Sunday, February 26, 2012

A Whole Lotta...

I love blogging!

Just wanted to put that out there in case you weren't sure.

First of all, my house is clean!  It was clean on Friday and I worked really hard to pick up after my three messy boys for the last two days so it would stay that way.  I was able to sit around today and do a whole lotta...

Church goin'
Blog stalking
Coffee drinking
Blog stalking
Coffee drinking

It was blissful because I'm usually running around doing a whole LOTTA lotta...

Since you might have been doing your runnning around today instead of living on the blogs like me,  I'll give it to you in a nutshell.  My bloggy buddy Kelley over at Buggy for Second Grade is having a giveaway.  She's trying to reach 300 followers and she's oh, so close!  Go over, follow and enter her giveaway for a $25 dollar gift certificate to Teachers Pay Teachers.  She's announcing the winner on Wednesday, just in time for the big sale going on for Leap Day!!!!

If you haven't checked out this post over at TBA {here} you might want to. New bloggers are linking up over there and I've found some brand spankin' new know you'll make their day by'll probably make a few of them jump up and down and scream a little bit when they see their numbers grow.  C'mon - you know I'm right!

I've hit a winning streak - did you notice?  I've been winning some giveaways...I don't know where this stroke of good luck has come from because my saying is "If it wasn't for bad luck, I'd have no luck at all"...which isn't entirely bad luck goes in spurts like that week when I pulled out of my driveway and forgot hubby's car was there and I took his mirror right off the side....and some other snafoos.  I'm so hoping this good luck sticks....I won a Starbucks giftcard and two awesome TpT products from Amy over at Krazy About Kiddos, I won this from Miss Foote over at Chickadee Jubliee...

Click on the picture to go to Storiarts Etsy shop
Just today I found out I won another giveway {You aren't hating me, are you? Please don't take me off your blog roll, please don't UNfollow me} over at Miss S's blog Just Teaching Kindergarten.  She's a sweety pie student teacher.  Maybe you could head on over and follow her blog.  It's always nice to support those just entering the field.  I won a whole slew of goodness from Miss S...a $15 dollar gift card to Target {Now I KNOW you've jumped ship...come back...please....I'm having a give away soon and it's gonna be just as stick with me...pllllllllease}, some awesome clipart from the one, the only, The 3 AM Teacher, some goodness from Jen over at The Teacher's Cauldron, by the way - don't freak out when you go over to Jen's blog like I just did...her blog looks way different and, MY WORD, it's so dang cute!!!!!!!! From Shawna over at The Picture Book Teacher's Edition I won an awesome unit for the book The Mitten Tree!!!!!!!

Okay - I would be rolling my eyes right now too, if I were you.  Here's what you have to do - go find a few more followers to help me get to 400 and then wait for my new bloggy reveal sometime in March and you too might be a WINNER!!!!

On another note, Chrissy B over at Buzzing with Ms. B wrote an amazing post today about her guided reading groups.  She and I run ours pretty much the same.  She motivated me to get more organized with my note taking so I went over to Zazzle and made myself a couple of cute binders.  I haven't purchased either one yet because I'm undecided and need your help.  Which one do you like best?

We'll call this one "circles"

And we'll call this one polka dots
Notice the customization - would you use different words?  Look at the front cover and the like?

I was going to wait until the summer to get myself organized with my reading and writing notetaking/running records, etc. but I'm so darn motivated right now I have to roll with it.  So put in your vote so I can order it, receive it and get moving before I win another giveaway and get side tracked.  HA!

Have a great week everybody!!!!!!


Friday, February 24, 2012

What Time is it? It's Friday Freebie Time!

Hidy Ho!

I cannot believe it is Friday already.  This break has gone by faster than any other. I tried dragging my feet, but it didn't work.  We were supposed to get a whole slew of snow and hubbers was hoping for a snow day - but it didn't happen so off to work he went.  I have a house of crazy boys - I decided to end the week with a bang and let both boys have friends over.  Oy...

