Sunday, September 23, 2012

Sunday Blues and Nouns!

How is it Sunday already!?  The weekends have been flying by way too fast lately! Tomorrow I'm headed to a Community Schools Forum.  I'm on my school's Strategic Planning Committee.  This is my second year on the committee so I feel like I have a better grasp of the purpose of the committee and most of the info.  Our principal asked if some of the committee members could attend this Community Schools Forum and I jumped at the chance.  But now, part of me is thinking that I'd much rather be teaching my sweeties than sitting at a boring meeting. Oh well, I'll make the most of it and hopefully learn something new!

We're starting nouns in ELA.  Nouns are fun to teach but my kiddos seem to struggle with being able to identify nouns in sentences (especially once their brains are confused with verbs and adjectives!).  I'm really going to buckle down and do some cute activities so they get excited about good ol' nouns! I have 3 items on TpT that I'm planning on incorporating.  But, I want to make more!  In the meantime (since I am completely out of my creative juices...), I made this little, simple book to use when we're ending our unit.  Click the picture to grab a copy!

If you're interested in my items on TpT that go with nouns, just click the pictures!

Little Note: One person was having some of the pages of this item not showing up correctly.  If you purchase it and find you're having the same problem, please leave your email address so I can help  you out! :-)

Oh!  These 2 items are both 20% off until midnight tonight for the Happy Fall Y'all! sale!! :)

Thanks for stopping by!

Saturday, September 22, 2012

Happy Fall Y'all! Fall Sale!

Happy FIRST DAY OF FALL!  It sure felt like it here... chilly and rainy.  I love the chilly weather that Fall brings but I could've really done without the rain.  Fall is my absolute favorite season... so to celebrate, I'm linking up with Casey from Second Grade Math Maniac for the big 20% off sale!  There are over 50 other bloggers doing it, too.. so check it out!

Please don't forget to check out my TpT store.. maybe you can find something useful?! (just click on the picture!)

My husband and I celebrated our 4th wedding anniversary this past week. I guess you could say we're still celebrating because we went out to dinner again. We went to one of our FAVORITE restaurants... Lagerheads.  MMM.  If you like barbecue, you would love this place!  We basically rolled out of our seats because we ate so much.  Here's a picture of my husband's dinner.  It's called The Boss Hog.   It's one pound of pulled pork on a bun.  Holy moly!  It was as big as his head, no joke.

Have a great, relaxing weekend!  Thanks for stopping by!

Monday, September 17, 2012

Blog Makeover! It's SO pretty!!

Oh my!  I am LOVING my new design from Dreamlike Magic!!!  It just makes me so happy... and makes me feel pretty official! ;)  

I don't have much else to say....  hmm? Oh!  We learned all about living and non-living things.  I found some super cute {free!} activities from Sarah over at Sarah's First Grade Snippets.  They are all ready to go for later in the week!  You should definitely check them out!

We also learned a little about the Constitution and why we have a Constitution Day... and the kids really seemed bored.  I have to find something a little more fun and exciting for next year! 

Well, that's all folks!  Have a wonderful Monday night!

Sunday, September 16, 2012

A-Z Mysteries and Seeds!

You know that super smarty I wrote about in yesterday's post?  I went to three libraries trying to get some good chapter books for him.  I decided on the A-Z Mysteries series by Ron Roy.  Of course, the library nearest to me didn't have the "A" book... so I searched and searched until I found it.  I wanted to get the first couple of books early so I could make some comprehension questions and activities to go along with the chapters.  As I was reading the books to get some ideas together, I just kept thinking that these books are probably too easy for him.  But, we'll try them!

I also think it's really important that he understands all those big words I'm having him read.  So, I made up a set of word cards with matching definition cards for him to sort.  I'll have the tricky words be his sight words for the week so he has something a little more challenging to work with.  :)  I even might make those tricky words his spelling words.  He will also be getting his own journal prompts that go along with the books.  Wowzas!  I think I have his Reading lessons figured out!  Yippeeee!

