Monday, November 26, 2012

First Day Back and TPT Sale!!!

I don't know about you, but my first day back was AMAZING!  I left New Jersey at midnight Saturday night/Sunday morning and was back in Florida around 1 pm yesterday.  I ended up sleeping for most of the afternoon - instead of getting some last minute things ready for work!  But fortunately I was well rested by the time 5:15 am rolled around.  I got to work super early to finish up my newsletter and set up for the day.  Since this was our first big break, I was expecting my class to have forgotten some of the rules and routines.  Attendance was taken, lunch choices were made, morning work was completed - and then we had the best Daily 5 rotation EVER!  Now, let me say, I have a great class this year.  Seriously 18 of the sweetest kids I have ever taught.  But, like most six year olds, they LOVE to talk.  Transitioning between rotations was rough at the beginning, and I honestly thought they were going to have a difficult time today.  Boy, do those kiddos like to prove me wrong!  They found their materials quickly and quietly, and they worked the WHOLE time!!!!  I was so proud!  I just had to snap a few pictures!

 My girls were working on their Contraction Surgery Book - an awesome activity I purchased from Christie over at First Grade Fever.  Check it out here (it's on sale right now!!!)

 This little boy would read all day if I let him!  I love it!!!
I'm sure by now you have read all about the awesome sale going on over at TPT. You can save up to 28 percent if you use the promo code CMT12. I am loving my purchases! I have had my eye on these Daily Language and Daily Math Sets from Turnstall's Teaching Tidbits.  I can't wait to start giving these out as morning work!
 I also purchased some adorable fonts from Mrs. Stanford!
 And to help my kiddos get into the Christmas spirit (HA yeah right - like they really need help there!) I purchased these amazing Christmas math tub activities from Cara Carroll over at The First Grade Parade! 
If you haven't already, head on over to TPT to check out all the amazing sales that are going on today and tomorrow!   I'm off to print and laminate while I watch Amanda Brown kick some serious behind on The Voice!

Saturday, November 24, 2012

Liebster Award

I was so excited to see that Michelle from Miss King's Enchanted Kingdom nominated me for the Liebster Award!  The Liebster Award is awarded by bloggers to new bloggers with less than 200 followers.  This is such a fun way to see what new blogs are out there, and I am so grateful to be a part of this wonderful world of blogging!

The rules are:
1.  You must post 11 random things about yourself.
2.  Answer the questions that the nominator set for you.
3.  Create 11 questions for the people you nominate.
4.  Choose 11 blogs with fewer than 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 & see who you nominate.

11 random facts about me:
1.  I can't remember a time that I didn't want to be a teacher.  I honestly have no idea what I would do if I didn't teach.
2.  I taught pre-school all through college.  It was the perfect job for me!  I couldn't see myself working retail or in a restaurant.
3.  I spent this past summer working at a foreign exchange summer camp.  It was a wonderful and crazy experience.  There were 120 students, ages 14-18, from France, Italy, Spain and Norway!
4.  My first year teaching was in a Catholic School and I miss teaching religion.
5.  I love country music.  I rarely listen to anything else.  If I could I would spend my entire paycheck going to see my favorite country singers in concert!
6.  I have three best friends.  One is in the Navy, stationed in Chicago.  One is in the Peace Corps and living in Guatemala.  One is teaching English in Beijing.  Needless to say, I don't see any of them as often as I would like, but when I do it's like no time has passed at all!
7.  I think the most important quality a person can have is respect.  I work very hard to ensure that my students are respectful, both in and out of my classroom.  It drives me crazy when I see other students or children in public who are disrespectful.
8.  Gone with the Wind is my all-time favorite book and movie.
9.  I went on a student ambassador trip to France, Italy and Greece the summer before my senior year in high school.  I meet one of my best friends on that trip.
10.  I love Beverly Hills, 90210 and Melrose Place.  You are pretty much guaranteed to find one of them in my DVD player at any given time.
11.  I have always wanted to visit Wyoming and South Dakota.  One day...

