Tuesday, April 30, 2013


Ooops! This was my mid-week post that apparently I saved instead of publishing so...

This week we have been doing AIMSWEB testing on our kiddos. I always start this process with fear and trepidation...it makes me nervous!

What if the kids don't show enough growth?

What if they don't show any growth?

What if...

What if...

What if...

You can fill in the blanks, I'm sure.

I know my kiddos have made progress throughout the year - a lot really! The data proves it! It is quite fun to go back and look at the different growth reports that you can pull off of AIMSWEB. I'm so proud of my students! Even the ones that worry me a bit have shown so much growth that I can't complain. :-)

This is our first year using this testing program and this time we were required to do the R-CBM (if you're not familiar with it, I'd call it a fluency passage...timed 1 minute reads) on the computer. I wasn't sure I would like it---thought I'd prefer the old fashioned paper/pencil method. However, when I got started, I found that using the computer to administer the test is SOOOOOO much easier. I just had a paper copy for the kids to read from and kept track of errors and the stopping point on the computer.

Anyway, as I'm looking over the data I can take a sigh of relief...especially after this conversation during one of my reading groups today.

Me: "The first word is reheat. When we see the prefix re-, what does that mean?" (Keep in mind, we have covered this about 3 different times throughout the year and had just talked about it yesterday.)

Group of 3 students: BLANK STARES

Me: "If I say I need to reheat my dinner, what do I mean?"


Me: "Really? We just talked about this... If I need to reheat something, I need to heat it AGAIN. The prefix re- means again."


Me: "Say that with me. The prefix re- means again."

Students repeat after me three times...

Me: "Now what about the prefix un-? For example, in this word (pointing) unsafe."

Students: "Again!"

Me: HANGING MY HEAD AND CRYING...well, maybe not really, but I felt like it!!!!!!!!!!

Have a great rest of the week!


Saturday, April 27, 2013

Making Butter!!!

We had our extra fun thing this week and it was extra special!  Every year, we have this extra fun thing.  There is a parent that does a lot with 4H, so she comes in and does some lessons with different grade levels at our school.  On Friday, she came in and had the kids make homemade butter! 

This is always quite an experience for them because they don't realize how much work it can take.  Many of them got tired and said that their arms were hurting after shaking the jar several times.  They worked in groups and passed the jar around, so luckily they didn't have to shake it up all by themselves LOL!

They always have a great time with making butter and when they get their butter made, they get to try it on homemade rolls, YUMMY! 

It is fun to watch them try the butter because many of them are so used to the store bought butter and the taste of it.  They assume that the homemade butter is going to taste the same.  Many of them didn't expect for it to taste different. 

After they got done, a lot of the students talked about how they were going to go home and do this again!  What fun!  Check it out!

Hope all of you have a great weekend!  Kristi

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Acrostic Poems = Giggles

The end of April is fast approaching and we hadn't spent a lot of time on poetry yet, so we started writing Acrostic poems.
First we did the seasons and the kids did a great job! Here's a few of my favorites:

After the seasons, we tried to do our names. That was amusing! I didn't want to take pictures--too revealing of my little kiddos--but here are a few of my favorite things they came up with. They made me laugh - maybe they will give you a giggle!
N - Naughty (true of this one :-))
N - Nosy (he said his mom calls him a Nosy Nellie)
O - Obnoxious (HA HA!)
T - Talker (several came up with that, all true! This is a talkative group)
E - Extra special (sweet)
I - Important :-)
U - Unmean (we had been working on the prefixes un and re)
Have a great rest of the week!


Saturday, April 20, 2013

Get Acquainted Linky Party and Blog Advice

We have linked up with Flying into First Grade get acquainted linky party!


TOPIC - Skittles Game

Here is the code:

Red- Favorite Ice Cream Flavor

Orange- Favorite Memory from College

Yellow- Favorite Sports Team

Green- Favorite Fast Food Place

Purple- Wild Card(Tell anything about yourself)


My favorite ice cream flavor is chocolate. I love pretty much anything that has chocolate in it!


My favorite memory from college is spending time with friends and just hanging out!  Seems like back then, I had a lot more time!

My favorite sports team is the Kansas State Wildcats (Sorry Crystal!).  


We don't eat much fast food, but when we do we love to go to Subway!  Yummy sandwiches!


I have a slight obsession with vacuuming.  I like my wood floors to be clean and when I see something on them, I feel like I need to get out that vacuum and get it!  You could imagine my panic when my vacuum broke last week!  Thankfully, my hubby was able to fix it for me (he put a new cord on it).  I'm sure he was frantic as well wondering how I was going to manage not having a vacuum!  LOL!
Now on to some needed advice.  Crystal and I have been discussing our blog and we are thinking about having someone redesign it for us.  We were wondering if anyone had any suggestions or recommendations about this and wondered what you have done with your blog.  We look forward to hearing your thoughts and ideas.
Hope you have a great weekend!  Kristi


Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Come Be a Fly on my Wall!

