Welcome to Ms. DeBaylo's Kindergarten! I hope that you will find this blog helpful as you look for innovative ideas to teach diversity, tolerance, love, and global-mindedness to your special kinders!

Sunday, July 31, 2011

august? already??! (Bonus: Storage Crate Seating tutorial!!)

Let's be real. Memorial day was just last week, wasn't it?  I can't believe this summer has come and gone SO fast!  I officially survived my first year teaching, and somewhere, summer #1 slipped out from beneath my fingertips!  We return for our first official day on TUESDAY! This is my last weekend night of summer! I can't believe it!

But, I'm a little bit excited, I must admit!  I've spent the past two and a half weeks getting my furniture in order, visiting every Target within a 30 mile radius, jazzing up my decor, making bulletin boards, and even catching my hot glue gun on fire. (No die-cuts were harmed in the process.)

All of that has me ready to go! And I've totally been such a slacker on this blog; but starting it during the summer sort of set it out on the wrong foot.  So for now, a catch up on some tutorials, tips, and all around classroom decor!

Operation: Storage Seating!
1.  Purchase crates at Walmart ($3.47 each!)
2. Purchase 5/8" particle board at your local home improvement store.  Consider bringing a truck.
3.  Using careful measurements, about 12 7/8" x 15 7/8" (but check for yourself!!!!), cut up to 17 pieces from the particle board! Round the edges by grinding on the concrete :)

4.  Using heavy-duty, canvas-like material (a cute pattern always helps!), situate boards  in a grid-like pattern, allowing about 2 inches around the edge of each board (roughly 4" in between boards).  I used about 2 yards of a 60"-wide fabric for 10 of them.
5. Cut quilting batting to fit on top of boards. (My measurements of the boards were an exact fit to the inside lip of the crate, so I didn't want to wrap any of the cotton batting around the edges of the wood.)
6. Fold corners in and pull tightly.
7. With the corner pulled in, fold the fabric over the side of the board and staple. (I didn't staple the corner because I didn't want to use unnecessary staples!)

8.  Repeat with the other side adjacent to the corner; then repeat with the remaining corners/sides.
9.  After all the edges are stapled, it should look like this! Lay the board on top of a piece of thick, grosgrain ribbon.
10. Fold edge of ribbon underneath the edge of the fabric and staple (the staple will go through the three layers of ribbon/fabric/ribbon into the board).
11. Tada! You are finished! Put these puppies to use at your tables to store journals and notebooks, at centers to store games or art supplies, or even at your small group to help keep things handy and divided for differentiation! :)

Welcome! When I get my kiddo's names I'm going to add their first initials climbing up the coconut tree!

Word Wall! 

Word Wall letters! Die-cut from cute, laminated wrapping paper from Target's dollar bin!

Our classroom helpers bulletin board! I free-handed the globe (circle and continents!) with butcher paper, and used some more cute Target wrapping paper to make the die-cut letters! The hands border I picked up at the Dollar Tree! 
My clip chart! Everyone starts the day on green, and has the opportunity to clip up or down based on behavior.  Used this last year, but made a new one this year with cute scrapbook papers that correlated to the colors! :)

I've seen such cute cork maps on pinterest, so I decided to give it a-go! Using one of my class puzzles as my master, I outlined the continental U.S! (unfortunately, my phone died and I couldn't get a picture of the final product!)

Then my glue gun caught on fire, so I also couldn't get the world map double-cork started!

OOOH! I almost forgot: I FINALLY found those dry erase table-top pocket chart easels everyone has been raving about from Target's Dollar Spot! I went in today, and came out with 2 of them (the only 2 I could find!).  I've been to at least 3 Targets on several occasions and haven't had any luck! Glad I could at least snag two of them today!

Moral of the story:  A little bit of color, and a cute pattern, can turn your basic, primary-colored classroom into something still kid-friendly, but also design-worthy!

How's your classroom set-up going? Got any good tips or tricks you'd like to share?

Saturday, July 16, 2011

Back to School!

I walked the halls of RSE for the first time in a month and a half.  The floors were freshly waxed; the walls, freshly painted.  I felt giddy as I made my rounds just to see if anyone else was in the building.  Seemed like yesterday I was tearing all of this down and moving my furniture into the halls for the summer.  Man, it passed fast!

Speaking of passing fast, this time last year, I wasn't even HIRED YET!  I had only been back from Haiti for 2 weeks!  Little did I know, in my discouragement, I would interview, twice, get hired, set up a classroom, and begin teaching kinders in less than 5 days!?  Wow.  I can't even believe I survived, to be honest.  Last fall was terribly stressful, and I don't think I realized just how intense it was because I couldn't even come up for air!

I'm fortunate to have more than just 2 days to set up my room this year, and I am beyond blessed to be back at RSE with a fabulous team of teachers and admin supporting me.  Excited to get my class up and going, and to see where this year takes me!

