Monday, February 28, 2011

Brain Pop Jr. and Dr. Seuss

Brain Pop is where it's at!!!!  There is a GREAT video on BrainPop Jr. that tells all about this amazing author!  Great resource for an author study. Plus, they include so many fun activities to go along with the video.  The video lasts only 8 minutes and is too cute for words!  My kiddos love them some Brain Pop!

Check it out HERE.

Just Can't Get Enough!!!!

Blog Give-a-ways have become a bit of an obsession (and a mission) of mine.  I am bound and determined to become a winner!!!  
I love that so many amazing teachers are willing to GIVE-A-WAY their goodies!  Teacher collaboration is so wonderful.  
One of my ABSOLUTE favorite teachers to 'stalk' (Cara over at The First Grade Parade) is teaming up with another awesome teacher (Jodi at Fun in First) that I just recently began 'stalking' to give-a-way TWO awesome packets!  Click HERE to find out all about these marvelous goodies!

Good Luck!

Sunday, February 27, 2011

Dollar Tree Love

 You HAVE to love the Dollar Tree as much as I do?!  I try to stop by and check out their latest goodies about every other week.  It's a weakness!  Here's what I snagged today:

 I love doing things with stars.  I already have a take home bag that is all about our Star Words.  I wrote about 40 sight words on the stars, laminated them, and then placed a little astronaut in the bag.  The students 'fly' their astronaut through the 'stars' while reciting each sight word.  

For this set of stars I simply turned them into a match and build word family set!  There was already a protecting cover on the stars so I had to use sharpie paint pens (which is a new obsession)!  I had to take a quick break because I am not pleased with my handwriting, however, they are cute!

In my student's book luggage (for the Daily Five) are their very own "magic reading glasses."  Those glasses were also purchased at the Dollar Store with the lenses popped out.  These adorable little start glasses are going to magically become my "Star Reader" glasses.  I have two purposes for them: 1. I want to 'praise' my hard working readers and encourage my struggling readers (4 different students will be picked each week) and 2. I do not have an author's chair (still doing some yard sale shopping for something cute) and thought I could have them wear these cute Star Reader Glasses when they're reading their work!  Not sure, but they were just TOO cute to pass up!

I most certainly L-O-V-E the Dollar Tree!

Saturday, February 26, 2011

One of these days I'm going to WIN!!!

Another AMAZING give-a-way is under way!  I swear, one of these days I'm going to be a winner!  I'm so determined.  Not that I won't purchased the adorable Dr. Seuss unit that Donna  and Erica are giving away if I don't win.  This is a MUST check out!!  It's 100 pages of all good things Dr. Seuss!
While you're at it go over to Primary Perspective and check out Mrs. Perry's collection of Dr. Seuss activities! I've already snagged her "Week of Seuss" idea and the kids are PUMPED about getting to have a "mixed-up Monday," "wacky Wednesday," and "funny Friday"!!!  So fun!
Maybe one of these days I'll figure out just how to get my fun activities to convert to a PDF file without getting rid of all the cute graphics and font!  One day!  For now, I'm enjoying "stealing" all these wonderful ideas from other amazing teachers!  I love the blogging world!! :)

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

One of my FAVORITES!!!

A fellow blogger whom I LOVE to stalk is having an AMAZING give-a-way!
If you love books, you'll love this!  

Click the link above to see JUST how fabulous it is in first!!! ;)

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Holy Busy Week!

My WORD!  It's only Tuesday and I'm going bananas!!  After being out from work for three days to a wonderful stint of strep throat and mono, I just don't feel like I can catch up!!!

This week we're focusing on President's, money-money-money, and getting prepared to take our first Writes Upon Request 'test'!!  Do any of you have to do Writes Upon Request in first grade?!!!  Well, my sweet kiddos are struggling to keep on topic and I sooooo want them to do well!  Not to mention I'm suppose to be introducing my kiddos to biographies, while still working on writing fantasy stories, AND completing our first anthology test!!!! (...and that's just our writing requirements....didn't even mention reading, math, and/or science and social studies)
Sometimes I wish I had super powers!! :)

On to prepare for Glee!  Searching for my glass of wine...

