Saturday, January 3, 2015


It's a new year.  Time to get organized.  I'm trying desperately to do just that.  Not exactly how I want to spend my last weekend of vacation.  But, it's got to happen.  I feel so much better when my files, desktop, and house are in order.  I can't function in chaos.  Drives me crazy.  My family.  Not so much.  Their lack, and desire, of organization kills me. 
As I was trying to create new accounts, access old accounts, and just plain login to anything today, I realized that I have way too many usernames and passwords to remember.  Anybody else deal with that?  I mean I have passwords, my girl's have passwords that I have to keep up with, and then there are the passwords for school I have to remember.  For security reasons, don't they tell you not to use the same password for everything?!  So that means tons of passwords to keep up with!!!  To remedy that problem, I created some nice little lists that will hopefully be helpful in keeping up with passwords for home and school.
Click here to download these lists for free! Please be aware that this is not an editable file.  You will have to hand write your information on the list itself.  I'm thinking of making multiple lists and keeping them everywhere in case I lose my original!
And onto that dreaded word, school.  Yes, school.  Unfortunately we have to return to that place that helps pay our bills and affords us to buy things for the room they allow us to supply things with.  We start right off with kids this year, no getting back into the swing of things with a teacher workday.  YUCK!  Fortunately for me, it's my long PE day.  I get an hour long break!  Yahoo!!!!!!!  That just might make up for not having a teacher workday instead!  Maybe.
If you are in need of something to get started back with, check out this little freebie I posted last year.
Click here to download.
Hope you all are enjoying your last few days of break!
  Have a great first day back!

Thursday, January 1, 2015


Happy New Year friends!
Hope everyone had a wonderful Christmas season and a joyous New Year!  This is by far my favorite time of the year.  I love the feeling, and the meaning, of the season.  I don't love that "empty" feeling you get when it's all over with though.  However, I'm excited about 2015 and all of the possibilities that lie ahead.
It's been quite some time since I last blogged.  I'm determined to do better this new year.  And to do just that, I'm linking up with Farley for her Currently.

Listening:  I love college football.  It's so fun to watch all of the different bowl games that appear on our TV's after Christmas.  Right now the Oregon vs. FSU Rose Bowl game is on.  I don't have a favorite team to pull for with this particular game.  Makes it more enjoyable to watch!  Less stress that way!
Loving:  While I'm sad that this holiday season is almost over, I'm excited about 2015.  I haven't made any resolutions yet.  For me this year, I just want to focus on being the best that I can be. 

This quote hit home with me.  In this blogging/TpT world, it's hard not to compare yourself to the next teacher.  This year I want to focus on "me" as a teacher.  I want to go in my classroom each day and try to do a better job than I did the day before.  I don't want to waste my time, or energy for that matter, worrying about how I measure up to others that I haven't even met.  I want to take that energy and put it into being the best that I know I can be and just be happy with that.

Thinking:  Gracious.  I'm already breaking out in a sweat thinking about having to go back to school on Monday.  In this new year I want to figure out how to manage, balance, survive this thing called life.  Mr. M is going to have class 2 nights a week for a semester, my youngest has basketball practice and games, the oldest has her thing going on, and I have my full plate of things to accomplish.  And, I can't forget about our spoiled fur baby Bella who is tugging on my heartstrings because she has recently started having seizures.  That's enough to make me want to put on my pj's and go hide out in my bedroom and not come out!!!!!!  We know that can't happen so I've got to figure out how to do it.  I know things will get done, I'll just have to prioritize and give up some things that may not be very important at the time.

Wanting:  This year I just want to do the best that I can and be happy with just that.  I want the confidence to know that I can do it and do it to the best of my ability.  No comparing.  No sizing myself to others that I don't anything else about other than what I have read or seen in pictures. 


Needing:  Just a little bit more time!!!!  All I've felt like I have  done this break is clean, prepare food, and clean some more.  I want a little bit more time to do what I want to do.  I want to sit and feel like I don't have to be being doing something.

Yes:  Healthier choices.  Gotta do it.  It's not going to be easy, but it's necessary.  Gotta take care of myself so I can take care of everybody else!

Maybe:  Trying something new.  Stepping out of my comfort zone.  Expanding my horizons.  NO REGRETS.  I'm to old for that!

Wishes:  ?????? I honestly don't have anything I wish for. I just want happiness and health for my family and friends.

It feels so good to blog again.  I'm excited for this new year.  And, I'm excited to share my 2015 journey with you. 
Have you linked up yet?  Head on over and do it now! 

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Wordless Wednesday

Today I'm linking up with Christina from Miss DeCarbo at Sugar and Spice for her weekly Wordless Wednesday linky party.  Such a great idea! 

