Saturday, June 30, 2012

It's Here!!!!! {Edited to add AWESOME Freebie!}

....the BiG BlOg SwAp!!! 

Let's show some bloggy love to Mandy from A Special Kind of Class!

Hi everyone,  this is Amanda Myers from A Special Kind of Class!

I thought I would share an activity that I did last week with my class.  Yes, last week.  Thursday was our last day so in this hot weather it's a perfect time to do some cool activities.  This making ice cream activity is perfect for children of any ability.  Once the ingredients are in the ball, all you have to do is roll it around.  The ice cream ball was bought at MasterMind here in Canada but I'm sure it would be easy to find online.

Check back later for a freebie!!!!  It's a simple alphabet matching game.  The children need to match the upper to the lower case letter.  It's perfect for a review in the fall or practice over the summer for your lower firsties who need that extra work. 

Here it is...worth the wait!!!!  Hope you enjoy it!  And if you didn't visit Mrs. Lirette Learning Detectives go do that now!  That's where I was today!!!

Thanks for letting me visit and don't forget to come back later to download the activity!  Feel free to come and visit me anytime at my blog.

Thanks so much, for stopping by, Mandy!  Be sure to head over to Mandy's blog to find out just what life's like in her neck of the woods!!!

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Swap and Shop *Freebie*

Hey There!

I tried on bathing suits today.

Enough said.

Sometimes we have to make sacrifices for our kids and they wanted to go swimming AT A PUBLIC POOL...

I was not a happy Momma...but I sucked it up {and in} and was relatively okay with the results - boy shorts saved the day!!!! So I was left with enough emotional energy to blog!!!

This Saturday a certain somebody from blogland will be paying an extra "special" visit to my blog.  She's a sweetie and I know will fit right in!!!  I'll be swapping with another certain someone...but we'll let that remain a "mystery" until the day arrives!  I hope you'll stop by and hop around to the other blogs...There will be lots of freebies to be had!

Thanks to Tessa from Outside the Classroom for organizing this fun event!

I've completely caught the TpT bug. I've been a buyer but now I'm a seller!  It's so much fun and I've learned so much.  Here's my latest creation!  It's perfect if you're like me and like your "theme" to just be "cute and colorful".  Lots of fun primary colors.

Click above to purchase it for yourself!!!! I just know you'll love it!!
Here is a freebie from the pack to wet your whistle!!!!
Edited: Click picture to download freebie! {It WILL work this time!}

Have a great rest of your week!  I hope you entered my might win a $20 gift certificate to TpT!!!  Click {here} if you haven't.

Monday, June 25, 2012

Happy 700 Followers!

Who would'a thunk it!?!  I just have to thank all 700+ of you for putting a little spark into my teaching career!  I think if you asked any teacher who blogs why they do it, they'd say because they feel renewed and inspired by the other teacher bloggers and teacher followers.  It's so true you guys - I can't tell you how much you've changed me. 

I was one of those people who knew what I wanted to be back when I was 7 -  a teacher. I can also say that I spend every day {even in the summer} doing what makes me happy. And all of you have helped make it even more sweet.

 I celebrate YOU!  Thanks so much!!!!!

I'd like to give a $20 TpT gift certificate to one of my followers!  I'm thinking this gift will help you relax and enjoy those summer sunsets even more knowing that you've got money to spend when you're ready to go back to school shopping!!!!!

Good luck!!!! And thanks again!!!!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Sunday, June 24, 2012

It's a Facebook Party!!!!! Loads of Freebies and Fun!!!

Hey Everybody!

I had some really bad influences out there telling me it would be okay to post twice in one day.  I'm blaming this on them!!!!  They actually twisted my arm, told me they would unfollow me if I decided to "follow the rules" read what I said about those teacher-folk earlier today, right? 

Fine - it was me, all me.  I confess.  Am I forgiven?'ve got to hop on my Facebook Page tonight by clicking {here} because we are having a big Facebook BASH!!!!!  Be sure to check the Facebook walls and blogs of all your favorites for lots and lots of freebies!!!!!  Don't forget to follow, like and all that jazz!!!!

Okay, so that's good, right?  I'm really forgiven now - right?!

Head on over to my TpT store to pick up your freebie!!!!

