Saturday, January 30, 2016

Five for...Saturday!

Hey there! I hope you're enjoying this beautiful is a wonderful 52 degrees and climbing here. I love it! I am definitely a warm weather and sunshine girl.

Here's some TOTAL randomness from my week for Doodlebugs Five for Friday linky.


Sunshine, sunshine! I took off Tuesday for a follow-up on my shoulder injury (since September). I'm afraid surgery is in my future. :-(
Photo while I waited...what can I say? I was excited about seeing the SUN!

Being the teacher I am, I went ahead and scheduled as many appointments as I could that day. It was a beautiful day to be out running errands. 


I left these notes on the board for my absence--which turned into two days because I had a funeral on Wednesday. 

It didn't work. My notes from the subs were not all that flattering toward my class. They are quite a group!


I still love that our STAR homework turns into a math exercise at the end of the week. The kids are getting AWESOME at spotting friendly numbers and adding all our stars together.


February! Really?



I've been worked up over this all week...
I don't want to bore you with Kansas politics, but basically this map represents a proposal to force consolidation onto the schools of Kansas--absorbing small districts (like mine) into nearby larger districts--with the idea of saving money. I have a lot to say about how ridiculous this plan is, but I'll spare you!

Have a great weekend!

Thursday, January 28, 2016

Wisdom for Wednesday - Mountain Top Experiences

Good morning! I'm late with this post and I have absolutely no excuse. I was even off work yesterday (for a funeral), had the post mostly finished, and just completely forgot. So…here's some wisdom for us (a day late)!

I'll admit I would love for my life to be full of mountain top experiences, but it simply doesn't work that way. Some times, I'm in the valley. And most times, I'm just walking on the plains (so to speak). 

The mountain top experiences may be rare, but they are meant for God's purpose. Those experiences encourage me to keep pressing on as I trudge across the plains or seek to climb out of the valleys of life.

Mountain top experience? 

Enjoy it, remember it, and never take it for granted!

Monday, January 25, 2016

Reader's Theater Scripts

It is that time of year when I usually start introducing my first graders to reader's theater.  They are always so excited about doing it.  At this point, they have become better readers and now we are working a little more on their expression.  Reader's theater seems to really help with the expression.  

This year, I found a new reader's theater resource:  Reading A-Z.  I have always loved this site.  You do have to subscribe and pay for this site but I think it is worth it.  There are a ton of decodable readers on it and now I found reader's theaters that are leveled.  There are a lot of great reading resources on this site.  So, if you are looking for some decodable readers/books or reader's theater scrips then you might check here.  

Have a great day!

Friday, January 22, 2016

My Para's Name is Jackie

I have to tell you a funny story about my para (HER NAME IS JACKIE) this evening before I jump in to my post about student data.  

I'm really not used to people I work with following my blog, Instagram, Twitter, etc. but this year I have a new (to my room) para. Jackie (and my principal--eek!) has been doing just that. Yesterday, I posted this picture saying something like...

"My para and I got in on the art fun today..."

Later that night, I saw Jackie at our basketball game. She jokingly said, "Hey, Crystal! Does your para have a name?"

I explained that I didn't know if she wanted me to share her name, so here it you know, my para's name is Jackie.

And Jackie and my principal were both bothered that I didn't explain the sunflowers were not yet finished, so here you go:

Speaking of that game, it was LATE! We were scheduled to play at 8:30 in the league semifinals at a college 1 1/2 hours away. We played at home at 12:45 a.m. This was my face this morning when I got to school:

Thankfully, we won! We play in the championship tomorrow--pretty exciting for a team who didn't even make it into the tournament two years ago! Our boys play in the semifinals tonight, so we'll see where they end up...

Okay, moving on to data. Monday at our inservice, I went to a session about students charting their own data and creating a data notebook. One of the things the presenter included in her data notebooks was a Hot Read/Cold Read graph. The same one that I use in a fluency folder. I've shared it before, but I thought I'd give you a flashback to that post in case you missed it.  

***From March 17, 2014***

Hi there! I'm still enjoying my spring break...headed to visit friends today. :-)

I thought I'd pop in to share something that has really sparked some fire in my readers.

Several weeks ago, I wanted to find a way for my kiddos to chart their own WCPM. I usually entered their data in an Excel spreadsheet which created a bar graph, but I knew the kids would benefit from seeing their chart more. I found this handy FREEBIE from A Peach for the Teach. It is a cold read/hot read fluency graph.

With the help of my awesome para, we have created a system that works wonderfully. Each kiddo has a folder with their name. The cold read/hot read graph is stapled on one side of the folder. For my struggling readers, I also included the sight word checklists from our Super Sight Word Packs on the other side of the folder. My para pulls the kiddos on Thursday or Friday of each week. They review the sight words (if needed) and then read their hot read (the one they have been practicing for the week) and the new cold read. The kids are practically crawling over the table to see how they have improved! Yippee!

