Friday, December 30, 2011

I like Smiling, Smiling's My Favorite!

I think that is my favorite movie quote.  It's either that, or "All reds."  If you know what movie that is from, major props to you.  I don't know why I think it's so funny, but it gets me every time.  Um, hello? Back to the blog post.  I get off topic all the time sometimes.  Why am I smiling, you ask?  So many reasons!

First, I was awarded the Liebster award AGAIN!  Wow - I'm so honored!  I got so caught up in holiday stuff, that I didn't even see my nomination.  A giant thanks to Julie over at Second Grade Style!

Check out my nominees here!

Next, I'm now a guest blogger on The Best Endings - I'm so excited!

It's a brand new blog that Erika from The Honey Bunch  started.  It's all about books!  I love, love, love to read and wish I had so much more time to do so!  I am so ready to write my first post, but she said only one person could post a day.  That means I'm getting up early tomorrow (and I can beat all you west coast people)!  Go check it out to get some ideas for good reads!

Lastly, I had someone comment on my TpT products and even request more!  I feel so honored.  So here's the deal.  A fellow TpT-er asked for additional labels for my Out of the Classroom Poster.  Learn more about my poster here.  She wanted to see labels such as: Lunch, Gym, P.E., Media Center, Courtyard, Playground, Cafeteria, Gym Lobby, Front Lobby, Front Field.  We don't have some of these areas at my school, so I'm curious what are some other labels you would like to see me make?  I'm hoping to get them done tomorrow!

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Friday, December 23, 2011

D.O.N.E. - Done!

Hellooo vacation!  Finally.  I'll share some of the activities that I did this week when my energy level rises again.  This was one longgg week.  Thought I'd share some giveaways while I'm here though:

Mrs. Lirette over at Mrs. Lirette's Learning Detectives is giving away a $15 Amazon Gift Card to celebrate 50 followers (although I think she's at a lot more now!).  Big congrats to her - now go visit!

Then hop over to Step Into 2nd Grade with Mrs. Lemons.  She is giving away a DJ Inkers font cd.  Have you seen their stuff?!?  It's so cool!  I'm obsessed.

And one more...

Lisa over at Live, Laugh and Love to Learn is giving away a mystery prize!  I'm more excited about the surprise aspect of it than the actual prize!  

I'm so happy to be joining the rest of you who are already enjoying your break!  Merry Christmas..Happy Holidays to all! :)

Monday, December 19, 2011

We Have a Winner!

The winner of my first ever giveaway is....

(I didn't number my I used my wicked math skills to count my posts)

Congrats Courtney over at Swimming into Second!   Check your email soon!

Also, major props to Courtney for helping me figure out how to use the random number generator!  Thank you thank you!

Thanks to all who participated - I had so much fun!  Can't wait to do one for when I reach 100 followers ;)

Sunday, December 18, 2011

Extra Chance to Enter My Giveaway!

Only 2 hours left to win a $10 gift card to Target! And now you have an extra chance to enter! If you can tell me how to do one of those random number generator thingy-majigies, leave me another comment on my giveaway post. I'm pretty tech-savvy and could probably figure it out on my own, buttt I'm sick and don't really want to. And, hey, you get an extra chance at the prize so don't call me lazy! Oh, and I have to go to school ALL week (yep, till Friday) so please feel bad for me and help a girl out!

Remember to comment on my original giveaway post - not this one! That way it will count towards the giveaway.

Saturday, December 17, 2011

$10 Target Giftcard and December Currently!

Farley is at it again!  She's having her December Currently linky party.  Check out Oh Boy Fourth Grade to link up.

Also, don't forget to enter my Target giftcard giveaway!  Click here to enter.  You have 24 more hours!  I know you could all use a little extra something before Christmas :)

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Caution: This post MAY explode with excitement.

Giveaways, awards, wow! So many things going on, I don't know where to start.  Let's number them, shall we? (I like things neat and in order).

1. Not 1, not 2, but 3 (THREE!) bloggers awarded me with the Liebster award!  A HUGE thank you to Jen at The Teacher's Cauldron, Traci at Dragonflies in First, and Jen at Kindersmarten.  Check out their blogs full of wonderful ideas!

