Saturday, December 31, 2011

Happy New Year!

Just wanted to wish you all a very...
May you get everything you desire.
And to help you say good bye to 2011...

11 in 11

So I've run out of creative juices and have no other educational topics to post about... not really, but nothing else is ready. So I decided to participate in some Linky Parties. I couldn't let this one from two of my favorite bloggers linky parties to go by without participating. Wow, am I late, they already has 130+ other linkers... is that even a read word?

Here is what I have to share...
11. Favorite movie you watched:
Wow, I can't think of one. I know I saw plenty. I am drawing a completely blank so I will have to change this to favorite book's I've read this year.
I love reading but this year, I have had little time for it with work, and lesson plan template making and blogging. The little time I did find this year, I spent with Harry Dresden, Wizard Detective.
Next year I think I will spend with Mercy, from the Mercy Thompson series, Ana and Charles from the Alpha and Omega series and the beautiful Nephilim from the Mortal Instruments and Infernal Devices series. What can I say I love books!

10. Favorite TV series:
 Doctor Who
But really I also love...
Warehouse 13
Eureka & 

9. Favorite restaurant:
My home. Being a vegan and only eating organic foods can be difficult. However, mostly I love to be home. Plus it is nice on my pocket book and I am always dressed appropriately!

8. Favorite new thing you tried:
 Not sure. I'll have to think about this one.
*EDIT* I figured it out. Etsy! I love that place.

7. Favorite gift you got:
Well, I got 2 things this Christmas. I love them both equally.
First was an upgrade from my iPhone 3G to an iPhone 4S.
Second was a fabulous purse, that I have failed to take pictures of. However, trust me I was over due. I had been carrying my $5.00 heart tote from Target for way too long.

6. Favorite thing you pinned:
I don't pin. I am afraid of Pintrest. I love it but because blogging already consumes me, I am afraid that I will not be able to pull myself away from the computer long enough to eat and sleep if I start pinning.

5. Favorite blog post:
I am not sure about this. Maybe my Very, very important book of Kinder words. Or maybe it is my Said is Dead board.
4. Best accomplishment:
My lesson plan templates over at A Teacher's Plan.

3. Favorite picture:
Ugh, I don't have one. I hate all pictures of me. Have you noticed you can't find any images of me on here.? However, I noticed that Hadar did not post a picture of herself but of her cat. So how about...
All of my 1st grade kiddos working together to put our new carpet squares in order.
And one of them posing for a Thank You picture.

2. Favorite memory:
I don't have a picture of me doing this, but trust me, growing up in FL I had many of these days. Jumping in a cold pool, not ocean, a pool on a hot, hot day. Or riding a jet ski and flinging myself self off, that I did do in the ocean. :P Neither of which I do anymore now that I no longer live in FL.
(Disclaimer: This is not me. Just a Goggled image.)

1. Goal for 2012:
I am going to take this one from Hadar and say...  
Laugh a lot, learn a lot and live everyday!

Now it's your turn. Go ahead and link up. I'd love to read what you have to say.

Thursday, December 29, 2011

Snow Joke...

As I was waiting for some of my Kinder Kids to finish cleaning up their area in their class, so that we could line up and go to my class, I noticed the wonderful display that Kindergarten teacher had put up.

The tag line reads...
"It's snow joke we can write our words and numbers... Easley"
Beside the "snow joke" the other punch line is that her name is Mrs. Easley! I loved it so much I had to take pictures to share with you.
All she did was have students write  a sentence or words and numbers they know on the 2nd and 3rd paper plates. Then they drew a face on the 1st plate and cut out a hat and arms for their snow people. I think I will have to copy this someday. :) It was just so clever and easy, or should I say Easley? Am I Corney or what? the number one complaint from a friend about me is that all I tell are kiddie jokes. I think it is part of my profession to stay up on the kiddie jokes, thank you very much.

On that note, I have been flying my geek flag the past day. Is anyone else out there a nerd and proud to share it?

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

More with the Gingerbread Man

Ok my kids can not get enough of this man. What man? The Gingerbread Man!
Quite frankly I am a bit tired of him. However, as I was introducing my students to dialogue, more specifically, adding dialogue to their writing. We had gotten to the lesson where I teach my students to use other words for said. AKA: Put said to bed, or Said is Dead.

I have to preface this by saying that I was also being observed this day. My kids didn't do so well. Let's just say that my students did a WONDERFUL job of identifying the sound words and using them in a sentence. Ie: Ms. M was screaming. What I wanted them to do was Ms. M was screaming "stop"! Or She was outside whispering. When I wanted, I whispered "sit down."

