Tuesday, July 24, 2012

A Whole Lot of Stuff....Miss V's Busy Bees Giveaway, Freebie, and How Do You Display Birthdays?

Katie and I are both heading to school this morning for meetings and are actually excited to be able to have a few hours afterwards to start arranging our classrooms!
We stopped by yesterday and got a quick peek of our clean classrooms with all the furniture in one corner! It is driving us both nuts to not be able to put it back where it belongs!

I posted a freebie earlier of our blends and digraph posters that we both have on our walls and today wanted to share our reading strategies book. There are so many different things the kiddos can use to help figure out words when they are struggling and I decided that I wanted them all in one place! So I compiled some of our kiddos favorite recources into a book and keep them out on my reading table so that they can flip through to find what they need to help them when they are stuck on a word. The fun thing for us is that they kiddos love being in charge of deciding what resource will help them and even willl flip through the book to find a resource for a friend! Our first grade teachers, resource teacher, and speech teacher have all asked us for copies. (and of course we shared!? Click here to grab all the pieces needed to make the book!
Here are some pics of what the book looks like!

We are joining up with Sara at Miss V's Busy Bees for her 200 follower giveaway. Make sure to stop by and check out her super cute blog and enter her giveaway!!!

And finally...what do you do for your birthday display? Do you have one? What does it look like? I change a lot of things, but thanks to my good friend Jenn, I have stuck with my birthday bag display for the past 10 years! The look changes, the bags get changed out and so do the month signs, but every year I come back to this! I love the 3-d aspect of it and that my kiddos can take home their birthday blast at the end of the year!

This display is actually really easy!  I just buy gift bags (hobby lobby usually has 2/$1, or something close to that) and then add some kind of month label to each bag. (these are from the poppin patterns line at creative teaching press - my absolute favorite line for borders, letters, etc!) Then I use our die cut to make the birthday blasts.  I think it is actually a sun or something, but I just die cut them in white, add names, and dates and then hot glue them to bendy straws.  Then I put tissue paper in the bags and add the birthday blasts to the appropriate bags.
Katie is redoing her birthday display so we would love it if you want to share how you display your birthdays!!

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Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Vacation=Work Time?

I am on vacation in Florida this week and am LOVING it! My hubby had to work and happily sent my girls and I off for 10 days in Florida with my family. He was so excited to be able to organize the garage, work on the yard, catch up on paperwork, etc. without me having him come up to help with the girls every little bit! Don't get me wrong, he misses us, but he really can't accomplish anything when we are all home at once! The girls are running everywhere and are in to EVERYTHING!!!! And of course they take off in different directions to try to do such fabulous things as feeding the dogs shoes, climbing the steps, ripping up every bit of paper they can find, and so on!

For my part, I am in heaven with all the help! My entire family is constantly helping with the girls and there really isn't much for me to do! I can actually sit on the couch!!!!! (usually my girls get really mad if I am not a human jungle gym on the floor with them) If the girls run off to get into something someone grabs them on the way and redirects them. AND my aunt baby proofed the whole condo!!! I might just stay...hee hee! On top of that, the girls are so tired from the pool and all the playing outside that they go to bed at 8 and I don't hear a peep out of them until 730 the next morning.

So with all the wonderful help I actually have energy. You would think I would be sitting around all day at the pool or napping, but no! I am actually working like crazy on my to do list while I have baby wranglers. On a normal day I end up so tired at the end of the day that the last thing I want to do is turn on the computer! So this is such a treat to have energy to be able to stay up and get things done! Katie has also been working away so here is what we have accomplished so far this summer: (more is almost ready!!!)
All About Me Board and More
Beginning of Year Fun
Back to School Common Core Math Centers
Back to School Survival Kit
Awards and Certificates

You can find all of these in our TPT store!

I haven't spend the WHOLE time working! Here is a little bit of what we have been up to!

We also have been hanging out at the pool but for some crazy reason my little 14 month old darlings won't hold still for a picture when they can be running around the pool and trying to jump in the deep end!!!
This is the best they would let me do!

I'm off to actually read a book for a little while before I go to bed!  Oh, the little things!!!!!

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Sunday, July 15, 2012

Take Some Time to Enjoy Your Loved Ones!

Hello Friends! Just wanted to let you know that we are still here and loving all of your sweet comments! We have been crazy busy spending time with our families and creating fun activities for the upcoming school year (we promise to share with you)!

