Tuesday, December 25, 2012

2012 Bloggy Best & Brightest

I really don't know where to start really, I guess I should go back a few days...

Last week was crazy, we were all set to end the week off spectacularly but Jack Frost had different plans. Wednesday night is snowed, like 8+ inches of snow, so we had a snow day. Totally threw everything off. We HAD to go back on Friday, thank god the streets were plowed, because the high schoolers had to take their finals. Friday went as smooth as it could go and I was glad to just get out of there and go home. Why? Well on Thursday morning I woke up violently ill. I won't go into it, cause I  am still recovering and I'd prefer not to relive it. Needless to say I have been recovering and not been able to share much with all you wonderful readers.

I missed most of the fun out here in Teacher Bloggy land. I opened up my email this morning and had 30+ emails that I have been avoiding. I tackled them and was going to logg off to go read, but I couldn't pass up this VERY popular linky over on Christina's Blog, Bunting, Books, and Brainbridge.
Christina please do share the fint for the word "brightest" i just am in love with it.

When I looked up my stats to find my popular posts, I found that most of them were from 2011. Can't say I am surprised, this year has been harder than the previous one. However, here is what I was able to find as a best of 2012...

Needless to say I have to step up my game should I want to do this again next year.

My biggest accomplishment this year, in my eyes is the continuation of my business blog, A Teacher's Plan. I managed to keep afloat and thanks to you wonderful teachers out there I was a successful Fall. Heres to recreating that this coming year. I love creating plans, and I am so grateful that many of you find them easy to use. That is the  the driving force. Thank you.
I can't go on without saying a huge thank you to Erica because her template is the biggest grossing template on my site! She is forever immortalized cause it is names after her. :) Thanks again lv, for being so sweet and generous.

Now, is the part I wanted to get to...
I can't possibly name everyone of you that have inspired me but there are a special few that have been there for me during some difficult times. Some of you that inspire me with every post. Whose products I can't can't help but live without because I know they will make my teaching so much better. So I want to say a BIG thank to...

Kristen, you are forever an inspiration. I want to be just like you when I grow up. Thanks for always proving support when I need it and for always knowing what I am going through. 

Hadar, your so fabulous, kind and generous, not sure there is anyone else out in the world like you. I am glad to call you a BBFF since the start.

Greg, I can relate to you in so many ways, I don't know if you'll ever know. LOL Thanks for always making me laugh, and for letting me help.

Annie and Maria I can't help but buy almost everything you create.
The Moffatt Girls  and 

Melissa, for always replying to all my comments. Your so sweet, I am a bit jealous that I am not a 3rd sister to you and Kristen. LOL

OMG, I have to stop cause I could go on forever. I will say that this isn't even the start of the list. Thank you for all for inspiring me and helping me be a better teacher.

As for my fellow local teachers reading, both current and former, thank you too! You know I couldn't do it without you.

Almost forgot...
Favorite new thing I tried in 2012 is Instagram! Almost lost it a few days ago before they amended their policies. Whew.

Now that is enough smarm. If you know me you know I don't do smarm well. :D So I'll leave you with my favorite picture books (Picture books are a bit of an obsession for me. To go off on a tangent I have so many picture books the weight was too much and I cracked a book shelf. Yikes, I have a problem.) of 2012. 
Finally jumped on the Pete the Cat band wagon with Pete and his Groovy Buttons.

I love ALL the Splat Books, but here is one of my fav's in 2012.

Who can resist Mo Willems? 

Have a VERY Merry Christmas everyone!
and a 

Oh and don't forget to link up with Christina!

Wednesday, December 12, 2012


Hi Everyone,

Hope your all having a fab 12-12-12. Today to celebrate I'll be linking up with Hadar's and Kristen's 12-12-12 Linky Party. Try it you might like it. :P

12. Favorite movie you watched: 
 Ever? It's not a new one but it would have to be Drag me to Hell. I just about died laughing through the whole thing. Also on my list is Sweeney Todd and almost any musical made.
11. Favorite TV series:
Oh this is hard but at the moment I am just loving Fringe. Though Haven, Doctor Who and Downton Abby hold a spot right up there too.

