28 December 2015

Winter Break Postcards

I'm so excited that we still have a week of Winter Break left, considering my family spent pretty much the entire first week with someone sick! No fun! But, I also miss my little second graders, so I whipped up this postcard this morning to send to them to let them know their teacher was thinking of them. 

You can download your own copy from Google Drive with an editable name section for FREE by clicking HERE or on the picture below.

If you cut around the dots, they measure 5.25" x 3.75", which meets the size requirements of a postcard by the USPS. I plan on cutting them with a small white border, but they will still meet the size requirements.

Hope you're enjoying your time off. Have a great week!

13 December 2015

My Favorite Christmas Book

Can you believe there are only 5 more teaching days until Winter Break? Well, for me, at least! And boy do I need it! Thanksgiving break was a bit chaotic for my family. I had to drive us from central Texas back to Colorado through an ice storm because my husband was terribly sick. (We found out later that he actually had pneumonia!) We made it through the rough weather only to hit a huge deer in New Mexico. After we sorted through that mess, we ended up stranded about 160 miles from home due to an interstate closure because of weather. Unfortunately, we realized too late that our hotel didn't have hot water. Sigh. I was so relieved to get home. But then the 3-year old got sick, 3 of the 4 toilets in our house broke...well, you get the picture! I need another break!

But I wanted to pop in and share a book that I love read to my class and my own kids every year as we approach Christmas. 

Can't Wait Till Christmas! was written by Governor Mike Huckabee and was released back in 2010. You can check it out on Amazon by clicking HERE. Now...I'm a big Mike Huckabee fan, and I admit that I bought the book mainly because of that. (And I'm a big sucker for Christmas books!) But it has turned into one of my favorite books to read during the Christmas season. I love the book's overall message, which is the benefit of patience. It also focuses on honesty, the kids' feelings, and the consequences of their actions. You could definitely use it for cause and effect. It's an awesome book for the home and classroom. If you have the chance to read it, you definitely should!

Here's to a quick week in the classroom!

01 November 2015

Currently November

Can you believe it's already November? I am spending the day decorating for Christmas!!! That's right! Our weekends are pretty busy once November hits, so I like to get it done early. The only downside to decorating this year is that we have to buy a new tree since our old pre-lit one blew out last year. Two of the 4 sections of lights randomly stopped working last year, and when you're talking about a 12 foot tree...well, we strung up new lights on the broken sections and made it work. Having to fork out the money for a new huge tree...YIKES! But I can't wait to see my 3-year old's face when we're done! But for now...on to this month's Currently linkup with Farley at Oh Boy Fourth Grade! You can join the linkup to by clicking on the picture below.

Listening: I'm watching the Hallmark movie Northpole from last year. Remember all the magic snowflakes at Walmart? Yup. This is that movie. It's pretty cute. And it's reminded me that I love the name Clementine.

Loving: I can now decorate for Christmas! My boys cannot wrap their minds around it, but my husband knows how happy it makes me. First up this morning is decorating the kitchen in gingerbread men.

Thinking: I should be prepping for this week. But, come on! Where's the fun in that???

Wanting: Earlier this week my coffee travel mug, which is usually airtight, somehow opened in my bag. (Yeah, yeah...I put it in my bag. With my Macbook. And an iPad. And my Teacher Anchor.) The bag turned on it's side in the floorboard of my car, and by the time I realized it, it had spilled all over the side of my bag that had my Teacher Anchor in it. I cried. I was sooooooo sad. My husband was thankful that it didn't get on my laptop or iPad. I mean, don't get me wrong, I was, too. But...everything in that Teacher Anchor was handwritten. Total bummer.

Needing: The Teacher Anchor tragedy leads me needing to find the Erin Condren Teacher Planner I bought this summer. I had decided to save it for next year, but now...sigh. It could be worse, I suppose.

Yummy: I love mac and cheese. But I especially love this mac and cheese. It's a recipe from Trisha Yearwood on Food Network. You can check the recipe out HERE. It's definitely a winner for a cold day.

Well, that's how my month is starting. I hope you have a great one!

