Tuesday, December 13, 2011

I think I can, I think I can...

I can't believe it's only Tuesday! My little sweeties have A LOT of Christmas cheer. They are so ready for Santa to come! I think tomorrow I may have to tell them about the candy cane phone in the office. It comes up from the floor and can only be used by teachers. It is a direct line to Santa. It has worked for years and you should see the look on their sweet little faces when I tell them about it!
Anyway, this week has been about crafting and goodies. I've been eating WAY too much. Every day, there are new things in the lounge that I just can't resist. Today it was chocolate-covered Oreos. Yum!
So when I went to the doctor after school and they weighed me, I looked away and asked them not to tell me. I'd rather not know at this point. Just let me enjoy my holiday and then I'll get down to business!

Here is a little project that we did today along with finishing parent gifts and cards. We got it all done!!

If you give a Gingerbread Man some jingle bells...

I have to go start my gifts for coworkers and parent volunteers. I'd love to know what others give their parent volunteers. I'm always looking for a new idea!

:) Andrea

Friday, December 9, 2011

Another craft?

Really? That's how I felt this week. It was one craft after another. Don't get me wrong, I like them, but they are so time-consuming! Today, we finished our gift to parents and started working on cards. Here is what we got done:
I found this idea somewhere out in googleland and loved it. You cut out a tree shape and have the kiddos stamp the tree with various Christmas stamps. Then you attach buttons or other decorations. I will attach it to red paper and let them write on it. Jaime, (From What's the Buzz - with the awesome new blog design!), had the idea of telling parents that they could cut it out and use it as an ornament after reading the card. LOVE that idea.

And then there's the crafting at home. I make gifts for my friends when we have our annual cookie exchange - which is tomorrow by the way and I still don't know what cookie I'm making. Ahh!!
Anyway, I TRY to make something crafty and this is what I made this year. I used a $1.00 frame from Michael's, scrapbook paper, Mod Podge, and a book. I know I shouldn't cut up a book, but it wasn't one that I'll read, so that's okay, right? I have to find a little friendship poem to go inside.

Have a good weekend!!
:) Andrea

Thursday, November 10, 2011

The Magic of Puppets

I have this puppet that I usually pull out to help teach history, but this year I decided to use it in a different way. His name is Small Moment Sam and he was with us for our writing lesson today. It's amazing how engaged the children are when I use a puppet. I didn't use a puppet voice, but instead, Sam talked in my ear and I told the kids what he was saying. They were cracking up, but also listening closely when he was talking about stretching small moments. Sam will be back tomorrow! I also have a "Grandma" puppet. Hmm...what could I use her for? :)

                                        Meet Small Moment Sam!
:) Andrea

Sunday, November 6, 2011

Conferring Shortcuts!

I'm so excited about the Conferring Shortcuts that Jaime from What's the Buzz in First posted! I don't know about you, but at times I struggle with ideas for conferring. These solve that problem! Thanks for posting them, Jaime, and if you haven't checked them out yet, head over to What's the Buzz by clicking here!

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Reading Fluency and a Freebie! :)

What a week this has been and it's only Wednesday! We have our Halloween party on Friday and my kiddos can't wait! I've been trying to keep our days as normal as possible, but it's hard!

Today, we talked about reading fluently. And I showed them this:

Yes, yogurt and cottage cheese. (I don't know where I got this idea. I wish I could give someone credit, but I honestly can't remember where I saw it.) So we talked about how readers need to sound smooth, like yogurt, and not all choppy like cottage cheese. I showed them how the yogurt looks and slides off of the spoon and how the cottage cheese is very slow to come off of the spoon. Then, I read some text and they had to use their sign language (yes or no) to tell me if I was reading like yogurt! This lesson works perfectly every year!

And now a Halloween freebie! Our word family for the week is the -it family, so we will be making words. I made a Trick or Treat recording sheet. They put the real words under treat and the nonsense words under trick. I made a blank one as well since you may be working on a different word family! Enjoy!


