Sunday, September 30, 2012

Are You a Winner? Owl Book Freebie!

I found so many awesome coffee themed items at Target this
week in the dollar aisle!
Are you ready to be a WINNER? Well, if you didn't win the laminator give away, you still have a chance at winning some amazing prizes from Dana at Fun in !st Grade. She has %)...I mean 50 different items she is giving away! I donated a cup of coffee because as you know ...

Click on the buttone to head over to Fun in 1st Grade and spend the afternoon entering to win some cool and HOT prizes!

Before I show you the winners, I want to thank you for entering my GiveAway and give you a book I wrote about owls. It is kind of silly, but a fun way to have your owlets learn sight words and a couple of things about owls! I hope you can use it!

And the winners are...
Thanks you to everyone who played along. Thanks to owls, Giveaway, laminatorfor being so generous to teachers! You are terrific!!

Saturday, September 29, 2012

Caught at Work! FREEBIE!

What do you get when you put two Sugar Bears into a classroom of first graders? Mayhem! Well maybe not quite mayhem, but something close to it! These cute little visitors were so much more interesting than anything I could provide. Guess who got the attention? Yep! The  Sugar Bears. Talking about what animals would make good pets one of my sweet owlets mentioned Sugar Bears. I had never heard of them and even questioned him about whether it was a real animal or not! It is and I have pictures to prove it!

I have had some amazing days this past week. My students are doing a great job building stamina in all of their Daily Fives. The hardest Daily for this group is the Read with a Partner time. They would rather wrestle with a partner, talk to a partner or play with a partner. It did help when I started taking pictures of kids doing the right thing...
I have wanted to come up with a way that students can monitor their own reading/work habits during our Daily Five. I am so excited to use this for the first time on Monday. As each student completes a Daily they'll be able to color in the number of owls for how they felt they worked during the Daily time. I'm excited to see if this will help them use their time more wisely. Feel free to use this rubric, too. I would love to have suggestions or ideas on how I could improve it.

Color in one owl if you'll try harder next time. Two owls if you worked some of the time. Three if you worked most of the time. Four if you worked harder than you ever have or the whole time!

Thursday, September 27, 2012

First Grade Common Core

Need I say more? It has arrived at almost every school in the nation. It is important to know what "Common Core State Standards" are. I would direct your attention to to understand what CCSS is if you are to embarrassed to ask! What I love about Common Core Standards  is that it provides a checklist of skills I need to make sure my Owlets know before they fly on to another grade or school. I can be as creative at addressing those standards as I want! This book is a great resource for teachers, parents and administrators to help every child understand what they need to know to move on to the next level! First Grade Common Core is coming to a school near you! I can't wait to get my hands (computer) on this resource!

Hmmmmm.....What hoop can I have you jump through today to earn another entry for the LAMINATOR I'm giving away?  Go check it out!! Click the word "LAMINATOR" to go to the rafflecopter!

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

20 Days Wiser...and Older!

Twenty days of learning, twenty days of fun have left me feeling twenty days tired! I'm planning on an EBT...(Code word for early bed time...Please don't tell my kids!) I can't go to bed without showing you some activities from our 20 Days of School Celebration.

We started by setting up a museum in the school library and inviting other classes to come and visit. We had some hands on exhibits as well as hands-off ones!  A couple of students had forgotten to bring in collections, but I made sure they had something to share.
My collection of twenty dice! I love all different kinds of dice.
I'm always on the look out for new kinds!

After we had our museum up and running we read and responded to ten 20 second challenges. We'll do these again for day 50 and 100. Each time the challenges will be done for the number of seconds of the given day. My owlets loved being able to color in the box with yes or no in it for each challenge. I let them use their highlighters which has me in the running for teacher of the year award! Can you stare at a friend without giggling for 20 seconds? Some of the owlets could! Click HERE if you would like a copy of the challenge to complete with your class.

