Sunday, September 30, 2012

Transition Song & Giveaways!!

Good Morning Friends!! Most weekends = relaxing sleep in days for me. It's just me, my hubs, and our dog babies occupying this nest right now. So my favorite thing to do on the weekend is lazily hang together with them and enjoy the down time. Even though I love teaching,  transitioning back into the Go Go Go of the workweek is always a bit of a struggle for us. Especially the dogs, who believe they are indeed the very center of this universe. Transitions can be a struggle for my kiddos in the classroom sometimes too. I like NEED to keep my kids busy at all times because if not, things can get a little hairy. So for all my fellow Sunday - Workday transition strugglers, I thought I would take a moment and share my Transition Song with you!

I should start by letting you know this is not entirely my brain child. My Vice Principal made up part of it my first year teaching after I identified "transitions" as an area I wanted to improve on during an evaluation. But I of course jazzed it up a bit over the years. And below you can find the end result. It isn't sung to any particular tune and yet it does have a nice little rhythm if your a loud chanter like myself. I also tend to clap while I say it.

 Ps. You can click the image below to download this little freebie for yourself if you'd like :)

{The font used in this little poster is my new FAVORITE font and it was created by Nicole from Rowdy In Room 300-!!}

Here's an example of how I use this jingle in my classroom.

Me: "Okie Dokie Arta-chockies, when I say the magic word I want you to *transition* to the carpet for calendar. Ready? TRANSTION!"

Everyone: Bursts Into Song!

 Ok, so it's not exactly The Sound of Music of anything. But you get the idea. And  Here's the cool part- the kids learn it pretty quickly just by listening to me say it several times a day. Once they do, they end up singing along. Andif they're singing, they're not talking to any and everyone around them. It's not too long- just long enough to get from point A to point B. And by the end of the song they know I expect every one of them to be where I told them to be, SLANTING, and ready to jump right into our next activity. It's good stuff! If only it would work on the four legged breed.

Moving on, I have two incredibly big giveaways to share with you....

First up is Amy from What Happen in First Grade. She is one of my very favorite new bloggers! Seriously, you should see the stuff this girl posts!! Amy is celebrating 100 Followers with prizes from over 20 bloggers AND and $25 Ann Taylor Loft gift card. Um hello...that store is always calling my name.

And Dana from Fun in 1st is celebrating the big five-oh-oh!! She has rounded up 50 bloggers, the world's best pencil sharpener, and some Starbucks to giveaway in a series of giveaways. Sound more like a party to me!

I'm participating in both of these giveaways- so unfortunately I can't take part in any of them. But YOU most certainly can!! Click their buttons above to get yourself entered!

Alright friends, I'm off to enjoy my lazy Sunday and hoping you all enjoy yours too!!

Thursday, September 27, 2012

First Grade Common Core

Is this how the words "Common Core" make you feel?

Well if you work with first graders, I've found something that might make the process a little less overwhelming...

I have a copy of the Kindergarten version that came out a few weeks ago and I was amazed at just how much Common Core Galore they included in one book! There are tons of activities to teach every one of the CCS for both ELA & Math- and it's not all worksheets either. There are signs/cards to display, graphic organizers, game & center pieces, etc.  631 pages of materials to be exact. But I don't teach Kindergarten. I teach first & second grade-- which is why I'm eager to get my hands on this first grade version! The First Grade Common Core version has all the same features as the Kinder book. You can download sample pages and learn more about this CCS resource {here}. All the graphics are from Scrappin Doodles too- so it's cute stuff! 

I'm looking forward to the release of the second grade version which I hear is going to be released in the near future. As soon as it is I'll be sure and let you all know!

And if you're a blogger who would like to test drive this resource in your classroom, click [here].

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Sub Plans Are Not my Favorite Thing.

Hi friends. This post is mainly to let you know that I'm still alive and kicking, despite my general MIA-ness since school started. This whole new school, new district, new grade level, new curriculum thing is making year four feel like year one all over again. For really reals-!!

 In other updates, my district is doing trimesters instead of quarters. This means parent teacher conferences started last week and just finished tonight. I've also been attending district mandated PD classes all week. So for the past three days there has been a sub in my room. Which meant I had to write 3 days worth of sub plans -- 3 straight days!! And sub plans are not my favorite thing.  I love subs, just not sub plans. Mainly because they bring out my inner control freak. I feel compelled to leave directions for E-V-E-R-Y-T-H-I-N-G. Which takes F-O-R-E-V-E-R. I would truly rather just wing it for three days on my own with no plans during a full moon than write three days worth of plans for someone else to carry out. And the worst part is, I'm not even hanging out on a beach. I'm not tan. There is not fruity umbrella drink in my hand. Nope. I'm just 5 miles away, at the district office, all un-tanned and wondering if I remembered to leave my sub the envelop with lunch sticks. Because clearly nobody will be able to eat lunch tomorrow if I didn't leave her the lunch sticks!! ;)

But seeing as I did have to have a sub, I really appreciated her for being there. She did a great job! When I walked in after PD for conferences, the room was spotless, the work was complete, and the brief note I asked her to leave about the day was on my desk. And within said note was a smaller note, letting me know that one of my kiddos spent the day in the principals office. But she didn't say why, only to ask the principal. But my principal wasn't there. So my brain begins to wander. And then as if on cue, the sub walks in. She forgot her jacket. So I ask her what happened-??

