Sunday, March 31, 2013

What was your BEST Spring Break Moment?

Although spring break is coming to an end, I am not sad:)  Did I get everything accomplished that I needed to before break ended??  Not a chance!  But I am okay with that.

 I had a great time with my kids and my niece at the beginning of the week.  Then my hubby and I took a mini trip together to the Windy City!!  That was my best moment!  He and I have spent little to no alone time since the birth of our son close to two and a half years ago.  Sure, we have done movies and dinner, etc but we have not gotten away from everything for a little bit and just been able to breath normally for a change without someone yelling, "I need a drink or I am wearing this because I have NO clean clothes". 

My husband and I at Millennium Park

So here is our trip in a nutshell: 
We did some shopping for the kiddos who keep growing to the point I can not keep them in clothes.  We ate at two fabulous restaurants--Rosebud on the Rush and Harry Caray's.  We went to a hillarious improv show at Second City Comedy Club.  And my most favorite part of the trip we went to the Chicago Art Institute.  Wow was that cool!!  Seeing Van Gogh, Monet, Picasso up close and personal was unreal.  And of course the teacher in me is always present.  I had to buy a couple posters of famous paintings like American Gothic so that I could hang them up for the kids.  Many of my students rarely leave the small town or should I say "village" in which they live so I feel that it is important to expose them to as much as I can.  I want them to understand that there is a whole wide world out there just ready to be explored! 

So here is a challenge for you!  Can you guess the artist and name of the paintings below?  Guess right I will send you one of the new goodies I have been working on the last few weeks.    

Only eight more weeks until schools out!  I am not sure whether to be excited or stressed out!  There is still so much to do.  Thanks for taking the time to read my post!  I would love to hear about your best moment on spring break.  

Thursday, March 28, 2013

A Bunny Blog Hop

A Tisket, A Tasket, Freebies for your Basket!
Several phenomenal teachers and bloggers are joining forces for an amazing bunny blog hop!  As you follow us along the bunny trail, you will visit some of your favorite blogs and discover a few new blogs too!  Each with a fabulous freebie just for you!

Thank you for hopping on over to my blog!

I am very pumped to be participating in my first blog hop!

I have been working on several items over spring break so I decided to share a goodie I have in the works with everyone:)  I am totally loving my Dreamlike Magic backgrounds!  Very springy!!  I needed that especially since my spring break started with a snowstorm!

Click on the picture below to grab your freebie! 

If you have any ideas, comments or suggestions about my comprehension cards please share I would love feedback!

Thanks for stopping by and visiting!  If you are new to my blog and liked what you see, don't forget to follow me.  A Tisket, A Tasket, next up with a Freebie for your Basket is Rich from Mr. Giso's Room to Read.  Hop on over!

Just in case you didn't join us from the beginning, here is an ordered list of all the participating blogs.

Stephany from Primary Possibilities
Sally from Elementary Matters
Lory from Fun for First
Linda from Primary Inspiration
Nicole from Mrs. Rios Teaches Second Grade
Brian from Hopkins' Hoppin' Happenings
Liz from The Happy Teacher
Jennie from JD's Rockin' Readers
Sarah from Learning is for Superstars
Teresa from Fun in K/1
Nikki from Teaching in Progress
Faith from Kindergarten Faith
Renee from Fantastic First Grade Froggies
Amy from Happy Teacher Heaven
Leah from Learn with Leah
Nicole from Teaching's a Hoot
Kristy from The Phonic's Phenomenon
Rich from Mr. Giso's Room to Read
Susanna from Whimsy Workshop
Amy from Motivate to Learn
Lola from Preschool Wonders
Kimberli from Mixing the Next Batch

Monday, March 25, 2013

Lie Reveiled and a Noun Game

Drum roll please!  The lie was #2 that my favorite show is the Bachelor.  I am not much of a reality TV fan.  Although I do watch some because my hubby is:)  My current favorite show is The Following.  Not only do I totally love Kevin Bacon but the show blows my mind every week!!

I unfortunately did work at Taco Bell for 7 long years through high school and college.  I am so thankful to now have a job that I love:) (most of the time anyway)

I did want to be an archeologist as a child.  I dreamed of uncovering hidden treasures, visiting the Pyramids, maybe even discovering a hidden Egyptian Tomb:)

Now I am linking up again with Flying into First Grade to play the NOUN GAME! So here goes with my favorite person, place, thing, and animal:

I have so many important people in my life it is so hard to choose:)  One of my favorite people is my buddy Joan.  I spend about two hours a day in her classroom and she totally puts up with all of my faults like I am not always punctual;)  Joan is my sounding board and always gives me good advice.  She is one of the best moms in the world so I am so lucky to have her a role model as I am entering the tween years with my daughter.  She is a ton of fun and is always good for a laugh.  I am very fortune to have her in my life:)

One of the places I love the most is Charleston, South Carolina.  I would really like to live there but you know how it goes........there are not jobs available for my hubby currently or so he says:) My uncle lives in the area so I am fortune to visit about once a year.  It is such a charming place!  History, shopping, and beaches, who could ask for more!

