Thursday, February 28, 2013

Dr. Seuss FREEBIE!!!

I don't know about everyone else, but I'm exhausted!!!   Today I found myself wondering if it's too soon to start a countdown for Spring Break!  But, tired as I am, I can't wait for tomorrow!  I love doing my Dr. Seuss author study, and we're starting tomorrow.  I like to start with "Happy Birthday to You!".  When I start talking about Dr. Seuss my class always expects the more popular books like "The Cat in the Hat", "Green Eggs and Ham", "Horton Hears a Who"...the list goes on.  Most of my students have never read "Happy Birthday to You!".  But I figure, the whole reason we celebrate Dr. Seuss in March is because of his birthday - so why not start with a birthday book on his birthday?! (Or the day before if his birthday is a Saturday!)   Every year I search for a fun activity to do with this book, and every year I find absolutely nothing - so tonight as I sat down to begin my search I decided I would save myself some time and just make something myself.  Of course, it wasn't long before I realized the reason I have never made an activity is because I had no idea what to do! After re-reading the book for the third time I finally gave up on trying to think of a fun birthday-themed activity and instead decided to use my favorite quote in the book to make a writing prompt.  Dr. Seuss says "Today you are you! That is truer than true! There is no one alive who is you-er than you!"  I've always loved that! I made a writing prompt where students can share what it is that makes them unique!  You can download your very own freebie here at my TPT store!  I'll have more fun Dr. Seuss posts soon, but for now I have eighteen Dr. Seuss birthday cupcakes to frost!

PS - If you've never read this one, you should check it out!  Target has it on sale for $10 right now!!

Saturday, February 9, 2013

February Currently and Valentine's Day Fun!

Alright - I'm a little late to the Currently party this month but better late than never! Make sure you head over to Farley's blog to link up too!

My listening and wanting this month go hand in hand - I'm catching up on this week's Bachelor and Tierra is driving me insane.  I want him to stop giving her roses and ship her butt back to where ever it is she came from! 
I am loving how well my class is doing with our play.  Every year the first grade classes have a History Comes to Life performance.  The kids dress up as different influential Americans - from Ben Franklin to Barack Obama.  Almost every kiddo in my class has memorized his or her lines!  They just love talking into the microphone and I am so proud of them.  I can't wait to see them on stage at the end of the month!

My internal clock went off at 6:30 and I've been sitting on the couch for the past 3 hours working on the computer.  But now I'm thinking it's time for me to get up and start my day.  I am running (well let's be honest I'll probably be walking more than running) in my school district's Character Counts! 6K today!  The race will benefit the Character Counts! programs in our schools.  I always do a huge lesson at the beginning of each year to show how each pillar ties in to our classroom rules so I am super excited for today!

February is flying by!  I need to go through my dental health file this weekend and make my copies before the month is over!  We're at the point now where I'm really pushing writing in the classroom, and I have lots of dental health writing activities that I like to do with the kids.  

My pet peeve is slow drivers!  I drive 30 minutes to the work each day and I love setting the cruise control.  But it drives me crazy when I get stuck behind slow drivers and I have to take cruise control off!!

In other news - I don't know about everyone else, but my class is starting to get very excited about Valentine's Day.  I made some fun Valentine's Day literacy activities to use with my class next week.  One is for compound words and the other is for contractions.  I plan on using them for word work next week!  You can click on the pictures below and they will take you to my TPT store!

And with that, I'm off to get ready for today's race!  Fingers crossed that I'm not the last person to cross the finish line! :)  Enjoy the weekend!! 

Saturday, February 2, 2013

Groundhog's Day Treats and Valentine's Day Math Centers

Happy Groundhog's Day!!!  I am so excited that Punxsutawney Phil didn't see his shadow - even though it means my kiddos are going to hassle me.  It's been so cold this past week (and by so cold, I mean high 50's - what can I say? I'm a Florida girl now!) I just assumed it would stay this way for a while.  So my prediction was 6 more weeks of winter - and those kids never let me forget when my prediction is incorrect!  But I am so happy to hear that spring is coming early!  I am dying for a beach day! 

We had a really fun day yesterday.  Our morning was full of reading, writing and math facts, but our afternoon was all fun!!! We had our Boosterthon Fun Run yesterday.  The kids ask family members to pledge money per lap and then they see how many laps they can run in 30 minutes.  The kids loved it and I had a great time too!  After our Fun Run we went back inside and made our Groundhog's Day predictions.  We also made adorable groundhog cupcakes!  They had so much fun frosting their own cupcakes - I may let them frost all their cupcakes from now on! 

