Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Schoolgirl Style Reveal ~ Woodland Animal Collection

If y'all are anything like me, you're already thinking about what you want to do differently next school year. Namely, decor and all things organization.  Now, don't get me wrong.  I love what I've got goin' on, but I like change...especially when it's cute.  

No one knows cute better than Schoolgirl Style {can I get an amen?!} Did y'all know she just launched her brand new store website?!?! Swoon.  

And guess what?!  She's adding 16 brand spankin' new collections to the shop!  Eeeek!!  Sixteen, people!!! And she's revealing them one day at a time.  I can hardly stand it.  I was absolutely giddy when I opened up my email this past weekend to find a sneak peek of one of her newest collections...

Woodland Animals!!!!

Is this not the most PRECIOUS thing you've ever seen?!?!  I mean, seriously!  I SO wish my classroom would've been decked out with this cuteness when I was knee deep in my camping theme!  I mean, come on!  Just look at the details...

I *almost* don't want to wait 'til next year to start redecorating.   I *sorta* want to start NOW!!!  HA!

But I swear I'll resist.  For the next 13 days anyway.  I'm DYING to see what else she's adding to the shop before I commit to anything. I'm sure I'll want it all and then I'll be riding the bus down Struggle Street trying to make my final decision.  

Now here's where things get fun, so grab your glass of sweet tea and get cozy.  

Sweet Melanie has invited me to help her give away...yes, GIVE AWAY...this precious, precious collection of cuteness.  And that's not all. She's also giving away coordinating fadeless paper from Pacon, two rolls of bordette, and your choice of  6 lanterns/daisies/poms.  OHMIWORD!!!

Make sure to follow Schoolgirl Style on Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, & Twitter so you don't miss out on the rest of the reveals!!!  And make sure you're following her social media accounts for your chance to win, too :)  Now go ahead and follow the directions on the Rafflecopter below for your chance{s} to WIN!!
a Rafflecopter giveaway

This contest will expire on April 30th, so make sure to enter before then!  

You have 'til May 6th see all of the new Schoolgirl Style collections... don't forget to follow her so you don't miss out!

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

The Naughty Numbers

One of my favorite things about teaching is the people with whom I teach. I love my team.  I really, really do.  I love that we all have our own little set of experiences and talents we bring to the team.  I love that we all love to share.  And I love that we're all brunette ;)  Ha!  Okay, so that last one was a bit of a stretch, but I'm pretty sure brunettes have more fun :) 

All that to be said, one of the best things about having an amazing team is the collaboration that goes on behind the scenes.  It never seems to come from our regularly scheduled planning periods, rather those off the cuff recess conversations...brainstorming during our quick 20 minute lunch break...or a spur-of-the-moment "a-ha" times during our conference hour.  LOVE that.

Last year my teammate and I were talking about how to help our kids with number reversals and she told me about the "naughty numbers" {5 & 6} and how they're naughty because they face the wrong way.  How did I now know about this??!  How have I never seen this genius before?!  It's been staring me right in the face!  So I took that idea and ran with it and made up a little story...and silly little help the kids remember the "naughty number" rule.  I know it sounds crazy, but it works EVERY time!  

Zero...the point of the teacher {where it all starts}.  He is really serious about sequencing his kids when they walk down the hall and his only rule is that they line up in order facing forward.  1, 2, 3, & 4 do just as they're told.  They always follow directions.  But 5 & 6?!?!  Well they're just up to no good and they're always turning around to sneak away from the rest of their class. 1, 2, 3, & 4 have NO idea what's going on behind them because they're always facing the right way.  But 7, 8, & 9 are appalled!!!  They try to tell 5 & 6 to turn around, but they NEVER do!!  They're just so darn naughty!!!  

Somehow this tiny little tale of the naughty numbers seems to resonate with those little friends who have a hard time remembering that a 3 doesn't look like an uppercase capital E, or that a 6 doesn't look like a 2, or that a 9 doesn't look like a P.  When I'm checking their independent work and I see that my friends have number reversals, all I have to say is, "Remember the naughty numbers?!  Go back and look at your work again to make sure those are the only numbers being naughty!!"  I don't immediately tell them what to change at this point in the year because I want them to self monitor their work and get in the habit of double checking for errors.  That little reminder always seems to help!

