Monday, December 31, 2012

It's a New Year! Linky :)

Happy New Year's Eve!

What's on the agenda for tonight you ask?  We're heading over to my in-laws to play some games and eat some yummy food.  :)  I plan on being home, in bed, and asleep before midnight.  I like to be sleeping when the ball drops. :)  It's true.  I'm an early bird so I don't like staying up past, uhh... 9:30.  I'm such a granny.

What are you doing tonight??

I'm also linking up with Jen at The Teachers' Cauldron for this fun linky!  It's a chance to blog about your personal and blogging resolutions!

My personal resolution is to be more positive.  I'm usually a "negative Nancy" and I'll be the first one to admit it.  :)  So, I'm going to see my glass as half FULL from now on.... especially at work.  It's a huge resolution but I have faith in myself!

My blogging resolution is to post more often and include pictures of things we are doing in the classroom.  I love seeing bloggers' classrooms and all of the fun things they are doing.  It's the best kind of post to read - one with lots of pictures! For some reason I NEVER remember to pull out my camera to snap a pic of our happenings...but I can and will do it!  (see.... I'm being positive already!)

It's time to get ready for tonight... shower and slip into some (clean) pajama pants! ;)  Nothing fancy for this girl. 

Enjoy your last night of 2012 and may 2013 bring you lots of happy, positive things!  Oh, and don't forget to link up with Jen, too! 

Saturday, December 29, 2012

SEW Happy - Part II

I've been sewing up a storm on my brand new machine!  I just wanted to share some things that I made!

I went CRAZY in Joann's and bought each and every fabric that my heart desired.  Thank goodness for the 15% teacher discount!  :) 

I came home and made some cute button bookmarks.  The original idea came from here.  So cute!!  I just want to keep making these - even though you really only need one!

 I also made my husband a remote/candy holder for his gaming chair.  :)

I'm going to search the internet for more sewing projects! :)  I've put the weighted lap pads on hold because I need to go out and get LOTS and LOTS of rice... and I just haven't yet.  Hopefully soon!

Enjoy your weekend!

Thursday, December 27, 2012

SEW Happy!

I got the BEST Christmas present.....

I am in love!  I made my first little pillow and it came out pretty cute. :) 

The other side has opposite colors.  I have a lot to learn... but, I was proud because it was my first project on a sewing machine.  

I plan on (still) making those weighted lap pads for my kids.  I'm going to head out for some rice to fill them with so I can whip them up.  

I also found some other projects that I want to try out.  Here they are: 

I'm heading out in the AM to get LOTS of cute fabric and I plan on being in front of the sewing machine ALL day! :)  

Thanks for stopping by! 

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Christmas Classroom Happenings

I know, I know... Christmas is over.  We're all on Winter Break.   My ideas are late.  But, stick them in your back pocket for next year! ;)

I LOVE The Polar Express.  First, we graphed whether or not we read the story (no picture... sorry!).  Then, we did a quick picture walk (my students LOVE picture walks).  After reading the story, we picked out some story elements and wrote them down.  Then... for more fun, we did some fun activities with this cute (FREE) packet from Living Life Intentionally.  My favorite part of that MEGA PACK (it's AMAZING), was sequencing the events of the story.  Here are some pics from all of our Polar Express fun!

We also made some gingerbread people and described them with our super adjectives.  We've been learning about adjectives so this was the perfect activity!  I can't remember exactly where I got this from... so, I'm sorry to whoever it is!

We also did this cute activity from Shining and Sparkling in First.  First, we brainstormed some "ch" words together.  The students did an excellent job of coming up with tons of words!  Then, I set them free.  They had to use 4 marshmallows with a different "ch" word on each.  They all came out super cute.

On the Friday before break, we made some pancakes for our kiddos and watched The Polar Express.  It was so nice.  One of my students even said, "thanks for everything today".... it warmed my heart. :)

Thanks for stopping by!

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Just Because!

I'm having a sale on some itemes in my TpT store... just for the fun of it!  :)  Check out some of the items that are on sale!  Click any of the pictures to find out more about the item!

I also have a sale going on my backgrounds.  If you're interested in any colorful, cute, fun backgrounds for personal or commercial products, check them out by clicking the links below!

Thanks for stopping by!

