December 30, 2012

Happy New Year and a FREEBIE!

I'm not much on making resolutions for the new year.  It's not that I can't keep them...more like I get too busy and just forgot about them!?  I like to think of resolutions as 'things I plan on doing more of''.

 Here is what I have come up with on the {personal} side of life.
Doesn't seem so bad...although, I may have trouble with the 'leave work on time' part! Now that the blogging world knows about it, I have some accountability, ha! Speaking of the blogging world, I have 2 "things" I plan on doing more of {blogging} wise:

1) Posting on more things any teacher could use in the classroom, more like day to day functions in the classroom.
2) Making more products for my bloggy friends! This is one thing I am *totally* new at and am loving about a new addiction!
Since I have found my new addiction (besides my Moscato wine discovery over Christmas), here is my first FREEBIE of the new year! There is OH.SOOOO.MUCH to cover the week's we come back from our break, so we kind of just breeze through "new year's resolutions and such" and talk about it for a day or two.  Here is a quick little sheet your kiddos can fill out that helps them look back on last year and forward to the coming new year!
Click on the picture. It will take you to my TPT store where you can download for free!
Happy New Year to you and your family!


December 28, 2012

Merry CHRISTmas!

Merry Christmas! You know what they say...better late than never, right!?

My husband and I traveled with my family to Branson, Missouri for a Christmas getaway, our first time to ever go somewhere for the holidays since all our family lives within an hour of each other.

I can't believe Christmas comes and goes so quickly every year. I hope yours was filled with just as much joy and cherished moments as mine!

December 18, 2012

All Aboard the Polar Express

We are so lucky to get to devote a whole day out of our last week before the break to The Polar Express! We all dress in our jammies, watch the movie, eat donuts and drink hot chocolate, and do fun activities and even get a special surprise!
**By far my most favorite day of the year.**
At the beginning of December, I had each student write a letter to Santa.  We mailed them off in an envelope mailed to the North Pole and sent it to the office to be picked up by the mailman.
After watching The Polar Express, our Principal's delivered a special package (still cold I might add) that was from the North Pole! Who could it be other than Santa himself!!
{Early that morning, we spray it with glitter, sprinkle water on the package, and stick it in the freezer!} 
Inside was a personalized letter addressed to each child, and a bell just like the bells the kids riding The Polar Express in the movie received. Pure madness broke out in my classroom. Kids were cheering, smiles aglow, nothing less than *true magic*!  They were most taken back by the fact that both their letters and bells were still cold!!!
Making this HUGE secret happen is pure teacher magic!
 Our entire 1st grade team writes and personalizes letters to each child in our class, types them up and prints them out on cute Christmas themed paper. Again, we spray them with glitter, sprinkle water, and freeze. With the help of our administrator's we pull off a little bit of, as the kids say, the BEST. DAY. EVER!
I have bundeled together the 21 letters I wrote to my firsties.  They are editable and can be customized to fit each and every one of your students. It's up for sale in my  TPT store.  All you have to do is add your child's name and there you have it!
{Click on the picture below.}
 A little "Christmas magic" is always fun!

December 17, 2012

Christmas hodge-podge and a FREEBIE!

Christmas, Christmas time is here. Time for joy and time for cheer. (Sung in my best Alvin and the Chipmunk voice...I know you were singing along with me!!).  Last week was our last week for fun Christmas activities. We are off this week for our 2 week Christmas vacation {Praise the Lord}! Here is a look back at all the fun we had!
We started off each morning by adding a cotton ball on Santa's beard for our Christmas countdown and writing a note full of Christmas cheer to put in a friend's stocking. This is a great community building activity.

My kids absolutely loved this activity, hands down! The were so excited to write their friends a positive letter of encouragement each day. We took down our stockings and got to read the notes our friends wrote us during out Christmas party.
This activity comes from the great Susan Moran over at T.G.I.F.  Her stocking stuffer unit is nothing short of GREAT! Head on over to her blog and check it out!
One of my favorite Christmas books is Merry Christmas, Splat!
 My firsties love all Splat books and this one is just as funny as all the others.  After reading the book, I had my students sequence what happened first, next, then, and last in the story using this present template. I have put this together for you and it is available in my TPT store as a FREEBIE! My gift to you...literally!

Later that day, I demonstrated how to wrap a present and had the kiddos write a how-to using step-by-step instructions. This came from Katie King's WONDERFUL Busy Teacher's Best Friend: Christmas Edition.  Definitely worth investing in!
If you missed my post about all my reindeer activities, check it out {here}.  We made a little reindeer/Rudolph art one day this week. A cute and very easy activity to pull off.  Have students cut out 1 rectangle and 2 triangles(no template needed), glue the pieces along with the poem on a piece of construction paper and there you have it folks!