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Reading Organization

I have spent many hours browsing the web for ideas on how to revamp my classroom once I was reassigned to first grade.  I didn't want to spend a TON of money but knew that I was a little 'OCD' when it came to organization and coordination! :)  This is what I've come up with:
 Since my kiddos are in first grade now we no longer need those little cubbies, so I turned them into our class library!  I got all the baskets at the Dollar Tree (one of my all time favorite places to shop now).  They have really adorable stamps right now that are perfect for teachers!
 I am a member of Thistlegirl Designs, DJ Inkers, and recently Scrappin' Doodles.  That is where I purchased all my graphics from!  I'm truly OBSESSED now!!  I got the idea to place corresponding stickers inside each book from Michelle over at Fantastic First Grade! It's such a great visual and a great way for the kids to help keep the book nook nice and organized! 
 Above is a picture of my student's "book luggage."  This is used with our Daily Five.  I purchased the baskets from none other than the Dollar Tree and made the cute little luggage tag with a die-cut! Simple, easy, and cute!
Inside their book luggage are 'just right books,' some of their decodable books, a reading strategy bookmark, 'magic reading glasses (purchased from the Dollar Tree, lenses taken out), and an eyelighter. I've since placed a coaching sheet for when they are buddy reading.  After doing some blogging earlier I will be adding some more goodies to their book luggage!  I found some really great ideas from Brooke over at Primary Perspective.  Be sure to check it out if you are also using the Daily Five in your classroom!  Cute, cute stuff! 

Great Give-a-way!

I have been following Michelle Oakes over at Fabulous in First for FOREVER.  She was actually the first website I found when I first moved to first grade and needed inspiration.  I have snagged so many amazing ideas from her.  Her other website is Fantastic First Grade!  She has so many amazing ideas!  She's also hosting this FANTASTIC give-a-way.  Scoot over to her website now for all the details!!!

Happy Blogging!

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Math Ba-humbugs!

Just yesterday a fellow blogger (Abby, over at The Inspired Apple) had a post ALL about the dreaded... MATH!  I share the same feelings, along with probably 80% of the fellow teacher bloggers, in that I {shhh.. don't tell} H.A.T.E. teaching math!  This has stemmed from a terrible, no good, very bad eighth grade Algebra teacher who (even though it was in 1997) used a ruler to slap on our desks when we got an answer wrong!  ... AWFUL! Anyways...
In my district, we have implemented the series Go Math into our curriculum this year and it is leaving many of us in tears!  The concepts are not taught with much depth, nor give enough practice time before moving onto the next concept.  It's very frustrating for my poor little kiddos, along with their teacher!  :)
I taught Kindergarten for three years and am now in first grade and was completely unaware of the craziness that these sweet little ones have to learn!  Needless to say, I have stuck to what I know works with young ones (and older ones, like myself), singing and receiting rhymes!  We are currently learning all about greater than and less than and numbers on a number line.  So, I came up with a little chant to help my kiddos remember how the symbol is suppose to go!

It's so simple and the kids LOVE saying it:
Gary the Grouchy Gator likes to chomp on the Greater number!
Of course, we say it with great expression and, of course, we scrunch our eyebrows and squint our eyes!  They love it.  I also have a cute math sheet to go along with it and would LOVE to share it with you, however, I have yet to figure out how to keep my fonts the same when converting it to a PDF file, nor have I really had the time.  So, if any of you wonderful ladies would like to give me a tip, I would GREATLY appreciate it! :)

Happy Wednesday!

Monday, February 14, 2011

Special Day

To all my fellow teachers in blogger world.... I hope today is extra special for you 
and that your kiddos are extra "perfect" today!

While I am still all icky sick with a head cold (thanks to my first grade sweethearts)
I will STILL be wining and dining with my sweet love of 9 years tonight!

Have a WONDERFUL day!

Saturday, February 12, 2011


Today I am revisiting this blog post that has continuously been my top viewed post for the past two years {you may have also seen this image posted on Pinterest}!  It's a great classroom management post and a good way to get you thinking for next year {for those of you over-achievers}.
I have used this fun little classroom management tool in my room for four years and it is HANDS DOWN the BEST way to get your kiddos transitioned in a timely and quiet manner.  I've used this with both my first graders and kindergartners.  
This year {since I went back to kindergarten and no longer had individual desks, instead had tables} I placed the magnetic holders on my dry-erase board in front of the class.  It worked just the same...wonderfully! :)


I love playing little 'classroom management' games with my kiddos!  My first graders LOVE to play the "beat the teacher" game.  How to play "beat the teacher:" I have an area on my dry erase board where I write "Mrs. McHaffie vs. Class," every time a student calls out an answer or something of that nature I get a tally mark.  Every time the students raise their hands, THEY get a tally!  Whoever has the most tally at the end of the day wins!!  So simple and easy and the kids LOVE it and it really helps with calling out!

