Thursday, March 29, 2012

Sixteen Hours!

This chick is really excited about Spring Break!
I love KPM Doodles!

Sixteen. More. Hours!  I think I can...I think I can...I think I can!  Sixteen more hours until Spring Break.  I could use a break.  I was feeling a little grouchy today and apologized to one of my students about being not so cheerful.  He said he hadn't noticed; bless his heart!  I was trying to cover my lack of patience, and it must have worked.  Writing their own Psalms, three children included me as something they praised God for.  When I explained to the class that I was looking forward to having a bit of a vacation. One little girl looked shocked and said, "But Mrs. Reck won't you miss us?"  I assured her I would, but that I was looking forward to sleeping in, staying up late playing board games with my children and reading 11/22/63 by Stephen King,  not to mention all the birding and shopping I'll be able to squeeze in.  Yes!  I am looking forward to Spring Break.  I admit I'll miss my Firsties and probably spend more than a few hours blog hopping and checking on Pintrest for new and exciting ways to catch their attention and make learning fun over the break!
Eggs loaded and ready to be hidden!

Family, do you remember how much I loved hunting for Easter Eggs?  I still do!!

A up and coming young reader!
Today we did have fun.  I got this great idea from  First Upon a Time.  Before class I made tiny sentence strips.  Each strip had two sentences on it.  One of the sentences stated something they had and the next asked who had something else. ( "I have tent.  Who has went?")  The sentences were placed inside plastic eggs so that the sentence showed.  Inside the egg I had also placed a foil wrapped chocolate egg.  I hid the eggs around the room, making sure that there was one egg for each student.  When they had found an egg, they waited on the Carpet Corner until  everyone was there.  I numbered only one strip with the number one so that we knew where to start.  It took a bit of practice, but when the class was able to read the entire group of sentences under one minute, we followed the directions of the last egg that read,  "I have an egg.  You have an egg.  Now open it and find the surprise."  They asked to do it again, so, after re-stuffing the egg with the candy and sentence strip, I hid them while they waited on the carpet with their eyes "closed"!  I noticed several closed eyes following me around the room!  It is a great game to build attention span, sight vocabulary and even fluency!  It could be played with numbers, too!  "I have 345.  Who has 278?"

I have Spring Break.  Who has already had their Spring Break?  (Sorry!)

Thanks for stopping by. Owl love reading your comments!

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

I'm so Geeked ...I Got an AWARD!

I am so touched and honored to receive this award!  Thank you Mrs. Alexis' Butterflies for this special award. I've certainly enjoyed this new adventure called blogging.  I appreciate the time it takes and the commitment involved in writing about...well everything and anything!  I'm excited to be able to pass the award on to some of my favorite peeps...I can say that around Easter time, right?  So here I go.  Drum roll please.  .  .

I would like to pass this award onto:

Into the Wild Blue Yonder (Not a teaching blog!  But quite an adventurer!)
JEMinEYE (Not a teaching blog!  Great photos and stories!)
KPM Doodles  (Great Graphics!)
One Woman's Thoughts   (Great Christian Devotions)

The rules for this award are to:

  1. Link back to the blogger who gave you the award.
  2. Pass the award on to 15 other lovely bloggers.
  3. Follow the person who sent it to you

Monday, March 26, 2012

The Way of the Cross

My friend, "Susan" is an inspiration to me.  She sees each day as an adventure.  If I could trade places with anyone's life, it might be hers.  Like Paul, "I am learning to be content in all circumstances." (Philippians 4:12)  My life has quite enough adventure for me!  "Susan" has lived in Kuwait and is now living in Mali. Did you know that there is a military coup going on there?  She is pretty much a prisoner in her home with five children under ten years of age! Though she's running out of milk and eggs,  she's designing t-shirts that say "I survived a coup Mali 2012".  Makes life seem pretty easy doesn't it?  She's running out of milk and I have the luxury of driving past Walmart to go to Meijers instead!  I'm praying for this family and I wish you would, too.

The mini-book I'm giving you a link to is dedicated to "Susan" and her family.  It was illustrated by my son (GoodGraphicsDan - Youtube!) and husband.  We had fun working on it together.  Sharing time with family is important to me and to "Susan", too!  You may not be able to use this book in your classroom...for obvious reasons!  Perhaps you can use it with your own family!  The Way of the Cross - a book for Holy Week...The Way of the Cross
My friend's name is not "Susan"...I changed it because I don't want any harm to come to her or her family!
"Susan", I hope this book might give you something to do for a couple minutes with your family. I wish I could bring dinner over! You are loved and surrounded by many prayers!


