Sunday, April 5, 2015

Catching Up (and Currently)

It has been a very long, emotional week.

Last Saturday was the first day of Spring Break.  I woke up at the crack of dawn and started working on finishing up a TPT project. 
A few hours later my son told me my middle brother had texted him and I needed to call him.
I ran upstairs to my bedroom and grabbed my phone.  There were screens full of messages and missed calls.  I knew something was wrong.
My mind began to race and my heart prepared for the worst.

When I finally got through I found out it was my baby brother.  I was not expecting that at all.
He had driven himself to the hospital the night before because he did not feel right and his left arm was numb.  When he got there, they said he had a minor heart attack and transferred him to a bigger hospital.  There, he was told he had over 90% blockage in all 4 arteries and they began to put stints in.  When they got to the fourth artery, he had a massive heart attack.  He actually died ten times and was revived ten times. It was a good thing he was on the table when it happened otherwise I would be telling a different story.
Next, they transferred him to a new hospital that had an ECMO, a machine that takes over the work of the lungs and heart; basically life support.
My daughter and I were at the airport within 3 hours of getting the call and flew to NYC.
Emily went to stay with my brother's kids, age 5 and 11, and I stayed at the hospital.

After two days in 3 airports trying to get home (we flew standby) I am home and EXHAUSTED.   My brother's condition is the same but they did take him off sedation and we now know his brain is fine.  Hallelujah!

That's my story and my Currently pretty much reflects it.

Do you want to post a Currently on your blog?  Or maybe you want to see what everyone else is doing?  Check it out on Farley's blog.

I had planned on doing a Spring Break Sale so I've decided to throw it now even though I go back to school tomorrow.  Check it out here.
Happy Easter!
I know I am so thankful for all the blessings bestowed to me and my family, even my brother.  I know God's plan is perfect and He knows what He is doing in him.


Saturday, March 21, 2015

iTeachFirst Blog and Freebie

Happy Spring Friends,

As you know I am one of the collaborating authors of a new blog called iTeachFirst.  I just posted my introduction and a freebie.  I wanted to make sure all of my loyal followers on this blog had the opportunity to get the freebie.  Click on the picture below to check it out!

Sunday, March 15, 2015

iTeachFirst and a Giveaway

I have a very exciting announcement to make! 
I have decided to team up with some of my very best first grade buddies to write for a collaborative blog! 
That means ONE blog with TONS of great ideas from several super awesome First Grade teachers!

One thing I L-O-V-E about this blog, is you will know exactly what to expect each day of the week.  For every day, there is a blogging theme.  Check them out! 

I'm SO excited to get started on this new adventure, and am thrilled to invite you along for the ride.  Let's celebrate with a little giveaway!


You can win my Non Fiction News- Common Core Close Reading and Writing K-2 Baby Animal Edition.  This 139 page product is what you need to implement ELA Common Core Standards in your classroom. It includes 24 nonfiction articles for close reading on baby animals and the animal: Puppies, Puppy Fun Facts, Hedgehog Hoglets, Hedgehogs, African Elephant Calves, Elephants, Panda Cubs, Panda Bears, Piglets, Pigs, Polar Bear Cubs, Polar Bears, Giraffe Calf, Giraffes, Sea Lion Pups, Sea Lions, Koala Joeys, Koala Bears, Lambs, Sheep, Deer Fawn, Deer, Kittens, and Cats. The nonfiction articles include stunning photographs and nonfiction text features. They can be used in guided reading groups or whole class. They are a great way to practice close reading and answering text dependent questions citing evidence. Lesson plans for 8 days and the CCSS ELA standards (K, 1, 2) are included. You will also find all of the close reading resources, worksheets, writing materials, posters, sorts, activities in this pack.
The easy to read format, amazing photographs, and engaging topics will capture all of your students attention and begging for more!

All you have to do to enter is follow us over at iTeachFirst then follow the instructions.

Can't wait to get started sharing some great First Grade ideas with you! 

Tuesday, March 10, 2015

Book Study: Worksheets Don’t Grow Dendrites: Chapters 3

I'm linking up ( a little late) with Deedee for week two of the book study, Worksheets Don't Grow Dendrites!


