Ikea, Becky Bloomwood, and Back to School

Let’s play a game. I say a word..you tell me the first word that pops into your head.

Are you ready? Is your head down and are your eyes closed in concentration? This is a serious test..one that will greatly impact your world view. Okay…here we go…

Your word is….Ikea.

::staring at your with intense focus..anxiously waiting for your response::

Now, there are several words that come to my mind when I hear this word. Happy place, haven, love, swoon, field of dreams. However..if I am in teacher mode there is one word that stands out in my mind..CHEAP. I am a teacher, who loves to shop at Goodwill (or maybe Coach and Michael Kors, and MAC.. but those are special days…you know..like because it’s Monday and I remembered that my kiddos had to go to music at 9:30 or because it’s Friday and I actually got to work on time)  Cheap is my 2nd most favorite word..right after purse, shoes, Starbucks. Okay, maybe it’s my 4th favorite word. And then there’s the word Grey…okay, 5th favorite word.

Slight disclaimer: My ordinal counting may be a tad off…it is late. I worked in my classroom for 9 hours today. It is summer. My brain is slightly overwhelmed…this means my counting skills may suffer. Okay..so maybe the suffer even if I am completely rested and binge watching Netflix instead of working all day…hmmm.. let’s move on, shall we?

Cheap. Ikea. Teacher’s salary. I. Love. Ikea. It is a sacred experience for me. As I walk through the store I can hear babbling brooks…zen people saying “hummmm..” birds tweeting… I am in my happy place. As I strolled through the store I joyously placed things in my buggy. I picture myself as if I am Becky Bloomwood (if you don’t know who she is..read Shopaholic. Right now. Stop reading this and go read that. Go. You will laugh. You will relate. You will thank me) Picking up items as if they are the best, most fabulous thing I have ever seen. Needing each and everything I see. I had one cart. I needed three. As I unpack my goodies in my classroom I will share them with you. I will show you these bright and shiny trophies of my shopping victory.

Trophy number one: Magazine holders. 2 for 3.99. I will use these for my Daily 5 book boxes, my library book organizers, and my daily folder turn-in. Today I set up my daily folder turn-in. This is the place where my little ones will place their take folders each morning so I can check them, initial any parent letters and send them home at the end of the day. Here’s how it turned out.

Daily folder turn-in

While we are on the subject of where to put things..and admiring the word cheap…I also finished these today


Do you have those kiddos who go outside and collect rocks? Who come in from recess and ask you to look at the treasures they have hidden in their pockets? This is the place where we put those things. I found them at the Dollar Tree. Yes, I am that person who say “the Dollar Tree” instead of just “Dollar Tree.” I own it.

This is the place for my little ones to put their outside treasures, their treasure box toys, any letters or drawings their friends may make them, or the tape they peeled off of the floor and have now decided they need to take home and show their Mommy. These things go here. Our “safe place” is at the top of each little one’s cubby, and we clean them out each and every Friday.

Sidenote: My Safe Place tags will be available in my TPT store hopefully next week(as soon as my brain can focus on something other than setting up my classroom and counting down the seconds until school starts.) They will come in 3 different formats. Format 1: one number per basket. Format 2: two numbers per basket. Format 3: Names instead of numbers. You will also be able to purchase my superhero table numbers in my store as well.  Happy organizing!

Au Revoir Mes Amies (yep..I’ve added to my French vocab..nevermind that my husband is sitting right here and he had to A. tell me how to spell each word, and B. correct my word order… I’m totally taking all the credit.)

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Superheroes and Scotch Tape

::falling into bed as though I have run a marathon:: ::now waiting for you to stop laughing at the thought of me running a marathon::

I. am. Spent. And not in the good way..you know..from spending money while shopping at Outlets. I mean spent as in tired, done for, brain on off. Today I finished the back wall of my classroom. It. is. done. Well, at least until tomorrow when I need to go take the scotch tape down from taping it into place on the wall. Expo markers and scotch tape…I swear I keep them in business. They should really pay me advertising. Or I’d even settle for freebies…

My entire classroom was inspired by the wonderfully talented, brilliantly creative Melonheadz. If you have not heard of her clip art we must talk. She is absolutely one of the people I fan-girled out on at the TPT conference. She holds more talent in her little pinky than I do in my entire purse collection. I mean come on..that says something. SO here’s what inspired me..and while you’re checking out my inspiration, check out the rest of her amazing designs. You’ll thank me. You are welcome.

