Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Prayers Please!

Life continues to change and as this is suppose to be a joyous season, I find it hard to put a smile on my face.  My husband is was in construction and did lots of jobs for Carrabbas.  However, for the past several years work has been very few and far between.  Even worse, this year it has become pretty much nonexistent.  He owns two other businesses {he comes from a family of ALL entrepreneurs} one is a clothing company that is just starting to pick up ( and the other is creating and editing videos of all sorts.  Both are great, however, do not make enough profit to pay our bills and as you all know a teacher salary is hardly enough.  
With all that said, our financial situation has hit rock bottom and it's hard to see the light at the end of the tunnel.  I know it's all for the best and it's all going to work out in the end, but it's so hard to see the silver lining.  I don't know if I should be angry, sad, or just cry!

I'm here, humbled, and asking for your prayers.  Prayers for a good outcome, for consistent jobs, or for a job to come around for my husband period.  Prayers for a new beginning and for life to take a turn in the right direction.

I'm sorry this has nothing to do with teaching and no creative freebie to go along with it.  I do have some goodies to post when I can muster up some motivation to complete them.  Have you ever felt like no matter how much time you put in, or how hard you work, you just keep getting knocked down?! UGH!

Sunday, December 18, 2011

some of my favorite things

I have been such a slacker lately and for that I apologize! I have been so busy browsing blogs, "stealing" ideas, downloading amazing freebies from even *more* amazing blogland colleagues, and "pinning," that I've neglected this sweet little blog.  I also have FAILED to remember to bring my camera to school to take any pictures.  Since I've slacked, I wanted to share some of my favorites from Pinterest that I found for the Holidays! 
You may not know this but I love am all kinds of obsessed with fingerprint art! We are making these {in a smaller version} to go into our scrapbooks.

Source: via Kelly on Pinterest

Here is another fun {and free} Grinch tag that I made for my kiddos for Grinch Day! Super cute, easy to do, cheap, and the kids went nuts for them!
These will be our snack next Wednesday. Yes, sadly we are in school until next Wednesday.  It's rather tragic.  I mean what do they expect my sweet firsties to learn when they are all revved up for Christmas!!! :)  Nonetheless, these will be a tasty treat and they're so easy to make!

This is also something that we will be doing in my classroom on Wednesday.  It's a must see.  Lots of fun holiday themed games and ideas for parties.  You can use them play them at home with your kiddos or at school! Or store it away for next year! 


If you have not allowed Pinterest into your life, you MUST!  So many wonderful ideas that you can organize {my FAVORITE part of it all} on your virtual boards.  No more stressing over where you saw that one recipe or racking your brain to remember the name of that amazing blog!  Just PIN IT!  :)  

The rest of my weekend will be spent taking Christmas {card} pictures.  Something I've been begging my husband to do for the past THREE weeks.  Why is it that they {husbands} are so repulsed by the thought of getting dressed up to take Christmas pictures?! :)  Is it just mine?! 
After that I will be spending countless hours scrapbooking a recipe book for my father.  He's an avid hunter.  The book is literally all on venison and includes recipes that I found on Pinterest! I'm telling you, it's the place to visit!
Then, when I can't take it anymore I'm off to attach 243 candy canes to Candy Cane Grams that were sold as a fundraiser for Relay for Life! 
Busy day...I'd say so! 

So excited to be SO close to our holiday break! SO jealous of those who are already there!  Happy Sunday!

Sunday, December 4, 2011

Have you heard?

I know over the summer I saw several blogs talking about Whole Brain Teaching but I was so wrapped up in my Math Workstations book study that I didn't give it as much research as I should have.  Then while I was browsing through Pinterest I found a YouTube video that had me HOOKED, and when I say hooked I don't mean like a good movie you want to watch more than once, I'm talking about like that chocolate cake kind of indulgence! 

I have several students who are "busy bodies" and often disengage within seconds of me starting a lesson.  I've tried so many different approaches {my LAST resort is to talk to a parent about their child being "ADHD"} to try and keep these sweet little ones focused, engaged, and learning and nothing seemed to work... UNTIL Whole Brain Teaching entered my life.  Those kiddos are no longer a "problem."  It is the best behavioral, classroom management that I've ever come across.  The bonus is that it engages multiple parts of your students brain! What's better than getting them to behave and learn?! :)
WARNING: Watch this video and you'll never look back:

This is the video that forever changed how I teach!  I wanna be her! :)

Saturday, December 3, 2011

Sunny Surprise!

