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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Thursday, May 31, 2012

Happy Summer!

Well, almost!  Our staff day is tomorrow...but I don't really count that day!

Sorry about being MIA this past week but you know how it is...the final days of school and all of the extra stuff we try to squeeze in to make it memorable, Memorial Day, a certain book/trilogy that has been consuming me the past week...I'm on the third book.  Oh. My. Goodness.  That's all I can say.  :)  Needless to say, my Google Reader is well into the hundreds...HUNDREDS!  I just know I've missed out on some blogger fun, but I've been buried in lots of other things that need to be done...and THOSE books.

So back to school...we've been super busy with our Legos,

Beach Day...aka Foamie Heaven,

Fun Day,

and some awards and a kickball tournament (which we lost...but we had fun so we don't care!)

Today was our last day together and it was a little sad, I have to admit!  This group came along at a time when I was really questioning whether or not I wanted to be in education any longer.  After last year I was contemplating my next career...which wasn't going to be in education at all.  This group reminded me why I became a teacher so many years ago and just made my job fun again.  (Thank God!)

So tomorrow is our last day...officially.  My room is almost bare and I have two corners to go through and then cover everything up.  Our floors are being stripped this summer so we have to have EVERYTHING boxed up and off of the floor before we leave for the summer.  Ugh!  I'm doing my best, but I have a lot of stuff...
Hope everyone is reaching the end of their year on a high note!

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Fruit and a Field Trip

Yesterday we made some delicious fruit salad to go along with A Fruit is a Suitcase for Seeds.  YUM!  Everyone was asked to bring in a small baggie of pre-cut fruit.  In some cases we got more than a small baggie.  :)  I also ran into WalMart before school to pick up some additional fruit "just-in-case" so we had more than enough.  
So after talking about what kinds of fruit we had and sorting out which fruits had one seed and and which fruits had more than one seed, we started to throw all of our fruits together.
 And created this!
Probably the best fruit salad EVER!

Today we went to The Great Lakes Science Center in Cleveland, Ohio...right next to The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame (talk about temptation).  We took a quick group shot before we all went our separate ways.
I love this picture!  Check out he three in the second row on the left...that picture
totally sums up the feel of my classroom this year...friends to the end!  :)
The Science Center had a TON of hands on activities for the kids but to be completely honest, I think it was a little above our heads.  They still had fun and that's all I care about.

This was in the Science Center's Fun House...picture 50 kids in one
room with tons of those plastic balls bouncing and being
 thrown all over the place.  This room gave me the shakes.  CRAZY!
 The kids had the opportunity to make a tornado out of water.
 And experiment with this...I can't remember what it really was, but they loved it.
 And then there's the proof of a good trip...

Now that our field trip is over, I feel like I can really start to take things down in my classroom.
5 days left with Memorial Day Weekend right around the corner! :)
Hope everyone is having a great week!

Sunday, May 20, 2012

Sarah's Giveaway and The Final 8

My friend Sarah @ Fun in Title Math is having a giveaway to celebrate her 100 followers!  Yeah!
100 Follower Giveaway!
Go and check her out if you aren't' already following her!

So...the final 8!  We're going to be reading A Fruit is a Suitcase for Seeds in our reading book tomorrow and we'll be making a fruit salad on Tuesday.  I also found this book in our library:
We're going to have a little fun with it before we read A Fruit is a Suitcase for Seeds.

On Wednesday we're heading to The Great Lakes Science Center in Cleveland, Ohio for an all-day field trip!  I've never been there before so I'm hoping the kiddos like it.

I spent today tweaking my Daily 5 PD for tomorrow after school and baking a few treats for my teacher friends.  I'm hoping it's what they're looking for!

I should be crawling into bed but that darn show "The Pitch" is on!  I'm addicted I think!  The creativity and drive of these advertisers is so amazing!  Plus their designing a pitch for Frangelico...YUM!

Have a good Monday!

Saturday, May 19, 2012

My Class Has Gotten Their Groove Back!

My kiddos are back!  They're back to their usual fun quirky selves!  Thank God!  Thursday was not a fun day, but they were great on Friday!  Since I didn't have to waste time with time outs or having family meetings to discuss poor choices, we were able to have a little fun again! 

A few months ago we did a fun letter writing activity.  From that activity several of my kiddos have chosen to write letters during their "work on writing" time.  My friend, Zach wrote to write Tom Brady. We didn't know if we would get a response or not but this week he brought in some mail he received from The New England Patriots!  He was so excited!  They sent him a schedule, picture of the team, a button, and a pencil with a personalized letter.  So cool!

Then we took time to vote on our favorite drawings!  I still love these frames from Melissa and Doug.  We got a lot of compliments on our artwork this past week.

