Monday, February 27, 2012

It's magnetizing!

Just last Friday my 1st grade kiddos finished up a unit on magnets.  I love teaching science at this age because they are so curious about everything!  This magnet unit was a great way to bring in some hands on science practice.  None of these lessons are super intense--all I'm looking for is a way to teach the content, but still keep the main focus on learning English.  So anyways, enjoy these magnet lesson plans and please let me know if you use them!  :]

I hope you've all had a pleasant Monday.  My Mondays are never that bad...Tuesday is when the weekend hits me and I feel exhausted all of the sudden.  Am I the only one, or do any of you guys deal with that Tuesday sleepiness, too?

Random notes:
1) I bought a Kindle Fire a couple weeks ago and I really like it.  So far I've read three different books on it.  For a long time I thought I'd never get one, but I like that it's an eReader and a tablet.  Anyone else biting the bullet and jumping on the eReader bandwagon?
2) Today and tomorrow are parent/teacher conferences!  My first ones ever...can you sense the little bit of nervousness?  :] 
3) Moe's Monday is the  Five dollars for a burrito, chips, and a drink?  Score!

Ok, enough randomness.  Have a marevelous rest of your Monday!  :]

Friday, February 24, 2012

Learnin' Letters

I have one small group of Kindergarteners that I serve each day after lunch.  They are quite a fun bunch, but WOW, they have a ton of energy!  *Side note: I'd like a little dose of their energy each morning!*

Anyways, with getting them after lunch, we barely have 30 minutes together before I have to take them back to class.  I had these grand ideas of doing all of these activities with them, but the reality is, if it can't be completed in less than 30 minutes, we probably won't do it. 

The main thing I'm working on with my littlest ones is letter recognition.  Each week we work on a different letter: we've just recently finished Q, R, and S, so on Monday we will start with T.  I've found some really good letter resources on the 'net and I'd love to share them with you.  :]  Enjoy, and let me know if you have any great resources you use!  I'm including stuff from when we did R last week.


Day 1: Watch Starfall video about the letter R and then talk about it using our pocket chart in the classroom.  Then we will go to our seats and do the writing worksheet from the Starfall website.  These are all great worksheets!  Once they finish the front, I have them "read" it to me...all very simple sight words (is, for) and pictures.  I find being able to read a page to me, even if it's mainly pictures, is a great confidence boost for my kiddos. 

Day 2: Start class by remembering the sound the letter R makes.  Watch YouTube video from "Have Fun Teaching."  In all honesty, these videos are super annoying--but since it's so repetitive the kids can sing along and they really start remembering the sound of R and words that begin with that letter.  Then we brainstorm words that start with R and make chart to go with it.  Each kid them picks some of the words to write and illustrate. 

Day 3: I like to start each class with a super short clip, so normally on day 3 I'll start it off with a short Sesame Street song (this week we watched a song about "Sammy the Snake").  Then we finish writing our words and illustrating them.

Day 4: Picture scavenger hunt!  We find a pictures in a magazine that start with the letter R and make a collage.  Very fun, and then we get to see it hanging up in the classroom!

Day 5: On day 5 I like to finish off the week with some games.  We play a version of Mother May I about letter sounds/words.  I call a kid, and they have to say a word that begins with a certain letter.  We can either just do "R" words, or we can go through the alphabet.  If they get it wrong or can't think of one, they go back to the beginning.  They love this game!


So, those are my Kindergarten plans that I tweak each week.  This particular week we only had four days, so I'm not doing the day 5 lesson.  We're going to finish off the week with our picture collage, instead.  These lessons are very simple, but the letter practice is so beneficial for my little Kinders.  Does anyone else have any favorite ways to teach letters?

Happy weekend!  :]

Thursday, February 16, 2012

SUPER Teacher Brain

So yesterday one of my groups finished their work early.  I definitely was not planning on that.  Normally we're rushing to get all of the work done in our little 40 minute timeslot.  And I know, "always plan more than you can get done," but then I get all worked up because I want to get everything done.  So I normally try to plan just enough.

But anways, enough rambling about that.  Long story short, one of my groups finished early.  I have to brag on my teacher brain for a second, because at that moment I had a serious "lightbulb moment."  I mean, it was like a 100 watt bulb going off in my head.  We all know that kiddos looooove games--call any activity a game and they're all over it.  I decided to take an old game and put a new twist on it AND THEY ATE IT UP. 

