Saturday, December 31, 2011

A Big Thank You - Holly Bloggy Style

So, a couple of weeks ago there was this huge box sitting at my door. My husband brought it in and forgot to tell me about it. Fast forward a few days later and I finally notice this big ole box sitting by our Christmas Tree. I go and take a gander at it. The box looks very familiar. In fact, I know this box well. It was an American Girl box. I know this because I have two nieces who adored their American Girl dolls. And being such a wonderful auntie as I am, I have purchased many an American Girl item for various birthdays and holidays. Aside: I'm kinda glad this stage is over now that they are both teens because that stuff is really pricey!

Also, I recognize the box because I snatched one of my nieces boxes and use it as my book return box in my classroom. They are quite study.
Anyway, despite my deep, deep desire to rip that sucker open, I didn't so it. I waited...not very patiently, I might add. You see, I am the type of person who loves to give gifts, but I am terrible at waiting to give them away. I'll even say to the gift receiver that I have bought them a present and would they like to open it early? (They usually reply with a "No" because they have better restraint than I have.) Now, this behavior also includes instances when I am the receiver of gifts (like for this occasion.) I've gotta know what is inside that box!

When the big day finally arrived, I opened that huge box. did I mention that it was heavy. Because it was. I mean, for real, what could be in there?

Okay, okay, I'll stop delaying. Here is what I found inside my pretty box.

I loved it. All of my favorite things: Containers, Candy, Diet Soda, School Supplies, and Jewelry. What more could a girl ask for? My secret bloggy santa turned out to be Kimberly from Funky First Grade Fun. Love her!

Thank you, Kimberly. I just adore my gifts. Boy, did I really need a new idea journal, mine is just about full.
You went way above and beyond!

Also, I wanted to thank Caitlin and Sarah for hosting the event and being just amazing!

Hey and this is my 100th post Whoopee!

Happy New Year to Everyone!

I will be at my sister's house eating, drinking, burning Christmas Trees in the bonfire with the big boys and playing Scattergories/Just Dance/Boggle (or whatever they pull out) with the kids. All around family fun for us!

Thursday, December 29, 2011

11 in 11

Okay, okay, okay! I know, I know. I'm totally breaking the "No blogging twice in a day rule," but Kristin got me so nervous. She mentioned in her last post that their linky party might reach capacity soon.  Not without me.......

11. Favorite movie you watched
Super 8: It is the only movie I've seen twice in the theater this year. I loved it! It made me cry, scream, and hide my head in Scott's armpit. That's my kind of movie!

Of course, there are sooooo many honorable mentions: Crazy, Stupid, Love - yummy Ryan Goslin. Kung Fu Panda 2 - I cried. I'm such a wuss. It was much better than the first film. X-Men First Class - James McAvoy and Micheal Fassbender were fabulous eye candy, charming, and strong leading men. There are others, too. I could on and on. I love going to the movies!

10. Favorite TV Series
Cougar Town: I love Cougar Town! I hate that it has short little seasons. I miss it so much and cannot wait until it is back on. I'm so glad I have a bunch of episodes saved on my DVR. They fill the void. Ellie and I could be best BEST friends! I'd spend my Margarita Mondays, Tanqueray Tuesdays, Wine Wednesdays, etc... with the whole crew. Even with the creepy neighbor, Tom.

Also, I started watching Archer in 2011. I know it is awful but I can't help but love it. It is hilarious!

9. Favorite Restaurant
Bangkok in Downtown: Sushi is my favorite!! It's deceiving because you think you can eat a lot of it and then after a while you start to hit a wall and there's still more left! I'm okay with leaving some on my plate, but my sweet husband just can't leave without polishing them off. Poor guy! 
Whenever, I'm feeling yucky with a cold or just with the blues miso soup calms my soul. It is my chicken noodle soup {since I don't eat chicken.} Plus, wasabi is the best thing on earth! For real, I love how it burns my nostrils and brings tears to my eyes. Such a treat! :)

I'm not scared of you Boat! I'll eat you up!
8. Favorite New Thing You Tried
Easy: Blogging! I started blogging in January and I really wasn't sure if I'd keep up with it. I did! I can't believe it. Okay, so some things I had to let go of {see ya Facebook} but I didn't mind. Blogging is way cooler and much more rewarding.
Also, using my Cricut is a close second. I had no idea what this little machine was and what it could do for me. It is super cool. Very fun!

