Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Full Moon Madness and Tagxedo Snowflakes!

Whew! I don't know about you, but I am beat! There is something about the full moon that just makes my kiddos bonkers! I am crossing my fingers that my good little class comes back tomorrow - I'm not up for another day of let's-act-like-we-have-never-heard-of-procedures-in-our-lives!


On the other hand, one of my little ones came back to school today after an extended absence. He has severe allergies and had scratched his scalp raw. His poor little head was covered with oozy, crusty skin and his hair had scabs stuck in it everywhere. He was very embarrassed so I raided our coat closet for a knit hat he could wear.  Everyone greeted him enthusiastically, glad to have him back, and no one commented on the hat even though school rules forbid it. Eventually the hat started to irritate him, maybe it was too warm. So he asked if he could take it off and I told him I didn't care - he could wear it or not, whatever he was comfortable with. Well, he took it off, and not one single kiddo reacted in a bad way. One little friend asked him if it hurt, and when he said it didn't, the class got back to work. They were just happy to see their friend and totally accepting of him. After that he only put the hat on if we were leaving the classroom. He knew he was safe from teasing in our room. I was really proud of my little ones for that :)

In other exciting news, my new little ELL friend who is normally very quiet, withdrawn and shy, came darting back into the room after being picked up this afternoon. He smiled and handed me a folded note and then took off again.  I unfolded it and saw, in his very best handwriting "I like my teacher." surrounded by hearts! Soooo sweet! He is one of those little darlings who was overlooked by previous teachers because he is never a problem - sits there and wills himself to be invisible so that no one notices that he is not a reader yet. Since he came to me I have tried to foster his self-esteem and provide him with small opportunities to be successful and its working!

I was once that quiet, shy kid myself, so I try to make sure to pay particular attention to them. It is very hard to remember them when you have 20 other attention seeking darlings, but I have found that focusing on the quiet ones for some one on one attention each day really helps them to come out of their shells - and that leads to bigger achievement gains!

In still other news, we have not yet begun decorating for the holidays - i am hoping to get to that tomorrow and Friday! I did find the prettiest paper in a donated box in the work room - it was at the bottom of the box and its cut into about 3 inch wide strips, but its the prettiest blue you can imagine. It made me think of snowflakes the second I saw it. Not sure how to make snow out of 3 inch strips, but you can bet I grabbed a whole pile of strips and took them back to my room. At the very least they'll be good for writing sight words or spelling words on!

I did make a new Tagxedo for the month:

The kids are always so excited to find their names :)

I can't wait for my Snowman unit - they have a snowflake shape and a snowman shape! I am already planning my bulletin board - I am sending home a letter asking families to describe their child in one-word adjectives. Then I'll make each one into a separate snowflake Tagxedo, cut it out and put it on the board! Here's an example I made up to see how it would work:


Alright, I am off to a hot bath while visions of snowy bulletin boards dance in my head - don't worry, I'll take plenty of pictures once its up!


Sunday, November 25, 2012

Giveaway Winners!

It's back to the grindstone tomorrow! I'm 1/2 sad that I can't stay home and play on my computer and 1/2 excited to see my kiddos again. I have one little guy who always gives me a hug and says "I really did miss you!" whenever there's even a weekend break, so I know he'll be excited to come back to school tomorrow! I think with a big cup of coffee I'll be able to step right back into the swing of things - AND I'm excited to decorate my classroom for Winter/Christmas tomorrow! Look for pictures of that fun soon!

I want to say a big thank you to all who entered the giveaway and congratulations to the two winners, Cheryl and Doreen! Ladies, your TPT gift cards should be in your inboxes! If you didn't win, don't be sad - there are a ton of great giveaways coming up in December - you won't want to miss them! Right now there's a great giveaway for a $10 Starbucks gift card and 4 great TPT packs (including one from me!) in honor of  Learning with Mrs. Leeby reaching 100 followers! Click the button below to go enter!



 (thanks to Ashley Hughes for the cute button - love her graphics!)

