Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Summer Project Linky Party

Did someone say summer vacation?  

I don't know about the rest of you, but I am counting down!  I know that there are 30 more school days until summer vacation.  Oh the anticipation is going to kill me!

Anyway, this is that time of year that I like to start making lists and thinking about how I should spend my summer vacation.  

While searching Pinterest for ideas, I found this awesome Linky Party...

 hosted by...

So here goes...

My Summer Projects
  1. Clean out and organize my school "teaching materials" closet.  
  2. Delve more into the Common Core Standards and complete my "yearly" focus plans for the 2012-2013 school year.
  3. Paint my two large blue shelves in my classroom.
  4. Sand and resurface my kitchen cabinets, paint my kitchen/breakfast nook/family room, add new hardware to my kitchen cabinets (ideally, I would like to add new flooring too, but that is on my husbands "to do" list for the fall).
  5. Work in my new, larger backyard and add an outdoor fire pit (we purchased the house next to us as a rental property and enlarged our backyard).
  6. Learn how to use Google Docs so that I can make some great freebies to share with all of you.
My Summer Fun

  1. Annual family vacation to Disney's Fort Wilderness.
  2. Annual vacation to the west coast of Florida to spend time with the cousins.
  3. Multiple trips with the kids to Sea World (we have yearly passes).
  4. Swim with the dolphins at Marineland Florida.
  5. Several road trips with my kiddos (there are so many neat places to visit in Florida and we like to make a list of our favorites and see how many we can visit during our break).
  6. Annual Girl Cruise with my besties (Oh yeah!  A bunch of teachers on a cruise without kids!  SO MUCH FUN!).
That pretty much sums my summer up.  I have a lot that I want to do and a short time to do it.  This summer break is only 8 weeks long.  I know it is going to fly by since I have several workshops that I am attending and presenting as well for my district/school.

What do you have planned for your summer vacation?  Go link up and tell us about it.

Happy Blogging!

Sunday, April 15, 2012


Well...not really!  But I have to tell you about my lucky find that happened yesterday.

You know, yesterday was Saturday, which is suppose to be laundry and cleaning day at my house; well that got placed on the back burner since I had to take my daughter to her grandmother's house who lives about 30 minutes away.

After the drop off, I just so happen to have to pass by a very large shopping plaza that has a Target (must do), Ross (fun do, if you have the time), TJ Max (fun do, if you really have the time), Dollar Tree (must do) and a Michaels (must do, even if you are sicker than a dog).  

So of course, I had to rationalize a reason with myself as to why I should stop at least at Target (dollar spot my daughter needed new underwear).  Then, of course, if the car is already parked, I might as well take a little time to at least go in the must do's, and then maybe the fun do's.

Well, let's just say all the other stores were not supporting the fact that I had money to spend (which can be a good thing).  So, I was getting pretty depressed that my urge to splurge wasn't being properly addressed.

Nearly defeated, I walked into my last stop: Michaels (actually thinking that I might find some Easter left overs on clearance...like I already don't have enough...I didn't even post about the cutest clearance stuff I found at Walmart and the 10 packages of Peeps that I had to buy...3 are already eaten...shhhh! Don't tell anyone!).

As soon as I walked in the door, there it was!

An entire display with the most beautiful, yellow sign hanging over it:  Everything 80% off...discount taken at register.  

I look down and I see a variety of teacher items (stickers, certificates, badges, nameplates, notepads, etc.).   So...I do what every teacher would do... I begin selecting a few 100th day items all the while thinking to myself: "Hey, this is a pretty good sale."

Then, I walk around the display to the other side.  I do believe my heart actually stopped beating at that moment.  

Shut the front door (I think I even said those words out loud...right there in Michael's...for all to hear).

I had to do a double take.

I seriously could not believe it!

There, in front of my eyes was an entire display of Dr. Seuss items:  Bulletin boards, stickers, flashcards, certificates, pointers, bookmarks, copy paper, hats.  


Again...I did what every sane teacher would do...I took a deep breath,  I looked around to see if anyone else was eyeing my find, I ran for the nearest shopping cart (nearly knocking over an elderly lady on the way).

I returned with my shopping cart, relieved that no one else was taking my stash and then the chaos shopping began.  

I know you are just dying to see a pic....so here goes.

You will notice that many of the items were purchased in sets of four.  I have to admit....I am not a selfish person...even though it looks like it!  I purchased for myself and the other three teachers on my team.  Of course, I had to call my team leader after the purchase and gloat but she was just as excited as me about my find (that's what I love about her).

