Tuesday, January 31, 2012

We're Goin to the Ship!

Okay, I may be this petite, blonde-haired, cute, quiet teacher when you first meet me.  But put me in front of my New England sports teams and I become, well...a little obnoxious.  Not gonna beat around the bush there.  But I love my Sox, Pats and Bruins!

Speaking of Patriots...I think they might...I think...oh yeah...they're headed to the Super Bowl baby!  (obnoxious, right?)  To celebrate, I made some football activities for my kids to do on Friday.  Click on the preview to get your copy before Sunday!

All of the activities are generic (they aren't specific to this year's Super Bowl), so they can be put in your files for next year too!

Monday, January 30, 2012

TpT Credits?!?

Shut the front door.  TpT has store credits??  Am I totally oblivious or is this new?  I noticed this little guy right below my cart/wish list today:

For every rating you give someone, you get credits that relate to the cost of the item.  For example, if you rate a product that cost $5.00, you get 5 credits.  Every 100 credits equals $5.00 to spend at TpT.  Wow!  If you haven't rated something you bought yet, go do it!  (and they were nice, they counted everything purchased all the way back to August 2011)

In other news, there's a big Grade 2 giveaway coming soon!

It starts on February 1st, so keep your eyes out for more information!

Sunday, January 29, 2012

Lots to Share

First, I got an award from Beth Ann over at Taming My Flock of Firsties!

She nominated me for: 

Thanks Beth Ann!  Now, I get to choose one person to pass it on to.  If I could, I'd give it right back to her!  She always leaves such great comments on my post.  But I think that's against the rules.  So I choose to pass it on to:

Emily over at Playground Duty!  Go check out both wonderful blogs!

Next, Melissa over at DillyDabbles says tagged me and now I'm it!  It's a fun question and answer chain.    Kinda reminds me of those emails from way back when...you know, the ones that if you didn't respond, you would die a lonely death?  Remember those?  

1. You must post the rules.
2. Post 12 fun facts about yourself on the blog post.

3. Answer the questions the tagger set for you in their post, and then create 12 new questions for the people you tagged.
4. Tag 12 people and link them on your post.
5. Let them know you've tagged them! 

Step 2: 12 things about me I haven't shared.  I don't remember everything I've shared, so bear with me if there are repeats!
1. I hate to cook.
2. As much as I like the weather in RI, I kinda wish it was warm all year round.
3. I love going to any sporting event, whether it's my local high school team or a professional game.
4. I've never dyed my hair, the sun does it naturally every summer.
5. I am not a phone talker at all.  But the first time I talked to my husband on the phone we talked for 7 hours.  He and my mother are really the only people I ever talk to on the phone.
6. I'm a huge Red Sox fan.  This year is going to be interesting though.
7. I don't drink coffee.
8. I went to Arizona on vacation once, and secretly want to live there now.
9. I've wanted to be a teacher since I was in kindergarten.
10. I only like movies and TV shows that are funny.  
11. I love spending time with my family.  We never stop laughing!
12. I can't sit still.  I am always multi-tasking.

Step 3:  Answer the questions that Melissa posted

  • What is your favorite food/drink to de-stress? Warm bread with dipping oil - I love carbs!

  • What is your favorite book to read to your class? The Polar Express (I even have a signed copy!)

  • What is your favorite book to read yourself? I've read Summer Sisters more times than I can count

  • How far do you travel to get to your school? 40 minutes

  • How many students are in your class? 18

  • Do you exercise?  How often and what types? I love the gym! I've been going 5-7x a week lately, it's been awesome.  I do yoga, cardio, weights, swimming and pole fitness classes.

  • What is your favorite topic or unit to teach? I really like the Christmas Around the World unit that Christina Bainbridge created.

  • What behavior plans/rewards do you have in place in your classroom? We use the PBIS system in our school and I really, really like it.  I think it's made a huge difference.

  • What do you wear to school?  (slacks, skirts, dresses, jeans, types of shoes) No skirts!  Black pants, and a dress shirt or sweater with my Danskos.  In the warmer weather, I'll wear sun dresses.  Jeans only on Fridays :(

  • How old/new is your school? It seems new.  It used to be a nursing home and before that, a boarding school.  The kids all think it's haunted.

