Sunday, July 29, 2012

Making Memories

I recently found a quote that just hit home for me.  I thought I'd share it with all of you.
When I saw this quote, I just stopped--and thought--OH. MY. GOSH!!  How true is this!!  I mean it makes sense, I know, but it just really put my life into perspective. 

Most of you know that my family is always priority...but this summer, I think I've been a tad bit dedicated to TpT.   I feel like I've neglected some of my mommy duties, especially after reading that quote. 

Last night, I took some time to browse through some of the site the quote originated from.  WOWSERS!!  Lots of great quotes....I am a quote addict.  Love 'em!!  There's always some quote that can sum it all up!  Here are a few I've come across that really hit home for me.




I think sometimes we get caught up into other things, that we can forget (or lose site of) some VERY important things.  

A few years ago, we started doing a back to school countdown two weeks before school started.  We would do a different activity each day, leading up to the last day before school.  (My husband is also a teacher, so it was all family time!)  We would go hiking, geocaching, the zoo, etc. Last year, we had a surprise trip to Disney before we went back to school.  It was great. 

This year, I'm starting my back to school count down EARLY.  Not because I'm trying to rush summer, but because I want to make sure that I'm enjoying my summer with my kiddos! :) 

We've already taken a vacation...though I'm secretly hoping someone will surprise ME with a Disney trip.....a girl can dream! :) 

So how else are we making memories? 
Putt-Putt
Shopping (okay, so they don't like this one as much---but it's bonding time I tell ya)
AND how cool are these musical birthday cupcakes!!! :)

Build-a-Bear (how many stuffed animals does one kid need?)

Softball Games
My daughter played---my son just sat there looking like this:
All four top teeth are gone!! He resembles a vampire when he smiles now!

Hubby likes to make sure he's happy and content too---he's all about the food.
You may have seen this on Man vs. Food as a place that was visited (not a competition).  It's the Thurminator located at Thurman Cafe in Columbus, Ohio---yes people that's a LOT of burger!!!  My hubby enjoyed every last bit!!  LOL

Today was kind of a lazy day.  We spent our afternoon making cookies.
 After the 3rd dozen...we decided to make them JUMBO!!  They are now all in the freezer!

So there ya have it.  Life is short.  Love the ones your with.  Take a break and enjoy life.  I honestly believe that teachers are one of (if not THE) hardest working people.  Make sure you enjoy what's left of your summer!!  In the meantime, if you have any other suggestions for family fun, we have about a month left to fill up! :)  Would love to hear some ideas! :)



Saturday, July 28, 2012

Number Sentences

Every year, when we take our quarterly assessments, I always have one or two students that freeze up when I say, "Write a number sentence" (or whatever it is that uses those words in the directions).  Yep, we talk about them ALL. YEAR. LONG.  but there's something about tests---I get it.  I'm not a test taker either. 

I needed something new (well not new) but more practice for my students writing number sentences.  I thought what better way than using workstations. So, I came up with this:

I have several ideas in mind on how I want to incorporate them.  I think that they would be great practice for "now what?" activities for those fast finishers at the beginning of the year. 

To do this, I would place them inside of a detergent box.  Yep, detergent box--like the one below. (I saw this great idea in a Mailbox magazine once.)  Add a sign to the box to say, Here are some activites to "Tide" you over.  Cute, right?

You can then place the activities (I would suggest laminating the work mats) inside of a manila envelope, or a manila folder.  Add a dry erase marker, and some connecting cubes, stick it all inside of a gallon baggie (y'all know that I love cheap, fast and easy) and Ta-da!  A quick go to activity.

If you don't want to use them as a "now what" activity, I do think they would make great activities for workstations, or even as extra help with an aide/helper.  Of course these are just suggestions. 

How are students to use them?  With connecting cubes, they will show addition sentences for a given number.  The work mats start with 3 and 4, so students will show ways to represent the sum of 3, and the sum of 4.  This could also lead into a math fact discussion of  "turn-around" facts.

The work mats go up to a sum of 18.  As students work through them, maybe they will discover that there is one extra math fact per number they are to model.  (For example, there are 4 math facts to represent the sum of 3).  Maybe this could lead into a fun math discussion--- Will it work that way for even  numbers?  Does it always work that way?  etc.

The work mats are on Teachers Pay Teachers for free.  You can click the picture below to head over and grab you a copy.  I hope you are able to get some use from them!! 

Sunday, July 22, 2012

Pinterest---AGAIN?

Okay, so you all know my thoughts on Pinterest. If you don't please click HERE to find out just how I feel about the site.  We have a love/hate relationship.

