Wednesday, December 12, 2012

12-12-12 Linky Fun

Hi, Friends!  How are ya?

I’m gonna kill two birds with one stone by sharing a little 12-12-12 Linky fun! First, I’m linking up with Miss Kindergarten to join in the…

12 in 12 button[1]

It’s a quick and easy flashback to think on all your favorites of 2012! Here are a few of my favorite things from this past year!

12.  Favorite Movie

Oh, that’s easy! I’ve never gasped out loud quite like I did watching the final scene of this one!

11.  Favorite TV series

If you haven’t watched it, you should definitely tune in! My iphone is set to DO NOT DISTURB for this hour every week, lol!

10.  Favorite Restaurant

I have pretty simple taste.  Applebee’s……because kid’s eat free on Tuesday evenings! Ha! I’m cheap too!

9.  Favorite New Thing I Tried

Blogging! It’s addictively fun! I have enjoyed being able to collaborate and share with AWESOME teachers all over the world! Nothing beats being part of a global classroom!


8.  Favorite Gift I Received

My daughter flew home to surprise me for my birthday! I had absolutely no idea she was coming! I love this crazy girl; it was the best gift EVER!!! Priceless!

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 7.  Favorite Pin

It’s just so me! Buahahaaaaaaaaaa! It still makes me laugh!


6.  Favorite Blog Post

Picasa Previews! I couldn’t type fast enough to share this amazing resource! If you missed it, be sure to stop by and check it out!


5.  Best Accomplishment

Opening my TPT shop! Again, I’ve met some amazing educators that I wouldn’t have otherwise known. It’s a wonderfully supportive place to connect and be genuinely appreciated for the hard work that goes into all that we pour into our classrooms.

4.  Favorite Picture

Well, this one was a little tougher because I take pictures of everything! Everything! BUT…I chose 3 and combined them to make 1. Ahhhh, my loves….Brelan, Deja & DJ!

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3.  Favorite Memory

My siblings and I all traveled to share in celebrating my daddy’s 30th pastoral anniversary. It was a sweet weekend filled with tears of joy, love and laughter.

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2. Goal for 2013

I’ve just begun studying for a Master’s in Curriculum and Instruction. My goal is to maintain my studies, standards at home and work, AND my sanity all at the same time! Hahaha!

1.  One Little Word {to describe my focus for 2013}



I loved the idea of this Linky {pictures} and immediately wanted to jump right in, however, our day has turned out to be abnormal due to circumstances beyond our control. Unexpectedly, classes in our district have been cancelled for today, so these next 3 pics show how we will be spending the day! Studying in my favorite sweats. Gaming. Random dancing!

              photo photo 4 photo 5

It’s Stacy’s very first linky, so show her a little love by heading over and checking it out! When it comes to linkies…the more, the merrier!

Thanks for sticking around peeps! Have a great day and head on over to these ladies’ blogs to join in the Linky fun! Only a few more short weeks to go out with a bang in 2012!

2013 will be our best year yet! =)

Sunday, December 9, 2012

Anchor charts & YIKES!!!

Hi, Friends! How are ya?

I’m just stopping in to share a little of what we’ve been up to! I love anchor charts! Doodling, drawing, shared writing……I just *LOVE* anchor charts! There are very few commercially made posters in my classroom.  As I think about, there are about 4. Everything else? Class made charts.


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Last week, we had fun exploring skip counting patterns on the hundred chart. We’ve been singing them since the start of the year with calendar, but dug a little deeper by working to identify and create patterns to skip count by 2’s, 5’s, and 10’s.

We had a lot fun creating this little chart. We started by wiggling with Jack Hartmann’s Count by 5’s and then moved to our desks to trace and cut out our handprints. As the students were creating their handprints, I walked around and wrote a number on their desks with an Expo marker to make sure we had each of the numbers we needed.

One of our campus AP’s came in during the middle of this lesson. It was loud, incorporated a LOT of movement, and kept everyone actively engaged. Luckily, he has a fun, hands-on personality, so the noise didn’t bother him {too much}, lol! Admittedly, math in our classroom, is exactly the opposite of Daily 5.

And wouldn’t you know it, my firsties wanted to keep right on going. Let’s do 10’s! Let’s do 10’s! rang out just as we glued 100 to finish  the 5’s! Chart it and they will learn!

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The ONE thing that I know my son learned for sure in 1st grade is homophones! He still comes up with random pairs at some of the MOST random times! We read the book Dear Deer and experienced some fun ‘Aha moments’!


