Friday, November 30, 2012

When I Was in 1st Grade....

Second Grade Sparkle is having a fun linky party and I've decided to join up.  To join the party I'm sharing a picture of myself when I was in the grade I teach now and a current picture of myself.  
Here I am in my 1st grade school picture.  My 1st grade teacher still teaches first at the same elementary school :)
Here I am last summer on vacation.  Now you know my hair isn't naturally this light! hehe

Want to join in on the fun? Here are the rules:
1. Post a picture (or two!) of you from when you were in the grade you teach (or around there).
2. Post a picture of you now! :)
3. Be nice and visit others to comment.
Have fun!!
Click on the picture below to head over to Second Grade Sparkle and get started!

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

#Giving Tuesday

Hi everyone!  I wanted to let you know about #Giving Tuesday.  Today is the first "Giving Tuesday" and it's all about giving back.  It's to encourage individuals to participate in the spirit of giving.  I feel it is always important to give back to others, and there are SO MANY ways you can do it!  This weekend I posted a Gingerbread Houses unit and all sales from this unit will be donated to the Salvation Army.  All I am asking for is a donation of $1 and in return you get my unit to help you launch a gingerbread house project in your classroom.  How easy is that? And you get something in return!  Click on the picture below to find it on my Tpt store.

Want to find out more about how you can help with Giving Tuesday? Click HERE

Sunday, November 25, 2012

Long A a_e & SALES!!!

With a few extra days off I had a chance to finish up my Long A unit.  It focuses on the a_e pattern for Long A.  I may do another unit with other spelling patterns for Long A in the future, but next week we are just teaching a_e so I focused on that.  I went with a baking theme and looking at all those graphics gave me a sweet tooth!  It has more activities than the other recent units I've done - I was feeling extra inspired :)  Here is what looks like:
For more info on what's included head over to my Tpt store or TN shop!
While you're there download my latest Christmas FREEBIE ~ Elf Hat!

Thank you Ashley for the ADORABLE button!!!

As you've probably heard, many Tpt stores are participating in a Cyber Monday + Tuesday sale.  I am too! So if you are interested in the above unit, or any others, you can grab it at a discounted price Monday and Tuesday.  Don't forget to enter the code: cmt12 at checkout to receive 28% off products in my store. 

Tpt isn't the only one having a sale.  Teachers Notebook is having a sale RIGHT NOW, no waiting until Monday!  Their sale started Saturday and ends Monday at midnight.  Many shops are participating, me too!

Click on the links below to grab the deals!
My store on TPT
My shop on TN
Happy Shopping :)

Friday, November 23, 2012

Elf Hat ~ FREEBIE!

I hope everyone has had a nice Thanksgiving holiday and you are enjoying a few extra days off.  I had Thanksgiving dinner at my parents' house and it was great to see the family.  My pecan pies were a hit and I have been voted the official pecan pie maker in the family.  Taking over pecan pies are BIG shoes to fill.  My grandma has always made them, but at 95 she was happy to pass on the recipe and just enjoy them.

Now it's time to start thinking about Christmas!  I was looking through my Christmas files on Tuesday and came across the elf hat template I made when I was teaching kindergarten.  I really don't think the picture does it justice, the students look SO CUTE in these hats!  So, I had to share with you.  Click on the links below to get your FREEBIE!

On TPT click HERE
On TN click HERE

*UPDATE- I have linked up this post with Fabulicious Freebies on the First.  Click on the link below to head over to Freebielicious and grab more fun freebies!

Sunday, November 18, 2012

Mr. Turkey

We have been having a lot of fun with all of our November activities.  It's amazing to me how many times students will sing a song and not get tired of it :).  One of the songs I enjoy teaching them in November is called "Mr. Turkey". It's simple and fun, check the poster I made below.
 Hand Movements:
"Big and fat" - hold arms out in a circle in front of you
"I am going to eat you" - pretend to be putting food in your mouth
"Just like that" - "Just" right hand out palm up, "like" left hand out palm up, "that" clap hands together

Along with some fun turkey songs, we made some fact family turkeys.  These fact family turkeys came from Erica Bohrer's unit Thanksgiving Art, Literacy, and Math Activities.  This is a great unit with many fun activities for November. 

 For the turkey eyes I used some self adhesive googly eyes I found at the Target Dollar Spot in August.  Now I'm asking myself 'WHY did I not buy more of these?!?!'  You know how students can't resist touching a googly eye that has not completely dried....well you don't have to worry about that with the self adhesive!  The eyes won't move once put on, so now I'm on the look out for more!  

This week is a two day work week for us and then a few days off for Thanksgiving vacation - yay!!!  I wish everyone a wonderful time with family and friends this Thanksgiving.  

