Saturday, March 31, 2012

A Meeting of the Minds

It's no secret that Common Core is here to stay.  It's either already a reality for you or you know it's coming.  My district is not officially implementing the standards until next year.  This however does not mean that I'm not already learning and utilizing Common Core.  I have been knee deep in Common Core for awhile now. I found myself on the Common Core committee for my school and have had staff developments on it all year long.  

If you would like to skip my frustrations and little rant, skip the next few paragraphs! If not, read on...

I would like to call Common Core what it is....a national adoption! The politically correct answer to whether Common Core is a national adoption is no, since the federal government was not involved in the development of the standards.  However, to date, it appears there are only 4 states (NE, VA, TX & AK) that have not adopted Common Core State Standards (MN has adopted ELA only).

So, where are the National Common Core Pacing Guides??? A curriculum map wouldn't hurt either.  Isn't this the point?  I'm a little confused.  If you can shed some light on this for me then have at it! I know there are a few pacing guides that others have done available from random counties and states.  I also realize there are a few books that have a few curriculum maps written.  I just feel like right next to the standards should be a neon blinking sign that says 'click here for the national pacing guide' or 'click here for basic curriculum maps'.  
With all of that being said, I do realize that it's supposed to be standards of what to teach not how to teach.  I get that part.  However, leaving certain things up for interpretation seems like a slippery slope...I think it would be kind of nice to have a little more guidance with the option of creating your own pacing guides and curriculum maps...

Please, if you have more information on anything I've said I would love to hear it.  Normally, I wouldn't wave my flag of confusion out there for everyone to read. However, I feel at this point, I've talked to enough teachers, administrators and fellow bloggers to realize, I'm not the only one who is a little confused.  

alright....I think I'm done with my rant....

     My little rant leads me to the point of this post (finally right?). I teach in North Carolina.  The sate has not given us a state pacing guide.  Apparently our county has been left to develop these.  So, regardless of how crazy this seems to me, I am proud to say I was asked to be a part of it.  I was asked to be on the team for our district to help write the 1st grade math pacing guides that align with Common Core.
Myself and 3 other talented teachers sat down and created a math pacing guide for our district aligned with Common Core!  Going into it, I knew it was a huge task to take on.  I was excited and a little nervous. It turns out I shouldn't have been, it was so exciting! There were 4 teachers selected for each grade and we all met in a room.  We discussed our thoughts, looked at state policies, dissected the standards and then created a pacing guide for each grade.  My team of first grade teachers were so insightful and so knowledgeable about teaching first grade that it was exciting to just be a part of this group. I loved being able to learn from other experienced teachers who clearly love teaching as much as I do.  It was inspiring and it was clear that we wanted to come up with something that would truly work.  Not just for us, but for our entire county.  It was the single most productive and exciting meeting that I've had in my teaching career.  To me, it was clearly a meeting of the minds...

What's your state or district doing? I would love to hear what's going on around the world! 

Thursday, March 29, 2012

I have a favor to ask you...

Remember Heather that I blogged about from the NC blog meet up??? 
She has jumped with both feet into the blog world! Her new custom blog is too cute for words! The name of her blog is Creating Bookworms. She currently has one follower...little old me. Show her how awesome and inspiring the blog community is ~ run over there and give her some love!!!

We all have been in her shoes...  so click the adorable button below and follow her! 

Diana from Custom Blog Designs designed both of our blogs.  If you haven't checked her work out, you should. She is super talented and has packages especially for teachers.  She has packages with creative little names like "Teachers Pet Package" and "Head of the Class Package" ~ you can see already how she "gets us"!

Monday, March 26, 2012

Everyone's a Winner! GIVEAWAY

Would you like me to give you my Bunny Ears Unit???

Well, my wheels have been turning! 
I've been playing with an idea for a giveaway for awhile in my head. I've been trying to work out the details and this is what I've come up with. It's a little unusual so I would love to hear your thoughts if you enter.  

At the end of the day, comments and feedback on my TPT items make me such a happy girl! 

I work hard on my products and I am amazed daily that I can contribute to student learning in classrooms around the country. In an effort to get more comments to better my products and provide other teachers with what they need, I propose a WIN/WIN giveaway.  

Here's how it works.  If you have ever made a purchase in my TPT store, I ask that you go to that item and leave me positive/constructive feedback.  When you leave your comment enter the keyword "SPRING".  