I got this next idea from Sandi at

Her blog is one I check regularly and she had a great idea to take old frames and let children create works of art inside them.(Click on her button and go say, "hello"!)  I have so many picture frames and thought I would let students create works of art using 20 blocks as one of their work stations today. They loved it, and I did, too! I didn't have the heart to tell one of my owlets that his owl was one block short of 20! He was SO proud that he had made something I love. Thanks for the idea, Sandi! The kiddos loved the idea so I know the frames have a new home out of my basement and into my classroom!
I am now twenty days older than I was when we started this school-year and tonight I feel twenty years tireder! It is a good kind of tired. One where I can lay down and close my eyes and see the smiling faces of first graders who love school, reading, learning and their teacher! Life is good!
P.S. I added another entry for the laminator the is giving away!  Scroll down to my rafflecopter and give it a try!!

Sunday, September 23, 2012

Daily Five Clip Chart

Today had the beginnings of being a "terrible, horrible, no good very bad day"! We woke up to bright sunshine and not to our alarm clock. We had no electrical power. We had to get to church early today, so no time to shower or wash my hair...Yuck! No coffee could be made. We couldn't figure out how to use our "Smart" dumb phone to call Consumers Energy. During church I realized I had gone to college with the couple sitting behind me. They commented that I hadn't changed a bit...Great, dirty hair and no make-up is how they remember me!

I'm happy to say that things did look up! My young parent Bible class was very meaningful and we talked about being "Faith Whisperers" in the lives of our children. (This idea has come to me as I read The Book Whisperer which IS as good as everyone says!) I left church feeling very different than how I had walked in and was so happy to come home to a house lit up like a Christmas Tree! We had turned lights on, but not off during the outage!

I would be able to play with my electric toys! My daughter's bedroom has been converted into my craft room. Every vertical surface is covered with paper or fabric! No more basement for me . . . I'm moving up in the world! Check this out...
Underneath this paper there IS a bed!
Today I found yet more paper to laminate! I love the way these turned out...

Come closer!
I've been using my marker board to do my Daily Five rotations. This will be so much more fun. I used my Cricut to cut the puzzle pieces out and then laminated them with my very own PaperMonster laminator. The thick lamination is so sturdy this will last for years!! I used a dry erase marker to write on them, so they can be erased and used for all kinds of things! 
I love this machine! I'm so happy I get to give one away!
Will it be you? I hope so!

Did you know you can win your very own laminator? I blogged about it yesterday and today
I added another way to enter.  Just scroll down a little and see what I added!

Saturday, September 22, 2012

Falling for Fall! GiveAway and Freebie!

Happy first day of FALL! I think this is my favorite season, but I'll be honest with you . . . I love them all. However, only Fall brings crunching leaves, pumpkins and fresh apples. I've never gone on a hayride in any other season. Even though I started going to football games to watch the marching band, I've actually started to enjoy the game. Fall, I greet you with joy!
This is a picture from last  autumn!
Next fall I hope to visit my friend Laurie from Chickadee Jubilee and watch the Chimney Swifts make their fall appearance. Go check them out  HERE and enjoy the new blog design by Barb from Ruby Slippers Blog Design...I'm hoping she can join us when we slide down the hill on cardboard boxes waiting for the birds to arrive!

Could you "fall" for a laminator? I did! I have fallen in love with my very own PaperMonster Laminator! Since sent me one to review I have been busy laminating everything in sight! I'm even using it to make my school's student and teacher ID cards. It does an amazing job and puts a very strong protective coat on everything I've put through it. It is priced affordably and takes up very little space. It is light weight enough for me to easily take from home to school and back home again. I would have liked more information about it in the directions department, but most of my questions were answered in the wonderful video has on its site.

Want one? It is pretty easy to get your own Monster. Here are two ways: enter the drawing using the Rafflecopter, or don't wait, order one today! While your waiting...Here is another monster just for you and your class, too!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

I am Not Lost Finger!

