May 23, 2015


What a week.  What a week!  It was absolutely wild I tell ya.  It's late May, so I know you get where I am coming from.  Let's see . . . it was Open House Week. Assessments were (and still are) in full swing.  And, we had some very special visitors rock our little campus.  Yep.  It was a week to remember my friends . . . busy, high energy, and beyond fun.

With this soft intro lobbed up for you this morning, I will get to it already. Here's my EPIC Five For Friday post . . . with numbers one-four being one of the BEST experiences of my teaching career.

1, 2, 3, & 4 - KOO KOO IN THE FLESH
You read that right.  Bryan and Neil from KOO KOO KANGA ROO actually came to our school as part of their West Coast School Tour.  

It was like winning the lottery in the assembly department.  They put on the best show and our kids were beside themselves.  People have been asking . . . how did this happen?  Well, I was one of the very first bloggers to really help spread the word about GoNoodle (last year).  Since they were/are sponsoring this tour, they contacted me when they had an opening in the NorCal area due to a cancellation. Told you it was like winning the lottery. 

A handful of teachers worked to spread the hype big time on campus . . . a few of my besties and I bought shirts.  We also hung posters around campus. A Kinder class even made welcome posters to hang on the gym.  We also KOO KOO-ed like crazy the week leading up to the BIG SHOW (classes even teamed up to Pop See Ko and Get Loose together). 

Okay, so this idea came to me the morning of and my sign is cruddy.
I was so excited that I forgot to put in the 2nd Koo . . . :P
Isn't this so K and wonderful?  Way to go Mrs. Barnes.

When show time rolled around, the bleachers were packed and the excitement was contagious. Kids had KOO signs and photos of Bryan and Neil on sticks.  It was awesome. Bryan worked the crowd and the kids were beside themselves.  

Then, there was the moment that your regular old assembly changed into an EPIC assembly.  

Here's the exact second when my principal probably had a slight coronary.
It was decided that the kids should come out of the stands to the gym floor.

Then, the show got underway.  It started like this . . . 

It got to this . . . 

And this . . . 

 And even this . . . #doyouwanttobeaninja


It was like a killer cool rock and roll concert with kids.  And, the best part was that our K-4th graders handled themselves beautifully.  I was so proud of our kids.  Teachers were dispersed throughout the gym enough to deal with any of the minor "fires" that popped up. However, despite the intense energy in the room, there were very few incidences.  Bryan and Neil really know how to command a kid audience.  

As for me and my experience, well, it was awesome. Mrs. Dolling danced her butt off with the mob kids for 30 straight minutes.  I managed to not pee my pants as I was flailing about (yes, I was very aware of this possibility and took precautions - just what you wanted to know).  By the time the boys hit that final song I was covered in sweat and grinning from ear to ear. But, that isn't the best part . . . I got to help lead an encore performance of Pop See Ko - I choose the sprinkler as my special move.  Needless to say, I skipped the gym Tuesday night and woke up sore on Wednesday morning.  #dollingisgettingold

Please know that I didn't write all of this to rub it in . . . PROMISE.  I just can't help but share my love for the KOO KOO boys and GoNoodle.  If you still don't know about this amazing brain break site or haven't taken the time to try it out with your class . . . do not wait a moment more. Sign up and start using this with your kids. It's FREE and I guarantee that you and your babes will absolutely LOVE it.     

How in the world do I follow that . . . ha!  Well, in addition to the concert of the century, it was open house on Thursday.  We were right on target with all of our projects this year and there was NO last minute scrambling.  (It's because my teaching partner is a rock star . . . just sayin'.)  We ran with a pond theme and the room looked lovely.  It was a nice evening and it was well attended. I didn't manage to get my projects into a completed pack this year. However, look for a Pond Unit to pop up next spring.   

Alright, so that's my Five For Friday.  I don't have it in me to recap much more. I need another cup of coffee :)  

Oh and  . . . don't forget that you still have two days to get yourself entered for A Modern Teacher's amazing personal planner giveaway. Just click the photo below to magically transport yourself to this post.    

