Archive for May 2014

Hey, Hollywood! EOY

Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Oh my WORD.  Who is ready for the year to be OVER?  This coming from the girl who bursts out crying as I write  reports and put the final "we have cherished our year with xxx.  We will miss him/her dearly and wish XXX all the best in second grade" because I know I won't see my littles next year.  I am in a weird place of wishing the year was over about 3 days ago, yet also wanting to freeze time and capture every little smile, laugh, story, lunch, morning meeting we are sharing together as a class. For. The. Last. Time. :(  Such a conundrum.  I think if there was a way to not make reports due at this time of year, it would make everything a zillion times easier. Anyone else out there do narrative reports?  20 students x 5 subjects at a page each = 100 pages worth of narrative reports.  Luckily they are due 4 hours (right down to the wire) so I can finally BREATHE and get back to my newest passion- blogging and teacher instagram :)

Anyway, I wanted to share a little lifesaver that has been getting me through reading groups this week... Wait, reading groups this week?  I didn't plan any of those! I'm reporting and assessing, DUH! ...'cause that's how every teacher wants to spend the last few moments of the year with their kiddos.  YEA RIGHT.

Luckily, this activity kills two birds with one stone.   My Hollywood Voices activity practices fluency and gives lists of short vowels, word families, diphthongs, digraphs, vowel teams and 150 sight words which means that while we are playing away, I am secretly assessing them on their mastery of these concepts.

The young readers snatch up a word list (you can differentiate by separating the easy from harder lists) then pick a Hollywood Voice card.  They then have to read the word list as that particular character.  I guarantee this will have you and your littles rolling on the floor laughing. 

 Some of their faves: 
Aloha (hula dancer)
Opera Singer 
Queen of England
Surfer Dude
Firework Words (an excuse to scream)

Some of my faves:
Whisper Words
Stick Out Your Tongue (so, so funny!)
Hold Your Breath

Easy breezy way to have fun and end off the year with your kiddos!  

ps- please excuse the lack of cute pics.  I just can't right now.  I promise I'll be cute and aesthetically pleasing again in 8 days.  
pps- yes, I do use my zillion dollar mobile Promethean Board as a stage.  That monstrosity has to be good for somethin' ;) 

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Five For Friday Linky Party : Gratitude

Friday, May 16, 2014

I am overwhelmed with a feeling of gratitude as I write this Five for Friday Linky Party with Doodle Bugs Teaching {thanks for hosting!}.  I tried to choose 5 things I am grateful for this week in my post.  Yes, some of them are superficial and silly, but the big one (I'lll save it for number five) really resonated with me this week.  For me, it was one of those things that made me take a step back and say, "Wow,  I am I am one lucky gal".  I have to admit, I get this feeling of gratitude and appreciation far less than I should.  I am glad I had the opportunity to put things into perspective yesterday and my goal (it makes it a real goal if I put it in writing, right?!) is to try to be cognizant of this feeling more often. Here goes...

I am happy that my tiny feet (size 6.5) can fit into these size 7 children's Michael Kors hot pink jellies.  They were only $46! I am thankful for this major, major bargain! 

It takes a lot of guts to post a picture like this out there for the world to see!  No judgements, please ;)

  I am thankful that my colorist has the patience to spend 4 HOURS on my highlights.  This bottled blonde takes a heck of a lot of foils (over 150) that then need to sit and "cook" for the better part of 90 minutes.    At least it was a yucky night here in New York so I didn't feel bad being cooped up in the salon from 3:15-7pm.  
Oh, the price of beauty....

If you follow me on Instagram, you've already seen some of these pictures. Today my class took a field trip to World of Wings in connection with our  study of butterflies.  We got to take a tour of their indoor atrium that was brimming with over 250 butterflies, most of them exotic breeds flown in from around the world.  It was pretty awesome how the butterflies would just fly right up onto our shirts, heads, feet, everywhere!  The second to last photo is pretty cool.  That moth had a wingspan of over 6 inches (largest winged insect in the world!) and if you look closely, it is camouflaged to look like a snake on the wing tips.   I am thankful to have spent a day having fun and breakin' the normal routine with my kiddos.  

The first picture is my Jacks from Wednesday afternoon.  I went to kick a soccer ball at recess and my foot just flew right through the toe piece.  Major, major bummer.  But the "gold" lining is that I was able to get a new pair at Lord and Taylor's and they happened to be having a 15% off sale, so  got these babies for $23 off! Woo hoo!  
The second picture is a "live" photo from my couch as I write this post.  I am thankful for the delicious glass of chilled Kendall Jackson (a perfect way to end the say of my aforementioned class trip) and the candle featured in this picture.   I love how Papyrus always has delightfully scented candles at jaw-dropping prices.  The candle pictured here was less than $13!  

Okay, okay enough with the superficial goodies... 
 Here is what I am most grateful and thankful for this week:

A picture of the view from my new school. Stunning. 
 {I like to keep some degree of privacy on the blog, not to be secretive from all of you, but to make myself less "traceable" to parents and colleagues}

Yesterday I spent a "transition" day at my new school.  Without getting toooo emotional here, I will say that it has been a very difficult process for me to decide to leave my current school.  I am someone who absolutely detests change and resists it with great gusto and force.  For the first time in my life, I have had to make an "real" adult decision about my career- stay where I knew in my heart was not the best place for me but was comfortable and "known", or make a huge shift and go somewhere new and "unknown".  In the past, I have either gotten a promotion to a new school that I could not turn down, or my program was completed and I had to find a new placement.  

