High / Low Linky Party

high low
Please join me in sharing your
highest and lowest moments/memories from January.
This will be a reoccurring linky party that will revolutionize blogging.
Well maybe not, but it will be fun and it will
give us a chance to get real about the lows in life
as well as the highs.
Here goes….
“Fasten your safety belts, Its going to be a bumpy ride.”-Betty Davis
HIgh (2)
I have to say one of the high moments of my January came
to me as a classroom creator for TpT.
My high was seeing American Heroes make it to #7 on the top 100 list.
I worked on it for months.
I mean months…
Like through Christmas break even…
Many dear and darling friends and family edited for me,
cheered me on,
you guys liked it! 
love it
You liking it was the best part!
Thank you for making that happen…
What a joy!

My low point was losing one of my students.
Well, losing him was not the low point.
{I am about to get really real with you. Are you ready?}
My low point was that  I was happy to see him move on.
Please don’t throw tomatoes.
I actually loved him, but he was soooooo much work.
No matter how much I gave him, it wasn’t enough.
No matter how many times I would reteach a concept,
he never scored more than a 50% on any given test.
Which would mean another re-teaching session.
He had every peer buddy in place…
sight words
I did 1 on 1 guided reading
I used every trick ….
You name it.
Plus, he hurt the other children in my class.
He would mutter mean things, pinch, and trip others.
Socially he was in pain and misery loves company.
He grew in tiny steps- barely measurable.
He was not special day, nor did he need RSP services,
He was just low, distracted, and busy.
He was wearing me out.
Then he moved.
Being soooo HAPPY to lose a student, made me so sad.
I felt horrible being happy, but I was happy.
I know that another teacher will pick up where I left off.
I know that I planted and watered and tended his little garden.
I am HAPPY to let someone else bring in the harvest (so to speak).
I am SOOO HAPPY that I feel sad.
But don’t cry of me Argentina….
Tell me all about your Highs and Lows of this month.
Share pictures… spill the beans… let that cat out of the bag!
Let us high five and hug you with the stories you share.
Let the comments you receive be your both
"Oscar Moment" and your free therapy.
Grab any and all of the graphics you want.
Link up, Link back, and comment out the person directly in front of you
and come on back to check out the person after you.
I love Farley’s Power of Three.
Here are your graphics.
You can also grab the “type onto” graphic
a-la Fraley style.
Farley, I love ya. Can you tell?????
high low Big
high low
HIgh (2)

1. Link up at the bottom of the post
2. Link back to this post
3. Comment 3 times-here, the person before, and the person after.

“Snow” cute!

As promised, here are the pictures of the snowflakes in our hallway.
We are prepping for Grandparents day,
and it is getting “snow” cute in first grade!
The entire 80 foot hallway has mittens and snowflakes all the way down!
I created the mittens page for the students to practice their antonym
skills.  You know I can’t just slap a mitten on the page.
I have to make it academic.
I used the top part to review the skill and the kids took it home.
Then, they created a darling set of mittens that shows their favorite
antonym pair either from the top portion or words from their
own beautiful brain. They had to tell me the words
before I let them write with marker.
In honor of Mr. Kindergarten I decided to use glitter on our mittens.
Now I am SURE you know this glitter trick,
but I thought I would share just in case.
Place a large sheet of construction paper on your table.
This will catch all the glitter that you shake off the students work.
I like to put my glitter in Styrofoam cup and use the hand over hand
method of keeping glitter from ending up on the ceiling.
Fold up the student work- taco style.
Shake and tap your student’s art onto the large sheet.
Fold up large sheet and tap it into the cup.

Now you are ready to move onto the next child!

I stapled the thumbs of the mittens to keep them together.
Then, I used two pieces of tape to keep them on the yarn.
To make the polka dot ones you see right behind “sun and moon”, dip the

erasers of pencils into glue, then top with glitter.  Most of my class wanted
the “Chevron” design.  We grew up calling this rick rack.  But my students
are hip and use the current lingo.
If you want to learn how to make the GiGaNtiC snowflakes then you will
want to check out this blog post { here }.
I show you how to make them in words and pictures.
This is the last step, and they are deceptively impressive.
They look so hard, but they are not.
I taught my whole grade level how to make them,
and the most common comment was “Oh that IS easy!”
If you want to make your own “Snow” cute mittens
click the picture and download . 
Download now
Before cutting have them color the back of the mittens if you want to
hang then where you will see both sides. This will look nicer.
I hope your students LoVe making them. 
Don’t feel compelled to use glitter.
They look amazing without glitter.
I say this for my bestie, Celeste.
She has a self diagnosed “art phobia”.
The thought of glitter might give her a panic attack,
but crayons she can handle.
Where do you land on art?
Do you- Love it.
Do you think- It’s OK.
Or is it - Valium anyone?
Click the pic to link back up to freebielicious

Bathing Suits! Already?