  • What technology do you have available/use in your classroom? I have 2 desktop computers and an overhead projector (ha!).  The school shares a laptop cart, so 2x a week each student gets to use a laptop for 45 mins.  We also share a document camera.  It's hard to get my hands on though.

  • How do you spoil yourself? In the winter - curling up on the couch with a good book.  In the summer - laying on the beach with a good book.

  • Step 4: Create 12 new questions.
    1. What is your favorite television show?
    2.  If you could travel anywhere, where would you go?
    3. Who is one famous person you would like to meet (past or present)?
    4. What is your biggest pet peeve?
    5. What is your favorite activity?
    6. What is the best thing about teaching?
    7. What is the most frustrating thing about teaching?
    8. If you could have a shopping spree to any store, where would you go?
    9. What motivates you to be a better teacher?
    10. Why did you start blogging?
    11. If you weren't a teacher, what would you be?
    12. Where is your favorite place to read a book?

    Step 5: Tag 12 people

    Tuesday, January 24, 2012

    Not Really a Dollar

    I just found a new blog through Pinterest.  Amanda over at Mrs. Terhune's First Grade Site!  I thought I was organized, but WOW!  She has some awesome pictures of her organization in her classroom.  I was especially impressed with how prepared she is ahead of time.  One thing that helps her stay organized for the week is the All-Purpose Teacher's Organizer from Lakeshore.

    But, $49.95?!? Dang, that baby is expensive.  No thank you.  Thennn it was Target Dollar Spot to the rescue!  They had almost the same exact bins.  They didn't come with the fancy wire rack, but I think I can handle keeping my bins on the shelf thankyouverymuch.  They also had only 4 colors, but, hey green is my favorite color - I got two!  They don't have those labels either, but I made my own!  (which, I think, look better)  Here they are!

    And a close-up:

    Oh, and one other thing.  They weren't a dollar!  Apparently the "dollar spot"  also includes items that are $2.50.  What's up with that?  But $12.50 is wayyy cheaper than the Lakeshore ones!
    I'm so excited to start using them!

    Sunday, January 22, 2012

    Working On Fluency

    In second grade at our school, we have had an enrichment/intervention block for reading.  I was scheduled to work with the enrichment students and I love, love, loved it!   I always enjoy pushing the higher readers to become more independent and work on reading different genres, etc.  

    Unfortunately, plans change.  Now we just have an intervention block.  Needless to say, I'm not used to working with some of my new students in this group.  I am going to need to really work on fluency with this crew.  So I made a packet with some activities in it to help me help these kiddos.

    I'm putting it on sale for 2 days!  So grab it before it goes up on Tuesday!

    Also, I'd like to give away 2 copies of my packet to the first two people who comment on this post (with an email!).  However, if you are one of those two people, I am asking that you rate my product on TpT after you get it - I would be so grateful!

    Saturday, January 21, 2012

    And the winner is...

    Kelly B aka Queen B from Busy in Kindergarten!  

    I will be emailing you shortly with your TpT giftcard, I hope you can get lots of good stuff with it!  Thank you to all who entered my 100+ followers giveaway!  

    Now, I'm hard at work on a new unit on fluency.  I'm sitting at my computer watching the snow fall outside my window.  It's our first real storm this year!  It has a very calming effect, especially since I don't have to leave the house (if I did, panic mode would be setting in).  Look for my new unit soon!

    Thursday, January 19, 2012

    A Day in My {Dansko} Shoes

    I'm joining the party!  Katie from Adventures in Teaching 6th Grade wants to know what our day looks like! (and I'm pretty sure I'm the last one to this party...)

    Can I just say that some of you start school REALLY early?!?  My goodness.  I don't really envy you.  Although I am jealous of your extra time in the afternoon.  Anyways...check out my day:

    6:00 Alarm goes off.  I get up right away.  Yep, no snooze button for me!

