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Saturday, June 30, 2012

Gettin' My Craft On, Uhm...

SOOO---where do I begin.  It all started with Pinterest.  I'm beginning to have a love/hate relationship with it lately.  I LOVE all the ideas I find, but hate that I think I can attempt them.  Have you seen these pictures?

                                                                  Source: idproducts.us via DeAnne on Pinterest


                                                                  Source: craftfail.com via DeAnne on Pinterest

Well, that's me!! Well, those pictures aren't mine, but I SOOO understand the feeling. Allow me to demonstrate.

I've been eyeing this clipboard. I LOVE it!!
                                                             Source: cotesclass.blogspot.com via DeAnne on Pinterest

Cute, right?  
My attempt....it isn't too bad.  I need to get back to Hobby Lobby to buy me a different ribbon piece for it.  This is how it looks for now.  
Hubby says, "I could've done it better." (meaning him....he's probably right...so he can do my next one!)

Next up, those cute little binder clips...you know what I'm talking about.  Looky!

                                                             Source: artsyville.blogspot.com via DeAnne on Pinterest

So cute aren't they?  Well, since I had duct tape left over, I of course had to try to make me some zebra ones---LOVE me some Zebra!!  **Sidenote---here's a pic of darling daughter's room.**
LOVE me some zebra!!  SOOO---here's my attempt at the binder clips.
I was feeling all crafty, but guess what??????
I can find them at the store-(yep, click the pic!)--and save myself the headache. It was fun to try to do something else with the duct tape though, and my daughter was loving watching her momma try to do something with it.  BOY does duct tape EVER Stick together!!

Hold on, THERE'S MORE!!! 

                                                                Source: classroomdiy.com via DeAnne on Pinterest

Ohh yeah, and I had extra duct tape, and thought....HMMMM!!....Well, we will attempt that picture another day, and HEAVEN forbid I show you a picture of my toolbox.  Well, actually, it still looks the same.  Its' very clear, and very blue---and JUST perfect the way it is!! Here's a pic!
Yep, it's PERFECT! :)

So, since I was feeling so crafty the past few days.  I thought, MAYBE, I can make a craftivity.  You know the kind I'm talking about.  The kind like, hmm, I dunno, maybe this:

This is from the FABULOUS Miss Kindergarten.  Isn't it stinkin' cute?

OR maybe this?

This cute craft is from A Cupcake for the Teacher

I love BOTH of those blogs, and the lovely things they create!!  They gave me some inspiration to try my own!!  Take a look!

We had an exciting Friday night in this house.  Our area was having HORRIBLE wind/rain storms, so this is how we spent our evening.  Do you know what character it is?   My kiddos and I attempted them.  They had the template for the head, ears and dress.  They added their own limbs, boots, etc. This is my son's.  He wanted to make one because his sister was....but he wants to rush through everything.  It's still cute, because it was HIS work!! 

Next, we have mine.  This was the sample I showed my kids.  Actually, we all worked on it together, doing it step by step. 
Finally, we have my overachiever daughter.  This turned out so stinkin' cute!!  I LOVE it!!

My last picture, well, it's not too bad.  Usually everything I attempt turns out looking like a bear, but I THINK, I actually made a rabbit!!  Check it out!  What do you all think?

So there you have it.  My hits or misses of the past week. I found this and thought it to be perfect. 

                                                                                        Source: craftfail.com via DeAnne on Pinterest

For the most part, things didn't turn out THAT horrible.  I have no crafting ability in me AT ALL!  I guess on the bright side, I *think* I make yummy cupcakes! :)

This is my cupcake.  It's a Red Velvet/Cream Cheese Buttercream.  I adapted a recipe from HERE.  I suggest adding 1/4  cup (I think that's what I put in it) cocoa powder.  When I make these again I will also fill it with the frosting THEN ice it!! YUM!!!