Just a reminder that there's a big TPT sale tomorrow - if you stalk a lot of blogs you've probably been inundated with sales info! Most stores are 20% off and TPT will give you an additional 10% off if you use the code CMT12 at check out! Also, if you haven't gone back and left feedback for your purchases, head back to TPT and do so! You'll earn TPT points that you can apply to purchases! I love being able to apply my points and get an item free!

I've added a few more things to my shopping cart, check them out:

How cute is this Snowman Math Matching Game from Elizabeth of Mrs. Hodge and Her Kindergarten Kids? I adore the graphics!

Speaking of cute graphics, have you seen the cuteness from Nancy of Joy of Kindergarten?


Look for these cuties in my future packs!

Alright, its time to get down to business and make some lesson plans - I wish I was the type to do them the first day of a break rather than wait until Sunday night lol!



Saturday, November 24, 2012

Gingerbread Fact Families Freebie!

I've got gingerbread on the brain it seems! Yesterday I started work on a Gingerbread Fact Family Activity for my math workstations. I really love how it turned out and I think my students will too! We are getting really good at addition and are now ready for subtraction, thus the intro of fact families! How cute are these fact family mats?!

 
I posted about them on my Facebook page and got some great feedback from some lovely followers - thank you! It pays to follow on Facebook as sometimes I have a flash giveaway or ask for a proofreader for a unit! Anyways, Kelly from "I'm Not You're Grandpa, I'm your Teacher" had the idea to add on a craftivity at the end. I decided to whip that together and offer it as a freebie :)


I printed out my craftivity and realized that my artistic daughter was giving our 2 beagles a bath. Oh well, this is for K-2nd, so why not grab my two youngest sons to help me color?  We are sadly lacking in the crayon/marker department so we went ahead and colored with colored pencils. Now, I have to say that my boys worked for quite some time on coloring, and they seemed very enthused by the project and my 6 year old is even pretty darn good at fact families (he's in the other 1st grade class across the hall and I didn't know if they had covered that yet). However, I cannot say that this is the cutest, most artsy result I have ever seen. If I had any glitter at home, that might have helped....

 I leave it to your imaginations what it might look like in your classroom with more supplies :P

There's still a few more hours to enter the giveaway for two $25 TPT gift cards, it ends at midnight! Click here to go to that post to enter!



Friday, November 23, 2012

Unstuff Your Wallet Linky!

I decided not to go out for Black Friday sales this year - after cooking and cleaning all day to have a special meal, there was no way I was going to rush out last night to stand in line for a deal. And, since I missed the Thursday deals, was it really worth it to rush out early this morning? I decided it wasn't so I slept in :)

Besides, its not like they have the important things like printer ink and lamination on sale, right? And, I really do need to save up for the Cyber Monday sale at TPT anyways - my wishlist is overflowing :)

Shuna over at A Pocket Full of Kinders is having a linky party about what you're planning on buying during the sale, and you know I can't resist a good linky, so here goes!



Here's what my cart and wishlist looks like:

Today I am going to be transferring a bunch of those products on my wishlist to my cart so I can check out first thing Cyber Monday!

First up - some seasonal products!
 I love this All About Polar Bears unit from my friend Kaci of Mrs. Hoffer's Spot. She has some fun centers and games that my lowest kiddos are going to love doing with their tutors!

This Snuggle Up mini literacy pack from Shuna is adorable! There are activities for practicing punctuation and for recognizing short vowel sounds in words!

Greg from Kindergarten Smorgasbord has a fun Holly Jolly Christmas unit with tons of great math activities!

And since I can't resist Gingerbread, I had to add this literacy pack from Tiffani of Time for Kindergarten to my list! These are great activities for my lowest firsties, we will add them to our small group and tutor sessions!


My lowest group is working on cvc words now, and this Build a Snowman pack from Faith of Kindergarten Faith will be perfect for that! They came into first without knowing their letter sounds, so I am thrilled that they are at cvc words!


I love to read aloud chapter books, and this  Henry & Mudge and the Snowman Plan unit from Tara Ward will make it a breeze to add some comprehension and sentence building acitvities into our read aloud time!

