Sunday, November 29, 2015

Brand Spankin' New & Fancy!

Check out my amazing new blog design! I LOVE it and can't thank Alexis from Laugh Eat Learn Designs enough!  :)  She was amazing to work with and was so accommodating - making sure I was happy each step of the way!

I really need to start blogging more often.  I'm hoping this brand spankin' new and fancy new blog design will be just the thing to make that happen! :)

Sorry for the short post...just wanted to give everyone a heads up!  The TPT Cyber Smile Sale is starting tomorrow!  Everything in my store will be 28% off (use promo code; SMILE).  Empty out your wishlists and take advantage of the awesome sale!

I jumped on the bandwagon and included a SMILE pic of me from way back when.  I think this is 2nd or 3rd grade! :) Click the picture to head to my store!  Better yet, click on the brand new SHOP tab at the top of my blog! ;)

Tuesday, August 4, 2015


I'm ALWAYS late to the Currently party!  This month is no different. :)

Fonts by: KG Fonts

Listening:  I don't really WATCH TV much lately (unless it's Real Housewives, Teen Mom, or Big Brother...!) just usually plays in the background.  I'm re-playing last night's episode of So You Think You Can Dance.  LOVE that show...but come on, I can't really attend to it for a straight 2 hours.   I'm a busy girl!

Loving:  I'll be super honest.  This is the first year that I really took advantage of the B2S sale.  I usually purchase things here and there...but, this year, I emptied out my wishlist and spent more than I wanted to!

My F-A-V-O-R-I-T-E purchase?   A Modern Teacher's Editable Teacher Planner.  AHHH heaven.

More honesty... I am HORRIBLE at using planners.  I am HORRIBLE at making and using lists.  I'm pretty organized (which is shocking...) but, this school year, I'm really going to use planners to help me stay SUPER organized. 

Thinking:  Like most teachers during this time of year, I cannot get school off my brain.  I'm non-stop thinking anything and everything school.

Wanting:  Ice cream.  I could eat it  I always loved it, but just not as much as I do lately.  MMMMM.... ice cream.....

Needing:  I am EXHAUSTED today.  We started back yesterday for 2 weeks of PDs.  I've been with the same school for 10 years and I have attended some of the same PDs each and every year.  It's HORRIBLE.   Sitting for 5-6 hours (especially through something not-so-interesting) is tiring. It made me feeeeel for our poor students!  I am on a mission to make everything as exciting and AMPED up for my students as I can!

B2S RAK:  I really need to step up my RAK game this year.  I used to bring in cupcakes and do a little goodie bag for some holidays.  I think I just got too busy trying to do everything else. But, it sure feels good for someone to go out of their way to make you feel special, right?  

I'm going show my appreciation for my co-workers by writing more Shark Stars.  We have a shark that holds little thank you/affirmations that staff members can write to other staff members (for anything...just because or for a specific reason).  On Fridays, one note is pulled and the person who receives the "Shark Star" gets a prize.  So, I'll definitely do that more often to really let my peers know how much I appreciate them.  I'm also going to try to bring in more little treats - just because. :)

It's 7:30 pm..... is it too early for me to go to bed?? ;) 

Go link up with Farley!

Thursday, July 30, 2015

I Can Statement Posters - Giveaway!

I just made a brand new set of I Can Statements for my classroom!  So far I only have ELA standards done, but I'll be making a matching Math set soon.

The posters are 11 x 8.5 (landscape).  The standard number is in the bottom left corner.  Each standard is written in a "kid-friendly" I can statement. All of the posters have black & bright colors with an cute, colorful image to add some fun!

I'm giving a set away!  To enter, head to my facebook page and like the post, comment on the post, or tag a friend!  The giveaway ends August 1st at 1 pm!

Thanks for checking them out!

Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Assess Me!

I'm joining The Tattooed Teacher for a fun get to know me linky!  This is gonna be short and sweet! :)

1.  Yes, I talk to myself.... I have been non-stop talking to myself as I've been getting my classroom ready.  People probably think I'm crazy.
2.  Yes and no!
3.  Yes, I crack my knuckles... especially when I'm nervous.
4.  I am always hungry.  I can always eat.  I eat when I'm happy, sad, mad,, yes, I'm hungry.  :)
5. Yep!  My TV is on but I'm not really watching it.
6.  No, I don't have my wisdom teeth.  I had them all removed when I was younger.  I just remember crying when I woke up from the anesthesia... and drooling a huge puddle of blood on my Adidas coat on the way home.
7.  Yep, I'm clean!
8.  Yes, I've been to Disney World and Disneyland!
9.  Yes, I wear glasses.  I wear contacts most of the time, but change into glasses at night.
10.  Yep!  Born in Ohio and I still live in Ohio!

