Friday, August 31, 2012

First Week Freebie!

I now have four days under my belt. I love starting the week before Labor Day because of the nice long weekend that follows that first week. I need this weekend to rest and tweak some of my best laid plans. The first day I missed the owlets that branched out to 2nd, but by Thursday night I closed my eyes and saw the eyes of my sweet new students. This group of owlets is going to be a rewarding group to teach. When I had them share a page they read during I Can Read by Myself time, I was thrilled that so many of them read a page fluently from their chosen books.

I love watching the personality of a class emerge. This group doesn't like to sing a whole lot, but they love to do the motions. When it comes to tail shaking they are the best! We sing a song about the things God has made and they all choose something that has a tail to shake! "Oh who can make a fox, dog, wolf, coyote, cat...." I love to sing about the opossum and watch them all fall down on the floor and pretend to be dead. They are laugh out loud funny people. I get to spend more time with them than their parents during the day and I feel so humbled and honored to be able to do that.

Each Friday I like to introduce a new game to play with a partner. After we've played the game I send it home in Friday Folder so the parents can play, too! This weeks game was a big hit. These kids love cats and were really worried about which partner would get to keep the cat from the game. They cheered with joy when they saw me pull out a copy for each of them. Wanna play? Click on the picture to grab a copy for yourself and your class if you'd like!

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Fairy Doors and Pete's School Shoes!

I wasn't going to post tonight, but I got so excited about fairy doors that now I can't sleep! My BBF from Chickadee Jubilee shared one with me and then I had to go check out more!

Pinned Image

Is that not the most precious thing you have seen? This next one happens to be my favorite because it is inside and I love the window on the books.

fairy, fairy door, fairy doors, faery, faery door, faery doors, fairy doors of Ann Arbor, Ann Arbor District Library

You can read more about this door and other UFOs (Urban Fairy Operations) by clicking on the picture above.

Even though my class is composed of mostly fine young men this year, I have to have a fairy door. I am blessed to be married to the most creative, kind, loving, giving, cranky bear of a man. He has agreed to make a fairy door for my classroom. I can hardly wait to see what he comes up with. I've got all kinds of whimsical ideas flying through my brain right now...Thanks Laurie!

As long as I'm here, I've got to let you know that my new class is totally funny. My owlets are an amazing group of creative high fivers. Not too many huggers in this group! I'm going to enjoy their laughter and enthusiasm all year long. I really can't wait for procedure to be taught and the learning to really take off!

Today I was lucky enough to be able to tell them about owl pellets. A room full of boys and owl pellets...They loved it! I'm going to need to get some to dissect before the year is over. Having owls as my theme, how could I not do the owl pellet dissection activity?

For the first day we read
 Pete the Cat: Rocking in My School Shoes
These students wanted me to read it again and again. Did I? Goodness no! Of course I did! I'll probably read it again tomorrow. I can't get enough Pete! Here are some Pete inspired shoes...

Many of the boys made "cool fire shoes"! They had elaborate plans for how they
would turn on and shoot fire!

Click on the picture if you would like a copy to use!

The adrenaline from the fairy doors has run down. I can't keep my eyes open any more. Thanks for visiting.

Pete Linky

Sunday, August 26, 2012

I Pledge to My Students!

I'm feeling a little bit reflective tonight. Tomorrow is the big day. It is the day I've been waiting for since June! It is the first day of school for a brand new batch of first graders. I feel awed by the responsibility of teaching these precious children. My first teaching job was first grade and the principal let me know that she never hired first year teachers for the position of first grade because it was such a vital year. She hired me anyway! That year was special in so many ways and it was definitely a year of firsts for me.

I'm thinking further back than my first teaching job, though. I'm trying to remember my first grade experience. I think it was so awful that I've blocked a lot of it out. My family moved from Missouri to Michigan half way through September. My teacher at my new school was only there a few short weeks before she took the rest of the year off on a maternity leave. My substitute was unmemorable, but recess was a time for bullies to pick on "the new girl."  I wasn't crazy about my new school and things didn't get better.

In second grade the teacher let me know I was too dumb to teach cursive writing to. In third grade I was ridiculed because I didn't know how to write in cursive. I don't know if I told my parents, because I didn't want them to think I was dumb. Early on, I labeled myself as "dumb". When I finally arrived in high school I had a teacher say, "You aren't like the others." She was referring to my older brother and sisters who excelled in all things academic. I learned to excel in all things social. To this day I love a party.

Why did I become a teacher? I NEVER want a child to go through what I went through in school. I want every child in my care to know how special, creative, talented and precious they are. God has used my past to shape my future. I love what I do. It isn't about the three months of vacation. It is about loving the children as Jesus did.  So, I'm ready to say, ""Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of heaven belongs to such as these." Matthew 19:14.

Will you take this pledge with me? Will you promise only good for the children in your care?
Click the picture for your own copy.    

Saturday, August 25, 2012

Teacher Week: Friday Freebie!