I am back from a family trip to St. Louis. We had a lot of fun! We took an Amtrak train with my sister, her husband, their 6 daughters, and my parents. It was a great experience for the kiddos! Although, we might be banned from Amtrak for life! Seriously though, the kids did a great job entertaining themselves for the 5 1/2 hour ride. Have any of you ever been to the City Museum in St. Louis?? If you haven't, you need to if you ever get a chance! It was A.M.A.Z.I.N.G!! I have never seen anything like it! They have these spiral looking tunnels that you can crawl through and they go out of the building (yes, through the air) and take you to crazy things that are in mid-air! Only my 10 year old niece was brave enough to take that one on (Yay Greta!!!) They had HUGE ball pits filled with HUGE balls to play in, an aquarium, art studio, they even had the largest pair of underpants there!! So. Much. Fun. Here are a few pics:

My two girls and their cousin entertaining themselves on the train!

The World's Largest Pair of Underpants!

And, finally, a few pictures of me and my kids at the top of the Arch!

Lisen and her family are in Florida spending some time together relaxing.

We hope that you take some time this summer to spend time with your loved ones before the busy school year begins!

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Monday, July 9, 2012

What day is it???? (and a freebie)

Oh my goodness! I am kind of embarassed because as I was getting ready to write this post today I was looking over the last one that I had written. The post is titled Friday Freebie, which would be fine, except for the fact that it was written and posted on SATURDAY! I think I am losing track of time!

Does anyone else have this problem?? I am so used to putting up my power point on my screen with the date written on it and then having a kiddo write the date on the white board first thing every morning. Without the ritual of typing the date and then having a little cherub ask me if they can be the one to write the date on the board, I have lost all track of what day it is! I went all day today (MONDAY!!)thinking that it was Tuesday! I am going to have to go back to school before long just so that I know what day it is!! I'm hoping that it isn't just me and that other teachers lose track of time in the summer too! :)

We have a couple of math freebies for you today. We used to have the numbers that went around our clock that counted by 5 so that our kiddos could figure out the minutes quicker when we were working on time. With our new Common Core Math Curriculum and our, oh so lovely, Envision program we are now concentrating on language such as quarter to, quarter past, half past, etc. So Katie revamped what will go around our clocks to match what we are now teaching.
We would love to share so if you are doing the same thing for time and would like to grab a copy just click here!

One of my favorite telling time activities is one that I started back when High School Musical was the best thing my second graders had ever seen! At the time it was all they could talk about and to them one of the best classroom rewards was the chance to have me play the High School Musical soundtrack while they worked. (I LOVE how easy it is to make a 7 or 8 year olds day!)

So I decided to combine a quick time check activity with one of the songs that they loved! This is my What Time Is It? activity. It is SUPER easy to use and the kiddos love it. You just give each kiddo a What Time Is It? sheet to keep at their desk. I usually start them off with a paper as they come in and after the first time they know exactly what to do with it! They just put it in the corner of their desk and go about their regular work. Then any time during the day when I hit play on the High School Musical song What Time Is It they stop whatever they are doing and look at the clock and write down the time that they think it is. This happens 6 times during the day. Then you can choose to collect and check the sheets or to go over the correct times as a class.
This has been a hit in my class every year so I hope you enjoy!!!
Click here to get the What Time Is It activity!

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Saturday, July 7, 2012

Friday Freebie!

Hello and happy Friday!
Katie is on vacation in St. Louis with her family this weekend and I am starting to make my packing lists for our trips to Florida and Texas! You have to travel with a LOT of stuff with babies! Yikes! My hubby has to work so my mom is flying in to help me fly to Florida with my girls. Thank goodness! She and my dad watch them during the year and I never even have to tell my mom what I want her to do, she just knows! I'm hoping for a fairly calm trip, although it will be the girl's first trip and they are into everything right now and don't want to sit...they just want to run and empty things. I guess now that I think about it, this could be an interesting trip! My sister works for Delta so the good thing for me is that I get to fly on one of her passes (much cheaper then a ticket) and I can take unlimited luggage! Phew!

When we get back we have about 4 days of down time and then my hubby took time off for us to go to the Restoring Love event in Texas. We get to drive for that trip and we DO plan on leaving at bedtime and driving through the night so that I don't go insane!

In between that I am trying to figure out when we can get our card keys for school so that I can get in and start setting up my classroom during the girls naptimes! I had a moment of panic when I realized that by the time we get back from all of our trips I will be down to about a week before teachers have to report back. I CAN NOT show up on the day we are required to report back and have that be my first day getting my classroom ready. I just can't!!! I'm already getting a little anxious about having everything ready on time! On top of the normal getting ready Katie and I decided to completely change everything about our grade level theme! So we are starting from scratch...super excited about it...but starting from scratch!