And that's when she told me that he decided to cut a girl's hair on his way to the recycling bin.

(I do not blame the sub)

But the girl cried.

And her mom yelled. 

 And in that moment, I was grateful to have been in the PD. 

In happier news....

My kiddos created these cutie apples today!

I will be back in the classroom on Friday. 

There will be no more beauty school drop out shenanigans.

And I will have a fun freebie to share with you all!!

YAY :)

Friday, September 21, 2012

Celebrating Fall AND Stinky Feet

 The return of pumpkin spice lattes, scarf-wearing weather, and apple cider donuts are just a few of the reasons I love this time of year. But all of those pale in comparison to my *LOVE* of Halloween. Ohmiword, it's my favorite holiday! I had to contain myself from dancing for joy when I found out that the teachers at my new school dress up for Halloween since nobody at my last school did. So in honor of the arrival of fall and my not so far off favorite Holiday....

1) I've uploaded my Witches Brew Mini Unit that is always a class favorite! The activities in this pack are designed around a poem that I created. We practice the poem daily and engage in some digraph identification, fluency, work work, graphing, and "how to" writing along the way. Oh yeah and this weekend only it's 20% off!

2) I want to send you all over to my girl Susan's blog [T.G.I.F -Thank God It's First Grade] to check out this *Spook*tacular giveaway she has put together in honor of 500 Followers!! It's the Jack-pot-o-lantern of Halloween goodies!

 Click the button below to get yourself entered now now now!

3) I'm throwing a SALE! This weekend everything in my TPT STORE will be F-A-L-L-I-N-G to 20% off!!

[If you want to join in the Fall Savings fun then be sure to link your store up with Second Grade Maniac]

And before I go I want to share with you one last *summer* highlight before she fades into the night...

My first & second graders reached 20 minutes of stamina for Read to Self yesterday. So today we had a *stinky feet* read to self.

This was their promised reward for reaching their goal. I feigned disgust over the smell in the room. They were thrilled- THRILLED I tell you! Sometimes, it's the little things right? :)

Happy Friday & {almost} Fall Yall!!

Sunday, September 16, 2012

Show Some L*O*V*E and Spread The Word

I have to take a moment this Sunday to share with you an amazing fundraiser that fellow blogger Alisha from the The Bubbly Blond Teacher has organized to help one of her best friends who is very much in need right now. Alisha's friend Tiffany was recently diagnosed with Hodkins Lymphoma cancer after being told for months that she was suffering from symptoms of pneumonia. She is at stage three. Tiffany is also the mother of  a not yet one year old baby girl and is currently unable to work while undergoing treatments.


Her story is heartbreaking, but Alisha has set up an incredible fundraiser to help Tiffany cover her bills, mortage, and life expenses while she is in the hospital. In less than 24 hours Alisha has raised over $4,000 through the tremendous ammount of love that has been poured out by the blogging community. Pay it forward with a $20 donation and Alisha will send you a packet filled with over $200 worth of products that have been donated. Click the button below to see what you will can get.


Even if you can't make a donation you can still help by taking a moment to spread the word.

Saturday, September 15, 2012

Kindergarten Common Core

Have you ever heard the quote, "Everything I needed to learn about life I learned in Kindergarten?" Well tonight, I'm kind of hoping that same principal may apply when it comes to learning more about The Common Core Standards! I don't teach Kinder, but I do teach 1st. And there are always a handful of firsties that come to me who still need their fair share of review and reinforcement of their kinder skills before they're ready to dive head first into the new big first grade skills that we cover. Which is why when I saw so many of the Kindergarten bloggers I follow sharing this new Common Core resource, I knew I had to check it out. 

I was able to download a free sample of this Kindergarten Common Core workbook and instantly recognized the graphics of one of my favorite clip art designers- Scrappin Doodles! All the pages were very kid friendly and are designed to help teachers reinforce all of the Common Core Standards for Kindergarten. They take the guess work out by telling you exactly which standard each page is aligned with on the bottom of every page. There are over 600 pages in the book! They also have a workbook released for first grade that I was able to preview and found to be equally impressive. Grades 2-5 haven't been released- yet. But I'm eager to see the Second Grade version when it's released since I'm teaching a 1/2 combo class this year. You can check it out for yourself by clicking {HERE} and if you're a fellow blogger, check out how you can score a copy for your Common Core resource collection {HERE} I'm excited to share this resource with the Kinder teachers at my school since I know they, like me, can use all the Common Core helpers they can get their hands on!! :)

Friday, September 7, 2012

Teach them to S-L-A-N-T

I first learned about the SLANT acronym observing at a school when I was still in college. It was such a powerful directive and left a huge impression on me. I've been implementing it in my classroom since year one and it's a VERB in my classroom.

