Saturday, May 26, 2012

Bringing Up the Rear... *Awards Freebie*

Hey Friends!

I feel like I'm bringing up the rear here.  Our last day is the 14th - but I have to remind myself that we don't start until after Labor Day here in Michigan!  Luckily, my kiddos haven't checked out too much.  Popular belief seems to be that we teachers are showing videos and doing extra recesses at the end of the school year.  Yeah, not so much around here.

The name of the game next week is wrap up and assessments.  I can't even believe it's here - the end. I'm not all that thrilled with saying goodbye to this group.  They've been such a sweet bunch!  Combine not wanting to part ways with the laundry list of to do's ... I'm feeling a wee bit overwhelmed. Our principal showed this video at our last staff meeting and I keep asking myself "Is this a pebble or a rock?"

Look past the shoulder pads and you'll be reminded of something important!

We were asked to talk with our teammates about what pebbles we can remove from our lives right now to make room for the rocks.  I'm not usually a Negative Nelly but honestly, what CAN be removed this time of year?  Assessments?  Seems like a rock to me.  Report cards?  Another rock.  Taking down my classroom?  Rock.  Placement cards?  Another BIG rock! 

So what do you do when it seems that nothing can be shifted or taken away?  I decided it was my response to it all.  I decided that I'd keep my eye on the prize...the slow days of summer.  That's what  keeps me sane.  Still, the video sends a good message.  As always, balance is the key to life.

I've seen a lot of class awards floating around blogland.  I decided to create some of my own to match the language I use with my kiddos but maybe you might find a few that will work for you too!  I tried not to use too much color - I've got the printer police both at school and at home, so I've got to be frugal.

Click {HERE} to grab 'em!

Clipart: Scrappin' Doodles

For my friends who are still hanging in there - remember, they may all seem like rocks right now, but those slow days of summer are almost within reach! 

Drop me a note if your barely hangin' on like me! You know what they say about misery...

Sunday, May 20, 2012

Luna Projector Winner!!!!!!


Hope you all had a wonderful weekend.  For those already on summer vacation - you can just color me jealous right this very minute.  When I think about everything I still have to do...I get the hives all over.  Oy!

I really wish each and every one of our classrooms had document cameras, projectors and smart boards.  Why not add to it a class set of iPods and iPads?  Wouldn't that be heavenly?  One can dream...

Okay, I'll get on with the show...

Congrats BLong - I'll be getting into contact with you soon to work out the details with Learning Resources!!!!

Friday, May 18, 2012

Friday Freebie...and More!!

Happy Friday!

We had a half day today. We did some School Improvement and a little grade level planning.  We're gearing up for the Common Core.  I'm still a little like, "huh?" about this whole Common Core deal, but I'm sure it will come together.  I'm so happy I have all of you to help me out!!!

I got my hair did today too.  My hairdresser probably thought I divorced her.  We've been together for about 14 years.  She spiffed me up for my first teaching interview, my wedding and two babies.  I came real close to looking for somebody a little closer to home but I just couldn't do it.  We've been together too long and I can't leave her.  I needed that cut something awful.  That's the one thing that falls off my plate when I'm feeling crazy busy.  I love a fresh cut though.

I'm sure those of you who are still teaching are spending some time reviewing different concepts.  We've been having fun reviewing word wall words.  Here are a few ideas.  Some I do whole group, with partners and as independent Word Work centers in Daily 5. 

In the pack you'll find:

Rivet - Partners
Wordo - Whole Group.  Students choose any nine words from the word wall.  Teacher calls out random words.  When a student gets three in a row they yell out "WORDO".  In order to win, student must be able to read each word they've covered.  Play several times and have kids switch boards.
Word Search - Daily 5 Work on Words.  Students choose word search to fill in.  Once they've filled it in, they place in a designated basket for others to take during Daily 5 to find the words they've hidden.

I also send home this word wall template each trimester and then again at the end of the school year. I attach one to our class website at the end of each trimester for the kids to download and print off for at-home practice.  I'm attaching it as a Word document so you can add your words.  If the font is funky you can always change it to one of yours or make sure you have "Doodle Tipsy" and "Wish You Were Taller".

I found this template somewhere on the internet years ago and tweaked it - if it's yours let me know and THANKS!!!!
Have you entered my giveaway {HERE}? Learning Resources is going to give one of you a Luna Interactive Projection Camera for FREE!!!!!  You've got to take a minute to enter. You've just gotta! Winner will be chosen sometime Sunday evening!!!!

