My First "Back to School" Purchases for My New First Graders!

About Me

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Welcome! I hope to use this blog to share some of the amazing things my class and school does to make learning fun! I have been teaching for 15 years already! I started teaching 3rd grade in a Parochial School, then I was hired to teach 1st grade for three years, was moved to 5th grade for 2 years, and then came back to 1st grade in the district where I attended school. I love that I'm able to give back the the school district that guided me to become the teacher I am today! I have a Bachelor of Science in Elementary Education, certified 1-8; a Master's Degree in Curriculum and Instruction; and my Administrator License Pre-K-12.

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Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Linky Party

So I'm breaking Blogging Rule more than one post per day...but I found this linky party and I wanted to join in on the fun!

          When I first started blogging this past summer, I joined a few linky parties and they were really kind of fun!  It was a great way to find and meet new teachers and share ideas.   I haven't had the courage to host one myself yet because I don't know all of the ins and outs of them and I had a really hard time this school year keeping up with my own blog but one of my resolutions is to blog and share more!  Anyway, I decided to link up with Kristin @ A Teeny Tiny Teacher and Hadar @ Miss Kindergarten in their "11 in 11" linky party!  (At least I think I linked up correctly...still learning...I only linked myself on Kristin's blog...hope that was right!)

11.  Favorite Movie You Watched 
          My favorite movie this year would have to be Tangled.I's a kid's movie but with three nieces and a nephew under 5 years old, my free time is pretty much spent with them whenever I can.  Tangled was such a great movie and the soundtrack is so much fun.  I have to admit that I'm a little bummed that it's rated PG and I can't show it in my classroom (although I think I could get parent permission...I have a pretty cool group of families this year).  I had big plans for a Rapunzel unit!  (And my nieces were so excited when they got to meet Rapunzel at Disney World this past spring.)  

10.  Favorite TV Series
          Modern Family cracks me up every week!  The dynamics of that family/ funny!

9.  Favorite Restaurant
          Our downtown area is starting to make a revitalization and offer more so that the residents of Sandusky can come downtown for dining, shopping, and entertainment.  There's a few new restaurants in Sandusky, Ohio but Water Street Bayfront Bar and Grille is one of my new favorites...especially in the summer.  They have a patio that offers a view of the bay and is located in a central part of our downtown area. They make the best fried pickles...definitely a guilty pleasure of mine! 
8.  Favorite New Thing You Tried
          My blog...even though it's no where near to where I want it to be it's a start.
7.  Favorite Gift You Received
          Oh my gosh...I'm totally in LOVE with my Keurig! 

          My sisters and their husbands got it for me for Christmas this year with a ton...I mean a ton of different coffees to try!  I'm set!  Bring on the snow days!

6.  Favorite Thing You Pinned
          I love everything I've pinned on Pinterest!  Great ideas for my classroom and holidays.  Yummy treats, dreams for the future, decorative stuff and fun crafts to attempt in all of my free time!  :)
5.  Favorite Blog Post
          I loved blogging about my classroom tree.  It was a huge project that started as a little idea in my head that actually came to be thanks to the help of my entire family and awesome art teacher.  I realized that I hadn't shown any pictures of my fall leaves and now my branches are bare and waiting for that first snowfall.  I'll post pictures...I promise.
4.  Favorite Accomplishment
          Finishing the classes required to receive my principalship license!  Yippee!
3.  Favorite Picture
          This is a hard one!  I love candid pictures of my nieces and nephew.  The posed ones just don't work well for them (as I said before they are all under the age of 5) and the candid ones just show so much more of their personality.  Here are a few from Christmas...

2.  Favorite Memory
          Hands down...our trip to Disney World.  My family and I never went to Disney when we were young but we did go with our high school band to perform over spring break.  I love watching the faces of not only my nieces and nephew but also those of complete strangers.  Magic Kingdom is such an amazing place and I think every child should experience it.  You can't help but turn into a child once you walk through those gates.  What am I talking about?  Even the drive into Disney World is full of anticipation!  I'm so grateful to my brother-in-law, who is also a "Dis-Dad" for all of his research and planning so that we can spend a full week in Disney for Spring Break 2012.  Never did I ever imagine I would be fortunate enough to visit more than once...let alone experience it with my nieces and nephew for the past 4 years.  Here's our most recent picture with Cinderella in her castle...we met her for lunch on the day of our visit.

