9/15/14

First a Little Story (and then a Winner!)

Guess what?

You'll never guess.

Remember how I said it was going to be super hot yesterday and so it wasn't my fault at all that I had to stay home in the air conditioning and watch movies and read blogs and peruse Pinterest and so on?  Remember that?

Well, ha ha ha.

Ha.

We lost power at about 3:45pm.  And by we lost power, I mean everything shut down. 

I had about 30% battery left on my Mac.  And about 50% battery left on my phone, and about 1% battery left in me once the heat started to kick in. 

IT.  WAS.  HOT.

And it was like the olden days.

And do you know that when you have no power, you do stupid things?  And you say stupid things?

Such as . . . 

Oh no!  The stuff in the crock pot isn't cooking any more.  We should probably put it in the fridge before it goes bad.

Or . . . 

Can you turn on a light?  It's dark in here.

Or even . . . 

I know what we can do!  Let's turn on the fan!

Yep.  That was me.  I was also the girl that kept turning on light switches every time I went into a room.  Uh huh.

Our power was out until 2:30am.  And there was no breeze and it did not cool down and it was like I was camping except I wasn't because I wasn't in a cute little cabin with working electricity which is the only way I like to camp, now that I'm a grown up.

We slept with wet towels on us.  And pretty much nothing else.  But I told the hubby not to get any ideas because I'm pretty sure I would have killed him and then made him into a paper fan of some sort.

At 2:30am, the power came back on in all its glory and I swore to it that I would never take it for granted again.

It went off and on again all day today (according to my neighbor) and now I am practically on the verge of hysteria, afraid that it is going to happen again.

So, to take my mind off of it, let's announce the winner of the Starbucks giveaway!


Check your email, Melissa!

Thanks to everyone who entered!  :)

I am off to stand in front of the air conditioning vent and the fan.  This is me not taking it for granted.

Obviously.

9/14/14

Partner Plays for Advanced Readers

Happy Sunday!

It's supposed to be 105 or 106 degrees today so we are going to be stuck inside today.  Which means it is absolutely not my fault if I have to watch a movie or two, read some blogs, peruse Pinterest, and eat snacks.  It's out of my control.  There's just nothing I can do about it.  Ho hum.

Before I go, I am dying to tell you about my new Reader's Theater pack.  I am so excited about it because it is for Advanced Readers.  The plays were so much fun to write, and you know I like to write so I was really in my element.
Compared to my Beginning Reader packs, this pack has varied sentence structure, a smaller font size, and no picture clues.  There are still two characters in each play (non-gender specific so you don't have to listen to two boys argue over who has to be the mom) and each play is two pages in length. 

I wrote these plays with some of my advanced first graders in mind (as in, I actually pictured a couple of my students "rehearsing" during centers) and now I can't wait to show it to them.  My high readers tend to ad-lib my Beginning Reader plays because the scripts are just way too easy for them.

And, I'm sorry, but don't go changing my lines, thankyouverymuch.  

These ten new plays will be just the ticket for differentiating for all of my learners.

Here's a sample.  I had a hard time choosing a sample because I really like all of them.  But I read this particular play out loud to my husband and I may or may not have asked him to be Cat 2.





I stayed away from Halloween topics just to be on the safe side.  You'll find apples, pumpkins, football, leaves, pie, and other autumn harvest topics instead.

If you'd like to win a copy, I'm having a little give away over on my Facebook page . . . 

:)

Alright.  I'm off to eat snacks.  And it's pretty cold in our air conditioned house so I may need to wear a hoodie and pretend we're actually having fall weather outside.

9/13/14

Five for Fraturday

Well . . . this was a week.

It started out normally enough (unless you count the whole Secret Language Situation) and then it ended on inclement weather due to extreme heat and bad air quality due to fires.

I do not even want to talk to anyone living not where I am who is experiencing cooler temps, light rain, wind, and even snow.  I click right out if I see it on Facebook or Instagram.  I have to click out, otherwise, I will not like you anymore.

