Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Summer Bucket List

Oh, I'm ready to kick the bucket...the summer bucket, that is.

3 more days, peeps...3 more...and thank you for putting up with my incessant counting down :)

The thoughts of EVERYthing I need to do are actually keeping me awake at night. I'm having dreams of room rearrangement, file folders, crafts, and cleaning... and summer isn't even here yet!

Oh, and apparently I talk in my sleep. Huh... you learn something new every day :)

Anyway, it's time to link up with these fantastic bloggers for the Summer Bucket List linky!

 1...  ORGANIZE!
   I fashion myself a pretty organized person.. at school, at least. My heart flutters when I see any kind of container, bucket, bin, organizer, you name it.  In the last couple of years... thanks to ALL these amazing bloggers and Pinterest, I have really stepped up the organization.  But.

  Yep, there's always a but.  And here's mine...

File drawers FULL of stuff... 
Oh yes, all the files are in alphabetical order (my one valiant move toward organizing these things), but every file is SO stuffed full, I can barely shut the drawers.

So, bucket list #1??  Take ALL these files home & CULL OUT all the non-essentials.  I mean, who needs 9 copies of one noun worksheet in a file folder??  And 12 patterns for a mouse? One will do... One will do (my new mantra!).  Yep, I'm going to tackle this one head on, but the thought of lugging all this home makes my back hurt just thinking about it! :)

I'd love to go digital, but I don't think I'm ready for that... just yet. I still read paper books... baby steps, baby steps.

2...  Fun Stuff
    I absolutely LOVE projects, and here's my latest one...

Found this beauty at the thrift store this weekend for $30 !!!  Yay.  I don't know if you can tell, but it's solid wood, and I'm sure she's gonna be a stunner! And the drawer isn't missing, just out when I took the picture. In my dreamy mind,  I'm hoping for something KINDa like this...
Minus the flowers on top, but you get the idea.  I LOVE vintage, and I LOVE projects, so summer, here I come! :)

3... Grad school
    Not the most exciting list item, but it has to be done. Two classes.. School Law & Data Analysis/School Improvement.  Yeah, I know you're jealous. It's ok. I understand. :/

4..  Vacation!!
     I've only been back from the beach for 3 weeks, and I'm already counting the days until I head back. I will spare you yet another countdown, but I'm ready. We have 8 days and nights planned and paid for, and one of my best friends & her husband are going to join us for the last half. So much fun to be had!

Truly, I'd go to the beach anytime...tonight if someone was willing! :) Anyone???

5... Family & Friends
    Just ready to chill out & enjoy time with the people I love the most :) Simple as that. This really should be #1, but save the best for last, right?!

Can't wait to read all about YOUR bucket list... Come on, you know your list is as long as your arm. You're a teacher, that's your (our) thing! :)

Head on over & link up!

Oh, and before I leave, a little teacher love....

As always, thanks for stopping by...

Friday, May 24, 2013

Five For Friday & a Giveaway!

TGIF!!!  For Reals!
   We are STILL in school, and have 4 days...well 2 full days and 2 half days, but that's still 4 days. Thank goodness we're off Monday, because I need just a LITTLE breather. This is the longest I ever remember going to school, and the kids can sense it. Oh, yeah, they're ready. 

  I can't complain, though... my niece and nephew don't get out until late in June, so I'll take my 4 days and just be happy about it :)

  Okay, time to link up with Doodle Bugs Teaching and my Five for Friday....
Here are just a few snapshots that sum up my week ...
1)  Hey Little Ant!

This is one of my FAVORITE books! It's great for point of view, and it's just a super cute book. So, we read the story and then completed the craftivity & writing activity from Cara at The First Grade Parade. (Click the link for the patterns!)

So sweet.... she's such an angel !