How else should a person spend their last day, but organizing their computer files?? Oh my goodness - they are a MESS.  Does anybody have tips or trick to organizing them?  I have a Dropbox account but was just notified that it's close to full...I have a flash drive but it never seems to be where I need it.  I need it at school and I left it at home.  I need it at home and it's at school.  One file is on my hard drive at work, but not on my flash drive, or it's on one flash drive and not on the one I have with me...please tell me I'm not the only one with these woes?!? 

So, in my cleaning frenzy I came across these and thought you might be able to use them.  I actually don't have them up in my own classroom because I've been too afraid to climb that high to put them up...I'm not like my partner who I've caught hanging things by standing on a chair that she placed ON TOP of the desks!!!! Good gracious.

So here's my Friday Freebie...

Edited to give credit to The 3 AM Teacher for the cute clock clipart! Go check her out if you haven't already - she's one talented teacher/artist!

You might not need it now - but save it in your probably organized files and use it next year.  Just be sure to let me know if you grabbed it AND tell me either: {A.} Your files are a mess too or {B.} You're an organizing diva and leave some tips!!!!

Thanks bunches - happy Friday friends!


Thursday, February 23, 2012

Kids Say the Darndest Things...

I've always said I should write them {those funny things my firsties say} down ... but I never do and then I forget. There are a couple humdingers I haven't forgotten though {How could I?!?}. 

Don't they just make you chuckle?!? 

Link up with Jeannie to share some of your knee slappers...

Kindergarten Lifestyle


Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Dandy Random ~ Giggles & Pictures

Theriously girlth {ode to Kristin - now I'm in "the know"}, I had to turn the couch cushion over today - it was all smooshy and stuff.  It had "blogging" written all over it.  That and Ellen...I had MONTHS of Ellen dvr'd that I finally caught up on {somewhat} today.  Tomorrow is already Thursday....put the brakes.....on this......break. 

For those of you working this week - here's a little pick-me-up...have you seen these?

On Youtube there is something called "pronunciation book" where you can listen to words being pronounced correctly - so if you're learning English, this would be helpful.  Well, some guy with a funny bone calls his "pronunciation manual" - it looks the same as the other one, but he says the words incorrectly.  Ellen was in stitches and it had me rolling too.  I like how he says the same word a few different ways.  HA!

To make you feel a wee bit better - I did go into my classroom today.  I brought my boys with  - which is always...interesting.  They had a blast in the gym rolling around on scooters, shooting hoops and just running around like crazy kids. I was able to get quite a bit done. Lots of organizing and I'm all planned for next week.  PHEW.  

I am in total love with my new chairs around my guided reading table...

They slide under the table like butta...
I just have to share my new Reader's Toolbox and Tools that my parapro made for me...

Here are a couple of the strategies/ "tools" up close...

She's way more talented than I am..that's for darn sure!  When she brought in the finished product I gave her the biggest hug ever and stopped just short of a big fat smooch...

We celebrated President's Day last week.  I don't usually "do up" that holiday but there were so many cute things out there in blogland I couldn't resist.  We combined Cara's "statement and question" writing {here} because my kiddos are having such a hard time with these with Erica's craftivity {here}.  Her's is a two-sided activity but I didn't have anywhere to hang them up so you could see both sides, so I had my kids choose which one they wanted to do - Abe or George.  They turned out really cute.  You can't really see very well, but Abe's eyes are pennies and George's buttons are quarters.

 Well that was one dandy random post....

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Top 'o the Tuesday Night to ya! *Freebie*

March is a magical month - with it being reading month...which, is a BIG month at our school, AND a visit from that rascally leprechaun!!!!!

First, can you all join me in a virtual hug for Beth at Made in the Shade in Second Grade?!?!  That girl let me in on a little secret called POWERPOINT.  Here, I've been maneuvering around Word, throwing things at my computer...who knew creating in Powerpoint is WAY easier?!?!  Give it a go if you haven't already!!!!  I'm one happy girl, for it!

Lisa and Beth posted {HERE} about their leprechaun traps.  They have their families create traps at home for a neat family project....and have some imaginative creations that come back to school in hopes of catching that pesky guy.  I warn you though, those girls...I'm sorry, I have to take a quick break before I say this...