I would like to wear a scarf.  And furry slippers.  And sit by a fire.  And pretend that I had been skiing all day.  Yes please.

So here is how the whole week went down.



One morning this week, I asked the hubby if he had any money.  I had nothing for lunch and was going to just get a school lunch.  Which meant I could choose from either Cardboard Pizza or Pretend Chicken Nuggets.  It was a nail biter, let me tell you.

He didn't have any money and I told him it was no big deal . . . I could gather some loose change together.  And then I went to get in the shower.

When I came downstairs, all of this was on the counter: A Nonfat Salted Caramel White Mocha, $20 cash, and a snack pack that he knows I like that comes with turkey, cheese, pretzels thins, carrots and grapes.

He is a keeper!  Even when he doesn't put his cereal bowl into the dishwasher and, instead, just puts it right on top of the counter that the dishwasher sits under.  And, even when he puts an empty wrapper or empty box or empty anything on top of the counter that the trash can sits under.

A KEEPER, I tell you.

I put this on Instagram.

I am STILL cracking up about this picture.  I mean, it might as well be 1977 or something.  

I even asked the photographer if it was just going to be a headshot and she said yes.  And now I can't remember if she told me to put my thumbs in my pockets or if this is just something that I naturally do.  And, if so, why?  WHY WOULD I JUST STAND THERE WITH MY THUMBS IN MY POCKETS? 

I feel like the only thing I'm missing is BIG HAIR.  And maybe a sibling or two.

The pictures that were in my package did include a regular head shot, but this outside in the fall in front of my pretend house shot made me laugh and laugh and laugh.  So now here it is so that you can laugh, too!

There is even a picture with a background that looks like I am sitting among bubbles or something.  Maybe that particular one will just pop up in the middle of a future post without any warning . . . 



This picture isn't doing it any justice, but the corners of all of these papers were CHEWED ON by Miss Murphie.

They were also wet.

And folded over.

I was in shock.

Murphie never gets in trouble.  Well, hardly at all, anyway.  When I print stuff, I always get it out of the printer and then put the stack on the carpet at the top of the stairs.  I mean, the top of the stairs is my office space until my real office become a reality.  And, if I leave the papers in the printer with the armoire doors closed, I will leave my house without all of the stuff I need.

I have left countless stacks of papers at the top of the stairs until I'm ready to take them down.  I do it ALL THE TIME. 

And Murphie has never ever bothered them.

Well, I had to discipline her.  I had to.  Which means I started to reprimand her, she ducked her head as if she was ashamed, and then we had a cuddle.

I am Mrs. No Nonsense, you know.


I have to explain this next picture before you see it.

We had our annual Patriot's Day assembly on September 11.  It's a big deal at our school.  The PTA and the teachers on our 9/11 committee get to school early and set up for it.  First responders and members of the military are invited to attend and their names are read aloud, we have a moment of silence, we sing a school wide song, an upper grader reads a poem, and our chorus sings, too.  It is a very special day and I am proud of my school for choosing to still remember and honor those that lost their lives on September 11.

Every year, classes always take group pictures in front of the signs posted.  It's a thing.

I grabbed the red sign below (I did not rip the corner.  It came that way) and hung it up in my room so we could take a class picture in the air conditioning.  I mean, hello?  I'm no dummy.

I started placing my tall kids on the back counter.  I set out a chair and they climbed up there.  It's about four feet off the ground, but one can never be too careful and I kept saying don't fall off and kill yourselfwatch yourself, scoot back, remember to use the chair to climb down, and then lo and behold, when it was time to get down and I went to get the chair for them, they had all just scooted off and no one even used the chair to climb down.  Daredevils, I tell you.

Anyways, as I was saying, while I was placing my tall kids, one of my itty bitty girls started crying.

"What's wrong?" I said, completely concerned.  Absolutely.  I stopped everything to attend to her.   

"I never get to be in the back.  Every time in kindergarten, I was always in the front.  I want to be in the back."  Hiccup.  Sob.  Tears.