Thursday, October 11, 2012

3 Books for the Halloween Book Linky Party!

I always love a good book, so I was very excited to join this great linky party!  I have a few Halloween book favorites I'd love to share with everyone.
This story is soooo cute!  It's about a witch who runs into a few problems because everything she owns, including her cat - is black.  She tries some witch style problem solving that doesn't go the way she expects, but it does have a happy ending.  I've been reading this book for years to my students and I always look forward to reading it again!

This isn't  really a Halloween book but I read it every October. Good ole lovable Grover doesn't disappoint.  The students think the book is hilarious, especially when you ham it up!  Throughout the book Grover doesn't want you to turn the pages because he's afraid of the monster at the end.  The students get really into it and BEG me to turn the pages - hehehe.  Highly recommended!!!

Another book about monsters :)  This is a book I found about two years ago.  The "perfect" little monster does everything a good monster does - terrible messes, scowling faces, etc.  At the end he does something so horrible he scares his entire monster family - all to the delight of the students.  The ending is what makes this book a must read.  

So if you happen across these books be sure to check them out.  They would be a great addition to your Halloween book collection.  If you'd like to join this linky, or see other books suggested click on the link below to head over to First Grade Found Me and visit the other blogs who have joined this linky.

Sunday, October 7, 2012

October Ten Frames ~ FREEBIE

I know I should be working on other things....but I'm having so much fun with October things I put together this freebie to share with you.  In math we have been using a lot of ten frames.  I find that if you spice things up even a little bit with something fun (like graphics the kids will love) they have a spiked interest in doing it.  And want to do it over and over again :)  So friends, head on over to my Tpt store for your free download! Please don't forget to leave feedback after your download ~ happy thoughts make my day :)
Click on the picture to get this FREE download!

Saturday, October 6, 2012

Columbus and Double Final Consonants

October is flying by!  I have been busy, busy, busy.  This is a little Columbus Day poem I got from another teacher at our school.  We started learning about Columbus on Friday and will finish up on Monday... well maybe we'll finish ;)  This last week we had fun learning about double final consonants. Here are a few pics:
This is a color by the code for double final consonants.

Aaaaand a word sort.

Here is a kiddo working on a read/write the room activity.  I ran out of printer ink last weekend - booooo, so I had to print the word cards in black and white.  I know it's not a big deal but I like my room to be happy and colorful!  Just waiting for my ink recycling rewards so I can cash them in for more ink.

If you'd like to get a better look at this Double Final Consonants Activity Pack you can view it on Tpt HERE, or on Teachers Notebook HERE.  That's right folks, I've opened up a shop at Teachers Notebook as of this morning.  I had a small issue(my fault) when first setting things up, and was so impressed with the promptness of their response from support and their helpfulness and patience.  Three cheers for awesome customer service!  

Saturday, September 29, 2012

Ready for October!?!?

October is one of my favorite months. I love the scary movies (can't wait for Hocus Pocus, ok NOT a scary movie but one of my must see favs), candy, costumes and my sister's annual pumpkin carving party. Bring on the holidays!  Anyways, I have been excitedly planning and prepping for October the past few weeks.  Here are new some things I made or revamped for this year (click on the pictures to get more information on my Tpt store):

 I am so pleased with the way this one turned out.  I can't wait to watch the students fly their witch through the book!

 I'm always amazing at how the students are SO into this project.  It's one of those projects I do every year because the students love it so much. I'm excited to try out my new and improved version!

Next week we start double final consonants.  I didn't have much for this topic, so I made some activities to use.  Over the next few weeks I'll be posting pictures of all of these things in action!  Just when I think I have everything planned out for the month I keep finding more adorable things on blogs and Tpt.  I think to myself "I've got to fit that in!!!" So, today I will be doing some more detailed plans for the month with plenty of room for all the new things I find :).   

Thursday, September 27, 2012

I See the Moon, the Moon Sees Me

Talk about out of this world ;)  Our school had a wonderful opportunity last March to borrow and view lunar samples from NASA.  It was all thanks to one of our wonderful and dedicated teachers Mr. Kevin Roberts, who teaches 4th grade.  He applied for and arranged everything.  Not only did all the students get to see actual pieces of the moon right in their classroom, Mr. Roberts graciously went around to every classroom and gave a presentation and explanation of the samples. It was incredible!  Want to apply for this program for your school? Click on this link for more information: Lunar and Meteorite Disk Program.  Here are a few pics from the presentation, I wish I had taken more!