Superhero Themed Classroom WallI went from the jungle..to this. Complete opposite. My brain needed a change. It needed straight lines and bright colors. Gone are the days of muted browns and tans. Hello fuchsia  (not magenta or hot pink..fushia..this is important. If you do not know the difference I will help you. I will be your color Yoda) hello turquoise..hello purple and orange! Here’s my process: 1. Draw on bulletin board paper 2. Cut out 3. Tape into place 4. Hot glue. Not that it’s all that difficult..but of course, I made it difficult. One day I will learn to do things the easy way. For example: using post-it notes instead of cutting out each and every rectangle for the windows. Honestly..I thought of this mid-taping the windows into place. I wanted to bang my head against the wall. Bang. It. Against the wall. But…I just kept taping.

This brings me to my tape obsession. I tape everything first. Here’s why: I have often been known to hot glue without first getting it where I wanted it. And me..being the perfectionist-can’t leave-it-alone-until-its-in-the-exact-right-spot (refer to That Spot blog post for more on this topic).. I have had to rip down hot glued paper and start from scratch more times that I can count. Now this starting over from scratch business majorly cut into my Goodwill shopping time, so I needed to find a fix. ::magic music playing,  as scotch tape rises us from a fog on a pedestal:: Scotch Tape. My hero. I now tape everything where I need it and hot glue after. This way..if I need to move it (which, of course I will).. it won’t rip. Let’s take a closer look at my scotch tape obsession…as well as my laziness to paint all the way to the top of my wall. “Aint’ nobody got time for that” (one again, if you do not know this pop culture reference…we must chat. Now.)

Superhero classroom

Now that everything was taped and at the exact inch on my wall I wanted it, I moved on to my guided reading board. This is the place I have struggled with since leaving pre-k. I mean…centers, circle time, anecdotal records…I could do them in my sleep. But guided reading? Ummm……that’s what my brain said….ummmm…….

In walks DeeDee Wills and DeAnna Jump. They are my kindergarten heroes. They are the ones I stood in line with to take a picture with at the TPT conference. And yes… I will frame it. I will put in on my desk. I will show all of my friends and make them ooh and ahh. I gave up shoe shopping time so I could devour their blogs and scour their TPT stores.

Sidenote: Devour, scour? Those are like $5.00 words. Giving up show shopping time. You can clap now.

I learned all about decoding strategies and readers workshop…not to mention the step by step guide for implementing guided reading and writer’s workshop. I’m pretty sure I own every piece of curriculum they have written and I would gladly give up at least 3 of my vintage dresses to own whatever they write in the future. Like a good student, I tried to implement what I learned…here’s my attempt.

Kindergarten Guided Reading Board

Technical Info:

For my groups lists, I will attach velcro to each kiddos name. This way if I need to move them into or out of a group I can do so without having to retype each color group. Or..you could laminate them and use an Expo marker (spokesperson..I should be their spokesperson) to write their names in. This way you can erase and add to as needed.

My decoding strategy frame was purchased as a set from Lakeshore…you can find it here. It is kind of like a fancy page protector (those words together are my perfect combination…girly words and office supply words. In love.) This makes it easy for me to switch out strategies, if one group needs to extra practice or another group is excelling and needs to bump ahead.

Each group has a place where I will put their decoding strategies. DeAnna Jump has it all lined out for you in her Guided Reading 101. It is my bible at this point.

Okay… now I’m really spent. I think I’m going to go binge watch a little SYTYCD. (A little freebie to anyone who can figure out the acronym and post it in my comments. Bonus points to anyone who names their favorite dancer( hint, hint) and it’s the same as mine.)

