Tuesday, December 24, 2013

13 in '13 Linky Party

I'm linking up with three of my favorites - Miss Kindergarten , A Teeny Tiny Teacher  and Dragonflies in First to share 13 of my favorites in 2013.

{Favorite Article of Clothing}

I was never a shopper.  Hated it, actually.  Since losing 50 lbs this year - I have taken to online shopping at Zulily, GroopDealz, Sassy Steals and Jane.  I might admit to a slight addiction!  

{Favorite Movie}

Without blinking - this is my favorite.  I just love this whole series.  What makes it more fun, is that my son is starting to read them so we can talk about them and will get to see the next movie together.  

{Favorite TV Series}

Seriously?  There is no possible way I can narrow this down to one, not even two.  Have you ever heard of NetFlix? HA!

I hardly even read {I sure hope my first graders don't read my blog!!!!} anymore, I'm so addicted to watching old shows on NetFlix!  Some of my faves:

Downton Abbey
Vampire Diaries
The Originals

And my current favorite...

{Favorite Restaurant}

You gotta remember I have kids. I don't do anything without them.  We don't do date nights.  We eat, breathe, and live our children...HA!  So, my restaurants consist of ones that serve mac & cheese or corn dogs!  Our current fave:

It's a local establishment.  Funny thing, it's right down the road from our house and we drive by it every day.  We've lived here for 11 years and this year was our first time going. Why? I don't know because it's the best Mexican food around!  

{Favorite New Thing You Tried}

This is easy - eating a little more organically, eating a little "cleaner", using glass containers rather than plastic, trying not to cook out of the box, etc.  It's been a fun challenge and we definitely are not perfect, but we're getting there!  Some of my favorites in this area...

WearEver Pure Living Cookware

{Favorite Gift}
I got this last week for my birthday. I've been wanting a Keurig for like, FOREVER!  Being the frugal teachers that we are, we just couldn't justify spending so much on coffee.  I decided to "kick" my Starbucks habit - I was going once a week {I still go once a month - no worries #nonfatnofoamchaitealatte} and go this route instead.  I am in awe and in love with this wonderful piece of mechanics.  Holy moly!

{Favorite Pin}

I'm not a big Pinner - but I do like the start of my clothes cuteness board...

...and food boards!

I actually make and LOVE this one!!!!!

Cold Overnight Steel Cut Oats

{Favorite Blog Post}

Is actually one of your favorites too!  
I think it encompasses who I am!!!!

{Best Accomplishment}

I have accomplished so many things that I'm really proud of 2013. The first one that comes to mind is how much I've worked out since May.  I am a walker/jogger = wogger.  I've been consistently eating right and exercising since May.  I have never felt better...and I mean that!!!!  I use my Instagram to share about it - so if you don't follow me over there...come on over!!! {crisscrossapplesaucein1stgrade}

{Favorite Picture}

This is everybody that matters to me the very most in the world.  My main men, and my doggy girl in one of our favorite places on earth {Northern Michigan}...

Mullett Lake

{Favorite Memory}

Too many to mention - of course, but our time Up North always gives us many, many memories.  Our trek around Mackinac Island was awesome!!!!

Arch Rock

{2014 Goal}

To be healthy, happy & balanced...

{One Little Word}


It's easy to get "caught up" in everything.  The craziness of our profession.  Running the kids from one event to the next.  Sometimes the 'ol ticker is beating at a frantic pace and I forget to breathe and enjoy these days God has given me.  So, I am going to work on being in the moment and finding my...


Merry, Merry & Happy, Happy!

Saturday, December 21, 2013

Five for Friday {Saturday Edition}

Hi Everybody!

I'm linking up with Doodle Bugs for her "Five for Friday"...

Happy break!  Most weeks fly by, but this one, seemed to move at a snail's pace.  But...

Today was lovely...

I don't know when I actually crawled out of bed...I think it was just in time for lunch!

I didn't take very many pictures this week - we were busy tying up loose ends.  I like it when my units all end before we go on a break, and thankfully it worked out that way with a little oomph put behind every day.  

We also finished up these...

Having a hard time getting your kiddos to remember to wash their hands?  I received several of these as gifts from parents and I tell you, my kiddos have never been so excited to wash their hands and our room smells scrumptious. It's the foaming hand soaps from Bath & Body Works...I think they must have a scent for every season.  Love those things!

Give your kiddos a little in'scentive {get it?} to wash their hands!

Every now and then my son and I will text while he is on his way to school.  I love the whole talk to text feature.  I don't know why, maybe it's the teacher in me, but sometimes I tell Siri what punctuation to use. Only a first grade teacher would make this mistake...

It was a full moon on Monday.  Not a good day to have a birthday.  My kiddos were a little wild and crazy but my birthday gift made up for it!

Now I'm in the market for some yummy flavors.  This week I've been sucking down the hot cider.  What's your favorite K-cup flavor?

Have a happy break...make it Merry & Bright!

Saturday, December 14, 2013

Random Acts of Kindness for Sandy Hook

I will remember this day forever and always.  There isn't a teacher out there who doesn't close their eyes and imagine what it must have been like. My hugs, tears, prayers and love go out to all of those who were affected by the tragedy at Sandy Hook Elementary on December 14, 2012.  Teachers everywhere are remembering those sweet angels, their families and their teachers.   We love you and want to wrap you in warm, sweet support today and everyday.

