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Saturday, July 27, 2013

A little of this and a bunch of Hodgepodge

EGADS!!  Where has this summer gone?  I can't believe that I have to go back to work so soon. I think I could easily become a professional bum (professional meaning I would have to get paid to be a bum!) ;)

I think a lot of my summer, as many of you may know, has been spent in the kitchen.  I don't have a "bakery" but I do take orders from my home.  Speaking of which..see this cupcake?
My son had been asking for a coca-cola cake.  I thought I'd try to make it into a Coke Float Cupcake.  He enjoyed it.  It was a nice treat, but a little time consuming if you have "help" ;)
You can click the image below to get the recipe for yourself.

Now the funny thing is when I make cupcakes, I feel like the little red hen.  
EVERYONE wants to eat them...no one wants to help clean up. 
Mind you, my SON wanted these...but here's our conversation when I asked him if he'd help clean up
Me: Connor, will you help me clean up?
Connor: Madison (his sister) will.
Me: She is, but everyone needs a part in helping clean up. We all get a job.
Connor:  I'm the Health Inspector! 
OY! ;)

Apparently I have MAJOR cupcake brain.  Here's my new clip chart for my classroom.
 You can click the image below to find it on TpT.  

Now the bad thing is...there are not a lot of cupcake decorations out there for a classroom
I need an alphabet and a calendar and I'd be set.  I can find lots of border to match.
I could probably make something, but my printer really likes ink.  I need to check into getting a new one that's a little less happy with the amount of ink cartridges it eats.  

I have to admit, I do love themes, but I don't go all out.  Like I said, a calendar and border and I'm a happy camper.   I do ADMIRE all those beautiful classrooms. As a matter of fact, I posted about this last year here.. I am in the same boat again.  GEESH, what pinterest and blogs do to a girl!! lol  

HOWEVER, I am a sucker for books, smelly stickers and the Target $1 spot
.  Maybe hoarder is more the word? (Is this why I'm broke?)
Moving on... ;)

I'm also now on Instagram.
I don't have a separate personal/blog account--so it's a hodgepodge of my life.
Kids, school, cupcakes, etc....
You're more than welcome to follow me.
(click the pic)

Friday, July 19, 2013


Patience--Faith--Trust have been the three words I've said over and over this summer...to myself, to one of my best friends/coworkers, to family.  I have been a little gloomy as of late (hence the lack of blogging other than doing a few linkies).  I have been trying to relocate within my district, but it just didn't pan out for me.  Funny thing is, several of us applied for the same position within the district and they hired out of district.  That's life, I guess.  So I tried to find a position elsewhere---but daggone it, I just REALLY love first grade.  I believe in my heart, everything happens for a reason.  With God on my side, I can get through anything that comes my way....so I just have to have patience, keep my Faith, and trust that HE will do what he feels is best for me!

So today I decided I have WAY too much to be thankful for in life to let other things get me down.

LOL!  Love Barney--LOVE How I Met Your Mother! :)

So, I tried to create some AWESOME resources for the beginning of the year with my kiddos.
  I wanted to create something that my students would have worked on last year to help ease them into first grade.  I wanted to give them meaningful work for both them and me.  This will also help me do a quick check over a few essential Kindergarten Common Core standards that first grade standards are  built on. I'm hoping it makes for an easy transition for the first few weeks as either morning work or independent practice after doing the learning stations included.
Here's a sneak peek of what's included.

This pack includes activities to use for small group, quick check for monitoring, or as morning work.
It also includes several workstations (rhyming, counting/number recognition, base ten (11-19), beginning sounds bingo, making ten game, uppercase/lowercase recognition). 
Here is a sample worksheet from the packet. You can click the image to grab yourself a copy.

Also for a beginning of the year pack...
 I love the little cat slider in this pack!!  I hope my students do too.
Here's a little freebie from this set. Click the image below to download. 
Just print, cut on the dotted lines (laminate for durability) and allow students to build -at words.

This -at pack has been made in both color and black/white. :)

For RTI and review, I have my first set of Be a Reading Detective. 
I'm hoping to add a few more sets similar to this as well, as this is for short vowel words.

Here's a sneak peek of the whole set.

And a little freebie...(you know the drill --click on the image to grab it!) ;)
The same story is included as a read/draw as well to help aid in differentiating students.

Finally, I updated some graphics in my old Making Words set.  This was originally marked for Treasures users (First Grade units 1-3), but I think it works well for anyone using Common Core Standards.  I will be updating the other Making Words packs as time allows.  There is an old blog post you can see HERE (but remember I did say old blog post...) that has a freebie. 