Blog Swap and Hop

I have a guest blogger today for the blog swap and hop.  Welcome Jennifer from Best Practices 4 Teaching.  I hope you all enjoy her post about writing.  I did! :)


I recently spent a few days in a writing workshop hosted in my district that featured both poetry and non-fiction writing.  In the workshop we discussed the merits of different writing programs such as 6 Traits and ideas taken from Lucy Calkins, but spent a lot of time on developing mini lessons and how to make the most of writing conferences.  Amid the discussions that we had in how we presented topics and edited with students, we never talked about the writing process as a whole.  We discussed the different steps of the writing process, but as we talked in groups or in pairs, I noticed something that was universal among us.  We all added 'extra' steps into the writing process.  Even more interesting to me was that these 'extra' steps were added at the same exact place by each teacher.  We may not have referred to them with the same vocabulary, but they were 
there, just the same.  I identified 12 steps needed to help students improve their writing.

Step 1:  Brainstorm with a graphic organizer.

Step 2:  Begin illustrating and label  the ‘nouns’

Step 3:  Begin writing a beginning, middle, and end.  

Step 4:  Conference with student.

Step 5:  Student edits.

Step 6:  Student rereads and edits again if necessary.    

    This can be done with a partner.

Step 7:  Conference with student to revise the story.

Step 8:  The student rereads to make further changes

    and checks for clarity of the story.

Step 9:  The student begins to rewrite the story to work

    towards a final draft.

Step 10:  The student rereads for clarity again.

Step 11:  Add details to the illustration to help tell the story.

Step 12:  Publishing

Here are those same 12 steps in a poster for you!

I know that realizing this validated not only me as a teacher, but also me as a writer.  I had never thought to break down and analyze the way I taught the 
writing process.  I hope that this helps you strengthen your writer's workshop 
like it has me.  It is incredible when something that you have thought about makes a connection with such strength that it changes the teacher's heart inside you.  Here it is, the middle of summer, but thinking through this process was so profound that I know it has already changed the way I will look at my writer's workshop when this next year begins.Here are 3 other things to remember....Maybe these can be the beginning of a few anchor charts for you.

Jennifer Ayers is an 18 year veteran teacher and has experience teaching in both suburban and inner-city schools.  Out of 18 years, she has been a lead teacher in some capacity for 15 of those 18 years.  She has taught in a multi-age Montessori classroom, has taught 1st, 2nd, and 4th grades, and has also been a full-time reading interventionist/Title 1 teacher.  Jennifer earned her master's degree in K-12 Education at Tusculum College in Greeneville, Tennessee in 2000 and also graduated in 2008 with her Education Specialists Degree in Supervision and Administration from Tennessee Technological University.  You may recognize Jennifer from Really Good Stuff's annual blog contest as she was selected to judge the competition.  You can find Jennifer at her website, Best Practices 4 Teaching or at her freebie website Best Practices 4 Teaching Freebie Pages.

Sunday, June 24, 2012

Hey FB fans!!

I couldn't get this out to all of you...so here it is!!!  If  you aren't following me everywhere, please do so you can stay up to date. 

Saturday, June 23, 2012

A little bit of everything--All Rolled Into One

*as I typed that I was totally singing Meredith Brooks (does that age me?)

It's been busy in this household.  Softball, 4H, softball, 4H, more softball and MORE 4H-YIKES!!  How can I get any pinteresting (yes, it's a verb) done?  Or blogging? Or facebook? Or housework---okay so that one doesn't bother me as much.  What can I say though, I love my kiddos, so as long as they are happy.  It's all good.

My blog's birthday just kinda snuck on me and bit me in the hiney.  I hadn't realized that my first post was a year ago (well, June 21st I made my first "welcome" post), but I had no clue what I was doing (not that I know now either) and didn't blog again until July.   It's amazing though the things I've learned in the past year.  I posted some tricks HERE, if you didn't get a chance to read it. 

I thought I'd show you how I've "grown" over the year.  Here is a post of the first thing I created for my blog.  Here is the screen shot.

Notice the download game here link.  I was so proud of myself for figuring that out.  It took me WEEKS to even get that far.  I always thought I was tech-savvy, but this is/was a whole new world to me. Though I still love the monkeys on that download, I've learned about text boxes, and making them WITHOUT lines.  I also learned last year that it's SOOOOO much easier to cut around boxes, than shapes.  Cutting that game out my activity on the way to Disney last summer.  At least it occupied my time.

