Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Blogiversary Giveaway

Well, it looks like I really made my first post on the 29th but I'm not sure anyone read it. I got my first comment on the 30th so that is when I felt like it was real.
Besides, I'll tell you a little secret, I am terrible with dates. I am notorious for missing birthdays and my own anniversary. My girlfriends always text me a few days before my wedding anniversary to make sure I remember. They always say that my husband is the girl in our relationship and they are so right. Romance, sappy cards, gifts based on how many years we've been married. ALL him. The first anniversary is paper so he bought me season tickets for musical theater and was HAPPY to go with me. I have to do the math quick to remember what year we are on.  See, I AM the guy. This date problem is only in my personal life though. As a teacher I am anal pretty organized.

Anyway, to let you know how much I appreciate all of you taking the time to read my little ol' blog,  I thought I'd host a 
Blogiversary Giveaway

I'd like to give 12 followers (yep, that's one for every month of blogging)  
any item in my TpT store.

You can earn 8 entries. Leave a comment for each you complete.
1. Become a follower of my blog or let me know you already do (thank you!)
2. Like me on Facebook or follow me on Twitter (icons on my sidebar)
3. Spread the word about my Blogiversary Giveaway by posting it on your blog, facebook or tweet!
4. Add my blog to your blogroll or tell a friend about me.
5. Pin something of mine you like on Pinterest (I am a recent convert-OBSESSED!)
6. Become a follower of my TpT store.
7. Leave feedback on one of my TpT items.
8. Tell me which item in my store you are hoping to win and leave your email.

You can submit entries until next Wednesday, Dec. 7th at midnight. Did I get that date right? ;-)

I SO admire and appreciate all my blogging buddies. You are an AMAZINGLY talented group and I know my teaching is better for "knowing" you. I wish I could meet you in person! Thanks for a wonderful year. 


Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Reindeer Readiness

 I seem to be behind many of you in the Christmas cheer department. Anyone else get seriously tense in December?? Although I love the holiday, the extra stress of present shopping and a houseful of expected guests does put a damper on it for me a little. If only I had an elf who would do the shopping and cleaning for me, then I could enjoy it to the fullest! I had insomnia Sunday night. I didn't fall asleep until 5:30. My alarm went off at 6.  Yep, 30 minutes of sleep for this girl. I kept thinking I should just get up and fold the laundry I didn't finish but then I was afraid I would miss any slight possibility of falling asleep. Instead I made lists in my head. Anyone a list maker?

SO, to try to catch up to all of you who have the cheer already in full gear (oh no, watch out, I'm rhyming now) I dragged my December box out and started looking through to see what my parent helpers could start prepping. I shared this after the holiday last year so I thought I would repost it early for those of you who may have missed it. Click HERE to read my original post with step-by-step-directions and templates. 

Thanks so much to all of you who shopped in my TpT store this weekend. It looks like I accidentally left the sale on today too so if you thought you missed it you have until midnight!


Sunday, November 27, 2011

Lots of Thanks

Raise your hand if you have been busy as a beaver adding things to your TpT wishlist in preparation for tomorrow's big event. I know I have!!
Thank you SO much to the many of you who couldn't wait and have already bought my new Sight Word Superstars program! 
I've also been getting some really sweet comments on my Daily Editing Word Problems. I know I have seen improvement in my students' editing and ability to solve math problems but it feels great to hear that I am helping so many others. Thank you for taking the time to leave feedback, it is SO appreciated!

I'd also like to say thank you to LoriKimberley, Jen R. and Mrs. Mac for sending me the Sunshine Award!

