Sunday, February 10, 2019

Quality Rated Child Care

This post is sponsored by GEEARS: Georgia Early Education Alliance for Ready Students; however, all thoughts and opinions are my own.

As an educator, and hopeful adoptive mama, I am constantly thinking about which daycare I will choose for the future baby Darling. I know it will be here before I know it, and I want to be as prepared as I can when that time comes. Trusting someone to take care of the most important person in my life is a hard thought. Although I am still working on the mom experience I have 12 years of experience as an educator. I taught first grade for 9 years, and I am in my 3rd year teaching second grade. With this experience, comes the knowledge of how important Quality Rated child care is for my students. It is the foundation of their education, teaching them social skills and introducing them to math and literacy skills. Luckily for you, I am here to share a free online search tool that will help you find great early education programs and quality child care for your child!



Quality Rated is a free, online Georgia service that helps you search child care options by distance, price, services providers offer, and Quality Rated star-ratings. When I started searching, safety and teacher credentials were the most important items I was looking for. With the Quality Rated search tool, you can easily access each child care program’s safety and inspection reports, hours, prices, teacher credentials, and transportation options! If you commute to work, you can even use their “Search along a route” option to search for a child care facility that is convenient to your route.



With over 5,000 state licensed and monitored child care programs to choose from in Georgia, finding the perfect one can be hard. Quality Rated rating systems helps you identify high-quality child care. All of the Quality Rated programs are independently evaluated by early childhood experts to ensure that they follow best practices. This is so incredibly important when searching for the perfect fit for your child. In my experience, having a quality pre-kindergarten experience helps children prepare for that transition to kindergarten and first grade.




When participating in the Quality Rated program, child care providers are committed to improving their programs and education they offer. Education is constantly changing and being updated,  and having child care programs that are committed to improvement is so important! Quality Rated’s tool lists all licensed and license-exempt child care providers in Georgia! Whether they are Quality Rated or not, this will provide you with a comprehensive overview of Georgia child care providers.




One of the best features of Quality Rated is that they provide a rating system to early education and school-age care programs that meet or exceed the minimum state requirements. A program can earn stars depending on the standards and benchmarks they meet. Quality Rated can give you confidence that your child’s child care provider follows best practices such as: social- emotional development, individualized instruction, and providing a safe and caring environment.





How would you like to feel confident in your child care choice? You can by using the Quality Rated search tool to help you narrow down your choices of child care. I feel so much more prepared in my choice of care for baby Darling because of this tool. Is your child’s child care Quality Rated? Click here to use the tool and find out! Let me know what you think by leaving a comment when you try it out!






Monday, September 3, 2018

Charging Up Charts- Beginning of the year


Hello Friends! We have officially been back to school for four weeks! I can't even believe that a whole month has passed. We have been working on classroom expectations and learning responsibility.

Part of learning responsibility is using the room (and anchor charts) to review rules and procedures. I always like to create anchor charts with my students, but coming up with my information on the spot is always a challenge. Usually my anchor charts look like this hot mess.


 Then, I had the idea of working on my anchor charts at home, but I still wanted the students to be involved. This was the result and I am in LOVE! Ta-Da Charging up Charts was born!
The students are still involved, I prep them before school and have them ready. We work together to fill them up, and honestly you could even work together to create them as well. 


I have students use post it notes to help me fill them out. You could even laminate them and use dry erase markers.


You can find Charging Up Charts here! What Charts would you like to see next? I have some ideas brewing!









Wednesday, June 20, 2018

Chicken Lips Book Review

Hello Friends! I am so excited that an amazing new author sent me an advanced copy of her book, Chicken Lips! Although I was given this book to review, all opinions are my own.

Chicken Lips is written by Kristy Hamby and illustrated by Marianella Aguirre and will be coming out very soon!  This character building book is such a great addition to classrooms and children that may feel a little bit different because of his or her name. It also shows that every cow, and person, is special for a reason!