I put my faith in God on this one and He lead me right to this new position. There were a few moments along the path where I doubted if I was doing the right thing by leaving behind something I had grown accustomed to and dear, dear colleagues turned best friends.  Each time I was doubtful, something would happen to make me realize that I was making the right choice by moving on.  Visiting yesterday solidified and confirmed all that  I knew in my heart (and my head, too!) was right.  I visited my new school for the morning and I kept having those "pinch myself" moments where I was overcome by how happy I was to be there.  I just felt so proud to be calling this new school my own,  my home for good.  I even waited around in my car for 35 minutes for the bookstore to open so I could scoop up a new sweatshirt and car decal sticker to proudly rock my new school gear.   So, to sum up this "thankful" Five for Friday, I am thankful that I am going to my new school; thankful that they offered me a job as a Kindergarten teacher {yep, I'm heading down to the Kinders!}, I am  just . simply. thankful.  


Reading Snapshot: Synonym Chefs!

Thursday, May 15, 2014

Phew!  It feels so good to get back to sharing on the blog again.  There has been so many fun and adorable activites going on in my room but {like everyone else out there}  I've been running around at a zillion miles an hour and blogging is low on the to-do list.  Here are some snapshots of our Synonym Chef activity we did last week :)  You can grab the freebie {GoogleDoc} below.  

Synonym Chefs!  Head Chefs at the Culinary Institute of the Lower School 

A big 'thanks' to my AT for being such a good sport :)

Culinary training... doing our Write Around the Room Synonym Scramble.  

The little SYNONYM CHEFS! To make these hats, you simply need a sentence strip and two pieces of tissue paper.  Pinch and scrunch the bottom of the tissue paper and tape onto the sentence strip.  Once you have covered the whole sentence strip (you should use two large pieces of tissue paper), fit the strip around the student's head and staple together.  Lastly, gather the loose ends of the tissue paper on top and give it a few good staples :)  

Each child cut out a 'synonym bun' and picked one word off of our synonym list.  They then had to make a synonym swirl with six synonyms along the swirl.  Lastly, they were able to decorate (with colored pencils) their synonym bun with frosting and sprinkles!  So cute! 

The whole group!  I gave them a special treat of Cinnamon Toast Crunch cereal after we finished.  Delicious! 

The little chefs had the BEST idea- to staple their SYNONYM BUNS to the tops of their chef hats! Brilliant! 

We had an awesome, spectacular, fabulous, phenomenal, marvelous, stupendous time!  

PS- Thank you to Krista Wallden for the smiley faces :)  


Project Based Learning Week {Part 3}

Monday, May 5, 2014

Oops! I never posted this on Friday... Enjoy!

Alright, I am so exhausted from Project Based Learning Week, I doubt I can even spell PBL (wink, wink, Annie).  Below are some pics of the final project- my class' community.

The doctor's office

The police station (with a jail and a "gem" room for all of the stolen gems the robbers take)

A house 

A school with a swing set (tire swing!) sandbox and slide

Dentist's office




 I really struggled with allowing the students to express their creativity and adhering to reality (i.e., gems and pom-poms typically don't adorn a supermarket or bank).  Usually I try to balance "creative" projects using tons of art supplies and free reign for the kiddos with more "structured" projects where we are going for the attention to detail- ie it should look realistic.  In keeping with the theme of Project Based Learning,  I decided to throw all of that out the window for this one and just let them GO and DO however their little hearts desired.  The end results are a genuine expression of their imaginations, because isn't that what first grade is for?  ;)

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May the 4th Be With You!

Sunday, May 4, 2014

Wow!  Many, many thanks to Amanda over at The Primary Gal for organizing this awesome TpT sale!   I was in the mood for a good TpT sale, I haven't thrown once since March.  The four items listen below  are 25% OFF!   I see that a lot of my favorite TpTers are participating as well so I am loadin' up my cart as we speak! Since I am a pretty new blogger a lot of these will seem repetitive because I have already posted about them, but hey, they are on SALE now and if that's not a reason to check 'em out, I don't know what is.

Here goes....

My Best Seller:

This little guy is jammed pack with 40 pages of games galore and over 60 flashcards!  I used this with my first graders and it was quite a hit.  

We did word sorts with the flash cards,

 played Connect Four and Bingo with the game boards,

made our own game boards 

played the ever-popular "I have, Who has?"

and spun and rolled diphthongs with our "fun" sheets.  

Hip-hip-hurray for DIPHTHONGS! :) 

Numero Dos...


A fun tactile center for Kinders-Second Graders... Wiki/Playdoh Words!
This center carried me through most of the year with my littles.  There are 52 upper and lowercase letters and over 100 sight words included in this packet.  

All YOU have to do is print and laminate, throw in some Wiki Stix or Playdoh and you're good to go!  


PS- I love these little lap desks.  I found them at Michael's Crafts about a year ago four for $5! Can't beat it! I usually store the week's sight words in the side slots so each child has his or her own set. 

Number 3

My Inflectional Endings packet!  

Check out the spinner board game {3 differentiated versions}... 

and good ol' Connect Four

and 2 cut and paste word sorts...

and some "fun" sheets


Last but certainly not least.... 

My prized possession, my differentiated sight word pack! All of the activities and games in here are leveled for pre primer, primer, 1st, 2nd, and 3rd grade! Super easy differentiation.  Simply print, laminate (game boards) and GO! 

over 25 games {I have, Who has?, Connect Four, dice/board games, Roll it and Read it, plus more!}

40+ independent activities {cut and paste die for games, ABC order, Word Hunts, Rainbow Words,    Stamp-A-Word}

and, my favorite, the I SPY games! My littles love, love, LOVE these!   :) 

You can read about how use these games in my sight word buckets :)  

Well, there you have it!  My TpT favorites and top sellers.   I hope you enjoyed reading about them.  What are your bests?! Can't wait to read about them!