Sunday, March 25, 2012

Twinkle, Twinkle Little Freebie

We are preparing for our free field trip to the Adventure Science Center (where we will be studying Space) so it is only fitting for us to do our own little study of Space before we go. We have learned alot I haven't posted about but these are my two favorite things so far. (Later in the week I will be posting about what I think will be the 3rd favorite thing... I won't know until after we do it!!)

First, after learning about the moon, we created haiku's about the moon. Let me just say that before beginning the lesson I thought for sure I was going to regret it. You know when you have a lesson that you are for sure that the kids are going to look at you like you have seven heads? I thought this was the lesson for that... to my surprise they were so into it. They caught on to the concept quickly and were coming up with awesome lines for our poems. As a group we made choices for our 5 syllable and 7 syllable lines. Then, individually, they chose what to put on each line. I was thoroughly impressed by them!! If you want to make some moon haikus with your class grab a copy HERE.

My next favorite space related activity was constellations. We learned about stars and then started reading some stories on constellations and how they were formed. We talked about myths and tried finding constellations here. It was really really HARD!!! Anyway, the culminating activity was creating our own constellations.

The kids LOVED this activity!! This week we are learning about the planets and I think we will throw in a little alien fun to spice it up!

In other news, my good friend Alisha over at Blissful Days in Second Grade just finished creating an amazing new money unit. Click here to check it out in her store!
If you go to her blog now she is giving it away to a few new followers! Check it out and leave her some love!


Saturday, March 17, 2012

The mall, a runaway baby, a nap, and a GIVEAWAY!

That is basically how my day went today.

For Christmas I got a sweet gift card to Nordstroms and had purchased a $90 (what was I thinking!) shirt. It was a very nice shirt until I went to iron it last week and found little holes all in the front of it. Being that I live a solid 30 min from Nordstroms, I just today got around to returning the shirt. I had both kids in tow and thought (for some strange reason) that I was going to find a cute replacement.

Deep down I knew that I was wrong before we even left the house. We literally haven't left the house all week (ya know with the whole potty training thing). I gave up today. Diapers it is...

Nordstroms by the way is one of Addison's favorite places. She always seems to get a new pair of shoes whenever we go (which isn't very often). My sister and myself cannot resist the cute happenings in the kids shoe department there! I fully intended on buying her a new pair today... but instead of being the sweet, adorable angel she was when we left the house she turned into a....


That's right! She tried to run away... twice! I was that crazy lady chasing her 2 year old around Nordstroms. Poor Jaydon (who actually deserved a goodie) had to deal with this and then come home to an immediate NAPTIME. I will have to reward him for his good behavior later... maybe we can sneak out without Addison. Ya know, when the dad gets home...

Needless to say my day is shot... Tomorrow is the last day of my break! Poo!!

In other news, I finished ALL my activity packets for long vowel combinations and diphthongs. There are 9 packets posted in my TPT and TN stores. I also put them in zip files for a cheaper price. There is also the chance that you could.....

That's right, I said WIN! Here is how to win:

Leave me one comment for each way to win! So, you get 3 chances to win this fun giveaway!

Here is what 3 lucky winners will get:

Each winner will have a choice of:


This giveaway will be short and sweet! It will end tomorrow night at 8 p.m. (kids bed time!) Don't forget to leave your email with your comment!
Have a fun and safe St. Patty's Day night!


Thursday, March 15, 2012

Spring is happening here with a Freebie... No matter what the weatherman says!

It was 80 + degrees here in Nashville today... um... it's only March 15! What!! I am not saying that I don't love the temperature but where is spring? I know Easter isn't for a few more weeks but I am trying to get into this Spring spirit!

Check out this freebie from my TPT or TN store with Easter eggs.

All this and more to get your Spring spirit kicked off! Enjoy!


Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Spring Break!!

I don't think I have ever been so excited to deal with a toddler all week (not to mention potty training a toddler!) So far, spring break hasn't been anything too happy! Yesterday it started with strep throat and now that I am feeling better I am sitting here waiting on a 2 year old to potty. Don't judge me for the time (it is Spring Break after all!)

Speaking of Spring Break, I am hoping when yours comes it gets off to a better start than mine.

I have added a couple new products including:


In addition to these packs, I have combined my long vowel combo packs into one big zip file at a discounted price. Anyhoo, my sale will run through Friday night. So get something cheap :)

Have a good week!! (If your working, I am sorry!!)


Monday, March 5, 2012

Currently... and a thought!

Before you start reading let me forewarn you that this post is not exactly teaching related, so I'll give you a minute to get out of planning mode and into a more of a fluff type mode. Ready? Good.
The past couple weeks I have been thinking A LOT about how much I work. I know we all work a lot and it is probably a safe bet to say that we all just do it, without thinking, without hesitation, without feeling too terribly stressed. Most of us teachers are extreme multitaskers who get the job done no matter the time, cost, or lack of sleep. I know each of you can relate to this sometimes-overwhelming job; so, more than likely each of you can relate to this post.