       Why yes...those are matching green t-shirts that were all personalized and created by my brother-in-law (on the left-side of the picture)!  At the time...I was like...OMG...matching shirts...matching lime green t-shirts...that's so not me! is the way to do it.  When Mary Poppins addressed my niece by her first name...her face was priceless!  And I kind of dug it too when The Fairy Godmother said, "It was nice to meet you, Aunt Jenn."  :) 
1.  Goal for 2012
          Geesh!  There are so many...hmmm...I think I need to work on a healthy balance between school, family, friends, and personal life.  The past few years have been crazy busy with just about everything imaginable...I'd like to slow down and appreciate the little things a bit more.  
          I really need to do a better job of teaching Science to my first graders.  It should be such an easy thing to do with my inquisitive friends but I have a hard time squeezing it in between everything else.  Plus...we have new standards...and I'm just going to be's not interesting for kids.  They want to learn about space, dinosaurs, and how to make gooey stuff...not: 
Sunlight warms Earth’s land, air and water. The amount of exposure to sunlight affects the amount of warming or cooling of air, water and land. 

That's just one of them...needless to say, I'm on the hunt for some amazing bloggers at the primary level who will inspire my scientific side.  If anyone knows of any, please share!  

Oh!  And I want to be a better blogger!
Happy New Year!


Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!

I hope everyone in blog-land and beyond are having a wonderful break from school and enjoying time with their family and friends.  I kind of left my classroom on our last day of school in a bit of mess and also hauled a bunch of things home to work on.  I've been pretty good about working on a little bit of school work each day and I spent last night in my classroom organizing and getting ready to welcome my kiddos back to a "new" year.  I'm thinking I should probably go back one more full day to make sure everything is ready for a fresh start.

One of the stacks of books I brought home is from my Ginny Dowd collection.  She is the creator of "The Phonics Dance" and guru of phonics instruction and just all around awesome teacher.  My partner in crime and I discovered her at SDE's Conference for Ohio First Grade Teachers a few years ago.  We did a little healthy stalking...and were invited to see her in action in her own classroom...totally amazing teacher and great person!  If you haven't seen her in action, you really should take a peek.  She totally changed the way I teach my children and run my classroom.  I wish she had an interactive blog for all of us, but I don't think she's made that step yet.  I don't know her totally as a person, but from what I saw...she's one busy lady!  Here's the link to her website:
One of the millions of ideas I received from Ginny Dowd was from her "Language Arts and the Creative Arts Connection" book that offers the children the opportunity to write their own New Year's Resolutions.  I just jazzed it up a little to make it work for one of my most favorite Happy New Year activities we do when we return to school.  I start off by initiating a conversation about what resolutions are and I then model how I think and decide on my resolutions for 2012.  We'll use the following worksheet to draft our resolutions together.
We'll edit them with a peer and then I'll look through them too.
Then comes the fun part!  We'll use a 12"x18" piece of construction paper to make a 4 Fold Foldable.  I let the children choose from any color of construction paper they want.  I always pre-fold the paper and then depending on my group, I either show them where to cut or I do it myself for them.
Ignore the property labels...we'll put one digit on each section so that it shows 2012.
I then provide the children with cut-out patterns of 2012 so that they can trace and cut out the numbers on the colors they choose.  We then glue the numbers onto the foldable (in the correct order) and embellish each digit with sequins so that it looks like a party on a paper!  :)  (While the children are working on the embellishing, I quickly look through their resolutions and pull them back for some one-on-one editing.)
As they complete their embellishing, I'll provide them with their resolutions and the following paper so that they can rewrite their resolutions.
2012 Resolutions
We then cut out the boxes and lift each 2012 flap so that we can glue our resolutions onto our project.  It's pretty simple and the kiddos have fun with it every year!  I'm sorry I don't have a final example to show you but I will in less that a week as we go back to school on Tuesday, January 3.
Have a great day!

Monday, December 12, 2011

First Monday!

Well, it's my first Monday without classes!  Yep!  My classes are finally done and I'm just waiting to get my grades and then take the PRAXIS (and pass it) so that I can start thinking about whether or not I'm ready to get out of the classroom and become an administrator.  If I had to make a decision today, the answer would be NO!  I'm having too much fun with my kiddos!  It's going to be a tough decision whenever the time comes.  :)

Anyway, I totally apologize for not blogging the past two months but my classes and internship as well as my firsties consumed every minute and I had to put something on the back burner and unfortunately it had to be my blog.  I even grounded myself from blog stalking...ahhhh!  I feel like I'm so out of the loop!

