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Saturday, October 15, 2011

A few pics of my room....

I finally uploaded some pictures of my classroom to share.... I hope to get better at blogging more often than once a month during the school year....  "/   Thank you to those of you patient followers out there.... hehe... ;)

This is our "Rule Breaker" word wall....  I was trying to think of something other than the "jail theme" and I thought Mario would be memorable for the students!  The students LOVE looking for new words to put up on our Rule Breaker Wall!  Here is a .jpg file of the image (I use it on our spelling lists that may include rule breakers).

This is a poem I use EVERYDAY to help my babies differentiate between bs & ds.  "Do you touch the bat first or the doorknob first?"....  Usually that's all the prompting it takes to help them remember which way to correctly form their letter.  ;)

This is a picture of our drawing rubric, our coloring rubric, and our Brownie Points board...  Students receive a brownie for the tray every time we receive a compliment in the hallway or score a 4 in the cafeteria.  Once we get our tray filled, I will bring in REAL brownies for us to share!  =)

Here are our rotations for literacy and math centers and my classroom helpers.

Carpet area, calendar, SmartBoard, meeting area...  ;)

One of my favorite things to use in our classroom....  Quincy Questioner, Clara Clarifier, Sammy Summarizer, & Paula Predictor...  Our puppets help us remember to use those important comprehension strategies... I also have matching props that I wear during minilessons....  One day, I was dressed up as Quincy Questioner, with my black wig on, and a parent walked in... I don't know whether she was thrilled or terrified for her child!!!!  ;)

This is the best thing I have done in a long time... I love the fact that my behavior system is now positive instead of always focusing on misbehaviors....

And last but not least, a few pics of my Book Barn inspired by Reagan Tunstall!  =)

I hope you enjoyed your visit and I hope to share more in the near future!!!  ;)  

Monday, September 12, 2011

Nothing like an Award to get the blogging juices flowing!!! ;)

So, apparently, I am not as skilled at blogging and teaching as I am at blogging and sitting during the summertime....  ;)  I am in awe of some of you bloggers out there who seem to have something ready to share each and every day.  My goal is to have a good post with some freebies to offer by Wednesday....  *deep breath, you can do it Jennifer*

Yes, I have not been as faithful to the ol' blog as I should but this morning, my alarm clock goes off at 5:25... I grab my phone, check my email, and the first email I read is from Debbie at Sailing Through First saying she had given my humble blog the Versatile Blogger award!!!!  What a way to start my Monday morning!!!!  =)  Thank you Debbie ~ I really appreciate it a lot...
Now, for the rules associated with the award ...

Thank the person who gave you the award and link back to them in your post.

Thank you again to:
Debbie, creator of Sailing Through First

Please make sure to visit her blog!

Share 7 things about yourself.
1. I am the mother of boy/girl twins who are eighth graders this year! I LOVE being the mom of twins...  They are two wonderful kiddos...
2. I love the Indianapolis Colts & the University of Kentucky men's basketball team.... 

3. In 2009, I received my National Board certification...  =) 

4. I've been married to my husband Michael for 17 years!!! 

5. I change my hair color about every 3 months....  hehehe.... 

6. We have a Yorkshire terrier named Barkley, a cat named Scottie, and a cocktiel named Kirky...  We also have two "outside dogs" named Rascal & Square (the twins named Square when they were 3 years old in preschool... they were fascinated with shapes, can you tell?)  ;)

7. I say "seriously" wayyy too much....  hence the name of my blog.....  ;)

Pass this award along to 15 recently discovered blogs.

  1. First Grade Blue Skies - love these pilgrims & elves...  ;)

Debbie, I told you.... I am paying it forward.....  ;)    Thank you again for thinking of me!!! 

Monday, August 15, 2011

Reading Strategy Posters

Well, school officially started for us this past Tuesday and I have not had a second to spare since!  ;)  We are slowly, but surely, getting into the swing of things - and I'm adjusting to having beginning first graders again...  hehehe...  Each day seems to get better and better.

We have been having a wonderful time with Deanna Jump's Pete the Cat unit --- and let me just say - hearing my students read along and sing that song makes all those late hours and blisters from cutting out endless lamination worth it...  I can't wait to share our "Petes" we made this week...  and I'm very proud of my new classroom...   but those will be another posts for another day. 