I also finished my Valentine's Day Math Centers this morning!  There are five math centers for students to practice addition and subtraction facts to 20, greater than and less than, counting coins, and number patterns.  Click the picture below to check it out at my TPT store!

Thursday, January 31, 2013

100th Day Fun!!!

It's been awhile but I'm back!  And just in time for one of my favorite days - the 100th Day of School!!! We had so much fun today yesterday...because I started typing this yesterday but then got sidetracked preparing for an observation (which was fabulous because my class knew good behavior would be rewarded with Skittles!).  So today was actually the 101st day of school, but I'm still going to tell you about all the fun we had yesterday!  We spent our morning working on a booklet I made.  I absolutely love all the 100th day writing prompts...what will you look like when you're 100, what would you do with 100 dollars, what animal would you want 100 of...the list goes on.  The problem is I can never decide which one to do.  So I decided to make a booklet with a few of my favorite and have my kiddos just write a sentence or two on each page.  The last page has a spot where they can show me how many ways to make 100.  I loved how creative my class got!  I had lots of addition and subtraction problems, but I also had tally marks, drawings of ten rods, and tens frames (which they were regretting by the end!).  Click the picture below for your (FREE) copy!

While my lovely little friends were enjoying their lunches, I was running around like a chicken with my head cut off trying to hide 100 Hershey's Kisses!  Every year I forget how difficult it is trying to hide all 100 of them...but it's worth it.  The kids have so much fun looking for them.  I number all the Kisses and they have to place them on the 100's chart as they find each one.

Unfortunately number 44 was hidden a little too well!  And it just so happens that someone found it in the middle of my observation glad she was paying attention to me, right?!
We broke out our collections of 100 things during Math.  They had to put their 100 things in groups of 10, 5, and 2.  They did great with 10's and 5's - groups of 2 was where most of them forgot how cool I was for bringing in 100 Hershey's Kisses!  But I must say I had some very creative friends this year.  I had 100 pennies, Cheerios, beads and marbles as usual, but I also had crayons, army men and shells this year too!
My class really does appreciate the simple things in life! Their favorite activity was a dice game.  They had to guess which number they thought they would roll the most often, and then roll their dice 100 times.  They put a tally mark next to each number they rolled.  They were so excited each time they rolled their number!
Now that all the 100th day excitement is over, it's crazy to think that there are only 79 days of school left!  I hope everyone else enjoys their 100th day as much as we did!!!  
I have also been working on a few Valentine's Day Math centers - I'm hoping to finish them up tonight so I can post them tomorrow! :)

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Special Visitors...Planned and Unplanned!!

What a day!   I had an observation planned with my peer evaluator - my district has adopted a new Robert Marzano evaluation system and all teachers who have taught for less than 3 years have a peer evaluator from the district observe them several times a year.  He had just walked in and I was getting ready to start my lesson on common and proper nouns when the door opened.  Who walked in, but our principal ready to do his own observation (unplanned observations from administration are yet another part of our new evaluation system).  For a split second I panicked - especially when the principal sat down at my messy desk!  But I resisted the urge to run over and clear it off for him.  I kept my cool, smiled and started talking about nouns.  My class was fantastic - I think they were a little concerned as to why we had two visitors but it definitely helped their self control!  I introduced Common Cate and Proper Penelope and drew pictures of each.  We talked about the difference between the words common and proper and related the differences to nouns.  Then we made a list of all the common and proper nouns we could think of.  After my lesson, the class practiced using the Christmas themed common and proper noun sort I had made.  As our principal was leaving, he complimented the class by telling them they work like second graders - which is the highest form of praise you could give my class!  They just love to be considered as smart as second graders!

We had another special visitor today!
Can you see him peeking out over the top of the tree??? 
Our elf finally made his appearance - a day after I planned but better late than never.  I found my elf at Michael's a few years ago.  I started using him when I taught preschool.  I do my own little version of the elf on the shelf - the elf moves every night and we use him for writing prompts and other activities but I don't have the book or the movie. 

