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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Sunday, January 29, 2012

Melody Monday

Hi my name is Jenn and I have an addiction. I am addicted to music. ALL kinds of music! I will listen to anything once...yep...anything...all genres. I have been known to purchase an entire album based on a 30 second audio clip. I have also purchased an entire soundtrack based on a song from a movie and then purchase the original album that the song originated. Shazam is my most favorite app on my iPhone and iPad and I have been known to shush those around me so that I can get a good "tag" whether I'm in a restaurant, shopping, or driving in the car. If you're unfamiliar with "tagging," you need to download the Shazam app so you can start tagging. All you need to do is tap the tag button while you're listening to a tune. Shazam listens, and then will match the music to the song title, album and artist...and then it links you to iTunes to so you can purchase it immediately! Such a convenience for an addict like me! :)

So I thought about making my Monday posts all about what we're listening to in our classroom. We listen to a lot of music throughout the year. Some of it is used for transitions, some of it is to help us master a specific skill and some of it is just played in the background during our day. One of our favorites this year is Wayne Brady's Radio Wayne. (It's listed as $11.99 on Amazon but it's $7.99 on iTunes.)
Wayne Brady has some serious hip tunes on this album. We use his "Good Morning" song to help us transition from working on our seat work to gathering on the carpet for our morning meeting and calendar routine. Once the kiddos heard it a few times, they were able to sing right along with him! We also use his "High Low" song to dance to when we need to...well...burn off some energy. The whole album is full of fun beats and lyrics! I totally recommend this album to spice up your classroom!

I can't wait to share what else we're listening to! I think it's really important to expose children to lots of different genres of music and I love getting their input on what we're listening to.

Tune in next week for another one of our greatest hits!

Saturday, January 28, 2012

Pride Week

This week was our school district's Pride Week! Each day was themed and the children could come to school dressed to match that theme! They LOVE this week! Monday was College T-Shirt Day, Tuesday was Dress as Your Favorite Teacher, Wednesday was Western Wednesday, Thursday was Favorite Color Day and Friday was Black Out Day (our school colors are black and white with a splash of red). In the midst of all of these themed days, we did a lot of pirate themed activities. Here are a few pictures of my cuties!
Check out these cowgirls...I love how my kiddos really get into our themes!
This cowboy kept me in line all day! :)
I whipped up a Pirate Mapping Activity based on Ginny Dowd's North Pole Mapping Activities.
I found Pirate puzzles at the Dollar Store! Yes...those are my obnoxious pink bunny slippers...and yes...I do occasionally kick off my shoes and wear these around the room. :)
Here are our pirate diagrams and also Abby's "Learning ar with Pirate Mark" activity found at Teachers Pay Teachers. She's so clever...check her out at The Inspired Apple.
I thought I had leftover black paper cups to use for our hooks but I didn't...we had to make due with styrofoam cups and color them black to make our pirate hooks. The kiddos still loved it! I scoured the party store and purchased pirate hats, necklaces, and rings for everyone too. I teach in the same district that I graduated from so I'm a pirate at heart too and school pride is a pretty big deal in our classroom!
Here's my whole crew!
Mrs. Kania, our amazing Technology Integration Specialist, created these with the kiddos this week! Aren't they the cutest!
She started her own blog a few months ago but she also has the most adorable one year little guy in her life. So between coming up with the most amazing projects for the children at our school and being a super mom she hasn't been able to blog as much as she would wish. You can find her at Mrs. Kania's Tech Korner and also her website she uses with the classes she teaches at our school.
Have a great weekend!

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Tech Thursday

Hi Friends!
It's Tech Thursday!
Today I want to share KIDBLOG with you!
I love using this site to host my student's blogs. Yep! We blog in first grade! (Many do, I know...but it's just me and a kindergarten teacher who are using it at my it's kind of a big deal and my kids love it!) When I first started blogging with my first graders, I used it as an intervention tool for my top students only. I wanted something that would offer them the opportunity to read and write but also throw in a bit of technology. This was before we became a Mac school, so they would hop on my Dell and blog away and I would then comment on their posts. We used it as an online journal of what was happening in our classroom. It worked perfectly because I would occasionally use their posts as editing lessons with the rest of the class, or I would even let others comment on their posts as they finished their work. As I saw improvements in grammar usage and spelling, etc. with my top kiddos, I knew blogging could benefit my whole class. So I searched and found KIDBLOG!

