Friday, August 30, 2013

An Apple a Day...

This week we studies TALL tales...  A whole lotta John Henry, Johnny Appleseed, Annie Oakley, etc.  We had lots of writing opportunities, videos on You Tube, reading short stories... you get the point.  For my kiddos I think that eating apples Johnny Appleseed style and graphing our favorites was the highlight of the week for sure.

I gave each kidlet a few slices of red and a few slices of green and didn't give ANY directions other than "EAT!!!"... I walked around and snapped a few pictures and heard them saying "juicy" "sweet" "sour"... lots of great describing words and my teacher heart swelled with pride!  :)  When they were done I called each kiddo up one at a time and whispered, "Which one did you like the best?  Red or green?"  They were so excited to tell me their choice and they whispered quietly in my ear and I noted their response.  I have discovered I get better results if I ask them to whisper vote.  Firsties are easily swayed by their peers... and if one of the cool kids said red... well, let's just say the other 21 would probably follow suit.
We met on the carpet and tallied our results:
A tie!?!!?!  Who knew?!?!?!  
Each kiddo tallied the results on their page, graphed the results, and answered questions to check their understanding.  Once we were done... we Clorox wiped our desks {ain't nobody got time for sticky apple desks!}... then headed back to the carpet to watch Disney's American Legends movie....  kidlet heaven!  
If you need Johnny Appleseed resources... check out my mini-pack on TpT.  The graphing activity is in there as well as math and grammar sheets.  One of my favorites is a writing activity asking the kiddos to write the "Best Apple Pie Recipe EVER"...  click below for the link!  
I hope that y'all had a great week with your kiddos... but more importantly... that you will enjoy the LONG weekend!  No Sunday blues for us!!!  Woot!  Talk to y'all soon!  

Saturday, August 24, 2013

Follow the Yellow Brick Road

Happy Saturday!!!  If you're reading this... you have survived the week... and that's exciting!  Yesterday we had a Wizard of Oz celebration at school with our firsties... all 6 classes... and it was a-mah-zing!  I can't wait to share our day with you (mostly in pictures), offer you a freebie, and a chance to win 4 units and some Starbucks money {be sure to read all the way to the bottom!!!}
Since the first full week of school we have been reading The Wizard of Oz aloud to our students... and doing lots of character analysis, writing, graphing, etc.  I used my Melonheadz Wizard of Oz pack and blew them up poster sized to use in the classroom and finally out in the hallway with our student work!
I used the same Melonheadz graphics to create tshirts for the first grade teachers using Avery transfer sheets.  Here we are (minus 1) out at recess duty!  Wait,  where are all the kids? :)  I also bought some sparkly red Toms this spring and have been saving them especially for this unit!  I printed invitations to send home to the parents asking them to come join us and we had 49 first grade parents come yesterday and that was really cool to see!  One parent even showed up with Oz goodies to share.  How cute is that poem that she stapled to fun size bags of Skittles!?!
For snacks: bugles (cyclones), animal crackers (lions, tigers, & bears... oh my), & rice krispy treats (w/ yellow sugar).  Drink choices: blue Hawaiian Punch (munchkin punch) or green Hawaiian Punch (Wicked Witch's Brew). Shout out to my friend Tara for helping with some last minute creative name generating!
Even our librarian wanted in on the action.  She dressed up and visited each classroom after the movie for pictures.  When she left my room... she stole my stuffed Toto and I had to go retrieve him at the end of the day!  The kids and the parents really loved our day...and I have to say... I had the best time putting it together in my room.  Our next unit read aloud is Charlie and the Chocolate Factory!  Guess who is already scheming planning!?!?!
You guys already know that I have a few Wizard of Oz packs in my TpT store and obviously we just used those in my room the last few weeks.  If you keep scrolling to the end of this post... you will have the chance to win both of them... and MORE!  Want the party printables for FREE?  Thought you might say yes.  You can find them by clicking on the picture below!

