Good Grief Part 2

Lordy- Well, long story short I had to rebuild my computer. Erase everything and reinstall all of my software. In restoring my backed up files I discovered that one of the files is corrupted. But which one??? I may have to reinstall one at a time! Boooo. At least I have today to work on it.

Sorry all- I had a big weekend planned with creating new units and catching up on my blog stalking, but instead I'll be trying to put my computer back together.

Enjoy the weekend----and Happy New Year!

Good Grief

It's been like a whole week since I've blogged and now that things have settled down I was ready to blog and create and catch up on all my blog stalking. But then... My Safari browser kept shutting down. After running a disk repair now Firefox won't open! Waaaaaaaa! I guess I will have to take my computer in to get fixed. Gulp. I heart my computer. And trying to type on the iPad is all fine, but it's not the same. Think happy thoughts that my computer will be working perfectly soon!

Merry Christmas

To all of my bloggy friends out there- MERRY CHRISTMAS! It has been wonderful learning from everyone and feeling like we are all part of the same team! Have a great holiday!

Much Love,

Holiday Math Freebie!

Here's freebie for the TBA 25 days of freebies! A holiday math work freebie! Click the picture to download!

Holiday Recipe Linky Party

Hey y'all! If you're anything like me you are always looking for another good recipe to add to your collection. I pulled out my favorite holiday recipes today and thought I would pass one along to you. This is a recipe that my mother has had forever and she makes it Christmas morning. It smells so good and tastes delicious. Even kiddos like it! I make mine with granny smith apples and cranberries. Sometimes blueberries make their way in as well.You can also download my recipe by clicking on the recipe card.

I'm trying to be as cool as Farley at Oh Boy Fourth Grade! by including a recipe card template. No idea if it will actually work out! 

Now it's your turn to share your favorite holiday recipe!


A couple of weeks ago I stumbled upon a picture of gifts wrapped in brown craft paper on Oopsey Daisy's blog. Loved how simple the wrapping looked. Here is the picture:

Well, normally I go all out on my gift wrapping. I'm a bit OCD actually. I have a big bow that matches the wrapping paper and the tissue inside the box ALSO has to match the paper. Some people are assigned colors too. For example, my grandparents might have gifts that are wrapped with green and red paper. Or gifts for my mother will be wrapped with a blue bow. I'll admit it I'm very slightly competitive. There isn't an actual contest for the Best Wrapper, but if there were I would win every year hands down! HOWEVER, what about shipping gifts? I can't send a gift without a bow, but I also don't want someone to have a squished bow on a present underneath their tree. So I used the picture above for inspiration and did this:
 *Not a fabulous picture. Sorry!

I wrapped my gifts in kraft paper and secured ribbon around the center. Then I used my circle cutter to cut out circles from Christmas scrapbooking paper. I ran the paper through my Xyron sticker maker and popped it on the front.  I had some Christmas stickers that I put on the center of some gifts. I also used my Cricut to cut out vinyl letters for other people. They all turned out amazing and they'll ship really well! This would work well if you have to travel in the car with gifts too. I'm off to do my final stocking stuffer gift items! Wish me luck!

Snowman math races

A couple weeks back I saw Ginger Snaps post on multiplication wheels which I had COMPLETELY forgotten about. I did multiplication wheel races with my third graders back in the day and we had a blast. I made addition wheels today for my students. If you aren't familiar with them here's how they work: Draw a donut shape and place numbers around the inside. Then place another number in the center. Students line up and take turn adding the number inside the donut hole with the center number. They place their answer outside the circle.
 After a student writes down an answer they pass their expo marker to the person behind them and go to the end of the line. Now, if I have a student writes down an incorrect answer someone else in the line has to fix it. They simply cross of the wrong answer and write the correct answer next to it. When we race I usually have only three or four students in a line. Students are NOT allowed to whisper or call out an answer or let another student know their answer was wrong. As soon as all of the answers are written down and correct that group wins. I don't write the same numbers in each wheel when we race because I don't want anyone stealing answers. It's a great way to get students to practice addition facts.

I drew snowmen on my whiteboard today and made the bottom snowball the addition wheel. We had so much fun!

*notice the wrong answer!

*If you don't have a whiteboard you can laminate some butcher paper or poster paper and cut out your wheel and use dry erase markers to write. We are going to practice some more tomorrow and race with some of our neighbor first grade teachers on Friday after our 8 am party. (Yeah, pray for me!)

