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

About Me

My photo
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.

Blogs I Love!

Friday, March 30, 2012

HAPPY SPRING BREAK!! And my 100 Follower Giveaway!

Finally! It's here! Spring Break! Hip-Hip-Hooray!
(What a week! Again...can't share the nitty gritty...but geesh!) it is...a little giveaway for my 100+ followers. I'm so grateful to all of you! I really don't feel like I blog about anything stellar but I'm so appreciative of all of you! Your comments make my day and your blogs inspire me to be not only a better teacher but a better person as well. I've been thinking about what I wanted to do for my little celebration and I wanted it to be really unique. As teachers, I feel like we always try to bring a little magic into our classrooms each day...and sometimes it's really easy and let's just be honest...sometimes it's tough. But we go in and do what's best for kiddos everyday.

Tomorrow I'm heading to the magical world of Disney for a full week of Spring Break fun with my sister, her husband and her two adorable daughters.
The rest of our family (mom, dad, my other sister, her husband and another cute niece and fun nephew) are heading to the beach and will meet us at Magic Kingdom on Tuesday for the day. I LOVE watching their faces when they see their favorite characters in real life. Their excitement is contagious and you can't help but feel like a 6 year old yourself when you walk through those gates. I am also in awe of the cast of Disney and they way they interact with their guests. It's just magical!

So I started thinking...what if we could bring in some of those Disney standards of imagination and engagement into our classrooms? Now, I'm not saying that I think we should have Mickey Mouse themed bulletin boards and activities but I do think our classrooms and schools could benefit from a little magic every once in awhile! So while I'm plotting to meet Prince Charming and have him leave Cinderella and ask me to move into the castle with him (that's what I told my kiddos I was going to do), :) I'm going to be searching the parks for some fun things we could weave into our classroom routines. I don't know exactly what yet...but I know I'll find a few treasures!

So...the rules! And I'm keeping it simple again!
1. Follow my blog.
2. Blog about my giveaway.
3. Post my blog button with your post. (I'm still in love with my blog layout from Lauren @ The First Grade Diaries!)
4. Leave me a comment that you did #1 and #2 with a link to your post.
5. Wish upon a star...your dream just might come true! :) (I had to write that...cue my dorky side.)
This is my niece making a wish at Cinderella's Royal Table last year!

Easy, right? So you have all week to enter! I'll choose the winner on Easter Sunday via that Random Generator thingy so make sure you enter by Saturday evening (April 7)! I'm not sure how much blogging will get done this week but you'll be able to live through my tweets if you want! You can find me on Twitter @ Jennifer_Long1!

Hope all is well!

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

We've Got Mail!

The other night I blogged about my whole writing a friendly letter activity and how I had hoped it would be successful. Well, it was a hit!

A few weeks ago I asked my families to write their child a letter and mail it to school in hopes to make this whole letter writing thing as authentic as possible. I only had 4 pumpkins who hadn't received a letter as of the weekend, so I quick wrote each of them a letter and put them in the mailbox. No one was absent today so I threw out my intended lesson plans and we spent the day with our letters. The kiddos LOVED receiving mail at school! And to see their faces as they opened their letters was priceless!
Before we opened our letters we talked all about them...we compared sizes, colors, shapes...we looked at the stamps, we talked about the address and return address (which they didn't even realize as their own address until they opened and read their letters and then it clicked)...we talked just about everything. One kiddo even received his letter in a plastic bag with an apology from the Post Office because his envelope and letter were ripped somewhere along their journey. The entire time we're learning, I was thinking...HOLY CANNOLI! I could make this idea into a pretty awesome unit! But we're on a time crunch people! Spring Break...3 days away and I've got a few cuties leaving a day early! :)
To watch and listen to my kiddos read their letters made me so proud. They've really come a long way since the beginning of the year. Only a few asked me to help with a word. They really cherished their letters and wanted to read them themselves. Once we read our letters we labeled the parts of their letter and the envelope. (I didn't take pictures of labeling the envelope for some reason but it's glued on the other side of the construction paper.)
I then let the kiddos write a letter back to the person who wrote them. Part of me wanted to really micro-manage this part and make sure every cutie included every detail and their letter was written perfectly...but then I decided to just let them go. (I didn't even proofread them...gasp!) We then addressed our envelopes, put a stamp on them and took them to the office where we put them in our little mailbox.
So worth it! Even when I kind of wanted to pull my hair out when we were addressing the envelopes! :)

