Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Gumballs, Water Balloons & Math

Thanks for all the love on my new blog look! I'm still so pumped about it. I know it's a little loud but I love it.  The colors make me happy.  Actually color in general just makes me happy :)
This is how I track who passed each week.
(don't judge my lack of bling - putting a shiny handle on this thing has been on  my to-do list since fall)

So I have 26 little ones that I got all riled up today about hibernation and groundhogs. We are "on the edge of our seats" waiting for Phil to tell us if winter is over.  Why are we so excited for winter to be over?  

Well, I have added a new incentive to my classroom this week because I'm crazy dedicated to student learning. Each week it's a really BIG deal for us to take our "Gumball Math Fact Test” you can get your copy from Made  for 1st  Grade.   In addition to whatever topic we are on in math, each Monday I make fact flash cards for each student and thus begins their week of independent studying.  They have finally begun to realize that their success depends on how much time they put into studying their cards.  I allow a little time each day for practicing in class and they are allowed to take their cards to and from school and we often partner off and quiz each other. 

The tests are taken in order (+1,-1, +2,-2, +3,-3…).  Each time a student passes, they get a real gumball (this is a huge deal!) and they move up to the next test to begin studying again. Thankfully, students are beginning to move up in their levels but I’ve noticed them getting stuck on the same test for longer.  Thanks to a fellow co-worker who mentioned doing this with her class years ago, I decided I would try it. 

I know I just need to spit it out already!

I have added that for each test that each child passes, at our end of the year cookout, I will let the kids throw that many water balloons at ME.  Yep. I’m just going to stand there and take it.  Needless to say, they are beyond excited about this new incentive.

A few questions…
Do you do timed tests in your class and if yes, how many questions and how much time?
What crazy incentive have you offered your class to reach a goal? 

Monday, January 30, 2012

New blog design - please come see!

If you're reading this then you've seen it!!!!

What do you think? Please leave me a comment telling me. It will make my week & probably Diana's since she's worked so hard  for me. 

This has been such a fun process that I've shared with  Diana from Custom Blog Designs.
Custom Blog Designs
She worked so closely with me and was sooo very understanding of my needs, wants and craziness.  This seriously talented Blog Designer is amazing and I encourage you to contact her and update your look! 


Friday, January 27, 2012

Bright Smiles :)

February is such a busy fun time to be a teacher! There is so much going on.  I think every teacher can relate to this time of year. 
To help ya'll out (and ourselves of course) Jessica from Tales of a Teacherista and I have teamed up again to bring you this Dental Health mega unit!!!  
Click {HERE} to go check it out in my TPT store!

If you missed our Groundhog Day & Hibernation Unit, head over to Jessica's TPT store and check it out! 

THANK YOU to all of my new followers.  I hope that you are enjoying your Hibernation & Groundhog Freebie! I appreciate each and every one of you. 

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

No Snow? No Problem.

No snow? No problem.

I’m just sitting here in North Carolina while my students stare at me like I have 3 heads.  I keep teaching and talking about snow…but do we have any snow? Nope.  Nada.

Of course, that means it’s time to get creative.  What better way to get into a snowy mood than with a SNOWBALL FIGHT!? 

It’s super easy and is a perfect activity when you have that awkward 5 minutes in your day that you need to fill.  You know those few minutes in between which really are not enough time for anything.

You will need a small scrap piece of paper for each student and each student will need a textbook.  I usually use the basal so everyone is familiar with the story/words. 

Tell students to look in their story/book and to write 1 word on their paper that they don’t know.  When they’re done and staring at you for their next direction, have them hold their paper up then crumple it up into a SNOWBALL! After the initial shock and excitement, let them throw it at YOU.

I know you’re wondering where the educational aspect is in all of this…well, after all the snowballs have been thrown, each student finds one,  opens it and reads it out loud.  You can repeat this for as many times as you have time for.  Depending on how much time we have, I will have students write one sentence instead of one word. 

Here’s the tricky part J No matter what, you will always be 1 snowball short.  Somehow, someway one snowball will be thrown never to be found again L I try to make 1 or 2 of my own and throw them in to limit the devastation for that one child who is snowball-less  when it’s time to collect them (look at me making  up my own word -give me a blog and watch out!). 

You can check out this mess in action below-
Disclaimer: this picture is blurry and will ALWAYS be blurry when taken by a 6 year old J
This is me protecting myself  as snowballs are thrown with all their might tossed at me.