May 20, 2015


Okay, so I kinda fell of the face of the Earth.  However, I know you get me when I utter . . . more like g-a-s-p . . . two little words . . . late May.  Things have been nuts (I am sure they have been for you as well) but I am FINALLY poppin' in with a fun little post tonight.  If you read my last page of ramblings, you know that I am moving to a new school this year. Well, I am pretty excited about all of the changes and I am already planning and plotting with teammates and on my own.  With all the information flying about, I wanted something special to house all of my school and personal stuff.  Well, I treated myself to just such a thing a few weeks ago.  

Just look at this thing . . . it makes me feel all squishy inside.  Not only is it pretty as all get out, but this personal planner allows me to organize BOTH my home and school life.  This beauty comes from A Modern Teacher and it was worth every penny.  

My excitement for the upcoming school year came spilling out onto these pages and I already started using my rad-tastic Flair Pens to write in some important information.  I began with all of the days school is not in session.  I don't know why I ALWAYS do this with a new calendar, but I can't help it.  (If you work at my new school or are a parent at my new school, I promise that I am not a total slacker . . . it just seems logical place to start and a little day to "refresh" is always good idea . . . hehehe.)  

Love that they already have the new district calendar posted.
Way to go new school :)
Next, I logged all of the birthdays that I want to remember this year . . . in a new color of course.  Facebook is good at helping me stay on track with most special days, but there are a few that I MUST remember on me own as they require pre-planning and a little extra thought :) 

Days Off in lime . . . Birthdays in pink :)
Then, I added all of my beloved community events . . . yes, in another new color.  Rodeo Week, Beef & Brew, and the county fair all made the cut.  

Finally, I changed colors yet again to pen in a few themes that I KNOW I will be running with in September.  Football, Fall, and Apples always hit in this particular month and they are logged on the book and ready to go.  This will help me think about special things I will want to do during these weeks and keep me on the ball with anything I may need to pick up at a store or prep :)

Events in purple and Themes in orange.
Oh . . . and added blue clouds and hearts to the birthdays.
And these calendar pages are just the tip of the iceberg.  This planner also includes oodles of teacher essentials -- curriculum overview, admin/sub info, student birthday sheet, parent contact info, and a class schedule.  In addition it has a notes section as well as weekly calendars for the school year (August -July).  I have died and gone to organizational heaven.  School and home all in one place.  Yes, please!!!

With all this said, are you interested in winning one of these mind blowing personal planners?  Yep.  April over at A Modern Teacher is letting me give one of these away -- the blue gingham version.  It's DAR to the LING and you can't even order them yet.  These amazing personal planners sold out in just a few weeks . . . but, they will be back in July.

To enter, simply complete the Rafflecopter below for a chance to win :)  I will announce the random winner on Monday.  So don't wait a moment more . . . get to entering STAT!

Thanks so much for taking the time to pop in to visit me.  I will see you in a few days with a Five For post.  Some AMAZING things happened in the classroom this week and I can't wait to share.  Big hugs.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

May 9, 2015


Let me start off by saying that I have some news.  Back at the end of December I posted that I had two goals for 2015 that revolved around BIG decisions. Well, I can finally tell you about a secret that I have been keeping for a few months that connects to one of these goals.  I am over the moon with this news and it has been SO hard to keep my loud mouth shut. However, before I do, I am going to STOP YOU RIGHT THERE.  Get that thought out of your head.  I just realized that this sounds just like a pregnancy post . . . BLARG!  Well, it's not.  I don't have two little lines or a pink smiley face to show you (although my husband wishes this were the case).  Push the image of a little nugget growing in my belly out of your head . . . I'll let you know if you can put this one back in your noggin.  

Now that this innocent misconception is all cleared up, I want to say that my news is just as exciting in my book.  Think of something that rhymes with "dew pool" or "poo fool."  You got it?? (Good heavens . . . I am on a role in the writing department today.)