***Me again--present day!***

Next year, I plan to expand this into a data notebook. I know it motivates the kids and can see the benefits of them charting their own data. If you haven't given it a try, these folders are an easy start!

Have a great weekend! Wish us luck at the tournament!

Wednesday, January 20, 2016

Wisdom for Wednesday-Every Day

Welcome to:

This is something that I have tried to do more often.  It is hard for me to do at times, but I have found that it has helped me out a lot.  Whenever, I feel overwhelmed over things or something that is happening in my daily life, I have started to stop and think about what could be good about it.  When I have stopped and done this, I have found that I am able to find something good about everything even when I feel like it seems like there wouldn't be anything good about it.  Doing this, has helped me to not stress as much over silly things and I've let go of some of the worry (not that I don't worry anymore-I am a worrier, but this has helped me).

Have a great day!

Sunday, January 17, 2016

Sick day, Subtraction with Regrouping, and Interesting Art...

Hey there!

My Friday blog post is later than usual...this explains it:

I actually did call in sick on Thursday. I like the idea of all those emergency sub plans that I see on TPT, but I hate to get off schedule. My sick day started with about two hours of getting things laid out, grading, and contacting parents to rearrange tutor times, etc. It was needed though because I could barely get off the couch the rest of the day! Ugh! I've laid low all weekend and still don't feel great. :-/

I did have a few things to share though, so...

These three came in all excited to be triplets, so I had to snap a picture. 

We have been working very hard on subtraction with regrouping. It was fun to hear my kids repeating parts of this chant as they worked. One little guy kept saying the part about "going next door" and was impressed with how fast his brain was working! Ha! Chants and songs are so helpful to students. I need to be better about using them and revisiting them!   

Okay, this next part just cracks me up...
This is what happens when you leave an art project for a sub.

Or maybe least a few of the students got the idea. :-)  
 This catching snowflakes idea came from here

Last, but not least...we are still cooking our way through my updated cookbook.

Copycat P.F. Chang's lettuce wraps and General Tso's Chicken...success!

Tomorrow is an inservice day for me. 
Hope you have a great week!

Wednesday, January 13, 2016

Wisdom for Wednesday - Obedience

Good morning! 

Thanks for stopping by for:

This week's quote is easy for us to see in our students and children...

…but what about us?

It reminds me of my daughter when she was little…about 3 or 4. She was always easily distracted. I would send her to do something, and she would come back several minutes later having not even started on the assigned task.

One specific example…she had been told to pick up her room. Several minutes later when I got onto her, she said, "How can I possibly clean my room when I can't find my shoes?"

Obviously, I explained that she didn't need her shoes in order to pick up her room and sent her back to work on it.

That day the Lord brought to mind how my excuses sound to Him when I don't obey His Word and His leading. Much the same as my daughter's silly excuse for not cleaning her room, I'm sure.

"Obey right away," became a common phrase in our house. 
We later added, "…and with a right heart."

Two simple things we teach children, but what an impact they can have when applied to our own spiritual lives!

Have a blessed day!

Monday, January 11, 2016

Contraction Surgery

Every year when we teach contractions, we do it with contraction surgery.  I had first seen this many years ago before I started blogging and I believe it was actually before Pinterest.  This year we added more to our contraction surgery.  

In the past, we had the kids use a glove and cut out the part that needed cut out (example:  do not-cut out the o) and they would use a band aide as the apostrophe.  This year, we used gloves, band aides and added face masks.  To make it even more exciting for the kids, my co-teacher and I wore scrubs to work that day  (I will have to admit, those scrubs are comfy!) and had the kids address us as Nurse Torrey instead of Mrs. Torrey.  When they saw me wearing scrubs first thing in the morning, they were all very curious as to what was going on that day.  The kids had a great time with it and were extra excited when they got to take home the gloves and face masks. 

The best part about it all was that after school one of the first graders told another teacher all about contractions and how we did surgery.  So, the lesson stuck with them!  YAY!

Have a great week!

Saturday, January 9, 2016

Getting Back in the Swing of Things...

Good morning! 

Last week, we had staff development on Monday and school Tuesday--Friday. I am EXHAUSTED!

Monday morning…threw up, car wouldn't start, and then we find out they want to change our condensed calendar (which we all really like). It was not a happy welcome back. They are still working on it, though, and I'm sure we'll find something we can all agree on. 

That night KU played Oklahoma (if you aren't a BBall fan, KU is #1 and OU #2). That game went into TRIPLE overtime. So exciting! Glad my team came out on top, but I stayed up way to late.

Tuesday the kids were back, and I was a little surprised to find I had missed this rowdy little bunch. :-) We had an away basketball game that night so again I was up way too late. 

Needless to say, by Wednesday night I was already exhausted!

Anyway, I knew we would need to take it slow and review rules and procedures a lot--especially Daily 5. 

I don't start the year giving my kids "choice." All of their names are plugged into a PowerPoint that shows what they will be doing each round. Then about this time of year, I give them "freedom." It kind of brings new life to our reading block and gives them something to get excited about.