Quote of the Day

"_______'s balls keep coming out!"  Ha! What they meant was the tennis balls on the legs of my chair kept coming off of one of my kiddo's chairs, but I chuckled pretty hard!

I mentioned we've had a rough day or two at school so I had to throw in some humor to get us back on track. We made a Vincent Van Snow Gallery with pictures of things in the snow. Only it's mostly snowmen and polar bears doing something during a blizzard! I had the kids watch me draw a black nose on my white board and tell me what they thought it was. They thought it was hilarious that it was a polar bear in a snowstorm. We decided to make our own pictures and try to make them look like they were in frames just like in a gallery (that needed some explaining). I let kids give me ideas for what they wanted and we brainstormed what that might look like on our paper.  Here are some examples

I'm thinking next year I'll have all white papers with noses in the middle and every picture can be of a polar bear doing ______. I let the kids make their own frames since it was a last minute activity. I also have a black bulletin board and I placed a big red circle in the center and a card like the kids have underneath saying "Rudolph flying at night." The kids thought that was too funny! One of my good friends is in the room above me and she and her class pass our board several times each day so I'm excited to hear what they think about it!

I know some of you are doing Secret Santa at your schools like I am and I had an idea. It turned out just like I imagined!

I made Chex Muddie Buddies and put them into a glass jar. I used an elf stamp (from Purple Onion Designs) and some red and white scrapbooking paper as my label. I had some letter stickers on hand and used them to write "Elf Poop" at the top of the label. Then I tied it with fabulous Twinery bakers twine! Super cute---and tasty!

Is it just me?

Or does my header look blurry? I seem to remember this maybe happening to someone last!

The Happy Elf

It feels like ages since I've blogged! I got swamped with work and I'm just waiting for the weekend so I can catch up on my blog stalking! Ha! Tomorrow I'm reading this adorable book written by Harry Connick, Jr. This little elf, Eubie, goes to a town where every single child is on the naughty list and tries to spread Christmas cheer. Our character trait this month is compassion so I created a little writing activity. I wrote two versions: 1) How do you spread holiday cheer? (2) What can you do or say to make someone smile? Click on the book cover to grab a copy!

"I'm telling Santa!"

Finally, finally, FINALLY we are having cold weather here in Texas. I'm originally an Oregonian so I'm all about long sleeves, sweaters, and boots. This weather makes me feel right at home. I found the cutest striped long cardigan jacket to wear with jeans and boots (of course) before Thanksgiving and I've been waiting patiently to wear it. After hearing the forecast last night I made up my mind that I would NOT hit snooze 1,000 times and would instead get up early, wear my super cute new outfit, and stop at Starbucks to get a gingerbread latte. Could my Monday start out any better?! Long sleeves, cute outfit, boots, latte, seat heater on in the car.....

Well my children were terrible with a capital T. TERRIBLE. So very terrible that I shouted, "I'm telling Santa!" Ok, I wanted to say that, but I didn't. Instead I gave them a stern lecture about how we still have things to learn, and we've been in school for X weeks and they know my expectations, and I have fun things planned next week for those who are following directions, and that NOW they are making me the cranky teacher which is ruining my super cute outfit! Yes, I really did say that. And yes, their actions really were ruining my outfit. You know when you wear something new and you feel all good and gingerbread latte-ish then you will clearly have a great day! Well, my kids were ruining that.

On a positive note- I love first grade because kids still believe in Santa. One of my little girls came to me this morning and told me that she really did know that, "The Santa at the mall is not exactly the real Santa." And did I know that? And also, did I know that she would be seeing the REAL Santa this Saturday? (NOT at the mall of course)

With the cold and windy weather we had inside recess, which I used to dread, but a couple of months ago I read a post on A Teeny Tiny Teacher about Adventure to Fitness. Mr. Marc takes the kids on a 30 minute adventure through time or to different places. The kids are moving and exercising the whole time. It's funny and educational and Mr. Marc often talks about making good choices with food and excercise. (Health grade...check!) You owe it to yourself to sign up for it and just check it out. I've got my whole team using it now!

Have a great evening and remember.....Santa is watching you!

And a partridge in a pear tree....

