Friday, March 29, 2013

Five For Friday!

TGIF! I had the day off today. It was lovely :) As much as I love my munchkins, I NEEDED a 3 day weekend! I'm linking up with Doodle Bugs Teaching for Five for Friday!

I made these for Easter! Carrot cake pops :) 


We completed these ADORABLE crafts courtesy of A Cupcake For the Teacher. OMG. Top one: Gangnam style chicken. Bottom one: looks like a self portrait of the little nugget who made him! LOVE! 

I don't know if I have mentioned it, but I dislike birds. I am terrified! Doesn't matter if it's a sparrow or this GIGANTIC turkey, count me out if it includes birds. This terrifying piece of poultry was waiting for me in my school parking lot... 


Is there ANYTHING better than 1st grade writing? I looped with 5 of my students from kindergarten and I am absolutely blown away at what they're capable of in first grade. We're working on our "All About" books right now - the top one cracks me up :) "Well don't worry, I'll help you!" Look at those titles, headings, captions! Woo!

No blog post is complete without Lola ;)

Last, my TpT shop is on sale for 20% this weekend only. "Hop" over! Plus, lots of other sellers are on sale. 

Head over to Doodle Bugs and link up! Happy weekend! 

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Let's Get Acquainted!

I'm linking up today with Flying into First Grade!

Click the pic to link up!

My husband. We've been married for almost 5 years but we have been dating for 14 years - since we were 14 years old ourselves!

My house. We recently bought our first home in June and moved here over the summer. We're renovating from the inside out! 

I have a weakness for all things Coach. 

It's hard for me to pick between my puppy, Lola, and my cats, Harvey and Vinny. It's a tie :)

Head over and link up!

Monday, March 25, 2013

Monday Freebie and a peek at what's been going on!

Hi everyone! Here's my first somewhat educational post in a long time ... :)

My kids have been writing "All About" books in writer's workshop. The stuff these kids believe they are "experts" in his hilarious! I have an "All About Taylor Swift" book, "All About Hair" (including where hair is found - armpit anyone?) and lastly, "All About Gangnam Style"- hahaha!'s a work in progress :)

This year, I tried a new strategy for teaching book shopping, and I thought I'd share it because it's working really well for me. I told the class a few months back that they would have a "menu" for shopping and would need to choose 2 appetizers (easy books and sight word rings to warm up), 5-7 "entrees" or "just right books", and 1 or 2 desserts (books they want to read, but are a little challenging - they can read the pictures). I keep them in a book bin (cardboard and from IKEA- need to upgrade to plastic from Really Good Stuff next year!) and my kids shop every week or two, depending on how long I want them to work on a skill or concept. 

This idea was stolen/borrowed and changed to fit my kids from another teacher in my district :)

Lastly, we've been working on combinations of 10 in math as well as 10 as "Today's Number", and what better way to reinforce the concept then with number Boggle? 
This packet can be found on my TpT here

I'm linking up with Classroom Freebies for Manic Monday! Below is a freebie (it's part of my new Spring Fling Literacy Centers)! Click the pics to check it out on TpT. 

Enjoy your freebie! 

Friday, March 22, 2013

Five for Friday... TGIF!

This was the longest week ever! With all of these snow days we've had here in MA, I feel like these past few weeks have been filled with frantic attempts to catch up across the curriculum. I cannot believe it is already March! I hope to have some longer, more educational posts soon, but I seriously have barely taken a photo all week! I'm linking up with Doodle Bugs Teaching for Five for Friday!


We've been using these hand cutouts from Lakeshore Learning to practice efficient counting strategies. I laminated a bunch of them showing different numbers of fingers and throw some up on the board everyday. We work on making tens, making combinations we know, and adding the extras. The kids love these "hands" problems! I totally stole this from a teacher in my district :)

I love March in K or 1. It is the best time :) My lower readers are making SO much progress right now. Here are 2 of my lower level muffins reading a higher level non-fiction text in a reading group and rockin' it!


My "skylight" returns. Due to the insane amounts of snow they took my ceiling tiles out again, anticipating a second leak. UGH.

The snow needs to END! We had ANOTHER snow day Tuesday. I know Lola is excited to rock that adorable little hat and vest get-up, but I am all set with being in school until JUNE 28TH! :(


Back to my obsession with Yankee Candles. I love this new scent! I only snagged it in the small version and I'm kicking myself because now they're sold out everywhere!

I'm off to finish my Spring Centers for literacy :) Be sure to link up! 

