November 24, 2012

Huge Sale

Polka Dot Paper5
Hello friends! I just wanted to remind you that there is a big sale happening at TpT on Monday and Tuesday.  I am going to shop ‘till I drop! These are units that I have created for your first and second grade classroom.  They are high quality, high rigor, and highly fun units! Enjoy, and if you like what you see “follow me”. I’ll be posting 3 new units and having a HUGE give away in December! HUGE give away. H-U-G-E.  You won’t want to miss it. 12 winners over 12 days and 1 big granddaddy- call your best friend- I just won the jackpot- winner at the end. It’s big… I think I already said that.  You won’t want to miss it, or the fun freebies and classroom mishap stories I post.
To read more about each unit click here
To head on over to TpT and fill up your shopping cart, click here.

Happy Shopping!

I want to say a special thank you for supporting me. So I also marked down all my multiple user licenses. I know teachers like to share the great stuff they buy, and even split the cost. That's why all my multiple user licenses are on sale for only $2 instead of half the cost of the unit!

Happy Team Teaching!

November 23, 2012

{be-You-tiful}

        
Christmas is coming!  It's the most wonderful time of year! It can be... Or it can be miserable...

After a lovely Thanksgiving week, our household is off kilter. Naps have been skipped, laundry is piled to the sky, clean laundry is waiting to be folded,
the kitchen is .... well.... a disaster from prepping the dishes we brought to Thanksgiving dinner.
The only thing that could make this worse is to try and decorate while everyone is tired, and the house is clearly not ready to be decorated.
So what did we try to do today?

Yep! We decorated and made cookies! 
Here is why...
We ALWAYS decorate the day after Thanksgiving.
We ALWAYS eat Pick Up Stix for dinner.
Then we ALWAYS load up in the car and look at the Christmas lights in our neighborhood.
Always, Always, Always....

"Keep moving Little Soldier. This is what we ALWAYS do."

Does anybody else have an inner Drill Sargent?
Does anybody else have a harsh inner critic that is super hard to please? 

I do.

So this is what happened...
We threw ourselves into decorating for Christmas and ignored the reality around us. 

We trudged forward, over hurtles, tripping over laundry baskets, and piling on more dishes.
Keep moving Little Soldier...

The Mr. and I began to bicker, and for the 10th year in a row, we put incorrectly put the tree together and the had to start over.
Keep moving Little Solider...

We kept moving until our 5 year old melted into a puddle of tired tears. That's when it hits us.... ummmm maybe this is a bad idea.

Maybe plans have to change.

Maybe I have to adapt traditions to make room for reality. 

Maybe, just maybe, I need to tell my inner critic to shut up quiet down.

Maybe I need to take a look around myself and decide what the real priorities are.

I think this year I am going to let go of should, ought to, and always.

I think this year I am going to do what is right for me, my home, and the people in it.

The rest of the world and my own "drill sergeant"  will just have to sit tight.

Right now, I'm going to...
fold laundry (so we are not naked tomorrow), 
then I'm going to print this blog post, and tape it to the top of our ornament box as a little reminder for next year.

I am going to... 
Live in sweet reality over Norman Rockwell-esque ideals.
Put first things first.
Be the best version of myself, instead of the version my inner critic demands.
Being the best version of myself instead of a poor Martha Stewart copycat.


I saw these cookies on Pinterest and feel compelled to add them to today's decoration day. This we can agree was a bad idea.  But the cookies were wonderful...They were yummy and easy. But time consuming with all the refrigeration time involved. 
Watch your baking time. Mine were done a full 5 minutes before the time written in the recipe. 
This is the {link} for how to make them. These cookies are from a darling blog called Our Italian Kitchen.Hop on over. I want to make everything from their blog...after I clean up the kitchen.

November 20, 2012

Charlie Brown Thanksgiving Feast

Here is a cute little idea to file into "Let's try this next year."
This is our family tradition for the night before Thanksgiving.  It is an easy one, watch the movie, make popcorn and toast and gather jelly beans and pretzels.  How's that for an easy dinner? And so nutritious too! Each year I take my son's "feast" picture. He looks so tiny to me in just one year's time!