Hey all! This week was tough! I was so busy that I barely blogged. I think I had withdrawl. Did anyone else find it REALLY hard to go back to work after a few fabulous days of relaxing and eating scrumptious foods? I know this is a long post, but it will be so worth it if you read the whole shebang!

I have listed a few new items at my Teachers Notebook store as well as my Teachers Pay Teachers store.
First, I made a winter words vocabulary board for my writing stations. My students are so hooked on these things. I have one boy in particular who really hated the writing center until I added the Halloween board that I made. Now he's writing every chance he gets. I also made a Christmas words vocabulary board.
I'm only $1!

I'm only $1!
I also created a Winter Packet full of literacy activities including a read the room activity. This packet includes the winter words vocabulary board.
That last week before winter break we'll be reading winter and Christmas books and making know, all that fun stuff that we're not supposed to teach. I've also made a Christmas Read the Room packet. All of my children celebrate Christmas and I won't be taking this for a grade, but I love that they want to read and write with this type of activity! This packet includes the Christmas words vocabulary board.
Tomorrow is the last day to enter for the super-fab giveaway at Teaching First. Several of us blogs are putting our newest winter units up for a giveaway and one blogger offered up a gift card. You won't want to miss out!

And speaking of giveaways- I'm a bit of a crafty nerd lately and I know I'm not alone! We teachers love crafty anything! My Grafico is having an awesome giveaway! You could win a Silhouette Cameo machine and lots of goodies that go with it. How sweet would that be?! 

And last but NOT LEAST I came home from work yesterday to find that I have 500 followers! WOW! I cannot tell you how excited that made me! I love blogging (and using exclamation points apparently) and love sharing what I do. I love that blogging gives us all a chance to share our ideas and be better teachers. On that note, I have some math freebies for you that I hope you will be able to use in class over the next couple of weeks!

Frosty Math Code

A cute math station dice game

And a fact family math center game

Please leave a comment if you think these will be helpful for you! Have a great weekend!

Needing a boost?

I don't know about y'all but it's been a little tough getting back to school after some wonderful days off gorging myself on great food and watching football! My children were TERRIBLE yesterday! Like, on-the-naughty-list terrible. Today they were back to being my lovely first graders! (Thank goodness!) We have just a few weeks left before our much needed vacation, so to help you along I'm participating in a giveaway with some of my bloggy BFF's! Head over to Teaching First to enter. You have the opportunity to win three winter units and a gift card. SWEET!

December Books!

TBA is doing linky parties all week to share what we all do in class. First up- what books do you use in your class in December?

1. Look Who's Knocking on Christmas Eve By Jan Brett. Every year a trolls knock on a little girls door and gobble up her Christmas feast, but not this year! This year a boy and his polar bear are in the house!

2. The Mitten by Jan Brett (of course!) I printed out the character masks from Jan Brett's site and allow my students to act out the story. So much fun! Even your students who struggle with reading comprehension will remember the steps in this story!

3. Snow by Uri Shulevitz. It's the story of a boy who just KNOWS it's going to snow. One snowflake falls and everyone says it's just one snowflake. Then another falls, and another. The illustrations are just beautiful too!

Be sure to link up with your favorite books! I'm always looking for new stories to add to my collection!

Christmas Week

Special Thanks for the Sunshine Award

I am so thankful for Holly at Crisscross Applesauce in First Grade for giving me the Sunshine Award! And over the holiday weekend Chrissy at First Grade Found Me, Barbara at The Corner on CharacterRebecca at Teaching First also gave me the award! Y'all rock!

  • Favorite color? PINK
  • Favorite animal?  Lion. Is that weird? 
  • Favorite number?  3
  • Favorite drink? When I see "favorite drink" I think cocktail so I'm going to say vodka martini with a twist.
  • Facebook or Twitter? I'm with Holly on this one-Facebook - blogging has sort of replaced that addiction though!
  • Your passion? Blogging! Shopping! Anything crafty!
  • Giving or getting presents? Both! I love finding the perfect gift for someone. I found this awesome present for my dad this weekend and I wasn't really even looking. But, of course, I LOVE getting presents too! Who doesn't?!
  • Favorite day? Day of the week- Thursday- the week is almost over and it's the one day of the week that I don't allow myself to grade. I made a nice dinner and my husband and I watch all our Thursday tv shows. Grey's Anatomy, Vampire Diaries, Secret Circle. Have I mentioned my husband is kind of awesome? What a good sport!
  • Favorite flowers? Gerbera daisies. There is just something about a huge bright flower that makes me happy!
Now to pass this on to ten other blogs. This is SO VERY TOUGH because I follow so many blogs and I stalk them ALL. I realize some of them have already received the award but TOO BAD!

