Saturday, December 31, 2011

Thank You, Cassandra!!!!

About a month ago, I started compiling people's Christmas party ideas into a booklet to share and Cassandra suggested doing a hot chocolate bar.

I just want to send out a HUGE thank you to you, Cassandra, for the brilliant idea!

I planned to do one the last day we had school in December and had such a huge response from parents that I was able to share my hot chocolate bar with the entire first grade and we've decided to make it our new 1st grade tradition!

We set up a table with a hot water caraffe, the hot chocolate, and all the fixins' in the hallway between our three rooms. Each of us showed a different movie and the kiddos got to choose the one they wanted to view. While they were watching their movies, we called a few kids out at a time and they got to make their hot chocolate creations!

They LOVED it and every student who walked past in the hallway was green with envy (sorry guys!) for the fun thing we were doing!

So, thank you thank you thank you for sharing your idea!

Here are some pics of our delicious afternoon!
Ok- that's officially IT for 2011! Best wishes for a fun, safe night for everyone and an amazingly creative, educational new year!

Friday, December 30, 2011

Ring in the New Year and a New Sale at My Little Shop!

This is probably the last post for me of 2011...

Tomorrow we're having our annual New Year's Eve adult gathering, so I'll be making food and cleaning the house for the better part of the day!

So... things I'm thankful for in 2011:
*wonderful friends and family
*awesome trip to NYC this summer with my husband
*all the new bloggy friends I've met since starting this blog in June
*health, a job I love, and... of course... choreographed dancing and singing in all of the musicals I've seen this past year... I love them so!

*60 lbs. lost thanks to hard work and Weight Watchers! My new skinny jeans are feeling a bit snug after the holidays so it might be like 55 lbs. at this time, so 2012 will bring renewed dedication to health and weight loss for me
*I'm still honored to have been asked to present at the webinar for Marygrove College... so that goes on my list of accomplishments!

And, finally, goals for 2012:
*continue on the weight loss journey
*work to become more effective as a math teacher
*keep my house de-cluttered!

And there you have it! I hope you have all had a wonderful 2011 and I wish you a blessed 2012!

On a side note, my Teacher's Notebook store had the first 20 items on sale for 20% off until tomorrow... well, I've since added quite a bit more (with some good freebies!), so I'm putting EVERYTHING at 20% off until the 1st!

Click the pic below from the new "MEGA PACK" of classroom awards if you want to check the store out:

Have a safe and happy night tomorrow!!!!

Thursday, December 29, 2011

School leak=Mess!

Fortunately, the leak wasn't in my room... but due to a leak before break, we are having some work done (which I didn't know about) and I went in to work today to find everything from under my sink piled on the floor... my top cabinets open with my stuff all shuffled around... and I'm working hard on "circles of control"... I'm sure you find this quite obvious hard to believe, but I have a hard time letting go of control. So, to find my things a mess was very disturbing to me... but it is out of my control... so I had to suck it up and get over it.

I took a deep breath and, believe it or not, I am now over it. I was looking forward to going in today and then just working on little things at home until going back on the 9th, but now I'll be heading in next week just to make sure my things are put away correctly!

Today I finished a huge undertaking that I've been working on for quite some time. Last year when I started teaching 1st grade, I wasn't really sure what to do with those "automaticity" charts that are pictured every Monday in my Treasure's teacher edition. This summer, I decided I would "quiz" my students on those words each week. Well, I found something similar to what I was looking for online and bought it, but it just wasn't "hitting the spot" like I wanted it to.

A few weeks ago, I made this for the current story we were working on:

and it worked perfectly! So I went ahead and started making them for the rest of the year and today I finished all the previous ones too!

I put it up for sale at my new Teacher's Notebook store, but will send a free copy to the first three people who leave a comment requesting one... be sure to leave your e-mail address! Keep in mind it is for the first grade Treasure's series! :)

If you want to check it out at my store, click the picture below:
All right... blog at ya later! :)

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

It's Official...!!!

I have taken the leap and have opened a shop on Teacher's Notebook! I am really excited about being able to share items with you on my blog, The Teaching Oasis, and Teacher's Notebook... right now I don't have a lot up, but there are a few freebies!

If you have a chance to check it out, let me know!

For a "grand opening", I currently only have 20 items listed, so I am offering 20% off the first 20 items in my shop until 12/31 while I work to bring new goodies in the coming year!!!!!!

I'm headed in to school tomorrow to do some much needed housekeeping and lesson planning for 2012! I'll be adding new items to my shop tomorrow night and next week!

