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Wednesday, November 30, 2011

I Was Destined to be a Squirrel (and a Freebie)

thank you all so much for your yay-hoos and "hollas" on my eval and my door! You are all so sweet:)

Update on Red and her door-mates.....they still do not have legs! They are creepy floating ghosts! I was going to get it done this morning while my boys were making CHA CHING from me over the paper....but I got cornered by "HER". You know who it is, that one precious colleauge whom everyone tries to NOT get caught up with when you have something important to do.....or when you have to pee really bad and you have 3 minutes til you pick up your brood, or when you just aren't in the mood!
"She" is in every school, we all have one ...bad news ladies....if you can't think of who "she" is in your's you! Just kidding!!!!

Anyhoo...."she" consumed my morning, so Red and the crew "hovered" on the door all day!( I hope they can "land" tomorrow.)

I rec'd  an apology letter from "--------" this morning for the glasses. And she returned them..... Although she returned them in the wrong order, so he was unable to read the letter!  ha ha ha BUt then he did AFTER he got his glasses back!


I had a couple of ladies ask me about that reflection letter that was in a post and a couple of emails asking me to elaborate on my behavior chart that I am so thankful I am putting that up here. The images are from Microsoft Office 2008 that came with my Mac, I cannot take credit for the clipart....but I do take pride in the way I used it .

Yes, my final product IS large....but you could modify it if you like it. And could really switch it up. The reason I created mine as large as I did (in the I am so THankful Post) was because it accentuated the positive part of everyday being new, being able to talk about what has happened, taking ownership for their own actions....the list goes on.....I am attempting to link and add from google doc:

Behavior Reflection Letter
Weather for WIndows

For the reflection letter...if a child is anything other than "sunny" by the last hour of our day.....he or she completes this. The blank after "Today was_________" is filled with their weather for the day! and then you can understand the rest I am sure.....(and there are some who only write 1 letter, ever)

And now for something so amazing, I mean really, I am posting so late because I have been on the phone telling everyone about this!

(You will be fortunate enough to get the short version)

I was in a box in the office closet that has not been opened since we moved here 8 years ago.(the box, not the closet) I kind of knew what was in it....some of the junk precious memories from my attic in the old house that had once been in my  parent's attic that they insisted I remove forever ago.....
The box was in my way because I was looking for something else, and if you read my previoius post, I have the attn span of a gerbil, so I started going through it.

My rattle, my Baby Beans doll and my diaper stacker (yes they made those 38 years ago) were in the box. This is my diaper stacker:
It is has only been in the box FOREVER. Can you see the design? Let me zoom in for you (you are going to FREAK OUT!)

I WOKE THE MR UP AND MADE HIM LOOK AT IT! I still can't believe it! Almost 40 years ago, my mom was in store in GA and saw this and bought it! IT'S MISS SQUIRRELS!!!!!

I just can't get over it!  I joke about the name all the time, but this is just nuts (pun intended)!

I tried to show and  tell a very groggy Mr Squirrels how we were just meant to be! but he asked me to turn the light out and not forget to set the coffee pot up for the morning.......

I am taking it to school tomorrow and showing it to my class and my team....and then I am going to probably end up paying one of the boys to make legs for the people on my door!


Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Support team?

Good evening, muchachas!

Does your school have a support team? Maybe it goes by another name, but it is a group of teachers who meet and discuss ways to help individual students who are struggling. We have to fill out what we call "The Blue Folder" and you recommend that the team meets to help you. (Sort of like a "tribal council" for 7 year olds- "cept we aren't allowed to vote anyone off). So you go through the hoops and red tape and you do all you can to see if "testing" is an option for one of your sweeties.

We do.

And I think I am going to  recommend myself. I am going to have one of my neighboring teachers fill out a "blue Folder" on me and  put myself out there so they can meet and decide if I need further testing.I have seriously lost my seriously- it's gone...if you come across it, please put it in the nearest mailbox and it will be returned to the owner!

We are supposed to decorate our doors for AR kickoff week...I have no problem with that- Our grade level voted (actually, I felt slightly bullied into the idea, but on paper it looked like a vote) and we are all doing Red Hen or GIngerbread Man, Three Little Pigs, etc....I chose Red Riding Hood.

My door is the door that all 900 children (and teachers) see EVERYDAY because I am the door right across from the cafe where they all line up to go I always feel a little pressure when it comes to my displays and I end up making a ton of work for myself!

It started out simple enough....found some cute pics, and I thought "Hey , it will be cool if I don't color it, but instead layer it with colored construction and scrapbooking paper for depth and dimension."

