Wednesday, March 30, 2011

You Know You're A ...

Linky, Linky, Linky Part-A!
The fabulous Abby over at The Inspired Apple is hosting a "You Know You're a ____ Teacher When..." Linky Party and I just HAD to join in the fun.
Off we go...

1) You're starving for dinner because the last time you ate was at 11 am.

2) You bug the nurse (and your husband) to check your head for lice more times than you'd like to admit.

3) You  are an expert at quality office supplies.
*I will never buy a stapler that isn't a Swingline. Crayola and Elmer's Rule!

4) When you come home from work you don't want to make any decisions or plans at all.

5) You'd rather do copies, answer e-mails, or check folders than spend those 3-5 minutes it is going to take to use the bathroom.

6) You're accused of being a witch because you knew Johnny had a piece of candy in his pocket, Sally had cut her hair, and Jane poured glue in her desk without actually seeing them do anything.

7) You crave adult time.

8) You are just as excited (if not more) than the kids about theme days. *I heart Pajama Day!

9) No matter how creative your lessons are and how many times you practice, you still have nightmares about the kids who just don't get it. "It's a dime. It's 10 cents. I don't know how else to explain it!"

10) You can't fight the urge to give the "look" at misbehaving kids when you are out in public.

11) You've been accused of treating your husband like you do your students. *Oops!

12) You have bruises on your thighs where you run into the kids' desks. (and it's always in the same spot!)

13) As you are watching movies or television, you can spot a person (child or adult) who has a speech problem.

14) AND you have to accept your flaws because your students will point them out every year. *Like I'm not totally aware how big my nose is!!!

Now why haven't you linked up yet?

Monday, March 28, 2011


It's been one of those days...

1) First, I had a meeting this morning. Needless to say, Monday mornings isn't exactly my favorite time to have a meeting.

2) My student teacher is backing off and only teaching 75% of the day.

3) I just received a copy of our Math Benchmark and it is really HARD!  I had to quickly re-plan all of our math lessons to get the kids familiar with the objectives tested on the benchmark. Hello, we are only on Topic 10 and the test covers Topics 10-13! YIKES!!!!

4) It rained all day (the hardest during dismissal.)

5) My Pookie and I needed to go grocery shopping. We HATE going grocery shopping. We go as a team because we know it wouldn't be fair to make one of us go all the time when we both despise it so much.

6) The engine light turned on in my car today. Blech!

Plus, I've been in a writing funk.

But then, I saw this...
Jen at Scissors & Spatulas just posted this great little recipe to make Jelly Bean Bark. Love it! I can't wait to make it for my kiddos and family. Bring on Easter!

Go check it out N-O-W!

Saturday, March 26, 2011

Ten Things...

You know I love me a good Linky Party, and Jennifer at Rowdy in First Grade is hosting a Linky Party about Ten Things I've Learned about Teaching. I read two posts from the list and then I had to STOP! I wanted to write my own, and I was loosing ideas when I read other teachers posts. They were so true, though! So anyway, I'm sure I'm preaching to the chore with some of my ten but maybe it could be helpful to some.

1. Your planning time is used for copies, checking student folders, making phone calls, meetings, or reading over the 50 e-mails you just received that day. NOT PLANNING! That gets done on your personal time.

2. Always pick-up the floor at the end of the day. It isn't the custodians job to pick-up Johnny's crayons and Susie's book basket.

3. Your school day DOES NOT end at 3:20pm. It never ends until summer vacation. You think about the well-being of your students 24-7.

4. You cherish your favorite pens and are very upset when the ink runs out or the substitute misplaces it!

5. I never schedule a parent-teacher conference before school time (7:30am.) I've been burned too many times by no-shows. Grrrr

6. It isn't always great to have a teacher's kid in your class. Either the kid is out of control OR the parent/colleague is!

7. Currently, most of your students are "gifted," according to their parents. Just ask 'em... (even your relatives will say it about their kids, ha!)

