Sunday, March 26, 2017

It's as simple as "Be Kind."

This little guy, Prince George...


is officially enrolled in a school where the first rule is:  Be kind. LOVE IT!  So simple. I'm a sucker for school mottos and love when they are reduced to just a few words that even the youngest child can understand.  My district motto/slogan/theme this year is : Attitude Determines Altitude -Fly High! What's yours?  I'd love to hear it!

Have you read this awesome book about paying it forward?


And I'm sure you've seen this video a dozen times but I still get inspired to pay it forward each time I see it!  Enjoy!



Tuesday, March 14, 2017

Random Stuff! Freebies! 50% off!

Hope you are staying warm and dry on this snowy, sleety day.  We were supposed to get 18-24 inches.  Instead, we have about 6 inches of snow and a lot of ice. Too much ice!  But...it's much easier to handle when you know that spring is truly just a few days away!


I was surprised to see our Shamrock Freebie in the newsletter since we didn't submit it.  I did last year but never even thought about it this year.   John is the artist but I did these simple ones.  Hopefully, you can use/grab them!  Enjoy!!  SIDE NOTE:  We just purchased ILLUSTRATOR and are hoping to create clip art on it soon.  Output should be much greater...I think!  John draws everything by hand and it takes forever.  Would be nice to even just COLOR on the computer since that would save oodles of time alone.  Crossing fingers we can learn it!!


My kids' drawings make me SO HAPPY! It was a directed draw and I love the way each one turned out.  Thinking of using watercolors next year.  My Principal and Assistant Principal are pictured with The Cat in the Hat.  I love the simple paper hats that made for their hair and MUST remember to do it next year.  Although, I did see some kids wearing cute blue tutus upside down on their heads, too.


Random, I know...but this year, we eat snack at 9am.  I am shocked to see all of the junk food: cake slices, cookies, chips, etc.  I've written general notes to encourage healthier choices.  No luck.  It wasn't until I started posting pics of kids making healthy choices on my class Twitter page that I started to see fresh fruits, nuts, and veggies.  Of course I don't pic poor snack choices!  Just the healthy ones from time to time.  Glad I thought of it! 

  
These make me happy, too!  NAMEBOWS! I've seen this on Pinterest and honestly don't know who to credit.  Kids use adjectives to describe themselves.  I usually have a few more rays but reducing to only 5 this year made the whole project so much easier.  Grab the small sign below if you need it.



Sharpening pencils is a PAIN IN THE NECK, isn't it??  But I smile when I do it...just means my kids are writing up a storm!  I don't think I ever had to sharpen so many pencils each day!  Honest!


Last up:  I used this day to finish my latest product: Contraction posters and games.  March is the month I start to really focus on reading/understanding contractions.  Even my lowest readers are encountering them in their daily reading.  Check out the packet if interested.  Offering for 50% off for next two days.  I use them for Do-Nows, Fast Finishers, Summer Send Home, Reading Workshop, Free Choice, etc.  


HAVE A SAFE, WARM DAY!



Monday, February 27, 2017

March Madness, Monsters and Jury Duty!

I love March Madness and in the world of college basketball, the march to the madness is is full swing! As a huge Syracuse Basketball fan, I just discovered the Twitter Account Titanic Hoops which cracks me up...everything is better with a little Titanic Music, isn't it? CLICK ON PIC to see what I mean! (Couldn't embed)

https://twitter.com/TitanicHoops/status/826977463741906944/video/1



Had jury duty today but just sat there...not one of us was called.  I'd rather be in school BUT I did get my new math games posted!  I'm excited to use one of the games to practice Balanced Equations tomorrow! 

I'm offering for 50% off for he first 48 hours! 21 games in color and BW aimed at First Graders. A good deal!!











Monday, February 13, 2017

QR Code for Valentine's Day Freebie!

Just made it!  Hope you can use it and the generic recording sheet I created for QR Codes...just to hold kids accountable!  Enjoy!






If looking to support this book a little more with a few activities, check out THIS POST.  Have a super day!

