Monday, May 30, 2016

Memorial Day

Take time today to remember those who have served and have paid the ultimate price for our freedom!

Have a blessed Memorial Day!

Wednesday, May 25, 2016

Wisdom for Wednesday-Last Day

Welcome to this week's

Today was our last day of school with kids and these quotes are so true.  It is amazing how tired we as teachers really get by the end of the year.  I am exhausted right now as I sit here and blog and I'm thinking I may need to spend my first couple of days off (we still have another day of teacher in-service and then we will be done for the year) just sleeping.

On a more serious note, we as teachers love our students and even though we are tired, we fight through it and do the best we can for the kids.  I thought today, we spend so much time with these kids (it is over 1,200 hours) throughout the year and develop rapports with each one of them.  You do get attached to them and there is sadness saying good-bye to them as they leave your classroom.  

Have a great day!

Monday, May 23, 2016

Fun Times

We are continuing to pop our balloons on a daily basis and the kids absolutely love it.  Every morning they come in saying that they can't wait to see what is behind the balloon.  So here is some of what we have done:

1.  Art Day-we had different things for the kids to do-draw, sand art, make things out of craft sticks and stamps.  I think we could have let them do this all day and they would have stayed engaged in it!

2.  Extra Recess-All kids love this!

3.  Mystery Reader-Sorry no pictures on this one.  We went down to the 5th grade classroom and read some of our reading stories to the 5th graders.  They loved doing this.

4.  Today was move your desk anywhere you want.  It always amazes me because for the last 2 years the majority of the students will move their desks all the way up to the front of the room.  So, I was anxious to see what they would do this year.  Guess what happened?  Yes, most of them moved to the front of the room and only a few stayed back.  

2 more days left.  It's hard to believe that this year is already almost over.  

Have a great day!

Saturday, May 21, 2016

I May Have a Problem...

The first step is admitting it, right? HA!

This was my first week of summer vacation and I spent time working

I know. 

What is wrong with me?

I just couldn't help it...

Actually, it started last Friday evening after the last day of school as my family was watching yet another superhero movie. 

You see I had brought home some things, knowing I would be inspired to work this summer at some point. As I was putting things away, there was next year's calendar which is filled with changes. I can't even begin to explain it to you, and I know you don't want to hear it so I'll just skip right over that part. I figured I should just jot out my yearly reading and math plans at least. Not too taxing, and I would feel like I accomplished something big.

Then on Tuesday (I think, the days are already running together without a schedule), my daughter's softball game was postponed (again) and I was putting away more school stuff. 

This time my Reading Wonders samples...

We are getting Wonders for next year.
 I cannot wait!
We had Reading Street from what seems like forever ago--actually I think 9-10 years.
I know some people don't like using a basal series.
I love using a basal series.
And no, I do not follow it religiously.
It is a resource that I use to guide my instruction, and my students love reading stories from what we call the "big books."
So my head is already filling with how I will use all of the wonderful resources...

As I was admiring the samples once again, I realized I would need new "I have...who has...?" games!

Here's how (and why) I use them with a reading series:

I take the high-frequency words from each unit and make a game. Each unit is five weeks long, so I pull out the game in week 1. 
We play the game once or twice a week (usually in small groups during Daily 5) so the students are exposed to the all the words from the beginning of the unit. By the end of the unit, even my lowest readers have those words mastered!

 As you probably guessed, I got busy right away creating my games. 

One new thing I am definitely doing next year is data notebooks, so I also made assessment checklists to go along with the games.

I cannot wait to get them all printed and prepped for my classroom!

If you're interested, you can check them out in our TPT store: 

This week was not all work though!

We celebrated my daughter's 15th birthday...with superheroes!
What else?

I've decided her fascination with superheroes--Captain America, especially--is not unlike my fascination with action movies at her age (think Bloodsport, Kickboxer, The Terminator...).

She insisted we take a picture with her cake to prove how dorky I am...what can I say?
13 + 2 =15
And that works when you realize you don't have anymore candles.

Wednesday, May 18, 2016

Wisdom for Wednesday - End of the Year Style

Good morning!

I know most of you are still plugging along, pushing through the end of the year craziness so I'm hoping this post will give you some giggles and encouragement.

I thought I'd share a couple of things I recently shared on our Facebook page. They have had thousands of views and plenty of teacher shares so I know it is something you all need to hear right now!

First, here is a link to 14 End of the Year Memes from Education to the Core. I think #1 and #2 are my favorite. :-)

 Second, an open letter  to the Dear Worn-Out, Run-Down, Absolutely Exhausted Teacher from Grace4Teachers.

Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.
Matthew 11:28-30 
Press on, teacher friend. 
You are not alone! 
He is ready, willing, and able to help you through!

Monday, May 16, 2016

Balloon Countdown (5, 4, 3, 2, 1...I'm done!)

I have to apologize for not posting earlier. I think I was just too exhausted and excited!

