My latest "Pinter-ations!"

Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Wishlist Sale: Day 1

Starting off with a BANG! Grab this pack for a fun, getting to know you activity for the beginning of the year! Starting the year off right and building community is so important to me. I always tell my class that we are a family, a team and that we need to be able to get to know each other and be comfortable with each other and our learning styles. 
This pack comes with getting to know you cards that kids will find the matching pairs to and answer questions and a simplified version of "Find Someone Who" and more! Click on the poster to take you to my store to find out more details. 

You can also check out these other fabulous ladies and their sales! You will have to see what their #5 wishlisted item is! You might get your wish there, too!

Miss V's Busy Bees

Flying into First Grade

Check back tomorrow for another sale! 

Tuesday, July 30, 2013

A Day in the Life of a Teacher Linky!

Today I am linking up with Jessica from the Second Grade Nest for her "Day in the Life of a Teacher" linky party! I will be honest with you. I do not lead an exciting life-- dumb things just happen to me that make my life interesting but normally my life is really just--- normal! I liken my life in the summer as a teacher turned into full time mommy, domestic goddess,  and trophy wife! I do it all in the summer! Not that I don't during the school year but being just a mommy/domestic goddess is hard work! So... here's 

These children do not let me sleep in! It was actually the little one, Aidan who comes in my room every morning and presses his little body against mine. Tossing and turning and trying to have a conversation with me while I am asleep! 

Every morning is the same! Unless we have something major to do, we are just relaxed! Some days we go to the library or the zoo but as a teacher, we try to find cheaper ways to stay entertained! We have the bowling passes but they get bored with it so quickly! So this morning we were doing this and getting ready to go to school so that I could start unpacking my room.

First off, our custodial staff did an excellent job with our rooms! They are sparkly clean! But the roaches! They were HUGE and DEAD!!! There had to be about 10 of them and I was dying! Plus, I had no lights in my room so I really couldn't take a good picture! Next time!

T-ball time! It was hot as hell but we live in FL! 

Starting our wind down! Ate a quick dinner after arguing with Gabriel that bread with ketchup (disgusting, I know) has no nutritional value and he needed to eat something with more substance. I finally got him to eat some chicken tenders. Please tell me someone else has a picky eater. He is the worse eater ever. Thank goodness for Velveeta Shells and Cheese or PBJ's or this kid won't survive! 

Multi-tasking at it's finest! Although experts say that we don't really multi-task... Pish! So I try to get some laundry tackled! And the dishes, and toys picked up, and cats fed,... Long day!!!

Finally here I am! I sit here typing out my boring day to you! be glad that I didn't take pics yesterday! Yesterday I had to go to the GYN office! I will share in my story from yesterday in hopes that you will never have to go through what I did... so I haven't gone in 4 years (don't judge! LOL!) and finally put my big girl panties on and went but no one to watch the boys. What to do? Had to take them. Mortified at the thought. So we go in and I am infamous well known there-- they love me for my candor and I am a good patient (well, maybe not so good if I haven't been there in 4 years but I digress) so I go into the room and you know they tell you to undress... My boys are like.. What? Why? I told them I am doing what I am told. Mind you-- I am dying inside. I handed them my i-phone and told them they are NOT allowed to come out from behind the curtain. What do they do? Come out of the curtain. "Mommy, why are you dressed in paper?", "Why are you naked?" I mean, really... Can I just crawl under a rock now? Needless to say the rest of the visit went well and I will never take them with me again! Now aren't you glad I didn't document that day in pictures?? LOL!!! 

Hope you got a good laugh at my boring and un-eventful life! We all have those moments! As teachers, mommies, wives, partners.. everyday is special! Treasure it!!!

Please link up with Jessica and share in your day! Click on the picture below to take you there!!!

Also, don;t forget that my Top 5 wishlist sale is going on starting tomorrow!

Sunday, July 28, 2013

A Few of Your Favourite Things!!

As our school year is coming up and teachers are preparing (or maybe you are already back and need some extra resources)... what are some resources you have been eyeing on TPT? Starting July 31st some bloggy friends and I  will be having a Favourite Things Sale in my store! We will be selling select items that have been wish-lished the most. There will be one sale a day so buy while you can!

Click on the poster to take you to my store to pick out your items! 

Happy Shopping!!

Monday, July 22, 2013

Feeling like Henny Penny!!!

