Wednesday, April 25, 2012


I had a very exhausting day. The other first grade teacher was sick and there was no sub. My principal asked me if I would take both classes with an assistant. I've done it before so I said sure. Today is one of our days with no breaks and our principal who usually does lunch duty had a meeting so we ate with our kids. Both classes had computer lab, so I sent the assistant with each group to computers and then taught each class alone for the hour. I had around 37 kids in my room. It was OK most of the time, but the other teacher came here in Feb. and she is still trying to break some bad habits her kids have. They don't raise their hand for anything. They either shout out answers or come to your desk, table, etc... to ask you something. I don't now if it was because I was extra tired or what, but they were about to drive me crazy. I felt like I was playing Whack a Mole and losing.

What does your school do when they can't get a sub? Do you have problems getting subs?

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Thursday, April 19, 2012

 Skyping With Mr. Mark

After reading about Adventure to Fitness on someone's blog last fall (can't remember which one), I signed my class up. We used it a lot on rainy days. I showed it to our PE teacher and she uses it from time to time. My kids love doing it. They get so excited when they are having to outrun a rhinocerous or dinosaur. I know they know it isn't real, but they sure get caught up in the storyline.

I was so excited when I got an email from Mr. Mark telling me my class was one of the top 5 users in the state of Oklahoma. Mr. Mark wanted to Skype with our class using a webcam. Well to day was the day, the kids were just beside themselves with excitement, so was I. I completely forgot to get my camera out for the photo op. BUMMER!!!

At the beginning, he asked the kids some questions, some of them gave some good answers. He asked the kids how he could get Mr. Lazy to eat fruits and vegetables. One of my girls said that we could make the fruits and vegetables look like candy. I thought that was a great answer. Then he gave the kids a chance to ask him some questions.

If you haven't checked out Adventure to Fitness, you really should, it's GREAT!
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Saturday, April 14, 2012

 Week in Review

I posted my Testing Song in the last post. Several classes are going to sing it Monday morning to kick-off our testing week. My kids worked on it Monday and Tuesday. They had it down and were singing it during centers. Then at staff meeting Tuesday afternoon, one of the kdg teachers brings up that she didn't think it should say "Don't you guess.". She said they are supposed to guess as opposed to leaving the answer blank. We have sang this song the past 3 years and no one has ever said a word about this, but I do want to be a team player, so I sat with the said teacher's sister(who teaches 5th) and made the adjustment. So here is the revised version:

We always make bags of brain friendly treats for the test takers. I teach at a very small school (2 teachers per grade level). So I usually sign up for to help out with the testing incentives. I want my former students to know that I am pulling for them. ; ) Anyway, I made a little poster for each testing classroom. I printed it on 4 sheets of paper to make it bigger. Since there are a bunch of Googled pics, I can't share it.

Each of the treats on the poster are in the bags for the testers. Then the first graders made drew pictures of the testers and I put them together by class to make a little quilt. Here is an example of the one for my daughter's class.

As you can see some of my students are in serious need of some art lessons. haha

When I used to teach kindergarten, one of my favorite websites was
Now that I teach first I can still use some of their things. We have been studying plants, so this week we made the lifecycle of a sunflower from I added the words to each picture. I talk about my old teaching buddy a lot, she moved away and I miss her dearly. I don't have anyone at the moment that I create with. Anyway she was very sciencey (is that a word?), she wanted the lifecycle to go in a circle, so we would always trace pictures 3 and 4 from the back so the life cycle would be in a circle. They turned out great! Ignore my scratched up chalkboard, I just hung these for the picture.

Here is one upclose.

Here is another great one from It is the seasons of an apple tree.

And here it is upclose.

Those 2 projects inspired me to make this frog life cycle. I already had the copy of the life cycle so I made up this frog to put it on. Here is the link from Scholastic. Thanks Michelle Blackburn!

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Monday, April 9, 2012

 Testing Incentive Song

Fortunately, our first graders do NOT have to take the big TEST. Several years ago, I did have to give the Iowa Test to kindergarten. That was tough! The kids squirmed, dropped their pencils, etc... It was NOt fun.