I have one for grade levels K-6th! Click the picture to download!

While you're there check out my Parent Night Toolbox on sale for only $3.00.  It's a great resource for knowing just what information to include when meeting with your parent population for the first time to discuss classroom and grade level expectations.  Lots of cute items included to make the night as cute as you like {aren't us teachers all about the cute-factor?!?}. 

Click {here} to find it on TpT!


I'm at 700 followers!!!!  Be sure to check back tomorrow to see what's what with that!!!  Woo hoo!

Blog Swap and Hop

....Shoo whop, shoo whop....

Now that your days are {hopefully} slower I'm sure you've been getting your "blog on" many items have you downloaded and just can't wait to print, cut and laminate?!?!?  I think I may have seen smoke coming from my computer the other day...or that may have been from my hubby's ears as he watched me print for the bajillionth time!!!!

I watch that smoke and I say "bring it on - BRING IT ON".  I'm about to let you in on a little secret.  Us blogger-folk, we're wild crazy people.  You don't even know the half of it.  We post twice in one day.  We type until our fingers bleed....




Breathe, teacher-friends, breathe.  Adjust that wooden necklace, pick your most fancy jumper....and enjoy the ride swap!!!!!

Next Saturday you'll find me over at some amazing blog and you'll find a new or familiar face over here on mine.  I'm pretty sure there will be some freebies!!!!  And who doesn't need a new blog to follow? Did I just hear you whoop and holler?!?! 

Can't wait!!!!!!

Friday, June 22, 2012

Check, Check and Check!

Happy Summer Friday! Or is it Monday?  Tuesday?  No, it's Sunday.  I never know what day of the week it is once summer vacation hits. 

There were a few things on my to-do list for this first week off...

1. Buy something fun for my classroom.... {check}

Magic Music Wand from Chinaberry - click the picture to go to their website.  Duct tape from Michael's!
I've seen the magic wands around blogland and thought I needed one of those.  They are so cool!  I plan on using it when I need to call the group together.  Just a sweet sound when you tap it on something. 

I can't wait to do this with the duct tape!  Michael's had so many cool was hard to choose!

2.  Wish upon a rainbow.... {check}

This actually is the second one this summer.  Maybe where you live you see them all the time - but I've only seen a handful in my life time - so whenever I see one it gives me goosebumbplies!  This was  a double rainbow right above our house last night!

3.  Create my first product for TpT! {check} I've spent DAYS on it and had a lot of fun doing it!  So now it's up for sale in my "store"...ha, why does that make me giggle?  I have a "store"...who says that?!?  If you're in the market for a parent/curriculum/open house/beginning of the year parent information toolbox you'll want to check it out.  Seriously, without tooting my own horn or anything, I think it's full of stuff you'll find useful!

Click the picture to check it out at my "store"!!!!! I'll give you a great big hug if you do!

I'm pretty happy with my first week off. Hope you are enjoying yours!!!

What's up next week?

At least ONE full day in the sun and ONE full day in my pj's...

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Toodles to Reading Logs...

Wow, it's 11 p.m. I'm still up, I'm not sleepy...

I love summer vacation!

Of course I can't turn my mind off ...doesn't matter if it's January or June, I'm still thinking about my classroom.  Here are my latest thoughts and I was hoping you'd weigh in with yours.

I've always wondered about reading logs.  I've sent them home ever since I started teaching.  Never really gave it much thought for the first 6 years or so.  Then my own little guy started school and I encountered the "READING LOG" {said in booming voice} from the other side of the school the mom.  My once voracious reader was limiting his reading to the prescribed twenty minutes.  No more. No less.  This bugged me, but I figured once he got used to the idea of having to fill out a reading log nightly he'd forget to watch the clock and would go back to enjoying a good read.

Friends, it never really happened - he's going into fifth grade!  What really got me where it hurts was seeing my youngest, who's going into second grade next year doing the same darn thing!!!!  I'm sure this can't be said for all kids. I'm sure there are kids out there who could log in more hours than their reading log would fit...but my kids are bound hard and fast to that twenty minutes a night that their teachers have deemed "enough".  {ETA: I love my kids' teachers!  Hi Mrs. P - who I know reads this - I'm a reading log teacher too..I'm only rethinking things professionally}

I read this article some time ago and revisited it tonight...

