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! :)