Tuesday, December 3, 2013

I'm ALIVE!!!

I know, pathetic... it's been FOR.EV.ER since I've blogged... created... or blogged.  Let me just say (as I have about 563 times already) this year has been one for the record books.  I'm exhausted.  I wanted to share something that is BRAND-SPANKIN' new in my store.. Oh & it is a FREEBIE for YOU! :)

 Just click on the picture and it should take you directly to my TPT store to download! :) If you follow me on instagram, you may have seen that our classroom elf arrived today!! :)  Ekk... I love the excitement of the kiddos!! The tree on the left is our Random Acts of Kindness Tree.  I used the above freebie, rolled them up, tied ribbon around, and used them as ornaments on our mini tree!

I thought while I was at it that I would join in on the fun over at Hope King's blog for Take Me Back Tuesday!
It is short & sweet, but it reminded me of my holiday centers that I need to grab out of the cabinet and get started with my kiddos!
****************************************Original Post 11/21/12***************************************************


This momma is exhausted!  I wish I could say my Thanksgiving break is off to a relaxing start, especially since it unexpectedly started a day early.... However, relaxing is not the word I would use to describe the break thus far.  Monday when I picked up baby B from her babysitters, she was being anything but herself.  She was refusing to eat, which is a HUGE sign that my baby is not okay, she would eat non-stop if I would let her. When I got home she still wouldn't eat and she began running a temperature.  I am blessed that writing sub plans for the next day would be SUPER easy since we were doing our Thanksgiving rotations.  One of my parents from last year that is a sub was able to sub for me, thankfully, she is a lifesaver to say the least!  Three days later, Little Miss is STILL sick, she just can't seem to kick this nasty virus!  Ugh!

I told myself that I was going to finish my holiday bundle with math and literacy centers before my Thanksgiving and Cyber Monday sale.... and I DID!

In the past I have never had problems doing anything Christmas related in my classroom, this year due to religious beliefs I have to be a little careful.  This unit is safe and will be worry free for me to put into my centers! Whew!  In addition to 3 math centers and 3 literacy centers, there are extension activities for the book The Mitten by Jan Brett and an Ugly Holiday Sweater Glyph!   After seeing KPM doodles fabulous clip art bundle for the ugly holiday sweater, I was determined to do something fun with them!


I also created a mini interactive book for communities.  It is always a struggle to find resources to teach Urban, Suburban, and Rural communities, so I dedicated one night last week to making this book to use as I begin teaching the different communities. 
These are all on sale, including everything else in my store through TUESDAY!! :)

 I hope you all have a marvelous holiday, eat too much, spend time with your loved ones, and even get a little Christmas shopping done!

Happy Thanksgiving, Y'all!


 I loved that I was able to use this bundle the last week before Christmas break bringing meaningful, but fun & festive activities to my kiddos!! Can't wait to get them back out this year.

Oh & since you know I can't help but to share a few recent pictures of my crazy - beautiful life!

 Oh yes, that handsome little man is my precious nephew! Yeeow! Is that sweet smile not the most precious thing EVER?!?!
 B is in LOVE with her "baby Twis"

 Oh look... we now have hair, lots of sweet curly locks! :)
 We went to Disney on Ice a few weeks ago, talk about a fun experience, even for adults!

 & lastly, a picture of B & I from Thanksgiving!

I hope you're all having a great week & if you haven't already, don't forget to go snag some goodies over at TPT and take advantage of the 28% off!

Saturday, November 2, 2013

November Currently

Can you believe it?!?! 2 posts one week?! Maybe I'm getting back into my groove, I would love that! :) I'm linking up with the fabulous Farley from Oh' Boy 4th Grade for her monthly currently! :)

Listening:  After making muffins for B this morning, we loaded up the dishwasher.

Loving: Fall... I kid you not I love all things fall, pumpkins, coffee, soups, snuggles, clothes, boots, etc, etc... but even more than that I LOVE the cool weather that has finally made its way to Texas.... at least for the next couple of days that is...

Thinking:  It seems as though it was just yesterday that we celebrated Christmas, rang in the new year, began enjoying the beautiful spring weather, hunted Easter eggs, celebrated summers arrival, B turned two, and started the year all over again.  I swear, year by year, time begins to fly faster and faster.  I'm going to need this life to slow down!

Wanting: I've slowly felt my creative juices flowing back in, but I'm lacking the energy that this school year has sucked out of me.  Anytime this energy wants to reappear, it will be happily welcomed!!

Needing: With the lack of energy, I'm always wanting more sleep.... because let's face it an average of 6 hours a night is just NOT enough!