Well . . . if anyone knows about this, it's me.  So I told her I never get to be in the back either.  That in every picture EVER TAKEN of me, I am always in the front.  For years and years and years.

She wasn't having it.  I [patiently] explained to her that if she was in the back, we would not be able to see her beautiful face.

She wasn't having it.

So I let her climb up there, and then I placed a tall student in front of her, and I took a quick iPhone picture.  And I showed it to her.

Oh, we laughed.  We laughed and laughed.  The itty bitty girl is wearing a red and white striped shirt.  You can kind of see her arm.  And her forehead.  And the only reason you can see her forehead is because she was tilting her head back and stretching her neck as much as humanly possible.




Oh, Pin It

How I love thee!

It saved my life on Friday with our inclement weather.  It was THE  perfect inside recess activity.  Every single kid was engaged, pinning away, AND we were working on our short e word family (et). 

I'm not tooting my own horn when I say this, either.  But they LOVED it and kept saying how fun it was.  Now we're ready to do it independently in a center because I can also trust all of my kids with pins now, too!

WOOT!

And that's pretty much it.

My week.

I'm off to cut apart my school pictures.  I'm going to write little notes on the back and send them to all of my friends!  OH JOY!

;)

9/9/14

Secret Language

If we had been keeping score today (and we're weren't), the score would have been:

Kids:  1,000,000
Me:    2

It was a rough day.  

However, the kids had no clue.  Of course not.  They got all of their recesses (no inclement weather here!) and they had their second round of centers, and we did short e Fluency and Fitness, and we read Junie B. and we played hot potato with our new class pet, Oakley, to review the Five Senses that we should have reviewed, oh, I don't know . . . a week or two ago?  And we did some hard math and realized we are all Math Wizards.

I'm just self reflecting on my own day and I'm telling you right now . . . it was rough.

Tomorrow we are going to work on one little thing.  Amongst all of the other learning requirements.

Some background:  We have no trouble going to our cubbies now.  I mean, it's been a whole month of school.  We are good to go with that!

But we are having trouble in another area.  And today, well . . . today was bad.

And I am here to tell you all about it.  Not to make you think I don't have classroom management skills (Because I do.  I really do!  One time, a parent volunteer told me I should present at a workshop on classroom management so you know I believed her, and now I tell everyone I do have classroom management skills).  

I tell you this so that you can tell me that the same things are happening to you, and then I can feel better about myself.

Here's what happened:

When I said, "Clean your floor and stand by your chair" I was actually not speaking in a secret language even though some of my students seemed to think I was.  And these same students thought that they understood my secret language and could decode it.  

Even though there was no secret language

But I cannot think of any other thing to explain the phenomenon that happened today when I said, "Clean your floor and stand by your chair."

I mean, I do get that it's two-step directions, but we are all capable of following those two steps.  Really.  We are.  Plus, their kinder teachers told me they could.  

1.  Clean your floor.  

In English, it means pick up the scraps and the pencils and the crayons and the ziplock bag and the tiny little Lego Man you brought to school that you shouldn't have brought in the first place, and get your lunch box, and grab your baseball cap, and get that big, huge, rolling backpack that first graders definitely need to have, seeing as how we have ONE WHOLE HOMEWORK FOLDER and by golly, that folder is heavy, so we must roll it and make the people behind us trip over it because they are not paying attention.  Get that big monstrosity, too.

2.  Stand by your chair.

In English, it means STAND BY YOUR CHAIR.  

I mean, I could be more clear, I guess.  Elaborate, if you will.  

Okay, fine.

Keep your legs straight at the knee.  Don't bend them.  Keep both feet flat on the floor.  Hold yourself upright.

That is called standing.

Now, just do that next to your chair.  By your chair.  Near your chair.

See?

It's simple.

Clean your floor.  Stand by your chair.

HOWEVER . . . 

When I said that today, some of my kids seriously thought I was speaking in code.