8 days of school left until Christmas Break!  Woot! Woot!

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Fancy Nancy Hat Day and More!

We haven't celebrated Halloween at our school in the true sense for several years now but thankfully our principal has allowed us to kind of celebrate in a different way.  For three years now, we have had a Fancy Nancy Hat Day in our school.  A few weeks ago all of the teachers sent a note home to each child in their class asking them to design a hat based on a word or letter assigned to them.  Our first and second graders use the basic sight and vocabulary words from the reading series, our kindergarteners use letters of the alphabet, and our Little Pirates (pre-kindergarteners) use color words to design their hats.  I am always amazed at how awesome the hats turn out!  We have some amazingly creative families.  Here are a few pictures from last year...
Robyn's word was change.

Bradley's word was floating.  Love the bubbles!

Billy's word was architecture.

Elly's word was nutritious.

We'll be having our hat parade this Friday, October 28.  My class lines up and we travel to each classroom to pick up the next class and we end up having a huge parade throughout our entire building.  It's pretty cool and the children love seeing everyone else's hats!  This year I also made up a simple activity for the children to complete using the their word.  During the week I'll kind of get a feel for who may not be working on their hat at home.  If someone doesn't bring in their hat by Thursday, we quickly create one during the afternoon so that no one is left out of the fun.  I've attached all of the handouts we use to help organize yourself!

Fancy Nancy Hat Day Note
Fancy Nancy Hat Day Reminder Note
Hat Day Activity

On another note...I was at Target yesterday and found a box of their Halloween Fruit Snacks and made up an activity to go along with them!  There's a skull, a bat, a cat, a pumpkin, a witch, and a spider in the packages.  I'm a little worried about the witch and the skull...but they're fruit snacks!  I think I should be okay with there's no milk or whey in them so my little pumpkins with allergies can participate in this activity too!  :)
Halloween Fruit Snack Math Activity

We're going to be doing some estimating, weighing, and counting with pumpkins on Friday too!  I'll post more about that when I have my ideas more planned out!

It's going to be another crazy busy week!

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Columbus Day!

From what I read a lot of people had Columbus Day off...not us!  We were in school learning all about Christopher Columbus!

We sang songs like this one, sung to the tune of "All Around the Mulberry Bush":
All around the great wide world,
Columbus sailed the ocean.
To prove the world was big and round,
That's real devotion!

And this one, sung to the tune of "Oh, Suzanna":
Oh, Columbus.
Oh, Columbus.
Sailed the ocean wide and blue.
He landed in America, 
In 1492.

We read several books:
I love this book because it rhymes!

We then made these fun art projects from TLC Lessons.  TLC has a collection of directed art lessons for just about every season, theme, etc.  My teacher pal, Mrs. Kania came across them a few years ago and I'm hooked!  Each project has directions that the children need to follow.  You need to pre-cut the paper...but it's so worth it!  The projects turn out so cute and it's a great listening and fine motor activity!  Check out our Santa Maria...or Nina...or Pinta!  :) 

It's Fire Prevention Week too!  I'll post what we're doing for that later in the week!
Happy Fall!

Saturday, October 8, 2011

You might want to sit down for this one...

Are you sitting down?  You're really going to want to if you are a lover of children's literature like I am!  I am so excited about this...I'll be heading the Mazza Museum on November 10-12!  What's Mazza you ask?'s a museum of illustrator's art from all over the world!   I'm totally excited about this weekend!  Here's who is going to be there...Jan Brett, Anna Dewdney, Jerry Pinkney, Jim Arnosky, Vincent Di Nguyen, David Wiesner, Kevin Henkes, and Steven Kellogg! AND...Anthony Edwards!  I're like...WHAT??  Anthony Edwards...aka Goose and Dr. Mark Greene?  What does he have to do with illustrator's art in the children's book world?  Well...apparently he gifted Mazza with $350,000 to acquire 2,700 pieces of original artwork by Steven Kellogg!  AWESOME!!!  And what makes  even more awesome is it's going to be a girl's weekend with my closest friends on the face of the earth which is so needed!
Hope everyone had a great week!  Next week is Christopher Columbus Day on Monday and Fire Prevention Week!
Take Care!

Saturday, October 1, 2011

Busy Week!