I finally had a second to try to answer the questions:
  • Favorite color?  Seafoam green
  • Favorite animal? Cats! I LOVE when they come snuggle in my lap!
  • Favorite number? 3 (# of guys I love)
  • Favorite drink? Iced Tea
  • Facebook or Twitter? I have both although I am not on either as much as I am visiting the blogging world!
  • Your passion? Teaching! I get teased quite a bit that I can never turn off my brain and I'm CONSTANTLY working on something for school.
  • Giving or getting presents? I am not a big fan of presents. Is that weird? I'd rather no one give presents and we spent the money and time doing something fun together instead. Everyone in my family makes a craft together at Christmas. For the last few years we have only given the kids in my family presents.
  • Favorite day? Sunday. Even though I spend it doing laundry/cleaning it is the one day I can stay in my jammies longer and MAYBE watch a movie while I do it!
  • Favorite flowers: Tulips though any flower make me happy.
 It looks like many of my favorite bloggers have also gotten the award. Maybe instead I could help out a newbie? If you are newish to blogging leave a comment with your link and maybe I can send some sunshine your way in the form of some traffic. True blogaholics love to discover new blogs to follow. Just look how long my list is!


Saturday, November 26, 2011

Clubbing & Clipart

I had a request for more book club packets so I made some new ones that I will using this week.

My above level reading group will be reading That Fat Hat which has a great message about being your own person {or cat ;) } and not doing things because "everyone" is doing it.

 I also made a packet for Fantastic Mr. Fox by Roald Dahl for my way above reader.

If you are interested they are part of my 20% off sale thru Monday in my TpT store.

I also had an email asking where I get my cute clip art. My favorite site is Scrappin Doodles and they are having a great sale that ends tonight. Click on their cute logo in my sidebar to go shopping!


Friday, November 25, 2011

Sight Word Fluency & Romance Ruined

Do you have a systematic way to make sure your students can read the sight words fluently?

I noticed that many of my students were still trying to sound out these words so I came up with a program I call Sight Word Superstars. I typed all the Fry Words up (6 groups of 100) and broke them into 5 lists of 20. I color code mine to make it easier for myself.
All of my first graders start on the 1st 100. If they can read the first list (20 words) in 20 seconds or less  then they earn a sticker for their star. I have them practice with their whisper phones in guided reading while they are waiting to read with me. {You may want to set a different time requirement or start on a higher list based on the age or ability of your students.}

When a student's star is filled the class cheers for them and they receive a certificate. I send the completed star home and they start on the next list (2nd 100) with the matching colored star.

My students are much more motivated to practice their sight word fluency since I started this program. This is also an easy way for me to differentiate for my advanced students.

I also made a game that focuses on reading sight words quickly called
I color code these cards as well so I can quickly pull the words I want a particular group to practice. When I have students stuck on a particular list I will only give them that list (20 words) so they practice them over and over. My district also requires my students to be able to spell the first 100 words so later in the year I will change the rules of the game. Player 2 will read the card and Player 1 will have to spell the word. These cards can also be used as flashcards.

I have posted this program to TpT and included it in my 20% off sale if you are interested.

In other news, I saw Breaking Dawn with my girlfriends. I am a big fan of the books. Own them all. Read them all more than once. Team Edward here. So,  I could have done without the guys yelling out comments and young kids loudly calling for their mommy in the middle. Kinda ruined the fantasy world I was trying to lose myself in. Now I am l counting the days until The Hunger Games. Not sure if I will like the guy they cast for Peeta. I may have to switch and root for Gale because Liam Hemsworth is a cu-tie.  If you haven't read that series you need to. Seriously good. Anyone have any other must-reads for me?


Black Friday Sale

Happy Thanksgiving everyone! I had a wonderful time with friends today and their enthusiasm for shopping this weekend has inspired me to help spread the deals. Are you planning on braving the crowds? My girlfriends get up bright and early and go wearing crazy headbands. I prefer to shop in the comfort of my pjs but each to their own.

You can get everything in my TpT store at 20% off including my best seller

I hope you all had a wonderful day with your family and friends.


Saturday, November 19, 2011

Pilgrim Hats and Book Clubs

I am SUPER envious of those of you have the whole week off!!!

