Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Surprise Sale!

Did you know? There's a "Surprise Sale" going on over at Teacher's Notebook today through April 18th! Do you have items on your wishlist that you'd like to save 10% on? I need some clip art for the Fairy Tale unit I'm trying to create for my class. Any suggestions?

You can still enter the Spring Has Sprung giveaway too. Just click HERE. You can win products from a variety of bloggers.

My husband and I are off to visit friends for the day. It's been so nice to be back on my blog after all this time. Thanks for still stopping by!

Have a wonderful day!

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Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Spring Has Sprung Giveaway!

Yippee, I'm on Spring Break! I already love not having the alarm set for 5:45. This spring like weather is quite nice too. It's sunny and very comfortable outside. I definitely have some school planning and prepping to do this week, but today's goal is to get my plants in pots and containers. Over the weekend some nearby professional nurseries had a huge sale and there was a local nursery having their annual sale too. So I spent more than I probably should have, but it will be nice to get some color back outside.

To celebrate Spring a little bit more, there's a fantastic giveaway going on over at Beth Ann's blog

Taming My Flock of Firsties

A few other bloggers and myself teamed up to be part of her Spring Has Sprung & Earth Day Giveaway. You can win terrific items from all of our stores!
Shifting Teacher K-2

Good luck! And have fun exploring these blogs if you haven't visited them before!
a Rafflecopter giveaway

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Sunday, April 6, 2014

Favorite Apps linky party!

Ah... a Sunday with nothing much planned... this girl is lovin' it! My husband recently took his real estate exam after looking for work for a year. He's off this afternoon to his first Open House. So he's super busy this morning. Me, not so much. I've got my plans to work on but those can wait until later. 
(I've actually finished writing this post, then had the idea for this linky party. Feel free to join in by leaving a comment below about your favorite apps or link-up a new or prior blog post about your favorite apps. I'd love to know what you've discovered too!)

About a month or so ago an ipad was anonymously donated to my classroom. It was given to my principal at the school board meeting and she surprised me with it the next day. I was so excited! I took a class picture and made that the background screen on the ipad. The kids love it! Since there's only one ipad and I have 17 students, I made a list of names and decided that each student gets to use the ipad for a day and we'll just keep cycling through the list. I've found some vocabulary apps that are terrific! But I'm looking for other great apps for my kiddos to use

About 9 of my kiddos are second-language learners so I sought out vocabulary apps and found some I love that the kids really enjoy too.  They're called "Vocabulary Builder" and there are 10 of them that increase in difficulty. Here's Vocabulary Builder 1

The kids drag the word over to fill in the diagram. The best part-- you don't have to be a reader to play! Kids just have to touch the word to hear it. I love this feature!
When the kids are done, they touch OK and the game takes away wrong answers and leaves the correct one.
After the diagram is finished correctly, they get a new diagram to fill in. They just have to click on "home" to go back and choose a different game.

Here are some screen shots from Vocabulary Builder 2

Another one of the best things about these apps is that they are FREE! I also love that they are a no-pressure way to learn vocabulary. I would say that Vocab Builders 1-5 are the most appropriate for first grade or kindergarten.

I also found this math app called Number Flash. The objective is to be able to tell how many objects are on the ten frame or frames without counting. I'll definitely use this at the beginning of next year. But right now I have a student who still isn't always counting accurately. He is in resource for a while every day and has made astronomical improvement in reading! He started the year knowing about half his letter sounds and not being able to orally blend a word at all. He is now a very fluent reader and loves books! I can see that his math might be starting to come along now. This app was very motivating yesterday. He was counting wrong and after getting about 4 in a row wrong, he was getting upset. I just watched. On his own he slowed down and became more accurate. Every time he got one right he'd raise his hands in the air and say "Yes!" It was so cute! I'm definitely giving him extra time on the ipad! Here's what the game looks like.

Kids see this
 Then choose the correct number.
 If they're right they see this
If they're wrong they see this

It's been so much fun being able to give my students this additional tool to help them.  A few of my students have never used an ipad before so it's nice to give them this opportunity with technology too.

Do you know of any other great apps for kids to use? Please join the party!

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Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Shop Till You Drop!

Anyone else having a particularly busy week? We had our annual Patriotic Program for first grade today. Parents came to hear the kiddos sing Yankee Doodle, Star Spangled Banner, and This Land is Your Land. We were supposed to walk to the nearby rehabilitation center to perform for the residents, but it started to rain just as we got out to the sidewalk. Go figure! California's in a terrible drought, it's hardly rained in a year, and it rains today! Oh well. We stayed at school and make and wrote about bald eagles instead. Because of all our practicing recently we've been VERY out of our routine. One of the boys today said, "When are we going to do Daily 5 again?" 
Me: Tomorrow sweetie, I promise. Your teacher misses routine as much as you do.

So, after dance class #2 (we get 3 one hour sessions total) tomorrow morning we'll get back to normal. Dance class should have been Tuesday, but we had singing practice so I switched with someone else. I didn't think I'd crave our regular routine this much, but Daily 5 and math groups here we come!

I'll come home tomorrow and see what I can purchase off my TPT wish list. Be sure to take advantage of the big sale to shrink your wish list. Have fun shopping!

Thanks to
for the sale image.

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Sunday, February 23, 2014

Sunday Wrap-Up

Well, it's Sunday night. Laundry is in the dryer so I have something to wear tomorrow, lunch is in the fridge. And I'm trying to deny that I have to go to work tomorrow. I love my class, it's just that my bed is comfy and it's cold outside... you understand.

A friend and I spent a couple of hours today working on a district project. We both signed up to be on these new "think tanks" our district is trying out. We're tasked with putting together a curriculum map for the first grade common core standards. We're almost done with ELA and will share it with some other teachers at a meeting Thursday to see what they may want to switch around. Hopefully it helps other teachers feel more comfortable jumping into the CCSS.

