Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Giving up Snow Days for Lent!

One big day down and one more to go this week.  Leap Day was a huge success and as you know I was really tempted to pray for a Snow Day...Shame on me!  I laid awake last night in bed listening to the wind blowing, thunder booming and rain pouring.  I kept waiting for the sound of ice pelting against the windows, but it was not to be.  Really I'm fine with it.  I can handle a winter with no snow days every twenty years or so.  If it means going to school and hearing, "This is the best day ever!" or, "Your the best teacher in the whole world!" I can live with it! If you were born today, you won't have a birthday for four years; I can live with no Snow Days...There I think I've convinced myself.

I'm giving up Snow Days for Lent.

I'm showing off some pictures of what made our day a very hoppy one.  I think everyone of my firsties fell asleep as soon as their head hit the pillow! They were leaping all over the place.

My students enjoyed reading this mini-book I made for them.  I put it on Teachers Pay Teachers and had over 750 people download it.  It was my first experience using that service...I was amazed at how many people looked at and used my little book!
Leaping into first grade!

These girls are collecting data about their frogs.  I caught a boy  trading his pink frogs for blue ones!  He would have had a pretty boring pie graph if he'd have gotten away with it!  Now his sister can thank me for the pink frogs I said he could give to her.

Translation:  Green has the same amount as pink.  Blue has the same amount as purple.  I have the least of blue and purple.  

They did such a great job analyzing the data!  You can get this  on one of my earlier  on my blog post titled "President's Day and Getting Ready to Leap"  

Frog Races!  We predicted how long it would take to go from one leap line to the next!  The record you ask...4 was the least and 17 was the greatest!

Happy Leap Day everyone, and may they all be "hoppy"

Up next:  A Suessical birthday bash!  It looks like the preschoolers at my school are getting ready to party on Friday!
We have an awesome early childhood program.  They do so many great things with the kids.

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Leaping into Leap Day!

Our latest students are frogs.  Can you find all three?  Now you see them...

I feel so torn right now.  I would love to have a Snow Day and the chances of having one are quickly coming to an end for this school year.  I would love to go to school tomorrow.  My students are so excited for our Leap Day celebration.  I am pretty excited for the day, too!  Our frogs are ready to be named.  Ten random colored frogs are hidden in bags ready to be graphed.  Measuring tape is ready to measure the length of said frogs leaps.  I'm just not sure how I should pray...

And now you don't!

Oh no!  Frogs are escaping!  Snow Day or not we WILL celebrate Leap Day!
We'll use the lily pads to play Musical Leap...It's very similar to Musical Chairs, but safer.

I just can't help wanting to sit in my living room, sipping an extra cup of coffee while working one more Sudoku!  I live in Michigan and we have had a Snow Day every year since I started teaching here twenty-two years ago.  My children haven't had a chance to go skiing, skating or sledding.  Don't you think every first grader who lives in Michigan should experience a Snow Day?
My son introduced me to the Snow Day Calculator.  He has pretty much lost faith in it, but I secretly think he checks it nightly.  This winter it has given us false hope twice.  It claimed we had a 99% chance of a day off, but the 1% chance of school was what we got.  Two hours ago it gave us a 67% chance for tomorrow, but now we're down to a 55% chance.
Snow Day Calculator

I would love to know if you have a Snow Day and what you do with it. IF I have one I'll probably end up preparing for Dr. Seuss day on Friday and thinking about all my favorite firsties!
My students will be greeted by this message and have to leap into the  classroom on February 29th!

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Presidents and Getting Ready to Leap!

This student does give good speeches!  
It's been a very presidential week.  Having Monday off was a great way to start because I was able to use the time to do some "spring" cleaning in my classroom.  Of course now there are a thousand and one things I can't find because I found new better places to keep things.  I do know where my dark chocolate M&Ms are stashed so I'm able to "keep calm and carry on"!

My desk has been a constant source of embarrassment.  It doesn't matter that many years ago a parent told me she was happy it was always messy because that meant I was working with the kids and not sitting at my desk. I am trying really hard to have it both ways.  I am pretty sure that the desk fairy will show up tomorrow with treats for each child with a clean desk and a cup of coffee for me!  I love my desk fairy.  She provides great motivation for me.

I could even open the drawers...It's that clean!