Praise God for smart teammates and collaboration.  I sure do love feeling smarter than I really am!!!  HA!

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

Well, Isn't That Clever?!

I'm gonna brag for a second.

I have smart friends.  Really smart.  Very talented.  Extremely CLEVER friends.  And I love to be around them because I have no less than 5,089 "a-ha!!!" moments when I'm with them.

Now let's change gears for just a second before I go braggin' on my clever friends.  I've often been asked how I assess and/or know exactly what my kids are doing when they're working independently in literacy/math stations.  I have a few different things I do, but when my very clever friend, Deedee, told me what she does, I immediately knew I had to change the way I was doing things!

Deedee has the kids take pictures with her iPhone {or was it iPad?!?!} of their hands-on activity to show her what they did!  And just to make sure she knows who's taking pictures of what, she has the kids set out their name/picture cards {the same ones they use for the computer} by their work and then she can scroll through her camera roll and check it at some point during the day just to make sure they did it all!!!  HELLO!!  I LOVE IT!

Here are her kids showing off their work with my CVC puzzles from my Filling in the Gaps packet!  #love

I absolutely LOVE this idea!!!!  Guided reading time is oh so precious.  SO very precious.  And the day seems to go so fast that it can be hard to check everything in great detail.  And, of course, there are always those sweet little friends who like to visit a station for a hot second and tell you they've done it all, but darnit...they're just too quick for you to catch and they fly under the radar.  I know y'all know what I'm talking about.

And I love what a fun little way this is to incorporate technology...I know we do that A LOT!!!!...and get the kids excited about doing their work so they can show off their accomplishments.


Such a CLEVER idea!!  Thank you, Deedee, for sharing!!!

And by request, I finally bundled my CVC and CVCE packets together and you can grab them HERE.

And if you haven't entered to win the fluency bundle of fun from me & Katie, head over now!  There's still time to enter!  3 winners will be announced tomorrow :)

In the meantime, have a GREAT night!!!  

Sunday, March 30, 2014

A Little More Fluency Fun + A Giveaway

I intended to blog about more of our insect fun last week, but time got away from me.  And then I had to pack and get ready for a weekend with the girls.  If you're following me on Instagram, you might have seen a few little pics of my road trip to San Antonio this weekend.  Several of my sweet blogging friends met up in SA for the Neon Dash...and lots of more eating.  The best part of any trip, of course ;)

Before the race...

And after ....

Friends are, by far, the best thing about blogging.  What precious, PRECIOUS people these girls are and what a FUN weekend we had!!!  Reagan summed it up perfectly in her sweet recap of the weekend if you want to read a little more about it! 

 Speaking of sweet blogging friends...

When I got home tonight, I had a surprise waiting for me.  We lost our mail key a few weeks ago, but Mr. Spouse found it and here's what I got to open up when I walked in the door!

Is this not precious?!

 The sweetest little fluency gift from Katie!  How fabulous is this?!?!?  This is an AMAZING packet of fluency & comprehension fun and I'm so excited to put it all into action when I get back to the classroom this week.  The posters are such a great visual for my kinder babies and I absolutely LOVE the game ideas included in the packet!  Between my little fluency center and these great activities, I expect to have the most fluent little almost first graders by the end of the year!!!  Yay!!!

Katie is so very passionate about fluency...and so very smart and talented when it comes to creating activities that encourage fluency growth!!  I'm so very, VERY excited about these visuals...
And the games are SO very engaging and so exciting for the kids.  I mean, don't you love it when they're having FUN and they have NO idea they're learning?!!??  #thebest

We got to talking and thought it would be fun to do a little giveaway together so that you guys can set your kids up for fluency success, too!

3 winners will have the chance to win ALL of these fun fluency resources from me & Katie :).  Here's what you'll get...

