Monday, December 10, 2012

A sick (yet productive!) day

Well, I thought I was actually going to make it to Winter Break without using a sick day this year.  Would’ve been the first time in my three years of teaching full-time.  So much for that – the hubby and I are both home today with strep throat and bronchitis!  BLAH.  We went to Wal-Mart to pick up our prescriptions and bought these things…. cough drops, ibuprofen, chicken noodle soup, oatmeal, ice cream, 7 Up, and tea.  I think it's safe to say we’re now prepared., lol.  Despite all the icky, germy miserableness, I found three positive things about today….

1.  I got to eat ice cream (twice) without feeling guilty.
         2.  We were able to watch the daytime episodes of Saved by the Bell and Boy Meets World. YES!
.        3.  Being stuck on the couch all day, I got caught up on some TpT things!

So, I finally finished my second set of Write around the Room Activities.  You can now have a set for nearly every season and holiday.   My kids just LOVE this activity, no matter what their writing ability!  I hang the posters in hiding places around the room, and the kids grab their clipboards, search for the posters, and record the seasonal words.  And, I’ve discovered that they also totally dig the game 4 Corners, and these posters can be reused to make that game seasonal!

Click the pictures below to purchase Set 1 (back-to-school, fall, Halloween, Thanksgiving, and Christmas) or Set 2 (winter, Valentine’s Day, President’s Day, spring and summer).  Each set is 32 pages of posters and recording sheet.  I hope you find them useful!

Tomorrow is another at-home day (doctor’s orders!), but Wednesday I’ll be back at it with my firsties (and scrambling to catch up, of course).  Have a great week!!

Sunday, December 9, 2012

Goodbye Miss Green!

Last week, we said goodbye to our field student Miss Green, who has been visiting us twice a week all semester.  We prepared some gifts for her (it was also her birthday!), and we partied the afternoon away on her last day.  I totally love buying personalized things (I know I’m not the only one!!), and this gave me a perfect opportunity to do that.  Check out what we gave her…

We made this book of advice for her.  The kids each wrote what a teacher should always do and never do.  Hilarious and heartwarming!  I'm kicking myself because I forgot to take pictures of my most favorite responses, but here are a few:

A teacher should always be my best friend.
A teacher should always be a good helper.
A teacher should always learn how to work the SmartBoard.

A teacher should never stop being active.
A teacher should never be fake sick.
A teacher should never let kids act bad.

If you'd like to make one of these books for a student teacher, click the picture below to download the book cover, poem, and writing response page for free!

 And here are the lovely personalized gifts I also gave her:

The notepad, sticky notes, and note cards were made on Vistaprint.  LOVE this website - so many options for personalized items, practically for free!
This key chain was purchased from Button It's shop on Etsy.  Click the picture to visit her shop.  I'm in love with this thing - I totally want one for myself now! 
That’s all friends!  I’d love to hear your ideas for teacher goodbye gifts!

Sunday, November 25, 2012

Shop Til You Drop!

I hope you all had a wonderful Thanksgiving with family and friends!  It was nice to take some time away from the computer, but now I’m back preparing for the big TpT sale!  
Not that I didn’t shop far too much over the holiday weekend already…definitely did that too.  In my family, it’s a tradition for the women – mom, sister, niece, aunt, cousins, and I – to do MAJOR Black Friday shopping.  We’re not so much out to spend money, but more to spend time together.  We visit a huge amount of stores, consume a huge amount of coffee and McDonald's breakfast items (it’s really the only time I eat that, I swear!), and laugh like crazy all day long.  It’s one of my FAVORITE days of the year, and it kicks off the Holiday season for me.  It's my official start to the Christmas music, the gift shopping, and the decorating!  This year, I only lasted about six hours, because we went overnight instead of actually on Friday morning.   I crashed into bed around 5 am, and the others kept going until 10:00!  Yikes!  I suppose I better come more prepared next year. J

Anyway, I’m sure you know by now that TpT is hosting a BIG Cyber Monday Plus Tuesday sale!  I’ve been preparing in two ways – both adding some new items to my store and filling my cart with my wish list items from you guys.  I’m super excited!  My entire store will be 20% off, plus an additional 10% from TpT, which bring s the discount to a wonderful 28% off!   Click the image below to visit my store and shop til you drop!