8. No matter how experienced or organized you are End-of-the-Year paperwork is a nightmare. Make sure to have those signatures or you will spend a lot of time on the phone trying to get parents in to conference with you.

9. The copy machine is EVIL!

10. Never think something is going to be easy or go smoothly because it won't. Always has a contingency plan!

Now, have fun making up your own list!

Thursday, March 24, 2011

A Fun, Exciting, Informational, Delicious Lesson

Teaching adjectives has never been as much fun as when you are using Babbling Abby's "Let's Get Poppin' with Adjectives" TPT Unit.

I just love how creative she is! It must be so much fun to have her as a teacher.

My student teacher reading to the class.

Anyway, I was thrilled to have my student teacher read Tomie de Paola's The Popcorn Book for this lesson. It is one of my favorites. The kids love it, too.
In addition, I'm glad we had some time to fit in this unit. I'd like for my intern to have more opportunities to teach fun, creative, interactive lessons as opposed to the dreaded "Pacing Guide" lessons.

Old maid kernels can hurt so bad! I was once burned in the arm when one bounced out and hit me.
I used an air popper throughout the whole lesson. Yeah, I won't do that again. I will definitely use the air popper for the beginning of the lesson. It works well for the sounds, smells, and taste of real popcorn right after it's been popped. Also, the kids adore watching the kernels pop.
My mistake was to use the air popper to fill the kids' bags after the lesson. It took forever. Next, time I'll just use the microwave.
This is what I get when I ask him to smile for the camera!
The kids had a great time completing their adjective pages and making their popcorn pictures. They are so proud of their work, after I posted up on the wall.
This is a fantastic lesson, and I highly recommend it!


Wednesday, March 23, 2011

What's the Matter?

Currently, we are having fun with Matter. We've had fun with size. We've had fun with shape. We've had fun with temperature. NOW, we're having fun with texture.

Here's the activity:
Prior to class: I'm going to place five items of different textures in brown paper bags. (The five textures I chose were feathers, leather, metal, cotton, and plastic.) 

First, I'm going to have the students feel inside bag #1 and make predictions of what they think the item may be based on their texture. Next, they will write their prediction in their books. After everyone feels the item and has written their prediction in their book, I will reveal the item. Last, they will record what the real item was in their books.
I'll repeat that whole process for bags 2-5.

Throughout the activity, I'll refer to the Texture Power Point  to reinforce their learning and provide another visual connection.

Happy Wednesday!

Monday, March 21, 2011

Rules to Write By

Got any free wall space?

So far this year, my kids have had a difficult time grasping the concept of adding -ed and -ing to words and spelling them correctly.
I've made these posters to help them fix this problem.

Feel free to use these posters as a guide to help your students learn how to add    -ed and -ing to words.
Or you could shrink them and add them to their little dictionaries, homework binders, or portable word walls.
Happy Tuesday!

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Contraction Attraction

In preparing for our big Ancient Egypt Unit, I've decided to make a few documents that will tie in nicely with our reading series. This is my first attempt at creating anything this "techie" so I hope it is up to snuff.
My first document is Explorer Contractions:

On a side note: It took me about 3 hours to make this. Seriously, I hope I get quicker at it. I do not know how some of y'all can have 80+ page units and whip 'em out every other week. Color me impressed!

Saturday, March 19, 2011

Saturdays are for Farmer's Markets!

There are two things I absolutely, positively LOVE doing:
I heart spring!
I got to do both of these things this morning. Me likey!
We have had just beautiful weather lately, so I was super stoked when my bff, Sara, and I decided to hit the Farmer's Market.
The fruits and vegetables were plentiful! And I think everyone else had the same idea as us because it was jam-packed.
Is this too matchy-matchy?
People watching is so much fun!

After all of that hard work shopping, we had to refuel ourselves. Nachos anyone?
Our view from where we were sitting enjoying our grub.
As we were eating, I noticed this little guy working hard trying to get people to go to his parent's hotdog stand.
Sara and Mr. Hotdog Cool Guy
He was too funny! He was walking with this swagger like he was Kanye West. All he was missing was his stunner shades. Sara and I thought that maybe he was grounded and this was his punishment. A cone of shame moment, if you will.
He was nice enough to let us take his picture.

