Wednesday, June 27, 2012

I won an Award!

The Versatile Blogger award! I am in shock. I've had my blog(s) for a while, but have not been a very active blogger. One of my summer "To Do's" was to be more active as a blogger. I certainly have been and apparently am starting to be noticed by other bloggers. :)
There are some rules that come with this award. The rules for this award are as follows: 
1. Thank the blogger who nominated you. 
Thank you Tonya! I was pleasantly surprised. 
2. Include a link to their site.

3. Include the award image in your post.
(See it up there?) 
4. Give 7 random facts about yourself.
1. I grew up in South Dakota.  I moved to Arizona for a teaching job.
2. I met my husband in a chat room in 1998.
3. We got married on 4-4-04! (in a gazebo on a rainy day along a creek by a friend who was ordained online without our parents in attendance...  We later had 2 wedding receptions. One in South Dakota with my family and one in NYC with his family.)
4. I taught special education for 10 years before switching to 1st grade.
5. I love to use coupons at the grocery store.  I love getting FREE and cheap things.  I have a small stockpile built up. (nothing crazy like Extreme Couponers though) BUT- I don't cook! (usually)  My husband loves to cook.  He gets home before me and usually has dinner done when I get home! {are you jealous?!}
Spent $48.64, saved $261.64 (85%)
6. I love post-it notes.  I own a ridiculous amount of them.
7. I took our son to a birthday party that had a magic show.  I got picked from the crowd to have a sword put through my throat.  I still don't know how this trick worked!

5. Nominate 15 other bloggers for the award.
I am sure many of these ladies have received this award before.  These are blogs I have recently discovered or go to frequently for inspiration.
Tara at 4th Grade Frolics
Heather at Heather's Heart
Janaye at Tales of Frogs and Cupcakes
Lory at Lory Evans' Page
Cara at The First Grade Parade
Rachelle and Natalie at What The Teacher Wants
Katie at Queen of the First Grade Jungle
Mel D. at Seusstastic
Miss Nelson at Run! Miss Nelson's Got the Camera
Diane and Kelly at Made for 1st Grade
Clutterfree Classroom
Amanda at One Extra Degree

6. When nominating, include a link to their site. 
7. Let other bloggers know they've been nominated.
I'm working on it.

Thanks again Tonya!

Monday, June 25, 2012

Monday Made It #4

I am linking up with Tara over at 4th Grade Frolics for her 4th Monday Made It.

I love Monday Made It so much, I even made stuff on vacation!  I just got home from the airport a couple of hours ago.  I can't wait to finish this post so I can hop around and see what everyone else has been up to.  The month of June is almost gone and I feel like I have done NOTHING.  My sense of urgency is really strong.  LOL

OK, while staying at my parents' house, I signed my son up for private swimming lessons.  They live right next to the swimming pool and the lessons were super cheap compared to where we live in Arizona.  His teacher was incredible and totally deserving of a cute appreciation gift.  My Pinterest addiction sure comes in handy!  Here is my "pinspirational" item:
Source: via Jessica on Pinterest

This is what I made:

First, I gathered the supplies:
A rose bowl my mom had leftover from a wedding project, Goldfish crackers, and 2 bags of red, white, and blue M&Ms (we found them at Wal-Mart).

Then we sorted M&Ms.

We filled the bottom with "pebbles".  We filled little condiment cups (my mom has EVERYTHING!) with goldfish to fill the middle of the dish.

Then we added "water" and let a few fish swim in it.

We topped it with a piece of blue tissue paper and Glad Press 'n' Seal wrap. Then tied curly ribbon around it.

I think it turned out super cute!  His swim instructor absolutely LOVED it!

What have you been making?  Link up with Tara over at 4th Grade Frolics so we can check it out!

Friday, June 22, 2012

Daily 5 book study: Chapter 2

The Daily 5 is a book written by the "2 Sisters", Gail Boushey and Joan Moser.  These are my thoughts and opinions about the chapter.  

Questions to think about while reading Chapter 2:
1. What goals do you have for your classroom as you work to implement the principles and foundations of the Daily 5 discussed in Chapter 2? What support do you need to do this?
Looking back at my classroom during the short time I was using Daily 5, I realize that I did not completely implement every foundational principle. I trusted most, but not all of my students. I allowed choice in seating, but not for order of the Daily 5 (or in my case, 4). My students did not have a good sense of community. They did NOT like to share books. Only some of them had a true sense of urgency. We did build stamina, but only because I chose to ignore behaviors from 2 or 3 students. I really need to trust in the D5 structure and not force it to come together before students are ready. A big part of my only partially implementing these principles was due to it being started in the last quarter of the school year. My goal is to completely implement all of these principles. I don't think I need support, but I definitely need a way to monitor myself. Any suggestions?