These I-Spy sight Words games from Marsha McGuire of A Differentiated Kindergarten are fabulous - I have her Ball Words Sight Words Bundles and the kids LOVE doing the I-Spy activities in them. I am grabbing these fun themed sets for extra sight word practice. At this rate I am going to need more magnifying glasses!


This Gingerbread Beginning Sounds Match-Up from Elizabeth of Mrs. Hodge and her Kindergarten Kids will be fun for my ELLs who are still struggling with some letter sounds.

Wow that's a lot already isn't it? I think I am going to end up spending all of the money that I saved by not going out Black Friday shopping lol! If you'd like a chance to win a $25 TPT gift card to help you out with your Cyber Monday purchases, don't forget to enter my giveaway here.

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Thankful Giveaway!



Good morning! Before I start getting to work on tidying up the house (for some reason I'm expected to do this on my day off, not just lounge around in my pjs...sigh) and preparing for the feast tomorrow, I wanted to take a moment to say thank you to all of my followers.

Blogging has been a blessing in my life - I love the interaction with other teachers and the reflecting that I do as I sit down to post. My husband doesn't have to hear hours of endless stories because I have a new outlet for them - you! I think blogging has helped keep me excited about teaching every day - and its made me a better teacher because I am more thoughtful of HOW I teach now, simply because I know I'm going to share it with my readers.

If you've bought something from me on TPT I'm doubly thankful for you. TPT is an awesome resource! Not only is it a place I can go to grab something for a lesson or unit, thus saving myself time and effort, but it has also become a place where I can share my own creations and get valuable feedback. As an Army wife and mother of 4, sometimes a teacher's salary and soldier's paycheck doesn't stretch quite far enough. My TPT income has been a blessing that way - it has provided my 4 children with back to school clothes and supplies and also allowed me to keep providing things for my classroom which our school doesn't cover (paper, play dough, stickers, markers, crayons, paint etc etc) not to mention helped pay for all of the clipart I use on my items!

I was talking with my friend Kaci over at Mrs. Hoffer's Spot (another thing blogging has provided - great new friends!) about how thankful we both are for this part of our lives. We came up with the idea to do a Thankful Giveaway! We are each giving away a $25 TPT gift card! You can enter via the rafflecopter below.


 Since this kind of giveaway only rewards a few, I'm also taking part in the Cyber Monday sale at TPT!



Thanks to The 3am Teacher for the cute button! Be sure to head over to her blog to link up!

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On Monday and Tuesday everything in my store will be 20% off! Enter the discount code at checkout and it'll add up to 28% off! I hope that this helps you fill your cart with lots of goodies to help your students! Here are a few ideas for you:

My Winter Ten Frames pack is chock full of ten frames from 0-20! There are 3 different styles, in both poster size for display on a math wall and card sized for math center fun!


I've also got some fun Penguin and Snowmen Roll & Cover and Roll & Graph Acitivties:



 And of course, my huge Gingerbread Skills unit, chock full of ELA and Math acitivites!


Click below to go to the linky for other stores involved in the sale - I know I'm going to be filling my shopping cart this weekend!


Now, onto the best part - the chance to win TPT gift certificates - and we promise to get them to you in time to use during the Cyber Monday and Tuesday sale! Good luck and thank you for following!


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Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Woohooo! It's Thanksgiving Break!

I survived the two-day workweek that felt like it was 2 years long! I swear, there's something about the day before a break that makes kids forget all the rules and procedures I have spent the last 3 months teaching them! By the end of the day I just wanted to curl up in bed with a book and take a loooong nap!

We did some fun activities today, and I decided to go heavy on the pictures and light on the words tonight (or at least try to!). Here's our version of a hand print turkey with Pointillism (we love painting with q-tips!):


Gotta love our kitchen staff that gave me those nifty little plastic trays that hold a perfect serving of veggies OR just the right amount of paint for an activity like this!

We made torn paper acorns for those turkeys to eat too!


We also put our Turkeys in Disguise on display:


I got back 11 out of 21 (I have 25 kiddos technically, but 4 of them are out right now for various medical and custodial reasons). Still 11 isn't bad for our school! They all wanted to earn this:
Its the BragTag I ordered from imagestuff - my kiddos love these tags!