So, this is what it looks like outside my window right now and I hear the howling of the wind! Zoinks!!! Is all I can say!!!

It's a typical Florida afternoon! Rain, rain, rain!!! The crazy thing is that it's been dark like this for an hour and just howling winds! Scares me to death. I mean, I am indoors but it is hurricane season! It reminds me of one of my favourite Golden Girls episodes... Watch it!!!

I know there is no hurricane a-comin but it looks a-like it!! But as Sofia says.. I digress! So my topic was going to be about character ed but I got a-sidetracked by the sky!!! LOL! I sadly counted how many vacation days I have left (I depressed myself! I know that some of you are back and I am sorry!!!) and I realized that I needed to start getting my butt in gear because

1. I have 21 days left (that includes weekends)
2. I am slow and methodical (aka perfectionist, OCD)
3. Ok, ok... I have ADD when it comes to the hateful task of unpacking my room when I just packed up the stupid thing like 2 months ago!!! 

I started thinking about what needed to get done and then I started thinking about all that I do in the beginning of the year and one that I touch on through the years is character ed! Character Ed is so important! I find that more and more children are in need of just basic social skills! Can I get an amen? It is sometimes appalling to me to hear how they interact with each other in times of conflict; although yes, there are those times when my eyes well up with tears when I hear them being so sweet and kind to each other. So I decided that since I was doing a new theme to my room this year (Wizard of Oz) I decided that it would also be a good theme that I could teach character ed lessons with, too, since each of the characters possess those qualities and traits that carry them through the book/movie. For example, Dorothy is trustworthy. Lion is Brave. Wizard of Oz is respected and respectful. I just fell in love with the idea. Thus my newest creation!

I LOVE this set! It has character ed posters, a student book for reflection, character ed BRAG bracelets (these are my FAVOURITE!!!!! You give them to your kids each time they show you their true character of trustworthiness, respect, etc...!), and I added bucket fillers just because I thought it kinda goes along with it! Plus it goes well with my Wizard of Oz decor!

I am all about matching!!! Haha! And even if you weren't interested in Wizard of Oz, it's just a great mini-unit for character ed! In fact, I left a little FREEBIE for you! Click on the cover page of my newest unit and it will take you to a sampler set of my newest unit! Please leave some love on my blog if you download it and let me know what you think! 

Have a great week! 

(P.S.) Now it's a-raining!!! 

Sunday, July 21, 2013

Let's Get Acquainted Linky Party

I am a huge believer in helping others! As a veteran teacher I try to be as helpful to new or newer teachers as I know what it is like to be in their shoes not too many moons ago. Although I already linked up last week, I find that imparting loving words of advice is important because I know I wanted to know ALL I could know before I started teaching! I wanted to know what to expect, all the good and bad, everything!

So this weekend I am linking up with Latoya Reed from Flying Into First Grade

Here is my advice for you, my sweet new teachers!!

1. A good pencil sharpener will save you loads of time! I swear to you that there were times I wanted to pull my hair out. What pencil sharpener do I have in my class, you ask? Well, I have the Classroom Friendly's Supply's Quietest Pencil Sharpener:

It gives a great pencil point! I mean, yes, it is a crank pencil sharpener but it you cannot beat the pencil point. I also have an electric sharpener for quick sharpens but this is my go-to one a really long lasting point! 

2. I am sure you heard this a MILLION times, but being prepared is a must! Now if you know me and have been reading my posts, you by now, know my sense of humour! There is nothing worse than being caught with the proverbial "pants down" when it comes to lesson planning and materials! To have those little faces looking at you when you have 10 minutes left in a lesson and nothing to do!  Or you miscounted and needed 16 necklaces and you have 10! They get squirrelly (the primary kids do-- heck! The big kids do, too! LOL) really fast! I always had a crate (with the days of the week in hanging folders) or paper tray  and as the copies I ordered came in, I would file them in. I also would take out my files for the week with the lessons and activity samples and place them in there for the next 2 weeks so I would know what I was working on. 

3. This is important! Never gossip about your kiddos because EARS are EVERYWHERE! You never know who's listening! Enough said on that one! 

4. You will find your groove! In the beginning it will seem like you are lost and you want to do what this person is doing and you want your classroom like that person's... As any teacher, you will beg, borrow, and steal! It's our way because we share in everything we do. Your first year will be a year where you will try this. Yay! It worked! Maybe it didn't. Reflect on it and try it again another way!

