Friday, September 28, 2012

Weekly Rewind & We Have a Winner!

I think we're really starting to find our groove!  I think we're beyond the testing phase, I think they've figured me out and I'm now able to work on figuring out their individual needs and I KNOW they are a whole bunch of sweethearts. I'm even willing to ignore the fact that one little one asked me if T.V's were invented when I was little.  In his defense, I had just whipped out the record player and watched their eyes turn as big as saucers when they saw the MASSIVELY huge record {that they kept referring to as a CD} with "Free to Be You and Me" on the cover...

Anybody remember this oldie!?
A little recap of our week...

Daily 5 is going wonderfully.  We're up to 13 minutes with Read to Self and we're up to 15 minutes for Word Work.  We've opened up our book nooks...

Cozy places around our room to do Read to Self

...and the kids are loving making words with pipe cleaners and clay!  I'm absolutely amazed at how quickly they picked up on how to use IPICK when shopping for books to place in their independent reading bookshelves.  Such BIG kids!

Are you familiar with the FOSS kits for teaching science?  I hear mixed reviews - but I'm somebody who LOVES them!  Right now we're hot and heavy into solids/liquids and we played around on the FOSS website this week on our Mimio...

Click on the picture to head over to the games section of the FOSS website!
We've launched our writer's workshop and the kiddos are working hard to build their writing muscles!  This is always tricky at the beginning of the year - but I'm usually amazed at how quickly they build their stamina!

One way that I encourage quiet writing time {or "hot pencil" time as we refer to it} is by hanging a large wooden pencil onto the middle of our white board to serve as a visual reminder.  Ours looks something like this:

I can't remember where I got mine - but if you click on the picture it will take you to the website for this pencil!
I also play "quiet thinking music".  A favorite CD of our is:

In math we're hot and heavy into math Workplaces.  We've created our own picture problems, graphed, counted money, sorted bugs, created numbers sentences using ten name it, we've done it.  A class favorite this week was a Bridges Math game "Which Numeral Will Win 1-4"

In Social Studies we've been learning about families.  Our focus this week was exploring the past, present and future.  A great book that is part of our curriculum:

It explores this little guy's life when he was "younger"{past}, now that he's a bit older {present} and what he wants to be when he grows up {future}.  We worked on these today too...

Click {HERE} to pick up your own!

Crazy to think that's just a snippet of our week...we moved mountains!!!!!!

And the winner of the trimmer/cutter giveaway through is...

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Congrats, Debbie - I'll be emailing you shortly!!!!!

Happy weekend all!  It's a whole lotta football for this family.  One boy Saturday the other Sunday!

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Subs? {Quiznos? Subway? Guest Teacher?}

Hey Friends!
Good golly this was supposed to be "The Great Year of Organization" for me.  How you can go from feeling on top of the world to buried beyond repair in TEN minutes is baffling to me.  Okay, it's not really baffling - c'mon we all know it.  Enter 26 little 6 year olds and it's bound to happen.  I feel a Saturday in the classroom calling my name...

I've been TRYING to find ways to organize myself this school year.  I created this GREAT teacher planner that I found over at The Teacher Wife.  Which would be REALLY helpful if I would actually get beyond the cute cover and actually put the daggone thing together.  So far I've been stuffing everything in the binder thinking...I'll get to it, I'll get to it!!

The other day I was out for a Common Core ELA meeting and finished up my plans for the Guest Teacher {Sub, Substitute, Poor Soul...whatever you might call him/her}when I realized I needed to actually get on the computer and find one.  There I sat at home racking my brain trying to remember who the "good ones" are.  A few texts later, I landed one that I KNEW wasn't going to stick markers up her nose or in her ears {yeah, that's happened}. 

Had I been a little more organized I'd have a list of preferred subs in my teacher binder, right?  Now I do and so can you if you'd like to download this little freebie! ENJOY!

Click the picture to download!

If you haven't entered my giveaway for the cutter/trimmer deal from  click {HERE} to enter!  Just two more days to enter!!!


Thursday, September 20, 2012

Easy Peasy Paper Monster Duo Trimmer *Giveaway*

Hey Everybody!

Did you know that my husband is a teacher too?  It's so nice to have somebody who "gets it" {mostly}.  He appreciates our blessings, but he always understands my frustrations because, often, he shares in them.

What he doesn't get is my adoration for office equipment - namely my personal laminator & paper cutter.  To be honest, I didn't even know I "needed" them until they made their way into my life.  Now?  Honestly, I couldn't live without them.