Happy Saturday, y'all!

A Little Look into MY World

As I was preparing to share about my classroom, I noticed I had a problem. My pictures were not current. I saw a lot of little but big changes I've made to my classroom. So, as I was working in my room the other day, I remembered to pull out that camera! Finally.

Here's a view of my guided practice table from our doorway.
View from the doorway of my neighbor's classroom.
One thing to know about my school is that it is an open format. When I leave through that door, we are outside. Only one wing of the school has rooms that are attached to another room. Every time we have to go somewhere in the school, we are outside. I LOVE IT! Something about that fresh air...
View from my desk
View from the guided practice table
Vocabulary charts and the kids' backpack hooks.
Cubbies for the kids' supplies, journals, dictionaries, and book baskets.
Whiteboard and part of my library
Such a bummer I don't have a Smart board.
Reading rug, big book stand, and more of my library
AR library
Really, there are books in the those middle shelves they just fell down. The yellow one is usually full of Little Critter books, but everyone loves to use those for AR.
Calendar Math Wall
Sink, restroom, paint easel, and Job Chart
*Dig the blue the bowl? Yep, we've sprung a leak.
Shelving and computer stations
We are in a transition period right now. Typically, the shelves are covered with their writing, artwork, or other projects.
Teacher desk 
It is so stinkin' messy right now.
I need a secretary!

That's it. My home away from home. I hope you like it and please leave me some tips for staying on top of that paperwork, seriously!

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Happy St. Patrick's Day

It all started when my nieces, Molly and Morgan, wanted to bake something. Then, I remembered that incredibly cool rainbow cake I saw on The Inspired Apple. Now, I knew there was NO WAY I could recreate that cake. So, we opted for cupcakes.
It was NOT easy adding the batter!
*Plus, I figured this would be good practice for when I teach the Wizard of Oz Unit by Babbling Abby (another great idea, thank you!)
The girls loved adding the food coloring.
Of course, someone had to try them out first to make sure they were edible. Plus, he was super-stoked about my mad baking skills.
Taste the rainbow!
Unfortunately, I cannot enjoy any of them (darn celiac disease.) So, I fed the girls, my sister, my nephew & his buddy, and then went to my mom's house. Surely, someone will want a cupcake there.
Jackpot! My niece, Autumn, was at Grandma and Panpa's house! Does Autumn like cupcakes? Oh, yeah!

She tried the cake, but the frosting was her favorite part!
I call this a SUCCESS!
Happy St. Patrick's Day, to all!

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Spring Cleaning

So, last week I noticed something in my Google Reader. A really awesome blog for teachers. Of course, almost all of my blogs are really awesome teacher blogs. However, this one in particular's name closely resembled my blog's name.

Well, it bothered me right away. I have always been one of those kids/people who hated it when someone else had something just like me. This has to stem from being the third child of four.

Nevertheless, I have changed the name of my blog. I feel better now. I'd really hate it if my blog was mixed up with their's and vice-versa.

Currently, I am on Spring Break and having the best time. My pookie has taken three days off of work to hang with me. He's so sweet! Although, when he goes back to work on Thursday, I'll be back in the classroom! Can't wait...

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Digital Storytelling

Digital Storytelling
I've been wanting to start digital storytelling with my class for some time now, but it never seemed like the right time. We've had short weeks, holidays, assemblies, and mid-term assessments galore. Plus, my student teacher is teaching 100% of the time and it's hard to fit in any extras within her plans. 
Then I saw it...
March 4, Michelle, at First Grade Best, added a new post to her blog about Digital Storytelling. Kaboom, inspiration is born! I decided I should just integrate and get over my excuses.

