Thursday, January 22, 2015

Valentine's Day: A gift for parents

Need an easy gift to give parents from your students for Valentine's Day? I created an easy, print and go poem book for students to write in and illustrate. 

Students fill in the blanks and illustrate
Take a picture of each student "blowing hearts" out of their hands and glue photo into last page. This is such a cute and easy keepsake to put together for parents!

Click below to get yours!

Wednesday, January 14, 2015

The best 2015 ever!

13 weeks pregnant

It's been so so long since I've even been on my blog!!!! I spent most of October and November in complete and utter shock! As you can see in the photo above, I've got a bump. This bump is truly an amazing blessing from God. Here's a little history on this blessing:
After spending years and years AND years trying to have a child, with several failed fertility treatments, my husband and I took a giant leap of faith and did IVF on 11-11-11. We were beyond happy when it worked, the first time! This led to the birth of our son in 2012.  In 2013, we wanted to expand our family so we tried 2 more cycles of IVF, which both did not work. We were disappointed to say the least. It wasn't until the fall of 2014 that I had finally made peace within myself that our boy was enough. He was the perfect boy I thought I'd never have and he was enough.  I was done with the fertility drugs. I was done with the long drives to my Dr. office. I was done focusing on the need to give my son a sibling. I. was. done.
Or so I thought!
In October 2014, I started feeling strange. I started having some of the classic early pregnancy signs; bloated belly, tiredness, etc. I took a VERY early pregnancy test (just a few days before my expected period) and was confused to see a very faint second line. I thought, "no.... it must be wrong." Little did I know, it was picking up the little amount of HCG that was developing in my body. So I gave it 2 days like the box said. I took it again and that darn second line was a tad darker! Still..... after not being able to get pregnant on our own for 7 years, I couldn't believe it. I gave it another day or so. I ended up taking a total of 4 pregnancy tests to be sure!

I'll never forget that last test. I woke up early, 5:00 a.m. because it was on my mind. I went into our bathroom, did the test and was shocked to see it so dark. In shock, I walked out of the bathroom towards my sleeping husband in bed with the stick in my hand. My arm was shaking. Through my tears I said, "Honey, wake up, wake up. There are two lines. There are two lines. There are two lines." I'll never forget my husband's face. He blinked hard to get his eyes ready to open. He looked at that stick and started laughing, "there are two lines, there are two lines baby, we're having another baby!" 

I wanted to share this story on my teaching blog for a reason. If my story can give one person/teacher out there hope, then I've done a very important thing. Struggling to conceive is one of the most difficult things someone can go through. It's such an emotional, personal, heartbreaking struggle that only someone experiencing it can truly understand. You feel like you're alone. You feel helpless. You feel sad when it seems that everyone around you is pregnant. You feel stressed about ovulation. Your heart breaks every month when you get your period. It's truly the most difficult thing my husband and I have faced as a couple. So if you are reading this right now and are experiencing infertility issues, hang on, don't give up, believe in miracles, believe in God's timing...just believe.

7 weeks

Saturday, November 1, 2014

Organization Station for Small Groups!

If you're anything like me, your small group area gets piled up with stuff rather quickly. As a first grade teacher, I'm always looking for fun and novel things to motivate my little readers. So where does one put all of this fun must have stuff???? Well.... I must admit, until this year I had no real system in place to store my small group materials. I'd find myself searching for my comprehension things, tearing apart a shelf to find my fun pointers, and had leveled books in a crate on the floor divided up with folders. I was so sick of feeling unorganized during my small groups time of Reader's Workshop. So I decided to create a little organization station near my kidney table. I went to Walmart and bought 2 three drawer carts (click on the picture to take you right to it!):

I wanted big drawers to keep each of my small groups' books for the week.  I usually visit our school guided reading library once every two weeks to check out leveled books for my small groups. This way, I'm all set to go for small groups for 2 weeks at a time.

I also wanted to have a place for my other small group goodies so I bought another Sterilite drawer cart, this one has 4 drawers:
I like the shallower small drawers on top for things like pointers and extra copies of my conferring forms. The bottom 2 drawers hold my comprehension stuff and word work materials. I took the wheels off of each cart so they would stay stationary and lined up in a row! 

I knew that I had to create some fun labels for my drawers and that Melonheadz kids would be featured. Click on the picture below to check out my Small Groups Organization Station in my TPT store.

You can see everything in this pack in my preview!

I love having all of my small group materials in one place!

I just used numbers for each group. But if you distinguish groups
by COLOR, that option is included in my pack.

I hope this organization station can help you organize your small groups too!

Thursday, September 25, 2014

Sensory Words w/ Applesauce :)

I'm excited to make applesauce in my first grade classroom tomorrow! I just love the smell of homemade applesauce on a cool Michigan fall day! Although the weather is going to be rather warm, 75 degrees... which I will totally take in September! During Writer's Workshop, we will be talking about sensory words and how writers use them to add PIZAZZ to any story. Click on the picture below to snag a copy of this applesauce sensory words recording sheet!
Happy fall!

Friday, September 12, 2014

Cultivating BRAVE young writers!

Well... it's week 2 and writer's workshop is in full swing! My first grader know how to get writing supplies, the noise level expectations, what to do in a writing conference, how to get a new pencil, where to get new paper, what to do when they think they're done, and finally.... what to do when they need to spell a tricky word! Which brings me to this post!

The first day of writer's workshop is always so exhausting! Kids are up out of their seats showing you their papers and all you can hear is, "How do you spell____?"  over and over again! I couldn't wait to get to the BRAVE lesson that I started doing last year. I thought that the song BRAVE by Sara Bereilles was absolutely perfect for this teaching point. I play the song for the kids (you can just find it on youtube) and we listen to JUST the chorus (there is a part at the very beginning that mentions the words "weapon" and "drug" so I skip that part and pause it right when the chorus is about to begin. The words ARE SO PERFECT for writing. The chorus says, "Say what you wanna say, and let the words fall out, honestly... I wanna see you be brave!" So many times, my first graders are hesitant to write because they don't know how to spell the words. When I conference with students and ask them to write what happened next, many of them say, "but I don't know how to write that." Then they end up avoiding writing just because they don't have the confidence to stretch out the words the best they can.

After this lesson, the chorus from the song is our mantra for spelling during writer's workshop! I love how it says to let the words fall out. I tell the kids to let their words fall out of their brains right onto their paper and to be BRAVE as they attempt to spell!

I made this little poster to post in our writing area as a reminder. Click on it below to download it for FREE from my TPT store. Don't forget to follow me so you don't miss my upcoming freebies!

Friday, August 29, 2014

Organizing Student Information!

I finally got my student information pack up and ready to go on TPT! 
Click on the picture below to check it out!

 Here's the cover I'm using for my student information sheets. 
I love anything with adorable melonheadz kids!

I use this "Getting to Know You" form at my open house to gather student information. I put them all together, put the cover on, and bind at the top! It hangs from a hook above my desk for easy access all year long!

This pack includes 4 editable cover pages, 1 complete getting to know you form, 1 editable getting to know you form, and a sample of my cover! Check it out!

Thursday, August 21, 2014

I Love IG Giveaway!

I was so thrilled to reach 500 followers on IG last week! To celebrate, I'm having my FIRST giveaway! I'm giving away a cute heart tote, an adorable pink & gold clip-folio (it's a clipboard/paper holder), a chevron J. Crew jewelry tray, and a hot pink polka-dotted hothairband (an awesome work out headband made by mom that DOES NOT MOVE off of your head). Could you tell I was kind of going for a theme with these goodies? You have the chance of getting 8 entries below!
a Rafflecopter giveaway