I **finally** got around to adding all of the Dolch list fluency phrases and games to the store.  My kids are seriously EATING.IT.UP.  This is their favorite center in the room!  And y'know what?!  Their fluency is improving EVERY well as their sight word recognition.  {You can't see me, but I'm giving you a virtual fist bump right now. Boom.}

Here are the giveaway details...

4 Rock Your Fluency Packets from me {Pre-Primer - 3rd grade Dolch List Fluency Phrases & Games}
Spring into Fluency from Katie {power passages, smart art, lesson plans, etc.}

Would you like to chance to win all of these fabulous fluency resources?!  GREAT!  
Here's what you need to do...

Pretty simple. 

We'll announce 3...yes, on Thursday.  

In the meantime, we're both having a sale in our shops expiring at midnight on Monday, so you might find something to hold you over {on sale!!!} until we announce the winners on Thursday.  

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

What's the Bug Deal?

Just wanted to pop in real quick and share a few things we've been up to this week!  

This week we're learning all about insects. Since there's SO much to learn...and so many little insects to cover...we're taking two full weeks to learn about these little critters.  This week is a big introduction to insects.  Here's how we started our learning...

I also introduced this song.  Obviously this isn't an original!  It's been around for ages and my kids LOVE it.  Even my own two littles!!  They get such a kick out of singing this when they come in my room after school.

We're taking a closer look at ants and today we created this little anchor chart to jot down our new learning.  We'll be using all this info to guide our expository writing and craftivity tomorrow!!!  

We also celebrated Kite Day today.  The kids made their kites during art and after lots of excitement and anticipation, we took them outside today to fly.  Last year the weather was exceptionally perfect for Kite Day. This year...notsomuch.  It was SO unbelievably windy {and cold, too!!!}  Their poor little kites took such a beating and so many of them were ripped and torn in less than 5 minutes.  Sad!  All that to be said, the kids got over it pretty quickly and started problem solving ways to make their torn kites fly.  Love our sweet little thinkers.  

Here's my oldest right before he flew his kite...
Please forgive the terrible color of these pictures!  I just got a new laptop and I haven't had a chance to calibrate the screen.  Everything looks SO yellow and warm!!  

In other news, I posted my Second Grade Dolch List Fluency Packet and it's on sale until midnight tonight.  

I'm hoping to have the 3rd Grade Dolch List packet posted by tomorrow at the latest.  Whew!!  

Have a great night!

Monday, March 24, 2014

Plants Aplenty!

Last week our class was immersed in plants.  Lots and LOTS of plants!!

We started the week tapping into our schema about plants and learning lots of new info.  

And then we moved right into diagrams and labels....and tree maps, too!  I created this same anchor chart last year and used it again this year to guide our independent writing and hands-on activities.

I made the kids responsible for adding to our tree map.  I love their inventive spelling :)

This year I had the kids assemble and label the parts of  a flower.

We used the info from our tree maps to create our little Flower Friends!  I've GOT to get these hung up...they're just too cute!


One of my kids' favorite activities from the week was our whole group math game...Flower Power!

This is how we played it last year..


This year I have a whole different set of kids, so we played the game a bit differently.  We tossed our little beanbags onto two different numbers and used the manipulatives to join those numbers together and then create a number sentence to match.  We talked about how we didn't need to worry about which number to write first in the equation because when you're joining two numbers {addends} together, it doesn't matter which number goes first. 

Then we took those same numbers and practiced subtraction  We first identified the largest number and counted out a set of manipulatives to match.  Then we talked about that sneaky ol' Linus the Minus who likes to take things away and then we removed that amount from the set.  The kids practiced writing number sentences for that, too.  They absolutely LOVED this game!'s made its way into our math dessert tubs.  They are VERY eager to finish their work so they can play this game over & over!

Speaking of math, my kids were rockin' their plant themed math journal activities last week!  We used these cut & paste printables from my It's a Spring Thing! Interactive Math Printable packet and added these...and several our math journals.  They're blossoming into such great little math minded thinkers!!

We celebrated Plant Day last Friday and spent the day investigating, measuring, & observing lots of different plants.  Then each of our kids got their own little pot and we planted seeds.  I bought three different seed packets and the whole time I was picking them out and was seriously sweating.  I have NO clue what flowers grow best.  I have a black thumb. This is definitely me....

