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Sunday, December 23, 2012

O is for Ornaments

Whew! It's finally break. I have been so wrapped up (pun intended) in holiday projects, parties, and planning that I've neglected to share much of our fun.

Just in this month my class has had three sets of gifts to open from donors (lucky us!), elf shenanigans to clean up, a field trip to sing for winter residents, holidays around the word, our school's winter concert, Grinch Day, Polar Express Day, and Cookies and Carols for our parents.

On top of that, their teacher (me!) has had to miss a few days to go to our new core reading materials adoption meetings. (We will be choosing between Journeys and Reading more Treasures. More on that in a later post.) God bless the substitutes that went on that field trip and helped my kids practice the day before our parents came to watch us.

It's been a whirlwind of fun. And I, being a Last-Minute Lucy, lost track of time to order my usual student gifts. For the last few years, I have ordered personalized pencils from

I cut it too close this year, so I planned on making these darling ornaments inspired by Pinterest.

from Pinterest
Yeah, that didn't happen either so I whipped up a 2-D version on my computer. I printed them out, stuck on our students picture stickers, cut, glued the three sides, laminated, cut again, and added the ribbon.

Quick, yes. But my students loved them and that's all that matters.

I almost went back to school at 9 pm to get my small hole punch. Oh well.

Click {here} to get the template I made. Make sure you have GingersnapsPeanutty and CK Handprint if you want to use the same fonts I did. Oh, and you might want to have a smaller hole punch handy if you don't want to cut off the crayon tips. =)

I hope you all have a fabulous holiday with your loved ones.

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Wednesday, November 28, 2012

J is for Jack

Whew! It's been so long since I've been able to write a blog post. I wanted to share some elf news.

Jack is back.

Jack the Elf is back in my classroom for year 2. (I never got around to posting about him year 1.)

He reappeared two days ago.

My class has been so excited, but not as excited as last year's darlings (now 3rd graders). They have been asking my new darlings if Jack's done this or that. Too cute.

This is how Jack showed up last year. The box was ICE COLD.

We opened him and read the letter from Santa. We named him Jack.

They were excited to find out what Jack had been up to each night.

Here is a slideshow of some of his antics.

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We loved the Elf Kisses that he left, but not as much as the permission to hug him good-bye. There were some tears. His mini letter said he hopes to come back next year.

Well...he did. Or has, I should say.

He showed up on my table with a new letter from Santa.

I love how serious they are about not touching him.

You'll never believe it, but he somehow got out of his box while we were on a field trip Monday and threw books all over the carpet and sat ON MY THRONE! How DARE he! =)

He must have gotten tired today hanging on to our First in Math necklace.

This year, a lot more kids in my class have an elf at home. So far I've heard many stories of their elves' capers. One darling even told me his big brother touched his elf so they had to look up how to fix him. (Apparently you have to put some cinnamon next to him and that gives him enough strength to fly to the North Pole Elf Doctor.)

I'm sorry to my coworker who has a darling in my class...I don't know HOW Santa chooses who gets an elf. =}

I'm thankful that has added a Teacher Portal to share wonderful ideas and that many sellers on TPT have created some fabulous units. Of course, Pinterest is an awesome resource for finding elfish things.

We are also excited to watch the Elf on the Shelf movie on December 14.

If you have an elf in your class or at home, I hope you're enjoying it as much as we are. Even if your elf doesn't listen and stay on the shelf either.

 Keep sharing ideas and pictures!

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Thursday, November 8, 2012

T is for Tricky Dogs

Today, one of my favorite things happened. We had our Quarter 1 AR Celebration and it was the TRICKY DOG SHOW!

I seriously LOVE this show. It includes 7 of the most adorable dogs I have every seen (except for my two crazies) and their funny owner, Rick Martin.

Picture from
I love this show so much that I have kept the postcard Rick gave out one year on my fridge so I can look at those precious puppies all the time. Here is proof:


I love that these dogs are from shelters, or "recycled", as Rick likes to say. He tells all of the their stories and teaches the kids about animal safety. My favorite is Chico. He's been with Rick the longest and used to be the star of the show. I've adored Chico ever since the Tricky Dog Show has been coming to our school years ago. I had tears in my eyes today as Rick explained how Chico is getting old so he gets to ride around and watch all the other dogs do the work.