Image created by Ashley at The School Supply Addict.
My newest addition that you may want to check out is a Seasonal Newsletter Pack.  This is the first year I have changed my newsletter template each month to give it some Holiday sparkle, and I’m so glad I did.  I put together all 12 newsletters – one for each month – in a pack for you.  The download also includes the writing prompt that I copy onto the back of my newsletter.  Each Friday afternoon, the kids write to their families telling about their week.  Click the picture below to get your newsletter pack!  Happy shopping! J

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Thankful Thoughts (A Freebie and Dear Diary, Ch. 3)

I've gotta say it: Can you believe Thanksgiving is NEXTWEEK??! Just 8 days away?!  Where have this month and year gone!?

I’m sharing another Thanksgiving freebie: a simple yet meaningful mini-book called My Thankful Thoughts.  I like this book because the kids can personalize it in ways that connect to their lives.  For example, instead of being thankful for the house they live in, they could thankful for the apartment or trailer instead, if that’s what their family has.  Instead of being thankful for the turkey that they eat – because their family might not have turkey – they can write about whatever it is they do eat.

Click the picture below to download My Thankful Thoughts for free!  And, you’ll like this part:  the book is teacher friendly.  Just run it through the copy machine with staples and cut apart.  No assembly required.  I hope you love it!

Speaking of Thanksgiving… I am behind on my Dear Diary entries, which I feel super guilty about considering this is the time to be THANKFUL.  I see many Facebook friends posting their daily thankful thoughts, which is what Dear Diary is all about.  It’s about finding the good and positive in my classroom and career each day.  About being thankful, always.  Because let’s be honest – this career can be absolutely, overwhelmingly demanding at times (I wonder how you amazing teachers with kids of your own do it! Just the thought makes me want to sleep!).  But, this career is also, at times, one of the most rewarding ones that I can imagine.  So, I’m thankful everyday for my classroom, my colleagues, and my students.  Now onto last week’s entry…

Monday: Staff night out is amazing therapy.  We went out for Mexican tonight, and I just love my co-workers.  They are so supportive, so kind, so wonderful.  

Tuesday: We did a voting activity day, for election day, and my little firsties were so serious and grown-up as they “voted.”  They were totally into it and wanted to know more.  Love them.

Wednesday:  My kiddos struggling with math facts are finally starting to move from immediately raising their hands for help to actually trying strategies out on their own.  Now, the answers aren’t always correct, but I’m seeing them use those number lines, and that’s progress!!

Thursday: Round 1 of parent-teacher conferences was tonight, and I had 100% of them show!  Yahoo!  Usually, I have a few no-shows, and while the extra downtime time is nice when that happens (admit it, you feel the same), it’s so much nicer to see that all these parents considered our conference a priority.  Loved getting to talk to every one of them. J

Friday: We’ve had a lot of absent kiddos – so many germs being spread around!  The ones at school have really seemed concerned about their sick friends.  They keep reminding me of what I’ll need to do that catch them up and to save extra copies of things for them, lol.

Sunday, November 11, 2012

Giving Thanks for Family....a Freebie!

OHMY, I’ve been so beyond busy.  Isn’t this time of year just insane wonderful?! Halloween has passed, parent-teacher conferences are half done, I’m planning for Thanksgiving and seeing loads of Christmas activities popping up on TpT too!  Hubby and I have been busy celebrating our 2nd anniversary and family birthdays, and we’ve been remodeling the house weekend after weekend.  We’re also training for our last races of the season (Turkey Trot, hooray!) One thing after another, and blogging has taken a backseat.  I can hardly keep up with sifting through everyone’s awesome updates, let alone create products myself.  Phew!

