Friday, September 23, 2016


Hello Divas!
I am SO excited because yesterday was officially the First Day of Fall! I absolutely LOVE the season of Fall and everything that comes with it. It's time to break out the boots, sweaters, and everything
Pumpkin Spice! :)

Today, I want to share with you some of the lessons/activities I did with my students during the season of Fall these past few years. Since I do not have my own classroom right now due to my recent move across the states, I will be somewhat limited in what I can share with you. I will do what I can! Thanks for understanding! :)

First and foremost, I want to give a huge shout out to my previous Kindergarten Team - A LOT of these ideas were from you, so THANK YOU, friends! I miss you so much and I will take the ideas I learned while teaching alongside you and share them with new teacher friends!

Beginning during the last week of September, I usually split up my Fall Themes as follows:

Week 1 - Fall/Leaves/Acorns
Week 2 - Scarecrows
Week 3 - Apples
Week 4 - Pumpkins
Week 5 - Skeletons/Spiders
Week 6 - Nocturnal Animals

Our team has done a "Fall Rotation" in the past so that we could all check out different books from the school library and pass them around according to the theme we were on that week. This rotation usually takes us through Sept./Oct.

Here are some of the lessons/activities I have done in the past. I have listed 2 ideas for each theme. I hope you find some of them helpful and fun! :) Enjoy!

Sight Word Leaf Hangers 
I usually hang these up in front of the classroom window. It feels so festive!

What you Need:
  • Di-Cut Leaves in Various Colors 6 per student
  • Yarn Pieces Cut
  • Scotch Tape
  • Markers
Students choose the 6 leaves they want and write sight words they have learned so far. You can modify this for different grade levels! Once they are done writing and have read all of their sight words aloud to you, they tape them onto the yarn piece. Done!

Fall Senses Book

I LOVE incorporating the Five Senses into the season of Fall! This book is SO much fun because the students actually get to experience those Fall Senses they are writing about!  Here is my lovely assistant, Chief, displaying the My Fall Senses book for you. Thank you, "Vanna!"

What You Need:
  • Cover Pages with Titles
  • Pages (5 per student - one for each sense)
  • Paper for face/hands
  • Markers
  • Yarn for hair
  • Glue stick
  • Scissors
  • Materials for each page (will list individually)
  • Staples for once all pages are done - Make into a book for each student!
Here are the parts of the book:
Cover (closer look):

Page 1 - "See":  Markers; Red, Yellow, and Orange Paint using Q-Tips

Page 2 - "Hear": Markers; Leaves collected from playground; Glue

Page 3 - "Smell": Template for mug; Construction paper; Markers; Hot Cocoa sprinkled on top of glue; Scissors

Page 4 - "Taste": Tin foil cut into pie plate shape; Markers; Orange paint mixed with Salt to give it texture; Paintbrush

Page 5 - "Touch": Acorn template; Brown construction paper; Glue; Sand sprinkled on glue 

Scarecrow Writing Activity
Learning about Scarecrows is so much fun! :) This activity is great for fine motor skills, as well, because it has a handful of small pieces that students have to cut out. I got this scarecrow idea and template from the wonderful Miss Kindergarten! She is AMAZING!!! All of the templates and directions are in her TPT store.  The kids loved making these and they looked so cute displayed on the bulletin board!

Scarecrow Family Project
This is a great way to get parents and families involved with students' schoolwork! They can decorate their scarecrow any way that they like. Then, they work together as a family to write a story about their scarecrow. These always turn out so cute and the students love sharing their stories with their classmates!

Apple Sun-Catchers
This is a fun activity for young students to do! They just stick the tissue paper squares onto the contact paper, and Voila!

What You Need:
  • Teacher-Prepared Apples Get Red, Green, and Yellow construction paper. Use a handmade template of your choice to trace your apple. Cut out the center of each apple.
  • Contact Paper Unroll a large amount of contact paper on a large surface area, such as the floor, by peeling the white part back. The sticky surface should be facing the ceiling. Lay down 5-7 apples. Then, REPLACE/LAY DOWN the white part of the contact paper sheet. All of the apples should be in between the clear, sticky part and the white overlay. Cut out. Keep white part attached until ready to use.
  • Tissue Paper Squares I let my students choose the colors they want.

Take note of how the contact paper should appear once the apples are cut out. This does take practice! :) Doing multiple at one time on a long sheet of contact paper works best!

Apple Labeling
This activity is a great way to assess students in a lot of different areas - decoding words and the ability to match them to the correct part to "label" the apple, fine motor skills (tearing paper and gluing), following multiple-step directions, etc.  We did this activity after a previous activity in which each student brought in an apple from home and they described it in writing using their 5 Senses. I also cut an apple in half so they could see the "star" in the middle of the apple.