Thursday, February 9, 2017

Freebie Pick-a-Prompts

My colleagues and I love using these...a nice break from our Calkins' Units.  (Which we also love!)  Hope your kids like like these as much as ours! Three prompts included here...one perfect for Read Across America in just a few short weeks!  Enjoy!

Pick-a-Prompt (Freebie Writing Prompts)

Saturday, February 4, 2017

Tek The Modern Cave Boy

Image result for tek the modern cave boy

What an adorable book designed to look like an iPad! Tek is a cave boy who can't seem to unplug from his Game Box, TV, phone, and tablet.  It's tech all day and all night.  So engrossed in technology, he never ventures outside to see what the world has to offer!  Ice Age?  He missed it!  

Your kids will gasp when you read: "He never even learned his dinosaur names, identifying them as a Whatchacallitasaurus, a Hoozdatasaurus, or a Flying Idontgiveadactyl."  Mine sure did!  

Eagle eyes will surely notice the iPad battery getting lower and lower...

What a FUN book!  My husband (a media specialist) lent it to my class and it lived up to his hype.  Can't get the book?  No problem!  

READ ALOUD: Tek The Modern Cave Boy

I loved it so much, I want to share this FREEBIE Book It with you!  Enjoy!


Sunday, January 29, 2017

My Favorite Valentine's Day Book

Have you read this lovely book by Eileen Spinelli and Paul Yalowitz?  What a gem!

Image result for somebody loves you mr hatch


Honestly, it's one of my favorite all-time books.  The words and illustrations are so intertwined and seamless.  It's a wonderful book to show just how a small, kind, gesture, can really impact a person's life.

Mr. Hatch is shown as an ordinary man going about his lonely, mundane life.  Very little interaction and devoid of happiness.  But once he receives a box of chocolates in the mail from a Secret Admirer, his life suddenly has meaning.  SOMEONE thought of HIM?  He now has an extra pep in his step and all the neighbors notice.  Sadly, his happiness is short lived.  I don't want to give the rest away... find out for yourself!  You won't regret it but you will most likely shed a tear! Or two.  Or buckets full.

You can watch it here if you can't get the book.

Somebody Loves You, Mr. Hatch Video 11.5 Minutes

Honestly, the book generates thought-provoking discussions and that's all you need.  But if you're wanting a tiny bit more, you could check out this product that supports it.  But to be honest, the BEST way to support this book?  Share it with your class and then reread it again and again!  :)

Book It: Retell It, Write It, Make It! (Somebody Loves You


And for those of you who like my Pick-A-Prompts, I just finished February!
Only March needed to complete the Bundle!  Whew!

Pick-a-Prompt (February Writing Prompts)
Kids highlight or cross out the prompt they would like to complete.

Happy Reading!  

Monday, January 16, 2017

MLK Day Poem



It boggles my mind that there are some school districts around the country in full session today.  My husband's school is one of them.  To me, it seems disrespectful.  The administration has said in the past that is allows them to honor MLK today.  Hmmm...not buying it.  Some of my colleagues honored him on Friday and some, like me, have several special activities planned for the upcoming week.  I feel that now, more than ever, we need to reflect on Martin's message of inclusion and celebrate him and his message.

What is your opinion?  

Sunday, January 8, 2017

Pick-A-Prompt Fun!

We use Lucy Calkins in our school and I love it!  But in between Small Moments, How-To, All About, etc., I love to give these Pick-A-Prompts to my kids. The kids clearly love having the power of selecting the one that appeals most to them. I usually find their answers so insightful. I snapped pics of the latest ones in the order that the kids finished and the first three kids each picked different ones.  (Second one was two-sided.)

   

I've never NOT had each prompt picked in a writing session.  That always surprises me!  And I'm often surprised at some of the responses I read.  I never knew student 3 loved basketball!  And not just playing the sport but following her favorite team, too!  :)  

I use them for Do-Nows, Free Choice (I can even put same ones out because kids still have two unused options to pick from) and slip them in Fast Finishers folders.  They've really come in handy during writing workshop too.  I have a rule that during writing, we write.  That's it.  Finished a story? Write a new one!  But I've realized that sometimes kids want to continue writing but starting another How-To or All About with ten minutes left of the period may not be ideal or overwhelming.  So, these fit the bill!

