Saturday, January 24, 2015

First Timer Five for Friday!

I know, it's Saturday.  Oops!  :) I have been waiting to join this linky allllll week so, whether it's Friday or Saturday, I'm linking up!

I'm especially excited about it because I was ON TOP of taking pictures this week in my classroom.

So, here we go!
We started off our week with NEW "readers".  We use little things (erasers, candy, manipulatives) to help touch the words.  My lowest readers had the hardest time understanding that each time we say a word, we need to touch the written word.  But, who doesn't love touching words when you can hold something fun? Thank you Target for always having cute, cheap erasers! :)

 Speaking of you see anything wrong here?

Yep....those are not Addition and Subtraction Equation Building Cards!  Oh was a new, cheap activity or my early finishers to use. :)

We were measuring like CRAZY this week.  We started our measurement unit by using nonstandard units.  We used cubes and then eventually got to use links.  :)  Yay.
I found the "Measuring With Cubes" from Joyful Learning in KC. I was looking up measurement with cubes activities on Pinterest and came across the snowman idea.  I'm not sure who originally thought of it because there are SO many other people that have done it. :) 

 We have been using some new things in our classroom thanks to DonorsChoose!  I had 2 projects funded!  YAYYYYY!  We were lucky enough to get some new "learning activities" (educational activities that my students use when they are done with their work).  AND...I'm the new owner of a binding machine!  :)  I can't wait to bind my heart out! ;)

Here's one of the "learning activities" that we got!

We have been working on long vowel sounds while reviewing short vowel sounds.  My students LOVE my Fluency Cards.  We play a game where they are given a card and as soon as they can read it, they can get another card.  It's all about accuracy and speed.  The person with the most cards at the end wins.  :)

Check out my Fluency Cards by clicking on the picture. :)

I had so much fun with this linky!  You should link up, too! :)

Monday, January 19, 2015

Perfectionist's Handwriting! {FREEBIE}

I'm a perfectionist when it comes to two things - spelling and HANDWRITING.  :)

But, ya' gotta have nice handwriting if you're teaching little kids, right? 

....even though it isn't in the standards to teach handwriting anymore! :(

I'm gonna brag for a second here....I think my handwriting is pretty nice.  :)

Anywho, you can judge for yourself because I just made my very first FONT! YAY!

Click the picture to download it for free! :) 

Have a great Monday night!

Thursday, January 8, 2015


I had a HORRIBLE case of WBB (Winter Break Brain) this week!  Oh first graders did, too.  On their first day back, I looked out into the classroom and saw a bunch of tired sweeties struggling to stay awake. :(  

......and let's not get started on their fluency assessments.  It was bad.  Each month I give a one minute fluency assessment.   Usually I see TONS of growth.  But, I did a few yesterday and decided I should just stop.  They were still suffering from WBB.  Hopefully we'll be back in the groove next week and I'll see better gains....fingers crossed!

I have some REAL lowbies in my class..... I'm talking 3 words per minute with 10% accuracy while reading a Kindergarten passage.  Keep in mind, we're first graders.  YIKES.  I knew I had my work cut out for me.  Instead of drilling their poor little brains, I decided to make Reading fun. 

I started out the year with just one cvc word on each card.  We used these to warm-up in Reading group. We played BAM! (some people call it BANG!) with the cards.  After over 3 months of playing that game, my students STILL love it.  I try to change it up every couple of weeks - new words, new pictures on the cards, harder words.   Now, those students who were reading 3 words per minute with 10% accuracy are making progress!  They are getting faster and more accurate. :)  Yay!

I used this ALL THE TIME last month and they couldn't get enough.  The best part was my higher readers got to play the same game - instead of just a cvc word on the card, they had sentences.  Tricky!

Sadly, Christmas is over and I need to move on.  :(  So, I made this! 
If you're interested in checking these Fluency Cards out, just click the picture!

I can't wait to print them out and laminate them.  The absolute best part will be seeing how excited my students get when they get the new cards! :) 

Sunday, January 4, 2015


I'm done.....

with this beauty!

She's a big one....over 200 pages.  Over 250 vocabulary words and definitions!  Over 250 flashcards! Yikes.

It is a MUST HAVE if you use the Lead 21 Reading program.  Vocabulary is SO important - especially when our kiddos get older and start the state standardized testing.  But, Lead 21 doesn't really do much with the vocabulary words. 

These hundreds of words and definitions were taken directly from the differentiated readers.  Each level (intensive, strategic, benchmark, and advanced) shares one weekly word and has two of their own words, specific to their weekly readers.