And the winners are...

We had a tie for first with Malea's "Flowermania" and Carson's "The Battleship".  Leanne won second place with "The Butterfly."  Each of them received a little treat and they'll get an award certificate during our little awards assembly on our last day.

Then I promised to show some of our Lego Land Creations.  This one knocked my socks off!

There's even hands holding onto the bars of the window.  My sisters and I were not raised with Legos so I truly lack the ability to create anything except large towers.  Some of our creations are really pretty awesome!

It's a great day in northern Ohio today but I've spent most of it inside working on my Daily 5 workshop, report cards, and other stuff.  Hoping to be able to be outside for a bit tomorrow!
Enjoy the rest of the weekend!

Thursday, May 17, 2012

And then there were 9...

9 Days Left!  Oh my goodness!  Today was not pleasant.  My kiddos are so ready for summer!  I actually told them that I was canceling their Beach Day during our last week of school.  I thought their cute little eyeballs were going to fall out of their heads.  (Now will I really cancel Beach Day?  Probably not...I already purchased everything for it...but I can let them think I'm going to cancel it.)  Grrr!!!

On a brighter note...
I was asked by my team to share with them how I "do" The Daily 5 in my classroom.  We got it approved by our curriculum director, who is also purchasing books for everyone who attends (this NEVER happens).  I'm presenting on Monday after school to many of the teachers in my building...not just the first grade team.  Apparently more are interested than I thought!  :)  I don't consider myself a Daily 5 guru at all.  I just heard about it a few years ago, read the book, started to implement parts of it into my routine, attended a Daily 5 Conference, and tweak it each year a bit so that it meets the needs of my kiddos.  I have about 19 teachers attending!  I'm thinking I'll give them a brief overview of what The Daily 5 is and how I apply it in my classroom each year.  I'll also share with them how I set up my Work on Writing and Work on Words; how I set up my classroom library, choose books, etc.  I'm thinking I'll be fine because I'll make it practical.  Whenever I'm asked to present, I always plan so that it's something I would want to sit through.  (I've sat through some awful presentations and swear each time, that I'll never "do that" to anyone else.)

I'm in need of a little help from you...
I'm looking for blogs that post about The Daily 5.  If you know of any Pre-K to 2nd grade classrooms that use The Daily 5, please let me know!  I want to be able to provide the teachers with tons of resources so that they can see how other teachers utilize The Daily 5 in their classrooms.  I have many of you already on my list but please leave a comment with a link to your blog or to someone else's blog who posts about The Daily 5.
Thanks a bunch!  And it's close enough.......
Happy Friday!

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Dollar Days @ Scholastic Teacher Express

Hi Friends!
Just a quickie!  Did you see that Scholastic is having their Dollar Days?  Tons of good stuff for $1.00!

Dollar Days!  Yippee!
Sale ends on May 18!
Have a great day!

Sunday, May 13, 2012

Summer Bucket List Linky Party

Hi friends!
I decided to link up with the girls and their Summer Bucket List Linky Party!  We have 13 student days left this year which I can't believe!  Our staff day/last official day is Friday, June 1 so I feel like I have a whole extra month of summer this year!  Like you, I'll be planning for next year all summer, but it will be on my schedule!  :)

So here we go...

1. I will read some adult know...the ones without pictures!  :)  The Help and The Hunger Games (I'm probably the only one in the whole world who hasn't read these or saw the movies yet.), 50 Shades of Grey,which is now a trilogy,  Outliers, and Imagine have been sitting on my shelf and on my iPad for a few months now.  I just can't read big people books during the school year unless I'm sitting on a beach for an extended amount of time!

2. I will update my resume...I can be a principal now if I want to!

3. I will start house hunting...a little more seriously.  I'm kind of envious of everyone else making their house a's kind of hard to do in an apartment that I can't paint, or update.  Now that I've typed that, my heart is pounding a little I really want to mow a lawn? Shovel the drive before school?  EEEK!  I don't know about this one now....

4. I will work on school stuff on my own time.  I need to get my head on straight about this whole departmentalization thing this next year.  Very exciting...but lots to think about.

5. I will explore the idea of creating and selling some of my ideas on Teachers Pay Teachers.

6. I will not lose track of my teaching friends this summer just because we don't see each other at school everyday.

7. My sisters and I are trying to plan a little sisters only get-away...hopefully this happens this summer.  Any ideas??

8. I will go through my closet and purge and then go shopping.  (A little transformation has been occurring and it's time to let go of some baggage...)

I know that as soon as I post this I'll think of a few more things but I'm hoping to take time to just hang out with whomever whenever I want to too!

