Monday, December 31, 2012

Happy New Year!

Happy New Year...almost!  I've been working hard on a fun little game to post on TPT today.  It is finally live!  My poor kids have been hearing me say, "just give me a few more minutes," all day!  But, I finally got the product completed and posted.

One of my absolute favorite units to teach each year is Penguins!  I love it and the kids love it, so it's a win-win!  Well, my new product is another version of the UNO game that my students love playing.  You guessed it!  Tacky is the star of the game.  This adorable clip art features Tacky in 4 fun little poses and the wild cards feature a "Nice, icy land!"  Please check it out at my TPT store and my Teachers Notebook shop.  I hope it will help you with some fun literacy stations for your students!

I'm celebrating the "Texas New Year" at 10:00 my time and then "California New Year" at midnight!  Why not?   Have a wonderful New Year!

Saturday, December 29, 2012

Liebster Blog Award!!

I am so excited!  I have been nominated by two bloggers for the Liebster Blog Award!   This is an award for new bloggers with under 200 followers!  I am happy to accept and nominate 11other bloggers in turn!  This is a pay it forward type award!  
As a recipient, I must:
1.  Post 11 random things about myself.
2.  Answer 11 questions that the nominators ask of me.
3.  Create 11 questions for the people I nominate.
4.  Choose 11 other blogs with fewer than 200 followers to nominate and link them to my post!

11 Random things about me:

1.  I am most proud of my role as mother.  I have four daughters; they all share the same birthday, three are triplets and they were born on their older sister's birthday!
2.  I love to scrapbook, but haven't gotten to enjoy my hobby in a long time!
3.  I grew up in Texas.
4.  I graduated from Texas A&M....I'm an Aggie!
5.  I've lived in California for 22 years but still consider Texas "my home."
6.  I had 30 cats at one time during my childhood...our cats all gave birth at once!
7.  I love animals and currently have a chihuahua mix, 2 bunnies, a bearded dragon and 3 fire-bellied toads living in our home!
8.  My oldest daughter is about to graduate from high school!  YIKES!
9. I love coffee. I am a regular at Starbucks! I have a Keurig coffee maker that I use constantly!  I even have one for my classroom.
10.  I'm a night owl!  I love being up late when the house is qu
11.  I love dolphins and whales and had the opportunity to swim with Belugas!  It was awesome!

11 questions to answer about myself.  Here goes... !  

The Collaboration Cuties asked:
1.  Sweet or salty (personality and favorite snack)?

  • I definitely prefer sweet, but I'm trying to cut back on them...the holidays don't make it easy!  Personality-I'd say sweet!
2.  Why did you start blogging?

  • I started blogging to share ideas with other teachers!  I love my job and love getting ideas from others.  Blogging is such a great way to connect with other teachers across the country and world!
3.  What's your favorite classroom "tool"?

  • I am trying to incorporate more technology into my teaching.  We just received iPads this year and I ordered a projector.  I like using it, but this is a learning year for me. 
4.  What's your favorite children's book and why?

  • How can I pick one?  Any Skippy Jon Jones because I love reading with a Spanish accent!  I also love all of Jan Brett's books because there are so many teachable components from the illustrations to the way she gathers background information for her stories.
5.  What's one of your pet peeves?

  • People with a negative attitude!  
6.  What's your biggest strength?  Weakness?

  • Strength:  Compassionate
  • Weakness: organization

7.  What's your favorite subject to teach?

  • Reading!
8.  How many teachers are on your grade level? Tips for collaborating?

  • There are 3 teachers at each grade level in primary.  We have built in collaboration time every afternoon right after the kiddos are dismissed.  My biggest tip is to treat collaboration time like any other meeting.  Have an objective for the meeting and stay focussed! 
9. Cook or eat out?

  • Both!  I really prefer to eat at home, so take out is sometimes preferred to eating out on busy nights!
10.  What is your favorite vacation spot?

  • TEXAS!
11. What three words describe your teaching style?

  • Fun, flexible, hands on

Kinderaffe Kindergarten asked:

1.  How long have you been teaching?

  • 15  fun-filled years

2.  What is your favorite holiday to teach/prepare lessons for?
  • Christmas Around the World because the kids get so excited and it really keeps their attention focused during the weeks before vacation.
3.  Where is the farthest place you have traveled to visit?
  • I have traveled to Mexico and Puerto Rico when I was younger, but as an adult Washington D.C.  
4.  What teaching tool can you not live without?
  • Dice!
5.  How long does it take you to get to school every day?
  • I have a really long "10 MINUTE" commute!  That's the beauty of a small community!
6.  How many grades have you taught?
  • I have taught K-3
7.  How do you like to spend your free time?
  • I love being with my daughters, scrapbooking, reading, and visiting with friends.
8.  Will you make New Year's Resolutions?  Share one?
  • Yes!  Over the last year, I lost 48 pounds.  This year, I want to keep it off and not slip into old eating patterns.  I also hope to incorporate exercise into my routine this year. 
9.  What is the best thing about the grade you teach?
  • I teach first grade!  The best thing about first grade is the growth that they make from beginning to end of the year.  It is amazing how most of them come into first grade barely knowing 30 sight words and when they leave first grade, they are reading chapter books!
10.  Do you work during the summer?
  • HA!  Good one!  Don't we all!  I feel like I'm always working on school, whether it's creating games, laminating or reading.
11.  What made you decide to start your blog?
  • I learn so much from reading blogs and want to share ideas with others.  It is a great way to connect and meet teachers from around the country and world!

And now for my nominees:  (I'll keep adding to my list....)