 Of course, I hope that you will ASK for help, find a friend/mentor, share in your triumphs and struggles (sometimes at the end of the day, you will find me and my team in one of our rooms just having a "Girl, I had that KIND of Day! sharing session!! Sometimes we can't wait til the end of the day. Our lunchtime is spend talking about our morning and what worked or didn't work in our lessons!!!) You will find your way and your groove of how you want your classroom to run! 

5. Make learning Core driven but fun! With the almost all of the states teaching Common Core, the standards are more rigorous! This video makes me laugh because of the excessive use of "RIGOROUS".. . But in all seriousness.....

Be familiar with the Core Standards and how they drive your curriculum and instruction. Also look at your students. I always try to incorporate lessons that meet their interest level and meet the core standards. I also look at them and think, they are 5 and 6, for goodness sake!!!! They need to have *some* fun, too! 

6. Last but not least, Be flexible!!! I always say, "Go with the FLOW!" That is my motto and one I *have* to live by or I will go crazy in my classroom. Normally I am very Type A. I obsess over everything-- did you read about my confessions?? But in my classroom, I have to let go of that a little because classroom is life and "Stuff Happens". You never know. Just gotta roll with it and adjust. Didn't quite finish up a lesson-- ran out of time? Finish it tomorrow. Fire drill went over? School in lock down because of a naked man running down the street in front of your school (honestly that happened one year!)... Whatever you do, keep calm and keep teaching! And if you can't, well then just laugh because some days if you aren't willing to be flexible you will just cry and I hate crying because my make-up will run! LOL! 

So, there you have it! Straight talk from me to you! Best of luck to you this year as I know some of you are getting ready to go back. I still have a few more weeks. You will do fabulously! If you want to link up, click on Latoya's Linky badge on top! Have a super week! 

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Loving Wisdom for New Teacher

Hello, Dear Friends! Today I am linking up with a sweet bloggy friend, Deb Thomas from 

Fabulously First

with her annual linky, "Loving Wisdom for New Teachers"! This will be my 10th year teaching and although I have been teaching for a while, I still find new things to learn each day! But for today I celebrate you, new teachers, as you embark on one of the most self-less professions. It is a wonderful profession and one that I come home each day knowing that I make a difference. So, here are my words of wisdom to you:

As you make your last minute preparations on your new classrooms, remember that it will be alright! Always remember to take time for yourselves (even I have a hard time with that!). Find a nice mentor teacher to help you out that first year-- that will make all the difference-- trust me (and if you can't find one-- ask me!! I'll help you!)! All the best to you!!! You can do it and you will do great! 

Lots of love to you!

If you want to link up and see more advice, just click on Deb's button above! 

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Wizard of Oz Giveaway Winner!

Congrats  to you Julie! Check your e-mail for your goodies! 

If you didn't win-- you can go to my store and purchase it! I have had several purchased already!!! What are you waiting for!!! Click on the picture to take you there!

I am keeping this short (the teacher-turned housewife gig in the summer is catching up with me-- laundry galore! I am sure you can relate!!!) but will be linking up with Deb Thomas from Fabulously First tomorrow for her annual "Loving Wisdom for New Teachers"! So if you are a new teacher or maybe a teacher in your 2nd year, or maybe someone who just needs an inspirational word-- check our this endearing and heartfelt linky. 

Have a great night!!!

Friday, July 12, 2013

Summer Lovin'!! And confession time! Forgive me followers for I have.....

Before I start... don't forget to enter my Wizard of Oz Giveaway and $15 TPT Gift certificate giveaway!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

And now...

 Did I mention that I have never loved summer more this year than ever? I do have another confession (other than my sinful Nutella obsession. Click here to read about that. )-- I am a Workaholic! Ok... I also have undiagnosed OCD. Maybe some perfectionist tendencies. I am working through these issues and I think as teachers we all harbour a little of these traits. Some, like me, a little more than others. There are some nights I cannot sleep because I am so focused on a lesson or preparation or a TPT product that I cannot sleep! It is awful. So this summer I resolved to try and take it easy. There was a really good article that someone posted that I copied and pasted here. His wife is a teacher and it really hit it on the nail:

My Wife is a Teacher 
By: Vic DeSantis

I am a guy who lives for summers. I wasn’t always like this but I’m pretty sure I can pinpoint the exact time in my life where the months of June, July, and August became such an integral part of my happiness.