7. Favorite Gift You Received
Our Grill: Well, this is a gift for my husband and me. We had been thinking about getting one for such a long time, but couldn’t find the perfect one. My parents ended our search by just going to Lowes and getting us one. You sneaky mom and dad!

6. Favorite Thing You Pinned
Oh Pinterest, how I love thee! So far, I've pinned a little over 2,000 things. Pinterest is great for everything. Yesterday, I recycled all of those magazine clippings I have been saving for years {and never looking through.} It was very liberating. Pinterest, you better stick around for a long time because I can't get those clippings back!
Here's one of my many favorites:
omg - I could just die!
5. Favorite Blog Post
My favorite blog post was the one about my rock lesson, A Rocking Good Time. We really did have a good time. I love when I can interrupt my normal day with science, writing and technology {my favs!}

4. Favorite Accomplishment
Getting picked to have a SMART board in my classroom. I wrote the grant on Labor Day and submitted it the next day. Then I waited. And waited. And waited. Finally, I learned that I had been chosen the week after Thanksgiving. In the email, we were told that my new little toy would arrive in two weeks. Yep, still waiting. Longest two weeks EVER! But, I’m hopeful it will come before the end of January {knock on wood!}

3. Favorite Picture
This is my favorite picture for two reasons: #1 It's me with the giraffe. I freakin' love giraffes now. They are the coolest {next to cats.} #2 My hair. The color is just beautiful. My hair dresser is a genius! Just to let you know, I'd be totally gray if it weren't for Deedee.

2. Favorite Memory
My favorite memory of this year would be taking ballroom dance lessons with my sweet husband, Scott. Just a little background information, Scott doesn't dance. He doesn't like anything girlie at all. He spends most of his time practicing jiu-jitsu, reading about it on-line, or watching the fights with his dude friends.  I would have never in a million years thought he would do this, let alone be the one to suggest it. Learning the merengue was difficult and fun. I can't wait to start it up again with the West Coast Swing in January!

1. Goal for 2010
In life:  Get the landscaping completed in our front yard (and fix the sprinkler system.) Scott and I pulled all of the ugly plants out last spring break and we were going to fix it up during the summer and... um... yeah.. it never happened. We've got to get some curb appeal STAT!

In school:  I want to be able to teach this stupid wonderful phonics program without the  teacher's manual like a boss. Also, I can't wait to start making lessons for my SMART board so that I'll have them year after year after year...
One more: I'd like to create something for TPT or teachers notebook and actually make some bank. But I know I won't. I can just be jealous of everyone else. :)

There's my 11 for 2011! I hope I make it in time.

My Top 3

     Fern Smith is having a Top 3 Blog Posts of the Year Linky Party, so I thought I'd join in.  My vacation has been quite short but MUCH NEEDED. Now I am back in my classroom trying to clean up all of my Christmas messes. But as you can tell, I'm procrastinating BIG TIME!
 So without further ado here are my Top 3:

3, 721 page views

4,584 page views

12,357 page views

Wowie, wow, wow!
Those are a lot of views people!

I really hope that everything I have shared has been helpful and useful to some or all of you that have viewed my posts. I started this blog to be part of a community I just love. As much as teaching can have its ups and downs (mostly due to ADULTS being completely brain-dead) this is my passion, my heart, and my fun. I am very grateful to all of you in the teaching blogging community for all of your support, ideas, and laughs {I'm talking to you Kristin!}

Go on over to Fern's blog and join the Party!

Monday, December 19, 2011

Christmas Survival

Holy moly! If I thought last week was nut-so, I take it back after today (and I'm sure for the rest of the week.) I wonder what these calendar committees are thinking when they plan for the year. Is it just to plug in 180 days as quickly as they can? Because I can assure you, no matter how "awesome" you are (or think you are) as a teacher, these kids aren't feeling it this week! Heck, I'm NOT feeling it this week.

