Monday, February 28, 2011

My Favorite Things Party

There is a Linky Party going on over at Fun in First. I decided I would play along.

Here are a few of my favorite things...

1. My iPhone
I truly would be lost without my iPhone.I am on it constantly & I don't even play games on it. I am always pulling it out to surf the web, check my mail & calendar & read the news on my MSNBC, TMZ & White House apps.
2. My Mac Book
I was not a Mac person until this year, but I don't think I could do with out my Mac Book. I absolutely love the mouse pad & all the different ways to use it.

3. My Speck Mac Book case
I am just in love with my Satin Speck case. Sometimes I just sit & admire it. It helps that it is in my favorite color. :)
4. Yerba Mate & Honey
I have to have me some tea & honey daily. It is what keeps me going all day long.

5. Fries & Onion Rings
These are my guilty pleasure, and I don't get them often.

6. Catalogs
 I spend WAY too much time looking through, marking pages & thinking (day dreaming) about catalogs.

7. Fonts & Clip art
I have seriously downloaded TOO many cute fonts to manage & I adore clip art to embellish all of my school work. Specifically my homework sheets.

8. Books
I honestly can spend HOURS at a book store wandering around. I love books & a place full of books is just delightful.

9. Target
Again, when entering a Target I am given a time & spending limit. I could live in there.

I'm sure there are many more but my plan time is over. :( However, I think that it is fitting that I posted 9 favorite things because my favorite number is 9.

So what are some of your favorite things?

Ms. M

Saturday, February 26, 2011

Custom Lesson Plans

 Last week Katie from Persnickety Pickles posted her lesson plan format. Truthfully I've been wanting to post my lesson plans for a VERY long time. I just didn't know where to start. I've been going around & around all week thinking about how I would post about lesson planning. I thought I would begin with how I started making my OWN lesson plans.

When I was a first year teacher, feels like so long ago, I was completely lost when it came to putting my lessons on paper. Sure I had already worked in a school & with kids for years. I felt completely comfortable in front of a class, & had every inch of my lessons planned in my head but my paper lesson plans??? Well, lets just say if Administration came into my room that first month & asked to see my plan book, I might not still be teaching today.

You know those big plan books, with the boxes? They never worked for me... I tried but I just always felt like I wanted some parameters. Nothing against those teachers who used them but I was always frustrated. I also tried those LONG, lesson plan formats that they make you do when your getting your degree. They were too time consuming & I was not happy about doing one of those for each lesson 5 days a week. I was a bit lost as to how to document my lessons.

That when it happened, I was sitting at a weekly staff meeting when I looked over & saw another first grade team member filling out an interesting form. I saw a box for Phonics, Reading, & Writing. I asked to take a closer look & sure enough those boxes had a particular routine activities & spaces for the teacher to write in and activity if it were something different. The best part was that in two pages, sitting next to each other, I had a whole of lesson plans. I fell in LOVE with this format right away.

She graciously shared with me & it changed my life. It was to easy to plan after that. I could check off routine activities, if we were working on them that day, & if not I didn't. I could also write in the writing prompt for the day or just page numbers of work pages, anthologies, anything!

The following year we changed reading series & so I got on my computer & made my own, custom lesson plan format. I wrote in what I wanted to cover daily so that I could once again check them off if I was planning on doing that activity. What changed for me was that I MADE MY OWN format. It was not easy at first. I had to learn to navigate using a table on Word & if you've never done it, it can be a pain. The margins were tricky too, but once you had a basic layout it was not that hard. I even get to use change my fonts. What I learned was that I liked doing this. It sounds crazy but I liked it a lot. Don't misunderstand it did take me a while to get it done just right, and I used to walk away from the computer drained & dazed, still do sometimes, but it was not horrible. The best part was that I got EXACTLY what I wanted.

Now at the start of every year I go back & tweak my format to fit my students & my needs. I have even been know to change the format quarterly. It was a bit more complex when I switched from a gen ed first grade teacher to ELL teacher, but I was able to transfer some pieces of my old template, which I liked so much.

So I decided to post some generic templates for you all to download. So when I pulled up my older lesson plan formats they went all screwy because I don't have those fonts on this computer & I also have a different version of WORD. SO I decided that I would tweak them & post them at another time.However I do want to post something for you all. These are my current ELL lesson plan templates. Although they can be used for a Gen Ed class, they don't have all the components I liked to have when I taught Gen Ed.

Kindergarten Plans
1st Grade Plans

It looks weird in Google Docs & doesn't show the lines for you to write on but when you download it it looks normal. I hope that in the next week I will have a chance to post my two page Language Arts lesson plans.