In case you've been following my balloon countdown, I thought I'd tell you what my final days looked like.

Day 5 - Read-A-Thon

This is a keeper! The kids started out with read-to-self and took AR quizzes on their own. Every so often, I would announce give-a-way time and draw for prizes (little things I had accumulated throughout the year--bookmarks, stickers, books, etc.). After recess, we switched to read-to-someone and kept on reading! Then after lunch, I gave them some reader's theater plays I have and let them work with a group to prepare and perform their plays for us. 

 Day 4 - Mystery Readers

I have been doing this one for years. When Kristi and I worked together, we would let the two 1st grade classes read together. Since I moved to a smaller school (one class per grade level), I have been getting more creative. This year I had two mystery readers from our school pop in and the Kindergarten class come read with us. I think next year, I might try asking parents to surprise their kids by coming to read.

Our principal reading The Sneetches to us.

Day 3 - Ice Cream Floats

Sorry, no pictures. 
I was probably too busy enjoying my float to remember to take pictures. ;-) 

Day 2 - Movie Day

I always put the kids to work "cleaning" our room on this morning. They work hard to clean out their desks, lockers, book boxes, etc. Then I give them jobs to clean areas around the room. 
They love cleaning day! 
As I explained what we were doing, one of my kiddos said, "My cousin (who I had the year before) said cleaning day was fun!"  

After lunch we watched Runaway Ralph because I had read the book to them. They loved those books this year, and the movies were just the right length (only 40 minutes). Kids these days just can't sit through a full-length movie!  

Day 1 - Surprise from Mrs. R  

This changes from year to year. This year it was a large stick of bubbles. We have "Rodeo Day" on the last day of school and the kids are with me for only a few minutes while we wait our turn to eat lunch. We went outside and played with our bubbles!

Final Thoughts

Posted this on our FB page Friday evening:

Notes like this make my teacher heart happy on this bittersweet day! 

I'm not sure many people understand the 'job' of a teacher... 

All my students become my kids! For nine months I get to teach them, to love them, to pray for them, to stretch them and watch them grow. I try to teach them to have good manners, to show good character and to demonstrate integrity. I want them to see God's love through me. I'm concerned for them and their future. Did I do enough? Will they be ready for third grade? 

It's not always easy. Just like a parent, there are times when I'm disappointed and discouraged. Times when discipline and consequences are necessary. But they are still my kids...right up to the end.

Then I have to say goodbye and let them go, hoping I've made a lasting impact on their lives. And hoping they will say hello when they see me again--even if they have a new favorite teacher. ☺️

That's a wrap! 

Summer I come!

Wednesday, May 11, 2016

Wisdom for Wednesday-Thankful for Problems

                                  Welcome to this week's:

I have been reading daily devotionals from the book Jesus Calling by Sarah Young.  One of the devotionals was saying to thank God for your problems.  WHAT?????   How can anyone be thankful for their problems was my first thought?  Then as I read it and pondered on it, it did make sense.  When you are facing a problem, it will often make you have a need to have a deep dependence on God which in return will create a closer relationship with him.  Not only that, but it also keeps us from relying only on ourselves.  Not one of our problems are a mistake, they are a blessing from God that will help benefit us and help us to grow.  I know that when I thought about this and difficulties that I have faced, each difficulty actually made me rely more on God and become closer to him.  The difficulties also made me trust in him more and depend on him to get me through the circumstance.  I see why I should thank him for my problems because it helps me grow closer to him.  

Have a great day!

Monday, May 9, 2016

10 Day Balloon (Adapted) Countdown

If you have been reading our blog, you know that Crystal is like on Day 5 of her countdown on the balloons.......not me.  We actually don't start the countdown until Thursday.  We have several more days left in school than her.  Like she said in her past blog post:

I know I have shared this every year, but you never know who might be new to the

Each morning, I will pop a balloon. 
Inside is a piece of paper with a fun activity or treat written on it for us to enjoy.

I have two simple rules for the balloons that help tremendously with the final days craziness.

1. If you get in trouble, you don't do/have the next balloon activity/treat.
2. If you complain about the activity or treat, you don't get to enjoy it.

The activities/treats change from year to year, but include things like ink pen day, bubble gum day, kickball game, ice cream party, movie, extra recess, etc.

For me, the balloons are a bit different.  :-)  When I had Crystal as a co-teacher, I never laughed so hard in my life because she couldn't blow up a balloon.  Watching her try to do it was just funny (sorry Crystal but it was funny).  I'm wondering who she had blow up her balloons for her this year?????  I should have got her on video trying to blow up a balloon.  :-)

My  co-teacher now can't stand the popping of a balloon!  LOL!  So, she had a great idea to put it into a mimio.  Each day we can still pop a balloon with a somewhat sound of a balloon popping and then it will reveal what we will be doing for the day.  It will be nice to have this mimio because we can use it every year and change things on it if we need to.  No blowing up balloons (for those that can't blow balloons up) and no having to listen to the popping sound of a balloon (for those that don't like hearing them pop).  :-)  
Here is what it looks like and what is behind the balloons.