I told my class this and they are so excited! I explained that in order to have "freedom" (their word, not mine), we had to be very responsible and independent and they would need to show me that over the next two weeks. 

We reviewed our Daily 5 procedures and practiced all week. Next week, I'll use the PowerPoint one last time (assuming it goes well) which I know it will. Just look at these kids practicing:

Well, I'm off to recuperate with a lot of NOTHING going on. I love these days!

Have a great weekend!

Wednesday, January 6, 2016

Wisdom for Wednesday-Joy

Welcome to this week's:

I know that too often I will let my circumstances determine my mood.  If things aren't going the way that I believe they should go, I can get frustrated and upset.  Then my mood reflects this with people that I am around.  In a study that I have been doing, Paul reminds a group of new Christians under attach that their salvation and life they have with Christ should bring them joy despite the outwardly harsh circumstances that they are facing.    In all my hardships, I should remind myself of the joy I should have because of the life I have with Christ.

1 Thessalonians 1:6-7
 And ye became followers of us, and of the Lord, having received the word in much affliction, with joy of the Holy Ghost.

Have a great day!

Monday, January 4, 2016

January 2016 Pinterest Pick 3 Linky

 I am linking up with PAWSitively TeachingJust Reed, and Inspired Owl's Corner for their Pinterest Pick 3 Linky.  

I love finding things on pinterest and being able to see what others have found as well.   Here are a few of my favorite pins for January:

This is a cute and fun writing activity for the kids to make up some New Year's Resolutions.  

This is a great Martin Luther King, Jr. Day activity:

This would be fun to do on a cold day-make a snow storm in a jar.

Make sure you link up and share your favorite pins for January!

Friday, January 1, 2016

Home Projects Complete w/ Freezer Breakfast Recipes

Happy New Year! 

According to me, this is my last day of break. 
I don't count Saturday and Sunday because I would be off anyway, but my husband disagrees. Ha!

 I thought I'd show you some of my home projects I've been working on--sorry, this chick has truly taken a break from all things school!

First, I updated my cookbook.

Notice this one was from 2010. I had TONS of recipes stuffed in the front cover of the binder and it was past time to get them incorporated into the cookbook, update the table of contents, and reprint them. There are so many good recipes in here that we forget about, so we've decided to cook our way through my cookbook this year (kind of like the movie Julie and Julia). I'd also like to cook through my Pinterest boards... Hee hee.

Part of my motivation for updating the cookbook was because of this second project--our menu board.

I bought this at Hobby Lobby, but I really wanted a cork board for my menu board. Keep scrolling and you'll see why.

 My husband cut the cork board down to fit and I bought the clothes pins and stickers (also from Hobby Lobby--I love that place).

Ah...much better!

Then I got to work typing up all the main dishes from my cookbook and printing them on colored cardstock. 
Off-white is for chicken dishes. 
Tan (looks purple in the pic) is for ground beef dishes. 
Green is for salads and soups. 
Mustard is other meat or no meat dishes. 
And red is for non-cooking nights (leftovers, game day, our parents houses, and whatever for those fend for yourself days).

Project complete! LOVE it!

If you look closely, you'll see I misspelled fettuccine on one recipe. Argh! The perfectionist in me won't let it go, so I'll have to redo. It also has tequila in the title and we are not drinkers, so all in all that recipe title is a fail. Ha!

 I also bought this shelf from Hobby Lobby (Merry Christmas to me) with the four wire baskets. My daughter and I lined them with burlap. She added the tags and ribbon. Now we each have a little "cubbie" for our phones, chargers, keys, sunglasses, etc. I'm so excited about how this is shaping up!

Last project was to stock my freezer with all things breakfast! This seems to be a tradition, as it popped up on my Facebook feed from a year ago on the exact date we did it. LOL!

A new one this year (for the freezer anyway).
We love these things--thanks to Instagram I got some feedback on this picture that said they were okay to freeze. Yippee!

Also, new to the freezer for us. 
The recipe calls these healthy, but they really are just homemade. I did substitute whole-wheat flour for the white flour. As for freezing, hubby tried one today. Popped it in the microwave for 30 seconds and it was melting butter. He approved! 

These are just Bisquick waffles. 
My kids love them and I don't have to buy those frozen waffles that taste like paper, so I'm happy!

Breakfast Burritos
I don't follow a recipe...just cook 2 lb sausage, 18 scrambled eggs, 2 lb. hashbrowns (cooked in oven for approx. 20 minutes), cheese, and salsa. Fill tortillas, roll them up, let them cool, and then freeze. Pop them in the microwave for about 90 seconds and you're good to go. I like to thaw them a bit to try and keep the tortillas from getting too hard.

 Last, but not least, is Breakfast Cookies
Forgot a picture--sorry!
We all love these! 

Someday, I'd like to freeze more lunch and dinner dishes. I think I stick to these because they are fairly inexpensive and it helps our crazy mornings.

I hope you've had a great break! Enjoy what is left of it! ;-)

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