Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Snow Day ~ Alligreater is back!

We knew there was some rain coming our way last night, but I never would have guessed we would have gotten a snow day out of it. Yay for snowdays!!

This year conferences were really stressful. I hate delivering unhappy news, and this year was chock full of unhappy news. I have two of my hardest ones left.

Have you ever used those stupid idiotic special chair pouches for holding books? I'm at my wits end with them. They don't hang straight on our chairs, causing all the books to unceremoniously slip onto the floor. They tear, causing all the books to (again) fall unceremoniously onto the floor. So frustrating for everyone involved. I got this great idea to reinforce them with wooden dowels, but now the dowels are poking out all over. I thought I'd be clever and use those lock-tight plastic things, but when they are trimmed they get sharp, and how we have scraps. I hate those pouches.

Today was a super relaxing day, so I finished up the Alligreater Math I had been working on. It's for teaching or reinforcing the concept of "greater/less than". Check it out here, at my TPT store. There are even videos with it this time! And the CCSS are with them, too.

My kids, who have been playing at the neighbors all day long, have just burst in and announced that they are A) bored and B) hungry. Maybe they could entertain themselves by making dinner.

Monday, February 27, 2012

Go Sale-ing

We're having a sale!!
Head on over to my TPT store and check out what's available for the Incredible Magnifico Fabuloso Leap Day Sale.

Use the promo code L2P9Y and get an extra 10% off of my 20% off sale.

Seriously. Magnifico.

Saturday, February 25, 2012

Leap Day Math -

How could I even think about Leap Day and not think about frogs? Here's the remedy....
I even included the first and second grade Common Core State Standards that it meet. Find it here at my TPT store.

Leap Day and Math Sandwiches * Freebies too!

What are you doing to celebrate Leap Year? I didn't have anything planned, and then decided it was too rare a day to do nothing.

This is an original story that includes addition and algebraic thinking. Check it out at my TPT store.

And here's a  Freebie, just because!

I am so hungry since starting the P.I.N.K. Method over a week ago. I'm losing weight, no doubt about that. It's at the price of ever feeling like there's something in my belly, though. I have to admit that I feel physically fantastic. No artificial-anythings are definitely making a different.
I was daydreaming about sandwiches the other day, and came up with a cute activity. While it won't satisfy any cravings, it will be an engaging way for kids to practice number sense and addition/subtraction (I seriously just wrote addiction/subtraction).
Check it out here

Happy Leap Year!!

Thursday, February 23, 2012

It's going to be a lo-o-o-o-ng (and wonderful) day

It's that time again. I don't know about you, but I love conferences. You know when Grandmas run across a friend, and whip out the brag book of photos? When I get the chance to talk to parents about their kids, that's how I feel. I just love those kiddos so much, and am so amazed by them and so proud of them. Conferences are one of my favorite times of the year.

We must have had a full moon or low pressure system or something this week, cause the Firsties have been nutso. It's been a long time since they've been so gosh darned stinky. I'm resorting back to the pre-xmas "No Stim" plan. Apparently the threat of "Do you really want this to be what I remember about you when I talk to your moms and dads" lecture didn't work. Felt kinda good to deliver it, though.

So happy Thursday, to all you out in Teacher Land. Take a break and do something fun with your kiddos today. Read a story for NO reason, except to enjoy a good book. Play a game or two of Bingo. Have a spontaneous dance party. The curriculum will wait.

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Freebies Freebies

It was a hell of a weekend. 

Mostly it was because I went crazy loco making new "Working with Words" and "Working on Writing" D5 activities for spring. I'm beginning to think the dollar store is my newest best friend/nemesis, just like Pinterest. What do they do, hang out on Tuesday nights and make sabotage plans? "I hear she's planning on catching up on laundry and washing the dog. I'll throw some big clear plastic eggs and clipboards into the center aisle and you make sure you have some really cool but involved and messy ideas front and center. Got it? Go Team!"

I've eyeing up those fun posters for word families that Carson Delosa sells, but I keep thinkin' they are too big. Besides, I don't have any budget money left. So I created a set of long vowel posters that fit nicely on a classroom bulletin board. I put post-it slips covering each word, so it can be turned into an activity for D5. A  kid picks a poster (word family), and then peels off each post-it on the poster, reading each word and writing it down as they go. It looks like this:

The whole she-bang looks something like this:

You can get them HERE, at my TPT store. And guess what? They are.......

I found this idea on Pinterest and loved it. I loved it so much that I had to manically make a set for my firsties for Daily 5. We are working on long vowel sounds, so the four letter sets I made are focused on that. It is specifically for "2 vowels go walking...".