Au revoir for now (my mother-in-law has her Masters in French…my husband is fluent in French..this is all I know. Hmmm…I should probably work on that.)

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Bloglovin Take 2..Because Everything Needs a Retake

TPT. Vegas. How could I not come back with all kinds of things to implement into my classroom….as well as the most fabulous purse to ever have been made. I even rearranged my suitcase just to pack the box my new purse came in. I am not joking…repacked.

So…I have list. I have them listed in terms of importance. Yes, they are color coded. List 1: Take blog a little more seriously than stories of falling off chairs and dancing on tables. (hysterically laughing) I mean come on…I can’t really do that. The whole take myself seriously thing…but I can join Bloglovin and that really was on my to-do list. A to-do list that was written in KG What a Teacher Wants font. Yes I can identify the KG fonts on sight..yes I realize I have an obsession and yes…my lists are typed. Does this surprise you? Okay..maybe it should surprise you that I can actually find the list..but typing the list? Not so much…that’s believable..kind of…maybe?

On this week’s typed list? Add pictures of my TPT experience..share with you the sellers that I totally fan-girled out on and their amazing stores…and update you with pictures on my never-ending classroom theme change. What was I thinking!? Best teacher friend rule#167 (Amy and Jill.. I’m talking to you) if ever your best friend decides to change their classroom theme after taking a year off, you are to loudly..assertively tell them no..calling in backup friends if necessary.

Check out my BlogLovin and check out my font yoda
kgfontsminilogo3  http://www.bloglovin.com/trendyteacher

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THAT Spot!

Trend of the Day: Polka Dots

My ode to Polka Dots:

Screen Shot 2015-06-23 at 9.34.11 PM

Let me explain:

So today I wore tennis shoes. ::giving you time to ponder what you just read…now giving you time to reread what you read to make sure you read it right:: Yep, tennis shoes. Or, more to the point, hiking shoes. Here’s why: changing my theme has started to feel like an uphill climb…a never ending,always seeing something else that I want to get done-wondering if I’m ever going to feel like I’ve completed the task, climb.

Today I set a goal I could reach. That’s what you’re supposed to do while exercising..set a goal that is within your ability to attain?

Sidenote: If anyone would like to explain to me this word “exercising”, that would greatly appreciated. Is it foreign? I hear people talking about it all the time. Is it a new fad? Hmmm…

So, my goal..my objective for the day. I had planned it out…written it down on my “Objective of the Day” bulletin board and was ready to get to work. I was going to make a skyline for my bookshelf. Easy. I had it in the bag.

Horrible bookshelf that needed to be covered…check. And by horrible, I mean bad. Really bad. Bad like the picture I found of my 10 year old self wearing a fanny pack. However, I bet my ten year old self knew where all of her things were. Is she had keys, she sure wouldn’t lose them and spend 10 minutes on a keys hunt. Hmmm….something to think about. Maybe I could make it a thing..you know, kind of like they made “fetch” a thing in Mean Girls. (Anyone who got that reference..you mark your good taste in movies taste self down some bonus points.)

Black bulletin board paper…check. Even better…it was free! Good ole school bulletin board paper. It’s like the perfect pair of nude heels…you can always rely on it.

Expo marker to trace with..check. Here’s the thing. I am obsessed with Expo markers to trace out shapes with. They have the perfect chiseled tip to make the most perfect straight line. Try it. You are welcome.

I got busy. I must say.. I was extra proud of myself. Setting goals. Accomplishing them. Until ::da da dummmmmm:: THE SPOT. Have I mentioned I’m a perfectionist? That I may..possibly…every so often.. get hung up on the most minute of a detail that my dearest friends will chant “let it go…let it go” in their best hypnotic voice?

