Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Target Tuesdays: Valentine Edition

Why not start off with my first "Target Tuesday" with a collection of things for Valentine's Day to show my love for the Target Dollar spot. I know this little section by the door is a favorite of most of my teacher friends and I am no exception.

Even though I'm still at work rooting for the girl's basketball team and making sure my cheerleaders are synchronized and spirited, I want to share my finds from two weeks ago (and wish I were at Target now, but alas I have cut myself off until St. Patrick's Day).

So what did I buy?
  1. 3 adorable tin buckets: I am such a sucker for these in general and the valentine's collection did not disappoint: dots, hearts and monkeys (with heart noses). They are fun and cheerful and have a variety of uses.
  2. create your own bookmarks: unfortunately this kit only came with 4 and it was the only one I could find. Even if I don't use this right away, I will be making bookmarks with my students to keep them excited about reading! I might have them collaborate to make one for the books we are reading as a class.
  3. 6 tin mailboxes with movable flags: having just taught a SS unit about addresses, I thought these would be a great edition to my collection of things. Not only that, but I think starting Feb 1, I am going to designate a mail delivery person in my classroom whose job will be to put little treats into each students' mailbox. I think they'll be super excited to check them every afternoon!
  4. 3 packages of cellophane bags: while I made lots of chocolate dipped treats at Christmas for my students, their parents, my cheerleaders and co-workers I do not think I'll take on such a challenge for Valentine's Day. I do think we might have to do some sort of cooking and decorating activity though to watch a liquid (batter) change to a solid (cupcakes maybe) to reinforce our current science unit. They are going to need a cute way to carry them home, right!?!
  5. transportation and dessert themed erasers: my kids are much more obsessed with erasing than I would like and because I doubt these will leave their pencil marks as clean as I would like I think we'll be using them for counting or some other sort of math related activity.
  6. an assortment of brightly colored pencils: my students love new pencils and I love them for this! What else can I do but indulge this love and keep them writing!
  7. two rolls of wrapping paper: I think this will probably be used for wrapping birthday presents for my students and others in the school rather than something Valentine's related.... but maybe a Mystery Box is in their future.... we'll have to wait and see!
  8. scrapbook paper: This we will definitely use to make a Valentine to send home to their parents... haven't decided what sort of format I'm going to use yet, but that's what long train rides and Pinterest are for.
  9. valentine's stickers: these stickers feature plays on words that my students won't understand, but it doesn't mean their hearing family members won't. We will use these to make cards and such to send home as well as for reinforcement because my students love stickers almost as much as they love new pencils.

Whew... of course I didn't leave Target with only the things pictured above! I managed to buy a pair of tights in the wrong size and a box of cookies (that I needed for a recipe that night) that had already been opened among other things. Clearly I was a bit out of it as I was shopping, but I was fortunate enough to make it out with some little treasures (plus 6 magazine holders from the dollar spot that are already in use in my classroom). I think I am going to use them to hold all of my seasonal center packets (I keep them separated in ziploc baggies and then inside a large manila envelope). How do you store all of your sensational center packets you make or purchase from TPT?

Hope you all had a sweet start to the week (regardless of when it started)!

Monday, January 16, 2012


Despite having only 6 students in my class, I have two students with January birthdays... this Saturday and next Monday. For the second year now (since I looped with 4 of my students), I am stressed with how to schedule their celebrations and how to keep it exciting with two so close together! When will I ever find the time to teach writing, science, social studies and math?!

I had lofty goals of creating a collection of birthday themed centers, but where has the time gone and why do I have nothing to show for it?

How do you all celebrate student birthdays in your class? Do you have a school standard that you follow or something specific to your classroom? I'd love to hear all about it.

As much as I loved the three day weekend, I am so excited to be back tomorrow and teaching about Martin Luther King Jr. using D. Conway's Math and Literacy Centers. You can check out this unit or others at her blog: Peace, Love and Learning.

Rather than start on the aforementioned centers, I'm going to blowdry my hair and paint my left hand (the right hand is already dry... love being a leftie) before the Bachelor starts in 30 minutes. This show is a train wreck and I just can't turn away (though I will admit.... I enjoy watching The Bachelorette much more, for obvious reasons).

Sunday, January 15, 2012

Blog Awards!

Since starting this blog not too long ago, I've developed a few amazing followers whose blogs are becoming fast favorites! Some of these great teachers have even nominated me for blog awards that they'd been awarded...

First off thanks to Julia: Loving and Learning in Pre-K Emily: Ms. Emily Shell and Amy: The Resource(ful) Room! for the Versatile Blogger Award.

Here are the rules for accepting the award:

1. Thank the person that nominated you with a link back to them.
2. Tell 7 things about yourself.
3. Pass this award on to 15 newly discovered blogs and let them know that they've received an award!