We've had a lot of fun with Lincoln and Washington this week.  We've learned a lot about them and decided which of their hats we would rather wear.  I had to find a way to use my mustached photos in the hall...I think most of my kids look pretty terrific in their hats.  I would vote for any one of them.  I do think that a couple of them look more like pirates than presidents...I should have found some powdered wigs!

Wouldn't you vote for them?

I'm working on some fun things for Leap Day next week.  Are you ready for a hopping good time?
Here's my first attempt at sharing a file.  I have some more fun stuff to share, but I'm trying one thing at a time and it's time to get some laundry done!!

Thanks for hopping by!!

frog graphing
Leap Day mini-book

Saturday, February 18, 2012

Bag Party


Show me your bag Linky Party!
Feel free to use one {or all} of the following:

Old bag...New job!
  • Show us your teacher "bag."
  • What do you love about it?
  • What do you wish was different?
  • Dare to show us what's inside?

I loved my bag because it's huge.  I hated my bag because it's huge!  I've carried my bag back and forth every day this year.  Most days I use very few of the things that I keep in there.  It was a lot of fun to clean out . . . Mostly because I discovered dark chocolate M&Ms.  If there's any left it will go back in my bag and kept a secret between you, me and the bag.  

Best Discovery Award!

I remember the first movie I went to.  It was the Jungle Book and I went with a new friend I had met after moving from Missouri to Michigan in the first grade.  It was my first experience away from my family for a sleepover.  I was terrified, but wasn't going to tell anyone!  I clutched the bag of M&Ms so tightly that they did melt in my hands.  I think I made it through the whole night, but the bag of M&Ms didn't!  Sorry this is supposed to be about my bag...

For Christmas I got a new bag that came STUFFED full of great stuff for my classroom. Kleenex, erasers, band-aides, water bottles and more were overflowing from every compartment.  It was a lot of fun to open.  That it matched my purse and computer bag was a bonus!  Today I unpacked my huge bag and repacked it with my new more compact one.  "Things" will be easier to find including my M&Ms....Shhhhh!

Now I look professional!

My old bag?  It's got a new job.  It is now my going to the library on Saturday afternoons bag.  It is very happy to take over this job.  It knows what treasures books are!

Friday, February 17, 2012

Use Kind Words

Yesterday was such a great day at school that I was a little sad to see it come to an end and have a nice long weekend with nothing to do to look forward to!  I have now banned the words "like" and "love" from my students daily sentence writing and the results have been incredible.  I pick five random people to sit in the "Author's Chair" to read their sentence each day.  When one girl read "Use kind words."  I cheered and clapped.  We started a chart called...."Words of Wisdom" inspired by this sentence.  I'm looking forward to next week when I'm sure someone else will come up with some gem to live by!

I love my easel!

Most of my students have gotten pretty good at partner reading.  I have a couple who have a difficult time keeping their eyes on the words and staying in one place.  Working with a twosome yesterday I turned it into a game with some fantastic results.  One of the pair was working really hard as they were taking turns page by page.  One partner never knew where they were supposed to be when it was their turn, so I just had "the reader" keep reading.  She got to a word she didn't know and in her hesitation the partner chimed in with the word and I said to just keep going.  The partner got to an unfamiliar word and the other reader jumped in with the right word and kept going.  It was wonderful to see both partners engaged in the text waiting for their turn to jump in.  I'll be keeping these two together and watching with delight as their fluency and word recognition soars.

I'm going to try to catch up with some house work really fast so I can play with my Cricut and make some math centers with folders to help with math facts.  What will you do on this wonderful long weekend?

A very easy Cricut creation!

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Love is in the Air!

Happy Valentimes Day!  If you teach first graders, you heard "valentimes" more than one time today.  Even after I broke it into syllables and spelled it out for them they still insisted we were having valen-times!  I just love hearing, "This is the best valentimes ever!"  I felt really good about it until I realized they can probably only remember one other valentimes in their life....Kindergarten!

I love an appreciative audience.  My students were so excited to get their homemade valenTINES.  I am always looking for an excuse to play with my Cricut late into the night and my favorite cartridge...You guessed it...Give a Hoot!

Compound Word Surgery!

Cardiologist performing delicate surgery!

Suture in place

Friendship...back together, again!

Anchor-charting helps us remember what we're learning.

