Saturday, November 30, 2013

Cyber Monday and Tuesday Sale!

I am going to start my sale a little early and put everything on sale this afternoon.  I will be offering 20% off and TPT will offer another 10% off that Monday and Tuesday. Be sure to use the code "CYBER" to get the full discount!  I also posted a few new products, so be sure to take a peek.  



Sunday, November 3, 2013

Writers' Workshop Unit 2 - Personal Narrative

I'm alive!  What a whirlwind this school year has been!  We have gone through a variety of changes and they are still coming!  Our school is getting a new third grade teacher this week.  Can you imagine having your class shuffled 10 weeks in?  We are trying desperately to get into a routine in our building and it just keeps slipping out of our grasp.  

I finally snuck in some time to work on items for TPT and uploaded my second Writers' Workshop Unit - Personal Narrative.  I am so excited to have it done!  Hopefully, I can work on unit three and get it uploaded before Thanksgiving!

I love fall!  This is the first fall in Oklahoma in the last few years that has actually happened.  The grass is green, the air is crisp, and the trees are beautiful.  Normally, everything is dead from our hot, dry summer and it leads to a gloomy winter with not much of a transition.  Last year, we didn't even have measurable snow.  Maybe, I can sneak my kids outside for some extra recess this week.



Wednesday, October 23, 2013

MAP or MPG Testing Anyone????

Does anyone else out there use MAP or MPG testing in their district? This is our district's first year with it and I was just wondering what your school did with the information. How do they use it? Do the projected scores normally align with the actual scores at the end of the year?

For those of you that don't know what it is, it is a standardized test that even our little kindergarteners have to take and it tells you where they are, where the rest of the district is, and where they predict they will be at the end of the year. As beneficial as it sounds, they are talking about basing our evaluations on the test and the reports still need some work before they are user friendly. Let's just say we are coping with it the best we can.

Sunday, September 15, 2013

Catching Up and Newsletter Templates

Ugh!  The weekend is almost over!  We have the busiest fall ever and it starts this week!  Between catering events, work trips, family visiting, and horse shows, my hubby and I will hardly see each other for the next 8 weeks.

We have been assessing our poor kiddos at school to death.  They have our "normal" assessments (running records, literacy assessments, etc.) and then our district adopted a new math and reading assessment and a new reading program which includes its own assessment.  The poor kiddos are sick of taking tests!  The computer is no longer "fun".  All of these assessments keep screaming the same dreaded information, our kiddos need every ounce of our attention this year.  We have been meeting as a team to adapt and modify our expectations and activities as much as possible.  We are feeling as defeated as our kiddos are.
Hopefully, everything starts to turn around with all of these accomodations.  

We survived Back To School Night!  Almost half of my families showed up which is better than what my teammates had.

On a lighter note, I have been working away on a set of 22 Newsletter Templates!  They cover a variety of themes including:

*Back To School
*Fall
*Halloween*Thanksgiving*Christmas*Winter*Valentine's Day*St. Patrick's Day*Easter*Rainy Day*Spring*Summer*Monsters*Circus*Pirates*Owls*Space*Superheroes*Movies*Kids Playing Outside*Western*Farm

Make sure you check them out!



Monday, September 2, 2013

First Full Week Done!

We made it!  We survived our first full week.  Now if only the rest of the year can keep getting better!  We definitely have our hands full this year.  You know how some groups of kiddos have a reputation?  This is one of those groups.  I have three known "runners" hopefully they don't all decide to act up at the same time or we will all be in trouble.  The first grade teachers will win!  We will have a good year whether the kiddos do or not!  I already had to send a note home with my kiddos about homework because so many kiddos didn't turn it on Friday.  It makes me sad that I can't get one piece of paper back for the whole week.  Oh well, their grades will reflect it.