Monday, December 17, 2012

Weighted Lap Pads

This week is the last week of school... then 2 weeks off!  :)  I hope to spend lots of time creating.  I'm hoping to get a sewing machine for Christmas and I can't wait to start some cute crafts around the house.   I've been wanting to make some weighted lap pads for my students.  The occupational therapist told me about them last year when I had a student with severe ADHD and lots of sensory issues.  There is research behind why they work - it helps students with sensory issues and provides a calming effect.  I'm sure there is a more researched-based explanation of why and how they work... but, I do know that THEY WORK!  :)

I got some fabric quarters at Joann Fabrics for just 99 cents!  I also got some at Walmart a while ago for 97 cents!  Basically, you sew it together and fill it with about 5 lbs. of rice.  It helps to put a couple rows of stitches through the middle so the rice doesn't just fall to the sides. :)

Here are the super cute patterns I'm going to use...

Once I (hopefully) get my sewing machine, I'll put a little tutorial up of exactly how I make them!  

I'm going to make a lot because I think it will benefit many of my students... I want one for myself, too!

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

2 Weeks!

Christmas is 2 weeks away!!   Is your shopping done?   I still have a few things to buy...

I made some Christmas backgrounds that are sure to spread some holiday cheer in your classroom or on your TpT products!

I put a new background up on my flipchart each morning and I'm so excited to use these!  There are 26 of them so I might have to use a couple each day... because they are ALL so cute. Check them out by clicking the picture below!

Thank you for stopping by!  Be sure to grab the freebie background below! ;)  Oh.. and I'm still crossing my fingers for more people to follow me on Facebook, too.  Please?

Monday, December 10, 2012

Tell Me Something Good - Christmas!

I'm linking up with Jennifer from Rowdy in First Grade to tell you something good!  Click the picture to head over to her blog to link up!!

Something Good from School:
I am amazed at all of the progress my kids are making... especially with their writing!  Last week we worked on informational writing.  They picked something they were really good at and explained how to do it in three steps (using "first", "next", and "last").  It was hard getting them to pre-write, but when that was all said and done, their paragraphs came out GREAT!  Proud teacher moment!

Something Good from Home:
The Christmas tree is up!  I was dreading putting it up... but, I forgot how much I enjoy it.  The best is  when it gets dark out and all you have lighting up the living room is the beautiful Christmas tree.  LOVE.  My wonderful hubby "fluffed" our branches and put the lights on all by himself.  He's so sweet!

Gifts Purchased in the Past:
My husband is a HUGE computer nerd... so, most of his gifts are technology, video game, or computer related.  Like Jennifer, I've purchased a Harmony remote ( long ago that I don't even know if he uses it anymore?).  Last year I think I just got him a $100 gift card to GameStop.  Although I don't like giving gift cards, I figured he could use it to buy a game or two in the future.  I already bought his Christmas gift this year and it is AWESOME.  I can't write about it because I'm afraid he would read it!  So, it'll be hush-hush until after Christmas!

This is unrelated to Christmas, but I recently bought my husband this shirt from Kohls.  It describes him perfectly....

Don't forget to link up with Jennifer!!

Thursday, December 6, 2012

Place Value Fun!

We have been learning all about place value in Math for about a week now.  I had to spice it up because  it was going right over the kids' heads (the ones that were still awake...;) haha).  So... I pulled out the dry erase markers.... but not the dry erase boards.  The kiddos were shocked when I told them to write on their desks.  Some of them just looked around to make sure other people were doing it first.  :)

We used our dry erase markers to circle groups of ten.  They LOVED it!

The dry erase markers left a little marker smear here or there... but we just wiped it right up with a baby wipe!  It was fun and engaging for the kids and easy for me!  What's better than that?

I made a couple more backgrounds last night and thought I'd share them with you!  Click the picture to head over to the FREEBIE! :)

That's all for now!  Thanks for stopping by!

Monday, December 3, 2012

I'm Lonely!

I'm going to keep this short and sweet today...

I am shocked at how many wonderful followers I have on TpT and on Pinterest.  I'm thrilled that I have 72 followers on my blog, too (thank you!!).  But... I'm lonely on Facebook.  :(

Want to come like me on Facebook?  I'd appreciate it!  Pretty please?


Sunday, December 2, 2012

Currently and Backgrounds Galore!

I'm linking up with Farley over at Oh' Boy Fourth Grade again for the monthly currently... here is what I'm up to!

LISTENING:  I'm mad at the fridge.  We've had this big guy for 4 years and he's been acting up for about 2 of them.  Water pools under the veggie drawers.  Sometimes the water gets into the drawers, so I can't put anything in there.  It's a TON of wasted space.  This morning, I soaked up all the water and found ICE.  Ugh.  I've read that there's a fix... the drain is clogged/frozen.  Who knows.  That's a man's job... :)   As for the rain, I'm just glad it's not snow!!