Thanks for reading! Go take the assessment and link up!  :)

Sunday, July 26, 2015

Sunday Scoop & B2S Sale!

I'm joining The Teaching Trio for their fun 3-2-1 Sunday Scoop linky!  :)

I feel like I am always cleaning!  But, today that bathroom needs a real good scrub.  That bathroom is the worst! I also HAVE to do some lesson planning.  I've been really into reading books by Ron Clark this summer and he has motivated me to bring some fun, memorable lessons into my year.  My goal is to do one out-of-this-world, outside of the box, crazy fun lesson every month.

Who doesn't love relaxing, right?  I also hope to set aside some time this evening to finish up paining my sucker flower pot.  I use it as a part of my behavior management system.  I'll blog all about that in the next couple of days!

I really just want to get my work done, sit back, and enjoy my last FREE Sunday.  I don't know about you, but I never really enjoy Sundays during the school year.  I'm usually too busy planning, laminating, cutting, and preparing for the week ahead.  I go back next Monday, so this is my last official Sunday with no Sunday blues!

Before you go link up with The Teaching Trio, check out my store and grab some things for 20% off! The sale will be going on today and tomorrow! :)  Click the pic below to head to my store!

Don't forget to join this fun weekly linky!

Monday, July 20, 2015

Making Reading Fun!

Hey everyone!  I finished up 4 weeks of summer school not too long ago.  I had a lot of fun because I really stepped up my teaching game.  I wanted to make it as fun as I could for the students.  They just finished a long year in Kindergarten and still needed to do lots of learning.  So, instead of the same old things we do during the school year, I made things super hands-on, fun, engaging, and exciting!

Below I talk about some of the activities we did to work on letters, sight words, reading in general, and writing.  I hope you can take some of these ideas and use them with your summer school students or even with your students during the school year!

First, get organized!  Pre-assess your kiddos so you know exactly what kind of lessons (or remediation) they need.   I keep everything I need for RTI/one-on-one Reading remediation (flashcards, books, assessment data, etc).  That way, their time with me is all focused on learning

It is always more fun when you're most boring of things (i.e: flashcards) go along with your theme. Make a theme for the week or the month!  It'll excite the students and make those boring things more fun!

Let's be honest......flashcards can be boring.  BUT, repetition is a must (especially for your lowbies!) I fancied my flashcards up by adding fun little themed clip art.  Each week, I introduce new themed flashcards.

Have your students practice their words/letters DAILY!  But, make it fun!  Have them trace words/letters in sand (see pic below)!

Gotta' keep it FUN, right? What is more fun than playing with food?  Each day, I have one of my activities include food.  On this day, we used letter cookies to help identify letter names.  Let me tell ya, they work harder when food is involved!

During sports week, I used foam baseball stickers (found at my local craft store) and a baseball mitt (cut out of construction paper) to practice addition and number identification.  You could use the materials for reading/letter id too!  Just get the baseball foam stickers - write letters or words on them.  Call out the letter, sound, or word and have students find the correct sticker.  When my students were done collecting all of the baseballs, they peeled off the back of the sticker and stuck them on their mitts!

Simple can be fun, too!  I took a long piece of bulletin board paper, wrote letters on it, and attached it to the wall.  I called out letters or sounds and my students slapped them with their "magic wands" (fly swatters). 

We busted out the Lakeshore Learning Easy-Grip Sponge Painters for some hands-on letter practice.  I let them pick any letter and stamp away!  While they were stamping, I was asking them questions like "what letter is that?", "what sound does it make?", and "what word starts with that letter?".  They were playing AND learning. :)  
When my students walk in and out of the room, they slap the hands.  I have hands with sight words and hands with letters.  It seems like a TON of words...but, this is what the board looks like after 3 weeks.  I introduced/reviewed 2 pre-primer words each day.  

We also practice our sight words with my Sight Word Sentences.  It is a page of sentences that all start with the same 2-4 words (Dolch pre-primer sight words).  The repetition is AMAZING for struggling students.  By the last sentence, they've started to remember the word and are reading the sentences.  *This picture shows one of my incoming first graders helping an incoming Kindergartner. So sweet!

