Friday, May 29, 2015

Five For Friday: FIVE days left!!

We had field day today! On top of the normal end of school madness, we enjoyed a fun filled day outside... but now I am wiped out! I missed last week's five for friday, so this is going to be a recap of the last two weeks! 

Last week we brainstormed all of our favorite first grade memories. Click on the picture to read that post!

Then the kids wrote all about their favorite memory, and we drew a self portrait with a scene of the memory in the background. I have a picture like this from the beginning, middle, and end of the school year, so I look forward to sending those home at the end of the year!

Our team has been doing LOTS of grade level rotations recently. We did a math fun day last week, and then this week did some IB related ones so we could make sure we had everything we needed for their portfolio. I started off strong with that, but it kind of fizzled after the third unit... 
You can read more about our portfolios here. I have to say though, I think it would be much better if we did a single year portfolio instead of one that follows them through elementary. I already know of 3 kids in my class that are moving, so it won't follow them through the years like we want. 

Anyways, the groups loved this marshmallow and toothpick shape building activity last week! It kept them very busy and engaged!

We celebrated sweet Liam's 2nd birthday on Saturday! I can't believe he is 2 now! It also shocks me how much he talks! He is a much earlier talker than Alex was.

I always take pictures of the boys in the backyard around their birthdays! They were very cute and cooperative in the picture taking this time! :)

The fifth graders have been busy working on their exhibition projects as a culminating activity for the IB PYP. Lots of them are wanting others to take action too, so we spent some time picking up trash this week to help a group out!

Another group was did a cold water challenge to raise money for an organization who helps stop tiger poaching. One of my former first graders, who is now a fifth grader working on the project nominated me to participate!
It was a cold ending to field day that is for sure!

I think there should be "I survived Field Day" T-shirts! I don't think people truly understand exhaustion until they go through a field day either! The kids had a blast and we had great stations, but I am ready for the boys to go to bed so I can do soon after! These days wear me out!

5 days left for me! It feels longer when I keep seeing other teachers finishing up, but there is still LOTS to do before the end of the school year!

Joining the five for friday Linky party over at Doodle Bug Teaching's blog! :)

Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Favorite Memories in First Grade

We brainstormed a list of our favorite activities of first grade today.
I almost teared up as I wrote them down. We have had a lot of fun in first grade this year!

I love how they remembered things all the way from the beginning of the year.
As I was writing down all the fun things, I realized this could double as a really good incentive! 
I wrote down their favorite memories on index cards and when we are all making good choices, we will stop everything we are doing, pull one out and do it again! Of course not all field trips we can redo, but we can do some similar things--visit our school library and read some books, make our own puppets for a puppet show. 
This will help us through these next two and a half weeks of school! Our principal keeps telling us to stay one step ahead of this kids, and I think having this will help. :)

My real purpose for this brainstorm was to work on one more narrative piece of writing for the year. The kids chose their favorite memory, sketched some pictures of the beginning, middle, and end, and then jotted down some things to remember as they talked through their memory with a partner.

Hopefully we will finish it up tomorrow and have a fun end of the year bulletin board for the last couple weeks of school!

Friday, May 15, 2015

Five For Friday: Busy days!

LOTS has happened this week. I'm still in shock that we are down to 3 weeks left! It feels long and short at the same time.  We are slowly getting through assessments, while still trying to enjoy our last unit, How We Organize Ourselves at the same time! :)

I love having a kid in school. It's so much fun to put together little teacher presents. But I don't like being so las minute about it... anyways Tuesday afternoon I realized that I didn't have gifts yet, but our team was doing a parent night, which was going to keep me out late... Not good planning! But, a quick trip to Lowes and a couple minutes at the computer using some fabulous KG fonts was all I needed for these cute basil gifts! I love useful plants and not only did these smell so good, but they are perfect to sit in the kitchen for fresh basil whenever you need it. Maybe I will get another one for myself too. ;)

The last two days we have spent a good 2+ hours outside before bedtime. It has cut bedtime down to 20 minutes! I love watching them play and love that bedtime is much more manageable! :) The beautiful greenery in our backyard is quite wonderful too.

I finished up my FAVORITE teacher planner this week. I think I have figured out which one to print for next year! There are lots of fun tribal themed backgrounds in this one. You can check out the preview here. Or look at the Nautical or Colorful versions too! They are all on sale this weekend and the calendars will be updated yearly, just download the updates!

My team had a parent night this week to give parents some ideas and resources for how to keep their kids engaged in learning over the summer. I shared some of what we talked about here, as well as some things I will be sending home this summer!

There are going to be some changes happening on the blog this summer! Read more about them here!
This weekend is well deserved! 14 days left for me! :)
I love joining the Five For Friday linky that Kacey does at Doodle Bugs Teaching! It's always a fun way to reflect over the week. :)

Happy Weekend!