I totally recommend checking it out! It's very easy to set up and once you guide your children through it a few times, they'll get it. I especially love the safety of it! Anytime someone wants to post a comment or start a new blog I receive an email to let me know and then I can approve, edit, trash, etc. I also share the link with the parents and extended family of my students. We have a lot of comments from grandparents, aunts, uncles, moms and dads, sisters and brothers! It's so cool to watch their faces light up when they see a comment on their post. You're also able to add images, videos and links into the blog posts. I've used those, but I haven't taught my friends how to do that yet, but we will!

The only thing I wish KIDBLOG would do is to somehow alert the kiddos when they log in that they have new comments to read. (Maybe there's a way, but I haven't found it yet.) We've gotten into the habit of scrolling back to reread our comments and because I have to approve each post, I usually remember and can give them a heads up if I know someone posted a comment on their blog.

I'm not going to tell you the step-by-step process of setting up your blogs because you can find all of that information on the website (linked above)....and in no way am I a guru of KIDBLOG but if you have any questions, feel free to leave a comment and I'll try to help. Their customer service is great don't hesitate to shoot them an email directly.

Here's the link to our KIDBLOG site:
Yesterday we blogged about Chinese New Year and learning Chinese with Mr. Wu! So fun!
Have a great day!

Monday, January 23, 2012


What a day! First of all...our weather is crazy! Today felt like JANUARY! Spring! Bring on a good snowstorm or two for crying out loud! I mean...I love my kiddos and have way too much to do to miss a day of school...but who doesn't love an unexpected snow day or delay? :) We're supposed to see some flurries tomorrow but the rest of the week is partly sunny! It's so unlike the weather we normally have in Northern Ohio this time of the year. Oh well, at least my friends will get some outdoor recess this week!

Happy Chinese New Year! Today was so much fun! We are definitely a bit more cultured thanks to today! (By the way...have you ever played with Google Translate? How fun! I used this to create the title of my post. I need to remember this for next year!) After reading and talking about our Weekly Reader on the Chinese New Year, we made these fun dragons from Kaye Espinosa @ TLC Lessons. I believe the pattern is in her winter book.
Her directions call for a white body but the more we read today about how important the colors red and gold are, we had to tweak it a bit!

Later in the day we made some simple red paper lanterns with a 12x18-inch piece of red paper. We folded it hotdog style and cut some strips beginning with the folded edge and stopping before we reached the opposite edge of the paper. When we opened them, we just stapled the edges and attached a loop so that we could hang them around the room! (If we had more time, we would have inserted a yellow piece of construction paper so that our lanterns would glow. Next year!)
Then came the time for our taste test. Talk about hilarious! I should have taken a video because to see my kiddos using their chopsticks to eat was so funny! Many of them invented their own way to use their took them forever to sample all of the goodies but they loved it! They even tried some hot tea (decaffeinated, of course). The chopsticks came with "helpers" that we could attach, but I didn't hand these out until the very end. Here are a few pictures of my firsties doing their very best!
There are more pictures from our day posted on our website! Feel free to take a peek!

Then came time for our Fortune Cookies! I just love when our fortunes kind of fit my kiddos! My fashionista's fortune was something like "A glamorous life awaits you." My bubbly blonde's fortune was, "You will have a happy life in your old age." Each fortune was somehow appropriate for each of my kiddos. We talked about what each one meant together and it was fun to listen to their understandings of the fortunes and how they applied to their lives.

And then there was mine...
"Miss Long...what's matrimony?", the cuties chorused.
"Well,'s like getting married", I reply.
"Like Prince Charming?" they asked.
"Yep. Like Prince Charming!", I say.
"Well, where the heck is he Miss Long?", my one who struggles with self-editing shouts out. :)

I couldn't help but crack up! They're just too funny!
Hope everyone survived their Monday! (Our first full 5-day week of 2012 is this week! YIKES!)
Take care,

Sunday, January 22, 2012

龙年吉祥!(Lóng nián jíxiáng!) Good Luck in the Year of the Dragon!

I am so excited for tomorrow! We're going to be celebrating Chinese New Year!