OMG! Then I thought "Hey, what if it is all 3-D-ish and stands out from the wall!"

Then I thought "Hey, this closet with my construction paper in it is a MESS! I can't start a project like this until I straighten it up...

so I pulled all of it out.

Holy Crapazoli, Batman! It is 3:30pm what are you thinking?!?!?!

And then I thought, "Hey, why are there sooooo many different shades of these colors.....I can't start until I have organized them!"

Good Gravy! Why are there so many shades of orange!?!?! (It is now 4:30pm)

And then I thought "Hey, dummy, this has to be finished by Friday, you have a Math test to create, a Data Chat tomorrow, you have to type up the minutes from the Leadership Meeting this morning, you are in charge of Secret Santa, (and so on and so forth....) SO GET ON THE BALL LADY AND QUIT THINKING SO MUCH!"

So this is the pic that I took at 8:00pm tonight:

Almost done, when I go in in the morning, I have to make feet and a few flowers for the bottom.

(Pay special attn to the little guys at the Woodsmans feet)...hee hee!
The Mr asked where the "paw print" was bc it looks like Blue's house.

Then I thought Red's Basket of flowers looked dopey so I sat down and made these:
Very cutie patootie....and not too difficult after I made 15 of them that looked like doo-doo!

 And when all of that was done I had to clean up that huge mess that was on the floor- but before I could start I thought "Hey, I should check my email!" (Dumb idea! I am going to copy and paste the actual words that were in an email from a parent):

Hi Mrs. Squrriels,
I wanted to know if the glasses "-----" brought home from school were actually hers?  She said she got them out of the treasure box, but she was acting so sheepish about it that I thought maybe she took them from a class mate or something.
I just wanted to make sure they were truely hers b/c if they are not then some poor kid can't see and "---------" is stealing which will have to be dealt with.
Really? They are prescription glasses!!!!!!! Why would I have prescription glasses in my treasure box?!??!?! I'm getting low on funds, but geesh!

At this point it is getting closer to nine, I am pooped, my room is a  mess, there is a child out there tonight who cannot see, and none of the characters on my door have feet.... I decided that I was done for the day. 

I wrote back the mom, put a sign on my door that said "project in progress- no need to vacuum tonight", locked my door and came home. And then I showed the picture to my boys and bribed them both ($5 each) to put all that paper away in the morning. I made a cup of coffee, put on my slippers and logged into my bloggy world.  
And quite frankly- I no longer care if my oranges are mixed up....!

Monday, November 28, 2011

"An Eval, a Christmas Wish and Pac-Man all walk into a bar..."

First, Whew!
How glad are you that today is OVER!?!?!

I have 18 students- 10 of them had to write a reflection letter today~ it was a madhouse, I tell ya! And it was some of my golden ones too.

But I smiled and I laughed and I enjoyed my day...why? Because at 1:05pm I had my Post Conference for that eval that I had 2 hours before the's how that went:

I was sooooo nervous! I was hoping that I would come down with a case of malaria or explosive diarrhea (really) or maybe a firstie would vomit on me so I would have to go home. Man, I DID NOT want to walk in that office.

I really like the new PAL-but she does make me really, really, really a little nervous. I did my first three years with those ton of evals with my first PAL, and the turnstile of ASST PALS we have had in the past with no problem..... I have no idea why she makes me so jittery.

OK, remember the Let's be greedy and take all the money    Race to the Top thing I told you about? Well this was my first one for the new eval system. The rubric for the instructional one is three pages FRONT AND BACK! and I am not kidding! There was a lot of preparation for this one.

And I was determined to stick to my guns  and do what I do- not the fluffy for show stuff. And I did. It was a great lesson! And I hit all the points I was "apost" to (I love when my kiddos write that in their journals).... so even though I felt good about it, there were still those things that made me when "Quinton" spun himself around UPSIDE DOWN in his chair with his feet straight up in the air while I was teaching.....and when "Jamaraqui" went to the bathroom and while he was waiting for nature to take it's course decided to start singing "Tonight, tonight, there's a party on the rooftop top of the world" in our small tile bathroom with wonderful acoustics.....

(At that particular moment I was pretty sure that aliens had taken all of my children at lunch and replaced them with evil beings from another planet) ! All I could do was watch her type away feverishly on her laptop and think about which factory I was going to apply at this summer.

But I went in today with my post conference notes waiting for the worst, while hoping for the best,  and it was AWESOME!

I got all threes and fours (3s are where we are "apost" to be and 4s are way better! Actually on the 12 points of the Instructional Rubric, I had 7 fours!!!)