I've got my eye on a full size copy machine next....maybe a RISO?!

I was contacted by MyBinding.Com to review one of their products.  I chose the paper cutter.  I thought it was time to beef up my paper cutting prowess at I went from this:

To this:

Do you know how I defend my need for home office equipment?  Time is precious.  Frustrations are abundant.  If I can find something - anything that will make my life easier and less chaotic - I'm ALL for it. 

I'm a person who takes things home with me.  I wish I could get to school super early {okay, no I don't - if I had that option, I'd want to sleep in, who am I kidding?!?}, or stay late {that's more my speed} but I have a sweet family to think of, so I can't.  Instead, I punch the clock for another couple of hours of work once the kiddos are snug as bugs in their beds. 

Tonight I needed to do some cutting from home and finished just. like. that.  Almost as fast as I snarfed down my Vanilla Cupcake Goldfish Grahams {shh - don't tell my boys I inhaled the whole package...have you tried those?  YUMMY!}

So maybe the cutting didn't happen quite like. that.  Between bites, I was able to cut out some certificates and some strips of construction paper without a problem...easy peasy.


Some of the features I love:

*It's the perfect size
*It has both the trimmer {slides} and the guillotine
*The trimmer does straight lines, waves and perforates {how cool!}

Here's a little video demonstration from their site...

I'm sure by now you're thinking that you might need some office equipment in your house.  Don't worry - you get used to the eye rolls from significant others or friends; but from one convert to won't regret it!

MyBinding.Com is a company who supports educators - who doesn't like the sound of that?  They offered to give away one Paper Monster Home Duo Trimmer and Guillotine to one lucky follower! 

The name of the game tonight is EASY that's how I'm going to make entering!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Good luck!!!!!

Saturday, September 15, 2012

Write Stuff Giveaway

I am just giddy about this giveaway, friends!  My bloggy buddy, Kelley, over at the Teacher Idea Factory was thinkin' hard {uh oh, she says} about creating a stronger writing program for her classroom.  When she asked if I'd be interested in participating with a couple other blogging teachers I jumped at the chance.  Like her, I enjoy teaching writing, but am always on the lookout for new ideas to spruce things up.

Kelley has the most awesome {and I'm really not just saying that!} pack for encouraging letter writing in your classroom and how to go about introducing penpals.  I am a proud owner of this pack and I'm not kidding you, it has EVERYTHING you need!

She's also offering her "Sprucing Up Share Time" pack.  What a neat idea to take something so simple - sharing - and take it up a notch and include Common Core aligned writing ideas!!!

Then there's our friend Jennifer, from First Grade Blue Skies who has created the most inclusive, year-round opinion writing pack.  I fell in love the minute I purchased this product.  It is broken down into simple activities that provide practice for our little ones in knowing what an opinion is, forming one and then writing about it. 

You might think that's plenty - you might be thinking "Cool, if I were to win those three things, I'd buy a lottery ticket...I'm one lucky winner".  But nooooooo....there's still more!

Susan, from Thank God It's First Grade is offering her AWESOME personal narrative pack!  Sweet!  For real guys, this thing is jam packed with activities to help your littles write nice solid personal narratives {small moments}.  I have it and CANNOT wait to use it this year with my firsties. 

I know your fingers are itching right about just want to find your lucky penny, or your rabbit's foot, or a Buddha so you can find yourself some luck.  But you've got one more goodie to add to the mix and that's my nonfiction writing unit which is also aligned with the Common Core.

That's a lot of awesome writing resources available to you for FREE!!!!! {If you found a Buddha's belly to rub!}  Kelley made it super easy to enter too.  She's sweet like that!  Just a few clicks and a share if you so choose - and you're entered!!!!

I'm excited FOR you! If writing for you, is like math to me, {I say I teach first grade because that kinda math is "just right" for me} you will feel so confident teaching it with these tools added to your writing toolbox!!!!  If you already dig your writing repertoire - you'll like it even'll be like you hit the writing jackpot!

Contest ends Wednesday at midnight!

You may want to try rubbing the screen never know!!!!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Organize Your Week!

I don't know about you, but I'm always looking for ways to organize my classroom.  I'd like to say I'm an organization queen, but that's really not true.  I do try, but my week usually buries me, and by Friday - you don't want to see the tornado I call my classroom!