My first year teaching I had this poster in my room to use as my SLANT model.The funny thing was whenever my kids heard the word "SLANT" they would all instantly fold their hands up like this. Never my intention, but pretty funny none the less.

Anytime my class gets that slouchy, distracted, we're not really listening anymore look to them I tell them to SLANT and it's a quick reminder that they need to refocus. I will say, "Ok everyone show me SLANT in 3 (clap) 2( clap) 1 (clap). The most important part of SLANT is the "T" for tracking. It's where their eyes should be focused. So I can ask a question and then when hands go up to answer I will say, "Let's track Andrew" and it helps direct the kids to pay attention to Andrew. I will tell them to track the board,  across the room, or anything you want them to pay attention to. This time of year, the word seemingly comes out of my mouth all the time because we're training. The younger the kiddos, the more reinforcement they need to make this behavior automatic. By mid year though, they do it on their own and remind each other where they should be tracking/SLANTing. 

I created a handful of posters that you could hang in your room that kids can refer to for a visual reminder of what SLANT looks like. Click any of the images below to download and you can pick your fav from the bunch.


Ok peeps I am a special kind of tiered tonight. And I have a date with my couch and the Hunger Games DVD.

Happy Friday-!! :)

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Getting Started With Math Workstations

It's week two friends, and we are at the very beginning of learning Math Workstations. When I say we, I mean everyone, including me. This is my first time ever implementing math stations into my regular math routine. Last year, I kinda sorta started doing them. But they were always the same 4-5 standard activities and they were more of a "If you finish your work early you can grab a math tub while everyone else is finishing up" VS. "We're all going to do math tubs that coordinate with what we have been learning because they will help reinforce these skills." Ok, now that I've confessed that, let's talk about what getting started looks like so far.

Quick Note: If you read to the end of the post you will eventually reach some "I Can..." station sign freebies from me. But the meat and potatoes of these stations have been brought to you for FREE by a ton of various sources, and of course I'm shouting out to every one of them!!

Day One - Pattern Block Station. I printed these awesome pattern block freebies which I found on Mrs. Willis Kindergarten. And she grabbed them from Prekinders.You can follow both the links to grab them for yourself.


Mrs. Wills Kindergarten

Day Two - Linking Cubes Station. On the third day of school I like to get my kiddos familiar with linking cubes by challenging them to make letter out of them. Check out my blog post on this activity here. Then the next day we practice making three towers of 10 or less cubes, and adding them together.

Day Three- Geoboard Station. I model how to copy the letters and shapes on the cards below. 

 Mrs. Bremer's Kindergarten

I first found these geo-letter cards on Mrs. Bremer's Kindergarten. And she got them here.


Then I found these geo-shape cards as a freebie from Kristin Berrier's TPT store!

Day Four- "Add It" Station.  I can't wait to teach my class this game that I found via Pinterest! The original source and creator of this game is Confessions of a Home Schooler. She also has an identical game for Subtraction called Subtract It. You can download them both for F-R-E-E!!

I'm teaching a 1/2 combo class this year. Which means, in order to be able to teach the first grade curriculum to my firsties and second grade curriculum to my seconds, I need to be able to have one grade working on engaging stations while I am giving direct instruction to the other grade and vise versa. These first few stations are mostly just to get us familiar with the routines and expectations during station time. They are purposefully simple and as the year goes on I will slowly introduce stations that more closely relate to what we are learning.

I put together three "I Can..." Workstation Signs to put into my math tubs to remind my kiddos what they can do at each station. Grab your copies by clicking the image below!!

  {The awesome Pattern Block Graphics and Linking Cube Graphics were created by: The School Supply Addict}

What are your favorite beginning of the year math stations??

In other news...our new "Class Pet" should be making his first appearance by the end of the week. 

I think some of you may already be acquainted with him ;)

Monday, September 3, 2012

Labor Day Flash Sale & Currently

 Happy Labor Day Friends!! I hope you all are enjoying your extra day of rest. I know I am!

{Thanks Hadar for the adorable  button!}

 In honor of Labor Day, and the start of a new school year, and my general love of SALES....

Everything in my TPT store is currently 20% off until midnight tonight!!

So sad news,  Labor day is usually the last weekend the pool is open in my subdivision. Boo! But the good news, Labor Day also marks the beginning of September, which means Farely's September Currently linky is up! Yay!

Seriously -- these IZZIE Grapefruit sodas are my favorite things to get my hands on right now!!
I had one last night with the yummy dinner my rock star hubs cooked up for us -- bacon wrapped scallops & salad. A salad which included his very recent discovery of toasting regular bread drizzled in olive oil to make croutons. So easy and deee-lish in the salad every night!

 He's made all our dinner since school started this past week. I think it's because he know my stress levels are higher than normal. But I told him tonight that he's done such a great job, that nightly dinner gig is officially his! He didn't seemed thrilled with the nomination though. Can't imagine why....hehe.