With that amazing intro I managed to weave, I won't hold you hostage any longer.  I am moving to a NEW SCHOOL and back to full time.  Although I will miss the sweet little campus where I got my start and all of my amazing coworkers, I am thrilled to be opening a new chapter in my educational book! Not only will I be teaching just 3 short minutes from my house (no more commute for this gal), but I also will be working for one of my favorite high school teachers -- my Spanish I teacher is the super at my new campus.  But that's not the only cool connection, my mom taught him in 6th grade and both of us (my mom and I) had his mother for biology our Junior year.  Yep . . . I live in one of those little towns. He has helped build an amazing district that is welcoming, rigorous, supportive, and positive.  Can you tell I am thrilled??  I will stop gushing now. Anyway, that is my big news and my #1 for Five For Friday. It feels so good to "let the antelope out of the bag."  (A little mascot humor for you on this Saturday morn.)

I promise to show you pictures of the process . . . moving, setting up a new classroom, finding new resources, etc.  My summer is going to be filled with school and I am so exited about it :)

My garage is already beginning to look like an educational wasteland.
I have SO much stuff to move.
I am trying to bring a box or two home every week :)

Speaking of a new school, I have the best resource for those teachers looking to get a jump on next year.  Since I will be merging ideas, themes, and such with my new grade level team, I wanted something to keep the process streamlined and tidy.  Well, I found the PERFECT product for this need.  Traci from Dragonflies in First has created the most amazing EDITABLE year planner. It's easy to use and it looks great (I'm a fool for pretty and organized).  I was able to knock out most of my current outline in a day so that I can share it with my stellar teammates.  We will be able to change and add to it without some huge painful process.  This has proven to be the best purchase I have made on TPT this year. Check it out HERE.   

I am just getting around to blogging this week as we had a field trip that knocked me on my butt.  There's nothing like teacher tired after a field trip, but this particular outing upped the ante a bit.  This week's excursion involved kids wading in running water.  Let's just say I was on edge the entire time . . . you never know what may happen with our "spirited" crew this year. However, my worry was for nothing as no one was pushed in or floated down the river. The kids really enjoyed the environmental camp (the docents were AMAZING) and it fit perfectly with our pond theme.  

See why I was sweating the WHOLE TIME???
My amazing teaching partner was there to help (on her day off too).
I owe you BIG TIME, Court :)

This time of year is so much fun in the math department. So fun that I know I have uttered this before in more than one blog post . . . hehehehehe.  What can I say?  I just can't help myself when kiddos have been exposed to all the standards and you can really take it to the next level in centers.  

True Equation Game
Associative Property Game 

10 More/10 Less Game
If you are interested in a packet of CCSS aligned math stations/games for May (13 ditties in all), pop on over to my shop.  It's one of my featured products this month and it's on sale for just $5 through the weekend.  

I am doing a little fist pump . . . it's finished.  I managed to knock out our end of the year video last weekend.  I want to add one more event that is taking place this week, but other than those 2-3 photos, it's in da bag!  My music line up is pretty fun this year.  I added a few new ones to the mix that I think the kids and parents will really love. 

  1. We Belong Together - Randy Newman (My favorite into song.  I tend to always use this one.)
  2. Everything is Awesome - Lego Movie (I clipped this song to just include the first 42 seconds. The kids are going to flip out and the team part is perfect for a bunch of our fall photos.)
  3. Count on Me - Bruno Mars (It's new to the mix this year, but it's message is on target.)
  4. Three Little Birds - Bob Marley (This one ends up in the show every other year it seems. It makes me smile.)
  5. Rainbow Connection - Weezer (I found this one last year.  This song is so amazing. It gives a sweet little alternative twist on one of my favorite songs of all time.)
  6. Never Grow Up - Alyssa Golden (I used this one last year too. Her acoustic guitar version is the best one out there.)
There you have it . . . my line up.  I hadn't really cried until watching it today (which is surprising for me). I'll be honest.  It has been a tough year, but despite it all, I am going to miss our little sweeties. Finishing this video a tad early helped me see all the good times that we had together.  There sure have been a lot of them.  These images will help me hold on to them tight before parting ways.  #playingthegladgame

Alright, I am off to finish up my year plan and hit the gym before going golfing with my dad.  It seems I have a nice little Saturday planned.  I hope it's a great one my friends.  I'll be back soon :)    