Clipart courtesy of Scrappin' Doodles.

:) Andrea

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Pumpkin Activity

We've been learning about the life cycle of pumpkins this week. My kiddos LOVE the Five Little Pumpkins poem. We've read it and acted it out many times and it's now in their poetry warm-up book. I brought in a pumpkin today to carve, but I thought it would be fun to have that pumpkin roll away and find it. So I told them the story of how I brought it in and then it was gone. I told them how I thought about the 5 little pumpkins and I was worried. They know I love to make up songs, so we sang this together. (Click to see the whole song.)

They were so excited to go find it! I heard, "We should get our magnifying glasses",  "Wow, this is a real adventure!" and "I should bring paper to write down clues!"
So I put up a few clues around the school and we searched for our pumpkin. We went to the gym and they thought we should search in the bag of balls because it could have rolled in there. They were very worried that someone might be making pumpkin pie in the teacher's lounge. They were searching everywhere for seeds. (Great idea for next year!) They would run up to teachers and ask, "Have you seen a rolling pumpkin?" When we finally found it, I heard, "This was the best adventure ever!" :)

If you'd like to see my clues, click below.

Now I have to go roast the pumpkin seeds to bring for a snack tomorrow. TGIF!

:) Andrea

Saturday, October 15, 2011

Ahhh...the weekend

What a week! There's so much to do and never enough time! We've been learning about insects and spiders. If you don't have Deanna Jump's fabulous insect unit, get it! She has an activity where the kids build a bug out of candy. We did this today and I let them choose whether they wanted to make an insect or a spider. The kids LOVED this activity!

We also made shape Pete the Cats. We love Pete! (Thanks, Kindergarten Crayons for the idea!) If you didn't know, Pete the Cat is available in the Scholastic Seesaw October catalog. So many of my kids ordered it and can't wait to take it home!

 I wanted to share our fave sight word game in case you hadn't seen it before.

Sorry I can't get the second pic to face the right way, but you can still see it. They have to catch a fish with their rod. If they know the word on the bottom of the fish, they get to keep it. If not, I tell them the word and they have to "throw it back in the pond" to try again later.  The winner is the person who has the most fish at the end of the game. I usually ask them to read their words at the end of the game either to a partner or the adult in charge of the game. My kiddos beg to play this game! Here is a recording sheet in case you want to have them write the words that they know. Thank you K-3 Resources for the fish clipart!

And finally, this has nothing to do with my classroom, but I just finished a wreath that I saw on Pinterest and wanted to share. I've never made a wreath before, but I love Fall and Halloween. It says "Come in and sit a spell...".

Have a wonderful weekend! I'm going to the Lions game tomorrow and I'm so excited!

:) Andrea

Friday, October 7, 2011

Reading Workshop

Last week, my first graders read for over 15 minutes, so this week it was time to shop for books and read in the reading tent! Thanks to my wonderful friend Jaime from What's the Buzz in First, I was able to put the tent together. I can look at diagrams all day long and just not get it!
Here is a picture of the bags (I found a spot for them. We'll see if it works!). They go get them before their snack so that they are ready to go:

And here is the tent. My tent from last year did not hold up well. I'm hoping this one is better! I like that I can see in so that I can make sure they are reading. It can fit 2, but it's pretty snug.

I made up a song for Reading Workshop because they love to sing, (We are in LOVE with Pete the Cat right now!), and they know when I start singing the song that they need to come to the carpet and sing along. A few of them would sing the song, "Keep Your Head Up" while they were playing, so I decided to make that the tune. During Reading Workshop, we start with our poetry notebook. (We call it the warm-up. I got this idea from another teacher in my district.) I start with nursery rhymes or poems that they know and go from there. Then, they read their just-right books and finally, we "cool down" with a look book, which is usually a magazine.

