Wednesday, May 30, 2012

National Doughnut Day! Freebie!!

Do you ever get inspiration in unusual places?  I very rarely go inside a gas station.  I love being able to pay at the pump!  Yesterday I decided to give into my love of coffee and go inside to pay.   If you give a teacher a cup of coffee, she's probably going to want a...DOUGHNUT...Yes doughnut to go with it!  WAIT...National Doughnut Day is Friday. This Friday, friends!  I would never have known that if I hadn't had that urge for a cup of joe at that particular moment in time.  I'm sure I heard angels sing when I realized that I would be able to celebrate this event in real style!   I suddenly felt so sorry for anyone who is done with school for the year...No doughnuts for them!
If you don't know Arnie yet...Let me introduce you...Arnie, you
are looking at someone who will appreciate you like no one else
can.  They will introduce you to all kinds of hungry great friends!
I find Laurie's illustrations delightful!  Each page is filled
with wonderful silliness that appeals to kids of all ages!

Several years ago, when my children were young enough to be in a summer reading programs, I was lucky enough to go and see author and illustrator Laurie Keller as she presented her new book, Arnie the Doughnut.  She brought along doughnuts that looked remarkably like Arnie himself.  She taught us the proper way to eat doughnuts which, I am happy to say, all of my children have mastered.  How you ask?  You always look at the doughnut and ask, "May I eat you, please?"  If the doughnut doesn't answer than you may go right ahead and eat it!

I can't wait to share pictures with you  of my owlets decorating their doughnuts with googly eyes and pipe cleaners. If your feeling the excitement mounting you may want to watch this video...Warning it may create too much excitement in the anticipation of National Day of the Donuts!

I'm happy to share with you these activities inspired by  the book Arnie the Doughnut and Digital Bakeshop's Kawaii Treats.What ever you do to celebrate I hope it involves a favorite doughnut of mine named Arnie who becomes the first DOuGnut ever. His adventure about friendship with someone he may
have least expected to be friends with
is as funny as it is heartwarming.   

Click on the link below to get the full packet!
National Doughnut Day 2012
Disclaimer:  This blog is in no way advocating doughnuts as a healthy life choice when it comes to food!  If there is a National Vegetable Day, this blogger promises to commemorate that day in style, too!  No doughnuts were eaten (yet!) in conjunction with this post!

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

WARNING: Obsessive Linky!

I'm so excited to be participating in this fun linky party!  I haven't linked up in a while and since things are winding down at school it's time to think about what to do over the summer months...I have so many obsessions, but for now we'll just call them loves! The rules for this linky are easy, and I'm into easy this last full week of school! All you have to do is list as many or as few obsessions as you have.  Give it a try.  I'd love to find out what things put joy into your life!

I LOVE birds.  I even have another blog devoted to them! (I'd Rather Be Birding)  I spend hours hiking in the woods or sitting in my backyard looking for these awesome creatures.  My mom says that when I was six months old my favorite thing to do was to sit in a box and look at an old bird guide.  That is still my favorite thing to do!
I found this baby tit mouse hopping around outside last week.
How can you not love him?
I LOVE Sharpie markers.  My favorite collection is the 80s Glam pack.  I have gone through two packages this year.  I only let my owlets use them for special occasions.  I'm so protective of them.  They just make anchor charts and sentence strips so much fun to make and read.
Those words, "limited edition" make me very nervous!
LOVE number three....COFFEE!  I love coffee.  I don't want anything in it...Give it to me dark.  My favorite place to get it is a local shop whose motto is: You can't sleep here, but you can wake up here.  They do have some organic breakfast cookies that are to die for with dried cherries and dark chocolate.  So I guess I do like a little sugar with my coffee!
Part of my attraction to coffee is time spent with good friends!
I splurged on this day and got a hazelnut latte!

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I recently got into a bidding war at a silent auction over a basket of chocolate items.  It came down to being between the kindergarten teacher and myself.  My future first graders had donated the items for their current kindergarten teacher to collect.  The auction was a benefit for our school.  I had made up my mind that I would stop at forty dollars.  The kindergarten teacher went to forty-four!  My darling daughter, looking out for her my  best interests, put my name down and added three dollars to make the grand total $47.00!!  I won the basket.  I wasn't too upset about going seven dollars over budget.  And I got some of my favorite chocolates....dark!!  Yes, I  LOVE chocolate!

