Thursday, November 29, 2012

Snow Funny

"Mrs. Reck, you are the funniest teacher I've ever had!" This was music to my ears this week because I love to laugh myself. I'm so glad that I've been able to tickle someone's funny bone enough for them to don me with the title, "Funniest Teacher Ever"!  Being told you are funny by a first grader is a little different than being told that by one of my eighth grade literature students. None of them have claimed me to be their funniest teacher ever. Hmmmm...Maybe I'm not so funny after all!

I do like to laugh and do so often with my classes. Laughter is medicine for the soul. Once I have gained my students respect, they usually don't misbehave when I'm laughing and smiling with them. I started smiling the first day of school and haven't stopped. I've come to school some days with a heavy heart or worried spirit, but I don't dump it on my students! I remember one day apologizing to my class.  I felt that my rough morning at home was showing through! I was crabby and short-tempered. They claimed to have not noticed and showered me with praise...Which we all need from time to time!

I hope these following direction activities make you laugh, or at least smile! I'm having a great time putting together winterish activities to start using next week. I hope you can find something here to use, too!

I'm still looking for people to pay it forward to! It is really easy and fun. Click HERE to get more info and let me know you'd like to participate! 

Don't forget to enter Jessica's Giveaway! She 's offering some great prizes!

Monday, November 26, 2012

Pay It Forward

I got a package from my good friend Kimberly in Maine. You know her from 1st in Maine. (If you don't know her, go introduce yourself and find out what she's reading. She always has great recommendations!)  It wasn't just any package. It contained special items that were chosen to represent her beautiful home state of Maine. Take a look at all this awesomeness!
Raise your hand if you want to meet at  Nonesuch Books for
coffee Saturday morning!

I didn't have Blueberries for Sal in my classroom library...Now I do!

I love this moose sun-catcher. I wish we caught more around here in
the winter!

Kimberly got a package, too. Her package came from Sandy at Rubber Boots and Elf Shoes. Sandy blogs from Canada.

Sandy had gotten a package from Greg at Males in Early Childhood. Greg is from Australia.

Greg got the package from Kerina who is a blogger at Learning for Life in Northern Ireland.

Kerina got the package from Karen at Flights of Whimsy in Australia.

She got the package from Maureen at Strongstart who is from British Columbia, Canada.

Maureen's package came from Sherry and Donna at Irresistible Ideas For Play Based Learning in Melbourne, Australia.

Their package came from Tennessee...Scott sent it to her from Brick by Brick.

Scott had the package sent to him from What Do We Do All Day in Brooklyn, New York, who got it from Mouse Grows, Mouse Learns in California, who got it from Our World Classroom who got it from Pink and Green Mama, who got it from... well I don't know where it even started! I don't even know where it may end. At this point I don't know where it will go next!

Would you like a package from my corner of the world to share with your classroom? I get to pick three bloggers to Pay it Forward to. I would love to send it as far as possible! Across the country or across the world would be great!

If you would like to receive a package from Muskegon, Michigan and would be willing to pay it forward to three others, this is what you do...

Leave a comment below telling me you'd be willing to pay if forward and I'll get things rolling. I have some ideas of genuine Michiganness things to send you, but it will be a surprise until it arrives at your door! Don't forget to leave your e-mail address!

Sunday, November 25, 2012

A Little of This and That! Freebie-Giveaway!

Thanksgiving may be over, but I've still got plenty of turkeys around! One of my  Some child actually went wading in Lake Michigan after dinner! I hosted the big event at our "new" house and it felt so wonderful to warm the house with sounds of laughter and game play. I hid my computer from myself and devoted my time and energy to sleeping, eating, cooking and spending time with family!

Now it is time to buckle down and start gearing up for the week to come. I refuse to do anything Christmas until December first! This week should be a fairly calm week at school with a somewhat normal schedule. I would feel quite bad if I didn't mention to you a great find. I have been using the table making function to make configuration boxes. This takes such a long time, but I have two students that these have been tremendously helpful for! When I discovered  this font, my life changed! Thank you to C & C Teach First for coming up with such a wonderful tool. Here is a sample of one of the first things I've done with this font. I hope you can use it!

I am happy to be celebrating with Jessica from Tales of a First Grade Teacher!  She is having a great giveaway with prizes from many other of my favorite bloggers. Hop over and enter for your chance to win some great stuff!!

I even managed to squeeze in a morning of birding the day after Thanksgiving. The best birds we saw were the hundreds of Northern Shovelers, two young Bald Eagles and my first ever Long-tailed duck.