Have a great weekend!
:) Andrea

Friday, September 30, 2011


SO glad it's Friday. Maybe that's why I was inspired to make another little treat for my peeps at school. Check it out:
It says, "S'more treats for my peeps." I recently tried Peeps in place of regular marshmallows in S'mores and I have to say they are yummy!
We've had some apple-icious days in first grade this week. Thanks to Pinterest, I had all new ideas this year, but not enough time, so I saved some for next year. We made Cara's applesauce today...big hit, they were begging for more and our room smelled SO good the whole day.
I also made some apple/shape activities for our math tubs, but I'm having a problem with Google Docs. Every time I upload a PDF, it changes the font to something strange. Does anyone know how to fix this? Here is one of my math tub activities (font changed to Comic Sans so that you can see it):

I cut out pieces of yarn and put in baggies to use as worms. They rolled a die and took that many worms and put them on the first apple. They did the same with the second apple and then added the numbers on their recording sheet.

:) Andrea

Friday, September 16, 2011

Happy Friday!

Want to make your teacher friends, or anyone else for that matter, smile? Then give them these:

I mean, who doesn't love orange slices?
This week was a REALLLLY long week at school. We had Curriculum Night and many of us are already getting the dreaded first cold of the year. So today I brought these for my friends. And they did smile. Yay!

:) Andrea

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

I'm still here!

I know it's been a LONG time since I've posted anything, but these first weeks of school have Wiped.Me. Out! Thanks to all of the new ideas I found on Pinterest and all of the fabulous blogs I've been reading, I was ready for the new year! I have 22 little sweeties and we are off to a great start. I have tables this year, which I wasn't sure if I'd love or hate. (One of my teaching buddies in first hates them and one loves them. I'd never tried them so I decided to go for it!) So far, so good! I LOVE not having papers or supplies just shoved in. Now I know exactly what they have and where they have it! I've had to purchase a few more containers to put things in, but it's totally worth it! Here are some pics from my room:

This is one of my table tubs. Every table has a different critter on it.

These are birthday balloons. The idea came from PT.
 I didn't want to leave candy out, so I used straws and put labels on the back
 so that they can come to me for a treat. :)

Idea from Abby! I love the way they turned out!
 I loved the Peacemaker/breaker idea from Mrs. Lee's Kindergarten. We found these Davids on PT
 last year and they worked perfectly!

A Pinterest idea from Ms. Solano's Kdg! I changed the wording a little and it was
 perfect for our name unit!

Another Pinterest find! Thanks Mrs. Phippen!
And last... All About Me from Deanna Jump's awesome back to school unit! LOVE her ideas!
They came out SO cute!
So we've been REALLY busy so far in first grade and we're having SO much fun!!! :)

:) Andrea

Thursday, August 18, 2011

READ Banner Giveaway Winner

Thanks to everyone who entered the READ banner giveaway and HI! to all of my new followers. :)

And the winner is... drumroll...

Class Full of Special Kinders!
Congratulations! You have 72 hours to respond to this post with your e-mail so that I can contact you! A new winner will be selected at random if this winner does not contact me. Thanks!

:) Andrea

Sunday, August 14, 2011

READ Banner Giveaway

Thanks to Jaime from What's the Buzz, I've been a little Etsy-obsessed lately. I saw this banner and knew I had to have it:

Now, that's good news, because it's so cute! But the BEST news is that Johnell from the Bekah Jennings Etsy shop is donating one of these banners and one of YOU can win it! You might also want to check out her shop for other banners. She has many and they are wonderful! (Here is a code to use for free shipping on your first purchase: FIRSTSHIPFREE).