Sunday, March 25, 2012

Pencil Caves and Clifford Freebie

It's hard for me to believe that three months ago I didn't really know what blogging was.  I have so enjoyed writing new posts and hopping from one blog to another.  Teaching at a small school has given me great opportunities, but being able to blog hop has let me feel as though I'm part of a large collaborative community.  I get so excited when someone leaves a comment.  It's as if I suddenly have the support of a whole community of teachers and friends!  Thank you for your kind words and encouragement.  Getting to know you has been so much fun.

Morgan also has her "I am not lost finger" in her cave.  This helps her follow along when we are all reading the same text together.

These caves are ready to be decorated with Easter stickers before being attached to the student's desks.
My students each have a pencil cave on their desk.  I ask them to keep two pencils in good operating condition in their cave at all times.  They may also keep a pair of scissors and a highlighter in their cave.  I take old toilet paper tubes and cover them with a color of paper appropriate for the season.  Their names are written on their cave and then attached by taping it to the top of their desk with wide packaging tape.  They love their caves and sometimes find messages or treats in them.  This month each cave was covered with a different patterned green paper.  That has allowed me to easily group children for instruction.  The striped cave dwellers might start the rotation by  writing.  The polka dotted dwellers may start by going to the listening center, and the plaid group may start by reading with me on the rug (rug readers!) After a predetermined time has passed they all switch stations.

I recently got a new purse.  I just have to show it to you because it's so cute!  If you didn't know I loved birds then you probably at least knew I had a great fondness for owls.  Shortly after I started blogging I saw this purse on pintrest.  I followed the link and chose the cheaper less expensive green owl purse.  When the package arrived it was the purse that I REALLY wanted!  I e-mailed right away and told them of  the mistake and the people at joeleather on ebay said to keep it.  I was quite happy to agree with them!  It's supposed to be handmade.  I found a tag inside that says, "Made in China"....I'm not so sure that it is totally handmade, but I love it anyway!

Is that Clifford in the background?
We are going to spend  the week finishing up Clifford and achievement tests.  All of my students love Clifford and have enjoyed using my laptop with the new app from Scholastic.  Have you tried Storia?  I think it's pretty sweet!  My students give it their stamp of approval, too.  It's free and it comes with 5 books!
It comes with three of these books and two scary story books.  I didn't put the scary stories on the bookshelf.  I added  Mr. Rover Takes Over  and Clifford the Big Red Dog.
Scholastic Storia

Finally, here are some Clifford freebies I'd like to share.  I got the graphics from melonheadzdoodles.  I love all of her work, but especially the packages that feature well loved book characters.  You can purchase her work directly from her blog or at etsy.

Clifford Package of GoodiesImproved Link!
Clifford math stories

Label Clifford
My firsties love searching for their spelling words hidden around the room.

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

A Visit to Preschool and a Freebie!

This dinosaur habitat was created by preschoolers.
I think it's very Eric Carleish!

I absolutely love visiting our preschool class.  One day I got pulled in on an emergency to substitute for the most amazing preschool teacher I have ever met.  These were big shoes to fill!  Her students are the funniest group of people to be with.  The day I was the sub, I was told by one little girl that she lived on a farm and she had a cow.  Of course I jumped all over that and asked for details because I'm thinking field-trip opportunities for my firsties!  I couldn't wait to talk to her mom after school.  Her mother gave me a strange look and informed me that they don't have a cow.  She looked down at her daughter who replied, "but our dog is black and white."  I asked if they milked it.  They don't.  No field trip there!

Here's a great knock knock joke I learned there too:
3 year old:  Knock Knock!
Me:         Who's there?
3 year old:  Boogers! (I really should have run while I had the chance!)
Me:        Booger, who?
3  year old:   Boogers on you!
At this point the child wiped her finger on me!!  Yep, you guessed it....I'll stay in first grade!

But, I do love to visit.  I feel a bit like an aunt because I can come in and get them all wound up and then leave!  One group in particular has captured my heart.  So, with the help of KPMDoodles, I created a mini book for them to read.The day I visited with my book they had just finished their unit on dinosaurs. They were so excited about the book that many of them asked if they could take it home with them.  When they come to school tomorrow I'll have a copy for each of them.  After we read the book many of them concluded that they were dinosaurs because they have long necks, eat meat and have spiny backs!   My firsties like this book, too!  It's predictable and has a repeating pattern that makes it easy to read.  If you have kindergartners, first graders or preschoolers they'll enjoy finding out it they are really a dinosaur!

Take this link to the book:
Dinosaur Mini-Book


Cut the pages of the mini book on the horizontal lines.

