Thursday, February 27, 2014 No comments
Seriously. I need a vacation. I would like for it to be short, but sweet. I want it to be family friendly. I want it to be like, well, tomorrow

Where would you go?

a big city escape

 beach rendezvous 

 theme park adventure

mountain getaway

Decisions, decisions! I will let you know what we decide! But seriously, where would you go? 

What We're Reading Sunday!

Sunday, February 23, 2014 No comments
Thanks for checking out our weekly feature-what we're reading Sunday!

Here are T's reads! 
He loved Ferdinand! He now wants to visit Spain!
He did not love this book and neither did Mommy. We miss the old Pete the Cat! What happened?
Confession~this is my first time reading a Winnie the Pooh book! We both really enjoyed the story. I removed the commercial Pooh from my mind (not a fan) and we have planned on reading quite a few more!

What about me? I have just started this one about parenting and so far so good! 

What are you reading?

Brrrr Disney World

Friday, February 21, 2014 No comments
When you have family visiting from another part of the world and you ask, "where do you want to go while you are here?" You should be prepared for them to say....


That is just what happened! My brother-in-law's wedding was in early January and we packed up the car (and a rental van) and headed to Orlando with some of our favorite family members for one day only at the happiest place on Earth! 

Little did we know, it would be the coldest of cold days. (January 7th) Did we cry? Goodness no! (See what I did there?) We kept walking along, singing our song..."It's a Small World After All!" 
Funny thing about Disney World at record low temps.....there are not as many guests! With our handy dandy app, we scoped out the lines and rode more than ever! We rode everything we wanted to ride and only waited in line for Peter Pan and the Belle Storytime (totally worth it when your kid is chosen to be the Beast!) 

So the lesson learned here is...make the most of the time you have with the ones you love (even if it the wind chill is -50!) 


Wednesday, February 19, 2014 1 comment
Lester Laminack posed a question to us during his workshop a few weeks ago. It has lingered with me...maybe even haunted me a bit. I think about it when I'm driving some days. I think about it as I look over my writers and readers' shoulders. I sometimes think about it as I watch them line up to go home.

Lester asked, "What do you teach so well that you are willing to warranty it? What can you guarantee every child in your classroom will be able to know and do by the end of the year? What is it that you can warranty for next year's teacher?" 

BAM! What can you warranty L? WHAT?
Love of story? 
Respect for others?
Try your best?
To reread what they write?
Check for understanding?
Think before you speak?
Place value?
Multiple strategies for solving an add/sub problem?
Capital letter for beginning of the sentence? (Who am I trying to kid with that one!?!?)
Digraphs, blends, and vowel sounds?
To never stop learning?


I don't know. I think I know. I want to think that this is a no brainer. But it is not. I have a diverse class just like everyone else. I think I know. I really do. Then I think of that one kid....maybe not. 

So maybe I can warranty the idea that ALL of my students leave me knowing that their teacher is a learner and that she values all of their special gifts. Does that count? 

What can you warranty?

Lester and Lola

Tuesday, February 18, 2014 No comments
Lucky me! A group of amazing colleagues and myself went to Lester Laminack and Lola Schaefer Workshop a few weeks ago (or as we here in the ATL like to say, "presnowstorm.") It was a perfect mix of fiction and nonfiction, reading and writing!

I've been a fan of Lester for some time now. I admire his work as an author, speaker, and as a teacher. I also greatly admire his anti bullying work. He is a southern superstar and also happens to be a fellow Alabamian. Meeting Lola was a first for me though. My friend M had raved about her and I was thrilled to listen to her great ideas, too! 

I left the workshop feeling rejuvenated! It was a midyear pick me up! I wish I could write 25 blog posts to cover everything, but instead I want to share my top fives!