Because, instead of cleaning their floor and standing by their chair, two kids went to stand by the AC unit to feel the air come out and they talked into it to see if their voices echoed, two kids were suddenly by my side (I wonder if I look like a chair?), one kid tapped on me (the horror!), and four kids tried to show me their work.

I swore to all of them I was not speaking in code.

I think I convinced almost all of them.

But I am afraid for tomorrow.

I am very afraid.

What do you think will happen when I say, "Take out your scissors"?

Yep.  Very afraid.

9/7/14

Starbucks Giveaway! Yes, Please!

I may have mentioned in my last few posts that I am drowning in all things having to do with the beginning of the school year.  And, when I mention it, I usually get a comment or two (or eleven or twelve) saying that you are in the same boat and neither of us can find the oars, and it doesn't matter anyway, because the ship is sinking.

So.

Let's put a little bit of treasure in that ship and cheer up.  What do you say?



I’m super excited to be teaming up with my favorite freebie-friends for a BIG giveaway to help get you going this school year.  Over at the Freebielicious blog, we’re giving away a BIG, GRAND PRIZE (scroll down to the bottom of this post to read all about it!) and right here on my little blog, I’m giving away $25.00 to the only thing that has saved my sanity so far this year:  STARBUCKS!


I usually only get Starbucks on the weekend.  It's a bit of a tradition with my husband, Murphie, and me.  We get Starbucks and go to the park.  

However, this year, I find myself there more often during the week as I'm in survival mode and it is allowed.

I also found a new drink which I talked about on Instagram.

My usual is a Grande Non-Fat White Mocha Stirred with Whip.

If only I had the time to sit and drink it out of a mug like this.
Next to a roaring fire.
Wearing a scarf.

But last weekend, I found this drink:

Salted Caramel Mocha

I wish I hadn't found it.  Because now I'm a little addicted and I wake up wanting it.

Yesterday morning, I ordered it this way:  Grande Non-fat Salted Caramel White Mocha with Whip.

Holy Deliciousness.  I might have texted everyone I knew.

Anyways, whether you like black coffee or iced coffee or hot chocolate or even a bagel, you might want to enter to win this!

Please enter with integrity, using the Rafflecopter below. I’ll choose a winner a week from today.

a Rafflecopter giveaway


But . . . before you go . . . 

The Freebielicious girls know how much of your own hard-earned money goes into buying supplies, tissues, books, and classroom d├ęcor to get your classroom “kid-ready,” (not to mention how we sometimes try to hide it from the hubbies and that's no easy task, either) and we want to be able to put some of that money right back into your pocket. Over at the Freebielicious blog, we are giving away a $300 Visa gift card!

I KNOW!!!!!!

To enter the BIG GIVEAWAY, click HERE or on the button below!


Also, while you're there, be sure to check out what the other Freebie-ladies are giving away. Be prepared for some AMAZING prizes. Take a peek at some of them below!


               

9/6/14

Five for Fraturday

TGIS!

Okay, here we go again.  Only one of my pictures will be teaching-related this week.

Again, this doesn't mean I'm not teaching amazing things.  It just means I was too busy teaching to stop and take a picture.  

I know that every year I feel like this at the beginning of the year, but it just feels like I can't get anything in order, I'm all over the place, I teach something and instantly think I should have done it differently, I think I went too fast, now I think I'm going too slow, I'm not sure when we're ever going to get to do centers the real way, I have seriously not taught a formal writing lesson yet, and is there a limit to the amount of brain breaks one should be doing in a day?

Well, anywho, none of that really matters because it is Saturday.  And, well . . .  on Saturday, I try not to be too hard on myself.  I reserve that for Sundays. 





Do you see what I see?

I was out back with Murphie per usual (every morning I take her outside for about 25 minutes while I drink my coffee and pray, except I pray while standing up and alternately kicking a soccer ball for Murphie to chase) when I heard a loud ker-plunk against the fence.