The goal of this award is to spotlight up-and-coming blogs with less than 200 followers.
Kind of awesome!
The rules are:
{1} Copy and paste the award on your blog.
{2} Thank the giver and link back to them.
(see above!)
{3} Reveal your top 5 picks and let them know by leaving a comment on their blog.
Here are my picks:

(I couldn't find a button but she has a great blog!)


Go check out all their wonderful blogs!

2. Now a giveaway opportunity!  Check out Dreamlike Magic Designs blog for a $25 giftcard to their Etsy shop.  They have awesome printables, blog templates and so much more!  I really want to re-do my blog layout with one of their colorful designs.

3. Speaking of giveaways, I've reached 50 followers - yay yay yay!!  That means it's time for me to do a giveaway.  How about a $10 giftcard to Target?  Only because it's my favorite store in the WHOLE world!
Here's what you have to do:
1. Follow my blog and leave a comment that you do.
2.  Follow me on Pinterest and leave me a comment.
3. Follow my TpT store and...guess what...leave me a comment!
4. Finally, blog about my giveaway and in your comment, leave a link to your post.

That's four ways to win!  
The giveaway ends on Sunday, December 18th at 8:00pm.  
Winner will be announced on Monday, December 19th. 

Good Luck!
(and good luck to me, I hope I get more than one comment!)

Friday, December 9, 2011

7-Year Olds and Things that Break

Ok, it's not as bad as it sounds.  But, really?!? The PTF decided it would be okay for our second graders to purchase glass items and take them home on the bus.  Isn't it a general rule that breakable things and single-digit aged human beings should not mix?

Here's the deal.  The PTF sets up a Holiday (politically correct, people) Workshop in the gymnasium for one week during December.  Each class is given a time to go down and the students can purchase crap gifts for their family/friends.  It's all cheap-o things, but the kids love it.  I do really like it too.  It gives the children a lesson in setting a budget, purchasing items, adding money, making decisions, etc.  Usually it's stuffed animals, scarves, school supplies and all those simple things.  Not this year!  We decided, apparently, that large glass items were okay to sell too.  Well, let's just say that not all of my kids "gifts" even made it out of the gymnasium.  I don't want to even think about how the bus rides went...

Aaanndd rant over.

Anyways, as a Social Studies teacher, the holidays are my favorite.  In the past, I've always done Christmas Around the World.  This year I'm working on switching it up a bit.  I'm changing it to a Holidays Around the World unit.  I think that it's important for my students (who live in a town that has very, very little diversity) to learn, not only about Christmas, but other December holidays as well.   As soon I get it together, I'll share!  I've got time, we go to school all the way up till the 23rd.  Yep, you read that right.  December 23 we are still in school.  Needless to say, I'm a little jealous of all of you who are out way before then!

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

I'm Finally a Real TpT-er!

Is TpT-er a word? Anyways, I finally posted a product on TpT for purchase! When I opened my store a few months ago, I posted a few things that were free but now I have stuff for sale (okay, 1 thing)! Go check out my store to download a set of weekly spelling activities with a winter theme. I hope it's useful!

Also, I'm at 47 followers - yay! Only 3 more till I post a giveaway. We're so close! :)

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Sunshine and an (almost) Giveaway!

I'm walkin on sunshine...oooo ooo! I'm so excited for my first blog award ever! Ever! (yeah, I'm that excited!) A big thank you to the wonderful Meghan over at Inside the Classroom for awarding me with the Sunshine Award. It definitely brightened my day :)
The Sunshine Award rules are
1. Thank the person who gave this award and write a post about it.
2. Answer the following questions below.
3. And pass the award to 10~12 fabulous bloggers, link their blogs and let them know you awarded them.

* Favorite Color? polka-dot! Not a color? Ok, ok, pink and green
* Favorite Animal? gorillas
* Favorite Number? 14
* Favorite Drink? Jumpin Monkey from Dave's Coffee
* Facebook or Twitter? both (how do I get any work done?)
* Your Passion? teaching of course
* Giving or Getting Presents? I love picking out the perfect gift for someone! (and I don't really like to be the center of attention)
* Favorite day? 4th of July
* Favorite flowers? Gerber Daisys

Ok, now the hard part. I'm going to send the Sunshine Award over to some wonderful bloggers, but there's so many good ones to choose from!

Be sure to check out all those wonderful blogs that keep me inspired and motivated!

