Sunday, October 14, 2012

Fallin' for Clipart and Fun Books!

Surprise! It's me! I normally do not post this often, BUT I was so excited about the completion of my new pack I could scream  swallow some leaves! :) With the arrival of Fall and my latest Scholastic order, I have really enjoyed the story There Was an Old Lady Who Swallowed Some Leaves. 

 My firsties LOVE the repetition (and recalling details  the "game" of remembering each item the lady swallowed in order) of this book. So when I ran across the CUTEST clipart EVER at Scrappin' Doodles, well, I couldn't resist! I am so excited to share with you (and my firsties) my newest pack!
Hop on over to my TpT store and let me know what you think! Enjoy the Journey! :)

Here is a couple of the Old Lady my kiddos made with the template from my packet. They wrote words with initial blends on cards, read them, spelled them, then FED them to the Old Lady....
this is mine :)

kid creations... :)

a conference, a packet, and a FREEBIE!

I almost typed "a partridge in a pear tree" after that long title. I know I've been Blogger-MIA (and I know I have been saying that a lot lately..) I promise to put my lovely Erin Condren life planner to good use and PLAN my blogging days. (GULP)
This past week, I (with 4 other teachers from my school) spent three days at a WOW (Working On the Work) conference. Our district has adopted this idea and we have had several PD on it but this was my time GOING somewhere :)  I throughouly enjoyed it--honestly! The session I attended was learning how to DESIGN vs Plan a lesson while incorporating "design qualities".  I learned that you don't always have to use the time consuming DESIGN track for your lesson, that planning is still "good", but you should DESIGN when you need to "leverage" the achievement or interests for's for those lessons that are boring hard to teach and/or hard to understand. We managed to pump out a very engaging lesson on place value. :) Exciting, right? Well it will be! I will definetly share how it goes (with pictures) after we have completed it!
While attending this conference, I also managed to complete a  fun new Monster Math pack. It includes a variety of math practice pages for sums with totals to 10, 20, and "fill" in the addends. A page to roll a die for each addend and the total equals how many of a particular body part your monster will have. (my firsties LOVE this-and their monsters are unique and ADORABLE scary :) ) I also managed to include a couple of Monster tic-tac-toe boards (sums to 10, 20, and doubles) with Monster markers.  You can find it at my TpT store! Check it out and follow!

Two of my "kid created" monsters! Too sweet to be scary (but I would NEVER tell them that!)

And to reward you for rewarding ALL of  my previous BLAH BLAH BLAH blog post, :) is my newest freebie! Let me know what you think and if you are able to put it to use! It is a Monster Themed Ten Frame pack.
once you click on this image, then click file and do not need
to ask for permission since that is the link! :)
Can you tell I am lovin' Scrappin Doodles clip art?!...What are your favorite clip art sites and sets? Would love to hear (and build to my collection!) Enjoy the Journey!

Thursday, October 4, 2012

Currently...and a new addiction

I love me some Currently' be honest I've always read them but NOW I'm going to actively participate! So, I've linked up with 'Oh, Boy! Fourth Grade' for my FIRST real CURRENTLY! (check her out and link up!)  They seem easy enough-until you are filling them out and then everything  you think of is boring  not as interesting as everyone else's, but it's a great way to see (and follow) new bloggie friends and their blogs.  Here goes....

Ok, there was my first "Currently" and now I will fess up. I am addicted to clip art. (I should have added to my "wanting" comment :a MelonHead of myself. They are A-dorable! I have to have one!) AND fonts!  They always seem to make things cuter and work more enjoyable...hehehe  What are your favorite fonts and places to find clip art? Can't wait to hear about them!! Until then, thanks for dropping by, <3 to have new friends follow, and  Enjoy the Journey!

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Elmer the Elephant Fun!

We have really been pounding the "I am special" theme here lately. It seems to building my little one's confidence in themselves AND their work--BINGO! We have had a blast with the lessons and crafts to serve as reminders while at home. So much fun that I thought I would share this one with you!