Fold the pages back, so that the blank pages are together.

Align the open ends of the book together and staple. Voila!  Your book is complete!

Come back soon so I can show you my new purse and my student's caves!

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Happy Spring and Fun with 7th and 8th

Come on in, the weather is gorgeous!  I can't believe that this is March in Michigan.  It feels much more like the first day of summer than spring.  I've said it before, I'm glad I don't have an outside window in my room.  I like pretending it's dreary and miserable out there!  Then when school is over for the day, it's like opening a wonderful present to walk out in the warm air and sunshine.

When I walked outside yesterday morning this is what I saw:

It looks like the moon is resting on the branch!

As luck would have it "my" computer lab was being used for other purposes yesterday afternoon.  This meant that at the last minute I had to come up with alternative plans for my afternoon classes.  Extra recess is quite popular especially with the middle school crowd!  After they got to play with my new Corian blocks and play Who Can Build the Highest Tower game we headed out to listen to the songs of birds and look for signs of spring.




Things are pretty slow in first grade this week with achievement testing going on.  There are somethings we aren't willing to give up this week, however.  We have to keep reading and laughing through Mrs. Piggle Wiggle, and reading Clifford books. We keep working a little each day at counting money, too!

Didn't my Firsties do a great job turning Clifford into a big, RED dog?

Happy First Day of Spring to you!  I hope your weather is as delightful as mine!

It's fun going from first grade in the morning to seventh and eighth in the afternoon!


Sunday, March 18, 2012

I'm Not an Artist!

I wish I could inherit some of my children's artistic abilities!  All three of my children are very creative and can draw and create awesome pieces of art.  I can sew, but I wish I could pick up a piece of paper and draw something besides a stick figure.  Once a friend of mine asked me to paint ceramics with her.  I told her I couldn't paint.  She was sure I could handle it and insisted that everyone can paint.  I proved her wrong and she had to finish painting my project for me.  Over the years I have asked my kids to draw things for me, but they are growing up and moving out of the house or busy with other things like homework when I need something drawn.  Luckily I have now figured out how to make technology my friend.  I can use my computer projector to project an image and all I have to do is trace!  I love it!  My students are so impressed when they see my work.
I guess I'm not totally unartistic!  I like to sew.  I made this for my daughter 19 years ago for Easter.  I haven't been able to part with it.  I hung it up where I usually have a quilted wall hanging!  The same daughter is currently making a quilt of the periodic table!
For many of my students, Clifford is a bit easy.  However, they all started trying to read every Clifford book they could get their hands on last week.  I'm going with the crowd and we're going to use Clifford this week for sequencing, character, setting plot, nouns, pronouns, verbs and adjectives!  It's going to be a big red week! 

Ahhh...Technology!  I can't believe I taught so many years without you...
Clifford will be red, but I'll let some of my kids who love to color take care of that for me!  I have several students that visit at the end of the day and love "helping" me.  Be sure to come back on Friday so you can see what kind of job they did!

Need some eggcellent ideas?  Here are a couple!
I used paint samples to cut out egg shapes. (See how unartistic they are?)  My daughter looked for words in magazines that were one, two and three syllables long.  They can sort these later in the week, but tomorrow I'll hide them around the room and they will find them and record them on the sheet below.
Eggcellent Idea!
Whoops!  I see a mistake already...Entertainment has more than three syllables!  

My students all know this word.  It's one of my favorites, but it must be dark!
My other egg idea involves money....Now I've got your attention.  If chocolate didn't get it, money will!  I've put money into the clear eggs I got for $1.00 at meijers.  I programmed an empty egg carton with different money amounts.  Students need to count the money in the egg and then put the egg in the corresponding egg holder.  My students love anything that has to do with money.  They study each coin and look for the date and where it was minted.  I've never had a class so interested in money!
Are you jealous of my floor?  My husband refurnished them last summer.  I love him more than the floors!


Finally, I have a challenge for you!  I just received a box full of tiles. I want to do something awesome with them.  You now know I'm not so artistic!  Do you have an idea you could share with me?  I know they could be sorted and counted.  I'm looking for something really awesome to do with these and I'm hoping YOU can give me an idea!  PLEASE leave me a comment with an idea for these awesome tiles, or my man will just have to make a back-splash at the house we're moving into this summer!

I know YOU have an awesome educational idea for these!