As I posted before, the children at our school are fortunate to have Mr. Wu in their lives. He's our Chinese teacher this year and my kiddos had their first lesson last week. Mr. Wu asked the kiddos what they knew about China and all they could come up with was that they eat Chinese food. I was like, oh...gosh. Time to bring in some culture before our next lesson. My mom reminded me that we had a bunch of Chinese New Year decorations thanks to my sister's themed engagement party several years ago (Yep...we're a "theme" family...once a theme is chosen, we go all out.) so while I worked on my lesson plans for this week, mom handled the decorating. Needless to say, my room was transformed and the kids are going to be so excited tomorrow! Here's a peek:
While my mom was working, I was thinking about how fun it would be to let the children sample some Chinese cuisine with chopsticks! So I went shopping!

We'll be snacking on Chicken Fried Rice, Chow Mein Noodles, Egg Rolls, Oranges (for good luck), and Sweet and Sour Noodles with chopsticks! I purposefully chose foods with different textures so that we could "play" with our chopsticks. We'll top off our little buffet by completing Jennifer's Fortune Cookie Graphing activity at her amazing blog, First Grade Blue Skies, and then see what our fortunes will be for the year! By the way...she also has a "Learn About Chinese New Year" pack available on TpT and Teacher's Notebook...worth every penny! :)

Hope everyone had a fabulous weekend!

Friday, January 20, 2012


Well...I'm trying! I'm really trying to create my own blog button!

I found the most adorable pirate clip-art over at Scrap Orchard, a website I found through another blogger's post. It's so unique! I haven't seen it anywhere, so I thought it would make the most perfect digital clip-art for my blog! The more I search for blog templates, the more I think about just paying someone to create it for me, but I also want to learn how to do it myself. Yeah...well...that's not going as well as I had hoped and I'm not one to go running for help. I like to figure things out on my own. I just wish I could figure it out in my time frame (which is usually unreasonable).

Our school wide theme these past few months has been courage and today we watched The Wizard of Oz as a culminating activity. We spent time talking about courage today and I was thinking about my blog the whole time. I had the courage to start it, I had the courage to post my ideas and thoughts to total strangers (although some of you are becoming less of a stranger and more of a friend-thanks for posting comments on my ramblings...I love reading them) and I have the courage to post comments on other people's blogs. If I can do this, I most certainly can gather the courage to learn how to make a little blog button! Ummm...yeah...not so much!

Here I sit with my Friday night "Kool-Aid" and I'm trying to comprehend HTML codes...I have a whole new respect for people who create these codes! I posted a picture of my button and some code but I don't believe it's a real HTML code. Where is the frame that all of you have around your codes? I think I followed all of the directions but I'm into my second "Kool-Aid" and I think I'm still missing something. So, I'm showing courage tonight by posting something...even though I highly doubt it does what it needs to do! I really wish I could figure it out on my own but I think it's time to ask for help. My brother-in-law's ears should be ringing...I'm heading his way tomorrow...unless one of you can bail me out with a tip or two! :)

Happy Weekend!

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Oops! I forgot!

I meant to tell you what my kiddos and I did yesterday with our laptops and I totally forgot!

My district is very fortunate when it comes to technology. I love that we are pretty aggressive in this area and that all of our children are getting their hands on technology on a daily basis. We are a 1:1 Laptop School in grades 6-12 where our students are given a MacBook to use in school and at home. Our junior high and high school teachers integrate technology into their lessons and projects they assign our students to provide them with a 21st Century Project Based learning environment. We have multiple mobile labs (carts of 25 MacBooks) in our elementary schools as well as computer labs with Macs. We were just informed yesterday that Apple has named our district an Apple Distinguished School...pretty cool! Our district got our 1:1 laptop initiative off the ground by applying and being awarded a pretty hefty grant. This grant not only supported switching our school from a PC school to a Mac school, it also offered the teachers some pretty amazing opportunities to visit some totally awesome 1:1 school districts. We also were able to travel to Apple and receive training on their campus. I was fortunate enough to be one of probably 20 or so teachers and administrative staff from our district to fly out to Cupertino, California and spend the week on Apple's campus. That place was amazing! Anyway...we use the laptops in our classroom every Wednesday afternoon. We usually blog on kidblog...which I love! I'll chat about this another time but here's the link to our blog: Miss Long's Firsties. Feel free to explore! It's one of the safest, kid-friendliest blog formats I've found.