PS- I hit 1200 followers today! Yippie!

Monday, December 26, 2011

Top Three of 2011

Mrs. Smith is having a fun linky party that required me to do a little stat-digging tonight to find my top three posts of all time. My blog was born over the summer and it blows my mind that my top three posts have so many views for being so young!

So, here they are:

The first one's popularity (Christmas Party Handbook) I attribute to Pinterest. My good friend Bethany over at My Special Education has told me at our last two Thursday get-togethers that she keeps getting so excited by the e-mail notifications that someone has re-pinned one of her pins... but when she goes to see what it is, it's the party handbook that I put together with everyone's party contributions in it! Seriously? 17,000 views?! That's crazy! I hope ya'll found some fun ideas to spice up your holiday parties!

I have gotten on my soap box many times about the Daily Five on my blog, so I'm not surprised about that one being second.

And, the third of the top three about Christmas Around the World picture books... I'm gonna go out on a limb and credit Pinterest with that one too!

So, what a fun linky party and a great way to see what's hot and what's not on my blog! :)

Look for something new this week... I spent the holiday sick on the couch with the stomach flu, started taking Christmas down today (I'm a Grinch, I know) and am hoping to have my house cleaned and back in order tomorrow. BUT... then I'll be working on school stuff, blog stuff, and an announcement related to teacher resources!

Until then... link up with Mrs. Smith! I'd love to see your Top 3 too!

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

A Quick Pic and Something Else...

Here's a picture of the "gingerbread ornaments" my kiddos made yesterday (if you saw my blog post about the smells in my room). We baked them yesterday and today we used acrylic paint to paint them. I am SO excited about how pretty they turned out!

And, I was featured in my local newspaper today... in full-color on the front page! I got interviewed last week due in large part to the webinar I did for Marygrove and a proud dad who called the paper to tell them I was doing it! (Gotta love dads!)

I am still so humbled to think that people actually care what I have to think and say about things! You can check out the article here. (And thanks, Patty, for the nice comment on my blog post from yesterday! I'm glad you saw the article!)

Christmas party tomorrow, PJ day & hot chocolate bar on Thursday... then done until 2012!

Blog at ya later! :)

Monday, December 19, 2011

The Smells from Room 10

Did that get your attention? Generally, my room just smells like a room full of 6, 7, and 8-year olds... which *fortunately* doesn't really smell like much. But, we've been having some tell-tale-holiday-smells for the past few days:

Last week we made our parent Christmas gifts- the reindeer ornaments and tissue-paper-covered-jar-luminaries which I have neglected to take a picture of.

So, for two days, my room smelled like aerosol sealant... And the hallway. And probably everyone else's rooms at my end of the building.

But... today... another smell came wafting out of my room. Something much more pleasant... gingerbread!

We read gingerbread books, compared and contrasted them, wrote about gingerbread characters, and made gingerbread play dough!

During the making of the play dough, I realized we should use the cookie cutters to each make and bake an ornament... so then that happened and the smells of warm cinnamon, ginger, and cloves wafted through the room... drawing many a curious nose into my classroom! :)

Tomorrow we're going to use acrylic paints to paint our ornaments which I will then seal with the aerosol... thus reverting back to the original smell of crafts and memories!

Check out the pictures from our work today!

Each group worked together to mix their dough... here's the recipe:
2 c. flour
1 c. salt
2 T. vegetable oil
1 c. water
3 t. each ground cloves, ginger, and cinnamon

Mix, mix, mix and then separate for each kid. After we played and cut out shapes, we bagged it to take home!

I brought in all of my Christmas cookie cutters and we made lots of shapes!

Then each kid chose one of their shapes and we baked them in my neighbor-teacher's little oven at 250 degrees for about 30 minutes. Don't forget to poke a hole in the top of each with a straw before baking!

Then we read Gingerbread Baby by Jan Brett and went to the computer lab where we made these on!

Tomorrow's agenda is more gingerbread stuff including making and eating cookies, lots of writing, painting our ornaments from today, spraying them with smelly stuff when the kids leave, and then I'll be prepping for our Christmas party on Wednesday!

Have a great week!

Sunday, December 18, 2011

Yes... I'm here... Marygrove, Lions, and Christmas!

This blog has been a ghost town lately!

I have been super swamped, but just wanted to pop on to say that Marygrove College has...


The Lions just got a touchdown to be a point ahead of Oakland!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Ok. I'm re-focused.

Marygrove has posted two blog posts that I guest blogged for them answering some of the questions I received after last weekend's webinar about having students set and chart their own oral reading fluency growth goals.

