Preparing for the 100th Day! Freebie!

I took the day off today to go to an appointment and to see my daughter in the city spelling bee. She got out on the word "necessary", because she added an extra c. So we've been teasing her all night - it's amazing how many times you can work "necessary" into a conversation. Before you think I'm a meanie for teasing her, it's the best way to deal with loss for her - if we make it funny she gets over it quicker than if we treated her tenderly.

I stopped at my classroom at dismissal to check out how my sub was - it seems she did a great job, so I will have to make sure to put her on our request list! It is amazing how hard it is to come by good subs! We've had subs in our school this year who have told kids that they were stupid for missing words in the school spelling bee, one told a 2nd grader to "shut his big mouth" for talking in the breakfast line, and of course, the infamous sub who didn't read the kindergarten bus list and allowed a non-bus student to get on the bus which resulted in a 2 hour search for the child before he turned up safe and sound at a local daycare!

Of course I had to clean up my room a little and then I decided to prepare some of our things for our 100th day on Friday! I found some blackline drawings and used my Elmo to blow them up on my Smartboard so I could trace them onto butcher paper. I will be putting my kiddos in groups of 4-5 to cut out and glue 100 gumballs in a gumball machine, 100 pepperonis on a pizza, 100 spots on a dalmatian and 100 fish in a fish bowl! Unfortunately we're out of lamination again, so I have to cross my fingers that my creations survive the process in good enough condition to hang up around the school!

Here are some of the other activities I have planned : putting together 100 piece puzzles (bought them at the Dollar Store tonight!), writing 100 word stories, reading 100 books and doing 100 second math drills! I'm always open to new ideas, so if you have a great 100th Day activity, please comment below!

I decided not to have my kiddos do a 100th Day homework project, because unfortunately only about 1/4 would even participate :( We have a big problem with our parental involvement at our school. Remember the sight word packets I made up (this post)? I made up 15 packets, thinking optimistically. Out of 300+ students, only 4 parents showed up! Granted it was held at 8am when most working parents are busy getting ready to go to work, but we also have a large population of unemployed/stay-at-home parents and they didn't attend either. I have voiced concerns in the past that our daytime events exclude our working parents, but I was told that they can just "ask their boss to let them come in 1/2 hour late". Hmm, reality check folks! In this economic climate, is a mother of 4 who is the sole income earner in the family going to potentially jeopardize her job by asking for time off for school functions or is she going to save that time off for when the kids are sick?

Anyways, here are some of the books I purchased for our 100th Day - I will be reading these all week, and I chose a variety of reading levels, because I have kiddos still reading at a kindergarten level, while others are reading at a 5th grade level!

I also made a quick "make a word" page for using the letters in "one hundred days" as well as a graphing packet based on the question "Would you eat 100?" Please leave me a comment if you use it, I love to know if my creations are helpful! I know the preview looks wonky, but I promise that the actual file is fine - I'm not sure why it always looks messed up, if anyone knows how to fix previews like that please let me know!

100th day

Winners and Tagged!

Wow, what a weekend! Sorry I'm a day late in posting the giveaway winners, but I do have the results now:

In 3rd place was Heather! She wins a copy of my Valentine's Day Math  and Literacy Unit:

2nd Place:
In second place was Rachel! She wins the clipboards AND a copy of my Valentine's Day Math and Literacy Unit!

1st Place:
The 1st place winner was Beth Ann! She wins the rag wreath and a copy of my Valentine's Day Math and Literacy Unit!

Thank you to everyone who entered! I am so grateful to each of you for following my little blog!

The latest thing going around bloggyville is a game of tag apparently! I've been tagged by Rebecca from  Teaching First, Laura from Kinder Kraziness, Cheryl from Crayons and Curls AND Staci from Going Nutty! I must be really slow to have been tagged by so many people! Guess I need to exercise even in bloggy world!

Here are the rules for playing this game of tag:
1. You must post the rules.
2. Post 12 fun facts about yourself on the blog post.
3. Answer the questions the "Tagger" sent you in their post, then create 12 new questions for the people you tag.
4. Tag 12 people and link them on your post.
5. Let them know they've been tagged!

