Monday, January 21, 2013

Target Finds!

Saturday was a fun girl's day!  I went shopping in Columbus with Amanda Nickerson from One Extra Degree and Lisa Pesce from Fourth and Ten!  We had some yummy lunch at The Cheesecake Factory and spent lots of time gabbing.  Then we hit up The Container Store, Pottery Barn, and lots of other fun places!  Then we all parted ways and I kept on shopping...

I went to Babies R Us to pick out a new carseat for my 19-month-old son.

THEN I went to TARGET!  Ummm...yes, please!  Love that place.  Of course I stopped at the Dollar Bins since they were right near the front door.  And LOOK what I found!  Are these dice not the cutest?!?!?!  And they're large dice, too.

And then they had these adorable pink dice!  Yes!  I love pink!  Let's just say I'm PUMPED about my February Math Centers!

And I found 2 poetry books.  I don't have an overabundance of poetry in my library, so I snagged a copy of each of these.  And even though it says "Ages 3+" it's definitely not too easy!

I think I win this Target trip!  So hurry if you have one nearby...I've heard the dice are going quick! :)

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Winner and A Great Book...

First of all, congratulations to Jen Jenkins Vukosic on winning Michelle's awesome Dental Health Craftivity!  Jen - you should have an e-mail already!  :)

A couple weeks ago I received this book in my Amazon order.

Let me just tell you, it has REALLY made me reflect a lot on my classroom.  I am SO excited about the things I'm learning.  I read just a few pages a night, which helps with trying to apply it.  Every single day, I think about what I read and implement some of the techniques she mentions.  For example, last night I read about how to respond when kids give silly answers to questions.  Today when some of my kiddos gave silly responses just to get attention and laughs from the class, I went with it.  Just like Debbie said, if you show them you're serious, they'll be serious as well!  It was pretty funny neat to see their faces just drop as I turned the tables on them.  ;)  Here's an example of the conversation we had:

Me: "What do you think might be something scary about moving to a new place?"

Class Clown Student:  "All the creepy, scary spiders!" (It wasn't a for real answer...he had a goofy grin on his face and started laughing...then the other kids STARTED to laugh, BUT....)

Me (without missing a beat or giving him a look): "What makes you think your new house would have spiders?  Why would that be something that would scare you?"

TOTAL change.  My kids just stopped.  And he tried to continue thinking, trying to justify his answer. This happened a couple of times throughout the day.  My normal reaction would've been to say something like, "Ok, it's not time to be silly," and then give them the death stare.  But usually they just keep cracking the jokes here and there.  You probably know that your class clowns will always be class clowns.  And for some reason, your stare-downs and "stop it" comments only seem to fuel the fire.  Oh sure, they might back off for a minute, but these students thrive off the negative attention sometimes.  So if you let them know you're serious and turn it around on them, you might just notice that it really does put an end to it!  And then they're roped into a serious discussion about books and therefore LEARNING!  Amazing how that works.  ;)

Anyways, I hope you all had a great Hump Day!  Only 2 days left before a long weekend!

P.S. Stay tuned for my first big solo giveaway!  I have some FUN plans for this, friends!!!!  Coming this weekend.... ;)  You won't want to miss it!

Saturday, January 12, 2013

Product Swap: Dental Health + A Giveaway!

Hey there friends!  I'm super-pumped because I'm participating in my FIRST product swap!  I'm linking up with Jessica from Mrs. Stanford's Class for a fun linky!


I partnered up with Michelle from Just Wild About Teaching!  You MUST check out her blog!  She has some fantastic ideas and some oh-so-cutesy stuff!  She is one of my new favorite bloggers!

Just Wild About Teaching
Since February is Dental Health Month, I decided to try out her Dental Health Craftivity!  And ohmygoodness...CUTENESS!

Inside, you'll find everything you need to make a cute Tooth Fairy craftivity for the kiddos to take home and leave their tooth in!  Then the Tooth Fairy can leave money.  ;)  Here's how it works!

Michelle includes all the patterns you need to cut out the pieces.  I used sparkly white felt for the teeth and then pink and blue felt for the wings.

These are all the pieces cut out to make a boy Tooth Fairy and a girl Tooth Fairy!  :)

Once I got everything glued on the front, it was SO CUTE!

On the back you glue a little pouch for the kiddos to put their teeth in in exchange for some money!

How cute is that?!?!?!?
She also has pages GALORE to put together a booklet!  I made ones with blue covers for the boys and pink covers for the girls.

I have everything set, created, and ready to go for next month when we cover Dental Health!

Are you totally excited about her product?  Would you just LOVE a chance to win it?!?!  Well, here's your chance!  Enter the Rafflecopter below for a chance to win Michelle's Dental Health Craftivity Pack!

The giveaway well end Tuesday at midnight, so enter now!  :D  Good luck!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Organizational Progress and Some New VERA BRADLEY!

First of all, does anyone else LOVE Vera Bradley?  The new spring patterns came out today and I went there STRAIGHT after school!  It was a tough decision between Jazzy Blooms and Plum Crazy, but in the end Plum Crazy was the winner.  I got the pattern in the Mailbag!  LOVE!

My little guy was so intrigued my the camera timer.  ;)

If you read my previous post on organization, I have made progress!

I managed to make-over my word wall before my kiddos came back.

This is what it looked like before.  Not terrible, but the paper and laminate were thin so it curled so bad once I hung it up.

