Giving Tuesday

Friday, November 28, 2014 No comments
Black Friday....slept in!
Small Business Saturday....local bookstore and restaurant! 
Cyber Monday....ordered weeks ago!
Giving Tuesday.....Let's do this!

  Giving Tuesday is a holiday dedicated to helping others. You can participate by donating to your favorite charity or donating your time. Here are a few ideas!
*Ask your child's teacher if there is something you can do to help on Tuesday.
*Donate your coffee money to a charity you love online. My favorites are~Shot@Life and Donors Choose
*Take those outgrown clothes, books that haven't been read in years, or the appliances that are still in the box and donate them locally. 
*Choose an employee (at your favorite store, your child's school, your doctor's office, etc) and send a happy their way. Nothing big, just a thank you! 

Even better, involve your children in #givingtuesday. T will be donating some of his toys. He will be writing a couple of thank you notes and he will be making something special for our elderly neighbor. That last one was his idea. 

How will you participate this year?

Happy Thanksgiving!

Thursday, November 27, 2014 No comments
I was writing with my first graders last week and we were sharing all of our thankfuls. They laughed at me because my list just kept going and going. Soon, their lists started growing too. Funny how that happens. 
Here's what I shared:
I'm thankful for my family, my friends, my home, my brilliant students, my colleagues, opportunities, memories, books, books, books, our school, alone time, road trips and plane rides, snuggles, challenges, the short drive home, people who help people, the beach, photographs, my cell phone, my laptop, the couch, coffee.....

Here's to sharing our thankfuls and hugging our loved ones! That's my plan for today! I hope you and your family have a wonderful Thanksgiving! 

Big Hero 6 Printables!

Wednesday, November 26, 2014 No comments
We are movie people. We LOVE family movie night whether it be at home or at the theater! We had been counting the days until Disney's Big Hero 6 was released and we went opening weekend. We were not disappointed!

In fact, we loved it. I cried once twice ok, three times. T cried zero times. I questioned if he had a heart or soul. I was actually comforted when several of my students said they did not cry but their moms did! One of my students admitted to tears. He quickly became my favorite. HA! 

If you have a Big Hero 6 fan around the house, check out these free printables. One is an origami Baymax and the other is just a fun coloring page. 

Have you seen it yet? Do tell.....did you cry?

Six Flags Holiday in the Park

Tuesday, November 25, 2014 No comments
If you are near Atlanta or heading this way for the holidays, plan on making a stop at Six Flags! Yes, Six Flags in the cold months! For the first year, Six Flags is opening the park for holiday fun, starting on November 22nd and running all the way to January 4th. The hours vary depending on the day you visit and the cost is around $40 per person until the end of November (order tickets early to save!)

We attended the preview event and loved hearing the President of Six Flags praise his staff and then light the beautiful tree! 
Wondering if the event is family friendly? YES! T is 5 and had a blast while our friends with tweens had an equally amazing time! 

We rode the train to the North Pole and visited Santa! Needless to say, that was a big hit for us!

We also loved all of the holiday decor! The entire park was covered in lights and beautiful winter scenes. We squinted our eyes and loved every minute of it! 
We went ahead and wrote a letter to Santa, too. Coke is sponsoring a great little space for letter writing and even has the mailbox right inside!
Six Flags Holiday in the Park made me a little nervous. I'm a fan of cold weather, but mainly because I get to snuggle up! They knew people like me were coming though! They had warming stations all over the park and fire pits, too! 
While not all rides are open (see list HERE) the ones we wanted to ride were wide open and many were even decorated for the big event! 
Check out Holiday in the Park, especially the annual pass deal! If you purchase an annual pass for 2015, you can visit Holiday in the Park for free! Woo hoo! Sounds like an amazing gift too! 

Table for 3...and a half

Monday, November 24, 2014 No comments

I am a member of the Everywhere Society and they provided me with this product for review. All thoughts expressed are my own, as always. 

I love this time of year. Fall is just my absolute favorite! Fall is when I fell in love. Fall is when I can bundle up and look at the beautiful changing leaves. Fall is apple picking. Fall is roasted pecans. Fall is Thanksgiving. Fall is family time. 

Though it is my favorite time of year, we do not load up on decorations for Thanksgiving. We pretty much tear down the Halloween decor in a whirlwind and put up the fall wreath my sister made for us years ago.  We put a few other pieces here and there. It is simple and happy...just the way I like it.