When you leave feedback, I will know that you are entering the giveaway because of the keyword 
I will then e-mail you my newest Bunny Ears Unit.


Another exciting part of this WIN/WIN giveaway is that if you have never made a purchase or were planning to buy something anyway, then you can buy it now and it's 'buy one get one free' (Bunny Ears Unit is your freebie)! 

Everyone's a winner! I get feedback on my work, you gain redeemable TPT points AND a free Easter Unit!

***I appreciate and welcome constructive feedback.  However, if you are unhappy with a purchase for any reason, please e-mail me at to allow me the opportunity to personally handle your concerns.*** 

How to Enter:
1. Leave feedback on a purchased item from my Teachers Pay Teachers store.  Include the keyword "Spring" in your feedback AND your e-mail address.  

Sit back and wait for me to send you your new Bunny Ears Unit.~ Yes, it's that easy. 

**giveaway ends April 6, 2012**

Bloggers Unite {follow up & picture}

(sorry for the blurry picture)

If you've been following my blog at all this weekend,  then you know that some of us got together Saturday night for dinner. We had such a fun night! If you really think about what we did, it's really kind of brave.  5 strangers met each other for dinner after having met each other on the internet!  How times have changed. When I was growing up my mom told me not to talk to strangers and now...I meet up with strangers from the internet!

Well, I couldn't be happier. I met 4 wonderful inspiring women who love teaching as much as I do.   We came, we ate, we talked and talked and talked and talked some more.  It was only interrupted briefly by the loudest clap of thunder you've ever heard. Seriously, the wall shook and the blinds did a little swing.  It had us checking our phones for emergency weather updates! 

Other than crazy weather, it was wonderful. Our experiences in teaching are so different from one another and it was so exciting to hear about one teachers daily life compared to another.  The blog world is truly inspiring and I think we all agreed that it's a wonderful place we go to hear mostly happy stories about teaching.  Nonetheless, there was something special about putting faces to names/blogs and talking about some of the realities that we face as teachers.  We are all from the same state, so being able to compare notes from county to county was interesting too.  

If you will notice in the picture, Heather from "Creating Bookworms" was there last night.  We actually teach in the same county and she found me via my current AP who used to work at her school -whew.   Isn't the teacher community just fabulous?  We decided that we have definitely crossed paths at training's and meetings  in our county before, but had it not been for our meet up, the two of us may have never connected.  She came to learn about the blog world and spend time with other teachers.  She is now working on her own blog which I  know we will see soon.  I can't wait to see what she comes up with. I know I have a lot that I can learn from this lady.   

In conclusion, my advice to those bloggers out there who are thinking about hosting a  meet up or are just thinking about going to one ~  you definitely should do it! 

Many of you expressed having another get together in the summer when life isn't so crazy. I'm all for it so be on the look out because summer will be here before we know it. 

Now hurry and go follow these amazing teachers and  their blogs:

Casey @ Second Grade Math Maniacs  ~ Go read about her tongue! CRAZY! 

My Second Sense 


Sunday, March 25, 2012

Bunny Food FREEBIE

I have been trying to think of some fun things to do with the kiddos for our Bunny Ears Unit and came up with something totally noneducational yet easy and fun! 

Remember reindeer food??? Well, I decided that Santa and his reindeer shouldn't get to have all the I created Bunny Food! What's in Bunny Food you wonder?  Since I had no idea what would be in  Bunny Food, I had to go to Target and scour the isles.  Poor me,  right?  

Would  you know that I can't find miniature carrots made out of anything (cereal, crackers, candy etc...).  Every Easter/Spring themed food is either a bunny, egg or chick.  I didn't think the Easter Bunny would want to eat any of those so here is what I came up with:

Edible Easter grass, colored edible sugar/glitter & orange Tic Tac candy (roll with it and pretend they are baby carrots)

Here is my final Bunny Food product that I came up with! I can't wait to make it with the kids.  If you try it or edit the items please leave a comment, I would love to hear about it! 

Click HERE for the free download page for Bunny Food.

*******I will post soon about the NC get together and my upcoming giveaway! We had a bunch of fun!!!******

Saturday, March 24, 2012

Thank You & a little randomness...