LOVING: I can't believe it's in the 50's in Ohio... in December! I'm not complaining!

THINKING: I have NO idea what I want for Christmas.  I'll think of something and then tell myself I don't need it.  I usually buy myself whatever I want so it's hard to think of something for someone else to buy me.

WANTING:  Who doesn't want more hours in the day?  I've been making lots of super cute backgrounds today... keep reading to check some out!

NEEDING:  Ugh.  Laundry.  Yuck.  I need to start dinner, too.   I'm making one of my faves.. beef stroganoff.  MMMM... so comforting and filling.  Yummmmy!

RAK:  I read about someone else doing this already.  I thought it was the coolest thing.  Who wouldn't love to pull up to the window to find out that someone has already paid?  And, there's no time to thank them or even see who is was... because, by the time they hear you did it, you are already gone!  :)


Like I said, I've had TONS of fun creating bright, colorful backgrounds!  Click any of the images to check them out!

I'm working on some new dot backgrounds and wavy backgrounds, too!  Have to get back to creating... :)

Thanks for stopping by!

Thursday, November 29, 2012

"I can't real read so I just pretend read"

One of my little guys always needs help when it comes to reading something.  Sometimes he says that he can't hear the words in his ears or that he doesn't know how to read at all.  One day, he said, "I can't real read so I just fake read".  SO CUTE.  I think it would be a ton cuter if you could actually hear him say it... but, it was adorable.

I've posted a couple times about how we had to switch our reading programs recently.  With our old program, the kids struggled with simple CVC words.  They were working with a corrective reading program.. and it wasn't going well. This week was our first true week of "real" guided reading groups.  I was so against giving all of my groups first grade books because I didn't think they would be able to read them.    But...I was SO wrong!  We have been working on the same (first grade) books this week but they were ALL able to read the books on their own today.... even my lowest of low readers.  I was so proud and impressed.  :)

I'm pretty sure that taking a week on a book is a tad long, but we're just starting.  I already have our books picked out for next week and I can't wait to see how they do with them.

Just thought I'd share that happy, proud moment in my day!  I hope your day was filled with happy, proud moments, too!  Thanks for reading!

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Thanks! And, LOTS More!

I am shocked by the amount of support I've felt during the Cyber Monday and bonus Tuesday sale! :)  I've been checking my sales non-stop!  :)  Don't forget - there's still more time to save!  The sale is still on!

On a different note, we suddenly switched our reading program - which is really hard to do mid-year.  I'm still trying to figure out what exactly I'm supposed to be doing/teaching.  I have TONS of anxiety about my kiddos not being able to read by 2nd grade because we are so "up in the air".  I've taught Direct Instruction Reading for years.   This year, we've talked about Four Blocks... and now, I think we're leaning more towards the Daily 5.  Ahhh!

I have started doing guided reading groups.  We are reading first grade books (and really struggling because most of my kiddos read at a Kindergarten {or below} level).  It took me a long time to wrap my head around the fact that my babies that can't sound out "cat" will be reading first grade books.  Needless to say, we're starting slow...  a lot of echo reading and making sure we're following along.

I haven't started the other aspects of the Daily 5 but I've been pinning and searching blogs for some helpful tips.

We started talking about animals in Science. Today, I split the class into groups, gave them pictures of animals, and had them sort them into categories (mammals, fish, birds, amphibians, insects, and reptiles).  They did SO good!  I was so proud!  There were some questions about some of the animals... so we hopped on the internet and did a little research!  The students were SO involved and in charge... I loved it!

I didn't copy the animals in color (they got to see the colored images on the Promethean board) and I didn't make it fancy for them at all..... just some animals, some paper, glue, and scissors!  I'll take a picture of their finished product tomorrow!

Here are some of the animals I used.... feel free to grab a copy if you're doing anything animal-related anytime soon!  Just click the picture! I used a ton of animals... and most kids might not know exactly what kind of animal these are.... so you might have to do a little research, too!

I plan on making these a little more fancy (when I have more time this weekend) and I'll add on the name of the animal on the card.

Well, good luck to all of the TpT/Teachers Notebook sellers on this last amazing day!  If you're interested in purchasing, don't wait!  Head over before the sale ends!  :)

Don't forget to check back this weekend if you want some fancier animal cards w/ animal names!  Thanks for reading!!

Monday, November 26, 2012

Shop Til You Drop (for Your Classroom)!

Are you still exhausted from all of your Black Friday shopping?  No worries!  Stay on the couch.  No need to get up!  Head on over to Teachers Pay Teachers to take advantage of the HUGE Cyber Monday (+bonus Tuesday) sale!  You could get up to 28% off! :)  Click the picture and don't forget to use the special promo code (CMT12) to get your additional savings!