Today it was me vs. polka dots. I had the bright idea that I would make my own pop art skyscraper. I can draw polka dots…I teach kindergarten after all. That’s kind of a pre-requisite. Must know how to draw polka dots. So there I was whistling away…dancing to the music I was singing in my head….drawing polka dots on my pop art skyscaper…feeling an overwhelming sense of “I’ve got this”, when my polka dots turned into pancakes. I kept thinking if I just traced the outside edge a little more I could fix it. I could find this..I could. Thirty minutes later I sounded like the Little Engine that Could. Retracing my tiny polka dots over and over again with each “I think I can.” Until I had no polka dot left. Instead I had one big pancake in the middle of my skyscraper. What was supposed to be a get in and get out day of productivity had now turned into a day of tearing down my skyscraper skyline twice just to fix a polka dot and not finishing.

This got me to thinking about those little ones we see in our classroom erasing over and over again…using up the precious little time that we have until they finally run out of time and haven’t finished their work. If I, as a grown up who understands time management (okay..this is questionable..I’ll give you that); if I can get caught up in trying to make something perfect, then my little 5 year olds certainly can. And moreso..it doesn’t necessarily mean they are “wasting time.” If they are like me…they genuinely want it to be perfect. Not to say there aren’t those who waste time. You know the ones I’m talking about…you know. I’ve decided I’m going to come up with a solution for this and when I’ll do you will be the first to know…that is..unless I try to find the perfect solution and then we may just be waiting forever.  Loves and smooches!
Lauren Avatar4THAT spot


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A Leopard Can’t Change It’s Spots…

But I can change my classroom!

Backstory: I will preface this story with “please don’t be mad at me because I had the whole year off.. and also ::smiling with the sweetest face possible:: you’re my favorite.” So last year, I took a sabbatical. For those of you who do not know this fancy jargon (fancy jargon? Come on…I mean..those are pretty big words there. And, I spelled them correctly. You can clap now. We all know how spelling and I get along. Supper anyone!?) Sorry…off track…sabbatical… being off all year. It. Was. Glorious! I stayed in my PJ’s..loved on my baby… and found a new obsession for false eyelashes (house of lashes..look them up.. you will thank me).

As I was staying home, I was also taking classes for my Masters in Early Childhood. I know.. I know.. school!? I keep trying to tell you guys.. Magna Cum. School and I get along..even if spelling and I don’t. As I had to complete each new assignment I found myself not so much loving leopard print anymore. ::holding hands up and talking really fast in a effort to explain:: i-do-love-leopard-print-shoes-but-not-so-much-on-my-classroom-walls-anymore. Yes, leopard print, and even zebras print are always amazing fashion statement, but after looking at the everyday for the past 12 years (don’t you dare count backwards and try to do the math to find out how old I am…don’t you dare) I needed a change.

So…today it began. I began to change my spots. From leopard spots to superhero pop art polka dots. And the walls (or at least the animals off of them) came tumbling down….

Classroom Pic

Trend of the Day:

In the spirit of my new classroom theme, here’s a little Superhero behavior chart I created.  Who doesn’t love a good reminder of how to make good choices!? Also: It’s free. Yep, you read right…free!original-1875329-1355292

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Maternity Clothes, Punctuation Posters, and Grey!

::on my knees pleading for forgiveness:: I know it’s been much too long! Please, please forgive for my extended absence. My life has taken a very curvy road these past few years and I had to readjust my driving.

Sharp Curve #1: I. Got. Married. Yep..my new last name is Turner. Which, now that I  think about it, is expertly appropriate for a post about curvy roads. I would also like to make two notes about this wonderful event: 1. He proposed in my classroom. I mean..come on…I give you all permission to swoon. 2. I wore my mother’s 50’s dress on my wedding day. It was beyond perfect..and spot on trend I might add.

Curve #2: I moved to kindergarten. I know… I know…I’m a little too silly, a little too goofy. But, to everyone’s surprise, I can very much get on the same level as a 5 year old. I know you all thought my capabilities stopped at 4 year old level. It’s okay. I quite like dress up center! Doesn’t everyone!? But now I am a big kindergarten teacher..and I have loved every moment. It took me a year to find my footing, my leopard heeled footing, but it is found and now I can share.

