Saturday, March 31, 2012

Books we're loving!

Congrats & a quick freebie


I really appreciate your stopping by and leaving a comment.  What is it about them?  They make my heart sing!  Thanks, again and I hope your kiddos enjoy the activities!

We spent most of last week discovering all that happens during a butterfly’s life cycle.  We have a good time in math, but reading is my passion, so you’ll probably find that most of my posts will relate in some way to what we’re doing to build better readers in our classroom. Our story this week was realistic fiction, so we made several extensions by learning about other bugga buggas as well.

If you’ve got Dr. Jean’s Kiss Your Brain CD, there’s a hoppin’ tune on there called Insect’s Body that will get your firsties up, movin’ and learning the parts of insect in a snap! We found ourselves humming to the tune long after the song was over!  We use Houghton Mifflin’s Journeys Reading series in our district and I LOVE IT! It has so many working pieces that are wonderfully aligned to help all little readers grow.  The leveled readers are especially nice because they easily lend themselves to making lots of text-to-connections AND connections to science and social studies.  It is also a heavily researched series with the development of the leveled readers guided by Irene Fountas. (Notice the last name?) I could go on and on about it for days….I just love it! With all of the authentic literature built into it, using it for balanced literacy is super easy!  Did I say how much I love it?  Anywho……on to the point……

Below is a pic of a little investigation that we did during small group this week.  We completed the “What am I?” riddle page after completing guided reading and saved the “I am a_____!” page for completion later in the day during science.  The completed pages were stapled together as a riddle to “lift the flap” and see if your guess was correct after reading the written clues.  The kids were really intent on making good illustrations and did a great job! You’ve gotta love a 2 for 1 lesson! Click here to grab your copy!

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Clipart courtesy of DJ Inkers.

Well, I’ve got to run because my daughter’s hair beckons.  She’s got quite the thick mane so it takes some time to wash and primp to get all of her girliness up to par.  I hope you all had a great week.  Enjoy what’s left of your weekend…someone seems to have put them on fast forward as we get close to wrapping up the school year! 

We’ll be heading into the lonnnnnnngest month of the school year come Monday!  Must….keep….going!  Does April seem especially long to anyone else or is it just me? PLEASE keep the ideas flowing bloggy buddies! Thank you to my 82 new friends! My goal is to reach 100 followers before the last day of school…, if you like what you’ve seen so far, share with a friend!   The more the merrier….have a great night and a super “SONday”!

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

…can’t resist a linky party!

Head on over and link up your latest, greatest spring inspiration…and I REALLY AM going to sleep now.  Good night, bloggy buddies! :-)

Let it grow, let it grow…

….you can’t reap what you don’t sow! Oh, excuse me….did you hear me break out in song? We have plants, actual plants! They’re growing and we couldn’t be more excited about it!  Look at those roots! I am seriously lacking a green thumb and am so excited that our lima bean plants have sprouted so well and so quickly!  We just planted them last Thursday….talk about super soil!  We say…..let it grow {oh, I’m sorry, started singing again}….and send them home quickly before Mrs. Dwyer kills them, ha!

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We’ve just begun fractions and the kids are having fun with the concept of “equal parts”. We used an adorable project as an introduction to halves today. The class was divided into pairs with one precut carrot to share. One friend was instructed to draw a line down the middle to divide it in half. They then had to give the carrot to their partner to actually cut and each friend labeled their carrot with the fraction and completed a simple sentence starter.  It began as what we call a “listen and do” activity with fractions that flowed into an accompanying art project to help bring in spring! They were loads of fun!

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We were completely inspired by Cara Caroll’s PROBLEM SOLVING WABBITS, so if you haven’t seen them, head over and check them out! She’s the best!  Happy teaching all and if you and your firsties are keeping quiet for testing…..GOOD LUCK! Having spent the day quietly cooped up in our classroom has this girlie ready to hit the sack early tonight!



The First Grade Parade

Sunday, March 25, 2012

awesome anchors & a give~Away!

How was your weekend?  I hope you had an opportunity to rest and have fun!  I spent it in the company of some great gals that I adore…celebrating an upcoming birth! There’s nothing more exciting than showering a mommy-to-be with love and gifts!  Luckily, I began the weekend celebrating because I’m closing it out TEXAS JALEPENO CHILI PEPPER HOT! My air conditioning unit is on the fritz! Needless to say I’ll be calling the repairman as soon as the rooster’s crow in the morning!