Character wall. 
 This year, instead of putting up a "family" tree, I decided to create a "character wall" instead.  This character wall is in my classroom library, which I thought was the perfect place to display it.  My students love seeing all of their favorite characters displayed and it's been a great reference for making connections with other books that we read together.  One of my most favorite things about teaching first grade is being able to share fabulous literature with my students.  This character wall is an extension of that love.  Speaking of loves, Rocket has stolen my heart.  Love him.  If you haven't read a Rocket book, you must do so soon.
(side note-my students thought that Rocket looked a lot like Harry the Dirty Dog.  SCORE!!!!  Love those text to text connections!)

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Wordless Wednesday

I'm finally linking up with Miss DeCarbo for her Wordless Wednesday linky party.  Love this idea!  So simple and easy.  Just what I need these days!
Scholastic Book Fair
Couldn't help myself this time.  There were so many great books to choose from!
It's not to late to link up and share a picture.  Head on over to Christina's and join the party!

Thursday, October 2, 2014


Woo hoo!  It's October!  Can. Not. Believe. It.  Wasn't it just summer?!  I'm not complaining though.  I'm looking forward to the upcoming months.  There's so much to talk about and do.  Love that we will be busy, busy, busy!  Now if I could just get into a solid routine.  I've changed my daily schedule about 3 times so far this year.  The most recent being today.  I just need to suck it up and stick with what I have going and figure out how to best make it work.  Less is more.  I'm trying to do to much and I'm making myself nuts in the process.  Keep calm, let it go, and do what I know is best for me the children!
So here's what's happening with me Currently.........
I'm so loving that tomorrow is Friday.  As hectic as they can be, I'm ready for some time off.  However, I can't help to feel already overwhelmed about what needs to happen this weekend.  I need to clean house, wash clothes, do school work, finish some things for TpT, spend time with the family, work in the yard, and do whatever else has to be done.  Hmm, I don't know about you, but I don't think there's enough time in the weekend to get all of this done.  Which leads to me to wanting a day off just to myself.   I would love A DAY just to sit back and enjoy everything around me.  A day where I could just sit with my coffee and enjoy a good book.  No worries, no to-do list. 
So my trick for you is REMIND.  It's a fabulous app that is free.  You can use it to send texts or emails to your parents about upcoming events in your classroom.  I love that I can send a quick reminder to my parents about PE or library day.  I love that I can send it without worry of them finding out my personal information.  And, I love that they can't respond back.  I don't have my whole class signed up, but I do have more than half.  Check it out.  You'll love how easy it is to sign up and invite your parents to sign up as well.
What's happening with you Currently?  Head on over to Farley's and link up.
Here's to the weekend friends!  Enjoy every minute of it!

Saturday, September 27, 2014

Making Connections

Oh my.  It's been quite a while since I posted.  I have good intentions.  I even have some ideas to share.  It's just a matter of sitting down and getting those ideas out that I'm struggling with.  Ya'll, the struggle is real.  There's just never enough time to get everything done on that to-do list.  Sometimes I just want to sit and do nothing.  But I can't even manage to do that!
This is how I feel at the end of every day:
and this is how I feel by Friday:
Today I'm sharing with you some books and activities for teaching children how to make connections with literature.  As an adult, this is an easy task.  But for children, especially those with a limited vocabulary and experiences, it's often a difficult task to comprehend.  As a teacher, right from the beginning, we have to model this skill for our students.  As we bring their attention to what we are looking for, the majority of the children will naturally pick up this skill. For those children that still aren't understanding, more modeling and practice will be needed in small groups.
Today I want to share with you 2 books that can be used for teaching students how to make connections.  First up is Wemberly Worried.
Let me just say first that I love Kevin Henkes books.  I love that you can use them for teaching so many different skills.  As a young child, and an adult, I can totally relate to Wemberly.  I tend to worry ALL the time.   And at the beginning of a new school year, I think that all children worry a little bit about something.  That's why this particular book is a such a great choice for teaching children how to make connections.  Prior to reading, you can set the stage by reading the title and asking the children what they think the word "worried" means.  After hearing all of their answers, you can then clarify their answers with your intended answer and give an example. 
"Boys and girls, today we are going to read a book about a little mouse who always worries.  When we worry about something it means we are a little bit afraid of what might happen to us.  For example:  When I was little,  I was worried about starting back to school because I didn't know if any of my friends would be in my class.  As you listen to me read this book, I want you to think about a time when you were worried about something."
Throughout the book it will be very important to stop and model how to make those connections with the text.  On one page, Wemberly looks up a huge tree and says that she is worried that it might fall on her house.  I can model how to make a connection with that page by saying, "This reminds me about a time when I was little.  There was a big tree outside of my bedroom window just like the one in the book.  When it stormed I always worried, like Wemberly, that the tree would fall on my room."  After modeling a few times, you will have lots of children ready to share lots of their very own connections!  At the end of the book, you can even have the children "turn and talk" with their partner about a time they worried about something.
To finish up, I created a little flip flap book for students to respond to the story with.  My children love flip flap books and they are a great way to engage students with what they have read.  All they need to do is fold the paper in half (I tell my kids to make a hamburger fold), make a tent with the folded paper (so they won't cut both sides of the paper), and then cut the line up the middle.  Easy peasy.  You can click here to download this freebie.