This year though, I've added a special piece to our fall decor. In the middle of our beautiful dining table is a Heart of Haiti tobacco leaf tray. It is handcrafted, the perfect size, and absolutely gorgeous. 
A friend came by over the weekend and we chatted over apple cider and cookies. The setting was perfect.....cinnamon smells in the air, laughing and venting, crunchy store bought cookies (just keeping it real,) and the thought that purchasing items through Macy's Heart of Haiti program will help support artisans working to rebuild their lives. 

As you prepare to decorate your table for the holidays or purchase a gift for someone special, check out the items available in the Heart of Haiti collection! They are a gift that truly does keep giving! 

What We're Reading Sunday...Book Fair Edition!

Sunday, November 23, 2014 No comments
Our school had the Scholastic book fair this week and T was soooo excited! I told him he could pick 2 books. He picked 10. We settled on 4. Here are his picks. They also happen to be what we're reading this week!
He LOVES Magic School Bus! 
I saw this one coming a mile away!
Um, I guess. 
This one reminds me that yes, he is my child. I watched him look through it and then he ran over to me and said, "this one looks really good mommy!" SOLD!

What are you reading?

A Love Story

Saturday, November 22, 2014 2 comments
N and I started dating 15 years ago today. It was 11/22/99. (I love a cool number!) I can't believe it has been that long. We were in physics class, I was not doing well, he was doing a little better than me. Yeah right! He was rocking an A. I missed a few classes and asked for his notes. The rest as they say, is history. (I made a C proudly, he kept his A. I take credit for his A because he went over the material so many times for me!)
I no longer share my shake. #confession
 Falcons loving!
I'm the almost outdoorsy type because of this guy!
Oh my goodness, where does time go?
100 years ago! 
He's my best friend. He is my balance and my strength and he's also super cute!! He's the best guy in the world to travel with and he loves our family more than anything in the universe. He puts up with my crazy, encourages me to do that next big thing, and also happens to be the world's best daddy. 

As I'm thinking about my thankfuls, I'm counting him more than twice! I am so thankful he walked into that (terrible) physics classroom 15 years ago and that we've been living happily ever after ever since. 

Guided Reading 101

Wednesday, November 19, 2014 No comments
I was invited to review Snap! Learning. I was not compensated for this review and all opinions are my own, as always. :)

As a huge proponent for all things readers workshop, I sometimes find myself defending guided reading. It is a HUGE part of readers workshop and is a best practice for modeling and explicitly teaching students the skills they need to move to the next reading level. I'm a fan. Guided reading is a piece of the workshop puzzle, and it is a biggie!

Snap! Learning emailed and asked if I would like to review their new guided reading program. I said yes, of course! 

I checked out the lesson plans first (teacher hat) and at kind of felt like it was lesson plan overload. I then thought about parents, tutors, substitutes and even new teachers who would really value the extra information. Each book has activities, modeling, practice words, and comprehension checks. The plans are very user friendly AND you can print them along with the books! What a resource! 

I added T to my roster and we went to work on the kindergarten assignments. He enjoyed the variety of books, loved the interactive pieces AND (this surprised me) the word activities. I love that you can use Snap! Learning on the iPad or interactive whiteboard.
T especially loved acting out Up and Down. I loved the dots under the words! So beneficial for new readers!!
My only hiccup with the program is that students are not able to access everything on a computer. That might be in the works, though! I chatted with our media specialist about the possibility of adding this to our iPads. She's thinking about it! :) I think Snap! Learning is a good resource and I think the look and feel of the program are very attractive to students.

I've added a few of my first graders to the program and they are enjoying it as well. The books are easy to print and staple so they can share them with their parents. It is also one less resource for me to track down! It is all in one place and ready to go!

Find Snap! Learning on FB, Twitter, and Pinterest! Reach out to them for a quote, too!

Usher+Scholastic=Happy Me!

Tuesday, November 18, 2014 1 comment
Brace yourself friends and hang on all the way to the end of this post!

I entered Scholastic's big contest to meet Usher when he comes to Atlanta in December. I knew it was a stretch and well, I didn't win. Sad, I know.

I had been following along with Usher and Scholastic on Twitter. I watched his webcast and smiled. 

I remembered jamming with T to Usher's ABC song and his Unique song, too. 

I remembered jamming with my friends to Usher's songs in my youth. (At what point did it become my youth? I don't know!!) 

I've always thought he just seemed like a nice guy. I just got that vibe, ya know? Then he went all edugeeky on me and sealed the deal! 

