Sunday, March 31, 2013

April? No foolin!

April huh? Am I the only one who was thrown off by having Easter in March this year!? Either way April is here!! I wasn't planning to blog again until Tuesday but, who can resist a Currently?

This is the first school "break" all year where I'm not jetting off somewhere. Don't get me wrong, I love to jet off!! In fact, I'm down right itchin to plan our next trip! But there is this huge part of me that is SO relieved to have a duty free week at home. It's like a little Summer teaser. I still have a list of things I'm hoping to get done. It's not short. But a girl can try, right? Top of the list- buy a Cadbury egg!!! ;)

Friday, March 29, 2013

Five For SPRING BREAK Friday

1. Today was the last day of School before a week of glorious Spring Break! To celebrate, we had a career day in the morning {But I forgot to take pictures of that part...I know, bad blogger!} and a Field Day-esque celebration in the afternoon!! It was a gorgeous Colorado day and the whole school headed outside for an afternoon of fun and games. There was even a bouncy castle obstacle course that teachers raced fellow teachers and students through. I may have broken bumped my nose pretty hard going through that thing. But the resounding applause from the crowd when I emerged pretty much made the whole thing worth while!

2. I started a little Spring Cleaning of some of the most cluttered parts of my room this week. One of the most promising spaces that I un-burried from the rubble (Not my rubble mind you, rubble that has been there since I "moved in" back in August) was this one! I look at this space and see so many possibilities!! Just have to decide what the best one for our class will be...


{Ps. I'm finally jumping on board the Instagram Bandwagon.Come follow me at #Fallingintofirst}

3.  I set up a system for my kids to take AR tests on my iPad. I will talk more about this in my Techy Tuesday blog post for next week!

4.  The mailboxes got a flip-a-roo. Now instead of taking up WAY to much space on top of the cubbies they fill up a just perfect space right when you enter the room. The basket on top is where I drop all the papers from my teacher  mailbox that the kids need to take home. I like having a place to "drop things off" as soon as I walk in. I also re-labeled everyone's box with one of these clip thingamabobs.


 5. A gift from a Student.

"Mrs. Stewart- come see what I made for you"

Well melt my heart why don't ya :)


Wishing you all a sweet and relaxing Easter weekend!!

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Common Core Writing Galore - April

This is just a super  quick post to let you know that my Common Core Writing Galore- April pack is posted! It's the follow up to my March Pack and the second in a series of Common Core Aligned writing packs for grades 1-3. Thank you to those of you who contacted me to ask if and when I was going to post this one.  My goal is to try and have each new month's pack posted at least a week before the next month if not sooner! I promise to be quicker at getting out next month's pack!! :)

I print and laminate these cards and my writing center is finished for the entire month. It's so easy!!  And I feel like I can rest easy because my kids still have CHOICE {their favorite thing during center times} but I also KNOW they are practicing all four types of writing every month: Opinion, Narrative, Informative, with some Creative thrown in the mix for fun!! :)

You can grab your free sample from this month's pack by clicking "Download Preview" on the product page!! 

I'm working on a bigger post to show you all just how the Write Stuff happens in our class!!!

Sunday, March 24, 2013

Life Cycles Unit and Spring Animals

I feel a little bit like a fashion designer debuting my new "Spring Line" today. Only I'm one item short. But, we can talk more about that later. Right now my sister in law is visiting from New York with my favorite three year old nephew and I need to get rolling so that I can go hang out and play some Transformers, because that's what all the coolest three year olds are about these days!


Last week I finished up my Plant Unit and this week, it's a  Life Cyles Unit!!  It's interesting teaching both first and second grade at the same time. The second graders are supposed to study plants. Thfirst graders study animal life cycles. In my class, we gotta roll with both! 

Posters to display!

A variety of ways for students to show their learning in writing.

And two of my favorite animal crafts!! :)

You can grab it until mid night tonight for 20% off in my TPT Shop!

I also posted my Hopping Into Spring and Spring Chicks packs yesterday. These packs always include a craft, some Common Core Aligned writing prompts, and fun printables!!

We started working on the Spring Chicks on Friday in my room. We've really been focusing on persuasive writing the past two weeks, so we did the Which Came First: The Chicken Or The Egg Opinion piece to go along side our chicks. I was so proud of my class because they worked super hard on their writing late on a Friday afternoon when they would have otherwise been in P.E. if it weren't for the state testing schedule.  Before we knew it 3:20 was knockin' on our door and we had to pack up shop for the week. But I had a few cuties get theirs finished. This one in particular had me cracking right up.