May 3, 2015


Although I am loud as all get out and typically always have something to say, I am speechless this afternoon.  Yep, me.  Kelley Nicole Dolling is SPEECHLESS. I don't know if all you alls opened the TPT newsletter today, but I was lucky enough to land the Seller Spotlight slot this week.  I wasn't sure when I was going to hit (they said it would be 2-3 months when I filled out the official "you have been picked" paperwork).  So . . . this morning was a complete surprise. I was absolutely delighted to be highlighted this week and may or may not have danced around the house a bit.  Despite this excitement, the newsletter actually wasn't what made me the happiest today. The emails, FaceBook shouts, instant messages, and texts from my TPT and blogger friends poured in after the newsletter hit inboxes.  I was so overwhelmed and truly touched by it all. When I called my mom and told her about the response, I started crying. I just couldn't help myself or my dang emotions. Seriously, folks.  I was (and still am) so humbled. Thank you from the bottom of my heart. 

Teachers Pay Teachers is truly a magical company.  Yeah sure, it has given us amazing access to oodles of killer resources with the click of a button.  Yes, it has provided many of us with some super fun extra income. However, I don't see the resources or the money as the best things that have come out of TPT (at least for me). The relationships I have built via this amazing organization are everything. Some of my best friends in the world were met online in the past three in a half years. That right there is worth more to me than anything. (And, with that, I am crying again.) #pullittogetherdolling

Anyway, that's all from this girl today.  I really don't know what else to say other than that pile of mushy stuff up there.  I meant every single word. Thank you for your amazing support my friends.  You mean the world.    


April 26, 2015


The chaos known as May will be here before we know it.  This means Mother's Day will be on top of us in no time.  Knowing this, I wanted to get my thoughts on this special Day squared away now.  Who knew I could be such a forward thinker?  I shock myself sometimes ;)

With all this said, I totally broke the mold yesterday and came up with a Mother's Day card for my crew to make this year.  You read that right.  Dolling made a craft.  (Um . . . You know what just froze over.)  It took me all darn day and lots of failed samples to figure out how to get my vision into something kids could easily make, but I finally got there and I am happy with my creation. 

Yep . . . I made a folding card . . . hence my trouble in the sample department. I am NOT a spacial person and two little folds can be killer for a person like me. Overall I think it works out in everyone's favor though.  Why? I can only handle simple crafts with very minimal steps . . . similar to the ability of a little first grader :)  Ha!  This ditty also comes with a personalized writing element.  I wanted my kids to be able to draft a special message that came straight from their hearts.   

This day is always a special day for me and many of the kids in my class. (My mom makes my world go round.) However, I have noticed lately that more and more of my students do not have moms in their lives.  It breaks my heart to see their little faces droop when it's time to make something for mommy.  I tried to minimize this by being proactive in my card creation.  I made a special person template for these kids to use. It looks just like the Mother's Day version, but talks about it being a wonderful day and can be given to anyone. I know this doesn't fix the problem, but hopefully it lessens the blow a bit.

We just completed our cards in class.  The kids were delighted with the fact that it folded.  A bunch of them kept showing all of the other kids how their card "grew."  These little sweeties didn't seem to notice that the classmate they were showing this AMAZING thing to had just made the same exact thing.  I call that a small victory for sure ;)

Our grade level always hosts a special Mother's Day Drop-In. Students' moms come in for a little afternoon reading party, sweet treats, and other fun.  It is always such a lovely day.  

Do you do something special at your school for mothers?  I'd love to hear about it in the comments below.  Just in case you do . . . I made up a quick and easy invite to share.  This is really open-ended and is not mommy specific (so those sweet babies without moms can use it to invite another important woman in their lives).  I wanted it to work for all sorts of different school or classroom mommy events too :)  CLICK HERE to snag this freebie.

Finally, if you host a special Mother's Day ditty, do you have your kiddos perform anything?  I know some of my teacher friends do.  If you are looking for a mom-specific tune to belt out this year . . . I have just the song for you. Ron Brown's Intelli-Tunes has the sweetest Mom song.  This song is on special this month . . . only 99 cents for the tune, instrumental, and printable lyrics.  Catch a sample of this sweet song HERE.  It will surely fill the hearts of all the special women attending your event :)

Alright, I am out of here.  My May Math Station Packet is screaming my name (it will be up by the 1st . . . PROMISE).  Thanks for the visit.  I hope you have a great Sunday my friends.  See you soon :)


April 19, 2015


Many of you have already started, so I am behind the eight ball a bit for some folks. However, with my campus beginning the Smarter Balanced test tomorrow, I figured I would toss some ideas out just the same.  