After having some really stressful and disheartening days at school it's nice to jump on to 'blogland' and find out that I was awarded the Sunshine Award by, not one, but *TWO* wonderful fellow bloggers! I am humbled everytime I log onto my webpage and see the number of other educator's who find my blog worthy enough to follow!  I love learning and discovering new things from fellow teachers and being able to talk about how I'm implementing it in my classroom. I am humbled in knowing that so many of you enjoy hearing what I have to say and share! :)  I've always loved an audience!

So let me take a moment to send a HUGE hug and thank you to Mrs. Zrihen over at A Teacher's Treasure. Another amazing blog worthy of your browsing time:

and THANK YOU to Amanda over at The Teaching Thief. Yet another blog that you will be glued to for hours of blog browsing pleasure:

The Teaching Thief

Ok. So here are The Sunshine Award rules:

1. Thank the person who gave this award and write a post about it.
2. Answer the following questions below.
3. And pass the award to 10~12 fabulous bloggers, link their blogs and let them know you awarded them.

* Favorite Color?  green
* Favorite Animal?  dogs
* Favorite Number?8
* Favorite Drink? Starbucks mocha's and red wine
* Facebook or Twitter? Facebook
* Your Passion? adventure
* Giving or Getting Presents?  really?!  I love both!
* Favorite day? Saturday
* Favorite flowers?poppies

Here are 12 more blogs I have chosen to pass this award on to:

Climbing the Monkey Bars!

Creative Classroom

Sailing Through First

Thanks for sticking around!

Sunday, November 27, 2011

An amazing new find...

Attention all Florida teachers {well ALL teachers really ;) }, I have stumbled upon an amazing first grade blog, Sailing Through First!  Debbie has been an educator for 24 + years and brings so much knowledge, creativity, and wonderful activities to the 'blog world!' 

If you are a first grade teacher in Florida, you are going to be ELATED when you browse through her blog.  She has created focus question posters {and MUCH, MUCH more} for each Imagine It unit!  I mean, talk about helping us all 'race to the top!'  :)  

Click, don't wait, on over to visit Debbie and take a tour!  You won't be sorry you did!  Thanks Debbie for sharing so many wonderful ideas and freebies with the rest of us teachers.  It's people like you who help make us better educators! 

Grab My Button

Oh wait!  There's more!!!! :)  Have you visited Amy over at Krazy About Kiddos yet?  If not you most CERTAINLY should!  Great ideas, fun activities, lots of freebies and goodies, and a GIVEAWAY!!!  I am bond and determined to win at least ONE giveaway! :)  

Click the link below and head on over!  You won't be disappointed!

Krazy About Kiddos 

Sunday, November 20, 2011


I can not believe that in 4 short days I will be eating Thanksgiving dinner!  It's insane how fast time if flying by!  Many of you have already completed all your fall craftivities but here's one more:

A simple reader's response to this story:

After reading about the little scarecrow boy, we discussed main character attributes.  Then we created our own little scarecrow boys and wrote a new version of the story.  We have been working on story starters so this was a perfect opportunity to apply what we've been learning.  Plus, I just LOVE reading all the creative twists to the story! Here's what they looked like:

And of course you have to tilt your head to the side because blogger just won't cooperate!  :(
Happy Sunday!


I am thankful for....


There's a *Fantabulous* giveaway going on right now over at First Grade is Fantabulous!  :) 

She's hosting a giveaway and giving a TON of awesome Christmas themed goodies away! Seriously...5 literacy stations, 3 NWF practice games, and 2 other sight word games!  How awesome is that?!  

Don't wait, click immediately to get to here website and enter to win!


Thursday, November 17, 2011

thankful quote

Inspiration is an unlimited power.

Thank you to each and every one of you for empowering me to become a better educator by inspiring me each and every day.  This Thanksgiving Holiday I am thankful for this blog and the many, many blogs I follow and the teachers who operate them!

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Save a Turkey!

One of my favorite Holidays to celebrate is Thanksgiving.  I think my favorite part is getting to all kinds of fun crafts with turkeys.  I love studying the Mayflower voyage and learning about the meaning of Thanksgiving and all that with the kiddos, however, making turkey crafts is so much fun! :)

I start off my turkey fun with by talking about what most people eat on Thanksgiving...turkey!  We talk about the turkey being a symbol for this holiday and what others foods we like to eat!  Then we read the story Twas the Night Before Thanksgiving.  
This story is so cute and funny.  The kids always get a giggle out of this story!
After reading the story we make these cute little turkeys:

I originally saw this cute little turkey design on Sarah Cooley's blog First Grader at Last.  Then I came across an idea for a picket sign and BAM here we have  our picketing turkey!!! I just think they are the cutest little guys!