Here is a closer look at what I found:
certificates 4 @ .99 each

Flashcards  4 @ .79 each

sticker packs 4 @ .39 each

hats 3 @ $2.39 each

copy paper 4 @ .99 each

stickers 2 @ .39 each

Bookmarks 6 @ .59 each

Bookmarks 4 @ .59 each

LED pointers 3 @ $1.39 each

Banner 1 @ .79 each

Banner 1 @ .79 each

Bulletin Board 1 @ $1.99 each

For a grand total of...

Now you can see why I feel like I hit the jackpot!  The 20 cent items at the bottom were the 100th Day certificates and badges (which were also an awesome deal).

So that's it!  Has this ever happened to you?  Don't you just love when you hit the jackpot?  

Oh, and by the way, you may want to check out your nearest Michael's today.  Just don't knock over any elderly ladies on your way to the shopping carts.

Happy Shopping Blogging!

Saturday, April 14, 2012

The Very Hungry Caterpillar

Okay, I was bound and determined that I was going to take some pics to share with you before leaving on Friday.  

So there I was on a Friday afternoon, feverishly setting up my classroom for the next week.  

I am sure you can visualize.  If not, it looked something like this...
  1. put out your theme center work only to realize you placed the wrong letter work at two centers (ugh).
  2. pull out theme books (I have so many they all won't fit into my front facing theme book holder, remember I have been teaching for 19 years)
  3. search for that certain big book amongst the million others that your children read and never seem to put back in the correct location even though you go over your organizational system every week
  4. open the "stash" closet and needing to move 20 million boxes around to find the certain game you want
  5. cut up 20,000 squares of the correct colored tissue paper for the following weeks craft (as you are cutting, you realize that your paper cutter really needs to be sharped because it is ripping the paper so you end up needing to cut all them up by hand).

I think you get the picture....I feel like I need an organizational intervention (Sounds like an organizational challenge for The Clutter Free Classroom).

However, I must say that after all that ...
I am so proud of myself because I FINALLY remembered to take pics (insert applause here)!

So here are a few of the items that I am using next week during our "Bug" unit of study (I prefer to say Insects but our reading series calls them bugs).

During this unit, we talk about all insects but the big book that I use for the week is...The Very Hungry Caterpillar.  

So...here is a pic of the very cute craft project we make this week.
The children use watered down glue to attach all of the different squares of tissue paper to a piece of white construction paper.  When it dries, I have a stencil we use to trace the caterpillar shape onto their creation and then we cut it out and add the details.  They always turn out so cute.  We do a writing activity where they innovate the story by completing the following sentence  "He ate through (insert number word) (insert food), but he was still hungry."

Next, I love to do retelling activities with this book so here are a few pics of some I use.  The first is a picture of an interactive chart that I made years ago (it is holding up well).

As you can see, it currently is not in the correct order (I was so busy I didn't even notice when I took the pic).  But you get the idea.  The food items have velcro on the back and can be added to complete the sentence.

Here is another retelling activity:
This is painted on a cookie sheet from the Dollar Tree (as you can see, this one is well used, the paint is chipping).  I just colored and laminated the small pics from a book that I had and put a magnet on the back.  The children use this to retell the story or as they are reading along with the book.

Here is another retelling item:
It is a stuffed toy that someone was actually selling at a garage sale.  Can you believe it?  It has all the items that the caterpillar ate through inside of it's body (I can't believe they were all there too!).  The kids use this at the puppet area after I model using it.  It is always a HOT item.

Here is another garage sale find:

And, sometimes it is just fun to put out new puzzles for them to explore with.  This is one of my favorites simply because I love Eric Carle.  

Now of course, there are many other items that we are using, but most of them are items that I got from different teacher resource books (i.e.  retelling coloring sheets, caterpillar measuring activity, metamorphous sequencing worksheet).

Now, back to my organizational issue (or lack of organization).  

I have noticed that when I set up for each week, I have so many different items in different places around my room (theme books, big books, worksheets, games, puzzles, retelling items, etc.).  Although many of these are organized in their own spaces and, for the most part, easy to find.  But it sure seems like a waste of time having to go to all these different locations to retrieve my items.  

I was wondering if anyone has any suggestions to make my Friday set up time more efficient. I would love for you to share what you do.  

Until then, Happy Blogging!

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Tag...You're It! x2

Well, it happened.   I have finally been tagged on the playground.  Not once, but twice.

The first tag came from Kelly over at... 

My second tag came from Ms. D. over at...

So here are the rules of this game of tag:
  • Post these rules.
  • Answer the 10 questions that the tagger posted for you.
  • Create 10 questions of your own to ask the people that you are about to tag.
So here goes...
Kelly's Questions:
1. What is your funniest teaching moment or story?
     Oh...so many...but this year I have a little guy in my room who likes to talk to himself.  At first I thought he had imaginary friends, but I have come to the realization, that he just talks to himself.  No one believed me that he would carry on a full conversation with himself; so, one day I put my iPad 2 to good use.  I set it up and pressed the record button.  I have about 20 minutes of a full on conversation that this little guy had with himself.  Of course, I ONLY shared it with my team members, but would love if I could share it with America's Funniest Home Videos.  