Here is a new version of the same game.  It uses the Kindergarten Sight Words from the Treasures Series.  It will be a great review for centers when school starts back up in August, even if you don't use Treasures.  You can click the picture below to grab you your FREE updated game. 

Thank goodness for cute graphics!! Ohh yeah, see, a year ago, I didn't even know all the places where I could get such cute clip art.  THANK you Scrappin Doodles.  I love all of their cutesiness (yes, if pinteresting is a verb, cutesiness can be an adjective).

SPEAKING of Scrappin Doodles, my, oh, my have I been HOOKED!!  I don't usually blog about my products, but I've been working hard on a few new things that I hope you like!!  Check it out. The links take you to the product listing on Teachers Pay Teachers. 

First up we have Rockin Out with CVC Activities. 
This product includes a variety of activities for CVC words. These will work great at workstations or for small group practice. Directions are included on each workstation activity. They are broken up into individual vowel games. (3 activities for short a, 1 short e game , 1 short i game, 1 short o game, and
1 short u game)

Next,  we have Graphing is Dandy when Using Candy.

 This product contains three different graphing activities. Graphs include bar graphs, pictographs, and tally charts. The pictograph activity is an enrichment/extension activity. Students will color the gumdrops, and then they will write two questions about their graph and answer them.

For my First Grade Treasures Reading friends, I have posted the Making Words activities for them.  They are in 2 sets.  Units 1-3, and Units 4-6.  Though these are geared towards Treasures patterns, they would be good for anyone who has enjoyed the other Making Words activities. 

 But hold on, I did also teach 2nd Grade Treasures...soo looky! ;)

The following 3 Products can be used in a variety of ways.  I used the Enrichment sheets last year with my first graders (and even a few Kindergartners).  I've included a sample with each one on TpT so you can see what they consist of.  

I've not used the Read! Draw! Write! in this sequence with my first graders. I did make a few sheets last year where they would read and draw a sentence to match.  They enjoyed them.  I'm excited to use this next year already!!  There could be more Read! Draw! Writes in the future, but what is it?  

 Read! Draw! Write! is designed to be a fun way to get students engaged in reading and comprehending. The pages can be used as morning work, review or even an assessment. The pages use short vowel word families and kindergarten sight words. In this set, you will find 22 different pages.The pictures on each sheet are formatted to make it easier for students to know what to do in each step. First, students will read the sentences (the book). Next, they will draw a picture of what was read (the crayon box). Last, students will write their own sentence (pencil).

Finally, I have some new Whack-A-Mole packs.  

This is a Whack-A-Pack.  It's a review of Numbers, Letters, and Colors.  This game has several game plays to provide differentiated instruction.

The next one is a Beginning and Ending Sound Game. 

 The last one is a Whack-A-Word.  It uses the 1st Grade Dolch Words.  

These are Modeled off of the ****FREEBIE*** that I posted a few weeks ago.  You can get your FREEBIE by clicking on the picture below.

One more, and then I will shut up!  This one is not "new" but it is Common Core aligned, and has a variety of Math activities to last through the year.  I LOVE the graphics.  My students loved playing the On Fire Game!!  (The On Fire Game is also sold separately instead of the whole math pack.)

Thank you all for supporting me through my blogging journey over the past year. In honor of my bloggy birthday (Because goodness gracious, I don't personally celebrate my own---I quit at 22), I am having a 24 HOUR SALE!!  Everything is 20% off Sale ends June 24th at Midnight!!

Sunday, June 17, 2012

Blogging Tips

I was so clueless (okay still am) when it came to Blogging.  I started this adventure almost a year ago, and I still haven't learned all the do's, don'ts and hows.  I have learned a lot along the way just by playing around on my computer.  Sad thing is, I don't have a lot of computer skills.  Until I started blogging, I had NEVER used PowerPoint.  I read blogs, but didn't really follow them.  I have learned some things in the past year.  I'm still learning something new everyday.  

