Sunday, July 31, 2011

Get Your Shop On!

Calling all good-deal-lovin’ teachers…
All products in my little shop will be 20% off from August 1st-4th. To get an additional 10% off the sale {for a total of 30%}, enter the code B1T1S during checkout.
Graphics courtesy of Scrappin' Doodles

And for those of you that have asked, I’ll be adding a new back to school unit to my shop in the next couple of days…before the sale is over! My new unit will include first day/first week certificates, beginning of year assessment sheets, hands on math center activities & extension sheets, and hands-on literacy center/word work/writing activities and extension sheets. I’m hoping to have it added tonight or tomorrow, but I’m having technical difficulties at the moment :)

Monday, July 25, 2011

Happy Birthday To Me!


Hey sweet friends! I’m just stopping by real quick to say HI!! Yes…today is my birthday and my boys {all 3 of them} are doing a really great job of keeping me spoiled {aka: giving me the whole day to myself :)} Another year younger…LOVE IT!! I swear I feel like people must look at me when I’m out with my boys and think, “She’s WAY too young to have kids.” Sadly, I’m sure that’s not the case. Case in point: I spent the better part of my morning plucking gray hairs from my 32-year-old head. Eeeks.

In honor of my 32ndbirthday…and still feeling like I’m a carefree twentysomething… I’m throwing a little sale in my TpT shop for TWO HOURS ONLY. The sale starts now and ends at 6:30 p.m. {Central Standard Time}. Everything in my shop is on sale for $2!!! {for two hours only!}

Saturday, July 23, 2011

Math Time {The Breakdown}

Last year, we had our Math block first thing in the morning. I don’t know about y’all, but I LOVE Math in the morning! First thing’s first…the kids arrive around 7:55…announcements usually roll about 8:00…and then we’re on to Calendar/Number of the Day/Whole Group Lesson/Math Tubs. I’m gonna try and break it down for ya as best I can!

Around 8(ish) I bring the kids to my carpet/white board area. All of our calendar activities are done on the SmartBoard. Several of y’all asked if I would mind sharing my SmartBoard calendar, but let me be clear…I did NOT create this!!! I still have NO clue how to create activities in Smart Notebook, so it’s still a work in progress. I got this calendar activity off the Smart Exchange. You can find it HERE.

We go through the Calendar relatively quickly…anywhere between 15-30 minutes depending on the time of the year…especially once the kids get the hang of the routine. I have the kids bring their binders to the carpet…along with a pencil…and they fill in the info as we go…that way EVERYONE has a job to do! While some kids are helping me with the SmartBoard, the others are writing in their binders. At the beginning of the year, this takes quite a while because we’re still trying to establish a routine and they’re still trying to learn my expectations. As the year progresses, it goes faster and faster! I just kind of adjust as needed :)

After Calendar…around 8:30ish {give or take a few minutes}…the kids head back to their desks {where they store their binders} and then we start on the whole group lesson of the day. I usually try to have a 15-20 minute lesson and then a 10-15 minute reinforcement type activity…maybe a graph, math journaling, extension sheet, etc…just depends on the activity. Sometimes my kids even use this time to work in small groups based on the objective that was taught. Whatever I can plan & implement that reinforces the lesson.

On Mondays, I introduce the math tubs for the week during our whole group time. This really turns out to be a lesson in and of itself. I typically have 4-5 math tubs {computer included as one of the “tubs”}…enough to last a week. As I’m introducing the week’s activities, we go through objectives, rules, expectations, and then we role play and practice. That usually takes a good 30 minutes, but it sets us up for the rest of the week and I rarely have anyone who doesn’t know what to do at their tubs {y’know, except for that one sweetie who just can’t pay attention to save his/her life. Bless.their.hearts :)}

From about 9-9:30, my babies are independently working at their math tubs and I’m doing a lot of informal observation/conferencing/one-on-one intervention. I don’t have a math teacher table and y’all…I love it. The freedom of time really allows me to meet with those babies who desperately need me and it gives me time to make observations I wouldn’t normally be able to otherwise.