I am joining forces today with one of my blogging besties {yes, it's a thing!} Katie from Teacher to the Core and we are posting together over at Primary Chalkboard.  We decided to do something fun(ny) and fabulous to introduce ourselves.  I have loved Katie for a long time... y'all wouldn't believe how sweet and diligently she prayed for me when I lost my sweet Frances.  We're talking page long prayers, y'all!!!  She is the real deal and I am lucky to call her my friend!  So...  check out our post and be sure to leave us some love!  We decided it would be really fun to do a giveaway to celebrate!  Check out the rafflecopter to win 4 FREE packs from us... plus a $10 Starbucks gift card.  She is doing the same giveaway on her blog so you have double the chances to win.  Here is what she is giving the winner!!!
 {click the pictures to view descriptions on TpT}
The rafflecopter will end on Monday at 6pm (Eastern time) so enter NOW for your chance to win.  I hope that y'all are having an amazing weekend so far and that it will go by SUPER slooooooooow!  Remember to check out our Primary Chalkboard post {there are freebies on our post there, too!} and good luck on the giveaway!  Talk to y'all soon!  
a Rafflecopter giveaway

Saturday, August 17, 2013

Back to School... Hey, I Thought You Already Did That?!?!

I am so flippin' excited to be linking up with Christina over at Bunting, Books, and Bainbridge for her Best and Most linky party!  I wasn't actually voted the most or best of anything in high school... I was way too busy working to be doing anything else... work, work, and work some more!  Also... have you heard?  The Back to School sale is starting this weekend over at TpT!  Seems kinda funny to say since my kidlets' first day was August 1st! ;)

Teacher's pet: This is my FREE Donors Choose guide.  I truly believe that every teacher who is able to sign up should give Donors Choose a try.  It has changed my classroom so very much over the last few years.  I also donate to my own projects from time to time... and any money I donate on DC is tax deductible!

Most likely to help your students succeed:  I chose my African American pack.  It is versatile enough to be used all year long... not sure February.  There are reading passages, mini foldable books, comprehension questions, coloring pages, and more!

Best couple:  My 2 Wizard of Oz packs... they really go hand in hand.  The Lions, Tigers, and Bears pack is content heavy.... and the graphtivity is a pack that mixes math, writing, and art all together.  It also makes one FAB bulletin board display when the kidlets are done!

Don't forget to use the code BTS13 to receive up to 28% off during the sale!  I plan on clearing out my wishlist...  I ... can't.... wait!  I hope that y'all are having a great weekend so far... talk to y'all soon!

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

OMG... The Primary Chalkboard is LIVE

I am so very excited to announce the launch of a new collaborate effort with some of my bloggy besties.  Today is the launch of the Primary Chalkboard!!!  We are a collaborative blog focusing on first and second grade... and man on man... do we have some exciting things up our sleeves!
Are you looking for a quick print resource?  This eBook has 20 quick print sheets for the first few months to ease your transition back to school.  Seriously... open the eBook and all you have to do is click PRINT.  OH... and it's FREE {what... what!!!}
While you're there tomorrow... be sure to enter our giveaway.  We're giving away gift certificates to TpT and also to Erin Condren!  You'll also be able to find each one of the Chalkies and read each one of our BLISSFUL Back to School tips!
I hope that you are having a great Wednesday so far... but let's be real... how many more days until Friday?!?!  Oh... and I also started a FB page for Funky Fresh Firsties.  I've been blogging for a year and not sure why it took me so long to do it {promise I don't have commitment issues}... You can find me easily by clicking HERE!!!  One more thing... in other fabulous news... I have decided to do laser hair removal on my entire body!  Bwahaha... just joking!  Although I did start the process on my underarms!  I am so pumped that soon... very soon... I will never need to shave AGAIN!  Also... they put you in a cool, quiet room where there are no children... that was an added bonus and I didn't even have to pay extra for that!!!  Have you ever done anything like that for yourself?  OK... really... go check out the Primary Chalkboard and let me know what you think!!!  Talk to y'all soon!!!

