Sunday, February 22, 2015

Human Hungry Hippos & Big News!

So, I have this little FB page HERE and posted a video of an activity we did after school this week. It reached close to 600K people in a few days....what???? #holycrapballs (excuse my language) at least I didn't use the "s" know "stupid" :o)

I work with some fabulous teachers my friends. About once a month we get together to burn off some stress after school. It's always an activity that keeps everyone laughing! Two of our third grade teachers found a video on youtube and said..."What about this?" Yes, please! I was the first one to volunteer my photography & videography services. I was afraid I would hurt myself & I really wanted to sit back the first time to laugh observe.

I'm not sure who blew up the balloons or how many we had...we had a lot! On the left is our secretary counting out the steps and marking each spot so we didn't have cheaters. 
Baskets were from the Dollar Tree and we had the scooters in the gym already. 
We also had a Bluetooth player blasting some 80's music to get everyone in the mood. 
Next, we picked teams. Well....they stood on the black line and counted off....1..2..3..4. Team two won every single game but we actually caught team 1 cheating...ha!

The video we watched had ropes attached to the scooters but we did not play that way. The game literally lasts about 50 seconds. You definitely can take turns on the scooter and pushing the scooter. Thankfully, nobody was too aggressive and nobody got hurt...our stomachs hurt from laughing...that is about it.

This is the first video I have ever posted to youtube! I can't believe how easy it was! Stay tuned for more videos!!!! Uh-oh! You have been warned!

I also wanted to make an official and exciting announcement! I am so honored and ecstatic about presenting in Las Vegas this summer for TPT...AGAIN!!!! I blogged all about my fabulous trip and presentation HERE.

I PROMISE it will be even more EPIC than it was last year. I will be presenting two different sessions!! Yay!!! You can register below! I hope to see you there!

Sunday, February 15, 2015

Castle Block Obsession-Lakeshore Review

When Lakeshore Learning contacted me to do a review, I was hesitant to choose these castle blocks. I thought they were too young for my firsties. Boy......was I wrong!!!! They are obsessed my friends!
Immediately, my mind was spinning! How could I use this to bribe award good behavior. You know I am ALL.ABOUT.THAT! I love recognizing positive behavior choices and then the rest of the students naturally follow suit. 
First, I let the first four students who finished their morning work correctly test them out. This was my way of reeling the others in.....the blocks were my bait. 
Then I decided they have to earn the time with the castle blocks. I decided that they had to turn in a "No Morning Work" REWARD COUPON to play with them other than indoor recess.
Lakeshore Learning is offering my loyal readers a 20% off coupon!!!! Hurry and purchase any nonsale item, including these castle blocks by 3/31/15!

Sunday, February 8, 2015

February is Random Act of Kindness month but there is no reason this can't go on all year long. I am one of the teachers in charge of Student Council at our school and we are promoting this throughout our school and home. 

Kindness is Contagious! 
What Does the Principal Do All Day? Class book
Here are some pics from my classroom. The first grade assignment was to write a class book to our principal titled "What Does the Principal Do All Day?" The first grade classes had such a blast writing these. The principal is going to absolutely love reading these books. Out of the mouth of babes! If you look at the above pic take a look at the arrow. I had to leave the room after I saw this pic. He is going #2! I had him leave that part out but I can't wait to show him this pic after all is said and done!
 I provided 8 different book covers (male and female) with full color and black and white options.
 Here is a sample of some of the graphic organizers I included. I left some blank so you can use them with with other writing.
 Here are just some of the writing templates I included. Our kindergarten students are making a class book for our dean of students. I also included one for your vice principal if you have one at your school.
Here is a pic I posted on Instagram and had some emails about it. Hope you follow me!
 There are so many people to be thankful for at our schools....ALL.YEAR.LONG. It's always nice to recognize staff that gets burned out just like we do. 
Each grade level was assigned different staff members to thank.
Kindergarten made a class book for our Dean of Students (included). Second grade wrote letters to our cafeteria staff and nurse. Third grade wrote to our classroom aides, title staff & recess aides. Finally, fourth grade wrote to our custodians and secretaries. 

The first 5 to leave me a comment will get this for FREE. Don't forget to leave your email! 

Sunday, January 25, 2015

Camp Kindergarten Family Literacy Night

Family Literacy Night Ideas
I am so excited to share some amazing ideas from our Kindergarten team at my school. 