That is our Christmas week in a nut shell (apart from our party). It was wild, it was crazy, it was fun and memorable! Hoping yours is nothing short of the same!

Merry Christmas!


December 16, 2012

Silence for Sandy Hook

Christ alone, cornerstone. The weak made strong in the Saviour's love. Through the storm, He is Lord, Lord of all.

December 10, 2012

Rudolph with Your Nose SO Bright!

The 'official' Christmas vacation countdown has begun...1 day down and 3.5 more to go.  This is one of the funnest weeks of all 1st grade, yes for me too, but it is also a TRUE test of my patience (I know you all just agreed with me)!  I feel like I'm trying to cram SO much into this week alone!

Today we learned all about Santa's right hand men and women, reindeer! We read about our beloved friend, Olive (he's the other reindeer...HA!).

Cutest. reindeer. book. written.
I also found a short movie based on the book on Youtube.  If you click on the picture of the book above, it will take you straight to it!
We used my Reindeer Roundup Unit all day today for these fun reindeer games.
 We dug deep into our imagination and wrote about what we would do if we were one of Santa's reindeer. Here are 2 cute examples:

 We brainstormed things Rudolph can do (verb practice) and put Santa's reindeer in ABC order.

We used our reindeer can-have-are chart and transferred the non-fiction information into sentences and a quick craft.
Apologies for the sideways nature of it....
Tomorrow we will be reading Merry Christmas Splat and David's Christmas and doing various Christmas activities. I'll be back to share later this week.
Have a Merry week friends : )

December 7, 2012

You Can't Catch Me!

Whew, what a week! Only one more left to go and it's the most wonderful time of the year...PTL! And for those of you who have 2 weeks left...I will be praying for your patience!

The kiddos and I had loads of gingerbread fun ALL week long. We read a different gingerbread book each day (check out my last post to see what gingy books we read up on this week), explored their story elements, and ended the week with a fun filled day of those tasty little things.

I L.O.V.E making this chart more than any other. Turns out so dang cute!
We read the original Gingerbread Man first and completed this reader's response. Here is the outside of the house and on the inside we completed a story map: character, setting, beginning/middle/end.

One of our skills this 6 weeks is making predictions, so while reading the story, I stopped in the middle and had them predict what would happen at the end with this sheet from my gingerbread litearcy packet.

We used this story elements map after reading The Gingerbread Baby. It's also from my gingerbread literacy packet.

After reading Gingerbread Friends, we used this venn diagram comparison to compare Gingerbread Baby and Gingerbread Friends. These 2 books worked great for the comparison (same author writes both books and uses some of the same characters). It's from my gingerbread literacy packet as well.
Today was the funnest day of all. We The kids created and decorated their own gingerbread person and wrote a story about them. I tried to have them be as creative as possible...I figured after reading The Jalepeno Man their creative juices would be flowing but as guess they were as brain dead as me!
Still cute though.
We talked about matter this week and I sssttttrrrreeeccchhheeeddd that to fit into our gingerbread unit by using Abby's gingerbread science experiment. Total hit! {Best of's free}
My sweet sweet grandma made 2 and 1/2 dozen gingerbread cookies...rolling the dough, cookie cutter, and my firsties could do their science experiment and then (drumroll please) decorate AND eat them!!! Grandma of the year award??
Story time: When I picked them up from here her words were, "I'm never making these cookies again!  I followed the directions, never do that, and they turned out too thin and all their heads, arms, and legs were falling off. I could just see your kids crying about the missing parts."  HA! Oh how I love her : )  So she went to the store bought more dough and re-made them. DEF grandma of the year! We so made her a thank-you card!

 I have to admit...I did eat one...ok two cookies. Yes, I even decorated one! Gingerbread yumminess! Sending gingerbread love your way.

December 2, 2012

Hello December!

Hello December! Even though, here in Texas it sure does NOT feel like it with our 75-80 degree weather that I hate with a passion. Where did the cold weather go? I'm ready to break out my boots, scarves, and Starbucks morning stops again!!

We only have 2 more weeks left until Christmas break and this teacher is freaking out just a little a whole lot a bit! With only 1 actual teaching week + 2 days of the next....ahh! I don't know whether to be stressed or just a little bit excited!?

This week our theme is those yummy little adorable cookies of goodness...Gingerbread!!! We will read a different story each week, talk about their story elements, complete a reader's response and add all of the information to our Gingerbread story house anchor chart (my absolute fav chart).