WOW!  What can I say?! I am overjoyed for such a wonderful blog award. Thanks to Anita over at Mrs. Bremer's Kindergarten for the special honor!

Mrs. Bremer's Kindergarten

You should check out her blog.  Super cute ideas and a lot of great twists on classic lessons!  The joys of blogging.

With the award comes a couple rules:  list 7 things about myself and nominate 7 other blogs for the "On Fire Award!"  So .... here it goes:
1. After being moved to first grade last year a WHOPPING three days before school started, I can now say that first grade is my niche!  I love everything about first grade!!!

2. I live in Tallahassee FL and although it gets ridiculously hot and humid 80+% of the year, my windows are all open, the sun in shining bright, the leaves have changed their colors just enough, and I'm enjoying a cup of tea! :)

3.  After 5 years of marriage my husband and I are finally discussing the thought of having a little one!
4.  My mother is my biggest supporter in ALL that I do!

5.  I am the definition of a "daddy's girl"  :)  Love you dad!

6.  I am so OCD and a control freak that I would rather go to school sick than even toy with thought of making sub plans and allowing someone else to take over my room.

7.  If I wasn't an educator I would be a forensic scientist, or blood splatter analysis.  I know gross!  It's all the Snapped, 48 Hour Mystery, Dexter, and other shows/docudramas of sorts that I watch!  I'm so nosy that I HAVE to know what happened, how, and why.  I can get a little out of control. :)

Now for the 7 blogs.  I am giving this award to the 7 blogs that I began following when I first started 'blogging' a year and a half ago!  These are the ladies that inspire me on a daily basis and make me a better educator.  My room, curriculum, and way of work all mimic a combination of what these ladies do in their classroom.  There are SEVERAL new blogs that I love and am working on creating my own little award to present to these ladies.  Here we go:

Chalk Talk


Thanks for all the love! :)

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Word Family Love.

You may have seen this photo already {or crafted this jewel yourself} but a couple months ago I saw this picture on Pinterest and had one of those "why didn't I think of that" moments.  I'm talking about this genius idea:

 This is by far the most brilliant, most simple, easy to make word family set I've seen!  I also love them for blends!  So amazing.  I've been slowly collecting stacks of these every time I visit WalMart, Home Depot, Lowes, or any other store that carries paint.  I am ridiculously anal and want to color-code everything.  The only thing I am concerned about is their durability.  I'm thinking about laminating them but am unsure if that will work/help!

Don't you just love these simple ideas?!  

Sunday, October 30, 2011

Our October Adventures

Is it just me or is time FLYING by?!?!  I feel like school just started yesterday, however, we're only two days away from being in November! It's crazy!

Needless to say we have been super busy.  We have been up to lots of fun activities that I've found through the wonderful blogland. Here's some of the things we've done:
After reading the above class favorite we created these reader's response skeletons!  The kiddos copied the sentence starter, "I would get rid of a skeleton's hiccups by..." They came up with some very creative ideas!
 After reading a multitude of fiction and nonfiction stories about owls, creating a KWL chart, and a tree map, we created these adorable owls and wrote informational/factual sentences.

One of my sweet firsties favorite projects so far has been the Haunted House for Sale Project that I found and purchased from Jodi over at Clutter Free Classroom.  {She also has a new writing project on Turkey-Day! Be sure to check it out!}
First, we came up with adjectives and amenities {whole group} that would be great to include in our own haunted house.  After that we created our haunted houses. Then, we were able to begin our rough draft persuasive writing. 

I love that not ONE haunted house looked the same!  So cute!!

 As we continued our unit on nocturnal animals, we began learning about spiders.  I stumbled upon this AAAHHHHHH-mazing book in our school library.  It is full of fun facts about spiders and really captures the kids attention.  My students were glued to the pictures and the facts and even begged me to read it to the a second time!  It's a must!
 Well as our final project with spiders, we made these adorable silly spiders that I snagged templates from The Polka Dot Patch!  Then we read about how to write Fairy Tales from my ALL TIME favorite writing book {featured below}.
We only read certain elements {so we could get the feel for writing nonfiction/magical stories} and then wrote our silly spider stories.