Okay, I'm back - those girls, {breathe, breathe, breathe} don't believe in leprechauns.  I know, I know - they've got it all wrong...but their activities are ALL RIGHT!  You'll want to check them out, but I think it's pretty obvious who's NOT going to get that pot of gold. 

I have the kids work with a partner to create traps.  I just throw out a bunch of "stuff": toothpicks, paper plates, styrofoam cups, string, yarn, sequins, craft sticks, markers, crayons, shiny gold paper - you get the picture.  I have them look at the materials first and then they talk with their partner to make a plan.  I do set some limits like 2 cups, 2 paper plates, etc.  Then they draw a "blueprint" of their trap, write out a to-do list and then have at it.  They have SOOOOOOO much fun!  As they finish up they find the perfect spot in the classroom to place their traps and then move on to writing about what they would do if they caught that pesky guy.

You can find these activities and more in my St. Patrick's Day mini-unit.

In other news...I have not been happy with the chairs my kids sit in at my guided reading table.  They are HUGE sleigh chairs.  I have six of them at my table, and of course they don't fit, my kids don't fit and they don't push in very nicely either.  My classroom is about the size of a postage stamp, so space is a hot commodity.  My friend...can you guess...Barb has the perfect solution that she uses in her equally small classroom.  I made a trip to IKEA {I hate shopping, and I really hate shopping at IKEA...I know you think that's impossible, but it's true} for those guys and I'm already in love.  My boys put them together tonight and I can't wait to slide them right under that table so neatly.  Here's what I got in case you're in the market.

Oh, and being the Polish {through marraige} girl that I am...

Happy Paczki day!!!!!

Yes, I did take a few nibbles of one of these...deeeeeelish.  Happy Fat Tuesday!  Click on the picture if you're wondering what a paczki {pronounced: poonchkey}is.  Mmmmm....


Sunday, February 19, 2012

Michigan Blogger Bash

Hey Chicksters,

Oh my goodness - I had such a great time at the Blogger know something? We have some awesomely cool teachers in Michigan!!!!

{And I didn't get lost!}

I walked in and told the hostess I wasn't quite sure who I was looking for - she says "A group of sweet, wonderful, kind, talented, lovely, cool, blogger chicks?" {My heart was beating so loudly, it was hard to hear - but I think that's probably what she said}

I rounded the corner and there they were...I heard them before I saw them.  HA!  Just kidding - but we were a gabby group!

We went around the table sharing lots of different things - your wildest kid moment, what technology you have in your classroom, are you married, do you have kids, how long have you been teaching....lots and lots of topics flying every which way good thing Andrea pulled out her notebook to do some note taking. No kidding - she doesn't go anywhere without her note taking tools.  Not to be showed {Shown? Showed?} up, Rachel whipped out her notebook AND her purple flair pen...

Don't think for a minute, Rachel, that your purple flair went those things! Beth tried nabbing it - but I told her that wouldn't be right. 
Lots of giggles and stories that made my jaw drop.  Which teacher do you think has been spit on, kicked, chased a little one out a window and has been called every name in the book?  There wouldn't be just one in the bunch to tell a war story...

Jessica got the award for traveling the farthest...are you home yet?  I think she said she had a three hour drive.  Hopefully that field of deer I saw on my way home didn't decide to cross over to the other side as you were driving along.  Wait, I don't think you went my direction...right?  You went north? Or was it west?  Maybe east? No, I went east, I think.

Here's who was there...go check out their blogs if you haven't already!!!!

Lisa & Beth @ Made in the Shade in Second Grade
Amy @ The Resource{ful} Room
Kara @ Spedventures
Rachel @ Ms.Rachel's Room
Christina @ Mrs.Bainbridge's Class
Jessica @ Apples and Papers
Andrea @ Stepping into First Grade

Thank you, girls, for making me smile and for renewing my spirit every time you blog! When did you say our next meet up was going to be?!?!?


Saturday, February 18, 2012

Michigan Blogger Bash

Hey Girlies,

Tomorrow is the big day...

