Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Is this thing on?!?!

I'm not so sure any of you are still out there. Since I disappeared for nearly four months, I would imagine you all did too. If not...hello! I don't have much excuse for my absence except I just busy and couldn't get in the blogging groove. 

To catch up, here's a few pictures...

This is a picture of our first graders the last week on school. It was fun to teach them how to take a "jumping" picture. We used this for the last picture of our slide show with the caption "Way to go, you did it!" This was a great group of kiddos and I will certainly miss them. With that being said, I was also VERY excited to welcome summer break on May 23rd.

Then that Sunday, I headed to the beach with the youth a my church. I co-lead them and they are a great group of teens. We had an awesome beach retreat! (That's me in the middle in the green shirt)

Elevator selfie :)

I them came home for a week, then headed back to the beach (different beach) with my family.

Sweet niece :)

This week I have been going to Summer Training. Which is...boring tons of fun.

That's a peak into my life recently. I have been working on a new TPT product and just finished today. It is the Journeys Reading basal word lists for all 6 units. It includes a student sheet with the weekly Spelling words & high frequency words and word cards. I am offering it $2.00 off until Monday. Click on the picture to see the product. 

Sorry for a very non-school related post. Check back soon for school related stuff. 

Saturday, February 22, 2014

Donors Choose Winner form Website Wednesday

What a beautiful weekend we are having in East Tennessee! I am so thankful to see the sunshine and Spring-like temperatures.

This Wednesday my website to share about was Donors Choose.

If you have never given Donors Choose a try, click on the picture below for some advice on using it.

Along with my post, Donors Choose allowed me to give away a $50 gift card to one lucky reader. 

20 people commented, so I used the number generator.

The eighth person to comment was MJ from Kindergarten Rocks. Congratulations, MJ.

Thanks to everyone who entered. Have a great weekend!

Thursday, February 20, 2014

Just a cheesy, little idea...

Today, we played one of my littles' favorite games and I thought I would share.

Two things I think are hard to teach in a exciting way are 
1. spelling
2. handwriting

So...this little "game" formed around those two concepts.

We call it "Here comes the judge."

Every kiddo gets a dry erase board and marker. Then I choose a girl judge and a boy judge; they have the spelling sheet for the week and pick a word.

Then everyone else, writes the word with correct spelling and in their best handwriting. 
(this is a superb example)

Then we sing this little chorus to the tune of "Here comes the bride" (in a very dramatic way, that makes the kiddos giggle.)

"Here come the judges,
here come the judges.
Whose word will they choose with neat handwriting?"

Then the boy picks a boy and the girl picks a girl. We play till everyone gets one chance to be a judge. They never realize they are practicing spelling and handwriting. 

Hope you can use this cheesy, little idea.

Also, if you haven't checked out this week's Website Wednesday click here. There is a $50 DonorsChoose gift card up for grabs until Saturday.

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Website Wednesday (Giveaway Included)

Happy Wednesday, friends! I am extra-happy...their is no snow this week. In fact, it's supposed to be close to 70 degrees tomorrow. The sunshine sure does make me a happy girl.

This week, I am featuring what has become a wonderful resource and website for my classroom. And, it has saved me a TON of money.
Click here to go there.

A while back I did a post on tips for using DonorsChoose and it was pretty popular. 

Here are those tips...

So, here are my "Top 10" tips for using and getting projects funded on DonorsChoose.

1. Sign-up
You have to sign-up to ever get a project funded. It's worth the try. You CAN do it. Click here to sign up.

2. Keep your first several projects under $200
I have found that it is easier to get several $100-$200 dollar projects funded than it is to get a $450 project funded. Plus it uses less points.
For example if you need 2 iPods. Try getting one iPod funded, then after it is funded, do another one.

3. Say "thank-you" often
Each time someone makes a donation, reply to them personally on DonorsChoose whether they commented on why they donated or not. Then be sure to thank them promptly once it is fully funded.

4. Be prompt
Anytime DonorsChoose sends you an e-mail that requires your attention, check promptly. The more prompt you are the better. Also, if you don't post pictures, send thank-yous, etc. in a prompt manner, you can be penalized by losing points.

5. Only have one project going at a time
Some people may disagree with me, but I think one project at a time allows you to focus on that project. You can focus on publicizing that one, replying to donors, etc. I usually start a new project once one has been fully-funded, while I am waiting on the materials from the first one.

6. Get permission
Be sure to get permission to use your students' photos. DonorsChoose has done the work for you and created a permission slip you can print (plus,that is a good way to let parents know about your project.)