As a recipient, you must:
1.  Post 11 random things about yourself.
2.  Answer the questions that the nominators ask of you and link back to them.
3.  Create 11 questions for the people you nominate.
4.  Choose 11 other blogs with fewer than 200 followers to nominate and link them to your post!

Please Answer these questions:
  1. What is your own education background?
  2.  Do you shop on TPT?  If so, what is your favorite product you have found on TPT?
  3. Where are you from?  Where do you live now?
  4. How many students are in your class?  What is the average class size in your district?
  5. What is your favorite tool to use in the classroom?
  6. How do you handle "show and tell" in your classroom?
  7. Do you give "rewards" in your classroom?
  8. How would you describe your classroom management style?
  9. What grades have you taught?
  10. What's the last book you read for pleasure?
  11. What are your hobbies?
It's really hard to find newer blogs too!  I'll add to my post as I find more newer bloggers! 

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Reading Logs Posted

I hope your last week before break is going smoothly!  My students are so excited it is getting harder to contain their enthusiasm!  Luckily, we have some fun things  planned for the week.  Thursday, we are going to a puppet show and today my firsties created their own shadow puppets!  I was so impressed.  I took a short video of the performances.  I'll try to post it soon, so you can see them in action.
We are making gingerbread houses on Thursday afternoon, after we return from the puppet show.  Then Friday is "Grinch Day"!  I plan on having the kids make a grinch craft, we'll read How the Grinch Stole Christmas of course and maybe watch the movie after lunch.  My room parents are making healthy green treats for the kids too!  And then it will be VACATION!

Before I go....
I just posted my new Reading Logs for Primary Students.  This features fun images for the kiddos to color after they read!  

Some history behind the product:

For many years I’ve debated the true value in requiring reading logs of my first graders.  It usually ends up being the parents’ homework, which defeats the purpose.  I used to require the kiddos to record the date, book title and minutes read.  My kiddos used to dread this homework and I worried it might spill over into the love of reading I was trying to instill! 

The other issue was, while my first graders need to hear great read alouds, they also need practice reading and developing fluency.  These reading logs encourage them to record all of the minutes that they, themselves, read!  Read alouds are not recorded, but are encouraged, of course!

I have my holiday reading log available as a freebie, but have compiled 10 for the next semester into this product!  Enjoy!

Monday, December 17, 2012

Christmas Sale!

Merry Christmas!  

My gift to you!  A sale at my TPT store.  Just click on the gift below and find some some last minute goodies to help your kiddos practice some great skills and still have fun with the season during this last week before break!  

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Madeline in my class

A week ago Friday, one of my little darlings was admitted to the hospital to have her appendix removed!  I got the call on Saturday and of course headed to the hospital for a quick visit!  I stopped by the bookstore to pick up a copy of Madeline to give to her.  She recovered quickly and is back at school.  She brought her book into share with the class today and I read it to the class.  This little group just cracks me up every day!  After reading the book we went out for recess.  During recess, two of my little cuties went to the health aide to ask to have an appendix removed!  She explained that she isn't qualified to do that surgery!  So Funny!  Another fine example of why I love my job!  Everyday they make me smile!

We are having fun during these last few days before the vacation.  We go until December 21st.  Thank goodness, because we still have so many things to do!   My kiddos are really into my math coloring worksheets right now.  If you need a quick math center or your students need some practice with addition and subtraction take a look here at my TPT store.

This is for my students who want more of a challenge!  Addition and subtraction problems make them focus on the sign.  They also complete approximately 20 equations (per caroler) without realizing it!

Sunday, December 9, 2012

Weekend Giveaway from the Collaboration Cuties!

Check out the cute ideas these gals have in their TPT store.  Click the link above to see their blog and sign up for the give away!

Friday, December 7, 2012

End of the Week...Whew!

I came home today and crashed!  It doesn't happen too often, but every once in awhile, it just hits me.  Does that happen to you, also?  I go so hard and keep so busy all week that all at once I'm just done!  I sat down, first mistake, when I got home and the next thing I knew I was asleep.  No dinner for the kiddos and I'm crashed on the couch.

Any whooo....
We started our Elf on the Shelf, Christmas Around the World Unit this week!  It is so much fun!  Click below to check it out at TPT:

Our little Elf showed up in our classroom on Monday morning and brought us a top secret mission for Santa!  So cute.  This week we named our elf, Carly, learned about Holland and Italy and still had time for lots of great math and literacy stations!

There are so many cute things on TPT,  I find that I'm constantly revamping my stations!  Do you do that too?  I love improving my lessons and it sure is easy with all the great ideas from the talented teachers on TPT!  Thanks for all the great ideas that you share!

I'm working on some new products myself, so stay tuned!

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Christmas WORDO Freebie!

I just posted my latest product on TPT.  This is an early Christmas Gift from me to you!  I hope this helps you and your students keep learning fun during these next few weeks before the vacation.  I know I always try to be "over-planned" during this time of year.

This game is a great way for students to review word wall sight words and have fun! I love having a Word Wall in my classroom for students to use as a resource when reading and writing! However, sometimes it seems like I’m the only one that knows it’s there! I introduce 5 sight words each week. After we have 25 words on the wall, it’s time to play WORDO! This is a great weekly station or fun activity to use as whole class review! (This is great practice using the Word Wall! Playing this game throughout the year builds familiarity with the Word Wall, which encourages children to USE the Word Wall. )

Sunday, December 2, 2012

Math Coloring Sheets: Updated Version Available

I've updated my Christmas Math Coloring Sheets so there are 8 worksheets! If you already purchased this product, be sure and go to my TPT store and download the updated version! My students love these practice sheets!