Friday, August 29, 2014

Welcome Back!!! {{Freebie}}

This summer has gone waaaaaay too quickly!  Not to mention that the weather was so mild, I wouldn't even  count it as "Summer".  Here in northwestern Illinois, it rarely got out of the low 80's and the humidity was NON-EXISTENT!  I know, I know, I shouldn't be complaining but we couldn't even enjoy swimming because the pool was just too dang cold!  

But of course, as soon as we head back to school the temps soar into the 90's, with heat indexes in the 100's!
As a side note, the elementary teachers in my building were nominated in the ALS ice bucket challenge.  And I gotta tell ya, after several days of sweaty, hot classrooms, this felt VERY refreshing.

So here we are, about to wrap up our second week of school.  I am actually kind of proud that I found time to hammer out a blog post with all the changes that we've endured so far.

To be honest, there were too many academic changes to mention.  And frankly, I hate thinking about some of it because it just ticks me off.  So I'll avoid blasting my blood pressure through the roof and save you from the gory details.  
But one of the great changes is we have a new principal who has really busted his tail to learn this job.
I can't imagine the pressure he has felt coming into a building filled with women who have pretty much run themselves for the last 5 years.  He is kind, funny, courteous and knows exactly how to run this ship.  We welcome him and look forward to working with him for many years to come.

Another great change is our building:  The entire school got new flooring and an updated paint job.  
Here is the impressive before and after shots of our hallways.  It is so much brighter and inviting.  

Now. . .  on to the freebie!
I don't know about the rest of you, but during the summer, we have a hard time sticking to a "bedtime" at my house.  And I can only assume that this is a problem in most households over the summer.  So that got me thinking. . .  
The Pigeon is always full of excuses.  In this great book, the Pigeon comes up with every excuse possible to keep from going to be.  I wanted to do a small (very small, as in, tiny) writing activity with my kiddos on the first day of school.  We read the story and then talked about all of the Pigeon's excuses to stay up late.  Maybe the kids had used one or two of these very same excuses before???

So after we shared our own excuses, they colored, cut out and glued their pigeons together. . . 

Wrote their own excuses on the speech bubble. . .

And wallah!!!!  The pigeons came in many different colors, too!

So, so cute!

So enjoy this fun and cute freebie!
{Click on the image above to get your own printable.}


Monday, June 2, 2014

June Currently

LISTENING:  Though I am writing this from my classroom, the peace and quiet after the recent rain has just blossomed with the sound of bird calls!

LOVING:  I spent the majority of my weekend cleaning my ENORMOUS house for guests and I really hope it STAYS clean!  We'll be dropped into our summer break in T-minus 4 days and I'm hoping my boys can help keep it picked up.  
I pretty much follow this...people ask me how I manage to keep a clean house. Heres my answer
I found this cleaning schedule on Pinterest and I plan to use it to do a better job at keeping my home neat and tidy.  I really like this one because you only have to do deep scrubbing on weekdays.  Perfect for my summers off!  So often during the school year, I do all my cleaning on the weekend and I don't have the strength to enjoy anything else.  Or I avoid the cleaning altogether . . .  With this, I can get and keep the house clean during the week and have the time to spend on other things.
THINKING:  Last year, my oldest went to a Cub Scout camp with his uncle.  But this year, the scheduling didn't work out.  So instead, I signed him up for his first summer camp.  For 4 days and 3 nights, he'll be at Camp Benson in Mt. Carroll, IL.  This is a big deal because he won't really know anyone else there and he'll be sleeping in a cabin in the middle of the woods.  SOOOOO exciting, but a bit intimidating.  It isn't until July but I've already starting preparing him for this experience.  I was his age when I first went away to camp but his (and mine!) nerves are still jumping.   

For the past few weeks, I have had this binder sitting on my desk.  I really, really, really, need to get my copies done for next year but I just haven't found the time!
I prefer to get next year's copies done now because the copy machine is always so busy at the beginning of the year.
In the past, I had these papers spread throughout my room in file cabinets, folders, stack of papers.  I always struggled to remember what needed to be copied.  So, duh, I put them all together in this binder and I keep in on the bookshelf by my desk.  In it, I have our:  Assignment Planner, Grammar Quiz Booklet, Addition and Subtraction Fact Booklets, Daily Math Review, Spelling Lists, and Spelling Dictionary.  These are items that I give to my students at the beginning of every year to be stored at their tables.  

This summer our school will be getting a small face lift.  These hallways have looked like this since the elementary addition was built in 1956.  We will be getting all new flooring and a new paint job.  I'm hoping for a cool orange and black scheme to match our school colors.  Those brown and beige floor tiles are asbestos, so they are heading out the door and will be replaced with a grey flooring material.  
In addition, we will be getting an all new parking lot for the building and I'm told the boys and girls bathrooms will be remodeled.
Because of this, I will not be able to get into my classroom until mid-to late July. (If we're lucky!)  So I'll need to decide now what I'm taking home with me to work on over the summer.  This is going to be tricky!  

1.  Two summers ago, I began a bathroom/laundry room renovation that just CANNOT keep moving!  We finally got drywall up but finding the time to paint has been a nightmare!  Now that I am (almost) on summer break, I'll be able to push that task to the finish line.
2.  I think I have about a dozen TpT products started but none of them are nearing completion.  Hey, that sounds like my bathroom project!  Anyway, I hope to get 2 or 3 done and posted this summer.  Now that my kids are getting older, I won't be as distracted.
3.  We expanded our garden this year from a 12x20 to a 20x40.  That means more great veggies but it also means more weeding and tending.  

Be sure to link back up with Farley!