Our 3rd, 4th, and 5th graders will start testing next week. The lower grades always make signs for encouragement. Several years ago, I had my class make "quilts" for each testing class. I wrote names on the blocks and my kids drew a picture of each child. Then I taped it together and if it needed a some fill in blocks I wrote positive sayings. The older kids loved the quilts and it goes without saying that some of the drawing were, well let's just say interesting. My daughter is in third grade this year, so I will be doing quilts again.

My old teaching buddy and I wrote a little song to cheer on the test takers. Several of the upper grade teachers say they sing the song each morning before testing. I thought I would share it with anyone who might be reading this blog.

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Saturday, April 7, 2012

 Finally got a Working Camera

My camera went on the blitz a 3 or 4 months ago. I tried buying a really cheap one...bad idea, it was a piece of junk!!! I finally have a camera that I can take decent pictures with.

Last week in our Treasures book, we were reading Dot and Jabber and the Big Bug Mystery. The story is about 2 mice that keep thinking they are seeing and hearing things, but whenever they try to take a second look, it's gone. The bugs, toad, etc... are camouflaged into the background. We did a little art activity to understand camouflage, I gave each student a picture of a chameleon and a piece of wallpaper. They had to cut out the chameleon and glue to the wallpaper. They then colored it to blend in with the wallpaper. This idea came from one of my old teaching buddies. I think the kids did a great job!
Here's some close up, sorry they are a little blurry.

This is a picture of the chameleon I used. I shrank him down to fit 4 on a page.

After seeing all of the cute pictures on Pinterest of "Synonym Rolls" I really wanted to do it with my class. I was a little worried that some of them wouldn't have the language needed to come up with enough synonyms of one word to complete the roll. So I thought we could make synonym toast instead. I was going to write one very common word like big and a synonym that I thought they might not be familiar with like enormous on the "synonym toast". Then I was going to have them write 2 more synonyms on the toast and I thought I would follow up by having them write an antonym for the words on the back. That's what I was going to do, then I was looking through my synonym/antonym file and I found an antonym page from Carson-Dellosa that had little pieces of bread (toast) with pairs of words on them when I looked at it I realized if they weren't antonyms, the pair of words were synonyms. I made a tracer of a piece of bread for the kids to trace and then we turned the color worksheet into a cut and paste. They aren't as cute as the "synonyms rolls" but I thought they turned out cute and the kids liked doing it. What do you think?

The last thing I wanted to share was a flower puppet we made while studying plants. My old kdg. teaching buddy and I loved how a lot of the art on the website would be more than just art, they add science, math, reading, etc... concepts to the project. So after that we always tried to do the same. I had a flower puppet, not sure where I got it from, that I had the kids make. Oops! I forgot to take a picture of a nicely colored one before the kids took them home, but here is what they look like.

On the back they made another flower. I had some large foam flowers from Dollar Tree, we used and then some little flower foamys in the middle to make it look a little better. We added an insect foamy to each flower for fun. After we finished the rest of the flower, we labeled the parts and discussed what their jobs were

For the finishing touch, the grass is only taped at the top so we could raise it to look at the roots.

OK, I guess that is enough for one post.

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Friday, April 6, 2012

 Glad It's the Weekend

I feel very tired this evening. I'm so glad it it the weekend. The week seemed to sail by. There just didn't seem to be enough time to get every thing in that I wanted. I think I feel that way every week. We had Spring pictures and group pictures this week which required the teachers to have to be at work at 7:45 instead of 8:00 to get our staff photo (which I don't really know why they take one...)

Then today was our monthly "Walking School Bus". Everyone meets at a park about 2 1/2 blocks from our school and then with a police escort, we all walk to school to promote healthy living. Since I don't want to leave my car at the little park, my daughter and I park at school and then walk to the park, just to turn back around and walk back to the school. It's OK, I really need the exercise, but now I feel extra tired. It may also be because I did a lot of cleaning, straightening and re-arranging in my classroom. I didn't get my things prepared for Monday like I wanted to do, but the room looked a lot better. I've got some picture to share, but that will have to be tomorrow.

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