The ker-plunk made me duck and cover (I have a habit of this) and then Murphie found the GIGANTIC insect (pictured above) while it was dazed and confused on the ground.  She pawed at it for a second or two and then it shook itself awake (I think it had knocked itself out or maybe it even died and Murphie is now a hero for reviving it and I can write a book about this adventure instead) and it kept trying to get up and fly away, but it couldn't.

I took that time to go inside, get my phone, and take this picture of it.  

LOOK HOW HUGE IT IS.

IT IS DISGUSTING.

I WILL HAVE NIGHTMARES ABOUT IT CHASING ME AND GETTING CAUGHT IN MY HAIR.

While I was investigating it, it suddenly got its bearing and flew straight up into the air while I just happened to be bending over taking a big, long look at it.

Let's just say that I am happy Murphie was the only one with me in the backyard while I screamed and flapped and shook my hair and checked over my shoulder and gave myself a pat down as if I had just failed the metal detector at the airport.



I got a special surprise from a very good friend of mine (her name is Susan) who moved away.  We used to be teaching partners and then she moved home to St. Louis.  And now she lives in Kansas.  Although none of that matters except to say she does not live down the street from me anymore.  :(

When Susan's house sold, and she called to tell me, I pretty much hung up on her, grabbed a bottle of wine and a box of tissues, and drove over to her house.

If only I could still just drive over to her house.

Susan makes the cards.  

She's like that.

I try not to worry about that either on Saturdays.  Or Sundays.  Or any other day of the week because I am just not crafty.  But, hey, I bring wine when wine is called for.  Which is often, if I'm not mistaken.

It was a card for just because.

LOVE IT!  Thank you, Susan!  Miss you, Susan!  Love you, Susan!




Click {HERE} to check it out!

Here's the something teaching related!

Hadar at Miss Kindergarten featured Brittany's Fluency and Fitness packs on her blog this week.

I fell over from the brilliance of this.  

People, there is NO printing.  It is seriously READY TO GO.  I emailed it to myself the morning I bought it, opened up the email on my school computer and voila.

Project on screen (and my screen happens to be my whiteboard, but whatever).

I bought two packs.  The CVC pack and the Number Sense pack.  We were working on short o this week so we used the CVC pack . . . it was FANTASTIC!  The kids loved it!  The craziest part was how quickly my kids could transition from the exercise back to reading the CVC words!  They LOVED it.  

You can read more about it and see a video of it in action on Hadar's blog.



Do you recognize these people?

Hmm, do you?

Yep.  It is Juan Pablo and Nikki AND GUESS WHAT?

They are going to be on the new season of Couples Therapy starting WEDNESDAY!

I know I shouldn't love Couples Therapy.  I know it makes me look bad.  I know it's trashy.

But I cannot help myself.  I just cannot.  I am so interested in the relationships of these people and what they're going through.  I just can't not watch.  And, as I've said before, I practically majored in psychology except I didn't because it meant I would have been in school longer.  Analyze that.

Now I get to watch JUAN PABLO and NIKKI's relationship unfold and see all the ins and outs???  YESSSSSSSS!!

Click {HERE} to see the whole video which is really just snippets and not exactly a whole video so don't get too excited like I did.  I'm pretty sure they're in therapy because of the whole I love you thing.  




When I went to school today, I had a guest bedroom.  With a bed.  And pillows.  And sheets and stuff.  And when I came home, I didn't have it anymore.

That's because the hubby and I have been tossing around the idea of making me an actual office.  And, by this, I mean the hubs would do all the work, and I would get online and pick out office stuff that I like.  

An office could mean that when I print something and I forget the armoire doors are closed (our printer is in an armoire at the top of the stairs), all of the stuff that I printed will not be folded over on itself, and then when I open the doors, the paper will not fall in a massive, unorganized heap onto the carpet.  Instead, an office could mean that the printer is on a desk instead.  And I would be able to find things because they would have a designated space instead of a shelf here, in the kitchen pantry there, and squeezed into a drawer over there.

Our guest bedroom gets used exactly two times per year when Kerry visits.  Her two boys sleep in it.  