I would like each and every one of you to say a quick prayer that I do not get lost and arrive to the bash MORE than fashionably late.  I get lost a lot. We're not talking just a little lost.  We're talking, never make it to a friend's rehearsal dinner lost.  We're talkin' drive an entire hour WEST when I was supposed to be driving EAST.  I blame that one on the bun in my oven and the doughnut I was snarfing down.  I've arrived to work late because I was trying a route I didn't normally take and got lost.  Yes, I'm directionally challenged {hair challenged, fashion challenged...} but you love me anyway, right?

I am going to bring my GPS but that doesn't really mean anything, because half the time I swear it has to be wrong, I freak out, and I either call my hubster or a friend in a panic.  I have issues, don't I?

 If you don't have anything planned tomorrow at, say, 3 o'clock you should think about joining us.  We'll be at Applebees in Lansing.  You can email Amy at The Resource{ful} Room for info. 

One more thing...

I'm saying toodles to my Elmo {Actually I'm passing him on to a friend} and buying one of these guys...

Click on the pic to take you to the IPEVO website.
It's an IPEVO.  My media specialist showed me one and I was hooked. Oh my goodness girls.  It's 70 dollars vs 700 dollars {cost of an Elmo} - it's smaller so it takes up less space and the resolution/quality is every bit as nice as that of an Elmo.  You can pull the lense off of the stand {It's the same feel as a small microphone} and point out kids sitting crisscross applesauce, you can look at things on the ceiling, the floor...any which way.  So flexible!!!!!  You can take pictures just like you can with the Elmo. LOVE this thing!!!! 

If you've always wanted a document camera but don't have the big bucks to fork out - I'm telling you, this is the route to go.  The only "shortfall" is that it has a USB hookup so you have to plug it in to a computer rather than right into your projector or television.

Okay...must go get my beauty sleep.  Don't want to scare any bloggy friends away tomorrow!


Friday, February 17, 2012

Kshhhhhh, oweeeeee, Kssshhhhhhh - You've Got Mail - How I Met My Hubbers

Do you remember the days of AOL {America Online}? Does AOL still exist? Do you remember the external modems that sounded like a rocket ship taking off?   If you're too young to remember what I'm talking about I've provided a visual/audio aid below...

How about that busy signal? I used to try signing on to AOL FOREVER....just kept typing in that password...all that persistence paid off...

That trailer about sums it up.  Hubby and I frequented the same chatroom. Our first encounter went something like this:

Him: MSU rocks!
Me: You're from Michigan?  Me too!
Him: Cool
Me: Whe-

Dang - got the boot {Do you remember being mid-whatever and getting booted?}

After countless tries signing back on and then more tries getting into a busy chatroom "sorry, this chatroom is full"...I finally logged back into "Romance Connection" {Don't you dare make fun of me - I wasn't going to tell...}.

Him: You're back
Me: Yup - darn AOL
Him: LOL
Me: "Heather, {My college roomie} what does LOL mean?"
Me: yeah, LOL
Him: Do you go to college?
Me: Yeah, you?
Him: yeah, gonna be a teacher
Me: No way!?!?! Me too!!!!!!
Him:  Cool, whole language or basal?

Need I say more?  The guy knows how to pick up a lady...I bet none of you can say your hubsters or signifcant others used that pick up line on you!!!!!  Paws off girls, he's all mine...stop your swooning.

We logged in every night after school and chatted it up in "private messages" until one day he asked  if I wanted to meet.  Did you see Meg Ryan's reaction?  That was me, except I jumped out of my chair, raced around the apartment in circles saying over and over and over again "oh my gosh, oh my gosh, oh my gosh...."

I remember typing "ok" and sat there FoReVeR without pressing send!

Him: You still there?  I'm so sorry. I shouldn't have asked that question. I'm so sorry.

And then I hit  - SEND.

I wanted to take it back the minute I sent it.  I didn't call him the Rooftop Killer but I used to joke around about  him being an ax murderer!

So, we set up a time to a PUBLIC place.  I know, I know - you're applauding my smarts right now.

Hold the applause.

We met at Chili's. I knew exactly who I was looking for. Tom Hanks {You've Got Mail wasn't out yet} . No joke. We never exchanged pictures but we did tell eachother who people say we look like and his look-alike is Tom Hanks.  At first I pictured the Bosom Buddies version...yikes}...