2. What stands out as the most significant aspects of this chapter?
One thing that really stood out to me was in the stamina section. How when given praise, the students weren't really independent.  I had many students who were independent, but a few that were not. (Remember my students I said I ignored in order for everyone else to build stamina?) I need to really work on that to ensure all students are independent.

3. How do the foundational principles of the Daily 5 structure (trust, choice, community, sense of urgency, and stamina) align with your beliefs that support your teaching strategies and the decisions that you make about student learning?
I am not sure there was an alignment. I would say it was more like a whole new way of thinking about student learning. The Daily 5 has really made sense to me. It seems so simple, it makes me wonder how I never thought of it before. I am really glad that I was curious enough to order the book. You could read every blog post about D5 or pin every D5 chart, poster, station idea, etc. that you can find, but you MUST read the book in order to really understand and change your thinking and teaching of reading.

Monday, June 18, 2012

Amazon giveaway!

Check out this giveaway!  $25 to Amazon.  Who couldn't use that?!

You could win classroom scratch tickets!

Tonya made the cutest scratch tickets for her classroom.  You could win a set by entering her contest.  Check it out!

Monday Made It #3

I am linking up with Tara over at 4th Grade Frolics again this week.  You should definitely check out the links to everything other creative teachers have made.  I guarantee your To Do list will grow!

I am still on vacation.  I've been helping my mom make things for a city's 125 year celebration.  She is on the museum board and we've been very busy painting fabric to make a skirt for a float and also the back of the trailer for the float.  I toured the museum and took some pictures to put together a facebook page for them as well.  We made posters to hang in area businesses.  Hours and hours of projects, but I didn't take pictures of any of it! Here's a picture of the museum instead.

For Father's Day, we put this together for the grandkids to give to Papa:

Not a lot of creating into this, but I'm on vacation, remember?  We gathered the kids near Papa's barn and took their picture.  We found this cute candy card online:

and I turned it into a typed version with pictures:

We put all of the candy into jars like this:

I can't wait to see what everyone else has made.  I need to catch up when I get home from my vacation!  

Friday, June 15, 2012

Huge Giveaway for a Bloggy Birthday!

Tara over at 4th Grade Frolics is having a huge giveaway in honor of her blog's 1 year birthday.  Head on over to her blog to enter for your chance to win!

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Book Study: Daily 5 Ch. 1

Daily 5 Chapter 1
This Chapter is officially being hosted by:


I originally read The Daily 5 in December 2011.  I wasn't quite ready to implement everything, but I was very excited about trying it.  By Spring Break, I was ready.  I reviewed The Daily 5 book and read The CAFE book and started after Spring Break.  I was not able to do a full implementation.  Partly because my students were somewhat resistant to the changes I was making and partly because we had a lot of end of year assessments to get prepared for.  I plan to start the upcoming school year off with Daily 5 right away so that students will not know reading to be any other way.

These are my responses to the questions for Chapter 1.
1. On pages 4-6, the authors present two different pictures of their classrooms. In thinking about and reflecting on your own practice, how would you characterize your literacy block? Does it look more like the first or second scenario, or is it somewhere in between? How will you change it?

Before implementing Daily 5, my literacy block was very much like the first scenario.  It had its ups and downs, depending on which behavior students were absent.  After introducing Read to Self, it was much closer to resembling the second scenario.  It was not perfect by any means, but a definite improvement.  I intend to use the management structure presented to address behaviors and expectations in all subject areas.

2. The typical teacher is very busy having students do lots of different activities. How is what you are having students do now in your classroom creating quality readers and writers?

The 2011-2012 school year was my first year in a regular education classroom.  Everything was new to me, so for small group reading time/stations, I just did what was already done by my team.  It seemed to me that the goal was to have the students doing busywork so the teacher can see small reading groups.  It took a lot of paper and a lot of time copying stuff every week.  Many of my kids soon figured out how to do the work without actually thinking about what they were doing.  I didn't see the benefit of what they were doing, other than they were kept busy while I saw my small groups. Once I implemented Daily 5 stations, my kids were excited about reading and writing.  They even asked to do Read to Self anytime they were done with other work throughout the day.  They would complain during Writing Block about doing writing.  Some of them would even sit there staring at their paper with nothing written, but once they had a journal to write all on their own, they were filling up the pages!