The kids came in this morning and found red and green footprints on their desks and a note from Santa in the rocking chair.  Of course they didn't know it was from Santa.  It was folded and when I went to sit down for the morning meeting I asked who put a note in my chair.   Everyone glanced around, trying to find the culprit who didn't follow Miss Watters' directions.  I asked where we put notes in the morning.  "In the basket on your desk" eighteen little friends recited (we've gone over this A LOT).  I looked sad and sighed - like I couldn't believe after 71 days of school someone still wasn't following directions.  Then I picked it up and gasped.  (I'm pretty sure the parent volunteer who helps on Tuesday mornings thought something was seriously wrong - I'm telling you I missed my calling as an actress on a soap opera!)  I shared the note from Santa.  He explained that he sent an elf to keep an eye on us and he hoped everyone would make good choices. Santa also mentioned that he was worried anyone who had to move their boat from Smooth Sailing to Stormy Seas might end up on the naughty list.  Santa was really looking out for me, making sure everyone knew how important it was to do their homework and use kind words! :)

The elf also left us a gift under our palm tree.   
You can imagine the confusion when everyone realized it was a worksheet.  What??  Santa sent us work??? They simply could not believe it.  But they LOVED it!  This is an awesome freebie from Kelley over at Teacher Idea Factory.  It's a story about an elf and the kids fill in the blank spaces with adjectives!  (I ran the adjectives on the back in an attempt to be green - I'm not always as green as I could be and I'm trying to get better!)  They had a great time writing their silly elf stories and an even better time sharing them with the class!                     

Head on over to Kelley's page to grab your copy of this freebie!  Thanks Kelley!

Sunday, December 2, 2012

My first Currently!

I am so excited to be linking up with Farley at Oh Boy 4th Grade for December's Currently!!  I have loved reading these in the past and they have led me to so many amazing blogs!  I am so happy to finally have a blog of my own to link up with! :)
I had seen the commercials for Scandal during Grey's Anatomy, but never watched it until I was home sick one day.  I found it on Netflix - one episode and I was hooked!  I have the past 3 weeks of episodes on my DVR.  Since I am officially finished with all the grading, printing, laminating, cutting and planning I needed to do this weekend, I am snuggling with the puppy, catching up on Scandal and blog stalking! 
I'm not sure if I mentioned how much I love my dog, but to say I'm obsessed is probably an understatement!  I also love showing all my friends and family how adorable she is by sending out Christmas cards with her picture on them!  I'm thinking it's about time to start on that!
Florida Georgia Line is my absolute favorite band! If you listen to country music you've probably heard their song 'Cruise' on the radio.  If you haven't, you should check them out! Like right now!  I can't wait to buy their first CD on Tuesday!
Does anyone else feel like they are never going to fit in all the fun holiday activities they want to do?  This year I have three whole weeks of school in December, but even with that extra time I feel like I'm not going to get in the fun, crafty holiday activities I love.  This time of year is magical and I don't want it to pass by too fast!
As for Random Acts of Kindness - every year I say I am going to take cookies to work.  But I never seem to get to it.  This year I am ahead of the game! I have all the ingredients I will need to make all my favorite Christmas cookies and I've already made a batch of peanut butter blossoms!  What better was to spread Christmas cheer to my team than with yummy Christmas cookies?!
Don't forget to head on over to Farley's blog and link up!

Saturday, December 1, 2012

Holly Jolly Christmas Fun! and another Liebster Nomination!

I can't believe it's December already!!!   I've been trying to keep my cool because I still have three more weeks before Christmas break - the last three weeks of the second quarter.  We still have a fair share of work to do...but I will definitely be fitting in some fun holiday activities too!!!  Next week we are celebrating Holidays Around the World.  Each first grade teacher has a different country, and the students will rotate through our classes with their passports and suitcases!  I will share pictures next week!

To celebrate Christmas I have been working hard on my Holly Jolly Christmas Fun! Math and Literacy Activities.  I am so excited for my very first TPT product!  You can click on the picture below to check it out!
I have really been pushing even and odd numbers in the classroom so I included an even and odd number sort.
 I also included some fact family practice!
My common/proper noun freebie is included in this, as well as reindeer ABC order and a Christmas sentence scramble.
My evening has been spent laminating and cutting everything out to use on Monday!
I am also so honored to be nominated for another Liebster Award!  Thank you so much to Brittany from Lovely Literacy and More!  It was so much fun reading about other bloggers and finding more amazing blogs to follow!  The support in the blogging community is overwhelming, and I am so happy to be able to share it with 11 more bloggers! 
So the rules are:  
1. You must post 11 random things about yourself.
2. Answer the question that the nominator set for you.
3. Create 11 questions for the people you nominate.
4. Choose 11 other blogs with under 200 followers to nominate and link them in your post.
5. You cannot "tag back" the other blog, but leave a comment on this post with the URL of your Liebster post so I can learn more about you and see who you nominate.