Sadly, he wasn't looking for Meg Ryan he was seeking out...

I don't know what I was thinking...

We met, we hugged, we talked and talked and talked and sent the waitress away at least a hundred times before we were ready to order. It was kismet {Ha, I've always wanted to use that word - but seriously, it was a pretty instant connection}.  He came back to my place {see, I told you to hold that applause} but NOTHING ax...we did watch Forest Gump though...not even joking and just hung out.

When he proposed to me a year or so later he said "I guess I'm not that ax murderer you thought I might be..."

Ksshhhh, oweeeee, kssssshhhhhh...that sound of the modem connecting me to my future hubby will always make me smile....

Now go link up with Chrissy or check out her blog and read about some other great love connections...{I'll be back in two and two - leave a comment if you know what that means - HA!}
Buzzing with Ms. B Button


Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Mental Images/Visualizing

Happy Heart Day!

I'm still twitching from our Valentine's Day Bash...good golly was!?!  I'm not a light-turner-offer {Okay, yeah I am - but not a flicker  - like on, off, on, off, on} but today I was.  Mostly for the parents.  Love my parents, but clearly they forgot what "Give me five" means.  So, Mrs. W was doing a lot of light flicking today during the party.  The kids had fun, lots of I'm okay with it all..but I am still twitchin'...

Did I tell you that I have next week off?  I think I forgot neglected to tell you because I thought some of you might feel sad, jealous, resentful envious of that.  Remember, though, I only had a week {and some change} off at I'm owed {is that a word?}. 

After break we'll be starting our unit on mental images/visualizing.  This is one of my ALL time favorites.  For lots of reasons...

1.  You can really talk up getting lost in a good book.
2.  March is reading month and what better month to really talk up getting lost in a good book?
3.  We are working on making our writing more FUN for others to read - which means including lots of details which means people will create mental images when they read our detailed writing.
4.  I love the celebration we have at the end...{You'll have to wait for details on that}...

When we talk about mental images we talk about what things might:
*Smell like...
*Taste like...
*Sound like...
*Feel like...
*Look like...

To kick off the whole unit we talk about how important it is to pay REALLY close attention to details.  When we listen closely and think hard about what we read we notice those details and imagine them in our heads.  Then we practice noticing things around the classroom/school with our Mental Image Makers.  In the past I've used mini-magnifying glasses.  We took a walk around the classroom and the school to really notice life around us - up close and personal. This year I decided to make these cute little creations out of toilet paper {or paper towel rolls cut in half} rolls.

So, when we return from our break {see how sensitive I am to your feelings?!?} we'll start this new unit by making our own Mental Image Makers and do some detective work...

I had my boys decorate them - my fourth grader wasn't too thrilled about pretending he was a girl - but he did it for YOU!

Click below to pick up your own!

Print on 1" x 2 5/8" Labels

Clipart: Scrappin' Doodles
Do you ever wish lunches would pack themselves?  Maybe if I make a mental image of that will!!?!


Sunday, February 12, 2012

You Know You're a Teacher When... get excited about a trip to the Target Dollar Spot!!!!  Which was a total let down today.  What was I thinking? It was completely picked over.  But I did find a few things for my boys' teachers.  I love giving little "sparkles" here and there to the loves of their lives...yeah, their teachers are goddesses in their little worlds. Mom - I know nothing.  So many times I've said to my boys "I'm a teacher too...I know what I'm talking about...Mrs. _________ isn't the only one who knows how to __________!!!!!!"

But boy do I appreciate all of their hard work and consider my boys to be mighty lucky that they are in their lives and just like I know when one of my first graders accidentally calls me "Mom" it's because they are so comfortable with me {LOVE THAT} I know the same can be said for when my boys call me "Mrs. _________".  {LOVE THAT TOO!}

I've loved reading your "You Know You're a Teacher When"...

Here are some of mine {I could have kept going}...