I'm pretty bin-happy in my classroom.  I have a bin for everything.  Sounds good, I know.  Who doesn't like a cute bin?!?  Label it, and you're giddy, right?!


Who also has a classroom the size of a postage stamp?  I had so many people comment on my classroom pictures, saying how BIG it looked.  Friends, that was an optical illusion.  Trick of the camera.  Camera adds ten pounds feet?!  Because I gotta tell classroom really IS itty bitty.  Teeny tiny. 

Not only that, but it lacks sorely in storage space.  Zip, zero, nada! 

I love our custodian.  He's a great guy, funny - on top of things.  SO on top of things, he's constantly reminding me to leave my emergency exit "bin free" <gasp>.  He did agree {with some prodding from me} to allow this:

No worries friends, I do keep the safety and well being of my students in mind.  My emergency window is able to slide over the green and blue bins!  {I was tested on this, by the way...}
But I have to tell you, I know in his heart of hearts he'd like for those bins to be G-O-N-E!  Anything I thought of involved another bin.  So the search was on.  Hopping around blogland I saw this cool product on somebody's blog...I can't remember who, but I did remember the name of the product:

Before, I had two bins.  The blue one held what I was doing that day, and the green one held what I was doing for the week.  At the end of each day I'd pull out what I needed for the following day and put it in the blue bin.  Nice system.  It worked for me, but honestly, I was looking to streamline things.  So, when I happened upon Filetastic I just knew that could possibly be my answer.
I was lucky enough to receive a Filetastic from Mardel ~ Christian & Education, Inc.  They have so many fun colors and patterns.  I'm pretty sure you'd be able to find one that matches your classroom theme!  Some hold 12 file folders {which are also ADORABLE - and very sturdy!} and the mini Filetastic holds 6.  I have the one that holds 12.  At first I thought that may be too many, and wasn't sure if I could find a space to accomodate such a long contraption...where there's a will there's a way.  If you're space is limited like mine, you may opt for the 6 pocket Filetastic.  I must say, though, it's nice having extra space.  I organized mine like this...
Included are lots of "tabs" so you can switch things out as your needs change...
The lables I chose:
*Next Week
*To Copy
Do you see those adorable stripes, flowers & polka dot file folders?
And I still have room to grow!!! {4 more pockets!!!}
So I went from those green & blue bins to...
Do you see how CLEAR my emergency window is?!?  Somebody just won themselves some brownie points!!!
Honestly, I don't have a bad thing to say about this product.  I'm not kidding you.  The files themselves are not only cute but they are really sturdy...not flimsy at all.  The actual Filetastic holder works just like those pocket charts us first grade teachers are used to.  There are three holes at the top and I used suction cups to adhere mine to my window {I know ingenius right?  I wanted them right next to my computer/"desk" area which is where I do my planning}, but you could use Command Strips or whatever else a resourceful teacher might come up with. 
Here are a few pictures of other Filetastics that are available for purchase at Mardel, Inc.



There are others too!   You can check them out {here}.

You've gotta know that Mardel, Inc. has sent me this item to ask me to write a review and tell about my experiences with it if I choose.  This review is my honest opinion.  I was not directed to write anything other than my opinion about the product based on my use of and experience with it.


Sunday, September 9, 2012


The two winners for Maria Dismondy's book:

Deb Thomas!!!!!!!

Congrats, girlies!  I'll be in contact with you soon and so will Maria!!!!

Happy Sunday, friends! Hope you have a wonderful week of school.

Thursday, September 6, 2012

Guest Blogger/Children's Author Maria Dismondy *GIVEAWAY*

I am so happy to welcome fellow Michigander, Author, Blogger, Speaker, Mom...Maria Dismondy, to my blog today.  If you haven't read any of her books or shared them with your kiddos, you'll want to go check them out.  So precious and packed with character building messages. 

Maria Dismondy was born and raised in the suburbs of Detroit, Michigan.  Maria's experiences have shaped her into an individual who lives life to the fullest, appreciating what she has and one who uses her passion to make a difference.  She takes experiences from her own life and uses them in her writing.  Being in education for over ten years now, Maria knows what children need to hear from books in the classroom.  Maria is a dynamic speaker who in one month alone, spoke to almost 10,000 children at local elementary schools and other venues.  She continues to write books and blogs regularly.

I am happy to be a guest blogger today at Crisscross Applesauce in First Grade! As teachers, this is a very busy week back to work for us. I am here to share a few ideas on how you can use my children's books to start building your classroom community with your students. We all know that the stronger community you set up with your class, the more productive the year will be!