Like usual, my little Einstein’s took over the lesson and I knew they fully understood when they started suggesting word pairs for the chart that were NOT included in the book! {Enter content sigh & smile -----------------> HERE!} The discussion continued way after we had recorded a few responses on the chart and we’ll review this concept using this book next.


We also create a chart each week to document our comprehension skill focus.  My kiddos really look forward to these! Last week, we worked on using time order words to sequence events.

Meet our Len Leopard BEFORE he got his spots!

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For our first carpet meeting (during Daily 5), we read our story and discussed what happened first, next, and last. After checking in and meeting in small group, we moved back to the carpet again to add to the First and Next spots. Before heading off to Round 3 (of Daily 5), we completed the chart by adding what happened Last.

By then, Len Leopard still hadn’t gotten his spots. BUT, we had finished summarizing the story! I’m always looking for little incentives to encourage good behavior. For morning work the next day, 3 students making “wise choices” were selected to play the part of Fred and got to “paint” Len Leopard.

Here’s how he looked after he got his spots!

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And this is what my bed looks like most nights now that I’ve begun working on earning a master’s degree!

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I know! Yikes!!! Gotta get back to it! Took a brain break to blog, lol! Happy charting my friends! 9 more days ‘til Christmas break! Can we make it?

Oh! And I’ll see you again for Wordless Wednesday. With all I’ve got on the brain these days, I thought I’d use midweek to share a few pics, when my brain may be too full to write another post to accompany them, lol! I’m super visual and love pictures, so I hope you’ll enjoy them too!

9 more days ‘til Christmas break in our neck of the woods! Can we make it?

Sunday, November 25, 2012


Hi, Friends! Long time, no see! How the heck are ya? I’ve been one busy chica! Someone pressed fast forward on my calendar and clock over the last few weeks, so now that we’ve got some time to catch up, I thought I’d share a little of what we’ve been up to!

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We’ve spent time learning about where we live on the map! We had big fun creating these little cuties! We started by reading the book Me on the Map.  After a fun discussion, we drew mini self portraits, cut them out and created the first circle for a cover. On the cover, we listed our city. The next circle represents our state. The dark green circle represented our country and the last, our planet.

Admittedly, we like to doodle in Room 113. On each page of this fun little flipbook, we added a simple drawing to represent each of the spaces that we inhabit on the map.

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We also enjoyed A Cupcake Party while creating this fun little story map! I love our reading series. We have a lot of fun bringing the stories to life as we read! Who says anchor charts have to be square? =)

(Don’t shoot me, but see that little card in the bottom corner?)  It’s the E from our CAFE menu sign!  I left the acronym up for reference, but we’ve taken our CAFE board down.  I *LOVE*, absolutely *ADORE* the structure of Daily 5, BUT the CAFE menu wasn’t meaningful to my group of 6 year olds, so we’re making better use of that little piece of {wall} real estate.

We still use the strategies during think alouds, read alouds, and small group.

                   photo 5 photo 4

What firstie doesn’t need to work on word sorts? Yep! We’ve been doing a little of that too! We had fun with a little play on words in the midst of the learning too! Get it? It’s a “Synonym Roll” and an “ANTonym”? One of my little girls giggled the ENTIRE afternoon after she realized what the play on words meant! It was just hilarious!

Another of my kiddos thought our cinnamon roll looked more like the top of a lollipop, but hey…we were out of brown butcher paper, so we had to work with what we had!  I passed out each of the word cards to friends at the carpet to read and discuss.  As each pair was called on, they had to read their set of words and the group blurted either “synonym” or “antonym”. Afterwards, their card was glued to correct chart.  THEN….

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….the ANTonym got hungry and took a bite out of the Synonym roll and we headed out to recess, lol!

We’re going to extend identifying synonyms with some sweet word work over the next week or so!  You can find this little set that we’re going to be digging into in my TPT shop ON SALE as part of the huge cyber Monday sale! Click the pic to head over and check it out!


If you’d like a sweet sample, leave a comment with your email address below! I’ll share a few synonym rolls with the first 3 friends that do.

Thanks for sticking around to check out my ramblings about this and that! Hope you had a yummy Thanksgiving!

Monday, November 12, 2012


Hi, Friends!  How are ya?

Happy Veterans’ Day! We’ve really enjoyed this long weekend! It’s come on the heels of my son’s birthday, so we’ve continued the celebration with my sister and nephews.  It felt great to have the time to just relax and laugh until it hurt! I’m related to some REAL characters!

