My aching heart is sending up constant prayers tonight for the students, teachers, and families of those at Sandy Hook Elementary School. I cannot even imagine the bravery that was shown by the sweet little babies and their fabulous leaders.

Hug your little ones a little tighter tonight.



12 on 12-12-12!

What a F-U-N day!! I am linking up with Simpson's Superstars to document my day in pictures - 12 to be exact :-)  Click the button to join in the fun and check out what everyone else did today!

Here's my day! Enjoy!

My heart, my baby!

Does anyone else's teacher bag look like this EVERY morning?!? I mean... a lunch bag, a muffin snack, my Santa picture frame, my kiddos' Christmas gifts, and my breast pump. {Yeah, I said breast pump. It'll be okay. :)} I get quite the arm workout every day!

I am following Lesson Plan SOS' lead and we're starting Secret Santa in my classroom! Here are the slips with each kid's name on them... we drew names and started our acts of kindness this morning!

Morning Writing... Each day they pick a prompt and write/draw for about 20-25 minutes between the first bell, the tardy bell, announcements, and attendance. It's so great to see them working so hard!

EEKK reading at it's FINEST!! :-)

My lunch. Before the microwave. Oh... how I can't wait for Christmas Break {6 more teaching days!!} so I can have a "real" lunch for a change!

Yep... I paused my writing lesson just to take this screen shot of my phone! The kids got a kick out of it :-)

Christmas cards arrived today! I had them mailed to school in case the weather was icky and that way they didn't need to sit out on the porch until Hubby got home. Makes my heart SO SO SO happy to see my boy!

We traveled to Italy today for Christmas Around the World. Here they are turned "plane style" and their wings are out, ready to make the trek!

Ha!! We did many random sets of 12-12-12s today... 12 high kicks, 12 jumping jacks (seen above), 12 high knees, 12 sit ups (which ZERO of my kids knew how to do!!!), etc. I would randomly tell the kids to stand up and push in their chair... by the 3rd time, they knew what to expect. We did this 6 or 7 times throughout the day. It was a great way to get our blood moving!

My sweet girl... Lucy :) She currently has a hurt paw {by her own doing...}, so she's doing even more laying around than normal!

The gifts for my Angel Tree baby! I'll bring these to school tomorrow so they're ready to be delivered next week! :-)

I hope you had fun peeking into my day! It was nice to not be so serious with my kiddos today and enjoy a little bit of fun!



Skittle Math Fun!

I just wanted to stop by really quick to let y'all know about a great little freebie that I've found SUPER helpful in my classroom this week! You may already have it... but if not, you'll want it!

The wonderfully talented Erica Bohrer has created a Skittles graphing/sorting activity that is so kindly offered for free through her Teachers Pay Teachers store... click the top pic to get you there!

Seriously, this little packet is so perfect for getting first graders interested in math again - I mean, who doesn't love a lesson that involves eating CANDY when you've finished?!!? My kiddos soaked it up, and we had about 45 minutes of pure DE-LIGHT in my room... silent, hard-working little ones just make my heart smile :-)

If you're teaching graphing soon, I truly recommend this great file! It's just what my whole class (myself included) needed to get us through these last several days before Break ;-)

Up tomorrow... a great marshmallow graphing activity!
More sugar!
More sweets!
Hopefully more hard working kids!!



Currently December :-)

Here's a little quickie... I feel like something lighthearted tonight!

Link up with Farley and join in! I can't wait to get some great RAK ideas!



School Supply LOVE

School supplies… you can never have enough, can you?? If you’re anything like me, you start making your list of necessary supplies to order/buy for the following year about February :) And, even with your careful and complete planning, come October, you realize you still need MORE!
Well, here is where the wonderful people of MPM School Supplies {www.mpmschoolsupplies.com}! They are here for us ALL YEAR at wonderful prices! No need to wait for the one-day only sales over the summer to stock up on what you need… get it now! Their selection is wide and varied, their email reps are super polite, and the shipping is crazy fast!
Here are some of the great finds I selected from their website to help both myself and my kiddos out for the rest of the school year:
My kiddos are LOVING their fun Friday activities from this book that correlate with our phonics focus for the week… it’s an educational I-Spy!
These a.dor.a.ble little markers are just the right size for my firsties’ hands when they earn the reward of getting to write with fun supplies for the day!
Stikki Clips; White; 30 Per Pack; no. STK01420
We all know the importance of these suckers!
Crayola 50ct Washable Super Tips with Silly Scents
I am enjoying getting to use some brand-spanking new markers when creating fun posters and signs for my classroom… and the best part? There are some smelly markers in here, too!!
If you don’t want to wait any longer for the supplies you need NOW – maybe for those holiday crafts you’ve got planned for the next few weeks – then here’s a deal that’ll tickle your fancy! Visit the MPM School Supplies' easy-to-navigate site and shop away… and save a little moolah, too! Use this link and save 10% if you’re one of the first 10 of my readers to shop!
Have fun and I can’t wait to see what you’ve purchased!