I'm obsessed with buying digital clipart.  My favorite is The Digital Bake Shop.  I also love getting images from KPM Doodles.  If you get the sets from KPM Doodles blog they are quite reasonable!!

Tomorrow I'll think of something else I should have told you about.  For now I'm off to pursue one last obsession...Eight hours of sleep!!

Thanks to Bonnie at Living a Wonderful Life for such a fun linky!  She has a great blog and I'm excited to be following her!

Six days....

Sunday, May 27, 2012

Homecoming and Four Math Game Freebies!

My daughter's bed is made and pillow put in place.  I know she'll be exhausted by the time she makes it home.  I'm so anxious to see her.  After finishing her junior year of college she went on a mission trip with a group of classmates to Guatemala.  This is her second trip there and I know it isn't her last even though she got to experience third-world medicine first hand!  I can't wait to see the staples she is so proud of adorning her face.  She's just hoping she gets to keep them as souvenirs!  I can't wait. I can't wait for her to come home!

My younger two are playing piano, trombone, flute and singing Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zero's song, "Home".  Don't ask how they do it, but let me tell you it is a joy to watch them try to find ways to fill their time before they get to see their big sister!  I hope I can catch them on camera one of these days.  They are planning on singing it to their long lost sister as soon as she gets here.

What to do....What to do...I'll create a game for early finishers!  I bought the Game board package from KPM Doodles a while ago.  I had tried to come up with my own boards, but it was a lot of work and when I saw that KPM Doodles had already done it, I just bought it and now I'll share what I made with you in honor of my daughter's homecoming!  I'm going to have a lot of fun with these designs...Thank you KPM Doodles!
This is the first game in the package!

I'll leave these on my blog for a couple of weeks before
I move them to my TPT  account!!  Get them while they 
are free!

Four Math Game Boards! Laminate to reuse!

I have to go....I see headlights....She's home!!

This is the last game in the package!
Download the rest to see two and three!

Friday, May 25, 2012

Winners! Caterpillars!

Are you a winner?  Yes you are!!  You win a Memorial Day Weekend to refresh and enjoy the freedoms we have.  We practiced the "Star Spangled Banner" this week and enjoyed listening to other patriotic music.  I bought a wonderful lift the flap book that told the history of our National Anthem as well as breaking the song into learn-able chunks.  Even though it's a board book,  my sixth grade music class enjoyed it and didn't find it one bit babyish! You can take a closer look at the book from my Amazon carousel...You can even order it there!! Oh Say Can You See

Are you still with me?  I know you really want to know who won my first Give-Away!  Rafflecopter is so easy to use.  Plus it really works!!  I was a little nervous about it, but I will use it again if I ever have 100 followers!
a Rafflecopter giveaway  The winners are (Do you hear the drum roll?).....
Kelly at  Busy in K

and ...Sara at  Smiling in Second

I'm a winner now too because these are great blogs that I hadn't known about!  I'm following them all and look forward to reading through their old posts as well as seeing exciting things to follow!

Our Monarch caterpillars are a wonderful classroom addition.  Today one of my students asked if she could read to them...I love saying, "yes" so, I did.  She told me later that she knew he was listening because he stopped chewing!  I'm amazed how quickly these caterpillars are growing.  I'm more amazed to look back at pictures of my owlets on their first days of school and see how much they have grown and bloomed this year.  They are almost ready to wrap themselves in the chrysalis of summer and emerge as second graders!
I'm excited to have my daughter come home from college on Sunday.  She went on a mission trip to Guatemala as soon as school let out.  I heard last night that she had to have some staples put in her chin following a fall.  It's  so hard to have your child that far away and not be able to do anything...Not that I could have done much!  She writes quite humorously about her experience on the group blog, so I'm praying she wasn't as scarred by the incident as I am!

Have a wonderful Memorial Weekend...Remember to remember!


Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Another Rock Award and Book Fair Fun

Laurie, you and Chickadee Jubilee rock!

Coming soon to a mailbox near you!!
I have to give a hoot about my "kindred blogging spirit" Laurie at Chickadee Jubilee.  She wrote a kind post about me and all that we have in common, while I was planning and "head-writing" a post about her!!  Of all the things I've gotten from blogging,  new friendships has to be at the top of my list.  To quote Anne Shirley, “I’m so thankful for friendship.  It beautifies life so much.”   Something else we seem to have in common, Laurie, is a love for Anne of Green Gables. Thank you for being my bosom blogging buddy.  Rereading all the Anne books this summer is on my summer bucket list!  EVERY one of your posts gives me inspiration and joy.  I wish my children could have had you as their teacher.  That is why I am presenting you with my 2nd YOU Rock Award!  Enjoy your last weeks with your sweet chickadees before they fledge to 3rd!  If you haven't checked out this chick(adee's) blog you must!!  You can follow my link or look for her button over there...