Black Friday Sale!

I hope you all had a wonderful Thanksgiving! I know y'all are just itching to go shopping, but why not just warm up by shopping in your pj's first?

I've teamed up with Rebecca from Teaching First, Caitlin from Ms. Preppy, and Kristen from  A Teeny Tiny Teacher  to throw a Black Friday Sale! I've put a bunch of my units on sale at Teachers Notebook! 

You Know You Need a Few Days Off When...

You go to school with your underwear on BACKWARDS. No, not inside out, BACKWARDS! All morning I kept thinking, "Something just isn't right." Took a good two hours for me to figure it out! How? How on Earth did I not realize I had my underwear on BACKWARDS?! Too much on my mind/ need a few days off! Hope y'all have a wonderful few days off and that everyone puts their panties on the RIGHT way! Ha!

What I'm Thankful For Linky Party!

What the Teacher Wants is hosting a wonderful linky party to post about what you are thankful for.

1. What are you thankful for in your classroom? I am thankful for my wonderful students and my projector! I use that bad boy every day!

2. What person are you most thankful for? My husband. He's pretty awesome and he's my very best friend. But I also have to say I am so thankful for my team. It's the dream team. The team that once someone moves away will never be the same. I will never find another group of ladies that are so caring, funny, supportive, and sweet. Love them!

3. What 3 blogs are you most thankful for? I am most thankful for my bloggy BFF's Rebecca from Teaching First and Caitlin from Ms. Preppy. I feel like I know them both even though we've never actually met in person. And I swear if we were on the same team at the same school we would have super powers....we might even wear capes and unitards. They are so dedicated to teaching and I love swapping stories with them! I'm also very thankful for Teaching Blog Addict. Being a part of TBA has been such a blessing and I've found so much inspiration from the teachers and blogs I've found through TBA.

Teaching First

4. What guilty pleasure are you most thankful for? I'm seriously going to say it- Twilight. I'm so excited to see the newest flick tomorrow with my girlfriends! I watched all three of the previous movies this weekend to get all refreshed! Love feeling like a teenager again!

5. What are you most thankful for? There are so many things I'm thankful for, but you would have to understand all the drama behind this statement. I am thankful that my cat is on Prozac. You just don't even want to know the details, but things were very bad and I told my cat many times "I think I hear Jesus calling!" Thankfully, with a bad tooth pulled, a food allergy figured out, and Prozac she is back to being the good kitty she was when I brought her home from the pound four years ago.

Be sure to link up- it's so much fun reading what everyone else has written!

Foldables Linky Party

Thinking of Teaching is hosting a linky party every day this week for different types of foldables. I'm bringing my camera to school tomorrow to snap some shots of my two foldables. Love me some foldables, don't you? Head over and link up!


I just saw a spelling error on the November Read the Room I shared with y'all (for one night!) So sorry! I'm going to channel Milli Vanilli and blame it on the rain...or lack there of. If you downloaded it be sure to re-download on Google Docs. I've got it all fixed up now! Almost halfway through the week!

I've got a new look! Let's celebrate!

Woohoo! I have a new look thanks to Jumping Jax Designs and I LOOOOOOVE it! It's so very me!
Don't forget to grab my new button too!


 I LOVED the Virtual Teaching Expo this weekend. I watched the presentations this morning and I'm feeling revived and excited about this week instead of exhausted and micro-managed. There are so many new things I want to try to implement in my classroom!

Did y'all read the TPT newsletter this morning? It featured Denise from Sunny Days in Second Grade and she talked about her Brain Builders Board. O.M.G. I love that idea! She has some task cards on sale at her TPT store. They aren't quite what I need for my first grade class so I'll have to make some of my own task cards for first grade. This is my new mission! Although I would love to get this going before winter break I'm going to start it in January. LOVE IT!