After talking extensively about this. I got an epiphany. We just happened to be reading The Gingerbread Pirates that week. It is chalked full "other words for said". I took that famous Gingerbread man quote and tweaked it. Here is what changed it to, "Run, run as fast as I can you can't catch me!" ________, the Gingerbread man. So I whipped up this fancy sheet.
GB Man Dialogue
Then I had my students decorate and added some foam Gingerbread men I found in the Target Dollar Spot. Here is what it looks like finished.
A couple closeups.
My students really seemed to understand after this lesson. In my opinion it was a hit.

I couldn't leave my Kinder kids out of the Gingerbread fun. I only had them trace the original quote and decorate a GB man. Here is that freebie.

Hope you find it useful and will file it away for next year. :) I got one more activity to post about. I hope that I can get that up later this week for you all. Hope you are enjoying your break.

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Save for next year, Grinch Freebie

It is not secret that it has been difficult for me to get on here and blog regularly. I am still trying to figure out how I did it last year. With that said and out of the say, I am here to bring you 2 activities I did with my students this week, and offer a freebie for your "Save For Next Year" file.

I FINALLY got my pictures to upload onto Blogger!

I know I had a million activities for the Grinch, but I had found these fab foam trees in Target's dollar spot and wanted to find a way to use them. So I came up with a quick, on the fly activity, that I am sharing with you for free. :) All the students had to do was glue the tree on the paper and draw how they got their tree back from the mean old Grinch.

Here is what School B's kids made.
 A few close ups.
I love how she labeled herself and the Grinch then gave them speech bubbles saying "yes" and "no".
The faces on this one are precious.
This student brought her whole family to help her get the tree back from that scarey Grinch.
 Here is my board in School A.
I was pretty surprised that many of my students decided not to color in their pictures. However, I do have to admit, they were all LOVING their glittered trees. They wanted to take them home. Many of them spontaneously added a star to the trees too. Wish I would have thought of it. I would have given them some sparkly star stickers. I will keep that in mind for next year.
Here is your freebie.

Hope you find it useful and file it away for next year. :)

Monday, December 26, 2011

Thistle Girl Coupon

Hi everyone, Just wanted to share that for today and tomorrow Thistle Girl Graphics is having a 50% off sale on everything in her shop.Just use coupon code tgdxmas2011
Read below for Ashley's details.
"From 12:01 am on Christmas Day until midnight on the 27th of December (east coast US time) I have created a discount code that will give you 50% off absolutely anything on my site as long as you abide by the following terms: 1. You may not combine this discount code with any other codes. Members will still get an automatic 10% discount in addition to the discount from the code, but you may not enter any additional codes. 2. You must use your code by midnight on the 27th of December, 2011. After that time, the discount code will become invalid. 3. You may feel free to share the code with anyone you like! Ready for the code? Just type in the following during the checkout process: tgdxmas2011"
I used it to finally get my resellers license!

Enjoy the day. I'll try to be back with some more educational post later this week. Disclaimer: if this post is messed up it is because I am attempting to post it via my iPhone.

Sunday, December 25, 2011

Merry Christmas

I've been trying all day to write a post for you with some activities for you to bookmark for next year. However, Blogger has been giving me grief and not uploading my pictures. That post will have to wait for another day.

Yet, I did not want the day to go by without wishing you and yours a very merry Christmas.

I will be back late this week with my previously unsuccessful post.
Thanks for following!

Thursday, December 22, 2011

A Letter from Santa

A fellow teacher forwarded this blog post to me and I just couldn't resist reposting it. Disclaimer! I did not write this, it is from a fab blog called 21st Century Ed Tech, and written by Michael Gorman. After reading please take a minute to visit his blog.

When I was finished reading I just about was in tears. I had to pull it together, because I was on my way to pick up students, but I was super touched.