And since I'm on cloud nine from my Sunshine Award, I am proposing a giveaway. I'm t-h-i-s close to 50 followers. Once I hit the big 5-0, I'll post a giveaway! Remember, Christmas (or buy-something-for-yourself-day) is coming!

Friday, November 25, 2011

Calling all followers...

Holly over at Crisscross Applesauce in First Grade (love that name!) is having her first giveaway! She hit 100 followers and is giving away a $20 giftcard to anywhere, really, it's your choice! A big congrats to Holly.

Which brings me to my next order of business. How do I do that?!?! I was doing great and I hit 40 followers - so excited! Then I plateaued a bit. What can I do to increase my followers? Freebies? Giveaways? Any ideas would be great!

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

I'm Thankful!

I am so excited for Thanksgiving tomorrow! While I wait, I thought I'd join the linky parties at What the Teacher Wants and Oh Boy Fourth Grade to share what I am most thankful for this year!

1. What are you thankful for in your classroom?
In my classroom I am most thankful for my wonderful, wonderful, wonderful students! Can I just tell you a story? I had to be out of school last Wednesday and when I returned on Thursday, I had the most amazing sub note a teacher could ever ask for. The sub wrote that my students followed ALL the directions given and that they followed the routine so well, she didn't even need to be there (yes, these are 7-year olds!). She went on to say how respectful they were and how they helped each other out without being asked. I was on cloud nine and I let my students know how proud I was! The note is still sitting on my desk and I'm pretty sure I might frame it.

2. What person are you most thankful for?
Singular??? I am so thankful for every single person in my life! My new hubby definitely takes the number one spot. We've been together for 6 years and I can't imagine my life without him. He is so supportive of me and just makes me smile all the time. My mom told me yesterday that he is very good at balancing me out and that my personality has relaxed so much since I've been with him. :)

My siblings would definitely take spot number two. This picture just explains it all (or nothing at all!)

3. What 3 blogs are you most thankful for?

My new favorite definitely feeds my OCD/organization fever! I think Tiffany and I were separated at birth, seriously. (and she has a polka dot background on her blog!)

Even before I got into blogging, I would check out Christina's website and blog for awesome classroom ideas.

And my inspiration to blog came from Courtney. So many great ideas for second grade!

4. What guilty pleasure are you most thankful for?
Hmm...I'd have to say the show Friends! I'm so thankful that it is on every day and that I have my dvr to capture it since it's on before I get home. It completely fills my dvr (and drives my husband crazy) and I get to watch it when I'm doing all my schoolwork. I can recite every single line from every episode but it still cracks me up!

Oh! I almost forgot to add my newest guilty pleasure - Pintrest of course! I am getting sooo many awesome ideas for my classroom and (future) house.

5. What are you most thankful for?
I am incredibly thankful that I am healthy, happy and surrounded by positive, loving people!

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

A Little Less Conversation

Ok, well not a little less conversation, just a little less speaking. I'm going to start using ASL in my classroom and I'm soo excited! I've always wanted to learn sign language, ever since I was in high school. However, neither my high school nor my college offered a course in it.

My resource teacher (and one of my closest friends) used ASL every once in a while with some of our students with more severe special needs. Without thinking, she would try to talk to me (so that the kids couldn't understand) but I had no idea what she was saying! I wanted so badly to use it in my classroom.

We finally found a class that was being offered and are now in our 4th week of classes. I'm picking up on it wayy faster than I thought I would! We've learned the basics - alphabet, verbs, family members, and greetings.

I've decided that this week, I'm going to introduce some of the greetings to my kids during morning meeting. Every day, we do a morning greeting in our circle. This week we are going to greet each other in sign language - I can't wait to see how my kiddos do with it! I'm also hoping to use more signs throughout the day in an effort to create a friendlier classroom environment.

Here is a website that shows basic ASL signs if anyone wants to check it out!

Saturday, November 5, 2011

This post is brought to you by Target

Ok, so Target is my favorite store EVER. I go through withdrawals if I'm not there once a week. I actually do most of my grocery shopping there (not meat or produce), which my mother thinks is crazy. It's so much cheaper though!

Here are some items in my classroom that were purchased at my favorite store(these were taken on my way out the door yesterday with my phone, so the quality isn't great!):

I use these small, but durable, bins for my word study activities. I have small and long ones. They come in all sizes and shapes!

