Monday, January 30, 2012

I Have Been TAGGED

Yesterday, our wireless router decided it didn't want to do its job anymore. Good for nothing, piece of .... grumble, grumble, grumble!  
Anyway, it has been mildly REALLY annoying!
Can I respond to comments? - NO
Can I read other posts? - NO
Can I write my own post? - NO
Can I find more fun stuff to pin? - NO

I have my phone, but let's just say it has its limitations.

Yesterday, I was tagged by Delighted {sorry, I don't know your first name?!?} at First Grade Delight and today I was tagged by Sheri at 1st Grade ROCKS!!!.

I feel like I MUST tag back before I run out of bloggers to tag. I hate to be IT for this long!

First of all, I must post the rules.

1) You must post the rules.
2) Post 12 fun facts about yourself on the blog post.
3) Answer the questions the tagger set for you in their post, and then create 12 new questions for the people you tagged.
4) Tag 12 people and link them on your post.
5) Let them know you've tagged them!

12 Fun Facts About Me

After reading the rules, I realized that I have to share 12 new facts about myself, I had to stop and think. Are there 12 new things I can share about myself? 12 is a lot! I'm not that interesting. Alright Andi, think! You have layers. Peel them back. 
These might not be fun facts, folks, but hear we go:

1) I love to go shopping. Any kind of shopping: clothing, books, art, shoes, houses, crafts, antiques, make-up, hardware, cards, food (farmers market food - not the grocery store). You name it and I'll probably have oodles of fun shopping for it. I can shop by myself, with my mom, with my bestie, or with my sweet hubbie (my favorite partner in crime.) Shopping is one of my favorite things to do.

2) I refuse to get my nails painted. {fingers and toes}  NOT GONNA DO IT! It grosses me out. Do NOT touch my them. EVER! Yuck!

3)  I've been using a computer since as long as I can remember (like 4 or 5 years old, people.) My parents had an Apple waaayyy back when they first came out. Over the years, I have always used an Apple computer of some sorts. Using a PC is foreign to me.

4) I'm TERRIBLE at parking! Like super awful. I have panic attacks when I have to find a parking spot at a really crowded lot. God forbid, I have to parallel park. I usually end up crying and putting my JEEP in park, which is now taking up half of the road perpendicularly and blocking traffic, and my husband has to take over to rescue me. It's pathetic.

5) I do not have a stomach for mean people or confrontation. I've been grade-level chair (or team leader) for quite some time now and I have had to deal with some teachers who weren't very nice to me. Once, I'd asked for some paperwork that was due - rather, past due because I HAD to turn it in to the office and I was verbally accosted by her. This was about 3 or 4 years ago, and I am still bothered by this teacher's actions. I love me team now. They are so much more pleasant and easy going. :)

Oh, my goodness, I'm only at Fact 6! This is so difficult.

6) I really don't think I'd be a good parent, despite what I've been told. No problem with the Love Factor - it's everything else.

7) I love the outdoors and being outside, however, I will NOT camp and you can't make me, EVER! Give me a bed, a bathroom, and a hotel key, and I'll be fine.

8) I worked at a small locally owned toy-store during my college years. It was just me and the owner. I loved it! I learned how to use the yo-yo, juggle, the names of most Pokemon and Thomas the Tank Engine characters.

9) I was a nerd in high school and college. I got good grades and never skipped school. Well, I skipped school, but I used my Journalism badge, so officially it was legally leaving school campus.

10) I share the same birthday as Garfield the cat. He is two years younger than me.

11) I was married in my parent's backyard by my best friend's father. He is a Lutheran Pastor {not just some shmoe who can marry people.} I payed a total of $5 for my wedding dress. My best friend, Sara, played the music. She is a professional Oboist and an excellent musician. We only had about 25 guests. It was small, but perfect. Not a big deal and everyone who was there wanted to be there. That's my style.

12) I've probably watched Star Wars 4, 5, & 6 a BILLION times. I know the words better than my husband. I not a Star Wars nerd, but I really loved the movies. 

Yay! I'm done. Now I need to answer the questions from Delighted and Sheri.

Questions from Delighted:

1. Do you have to sign in and out when you arrive and leave school? (included lunch)
Technically, yes, we are supposed to sign out every time we leave campus during work hours. Do I always forget to sign out - YES!

2. What is your favorite snack?
My favorite snack is cheese and gluten-free crackers.

3. What time do you usually get to work?
I roll in around 8:10-ish. 8:05, if I'm lucky.

4. What is your dream vacation?
Bora Bora, like in Couple's Retreat.

5. Who is your favorite actor/actress?
Loaded question! I love so many!! 
Male - George Clooney and Will Ferrell 
Female - Reese Witherspoon and Meryl Streep 

6. Have you ever had a bad habit that you have now overcome?
Not yet, I'm still working on the "Chronically Late" to things problem I have.