 I laughed out loud at this!  While I'm an animal lover, this was probably more along the lines of my answer :)

2)  Ocean Crafts...
     We've made crabs, starfish, jellyfish and octopus. Of course, in the chaos this is the second to last week of school, I forgot to take pictures. But, I did take a picture of my fellow first grade teacher's little friend's craft.... cute, huh?
     I have been cleaning like crazy in my classroom & trying to get it all organized.  We don't have a lot of time post-planning, and we're not allowed in the school over the summer, but I've been working like a mad woman cleaning & throwing away.  You know those HUGE rolly trash cans you have at school? I filled up THREE of them just yesterday and today. Eeeek!

    But, it all started this past weekend with my own house. My laundry "room" is actually in the garage, which is not awesome, but it's okay. But, it does leave you with the need for an organization system. Enter my awesome dad... Handy Man Dan!

   Saw this on Pinterest....

And, because he's awesome,  he made me THREE for my garage! (Only two are pictured...stacked on top of each other). I  love love love love him!

Isn't this the best??  The signs are a little wonky, but I needed something. I'm still working on cutesy-ing it up a little. But, It makes sorting my laundry so  much easier, and then everything is folded and ready to be put up (when I get to it!). :)  If you know a Handy Man Dan & want these, click the first picture from Ana-White.com & it will take you to the SPECIFIC and DETAILED directions on how to DIY one too!

4)  Pizza Party
  My class won the school-wide competition for fundraising, so we earned a Pizza Party.  Oh, and then it was a little one's birthday, so we had cupcakes. Fun...yes, insanity, sure...but they earned it & it was worth it!
We also watched The Ant Bully to go with our study of Hey Little Ant! :)

    Lindsey at For the Love of First Grade  & Ashley at Flying Into First Grade are having an awesome 150 Follower Giveaway. I'm a contributor & there's so many awesome things to win!!  Oh, and I should mention...there will be TWELVE WINNERS!!! WOW!!!  Just click the picture below to head on over and enter! :)

So, that's it for me!  Heading to Alabama for Memorial Day weekend, so I guess I need to hit the road.

Please take the time this weekend to remember those who have fought and lost their lives to protect our freedom. All the men in my family have served our country, and it's something that I hold very dear to my heart.  While veterans & military members should be thanked each and every minute of every single day, let's take the time this weekend to remember their love and their sacrifice for US! :)
Happy Memorial Day! :)

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Landforms FREEBIE (Save for next year??) and Destruction

Well, the countdown is still on... 7 days.  Well, 5 days and 2 halves, but I still have to wake up, shower, dress,and drive to school, so 7. Definitely 7. 

And boy, are we ready!?!  I'm trying my best to keep it all under control, but then there's days like today,and you're just not sure that the days are ever gonna pass. 

Have you ever had a destructive class?? You know, that class that, no matter what, will tear up anything and everything in their path? 

I have. I do. That's my class.

I LOVE my class... I truly do. It's been one of my favorite classes to teach, but they would tear up an anvil, as my grandma used to say.

We have more books in the "Book Hospital" than ever...more game pieces that are missing their friends...more broken crayons, pencils, and erasers that have been dissected like the kids have been playing "Operation".  Every day when it's time to clean up, it's like a war zone. 

Oh, and remember the cute fishing poles I made for our "Fishing for ABCs" center? Yep, broken. They were out and amongst the kiddies for a total of 12 hours, and one is in half, and 2 have had their strings (lines) ripped out. 

Then, on top of all the destruction, I had three boys get caught in the bathroom standing against the back wall and trying to "perfect their aim".  Yep. Awesome.

But, we're making it.  And thanks for letting me vent.  Sometimes it just feels better to get it all out.  My teammates have definitely had an ear full today!!!

Now, on to our latest craft....Landform Books!!
  I know, I know...some of you are enjoying your last days or day of school...or your first days of summer, but you can grab this and keep it for next year if you want.  Never too early to start planning, right?!
One of our social studies standards is for children to identify landforms....mountains, valleys, plains, plateaus, deserts, coasts, and islands.  

So, we read these awesome nonfiction texts about each one...
We did one book a day, and then created one piece of our landform book. At the end of the week, we had all the pieces for us to put together...