On another note: My husband messed with my computer. Why would he do that? Now it's all weird. He said he was cleaning it up to make it more efficient or some such nonsense. "Helping or hurting, JD? Helping or hurting?" (If you are a Scrubs fan like we are then you're familiar with that line.) AND he erased my whole history. WHAT?!  Doesn't he know I sit at my computer and look for that great idea that I saw Thursday on a blog, but I can't remember which blog?????

Hope everyone is having a great weekend!

Virtual Teaching Expo Question and Answer

 Good morning and welcome to all of the VTE participants! I hope you are enjoying the Virtual Teaching Expo as much as I am! Feel free to leave me questions and I'll answer them as soon as I can.

As promised I have created an RTI Shopping List for you as well as some cute RTI Binder Covers.

I also have the RTI tiers video below and a few links that you may find helpful.
NCLD Talks
National Center on Response to Intervention
Chart of Progress Monitoring Tools

Updated Pumpkin Spice Unit

 Hey everyone,
I made some changes to the fact family section of my pumpkin spice unit. If you purchased it from TPT or Teachers Notebook be sure to upload the latest version!

Text to Self Connection

 Have you seen the book "Children Make Terrible Pets" from Peter Brown? It's so stinkin' cute and funny! It's about a little girl bear, Lucy, who finds a little boy in the woods and want to keep him as a pet. I decided this would be the PERFECT book for teaching text to self connections. Anyone could easily make a connection about having a pet or wanting a pet.

First, I read the story. Then we created an anchor chart and discussed some of our own connections. My favorite was that the story reminded one little girl about how her little brother asked their parents if he could have a raccoon for a pet.

I decided we just HAD to create our own Lucy bears. In the story everything Lucy says is in a speaking bubble. So I thought I would have my student write their connections down inside their own speaking bubble and we would place them above their bears. Some of the boys didn't want to have a girl bear so they left off the eyelashes and pink bow.

Click on the picture to download instructions for making your own Lucy bears!

The sounds of silence/early Christmas miracle?

 This past week my lovely first graders weren't exactly lovely. They weren't following directions, they weren't working quietly, some students were being really mean, and I even had a student cheat! WHAT?! So by Friday I had had it. I remembered a post I had seen on Mrs. Bainbridge's Class about Class Dojo. It's a free online classroom management system. Over my conference period I took the tour and signed up my whole class. Then I put the app on my phone. Each student is given a cute monster avatar with their name underneath. You can give out points to students for positive behaviors, or take points away for negative behaviors. One great feature is you can choose all your own positives and negatives based on your class needs.

When you give students points or take points away students see who got the points and why. I had this projected as my students worked on their social studies and I was conferencing with students. BEST PART: You can use your smartphone as a remote! I had my phone at my small group table and would assign points to students or take points away. On the app there is a "Select Random" too. My kids would hear a "DING" and look up at the screen and whisper, "Sarah got a point for working quietly!" And then half the class was working while holding up our quiet sign. Then "HONK" and someone whispered, "Oh! Morgan got a point taken away because she's not following directions!"


The teacher next door came in to ask a question. She said it was creepy-quiet in class and what was I doing to make that happen? After our crazy week the silence was just wonderful- a miracle even!

I loved it! And we're going to use it all week. I'm still using my classroom behavior management system for the moment, but I can see this being a great tool when I'm working with small group and my kids are going to work stations. You can send home a behavior report for each student so that may come in handy too! Click on the logo to sign up your class.

New Word Work Center

We've been working really hard on capitalizing our sentences and adding correct punctuation at the end. Many of my students still seem to be having a tough time applying that to their writing. So I created a unit of sentence practice for my kiddos to use. It's working out so well! My high readers who aren't strong writers are finding that they CAN be successful. And my students who aren't strong readers get some practice reading their sight words. One of my little sweeties ran over to me while I was working in small group and said, "Mrs. Tice! I can read this!" I also included a few self-check boxes at the bottom so that my students will start to remember to capitalize and add punctuation. I just posted the unit to TPT and Teachers Notebook. Click on the image below for a freebie sample!

The End of Molasses Classes- Part 3

 I've really enjoyed this book and I'm pretty sure it will be one that I end of reading over and over every summer!

Part 3: Creating the Right Culture and Climate

I actually disagree with some of Mr. Clark's points.... (gasp!)

