December 24, 2013

December Recap and Happy Holidays!!

Merry Christmas Eve! So, I've been MIA for awhile. Sorry about that. I'm going to try to fill you in on all of the December happenings as best I can!

First, this little cutie had a birthday:

I'm not quite sure where the past six years have gone, but I do know that I am incredibly proud of the little girl that Princess A has become. 

We had her birthday party here, and it was a huge hit!

In early December, both kids participated in school holiday programs, and dear goodness, were they adorable (yes, I'm biased!)!

Deedle LOVED receiving cards from his classmates (although, I have to admit, signing his very long first name twenty times became tedious quickly). This card was his favorite because the dog on the front looks like our Border Collie, McKinley.

That's my little one on the left in the plaid dress. She was so tickled that she was asked by her music teacher to be a sugar plum fairy in the "big kid" portion of the program. She rocked it, too!

As we approached the holiday break, I tried to incorporate some fun thematic activities, even though I had a good deal of curriculum to get through (I don't want to admit how far behind I am in Language Arts...with all of the assessments we have to get done, I feel like I don't have time to teach!). We had fun, using A Cupcake for the Teacher's reindeer craftivity (unfortunately, we got the writing portion of the lesson finished, but we never had the chance to make the craft because I was home with a sick kiddo...maybe next year!).

We had an unexpected "snow" delay on the last day before Winter Break (originally, the day had been an early dismissal day, so the delayed opening really messed with my head!), so we spent the entire afternoon, working with The Polar Express. After reading the book, we completed some of the activities below (and in between each activity, the students participated in The Daily Five rotations):
Click on either picture above to grab your own copy of the Notebook file that I created for this lesson, along with all of the accompanying activities!

For my gifts for my students this year, I made them reindeer food. It's inexpensive and easy to make, and it's always a hit with my kiddos (I put my own kids to work this year, helping me assemble the gifts).

Princess A was not feeling well in this pic, but she insisted on helping out. Deedle helped himself to more than his fair share of candy canes...he bounced off the wall all evening!

The finished product!

One last random thought before I go enjoy some family time: I was lucky enough to find a team of bloggers from the Eastern Shore of Maryland (shout out to Kelly and Kim's Kindergarten Kreations!). We'd love to put together a Maryland blogger meet-up sometime in the new year. Are there any other Maryland bloggers who are interested? If so, let me know! I'd love to put something together.

Happy Christmas to all, and to all a good night!! Enjoy some well-deserved time with your family and've earned it!

November 11, 2013

Veterans Day

I am a huge blogging slacker. I could give you a million excuses for why I've been such a no-show lately, but you get it: we're all busy.

On Wednesday, our first quarter report cards went home with students. I was ridiculously excited to get my own kiddos' progress reports. (Warning: shameless bragging ahead.) Princess A rocked hers: she was "secure" in all of the Kindergarten skills except one. My heart swelled when her teacher told me that besides being a good student, she is a fantastic role model and friend to her classmates. Deedle did great, too (although, apparently, he is still working on following the class rules and surprise there). He is struggling with his pencil grip, but the Pre-K teacher at my school gave me an awesome grip to use with him, and it seems to be working. He's such a hard little worker: I know he'll figure it out in no time, especially if we keep practicing at home.

I had this past Friday off because of Waterfowl Festival. You know you live on the Eastern Shore of Maryland when an entire long weekend is devoted to the appreciation of ducks and geese. But believe me, I'm OK with it. KShaf and I took in some of the sites (and food!) with the kiddos. We even managed to visit the historical gardens where we got married eight years ago!

Our wedding day. (Dear God, we were young!)

Our kiddos, eight years later, standing in the same entryway. Pretty cool!

I spent the rest of the weekend, shopping and cleaning. I don't think I even thought about work until 2:00 yesterday afternoon!

Today, I managed to work in a mini-lesson about Veterans Day. I used A Cupcake for the Teacher's adorable Veterans Day freebie, and my students' writing turned out so nicely, I decided on a whim to mail them A Million Thanks!

One of my little ones, working on his letter to a military hero.

"Dear Hero, You have made our country a better place. Thank you for fighting in the war. Love, Kathryn."

"Dear Hero, Thank you for saving our life. Thank you for fighting in the war. Sincerely, Hayley."

If you'd like to grab the Notebook file that I created for this lesson, click here.

Now, I'm off to drink my nightly cup of chamomile tea while I read in bed. I heart "me time." Happy Monday!

October 23, 2013

Hellooooooo! Are You Still Out There??

So, October has been busy. It's always a crazy time of year, both professionally and personally: the first quarter ends on October 30th (which means I have a zillion assessments to finish, not to mention progress reports), and of course, there's Halloween to contend with (excited kids at school and at home...yay!).

 Think they're a little bit excited? It has been a battle to convince them that they can't wear their costumes every day after school.