My students always have a writing activity.  Yes! Writing and reading go hand-in-hand!!!  Although I help my students spell the words, they come up with the answers AND must read back their sentences to me.  Sure, we took some time to paint fish and make baseballs.  But the activity also involved writing and reading!

Students wrote rhyming words on baseballs, cut them out, and glued them on their mitts.

The students made a baseball with red paint (for the stitching) and then wrote if they liked baseball or not.

So, the key to helping your students with reading in the summer months (and all year long) is TO MAKE IT FUN - get organized, use themes, be repetitive, use food, make lessons hands-on, and have your students use writing to help their reading!

Saturday, July 11, 2015

One Day Only! Freebie!

Hey!  This is going to be short and sweet!  I have been on social media like CRAZY lately and I'm so grateful for the followers I've gained!

I joined Periscope!  I LOVE watching the videos that have been posted so far!  I'm a little nervous to video myself still...but hopefully I'll be brave enough someday! Find me! @MrsDsFirsties

AND......... I finally joined Twitter!  I'm still getting the hang of it.  I'm clicking the little star like crazy and finding so many other teachers to stalk follow!  @mrsdsfirsties

I am offering a One Day Only Freebie today to say thank you to all of the wonderful people that I've been connecting with lately!  Click the pic to grab yourself a copy! 

There are 40 pre-primer sight word flashcards and 10 sight word sentence pages!  These flashcards and sentence pages are perfect for RTI, small Reading Groups, center work, or can even be sent home for extra practice! 

Thanks for stopping by!  Enjoy your weekend!

Tuesday, July 7, 2015


I, sadly, am not in Vegas right now.  I can't stop myself from looking on Instagram and seeing all the fun everyone is having.  Not only that, I feel like I am missing out on an AMAZING learning opportunity.

I told myself NO LOOKING AT INSTAGRAM.  I didn't want to see all the fun going on....but, I have a serious case of FOMO.  I feel like, by just looking at the pics, I'm able to be part of the fun.  :)  I'm a weirdo.  It all makes me want to be in Vegas!!!!

......maybe next year!

Today I did some serious back-to-school shopping.  I'm not one of the usual teachers who hate seeing back-to-school things come out.  It makes me excited!  I mayyyyyy have gone a little overboard shopping today though. :)

I like to buy certain supplies for my students for the beginning of the year.  You might call it OCD or neurotic, but I like everything to be uniform and match. :)  I always buy them one notebook (this year I'll use them for Reading), a box of crayons, and a green go-home folder.  I usually buy tons of other supplies for my students who come without anything.

I'm pretty sure I became a teacher for the school supplies (just kidding!)....but, I love getting new supplies at the beginning of the year.  I bought myself some new crates, new notebooks, new binders (I use them or sight word assessment data, fluency data, and grades), and a new STOOL.  I am SO excited for that stool.   I also LOVE new markers.  So, I got about 10 boxes of those.  HAHA!

On to some other news.....

Tobey and I have been going to the park just about every day.  He loves it.  It's his happy place. :)

I found out that I'm going to be an auntie to a little baby BOY in November!  I couldn't be happier for my sister and her husband.  I can't wait to hold, hug, love, kiss, snuggle, and spoil that little guy!

I made myself an intense list of books I'd like to read this summer.  I'd say I'm a fairly quick reader....but, my list of about 20 books might be pushing it.   I'm going to really make sure I get in my top summer reads though.  I ordered Move Your Bus by Ron Clark.  While I'm waiting for it to get shipped, I picked up The End of Molasses Classes and The Essential 55.  I'm only about 50 pages into The End of Molasses Classes and I cannot put it down.  It makes me want to be a better teacher.  I wish all teachers would read the book and follow through with what Ron Clark suggests in the book.   It is definitely a worthwhile read!

Oh, and visiting RCA is now officially on my bucket list!!

Time for more reading!  I hope you are enjoying your summer so far!

Wednesday, July 1, 2015


It's been a while.... (I am totally singing the song).  But, for's been a long time since I've linked up with Farley for the ultimate of linky parties - CURRENTLY!

Let's get right to it, folks!

Listening:  I hate chirping birds.  It's like nails on a chalkboard to me.  But, the front door is open, so I'm dealing with the annoying chirps.  The sound of the cars going by drowns the chirps out a little bit. 

Loving:  Rain, rain, go away!  .....It finally went away today.  We've had daaaays of rain here in Northeast Ohio and I'm sick of it!  The sun came out for a little today.  It was nice to soak it  up while we have it!