I would love for you to share what you all think. & how do you plan for your lessons.

Organization Linky Party

I'm sure you've already heard that Growing Kinders is having a Linky party. I linked up yesterday but I didn't get back to my computer to post until tonight. I posted an older post about Color Coding. So if your interested, and who wouldn't be interested in organizational tips, head on over there.

Ms. M

Thursday, February 24, 2011

More Snow...

The forecast said we would get 1 to 3 inches of snow today. So what a surprise when I look out a window & see that in just 2 to 3 hours we already had 3+ inches! Before I went home this is what it looked like out side my school.




There was very little visibility on the way home. Not a very safe ride home. We have one day left in our allotted "snow days" but I do expect to be back in school tomorrow. At least it will be Friday. Stay warm everyone.

Ms. M

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Presidents Day Activities

Here are a few activities I had my students do yesterday for Presidents day. I would LOVE to give credit to the teacher who created these but I can't for the life of me remember which blog I downloaded them from. Please let me know so I can link this post back to your blog.

My Kinder Kids made Washingtons' & Lincolns'. Unfortunately I can't find the templet on my computer to post. I know there are several blogs out there with it though.
 Lincoln close up.
 Washington close up.
 I had to include our current Prez into the activity. :)

I had my First Grade Tatter Tots complete a Venn-diagram of Washington & Lincoln. I thought I had downloaded the Venn-Diagram from Primary Perspective but I can't find Brook's post to link it back. If this activity is your PLEASE let me know so I can fix it. I hate not being able to give credit.

We also read Mrs. Walasky's Presidents day book & it was a hit. You can download it here. We practiced our handwriting & spelling with Barbie Roper's Handwriting practice sheet. You can download it here. We didn't get a chance to complete Growing Kinders if I were President... writing sheet but we will on Friday. You can download that here.

Ms. M

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

St. Patty's day ABC Strip

 So I went around & around looking for the perfect Shamrock for this strip & never did. So I went with some cute St. Patty day inspired/ dressed bears.


If you do happen to have a Shamrock that you think would work let me know & I might be able to use it. However, I have to put a disclaimer here. I am picky about Shamrocks. It has to be a true Shamrock, the 3 leaves that look like hearts. The 4 leaves are different, they are 4 leaf clovers. I know I am a bit OCD about this, but I was confused for a LONG time about it & now that I know I always want to be clear about it.

Hope you like it.

Ms. M

ThistleGirl is now on You Tube

Thistle Girl just posted a video on her blog promoting her Graphics Membership Club. If you have ever been interested in a Graphics Club it's worth a look at the video. I have been a member for years now and have never regretted buying the membership. It seems a bit expensive however, you do get a clip art set & several goodies free every month. Check it out below.

Ms. M

Monday, February 21, 2011


WOW I have 100 Followers!?! I am super surprised. When I started this blog I never thought I would have that many people interested in what I wrote. Thank you so much. Unfortunately I was caught off guard by this and don't have anything to give away. I hope you keep coming back & reading about my classroom happenings. :)

Ms. M

The Poet- Tree

For the past 3 or 4 weeks my 1st grade Tatter Tots have been in Poetry mode. They have been loving it too. So we put on our Poet Hats and created our Poet-Tree.

This is not one of my original ideas. I must give credit to the originial sorce Fancy Nancy!
I'm not sure if I have mentioned it before but I adore the bella petite Fancy Nancy. So when my students began their poetry unit I just had to bring in my copy of Poet Extraordinaire & read it to them. Inside Ms. Glass, Nancy & her class make a "Poet-Tree". So I got together with another First grade teacher here & we created our own Poet-Tree. I love it.

We had the students write a poem on a leaf that was printed offline and Voila!
 Ms. H's joke.
 A close up shot of a leaf poem.

I didn't include a download of the leaf because (1) I don't have it. :( & (2) You could probably find one just by Googleing leaf printout.

Ms. M


I am VERY late with this but here goes...

My Kinder Kids made a Hand Print Heart.

Below the heart they completed the sentence "I love my _____."
Kinder I Love you Sentence
Last year I did these on black paper I think it came out better. Made it pop more than this years.

My First graders completed "I love my ____ because______..." I gave them some foam stickers I found at the Target Dollar Spot and let them go wild.

Because we in Poetry mode we also made some Acrostic Poems.

I think they came out so cute. Thinking back to how sick I felt I honestly don't know how I got through the day. I am just glad I did.

Ms. M

Me really? Thank you.

