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Monday, October 29, 2012

Batty Politics...It's a thing!

Knock Knock.
Who's there?
Squirrels who?

I know, right!!???!!!?!?!

I have been slackin'.
But I have excuses. Or explanations. Or reasons. Or valid arguements.


But I am back now- so sit back and enjoy!

As you know, I am all about working smarter and not harder (omg I am going to throw up if I hear that anymore!! Like someone once said, "Hmmmmm I have an idea, we should work harder, much much harder than being smarter..." ugh.)

So when it comes to bringing new ideas into my class, I am going to explore the wonders that are TPT before I go recreating the wheel. (omg that's another one YOU CAN'T RECREATE SOMETHING! ONCE IT'S BEEN DONE, IT'S DONE. Any attempt to make the same thing is not a recreation but rather a new thing or copyright infringement!!! ugh.)

I started with a book study of Stellauna created by Reagan.
It. is. phenom.

Such a great way to merge math and science and reading and great literature and
Bats freak me the heck out!
But they are very interesting (and freaky)!

I once thought I had a little ball of fur on my porch- maybe a mouse, a tiny kitten- who knew?
So I walked out through the garage (broom in hand in case it was something icky)
and approached the porch from the side.
There was movement.....a rise and fall of then there was relief because whatever it was, it was not dead on my porch.
I made a noise.
I got closer.
It didn't move.
Closer still, with my broom at the ready, aimed right at this little ball of life.
Reaching out with broom.
Gentle tap on the porch and finally I could take no more-
And then Holy Buckets of Wild Geese- it started to unravel and what was once tiny was tiny no more-
it was.....
and he looked at me- right dead in the eyes- as his wings unfurled- (His disgusting almost see through wings)
and he took off from the porch!
And it wasn't like an airplane- he didn't have to run a little and then fly- he went from the
"Oh-I-am-so-helpless-and-needy" mode to "Watch-out-here-I-come-try-not-to-pee-your-pants" mode in 0.2 seconds!
I crouched. I screamed. I ducked. I think I peed.
He was coming right for my head.
If any neighbors saw what went down they probably tell a very similar story- and theirs probably contains the part where I RAN BACKWARDS (It's possible) and tripped over a chair and landed on my badonkadonk! I usually leave that part out, but since we are close, I thought I would share.
Needless to say, I am NO LONGER the fuzzy animal investigator.

None of the bats in my room last week were that scary- in fact they were rather sweet.
My firsties loved working on the Bat Facts Writing inside of Reagan's Stellaluna Unit.
They are some teriffic pieces of showcase writing (based on their research) and some award winning art.
Check out this display

 Aren't they AMAZING!???
They loved painting "dusk" and using adjectives to describe how the painting made them feel when they were finished. I am so glad I found this! It was a great thematic week for us.

This week the theme has changed- 
or has it?
We are going from a "spooky" animal to the elections....
Get it?
Cause they are spooky and the ....nevermind.

It has been four years since I have taught during a presidential election (duh- hasn't it for all of us)
and there was NO WAY I was going to use the outdated materials that I had four years ago.
I mean there was no cute clipart, no great colors, no excitement, no fun!
So it was back to my TPT homies that I ran, and check out this little gem.

It is from Gladys (Teaching in High Heels). My girls already adore her because of her Fairy Tale Centers that we have used in math and reading centers already- 
I knew that everyone would get into this unit the minute that I saw it.

This is where you would expect something funny and outrageous- like the bat story, but unfortunately, I have not come across any presidential candidates on my porch. I haven't had to shoo any of them away. I haven't been stared down with the fear that I will be eaten alive. And neither of them have made me back over a chair and pee on myself.
Although one of them has almost made me stand on a chair and yell and scream!!! HA! HA!

This is my class as I introduced a center activity from the pack.

 My doc camera is always on negative (so much easier to see the light on dark vs, dark on light).

They were making two letter, three letter, and five letter words.
What happened to "four letter" words? Well I don't use that term in my room anymore because a few of my boys have used their phonemic awareness and phonological segmentation to figure out that almost all of the "bad" words have four letters.
They still have to find them in the activity- we just don't say it:)

They are working on registering to vote. They were using their vocabulary words from the unit (a lot today) and they can't wait to work on their writing (because I am letting them do a portion of it at home).

Our admin has worked out to have refrigerator boxes converted into kid sized voting booths on the 5th. Our little boys and squirrels are going to get to vote for president and for the new piece of playground equipment we are getting in the spring,
We had a piece that went KABLOOIE with the wood deteriorating several years back and there has been a huge nothingness on the side of our playground. But thanks to Box Tops and PTO we are going to get a new piece of equipment. I'll be sure to add pics, I know you will be anticipating the breaking playground news as much as you will the country's decision for our new leader. :)

Click on the pictures below to check out each of these great units!!!