If you want to check out the 99 pages of awesomeness that I made him, I added it to my TpT store.  :)

On a different note, we're learning about plants in Science.  I'm SO excited because I can add in some cutesy pumpkin books and activities with the unit!  I also saw that you can put soil in a cut open pumpkin and the pumpkin will start growing!  I originally saw it on Pinterest and it led me back to this blog.   You don't have to scoop anything out... just cut that little baby open, dump some soil in, and water.  Voila!  Plants! She did mention that you use a little pumpkin pie pumpkin.  I'm definitely going to try it with my kiddos!  Maybe we can do a little experiment and see if it will work with a big pumpkin too.  Why not, right? :)

I found some super cute "seed" books at the library.  If anyone is doing a Living Things/Plant/Seed unit... these would be helpful!

This book gives a lot of information about living things - plants, animals, where they live, and how they grow and change.
 I'm trying REALLY hard to read non-fiction books more often this year.  The students have to do so much with them with the new CCSS... so, even though I prefer cute rhymes and pretty pictures, I'll read informational text.  This book tells about how a seed turns into a plant.  VERY informational!

This book is about two friends who plant seeds in their community garden, give them what they need, and watch them grow!  It's very informative but also has the cute pictures that I love! 

Here are my cute rhymes and pretty pictures!  This book might have a tad bit too much information for a first grader... but, it goes over the basics, too!  Sometimes I worry about "overwhelming" their brains with too much info.  But, who doesn't love Dr. Seuss?!

This last one is about how seeds travel to different places.  I know for sure that our Science book has a lesson on this.  I got the book hoping that I could make the lesson more fun.  For some reason, my kids always walk away from the lesson only knowing that dogs can move seeds to new places.  :)

Time to figure out exactly what I'm teaching the other 19 students I have! Thanks for stopping by!

Saturday, September 15, 2012

Gifted Accommodations.. Say What?

I don't know if I've every really shared with you the loveliness of the school I work at.  Anyway... it's not uncommon for our kiddos to come to school without breakfast (we have a free breakfast/lunch program that I'd say 95% of the students qualify for and receive).  They sometimes come in the same uniform clothes from the day before.  And, at the beginning of the year, I'm lucky if half of my students bring in all of their supplies from the supply list.  It's not the best area.  There are many, many families that struggle.  It's definitely normal that my firsties come in at a preschool or Kindergarten level.  I'm used to working with those students because that seems like my norm.  But...... this year I have a SMARTY PANTS in my class.  I just don't know what to do with the guy! 

This student read all of the Dolch sight word lists... pre-primer, primer, first, second, and third.  NO mistakes.  I got a list of 4th grade words of the internet, thinking to myself "ahhh, this will be challenging for him!"... but, finding out that he could read right through those words.  The ONLY mistakes he made was emphasizing the wrong syllable of the word.  I'm talkin' words like: experience, molecule, although, experiment, Europe, necessary.  I mean, COME ON!  He also BREEZED right through the 2nd grade  Math diagnostic.  In fact, he did better than all of our 2nd graders.  He could spell all of the 2nd grade "challenge" words I gave him, too. I'm stuck.  Completely stuck.  

After speaking with the principal, I was told that I had to provide him with gifted accommodations in the classroom.   I was trying to get him moved up a grade or two for big subjects like Reading and Math.... but, I can't.   To be honest, it made me kind of mad.  I feel like we are doing a disservice to this student.  We do anything and everything for our struggling learners... why can't we do more for him?  We're a charter school... so we don't really follow the same rules as public schools, but I still think there should be some kind of resource for him.  

Now, it's up to ME to push his brain so he doesn't get bored.  Basically, I have to create his own curriculum.  He'll get his own set of sight words, his own spelling list, his own Math activities, and his own Reading activities.  And, I'm supposed to be teaching him these things while I'm trying to teach my other students (who are all pretty much at a Kindergarten level).   Can you sense my frustration?! 

I've been working on making activities for the A-Z Mysteries series books.  I feel like these books have some challenging words for him but he can still read them independently.   Hopefully that's enough for him.  I'm so fearful that I won't push him hard enough.  I feel like if he comes to me at a 4th grade Reading level, he should leave me at a 5th/6th grade level.  So, I definitely have my work cut out for me! 

