Thursday, March 29, 2012

What's in my Lunchbox?

I know! I know!  You are thinking...she is posting about another linky party.  Does she ever post about anything else?

Or maybe that is what I am thinking.  Hmmm!  Anywho, I am going with it because it is too cute to pass up.

Tara over at 4th Grade Frolics is hosting a cute linky party titled Looky in My Lunchbox? And, did I mention that she has a giveaway attached to it?  You heard me right...a giveaway.  Something for free.  Something cute too!

So here is my lunchbox:

Isn't it the cutest!  I got it from a Thirty-One party in January.  The picture isn't that great but my name is embroidered on it in hot pink and that is a hot pink poof attached to it (also, purchased through Thirty-One).    It is a great lunch box.  Insulated on the inside and everything.  It has a dry pocket on the outside to put a napkin or germ-x (Remember, I have OCD.  Keep me germ free, please!).

So now I bet you are just dying to see what is inside?  Here goes...

Pretty boring, huh?  Two years ago I joined Weight Watchers and lost 20 pounds.  So I have stuck by my frozen "Smart Ones" meals and salads (when I have time to make them).  I usually include some form of fresh fruit like an orange, banana, or grapes and my favorite drink...Sobe.  I have tried to drink just water...I can't do it.  At least I gave up the soda.  A soda is a splurge for me.  You will notice the Caprisun, that is for my daughter.  She is lactose intolerant and so I have to pack her a drink everyday.  Since she loves to eat the school lunch, I pack her drink in my lunchbox and her class conveniently comes in right behind mine (I don't know what we will do next year).

My lunch is very early...10:44-11:14.  Yes, you read that right!  It is more like brunch.  It is a 30 minute duty free time (thank goodness, I usually need a mental breather by then).  We also get a 40 minute planning period about 30 minutes after lunch.  So, if for some reason I cannot eat lunch at my designated time, I can eat during planning.  I usually eat in the teacher break room because I enjoy my first grade company (they are also can check out their blog here.)  Our topic of conversation is usually what we have found on blogs the previous night; who knows, maybe we were talking about your blog?  Hmmmm?

Well, that's it!  That's my lunch box.  I would like to say that I make myself a healthy, gourmet meal everyday, but there simply isn't enough time...and sleep and blogging take more priority.  Is it the same for you?

Tell us about your lunch...go link up!

Happy Blogging!

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

What am I Pinning?

Don't you just love a fun linky pary?  I do and this one is right up my ally since I am on pinterest ALL THE TIME.  Seriously, I never log out!  So here goes...

Laura over at Kinder Kraziness is hosting a "What Are You Pinning Wednesday?" linky party.  So here are my top five pins for today (so far, that is):
They Techy Teacher

I just love this retelling anchor chart found on the Techy Teacher's Blog.  This will be great to post at my story telling area after creating it with the kiddos.  They can refer to this when they are retelling and I can refer to it when I am assessing them.

Kindergarten Kindergarten

I think I am in love with anchor charts right now.  My kiddos and I are currently talking about 3-D shapes and I had already planned to do something similar with them for tomorrow's math lesson.  This gave me some great ideas on how to improve mine.

Who doesn't love freebies?  I found this just today and LOVE, LOVE, LOVE them.  I can't wait to use them with my kinders when we get to our subtraction unit.  Thanks, Mrs. Plant for this awesome 10 page freebie!!!

Older and Wisor

I don't know about you, but I am a very crafty person and love to wrap gifts in unique ways.  This blog has some of the cutest ideas for this.  However, this one caught my eye!  The denim pocket is priceless.  I ABSOLUTELY LOVE DENIM.  I love denim so much that I have a denim couch.  This blogger shows how to make a denim poof out of a cut up pair of jeans.  I see me making denim poof flip flops in my near future.  How about a denim poof head band for me or my daughter.  CUTE!

I now leave you with my favorite pin of the day.  Who doesn't love a new "Hey Girl" quote with that cutie, Ryan Gosling on it?  Here you go...the top pin of the day...  I hope you enjoy it as much as me...

Happy Pinning!

Sunday, March 25, 2012

Back to Reality

Sorry I have been missing from the blogging world this week.  Since it was spring break, I was out of town for the entire week taking care of some family business.  However, I did have some time for some personal fun with my own children and their cousins.

I think I have mentioned this before, but I also dabble in photography and I had the opportunity to do a photo shoot at Honeymoon Island on the west coast of Florida.  Here are a few of my favorites:

My two cuties!

My beautiful nieces! 

This is my sister-in-law enlarged this to a poster size for her wall.  Great choice!

I just love sunsets!  Even in black and white!

Here is another view with some color.

This little cutie wanted the picnic food that we
brought to the beach for sunset.

I promise, my next post will be school related since my spring break is over and I have to get "school" focused again.

Did I mention there are only 9 weeks left until summer break?

Happy Blogging!

Friday, March 16, 2012

Spring Break!!!!

It's official...

I am now on Spring Break!

Oh, what to do?  What to do?