Okay, I'm going to try to make this super short and sweet, here are my 12 fun facts:
12. I was in the Army for 3 years.
11. I met my husband in the military - he's still in :)
10. My husband proposed after 3 weeks and we got married a week later!
9. We've been married for 13 years now!
8. We have 4 wonderful children, but I wouldn't quibble if God decided to send us another girl!
7. My oldest is in the city spelling bee tomorrow! Cross your fingers for her please!
6. I am usually late for nearly everything, even when I try to be on time my children usually end up sabotaging me!
5. I have been hounding people about watching the "Touch" series premiere because I liked it so much that I'm dying to have people to talk about it with! I can't wait until the end of March to see more!
4. I like to eat vegetable dip without chips - the kind with Knorr soup mix and sour cream - I just mix up a container and eat it with a spoon!
3. My idea of an ideal weekend is to spend it at home, curled up with a book and my electric blanket!
2. I am a cheap date - I drink very infrequently so it takes very little to make me tipsy! 2 glasses and I am giggling like a loon and not making much sense at all.
1. I tend to lose track of things - like my purse, which I've left at a McDonald's and a Carl's Jr. and got back both times with all contents intact! This is the reason that I do not have a cell phone of my own - chances are I would "set it and forget it" within a month! By the way, I say "Uh oh, I set it and forget it again!" all the time in class and my kiddos know that's the cue to start looking around the room for whatever I'm searching for - thank goodness for little helpers!

Wow, since I was tagged by so many people, there's no way that I can answer all of their questions! I will use Rebecca's questions since she tagged me first!

1. What is your favorite t.v. show? Glee! I have all the cds and I love watching the show!

2. What was your favorite food as a child? My mom was Dutch and she made a lot of Dutch food - my favorite was the oliebollen that we only ate on New Year's Day!

3. What is one of your favorite quotes? Ohh, hard one! There are so many I love, but I'll have to pick this one:

4. What is your favorite season of the year? Depends on where I'm living! I've lived in Germany and Canada and grew up in Illinois and I loved winter in all of those places! Here is Oklahoma there isn't much difference between fall and winter! So I guess Spring time in Oklahoma is the best.
5. If you could have any technology in your classroom, what would you ask for? I have all the technology I need now - Smartboard, Elmo and some student laptops and desktops!
6. If you could ask a person from history about a past event who would it be and what event would it be? This is a tough one! I'm torn between talking to Marie Antoinette about her "Let them eat cake." comment or talking to Joan of Arc!
7. What is your favorite dessert? Brownies! Or...Baskin Robbins Peanut Butter and Chocolate ice cream!
8. What is your best quality as a teacher? I enjoy teaching and try to make it fun for both me and the kids - they learn so much more when they are enjoying themselves!
9. If you had one piece of advice you could have give a new blogger what would it be? Reading other blogs is great - but commenting on them is what will get you noticed!
10. What time do you usually get up for work? 7:20am - give or take 10 minutes depending on how many times my husband hits snooze!
11. Where would your dream vacation be? I would love to go to Alaska or Australia!
12. What is the last book you read?  The 3rd book in one of my new favorite series!

Ok, now the 12 questions I want my taggees to answer:

12. If you could meet anyone in the world, who would it be and why?
11. If you could visit anywhere in the world, where would you go?
10. What's your favorite school night dinner?
9. What one item could you not do without in your classroom?
8. What one item would you love to have in your classroom?
7. If you could change one school rule, what would it be and why?
6. Which subject do you like to teach the most?
5. What one accomplishment are you the most proud of?
4. Where's your favorite place to shop for school stuff?
3. Describe your ideal day in the classroom.
2. Name a secret vice.
1. What adjectives would your closest friend use to describe you?

Ok, here are the bloggers I'm tagging!