I will still be teaching 2.5 days next week.  If you are too maybe you can use these directions for making pilgim hats for boys and girls.
I started Book Clubs with my above grade level reading group. As an introduction to book clubs, I picked a pretty easy book (Sammy the Seal AR level 2.0) so they can focus on the new skill of responsibly stopping to answer  questions as they read.

I met with them Monday and they have been working at their own pace during Daily 5. If they have trouble with a question they may ask another Book Club member for help. It is pretty cute to see firsties debating literature responses. I have been checking in and they have all finished and taken an AR test. We will meet to discuss the book and their packet answers this Monday.

One of my students is reading WAY above grade level so he is reading The Chocolate Touch AR 4.7 and has his own packet.
Both Sammy the Seal and The Chocolate Touch are available in my TPT store with some others if you are interested.

Book Clubs work well for me. The only problem is our book room has not been updated or DUSTED in ??? years. My nose seriously revolts when I have to use those books. I wonder if I can get a parent volunteer to work on that?? Do you have a book room? Are the books encased in baggies or something so you don't have this problem? Do tell.


Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Turkey Fun & a Freebie

Sorry I have been MIA. Report cards, conferences, migraines...I know you feel my pain (at least on the first two.) 

Today I have a little quiz for you:

When your teacher takes away the paper mustache you glued to your face you should
A) glue on another one as soon as she turns away and get the other kids riled up
B) get tired of waiting to see the principal and up and leave the office
C) show no remorse and play dumb when the principal designee comes to the room to discuss A & B
D) all of the above
Is there any wonder why I am having more migraines than usual?

Our skill this week is sequence of events. We have the old HM basals and I often do not agree with the literature choice for the skill or that the worksheets provide any meaningful practice.  Luckily my district has backed off the ridiculous "fidelity to HM" mantra and I now have a little more freedom as long as I use the Direct Instruction model. Anyone else's district on this new bandwagon?
This week I replaced the big book story with 
Love Diane deGroat books!  Gilbert always learns a valuable lesson appropriate for firsties.

We then practiced making a flow map together in whole group instruction.
After we read the basal story, Bud's Day Out, I had partners sequence story events on their own flow map. This was a very successful cut and paste activity. The only problem is who gets to take it home?

We made some TLC turkeys but the kids added a sign for their turkey to hold suggesting a different food to eat.


 I paired these on the bulletin board with the writing they did after reading The Great Turkey Race. The story ends with the turkeys escaping. Students wrote about where they thought the turkeys might go. Thanks for the paper Tammy!

Las Vegas (Don't these look like the turkeys from the book?)
 the Mayflower (yes, we have been learning about this)
 the dinosaur museum (this guy manages to put dinosaurs in EVERY assignment!)

Many of you have told me you like these making words sheets so I thought I'd share another one. I put these out as challenge work. I make sure to announce how many correct words the first person has to spur on the others to try to beat it. Never fails.
Thanksgiving Making Words

Finally, I want to thank Mrs. Patton  for posting about Class Dojo . I have been using it this week and it is pretty cool!  Check it out if you haven't yet.



Thursday, November 3, 2011

The Great Shape Race!

We are working on geometry right now so I made a new game to add to my math tubs.

This board game practices identifying plane and solid geometric shapes. Students will be asked to identify a picture of the shape, the shape in an everyday object, the shape by name, and riddles based on attributes (sides, flat surfaces, vertices, etc.)

Every lap they collect a shape. The winner at the end is the one with the most shapes. Of course, if you pick one of the following cards you may gain/lose a shape!
If you'd like to get a copy of this game for only $2 visit my TPT or Teachers Notebook store. 

I'd also like to thank Janine at Faithful in First and Pattie at A Series of 3rd Grade Events
for awarding me the Blog on Fire Award. I believe this is one where you are supposed to write more about yourself and I had planned to but I have a MAJOR migraine (like I am about to be sick from the pain) so I MUST get off the computer NOW.  But thanks so much for thinking of me!