So did this one. You think he felt strongly about his opinion or what?

I will send the first 3 to comment your choice between the Spring Chick Pack and the Hopping Into Spring Pack! Just let me know which one you'd like!! :)  Congrats to the first three commenters!! You all have mail!

Enjoy the rest of your Sunday!!!

Friday, March 22, 2013

New Look + Five For Friday

Holy Moly what a week!! It kind of flew by on me. What else is new right? 

Here are some quick highlights from a busy week.

1. First off, notice anything different around here? If you follow my blog you might notice that I got an extreme make over this week! I am head over heels in L.O.V.E with my new blog design, curtosey of the sweeter than sweet Becca from Jumping Jax Designs!!! There are still a few things that need to be added tonight, like the way cuter social media buttons she's made and the new blog button. But there is still enough new to debut I think!! :)

Change can be tricky, especially with something that is as personal to me as my blog. It's not that I didn't like my old design,but I wanted something that I could call just mine. I  knew what I wanted but finding all the elements took some time. Becca was not only patient but she solicited feedback from me every step of the way and as a result, I could not be happier with how it came out! SO THANK YOU BECCA!!!If you are looking for a new look for your blog I would highly recommend Becca for the job!

Also, I can finally respond to comments on my blog now!!! 

SO EXCITED ABOUT THIS FEATURE! I've wanted it forever. 

2. The tattle box was re-introcued this week. My ears aren't ringing with tattles today- yay! Check out the blog post here to learn more about Tommy The Tattle Turtle and to grab my Sea Turtles freebie!!

3.  I'm on the "Writing Task Force" at my school. Which is a rather snazzy way of describing what most people would probably call a Writing Committee. We are working on vertical alignment for our school for writing next year along side Common Core. This Wednesday, we had to introduce our staff to the Common Core and let everyone know it's here and we are welcoming it into our building! To do this, we put on the world's corniest performance that you ever did see. Literally yall, we presented about the "Common Corn" and talked about how we needed everyone on board so that every kernel on the cob would grow tall and strong. There were costumes, props, the works. Super corny? Absolutely. But we deff got our point across and kept the staff laughing instead of cringing in a meeting - score!!

4. Little ol' me received a not so little nomination recently. I was nominated for Teacher Of The Year and got to attend a breakfast and award ceremony. A million thank you's to the person who thought to put my name down on that ballot! I may not have won the whole shabang, but there are few things in the world I could be nominated for that could touch my heart more!!!

5. My kids were cracking me right up with an Opinion writing piece from my Spring Chick Pack. I will share more about this one in detail in my next post, but here's one who got hers done today.


My Life Cycles Unit, Common Core Writing Galore April+ Chicks and Bunny Spring Crafts all coming your way!!



Thursday, March 21, 2013

Tattle Boxes and Sea Turtles

We're a week and a day away from Spring Break! (not that anyone is counting or anything) And the tattle trains are running rampant this time of year!!  I can promise you there isn't a thing that has gone down in this classroom in the past two weeks that I don't know about because I've been getting minute to minute reports on the regular.  So that's when I knew, it was time. Time for Tommy to return. 

Tommy has been helping me tolerate the tattles for the past three years. Somehow, I made it this far without introducing him to this year's class. Which may have worked out for the better because there is a big time buy in to him in our class right now. Tommy is a little toy turtle that is stapled (via the taggy on his leg) to a recycled tissue box. I explain to my class that I understand that first and second graders sometimes just *have* to get their tattles out. Then I remind them that even though Mrs. Stewart DOESN'T want to hear them all day long, Tommy rather enjoys listening to tattles. He doesn't like being touched. Of course, we review yet again the difference between tattles and things that ARE important to tell the teacher right away.

If they want to share a tattle they have two options.

1) They can whisper their tattles to Tommy. He will listen. They get it off their chest. The day goes on.

2) They can write it down IN A COMPLETE SENTENCE on a card and place it inside the box. I will read the cards daily and if I notice something that I feel needs to be addressed right away, I will take care of it.I do read them too. Many a good giggle has been had from reading things placed inside the tattle box. Yesterday, one of my kids asked if it was okay to share tattles with Tommy from home too about their brothers and sisters. I told them they most certainly could. So this was a find in the box from yesterday.

If you're in need of a tattle-tale SOS, any box will do really. It really does cut down significantly on the number of tattles I am told a day. They are also practicing their writing with the cards. And when they forget the box and start to tell me a tattle, I just point at the turtle. 

