Monday, February 25, 2013

Meetings...No bueno (sometimes) and a funny :)

Sometimes, meetings about school, for school that make you think about school just stink.

Today I was at a training because I graciously volunteer was roped in to lead/facilitate a Learning Team at my school.  Learning Teams are sort of like PLCs.  My team is comprised of 1st and 2nd grade teachers.  We have a 7 step protocol that we follow.  It begins by choosing a need and ends with evaluating our lesson delivery/ instructional approach and student growth. 1st and 2nd graders are a lot a like, but they are also really different and have different needs.   In theory, it's a great way to have time to dig into what's great practice with your colleagues. In reality, it becomes laborious and resented.  It's great to lead a meeting where that is the sentiment :)  Um-huh, just loads of fun.  Well, today I had to go to a mid-year facilitator workshop. 

My brain hurts. 

Oh, and after the training, I had to race back to school to lead my team in a our weekly Learning Team meeting. 

Did I mention it was loads of fun already? 

Anywho, I am SOOOOOOO ready to be with my Littles tomorrow.  I lurve being with them and being a teacher.  I just don't necessarily like all the other hoops that we have to jump through to prove ourselves. 

So, after my day, I found this and it made me LOL---fo real----outloud :)

Pinned Image

Friday, February 22, 2013

Mid-Winter Break and St. Patrick's Freebie

Oh how I have loved having this week off.  I LOVE staying up late and sleeping in.  It makes my heart happy!!!  Oh, and being able to drink coffee in the evenings without fear of it keeping me awake has been quite a treat too!   Today, I got to have lunch with a friend.  Awesome to have that freedom.  My friend, Kristy, is amazing. Even though she spells her name completely wrong :)  This is a running joke b/w us.  It was nice to catch up a bit and relax :)  She works for my church as our Operation's Coordinator and she also works for Free Wheelchair Mission (FWM).  FWM is an awesome Christian organization that raises money to build and provide wheelchairs to people in developing countries. The work that this organization does is an incredible testimony of faith and obedience.  If your church or group is looking for something to support, consider FWM.

It's also been nice to catch up on all my favorite shows.  I cannot believe how Downton Abbey ended this season.  It was tho thad!!!  It is one of my favorite shows right now.  It's a "Christy" show.  My hubby doesn't care for it.  He likes to see more action and suspense. 

Having this week off gave me a little time to tinker around on the computer too.  I made a few sheets to give my Littles extra practice with 1 more/1less and 10 more/ 10 less.  I thought I would offer them to you guys too!  Click the pictures below to download this freebie from my TPT store. 

Also, I still have 2 freebies available from the previous blog post (SMARTboard attendance pages).  1 was claimed...2 more to go! 

Happy Friday!!!

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Hall Pass Linky Party and Giveaway :)

I am so excited about this Linky Party!  Not only do I adore it's Host, Reagan at, but I also get to share my first TPT product for purchase!

Product ~  My favorite product (like most people) is the one that I just created.  I love my SMARTboard and so do my Littles. This year, I have been creating a page/board each month for my Littles to use to check in each morning.  Since I have this week off, I sat down and created enough for a whole school year.  My Littles love checking in each morning and I like that it gives them one more thing to do independently.  It also allows me to hear about the lost teeth from the night before or how many goals were scored at soccer games and of course who in their family is having a birthday (...always happens....daily!!!)  Here is a look-see at some of the pages:
If you would like to purchase them, click here :)
***Free to the first three followers that comment on this post***
I also want to give a shout out to one of my favorite "purchased" products.  I bought Reagan's Read It and Write! Comprehension Pack in December.  It is filled with graphic organizers to help teach CC.  It is worth the buy FO. SHO!!!

Area ~  My favorite area is my small group area.  A few years back, I bought a tikki bar.  It sat in my garage for a year and then one day it dawned on me to turn it around and utilize the bar storage for my reading supplies.  I. LOVE. IT!!!  I wish I had a better picture, but I don't.

Signal ~ I have several "go to" signals in the classroom. 
Teacher:  "Class, Class"
Littles:  "Yes, Yes"  (& freeze with eyes on me.)
This is a whole brain teaching routine.  It works! 
My school signal is:
Adult: "Panda Pause"
Little:  Panda *Paws* are raised, frozen bodies, eyes on speaker.
I also have a pinterest page full of transitions linked there.  My littles love when I play a transition song or clip.  Check out my transitions here:  Thank Goodness Pinterest was created!!!!