I hope you'll go check them out and add any other questions you might have in the comments!

You can HERE to head over.

On a side note, if you're looking for something fun and educational to get your students through the next week of school, check out my freebies for Christmas Around the World over at my website by clicking the text or right HERE!

Gotta go watch the last few seconds of the game... Go LIONS!

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

What We Did Today... And a Plea for Ideas to Keep My Students SANE! was such a Tuesday today!

We did our best, but the threat of losing our snow, getting tons of rain, still having another week and a half before break, and Christmas around the corner make Room 10 a craaaaazy place to be right now!

However, we did do part 1 of our parent gifts today... a totally Pinterest inspired project:

This was super easy! Each kid used acrylic paint to do several thumb prints on their ornament. Before they arrived today, I used a white paint pen to write their name and "2011" on the bottom of each. I also attached the ribbon. Then, this afternoon, they drew the antlers, eyes, and smiles on with a black Sharpie and we used red glitter acrylic paint for the noses. They used Q-tips to put those on. Then I sprayed them with Mod Podge sealer when they were dry! They turned out super cute!

PS- that is a laundry drying rack that I bought at Wal-Mart for about $7.00. Each kid has a clothespin with their "number" on it and we hang out art to dry from the rack! Today we hung our ornaments after we painted them... worked PERFECTLY!

AND... I found this website a few weeks ago on someone's blog... so I signed up and we did the dinosaur adventure today. It was a welcome way to get our energy out, learn a little about dinosaurs, and get some exercise too. I even did it with my kiddos... and admit it was a little bit of a workout! You should check it out. It's free and fun!

How are you all keeping your students sane...? Or are they all crazy right now? When are you done for the year? We go until the 22nd, which seems terrible BUT I'm really looking forward to not starting back until mid-January! Having so much time after Christmas and New Years to relax and enjoy will be wonderful!'

Thanks, Finally in First, for hosting a linky party about student Christmas gifts!

Monday, December 12, 2011

It's Monday, Marygrove questions, and a thanks to a friend...

Today was a super busy start to the week!

I've had some people e-mail me with questions from the webinar on oral reading fluency on Saturday. I'm working on a blog post later this week to address some of the questions.

If you tuned in and had any questions, feel free to comment on this post and I'll do my best to answer them when I do that blog entry! Let me just say that the webinar went GREAT! My husband and I enjoyed our time in Detroit... even the tension-filled last few minutes of the Lions game we went to on Sunday! Way to go, Lions!

I did get my bucket filled today by a friend in a neighboring district... Patricia sent me an autographed book from Leslie Helakowski, who is a Michigan author of Big Chickens and Woolbur, among other stories! Thanks for your kindness! My kiddos were so excited when I showed it to them!

I hope everyone has a great week... mine is looking FULL... staff meeting tomorrow, meeting on Wednesday, Christmas music program on school on Thursday... and Friday we're doing crafts and Christmas projects for families all day. I'll post more about that when I have it more organized in my own brain!

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Winter Action Verbs Project... Too Cool!

Literally too cool. Because it's about winter. Ok. Now I'm explaining puns to you like you're 1st and 2nd graders. Sorry! :)

This weekend is the webinar at Marygrove in Detroit. I'm getting super excited! We did our final walk-through today and I think we're really sharing some outstanding information! Unfortunately, the webinar is full, but they are having sign-ups to watch it later "on demand". You can click the green button on the right of my blog to sign-up for that if you'd like!

So, tomorrow my husband and I are heading to Detroit. Webinar on Saturday and Lions game on Sunday! I can't WAIT to be at the game! You can watch for me... we're in the third row behind the goal in the middle! Go Lions!!!!!

Because of the busy weekend, I'm not sure if I'll be back on until next week. So I wanted to leave you with one of the coolest projects I've done in a few years.

This just kind of fell together yesterday. I knew I was going to take pictures of my students wearing all of their snow gear and each kid would pose as if they were doing a winter activity. Then we'd print them out and they would write a sentence to tell about the winter action verb they were doing in the picture.

But then I realized we needed backgrounds. So I went to Kerpoof's "Make a Picture" activity and printed 4 of each of the 7 winter backgrounds. In color. That's right. COLOR.

Then each of my kids posed in the hallway and we went to the lab where they occupied themselves for 10-minutes so I could print their pictures.

