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!

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Last Minute Fall Crafts

Well friends!  We're getting a little bit of Sandy in Northern Ohio today!  High winds, rain, and power outages are throughout the area which means school has been closed!  I haven't lost power yet, so I wanted to share a few quick and easy projects with you before Halloween!

Here's a Jack-o-Lantern we made a few weeks ago...super easy and very "telling".

Here's what you'll need:
Construction Paper:
9x12-inch black rectangle for the background
1x2-inch brown rectangle for the stem
a ton of 1/2x12-inch orange strips for the pumpkin
Scraps of yellow construction paper for the face

We started this project together by gluing an orange strip vertically and horizontally in the center of the black construction paper.  We then glued strips to form an X on top of the vertical and horizontal pieces.  The children were then told to continue gluing orange strips by overlapping them, leaving a black space between each strip (see picture above).  Some of the orange pieces will hang off of the edge of the black paper.  These can be trimmed off once the children are finished gluing all of the orange pieces.  We then glued our stem to the top of our pumpkin and used yellow construction paper from our scrap paper box to design our faces however we wanted them to look.

We also made some fall trees!

Here's what you'll need:
Construction Paper
9x12-inch blue rectangle for the background
9x12-inch brown rectangle for the tree
tons of fall colored 1-inch squares for the children to use as leaves

I whipped up a very simple tree pattern and had the children trace it onto the brown construction paper and cut it out.  We then glued the tree onto our blue background.  Each child was given a pile of squares and told to glue their leaves onto their paper.  I told them that they could glue their leaves however they wanted, but I wanted it to look "real".  Some glued them onto the branches, some made it look like the leaves were falling from the tree, and some even made leaf piles.

I like this project because even if I'm short on time, or a child doesn't completely finish their tree, it still looks good whether the tree is full of leaves or it has very few leaves on it.

I don't think I can take full credit for these projects...I think I found them in an issue of Mailbox several years ago but they work...and once you get your kiddos started on them, they can complete them on their own which gives you a second to breathe.

Miss V's Busy Bees is celebrating 500 followers...make sure you follow her blog so you can join in on her give-away!

 Miss V’s Busy Bees

With this unexpected day off, I have big plans for getting caught up on all of my blog stalking and if I lose power, I have a few books left over from my summer reading list that I can read!
Keep safe!

Saturday, October 27, 2012

Boo! Boo! Boo!

Yes, sweet friends!  I've been boo-ed...not once, not twice...but three times!  Holy cow!  Now here's the part I feel totally guilty about...
I was Boo-ed at least a week ago and I am just now having time to sit down and pass on the spookiness!  At least we're still in the month of October, right?

Here are the rules...
If you've been boo-ed, copy and paste the above pic and these "rules" into your post.
1. Give a shout out to the blogger who booed you and link back to their site!
2. Share 3-5 October activities, books, products (yours or someone else),
or freebie(s) that you love!
3. Share the Boo love with 5 bloggers- make sure you check this link to make sure you don't boo someone again:
And don't forget to tell them that they have been BOOED!
4. Link up {here} so that others can find you and read about your October ideas! And while you are there... check out the other great blogs!

So here's a shout out to some of my blogger friends who Boo-ed me!
Thanks Maria, Jennifer, and Crystal!
It was so kind of you to include me in on the fun!
If you haven't checked out their blogs, you really must!  I'm a little behind on reading their posts at the moment but they always give me great ideas and definitely something to think about!

My favorite October books and activities...

Anything with spiders!  I love reading 
It's a fabulous read aloud!  It's one of those books on my pile to create something fun for you and your kiddos!

We had a few minutes to spare at the end of the day yesterday, so we read
My kiddos loved it...another book I have ideas for!

(I really need a personal assistant.)

Halloween joke books are great too!  This week, I'm going to put a joke on my Smart Board each day, but scramble the answer.  The kiddos will have to unscramble the answer which will also form a complete sentence.  We're working on sentence structure, so I thought this would be a fun idea for this spooky week!

Hat Day!
We're not allowed to dress up at school on Halloween so for the past 3 years or so I've organized a building wide hat day that allows the children to design a hat at home with their families and wear it to school.  We are a Pre-K to 2nd grade building so our words range from color words for our Pre-K cuties (in English and Spanish), letters of the alphabet with our kindergarten friends and sight words from our reading series for our first and second graders.  Each teacher assigns a word or letter to each of their students.  A note goes home explaining the project to our families.  All hats are due back to school a day or two before our actual Hat Day so that those who didn't make a hat can make one quickly with their teacher.  We realize families are busy and we don't want anyone left out of the fun!  On Hat Day, my class starts a "parade" and we travel through each classroom to show off our hats.  As we go through each classroom, the class lines up behind us and we continue to the next class until the whole school is is parading through the school.  The hats that come to school are amazing!  Each year, they get better and better!  Here's a few from this year...

