Monday, July 29, 2013

Monday Made It! July 29th

I am starting off this post with a wonderful inspirational quote my friend Betty sent me ( from her sweet sister BJ!).

A thankful heart doubles our blessings and causes us to enjoy them twice; once when we receive them and again when we remember them.
Lord, let me never take You for granted and daily remember to thank you.

Starting this blog is something I am really thankful that I did- not because of the actual blog itself- but because of the connections it has let me make- you fabulous people out 'there' who are happy, encouraging  teachers, loving to share ideas and build each other up!  By the end of school last year, I was just not really myself. I felt like I would come home and complain, and I was really letting other people's negativity get me down and affect me. (Maybe I felt that way cause my husband told me that...hmmmm...)

In fact, it was SOOO hot in the school and people (not even the kids...) got SO cranky, that my friend gave me this post-it pad.  I just saw it in my desk the other day and smiled again... (yeah, it was bad... haha)

I didn't like that at all. Seeing the problems and forgetting the blessings can become a habit if you let it.  This summer has been completely different.  I am so happy each day to read all the fabulous ideas and thoughts  you all have, to share ideas I think of, and to comment and read comments and notes from the sweetest people.  I have 'met' some real, true friends here, and I thank you for that.

I have NO idea why I remember this, but when my kids were little, they would watch Rocket Power (a silly cartoon  about skaters and surfers...) and I will never forget one of the characters  talking about this group of people who didn't like them and saying, "Don't let the shoobies get you down. "  NO idea why I remember that- but it stuck with my and is sort of my motto. How pathetic that my internal voice is a surfer-cartoon character ... but ... this year- no matter how much stress other teachers are under with tests, students, parents, RTI, APPR, SLO, LLI, RTTT, PTO, NCLB, or any other letters you can think of... Here is my advice-

 Just remember to be thankful.  Enjoy your precious class of students who love and need the happy, caring, real you.   DON'T LET THE SHOOBIES GET YOU DOWN! Stay as positive as you can. Do your thing.  

End of sermon! :) (I think the sermon was just for me to go back and read once school gets going.)  On to Monday Made It! Thank you, Tara, for hosting this!

Here are some things that I had fun making this week!  Lots were from great Pins I saw and made to work for me. 

First- a couple anchor charts- (Please- art teacher friends of mine... don't judge.  I would like to say I TRY to draw like a kindergartener so the kids feel better about themselves. Yeah, that's it. That's what I do!)

(I have post-its cut in half all ready for when we do our labeling lesson.)

Next, I made these little guys for each child to take home, once we learn about them and use them first in the classroom.  I had these little wooden spoons that come from those ice cream cups you can buy. 
I made one side into a pointer for the children to point to each word as they read it, and also for them to remember to  use their EYES to notice pictures in the story they are reading.
Again- some had LOTS of attitude and personality to me and quickly became favorites...( You're probably thinking I could use some real human friends-  I know...but look at those yellow eyes...either crazy, bored, or trying to be sexy. Not sure.  ha!)

For the back side of the spoon, I used the adorable spacemen from Sandy's (Kinder-Gardening)  Sight Word Construction Packet , to help the children remember to use those spaces between words when they write.

I also made some spacemen and eye pointers to use in the classroom before I send these home to use. I will write a note with these to the parents explaining just how both sides of the spoon are used- and  hopefully it will be used at home for lots of practice reading and writing!

Here are a couple counting activities I made and have ready to laminate.  I have a big bin of colored glass dots that the children use for sorting and patterning. I think I will just include these fish right in that bin for another  beginning year activity.  I am going to keep my 4-leaf clovers in my extra little pot of gold with these gold counters- or maybe some of my "real" gold stones.

(This isn't actually something I made to use- just the idea to remember to make for
adding/subtracting using different color glass dots and a recording sheet.)

I will leave you with this- (again- not "funny" at all to 19 year old sons. Whatever! ;)

Happy Monday! :)

Sunday, July 28, 2013

Sunday Smorgasbord!

Time to link up with Fabulous in First for Sunday Smorgasbord! Thank you so much for hosting this each week, Michelle. 

First- I want to start off with this Random Act of Kindess Freebie my friend Susanna from Whimsy Workshop made.  I actually GASPED when I saw it posted on her Facebook page!  It's a home project to get your students (and families) in the wonderful random acts of kindness mindset.  I just love this. Thank you Susanna! She shares some of her other ideas for her Kindness Curriculum here.