She loved my rapport with the children. I kept them engaged and active (they were actively engaging in watching the circus act and listening to the Top 40 from the crapper), but they were all working!  I was so relieved!

So when I picked them up from PE we read an extra chapter of Junie B. and I set the timer for 15 mins and let them each share a craft basket! It was beautiful!

I even stayed way later than I normally do so that I can work on  decorating my door (will post details about that tomorrow).

Now for the Christmas Wish...I posted two goofy squirrel pics last night so I thought I would wait until today and I am adding it to this one ....I can tell right now that if there is a bloggy jail, I will end up there for more than one post in a day.....too many things go on in my head at once to remember all that I wanted to say the first time. And sometimes if I don't say it (or write it) when it is right is lost forever!

So here is the first thing on my Christmas list:

Found it on Pinterest.... I want it and I will wear it every Thursday!!!!
Is that not atrocious!!! I am pretty convinced that the designer of this sweater is either married to or related to the "squirrel-on-a-nut-candy-dish-guy"! (see Squirrels Gone Wild post)

And finally, this is where Pac Man comes in:

There was a "ruckus" before lunch today over in the reading corner....lots of laughter....uncontrollable know the sound.....the one that means no one in the reading corner is reading!
So I go over to get in on the joke break it up and "Jamaraqui" (yes, the potty crooner) informs me that if you put one finger in your ear and while it is in there, scratch it with a finger from the other hand- it sounds like the game Pac Man.....really- this is what they were I told them this was not the time, go wash your hands, get back to reading.....and then I headed back over to my desk.....

where I pretended to pick something up off the floor on the other side and I stuck one finger in my ear, scratched it, and SON OF A BISCUIT EATER!!!! It sounds JUST like Pac Man when he is chomping......(I'll wait while you try it) ........tick, tock, tick, tock....

Ok, do three things for me please.....give me a "hip hip hurray" in your head for my eval, google and find out where I can get that  #@&%* sweater (ha ha ) and go show someone the finger in the ear trick (and if they are under 15 - explain who pac man is)!!!

Have a great night! I am off to TPT to do some shopping!

Sunday, November 27, 2011

This will be my look when I have stopped listening to someone!

(I promise to post something with a purpose tomorrow....but right now, these squirrels are just cracking me up!)
"I can't hear you!!!"

This will be my new look when I am freaking out about something!

Guys! Guys! Listen.. Come on Guys! GUYS!

Saturday, November 26, 2011

New Look! New Button! Same ole Chatter!

Hello my stuffed bloggy friends!
I ate entirely too much....and it took w-a-y too long! I could only chew on the left side of my mouth! But I suffered through the pain and made sure that I was able to eat as much as I could!(This is me after I finished eating) har har!

I did get out of the kitchen though....because of the "throbbing" really did hurt kind of REALLY BAD! (I'm such a stinker!)

We went around the table and my beautiful children made me cry! We do the "what are you thankful for" around the table before anyone can eat. Each of them was very serious and sweet and everyone was thankful for family.

Now I don't want to assume anything, but after dinner, we all go through the Black Friday ads and the children let the rest of the family know what is on their list....I am wondering if they have made the connection from "I'm so thankful for YOU" to "BUY ME THIS!!!" (They are definitely my children!)

You may have noticed the new look! I was surfing last night and found this wonderful blog!
I REALLY liked the red,black, and white that I had before, but it was a scrapkit and I had to change the html and css codes all the time....and I started confusing myself! This template was free and I purchased the embellishment kit for the low, low price of $.75! I think the main seller for me was this:
ADORABLE! This is my absolute favorite dessert for lunch! I joked just the other day that if all this pressure we are under doesn't change, I want to get a job at the hostess factory and I want to be in charge of putting the little swirlies on top of the cupcakes!!!! I bet that is a stress free job!

Anyway...the MR has a big football game to watch today and then he has to get all the Christmas stuff down from the attic. During the holidays, I change the ringtone for him to "You're a Mean One, Mr. Grinch".....He takes the boxes out of the attic and he puts them back, but he does not participate at all in the decorating!

He says it is because I am too picky about where the ornaments go on the tree....I know you will side with me on this, you cannot have two of the same ornament right next to each other!!! And you have to spread stuff out! Last year I compromised and waited until they went to bed to move them around.

One thing I am dreading though is the Elf on the Shelf!

A relative bought him for a us a few years ago...and the elf (who they named Gary) has to be in a different spot each morning, so you know that he left, reported to Santa, and came back.....The story and the elf are cute! But I can't remember to move that $^#*% thing every night! (One time my oldest son asked if the Tooth Fairy had an email address because it had been two weeks and his tooth was still on his headboard!!!).....