I got these fun pointers in the dollar section during Back to School sales. My students love to use them and they like having a choice of which one to use.

This is another dollar section find from Back to School. On this side, it is a white board and a pocket chart. The other side (which I don't have a picture of - sorry!) is a full pocket chart. I haven't started using it yet, but I think this will also be part of my word study.
These are my favorite! I have a bunch of tins, again from the dollar section! They have different ones for every season! I kept buying them because I liked all the different designs - now I have too many! I use these ones for my sharpened/unsharpened pencils and crayons.

These bins came from...wait for it....the dollar section! I use them for my Reader's Workshop station to store headphones, books, books on tape, etc. They're so light and brightly colored!

I love, love, love the colors on this clock! I use it for when my students sign out to use the bathroom in our log. Our classroom clock is ALWAYS wrong so it wasn't worth it for them to use that. This makes bathroom trips much quicker!

Lastly, most of the book bins in my library are from Target. They are a little more expensive, depending on the size, but are much more durable than my dollar store/Christmas Tree Shop finds. They were selling different colors during different seasons (I told you I go a lot!) and then the baskets would go on clearance at the end of the season, but I haven't seen as many lately.

Ok, so the reason that I posted about Target is because two great blogs are having Target giftcard giveaways! It's like a dream come true for me! Check out Lisa's blog over at Live, Laugh and Love to Learn to enter to win. If she gets 25 followers (she's so close at 22!), she will up the giftcard amount! But go quickly because her giveaway ends today!

Also, Hilary over at Rockin Teacher Materials is giving away a Target giftcard. Hop on over!

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Oh, How Pinteresting...

Warning: This post is not teacher-related. (but that's ok, right?)

Sooo, I'm seriously addicted to Pinterest. So many good ideas!

Yep. This is me.
Totally taking this picture when I have my own child.

I could spend all day (weekend?) here.

How amazingly cool are these stairs?

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Anchor Charts

Here are some of the anchor charts I've created in my classroom so far this year. I stink at drawing my own anchor charts ( I may have mentioned that once...or twice...). I make mine on the computer. See my post here on how I make them.

This is our anchor chart for Monitoring for Meaning. We talked about different strategies to help us figure out a word we don't know.

This is from our Launching Reader's Workshop unit. We discussed what good readers do during Reader's Workshop. This is my favorite chart!
Also, during Launching we discussed how to take care of our class library (especially since it's my favorite part of the room!). My kids are actually reallyyy good about using the library this year - so proud of them!

Here's some Writing Anchor Charts:

This one I've really stressed this year. It drives me craaazzyy when my students come up to me and say "I'm done!" So this is an idea from Lucy Calkins Units of Study for Writer's Workshop. I almost never hear those dreaded words anymore!

Every Friday, my students write a letter to their parents in their Friday Journals. Read more about them here. I was noticing that my students kept forgetting the date, greeting, and/or the closing on their letter. I created this poster as an example/reminder for them.
Finally, we are participating in a district-wide initiative to improve our writing scores. We are all using a tool called RAiSE. I'll share more on that another time.

Sunday, October 30, 2011

Anchors Away!

TBA is hosting an Anchors Away linky party this week!

Before the fun starts, I wanted to share how I make my Anchor Charts now. Last month, I blogged (here) about my frustration with my lack of artistic skills when it comes to creating anchor charts and how I learned to make them on my computer! Major excitement on my part!! I was asked if I could explain how I create I'll give it my best shot:

I use The Print Shop 2.0 for Mac

I start by creating a new poster:
I usually have the program help me design my poster, but you can also choose to create it on your own or have the program design it for you.

Once I've gone through all the steps, I am then able to mess around with different fonts, clipart and borders in The Print Shop. I'm getting very creative!

When I go to print the poster, I choose a larger poster size. I usually use 2x2 sheets (which is 4 sheets of paper) for my anchor charts, but I have also used 3x3 (6 sheets of paper) for really big posters.

Also, at the bottom of the print screen, if you click on PDF, you can save the enlarged poster as a PDF. This way, I can print it at school and not use my own paper/ink!

Once I've printed the poster, I trim the edges and mount it on posterboard for durability. They are awesome! I look forward to sharing my anchor charts with you all this week! a freebie, here is my poster on the elements of a friendly letter from my TpT store.

I hope this helps! Happy Anchoring!


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