I also created some conversation starter cards that you can use to prompt students when talking about making connections with the text.  You can click here to download them.
Another great book for teaching children how to make connections is Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day
We all have bad days, no matter how old we are.  And children can relate very easily to Alexander and all of his troubles!  Again, with a little teacher modeling, students are sure to make those connections with the text.  Pairing children up to "turn and talk"  also allows for those who may be a little shy to share to open up and talk about their connections without fear of making a mistake or being wrong.
After reading and discussing the book, you can follow up with a response sheet.  You can click here to download it for free.

Hope you are enjoying this first weekend of Fall.  It has done nothing but rain here for over a week now.  The weather forecast shows no sign of relief either.  We've still got more rain coming our way for the beginning of the week.  Fun.  More inside recess.  Gotta love it!

Saturday, September 6, 2014

Room Reveal!

So we have been in school 12 days now.  We have had some good days, and, some bad days.  I have a  good class, and they have improved in just this short period of time, but listening is just not their strength!  They can tell me about all about what they need to do to be a good listener, but most fall short of doing what they say.  We'll get there, hopefully!
I finally have gotten around to taking pictures of my classroom to share with you.  It's been on one of my many to-do lists for awhile.  I had so many pieces of paper sitting around my computer.  Crazy.  I finally just took all of them and consolidated them into one BIG to-do list.  Although that has made it easier to keep adding to it.  Not exactly what I need at this point!
Onto my room......
Please excuse my blank bulletin boards.  I did add some things to them yesterday, after I had already taken the pictures.  I like to explain what I post on the boards to my class first.  If I don't, then the board doesn't mean anything to them at all.  This little corner is going to my writing area.  I'm going to introduce it to my class this week.  I hope it becomes an area that my students like to visit and use.

 This is a shot of my class from the door.  I have 3 groups of 6 students.  I started the first day with 2 groups of 9.  Did. Not. Work.  I changed them immediately after the second day.  My kids like to talk and while I loved the space that I had with only 2 groups, I knew my sanity was way more important than the extra space!

This is my focus board.  I'm trying very hard to make this board meaningful to my kids.  But at this point, they really aren't paying to much attention to it.  I'm hoping to use this shelf for my work on words activities.  We aren't there yet, so they are empty at the moment.  We are a PBIS school.  So on the wall that you see I have our school rules posted along with our "Pelican Pockets" where my students keep their pelican bucks.

Love my door this year.  I found this little bit of inspiration on Pinterest.  You can click here to find it.  My oldest daughter actually made Pete for me.  I think she did a really great job!
This little shelf houses my "morning menu" activities, activities that my kids can choose from after they finish their morning work.  The baskets on top are for finished work and writing paper.

This is the back of my room.  I'm loving the new fabric on my seat crates.  I cleaned the top of the table off just for the picture.  So far it has been a catch-all for just about everything!
This is the front of my room where we meet all together.  I'm loving my new rugs from Wal-Mart.  They are just the right size and add the perfect pop of color to the room.

 This corner houses my classroom library.  I have all intentions of adding pictures of my kids to the circles on the wall.  Haven't quite made that a priority though.  It's one of those things that is at the bottom of my to-do list.  I've been thinking about just adding pictures of different book characters to them instead.  After all, it is our library.
 This is my listening center.  I bought the stools from Ikea last year and they are still holding up very well.
This is my computer area and my desk.  Ignore the mess underneath.  It's where I have taken to throwing things when I don't want to take the time to deal with it!

This is my group area.  Can't wait till I can start pulling groups and REALLY get into a structured schedule.  On top of the table I have squares of dry erase contact paper.  I can't wait to try this out!  I hope it works.

Cubbies for my kids and where they hang their bookbags.  I plan to hang our Daily 5 anchor charts up above them after I finish introducing all of the components.

 My math manipulative shelf.  On top you will find books that go along with our theme for the week.  I love it when my kids notice these books and make connections with them.  I love it even more when they go to the library and check out books like the ones  I have displayed for them.

Above my Smartboard you will find my "5 Things to Think About" posters.  These are the rules and expectations we go over every day.  On my board you will find our high frequency words, magic words, and power words for the week.  In the corner you will find my little reading center.  I keep a basket of different kinds of books and magazines there for my students to read.  I also keep our class books there too.

Our Wonderful Work board where I display our work.

In the back you will find my bookshelf where I keep all of my books. 

Another picture of my group meeting area.  I'm loving that I have space for my materials that I will use for groups.  I bought 3 little baskets from the Dollar Tree and labeled them with signs that  I made.  I plan to keep the materials that I will need for each group in them.  I hope this will keep me more organized this year with my groups.
And finally, my Wall of Wow. 

Loving the clothes pins this year.  Makes it so much easier to change out the papers!
If you want to see some other classroom reveals, head on over to Just a Primary Girl's blog to visit her Setting Up Success linky party.  In fact, go link up yourself and share your own classroom reveal pictures.