This may be my last post for awhile, so I hope everyone has a great summer!!!!


Friday, May 9, 2014

Happy Mother's Day!

Whether we have our own, or our students give us a huge family, we are all mothers in our own right.  We love these babies as if they were our own and give them our whole hearts.  Though they move on at the end of the year, they will always be "Our Kids".  

Here is the Mother's Day gift we make each year:

Mother's Day card
I spotted this hand craft on Pinterest.  The link is in another language but it's pretty self explanatory.  

It Works For Bobbi!
Then I googled Mother's Day Poems and I found this sweet one at "It Works for Bobbi".  
You can find more ideas how to use this poem here.  There is even a super-sweet Grandmother version!

I printed the poems out onto #8163 Avery Shipping Labels and then let the kiddos trim the excess with scalloped crafting scissors.

I punched a hole in the lip of the cup and tied that handprints with curling ribbon.

Happy Mother's Day!

Monday, May 5, 2014

"No Reply Blogger"? What a Pain in the @$&!!!

From a friendly comment, I learned that I was a "No Reply Blogger".  I wasn't even sure what that was until I Googled it.  This means that when you make a comment on someone's post, they are unable to respond to you.  This is quite frustrating.  The problem is basically this:  Blogger and Google+ made some changes that didn't translate well with users' profiles.  

Not sure if you're a "No Reply Blogger"?  Try this:  go to one of your old posts and post a comment.  Don't worry, you can delete it later.  Now check your email for the notification of a new comment.  If in the address line it says instead of your email address, then you are officially a
 "No Reply Blogger"!  Congratulations!  But don't worry, it can be fixed!

After about an hour of struggling, I discovered Amanda at A Royal Daughter.  She shares a post by a secondary
blogger (which is no longer available) how to fix this "No Reply Blogger" problem.  The post itself is a couple of 
years old, but it worked perfectly for me.
You can find the directions here.  

My piece of advice for this:  follow each step as it says.  I know it seems like you're about to erase everything, 
but trust me.  Once you've clicked all the clicks you can try that comment trick I mentioned and everything should 
be peachy!

Just a friend;y public service announcement!
Have a great week!

Friday, May 2, 2014

May Currently and a TpT Sale!

Listening:  We seemed to FLY through our math lesson today so I grabbed our money and dominoes to keep the kiddos engaged.  The money game is something I adapted from Math Wire.  You can read more about the game here.  The dominoes came from Box Cars and One Eyed Jacks and you can read more about them here and here.

Loving:  This has been a very tough week for my district.  There is an ongoing investigation at the high school involving bullying and abuse.  Obviously, there is a lot of media attention and speculation and blame is flying.  I pray for everyone involved and hope they can be led to right decision regarding discipline. 

Thinking:  I have had the same cheap-o grill for nearly 10 years and I am ready to Toss. It. Out!  It never lights, the flame only really cooks/burns in one corner of the grill and it is falling apart.  After my husband urged me to "think" about this new grill, we are heading to Menard's to buy it anyway!

Wanting:  This week Holly at the Fourth Grade Flipper shared a post about a great online company called Stitch Fix.  You can read her post here.  After filling out a Style Profile, a personal shopper sends you five fashion pieces, like tops, pants, jewelry, etc.  If you like them, you buy them.  If not, you return them free of charge.  How cool is that!?!?  BUT they are so busy, I won't be getting my first order until mid-July!  So to ease my urges, I had a mini-shopping spree the other night and my selections should be arriving any day now.  My most anticipated piece is a pair of brown knee-high boots.  

Needing: This rain has turned my garden into a mud puddle and at this rate, I won't be eating fresh veggies until October!

Surprise:  Today my Surprise Blog is Kristin at Teaching in a Nutshell.  I chose her because she was the last person to comment on one of my own blog posts.  She's also a fellow Illinoisan and a new blogger so I hope you can head over there to check out her great posts!
Teaching in a Nutshell

You can link back with Farley here!

Start loading up your shopping carts!  TpT is having a Spring sale May 6-7th.  Everything in my store is 20% off and you can use the promo code below to get an additional 8% off.


Monday, April 28, 2014

{VERY Belated} Earth Day Fun!

Another Crafting, turned Reading, turned Writing opportunity happened in my classroom last week!  

Mel from The Pond posted this uber-cute Freebie a few weeks ago and it just started my wheels a-turnin'!

I grabbed my crafting binder and pulled out this beauty:
Click here for your own copy of the patterns.

And here is the great hold-up:  I had ordered some books from Scholastic but they didn't show up until Thursday afternoon.  But they were totally worth the wait!  My kiddos loved these books and they helped to inspire some conversations about conservation and recycling.

To put all this new info to perfect use, I used this:

Earth Day Writing Activity
A HUGE shout-out to Laura Ritter of Adventures in Multigrade for sharing this great page.
Click here to get a copy of this awesome freebie!

I just love how each item has its own personality!

And here is a final product using Mel's and Laura's freebies.  I think they all turned out great!


Thursday, April 17, 2014

Book Talk Thursday {Red Hat}

I am joining Andrea at Reaching Toward the Stars to book talk about wordless books.  

I just got this book in a Scholastic order and it's a perfect fit for today's linky.  

Red Hat is a wordless book about a bear cub that steals a little girl's stocking cap off the clothes line and the other animal-kids in the area have so much fun they accidentally unravel it.  When she discovers the knot of yarn, hastily returned to the clothes line, the little girl decides to knit something for all the woodland creatures.  

I was feeling inspired, so we sat down right away and wrote a whole-class story to go along with Red Hat!

I think I'll have to dig out more wordless books.  We had so much fun with this!