I did manage to put together this freebie tonight as I enjoyed an extra-large pumpkin pie smoothie (the calories are acceptable if it’s my whole entire dinner, right?)  This year, on the last day of school before Thanksgiving, we are having our first ever Family Breakfast.  This all came about because I have a great field student from our local university who recently taught the class about timelines and then helped the kids make timelines of their lives.  She needed a way to involve the families in sharing them.  So, the Family Breakfast idea was born.  That morning, as they eat together, the students and their family members will complete these pages, which we’ll turn into a class book.  Then, everyone will get a chance to share their timeline.  I think it’ll be a very special event with a perfect connection to Thanksgiving.  I hope you can use these pages in some way too!  Click the picture below to download your copy.

Friday, November 2, 2012

Dear Diary, Ch. 2

Positive thoughts this week…
Monday:  We have such a super guidance counselor!  She’s been coming into the first grade classrooms to do whole-group lessons on bullying, and I just love how she interacts and connects with the kids.  They really take her lessons seriously.
Tuesday:  We were home from school today – our first (ever, I think) Hurricane Day.  So, I was unable to find something positive in my classroom, but I was thankful that my friends and family were unharmed by Sandy. 
Wednesday : My kids take Daily 5 super seriously.  Today was Halloween, so I planned some fun thematic activities in place of our usual Daily 5 rounds and reading groups, and they were bummed!  I’m totally okay with that.  Love their enthusiasm for reading and writing!
Thursday:  I just love, love, LOVE seeing these kids write and draw books modeled after Mo Willems (our October author).  I can’t tell ya how many pigeons I’ve found doodled on homework, classwork, tests….but it’s awesome!  Today Z* wrote her own pigeon story: The Pigeon Finds a Girlfriend.  Complete with illustrated girl pigeon with curly hair and batting eyelashes. 
Friday: Here’s an actual conversation with A* today:
Her: “Mrs. Livengood, I already know what I want for Christmas!”
Me (jokingly sighing and shaking my head): “Already?? Oh man…what is it?”
Her: “YOU!” 
Me: “What do you mean? You already have me!” 
Her: “I want you in my life FOREVER!”
Oh my…..I love this child.  I love all of these children.

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Happy Halloween!

Okay, I really should be working on report cards.  Really…they are due in less than a week and I’ve got nothing – not even names on them!  BUT, I just have to share a few pics of my cuties enjoying their Halloween activities today!  I posted a few weeks back about our school’s Fall Festival, which takes the place of a Halloween Party.  No costumes, no treat bags….no chaos, I suppose.  Well, I couldn’t help but add some Halloween stories and some of the super cute freebies out there!  Here we are enjoying them!  AND, I realized that I forgot to share a Halloween freebie of my own!  Mix up a batch of Golden Grahams (monster scabs), witch’s warts (chocolate chips), candy corn (pumpkin teeth), and marshmallows (ghost droppings), and this math activity will be a hit!  I guess you won’t be able to use it this Halloween (oops!) but I hope you’ll be able to store it for future use! 
Halloween Write the Room.  My kids just love doing this writing activity.  They were totally silent as they did it - so focused!
Sorting and graphing our Halloween Mix!

Click the picture to get my freebie!

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

A Hurricane Day...?!

Well, today was my first ever “Hurricane Day!”  Most of the schools in Northeast Ohio were closed, due to Sandy’s constant rain, dangerous winds, and even snow in some parts!  It’s crazy that the effects have reached all the way to Ohio, especially when just 4 days ago it was 80 degrees and sunny here!  I’m thankful that we aren’t in any real danger, and I’m praying for those of you in the storm’s direct path.  Stay safe!

Over 200,000 people in our area lost power, but we are among the lucky ones who did not.  So, I spent most of my day with the laptop, catching up on some things I’ve been wanting to share for awhile!  My newest TpT addition is a set of Science & Social Studies Classroom Resources.  While they are specific to Ohio’s Academic Content Standards for First Grade, the topics may very well fit your curriculum, even if that is not your area.  Check it out to see!

The packet includes a curriculum map for science and social studies, a set of standards display cards (I put them in my “What are We Learning? pocket chart), and a list of 34 books to use with the different standards.  I put together these text sets in 2011 as a graduate student, and I am thrilled to say that after sharing the lists with my colleagues and then our Curriculum Director, the administration purchased a set of the books for each first grade teacher in our district!  They’re great to have on hand for read alouds during science and social studies.

Click the picture below to check out these resources.  I hope you find them useful!