A teacher in a town not to far from me created a Facebook page called Mrs. Andrew's 2nd Grade Kindness Project, trying to get a million likes for people doing random acts of kindness. 

I love Dan Pearce's blog Single Dad Laughing.  He shared this video about "Reverse Pickpocketing."  The thing that struck me about it was how happy the people looked after they gave away the envelopes. It was fun to watch. 

I found this wonderful poster that I really liked- and the best part is, you can download it FREE at Kind over Matter . Isn't it a fun idea? 

My next favorite thing of the week is this Sight Word Zoo Writing Packet!  

Susanna's artwork is A-DOR-A-BLE.  Look at those faces.  But there's more- it's really soooo great for learning sight words and writing- just look at all the activities each book includes!

In her post about this series, she gives a great overview of what each book offers.  I can't wait to use these with my new class.  Just the characters will make me smile every time we use them, so that is great for me. For some reason, when their little arms hang down at their sides, I just want to scoop them up and hug them.  Maybe that is why I am teaching Kindergarten, do ya think? Speaking of that...

I thought I would share with you probably one of the main reasons I became a teacher...
Yes. True.  I just bought my new supply for this year.  They bring me such joy. I really do remember being little, watching a teacher use one, and thinking that it may be the cooooolest thing I had ever seen.  I needed to be involved in a profession where I would be using one of these. Not a stethoscope. Not a gavel.  A two-sided pen.  As a seasoned veteran, I can also tell you that the medium points are far superior to the fine points.  You're welcome. 

I will leave you with these guys.  I found them at the Dollar Store- and their eyes just screamed, "We can help teach your students about looooking at pictures in books!"  I love Eagle Eyes- but it's fun to have lots of reminders and different ways to help the children remember to LOOK.  There were 6 colors- so... obviously I couldn't leave one behind.  I lined them up to take their picture- and look at Mr. Orange rolling his eyes at me!   Welllll... that just made me  laugh after I took the picture-

So I tried again and they all acted up...(Yes- I spent time arranging them this way the second time- the first time was a legit eye roll. Yes- I am really easily amused. Insert Twitter hashtag #whatiswrongwithme...)  Anyway, this picture reminded me of  my class when I say, "EVERYONE LOOK RIGHT AT THE CAMERA!" 

I also got  slinkys (sorry- "springs!;) to help with Stretchy Snake words- and also for s-t-r-e-t-c-h-i-n-g out stories with more details.
Looking back on this post, I would say that YES- it is random enough!  :)
Have a wonderful day! Thank you for stopping by!

Saturday, July 27, 2013

Treasures from the Kinder-Garden! (and some brownies)

Before I even really knew (and loved)  my friend Sandy, from Kinder-Gardening, I found (and loved) her TPT Store!  She says it isn't very big (I think "teeny tiny" were her words...) but it is full of treasures.

I first bought her Sight Word Sentence Construction Packet- because it was exactly what I needed to help my children fine-tune their sentence construction - beginning with a capital letter, using spaces and punctuation, and reinforcing sight words.  She included her adorable space men spacers, which the children thought were -ok- I am going to say it- OUT OF THIS WORLD!
Then, I found her Base Ten Math Flash Cards and I can't WAIT to use these! I am printing them out on card stock and laminating them this weekend. This is what made me know I had to write this post. 
I will use these ALL. THE. TIME.  Oh my gosh, they are great! 
These are a couple of her sample pictures to show you how she shows each number:

 Kindergarten First Grade Base Ten Math Flash Cards

Kindergarten First Grade Base Ten Math Flash Cards
For some reason, tens and ones were the trickiest concepts for my children to understand last year- so I think presenting with this visual will be so helpful!
I just bought her Back to School Envelopes and Poem, because they are PRECIOUS- and SO MUCH WORK (that I don't have to do!).  I can't wait to get them out to my new boys and girls.  
Back to School Envelopes and Poem
You can find these treasures here at Sandy's TPT Store! I just wanted to share them with you.  Thank you, Sandy!
NEXT- a quick, yummy recipe for you.  These are a great thing to bake and take in to your custodians , who are working so hard to make our schools ready to go- or the secretaries who are busy registering those last minute new students...   (I just want my new students BEFORE the buses pull in on the first day!)