Curve #2ish: No more jungle classroom. Make way for the superheroes! Here’s a little something I made for the new decor. I mean…who didn’t want to be She-Ra when they were a little girl?! Or..as a 25 year old on Halloween for that matter.


Windy, Sharp, Curve #3: I. had. a BABY. His name is Grey and he is perfect. He has made me a better human, not to mention a better teacher. He has also made me need my Starbucks that  much more!

So there it is. The reason for the extended absence. But not to fret, I am back in full force. Mrs. Turner is back in the driver’s seat ::with a chic headscarf and dramatic sunglasses..duh!::

Oh…and how could I forget.. I started a store! Check it out… and don’t worry, I’ll still post freebies.


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What’s not to Love?

I have a confession. A confession that may not only shock you, but force you to look at me differently. Force you to see me though eyes that you never thought you would. I have been holding this confession for a while…waiting for the perfect time. It is a confession of which I have weighed the pros and cons. Weighed the impact it would have on my untarnished reputation as a silly, stiletto wearing pre-k teacher. I have decided…it is time.

I..am a member of a book club. Okay..so maybe the book club consists of only 3 of my closest friends. Well..we don’t actually have a set day to meet, and our discussions consist more about making each other laugh with our genius moments from the week than discussing the books we have read (and by genius I mean the complete opposite. If you do not know the opposite of genius, you may need to take a little field trip to my pre-k class. immediately. I will help you.), but it is a book club all the same.

I realize you may be surprised to know that I read things other than glossy-paged magazines. For that matter, I’m sure you are quite surprised that I even realize books contain words with more than 2 syllables. That I read the gamut from historical biographies to the Shopoholic series…(okay…seriously…you must give it up. gamut? 3.95 GPA. Proven. Just now. I deserve some props. Props: Praise. Recognition. Congratulations. It’s okay, I’ll make you an urban slang study guide.) Sorry… I got distracted by the big pretty word…where was I? My reading the gamut. If it has words, I will read it. Unless those words are boring. And by boring I mean western. I realize you are completely and utterly sitting in total shock from this information. ::snapping fingers:: snap out of it!

I read. A lot. Yes…I read trendy magazines. No..it is not the majority of what I read. My favorite book is a well-worn, tattered paged historical fiction novel about Anne Boylen. I love this time in history. I mean, come on…who wouldn’t want to wear fantastic dresses and hang out all day in a King’s court? Who wouldn’t like to learn fancy dances and have meals prepared as if every night was the most special night ever to be celebrated?

Sidenote: be on the lookout for my birthday celebration. Yes..we all dressed as princesses and princes. Best. Day. Ever.

Sorry..back to Tudor History.. I have read everything I can find about this time. Twice. There is something about getting lost in a book…getting transported to another time and place that I love. There are even times where I would rather read than ::gasp:: watch TV. Okay..now this totally depends on what is on TV at the time. Honestly, passing up American Pawn shop to read? Probably not. I need to know the value of random things such as the value of the original pair of glasses Dwayne Wayne used to wear on A Different World or the wig Martin wore as Sha NayNay (if you understand these references consider yourself a SPARK student in early 90’s television. Bonus points if you remember Sha NayNay’s spandex biker shorts and fanny pack. Or fanny pack in general. If not..you must google these things. Your day will be infinitely better if you do.)

Now, back to the mind-blowing subject at hand. Me. Reading. Historical Fiction. Well, I’ll really anything. It’s a gift my dad passed down to me. He has given me many…a hot pink velvet chair for Christmas…a fantastic pair of jeans for my birthday…but the gift of reading. My fav. (fav: a shortened version of favorite. Meaning the one I love the most. Used for texting purposes. If you do not speak text this is your first lesson)

This gift of reading is a gift that I hope to share with my little 4 year olds. A gift they hopefully will not even realize I am giving….a gift that they will fully realize long after their year in my crazy class is over.

Today I continued my gift giving with one of my favorite books about Valentine’s Day, Happy Valentine’s Day Mouse! I mean..it is almost Valentine’s Day after all…I’m sure it’s a law somewhere that you have to read this book. This is a holiday where one bestows gifts on those they hold dear. Or..in this case..bestows gifts on those who make my day filled with laughter.