Here are the 11 questions Miss King asked:
1. If you could live anywhere, where would you live?  Nashville.  I love that it is a city with so much to do, but it still has a small town feel!
2.  What is the one thing in your classroom you can't live without?  My Scotch laminator.  I love it so much that I cart it to and from school - not every day but definitely a few times a week!  I even brought it to New Jersey for Thanksgiving!
3.  What is your favorite food?  I love anything raspberry - and if there is chocolate involved too I am in heaven!
4.  What is your favorite holiday and why?  It's hard to pick a favorite - I love all celebrations! But my favorite is probably Christmas.  I especially love Christmas Eve.  We get dressed up and go to Christmas Eve Mass.  Afterwards, we go over to my aunt and uncle's for a big Christmas party.  They live in a small town where Santa comes around on a fire engine to give presents to the kids.  There's always amazing food and lots of fun memories!
5.  What was your first car?   My first car was a black Chevy Cavalier that I bought a few days before I took my driver's test.
6.  What do you like to do in your free time?  I love reading - especially at the beach or pool!  I also love listening to live music, trying new recipes and visiting new places!
7.  When did you start blogging?  I have spent much of the past year looking at all the amazing ideas other teachers have posted, but I just started my own blog about three weeks ago!
8.  Have you always taught the grade you teach now?  I taught first grade my first year teaching, but I desperately wanted to be back in Kindergarten (the grade I interned in).  I spent a year as an associate teacher in a Kindergarten class before moving back to first grade in a new school this year.  At first I was a little disappointed to be leave Kindergarten, but I was pleasantly surprised to find out that I actually LOVE first grade.  I don't know if it's my students, my school or my amazing first grade team, but I am so happy with where I ended up!
9.  Do you prefer books on electronics (ipads/nooks/kindles) or reading a real book?  I love my Kindle, but there is nothing like holding a real book in your hands!  I also love being about ot add new books to my bookshelves (yes-bookshelves, as in more than one, and all three of them are overflowing)!
10.  Have you ever taught in another state or country than where you teach now?  No, I've been teaching in Florida all three years.  But I would like to teach somewhere else eventually - Nashville maybe!
11.  Who do you most admire?  Rose Kennedy.  I was always intrigued by the Kennedy family, but after reading a biography about Rose in middle school, I was so impressed by the woman who held that family together.  I admire her faith and the grace she had, despite all the tragedy she endured.

The questions for my nominees:
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?

And my nominees are:
1.  Coloring Outside the Lines
2.  The Teacher Garden
3.  Oceans of Fun in Grade 1!
4.  The REAL Teachers of Orange County
5.  First Grade and Fearless
6.  For the love of teaching...
7.  Grade One Fun
8.  Kick Starting Kindergarten
9.  Leading and Reading
10.  Sliding into First
11.  WILD About First Grade

Be sure to leave a link in my comments after you have posted your answer!

Thursday, November 22, 2012

Happy Thanksgiving...Now on to Christmas!!!

I am so happy to be blogging from my home sweet home - New Jersey!  On Tuesday morning I decided to make the 14 hour trip home for Thanksgiving!  So after a fun-filled day at work (complete with a turkey scavenger hunt and a Charlie Brown Thanksgiving feast!), I went home, took a cat-nap, loaded Sage in the car, and headed up north!  I am so glad I made the trip!  I love seeing my family, and I absolutely LOVE the weather!!!  No matter how long I live in Florida, I don't think I'll ever get used to celebrating Thanksgiving when it's 70 degrees outside!

I am definitely enjoying my time off, but like most teachers, my mind is still on school!  I've been busy working on my Holly Jolly Christmas Mini-Unit!  I still have a few more activities that I am putting together, but I wanted to share a freebie in the meantime.  On Monday my class will be jumping in to common and proper nouns - I can't wait to let them use this Christmas-themed noun sort during Word Work!  Click here for your copy!

Now I'm off to get some rest so I can head out to the stores for some Black Friday shopping tomorrow!!!

Friday, November 16, 2012

New blog design!!!