Let me just tell you how I feel about pinterest today.....do your remember the cute little clipboard that I just had to do?  You know the ones-----the ones that are duct taped all cutesy with a ribbon and such?  I had it on the link that I mentioned above.  WELL, today while we were out "browsing", we came across this one at Office Max.


My daughter said, "Look, Mom!  You didn't have to waste all your time trying to make one...and it's only 5 bucks!" UGH!  She got me there! LOL Truth of the matter is, after I bought the duct tape, and the clipboards.....the one above is cheaper!!  Being crafty isn't cheap!  I can say I made one, and look...I even added a ribbon *yep, extra cost there too*  BUT---it is kinda cute.  Here it is all finished.

 I have come to realize that this is what Pinterest (And being at home this summer) has done to me.  It has made me wish I was crafty.  I am JEALOUS of those that have the skills.  Truly, and honestly....JEALOUS!! 

Pinterest has also made me poor---yes, I blame Pinterest (okay, and those silly teachers for blogging about stuff that they find in the Target Dollar Spot, or Dollar Tree, or a Teacher Store----why on EARTH do they do that?)  I mean--LOOK what it did to me!!

Yes friends, in that picture there are 4 rolls of duct tape (you can't see the one on top of the green).  How many rolls of duct tape does one girl need?  There's 2 rolls of zebra ribbon and a hot pink zebra flowery thingy....I don't even know what the flowery thing is---I just saw it at Hobby Lobby and thought I HAD to have it.  And what on EARTH is my obsession with zebra lately?  I need an intervention I think!!  The Sprinkles are my vision of Denise's shakers.  I wanted to redo my sand word shaker (the sand was heavy for some of my kiddos) to review sight words.  I have our Kindergarten treasure's words in it.  Students can shake to find their cupcake word.

Now where were we?  Ohh yes, teachers blogging about and pinning their great finds onto pinterest---Geesh, look where that got me---the Target Dollar Spot, and Dollar Tree!! (However, I need to go back to Dollar Tree now because my sweet friend Hadar from Miss Kindergarten posted about foam dice, and I just HAVE to see if my store has them---see what I mean...Look what those creative teachers do to me!)

So above we have foam shapes, foam sheets, and foam dice (All from Dollar Tree, well except 2 foam Dice, they were "prizes" from the Arcade at Disney--I cashed the tickets in for myself, I'm a great mom!) The little boxes are also from the Dollar Tree.  They are to hold dice during workstations to prevent loud noises and them rolling around all over the place (thank you Pinterest).  The flyswatters are for a game for sight words (Big Lots for 50 cents a piece). The bowl and scoops, you may have seen before---but some teacher thought they would put a spin on Scrabble Scoop...geesh!!    Ohhh, and I found these at Target too.  They are cute little circle magnet holder thingys (I have great vocabulary in the summer).  I thought they would make a good center for something attached to a cookie sheet.  I'm still working on that.
The black clutches are in hopes of organizing some Scoot cards/task cards.  I also use recipe boxes for them too.  There's lots of uses for them, and they were 88 cents at Walmart.  (The picture isn't the greatest.  The sun's shining in---the plus side, dust isn't showing.  Hubby cleaned for me while I baked yesterday.  I trained him right!)


Moving on---I have found a bunch of new book ideas from Pinterest.  I first checked them out from our library (so glad that we can check out books from all across the state too--as mine doesn't always have the books I want).  After doing that, I KNEW I had to have some books.   Skippy Jon Jones books are from Kohl's (and a great cause). Some book are from Goodwill/Salvation Army, some are from Amazon, some from Barnes and Noble, but I just had to get them.  Sad thing is, I have a few more that I forget I wanted.  I will put those on a wish list. 


After I took this picture, I said.."Wait, Where's" and I stopped....and thought...I'm just like this in the classroom too.  I know EVERY single book I have--whether it's a baggy book reader, teacher resource book, or a picture book.  Coworkers will ask me if I have such and such, and usually I do...AND know where it is within 5 seconds...am I pathetic?  Don't answer that!! ;)  Anyways....I realized that not all of them where there...so I had to snap this picture too.


I am glad I came across these books.  I love children's books.  I will admit, when we go to a bookstore, you can find me in the kid's section (and not always looking for my own kiddos...I look for me too). I also LOVE yard sales just for that reason....love finding books to add to my classroom library.  Our local library has a Friends and Family sale.  I can get books for about 20 cents--and I'm talking well taken care of HARDBACK Books.