 Several hands-on pieces were passed around the room.
 The well prepared Mr. Roberts with his fancy bulletin board and props.
My BTSA participating teacher Ms. Fennern and myself with the samples.  (I highly recommend teachers becoming BTSA support providers - great experience!)
What I really liked about this program is that it was something the entire school could enjoy, not just one classroom.  A once in a lifetime experience!  AND, it all happened because of one teacher.  At your school that teacher could be you!  Thanks again Mr. Roberts!!!!
“We choose to go to the moon in this decade and do the other things. Not because they are easy, but because they are hard.” - John F. Kennedy 

Saturday, August 25, 2012

"The After" ~ A Work in Progress

 I was just thinking wow this first week went by so fast, then I realized it's been 2 weeks!!! I must not be entirely awake this morning... So in my last post I said I would post my "after" pictures of my classroom. Here are a few:
Ok, I know this looks totally boring. I was running out of time and just had everything in order for the first day.  My room looks MUCH better now....if only I had remembered to take pictures of the update!!! (I will this week.) I also have some Pinterest projects I'm anxious to do to spice things up!
I like to work ahead.  We have one copy machine for the entire school :( so you never know if it will be available or if it's working.  We do have a copy aid who makes us copies and I like to have any copies I need well in advance.  I use these trays to organize any language arts copies I make.  (We use Houghton Mifflin and each theme has 3 weeks.)  I find that HM doesn't provide enough rigor so I use supplementary materials to fill in the gaps.  I got these trays at the Target dollar section.
This is how I organize my copies/papers I plan to use for the week.  The one on the left is for math(we use Scott Foresman) and the one on the right is for language arts. I like this system in case I get unexpectedly sick - it's happened!  I always try to leave everything ready for the next day before I leave school. 

I hope everyone has had a great start to their school year.  I have a really sweet group this year and I'm so excited for all the things they are going to learn!

Sunday, August 12, 2012

Back to School Sale & "the Before"

I'm sure you've all heard about the fabulous Back to School sale happening August 12-13 on Tpt.  Just wanted to let you know I am participating in the sale and you can get up to 28% off all items in my store. Use the promo code: BTS12  Don't forget to check out my latest Writing Resources Pack to help get the school year started!

So Monday I have staff meetings and then Tuesday the students arrive.  Where did the time go??? Hard to believe the summer is over.  But I am excited to meet my new students and get back into the swing of things :)  I moved rooms this year and this is what my room looked like when I walked in for the first time last week :( 
I took a few more steps into my room and I noticed what has to be the UGLIEST wall ever!
Do they not think when they design these portables??? I'll have to work on doing something to distract the eyes from this....
There was also no tall file cabinet in the room, and in my last room I had one that was bursting at the seams.  I talked to our custodian who kindly hunted down the only available file cabinet...
It's old, it even smells old! And again, what's up with the color???  But hey, I'm just glad to have one at all! I brought the small one with me from my old room.  Now both are full of my wonderful files.  The weird thing about this old smelly cabinet is the top two drawers.  What should I do with these? Any ideas???

I didn't know where to start! HOURS and HOURS later my room is finally ready for students.  But guess who forgot to take a picture of the after? I was so excited to be done, I almost ran out the door so I could enjoy the rest of my Saturday. So I will definitely take a picture this week of "the After" and post. 

One more thing - as I was prepping for the first week of school I took a pic of something I do every year.  I make name tags for the first few days of school for the students to wear.  It helps me learn their names and if they get lost on campus my information is on the tag.  I bought these plastic tags a few years ago and they have been one of the best investments EVER!  I also use them for our big field trip to the Monterey Bay Aquarium.  For the field trip I put the students into a different ocean animal group(each chaperon has a different animal) with the school name and phone number.  I keep the field trip tags in and just change out the name tags every year.  If you decide to get some you will be happy you did!!! I got the clips at Staples and the plastic sleeves at the Dollar Tree.
  Sorry, the picture will only load upside down....but I'm sure you get the idea :) Have a happy Sunday!