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Spring Break Bucket List

I cannot WAIT for spring break. I have to wait until April, and I'm not sure if I can do it! We got another 7 inches of snow Monday night and had another snow day Tuesday. I will now be in school until June 28th! I can't even think about how much fun that's going to be.. ;)

I'm linking up with Brigid's Daily Lesson Log with a Spring Break Bucket List linky! Sorry for the lack of anything educational in this post.. I'm burnt out! :)

1. Get tan. I'm going to Florida with my mom for the first part of the week and I cannot wait!
2. Complete my works in progress for TPT!
3. Give my house a really good clean (it needs it..)
4. Get myself situated for next year (this one is out of my control, but I'm hoping by spring break that my school will figure out who's moving where since we're losing a classroom next year - I'd like to know what grade I'm teaching so I can get into that mindset!)
5. Get to the gym.

Hop over to Brigid's blog and link up :)

Monday, March 18, 2013

Manic Monday Freebie

Hi everyone,

I've been absent all week! It's a crazy time in first grade. District assessments, parent conferences approaching, trainings, job and grade level shuffling/possibilities, talk about STRESS. Anyone else really feeling just plain exhausted right now? I haven't even been able to pick up my computer and create ANYTHING for TpT lately! We are busy learning about non-fiction in reader's workshop, all about books in writer's workshop, and measurement in math. I wish I had some pictures of stuff to share with you but I haven't even picked up my camera! Ugh! I didn't even do anything fun for St. Patrick's Day, other than my units in math and literacy. I need to get with the program!

Anyway, a few weeks back I wrote about my frustrations with math workshop. You can read about my workshop woes here. I have been working with my colleagues and math specialist to figure out if I want to go back to math tubs or continue with a workshop model. Which leads me to my freebie.. I created some new signs to go with my new stations: Math with a teacher (meeting with me for review/extension), math with a partner (whatever partner work we happen to be working on or a game I've created), and math by myself (usually a review page or page from our TERC Investigations math workbooks). I can't say whether or not these small changes will help my workshop woes, but we just started today and we'll see how it goes :) I hope you all can use this freebie! Head to Classroom Freebies to link up and find lots of great freebies!

Monday, March 11, 2013

Manic Monday - Freebie!

Hi there,

Just a quick post to share my freebie! We're working on contractions this week in my classroom, so here's a matching game and recording sheet to reinforce the concept. I posted a freebie yesterday for Reader's Workshop - check yesterday's post to snag that one :) I'll be back with a longer post tomorrow!

Click the button to link up and score lots of other freebies!

Sunday, March 10, 2013

Teacher's College Knowledge!

I had the opportunity to visit Teacher's College at Columbia in NYC yesterday for their 84th annual reunion. I was able to visit 3 amazing workshops by 3 phenomenal educators. I love visiting TC - I always come back refreshed and FULL of new ideas for my reader's and writer's workshops! I attended a workshop on "Small Group Work to Support Readers Moving Up Text Levels" by Amanda Hartman, building stamina in struggling readers with Alison Porcelli, and how to "Have Compelling Comprehension Conferences Even When Kids Read The Simplest Books" with my teacher idol, Kathy Collins!. I'm going to focus on the last two today, since I made a resource for my classroom based on these two workshops and it's on the bottom as a freebie :)

Alison Porcelli had some amazing ideas for building stamina in struggling readers. One of her suggestions was to allow strugglers to partner read the whole time - what better motivation is there? I'm not sure if I can handle it all the time... but once in awhile would be nice! She had some fantastic ideas for "partner games" during partner reading to keep strugglers (and all students) engaged and focused on reading. I loved them! 

Be the Teacher - choose a book from your reading bag and give it to your partner. Be the teacher - help them fix mistakes and encourage them when they are doing a great job!
Echo Read - your partner reads a line, your read a line.
Choral Read - read the book together at the same time.
Tricky Teacher - use a sticky to cover up words in your book. Let your partner guess the missing word. Give clues!
On Stage - act the story out with your partner.
American Idol - sing your book!
What’s Next? - Read a page. Ask your partner to make a prediction by saying "What's Next?" Let them know if they're right or wrong!

I added this on to my "have to" for partner reading, which is to discuss a part you sticky noted. I can't wait for my kiddos to see these new, fun choices for partner reading! This list is in my freebie below :)

Kathy Collins is AMAZING. She is my teacher IDOL! She's visiting my district this year and has been working with us on conferring and teaching reader's workshop. I love her! I attended her workshop on conferring, but she focused a lot on reasons for rereading, both for lower level readers and higher level readers. Here's her list of reasons for rereading: 

To use a storyteller or narrator voice.