I know you've all been super busy, boy do I know it, but I have got to tell you that we've been listening to the ABC songs that Have Fun Teaching is giving away for bloggers who blog about them and at a discount for others, and my kids CANNOT get enough of them. Right now we're reviewing the vowels, but just for fun will listen to the others.  I can't wait to start my year off with them next year!!!!

Looking forward to a gorgeous Michigan weekend...hope you have a good one too!

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Oh Luna, How I Love Thee...and You Will Too!!!!!

Hey You'uns!

I have got to stop with the chocolate -  it's how I've been coping lately.  It's how I'm making it through this ridunculous time of year. If it's not one thing it's another. I try SO, So, so hard to be organized but one more eensy weensy teeny tiny thing can just throw it all off.  That itty bitty thing today was "send these papers home today, they must go home today, not in Friday Folders"...I'm done.  I was tredding water, now I'm sunk.  That one little request....

So I eat chocolate. 

Have you tried these?
They are from Target. They are scrumptious. They will not make it 'til Friday in my pantry. I've consumed half the box and want more.  Who knew an off-brand could be such a slice of heaven?  Try 'em - they'll help get you through the year. Swear it.

I know you've seen the Luna Interactive Projection Camera from Learning Resources.  Isn't it adorable?  So dainty yet so powerful.  Easy as pie to set up, and this little darling fits just about anywhere and is so mobile.  Sometimes I have it right on my desk hooked up to my computer with the TView so we can project items on the television - but other times I can just move her over to my projector, hook her up to my laptop in t-minus two seconds and project something on the big screen. 

It's also a video camera which is a total hoot. Since the neck is flexible, you can bend it just so and video tape the class doing a reader's theatre, or take a picture of them actually on task and use it later when they're having "a moment" to remind them that they really STILL can come to school to work they just did five minutes ago...

 The images projected are so clear.  What a great way to spotlight student work.  The kids can't wait to have their work put on display so everyone can ooooooh and ahhhhhhh over it!

You know where I'm going with this....right?  Learning Resources is giving you an opportunity to win one!!!!  For real. I wouldn't joke around about this!!!!!  Just think, you could end your school year with a bang!

Here's what you'll need to do:

1.  Follow my blog and leave a comment {1 entry}
2.  Follow Learning Resources on Facebook {1 entry}
3.  Follow Learning Resources on Twitter {1 entry}

Bonus Entries:
1. Follow me on Facebook {1 entry}
2. Tell me one thing you're proud of from this school year {1 entry}

Good luck!!!!  I'll think positive thoughts for each and every one of you!  I'll choose a winner on Sunday, May 20th ... around 7 o'clockish {EST}.

If you're interested in finding out more information about the many products at Learning Resources click {HERE}.

Sunday, May 13, 2012

Alphabet Songs....Oh Momma....

Let's face it - we're all Momma's {Us bloggers of the girlie variety - I think I may have a couple of Daddy's who follow...your day will come} being in the profession that we are.  How many of you refer to your students as "My kiddos" care about them, you love them and you want the best for them.  So Happy Momma's Day to each and every one of us!!!!

My own hubby knows how to make this day such a special one for me.  I thank my lucky stars for that guy.  He is in complete charge for the day and I don't have to lift a finger. He's even cleaning the house from top to bottom and packing the boys' lunches.  I'm in heaven.

What to do with this lazy time?

I happened upon this freebie over at Have Fun Teaching. Have you ever used any of the Alphabet Songs from Have Fun Teaching?  I've used a few of them, projected on the big screen, at the beginning of the year.  They make for a GREAT review!!!  The kids absolutely ADORE them and they help burn off some of that beginning-of-the-year-we-still-want-to-play-first-grade-energy!!!!! 

Come see what I mean...

Get this - if you blog about this awesome resource and follow the simple steps of the contest rules they will email you the complete set of alphabet song videos for FREE {Regularly 27 dollars - for my  friends without a blog, you can check out the website and download the complete set at a discounted price of 20 dollars}.  This awesome giveaway ends on May 31st!!!

Now what to do with the rest of my day?  It's going too fast, that I do know.  We're going to eat at Mongolian BBQ for dinny tonight.  It was a toss up between that and PF Changs - you know how I love my Changs.  Mongolian won out this time.  My mouth is watering just thinking about it! 