Top 5 Quotes

"Research is not the regurgitation of facts." Lola 

"If it's not worth reading twice, don't read it." Lester (read alouds)


"Verbs are the muscle of the sentence. Adjectives are the fat~you need a little." Lola

"Stop impressing people with hallway displays. Want to impress someone? Impress your students by inspiring them as writers." Lola

Top 5 Book Recommendations

Top 5 Things I Learned 
1. Terms are important. Teach students what terms are, how to use them. (Terms are technical vocabulary-CCSS-specific words that go with a topic. Ex-shark~scales, teeth, fin, etc.)

2. While I knew this term, I had not thought of its implications in my first grade classroom. Thinkers use emperical evidence (what you can observe or prove with multiple evidence.) My writers and readers do this all the time. Now I have a big word to go with it! 

3. All research starts with a question. Ok, so I knew that but I loved hearing it over and over. Children should be researching what THEY want to know more about. 

4. There is more than one way to use The Important Book. (Thank goodness!) Lola uses this wonderful book to write nonfiction poetry! Here is mine!
The important thing about a tree is that you can climb it.
It has branches and leaves.
There are many different kinds.
They can provide shade on sunny days.
But the important thing about a tree is that you can climb it. 

5. I'm doing it right! (well, most days!) My students do not write about the same topic. My students' writing is not perfect and I do not fix it for them. I do make time for read aloud. I do provide feedback. Ahhh. Sometimes you just need to hear that. Lester was so encouraging but with a push to be a little better than you were yesterday.

I could go on and on about Lola and Lester's workshop! I learned so much! I loved sharing with my team and knowing that these ideas will be used in all of our classrooms. Our readers and writers will be better for it! If you have the opportunity to see either of these teachers (yes, teachers!) GO! 

Have you been to any awesome PD lately?

What We're Reading Sunday!

Sunday, February 16, 2014 No comments
No surprise here! T is reading all about animals! If you have not see these books, and you have anything to do with the 3-6 crowd, you should totally check them out! Grandpa and Grandma bought the first one and T had to have the others! We love them!
The author is Nicola Davies (already a fan!) and the illustrator is Marc Boutavant. The pictures are brilliant, the lift the flaps are a big hit as always, and the learning is embedded! The format is question and answer and T soon found himself asking questions of his own AND making his own comparisons. Swoon!

Now what about my mommy? Well, about that, you see, um,  I HAVE HAD NO TIME FOR READING! Sure, I've read paperwork, night time stories, data, an occasional online article or blogpost, stories to my class, and maybe a recipe. (Ok, I'm lying. I haven't really had time to cook either!)

What are you reading?

Dusty to the Rescue!

Thursday, February 13, 2014 No comments
While I am not as excited about Planes: Fire and Rescue as I was about FROZEN, I am still excited! Check out this trailer and let the buzz begin!

T can't wait!

Valentine Centers

Wednesday, February 12, 2014 3 comments
I LOVE helping in T's classroom. There are several opportunities-library helper, garden helper, mystery reader, etc. My favorite though is center helper! 

Some teachers are complete control freaks and want to predetermine center activities. (Points finger to self.) T's teachers are like, "Whatever you do with them is fine. Here's the theme. We know they will love it." WOO HOO! 

Here is what we have planned!
Make your own valentine pop up cards! (cardstock, die cut hearts, markers)
Fine motor anyone? Valentine bead bracelets!

My favorite of the group.....heart trees! I found this idea on House of Baby Piranha and it works! Sooo cute!

First you paint a tree trunk. Then you squish a toilet paper or paper towel tube in the center. (see pic) Then dip it in red paint. We learned that popping the bubble that forms is the way to go! We also learned that you really need to press down! 
Look at our heart trees! T says his class is going to "totally love them."

Our last one is a "build your own playdough" station. A mom is sending in white, made from scratch playdough. The preschoolers will add glitter, scented extracts, and natural coloring to personalize their dough! Ah! So fun!

We are also doing a photo booth because I LOVE pictures. We are using heart sponge stamps to make a background and then snapping quickies to share with parents. 

With all of this said, Valentine's Day is my least favorite of the holidays. I lost my brother on 2/12 and he was laid to rest on 2/14. This is a hard time for me and my entire family. I can't think of a better way to spend my day though. I know he would loved all of this "nonsense!"