" A Special Letter From Santa… Ten Reasons Why Teachers Must Be Magic! by Michael Gorman
Welcome to a very special post… one that I will make a tradition to post each holiday season. It was several Christmas Eves ago that I found this letter under my Christmas Tree! I made it a tradition to put it away, until just a few weeks before Christmas each year, with the idea of sharing it with you! Please take a moment to read this very special letter from Santa! He takes a moment to describe the magic that you as an educator make happen every day! While you are at it, I would appreciate that you take a moment to subscribe to my Blog at 21centuryedtech and follow me at (mjgormans). Taking that moment insures that we can continue to network, something that is very magical to me. Also, please share this letter with others and even provide a re-tweet.  May your holidays be filled with magic! – Mike Gorman (
A Letter From Santa
Dear Teachers,
I have been meaning to write this letter for a long time! It is a letter that I feel is long overdue and with the elves getting all ready for my long ride, I finally found the time! I have been watching teachers for many years and I am amazed at the work they do. I have come to a conclusion that the teaching profession, like my own, must be filled with bits of  magic! Please let me provide ten statements of evidence for my belief.
1.  I travel the world one night of the year visiting all the boys and girls of the world. The teaching profession works with every boy and girl all year long. This equates to each teacher fulfilling educational needs for 30 – 200 children each and every school day. Seems like magic to me!
2. I deliver presents to all the boys and girls. From my Toy Repair Shop statistics I find many of these gifts are broken or no longer garner a child’s interest within months!  Yet teachers find inner gifts in every child. Teachers nurture these inner gifts  until they develop into true presents that will last a lifetime.  These kinds of gifts sure seem like magic to me!
3. I keep my naughty and nice list for every child. Some people believe this job is pretty amazing! Yet when I look at the teaching profession, teachers provide a constant evaluation of all their students! Their list covers all the aspects of developing and learning which they report to children’s parents and to the children themselves! This evaluation is based on a wide variety of observations, data, and student performance.  Teachers will then use this list to help improve each and every student! Wow, keeping track of every student’s ability and prescribing ways to be successful must really be magic!
4. I leave presents to students who are on the nice list and who believe in me. Teachers work with all children because they believe in every student. Teachers continue to do so, even when students stop believing in the educational system’s ability to help them achieve.  That type of persistence has got to be magic!
5. I have operated my workshop using the same technology for hundreds of years and it has worked for me. Then again, I work with children when they are asleep, delivering presents in my own way. Teachers work with children when they are awake and they have spent time learning how to engage children using googles, blogs, phlogs, glogs, prezis, and all these other words I really don’t know! Being able to teach, transform, and accommodate for this new digital generation must really be magic!
6. I have made it a practice to leave coal behind for children who do not make my good list! It seems every year the same children always get the coal. Teachers refuse to leave coal, in fact, they are working hard at leaving no child behind. To work towards a goal of leaving no child behind is a true act of magic!
7. I read the news and I am always so thankful to read all the nice articles about my work. It really does provide me with motivation to keep up my vocation. I read news articles about the education profession and it seems that most articles are unsupportive. Yet, teachers keep working hard at providing success for their students! These teachers must be operating on a little bit of magic!
8. I have thousands of elves, of course the reindeer, and the  community of the entire North Pole to assist me. Teachers work every day, many times by themselves, as they provide new opportunities for their students! Carrying that load alone must be much heavier than my bag of toys. It must really be magic!
9. I receive many a thank you and millions of pictures of happy faces as children open their presents each year. Teachers don’t always get the thank yous, or may never see the present get eventually opened. When they do, appreciation may come from decades later!  A thank you that appears after many years must be the result of pure magic!
10. I discovered a light in Rudolph brightens up a dark, foggy, or snowy night so that I can deliver joy to all the children across the world. Teachers provide the light that brightens our world in both the darkest night and brightest day! It is the light of learning and knowledge!  The ability to keep that light burning  bright  must take a quite a bit of magic!
You see, I have found that magic does not come easily! It is made possible only by those who work hard and keep believing, and seek what they know is possible! As you can see, there must be a great deal of magic in the education profession! Please continue to keep this magic alive and know that you are all on my good list! After all, I had to learn all that I do from somewhere! So from across the years I know I have many teachers to thank!   Last, to all teachers across the world… I really do believe in you!
Thanks for all the magic,
I hope you enjoyed this very special message from Santa. Please take a moment to share this letter with other educators across the world. It will truly help bring out the magic in our profession! Please accept my present to you,  which is another year of postings by subscribing at 21centuryedtech. Feel free to follow me on Twitter (mjgormans). Look for future postings here at Tech & Learning.  Again, take a moment to share this blog and even give it a re-tweet so that other educators can experience the magic. May you find the peace, joy, blessing, and magic of this very special season… and to all a good night!
Copyright ©2011"

May you all have a wonderful holiday and happy new year!

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Simple Kid Holiday Projects

This year I wanted to keep it simple with my student projects. I am at two different schools and it is not fun lugging materials around. Especially not in the snow. So as I mentioned I wanted to keep it simple. So this year I decided I would have my Kinder Kids decorate a tree with their name in ornaments. Super simple. The hardest part was making the tree.

I started by cutting strips of green butcher paper and laid them all out. I cut each one shorter than the other. Then I cut a piece of brown construction paper in half and used that as the bark. I found this great free font called CK Tree Ornaments to type up the students names. I game each student a sheet with their name. They colored it and cut it out. The following day we added the ornaments to the tree. The smallest name going at the top, and the largest name at the bottom. The final step was to add the star at the top of the tree. I think it looks great, and my ELL students that have never in their lives decorate a tree got to experience what it is like. :) 
Here is what they look like.
The smaller tree is from School B where I only have 6 kinder kids.