Regardless, I am trying my best to get some teachin' done around here. Today was our Polar Express Day. Our first grade team plans a big to-do for this day. Before lunch, we have the classes complete a 4 room rotation. One room, the teacher will do a craft with the kids. The next room will be a game. The third room will be for caroling and playing instruments. Last, the fourth room is a spectacular Polar Express show. One of my team members has quite the dramatic flair and puts on a one-man show. She plays the train conductor, the wait staff, an elf, and a bunch of other characters. The room is arranged for her show. It is too cute. The kids just love her disguises and voices. It puts my Game Room to shame, I tell you.

Then, after lunch we have some time for a few response activities before we watch the movie. Watching the movie is actually my busiest part of the day. No volunteers for me, so I am working like a dog to get the hot chocolate served, food passed out, seconds given, washing out cups and tables, sweeping up crumbs and keeping the boys from turning their blankets and sleeping bags into huge tents to play ultimate fighter in!

By the time the movie ends, we have about 10 minutes to clean, pack, and change before the bell rings to go home. This is also a very busy time for me. The kids need me to help them cram their sleeping bags, pillow pets, slippers, and clothes back into the tiny bag they came in. It's not a pretty site, but I get it all jammed in there.

However, this year I did something awful. Something dreadful. Something a Grinch would do. Something I have never ever done in the six years I have had a Polar Express day...


I can't believe I forgot to do this. This is the best part of the day. I usually have the postman deliver my cool Santa Box with the frozen bells to my students when he comes to do his daily delivery. The kids flip out over them. I'll pretend to not hear the bell for a while and then I'll suddenly hear them and announce that I do believe. It's all fun.

And I forgot to do it! What worse, is I didn't realize it until I was eating dinner tonight! Pathetic...

I'll have to put on a pretty good show tomorrow when the postman delivers the bells a day later.

I wish I had better photos to share. Camera duty was put on the back burner today.

Sequence Sheet for the Polar Express

One of my tables set up for a Christmas Bingo game.

Apparently, this Pirate's Booty is the best thing since sliced bread to my kids.
I hadn't even heard of it before but it was all the rage. It's just cheesey poofs...
Tomorrow will be our Grinch day. I'm totally ready (that's what I tell myself over and over again.) 

One of my students, Dezi, gave this to me today:

She glued them on all by herself at home. I'm just going to let it go. I will not cut them out. I will not cut them out!

Now, on to something totally different... 

I was reading Kristin's blog at A Teeny Tiny Teacher and she was mentioning something about teacher's lounge clean-up duty. Then, I read some of the comments where others had the same duty. What the heck is this about??? Such crap. Even if you don't eat in there you have to clean-up after others? I can't believe this duty even exists!
Now, I am very thankful for my school.

I hope y'all are having a great time with your families and if you are working like me, GO TO BED!

Saturday, December 17, 2011

Currently December

Let me tell you how psyched I was to see that Farley posted her Currently for December Linky Party! I almost thought it wasn't going to happen. Thank you, Farley!
She's got a new rule this time, so you better read the fine print.

Here is my list for this month:
Literacy Minute is a great blog written by Sandra Maddox. She is very knowledgable and gets my thinking cap on! You know I love my funny blogs, but I also love to learn knew things.

Don't forget to head on over to Farley's Blog, Oh' Boy Fourth Grade and join in on the fun! 

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Gingerbread Week Day 4

Must ... write ... Day 4 .... post!
Cannot fall asleep until this is complete.

Boy, today was a long one! I worked late, then I rushed home to pick up the man and head on over to the in-laws for dinner. Three hours and a while later, I am finally home. Man, I'm exhausted.

Today was a fun day. We did the "Which part of the gingerbread cookie did you eat?" Math lesson. I'm sure you've heard of it. The kids take one bite of their gingerbread cookie and we record where they took that bite {head, tummy, arm, & leg.} First, we make a picture graph to display their information. We analyze the data. The kids complete their own bar graphs. Afterwards, I had them help me take the pictures from the first graph and turn it into a Pie Graph. They enjoyed helping make this graph (very attentive.) Then, everyone writes sentences to describe their data. Easy - peasy - lemon squeezy!