A traveling book seller (I guess that is what they are called...) brought in a BIG pack of Elmer books and a tote the other day- the colors drew me in like a moth to a flame. I'm a sucker for a good marketing ploy. Anywho, I was totally stoked when I found out we would be using Elmer  in our ELA block. SO..... we decided to make the connection last using it in our social studies block as well.

In the words of one of my favorite stars, Lavar from Reading Rainbow... "You don't have to take my word for it" this is how it all went down in the words of a firstie! (great handwriting, huh?)\
 Enjoy the (colorful) Journey!

traced a copy of an elephant on a thick transparency 

they did such a great job! I don't want to give them back! :)

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Got a TpT product completed...NEED SLEEP :)

Wowzer... today is Tuesday and I am exhausted! I've had so much going on with school, lessons, school awards, duty, birthday parties... BUT, I did manage to complete a TpT product.. woot woot!
Red Ribbon week is quickly approaching (the end of this month) and our school wanted to do something FUN, ENGAGING, and that would wedge its way into the children's mind and STICK!!! With technology all the rage and a norm to our kids, we decided to go with the theme "iTune Out Drugs". We saw a couple of items as far as surcies go-pencils and stickers, but...that's about it.

That lit a virtual match under my bottom and I got to work.  So, here it is. A pack that includes iPods (that I learned how to create watching a tutorial!! ), creative writing templates using a mp3 theme (My Priorities...they write 3 priorities that can before making unhealthy choices...get mp-My Priorities he he he). There are mini ipods, both color and black and white, and writing templates for the little kiddos and one for the older friends. I hope you enjoy it (beyond Red Ribbon Week!)  Check it out and let me know if you have anything fun planned for Red Ribbon....  Enjoy the Ride!


Friday, September 28, 2012

Unkind words leave "Wrinkles"

Are you shocked? I was MIA for about two weeks and then I post two posts in two days! Go me! I've decided that I would like for my first grade friends to pick a lesson or activity each week for me to blog about. I told them that it can be anything they choose- one they liked or even one they weren't that fond of.... I can take creative criticism from a firstie, right? (maybe.... :)  )  This week they picked TWO! (Who am I to make them choose only one?!) These kids know the way to my heart....they enjoy all the little craft ideas just as much as I do! YAY  :::insert Dr. Jean's Round of Applause here::: So, it was no surprise they enjoyed our "Unkind Words Leave "Wrinkles"  " lesson. We started out with the tried and true story Chrysanthemum  by Keven Henkes.

We talked about the characters (of course), how the illustrations depict the moods of Chrysanthemum, and the ugly actions of the "mean  girls". My firsties told me how they feel when people say mean things to them (and everyone had a story to tell here...but that is a good thing...self to text connection, right?) Then, the fun began. I introduced our "Green Friend" to the class.  (butcher paper outline of my personal child lol)
Next. each friend was told that they would whisper a "bucket dipper", "unkind word" to our Green Friend. While they were whispering to our "friend", they tore a piece of the person and balled it up. Each child whispered, tore, and balled up a piece of our friend. It was very interesting to hear what they "whispered" and what they believe to be "unkind" words.
Next, I told them that we had to apologize to our 'pieces' for all of the unkind things we said AND they had to get the wrinkles out when they apologized because we had to put our "friend" back together. UH OH!! You should have seen the look on their faces! They worked SO hard to get the wrinkles out and put the person back together.
the girls were BEGGING the wrinkles to "go away"
trying to piece our "friend" back together

 To make a long (yet truly engaging) lesson short...the moral of the activity is this... An unkind word to our heart is like crumbling the paper and putting tons of wrinkles in it. We can apologize (which we ALWAYS make them do), but the wrinkles in our heart never really go away. Things will never be JUST the way they were before... Remember friends, words CAN and DO hurt... Teach your little ones to use kind words AND we should practice what we teach :)  Enjoy the Journey!

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

A Freebie ...and an Apology!

I promise to do better. I've been in a "blogging fog" lately...trying to create things for TpT, classroom, prepare for parent conferences, and well, excuses, excuses. So to try to make things right... I'm posting a Freebie! YAY! You can also find the FREEBIE on my TpT store!