The larger tree is from School A where I have 14 Kinder kids.

I wanted something different for my 1st graders. School A is not finished so I don't have pictures to share, but it will look just like School B's down below, just more.

For this activity I use the DJ Inkers font called DJ Twinkels. I bought this font last year on an whim and did not find a use for it until this year. If your interested I believe it is on sale now. So I printed the students names again. These should be in color, and had the students cut them out and attach them to the Twinery's Bakers Twine. I let the students choose the color twine they wanted to use.
Here is how it turned out.

A close up.

Again I love how simple, yet cut it came out.

Other Holiday items are our Menorah and our Kwanza chain link.

On another decorating tip. You know all those wonderful holiday subway art print avaliable. Well, I don't use them at home, I use them in my class. It is an excellent way to decorate the room while teaching my students some holiday vocabulary. Eighteen 25 is having a "Where in the world, is your Christmas subway art" linky party and I just happen to have mine up in my room. Take a peek.
 My students love coming up to the poster during writing time to use the words in their seasonal stories.
All I did was punch two holes and add a ribbon, and Ta-da!

So whatever you do to decorate your class or home I hope you enjoy the season.

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Elves, Stick people & a makeover...

I know I have been MIA a little bit lately. Call it the pre holiday crazies. However there are a few holiday resources I want to share with you. If you are already on break, lucky you, and sorry I was late with this one.

Last year I shared... Elf Yourself. If you have not heard of it you just upload a picture of yourself and/ or others, and pick a kind of dance, Disco, Hip Hop, singing, etc... Then you just sit back, watch and laugh! I did a repeat performance this year with my students pics. I always play it for them the week before we go on vacation. They love it. You should try it yourself. 

 This next resource is a new one for me. It was just recommended by our Media Specialist/ Librarian. It is called Draw a Stick Man. Basically you draw a stick man and things happen. You have to draw other items to get your through the story. It always has the same result, but it is fun to draw different pictures each time. Here is a screen shot of one of my Stick Figures.

The last thing I want to share is that my other blog, A Teacher's Plan, got a makeover this weekend. It was done by Kristen from, Ladybug Teaching Resources. Here is just a peek. Click on the picture to go to there and check out new templates and new purchasing features.

I promise to do a better job of blogging. Maybe I should make that my new years resolution. Oh wait, I just remembered, I made a resolution to spend less time on the net/ blogs and more time reading. Ugh, why are there only 24 hours in a day and WHY do I have to spend so much of it sleeping. :P

If your already on break enjoy! I am working until Thursday. Kristen made the cutest bloggie button card and I am sharing it with you.

Thanks for following!

Sunday, December 11, 2011

More holiday decor

Yesterday, I brought you my Twinery door garland. Today I will show you what I did for my 2nd classroom.

I have been seeing these lovely floating ornaments hanging on fishing line all over the place. They look so nice I knew I wanted to recreate them with a twist.
This door decor was much easier than my previous one. I once again use the Twinery's bakers twine and this time I used some dollar section ornaments from Target. I saw them in the Dollar Spot and knew I had to have them. I bought 2 sizes, the small miniature size and the larger size. 

Again, I took the ornaments and laid them out in the pattern I wanted. Next, I cut out some twine. I did not measure them, and I cut them all different lengths. Oh I have to mention that I did make the twine match the color of the ornaments in this project. Same colors as before, Buttercream, Stone, Maraschino, and Peapod.
 After I had everything prepared I just tied the ornament to the end of the twine and cut the excess string.
 I have 2 doors in this class so I did it again. Then came the easiest  part! All I did was attach it to the door frame with tape! I had an odd number of ornaments so started in the center.
 Next, I did the two outside ornaments, and worked my way in.
 Just a note, I didn't want the ornaments to be the same length. When I wanted one shorter I just pulled it up and cut off the excess twine.
 See it coming together?
 Now, I just cleaned up the extra twine. To cover the ugly tape I put some ribbon over it. It was an instant clean up. Sorry I don't have a picture of it. :/ I kind of missed that shot.
Here is a shot from the outside.
It looks so festive, I love it. I like the twine instead of the fishing line better than the fishing line because we all see the fishing line anyway, why try to hide the string? I like that it matches. :)

I have yet one more door decoration I want to share but I have not yet created it. However, it is like this one but way easier! Stay tuned...

Hope you've had a great weekend. I have a formal observation tomorrow, and while I am not nervous about it, I am still wracking my brain thinking about all the little things I want make sure I have ready. I'll be glad when it is over and I can concentrate on enjoying my students and our holiday celebrations. Cross your fingers for me.