Sunday, August 27, 2017

Ready, Set, Learn!

So blessed to be able to lift HIS name on high!
This year's chapel theme: It's Still All About Jesus

In about twelve hours I'll be starting my 20 somethingish year of teaching. It's been difficult for me to figure out the exact number of years I've been teaching. Between my first seven years and my last sixteen years I took a long maternity leave to have three children. Those three went and grew uprown up and the last one just fledged leaving me an empty nester...I'm both happy and sad about the whole state of affairs. It's like a brand new beginning. A whole new chapter to life.

So I haven't been tied into the blogosphere in quite some time. I'm going to give it a go again. My goal is to chronicle my year in pictures and words. I'd like to be able to share these adventures with my students' families as well as you!

This year I've decided to go with a camping theme. I found some camp chairs and tent on clearance and the rest is history! I'm so excited for my campers to arrive tomorrow and start our learning edventures. Here is a sneak peak of what they'll see...

We'll spend the first two weeks of school...or more
talking about character traits of campers! 

Who won't want to read in this tent? 

LOVE my large group area! Everyone has a seat crate to
store their stuff! Mine is the red one. I got a nice stash of coffee in mine!

It gets better watch what happens when I flip the lid...
YES! It's a lap desk/dry erase board!
I'm so thankful for a handy hubs and a youtuber! I linked
you to the video below!

I Sold pillowcases to family and friends to raise money for the materials.
You can help too because I have some left over! I give books suggestions
for almost each pillowcase. Plus if you time it right you'll find Pete the Cat
buntings! Those guys sell immediately, so (sew!) I keep making them!
Pillowcases make great gifts and it's fun to have fancy cases for company. πŸ˜‰
Click the picture if you'd like to check out my store!

Friday, September 16, 2016

Hello Yellow and a Freebie!

I was honored to be asked to review Classroom Friendly Sharpener's newest sharpener, Hello Yellow! This review is totally my own and completely and totally honest. I have to say that though I was given this sharpener free I have bought many of these sharpeners for gifts as well as for my own home use. They are quiet, practically indestructible and the most reliable pencil sharpener I have ever owned. They are a bit bulky to carry in a purse, but I have managed to do it on occasion. Did I tell you I LOVE pencils and they must have a nice sharp point? Just thought I'd throw that out there! Now on to the review... 

There is nothing more exciting to me than getting deliveries! When my name shows up on a package I feel downright giddy! When my sharpener arrived days after I was told it had been shipped I could hardly wait to tear it open.
Your pencil sharpener arrives well packaged!
(I hope it's okay that Firstie Science is in the background! I'm loving this growing bundle from Tara West. It has made science fun again!)
If you have a chance to dash over to my Instagram page you'll be able to see a VERY short video of one of the cutest ever smiles as the first pencil gets sharpened. This is the one thing I have against these sharpeners...They fascinate my Owlets. They would rather sharpen pencils then use them to write sentences about what they like or what they can do! I have actually caught kiddos breaking pencils so that they can have the joy of sharpening them.

In the picture above you can see how quickly and easily a child of six can learn to operate the sharpener. Look at the beautiful lemon yellow of this sharpener. I thought I loved my blue one until I got a pink one but this yellow is my favorite and it sharpens just as well as the other two! I keep one fastened down to my work table and this one will be able to float to where it needs to...sometimes my purse!
An added benefit of this sharpener is the way kids have found to work as a team. Look at the teamwork above as these friends help each other get ready for some serious writing. The sharpener is easily attached to the table and quickly removed as well. I eventually had to put it away for the day because they just kept lining up to sharpen their pencils.

I have had many an electric sharpener in the classroom and at home, but none have lasted as long as my Classroom Friendly Quiet Pencil Sharpener.   These sharpeners make great gifts for students going off to college too! Stop thinking about getting one of these sharpeners. Just do it! You won't be disappointed! If you have any questions please ask away!!

Thanks for stopping by! Here is a graphing freebie for all K-1 grade teachers! Use a nice sharp pencil to complete the activities. Click on the picture to grab a copy!

Spin Graph Add Autumn

Friday, August 26, 2016

Happy New Year!!

I'm trying an experiment. I'm in the car. No wifi. I'm here for at least seven more hours. Can I compose a post using the Blogger app on my iPad? If you're reading this, then it worked! If you aren't reading this my experiment failed. I guess I shouldn't use the word failed because I will have learned something.

I'm holding on to the last remnants of summer, but it's slipping away. Taking my son back to college is a sad reminder that it's time to let go. I love my work and certainly feel called to it, but this summer was the best! 

My baby girl is a senior in high school this year. I've never been overly weepy, but where did the time go? She is my best buddy! We work out together (Check out Fitness Blender videos on YouTube!), shop together, and she'll even go birding with that's true love!

