Monday, December 31, 2012

A Year in Preview Linky Party

Ready for 2013!

     I am Linking up with Michelle at Making it as a Middle School Teacher for her Linky: What's ahead for you in 2013?   
      I think that 2012 has been a great year!  The numbers 12 and 13 are, and have been, my two lucky numbers since grade school.  So, I like to think that these two years have to be lucky for me!  As I look into the new year, I hope to grow my blog and TpT site, learn more about Reader's Workshop, and take my ESL Praxis.  However, I would also like to spend a little more time relaxing and enjoying myself.  With full implementation of the Common Core this year and just getting going as a seller on  TpT, I feel as though I never save time for myself anymore.  That is one of my biggest goals in the new year. 
Here are my 13 goals for 2013:

I hope you have a very happy New Year's Eve!  I hope that the New Year brings great things!

Sunday, December 30, 2012

Loving the Snow! New Winter Resources for Reading and Math

Loving the Snow!
I  spent my winter break in Ohio, where winter has definitely arrived.  While I was at home, I enjoyed the beauty of the snow even though it was VERY cold!  Yesterday we went out for a walk, before too many cars were out on the roads, and it was beautiful! The picture below is of my me and my Mom all bundled up on our walk.

I also did a little bit of school work, while I kept warm!  Here are a few of my newest items for sale on Teachers Pay Teachers.  They will get you in the winter spirit if you are not already feeling it!  Click on any of the pictures below to go directly to that item on my TpT site!

This is a Cam Jansen and the Snowy Day Mystery novel study packet.  My kiddos are loving this book.  One of my guided reading groups is about half-way finished and they are really excited to try and solve the mystery.

This is my novel study guide that goes along with Winter of the Ice Wizard.  This is a Magic Tree House Book.  My advanced readers are reading it right now and they love it!  This could be used in second grade as well.

Below are some Common Core aligned math centers. 
Don't forget to check them out!

I hope you are enjoying the winter weather!

Monday, December 24, 2012

Happy Holly Bloggy Christmas!

Merry Christmas!  Happy Holly Bloggy Christmas!
Holly Bloggy Christmas
Click on the picture above to see all of the wonderful gifts that were exchanged!
Last year, I remember reading posts about the Holly Bloggy Gift Exchange and thinking that it sounded like fun.  I am so glad that I decided to participate this year!  I loved the idea of “A few of my favorite things”. My partner was Chrissy from  Here are a few snapshots of what I sent her and why!

1.   I saw the post-it frame holders on someone’s blog and on Pinterest this past year and I have since made one for myself at home, one for myself at school, one for my assistant last year, and one for my assistant this year!  SO, I obviously decided that my exchange partner needed one as well! 
2.   I drink a TON of water all day at school and I love these cups with the lids.  I found this super cute one and thought I would pass it along to my blogging buddy!
3.   Whisper Bell- If you are not familiar with the Whisper Bell, you need to go to and learn about the Whisper Bell!  I LOVE mine and it works wonders.  I hope my Holly Bloggy Exchange partner enjoys hers too! 
4.   Last, I thought I would throw in a little something that Chrissy said she loves.  She said she loves cats and that Splat is one of her favorite.  Scholastic was having their warehouse sale and a bunch of teachers and I went to it a few weeks ago.  I found these and new I should grab them for her.  You can never have too many of your favorite books!

I loved sending off my goodies, but it was just as exciting as seeing a package on my door step! My partner was Erin from It's "Owl" Good in Kindergarten, and she sent me some fabulous goodies!  I have to admit though, that I am out of town for Christmas, so I had to open it a little early!  Ooops! 

I received the cutest blue letter K with green and white polka dotted ribbon!  Since I peeked and opened it early, my K is already on my classroom door and I have gotten a bunch of compliments!   I also received an adorable owl and the reindeer baggie is filled with the flat marbles.  I LOVED my gifts!
       I have had a great holiday so far, even though it hasn't all been too traditional, it will definitely be memorable! (Right Mom?!)  We have had a lot to laugh about at least!  I have just been happy to be around family and friends and look forward to being on vacation until Sunday.  I hope you are all having a wonderful holiday as well! 

Merry Christmas!
- Michelle

Friday, December 21, 2012

Winter is Here and so is a Winter Sale!