We've been graphing these past two weeks and I was kind of dreading the whole pictograph part. Not that the kiddos wouldn't understand it, it's just so hard to get them to understand the importance of drawing pictures that are the same size and to line them up side by side. So I was searching for something we could do online with our laptops. I happened to stumble upon a website called Soft Schools.
I have to admit...I was a little leary of the appearance. I mean, you can't even read their logo without squinting a bit but I guess they were trying to make it look "soft". So my eyes wandered over to the left and I clicked on the word, "Math". I was pretty excited to see bright colors and clear text. I then scrolled down and clicked on "Pictograph" which opened another page and I clicked on "Make Your Own Pictograph." I then clicked on "Start" and I was taken to an empty pictograph for the kiddos to complete. We did a few together and then they had to create their own based on the surveys we took last week. They had to come up with their own title and record their information without me. This pictograph even offers a small bank of pictures for the kiddos to choose from for their graph. I was totally expecting the site to be slow because all 25 of us were on it at the same time, but we had zero drama! The kiddos loved creating their own graphs. We printed them out and added them to our graphing folders!

Even if you only have one computer in your classroom, you could use this site to push your top students a bit! The site looks like it has a lot to offer but I've been a little short on time lately and haven't been able to fully explore it yet! It's on my list! :)

On a side note...since we're such a technology rich school district and I kind of love getting my kiddos on the laptops to create different things, I think I'll name my Thursday posts, "Technology Thursdays" so that I can share some of the cool things our district is doing!

2 More Days! I'm getting kind of used to 4 day week is a 5 day week! What will I do??? Oh, yeah...everything that I haven't been able to do in a 4 day week! :)

Chat soon!

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Happy Hump Day!

Well...Mission #2 didn't happen for me. I did a lot of searching and have some feelers out and about but there just wasn't enough time in my weekend. It will happen when it happens I guess. I've found the cutest digital clip-art that I haven't seen on anyone's blog...I just need to figure out what I want to do with it!

We've been pretty busy this week! Check out the cover of our Martin Luther King, Jr. Weekly Reader...which of course made me want to do the Pinterest inspired project. It was perfect!

We then followed the directions for the TLC project by Kaye Espinosa. Her projects always turn out so cute!

I don't know about your kiddos, but we're passing around some crazy germs in our classroom right now! Like kiddos missing multiple days in a row sicknesses! So it was time for a good old fashioned review of how to catch our sneezes and coughs as well as how to use a tissue. Yep, I got out the spray bottle and pretended it was...well...germs (eww! I know~but it works!) and sprayed it around the room like it was actually coming from my nose to show how fast and far our germs can spread. To tie it all together we made these faces by using a paper plate for a circle pattern and then I cracked open the scrap paper box and let the kiddos create their heads. We then traced our hand and cut it out so that we could glue it on top of a tissue.
Ni Hao! (Pronounced Knee-How) This is Mr. Wu, our Chinese teacher! Yep! We're learning Chinese during the next few months!
The kiddos were glued to him! No one needed a drink, no one needed to go to the bathroom, no one had "an emergency." They just sat there and literally ate him up! He showed us pictures from home as well as pictures from Shanghi and Beijing. I totally have to add a little extra spark to our Chinese New Year celebration on Monday! I'm seeing paper lanterns and red dragons in my future!

Take care,

Saturday, January 14, 2012

Mission Accomplished...well Part 1 is Accomplished!

Woot! Woot!
It's the weekend! A 3-Day Weekend! To make it even better, yesterday was a teacher work day for our district (due to our contractual agreement) and we had the day to work in our classrooms and finish our grade cards...the grade cards I hadn't even started until Thursday night. We got our first official snow of the season Thursday night and into Friday with lots of wind and frigid temps. After a slow drive into Bob Evans for Breakfast Club with my Inner Circle of Trust, I locked myself in my classroom and got busy. (On my drive in while listening to all of the school delays on the radio I couldn't help but wonder if our district administrators were wondering about the weather and all of the teachers driving to school in this weather. I'm sure they were...but I hope I'll be the type of administrator who sends out a mobile alert or phone message to my staff saying something like, "Take your time coming in this morning, be safe." It would have been comforting to hear as my car was being blown across the highway and sliding through a stop sign.) Grade Cards were done by 10 and the rest of the day was spent cleaning and organizing. I was able to leave my classroom with nothing left to do for this next week! (Of course I have my Chinese New Year, Pirate, and Groundhog files sitting in piles here at home to go through...but next week is organized and I'm ready to go!) Mission 1 Accomplished!

