'Twas the Night Before Kindergarten

Monday, 31 August 2020 No comments

‘Twas the night before kindergarten, and all through the school, some pink furry unicorns were breaking the rules…..wait, what?!  Hahaha  Okay, so there were pinky furry unicorns, but we didn’t break any rules!  We were just running around school in our pajamas doing a read aloud!

Kindergarten is such an important and special year in a child’s life, but things are anything but normal right now.  With COVID still on the loose, we are starting school virtually in my school district, so I won’t get a traditional first day with my students.  I’ve tried to think of things to make it extra special and I hope I’ve done that for them this year!

I found this super cute book and ordered it.  I wasn’t sure if it was going to be “the book,” but once I received it, I decided it was perfect!  "The Night Before Kindergarten" talks about preparing for kindergarten, feeling a little scared, posing for pictures and all the other "normal" things one might experience on the first day.  They won't get that exact experience, so I thought it was a good idea to read and discuss how things are going to look a little different this year.  I grabbed the adorable and comfy unicorn pajamas I found at Walmart and got cozy in my classroom to do a special night before school read aloud for my students.  I felt so silly and wasn’t feeling very confident in myself, but once their parents shared their reactions, I knew it was worth it!

My Kinderbesties and I always like to have a really good time with lots of laughter.  So, of course, we had to go around the school for a mini photo shoot in our matching pajamas.  We have the best time and I’m glad they’re always on board with my silly ideas.  They never hesitate, but just dive right into whatever fun and exciting things we come up with.  I can’t wait to see what fun things we do next for our kiddos!

Gearing Up For Virtual Learning and a FREEBIE!

Tuesday, 25 August 2020 No comments
This is the week!  It’s getting real!  I have spent the last few weeks prepping my students, their parents, and myself and now it’s time to actually do this virtual learning stuff!  Tomorrow is the first official day of school, but it feels so different than it ever has.  My school is actually doing a Drive Thru event for the first day, so I’m excited that I’ll get to see the kiddos on their first day and we can put off this virtual learning a little longer!
We are using Google Classroom for virtual learning and most of my families were not familiar with it at all.  So, I did a Parent Orientation Meeting via Google Meet so they could try logging into their child’s account and joining a meeting.  It was great for a technology trial run to see what kind of issues there might be.  My parents were all rock stars and didn’t seem to have any technology issues!  I was the one that had trouble, so it delayed the start of the meeting by a few minutes.  But, I was glad it happened so that I could fix the issue and it shouldn’t happen anymore!

That face you make when your technology finally cooperates, you catch your breath, and can conduct your meeting! 😂 Also, don't mind my messy background--I didn't plan to host my meeting here, but I had to switch to my laptop at the last minute so that Google Meet would work.

During the meeting, one of the most common concerns I got was from parents asking what they can do to help their child be successful during virtual learning.  I made a list of some things that we discussed during the parent meeting and decided to make a printable that I was able to put in their folders that I will send home with them tomorrow.  You can download a copy of the freebie from my TPT store by clicking here.

This school year will definitely be one that goes down in history.  There will be lots of hiccups along the way I’m sure, but I am anxious to get back to doing what I love the most—teaching!  I pray that this all passes and we are back into the classroom soon!  Good luck to everyone else having their first day this week and I'll be back to update you soon on my first few days!

Meeting My Students

Saturday, 15 August 2020 No comments

This has been a BIG week!  We officially found out that we will be starting the school year out virtually.  Fortunately, I will be able to go in to my classroom to teach and I am sooooo thankful for that.  We are getting some new technology, so hopefully that makes this go a little smoother for us as well.  I’m still wrapping my head around the idea of starting kindergarten out virtually and working out details, but I’m sure it will still turn out to be an amazing year! 