I'm feeling really guilty about not being able to post all of the fun we're having on a daily basis but I'm finding that if I could have a few more hours in the day...during the daytime when the sun is shining and a little more energy at the end of a day with six and seven year olds...I just might be able to do everything I really want to do!  ;)'s what we've been up to...
TA-DA!!!  My Brag Tags arrived!!!

Once the package was delivered to my classroom, I just couldn't NOT open with my kiddos gathered around me, I opened them and explained to them how we are going to collect and earn them.  It was like stinkin' Christmas morning!!  We were all so excited!  We chose our first brag tag for just being our amazing selves and I gave those who have already celebrated their birthdays their birthday tag!  The chains in the set are the smallest size and since we're head over heels about them, I jumped back online and ordered longer chains so that the children can wear them as well as a few more tags!  We're horribly addicted!  I also purchased a few beads from Pat Catan's to add to our collection when we celebrate major we had our Homecoming Game on Friday night so everyone now has a football bead to add to their chains.  Thanks so much to Cara Carroll over at The First Grade Parade for sharing how she uses her Brag Tags from Image Stuff!  I LOVE THEM and they were so worth the money!

Speaking of Homecoming, we celebrated on Friday by making shakers to take to the football game.  We usually have a parade before the football game but due to the rain and high winds it was canceled.  The kiddos were so bummed but at least we had a Pep Rally at our school to help us show our Pirate Pride!  Here's a picture of the shakers we made!  

We also had fun celebrating Johnny Appleseed Day with the usual applicious flair!  Here are some pictures of the cute Johnny Appleseed hats we made!

We've been learning about past, present, and future and as a culminating activity, all of our first graders take a field trip to Historic Lyme Village.  This field trip is always a hit with the kiddos.  They get to sit in a one room school house, visit log cabins, do some work in an old barn, visit a general store and visit a hardware store that is full of antiques.  We spent the morning there, ate lunch, and returned back to our classroom!  Here are a few pictures of our trip back in time... (I used the sepia effect in iPhoto to make them look authentic.)

So that's what we've been up to this past week!  Whew!

This week we'll be starting our reading series...which I'm not overly thrilled about because I've been loving doing all of these fun seasonal activities with my little friends...but it's time to get moving into the "real" meat of first grade!  :)  We use the Treasures Reading Series from Macmillan/McGraw Hill.  I've found so many amazing language based ideas from the wonderful blogs I stalk so I'm using their ideas and adapting them to work with our series!  

Anyone out there using Treasures and have fun activities to spice it up a bit?  :)

Hope all is well with everyone!  Northern Ohio just got a feel of fall this weekend...lots of rain, wind and much cooler temps!  
Take care!

Monday, September 19, 2011

Hey! What happened to the weekend?

So this past weekend was the first weekend in a very long time that I didn't have "anything" that I had to do and I was pretty excited to spend the day in my classroom for most of the day on Saturday where I had the copier all to myself...we had some copier malfunctions last week that put a lot of teachers into a bit of a I managed to get all of my handwriting, sight word, and color word papers copied for the next few weeks.  I spent Sunday working on my requirements for my internship....REALLY wish I could use some professional development to take a day and actually follow a principal or two.  My administrators are great at giving me little projects to do and inviting me to open houses etc., but I really feel that it would be beneficial to actually shadow them for a whole day.

Although I woke up this morning a little groggy and forced myself out of bed extra early so I would have time to fulfill my technical addictions (blog stalking, blogging, Pinterest, twitter), I am so excited for this week!

I am probably the last first grade teacher in my building to jump into the reading series.  Thankfully, my principal and district don't mandate when we start the reading series or even request that every teacher is on the same story every week of the year.  With that being said, I don't think there's anything wrong with those who are already chipping away at the reading series, I just think the series moves so fast from skill to skill without a real pause to truly check for understanding...and actually incorporate that "Love to Read" component.  I like to use this first month of school to really get to know my new first grade friends, build up their confidence, create our family atmosphere in our classroom, and hook them onto reading.  I've been flooding the children with a a lot of creative ideas and fun activities found out there in blog land and also immersing them in some amazing literature and it's obvious that it's paying off.  I really do have a great group of new friends!  We're choosing good fit books for our book boxes and are able to read to self for a total of 8 minutes, literacy workstations seem to be running smoothly, math workstations are a hit, and we're really becoming a family.