Sunday, March 25, 2012

5 More Days!!

5 more days until Spring Break...and 5 more days until my giveaway! (112 followers now! Wowzers!) Can't wait for both! It's been a long few weeks...lots "stuff" going on at school. (Wish I could spill the beans but I can't....but grrrr!!!)

I feel like I've been wrapping up a bunch of not-so-little "units" lately so that we can come back from Spring Break with no loose ends. One thing we'll be working on is writing a friendly letter. A few weeks ago I asked the parents of my kiddos to take a minute to write their cutie a letter and address it to school. I only had 4 who hadn't received a letter as of Friday so I quick wrote and mailed a few letters on Saturday so that everyone will have mail to open this week. Lots of fun stamps and one even came in a plastic bag with an apology from the post office because the envelope ripped somehow!
After we carefully open our envelope we'll glue our envelope on a piece of construction paper and label the return address, address, stamp and cancelation stamp while talking about the reasons for each. Once they read their letter we'll label the date, greeting, body, closing and signature on it. The kiddos will then get to write a letter back to their family, address and stamp the envelope and put it in the mailbox! They're going to be so excited to receive mail at school!

Tomorrow I'm curriculum mapping and designing assessments to go along with our with my team. I'm grateful my district gives us the time to do this together and I love doing this kind of thing but with everything else going on...I'm just not feeling it. I'd rather be with my kids and finishing up some of our projects.

Oh...that PD on Co-Teaching I went to this past Wednesday?? It felt like more of an undergraduate class as the whole education department was in attendance. I think the speaker was trying to reach the younger crowd because she said some things about veteran teachers that I felt were pretty offensive. Not. Impressed. At. All.

On a side note...sorry I haven't been as consistent as I like with Melody Mondays and Tech Thursdays...tons of ideas to share...just running out of hours in the day! :)
Hope everyone enjoyed their weekend!

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Professional Development Day for Me!

Hi Friends!
Today I'm heading to a Marilyn Friend Workshop at Bowling Green State University (about an hour away)! Who is Marilyn Friend? Apparently she's a co-teaching guru.
Better yet...I'm going with one of my closest friends who I love to teach with. She's our amazingly talented technology integration specialist at our school, Mrs. Kania. With our iPads rolling into our classrooms, I really see using Mrs. Kania in my classroom to teach with me...not just plan a lesson for me so that I can grade some papers while she takes over my class. I think some of our teachers are confused on the true meaning of integration...and co-teaching. Mrs. Kania and I have a vision of what true integration could look like in our building so I'm hoping to get some ideas to bring back to our school and start modeling effective co-teaching strategies.

Have a great hump day! We're expecting another day of high 70s in northern MARCH! The kiddos are loving it....and so am I! Yesterday we packed up our stuff and took our learning outside! So much fun!

Sunday, March 18, 2012

Grab a Cup of Coffee...

Or a "Kool-Aid" depending the time of day...I kind of have a lot to share...

Oh my's been a week. A week since I've blog stalked. A week since I've posted. A week since I've done ANYTHING other than school, school, school, school! No Melody Monday post, no Tech Thursday post...nothing! I'm feeling a little guilty but it's been so crazy busy at school that by the time I get home I am spent! And I think that whole time change thing didn't help out last weekend either. I was exhausted this week!