 Chicken Lips is an inquisitive little cow who wonders why his name is "Chicken Lips". He goes on a journey through the farm to see if anyone has answers to why he was named this. After many questions and a surprise visit from the farmer, he gets his answer! I won't spoil it for you, but it is an adorable ending.


With these adorable illustrations, and this sweet story, I highly recommend you check out this book when is comes out. I am so excited for the publication of this sweet story, and look forward to many more from this fabulous new author, Kristy Hamby!



Tuesday, March 27, 2018

Inferring with Dinosaur Eggs

Hey Hey Friends!!! Long time, no blog. it has been quite a year! Hope your year is coming along smoothly! We are mid Dino Days this week (Check it out here!) and one of my sweet Instagram friends asked where I got the new idea that introduces the unit to my students, so I am going to share it with you!


I was talking with one of the other teachers on my hall, and she said that she used to use the hide and seek eggs (that look like rocks and grass) to make inferences with her students, and I thought that would be an awesome way for the students to guess what their next room transformation would be. She let me borrow her eggs, and said that she saw this idea from Deanna Jump and had created a worksheet to go with it.You can visit Deanna's blog here, to see her idea.  I created my own and you can grab it here for free! 


Have a Happy Week friends!

Saturday, April 1, 2017

Spreading Kindness with the Jelly Donut Difference

Hello Friends! Spring is the time whennnn our little friends start to get a little grouchy with each other. #amIright? We were having a case of the grouchies in our classroom, nothing major, but we seemed to have forgotten our kindness manners. Our spring break still hasn't come and we are in testing mode. Sometimes, those things just stress our students out, and so this book came at the perfect time!

I LOVE all of Maria Dismondy's books, but this one just struck a chord with me. I love that the kids in the book decide to provide acts of kindness. We brainstormed acts of kindness that were cheap or easy for kids to complete, and I cut out this large donut to keep as a reminder for our classroom.


Then, I used colorful paper to print out sprinkles, and each student chose two to write an act of kindness on. They came up with some great ideas!



Taking out the neighbors trash, holding open doors for older people, and writing notes to make people have a better day were some of my favorites.


I love that this student wanted to donate to neighborhood charities! This book is much more than a fun read. It is something my students are begging to read off of my shelf. They continue to read it weeks later, and I am so proud that they have started completing their acts of kindness at home and school!

You can find the book on Maria's website or Amazon!  There is also an awesome reader's guide and coloring sheets on this page! Your students will love them!






Saturday, March 18, 2017

Dinosaur Days

This year I have some friends in my classroom that LOVE dinosaurs. I have never really had a group that loves something this much. Every squiggle, creative writing, and reading choice somehow turned into a dinosaur theme. I of course saw Hope and Wade King's Jurassic World, and my inspiration came from this unit they did at the Ron Clark Academy. That led me to create my Dinosaur Room Transformation!

Hope will tell you that her room transformations didn't start this grand, and that she started somewhere too. I wholeheartedly believe that even the smallest "room transformation" makes a huge difference. First, I used this planning page. You can find it for free here. I planned out what standards I wanted to review with my students, and what I would need to make it happen. I had two full days and one half day to plan activities for.


After planning, and making a donation list, and begging (borrowing, buying) everything that I could find, I went to work! I found SO many things on Oriental Trading website. They have a whole section for teachers! It really didn't take me long to set up my room. I made our door with this awesome dinosaur tape and a super easy sign that I printed. The leaves and tree trunk literally took fifteen minutes. I wasn't really particular about how it looked. The best part were the Dinosaur Foot prints! They were the students' favorite part! As a teacher, of course, I love these posters because they have so much information on them. The students kept going back to look at them each day! The table jeeps were made just like Hope and Wade's- black plastic tablecloths, pie pans, and aluminum foil.