10. Favorite restaurant:
Ummm, my home. Ok, ok well I am partial to any place that serves french fries.
9. Favorite new thing you tried:
Instagram and Twitter. I knew it would be a problem. LOL I am sooo staying away from FB and Pintrest.
8. Favorite gift you got:
A chevron infinity scarf. That's right I love it more than my new MacBook Air, and that is hard to do.
7. Favorite thing you pinned:
I don't pin. :P See #9 for clarification.
6. Favorite blog post:
Hmmmm, well this is hard. I do love my Beginning, Middle and End writing post. However, I am partial to my Animal Research Report post too. But I think I will go with a recent post, yesterdays in fact, about Post-It notes in the classroom.
5. Best accomplishment:
 I would say it would have to be the growth I see from the work I do with my students. I could go on forever, but basically they come into my room not speaking English and leave talking up a storm.
4. Favorite picture:
 Pictures? Does it have to be of me? I don't like any pic of me, but this one is ok, it was taken last year.

3. Favorite memory:
Hands down the day I got my first real car, not the hand me down my parents gave me, but the one I picked out and paid for. It wasn't exactly what I always wanted when I first go it, but I LOVE it and am happy every day with it... even 12 years later. :) It's a Volkswagen Beetle in case you were wondering.

2. Goal for 2013:
 To keep going. Not to whine or complain, but to see the struggles life throws our way and plow right through them. Live life and enjoy it.

1. One Little Word:
Not faith in any particular religion or god, but faith that everything will be alright. through the hard times and the struggles you will persevere a be better for it. Faith in myself is what drives me, faith that will turn out as it should. That in every struggle, hardship or frustration there is something to gain and learn.

Don't forget to hop on over and link up!

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Post-It note ideas...

Thanks for coming back for another installment of...
Today's teaching tip is something I've seen LOTS of teachers do. I've already showed you how I teach and practice Handwriting in the Hallway. I've also shown you my Sight Word Pass Word.

Now I want to reveal a little bit about myself and admit to my addiction. Post-It Notes. Ok, it's not a huge secret, I mean what teacher DOESN'T puffy heart post-it notes. I have a serious addiction though. I have tons of these suckers in every size and color in my cabinets. Yikes!

To justify this obsession, here are some ways in which I use Post-It notes in my room.
To identify Book Boxes by grade level. I wanted something cute and found these nice ones.
 The blue is used by 1st grade the white has red accents and they are used by the Kinder kids.

To mark the days of the week and months of the year. These are star sticky notes. :)

I just LOVE these, they are Post-It labels and I print them out and use them to label my kids cubbie boxes. Wanna read more about how I do this? Click here, or on the image, but only after you finish reading my post. :P

As book marks! Read about it here.
And my new favorite... for my Class Password! Thanks Greg for the BRILLIANT idea.
Red/pink is Kinder and blue is 1st grade. Kinder keeps their words all week. The 1st graders get one or two words every day

Speaking of Class Password, here are how other teachers in my building are doing their classroom passwords.
This is a 1st grade room and they change the word every day.
 This is a Kinder room and they change the words weekly.

I hope to be back tomorrow with my 12-12-12 post, and linking up with Hadar's and Kristen's Linky Party. :) But before I go in case you were wondering, here were some 12-12-12 ideas I shared with the teachers on my k/1 team for tomorrow.
-Students describe themselves in 12 words.
-Work as a whole class to use 12 words to describe 12 things in in a theme. You can make a class book of them afterwards.
-They could work on a sires of assignment for 12 minutes at a time.
-Have them take random 12 min reading breaks.
-Pick 12 friends to write a post-it note note to. The note could be 1 word and they just randomly stick them on each others desks.
-Add things to 12, or subtract things from 12.
If there are typos, or mistakes please forgive me. I am quickly finishing this up before I run out to one of my favorite places... TARGET! Have a great night!