So here's what we've been up to:
This past week was our "Right to Read Week" which is always fun. This year's theme was all about dogs. We started the week off by having our DARE Officer read "Officer Buckle and Gloria" to the whole school topped off with a visit from our township's police dog. Throughout the week there were trivia questions asked each morning and winners chosen in the afternoon. All of the winners won a new book. Each day had a theme...Monday was "Running to Read" so we all got to wear sweatpants, Tuesday was "Read a T-Shirt Day", Wednesday was "Read with a Buddy" so everyone brought a stuffed animal into school, Thursday was supposed to be "Look Fetching in your Dressing" (aka Dress Up Day) but our boys basketball team had a playoff game that night so we switched it to show our school pride by wearing our school colors. Friday was "Snuggle Up With a Good Book" so we were all able to wear our PJs. WHEW! I're wondering, where are the pictures? Yep. About that...I'm pictures of my cuties reading to their stuffed animals, no pictures of them with their books they won, no pictures of them with their dog tags that our PTO purchased for them. My camera was MIA...and now it's found. :( Bummer!

A few weeks ago we had a meeting with our Curriculum Director who encouraged us to think outside the box. He threw around some words like ability grouping (which was a bad word with our old curriculum director) and departmentalizing. I've done some reading on ability grouping and can see the potential good and bad of it but I think we'd be opening a can of worms...big fat stinky worms. But I'm up for anything and if my administrators mandated that we try it, I would suck it up and do it...that's just how I roll...I'm a bit of a rebel...but I'm not defiant. :) Departmentalizing....well...I couldn't even wrap my head around this...I would be in charge of one curriculum and teach it several times during a day? What if I got bored? Would there be flexibility? How would it even work for us? After school that day there were a few of us who were chatting in the hall about a neighboring district whose first grade departmentalizes so we asked our principal if we could go check it out. She said yes, so on Wednesday morning we took a little visit. Now I have to be Wednesdays seem to last forever this year so in my mind, I was just going to get a little break for myself and give one to my kiddos too (we've only had one snow day this year and spring break is still a few weeks away). Needless to say we're feeling a little "close". Ummmm....can I just tell you that those teachers were so kind and helpful!?! (I didn't expect anything less but it was just so nice to feel welcomed when we were practically spying on their awesomeness!) They seemed so together...and their kiddos were the same! After talking with them and listening to their lists of pros and cons my two teammates were jumping on the departmentalizing train immediately. Me? I was a little hesitant. I had no intention of "liking" this and I'm a processor. I like to think things through...How would we make this work with our current schedule? How would we communicate effectively with all of our parents? How would we organize ourselves and our children? What would conferences look like for us? I still want to collaborate and work with the rest of our first grade team...will departmentalizing ourselves isolate ourselves? Way too many questions swimming around in my I started verbalizing them. I didn't want to be a Debbie Downer but if these girls were going to be working with me I guess they needed to meet this side of me. So we talked....and we talked....and we dreamed...and ....ALL ABOARD!! I'm in! The next step was to talk to our principal...she approved for us to pilot it for next year so we worked out a schedule for her and she said YES! I'm going to be teaching Reading and Writing and my friends will be teaching Math and Science/Social Studies next year. So we're still planning and organizing and dreaming...but I'm so excited! So...just you departmentalize? If you have time, I'd love to hear how your team "does it"! :)

You all have been super busy with all of your St. Patrick's Day fun! I have a student whose family does not celebrate holidays or birthdays (Every time we do something with a holiday, he leaves the room to go to the library or works on our iPad. His family says he doesn't mind doing this but it kind of breaks my heart a bit. My room is fun, but he misses out on the "silly fun" and I worry that he may think school isn't fun because he misses out on some of the silliness.) So I chose to do a lighter version of St. Patrick's Day. We made the Leprechaun and Shamrock projects from TLC and I brought in a Shamrock plant to talk about.

Speaking of Shamrocks...Here's mine! It's one year old this weekend! Yep! I have had a plant for a full year...and it's not dead! I think it's been close a few times...but we've survived! :)
I'm just so proud of myself with that finicky plant!

Well, I think I've filled your last few minutes up with enough of my randomness...the sun is popping through the clouds and I am going to get busy so that I can enjoy it today! Heading to my sister's 31 party to purchase part of my 100 follower giveaway this afternoon...hmmm...what will it be???
Have a great Sunday!