In the afternoon, I gave the kids another gingerbread man cookie to enjoy. We discussed adjectives to describe the gingerbread man cookie and added them to our large gingerbread man. Then, I let the kids choose their favorite seven adjectives and add them to their own gingerbread man bubble map.

Today was our last day for our Gingerbread Man comparison lesson. We read the story, The Gingerbread Cowboy. They loved this one, too! There is something magical about desert regions to first graders. I don't know why, but every year my kids get soooo into learning about deserts.

We recorded and posted the last bits of information to our large Gingerbread Story Anchor chart and completed the last story response sheet.

I still have at least three other gingerbread men stories to read tomorrow: The Gingerbread Pirates, Bad Boys Get Cookie, and The Gingerbread Friends. However, I'll just read those aloud for enjoyment, not work! They've been working super hard all week.

As I was tidying up the room at the end of the day, I noticed I had a small problem ...
I'm running out of places to hang up my student work!

I had to hang today's work on our library bookshelves. Hopefully, no one needs to shop for new books tomorrow!

I did get some really good news at the end of the school day. The "no pajamas" declaration for our Polar Express Day was overturned. My kids were so thrilled {me, too!} I could have kissed my computer when I read that email! :)

Let's hope for smooth sailing tomorrow. Either that or everyone is taking a long nap {including me!}

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Gingerbread Week Day 3

Yay, I made it over the hump!
I'd love to report that I only have two more days until Christmas break, but then I'd be a darn liar! That's right, we have school until December 22. I've got to say, for this year, I am so thankful for blogs and Pinterest. I have MORE than enough ideas for lessons and craftivities to last me through this week, next, and even the week after that!

However, I'll take the break. I'm ready for it right now!

Well, I did have another observation again today, but this one was only 20 minutes long and it was first thing in the morning. I didn't lose any time from my regular schedule.

I can't imagine what it must be like to be a new teacher nowadays. This year, I have walkthroughs and observations all of the time. During my first few years teaching, I only remember being visited by the principal when it was time for my formal observations {that was 3 times a year.} And that was it! No one else would ever walkthrough, observe, or even visit. I think I would have lost my cookies, if I was observed back then as much as I am now! We are so used to people watching us. We could hold class outside in the middle of a busy parking lot. I am not sure if that is good or bad?!?! Whatever it is, these kids are always being watched.

Anywhoo, back to the topic at hand, Gingerbread Week Day 3.

Today, we read the Gingerbread Baby by Jan Brett. I love this book! Jan Brett is so talented and creative. The kids really enjoyed this story, too. They liked the ending the best.

We recorded the characters, refrain, and ending onto our giant Anchor Chart and completed a response sheet.

Sorry the picture quality isn't that great. The lighting is so crappy.
At least I remembered to move the red garland today!
Then, during our 3 rotations of Daily 5 students who were either 'reading to self' or 'reading to someone' could use this cute gingerbread house and character sticks to act out the story. They loved it.

If you use any of Jan Brett's books, you've gotta check out her website. She has many activities to go along with her books. She even has videos to show kids how to draw some of her characters! 

Click {here} to go to her website.
There's even an interactive gingerbread house that the kids can decorate by dragging the candies onto house. So cute!

Alright, confession time.
I was scared that my gingerbread cookies would stink and there wouldn't be enough for my two lessons, so I went to Walgreens and picked up some Pepperidge Farms Gingerbread cookies. {NOT, what I wanted to serve to my class.}

Then, when I came home, I baked the gingerbread cookies from the mix. Surprisingly, I managed to have plenty of cookies and they didn't taste awful either!

I had Scott do the official taste test. I'm going to use his bite with our class data! :)

So, I guess I'll keep the Pepperidge Farms ones for the house. I know one person who won't mind having more cookies in the house at all!!!

Happy Wednesday!