I'm cutting it close, but this is going to make it in time to still call it Friday! Click on the picture to get a School Tool Bingo Game! I'm using this the first day and each time I name an item it will coordinate with an activity to get to know our room and put away supplies...EEEK I can't wait!

 Tomorrow is a sad day for me...One daughter back to college for her last year before she goes to graduate school. I'm glad I still have two at home to keep me laughing and singing. I hope your weekend is spent doing something you love with someone you love!

Friday, August 24, 2012

Thursday Therapy

I know it is Friday. A month ago I may not have been able to tell you what day of the week it was. School starts Monday and, even though I'm ready for it, I do have the jitters! Even after MANY first days I still get them. What I need is therapy...Thursday therapy! That's why I'm linking up with Blog Hoppin' again today. So grab a couch, lay down and get yourself some therapy!

My first choice in therapeutic activities is to get outside and look for birds. I know I've talked about birds before, but just to make it clear to you, I'm birdbrained. Since the tender age of 6 months, I've been told, that my favorite book was an old bird field guide of my mom's. Today my collection of birding guides and books is pretty sweet! I have a collection of binoculars that I use to take friends and strangers out birding with me. I've pushed my bird agenda on every student I've ever had contact with and they know they can get me off task by asking a question about birds! I try to get to Canada in the spring for migration sensation and a little therapeutic time with my sisters.
Evidence of a Pileated Woodpecker! Notice the large rectangular holes!

One of my favorite woodpeckers...The red headed. He is becoming quite rare dut to loss of habitat. 

There are very few pictures of me without binoculars in my hands! Here I am in the wilds of Arkansas tracking down an owl! We saw him briefly. I was supposed to be back resting in the hotel after spending some time in the emergency room...long story....but I was not going to let a little illness keep me away from what I came to see...

I came to see this gorgeous bird. I was rewarded many times and it didn't even have to work hard to see him!

Isn't she cute? She and her friends fight over sitting rights all day long. I wish they could just get along and share the feeder!
Thanks for the session! I owe you big time for hanging in to the very end of this post! I'll be back tomorrow for Freebie Friday. Yes, I know tomorrow is Saturday. Oh no! I've got the jitters again. I'm heading outside with my binoculars and camera!!
A Catbird...LOVE!

I have to include an owl picture!

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Where I Work Wednesday!

These owls will be used on the clip chart when students get to school in the morning. The tree trunks will keep student's pencils close to their working area.

My morning started at 6:00 this morning. I have gotten to spend the day with some fun and amazing people including my faculty, students and their families! This morning we had our staff CPR training with other area Lutheran teachers. After that training we had an interesting lecture about cyber-bullying. I had so much fun watching people fall asleep. I was a little concerned about one lady with knitting needles...I was sure she was going to impale herself on one of those as her head kept getting lower and lower! Then I finally figured out where I knew "that lady" from. She had been a dorm mate of mine 29  a couple of years ago. It was so much fun to become reacquainted and learn we've been living in the same area for years. I couldn't wait to get back to my classroom to put the finishing touches on everything for our open house tonight!

It's Wednesday and that means I get to share where I teach! You can too, and then link up with Blog Hoppin'

This is where I teach...
I love this place! I rearranged the whole room this year and threw away a lot of clutter. My room is quite small, and cozy. I love my space. I got rid of the desks and put chairs in instead. Now I have a storage unit from Ikea for my students cubbies.  I have a small book shelf to put in the corner instead of the crate and I think I'll put my lamp on top of that. There are a couple of missing items that I am waiting for the mail carrier to deliver. 

I adore these little owls made with a Stampin' Up  punch.

Clip chart ready for action!

Number Wall!
I LOVE teaching students  Touch Math. Each of my numbers have the touch points made with owls! Click here  to go to the TouchMath website. I use Touch all the time!

My classroom rules  capitalize on positive behavior. The owl on the bottom makes a hooting sound when I notice behavior to hoot about!

I LOVED seeing my students tonight and feel so excited about starting school on Monday. I'll leave you with the poem I'm sending in the mail tomorrow to each student...

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Technology Tuesday!

I'm linking up with Blog Hoppin' once again for Teacher's Week. Today is Technology Tuesday.

The greatest technology class I ever had in high school was typewriter keyboarding. It was a class I loved and practiced and excelled in. There weren't computers in high school and there weren't any in college either. I made a couple of dollars typing papers for other students. Those lessons I learned in high school have served me well!

My first meeting with a computer was the Apple IIE. A friend showed it to me and I was not so impressed and thought it was a passing fad. Two years later I had one in my classroom and I was hooked!

Today, my students are more savvy with technology than I was my first years of teaching. At first grade they can surf the web pretty well. They know how to find movies on Netflix,  and use apps on their parent's smartphones.

What hasn't changed is children's need to connect with each other and with loving adults in their lives. The ability to make lasting relationships is as important now as it was when I was a kid. I don't have a lot of technology in my classroom and I can't say I want to have a whole lot more.  Sometimes I think technology takes away a child's ability to imagine, create and daydream. Being "bored" gives children the time to find creative ways to fill gaps of time. My technology of choice is probably a blank piece of paper and a pencil. Let them draw, imagine, and create.