Today my class got a lucky break. Usually Kinder, First, and Second grade goes to the first show so we end up in the waaaay back. Today, however, a third grade teacher had to switch times so we got to sit in the FRONT ROW! My darlings said we had VIP seats since we were in front of the "big kids".

The best part of this was that Peewee the Poodle fake peed on us AND three of my darlings got to go ON THE STAGE!

I'm not going to lie...I was kind of jealous I didn't get to go on the stage.

Here is the intro of Cricket's death defying trick. Cricket is the newest dog and she's won me over already! She is in training.

You can hear me laugh at the "balancing a leftover hotdog" part in this next one.

And in the last one, Cricket used my little darling on the right as a springboard.

Rick teaches the kids that they can go to the library and check out books on animal training like he did when he was a boy. He also encourages them to choose and read books that they are interested in and to read for fun.

I am so glad we get to have this wonderful show at school. It's great to see people of all ages laughing and enjoying themselves while learning. These are the memories my darlings will keep forever.

Go check out The Tricky Dog Show's website and watch some videos of the dogs in action. It's sure to make you laugh.

Happy Friday Eve!

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Wednesday, November 7, 2012

C is for Currently (November)

It's November and that only means one thing. I'm going to be busy and stay busy until about, oh, Spring Break.

I'm not complaining though (yet) because I LOVE this time of year.

Except that I live in Florida and I'm SO COLD when it is 61 degrees outside. (My darlings and I discussed how we shouldn't say "I am freezing" unless it is 32 degrees or lower.) I must have really thin blood.


It's time for November's Currently from Farley at Oh' Boy 4th Grade.

I use this CD mostly during Writing time. I have a darling this year who is really connected emotionally to music and he likes everything but Beethoven's Moonlight Sonata. It made him really sad. Otherwise, my darlings call it "thinking music" and ask me to play it.

I'm off to see how much flour and butter I have. Count down to Turkey Day with the darlings: 7 days! Then it's break for a whole week! Yay!

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Wednesday, October 24, 2012

F is for Four Corners

I'm sure you know what teachers do when we find out that another school is doing something that works...we BORROW the idea!

Some of my colleagues at my school heard about a strategy a comparable Title 1 school was doing to raise math scores. In fact, they have the highest math scores in the county. (Go R.B. Cox Elementary!) The idea is simple, but obviously highly effective. Many of you may do it already.

They called it Four Corners. The teachers put up a question to review/preview skills or provide more practice on current skills and students solve the problems in their math journals.

We have discovered that our students don't read through the word problems so they can understand how to solve them. Anybody else having that problem? So to prepare them for their future math experiences, we decided to jump on the Four Corners train.

One of my lovely teammates happens to have a final intern in her classroom, so she stepped up and created a page for each day of our unit. (You rock Harper!) Of course I had to cutsie it up so I made a template for her to work on.

Here is an example of one day:

Here are a couple of examples of my students' work. They sit on opposite sides of the room and had very similar thinking.

I love how the kids are so excited to do these daily. Hopefully, that will last. And let's also hope that our data looks super fantastic so we can prove how clever our little darlings are.

You are welcome to use the image of my template. All I did was insert the image into my PowerPoint presentation and we added text boxes for the word problems.

Can't avoid that data collection! =}


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Monday, October 22, 2012

B is for Boo Banner

Today was the end of Quarter 1. That means a teacher work day and kids get the day off. No fair I say. Soooo, I used some of my gazillions of hours of flex time and took the day off to hang out with my favorite 6 year old pipsqueak.

In between working on report cards and TPT units, we had a little crafty fun. I'm sure you've seen this pin on pinterest:

Pipsqueak and I made our own versions:

I loved the little details she added. We also decided to add a vampire.

We hung it up for her daddy to see that we did hard work even on our day off.

I'm going to go work on report cards again.

