Monday, May 30

Very Hungry Caterpillar Freebies

This week's theme will be caterpillars and butterflies. We will kick off the week reading The Very Hungry Caterpillar. Other reading for the week will include Velma Gratch and the Way Cool Butterfly and The Butterfly and the Lamb, as well as a couple of nonfiction butterfly books. We will play off of the caterpillar theme to make -y word caterpillars as well as to assess graphing, counting, subtraction, and patterning skills.  I also plan to have them make a butterfly folder similar to our ladybug one with a torn tissue paper butterfly on the cover to display our learning (this will also include a butterfly life cycle). Here is what I've put together so far... If you download these, please consider becoming a follower of my blog.

Very Hungry Caterpillar
Caterpillar Patterns
-y Word Caterpillar

Summer reads I cannot wait to dig into!

I'm not done yet...three more weeks of school to go! But, I am really looking forward to spending some quality time this summer reading and rereading some awesome professional literature. It's time to recharge, remind, and re-motivate myself with ideas for the fall to make next year the best year yet!

I'm joining the blog hop hosted by Teaching Happily Ever After to see what other good reads I can add to my list! Here is what I have so far...

and of course...which is the center of a book study blog party that you don't want to miss!

By the way, if you want a few bucks to kick off your summer book purchases...don't miss my giveaway here!!!! It closes tomorrow at midnight so hurry to enter!

Saturday, May 28

50 Followers Giveaway!

I hit 50 followers today...and I am tickled! To celebrate hitting my first milestone in blogmania...I am  hosting a giveaway. Now, I am new at this but there is a first time for everything so here we go! The winner will receive a $10 giftcard to Starbucks and a $10 giftcard to Barnes & Noble you can sip your favorite frappuccino while catching up on some well-deserved summer reading! Not a coffee lover? You can select to have the whole $20 just for books to kick off your summer reads!
To enter:
1. Follow my blog and leave a comment saying you follow.
2. Add me to your blogroll (or grab my button and put it on your blog) and leave a comment saying so.
3. Post about this giveaway on your blog and leave a comment saying so.
Bonus entries:
4. Leave a comment sharing which reading curriculum you use in your classroom.
5. Leave a comment sharing which math curriculum you use in your classroom.

The giveaway will close at midnight on May 31st. The winner will be selected randomly and announced Wednesday June 1st! Hurry to enter and thank you for following!

Problem Solved...finally!

Have you ever downloaded the most awesome resource that someone posted only to open it on your computer and see this...?
This was my BIGGEST frustration and has kept me from purchasing many of the wonderful units offered by the amazing bloggers I follow...for fear of paying for a botched download! I have struggled with this for months and gave one last idea a try. See...I own a MacBook and therefore run Preview to open PDF files. I have been hesitant to say the least to download Adobe or Microsoft programs to my Mac for fear of opening myself up to the virus risk. But, today I threw caution out the window and downloaded Adobe Reader for Mac...and now all of the files that used to look that the one above now look like this instead...!

I feel a bit technologically challenged at times...especially when it comes to getting to know my Mac and getting to know some of this fangled html stuff I'm encountering. So, a win like this makes me very happy! By the way, the pics above are snapshots of an awesome new freebie being offered by Oceans of Fun in First Grade. If it peeks your interest as it did mine, then hop on over! I love her blog and have found many terrific ideas and resources.

Friday, May 27


We read the Grouchy Ladybug Thursday and completed a couple of response sheets. The kinders then got to work making their own ladybug. We put the ladybug on the cover of a large folded sheet of construction paper and the response sheet inside. Later in the day, we read Ladybugs: Red, Fiery, and Bright and then headed back to our ladybug folders. The students added a fold-out element where they labeled the parts of a ladybug (head, wings, jointed legs, antennae). For sight word practice today, we played another game of "I Have, Who Has?" ladybug style. On Friday we read Are You a Ladybug? and added the life cycle wheel to our folders. Here's how they turned out!

 Ladybug Sight Word Who Has Cards

Grouchy Ladybug Response
Grouchy Ladybug

Monday, May 23

Are you ready for some football?

Okay, so I cannot take credit for this idea...but I loved it for motivating the boys to apply themselves during word work time. Oceans of Fun in First Grade posted a similar idea in February which was not cooperating when I attempted to download it and print it (browser issue? pdf reader issue? either way frustrating!) So...out of "necessity" was born the following word sort. We are learning about Long O, but this could easily be adapted for other sounds. I like the football theme for -ow and -oa because of the words coach and throw. I also included an I Have Who Has game and Rainbow Write Long O words documents. :o)
Oa_ow Football Sort
Long O_e I Have Who Has
Long o Rainbow Color Words

Sunday, May 22

Pushing Buttons...