    6:00 - 6:50 Shower, hair, get dressed, eat breakfast (oatmeal) and make lunch *Note: there is very little talking between me and hubby at this time.  I'm not awake yet!

    6:50 - 7:30 Drive to school, rock out to Lady Gaga and Adele - I'm awake now!

    7:30 - 8:45 Get my classroom ready for my kiddos and prepare everything I need for that day's lessons.  Oh, and talk to all my friends! 

    8:45 - 9:00 Kiddos arrive, get ready for the day and work on their Morning Journal (they are VERY independent during this part of our day)

    9:00 - 9:15 Morning Meeting.  This is my favorite part of the day.  I like having the time to prepare my kids for our day and I have found that it's a huge help in making our day go smoother.  I feel as though it helps our class feel more like a "community."

    9:15 - 9:45 Writer's Workshop and (new!) a daily grammar lesson

    9:45 - 10:00 Snack and Read Aloud

    10:00 - 10: 45 Reader's Workshop.  I love watching the kids read quietly.

    10:45 - 11:15 Intervention.  I have issues with this.  But that's a rant story for another day.  I like the idea of intervention/enrichment, just not the way we're doing it.

    11:15 - 11:35 Recess (duty, 2x a week)

    11:40 - 12:00 Eat and bathroom time (usually ends up being 11:45 - 11:57)

    12:00 - 12:35 Spelling.  Switch students with another class.  I have the higher spellers and I love doing different activities with them.

    12:35 - 1:17 Math co-taught with my resource teacher - so much fun!

    1:17 - 2:03 Specials (library, p.e., music, art, or technology, depending on the day) and planning time for me.  

    2:03 - 2:45 Some days this is Science/Social Studies.  Again I've divided up my students with another 2nd grade teacher by overall academic and behavior strengths.  He teaches Science, I teach Social Studies.  We rotate kids every two weeks.  Some days this time is used to do our district-mandated computer programs (again, this is a rant story for another day).

    2:45 - 3:00 pack-up, classroom jobs and dismissal

    3:00 - 3:15 I clean up my room and prepare it for the next day.

    3:15  We are allowed to leave at 3:15 and my goal for the new year is to leave right at this time on most days so that I can get to the gym without feeling completely tired out.  On Sign Language nights and meeting days, I don't leave until 5:30ish.

    3:15 - 4:00 Drive to the gym

    4:00 - 5:30 Workout!  I rotate through cardio, strength training and yoga.

    5:30 - 10:00 Cook dinner (I'm trying to get better at this.  I hate to cook), catch up on my dvr, do some schoolwork, blog and try to stay awake till hubby gets home from his night classes.

    10:00 Bedtime!

    Don't forget to check out my giveaway here (and an extra way to enter here) before Friday at midnight! (You could win $25 to TpT!)

    Wednesday, January 18, 2012

    My Progress and Another Chance to Win

    As you may know, I've been hard at work de-cluttering my classroom.  I started with the closets and am about halfway through that project.  Don't worry!  I haven't given up.  I just need a decent amount of time to put into it (and the help of my teacher friend).  We will get back to work on it on Monday!  

    However, I did conquer my teacher's desk project!!  Check it out, I completely got rid of my desk and I could not be happier.  

    This is the inside.  So much stuff.  So messy.  And so not mine.  (still leftovers from the teacher that I took over for 3 years ago)

    And now it's completely empty!  Woohoo!

    Okay, I'm pretty neat.  But not this neat!  This was after I started to clean so it's not a good representation of my old dumping ground.

    The front view.  Takes up a lot of space, huh?

     Anddd wah-lah!  Desk gone.  New table in place.  I LOVE it!  I added the drawers to the side to store my stuff.  I really like the small drawers because it's so much easier to organize and find stuff.

    Here's the front side.  I bought the stools from Christmas Tree Shop because they're easier to move and store.  And I like the colors.  My kids absolutely love them!  It's so funny, they beg to use them and rush to be the first one to sit on them.

    I was a little nervous about getting rid of my desk, I'll admit it.  But so far it's been great.  It ensures that I don't have too much clutter and I use the table all the time to meet with the kids.