Our school is located in a community that is on the outskirts of the largest military base in the free world.  Most of our families are connected to the military in some way.

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To honor our community of veterans, our school holds an annual Veterans’ Day parade.

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Military parents come in to walk through the halls with their respective student (s) while we line up to honor and appreciate them.  It seems like a such a simple thing, but for so many of us with personal connections to the military, it actually becomes pretty emotional!

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And to see the pride on the children’s faces as they walk through a cheering crowd with “their” veteran is priceless!

We celebrate our veterans by creating  little soldiers and writing simple thank you notes. I have parents from years past that tell me they still have them. My husband actually took the one that my son made for him on his last deployment! Many of them have traveled the globe and the kids really get into the lesson because they can make such a personal connection to it!

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I actually created the black line while looking at my husband’s uniform hung over the chair one night! Who says a Sharpie can’t be a girl’s best friend? =)

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Some of our friends chose to create retro uniforms with hats.

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While another group of our friends chose to draw and color theirs.  I love the creativity that emerges from one idea being put in the hands of a number of different people.  It’s fun to see each teacher’s and student’s personality shine through their work.

The real joy comes from seeing the appreciation felt by our military members when they see them! You can grab this little craft from my TPT or TN shop to create a smile for the veterans in your life!

Enjoy the rest of your long weekend and don’t forget to thank a veteran!

Sunday, November 4, 2012

Did you see it?

Hi, Friends! How are ya?

I posted today.  Did you see it? No? Well, I thought you might’ve missed it because its at another site! THIS girl is excited to be one of a new group of contributors to Classroom Freebies Too! Yep! Exciting, right?  Welllll, its exciting for ME, lol!

Annnnd, I wanted to share my news with YOU!  I couldn’t embark upon something new without all of you! Click the pic below to check out my first little post and with a name like Classroom Freebies Too….you already KNOW there’s a little something in it for ya!


Classroom Freebies Too



Enjoy and have a great week!

Sunday, October 28, 2012

Halloween Freebie

 Hi, Friends! How are ya? 

Bracing yourself for a week that includes Halloween right smack, dab in the middle? Yeah, me too! Well, rather than fight it…we’re gonna embrace it!


halloween freebie

…and I got to use Picasa to make another preview file, lol! I’m still LOVIN’ it!

Thanks to all my friends passing through and following A+ Firsties on Facebook. My little page reached 350+ LIKES this week!  I thought I’d share a little of what we’ll be up to this week as a way to say THANK YOU! Whew Hoo!!!!

Have a great week friends and enjoy the freebie!

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Picasa Previews

This is going to be a quick post, but I am so excited that I won’t be able to sleep if I don’t share what I’ve just learned how to do!

Forgive me. Did I say hi? Hi, Friends!

Now, onto what I’m so excited about! I’ve really enjoyed creating materials to use with my class. Well, I always have, but blogging has definitely helped me to step it up a notch! Making products is fun, BUT holy cow! It can be a lot of work too! Enter a wonderful shortcut for sharing!

Do you create products for TPT or TN? If so, lean in close.  Do you use Picasa to organize your pictures? If not, you won’t want to miss this! (After reading it, you’ll want to!)


I was hanging out in the forums at TPT the other day and read through a thread where a sweet blogger bud suggested using Picasa to create product previews. Can I just go ahead and admit that I had been saving my Powerpoint presentations as jpeg files and then clicking, dragging, resizing, and positioning each one……one by one? Oh yeah,……THAT took!

Enter, the TPT angel with advice…


See that little button that says CREATE PHOTO COLLAGE?  CREATE.PHOTO.COLLAGE?!!! What!?! Presto! Clicko! And voila! You’ve got a photo collage!


No more clicking, dragging, resizing and repositioning one photo at a time! I had a collage in seconds! ANDDDD, the icing on the cake?  You can choose what type of collage you’d like to to use….pile, mosaic, frame…ANDDDDD you can edit it to add text, bring pictures forward or send them to the back.  Yep! It’s just fantastic!


Select the type of collage you want. Create the collage. Export to the folder you save preview files in. A copy will be saved in Picasa as well. Time and sanity saved!  Picasa is a free Google product download to edit and share photos.  I love it!

I love my TPT, bloggy bud for suggesting using it too! Thanks, Martha!

What program do you use to create your previews? Sharing is caring, lol! Ok, I can stop grinning now and head to bed! Have a great Thursday y’all!


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