Plus, I presented at a county-wide professional development last Thursday on Common Core English Language Arts...and I am facilitating a staff meeting next week about equity. Yikes! The silver lining is that I have gobs of credits for re-certification.

Thankfully, these make it all a little easier:

Oh, dear God, these cookies are amazing! They are only in Target stores for a limited time...I may have to stockpile them!

On Monday, I had the chance to chaperone on Princess A's first "real" field trip to the local pumpkin patch. It was so much fun to be a parent for a few hours and not a teacher.

Check out that perfect blue sky and those adorable smiles!

So, I am wrapping up a unit about subtraction in math, and my kiddos have really been struggling with comparison subtraction and missing part subtraction. My awesome teammate, SpurDog, put together two adorable lessons to review these two concepts. I am trying to convince her to sell it on TPT because it is fantastic! Take a peek!

Seasonally appropriate and educational!

I am in love with this activity! Can't wait to try it out tomorrow!

I stopped by Target to grab a few bags of candy corn to use with this lesson. Now, I just have to stop myself from eating all of them before I teach math!

Head over to SpurDog's blog and convince her to put this awesome lesson on TPT! 

Enjoy the rest of your week!

October 4, 2013

October Currently (Yes, I'm Still Alive)

Where the heck did September go? I have been so stinkin' busy...I blinked and it's October already! Time for Farley's October Currently!

Listening: So, my kids are probably too old to take a bath together. But it's super convenient to dump them in together and let them play "Titanic" or "Spa" to their little hearts' content. Lazy of me, I know.

Loving: Oh. My. God. I discovered, thanks to Facebook. I am completely and totally obsessed. 

I ordered this necklace in black for my daughter's teacher for Christmas (I never start my Christmas shopping early, but I can't resist, with all of the great deals on Jane!).

I also bought her this, but in turquoise. What teacher doesn't love bubble necklaces and infinity scarves??

I nabbed this adorable bracelet in silver (monogrammed, natch) for a family member.

I may have also bought the chevron watch that everyone was dishing about on their blogs a few days back, and a bubble necklace (in hot pink) for myself. I'm two steps away from needing a Jane intervention.

Thinking: I have been fighting headaches since school started (stress? barometer? mold allergy? jaw clenching?), so I've been avoiding wine. But tonight, it's Friday, and I've earned a glass (headache be damned!).

Wanting: I would kill for a maid. During the week, I get so wrapped up with work and the kiddos that housecleaning takes a backseat. So, I feel like I spend all weekend cleaning. I try to get a head start on Friday (I make my grocery list and sort the laundry), but it still seems to take me forever. Ugh.

Needing: I didn't realize until I saw this pic that I posted on Facebook how long my hair has gotten in the past few months (I'm embarassed to admit it, but I don't think scissors have touched my hair in six months!).

Yes, that's a blue streak in my hair. Our PTO was selling "spirit hair" as a fundraiser, and all of the teachers had their hair done, free of charge! Brilliant (and lucrative, too!)!

Trick or Treat: I'd love to tell you that I have new products to offer as a treat, but sadly, I don't. Maybe by the end of the weekend? In the meantime, head over to my Facebook page, "like" my page, and grab a Fan Freebie!

Enjoy your weekend! You've earned it!

September 18, 2013

Why, Hello! Remember Me?

What a busy couple of weeks! Between getting accustomed to being back to work and getting my own little ones into a regular routine, I have barely had time to come up for air! I'm sure you can all relate.

I am really enjoying my new class of firsties.  I'll admit, though, that I had forgotten how much modeling and remediation is necessary at the beginning of a new school year. I've been coming home exhausted; in fact, KShaf and I have been in bed by 8:30 the past two nights!

We started our homogenous Language Arts instruction last Monday (after spending the first week of school using Babbling Abby's Fun With Firsties cute!). We ironed out a lot of the kinks that we encountered last year, including buying these amazing bins to help the children transition from classroom to classroom:

They are a little cumbersome, but I would rather deal with unwieldy bins than listen to the sound of a thousand dropped pencil boxes hitting the linoleum any day!

I have introduced Read to Self, Read to Someone, and Listen to Reading...only two more of the Daily Five to go! My little ones have done an amazing job with each of the Daily Five; they have taken to them like ducks to water!

One of my little guys, reading to himself.

These three munchkins look pretty comfy in my "reading nook," don't they? What you can't see in this picture is that they were all wearing sunglasses with the lenses removed as "reading glasses."

I love that this little cutie is using his "slide" to segment and blend unfamiliar words during Read to Someone.

I had to get crafty with the area that I use for Listen to Reading. There is only room for two adult-sized chair, and the counter is too high to use little chairs. Thankfully, my students don't mind sharing an adult chair with another child!

We did some really fun activities to practice what we know about words with short a. I gave the students letter tiles for the consonants m, s, c, and t (our consonants of the week) and the vowel a, and they had to make as many short a words as they could. Some of them got really creative!