After attending medical school, we performed open heart surgery on several broken hearts.  This surgery was a bit easier for my class to perform than the bone surgery we did a couple of weeks ago.  Dr. Love told us all about broken-hearts...Words that want to be close to another word and form a compound.  We found some hearts that didn't get matched up properly and with scissors and band-aides....Voila.....No more broken hearts!  I love this activity and so do the kids.  Fast finishers got to write sentences with as many compound words as they could.  It's
Dr. Love's School for Broken-Hearts!
amazing how excited kids get when you phrase ordinary tasks with the words, "You get to...."!
I would trust any one of my students with my heart.

Thursday, February 9, 2012

I Mustache You a Question!

Thank you, Ella for being a mustache model!
I mustache you a question....Will you be my valentine?  I have fallen prey to the mustache craze!  Mustaches are just a lot of fun.  My daughter recently got a set of self-adhesive mustaches for a video presentation she had to complete after reading The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes.  I'm now finding them attached to different articles of clothing in the laundry, curtains, and myself!  They are just so much fun.

My first graders could get jobs writing sentences that end with periods.  Soooo, let's practice more questioning sentences prompted with mustaches.  I'm excited to take pictures of my students sans mustache for their parent's valentines.  Of course, if you give a kid a mustache . . . He's going to ask a question.  Will you be my valentine?

I'm thinking these will make good book marks, too!

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Has Anyone Seen My Voice?

Has anyone seen my voice?  I lost it half way through yesterday, and though my first graders searched high and low for it, it is nowhere to be found.  We cleaned out our desks, checked all around the coffee pot and even looked on the playground.  No voice anywhere.  ARRRRGGggg!  I can't even make that pirate sound.  What's a person to do who loves to talk?  Write!

Today was a great day to put a focus on neat handwriting and the power of the neatly written word.  It's been a while since we've had a review of what neat handwriting looks like.  I recently saw a blog that had a great chart to anchor kids to good handwriting practices.  For the life of me I can't find that blog now.  I'd like to thank that person for their inspiration.  If you are my inspiration and you are reading this, I'd like to say thank you, but I lost my voice.  Perhaps I left it at your blog?  If I did please comment below so I can come get my voice!  

My kids loved this chart.  Notice that I was able to sneak a bird into my scheme!  Today my students really tried hard to write their letters with form, spacing, alignment and size.  Perhaps a visit from the Handwriting Fairy is due! Check out the Fairy and Dragon at
Be a writing Super-Hero!

Thursday, February 2, 2012

Monsters...Groundhogs and others!

Felt groundhogs were a big hit!
I've seen Hundred's Day and Groundhogs Day and I'm alive to tell about it. I feel as though I could hibernate for six weeks along with the groundhog!  All twelve of my groundhogs sang:
"I'm a little groundhog,
furry and round
You may see me pop out of the ground
When I see my shadow
Down I'll stay
Six more weeks of winter's on the way!
Can you guess what tune we sang this little ditty to?  If you said or thought "I'm a Little Teacup" Kiss your brain your 100 days smarter.  Wait I mean 101 days smarter!
Our friend Zero the Hero brought two zero
shaped treats because 100 has two zeros!
We jumped up in front of the white board with the overhead projector on and if we saw our shadow we sat on one side of the room and if we didn't we sat on the other.  Yes, I said "we".   I mean "we" quite seriously.  Someone had to demonstrate and I was the one that volunteered.  Only two out of twelve didn't see their shadows.  It looks like we are in for another six weeks!

We did have some sweet reminders of 100s Day left over.  After putting together our trail-mix of 100 snacks, 10 from 10 different bowls, I decided to save the kisses we found hidden by our friend Zero the Hero in the gym.  We attached them with tape to our Hundreds chart and I used it today to reward finishing assignments, giving compliments, or for being a good friend.  I would have them take a kiss off of a number that is ten more or less than another number. Some got to take a kiss from between  two numbers or one more or less than a given number.  It was quite interesting to see how easy or difficult this was for different children.  I think we'll be kissing again for Valentines Day!

I hope you are finding ways to celebrate big moments in your life.  Whatever you do find ways to bring joy to those around you....It's contagious!  If you have any monsters in your closet try putting 100 spots on them...They aren't as scary that way!
We added a spot for great behavior or finished work and said a cheer
each time we made it one ten closer to 100.  Students changed the number
on the white board each time they added a spot.