Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Let it Snow!

Yesterday the first snowflakes of the season fell!  They were big and fluffy and absolutely beautiful.  It didn't last long or stick but it got the kids {and me} excited.  Even though I knew it wasn't going to accumulate, it made me hopeful for a snow day.  Oh how I just love a snow day.  It's the only time that I actually enjoy being awakened by the phone ringing at 5:30 in the morning.  Ahhh, knowing I can turn off the alarm and roll back over and drift off to sleep is just so nice.  Some people do not like snow days {bah, humbug!}.  But I really don't mind having a few make up days added at the end of the year.  We go the same amount of days regardless of whether or not we get a few unexpected days off sprinkled in here and there.  I would go to school until June if I got a month off during the cold winter months.  I hate being cold and just want to stay snuggled up on the couch all winter long.  {But I love snow...go figure!}

Because I am crazy, whenever they call for snow I have a ritual I do to guarantee a snow day.  I tell all of my students to do it too.  You know, because it's more likely to work if there are lots of people doing it.  {That's what I tell myself.}  I wear my pajamas inside out and backwards, flush a cup of ice down the toilet, and put a spoon under my pillow.  And it works!  Promise.  But I'm scared to death that one day my ritual is going to stop delivering results and I might need a new game plan.  Do you have a tried and true way to get a snow day?!  I need to have a few more tricks up my sleeve so please share!

Here's a little snowy patterns freebie I made to use with my kindergartners this week.  I try not to use too much color ink at school for fear that it might run out and we may never get another color cartridge again.  So it's black and white.  But I'll print it on pretty cardstock.  Cut apart the cards and put the pattern name cards in a pile.  Students draw a card and use the snowflakes to create that pattern.  I'm sure there are many other ways to use it too.  Please share if you come up with something different!  Grab it here.

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Holiday Cheer Giveaway

Thanks for sticking with me, despite my confession.  I have a special place in my heart for those of you who undecorate late or even keep your tree up all year like me.  I really like the special closet or revolving wall idea.  Pottery Barn Ikea {who am I kidding?} Target, are you listening?  A nice decorative screen or something would be ever so fabulous to have so we don't ever have to take down our Christmas trees.  It would sell.  I promise.

In other news, I have teamed up with some of my blogging BFFs to do a fun giveaway for you!  Kristin from A Teeny Tiny Teacher is giving away a $10 Target gift card!  Jennifer from Rowdy in First Grade, Rebecca from Teaching First, and I are each giving away a fun winter unit!  Head over to Rebecca's blog to get all of the details and enter.

Teaching First

Monday, November 28, 2011

Holly Bloggy Giveaway #6

Oh my, how time flies!  We planned 9 giveaways leading up to Christmas.  This week is #6.  That means Christmas is dangerously close!  I'm so excited, but I just realized I haven't bought a single present.  Not one.  I should probably get on that.  Anyway, moving along...

You guys are going to be so excited for this one!  Melanie from Schoolgirl Style has offered up her absolutely adorable Holiday Gingerbread Party!  It includes: a pennant banner, food labels, gift tags, cupcake toppers, a parent letter, an invitation, and 9 different center ideas with crafts and activities for an adorable gingerbread party.
How cute?!  I know all of my Holly Bloggy friends are going to want to win this one!  Here's how you can enter (this giveaway is for Holly Bloggy Christmas participants only):

-Follow Schoolgirl Style on Facebook and let me know in the comments.
-Sign up for her newsletter/follow her website and let me know in the comments.
-Just for you do any fun gingerbread activities with your students or your own children?  Share your ideas!

This giveaway starts now and will end at midnight on Friday, December 2nd.  I will announce the winner on Saturday.  Good luck to everyone!

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Deck the Halls {a confession}

I have a confession to make.

I never took my Christmas tree down last year.  It's been up almost a full year.  Sometimes I turn on the lights.  Even in July.  Do not judge.  It makes me happy and it's always nice to have some extra lighting.  Plus it made me feel like I was living in a Pottery Barn holiday catalog every single day.  And you just can't beat that feeling.  And it made me hopeful for snow days even in the heat of May.  Hey, it could happen.  You know what they say: Christmas ain't over til the crazy lady undecorates.  Wait.  Do they say that?  Well, they do now.

You see, last year I got a fabulously huge Christmas tree.  It's absolutely gorg.  It took me about two weeks to get it up and decorated to my liking.  And I liked it so much that I couldn't just take down all of my hard work a few weeks later.  That's the worst part about Christmas.  I love all of the decorations but they have to come down so quickly.  So I intended to leave it up until the end of January.  The end of January came and went and I planned to turn it in to a Valentine's tree.  Well...the hearts never made it on my tree so I decided I would give a spring tree a shot with butterflies and flowers.  Spring sprung and before I knew it I was out of school for the summer and my tree was still up.  At that point, I saw no reason to take it down only to put it up again in a few months.  Right??