I have been super busy in the classroom creating lessons that DO NOT include worksheets, are engaging and provide a sense of accountability when parents and my admins. need to "see" the learning. We are currently doing an "I am Special" (think all-about-me'ish) unit in ELA (Treasures) and Social Studies. To kick things off, we made friendship bracelets. Ahhh, how it took me back to knotting thread and wearing ten bracelets on my stick thin wrist. Snap back to the NOW, we made DUCT TAPE bracelets...My firsties LOVE them!  Super easy (minus cutting it and the tape sticking to itself...after about the tenth  third one, we got the hang of it. Each piece was slightly shorter than a Magic Treehouse book is wide (nonstandard measurement, ok?) We folded our bottom mustache piece hotdog style and did the same with our accent (paint splat) piece. We then cut the splat piece long ways down the center to make two skinny strip and secured the two pieces at both ends by, you guessed it, another piece of tape! We used the almighty velcro dot to make our bracelets ea
fun right?...
TA DA!  :)

Oh- and I know you are wondering about our choice of patterns for our bracelets.... think "Friendship" unit...we MUST (mustache) remember to accept and love others even though we are different than one another (paint splat colors and sizes). To an adult, this may sound cheesy-to a child, it was a homerun! 
I proudly wear my bracelet as I type tonight ... Sometime, even  as adults, we need to be reminded of the message our bracelets represent and with that, good night and ... Enjoy the Journey!

Saturday, September 15, 2012

My First Freebie Attempt!

So I'm going to make this short and sweet because it's very late ... But, I'm SO excited! I have always loved the idea of the Desk Fairy visiting my friends to check for neat desks. It's much cuter and way more positive than a grown woman whining about paper, broken crayons, and critters falling out of little desks, right? . Of course the "Desk Fairy" wasn't born yesterday (and she IS NOT my original idea...) but this little rhyme is MINE!  Woot Woot! So, I would like to share with all of my bloggie friends, my FIRST (be nice) attempt at a freebie! I hope that you like it as much as I do! Now if only that Desk Fairy had magic cleaning dust for my house...hmmmmm.... ENJOY THE JOURNEY!

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Technology Tuesday with a side of catch-up

Yes, I know. If I ever intend to break 30 blog followers, I have to actually do the "blogging". (I can use that as a verb, right?) Since my last post, I've attended two staff meetings, two team meetings, a committee meeting for Social Studies, a Brownie troop orientation, Grits for Grandparents,  two parent conferences, a week of early duty,  and a partridge in a pear tree  PTO meeting. WOW... and I still have Open House this Thursday. Welcome back to school, friends! :) Sooo, I'm so glad that my ERIN CONDREN LIFE PLANNER ARRIVED! It is the best thing EVER and I even received a coupon for my next purchase. (If I ever decided on what that will be and how it will look! There are so many options!) And for your viewing pleasure, here it is....
even the packaging was beautiful in all of it's Clemson glory :)

the front cover
the back (have no clue why it's upside down...I tried to fix it...oh well)

I said it was "Technology Tuesday", so here is my tid bit for the day. I am a self professed technology junkie in all forms. (Per my summer professional development, I am what is now known as a "Digital Native"...I need the t-shirt) Anytime I can find a really neat way to integrate technology in my class that carries over to their homes,well,  I'm sold!  Last year, I was in a vertical team meeting with a kindergarten friend and noticed her desktop. It was neatly organized with icons and colors... I was drawn in like a moth to a flame. I HAD to know more! My friend quickly introduced me to Symbaloo. Symbaloo is a free site where you can create and organize "webmixes" (aka. an awesome way to access websites that you use often in one neat, visually appealing place AND it can be accessed from any computer that has internet connection).  At first, I used symbaloo as a way to organize my "teacher" desktop...curriculum sites had a green background, interactive kid sites had a pink background, and so forth. I then decided to dig a little deeper and try to find more ways that my KIDS could use it. SCORE! One way that I currently use Symbaloo is to organize a variety of safe, educational sites that my kiddos will enjoy during computer workshop. (You can check-out my personal webmix here. Feel free to use it! Let me know what you think about the sites on it and if you have ideas for new ones!) Another very cool way to use symbaloo, is to create a webmix based around a theme or unit study. For example, if you are studying dinosaurs (We are currently reading Magic Treehouse: Dinosaurs Before Dark), create a webmix with museums that contain fossils, a dig out west, a link to videos, online children's encyclopedia for research, etc. Your students now how a central location to go to, find relevant information on their topic, while still feeling "in control" of their learning.  The best part is, you can SHARE your webmix through a link or embed with html so that parents and students can access your symbaloo from any computer with internet access. Cool huh?