Now, they will still sleep in it, but they will be sleeping on blow up mattresses on the floor.  

An office for me would be used EVERY SINGLE DAY.  I have dreamed about an office.  I have pinned office spaces.  I have drooled over blogger's offices.  I would love an office instead of working on the floor at the top of our stairs.  Or on my bed.  Or at the kitchen island.  

And NOW . . . the guest bedroom is completely empty and the hubs even ripped out all of the carpet last night.

There is no going back now.

I will try to take progress pics as we go along, but it might be hard considering things seem to happen magically while I am at school. 

And there you have it.

My week.

How was yours?

9/3/14

Class Pet

Well, what do you know?  It's almost the weekend!  You've just got to love these short weeks, right?

Not that I don't love what I do.  

You know I love what I do.

Especially when class pets are involved.  This is not to be confused with Teacher's Pet.  You just have to keep up with me around here.  Stay focused.  

We have a Houghton Mifflin Big Book that we read every year called "I Am Six" and there is a page all about class pets.  And one of the class pets is a SNAKE.

No thank you.

Not happening.

And I don't think I'm taking care of fish, either.  Or looking after gerbils and trying to find a place for them to spend the night over the weekend.  

No to turtles, (the real kind and the kind that present themselves as children who do not finish anything quickly at all) and no to hamsters, and let's just go ahead and say no to hermit crabs, too.

I am an animal lover.  This is a fact.

However, I prefer my animals to be at home.  And I like it when they are of the canine species.

So.

My class pet happens to be a stuffed animal.  And that's okay because my kids love love love him.

He is new this year.  So he's learning the ropes along with the rest of us.

Meet Oakley.  The Class Dog.  The Class Pet.


My mom took me to Build a Bear this summer, and my nieces helped me build him.  It's sort of a tradition.

About a million years ago, we did the same thing with another class pet.

Wilson.  The Bear.  Because a bear makes a wonderful class pet, don't you think?

Wilson was our class bear for about fourteen years.  Or so.  Give or take.  I can't actually remember because I am old.  But my mom took me to Build a Bear and my nieces (and I think even a nephew) helped me build him.  See?  That's called a tradition.  Even if it only happens twice in a big-ole-long time period.

Wilson was a trooper, let me tell you.  

If a kid was sad, I'd say, "Do you want to hold Wilson?"  And, sure enough, Wilson just dried up their tears.  

Literally.  

Countless tears were wiped on Wilson.

If a student said he felt sick, I'd say, "Do you want to hold Wilson?"  And, sure enough, that would cure him.  Well, unless he was throwing up, and then I let him hold the trash can, of course.

Countless germs were deposited all over Wilson.

Which meant I took Wilson home a lot and washed him.  A LOT.  If Wilson wasn't being clutched upside down and dragged around the classroom by one paw, then he was inside my washing machine.

Some kids made up diseases in order to hold Wilson.  And others made up sad, sad stories just to hold Wilson.

Wilson was a hero.

And then . . . well . . . Mother Bear happened.  And I kind of lost my love for bears.  Sort of.  I still think they're cute.  I just don't need them all around my classroom.

So I just decided it was time for poor Wilson to retire.  It was time.  He was more than ready.

He is now a cuddly bear in the library and loves it when kids read to him.  He used to wear clothes, but now that he's retired, he's more carefree.

It is now Oakley's turn to be slobbered on, cried on, coughed on, and used as a tissue.

Today, we had a birthday, so I put his special shirt on him.


Oakley got to hang out with the birthday boy all day long.  But he doesn't go home with the birthday kid.

Instead, we have something different for that.  It keeps me on my toes having all kinds of various classroom stuff that has nothing to do with curriculum unless I think really hard about it and make it fit somewhere among the Common Core.  Believe me, I can make almost anything fit among the Common Core.

You can check out how I used to do birthdays {HERE}, but it's completely changed and I'll have to blog about all the new stuff soon.

In the meantime, I need to go put Oakley in the washing machine.

:)