With the aide of the blogger help center and some persnickety persistence I have finally added a grab button to my blog. Will you test it for me and let me know if it works? I would really appreciate it! I have also been busy adding others' buttons to my page. Please feel free to pluck mine! :o)

Friday, May 13

Cinderella days...a fairy tale

We spent the week talking about fairy tales...and reading ten different variations of Cinderella. The kinders loved it and got some really good practice identifying story elements. It was fun to see their reactions to so many different versions of the story. We charted each story to help us compare and contrast them. And we graphed our favorite...the hands down winner was The Bigfoot Cinderrrrrella. Next we are working on castles. We made the basic castle today. Monday I want to add fold-out features. My plan is to insert a writing bit behind the draw bridge. I'm thinking about labels with story elements that can adorn the side panels as well. Here is a snippet of what we've done so far...

On a side note...I appear to have lost a series of comments from the last few days. I'm not sure what happened. It must be a blogger glitch?? Please know that I have not deleted your comments! I appreciate them all! :o)

Wednesday, May 11

Kindergarten it is!

Okay the list came out and...(drumroll)...kindergarten it is! So, after a fabulous grade level discussion at lunch the planning is on! It is amazing how much more relaxed I feel knowing ahead of time what I'm doing next year! Of course, I don't want to jinx myself--last minute changes are not out of the question--but, I'm planning for K full steam ahead!

Our handwriting books are being ordered from print services, as well as morning work for the first half of the year, ReadWell unit copies, and first day parent info packets. The summer will be a great time for assembling poetry/song journals, writing folders, portfolios, and readying things like desk tags. I'm still up in the air on my theme...probably no big changes there. We'll see. I like my "garden-y" theme complete with benches, picket fences, flowers, bees, frogs, butterflies, etc. Easier to keep it and freshen it up.

I will definitely be revamping my library and listening center. I want to have all of my word work activities pre-prepped and organized as well. Hopefully, I will have many more integrated units ready to go this year to...with enough fore-thought finally to jive it with ReadWell and MathConnects as much as possible!

And my biggest I HOPE I CAN DO THIS OVER THE SUMMER item is a Daily 5 Kindergarten conference. Wish me luck...I'm hunting one down asap!

Tuesday, May 10

Getting Ready for Next Year...

We have 28 more days to go still...dare I think about next year already? Yes. I can't help it, but next year is still "up in the air". I am anxious to know with relative certainty which grade level I will be assigned to and in which school. While I have not been riffed (again)...being at the bottom of the seniority list makes me fodder for being bumped around. We will see what happens. Supposedly our staff meeting tomorrow will provide us preliminary placements for next year. Nonetheless, I am joining the linky party at time4kindergarten and letting my mind wander straight ahead to next year!

Regardless of what grade level I end up in (unless they do the unthinkable and move me way up to 5th or 6th) I am thinking about themes and decor. I am making to do lists aplenty and have lofty plans for wiling away the hours of summer in preparation. Three years of teaching...and I have yet to feel ahead of the game. My goal is to have the plan laid out for the year and much done toward making it happen. I hope to have numerous units ready to go as well as homework packets and of course all of the classroom paraphernalia together (nametags, journals, passes, etc).

Copies are tricky without a definite grade level. But, I end up doing a lot of printing at home anyway. I also do most laminating at home as well...just easier and tends to separate less often.

I will be doing quite a bit of professional reading this summer and focusing on how to make my next year go much more smoothly. I want my lessons to be much more "intentional" and to work on getting my students to be more independent and goal-oriented.

What are you doing to prepare for next fall? If you are in the same boat as I do you plan without knowing your placement? I'd love to know your tips!

Saturday, May 7


The worms arrived in our room last week. We are now the proud caretakers of 30 redworms and a dozen nightcrawlers. It is really funny how excited kinders get over new organisms...regardless of how each new set has gotten a little ickier than the last! Fish: cool, snails: interesting though slimy, worms: hide all day and not so cool, and next up...isopods (sow bugs and pill bugs): let's just say, "Do we have to???"

Anyway, the kinders had "fun" checking out their worms. Only one had the misfortune of becoming shorter from mishandling (note: do not let kinders dangle worms by the tail). Some loved them, some hated them, some got used to them...all of their faces were priceless! We filled in a graphic organizer to describe the worms (using a template style inspired by Fran at Kinder Crayons). See our fun below!
A Worm
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Wednesday, May 4


Sitting third from the bottom of the seniority list has not been a comfortable place to be...I had long given up hope of having a contract for next year. But, this email just arrived in my inbox!!!

No RIF! Can you hear my HUGE sigh of relief??? Celebrating big time!

If You Give a Mom a Muffin

Inspired by another version I read recently in the blogging world (which is very cute in its own right)...I had the kinders write a class book with the same title. We have spent the week reading Laura Numeroff stories and discussing their circle plots. So, they were excited to write their own for their moms. I guided their very creative thinking with questions and let them work out the details. We had many, many votes to settle on ideas for each page. But in the end, everyone is happy with it and I think it turned out pretty "kinder-rific". I just typed it up. The kinders will each get to illustrate their own copy tomorrow. See what you think!
If You Give a Mom a Muffin