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Monday, December 16, 2013

Imagine my surprise...

When I went to one of my favorite kindergarten blogs: A Differentiated Kindergarten and found this post!?!

And finally, yes finally, I have a winner for our Jo-Totes Camera bag giveaway.  

Janet Anderson Black

You get the gift certificate for one of those amazing camera bags of your choosing.  Congratulations.

I could hardly wait to visit the JoTotes website to pick out the camera bag of my choice! 
I decided to go with the Rose Raspberry camera bag. I love all shades of pink and this bag will certainly stand out in my black and white classroom! Here's a picture of the one I chose from their website:

Rose Raspberry

I want to thank Marsha McGuire for hosting this super giveaway and invite everyone to check out her blog for lots of great ideas and freebies for differentiating instruction in your kindergarten classroom!

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Videos For Our Food Unit

This website has some fantastic videos that bring the farm right into your classroom!

From Farm to the Fridge is a 2-part video that does an excellent job explaining the process.

From Farm to Fridge part 1

From The Farm To The Fridge, part 2/2

Saturday, October 26, 2013


We have been in school 50 DAYS! 
The Koalas are 50 days smarter and 50 days more independent with their learning! Our student-led calendar time incorporates both ELA and MATH common core standards.
This actually occurred on October 24th - our half day of school marathon in which we had our classroom Halloween party followed by Parent/Teacher conferences lasting from 1:00 pm until 7:30 pm.  The two highlights from the day include 100% participation from the Koala parents at conferences and the delicious food our parents' club brought in for the teachers to eat throughout the afternoon and evening.  

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

The Big Reveal

We have been in school 25 days and I finally have a few minutes to post my new black and white classroom design!

Starting with entrance to my room...


Some of the special areas in my classroom...
We are building stamina with Daily 5!
I had so much fun creating this new look this summer!
Here are the before pictures...For the last 12 years in this building my room was crazy busy with primary colors as well as every inch of the wall covered with learning posters. Prior to that I spent 12 years in an older building that had slate chalkboards and cinder block walls.


I did like my reading nook though. :-)

Friday, July 26, 2013

The Vinyl makes the wall pop!

A big shout out to Melanie Duspiwa for cutting and applying the wall art above my windows. Not only is she a fantastic second grade teacher at my school she also has her own business, Memorable Moments By Mel, where she creates beautiful wedding gift plaques and other personalized gifts like you see here. Be sure to check out her website. She is very reasonable!

Delta Kappa Gamma SWRC ~ Branson, MO

I can't believe a week has flown by since my fellow teacher, Judy, from Streaming Thru Second and I attended the Delta Kappa Gamma Southwest Regional Conference. The hotel accommodations at The Hilton at Branson Landing known as the Hilton Promenade Hotel were very nice and we certainly enjoyed helping at the registration table. We always have the best time and love seeing key women educators from all over the world. We are looking forward to going to Indianapolis next summer for the 2014 DKG International Convention!

If you are interested in joining Delta Kappa Gamma please go the website and search for a chapter in your area. Judy and I have been members for over 14 years and both have served as chapter president. We have grown professionally and our chapter has provided assistance to many charities as well as giving two grants-in-aid yearly to high school senior girls who are planning to study education in college. 

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Monday Made it!

Monday actually it was more like Tuesday around 3am when I completed a few more projects. Check them out! Now I am off to take them to my classroom. TTFN!

A 31-derful Delivery!

I was so excited to open up my box from Thirty-One!
 I just had to have a couple of large utility totes in the striking Black Floral Brush Strokes to go along with my Black & White classroom theme.  I just love how classy this one looks!

Friday, July 5, 2013

A Painting Kind of Day

It's amazing what a few cans of black and white spray paint can inspire one to do. First, I wanted to paint my vintage free-standing mirror holder white. Between my mother-in-law and myself it has been reflecting 45 years of kindergarteners. 

I have had blue supply tubs in my room for 13 years. They are still in good shape but they needed some freshening up. I cleaned them up with Goof Off spray then hot soapy water.  The picture shows the first coat. They will be a glossy black thanks to Krylon Fusion spray paint specifically made for plastic. 

I had a red and gray plastic drawer organizer that I wanted to change to black and gray. The red front just popped right off. Two coats of Krylon Fusion and that was completed today as well.

Friday, June 21, 2013

Koala Bling

What teacher doesn't like a little bling? When I came across this adorable Koala thumb drive on Amazon I just couldn't resist! 8GB and BLING! I plan to add it to my ID necklace that I want to make. This is another item on my Summer-to-do list!
There are some very pretty ones on Pinterest . You can also follow the Pinterest link to shops on Etsy.

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Ten Pin Linky Party

I'm linkin' up with Ashley at Just Reed for a Ten Pin Linky Party to share our 10 favorite pins. This week it's share your favorite pins for Classroom Décor.

First, my new theme for this Fall is Black and White so I found a lot of great ideas at schoolgirl style

My inspiration came from the creativeteaching. It is their BW collection for the designer classroom.

Creating an organizer to store all of the "little items" that keep the classroom going is one of my summer jobs. I love the bright colors on the one found at

My next two come everything has it's place and a place for everything will be a lot easier with these two little gems!

I really need to find one of these little cuties found at  The Kinders are always wanting to give me their forms and money. Consistency of a common drop box with make
that easy to take care of.

Friday, June 14, 2013

Storage Drawers

I finally finished up my storage drawers for my room. I found the drawer organizer at Sears. The cute labels are from Deanna Jump. One more thing to check off of my Summer-to-do list.