Yummy pin:  I personally love all things cheese, bacon, ranch, & chicken... when I saw this I couldn't help but pin & can't wait to try!! :)

I will be back again soon! :)

Where oh, where has the year gone?!?  I feel like it was just yesterday that we celebrated Christmas, rang in the new year, enjoyed spring, hunted Easter eggs, celebrated summer, B turned 2, and then school started all over again.  I swear, year by year, the time only flies faster and faster!

Sunday, October 27, 2013

Pulse Check.

Wow.  It has been OVER a month since I've had the time & energy to blog.  There have been about 20 different occasions when I've wanted to, but to be honest, I just couldn't muster up enough energy to sit down and get one going.

Things have been going great good in my neck of the woods.  Friday we wrapped up our first 9 weeks, which means, the year is 1/4 of the way over.  Are you kidding me?!

I have seriously been treading water for the past month.... and by saying treading water, that is truly a stretch.  I finally took some time last weekend to spend some time with my best friend, Lindsey, and her husband.  B and I haven't seen them since JUNE!
 We had a blast all weekend, but I think B especially loved our trip to Sharkosa!  She got to see all kinds of animals, kangaroos, camels, zonkeys, zebras, zorses, lemurs, and monkies or eww- eees as B calls them!
Oh & did I mention that this little priss got "pretties" in her ears?!?! Yes, we got her ears pierced! :)  She is obsessed!

Needless to say we had a blast and it was nice to get away for a weekend!

Today, I wanted to share two things with you all.... One that I have been wanting to share for eh, a month now.... but just getting around to it...

I have several students who really struggle keeping organized, finding the right materials when we are transitioning, etc, etc..... After losing sleep over this and the amount of time we spent trying to find things... I came up with this...

Basically each magazine/book box houses one subject journal.  Each student has a specific type of ribbon attached to their journal or folder so they can quickly identify which one is theirs.  Let me just tell you, this has been a time & sanity saver!  When need it, they just quickly go grab it out of the correct box and then when we are done they put it back in place!  L.O.V.E.

This past week was PIRATE week.  If you know me well, you know that I love PIRATE week, this is the week we study R-Controlled Vowels.  Lets just say the kids L.O.V.E.D it! :)
 My kiddos arrived on Monday morning to our classroom door looking like this! :)
My team & I dressed up as pirates on Monday as well to kick off the week.  We started learning all about the R-Controlled vowels on Monday.  We kicked it off with the "ar" since after all it makes the sound of "argghhhh!" :)  We had a ship for each sound, learning about the rebelous pirates that say "errrr" and the confused pirates that say "orrrr."
Anytime I can bring fun into learning, let me tell you... I DO!  So with this week, my kids earned "Gold" coins and collected them as a table.  The winner each day got to turn over a card from the treasure map, which of course some how I managed not to snap a picture of.  I still have it up, so maybe I will snap one before I take it down tomorrow.  Kids earned their coins individually and as a whole table based on behavior, participation, following basic directions, etc.
You can check out my post from last year to see how I did it last year and for a few pirate freebies! :) 
Oh & of course to extend and show our learning, students made pirate ships.  I didn't manage to snap a picture of completed ships, but I will make sure to as I hang them in the hall this week.  Each sail had a different sound for "arr," "or," and "er." 
 & Seriously, I couldn't resist buying eye patches for the kids in the Halloween section to make them feel like true pirates as they were working! :)

 I thank you all for reading & being understanding of the single full time working mom & teacher craziness that has been going on.  If this week goes well, just maybe I will be back to share some more fun things this week!! :)  Fingers crossed.

Monday, September 16, 2013


After reading Llama Llama Hoppity-Hop about 28 times tonight with my toddler before bed (our all time favorite bedtime story... I could seriously recite it for you now)......
I realized I feel a lot like the title.  I feel as though all I have been doing lately is a bunch of Hoppity-Hops! However, after a talk with my beloved co-worker and friend, Sam, tonight I am feeling much more hopeful about this school year.  I feel as though our days are so rush, rush, rush that the sense of community and family that I have usually completely established by now, is not there..... and if I am being completely honest, that is NOT ok with me!