Thinking:  I am not good at being home during the summer.  I have spent the last 4 weeks teaching summer school, which has kept me pretty busy.  But, tomorrow is the last day.  I'll have LOTS of time shop. That's what I do when I'm not working...... it's dangerous!  I need a hobby (other than shopping, haha!)!!!

Wanting:  I'm SO jealous of everyone getting ready to go to Vegas for the conference.  So, so, so jealous.  Maybe next year? 

Needing:  I need to get away.  It is summer VACATION, right???  I need a little change of scenery.  I should've thought about this months ago though.   :)  I'd love to be laying by the ocean with my toes in the sand.  :)  Again....maybe next year? 

All STAR:  I'm really good at figuring stuff out on my own....computers, other technology, work related things, anything really.  I hate, hate, hate asking people for advice or help BUT I love when people ask me for advice or help.  I also love figuring out emotional problems.... (hard to explain)....but, when there is a problem/something is bothering me, I like to figure it out myself.  When someone has a problem, I immediately want to solve it! I'm a fixer and a problem solver by nature.  :) 

Okay, your turn! Go LINK UP! 

Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Week 3 - Make Your Masterpiece!

I just completed week 3 of the TPT Seller Challenge! You haven't joined?  Better late than never!  Check out the details with the lovely hostesses:

Sparkling in SecondPeppy Zesty Teacherista

Although I teach 1st grade, I feel like a lot of my products are geared towards Kindergarten and even sometimes Preschool.  That's because my students come in SUPER low.  :)  I start off with almost a Kindergarten boot camp (review, review, review!) that lasts the few weeks - just to make sure everyone is as close to the same place as possible.

I've noticed that SO many of my incoming first graders don't know the Dolch pre-primer words. (EEEEK!)  That got me thinking.... my next product has to be something I'm going to find really useful in my own classroom.  Then, VOILA!  I knew what I was going to do!  I created a fancier version of something I've been using with my summer school students! 

I call them "Sight Word Sentences".  Basically, they are sentences that contain repetitive sight words.  The first 2 to 4 words are sight words.  The last word in the sentence (the unknown, tricky, hard-to-sound-out) word is shown with a picture.  All of the 40 Dolch pre-primer sight words are used in one (or more) of these pages.  

So....why do the sentences all start with the EXACT same words? 
1.  Repetition = memorization!   Did you know that a "naive learner" needs to learn/see something 90 TIMES before it becomes part of their memory?!  That's c-r-a-z-y! 

2.  Repetition = confidence booster!  By the last sentence on the page, they are sure to have a grasp of the sight words.   They will feel so proud and confident when they are reading! 

I plan to use this as extra practice in RTI groups or in the beginning of the year with my lowest reading group.   

As for summer school, my students are LOVING these.  I am teaching some of the previous Kindergarteners who are soooooo low.  My little guy ("Rocket Ship"), who still doesn't know all of this letters, is doing so well with these!  I can tell that he feels proud of himself when he finishes a page. :)  

Thanks for checking it out!  If you are interested in getting yourself a copy, you can find it in my store!  {follow the link!}  Oh, this product is FREE for today only!  :) 

Make sure you join in the fun with this TPT Seller Challenge! :) 

Sunday, June 28, 2015

Weekend Warriors 3-2-1 Teacher Bio!

I'm linking up with the Weekend Warriors for a super fun linky!  Join so we can learn more about you!

Here we go!

1 -  Not only do a set high expectations, I'm VERY clear with my expectations.  They know what is expected of them at all times.  I set the bar high and they always push themselves to reach it!

2 - My FAVORITE students are always the "troublemakers" that the other teachers don't want.  I love getting to know them and figuring them out.  I'm super strict with behavior, expectations, rules, routines (all that fun stuff), so they usually end up having a fantastic year!

3 - I can't think with mess.  I love everything neat, orderly, and organized.  If my desk piles up (which happens sometimes...), I find it hard to concentrate and get other things done.  Oddly enough, my classroom closet usually ends up being a disaster zone by the end of the year.  Maybe I don't care as much because I can just shut the door and pretend it doesn't exist?  Who knows!

1 - Tobey is my world!  Like I talked about a few blog posts before, I was married and we struggled to have children.  So, for the past 6 years, Tobey has been my child.  A lot of people just can't understand that (especially if they have children).  But, wanting a child for so long (and not being able to have one) made me appreciate my little furbaby so much more! He's my furry angel!