Monday, August 12, 2013

Teacher Week '13: Let's Talk About Me Monday

I'm linking up with Blog Hopin' for Teacher Week '13 today...  and today is Meet the Teacher Day... yippee!  So... 10 things you don't know about me?  This could get interesting! :)  In no certain order... and I'm diggin' deep to try to come up with stuff y'all might not already know!
1)  I went into labor with my 2nd kidlet {M2} at school.  Yep, water broke AT school.  I was teaching a lesson on graphing.  I would go by and tap one of my 4th graders every time I had a contraction and she would write down the time.  When they went to specials (I still have this list of times) @845, I called the dr office... our bookkeeper had to drive me... and I was almost 8cm when I got there!

2)  During my hospital stay mentioned above I contracted MRSA and without being too dramatic... I kinda almost died.  There... I said it.  I had to have emergency surgery and a very lengthy hospital stay.  I had M2 on February 1st... I came home for good from the hospital on February 15th (my bday).   Here's a picture of the 2 of us a few weeks after I got to come home!  (his rolls had rolls...  man, I love chunky babies!)

3)  I love almost any and all rap and r&b music from the 90s.  I can sing along almost instantly when the music comes on.  I like to go on solo grocery trips after my boys are in the bed so that I can blast my old school music.  LOVE: Boyz II Men, Jodeci, LL Cool J, Will Smith, Mary J. Blige, Vanilla Ice, Beastie Boys... I could go on and on FOREVER!!!

4)I managed an ice cream/sandwich shop in college which is where I met the hubs.  I had worked there since high school.  He was going to be our new food service guy.  He walked in and I thought he was cute... but thought he was old.  He thought I was cute, but too young.  Two of the ladies at worked hooked us up on a date and told each of us that the other person was very interested.... So... we sat on our first date thinking that the other person was smitten...bwahaha!  We ate Mexican... and it was the first time I had ever had Mexican food!  Can you believe it?  This picture was taken not long after we got married... and that was a LONG time ago.  Man... I wish I could look like that again!  This was at Joe's Stone Crab in Miami (nom nom nom)
5)  I don't really like chocolate.  Every once in awhile I will grab a Hershey's kiss... but as a general rule... I could have jars of chocolate in my classroom and it would go untouched by me.  

6)  I have 2 pecan trees in my backyard... and I am obsessed with them.  In fact... come October/November... I come home from school and head straight outside to start picking up the pecans that have fallen that day.  I am always in charge of the sweet potato souffle @ Thanksgiving dinner... and it makes me stupidly giddy to know that I am using my OWN pecans.  I don't know why... don't judge me!  

7)  I love anything with anchors.  It is a reminder of my faith.  This year REALLY rocked my life.  When I delivered Frances... I went through a hard time dealing with uncontrollable anger at God.  In fact... I would say that the anger was actually directed at everything and anything.  It all still doesn't make sense, but I am happy to say that the uncontrollable anger is gone... I don't know what God's plan is for our family's future.  I don't know if we'll have more children.... but I do feel more equipped to help other women who are experiencing the same loss/grief!
8)  I was born in east TN to VERY young teenage parents *my mom was 15 when she got pregnant.  My parents got married a few months before I was born.  My dad joined the army and was at basic training when I was born.  I grew up as an army brat... I lived in Germany for 8 years.  I also lived in Georgia, Kentucky, Tennessee, and Colorado, and South Carolina!  Here's a picture I snapped on a recent trip to visit family.

9)  So... if you've been a reader for awhile... you know that I am allergic to guinea pigs {poor Lulu} and you saw THOSE pictures... so tragic!!!  BUT... I am also allergic to: grass, weeds, mold, pollen, trees, citric acid, shrimp, pork, soy... and countless other things.  I like to think I'm offering entertainment for my family!  Well, I love the taste of watermelon, but of course... ALLERGIC.  Every summer I try some... just in the hopes that maybe I've outgrown the allergy.  This was after my last try... whatcha think?

