Friday, July 27, 2012

Slow Down, Summer!

Yikes!  Why is the summer going so fast???  I feel like my to-do list gets longer and longer and the time to get it done is shorter and shorter!
Between out-of-town baseball tournaments and trying to restore some sort of organization to my chaotic house, I haven’t had much time to work on my editable newsletter templates.  I’m hopeful this will be the weekend I get them done!   I’ve used these for a couple of years and love them – I’m just changing out the graphics and tweaking a few things now.  I hope they’ll be worth the wait!
On another note, I thought it would be fun to tell you more about myself and link up with Mrs. Lemons and her Tell me more, tell me more! linky party at her blog Step Into Second Grade.
These are the top 8 things about me.  (I couldn’t come up with 10!) Confused smile
1.  First and foremost, I have four boys who I absolutely adore! They are 13, 11, 8, & 6 and keep me S-U-P-E-R busy.
This was taken last summer at our favorite beach/campground.  We have a trip planned there in August!  Yay!
2.  The other “boy” in my life is my dog-son, Jedi!  He is a Bichon Frise/Maltese mix and the smartest, cutest dog ever!  (OK, so maybe I’m a little biased.)  He is 2 years old and my first dog ever.  I wouldn’t trade him for the world!
Isn’t he precious??
3.  I love all things Star Wars (hence the dog named, Jedi)!  I’ve been obsessed since the day my dad took me to see The Empire Strikes Back when I was 8 years old!  I’ve seen every movie at least a dozen times!
star wars
4.  I llloooovvvveee coffee!  I have to have my coffee in the morning and then I am ready to start my day.  My favorite creamer is Almond Joy by International Delight and I was ecstatic when I saw that the new bottle no longer had “Limited Edition” printed on it!  LOVE IT!
5.  I enjoy running and am working my way back into it after 2 separate injuries sidelined me for almost 2 years!! Sad smile  I have to keep reminding myself to take it slow but that can be so frustrating sometimes!  I use this free app on my Android phone to help me track my runs:
6.  I love music and love to stream my playlists through Rhapsody.  I pay for the monthly subscription and use it on my Kindle Fire, Droid phone, and home computer.  I even use the Rhapsody app to listen to my playlists while I am running!
7.  My 2 favorite snack foods are Snyder’s Honey Mustard & Onion Pretzel Pieces and Lay’s Dill Pickle Flavored Potato Chips!  I can’t seem to get enough (which increases my need for #5 above!)
8.  Reading is one of my passions and I got a Kindle Fire this year and love it!  I always thought that I wouldn’t like the e-reader format because I like to be able to hold a book in my hands but I’m definitely getting used to it.  The best part is that I can carry a whole library of books and magazines with me everywhere!
Now head on over to the linky party to learn more about some wonderful bloggers and to link up yourself! Smile

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Fabulous Finds!

Hello all!  Yesterday I shared a sneak peek of some of the back-to-school things I found while shopping for anything but back-to-school.  :)

Today I wanted to share them in more detail.  Everything shown was just $1.00 each!

These are cardboard star trays that I'll use for turning in "3-star" work.  They are the perfect size for 8 1/2 x 11 paper.  Star Stickers in packs of over 600 for $1.00!  The rubber stamp says "Awesome!"  (a word that I use all the time!) and it also has stars on it for stamping "3-Star" work!

Mini erasers in the shapes of stars, frogs, & hearts to use as manipulatives in our Debbie Diller style Math WorkStations.

Alphabet & number puzzles that I'm going to add to our choices for "Waiting Work".

 I love using mini buckets for all sorts of things - sharpened/unsharpened pencils, namesticks, activity sticks, song sticks, crayons, etc.  I love these colors!

Foam hand shapes and "High Five" bookmarks with a monkey on them (I love monkeys!).  I haven't decided what I'm going to use the foam hands for, yet, but I have a few ideas I'm toying with.

 These are plastic multi-pocket file folders in turquoise & bright pink.  I think I might use these as organizers in my new Thirty-one organizing utility bag.  I ordered it last week and can't wait for it to get here!

 Mini pocket chart in purple.  I love mini pocket charts and use them in many different ways.  I already have them in red, blue, and green.  Now I have four different colors & this will help for organization at centers (each child will get their own color & I can now color-coordinate their other materials.)

 And last but not least - a dry-erase speech bubble and dry-erase markers (2/$1.00)!  A few ideas I have for this are to display our graphing question of the day, number of the day, letters/sight words of the many possibilities!

