Wednesday, December 3, 2014

Worksheet Alternatives & Wordless Wednesday

Happy Hump Day!!
I am linking up with Miss DeCarbo at Sugar and Spice with Wordless Wednesday. 
My firstes are working on place value this week, but are really struggling with number order and place value.  I started on Monday with a place value activity during math centers, but decided I needed to put the brakes on today!  We needed to back up and work some more on place value whole group!
So, I pulled my December Center cards and had my firsties pull out their dry erase boards.  Each child got a different card so it was a great way for me to see who truly understood the activity.  After a quick check, the cards were passed clockwise and we started again!  So much more fun than a worksheet!!
So my question on this not so "Wordless" Wednesday is "What are some activities that you do to replace worksheets?"
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Sunday, November 30, 2014

Cyber Monday Sale and a FREEBIE

Have you heard the news?! TpT is having a Cyber Monday Sale! My entire store is 20% off  TODAY through Tuesday!  Use the code TPTCYBER on Monday and Tuesday for an EXTRA 10% OFF! 

Thank you, Rachel Lamb, for the fabulous graphic! 

I have been spending my Sunday leaving feedback on PAST purchases to earn CREDITS towards FUTURE purchases (like midnight!!) and adding to my WISHLIST!!
AS wish list wasn't already SUPER long!!  So now I need to prioritize for Monday's purchases in order to leave feedback to earn MORE credits for Tuesday's purchases!!
Don't you LOVE Krista Walden's graphics?  My wish list is filled with so many products from her store!
Does anyone want to join me in a SUPPORT GROUP for TpT addicts?
Ok, so let's talk about some of the things you HAVE to HAVE to HAVE this holiday season!

I am JUMPING into the word of Math Centers TOMORROW!  I have tried before, but we only have an hour for Math and our Go Math lessons take up most of the hour.  I have decided to reduce the Go Math lesson and start this week with ONE center rotation a day.  By Friday, my students will complete all 5 lessons! 
I worked over Thanksgiving break on December Centers {Math for Firsties}.  My firsties LOVE hands on centers and adding a Christmas theme to them makes then a win-win!!
Some fun, engaging math activities include Number Order from 1-120, Place Value with Tens and Ones, Addition with Sums to 20, Skip Counting with 2's, 5's and 10's and Measure Up with Inches and Centimeters. 
I will be using these centers in my classroom over the next two weeks and you can be sure I will be sharing our experience with math centers with you all!

Here's a peek at what's on my wishlist for this fun sale! 
You can read all about Can't Catch Me! over at The Applicious Teacher!  Leigh has a great blog post showcasing the5 ELA activities, 7 math activities and additional pintables!  I can't wait to use this with my class.

 Holiday Flip Flap books are the perfect addition to your  ELA, Science and Social Studies interactive notebooks!  You should head on over to Amanda's blog, Mrs. Richardson's Class, to find some more adorable ideas:)
While you are over at my TpT store, be sure to grab this FREEBIE!
My friends are having a sale too, be sure to stop by their pages to check out what goodies they've got on sale AND what's in their cart this holiday season! 

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Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Finding Joy

I would describe myself as a joyful person.  I try to see the good in people and things.  I tend to see the glass as half FULL! 
So while my preacher was preaching on Sunday about finding joy, I started to tune him out.  After all, I have a good life... I simply adore my husband, I have 2 healthy boys, and we really have everything we NEED.  So when life hands you lemons, you make LEMONADE!

BUT then God whispered in my ear.  "How about school Tammy?"

I have to say this has been the most challenging year in my eighteen years of teaching.  I have questioned so many things this year.  This doubt I have has come as a result of school, county and state mandates.  I have been saddened, angered and have probably felt every gamut of emotion in between this year.

Many days, I wonder if I will make it through the year.  Then I think, if I do, what can I do next year? What can I do for the same salary that I would like to do?  I use to think I would teach until I retire.  I LOVE TEACHING!  I truly feel I was called to teach.  It is WHO I AM! 

While walking in the office last week, someone said something that made me laugh.  My book keeper called from around the corner, "Is that Tammy laughing?" and I answered "Yes." and apologized if I was being too loud.  She replied, "It is the FIRST time this year I have heard you laugh."

REALLY??  I know it has been a hard year, but have I become that "glass is empty" person? 

So when my pastor said, "Are you joyful?", was that God whispering in my ear again?  What to do now?   Pastor John had a list of practical steps to take in finding JOY. These are going to be printed, front and center in my life!

I do not know what the future holds.  What I do know is teaching is a HUGE part of who I am.  JOY IS MY RESPONSIBILITY!!  I am working on being joyful DAILY!

I don't usually share my faith on my blog, but I know I am not alone in this.  I have heard so many teachers share they been broken and worn this year.  We have felt the joy being sucked out of our classrooms.  However, JOY IS MY RESPONSIBILITY!  If you would like to hear the sermon in its entirety, go HERE to Journey Christian Church.  The actual sermon is called The Promise that Calls for Celebrating. 