10)  I love BINGO... not even gonna lie.  They have bingo here in our town on Tuesday nights.... I haven't gotten to go in quite some time.... BUT I LOVE IT!!!  Again, don't judge me!

I can't wait to hear more about you... if you're a blogger be sure to link up!  Did I include anything that surprised you?  Hope y'all had an awesome Monday... how much longer until the weekend?  Talk to y'all soon!

Saturday, August 10, 2013

Home Sweet Home (errrr....Classroom)

Captain's log: the teachers here have survived 7 days of school.  There are 173 days of school left until summer break 2014 {that's approx 1,384 work hours).  There may be secret countdown calendars strategically placed around school to keep the teachers motivated!

Seriously... I am done with the first 7 days.  This is my 12th time doing back to school... so I can say with confidence... there ain't NO kind of tired like BACK TO SCHOOL tired.  Well, maybe except 1st trimester preggers tired... that can also kick your patootie.  I didn't have to change classrooms this year and when I left in May I felt really cocky good about back to school.  When I went back on July 25th... I was wondering what the heck I had been thinking in May.  I had SO stinkin' much to do before school started!  {sigh}  Lucky for me the hubs knows the drill.  He came home early almost everyday so that I could stay late in my room or go over the weekend(s).  He brought dallies (sp?) from work to help move bookcases and helped me put some of my IKEA purchases together.  Isn't it weird that no matter how many hours you put in... it still doesn't ever feel "finished"?!?!?  I didn't decorate with a specific theme this year, but I did try to go with a certain color scheme of sorts.  I realized that I had a lot of tealish blue and lime green in my room... then I found this picture and my brain EXPLODED!!!
So... armed with a picture, Pinterest, and a penchant for drama {but Eddie... I HAVE to go to IKEA or my classroom will suck!!!!!)... I set out on my mission!  I would like to apologize in advance for the long post, but I tried to capture all my favorite pieces and parts.  Hope you enjoy!!!
Easy enough... this is the burlap anchor hanging on my classroom door!  A very sweet co-worker (my school mom of sorts) made this for me the week that Frances was supposed to be born.  We aren't allowed to have biblical verses, etc. in our rooms... but this cross is a visual representation of my favorite verse! {Hebrews 6:19}  I go in and out of that door so often... what a comfort!

Also outside of my classroom door is my No Peanuts sign.  I downloaded it from The First Grade Parade, laminated it, then bordered it with chevron to make it more noticeable to any peeps coming in!  One of my little dudes has a SEVERE peanut allergy and I should be wearing a cape... because I am vigilant here people!!!