Down Under Teacher

Live Love Laugh
Buzzing with Ms. B Button
Preschool Teacher
Keen On Kindergarten

Ketchen's Kindergarten

Whew! Alright, that's it for me for tonight - I'm off to quiz my daughter on spelling words while I fold laundry! Oh what a glamorous life!

Question of the day:
When is (or was) your 100th day of school? I'd love it if you left me a comment answering!

Was it Monday today??

Today was a long, rather horrible day. I got to work at 8:30 and didn't leave until 6:45 tonight. I typed out a whole post about all the sucky situations my kiddos are dealing with, but I'm paranoid about posting too much info so I erased it all. Suffice it to say that DHS and the foster system and parents with belts all suck. Oh, and it really irks me when I get a new kid and see that all the interventions tried were directed at someone with ADHD when that is clearly not what the child has! Mountain Dew as an intervention for someone who is not hyperactive is just silly!

Anyways, one of the reasons I had such a late night was because I had to prepare for tomorrow morning. We're having a "Curriculum Morning" where we invite parents to come in before school to learn about something their child will be taught this quarter and some ways to help them at home. My teammate did the one for 2nd quarter so it was my turn this time. Last time we only had about 20 parents come from the entire school of 300+ kids so I'm really hoping that we have better attendance tomorrow!

The skill that I am focusing on is fluency via sight word acquisition.  I am hoping that once parents see how easy it is to help their kiddos practice their words that we will have more parental involvement in making sure the basic sight words are mastered. It would certainly help me out if they were practicing their sight words at home! So, after school and dealing with the aforementioned situations, I headed to our work room to cut out some hearts for a sight word game. Only, we don't have any hearts. We do have a tomahawk and some other random dies. I think our Ellison collection is made up of all the dies that no other school wanted! I finally found a doghouse die and a stash of brown construction paper. I am not sure where this paper came from, but we have reams of it and no one ever uses it because it's such a bland color. But it's perfect for a sight word game! Here's the baggy that every parent will get, along with a handout of the hundred sight words divided into ten lists:

I made up a set for my youngest as my example, because he needs to work on his sight words like everyone else! Here's what the doghouse game will look like:
The parent chooses the specific words that their child is having trouble with and prints them on the doghouses. I gave each parent 10 doghouses so they can practice 20 words by using both sides of the doghouses. The parent has the child cover their eyes and then hides the little bone under one of the houses. The child then guess which house the bone is hiding under by reading the word on the house. Simple, fun and free! It only cost me the time spent cutting out the houses with the Ellison! 

The second thing in the bag was almost free too! Remember the old system that libraries had where you used to have to look up the book in a card file? Well our librarian had a box full of blank cards that she was never going to use since everything is computerized now. She had brought it to me at the beginning of the year, knowing I'd find a use for it! I've been using them as quick book marks for my kiddos or to jot down notes when I can't find my Post-its, but really, this is a much better use of them:
Each baggy has ten cards on a ring and tomorrow the parents will personalize them with the 20 words their child is going to work on. This ring can then be stored in mom's purse or in the car so that the child can practice reading while driving to the grocery store or while waiting at the dr.'s office etc. If they flip through the cards and practice even once a day I know we will see the improvement at school too!

So anyways, there you have it - quick, almost free and helpful! I know the parents that do come tomorrow will be appreciative of having something simple that will enable them to work with their child. Oh, here's the lowdown on the binder rings - a set of 16 pretty metallic colored rings for $3 at Staples. I bought 2 sets so I'd have enough plus some left over. Since I used the construction paper we already had on hand, plus the cards and packaged it all in baggies we already had in the classroom, $6 was the sum total for this activity!

Tomorrow the parents will eat breakfast with their child while we demonstrate our activities, then I'm going to have each parent listen to their child read the sight words, writing down any words they miss on the cards. Once they get the cards filled up they can stop and then they have a customized set of notecards for their child to work on! For the kids whose parents don't come tomorrow, I plan on pulling each child aside one at a time and filling out their cards myself. It won't take but 5 minutes per child and hopefully they will all get some much needed sight word practice at home!

