Tuesday, November 29, 2011

2nd Giveaway!

Okay – so I think I might need to be on Hoarders For Teachers!  I am a bit of an impulse buyer and end up with great things that I thought I would use and never do.  This, plus the fact that I have topped 60 followers. means I have some fun stuff for a giveaway!

The winner receives 2 Dr. Seuss Bags (from Target during the summer), a box of Crayola Dry Erase Crayons, a package of 24 “Awesome” Bookmarks, a set of 30 paper puzzle pieces from the Dollar Tree, and maybe a few surprises thrown in!


There are two ways to enter this giveaway:

1. Follow my blog - leave a comment that you either already follow or have become a follower.

2. Blog about this give away on your blog and link back – leave a comment that you have blogged and a link (I would love to check out more blogs!)

This giveaway closes on Friday, December 2nd at mid-night. I will announce the winner on Monday the 5th.

Good luck!

Monday, November 28, 2011


Whew!  I was overwhelmed today!  Can you believe Christmas is in no time?!?  I am so far behind!!!  It is one of those years where I spend more time working on classroom community than just about anything else.  I keep hoping things are going to click, but so far it is a no-go. 

I have been reading quite a few posts about the new CORE curriculum.  I am co-grade level chair and writing the new math and ELA curricula for our grade level based on the CORE.  We also have a new program for math.  We thought is would be helpful, but it is also very overwhelming when paired with new math and ELA content.  I am trying very hard to take one thing at a time, but gravy, whose idea was is to address both CORES all at once?!?

Don’t get me wrong, I am really liking them!  It is just that change is really hard.  We do not have and programs or textbooks, so every year feels a bit like reinventing the wheel.  Things are so wide open that is is easy to get carried away. I sat a my table thinking that I needed to really work on planning for math and that led to thinking about how I need to get started with spelling and do more with word study.  Then I thought about the new grammar pieces, and gee, do I really know what I want to do with shared reading before break?  I must not forget that I need to wrap up a family unit in SS and animal classifications in science – and then there are the simple machines kits that need to go back in 3 weeks – yeah, haven’t even started yet.

I know – breath, breath, breath.  I’ve been here before.

One of the lessons that I decided to do to address our classroom community is Warm Fuzzies and Cold Pricklies.  Oddly enough, I remember this lesson from when I was in second grade and my teacher taught us about them.  The intent is to support students in treating each other kindly.  This is tough for my students this year.  Forming friendships is a challenge and I want to work on kindness in the classroom.  I plan to introduce the concept of Warm Fuzzies and Cold Pricklies by brainstorming the things we can do and say that are kind and hurtful.  Then we are going to make Warm Fuzzies to remind students about kindness.  Finally, I am hoping to carve out time for students to share when others are warm fuzzies and make a paper chain.  If you are interested in the materials, click below to access the materials.


How do you encourage a positive community in your classroom?

Sunday, November 27, 2011

I’m So Honored

I was honored to see that Dee from First Impressions awarded me the “Sunshine Award!” Boy did that come at the perfect time! Sunday night after a nice vacation is a tough time. Thanks a bunch, Dee!

The rules are to thank the person who awarded you, blog about it, answer the questions, and then pass the award on to 10-12 bloggers, letting them know I awarded them the Sunshine Award.

The Questions

  • Favorite color: right now, mustard yellow – I am obsessed with finding the perfect mustard yellow sweater!
  • Favorite animal: I love cats, but have a wonderful do who is my like my child.
  • Favorite number: 7
  • Favorite drink: COFFEE
  • Facebook or Twitter: Facebook
  • Passions: Cooking, reading, sewing, crafting of any sort, decorating
  • Giving or getting presents: giving – I can be a bit of a Martha Stewart!
  • Favorite day: Saturday
  • Favorite flowers: Iris, sunflowers, any wild flower

Check out these great blogs! I am passing this award on to them as well. As in the past, I have tried to mention blogs that are new to me, so please stop by!