But, a girl can't go shopping without stopping at a teacher store (or two) right?  Lakeshore was having a pretty decent sale, and my main reason going was to get these:

I wanted them to hold Madison and Connor's (my kiddos) art work and things they wanted to keep.  My little ole box is getting full and this was actually perfect.  It was only $10 in the store, but it's $20 online.  But.....I was there....I hated to not look around.  :)
Several dollars later, I got these goodies.  I HAVE to have smelly stickers.  They make me my firsties happy!  I love the Trend monkeys, and I needed a new calendar for my calendar board, so that worked out perfect.  I LOVE the big long name tags that have the hundreds chart, shapes, alphabet, etc. on them.  The only downfall is I wish it went to 120, but no worries.  I bought a couple interactive games last year, and thought I'd get one for math for this year.  The Plan book was free (if you spent so much), and if you send a little text, you get a nice little shopping bag too.  So, not a bad little trip at Lakeshore, AND it was all on sale!!!  YAY!! ;)

Now see, the bad thing is, well not bad for me....bad for hubby who was shopping with me---there are TWO teacher stores in my big ole city!!  Soo----yep....I had to go!!  I still like to look at teacher resource books.  Yes, I make stuff, and I buy stuff on TpT, but I still have a thing for Mailbox books.  I like LOOKING at the book first though...so I don't always buy online from Mailbox. 

I've had my eye on a new Science book from Mailbox. It looked perfect for the time that I have (mind you we have a crazy schedule) and low and behold, the teacher store had it!!  
Hmmm, it looks like a Math book, smelly stickers and a few dice made their way home with me too.  I'm not sure how that happened.  

Now back to those silly teacher blogs and how they have to talk about all these great finds and great tools that help them out.  See, look what they did to me!!  Yeah people, a laminator!!  I'm uber excited about this though.  It will save me some time when I feel I'm in a rush.  I usually laminate on Monday mornings for my centers that week, but if I'm out for meetings, or sick babies at home, I don't have time (and people, I NEED my beauty sleep).  This will sooooo help out with that.  I am glad for this purchase--made possible by the great people at Neilsen TV Ratings.  Yep, they pay you to fill out a TV guide book for a week, so I did---(it was work too) and I treated myself! 

Do you see that little stand it's sitting on?  OHH YEAH!!  I finally got me a little rolling cart.  I LOVE IT!!  It's perfect for storing my books for reading groups and currently holding some of the stuff from above (it makes it look like I didn't "overshop" that way). 

So, thank you again pinterest, and fabulous teacher blogs.  I have some great new ideas....a few bucks poor-er.  How many more days before school starts?  I have to get back to work so I quit spending money! :)

*And now, a shameless plug for my TpT store----
I've made a few new things. If you're following me on FB, maybe you are one of the ones who won one of these products.  If you're not following me on FB, you may want too.  I do more giveaways on there ;)

First up:

ABC's and 123's--Centers for You and Me.  I made these to help transition my kiddos into center time.  Last year, I had forgotten what students know at the beginning of first grade.  Mind you, I had been out of the loop for 3 years teaching 2nd.  I am so excited to use these with my kiddos.  I LOVE the Wild about Numbers game.  You can click the picture to get more information from TpT on these centers.  

I also wanted a Back to School Activity my students could do on the first day (first week), and be successful at it.  Here is First Grader, First Grader.


After making this, I had a few friends say I should do a Kindergarten version.  So I gave it a go.  Here's Kindergartner, Kindergartner.


Finally, we have Goody Goody Gumdrops.  This is a medial sound game.  GREAT for my Treasures Friends. 

One more thing---I took the 1st grade Common Core Math Standards and stuck them into into this file.  I wanted something at my fingertips to help with planning.  I don't think my district has given me just my grade level (or if they have, I have no idea where they ended up).  You can click the picture below to grab yours from Google Docs.  

Told you I need an intervention....zebra stripes again!

So what do you guys think about all these great things you're finding on Pinterest and Teacher blogs? 

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Wild About Words

So yesterday, I was at Target....LOVE ME SOME dollar bins, don't you?  I mean I'm a teacher on a budget...and y'all know my new motto is cheap fast and easy, right? ;)

So....I found these: 


and I was thinking of one of my son's favorite games. 
He just had to have this game for Christmas too.....
Yep, it's Scrabble Scoop.  



Now believe me this is an AWESOME game, but when things get lost, or misplaced at home, they generally turn up.  At school.....Lord only knows where things wind up.  So I took the idea, and created something for my first graders.