Have you ever really stopped to think about how much we actually work? With school, grading papers, phone calls, emails, blog stuff, creating intriguing and fun lessons, and then sometimes sleep-- what else do we do with our lives and how do we have time for it all?

I have especially been wondering this when trying to balance work and family time. Between my husband and two little ones I am drained. I am giving to school, to kids, to parents, to other teachers, to friends, to family, and to my own kiddos and hubby. Don't get me wrong- I am not complaining! I love my job, family, friends, and kids... but have recently been made aware that you cannot just give, give, give! Sometimes you have to take...

Take some time for yourself! (OMG--- Can't believe I just said that!!) Seriously though, we are constantly doing stuff for other people that I know I have forgotten about me. Last week I took the day off (**a personal day**) and I took care of me! I never do this but by the end of the day I felt like a new person. I was relaxed, peaceful, and not even sleepy! That day made me realize that in the grand scheme of things none of the things we do will be accomplished with complete success unless we are taken care of! I am sure some of you wiser teachers out there have already figured this out!?! I don't know why I am just now doing it!

I love linking up with Farley for her Currently linky party! We all have such fun things to share!

The three words are something a student, a friend and a family member would say (but the words must start with the first letter of your last name- D). I think at least one of my students would say I am dapper (we learned this word last week- they were all over it). My friends think I am delightful- when and if they ever get to see me! (Need to work on that too!) My family definitely thinks I am determined to be the best (basically I am an overachiever!)-- my dad told me the other day that I don't always have to be the best, He said, “Laura, it is ok! You don’t have to be super teacher!” (Maybe I have a problem!)

Anyway, what would your students, friends, and family say about you? Link up with us and have a great night!


Saturday, March 3, 2012

This is how we do it: Seatwork

Oh dreaded seatwork! I have struggled for a while whether to have a seatwork time or just a center time. If I just have a center time then I don't have a reading grade for the week (you know since we don't use E's and S's anymore in 1st grade- we actually have to put in a number grade.) So, I decided on the seatwork option but I found a way to make it a little more interesting than just a work book page. I absolutely hate workbooks! My kids have the books that come with the reading series but we haven't written in them at all this year! (It can be some good summer review! ha!) Last year I used the workbook pages as homework pages and I tore all the pages out and sent them home and sometimes I got them back but sometimes I didn't. <--- That was at a school where my class size was 13. Now I have a class size of 23 and I don't have time to pull out pages out of workbooks and stuff folders with homework every afternoon so I send home a tic-tac-toe board weekly with homework activities. I digress... The truth of the matter is I needed to find a way to do seatwork, so I wasn't being bogged down with how to keep them busy during guided reading... I mean centers can only keep you busy so long... You guys know that center time can be really productive or really chaotic! I did a really good job training my kids at the beginning of the year for center time and I tried a no seatwork approach but it just didn't work for me. So, I came up with a type of "choice board" that my kids work with 4 days a week that practices phonics, spelling, comprehension, and word work skills. A traditional choice board is a great way to differentiate with any project. You can give choices based on interest, learning style, or ability. I truly believe that giving any kind of choice provides interest and to some extent differentiation no matter how you do it. So, last year I came up with a "choice board" that we use everyweek during seatwork time. This board provides a variety of practice in skills that we are working on. Then at the end of the week I grade (which takes a while) and get my reading grade for the week. I can make the boards longer or shorter depending on the week (if we have specific activities we need to accomplish or if we have a day off). The *best* thing about this seatwork is the kids can still work on it when you are absent! When a sub is there the kids are still working on things they are familiar with and not working on busy work. So, here is the cover of my choice board packet:

The board is made up of:

Word Configurations that I usually download from this fabulous site: Little Book Lane. She has lots of word configurations available. They are not too hard to make though!

Word Sort. I have a book of sorts or I will make a word sort to put in sorting word families or whatever skill we are working on for the week.

Spelling Practice. Sometimes I put rainbow writing, cut/paste words in ABC order, practice writing words, etc.

Grammar Practice- depends on the skill for the week

Reading Comprehension- depends on the skill and story for the week

Break the Code- so graciously provided in this yahoo group.

There are usually 6-8 pages attached to the cover page above.
Monday-Thursday students complete 2 pages before they can go to center time. We do 2 center rotations so they always get to go to at least 1 center a day. They keep this packet in their desk all week and turn in on Thursday (that's when the grading begins!)
I really like how this is something consistent and I am never scrambling for something to do (I know we have all been there!)

So, there you have it! Spiced up seatwork! How do you keep your kiddos working and learning during center time??

Hope ya'll are having a fun, safe weekend!