Friday, January 31, 2014

Five for Friday {January 31}

Wow!  When was my last Five for Friday???  
Way too long ago, that's for sure.

This week I taught one day.  We had school yesterday, but snow days every other day.  So, I have nothing to talk about, but I actually have time to post something on Friday!  Ha!

Who am I kidding?  I ALWAYS have things to talk about!!  
Let's get started!

1.  I enjoyed a fun few days at the hospital following my son's surgery last week Thursday.  The weather was so crazy that not many people could come visit, and we were not able to get out and about at all.  So....we were SUPER excited on Sunday when the doctor said that Trey was ready to go home!!
He's doing great and was back at school yesterday!

2. I took this picture in my classroom today.  Do you notice what's missing?  Yes!  My students! :(
The ONLY day that I taught this week was yesterday.  We have had SO MUCH snow and I teach in a rural community, so many of the back roads are not open enough for busses to get down.  I was able to get to my school today, and spent a few good hours there getting lots of work done.  As much as I love having alone time in my classroom, I am really missing my kindies!  Crossing my fingers for five full days of school next week!

3. Puzzles!  
Last year I realized how much my students love to have a puzzle table going in the classroom.  It is awesome for choice time or indoor recess.  Besides the obvious benefits of puzzle-making, I love that it is such a wonderfully calm activity. :)  I like to use 100-pc. puzzles.  They seem to be the perfect level of difficulty for my Kindergarteners.  I recently had a parent donate several puzzles after finding them for 25 cents each at the thrift store.  My boys are loving this Batman puzzle right now!

4. My reading corner has needed a new display for a while now, and today I finally had time to change it out.  
 A couple weeks ago, I did a "Sharing Circle" with my class and asked each of them to share their favorite book.  I took several of their answers and used them to create this display.  
 Next week, I'll have these kiddos complete writing prompts about WHY they love these books and add them to the display.

5. Are you watching "Under the Gunn"?  I love Project Runway, and this show is similar and fun.  Tim Gunn just makes me happy. :)

Check out my last post for a fun giveaway!  CLICK HERE!

Happy weekend!

Thursday, January 30, 2014

Brain Boost {Set #2}.....A GIVEAWAY!

I haven't seen my students since last Wednesday.  Over a week ago!  This winter weather has been sooooo crazy.  Snow day after snow day.  I am ready to get back to school and anxious to see my sweet kindies again!

I have been super UNmotivated during all of my days at home, but today I finally hunkered down and completed a task that I've had on my to-do list for a long time.  I updated my first Brain Boost set and completed my second Brain Boost set.

You know those things that you just love using in your classroom?  The things that you look forward to because they are enjoyable and and really feel like a beneficial part of your day?  That's how the Brain Boosts are to me.  I LOVE this time in my week.  My students love it too, which makes it even better.  I love these quick pages because they cover so many different skills and touch on things that are just a bit challenging, even for those kids who seem to be able to do anything and everything.  And, because they hop from skill to skill, they keep everyone engaged.  They become the perfect tool for 
re-teaching and also for adding extra little pieces of info for those kids who are ready and needing more.

I have Brain Boosts in my schedule twice each week.  We complete them at the carpet, on clipboards (another reason the students love them).  This way, I can easily see when everyone is ready to move on and can formatively assess the skills as we work.

You can check out a freebie page by clicking back to THIS POST.

I never really loved the cover or look of my first Brain Boost pack and, after using it this school year, found a few things that I wanted to change.  So, today, I tweaked that first set and re-uploaded it to TPT.  You can check it out by clicking the cover pic below.

And, the second set is finally complete too!  I've been working on it for weeks!  And, actually, have been using pages from it with my class already.  I'm so happy to have it done!!
Click the cover pic to check it out!

Because I love these so much, and think your students will benefit from them too, I'm going to give away one of each set!  Enter the giveaway below....and please cross your fingers that I'll be back at school tomorrow!! :)

Friday, January 24, 2014

Where are they now? {POM-POM ERASERS}

I love those "Where are they now?" TV specials.  The last one I watched was on all the actors from Full House.  I loved Full House growing up, and now my own kids love watching Full House, which is really a win-win for everyone because my hubby and I have the best time watching it with them.

Anyway, this post is not about Full House.  But it's sort-of like a "Where are they now?" special on one of my Monday Made-Its from last summer.  I knew I was taking a risk when I added pom-poms to the ends of my dry erase markers to use as erasers.  

Here were my markers back in July.  They looked so fresh, and perfect, and adorable.

And here they are in January.  Ummm....not so fresh, perfect, or adorable.
 Some still look great.
 Some are looking a little wonky.
 And some are a resounding WOP-WOP.
I mean, seriously.

Overall, I would say that it hasn't been terrible, but I don't think I'll be doing this again.  
So, I'm back to searching for a good solution.  What do you use as erasers for your student dry-erase markers?  Old socks?  Kleenex?  Fabric or felt scraps?

I'll let you know if I discover my perfect answer!!

 Completely unrelated, but this is what I've been up to lately.  
My son, Trey, had another surgery yesterday.  We sure are getting familiar with the pediatric surgery floor at our local children's hospital!  This is his second surgery in the past three months.  He had his gallbladder removed in November and his spleen removed yesterday.  So, we're enjoying some one-on-one time with our favorite guy in a beautiful hospital room today!  Crossing our fingers that he'll be discharged tomorrow.  He sure is a trooper and we are so proud!  Hoping that this is our LAST trip to the surgical unit for a very long time!!

Another crazy winter storm on the way this afternoon and evening.  What a winter we've had!!  Wishing you a warm and cozy weekend!

Monday, January 6, 2014

Christmas Break, snow days, and some new products...

Well.  My oh my.  The arctic blast has hit West Michigan.  The local meteorologists are calling it a "Polar Vortex".  No school today because the wind chills are near -20.  As in a negative.  And a twenty.  It's cold.  COLD!!  School has already been cancelled for tomorrow.  Our last day of school before Break was cancelled too, so tomorrow will be day 19. house has been cleaned from top to bottom more than once since December 19th.  Of course, today, we had a morning of crafts and glue and paper scraps and paint, so no one can tell that I have cleaned the house from top to bottom.  But my cleaning energy is all used up, so there will be no more cleaning!  At least not until tomorrow.  By tomorrow it will surely have driven me crazy enough that I will have to clean it.  If I'm going to be forced to stay inside my home for days and days on end, it can't be a pigsty.  That's all.

Anyway, I worked on some new TPT products over the weekend and am excited about using these new Write the Room activity packs with my students.  I'm working through some CVC short vowel sets, and finished A, E, and I.  Maybe tomorrow I'll get around to the others?  Or maybe I should lesson plan the rest of my week first???

I like these because the CVC words are perfect for most of my students' reading levels right now.  The graphics are by Ashley Hughes, and I like that some of the words she used aren't super common.  Like pep.  And rim.  My 6-year old was asking me what pep meant.  I love using Write the Rooms to introduce new vocabulary.

Click on any of the pictures to head over to check them out in my TPT store.

What is the weather like where you live?  And, if it's sunny and warm, can I come visit???? ;)

Thursday, January 2, 2014

January Book-It Reading Log {FREEBIE}

I'm getting things set to head back to school on Monday, and one of the things near the top of my list was creating a new Book-It reading log for January.  Hopefully you can grab this in time for you to use it too!

As always, just print and copy double-sided.
CLICK HERE to snag it from Google Drive!

AND, for those of you who don't use the Book-It program through Pizza Hut, HERE is a version that is more generic.  Again, it will take you to Google Drive.  I'd love for you to let me know if you grab it!