Well, I am going to 'jump ship' for the night... I have learned to create some of the ideas that have been crammed in the back of my head, to share on here and on TpT! (THANK YOU Nicole Heinlein @ Teaching with Style! Check out her blog-great ideas and she is super helpful!)

Until next time,  remember to smile, breathe, and ENJOY the JOURNEY!

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Shame, Shame, Shame...Playing Catch Up

Yes, I feel horrible....I've been MIA for a few days trying to play mental catch-up. I think I lost. So...TAKE TWO!

This school year has taken off! Our school is really focusing on "getting to know" our students, nail down procedures and expectations, THEN dive into our curriculum. So far-so good! We have read books, "played games", interviewed classmates, taken part in scavenger hunts...wash, rinse, repeat. :) Some of my   our favorite activities so far has to be our unit on the No, David !  series by David Shannon!  Scrolling through Pinterest, I noticed the cutest ideas, so I clicked and clicked again until I landed at The First Grade Parade and then to Mrs. Lee's Kinder Kids! Those ladies are great--super creative and WITH it!
So here is what I did! We read David Goes to School  and No, David! We discussed behaviors from the stories that would be "Peace Maker" behaviors and "Peace Breaker" behaviors. We "elbow-to-knee"/partnered share behaviors that we sometimes displayed and charted them as well!

Next, I found a Peace Maker Promise, from the same lovely lady above, The First Grade Parade, laminated it and invited each child to sign it!
Well, we loved David so much that we kept right on learning with him! We created a class book with "peace maker" and "peace breaker" behaviors as well as role played using David masks. I drew a David  puppet template and I must say, adding brads to the puppets, sealed the CUTENESS! Next we added speech bubble, practiced our handwriting :), and added how we are "peace makers" in our daily activities. I was very impressed with some of the answers the children gave! 
Our David Masks used in role playing 

David puppets! brass brads make everything better :)
They were so honest with their writing :) "I am a Peace Maker when I..."

Alright, I'm gonna switch it up for a moment. Since I missed my Technology Tuesday, I am going to add it today. :) So, I know when we hear "technology", we think "New Age'ish" like "iPad", "computer", "SMART Board". (I know I do....) But with my tid bit for tonight, we are going 'back to the future'. Follow me now.... kids these days LOVE the 'new age' right now hot devices. But they are also fascinated with  ah, hmmm OLD things, like Walk-mans and ::gasp:: cassette tapes! That's right. My listening center contains walk-mans and books on TAPE! They love it. At the beginning of the year (and a few times as needed), I walk the little ones through my listening station procedures. Each book is in a nice ziploc bag with headphones, and pre-loaded walkmans. My "technology" is color coded. The students learn that they should choose a bag from the "ready" bucket, place the head phones and press the GREEN button. If the book finishes or the station time is over, they press the YELLOW (fast forward) button, put all items in the bag and place the bag in the "NOT READY" bucket (where I go back and flip the tape and place the bag in the "Ready" bucket!) There are usually five different books in my station so I only have to switch them out about once a month! This year, I hope to have some of my little ones record themselves for books in the listening station.
labeled with colored folder labels that are but to fit! 

 TA-DA!  My Technology Tuesday Treasure on Wednesday!  Perfect lesson on how everything that is old is soon new again.... Enjoy The Journey! :)

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Technology Treasures!

