About Me

Hi! Welcome to my page teacher friends!

My name is Kayla and I've been a first grade teacher since 2008 (and I'm still going strong).

Is it a juggling act to find the right balance between what your students can do (ability), want to do (interest), and need to do (standards)?

Do you love all of the cute activities you see online but just aren't in the mood to sell a kidney to pay for them? Or worry your principal will think they are fluff and not "rigorous" (ugh) enough?

Are you a magnet for all the kids who seem to need waaaaay more than just academic support like I am?

Tired of pushing your kids so hard and just wish you could add in some good old fashioned play time?

Well, if you're nodding your head, just know I'm here bobble heading it with you ;) I've been there!

I'm here to help inspire you and your first graders by showing you how to easily add purposeful play and engagement to your classroom. 

If you believe learning can be cute, fun, and engaging without breaking the bank, you're in the right place!

My Story

Like many of us, I knew that I wanted to be a teacher from a very young age. Like 3 in fact. It's simply my calling.

School came easily to me. I was well behaved (even though slightly chatty), got good grades, and yes...I was the teacher's pet for sure!

In my mind school was a happy and safe place so I just didn't understand why some kids didn't seem to like it.

Fast forward a few years to when my little sister started having the same teachers that I once did, and I quickly learned the reason.

You see, my sister and I are total opposites in many ways (down to her dark hair and eyes and my pastey whiteness).

What came naturally to me was a struggle for her. Her inquisitive spirit was crushed by being allowed only "2 questions a day". Her artistic abilities and creative mind were stifled when her work wasn't done in the way requested. Her energy was NOT appreciated (read very wiggly all over the place child-oops!). And her confidence was flat out destroyed by teachers telling her she was stupid.

So while teaching has always been my calling, my true passion for working with kids with all kinds of special needs comes from this very early life lesson. I saw the power a teacher had. I saw their ability to boost or crush a child's self esteem. I saw my mission. I could never let a child in my class go through what my sister, and so many other struggling students, went through.

In college I double majored in Elementary Education and Special Education.  I then moved to North Carolina in 2008 and began teaching at the ripe old age of 21. While my original dream was to be a 2nd grade teacher, once I student taught in 1st I fell in love and never looked back!

My passion to be able to help kids who were struggling led to many years of Professional Development on Autism, ADHD, Differentiation, Learning Disabilities, and Best Practices. I also received my Masters in Education and certification as a Reading Specialist in 2014.

My Mission

My mission as a classroom teacher has always been to find a way to help my students feel confident in themselves, regardless of their ability at the moment. 

If my students need more than just academic support, I want to be the one to help the parents navigate that road, like I wish someone had helped my mom and sister. 

My wiggly students need to feel comfortable with a variety of seating options. My creative students need to feel heard by having interesting ways to express themselves.

Most importantly, I want learning to happen naturally through play and real life experiences. Isn't it the best feeling when you see how excited your students are to learn something new?

So what does that mean for you?

I'm here to help you add cute, fun, and engaging play based activities into your first grade classroom, all while keeping your instructional standards and teacher budget in mind. 

This blog is a space to share what has worked well in my classroom, and also what has flopped (because let's be real, not every lesson is rainbows and sunshine). I also created my Teachers Pay Teachers store to help share creative lessons with other first grade teachers. Why should we reinvent the wheel when we find something that inspires our students or helps them learn?

I can't wait to show you how you can easily change up small routines to add joy or inspiration to something fabulous you are already doing. 

Still hanging around with me? Here are a few fun, and totally random facts!

1️⃣ I have had an Ocean themed classroom every.single.year I've taught! 🐳
2️⃣ I love llamas and unicorns.
3️⃣ I have a strong dislike for birds, they creep me out.
4️⃣  I'm originally from Rhode Island (the state…not Long Island 😊) but moved to NC to teach.
My nickname was Kayla Potato Eater when I was little because, you guessed it! I love potatoes!
6️⃣ I get great satisfaction out of bargain shopping, especially for school supplies or books.
My favorite place I ever traveled is Australia and I would go back in a heart beat!🐨
8️⃣ I have a very vocal cat named Nora who loves tortilla chips and goldfish crackers.
9️⃣ I can’t eat gluten or peanuts and am learning how to cook (I've always been a microwave chef).
🔟 I love being crafty by scrapbooking, card making, and making projects with my Cricut.

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