To notice something new.

To be able to say “this book is about…”

To get ready for partner talk.

To look closer at the pictures.

To get ideas about something.

To figure something out.

I have so many kids at all levels that whip through books in a minute. They don't understand the reason I ask them to reread a lot of the time. I typed this list up and plan to introduce it in my reader's workshop this week with a mini-lesson for each one. It's in the freebie below! 

I can't WAIT to use strategies I learned from Amanda Hartman in my reading groups this week. I'll share more about her phenomenal workshop later this week :)

Check out these resources by Amanda Hartman and Kathy Collins: 

Friday, March 8, 2013

Five for Friday

It's Friday! We had a snow day :( They predicted 1-3 inches, tops. Well, 20.5 inches later, here we are. I really don't want to make this day up in June, but the roads were HORRIBLE! So, I'm linking up with Doodle Bugs Teaching with my five for Friday!

1. I'm pretty much set to move somewhere snow-less after this winter.
My backyard... It was down to grass on Thursday! :(
2. I got this little gem on my desk yesterday: 
Secret "inmiyors", anyone? :)
3. My class thinks my puppy Lola is also their puppy, even though they've never met. They love her! One of my munchkins made me this during our indoor recess: 
I hate that I can never get these things to go straight!
4. I'm feeling a little in need of spring...
I am obsessed with Yankee Candles... I even have my own candle "closet" in my house...!!
5. This is an embarrassingly huge stack of my students' work that I had yet to get to. It has been traveling back and forth in a file folder all week. I got so behind! Every time I sat down to correct it I just couldn't finish it all! Here's my completed stack:

Here's a 6th (six for snow days?!) - I am going to the Teacher's College Reunion in NYC tomorrow with some gals from my district! I CAN'T WAIT! 

I'm putting my March centers and materials on sale in my TPT store this weekend. If you're in need of some March math centers and literacy centers or March themed math journal prompts, stop by and pick them up :) Click the pics to head on over!
Shamrockin' Literacy Centers
March Math Journal Prompts

Shamrockin' Math Centers

and to celebrate "Oz", my math center for 1-120 charts!

Happy Weekend! Link up!

Monday, March 4, 2013

Monday Freebie!

Hi everyone!
I'm in the middle of playing with my new iPad app for phonological awareness assessment - so excited to start using this!
This is what it looks like:

It's pricey ($30) - I was lucky and my district purchased it for me. I'll let you know how it goes when I get it up and running tomorrow!

I just finished up my Oz themed 1-120 chart game for my math intervention groups tomorrow. It's in my TPT shop if you're interested in picking up a fun game to reinforce using the 1-120 chart!

Also, I'm linking up with Classroom Freebies for a fun freebie!

This is a center for short vowel review with a silly birthday theme! I hope you can use it for your classrooms :) Click to download!

Friday, March 1, 2013

Five for Friday!

Well that was a long week. Really, really long... Anyway, here's my five for Friday! Be sure to link up with Doodle Bugs Teaching!
1. We're finishing up our unit on comic books! I love teaching comic books - especially at this age! It makes even the most struggling of my students feel successful in Writer's Workshop because it doesn't require a lot of writing. My little artists especially love this unit! 

Blurry... but this is my anchor chart for comic books. 
Some student work :) Love the sound effects in the first one! 
2. Anyone get the fun pep talk about the new PARCC exam coming to replace our MCAS soon? They scared me a little bit! So, I've made it my goal to increase the amount of "math talk" happening in my classroom. Through math journals as a morning job and partners for "math talk" time, this has been working out great! The PARCC exam (which they take in 3rd, 4th, and 5th grades, but it's our job to get 'em ready!) has lots of questions focused on mathematical reasoning. This new routine has been a perfect way to encourage math talk and provide ways for me to quickly check my students' understandings of current and past math concepts through their journals. It has been SO fun! If you want to start math journals, check out my prompts for March here
Here's our anchor chart for "math talk"! 

3. I am in love with my new posters that I printed from Technology Rocks, Seriously. 
They really jazz up those yucky cabinets! :)
4. I might be a little obsessed with my dog, but it's okay, because she's really cute :) 
5. My kids used my Super Silly Sentence Sorts for one of their literacy centers this week. Oh my gosh, these were hilarious! My kids were dying to get to this center (for once!). They couldn't get enough. I may keep it as a morning choice :)

Happy Weekend!