I am *praying* we have at least a few that sprout.  I looked everywhere for rye grass, but to no avail.  Instead, I picked out Cosmos, Marigolds, and Portulacas.  The kids got to pick out which seed they wanted to plant, then we came back inside, added their names to our "Grow, Flower, Grow!" chart, and then read the book...

We are SO anxious to see which flower grows first!!!  

It was definitely a busy week.  If you want to read more about what we did during plant week last year, you can check it out HERE.

We're learning all about insects for the next couple of weeks!  Can't wait to share what we've been doing!!

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

A Little Recap. That's All.

I know many of y'all are on Spring Break, but I am not.  In fact, I think I need ANOTHER week off.  We are just getting back in the swing of things after an ever so glorious, albeit way too busy, Spring Break.  {tear, sniff}.  I can smell Summer just around the corner and the fragrance is OH so sweet.  Sweet, sweet summa-time.  

Now before I start daydreaming about being poolside, I'll go ahead and recap what we've been up to these last few weeks.  

We had lots of presidential-sized Kindergarten fun.

As you can see, we're working on our handwriting.  That to be said, heck if I'm not so excited that my littles are getting their thoughts on paper...and I can read it all, too!!!!  

These are a favorite every year, but even more so this year.

And it's all because of this...

I kid you not when I tell you that most of my kids said they'd keep CHEESE in their hats.  WHA?!?!!?

Right after presidents, we learned all about the GREAT{est ;)} state of TEXAS!!!  I didn't really change up too much of what I did from last year {you can read about that HERE}, but I did end up our unit of learning with a Rodeo day this year.  One of my sweet teammates brought her horses up to school and the kids got to ride them {with permission slips signed, of course}. FAVORITE part of the day...making and eating {er, devouring} a class bowl of Armadilly Chili!!  YUM!

Our kids worked their little TAILS off for an amazing performance in the school Texas ABC Play.  PRESH.  My oldest took part in it, too.  He played the part of George Strait.  I'm not gonna lie.  I shot pics through the lens of tear filled eyes.  He has my heart, this one.  And I swear I'm not trying to be a braggy momma, but darnit...he did SO good!!!  For being a little introvert, he really surprised me!  Smiled, sang, and played his part just GREAT!!!!

We had a BUSY spring break.  A visit from my best friend and her cart rides...a day at the fun night...redecorating...celebrating my sister's birthday...and a day at the Houston Livestock Show & Rodeo.  My boys have been to the carnival before, but this was their first year to go to the rodeo...and they LOVED it!  Especially the calf scramble and mutton bustin'!  HA!

Speaking of being surprised, I about fell out when my shy child exclaimed that he wanted to ride the mechanical bull.  I mean, he BEGGED us to do it.  He even happily waited in line...ALONE...for half an hour.  Who is this child?!  I took pictures through tear filled eyes on this one, too :)

And the boys were SO dang excited to get their faces painted. That was another first!  They've never been interested before.  I couldn't get them to wash their faces for a few days after that!  HA!!!

We hit the ground running on Monday with lots of St. Patty's Day shenanigans.  Of course, our Loopy Leprechauns had to be part of the day.  This one was my favorite.  I'm a sucker for little boys who write about their mommas.

You can see these loopy little leprechauns in action in my first grade classroom HERE.
And you can find the template for them HERE {in case you want it for your files :)}

I found precious mathtivity from Erin over at Eberhart's Explorers...
Adding gold for St. Patrick's day. Also, making graphs with lucky charms marshmellows

I mean, is that not darling or what?!

Anyway, LOVED it so much, but I ran out of construction paper and didn't have enough to finish the task, so I had to do something just a little different.  These are nowhere NEAR as cute as Erin's, but they did the trick and the kids had SO much fun adding their "magical" gold coins :)  #winning

Last but not least, I've added my Rock Your Fluency ~ The First Grade Edition ~ to the shop.  And it's on sale until tomorrow.  2nd & 3rd grade packs will be added by the end of the week.  Whew!  

Have a GREAT night!!!