All I can say is...WOW!!!  I have to give a huge THANK YOU to Christi Fultz from Ms. Fultz's Corner for my AMAZING new blog design!  I followed Christi's teaching blog, which led me to her blog design webpage Design by Christi.  When I finally decided to start blogging, I thought it would be cute to have my blog match the ocean theme I have in my classroom.  I never dreamed it would look this cute!  If you are looking for a new blog design, I highly recommend you check out Design by Christi!  And be sure to check out her teaching blog for great classroom resources, too!
Ms. Fultz's corner

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Thankful turkeys and my very first linky party

We spent the last two days talking about the meaning of Thanksgiving and all the things we are thankful for before gearing up for our mini-unit on the First Thanksgiving - which is one of my favorite things to teach!  Here are a few of the thankful turkeys we made today!

Now, on to my very first linky party!!!!! I am linking up with Miss Kindergarten for her teaching tip linky party!  

One tip I have, especially for new teachers, is don't be afraid to ask for help.  No one expects you to be superwoman all the time (just most of the time!).  There is no shame in asking a more experienced teacher for ideas or suggestions.  And don't be afraid to share ideas of your own!  I held back a lot my first year teaching because I thought the other teachers who had been teaching for so much longer than I had probably didn't need suggestions from a newbie.  But a good teacher never stops learning, and you will find that the best teachers are constantly looking for ways to sharpen their saw!

Another tip I have is something I use to supplement my behavior management plan for some of my more, let's say, challenging students.  I'm sure everyone's had one of those little friends can't seem to sit still on the carpet.  Or keep their hands to themselves.  Or raise their hand before they answer a question.  Or a combination of the three.  I had a little friend like that and no amount of silent lunch, notes home, or missed recess seemed to break him of his bad habits.  So I gave him a Post-it note to put on his desk.  And each time I had to remind him to sit still, keep his hands to himself, or raise his hand, he had to give himself a tally mark (also a great way to reinforce a skill he was struggling with!!).  When it was time for recess he had to count up his tally marks, and he had to do a lap around the fence for each tally mark he had.  It was a great way for him to take ownership of his behavior, and he quickly discovered that the less tally marks he had, the less recess he would miss. 

My final tip is one I have implemented this year to help my students with punctuation and capitalization in their writing.  The group I have this year is doing a fabulous job writing stories, but they are lazy when it comes to the mechanics.  I pick writing assignments at random to check for proper punctuation and capitalization.  I use one color marker to make corrections, and then I use a yellow marker to circle all the places they have use correct punctuation and capitalization.  I write the number of yellow circles in the corner of the paper, and they can pick that many Skittles from the treat jar.  My kiddos absolutely love it!  It started out as way to get them to edit their work, but now they have realized the more sentences they write the more chances they have for correct punctuation and capitalization!  Their writing gets longer every day!

I hope you find some of these tips helpful! Don't forget to visit Miss Kindergarten's blog to link up and check out the other amazing tips teachers have left! 

Monday, November 12, 2012

Slightly addicted and an AMAZING GIVEAWAY!

Well, it’s been three days since I decided to start blogging and I must say - I'm addicted!  When my alarm (that I forgot to turn off) starting blaring in my ear at 5:05 am, I was shaken from a dream about blogging.  THAT is how I know I'm addicted!  I could not fall back to sleep, so I took Sage (the sweetest puppy ever - you'll hear lots about her, I guarantee!) outside and then turned on my computer.  When what to my wondering eyes should appear, but 50 downloads for my Thanksgiving venn diagrams!  I was inspired to add more activities to make a Thanksgiving Mini-Unit!  You can find the mini-unit here!  Now I am hard at work on a Gingerbread Mini-Unit!  You know you have chosen the right profession when your job isn't just a job, but a hobby too! 
In other news, during my daily blog stalking this morning, I stumbled upon this AMAZING GIVEAWAY from Lisa over at Growing Firsties!!! 

I don't know about you, but my kiddos cannot get enough of Pete the Cat.  They love Pete the Cat so much, they took it upon themselves to make a list of who gets to borrow the book from the classroom library each week.  I know this because I had to consult the list to borrow the book from a student to teach a lesson on verbs, and I thought she was going to cry when I asked for it.  "But Miss Watters, I'm still reading it," she said, lip quivering and all!  Then she kept glancing at it while she was working, like someone might run up and take it from table.  I have never seen a child as relieved as she was when I gave it back! 
But, as fantastic as Pete the Cat is, that is not the best part of this giveaway!  Lisa is going to donate money for Hurricane Sandy Relief!  As a New Jersey native, I am so thankful for Lisa and everyone else out there donating their hard earned money to support such a worthy cause.  I live almost 1000 miles away from my home state now, but the pictures of the devastation are unbelievable.  So many people in the northeast were affected by the storm, and every little bit helps!  Be sure to visit Lisa's blog and enter for your chance to win - and thank her for her help!
Happy Teaching! J Lindsay

Sunday, November 11, 2012

Thanksgiving and my first FREEBIE!!