Here's how to enter:
(leave a comment for each item you do to gain entries)
1. Be a follower on my blog
2. Add my blog to your blogroll

RULES: Giveaway open to U.S. residents only. Must be 18 yrs or older. Giveaway ends Wednesday, Aug. 17, 2011 at 11:59 EST. Rules must be followed. Winner is selected using Random.org and will be emailed/contacted and given 72 hours to respond. In the event of no response, a new winner will be chosen. Blogger is not responsible for prize fulfillment. Prize fulfillment comes directly from participating sponsor. By entering this giveaway, you agree to have read these rules.
Good luck!
:) Andrea

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Ceiling Tile Art

Did you see Abby's super cute ceiling tile art? I loved it and was going to go to Home Depot, but stopped by JoAnn's first to pick up some other supplies. I was about to leave when I spotted some 16 x 16 canvases on the clearance rack. Two came in a pack for $4.97!!!! They had quite a few left so hopefully your JoAnn's does as well! :)

You can see her ceiling tile (and other great ideas) here!


First Day Treat

My niece, Peyton, LOVES Goldfish S'mores. They look like this:

She picks out the marshmallows, but will give you the honey or chocolate graham. One day, she actually let her auntie have all 3. Yum! So now, I buy a bag for her and a bag for me. :) Anyway, I know my first graders would love them, so I made a little first day of school label that I will attach to a baggie filled with these yummy treats! I got the s'mores graphic from cutegraphics.com. :)

And then I thought of another rhyme...I love to come up with songs and rhymes. (There were more for this label, but I won't post them!) Some of them are really bad (as my husband likes to tell me when I try them out on him), but that's okay. The kids like them! :)

:) Andrea

Monday, August 1, 2011

Cute graphics!

If you're looking for cute graphics to use for free, check out mycutegraphics.com. You can't use them commercially, but there are a lot of cute images that you'll love! :)


Friday, July 22, 2011

Morris Goes to School

I am trying to get back into school mode. Slowly but surely. I don't go back as soon as some of you, but I know I'll be happier if I get some work done!

   Have you used this book at the beginning of the school year?

It's an oldie, but a goodie. I've used it with both 1st and 2nd graders and they love it! If you are interested, click below to download some activities to use with the book.

I hope you can use them!
:) Andrea

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Bug of the Week

Since my classroom is all about ladybugs, instead of "Star" of the Week, I do "Bug" of the Week. I send home the directions, the poster to fill out and a special ladybug stuffed animal to read with in a ladybug backpack the Friday before they are Bug of the Week.
On Monday, I have the children bring in a poster (you can download it below). I usually try to copy it on large paper so that they have more room to write/draw.
On Tuesday, they bring in 5 pictures to share.
On Wednesday, I have their parent write "Did You Knows?" about their child and send them in. They LOVE this!
On Thursday, We make a special poster for our Bug of the Week. I put their picture (8 x 10) on a large piece of construction paper and I write their name under the pic and on top I write Bug of the Week. I try to make it look fancy. Then, all of the children sign it or write something special. At the beginning of 1st, most just write their name. By the end, we had BFFs and I love yous! :)
On Friday, they can bring in something to share with the class.

Each student gets a week and that is the only week they share, unless there is a special occasion. My Bug of the Week is also the person who takes down lunch count, is the line leader and answers the phone if needed - this is a REALLY BIG DEAL and if you try to answer the phone when it is not your week, well let's just say they'll let you know and it has only happened a few times!

This works for us because it doesn't take much time and it gives each of them a chance to share. I found these ideas online and just changed them to work for me.

If you'd like my "Bug of the Week" paper, (I also made a "Star of the Week" because I know that many don't use bugs), you'll find it below.

Bug of the Week

Star of the Week

:) Andrea

Monday, July 18, 2011

My Labybug Obsession!

My classroom is decorated with ladybugs. I think it's super cute and my teaching partner next door has bees! Love it!  Anyway, that means when I see things with ladybugs on them, I want to buy them and find a way to use them! My teaching partner even picks things up for me at garage sales or Mom to Mom sales! Lucky me!
Saturday, I was at JoAnn's and saw the cutest picnic table on clearance. Guess what it was covered with? You know it! I thought about it and texted my friend who convinced me that I had to have it. I think I will use it for another reading spot. They will love it!!! Maybe I'll get a picnic basket to set on top with some look books. Think of the possibilities! :) Here is the pic from the box of my latest find:

Here are some other ladybug items from my room. I got the idea for the behavior chart from a site that I can't remember.