What You Need:
  • Paper Plates Sides need to be cut off - Those will be the "leaves"
  • Construction Paper Red and Green to tear; Brown for stem; Black for seeds (or you could even have them glue on real apple seeds!)
  • Words Printed for students or you could have them write the words
  • Glue
  • Scissors


"Seed to Pumpkin" Book
This is a great way to see if students understand the life cycle of a pumpkin. I usually pair this with the book "From Seed To Pumpkin" by Wendy Pfeffer. You can find this book HERE.

What You Need:
  • Green and White Construction Paper Booklets Folded and Stapled
  • Orange Pumpkin Di-Cuts 2 per child
  • Small Green Pumpkins  1 per child
  • Markers
  • Crayons
  • Glue
  • Pumpkin Seeds
  • Green and Yellow Tissue Paper Pieces
Here are the booklet pages:






Pumpkin Bingo
I usually use this during my Fall Party, where I have a parent volunteer call out letters or sounds. However, you could use it during your week studying Pumpkins if you wanted to! I just made my own bingo boards from orange construction paper and typed up some charts in a Word document. I printed them and glued them onto my pumpkins. I had a parent volunteer use Letter Cards (just cards with letters of the alphabet on them) to call out letters or sounds. Students used candy corn as bingo chips! Can you say, "Fun?!" :)

Q-Tip Skeleton
This is such a fun activity for students to do while learning about the human skeleton. We tend to focus on the different bones and WHY we have a skeleton. This is a fun way to connect the science behind skeletons to the book "Skeleton Hiccups" by Margery Cuyler. You can purchase the book from Scholastic here.

What You Need:

  • Black Construction Paper
  • Q-Tips (whole & halves)
  • Glue
  • White Construction Paper for Skull
  • Black Markers
  • Writing Paper/Pencil
  • Book: "Skeleton Hiccups"

Spider Hat with Sight Words
Most young children get a kick out of wearing any kind of hat they can make! They especially loved wearing these spider hats around school! :) Glue the orange circles to the sentence strip. Glue face on top. Write sight words on legs. Then fold the eight spider legs back and forth repeatedly to give them an "accordion" look. Glue onto hat and let dry.

What You Need:
  • Sentence Strips OR Black Construction Paper Strips
  • Black Construction Paper "Legs" - 8 per student
  • Black Construction Paper Di-Cut Smiley Faces
  • Orange Construction Paper - circles go BEHIND faces
  • White Crayons
  • Glue

"-at" Word Family Bats
You can modify this activity in so many ways! I have done it several different ways, one of which included having the kids glue on pictures that show "-at" family words (cat, hat, rat, mat, etc.). I have even done a writing activity glued onto the inside of the bat and we have hung them upside down on a bulletin board. You can modify it any way you like!
What You Need:
  • Black and Brown Bats
  • "-at" Word Family pages (The yellow ones are stapled and flip up like a flip book. Students trace the yellow letter with pencil.)
  • Pictures of "-at" family words if you so desire/Crayons
  • Markers
  • Pencils

Owl Number Words
These task cards are AWESOME! There are several variations so that you can set them up at centers and/or differentiate instruction. They are from Jill Bell, but I cannot for the life of me find the link to give her proper credit! If you find her link, please comment below! :) Thank you!

Please leave a comment telling me which activity was your favorite! Also, please feel free to share your own ideas so we can brainstorm and learn from one another. Thanks and Happy Teaching!!! :)

Saturday, September 17, 2016


Hello Divas!
If I had to guess, I would say that you probably have a Pinterest board of DIY projects that you keep pinning cutesy, fun ideas on that you never seem to get to! Trust me...this was me up until recently!  I had hundreds of pins saved to various boards of projects that I REALLY wanted to make, but I always talked myself out of it.  Maybe it was "Oh, I don't have time to make that and that looks like a way too much work." or  "Wow! They are craftier than I will ever be.  My project will end up on the 'Pinterest Fails' website if I tried to make that! Not happening."

But, now I don't feel that way anymore, and you don't have to either!  Yes, you CAN make these DIYs that are so much fun and add so much character to your home or classroom! :) Yes, I have my husband on board, which does help, but you are totally able to do these on your own! I have made it super simple, step-by-step, so that you can easily break projects down into manageable parts...or as my teacher friends may know it...I have "chunked the information into digestible bites."  We all know it can be an effective strategy, right?!  I will also share with you the items I find on a budget, because we ALL know that's important.

So, let's get started!

Today's project is a Pinterest-inspired DIY TV Stand.