Did anyone ever play "never have I ever"?  We used to play it all the time in youth group (you know, a million years ago when I was in HS).  This game is loosely based on the concept.  My kids had picked four important facts about George Washington Carver and written/illustrated them on a piece of paper.  We all sat in a circle, and one at a time I let them stand up and share a fact they wrote.  If you wrote the same fact as the "sharer," then you stood up, too.  All the kids that were standing then had to switch spots with someone else.  SO SIMPLE, but they loved it!  I couldn't believe it! 

Needless to say, I was super proud of my teacher brain yesterday.  It seems that my brain is getting good at being sneaky about getting kiddos to learn and like it, too.  They had no idea that while they were playing the game, they were actually getting a great review. 

Two random things, because I hate uploading a post with zero pictures:

I invented a prize for the best partners.  I simply printed "Awesome Partners Award!" onto some return address labels and then gave it to the kids who worked together the best.  A very effective but simple reward!

Last Friday we did a science experiment and then filled out a worksheet about it.  If they finished early, they were supposed to write a sentence on the back about what we did.  I'm just glad this kiddo was honest.  :]

Sorry to rub it in, but today is my Friday!  We have a four day weekend!  WAHOO!  :]  I hope you guys have a fantastic Friday tomorrow and a wonderful weekend!  I'm gonna go live it up!

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

You Might Be a Teacher If...

Who else out there loves a good "you might be a redneck if..." joke?  Well, in the same style of Foxworthy's hilarious one-liners, now we can all laugh about the little quirks that make us teachers.  I'm linking up with Jeannie over at Kindergarten Lifestyle for this fun linky party...go check it out! 

Happy Valentine's Day!  I hope you all survived with minimal damage done.  :]

Thursday, February 9, 2012


Testing is over!!!


That song was most definitely playing through my head this afternoon.  I am so ready to see my kiddos tomorrow.  These have been a loooong three weeks.

Until next year--see ya, testing!
See, I told you I was excited.  :]

Actually...I'll be doing more testing when the CRCT rolls around in April.  At least that's only five half-days.  Whew.

Tuesday, February 7, 2012


Hey everyone!

Today I have a very unique problem: I have too much money to spend.

Yikes--never thought I'd have the problem of too much money!  ;]  Actually, this isn't really my money.  This is the money allotted to me from the school to spend on stuff for my classroom.  But I'm having issues deciding what to get. 

See, I've only seen my students three times back in the third week of January.  So I'm not really sure what I'll need once I start really teaching.  This is where you guys come in!  :]  If you could get something for your classroom that would be super useful, what would you get?  I'm afraid that I'm going to end up spending my money on stuff I don't really need, and then in a month or so I think, "MAN I wish I'd known that ___ would be so useful!" 

Anyways...I officially have the problem of too much money and not knowing what to spend it on.  I don't think this will ever happen to me again--I'd better soak the feeling up.  :]

Please share your best advice...and I'll be sure to let you know what I end up purchasing. 

Have a tremendous Tuesday!

Monday, February 6, 2012

February Currently

Hi, everyone! 

This morning I'm linking up with Farley over at Oh' Boy 4th Grade for her Currently linky party.  Head over there to join in the fun!  :]

Have a marvelous Monday!  (yay, alliteration!)

Saturday, February 4, 2012

Tag, I'm it!

I was tagged in this little game thing-y by Casey over at Cardigans and Curriculum.  I just started reading her blog and I'm really liking it.  Of course, I was an automatic follower because of her cute blog design and her love of cardi girls gotta stick together!  :]  But before I get into the questions, I have to share this video with you.  The title is NSFW, but I'm sure you'll identify with the video.  :]

Ok, now that you're smiling, lets get on to the game.
Rules of the Game:
1. Post the rules.
2. Post 12 fun facts about yourself in your blog post.
3. Answer the questions that the tagger has set for you in their post; then create 12 new questions for the people that you tag.
4. Tag 12 people and link them in your post.
5. Let them know that you've tagged them.