By Gladys at Teaching in HIgh Heels
by Reagan at Tunstall's Teaching Tidbits

I will be seeing ya soon, SquirrelFriends!!!

Monday, October 22, 2012

Phonics Box Review

Hey there blog buddies!
Remember back when EVERYONE was getting SOMETHING in the mail and SOMEONE was asking EVERYONE else to review their products and post about them?
(Did that sound bitter)?
Well, I was a little upset- I thought to my self
"Hey, Self- you have a decent following, you are pretty articulate and people seem to like what you have to say. SO WHY DONT THEY ASK YOU???"

Well they did!
Lakeshore sent me  a awesome tool for Word Families and I have been able to use it in my room for the past month!
IT is the Word Families Sort-The-Sounds Phonics Box.

And my sweeties have loved it!
I think one of the reasons they like it so much is the self check!
Even if I work on it with them in our small group, they are still super excited to take off the top, check for their cards,and make sure they are right.


I introduced the Word Families Sort the Sound Box in our whole group lessons. They love doing something new (don't we all)
There are 8 sets of cards and 8 "lids" that you place on top of the box when you are working.
It is so easy for them to work on their own because the numbers on the cards match the number in the middle of the "lid".

After they have inserted their cards into the box, matching the vowel sound to that of the picture on the section of the 'lid", they take off the pentagon lid and check inside to see if their cards match. The pictures on the cards help to reinforce the sounds they see and hear.
I had the students lay them out and list them the way they saw them on the "lid". My thinking here was for the sweeties who "get it" to do it again and for the sweeties who needed to hear it/see it again- they are repeating and continuing to match up the vowel sounds and the families.

The picture below is linked to the Lakeshore Learning site and the product. If you are looking for that phonics practice you will definitely want to check this out!

Thank you to Lakeshore for giving me the opportunity to review such a great product and thank you to my friends for the opportunity to share with you!

I hope everyone has a great Tuesday!

Thursday, October 11, 2012

Once Upon a Time...There Was a Beautiful Princess

Hello my lovely bloggy friends- it has been a week or so since we last sat down to chat.
I had planned on a "post a day" with me being on Fall Break and all-

(Sorry, I didn't mean to say those nasty words "Fall Break" in front of some of you. I know it is a touchy subject.
I won't go into detail how I haven't had to set an alarm to wake up for the last week OR how I haven't had a bedtime. I will also not talk about how I did not have to bring anything home for a week NOR will I mention that I have not attended any meetings in over a week. I promise I won't mention any of that. I will, however, talk about a lonely squirrel on the playground and a 5:30am wake up call....ALL BY MYSELF!!!)

 I had many plans to do many things...

...but we had some sad family news and it was time for family to be together.
It made me feel so grateful for my loving family and my close friends.

We banded together like you do when your family needs you. If the Mr., the Littles, or anyone from the Squirrel family happens to stop by and read this post- I love you.

We also had good news.
Chickadee turned the big 16 this week-
I know what your thinking
"How can someone as young and beautiful as Squirrels have a 16 year old - especially when she doesn't look a day over 21 herself???"
What?!?!? That is what you were thinking, right?

 There she is at 5 and again today at 16. She was a princess then and  still is...

She was a holy terror!!
OMG, I can't pretend ANYMORE!!
Sorry, Chickadee- but you were an AWFUL toddler- you are SO lucky that Mommy Squirrel did not have a blog back then-
Everyone always talked about how cute and sweet she was-
What a load of &%#@!

Luckily for everyone involved she grew out of it-
for the most part.
The MR and I like to refer to her as the "test child". We figured out all the parts that were our mistakes, and the parts that were just plain B.A.D. on hers.
She was what we new mommies like to call "Advanced"-
- back then the "advanced" just meant that she hit the "terrible twos" at about 18 months!!

While family was together this past week, we all reminisced about all the times they pretended to be sick or busy so that she wouldn't come over. We all talked about the things she had broken, either by accident or on purpose. We laughed about how picky she was when it came time to eat. We giggled at how tender headed she was and  how she didn't want ANYONE to touch her hair!! Oh, those good times!

Then seasons changed
Years passed
Birthdays came and went-
Chickadee grew and grew
(Really we are eye to eye now)
And now everything that seemed like it was hard at the time has become either a lesson learned or
a precious memory
or both.
Mommy loves you, Little Squirrel!!

Only a few days left of my break-
things to do-
finish my review of a LakeShore Phonics center
Report Card Comments
Finish my Creative Writing Packet
Finish going through the Littles' closets...ha ha
Check this out
I took this coat out to give to a neighbor because it doesn't fit the Littlest Little anymore...
But Truman took it over...guess I am not going to be giving this one away!!

 My plan is to see you all again tomorrow evening- but we know what can happen to plans-

Have a Fabulous Friday!!!

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