Let me back up and give you the back story on my ideas surrounding testing. (Heaven knows I love to frontload just about everything.)  It only took one year of being a "testing" teacher to grasp the stress involved with the whole process.  I didn't sleep for a week and I will NEVER forget the moment when one of my little 2nd grader babes looked up at me with his lower lip quivering and tears welling in his eyes -- "I can't read this, Miss B." I squeezed his hand with as much love as I had in me, but I had to reply, "I'm sorry sweetie, I can't help you. Just do your best."  This dang near killed me.  Needless to say, this event was burned into my brain.  That next year admin dropped me down to first grade. Yes, I was cheering to be away from the heat of testing. However, I couldn't quite get that moment from the year before out of my mind.  So, when testing rolled around for the rest of the campus, I knew that I wanted to do everything I could to boost student and teacher moral during this tough time. That's when Adopt-A-Class was born. 

Adopt-A-Class is a fun project where all of the non-testing classrooms adopt a testing class.  Prior to testing and throughout the week, "parent" or non-testing classes go out of their way to brighten a class full of test takers :)  It doesn't have to be anything major . . . friendly letters delivered the day before the test, a surprise snack after the first day of testing, motivational classroom murals and posters made by the little kids on campus . . . anything to show these students that they are supported.  

A campus generally needs about a week to get this one going.  However, I have put it together in less than 5 days.  You just need a teacher or small group of teachers who are willing to step up and man the process.  

With this said, I have made a packet with everything ready to go (plus lots of other fun and easy ideas for surviving testing).  I broke all the rules and made a LARGE freebie a few years back and it just received a much needed facelift. In my heart of hearts, I just couldn't charge for this then . . . and I can't charge for it now. Moral boostin' and feel-good ideas and activities should be free in my book. Also, just for the record, I do want to state that I posted this packet in it's original form in 2012 prior to the 10 page freebie rule - just sayin' :) (Can you tell I don't like to break rules??!!)

If you haven't started testing yet, you're all set with this one.  If you have, download it for next year!  What do you have to loose . . . it's free??!!  

This fun little tune from Ron Brown's Intelli-Tunes is all about doing your best on the test.  If you are running with Adopt-A-Class, and you have time, you can get you babes to learn this one and perform it for your testing class.  If you aren't, share it with your music teacher or admins.  They can play it for the testing grades :)  The best part about this one . . . it's FREE too :)  Click the image below and find the freebie called Best On the Test.  

I am sneaking up to our campus later today to decorate (fingers crossed parents or fellow teachers don't read this before tomorrow . . . I want it to be a surprise). I have a bunch of butcher paper signs to hang in the hallways. I'm also going to decorate the sidewalks with inspirational messages in chalk. Finally, I have a collection of funny/motivational posters to hang on all of doors of those classrooms that will be testing.  I know that I won't be able to get up early enough to pull it off in the AM, so tonight it is . . . my sweet mother is helping me be all sneaky.  All I will have to do tomorrow is hang the balloons at the school entrances. (I should be able to handle one task before the kiddies show up.)

This one is my favorite.  It was started years ago at our school by a wonderful teacher named Nancy Henley. When she retired, I took it over.  The walk of winners is a cheer line that takes place on the first morning of testing -- it kicks off the day.  For this stunt, the non-testing students line a hallway and all of the testing kiddos walk through it while you blast fun upbeat music.  This is a brilliant idea.  ABSOLUTELY BRILLIANT.  Nancy nailed this one :)

All of the notes you need to get this one going are in the freebie packet from above.  It outlines the process and contains an editable note template (as well as some sample notes).  I think I made this pretty easy on ya.  You just need access to a powerful radio or speaker system, some fun tunes loaded on your iPod or iPhone, and teachers who are willing to mess with their morning schedules for about 15 minutes.  This event ALWAYS makes me cry (I have to wear my dark sunglasses) and this year will not be any different.  It's a moment that kids (testing and non-testing) will NEVER forget.  