My next mission...update this blog with a new template and create a blog button. I've been up since 4:30 for some reason and am on my second cup of coffee thanks to my Keurig (GOD! I LOVE THAT THING!) and have been googling and finding some possibilities....and catching up on posts from those blogs I'm stalking...Did you see Contraction Surgery @ Buzzing About Second Grade? She posted it about a year ago but it's...GENIUS!!!

I'll be celebrating Christmas with my family today...yes...we're still celebrating Christmas so today is going to fun, but not effective as far as my blog is concerned...but I'm hoping that by Monday evening I have a fresh new look!

Oh! Did you see that Ms. Preppy @ Adventures in Primary and Polka Dots and her friend Sarah are hosting a Be My Valentine 2012 Exchange! I'm heading over there now to become a participant and join the classroom exchange! Sounds like fun!

Have a great weekend!

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

All the Stars are Aligning...for an Over the Top Week!

WHOA! So you're not going to believe this...I couldn't believe it!

The week before Christmas break, I was called by our local radio station because one of my former students nominated me as their Terrific Teacher Tuesday winner! Me! The one that likes anonymity in her life was not only interviewed on the radio without warning or time to prepare (I kept praying...please don't mumble. Please be fluent. Just listen to the whole question and don't interrupt.) but I was also photographed by our communications director alone until I told him that I would like to be photographed with my little friend...who is now a fifth grader (Where does the time go?) for our district's website! I didn't blog about this or really tell anyone because although I was honored and excited, I just didn't want to make a big deal over it. Anyway, my radio debut was yesterday and I sounded really first year of teaching giddy! But that's's really how I am when I'm with my kiddos!'s kind of a big deal so I'm enjoying the moment!
Here's my award and the picture of me with my former student:
Then, we have this monthly fundraiser with a local pizza place where they donate a portion of the day's sales to the school and the classroom that has the most orders wins a portion of the sales too! Not only did my class win with the most orders of the day, we also won money from what the teacher's ordered for lunch! HOLY COW! The kiddos are dying to help me pick out some new brag tags!

2012 seems to be off to a really good start for me! Hope it continues!

It was time to take down our 2012 Resolutions and make room for some cute snowmen and few Pinterest inspired penguins!

Tomorrow is our last day of school this week as Friday is a staff day to work on grade cards...which I haven't even started yet! I'm still grading papers for crying out loud! :)
Hope everyone is having a good week! Happy Hump Day!

Monday, January 9, 2012

We're Collecting Data

Happy Monday!
We've been working on collecting data thanks to Mrs. Nelson's little Tallies and Graphs: Collecting Class Data freebie on Teachers Pay Teachers. My kiddos loved collecting data on each other. We talked about surveys and even how to politely ask someone for their opinion: "Excuse me, Miss Long, but could you complete my survey." My little friends had so much fun. For each page we would talk about the title of the survey and the choices. I would then set our Smart Board timer for 5 minutes to let the kiddos gather their data. I was worried that 5 minutes would be too long or too short but it seemed to work perfectly for us.
Here are a few pictures:
They crack me up with how professional they act with their clipboards in hand. Now that we have all of this data, we'll be able to create some pretty amazing graphs!

Sunday, January 8, 2012

I Won Something...I Mean Somethings!

Oh my goodness! When I woke up this morning I had two posts from some fairly new bloggers! I won two awards! HOLY CANNOLI! Two! Which then led me to realize that I really need to look into creating a button for myself. So I spent some time googling and found directions on how to make my own blogger button but then I was getting frustrated because I couldn't get it "just so"...and then I was getting worried that I wasn't accepting the honor in a timely manner...this blogging stuff is still new to me and I'm working hard on learning all of the etiquette and lingo so bear with me! The button is on my to-do list. Any tips on how all of you created yours would be appreciated! :)

So here it first award comes all the way from Alaska!
Thanks Miss W! I was thrilled that you chose to pass along the Versatile Blogger Award to me!