That's all for now.  I'm off to run errands and then it's my son's all star baseball game tonight.  He's the starting pitcher - I'm not nervous for him at all (if I keep telling myself that, it might actually be true!) Aaahhh! :\

Take care,

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

"Step Away from the Dollar Spot!"

These are the words I kept hearing in my head as I shopped at Target yesterday!!!  I really just went there for plant hooks & milk but who can resist the dollar deals?!  Here's a sneak peek of some of the deals I found:

Tomorrow I will elaborate - but for now I am heading to bed!  So.Very.Tired.

One more thing before I go - I'm so excited to have followers in the double digits!!  That might not seem like a big deal to you but to me it's FABULOUS!  I'm really trying to build up my blog and apparently my motto should be "Slow & steady wins the race!"

Have a great night!

Saturday, July 7, 2012

Don't Miss Out and Coming Soon!

Jessica at Mrs. Stanford's Class has an awesome giveaway to celebrate 500 followers!  It ends at Midnight EST and you won't want to miss it!  Click the graphic below to go there!  There are going to be lots of winners so hurry!  What are you waiting for??  Go, go, go!!!


I'm also excited to share my newest creations that will be coming soon - editable newsletter templates for each month of the year! I simply fill them in with important information that I want to share with the parents and they're ready to go!

Here's a sneak peek:

Stay Tuned...

Thursday, July 5, 2012

In Pictures and In Words Book Study Chapters 1-6

Whooweee!  Let me start by saying that it is H-O-T here!  Heat indices of 102????!!!!  In Michigan???!!!  And, no, it's not a dry heat! 
In the words of my 8 year old son, "Mom, I walk outside and I have sweat beads dripping off of me!  What is up with that?" 
I love summer and all but could really do without the humidity!  I'm just so grateful for central air & a swimming pool!  One good thing is that the heat has forced me to stay inside and finally get this blog post out that I started more than a week ago!  Better late than never, right?

I'm excited to be joining in on this book study:

It is being hosted by DeeDee Wills from Mrs. Wills Kindergarten.  Her blog is one of my favorites!  She has provided us with this great bookmark with guiding questions to use as we read.

Well, here goes....
Section One:  Illustration Study as a Foundation for Strong Writing
How might you explain to students that illustrating is composing?
With my kinderkids, this will be an easy thing to do since most of their beginning "writing" IS illustrating!  Something that I will find more difficult is changing my way of teaching "out of the illustrations."  I am totally guilty of this!  In the past I have always encouraged the children to do more writing than illustrating as the year goes on.  After reading this book, I am changing this way of thinking and am going to focus more on teaching "into illustrations" as a way of composing and adding details for those students who need it. 

How might your attitude toward writing affect your students' willingness to write?
Over the years, my style of teaching writing has undergone changes/additions but I have found that the children do the best work when I use a Writing Workshop.  I start with a minilesson and try to fill it with enthusiasm for my own writing and how excited I am to see what they are going to be working on.  The more I praise their efforts and point out the wonderful things I see them doing, the more they are willing to write.  If we occasionally have to miss a day of Writing Workshop, there are always groans from the kinderkids.  This always makes me feel good that they are eager to write!

What language might you use with your students to talk about reading like a writer, both as a writer of words and pictures?
My plan for this year is to incorporate many of the books that other teachers are suggesting into my daily read-alouds and Writing Workshop minilessons.  I love the idea of examining the illustrations closely to think about them as illustrators.  This is something I already do with the writing in the books and trying to get the children to think about it as an author would.  I make a big deal about how they are authors creating their own stories.  I'm excited to do this with illustrations to see how it affects the children's writing/illustrating that they compose!

Name several books (not previously mentioned in this text), you would gather for your classroom's units of study on illustration. 
This thinking point was a challenge for me because I am going to have to examine the books I use from a new point of view - focusing on the illustrations.  I also think it's difficult because my children's books are all at school and inaccessible to me right now and I'm a very visual person.  I need them in front of me to really look at them as an illustrator.

DeeDee Wills has graciously compiled a list of books that teachers are suggesting and it is available for download on her blog.   You can access it by clicking the picture below.

Book Lists.  

There are so many wonderful books listed - some new to me and some I have been reading for years and never thought of using them in my writing workshop.  Look out kinderkids, you are in for a treat this year!!!!

I hope my rambling didn't bore you too much!  Stay tuned for Chapter 7:  Ideas and Content and be sure to check out all the wonderful teachers who have linked up here to share their reflections.

Take care,