Don't get me wrong. I do feel there is a place for technology in the classroom. My favorite fee site is :
Click on it and check it out!

If you want to pay a bit of money, or if your district has heavy pockets, this is the subscription that you don't want to miss out on:

Ticket to Read builds fluency, and phonics skills. I love it and use it with all of my students. I can hardly wait to give them their log in information on the first day of school. The first day is coming soon, so I better get to bed! No matter how much technology we have, we still all need our eight hours!

Monday, August 20, 2012

Must Haves Monday

I'm linking up this week with Blog Hoppin'!
School hasn't started yet, but I'm thinking I MUST HAVE a vacation coming soon! Actually, I think school starting will be a bit of a least from my chauffeuring job! Trying to juggle a car between three drivers has been a  little trying at times this summer.
Here are some things this teacher must have:
1. Paper...I love all kinds of paper! My collection keeps growing and my favorite thing to do with it is make things with my Cricut!
I made this with a Stampin' Up punch!

2. My Cricut is a must have. I keep it set up and ready to go at all times in my craft room. My daughter loves to help me make things for my classroom using it, too!
A peek at my Word Wall!

3. COFFEE! I love the stuff.  I can't start a day without it. I really want a Keurig, but I haven't been able to justify it...Yet!  I do have a birthday coming up!

4. I must have MyMemories Software. I tried using Adobe Photoshop, but It was just too complicated for me. I use MyMemories to make games, bookmarks, nametags...You get the idea!

5. I must have my Bible! Yep!! I couldn't get through a day without it. Some might call it a crutch, and that's fine. I am handicapped by sin! I am amazed by the power, love and wisdom God's word has for me. I probably should have made that my number 1 Must Have, because Only With the Lords Strength can I do anything!
Tomorrow I'll be back with a technology tip...If I can think of one! Thanks for spending time with me!

Saturday, August 18, 2012

Don't Tell Anyone About This! FREEBIE!

I've got a HUGE smile on my face today. Sara from Smiling in Second Grade has an exciting giveaway
going on and you don't want to miss it. Well, maybe you do want to miss it because then I'll have a better chance of winning! How awesome would it be to have a laminator in your own house or classroom? No more depending on someone else to do it for you. No more going to the laminator only to find out someone else has used the roll up and not put in a new roll. My school laminater is so old that it is more like putting a bag around your creations...Can you tell I really want to win this one?

I already have my first product to put through. Wanna see? It is pretty sweet. Ready? Here it is...
Graphics by Digital Bakeshop...'cept for the mustached owl...he's my sons creation! I designed these using MyMemories Suite software....LOVE!
Enjoy! Forget about entering the GiveAway. Don't forget to enter this awesome GiveAway! 

Thursday, August 16, 2012

SSShhhhh! I have a secret and a FREEBIE!

Can you keep a secret? If you can then read on...I have a couple to tell you. If you can't keep a secret please stop now and visit my friend Kimberly over at First in Maine. You'll be refreshed by her blueberries and get some great ideas for what you may want to read next.

Now that I know I have your attention and you have pinky sworn not to tell a soul what I am about to tell you, I'm ready to reveal a secret.

The information that you've seen, heard, and read about "that" pencil sharpener is absolutely true. It is really that amazing. I'm not sure I want word to get out because I'm planning on ordering some as Christmas gifts and I don't want to have to wait too long. If everyone knows what I know, about this pencil sharpener, several things will happen. The price will go up because it is worth far more than it is currently priced at. They will sell out and mine will be the ones that are on back order.

I had to hide the sharpener from them and
have them cut laminated stuff instead!
I have to tell you that it is NOT the quietest classroom sharpener. When ever anyone sharpens a pencil all I hear is, "WOW!" or "Oh my gosh! Look how sharp this pencil is!" or "My turn!" There is nothing to be quiet about when it comes to this pencil sharpener. Everyone is begging to use it and I can't hear the sharpener over the excitement of the faculty as they crowd into my room to wait their turn to use MY sharpener. I should have kept this a secret. As I'm trying to get my room ready for school teacher after teacher shows up to borrow my sharpener. Now I'm begging you... don't tell a soul.

My daughter and her BFF came to school to help me. They almost ended their friendship fighting over who would get to sharpen pencils. I had to come up with some other creative things for them to do to preserve their friendship.

Please don't tell anyone about "that" pencil sharpener.

Ready for secret number two? I made labels for my shared supplies to help my owlets know where they belong. To help us tell which items are community items, I've put some matching mustache duct tape on each item.

Now, because you are a dear friend and a follower, I'm sharing these labels with you. If you want to go to TPT you can buy them, but why not just click here or on the picture below and get them free?

You can go ahead and pin if you'd like, but please don't tell anyone my secrets. Remember we pinky swore!!

Go here to see "that" sharpener! Shhhh!
 I'm linking up...Go check out more great freebies!
Freebie Fridays