This week is all about field trips!  With school budgets being severely cut, we know how hard it is to go on field trips.  This chapter opened my eyes to in-house field trip possibilities and I'm excited to try them!  

I appreciated all of the out-of-the-box thinking that went into this chapter.  The ideas are not what I expected and are very do-able.

Here is what I've already done:

Above is a chick who came to our class when we researched chickens and their life cycle.

My son's ducklings came to school when we were researching ducks and learning about their life cycle. We did this in the middle of the unit which really enhanced their research projects!
I have Mystery Reader's come to our class.  They leave clues about their job and then children learn about their work.  I love to hear their questions and get a glimpse of their thinking.
 Tastiest How-to Writing!
If you live in Colorado you know Anthony's Pizza is real NY style pizza.  Here, the owner came in and showed our first graders the steps in making a pizza.    He allowed for questions and answers and was so patient and kind to our kiddos.  Best part of all, he gave us lots of free pizza (like 10 extra large pies) and coupons!  Yum!


We've had firemen come in and teach fire safety, an author come in, read her children's book and share with kids her writing process, veterans meet and talk with the children,  the insect mobile come to our school with bugs, and more.

Here is what my big ideas were from this chapter.

I am loving this book and highly recommend it to every teacher!

Thursday, March 5, 2015

Worksheets Don't Grow Dendrites Book Study - Chapters 1 and 2

I am excited to be linking up with Elizabeth from Kickin’ It In Kindergarten as part of a book study that started last week.  This book will  help you realize that you are doing things right in your classroom!

If you want to read along, get the book on Amazon by clicking the cover below.
Chapter One - Strategy One: Brainstorming and Discussion

I took a ton of notes and shook my head in agreement when reading this chapter.


I loved this first chapter because it affirmed what I already do.  I believe if you can tell someone about what you learned then you really did learn it.
In the primary grades, discussions need to be facilitated by a teacher so they can be steered in the appropriate direction.  I've watched one too many discussions that ended up nowhere near the topic at hand to know better.
 However, with proper training prior to the intermediate grades, there could be some very powerful discussions with little teacher direction in those grades.
Math Games
Group work
Think, Pair, Share (with movement)
Teams during Science
More Math Games
Here is my thinking on this strategy:

Chapter 2 -  Strategy 2: Drawing and Artwork
When my school studied Marzano's strategies years and years ago, I learned that artwork enhances learning.  I would always be the one to draw the "Non-linguistic representation" card during PLC's.  This was my toughest strategy and I would get so anxious about doing the right thing that sometimes I would have panic attacks.  It is hard to represent learning non-linguistically.  But when you can, you know that you really understand.
I have always been "crafty".  I am not very good at it but I try.  I have always been a crafty teacher, too.  I know that children who don't normally feel successful in school, really thrive when they get to be creative.  I try to incorporate a lot of drawing and artwork into our busy days.
Again, I took a lot of notes about when I use this strategy and how to use it more often.
Here are some examples of what we've done.




Black History Month

Dr. Seuss Day
Here are my big take-aways:
Linky parties will take place on these different blogs each time. Here is the order so you can plan accordingly :)
Kickin it in Kindergarten- Chapters 1 &2 (February 28th)
Mrs. Wills Kindergarten- Chapter 3 (March 7th)
Queen of the First Grade Jungle Chapter 4 (March 10th)
Fabulous in First  Chapter 5 (March 14th)
One Extra Degree Chapter 6 (March 17th)
Mrs. Jump’s Class Chapter 7 (March 28th)
The First Grade Parade  Chapter 8 (March 31st)
In April, you will be visiting these girls for the remainder of the study:
Mrs. Ehle’s Kindergarten Chapter 9 &10 (April 4th)
What The Teacher Wants Chapter 11 (April 7th)
First Grader At Last Chapter 12 (April 11th)
Erica’s Ed Ventures  Chapter 13 (April 14th)
KinderGals Chapter 14 &15 (April 18th)
A Rocky Top Teacher Chapter 16 (April 21st)
The Inspired Apple Chapter 17 (April 25th)
Little Warriors Chapter 18 (April 28th)
Falling Into First Chapter 19 (May 2nd)
Kickin’ it in Kindergarten Chapter 20 (May 5th)
You can join in for whatever part you like! If you are not a blogger, that is OK! We want you to join in on the fun. You can participate in the conversation in the comments. We want this to be a positive collaboration between teachers! The whole point is to encourage each other with inspiring ideas while still using research based best practice.