Lovable, laughable Clifford
I am the Book Fair Chairperson!  That means twice a year I get to push books on children who actually know my motive.  With each book fair over the past five years, it has gotten easier.  I've learned how to twist arms,beg  ask for help and have enjoyed being the first to see the wonderful books Scholastic sends.  The fair that is going on right now is my favorite.  It is not a fund raiser, but a fun raiser!  We don't actually make a profit on this fair. We do get a free book with each book we buy.  BOGO book fairs are great ways to build classroom and home libraries.  I buy a box of books and keep them in my basement to give as gifts all year long. Just so you know Scholastic Books did not pay me to say any of this, but they can if they'd like to!  With scenes like this during the week who wouldn't want to be the book fair queen chair!?

forget playing ....I'll read!

Look how excited this kid is!!

Nine days, but I'm not counting!!

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

We're Going out of 1st With a Bang!

Do you find yourself walking around blogging inside your head?  I seem to have a constant "post" going.  The only thing is sometimes by the time I sit down to put it on "paper" my thoughts have vanished or don't sound quite a good on "paper" as they did in my mind.  Right now I have some many posts and ideas going on inside my head that there aren't enough school days left to capture them all before the final bell rings.

"We're going out of 1st and into 2nd with a bang!"
If you look closely, you can see me with my twin sister..
Super Reader!
A teacher friend said to me the other day, "You mean you're still teaching?!"  I said that I was and that first grade was going out with a bang.  We are doing the "pop a balloon every day until the end of school" activity that has been all over Pintrest.  I took some of our favorite activities and wrote them on slips of paper.  Then I placed the papers into twelve balloons and had my twelve owlets blow the balloons up.  They pop one each day at the end our time together to find out what we'll do the next day. I draw their names to see who gets to do the popping. So far we've had free-time, a walk in the woods and tomorrow... a morning recess... Yep, I'm getting a lot of teaching in!

I must mention that this nature-lovin' teacher used the walk in the woods as a great opportunity to talk about endangered species.  Most children think that endangered only applies to animals.  It was with great excitement that we discovered three Lady-Slipper orchids growing in "our" woods.  We were also able to collect Monarch caterpillars to observe and we learned a little more about tree identification!
Sooo beautiful!
Actually we did accomplish quite a bit today.  My owlets love "I have___ who has___?" activities, so I came up with one that has a worm in it to finish up our worminess!  I looked for a book that I used to  have called Under the Sky.   I could find a picture of it...But not the book!
Product Details
I remembered enough of the book that I was able to write out the gist of it on sentence strips.  I passed them out and let the fun begin.  I created a document that will allow you to have some fun in your room, too!  We practiced it a couple of times and tried to get faster and faster.  This really helps my students who have trouble staying on task or listening during group instruction. Everyone has to be ready to read their statement so the next person can jump in with theirs.  If you've never tried a sequencing activity like this, give it a try! The Under Over Story!!  

This may look boring, but it's good clean fun!!

I ran out of pockets!!

Owl Yours,

Saturday, May 19, 2012

You Rock Award and a Give-Away!

Last week at this time I was walking along the shores of Lake Erie collecting rocks.  I didn't know for sure what I'd do with them, but they were too tempting to leave there.  Most of them fit neatly in my pocket. All had been warmed by the sun and I hope that the memories they provide will warm my heart.  When I got home I realized I had not bought a souvenir for my son.  I took one of the rocks and wrote "you" on the bottom (Don't ask how I knew it was the bottom!) and handed it to him.  It is true....He rocks!

Someone else out there rocks, too!  Her name is Renonda and she blogs at Snickety Things!  She makes gorgeous cakes, reviews books, crochets and shares patterns among other delightful things.  She has become my friend and the first recipient of my "You Rock" award!  She has stayed up late at night with me and guided me through bloggy issues!! She even made me a crocheted owl because she knows how I feel about owls!   She has helped me in so many ways with her kind comments and encouragement.  She will get this award in the mail any day now!  Thanks for being you, Renonda. May you display this proudly....

Renonda, please be sure to let me know which book you want!
You get a book, too!!