 Every day, as we went along, the kids also filled out their vocabulary sheet. I stapled that to the back of the books when we put it all together...
And, done.. Easy right??  The kids love this & it's very simple. 

If you would like the patterns for each part AND the vocabulary sheet, just click the picture to download the zip file FREEBIE. :)

 **For the record, my room mom accidentally ran the peninsulas (which USED to be part of our standard) instead of the islands, & I went with it.  The pattern in the file is that actual island :)

I hope you can use this sometime. It's a unit that I really enjoy teaching & my firsties always have a good time with it.

That all being said, I would like to say that my heart, thoughts and prayers go out to those affected by the awful tornado in Oklahoma. Words simply can't express how much my heart hearts when watching all the news coverage and seeing all those sweet faces.  No matter how destructive my little ones might be, I definitely had to hug them a little tighter today.

As always, thanks for stopping by.

Sunday, May 19, 2013

That's How I Roll.... Dice Games FREEBIE for End of Year

9 more days, friends...I only have 9  more days!
Yes, you are going to have to put up with my daily countdown. It's the only way I keep sane :)

So, with the end of the year rapidly approaching, I've been trying to get together my end of year gifts. I already blogged about my beach buckets, but I always like to put something in there to go with the stuff parents send it.  (You can see that original post <HERE>). Basically, I buy each kid a beach bucket & then ask parents to send in "summery" items to fill them. Things like water balls, dive sticks, sunglasses, jump ropes, etc...

But, I have been trying to figure out something educational to go in there, too!

Enter Target...ahh....Target and your Dollar Spot..how I love thee! :)

MB and I were running errands, and of course, we had to go to Target. ( I swear there's a magnetic force field that just draws me to it!).

There, I found these...
They're dice....AND erasers all in one! :)
I remembered seeing something on Pinterest from Melissa at Today in First Grade & I just had to buy them. Well, MB bought them. They are his gift to the kiddos for the end of the year. So Sweet.

Anyway, I typed up some toppers to put on each little package & stapled them on...
I used different colored cardstock to save on my color ink & easy peasy, done!
I also made up a list of suggested dice games that the kids can play with these.
You can click on the pictures to grab the toppers & game suggestions for FREE. :)

I think they turned out pretty cute & they are a fun and educational little prize for the end of the year. Yes, I am fully aware that a lot of them will just use them as erasers, but even if ONE kid chooses to play some games to help him or her with math, it's a winner! Plus, they may have some other dice at home that they can play with. Yay!

*Update: I just met a new bloggy friend... Jessica at Joy in the Journey
Her blog is SUPER cute, and she hosts a linky every Thursday called "Tricks of the Trade".

This week, it's all about End of the Year gifts, so I wanted to link up here.  
Head on over & check it out!! :)
Now, it's time to get ready for AWARDS...
   Every year, after the school-wide award assemblies, I do Candy Bar awards in my room. I'm sure you've seen them, but each kid is awarded a candy bar based on their own little personalities. For example:

   Milky Way - for the kids that's "out of this world". (Head in the clouds, maybe?)
   M& M's - for being "magnificent and marvelous"
  Snickers - for always being full of laughter and making us "snicker".
   Junior Mints - for the child "Mint" for greatness
  3 Musketeers - for the child who is always a leader amongst friends

 You get the point. I have 21 different ones, and I type up the certificates & attach the candy for each kiddie.  I've already got the candy, so now it's time to get it all together...
I try not to give out TOO much candy throughout the year (a skittle here, a skittle there), but it's the end of the year, why not?!?!

What do YOU do for end of the year gifts and awards?? I'd love to hear about it !

Also, if you haven't seen it, I have a "Splashing Through Summer" Packet up on TpT that covers almost ALL of the Common Core Standards. It's divided up by day, and will get your kids ready for 2nd grade! Head on over to my TpT to check it out: :)

As always, thanks for stopping by. Have a happy Sunday...and Monday, too! :)

Thursday, May 16, 2013

SANITY Centers...some end of year fun & FREEBIES!