The first grade team is already making a huge change in our plan for math.  Our kiddos are just not ready to start Everyday Math.  Our district has adopted the Engage NY lessons, however we are not ready to throw Everyday Math out the window and jump into Engage NY.  To be honest, our kids aren't ready to start Engage NY either.  My teammate did a little research and discovered Kuske Math.  Check out their website and search for their videos on YouTube.  Trust me it's worth it!  The videos are not fancy, however the kids love them and are already having "lightbulb" moments.  Each video is less than 10 minutes long and goes nice and slow.  This is where our kiddos are.  This is where we need to start.  So our new plan is to try to catch them up with Kuske during the month of September and then jump into EDM and supplement with Engage NY.  Yes, it is a lot, but we have to create a rigorous program to fill in the gaps.  For right now, guided math groups will not exist because we just can't go low enough and cover everything they need to know.  Maybe in a few months we can back off a little bit, but for now we have to push.

Friday, August 16, 2013

I am baaaack!!!!

I am back, school is back, and so is the famous TPT Back to School Sale!

I am so sorry that I abandoned all of you for the summer!  However, I am back and ready for the new school year!  I spent the summer working horse shows in Colorado. It was amazing!  The view was unbelievable!  Pictures will be added soon!

I ended up doing a number of custom orders for TPT this summer.  I am excited people were so brave and asked if I could help them!  Many of these custom orders came about because of my center signs.  It seems like teachers are not only using them for centers, but also general locations around the room, and even as a visual schedule!  I love your creativity!  Make sure you check out my center signs if you don't have them yet!


Don't miss out on the famous TPT Back to School Sale!  I am offering 20% off everything Sunday and Monday and TPT is offering another 10% off by using promo code BTS13 which means you will get 28% off the original prices!  Now is a great time to scoop up everything you might need to get your year started!




Sunday, May 5, 2013

Teacher Appreciation Week Sale! New Products Added!


I will be offering 20% off my products Monday-Friday!  Join in the fun and scoop up some great materials!

I have posted a variety of new products!  Make sure you check them out!

          










Monday, April 15, 2013

Love...According To A 7 Year Old

"Love is caring, hoping, and growing. Love is wisdom and sharing feelings. Love is dreaming and healing."

Yes, one of my kiddos wrote that!  No, seriously!  He did!  He just turned 7 last week!  

We finished up our report unit a little early so I wrote "Love is..." on the board and sat back to see what would happen.  I had the typical "Love is when mommy makes breakfast."  "Love is hugs and kisses."  And then...I got that darling little number up top.  The only thing I helped him with (when it was already done) was a stray period and removing that pesky silent e in the words caring, hoping, and sharing.

What 7 year old uses the word wisdom?!  He is such a cool kid!  


Friday, April 12, 2013

Indoor Recess Bliss

I may teach first grade, but our lives are still impacted by state testing.  Our gym/music schedule got flip-flopped for the next two weeks, which means ours is now in the morning.  This also means that we get 3 hours of non-stop quality time with our darlings in the afternoon.  That is a looooooooooooong time to be stuck in our rooms.  My kiddos do their best work in the morning, that's how I get so much out of reading and math centers.  Did I mention a storm rolled through Monday and it has been raining and cold ever since?    This adds to the dilemma because we have had indoor recess.  There are less than 30 days of school left, our kiddos are done, and now you expect us to be locked in our rooms?!!!  No thank you!

Pinterest to the rescue!  I found Adventure to Fitness.  It is free to sign up and there are dozens of animated videos for the kids to watch and "workout" to.  There is a guy, "Mr. Marc", who is filmed against a green screen navigating through various locations.  The kids have to run, hop, jump, and climb their way through the adventure. The videos are about 30 minutes long and the kids are exhausted when it's over.  Yesterday, we traveled through a volcano and today we were chased by dinosaurs. The best part is that they give facts about the topic along the way.   I didn't allow my kids to get loud, however I'm sure the kindergarten room, below us, didn't appreciate our stomping feet.  Oh well, what are you going to do?

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Fractionpillars & Text Mapping

We have been sooo busy!  We began discussing fractions in math and did this cute activity to go along with it.  You can grab the paper from The First Grade Parade.  Cara's blog is fabulous!