So if you don't see many posts this year, she is the reason!!

I do want to show you a couple of pictures of my room ready for action. This year I have 11 Owlets, but I will undoubtably have a few more fly in. No split for me this year...just owl firsties! 
Password protection enabled!! First password? Jump. We're going to jump right into our learning!

I love this project for our first day of school. My Owlets will take it home to display there best work for their families to see! Thanks to Kindergals for including this in their Open House packet available on TPT!

A newly installed bird feeder has already seen some chickadee action! I use Safflower seed to discourage the squirrels.
My reading teepee is pinned open to prevent shananigans!
Super Learner capes are ready for my super learners to earn badges! Some of my learners have already visited!!
These awesome new stools are part of my growing collection of flexible seating options. I think they're going to be really popular!
My bookshelf got a makeover and now I can stand to look at it. No more selves overstuffed with books out of the reach of my Owlets! I love the way some of my math manipulative a look in the Mason Jars!

I've prepared my room for my loves. Now it is time to prepare my heart. My prayer comes from Deuteronomy 32:2 " Let my teaching fall like rain and my words descend like dew, like showers on new grass, like abundant rain on tender plants." Amen! 

I hope to be back on Sunday to tell you about a give away I'm working on with other Michigan bloggers on Instagram!

Friday, July 22, 2016

Five For Friyay!

It's a hot one for Michigan. It's a perfect morning to stay inside and share 5 random things from my week with you! Thank you Doodle Bugs Teaching for hosting such a great Linky Party! Get ready for some random ramblings. Grab a cup of coffee and take five minutes peace!

I LOVE THIS BOOK! I just ordered a copy for a friend who, like me, has three children. She's a teacher who, like me, loves to have five minutes peace from time to time. Unlike me, she still has one in diapers, so her five minutes peace is much more valuable than mine! I miss the days of craving five minutes to myself. These days having five minutes with my children is a pleasure! If you have little ones at home or you used to, you must check out this book. You will love the story more than your littles, but they will laugh right along with you as Mrs. Large tries to find a place for just five minutes to herself.

Learning A-Z

Have you used any resources from Learning As a Learning A-Z Referral Program member, I'm able to offer you a $5 discount to every Learning A-Z website! Please use my promo code NB1289 to take advantage of this discount offer. These products have helped me tremendously and I know they can do the same for you. As a referral member I have won subscriptions to Science A-Z and Raz-Kids. These resources have allowed me to differentiate quickly and easily. I supplement my daily instruction with easy to use materials that I can easily project or print out.  Monthly drawings give a lucky referral member a tablet of their choice. GUESS WHAT? I won!! I am still pinching myself. My Apple iPad Air 2 should arrive before school does. This is a huge blessing for me. At my school we share five iPads, giving each class one day to use them. Having one that stays in my room will be AWeSOme! 

I didn't make it to Orlando for the TPT meet-up and I didn't get to go to Vegas for the teachers conferences. But guess what? I'm going to East Lansing! I can't wait to meet and be inspired by my Michigan blogger friends!

I will be able to go to the meet-up in style because I just got my StichFix number 8! I love pulling out my Fix Sandwich!

I kept three things from this Fix. Chessie helped me decide which ones were keepers!

Ready to try your own fix? Click HERE and I'll get a bonus too!

This has been one of the most relaxing summers I have ever had. My kids and hubs go to work every day leaving me lots of time on my hands. There have been projects on my mind for a while that I have wanted or needed to take care of. But guess what? I didn't do any of them! Instead I've gone out almost every day to pursue my passion...birds! I'm what you call a Lister. I list all the birds I see and I'm up to 182 lifetime birds. Not too shabby for rarely leaving my state of Michigan! People often ask me what my favorite bird is, or assume it's an owl! They are all my favorites. Check some of my finds out...
Willow Flycatcher

American Woodcock strutting his stuff!
Want more? Follow me on Instagram. I've been trying to post a bird picture everyday! That's it from me this week. Next week I'm heading back to school to start getting things set-up. Just a couple of hours here and there, so I'll still have plenty of time for the birds!

Friday, June 3, 2016

Five For Friday

I'm carrying around such a mixed up bag of emotions! Do I sing or cry? I'm just not sure yet, but I'll let you know when I figure it out! I'm linking up (seems like all I've done this year is link up) with Doodle Bugs Teaching for FIVE FOR FRIYAY! (I think I just sang that!)

 One of my students had her last day today. She has been a delight to teach and have as a student. Her mamma just graduated from law school, so they are moving back home to her dad and brothers. I'm singing for her family being back together and no longer having to drive hours to spend weekends together. Her mom was an inspiration for many as she studied, worked, and mothered! This family has left their fingerprints on my heart!
I traced around her arm and hand leaving the fingertips open. Then we all used green paint to put our fingerprints on to make green leaves. I used three shades of green. I thought about putting a brown fingerprint on and making an owl somewhere in the tree!