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Hibernation, Groundhog's Day and a Freebie!

Say "HELLO" and maybe even "GOODBYE" to winter with this HUGE Hibernation and Groundhog Day unit!
I've teamed up with Jessica from Tales of a Teacherista to create this mega unit.  Head over to Jessica's TPT store and check it out.

We're not done yet though...if you would like a 10 page freebie not included in the unit, here's what you can do:

1) Follow my blog and  leave a comment on this post with your e-mail address so I can send it to you 
2) If you already follow my blog, then head over and follow my TPT store and leave a comment on  this post with your e-mail address and I will send it to you

Head over and follow Jessica's blog if you don't already, it's a blog you won't want to miss!

Monday, January 16, 2012

Check these ladies out!

Teaching First is celebrating 200 followers with a huge giveaway.  Go HERE to enter this mega giveaway.  Great work ladies!  

You can check out all the fabulous bloggers that she has teamed up with  below! 

Sunday, January 15, 2012

TPT Sale!

I decided to put EVERYTHING in my Teachers Pay Teachers store on sale Sunday, January 15 & Monday January 16.  I want to do this as a "THANK YOU" to my followers for their support and all the kind words and e-mails! Enjoy!

Saturday, January 14, 2012

Clipboards, Highlighters & Dice~Oh My!

This is my newest unit posted to my TPT store ~ You can check it out HERE.  

As I post this unit I feel so anxious just thinking about it.  I'm going to have my hands full for the next 4-8 weeks! My (dear, amazing, awesome, wonderful, sweet, kind and loving) full time classroom assistant is going to be out until an unknown date :( 
I have 26 little ones....1:26 just doesn't seem fair...so yes, Clipboards, Highlighters & Dice~Oh My!

I pray for her speedy recovery.  The good news is, she will be coming back to us..... I do mean this with my whole heart.  However, we are sure going to miss her.  She is the reason our procedures and routines run so smoothly.  She is rockin' out behind the scenes so that I can actually teach my children which is where my heart is.  When she's not doing that she's helping the children and they adore her.  For real ya'll she's amazing.

I know how lucky I am to even have a full time assistant so I plan to just grin and bear it.  In the meantime though I created this unit to help me function.  It's full of activities using clipboards, highlighters and  dice.  It's been my experience that given one of the above mentioned items and a task, my students are UNSTOPPABLE! I really can't handle giving "busy work" out and this is not that.  These are independent activities that will keep them engaged in their given task and I'm hoping quiet too! I have a chatty chatty bunch this year. I'm pretty sure this packet is what I will turn to time and time again for independent work and literacy stations.  

I would love to hear about your class sizes and if you have any other adult help in  your classrooms...plus I heart comments.  

Friday, January 13, 2012

Owl Love You Forever

Get a jump start on February! You can check out "Owl Love You Forever" ~HERE~

How adorable are these owls right?

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Do you play the teacher card?

Do you play the teacher card? 

You know what I'm talking about, it's the one that gets people talking and often gets us FREEBIES! When I first started teaching, I didn't realize how powerful this card could be. Quickly, this began to change.  

At first, I would happen to mention at retail places that I was a teacher that's why I buy things in quantities of 25.  What I noticed was many people would immediately loosen up and start talking to me.  Let me stop here and explain something...

I am from up north (Ohio).  I have lived in NC now for almost 8 years.  Let me just say, my personality, can be somewhat too much for people.   I move fast, I talk fast and I'm always in a rush to move on to my next task.  This I feel is an admirable trait.  I also happen to get through life on sarcasm which may or may not be an admirable trait...moving on...

I've found though, that sometimes I just end up confusing people.  So, after 8 years, I think I've found a small talk happy medium.  The teacher card though can get anyone talking.  There are a few things that people say that come up again and again
  • People tell me they could never do what I do  
  • People tell me horror stories about current teachers of their children and how wrong that teacher is and what do I think? Um...awkward 
  • Of course I get the "you have 3 months off so whatever your worried about now doesn't matter" ~ that usually ends that conversation  :) 
  • The best reaction though is people who will go out of their way to help simply because I teach
I have received free carpets, limitless paint stir sticks from paint counters, free recyclable bags, free glue, free paper, crayons, countless "extra" discounts, free painting services and so much more over the years.  

It always warms my heart to see how my profession touches not only children, but adults as well.  To me, it means that at some time, somewhere a teacher made a difference to them.  I hope I can be that teacher to some of my students.  