I knew what I wanted to do the minute I picked these up at Target.  Letters on the other hand I wasn't sure about.  I saw these
but they were $10-$11 a piece.  I thought I'd hold out....even make some with cardstock and laminate.
Okay, tried that....it works, but not the greatest.  I used the ones in my son's Scrabble Scoop game and they were perfect, foam worked okay too.  I knew I needed something heavier, so  sent hubby to my school to see if he could find my letter tiles.  No luck, instead he told me, "Do you know you have A LOT of stuff?"  What can I say?  I'm a teacher hoarder.  So since he couldn't find them, I thought I'd do some more shopping...just in case I can't find them either ;)

I found these on Amazon:


So cute. So colorful...so perfect! ;) (Yeah I know...about the same price too, but they are all lowercase letters, AND they are so colorful!) ;)

**EDITED to say, do not purchase the cute colorful tiles that I posted...they are NOT cute colorful tiles.  They are black/white tiles.  SOOO disappointed, but I have learned a lesson in ALWAYS reading the fine print!!!

 Okay, now I can tell ya about the game!
 With Scrabble Scoop, you read the word you're creating, and then spell it over top of the letters provided. I wanted my students to spell simple words using their letter sounds so I used CvC pictures for the game boards.  


The object is to be the first one to spell the word on your card to win the round.
My son likes this idea, hopefully my other first graders will too.
You can get your freebie by clicking on the picture below.

 In other news, you know that teacher's toolkit I was making?  The one I said was just perfect the way it was....the one that looks JUST LIKE THIS?
Guess what????

Notice one is labeled CHOCOLATE--it's a necessity!  Whatcha think?

Thank you to Mrs. Rojas blog for this great idea!!  See original post here!

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Ramblings of Me and Keeping it Real

****WARNING**** This post is keeping it real (in my world).  I apologize now if I offend anyone.  (wow, not a great start for a post is it? LOL)

Thank you all for the sweet comments from last week.....ya know, glum me....the one who debated continuing taking this journey. Well, I'm here-and I want to thank my Facebook fans for that. I had a giveaway on my Facebook page over the weekend, and I think that helped pull me back out of my slump a bit.  So thank you for helping me enjoy what I do, just a little bit more! :)

There are many new bloggers coming into the blogging world.  I offered Tutorials on how to use powerpoint, and Google Docs with images, but now I want to discuss the numbers...maybe perhaps this will help those of you just starting out in the blogging world. 

You will hear about people having Giveaways for reaching a given number, or maybe you hear about the number of followers that people have....DON'T stress about numbers. The blogging world isn't and shouldn't be a popularity contest.  Yes, people get very excited about seeing their numbers go up, and they should, but don't go and compare yourself.  Enjoy what you do, and share.  In the end, you will be that much happier. 

The same goes for me. My mom had this motto in life...I'm sure you've heard it.  Cheap, Fast and Easy... HAHA!  She was generally referring to suppers (we grilled a lot at home because it was cheap, fast and easy clean up).  The same is said for my classroom--to heck with those fancy dancy classrooms LOL.  Yes, they are SOO cute.  I am SOO envious of those who can maintain it.  Here's the thing:

**This teacher----she isn't rich.  I know right?  We all know how overpaid we are!!  :)
 I spend a lot in my classroom buying school supplies, as many of the families don't provide for their children.  I also like to buy books.  I like having a variety of resources for my students to read.

But, it hit me a couple years ago.  Every $1 I spend, takes away from my OWN kids.  So what do you do?  I feel so torn.  

Also, I have decorated my room...only to have it torn up....more than one time.  I'm a theme girl.....love themes.....my room looks awesome for the first day, but by the end of that first week....EGADS!!  So there goes a lot of my invested time...time taken away from my family (Actually not completely because I DRAG them with me--they love that)

So there you have it peeps....me, keeping it real.  So when I offer up the suggestion of Ziplock baggies and plastic sleeve protectors for storage ideas....it's because it's cheap, fast, and easy.  It's not just a suggestion....it's what I REALLY do. 


  You can click the image above to see my blog post  that mentions how I use baggies, and sheet protectors, and store.

 I'm not a fancy gal, rather plain actually, but I do love my job, my kiddos, and blogging/sharing/creating.  Speaking of which---I can NOT WAIT to use the things I've made this summer with my kiddos.

This one is the most recent created.  

 I LOVE using picture books for the first week or two of school.  They are so great with establishing rules, procedures, and just having fun.  This pack also has a few templates for your students to make story souvenirs (or hall displays).  

Do you remember these that I posted the other day?
 
I've included the template for Lilly in this packet. I also took a stab at making Miss Swamp
 ( Miss Nelson is Missing),  Rabbit (You're Finally Here) and Scaredy Squirrel (Scaredy Squirrel Makes a Friend). LOL---let's just say they are "an added bonus" but my class will enjoy making them!





There ya go peeps!!  Thanks for listening to me ramble, and putting up with me all these months.  On a positive note, I made a new cupcake last night!!  It was HEAVENLY!!!

Lemon Cream, with a Lemon Glaze Topped with a Cream Cheese Buttercream YUMMY!

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