So here’s how the time works out…

8:00-8:30 {give or take a few minutes} – Calendar/Number of the Day {Calendar Companion activities}

8:30-9:00 – Whole Group Lesson & Activity {Mondays…introduce math tubs for the week}

9:00-9:30 – Math Tubs for the kids; conferencing/informal observations/assessments/one-on-one intervention for me

I’ll be back tomorrow with a detailed explanation of my math tubs and some printables :)

Thursday, July 21, 2011

{Math} Calendar Companion, An Edited {K} download, and a Meet-up

First things first. I uploaded the WRONG version of my Kindergarten “What is My Child Learning?!” printable. Dang. Thanks for catching that, ladies! Click on the pic to download the edited copy. {Sorry about that!}
What is My Child Learning in Kindergarten
Next up, for the Dallas friends that said y’all were interested in a little end of summer/back to school type lunch, please email me at I will be sending you details this coming week!! Can’t wait!
Now for the good stuff. I get lots of emails about math and how it all goes down in my classroom. I know I’m probably the odd man out, but I LOVE teaching math. After 9 years of teaching, I think I’ve *finally* got a system that I absolutely LOVE and it makes teaching math so much fun! Considering I absolutely used to DETEST the subject, I’d say that my admission of geekiness says a lot! I’ll be posting a lot of details about my math block and tub stuff in the next few days, so check back incase you’re interested.
One of my favorite things about teaching math is calendar time. Say what?! I know, I know. The time of the day when the Earth stands still. It can really D-R-A-G on, for sure. However, I actually enjoy it…especially at the beginning of the year. Right after morning announcements, we move right into our daily calendar routine. After that, we start our “Number of the Day”. I combined the best of both worlds for a more organized way to spend our time. Say hello to my Calendar Companion…
Graphics courtesy of Scrappin' Doodles

The Calendar Companion is organized to supplement your daily calendar routine.
Each of my kids’ have a math journal {spiral notebook} and a math notebook. The math notebook houses all the calendar companion printables and the math journal…
it looks a little something like this…
Each of my firsties get a binder…one that’s big enough to hold papers and their spiral notebooks {journals}. Each binder needs 3 clear sheet protectors {you can get for super cheapie at Wal Mart} and 4 dividers {also super cheapie at Wal Mart. I assemble my kids binders with quick reference sheets in the clear sheet protectors and those go in the front of the binder. Here are just a couple…
Right after those 3 pages, I set up all the dividers…Number of the Day, Math Talk, Weather Graphs, and fill-in Calendars. Journals are placed at the back of the binder.
I love, love, LOVE Number of the Day! It covers everything we go over during our calendar routine. At the beginning of the year, we start out doing it together and by the end of the year, they’re all working independently! It’s awesome to have an entire school year’s worth of work to see how much the kids progress and how much their thinking changes and grows. I LOVE IT!!!! The Number of the Day is a printable that contains space to write the Date & digital date; yesterday was/today is/tomorrow will be; number word, tallies, pattern, even/odd, time {analog & digital}, money, place value, expanded notation, greater than/less than, and number sentences. {Although I know that our firsties aren’t expected to correctly spell and write the days of the week, there’s NO reason they shouldn’t be able to…especially when it’s plastered all over our rooms! And it’s awesome to see how much they retain when they’re constantly writing the date & days on a daily basis. I also think they should absolutely be able to spell the number words…most of them, anyway…so that’s always been a little focus point for my kids as well. }
The binder also includes a little framework for word problems. Sometimes the kids just work better when the format is organized!
There’s a section for “Math Talk” which is really just math vocab. I like for my kids to write the word and then show a visual representation of it to make a connection between the word & the meaning. They keep these words in their binders throughout the year and use it as a reference if needed.
We also work on weather graphs every month. I have weather watchers/meteorologists who peek out our window and give us a daily weather report. We chart the weather on a class graph and then the kids fill it in on their own graphs as well. At the end of the month, we complete a monthly weather report indicating the number of days that were sunny/rainy/cloudy/snowy/sleety. The kids also get to make observations on patterns in our graph.
No calendar time is complete without a calendar, so each binder gets 12 fill-in calendars, one for each month of the year. At the beginning of every month, we fill in the calendar and then talk about the number of days in the month. They ALWAYS use their calendars for reference. These really came in handy when I got my SmartBoard!! Since I do our calendar routine on the SmartBoard, I don’t have one in the classroom…so the kids would always refer to their own when they needed it. LOVE!!!
I can’t say enough about our math notebooks…I just LOVE them! I love that the framework is so organized and really keeps the kids on task instead of aimlessly doodling in their journals {which is what I found a lot of my sweet babies doing from time to time}. They still use their math journals, but not for number of the day anymore.
Graphics courtesy of Scrappin' Doodles

If you’re interested in starting a math notebook in your classroom, you can check out my Calendar Companion on TpT! The first 3 comments will get a copy mailed directly to your inbox :) Just make sure to leave your email address, too!!

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Dallas Area Peeps…Are You Interested?!

Dallas gals…and guys {if you’re out there}…just wanted to put some feelers out there to see if you guys would be interested in a little meet-up of sorts. I’m thinking about hosting a little end of summer/back to school lunch(ish) type get-together. Would any of y’all be interested?! I’m thinking food, chatting, door prizes…something like that. Just wanted to see if there was any interest so that I can plan the details. Let me know!!