:) Andrea

Friday, July 15, 2011

Back home from Vacation!

Wow! It's amazing how much you have to catch up on after a vacation and we were only gone for a week! I can't wait to check out all of the new blog posts. I probably won't be able to leave my computer for hours! :)
I wanted to share some things from my vacation because I know I'm always looking for good books or places to go.
We live in MI and decided to go down to Florida to Disney. My husband LOVES Disney and went there every year when he was young. I like it too, but he LOVES it! So we went down and stayed at the Dolphin. We really like staying there because we always manage to get good deals on rooms  and - the best part -  we can walk to both Epcot and Hollywood Studios. They also have a boat to both as well, but we usually just walk.
Anyway, we drove down and used this book:

This book is AWESOME! The man who wrote it gives you tips on places to stop, eat and stay. We've tried quite a few of his ideas and are never disappointed. It makes the trip so much fun when you can get out of the car and stop at some fun places. It also helps when he recommends places to stay, because we all know when you pull off onto an exit, that can be scary! But what I've enjoyed the most are his recommendations for restaurants. We have found some of the neatest places that we never would've tried if we hadn't been reading his book. My absolute favorite place is The Apple Cake Tea Room in TN. It's this cute little log cabin type place and inside you'll see quilts on the walls, teapots all around and you'll feel like you're at someone's house for lunch! LOVE it! (Especially the banana bread - so YUMMY!)

So anyway, we had a great time, but I'm always happy to be back home. I'm hoping to start making some new units soon. I'm sure I'll be in school mode soon! :)


Sunday, June 26, 2011

Fourth of July Treat!

I'm thinking about making these for the 4th of July! So Cute! The only problem is that I'm not sure how to package them. (And that I have to lose 5 lbs. for a medical procedure, so having these around isn't such a hot idea!) I like the M&Ms in the pail, but I'd need to make quite a few. If I could find the pails for cheap enough, I'm sure I could find a use for them in my classroom. I'll have to think about it. Super cute though!

Red, White and Blue Ice Cream Cone Cupcakes
Find directions and other cute baking ideas at Love From The Oven.

:) Andrea

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Book Bag holders?

Yesterday was my last day. I didn't have kids, but I was cleaning. Like Deanna Jump, I can't seem to get rid of things. MAYBE I'll use it! But I love the way she is organizing, so I really want to do that. It will have to wait until the fall though.

I have been thinking about where to have my kiddos put their book bags though. Every year I think I've found the perfect place and then I'm ready to change it. This year I had 2 pencil coat racks that I purchased for $10 each at the Dollar General. They didn't hold up very well even though I loved them. I now have one and it's kind of pitiful (pegs have broken off!). Please pay no attention to the messy magazines in the background. Those are used for cool down and at first, it was a mess!

I'm wondering if I should try to buy one or two from Sears or Walmart, maybe they'll be more sturdy? Or go with these plastic hooks along the bottom of my front wall? I'm thinking I could fit at least 2 bags, if not 3, on each hook...

I'm always trying to take up as little space as possible and make it quick for them to get their books during reading workshop time. The pencils were actually pretty good as far as that goes, but I really don't want to have to buy something new every year. If you have ideas, please share! :)

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

What's in Your Summer Stack?

I wanted to try something new to get my kids excited about summer reading, so I told them that everyone should have a "Summer Stack". I invited my principal, PE teacher, Media Specialist, etc. to show them what reading materials are in their stack. I took their picture beforehand and glued their head to the clipart. Then the children created their own. I have a pic of one that's partially complete, but it's even cuter than it looks. If you're interested, get it here at my little TPT store. For sale is the clipart and ideas to go with it. One thing in my "stack" is The Help.  I really want to read that book!