You might be inclined to deduce that my yearning for these warmer times is related to a sports season or a passion for outdoor activities; perhaps even slower times at work. In some regards you might be correct but not exactly for the any one of the three multiple choice answers provided.

You see, my wife is a teacher.

When I met my wife she was not a teacher - she was a student. When we married she was finishing her degree and starting out on her own professional career. To say that I knew nothing about the educational system at that point would be an enormous understatement. In the nearly 20 years that followed I have learned everything that a parent, student, citizen, and spouse should know about the challenges that every teacher faces. Armed with those insights it is difficult to reconcile the carefully framed messages of politicians and privatized education proponents with the realities of life in the classroom.

My wife is a teacher. I’ve never once, in the history of our life together, seen her trading derivatives, speculate in real estate, engage in subprime lending practices, or make exorbitant demands on her employer for an outrageous salary. It is perplexing to me that over the past few years she and her colleagues have, at least in the eyes of many, become public enemy number one. I suspect that a good portion of this misguided angst is directly related to the economic environment; something that she had absolutely no part in creating. Is she without fault? Absolutely not. I have over the years thought that she would have been much better off taking her well-earned college degree and her intelligence into the private sector and guiltlessly accumulated as much wealth and material possessions as possible. Sometimes you just can’t talk sense into these folks.

My wife is a teacher. Instead of making money she decided to make a difference.

My wife is a teacher. For nearly 2 years she worked diligently to achieve the prestigious designation as a nationally board certified teacher – a designation that came with a small annual bonus. After meeting her end of the bargain, the state pulled the funding.

My wife is a teacher. She has worked for a decade and a half for far less money than her counterparts who are not public employees. She did this satisfied with the proposition that the pay was steady, a small retirement income certain, and the intangible satisfaction of steering the lives of children.

My wife is a teacher. Her income is now in decline. As a reward for her faithful years of service our state has decided that she should give back 3% of her salary towards her retirement. After all they say “this is what folks in the private sector do.” Tack-on another 2% reduction for the expired payroll tax holiday and the hits just keep on coming.

My wife is a teacher. Despite continuous assaults on her take-home pay, she shells out thousands of her own dollars for classroom supplies. She is impervious to the yearly barrage of administrative mandates established by politicians and so-called “educational experts” – she soldiers on.

My wife is a teacher. She is reviled by certain segments of our society who labor under the belief that she is underworked and overpaid. One would think that after fifteen plus years in a professional where a four-year college degree is a minimum entry requirement that most would not begrudge her a $40,000 a year salary. And for those less inclined to the truth, her salary is adjusted to smaller twice-a-month paychecks to cover the summer months when school is not in session.

My wife is a teacher. She is tasked with the enormous responsibility for the care and safety of your children. I’ll dispense with the lengthy analysis on this topic. Two words suffice – Newtown and Oklahoma. Someone please let me know the next time Lebron James throws his body between a child and the working end of an assault rifle and I will hold professional athletes in the same reverence I do teachers.

My wife is a teacher. For nine months of every year our family lives in the metronomic cycle of early morning wake-ups and late evening lesson-planning. We revel in the plethora of candies and candles, gift-cards and gadgets that herald the arrival of the “Christmas Break,” and I observe with interest the emotion that a hand-written note from a 1st grader can bring at the end of a school year.

My wife is a teacher. From August to May she had dedicated herself to the interests of her kids and her school. She has prepared and toiled, laughed and cried – and shared one hundred stories about the amazing kids that walk through her door each morning. She has left me wondering in awe how she does so much with - and for - so little.

It is the summer now – my happy time comprised of the few short weeks that I do not have to share her. My wife is a teacher – she is also my hero. I promise to return her in August.

I am pretty sure that is how Brian feels about me and one day how my boys will feel about me, too! So Wednesday. Aidan woke up and wanted to go to the beach! That's the perk of living in FL is the beach and why the county in which I live in and teach in says why we don't get paid as much (that story is revolting and disgusting so don't get me started!) as other counties... But I digress! Here are some pics of our fun day!

Then my favourite part is the clean up! Another thing about me is that I detest bad smells --ok, who doesn't but I literally make a big stink (no pun intended!) about them! And I hate the sand that gets in the car from your feet getting sandy. 


