Monday, February 28, 2011

Take the flowers and listen to the songs! 

Oh, I have SOOOO much I want to share from the SCIRA conference but first things first and then I will get to the SCIRA conference in a couple of days.

I have recently been reminded of our POWER in the lives of children. Sometimes, our influence seems small and sometimes it is large. Let me explain why these thoughts are on the forefront of my mind... A child VERY dear to my heart has had a long term sub for quite a while this year. It has been a rocky road with the sub having a different teaching and management style than the classroom teacher. Well that's all well and fine because we know children have to learn to adapt to different circumstances and personalities. So, we make it through times like these in our lives and adapt. However, one specific incident really reminded me of the teacher's influence. So, here's the story... a class is outside on a nature walk and a child picks a few flowers to give to the teacher. The child is trying to find acceptance from this teacher through the small act of picking and giving flowers. A few moments later, the child sees the teacher throw the flowers on the ground and roll her eyes. Now, the teacher may not have been rolling her eyes about the flowers- but what do you think the child thought? The sensitive child, of course, sees this as an act of rejection. So, my thoughts are...just take the flowers, put them in your pocket, smile and say thank you. Act like they are the best flowers in the world. Oh how a small act can boost the self esteem of a child. I have also nicely turned down flowers from a child in trying to leave nature outside- but no more- from now on, I will take the flowers. A student of mine has been asking to sing for the class and we just haven't had the time. Well, today I made the time and WOW could she sing. She sang from her heart! What a moment of celebration with this child that I would have missed by not taking the time to listen. We need to take time throughout the year to enjoy our students and value them for the unique and special individuals they are, remembering at all times that we DO make a difference in all of our actions.

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Whew! I am one HAPPY teacher today! Got my last video for national boards taped! Yippee!!!!!!!!!!  The student discussion was AMAZING!  Leaving for the SCIRA conference tomorrow. Can't wait. What a great week! Will try to get some new stuff posted when I return. Have a great week everyone!

Monday, February 21, 2011

Oh my golly geez goodness...
I will do my LAST national board video taping tomorrow morning. You will probably hear me scream a sigh of relief around
9:30 a.m.
I will be SO glad to be nearing the end of national board. I have really enjoyed the process but now I am just plain tired!
Cross your fingers for me!
Last video, I had to re-video 3 times due to technical issues. I am praying for ONE take tomorrow.

Saturday, February 19, 2011

Jodi from Fun in First Grade 
awarded Fab in First with the Stylish Blogger Award
How cool!! Thanks so much Jodi!  

Here are the rules for receiving this award:
1. Thank and link back to the person who awarded you this award. (check)
2. Share 7 things about yourself. (read below)
3. Award 5 recently discovered great bloggers.(check)
4. Contact these bloggers and tell them about the award. (check)

7 things about myself:
1. I LOVE American Idol! Don't call during that time cause I'm not home (in mind anyway). haha  Steven Tyler is an awesome addition to the show!
2. I have been published in the Mailbox Magazine about 4 times- quite a few years back but I still think it's cool.
3.  I am working on National Boards and will mail my box before March 31st. I will take a picture and post when I mail that darn box- it will be a GREAT day!
4. I have an adorable bunny, a precious lovebird, a CUTE little hamster, 2 sweet dogs, TWO LOVELY DAUGHTERS and THE BEST HUSBAND.
5.  My husband makes us breakfast EVERY morning before school- it's a great way to start the day! 
6. I am a choco-holic.
7. I LOVE technology!
Now to pass this fun little award on
to five of my favorite bloggers…
3. Teaching Heart Mom at

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Below you will see some science journal entries...


We have been exploring light and shadows and having so much fun doing it! We went out for a shadow walk to determine what causes shadows. We studied the sun and wrote sun facts on paper suns. We made silhouettes of our hands and explored how to make shadows larger and smaller, as seen above. We recorded our silhouettes in our science journals. 
We made our own sundials using Styrofoam cups and skewers and we recorded the time and shadows throughout the day. Science is SO much fun! We wrote about our observations in our science journals.

Sunday, February 13, 2011

How appropriate on Valentine's Day to be saying 
THANK YOU for following!
I LOVE followers!
I know 100 followers isn't much for some of ya but to me...
it's an AWESOME milestone !
I love BLOGland and hope you will continue to follow and share as we continue the journey of shaping the lives of children!
Happy Valentine's Day!

My VERY last minute valentines to my students...