The rules are...
1. Thank the person(s) who presented the award to you and link back to them.
Thanks again Miss W! Oh...and just so you know...I'm telling my kiddos that I have a friend in Alaska who teaches Kindergarten and has real moose that hang out on her playground! You'll be a huge hit!
2. Tell seven things about yourself.
Oh it goes...
1. I have been teaching for 14 years...geesh! I've taught in both the parochial and public
school: third grade, first grade, fifth grade, and back to first grade. I love first grade!
2. I have a Master's Degree in Curriculum Design and Instruction.
3. I just finished classes and have earned my Principalship License.
4. I traveled to Cupertino, California a few years ago and was trained at Apple headquarters...such an AWESOME experience! Changed me from a moderate PC user to 100% Mac user! Love my Mac, iPad, and iPhone! (Yeah...that trip also turned me into a
bit of a techie.)
5. I have an obsession with children's literature. I love finding that perfect book to use in my classroom with my firsties.
6. I have three adorable nieces and one all-boy nephew! They are pretty amazing...and they have me pretty much wrapped around their little fingers.
7. I have a stack of books that need to be read...when I say a stack...I mean a stack that could
also double for a night stand...yep...that high! (Can we say New Year's
3. Pass this on to 15 newly discovered blogs and let them know they've received the award.
This is a tough one because I think this award has been passed around this weekend to a lot of new bloggers but I believe awards can be repeated! Here are a few of my newest blogs I'm stalking...including Miss W whose link is above! :)
Kimberly @ First in Maine
Mrs. Settle @ Settle On In
Mrs. Patton @ Mrs. Patton's Patch
I know I'm supposed to list 15 blogs...but I think I need to do a little more stalking! When I find them, I'll be sure to post about them!

The other award I was honored with is the:
from Sandra at Sweet Times in First! Yippee! Definitely the frosting on my Sunday cupcake! (Get it?? Frosting...sweet?? I can be a bit goofy too!)
The rules for this one:
1. Show your appreciation.
Thank you! Thank you! Thank you Sandra! How cool of you to think of little old me!
2. Nominate other blogs with 200 followers or less by posting a comment on their blog.
Is it wrong to nominate some of the same I listed above? I know, I know...spread the here's a few newbies to check out:
First Grade Frenzy (I have a feeling that this teacher isn't new to blogging...but she's new to me!)
3. Post the award on your blog.
4. Check out other nominees of the Liebster Blog Award and see what they have to offer.

Whew! Collecting awards can be exhausting! Just kidding! We have another mild and sunny day here in Ohio! Wondering if we'll ever see snow this winter!
Have a super Sunday!

Saturday, January 7, 2012

Happy Weekend!

We survived the first week of 2012! Well, actually it was only a 4-day week but it totally felt like a full week! The next two weeks are four day weeks too! YIKES! So much to do!

I have to admit something...I like a little anonymity in my life....okay...maybe more than a little. :) For example, there's maybe only a few of my colleagues that know that I have started blogging. It's not because I don't want them to's just that I already share what I'm doing in my classroom with them. And it's not because I think I am an amazing teacher...I do what's best for kids and after blog stalking all summer I decided to start sharing in the blogosphere as well. I have loved "meeting" and sharing ideas with all of my new "digital friends" and am so grateful for all of their posts...whether it's a vent, celebration or a share. They've all made me think differently about what's happening in my own little first grade world and I love it! Due to my anonymity...I have several emails for different, junk mail (like when a store asks you for an email address), school, etc. but this also means I juggle between 3-4 email accounts a day...which is okay and not really a big deal thanks to my iPhone and iPad but I woke up this morning and wanted to switch the email address that's associated with this blog from my school email address to a different email address....just to make things a little easier...maybe. In doing so, I now need to go back and re-follow all of those blogs I've been following. I haven't lost them on my google reader, thank God, but needless to say I have a little tweaking to do this weekend. In my profile it says that I only follow one blogger...which is so untrue. There are tons of you I follow. Here's the link to the website I used to help me "simplify" things this morning:

Speaking of my one follower...First in Maine is aiming for 50 followers! I actually stumbled across her because she was listed on another blog I follow. Head on over and give her a shout out!