Sunday, March 11, 2012

Thanks and Teachers Taking Care of Teachers

First of all...THANK YOU for all of the kind thoughts and wishes this past Saturday! My Administration and Supervision Test is over and is now in the hands of the Praxis was tough though! Lots of analyzing and applying (as it should be)...there were a few that were real stumpers but overall...I'm thinking that I just may have done a decent enough job. Lord, I hope I didn't just jinx myself! :) I'll find out the results in 4-6 weeks.

So instead of grading papers this afternoon, I took a bike ride in the mid-60 degree sunny weather, played in the park with my nieces and made it through my blog feed...all 179 posts. (Overwhelming...but so much fun!)

Did you happen to see Kreative in Kinder's post about "Teachers Taking Care of Teachers"? Crystal is organizing a way for all of us to help out the teachers who lost everything due to those tornados. Head on over to Kreative in Kinder to get all of the details. I just ordered several books from Scholastic and know that I have things in my room that I can send along.
3 weeks until my 100 follower give-away! :)
Hope everyone had a great weekend!

Friday, March 9, 2012

Just a Quickie!

Hi Everyone!
I shouldn't even be here right now...but I needed a distraction so I have the timer set on my iPhone...5 minutes...that's all I can have so sorry if there's a word misspelled or a run-on sentence but I'm on a time limit here!

So on Monday I said it was going to be a crazy week...and crazy it has been! But tomorrow is the day...this day...
I'm taking my "Educational Leadership: Administration and Supervision Test" tomorrow morning at 7:30AM. 95 questions...2 hours. I have my ticket, my ID, and my pencils says to bring 3-4 pencils but what if karma comes along and the tips break on my way or something?? I'm bringing reinforcements along just in case.

I'm working on a practice test and it's a bit of a doozy! It's like I have to think like a stone cold administrator or something...policy and procedures...policy and procedures...and don't forget the law part! There's no touchy feely cutsie stuff here! I've only missed 3 out of 30 practice questions so that can't be too awful....right?? I mean I've never been a good test taker...I over analyze, stress out

Crud! There goes the timer...(blogger took forever to upload my images...I can type a little more)...

Where was I ....oh yeah, my test taking skills...ick! But tomorrow will be different...I'm going to wake up super early, listen to some of my own personal theme music on the drive and kick some serious Praxis booty! I hope!

So if you're up and about tomorrow morning send a little Irish Luck my way if you can! Prayers would be helpful too, of course! :)

Okay iPhone!!! I'm done! I'm done! Geesh! You're such a task master! :)

Monday, March 5, 2012

Passing Along the Blogger Love...Finally

I know I'm breaking some major blogging rules by posting again today...but the next few days are going to be crazy busy @ school and home and I really need to finish up the requirements for that award I won the other day! :) (Maybe I won't feel as guilty if you just save this post to read tomorrow...Ha! Ha!)

So...The rules were:
1. Link back to the blogger who gave it to you.
2. Pass the award onto 15 other lovely bloggers.
3. Follow the person who sent it to you.
I believe I already linked back to Angela at The Daily Alphabet the other day...but she's so worth mentioning again! As of tonight she has about 70 followers including me! Are you following her blog? You really should...
So now I get to pass it on to 15 other bloggers who haven't received it yet...which was kind of I chose to tweak it a bit and pass the "One Lovely Blog" award onto six of my blogger friends who who leave a comment or two on my posts and make me feel like a "real live blogger!" Ha! Ha! If you already have it...yeah! If you haven't received it's yours! :)

My Valentine Exchange friend from Texas~Jennifer @ Rowdy in First Grade

Jennifer @ First Grade Blue Skies She made me the most adorable Pirate bathroom signs ever but she's worth much more than potty art! :) (Hope I didn't offend you, Jennifer!) I just picked up her Chicken Little Literature Unit and plan on using it in the next few weeks! Thanks Jennifer!

Okay! Well...we had our first official 2-hour delay this morning which resulted in our first snow day! YEAH! I went to school anyway and tried to get ahead of the game while no one was there and I think I'm caught up...well until the little cuties walk in tomorrow morning! :)
Have a good night!