7. Have a project up during the end of the year; November and December
Donating to DonorsChoose is a tax write-off. Therefore, people will be donating extra towards the end of the year. 

8. Share your project with others
At first, I didn't want to do this, but I learned that my family and friends want to help my classroom, especially if their donation can be doubled.

9. Give to your project, if you have to
The first seven days of each project, donors can use the code INSPIRE to have their donation matched up to $100 (do #8 during this time). If by day 6 no one has donated to your project, be sure to give yourself a donation (even if it's anonymous and only $5.) The donation will be matched and it seems once you get one donation, it moves things along quicker.

10. Give to others
When you can, give to others. Even if it's only $5. Pay it forward.

If you have never used DonorsChoose you should definitely try it. It is a great way to get things for your classroom, and at no cost to you.

DonorsChoose has given me a $50 gift card to give away to one lucky person. So, to be entered to win, comment below with the name of my current DonorsChoose project. Click here to go to it. 

You can be entered again by sharing a link to this post on your blog. (Give a link to your blog on your comment.)

I will pick a winner on Saturday. Good luck! 

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Website Wednesday

I'm at home on this cold, snowy Wednesday. I hope you have had a good week so far.

Today the website I am sharing is probably one of my kids favorites for brain breaks.

Here are a few of my favorite things about GoNoodle...

*It's Free!

*Everything is in one place so you don't have to go to several websites to find brain breaks.

*My school's Internet settings allow me to use it. (When I want to use things like YouTube, I have to enter a password, etc.)

*It has activities to get them moving and to help clam them down (for things like before a test).

*Each "level" the class works toward a new goal of activity time. This keeps my firsties interested in doing the different activities.

If you haven't tried GoNoodle, you definitely should. It will give your kids a great brain break.

Monday, February 3, 2014

Word Wall (a freebie included)

When I was Student Teaching, I was fortunate enough to be placed with an AMAZING teacher. It was a Kindergarten placement and I learned SO much from her. There are many things she did that I use in my classroom now. One of the biggest things she did that I use is a Word Wall. 

I know that Word Walls can be found in most classrooms in an Elementary School. The idea of the Word Wall wasn't hers; what she did with her Word Wall was what inspired me. Here was her logic...if you are going to have a Word Wall it should be something students know how to use and practice using. 

Here are some ways we use the Word Wall in my classroom...

Here's what the Word Wall looks like at the beginning of the year. Every word that is added, is added as we learn it. My firsties are a part of "building" the word wall.

The words on the word wall are made up of student names, and all Dolch sight words...Pre-Primer- 1st grade. 

Here's our Word Wall "Schedule:"
(These things are done before our first Daily 5 station)

-Each morning during "Morning Meeting," we add a new word. 

Monday: Say every letter, sound, and all the words in that letter. A to Z. Each student gets to "lead" at least one letter. I know this sounds like it would drag on forever and it isn't super quick, but the students get the hang out it quickly. We also spice things up by saying letters and their words in different voices, etc.

Tuesday: Splat game using words that begin with __. I have a flyswatter and say I am thinking of a word that begins with "b." A little raises their hand and gets to "splat" a "b" word on the word wall. 

Wednesday: Splat game, but with ending sounds. This is a little bit trickier and really makes them search the Word Wall.

Thursday: Splat game, but with rhyming words.

Friday: Use the word wall to do an activity. For example, Word Wall Tic-Tac-Toe; I use this template from First Grade and Fabulous. I have it in page protectors so we can use it over and over again. We also do Word Wall Bingo. 

They get to fill in their BINGO sheet with any words they want to from the Word Wall. They LOVE this one, too. You can grab it for FREE by clicking on the above picture. 

So, how do you use your Word Wall? 

Saturday, February 1, 2014

Currently February

It's impossible that it is already February...we have only been to school 9 days the month of February. Its' crazy?!

I am hoping for very little to no snow in February, but not holding my breath.

I am linking up for Farley's Currently, be sure to join in on the fun (click on the picture to head to her blog).

Listening---ABC Family must be getting in the football spirit for tomorrow.

Loving---on Thursday it was -2 degrees, today is was 50 degrees. I prefer 50 degrees. 

Thinking---my church is having a super bowl party tomorrow night at my house...I don't care much for football, but I love a hosting and love cooking yummy food!

Wanting/needing---the bad part of hosting...having to clean house

2 truths---
1. I haven't had soda in 14 months. I don't even miss it anymore.
2. I teach at the school I went to. I actually took the place of my 1st grade teacher (she retired).
A fib---
1. I do not like coffee at all. When I go to Starbucks with a group of friends, I get water. 

Happy February!