I am so excited for this week.  Monday {Halloween} we are having "Character Day." My kids are allowed to dress up as their favorite book character and have completed book reports on them!  I will be dressed as no other than Fancy Nancy...Halloween style!  Then, we will be spending our week investigating pumpkins and celebrating the 50th day of school.  Both a pumpkin investigation packet and 50 days of school unit purchased from no other than Cara over at The First Grade Parade!  I'm so excited about root beer floats and 50's music! 

Pictures of course will be posted. Hopefully, it won't take me a month to get them up this time! :)

Happy Halloween!

Sunday, October 23, 2011


I know Christopher Columbus Day has come and gone, but I'm JUST getting around to posting our fun little activity we did as a reader's response.

After reading several nonfiction stories and watching a very fun BrainPop video {which are ALWAYS} fun, we created a circle map together to record our new information.
 Then we created these adorable ships that I first saw on Pinterest!  They are so stinkin' cute!!!  They also wrote "In 1492, Christopher Columbus sailed the ocean blue."  After that we created stories. We all pretended we were Christopher Columbus and wrote about what our adventure was like!  First graders have such wonderful perspectives! :)
We are now deep into our nocturnal animal unit and have some adorable creations that I will be sharing this week!  I'm finally catching up on LIFE and feel like I have time to actually just rest and relax!  It's only taken three months. :)


Wednesday, October 12, 2011


One of my favorite activities to do during our 'nocturnal animals' unit is a reading response activity with the beloved child book Stellaluna

After reading and discussing the story, we first create a story map of the story and then sequence the story.
We then create these adorable sequenced Stellaluna bats!

How adorable did these turn out?!  I *love* the added artistic detail! :)


Sunday, October 2, 2011


I have so much to catch up on! With all the assessments, it has been a mad house in my classroom! So much to do...not enough time in the day! :)

A couple weeks ago we were introduced to nouns.  This was a review for the majority of the students. So, for our culminating activity for the week we created "Noun Town" an idea I snagged from the amazing Sarah Cooley at First Grader..At Last!

 Then it was time for Constitution Day! I grabbed the freebie from Amanda at One Extra Degree.  Her Constitution mini-unit was **PERFECT** Even though some of the vocabulary was a little over their heads, most understood the concepts and we made connections to our classroom!
 {for the life of me, I can NOT get this stinking photo to upload in the right direction} I saw the adorable heart-shaped flags on Pinterest and KNEW I had to have my kiddos add those as their artwork!
 Then, out of NOWHERE, it was Johnny Appleseed's birthday and time to celebrate and learn all about those delicious, healthy, snacks!
After reading several fictional and nonfictional stories on apples we created this adorable parts of an apple visual!
 We then read The Seasons of Arnold's Apple Tree and created these fingerprint visuals of apple trees in each season.  The kiddos picked which season they wanted their apple tree to be in, painted the trunk, and then used their tiny fingers to make the leaves, apples, and blossoms {depending on their season}.
 I then had them fill in this simple sentence to go along with their tree.  Super easy and the kids LOVED getting to fingerpaint!
 On Friday, we made this freakin ADORABLE apple-stamped wreath! I found this on Pinterest {my FAVORITE website to find ideas}. Thankfully, I had an amazing parent in the room to help me get these started! The kids stamped a apple in red paint, then onto white paper.  They used a paintbrush to draw the stem and leaf. Then they painted a paper plate brown.  After the apples were done drying, they cut them out and glued them onto their wreath. Easy, cute, and fun for the little ones!
 The following is a picture of my "Brain Break" sticks! If found this activity somewhere on blogland {if it is your creation PLEASE contact me so I can give credit where credit is due}.  Each popscicle stick has an activity on it {like spin 3x, jump rope, macarena, seat swap, etc...}.  When I see that the kids are starting to fade away, I stop and say "man, our brains need to take a break...lets do a brain break." Then I randomly select a popsicle stick and we do the activity together.  The kids absolutely go NUTS for these fun little activities.  None last longer than a minute and it's a great way to get them focused!

On another note, thank you to ALL you wonderful teachers who have selected me for blog awards! I have been super busy but wanted to take a second to express my gratitude! I never expected for this little blog to be so inspiring. I love that I have a place to gather all my ideas that I've 'snagged' from other amazing teachers, as well as a few that are my own! I appreciate all of you!!
Happy Fall!