So, thank you for all of you who go out of your way to help a teacher out!  

Now teachers, when and where do you play the teacher card? 

Monday, January 9, 2012

Skip Counting Freebie

Check out my newest Skip Counting Freebie.  I went to pull out my math tubs this week  and realized I didn't have any basic skip counting activities. Off to the computer I went.  I hope you can find this useful and can pull it out anytime of the year!

Sunday, January 8, 2012

Last Chance Giveaway!

Last Chance for my GIVEAWAY!  You can win products from my  TPT Store .  There will be 3 winners! 
Go HERE to enter....it's super easy I promise! I will end this giveaway at 9:00 tonight.

Saturday, January 7, 2012

Questioning Comprehension Unit

I just finished this huge unit on Questioning (a complete comprehension unit) and posted to TPT.  Included are detailed mini lessons that will help you teach and better understand how to move from "thin" to "thick" questions.  
I am in love with comprehension this year! It's kind of my baby! I have always struggled with teaching units of comprehension because the resources are so scattered.  In addition to that, I have found that there is just enough available to teach the skill and then never ever return to it. ~ Well, not anymore! Head on over and check it out HERE

If you missed my Visualizing (a complete comprehension unit), you can check it out HERE.

Friday, January 6, 2012

Pigeon Reaches Celebrity Status

I have a quick story I wanted to share about my day...

I was walking my class to Art.  Everything was going as planned and we were even on time for once! Then all of a sudden almost all 24 of my students seemed to begin talking and shouting at once.  There was jumping and pointing and overall chaos! 

Would you like to know what caused this hallway  celebration? 

The Pigeon....you know him...little blue guy...wants to drive the bus...yep that one! 

Our media center is surrounded by windows and at some point over the break the media coordinator put a plush pigeon on the bookshelf.  This is what my students saw! Apparently, he's like a celebrity in my room! 
If anyone knows how I can get an adult Pigeon costume..I'm in! I can't seem to find one.

I first introduced the Pigeon this year using my Needs & Wants unit. 

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Snowman Sequencing FREEBIE

I created this adorable little center activity for a friend who teaches Kindergarten.

This activity will build a snowman 1 card at a time. Each card adds another element (scarf, arms...). There are 8 cards total with a design your own snowman follow-up sheet. 

If you like what you see, I ask that you please consider following my TPT store. New followers make me ridiculously happy! 

Don't forget to enter my easy-peasy-lemon-squeezy GIVEAWAY ~HERE~

Tuesday, January 3, 2012


Welcome back to reality ya’ll! 
For most of us, Christmas break just came to a screeching halt!
Here is a fun little freebie to soften the blow.

I created this FREEBIE to help my students begin to see spelling patterns in words.  We will soon be heading into the scary world of long vowels and seeing these patterns will become essential to their success.

I also thought I would share this little educational tid-bit with you about the difference between "rhyme" and "rime". The main difference between a rhyme and a rime is that rhymes are always auditory and rimes always have the same ending spelling.

Have a wonderful day!  

Monday, January 2, 2012

I can find 100 numbers!

The 100th Day of School is just around the corner...are you ready?

Every year I blow up 100 balloons (with a pump of course) first thing in the morning and it's always a great start to the day.  Students arrive at their desks to find "100" written with a Twizzler and 2 cookies!

I love to embrace this crazy made up holiday with as many fun activities as possible.  Another activity I always do is tape 100 colored numbers around the room.  Then, I give each student a 100's board and the hunt begins.  They search around the room for each number,  find it on their 100's board and color it the correct color.  The first student to correctly find and color 100 numbers wins! This activity is great because you can start and stop throughout the day and for my first graders, it usually takes awhile to complete.  Of course, this year I had to spice up my numbers a bit. 
You can find this activity HERE

Sunday, January 1, 2012

2012 Giveaway!

Let's start the New Year off  right....with a GIVEAWAY!!!

I don't like complicated things and I know we are all short on time so this will  be simple. 

Go to my Teach It With Class Facebook Page and click LIKE.  Then leave me a comment telling me which item from my TPT store you would like to win! That's is....it's that simple.  Giveaway will end Sunday, January 8, 2012! I will randomly select 3 winners who will win the item that they said they would  like in their comment! 

You can visit my Facebook Page HERE
You can visit my TPT Store HERE

Thank you to all of my followers and customers in 2011! I am humbled by your support and kind words.   THANK YOU! 

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