Here's what I walked into today:


Be mindful, I haven't done ANY decor.  My goal today was to get my furniture set, and a list made.  Done and done.  I even made 3 lists. :)

Pinterest Project - Storage Crates and Seating, Part 1

If you're anything like me, a better part of your summer has been dedicated to Pinterest.  You know, the site where you look at pictures ... for hours ... of food, and clothes, and classroom stuff ... and pretty homes you'll never afford on a teaching salary, and gorgeous decor, and fantabulous vacay sites that you'll never get to visit ...  oh, sorry.  I'm back.

One of the plus sides to pinterest is that it enables you to essentially bookmark pictures; which for me, I have 29435 lists running at all times, and I often forget what "paint poster" means when I check it in 3 days.  But tabbing pictures to return to?! genius!

Perhaps the most genius thing I've seen on the site so far are these precious little seats made from storage crates!  ... storage crates that I happened to already have FOUR of!

So what did I do on my first day back to school today ....?!?! Yep! You guessed it!
I bribed a handy-man friend of mine with lunch and dessert to come do the hard-part: cutting plywood!

The Project: Precious Storage Crates that double as Seats!
The budget: I'd say about $6-$8 per crate (depending on how cheap I can find fabric that I love!)
The Materials:

Plywood (about $20 for the desired thickness) ... and perhaps a truck.  Or at least not a Jetta.
Storage Crates! <$4 at Wal-Mart

The Process:  Feed handy-man hearty lunch.  Then put him to work (make sure he brings a saw and measuring tape! One of those triangles that is called a "Square" is also handy-dandy!

I'm convinced he brought the ear-muffs (silencers?) so he didn't have to hear me ask him for help moving furniture!

Added tip: The corners of the storage crates are a tad-bit rounded.  Using a belt sander, sand down the edges of each cut of plywood for a more comfortable fit.  Or, use the concrete sidewalk to sand the corners down :)

Part 2: to be continued when I get some pretty fabric (which would be after I get paid next week :)

Thrifty Target Finds - in Pictures :)

I promise you, when the school year starts, this blog will NOT be only about how much I love TARGET! But for reals, y'all, just getting all my goodies into my classroom today, I was glad I spent every cent on these items!

Trip #1: less than $35!!
Love Love LOVE this shark hamper! He will be our number/word/letter muncher!! Lot's of goodies like magnetic hooks, several stamps, a book on color words, dual-sided white boards, Dr. Seuss stickers, a schedule chart...
... 2 packs of 20-count foam blocks, HUGE clothes pins (to keep track of my decodable weekly readers for small group!), 2 small pocket charts, and nuts/bolts or stackable people for our tub toys! (4 of each!)
... and finally, a Cars-themed white board, a shower curtain and hooks for something crazy I haven't thought of yet, 2 LARGE foam clocks (I should've bought 20!), pens, towels (for home :) and a Dr. Seuss bag for a take-home reader!

Trip #2: $58 (eek, I know. But I just HAD to!)
6 sets of flashcards: space, world landmarks, dinosaurs, world flags, insects, animals of the world; 3 Readers: Animal Kids, Apes and Monkeys, and Presidents

dotted number stamps, small ABC stamps (perfect for read, stamp, write!) 4 mini-erasers for the whiteboard center; and 4 teacher signs (line up here, raise your hand, clean up, and I forget the last one!)
perhaps my favorite buy! dual-sided, double-lined, laminate white board sentence strips! They come in packs of 4! So I bought a class set! (5 packs!)

Pink mesh teacher caddy for my small group table, cah-uttteeeee changable calendar, 2 pointers for read the room, and these INCREDIBLE lazy-susan table caddies!! (I bought 6!)
... and 3 puzzles! kinders LOVE puzzles! :)
PHEW! So excited to share my good finds with you!

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Target Treasures

Ya'll, I have already written about how much I love, love, LOVE Target!  After my venture there last week, I really could not stop think about what a great deal I got on such great stuff for next year!

Well, yesterday... I was in the neighborhood, and thought hmmm.  I could use one of those dry erase easels from the Target Spot.  yes, of course.

I plan on taking a picture of the goods tomorrow, as they are in my trunk and its dark out :)  But seriously GO to Target!!! My favorite find was a lazy-susan-esque table caddy. I can NOT wait to use these to replace the plastic pencil boxes which wind up getting so gross in just a few days time! and at $2.50 a piece they were a STEAL!

another thing that excites me about Target is the new blog "Target Treasures," ran by Hadar of the teaching blogs, "Teaching Blog Addict" and "Miss Kindergarten."  I love when others, especially teachers, can share in my L-O-V-E for good deals and great ideas!  To sweeten the pot, she is offering a $20 gift card as a Thank-You to one lucky winner!  Go check her out for some great deals, and even a chance at winning the gift card!