Wow what a day it has been! Today was our FOURTH day of professional development, meetings, AND "Pop-In" to Meet the Teacher (with popsicles of course!)I was so excited to see all of my new little friends! They were all smiles and ready to go! I even passed out this too cute poem and bag of "ready confetti and jitter glitter" I found on Pinterest (DUH!) and followed the link back to Heather's Heart where she was an awesome freebie! It tells about placing the jitter glitter and ready confetti under their pillow the night before school starts so that they are ready to go and excited to learn when they wake up! She has a great blog so go check her out when you're finished reading!  I can't wait for Thursday to start on a new learning journey!
Isn't is precious?! Thanks for sharing this great idea, Heather!

 Whewwww! NOW.I am so excited to share with you a few of my fav. "Tech. Treasures"
1 My iPod Touch and it's many color hats  Apps :)    When we first got the "touches" at school, I was caught in just having it and actually using  it. (after all, I always used my personal "touch" as a music player, to track my runs, words with friends, etc.) Then I played on iTunes and read some blogs! I have since discovered Class Dojo - an interactive behavior management tool that you can control on your iPod AND share on your SMART board. There are so many options to best suit the needs of your class, ie. instead of using names, you can assign individual avatars, assign points to both positive and negative behaviors. Then, are you ready? You can generate reports of the behaviors for an individual and/or class AND email them to parents! CHECK IT OUT! :) The kids LOVE it!

2.RAZ-kids   A reading site that incorporates the ever popular Reading A-Z books. Each student has their own log in (which can be their name, and icon, both..) and can be password protected if you wish. The site allows for reading practice on a child's individual reading level. Each 'main' level has about twelve different books of varying genres. (You can even print most of them for additional practice!) The books are interactive, animated and have three options to complete. The ear: the books is read TO the child with the text lighting up as it is read aloud. The mouth icon: the CHILD reads the book (with the option to record it to use as an assessment for fluency and accuracy). Then the quiz: checks for comprehension. The teacher can generate individual or class reports that show key skills missed! :)  How 'bout them apples ? AND there is more! There is an incentive program called RAZ Rockets when students earn stars for completing each book. They can use these stars to purchase items in the interactive space shop! I use this site in my reading  center and send home the link so that students are able to access it from home, a public library, anywhere with internet connection. This program is OUT OF THIS WORLD!

3. Last (for tonight... I'm tired he he he) is one of the really neat ones. Tagxedo. Ever heard of word clouds? Well, the website for Tagxedo calls them "word clouds with style". Pretty cool, huh? Here's what it is. You take a story, a poem, a child's writing, or THIS BLOG,for example, the copy/paste the text into the site. Tagxedo then arranges the words in really cool ways making words that are used more often LARGER and more prominent than words that aren't used as much in the 'pasted text'. This would be especially cool with candidate speeches. You would just copy/paste the speeches, and then you would be able to identify which words the candidate uses often, thus able to see the candidates 'focus' or 'platform.' You can even have your text placed in a shape. For example, here is a cloud that I used with our faculty's last names and various words that are often used in our school. Our mascot is a lab, so....
the words were used once each, thus they are about the same size :)

 I like to use it with familiar stories and nursery rhymes then have students try to identify and highlight high frequency words. Here is a  tagxedo using the text from this blog post:
Which words do you notice are used more often? used fewer times? :)
Alright, friends. I am going to try and rest (HA!) I hope that you have enjoyed learning about a 'few of my favorite [tech] things'. I would love to hear about what your favorite sites, apps, technology tools are! Until tomorrow...enjoy the Journey! :)

I'm linkin' up with Blog Hoppin' for Teacher Week! Come along and join us!

Monday, August 20, 2012

Must Have Monday!

I'm linking up with my friends at Blog Hoppin' to share my all time FAVORITE teacher things! 

