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

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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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Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Dear Clock...Please stop for a minute or two!

Friends...is anyone else feeling totally overwhelmed right now?  Life in room 110 is crazy and I just want everything to stop for a second so that I can catch my breath!  I'm having a hard time saying no again so my plate is filling up really fast and to top it all off, my little darlings...you know...the ones I've been talking about all year and how wonderful they are?  Well this week has not been so wonderful.  It's like they think it's May 24 instead of April 24!  Behaviors and attitudes galore are surfacing and I'm not liking it!  I know, tomorrow is a new day (I'm all about this) but my throat is feeling tender, my body is achey, and I'm exhausted and can't fall asleep!

We're doing our continent unit right now, which is so great for the kiddos.  They get to travel to each of the first grade classrooms to learn about each of the continents.  Next Friday, we're doing a little performance at our high school for all of our families to see what we've been learning (complete with speaking parts, songs, and dancing).  Yeah...this performance is NOT so little, but it will be awesome!  The teachers on my team have also decorated the halls outside our classrooms to look like each of our continents.  I've been teaching about Antarctica so here's my wall:
It's melted a few times and some penguins have leaped off of the wall onto warmer land (a.k.a the floor) but it looks pretty cool.  By the end of this week it will be covered with about 145 penguins.  Thanks TLC Lessons!  I'd love to show off a few other walls, but I need to make sure my team is okay with it...I'm pretty sure most of them would be cool with it...but we'll see.

Mom came in today to put some spring leaves on my tree!  I still love this tree...wonder if I should make another one this summer???  :)

Then there's everything else: Mid-Terms, keeping up on grading, monitoring these stinky behaviors, grouping our kiddos for next year (tomorrow afternoon), meetings, answering e-mails, field trip, Fun Day, a messy house, baby showers, waiting to hear about my evaluation, retirement parties, wedding showers, more meetings, birthday parties, Mother's Day for not only my mother but also 24 other mothers, grading, Mornings with Mom next week, book fair...just wanting summer to be here a little quicker! :)  I also want to start thinking seriously about our whole departmentalization thing for next year but I'm so overwhelmed by everything else that I just can't yet...and it bums me out!  So excited about next year already!  Thought maybe by writing/typing everything out I'd feel a little better but now I feel like I'm forgetting something.  See?!? 
Most of it is fun stuff...it's just A LOT right now!

Take care!

Sunday, April 22, 2012

Thank God for The Family Dollar Store!

Oh my goodness!  I love getting lost in our "Family Dollar Store"...and there's an even better one about 45 minutes away!  I'm all set for our Beach Day at the end of May!

 I picked up sand buckets and leis (sp?) for everyone.  I also picked up a few beach balls and some of those balls you can soak in water and then throw.  It's the end of the year...chances are it will be warm and the kids will dry! :)  I also picked up some of those fun cocktail umbrellas so that we can make these cute cupcakes.
Sandy Beach Cupcake @ The Cupcake Blog
Then I remembered that I already purchased a fun beachy unit from Anna Brantley at Fun-n-First so we'll be spending that last week (what's left of it after Memorial Day and Fun Day) having fun at the beach!  28 Days left!  Click here to find Anna's Fun in the Sun Math and Literacy Center Packet @ Teachers Pay Teachers.

This week we're reading "The Kite" from Frog and Toad are Friends in our reading series (Why does Macmillan McGraw-Hill/Treasures wait until book 5 to get some authentic "fun" literature??)  So we just have to fly kites this week!  I'm hoping that the weather will be a little warmer by Friday so that we can be outside for the afternoon.  Is it sad that I've never flown a kite before?  God bless that dollar store again...they had packages of 2 kites...for a dollar!!!  One dollar!  Now they may not be the best but who cares!  They're going to even be fun hanging from my ceiling this week!  I was able to put them together...
 But how do I attach this piece?
 Do I tie it to the front or back of the kite?  Or do I tie it toward the bottom??  I'm clueless!  Any advice would be helpful! :)

Then, because we've been measuring things in math, I was originally looking for those stretchy frogs that the kiddos could fling across the room and measure the distance they flew but I couldn't find any today.  The dollar store came through for me again!  They had these plastic frogs as party favors.
So we'll be having a little frog hopping competition at some point this week so that we can practice measuring!

I'm just a Chatty Kathy today...but just one more thing...I had 2 days of iPad training this week and have a ton of fun apps to share but since I feel like I've chatted your ear off, I'm just going to share this website with you today:

It's so cool!  It has a "Free App of the Day" and they're good ones! The only thing is that you need to still shop for it in the App Store and you need to remember to visit the site each day (which to be honest, I don't really but when I remember I do!).

Okay...I think I've caught you up for the most part!
Hope you all enjoyed your weekend!


