May 2012 - Queen of the First Grade Jungle

Summer is here!

I have been without students since the 17th (Holy Cow- has it really been 2 weeks already?!?!), but since we had several days of PD- summer feels like it is just beginning!

As many of you know- my hubby is gone during the week, so we really pack our weekends full of family time! This past weekend was extra special with an added day, and we took FULL advantage of it!

We started out the day by going on a hike.  We have these fabulous trails about 20 minutes from our house.  The idea was to go on about an hour hike and then head home for lunch and naps.  Well Dora and Diego (as Nash and Emmie tagged themselves on our adventure) were being so good that we kept going and going.  We ended up getting lost for  hiking a total of 4 miles. 
 Nash, Emmie, and the walking stick that was abandoned after we realized how much slower it made us :)
 I promise I was there too-just happen to be taking ALL the pictures!
 By the waterfall that was not so waterfallish.
 Here is Sassy Britches teaching her daddy how to properly tip-toe as to not wake the bears!
 What a fabulous alternative to a day at the pool!
 After the proper amount of rest, we hit up the County Fair! OH my! My husband commented that it was even more interesting than a trip to Walmart (meaning what people deemed appropriate clothing to wear into   public).
We are still at the age that we stick pretty closely to the kiddie rides. Although- I was given a little taste for what we are in for over the years. Nash and Emmie wanted to go on EVERY ride no matter how tall or fast it went. 
 In fact, we accidently missed the sign that tells you how tall you have to be to get on the ride (more about that sign in a minute). Oops. Not my greatest parenting decision I have ever made.
Then Nash decided he was big enough to go on the swings by himself. WHO is this grown boy- WHAT happened to my baby?  
I literally felt sick watching him on this ride, but he LOVED every second of it!

 Best part of the day- watching Nash and Emmie have so much fun together! Sometimes it is so hard to see through the bickering to see how much they love and enjoy each other!
Oh my- in about 12 or 13 years- this is my worst nightmare- when they start driving!
Sibling love!

Do people really EAT this stuff??? I really wanted to buy some just to see what it is!
I couldn't help it! The teacher in me about choked when I saw this sign... REALLY?  Not one person in the process of making this sign (or the dozens of others JUST like this) noticed the incorrect usage of "to."

 And last but not least- look what crazy sweet Mommy won for her children! At least it holds of the requests for a dog for a little while :)

If you haven't already- join in on my giveaway in which you could win 11 units from some Rock Star Bloggers! 


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*Big Giveaway. Big. Huge* Posted

1,000 really???

My earliest "blogging followers moment" (yes I just invented that term) was when I checked my blog and flipped because I had 14 followers. 14!

About a week ago I emailed some of my blogging buddies to see if they would help me out with a giveaway-  as I could see my number s.l.o.w.l.y. creeping closer to that beloved four digit number. As always blogging teachers prove to be the most generous and helpful people on the planet! As a result of their kindness, I have quite a FABULOUS giveaway to introduce to you all! We somewhat loosely went with a back to school theme- as in *things that it would be fantastic to have in August or September when you go back to school*. The giveaway includes:

**p.s. I lied- I said there would be 10 "things"- there are actually 11 "things", but I have a feeling you will forgive me.**

Rachelle's Substitute Survival Kit:

Natalie's Scramble boards:

Michelle's Reader's Workshop Recording Sheets:

Your CHOICE from Reagan's store:

Jodi's First Day of School Book:

2 of Hadar's Sight Word Packets:

  sight word writing practice too cover.jpg

Jena's New Unit:

and a basic BLOG DESIGN (yes- I know what I typed:) ) Jena did my design and I could not be happier with it!

Christie's Wild About School Literacy and Math Activities:

and an item of your CHOICE from my shop:

Queen TPT Button

Here is how you enter... PLEASE leave one comment for each entry:
1. One entry for being followers of all 8 blogs -which I am SURE you already are :).
2. One entry for following all 9 stores on TPT.
3. One BONUS entry for posting  my 1,000 Giveaway graphic and writing a blurb about this giveaway on your blog/fb.

Rachelle and Natalie from What the Teacher Wants and Rachelle's Store and Natalie's Store
Michelle from Fabulous in First and TPT store
Jodi from Fun in First and TPT store
Hadar from Miss Kindergarten and TPT store
and  my shop

This Giveaway is closed!

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Big Giveaway. Big. Huge

... First person to comment below and tell me what movie my blog post title mostly comes from can have an item of their choice from my TPT store!

I am finishing up the final details of my giveaway!  Please come back tomorrow to see how to win 10 things!!! I say "things" because they are not all units (hint,hint- one "thing" may include a blog design!).

I am off to enjoy the County Fair with my fam- you haven't lived until you have gone to the County Fair in small town Kentucky :)

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What is going on in Blog Land?