Saturday, May 12, 2012

Mother's Day, Legos and News About a Friend

So every year I'm always running around at the last minute trying to figure out something unique to do for the 24+ mamas I have in my classroom.  Thank God for the awesome teachers out here in the bloggerverse!  I got tons of great ideas from Reagan's "Oh Momma Mother's Day" unit on Teachers Pay Teachers and Sarah's adorable "Mommy, You're My Everything" book.  They saved the day for me!  I was given 24 photo albums by a retiring teacher last year so I used some of the writing ideas from Sarah's booklet and added a few of our own and had the kiddos illustrate each page for their moms.  You know, the usual...My mom makes the best ________.  My mom loves it when I ___________.  I had to resize some of the ideas I found to make them fit on the pages of the photo albums.

That's me with this cutie's mom and our tech buddy, Mrs. Kania.
This little friend was trying to write "in the car"...but it totally looks like "in the can".
I couldn't bring myself to fix it...too funny!  :)
We then made Reagan's Lemon and Olive Oil Body Scrub.

And designed our own gift bags to put everything in so that it all made it home safe and sound.

Only one Mother's Day gift was left behind at the end of the day ( does that happen?  It was sitting right next to her stuff and everything!  We worked on them all day!) Oh will be a little late, I guess!

Then, because I bribed them so I could finish all of our Diagnostic and AIMS testing this week I brought out the Legos.  (I actually said, "Friends, if you could just keep yourself busy with a game or drawing...whatever you want and you can do it quietly, I'll have a reward for you on Friday."  Yep...I did.)  As part of our Social Studies curriculum and because our school has adopted a bit of a STEM philosophy, we asked for sets of Legos to supplement our community units.  Let me tell you...they LOVED it!  It got a little loud, but I never heard so much collaboration and sharing as I did.  So, I let them build and create for most of the morning.

I'll post their creations sometime this next week.

Okay...onto news about a friend!  My teaching buddy, Allison has opened up her own shop on Teachers Pay Teachers!  She's so excited and since she doesn't have a blog, I told her I'd give her a little shout out!  She has a cute number sequencing activity with a beachy theme that would be perfect for a quick end of the year check.  She also posted her Summer Fun Beach Math Centers.  Cute stuff!

Happy Mother's Day to all of you mommas out there!

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Special Delivery and A Little Venting

Guess what the UPS man dropped off today?  My new pencil sharpener!  You know... the one EVERYONE has been talking about being the best sharpener ever invented?!?  Well, is the Holy One of all pencil sharpeners.  I actually enjoyed sharpening all of our pencils tonight.  I'm hoping it's just as easy for the kiddos to use!  Check them out at Classroom Friendly Supplies.  They would make great Teacher Appreciation Gifts...or even gifts for new teachers!  When I'm the boss, I think I'll order these for all of my teachers...they're that good!  :)

Okay.  Just a question...does anyone have to administer a Diagnostic Assessment when your district doesn't meet AYP?  Here's the short version...apparently my district didn't meet AYP this year.  Therefore, the state mandates that we administer the short version of the Diagnostic Test.  It's a one-on-one assessment.  There is a reading portion that has 2 questions asking the children to find antonyms, read 3 (VERY BASIC) sight words, read a short "story" that really isn't a story, do a retell of the "story" and then write a sentence that is dictated to them.  The math portion has some money, counting backwards, a few number sentences, measuring a carrot in centimeters, fractions, and one graphing question.  Each section usually takes between 8-10 minutes depending on the child.  To top it all off, these results don't even go to the state.  They get filed away so that if the state ever makes a visit up north and wants to see that we did them, we can pull them out.  So basically, I just spent the last three days testing each of my kiddos for their results to only sit in a file.  Grrr...  (Not growling at my school district...just irritated with this state mandate.  It's not even an adequate assessment!).  Tomorrow I get to start the AIMS!

I love all of the new blogs I discovered this past weekend thanks to the Jackpot...but I need to really think about making time to keep up to date on everyone's posts.  It was a little overwhelming tonight to open up my Google Reader and have almost 300 posts to read.  I thought to myself that I really should "reduce"...but I just can't.  There are so many amazing teachers out there, I just HAVE to know what everyone is up to!

Okay...not too exciting tonight but I had to let you know that those pencil sharpeners are the real deal...and vent a little bit! :)
Sweet Dreams!

Sunday, May 6, 2012

Forget My Pile of Stuff to Do...

Seriously friends!
Have you seen all of the fun freebies out there today?!?