Just one kid...

Ever notice how just ONE kiddo can make all the difference in the world on how smoothly {or not} your class runs?? Well, today TWO of my big ticket kids were gone, and the rest of my class took full advantage of the quiet, productive work time while I filled out grade cards and did last minute progress monitoring!

Please tell me I'm not the only one who has the same kind of crazy calm day when certain gifts take a day off...



Phonics Language Lacers & BOGO!

First off, thank you for the great suggestions for Math Journal prompts for my sweet kiddos! I have sent some ideas to my principal, and we are awaiting approval for the funds to purchase some!! :-)

A few weeks ago, Lakeshore Learning (oh, how I love that store!) sent me their Phonics Language Lacers to try out with my kiddos!
"Phonics Language Lacers ($19.95) As students lace up our fun, shoe-shaped activity boards, they get hands-on phonics practice! The set includes 15 lacer boards and 15 plastic-tipped laces. Kids just lace up each shoe, building language skills as they match up words to the correct beginning, middle or ending sounds—with corresponding illustrations that ensure successful matching! 5" x 8" lacers come with an answer card for easy self-checking, plus an activity guide."

These cute "shoes" are quite the hit with my small groups in class! I love that they cover a wide range of phonics skills, from basic short vowels to vowel combos and digraphs, etc! {Not to mention... these make a GREAT opportunity to practice the oh-so-important shoe tying skill that so many kids lack!}

Not only is this kit available, but Lakeshore offers a whole line of these lacer items!! Do you need your kids to practice synonyms & antonyms? How about compound words or word families? Well then you're in luck! I'm seriously debating snatching up the rest of these kits - they make tremendously easy ways for kids to show their knowledge and allow me to check their independent work quickly so I know what skills need reinforcement.

If you're interested in any of these, or anything else that Lakeshore offers, take advantage of the great deal they're offering  my readers!

Enjoy a “Buy One, Get One 50% off” from Lakeshore: www.lakeshorelearning.com/bogo 

Happy Shopping!!



First Grade Common Core

You all know that the latest buzzwords in education HAVE to include something about the Common Core Standards :) I'm sure your district is offering lots of PD these days of how to incorporate the new standards, you're probably learning a new report card system reporting grades in the next couple of weeks, and, if you're like me, you're constantly looking for ways to stretch your kids' minds and really engage them in the new rigorous learning expectations!

Look no further, here is a wonderful resource for any classroom teacher, especially those of us lucky enough to teach First Grade!

This book holds many many ideas to teach the First Grade Common Core Standards that are easy to implement in your classroom tomorrow! Click the link or the picture to snag a copy of your own! :)

Enjoy the rest of your Sunday... looking forward to some good football this afternoon!



Help me with... Math Journals!

We had our bi-weekly Common Core First Grade training-meeting-thingy this afternoon, and I came away feeling like I need to be doing SO. MUCH. MORE. with my class in order for them to really succeed with these new standards! Luckily for me, I have an unusually bright group this go 'round, but that just puts even more pressure on me to stretch them even further! :/

So... I'm doing a Math Workshop rotation in my room now (going on week 3) and it's going fine and dandy. I need to do a better job at planning more differentiated lessons for my Teacher Time, but I'll get there :) My gut is telling me I also need to add in a Math Journal time to my day. And that means I need some good daily Math Journal Prompts.

Here lies my problem. WHOSE DO I BUY?!? I surely don't want to make my own when someone else wonderful out there has an incredible product up on Tpt or TN. :-) So who do you recommend? Are you using someone's math journal prompts in your room? Do the kids love them? Are they getting smarter by the day?? Let me know! Leave me a link! Plug your own product shamelessly!! I wanna know what I can do that's the BEST for my firsties.

Thanks! You're the best! Okiloveyoubuhbye!



All 5 I-Charts!

Hello, friends!!

I hope your week has been a wonderful one - mine was pretty darn good! We are now rockin' and rollin' with all 5 parts to the Daily 5 in our room, and the kids are loving it! I am trying to get better at my small group instruction during this time {it is SO HARD for me not to micro-manage the kids working in their stations, even though they're not really bothering anyone and they're doing their jobs!}, so that's my goal for this upcoming week :) I want to focus on my little kiddos who need me at the table with them, not the kids who are on their own around the room!