We went back to our rooms and I started explaining the idea of the project:

1.) Choose a background. Now we have 20 kids and there are 28 backgrounds. But here's what that means, there are only 4 of each one. So pick a first and a second and a third choice. No, you aren't picking three backgrounds... you're picking the three you like the best so that if you don't get your first choice you can have one of your others.

2.) CAREFULLY cut out your posed "you". Yes I know it's difficult cutting. If you cut your foot off, it's ok. There's kid tape over on the writing table. Yes. I know. It's difficult, but I know you can do it. Don't say "I can't", say "I'll try". Well, of course you'll cut your head off if you have that attitude. Just promise you'll do your very best. It's going to look awesome!

3.) Glue your "you" onto your scene. You can add some details if you draw them first on white paper, color, and cut them out.

4.) Next you need to... OH MY GOSH! WAIT! YOU GUYS! This will be SO AWESOME!

Here's me, running to my closet and feverishly tossing out everything to find the one thing that I hope will be there.

And... there... it... is.

My "frame" paper from Melissa and Doug.

4.) Next you need to glue your background onto this frame. I know! Now it looks like a REAL picture!!!!!

5.) Last, add your details and then, finish the sentence and glue your blue burst on the top of your frame.

Commence the quiet music. And 45-minutes of kids working so hard to make the coolest looking thing ever.

And then, the final products started rolling out...

Love the sled... he even cut out little holes so his hands could hold on to something!

This ice skating one turned out perfectly!

She's building a snowman!

She's throwing a snowball!

This little guy is snowboarding... notice the destroyed snowman that he has just snowboarded through!

We've gotten OODLES of compliments on them and other kids just want to know how my kids were actually at these places! ;)

Here's a burst for you below. We loved this project and I hope you and your kiddos will too!

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Two Things (I just typed "to things"... long day!)

1.) If you're free on Saturday, I'd love to "see" you at the webinar I'll be speaking at! Click the green button on the right for more info!

2.) One of my good friends and soon-to-be-teachers just started a blog and I'd love it if we could give her a good old fashioned bloggy welcome! You can find her here at My Special Education.

That's it for today! Long day of unpaking the common core and designing assessments. Tomorrow I'm looking forward to a day back with my 1st and 2nd graders and then I'll be at my ISD tomorrow night.

So, go say "hi" to Bethany and sign-up for the webinar if you're free Saturday afternoon!

Monday, December 5, 2011

What's Happening in Room 10- A picture overload and a writing freebie!

It's Monday. It's 7:55pm. I feel like I usually do on Thursdays at this time! I'm beat already!

BUT... I wanted to show you what we did today with the Dream Snow freebie I shared this weekend. I already explained how I was going to do the lesson in the earlier blog post and my brain is just too tired right now to re-explain... sorry to be a slacker! You can check out my plan and the freebie by clicking the link above.

I only took a picture of my sample. But here it is! My kiddos loved this activity and tried so hard to keep their animal a secret from everyone else. One huddled behind my desk drawing a snake for about 30 minutes!

Here are my clues and my snow covered animal... can you predict what might be under the snow?

Then you lift the transparency to check. Did you get it right? :)

Here's one of my kiddos painting his animal... shhh... it's a bear in a den!
Here's a picture of what we did last week. I came across a great activity for "There Was an Old Lady Who..." books on Pinterest and we replicated it with the book There Was a Cold Lady Who Swallowed Some Snow. We wrote "If I was a cold lady (or man!), I would swallow ___". Then they made that item and put it in his/her mouth. They loved it! I pulled out some cotton balls (and borrowed a few from my teacher friends!) and we stretched those and glued them down for some extra fluffy fun.

Click the picture below to download our writing paper, head, and hat!And, last, I wanted to leave you with a peek of our Christmas tree in our room! Due to energy policy #2875, which I'm sure is very important or something like that, we can't have any "extra" things plugged in which means, no Christmas lights. BUT I got these battery operated LED lights on clearance two years ago and it makes my heart happy to have them on during the month of December!

Can you see our "stockings" in the window behind? We made those this morning! And, I have personalized ornaments for my kiddos on the tree too. I make them every year. This year I got the light shaped ornaments at the Dollar Tree for 2/$1.00! One of my sweeties got the candy cane, which was left from last year, because I ran out of light bulb ornaments! She was so tickled to get the "one special ornament"!

Sunday, December 4, 2011

Five Days of Christmas at the Teaching Oasis AND... Updated Christmas Party Handbook!

Ok... first:

We're doing some great freebies this week over at The Teaching Oasis! Click the image above to head to our Facebook page to find out more!

The Monday freebie is already up and it's FANTASTIC!

