Sunday, January 9, 2022

Two Classics: Betty White & Harry the Dirty Dog (FREEBIE!)

These two are perfect together! 


I love Harry just as much now as I did when it was read to me as a child.  When I discovered that Betty read this on Storylineonline a few years ago, I was even more excited! Perfection for sure! 

You can get my Harry the Dirty Dog Book It for FREE in my store! If you aren't familiar with my Book-Its, there are three activities. 

Book It: Retell It, Write It! Make It!


1. Retelling the Story:




2. Make-a-Word 



The kids start off very slow with the words they can make. Model, model, model! There is so much you can do with Make-a-Words and I feel like they are an untapped resource for so many teachers.  I use their word study lessons as a guide and then sneak in all sorts of other min-lessons. 

Since there is an "S" in this one, I introduced plurals and kids were excited to almost double their words.  By the end of the year, many kids can get 50-100 words (TRUTH!) on a good Make-a-Word phrase.

3. Writing Prompts (Pick-a-Prompt)



Sharing these is always a pleasure because I don't have to listen to 20 of the same prompt responses. While not always spread even across all 3, it does allow for variety. I'm virtual this week and will be doing this orally during Morning Meeting. It's great practice for them!

Book Its are also awesome to leave for a substitute!  Yep! Why? Because it's at least an HOUR of meaningful work. Watch/read book, Retelling, Make-A-Word, and then the prompt and sharing.  More than 60 minutes for me and I usually don't do everything in one day.  (Retelling is an example: They practice retelling a few days independently and then with partner.)

Last year, for the first time in forever, a NEW Harry the Dirty Dog book was released:




If you like the above BOOK-IT, I have a 3 more FREE ones in my store and 125 Book Its for sale at $2 each. Perfect for when you just want a little support on a book! Here are TWO more Freebies:



I hope you can use some of the freebies above!

Have a great day and a terrific week ahead!

Thursday, January 6, 2022

Back to Virtual Learning (And a Freebie!)

We are back to Virtual Learning for two weeks. I have a feeling that the two weeks will turn into 3-4 weeks. I hope I'm wrong. How about you? Are you teaching from home or is it business as usual?  

I'm doing my best to infuse some fun into my daily online lessons while maintaining a sense of normalcy and familiarity.  Our favorite activity each day in school is our Morning Meeting.  It really sets the tone for the day and creates and fosters a strong sense of community...whether at home or in school. Here was my January Morning Meeting for the first day back virtually:


I've been able to use lots of my existing slides in my January packet but have had to change the order around since some activities don't work as well online. But with so many slides to pick from, it was just a matter of quickly cutting and pasting. Whew! It's so nice to keep our Morning Meeting routine intact!

If you want to read my series on implementing Morning Meeting into your classroom AND grab a FREE week of Greetings, Shares, and Activities (and a message you can edit), check out this post Building Classroom Community Through Morning Meeting (Part 1: Greetings)


Over break, I made a January Which One Doesn't Belong? that I've been using virtually as well. Such a great activity! Click to watch the short clip to see examples.


I've also been using my favorite January Poems and Songs to try to keep it as close too in-person learning as possible.  I use these with my Doc Camera instead of screen sharing them but my Doc camera messes up my computer settings.  Need to problem solve that ASAP!



I also added another Goal-Setting January Activity to my bundle BUT I'm not able to use it yet.  If I knew we were going virtual. it would have been fun to copy and send home. Oh, well! 


Here's a picture of what my December Goal Setting Bulletin Board looked like. Cute! You just had to life up the legs to see the goals the kids set for themselves. They are still hanging up so when I get back, that's the first thing I'll need to do!



I was able to send home some of my January Crowns that I had already copied. Yea!


It will be cute to see 18 of my Smarties all wearing one or two of these online.

Off to get ready for the day.  Have a good one!

Saturday, January 1, 2022

Happy New Year (Some Adult Books I'm Reading, too!)

Happy New Year, friends! I truly feel that 2022 MUST have more positivity in store for us all. With my surgeries behind me, I'm so ready to move on in so many ways.