Point 39 (page 172)- Open your doors to the parents.
I love having parent help and volunteers, but in the district where I work parents really run the district. I am constantly questioned about EV-ER-Y-THING. Unfortunately, this makes me really really not want parent help. Terrible right? In this point RC says there is one day in his school where parents can spend the whole day in the classroom. I can't imagine. And, granted, his students aren't first graders, but many of my students don't behave very well when their parents are around.

Point 40-(page 173) dress the part! Attire matters
Yes, it's important to dress professionally. I try my best to look nice every day. But I have to tell you when I can where jeans and a cute sweater I feel so much more comfortable. Again, I have first graders so it's a bit different. At the last school I worked at we were allowed to wear jeans at any time. My principal felt that the job was difficult and if being in jeans made us more comfortable then ok!

Point 51- (page 194) Don't Constantly Stress About Test Scores
Absolutely! When I taught fourth and third grade I didn't talk about the state tests that often. Instead I focused on teaching my students. I constantly searched for new ways to teach what I needed to and reviewed items with my students. And when it came time for the test I was confident and told my students that they knew the information and to try their best. (This doesn't mean I wasn't saying a little prayer for a few of my students) So many students have test anxiety because they know how important the test is, but if you have done your job well then your students will perform well. We can't take the test for them! That all being said- it was important to me to give my students an idea of what test day would look like and what to expect on the test.

And my favorite point in this section is Point 91- (page 287) Allow teachers the freedom to make their rooms reflect their personalities- allow them to use color!

Any one else sick of the putty colored paint on their walls? My bulletin boards are bright colors, and I put colorful border wherever I can. At my last school I was given permission to paint my walls as long as I painted it back to beige if I ever left. I chose this lovely blue color and I painted a tree on one wall. My words for my word wall were on leaves so we had a word tree. It was AWESOME! We had old wooden bookshelves that we could paint so my room really reflected my personality. I wish so badly that  districts would allow this more often! Now we are limited to "only use 20% of your wall space" and "no objects hung on doors." (If you saw my post earlier this week you can see that I haven't exactly followed that) No staples in the wall. This is my own personal beef since blue sticky tack doesn't work. How am I supposed to keep important things up without using staples? (I may use hot glue from time to time....shhhhhhh) I do try to make my desk show my personality. At least I can do that much. Pink is my favorite color and I have pink drawers, boxes, pens, etc. Plus lots of little owl trinkets and pictures of my family.

This book has been wonderful hasn't it?!

Fabulous Finds

 I just love the idea of posting Fab Finds so I'm linking up with Thinking of Teaching to share my Fabulous Finds.

1. I just love these homemade coasters from Brown Paper Packages

2. I bought this cute apron to use in class. It goes with my owl theme and now I don't look like a crazy person trying to carry around stickers, hole puncher, highlighters, and tickets while trying to help my students!

I've linked them both up to their sites- just click the picture.

How Does Light Travel?

 I've been meaning to post this! Last week we began studying light. We did an experiment (out of an Evanmoor Science Book...not sure which one) with a flashlight. I told my kids that I would line up several students and aim the flashlight at one person. We wrote in our science journals about what we thought might happen. Some students thought the light would bounce off, others predicted that it would make a shadow. Of course when you point a flashlight it goes right to where you wanted it to. We wrote in our journals that light travels in a straight line. Well I couldn't let the be it! I had to do a little something else so that my students would remember this. We made flashlights and the light from the flashlight stated that light travels in a straight line. I let my kiddos create their own on/off button which they thought was so very fabulous. Ha! Click the pictures below for the templates.

I'm on fire!

 A special thanks goes out to Meghan at Inside the Classroom for awarding me with the blog on fire award!  Meghan- this year has been a little tough for me so this really made my whole weekend! I have to say blogging has changed my life and changed the way I teach. It's even changed the way I shop. Every time I pass a dollar section I don't see junk- I see a math center. I shop for stickers not to dress up  100% papers but to use in my writing center. Thanks to all out there who blog and those who follow me. I'm a better teacher because of you all! With this award I need to share seven things about myself and pass this on to seven others.