    I also posted two posters to my TpT store today (remember how I can't draw anchor charts to save my life?).

    One I am going to use to teach Sensory Images during Reader's Workshop:

    And the second one I am going to use for teaching my students how to write small moment stories.

    And that leads me to another way to win my giveaway!  I always come up with extra chances AFTER I publish my post.  Oh well.  Anyways, I'm giving away a $25 gift card to Teachers Pay Teachers!

    If you rate one of my products on TpT (free or not), leave me an extra comment on my Giveaway and a Freebie post.  Good luck!

    Tuesday, January 17, 2012

    Giveaway and a Freebie!

    Congrats to Ashley and Denise for winning my Be Mine, Valentine and I Have A Dream units from my TpT store.  They are still on sale for one more day!  Tomorrow at 8:00 pm they'll go up to their normal price.

    I have a freebie for you, but it requires some background info first.  I created labels to use during my Reader's Workshop conferences.  I've used blank labels for a while now and they're so much easier!  Instead of lugging around my huge RW binder, I can jot my notes on labels and place them into my binder for me to be able to reference at another time.  

    I stole borrowed a trick from Stephanie over at Teaching in Room 6.  She creates a sheet of labels with one label for each child so that it was an easy way of keeping track of who she met with that week and who she still needed to meet with.  Brilliant!  I used Avery 8160 labels.  There are 30/page, which gives me enough labels for each student plus extras for those I need to meet with multiple times a week or who I meet with during Intervention Block.  Here is an example of one of my labels:

    I find that having lines and headings helps me to organize my thoughts a little better.  And colors just make me happy!  After making these, I felt the need to create a sheet to put in my RW binder to place the labels on.  I'm going to copy one of these sheets for each student:

    Just click on the picture to grab your free copy!  Feel free to leave me some feedback on my TpT page if you do use it!

    And noww...the giveaway!  I'm so excited to have 100 over 100 followers already!  I thought I'd help support fellow teachers with this one, since I'm so thankful for those who have supported me.  I'm giving away a $25 gift card to Teachers Pay Teachers.

    Now you can get all those products on your wish list!!

    Here's how:

    1. Follow me on TpT.
    2. Blog about my giveaway.
    3. Add my brandy-new blog button to your own blog.

    You get one comment for each.  Good luck!  The giveaway will end at midnight on Friday, January 20th.

    Monday, January 16, 2012

    All About 2's

    I hope everyone had a wonderful long weekend!  I certainly did.  In my spare time I made TWO packets for my TpT store!  

    One is for Martin Luther King Day, for those of you who haven't celebrated yet (I did with one class, but still need to do it with my second Social Studies class) or for your files for next year!

    And the second one is for Valentine's Day!  It will be here before we know it.

    Ok, so here's the deal.  The first TWO people to comment on my post (with their email) will get BOTH packets for free!  If you are number 3+, don't fret.  My packets are on sale for TWO days!  (are you sick of the number two yet?)  The Valentine's packet is on sale for TWO dollars (oops, there it is again!) and the MLK one is on sale for $1.  

    This sale will only last...wait for it...TWO days!  Then they go back to their original price.  So quick!  Grab 'em while you can.  Just click on the pictures above to get them.

    Oh, and my cousin won his basketball game today by 22 points.  Just thought I'd throw that in there.

    And, whoa!  I hit 100 followers and didn't even realize it!  There might be another giveaway in the works... 

    Saturday, January 14, 2012

    Sending Love to Joplin

    My favorite thing about blogging is how supportive everyone is of each other.  Right now, DeeDee over at Mrs. Wills Kindergarten is having a linky party to support teachers in Joplin, MO.  She received an email from a fellow kindergarten teacher that read:

    I teach in Joplin, which made worldwide news last May when our town was cut in half by an F5 tornado.  Many of our elementary schools were destroyed or damaged, and as teachers, we have had a roller coaster year.  I came from a meeting yesterday where many are struggling with the weight of all we are dealing with.  My request is this:  would you be willing to donate a created pack of your choosing to give away at a drawing at our upcoming district Kindergarten grade level meeting?  The meeting is Monday and I am sorry for the short notice but I did not realize until the meeting how down everyone is feeling.