Here's a close up of the cuteness - we have everything from butterflies to a basketball to a ninja and Smurfette! Gotta love the over-achieving rock-start turkey too - he came with a whole poster board!


That's it for tonight! Thanks for stopping by to see all the fun! Oh, and I did the random # generator thingy and picked 2 comments from last night's post! Numbers 4 and 8 came up and they are Candace and Suzy Q! Ladies, look for something gingerbready in your email shortly!



Monday, November 19, 2012

Gingerbread! (Flash Giveaway!)

I know its been a long time since I posted, sorry, life happened in the form of everyone in the family coming down with a stomach bug, conveniently two days apart, so I barely got one kiddo over it when the next kiddo came down with it! I succumbed on Friday which was also the day we were scheduled to leave for a marriage retreat. We ended up leaving 3 hours late and I was a bit green the entire trip, but I survived and we had a good time regardless!

I am working on progress reports tonight - they are due tomorrow! Ok, I am actually procrastinating on the darn progress reports in order to blog and finish up my Gingerbread Skills Pack! I promise, as soon as this post is finished I will get right on writing up all the progress reports a principal's heart could desire! I even have all the names on them already, I am just gearing up for the handcramping to come! (Does anyone else write their reports out by hand?!)

We have been making a lot of progress though - I am thrilled with where we are this year! We are solid in math - very few of my firsties need help with math this year, which is great as I can have our tutors focus on reading for both their sessions, as I still have some friends who are very low. However, they came in extremely low, so very low is actually an improvement (don't you love how I can quantify lowness?! It's a very scientific process I assure you!)

My Gingerbread Skills Pack is up on TPT now - 93 pages of Math and Language Arts centers/activities! You can check it out by clicking the picture below:


Looking for other Gingerbread goodness? Check out these fun games too!


Leave a comment below and I'll do the random generator thingy sometime tomorrow night to choose someone to receive a gift from my store!

Also, there's still time to sign up for the Gingerbread Exchange! Sign up and I'll pair you with a partner - you send them a small gingerbread ornament or decorative item ($10 limit) and a gingerbread craft your class creates! You'll receive a similar package in return! I am so excited about this - we already have 20 people signed up and I can't wait to see all the great gingerbread items that get exchanged! No blog is necessary, just fill out the form :)







Alright, off to do progress reports....remember to leave a comment for a chance to win a goodie!



Monday, November 12, 2012

Happy Veteran's Day

Good morning everyone!

First up - the winners from this weekend's giveaways:

Joanne was the lucky winner of the $25 Oriental Trading gift card!
Virginia was the winner of my Facebook comment giveaway - she wins a copy of my Turkey Time! pack. Make sure you follow me on Facebook so you don't miss out on flash giveaways and freebies! 


Next up, check out the cuteness:


My Winter Ten Frames Pack is up in my TPT store now! Its for all of you who can't celebrate Christmas in the classroom - it has 3 sets of ten frames from 0-20 featuring penguins, snowmen and children bundled up for cold weather. There are 1/2 page posters for display in the classroom as well as cards for work stations, along with matching recording sheets! Ten frames are great for building number sense and reinforcing addition!

I will be working on some Christmas/Winter units now, so if you have any skills you'd like to see addressed please leave me a comment or send me an email - I love getting suggestions!

I am off today in honor of Veteran's Day. My family and I are going to go out somewhere today - not sure where, but its bound to be one of the last nice weekends before winter truly hits! The rest of the day will be spent lesson planning, grocery shopping and house cleaning. Fun, fun!

I should be thankful though, because it seems that the stomach bug which struck my two oldest on Saturday night has run its course without anyone else in the family succumbing to it! It was looking a bit iffy there for a while, but the rest of us must have stronger immune systems because we managed to fight it off. My poor eldest two had a miserable Sunday, but seemed to be better as the day went on - which makes sense since I had bunches of children out sick this week, but most of them were only gone for 1 day.