 P.S. Thanks to Mrs. Howbert at Little Miss Organized for boo-ing me. I am being a busy little rule-breaker. If you haven't been boo-ed yet...consider yourself BOO-ed (insert witchy cackle) 

Happy Monday!
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Saturday, October 20, 2012

T is for TurboScan

My sister gets the credit for this great find. I needed to scan something for a blogger friend of mine and my printer's scanner was frustrating me. My little sister (in college to be a teacher) whipped out her iPhone and said, "I have this cool app!"

The app is called TurboScan and I'm in love.

On iTunes for $1.99. Worth every penny!
 This app turns your phone into a portable scanner. You simply take a picture of your document while in the app, adjust the frame, and it's turned into a PDF.

Weekly intervention test results (S=Satisfactory)

You know those times you need just ONE copy of something, your school's copy machine is like 10 miles away, and you forget to take the paper with you when you are at that end of the school? Yeah, that's why I'm loving this app.

I can take a picture of any student work, like the test results for my reading intervention group, and I've got a digital copy of the page. This app lets you create a document with multiple pages and you can always go back and add more pages to any document later. Pages can also be reordered before you create the PDF.

I can also take a picture of a student's work and email it straight to his mother so she can see what's up. Might come in handy for those little darlings who like to "get rid of the evidence" before their parents get to see the graded work.

There are multiple options to send it. You can also open the document in iBooks or Dropbox.

You can search also search for a particular document.

The "Morning Message" document above was from a picture taken off my whiteboard. I'm excited that I can take a picture of the things we write on the board and turn them into a document.

Maybe I am behind the times in finding out about this app, but I am so glad my sister old me about it. There are so many ways to use it.

If you already have this app, please leave a comment telling how you use it in your classroom. If you don't have it yet, I highly recommend it.

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Friday, October 5, 2012

P is for Paper Crafts

This week we made our first paper quilt.

One of my wonderful friends (hi Tweedles!) passed this book to me a few years ago and we've been keeping the tradition of doing these fun literature-based projects.

Easy Literature-Based Quilts Around the Year (Grades K-3) [Paperback]

I usually start by reading  The Quilt Story and The Keeping Quilt to my students. They love that I bring in my quilt from home and show them how Penny chewed on the corner when she was a puppy.

This year's turned out a little funky with all of the bright colors, but I love it.

I posted yesterday about October's quilt based on Stellaluna. My darlings wanted to make it ASAP after reading today's story.

I read them There Was An Old Lady Who Swallowed A Bat. I love how excited they get over the Old Lady books {vintage post}. They think she is weirdly awesome. I tape a plastic sandwich bag to the back and the kids make the cards to go in the bag. It's so cute listening to them retell the story with their props.

Love this darling's artwork!

Also love her  tiny hat on Hat Day.

I use an Old Lady template from a bulletin board book, but I've seen ideas {here} and {here}. Don't forget about the wonder Scrappin' Doodles clipart to match and tons of resources on TpT.

I could spend the whole month doing these kind of fun things.  
Dang rules about using the core reading book!

Happy weekend friends!

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Thursday, October 4, 2012

C is for Currently {October}

Hello October! I love this month. Here in Florida the temps are still in the 90s, the leaves are still hanging on to their green before they turn brown, and you can't wear any sort of Halloween costume that has face paint/a mask/sleeves because you sweat yourself out of it. Nonetheless, I find it to be so much fun. I blame it on the "kid" in me.

A new month also means time for a new Currently:

Yeah, here in Florida we still have summer-like thunderstorms at random times of the day.

Anybody else ready for the election to be over?

Have you guys SEEN this thing?!

TidyMom is giving one away. Don't go enter...I WANT TO WIN! Unless you plan on winning and then giving it to me. =)

October means I get to read Stellaluna. I posted about it {here} last year.  
I totally cracked up rereading that one. 

Yeah sure, I could read it whenever I want because I'm the teacher, but it just goes so well with Halloween.  We also make a paper quilt that goes with it. So much fun! (More on the paper quilts tomorrow.)


Our Stellaluna paper quilt from 2010

Check out more Currentlies (change the y to an i and add 'es?) on Farley's blog.

I hope you've had a great first week of October!

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