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Wednesday, January 23, 2013

D is for Donors

Please consider helping my students! Visit my page at, make a tax-deductible donation of any size, and use the match code INSPIRE to double your donation. The match code expires in 7 days!

I am asking for help funding a set of these:

Donations can get you ANYTHING from my Teachers Pay Teachers store. Leave me a comment or email to let me know you donated and I will send you your free choice from my store AND my Cow Valentines.
These Valentine's Day centers are a great choice! =)

Thank you in advance!

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Tuesday, January 22, 2013

E is for Extinct

**Warning: This post is rated PG-13 for some adult humor. Reader discretion is advised.**

Just a quick story to share the silliness that was today.

 I got a new student. They called from the office and asked someone to come get him. He said the "D" word and popped a girl in the mouth on his first day. No "honeymoon" period there I guess. Don't we all hope for that?!

Another darling snuck onto the iPad when he thought I wasn't looking. When he saw our ESE teacher and myself just watching him, he winked and waggled his eyebrows at us like a little smooth operator.

Two opposites there I tell you.

This morning we were talking about endangered animals which led to making a list of animals that are already extinct. Here is the conversation:

Me: What are some animals that are extinct?

Darling A: Dinosaurs!

Me: Dinosaurs! Yes!

Darling B: Wooly Mammoths!

Me: Wooly Mammoths! Yes!

 Darling C: Saber-Tooth Tiger!

Me: Saber-Tooth Tiger! Yes!

Darling D: Dildo Bird!

Me: Dildo Bird! Ye-----No! No no no no NO! Dodo Bird! Yes!

Seriously. I repeated it! I totally didn't mean to.

There were no little snickers from the children so I don't think she (or any of them) actually know what that is.

However, my new intern found it to be quite hilarious. The lessons she is getting are invaluable. =)

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Tuesday, January 15, 2013

A is for Awesome App

Just a quick post to share a useful app I recently learned about. My school is lucky enough to have a lot of technology and we got new iPad minis before Christmas break. We had a sharing session where we shared some apps that we use in our classrooms.

My tech specialist shared Apps Gone Free with us.

This is a free app that tells you about more FREE apps. As I like to say...FREE is for ME!

This app is is by {This is my favorite AppAdvice page because it has categories and I love categories.}

So you download this app and it tells you PAID apps that have gone FREE temporarily. Here is an example of one from Thursday:

I recommend checking it daily or every other day because it sure is a bummer when you find an app you like but it expired before you could get it free.

Check it out and let me know if you love it like I do. =)

Happy app-ing!

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Monday, January 7, 2013

W is for Writing & Whew!

Whew! We started the 2nd half of the year today with a teacher work day. I did more thinking today than I did in the entire two week break. I did this much school work over break, but I did start this project...

You may have seen me lament about it on facebook.

Yes, it's A Cupcake for the Teacher's Writing Center Starter Kit. I absolutely love it. It just wasn't getting as much love as it could sitting on my computer so I decided to put it together. And Paisley decided that it was the best place in the entire house to lay.

Anyway...I got a smaller version of a tri-fold backboard at Wal-Mart. Teri used a regular sized foam backboard, but with my limited classroom space, I decided to go smaller. My Wal-Mart only had the cardboard version, but foam versions in the smaller size are also available.

Because the back of mine (the first one above) felt like wasted space, I painted it a beautiful teal with some leftover acrylic paint. Yeah...I was on break and it was a rainy day...

I printed almost everything in the middle of the board in half-size, cut it ALL out, and laminated. You can start to see why this project was saved for over the break.

I decided to use two examples for each type so that my students can see what is considered acceptable writing. I've got a WIDE range of abilities in my room.

I'm happy with the way it turned out.

On to the other side!

I used Hooty's "Rate Your Writing" examples for the middle.

I adapted A Year of Many First's writing process pencil from her Writer's Workshop Mega Pack (so worth having!) to fit my other writing materials. You can click {HERE} to get mine, but please consider Lyndsey's pack. It's FABULOUS!

Finally, I used the Hamburger Rubric that I have on TPT in my Hamburger Writing packet.

I'm going to add some titles with my letter stickers and have my students help me rate the middle examples. We will probably draw a line to the rating they decide on. I love these added visuals for my students to refer to during writing.

This was quite the project with the painting, printing, laminating, cutting, arranging, dog chasing, and gluing. However, I am so glad I finally finished it. I hope it gave you some inspiration to spruce up your writing center.

I'm off to sleep now...the darlings come back tomorrow!

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Wednesday, January 2, 2013

M is for Music

I hope you've all had a happy start to your new year. I don't start back until January 7. It's a teacher work day so I can't complain. During my break, I've had the chance to catch up on my blog reading and am excited that I've found some new ones.

I was also excited when a new one found me!

Dan from The Classroom DJ sent me an email asking me to check out a site he created for his wife. She teaches 2nd grade (she must be awesome!) and loves to use music in her classroom. He wanted to help her simplify that. Lucky for us, we get the help, too!

The Classroom DJ uses Spotify to create playlists based on songs teachers can incorporate into their days.

He challenges us to make some music resolutions for the new year:
1) Have music playing for your students as they enter the classroom each morning. Love this!

2) Play a 60 second clip of a song each time you are ready to change subjects. Could do this!

3) End each day with tunes. Would have to break this one in...

4) Reward them with music. Already do this!

5) Download Spotify. Done! It's easy so peasy. Click {here} to go to his tutorial on Spotify.
If you can use iTunes, you can use Spotify. In my opinion, it's easier. Did I mention it's free?! You don't need to sign up for the subscriptions (unless you want to!) to use it.

I love the idea of playing music in the morning. We open our classroom doors at 8:30, but the first bell doesn't ring until 8:40 and tardy bell at 8:50. I can hear myself saying things like, "Darling! You need to get here before Michael Jackson comes on" or "Good job always coming in and being unpacked before Justin Beiber comes on." That is if I let Justin in my playlist...

I also like the idea of using song clips for transitions. Right now, I use a timer for transitions in the morning, but I KNOW one of my little darlings would like me to use music instead. I think I will work on a "Transitions" playlist on Spotify. The Classroom DJ suggests "She Blinded Me with Science" and also has a playlist for clean-up songs. Awesome.

I love the end of the day suggestion of the theme song from Mission Impossible...I just think that one may be a little "too fun" for some of my darling boys. The concept is smart though.

My darlings beg me to play I'm a Smarty and I Know It and Jannah Bolin Sings The 7 Habits. I love playing these, but I have to go through the blockers to get to YouTube. I can start to reward them with some songs they love. Ugh...Justin Beiber! I think the easiest way to do that is to request a playlist from The Classroom DJ. Don't all good DJs take requests? Saves me some time!

I will also try to use the "Piano Songs" playlist he's created for Writing time.

The are so many possibilities! Click on the green links throughout this post for ideas.

I encourage you to try out The Classroom DJ and get Spotify on your computers and smart phones if you don't have it already. Make sure to "Follow" The Classroom DJ so you can get updates straight to your email. Think of some requests for him so we can all benefit! 

Good luck to those of you going back to school this week. May 2013 be your best year yet!

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