Today, I wanted to share three posters that I made to help us concentrate on our reading strategies used in our Houghton Mifflin Reading series.  I wanted smaller, more concise posters than what comes with our reading series (not to mention - everything is better with a cute font, right???)... :)  I have included links to two reading strategy posters including predict/infer, questioning, summarizing, evaluating, and clarifying.  There is also a link to our decoding/phonics strategy - the photo icons help the students to remember the steps....  I hope you enjoy and good luck to each of you starting on your new journey this year!!!!  =)

                     Page 1            Page 2

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Poppin' Patterns

I LOVE anything that is the "Poppin' Patterns" design by Creative Teaching Press and I have a LOT of this in my classroom this year...  I don't really have a "theme" this year besides polka dots and lots of colors...  I enjoy making things to decorate my classroom with if I can't buy what I'm looking for ~ and this year, I made a few things using the "Poppin' Patterns" polka dots to match my other classroom decorations...  I thought I'd share in case you could use any of them....  ;)

I promise as soon as I finish my classroom (will I EVER be finished with my classroom????), I will post pictures and more freebies.... 

Numbers to label clock
 I print these out, laminate them, and hole punch.  Then I thread it onto a wrist keyring - the one with the "coily bracelets" on them?  That way, passes can be worn and don't have to be touched (especially in the restroom - ick)...  ;) 

Just blank "dots" - can be used for anything.  I am putting student names on these for cubby labels...  ;)
Back to work now....   ;)  T minus 5 days......  Can't wait!!!!

Sunday, July 24, 2011

"New Year's" Resolution

I love the idea of setting a New Year's resolution in January and usually have several different ones that I attempt to keep...  A new year, a fresh slate, a new beginning........   The same happens around the end of July and first of August when I start thinking of my new SCHOOL year!   A new year, a fresh slate, a new beginning......  So, I couldn't resist taking part in Clutter-Free Classroom's New Year Resolution Linky Party!!!

I have several different resolutions for this coming year... and I hope and pray that I can keep them.

First of all, I want to SMILE more....  Sometimes, I let the smallest things get to me - I'm going to try to let those things go....  ;) 

Second, (I've never been very good at picking just ONE resolution)  I want to be MORE ORGANIZED!!!!!!!!!  Everyone THINKS I'm organized at school but my files are a MESS!!! I don't have a system besides starting a new system at the start of every year so now I have 7 years of randomness!!!!  That is one of my tiny goals for this week ~ to get a solid system in place....  ;) 

And last, I want to do a better job of encouraging better handwriting... Many times, I'm not sure if poor handwriting is from maturity or from laziness..........  I need all the help on this as I can get.... If you have the chance, please link up to my post from yesterday, Handwriting Tips, and let me know your best tips!!!!

Saturday, July 23, 2011

Linky Party - Handwriting Tips

I have fallen in love with learning all the tips from you wonderful teachers... I have a question I'd like to ask so I thought I'd host a linky party to get your greatest tips... ;)

In the past, I have trouble with students doing their best handwriting on their work - on having pride in what they turn in... I would LOVE to hear your tips... Thank you so much for everything you're always so willing to share!!!! I can't wait to hear your ideas!

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Brownie Points

I finished a project today that I couldn't wait to share with you all! Every year that I've taught, I've had a "compliment chain" which was simply a chain of paperclips hanging from the ceiling.  Students could earn a paperclip each time they received a compliment (in the hallway, at specials, even when someone came in the room).  Once they received 25 paperclips, I rewarded the students and we started our chain over again!  They love getting recognized for the compliments they receive...

Well, thanks to Pinterest, I found another version that I fell in love with ~ Brownie Points ~ and decided to make my own version.

Brownie Points

I bought an inexpensive cookie sheet, as well as some wooden rectangles, brown acrylic paint, white "slick" paint, and magnets from Hobby Lobby.  I painted the rectangles, painted the icing on top, and used E6000 to glue the magnet strips onto the back.

Front of "brownie"

Back of "brownie"

I also created a cute header to go above the cookie sheet.


If you'd like a pdf copy of the header, click here.

Also, I thought some people may not want to do the "wooden brownies", so I made a pdf page of 15 brownies per page (I am using 30 brownies on my cookie sheet) which you can download here...

Each time my students receive a compliment (either from someone else or even from me), they will receive a brownie on the cookie sheet... When they fill their cookie sheet, I will bring in brownies for a treat!!!!  =)

I hope you enjoy!  It is SO "seriously" cute....  ;)

Monday, July 18, 2011

Awesome Giveaway - Check it out!