Friday, February 13, 2015

75K Giveaway

After being on TPT for almost 4 years, I finally reached my 75k Milestone!!
I am so excited!
I feel like I've plugged away and plugged away and was taking baby steps throughout this time.  
SO...HOORAY!  I made it!
I asked many amazing bloggers and TPT'ers for help in celebrating this milestone.
Boy! Did I get so many fabulous people willing to help celebrate!
I am hosting 6 giveaways that anyone would be lucky to win.
Here is Prize 1:
This prize would be perfect for intermediate teachers.
Close Reading (Civil War) GIANT 3-IN-1 VALUE BUNDLE by Tara from Tied 2 Teaching
Craft Your Writing with Minecraft by Ashely from Teaching in Bronco Country
Goal Setting: Motivating and Building Confidence by Bex of Countless Smart Cookies
Harry Potter & The Sorcerer's Stone Novel Study by Sara of Mrs. P's Special Education Classroom

Show Don't Tell by Janice Malone

Transformations Pack by Cassie from Funky in Fourth
a Rafflecopter giveaway  
This is Prize #2.
This prize would be perfect for grades K and 1.
A Little Dot Will Do It – No-Prep Beginning Sounds Dauber Activities by Teresa of  Confessions of a Teaching Junkie
Chinese New Year Funny ELA and Maths Sheets by Hernan of Ready to Teach to Teach English and Spanish

Sight Word Activities by Kelly from Lattes and Lunchrooms

 Shared research for any Animal No prep printables by Laura from Where the Magic Happens
 Spring Writing Prompts by Happy Helper

 Folder Fun-Primary Literacy Sorting Unit by Cecelia of I Love First Grade
Here is Prize 3.
This prize would be great for Grade 1 teachers.
Build a Community by Nita Marie of Nita Marie's Classroom Creations




Winners Choice-$10 from The Teacher Genee

Phonics Posters by Carrie Lutz
It's Converting Time (A Differentiated Tic Tac Toe Activity) by Annie of Ride Away with Mrs. Ridgway


Verb Tense Literacy Center L.1.1 by Momma with a Teaching Mission

Here is Prize #4. 
This prize would be fabulous for Grade K and 1 teachers.
Sight Word Books-Printable Books to Build Sight Word Vocabulary by Cecelia Magro (ME)
Common Core Exit Tickets: First Grade Measurement and Data by Jessica from Mrs. Plemons Kindergarten




I Have... Who Has? Sight Words {Wild Things Edition}  by Cheryl of  KinderIrick             



Ladybug Close Read by Jennifer of First Grade Blue Skies
Here is Prize 5.
This prize would be great for Second Grade Teachers.




Number of the Day {March} Second Grade Math by Barbara from Mrs. Balius


Winner's Choice from Primary on the Prowl
Cinderella vs. Adelita: A Mexican Cinderella St.- Compare & Contrast- RL 2.9 by Catherine of  Abc123is4me             

Reading Logs - Fiction, Non-Fiction, Graphic Organizers by Beth of  Adventures of a Schoolmarm

Telling Time Basketball Themed by Andrea of Andrea's Artifacts

Here is Prize 6.
 This giveaway would be fantastic for primary teachers.
Adjectives by Carol from The Chocolate Teacher


Reading Comprehension Passages: Guided Reading Level I by Allison of Partyin' with Primaries

Reciprocal Teaching for Primary Grades by Christine of The Reading Mama


Sight Words by Michelle Dupuis

Snowman Printables by Nancy Stout

Sentence Building for Growing Writers {Spring Writing Printables} by Jodi of My Heart Belongs in Kindergarten


Vowel Teams Scoot {ee,ea} by Wendy of  Ms D's Literacy Lab

Good Luck!!  I will announce winners on Tuesday, February 17, 2015.
Another HUGE thank you to all of the wonderful teachers who donated to this giveaway!!  I appreciate you!!