    Not only did DeeDee step up to help, but she thought we could help as well!

    Here is how:
    1.  Send your TpT or Teachers Notebook product to Erica:  edoennig@joplin.k12.mo.us
    2.  Then link up by clicking on the picture below

    I sent over my All About Common and Proper Nouns and Basic Spelling Activities packets.  Please help out if you can!  Thank you to Mrs. Wills for letting us be a part of this.

    Thursday, January 12, 2012

    Cupcakes and Polka Dots

    Friday?  Friday??  Friday?!? Where are you?  Oh my goodness this has been a busy week.  Just.  So.  Many.  Meetings.  I was really dragging by this afternoon when I was at my eye dr appt.  The dr gave me new contacts but I didn't have any (safe) way to get my glasses home.  I asked the lady if she had a spare case.  She pulled out a beat up white one but decided that wasn't good enough for me.  I didn't really care, though, I  just needed it for the ride home.  Then she pulls out this beauty:

    Pink AND polka dots!!!!  Totally turned my WHOLE week around.  I tried to convey that to her and I'm pretty sure she thought I was crazy.  But, dang, I was excited.

    Next stop was Target.  And, hellloooo dollar spot!  I'm not allowed to go to that section when I'm with my husband, he pulls me the other way.  So when I'm by myself, well, I just go crazy.  (don't tell him that his plan backfires)  So much wonderful stuff!

     It's all going in my classroom, but mostly for me!  The cupcake-themed items are a running joke in my class.  I started to type the story, but then realized it was one of those had-to-be-there moments and you would not find it interesting.  Moving on.  

    The polka dot pad and pencils are, of course, for me to use in my new no-desk spot.  I guess the 100 days bookmarks are for the kids - that's all they get from today's trip!

    Speaking of my no-desk spot, I finished cleaning it out today.  I left a note asking for it to be removed tonight.  Hopefully it will be gone tomorrow and I can start organizing my new area!  I'm really glad I decided to get rid of it.  I realized I didn't use the drawers at all.  It was still full of stuff from the teacher that was there before me.

    I also cleaned out another closet yesterday.  It's almost completely empty!  I honestly thought I would never see the day.  I'm keeping a running list of all the odd things I find in my room.  I'll share my list when I post pictures.

    Tuesday, January 10, 2012

    January Currently

    Linking up with Farley for my January Currently!  I look forward to this every month.

    Can I just say that when everyone started the year with their OLW, I thought you all just couldn't spell owl.  Whoops!  My apologies!

    I have to blame credit Erika over at The Honey Bunch and the Clutter Free Classroom for my latest project.  I started with just cleaning my crazy, overflowing closet.  Now I've moved onto my other two closets and then removing my desk from my classroom (what purpose does it serve the kids anyways?).  With the help of my resource teacher, we are on a roll!  Pictures to follow.

    Sunday, January 8, 2012

    Thank You!!

    I owe a huge amount of thank yous to a lot of bloggers.  Here goes:

    Thank you to all of these women for the Liebster Award!

    Go check out all of their wonderful blogs!  Go here to see who I awarded the Liebster Award to.

    Next, thank you to to Erica for the Versatile Blogger Award!  Go here to see who I awarded it to.

    Also a huge than you to Erica and Beth Ann for helping me with my blog button that wasn't working! 

     While they were in the process of helping me (I didn't even realize they were being so nice), I ended up getting a whole new blog from Stephabee Graphics.  I love my new design!  And it was 50% off! Score!  I've wanted a really cute one for awhile but didn't want to spend $$ on one until I was sure that I was serious about this whole blogging thing.  I tend to get distracted easily and could've forgotten about the whole thing.  Apparently I am serious!  But thank you ladies for your hard work!

    Lastly, I want to thank all the teachers who volunteered to help me with my Flat Stanley project.  Not all of my kids know someone outside of our little town and it will be great for them to get mail from far away.  I'm so grateful!

    What a wonderful world the blogging community has created :)

    Saturday, January 7, 2012

    I did it!