7. Is there a smell that you can't tolerate?
SAUERKRAUT = Disgusting!

8. Do you have a favorite sports team?
Go Gators, all the way. Any and all University of Florida teams.

9. What's your favorite type of music?
I'm pretty well-rounded musically. I have favorites in all categories even Grind Core. There are some musicians and sounds I don't care for, but I won't shun an entire genre because of one crappy artist.

10. What annoys you more than anything?
People who don't pick up their feet when they walk.
 11. What is you favorite children's book?
I have a MILLION favorites. Right now, I'm digging Pete the Cat.

12. How long have you been teaching?
This is my 12th year teaching elementary school, but I've been schooling fools for 35 years.   
Questions from Sheri:
1. Were you excited to be tagged?
Heck ya! I don't have a bloggy BFF, yet. I feel like I might be missing out sometimes.
2. What are you doing right now while trying to write this post?
Waiting my my hubby to get home to make my dinner!
3. What subject do you feel like you ROCK at teaching and why?
Gosh, I still feel like I can improve on so many things. I learn new techniques every year. Okay, I guess I ROCK at inspiring. I can be contagious, you know.
4. What grades have you taught?
I have taught 4th and 1st grades.
5. Who is the person that you go to for help when you need support at school?
My mom! She's our school computer lab manager and is my lifesaver all of the time.
6. Do you have a lot of after school meetings?
Ugggghhhh! Yes, way too many meetings. I loathe them. And yet, we (the teachers) always feel left in the dark sometimes.
7. What do you do for reading interventions?
Fundations, baby! It's my life.

8. What is your favorite blog post?
Tough Question Girlie! I enjoyed sharing my classroom since it is my home away from home.

9. Do you like comments on your blog posts?
YES, I wish I would get more. Some bloggers get TONS of comments and it makes me sad that I have 500+ followers and rarely get over 8 comments. What am I doing wrong? Am I a stinky writer? Are my shares not worth commenting? 
10. Are you a coffee person?
No, it wrecks my stomach. I prefer hot tea.
11. What is your favorite show to watch on television?
Sooooo many! I love Archer, Parks and Recreations, The League, Grey's, Private Practice, Revenge, and I REALLY miss Brothers and Sisters.
12. What great book have you read lately? 
Not much of a fiction reader during the school year, the last book I read was The Mockingjay (3rd Hinger Games book.)
My 12 Questions:
1. What is you favorite blog to read?
2. Do you feel like having a TPT or TN store is worth your efforts?
3. What is your favorite game to play?
4. Would you like to meet some bloggy friends in real life for a conference?
5. Who inspired you to become a teacher?
6. Have you been a TOY? {Teacher of the Year}
7. Do you have a Facebook account and are you on it as often as you are reading blogs?
8. What is your favorite hobby?
9. Do you have any pets? {kids don't count!}
10. Do you still live in your hometown or did you move away?
11. Target or Walmart?
12. If you were in charge, what major change would you make in public education?
My 12 Tagged Blogs:

Mrs. Alaniz at Teaching in Cute Shoes
Deanna {because she's awesome!} at Mrs. Jump's Class
Lory at Lory's Page
Abby at The Inspired Apple - p.s. I DYING to get your sweetheart snatcher activity!!
Mrs. Hodson at Today in First Grade

Y'all have a great week!

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

100 ways to celebrate 100

According to my calculations, the 100th day of school is this Friday. 

FYI - There are others that think the 100th day of school is this Monday. I swear every year we can't figure out which day is the 100th day!

Anywhoo, in my class the 100th day of school is this Friday. One way we are acknowledging  this special event is by making 100 Creations! I saw this idea on Pinterest and fell in love.
Ours turned out so cute!

Here are a few close-up that tickled my funny bone:
It reads: My 100 is my mom. She wears glasses because she was born that way.

She really isn't blind. She doesn't wear glasses or contacts!
He totally made this up!

That one isn't really funny, but it has a funny story. When she showed me her first draft the first sentence read, "My 100 is my mom's dad." I said, "You mean your grandfather." She looked at me really confused and said, "No, it's my mom's dad." We went round and round a few times on this until I showed her some pictures and a family tree. Then, she finally understood what a grandfather is in her family!


Another activity I have been doing since my first year of teaching {12 long years ago} is to hide 100 hershey kisses in the classroom for the kids to find. On the bottom of each kiss, I write a number from 1 - 100. After the assigned number of kisses have been found by each kid, I'll call them up one at a time and let them add their numbered kisses to the hundred's chart.

When I taught 4th grade I would number the kisses with decimals and fractions 1 to 100. We would add them to a very long number line. 
So, there are plenty of different ways to vary this activity.