That was not the point of tonight's post though.  Enough with my whiny posts here lately!  I shared briefly in a post after school started about "new student" bags.  I didn't snag any pictures, but I have since managed to successful put them together and even remembered to snap a few shots!
I have everything I need to get through the day when a new student arrives so I will not be scrambling and scrounging to find everything.  Plus, I won't have to worry about stopping everything as I am scrambling and scrounging either!   
What's in the bag?
Take Home Folder (already labeled)
Writer's Notebook (complete with materials to get it started quickly)
Labels for folders and journals
Welcome Letter
Clip Chart Letter
Student Info Form
Transportation Form

It didn't take long to get these babies together and let me tell you, they save my life when that new baby comes to the door!  Not to mention it makes it look like I've got my stuff together, too! :)

I hope your week is off to a good start, I will leave you with this:
Katie King from Queen of the First Grade Jungle posted this quote on her Instagram tonight.  It really resonated with me, especially since it was a tough Monday.  Hope it inspires you! :)

Sunday, September 15, 2013

A Year of Many Changes

Every year brings change, some more than others.  This year at our school, to say that we've had a lot of changes would be a bit of an understatement.  Three weeks in, you would think I would be adjusted, but I'm still far from it.  We have added a school wide morning spiral time for English Language Arts and Math.  This is about 45 minutes if you include unpacking & morning announcements.  I love the idea, especially because it gives us an opportunity to drill some of the areas we didn't get to cover as well,  hit areas kids are still struggling on, and give an overall good review for ALL of our kids.  After that we have a 30 minute intervention time for our students reading below grade level.  In the past this has been something we do first thing when the kids arrive in the morning, however due to students being late we often times had the ones who needed it most missing out.  While we haven't yet started this time, I have started "training" all of my kids about what they are expected to do during this time if they are in the classroom (something else that is new).  Our goal is to have ALL kids reading & doing activities with their books during this 30 minute chunk of time.  Thus far, we have been using Reading A-Z and some of their comprehension & extending activities to go along with it.  So far so good, but it has been a lot of prep work, A LOT!

We have also started to lend ourselves (the entire school) to the guided math model.  If you haven't heard of it or are interested in learning more about, I suggest the book Guided Math in Action.
I started reading this book this summer and am really excited to get started with my small groups.  The hardest part for me is alloting enough time for my math block since so much of my day is already gone because of morning spiral and intervention time.   Basically, we will do a whole group lesson, small group or independent practice, and then move into math centers while I am pulling small groups to work with.  The small groups will vary when it comes to what I am working on each group with.  For my low babies, I will be working on basic number recognition and fluency.  For my higher ones we will be doing more problem solving.  With all of this though, they will be expected to share and talk about what they are thinking and how they got their answer/solution.  Getting students to explain their thinking is extremely difficult, hopefully through guided math students will feel more comfortable in explaining their thinking.

Is anyone else doing the guided math model in their classroom?  I would love to hear suggestions and how you make it all work! :) 

In addition to all this, I mentioned that I had some news to share in my last post.  You may or may not remember me saying that I had 24 babies in my class.  Yikes-e-wowa!  Since all of our classes were above the 22:1 ratio, we officially opened up a new section of 2nd grade.  This means that all 6 sections that we currently had, lost 1-4 kids to this new class.  Being that tomorrow starts week 4, it is a hard transition for teachers, students, but I think mostly for parents.  I have no doubt that gal we hired is going to be amazing!  She has reminded me of things I used to do and need to get back into the habit of!  I am excited for some fresh and new energy, especially since she is right next door to me & I will be mentoring her!  I am also kind of psyched about having a smaller class!   It is amazing the number of space that is added when 3 kids are moved!

Like I said, this is the year of many changes.  I'm crossing my fingers that things will settle down & start to smooth out SOON!  I am ready for some normalicy, again!  I really miss being able to create and with all of the things that have been going on, I haven't had the time or energy!  I have started an interactive book about maps & continents (2 different ones)... ehhh about 2 weeks ago!  I am excited to hopefully get them done this week so they are ready for me to use within the next 2 weeks! :)

Now that I'm done sharing that spiel, here is at my last week through anchor charts!  I loved when Lindsay from For the Love of First Grade shared hers this way, I had to do the same!  Especially since I never manage to have time or remember to take pictures during the day.  
 In writing, we began actually WRITING!!! We talked about how all stories need a beginning, middle, and end.  Day 1 I drew the pictures while telling my story, please don't judge my drawings, these were sitting sideways on the rocking chair, gotta get through the mini lesson quick drawings.  Day 2 I used my pictures to start writing my story, and day 3 I introduced the green editing crayon.  {Check out this post for more about editing crayons} When I wrote my story I purposely misspelled words, didn't capitalize, used incorrect verb tense, and missed punctuation.  I try to not reinvent the wheel for EVERY.SINGLE. lesson.  It works out great & the kids really seem to get it better!
Two weeks ago we began working on our STAMINA!  Initially our goal was 5 minutes, day 1-3 were tough, but on day 4 they rocked it with 10 minutes!  Some days are better than others, but I am super proud of how hard these kids have been working!  So last week I introduced buddy reading!