One of the things I love the most is my MAC BOOK AIR.  I just got it this fall when my PC crashed and my husband talked me into it.  It is another area of my life where I have entered the dark side.  Now that I have gone MAC, I am totally in love.

I have been a dog person and a cat person at different points in my life.  I am currently a dog person although my dogs stress me out at times:)  We have two Bichons that are white and fuzzy.  I am ecstatic to have a fenced in yard for the first time in my life!
(The dog pictured looks very similar to one of mine little ones)

I am really enjoying my first day of spring break even though it started with a snowstorm!!  I can't wait to read other people's responses to the Noun Game!!

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

SomeBUNNY loves your blog!

I am linking up with Christina Bainbridge to show some bloggy love:)  

One of the blogs that has inspired me the most is Sugar and Spice.  The author of the blog actually did a short inservice on how to create a blog, etc that I happened to go to last summer.  Christina Wagers is a very talented, energetic 1st grade teacher who has been a great inspiration to me this year.  If you haven't checked her blog out before, head on, over and show her a little love:)  You won't be sorry!!

Sugar and Spice

Monday, March 18, 2013

Sorry I have been MIA recently.  I got sucked into the bottomless paper pit that sometimes hits us as teachers like grading, IEP writing, entering data, and filling out progress reports.  UGH!  It really made me grouchy to not get to do my blog surfing that I like to enjoy on the weekends. But I was a good girl and got my work done. 

Now it is time to have a little fun and share a little about myself so I am linking up with Flying into First Grade with TWO TRUTHS and a LITTLE WHITE LIE:) 

1.  I worked at Taco Bell for 7 years before becoming a teacher.
2.  My favorite TV show is the Bachelor.
3.  I wanted to be an archeologist as a kid.

Can you figure out which two are true and which one is a lie? Best of luck to you my friends;)

Sunday, March 10, 2013

Celebration Sale!!

So here is a fun fact for everyone!  Not only did I have braces for two years as a teenager but I have had braces for the last three years.  No kidding!!  Well tomorrow the braces are coming off.  I still have a retainer in my future but at least most of the metal is going to be gone along with the overbite that has plagued me for close to 37 years!  Yay!  So in celebration I am throwing a sale at my TPT store!  Get 20% off anything in my store Monday and Tuesday!

Temple Grandin & No More Meltdowns!

As an intervention specialist one of the coolest things is to see a person with disabilities become a successful member of society.  My mother teaches the multiple handicapped at a high school level and has always been one of my personal heroes.  I have a hard enough time juggling students with learning disabilities or students that have ADHD that interferes with their academics.  Teaching students with severe disabilities takes a special gift that I don't have but I truly admire those who do!  Therefore, when my mom wanted me to attend a Temple Grandin conference I jumped at the chance.

 Talk about an inspiration!  I have always wanted to hear her speak especially after seeing the HBO movie where Claire Danes plays Temple Grandin.  I was not disappointed!  We heard Temple speak Friday and she was fantastic!  It was so interesting to hear about autism from a person who was actually afflicted with the condition.  She showed pictures of her brain and the brain of an average person which visually showed differences and similarities.  It really hit home that we need to focus on the students area of strength and really encourage that area because it could become their profession one day which is what happened for her and the cattle industry.   We need to encourage students to become active members of society although it may be more comfortable to stay at home and play video games. 
 Pictured above Temple Grandin with the DVD of the HBO movie Temple Grandin.

Temple Grandin actually only spoke for an hour and half of the conference day and for the rest of the portion the presenter was Dr. Jed Baker who is a behavioral consultant in New Jersey.  He was fantastic.  It seems like behavioral concerns within the constraints of the general education classroom are only increasing instead of decreasing.  Since I am an intervention specialist, I am supposed to have ideas but behavior is not an area which I am extremely knowledgeable.

 Dr. Baker had great ideas and was able to present it with real life situations so that it hit home and made sense.  There is so much I am going to utilize from his presentation that I would be writing forever if I shared it all so I am going share the overall theme today.  The overall theme for his presentation was HOPE!  which really hit me because it is so easy to get bogged down with all the negativity that surrounds that student and the behavior.  But he emphasized the need to remain calm during a meltdown and make sure you hold onto the hope that the behavior will and can get better.  He emphasized that the students need to know that there is HOPE and OPTIMISM for a bright future.  One of the first things I plan on working on is Don't be a BULLY be a HERO.  I have already bought Melonheadz clip art to accompany my creations:)  So stay tuned!

Pictured above is Dr. Jed Baker with his book No More Meltdowns.  
I got a copy of the book and I am excited to check it out!

I would love to hear your thoughts, experiences, & insights about students with disabilities or behavioral issues in your classroom. 