This happens every year. I go to Target to buy mittens for our annual snow

trip.  When I arrive at Target this is the scene I see.


That’s right folks. No mittens to be found. It’s time to buy a bathing suit!

In January!!!
That’s Rude… I need mittens.

Now this is less crazy here in Sunny So. California because it can be 40

degrees and rainy one day and 80 degrees for a week afterward.

But is this what you see where you live?

Are you using your snow blower and

buying a bathing suit at the same time???

Seems cuh-ray-zee to me!

You know what else is crazy?

Spending all your prep time remaking

Anchor Charts every year.

Anchor chart

Well, I have a little bright idea for you.

This is what my anchor charts end up looking like…
Perhaps because I hang them on my door….

It’s the only spot in my classroom not covered with

mammals of the woods right now.

I like teaching with Anchor Charts.  I find them powerful revisiting tools,

and it makes the learning concrete.

But look at all that artwork…

…..ripped up by wild first graders….

……RUNNING like wild things walking politely to recess……

I love my cute hermit crab guy… Should I throw him away???

No Way!

I just cut off the awesome art!


Then, I file it with the corresponding story.

It is ready to be taped onto next year’s chart.


I love using plastic sheet protectors as file holders.

I am always worried something will fall out of a traditional file folder.

But you can fling a sheet protector full of papers across the room

{Frisbee style}

and NoThInG will fall out.
Plus my file box stay nice and neat.

This is my Houghton Mifflin drawer.


These are my Trimester 1 and 2 and 3 files in their drawer……

I used plastic folder dividers to dived the trimesters.
You can see a row of them in the very back of the drawer.


I buy these plastic sheet protectors in bulk.

At $10 for 100 that is pretty cheap.

I wait for the sale at Staples and then buy 3 at a time.

This filing system works so well for me.

If a file gets too full, then I staple two together and off I go.

Here is how it works if I have a really big “file” like

my Mammals of the Woods curriculum.
Each mammal has their own stapled file.




It works for me and thank God it does. 

My classroom always has a little bit of a mess in one spot or another,

but if you come in my room and ask me

“ Do you have a copy of the _______________ you gave me last year”

I can have it in your hands in less than 30 seconds….maybe 45.

I lOvE this system!

Rainy Day

My son is overjoyed it is a rainy day.
All I can do is cringe.
This is the difference between students and teachers.
One of many differences.
I am taller and wear better clothes.
Speaking of better clothes…
These are my new rain boots.  I bought the teal ones.
{love them? click here}
SO here is what happened today.
I had 30 kid free minutes in the course of a 400 minute school day.
So I was a little ummmmm…over it
and so were they.
In the course of one of our last indoor recesses
one of my girls tackled one of my boys…
Tackled him to the ground…
She lunged from 25 feet away….
like a PaNtHeR!
It was all over this.
She wanted to shake the jar from our hibernation
The tackled boy was in shock.
I was in shock.
I half expected her to do the end zone victory dance.
Instead she grabbed the jar and ran.
I have total control of my students.
But this little girl is headed to our Special Day Class and I love her.
My boy is just a sweetheart and shouted out,
“Hey, next time just use your words! OK?!?”
That my friends is life with first graders


So we are gearing up for winter in a big way. I’m making
snowflakes to hang from the ceiling.
They are deceptively impressive.
They look so hard, but they are not.
Here is how to make them in words and pictures!
IMG_1176 - Copy
That’s it!
I’m hanging them from the ceiling with white yarn.
You could use fishing line if you wanted…
Use a hole punch and loop the yarn or fishing line through.
I’ll show you how amazing they look tomorrow.
Be sure to enter the Chinese New Year contest in the post below!
Mark your calendars… Feb 10th Chinese New Year.