Friday, May 11, 2012

Giveaway Winner...

Hey Friends!

Please accept my sincere apologies. I was supposed to announce the winner of the Easi-Speak giveaway last night.  What was I thinking?  We have baseball on Thurdays and there's no way, no how, I would have the energy to muster up a post. 

How was your week?  Slow going?  Mellow?  Boring?!?!  HA - could you imagine?  I can't believe some of you are just days away from calling it a year.  Let the lazy days of summer begin!!!

It's time to announce the big winner! 

Comment #31 - Karyn said...

I teach many strategic reading groups and this would be a great motivator for them and a fantastic tool to help with their fluency!

I will be contacting you soon!!!!!  You will love your new little gadget from Learning Resources!

Monday, May 7, 2012


You know I'm all about confessions around here, an open book, if you will.  This is a big one.  When I first started blogging I was envious of two things:

1.  That Top Ten Blogger Award so many of you donned on your sidebars
2.  My friends whose blogs were "Fascinating" {Mine? Notsomuch.}

Then Kristen wrote this about her nomination and I remember giggling, guffawing, and realizing it really wasn't anything to get my knickers in a knot over.  I really hadn't written any posts that garnered amazing amounts of comments...afterall I had just started my blogging journey back then; so fascination remained nothing more than a tune in my mind...

Human League - Keep Feeling Fascination by hushhush112

{Growing up I didn't have MTV so I never knew what these people, who sang my favorites, looked like.  I'm wishing I could somehow have kept it that way}

As I was saying, that silly 'ol award and me not getting nominated for it - I was okay with that.  Really okay with it. Fine, fine. I mean really - people's GIVEAWAYS were sometimes the reason for receiving such an "honor"....pshhhhh...Even if I HAD been nominated I wouldn't have bothered with it.  Pish. Posh.

Then I opened my email...just you're not going to believe it {Or maybe you saw it coming}...

Accelerated Degree Programs

I know, I know - some of you out there might be a tad bit envious.  What can I say?  I'm fascinating. This here blog fascinates somebody, somewhere...I just gotta figure out who and where they are and I'll say a big 'ol thanks for thinking that of me and this here post.  {Why do I sense a bit of computer generated something or other goin' on here...something's fishy in Denmark}.

Any way you slice it - somebody out there in interspace wants to acknowledge teachers and their educational blogs.  THAT I can appreciate and for that I'm grateful!!!!!

Sooooo.....if, say, on May 14th you're sitting there vegetating on the couch, wondering where you should go next with your evening, you may want to click on this here little badge of honor and vote!....

Accelerated Degree Programs

My friend, Matthew Pelletier, Director of Public Relations over at Accelerated Degree Programs tells me that voting begins May 14th and ends May 21st. I've got some heavy competition....I won't mention any names but things might get a little Nutty once voting begins.  {Don't worry. I'll send you a friendly reminder because even fascinating bloggers need to eat and I might just win a 100 dollar restaurant gift card...can you say PFChangs!?!}


If you haven't entered to win the Easi-Speak USB Recorder from Learning Resources, be sure to check it out {here}.

That's enough fascination for one evening.


Saturday, May 5, 2012

Currently and a Giveaway

I'm linking up with Farley over at Oh' Boy Fourth Grade for her May Currently.  May. May? MAY!?!?  This is a thrilling time of year for most teachers.  We can almost taste the lazy days of summer. {Slow mornings?  Yes, please} But it leaves me feeling so frantic and melancholy too.  I've never been a countdown girl. Puts too much stress on the 'ol ticker.  Makes me way more spazzy than I already am.  I still have teaching to do. I've molded this class to "perfection", and taking down my room sends shivers up my spine. 

I switched schools last year and my classroom has VERY LITTLE storage space.  Like, three small cabinets and that's it.  My old classroom had more storage than a happy teacher knew what to do with.  What does classroom tear down look like for you?  We don't really have any hardfast rules for what we must do.  Some teachers leave up most of their bulletin boards and just cover them for the summer, others, like me, tear it down to bare bones so they have a fresh palate for the following school year. 