We already decided to take off the root beer float day and change it to art.  We had forgotten that we had that one last year and then we saw Crystal's post about it and remembered at that point.  It will be easy to change on the mimio.

Have a great week!

Saturday, May 7, 2016

Final Days and Balloon Activities (10, 9, 8, 7, 6...)

What a crazy, busy week!

You may remember that we are in the midst of our 10 day balloon countdown!

We started off the week with "ink pen day." The kids were able to use a pen on all of their work for the day. Then we ended with our music program on Monday evening. 

Tuesday was "bubble gum day." I bought a huge bag of bubble gum and gave them pieces throughout the day.

The second graders also traveled to our Intermediate school so they could tour the building they will be in next year. It is always a fun day. The different things on the playground are always the most popular--rings and climbing spider!

On Wednesday we were back in the classroom, so it was perfect for our balloon to be "rearrange the room day." I always get a kick out of how they choose to do it.

This time of year, I love to throw in some fun problem solving math. Each group gets a bag of color tiles with 16 problem cards. The problems are designed to really make them think--which I love! This class did AMAZING and they had no problems with my three rules for this activity. 

#1 No whining! 
#2 No asking for help!
#3 No saying, "I don't get it." 
This rule was added this year because I'm pretty sure that is their favorite phrase. Ha! But seriously, they often say this before even trying. It is maddening, so I had to outlaw it in my classroom! We've talked about alternatives to this phrase ALL year long.

I've been working all week trying to prep things for next year. I'm so thankful that our building paras are so willing to help!

Math Helpers - Check!

This class loves to create! I knew they would love my "art surprise" balloon activity on Thursday. As I built up the suspense of popping the balloon, I told them it was something they loved to do. One of my students yelled, "Talk!" true, but no! LOL!

I laid out lots of craft supplies (many found in the cleaning out of those workroom cabinets) and just let them go for it. I told them I had planned to let them do it for 1 hour, but their volume level would determine how long we continued. Surprisingly, this talkative bunch made it the entire time!

We finished the week by baking muffins for our moms Friday morning. I'm so thankful to be at a small school where we are able to do things like this.

Our balloon on Friday was a kickball game. 
The boys quickly asked if we could do boys versus girls, and I agreed. They talked smack all day, even going so far as to ask, "Can you even kick the ball?" 

I decided that even after spending the year with me, they didn't know me very well! Ha!

All that talk just made me even more competitive, and I'm happy to report that the girls won. :-)

Five more balloons..I cannot believe it.

Wednesday, May 4, 2016

Wisdom for Wednesday - Think Good Thoughts!

Sorry for a repeat today, but I am down to the last 7 days of school and everything is CRAZY here. I know you understand!

This quote has been on my mind the last several weeks because my pastor is preaching through Philippians. I knew I needed to find it and post it again and this week seemed like the perfect time!

An oldie (very oldie--originally shared September 4, 2013), but goodie!

Every school year, I come up with a theme for our household. Something that--if we all work on it--will hopefully make things run more smoothly and keep us focused on things that are truly important.

I decided to share our 2013-2014 theme with you for this week's...

This quote came from a dear friend of mine. She explained that every morning as she was growing up, when she headed out the door for school, her mom would say, "Think good thoughts!"

You may be thinking...of course we want to think about positive things. However, my friend knew when her mom said this, it was more than that. The phrase referred back to...

"...whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things."

Philippians 4:8

For my family, I decided to challenge my kids to memorize verses 6 and 7 as well because the truths found there will help us think good thoughts.

If we don't worry and take everything to God in prayer with thanksgiving, the peace of God which passes all understanding will keep our hearts and minds through Christ!

What could keep us from thinking good thoughts then?

Here's hoping you are able to finish the year strong and thinking good thoughts!

Monday, May 2, 2016

May Currently

I have linked up with Farely at Oh Boy, It's Farley is having her final Currently for the last May Currently.  I'm sad to say that this will be the last one since she has decided not to do them any more.  I will miss reading all the currently posts each month.  

Listening-My cat keeps meowing because he wants outside.  He has been going out on the nice days, but today is cold and I don't think he realizes how cold it is.  He still wants out and won't stop meowing!

Loving-I decided that today was going to be just a sit back and relax day.  I made myself not do much around the house and just relax!

Thinking-It has been rainy this past week and we have our Zoo field trip this Friday-I hope it doesn't rain!

Wanting-I need to start organizing and putting files back in their place in the classroom.  If only I would keep up and do it all during the year and then I wouldn't need to do it at the end of the year!

Needing-I start to get anxious this time of year, thinking about all that needs to get done.  I just need to take one day at a time.

Truth-I was doing really good walking my dog daily and then it started raining and I really got off schedule.  I need to get back to walking.

Have a great day!

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