My principal agreed to let me post the pic even though she doesn't love the picture. I think it's great!
:) Andrea

Update: I keep having more people come in and the kids get super excited when I ask why they think the person is in our room. They know it's to share their stack! I keep hearing them talk to one another and telling about their own stack! "My stack has Junie B. and it's this tall!" LOVE it!!

Sunday, June 12, 2011

Pigeon Needs and Wants

Thanks to Jaime from What's the Buzz, I've discovered The Pigeon! Where have I been? We completed her cute unit, (check it out here), and my kiddos loved it! We crack up every time we read one of the books! We're still doing economics and read The Pigeon Finds a Hot Dog and talked about what a pigeon needs to survive and what one might want. We came up with some pretty silly answers! We illustrated our page and included what the Pigeon might say. We made this into a cute class book. I got the pigeon from http://www.brilliantbeginningspreschoolutah.com/2010/02/p-is-for-pigeon.html. Thanks for sharing!

Click on the pic below to get the printable:

A pigeon needs shelter.
A pigeon wants a mansion!

4 1/2 days left!

:) Andrea

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Partners and Pretzels

We're almost there! We get out next Friday. I've been trying to help my first graders to continue practicing what we've learned, so I made Partners and Pretzels to use during partner reading time! (Clip art is different, but everything else is the same. Long story!) You just pass out 1 paper for partners and a small bag of pretzels. They need to save 3 for the activity, but can eat the rest while reading and listening. They answer a question and when finished, put a pretzel on top. When they get 3 in-a-row, they're finished! :)

Partners and Pretzels printable

Enjoy! :) Andrea

Saturday, June 4, 2011

Father's Day and Popsicle Fun!

We still have a few more weeks of school and we've been so busy! I made a wallet for one of my units and decided it would be fun to make one for our dads too! Here is a pic:

It has coupons that go inside. You can only fit 3 of the writing prompts on there, so I'm letting my kids pick. I'm thinking that we'll make a pocket for it to go in. I'll try to remember to post pics!  Here are the printables that go with it:

We've also been trying to cool off because it's been pretty hot here! So we started by thinking about popsicles and making a chart together about all of the adjectives that we could use to desribe them. Then, we made some popsicles and wrote adjectives on the drips. Of course, we had to try some when we were finished!

Here are the words we glued to the top:

Here are pics of some completed popsicles:

:) Andrea

Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Get your kiddos moving!

I just discovered a fun video with a hippo singing "The Lion Sleeps Tonight" and a dog dancing with him. I had my kids dance along with the dog today and they loved it! I think they do more songs, but this is the only one I've seen! Great way to break up the afternoon!
                                                 Hippo and Dog

:) Andrea

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Panda Unit Complete!

My panda unit is finished, just as Kung Fu Panda 2 is coming out! It is a fun unit with activities that are perfect for the end of the year. Check it out at my TPT store! It's on sale! I did not include my panda ice cream treat in there, so I will put the picture on here as well as a simple how-to. They actually turned out cute, even though this picture isn't the best. You need vanilla ice cream cups, mini Oreos, chocolate chips and black gel icing. Enjoy!
                                                    How-To Writing

:) Andrea

Making Inferences STOMP!

Jaime, from What's the Buzz, uses a game called Stomp! with sight words. I made a version to help with making inferences and to keep my first graders moving! Since we are working on our Character Club unit, we are really focused on how our characters are feeling. We are using our schema and the text/pictures to help us. To play, put out 4 - 5 pictures of feelings and have the kids work in teams. They need to take their shoes off. Two players come up and you read from one of the cards. The first player to infer correctly and Stomp the correct feeling wins the round. Thanks for the idea, Jaime! Here is a copy if you are interested!

:) Andrea