Monday, December 10, 2012

Map it Out Monday: Holiday Style... 12/10/12

Hi everyone! Welcome back to...
Kinder Plan for week of 12/10/12
We will be reading...
Photo by msk1ell 
Theme: Gingerbread Man Theme stories/ International GB man
Phonemic Awareness skill: Onset and Rime
Phonics: Letter of the week: Ff (Alphafriend Fifi Fish)
Sight/ HFW word: you
Vocab:Matzo Ball, Tortilla, Wok
 Comprehension skill: Summarizing

Theme: Winter Holidays
Phonemic Awareness skill: Blending Phonemes
Phonics: Long Aa CVCe, Soft Cc and Gg, Endings: ng, nk and nd
Sight/ HFW word: could, house, how, over, so, take
Word families: -ate, -ach, -ank and -ing
 Comprehension skill: Summarizing

Holiday stories we are reading...
Photo by msk1ell
Photo by msk1ell
Photo by msk1ell
...obviously not all in one week. We read the Hanukkah books last week, Kwanza this week and Diwali next. We also have read Christmas stories each week. I'll post those another time.

2nd and 3rd grade Writing for week of 12/10/12
Topics covered: Time words, Similies, Vivid and Week Verbs.
Focus on having different kinds of sentences.

I hope to bring you some of my students adorable work sometime later this week. Have a great night!

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Classroom Password

Thanks for coming back for another installment of...
Today's teaching tip is something I've seen LOTS of teachers do. I've already showed you how I teach and practice Handwriting in the Hallway. Now I want to show you how I reinforce my sight words. It's the Classroom Pass Word.
Ok so this is not a great pic because there are no words there, BUT as you can see it is just a piece of scrapbook paper with a Pass Word coversheet on top of it. Click on the link to get a freebie for yourself. It is that simple. Mine is laminated so I can write the passwords with dry erase marker, or you can print out, laminate and sticky tack your words on the sheet daily.

Other teachers in my school keep these words on a ring and just flip them over daily. Others just write the words on die-cuts and tape them, or cover them in contact paper on their doors. No matter how you do it, the point is that the kids don't leave the room without saying the words on their way out. It is their "password out" Or you could do "password in" up to you.

An extra little tip... for my Kinder kids I have them touch the word(s) on their way out, so I can see if they know, aka informally assess, them daily.

Hope this is something you can use.

Monday, December 3, 2012

December Currently & Week's Plans

I took a week of but I am back. Was it as difficult for you guys to get back in the swing of things as it was for me last Monday. Those long weekends/ breaks kill me when they are less than a week long. So looking forward to two whole weeks off in just 3 short weeks. Anyway here is my December Currently.
Don't forget to hop over to Farley's blog and link up your currently or just read what everyone else wrote.
But don't go yet...

Something else I am looking forward to is all the fun that the next 3 weeks will hold. Let's not get into the stress or drama that will also ensue, but as I sat typing my plans tonight I thought "wow my kids are going to have so much fun with these activities."

Now cause it is Monday you are entitled to your regularly scheduled Map it Out Monday. Here you go...

Can't wait to get all my gingerbread activities going with this group. We will be doing some of the same Gingerbread activities as in previous years, you can read about them here. We have also added some new activities and I have added links to my plans in case you were interested.
Theme: Gingerbread Man; Numbers and Shapes
Phonemic Awareness skill: Onset and Rime
Phonics: Letter of the week: Gg (Alphafriend Gerttie Goose)
Sight/ HFW word:go, love
Vocab: number words, shape words
 Comprehension skill: Summarizing

While the Kinder kids are working on Gingerbread madness, the 1st graders will have a Snowman theme going this week. As well as studying Hanukkah.
Theme: Snowmen; Hanukkah
Phonemic Awareness skill: Segment Phonemes
Phonics: Digraphs: sh, th, wh, ch and tch
Sight/ HFW word: long, more, other, right, these, much and small
Word families: -ash and -ush
 Comprehension skill: Summarizing

My 2nd and 3rd graders are still working on finishing up some descriptive writing so we will put off our holiday themed writing until later this week, or even next week.
2nd and 3rd grade Writing for week of 12/03/12
Topics covered: Telling & Asking sentences, Nouns, Time words, showing & not telling  our stories.

Have a great day, I hope to be back tomorrow with a great Tuesday Teaching Tip!