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 that....here 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. :)  

Thursday, June 18, 2015

Summer School Fun!

I offered to teach summer school.... I'm crazy.  I would love to be enjoying my work-free, worry-free summer... but nope.  I'm raking in the dough though! ;)  4 students, 4 hours a day, 4 days a week, for 4 weeks (that's a lot of 4's)!  

I have one incoming Kindergartner and 3 students that already completed Kindergarten last year (but are realllly low).  We're having tons of fun learning our letters, letter sounds, and sight words.  It's kind of monotonous but I'm trying to make everything as fun as possible. 

Check out some of the fun things we've done so far! :) 

We always spend LOTS of time reviewing the pre-primer Dolch sight words.  The poor babies, coming into 1st grade, realllly struggle with the most basic words.  But, we're getting there!  We used colored sand to trace our words and letters during our beach themed week. 

We read Rainbow Fish and used watercolors to paint our own fish.  Then, we completed sentences describing our fish.

My one poor guy who I'll call "Rocket Ship" (he loves to make noises like a rocket ship and talk like Batman...haha), is having the hardest time remember the names of letters.  I used these Newman's Own Alphabet cookies for a little fun.  4 letters that "Rocket Ship" CANNOT get: f, t, j, k..  8 more days with me and he WILL learn them. ;)

What baffles me the most?  He has memorized ALL of the sounds!

We also used the Lakeshore Easy-Grip Sponge Painters to practice our letters and sounds.  While they were picking and stamping letters, I was asking what letter they were using and the sound it made.  It made boring letter practice a little more fun. :)

MELT MY HEART.  This picture is of one of the incoming 1st graders helping an incoming Kindergartner read.  She took charge, pointed to all of the words, and helped when the little cutie got stuck.  LOVE, LOVE, LOVE.  

Although I'm giving up some of my summer, I'm so happy to be helping these kids.  They really need the extra boost to get them ready for the next school year. :)  

Next week's theme is CAMPING.  I have lots of planning to do, but I've already started pinning some awesome ideas!  Check out my Pinterest boards for some great letter/sound/sight word/themed activities!

Tuesday, June 16, 2015

TPT Sellers Challenge - Makeover Madness!

I am SO excited for this TpT Seller Challenge hosted by these 4 lovely ladies:

Sparkling in SecondPeppy Zesty Teacherista

But, I'm so embarrassed!  Here's why..

1.  I haven't blogged since March 8th. 
2.  The product I picked to makeover was A MESS.

I chose to makeover one of my top 10 products - Nouns Are Everywhere.  :)  This little thing needed some serious work.

Let's start with the cover....

Seriously?  I used clip art that wasn't even in the product.  Also, I love a good frame here and there but, come on.  All that blue space is driving me nuts.  My NEW and IMPROVED cover has clip art that actually goes with the product.  Much better (and bigger) font, less blue space, and (in my opinion) MUCH prettier!

Now....onto the MESS of the product.

I hate, hate, hate wasting paper when I'm printing and laminating.   I like to have one, swift cut to cut cards apart. Less white space!

The original product had so much wasted space.  The cards had teeny tiny little pictures and words on them.  It was a mess.

I neatened it up, added better clip art, made the words and pictures bigger on the cards, and got rid of that crazy white space everywhere.

I also prettied up the printables that are included in the product, too!

Overall, I'd say that this was COMPLETELY worth the time.  It's amazing how, over time, your view of a good product changes.  A couple years ago, I thought the original product was AMAZING. ;)

What are you waiting for?!  Join the fun!