We are lucky enough to have a corporation foundation that offers grants about 3x/year. Our awesome kindergarten team wrote a grant for a family literacy night with the families at our school. They went with a camping theme and it turned out absolutely amazing!
Family Literacy Night Ideas
The team put together the above flyer with directions for the parents that attended. I love how they incorporated technology by using the QR codes! The various QR codes went to various camping songs for the families to enjoy while "camping".
Family Literacy Night Ideas
 They had display signs complete with directions for every activity available. All of the activities had an educational spin to them. This showed our families how fun you can make learning. There was a big emphasis on sight words and CVC words. 
Family Literacy Night Ideas
 The team purchased a ton of Twister games and made them into sight word games. They made the pockets out of sheet protectors so you can slide the words in and out when needed. One of the parents even made these wooden stands to display the directions. 
Family Literacy Night Ideas
To set the mood, all of the lights were off. There was over 200 flashlights available for the families to use at each game. They also had 10 tents that had sight words on stars on the top of each tent! It was absolutely adorable!!! The kids had loads of fun and were learning at the same time! 
Family Literacy Night Ideas
Here is a river walk where they hopped along and read number words. How cute is this?!?!
Family Literacy Night Ideas
Another adorable set up here. This was a "fishing for rhymes" game. They had six ponds set up with different words and the kids went fishing with magnetic fishing poles. Adorbs! 
Family Literacy Night Ideas

Our entire cafeteria was full of games at each table. The "Don't Spill the Beans" game was made into an alphabet sound game. Jenga was made into a sight word game. The others included an alphabet bingo and CVC games. 
Family Literacy Night Ideas

Also included on the tables were various crafts and they even had s'mores to make!
Family Literacy Night Ideas
The families were able to sit fireside to relax and read books. There were a ton of sleeping bags to lay or sit on. The setting was absolutely amazing! 
Family Literacy Night Ideas

Take a look at this homemade fire pit! This looked so realistic!!!! It plugged in and everything! Under the wood was a fan that blew the pretend fire. It was perfect!
Family Literacy Night Ideas

A family literacy night is not complete without a photo booth! 
Family Literacy Night Ideas
This is inside of one of our kindergarten classrooms. The scene has been set for weeks before this amazing night. The stuffed animals even had pretend s'mores around the fire! 
Family Literacy Night Ideas
They also had family literacy night momentum built up throughout our hallways as well. 

I hope I provided you with some ideas to throw your own family literacy night. Our kindergarten team is a very important part of our school and they provide an unbelievable foundation for our kids.

Friday, January 2, 2015

December fun!

Well, I just got back from a MUCH NEEDED vacation in St. Croix! I still have several days of relaxation and then back to work.
Here are just a few pics from our vacation.............

Have you ever heard of "island time"? Me either!'s equivalent to the idiom "slow as molasses". This city girl does not have the patience for "island time" all. I thought my head was going to pop off if they didn't move faster. If you are are inviting them to move even slower. 
Did I have fun? Absolutely! My husband and I had a wonderful time reconnecting and disconnecting from reality and it was much needed. 
If you decide to go here...don't be in a hurry....EVER. And if you like a cocktail or two, order 4-6 at a time. I'm not kidding! 
Now for some pics from our fun filled December!

These are my top 5 AR test takers and they received this warm fuzzy as big as their head.... that is worth a whopping 200 fuzzies. Talk about motivation to read! It's been a mad dash for the computers daily ever since I found these bad boys. I got them on clearance at Michael's Craft Store after Halloween for 29 cents each!

We have been loving our new Ipad cart at school. We have several carts that we can check out weekly. I check them out for Daily 5 and our math work stations.

Now for tons of pics of our classroom elf. This is how he arrived!

So Mr. Lynne (our awesome head custodian) is the one who climbed on the roof a few years ago to take a pic of my students making a human peace sign. I love this guy! So I prepped him in the morning and he was nervous. I just said go with the flow and follow my lead...oh & promise not to make fun of me or tell the office how I act in front of the So he came in and said he found this package on the roof! He was decorating up there and low and behold this was dropped off above our classroom with our name on it! Um....genius, right? 
We tried using our inferring skills to figure out what was in our package. They did not want to make this a learning experience whatsoever. Just open the bag Mrs. Dillard!

 The suspense................

 What???? We got an elf for our classroom? In a balloon?!?! 
What an epic elf arrival!

I'm so shocked still....can't you tell? I'm reading them the note directly from the North Pole!

Mrs. Dillard even got something! A naughty and nice student report! I'm so glad I have such a good class and didn't have to send any naughty notes!

Each student got their very own journal to document and have forever memories.

We had to find a place for our elf to sit while we named him. He had a perfect view of the classroom.

According to the note we had a very important job of giving our classroom elf a name......

We each had our own voting slip and graph to fill out. Our elf had to make sure we were hitting our standards ;o).

Now we have all the names in our special voting bag. We have to narrow it down to three. Our three names that were drawn from the bag were Elfie Jr., Sporty Elf, & Elf. It was extremely hard for me not to sway the vote. I felt like the big guy was watching me too! Ha! 

The name that won was Elfie Jr!!!!

Now it was time to fill out the beginning of our elf journal! They were so excited that they each received this all the way from the North Pole!

To our surprise Elfie Jr. borrowed my push pins and escaped from his arrival balloon! He brought the boys and girls a mailbox, pencils and special notes to write to him. Isn't he thoughtful?