This morning I looked at the calendar and realized I only have 6 school days until Thanksgiving break!  6 DAYS!!  Of course I’m excited for the break (and the cranberry sauce) but now I have to figure out a way to squeeze all my fun Thanksgiving lessons into just 6 days.  I absolutely LOVE teaching about the first Thanksgiving!  One of my favorite books is "Thanksgiving on Plymouth Plantation" by Diane Stanley.
Product Details
Have you read this one?  I just love it!  This book paints such a clear picture of the first Thanksgiving and what life was like for the Pilgrims and Native Americans.  The two main characters travel back in time with their grandmother where they meet Governor Bradford and Squanto, and celebrate the first Thanksgiving with them. 
I can't wait to use this book to reinforce compare and contrast with my kiddos!  I have made three venn diagrams to compare and contrast Native Americans and Pilgrims, Native American children and children today, and Pilgrim children and children today.  And I am so excited to be posting them today as my first freebie!!!  Click here for your copies. 
As I mentioned earlier my personal favorite part of Thanksgiving (aside from seeing my family and friends who live oh so far away in New Jersey) is the cranberry sauce!  And not the fancy homemade kind either.  No way. I'm talking about the no fuss, open the can and it's ready cranberry sauce.  I have no idea how or why I developed such a love for cranberry sauce, but it has been my favorite part of Thanksgiving dinner for as long as I can remember!  I stock up every November (don't ask me why - in case there is ever a cranberry sauce shortage, I guess).  And my family is nice enough to let me have one whole bowl of cranberry sauce to myself!
Tell me what you love about Thanksgiving!  What books do you love to use to teach about Thanksgiving?  Do you have a favorite Thanksgiving dinner dish? 

Happy Teaching! J Lindsay



Saturday, November 10, 2012

Diving In!

Welcome to my blog!  I’m a first grade teacher in north Florida who has spent the past week trying to decide if I could actually create a blog that other people would read and possibly like!  Finally I decided to take the advice I give out all day long dive right in, you’ll never know until you try! 

With that being said here’s a little bit about me - I am in my third year of teaching at my third school.  That’s right three schools in three years!  My first two years were filled with many, let’s say, experiences.  Some of these experiences were wonderful, others not so much, but each one taught me a valuable lesson.  (For example, you never know how fast you can move until a student puts a pair of scissors in their mouth!)  I was a teacher at a private school and then an associate teacher in the public school system, and if I’m being honest - neither one was my dream job.  But after two years and countless interviews, I finally have my very own class in the public school system I worked so hard to get into!  If I were in show business, I guess you would call this my big break!!!

I spent the better part of my college years and my first two years teaching thinking Kindergarten was the place for me.  Even during my first year teaching, which was in a first grade class.  Scratch that ESPECIALLY during my first year teaching, which was in a first grade class!  I thought I belonged in Kindergarten right up until August 20th of this year, when 18 first graders walked through my door and proved me wrong!  It didn’t take me long to realize that first grade is fin-tastic (as we say in Miss Watters’ class)! 

I’ve looked at various teaching blogs here and there over the last few years, but I guess you could say I’ve reached “blog stalker” status since the beginning of this school year.  I have found so many great ideas that have helped me out tremendously especially with our new common core standards.  I can honestly say, between Common Core, jumping into the Daily 5 this year and all the amazing ideas other teachers share on their blogs, I have completely changed the way I teach.  I have pretty much let go of the textbooks that no longer align with our standards, and instead use activities that I have created or seen on one of the fabulous blogs I follow.  It has made teaching so much more fun!  This blog is definitely a work in progress, but I am excited to share my ideas with you! I guess it’s time to dive in!!!

Happy Teaching! J Lindsay