Here I am administering screenings in my Kentucky Wildcats mask!  I ordered one with the clear front, but I couldn't breathe! 😂

Wednesday was my first official day back to work.  It was also the day I got to start meeting my students….in person!!!!  I scheduled a time for each of them to come in individually because I had some screenings I have to do.  Since they aren’t going to get a real “first day of school” experience, I decided to jazz things up a little and try to make it special.  This was their first time seeing the classroom, so I made sure their desk had a name tag (it was a bit short notice, so I just had to use what I had but it worked) and they had a cubby with a name tag.  They were so excited because they got to check out their space and sit at their desk.  On their desk, I had a clipboard with a form their parents had to fill out, a flip book with back to school information, a book about kindergarten, a few cute little gifts, and a cookie.

The kiddos were so excited to sit at their own desk!

I wanted everything to look fun so they would have something to be excited about.  I am so fortunate to have some amazing support from my community and had enough books donated to give each of my students a fun kindergarten book!  I made an Amazon wish list, posted it on Facebook, and so many people purchased a book to help my kindergarteners have a special year! 💙 

One of the fun little gifts on their desk was water beads.  The labels were a FREEBIE from TPT and turned out super cute! I can’t wait to hear what the kids think about it once they get their little bag home to try it out.  The bubbles were purchased from the dollar store (6 for $1!) and the tag was also a FREEBIE on TPT.  So, that was another cheap gift that turned out cute!  And I’ve got to give credit to my Kinderbestie, Mrs. McGinnis, for hooking us up with the bubbles!

The flipbook is something I love to do every year.  There are many versions out there, but this is the one I have been using the last few years.  I can get all kinds of info out to the parents in a fun way, and it only uses half the paper!  It always looks exciting and colorful, so they actually want to read it!  It’s such a great way to get a lot of information out there and answer some of those questions they all have.  You can get this one from Chalk & Apples here on TPT.

The last item on their desk was the beautiful cookie that was made by a local bakery.  They turned out so cute and I just thought it would be fun for them to have an individually wrapped treat!  Thank you so much for Karen’s Konfections for making those, especially on such short notice!  All her goodies are amazing, so click the link to check her out on Facebook!

Excited about that cookie! 🍪

I also wanted the students to be able to have a special photo memento since they won't get a traditional "first day of school" picture.  So I threw this backdrop up on my whiteboard, printed some colorful letters, blew up some balloons, and it all turned out perfect!

Posing in front of the cute backdrop I created from bulletin board paper and balloons!

My first few days back were very busy, but it did my heart well to be back in my classroom and meet my Kinderbabies!  I’m excited for this new school year and now it’s time to get back to planning for Virtual Learning. 💻

Back to School Postcards

Monday, 10 August 2020 No comments

When August rolls around, I instantly go into back to school mode!  As a child, sending and receiving mail fascinated me and I had pen pals all over the world.  Nothing was more exciting to me than taking a trip to the post office and finding a postcard or letter for me in our mailbox!  So, one of my most favorite things I like to do before school starts is send my students a postcard.

I usually mix it up and do a different postcard each school year.  I have a feeling that this year is going to be unlike any other we have experienced before, so I wanted to do something extra special to get my students excited about kindergarten.  I found this super cute postcard template on TPT for FREE and the students get to scratch off a section to reveal who their teacher is!  It’s so fun and I couldn’t pass up this postcard by Teaching the Tinies.  I got the scratch off sticker from Amazon to place over my face!

Of course handwritten notes are super special, but I decided to type a note for my students and include something a little extra.  We won’t be getting to have KinderCamp or Open House this year, so I’m brainstorming to find new ways to connect with my students.  This year, I decided to make a video of me reading them a story from the classroom.  I’m not a video professional by any means and I hate watching and hearing myself, but the kids don’t care about all that stuff! Lol  I wanted a way to introduce myself to them, let them see their classroom, and start this year out in a positive manner!