      Well winter is officially here!  I live in North Carolina and today it finally felt like winter and it finally feels like Christmas is around the corner.  I don't know about you, but we had school all the way through today.  I am ready for our Winter Break!  In honor of the start of the winter season, a bunch of teachers are having a winter sale over at TpT!  Click on the picture below and join in the sale blog hop, or to just check out the other sellers who are having sales! 
     Also, you can click HERE to head straight to my TpT site!  While you are there check out one of my most recent items.  I have already started using it with my kiddos and they are loving this book study! You can click on the picture below to grab your copy!
Happy Shopping!

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

iPads are Awesome!

iPads are Awesome! 
      Our school has monthly staff meetings.  At the end of each meeting our Principal gives away a variety of items.  At our school we eat with our students, go to recess with them, and teach our computer lessons.  So, some of the prizes at the end of the meeting are coverage for lunch and recess so that we have free time and a principal covers it for us.  The BEST prize is coverage for our technology and guess what??? I won this month!!  Woo Hoo!  I was thrilled! 
      Our technology facilitator covers this time and teaches our kiddos.  Today just happens to be my day without a special.  This means that my Teacher Assistant (in the picture below) does an activity with my students to allow time for me to plan.  So, our technology facilitator (in the chair below) came during my special time and worked with my assistant.  She even offered me her office for a quiet place away, but I just couldn't leave and I couldn't help but watch and listen. 
      Our school's PTA recently purchased an iPad cart.  I haven't used them yet in my classroom and thought this was a perfect time for an introductory lesson.  Let me take a step back and tell you that our literacy facilitator is new at this particular job this year.  Previously, she was a kindergarten teacher at our school.  She was an amazing kindergarten teacher and after watching her today, WOW, she is amazing at this too!   She started by calling my students to the rug and walking them through the process that taught them how to plan and create their own book on the iPad.  The students were SO engaged.  In fact, I was able to move Elfie (our elf on the shelf) to a new spot without them having a clue! 
      They used the app StoryKit and it was incredibly easy to use.  The students began very simple informational texts about themselves.  They just wrote one simple sentence for each page.  They did a great job!  The students emailed them to me and I have sent them on to their parents. 
     Take a look at some of the students in action:

     I can't wait to use the iPads again!   This was the best prize I have ever won at a staff meeting!  I know my kiddos enjoyed it as much as I enjoyed seeing their faces light up as they worked. 
     If you are hoping to also win a prize, check out The Hive, where you can find a great giveaway for the cutest earmuffs ever!  See if today will be your lucky day, like it was mine! 

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

12 on the 12th!

It is December 12, 2012
      I am linking up with Simpson's Superstars today for the 12 on the 12th Linky Party!  I read about it this morning and so my iPhone came in very handy today as I snapped some pictures of our eventful day and just some things around my room!
 So here it goes...12 on the 12th! 

1. This was one of my best friends today!  Yay for some caffeinated beverages in
the last two weeks before Christmas break!

2.  This was probably my 2nd best friend today.  Cold and flu season has
taken over at our school.  We have had a TON of kids and teachers out
with the flu, pneumonia, and Strep. :(  I got this as a gift last year from a parent. 
It stays behind my desk and is filled with hand sanitizer!

         3.  Our calendar!  I have to say that even though we have a very short 
          Christmas break this year, I am counting down until those red cards cover
the days because that means SCHOOL's OUT! Seven more days! 
4.  Buddy Reading!  I love listening to my students read to partners.  
5.  Reading our Scott Foresman Story- The Garden and comparing and contrasting
 Frog and Toad.  I LOVE Frog and Toad.  Usually we do a whole unit with them, but
that unit will have to wait as we are having too much fun with elves this week!
6.  This is my treasure!  It is my "Whisper Bell"!  If you don't know about
whisper bells, you need to go to and learn all about the whisper bell. 
I love mine and it has been a necessary part of my classroom this week.  (The kiddos
think winter break starts this weekend, I think!)
7.  Holidays Around the World- My country is Israel and we are learning about
Hanukkah. Here we are playing driedel.
8.  I WISH I could take credit for this super cute door, but it belongs to my friend
down the hall.  She is teaching about Germany and as the students rotate to her
they get to design gingerbread houses.  I love her door.  I am slightly jealous it is
not the door to my classroom! :)  Nice work Amye!
9.  These are some of my favorite classroom friends.  Here they are just waiting to be
 read with and loved.  Too bad they have to wait until next week for their fun to begin!