Anywho, by popular demand, here are the pics of all of my I-charts, as well as the PDF versions of them for you. However, I got pretty specific with the "where we can do this" part of my charts... you can either cut that part off if you like the rest of it, or you can click the link underneath the pics for the Publisher versions so you can tweak them to fit your needs. :) Be sure to thank the 3am Teacher for the great frame graphics in the PDF! Due to her TOU, I cannot leave the frames in the editable version, but you can grab them from her site if you choose!

Please let me know if you download and enjoy this product :)

Download the PDFs here.
Download the editable Publisher files here.



Walk Now for Autism Speaks!

Hey all! I have just registered for the Kansas City Walk Now for Autism Speaks event, and wanted to share with you why :-)

Not only do I have 2 adorable boys with autism in my classroom this year, I also have the sweetest little nephew who was diagnosed with Autism a few years ago.
Tyler's mom set up a team to Walk in Tyler's name, and, of course I had to join! As educators, we know the deep impact that autism can have on a child's life, but watching it impact a family member just makes it so much more "real"... ya know?

Anywho, we are raising funds for the Walk, and if you'd like to donate in support of Autism awareness, please click HERE to visit my donation page. I'll also add a link to the right side of my blog page if you'd like to think about it and come back later!

Thank you so much for any support you're able to offer :)



Coaching Sheet Freebie!

Happy Sunday, everybody!! I hope you are experiencing the same kind of wonderful weather that we have been in KC this weekend... it was SO nice to be able to finally take the baby outside for a while yesterday without worrying if he would swelter in his travel system! :-)

While the hubby is watching his beloved Chiefs get slaughtered play on TV, I've been working on lesson plans and such for next week. I am a bit behind in my Daily 5 intro lessons b/c of being gone for 1 1/2 days last week with a sick boy. BUT, we are going to hit it hard this week and hopefully be up and running with a full 4 rotations by the end of the week!! On Monday, I'll be teaching the kiddos how to decide if their reading partner needs some coaching or some time when they come to a tricky word. Here's the sheet that they'll put in their book box folder (along with their Check for Understanding check mark and other important papers that need to travel with them and not get squished by books!)

Graphics from Just So Scrappy Too. Fonts from Kevin & Amanda.

If you think you can use this file with your kids, please feel free to click the pic and download from Google Docs. It'll print 2 per page.

Have a wonderful Monday!! :-)



Phonics Word Searches!

Here's my latest little "labor" of love :)

I am always looking for something meaningful for my kiddos to do when they've finished their work early... so here are some word searches the correlate with our basal (StoryTown)! Included are 30 searches, one for each lesson. The searches include the week's spelling and high frequency words. Click the pic to visit my store for a free preview!

Don't teach StoryTown?? Don't worry! These are simple Word documents, and can be easily edited to fit your style! Simply delete the graphic I included (they coordinate with the stories we read each week) and rename the search to indicate the phonics chunk it reinforces! There are searches for short vowels, digraphs, etc. You name it, it's probably there (if you teach first grade, that is...!).

I hope you enjoy! Let me know if your kiddos enjoy them, too!



Lesson Plan Switcheroo

Happy Thursday!! :-) I am home with a sick little baby boy, but during his mid-day nap, I thought I'd share my new lesson plan format with you all instead of doing housework... ha!!

I started out the year with plans that looked like this:

 I have used a layout like this for years now, and I love it! It's customized every year to my schedule... and I can make the boxes larger or smaller depending on how much detail will need to be written for the lesson.

Buuuuut, this year, it just wasn't working for me! :( Our team is diving into the Daily 5 for the first year {and L.O.V.I.N.G. it, by the way!}, and I needed more space to write out what parts of our basal series {Storytown} needed to be taught before each Daily 5 breakout, along with which kids I would pull each session and what I was going to teach them! Plus, to add to that, we don't have reading support on Tuesdays, so we have an extra hour and a half to fill with engaging activities.

Soooo... the new version of my lesson plans was born. I have one page PER DAY now, instead of being able to see the whole week at a glance, but it is going to keep me more accountable and on track, and, most importantly, it will make my small group time much more intentional and focused every day!

{Ummm... SO SORRY for the poor quality :( I don't know what's going on, and baby just woke up, so I can't investigate right now!}

If you think you can use something like this in your room, please click on the pics to download the entire week in an editable format from Google docs! Leave me some love if you like 'em!

Ohmygoodness! Technology and I ARE NOT seeing eye-to-eye today! :( I clicked the link to make sure it worked, but the pages show up all sorts of caddywhompus {is that even how you spell that? My brain gives up!}. If you are interested, please shoot me an email and I'll send a Word doc your way!