You see all of your old students roll through with big old grins on their faces.
It just seems to lighten the mood for everyone - students and teachers.
I am crying just writing about this experience.
I am in big trouble tomorrow! #passthetissues
I will be cheering my heart out for these sweeties tomorrow.
They are big 4th graders now. 

Yes, I'm still crying a little.
Hootin' and hollerin' with grins from ear to ear :)
The love and support oozes from our cheer line.
Alright, there you have it . . . just a few ideas to help your school survive a run of testing.  My FREEBIE packet contains oodles of other ideas to toss into the mix -- breakfast of champions, ready-made badges, smart snack ideas, etc. CLICK HERE to check it out.  My goal is to ease kids into the testing process and make them believe that they are control of the test.  Sure, all of our kids are not going to ace the big bad test.  AND . . . let's be honest . . . these stunts aren't really going to change many scores (if any). However, if we can keep lower lips from quivering, ward off unnecessary tears, and put a few smiles on some faces, I have done my job with this collection :)  

Thanks for visiting me today!  I hope this next week is stellar.  I will see you in the near future :)  Big hugs!

April 12, 2015


Oh, sweet Spring Break.  It has been such fun.  (Wasn't I just writing about telling this week of freedom, "Hello??")  I'm not complaining though . . . it was a wonderful run for the Dollings.  

With school resuming tomorrow, I figured it was time to blog about something useful. Our crew will be headed into a week of baseball . . . followed by Earth Day and Ponds. As I am getting my ducks in a row for the next few weeks, I might as well toss out a few of my favorite activities for you to take a peek at and maybe incorporate into your plans.  Don't worry. I'm not going to hit you with things you HAVE TO DO this next week.  I'll hook you up with with my Earth Day thoughts to give you a little time to prep.

This one is easy and requires NO extra prep.  During our Earth Day studies, I like to copy as much work as possible on scrap or recycled paper.  The kids get a kick out of completing work with random assignments on the flip side.  I just dig in the copy room recycle bin or snag papers that I ran and NEVER ended up getting to in class :)

Speaking of running assignments on recycled paper, here's a math activity that lends itself to this idea.  We are all about working on word problems as much as possible this year.  These higher level thinking skills are essential to the CORE and we need more practice.  With this said, I created a story problem booklet for my kiddos.  I designed it to target Operations & Algebraic Thinking (OA) for both first and second grade.  Oh, and it's FREE!  I figured I might as well hook you up too :)  This freebie includes multiple pages of story problems targeting different skills.  Simply pick and choose the pages your crew is ready to tackle at this time and create a customized word problem book . . . on recycled paper. CLICK HERE to snag this freebie!

My favorite Earth Day art project comes from Across the Hall in 2nd Grade.  I have been doing this one since the packet came out. It comes with a writing piece too . . . swoon :)

CLICK HERE to check out her packet :)

Sarah Cooley outdid her self in the unique activities department.  Her We Heart Our Earth packet provides numerous real world lessons that the kids absolutely adore.  From creating a Litterbug Museum and adopting trees to sorting recyclable products, this collection is the real deal!

Earth Day offers up oodles of ways for students to produce some wonderful reflective writing.  Here's an activity that I came up with 3 years ago.  It requires a bit of prep (you have to trim the pictures), but the parents always eat this one up.  The kids always dig working with real photos too :)

This activity is part of one of my favorite packets -- EARTH DAY (Dolling comes up with such unique titles).  It contains all sorts of engaging standards-based activities for primary kiddos.  This collection even includes a sweet little Earth Day song from Ron Brown's Intelli-Tunes (MP3 & lyrics embedded in the download).

Alright, there you have it . . . a post showcasing all of my favorite Earth Day goods.  It's enough to jam-pack a week or more with super awesome activities for your babes.  I hope some of this helped with your planning a bit.  On that note, I am out of here.  Gotta get the rest of my baseball stuff prepped and work on planning feel-good activities for our upcoming testing week.  (I'll be back soon to tell you all about this idea.)  Big hugs and MERRY SUNDAY!!

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