again!  
  3. Look into subbing in your own district or those close around you.  Some districts will allow you to specify what days they can call you if you want to take Mondays and Fridays off!
  4. Volunteer in your community.  My next dream job will be in a hospital as a “rocker” for the newborns! 
  5. And don’t be afraid to move closer to family.  I have many, many friends here in Georgia who relocated to be closer to their grandchildren.  They do keep you young!  
Enjoy your life no matter what stage you are in! 
Lisa:  For anyone who had previously purchased our Growing Bundle of One-and-Done Projects, there is a new addition to the bundle!  Little Red Riding Hood has joined the others for a total of 19!  Get all our One-and-Done Projects at a 20% discount or purchase them separately.  

Have a great summer break!   

Sunday, June 10, 2018

This is an updated blog post from 3 years ago but it still pertains to 2018! Here's how Lisa sets up her classroom during her summer break. 

Lisa:  I am fortunate to be able to get back into my classroom during the second week of summer break.  The custodians wash our carpets and then I head right back in to set up my room.  That’s a big monkey off my back and I’m able to go out of town to visit friends and family without worrying about getting back early to work in my room.  Especially since August is so hot in Phoenix!  

I have found that the children stay focused on the lesson better when they have a spot for themselves to sit rather than spend all of lesson time moving from place to place!  I use a variety of colored duct tape and will be adding “spots” on it with black marker soon.  During the first part of the year I tape a label on with their names but as the year goes on, I put letters, numbers, shapes, and words on their places.  You got to keep them learning all day long! 

Each of my work hexagonal work tables is assigned a color and everything at that table is labeled accordingly.  Here's my red table and the supply tubs for that table:
When students are finished early with their work, they go to the Red Drawers/Shelf to find another activity to work on rather than wander the room!
During the day the students might have papers for me to check.  Rather than have them give them to me, they put them in these magazine boxes that are labeled according to the color of their tables!  A name card will slide down the front pocket so I can switch them around when I change their tables!
Even my cubby labels are now made with duct tape!  In the past we made paper labels and covered them with clear tape only to have them come off during the year.  Using duct tape with a permanent marker solved the issue of having to go back to fix these labels all year long!

Here’s a close up of the labels.  I took this picture yesterday but these labels are from last year’s class!  They endured a whole year of 5-year-olds!

Have fun setting up your classroom! And have a fun summer!

Tuesday, May 29, 2018

Picnic Time!


One of our favorite activities in our classes is to go on a teddy bear picnic.  Our children bring in their teddy bears during our bear unit for several days.  At the end of our study, we have a picnic outside with biscuits and honey!  

We read several versions of The Teddy Bears Picnic and each child creates a copy of Going On A Picnic.  The children use their imaginations to collage the illustrations for where, who, when, how, and what.  
Then they make a list of the information about their picnic and compose a story.  

Click here to read more about our newest KinderLit book! 

Monday, May 14, 2018


When I see something cute on Pinterest and give it a try, my end results look nothing like the original!  But this time I did it!!!
My preschool grandson and I made this cute cloth bag for his mom last week.  I purchased the bag and fabric paint at Michael’s along with some plastic forks at the grocery store.  Here’s what we did: 
First, he drew a vase along the bottom half of the bag and painted stems for his flowers with a brush.  Next he dipped the back of a fork into the paint, making sure to cover the “bowl” part of the fork too.  Then he laid the bowl part down on the stem and rolled the fork up to the tips before lifting it off.   

Rather than paint the vase, he wrote a message to his mom! 

We experimented with the plastic forks first on scrap fabric and realized the tines were too thick and far apart.  My dinner forks were too big but the dessert forks were just right!  

Fabric paint really sticks to your hands so we had to use a nail brush to scrub up! But the finished product was so worth it!  
Although Mother's Day is over, there must be a way to use this technique for Father's Day!  Any ideas???
Off to try another Pinterest craft...

Sunday, May 6, 2018

Create a Bubble Map with a Painting!

Thinking Maps®
Most of our students enter kindergarten with no preschool experience and very few academic skills.  One aspect of our program is to help them organize their thinking and we use Thinking Maps® to create visual representations of ideas and thoughts.  

Here’s a fun way to connect art with Thinking Maps® in your classroom.  During our desert unit, we had the children paint a sahuaro cactus.  The next day, the children used construction paper to transform their cactus into a person.  In this picture you can see a sample of a cactus police officer! Can you see the badge, hat, and belt?   
And on the third day, each student created a bubble map about the cactus person.  We modeled the map in a whole group setting and then the children did their own at a literacy station.  
Just what is a bubble map? It’s a diagram of adjectives that describe an item and consists of a large center circle for the name of the item.  Smaller circles extend outwards connected with lines to the center circle and contain the adjectives that describe the item.  Here’s a sample we did for the police officer:   
For more information and to learn about the remaining thinking maps, click here: Thinking Maps®
If you study the desert, this is a great time to purchase our Desert Animals & Plants product (formerly known as Who Lives in the Desert?)  This Tuesday and Wednesday we are participating in TpT’s Teacher Appreciation Sale.  Here are the details: 
When: May 8th and 9th, 2018
What: 25% off everything in our store! 
How:   by entering the code THANKYOU18 at checkout
Where: in the KinderLit store! 

Stock up for the rest of the school year!

Happy Shopping!

Sunday, April 15, 2018


Our students are getting very proficient with adding with our addition stations.  The child above was so proud of his recording sheet!  Here are a few more photos of what we do:

If you’re looking for 8 fun activities, be sure to check out Watch Me Add! in our store.
Just in time for Earth Day!  
Our newest One-and-Done project is now in our store.  There are recording sheets for creating mini books or for using just one at the bottom of their collage. 

We have inserted this new project into the growing bundle.  If you have purchased our Growing Bundle of One-and-Done Projects, go to the My Purchases page in your account on TpT and upload it again!  

Wednesday, March 14, 2018

Easter Eggs for Word Work

Easter Eggs for Word Work
Recently I visited JoAnn Fabrics and found this bag of Easter eggs.  These are great for working with words, especially the sports eggs that will draw the interest of your boys in your class!  
We have purchased them in the past at various discount stores this time of the year - even a jelly bean egg!  Here are a few more samples of the ones we have used in our classrooms:  

Our students love to crack open the eggs and figure out what words are hiding inside!  They can record their findings to read to friends or to family for homework.  

You can find a set of letters for CVC words and Sight words here in Crack The Egg!  There are 6 sets of CVC words (6 different words in each set) and 14 sets of Sight words along with the recording sheets for all.  
What a fun activity for stations during the spring!