This week we've been reading the Tacky the Penguin books and we spent Friday morning making Tacky. We started off by creating the Penguin from Kaye @ TLC Lessons. I love her art projects and totally recommend them! They are awesome for following directions and they turn out so stinking cute! Each project involves pre-cut paper by you but it's so worth the extra prep. The kiddos learn how to turn a square into a circle by cutting off the four corners and then rounding the edges as well as other shapes...obviously. If you're interested, I'd order the seasonal books ("Fall", "Winter", "Spring") first to give you a taste. I think you'll be hooked! She also posts a sample lesson or two on her website. Right now there's a Barack Obama and a semi-truck lesson.'s her penguin lesson from her "Winter" book:

We added googley eyes...because it's going to be Tacky, of course!

And here's Tacky...complete with his Hawaiian shirt!
My amazing friend copied the Hawaiian shirt patterns for me, but you can make a simple pattern using scrapbook paper too.

That's all for today! Usually my neck of the woods is buried in snow this time of year, but the sun is shining and I want to get out and enjoy it!
Take care,

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Whew! What a day!

We survived our first day of school in 2012!  I'm not going to lie though...I was missing my lazy afternoon a bit and I think my kiddos were too.  When I picked them up from their special around 2:00 they were exhausted!

Here are a few pictures of our 2012 project!  It took us all morning thanks to the sequins!

Our resolutions were written and then glued under the flap.

Our hallway bulletin board is starting to look pretty festive!
We'll be adding Tacky the Penguin later in the week and some cool
snowman next week.
By the way, Squirrel's New Year's Resolution by Kathi Ember was a great read aloud to use before we started this project.  It's a cute story about a squirrel and a few of her animal friends.  Throughout the story, each of Squirrel's friends are deciding upon their resolutions and Squirrel has a hard time deciding on what her resolution should be...lots of opportunities for inferencing and predicting throughout the whole story.
I'm crashing early tonight in hopes of having an early and productive morning!

Monday, January 2, 2012

Free Bailey School Kids Literature Unit!

Hi Friends!'s the last day of Winter Break!  I can't believe how fast it went but I am kind of ready to get back into a normal routine and I'm missing my kiddos a bit!  I'm always anxious to hear about what they've been up to.

So, I have an amazing group of little friends this year who are great readers already...but there are a few at the top of the heap who need to be reading a little more than the basic decodable and leveled books our reading series offers.  I created a small literature unit on The Abominable Snowman Doesn't Roast Marshmallows, which is from The Bailey School Kids series.  You can download it here:
The Abominable Snowman Doesn't Roast Marshmallows Literature Unit
On a side note...I love creating literature units that are focused on the interests of my first graders not necessarily what the reading series tells me they need to read.  I like to use one or two books from a series that will have the potential to hook my friends on the whole series.  It really helps my families choose books for their children too because if they like one book from the series and they find out there are more books just like it, they are likely to want to start reading all of the books in the series.

I haven't used this literature unit with my kiddos yet so there may be some editing that I'll need to do as we complete it.  I like to listen to their conversations while we're reading it so that I can make revisions to the unit if needed but also use their conversations to choose another book that matches their interests to read next.  I'll be sure to update my post with revisions as we go.

That "11 in 11 Linky Party" was a great way to catch up on my blog stalking this past week and find bunches of new blogs to follow.  I found the cutest idea from Kimberly at Funky First Grade Fun.  You need to check out her Super Spelling Slippers post.  The details are at her blog...which is amazing!  She lets her kiddos wear their super spelling slippers during their weekly spelling tests!  I know!  Something so simple...but how fun is that?!  I think I'm going to use this idea in my own classroom once we start learning about long vowels with super silent e.  We always need a little extra magic to help us remember that little silent guy at the end of our words.  AND who wouldn't love throwing on a pair of slippers in the middle of a wintery school day!

One more thing...Denise @ Sunny Days in Second Grade created some cute pencil flags to give to her students to kick off the New Year in grand fashion.  So I'm off to the local teacher's store to find some festive pencils for my friends.  Check out her blog...pretty cool stuff!

Hope everyone has a great first day back to school...tomorrow for me!