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Questions Answered & Kindergarten Downloads

Thanks for the sweet comments on the last post, y’all. You sure know how to make a girl smile :) I’m just happy that those files will be useful for y’all! Alright…down to business. Some of y'all cutie K teachers asked for the Kindergarten versions of the handouts for the Meet the Teacher packet. They’re *slightly* different from the first grade versions, but not by much!!! Click on the pics to download your copies.

Slide1What is My Child Learning in KindergartenK Getting To Know Your Child

And apparently I can’t spell. I like to go on FILED trips instead of FIELD trips :) Thank you girls for pointing that out!!!! If you need the edited version, here it is:


Now to answer some of your questions…

Q: What are the fonts and where can I get them?!

A: The fonts are all over the place, so get ready…


You can get most of these for free, I think. I know for sure that the first 3 are free downloads. I’ve had the other 3 fonts for years and I don’t remember if I paid for them or what. I’m almost thinking I did and if so, they were purchased from DJ Inkers.

Q: I’ve GOT to have those borders. Where are they from?!?!?

A: Y’all are going to KILL me because I have NO clue where the heck I got ‘em!!!! Everytime I download graphics/fonts/borders/frames, I immediately transfer them to a disk. I have a disk full of graphics…one full of fonts…one full of borders…one full of frames. My computer crashed a while back and I lost EVERYTHING, so I’m super paranoid about it happening again. Anyway, I just found this missing disk of borders the other day and that’s where I found them!!! I’m trying to go back to different sites to see where I could’ve gotten them, but it was a LONG time ago, so I have NO clue!! The borders on the “First Grade Expectations” download and the “What is My Child Learning?” download are both from DJ Inkers {her Fall clipart CD}.

And while we’re on the subject of computer crashes, I HIGHLY recommend storing all of your files…especially pictures!!!!!!….on an external hard drive. My EHD holds SO dang much, I doubt I ever use all the space!!! I have EVERYTHING backed up on disks, my EHD, and online {I use Mozy}. I’m seriously paranoid!!!!

Q: How do you insert borders into your documents?

A: I use Power Point for EVERYTHING. I don’t think I’ve touched Word for the last 5-6 years…seriously. I just upload the borders into my power point files as a picture and then it’s really self explanatory from that point on :) SUPER easy!!!

Q: How are you embedding the docs into your posts? I can’t find the setting to do that anymore!

A: Neither can I!! HA!!! I cheat. I just save the page I’m working on as a jpeg. If you’re working in Power Point…and Word, too…you have the option to save your file as a jpeg. You can either save every slide/page as a jpeg, or just the current slide/page you’re working on. So…save it as a jpeg…upload it to your post…and then hyperlink the pic to the web address of your document. Clear as mud, right?!?! If you’re working in Windows Live Writer, is REALLY easy to do!!!

Hope this helps!!!

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Meet The Teacher Ideas & Downloads

Can y’all believe Meet the Teacher night is right around the corner?! For some of us, it’ll be here much sooner than later. I was going through some of my files and came across my “Meet the Teacher” packet, so I thought I’d share it with y’all incase y’all can put any of it to use.
Our Meet the Teacher night always falls on a Thursday. That’s kinda genius if you ask me. It gives me the entire next day to organize and {inevitably} change name tags of the kids who go by another name than the one listed on my roster :) I love getting to meet my new cast and get a feel for the dynamic of my classroom (which is always a little scary to think about, eh?!) Here’s how the night typically plays out…
The kids come in, give me big hugs, and find their desks. Supply packets are placed in each kids’ seat {of the kids who pre-ordered} and I set out an envelope of school paperwork and another little packet of paperwork and info from me.
This is a little checklist of “to-do’s” that sits on top of their desk, also. This is great to have out just incase I’m talking to one family as another one comes in. I don’t have to repeat myself all night!

The kids have to sort their own supplies which I LOVE. I use to do this all by myself…and then I got smart. I have TONS of baskets {hello, Dollar Tree!!!} and I label each basket with a little index card…erasers, pencils, folders, crayons, markers, etc…whatever supplies they have in their packets. The kids have to sort ALL of their supplies and put the supplies in the labeled baskets. LOVE it.

Right underneath that little checklist, I have two forms that MUST be filled out before they leave. One is a transportation form the school gives us for the parents to fill out and the other is this little student information sheet. I’m sure we all have one similar to this! Just incase you need a new one, you can click the pic to download.

The transportation list that the school gives us is broken up into three sections…first day, first week, remainder of school year. I take all the transportation lists and then make three copies of the master list below. One for the first day, one for the first week, and then one for the remainder of the year. I keep the “remainder of the year” copy in my student info folder, by our door, and in the sub binder. Click on the pic to download your copy.