Each year I stock up on these "I am Not Lost" Fingers to use through out the year. I pass them out to my students to keep in their Browsing Boxes. We use them for different activities including sight word work, oral reading practice and reading directions together. It is a visual reminder for them to keep their eyes on the text or a great tool for find the word activities.  It helps me guide students back on task if their mind starts to wander.
I hope they change their minds about these I am Not Lost Fingers!

This year after I passed the fingers out and told them what they were for I got this question that NO ONE has ever asked in all the years I've been teaching... "Can we pick our noses with this?" The thing that I think is quite funny in this question is that all eyes were on me and looking at me quite seriously. There wasn't a smirk or a giggle in the crowd. They wanted to know if they could use these to pick their noses with....Sigh! What I love about this question is that it was so honest. I feel so honored that this little guy thought that he could ask me anything without feeling embarrassed or afraid of my reaction. It was hard to suppress the giggles that tried to escape, but I was able to keep a straight face and say, "No."

I wish "no" had been the end of it. Someone else asked if they could take it home at the end of the year. I said I wasn't sure. He replied, "If I get to take it home, the first thing I'll do with it is pick my nose." How can you not love a job where you get to spend the whole day with such delightful and funny people!
I caught these guys using them properly!

Monday, September 17, 2012

Thank You for Being a Friend! FREEBIE

I don't cry very often. When I do it is usually because of happy things...Strange, huh? I occasionally wish I cried more easily, but the things that bring tears to my eyes are the things that touch hearts. The kindness of a stranger brings tears to my eyes. Watching the elderly at church make their way to the Table of the Lord brings a tear to my eye. You, dear friend, bring a tear to my eye when you leave a message or respond to a comment I leave with you.

My blogging buddies have made my world larger and better by their kindness and willingness to help, encourage and reach out in friendship. I have to admit to you I have my favorites and if you have read this far you are probably one of them. Thank you for being a friend. I hope you can use these materials to build sight words, or math knowledge. If you can't, give yourself a hug from me because I appreciate you taking the time to read this post! Thank you DoodleDarlin' for your wonderful clipart! I have probably used this more than any other set I've ever purchased!

Friday, September 14, 2012

Whole-Brain Mania!

I have been watching this video over and over! I love her style. I used several of these techniques in my classroom today and wow! My favorite was when I had them blow the answer into their hand. Everybody answered and was engaged during my whole mini-lesson. I can't wait to become more "Whole Brained" 

I made these posters to get me started doing more whole brain activities. I have found that trying to incorporate too many new ideas at one time doesn't work. When I break things down into chunks things go much better.  I'd love to share these posters with you. Enjoy!!

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Hang in There...Friday is Coming!

This has really been an amazing week! We've learned about the Titanic, set up a museum of 10 and started working on our Gs to send out to 25 schools participating in the Alphabet Letter Exchange. On top of the extra fun I've been so impressed with my classes ability to stay reading, stay writing and stay working on words! I have to share a  picture that shows my students enthusiasm over books...especially ones that have to do with their current favorite subject...The Titanic!

Did you know that the Titanic was a mail ship? R.M.S. stands for Royal Mail Ship. Five mail clerks tried desperately to save 200 bags of registered mail, but the mail and the clerks went down with the ship. To date none of the 3,423 bags of mail have been recovered. Two of my favorite resources for using in our study have been these books.
National Geographic Readers: Titanic
This is easy to read with lots of pictures. I've been using it
during transition times calling them "Moments on the Titanic"!

Titanic (DK Eyewitness Books)
Great information in this book! I really
like the photographs.
Our letter Gs are under construction, but I can hardly wait to have them all circulating through the mail. We colored our Gs green. Then we Glossed them with Green Glitter Glue!