I am seriously considering hiding Gary and then have him write the family a friendly letter telling them that he was homesick and decided to stay in the North Pole, but not to worry, he'll still put in a good word for them!

Do you have any "traditions" that you secretly wish you could get out of?....Come on, we promise not to tell anyone!!!!

Enjoy your next two days off!

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

I am Thankful!

1.  What are you thankful for in your classroom?

I would have to say that I am most thankful for my behavior chart. Many of our firsties come from a room where once you made a mistake for the day, you were pretty much done. And any chances of reward at the end of the week is shot.
I grabbed some Office Clipart and made this last year and I have to say I love it! Just like a day can start out rainy and turn to sunny, so can the day of a 6 year old!
Everyone begins on  a Sunny Day!

There are reminders for each "weather".

2. What person are you most thankful for?
(The Mr's least favorite picture)

He has supported me through so much. I know that I can always count on him to make me feel better if my day is not going so well...We are going on 17 years together and I still get butterflies when I think about him! He has been my rock!

3. What 3 blogs are you most thankful for?
(I just received and sent out sunshine awards! Way more than 3- very hard to narrow down to 10- I don't think I could get it down to 3!)

4. What guilty pleasure are you most thankful for?
Like many of you, I am addicted to reality TV! Jersey Shore, Mob Wives, etc. And I LOVE LOVE LOVE the ID Discovery Channel. On Saturdays, I am in La La Land with my cocoa crispies and lots of Dateline and 20/20!

5. What are you most thankful for?
I am so thankful that I can share my life with my wonderful manchild and these crazy guys!
We have not taken this year's crazy holiday pic- so this is last year's.
I am thankful for them all because : We laugh all the time. They love to read for fun! They are all incredibly smart and witty. Each one of them is independent, yet still needs me  (which makes me feel great). Two of them still call me me Mommy. They still crawl in my bed when they are scared. My 15 year old daughter trusts me and talks to me. They are honest and hard working. They choose to be compassionate and thoughtful. They hold intelligent conversations with adults. They each say they want to go to a college nearby because they do not want to move out- ever!
I have so much to be thankful for!

Monday, November 21, 2011

Thank you, Holly!
Holly over at Crisscross Applesauce in First Grade has sent me a Sunshine Award! It couldn't have come at a better time either....with the looming evaluation over my head (results to be learned AFTER the Thanksgiving break...ughh), the root canal that is coming in two days, and who could forget a week worth of kitchen duty (if my children were in here, they would say "she said 'duty'!" ...and I would giggle).
This is the first time I have gotten an award of any kind in my new bloggy world- (and I don't have anything goes)

The "rules" for the Sunshine award are:

1. Thank the person who gave this award and write a post about it.
2. Answer the following questions below.
3. And pass the award to 10~12 fabulous bloggers, link their blogs and let them know you awarded them.

  • Favorite color? This is going to make me sound like the dullest person EVER, but I really like the sepia tones. I have those, black and gray as my main color scheme in the living room and it is just very soothing.
  • Favorite animal?  Otters! Not River Otters, but Sea Otters....I don't know why... I have never even seen one up close, but they are just adorable....raise your hand if you thought I was going to say squirrel!
  • Favorite number? 3 I like 3. With 3 children I am constantly trying to find things in 3s. Not exactly the same, but close.
  • Favorite drink?  Coffee! Coffee! and more Coffee!
  • Facebook or Twitter?I don't even have a Facebook! I know, right, what a weirdo!?!?! It makes me nervous...and if I wanted to talk to people from my past, I would have kept in touch with them.....duh, maybe there's a reason I have talked to you in 15 years!!!!
  • Your passion? my children. They are my world! I love the Mr. too, but he is on "my list" right now!
  • Giving or getting presents? GETTING! GETTING! GETTING! Don't get me wrong, I love to watch my children open presents~ but there is something to be said for a surprise in a box!
  • Favorite day? Saturday. It is the day that I do nothing because I have put it all of til Sunday.
  • Favorite flowers?Allergies. :( sad...when the MR. made a bad choice about 16 years ago, he actually bought me a silk flower arrangement and showed up at my door.... (it is in the attic) <3

And now I will send this Sunshine Award to a few wonderful ladies who have inspired me over these last few months! In random order: Erica Bohrer (your ideas are phenom!)
 Mrs. Wheeler's Tidbits (your writing portfolios were a life saver!)
Teeny TIny Teacher (your wit and humor are very uplifting!)
Teaching First (my kiddos love your centers!)
the teacher wife (book boxes have saved my mornings!)
LadyBug Teacher Files (your tutorials are amazing!)
First Grade Fever (love, love, love your French Fry Facts- that activity and center really helped so many grasp that concept)
dandelions and dragonflies (your red, black, and white has gotten my gears a 'turnin! I love the way your room looks and I have used some of your ideas from Center Central!)
Heather's Heart I love your ideas and your blog helper!
There are so many more! My google reader is blinking at me like crazy right now because it wants me to read all the wonderful things that were posted today!