And this is what it looks like AFTER!  Much thicker paper and laminate.  Much easier to read.  Stays flat!

Then there was the other issue of my guided reading book.  The cardboard boxes that they came in were not holding up so well and collected dust like crazy.  The previous teacher did not have them in ANY sort of order.

I found these blue drawers at Meijer for $15.

I printed some fun backgrounds, frames, and labels onto paper and then cut it out.

Then I taped it to the inside front of the drawers!

I have a Below-Level drawer, On-Level drawer, and Advanced drawer.

I stuck it next to my desk for easy access and used card stock to make easy dividers.

That's TWO organizational projects DONE!  I'm on a roll!  :)

Monday, January 7, 2013

Resolutions: Professional

Here I am with this last post to complete my New Year's Resolutions!

First of all, I'm a lover of reading.  I mean, it's kinda crazy how much I love to read.  So this year I'm going to up my intake of some good ole professional literature!  I have 3 books in my Amazon cart and 1 should arrive tomorrow!  I actually have another book on my nightstand right now ("Strategies That Work").  Can we say "book nerd"?  Have any of you read any of these books?  I'm pretty excited!  :)

With the new teacher evaluation system in Ohio, next year we have to have MUCH more detailed plans.  I put together a general overview of my week, but we're talking the kind of lesson plans you had to write in college!  Remember how we all used to say, "Oh, we'll NEVER have to write REAL plans like this when we're real teachers!"  Actually, I think I definitely might have told a former student teacher that recently...  Well, next year we have to write them like that!  Yeah!  Objectives, resources and materials, differentiated components for EACH LESSON, assessments for EACH LESSON, standards for each lesson...I'm *hoping* I can put a day's worth on one page!  Right now I can lay out a whole WEEK in 2 pages.  EEK!  Our principal is encouraging the use of using Excel to write plans.  Um...I never did like Excel.  If any of you have any easy-to-comprehend tutorials on creating lesson plans (or any tutorial, really...I'm dumb when it comes to Excel), please pass them my way!  The start of my new lesson plans is just frustrating me to no end!

And finally...GOING BACK TO SCHOOL!  That's right, folks.  I'm going back to get my Reading Endorsement.  I already have my Masters, but this allows me to add a reading endorsement to my current teaching license.  I'll be certified to teach reading (Title I, Reading Coach, Reading Recovery, etc., etc., etc.) in the state of Ohio, K-12.  Class starts NEXT THURSDAY and I am BEYOND pumped!  A fellow co-worker and I are doing it together and we are so GIDDY!  It'll be great.  I even told her today, "I'm just excited to go get a fun notebook and some new pens!"  Yeah, like I said: NERD!  But I would be a professional student if I could.  I'm REALLY looking forward to what I'll be learning and what I can bring back into my own classroom!  And to be honest, I kind of hope to one day teach reading intervention to older kids (like 2nd and 3rd)...IF it's ever available.  I LOVE the comprehension side of reading and have taken a huge interest in it as of late.  Of course we do comprehension in 1st grade, but the curriculum is MUCH more phonics-based.  Truth be told, my dream job would be a curriculum director!  But that's WAY in the future and who knows if I'll actually ever pursue it.  But for now, a reading endorsement it is!  I LOVE teaching reading, so this is right up my alley!

I will be back later this week with some progress on my organization resolutions!  :)

Saturday, January 5, 2013

Resolutions: Organization + Some New Year's Classroom Fun!

Whew.  Can I just say it was an exhausting 3 days?  We went back to school on Wednesday and I was just too whooped to blog.  But here we are!  On with Organization...

Organization is my middle name.  Actually, it's Lynn.  But I might as well just hyphenate it to Lynn-Organization.  I am insanely organized, for the most part.  If I'm not, it drives me UP. A. WALL.  Can you relate?  Let's face it.  Not one of us has every nook and cranny organized everywhere in our lives.  If you do, can we please be friends and can I have lessons?  I think it's one of those things that takes time.  Just when I think I have everything organized, BAM!  Something else is a mess with no place to call home.  So here are my {embarrassing} things in need of some organization ASAP!

Truthfully, I've already started working on fixing 2 of these issues.  I will blog about them next week!  ;)

So what does one do with a 3-day week?  Well, for one, we did our mid-year AIMSWeb assessments.  My kiddos did pretty good for the most part.  We also spent sometime doing a January project for my bulletin board.  Friday we did nothing but New Year's fun!  I downloaded Cara Carroll's "Happy New Year!" math and literacy activities.  And it was free!  :)

But to start, my firsties really didn't have a clue what resolutions were.  So we went to the carpet and I gave TONS of examples and guided them through the first half of a "Can, Have, Are" chart.  They started to get the hang of it and came up with some REALLY great ideas!

Then we did some math/literacy stations all day!  My favorite thing is I had all the kids come up with a resolution for school.  I even made one myself!  It had to apply to school in some way.  It could be anything from turning in homework, practicing sight words, passing their +5s, getting all As on spelling tests, reading 10 books, etc.  ANYTHING.  But I told them it had to be specific!  It couldn't just be "I want to get better at reading," or "I want to get better grades."  I had them trace their hand on a piece of construction paper and write their resolution on it.  I don't have it totally finished yet, but here's a sneak peak!

If you will be going back to school on Monday, GOOD LUCK!  I hope you had a wonderful break!  :)