Here are the books we will be reading:


 And here is the Gingerbread story house anchor chart. I created my own last year, but have yet to take a photo. So here is my inspiration from Abby!
We use my Literacy Fun with Gingerbread Unit for our readers responses and other fun skill activities. Check it out by click on the picture!

Later this week, I will be back to share our activities in all of their gingerbread glory!

Last week, we learned about verbs and continued studying blends. Here is a peek at our week:

 We made our stockings so that they could be hung from the board and stuffed with cheer!
The hubs and I decorated the door and the kiddos helped by making Poinsettias. It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas!

Have a great week bloggy friends!

November 28, 2012

New Blogger Liebster Award and THANKS!

I am overwhelmed by the amount of love and support that is out there in the blogging world! In a few shorts weeks, I've gained followers, made new teaching friends, and sold my units on TPT. I would have never thought things would take off this fast and I LOVE that it has!

I just wanted to express my thanks to those of you who follow my blog or TPT store. Not only do you inspire me but you also drive me to become a better teacher for my team members and students. So thank you : )

And on to even bigger blogger news... I've been nominated for a Liebster Award! The Liebster Award is given by bloggers to up-and-coming bloggers who have less than 200 followers. It is to show new bloggers that they are appreciated and to help spread the word about new blogs.

These 3 lovely ladies were kind enough to nominate my blog:

Teaching Snip-Its
Adventures in First with Mrs. Key
Here are the Rules:
1. You must post 11 random things about yourself.
2. Answer the questions that the nominator set for you.
3. Create 11 questions for the people you nominate.
4. Choose 11 other blogs with fewer than 200 followers to nominate and link them in your post.
5. You cannot "tag back" the other blog, but leave a comment on this post with the URL of your Liebster post so I can learn more about you and see who you nominate.

Here are 11 random things about myself:
1. I am addicted to Starbucks holiday drinks. Creme Brulee lattes are my favorite <3
2. I have a fascination with cupcakes.
3. I had trouble as a writer growing up. Therefore, I don't really care to teach it. Oops!
4. I danced for 12 years (competition team and drill team).
5. I would LOVE to be a stay at home mom one day.
6. I am addicted to all thinks Michael Kors (sigh).
7. I normally wear flip-flops, even if it is in the 30-40's outside.
8. I never take a break to eat lunch in the teacher room- it's a working lunch for me!
9. I can never be too organized!
10. I love reality tv shows...especially the Real Housewives.
11. I have a cat who is insanely spoiled!

Here are the answers to the questions from my nominator:
1. Why did you want to be a teacher?
   -I took a teaching class in high school and was inspired by my teacher. I knew then I wanted to  touch the lives of others like she did for me!
2. What is your favorite subject to teach?
    -I love to teach thematic units, whatever they may be.
3. What's your favorite thing to do on your days off?
    -I miss my talk shows (The View, Kelly and Michael, Ellen) during the year so I definitely spend a day sitting on the couch and watching them if I can.
4. How does your grade level plan together?
    -We meet once a week to discuss the skills we will be teaching. Some of us plan together more.
5. What is your favorite blog for inspiration?
    -Definitely the reason I started blogging....The First Grade Parade!
6. What are you afraid of?
    -Junebugs and roaches. Yuck!
7. If you could change one thing about yourself, what would it be?
    -I get annoyed by sounds easily (gum smacking, clicking, etc.).
8. What is one teaching area you are working on improving this year?
    -Writing instruction.
9. What is your favorite vacation spot?
    -We love to cruise! Our favorite destination has been Grand Cayman.
10. How long do you spend getting ready for work in the morning?
     -A little over an hour.
11. Do you pack a lunch or buy?
     -Depends on my mood. About half and half.

Here are the 11 questions for the blogs I am nominating
1. What grade levels have you taught?
2. Which was your favorite and why?
3. How many times do you hit snooze before getting out of bed for work?
4. What is your favorite read aloud?
5. How many times a week do you meet with your team?
6. What is one teaching item you can't teach without?
7. Do you have to do recess or lunch duty?
8. What is your favorite unit to teach?
9. What are your Christmas break plans?
10. What or who inspired you to blog?
11. Do you have a guilty pleasure?

Here are the blogs I'm nominating:
1.Teacher Spice and Everything Nice
2. Terry's Teaching Tidbits
3. J:K Speech
4. Diapers Dollars and Diplomas
5. Love 2 Teach 2
6. First Grade Smiles
7. Sommer Pride
8. Coast to Coast Kinder
9. Our Future is Bright
10. The Happy Edugator
11. Totally Teriffic Teaching

All the nominees need to do is leave me a comment so I can read your answers and get to know a little more about you and your blog! Have fun and happy blogging!