2. What is your worst teaching experience?
     There is nothing worse than chairs being thrown at you and watching a little one rip apart your entire classroom in a fit of rage.  Thank goodness I haven't had another student like that in a few years.  I hope I never experience that again.

3. What other careers did you consider (if any)?
     I took an entire year of courses to be a paralegal.  What was I thinking?  I am excellent at typing and shorthand.

4. What is your favorite movie?
     Pride and Prejudice...awesome movie!

5. What is the best NON children's book that you have ever read?
     Mr. Darcy's Diary  

6. What will you spend your time doing this summer?
     Entertaining my two children...I usually take them on several short vacations.  My husband owns a rental stand on Daytona Beach and he can't take much time off in the summer.   Therefore, it is up to mom to make sure that they enjoy their summer vacation.

7. What kinds of school things do you bring home in your "teacher" bag to work on? Do you get them done or take them back to school undone?
     After 19 years, very little comes home with me...most of the stuff that I work on at night mostly need the computer (printing out games and such from blogs).

8. How do you spend your time outside of the school day?
     Scrapbooking, reading, photography, blogging, traveling, and taking my kids to their piano lessons and dance lessons

9.  If you played & won the lottery, how would you spend the money? Would you continue to teach?
     If I won the lottery, I am not sure what I would do.  I would like to say that I would continue to teach, but I would love to travel around the world.

10. What is the most exciting/interesting place you have visited for a vacation?
Guatemala...my husband and I took a cruise a few years back and we visited Guatemala.  It was probably the most friendliest place we have ever visited.  Absolutely beautiful!

Ms. D's Questions:
1. What made you want to become a teacher?
     My husband's mother is a retired kindergarten teacher.  I was in my first year of college, in the paralegal program.  She invited me to assist in her classroom one day.  One day turned into one week.  One week turned into one month.  At the end of the semester, I changed my degree to elementary education.  It was the best thing I ever did.

2.  What are your hobbies?
     Scrapbooking, reading, blogging, photography, traveling

3.  What one piece of advice would you give a new teacher on the first day of school?
     The same advice that one of my college professors gave me many years ago..."The tone of your voice will control the tone of your classroom."  This has always been true for me.  If I get excited...they get excited.  If I stay calm and collected...they stay calm and collected.

4.  If you weren't teaching, what would you like to do for a career?
     I would LOVE to be a professional photographer.  It is an awesome hobby of mine and I dibble in it on the side.  I have even made a little bit of money doing it.  If I had more time, I would probably be more serious about it.

5.  Teaching pet peeves?
     It drives me crazy when I hear a child say that they can't do something.  I have always believed that if you say you can't do something, you never will.  I always encourage my students to try.

6.  Do you still write a newsletter?
     Not really.  Our school does one and I mostly communicate through e-mails.  It seems to be enough communication and it saves paper.

7.  If so, how often?
     Our school newsletter goes home every week.  I send home a mass e-mail approximately once a week.

8.  What is the one thing you can't live without (teaching-wise)?
     My Macbook (blogs!)

9.  What one professional resource do you use often?
     Debbie Diller's  Math Work Stations

10.  How many days are left in your year?
     40 (Yes, I am counting!)

Now...who should I tag!  I have not been given a set number and I know that many of my blogging friends have already been tagged out there.  However, I have a co-worker who has two blogs and I know she hasn't been tagged.  So this one is for you!  I am officially tagging, Meredith over at

Here are your questions:
1.  What made you want to become a teacher?
2.  What are your hobbies?
3.  What one piece of advice would you give a new teacher on the first day of school?
4.  If you weren't teaching, what would you like to do for a career?

5.  Teaching pet peeves?
6.  Do you still write a newsletter?

7.  If so, how often?
8.  What is the one thing you can't live without (teaching-wise)?
9.  What one professional resource do you use often?
10.  How many days are left in your year?

Happy Tagging!

Sunday, April 8, 2012

Dollar Tree Find

Okay...so I was out with my kids today and we happened to stop by our local Dollar Tree.  

As I was casually walking around, I decided to check out any of the left over Easter pickings and that is when I spotted these:

Have you seen these little candies at your local Dollar Tree?  

They are so cool!  

They are little plastic carrots that are filled with flavored sugar.  The stem at the top unscrews so that the kiddos can eat the sugar out of the inside.  