The young Bald Eagles don't get all their white feathers until
they are about five years old!

Monday, November 19, 2012

Last Turkey Standing!

I had to squeeze one more turkey in. These turkeys are my favorite to make with my owlets. They start by allowing me to trace around their hand on a square piece of burlap. After that they use plastic needles and yarn to sew along the line. We add a wiggle eye and feathers and Voila...We have a turkey! Aren't they adorable?

I'm so thankful for so many "things" but what I'm most thankful for isn't a "thing" at all! It is the love that I have for God and because He first loved me I can find His love in the smile of a child. I see His love in the rising  and setting of the sun. I feel His love in the warmth of my family. God is good and I am thankful for His continued presence in my life!

Saturday, November 17, 2012

Turkey Time Freebie!

Was this a long week for anyone besides me? I feel like I need to go back and reteach procedure and classroom kindnesses all over again! While watching a video of my students singing along to "Turkey Time" by Harry Kindergarten I was mortified when one of my sweetest, kindest owlets stuck his leg out and tripped another student who happened to be running around like a turkey with his head chopped off! If I showed you this video it would lead you to believe that I have NO classroom management skills.  Actually, they had a lot of steam to let off after a particularly long Christmas program practice. They did settle down and do some awesome work after this fun. I'll catch them doing it nicely and share it with you!

Click below for a copy of the lyrics! WARNING: You and your students will sing this song constantly...even when you don't want to!

This weeks low: I was afraid I wouldn't be able to eat any turkey after my tooth broke on Thursday night. Of course my dentist doesn't have hours on Friday, so after considering super glue, I left a message at the office. By the time he called me back I realized my tooth feels better than it has since I had work done on it two years ago. I know it will have to be addressed, but as long as I can still eat chocolate I'm okay with it! I've put the rather large chunk of tooth under my pillow. I'm believing the tooth fairy will help pay for the work to be done!

My high for the week was my son getting his acceptance letter to a school 12 hours away from home! I hope he still likes snow after a winter in the upper peninsula. He might be Michigan Technological University bound. He is a creative genius! Check out his latest "work!"

My students create a new pencil "cave" every month. I'll be sorry to say goodbye to this month's cave. I had book holders left over from a recent book fair and they have made great pencil caves and the kids came up with the idea to use them to hold the book they love reading over and over on them. You can imagine how thrilled the first time I heard an owlet say, "I'm not going to waste any time. I'm going to read while I'm waiting." I smiled so hard my face hurt. I'll leave you with pictures of their caves...

Love these non-fiction books
This turkey has a disco ball!

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Monster Baby! Handwriting Freebie

What happens when Mr. and Mrs. Deer finally get the "baby" they've always wanted? They get more than they thought a baby was for! They want a baby to "read and cuddle and read stories to." This baby needs a lot of care and it turns out that the baby isn't a baby at all! Plenty of opportunity for predicting, wondering and laughing can be found in this book. There are plenty of opportunities to make inferences, too. I liked this book much better when I read it aloud to my class. I wasn't sure my first graders would get the subtle humor, but they did and begged for me to read it again. I checked this book out of my local library, but may need to add it to my permanent collection.

I had an epiphany today. It happened quite on accident. I was hooking my laptop up to my classroom computer and had a document open on word. As it was projected onto the whiteboard I saw handwriting lines. I could model good handwriting on the board to my students. I can make my lines super huge and super small.
 I love helping children with  handwriting because in second grade my teacher told my class that we were too dumb to teach cursive to. In third grade I got yelled at and told I was dumb because I didn't know how to write in cursive. I wasn't off to a very good start! I don't hold any hard feelings toward these teachers. I would maybe thank them for helping me to become a teacher that will NEVER put down a child or say something that would make them feel less than loved, respected and cherished. I tell my students regularly that I love them. Love is a commitment. It is a promise. I am committed to caring for, not just their brains, but also their hearts. I promise to build up and not tear down. I promise to find ways to reach them that teach them the way that they learn best.
This is a picture of my white board with handwriting lines!
Here is a copy of the file I created to use tomorrow with my owlets. I hope I can sleep tonight. Help yourself to this paper that will look just as nice printed out!

In Word I can zoom way in to make giant paper lines!

Monday, November 12, 2012

Turkey Talk and a Freebie!