{click here to read}
...and I really think I may do away with reading logs next school year.  I'm at least willing to give it a try.  I don't know what I'm afraid of??!  Going against the norm? My students to stop reading at home entirely?  Maybe it's the reading log that makes them the readers they become at the end of the year?

Really, I'm 99.999999% sure I'm going to do it.  I'm going to let the parents know that I don't need a reading log to tell me whether or not they're reading at home nightly with their child.  I'll know just by how they read in class.

I send home two books nightly - one that's at their instructional level that we've read in class in a guided reading group, and one book of their choosing from their "bookshelves".  This book is at their independent level.  This one should be super easy to help build fluency and expression.  If my kiddos come to school the next day sounding as if the re-read is a cold read - I'll know they didn't read.  I won't need an unsigned reading log to tell me that.  Right?

I'm curious what your thoughts are....

I'm still thinking....

But I'm pretty much decided....

Like 99.9999999% sure.....


Friday, June 15, 2012

Over and Out!

Went in today and finished her up.  Taking a look around that empty{ish} classroom gave me such a feeling of accomplishment.  Those 22 minds that learned in that space are more than ready to move on to second grade, the fun that was had, the work that was done...the mountains that were moved!  Just amazes me what one human being can orchestrate and the village it takes....we are powerful!!!!!

It always gives me goosebumplies when I shut off the lights, and close the door that final time.  While tearing down the room to its bare bones...
Do you see that smidgeon of storage?  For Real!?!? tiring and nothing short of a miracle.  I DO love that clean slate.  Oh the possibilities...

Until then, I brought home a bag FULL of files.  I'm hoping the creative juices start flowing and I can find inspiration to create something wonderful for the next school year. 

My friend Barb and I have big plans to complete our reader's workshop binder...we started it last summer and it's still in the works.  We're trying to streamline our plans, perk up our activities, and align the whole thing with the Common Core.  Slow going, but we're hoping to finish it up.  We're putting our calendars together and hope to work on it once a week.  I hope we can make that happen. 

Of course I'm making time for a little of this...


Thursday, June 14, 2012

Happy x's Three!

Well Hello!!!!!!

I am so happy today!!!!!  Another school year under my belt.  I've bragged about this class more than a few times.  So many sweeties in the bunch.  I may have shed a tear or two throughout the morning.  I may have pulled out the gluesticks and the yarn after staying up "waaaaaayyyyyy past my bedtime" scheming - just trying to find a way to keep this group one. more. year!  As much as a teacher might love his or her crew...slow mornings, coffee on the deck and going to the bathroom...whenever...trumps a longer school year!!!

And happy birthday to Mrs. Bainbridge's blog! Christina has been gracing blogland with her great ideas, awesome freebies and super cool products for one whole year!  I don't know if I ever shared with Christina that it was her class website and her blog that inspired {and *still* inspire} me in so many ways...she's one of the reasons I chose to blog!  Click on over to her blog to enter her HUGE bloggy birthday bash giveaway that I get to be a part of! 

If you're like me, you bring more treasures into your classroom each year...this past year I definitely increased the 'ol inventory.  That was reeeeeal evident when I tried packing it all up.  Yeah, so I'll be spending some time in my room tomorrow trying to find a nook or a cranny that don't already have a bin or something or other stored. I'm all for making it easier on the cleaning crew to do their job - but this girl can't work miracles! 

Thanks for all the votes of confidence...I did make it through!!!!!!

Happy Summer!!!!!

Sunday, June 10, 2012

Gadzooks!!!!! *FREEBIE*

Hey Girl! {Do you envision some handsome dude behind that greeting?}

No Ryan Gosling here, but it is me and I'm back...not for good, just yet.  It's that really crazy-busy time of year for me right now.  Closing down the classroom, tying up loose ends, finishing up report cards, baseball, baseball, baseball...and of course blog stalking, just not much bloggING.

I'm amazed at teachers who are in the midst of tearing things down and are already thinking ahead to next year?!?!  For real?  I don't know, I'm sort of a one-day-at-a-time kinda gal right now.  Keeping my head above water, so to speak.  Organizing next year's classroom won't become front and center until, say, ummmmm....August?  Mid-August?  Late August.  I hear our school is going to be one of the last to be cleaned, and they are stripping the floors this we won't be allowed to come in until a week before school.  That's both a blessing and a curse.  Come August 1st, when my mind automatically transitions to "school mode" I'll be I'll need to remind myself "This is a blessing"...and enjoy more days in the sun!!!