As soon as you come in...  I have a bulletin board that spans the whole entire wall.  I broke it into three pieces visually by doing red, black in middle, and red on the right!  The first one is our What's Goin' On board...where I post a calendar, breakfast/lunch menus, study guides for each one of my reading groups, invitations to community events, etc.
My numbered book boxes sit on top of the shelf.  Underneath the shelf is where the kiddos hang their book bags.  I found that I needed to be in charge of that space... otherwise it because a catch all for my stuff and all their stuff, too!
Here are the hooks under the bookshelf.  I used my Silhouette to cut numbers out of polka dot contact paper to number the hooks.  The first day of school I had like 3 girls all bring pink Hello Kitty book bags.  You get where I'm going with this?!?!  Yes, HUGE tears... "She STOLE my book bag!!!"  Problem solved.  Voila!
Here's a pic before I numbered the hooks.  Their nametags were hanging there during open house.  I bought the clear nametags and lanyards from Office Max and use my leftover pieces of chevron border inside.  Whenever I put up bulletin boards I always end up with crazy size pieces left over... so this was a definite WIN!!!
I think I may have an issue with numbering things that I haven't noticed until typing this post!  Hmmmmmm, making a mental note...  stop numbering ALL the things!  OK...  their desks obviously have nameplates, but I also used the polka dot contact paper to stick their student numbers on, too!  I tried this with black first and it didn't look that great!
Here's my behavior chart system for this school year.  I am using my nifty numbered magnets from Tea and Coffee.
Everyone starts on purple and tries to move towards the top... and down is obviously not where they want to go.  I found it HERE for free if you are looking for something colorful and new in your room!  My firsties are LOVING it so far!!!
Here is my computer table.  I have 4 computers in the back.  There is a lamp and picture on top.  Their login cards are also stored in the base of the lamp for when the poor things forget their login info again and again {and again}.  I scored the sweet computer backgrounds from Reagan Tunstall and you can find them HERE in tons of nifty colors!
Different view of same area...  our daily schedule hangs on left.  Spelling words are usually in the red pocket chart.  Our clock {obviously) and nifty punctuation posters.
Area back by sinks and back door.  I have always had this vinyl poster hanging, but this year I bordered it with chevron and I'm in LOVE!  Also the My First Day of 1st Grade frame that I made last year hanging/waiting patiently for the first day!!!
Front of classroom.  I have a giant whiteboard that stretches almost the length of my classroom.  The SMART Board is in the middle and then I have a right board and a left board to write on.  This side is where I sit for whole group on carpet, etc.  I post my I Can statements onto the laminated scrapbook paper.  My 2 large galvanized tubs hold pillows and clipboards.  This is also where my behavior system (the superheros from above) is housed... I just took this picture before I had it laminated and attached!
 Close up of the galvanized tub.  I had thought about spray painting them, but I ran out of summer!  Who do I need to talk to about making summer longer?

Bought 2 area rugs from Lowe's.  We have always had carpet, but they replaced it with tile this summer.  The thought of not having a soft surface somewhere made my skin CRAWL!  This was an inexpensive way to warm the room up some... and I can vouch for it's comfy-ness!  I may have taken a nap on this carpet {ahem}.
Covered the back of those nasty bookcases with contact paper and border.  I have used that contact paper for so many things it's unbelievable.  At only $3ish... what a great purchase!!!  I found mine at Wal-Mart {boo...hiss} near the college kids stuff that they put out every August.
Full disclosure is OK, right?  Because even though the other areas were starting to take shape... this is what it looked like behind the bookcases on the day of Open House.  My friend Tara and I moved all this stuff to my car so that it wouldn't look like my room should be on an classroom episode of Hoarders!  Yep... sometimes it's nice to see what someone elses's mess looks like... am I right... or am I right?

OK... on to Open House and then I'm gonna call this post a WIN.  Our open house was on Tuesday evening and school started on Thursday... so it was nice to know that I still had some time to rearrange, fix, unpack all this junk from my car, etc.  Here's the last part of my post:
Message for parents... on my UBER cool easel from IKEA.  It was only like $10-$15ish!  I kinda love it!!!  I wonder if it would look weird if I had maybe like 10 more of them?
Every year I lay out EXACTLY what supplies they will need.  I also take a picture and include the picture on the supply list.  This year I had my open house go in stations... and it was much easier to deal with all the traffic. I bought THIS PACK from Tunstall's Tidbits.  It was a life saver fo' sho'!!!  I had 4 stations (1-check in and get folders, 2-supplies, 3-transportation, and 4-meet the teacher and get treats!)

So... last stop for parents and kiddos was the treat table.  I had bags of Goldfish for the kidlets and individual bags of popcorn for the grown ups!  I think the parents were more excited about treats {purely an observation}.   O-fish-ally in 1st grade printable by First Grade Blue Skies.  Thanks for popping in by Magill's Mathletes!
I always print business card magnets from Vistaprint.. but this year I actually had plenty leftover from previous years and I didn't have to order... woohoo!!!
Our grade also handed out first grade website cards with QR codes.  Our principal was impressed!  Open house ended at 6 that night... and I don't even remember the drive home!

I hope that you are enjoying your weekend and that it will go by SUPER slowly.  I'm off to a family cook-out for some R&R.  Talk to y'all soon!!!