Text Mapping

In reading, we have been focusing on non-fiction text features.  Our students are required to know: table of contents, photographs, illustrations, bold words, and headings by the end of first grade.  We worked hard on it for 20 days and then did this awesome activity to summarize what we had learned.  It is called Text Mapping.  You can find out more about it here.  We copied 6 non-fiction books and taped each one into a long scroll.  We then went to the gym to lay it out and start our scavenger hunt.  We "mapped" or circled/highlighted each text feature in a different color.  The first day we only worked on one book.  The next day we headed back to the gym and got into teams of 4.  Each team had their own book to map.  I called out a color and a text feature and they worked as a team to find all of them.  It was neat to hear all of those "big kid" words being used. "No, that picture looks real, it's a photograph.  We need to find illustrations."  

I took one of our books and cut it in half to display it in the hall.
 

I created a color coded chart to display with it so that our fellow students and teachers knew what we were working on.


Yes, I know these books are not "first grade friendly".  However, our focus for this activity was on the text features, not on comprehending what we were reading.  Comprehension of non-fiction books occurs during small groups and the previous 20 days of this unit.  ;-)


Wednesday, April 3, 2013

New Social Studies Curriculum!

Our district switched up the schedule and decided to adopt S.S. curriculum this year.  After a very long voting process, we got the final results...Social Studies Weekly.

Check them out here:  http://www.studiesweekly.com/

I can't wait to use them!  It feels like a huge weight has been lifted off of our shoulders.   We got new S.S. standards last year and we have been trying to scramble to figure them out.  Now, everything will be short and sweet!  These work just like a Scholastic News.  No more big text books that weigh almost as much as my kiddos.  Each week is aligned to our state standards and includes online resources, graphic organizers, activities, etc.  It's super kid friendly and eye appealing!

Sunday, March 31, 2013

Foam Centers and Bubbles

It is a sad, sad time, in our building right now...no more colored ink for the printers.  What kiddo wants to play with black and white centers these days?  I'm not about to sit there and color each game piece.  Thanks to an idea from Pinterest and a little Easter gift from my teammate, we are trying out a new idea.  Foam centers!  Yes, it means I have to write out the cards, but no laminating and no cutting!  (I am trying really hard not to obsess about my ugly handwriting!)



Check out the new math and literacy centers I just posted!



Monday, March 18, 2013

Spring Break? How about TPT catch-up?

Apparently, I'm on spring break.  Who knew?  I have been working like crazy on a variety of fun stuff for TPT!

I have been contemplating posting my reading and writing units for some time now and finally decided to dive right in.  Here is the first writing unit!  I am so excited and feel like a weight has been lifted off of my shoulders!


  

     






It is 10:30 at night and I rode 4 horses today.  Even the dog is begging me to go to bed.  Good night!



Saturday, March 16, 2013

Symmetry and Sundaes

 Our principal agreed to let his beard grow all year long and the top readers from each room would get to shave it off.  Our kiddos quickly passed the goal that had been set, so our P.E. teacher graciously volunteered to turn herself into an ice cream sundae as well.  The kids LOVED it!  It was so much fun to watch!  This year has been rather stressful due to a lot of changes happening, common core, administrators, etc.  We needed an afternoon of fun more than anyone could ever realize.
 We just finished up our unit on geometry and the final lesson is about symmetry.  We made these symmetry monsters to help make the concept more concrete.  I folded a piece of card stock in half and cut out a random "blob" shape.  The kiddos came up and used popsicle sticks to dab paint on one side of the fold.  They folded the shape in half and rubbed to spread the paint.  Once they were dry, we added some eyes and voila!  I saw symmetry butterflies online, but with the majority of my class being boys, I thought monsters might be better.




Sunday, March 3, 2013

St. Patrick's Day and Reading A-Z

I have a tendency to assume that I am the last to hear about anything, which makes it hard for me to come up with blog posts.  I have decided to just share anyways, because maybe you forgot about some of these resources.  One of my favorite websites is www.readinga-z.com.  It is a paid site, but you can sign up for a free trial.  The company has put together 30+ books for each guided reading level.  They also have books for fluency, phonics skills, sight words, and nursery rhymes.  Books range from Kindergarten all the way to 5th grade.  All books are available in PDF format.

I had to combine March and April for my writing center because of Easter jumping around between the two months.  I didn't want people to be upset if they got Easter material in both.  So I made one big pack.


  

 

St. Patrick's Day is quickly approaching so I made a few things that might help you out.  "Unfortunately" our school will be on Spring Break for this holiday, but I think I will get over it. :-)