Throughout all of this, every single family member and friend thought I was an ABSOLUTE NUT.  But guess what?  Here I am, relaxing on the couch looking at my beautiful tree while all of my friends and family rush around, climbing up attics and dragging decorations out of basements and garages because it's suddenly socially acceptable to deck the halls.  Chances are, I'm the smartest one in my crew.  Sure, the tree may have been a bit out of place in July but really, the way time flies these days, the season came 'round again before I knew it.  And now I don't have ANY holiday decorating to do.  I am beyond brilliant.  Beyond! Brilliant!  So THERE!  I'm totally onto something.  I imagine I'll be starting a trend here pretty soon. 

Whew.  Feels so good getting that off my chest.  Maybe that helps some of you understand exactly why I was planning a Christmas gift exchange in October...

I want to know...when do you put up your decorations?  When do you take them down?  Have you ever left yours up all year-or known anyone who has?  And will you still be my friend even though I just shared some of my crazy with you?

Here's a little Christmas tree teen numbers freebie for those of you who will continue to be my friend, even though I'm slightly to moderately crazy.

PS: Don't forget that I'm running a sale over at my TpT store!  20% off everything, including some of my new holiday products!  Use the code CMS28 on Monday for an additional 10% off! 

Friday, November 25, 2011

Black Friday Sale!

I hope you all had a wonderfully yummy Thanksgiving!  I don't know about you, but I'm always searching for good deals on Black Friday and Cyber Monday.  I used to enjoy going out and braving the crowds, but now I like to stay home where it's warm and crazy-free.  If you're surfing the web looking for fabulous deals over the weekend, stop by and check out my Black Friday-Cyber Monday Sale!  Everything is 20% off now until midnight on Monday!

You will also want to check out Jennifer at Rowdy in First Grade and Rebecca from Teaching First to see what kind of great deals they're offering on Black Friday!

Happy Shopping!

Wednesday, November 23, 2011


Happy Thanksgiving Eve!  I'm excited to link up with What the Teacher Wants and talk about all of the things I'm thankful for.  Anytime I talk about being thankful, Alanis Morissette's song "Thank U" gets stuck in my head... {thank u India, thank u terror, thank u disillusionment}  You can thank me for getting that stuck in your head later.  Anyway, here are all of the wonderful things for which I am thankful:

What are you thankful for in your classroom?

Well, my little friends, of course!  They crack me up on a daily basis and I am forever thankful for that.  I'm also thankful for my Smartboard.  Oh, it is just so wonderful.  It makes my life easier and my teaching so much funner.  The kids totally dig it too.

What person are you most thankful for?

It's too hard to just pick one!  I'm very thankful for my family.  We're all quirky, fun, and loving.  My entire family is absolutely hilarious and I love to laugh more than anything else on the face of the Earth, so I'm ever so thankful for my funny family.

What three blogs are you most thankful for?

Oh, I love so many blogs out there!  I'm rather thankful for Jennifer over at Rowdy in First Grade.  She's definitely one of my blogging BFFs.  We swap stories and problem solve together and it's just magnificent.  One of us needs to relocate ASAP so we can combine forces and kick some educational booty.

I also love me some Rebecca over at Teaching First!  It's been so fun getting to know her through giveaways we've done together!  There's a chance Rebecca, Jennifer, and I would have too much fun if we ever got together in real life.

Teaching First

My third is actually two: my Kentucky blogging buddies!  Sarah over at Kindergarten Korner has been an AMAZING partner in Holly Bloggy Christmas!  I'm so thankful for all of her help with that.  And it's just plain awesome to have another blogger in my district.

Kindergarten Korner

It has also been really fun to get to know Diana from Cole's Little Pups.  She's a sweetheart and I can't wait to meet up with her for lunch next weekend!  I'm going to have to work on getting her a blog button!

What guilty pleasure are you most thankful for?

Two words: Chelsea Lately.  She cracks me up and I would love to work on her show.  The working environment seems almost toxic with all of the practical jokes and dry humor and sarcasm.  Sounds like paradise to me.  I'll do almost anything for a laugh.  And I would love to be surrounded by people who have a good sense of humor.  Serious is the leading cause of wrinkles. 

What are you most thankful for?

I am most thankful for laughter.  If I couldn't laugh, I don't think I would make it.  You guys know I love Bill Cosby.  He says: "Through humor, you can soften some of the worst blows that life delivers.  And once you find laughter, no matter how painful your situation might be, you can survive it."  That is so true.  I have a very dry and warped sense of humor and I can find something to laugh about in almost any situation.  I just love to laugh.  It makes me happy.  It makes other people happy.  And happy is good.