I hope you will click on over and check out these awesome ladies' blogs! They have all been a part of my class in one way or another in the last couple of months!

Sunday, November 20, 2011

ARGHHHH!!! (and I am not a pirate!)

Thank you to all of the new followers... I do appreciate your support in my up-rising against the Mr., but alas, our efforts were not enough... ):
It is okay though- at least there will be lots of leftovers this week and there won't be a ton of cooking on my part....and I am heading to walmart in a few to purchase many paper plates and utensils!!!

I was thinking to myself, "Self- the only thing that would be worse than having to do the kitchen by myself all week would be a root canal!" and then I thought, "Crap!!! I have a root canal scheduled the day before Thanksgiving!!!" This is going to be the worst one yet!"

I am up at the school as I type ( 11:30am on a Sunday), making sure everything is in tip top shape for my Instructional Eval on Tuesday. I am in TN where we are Racing to the Top! (insert sarcasm here) And in order to do so, there had to be many changes.....some of which included a new EVAL system...

I have never really questioned myself as far as my abilities as a teacher. I know my content, and if I have something coming up, I research it. I am extremely flexible. I am compassionate. I am energetic. I am very patient. I am professional, albeit, pretty goofy at times. But my motto is "if you make it fun, you can make it stick!" I am a leader (because they said so). I am a reflector (not the kind on the bike, but) the kind who will make changes if something doesn't work, rather than printing out last year's fiasco and crossing my fingers:).

But this new system we have in place for evaluating teachers has everyone, including me "Mrs. Confident" questioning ourselves.
When things change, it has always been my feeling that those who do what they are supposed to, should be left alone, so they can focus on those who need the guidance to make the changes necessary for their students to be successful. And if all else fails, get out the BIG BROOM and start from scratch... I almost feel like I am being punished because of someone else's mistakes.

I have never done the "dog and pony show" on an evaluation day, but, honestly, I feel like this year I HAVE to! Here's the best part. This is the first year for this EVAL system, it has not even made a complete cycle yet, and they have already made changes to it for next year, because they know it isn't working! I have a pre conference tomorrow, eval on Tuesday and post conference on the 28th. It is going to be horrible to have this over my head during the break.....maybe I will be so traumatized he will help me in the kitchen!

How nervous are you when you have an announced observation? Do you do things that you normally don't do? Do you stand there in fear that you are leaving something out?

Friday, November 18, 2011

Community share or not to share....

If you use community crayons, how do you store them? What does the container look like? What is your procedure for getting them passed out and picked up and where do you store them?

I have baskets, but I think they are too deep....I have a cart, it is easy for me to put them out for them, but something is just not quite right...I would love to know what you are using!

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

The Tape...

So they walked in this morning, and other than a few "She really did it!" comments, there wasn't too much said about it!
It doesn't look horrible. I am going to have to buy a few new baskets for the community crayons, but really that's all that has changed.
After reading (small group) I always have them put their reading books into their that they books have to live in the backpack, it has a better chance of getting home!
And I made these labels for the banker's boxes. Inside of these are the writing journal and math problem of the day journal. But I will only have half of the class up because I can say "If your number is odd....even....if your ladybug is facing right....left....."and whoever goes, will get their partners as well. It took awhile this morning, but they have to get the hang of it....I can't look at those desks anymore!!!

Too funny though, my neighbor's children were lined up to head to the library, and when we opened our door to head out to PE, one of hers said "LOOK! SHE REALLY DID IT!" So I guess now I am being used as an example of what will happen if you don't have your desk clean!

Monday, November 14, 2011

I think I finally cracked

I have been threatening to do it since my first year in first. I said "You watch, I'll do it!" I'm not scared of any repercussions...I have the super power of reason on my side!!!!

SO....what did I do? (It is going to sound crazy when I type it. I may even delete because it is so crazy!)

I TAPED THE FRONT OF THEIR DESKS! It is like 20 little CSI crime scenes in there because no one will be able to get into their desks when they return to school tomorrow.
I want tables so I am now treating my desks as if they were tables!

I also took away their pencil boxes! And everyone has a cute red cup (that I hot glued to the desks) for pencils, scissors, and one dry erase marker...that's it!