This First Thanksgiving Day: A Counting Book
I loved this book! I loved it when I read it to myself and loved it even more when I shared it with my owlets today. They were so engaged by both the text and the gorgeous pictures. This group of students loves reading. Anytime I pick up a book they get so excited. This book generated so many good questions, too! It is a great book to use for modeling "wondering"
On this page they wondered why the girls were shy. We talked about the difference in cultures and some of differences in language, clothing and even play.

Speaking of turkeys...My students loved watching this video I took in my backyard Sunday. Turkeys are regular visitors along with the deer. It should give the perfect ambiance to our Thanksgiving dinner!

Here is a game you can play with your kiddos. It's played like "Bump" but I've named it Turkey Tonk in honor or my brother-in-law who taught us all how to play a card game called "Tonk". I'm hoping we'll be playing it next week!
I'm linking up with Gina on the Beach Sand! Go check out some other wonderful Thanksgiving ideas!

Sunday, November 11, 2012

"Thank You, Veterans" Freebie

I'm ALMOST feeling like a failure. I had intended to share a book EVERY day in the month of November, but I missed again yesterday. I didn't miss spending time with my beautiful daughter. I didn't miss working in the yard on a beautiful fall day with my husband. Today was just as beautiful and look who dropped in.  He was part of large flock that enjoys coming through each day to clean up around my bird feeders and fertilize the yard! I promise a video of them strutting around sometime before Thanksgiving...It may take that long to upload!

Before Thanksgiving is of course Veterans Day. Tomorrow my first graders will get the chance to learn a little more about this special day that honors men and women who have served in our armed forces. I'm thankful that there have been people willing to sacrifice their life so that I could live in a country that provides so many freedoms. Find and thank a veteran tomorrow! I was able to find a perfect book to reproduce for my first graders tomorrow. I found it on TPT and can't wait to share it with them tomorrow. Click on the picture and you'll see the whole thing available for sale!

I made a Veterans Day Making word activity that you are welcome to grab. Just click on the picture below.

Kathy at First Grade a la Carte has some awesome freebies to celebrate Veterans Day! I'm heading over there next to download some. 

My picture book for today is a rather different book! I'm hoping my friend Kimberly hasn't seen this one, yet! She is showing a different book each day this month, too. She has had some delightful finds that were new to me! Saturday I went to the library to search for some of them.  The paintings and poetry make this book a favorite on my poetry shelf. Every poem is about a different insect and is full of puns and wordplay that are both humorous and whimsical! Come over for a cup of tea and we'll wait for turkeys to walk through the backyard and read poetry aloud! I'm waiting!!
Insectlopedia Poems and Paintings by : Douglas Florian

One of my favorite poems is a selection called

Friday, November 9, 2012

Tickling Toes!

The only bad thing about painting with first graders is that you can't take pictures very well. I wanted to take pictures today as I tickled toes with my paint brush. I asked for a couple of students to be guest photographers. I got wonderful results! The funniest moment of the day was when I saw one young man showing a girl how to "pose"! They took a mess of pictures around the room. I did manage to get him to snap  some of our painting project. I thought I was making turkeys, but I'm not crazy with how they turned out! I'll have to figure out how to make them look more like turkeys and less like trees, or just give in and call them trees! It looked so different on the canvas of my mind! Any ideas?

Hmmmmm turkey or tree!

The kids loved getting their toes tickled!

Even I posed for the photographer!
 I love this book and would love to get it for my 2 year old first grader! Everyday one of my students little brothers comes in and gives me the best hugs! He lets me hold him and he just snuggles in and reminds me of days gone by. The babies in this book aren't as cute as my little Nick, but they are pretty close. The soft water colors and gentle rhythmic text are a wonderful combination. After today, I'm thinking I'll have to read this one to my owlets!  Now I have some great inspiration for Pi Bo Id Mo!

Thursday, November 8, 2012

Fifty Day Museum!

I've promised to share a picture book every day and I missed yesterday but I won't miss today! I'll even share two. My children and I loved this book. We loved and still love taking walks in the forest. We often made up our own growing pattern story as we walked through the forest. This is a great book to inspire you to write your own growing pattern adventure.

What a long wonderful day it has been. I had one hour of class time before we left for a field trip to the planetarium. In that time we were able to set up a museum celebrating 50 days of school. I'm reading The Book Whisperer and thought of it as I whispered into the ears of my firsties titles of books they could read while they waited for their friends to finish with set up! Tomorrow I'll share this "book" with them about our Museum of 50!

I survived my first round of parent teacher conferences. I'm blessed with the most wonderful, supportive parents on the planet! Of course, they've blessed me with their amazing enthusiastic children. It is a win win situation! 
Waiting is never a problem if you have a book!