Sunday, June 23, 2013

BANG! Nat Geo Style and Oh Yeah...I'm Moving

Hi there blogging world! It's been awhile....a long while. I'm really sorry. I wish I could tell you that I have an excuse, but I really don't. Well kinda. Besides wrapping up the school year, packing up my classroom that I've been in for 3 years and moving it to a completely different classroom (more on that to come), a trip to Chicago with my Wolfpack (gotta love Hangover), my sweet girl's 2nd birthday, and my 5th wedding anniversary, I guess you could say summer started off busy, and really doesn't seem to be slowing down anytime soon.  In my little bits of free time, which basically are the hours from 9 pm-1 or 2 am, I have been working on quite a bit for school.  I am moving classrooms this year so I am using that as an opportunity to get rid of my jungle theme and go for the ever popular chevron/polka dots/chalkboard theme all in bright colors. I couldn't pick just one of the three so I figured why not mix them all. Hopefully when it's all said and done it looks good.  I'm still unpacking/organizing/decorating but I will be sure to get some pictures up when I get it all done. It's getting close. I have been going to school every Tuesday and Thursday for the past 2 weeks to get things done. When I get home it's family time, but once the hubs falls asleep on the couch around 8:15 after Kayleigh has gone to bed I am a busy little bee.

I volunteered to be on the Reading Adoption Committee for 1st grade this year. I had never done anything like this before so it was definitely an eye-opening experience in many ways. P.S. Who knew teachers could get so caddy and vicious about a textbook choice?! Not this girl! It's definitely a shame the way some grown adults act. Nevermind the fact that those grown adults are also K-3 teachers!! Wowza! Anyways-we fell in love (most of us that is) with National Geographic's Reach for Reading program and so that's what our building ordered for 1-3. Kindergarten ended up going with Benchmark Literacy for those of you wondering.

I guess I didn't anticipate all the work that goes into things when you get a new reading series.  All my files that I labeled by stories when I got hired 3 years ago, I now have to relabel and reorganize to match up with the new series. Not to mention the spelling tests, lists, vocabulary cards, roll & write cards and recording sheets, etc. The list just. goes. on! I think I have about 10 lists of things I need/want to do before the school year starts. I know I've gotten a lot accomplished off of that list, but not as much as I would like.

One thing that I have completed are labels for the game BANG!  If you haven't played this game with your class you need to! They will love it! It's a vocabulary/sight word game that can be done in many different ways with index/word cards or popsicle sticks. I've done the word card version before and am not really a fan, so I'm going the popsicle stick route this year. Here's how it works: get large popsicles and Avery 5160 labels. Print the words on the labels, cut the labels down, and put on the popsicle sticks. Divide the popsicle sticks by units and put them in a storage container. Crystal Light containers work great! Put some of the BANG! sticks in with each unit.  You can play this game whole group, small group, or with a partner.  Students take turns pulling a stick. The student has to read the word on the stick. If they successfully read the word in 3 seconds or less, they get to keep the stick. If they don't get it, a partner has to help them with the word and the stick goes back in the container. If a student pulls a stick with a BANG! on it, they have to put all of their sticks back in the container. Play continues on until someone miraculously gets all of the sticks (minus the BANG!s of course) or time it up.  The kids are learning and practicing their sight words and they don't even realize it.

I have made the labels for you.  They are already up on my TPT site for $1.50.  Click on the picture below and take a look.

I'll be back soon friends with some new products I've been working on and pictures of my new room! I'm hoping to be done unpacking/decorating by the end of this week. Stay tuned!

P.S. Don't forget to follow me through Google or BlogLovin'! I'm considering a giveaway of any item in my store once I hit 15 followers!

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Schooooooollll's.....OUT. FOR. SUMMER!

P.T.L! Whew-I wasn't so sure that I was going to survive this last week. The kids were a mix of well-behaved and bouncing off the walls! It was a busy, busy week with lots to do! We started off the week with our end of the year field trip to the Purdue Union bowling alley. I go every year with another first grade teacher. We divide our classes up into groups, invite the parents, and get our bowl on for an hour in the morning. They even turn off the lights, put the black and neon lights on, and crank up some Justin Bieber and Taylor Swift. The kids absolutely love it! It's definitely a good time for them to enjoy themselves and all the hard work that they've done throughout the school year. Once we got back to the school the kids went out for recess, while some of my parents and my room mom set up the room for a pizza party. You would think with as little as those kids are that they would get full quickly but some of those kiddos had 2 1/2 pieces of Papa John's pizza, some strawberries, and a KinderEgg from Germany! And they were still hungry.

Let me get sidetracked for just a second and talk to you about this KinderEgg from Germany. Oh my goodness! I had never heard of them before but they are one of the most creative/delicious pieces of awesomeness I've ever experienced! They are a chocolate egg that the kids "crack". Once the egg is opened, there is a small pod inside the egg with a toy! It's unreal the kinds of toys that can fit in those tiny pods! They kids were in heaven. Such a great surprise from one of my parents.

On Tuesday, we started our 1st grade memory books. Wednesday, we finished our memory books and the kids started helping me take down stuff in my room since I'll be moving next year (more on that later). On Thursday, we attempted our first school-wide field day with all grade levels doing their own "stations" of activities, but about halfway through we got rained on.  I wasn't complaining much because it gave me more time to use those little eager hands to help me clean, tear down, and pack up. It's amazing how much faster things go with 23 little 6 & 7 year olds there to help you.

I held it together the last day of school better than I expected. I'm a pretty emotional person so that's good for me. I will definitely miss my kiddos but it was a long, draining year.  I'm already looking forward to and planning for next year.

Before I leave you to get on with my summer I want to give my thoughts and prayers to the people of Oklahoma and Texas. Both places are dealing with great tragedies. I can't even imagine what you all are going through right now. Stay strong! In an effort to help those in need I donated to two great causes!  What great ideas!