I recorded a video of me reading “The Pigeon Has to Go to School” by Mo Willems. This is a super cute story with just enough silliness to help relieve some of the anxieties the kids might have about coming to kindergarten.  After I made the video of me reading the story, I uploaded it and created a QR code that I put on the postcard.  So now, when they get it in the mail, they can scan the QR code and go straight to watch the video! 

Their postcards should start delivering today, so I’m excited to hear if they enjoyed getting some mail.  Our first day of school is scheduled for August 26th, so I’m going to keep working in my classroom and getting things ready until then.  I love having a new, fresh start each year and plan to remain positive no matter if we really get to go back to school in person, or end up going all virtual like many school districts across Kentucky are starting to do.  I’m sending prayers  to all the teachers across our nation and I hope you have an amazing school year as well!

Where in the World Is Mrs. Cassady???

Wednesday, 5 August 2020 No comments

I’m baaaaaaack!  Like for real. I made a post about self-care in June and it really got me on a self-care kick and I disappeared from the blogging world for a month!  So July was all about me…..and Waylon!  We sure had a lot of fun and took several spur of the moment trips.  I’m not typically a spontaneous kind of girl, but I think all the staying at home really got to me and we were ready to do about anything!  I was starting to feel like Carmen Sandiego (remember her?!) for a minute there because nobody knew where I was going to pop up at next!

Enjoying the swimming pool at Jellystone Park!
We started out our series of trips with a little trip to Yogi Bear’s Jellystone Park in Cave City, KY.  I’ve always wanted to go there and it was just as fun as I imagined it would be!  We rounded up some friends, hopped in the car, got a cabin full of bunk beds, and the kids (and adults) had a blast! We celebrated some birthdays while there, swam in the pools, played a round of foam ball (which was way more fun than we expected), played on all the playgrounds, tried our skills on the Wibit (thank goodness there is no photo evidence of that!), and had lots of laughs!  It was a great mini vacation and, little did we know, only the beginning for us!

Sunrise at Myrtle Beach

After a few days of camping, we returned home to head back out to Myrtle Beach, SC the very next day.  We enjoyed a relaxing week on the beach and mostly ate in while there.  So, it was a nice change of pace with lots of downtime!

Sitting outside at Myrtle Beach

After a week at the beach, we figured we should come home because we were sure our dogs were missing us at this point. Lol I spent the week doing laundry and chilling at home, knowing that it was almost time to head back to work.  But, we just couldn’t stand ourselves and took off on another beach trip.  Don’t judge me.  We never do this and I don’t regret it! 😂

Waylon was excited to staple his dollar to the wall in McGuire's Irish Pub!

To round out our summer, we spent 5 beautiful days in Destin, Florida!  This was our first trip there and we had an amazing time. The beach itself was beautiful with its soft, white sand and clear water.  I could’ve stayed forever.  Besides time spent relaxing on the beach, we visited McGuire’s Irish Pub and put our dollar on the wall, made a stop Fudpucker’s Beachside Bar & Grill and fed the gators (also had some dinner), drove to Panama City Beach and swam with dolphins (this was a bucket list item for me!), and walked around the harbor where we took pictures with parrots on our head and ate dinner at Margaritaville!  It was a great way to end the month of July.
The next time I decide to stand on dolphin noses and take a swim, I will definitely have a hair and makeup crew handy for a better photo op! 😂  I'm pretty sad you can't really see the dolphins at all in this pic, but they are holding me up!

Now that I’m home and back to reality, I’m diving head first into my classroom.  There are still many unknowns and lots of things left in the air as far as what school will be like this year, but I am ready to tackle it!  I had a nice break in July to clear my head and am ready to do whatever I need to do for my students to have an amazing year in kindergarten!  I hope everyone else was able to do something to clear their minds and take a break this summer.  The last few months have been rough on all of us, but we have to stay positive!  Keep watching my blog for new posts to see what I’ve been working on to get ready for this year! J

**Our super cute masks came from Sugarheart Stitches!  She makes lots of goodies from masks to baby booties to clothing, so go check her out!**