This is a picture of our weekly test review from last year.  We read Whistle for Willie by Ezra Jack Keats last week and focused on cause and effect.   I was looking through my pictures for examples of anchor charts and quickly realized that I don’t have as many from this year!  That little “doo-hickie” to the right of the board is a Mimio and because we’re moving towards using more technology, I tend to use digital charts more and only have them on display, as needed.  I did manage to find a couple though.  Check them out, below!

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Can you tell that that I like to doodle?  I think it started right around the time I learned to write my name and never stopped!

Next week, we’ll be working with a non-fiction text about butterflies!  Our butterfly larvae have been ordered and are on the way! My fingers are crossed that they’ll arrive before Friday…but we’ll enjoy watching them emerge even if they’re a little late! Reading about all the critters that come out in spring will be fun. Testing will be going on this week too, so it will be important for us to stay busy and QUIET! If its that time of year at your school too, click here to grab the writing paper we’ll be using to write about the stages of the butterfly’s life cycle.

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OK, ok….enough already!   I know you’re thinking….where’s the give away?  Well, bloggy buddies…….drum roll, please……HERE it is!  It’s my latest little packet of goodies! These are 4 fun fact family activities that you can use in stations or math tubs or however they’ll work best for YOU!  Now, here’s the catch……it’s already been added to my little shop at TPT, BUT if you are one of the first 3 followers to leave a comment on this post, I will happily email it to you for   F-R-E-E!  What are you waiting for?  Go, comment away and if you’re up late like me…go get some sleep! Happy blogging all….have a Magical Monday!  I can’t wait to check back for comments!


Friday, March 23, 2012

It’s thriday & random awesomeness!

….and if you’re not sure what that is, it just means…it’s a great day because it’s connected to Friday, lol!!!  Spring has definitely sprung and its come up wonderfully in our classroom!  Here are a few pics of what we’ve been up to these last couple of days…from brain stretching story problems to enjoying awe inspiring new books!  We’re really feeling like there’s nothing we can’t do right now!  In fact….there is one phrase that is not allowed in our room at all….. “I can’t”….no way, no how! We can do ANYTHING that we put our minds to! It won’t always be easy, but it will be well worth the journey!

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Word problems can be a little tough for firsties, so today we broke into groups to give each other a little help following our strategies to solve some.  After each group member was assigned a job things got off to a LOUD, but great start! I say that like my room is known for being quiet! HA! I know my teacher neighbors would laugh at that one! They had a great time spread out all over the floor with their posters and markers and worked really well together!  They were so proud to present their work to the class when they were done too!

Now….we know spring coming in wouldn’t be complete without a little shopping, right?  I found some really cool things that I couldn’t wait to share now that my computer has regained its senses! One of which is my new favorite pair of shoes, but brace your self because you’ve got to have extraordinary swag in order to wear these….! :-) 

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Cute AND comfy?  You can’t ask for more than that!  I have a definite problem when it comes to shoes, {The first step to knowing you have a problem is admitting it!} but I also like bags and what teacher doesn’t LOVE a reliable tote bag?  My bubbly teacher bud sells 31 products and I couldn’t wait to get my hands on this little number.  It holds all things…   “gotta take it to school the next day” and is personalized! Whaaaat!  LOVE it!

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Ok, well I do have a day job so I better wrap up this post! I was so thankful for having received The Lovely Blog award…now it’s time for me to pass it on….

Here is my list of bloggy buds that I think have some of the loveliest blogs on the block..go check ‘em out!  Some of them may have already received it, but deserve the recognition again!

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Until next time, be well…..have a fantastic Friday!


Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Thank you, thank you, thank you!

A great BIG thank you to Ashley over at First Grade Smart Cookies for the Lovely Blog Award!

The rules for accepting this award are to:

  1. Link back to the blogger who gave you the award.
  2. Pass the award on to 15 other lovely bloggers.
  3. Follow the person who sent it to you
As it is getting late, I will gladly fulfill this obligation tomorrow...!  Good night, all....Happy teaching! Thanks again, Ashley! I appreciate your noticing my blog!