This week we're going to be doing several activities from Christie's "Wonderland Name Fun" at First Grade Fever and polishing up our Daily 5 components so that I can start to pull some small groups!  I've had the song, Catalina, Magdalena Hoopensteiner Wallendiner Hogan Logan Bogan Was Her Name in my head all weekend!  My kiddos are going to love these activities!

I also just found Jodi's great Teddy Bear Day idea over at Fun in First Grade!  With Johnny Appleseed all next week...and my feeling that I will probably start the reading series the first week of October, I'm going to save this idea for one of those short weeks when we need a little break from our daily routine...but it's oh so cute!  I may not be able to wait!

Hope everyone has a great Monday!

Saturday, September 17, 2011

Just a few things from the week...

Hi Friends!
Well, I just finished going through my RSS feed of all of the blogs I stalk and WOW!  I've missed out on a lot of cool stuff!  The good news is that I'm all caught up and feeling pretty excited about the fun stuff I found!

FIRST...this is a biggie...
A great teacher over at Ginger Snaps shared that Scholastic is having a $1 sale on just about all of their teacher books!  AWESOME!  Since I've fallen in love with Teachers Pay Teachers and Teachers Notebook, I've been purchasing a lot from those sights (seriously...I'd much rather spend my money on REAL hardworking and creative teachers who are selling their activities because they work in their classrooms rather than spend $15-$20 on each professional book sold at book and teacher stores)...BUT I couldn't pass up Scholastic's deal...especially when Ginger Snaps shared that if you enter the code 10thanks you get 10 FREE ebooks!  YIPPEE!  Needless to say, I spent $7 on 17 of Scholastic's eBooks!

Then, I found some cute Spelling Word Fun activities being sold by First Grade Fever on Teachers Pay Teachers.  You need to check them out because I'm thinking they'll spice up some of my word work stations once we get serious about spelling words.

Cara Carroll over at The First Grade Parade shared some exciting news about her brag tags from Image Stuff.  They now have Teacher Packs!  When I first read about how Cara uses her Brag Tags, I was like I am so doing this!  Now that they have Teacher Packs...I'm in!  $65 a piece feels a little steep for me personally right now but I have an amazing group of kiddos this year and I know I can make it work!  They'll love it!  And really...that's all that matters for me!  I can't wait to get my first set!

We celebrated Constitution Day yesterday...well not "we"...I was at a TEDx Conference at Bowling Green State University, so my sub celebrated with my kiddos...which I'll admit I was a little bummed I had to miss it.  I'm a pretty patriotic dad is a Veteran of the Vietnam War and patriotism in our family has always been a pretty big deal.  I get teary while watching Band of Brothers, interviews of our men and women serving overseas...especially when they talk about their families, and I'm pretty sappy when I watch those reunion know the ones where the mom and/or dad surprise their kids at school.  Anyway...we usually spend the day learning the preamble to our Constitution complete with hand motions.    I love this activity but because I had a substitute yesterday I didn't think it was fair to leave it for's one you kind of want to be familiar with before you teach it to the kiddos and I wanted to capture it on video.  I'll share it a little later...I left my file at school and am blogging from home.  So instead, the kiddos read "We the Kids", completed the Weekly Reader about School Rules and were given a coloring book that explained the Constitution.  I found the coloring book on edHelper a few years ago.

If you haven't heard of TED, you should really check it's amazing.  It's a website full of inspiring talks on just about everything.  If you ever have the opportunity to attend a TED or TEDx conference, I recommend it...but it's not the type of conference that you'll come away with a ton of ideas to use with your will make you think differently about certain things.  It's kind of like this...When I left, I wasn't like "OH!  I can't wait to do that activity with my kiddos!"  It was more like..."Could you imagine if our schools were able to think this way?"  It's a pretty overwhelming site if you're visiting it for the first time so here are two of my favorite talks...because they make me think differently about things!  :)
Sir Ken Robinson...Are Schools Killing Creativity?
Birke Baehr: What's Wrong with Our Food System

Okay...that's it for now!  I have a weekend with no "real" commitments...but oh so much to do!
Take care!

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Feeling Out of the Loop!