As for 7 things about myself....
1. I am originally from Florida, but I've lived in NYC for over 5 years now and I love it!
2. When I was in elementary school, my teachers would give me tons of worksheets at the end of the school year and I would use them all summer to play school with my cousins (and anyone else I could convince to play).
3. Dancing was my biggest passion growing up. I took classes from a young age, went to a high school for the visual and performing arts (for dance) and minored in it in college. A broken foot in 2010 led me to take a break and I'm having a hard time getting back into it (though I still dance around my apartment).
4. I am a teacher of the deaf so I speak and use sign language in my classroom. Don't be mislead to think that my classroom is a quiet place though since we use our hands for communication!
5. To fill my love of dance, I started coaching cheerleading this year. I work with 11 girls ranging from 4th-8th grade (they are also deaf).
6. I love to read.... I would read more if I could, but I set an annual goal of reading 50 books a year. I'd love some book recommendations if you've read anything wonderful lately or in the past!
7. While I absolutely love what I do, I really want to go back to school for my doctorate (in Audiology). I plan on waiting a few more years, but I really miss academia.

Rather than passing the award on to 15 other bloggers, I am going to make a resolution to check out some other new blog this weekend since everyone I read has already received the awards!

Also, thanks to Miss DeCarbo: Second Grade Sugar and Spice for the Liebster Blog Award!

Definitely check out the 4 fabulous blogs mentioned above if you haven't already!

Saturday, January 14, 2012

100s chart

Last week was loooong. It could have been the fact that it was the first full week since vacation or the fact that my students had terrible attendance and were having difficulty getting back into the swing of things or it could have been the cold and rainy weather we had for several days.... no matter what the reason (or combination of reasons), I was so relieved to see 3pm yesterday!

I am off all three days this weekend so I had lofty goals of accomplishing many things. Unfortunately a migraine kept me in bed much longer than I would have liked and the remnants of this morning's incessant amount of laundry is still lingering around my apartment. Fortunately my migraine is finally gone and it is back to the never-ending to do list.

Starting with this blog!

I gave my students the snowman numbers from my Winter Math unit and several of them were struggling... I was chatting with my teacher assistant about making a big hundreds chart with the ones numbers on top and the tens down the side to aid them in sequencing the numbers and she went off to find bulletin board paper to bring it to fruition. The kids love using it and have no clue what a mundane task they are completing and they love getting out of their chairs to work on the floor. I made special numbers to be used with it (green in the tens column and pink in the ones column) and my assistant make long arrows that the kids use to guide them to the right square. Here is a picture of one of my students in action!

Next project will be to make cards with rods and units and I plan on using it with my Tally Birds as well! I was elated at how simple yet useful it turned out to be.

What super simple solutions have been successful in your classrooms? I need more of these types of ideas because I am the type to make everything much more complicated than it needs to be!

Sunday, January 8, 2012

FREE Winter Math Worksheets

Weekend.... what does that word even mean?
Since I work most weekends, for me that word means running around like a crazy person trying to accomplish everything I was too tired to do during the week and spending several hours on a train. This weekend I brought my laptop for my commute so I could work on some future units and so I could finally post the Winter Math worksheets I promised on my TPT. They are available there for FREE (let me know if you download) and are meant to be used in conjunction with my Winter Math packet.

Hope everyone had a wonderful weekend! Next weekend I have 3 whole days off.... the next 5 cannot go fast enough :)

I promise I will catch up next week and acknowledge all of my comments/new followers/blog awards!

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Dolch pre-primer train success!

Admittedly I already posted about my Dolch pre-primer alphabet trains, but I was lucky enough to be able to actually use them in my classroom today (well actually just the 6 of them that are this week's Words to Learn).

Let me take a step back and explain my class for a second. At my school teachers usually have the opportunity to loop with their class (teach them for two consecutive years) and last year I jumped at the opportunity to keep my Kindergartners for First Grade. Last year I only had 4 students (we are a 6:1:1 ratio), but this year I was blessed with two little newbies. My two girls from last year learn sight words quickly, but some of the others struggle so I decided to use this resource from Evan-Moor to expose them to 6 or 7 sight words every two weeks.

I have a variety of activities the students complete on the SmartBoard to reinforce skills as well as a storyboard format they fill out (drawing pictures of the words and writing them correctly spelled) and put in their study books. Even with all of this, they needed more practice and exposure! So that's where my pre-primer sight word trains come in. Today I gave them a variety of letter sets (after completing our typical activities) and they went to work spelling away and acting out some of our words (jump, play and run are three of this week's words).

Look how focused they are!

I'm glad they were such a hit... even with the girls!

The work day was great (no surprise there), but as I left it took a turn for the worse.... subway trouble turned into being late for an appt, which meant I had to be rescheduled. To cheer myself up... I perused Banana Republic's early spring collection again. As usual, I love it and want one of everything, but I think this polka dot pencil skirt is next on my list!

Sunday, January 1, 2012

Favorite Blogs!

We all have our favorite bloggers... the ones that post materials and we think "that's exactly what I needed!" I'd love to know who fills this role for you and share one of mine!

I love Doddle Bugs Teaching! I bought her Christmas Centers (part 1 and part 2) and used them in my classroom before the start of vacation. My students loved them and seeing how engaged they were was one of the main reasons I decided to start my own blog (which is to hold myself accountable for making materials that are more child-friendly and exciting).

She recently posted her Winter Centers and I loved them so much that I actually bought most of the same clip art to make my own (unfortunately I didn't feel most of her centers would be appropriate for the current needs of my students, but hopefully they are perfect for your students). If you aren't familiar with her blog or her beautiful products, click the button above to check it out.

Winter Centers from Doodle Bugs Teaching.... how cute!

And feel free to leave me a comment sharing a link to one of your favorite blogs!