Seven things about me:
1. I heart football! I'm so glad it's football season!
2. I don't understand why we can send a camera to Mars, but we can't make cheese burn fat.
3. I am a terrible housekeeper. I have to say I don't even put in much of an effort. Maybe that should me my resolution for the new year. Poor husband.
4. I could spend hours and millions of dollars inside Barnes and Noble.
5. Terrified of spiders. There was a GIANT spider in my house on Friday and my husband wasn't home yet so I found an empty sherbet container and set it over the spider. So we're heading to bed and my husband asks, "Baby, why is there a sherbet container on the floor?" Duh. Spider.
6. I miss Seattle. I miss long sleeves. I miss the smell of rain.
7. If I win the lottery I'm hiring a personal chef, live-in maid, and a masseuse that's on-call 24 hours. How bout that?!

Here are the blogs that I'm pass this HOT award onto in no particular order!

1. A Teeny Tiny Teacher

2. 1st Grade with Miss Snowden

3. Faithful in First

4. First Grade Blue Skies

5. Mrs. Bainbridge's Class

6. Corner on Character

7. Clutter Free Classroom

End of Molasses Classes Part Two

 This week I read part two of the FABULOUS Ron Clark book "The End of Molasses Classes." This section is about parents and parent involvement in the success of students. Loved it. Love his book. And have a crush on him!

Here's what I loved most:

1. The Parent To-Do List on page 119. Especially "Limit chaos in the mornings." I have first graders who live on routine. When they show up even 15 minutes late in can destroy their day. I also like "Review all homework not DO all homework assignments." Amen, Ron. And finally- leave encouraging surprise notes for your child. My mom did this. She would leave a note at the front door  that said, "Have a great day!" or a note in my lunch box that said, "I know your hard work will pay off with your history project!" That made a huge difference in my day. I leave love notes for my students when I'm absent. Sometimes it's a class note like I had yesterday, "Good morning kids! Please listen to the sub and be good helpers. I will be back before lunch!" Sometimes I've left notes for certain students, "Tommy, please show our sub where the _____ are." I usually leave these notes for students who are challenging because then they've done something to help and are more willing to listen and help the sub.

2. Point 26: Don't be a helicopter parent (page 121)
If only I could send out this section to all of the parents at our school. I've gotten lucky this year and have one parent that I had formed a relationship with a couple of years ago when she was volunteering in the workroom. I was able to call her and say, "Honey, you're going to have to back off and relax. I REALLY think your son has to figure out for himself EXACTLY what he has to do to be successful. You can tell him what that is until you're blue in the face, but you'll only make yourself crazy. You're going to have to let him figure this out. He can do it. I promise." Granted. I've never been able to say this to a parent. Which got me thinking, how can we let parents know that being a helicopter parent isn't a good thing. I decided I'm going to add "What I'm Reading" to my newsletter. Maybe I'll get lucky and have some of my parents read this!

Also, I thought of countless students who could have been more successful had they just not been "rescued" every five minutes. In my own class we are problem solvers. I say "Problem Solve!" every day to at least one of my students. If you don't know how to do something then you need to ask. If you made a mistake- what can you do to fix it? I make my students accountable for everything they do. I even tell them at progress report time "Look at your report. Do you see a grade you don't like? If you do then think about what you could do differently to be more successful? Maybe you should come and talk to me about what I think you should do." Scouts honor, this works. My kids really take responsibility for their work and their choices. I won't lie. We just hit the nine week end and that's how long it takes to train them in my expectations and procedures. It's a VERY long nine weeks, but after this things are MUCH easier.

Link up to the linky party here to see other responses!

Mentor Texts for Writers Workshop

Kimberly at Funky First Grade Funis having a linky party to share mentor texts to use with writing lessons. Here are two of my fave's.

1. Tuesday by David Wiesner and illustrated by Chris Van Allsburg. There are no words and the story is really different. Frogs/toads are floating around on lilly pads throughout the town in the middle of the night.  It's great for teaching introductions, writing about characters feelings, or for writing good descriptions. I like to show a picture in the middle of the story and ask my students to write about what they think is happening. (Sometimes I can ask them to write about it from the toad's point of view) Really funny stuff! It also leads to great discussions about how important details are in our pictures and how they can help tell the story or help us plan our stories.

2. Maybe I just love this book and I work it into writing, but I think it's great as an example of voice in writing. True, in first grade we don't hit that hard. But I do tell my students that I want their writing to sound like they wrote it. I want it to have feeling and expression, just like when we read.  Alice the Fairy by David Shannon is just hilarious. Truly told from a childs point of view. Great imagination and wonderful pictures!

I hope you'll link up! I could use some fresh ideas!