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Spring Fever & A Link Up!

I am getting really tired of the dreary winter and am holding out hope that spring is on the horizon:)  In trying to bring a little spring to my intervention groups I have been using backgrounds from the Clever Chameleon called "Rainbow Candy" .  They are very fun and colorful which makes me happy:)  I took one of my winter sight word packs and updated it with a new spring background.  I also found a use for the adorable dunce cap kids that I recently purchased from Melonheadz.  I created a sight word game called "Time OUT" .  I already tried it out and my kiddos loved it although I did have to explain the dunce cap since kids today have no clue what that is but they do understand the time out chair:)  I decided that when we were playing yesterday that I should add an option so the kids could steal cards or even have a pile of cards in the center of the table(words that other students couldn't read) that the kids can earn if they pull a "teacher's pet" card.  I thought it might add a little excitement:)  I am linking up with Freebielicious to share my spring fever with everyone else;)

Here is a peek at my Time Out sight word game:

I hope you enjoy!  I would love to hear any comments, ideas, or suggestions that you might have!  Hopefully spring is around the CORNER!

Sunday, March 3, 2013

Story Elements

So this week I have been trying out my story element visuals with my kiddos.  I have been pretty happy with them and I love having visuals to reinforce the concepts I am teaching.  I made a few changes from my original set.  Mainly I just changed the clip art for the important event.  I wasn't happy with the detective with the footprints because I had several colleagues who were not able to tell that they were footprints!  I am not going to share with you what they thought the cute little foot prints were!  I finally got my whole story element with visuals pack for sale on TPT this morning.  Here is a peek at what it includes: 

I have added large posters of concepts per the request of one of my teaching buddies.  As an intervention specialist, I do so much small group work that I didn't even think about hanging up large visual supports:)

What I use all the time is my small visual cards.  I use them with my groups K-2.  It is a great way to review what they remember about the story from the previous day or after they have done a picture walk before reading.

 I actually laminated my questions so students could write answers with a dry erase marker or I could model for students how I want them to respond to the question.  I don't know about you guys but I constantly struggle with getting kids to restate the question in their answer.  I also thought about cutting the questions apart and just having my kids focus on one concept at a time like just the MAIN CHARACTER or just the SETTING.

Since I encounter kids of all levels, I wanted them to be able to sequence story events and show me that they understand the concept of beginning, middle, and end without having to worry about writing out an answer, therefore I decided to have them illustrate to show their story knowledge.  In many cases, the kids struggle so much with thinking of what they are going to write and then how to spell it that the skill they are actually demonstrating that they know gets lost along the way. 

Games are a great way to reinforce a skill or concept so I created a concentration game that allows students to increase their understanding of story elements and strengthen their memory as well.

Finally ASSESSMENT!  I have not used this piece yet but I know that it is important piece to ensure whether students actually understand a concept or skill.  I made it a cut and paste to make the activity a little more FUN!

I would love to hear your ideas or thoughts about teaching story elements!  Please leave a comment below:)  The first five people to comment can have my entire pack for FREE!  If you happen to miss out on the freebie click here to get this pack from my TPT store.

Saturday, March 2, 2013

Currently! Yay! It's March!!

I am linking up with Farley to celebrate the beginning of March!  I am excited because it means that spring is on it's way and soon the snow will disappear. (hopefully)

So it was earlier this morning when I actually wrote this and I was downstairs with my son and my husband was still sleeping upstairs.  He snores soooooo loud that it totally comes through the floor!  Don't ask me how I sleep through it.  I guess he is my soul mate:)
Loving my new Toyota Sienna!!  I always said I would never own a van but after I had my second kiddo I really felt like we needed the space of a van.  My husband and I have finally gone over to the darkside.

I don't know about anyone else but I feel like I spend my life on a hamster wheel.  Between home, family, work, etc  I feel like I never can get it all done.

Which is why I am wanting spring break to be here like NOW!  I am hoping to catch a breath for a moment before finishing out the school year!!

This then leads to my next point--MOTIVATION!  I need it and lots of it so that I can get things accomplished this weekend before the daily grind starts again bright and early Monday morning!

So my duty at school is to run the school store in the morning.  The other day two sisters came to the store and only had enough to buy one pencil.  The other sister was so sweet to her little sister it made me smile!  It is totally the kind of person you want your kids to be.  Of course I had to give the older sister a pencil too for being so kind!  I really like kindness:)

I love kiddos!  I love my kiddos to the moon and back!  But of course I also love all the kiddos from school that touch my life everyday and make me a better person for having taught them.  Below are my personal kidders.  My tween and toddler make my life CRAZY!

I get bummed out by negativity and am working myself to look on the bright side of things!!  People who suck the positive and light out of everything--KILLJOYS.

I hope everyone has a great weekend.  I look forward to hearing what you are liking, loving, and hating:)