Well friends, I'm off to have dinner with the fam.  On Thanksgiving Eve, I will leave you with this wonderful gem of advice I received from a Lifetime movie the other day: "Count your blessings and keep on steppin'!"

Sunday, November 20, 2011

This & That...

WARNING: Randomness ahead.

Oh, I can see a light at the end of the tunnel!  Two days and then I get to sleep until I'm not tired instead of hearing that awful beeping noise at an ungodly hour.  I'm also super excited about being able to do some crafty, fun things with my kiddos.  There's just not time for that usually.  So we're breaking out the scissors and glue and markers {!!!} and making turkeys and pilgrims and they're not going to know how to react to the unmathyness of it all.  It's just going to be grand!

I need your help, party people.  Back in August, I broke out in hives and went to the doctor and he was all, What did you have to eat today and did you eat it the other times you broke out too?  And I was like, A chocolate pop tart.  And yes.  He then said three words that rocked my world, "No more chocolate."  Naturally, I did not listen because I didn't believe him.  What does he know; he's just a doctor?!  One Reese Cup later, I broke out yet again.  So now I'm off chocolate.  Go ahead and take a second to feel sorry for me.  It's truly devastating.  Especially around the holidays.  My favorite is peanut butter balls.  I'm mourning their loss.  It's going to be rough, but I'm trying to find a way to get through it.  I made some potato candy the other day to try to satisfy my need for peanut butter chocolatey goodness.  Please tell me you've heard of it.  I took it to school and people looked at me like I had three heads.  It's good, but it's not the same as a chocolatey peanut butter ball.  Any of you have some ideas for an amazingly delish dessert sans chocolate?

Last week Diana from Cole's Little Pups got to come with representatives from her district to visit my school.  Bless her heart, she spent all morning in my room and she even helped me with my little kindergartners.  It was so much fun to meet a fellow blogger!  We both had so much fun at school and we're pretty sure we would have even more fun outside of school, so we're trying to organize a get together.  If you are in the KY/TN/IN area, please comment or email me at if you would be interested in a meet up!  We are about 2 hours from Nashville and Louisville.  We would love to hear from you.  {And don't forget to stop by Diana's blog...she just posted some cute gingerbread ten frame freebies and a new Christmas unit!}

I also just got an email from my principal saying we are interviewing for the kindergarten assistant position on my team.  He said to bring questions.  Any suggestions?!  They've got to be good ones so we can make sure we get someone amazing!  How do you even do that in 30 minutes?! 

Sorry this has been random.  I'm avoiding laundry and dishes and cleaning and grading.  Since I'm in procrastination mode, I feel like I need to help any of you who might be in a similar position.  Sooo...let's play a game!  This or That: Thanksgiving Style... I'm going to post a question: this or that?  The first person to comment will answer my question and pose one of their own.  Then the next person will answer that question and ask their own, etc.  Let's try to keep it Thanksgiving themed, but the world isn't going to end if it gets off topic...  Here we go:

Mashed potatoes or sweet potatoes?

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Winner of #4 HBC Giveaway...and some updates!!

Congrats to Julia of Loving & Learning in Pre-K!  She recently started her blog, so head over and check it out!

Also...a few reminders about Holly Bloggy Christmas:
- In order to participate in the giveaways, you must be a participant!
- All partners have been emailed out.  If you still haven't received yours, check your junk mail and then email us at if you still can't find it.
- There is a $15 limit before shipping.
- Remember to snap a picture of the goodies you're shipping out and email it to us before you stick it in the mail.  We want to showcase all of the holiday cheer!  In your email with the picture, please include your blog address if it applies.  We will do a post on Christmas with all of the pictures and we want to link to your blog, but whew! I can't keep real names and blog names straight!
- Stick it in the mail by December 5th so it doesn't arrive late!
- On my Holly Bloggy Page, you will find a short little form to fill out to let us know your gift arrived.  We want to keep tabs on it so no one goes without Holly Bloggy Cheer!  Just head over there and type in your name to let us know you received your gift.
- Absolutely NO PEEKING!  :)
- Feel free to post about all of the fun and thank your Holly Bloggy partner after Christmas!

If you have any questions, just let either me or Sarah know!  Don't forget to head over to Sarah's blog on Monday to check out next week's giveaway!

Thursday, November 17, 2011

...with the sound of music...

Room 106 is alive...with the sound of music...