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Gingerbread Week Day 2

First off, today was NOT as productive as yesterday. I had 45 minutes taken away from my regular day for a Fundations observation. That 45 minutes pretty much ate up almost all of my time for any good Gingerbread activities.

Oh well, tomorrow's another day. 

All we did accomplish was to read the Gingerbread Boy, Gingerbread Girl, compare the two stories using a venn diagram, and complete a response sheet.

The overall response I got from most of them was that the Gingerbread Boy was predictable. Ha! They didn't get into it as much as they did with the traditional story yesterday. To each his own. 

Completely different reaction with the Gingerbread Girl. They LOVED it! The girls wanted me to sing her refrain over and over again. I thought that was pretty cool. I was getting myself prepared for a revolt after the Gingerbread Boy.

Then we completed the story chart on our big Gingerbread House Anchor Chart.

Try to ignore the red garland in the way! Oops :{
I ended my day with an hour long meeting and an e-mail stating that we can't wear our pj's for our Polar Express Day. I was crushed, devastated, and disappointed.  That's my favorite day of the year! I guess I'll let them take their shoes off instead. I'm not sure the kids will be allowed to board the Polar Express if they aren't in their pjs. Oh, well.

Tonight, I went out to Target to pick up the Gingerbread cookies for our science project and for the great bite taking day. Guess What??

They didn't have any Gingerbread Man cookies!!!

Yikes! So, I picked up one lonely bag of gingerbread cookie mix. Now, I've got some baking to do! Oh, my poor kids. You can't screw up the mix, right?

Check out what else I got at Target:

It's a Gingerbread Man headband! 
Hahahaha! I could not pass it up. The kids will probably think I've lost my mind.

Let's hope we have a better day tomorrow. :)

Monday, December 12, 2011

Gingerbread Week Day 1

It's Gingerbread Week in our classroom, yippee!

Unfortunately, I don't have a lot of extra time to do bunches and bunches of gingerbread lessons and cute craftivities. We aren't doing an anthology story this week, so I can use that time. For anything else, I'm trying to integrate the best I can.

For instance, we integrated gingerbread into our math lesson today. We've been working on fact families, so I figured we could make gingerbread houses with fact families written on them. I lucked out and noticed that Mrs. Hodson from Today in First Grade ... had a great fact family house freebie! One less thing to do for me. Gotta love that!

I copied her house onto brown construction paper. It was a lighter shade of brown and they looked fabulous. Next, I knew I wanted to add candies to the houses, but I hadn't made up my mind on how we would do it. So, I decided to check out Jan Brett's website because I knew it is full of great pictures and ideas.

Lo and behold, I found exactly what I wanted. Not only did she have candies for our houses, but she also had these super adorable gingerbread friends!

Click {here} to go to the Jan Brett Gingerbread Friends page.

Here's how our Gingerbread Village turned out. I had one little cutie still out sick so you'll notice a spot left for her.

The kids were so proud of themselves! {me too!}

Later in the afternoon, we read the Gingerbread Man. I asked if anyone remembered the story of the Gingerbread Man. They told me what they remembered {which was pretty good} and we went over the GIANT Anchor Chart we were going to complete as we read the different gingerbread stories this week. Got this from Deanna Jump's Gingerbread Unit. It's super cute, go get it now!

I reminded them that as I read the story they had a job to do. They needed to recall the characters, refrain, and ending of the story so we could put it on the chart. I read the story to them and they loved it, of course.
The kids gave me the answers for the anchor chart and I added them on.

Afterwards, I read Deanna Jump's Gingerbread story to the class. It is short and sweet and the kids loved the rhyming. Then, I showed them our big ole pocket chart with the same story all mixed up. We worked on ways to put the story back in order. They SO wanted to look at the book to help them figure it out. I told them we would look at the book after we tried to sequence it on our own. They didn't like that answer, ha!
Alas, they did it {without the book!}
One of my kids asked me to take a picture of it. I guess they are really used to me taking pictures of them by now. They want to document everything!
Here you go, buddy!
Can't wait for Day 2 fun tomorrow!