100 Followers???? REALLY????

Oh my goodness! I have over 100+ followers!!! YIPPEE!!! I still don't consider myself as amazing as all of you but I'm working on it and I'm glad that you must find something interesting about my little blog! I've been sitting on an idea for a little celebration...but I need to wait until the end of the month...because I need to travel south to gather my "treats" for my give away! :)

Mrs. Nunley over at First Grade Magic is having a giveaway to celebrate 100 followers...and making it through an evening of wicked windy weather last Friday! Check her out! You have until Wednesday, March 7 to enter!
Today is Melody Monday so I want to share Steve Roslonek aka Steve Songs with you! I first discovered him on the way to Florida a few years ago on the Children's Station on XM and I heard an interview with him and in it he mentioned that he had something in the works with PBS. he's all over PBS! His music is so much fun! Of course my kiddos LOVE his "Pirate Song" found on his "Little Superman" album. You can listen to snippets of his songs on the PBS website. Lots of fun "learning" music and even fun to play in the background during the day.
Doesn't he look fun? I'd love to take my nieces and nephew to see him in concert sometime!

The phone rang nice and early this morning with a message from our Superintendent...a 2 hour delay for me!! Now to sit and wait to see if we're closed...I doubt it...but I totally appreciate the extra two hours to finish up what didn't happen over the weekend. OH! And make my list of bloggers to receive the "One Lovely Blog Award".
Have a great day!

Saturday, March 3, 2012

A Special Delivery, An Award and More!

Happy Weekend!
A special delivery arrived yesterday...
Our first iPad arrived! Each of our classrooms will be receiving 6 iPads to use in our classroom. I am so excited!!! We are so lucky to have a Tech Director and a Superintendent that are pretty aggressive when it comes to integrating technology into our teaching...and I'm so grateful that they remember the "little people" in their plans for our district! We were watching Horton Hears a Who and I thought everyone had their attention on the movie until a little guy came back and said, "Is that what I think it is?" And I said, "I think it's what you think it is." And he replied, "It's ours?" And I said, "'s ours. Want to know a secret? There's 5 more coming." He literally jumped in the air and said, "YES!" Good gracious...I can't wait to see them interacting with our iPads!

Many thanks to Angela over at The Daily Alphabet for awarding me with the "One Lovely Blog Award"!
Her blog is so cheery and I love reading her posts! I'm supposed to pass on my award to 15 other "Lovely Bloggers" but I'm going to work on my list this weekend and post it when it's done. I promise!

Are you aware of the amazing talents of Michelle @ The 3AM Teacher?
She has the most adorable digital art and she has an awesome Kevin Henkes freebie right now! Go and check her out!

I purchased my laminator from Sam's Club after school yesterday and I am in love! It's going to make the laminating part of my life so much easier! I can laminate in my pajamas!!! With a glass of wine if I want!!! (Not that I drink wine in the mornings in my PJs...but you know what I mean!) I won't be so overwhelmed with the rolls of laminating that I bring home to cut...well actually my mom cuts my laminating for me...she calls it therapy. But now I don't have to rely on her to cut it out all of the time!

Well...I'm off to do a little more my PJs!
Have a great Saturday!

Thursday, March 1, 2012

Give Away Over at Dilly Dabbles!

Hey There Friends!
Just wanted to let you know about a give away over at Dilly Dabbles in celebration of her reaching 100 followers! She's teaming up with The 3 AM Teacher to give away an awesome prize sometime on Sunday, March 11. By the totally have to check out The 3 AM Teacher...awesome digital clip-art and more!

Wasn't that Leap Day Sale at Teachers Pay Teachers fun?!? Thanks again to all of you talented ladies who joined in on the sale!

I'm purchasing my own laminator this weekend! I looked at Sam's tonight and they have plenty in stock so I might just pick one up there so that I have it (I don't like to have to wait for "toys" like this.) Do any of you have a laminator you love? I'd love to hear the brand and where you picked it up!

Well...I'm exhausted. I haven't been sleeping well this week and I'm already looking forward to crawling into bed tomorrow night and not having to be up and running first thing Saturday morning. Is that sad? Geesh! Such the life I lead! :)
Happy Friday!