Although the image above looks actual "to do" list looks more like a Harry Potter novel.  I better get started.  I only have 9 days to get it done!

Happy Blogging!

Monday, March 12, 2012

K - 2 Linky Party
I just discovered that Jeannie over at Kindergarten Lifestyle is hosting an awesome Linky Party.  She is wanting to find all those awesome Kindergarten, First Grade, and Second Grade Bloggers that are hiding out in cyberspace  (we know you are out there...just waiting to be discovered).  Simply head over to her blog and link up.  We want to follow you!  If you are interested in being included simply click HERE.

What you waiting for?  Go link up!  Personally, I think it will be fun to find new blogs to follow.  However, please don't tell my husband I said that...he already thinks that I spend too much time with "Mac."

Happy Blogging!

Saturday, March 10, 2012

Thematic Organization

I just love linking up with The Clutter Free Classroom to discuss organization.  After all, it gives me my OCD fix for the day.  This weeks challenge was to discuss how you organize your thematic units (an area that I think I need some updating).

So here goes...

About 10 years ago (when they remodeled our 50 year old classrooms), I decided it was time to do an organizational makeover.  It was then that I splurged and purchased 26 of these plastic Sterlite green bins and 26 of the smaller clear Sterlite bins (yes, the lady behind the Walmart counter thought I was crazy coming through her line with all those bins).

Why 26 you ask?  Well it just so happened that I discovered that 13 bins could fit across my shelf at the back of the room and then I could stack another one on top of each one equalling 26 total.  Then, I realized that I could even stack 2 smaller Sterlites on top of that (the fire marshal loves me).  Also, it just so happens that there are 26 letters of the alphabet.  So here is where my thematic organization began.

The clear Sterlite bins are labeled according to the letters of the alphabet.  We still pretty much do a letter of the week, eventhough we don't do as much with that letter as we use to.  Now we let our Social Studies and Science curriculums dictate what our Thematic units will be.  Each clear bin houses anything that I use when I teach that letter of the alphabets (for example, I always read The Three Bears when I do the letter Bb so in that bin are the storytelling props, the different versions of the book, and even a video that I show for that week.  It also houses any station games that may be used during that time as well.  Like I said, I have one of these for each letter of the alphabet.  I pretty much know what is in each one and, if for some reason, I decide I need to use something out of that bin at another time of the year, I simply remember which bin it is in and can retrieve it.

Now, the green bins are labeled according to our Science and Social Studies Thematic Units as well as certain special events throughout the year.  For example, the ones in the above image say Water Play Day and Field Day T-shirts.  Those just happened to be the ones I took the picture of, but many of the others say names of holidays and various thematic units like dinosaurs, weather/seasons, animals, etc.  Since these bins are much larger, they can hold more.  Most of these bins will have anything that I will use when teaching that theme (storytelling props, stuffed animals, videos/dvd's, books, math work stations, literacy work stations, etc.).

The only thing that I do not put into these bins are my workpapers/crafts/teaching ideas.  The reason that I do not include them into these bins is simply that when I am ready to plan for a unit of study, I need these more easily accessible; therefore, I keep these in the file cabinets located behind my teaching desk. Here is an image:

In my file cabinet, I have one drawer for each of the following:
*  letter of the week files
*  monthly files (Jan, Feb, Mar, etc).
*  math files (organized in order of topics taught)
*  reading files (organized in order of topics taught)
*  thematic files (organized in order of topics taught)

The other drawers simply house workpapers from the copy center that I plan on using with the students.  Our grade level orders these papers at the end of each nine-weeks (usually on a teacher duty day, when we have time to think about and plan for the next 9-weeks of instruction). what do I love about the way I have my thematic units organized?

  1.  I pretty much can find anything that I need because I know how it is organized.
  2. It is visually appealing (accept that the bins are green...I bought them when my classroom was themed like a garden, now my classroom theme is the just doesn't look good to me).
  3. Each bin has a file to match.

What do I not like about the way that they are organized?

  1. The green bins are heavy and difficult to get down.  I pretty much ONLY get them down when I need one. So if I have something that needs to be filed in that bin but it isn't down, I simply place that item on a shelf in my girls bathroom (kind of like a "catch all" shelf that eventually will get put away).
  2. I really do hate that they are green!  Remember, I am OCD!
  3. This method has to be updated whenever our county changes our Social Studies and/or Science curriculum.  Every so many years, the county decides to change our SS or science series and, thus, changing the order of the curriculum map.  Sometimes this even changes the themes taught (deletes/adds new ones).  This is frustrating because then I have stuff that never gets used or themes that I need to go buy/find more to help instruct.

Well, that is pretty much how I organize my thematic units.  I know it's not perfect, but it seems to work for me.

Thanks for reading my LONG post.  Not only am I OCD, but I am a very wordy writer (I think that is called long winded).

Happy Blogging!

Thursday, March 8, 2012

It is a new month which means time for a new Currently Linky Party from Farley.  Play along and go link up.  Here is what is currently going on with me....

Happy Blogging!

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Top 10 Award!