When the students came in, they got one of these amazing bookmarks from Oriental Trading that told them which jeep to sit at. They got one of these dinosaur notepads to record their observations and inferences. Every morning, we do Picture of the Day by Jen Jones so this was their normal routine. They came up with some amazing inferences, because they were so excited. 


They observed that each table had a specific dinosaur and the color of the bookmark, matched the color of the dinosaur on the jeep. I made name tags to match as well. I keep the lanyards for all the projects that I do, so that was not an added expense. I brought around a stamp pad, and they got to stamp their cute little thumbs on the square.


We did this adorable writing on day one, using the book, What the Dinosaurs did Last Night. It is a good read, and the kids came up with hilarious situations about what would happen if the dinosaurs came to school! we also worked on past tense verbs, because the dinosaurs were in the past! (They loved that.)

We also created dinosaurs with tangrams and wrote facts about our newly discovered dinosaurs. The kids were SO creative with this one!


I also got these amazing dinosaur claw dig excavation kits for each student. They were worth EVERY penny. The kids were shrieking with joy! You could do this is pairs or groups to save money. Don't forget that Oriental Trading has a wishlist feature that parents choose from! Just to make sure we were officially learning something from our standards, they had to describe the experience using adjectives. :)


These books are also from Oriental Trading company. You can find some of the books on amazon too. They are awesome and had sons of examples of text features. The students worked in groups with sticky notes to identify the text features they found.



While the students were working throughout the week, I had them write the names of the dinosaurs and pin them in the bulletin board.


I've used these stamps before from Oriental Trading, and the kids love them. They drew 2-D shapes and stamped the corners of each one.

We also searched for the faces of 3-D shapes in dinosaur poop. What kid doesn't want to dig in dino poop?!?! This was my favorite idea from Hope and Wade King. This is what I used to make the dinosaur poop. I put it all in the pan and had it ready. I added the laminated shapes and then added the water before the kids came in that day.


 I used three shapes, so I copied the shapes onto three different colors of card stock.  I laminated them so that the poop wouldn't completely destroy them. They did hold up throughout the lesson, but I wouldn't use them again! They had to record the attributes of each shape and draw the faces of the shape. You can see they used their head lamps to see what they were finding! I got those from the Dollar Tree, and just bought head bands from the dollar tree and hot glued them together.


Lastly, I told them they were making a dinosaur cage for two plastic dinosaurs. They had 20 popsicle sticks, 10 pipe cleaners, and one can of play-dough to create a cage for the dinosaurs. This was an awesome way to wrap up our two days of dinosaur fun!


What kind of dinosaur activities do you do? If you want to check out some of the activities we completed, you can click here to check out more! Let me know in the comments if there is anything you would like to see added.  Don't forget to visit Oriental Trading for all the fun activities you do with your students!

(Note: I was given some of these items from Oriental Trading Company in exchange for a review, however the review is my own honest opinion.)

Wednesday, March 1, 2017

Room Transformation Planning Page

Happy March! I am so excited that March is here. We are getting close to review time for #allthetests so it is the perfect time for a room transformation. Throughout the year, I plan small room transformations that we use for a lesson or two here and there. But each year, I also like to plan large room transformations!


We've had crime scenes, bakeries, hospitals, and pirate ships but this year I am trying something new. I love this post by Hope and Wade King, when they did their Jurassic World. I have some kiddos that are obsessed with dinosaurs this year so I knew it was going to be a great idea to incorporate this idea. But in true teacher confessions, it is HARD to be Hope King, y'all. She has been doing room transformations for a while, so she has it down pat! So to help me plan and wrap my mind around my day, I made these planning pages. It was so helpful to go over my standards, what I had, and what I needed to buy!


 I am so excited to sit and write down all of my thoughts on one page. This will help me get ready AND know what to ask parents to donate. If you want to use the page, you can download it here or click on the picture! 



Have you done any room transformations lately? What is your favorite theme? Share in the comments below. Happy Planning!