Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Crystal's Classroom Tour (Part I)

Welcome to my chaos! Ugh...feeling a bit overwhelmed today. I worked on my room yesterday from 8:00-4:00 and accomplished a lot. I'm back today to try to "clean up" the mess I made!


I have a love-hate relationship with my glue gun. The above is a nice sized blister on my wrist - don't ask how I did it because I couldn't tell you. Let's just say I love my glue gun, but I ALWAYS burn myself with the glue (not the gun).

 Okay, on to what you probably want to see...progress! Here's my "I Can Write" bulletin board...bought this awesome set from Mrs. Cupcake.

"Do you have a writer's eye?"

This set was just too stinkin' cute to pass up. You can get it for FREE from Cara at The First Grade Parade. 

Remember the math cubbies that got spruced up with black paint?

Here they are ready to go! I'm excited about these because I finally found some baskets to fit in the cubbies. The shelf was a hand-me-down with odd-sized cubbies. For two years, I've dealt with the math "tools" sliding out and onto the floor all year long!

My re-worked Touchdown Behavior chart (going up and down - last two years has been down only). I'm still a little nervous about the new system, but I hope it will help me remember to acknowledge more positive behavior. You can grab the chart at our TPT store if you're interested.

Calendar area - I'm loving these black bulletin boards. No big paper to wrestle with!

New job chart - clip chart style! This used to take up an entire bulletin board...saw a version of the job clip chart on Wolfelicious and went for it - baseball style. You can grab this in our TPT store too. I love that it is right up front by my teaching area - no more squinting to try and read who my helpers are. :-)

Okay, last thing for today (you did notice this is Part I, right?). This is my whole group gathering place and main teaching area. I assign the seats next to a shoulder buddy and switch them out each nine weeks. I always try to leave enough room between the balls for personal space to limit problems! Ha ha!

I'm linking up with Run! Miss Nelson's Got the Camera. Check it out for some great classroom pictures!

Now I need to get back to work!

Have a great evening!


Click here to go to PART II.

Monday, July 30, 2012


This Monday Made-Ok, so I really wanted to do like Crystal did with her blinds and the fabric...

I LOVE THESE! Crystal's blinds

But all the fabric that I found that I liked was like $8 a yard-I was tempted, but no wasn't going to be able to spend that much on it. So, I thought about what I could do and decided on the following........

Before -this is Crystal's room because I forgot to take a before picture-I always forget to do this with all my projects, even at home.




This was much cheaper. I have a frog theme going so I got black poster board and painted frogs on them. The black empty poster board below is where I am going to put my word wall. I will put up my frog word wall headings (just waiting on them to be laminated then I will get them up) and attach our word wall words.

Here are the bulletin boards painted black-I did remember before pictures on these :-)





When I first started the painting I thought I'd do all the bulletin boards and all of the shelves-YEAH RIGHT! First of all, I don't like painting-actually I dread it! So, after spending like 400 4 hours on the three bulletin boards being painted, I decided that I could live with the blue color on the shelves LOL! So there are my big projects for the day. Glad I was able to get them done. :-)

Don't forget to link up with Tara at 4th Grade Frolics to share your Monday Made-It!
Have a wonderful day!


Friday, July 27, 2012

NTR - Happy Friday Folks!

Hi everyone! I thought I'd pop in for a few updates today...NTR (Not Teaching Related, remember?).

There is a reason I am rebelling against teaching topics today.

You see, I realized something earlier this week...

My summer break is almost over!

I know some of you have probably already accepted that and moved on, but right now I am just a little bummed. Not because I have to go back to work necessarily because I really do LOVE my job, but more because of all that comes with going back to school for our family. It just gets so busy and both my kids will be playing middle school sports this year - Yikes!

Kristi and I report back to work on August 13th. We get our new batch of sweeties on the 16th.

My kids start August 23rd...the lucky ducks...condensed calendar. They get out before me too!

Next week, my daughter heads to Silver State Baptist Youth Camp (jr. camp) and traditionally that has been the week that I go up to the school and get to work, so I promise teaching topics next week.

Anyway, this was the last day of my self-imposed weight loss challenge so I need to wrap that up for those of you that have been following along with us. You may remember Kristi had met her goal last week. I have not met my goal - YET. I'm going to keep at it. I lost 8 pounds this summer and wanted to lose 4 more.

We celebrated my birthday last night with Coca Cola Cake and homemade Butter Pecan ice cream. Yum--O! But certainly not diet food - ha! The cake was a Pinterest find and awesome! :-)

I am pleased to say that in all my vacationing that last couple of weeks I did not GAIN any weight back. Woohoo!