30 October 2015

Five for Friday

Phew! What a week! Coming back off a two-week break was rough enough, but then topping it off with my school's annual Halloween parade and party was especially exhausting. I'm glad to be linking up with Doodle Bugs Teaching for Five for Friday and bringing my week to a close. You can link up by clicking HERE.

We had some district assessments this week, and it really messed up our schedule. We only had 25 minutes for math, and I needed to come up with something quick but still purposeful. I had the kids draw spinners on their desks with Expo markers, draw 6 (somewhat) equal parts and label them with +/- 1, 10, and 100. The used a single die to make a 3 digit number. Then they used a large paperclip to spin. They would add whatever the spinner landed on to the number they had rolled. They loved it! It was quick, and it was easy to clean up. The kids use felt squares to erase, but as you can tell on this desk, it was in serious need of a wipe down. So we used Lysol wipes to wipe the desks off at the end of the day. They were good as new! It saved me copies, and I didn't have to drag out the whiteboards.

While visiting my friend Shari's kindergarten classroom, I noticed her centers rotation board. It was a wheel that she turned daily to change the kids stations. She got the idea from Greg at Kindergarten Smorgasboard. It is GENIUS. You can read all about it HERE. Don't those sticky notes make me look all professional? Ha! But...it's working for now. Each day I simply turn the wheel. DONE. So much easier than changing cards every day. When I pull small groups, it's usually 1-2 kids from each group. When we're done, I call a different group and the current group heads back out to their station. It has changed my life!

Ahhhh...testing. We just can't seem to get enough of it, right??? But, I did need some testing folders to prevent wandering second grade eyes. I taped 2 file folders together and then laminated it for durability. They are the perfect size for my little guys.

Speaking of testing, I mentioned my kiddos taking district assessments this week. Well...everything was going okay...until they had to type their answers. And by answers, I mean, "explain your thinking" answers. Like sentences. Can we say disaster???? There were many tears. So, for one of their stations now, they are allowed to play typing games on the laptops. They've got to become more familiar with a keyboard!!! If you haven't checked it out yet, go to ABCYA for some great typing games. You can check it out HERE. I leave a sticky note on the laptop with the names of the games the kids can play with they're at that station. The game is the picture is Jump Key. I especially like it because it forces them to use the shift key for a capital letter.

I've mentioned before that we use CKLA at my school. We have these amazing domain studies, and our current one is Ancient Greek Civilization. We were studying about the first Olympics, so I made these incomplete fact cards. After our read aloud, the students walked the room with buddies and had to find at least 5 facts they could complete to write in the 5 Olympic rings on their papers. If you look close, you can see some of the words are underlined. That's a scaffold in place to help write complete sentences. The kids love any activity that allows them to walk around, use a clipboard, and have a buddy. Win!

And...here's a little bonus for this week. This was our wall for Red Ribbon Week. I used a pack from Pamela Zweygardt. The minions turned out too cute! Go check out her pack on TpT. And in the meantime...have a great Halloween weekend!

01 October 2015

Currently October 2015

It's October! And you know what that means??? Fall Break is in one week!!! My kiddos have been in this district for the past 7 years, so they're used to these fabulous breaks, but I worked in a different district. But now that I teach in the same district that we live in, I get to enjoy these fabulous breaks as well! I will definitely enjoy the long time off.

But, in the meantime...I'm linking up with Farley at Oh Boy Fourth Grade for her monthly Currently. You can head over to her blog and join int he fun. Just click on the picture below.

Listening: It's not the Atlanta Falcons, but I'll listen to or watch pretty much any football game. It's really the only sport I can handle. I think my husband likes that about me. ;)

Loving: I don't want to sound like a broken record, but...I'm loving that Fall Break is in one week!!!

Thinking: I have big plans for conferences. Too bad I haven't really started on them yet. And they start on Monday. Ugh! But...I did have the kids start some awesome forms I found on Jodi Southard's TpT store for FREE!!! Click on the picture below to go download them now!

Wanting: This week is a busy weekend. I really want to take E to the library's Harvest Festival on Saturday, but I'm also running a race in Denver (Hot Chocolate 5K!) early Sunday morning. So, it would be really nice to finish all my work for next week on Friday night so I can have the whole weekend free. We'll see...