So that was more than "a few"!  I had a hard time picking some pictures to share.  I'm always amazed at the hats that we get!  Our families are awesome...and my teacher friends are pretty cool too...they let this little bit of fun interrupt their normal routines for our kids!  Thanks secret followers of my blog who teach at my school!  :)

I think October should be a longer month!  There are so many fabulous ideas for Halloween fun on TPT, Teachers Notebook, and Pinterest...and of course all of your wonderful blogs!

I now have to Boo 5 other bloggers but since I'm a little behind the Boo-ing...please help me out!  If you haven't been Boo-ed yet...consider yourself Boo-ed by me!  (I feel like such a's so unlike me!)  Just leave me a comment so I can give some blogger love to you in a future post! 

Have a great Saturday!

Sunday, October 14, 2012

The Leaves Have Changed!

I didn't do a very good job last year of showing off my tree as the seasons changed so I vowed to make sure I did it this year!

Here is my summer tree...

 Here's my fall tree...

As fall continues, leaves will very slowly start falling onto the shelves or the ground until the branches are bare and winter is here!

Hope everyone had a great weekend!  I kind of saved all of my school work for tonight...and it's a lot!  So I'm off!
Talk soon!

Friday, October 12, 2012

One Proud Teacher!

I'm so proud of my first graders!

I need to give you a little background information...go ahead and get comfy...

So I'm really starting to like this whole departmentalizing thing!  I still get stressed out about all of the details sometimes, but I'm really enjoying being the reading teacher!  I have a long way to go with the kiddos yet...but I'm already seeing growth in their abilities!  So...all is well in the world!

During the first few weeks of school I was struggling a bit with my routine and even transitioning the children from their previous class to my class.  In my heart, I wanted to do a read aloud when they first came into my room, but I was worried that I would not have time to read and get everything else done.  I see each class for 80 minutes.  I thought that the read alouds would have to be limited to short picture books due to my time limits.  I struggled for a week or two and then decided that I wanted to expose my children to some quality literature.  I was going through my library of chapter books and came across Junie B. Jones, which I love to read aloud, but I wanted something a little deeper.  Amber Brown...great book...but wanted more content...Magic Tree House Series....okay...but I was really wanting something to talk really connect with....something that might push their thinking a bit....and then I saw my worn out copy of Charlotte's Web.  Without much thought, I took it to school and shared it with my kids.  When they saw it, they said, "It looks old."  So we talked about my worn out copy and I told them that some of my favorite books look like this...because I liked reading it so much that I read it several times.  We compared it to their favorite toys and/or blankets.  I started reading chapter 1, and they were hooked!  You could literally hear a pin drop every time I read it to them.  God forbid I skip a day, or stop in the middle of a chapter.

Today we finished reading Charlotte's Web.  One of the kiddos asked, "Will we read part 2?"  Some felt like there must be a it!  So next week we'll be using Jen's "On the Farm with Charlotte and Friends" unit to wrap up everything!  It's such a great unit!

Click Here to visit Jen's TPT Shop!

I thought it would be fun to have the kiddos design their own spider webs and include a word in the web that described them, just like Charlotte weaved "Some Pig", "Radiant", "Humble" and "Terrific" into her web.  Here are a few pictures of what the kiddos created...


I also wanted to have a little fun on my classroom blog so I decided to offer a giveaway for my reading kiddos!  One lucky firstie will win their own personal copy of Charlotte's Web.  All the children need to do is leave a comment about the book.   Here's the link to take a peek at some of their comments!  I'm so proud of them!
Click here to peek at my classroom blog!
Their comments truly reflect what we read in class...and knowing that they probably didn't type their comment on their own, they also had to communicate to their parent what they wanted to type and their parent had to have faith in their child that what they wanted to say was true and acceptable.  Every comment is right on target!  I am just so proud of them!

They're dying to know what our next book is going to be...I told them they'd have to wait until Monday!

Happy Friday!

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

October Currently

Hi Friends!
Here's my "Currently" for October!

So I don't think my "Currently" needs a lot of explaining this month!  Here's a picture of one of my favorite fall books...

Such a fun read aloud!  Lots of screaming...due to a cute little spider who just wants to become the family pet!  He tries so hard to show the family all of the fun things he can do but it just doesn't work...until a surprise at the end!  I'm hoping to put together some of the activities I do with this book and share it on my blog this weekend!  That's the goal!  :)

Off to meet some new bloggers thanks to Farley's rule of 3!