Our old TV stand was a very tiny, black TV stand that was made from cheap wood and thin laminate. We bought it our sophomore year of college...very trendy, right?! Not anymore. It did us well in college, but now we are more established in our adult life and thought we needed a bit of an upgrade, as you can see!

This is our old TV stand:
After we moved into our new house, I started searching for new ideas to really make our house a "home." After scrolling through a ton of lovely home decorating and DIY ideas, I ended up finding these incredible ideas for a repurposed TV stand from HandiMania and The North End Loft. This is exactly what we needed!  I wanted a trendy and cute TV stand that we could easily make, but without it breaking our budget! It would also sit a lot higher, which made it much more comfortable to look at the TV. Hooray!!! Now I could finally see what was going on in my Netflix shows! Hellooo, Dr. McDreamy!

Here is what our FINAL PRODUCT looks like! :)
What You Need:
  • Old Dresser (We found one at a thrift store!)
  • Screwdriver
  • 1 3/4 inch Hole Saw
  • Drill
  • Mouse Sander with 120 Grit sandpaper
  • 220 Grit sandpaper sheet
  • Tack Cloth
  • Foam Roller
  • Foam Brush
  • 2 Paint Trays (Primer/Paint)
  • Primer: Zinsser Bull's Eye 1.2.3 Primer - All Surfaces
  • Paint: Your Choice of Color - Semi-Gloss Interior
  • Optional: Baskets and Updated Handles
We found this adorable antique dresser/mirror set (mirror not pictured) at a local thrift store. We were looking for something with a little bit of "character" to it - not plain. This was perfect! As of right now, we have set the mirror aside and plan to use it elsewhere in the house on its own - probably in the guest room!  The even MORE perfect thing is that this was listed for $150 as it is solid oak, but we got it 50% off, so we only paid $75! With this price for a piece of this quality, we knew this was a steal! You never know what you'll find!

We played around with different drawer layouts. Choose what's best for YOU! :)

Once we decided which drawers we wanted removed, my husband unscrewed the grooves/guiders that the drawers slide in and out on.  He drilled two holes for the wires to go through. He used a 1 3/4 inch Hole Saw from Lowe's. We purchased a Value 6-Pack, but I honestly can't remember the price! It WAS a good deal! :) This created a nice, perfectly round hole. You can't see the holes when your devices are in place (Cable box, Xbox, Playstation, etc).

Next, we sanded the dresser completely. We used a mouse sander similar to this one for large surface areas. This one is $29.98 at Lowe's. The sand paper is $11.98 for 12 sheets of various sizes. For this project, we used 120 grit.

Next, we used 220 grit sandpaper for the creases, corners, and crevices. This one was $3.97 at Lowe's.

Next, we used a Tack Cloth. This is a very important step that a lot of people miss!!! Make sure you wipe your freshly sanded wood down with this cloth. This is a variation of a cheese cloth that you can find for $1.47 in the hardware section at Wal-Mart.  It removes any and all dust particles and sawdust from the sanding procedure and will create a very smooth surface for your primer and paint. This is ABSOLUTELY necessary to remove any impurities before you prime and paint! :)
PRIME & PAINT: Prime your dresser (1 coat). We found that a foam roller and foam brushes work best. There are NO brush strokes this way - NO streaking! Hooray! We learned this the hard way.  You can find this mini roller/tray set for $3.78 and this foam brush set for $0.97 at Wal-Mart.
Prime and Paint your dresser (3-4 coats). The number of coats is your personal preference and depends on the dresser. Here's what we used:
Let paint dry 24 hours between each coat. Grade some papers in between. :) Once all of your coats are done, let the paint "cure" (or sit to dry) for 48 hours. ***We still have a white towel underneath our TV right now. We will leave it on for a total of 4 WEEKS to make sure that the weight of the TV does not cause indentations or cause the paint to peel up if lifted.

Choose baskets to insert into the empty drawer spaces, and new, modern handles if desired. VOILA!  We bought these baskets at "At Home" for $12.99 each.  
We also found some modern handles at a store called Menard's. They were about $4.00 each. If you don't want to spend money on new handles, you can spray paint them the color of your choice. I am particularly fond of bronzy golds or pewter!

We are SO HAPPY with how our DIY project turned out! My husband has worked so hard on this and it has turned out beautifully!!! We LOVE our new TV stand and have already had SO many compliments on it!!!  We hope this inspires you, as well!
Happy DIYing!!! :)

Wednesday, September 14, 2016


Hello Divas!
This is my FIRST official Blog Post! WooHoo!!!  Before I get into WHY I started this blog, let me tell you a little bit about myself.  I am a 26-year-old Wife, Former Pageant Queen (hence the "diva") and a Teacher...although, I am taking a break for a little while due to getting married and a recent move! :)

My sweet husband and I met in our 10th grade science class.  We started dating Senior year of high school and it was the BEST decision we ever made! He is extremely kind to everyone around him, has such a lively personality, loves his mama, and can be silly and goofy with me whenever/wherever! It's been a total of 9 years together and we've been married a little over 5 months!  He is more than I could ever ask for. He is just the BEST!!! My Love. My Life. My High School Sweetheart. Love You!

