Thank you! And "All on the Map"

You guys are so wonderful at lifting a girl's spirits! Your comments and emails to me about my previous post really helped me know I'm not the only one out there who's so frustrated with the way teaching is heading. Some days, I am jealous of those of you who get to teach reading centers, but I don't even have that option with the way our schedule is set up. My kiddos don't go to centers, and they have no down time throughout the day when they aren't being directly instructed by a teacher. One of these days, I'll figure out a time when I can get these first graders into some fun activities where they can explore their learning a bit!! :-)

In other news... Here is the latest in my set of StoryTown activity printables! Click the pic to check out this packet that works with Lesson 6, studying the -all chunk!

Hope you all had a relaxing weekend! Have a tremendous week... may it be the best one yet! :)



Creativity in Teaching...

Alright, y'all... I gotta be honest with you! I am W.O.R.N. out this week!! My kiddos seemed to have taken several steps forward in the past couple of weeks, but then the past couple of days, they've gone a little backwards, and I'm so tired :( Anyone else out there experiencing this same kinda slump?? Honeymoon's officially over, I guess!

While I'm being honest, I have to ask you guys...
Are you allowed to use those wonderful, God-given creative genes of yours in your teaching? Not just your management style, but your curriculum, also? Because, this year, I feel so squelched in that area. It breaks my heart to have all of these great ideas {many of which come from your FABULOUS blogs!!} that I know my kiddos would just die for, but I'm unable to use them!!

Instead, I turn the page each day in our basal... and teach it as it's written - with "fidelity." {Sometimes that word makes me shudder a bit...} And now, we have a new pilot/Common Core math curriculum to follow, as well. It's written by the folks at the Board Office, along with a handful of classroom teachers. Once again, I turn the page and teach what's given to us. I did find out this week that we have a bit of flexibility in this math thing, but not as much as I'd like. Thankfully my principal is creative herself, and she encourages us as much as she can!

So... my question to you: How do you do it?!? How do you follow the rules, yet still fulfill that inner desire to be creative and help your kiddos learn as much as you know they can by creating lessons that are tailored to them and their learning styles??

I'm feeling a bit saddened this year... this isn't what I signed up for when I decided in 4th grade to become a wonderful teacher someday.



A Weekend for Remembering

Hey you guys! I hope you have had a relaxing weekend and enjoyed your time with family :-)

This was not my ideal weekend, that’s for sure. Saturday evening, a colleague and myself went to the funeral of a 3 month-old little brother of a student of mine. Little Gavin was remembered in a very touching ceremony in which his mom and dad both spoke of the hopes and dreams that they had for their only son. Throughout the entire service, my little girl was just bawling, and it broke my heart, y’all. I am so glad I went, so she could see I care about her and her family. I let her know we missed her so much in class, and she said she’s ready to come back. We’ll see her tomorrow, and I will be greeting her with the biggest hug.

Then today, I, along with all of you, couldn’t help but travel back in time to ten years ago. TEN YEARS AGO. Holy moly. I remember like it was yesterday…

I was a freshman at Oklahoma Baptist University, and I was set to meet a buddy in the lobby so we could travel to breakfast. As I walked into the common room, my RD was watching the events unfold on TV. Unknowingly, I asked,

“What movie are you watching?”
”It’s not a movie… it’s really happening.”

Woah. My friend came in and we traveled in confusion to the cafeteria. In there, the big screen was showing footage, and we witnessed the 2nd plane hit. To say I was scared and disturbed is an understatement.

We walked in silence to our class (classes hadn’t been canceled yet, but they were shortly), where I was to take my first test of college ever – in government, none the less. My professor still had us take the test.

And I FAILED. But I didn’t care. My dad was on business in Atlanta and I needed to make sure he was okay. Since airports had shut down, he was unable to fly home, so his business buddies all decided to “steal” their rental car and drive it back to Kansas City. He was telling me of stopping off at Cracker Barrel and plugging in his phone {along with all of the others traveling home} on the hearth of their fireplace. But, he made it home, and my family was safe.

This was a day that changed our forevers. I will never forget.

Hug your kids. Love your family. Have a great week, everyone!



I’m trying something new…

A few months back, Cara at The First Grade Parade suggested switching over to Windows Live Writer to create blog posts. I decided tonight (instead of working on more school stuff) to give it a whirl!

So far, so good… What about you guys?? Do you still use Blogger or did you get sick of it like I did! It seemed to give me so many problems, so I quit! :-) I’m loving how there’s a toolbar up here that looks like I’m typing in Word or Power Point! I’m so comfortable with those programs, that this just makes sense!

Thanks, Cara, for the suggestion!