10 and 11 are these super cute elves.  The first one is slightly creepy and my student even said so as she asked, "Can I give it a beard and a mustache and can it have one big eye and one small eye?"  I told her sure and told her that it was slightly scary.  She completely agreed with a big smile on her face!  Her elf is holding onto a reading comprehension activity for the book the Elves and the Shoemaker.   The second picture has some of our other elves.  Some of the kiddos completed applications for Elf positions at the North Pole.  They turned out super cute. 
8.  This is the window behind my table/desk.  Here I have some pics of students, pics of
"me" that the students drew, and a picture of my mom and I from last year!   I keep these
 here to give me that extra bit of inspiration! 

Welcome into my world and I hope you enjoyed the 12 on the 12th!


Friday, December 7, 2012

The Holidays Have Arrived in First Grade!

      The Holidays have arrived in our classroom!  This week we started our fun Gingerbread centers and literacy workstations and we are getting in the holiday spirit!  We had SO much fun reading and comparing different gingerbread books.  We did partner reading with gingerbread books, wrote about gingerbread characters, typed stories our own versions of the story, and measured gingerbread. 
      We created a chart to sort the different titles, characters, repeated phrases, and the endings of the stories.  Some of the books we read were The Gingerbread Baby, The Gingerbread Man, Gingerbread Fred, and The Gingerbread Cowboy.  My kiddos have LOVED these stories and have loved comparing the different books and characters.  My favorite gingerbread book is The Gingerbread Girl.  I was thrilled yesterday to find The Gingerbread Girl Goes Animal Crackers, while at the Scholastic Warehouse sale! The kids were excited today too, when they saw it sitting on my shelf.  We had to read it and yes, they loved it! 
   The Gingerbread GirlThe Gingerbread Girl Goes Animal Crackers
This was our gingerbread story chart.  We compared four different stories. Some of my students used this chart to help them create Venn Diagrams about two different stories.  
This is our classroom bulletin board in the hallway.  We share it with the fabulous first grade class next door!  These cute gingerbread men are covered in glitter, chocolate chips, and sequins!  

      Here is a new packet for Gingerbread Doubles!  Make sure to click below on the picture and get your copy.  This packet has numbers through 30 and includes activity sheets for doubles, doubles plus one, and doubles minus one!  I hope your student's will enjoy the gingerbread activities as much as mine have!

      On another note...Our Elf on the Shelf arrived on Wednesday and the students named him Elfie.  Coming in at a close second was the name Tootie! I am glad that Elfie won!  He seems to be working, so far that is!  Our windows are also decorated with stockings.  The students hang their stockings and each great day that the student has he/she gets a sticker on the stocking.  It is each child's goal to get as many stickers as possible.  It is definitely motivational, as the students have been counting their stickers all week! (We only started this on Monday!) 
Take a look at Elfie.  You may have to look closely, but he is in the Kermit stocking! 

Happy Holidays to you and your classrooms!
- Michelle

Saturday, December 1, 2012

Freebie Linky Party

      Freebielicious is having a Freebie Linky Party!  Wow!  What a great idea and I am so excited to be able to participate!  The rule is that it has to be something that will be a forever freebie, which means that it will always remain a freebie.  I started thinking about what I would like to share.  I've been creating some items lately, but they are all seasonal items.  Since this would be something that would be a freebie forever, I wanted something that other teachers could use now or later, whenever they need it! is my freebie!  This freebie is a set of journal entries for teaching addition/subtraction with a part-part-whole diagram.  My students are advanced first graders in the area of math.  They know their math facts with fluency and consistency, however, they have trouble applying a variety of strategies.  My students are the ones who are used to saying "I knew it in my head".  With the Common Core we are really pushing the students to be able to verbalize or state in writing how they solved the problem and what strategy they chose to use.  My students are able to solve the problem and give the correct answer, however, they are still having trouble remembering how to use a part-part-whole box.  Therefore, I have created some additional journal entries to help with building consistency in using this strategy. 
Click on the pictures below to download the file:

     Don't forget to stop over to my TpT site too, and grab another freebie.  It is my Amelia Bedelia freebie that will only be there for a limited time!  It is a reading response pack that goes along with the story Amelia Bedelia Talks Turkey!  The kids loved this book.  We finished it on Friday and they truly enjoyed reading all about Amelia Bedelia!

      I hope you can use these with your kiddos!  If you download my freebies I would LOVE for you to follow my TpT site and/or my blog!  Then make sure to stop back and let me know what you think!
Happy Freebie on the First! 
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