(I love INSPIRIVITY's work above and below! Follow her on Instagram)

Yesterday, it hit me as I walked from the parking lot into the library without pain and with total ease, that I am moving on and mainly MOVING! WALKING! On my own! 

I came home and almost cried telling John that I can't believe I have my independence back. That I can really walk places and distances without having to plan out where I'll sit, think if it's too long of a walk (more than 50 steps was!) etc.  

This is seriously the first time I've been pain free in about 25 years. 


I wish I had the surgeries sooner.  If you are in a similar situation with a quality of life issue, I urge you to make the appointments. Get it done. The sooner the better.

Back to the library yesterday... 

Yes, it was open on New Year's Eve (day) from 10-6. Kind of crazy! But I did get a few books that I'll be reading. 

My goal over this break was to read 5 adult books.  I'm almost done book 4 with 1 more to go which won't happen before Monday. (Just found out we are going virtual for two weeks so lots to prepare for.)

Take a peek into my books this week:


The Paris Library is a must read!  I LOVED, LOVED, LOVED it! A friend suggested it 6 months ago and I'm so glad the library had it! I am certain that the characters I fell in love with must be in this picture!


I also really liked The Last Thing He Told Me.  A VERY easy read. Loved the characters. 

The Neighbor's Secret was okay.  Fine. Not on my must-read list. 

People We Meet on Vacation was picked simply because it was on display at the library and I was in the mood for more of a "predictable" and "fluffy" book after The Paris Library.

The Last Flight was also recommended to me. I know it was a BOTM selection a few years back.

Speaking of Book of the Month, John got me a year subscription.  YEA!  I just picked my first book!


The Magnolia Palace! I gave my sister a subscription for her birthday. She's picking Reckless Girls. We'll swap when done.

My friend actually got me a 3 month subscription to BOTM when I was having my first surgery. That was such a thoughtful gift! (Thanks, Patti!  She was also the one who recommended The Paris Library.)

I'm open to all sorts of books EXCEPT horror and, at the moment, prefer books that don't make me sob more than once! Please send me suggestions!  I'd appreciate it!

Happy New Year! Love, Light, and Good Health to all!

Sunday, December 5, 2021

FREE Thumbprint Holiday Gift for Parents

Who doesn't love an EASY and FREE thumbprint craft that can be used for a holiday gift? I just updated it for 2021 and added 2022 as well.


When I had 22 students in my class, it took me less than 45 minutes from start to finish. I called individual students to the back table and they got to pick their colors. 

They dipped one finger in a color and then did 3-4 "lights" on the page. Then we repeated with a few more colors.

Have kids add the bottom part of the lights and sign it WHEN DRY.

That's it!

Sooooo easy! Parents loved it!  

You can use at your own family holiday party too.  Makes a nice memento/gift.

Enjoy!


Sunday, September 12, 2021

Welcome to My Classroom Part 1

A peek into my classroom during the first two days of school:

Don't all First Graders love dinosaurs?  Next week, kids will finish "I think First Grade will be Dino-Rific because..." and I'll add their writing under their names. While most kids will write their response, a few children will most likely choose to draw and color in their response. Choice is important.

Sharkey Mullarkey was a gift to me from my Second Grade class years ago when my first book (about the beach) came out. It used to be in my foyer, then used by our pool and now, I think it's found its forever home right ourside my classroom.


I'm going to shrink the odd/even posters that I got for free on TpT so I can fit a free Friends of Ten poster. Do you see those magnetic "dice" on the board? I work on having kids memorize the dice dots so they don't have to count them when we play games this year. Subitizing practice is always a must and dice dots should be included.


My brother and sister-in-law gave me a Target giftcard for my birthday so I bought this lightboard.
Not sure how I'll use it but for now, I love it!


You can see in the other pictures that I have books all over my classroom. If interested in learning HOW EASY it is to organize your library, watch THIS VIDEO.

If you need to get more books in your library, I can help you! Check out this video.