This post is going to be some randomness! My brain is in a million places so you're probably in for a treat :)

First, I want to say that tonight is the North Carolina Blogger/Teacher meet up and I'm super excited.  I never thought I would be so excited to go sit with a room full of strangers and eat.  Yet, I can't wait :) Funny little story...
Last night, I called to verify our reservations at the restaurant.  Well, the number was disconnected!!!  I chose a Mexican restaurant a little ways from my house and began to realize this could really be happening.  I went into panic mode wondering what I was going to do if the restaurant had closed down?!? Then, I calmed down and realized that I had just dialed the number wrong! All is well and the restaurant is sill in business. No worries. I have everything under control :)
 I will update you and hopefully post pictures of all the fun tomorrow.

Second, I am having a sale in my TPT store all weekend.  The sale is just to say THANK YOU! Thank you to my followers, thank you to everyone who leaves sweet comments on my blog, and thank you for all the positive feedback on TPT! It really warms my heart each and every day.

Third, and totally unrelated to teaching, I got a Brazilian Blowout for my hair.  This is the first time that I've done this so I monitored the results like a hawk.  It's been about 2 weeks and I'm happy to say that I love the results.  In a nutshell, it makes my hair easier to manage.  When I straighten my hair it stays straight.  Normally, when it rains, I could walk outside and begin to feel my hair growing bigger and bigger....well,  not anymore! The Blowout seems to have made my hair resistant to moisture in the air.  For those of you with hair that you struggle to  make straight each day, I know you can appreciate this! For the busy life of a's one less thing to have to worry about. 

Last, I have a random idea for a giveaway where everyone is a winner! I am going to add the details to that post today and let you in on it tomorrow! 

Oh and as I finish this post, I would like to say that every day this week has been sunny and beautiful...well, it's Saturday morning, I actually have some time to myself and wouldn't you know it ~ it's gloomy and raining!
(KPM Doodles)

Have a wonderful Saturday! 

Friday, March 23, 2012

North Carolina Blogger Meet Up

Hey ladies! Don't forget tomorrow is our North Carolina blogger/teacher get together! If you missed my previous post and would like an invite, leave a comment on THIS post with your e-mail address.  I can't wait to meet everyone! 

Sunday, March 11, 2012

Spring Fever {FREEBIE}

I've spent my weekend spring cleaning and working on spring related items for my classroom.  I can't believe we're this far into the school year already! This year has truly flown by.  I did get a little distracted watching the movie "Crazy, Stupid, Love" - who doesn't love some Ryan Gosling??? If you're wondering, it was a really sweet movie :)

I've  posted my newest unit "Spring Fever" to TPT.  It's jam packed with Math, Literacy, Writing & more! Please check it out :)  

I just want to say if you're here you're awesome and here is a FREEBIE for you! 

Click any picture below to grab your SPRING FEVER BUTTERFLIES FREEBIE

Sunday, March 4, 2012

Penny for your thoughts...

 Does anyone ever ask you why you have to do so much work for your class since you “just do the same things every year”?  I get this question from time to time and it’s almost impossible to explain. I hope I’m not alone in this. 

     The best explanation I can give to myself and others is that every year is different.  If not for the changes in state and county requirements (***insert big sigh here***) then it’s the children. Every year brings with it a new unique bunch with their own quirks and skills.
     I wasn't always a teacher, at one time I did the Monday Friday 9-5 thing and I was miserable. I knew in the pit of my stomach I wasn’t doing what I was meant to do and I wasn’t where I was meant to be. Thankfully, I figured it out and I’m now proud to call myself a first grade teacher.  

You would think now that I’m 4 years into this that I would just pull out what I did last year and be done Ha! Yeah right!
It’s just not that simple.  Each class brings new challenges and new joys. Right now the challenge I’m facing with my current class is honesty issues.  I have a handful that consistently lie to me about mostly meaningless things.  I’m not sure why this is happening and this is a new problem for me.  My classroom atmosphere is based on the feeling that we are a family and we are to respect and take care of one another. This break in trust is taking its toll on the entire class...I continue to wonder what I have done differently this year that may have caused this.

     This is what has me reflecting on why each year is different and why what worked last year doesn’t always work this year.
What I think it comes down to, is my students are real people with real emotions, feelings, strengths, and weaknesses.  They will face challenges this year that they will need my help to overcome.  It is my job as their teacher to figure out how to meet them where they are.  If I rely on what worked once without stopping to ask myself if it’s still working, then I’m no longer teaching and my students are no longer learning.    


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