It's crazy that it's ALREADY time to start planning for Christmas.  We always have the kids do a craft to give their parents as Christmas present.  We've done tissue paper wreaths and holiday coasters.  This year I'm looking for something that is less teacher-involved.  I want the students to be completely in charge of this present.  So.. I headed to Pinterest (of course) to find some cute ideas.  If you are looking for something for your students to make - check these ideas out!

Click on any of the pictures to follow the link!  I'm going to go explore for more great ideas! :)

Thanks for stopping by! 

Saturday, November 24, 2012

Liebster Blog Award!

Wowzas!  I got a sweet comment from Michele at Coffee Cups and Lesson Plans telling me that she nominated me for an award.  :)  Awesome!  To be honest, I had never heard for a Liebster Blog Award.. but after a quick google search, I know a little about it!

From what I read, "liebster" means "favorite" in German.  This award is for a "favorite" blog that is up and coming (one that has less than 200 followers).  Yay!

Here are the rules:
1.  You must post 11 random things about yourself.
2.  Answer the questions that the nominator created for you.
3.  Create 11 questions for the people you nominate.
4.  Choose 11 blogs you love that have less than 200 followers and link them to  your post.
5.  No tag back... leave a comment on THIS post with the URL of the Liebster so I can learn more about you!

Here are my random facts:
1.  My favorite thing to drink *hands-down* is club soda.  Yum!
2.  I over think and analyze everything (to a fault).
3.  I'm a little shy around people my age but I'm super silly (and not at all shy) with my students.
4.  I LOVE my dog Tobey.  Love. Love. Love.
5.  I buy Tobey something every time I go grocery shopping or go to Target because I love when he searches through the bags for it. :)
6.  I can't control myself around chocolate (especially Snickers and Kit Kats)... if it's there, I'll eat it.
7.  I hate jeans.  Ew.  They are constricting, uncomfortable, and ew.
8.  I wear pj pants/yoga pants when I'm home... all the time.
9.  I don't like when heat is blowing right on me.  I also don't like warm places.. I'd rather be a little cool/chilly.
10.  Whenever I am supposed to be somewhere, I am there 10-15 minutes early (or more).  I don't like being late.
11.  I love sleeping and taking naps!

Here are my answers to Michele's questions!
1.  How did you pick your blog name? 
2 years ago, when I first discovered tons of cute teacher blogs, I read a bunch of posts where teachers called their first grade students "firsties".  I LOVED it.  So, when I was thinking of a title for my blog, I remembered that and thought that Mrs. D and firstie (kind of) rhyme.  :)

2.  What make you start writing a blog? 
I was in awe with all of the other cute blogs out there.  I loved getting information and resources from them.  I wanted to be able to do that, too.  I also wanted to advertise some of my TpT items!

3.  What is your favorite thing to do with your family? 
I like just spending time with them.  Whether we are eating a meal, just relaxing/talking, or playing games... I always have fun!

4.  Coke or Pepsi? 
I don't have a favorite.  I try to stay away from pop (unless I'm having a stressful day and need a little extra carbonation).  I really like seltzer water (club soda).  MMMM.

5.  Who is your favorite music group? 
I don't have a favorite.  I like a lot of musicians/singers.  I love everything from Michael Buble to Nicki Minaj. :)

6.  What would you purchase if you had an unlimited budget? 
I would buy everything from Scrappin Doodles.  I would also buy any and every background, frame, or font that I could find.  I am obsessed!  I'd also buy Doxie, iPad, and Cameo.  I wish.... ho hum. ;)

7. What is your favorite book to share with your students? 
I LOVE reading Skippyjon Jones to my students.  I also like reading The Great Fuzz Frenzy.  They are both so fun and cute for some extra reading time!

8. What household chore do you like the least? 
I hate emptying the dishwasher.  Yuck.  Even though it only takes a couple minutes (that's what my mom always tells me...), I hate it.  And, I hate doing dishes by hand.  It's a tie, I guess.

9.  What professional book or conference changed something about how you teach? 
Our school went to a 3-day Capturing Kid's Hearts training this past summer.  It not only changed me as a teacher but I use what we learned in my personal life, too.  There were some great life lessons learned, for sure.

10.  What is your favorite color? 
Yellow!  Not necessarily bright, sunshine yellow.. more of a soft, pale, buttery yellow.  Love!