Sanity ~  I live close to Seattle.  My sanity saver is coffee.  Oh how I love that first third cup.  Without it, I feel incomplete....seriously!  In a pinch, Coke Zero or sweet tea will do. I'm a transplanted southerner.

If you would like to link up, jump over to and join!  I can't wait to read through the other linked blogs :)

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Valentines Day, Conferences, Reptile Man Oh My (and much more)

I survived Valentine's Day easily.....the day after proved more challenging!  It seems so cruel to go back after out of the ordinary festivities and routine.  It might be the combination of Valentine's Day, late night parent/teacher conferences on Tuesday and Wednesday, 1/2 days all week, 100th day, book fair and our Reptile Man assembly.  It. has. been. a. week!!!

Our 100th day was Monday and with our super short day and other "have to dos", it was a little lacking this year.  I hope next year this day doesn't fall during conference week.

We always have a book fair during conference week.  Here are the littles waiting to devour the books and ask a million times "How much does this cost" gently look at all the available titles so they can tell their parents.

Parent/Teacher conferences went well.  I always love getting to talk to the parents of my littles.  I love showing how much growth they have made.  20 minutes goes so quickly and when the conversation involves a translator, I have to watch my time closely.  I had 3 no shows and I wish that I could say that they were surprises for me.  I don't understand being so completely busy that I couldn't make time to check in with my little's progress.  It would be different if these families were involved in other ways, but no, they have shown almost zero interest since the beginning of school.  Sadness :(

Reptile Man came for an assembly on Wednesday morning.  I loathe snakes.  I understand they are a part of an important ecosystem, but they honestly make my backbone hurt.  Here he is with some students holding a snake that could easily eat one of my littles! 

Valentine's Day is always a treat.  I love it.....HARD!!!  We exchanged cards and treats and then read them.  I love how they thank each sender so graciously.  It warms my heart to witness this every year!  We made scrapbooks with our cards.  This idea was one I got from  They turned out so cute and the littles loved making them.  We ended our short celebratory day with valentine floats.  I saw the idea on pinterest.  So simple:  1 scoop of vanilla ice cream, pour cherry 7-Up over the top and finish with a cherry twizzler straw.  They littles LOVED them!  When you hear " this is the best day everrrrrr!"  you know that you have succeeded. 

These were my Valentine's cards to the littles.  We are the Pandas :) 

The crazy straws went great with our Valentine Floats :)

Here's my favorite shirt worn on V-Day!  Gotta love a mustached panda!!!!
This week, we have off.  It's our mid-winter break.  HALLELUJAH!!!  I am so excited to have some time to regroup and relax. 

Sunday, February 10, 2013

100th Day Freebie :)

Tomorrow is the 100th day of school for me and my littles!  It is CRAZY that we have already reached this point of the year!  I know some of you have already had your 100th day celebration, but I wanted to share a little printable that I made with you.  You could save it for next year :)

Here's the link:

100th Day Poster

Sunday, February 3, 2013

Just Right Review---Gallery Style

Room #7 has been so busy this week.  Two words....Report Cards!  I must say that I love seeing the growth as I fill each one out, but doing one for each of my 27 littles is e.x.h.a.u.s.t.i.n.g!  I have just a little bit more and I will be finished.

I think I can.  I think I can...right?   :)

One of the areas that my littles needed a review on was how to choose a just right book.  We covered this earlier in the year, but for some reason it hasn't stuck as much I had hoped.  It's so hard for the littles to self-select just right books sometimes.  It is especially hard when they have friends that are reading chapter books and they aren't ready.  So, I decided that we needed a refresher on why just right books are important and how to check to see if a book is too easy, just right or challenging.  I split my class into 5 groups.  Each group began at a table with large piece of bulletin board paper with either a question or a topic. Each student had a marker and they were instructed to write what they knew about the question or topic on the paper.  I rotated the groups around so that they got to visit each paper.  It looked a little like this:


I learned a lot about what my littles knew about just right books and I also learned where their confusions were.  The posters were great reference points for the next few days for me to use to review.  The littles loved it when I made reference to something that they added to the poster.  Here are a few up close pics of some of their thoughts:

The littles really liked being so involved in this gallery style activity.  Even my reluctant students participated.  It was nice to be able to engage everyone at once. 
After we reviewed Just Right Books, I made posters to put near our classroom library as a reminder.  Our general classroom rule is that a bookbox should contain 1 too easy book, 1 challenging book, and atleast 5 just right books.  Here are the posters :)