Crayons, writing journals, math journals, white boards, all of it has a nice home in the room....
I just couldn't take it anymore! I tried the desk fairy....and I am a no food room- so that was a bust!

It's like the Bermuda Triangle in some of those desks! I found papers crumpled in the V E R Y back that were from the first week of school! And then there were some papers in one......I DONT EVEN REMEMBER HAVING THAT STUDENT!!!!
I think them having a place to stuff stuff is the equivalent of us buying those HUGE purses and then complaining because we can't find our chapstick down at the very bottom...echo...echo...echo..

It is clear shipping can't really tell until you get right on it....we'll see.....I guess I will have the camera out in the a.m. to see their reactions!!

I have heard of cutting showerboard to make a table top and turn a group of desks into a table.....has anyone ever seen that work????
I am really close to asking each family member to buy me a white table from Sams as my gift this year!!! (But they would still have to buy me something that is for me, personally, I am just that greedy!!!) Okay, not really greedy, I just don't want to be a sad squirrel on Christmas morning when everyone else has presents and I just have a place to sit.....:)
Happy Monday!

What Grows Outside.....Stays Outside......


Are you tired of saying any of the following when you come in from recess:

Please put that down.
You can't bring that inside.
Get that out of your pocket.
I know you have something behind your back.
or just
Drop it.

Then I have what may be a solution!
My darlings LOVE to bring in leaves (which will all be dead and blown away soon, so that won't last too much longer). Helicopters (Maple seeds....those will also be eaten by the mowers). So that leaves- rocks.....lots and lots of rocks!

Our playground has the railroad timbers and those lovely Red River Rocks! They are mostly smooth and I will admit, sometimes I am intrigued by the shape of one or two.....but if my crew had it their way, we would drive a back hoe out there at 10:00am everyday and bring a load back!!!!

And while we are all about exploration and questioning, our custodian Mr. Richard wishes we would do our exploring outside and questions why we bring so much crap back into the room!

So I made a deal- I gave all 20 of them little magnifying glasses and I told them they could take them to recess, but once they lost it, that was it. So the first day, they took them outside and I don't think anyone got on the slide or the swings or the monkey bars. Instead, they all looked like the Inspector from the Pink Panther with their heads down looking through those glasses!!!

And I told them they were more than welcome to bring in rocks, helicopters, and leaves. They were so excited....I bet there are still moms pulling rocks out of the dryer because they didn't get them all out of their pockets!!! I told them to have a seat and investigate while I called for groups to go to the water fountain.

There were tons of "Look how smooth this one is!" "This one looks like a bean!" and my favorite... "I think I found a dinosaur fossil!!" Everyone had quite a few "somethings" with them to look at and share with the others. It was really neat to see them so excited about their discoveries....little did they know I was about to pull the ole' switch-a-roo on 'em!!!!

I told them they could keep these in their pencil boxes and take them out again tomorrow. And that, again, they could bring back as much as they wanted....on one condition. Write about what you find and bring in... Tell me about it. If it is rock, tell me the color, the texture, the size....if it is a leaf- describe it....if it is an animal-LEAVE IT OUTSIDE! For someone who carries the name of a woodland creature- I am not a froggy, lizard, caterpillar, etc kind of girl.

There were moans and groans. So I said, "I understand. If you would like to still take the magnifying glass outside, feel free....but if you are planning on bringing anything in with you then- be prepared to use your describing words!"

(day ends, night falls, everybody sleeps, and we are back at school- ACTION!)

Recess time- Everyone took their glasses out. They were investigating everything! As they heard the Sqwhistle they came running up to the concrete where we line up. "Angelina" so thoughtfully reminds them "If you have something in your hand- you better drop it! Or she's gonna make you work!" I love "Angelina".

At that moment, it sounded like someone had dropped a truckload of rocks right there on the concrete!!!!! I thought I would fall over laughing! (on the inside)

There were a few who couldn't resist and would not let go of their finds, and they brought them inside. But they looked them over, and I got several good sentences about a dime, some rocks, and a bag of helicopters!

Soon it will be too cold or too wet or both and we won't be able to go out there at all. Maybe I will have them go explore in my neighbors classroom and they can write about that (I hope she reads this!) har har

A note: Mr. Richard complains a lot about other teacher's rooms. But not so much about mine anymore...It may have something to do with the fact that I have an incriminating photo of him playing Jacks with my son Jonathan when he was supposed to be working!!!

Saturday, November 12, 2011

Dibel, Dibel, Dumpling....Are you a Dibler?