I must say "Thank You" to Tammy over at Forever in First for giving my blog The Top 10 Award.  
This blogging award was created several months back with the purpose of encouraging and congratulating new bloggers.  

Therefore, I am nominating the following blogs:

These bloggers are wonderful and share so many interesting ideas.  Please go check them out.  You won't be disappointed.

In the meantime...

Happy Blogging!

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Thank You for Recognizing Me!!!

Since I have discovered blogs, my teaching has improved tenfold!  I am sure many of you feel the same.  There are so many wonderful teachers out there in cyberspace that are willing to share their fabulous ideas and even share freebies; it is truly amazing!  And what astonishes me even more is that many of these incredible bloggers are starting to recognize me!  Just recently two lovely ladies bestowed the following honor to me:
I must say thank you to Michelle at Inspired by Kindergarten and Kelly at Kindergarten Kel.  These lovely bloggers have awarded me the "One Lovely Blog Award."

When given this award one must:
1.  Thank the person/people who gave you the award.
2.  Pass this award on to 15 bloggers.
3.  Follow the person blog who sent you the award.

So now I must pass this award onto 15 bloggers (That's tough because I want to recognize every blog that I follow because eachof you have impacting my teaching!).  But I guess I should be a good role model and follow the rules, goes  (I hope you don't mind but I just listed the links for the sake of time):

Thank you again to the two wonderful bloggers who gave this honor to me.  It really made me feel good to be recognized in the blogging community.  I hope I can share this great feeling with other bloggers.

Happy Blogging!

Saturday, March 3, 2012

Happy Birthday, Dr. Seuss!

We had a fabulous, fun-filled exhausting week learning about Dr. Seuss.  Here are some of the highlights of what we did...and by the way, if I used one of your magnificent downloads, please let me know and I will give you credit (My hubby, who was trying to do a random act of kindness for me and clean up, accidentally threw away my list of where I got these centers.  I guess I can't be too upset with him).

I started the week by reading a book about the life of Dr. Seuss and we even watched an informational video on BrainPop Jr.  Then we charted what we learned.  Here is what my little cuties came up with:

Then, throughout the week we read about three different books written by Dr. Seuss each day and did some fun activities that went along with those books (many that I found while blog stalking).  Of course, I didn't remember to take the time to take pics of those activities.  Maybe one day I will get my act together (I just don't know how some of these awesome bloggers do it all!)

Anywho, pretty much the culmination of this unit was on Friday. Of course it started with our Principal getting on the news in the morning and announcing that it was "Read Across America Day."  Then the chaos fun began!  My mother-in-law, a retired kindergarten teacher, came in to read Green Eggs and Ham to my littles.  The student's were so attentive!  I am so proud!

Then we were off to complete our Seussical Center Work (That is what I titled our day of fun to enhance their interest!  Isn't it funny how you can give an activity an interesting title and then all the sudden it isn't classified as school work?)  Here are pics of our four stations:

Station # 1:  Seussical Sight Word Sentences-each child selected five Cat in the Hat Sight Words and wrote a sentence using each one of those words (I wished I had a cute recording sheet for them, but there just wasn't enough time to find one or make one...always room to improve next year.)

Station #2:  Spin-A-Sound-(found this download at Live, Love, and Laugh Everyday in Kindergarten)  The children spin their spinner, identify the beginning sound, then color in on their recording sheet. This one was a hit!!!

Station #3:  Build a Cat In The Hat-the children used pieces provided to construct a cat in the hat.  They just love selecting their own eye stickers from the roll (I got these from Oriental Trading.)

Station #4:  Seussical Word Sort-(also found at Live, Love, and Laugh Everyday in Kindergarten).  The children read the sight words and sort them according to how many letters are in the word. Then they write them down on their recording sheet.  This one came with a large number of sight words.  I just had them sort until the columns were full, except column one (one letter words).  I love the recording sheet provided with this one because it can be used with any sight word sort and isn't necessary just for Dr. Seuss.

After special area, we watched Green Eggs and Ham and then charted if they like them or not for Math.  

I also made these yummy Cat in the Hat Cookies for my lovelies.  I had to make them slightly different from my normal way because I have one child that is allergic to several of the ingredients.  Normally I use a vanilla wafer on the bottom dipped in white chocolate, topped with a large marshmallow with each end dipped in white chocolate and red sprinkles.  They are really cute and yummy!  This year's version was enjoyed just as well, but not as cute in my opinion.

These were an adorable "Thank You" gift to all of our Read Across America readers.  They were made by one of our wonderful volunteers who should be on our payroll because she is pretty much there everyday!  Aren't they cute?

One more thing, during the day I took every child's photo using my iPad and a cool app that was found by another teacher at our school.  The app is called the Cat Cam.  It cost .99!  That's it!  It gives you many options for the backgrounds using several popular Dr. Seuss books and you can take and then insert the child's picture.  AWESOME!  This little cutie is one of my fellow teacher's son.  He is as sweet as he is cute!

Well, that's it!  What a birthday celebration!  I am sure you did some wonderful activities to celebrate Dr. Seuss.  I would love to hear about your ideas.

Happy Blogging!