It is EXTREMELY important to set guidelines and rules before  you let your kids loose in the classroom. I will give them a specific number of kisses to find and when they find that amount they must sit at their desk and wait until everyone is done. This avoids anyone getting physically and emotionally hurt.

This activity is a lot of fun and we usually find every single kiss (I'll add an 101 numbered kiss for luck.) Unlike our Easter eggs, where there are always some hiding in the room for a few weeks! :(

I have no idea where I got this idea from. This was before Pinterest and teaching blogs! Maybe from Mailbox magazine???


Monday, January 23, 2012

It's Literacy Week, Florida and a little SupER gIRl

Guess what? It's Florida's Literacy Week this week. At my school, we are doing a few activities to celebrate this event along with other schools around the state.

Although, I think this event is kind of silly because it's ALWAYS Literacy Week at school. I mean, I probably read at least 7-9 stories to my class a day. And the kids have their own 20 minutes of reading to self, listening to reading, and reading to someone a day.

The other Core Subjects should be protesting with all of the reading we do in a single day!
I think STEM is on its way and picking up some speed, but it's just not as glitzy as READING.

One activity my school is participating in is the Million Minute Marathon. Every student in our classes will read an additional 20 minutes on top of the reading we do daily and submit the minutes to hopefully add up to a million minutes read in the state of Florida.

Another activity we are doing is to decorate our doors in honor of our favorite book covers. For my door, I wanted to include some kid's work in addition to the book cover. I found the perfect activity on fabulous Brooke Perry's blog, Primary Perspective. Last year, she wrote a blog post about a super cute writing craftivity her kiddos did based on the book, A Bad Case of Stripes, by David Shannon. I was already planning on using this book the week we discussed Dr. MLK Jr, so this worked out just right!

I created just about the same pill covers as Brooke did, however, I made mine half the size to fit them on my door. I got as many as I could to fit on my door and the rest went on my windows. At least I tried! 

My school is one level with an open design plan. For the most part, this works out great because our sunny Florida weather is typically beautiful and it's so nice to get fresh air during our transitions. Unfortunately, this also means that all of our classroom doors are exposed to the elements. Last night, I was so afraid that some punk neer-do-well would vandalize my door! 

Luckily, it has escaped any wild rumpus ride.

Here are just a few of my kid's pill bottles. As a class, we discussed what ailments they could create their pill for, but most of them have a cold right now and it never left their minds as they wrote.

Now, for some of my favorite class doors:

I'll provide the writing page I used with my kids if you'd like to do this activity with your class.

BadCase of Stripes Writing

In addition to all of this hoopla, last week our reading series, StoryTown, covered the R-Controlled Vowels {er, ir, ur}. Tiffany from The Lemonade Stand has created a really cute packet of activities to go with this skill. {You can get her activity set HERE} I taught some of the activities during my guided reading time and I'm saving a few of the others for our review week. Then, I used one of her posters as a guide to help make a larger anchor chart for our wall. Super Girl Gertie and her Super Bird needed to be labeled with {er,ir,ur} words. I used Abby's idea from her Learning AR with Pirate Mark pack and hid four words a day around the classroom to add to the chart. My kids go GONZO for hide-and-seek. They are getting really good at it. I had to be really sneaky when I hid these words to make it more of a challenge for them!

One of my boys says "Hi!" to Super Girl Gertie everyday. What a nut! He must get it from his teacher!

On Monday, without labels.

On Thursday, with labels!
That's all folks! Thanks for reading my long post.

Monday, January 16, 2012

And the winners are ....

Now that the crying has subsided from the Bachelor Ben's Cocktail Party. 
"No drama tonight." Sure thing, Courtney.
Although, it seems that these episodes really aren't as drama-filled as I had hoped {or maybe I'm just too jaded by now!}


Congratulations go out to the following:

Yippee!  Woohoo!
Dawn, Mor Zrihen, Kelly B., and Jennifer, I will send you your projects tomorrow!
Thanks to everyone who entered our contest. Jill and I really appreciate your interest in this giveaway.

I hope everyone is having a great Monday and please go check out Kathy's blog at First Grade a la Carte. Her blog is one and she's throwing a fabulous party!

Saturday, January 14, 2012

Do You Like Science Fair Projects and A GIVEAWAY!

The question part of my post title is definitely a loaded question. Most of the teachers at my school {If I were to give a guesstimate = about 98%} don't really like science fair all that much.
I'm quite certain if our fearless leader had decided to skip science fair this year, there wouldn't be any tears shed or mad dashes to the office to picket the decision.

I honestly don't think it is because teachers don't like to teach science. I know lots of teachers that enjoy performing demonstrations and having their students work on their own science experiments.