This evening I wanted to play around on my computer, so I made these thank you cards with some ice cream clip art from Ruby Slippers. I'm going to leave for my aide tomorrow. She's so wonderful and is working with my highest readers on a book study project right now. Just click on the pic to grab them for yourself.

This week's going to be busy. Wednesday is our first grade Patriotic Program for parents and we'll walk to the nearby Rehab Center to perform for their residents as long as it doesn't rain. Tuesday night I'm meeting some of the first graders and their parents at the school board meeting to perform their songs. With that and the Thursday meeting, this week will probably go by fast!

I've got to go get more laundry going. Sunday night rituals... 

Have a great week!

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Sunday, February 16, 2014

It's Garden Class Time! (freebie too)

It seems like I should have some witty way to say why I haven't posted on my blog in a while, but one isn't coming to me. It's just been a very busy month. I agreed this year to be the Student Council advisor at my school. The 4th, 5th, and 6th grade students on SC are so wonderful! It's been fun to work with older kids. A few were even in my class in first grade. I also said that I would change the display cases in the two hallways. I was so tired of looking at the same thing for 6 months at a time or nothing at all. So I changed one to an Olympics display. First it was a countdown to the Olympics, now I'm posting photos from the newspaper. In addition I'm on 2 district committees. One of them I'll get paid for but we're developing a first grade curriculum map of the CCSS so that's going to take some time. It's just been a busy time and I haven't been creating until recently (meaning last Thursday).
Once a week for February and March, my class gets to go to Garden Class for 20 minutes. We have a fabulous parent who plans activities for kids to explore, cook, and harvest veggies from the garden. She's fantastic! She even brought in tree stumps and had upper grade kids paint the tops of them so they could be used as stools for the kids to sit on while she's teaching. I don't have a picture of those, unfortunately, but here a couple pictures I snapped on our first visit.
So I decided that after each visit I'd have the kids write something about what they learned. After the first 2 classes I just handed them an index card to write it on. Last week I thought a garden class journal might be nice that way they could draw a picture as well and have a keepsake when our classes end. Here's what they look like:

During the 2nd garden class they kids got to explore dirt from the worm bin and search for earthworms. Our garden teacher/parent had one child stand still while another moved away from him. The kids were supposed to stay STOP when they thought the student had gone length of the longest earthworm. It turns out that the longest earthworm ever found was over 20 feet long. Can you imagine? Yucky! I thought more kids would write that they learned that, but this was the only one.
Here's another one:

Love that the person is even holding a magnifying class!

If you'd like any of these garden freebies, just click on the picture below (one click gets you everything). It's also on TN- just click here.  Feel free to pin it too!
cute polka dot background from Ruby Slippers
Does your school have a school garden?

I'll leave you with a picture of Selena who can find fun in the ordinary things.

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Wednesday, January 15, 2014

100 Acts of Kindness

Happy Wednesday! We're over halfway to Friday! This was my first week back at school and it's fun to be back with this class. Monday morning the first boy who came in the room Before I tell this story you need to know that I have a boy in my class (let's call him El) who is funny, outgoing, and very dramatic! I have another student (let's call him Eq) who is also very expressive. So, Monday morning El was the first one in the room. He walked in and proclaimed (the best word I can think of to describe it), "I'm so glad to be back here! I missed this room!" The other boy, Eq, came in a minute later, threw himself across the table and said, "I'm so glad to be in here!" What a way to start the day!

I told both boys I was happy they like school so much. About 15 minutes later kids went to sit on the rug. El was the first one there. He laid down on his square on the rug and said, "I missed this rug!" My thought, "Oh brother! Really? You missed the rug?" I didn't say anything and the dramatics didn't continue, but... what a group this is. They have so much personality that they could give some away and still have plenty. I enjoyed my time off, but I missed how funny they are too. Hopefully you've had a good week or two back as well.

We're learning about Martin Luther King, Jr. this week. We will try the directed drawing from Mrs. Miner's Monkey Business tomorrow. Can't wait to see how they come out! 

On Tuesday I'll start the project Living the Dream: 100 Acts of Kindness that I found on The project challenges kids to complete 100 acts of kindness between Martin Luther King day and Valentine's day. I found this book to kick it all off. It's called Kindness is Cooler, Mrs. Ruler.
It's about a teacher whose students are acting up in class. She challenges them to go home and perform 5 acts of kindness for their families and to share them at show-and-tell the next day. After those students share, other members of the class want to perform acts of kindness too so Mrs. Ruler turns it into a class project. The book is fun and the illustrations are very cute. The jacket cover says the class is kindergarten, but the book never refers to the age of the class.

I'll send a letter home explaining to parents how the project works and then keep track of the students 100 acts of kindness on this poster.
There are 5 pages all together that I'll tape on my cabinet door just inside the classroom. I also made a first page that just says 100 Days of School and one that just has 100 in case you want the poster for another purpose. Just click on the picture to grab it. But please leave a comment if you do. It's nice to hear from you.
The complete project can be found here and the resources include a one-page chart you can use to record the acts on. I just wanted a cuter one that I could write on better.

Let me know if you try this with your class. I'd love to hear how it goes!

I also wanted to share a resource I won from Jessica over at Tales of a First Grade Teacher. I can't wait to use it with my class! I'll print it tonight. It's full of arctic activities that fit perfectly with what we're doing right now- place value, graphing, and fact families, a long i/short I picture sort that's super for my reading groups, and a cvcv game that's perfect for my highest readers. There are more activities you might enjoy too. Please stop by and visit Jessica's fabulous blog and store!
Thanks, Jessica!

What are your favorite Martin Luther King activities?

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