10 more days... 10 more days....10 more days...
    I think I can... I think I can... I think  I can...

I don't know about you, but the end of the year is absolutely CRAZY! This year, we had a lot of "through the year" breaks, so we're not getting out of school until AFTER Memorial Day.  The kids are ready & they KNOW it's time to be out. Which lends itself to pure and absolute craziness!

Enter Sanity Centers.

That's what we call them anyway. The kids call them "Ocean Learning Stations", but Sanity Centers is a much better name for them.  It's something my team & I do at the end of the year so we can find some time to do all that end of year paperwork, assessing, and cleaning that just has to be done. We are furloughed for most of our post-planning,, so we have to get a lot of stuff done before the kids even leave.

Don't worry, it's educational, but it's also wonderful. :) And, the best part is this whole thing will last me the next 10 days! Woo hoo!!  Easy planning :)

Okay, here's what it looks like... (*Caution - Picture Heavy Post...but a BUNCH of FREEBIES ahead!)
Each kid gets a "Learning Stations Ticket/Grid". (My assistant principal hates the word "centers" so we go with learning stations...just FYI). If you want a copy of this, just click the picture...

There are 18 centers throughout the classroom. I label them or the baskets they're in to match the ticket. The kids are allowed to complete them at their own pace and in the order they choose.

There are only a few rules..
1 - No more than 2 people at any center, at any time
2 - You must work quietly and not disrupt others
3 - You must FULLY COMPLETE a center before you move on to another one. And, your work must be your BEST work. No rushing.

Here's some pictures of the centers (learning stations) in my room that match the ticket...
 Ocean Puzzle

Make a Whale & write 3 facts from the big book...

 Math Facts Practice, Summer Word Search, and Write a Letter to a Kindergartener..
 Vocabulary Hunt...
 The kids get to wear the big sunglasses and "hunt" for different words around the room & in books.
Fact Family Kites...
Computer Time....max 20 minutes. They have to set the timer.
Commotion in the Ocean: Pick a poem, copy & illustrate...
 Sink or Float??  I got this from Once Upon a First Grade Adventure

 Watercolor Painting: Draw and color a picture with CRAYONS only.  Then, paint over the picture with BLUE watercolor.  Cute ! 

Synonym Shark: Students make a shark using construction paper & a paper plate. Then, they sort and cut ONLY synonyms to the shark :) This craft came from Almost Unschoolers.
Sunken Ship Scuba Craft & Writing...

This craftivity and writing sheet are included in the FREEBIES below :)  I just used my scrapbook hole punchers for the eyes & we cut strips of paper for the hair...

Ocean Words:
  I don't have a good picture of this, but I made fishing poles from cardboard tubes and duct tape.  I attached a magnet to the poles and then made Ocean ABC Order cards with paper clips on them. The kids fish for the words & then  put them in ABC order...

*The clip art is from Scrappin' Doodles. Love them!

There are a few  more paper/pencil stations, but you get the point.  :) The kids LOVE this & it keeps them busy...Win! WIN! :)

If you would like some freebies... click HERE.
The Zip File includes 8 PDF's.....
1) Kindergarten Letter Writing
2) Scuba Diver Patterns (3..snorkel, mask, noses)
3) Sunken Treasure Writing
4) ABC order cards
5) ABC order recording sheet
6) Fact Family Kite page

** Update.....HERE are the center labels, too.... Just click the picture!

So, that's it. Easy Peasy! 
The set up takes a while, but it's so worth it!! The amount of time per day we spend doing this varies depending on what else we have going on, but they do this for a couple hours a day at least.

We started this a few years ago, and it has become our true sanity at the end of the year. I hope you like & there's something you can use.

I'm liking up with Friday Freebies with this post, too... I just love this linky :)

If you're out of school tomorrow, YIPPPEE for you (AND I'm so sticking my tongue out at you)...and if you have a while... You can do it !! :)

Happy Friday, friends... thanks for stopping by!  I love your comments, so if you think you can use this in your room or you do something similar, I'd love to hear about it!