When my BLOG is linked from another BLOG; like the adorable Fun in First BLOG at   it says I updated a month ago when in reality I update every week.  Can anyone help me solve this problem?  I am not sure how to correct this.  I removed the "subscribe by email" feed thinking that may be causing part of the problem so I apologize to the fabulous followers who were subscribed by email.  ??? I added that back.  It seems to be STUCK on this 'word work' post posted a month ago.  Frustrating!  I am hoping my BLOGGER friends can help me.  Thanks! Leslie

Saturday, February 12, 2011

I thought I would share what I do for "morning work." When the kids enter, I have something like this posted on the SMARTboard. I taught the kids early on in the year how to divide their papers into 4 parts for this purpose.
 I love this because it takes no prep time, it gives the students practice in reading and following directions and it allows me to quickly assess students.  I walk around each morning and do a quick check, give a quick "re-teach" if needed and give a positive stamp with a self-inking stamp.  Here are some of my kiddos morning work examples.
I would LOVE to hear about your morning routine...I hope you will leave a comment and share so we can learn from you, too.  Happy teaching!

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Going on a Shadow Walk...
We went on a shadow walk today and it was so much darn fun!  Each student took a piece of paper on a clipboard and a pencil. I challenged the students to try to figure out what makes a shadow.  I told them it takes 3 things to make a shadow. I also told them to write any observations about shadows. It was so funny, I kept saying things like, "someone is following you" and "oh- you have a friend tagging along- how nice."  They got such a kick out of these comments about their shadows. We gathered after about 10-15 minutes to discuss our findings. One student said "you have to have the ground to have a shadow." BINGO- that's number one: a surface. A bunch of students said "the sun." That's number two: sun/light. I had to p-u-u-u-u-ll number three out by standing up and asking "what is my body doing to the light?" After some discussion, they finally came up with number three: something to block the sun.  There is nothing like hands-on learning!

Friday, February 4, 2011

100th Day Fun!
One of my FAVORITE 100th day activities is to read One Hundred Hungry Ants. I give each table some Fruit Loops. As we read, we STOP and group the Fruit Loops like the ants in the story. We grouped our Fruit Loops into 100 groups of 1, 2 groups of 50, 4 groups of 25, 5 groups of 20 and 10 groups of 10. It is a fun and meaningful way to develop an understanding of "group." Of course, we ate the "ants" at the end.
We also created 100 day hats, sang lots of 100 day songs and wrote about how we would spend $100. A day full of fun learning. We're 100 days smarter!

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Joining the Link Party from The First Grade Parade-
sounds fun- I'm in...

 Me with my wonderful husband and two precious daughters. 
I have taught for 11 years.

Q: What would you be doing if you weren’t a teacher?                                             
A:  Probably an interior designer or a website designer or an artist- something artsy and creative.

Q: What are your hobbies?                                                                                    
A:  Reading, technology, baking, watching t.v. (yes I love being a couch potato at times!) and family                                                                  

Q: When you were little, what did you want to be when you grew up?                     
A:  A teacher I do believe
Q: What are your guilty pleasures?                                                                
 A: chocolate ANYTHING and Starbucks Iced Mocha Latte Venti with Whip- YUM!!!!!!!

Q: What is your biggest fear?!                                                                     

Q: When you’re on vacation, where do you like to go?                                 
 A: I like to go to different places and learn about new places but I LOVE New York!
Q: What’s the best advice you’ve ever received?                                                   
A:  It's OK to say "no"

Q: What do you value most in others?                                                                   
A:  Honesty, honesty, honesty

Q: If you could choose one of your personality traits to pass down to your kids, what would it be?                                                                                                        
A: humor, values and confidence

Q: If you could have lunch with anyone in the world….living or dead…who would it be?                                                                                                             
A:  Jesus and My grandparents that I never met.

Now tell us one random thing about yourself:
My husband and I won our wedding in a bridal fair - honey moon and all!  Been married 19 years. :>) WE have 2 dogs, a hamster, a bird and a rabbit!

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Celebrate good times- come on!
 Yippee!  Good job!  Yeah!!!!!!!!
Way to go!!!!!!!!!
We enjoyed a 2 minute "hip hip hooray," back-patting, hands in the air goal celebration with these pixie stick balloons and a lot of positive cheers.
We give the Dibels (VIP) assessment 3 times a year and we just received the results from the January tests. We celebrated reaching our reading goals and growth in a meaningful and fun way. I called each child's name, one at a time, to get their "balloon" while the class cheered for all.  It was grrrrrrrrrr-eat! 
The balloons state the goal for each area (phoneme segmentation, nonsense word fluency and reading connected text) and the child's score for each area. 

VIP Testing reward balloon -An s is missing at the end of the word "word"- I just wrote it in before I copied onto construction paper. Oops!
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