Our Valentines!

Tuesday, February 11, 2014 No comments
I know you have been on the edge of your seat wanting to know what T will be giving his classmates for Valentine's Day! Ok, so maybe my mother is the only who is even a little bit curious...but still! Ta daaaa!
He picked these little rings out for all of his buddies. There are ducks, elephants, pandas, tigers, etc. They were a little less than a dollar each. While they seems like so much, he only has 11 students in his class, including him!
Did I mention they light up? Pretty sure that is why he chose them! 
Yes, he helped! That's how we roll!

Click HERE to download your own set of cards for free! 
Happy Valentine's Day from our family to yours!

Snow Day.....Again!

Monday, February 10, 2014 No comments
We are prepping for snow storm number two here in the ATL. Some are happy. Some are sad. Some are frustrated. Some are doing a weather happy dance. 
My feelings are a bit of a seesaw. On one hand, I am thrilled! I love spending time with my guy and these days feel like bonus days! They are like "work one day, get two free." There are snuggles, reading, movies, cooking, crafts, etc. It is bliss. We goof off, skype with family and snack all day, too. His snack of choice? croissants. (Yes, he is my son and P's niece!)

On the other hand, this teacher has lots to teach and these snow days are not helping my cause! We have missed four days due to a winter storm a little over a week ago, two days due to this storm, four furlough/President Day days, and  the MLK Jr Holiday. That is a lot of not school this nine weeks. That's a lot of not learning, a lot of not reading, a lot of not solving math problems, a lot of not learning about important figures in our country's history. Woe is me. 

To balance the seesaw, I'm planning for the school days ahead (or at least I will soon) and making the most of these bonus days. 

What would you do with a snow day?

What We're Reading Sunday!

Sunday, February 9, 2014 No comments
It's Sunday! That means it is our day to share what we are reading! 

The scientist has chosen a few new reads from a really cool science series~Simple Machines. They are a little over his head (6-9,) but he LOVED them nonetheless. They would be a great addition to any classroom library! These treasures have sparked a lot of "Look mommy a ramp! There's a pulley system!" etc. That's kind of cool!

But what about Mommy?
Seriously, that is all I had time to read this week. I'm a little bummed....

What are you reading?

Instructor Magazine

Thursday, February 6, 2014 No comments
Eek! I have big news! I have been chosen as one of Scholastic's Instructor Magazine Teacher Adviser Panel! SO EXCITED! 
If you aren't following Scholastic Teachers on FB, click HERE. There are lots of great, ready to use ideas and articles shared daily!

Want to go straight to the ideas and articles? Click HERE to visit their website. 

Thanks for indulging me this share! I feel honored to be a part of a magazine I love, sharing ideas with other teachers! Ah!


Wednesday, February 5, 2014 No comments
Speaking of birthdays, my sweet little sister's birthday is today. I'm not sure what age she is telling people this year, so I will just say she is younger than me!
I love her. She is this amazing mom and person. She is determined and organized. She loves her daughter so much and she loves my little guy. She loves me even though I drive her nuts. 

We've been through so much together and I thank God everyday that we have each other. 
Happy birthday Peeper!

Somebody is 5!

Tuesday, February 4, 2014 No comments
My little itty bitty precious baby boy has just turned 5.

If you can hear my weeping through these words, please forgive me! I can't believe he is 5. In my mind he was born last year and should still be toddling around saying "momma" and laughing for no reason. Wait, he still does both of those things. Thank goodness!

How did we celebrate the big FIVE? with a mad scientist birthday party of course! 
Experiment One: Blow up a balloon without your mouth! (vinegar & baking soda)

Experiment Two: Make your own snow! (powdered snow from School Box)

Experiment Three: See Through Slime! 
Brain cake! (T's request!) 
Birthday Boy!
Photo Booth! (artwork courtesy of Mr. Danny!)
Big Finale: Diet Coke and Mentos

With the help of many friends and family, the party was a huge success! T loved every minute and has big plans for next year. 

Thrown a party lately? What was your theme?


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