Okay, on to the next thing that has kept me busy this week...

I have had a pay as you go phone for years, but I have started to use it so much that we looked into getting a plan. We were also hoping so solve an internet issue here at the house by using a phone as a mobile hotspot for my laptop. So, I ended up with this:

It is an LG Lucid smartphone and I have no idea how to use it - LOL! I am learning...slowly. I was able to connect my laptop to the hotspot, but have not been able to get internet access yet. Weird. I wonder if I missing a step or something. If any of you have experience with this and care to offer suggestions, I'd appreciate it.

Okay, I'm off to play with my new phone clean house!

Happy Friday!


Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Daily 5 - Putting It All Together

I'm back!

We had a great time visiting friends in Springfield, MO. I am such a home-body though! I really missed being at home - I was home Friday, but otherwise I have been gone 8 days.
Lots of laundry  - ugh!

We went to Silver Dollar City one day and I braved some coasters and the barn swing for the kids. The barn swing was definitely NOT my favorite. My husband didn't ride it. Harley chickened out, and I tried really hard to talk Chaz out of it.
Unfortunately, he was all for it...


as I'm suspended 7 stories high, staring straight down at the ground, all I can think is what the lady who strapped me in said,

"It's my first day."

Thanks so much, ma'am. That really made me feel confident that I was not going to plunge to my death. LOL!

Click here if you would like to experience this thrill ride without risking your life. :-)

Okay, on to what you're all here for:

Can you believe this is the last chapter of our book study?

I've had a great time with this and learned a lot from visiting everyone else's posts. Thanks to everyone who helped put this all together and make it great!

Okay, let's get to it! 

Choice and Time

The best I can do with my schedule is probably four 20 minute rotations - and that may be pushing it. There is no way I can do 5 rotations in a day. Boo!!!

Here's what I plan to do...to max out my D5 time, once the kiddos are trained and I'm ready to go for it, I plan to have one rotation start as soon as they come in the door.

I always greet my students at the door and they come in, put away their things, make their lunch choice, and then start what I have for them on the board. Instead of that normal morning work, I'm going to have them begin D5. I plan for this rotation to be assigned - I know that takes away their choice - but in the mornings I will need them to get busy right away while I do attendance and lunch count. I will rotate it daily and post it on the D5 board so they know what to do.

The rest of the rotations, I will let students choose. I like the idea of limiting the Read to Someone for volume control, so I will probably only allow 2 pairs of students to do it at a time. I also plan to require Read-to-Self and Work on Writing daily as some others have suggested.


I was a little disappointed with this section of the book. I don't think it really covered enough! I have seen some more specific troubleshooting on their website - some of it being free (not crazy about the paid subscription thing).

That is okay, though. I know when it comes down to it, troubleshooting is going to vary depending on the student and my management philosophy.

The Wrap-Up

I'm really excited to try the D5 in my class this year. I think my students are really going to benefit from the reading practice as well as the basal stories and lessons being done in small groups. As with anything new, I'm also a bit nervous about how it will work.

If you haven't read my other posts, I had a few challenges to work out.

#1 - Books! I've talked to the school librarian and she is willing to help me figure out how we can get those book boxes filled.

#2 - Book Boxes - I listed a project on Donor's Choose! Eeeck! A little nervous how it will go, but figured it was worth a try to get some nice ones. If it doesn't work out, I'm going with the cardboard magazine files.

#3 - Computers - For Listen to Reading, I needed more than 2 computers. I'm planning to have kiddos listen to the basal story and then do the Treasures activities for the week if they have extra time. I talked to our tech guy and he said I could check out 2-3 laptops each day.

I'm sure I'll think of more as I get going, but at least I know where to find some answers - all of your great  posts about Daily 5.

Stop by and visit our hostesses for the week:

Surfin' Through Second

Have a blessed day - it's my birthday! Woohoo! Normally, we celebrate the entire week - or so my hubby says - but since I've been gone I haven't even really had the chance to think about it!


Tuesday, July 24, 2012


I have started to look at the beginning of the year in our reading series and have started to make some things for our unit 1. I have added to our collection of I Have, Who Has on TPT. Our kiddos love these games and we have made quite a few of them. So, why not another one LOL! This one is to practice rhyming words.   You can grab it for free here.  If you enjoy it, don't forget to leave us some feedback! ;-)

Have a great day!!  Kristi :-)

Monday, July 23, 2012

Wal-Mart Finds - From Craft Project Ideas!