Not only am I hopping around like a mad woman...I'm discovering some amazing new bloggers!!!  I'm trying to leave comments and thanks to everyone, but I'm getting a little lost in all of the fun too!  So if I haven't thanked you, THANK YOU!  You're some pretty awesome teachers and friends!  :)

Just in case you're like, "What is she talking about now?!?!?"
April, from A Modern Teacher has all of the primary teachers who are offering freebies listed on her blog!  Check her out!
The Teacher Appreication Jack Pot only lasts today so start hopping!

Also...tons of sales going on at Teachers Pay Teachers and Teachers Notebook (as if you didn't know)!

I was planning to be in school today...but thinking I'll be working and organizing from home...after I go see The Avengers with my dad and brother-in-law!

And...I'm kind of listening/watching The Pitch...advertising is an intense job...whoa!

Saturday, May 5, 2012

My New Favorite App

So a few weeks ago we attended two days of iPad training.  One of the apps our presenter shared with us was Spashtop HD.
You can find it at the App Store for about $4.99 but it's totally worth it!  See, my Smart Board is mounted at the front of my classroom but my laptop has to be at the back of my classroom because that's where all the wires and cords are and therefore my laptop has too be connected to use the Smart Board at the back of the room.  You're probably thinking duh, Jenn...I get it!  But here's the glitch...see when our district became a Mac school (Thank God!), there were some MAJOR glitches with our Macs and the Smart Board software.  Our amazing tech department worked to get through it all but it was a huge headache at the beginning.  Now it only happens on occasion but whenever it does, I have to stop what I'm doing, go back to my corner of the room and fix it on my laptop which leaves my 24 angels alone on the carpet.  (You know what that can turn into!)

Splashtop HD allows me to keep my iPad handy so that I can remotely connect to my laptop and interact with my desktop so I can fix those Smart Board issues without leaving my group of sweet friends.  Which means I can also go between programs too!  LOVE IT!  As long as I'm on the district's server, I can interact with my desktop.  I can even be in a different part of the building and still control what my kiddos are seeing.  I'm already planning an April Fool's joke for next year...I don't even know if we're in school that day...but there's so many possibilities to have a little fun with my kiddos.  Ha! Ha!

The only thing I haven't figured out yet is how to keep my music playing through my speakers that are attached to my laptop.  When I open Splashtop HD, my music stops playing from my laptop and plays from my iPad.  I'd like my music to continue playing from my laptop so that it can be amplified from my speakers.  Maybe it's a setting I haven't found yet, so I'll keep exploring.

Well I have a very overwhelming pile of school stuff waiting for me in the other room so I think I need to get moving...

Thought I'd give you a picture so if you're feeling overwhelmed by your pile this weekend you can say, "Gee, at least my pile doesn't look like Jenn's!"  :)  Hoping to have time to start filling my Teachers Pay Teachers Cart for tomorrow too!  Big Sale, Big Sale!  Better get the credit card out of the freezer!  :)

And one more does one decide??  Mint Juleps or Margarita's?  
Happy Derby Day and Cinco de Mayo to everyone!  How often does this happen!?!  And a Super Moon too?  Holy Cow!  What a day!
Take care!

Friday, May 4, 2012

Happy Friday!

Our first grade Continent Performance was this afternoon!  Finally, after weeks and weeks of planning, singing, organizing, and practicing, practicing, practicing...the kiddos did it!  :)  Minus an overly sensitive microphone that made our speaking parts super loud, they did an awesome job!  Here's a link to our local paper who was there to take some pictures (I was hoping for video...but there's still come cute shots of our firsties!)

Furry School Students Present Continent Program

So proud of them...and also relieved that it's one thing checked off our to-do list!  After the performance we let the parents take their children home with them if they wished, which was a great idea!  I came back to school with one kiddo who at the time was a bit upset, but we had a left over donut from "Mornings with Mom" (mom's get to come to school to have a donut and juice with their kiddo before the day starts), another class invited him to come over for Walking Tacos and then we took down Antarctica (on the wall), sorted all of those penguins and ended the day by playing on the iPad.  He was pretty chipper by the end of the day.

So once Antarctica was taken down, I remembered that we had created some art a few weeks ago after we read Olivia.  I had purchased a "Frame Pad" by Melissa and Doug and let the kiddos create!  I didn't give them a prompt or a theme...I just turned on some quiet music and let them go.  They really got into it and spent a lot of time on them.  They persuaded me to have an art contest, so I'm going to work one into our last 18 days of school...somehow!  :)

Just an FYI...The Electric Company has been my saving grace!  Not only is it totally educational and fun, but the kiddos are glued to it!  They have some episodes on their website that you can watch, but I went ahead and just paid for Volume 1 on iTunes so it's ready to go when needed.  Just thought I'd share since it seems like we're all in the same boat with children who are ready to be done for the year!  :)

Happy Weekend!