Thursday, May 14, 2015

Changes in the air...

So a little while ago I commented about wanting to make some changes to my blog design. Because I have fun playing around with stuff like that! :)
well, here is a sneak peek at what it might look like soon...

Do you see the biggest difference? ;)


After seven years at the same school, in the same grade level, and the same classroom, some BIG changes are taking place.

The coolest thing is that most of my days will be spent at home with my boys. My husband and I decided back in January that I was going to take a break from teaching. I wanted to be able to focus more on my family for a while and not feel like I was being pulled in a 100 directions. He is in the process of finding a full time job because he has been the one staying home with the boys. But even in the midst of all of these unknowns, we feel a lot of peace with this decision!

So you might also see a bit of preschool fun that we are doing at home. :) Mostly that will revolve around exploring life through the eyes of a four and two year old!

Two mornings a week I am going to teach some sweet third graders Writing, Literature, and History. It is an amazing school that partners with homeschooling families. I got to visit one morning and was so impressed with everything! I'm really excited to be a part of it and happy too that my boys will be in the preschool programs at the same school! 

So, honestly, I am not totally sure what direction this blog will take. It will probably be a combination of the education things I am still involved in. I have a long list of things I have been wanting to make for TPT that I have not had time too so hope to keep making some fun stuff too. Some stuff will work perfectly with what I will be doing next year, so I am excited to start working on that over the summer! 

Also I added a new tab! I know teachers are busy... moms are too, but since I will be at home a little more, I want to take some requests if you have them! I know that there are tons of resources out there, but often when I create things its because I can't find exactly what I am looking for.
Check out the form! Of course life is a little crazy with end of school stuff, but when you are planning over the summer, feel free to make some requests and I will let you know if I can help! The resource will be free for you, but I will put it in my store too. 

I'm excited about that too, I always dreamed about just making everything for free and putting it out there for teachers. I know that there are so many costs that add up for teachers and everyone is so busy and overworked. For me its always the little things that others do to help me out, so at least this is a start in that direction! 

I hope you will stick around as our family inquires our way through these new phases of life! It should be an interesting journey! ;)

Wednesday, May 13, 2015

Beat the Summer Slide!

It's that time of year again. Finishing up end of year testing, celebrating the 10 months of learning that has taken place. 
And then you remember. Those 10 months of hard work, the huge growth you see as you test, will all start to slide away over the summer. Its so frustrating sometimes. And then it's hard to know what to do.
I've tried it all. 
The packets of work/activities that I am pretty sure the majority of them never get opened or touched. 
Reading challenges with all kinds of prizes. Only three kids return those.
Doing nothing at all. But some how that doesn't seem like the right thing either.

The last couple of years my team has gathered our first grade parents to give them some tips and ideas to help make summer practice fun. 

This year we did a mid year parent night as well. We focused on GAMES parents couple play to help reinforce skills while the kids just stay focused on the fun! We always gives tips about some great stuff to buy at the dollar tree to help support the learning. We pull the laminator into the library and then make some file folder games with the parents to take home.
We always talk about doing more parent nights, but the year always runs away form us. It is such a good way to connect with parents.

This year I am not sending home a huge packet. I'm going to send home a couple of things. Less copies, but ideas that will benefit my kids more.

Copies of Game Instructions:

Lots of fun activities using games they already have or cheap materials from the dollar tree. These first couple games were ones that we downloaded from Kelly's Kindergarten.

Jodi Southard's Summer Activities Calendar

What a great freebie!! Check it out here. I think it is great for those parents who want a little more focused practice!

Reading Information

I just hope my kids read lots over the summer. I am going to send home the kids current reading level with a list of books/series that might be of interest (our school is working on some lists, but you can find some online too! I am definitely sending home some decoding bookmarks and info for the parents too!  Grab that here!

Technology Tips

We always remind our parents to use RAZ kids over the summer. I will make a list of some of my favorite apps...

(find a full list here!) and send home this great website list from A Year of Many Firsts!


I plan on sending home either a writing journal we have already started or a new one to encourage writing over the summer. Even writing a couple sentences about what they did that day is better than no writing at all. Or they could use it to write letters back and forth with their parents.

Well, that is what I am trying this year! Hopefully with giving parents the right tools, we can work on beating the summer slide! What are you going to do this summer to beat the slide?

Friday, May 8, 2015

Five for Friday: Beginnings and Endings

We picked 3 baskets last weekend and not one strawberry is left! We enjoyed strawberry cupcakes and the rest we ate up! Liam was all about eating and Alex a serious strawberry picker! We had a blast!