GaDzOoKs!  So what made me think ahead this time?  I haven't the faintest...but I did find myself making some numbers for our "bookshelves". Okay, actually it went something like this:

{The kids were busily working on something, probably Cara's Memory Book, }

I was being stealthy while putting things away {for some reason I feel a little guilty about tearing things down in front of the kiddos....I think it might make them sad!?!} when one of my little girls, who has this uncanny way of actually getting her work done, but knowing my every move and is all in my teacher-business at every minute of every day, said "Mrs. W. why didn't you ever put a number on my bookshelf this year?!?"

That's how I roll people - remember, there's a lot of good, bad and UGLY going on in Room 8!

To avoid this next year {because, truth be told, this is the second year of "missing number 15"} I made some numbers for our bookshelves.  Thought you may want to use them too...numbers come in handy for a NUMBER of reasons..{ordering, comparing, calendar pieces, math center labels...}blogland has been such a good influence on me! Hee hee!

The numbers fit on the magazine bins from Really Good Stuff.

{Download Here}

3 1/2 more days...

3 1/2 more days...

3 1/2 more days...

Monday, June 4, 2012


I'm still in school.  My alarm goes off. 

I'm only a little grouchy about that.

Just a little.

7 1/2 days...

In the meantime....


I am going to grade those writing prompts. I am. Right now.  After I go eat a little something and after I watch the rest of the Bachelorette.  Then I will.  Do you all have writing prompts/assessments that you do for your district?  Do you happen to have a great rubric you use to score them that you'd care to share?  If so, send 'em my way @  Our rubric stinks to high heaven and I really wish we could find one that doesn't leave so much to the imagination.

Go link up with Farley!!!!! 

Friday, June 1, 2012

Somebody is Still Going Strong...

...that somebody would be me!!!!  Yup, we're still at it here in Michigan!  I can't complain since we don't start until after Labor Day.  So, those of you who are all "You know it's summer when..." know exactly where I'm at right now.  Assessments, report cards, finishing up last minute units of study, casually tearing things down from around the room hoping nobody will notice...yup, that's where I'm at right now!

I wanted to share this activity a couple of weeks ago, but never got around to it.  You know how Reagan has nothing but awesome things to say about her super sweet, super creative media specialist?  Not to be confused with Kristin's super scary one!!!!!  I could brag a bit about mine too!  Actually, I was lucky x's two in this department.  {But believe me - I've paid my dues} A couple of years ago my school closed and I just knew there wasn't another librarian that could hold a candle to Ms. J. 

Then I met Mrs. K.  They are two peas in a pod. Cut from the same mold.  Both great at what they do.  I loved the activity my kiddos were doing in Media and asked if I could share it with all of you.  Funny thing, my current Media gal teamed up with my "old" one and they came up with this great activity.  Both said "Yes, yes, yes - please share!!!!" 

I know most of you are spending your mornings sleeping in, watching Ellen, and then crafting the day away.  If that's the case, pin it, download and save it - whatever you've got to do, but it's something you'll want to do at some point next school year!!!!

Once our kiddos are readers, true readers that have a great sight word base and strong decoding skills - it's time to really beef up that fluency.  This activity is great for just that. 

The kicker?  If you click on the picture below it will take you to...

Wait for it...


No kidding.  Some blogging friends talked me into it.  You'll have to use that term "store" loosely at the moment as I'm just not ready to go whole hog and actually sell anything.  So at this point, everything will be FREE.  So come one, come all.  Follow me and everything that us blogger people do.  I haven't created a summer bucket list, but if I had - creating some cool stuff that is worthy of selling is on the top...okay middle....{Slow mornings, chai teas and Ellen will trump school once I'm out!} of that list.

I really have to hunker down and get things done this weekend for school.  If I could get my report cards done, I'd be the talk of the town, the one to envy, on top of the world.  Yeah, that probably won't happen.  One can always dream.

Happy weekend {even to my friends who can't remember what day of the week it is...because it doesn't matter!!!}!
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