Sparklers is a version of a game I was introduced to when I was interning.  These cute little "sparkle balls" as my kiddos call them are from your local craft store.  I got the magnetic holder to place on each group of desks {I've grouped together 5 desks to make a "clump island" :)  }  from the Dollar Tree!!

Here's how the Sparklers work:  When we transition from one area of the room to our individual desks, each "clump" has an opportunity to earn a sparkler for their "island."  Once the "island" has earned 6 sparklers they earn some type of reward.  They earn a Sparkler by going to their desks quickly and quietly, getting out their needed materials, and showing me they're ready to work and/or listen for directions.  This helps with making transitions run smoothly and we are able to get right to their next lesson!  

Their rewards are NEVER food and/or candy. I reward with them with things like: a choice of a new eraser or pencil to add to their 'toolbox' or I might let them be the first to line up for the rest of the week.  Something easy and simple like that!  The best part is... the kiddos L O V E it and really encourage one another to earn Sparklers for their group!!  It's so fun being in first grade!

Any cute and fun classroom management ideas from the "peanut gallery"?  :)

Saturday, February 5, 2011

Valentine Ideas

Valentine's Day will be here before we know it!!  This year I've been trying to come up with some cute, new ideas for my kiddos to give and to receive!

These butterfly valentines will be for my kiddos to make for their parents!  So simple, easy, and A.D.O.R.A.B.L.E!!

 This treat I've done before and they're always a big hit!  Another quick and easy treat for the kiddos from me to them!  I am working on a cute tag to attach to the cookie-pop as well and will have that up shortly.  This is just a sugar cookie with a lollipop stick attached.  I found the lollipop sticks at Wal-Mart last year in the party crafts section.  They were called something else, but that has slipped my mind!  While the cookies are baking, I add the sticks to them half way through. 
There are some really cute Valentine craft ideas on Cara Carroll's page as well!  Be sure to check those out too!  Any other cute ideas that you do??

Gus Groundhog

Wednesday was an extremely busy day for my class.  We were celebrating Groundhog's Day, the 100th day of school, and a classmates birthday all wrapped up in one day! Needless to say, we survived....or I survived!  

This year I totally got into Groundhog's Day!  It is so much fun!  I never really went into depth on groundhog's with my kinders but this year I purchased Cara Carroll's Groundhog Unit and MAN did I go to town!  There are so many cute ideas out there!  

This is Gus, our class groundhog.  I don't really consider myself crafty or artsy but I think I did a pretty dang good job of making my groundhog!!! :)
 I L-O-V-E this groundhog six week project!!!!!  This is so great and an awesome addition to our Calendar Math Books!  I downloaded Cara's template {no sense in reinventing it, PLUS is absolutely ADORABLE} and made it into a book!  I laminated the front and back covers and printed their names on labels (this was not intentional...I accidently laminated the book before writing their name, but they still are cute).  My kids are loving keeping track of the weather and really 'investigating' information about the groundhog's track record!
 We did some cute activities for the 100th day of school, but I have to be honest, I spent more time celebrating Groundhog's Day.  One of the activities we did I took from Deanna Jump!  How cute are these portraits?!  The kids loved making themselves 100 years old!
(sorry the picture quality is not so great on these pictures)
I'm so happy our busy week is over.  Onto Valentine's Day activities and Presidents!

Friday, February 4, 2011

What about Florida?!

I just would like to say....I WANT A SNOW DAY TOO!!!!! Can I get a beach day instead?! My goodness!!! I wanna catch up on all this fun blogging stuff too.

:) Okay... just needed to get that out!

Happy Friday!