I guess I've been staying busy! :) 

Hope you're all enjoying your summer....it sure is going by too quickly!!

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Picture Book Linky Party--Week Four-Favorite Rhyming Books

As if I didn't have enough books filling up my cart...thank you all by the way for feeding my addiction...I decided to continue doing the linky parties for a couple more weeks.  I truly do love Picture Books.  They can be a springboard for a writing activity, to introduce math concepts, science and social studies lessons, and not to mention all the numerous activities for reading.  I asked my husband tonight if I could order all the books in my cart and he said sure!  I think he hasn't checked it out and thinks that I only have a couple in there..hehehe ;)

This week's linky will be on your Favorite Rhyming Books. 
 I LOVE reading rhyming books with my students..to my son..to myself :) I just love reading them!  They are humorous, and students can chime in with words they think rhyme/make sense.  I think I have a nice little collection growing.

There are so many great rhyming books.  My list could be be forever long--from Hop on Pop to Commotion in the Ocean to Chicka Chicka Boom Boom.  There are so many well known popular ones.  I thought I'd try to focus on some lesser known.  
Here are some of my favorites!

Mr. Magee and His Camping Spree
I've shared this one before and left a few freebies HERE.  I love the illustrations, the rhyme...the bear thinking that the trailer hitch is a marshmallow.  It's just a fun story.

I have not read the other books Mr. Magee books by Chris Van Dusen but as much as I enjoy this one, I'm sure that the other ones would be just as cute.
I think I need to have these!!  (I'm going to need a loan for picture books!)

Bear's Loose Tooth
What first grader can't relate to a loose tooth?
Perhaps you are familiar with this author, but it wasn't until a couple years ago that I became familiar with Karma Wilson's picture books.  I have enjoyed every one I've read.....
to my class that is  :)
The illustrations and lessons learned in the Bear books make for wonderful stories.  

Another book by her that my students enjoyed last year was Hogwash.
Love the illustrations in this story too.  

Goldie Locks has Chicken Pox
The pictures in this story seem from the 1950's but my students have enjoyed it.  It's a fun read--and they laugh when the brother tries to connect her dots :) and you encounter a few other storybook favorites.  (I have had to explain what chicken pox were--so many students now get the vaccination that they weren't familiar with this.)

Big Chickens
Humorous story, great rhyming adjectives, and a nice message at the end! :)
Another favorite of my students!

The Seven Silly Eaters
I read this story to my daughter years ago and it's been a favorite since.  Maybe it's because it's a mom thing---and believe me SHE IS A PICKY EATER!  Regardless this story is a cute book for home or school.  (I can totally relate to the tired mom!) 

My list could go on and on.  There are so many great rhyming books.
What are your favorite?
 Do share! You can leave a comment, or link up! :)

Here's how to link up!
1) Grab the image below.  
 2) Post it to your blog post and link back to this post.
3) Share your favorite rhyming books.
4) Return to this post and share your link with inlinkz.  
Remember to use the exact URL of your blog post so that others can find your great book choices!
Perhaps, you could also take time to comment on others posts. 
I'm sure they would love some new followers/comments! :)

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

What's Cooking Wednesday---linky party style!

Okay, I've had several of you ask how I do it....How do I make my cupcakes AND not eat them?  Well....it's not easy that's for sure! But, do you know how many calories are in say my Butterfinger ones?  (Which I call Don't Lay A Finger!) ;)

 OHH MY GOODNESS!   The frosting alone is packed full of fat/calories! 
Don't get me wrong, they are DELICIOUS, but whew! 

 I like to try out new recipes, combine recipes, create my own recipes---then I use one to taste a bit of the cake.  I use the same cupcake to taste a bit of the frosting with it when it's finished.  Hubby shares the other half---and the rest....well go in the trash (EGADS! I know right?)  Or sometimes I sell them or take them to a neighbor. I don't want them in the house.  Willpower is SOO Hard.  

Also, baking gets expensive when I'm trying out new recipes.  Sometimes, if I'm just wanting to taste the "stuff" on the inside, or taste it with the frosting, I will use a box mix.  

I've had a lot of you ask me for some of my cupcake recipes.  Now mind you, I do sell cupcakes/baked goods too, so I can't be sharing all my recipes....but this is a quick BOX mix that I've tried and like. It's not as fattening as some recipes I've made...THANK GOODNESS! :)

So welcome to What's Cooking Wednesday!

Today's recipe--Pineapple Cupcakes

You can click the image below to grab your recipe from Dropbox.