Case in point: While reading this book about love and friendship, I was feeling all warm and tingly just thinking about the concepts being taught. That is..until I heard two of my little friends having an in-depth discussion..compelte with hand gestures, head shakes and puckered lips. Really…I was waiting for the finger snap..waiting for the “oh no you didn’t and the jewlery to come off.

Now let me explain these two little debators. They are the ones who dress up in kitchen with every sparkly dress, scarf, and purse they can find. It is known that the purple high heels in dress up are for them. No one is to touch them. They are the ones who could run my classroom if ever I had real emergency…you know, like if I had to leave for an unexpected sale on Nine West shoes. They are the ones who, at four years old, would actually know what a Nine West shoe is. They are best friends. They are me at four years old.

So I hear them…debating over a word that was read.

Mini Me #1: It said Champ. Ch-Ch-Champ.

Mini Me #2: Nuh Unh…take off the Ch and put a Tr. That’s what it said. (insert head shake and puckered lips here)

Now… I will let you do the phonics.:: Expectantly waiting on you to laugh as loudly as I did.:: It was not my best teaching moment ever. I couldn’t help it. Face hid behind the book. Laughing. I guess I could have used this time to review what was a cover of a book. To review where the title could be found. All things that would explain hiding my face. None which would explain my laughter.

And also: I didn’t know whether to be proud that she had used her phonemic awareness of switching out beginning sounds; or concerned about the word she created. I let it slide. I didn’t even slightly want to open that discussion. They seemed to have it under control. Moving on. Turning the page. Desperatly finding any explanation as to why I could be laughing. Any reason at all. Laughing? Me? Oh, no…I just had something in my eye.. it made my laugh. Uncontrollably. Doesn’t it everyone? No? Hmmm…that’s odd. Subject averted.

Sidetracked. The gift of reading. As we read this book today, we learned two really big, fancy words. Author and illustrator. We talked about who would want to be the author and write the story. We talked about who would want to be illustrator and draw the pictures in the story. We went on a hunt for the exclamation point in this book; we went on a hunt for the question mark in this book. We learned. We began relating to this book. Began having an emotional response to the pages that were read. Okay…so maybe the emotional response wasn’t as deep as if we were reading, lets say, East of Eden by Steinbeck (I’m a reader..I told you this. I realize the shock value is still there. It’s okay.) but it was a response. Relating to the story being read and wanting to know more. Wanting to read. Developing a love for books. Today we decided that we would pretend to be illustrators of this story . We were going to make Valentines. Just like Moose did. Here’s what we made:

And just to prove there really is a method to my madness, here’s a happy little list of things that I will be using this work sample to evaluate. Notice the word happy. Lists make me happy. They make rainbows come out and the birds sing.

My happy little list:

1. Fine motor: Cutting out the heart all on their own. Yes some of them look more like a straight line than a heart, but it is their straight line. They are proud and I know who needs help. And also, take a peek at their fine motor strokes..the ones they used to scratch away the paint. It’s a little hint as to who has mastered precise control of their writing tool and who has not.

2. Using adjectives: Although they do not know the fancy word adjectives yet, they do know what descriptive words are. ELA goal met. Check it off. Done.

3. Following 4 step directions: First they had to color. Second they had to watercolor on top. Third they had to cut. Fourth they had to decorate. You know..I’m not really sure I could have remembered all of those. Gifted. I have a class full of gifted four-year olds. I am convinced.

4. Cooperative learning: Which…in a four-year olds world is much like me trying to navigate traffic on the interstate. Difficult. Tricky. They had to pair with a friend and describe their heart. They then had to listen to their friend describe it also. Yes..contructive critisim and kind words were heavily taught during this lesson.

And voila! Valentine’s Day bulletin board! C’est fini! J’aime! (Yes I’ll help you..don’t I always? C’est fini! J’aime! : It’s finished. I love.)


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