He even left the kids a message and helped himself to my Olaf post its. The students know how much I love my post it's so I was not happy :o)

The next day the students came and in we could not find our Elf. We were very worried so we called Mrs. Hemphill and figured out where he was! He was fishing with her elf in her classroom! Those little stinkers!

Here the boys are looking at a special note "H" got from Elfie Jr. He forgot to leave him a treat the day before so he left him 6 chocolates! Elfie Jr. must have been in a hurry!

After the students got back from special they had a special treat on their desk. He always snuck on my computer...or I forgot to write a quick note. I'd always sneak myself a pic and have it on there when my "electrician" turned on our smartboard for the next lesson. 

Here is Elfie Jr. the next day just hanging around getting in the way. He had a very good view of the class here but I bet he got dizzy.

elf surveillance

I had my elf surveillance sign hanging outside our door along with my student report book. This pic must have been snapped during bus

We found Elfie Jr. hanging in our window the next day. Apparently, he thinks the hallway needs some monitoring.

We came back from special and couldn't find him again...he left the entire first grade a message on our lockers.

 I love these pictures!!!!!

They loved filling out their daily elf report. This can all be found in my Ultimate Elf in the Classroom Kit.

Elfie Jr. invited and clothed our classroom pets and they had a sleepover! Just make yourself comfortable Elfie Jr. Did you notice his chevron pj's? I hit an all time low this year. Clothes for the elf? Why, yes! Tons!
Here is just one of the several treats that were left daily. The parents in my class were outstanding with this top secret mission. We had to get all the treats to school without them seeing or figuring it out. They never suspected a thing!

This map is from the amazing Lyndsey's holiday around the world pack. I use everything she makes in our classroom! Love her stuff!

Uh-oh! I was home sick so Mr. Elfie Jr. thought he should be the substitute! Thanks to Stacey from Teaching Ever After for filling in for me!

This was very last minute but it turned out so CUTE! All I did was throw some chevron wrapping paper up on a spare bulletin board and called the students over three at a time. They loved it!!!!

selfie with elfie

selfie with elfie

selfie with elfie

I know I am missing a ton of Elfie Jr.'s escapades ....sorry. If anything, I hope I give you some ideas for next year!

 Elfie Jr. planted some mints while we were gone. The next day we found this!

Check out our last surprise!!!!!

Our very special guest read "The Polar Express"!

Our last treats were wrapped books for everyone & a pair of elf pants (from Lakeside Collection) full of treats! I read this special story called Holidays with the Right Family. I used the story with 20 passes and they had an absolute blast! Thanks to Christy and Tammy from Fluttering through First Grade for this freebie!

 If you are anything like are just now getting back into school mode. I have been printing and laminating like a mad woman! Here is a peek at my Winter-licious CCSS Aligned ELA Unit. This is one of my favorite units!

Here is a detailed list of each center: 
1. Winter ABC Order: CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RF.1.2
12 full color word cards with center cover & accountability sheet included.

2. Let In Snow Syllables: CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RF.1.2c, RF.1.3d, RF.1.3e
12 full color word cards (one, two, three & four syllables) & 4 syllable sorting mats. Center cover & accountability sheet included.

3. Penguin Parts of Speech: CCSS.ELA-Literacy.L.1.5a, L.1.5d
Full color noun, verb & adjective sorting mats, 12 full color word cards (4 nouns, 4 verbs, 4 adjectives). Center cover & accountability sheet included.

4. Chill Out Winter Word Sort: CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RF.1.3
Full color Read/Silly sorting mats, 24 full color word cards (12 read, 12 silly). Center cover & accountability sheet included.

5. Snowmates Compound Word Sort: CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RF.1.3e
Full color Compound/Not Compound sorting mats, 24 full color word cards (12 compounds, 12 are not compounds). Center cover & accountability sheet included.

6. Snow Special Synonyms: CCSS.ELA-Literacy.L.1.5b
24 full color synonym word cards. Center cover & accountability sheet included.

7. Arctic Antonyms: CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RF.1.3, RF.1.3g
24 full color antonym word cards. Center cover & accountability sheet included.

8. Scrambled Sentences: CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RF.1.1a
5 different 7-15 word scrambled sentence cards. Center cover & a b&w reproducible book to write & illustrate their sentences.

9. Stashing Through the Snow: CCSS.ELA-Literacy.L.1.1e, L.1.4c
Past, present & future tense center. 3 full color sorting mats & 30 full color word cards. Center cover & accountability sheet included.

10. Peace, Love & Penguins: Fact or Opinion: CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RF.1.4a, RI.1.10, RL.1.10
Full color Fact or Opinion sorting mats, 6 fact cards & 6 opinion full color cards. Center cover & accountability sheet included. 

I marked this unit 1/2 price! It will be 1/2 price through Sunday! Grab it HERE!