Saturday, April 14, 2012

Gloomy Saturday and Retirement Plans


This is the first Saturday that I've been up and haven't had to be anywhere first thing in a long time. I naturally woke up around 5:45 and said....ummm NO! So I stayed in bed and thought of all of the things I should be doing and ended up crawling out of my bed and having my first cup of coffee by 6AM. It's super gloomy today so I think I'm going to take advantage of the gloominess and head into school to plan out the rest of the year. Last week I blogged that I had like 40 some days of school left but on Monday, our secretary announced that we had only 38 days left until summer during our AM announcements...I swear my heart skipped a beat. I mean...my little cupcakes are fine. They're going to make amazing 2nd graders but I feel like I have a lot of sprinkles to add before our year ends! Only 33 days left until summer (I don't count weekends)!!!

While we were on our Disney trip my brother-in-law, sister and I decided what we're going to do when we retire! If you've ever been on Main Street, you've probably seen the ladies walking around just chatting it up with everyone....in character! (Think Mrs. Banks from Mary Poppins.) This is what I want to do...how fun would that be? Hot, yes...but there might be ways to deal with the heat beneath that costume. :)

My brother-in-law wants to be the man that drives my sister and I around in the fire truck!
Why yes, we wore matching yellow shirts on the day we were all in The Magic Kingdom which I totally recommend doing if you're traveling with little ones. My brother-in-law/DisDad designed and made them for all of us. Yes...I felt a little dorky...I'm not the matching type of girl but when Mary Poppins, Cinderella, and all of their friends addressed us by name...especially my nieces and nephew, they just lit up! It's so much fun and it made our day super special! And because our shirts were bright yellow and there were so many of us, we kind of stood out in a crowd which gave us a little bit of extra attention (which is also not my thing...I like to blend in...but it was Disney World for goodness sake!) Some of the cast were the same cast we met during some of our meet and greets so when they waved to us like they knew us, they REALLY knew us! :) My brother-in-law is posting our adventures on a Dis Board. Click here if you want to take a peek!

Okay...time to get moving! I'm really feeling the need to get organized for the rest of the year and since tomorrow is supposed to be gorgeous I need to get things done today!

Hope the sun is shining where you are!




Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Random Tuesday...


So can I just tell you that my Mickey Mitts are a HUGE hit? The kiddos in my school are loving them! They literally light up as I wave to them in the morning...but who doesn't smile at those magical Mickey hands? Seriously....best purchase ever! If you're heading to the Magic Kingdom anytime soon...pick up a pair! So fun!

My kiddos are having a great time with Jennifer's "Chicken Little" activities @ First Grade Blue Skies this week! The Rebecca and Ed Emberley version of Chicken Little is such a fun read aloud. We've read it several times in the past two days and they keep asking for me to read it again! Love when that happens!

I'm getting observed a week from today so I need to figure out what I want to do so that I can turn my pre-observation paperwork in before Friday! We use Treasures and we'll be on Olivia next week...LOVE THAT STORY! So it's just deciding what I want to do!

Happy Hump Day...almost!

Monday, April 9, 2012

Tag! I'm It!


This morning I woke up to a comment on my blog from Michelle at Apples and ABC's: Adventures in Kindergarten...I've been tagged!

Here are the rules:
1. Post these rules
2. Answer the 10 questions that the tagger posted for you
3. Create 10 questions of your own to ask the people that you're about to tag
4. Tag 10 people and link them with your post (and let them know they've been tagged)

Here are the questions Michelle asked me...

1. If you could teach any other grade, what would it be?
Well....I really love first grade. Several years ago I was RIF'ed and the only full time position available for me was a 5th grade position so I did a 2 year stint in 5th grade. When a first grade position opened up I jumped on it. I loved the experience of teaching 5th grade because it made me a better 1st grade teacher, but I think my niche is with the littler ones. So I guess if I could teach any other grade it would be 2nd or 3rd grade.
2. What is your favorite beverage?
Since we're all adults here...I like a good Scotch or Bourbon...on the rocks. :)
3. What is your favorite store to shop for goodies for your classroom?
Too many....Target dollar bins, Dollar Store, Garage Sales!
4. What inspired you to start blogging?
I started following all of these amazing bloggers and loved how generous they were with their ideas and how supportive they all seemed of each other and I wanted to join in on the fun.
5. What is your favorite unit/lesson that you have blogged (add link)?
I really liked my letter writing activity this year! It was so great for the kiddos and the parents.
6. Would you rather teach at a year-round school, or traditional school (what is that called??)?
Ha! I teach at a traditional school so I would really be interested in a year-round school...as long as we had air conditioning in our building. I'm not sure how the calendar would look but the idea of having a chunk of teaching and then a break intrigues me! (Don't tell the teachers I teach with though.) :)
7. Are you reading The Hunger Games?
Not yet...but it's on my stack to read! Definitely a summer read for me!
8. If you could travel anywhere, were would you go?
Well, I just got back from Disney World and although I loved it, we usually vacation on Daytona Beach Shores (the quieter...family end of the beach) so I'm kind of missing my ocean fix and would head south to the Daytona Beach area in Florida. My family rents a condo or two for the week and I love staying up late, waking up to the sound of the ocean and being on the beach all day. The only thing we need to think about is where and when we're going to eat dinner.
9. What is your favorite jungle animal?
Since I'm in a Disney frame of mind right now my favorite animal is King Louie from "The Jungle Book". :)
10. Who is your favorite children's author?
Oh my gosh...so many! I used to work in a children's bookstore so I was surrounded by great children's literature all of the time! This year I went to Mazza (a Children's Illustrator's Museum), in Findlay, Ohio and got to meet Kevin Henkes, Steven Kellogg, Anna Dewdney, Jerry Pinkney, Vincent Di Nguyen, Jim Arnosky and David Wiesner. SO FUN! Next year Mo Willems is coming and he's one of my favorites right now so I can't wait to meet him!