Those in Newtown are asking us to perform random acts of service and kindness to honor the victims.  Please join the teaching community in remembering. Prayer in numbers is so very powerful. Please post the above button on any and all social media using the hashtag:  #loveforSH

We love you, Newtown!


Friday, December 6, 2013

Read-to-Someone Fridays and a Freebie!

I sure am happy that it's Friday!  I swear, I really, really do - that there was one of these...

...this week.  My first grade sweeties were barkin' at the moon this week.   One little guy said "We're really wild today, aren't we?" Uh, yup.

I wanted to share with you how I do Read-to-Someone {Partner Reading} in my classroom.  We do a modified version of Daily 5.  I've blogged about it a few times. Just search "Daily 5" on my blog to read about that.  

Monday through Thursday we do Daily 4 and save the 5th component, Read-to-Someone, for Friday. Something you might not know about me - I'm a recovering micro-manager.  Over the years, I've been letting certain things go that I wasn't always able to.  {It's OK if your water bottle isn't on the upper right corner of your desk}

Read-to-Someone when I'm trying to do guided reading groups?

Just can't do it.

I change everything up on Friday's and I love it!  I look forward to those days where the whole day just has a different flow to it. The kids love it too.

We start Read-to-Someone by me sharing my observations with the class from last week.  I write on two sides of the paper.  On one side I record what they've done well and on the other side I record what they might need to work on {I record those generically - I don't mention names}.  Really, I'm keeping notes because it keeps them focused and doing what they should.  My notes are mostly complimentary and are written knowing that I will be sharing them out loud and want to focus on behaviors {both reading behaviors and behavioral} that I want to see from everyone.  I do note other things that are more for me - I just don't share those with the kiddos.

Once I do that, I do a quick mini-lesson.  Mostly, these mini-lessons focus on comprehension, fluency & expression. One day we worked on how our voices should sound when we come to periods, question marks or exclamation marks.  Another day we talked about using a teaching voice when reading nonfiction. Today, our focus was retelling a nonfiction text.  They all go to their partnerships with a specific goal or task in mind.

I can't stand it, I have to come clean.  I told you I'm a recovering micro-manager.  I always pick my kids partners. I just can't bear the thought that somebody might not get picked or always be "the one" leftover. Oh that just tugs at my heartstrings.  I pick partnerships either with Stick Pick...

Or using my "old fashioned" {according to one of my kids} sticks.  Have you seen this trick?

That's a toilet paper roll!
Once they have their partners, they get their personal bookshelves - this is where they keep the books they've read all week during Read-to-Self...

...find a cozy place to read...

...and I walk around with my handy dandy clipboard, coffee in hand, taking notes.  You should hear my classroom - each. and. every. time.  Without fail, I can almost promise you, 100 percent of my students are on task and uber engaged.  It's magical.

I tried doing Read-to-Someone the other four days during the week - but I just couldn't manage it. Inevitably, they were too loud, too silly, or too whatever...but not too into what they were supposed to be doing.  I don't know - it might work for you, but this REALLY works for me.

We end each partner reading session with a compliment.  My first graders are really good at giving great, specific compliments.  We've practiced and practiced not just saying "I liked your reading" or "you did good".  We started off using prompts - but now they are great at coming up with their own.  Here are the prompts we used at the beginning.  If you grab it - leave a comment letting me know what you think.

Mini Anchor Chart 

Mini Anchor Cards - Pick both up by clicking on the picture
Once we've finished making each other's hearts sing - we get ready to "go shopping".  

I assign each student a "magic letter".  This ensures that they will fill {6 books} their personal bookshelves with books that are at their just right level.  Typically, their magic letter is a level or two below their instructional reading level.  I want these books to really fit them so that they can practice fluency, expression and comprehension throughout the week.  

I do, however, want my firsties to practice knowing how to choose a good fit book on their own.  After all, library books and bookstore books don't have your magic letters on them.  So, we talk about IPICK a lot and each student is able to pick two "dessert books".  These books are from anywhere in our classroom library.  

Chart from Cara Carroll @ The First Grade Parade
And there you have it!  If you're doing Daily 5 what do you do differently from The Sisters that just works for you?  

Happy weekend everybody!

Sunday, December 1, 2013

Deck the Halls with TpT ~ Linky Party

I love to shop!  How about you?  I'm not much of a "go to the store" kinda shopper.  More like an online shopper.  I don't like lines.  I don't like squeezing through packed aisles.  Truth be told, I just really like my couch, my comfies and my dog nestled just so with me in "my spot".  Just call me Sheldon. {Big Bang Theory reference}

So, if you're like me, and you're in the shopping spirit {Am I the only one that ends up buying myself stuff when I should be shopping for others?!?!} the Cyber Monday {and Tuesday} sale at TpT will hit the spot!

I'm linking up with Christina over at Bunting, Books and Bainbridge along with lots of other blogger friends to give you that one stop shopping experience.  Click away at the linky party to find something for everyone! Now that's MUSIC to my ears!!!!

So, let's see what's playing...

What's rockin' at my store right now!

We're also jammin' to...

And you can't forget this oldie but goody...

Here's a closer look at my newest product...we're smack dab in the middle of our how-to writing unit and this makes it soooooo much easier to teach and for my kiddos to learn this sometimes tricky genre of writing!!!

Click the picture to find it at my store!
Have fun shopping...I know I will! I had to take the day off tomorrow because my boys don't have school.  Oh the horror, right?  HA!  I'll be working on report cards and of course SHOPPING!


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