If you would like to find out other ways you can use my books in your classrooms, download a free reader's guide for each book on my website. Each reader's guide comes with lessons in all subject areas as well as lessons in cooking and teamwork!

Spaghetti In A Hot Dog Bun: Having the Courage to Be Yourself

Award-Winning Title

How can Ralph be so mean? Lucy is one of a kind and Ralph loves to point that out. Lucy’s defining moment comes when Ralph truly needs help. Because she knows what she stands for, Lucy has the courage to make a good choice. This charming story empowers children to always do the right thing and be proud of themselves, even when they are faced with someone as challenging as Ralph.

Classroom Use: Asking questions before, during and after reading this book. After reading, make a t-chart with your class. On one side of the chart, discuss ways in which Ralph was teasing Lucy, on the other side, talk about strategies Lucy used to try to stop the bullying and come up with other things she COULD HAVE tried.

The Juice Box Bully

Empowering Kids to Stand Up To Others

Have you ever seen a bully in action and done nothing about it? The kids at Pete’s new school get involved, instead of being bystanders. When Pete begins to behave badly, his classmates teach him about “The Promise”. Will Pete decide to shed his bullying habits and make “The Promise”?

Classroom Use: After reading this book, come up with your own classroom "Promise" Be sure to have each of your students sign the promise, make copies for everyone to take home and share with their families. Be sure to post the promise and refer to it several times through out the school year!

Pink Tiara Cookies for Three

Award Winning Title

Sami’s perfect life falls apart when the new girl moves in next door. Three can be a tricky number with friends because most of the time someone gets left out. Follow Sam as she discovers how to keep her best friend and find room for one more in Pink Tiara Cookies for Three.

Classroom Use: It's important for children to understand how it feels to be in someone else's shoes. Read this book, have your students discuss the roles of each character. Have students pick a character from the book and write three ways that character was feeling in the book. It's a great lesson on Empathy---putting yourself in someone else's shoes. Be sure to allow time for sharing as a whole group. Focus on the common feeling--that no one likes playing alone. Everyone enjoys the company of a friend!

You can find Maria at
Her Blog: Be The Difference

Purchase her Books here:

Maria is giving away an autographed copy of Pink Tiara Cookies for Three!!!!!  Such a sweet book that I just know you'll love!  We're going "old school" for this one.  If you'd like a chance to win a copy of your own you've got to do the following {and leave one comment for each -  be sure to leave your email address}.

*Follow Maria on Facebook {Leave 1 comment}
*Follow Maria on Twitter {Leave 1 comment}
*Follow me on Facebook {Leave 1 comment}
*Follow my TpT Store {Leave 1 comment}

I'll pick two lucky winners on Sunday, September 9th at noon, EST -  I'll be using the Random Number Generator....remember that!?!

Thanks so much, Maria, for visiting my blog!!!  I love your books and so do my students.  I have Spaghetti in a Hot Dog Bun ready to read my first week back!!!

Toodles & Good Luck!

Tuesday, September 4, 2012


Holy Toledo!!!!!

Friends, I've got nothing...I mean, I'm so tired I think I may just go to bed now.  How's that? 

I did muster up a Currently because I love them and Farley so much!!!


Monday, September 3, 2012

Can't Wait to Rock it Out Tomorrow!

Tomorrow is it. It's really, really it!!! I get to teach 27 first graders. I hope they like me. I hope they are nice to me. I hope none of my back-to-school nightmares come true! I'm always happy to have that first day under my belt. Honestly, I just want to find my groove. Give me two maybe three weeks and I'll be a happy teacher. Gotta get through all the routines and procedural stuff. Am I the only teacher on the planet that doesn't look forward to that part?

Anyhoo - I'm expecting the day to go wonderfully that it will totally and completely ROCK. I find myself saying that a lot with my kiddos - with different variations. Sometimes I'll say "You rock" and they'll say "And roll". Other times I'll say "You rock my socks off" or just "You guys rock it out"....I expect tomorrow to go no differently. Sooooo...I made these cute little certificates. Since so many of you are full tilt I decided to make some of them fit any time of year. If you download them, you'll notice the clipart is from my bloggy friend Reagan over at Tunstall's Teaching Tidbits. She was sweet enough to let me use her clipart but wants it noted that she only "does" rocks. HA!

Click the picture to download yours FREE!

If you're starting school this week I hope your first day ROCKS it out like no other!!!!

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