Not that this has happened to me before, but have you ever been pulled over...for, say...exceeding the speed limit just a wee bit and as the police officer sauntered over you casually swung your teacher ID badge over {or yanked it out from under your winter parka} so he might, ummm, might just see it and for some reason find his soft side and let you off with a warning? I'm not saying that this has ever happened to's all heresay and speculation - but, if you ever were to, say, find yourself in a wee bit of a traffic predicament it may be worth a try. I'll have to remember that one.

Happy Sunday!!!!

ETA: Forgot to tell you to link up with Jeannie over at Kindergarten Lifestyle!!!!

Kindergarten Lifestyle


Friday, February 10, 2012

It's the Pencil Sharpener of my DREAMS, Peeps!

Okay, I know you've seen this around blogland. I know pencil sharpeners probably don't tickle your fancy...but girls, please...I beg you, PLEASE do not move onto another blog before reading this first.

Troy is a genius...It's quite possible that if I were to meet him, I'd hug him for an awkwardly long time. He is not only a teacher but inventor of...

Click on the picture to visit the website
Friends, I wish you could hear how emphatically I'm telling you to hop on the world wide web and order yourself one of these NOW!

Can I tell you that my last electric pencil sharpener died after 5 days....

Yes, that's the 'ol Son of a Gun in my garbage can.  Actually, after tossing him in there I pulled him right back out and plan on sending him back he owes me FIFTY bucks!!!

Then...Hank arrived ...

I get goosebumps just thinking about him.  I. kid. you. not. perfect. pencil. every. time.

Sad pencil = sad teacher

Pencil Perfection

My kiddos don't sharpen their own pencils, I have fourth grade helpers that do that for us.  Those girls were beyond frustrated with their pencil sharpening duties.  Daily they gave Son of a Gun a try and either sharpened them to a nub or pseudo sharpened them.  Know what that is?  It's when they appear to be sharp but the very second you put pencil to paper, the lead falls out.  My fourth grade helpers were giddy, I tell you, GIDDY to use Hank and my firsties are equally impressed with his performance.

Hubs wants me to order one for his classroom and my principal already took down Troy's information and plans on making a purchase for our school.  Looks like he {and you} better hurry because the gorgeous green ones have already sold out!

For $19.95 and free shipping...what do you have to lose?!?!? 

The only warning I can issue...if you purchase one, and we were to one day meet, you might just be tempted to hug ME for an awkwardly long time. No worries - I'd completely understand, but I did feel obligated to let you know in case you aren't a huggy person....

Happy Weekend!!!!!


Wednesday, February 8, 2012


Happy 100t.....

Awwww, forget it.  I'm sort of over it too.  It was a great day, the kids had a blast - but I'm whooped.  Beat.  Ready for b-e-d.

I'm going to post some pictures of our fun-filled day - but I must say that I'm not going to be able to give credit where credit is due so if you see something that's yours feel free to chime in with a "Hey, I created that"...

Is that not the cutest door banner?
100th Day Goo Goo Goggles
We sang this song {Tune: I've Been Working on the Railroad} all week - probably 100 times.

Here are some of the activities we did...

Seriously? I held my camera upside all day long - it was that kind of day.  I tried rotating them but they have a mind of their own!  Before we could make a center choice we had to chew our gum 100 times...

They oooh'd and ahhhhh'd over my bubble blowing expertise...

Coin Flip

Cute Crowns

Half way to 100...

Three digit mystery and a great 100th day book...
It was a lovely day {I ran out of picture-taking steam}.  We wrote 100 words, drew what we'd look like at 100, made creations using 100 pattern blocks, 100 unifix cubes, and put a mixed up 100 chart back in order on our Mimio. 

On a side note...

I talked about tiny topic notebooks {here}.  Tomorrow I'm sending them home with my kids so they can record any tiny moments that happen at home.  I'm excited about this because lately my firsties have been having a hard time finding ideas..."My head is empty".  Ever since I empathized with one of my kids and his "writer's block" others have contracted this horrible ailment. Good grief.  I already had several kids pull out their notebooks today - one wrote "bubble gum" another wrote "100 steps" {we predicted more, less or exactly 100 steps from our classroom to the Media Center}.  Here's the note I'm sending home with their tiny notebooks. 

Clipart: Scrappin' Doodles

Here's to 80-some-odd more days of school...

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