Oh, and I scored some other deals at Staples that I thought I would pass on too:
 Here are the pretty binder clips, on sale for $3 which makes them 99 cents cheaper than the plain silver ones!

Also, for $1 each I got a pack of 5 Bic highlighters, a mini stapler, a pencil sharpener with eraser, 15 colored pencils, and a pack of 5 pens

Don't forget to enter my giveaway before Sunday! There will be 3 winners and I think the prizes are pretty neat! Click here to enter!

Are you wearing underwear?

I have a little culprit at school who has accidents in his pants (#2!) and then removes his dirty drawers and leaves them in our bathroom on the floor. The first two times this happened, I didn't find the underwear until the end of the day and the children were all on their way out the door. Today, however, there was still an hour of school left when I made the stinky discovery. So...I pulled each boy into the hallway (in front of the cameras!) individually and asked them "Did you have an accident?" Each on of them said no - some vehemnetly, some confusedly. Then I asked "Are you wearing underwear today?" and had them turn down the edge of their waistband to show me the top part of their undies. Well, as luck would have it, TWO of my little guys were going commando today - and both insisted that they had been that way all day.

So even after all that, I am STILL no closer to finding the mystery pooper! I gave a big talk about how everyone has accidents and they can come to me and let me know and I will send them home or get them clothes etc. I honestly have no suspects in mind, because all of the boys I did suspect were wearing drawers when I checked lol! Aside from having a bathroom monitor to check after each boy uses the restroom, which I'm sure I would forget to keep up with, what else can I do? Oh, and it occurs to me that I was a bit sexist and should have checked the girls too, but I assumed it had to be a boy because it was boy's underwear. I am thinking of writing a note to parents to let them know what is happening so they can do a daily undie check of their own!

My students are also suffering from excessivechatitis - you know, that disease that makes it impossible for them to stay quiet for even two minutes! Seriously, we had our heads down, waiting for everyone to quiet down so we could begin inside recess, and I still had kiddos talking - about the silliest stuff! I've gotten to the point where I am writing notes to parents, and I never write notes to parents! I'm sure the inside recess is not helping, but instead of snow we're getting rain, so it looks like we'll be trapped inside quite a bit in the next few weeks. So far all of my usual tricks are ineffective, so until I hit upon a new idea I just keep praying for patience - deep breaths and looks skyward are becoming commonplace - one of these days a kiddo is going to ask why I keep looking at the ceiling!

Would you like to see a picture of my beautiful bulletin board? So would I! Unfortunately, my end of the hallway has become the graveyard for all those things that no one wants in their room, but for some reason we can't just get rid of. I took a picture of the pile of debris just so you'd feel sorry for me:

See that door on  the far side of the pile? That's where our new addition is - you know, the one that was supposed to be finished in October, December, maybe by Spring break! I am hopeful that when the addition is finished all of this stuff will find a home and I can finally display work outside my door again. In the meantime I have started encroaching on other teacher's space - my theory being, if you're not using it, you're losing it! My next door neighbor still has apples from September up - I wonder if she'd notice if I took them down and used that space??

Here is a mini display I made using the snowmen I bought after Christmas at Walmart (best time to buy snowman stuff, it was all 75% off!). It's 4 classrooms down from me, on the little space of wall above the recycling bins. I had each student write a story about building a snowman and the cut it out using our "fancy" scissors. It's cute and I loved their stories, but I wish our paper was more uniform - I have a very small ocd tendency that is irked by these mismatched papers! Of course, it's also irked by the smudges and wrinkles too, so unless I ironed every paper I still wouldn't be happy (come on, you know you're tempted to break out an iron from time to time too!).
Well, on to more pleasant things: my giveaway is still running until Sunday night so you still have time to enter to win one of 3 fabulous prizes! Click here to go to the giveaway!