Children are so good at finding joy in the little things.  Let's take back out classrooms and find joy in the little things!
 Wishing you and your families a Happy Thanksgiving!
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Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Wordless Wednesday: GROOVE Book

I am linking up with Miss DeCarbo at Sugar and Spice with...
I just heard about the GROOVE Book app!!  You upload 100 photos for $2.99 a month and a PRINTED book with perforated pictures are delivered to your door!!
That is an AMAZING DEAL!!!
(Note- super busy at Shutterfly bought them out this week!!!)
What do you do with the pictures on your phone?
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Sunday, November 2, 2014

Handmade and Homegrown for the Holidays

Halloween decorations are put away and Thanksgiving and fall decorations are all the craze at my house at the moment.  With that being said, BAM!
Photo: Are you ready? #Jax
If you ask anyone who knows me, they will tell you I LOVE the Christmas season! I try not to rush through the Thanksgiving season, but truth be told my Christmas tree is up before Thanksgiving begins!  So, you know I was excited to be joining in my fellow Florida bloggers with Holidays Around the Blog Linky. Thank to Amy at Learning Lessons with Mrs, Labrasciano for organizing this linky! I have to say I am a bit late to the party, but better late than never!
One of my favorite parts of the holiday season is crafting homemade gifts with my students! Students love to create homemade ornaments for their tree! The hardest part is keeping them in the packages and not telling their parents what they made!

This Santa handprint is a favorite from one year to the next! I love pulling out my son's project from year ago and seeing how he's grown.
Fingerprint snowman ornaments are another tried and true favorite.  After I use their thumbprint to make 3-4 snowmen around the ornament, we let them dry for a day or two.  Students are then able to add snowmen details like eyes, a carrot nose, mouth, stick arms and a scarf to their snowmen with different colored Sharpie markers.  They turn out adorable:)

And what kind of teacher would I be if I didn't pull out a little sequins and glitter during the holiday season?  That in itself make this the top pick for my students! 

So what do we do with all this cuteness? Why we take a walking field trip to our local Christmas tree farm of course!  We walk about a mile up the road (which feels like about five miles to my firsties on the way back!) and enjoy a hayride, a petting zoo, a maze and we cut down our own classroom tree!  There is nothing like the smell of a fresh tree in the classroom in December!

Our final project is a teacher directed painting that my firsties draw, outline with a black Sharpie to make it pop and then water color. I found Dollar Store frames to complete the gift before we wrap them.  I know this came from another fabulous blogger, but I can't find the post.  If you know where it came from, please let me know so I can give credit:)

In the spirit of giving, I have teamed up with some blogging buddies for a super fun giveaway including a HUGE Amazon gift card!! Remember I said I am late to the party??  Well, hurry up and enter the rafflecoptor! It ends at midnight on Sunday. 

a Rafflecopter giveaway
You can check out other holiday ideas in the linkup below!

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Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Collaboration is Key

Collaboration is key for my teaching practice!  I love sharing and listening to others at school, across my county, in Florida and across the US.  Teachers have so much to share and so little time to share it.  Sometimes we just have to set time aside and take the time. Yes, the papers to grade will still be there and may be dust in my house, but I feel refreshed!
Our school and county are supporting teachers and not only encouraging collaboration, but finding creative ways to plan for additional time for collaboration.  It does call for a little extra planning for the teachers, but it is nice to have extra time to plan and collaborate on instruction as well as assessment. 
I have been blessed to live in sunny Florida as there is an abundance of bloggers here!  It is encouraging and comforting to see what others are doing across the state.  We can relate to each other, share stories, experiences, frustrations and accomplishments.  It has become such a support system!
What is more fun sharing with these fabulous bloggers and teachers? A meet up at Sea World where Florida teachers get in FREE!  Yes, you heard me right! A school id, pay stub and your teaching certificate is what you need for your FREE annual pass! #
Teacher bloggers and Teachers Pay Teachers has encouraged collaboration with so many.  That's why we all get read blogs, isn't it?  A new idea, connections and a quest for innovative approaches is what brings us all together. 
Last weekend I went to New York to meet other teachers from across the country.  We had time to sight see, enjoy dinners together, attend a Brain Pop training, and visit the TpT offices to meet the faces behind the scene!  We even had time for a show on Broadway.  #tpttakesnyc
There were definitely lots of teacher superstars there!  Do you see any faces you recognize?  All I can say is I am re-energized, inspired and ready to take on my firsties! It was an amazing weekend.
So tell me,  do you take the time to collaborate?  I do hope you can find the time.  I know it makes me a better teacher as my teaching practice evolves.
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Sunday, October 12, 2014

Pumpkin Project and a Freebie

A pumpkin project is such a fun way to foster the home-school connection for your students! Our first grade team has done a pumpkin project for several years. This year we are taking a walking field trip to the pumpkin patch to learn about pumpkins and to select out pumpkins!  So exciting:)
This project is as simple as 1-2-3!
1- Send home the parent letter explaining the project.
2- Assign the planning page where students can work with their families to create a supply list and a diagram to help assist with the creation of their character.
3. Students complete their pumpkin project sheet at home.  They will need to identify the main character, setting and details from the story.  There are different versions available depending on your grade level or student ability levels.

The best part is when students bring in their completed pumpkin projects to share with the class! Here are a few from last year!

Pete the Cat
 Henny Penny
I hope you join in the fun this year.  I have added this unit to TpT as a FREEBIE!
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