3. What sets the Daily 5 structure apart from what you are doing in your classroom?

Before Daily 5, my students were doing a lot of seatwork that I called stations.  Like I mentioned above, I started the year by copying what other teachers on my team were doing.  Once I switched to Daily 5, the kids were doing a lot more hands on work.  They loved doing Daily 5 stations and asked to do Read to Self at other times throughout the day.  I loved seeing them read independently.  It was fabulous hearing them talk about a book they found that was not a "Good Fit" book and the reason why they knew that.

Check back next Wednesday for Chapter 2.  

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Tried It Tuesday

In preparation for my trip to visit my mom, I had a list of things that needed to be done before I left my husband home alone.  One of the things was to do something with the {very ripe} bananas.  I went to Pinterest, my new go-to for recipes to try and found these yummy looking banana chocolate chip muffins:

They were super easy to whip up and turned out super tasty, too!

What Pinterest recipes have you tried?

Monday Made It #2

I know it's Tuesday, but I spent most of yesterday travelling and wasn't able to post.  I just looked through all of the other links.  I find it funny that most of us are on break and yet we find work related projects to do.  I have started re-reading The Daily 5 book as part of a book study and was thinking of my Pensieve binder that I put together after reading The CAFE book.  I didn't take the time to personalize it or even put a cover sheet on it, so that is what I made this week.

Here is the cover I made:

and the spine:

Check out my Tried It Tuesday post about "pinspirational" recipes I have tried.

Friday, June 8, 2012

Friday Freebie: Daily 5 book study note taking booklet

Are you planning to follow the Daily 5 book study?

Here is a little booklet that I put together to take notes as I follow along with the book study. (Yes, the first page is blank.)

Here's how you print it:
Under Paper Scaling, choose Multiple pages per sheet.
Then choose 2 as the number of pages per sheet.
Click OK.

Here's how you assemble it:

First, fold the pages so that the text is on the outside.

Stack all of the chapter pages with the fold on the right side.

Open the title page and insert the chapter pages.

Add a couple of staples to keep it together!

**The document was revised on 6/9/12.  I realized as I started reading this morning that Chapter 1 IS the Introduction, so I have removed the Introduction page and added a Notes page at the end.

I can't wait to see all the great ideas everyone else has!

Trip to Target and Data Binder Cover Page

Yesterday I went to Target.  Thankfully their dollar spot isn't yet stocked with Back-to-School goodies because I had a pretty long list of stuff I truly needed to pick up.  I did see that these babies are on sale:

So, if you plan to make those cute drawers you pinned on Pinterest, you'd better get to Target to pick them up while they are on sale!

I refrained from buying any.  I really wanted them, but I have no place to put them.  I also have nothing that HAS to go in the drawers.  I already have 2 undecorated sets at school.  I will just have to pretty them up instead!

While at Target, I also bought a new binder.  I needed one for data.  My current data notebook has been used so much, it is starting to fall apart at the seams.  This inspired me to create a new cover page for my new binder.  Here's what I came up with:

I made another one and added it as my first item in my Teachers Pay Teachers store!

You can get it here if you like it.

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Tried it Tuesday?

So, if yesterday was Made It Monday, then today should be Tried It Tuesday, right?

Pinterest is like internet bookmarks in pictures, but the cool part is that you get to see all of the "bookmarks" that other people have, too!  I mostly use it for classroom ideas, but occasionally I find food ideas.  Today I pinned this yummy looking creation:

It looked SO yummy that I couldn't stop thinking about it and decided to make it for lunch.  My 6 year old son William took one bite and told me, "This is AMAZING!".  How's that for a pinspirational lunch?

Monday, June 4, 2012

Monday Made It link Up

I am linking up with 4th Grade Folics to show off something I made!

I actually made this about 3 weeks ago, but I wanted to share how easy it could be for you to make too!

This cute little mini clipboard, scrapbook paper, matching stickers, and ribbon were all purchased at Michael's.  The "C" was cut with a cricut machine.  I actually bought several of the clipboards because they were being clearanced. (Less than $0.50 each!)  They are easy to work with because the clip is attached with screws, meaning it can be removed for easy papering.  I used spray adhesive to attach the paper.  I totally recommend that you cut the paper larger than the board and trim after you have it adhered.  Once any part of the paper touches the board, it is stuck!

My original intention was to use this for data or keeping track of grading sheets or something along those lines, but it came out so cute that I just might use it as a photo frame!  Clip on a favorite photo and tack to my bulletin board or place it in a plate stand on my desk.  I haven't decided yet.

This "pinspiration" came from here and here.

Friday, June 1, 2012

The Queen's Giveaway

The Queen of the First Grade Jungle has hit 1,000 followers.  With the help of several great blogging teacher friends, she is giving away some amazing things.  Check out how you can win over at her blog!