Me really? A Stylish Blogger Award? I don't win or am awarded anything often. Thank you to:
Sailing into First
Ms. Durning at Second Grade is Splendid
Hadar at Outfitted & Inspired
Sarah at Teachers can not live on apples alone
Lady Bug Teacher
Barbie at Really Roper
You all have such wonderful & stylish blogs of your own. Your all on my blogger list and always look forward to reading what you post. I guess it wouldn't be appropriate to send this back you way huh? Well just know that I would. :) Thanks again.

Here's what I have to do:
Here are the rules for receiving this award:
1. Thank and link back to the person who awarded you this award
2. Share 7 things about yourself
3. Award 5 recently discovered great bloggers
4. Contact these bloggers and tell them about the award

Because I already did #1 above let's go to #2.
2. Share 7 things about myself
  1. I love all things stripes & polkadots.
  2. I LOVE to read. It helps me to "destress" & relax everyday. My favorite books are Urban Fantasy & Mysteries.
  3. I've taught in 2 states. Previously in Florida & where I live now. Can you guess where? I am in the Midwest, right smack in the middle of the country, & there's lots of corn.
  4. I am a Vegan. It's a personal lifestyle & health choice. I don't judge anyone who is not, I just prefer to be & like it. With that said, my favorite thing to eat is a bag of chips!
  5. My favorite colors are Plum (or deep purple), Charcoal Grey & Black.
  6. I've wanted to be a teacher for as long as I can remember. I actually remember sitting in my elementary school class, looking at my 3rd grade teacher & thinking, I want to do that.
  7. I have a container/ organization obsession. The best compliment was when I returned from my 3 day flu vacation & 1 of the sub notes said "Your classroom is very organized & your students knew the routine." Translation, my students bossed her around all day. I'll have to talk to them about that. BUT did you see, she said I was organized! That made me smile.
3. Award 5 recently discovered great blogger. They are not recent;y discovered but they are Stylish & great!
  1. Frog, Bees & Under the Seas
  2. The Polk Dot Patch
  3. eighteen 25
  4. First Grader At Last
  5. Ms. Van Orman's First Grade Fun
 4. Contact these bloggers and tell them about the award

Friday, February 18, 2011

I've been sick

So my Valentines day post was not posted because on Monday I got VERY sick. There has been something going around my school. A flu I guess, it sure felt like a flu & I caught it. It was awful. I was out for 3 whole days. 3 DAYS!?! I have had perfect attendance for years. Now it is ruined. :(

On Tuesday I couldn't get out of bed & slept most of the day. On Wednesday I still had a fever & chills. Finally on Thursday I felt almost normal & today was my first day back to work. I am not yet 100% but can function at an almost normal level. However, I did not want to stress myself too much so my classes have been watching a Presidents Day themed video. Thank god for educational videos.

I have not been on Blogger since Monday morning & there is no way I can catch up with all the wonderful posts I missed. I'm a little sad about that but I have to cut back a bit. I just can't keep going at the rate I was a week ago. I do plan to post about Valentines day... eventually, & I also want to share what my students did as part of their Poetry unit. I hope to get those up but it might have to wait until next week.

I hope you all have been well.
Ms. M

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Valentines Good Reads

I've have been trying to post about Valentines day for over a week now. I have been so busy with meetings, parent conferences & catching up with the curriculum that I didn't even get my planning done for next week. *Sigh* The good news is that I got my planning done today. The bad news I that I've found SO many wonderful ideas for Valentines day online that I am overwhelmed and confused as to what I will actually do with my students. I did start some projects on Friday but didn't take pictures so I will have to post those on Monday.

I also made some writing activities but they are trapped on my Mac Book & my internet is down. I am now posting from my iPhone. Not great but it works. So expect some late freebies from me this week. I suppose you can make it a week of V-day activities, I might.

What I do want to post is what I will be reading with my "Tator Tots". I can't remember which one of you said that on your blog but I fell in love with that & am useing it from now on.

My FAVORITE V-day read is Love Splat by Rob Scotton.

If you've never read Live Splat, it is about a little cat named Splat who like another cat named Kitten. He always gets nervous around her & it doesn't help that she acts weird around him. He gets the courage to give her a Valentines day note but then he gets to school a bigger cat named Spike proceeds to make Splat feel inferior. Splat feels defeted & throws away the Valentine. Spike gives Kitten his Valentine but well let just say it's not very nice. Kitten ends up with Splats Valentine & also has one for Splat too. I adore this book because I get to talk about so many things. Being scared, having courage, bullies, & Valentines day.The illustrations are wonderful too.

I also like:
Fancy Nancy's Heart to Heart
Today Is Valentines Day by P. K. Hallinan
The Night Before Valentines Day
The Best Thing About Valentines Day

I hope you have a great V-day tomorrow. I will try to post some V-day activities soon.