Here is what it looks like in action. The kids pick a clipboard and go back to their working spot. They open the bag and take out the letters. On the recording sheet they write their name, the number of the bag, and the letters in the bag. Then they make, read and write as many words as they can. Each has a set word family that all of the letters can be used for.
 Did you notice the cutie clip board? Like we don't have enough to do without adding to the insanity.
The clipboards are stored like this in our Working with Words center (bookcase, place, whatever).
Go to my TPT store to download this for FREE! Yay for freebies! The kit includes the bag label,recording sheet and has 4 letter sets to make 4 Mystery Word bags. The decoupage pieces are thrown in, just in case you are feeling crafty!

Friday, February 17, 2012

Let the Insanity Commence!

Today is our All School Dance. Does our Phy Ed teacher rock, or what? She teaches each grade level a dance, based on a theme that changes from year to year. The kids perform the dance for the entire school and a huge following of parents. Bonus: she teaches the staff a dance too, and we usually bring down the house. This year the theme is Broadway, but other years have been the '70s, the '80s, and country-western.

Totally un-school related:
I am on day 2 of the P.I.N.K. reset. Tried to give up caffeine completely, but was moaning on the floor by 5:00 with a massive headache. Decided that black coffee was ok, and we'll see if that helps. Otherwise, this is a tough diet. But I think a tough diet is what I need to fit back into my pants.

One more math committee meeting to go this morning. When I told the kids yesterday morning that I would be out in the afternoon, three of them burst into tears. Is that an ego-booster, or what? I'm glad the love is mutual.

Have a H.A.P.P.Y. Friday!

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

-ow as in BLOWS

This is one of those cra-a-a-a-zy weeks. V-day, nature center field trip this morning, all-school dance on Friday, and I'm out a half day each day the rest of the week.

This morning we bundled up (and then got sweaty 'cause it's not that cold) and headed out to Willow River State Park for a lovely morning of learning about animal tracks. From past years I know what the biggest hit of the day will be - poop. Deer poop, specifically. So I gave a pre-emptive poop lecture before we got on the bus. This from the teacher whose "special Valentine's treat" was reading aloud "The Gas We Pass, a Book of Farts".

This afternoon I left a sub in place and headed to my yearly physical appointment. Fellow teachers, you know what a pain in the ass sub plans are. No done-ahead plans for fly-by-the-seat-of-your-pants-girl, so I fly around like a crazy person getting everything ready, and then run out the door so I can get in a nap before my appointment (priorities!). I arrive on time to the clinic, only to discover there has been a mistake and the appointment was scheduled for tomorrow. PISSER. I have a math committee meeting all afternoon, so no physical for me. That totally BLOWS.

Speaking of blows, I wanted to share a book of activites I made up in honor of the long o -ow word family. It melded in perfectly with the Snowology unit I teach in January. Check it out at my TPT store. There is a free preview download to check it out before committing to a relationship with it.

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Linky Party...(um, is it on, can you hear me? Hello?)

Here is my story for the linky party-thing that Fabulous Ms. B set up. In the words of LSP  "Oh my lumping glob, you guys!" (that was random, I just wanted to quote Lumpy Space Princess).

Ok, wait, did I tell you why you should never use Google Images while your Smartboard is on (um, DUH)? Even if you are looking at something as innocent as pictures of fruit to make "healthy snack" cards for lunch sign up. Especially if you are looking at pictures of fruit to make "healthy snack" cards for lunch sign up. Because you might type in broccoli and get the kids chanting "PICK-CHUR FOUR! PICK-CHUR FOUR!" because they think they need to vote on what they think is the best photo to represent broccoli. Because you might start a small rumble on the rug when two boys disagree to agree on the picture they like for string cheese. And because, just maybe, you type in PEACE CUP and get a nearly nudey photo of a babe (a peach?) in a teeny weeny bikini (cup?). That'll stop a riot, right quick.

Ok, so this linky thing. I met my husband at night classes for graphic design. He scared me a little, because he was one of those, you know, motorheads. This was the mid-90's. He wore a Skoal hat. And he had l-o-o-o-n-g hair. But I had longer hair, and it was big and curly and usually piled on top of my head. I worked my way down the row of computers because the guy who sat on the other side of me wouldn't leave me alone. Eventually I was seeking shelter on the g-mac next door to Skoal man. We started taking smoke breaks together (oh, those '90s!) and once even cut class to take a drive and talk about "relationship" problems (with others). Any savvy grown-up knows that those who give advice about each other's relationships typically end up in one together (in dreams, if not real life). And before I knew it, I was making out with Mr. Ponytail in the parking lot.