I am working on assessments and progress reports this week. Actually my assessments are almost done - just have to grab the two that were out sick on Friday and then all of my Literacy 1st testing will be done! I was very gratified to see that the assessment bore out what I've been observing in class. Even more gratifying was the amount of progress that's been made!

We're at the point where we really need to work on sight words. I don't know about your class, but this year, the majority of my class is severely lacking in sight word fluency. This makes reading grade level books very difficult and frustrating. I've been needing something extra to help us focus on sight word acquisition, so I've been looking around and I finally found something I really like!

In order to make learning our sight words more fun, and to provide motivation for those who get little help at home, I am going to be using Marsha McGuire's Dolch Word Mastery sets. She has different sets for each Dolch Word List, from the Baseball Word Champs which covers Dolch word list 1 all the way through every sports ball imaginable to end with Beach Ball Word Champs which covers Dolch word list 11. 

Technically we use Literacy 1st words, but they overlap with Dolch quite a bit, and I really think my kiddos will go nuts for these Word Champs activities. I will keep you updated on how it goes - the thing I like best is that this is easily differentiated for my students, - each one will be working on their own words, and I can move them on to the next list very easily! The other thing is that as a student masters one list of words, he can then be a helper to others who are still on that list - I have quite a few that will make awesome peer tutors!

Alright, I am out of here for the day! I hope all of you who have to work today have a great day with your little ones! And for those of you who are off,  enjoy your holiday and remember to say thank you to a veteran!




Saturday, November 10, 2012

Thankful for Blessings! Giveaway!

This has been a wonderful week for me! I have almost finished up all of my assessments, our school fundraiser went well (I am PTA president and pretty much only member, so the fundraiser was a big weight on my shoulders!) and I received two wonderful packages in the mail!

The first is from my bloggy buddy Allie, aka The Gypsy Teacher! A while back she had a Pay It Forward post that I commented on. Well this week I got my gift package from her - it came with the sweetest note and all of this:

 3 bottles of hand sanitizer, with the little rubber thingy so I can actually clip it to my purse and not lose it - love! A scented candle, cute gloves, turkey tissues and sugar-free candies! do I feel loved or what? I am beyond pleased and so grateful to Allie - she made my day! Please go check out her blog and leave her some love too - she has some great ideas and the cutest hair clips in her Etsy store!

Next up, I came home on Friday to find a box from Oriental Trading on my front porch. Only, I hadn't ordered anything from OT in a while. Imagine my surprise to open it and find all these goodies:

 Star Student pencils, stickers, hall passes, book marks and certificates!

Rainbow colored baskets and large book holders!

I got these gifts as part of their blogger program! Now let me just add the disclaimer that, if I didn't truly like Oriental Trading and their products, I wouldn't be promoting them - regardless of what they sent me! But, I have shopped at OT before and I love their stuff! Each time I've ordered my purchases arrive quickly, accurately and well packaged. I even have a few things in my shopping cart for our next PTA carnival :)

OT also sent me a gift card that I can giveaway! How cool is that?! One lucky winner will receive this $25 Oriental Trading gift card - just in time to buy some cute holiday stocking stuffers!  Use the rafflecopter form below to enter :)

In the midst of all this excitement, I have managed to do a little bit of work as well. I finished up my "Turkey Time! A Thanksgiving themed Common Core Aligned Measurement Pack!" that I am just in love with! It covers measuring height and width, time to the hour and half hour, graduated order, tally marks and graphing!

I also made a Thanksgiving Roll & Cover Addition and Subtraction games set - my students love these!



Next up on my to-do list is a Winter themed Ten Frames pack for January! I am thinking along the lines of penguins, snowmen and polar bears. Any other Winter themes I should include? Also, I'm having a flash giveaway on my Facebook page today - just hop over and leave a comment under this post and you could win my turkey time pack!

Whew! Alright, time for the giveaway! May the odds be ever in your favor!(This review is based strictly on my opinion. Others may have a different opinion or experience with the product listed above. I was provided the sample free of charge by the company or PR agency and I provided my honest opinion. No other type of compensation was received for this review.)
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