Of course, one of the many benefits of blogging is the awesome ideas that I find to share with my co-workers and teachers... Another are the wonderful giveaways that take place!  I just had to share one with you all...  Head on over to First Grade O.W.L.s. and check out her giveaway!  Not only can you pick something from Dee Dee Wills' TPT store but also a $25 Target gift card!!!!  I'm keeping my fingers crossed!!!  ;)

My Very First Linky Party =)

I'm jumping into this blogging deal with both feet....  Let me rephrase that... I'm attempting to jump in with both feet...  Let's see if I sink or swim!!!  ;)    

When I saw Clutter-Free Classroom's post concerning your favorite picture book based on illustrations alone, I knew I wanted to give this "linky party" a whirl.... ;)  

There are MANY picture books that I love... Picture books offer a lot to readers - interesting characters, fun and exciting plots, and of course beautiful illustrations!!!!!  Among a few of my favorite picture books are The Napping House by Audrey Wood, Epossumondas by Coleen Sally, and pretty much anything by Jan Brett, Patricia Polacco, and Eric Carle... which leads me to the purpose of this post....  

I wanted to share an activity that I do with the book, "The Mixed-Up Chameleon" by Eric Carle... This story is about a chameleon who wants to change to be more like other animals in the zoo he sees...  but ends up in a mess!  :)  

So as a follow-up activity to this book, I take a picture of each student and cut out just the child's head.  The students glue their head onto a sheet of white paper and draw a body they imagine to have - any body part of any animal they wish!  Here are a few examples: 
She wanted the body of a mermaid so she could breathe underwater.

She wanted a body and neck of a giraffe.
Who hasn't wanted to have the wings of a bird to fly?  He also wanted the legs of a cheetah so he could run fast on land.  ;) 

I actually took all of these scanned pictures and made an iMovie set to the tune of "You Make Me Smile" which turned into an ADORABLE final project that we shared with the entire school during our "Town Meeting": Click here if you'd like to see it ---> Our Final Mixed-Up Chameleon iMovie

Now, let's see if I can "link up" with everyone else....  ;)  

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Love Notes Binder Cover

So many projects.... So little summer left....  ;)

I have many projects going on right now and as I get them finished and photographed, I will get them posted on here for you to see... This project is so simple yet so effective - especially when teaching the little ones....  ;)   

I saw this idea on Pinterest and decided to make one to share... I have always made room on a wall, filing cabinet, SOMEWHERE to post all the beautiful pictures and notes I receive from my students.  Now, I can just hole punch them and place them in this special binder...  ;)  I have linked a generic cover that you can use for your Love Notes binder. 

Sample of pic - for file, click on the link below

Love Notes Binder Cover

If you would like a personalized version, just post it in the comments with your email and I'll fix it for you and email it to you!  ;)

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

My first blogging inspiration creation - my Book Barn

So, at the beginning of the summer, my blogging adventure began and a particular picture on a blog caught my eye...  Reagan Tunstall ( had taken pictures of her classroom (which is SUPER adorable by the way)... 

There was one thing in her classroom that I decided I just couldn't live without... uhhhh...  I mean, my STUDENTS couldn't live without....  ;)  She had an adorable book barn that I decided my husband and I would attempt to re-create... 

My hubby and I have never built anything unless it came with an instruction manual (which he always refuses to use anyway)...  so I knew this was going to be an interesting adventure.  I used the pictures on Reagan's blog to try to figure the dimensions on my own since I couldn't find a pattern for it anywhere...  My grandfather helped us to create the shelves for the roof and to cut the trim (in my humble opinion, the HARDEST part of it all)....  The picture on the front is a 12x12 canvas that I decoupaged and hung above the door.  The canvases can be swapped out to other designs.  Once we can set up our classrooms, I have a welcome mat for the entrance, a rug for the inside and pillows for the students to lean against while they're reading inside...  I'm still undecided as to whether or not I should use push lights inside or string Christmas lights... 

Book Barn by the Oyler's (and Pappaw!!!!) ;)

I'd love to hear your comments and suggestions!  We are proud of it and I'm already looking for our next creation to build....  My hubby?  Not so excited about that idea....  ;) 

Monday, July 11, 2011

Seriously??? I have a blog??? Seriously!!! I do!!!

This summer, I have spent a lot of my free time exploring the wonderful world of "blogging" and I have truly fallen in love with it and what it can offer to those of us in the teaching world...  There are several 'veterans' out there that I have read for months that have inspired me to give this a shot... You can check them out for yourself in my favorite links... ;)  

I am blessed to work side-by-side with my best friend, Stephanie Conquest and together, we look forward to sharing the things we do in our classrooms this year with our first graders!