We got engaged 4 months later, and have been married for (um, it's so long, let me think..) 14 years? We have two gorgeous girls, 9 and 12. We play video games together, love to take road trips, and laugh until we forget all the ways we irritate each other. He's the butter to my bread.

Piles of Sugar, Oodles of Hugs

Happy heart day!! How much frosting have YOU eaten today? I'm so totally surprised I didn't have a single puker after frosting cookies this afternoon.

Do you know what makes our job totally worth it, every day? It's the hugs. Even the grumpiest day can be made just a little brighter by a waist-hugger. V-day is the grand-daddy of all hug days. I feel full of chocolate and sugar, but I'm brimming over with love from the little folk. I am totally satisfied, and positively glowing.

I do feel slightly frantic, though. Once my kit arrives for healthy hell the Pink Method, I won't be able to have any sugar for a while, so I plan on going on a little binger tonight. Conversation hearts and Tagalongs, here I come!

Studying family in Social Studies? Here is a fun project - made even more fun because it's done at home! Now, now, I know that I shouldn't be so gleeful pawning off work on the 'rents, but this is actually really good for everyone involved. It is meant to get conversations about family going at the place where it's the most important - AT HOME WHERE THE FAMILIES LIVE. Check it out! I have our crests hung under our coat hooks, so the kids never forget where they came from. It's a nice piece of everyone's history.

Sunday, February 12, 2012


I spent the entire day working on my graduate action research paper. Aside from having to go back and add in page numbers for all of the in-text citations (which wasa total pain in the ass fun ), I began to take a deeper look at the data I've been collecting.

My research is on music, reading and fluency. I had to create fluency tracking forms for the research, so I threw the forms together with a little explanation into a Fluency Assessment Pack.

I was absolutely stunned at the increase in fluency my kids developed after practicing a poem for a week. We underestimate the potential that fluency has to be an indicator for reading, and how we can use to tweak instruction for our small groups and one-on-ones.

Dreaming about doughnuts again for breakfast, but I don't think it's in my future.

Saturday, February 11, 2012

Love is all you need

I'm looking for a little love. Check out my TeachersPayTeachers site, download some stuff, and leave me some feedback. I'll send you some love first  with a

 Everything is 100% FREE for one day. While I'm indulging in the chocolate truffles my hubs brought home from Knoke's, you can indulge in FREE STUFF. What's better than free stuff? (getting some feedback on your products!)

Friday, February 10, 2012


Is it so wrong that the only thing that is keeping me from crawling back into bed are the donuts I know will be served at our goodbye party for an employee this morning?

Yesterday was a toughie. The kids have been doing so awesomely that I kind of forgot about the "no stimulation" package I had going for them and we spent the entire day doing 100th day projects.

Big. Mistake.

I love them, but goodness they scared me a little bit yesterday.

The best part was that I had a pop-in observation by our principal in the morning, while doing 100th Day Lego Math. Why does it never happen the other 99% of the time when I have a rock-star lesson with learning targets and everything? Why always when we are at our craziest? I guess I should feel lucky. Most of the other times when he pops in I'm under a table with my ass in the air looking for something.

Here's to donuts and coffee to get us through today!
Happy Friday!

Thursday, February 9, 2012

Ninja e

I came across a new idea for teaching silent e (magic e, whatever you want to call him). It's Ninja e!

He's so strong that he can make another vowel say his own name. He's so stealthy that you'd never know he was there if you didn't see him.

Download my Ninja e set for free for the next two days. Try him out, see if he fits your style! The Ninja e sets comes with a poster, a game board and pieces, bookmarks, and Ninja e words for direct instruction or display.  The files are all color .pdf's. 

To see the video that was the inspiration, go to: 

Saturday, February 4, 2012


Cutie penguins and scarf lettering! Perfect for winter-themed bulletin boards and handouts.

a closer sample view

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Who's Afraid of the Big Bad Wolf?


I was getting all set to post a message about those stupid chair pockets and how I'm trying to fix them so that my kids' books will stop dumping onto the floor everyday. Then the phone rang and when I answered it, it was the school district sending out an alert that there was an attempted abduction of a middle school girl walking home from school.

My oldest daughter is in middle school, and I have been so trusting with having her walk home from the bus to an empty house every day.

I will not be sleeping well tonight. There is no measure of protection that would make me feel secure about my children this evening.