I'm trying something new with What's Cooking Wednesdays, and I'm letting you link up!
I'm always looking for something quick to have on hand.  Our lives can get so busy--whether we're back to work and have conferences, or we're running our kids to and from music/sports.  Sometimes we have carry-ins at work, and it's always nice to have a quick recipe whether it is for those busy nights, or a snack for work.  I love taking in goodies to my coworkers. :)
So friends-- Share what you're cooking this week.  It can be an appetizer, sweet, main course or side dish.  I'm not picky....just love new ideas! :)

Sunday, July 7, 2013

Picture Book Linky Party--Week 3: Character Education

I've been a bad bloggy host.  I have been so busy with my "other" job, that I haven't had time to go back and read all the great book suggestions that you all made for the math books.  I hope that life slows down this week.  I mean it's summer.  It's supposed to be wind down time, right?
Anyway, on with the show.....

This week's linky is for picture books to teach character education.
I have taught in a few schools that have a character education program.
You'd teach a trait a week/bi-monthly, etc.  You'd work on activities, etc. 
Yes, that's important.  VERY IMPORTANT....
but it's so hard to find time to get everything else in sometimes.

Currently, I teach in a Leader in Me School/District.
We're fortunate enough to have someone teach our students once a week, but we are still to incorporate it into our daily instruction when possible.  That's where picture books come in.
I am going to tie my character ed books to the 7 Habits.

Habit 1: Be Proactive
 There's a LOT of books that could be shared here.

Personally, one of my favorite ones is the Little Engine that Could.  I love how the little Big idea is "I think I can, I think I can"  I tell my kiddos that "I can't" is a bad word in our room.  :)
  I also like to use this as one of my first days of school books. I wrote a blog post a LONG TIME AGO with an old freebie on it too.  You can click HERE to see it.

Habit 2:  Begin with the End in Mind (Have a plan)

One of my favorites, Click Clack Moo. 
It's humorous for my firsties, and it does teach to have a plan. :)

But on a more serious note with this habit,  Whistle for Willie is a great story.
The plus side, it's in our Treasures basal.
 My kiddos relate well with this story and see how the habit is tied into the story.

Habit 3:  Put First Things First

 The Little Red Hen is a great example.  
She knew all the things that she needed to do to get her bread made.  
I also love to hear my students responses when I ask if they would share the bread with the other characters. :)

There are also other versions of this story---one is in our Treasures Basal as well. 
The Froggy series books are also great for this.  
Habit 4: Think Win-Win
 One of my favorites for this habit--Rainbow Fish.
I love to let my students make a rainbow fish craft too.  We use coffee filters, and markers.  They color the coffee filter (they can even scribble it), in bright colored markers.  I spray them with a spray bottle and we let them dry.  Then they make fish scales out of the coffee filter, and glue onto a fish pattern.  The last thing we add to it is a tin-foil scale.  They love this activity. :)

Habit 5: Seek First to Understand then to be  Understood

Have you read this little book?  It's a perfect example.
It's a cute book on how the wolf tries to fatten up the chicken for a tasty meal, but come to find out, the surprise is on him and he has a change of heart. ;)

Stellaluna is also a good story for this habit as she has to seek to understand the birds' habits in order to survive.  My students LOVED this story every year I've read it!!!
Habit 6: Synergize

What better teamwork than in the story Swimmy?

I am adding this one to my Amazon cart.  I love the variations of stories.  (Hmm, another picture book linky perhaps)....anyway--this book looks real cute (and I do LOVE sweet potatoes).  Would be a fun fall activity to cook, measure, etc. in the classroom with this book too. 

Habit 7:Sharpen the Saw

A perfect book for my firsties, as they love Mo Willems books...

Again, on a more realistic approach--The Snowy Day.  I love Ezra Jack Keats!  
Peter illustrates what being balanced is all about--from playing in the snow, using his imagination, to taking his warm bath at the end of his day.   Balance feels best when you take care of yourself!

There are many more picture books that tie into character education.  I chose to reflect on the ones that I'm currently using, or have used for our district wide program-The Leader in Me.  
If you liked the 7 Habits posters, you can click the picture below to 
grab all 7 posters from Google Docs.

If you'd like to share your favorite picture books feel free to leave a comment, OR link up.
How to link up
1) Grab the image below.  
 2) Post it to your blog post and link back to this post.
3) Share your favorite picture books to character education.
4) Return to this post and share your link with inlinkz.  
Remember to use the exact URL of your blog post so that others can find your great book choices!
Perhaps, you could also take time to comment on others posts. 
I'm sure they would love some new followers/comments! :) 

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