I was so excited to walk into my local Wal-Mart the other day and find some of these products (and a whole lot more)...


Kristi and I had already been contacted by Craft Project Ideas and knew that we had a package on  the way! CraftProjectIdeas.com sent us these goodies free of charge to help get the word out about the new line of products available in Wal-Mart this month - all of them for only $0.88!!!!

So many goodies = so much fun!

They sent us some cute correcting pens, name labels, name plates, borders and accents, posters, folders, stickers, erasers, homework passes, rewards chart, sign here stamp, plastic bins, bookmarks, flash cards, and a note pad.

If you have not checked out your Wal-Mart lately, you need to drive right over there and do some shopping! You simply can't beat the price of these teaching supplies!

When I was there, I also saw some Welcome postcards (among other things - ha ha) I plan to go back and buy. I was good and didn't buy anything that day in case they sent it in our package. :-)

Happy Shopping!

(P.S. Remember I'm on vacation until Wednesday - Woohoo!)

Friday, July 20, 2012


We are joining Teaching Joys for:

On the first day of school, I read the book "David Goes to School" by David Shannon. 

I use this to go over rules that the kids and I think would be good to have in the classroom and we discuss why these rules would be needed in the room.  The kids absolutely love David and this book!

This year, I found this to go along with the book--a cute little art project to go along with it! Found it at Fall Into First.

Crystal's Weigh-In:

Not happening! Ha ha! At the last minute, the church youth group needed another female counselor to go to Table Rock Lake with them. I spent Monday - Thursday at the mercy of what was planned to feed the youth group. So I did not get to work out and there was plenty of temptation foods.

We had a great time though! It was fun to see the youth group hang out and enjoy one another. We stayed in an amazing resort - The Cliffs at Long Creek - and I got to stay in the master suite. Beautiful views, fun activities, and not enough sleep!

Saturday we are headed back that way to visit friends in Springfield, so Kristi will keep you all entertained while I'm away. Hee hee. :-)

Kristi's Weigh-In: 

Well, I haven't been on vacation, so I didn't have all the tempting food etc.  So, when I stepped on the scale this morning-I was very excited because I reached my goal!  YEAH!  I finally lost my total 13 pounds for this summer. 

BUT, I shouldn't get too excited because these are the actual pounds that I gained during school.  Seems like I can lose some weight in the summer, but when school starts, I pack it on-must be the stress or something :-).  So now my big goal is to keep it off and try not to gain it all back this school year. 

I will apologize ahead of time that you will have to be entertained by me instead of Crystal.....because like I said before, she is definitely the writer between the two of us.  :-) 

Thursday, July 19, 2012


Check it out!  Here is another awesome first grade blog along with an awesome giveaway!

AND another cool first grade blog and giveaway at:


125 FOLLOWERS giveaway at:

HURRY and check it out!

On to another note, desk arrangement. I admit I am one that likes the rows still and only on certain days have been able to handle the kids in little groups with their desks. This coming year, I will have a much bigger class size and am looking at ways to arrange my desks. I found this interesting information on desk arrangement:

So, I'm curious on how you arrange your desks and how does it work out for you? 


Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Daily 5, Chapter 6 - Writing and Word Work

Work on Writing meets Writing Workshop

My first year teaching 2010-2011 our district had adopted Treasures so I plunged right in and taught the curriculum. I struggled to teach writing, felt like I didn't know how to teach it (and I'm a writer, go figure). Anyway, the summer before 2011-2012 I searched the internet for some answers. I found some forums and blogs of teachers using Treasures who said the writing was too easy.

Too easy?


So I found some information on Writing Workshop (thanks Mrs. Meacham) and Kristi and I agreed to give it a try last year.

WOW! What a difference!

It was not us, it was the mini-lessons and giving the kids freedom to choose what they wanted to write. The kids did awesome! I had some firsties writing stories that were 4-5 pages long and my first year I could barely get students to write three sentences!

I plan to stick with the mini-lessons we found last summer and use those as a focus lesson within the day. Writing will also be a required choice for the day because I think it is so important.

Word Work

I realized that even though I have not done D5 before, I have provided some opportunities for Word Work in my choices (things they were allowed to do when their work is finished).

Some of their choices were to practice spelling words on white boards, spell sight words with letter tiles, and stamp spelling words.

I'm on the hunt for a few more options and how I am going to organize them!

At this point in the study, I'm ready to pull it all together and go for it! I think it is going to be great! My kids are going to love it, and I believe it is going to help them grow as readers. I've come a long way since my "skeptic" post, huh? :-)

Thanks to our first grade hostess, Deb...