I hope to carry on this tradition through his childhood and on into his adulthood.  Someday he is going to be married. (Wow! That thought takes my breath away!) Realistically speaking, some years he might have to spend Thanksgiving with his in-laws. With this Pre-Thanksgiving tradition in place, he can still spend "A Charlie Brown Thanksgiving" with us on years when he is away on Thanksgiving Day!

Thank you Heather Vernoy for sharing your tradition with me so I could do it with my family! Much love to you Heather!

Are you looking forward to sales this weekend?  Teacher's Pay Teachers is having a HUGE Cyber Monday (and Tuesday sale)! I am going to shop till I drop! with this code you can get up to 28% off!!!



Everything in my store will be on sale for this Cyber Monday/Tuesday event! If you are looking for some great first and second grade resources, then look no further! Here are some units you are going to love!

For  Common Core Informational Reading 



You can read an entire blog post about each of these units
 by clicking a link at the bottom of this post.



Common Core Nouns Art and Skill Lessons

September, October, and November


December, January, and February


Nouns:  More Than One (mini unit)
Student Booklet & Individual Art Posters.







This printing unit
 that will help your student print like Jedi Masters






Your Entire Year of ABC Order




Vowels Practice and Chicka Chicka Art


For a Super Hero Adventure
in Learning to Add With Double Digits you need this.

You can read an entire blog post about each of these units by clicking {here}.
Or you can go directly to my TpT store by clicking {here}.
Happy Shopping! I pray your holiday season is blessed!
To hop back onto the linky party train click {here}
Thank you for hosting us Michelle. I'll see you on Facebook at 3am!

My Hubby is a newborn blogger


I am linking up with my hubby at Writing Pad Dad. He just started blogging, and is now glued to his laptop. He no longer teases me about "followers" and "Pinterest".  He totally gets it now!

 Writing Pad Dad

His blog is about teaching, family, his witty view on life, and cooking. (Yes, he does the lion's share of cooking. PTL!)

He would love some followers! He is a great guy, teacher and an amazing father. He is will crack you up! Read his current blog post about our dog eating an entire birthday cake right before his aunt's birthday party. The picture alone is worth the trip over. Click {here}.

November 15, 2012

Mashed Potato Trick


I am linking up with DeAnne to share recipe tips and tricks.
This little trick makes your mashed potatoes creamy, thick, but not claggy. I don't think claggy is a real word, but in our household it means yucky, gummy, and the bad kind of thick. No one wants claggy mashed potatoes. Here is how Paula Deen taught me to avoid the "clag".


Start your potatoes in cold water, bring to a boil, and then drain. Set off to the side.


Look at them! Yummy!
Paula says, claggy potatoes happen when cold milk, cream, or butter hits the hot potatoes. So use warmed cream, milk, and butter. Now, Paula Deen actually dirties another pot boiling her cream mixture.

NO MORE DIRTY POTS, PAULA!  PLEASE! I HAVE ENOUGH DISHES TO WASH!
 (Sorry about the shouting, but Thanksgiving dishes are panic inducing.)

This is my potato trick. I use the pot I boiled the potatoes in to warm the cream, butter, salt, and pepper mixure. Then, I use this same pot for the mashing! That trick just saved me from washing an extra pot and an extra mixing bowl.

 Do you hear angels singing? Because I do. Two less things to wash and perfect potatoes!


Dump the potatoes back into the pot with the warmed cream, butter, and seasonings. Mash them up.

At this point, I add the sour cream and adjust the seasonings. Sometimes I have to add just a splash more milk if the mixture seems to tight, but that little splash of cold milk won't cause any "clag". I hope this "same pot method" comes in handy with your own recipe for mashed potatoes!
 I pray that this is your best Thanksgiving ever! God bless you dear friend!
To hop back on the recipe train click here to return to the
 First Grade and Fabulous linky party!
Thank you DeAnne Davis !