Good deal!

To mark her milestone of 100 followers, Krissy over at Kindergarten Monkey Business is offering up to $10 free from her TpT store as a Thank You!  Now, I am new to this whole teaching-blog thing (although I have been a vigilant blogger on other fronts for a couple years now), so I have come to find each of the blogs I've started to follow valuable in many ways!  I hope to one day offer as much insight, advice, and freebies as these ladies have been generously posting!

Head on over and see what it takes to get some TpT kinder-goodies!

Monday, July 11, 2011

Another Graphics Giveaway!

The lovely lady behind Little Literacy Learners is generously giving away a year long subscription to the graphics factory! Being a new teacher and new blogger, I would L-O-V-E to win a subscription to work on some items of my own for next year!  Head on over and see what it takes to win! Contest ends on July 14th!

Saturday, July 9, 2011


The lovely peeps at www.livelovelaughkindergarten.blogspot.com have teamed up with dreamlike magic
to give-away a FREE blog design!  Lord knows, I need it! But head on over to www.livelovelaughkindergarten.blogspot.com to see what you'll need to do to enter!

Friday, July 8, 2011

Target Spot Dollar Bin SALE! 50% off!

Dear Fellow Teachers:

You may know this already, but you should never go to Target only expecting to buy paper towels.  Save your paper towel needs for Kroger or Publix; places you can't get distracted.  You will walk in and immediately stop in the Target Spot (dollar bins!).  It's happened before, but never to this scale.  You'll grab a few things, because all white-dot items are 50% OFF RIGHT NOW!  You will soon realize your arms can not carry any more.  You'll go back and get a hand basket.  Once things start falling out of your hand basket, you'll decided its time for a shopping cart.  You may even forget you came for paper towels, but please, at least go find them so its not all a-wash.  You'll go to check out, and tell the clerk you only came for paper towels, and she will laugh, as she scans your 40 some-odd items.  Rest assured, you will not leave Target without things you want desperately need for the fall!  After all, 50% off might as well be an incentive as great as free in our books!

{the goods: stamps, baskets, Dr. Seuss bags and stickers, foam blocks, plastic bolts and washers, linking people, dry erase handwriting boards, pop-up shark hamper (oh the possibilities!), books, hooks, and more!}

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Moffat girls Blog give away!

One of the advantages of following teachers via blogspot is that teachers LOVE free things! and love to GIVE away all their secrets! it is one profession that copyright pride is rarely an issue!

another advantage, is once you become guru-ish and hit that magical 100+ followers mark, you tend to give stuff away!  now, i'm not quite there (at all, really!) BUT the annie over at The Moffatt Girls has surpassed 500 readers and is giving away a membership to the graphics factory!  although winner will be chosen at random, I'm crossing my fingers because I would absolutely LOVE to work on some teacher-made stuff for TPT!

ahh, one day, Rhi.  one day.

in the mean time, head over there and check out all her goodies!

Welcome :)

Welcome to Kindergarten, friends!

If you are like me, it took you all of June to finally understand how to rest and recoop after the end of last year! Now that it's July, half of me is so sad summer is coming to a close (I'm headed back to set my room up at the end of next week, eek!) and the other half has spent the last 10 hours, literally, combing the internet for new and fun ideas for next year.

This is just my second official year teaching, both in Kindergarten! and I am THRILLED to be back at my school.  I have been blessed beyond belief by the support of administration and our fabulously talented and passionate team of NINE kindergarten teachers!  I am eager to get back into the swing of things and pass on my passion to these itty-bitty, first time kinders!

I want to welcome you on my journey!  Last year, I was hired a week AFTER school started, and had literally THE WEEKEND to get my bare-bones classroom in tip-top shape for a full class on Monday! Because of this, I never felt like I caught up, and spent my first two months just trying not to drown!

I'm hopeful that having time to plan out the classroom environment as well as my first few weeks of activities will leave me not as stressed out (not likely!) and able to pass on some of my knowledge and useful activities/units to you!

If you find this blog at all helpful, go to the right side and click follow!  I hope to be posting on a variety of topics: Literacy Centers, the Daily 5 (which I will be implementing this year!), thematic planning around a world travelers theme, and teaching diversity and tolerance to some very special kiddos.

The kids we teach have the opportunity to change the world.  What matters now is what they are filling their minds with, and how they are learning to interact on this very basic level.  Ghandi once said that "whatever you do in life will be insignificant; but it is important that you do it." I fully agree. In the scheme of things, it may look like 18 kiddos that have learned not to judge based on poverty, social status, or race might seem like nothing.  But to each of those kiddos, and the lives that they will impact one day, it matters indeed.

I challenge you to impact your kiddos hearts and outlook.  Love them as Christ has loved each of us, His dear children.

Excited for this new journey!