Fabulously First

Be sure to link up! I can't wait to read all of your great thoughts on this chapter!


Go to Chapter SEVEN

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Shelving Solutions and a Cool Giveaway

Ok, so this last weekend my husband and I decided that we were going to finally fix our ceiling in our living room.  When we bought our house 12 years ago, there was this nasty big spot on the ceiling that we were told would be fixed as soon as we moved in.  HA!  Well, being a little younger then and very gullible, we believed them.  Anyways, their fix was bringing us a gallon of white ceiling paint.  We used it, but it didn't really work.  So, we have lived with the eyesore for a 12 years now.  We decided we would texturize it this weekend.  We started on it and I needed to go downstairs for something and I walked into our basement to find our pipes leaking!  OH NO!  Yes, we were in the middle of texturizing the ceiling (which was extremely messy) and had plumbing issues.  Needless to say, my husband had to stop texturizing and deal with the plumbing issues.  We decided that at 5 in the morning, we were going to have to stop for awhile to rest.  My house was a total wreck and I thought I was going to have an anxiety attack (I'm a little bit of a clean freak).  Anyways, plumbing and ceiling is completed and house is clean now.  Now, we don't have to look at the eye sore in our living room any more.  YEAH!

I found this cool giveaway from Sprinkles to Kindergarten.  They have 400 followers (AWESOME!)
and are giving away some cool stuff!  Go check it out and sign up! 

On to school, I would like to do some decorating in my classroom.  May need to wait a bit before I do it since my big project here at home.  But I was thinking of my open shelves in my room.  I really don't like seeing all the things sitting on these shelves and would like to cover it some way.  I know that I could use curtains, but wondering if anyone has any other creative ideas other than curtains.  Excited to here from you!  Kristi

Monday, July 16, 2012

Sprucing Up Boards and Blinds - Monday Made-It!

This Monday Made-It is all about sprucing up my classroom. First, the bulletin boards! Last year they painted all of our hallway bulletin boards black. I love it! Most of the time I don't even add background paper, just a border, the artwork and it looks awesome.

So as I sat in my room last week, dreaming of all the bulletin boards I can't put up (because the laminator is broken), I thought why not paint these bulletin boards black too... My Daily 5 bulletin board set and the Writing Center I bought from Mrs. Cupcake would look great with a black background, so I talked my hubby into helping. I am a messy painter and I had visions of paint all over the wall and floor and me getting into serious trouble! He did a wonderful job. I LOVE IT!!!!

Before - Front of the room.
Before - Back of the room.

After - Front of the room.
After - Back of the room.

While hubby worked on that, I tackled another eyesore in my room - the blinds. These roller blinds are HUGE and UGLY. I'm sure at one time they looked great, but now they are stained and dingy. In this picture they are closed for the summer, but I usually leave them half open to let in the natural light. Please excuse the mess!

Before - Blinds behind my desk area.

After - Aren't they lovely?

A little bit of fabric and black duct tape does wonders!


Okay, if you are in a similar situation, here is how I did it. My blinds were 4 ft. wide and I knew I kept them pulled down with about 3 ft. of the shade exposed. I went to Wal-Mart and found fabric. My first pick went along with my sports theme, but it was nearly $6 a yard (or $32 for my project). Um, NO! So I settled for this fabric on the clearance rack for $2 a yard. The fabric was 44" wide, leaving me with 2" exposed on each side of the blind...enter duct tape border. It is all the rage anyway, right? I used spray adhesive to attach the fabric and then added the duct tape...couldn't be happier with it! :-)

And of course, the kids had to be busy too! Here is their project - my math cubby shelf.

Before - Math Cubbies (found those baskets the other day $1 for 2 just the other day and was testing them out)

After - Black to match other things in my room.

Don't forget to link up with Tara at 4th Grade Frolics to share your Monday Made-It!

Have a blessed day!


Saturday, July 14, 2012

The Sharpener Even a Two-Year-Old Can Use!!!

Would you look at that face? This little cutie is proudly displaying his sharpened pencil. No, he doesn't belong to either of us. We borrowed him from our friend and coworker for the pictures. Isn't he cute?Check out his concentration below:

When we ordered the sharpener for our giveaway, we ordered one for each of us too. We were so excited to try it out!

The sharpener worked like a charm...um, after watching the directions video. Remember Crystal has a thing about reading directions... So for anyone else like her, here is the video so you don't even have to go searching for it.

If you haven't already, we recommend getting this great sharpener!

Click here to get it at a discount!

Have a great day!

Kristi and Crystal

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