Only Wednesday?
This has been a long week already. Kristi and I have morning duty (which we strongly dislike love). We supervise students from 7:45-8:10 when the first bell rings. Ugh...
My own children had track meets on Monday and Tuesday. They had to reschedule three due to the crazy Kansas spring weather here. Next week, we get to have meets Monday, Tuesday AND Thursday. It is fun to watch them compete, but the last two days here have been really COLD! Last night, add DRIZZLE and RAIN to the COLD and you have a MISERABLE track meet for participants and their dedicated parents who came to watch. I told my kiddos they should really appreciate me - sitting by the track in LAYERS with WINTER COAT, HAT, GLOVES, BLANKETS, and an UMBRELLA!!! Ha!
And we have our school concert on Thursday! Busy, busy...and this is only the beginning. The next 25 days (but who's counting?) will only get more crazy. :-)
Anyway, I saw this super fun linky from Jodi at Fun in First and thought I'd link up. I love the idea of visiting other classrooms and seeing how its done!
We pick up our kids at 8:10 from the library or gym and head to our classrooms. I greet each kiddo at the door, and they head into the room and check out the board for the morning routine.
I use the Morning Routine signs that we have as a FREEBIE in our TPT store. On Wednesdays, it is just:
1. Choose lunch (kids move sticks under sack lunch or hot lunch).
2. Take out homework (kids clip their helmets on their paper so I can tell very quickly who hasn't turned it in -- a pinterest idea).
3. Daily 5 (my first group gets started at the back table while they wait for me--today they were playing the Read and Roll fluency passage game that Kristi makes for our Treasures series--also in our TPT store).
Daily 5 - You can kind of see my rotation chart above computers. The students check the board and then get started. We did not have Word Work today, but they were busy with everything else!
Morning Meeting - After one round of Daily 5, we gather at the front for what I would call a morning meeting. We go over points - a friendly competition between me and the class and the boys versus girls. Then we go into our words of the week. I use the power points that we made (Treasures again - available in our TPT store). I read the clue and the kids whisper the answer to their shoulder buddies. If it is a spelling word, we get up and exercise while we spell it out. Then we go right into our grammar lesson - again using power points we made to go with our series. I like to do this Mix-Pair-Share. You can see the kiddos paired up and raising their hands. That tells me they have come to an agreement and are ready to share. After this, we do Mountain Language (forgot a picture), but it only takes about 5 minutes. Then we go back to our Daily 5 rounds.
Also, forgot a picture of Reading Groups...9:30-10:00.
After reading groups, we do two more rounds of Daily 5. Then we have recess 10:45-11:05. Kristi and I take turns doing duty each week. Duty free lunch from 11:10-11:40.
After lunch, we usually do Deskercise before math. Today we had to skip it because we had program practice.
We got busy right away on our math rotations. One group is working in their math books. One group is doing Mountain Math at the back table (forgot picture). One group plays Fact Dash on computer (or another math game). We rotate about every 15 minutes. When they are finished, they get some time to work on other work or read their AR books.

Usually, I will teach a whole group math lesson and then go into the rotations. Math is from 11:50-1:15, followed by milk/story time, and then social studies or science.
Today as soon as we were done, it was time to leave for the high school for music concert practice. What an adventure!
Normally we would have had our specials during that time (2:10-3:15). Library (M, W) and computer (T, Th) are from 2:10-2:40. During that time, I pull kids who need extra help or for individual conferences. They go from computer or library to music and PE every day (2:40-3:15).

3:20 Final bell rings!
Okay...that is what today looked like for me! Go link up with Jodi. I can't wait to check out all the classrooms this weekend when I have some extra time. :-)
Have a great rest of the week!

Saturday, April 13, 2013


For the last few years, Crystal and I have had our little first graders in a competition against each other in reading.  At our school we do the Accelerated Reading Program (students read books on his/her level, take a test on the computer over it, and earn points).  The first graders usually don't start it until December or a little later since that is when they really start becoming more independent on their reading.  

So, we decided that the last nine weeks of school we would see which class could earn the most points.  We have told the kids that if both classes can earn 1,000 points together, then we would all have a little party at the end of the year.  Of course, Crystal and I are both competitive and we both do everything that we can to get the kiddos wanting to read and win LOL!  Crystal accuses me of cheating all the time :-) (at least she accuses me of it when we are in the lead :-)) 

Joking aside, it is a fun and friendly little competition and the kids really get into it!  They absolutely love it and are reading their books whenever they have time at school and taking them home in the evening to read them. 

At our school, in the morning the k-1 group will have days that they go to the library in the morning before school starts.  They get to watch an educational video.  The upper grades will be in the hallway reading his/her AR book.  Our kids have gotten so excited and want to read that they have asked to be able to go out in the hall and read instead of watching the video.  Of course, we let them! 