My "Strega Nona" unit and Sandy's fabulous math puzzles have been added to our site too and are ready to be purchased! Ms. Winston is working on getting some other goodies up too... including my Christmas Party "Naughty or Nice" candy game and a Christmas flippy book!


Thank you SO much for all of your contributions to my classroom Christmas party handbook! I've added the extra ideas that were submitted and now the handbook is complete! It is FULL of outstanding ideas and there are so many that I can't WAIT to try them out! I'm having my party the day before the last day. Once we had a snow day on the last day before break and we missed our party... so I always do it a day early. So, the last day, we're going to do the hot chocolate bar that Cassandra suggested!

Here is the finished copy! For some reason, Google Docs hates when I use Thistle Girl backgrounds... so the cover looks funky when you open it in Google Docs... but when you print it and/or download it in Adobe, it will be correct! I promise! :)
As someone who is not an expert on Google Docs, I didn't know how to just replace the old file, so I deleted it. So, if you had saved it, I think it will be deleted from your Google Docs and you'll need to re-save the new one! I *think*! Sorry for any inconvenience!

Saturday, December 3, 2011

Dream Snow Prediction Page Freebie!

What a day! Shopping, shopping, and more shopping... and this time no one even wished me to die or have a horrible Christmas!

But now I'm home and working on stuff for school for next week. Our basal comprehension skill for the week is making predictions so, in the interest of fun and craftiness, we'll be reading Eric Carle's Dream Snow and then completing an art project and a writing piece so we can all practice our predicting skills.

First, I'll be reading the book to them and revealing the pictures very slowly so we can use them to predict which animals are covered by the snow. (If you've never seen the book, it's super cool... a big snow comes and covers the animals. Each illustration has a transparency-like sheet on top of it with a blob of snow covering the animals. So, we'll practice our skills of predicting by using the clues in the text and me slowly peeling back the transparency pages so the animals are revealed bit-by-bit and we can practice predicting what the animal is!). After we read the book and practice predicting, my kiddos will make their own animal-covered-in-snow-prediction-picture and will add written clues for others to read to guess their animal.

My students will be drawing a picture of an animal in a wintery scene, stapling a transparency on top, and then using white paint to paint a mound of snow over their animal and little flakes on the rest of the transparency.

Then, we'll be attaching that to a large sheet of construction paper (11x18) and putting this page on the bottom:
On that page, they will be writing clues to help others predict what animal might be covered up under the mound of snow.

I did paint my own sample on Friday but didn't take a picture of it... once these are completed next week, I'll be sure to add a picture.

We also did some GREAT "There Was a Cold Lady Who Swallowed Some Snow" projects last week after I found some PINspiration for using those books with writing projects! I'll be posting the patterns, writing page, and pictures of what we did next week too!

Enjoy the weekend! As always, I'd love a comment if you enjoy the item!

Friday, December 2, 2011

Got Any Plans Next Saturday...?

So... next Saturday, December 10, what are you doing from 12:30am-1:30pm? I'll be at Marygrove College in Detroit as a guest speaker for their webinar!!!! I was so honored, excited, and just a bit terrified nervous when my friends at Marygrove asked me to present next weekend. I received my Master's degree from them in 2009 and have been doing a bit of guest blogging for them and they for me this year. Well, now you can sign-up to attend the webinar next weekend to learn how I use student goal setting and charting in my classroom to help increase success and motivation in the area of reading.

Dr. Diane Brown will be presenting too. She was a tremendous help to me when I was getting started at Marygrove and, eventhough I completed the program online and had never even met her, she remembered my name and who I was when I saw her at Marygrove's booth at the Michigan Reading Association earlier this year! I know it will be a fun and informative event!

You can click the image below to sign-up... I was completely blown away when I opened my e-mail today and saw the official looking button they made for me to post on my blog! I hope you'll be able to tune in!

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Christmas Around the World...

I'm sure you're getting tired of seeing that as the title of my blog posts! ;)

I just wanted to do a quick Thursday post to say two things:

1.) I have added to the scrapbook on my site because I have gotten many requests to add additional countries. I have added the countries that I've gotten the most requests for to the file on my site. It's the "New! Updated Scrapbook" at the bottom of the page. Click the image to head over there.

2.) This is a question of logistics... so, I've also gotten requests to create additional Powerpoints... if I were to do this, should I add the "extra" Powerpoints to the bundle I already have, even though they won't match up with the unit I've created? Or does that not matter?

Thanks for your input and, hopefully, I've added the extra countries you need to make the unit what you need!
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