I take it all down, I put it all away...{Away where? Is the question!} I love to mix it all up the next school year {Which I LOVE!}.  With that, and the end of the year hullabaloo, I stress. I stress big time.  So, instead of counting down the days to that craziness...I just pretend it's January.  Strange. I know.

I take it one day at a time...and currently...

I thought you might want to know how long you have to enter my Easi-Speak Giveaway  - May 10th will be the big day.  I'll announce the winner of this awesome little gadget after my boys' bedtime...say 9:00ish {EST}, on May 10th...that's 5 days away.  Get to gettin'!

It's REALLY cool!
Happy Weekend, Friends!

Thursday, May 3, 2012

What Rhymes With Schmiveaway....

....Why that would be....


 I was given the opportunity to test out the Easi-Speak USB Recorder from Learning Resources...

Click Picture to Visit Product Page

My first graders have come unglued.  You know when one of your "on target" kids turns around with one crayon in each nostril that you've hit an all-time low...

I found myself wondering what I was going to do to rein these kids back in.  I can't teach magenta nose over there who's putting on a show for her cronies.  I seem to have lost my super powers - I've got to mix things up... but what on earth am I going to do?!?! 

Then the mail arrived late last Friday afternoon...

With just a push of the red record button you can record yours or your students' voices!

This little something has been the best little something to enter Room 8 in a long while.  You want to talk about a nice little incentive for good behavior {Even magenta nose was able to keep her crayons where they belong}.

Like a good many of you, we've been busy testing - unfortunately this testing cuts into instructional time.  Nature of the beast.  I've had to cut Daily 5 short because of it.  When I shared this little gadget with my kids they could NOT wait to get their little hands on it. 

Enter bribery {Incentive...if you will}...

I have one little guy who reads soooooo softly during read to buddy and in a guided reading group setting that I cannot hear him. Seriously, thought at first I had potatoes in my ears, but no - he just reads REALLY REALLY softly.  I've gently encouraged him to read so others can hear {Namely me during assessments} but he just can't do it.  Try as he might, his little anxious self can't muster up the courage to read loudly enough to be heard. 

The first time he read into the Easi-Speak he came up to me telling me that it didn't work.  I have to tell you, the features on it are very user-friendly.  It's literally a push of a {red} button and you're recording yourself with such ease and clarity {soooo clear}.  I knew before playing his recording that it was him not the recorder.  We listened to his recording together and low and behold it was there...soft, really soft, but there. 

We had a really nice conversation {one we've had a million times before} about how important it is to read out loud so others can hear us.  How would you like it if I read so softly that you couldn't hear me?  Of course you wouldn't like it.  Well, others want to hear you...blah blah blah.


Wouldn't you like to be able to hear yourself read in the easi-speak?  He shrugged. He smirked.  He finally nodded emphatically.  I know what stops him from reading out loud in class.  He's self-conscious and anxious.

We had some serious success and now I can easily assess him without guessing at his miscues.  Thank you Easi-Speak!!!!

I've had kids {who were on-task and focused during Daily 5 of course!!!!} do re-reads of familiar texts and then listen to themselves with this checklist: 

Click to download for yourself
I've had them do a "cold read" and I was able to do a quick running record.  They've read their sight word lists into it...SOOOOOO cool.  I would still pull my strugglers over to assess the high frequency words, but my kids who I know will read most if not all of them I just handed the list, sent them out into the hallway, and had them read them into the Easi-Speak.

You know that little one who barely whispered his reading?  I've mentioned this to mom time and time again and she's been so frustrated over it because it doesn't happen at home. I just plugged the Easi-Speak into my computer with the USB in the base of the microphone {covered by a cap when not in use} uploaded the files and very easily attached and sent her the recording of her little darling via email with the title "Guess What I Heard Loud and Clear Today"?!  She was thrilled! Best of all - our little man thought he was pretty darn cool!

I bet your wheels are turning for how you would use this in your classroom.  Well, keep those wheels a turnin' because you might just win one!!!

Learning Resources would love to give one away to a lucky follower of my blog.  We'll call it the....

Here's how to enter:

1. Follow my blog {One Entry}
2. Like Learning Resources on Facebook {One Entry}
3. Leave a comment for how you would use Easi-Speak in your classroom {One Entry}

*You can blog about this giveaway if you'd like {One More Entry!}
*You can "like" me on Facebook {One MORE Entry!!}

Here are some other great links to find out more about other Learning Resources products:

Good luck!!!!
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