Monday, January 2, 2012

Randomness and Giveaways!

I go back to school tomorrow.  Bummer!  It is so sad, but it is snowing pretty heavy right now and I am hoping for a you-know-what day!  Yeah, right – but a girl can hope.  I have really enjoyed my time off.  This has been a challenging year for me so far and I really needed to recharge my batteries!  I really hope that the kids will follow along when I say that it is a new year and is that special time in first grade when we don’t need many reminders about routines, expectations and homework. 

I didn’t do much schoolwork during vacation.  I went to my classroom for about 2 hours and made copies on our super-duper new copier.  Well, they imported it from the middle school because we had run ours into the ground over the last 5 years.  I really thought is was going to suck me into the machine the first time I used it!

I also revamped my spelling program.  I have been giving individualized spelling lists for each of my students, writing 4-5 words in each of their notebooks each week.  It was taking for-ev-er this year and the kids were not always keeping up their part of the routines.  I have them do buddy tests, but 4 weeks in and it was still really tough routine to get under our belts.  I did it this way for 3 years and never thought about abandoning it until now. 

We have “constants” lists in our elementary grades and the spelling constants are high frequency words.  I have students on the kindergarten list, the first grade list, and a few on the second grade list.  That means 21 individual lists made from 3 grade level lists comprised of about 200 words. I just can’t do it any more.  So, I split each list into phonics patterns, adding a few words to round out each list.  I will be giving a typed list to the students from either the k, 1, or 2 list.  This means, 3 spelling test, rather than buddy tests. I will be differentiating, just not to the crazy extent that I was.  Maybe instead of memorizing words that do not follow patterns and then forgetting them by the end of the year, my students will learn some spelling strategies and retain more of their constants.

I have resolved to not feel guilty about this.  It is one of those crazy things where you feeling like your not doing enough because you are not doing something the way everyone else is.  I am the queen of feeling guilty!

On another note, there are a ton of giveaways going on!

Kelley at Buggy for Second Grade is having a giveaway!  She is celebrating 100 followers and is giving away a customized wreath.  Check out her cute blog and the giveaway!

Buggy for 2nd Grade

Shake it Up in First Grade is also having a giveaway!  You have 3 chances to score a $25 gift card for Barnes and Noble.  Check it out!

I never win giveaways! Sad smile But I love to have them.  I am planning another one if I ever reach 100 followers! 

Have a great Tuesday!


  1. Sorry that you have to go back to school tomorrow. :-( I go back on Wednesday and I'm not to excited myself. I have a question about your blog buttons that cycle through. Is it hard to set up? Is there a tutorial out there that you know of? Thanks for any help you can give me!

    First Grade Delight

  2. Wow- individualized spelling tests for a whole class, I think I'd go crazy! My first year I taught ESL and had really small groups. With my 4th graders I gave them individualized tests (umm...I had a group of 5 at the time) and it only lasted a couple of weeks. Do what you think is best but without wearing yourself out too much. Good luck back at school! : )


  3. Delighted - here is the link to my post where I blogged about the scrolling buttons and the link to the tutorial.

    The buttons drove me crazy when they were all different sizes. It was just too much visually. I found a tutorial on how to resize them. Here is the link to my post:

    Hope this is helpful!

  4. Good luck with the spelling program. I always struggle with that, too. It's so much work for so little return. Did you change the look of your blog recently? It looks good :)
    Take care.