Thursday, June 13, 2013

Classy Makeover

Once a month I try to volunteer at KidsMart in St. Louis. This FABULOUS organization provides children and their classrooms in the Greater Metropolitan Saint Louis Area with the basic tools for learning by transferring, at no cost, the community's surplus supplies and merchandise into the hands of teachers for school children in need. Check out their website for more information. A perk of volunteering is you get to "shop" for things to use in your classroom!

On my last shopping trip I found some sport dry erase message boards. I brought them home and gave one a classy makeover! My new classroom theme is going to be Black and White so I used some contact paper, stickers, a bit of bling and voilà!
(a reversed before and after pic)

Noisy Plastic Playdough Stampers Problem Solved!

Last Fall I purchased a nice set of plastic playdough letter stampers for around $30.00.  I put them in the playdough center with some free printable ABC mats that I found at
The playdough center was popular and LOUD! The kinders spent a lot of time digging through the plastic tub trying to find the exact letter they needed. I realized that I needed to organize the stampers to make them more kid friendly and less noisy. I searched for a holder that would hold all 26 stampers in an upright position. I didn't see anything that I felt would do the trick so I contacted my dear carpenter friend who can make "anything" out of wood! I told him how I wanted it to look and showed him a picture of a wooden scissor rack ($32.00 and only had 12 slots). Three days later this is what he had waiting for me! Isn't it a beaut!?!

  Cost: $5.00  The creativity of a talented carpenter: priceless!

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Black and White theme: Black Pocket Charts tutorial!

Came across this tutorial while looking for classroom black and white decorating ideas:

A big thank you to Lizette for figuring this out!

Wednesday, May 29, 2013


I was given 5 boxes of GBC 10 mil laminating pouches. Who-hoo! That's enough to cover me for the next 7 years of name tags, bus tags, & field trip tags! But wait, there's a catch! What is the best (yet cost effective) laminator to use with the 10 mil pouches?  Help me out, bargain hunters!

Monday, May 27, 2013

How Poetic...

Our butterflies emerged from their chrysalis on the very last day of school. Talk about procrastinating! We took them outside to release them which was a special treat for the Koalas. A fellow teacher was so moved by the coincidence of this moment that she took a picture and shared it in an email to the school staff.
She added this sweet comment to the email: "I couldn't help to connect the Kindergartners releasing the butterflies they have tended to since young caterpillars to what we do each year as educators: tend to them until they are ready to fly."

Sunday, May 26, 2013

Summer Reading List

   Each year our school does a professional development book study. Last year we read the Daily 5 by Gail Boushey and implemented the Daily 5 in our classrooms. I can tell you that the Daily 5 structure helped our students in K-6 become confident and independent in their ability to work on each of the five components of Daily 5. Since we were the only one of 10 elementary schools in our district that took on the challenge of Daily 5 we had teachers coming in for classroom observations followed by lots of questions. As you know, most teachers want to be "over-prepared" for what they are planning to teach. We were not experts by any one's standards but we kept tweaking it and discussing it until we felt pretty comfortable with how it was running in our classrooms. Does it look the same in each of the five kindergarten rooms in our building? No, that's the beauty of it! It reflects our individuality of teaching as well as the uniqueness of our classes.
 A question for the kinder teachers: What do you use or how do you teach the kinders to keep track of where they have been throughout the week?

Saturday, May 25, 2013

Five for Friday

My favorite part of Summer Vacation is the more relaxed schedule of my day. I can take my time cleaning and organizing the house. So often during the school year my family of five keeps me so busy that the house takes a back seat on the priority bus. I have found so many great ways to organize thanks to Pinterest- Now I have the time to try them out.

My fabulous find today was a braided Hibiscus tree for my front flower bed. It was 40% off and rang in at $10.00, cha-ching! Can't wait for hubbers to put it in the ground.

I invited a teacher friend over for dinner last night. In addition to having our first s'mores of the summer, I also introduced her to Pinterest and TpT.  Three claps and a woo for me! She's officially hooked! In fact, she pulled out a flash drive and started downloading some cool freebies while we were toasting the marshmallows!

Have you decided what your classroom theme is going to be for next year? I have! My classroom has been primary colors for 14 years (I know, gasp!). I honestly never really thought about changing it until I decided to start a blog. I have this thing about wanting everything to match so I asked Nancy Messenger at to design my blog based on some border I found at It is a part of their Black and White collection. She is truly creative! She is working on an avatar of me now. Can't wait to see it!

Finally, I am just starting my blog. I will post some highlights of what my Koala Kinders did this past year and include some pictures to show just how much fun we had in kindergarten. If you have any tips on how to make my blog reach other bloggers and cool looking like all of yours please send them my way!


Summer break is here but it feels like Spring!

The weather here in St. Louis is fantastic! Pleasant days and cool evenings mean planting flowers during the day and fires in the fire pit in the evenings.  Our semi-mild winter allowed us to be out of school on May 16th.  I look forward to a peaceful and creative summer.

Classroom Theme 2013-2014

I have been out of school for a week and I already have my room theme picked out for next year.  Mrs. Black's Koala Class is going black and white! I love being able to research and bargain shop at a relaxed pace. I'll post pictures on my blog once I get some of my new classroom ideas created. Pinterest has some great ideas for achieving my black and white goal!

Saturday, May 11, 2013

Nearing the end...
     We have 3 and 1/2 days of school left.  It is a bittersweet time for me. I am looking forward to some much needed R & R but I still feel like there are so many more things I want to teach the Koala Kinders.
Lifecycle update:
     We are anxiously awaiting the emergence of our Painted Lady butterflies. My kindergarten team ordered a hundred larvae and divided them up into 5 plastic containers. Two of the classrooms have butterflies emerging at this time. Two of the classrooms (including mine) are still in the pupa stage. The fifth classroom may not make it at all - I think her container was too small.  I am perplexed at the development rate differences. Any ideas?