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Valentine's Day Party

Every year my kiddos and I declare February "heart healthy" month!  We request healthy snacks for snack time and discuss ways we can keep our hearts healthy (it ties so wonderfully into Valentine's Day)!  I don't know about you but the sugar highs my kids get from all the candy and JUNK during our holiday parties makes them C-R-A-Z-Y, which of course in turn drives me crazy!  So for Valentine's Day every year I throw, along with my kiddos, a Valentine's Day Breakfast!  
I set it up so that parents and grandparents are allowed to sign up to bring in a yummy breakfast treat and join us first thing in the morning for breakfast!  We make cards for our loved ones, make place mats, create invitations inviting our loved ones, and decorate the room.  School starts at 8:30 for us and I usually invite the families to join us for breakfast at 9am. This gives us time to come in and get settled.  The parents and/or grandparents join us for breakfast and then take their food items along with them when they leave around 9:45!  It's so awesome!  No preparing, no mess, no cleanup!  The added bonus is you now have a full day to finish all other items on your list and your kiddos aren't bouncing off the walls!!!!

I usually do a card exchange at the end of the day, however, after purchasing Deanna Jump's Valentine's Day unit, I will be helping my kiddos make Valentine's Day scrapbooks!  LOVE IT!

What do you do special for Valentine's Day?

Meet the Teacher

Cara over at The First Grade Parade is doing a cute little teacher "link up" and encouraging all of us fabulous teacher bloggers to do a little 'meet and greet'.  So cute!  So here goes my soapbox! 
This is me and my amazing husband of four years.  We've actually been together for 9 years (how we met should be made into a Lifetime movie). We met when we were just 18, and yes, I know we still look 18! My name is Kelly.  I've had MANY nicknames through the years (many of which rhymed with Kelly), however, the one that always seems to stick is Shocker (my last name used to be Shockley).  
I love being with my family and friends.  I long for girls nights and martinis!  I'm seriously addicted to Starbucks and spend all my money on things for my classroom and jewelry.

I graduated with my bachelor's degree from Flagler College in Florida and am currently getting my master's from Walden University online and I graduate THIS MAY!!!!  I'm SO excited to be D.O.N.E.!!!

My hubby and I have two sweet little boxers, Nelly and Milo.  
My husband just started is own clothing line, BUILT Clothing, so kids aren't really in to near of the future for us.  We're enjoying being in our 20's!

I have been teaching for three years now and love every second of it!  I taught kindergarten for the first two years and am now in FANTASTIC first grade!  I love first grade and hope that I am able to stay here for a V-E-R-Y long time!

Now for the Q & A

Q: What would you be doing if you weren’t a teacher?                                           
A:  I would probably be a detective or forensic scientist.  Not sure why, but I am OBSESSED with murder mysteries.  Plus I'm extremely nosy and always want to know what happened and how and why! :)

Q: What are your hobbies?                                                                                  
A:  Reading and going to the gym.  Seriously, can't get enough of either!  I also am liking this blogging world!                                                           

Q: When you were little, what did you want to be when you grew up?                   
A:  I wanted to be in tv productions and a meteorologist for the longest time!  My mom always tells me that when I was really young I would say I wanted to be an ice-cream scooper!  Ha!  I think I just liked the idea of EATING all the ice cream!
Q: What are your guilty pleasures?                                                                
 A: Cookies!!!!!!  Starbucks, Real Housewives (all of them), The Bachelor, Teen Mom (1 & 2), Jersey Shore, and wine! :)

Q: What is your biggest fear?!                                                                     
 A: SNAKES and free falling.  Just the word snakes freaks me out!

Q: When you’re on vacation, where do you like to go?                                 
 A: To the beach or to the mountains!  Me and the hubby love to go hiking!  Really anything outdoors works for us!
Q: What’s the best advice you’ve ever received?                                                
     A:  It's not what you know, it's who you know!

Q: What do you value most in others?                                                                 
    A:  Respect.

Q: If you could choose one of your personality traits to pass down to your kids, what would it be?                                                                                                      
A: My sense of humor (which is really the ability to make light of a situation).  I enjoy making people laugh!

Q: If you could have lunch with anyone in the world….living or dead…who would it be?                                                                                                             
A:  Jennifer Aniston... man, to look like her when I'm her age!!!  also, Heather Whitestone (she was a former Miss America) and probably (totally stealing this from Mrs. Carroll) fellow bloggers whom I've been "stalking"; Cara Carroll, Deanna Jump, Sarah Cooley, and Babbling Abby.  I would really like to pick their brains! :)
Now tell us one random thing about yourself:
I was a complete tomboy growing up.  The movie Doc Hollywood was filmed in my SMALL hometown of Micanopy and McIntosh, Florida.  I'm friends with Ricky Carmichael (the former Supercross champion) and I long to live in Australia (men with Australian accents melt my heart!) :)
So...what about you?!