What gives? Why is it that must teachers literally shudder and frown upon hearing the news that the science fair is coming to town? Is it the collection of data? Trying to come up with a great project idea? Or is it the laborious duty of creating the almighty science fair board!
When I peruse the projects during my school's Science Fair Night, I see the same project ideas again and again. By fifth grade, wouldn't you think our students are well aware of how gravity, force, and friction work? Really! Then, I'll look at the class projects the K, 1, and 2 teachers have completed with their students. And I'll see more of the same project ideas. One teacher has submitted this M & M project (which isn't even an experiment but rather a demonstration) for the past five years in a row! Shouldn't there be a statute of limitations for things like that? It's painful.

Now that comment might sting a bit for some of my readers because you are guilty of this crime. Most people just want to get science fair over with as quickly and as painlessly as possible, like ripping off a band-aid. I get it. I'm sure I've phoned it in with old overused ideas in the past, too.

My big sis Jill, a Kindergarten teacher, has been an advocate for science fair for as long as I can remember. She has spoken to teachers within our district and at major conferences about science fair. She is one of those crazy 2% {okay, maybe 10%} of teachers who actually enjoy the science fair. So, I really have no excuse with an available resource like this!

She has opened a TPT store and is selling some of her great science fair project ideas. So far, she has only 4 in her store, but she is working on adding more. You know funny things like a 14 and 12 year old, soccer practice, horseback riding lessons, chickens, dogs, crazy Kindergartners, mom's taxi service, and a husband, kind of get in the way of her having a bigger store. But, she's working on it. Slowly and surely.
She would like to giveaway one of her four projects to four people!

All you have to do is comment below that you are a follower of her TPT store and add your e-mail address!


Click {HERE} for a link to Jill's TPT Store.

Here's a sneaky peek of the projects:

You have until Monday 1/16 to enter. Then, I"ll select the winner on Monday night {either before or after the Bachelor :) }

Happy Weekend!

Monday, January 9, 2012

Currently, January Style

Farley over at Oh'Boy 4th Grade is hosting her monthly 'Currently' Linky Party! I can't believe I'm a day late. And I call myself a blogger! Shameful.

I'm lovin' {as the girls seemed to say as often as they were crying, on the Bachelor} the new OLW addition. A very positive way to end my list. It makes me feel like bursting out with "The sun will come out, tomorrow. Bet your bottom dollar that tomorrow. There'll be sun."

Check it out...

Don't forget to join party!

Saturday, January 7, 2012

Aargh! What a week {in review}


Wait! I really mean ...


Holy moly, I cannot get over how time just flies by. I remember thinking about all of the cool Thanksgiving activities I wanted to do with my class like it was just yesterday. 
Anyway, time keeps on a'chugging along whether I like it or not, so I need to make the most of it. Unfortunately, I also need to convince my sweet kiddos that they want to do all of the things I want to do as well! This part is not so easy for me. Which means that I have lots of copies and cut-outs of lessons I've made for this year's group that I will have to do with next year's group.

Anywho, this week was loads of fun because in our StoryTown reading series the phonics skill was the R-controlled vowel /ar./ The story that went along with this skill is just okay. And of course, the phonics activities the publishers provide are pretty mediocre. Which means I must supplement! What better way to supplement the series than with a wonderful little unit by the fabulous Babbling Abby?

Me hearties, let me introduce you to Learning /ar/ with Pirate Mark. This unit has it all poetry, reading, writing, a craftivity, and most importantly cHocOlaTe

Here are a few pictures of our week:

Treasure Map of /ar/ words - We'd add four words a day to the map.

I'd hide words about the classroom for them to find and read.

The kids were BANANAS about searching for /ar/ words.
Every day they entered the classroom excited to read!
LOVE Heidi Butkus' Phonics cards.
Click {here} for more information.
On Day 4 our Treasure Map is complete!
I taped the last word for the Treasure Map to my little treasure box.

Pirate Mark likes to eat chocolate bars and so do we!

I'd love to say that we added the cute hair and details to our pirates,
 but oh-my-word this was challenging enough for them.
I wasn't in the mood for extras by the time we got this far.
Which is not a reflection of the unit, but on my kids!
We had a ball with these activities and most of my students are proficient at reading /ar/ words. I'm sorry to say, one little peanut will need to go on a vacation with Pirate Mark and his /ar/ words before she'll learn them. LOTS of practice in store for me and her!

In addition, I found this cute little video of Bossy R from the Electric Company on pinterest. I showed it to the class almost every day. They loved it.

My Pinterest reading page - Y'all Pinterest Rules!
Click {here} to go to the YouTube Electric Company video.

Thanks, Abby! Another fantastic unit that my students loved!