Tuesday, March 20, 2012


My crazy computer is taking its break tonight so this post comes via the handy dandy iPhone. We've had an amazing first two days back at school this week! I've found some really great things over spring break that I'd love to share with you guys once old faithful decides to kick into high gear again!
We started the day with this story...This Is the Sunflower by Lola M. Shaefer. We carried the flower theme {gotta get those cross-curricula connections in as often as possible:-)} over to math while working with fact families....cutting and pasting petals 'til our little hearts were content. I walked around and differentiated their work by writing number groups on their desks with a dry erase marker. It comes right off with a magic eraser (I PROMISE)...they wrote the numbers on the flower and the four matching number sentences on the leaves. It took a while, but they had a blast and it was fun to see them help each other to make sure their number sentences were correct.

Later in the day, we continued with plants in science...we read One Bean by Anne Rockwell and began our own little experiment. I adore this little book because it basically tells you how to do the experiment step by step! I absolutely DO NOT have a green thumb so please wish my little firsties luck with growing their plants!

As we were taking turns planting our beans in soil and making observations in our journals, the kiddos also had an opportunity to explore the inside of the seed and identify its parts.  They were super excited to find that there actually IS a little plant in there just waiting to be nourished and GROW! We had so much fun, I almost wanted to break out in song...let it grow, let it grow!!! I'll have to download the Lorax's soundtrack before we make our next observation! :-)

 My back feels 1000 times better...thank you for the well wishes! I was so glad it felt better today because I had a chance to do the happy dance! One of my favorite people in the universe returned from a much deserved break!  She's an amazing parent~helper~buddy that prepares all of our work station materials each week and had been out of town for a few weeks.  I missed her sooooo much and was glad to see her smiling face walk into my room today! I could've  just squeezed her to pieces!

Well, bloggy buddies, have a wonderful Wednesday and blessings to YOU!

Sunday, March 18, 2012

Write here, write now....

Well....just like that Spring Break has come and gone! I concluded it with a  Friday night visit to the ER! If you've never visited a military hospital on a pay/4 day weekend...let's just say, you should bring popcorn because it can be quite the show! Being there on a Friday night was better than an episode of Grey's Anatomy....{but no McDreamy}! Thank God for my good friend because after getting a giant needle to the tush, there was no way I would've been able to drive myself home. I have no clue how, but tore a muscle in my back and am now a very happy camper with tons of meds running through my system, so if this post makes little to no sense, you know why, lol! I can laugh about it now...

Before I mysteriously hurt my back, I had been working on math stations activities.  Well, that's still in the works, partly because I obsess so over every little detail.  Instead, I have a freebie for ya!  I love writing with my firsties, but often cringe at the thought of having to grade it, so included in this little freebie packet are two rubrics that I hope you will find easy to use and helpful.  You can click the pic to grab your copy from my TPT store.

...and before I forget!  Donna over at the Math Coach's Corner is having a linky party! Aren't they just the best?  She had the awesome forethought to group them by grade level, so head over, link up and blog hop some new finds.  There are lots of great ones listed!

Well, my bloggy buddies, it's time for some more meds and shut eye. Don't forget to grab your writing packet.  You can use pieces of it as a great addition to your writing work station.  Please remember to leave a comment and/or rate it too!  Thanks and have a super Sunday!  Blessings to each of YOU!

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Let's Link Up!

Have a K-2 blog?  Interested in finding new blogs?  Kindergarten Lifestyle is hosting a linky party to help bloggers find other bloggers! There are so many great blogs out there and it is not always easy to find them all...until now!  Yay!!!  Click on the pic below to link up and join the fun!

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Welcome... my purplelicious, little home away from home! I've struggled some with setting up my classroom this year, but we have made the best of the arrangement we're using. My campus is brand-spankin' new so there's a "no staples" rule {that makes me cringe~oh, the agony}. I thought I wouldn't be able to survive it, but have managed to pull through! After spending a small fortune on command strips...this is what we've been working with and it's been changed throughout the year as the need has surfaced. My creative wheels are already turning, thinking of ways to improve it for next year.  If you look closely, you may see some of the wonderful freebies I've found while blog hopping!

Who says anchor charts have to be square?

One of my favorite classroom finds was this little pocket chart stand. It's actually not a pocket chart stand at all. It's an adjustable garment rack that looks better and gets the same job done for a third of the price! I found it at my usual fave, Target! I've always loved using word ladders in the classroom and was quite pleased with this little pocket chart find too! Teaching the kids to start @ the bottom was a little bit of a challenge, but once they got it, they really enjoyed seeing the word change as it climbed the ladder. (I love it because they're manipulating sounds and reading MORE words than they realize!)