November 12, 2012

Sight Word Strategies Linky Party



Hello Sight Word Enthusiasts! Welcome to my first linky party! [Cue D.J. playing music- everyone is laughing and having fun.] I hope you are able to find some fantastic ideas and resources here! Please feel free to join us on this linky.

1. Grab the picture to display on your blog.
2. At the botton of your post, please link back to my blog Teacher to the Core  { www.teachertothecore.blogspot.com } . When you link back, people can keep reading amazing sight word tips.  (Thank you, Kristin from A Teeny Tiny Teacher, for teaching me all about linky parties)

I offer you a game... I play this with my 6 year old son and my first grade students. It was orginally called OH NO! The game OH NO! came from my teacher friend Mer. Where she got .... who knows?

I call this little variation:
Wild About Reading 
and
Wild about Sight Words

Here is how to play: Using the download, write out the sight words that are a struggle
or sight words from your current list.

 
 
 
Place cards in a container, and take turns drawing and reading the cards.
I place cards from the old lists into the container so that he stays sharp on those too.
His teacher provides cards for the kids. Thanks Mrs W!
 
 
 
If you can read the card(s), then you keep them. Here are our two piles.
 
Follow directions on the “Character” cards and have fun!  When the character card says “take”, then you take that number from the container and try to read them. You keep what you can read.  If it says “put back”, you must put 2 cards back into the container.
 
The person with the most cards wins!
 
Jackson loves this game. We play it about once every two weeks.

 
This also works for phonics sounds.
 I have provided diagraphs and blends in the download.
 


Get the game {here} 


Contest Fun!

Kristin over at A Teeny Tiny Teacher is giving away 1 of her sight words fluency packets
 to one of my followers.


All you need to do is follow this blog and leave your name and email address as a comment! Easy!
I am giving away my Mammals of the Woods unit as well!


Be sure your email address is in your comment and that you follow my little blog.

November 11, 2012

Do this now

"Do this now." is my magical art lesson phrase.
  I love to do art, but it can be a challenge when kids don't listen to the instructions, or they rush ahead thinking they know what to do.  So, during art, students don't do anything until I say, " Do this now." Art in my class goes something like this...

Me: Hey guys, for writing today, we are going to start with Art!
Kids: Collective screaming and someone falls out of their chair because they are so excited!.
Me: OK friends, what is is magic phrase?
Kids: "Do this now."
Me: What happens when I give instructions?
Kids: We listen or we sit out for art. (Nobody actually sits out, but since they don't want to miss art, they follow directions.)
Me: When do you move?
Kids: When you say the magic words, "Do this now."

Then, I pretend I can't hear them and say, "What?" 5 million times until they are screaming, "Do this now",  and laughing, and beoming too exhausted to not follow directions. 

Me: Take out your scissors (pregnant pause) They lean in with anticipation..... the suspense grows.....
Me: Do this now....
Kids: Nobody speaks, they take out their scissors, and then look to me for the next direction and the magic words that follow.

Art is perfectly fun and easy every time.

So what kind of art do we do? These are our upcoming art projects from Mammals of the Woods

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All of the art in my unit has an academic component to it.
This is our place value porcupine.
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Mammals TpT art 6
This porcupine has a little book of place value hidden underneath!
 It's sneaky learning, I tell you. It fools my kids every time.
 " I love art!", they scream.
But really they are doing math!
 Ha!
 I fooled them again!
Though they are only 6-7 years old....
But still, my evil plan to fill their brains
 while they think they are doing art,
is working perfectly.
[ I am raising one sinister eye brown, and rubbing my hands greedily] 
My mad scientist moment is over.
Art that entails a skunk, glue, and cotton balls does not work if the kids are out of control.
"Do this now" saves the day every time.