Also, I think I LOVE short weeks! Every week should be 4 little days with a  long 3 day weekend… don’t you think?!? We seemed to get a lot accomplished this week, and my kiddos had a treeeeee-mendous day today! I love it when I can enjoy a nice {competitive} game of Memory with two of my little beauties during indoor recess… PS – they totally kicked. my. tail. !!Milton Bradley Memory Board GameOn another note, tomorrow evening I’m attending the funeral for the little baby brother of my student that passed away this week; I’m going with her Kindergarten teacher. I’m pretty sure this will be unlike any service I’ve ever attended… I’ve never been to a service for anyone that wasn’t an adult. So sad. :(



My heart hurts.

Well, folks, I heard of some news this morning that I have never had to deal with before. One of my beautiful little girls' little adorable baby brother passed away suddenly yesterday.

We know no details.. she wasn't at school today (we only found out because Mom called the office this morning with the quick explanation of why my darling was going to be absent), but she will probably be back tomorrow.

After the shock and tears passed this morning, my head couldn't stop spinning... poor family! Poor little 6-year-old big sister who is left not understanding why her 5 month old baby brother is gone. I cannot even imagine, you guys.

What are your suggestions? How do I handle this and the questions that will come from my class tomorrow? How do I let this little one know I am here for her and it's okay to cry and be angry and take it easy? I've had parents pass away while I've had their child, but never a sibling and never so suddenly.  My heart is hurting for everyone involved, and I can't wait to give my student a great big hug... it's all I know I can offer her for sure right now.



Welcome to the New Me!

Ok, maybe not the new "me", per say, but the new blog for me! :-)

{I don't know about y'all, but this Tuesday-seems-like-a-Monday thing wore me O.U.T. today! Needless to say, the evening will consist of TV, blog-stalking, and my oversized chair. And maybe my "puppy", Lucy. Maybe.}

Thanks to Jenn and her hubby over at Dream Team Designs, this page has a new look that is ALL me. And no one else will have it, so I won't think I'm going crazy when I click someone's link and I see my freebie layout... haha!

If you are in the market for a new look, whether it's a personal blog or a teaching blog or whatever, definitely check out Dream Team designs... they are an incredible pair to work with and, as you can see, they do wonderful work! While you're checking them out, be sure to stop by Jenn's teaching blog - she's such an incredible inspiration!

Lastly, if you've been SOOO kind as to add my blog button to your sidebar, would you mind changing over to my new pretty button? Pretty please? If you do, please let me know in a comment and I'll be SURE to add your button to my bloggy-blog, also. Thank you kindly!



Made Me Smile!! :-)

I hope this post finds y'all fully enjoying your day off today! If you live close to KC, you are also enjoying some BEA-U-TIFUL weather! Finally :-)

As I was watching the Criminal Minds marathon on A&E while cozying up with a blanket {yes, a blanket!!} while the curtains blew in the breeze, my phone alerted me that I had an email. I was nominated by sweet Nicole @ First Grade OWLs as one of her Top 10 Blogs! This made me smile, friends!

Top 10 TBA
Here are some of my favorite blogs (many of whom have already been nominated, I'm sure, but I'll try to pick some new ones!!)... check them out and say hello!!


(there was no blog button here!)

F is for First Grade
Lastly... stay tuned for a WONDERFUL new look coming my way V.E.R.Y. soon! Eeeek!  :-)



Accent Vlog Linky Party!!

Happy LONG weekend!! :) In order to celebrate, I thought I'd kick off a party for us all... I hope you'll join in!

I saw this on a friend's blog, and loved this idea, especially since we're all over the US. Simply watch my video (it's less than 5 minutes, and Puh-LEASE pardon the 9:45 pm curly hair mess!), then shoot your own, and link up! You'll be reading a list of words whose pronunciations vary across the nation, as well as a list of questions that have different answers depending on where you are! It's gonna be fun... and good for some giggles! What better way to kick back and relax away from school, right??

Well, here goes nothing:

The instructions are to say these words:
Aunt, Route, Wash, Oil, Theater, Iron, Salmon, Caramel, Fire, Water, Sure, Data, Ruin, Crayon, Toilet, New Orleans, Pecan, Both, Again, Probably, Spitting image, Alabama, Lawyer, Coupon, Mayonnaise, Syrup, Pajamas, Caught

And answer these questions:
What is it called when you throw toilet paper on a house?
What is the bug that when you touch it, it curls into a ball?
What is the bubbly carbonated drink called?
What do you call gym shoes?
What do you say to address a group of people?
What do you call the kind of spider that has an oval-shaped body and extremely long legs?
What do you call your grandparents?
What do you call the wheeled contraption in which you carry groceries at the supermarket?
What do you call it when rain falls while the sun is shining?
What is the thing you use to change the TV channel?

Have FUN! Add your link below, and please invite your friends... teachers or not!