    I know, I'm breaking the don't-post-more-than-once-a-day-rule.  But I worked so darn hard on my common and proper nouns packet and I just, just wanted to tell you about it.  Click on the picture to check it out in my TpT store.

    (I don't know how to make those cute collage things that everyone uses to advertise their TpT products, so all you get is a picture of the cover.)

    And, PowerPoint, where have you been all my life?!?

    I don't like messes...

    Is that a word?  Anyways I am quite the neat freak.  When I tell my friends that my house is messy, they say "oh, that just means you have a few neatly stacked piles on your table."  Aww man, they're right.  

    When I moved into my classroom 3 years ago, as a long term sub, it was a MESS.  The teacher that was there before me, was very sick unfortunately.  I never met her, but it seemed that she was a very good teacher.  And, also, somewhat of a hoarder.  There was so much stuff in that classroom.  Okay, I thought, I can handle this.  I like to clean!  WRONG.  My challenge that year was that we didn't have a contract, so we could only get to school 15 minutes before the kids did and had to leave the building 15 minutes after they did.  And we couldn't go into our classrooms on non-school days.  CA-RAZY!  Here are some pictures of my first day three years ago:

    Sooo many worksheets.  I almost never use worksheets in my classroom. 

    This one is a little blurry, but the kids cubbies were a mess! (Yes, that area is where they were supposed to put their backpacks, lunch boxes, and coats.  Wait, wa-??)

    So in the past few years, I've conquered the bookshelves and the cubbies.  I'll post my "after" pictures soon.  But now I just have one more area of attack.  These haven't bothered me quite as much since they are behind closed doors.  But here are my closets:

     Yeah, these doors don't even close all the way.

    These next two, I started to conquer but got a little overwhelmed (and ran out of time).  So much valuable space and materials!  Must. Clean. 

    My goal was to do them this past summer, but they tiled my classroom and no one could tell me when they were going to be done and when I could get into my room.  Apparently they finished them 2 days before school was supposed to start.  Needless to say, I wasn't able to get in to my room to work on them.

    But now, thanks to:

    I will now be cleaning my closets!  I've needed some motivation to get it done.  On Monday, I'm starting with the construction paper closet.  I think that will be the quickest one to do and the one that desperately needs it!  Any suggestions on how to organize it?  I was thinking plastic shelves or boxes so that I could get to all of the construction paper easily.

    Thursday, January 5, 2012

    Freebie, Giveaways and a very Flat Stanley

    I really wanted to link up with all the New Year's Resolutions linky parties, but I just couldn't come up with a good resolution!  I wanted one that would not only make a difference for me, but one that I would actually be able to keep.  After some thinking, I finally got it!  I want to work on using my time in my classroom more efficiently.  I tend to find myself wandering in circles sometimes, forgetting what I need to get done.  I also get distracted VERY - oo sparkles -easily.  To start off on the right foot, I created a checklist for myself, broken into morning, prep period, and afternoon.  Thought I would share it!  Click on the image to check it out for yourself.

    There are so many huge giveaways going on in Blog Land right now!  I chose three to share:

    Well, this one I don't really want to share because I really, really want to win!  Congrats to Tammy who is now at 113 followers (she's celebrating 100)!

    Doodle Bugs Paper is thanking her followers with a $20 credit to her Doodle Bugs Paper Website!

    And, lastly, Holly is doing a different kind of giveaway to celebrate 250 (now 255) followers!

    Now I'm looking for a little help.  My students are doing a Flat Stanley project.  We read the story about the little boy who is crushed by his bulletin board.  He is fine, but very flat!  Stanley learns that he can mail himself to different states in an envelope.  My students are going to be creating their own "Flat Stanleys" to mail to people around the country/world to learn lots about geography!  We are hoping that our recipients will send back their Flat Stanley with pictures, souvenirs and information about their part of the world.

    Unfortunately, not all my students have someone to send their Flat Stanley to.  I was wondering if anyone would be interested in receiving a Flat Stanley from one of my students?  Email me at Livs14@gmail.com if you think you might want to help out.  My students thank you very much!


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