My favorite thing about blogging so far is the friendships I have been able to make.  It sounds crazy to say, but I really do believe I have made some genuine friends through the computer. Hey if says 1 in 5 marriages starts online, who says we can't make great friends that way too!
Forgive me- I have been in a training all day and my brain is slightly fried.

Any who- the other day I joined a FB group for teachers (thanks Hadar!) and someone responded to a post of mine by saying she had spent 12 years teaching in my small town.  After a few conversations, we realized that Michelle taught at the same school I student taught at, and we have a few mutual friends! Total small world moment!  After finding her blog, I spent a long time looking through her previous posts and was very impressed! Check out this fantastic freebie below:

Go check Michelle out for yourself- lots of great ideas!

No Monkey Business

Next we have Lisa from Learning is Something to Treasure. I happened upon her from a suggestion by Hadar again (sheesh that girl is a wealth of knowledge).

Learning is Something to Treasure

Lisa is new to blogging, but already a pro at this freebie business. Click on the pictures to check out her shop.

My phone literally just buzzed to let me know that she just posted 2 more fantastic freebies!

 And last but not least Mrs. Wheeler asked if I would help her out on a giveaway and of course I said yes!
Mrs. Wheeler's First Grade Tidbits

 She is giving away my Surf's Up literacy activities so go check it out!

Enjoy your stroll through Blog Land this evening- I am off to watch So You Think You Can Dance -LOVE that show- I secretly wish I could behalf of Nappy Tabs- and only a true lover of the show understands that reference :) 


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**Teacher kid pressure**

As most of us are transitioning out of our August to June jobs (teacher), many of us pick up our year round job full-time (Mommy).  In case you haven't been a follower long enough to know- I have two sweet angels of my own. Let me rephrase that- they are sweet angels- most of the the time.

See I have proof that they love each other!!

And then they are times when they are down right stinkers. But whose kids aren't??

Nash is 4 years old and entering his second year at Montessori. Nash is your typical first born. Usually a pleaser- rule follower-Momma's boy-sentimental.

Emmie is a new 3 year old who will be entering her first year at Montessori in the fall.  Emmie is your typical second child. Wild-opinionated-spunky-creative-constant source of entertainment.

I chose to put them in the same class next year for a few reasons. One- I love the teacher. Two- I wanted to take advantage of the morning-freshness time. Three- I wanted them to learn to be peers and not just siblings. 

As a teacher I have mixed views about keeping siblings together, but for us this just feels right (my mother-in-law tends to disagree with me but I think that is part of her job :). 

Ahem- Back to the real point of the post. I feel a lot of pressure. Like tons of pressure- for my kids to be ready for kindergarten when the time comes for that big leap.  There is an automatic label placed on teachers' kids- with-it/smart/got-it-all-together. I am guilty of the assumption myself.  I am not the only one right???  Do you all feel these pressures about your kids?

So last year I pushed Nash with reading and letters. We had always read every night, done puzzles, and all that good stuff, but I was really pushing letters on him.  He resisted and fought me on it.  After thinking about it, I realized I needed to back off. 

Now that I am they are a little bit older, we have things figured out a little better. 
I set the timer for 30 minutes at some point throughout the day and we call it "Letter Time."  Letter Time can include anywhere from alphabet puzzles to coloring sheets to songs to handwriting papers. Here is some proof-

 As a first grade teacher-I use the term "developmentally appropriate" ALL.THE.TIME.  Like almost as much as terms like "engaged" and "focused."  But I don't think I fully understood the term until it applied to my own children.  I think my kids will help me figure it out, and I will try my darndest to be patient and loving through the whole process. 

On that note- please point me in the direction of your favorite preschool and toddler sites!  And just in case you are living under a rock and haven't heard of Annie at Moffatt Girls here is a link to her site. She has fantastic ideas and resources!!
The Moffatt Girls 


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Classrooms that inspire and new Alphabet Cards

I am already getting ready for next year.
 I can't help it. I am a teaching/font/clip art addict. HELP.
My school sets us up for this "getting ready for next year problem."  Our kids find out who their teachers for the next school year are on THE.LAST.DAY.OF.SCHOOL. 

Yes- some of you still have weeks of school left, and I already have my finalized roster for next year (minus new students). Crazy right?

With that in mind, I have made a list of things that I want to make/buy for my classroom next year. Shhh- don't tell the hubby because all he sees are dollar signs :)

I LOVE looking at classroom pictures.  There are two classrooms that I am especially drawn to-

Kristen's Classroom:

Jessica's classroom:

I love how incredibly CLEAN (as in clutter-free) and organized these classrooms are. I also like the black.  Don't get me wrong I love color, but I think the black helps the colors you do have stick out more. 

Enough rambling- so to go along with my current theme (Jungle- with cool colors- blues, purples, blacks) I created a new set of Alphabet cards for above my SmartBoard. While I was on that kick- I went ahead and created some with different backgrounds for different themes! Each packet has two different color backgrounds:

If you are crazy like me  (and I say that with all the love in the world) check them out in my TPT store:
Queen TPT Button


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