My students, no matter what reading level, get 3 vocabulary words to learn each week.  By Friday, they need to know the definitions and how to use the words in a sentence. I've used these weekly vocab word study guides for years, but just recently prettied them up for you!

So, check it out.  Whether you use Lead 21 or not, it would be an awesome addition to your classroom!

Saturday, January 3, 2015


I'm linking up with Farley for her super fun Currently linky!  :) 

I am IN LOVE with that song.  It just makes me want to hug and slow dance with my boyfriend.  :)  Is that weird?

Although Winter Break is almost over, I am still loving it.  It's been 2 weeks of relaxation, fun, and productivity.

Oh, this stinkin' sub tub is CONSTANTLY on my mind.  I think I have a million activities to try to shove into it, but I still feel like it's not enough.  I'm trying to think of everything....but I'm probably over-thinking (as usual).

I just need more time each day. I don't have enough time for everything I want to do!

Who doesn't love massages?  Ahhh... I need one.

Yes Maybe I Wish:
YES......YUM Caramel Brulee Latte from Starbucks.  Have you tried it?  YOU MUST.  It's the best.  I went to Target this morning and, of course, stopped at Starbucks.   I guess something was wrong with the scanner so it wouldn't scan the app on my phone and the actual gift card didn't work they gave me my coffee for FREE!  What a great way to start the day, huh?  

MAYBE.... I really need to branch out....get out of my comfort zone....I guess in all areas?  I can't really explain it but I'm maybe going to stop holding myself back from new things.  Does that make sense? Anyway....

I WISH....I want to do it all - create a ton of really useful things for TpT, craft, sew, make things for my class....just let my creativity flow.  There just isn't enough time in the day to do it all!

Ok, time to continue being productive! :)  Make sure to join this fun linky!

Saturday, December 27, 2014

Sub Tub Stress!

Luckily, in 9 years of teaching, I've never had an emergency sick day.  Oh, hold on, just gotta' knock on wood!  ;)  I've been sick and I have taken personal days but I've always been able to prepare for the sub the day before.

I've had 9 years of awesome {no-need-for-emergency-plans} luck....and I'm worried that day will come when I'll have nothing ready for the sub.

No more chancing it....I decided I HAD to make a Sub Tub during my Winter Break! :)

It's stressing me out though! Ugh, I hate seeming like that crazy classroom teacher with 10 pages of sub plans....and that's where I'm headed.  Honestly, I've gotten together some simple, straight forward lessons for each subject.  But, then I worry that I'm not giving enough direction or I'm giving too much direction.   Too much is better than not enough, right?

Also, I'm tempted to make this sub tub awesome enough to leave anytime I'm out - planned or unplanned.

I DESPISE typing up sub plans the day before I'm out. I've found that when I leave actual content for the sub to teach or work that should be used as a grade, I'm usually left reteaching and redoing.  I don't blame the subs though....I have a pretty crazy special class.  Like any other first grader, they like to have some fun while their teacher is out.  

So, I guess I've made up my mind.  The Sub Tub will be used for all of my days out.  Easy prep, easy for the sub, and then easy for the students! Whew, thanks for letting me talk that out! ;)

I'm not even close to being done but here's a little sneak peek at my schedule and some of the important information I'm going to be leaving in the tub.
P.S. I LOVE how Kimberly Geswein's fonts just make everything prettier! :) 

That's what I have so far.  I need to get the activities copied, get the read aloud books together, and I need to come up with a list of time fillers/extra activities for down time.  Oh!  I also need a pretty little Sub Tub label for the front! :)

Ahhh I feel pretty accomplished.  Check back soon for the finished product!

Monday, December 22, 2014

A Perfect Day Before Winter Break!

I had such a fun, happy day with my first graders last Friday!  :)  We had a Polar Express, Pajama, Pancake, Pizza, and Pop party!   Let me tell was near impossible to calm them down.  But, it was so fun!

Not only did my little cuties dress up in their pjs, I did too!  Ahhhh...if only I could wear pjs to school every day.

They walked into the room and it was all decorated - red "tablecloths" (it was really red bulletin board paper), huge coloring pictures, and fun treat bags from me.  The ohh's and aww's just made my heart smile!  They were so excited and kept giving me hugs.  It made my morning perfect! :)

I forgot to take a picture of their tables, but here are the bags I gave them.

While they colored and played with their new things from their treat bags, I cooked pancakes for them - full of red and green sprinkles, red and green mini m&m's and chocolate chips.  SUGAR RUSH!

We read Polar Express later in the day and watched the movie at the end of the day.  While we were watching the movie, we had pizza, cookies, and pop.  Whew!  We were stuuuuffffed.

I really hope they had a memorable day because I sure did!  :)  :)