I'm so sorry to rant and ramble... I just had to get that off my chest!  Has anyone else ever been in a similar situation?  

Thanks for stopping by (and listening to my complaints)!

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Tell Me Something Good!

We do "Tell me something good" at the beginning of our Tuesday staff meetings.  And, it never fails.. that stinkin' song is stuck in my head for the rest of the day!  The link is to the Glee version.  I looked the song up on YouTube and saw some pretty interesting videos of Chaka Khan though... :)

Anywho... I'm linking up with Jennifer from Rowdy in 1st Grade to tell you some good stuff!

My Something Good from school:
I am in L.O.V.E with my class this year (as I've probably already mentioned a ton). They are really responding well to Whole Brain Teaching.  The gestures that we used when we were learning about "good sentences" have stuck in their brains and they are ALL remembering to begin sentences with uppercase letters and end them with punctuation! Woo hoo!! Also.. they are the kindest little kiddos that I've ever had.   They are so sweet to each other and it just warms my heart every time I hear a little "please", "thank you", or "I'm sorry".  They have made me remember why I went into teaching and the little sweeties brought back my passion for teaching. 

My Something Good from home: 
My sister was diagnosed with a cancer a little over 6 months ago (obviously that's not the good thing... keep reading!!).  She had a lump in her chest that over a year ago the doctor said she shouldn't worry about.  After she lost some weight, the lump was still there.  She went back to the doctor and had tons of tests, biopsies, and doctors appointments.  They didn't know what it was at first.  Months later, they said it's a rare low-grade sarcoma.  There was talk of radiation, chemo, and/or surgery.  The doctors decided to try to remove it first.  Over the summer, she had surgery.  They removed the whole tumor, some lymph nodes, 2 ribs, and a piece of her clavicle.  The surgeon said she should still have chemo but her oncologist said she doesn't need it.  So, she went to Boston for a second opinion.  She recently found out that she doesn't need radiation or chemo!!  :-)  She has to have CAT scans every 4-6 months for 5 years.  I'm still weary to say that she is "cancer-free" but, I'm happy that she got some good news! 

Oh... and my husband and I will be celebrating our wedding anniversary next week!  It's been 4 amazing years and I love him more and more each day!

Thanks for stopping by!

Monday, September 3, 2012

Currently September

I'm linking up (for the first time) with Farley at Oh' Boy Fourth Grade!  I'm super excited to do my FIRST Currently!  Yay!


Now to go comment on the others!  I hope everyone enjoys their Labor Day! 

Thanks for stopping by! 

Sunday, September 2, 2012

I Won!

OMG!  I won my very first-ever blog giveaway!  Woo hoo!!!

Deb at Fabulously First had a powerful post about the stresses and demands of teaching and how two books allowed her to get an "attitude adjustment". The books: Awakened: Change Your Mindset to Transform Your Teaching and The Awakened Devotional Study Guide for Christian Educators are written by Angela Watson.  Check out Deb's post here! And, don't forget to check out Angela Watson's books here.  Although I haven't the booksr, I'm super excited to receive mine so I can dive right into it!  Yay!

On a different note, I haven't posted in a while.  I've been trying to come up with SOMETHING worthwhile to post about... and, I still can't figure anything out.  I wanted to put pictures of my classroom up but I don't have any.  Things are still a little crazy at school and I just never think to snap a few pictures.

I now have 21 students (ahhhh... SO much better than the usual 30!) and they are the SWEETEST little kiddos I've ever had.  It is going to be such a great year!

Has anyone ever tried Whole Brain Teaching?  I started researching it and using it a little bit in the classroom and the kids LOVE it.  Sometimes, I feel a little silly doing the gestures and being really sing-songy but, since the students have responded positively, I'll keep doing it!  So far, we've used Class-Yes, Hands and Eyes, Teach-OK, the Scoreboard (smilies/frownies), and Mirror.  I'm going to introduce the Guff Counter next week.  I don't have a lot of talking back or "guff" in the classroom (yet) but I still think the kids will really enjoy it.

Here is a video that shows you the basics in action.  The guy (Chris Biffle) is super entertaining!

Are you using Whole Brain Teaching?

Thanks for stopping by!