Ready?  All you need is:

Just make a box of brownies (any kind, of course!) and bake. 
(Resist the urge to just eat the batter and not even BAKE the brownies... It has actually been done in this very house before...It's a real thing.  Let's just say I am a good mom sometimes/ or a horrible one- either way- it's been done. )

However, when you unwrap the Peppermint Patties, I think the rule is that you must try at least one to be sure they taste just right.  Yeah, pretttty sure that's the rule.

Take the brownies out of the oven, with about 2 minutes left to bake.   Put the Peppermint Patties on top and the brownies back in the oven for those last couple of minutes.
When they are done, the Peppermint Patties will spread like frosting. YUM.

and cut.  That's it!   They cut much better when they are cool- plus, this picture just amused me for some reason.  Can you believe my son (19) didn't think it was really that funny? What is wrong with him?! He might have said something like ,"That seems like something you would think was funny."  I didn't actually "LOL" but I did "SAL" (Smile a lot.)( I know -that's not a real thing.)
I give my mom credit for these brownies.  The first time I remember having them was after Halloween one year when we had left-over Peppermint Patties, and next thing I knew- she came up with these. That was WAY before Pinterest or Semi-Homemade with Sandra Lee even existed!  (Plus- I'm pretty sure after watching Semi-Homemade enough that my mom would have been required to include a tablescape and some sort of Peppermint Patty cocktail with these brownies- so...)
Just thought I would share an easy, fun recipe- and show you why I don't have a cooking blog. Ha ha! :) 
Happy Saturday!



Friday, July 26, 2013

Favorite Pins Friday? Yep!

I don't even think there is a Favorite Pins Friday linky- but I have some favorites, so guess what?! I am going to talk about them - and it is Friday- so...  Here we go! :)

My first and FAVORITE  pin is from Sarah (A Sunny Day in First Grade).  I was the LUCKY winner of her Elmer the Elephant packet from her TPT store.  I love introducing my class to Elmer each year, and this will make it SO much more fun. The activities she included in the packet are wonderful. Thank you SO much, Sarah! <3
Elmer the Elephant Printables & Craftivity!

Next, I found these Retelling Sticks as a FREE download  at Keeping it Captivating's TPT store. They will be so useful!
Freebie: Retelling Sticks

I loved this letter idea from Meaningful Mama.  This would even be fun to do as a send-home family project, with everyone making a different letter.

This idea was from Structured Play and will be really great for the beginning of the year!
Introducing writing name
These wonderful beginning year ideas are from Kindergarten Kindergarten.  I love her blog.  How simple, yet fabulous is this anchor chart?!
In her post she talks about purposely leaving the caps off the markers and glue, to show the children what can happen to them- and how important it is to take care of our school tools.  This is SO important to take the  T I M E to teach in the beginning of the year.  Sometimes it gets so busy those first few days, that I forget to teach these basics really well.  This is going to be one of my first Writer's Workshop lessons! She has so many other great ideas. Thank you, Kathryn!

Cara, at The First Grade Parade has a really good post about these confusing little characters, b and d.  There are lots of ideas to help the children remember their bifferences differences.
 The First Grade Parade: Is that a B?? Or a D???
She had an adorable little camping theme going on over at her blog, too.  Isn't this campfire crown just so darling?!

Last "schooly" pin is this cutie from To The Lesson . SO easy, independent, and clever. I think I am going to make fish on a poster board as a sort of mat for this activity- but the separate fish are really cute, too, and take up less room.  You could even use plastic fish with numbers on it- or two colors of stones and have fish with addition problems on them.  SO many options!

Now for some ... 
I have had a ball playing around with My Fridge Food! Well- not literally... but if you haven't seen this site, it's lots of fun to try.  You just check what items you have on hand, click,  and TA DA! Recipes appear that you can make with your ingredients.  (Look at that BACON CUP down there- is that even a real thing?!?!) Go ahead- Play with your food!

These were just sweet ones I kind of loved.

This was just so sweet/sad to me.  Aww- I just want to  hug those little fruits.

And I will leave you with these stools.  How do you NOT love these?! 
I hope you are all smiling- because no matter how many times I look at this, I still do!
Happy Friday!

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