So I am a Pinterest junkie-- add that to my list of confessionals and found a pin that said you can put 

BABY POWDER on your feet before you get in the car like a sloughing agent and it will get most of the dry sand off your feet! And guess what!! It worked! I was thrilled beyond relief!! No more buckets of water and carting it to the car and having my kid lean over my shoulder in aggravation! I mean, there were minute traces of sand and of course baby power on the legs and feet but it beats having buckets of sand in your car to vacuum and clean! I was tickled! 

So, just a tip for you as you head out to those beachy places! Bring baby powder!! 

Thursday, July 11, 2013

Leibster Award Nomination!

My sweetest friend, Amy from 24-7 Teacher

24/7 Teacher: Amy Harrod

nominated me for the Leibster Award. Now at first I had one of these:

Leibster is a German term that means beloved, cute, lovely, dearest, and welcome! And it's a way for the blogging community to embrace other bloggers and for you, the readers to find and connect with new blogs and friends. But we all know that after a while friends become family! That's what I always say! My first grade team became my sisters after a month of teaching together! That's all it takes! You know that connection you just have with certain people? You know that you will be forever friends! So, not only did Amy nominate me but Jill from ABC's and Polka Dots and Carol from Super Sparkly in Second did, too! Thanks for the love, ladies!! Check out their blogs and nominations!

Since Amy nominated me first, I am going to answer her Q & A:

1. If you could be any animal what would you be and why?
        If I could be any animal, I would love to be a Panda. First off they are total cute! And they sit around rolling around and eating all day!! 

2. Have you read any thing lately? If so, what? Tell a little bit about it. 
        I read the Pre-K packet for my son Aidan. I will be honest and say that I haven't ready anything PD this summer. I do way too much PD during the school year and if I had to read something I might join the "Teach Like a Pirate" bandwagon. 

3. If you weren't a teacher what would you be? 
         I am going to sound shallow and girly here-- I would love to be a make-up artist! I love make-up and always get compliments on my make-up so I would love a job where I get to make people pretty all day! 

4. What is your favorite T.V. Show? 
          Golden Girls!! I have seen EVERY episode and can pretty much quote it!

5. What hobby do you have?
          I love to cook, bake, and be crafty! 

6. What is your favorite store at the mall? 
          That's a toss-up between H & M and MAC makeup.

7. What would be the perfect hours for a school day and why? 
          I think 8:30- 2:30 because I sometimes have a hard time getting to school with 2 boys and 2:30 because it makes sense... LOL! 

8. If you could go any where in the world where would it be and why? 
           I would love to go to Fiji or Hawaii.. anywhere tropical because I love white sand and clear water. Oh, and drink out of a fresh coconut! Nothing like it!! They just seem so peaceful! 

9. If you could win any prize what would it be? (Grammy, Oscar, Emmy, Pulitzer, Olympic, Nobel Peace Prize or any other)
            I already won a prize that I am most proud of... Teacher of the Year for my school. It would have been nice to win for the county/state but I am happy with what I earned. Next on my NBCT but that will be a work in progress!!

10. What is your favorite subject to teach? Why?
           I love math and science... Maybe it's the Asian nerd in me. Math and Science always just made sense and its logical. Not that I don't like the other subjects-- I DO! But Math and Science are my favourites!!

11. What is your dream vacation? 
          I would love a vacation to Europe-- Ireland, Spain, Italy. Then maybe some Asian countries! It is not a problem to go to these places (my hubby is a pilot) but affording to go there!!!! If only....

Now to the 11 Random Facts about me:
1. My food cannot touch on my plate! It totally grosses me out! Brian (DH) swears that I need to eat from the partitioned cafeteria trays!

2. I really do swear like a sailor! I keep it in check at school but I have been known to drop a few F* Bombs or 10--in a sentence... LOL! 

3. I love cats! Cats are my favourite animal! Not much of a dog lover although I like dogs but if I had to choose-- I would pick a cat over a dog any day.

4. I don't like crowded places-- they make me nervous. I get very agitated when I see a large crowd so much that I want to turn around and go home. It's bad. 

5. I LOVE cartoons. I enjoy watching them with my kiddos and we laugh and laugh!!

6. I actually went to school to become a doctor! I was pre-med (majored in Psychology) and took all my classes, took MCATS and then decided that I didn't want to be a doctor. Finished out classes at UF and did behaviour therapies for autistic children-- didn't like that. Decided that I always wanted to be a teacher and here I am!