I wish I had had a coach to help me along the way when I started out.  It would've made things easier, and less time consuming.  I offered to help a few coworkers. (I love the people I work with--some of them are new to technology and have a hard time using a mouse--so my tutorials are for basic skills).  I didn't know how to explain things to them, so I typed it up, step by step, and tried to be detailed.   I even assigned homework.  I worked in small doses with the directions as to not overwhelm them.  

As simple as this may sound, I wish I would've had someone help me with that....so, I thought I'd share for all of you who may be thinking of going into the blogging world.  Mind you, I typed it out as if I were talking---SOOOO there are LOTS of run on sentences and grammatical errors.  

Here's the first tutorial (in which I assigned homework lol).

If you are wanting to go a step farther and begin a blog, this contains how to save images, load them and link them.

Finally, after mentioning Pinterest so many times, I gave a little tutorial on it too. 

I know so many of you out there are already WAY past me in blogging skills and computer skills, but I hope this helps someone who may be a little unsure, like my coworkers and myself.

**And a big thank you to Maree Truelove  for the pretty pink background, and The 3AM Teacher for the cute polka dot frames!!

Saturday, June 16, 2012

Vacation, and a Freebie.

I needed my vacation.  I LOVED the beach...and enjoyed every minute.  I think that I needed that time away to just relax (boy that's hard to do). My kiddos enjoyed it more than I did! :)

This is the Corolla light house.  Last year when we went, it started lightning so we were unable to climb it. *Darn*  This year, we weren't as lucky we luckier---we got to climb all 214 steps....WOO BOY!!  SO glad I've been "pinnercising."

We took one of the neatest tours I've ever been on.  The tour of the Whalehead Club was amazing...even my little busy body boy enjoyed it. We had these little hand held that gaave an audio tour. There were about 15 different stops through the tour.   Here's a pic of the house (Whalehead Club).

 I had a "why didn't I think of that moment" while we were visiting the Wildlife Center.  I'm going to share it with you.  I used to use magnets when my classes would "fish" for words.  Check this out:

 They used a rod and bobber---but they used VELCRO!!  OH MY GOODNESS!!  The whole bobber was covered in velcro.  Here Madison is "fishing" for  a fish that she's to recognize (or use the book to help her determine the type).  They covered the fish in velcro strips as well....SOO much easier than my magnets that's for sure.

While at the Wildlife Center, we went to do a "Sound Sampler".  My daughter is much braver than I am.  First it was chilly, so the water was COLD.  Second, EWW!  She's barefoot in that muck!!  What about snakes?  EWWW!!  She is such a "nerd."  She will be something FABULOUS one day!!
We went over to Roanoke one day and went to Island Festival Park.  There we saw a Settlement Site, an American Indian Town, and the Elizabeth II.  It was very educational.  Again, even my busy body little dude liked it!

We went on several nature trails while there (in hopes of some good geocaches).  So pretty---I love the woods!!
If you have never been to Jockey's Ridge, I encourage you to go!!  BEAUTIFUL!!  Great view, nice place to fly kites. This was our 2nd visit to Jockey's Ridge.  I love this action shot of my kiddos! :)
I just thought I'd share where I've been the past couple of weeks.  I'm definitely enjoying my time with my kids.  But today I realized....EGADS!!  I've been out of school for 2 weeks already!  My summer is dwindling away----so if I'm not blogging, please don't think I've given up on this blog.  Just taking a break......as you can see, I'm enjoying my time! :) 

But even though I'm enjoying my time....Remember when I said I can't get school off my brain.  I tried....I really tried.  My poor husband (also a teacher) is going to KILL me if I don't try to enjoy summer some more.  The thing is...I AM enjoying summer.  I like thinking school.  I like thinking about my new students.  I like thinking about my classroom and organization.

Soooo since I was reflecting upon last school year, mind you, I have been out of first grade for 3 years, I forgot what it was like for some of the students at the beginning of first grade.  Some are still struggling with distinguishing between letters and numbers.  Some are reading at or above level.  Last year I think my centers at the beginning of the year were too difficult for 1/4 of my class. I made up this assessment this evening to use as a center or a quick assessment.  There is no recording sheet.  This is just a simple check.  You can click the picture below to grab your freebie.  I would love to hear what you think.  

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