2 -  I love being up early and getting everywhere early.  I like to get my grocery shopping done at 7 am (with the old guys who just run in for a newspaper).  If I go grocery shopping later, I have to deal with people, crowds, lines, carts in the middle of the aisle.  Drives me insane! ;) I am ALWAYS early.  If I'm just 10 minutes early, I fear that I'm late.  Is that weird?

I am reallllllly wanting a vacation.  I've seen so many people going on vacations and posting pictures on Facebook and Instagram.  I'm jealous.   At this point, I'll take any vacation.... but, I would LOVE to go on a long vacation.....somewhere tropical, sandy, and sunny!  Ahhhh....dreams! :)

Ok, now it's your turn!  Grab the pics below and link up!

Thursday, June 25, 2015

Time For a Name Change?

I think my blog is in SERIOUS need of some updating.

First, I'm not Mrs. D anymore!  (I got divorced 2 years ago.....).  I'm back to Ms. R. now  :) 

Secondly, I see so many CUUUUUUTE blog designs all over blogland and I WANT ONE.  I'm not opposed to spending the money....the only thing holding me back is the work it'll take to change it.

Talk about AMAZING designs though...... I'm OBSESSED with

Gabbys Classrooms

Mrs. D's Firsties is on EVERYTHING.  TPT, Instagram, Facebook, ALL of my products.  I don't have a huge following, so the name isn't very well-known.  But, switching my blog name means I have some serious changes to make on everything else. I'd have to change every product with my button or link.  It's kinda like getting married or divorced...changing your name on everything STINKS. 

So.... do I change the name?  Do I just stick with it?  What do I do?  Ahh.  Help me! 

Tuesday, June 23, 2015

TPT Seller Challenge - Dare to Dream!

I'm having a TON of fun with this TpT Seller Challenge!  Join these 4 awesome ladies!

Sparkling in SecondPeppy Zesty Teacherista

The book You Can You Will by Joel Osteen is perfect book to go along with this week's task! The book is about lots of things - but one chapter discusses visualizing your dreams and making them part of your everyday life.  For example, hanging up a baby outfit if you want children, hanging a picture of your dream house on a mirror, wearing the t-shirt to the college you're hoping to get into.   I loved that Joel Osteen says to DREAM BIG and TAKE THE LIMITS OFF.  

It's easy for me to hang up a baby outfit, put up a picture of my dream house, etc.  I really struggle with the visualization part.  I see restrictions and limitations.  I need to stop wondering about the what-ifs and stop thinking about why my dreams WON'T come true.... and start having complete faith in God.  :) I'm working on it! ;)

Anywho, thanks for sticking with me through are my BIG, TAKING-THE-LIMITS-OFF goals: 

Become a Mom
Time for some REAL talk. This has been a dream for mine for a LONG time.  When I was married, we were unsuccessful at conceiving for about 2 1/2 - 3 years. That brought on lots of problems, hurt, pain, and a feeling of failure  But, that was a few years ago and NOW  I'm in the best, healthiest, and most rewarding relationship ever.... and I'm not getting any younger....;)  Still no baby!  Through years and years of infertility, I've learned to not cry when someone announces they are pregnant and when "that time" comes month after month.  Through the ups and downs, my faith has gotten SO much stronger.  I know there is a plan for me and until then, I'm going to stop worrying, stressing, and wondering. :) (It's so hard!)  But, no matter when or how that happens...naturally, adoption, fertility treatments, I want to be a Mom!  I'm so thankful to TpT because, hopefully, my earnings can keep my options open!

Renovate My Soon-to-Be House
The past couple of years have been HUGE transition years for me.  Because of the divorce, I had to sell my house  I'm just about settled into my current house and I CANNOT wait to start renovating and updating!  I've been a saving machine lately.  I need to save a little more so I can afford to do everything I want to.  New flooring, completely new kitchen, maybe some new furniture, new trim/woodwork, new doors....ahh!  The list goes on.  But, my dream is to be able to afford to renovate/update this whole house! :)  That dream is in progress...!

Work From Home/Stay at Home
I would LOVE to be able to work from home, with or without kids!  My dog, Tobey, IS my only child right now and I'd want nothing more than to be able to stay at home all day with him.  :)  My perfect day consists of creating for TpT in a beautiful (renovated & decorated) office with occasional breaks to play with Tobey. Eventually, when my dream of becoming a Mom comes true, I'm hoping to stay at home (and not have to work!).  

You should all join this linky!  It felt so good to get my dreams out in the open and share them with whoever reads this. :)