I had my first casualty of the year today. One of my little puppies was not his rolly polly self! He seemed to have lost his spark! I could tell he wasn't feeling well. It wasn't long before he complained of his ear hurting. I asked someone in the office to contact his mom to let her know. As we waited to hear back from his mom I told him he could rest on the couch if he needed to. He would go back and forth from the couch to really trying to participate with our activities. Finally our office administrator came down to the room with a message from mom, "Hang in there. I'm coming soon to help you." After he got this message from his mom he perked up and was able to engage more fully. Just knowing that his mom loved him and cared about him made all the difference in the world to this little guy. He lasted until lunch when his mom came to the rescue!
I find that is so true in my own life. When the things of this world start to drag me down I remember that I too have a promise from a loving God. Hang in there...I'm coming soon to help you! 
"The Lord is with me; I will not be afraid. What can man do to me?"Psalm 118:6 and "Draw near to God and He will draw near to you" James 4:8. It is amazing how good news can change our attitude! Here is more good news for you...No matter what day of the week you are reading this...Hang in there Friday is coming!

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

What To Wear Wednesday! (Freebie!)

My poor aching feet. I have spent the summer in bare-feet or flip-flops and trying to shove my tootsies into shoes that were probably not designed with comfort in mind has been the worst part of back to school. I've tried to contort my feet into shapes that at a younger age was not a problem, but as I get older wiser I'm coming to realize that comfort is going to have to come first! Here is a glimpse of what I did to my feet this week...
Cute, but by the end of the day, blisters right by my
arches and sore feet!
Natural Soul by Naturlizer? If it is natural to have your toes blistered  and pinched than these are
the shoes for you. I had to take them off as soon as the kids were out the door!

Today I resorted to wearing the flip-flops again and my feet were happy all day. I just didn't feel very professional. I broke down today and went shoe shopping. I have a good feeling about my shoe choice tomorrow. I went to my favorite local store in Muskegon...Go Gear. The people there are knowledgeable and friendly and I love shopping locally. I believe there is some truth to the saying, "You get what you pay for." With that said, I hope I do!! I tried to have them give me a free pair if I blogged about their store...They just laughed at me...I paid full price! Ready? Here they are...
These are going to make my feet HAPPY!

Wouldn't your students pencils like some new shoes? Perhaps they'd like a new topper. I created these toppers to give my students positive thoughts when the "I can'ts" start to show up for school. I like to have my owlets write the word "can't" on a piece of paper, tear it up and throw it away. Now instead of "I can't" they have some "I cans" right on the top of their pencils. Click on the picture if you'd like a copy of your own "I cans" for your pencils to wear!

Graphics by Digital Bakeshop!

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

I Just Got a Letter!

I have been waiting eagerly for my first "letter" to come in the mail! Today was my lucky day. Actually I found the letter in my mailbox yesterday, but I got to share it with my class today.  I've been a little nervous about what to do with the letter "G"  I get to send out to 25 classes across the US and Canada. Don't worry, I'm not going with my original idea of chewing green gum and having students make "gs" with them and sticking them to the letter. Some thought that would be too "germy" and well I don't want to "gum" up my new Paper Monster laminator. I do have an idea that is simple and germ free! (More on that when they are done!)

I am participating with a group of early elementary teachers to make one letter of the alphabet for classrooms across the US and Canada. That's why I was so excited to get the letter F from a school in California. It wasn't just any school. This school is home to students who have parents serving in the US Navy. These are the children of parents who have dedicated their lives to keeping our country safe and free. They spend six months at a time out at sea patrolling our waters and keeping us safe from harm. I want to say thank you to those students for their amazing letter f and to the teachers dedicated to teaching these special kids. I saw this picture on a friends facebook page and want to share it
with you...


So here it is our first letter in the Chick-a Chick-a Boom Boom Letter Exchange hosted by Chrissy from First Grade Found Me. Thank you, Chrissy for your hard work putting this together.  Speaking of Chrissy...She has an awesome giveaway you want to miss. I've entered have you? Congrats to her for her 300 followers!
Thank you to Energy and Science TPT store for the Free USA map!

F is for fingerprints!

Thank you for the amazing letter helping us get to know you better!