 They especially love using their questioning spinner they added to their reader's notebook that they use after reading their book to check each for understanding.  Of course, I didn't snap a picture of that, but it is from Deanna Jump's Interactive Reader's Notebook.  I strongly suggest this unit!
In social studies, we continued talking about being good citizens, specifically historical figures that were good citizens.  We studied Thurgood Marshall, Abigail Adams, and Sojourner Truth this week.  After we studied each person, students added interesting facts to their social studies notebook about each person. 

 This week, we have our parent orientation.  If you haven't checked out the Hey You! Parent Reminders from Teacher to the Core, you should!! I'm obsessed, I also love the Student Shout Outs she has available!!  I couldn't resist buying both! :)

I will leave you with this, advice I try to remind myself quite often, especially here lately!

Monday, September 9, 2013

Playing Catch-Up

Sometimes I feel like playing catch up is the story of my life!  Seriously, I had some plans ... on several days last week to blog ... and then life happened.  I applaud all of the bloggers out there that manage to get their posts in multiple times a week, while working full time, and tending to their family!  After getting up at 5ish (I use ish very lightly as it is usually more like 5:20-30 before I actually roll out of bed) ... getting ready, B ready, lunch packed, car packed, and on the road by about 6:25... Arriving at daycare by 6:50, school by 7:00... working the day away .. and trying to leave to pick B back up by no later than 5... Oh yeah and then to go home and cook dinner, clean, play with B, & continue to work. Bleh.... I know I'm totally preaching to the choir!

Now that I'm off of that rant, I plan to have a 2nd post to you this week by Friday, that's my goal!  I've also made a new goal to try not and pull out my computer until B goes to bed... something else that hinders my ability to blog as much!  I just have to soak up all the time I can now that summer is over.

Last week we began working on our STAMINA!! The golden word, we began building stamina for independent reading last week.  This week we will continue that, but also add working on stamina for buddy reading!
One of my biggest goals this year is to make my kiddos reader's notebook more interactive & useful!  We began by adding the definition of STAMINA in their notebook! I bought several packages of colored pens before school started and let my kids use them for their anchor charts, they LOVE this!
Of course before we began discussing and working on our stamina, we talked about choosing a good fit book! 
While I don't do full fledged Daily 5 in my classroom {click here to read why}, we do components of it & I used a great FREE resource by Lyndsey over at A Year of Many Firsts.  I also snagged her new unit about Character Traits recently!
With interactive reader's notebooks being a goal of mine, when I ran across a new Interactive Reader's Notebook unit from Deanna Jump, I literally JUMPed on it!  I actually just bought it last night and let's just say, I'm IN. LOVE!

 Last week in one of my FAVORITE subjects to teach, writing, we began filling our Writer's Notebook with our "seeds."  We made 2 lists last week, our "sunshine," things we like, and our "lightening," things we don't like.  Forgot to take a picture of mine, I will snag one this week, or well try to... for now here are a few examples from my kiddos as they were working on their lists!

I sure do love these sweet peas already! :)  I plan to update and share more of our writer's notebook ideas as time goes on, so be sure to check back soon for more ideas!

To end our week, my co-worker Sam & I took our Love-Bugs to good ole' Chuck-E-Cheese!  The girls had a BLAST! :)
I love watching these two play together, so sweet!  Plus chatting until my hearts content with my sweet friend, Sam, is just as wonderful!  Back before summer, I shared some cute things Sam was creating.  I finally convinced her to take the TPT plunge & she launched a shot this summer!  Forgive me because I've been meaning to share about it for a while & then always ended up side tracked! :)   You can check out her shop by {clicking here!}  She has some great freebies available too!

OHHH & One more HUGE thing before I go!! Just last week, I created my FIRST Donors Choose project (instead of blogging one night).

I am super excited about the possibility of having some of these balls for my kids.  I have some kids that would benefit HUGELY from this!!!!   Anything donated within the first 7 days, regardless of how small the donation will be doubled when the code INSPIRE is used!  I would greatly appreciate any support, no matter how small it is!  :)

That is about all I have for you tonight, but I think I promised a freebie last week?!?!  It's nothing too special, but if one person can use it, I'm doing you a favor, right?!?! ;)  We added this stamina graph to our Reader's Notebook so they can track our progress, too! You can get it by {clicking here} or on the picture below! :)

Here's to another great week & a lot of changes (will share soon)! :)