We went on a field trip to the Environmental Learning Center on Tuesday and had a fabulous time learning about our Indian River Lagoon. 
The kids checking out some pond creatures.
Then, today we wrote about three things that we did at the ELC. Their written work was edited/revised. They illustrated three pages to go along with their story. I took pictures of their illustrations, loaded them on their iPod Touches. The students used the app SonicPics and recorded the audio of their stories. 
Here's one of our stories:
I am pretty pleased with this first attempt at expository digital storytelling, and I can't wait to do some more!
Thank you, Michelle! I needed that jumpstart.

Proud Sister

 I'm having a proud sister moment! 
She will probably make me remove this picture, but it's the only one I have of her!
My sister, Jill, has posted her first two documents on Teachers Pay Teachers. Jilly-Bean is an awesome Kindergarten teacher at a magnet school in my district. She has 14 years experience and still loves K! Personally, I admire anyone who can teach Kindergarten for that long!!

Here's a link to her TPT page. The first document is a Kindergarten Memory Book. The other is a Kindergarten beginning of the year 'All About Me' page. She plans on posting her Science Fair packet, a few Core Knowledge activities, and her Power Teaching Poster set soon. However, soccer practice and horsey lessons are first on her agenda. Gotta love those kids and their gazillion after school committments!
My niece, Molly, feeding her cow Fluffy.
Of course, anyone can be a seller on TPT. But not everyone is my sister!

Sunday, March 6, 2011

The Daily 5

I've said this before and I'll say it again, "The Daily 5 has changed my professional career." The Daily 5 is a reading management system created by The Sisters, Gail and Joan.
If you haven't read the book, you must give it a try.
No more Sundays spent creating, cutting, copying, and coloring literacy centers for the up-coming week. When you follow the Daily 5, the students work on the same five stations every week. They are Read to Self, Read to Someone, Work on Writing, Listen to Reading, and Word Work. Students are working at their ability level, while the teacher can pull reading groups and individual conferences.
During my reading block, I do three rounds of the Daily 5. Each round is about 20 minutes and 5 minutes in between each round is spent sharing. I love sharing time because it provides the kids a time to talk and it makes them accountable for their learning.
 Here's part of my Focus Wall. I use three small pocket charts as a place for the kids to put their choices during our Daily 5 instruction time. I usually pull three reading groups during the three rounds.

I like to leave their Stamina Charts up all year as a reminder of their accomplishments. Also, it helps to refer to the charts when their behavior is slipping.
I post the I-charts we created at the beginning of the year near our guided reading table. These are also referred to when students need reminding.

Here's my CAFE menu bulletin board. I had handwritten the strategies on the board, but I replaced them today with the cute ones Brooke made at Primary Perspective. Thanks Brooke!

The Daily 5 is a lot of hard work in the beginning, but the pay-off comes when your principal enters your classroom and NO ONE looks up because they are too busy working!

I purchased these little trays at the Target Dollar Spot a few years ago and they work perfectly to house my Daily 5 Cards.

My Pets - Linky Party

Welcome to another Linky Party. This time we are sharing our nearest and dearest... Our Pets. They are my sweetest babies and biggest pains in the neck. Nothing makes me happier then when Snubbie curls up under my arm in bed, AND nothing is more gross then picking up cat puke because Big Boy has over-eaten AGAIN. Nevertheless, Scott and I love our kitties and all the joy they bring.

First, we have Big Boy. He is a 5 year-old Maine-coon/Russian Blue. His real name is Dash but we call him Big Boy for obvious reasons. He is a major talker. He yells at us like we are starving him and yet he gets plenty to eat.
Next, is my princess, Snubbles. She is Big Boy's sister. I couldn't adopt one without the other. They were so cute and loving as kittens and now they hate each other. She whines and hisses if he goes anywhere near her. Geez, what a wimp! Now, when she isn't hiding from her brothers she is right next to me.
Last, is my little baby Gus. He is just mine, mine, mine! He sleeps on my chest at night and brings me his toys while we are sleeping. He loves to play fetch and visits me in the shower. He is a little stinker, though. Literally, he passes gas all the time. Phew-y!

We also have some hermit crabs, but they are too shy to come out for pictures.

To share your pets, make sure to head on over to LadyBugs Teacher Files.