Needing: E is obsessed with Jessie from Toy Story and wants to be her for Halloween. I've been procrastinating a bit on ordering it, thinking she would change her mind...but she's firm. Or at least as firm as a 3-year can be. I need to hop on that pretty soon!

Boo-tiful: Seriously. Colorado in the fall. 'Nuff said.

I hope you have a great start to your October...I'll see you soon for Five for Friday!

25 September 2015

Five for Friday

Another fantastic week has come to a close...which means I am one week closer to my first Fall Break! We have 2 more weeks to go, and I am so looking forward to having a break. It's not that I'm tired of teaching or stressed out. That's not it at all! But...I am looking forward to time to recharge, so I can keep teaching full throttle. I love teaching, but let's be real...it's mentally exhausting! This will be a much needed break for me. I'm hoping to post some pending products to TpT and organize my clipart, but we'll see how much I actually get done.

In the meantime, I'm linking up again with Doodle Bugs Teaching for Five for Friday. Head over to her blog by clicking on the button below and check out more blogs!

We've been working on place value, so I've been trying to come up with some creative ways to practice while still sticking as close as I can to Engage NY. I made this spinner activity to use as an independent activity while I small group on another skill. The kids loved flicking the paper clip, and I love that they were practicing their place value skills. You can click HERE to download a free copy of the page to use in your room! The fonts are all KG (Geronimo Blocks, One More Night) and the adorable stars are from Krista Wallden's Dragonfly Creative Kit. It was a a FREE DOWNLOAD! You can download the kit HERE. I made the spinners myself using my mad shape skills. Ha! I'll be making more pages to accompany this one, and when I finish I will put them on my TpT store.

One of our activities was counting up on an empty number line, and some of the students really struggled with it. While the others were working with the Place Value Spin, my small group and I used these old, magnetic, dry erase sentence strips to practice counting up. I bought these sentence strips 6 years ago, and I used them ONCE. I'm glad I was able to dust them off and use them again.

More place value! This was another way we practiced empty number lines and writing in unit form. I'm really happy I decided to let the kids write directly on their desks. It took a LONG time for me to embrace this because I like desks to be clean, and this is a bit messy. But, it beats digging out the whiteboards and gives them a bigger work surface. I bought the plastic sleeves holding the charts at the Dollar Tree.

I laugh when I see this picture. It's from the beginning of the school year, and I was teaching the kids a chant. I look excited (and maybe a little bit crazy), and I really hope I have this same excitement all year! I love my new school, and I'm really glad I listened to Him and closed one door so He could open another one for me. 

Okay, okay...I couldn't help myself. Have you "peanut-ized" yourself yet? I want to "peanut" all my students. They'll love it! Go try it HERE

I hope you have a restful, happy weekend! 

18 September 2015

Five for Friday

Happy Friday! I'm tired after a long, GREAT week of teaching, but I really wanted to pop in and give you some highlights from my week. So...I'm linking up again with Doodle Bugs Teaching for Five for Friday. Click on the button below to check out more!

Let's just say I'm addicted to brag tags. I just started using them this year, and the kids and I are hooked. I bought some great sets from Not So Wimpy Teacher, Lucky Little Learners, and Primarily Speaking, but I needed one for my August homework. These turned out too cute!

My comprehension group finally started rotations. After watching them struggle to untangle headphones, I stole this drawer unit from my husband's office to use instead. Each color coordinates with a specific iPhone. Each drawer has the books specific to that iPhone. So far it's been working great!

I had this great plan to make these adorable name tags for the job chart, but I just never got around to it. So...I made the covers for my class brag tags a little bit bigger and used them instead. They look so cute!

My new school had their first ever Math Night. I really bribed my kiddos BIG TIME to come. I promised fun math games that they could take home! I had a great turnout. Stay tuned for another post on how I use these materials to practice math facts!

The genre posters are my most FAVORITE thing in the entire world right now. I just LOVE them. They are from Primary Graffiti. You can check them out HERE. Thanks to a Periscope by Ashley Schroeder from Schroeder Shenanigans in 2nd, I was also able to print them poster size! They look fabulous on the wall.

This was a quick one, but I hope you enjoyed it. Have a great weekend!