Crystal and I graph everyday where the classes are on the points.  The graph is hanging in the hallway outside our rooms.  So, the kids are always excited to get to the rooms to check to see who has the lead.  Our graph is below:

I was glad that when I took this picture, my class was in the lead HA!!  HA!!  Although, I will say that the two days before Crystal's class had the lead.  :-)  The kids are doing a great job with it and have earned a lot of points so far.  We are pretty sure that we will make the 1,000 points and will be able to celebrate together! 
We are really glad that the kids are having so much fun with it (along with their teachers :-)) and that they are reading a lot! 
Hope all of you have a wonderful weekend!  Kristi

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Ladybugs, Ladybugs - Cute Bulletin Board Idea!

Well, it's that time again...when Kristi and I are responsible for decorating the HUGE bulletin board outside the office. We didn't want to do the same thing as last year - even though it was super cute! Click here to check that one out - it is our all-time most popular blog post. Maybe this one can take over that title. :-)

We always get a kick out of how different the finished product is from the examples we show. We found this idea here at I Heart My Kinder Kids. We adapted it a bit by using a die-cut circle for the head and strips of black construction paper for the legs. The kids painted the paper plates red and used black marker for the spots. And let's not forget the wiggly eyes - kids love wiggly eyes. Ha!
This bulletin board was super easy because the background was up from the teachers who had the board in March so we got to keep it!
I wonder if that is cheating... ;-)
Hope you're having a wonderful week!

Saturday, April 6, 2013

The things we do......

This week in reading we were working on the ou/ow sound.  I pretended that I hurt my hand and kept saying "OU that hurt."  Then I put a band aid on that had the ou and ow written on it.  The kids thought this was hilarious (they knew that I didn't really hurt my hand)!  They played along with it and one even asked me if I thought I would need to go to the doctor LOL!   

I wore the band aid all day long and had to pretend now and then that it hurt and would have to say "OU"!  At the end of the day, one kiddo said to me,  "I will never forget what ou/ow sounds like again....because I will remember your ouchy!"  :-)  That right there made wearing that band aid and making a few "OU" sounds throughout the day worth it!  As teachers, I think we all do whatever it takes to help those kiddos learn and understand concepts.  The next day many asked me how my hand was doing and if it felt better (how sweet!).  :-)

I found this really neat idea from Fun in First Grade while looking on pinterest (unfortunately I found it after I had done the ou/ow sound this week).  So, I will definitely use it next year! 

Next week, we are working on the oi/oy sounds.......anyone have a special way to teach these sounds (would love to hear your ideas)? 
Hope you have a great weekend!  Kristi

Thursday, April 4, 2013

Get Acquainted Linky and Super Sight Words!!!

Hi there! I spotted this fun linky and wanted to join in... School related "stuff" at the bottom!
Favorite Place to Shop:
Did you notice it is blank??? That is because I *hate* shopping!
Favorite TV Show:
Person of Interest
(I guess, not a *huge* TV watcher)
Favorite Sweet Treat:
Anything chocolate, but lately...
Pinned Image
Favorite Food:
This is my all-time favorite Pinterest find...
Pinned Image
Yum! That looks so good, I need to make it again now that weather is warming up!
Favorite Restaurant:
This one is really tough...I enjoy eating out!
Probably a toss up between:
Gen Ghis Grill
P.F. Changs
and any place with great Mexican food!
So I promised you school related...
I'm so excited to have finished up these SUPER SIGHT WORD packs. I started on them over Christmas break because I had some kiddos who really needed some extra reading help.
I've made a pack for all the DOLCH Sight Words broken into grade levels. These are a few things that I love about them...
1. *Clickable* Table of Contents - so I don't have to waste time searching for the page I want!
2. Flashcards - Full set AND full page of each word! So often several kiddos struggle with the same word and I wanted to be able to print just select words (again where that Table of Contents comes in handy).
3. Word Work pages in both ball and stick and D'Nealian fonts!
There is more to the packs - those are just my favorites. If you're interested click the picture above to check them out in our TPT store. 2nd and 3rd grade packs will be posted soon - still proofreading!

The first 3 people to leave a comment (and an e-mail address) will get to choose one of the packs for free. :-)

Okay, on to this week...SIGH!

It is our second week back from Spring Break and my clips have been moving down like crazy! It has been pretty exhausting. I think I'm going to have to give my annual "Field Trip and Fun Activities" talk early this year.

Kristi and I are fortunate enough to teach in a school where those things are still considered privileges that are earned. So every year, I have given a speech letting the kids know that they need to be on their best behavior if they would like to attend our field trip and be involved in other fun activities at the end of the year. The field trip works great if we can get it scheduled really late in the year - I think last year we went the last week! Ha!
This year we'll be going on our field trip earlier so the "fun activities" will need to be just as appealing... Guess I need to start thinking of those!
Yes, I have left kids behind before. My very first year two students had to sit in the office all day instead of going to the zoo with us.
That is not the goal, but it does usually help motivate the kiddos!

Looking forward to FRIDAY!!!!

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