Now 10 questions for those I'm about to tag!
1. Where is your all time favorite place to vacation?
2. What do you do to chill out after a long day?
3. How many days of school do you have until summer vacation?
4. What is something your team or your building collaborates and/or creates for your students?
5. Would you rather read a book on your Kindle (or other digital device) or hold the book in your hands?
6. What is something your principal does to make you feel appreciated?
7. Share something that makes you really proud to teach in your school district.
8. What is your biggest "oops moment" as a teacher?
9. If you could be anything other than a teacher what would you be?
10. You've been hired to design and teach a college course to students who want to become teachers. What would you include in your course?

Now I get to tag 10 people...I'll do my best to pick some who haven't been tagged yet! :)

Now I'm off to let them know they've been tagged!
Have a great night!

Sunday, April 8, 2012

Back to Reality and Congrats to Mrs. Nunley


Home from Walt Disney World and trying to get back into school mode but to be honest...I'm not ready. This past week was so much fun...if I could just have another day or so to get my feet on the ground I'd appreciate it. But since the likelihood of a random ice storm or heavy fog is slim to none, I'll be heading to bed early so I can be up and ready to go in the morning. I do miss my kiddos...just not the work (and occasional drama) that lies ahead of me/us. Oh well....summer will be here in about 44 days!

Congratulations to Mrs. Nunley from First Grade Magic on winning my 100 Follower Giveaway! True Random Number Generator chose #2 and it was her! Yeah! Hope this brightens up her short Easter Break! If you're not already a follower of her blog you need to go and check her out!
So....Mrs. Nunley...shoot me an email with your address so that I can get this in the mail to you:
A cute 31 tote filled with a Mickey Mitt (Who doesn't smile when Mickey Mouse is waving to you?), a back scratcher (I'll be using this kind of like a "pat on the back" sort of thing.), Light Up Rock Star Gloves (so many possibilities), chocolates, and a few Disney pens and post-it notes!

Off to catch up on all of your posts before bed!
Happy Easter!


Friday, April 6, 2012

Last Day!


Well...it's here! Our last day in Disney World! We're heading to The Magic Kingdom bright and early this morning for one last day to suck up all of the Disney Magic we can and meet Rapunzel and Alice (They're our last two autographs we need to get.) Apparently there's a little celebration when the gates open at 7AM for those staying on property and since we're here...we're going to to try to make it! Tonight we dine with Cinderella, Prince Charming, the Stepmother and the Stepsisters. They are so funny in the parades! I can't wait to see them up close. Speaking of the characters...they do an amazing job of interacting with kiddos. While my nieces were in line to meet Princess Tiana and Prince Naveen yesterday, I sat by the exit (mostly to get a different perspective with pictures) and watched those characters go out of their way to make each child feel special. The faces on the kiddos as they exited the meet and greet were priceless. Every cast member seems to go out of their way to make everyone feel special. It just blows me away. Here's a picture of my niece eating at Cinderella's Royal Table...
Cute, huh? :)

You have just two more days to enter my little giveaway. I'm having fun picking out things we could easily use in our classrooms...and a few other treats too!

Well...time to get moving!
Have a great day!

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Woot! Woot!

Just found out that I passed my Praxis test to be a real live Principal!!!!
Off to celebrate in The Magic Kingdom!
Have a GREAT day!
Jenn

Monday, April 2, 2012

Disney Update...Hello Princess!

Hi everyone!
I'm sitting on our balcony that just happens to overlook Cinderella's Castle. How cool! This is definitely not the sit on the beach kind of vacation I'm used to this time of year but watching my nieces interact with the characters is pretty awesome and they way the cast interacts with their guests is super awesome. The cast is just amazing. I don't think we've walked by one cast member who hasn't addressed us by saying hello or called my nieces princesses. Which made me think about school...am I taking time to say hi to every kiddo who passes in my direction or am I more wrapped up in my little world and let them pass without acknowledgment? As a future principal, I definitely see myself making a goal to interact with each teacher, child and parent in my building each day but as a teacher I think it's something for me to work on.
Don't forget about my give-away! You have until Saturday night to enter and I'll post my winner on Easter Sunday. I'm finding some pretty fun stuff that we can use in our classrooms so spread the word!
Take Care!
Jenn