Notes from a First Grade Classroom

Mrs. T's First Grade

Keep Calm Teach on The Teachers' Cauldron Mrs. Johnson


Teachin' First blog button

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Pinspiration for Visualization

I am putting together some fresh ideas for teaching visualization to my kiddos next week and of course, I check out Pinterest first!  These are the inspiring items I found.  Check out these great resources to get you thinking about visualization!


Poems and Books

Mrs. Williams Kinders


Mrs. Saylor’s Log

Pinned Image

Our Journey Through Second Grade


Mrs. Jump’s Classthis-n-that

Unknown Source

Great book for visualizing

Cardigans and CurriculumPinned Image



First Grade PandamoniumPinned Image

4th Grade Frolics
Pinned Image


Tuesday, November 22, 2011

I'm Thankful Linky Party

What the Teacher Wants is hosting a linky party!

1.  What are you thankful for in your classroom?

I am thankful for my kiddos who keep me on my toes and make me think constantly about what I am doing.  I am thankful for my great teammate (and my missing teammate who went on sabatical this year to travel and teach.) I am also thankful for all of the support people who work with me.  They are rollin’ with me this year.

2. What person are you most thankful for?

I am most thankful for my hubby.  He is an awesome guy.  He listens to my rants about school and tries to be helpful.  He even cuts lamination on occasion and listens patiently when I talk to him like he is six!

3. What 3 blogs are you most thankful for?

  • The Inspired Apple – The first blog I really followed and the one that inspired me to enter this great world!  I just wish I could write like Abby!

The Inspired Apple

The First Grade Parade
  • Grade ONEderful – Barbara was the first blogger that I really communicated with and she creates such “one”derful things!

4. What guilty pleasure are you most thankful for?

  • Diet Mt. Dew - it’s so bad and people think I am crazy to drink anything diet (read 5’3” and 100 lbs.) but it’s all my hubby’s fault!
  • COFFEE – I need it every day!!!
  • Junk food of any sort
  • Pinterest
  • Google Reader and all of the wonderful blogs out there!
  • The Discovery Channel – Okay, oddly enough, I love watching the reality shows.  Hubby watches them all, but I really love Deadliest Catch.  I have a little celeb crush on one of the guys.

5. What are you most thankful for?

  • My family and friends
  • My home
  • Books
  • My job
  • My pets

I’m also beyond thankful that the first round of report cards and conferences are over.  I loved meeting with all of my classroom families and sharing what kiddos are doing, but the time and stress has just overwhelmed me this year.  It is nice to move on and get rolling with the next part of our year!

Monday, November 14, 2011

Text-to-Text Connections

Yikes – it has been quite a while since I posted anything.  The last few weeks have been pretty rough all the way around.  On top of everything, we are smack dab in the middle of conferences and report cards.  Conferences have been going really well. I have about 5 left.  We also cut way back on report comments, so life has been easier in that area.  I used to write basically a research paper on each student.  It literally took hours to write each report card and then hours to proof and print.  It almost makes me worry that I haven’t spent enough time because it was about 1/4  of the time I usually spend.

At any rate, I have been working on text-to-text connections with my students.  I have realized that I need to work on different types of t->t connections.  First, there is the typical fiction to fiction connection.  But even with fiction books, you have the surface connections and the higher level, theme connections.  I have touched on the general connections and plan to do an amped up theme and higher level connection unit later in the year when the kids have had more experience with inferential thinking.  Here are the books the I worked with:

***This paring was suggested by Debbie Miller in Reading with Meaning.

I saw this pairing on Mrs. Jump’s Class Site

I have also been working on non-fiction to fiction connections.  With the Common Core increasing the focus on non-fiction text, I wanted to include more non-fiction in my classroom.  I have been working with my students to show them how authors include real facts in their fiction books and our schema about a real topic can be helpful when reading fiction.  Gail Gibbons is a great author for any non-fiction connections! Here are the books the I worked with:


Finally, I want to work with non-fiction to non-fiction connections.  We will probably do this later in the year when we do a written research unit about animals.

Here are a few inspirational charts and printables I found through Pinterest! Check them out!

Happy Monday!