So I need to get myself on a blogging schedule!  I really should be heading to school about now, but I got hooked on my RSS feed and am having a hard time pulling myself away!  I WANT to get to school...I have the best kiddos ever...but I also feel like I'm missing out on some amazing shares and I'm feeling out of the loop with my fellow bloggers!  I need a plan...which I'll think about at random moments throughout the day! :)

After completing our AIMS testing this week and just getting to know my firsties a bit better, I have some AWESOME readers already...which really excites me!  I love exposing little ones to great literature!  If you know of any of the newest, coolest literature, please share!

I have a few allergies in my classroom this year...whey and milk.  I've been combing through the snack and treat aisles looking for edibles that we can use to build patterns, graph, etc. but if you have a list stashed away and feel like sharing, I'd love to take a peek at it!

Sorry this post is so random.  I made it through the RSS feed for A Teeny Tiny Teacher who has been sharing tons of ideas and thoughts on recess, homework, and independent study projects as well as recaps on her favorite television shows which crack me up!

Okay...I MUST get moving!  More to share soon...I promise! :)

Monday, September 5, 2011

First Week...WHEW!

I have so neglected my little blog and all 49 of my amazing followers!

The first week of school was crazy busy, with a sprinkle of tears (I had two who were missing their mommies), a lost tooth, a little hair makeover with fuchsia play-doh as an accessory, a birthday that snuck up on me, extreme heat, scab picking (eww!  First teachable moment=NO PICKING...ANYTHING!), and lots of fun.  I have to say that this is the first time in a long time, that my back to school week was a real success.  I have a few chatters...but they're also making new I kind of tolerate the extra chattiness right now.  Everyone got home safe and sound every night which is a huge worry of mine at the beginning of the year and everyone came back with smiles the next day!  I am really blessed to have a great group of kiddos this year!

Our week wouldn't have been so much fun without the amazing creativity from bloggers like Abby Mullins @ The Inspired Apple, Deanna Jump @ Mrs. Jump's Class, Jennifer White @ First Grade Blue Skies and the hundreds of other bloggers I've been stalking all summer.  I love sharing ideas with other hardworking teachers...which brings me to this...I really think I do some cool things with my kiddos so I'm going to try my best to start sharing more with my fellow bloggers.

One of the things I have fallen in love with is Scholastic's Cut, Paste & Write ABC Activity Pages.
I love these activity pages because each letter has a short poem that matches each letter and picture, shape identification, following directions, and tracing and writing one letter at a time.  We always start at the carpet as a whole group to read/memorize the poem and talk about how the letter is formed.  I am working on slides for my Smart Board for this that I'll be willing to share.  They are a work in progress right now, so if you would like them, leave a comment below and I can email them to you as I get them finished.  I'll also post them on my blog once they are all finished.  Here are some samples of the actual page the children complete:

I would like to say that I'm pretty picky on handwriting but for the beginning of the year I think these practice pages are "just enough" for my little friends.  While they are working, I do look at their letter formation, but I'm also looking at whether or not they know their shapes and colors, I'm observing their cutting skills, I'm looking to see how they hold their pencil and if they can follow basic directions.

I spent my Sunday in my classroom getting all of my math and literacy workstations organized and I'm pretty excited to start using them this week.  We'll also be kicking off The Daily 5 with learning how to choose "Good Fit Books" and building stamina to "Read to Self".  I love that my kiddos are already ready to gain a little more independence in our classroom!

Hope everyone is transitioning back into their school routines!
Have a good week!

Monday, August 29, 2011

First Day!

Oh my goodness...I have the cutest kiddos!  A little chatty....but I'll get that under control within the week! :)

Every year I forget about how much talking is needed on the first day...I think my voice is already a little crackly!  My cuties LOVED Abby Mullin's First Day Jitters lesson found in her "Fun with Firsties" unit at Teachers Pay Teachers.  The Jitter Juice was a huge hit and actually helped a few who really had the jitters about coming back to school.  If you haven't purchased Abby's unit, you might want to...I just love her units!  They are so creative and they really work in my classroom.

The day was over and I was on my way to my Principalship class before I knew it!  I'm a little overwhelmed by the requirements for this class at the moment so I'll probably be working on that this weekend!

And so the year begins!  :)  If you've already started your school year I hope it's off to a great start!

Saturday, August 27, 2011

What a Week!