This chart is slowly filling up! We started our last unit--How We Organize Ourselves--on Monday. We read Westlandia and talked about tricky words. The kids were obviously confused about the word civilization, so as we read we paid attention to the things the boy did that were a part of his civilization. We have been researching Japan and adding some information to the list. We are going to research a couple countries and then talk about how each one organizes themselves to help their society.

We began our new unit, and finally wrapped up our old one! We started these little plants in our room and planted them on Thursday. I have no idea if they will  keep growing or not, but the kids were excited! We went out on Monday and made a list of how we needed to organize our planting and taking care of the raised bed...
Like I said. We will see how it goes! ;)

We were making birthday cards for our TA and one of the girls was thankful for the popsicle she got...
We have definitely been spending a lot of time with gonoodle and koo koo kangaroo! This made me laugh!

Alex has preschool on Tuesday and Wednesday, so I got my Mother's Day gifts on Wednesday. I hope his teacher's don't think I am crazy. Bacon. Everybody's favorite food! ;) 

Another week is done! Linking up with Doodle Bug Teaching's Five for Friday!

Saturday, May 2, 2015

Currently: May

It's already been a busy start to May! But I'm slowing down long enough to join Farley's Currently Linky Party! 

I love all cop and crime dramas! lol. So right now on Netflix I am doing a Hawaii-Five Oh marathon. Some background noice while I get other stuff done! ;)

We went strawberry picking today and so I have been enjoying some of the strawberries with Trader Joe's Cookie Butter! Delicious! The strawberry cupcakes we had earlier were pretty amazing too! :)

This time of year I always start noticing how dirty and disorganized my house is! The first couple weeks of summer I love to get it all back in order, but we will be gone a lot of June, so its going to be staying dirty for a while! :(

I have fun figuring out all the blogging stuff... but its been a while since I have had time to play around with it. Hopefully I will have time soon to make some fun little changes and additions.

Our boys have not been sleeping well. Will usually gets up with them at night, but its been SO much recently that I have been getting up some too or at least waking up. It's getting really old. I am heading to bed very soon. Hopefully everything we did today will wear them out enough.

YES: My family is spread out all over the world and the US, so I am super excited we get to spend a week with them all this summer. Then the week after we will head to a more extended family reunion for my dad's side! 
HOPE: We don't have any beach plans set in stone, but I am hoping we can at least go for some day trips this summer. That is the great thing about living in SC... you are never too far from the ocean!
DREAM: I know. ANSWERS are a weird thing to "dream" for, but there are some changes happening this summer and we don't have all the answers yet. I'm hoping and praying that God will continue to unfold his plan, but in the meantime, the trusting part can be a little tricky sometimes! 
BUT, He does tend to answer with more than we ask or dream, so I am excited to see what He has in store for us...
at least I know this dream will probably come true! ;)

Happy May!!

Friday, May 1, 2015

Five for Friday: {hello} May

What!?! It's already MAY? 
I'm in disbelief. April flew by. Now the end of school is really in sight. 
Here's how I spent the last week of April!

Alex gave me this dandelion as we were headed to the car for church. To put in my hair. Because he loved me. Got to love the sweet gift of dandelions. Whether they are from your own kids or your school kids...who also (accidentally) call me mom on a regular basis! ;) 
I love all my sweet kiddos!

Our plants are growing! We planted them in pots on Monday. It's so interesting to see how differently they all have been growing in the bag and paper towel. Don't you love the "noticings" (or lack of) that this child wrote... even after I encouraged them to add lots of details... we try.  At least she added some good detail to her picture. ;)

Plant love always bleeds over to my house too. We are a little late in starting our seeds, but I am determined to get them to grow better this year! We have a lot of tomato plants going and some basil. Those are my two staples and as long as we have those I am good! Alex was super excited to plant some sunflowers and watermelon. :)

Does anyone get a little frazzled feeling in April. The end of the year can be a struggle. {Here} are some ideas to finish well. What are yours?

It feels a little scary that I just planned out the rest of the year! We have one more unit of inquiry to finish and I don't want it to get lost in the end of year assessment madness. Our district provides us with pacing guides, report card rubrics, but we work hard to mesh everything with our units too so it all gets covered. Some units flow better than others, but at least now I have a better feeling about the end of the year and it will make weekly plans a lot easier! I still need to figure out the best way to mesh our planners and all the ELA standards together. So many great tools, I just need to make them work for me a little better.

Oh. And mark you calendars! Teacher Pay Teacher's annual teacher appreciation sale is May 5th through 6th! You can save up to 28% at my store! Its the perfect time to pick up some great products to help you finish out the year! Be sure to check it out! My cart is already filling up! :)

Linking up with Five for Friday

Have a great weekend!