I'm ready for a cup of tea (or glass of wine...I haven't made up my mind yet), but before I go, I have to recommend the book My Great-Aunt Arizona, by Gloria Houston (you've probably heard of it before). Princess A nabbed it from my book closet at school the other day and brought it home, and tonight, we read it before bed. I don't usually get choked up (unless I'm hormonal or getting sick), but this book brought tears to my eyes. It's such an inspiring story about the last impact that teachers have on their students.

Enjoy what's left of your "hump day!"

September 8, 2013

Sunday Recap

What a busy and fun week!

Tuesday was Deedle's first day of Pre-K. If I'm being honest here, I was a little concerned about how he would do in school without his sister there to watch out for him. But he was a total pro!

Protective big sister.

Boarding the bus by himself? No problem!

On Thursday evening, we had Back to School Night (which always makes for a long day). But the day was made better when I found out that my good friend, Kelly, had her little boy! 

SpurDog and I couldn't wait to hold sweet Emmett, so we raced to town to visit before heading back to work for Back to School Night. He is perfect in every way!

Back to School Night was very successful. I wasn't inundated with parents, like I was last year, but the parents who were able to attend seemed very supportive and involved. I'm feeling very optimistic about this school year!

I was really flattered to receive a comment a few weeks ago from a teacher on TPT who was hoping to share my 6+1 Writing Traits lesson plans with her district (say what????). Thankfully, I was able to grab a few spare minutes today to finish up my Conventions lesson plan bundle. I just uploaded it to TPT...hope you can use it!
I have dinner to get started and laundry to finish folding. Have a great week!

P.S. Happy birthday to my teaching bestie, SpurDog! I hope it's the best one yet!

September 2, 2013

First Week of School and September Currently

What a week! Between getting my own kiddos ready to start school and getting myself prepped for the first days of school, life has been crazy!

Princess A started Kindergarten on Tuesday (WHAT???), and she officially loves it! It doesn't hurt that she is completely smitten with her teacher.

Love, love, love!

So proud of her. I almost can't stand it.

My new little firsties are stinkin' adorable. They are very different from last year's class, but that's part of what makes teaching so fun (and challenging!). I have been modeling everything (as a result, I've come home pooped the past few days), but I know it will pay off. They are slowly learning my rules and expectations, and there have only been a few minor meltdowns.

My work biffle, SpurDog, planned some adorable activities for the first few days of school, using Babbling Abby's Fun With Firsties pack.We read First Day Jitters and made Jitter Juice (yum!).

We also spent some time, making new friends and writing about them, too.

They loved having the chance to get up and move around the classroom. Adorable!

One of my cuties writing about a new friend.

Look! This little one's dress matches my classroom decor!

We completed a simple writing activity on Friday, using The Kissing Hand (I don't care how many times I read that book: it still gets to me every time). I was in a crazy rush on Friday afternoon, and I didn't have time to take pics of the finished product, but I did upload the lesson to TPT.

These turned out really cute, and I'm planning to display them around the classroom for Back to School Night this Thursday.

I've tried to squeeze in some quality time with each of my own kiddos this weekend, so on Saturday (while Princess A was at her riding lesson with KShaf), Deedle and I had a date at Starbucks.

Don't worry: it's hot chocolate, not coffee.

This morning, we got up early and went fishing. It was a huge success!

 This girl is not squeamish. She baited her own hook and caught lots of fish!
Clearly, I was really excited about catching a (teeny tiny) fish (with Deedle's Spiderman fishing rod).

So, onto September's Currently. I love linking up with Farley!

Listening: My kids outgrew naps a long time ago, but KShaf and I insist that they have a quiet time for an hour on the weekends. They are very rarely quiet.

Loving: Why can't every weekend have three days? Two days just aren't enough.

Thinking: I have to make these for breakfast tomorrow.

Wanting: I always fall for trends. These are all over the place right now on the Eastern Shore. Gotta get one.

Needing: I've been awful about running this summer. I'd love to blame it on the Maryland heat, but really, I've just been lazy. I need to get back into a routine because I'd love to run a 10K this fall.

Love Myself: I am going to try my darndest to leave work at work. No checking email, no marking papers, no lesson planning. We'll see how that goes. Ha! Since I'm planning to bring less work home, I should have gobs of extra time to read on my Kindle. I just finished Sarah's Key (I may need therapy after reading that's a tear jerker!), and now I'm working on a few Diane Chamberlain books. I am also going to try to take things less personally, particularly when working with the parents of my students. I really try to understand and sympathize with the parents of my little guys, especially since becoming a parent myself. But I can't please everyone, no matter how hard I work or how much of myself I put into my job. So, I am going to do my best to let hurtful words roll off my back, and I'm not going to let aggressive and disrespectful people get under my skin. So there. 

Enjoy the rest of your long deserve it!