You can easily make these yourself by writing in three topics on the top of a page.  But if you don't have the time to make them, check out my January pack  in my store.  Topic Headers: Popcorn Day, A Snowy Day, A New Year, Rubber Ducky Day, Story Starters, Peace & Love, What If and Would You Rather?


Pick-a-Prompt (January Writing Prompts)

Tuesday, January 3, 2017

A Great STEM Freebie I Found on TpT

STEM to STEAM Trio has this Freebie up in their store:

STEAM Challenge: Creating the Longest Chain

Honestly, my class LOVED it!  Kudos to STEM to STEAM Trio (who I don't know!) for designing such a great product that is SIMPLE and offers so many learning opportunities!  My kids (Firsties!) worked so well together and I documented the groups if you want to check out my Twitter posts to see them in action. I thought it would be fun to give the parents an insight to their child's group dynamics/thinking.  (NOTE: the link to Twitter is the first post...I had 14 posts/pictures...)



Here are the end tallies of the length of our links:



I'm off to check out some of their other products! Have a good night and...


Saturday, November 26, 2016

Christmas Books QR Codes

Feel free to grab these QR Codes for your kiddos.  (All codes generated through SafeShare.) I just discovered The Carpenter's Gift (thanks to my Media Specialist husband, John) and I love it!  The other three are awesome, too!  Must shares in my classroom each year.  Enjoy!


Friday, November 25, 2016

Silver Packages: An Appalachian Christmas Story

The last thing I did before leaving school for Thanksgiving break was put away my November themed books and displayed my December gems.  While there are so many good ones, if I had to pick my favorite, it would, hands down, be Silver Packages by Cynthia Rylant.

From School Library Journal:

Grade 1-4. Full-page watercolor paintings decorate this warm, sentimental story loosely based on actual events. Rylant traces the origins of an Appalachian "Christmas Train" that travels through the mountains each year on December 23 to a rich man who wished to repay a debt of kindness he had received many years before. He faithfully returns and tosses silver packages from the caboose to the coal-town children who wait by the tracks. One such child is Frankie, who longs for a doctor's kit every year; instead he gets much-needed socks or mittens along with small toys. As an adult, he moves back to the town to live and work, having fulfilled his dream of becoming a doctor. With her clear, balanced, and well-paced storyteller's voice, the author builds the anticipation and excitement that the children and especially Frankie feel at the train's annual arrival. Although the heroic profile of this child-turned-man makes him more of a symbol than a real person, his story is well told. The illustrations provide panoramic views of the Appalachian countryside, with deep nighttime blues and wintry colors, strengthening the sense of place. A well-rendered reflection on the importance of giving and sharing.
Copyright 1997 Reed Business Information, Inc.

The real Santa Train


At my old school, we used to collect toys for the very same train that would travel through the Appalachian Mountains.  We would have to hire a truck to fit in all the toys the kids purchased.  To kick off the service project, we read this lovely book.  We were lucky to have the illustrator, Chris Sonepiet, visit once!  I still can't get through the book without tearing up and it's the first book I read to my class each year.    

The book is PERFECT on its own.  You don't need to do anything else but read it and the great discussions will flow.  I extend a tiny bit with a few prompts, a retell (which they love to do!) and the make words using the letters in Doctor Kit.  Totally not necessary but just a small way I extend this book.

Book It: Retell It, Write It, Make It! (Silver Packages:An

Hope you have the book!  If not, share the video via the link above.  Let me know if you love the story as much as I do!

Thursday, November 24, 2016

Gobble, Gobble!


Hope you all have a lovely day
with your family and friends!

Monday, November 21, 2016

Grab these How-To QR Codes

Hope you can use these for your How-To unit!  ENJOY!  Commercial free.  SAFE!