Friday, March 16, 2012

Fog Day Blues

Isn't he a beauty?
     The last time I was sick was in Alabama two days away from my home in Michigan.  My man and I had taken our daughter to a wedding of some of her college friends.  We dropped her off and it was supposed to be a romantic getaway with a Audubon field-trip to find the scissor-tailed flycatcher.  I'd been waiting to see that beauty for years. As "luck" would have it I ended up in an emergency room with a UTI.  I spent most of the weekend in bed watching TV!  I did manage to catch a glimpse of several scissor-tails.

Most of my pictures are me behind binoculars!
That was seven months ago...
     Don't get me wrong, I've had several colds over the past months...I teach first graders!  Here we are today, and my man and I have an empty house.  I have a fever and a raging sore throat.  My head aches and I feel completely dizzy.  A nice quiet dinner and a bottle of wine don't even sound good.Except for the quiet part.Hold the dinner!  Where's my pillow?  I have to wait until 5:45 to get into the doctor.  I just want to make sure it isn't step throat.  
     My morning began with a phone call at 5:30....5:30.  Who calls at 5:30...The school announcing a fog delay. Now, I would normally be overjoyed,but my nose started bleeding and I couldn't get back to sleep. I just got up and had a cup of coffee and should have known I was getting sick when it didn't taste good.
I don't feel well enough to switch this image!  Turn your head a little...There, now you've gotten some exercise!  The Desk Monsters were designed by Molly Malone at   She is having a give away on her blog . . . A $25.00 Target card.  
     I was pretty excited about first grade today.  I had revamped my daily review.  I had hung a rainbow in the room.  Zero the Hero had dropped off a treat for day 130.  The Desk Monster had left a treat in some  of the desks.  We were in the middle of making our hand print rainbow when someone said it was lunch.  I laughed and said we still had an hour.  I was wrong. I hadn't changed my watch last weekend.  (My family need not comment about my problem with dates and times!)  We hadn't read the Leprechaun book I had written.  We hadn't written about what was more precious to us than gold.  Drat that 2 hour delay.  

Thanks KB Konnected for your awesome graphics!

    I teach computer and music in the afternoons, but I was able to squeeze a little time in after lunch.  Just enough to finish the rainbow and put some gold under it!  I thought about getting a sub, but knew I couldn't on such short notice.  My  computer and music classes worked so quietly that I had to give them all an A for the day!  

   We sang and laughed as we made our hand-print rainbow.  I love the pot with their gold thumbprints! 
I wanted them to write their own ideas, but we just ran out of time.  I quickly wrote down their ideas as our precious time came to an end.  My first graders are worth far more than gold to me.

Before I sign off I have to share the leprechauns we made yesterday.  They just make me laugh when I look at them and I love to laugh!  I hope they give you a chuckle!

Don't get caught without your green on tomorrow!  Have a happy St. Patrick's Day
ps..  Good news!  I have a cute sinus (itis)!  I told the doctor that he was cute, too!

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Out My Window!

I paper pieced and hand quilted this wall hanging.  If I had more time I would spend it quilting!

What a beauty of a day it was!  I'm so happy that I have no outside windows in my classroom...I'm sure I wouldn't have accomplished a thing.  I would have had one eye out the window trying to see my first turkey vulture for the year!  I am happy to report that I did get to run out to my backyard in time to see what the crows were so upset about.  I was hoping for an owl, but wasn't too sad to see a red-shouldered hawk instead.  As soon as I start talking about birds I get off track...sorry!  Back on task...Because I have no outside windows I've created my own window.  I hope it will give the room a nice cheery feel for the spring.  Tomorrow the last remnants of snow will be put away and out will come our spring greenery.
My momma did beautiful  handwork.  When she lost her vision to macular degeneration, she gave me her stash of fabric.  I didn't know then how much I would enjoy making things with fabric.  Thanks, Mom!  I miss you!!
Out our window we can see
Crocus, birds, all signs of spring
Jackets off and sandals  on
We are happy snow is gone!
Winds may blow and thunder boom
We won’t be frightened in our room
For the sun will come out and a rainbow appear
To remind us our friend Jesus is near.

Another sign of spring!

I have had a ball this week with my writing prompt.  A couple of St. Patty's Day treats  are included in this packet!  I ended up using the prompt with my afternoon computer classes. All the students in my school 1-8 have asked Seamus P. McCune L.I.T. (Leprechaun In Training!) for some of his "extra" gold.  I loved reading everyone's reasoning as to why they should have the gold!  I've heard that the said Leprechaun has shown up and delivered some gold to some persuasive students!
If I don't talk to you before Saturday, don't forget to wear green and keep your eyes open for owls!

We got gold!

first grade work

A fifth grader writes to Seamus!
I have never seen anyone celebrate St. Pat's like this family!!  They make life a lot of fun for their kids!  This student  is in fourth grade!