IMG_6487


By the way, if you love the art, you can get it for a great price. All of this art comes with my unit. The unit also has 11 differentiated fluency passages about mammals, 50 pages of Common Core fun, and 5 assessments!
But none of this art would be fun, if the kids were not under the magical spell of the magical phrase
"Do this now."
It has made such a difference for me. I hope it works for you. I am dying to know, how do you make art run more smoothly in your class?
Thank you Hadar for setting up this linky! I can't wait to learn some new teacher tricks. Click on Hadar's name to go back to her blog and read more wonderful ideas!




 

November 9, 2012

Mammals of the Woods

I am gearing up to teach one of my favorite units!
I have made it available to you on TpT !
thumbnail 1 Cover

Last year, I added a fluency component so that my students could build their reading skills while learning Science. Last week, I differentiated the passages so that I have pages for high and low readers.  They look so similar that students won’t know the difference!  I love teaching about mammals using fluency passages! My students are thrilled to take them home and show off their skills and knowledge! Because the students, read and reread them, their reading skill soar!

Preveiw Download 1
Here are the Titles of the Fluency Passages:
What is a mammal?
Thumbnail 2Thumbnail 3
Dolphins are mammals too?
Beavers
Being Nocturnal
Raccoons
Opossums
Porcupines
Skunks
Preparing for winter in the woods
Migration
Hibernation
My students LoVeD the fluency passages last year. So this year, I have added over 50 pages of Common Core practice, and 5 new art projects!
Preveiw Download 2
Here is a list of activities:
Hibernation Science Directions
Hibernation Science Journal

What is a Mammal: Student Book sample pages




True and False Practice
Which mammal is your favorite? Full Color Math Graphing Activity/ Bulletin Board
Mammals activity 5Mammals activity 4Mammals activity 3
Odd or Even? Full Color Math Center/ Game
Woodsy Math- 120 Chart adding and subtracting
Phonics in motion
Clip art to make Anchor Charts for phonics in motion
Silly Animals Syllable Clap- can be used for alliteration as well
Journals for First and Second Grade

Mammals TpT j 1

Mammals TpT j5

Mammals TpT j 2


Mammals TpT j3

Pick a Poem

Mammals TpT ass 9

Mammals TpT ass 10

The Smart Art is my favorite!

Preveiw Download 3
Mammals TpT art 2
Mammals TpT art 1

All the art is ready for the photocopier. No tracing required! I hate tracing. Hate it!
Building Beavers Art:
Academic Component: combine 2 simple sentences into 1 compound sentence.
IMG_6488
Mammals TpT art 5
This can be displayed on your bulletin Board as an anchor chart and as your “Posting” of the Common Core Standard.
Mammals TpT art 3
This is a sample of the student page.  All of my art has an academic component that goes either directly onto the art or next to the art on the bulletin board.
Mammals TpT art 4

Raccoon Art
Academic Component: write your favorite fact
IMG_6491


Skunk
Academic Component: mini booklet called “I’m Warning You!”
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Porcupine Place Value
Academic Component – Ones and tens / Ones, tens, and hundreds
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Here is a glimpse of the booklet pages inside the Place Value Porcupine.
Mammals TpT art 6
Mammals TpT art 7

Upside-down Opossum Facts Art- Deciding between true and false opossum statements
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I love the assessments that go with this unit. The tests are differentiated as well!  In 2 weeks, I can FILL my grade book, and that makes me happy! 
Preveiw Download 4


I go back to work in 1 week, so I am using this week to make bulletin board titles, and do some early Christmas shopping! Tis the Season.  I can’t wait to go back to work and to have engaging lessons to pull the students out of their Santa Stupors.  It seems like as soon as Target puts up Christmas trees, my students go brain dead and get silly. But this unit is going to do the trick to keep them engaged, learning, and behaving like “Super Students” not like kids on the “Naughty List”.
You can get this unit and a whole lot of joy
 {here} at Teachers Pay Teachers!

Seeing a unit is action is way better!
Click on "Mammals of the Woods"
in the labels section to see the unit being used with real kids in the real world!
 
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