7. I am a bit of a TV snob in that I only watch a few things-- True Blood, Big Bang Theory, Golden Girls, and Duck Dynasty. Occasionally Millionaire Matchmaker. I really love cooking shows though! 

8. I love the FLORIDA GATORS!! Its my Alma Mater and I bleed orange and blue. Go Gators! 

9. I like to flip pancakes. Sounds dumb but whenever I make pancakes for my kids I like to flip them in the pan. Ha!

10. I like banana flavoured things but I cannot stand to eat bananas (insert your own joke here! Brian makes fun of me for this! Haha!)! Again-- sounds dumb but its a texture thing! Yuck! 

11. I have 3 tattoos. Tramp stamps to be exact. Japanese symbols of love, good luck/happiness, and evil. I know you are thinking WTH did she get "evil" for? Well, you have to have balance. Now I was assured by a Japanese friend that these symbols are true and they don't say "Dog Fart" or something else insane or grotesque like that! I got them when I was 18-20 and it was a liberating thing for me. I remember when my Dad (who is very Filipino and still very naive about a lot of things) saw it... He thought they were stickers! LOL! I love my dad!!!

Okay! Wow! That was probably more than you wanted to know about me! Yes, I keep it real and this is who I really am! I really am a nice person (don't let the sailor thing bother you... LOL!) who loves to laugh and share ideas with other teachers. I have a passion for my family, friends, and especially teaching my first graders! I work very hard at what I do and will always give 200%! 

So many wonderful blogs that I subscribe to have already been nominated to I went on a quest to find new ones or ones that haven't been nominated yet and I came across these adorable ones that I wanted to nominate:

Here are my "rules" for accepting this nomination: 

1. Link back to the blog that nominated me.
2. Nominate 5-11 blogs with fewer than 250 followers.
3. Answer the questions posted for you by your nominator.
4. Share 11 random facts about yourself.
5. Create 11 questions for your nominees.
6. Contact your nominees by commenting on their blog or sending them an email to communicate the nomination. 

I hope that you will accept my nominations! I have toured each of your blogs and find them beloved, cute, lovely, dearest! Here are my 11 questions for you:

1. Describe your teaching style in 4 words.
2. What do you like best about your school?
3. What is your favourite teaching tool that you could not live without?
4. What is your favourite subject to teach? Why?
5. What advice about teaching could you pass on to a future teacher that you WISH someone had told you? 
6. What is your nickname? (If you have one?) Or if you didn't have one-- what are the names of your pets and why did you choose those names?
7. What is your best trait?
8. What is your worst trait?
9. If you could be a superhero, what would your name and super power be?
10. What era do you wish you could have lived in? Why?
11. Who was your favourite teacher in school? Why? 

This was a really long post! Don't forget about my giveaway going on!! 

You can win this plus a $15 TPT gift certificate!!

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Wizard of Oz Decorating 101, Giveaways, and a Freebie-- Oh My!!!

Guess what I did today...Stayed in my PJ's ALL. DAY! Why you may ask... Well...

1. It's Summer!!
2. I Can!
3. I have OCD-- BIG TIME!! Ask Brian... He'll complain  tell you!!!
4. (This is tied into #3)-- I was working on my decorating packet for my Wizard of Oz room and couldn't stop!!! 

Now, I don't know about you but I am the kind of person that once I start something that is really important to me I have to finish it through to the end. Come hell or high water, I am finishing it! Well, I did finish it. Most of it. Part 1 of it. The Bulk of it. I have a few ideas I want to finish but after working on it all day, I think I am done, plus I need a mental break now! 

Check it out!!

I am going to upload it to TPT tonight! But before I do... I'd like to offer it to you as a giveaway! I've seen some new pinners to my "Wizard of Oz" classroom decor board and if this is something that you are interested in, then this is the perfect starter decorating pack for you!!

There are 3 ways to enter! Click on the Rafflecopter below to enter!The Giveaway Ends Tuesday, July 16th!

This giveaway is also a way for me to celebrate my over 100 Fun, Fabulous Followers! I decided to do something simple and easy! So, I am giving away a $15 TPT gift certificate along with my classroom decor packet! I think simple is better! 