It's Benchmark time again! With the Veteran's Day holiday and the staff development on Monday we have exactly three days to Benchmark #2 our entire class! ORF comes in this time along with Retell, so it will take a little longer. I have 3 wonderful volunteers who graciously help during BMs and PMs.
Phoneme Segmentation Fluency falls off for us this time. But starts for I am passing down my "Counting Creatures" so that by the time they get to me next year, it will be a breeze!
(Doesn't the poor pinkie monster look sad?)
I made ten of these to use in small group. They slide them on and I show a word card. They say all the sounds they hear while counting those sounds with the "Counting Creatures". And then they hold up how many there were. If the card were a cat, they would hold up the three fingers. (Because even though we taught them word families in K, -at has to be two separate sounds to get credit for them on the test)!
I used them during RTI for two weeks after the BM and also put some in center...and now when they write- they are using the invisible counting creatures to make sure they are writing at least one letter for every sound they hear.
They were super easy to make. The Dollar tree has packs of gloves 2 and 3 pairs...they are the little stretchy ones.
My thinking in the eyeball dept was if some have 2 and some have 3 and some have 1, then if 1 falls off- who can tell!?!?!?! (I know, genius, right?)

This may be the most important part of the post. When hot gluing the pom pom to the glove- insert a pencil inside of the finger do not put your finger in there!

Should go without saying, but I seriously had burn blisters on two fingers ....It is scary that they leave me in charge...
I have one more day to rest, then staff development on Mon (although that does mean lunch with the girls at Chili's)....mmmm....crispers......

Hope you like my Counting Creatures!

Squirrels Gone Wild!

I was working a little later on Thursday night because I knew I wasn't going to go near the school over the break (I'm going later today)....and I thought to myself "Self, you should take a few pictures of all the squirrels in your room". Of course there was plenty that I could have been doing that would have been more productive, but I don't think it would be as funny:)

This guy/girl (how do you know?) lives right outside my door. He/She is the chubbiest of them all. Bad enough to be known as a squirrel, but now I'm a chubby squirrel.

This one is attached to our Related Arts schedule. He actually has a name, it is "Nuts" and I swear, I am not lying it is on his tag.

Since the children think it is so funny, I use it to my advantage. My squirrel friends keep an on everyone and report out to me after school!

(I would like all to note that you cannot see through the curtain on the door because it is DARK OUTSIDE!! This Daylight Savings is making me feel like I never quit working!)

We are now moving on to the "desk squirrels". These are the ones that are privileged enough to not be tortured by hot glue, rubber bands, or command strips and be stuck to something

This one weirds me out a little....I don't know why, but he does!

Yes, this is a stone squirrel. He came from the Lost Sea in Sweetwater, TN.

I am not sure what this one is for. I think he is a candy dish. No matter what he is, you really have to wonder when it was manufactured did the maker think "Yep, this is the one! I will be rich! Because everyone wants a squirrel on a nut on their coffee table!"

(This may have been the brainchild of the squirrel-on-a-nut-guy)!

I am pretty sure this is a chipmunk and not a squirrel but I have to wait until "Susie" moves to 2nd grade before I can remove him from desk duty...she would be crushed! Both of my sons agree that he is their favorite because he looks like he is poo-ing on everything! (Aren't boys grand?)

I am pretty sure that this is a dog toy, he has no eyes and he squeaks! I am so happy that as one of my students was picking up dogfood, they thought of me!

This guy is a little creepy. He lives on my PC at school. I think he is supposed to be a plant decoration, but I kill everything green!

This is "Squeaker". He does not squeak, but the child who gave him to me had a VERY HIGH PITCHED voice! He goes with me and waves goodbye at buses everyday.

A squirrel Squinkie. He lives in my desk drawer. I used to have a really cute Littlest Pet Shop squirrel, but she was "squirrel-napped" by a 6 year old who was confident she could give her a better home.

So those are JUST SOME- I am totally not kidding- SOME of the squirrels in my room. With all the generosity from my students and their parents, I told the MR that I am going to legally change my last name to some that rhymes with diamonds or money.....:)

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Help! Desperately Seeking...???

I have bookmarked so many things, and then when I go back to bookmark- I get distracted and can't remember what I bookmarked the blog for!!!
So to solve this, I started a little notebook (pad) to remind me why I have something marked.

One thing that I did not mark was a a wonderful idea about writing folders! I can't remember the grade or teacher. But it was awesome! She had a folder with 10 sheet protectors. Each one had the month on a sticker at the top and she kept their writings neat a separated like that....I fell in love with it and have spent the last two evenings revamping mine....I want to send her a comment and pick her brain for more writing ideas!
If this is you- please let me know. If you know her- please let her know!!!