Chaz and I went to college together. I graduated with both Bachelor's and Master's Degrees in Early Childhood Education/Curriculum and Instruction with an ESOL endorsement. During this time, I did countless practicums in grades Pre-K through 2nd grade.  I interned with the most AMAZING kindergarten teacher and she taught me so many skills (especially classroom management) that I put to great use in my own classroom a year and a half later. While I was getting my Master's degree, I was a substitute teacher for grades Pre-K through 5th and worked as a Graduate Assistant for the Early Childhood Education Program.

I realized 5 VERY important things during this time.

1) I have more experience in the primary grades.
2) It is important to have an organized classroom environment.
3) Classroom management is crucial to a successful school year.
4) Children need differentiated instruction. They all have different needs.
5) I LOVE TEACHING. That "lightbulb" that comes on when a student learns something new or has an "Aha" moment is so incredibly rewarding!

So, here are the juicy details...
I completed all of the necessary requirements to become a certified teacher. Check...Check...Check.

First Interview....1st Grade. I CRIED. Yep, I am so embarrassed to even say that. I was terrified and nervous. Even though I had TRAINED for this, I wasn't confident and it showed. I didn't get the job.

Second Interview... 3rd Grade. Most of my experience is in primary, so although I wanted to be hired at this particular school that I had been subbing at for MONTHS, it just wasn't the right fit. Again, the confidence wasn't there. I didn't get the job.

"THIRD Time's a Charm," they say! A week prior to this interview, I had competed at a state pageant and had placed 2nd Runner Up out of 72 gorgeous and intelligent women! WOW! I had returned home with more confidence, as the "interview" part of the competition was weighted the most heavily. During this teacher interview, I felt like I actually BELONGED to this school and that I could do a great job. I was confident. I knew I could contribute something. Low and behold...I got the job! :) Everything happens for a reason.  I couldn't ask for a better school!!! God ALWAYS has a plan bigger than your own. Give Him control.

I finished my third year teaching Kindergarten this past May (May 2016). I was SO sad to leave, but my husband had been up north for work for almost a year and a half without me at this point. Ah! We got married in Spring of 2016 and I stayed in Florida to finish out the school year. I ended up moving from Florida to up north in July. Whew! Thank goodness it was warm, because that is NOT the case now!!! The high was 48 degrees yesterday...BRRR! I am used to it being around 75-85 degrees this time of year!

So, you may be asking why I didn't decide to jump right into a teaching job! My husband and I discussed at length how this next year would progress. We decided that we would like to take this year for "us" before we have any children. From what I hear, your life changes forever when you have kids!!! We decided that the best decision would be for me to take this next year "off" of teaching so we can focus on building our marriage "From The Ground Up" by continuing to develop a strong foundation. I am working my at-home business on the side, but we are able to spend plenty of time together when he gets home from work and on the weekends. We actually have TIME to go hiking, mountain biking, and eventually we will be going snowboarding! :) We wanted to spend this next year getting our first real "home" set up and organized. Plus...I rushed out of my old classroom very quickly and I had a LOT to organize as far as school supplies go! So, granted, I've been spending time going through bins of construction paper scraps, markers without caps, and broken crayons. You probably know the feeling...This year is my year to get ORGANIZED. The good news is...I LOVE organizing! :) I also love crafting and I am obsessed with my new Silhouette! Those ideas will be posted here as well, along with Pinterest-inspired crafts! So, I have plenty to keep me busy while I'm not in the classroom.

However, I have been seeing all of the neighborhood kids going back to school and all of my teacher friends posting about their AMAZING classrooms on Facebook and I just can't take it anymore! I have to at least be involved in the teaching and learning community until I have my own classroom again! :) Therefore, I created this blog in conjunction with my new YouTube channel to stay involved in education even though I am not PHYSICALLY in the classroom at this moment in time....but fingers crossed that I will be soon!!! I hope y'all understand!

So...plans for this year include: substituting, getting all of my classroom materials and new house organized, possibly seeking out a teaching job (Oops! Wasn't in the initial plan...), YouTubing (Check out my channel! - A Classroom Diva), and Blogging!

I am always open to new ideas, suggestions, comments, or questions, so please give me feedback along my journey! Let's bounce ideas off of one another to give as many teachers as many tools as possible to make their classroom the best learning environment it can be! Happy Teaching!!!