11.  If you could eat lunch with a famous person, who would it be? 
Oh goodness, that's a good one.  I don't know.  Pass!  Nah, kidding.  I think I'd be happy to eat lunch with anyone famous.  :)

Oh, you are still reading?!  Thanks for hangin' in there!  Now, time for my 11 questions and my 11 nominations!

1.    What is your biggest accomplishment (blogging, teaching, or personal... anything!)
2.    How many years have you been teaching?
3.    What is your favorite content area to teach? Why?
4.    How do you spend your free-time?
5.    What are you afraid of?
6.    What is your favorite blog to read (educational or not)?
7.    What is your favorite TV show?
8.    What kind of car do you drive?
9.    If you won $1,000 to spend on your classroom, what would you buy?
10.  What is your favorite restaurant?
11.  What is your favorite scent/smell?

Here are the 11 blogs that I'm nominating!
1.  Reading With Mrs. D
2.  Diving into 2nd Grade
3.  An Apple a Day in First Grade
4.  Coconut Cutie's Classroom
5.  First Grade Connections
6.  Mrs. Richardson's Class
7.  Counseling Hearts
8.  Klassy Kinders
9.  My Crazy Life in Kinder
10.  Permanently Primary
11.  Lattes & Laughter

Thank you for making it to the end of this never-ending post.  I have a freebie for ya' since you stuck it out until the end!  Thank you!

We're going to be learning about adjectives soon so I whipped up this little activity.  Kids love to color, right?  That's just what they will do... color and describe!  Just click the picture to check it out!

Thanks for reading!

Friday, November 23, 2012

SALE and Sight Words!

Do you love Black Friday?  I DO NOT... I just like to stay away from crazy crowds.  I DO love Cyber Monday.  I just wish we didn't have to work on Monday... it's hard getting all of those great sales when you're at work.  Want to hear some good news about this Cyber Monday sale??.... you better sit down for this....

Teachers Pay Teachers is having an AWESOME sale for Cyber Monday (+bonus Tuesday).  You HAVE to check it out!  You can get up to 28% off... incredible!  Want to see some of the people that are ready to slash their prices on Monday?  Head on over to Michelle's blog!

Don't forget to check out my store!  I have some super cute Christmas activities that will be PERFECT for December!  Click the picture below to head to my store! :)

Also....I'm linking up with Katie at Teacher to the Core for some sight word fun!

I feel that learning sight words is SO important... especially in first grade where the students are still learning letter sounds, blends, and all that good phonics stuff.

We always start out our year doing the Dolch Primer word list.  We don't start with the first grade word list because so many of our students come to first grade not knowing the other words.  My one special friend is currently learning his pre-primer words, though.  And, my smarty pants is on a list of sixth grade sight words.  My class is all over the place!

My special friend who is learning the pre-primer words LOVES to color his words.  I remember hearing from our school psychologist that having a child use color (or even writing them in color for your word wall) will help the student remember them.  That's why I created these....*click the picture!

This is a set of the 40 pre-primer dolch sight words in bubble letters.  It'll be a piece of cake for your students to just color away.  They can take them home or even keep them at school to practice! Interested in the other dolch sight word lists?  You'll also find the primer, first, second, third, and noun lists in my store, too!

Don't forget to head over to Katie's blog to link up and check out some other cute, fun sight word activities!  And.. get ready to shop 'til you drop for TpT's Cyber Monday sale!!

Thanks for stopping by!

Thursday, November 22, 2012

Stuffed With Thankful Thoughts

What a perfect linky for Thanksgiving!  I'm linking up with Lyndsey at A Year of Many Firsts to tell you what I'm thankful for!  You should head over there and link up, too!

I'm thankful for my wonderful parents who made me the person I am today! 

Of course I'm thankful for my husband.  
He makes me laugh when I've had a bad day. 
He listens to my long stories about school, kids, blogging, and TpT. 
He would do anything for me... and I'd do anything for him.   

I'm thankful for my dog, Tobey.
He makes me so happy all the time. 

I'm thankful for my wonderful class of 21 sweethearts. 
I'm also thankful to have a job. 

I'm thankful for Teachers Pay Teachers. 
I've had so much fun creating, browsing, selling, and making some extra money. :)

I'm thankful for all of the bloggers that I follow, stalk, and aspire to be like! ;)
I'm thankful for their information, advice, and wonderful resources. 

I'm thankful for YOU for taking the time to read my blog. 
I'm thankful to all of my followers for supporting me! 

I could go on and on and on with more things that I'm thankful for... but, I don't want to bore you TOO much. Don't forget to link up!

Have a great Thanksgiving!  Thanks for stopping by!