Then I have a cutesy little “Welcome to First Grade!” packet that I put together for the parents to take home & read. I buy the fun little bordered paper at the teacher store to run off for the cover…I just type, “Welcome to First Grade” in a cute little font on the front, and at the bottom I type my name, school phone number, and my email address.
The first page of the packet is a little “Meet the Teacher” bio type sheet. One of my favorite things about teaching is getting to know my kiddos and their families. I like having close relationships with my parents, so I always like for them to know a little bit about me…and I have a little first day activity I like to do with my kids where I sorta quiz them about some of that info :)
Graphic courtesy of Scrappin Doodles

Next up, my class schedule.
Graphics courtesy of Thistle Girl Designs

A lot of firsties have older siblings who’ve already passed through the grade level, but a lot of our families are first grade newbies, so I like for my parents to have this “What is My Child Learning in First Grade?” handout so they get the gist of what we’re all about in 1st. I did something almost identical when I taught Kindergarten and the parents loved it! I run a two sided copy so I don’t waste too much paper :) Click on either pic to download.

I also like for my kids…and parents…to have an idea of what my behavior expectations are like, so I add this little sheet to the packet, too.

The next couple of pages are for the parents to fill out and return to school with their kids the following week. I LOVE this “Getting to Know Your Child” questionnaire. As you know, when you have 22+ kids in your class, it can take a while to get to know each kid…what motivates them, what are their interests, etc. This really helps me to get to know my kids before I really get to know them. And it helps me understand what the parents are like, too!!! I make a double-sided copy of this form and put it in their portfolios when I get them back. You can click on either pic to download a copy for yourself.

I also send home this volunteer sheet. There are lots of volunteer opportunities and always lots of parents who can’t wait to help. I combine these and use them to make a master list of volunteers and how they’re willing to help and then pass that info along to my room mom(s), then they coordinate the volunteers for the year :) I know that you might have different volunteer opportunities at your school, but feel free to download this if you think you can use it! Just click on the pic!!
All the downloads are in black and white because I like to print everything on colored paper. Wal Mart has huge packs of multi colored printing paper for cheapo, so I use that for all the copies. And it’s just more fun when it’s colorful! HA!
I like to 3-hole punch my “Welcome to First Grade!” packets and tie them together with cutesy ribbon. Time consuming and unnecessary?! YES. Cute?! Absolutely?! And it makes a fun little first impression :)

Okay…now I’m all sweaty and I feel like I’m gonna be sick. Do I seriously only have a few weeks before it’s time to go back!?!? NOT.READY.AT.ALL!!!!!!!

Monday, July 11, 2011

A Little Blogging Tip…Windows Live Writer

Hey sweet friends! This little tip may not be news to some of you, but for those of you who aren’t familiar with it, I just wanted to tell y’all a little bit about

Windows Live Writer.


I’ve been using Live Writer for my personal and domestic blogs for the last year & a half or so {and of course, this little blog, too}. I originally started using it because Blogger was SO frustrating when it came to uploading pictures. It would take FOR.E.VER & I was WAY too impatient for all that! Then I got hooked on the Live Writer format and now it’s all I use for all 3 blogs :)

Live Writer is a free download and you can check it out HERE.

In my opinion, it’s MUCH easier to use than Blogger…quicker, too! I can add borders to my pictures…arrange them in little photo albums…add text to my pics…and make my pictures any size I want. Editing posts is easier, the format is cleaner…overall, I just like it a whole lot! HA!

Anyway, just thought I’d throw that out there incase any of you are looking for a quicker way to blog :)

Happy Monday!!

Saturday, July 9, 2011

When Virtual Meets Reality

Since I started this little teaching blog about a year ago, I’ve “met” lots of wonderful teachers…virtually, of course. Between reading about their posts, talking through email, and sharing ideas, you can definitely feel like you really “know” your bloggy friends! So, it wasn’t weird for me at all to ask my sweet friend, Abby, to meet me in Ohio for a little afternoon rendezvous :) We’re still up north, so we met half way at a little Panera in Dayton to have lunch at talk the day away. I gotta say that I felt like I was meeting a celebrity!! I was *12 kinds* of nervous ;) HA!

Four hours later, we were exchanging hugs and promising to do it again soon!! And the crazy thing is, we probably could’ve stayed for another 4 hours!! I think it’s safe to say we both really love to talk :) For those of y’all that love Abby as much as I do, yes, she’s genuinely that darling, and precious, and sweet, and funny in person as she is on her blog{s}. We were BFF in no time ;) Such a fun afternoon!!

Thanks, sweet friend!!


You can read all about Abby at Babbling Abby and check out all of her darling classroom ideas and activities at The Inspired Apple.

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