Have an amazing day!

Blooming, Buggy, Spring Stations...

OK, so I know that I am supposed to be on spring break......BUT who could resist taking just a little time to catch up and prep to go back READY?  Those that know me well, know that once I get an idea stuck in my head, I don't function well until its O-U-T, out!!!  With that being said, I just uploaded a new set of literacy work station activities that my little firsties and I will be digging into once we return to school.  It includes a set of 9 graphic organizers that will be perfect to use with The Tiny Seed and The Very Hungry Caterpillar by Eric Carle or any other circular/life cycle story.  Check out the preview below! 

Now that that's completed, my kiddos and I will be off to have a little fun.  The Lorax beckons AGAIN! They enjoyed it so much the first time, we're going with the cutest little neighbor ever to see it again tomorrow. 

I was so happy to see that my little newbie blog grew a little today too!  Thank YOU for choosing to take this "ONEderful" journey with me!  First grade is truly the best! Thanks, again! Have a great night well and blessings to you! 

Monday, March 12, 2012

LINKY PARTY....Join in the fun!

We could all fill that in with sooooo many things, lol! What do you do that gives you a little giggle and reminds you that you teach for a living? Share your funny story by linking up with Lory at Fun for First!

Saturday, March 10, 2012

Spring Break!!!

Ya.....HOoooooooOOooo!!! It's so nice to have a chance to rest and play a while. I'm not exactly sure why, but inspiration and I always seem to meet at night, when I should be fast asleep. Being that I can sleep in and have no particular place to go tomorrow, we can hang together for a bit.

After our day {that included taking spring pictures AND rain} flew by fast and furious, I headed back into my classroom to recover and found this little note left on my table.  It's so sweet that I wanted to share it with my bloggy buddies.

It's from one of my shyest little friends that very purposely never draws attention to himself and reads....

For Mrs. Dwyer, 
I will miss you, Mrs. Dwyer.  I hope to see you again...

It was a sweet, gentle reminder of why I LOVE my firsties so! This time is always a welcomed treat, but I hope he knows his teacher will miss him too....

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

This, that and a Cat with a Hat...

....I think we're just about done with that! Open house is tomorrow and we've been frantically cleaning and wrapping our room in "cutesie"! We got started with Dr. Suess on Friday and he trickled right on over into this's been a grand time, but I have to admit I've got to stop speaking in rhyme!

As promised, I've attached pics of a few of our Lorax drawings. One of my awesome coworkers shared her Truffala trees with us and just like that........out popped two in my room!! We used them as a shared writing activity about story structure.

Rhyme 1 and Rhyme 2 were a review of this week's spelling words and the Cat in the Hat drawings were....well, just plain ole fun! I'm adding this post via my handy dandy iPhone and wouldn't you know that the close ups that I took of our drawings are all upside down and sideways! I hate when my phone does that!  I'll email them to myself, twist 'em around and add them later because the eyelids are getting a little heavy.  They are totally BEYOND cute! You can see one pictured with the rhyming activity.  Have a thrilling Thursday! 2 more days 'til spring break, BUT who's counting............:-)

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Ughhh! OOPs!

As soon as my firsties went to work at stations today, one of my little thinkers spotted an error on her recording sheet! Thank goodness for her little "proofreading eyes". I've corrected the sheet included in the Little Old Lady... packet on TpT. If you have purchased it, you may also download this corrected sheet below. I apologize for any trouble this might've caused and will gainfully employ another little set of peepers BEFORE I upload the next one....Have a wonderful Wednesday and blessings to you!

Monday, March 5, 2012

Yummy 3D Figures

Looking for a way to bring a little more fun to sides, vertices, height, width, and depth? Check out the 3D fun we had today! Our room was smelling especially yummy and the kids had a blast! Maybe one of you can give me some ideas on what to do with them now?!??

I left school and totally forgot to take a few snaps of The LORAX{es} we drew! They'll be hanging around for Open House later this week, so I'll put it on my running list of reminders...speaking of, what do you guys prep for the big parent visit?

I'm currently working on a packet of work station activities for after spring break, so keep a look out for them....4 more days, but who's counting? Ha! Gonna go tweak it a little more before beddie bye! Inspiration and I always seem to meet at night. I've got to do something about that! Have a terrific Tuesday!

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