12 Things:
1. Chick-fil-A is my absolute favorite place to eat.  I get food from there at least two times a week…normally more.  Every Friday morning I get a chicken biscuit and a large sweet tea to celebrate making it through another week. 
2. I love flowers and the color pink.  I’m not a girly-girl when it comes to how I dress, but my tastes are very girly.  Tulips are my favorite flower…and if they’re pink, then that’s even better!
3. Working in special ed for several months  taught me the benefit of laminating EVERYTHING.  If it’s not laminated, it will get torn to pieces. 
4. I played the cello for six years in middle school and high school.  Sometimes I find myself wanting to pick it up again, but I just don’t think I have the time.  Plus, I was never good a tuning and if it was at my house, I couldn’t make someone else tune it like I did in high school.
5. I eat two packets of oatmeal with a cut up banana for lunch every day.  It’s delicious.  Don’t knock it until you’ve tried it.  :]  (Really, I just don’t like dealing with the fridge at school).
6. I was born in Puerto Rico, but have lived in my current home in Georgia for 20 ½ years.
7. I could eat super smelly foods all day long…anything with garlic, onions, cumin, sauerkraut, or any other intense flavor.  But I don’t like spicy food.
8. My favorite Starbucks drink is the salted caramel mocha.  Technically a “seasonal” drink, but they have the stuff to make it all year long—all you need to do is ask!
9. I named my car Tonks, which is short for Nymphadora Tonks of Harry Potter fame.  My car is spunky and cute, so I thought the name fit well.  :]
10. I have a slight obsession with Vera Bradley school stuff.  I have a lanyard in the Watercolors patter that I wear with my ID, key, and hand sanitizer; a lunch tote in Symphony in Hue (my mom gave it to me to celebrate my student teaching a few years back); and a tote bag in Twirly Birds (navy).  I don’t use Vera in everyday life, but it is perfect for school.  But I only buy it on sale…it’s expensive!
11. I am a really bad singer, but I find nothing more fun than singing with my kiddos.  It is a great way to promote English learning!  They are learning and they don’t even know it (insert evil laughter).  :]
12. I dream of one day dressing like Ms. Frizzle for every new topic.  Lightning bolt earrings would be SO cool.

Casey's Questions for Me:
1. If you could travel anywhere in the world, where would you go?
I have this dream of going on a two week European tour through Rick Steves’ agency.  If you’ve never seen his TV show on PBS you are MISSING OUT.  That guy is awesome.  He’s so low key, but he shows you the best places to visit in Europe.  I would do one of the trips that takes you to Greece, Turkey, and Spain.
2. If you had to live in a city besides your own, what would your top choices be?
I’m starting to truly enjoy living near Atlanta, so at this point I wouldn’t move.   But if I had to go to a different city, I would really like to live in Greenville, SC, or Chattanooga, TN.  Both a great small-ish cities (not like the HUGE-ness of Atlanta) that are easy to get around and they have really awesome artsy stuff (restaurants, coffee shops).
3. Do you follow any sports teams?
HA.  I have more than one person who wishes I was a UGA fan, but I can’t do it.  I say that I’m a Clemson fan, but really it’s just because I had to pick a team back in college (I couldn’t stand watching all of the college football on TV without a team to root for).  Following sports is too much work.
4. What is one lesson/topic that you get REALLY excited about teaching?
ANYTHING about the environment.  When I was student teaching I did an awesome unit based around The Lorax by Dr. Seuss.  It had lots of elements of writing and environmentalism.  It fit so well into our third grade curriculum.  I also have a stuffed animal Lorax, the book, and the (original) movie—maybe that proves how obsessed I am with that particular Dr .Seuss story.
5. If you had to go back and get another degree, what would you pursue?
I'm pretty sure that I would get a degree in library science.  I have a dream of one day being an elementary school librarian.  But who knows--my educational goals change about once a month.  :]
6. What is your favorite dessert, or two?
I could eat chocolate chip cookies all day long…delicious.  At my old school the speech therapist we worked with made a MEAN chocolate chip cookie and gave us all large bags of them for Christmas.  I was in heaven.  I also die for Muddy Buddies (called Puppy Chow by some).  If you’ve never had these before, you are really missing out.  Rice chex, chocolate, peanut butter, butter, vanilla, and powdered sugar—makin’ my mouth water!
7. If you could re-do any year in your life, which one would you choose and why?
Gosh, this is hard.  I would maybe re-do my senior year of HS.  I would have liked to spend more time with my BFF before we both left home for college.  Of course, there was a year of college I would like to re-do as well.  A lot of hurts came out of that year, but a lot of lessons, too.  I wouldn't want to lose the lessons learned, so I know the hurt had a purpose.
8. What do you like on your hamburger?
SALSA!  And actually, I don’t eat most meats (I’m like a chicken-itarian…I only eat chicken), so when I eat a “hamburger” it’s generally a Boca or MorningStar burger.  My current faveorite is the black bean burger by MorningStar.  I eat it with cheese, Peach & Mango salsa, a Claussen pickle, tomato, onion, and lettuce, all on a whole wheat tortilla.  Absolutely delicious!
9. What is your favorite type of marker or pen?
I used to be all about RSVP pens by Pentel, but I’m pretty sure the company went under a couple years ago because I haven’t been able to find them.  Sad day.  :[  It took me ages, but I finally found my new favorite pen: Sharpie pens.  I love how smoothly they write, and all the fun colors are great. 
10. What is your favorite recipe?
Probably chicken tortilla soup.  I have the recipe on my personal blog.  
11. Do you have a song that makes you cry? What is it?
"What a Wonderful World" by Louis Armstrong makes me tear's just so beautiful!  Many songs at church make me get a little misty-eyed, too.  Last night at church we sang "Great I Am," which is probably my new favorite worship song.  I simply have to share it.