I'm in a new classroom ths year. It is at least 3 times the size of my old one. I cannot believe the storage. For first time, I have a large coat/cubby room, water fountain/sink in classroom, a HUGE bathroom with another sink, and a TON of storage. This is WAY more than I had in my other room and this is only about 1/3 of the storage in my current room that I'm showing you. My Affirmation Station is new. Do you say affirmations with your students? Lots of power in those words!


I love how I do my jobs. If interested to hear how I implement this EASY program, watch this video.




Magic Play Clay available for FREE in my store! Can do anytime of the year!



Although I had two great days with my students, it was EXHAUSTING! (I've been on medical leave the last 18 months.) I was glad for Saturday to roll around!

Hope your year got off to a super start!


Tuesday, September 7, 2021

Itty-Bitty Kitty Corn Picture Book Review (And a FREEBIE for Blog Readers!)

I found a fantastic picture book at Barnes & Noble back in April: Itty-Bitty Kitty Corn, written by Shannon Hale and illustrated by LeUyen Pham.  The second I saw it, I knew I had to have it.


It's such a fun book to read and has so many great themes: Finding one's identity, self-love, acceptance, confidence, kindness, empathy, friendship, seeing others and being seen for who you are. Whew! That's a lot! I'm sure there are even more!


Kitty is so confident. Brave. Bold. Spunky. I fell in love instantly!


There are always some naysayers in life, aren't there?  It's so hard to be put down or not believed or valued or accepted for who we know we are.  As a parent and teacher, I'm always looking for ways and words to use to instill this same confidence in my kids/students.


Yes, this is a fantastically adorable book BUT there is so much goodness-on-every-level going on here.



Your kids will take a deep breath and gulp here...


The beginning of a beatiful fiendship! Unicorn could make or break Kitty Corn here... I simply love the next few spreads that amplify acceptance. I wish I could show all of them but you'll have to buy or check out the book at the library.



"I see you" are such powerful words. Isn't that what life is all about?  Should be all about? Being seen...

This makes a terrific read aloud during the first few weeks of school.

In honor of Itty-Bitty Kitty Corn, who you just know must do daily affirmations, I'd like to offer my blog readers my Affirmation Station for free today and tomorrow ONLY. (September 7/8) Drop me your email below or email me and I'll send to you.


Happy reading!

Sunday, September 5, 2021

Put a LIttle Magic In The New School Year (Freebies!)

Who couldn't use a little extra magic this year?  Our students have had a very long couple of years and for many of my First Graders, this year will be their first school experience.  I want to make it extra special and exciting for them and this Magic Play Doh is perfect for kicking off the year!  Grab the freebie by clicking on the pic.


I make these magic balls at home. Easy recipe included and you only need a few ingredients. Recipe in download.


After making the clay, I roll it into small balls and load them into a ziploc to bring to school. 

Once at school, usually on a prep, I add the food coloring to each one and then put in individual baggies for the kids.  (If you add food coloring too early, it dries up a bit and is harder to mix.) When they get back from their special, I pretend that someone left the basket of strange white balls and read the poem several times.  We figure out together that we're supposed to squish the balls and make a wish. So...we make a wish then we let the squishing begin!

Kids CANNOT take out the playdoh until I say it's okay (no clumpy food coloring left.)


Once fully mixed, we play with it. (Make shapes, initials, etc.) When finished, the clay goes back into a sealed baggie and I staple a mini poem on it . I send it home. The kids really love this activity.  Although I do it the first day of school, you can do it anytime of year.


I've included a SIMPLE class booklet as well.  Pick which sheet is best for your students. They love revisiting this book often.

This next product isn't mine but I love these mini posters so much and thought you would too. Click on them to get the freebie.


I also love this small watervolor sign. It also comes in green and blue. I hung one on my class door and in each cubby so the kids will see it while unpacking. I'll take a picture of them when I go to school this week. Again, click on pic to get the freebie.

And the last freebie I want to share is an easy, QUICK way to see progress. I end up sending both home the last day for the parents to see and treasure for years to come.



Here's hoping we ALL have a magical year!