Now that I have 50 followers, I feel obligated to have a give away.  I'm so thankful for everyone who has taken the time to read my ramblings!  Here is one more for you to read:

What am I giving away?  Three surprise packages with a book from the Book Fair!  Other goodies will be included in the packages.  I just ask that you follow me and leave a comment below letting me know which of the books you would like.   You all rock!!

Which book would YOU like?


 I only have thirteen days left with my sweeties!  I'm going to make every day packed with learning!!


a Rafflecopter giveaway

Monday, May 14, 2012

A Chickadee and a Worm Freebie!

This chickadee is busy building his nest.
Each year I travel with my sisters to try and see as many birds in one location as possible.  We wish we could do a big year together, but because of other responsibilities we just can't do it...Maybe someday! If you don't know what a "Big Year" is I highly recommend the book "The Big Year" by  Mark Obmascik. I returned yesterday from our "Big Weekend" exhausted and sore from hiking and straining my neck to see more birds.  I won't bore you with too many bird pictures, but I will share this picture these pictures that made me think of my friend Laurie at Chickadee Jubilee.
How can you not love these cheerful little guys?

I do have over 200 pictures of my trip and I will be sharing them at my blog devoted to mostly birds.  If you love birds you can check out my other pictures in the coming weeks! I'd Rather Be Birding is the blog where I let my bird geekiness out!  I promised I wouldn't mention any more bird activities this year.  So I won't tell you about the Chickadee and Hawk game we played during our break.  I won't mention how it is a lot like Duck Duck Goose.  I wish I could tell you how "It" is a chickadee and says chicka-dee-dee-dee and on the last dee the person they touch turns into a hawk and tries to catch them. You'll have to wait until next year to find out that the chickadee is safe if it makes it all the way around the circle and sits down in hawk's place.  I bet you can hardly wait until next year to find out how to play this game that teaches kids about predator and prey in the bird world...sigh!

Looking through a compost pile for earthworms.
Isn't it cute?

Do you know how hard it is to measure worms?  I'll be glad to use
ones that aren't quite so squirmy and made out of yarn!
Today we started learning all about worms.  I promise a couple of posts about this.  Here are a couple of pictures to whet your appetite for more wormy ideas...

Finally here is a Fact or Fiction activity that I'll use with my students tomorrow.  We'll be reading Diary of a Worm.  Today we read a non-fiction book called Wonderful Worms. Tomorrow we'll be writing poetry...our first draft and deciding whether statements are fact or fiction...Here's a link for you if you'd like a freebie for studying worms!  

Enjoy these wonderful last days of school.  Love the students that are precious in His sight.  I pray they are precious in your sight, too!

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Verb Birds

I had to extend our bird unit into this week.  I am My students are so into it that we had to keep going.  Yesterday when I saw  Chickadee Jubilee’s post I knew I had to write some bird poetry.  We haven’t done as much poetry this year as I would like and I knew my students would benefit from this activity because we are also learning about verbs.  The poetry frame originally came from WritingFix.  I used paintbrushes instead of marbles because I didn’t have any marbles at school and I forgot mine at home.  We pretended that the brushes were feathers and now I’ve made a mental note to use feathers when  I reapeat this craftivity in the future.

Just like the Chickadees we Owlets read the book Birds by Kevin Henkes again.  This time we listened for and recorded the verbs we heard as we read.  Then we made the verbs  fly across the paper before we painted what we thought the sky would look like if birds left paint behind when they flew. We all hooted with pleasure as we hung our finished projects up for others to admire and learn from.

My owlets have always loved speech bubbles, so today as we finished up another project we used them to reinforce the idea that verbs are what a noun does.  Each child made a bird with a foot and handprint.  They used markers to add the details.  I placed the birds on a blue background.  I added speech bubbles and the owlets told me what their bird could do. 
A whole flock of verbs!

I saw this idea somewhere on Pintrest.  It looked more.....hmm
professional when I saw it!

Don't you love this Hummingbird!

This has been a rough week.  My owlets are getting restless and branching out.  They are ready to fly. Tempers have flared, and arguments have erupted over play-dates and birthday parties.  I found that my patience ran low, too.  Today the sweetness of three students made me smile and remember why I do what I do.  One child, who loves to test me said, “You are so cool!  I love you.”  Another left a note on my desk that said, “Mrs. Reck I love you as a teachur and a purson.” Another student returned to give me hugs during the afternoon because, “I’m going to miss you so much, tomorrow!”  Not too many people have that happen on their jobs.