I get to pick TWO winners! One will get a set of 12 Kwik Stix  and the other a gift card to Starbucks! Oh how I love giving stuff away. Congrats to the winners!!

 Three. More. Days. Water Day, Field Day and Last Day are all that's left. I just cannot believe how quickly this year has flown by. I'm hoping for really nice weather for Water Day. Come back next week to see what my kindergartner partner in crime and I think up!
 We are finishing up memory books to help us remember the special times we've had this year. I found THIS on TPT to help me wrap things up and put some closer to the school year. The details that some of my kiddos came up with were amazing! Here are FOUR pics from the books...
Look how long my arms are. They either got stretched out from carrying bags to and from home, or too much hugging!

We spent a lot of time thinking of the shapes we can see on our school and playground. I pressed them to add as much detail as they could. Our skies were blue most of May!
So many of my Owlets chose The Wild Robot as their favorite. It was certainly mine for the year!

Here I am again. This time I'm birdwatching...Imagine that! The artist said I was watching a Pileated Woodpecker! Made. My. Day!

 Five Eastern Bluebirds are getting closer to becoming fledglings. How I love sharing my love of birds! How can you NOT love these bluebirds? Since putting up ten boxes three years ago we've had nesting pairs in them each spring. Wouldn't it be awesome if they flew away on the last day of school?!  Take a quick peek before I close the box back up! Can you see the little hint of blue?
You can read about our bluebird house building project HERE!

Friday, May 27, 2016

Best Year Ever! GivEAway Time!!

I'm linking up with Doodle Bugs Teaching for Five for Friday. It's a time I can share five random things about my week...Okay this may be five random things about the year!
In so many ways this has been the best year ever. I think I probably feel that way at the end of MOST years. (Come on we've all had THAT class!) This years group was eager, curious and excited about learning. They responded well to instruction and handled their mistakes as opportunities to learn...most of them most of the time! I have know several of this years students since they were babies or toddlers and looked forward to having them as students. The relationships that developed with parents helped to support the learning in and out of the classroom. You have to love a class that gives a disappointed sigh when you announce the day is over!

Reflecting on different "Bests" of the year I think about the "best" read aloud, "best" field trip, "best" TPT find, "best" after school activity and the "best" new school tool! Ready? Here we go!

 Best Read Aloud goes to ... Peter Brown's The Wild Robot! It was a tie between this and The Giggler Treatement with my class, but there were was so much depth and meaning to be found in The Wild Robot that I have to pick it as my favorite. You've probably read Peter's picture books. This novel has short chapters making it easy to read just one more a couple of times. When taking a walk in our school woods and hearing students discuss what we'll do if we run into Roz the Wild Robot meant they were as invested in the book as I was. You must read this book! Peter has already told me that there will be a sequel. Yep! He commented on my picture of The Wild Robot on Instagram...twice!

Best Field Trip goes to... Country Dairy! This family run farms employs over 100 people and has around 1400 cows. They take time to run Moo School and give tours to city kids so that they understand where there milk and cheese come from. You can eat in their restaurant and buy cheese and milk as well as other wonderful products and books to take home. My family and I love stopping on bike rides for their homemade ice cream.
A three month old calf checks us out!

Best Teacher Pay Teacher find award goes to...Cathe McCoy's My Amazing Brain packet. My students and I were fascinated by the facts and information Cathe shares in this engaging interactive  resource. This really helped me to guide my students deeper into a growth mind-set. You've got to check it out!
All About the Brain

The Best after hours activity for me has been...Mahjongg. Playing this complicated game has been a great way to meet new people and it's a great stress reducer! It isn't the online solitaire game I'm talking about. This is game requires lots of concentration and practice!

The Best new school tool for me has been....Kwik Stix!

The Pencil Grip, Inc. has come up with a fun way to paint that isn't messy and makes a stunning picture. My students LOVE to use them and I don't mind letting them use them because they are so easy to clean up after! My favorite way to use them is to just set them out with white paper and let my Owlet's creativity go wild. Here is a sample of two pictures made with these fun paint sticks.

This beauty was painted on Earth Day. I love the way you can paint over the paints and maintain the right color!

This picture of all four seasons was created by one of my reviewers. They commented that they felt like they were using oil pastels, but without the smearing or mess.

Kwik Stix 12pk picture
You probably can't wait to get your own to play with this summer or put away to make Back 2 School something to look forward to! You can try your luck at winning your own set of 12 below or follow the link HERE to order some right now! I love love love the metallic Kwik Stix! Thank you for letting me try this amazing product. I wish they lasted forever, but with the affordable price I'm able to keep my classroom stocked for all kinds of fun creative projects!
a Rafflecopter giveaway