1. Mr. Sketch Markers (the ones that SMELL!) These markers are one of my first memories of third grade with one of my favorite teachers, Ms. Poston. The smells make drawing fun and take me back to a very happy place!
2. Keurig Coffee Maker and Green Mountain Apple Cider: OH SO YUMMO!  The perfect alternative to my regular cup of coffee. It's so warm and doesn't get me hyped up and allows me to have a Coke mid-day without feeling guilty!

3. Post it notes- I mean really? Who can do WITHOUT them? I make notes on them, graph with them, and this year... I am giving each child a mini one to draw their self portrait, write their name and border a blank piece of paper to make class stationary! Cute huh?! Thanks Pinterest!

4. The Magic Treehouse series: These books are excellent for read alouds in my first grade classroom. You can teach so many skills (and learn about the coolest places!) *See my previous post on how I use the Magic Treehouse series in my class.

5. My clipboard and "Tally Chart" : I know it sounds silly, but my clipboard goes EVERYWHERE with me! Its cute too--decorated with doggie themed ribbon and school colors . I use a different "Tally Chart" each day. On the chart, each child has a square where I record their lunch choice, positive behaviors (and the other kind :)  ), transportation changes, academic successes and challenges for that day, etc I date the form and file them in a 3 ring binder. It is  the perfect form of documentation when planning for Parent Conferences and such.

Sunday, August 19, 2012

Trips Around the World... with the Magic Treehouse

I've been debating all weekend whether I should go ahead and blog about my favorite read aloud series or wait until Monday so I could post pictures...well, I've never been good at waiting, so TA-DA! (I will just have to update with photos later!)
For as long as I can remember, I have LOVED books. I mean really loved books. I know it sounds cliche, but they are magical! In third grade, I had a librarian  (that was PC then) named Mrs. Glenn. She was sweet as sugah :) and had a way with story telling. oooohhhh weeee, I HATED to leave the library! Mrs. Glenn had stuffed story book characters everywhere, it was a wonderland for a child!
Two of my favorites that Mrs. Glenn gave to me when she retired! True treasures!

 I would read at school, on the bus, at the table, in the bathtub (shhh! Don't tell Mrs. Glenn!) I could travel the world, go on adventures, meet new friends, and never leave my lovely, rural hometown. When I began teaching, I wanted my students to feel that same love for book! Thus, my addiction to The Magic Treehouse series. Yes, I teach first grade. Yes, they are chapter books. and YES they are the best thing ever!
Here is a snip it of how I use the Magic Treehouse series in my first grade classroom.
This year, I  Jack and Annie are mailing cute postcards to each of my new babies (snail mail is ExCiTiNg!!)  telling them about the neat adventures we are going to take together!
labels for snail-mail note cards

Now, follow me here. I read the series starting with book one, usually a chapter or two a day, as a read aloud. As I read, I have a marbled composition book under my document camera. I model various reading strategies out loud. For example, questioning an unknown word's meaning. I usually say something like "hmmmmm, Pteranadon. Wonder what that is? I'm going to write that word  in my notebook so that I can look it up later. Let me read a little more to see if I can figure it out with context clues. Ahhh, in the picture, Jack is riding on a flying dinosaur. I bet that is a Pteranadon!" I read further and jot notes in my notebook. We sound out words, write down "wonderings" , new facts, and draw pictures!

The kids love it! They often give me suggestions for my notebook, point out important facts, make connections, etc. After completing a book, we pin the book's setting on a map so we can track our travels, and I link a themed game or virtual field trip that relates to the books destination! (*this year I plan to mark our travels using Google Maps and make notes about the various destination--thanks to a lot of Google professional development this past summer!)
So many skills can be covered with the MTH series....character studies, research skills, map skills, facts/opinions, story elements.....the possibilities are ENDLESS! By the end of the year, my kiddos are stocking up on the series and their parents are amazed at what all they learn (like about a mummies nose and.....never mind!) Just typing this makes me excited! Stay tuned as I plan to update this post with pictures of our travel map, "research" notebook, links for virtual field trips, and shoe box treehouses to fit the various story settings! In the meantime, thank a librarian and ENJOY the Journey!
our  Magic Treehouse in the reading center :)