Wednesday, August 6, 2014


Instead of cutting and laminating, I wound up on Pinterest tonight and was inspired to create a quick little freebie!  This is an activity sheet that I will be using in the first few days to see if the Kinders can distinguish their 'b' and 'd' letters.  :)  I used my school colors but I was thinking of which color words would be easier to view for a speedy assessment.   Enjoy!
Grab your Freebie here!

~Jill Cruz

Sunday, August 3, 2014

Data Notebooks: The Whole Story

Last year before I knew I was being moved to kindergarten I was working with my 1st grade team like crazy creating, innovating, fretting, worrying, over-achieving, and get the idea.  All of this nutty behavior was coming in on the heels of the new evaluation systems and the Common Core Standards.  Looooong story short, we developed a rubric to match all of the math standards for 1st grade.  We were feeling good! 

Then the call came and even looooonger story short, I was moved to Kindergarten 2 days before school. All of my Pinterest work and first grade curriculum development was for not, or at least, not for me.  But I was eager to tackle the new adventure in my life.  I shared with the K-teachers what the 1st grade teachers were up to and they were excited.   They said they wanted that, too, but with the Reading/Writing standards as well. 

So I started working on the Kindergarten version.  I tried a few different design templates, and we utilized what we had.  When the year was over, I reflected on this tool and I just knew I could make it better-more teacher friendly at the very least.  So this was the end product!  I am happy to say that it caught on like wild fire and the rest of the district wanted it, too.  This summer I created the k-5 Data Notebooks for my district and put them on my Teachers Pay Teachers store.  While presenting at the administrative retreat, the middle school contracted me out to make theirs.  I am super excited, a bit overwhelmed, and just eager to do what God has put in front of me (all the while preparing for the new school year-oh, and I moved classrooms again..5 times in 6 years-but I'm not counting

This is a customized grade book for the New Indiana Academic Standards College and Career with a rubric to match each of the standards.  I have it sectioned out by quarters.  Enjoy and give me feedback.

If you want one or would like to view a preview of the Data Notebook, click here.

Sunday, June 15, 2014


I just completed my first year as a kindergarten teacher.  I thought 1st grade was testing my limits, but God knows better than I and kindergarten is my love.  The year brought many ups and some downs. Thankfully I embraced the "ignorance is bliss" attitude and survived the potty accidents, meetings, pd, teacher training, curriculum mapping, planning, data collecting, book ordering, tears (both from student and teacher LOL), field trips, special days (and let me tell you, EVERY day is a special day in kindergarten *sarcasm intended*), graduation, painting, reading, writing, new technology, and the list goes on!

All in all, the craziest year and best!  I was honored as the Outstanding Teacher of the Year with a dear friend a colleague across the hall in a tie. And while I'm beyond thankful, the best part of my move was now I'm in the same building as my best friend in the whole wide world and a new and very dear friend came into my life. (The beautiful gal concentrating behind my daughter.)This has been the best year yet and I'll be ready to do it all again after summer!  Teacher peeps, you know what I'm say'in!

My sister in Christ and BFF in the whole world!