THEN his PR people emailed and said they would love to have this teacher and a guest attend Usher's Atlanta concert because he loves teachers.

Friends, I'm going to see Usher in December. I'm like 14 months pregnant and I'm going to see Usher. I'm going to dance and sing my heart out. I'm going to be tired from a day of teaching first grade. I'm going to surely be one of the oldest in the crowd. I'm also going to be one of the happiest in the crowd! I'm going to see Usher and I feel all "I'm 18" about it!

Thanks Scholastic and thank you Mr. Raymond! 

PS I'll post pics! 

What We're Reading Sunday

Sunday, November 16, 2014 No comments
N has been out of town for a couple of weeks (yes, we survived....barely!!) so our reading time has been a bit limited. 

I've been reading student writing, TIME magazines, and my own to do lists! 

T on the other hand has been quite busy reading. Here are a few from his pile.

Notice a theme? Ha! He loves looking through toy catalogs. He is not a kid who asks for a whole bunch, but he loves looking through the catalogs. In fact, the only things on his list are a "gadget watch" and "robe." 

Other books in this week's reads are 

What are you reading this week?

Geeky Gift Guide

Friday, November 14, 2014 No comments
Shopping for your favorite book lover or geeky geek and need a few ideas? Well here you go! 

The prices for these goodies start around $20 and climb from there. I'm pretty sure they will make your geeky geek smile from ear to ear though! 

Happy shopping friends!

PS Will someone please forward this to N? :)

Giggle Poetry

Wednesday, November 12, 2014 No comments
I love poetry

I love sharing it with my son, my first graders, and I even enjoy poetry not written for children! (Shocking, I know!)

I was thrilled to receive another Bruce Lansky resource that invites teachers to use more poetry in the classroom! They sent me a copy to review and I'm pleased to is awesome! The book, written with Amy Buswell, is geared for 2nd-5th grade, but I have already used a couple of the activities successfully in first grade!
The book includes 35 poems and easy to follow lesson plans. While I have used some of the plans, I've also enjoyed just sharing some of the poetry with my readers. 

For upper elementary, the poems are very inviting for readers who simply might not be interested in longer texts or their interest level might not be what your library has! The poems are funny and the coordinating skills are right on target! 
This great resource, aligned with the Common Core standards is only $12 through Meadowbrook Press and would be a wonderful gift for a fab teacher this holiday season! 

Thank You Dad!

Tuesday, November 11, 2014 No comments
My dad is my favorite Veteran. He served in the Army during Vietnam and in the Coast Guard when we were kids. He doesn't talk about his Army days and we respect that. My uncle died in Vietnam. It was a huge step for my Dad when he visited the Vietnam Memorial and saw his only brother's name carved into the wall. He does not talk about that either though. He talks about his days in the Guard with fondness and we just roll with that. 
Handsome, right?
To my Dad and the many, many other Veterans, thank you. Thank you for service and your bravery. Thank you for representing our country with pride and honor.

What We're Reading Sunday~Thanksgiving Books!

Sunday, November 9, 2014 No comments
We pulled out our November favorites this weekend and of course, T wanted to read them all at one time. And just to be clear, he did not want me to read them all while he sat attentively, he wanted me to read them while he continued with his usual 5 year old boy business so he could still listen. :) Here are 3 that made it to the top of the pile! 


The last one is by far T's favorite but the bottom two are my favorites!! Cranberry Thanksgiving has such an important message and 'Twas the Night Before Thanksgiving cracks me up! It is a little surprising and I love that in a children's book! 

What are your favorite Thanksgiving reads?

Listen To Your Mother Announcement!!

Saturday, November 8, 2014 No comments
Earlier this year, I stepped out of my comfort zone and appeared in Atlanta's inaugural cast of Listen To Your Mother. It was an amazing experience that I will treasure forever! LTYM has just announced their 2015 season including 10 new cities and another show in the ATL! Here's the announcement!

Here is the link to my experience. I hope you will write and audition or even attend a performance in your city! 

Be brave friends! 

Tracking Print

Wednesday, November 5, 2014 No comments
I'm on Hameray's blog today talking about tracking print. Such an important skill for early readers and English language learners! Come read the post and check out the FUN ways we track print at home and school! 

My team and I also just placed another Hameray order! We love Mrs. Wishy Washy AND their nonfiction animal series! (See pic above!) 

Do you have another fun tip for tracking print? 


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