I have been working on some more Groundhog Day things and I found this great clipart from Graphics by Ruth and Chantelle and it's free! Her TOU are great too - you can freely share anything made with her clipart - you just can't sell it! So yay for more freebies for you! She's got a lot of different clipart available, but so far I have only used her groundhogs. Here is a Roll & Cover game I made with it - there are addition and subtraction boards.
Groundhog Day Roll and Cover

Well that's it for tonight - I will leave you with a traditional Irish teacher blessing:

May the road rise up to meet you. 
May the wind always be at your back.
  May the sun shine warm upon your face, 
and rains fall soft upon your fields. 
And until we meet again, 
May your students keep their undies on!

Finally!! 250 Followers Giveaway!

Wow - sorry to have been gone for so long, it took longer than I thought it would to get these prizes together! Anyways, without further ado:

Woot! I have over 250 followers and I appreciate each and every one of you! When I started this blog in the summer I had no idea that I would have this much fun with it! You all make me smile with your comments and support! To celebrate this milestone, and to show my appreciation, I'm going to have a little giveaway! Here are the prizes:

For the 3rd place winner:
My new TPT Valentine's Day Literacy and Math Unit! It is a whopping 96 pages long with 8 literacy activities and 5 math activities!

For the 2nd place winner:

A set of decorated clipboards for your classroom - one large and one small, handmade by me, plus my TPT Valentines Day unit!

For the 1st place winner:

A  Valentine's Day heart-shaped rag wreath, handmade by me, plus my TPT Valentine's Day unit!

Here's how to enter:
1. Follow my blog and leave a comment.
2. Add my button to your blog, leave a comment.
3. Add my blog to your blog roll, leave a comment.
4. Post about this giveaway on Facebook or Twitter, leave a comment.
5. Blog about this giveaway, leave 2 comments.

So that's 3 winners, and 5 ways to enter!
I will do the random generator thingy on Sunday, January 29th at 7:00pm so that everyone has time to enjoy their prizes before Valentine's Day!

Groundhog Day Ideas & Support Needed!

I am caving to the inevitable...I think we will be having school on Groundhog Day :( This makes me sad because we usually have several snow days at the end of January, early February and I always enjoy that extra time off, but this year we are having a very mild winter, so it does not look like we will getting any snow at all :(

 Even though we haven't been in school on Groundhog Day for 3 years straight I've still celebrated it with my own children at home, so I've managed to collect quite a few Groundhog Day books. Here are some of our favorites - just click the picture to see it on Amazon*:

I saw a cute Groundhog Day idea from Jennifer over at First Grade Blue Skies  which you should definitely check out! I decided to whip up some cards for a class graph - I usually make my graphs on butcher paper, but you can also use a large pocket chart.
Pocket Chart Groundhog Day Graph

Alright - onto the less fun stuff:

One of my new students breaks my heart every day. She's in a foster situation right now and she did have her older sister with her up until this weekend when foster mom decided she was too much work and traded her in for another kid (seriously, she returned the sister and got another kid instead). Sister is in another home now with the 2 youngest siblings, so that's good but now my little one is all by herself in this foster home without any siblings to support her. She's a clingy little thing (with good reason obviously!) and a bit immature (understandable!) and I'm desperately trying to give her the attention she craves without upsetting the class dynamics too much, plus I don't want her to get too attached because her situation is so changeable at the moment. Today she told me she wished I was a foster mom so she could come home with me :(

And, let me be completely honest here, she has driven me to exasperation quite a few times in the last 2 weeks and yet she still thinks I'm the best thing since sliced bread! Meanwhile I am desperately trying to fill her black-hole-of-neediness without having everything else in my class get sucked up. I say a prayer daily for patience in dealing with her in particular (I know "presence" is supposed to be my OLW, but I might have to change it to "patience" just for her!). I just need some good thoughts sent my way so that I can walk that fine line of supporting her without enabling her dependence, know what I mean? Thanks in advance for any advice or words of wisdom you can give me!

 I am definitely probably maybe going to post my giveaway tomorrow night, so make sure you check back - I really hope you like the prizes!! I pinky promise to have it up before the end of the weekend, it just depends how drained I am after tomorrow!

*Affiliate links are provided in this post for your convenience.

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