So anywho, we love to have our blends and digraphs front and center in our rooms for our kiddos. I love to be able to just point to the posters and let my kiddos figure out what sound the blend or digraph makes in the word they are working on or even to help out with spelling by mentioning that the letters they might be looking for are in the pics on the wall! Our kiddos always know where the posters are and use them even more then we realize! My principal was even in the room one day and asking a question about something a kiddo was working on and they took her over to the posters and showed her how they were figuring out what two letters they needed to finish spelling a word!

Random side note....my last name is German and has a lich at the end which actually in my last name says lick. My poor 2nd graders argue with me every year that the ch sounds like chick and that I must be saying my name wrong! Half of them let it go and call me by the right last name and the other half insist on using ch like in chick. I have completely given up on correcting them!!!!
So here are our Blends and Digraphs posters! Enjoy!!!!
Blends and Digraphs

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Thursday, July 5, 2012

Fun Award and Some Freebies!

We were nominated by Sara at Miss V's Busy Bees for the Liebster Award! We LOVE it! The little things really make our days!!

This award is given away to highlight those blogs with less than 200 followers and now we get to:

1. Copy and paste this award on your blog.
2. Thank the giver and link back to them.
3. Reveal 5 other bloggers and comment on their blogs.

Here are the 5 bloggers that we are passing the award on to!
Twirlybird Teaching
The Teacher's Backpack
Today in Second Grade
Teaming Up to Teach
Teaching in Paradise

Now on to the freebies!
These are some of our favorite quick comprehension activities that we use! We use them during guided reading and also during shared reading activities! We usually have the kiddos work in pairs and take turns spinning and asking each other questions about the story. We also like to do this activity with our one on one guided reading groups. When we do this we alternate between the kiddo spinning and answering questions about the book and also the kiddo spinning and asking US the questions. They love being the teacher to their teacher! It is still a great comprehension activity because they have to check and make sure that we are answering the questions correctly!
All you need is the paper, a paper clip, and a pencil. Put the paper clip in the middle of the paper, use the pencil tip to hold it in place, and voila, instant spinner!
There are 3 slightly different versions included!
Click here to get the reading spinners!

Click here to get the nonfiction reading spinner

We hope you had a great 4th of July with your family and got to enjoy some fireworks!!!

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Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Fourth of July Flash Sale and More!

We are having a Fourth of July Flash sale!  Everything in our TPT store will be 20% off!  We just recently added our Back to School Survival Kit and our Awards and Certificates so check it out!

We are also part of a giveaway!  Check out Lisa at Learning is Something to Treasure and her great 400 follower giveaway!!

    I stopped by school yesterday, and Katie was right, it was HOT!  I was glad that I wasn't staying for long.  My hubby watched the girls (and by watched I mean listened for them while they napped!!) so that I could run up to school and see what my classroom looked like.  Since having my girls my ability to spend time at school getting ready has drastically changed!  I used to go up to school and spend the whole day working, of course with breaks for lunch with the girls, shopping trips for last minute classroom items, catch up chats with friends, etc.  I would be able to go up whenever I wanted to...and I did...A LOT!
  Last year, during the summer, I found out that I was going to be able to use an extra 4 weeks of maternity leave that I didn't think I was going to get.  Total bonus...but I hadn't counted on a sub starting off my year (I am a little bit of a control freak). 
   So I not only  had to get my room ready, but I also had to have 4 weeks of lesson plans ready and a really great letter for my new parents explaining why I wasn't going to start the year off with their children.  I loved, loved, loved my parents last year, but they didn't seem to understand why I would want to stay home with my newborn twins for an extra 4 weeks instead of hanging out with THEIR little darlings!  Go figure!!!
  My husband is law enforcement which equals a CRAZY schedule at all times!  So I called in the troops.  I actually had my dad and grandpa come to school with me to baby wrangle and my aunt and mom come to help me put up my fabric on my bulletin boards, arrange the classroom, etc.  Luckily, at the end of the previous year I had taken pics of EVERYTHING and was able to pull up the pics on my computer and have them duplicate the bulletin boards.  Still, it was difficult! 
  This year my fam is out of town and my husband is STILL crazy busy with work and on top of that he is currently a campaign manager for a candidate for KS state senate!  Yikes!!!  Lack of down time for sure!  So he will watch the girls during their naptimes so that I can run up to school a couple of hours at a time (I live 3 minutes away!) to work on setting up my classroom.  Since he is still technically working I get a call whenever the girls wake up and rush home to take over.  We make it work, but man it is exhausting! :)  I'm sure everyone with kiddos goes through this tug of war between home and work, but I am still new to it and having a hard time finding a balance!
  Does everyone else with kiddos feel torn between home and work?  I feel like I am not 100% at either of them and it is killing me!