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Cool Art

I know!!!  I'm blogging again!  That's 2 days in a row!!
Do you need a minute to get a grip?  (I kind of do!)
Ha! Ha!

I guess the plus side to being MIA for a bit is that I now have a list of ideas to chat about with you!

Today I want to share what our amazing art teacher and his student teacher are creating with our kiddos!  Have you ever seen glass art like this?

Pretty cool, right?!?

Check out what the kiddos in our K-2 building are creating...

Our light panels are covered in this funky mock glass art!  They've placed it on every other light panel going down one of the halls in our building.  From what I know, the children decorated plastic plates with Sharpie Markers first.  Then, the plates were melted over different sizes of cans with a some kind of a torch that removes our art teacher and student teacher, of course.  They were then glued with a glue gun to the light panels!  Our hall looks so cool!  

I then got wind that some chandeliers were being created for our lobby so I snuck into the art room after school and snapped a few pictures.  These are being made with plastic bottles


I can't wait to see these finished and hanging in our lobby!  I'll be sure to post pictures once they're finished!

Our school has a lot of art displayed throughout the building that has been created in the past!  I love that our kiddos are exposed to some amazing stuff and their creations stay for years to come!

Off to work on my October Currently from Farley!  Look for it in the next day or two!
Take care!

Monday, October 8, 2012

Time to get rid of these cobwebs...

Oh my goodness....grab your brooms....grab your cleaning supplies....time to dust off this little old blog! Geesh!
I've been so wrapped up in school and life that this little piece of fun has been put on the back burner for the past few weeks!

So here's what's happening...
I went to my first Ohio Blogger Meet-Up!  I met some new friends and it was nice to put faces to blogs!  I learned a lot about the monetary side of becoming an affiliate, advertising, and bumping up my traffic.  To be was a bit over my head but it definitely gave me something to think about on my 2 1/2 hour drive home!  I think I'm pretty content right now with what I have going on at "A Pirate's Life for Us!".  I try to create authentic, easy and fun things that can be easily implemented into our classrooms.  If you use it and it works for you, great!  If you read something here that makes you giggle or smile, super!  I totally get excited when someone leaves a comment or purchases something from my TPT shop...even though I have just a few things on there...and I like that feeling...and I hope it never goes away!

Here's a picture of us:
From left to right, we have Emily, Sarah, Debbie, Kelly, me, and Maria!

Debbie is from Rainbows within Reach and is full of information on just about everything in the blogger world...and she sings!  Check out all of her fun stuff at her blog!


Kelly is a kindergarten teacher and was super cool too..with 30 cuties.  30.  Little.  Cuties.  Did I say, 30?  She has a classroom blog she uses for her parents....Tales from the Tree...Love it!
Click here for a peek into her classroom!
Emily and Maria blog over at Curious Firsties!  And they departmentalize!  Maria teaches all of the writing (God Bless Her) and Emily is their Intervention Specialist and travels with the needier group of kiddos throughout the day.  I'm looking forward to chatting with them more and sharing our departmentalization adventures!  Check them out!

Sarah was the organizer behind everything...yeah for her!  You know her, right?

 Miss V’s Busy Bees

Sure you do!  If not...head on over and give her a follow!  She even put together a little treat bag for us!

How sweet, right?!?  Thanks again Sarah and new friends for a great afternoon full of information!  Make sure you check out all of our blogs!

So again, I'm going to attempt to be a more regular blogger!  No promises...but I'll do my best...or very close to my best!

Here's a little something I created today...nothing fancy but it's yours if you want it!  At our school, the kiddos can go to the Principal's Office to get a prize for good behavior.  I think my spelling tests are pretty intense...but totally doable!  There are the 10 words that come from the series that follow the spelling pattern of the week, 4-5 sight words from the series, since we do Ginny Dowd's Phonics Dance, they spell 10 of our hunk and chunk words, and then they need to write a dictated sentence.  I figured that those who earn a perfect score, can go visit our principal for a prize out of her prize box.  I wanted her to know why they were being rewarded, so I made up these simple little certificates that the kiddos take with them to her office.  I just print them out on some bright neon card stock, add their name and send the kiddos on their way!
Here's a freebie for you without my name, of course!
Click here for your download!
My little borders came from Scrappin' Doodles...just so you know!  :)

So...where have I been?  Just crazy busy!  Nothing exciting...just me, my kiddos at school, my nieces and nephew, my family....same old, same old!  Just wishing for more hours in the day...and not experiencing freezing temperatures at night.  Fall has officially arrived in Northern Ohio...and although I'm loving the changing trees and cooler temps, I think it's a little ridiculous to be experiencing freezing temps throughout the night and early morning.

Time to call it a day!
Chat soon....promise!
Thanks for sticking with me!