Speaking of dearest bloggy friend, Tamara at Mrs. Russell's Room

is having a One-Year Bloggaversary Celebration!! This is a blowout of a celebration where everyday you are a winner!!! Check her blog out to for great resources! She is the sweetest and has some really great ideas! Remember to leave some love for her if (or any blogger! It's the nice thing to do!) you download some of her fabulous resources! Tomorrow will be K-2 Math resources, Thursday will be K-2 Unit resources (I will be featured in this giveaway-- Look for my Surf's Up Unit! It's Totally Awesome!), and then Friday is Back to School Resources. Click on her button to take you for there for more information and to enter!!
And lastly, a FREEBIE for you! This freebie is only for FB Fans! Go to my First Grade and Flip Flops Facebook page and click on the Fan Freebies Page to download:

Make sure you "Like" my page to get your Freebie!! 

Thanks again! Have a SUPER DUPER Week!!

Saturday, July 6, 2013

Are you on the Blog Loving' Train??

A Teacher without a Class

Have you hopped on yet? On the Blog Lovin' Train, that is? It is so easy! I have linked up with Teaching is a Gift and A Teacher A Without a Class (she is also giving away a laminator!! Go enter today!) this weekend as a way to get to see new teacher blogs and new ideas and a way for us to hop on the Blog Lovin' train! Just click on this button to follow me on the right hand side:

Friends, there is no easier way to follow me and your favourite bloggers than with Blog Lovin'! I love being able to see all my favourite bloggers in one page and then being to click and read instead of going back and forth to my bookmarks. Love convenience! 

Anyhow, now it's your turn! Please link up with these fab ladies and get to know some new bloggy friends! 

Wednesday, July 3, 2013

An Apple a Day Linky! Small Group Instruction

I am linking up with another friend, Leigh aka The Applicious Teacher on her weekly Linky Party. This week (although I am a bit late) is on Small Group Instruction. I think I have tried several different options over the years: I have done Smart Centers and have had kids paired up heterogeneously and 5/20 minutes rotations-- these were all when I had 18 little firsties in my room and they stayed with me all day. Then along came walk-to... and everything changed how my small group changed! 

Walk to forced my groups to change-- we moved our kids into different groups for HFW, phonics, fluency, comprehension, and enrichment. All kids were grouped by FAIR, DRA, HFW, and teacher observation. So, now enters my small group instruction-- I love challenging my kiddos and I love enrichment so I asked to teach the comprehension/enrichment kids-- which meant that I had one of the bigger classes-- 25 kids while most of the other classes had 12, 16, 8.... so... how could I keep 25 kids moving in a class, engaged, and still have small group all in the confines of my 120 minute block? Oh, and did I mention that my classroom is small??? This one I had to really think about! So, in case you missed it, this is what my room looks like so you can see the challenges I faced when putting together my small groups:

My carpet! Where all instruction took place! Withe 25 kids the carpet was packed and some kids had to sit on the tile on the back! 

I projected lessons, our text book online, our lesson hooks, everything!!

So, how did I manage small groups while focusing on enrichment and comprehension? I came up with literacy menus. 

Each week my class gets a menu like above that focuses on the story/skill of the week and the kids are responsible for completing most/all of their centers by the end of the week. To me, I feel that kids at this level are entitled to be able to move the room by themselves and should have the freedom to choose the centers at their leisure. Plus it gives them a sense of  responsibility and pride. Each center is geared at a higher level thinking skill. Most of my centers are in tubs placed at desks in tubs or around the room in pocket charts. 

With a small room and lots of kids, there aren't many places to put them! They are free to start anywhere they wish, in any order they wish, as long as they follow the space limit for that center. For example, no more than 4 in the library or 3 in the listening center. I always have the expectations listed for each center posted in each center:

During this time that they are in centers, I will pull them to me for small group reading time where that is the heart and soul of my block. Since I have the enrichment/comprehension group I work on lots of modeling, non-fiction, reading across texts, think alouds, story mapping, and working on the various sections of Blooms taxonomy wheel:

At the end of the week I check work for understanding and completeness. I do monitor daily for students who are off task and WE all know there are those. For those kids who are just really off task then they do complete unfinished work with their homeroom teacher in my room at recess or at their recess. Well... that is my small group in a nutshell. I like it because it gives me lots of flexibility and it offers kids choices. 

How do you do small group?