Here are 11 random things about me:
1. Yellow is my favorite color!
2. I didn't attend the University of Florida, but it was the closest big university to the college I actually attended.  I love to go to Gator games so I became a "Gator by association" and I will cheer for them even when I move out Florida.
3. Notice how I said "when" I move out of Florida.  I have been here for just over 6 years and I love it, but I would like to see what else is out there one day.  Although I don't see myself leaving anytime soon.
4. I have taught at 3 schools in the 3 years that I've been out of college, and I am so thankful for all the changes because it led me to the amazing school I teach out now.  And it taught me to be grateful for my job, even on the most challenging days.
5. I love rainy days when I can lay on my couch and read all day. 
6.The only song I never skip on my ipod (ever - no matter what music mood I'm in) is "Fire on the Mountain" by The Marshall Tucker Band.  I have no idea why I love it so much.
7. I love jewelry and am always buying something new because I just know it will match that shirt/dress/skirt perfectly.  But I keep the same pair of studs in my top hole in my ears and the same necklace on every day.  Never take them off.
8. When I adopted my sweet Sage from the pound, she had heartworm.  The treatment was just over $1000 and I spent another $300 on x-rays and medicines because she was so sick afterwards. But she is perfectly healthy now and she is the best investment I ever made!
9. I would probably eat at Panera everyday if I could!
10. I am always about 4 months behind the curve when it comes to what's "cool" in the music world.  If they don't play it on the country station I've probably never heard it.  By the time I first heard "Call Me Maybe" (in July) the rest of the world was sick of it!
11. I am horrible at teaching students proper pencil grip because I'm left handed.  I can never quite hold the pencil correctly with my right hand to model it for my students. 

Here are my answers to Brittany's questions:
1.  What is your favorite holiday?  I love them all!  Any cause for celebration is alright with me!  But Christmas is probably my favorite because I love snow and visiting my family in New Jersey!  And two weeks off doesn't hurt either!
2.  What type of music do you like to listen to?  Country music is my absolute favorite!
3.  Have you had an embarrassing moment while teaching this year?  I am happy to say that I have not! (Knock on wood!)
4.  Do you have a recipe that you would recommend?  My favorite thing to make is Sicilian Meatloaf.  I got the recipe from a Wise Guy Cookbook written by Henry Hill (Ray Liotta character in GoodFellas).  It has a layer of provolone cheese in the middle, which is my favorite part!
5.  Do you mostly have sweet dreams of nightmares, or do you even remember?  I usually have good dreams and I can remember them when I first wake up, but once I'm out of bed they're gone.  Every once in a while I have a nightmare, and of course those are the ones I remember.  I can still remember one I had as a little girl.
6. Who is a person that had a great impact in your life?  My fifth grade teacher, Mrs. Leonard.  I always wanted to be a teacher, but she made school so much fun! I knew I wanted to be just like her!  When she would read our journals she would always write little notes back to us - I loved that so much that I decided I would do the same in my students' journals.  They love it as much as I did!
7. If you could be any Disney character who would you be?  I would be Ariel! But as a mermaid, not a human.  I would love to just swim all day!
8.  What flavor ice cream do you prefer most?  I love Mint Chocolate Chip and Rocky Road the best!
9.  When was the last time you were surprised?  I was pleasantly surprised this week when a struggling reader picked up a leveled reader and read fluently in Guided Reading!  The coolest part was I think he was as surprised as I was!  It was great to see that lightbulb click on!
10.  What can you not leave the house without?  My chapstick.  I would be lost without it.  I actually have one on the nightstand, one on the coffee table, one in my purse, one in my car, one in my desk at work....the list goes on!
11. If you could go anywhere, where you would you go?  I have always wanted to go out west to the Dakotas, Montana or Wyoming.  All the pictures I have seen always look so beautiful!

The blogs I'm nominating are:
1.  Closing the Gap
2.  The (mis)Adventures of First Grade
3.  You Might Be a First Grader...
4. First Grade Magic
5. Polka Dot Firsties
6. Crazy About First
7. First Grade Follies
8. The Happy Teacher
9. Miss Whimsy
10. Mara and Lauren
11. Kinderfriends

And here are my 11 questions for you!
1. What made you decide to start blogging?
2. What was your first job?
3. How did you meet your oldest friend?
4. Was there a defining moment in your life when you knew you were meant to teach?
5. What is your favorite dish to cook?
6. Do you live near your hometown?
7. What is your favorite book to read to your students?
8. Where would your dream vacation be?
9. What is your favorite Christmas song?
10. Are you a cat or dog person?
11. What is at the top of your bucket list?

I hope you have fun answering the questions and finding new blogs to follow!!!
Don't forget to leave a comment with the URL for your post! :)