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Tuesday, July 3, 2012

The Never Ending Heatwave and a Question About Student Supplies

It is still hot, hot, hot here in Kansas. I H.A.T.E. being hot. I hope and pray that this heat wave comes to an end within the next two weeks. I can not imagine setting my room up in weather this hot. Don't worry, our school is air conditioned, but my classroom has no outside walls. I don't even have a window :( My room USED to have a window, but when they added on to our school, a wall was built OVER my window. Since my room is now totally insulated it feels like an inferno a sauna. Have I mentioned that I H.A.T.E. being hot? I have complained to anyone and everyone in our building. Even the kids complain about how hot it is in our room. So, the solution to the heat problem in my room? A wall fan. Yes, a wall fan. That is what was deemed appropriate to cool off my room. Seriously folks, I can't wear half of my wardrobe to work because I can only wear my spring and summer clothes. The wall fan DOES. NOT. WORK. I also brought in my own fan to keep on my desk. I have it on and blowing in my face at all times. I am laughed at on a regular basis by any adult who enters my room because of this. Lisen has referred to my room as a "wind tunnel". It may be windy, but it's still hot. I may have even had a student ask "Can we turn the fans down? My papers are blowing off my desk!" and I MAY have responded "No, but we can put your box of crayons on your papers to keep them from blowing off." I know, don't everyone go running out to nominate me for "Teacher of the Year".

Due to my dread of returning to my inferno classroom, I have made a list of the things that I need to get done for the new school year that can be done in the coolness of my own home. One of the items on my list was to get the baskets/tubs that I want to use for storing the years worth of school supplies that my students bring in at "Sneak-a-Peek" (what we call our "Meet the Teacher" night). Instead of collecting their supplies on the first day of school, I will be doing it the night they come to meet me. They all bring their supplies to put in their desks anyways, so I figured why not do it then! I am going to have my kids go on a scavenger hunt around my room to find where each school supply item needs to be put. I have some clues that the kids will be given so that they can find the location of each basket. The baskets will be near important areas of the room (class library, writing center, pencil sharpener, etc...). This will allow for the students and their parents to see all the nooks and crannies of our room. It will also save me TONS of time on the first day of school since I won't have to round up 20something of each item on the school supply list!

Here is a picture of a few of the baskets and tubs I will have around my room.

I found the baskets and tubs at Dollar Tree a few months ago. I bought two of each of the ones in the picture. I am hoping they still have some because I would love to buy a few more :)

I collect the kids' school supplies because our student desks do not offer much in terms of storage. They basically have room for their books, folders, notebooks, and a small pencil box. So, I have a question for you: How do you go about collecting school supplies at the beginning of the year? Where do you store all of it? I would love to know!

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Monday, July 2, 2012

New Products, Fun Birthday Crown Idea, and Giveaway Participation

Happy almost 4th of July!!!
I love the 4th of July! We will be having a sale in our TPT store on the 4th to celebrate!
We have a LOT to share today! First of all, I am so sorry if you tried to enter our giveaway today. I tried rafflecopter for the first time and was oh so proud of myself for figuring it out! Turns out...I didn't totally figure it out! Oooops! So it ended the giveaway earlier then I meant to have it ended. The good news is that I think I have it figured out now and hopefully (fingers crossed) it will work perfectly for our next giveaway!
So next...Katie and I FINALLY got a few things finished that were on our to do list. We seemed to have overestimated the amount of time that our children would let us have for working on school related things! Oh well, we are loving the QT with our little cherubs! Here are some pictures of the 2 things that we DID get done If you would like to check them out just head over to our TPT store!
Back to School Survival Kit
Classroom Awards and Certificates

Next we are part of Corinna at Surfin through Second's 250 follower giveaway.
Stop by and check out her great giveaway!

Finally, Katie came up with a great use for her leftover border.
Every year Katie would spend about $15 dollars on birthday crowns for the kiddos in her classroom. They love them so she wants to keep doing birthday crowns, but doesn't love the expense. So she decided to make her own on the cheap! They turned out SUPER cute and we both think the kiddos are going to love them this year!!!
Here is what you do! You just take your leftover border strips and make them into a headband that fits the birthday kiddo's head. Then you add whatever details you want to make the hat special! We have a pic of Katie's son modeling the birthday crown that she made. She said it was fast, easy, and you can personalize them for the kiddo!


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