Thursday, July 26, 2012

Writing Resources Pack

Wow! I can't believe how crazy this summer has been.  This unit has been about 90% done since the beginning of summer, but things kept coming up and I just got it done this week.  This Writing Resources Pack helps support Common Core Standards for Text Types and Purposes for Kindergarten, 1st, and 2nd grade.  I'm really excited about this one and can't wait to use all of the things I've added this summer.  I made the Picture Dictionary and Writing Folder Labels LAST summer and loved how they worked out in my class.  That was before I started my blog and little Tpt store.  I've changed a few things since then and now they are better than ever. 
     My favorite part of the unit is the Picture Dictionary.  I made it because I never really found a student dictionary that I liked, or didn't cost an arm and a leg (buying a class set of premade student dictionaries year after year adds up!).  One of the things that always bugged me about student dictionaries is that while there were plenty of spaces to add words, my struggling readers/spellers could never remember what many of the words were - GRRRRR.  So my Picture Dictionary has a space to write the word as well as a space for the student to draw an illustration of the word to help them remember it.  The first week I used them in class I thought "WHY didn't I make this years ago?!"  They are a great tool for students and is a great time saver for me. One of the problems I had had with students is them always asking "How do you spell ____?" My frequent responses were "Think about the sounds in the word, and the letters that represent those sounds to help you spell it out." or "Have you used your good researcher skills? I bet you know where you could find the word in our classroom because it sounds like it has the spelling pattern we're working on this week."  Some students take those prompts and do fine, others..... not so much.  I can see their faces now - staring at me with a blank expression, waiting for me to "help" them - AKA "tell them". With the Picture Dictionaries that hardly happens anymore - thank goodness!  It helps students who get stuck on their spelling become so much more independent. 
      My second favorite part is the writing folder labels.  I made labels for the folders that worked for me in my classroom.  Again, they ended up being a big time saver and kept students organized in their writing process.  I made 5 different pocket labels for the unit but my writing folders only have 4 pockets, so I'll just be using the 4 that work in my classroom. 
     But there is more than the Picture Dictionary and the Writing Folder Labels.  Here is a list of everything included:

-How to Write an Opinion Piece Poster
-How to Write an Informative Text Poster
-How to Write a Narrative Poster
-Writing Paper - Portrait and Landscape(5 choices)
-Graphic Organizers (5 choices)
-Writing Planners/Rough Drafts (3)
-“I Can” Common Core Standard Posters (Text Type and Purposes) for K, 1, 2.
-Examples of Picture Dictionary and Writing Folder
-Picture Dictionary
-Writing Folder Labels  
For more pics of what is included in the unit you can download a free preview of the unit at my Tpt store.  Please feel free to email me with any questions!

Thursday, June 28, 2012

Recycling a Panda Plate

The moment I saw the new paw plates at Panda Express I knew there were endless possibilities for using them in my classroom!  The people at Panda were very kind and gave me enough plates for a class set.  But you could just use a few for a small group or center activity.  Here are a few ideas:

CVC Word Building

Number Order

Art Lesson with Primary and Secondary colors
Put each primary color in the top three spaces and use the bottom for mixing up secondary colors.

The plates also come with lids which would make it easy to store the letters or numbers with the plates.  When school starts up again I will post pics of these plates in action!  Have a great day :)

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

I Was Featured on Sunday Safari!!!

Hi friends! I got back home yesterday from being out of town and found out my blog was featured on Queen of the 1st Grade Jungle's Sunday Safari!  It totally made my day!!! Every Sunday Katie does a post about new and seasoned bloggers for others to check out.  A million thank yous Katie!  As a new blogger I'm still figuring out how blog land works and its been a lot of fun.  Everyone has been so welcoming.  You are all so inspiring I could spend HOURS reading all your blogs. 

Speaking of reading, my copy of the Daily 5 arrived today! I can't wait to dive into it tomorrow.  I'm still working on finishing up book #3 of the Hunger Games.  I ZOOMED through books 1 & 2, but 3 isn't capturing my attention like the first two did - that's OK though, I'm still a huge fan :)  I know the Daily 5 book studies have already started so I have some catching up to do!

BTW I have a Writing Resources pack in the works and it should be done end of week or early next week - can't wait to share it with you :)

Saturday, June 9, 2012

School Books and FUN Books ~ Summer Reading Linky!

I LOVE to read!  So I was happy to join in on the Clutter Free Classroom's linky party.  I'm always looking for good books to read and can't wait to check out what others are suggesting.  I plan on reading books for school, and books just for fun.
Books to read for school: 

I had never heard of these books until I started reading the blogs - I feel so behind the times!  But better late than never I guess. 
Mrs. Jump is hosting a blog book study about this book.  Amazon says it's out of stock, where do I find it??? Discussion starts June 22nd.

On to the fun books!
I was up at 6:30 this morning finishing book 1 - I HAVE to run to Walmart today and get the others!!!!!
I've read all the other books in the Game of Thrones series.  I love a long book - short ones I read too fast!

The big one I have been waiting FOREVER for is Written In My Own Hearts Blood by Diana Gabaldon. Sadly, this book isn't scheduled to be released until early 2013 - if we're lucky.  I can't wait to read it!!!  This is a picture of the first book in the series - Outlander.  The Outlander Series by Diana Gabaldon is my favorite book series of all time.  Yes Mr. Jones, even more than the Twilight series ;) , and you know how obsessed I am was with those! If you'd like to read a description of the series click here.  For those of you who have read the series, you have to tell me - is there an actor out there you think would make a good Jamie???