12. If you had to go on a reality show what show would you want to be a part of?
To be honest,  I really don’t like reality TV.  I feel like I go against all of female-kind when I gripe about The Bachelor every Monday night.  That show makes me feel like I’m gonna vomit.  But I digress…
There was a show on TV for a couple years called Here Come the Newlyweds.  That is the one reality TV show I can really get behind.  Each episode was very entertaining and fun.  I always said that I felt that I could win that show with my future spouse…I still think we could!  So maybe if they put it on the air when I’m a newlywed you guys will see me get my 15 minutes of fame.  :]

Ok, so now I have to come up with twelve questions.  Yikes!  Let's see if I can do it.

My Questions for You!:
1. When did you decide you wanted to be a teacher?

2. What is your favorite thing a kid has ever said to you?
3. What is your favorite thing to eat for school lunch?
4. Tell us about a couple of your favorite "pump-it-up" songs.
5. What is your favorite kind of peanut butter?
6. If you weren't a teacher, what would you do?
7. If you could take a week-long trip with one person each year, who would you go with and where would you go?
8. What is the last fiction book that you read and loved?
9. What is your favorite magazine?
10. What is your favorite thing to do on a Saturday night?
11. What is your favorite color?
12. Who is your favorite blogger?  And why should we follow them?  :]

Now I get to tag some folks.  Sorry, but I'm breaking the rules and I'm not going to tag 12 people (I'm so rebellious!).  I don't think I know that many people, haha!  I'm gonna go with some of my favorites: Jordyn @ Intangible Goodness, Kim @ A Pound of Thoughts, and Allyson @ Our Adventure Book (even though she hasn't blogged for a while).  And if you're just creepin' around and you'd like to answer, too, please do!  Just comment to let me know that I should come read your answers.  Enjoy, ladies!  :]

Friday, February 3, 2012

Valentine's Day Freebie!

In my personal life, Valentine's Day isn't such a big deal.  The man and I agree that if you only lavish love on your significant other one day a year, there might be a problem.  Why save it all for one day?  We choose to be loving every day.  But that's another post for another time... 

So anyways, in my personal life I don't really celebrate Valentine's, but at school it is a BIG DEAL.  I think that it is a 100% appropriate holiday for elementary schoolers.  It's a great time to teach them about love and acceptance of their peers--the world can only use more of that! 

I'm planning a little Valentine's lesson for my kiddos that focuses on some of the main tennants of the holiday.  Some of my kids are very new to the states, so they have never celebrated this holiday before.  We are going to talk about some of the big words associated with the day.  I created this little powerpoint to go be an intro to our lesson.  Nothing too fancy, but I wanted to share it with you guys.  :]  Let me know if you use it!  I'd love to hear about your Valentine's Day activities, too!

Valentine's Day Powerpoint

I'll be back soon to tell you about the rest of our Valentine's Day activities.  Random note: I just bought Valentine's for my kiddos at Kroger--super cheap and cute, too!  I got a box of Toy Story and a box of Disney princesses for $2 each!

Happy Friday!