And, of course, you are suppose to just throw that cute little carrot container away when you are done.  What!!!!!  Throw it away?  I don't think so!  

My brain is visioning a very cute addition game using these plastic carrots as counters on a garden themed mat.  As my brain was envisioning this wonderful idea...that is when I noticed the sign:  "All Easter Items: 50% Off"

Shut the front door!  At that point I was so excited, I nearly did a backflip right there in the store (Not that I even know how to do one, but I would have tried!)

Well, needless to say, I bought every package that they had!  

I now am the owner of 96 adorable, plastic carrots that are still filled with the sugar candy.  I am not sure what to do with that part.  I really don't want to eat all that sugar; and, I don't want my own kids on a sugar high.  So...I might just have to dispose of the stuff in the circular file.

So go check out your local Dollar Tree.  See if they still have any of these cute, plastic carrot candies.  You know you want to.

Or...what other Day-After-Easter-Sale items are you looking forward to finding?  How about those cute bunny and carrot plastic eggs that were at Walmart for 50 cents each.  I will be hitting that place tomorrow!

Happy Blogging!

Saturday, April 7, 2012

Happy Easter

Note to self:  You must get better at taking pictures of all the fun learning that takes place in your classroom.

I am going to try to work on this goal from now until the end of the school year.  I promise.  

However, I do have a few pics that I took with my I-pad this week.  

First, I must share a few pictures from our Jack Hartmann concert.  Yes, the first one is of Jack and me (I rarely remember to get pictures of myself, so I am so proud that I handed the camera to someone else).

If you have never heard any of his stuff, you must search him on Youtube.  He is awesome!!!!  He has produced more than 30 children's CD's and now has 3 DVD's that have some of the kid's favorites from his concerts.  My children beg to do a Jack song everyday.  Here are some of their favorites:
*  The Silly Pirate Song
*  The Penguin Dance
*  The Cowboy Dance
*  The Silly Rock Band Song
*  Hip Hop Tooty Ta

He has songs that teach various reading, math, science and social studies concepts.  He even has a Multiplication CD that raps multiplication facts.  Our 3rd grade teachers use this one all the time in their classrooms.  So I highly recommend you check out his website.

On a side note, my husband (who runs an umbrella rental stand in the heart of Daytona Beach) called me about 3:30 that afternoon all excited.  He said "You will never guess who I just gave a free umbrella set up to?"  Of course, I had no idea.  He said,  "Does the last name, Hartmann, ring a bell."  Needless to say, I was very pleased with my husband for comping him and his wife an umbrella.  What a small world.

Okay, so here is a picture of one cute craft we did in my classroom this week.  We were learning all about animals that hatch from eggs, so I found a cute idea on pinterest for making chicks and here is our version:

Isn't it cute?  I couldn't help myself when I saw this idea last weekend.  I had to go out and find yellow paper plates because I knew I wanted this project at my craft table this week.  The kids did a great job with them and even wrote some cute stories about chicks hatching from eggs.

Well, that's it!  Not many pictures...I guess I am just so busy teaching that I forget the pics.  I have to go back into my classroom sometime this weekend to do some work so maybe I will remember to take some pics.

Happy Blogging!

Wednesday, April 4, 2012


Farley over at Oh Boy Fourth Grade is doing her Currently linky party.  Here is what is up in my neck of the woods.

Go link up!  Tell us what super power you would like to have.  I can think of way too many!

Happy Blogging!

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Guess What?

Tomorrow is the BIG day!

I have been talking about this day ALL YEAR LONG with my kiddos!

I have told them numerous times that HE would be coming to our little school!

The ANTICIPATION has nearly killed me!

If I were a dog, MY  TAIL  WOULD  BE  WAGGING!

I know what you are thinking?  Who?  Who is coming to your school?

He is the only person I know that can get a kindergarten teacher all in a tizzy (other than the "Hey Girl" guy).

That would be

 the one...

the only...

Jack Hartmann

Yes, you heard me right.  He's coming to our school!!!!

To do a concert!!!!

With our K and 1st Grade kiddos!!!!

Now I bet you are wondering how we pulled it off?  Well, you see, Jack and I go way back Jack is a Florida boy and we are a Florida school.  Once a year, he always has a concert at our local theater and we would always attend.  BUT...this year we decided to investigate how much it would cost to have him come to our school.  AND...since our principal oversees another local elementary school, we decided to buddy together with their K and 1st grade to see if we could make the school based concert a reality.  It seemed to have worked out.  I guess it didn't hurt that we backed the date up to his local concert (which usually has about 30-40 schools present).  

So tomorrow, my little ones and I (and about 150 others) will be jamming in our cafeteria to our own personal Jack Hartmann concert!  

Isn't that awesome?  

Happy Blogging!