Speaking of turtles, I have started doing a little Spring cleaning of my files. I re-did my Sea Turtle Freebie from last year to be more in line with the type of resources I'm creating now. I won't make you cringe with a before cover image. Just trust me, the make over was warranted :)

 It now includes a Non-Fiction passage about turtles in addition to the updated response sheet and baby sea turtles craftivity. Baby animals are just the cutest in every way shape and form, I am convinced!! Even in craft form! The good news is it's still free and up for grabs in my shop. Enjoy!!

Sunday, March 17, 2013

All About Plants + Freebie

Happy St. Patrick's Day friends!! I have been thinking a lot about all things green this week. Not just lucky shamrock green, but more like all living things green! What started as a few ideas grew into a pretty mega unit - All About Plants {Plant Unit For The Common Core Classroom} 

I first tried to work my way through teaching about plants at the very beginning of the year. I'd just switched schools so I used the stuff my district had given me. It covered the basics, but I wanted more. A lot more!! I wanted hands on activities, lab work, activities, critical thinking, cause and effect, sequencing - THE WORKS! This unit has 2 weeks worth of lessons and activities to keep your budding botanists busy in the classroom. We're going to cover everything from the beginning stages of a Plant Life Cycle to the ins and outs of Photosynthesis, Pollination, and Chlorophyll extraction!

There are many opportunities for Informative and Narrative Writing through out the unit!

As well as Non- Fiction Texts that highlight key vocabulary and Comprehension Questions for every lesson.

You can pick up this unit for 20% off in my TPT Shop today only!! :)
You can grab this Photosynthesis poster as a FREEBIE in the Product Preivew.
Just download the preivew and you can print the poster directly from the last page!

And leave it to Harry Kindergarten, my favorite Youtube song man,  to have a catchy video and song that goes right along with our studies. Click the picture below to watch his What Plants Needs Song.

I have  another Spring Unit I am just about finished with that will go hand in hand with this one and our study of living things. Look for it to post later today or early tomorrow. My Facebook fans will probably be the first to know so if you don't already "like" Falling Into First on Facebook, you might want to check it out. :)

One last thing about plants. Have any of you tried Kale "Chips" before? The Mr. baked these up for us yesterday and I was popping them like potato chips! We seriously at half of the tray as soon as they popped out of the oven! Sometimes plants taste G-O-O-D!!

If you want to give them a try it's the easiest thing ever. Pre-heat your oven to 350, drizzle with olive oil and sea salt, then cook them for 10-15 minutes depending on your crisp preference. (I like big crisp.) Take them out and prepare to start popping!!

Saturday, March 16, 2013

Spring, Sprang, Sprung- Five For Friday!!

Spring has Sprung this week in Colorado!! The fact that I can walk around in capris and flip flops and NO jacket in sight for the past two days has me loving life right now! I was busy playing outside after school yesterday with one of my best friends, so how about a little Five For Friday on a Saturday?

We wrapped our our Weather Is Wild Unit this week! On Thursday there were so many different cloud types in the sky that my kiddos begged me to bring out the cloud viewers from our lesson on Cloud Types. Sometimes, it's so easy to make them happy! :)

We also had a special visit from Mr. Joel who is a real live Weather Man living here in Colorado. He also happens to be my cousin, and he was nice enough to come present to my class who all made him sign many autographs before he left.If you're ever in the snowy caps of Colorado looking for ski conditions, you should check out his website:

On Tuesday my kids earned their Ice Cream Pie through their Persuasive writing skills. Read more about the this *sweet* lesson here and grab these three P.I.E. posters below for free here!

Yesterday the boring brown classroom closets which have been begging for a splash of color since the last craft came down became plastered with gold as we made our Leprechauns from my Leapin' Leprechauns pack. Bling bling!!

This lad said they're lucky because "I have a nice and cool classroom!" which makes me happy!!

Speaking of luck, it was my lucky day when I came home yesterday to see my new phone cover had arrived. It makes me happy every time I see it. Even cooler - I won an Erin Condren gift card and a bar of chocolate with my order!! That was an extra little fun surprise for me!

That's my week in a nut shell. 


Off to go work on one of my many Spring packs I have in the works. I love teaching Spring units! Here's a sneak peak at my MEGA Plant Unit that is in the editing phase- yay!! I can't wait to get started with this one. I'll be back with many more pics to share with you tomorrow!