Oh my goodness!  This week was absolutely CRAZY!  District meeting, building meeting, open house...therefore, getting ready for open house, learning a new phone system, learning a new grade book system, organizing student supplies that were brought in at open house, finishing "The List" (the one I made on a previous post)...I couldn't even go out to lunch with the other teachers because I needed to get things done (which makes me feel horrible but I really needed to make use of every spare second)!  I woke up at 5AM today thinking about the hooks I forgot to label for their book bags!  And so started the next list!  :)

Needless to say, here I sit with my coffee and taking a little time to blog stalk.  I have absolutely loved going through all of the new ideas that fellow bloggers have shared.  Planning for the first week of school has been a lot of fun!  Can you believe that this thought actually crossed my mind: "I wish the first day was a little longer."  Yep...that's a huge sign that it's back to school time...and that I have tons of fun ideas to keep us busy this first week of school thanks to all of the freebies offered on blogs and the units I purchased from Teacher's Notebook and Teachers Pay Teachers.

I decided to start another blog more for my students.  You'll be able to view it here.  Once school starts on Monday you should be able to see some posts about what we're doing each's more for my families but eventually I want the kiddos to be posting and commenting on their own...but that's going to take a few weeks for us to get there!

Our Open House was Thursday night and let me tell you what...I have some cuties...some very quiet cuties.  I'm so grateful for everyone that was able to attend.  I think the tree was a hit!  It's always an overwhelming night for not only my new firsties and their families (there's so much paperwork to complete) but also for many new faces!  :)  I can't wait for our first day!  But I still have so much to do!  I have a family picnic today and I'm going to try my best to pause "school mode" and enjoy the day with family but then it's back to work!  There's a few things on my school list and then I have some things to work on for my principalship courses!  Oh!  And guess who's leading the children's choir at church with her sister...oh...yeah...that's me!  I'm pretty excited about this sister and I have a lot of ideas to make it fun for the children of our church!

Have a great weekend!


Tuesday, August 23, 2011

I think my classroom is finished!

Well...I still have a few things to do:

  • Name tags for the tables
  • Name tags for students to wear (Our children wear a plastic name tag during the school day that has their first and last name, teacher name and room number.  It's also color coded to remind us of our zone when we do fire drills or have to evacuate.)
  • Put names on our word wall
  • Finish cutting the laminated take-home folders and other miscellaneous things (actually delegated this to mom...she calls it therapy)
  • Birthday posters
  • Bucket Filler Display
  • Design, Copy and Organize Open House handouts
  • Decide on one of the hundreds of "Welcome Back" treats I've seen through by blog stalking and make them for my kiddos
  • Create my lesson plan template
  • Copies, prep for projects
Geesh!  Now that I see it in a list format, maybe I'm not finished!  

Staff Days are Wednesday-Friday this week.  Wednesday morning is our district "Welcome Back" and union meeting and our building faculty meeting is in the afternoon.  Thursday is "our day" meetings but we do have to be at school for a normal workday and our building's Open House is in the evening...well late afternoon for me.  Our Kindergarten families visit from 3:30-4:30; First Grade Families visit from 4:45-5:45; and Second Grade Families visit from 6:00-7:00.  On Friday we get to learn the new grade book software! are some updated pictures of my classroom!
This is my outside bulletin board.

I know...CRAZY long!  But somehow we don't have a hard time keeping it full and festive!

My "Welcome" letters from Oriental Trading...kind of wishing they sold the whole alphabet.

I saw, heard, or read about this idea from someone somewhere this summer! 

At the end of each year I ask my students to write a letter to my new batch of first graders.  I posted a few in the hall.

I'm not 100% sold on my door needs a little something (other than a paint job).  Maybe just some student artwork.  My "Arrr Matey!" came from Uppercase Living...LOVE IT!

This letter cracked me up..."She can be tough..."  Needed this one to be on the front door-ha! ha!

View from the door.
 I took these pictures from the center of my classroom and tried to give you a panoramic view!  :)

I'm so grateful for all of those teacher blogs out there!  I got tons of ideas, purchased lots from Teachers Pay Teachers and just loved spending part of my summer mornings blog stalking!  

I am in love with Scrappin' Doodles!  I received an email yesterday about their Terms of Use for Teachers so I'm just spreading the word.  If you use their clipart, you might want to take a peek at their Terms of Use.  I'm not sure if I really need it, but I purchased two of the "Educational Freebie License" to post on my website and on this blog just to cover myself.  I would never intentionally misuse anything I find online and I always try to give credit where credit is due but I want to make sure I'm following the rules!  As a new blogger I'm still learning! 

Time to get to work...kiddos come Monday and the craziness starts tomorrow!