We have Friday off (yeah) and our Monday is going to be staff only (the kiddos will be home)...I have so much to share- so be prepared for lots of posts!!!!!
Have a fabulous Thurs!

I FOUND HER!!! It's Mrs. Wheeler! @ Mrs. Wheeler's First Grade Tidbits ! I am so excited about it...and I couldn't have done it without Pinterest!!!!! Thanks for the advice ladies! I am going get pics of how I am using her wonderful idea in my class!

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

What's Up with the Squirrels, Girls?!

In the words of Junie B.- "Wowee-wow-wow!" I am so excited!
I went in to show the Mr. all my followers- he's just happy there are more people to listen to me....I think he is under the impression it lessens the amount of time I ramble on!

This is the copy of the comment I replied to Kristin with last night: (revised)
Ok here's the deal.. When I was student teaching, it was the first time I had ever really heard my married name with the Mrs. attached....
I student taught in first grade...My married name is "Quarles"....ok, now say Mrs. Quarles three times fast....what do you get? Miss Squirrels!

It was cute during year one and year two...
but our room now gets referred to as Miss Squirrels and the Nutty Bunch....the office staff will buzz my room and make little squirrel noises....and EVERY greeting card that has a squirrel on it makes it way to my mailbox! (Oh, and I LOVE fall- every acorn that is found at the bus stop finds a home on my desk- I could start a reforestation project from my desk drawer!!!)
And the cute little squirrel for the profile pic~ that will change as soon as I take a good one!!!! I thought I had a good one on my class site until the Mr saw it and asked where my sword and buccaneers were----said my hair looked like Captain Hook!!-(Needless to say, he had to use some "pixie dust" to drum up some dinner that night)!
Maybe I'll find a wig for the squirrel!
(get used to the squirrel...har har)

I will have to take pictures of all the squirrels that I receive for holidays and post them.....all I can say is -
Thank goodness my last name doesn't rhyme with skunk!

I am excited about my new blogging experience....I'm a dork because now I have 3 followers and I am giddy!!!

So that was last night and in less than 24 hours- I have 7 times that many!!!
Whoo hoo! Thank you, Kristin! (And I so get the two "i"s....My mother gave me an "i" at the end of Staci and you can NEVER find anything personalized!!!)

thank you all for following- I hope when you come back to visit you either find something you can use, something that inspires you, or something that just makes you smile!

Monday, November 7, 2011

How do THEY know?

This is my first year to use the Daily 5. We actually call it Daily 5 +2.....there is Work with Teacher and Computer...
I have the posters around the room and on the door and near the centers so that they are using the language of the Daily 5.

I wanted to be sure THEY understood that they were accomplishing these tasks.....daily....

So I made these laminated strips of the Daily 5 (+2)
As they move through our day....centers, word work, writing, etc, they place a check mark with a dry erase marker. Their goal is to have them all marked....and we usually do (and then there are those days where we don't ).

Everybody has one under their name tag.....they are hot glued on.Since we started Read to Self (check out my post on book boxes) first thing in the a.m. they are very excited to have that one checked off.....and there are those who will make themselves cuckoo if they aren't done by recess........
I love that they are taking some responsibility and completing their tasks! (There's nothing like marking off a list to make you feel good!)

Sunday, November 6, 2011

Volunteering without the tears!

This year I was determined to make it easier for parents, the kiddos (AND ME) to have volunteers in the room. In the past, there have been many distractions... I end up getting interuptted during small group reading, the kids get restless because they aren't focused, the volunteer wants to talk about things other than volunteering...So this year I made it much easier!
I have these sterilite drawers- each is labeled with the names of the volunteer. The top folder is work that needs to be completed or corrected.. That folder always has to be checked first.
Inside of the drawers, I have folders for some of my lower students and I have an unusual amount of low fine motor this year- so there is a lot of handwriting practice!
I made these cute little packets that are in the folders. The parent takes a child or two out along with her caddy and a timer and they are usually gone for 20 mins or so. It has been working out wonderfully so far!

Each drawer has a caddy with sharpened pencils, erasers, pens, and stickers for the incentive chart that is on each child's folder.
I know there are other great ways to streamline the parent volunteer process... I would love to hear other ideas!

French Fry Fact Families

We worked on Fact Families last week and I used an idea from Christie at First Grade Fever! She has an awesome center available _ we used the center and also changed it a little for each student to make two or three orders of facts!
I wrote the numbers they were able to use for each order, only giving one order at a time and they were to write the facts on their dry erase boards, and once they had the go ahead from me or our helper, they were able to add to the order! It is a fun activity and a great display!

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