I love music.  I sing all day, every day.  Some are Ms. Preppy originals and others are Dr. Jean.  Either way, it's fun and makes my day much brighter.  I'm definitely all about keeping the arts in schools.  But I have a feeling that the kind of musicalness I've experienced as of late isn't what all those "save the music" people have in mind...

So I'm doing calendar.  Same thing happens every day:  I want to know how many days are in a week and what's so special about Saturday and Sunday.  But today was different.  I called on someone with their hand raised oh so nicely when bam! all of a sudden Rihanna took control over one of my friends and I heard "Cheers to the freakin' weekend..."  Straight-faced, I flashed my teacher look and asked when Rihanna joined my class.  I really wanted to laugh and be all, "I drink to that...yeah-e-yeah!"   

In a separate, unrelated incident, I was in the middle of a following directions activity and asked my kiddos to get out a black and... Before I could tell them what other color to find in addition to black, guess what I heard?  {Yeah, you know what it is...}  "Black and yellow, black and yellow..."  No, Mr. Khalifa, not black and yellow.  You don't know what it is.  What I want is black and purple, black and purple...

And then the other day I was able to fit in a little uh, music history lesson.  We count to 100 every day and it never fails.  I have at least one who loudly counts, FIDDY, FIDDY-ONE, FIDDY-TWO, FIDDY-THREE, FIDDY-FOUR, FIDDY-FIVE, FIDDY-SIX...  So I decided to tell them about the day when I {almost} met Mr. Cent himself.  I went to see Chelsea Handler {who totally needs to have an all teacher round table.  For which I could probably find time in my schedule to participate.  My agent's information is listed in the Contact section.  Have your people call my people.}  Anywho, I went to see Chelsea and was on like the tenth row on the floor.  Amazing.  So I'm sitting there and all of a sudden people start pointing.  It's a bird, it's a plane, it's...50 Cent?  The rapper?  What?!  This was a few weeks before news of their "relationship" broke so he was kind of out of place standing off to the side between her bald brother and Sarah Colonna.  Later when I saw Ryan Seacrest try to act like it was something new I was all, Dude, that's sooo three weeks ago.  I saw them together in Nashville.  Find some other breaking news...  Back to Fiddy at the Chelsea show.  So people start going up to him and I'm like, this is my chance to be the COOLEST teacher EVER.  I'm going to get a picture and an autograph.  Then everyone starts walking back to their seats.  No pictures, no autographs.  How sad.  I debated going up to him and telling him it was for the kids.  But he's slightly intimidating.  Afterall, he is named after a currency amount.  Not just anybody can pull that off.  Even though I didn't get a picture or autograph, the simple fact that I was *this close* to him makes me crazy cool with the primary kids.  They sat there wide-eyed and silent {for the first time all day}, just taking it all in.  So that was my music history lesson for the day.  I'll make sure the music teacher knows to thank me later.  And not only was it music history, it was also math content.  You know, money. 

See.  No one can say I'm not doing my part to keep music in schools and teach about the great composers.  Even when I'm not trying, my classroom ends up like an episode of Glee (or a more gangster version of Glee...).

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Behave yourself!

I'm linking up with Mrs. Miner's Kindergarten Monkey Business to give you the scoop on how I try to tame those wild things that roar their terrible roars, gnash their terrible teeth, roll their terrible eyes, and show their terrible claws.  You know, the kindergartners.  I love it when the intermediate teachers are all, "You couldn't pay me enough to deal with snotty noses and accidents all day."  Because I'm thinking, "You couldn't pay me enough to deal with snotty attitudes and 10 year olds who have yet to discover the wonders of deodorant."  To each their own.  And kindergarten is definitely one of my favorites.  I teach kindergarten, first, AND second grade.  So like Hannah Montana, I get the best of both worlds: the sweet little people and the more independent, but still sweet bigger little people.

My first year I was pretty lucky with the kindergarten crew that came in.  Most had been to preschool and while they still needed some reminders, they weren't bouncing off the walls or using their glue sticks as lip gloss.  My second year, the new kindergartners were more like first graders.  It was a total dream.  They could have fun and still follow my rules at the same time.  It was truly beautiful.  This year I feel like I run a three ring circus most days.  {But I like to think it's the greatest show on earth.}  I had to teach them how to be students before I could teach them anything else.  It was rough for a while-and still is every now and then.  But I'm on my way to having them tamed.

One thing that my team uses that really helps is this behavior chart:

Our kiddos rotate classes throughout the day.  They keep this chart in their folders and mark it at the end of each class.  If they have a straight or sad face, we write what rule they broke so their parents know what went down.  This gives us a chance to have a little chat and try to get them back on the right track.  Parents sign it each night and return it to school the next day.  This has been a great visual for our kids, as well as a way to remind them that even though they decided to hit their neighbor in my room, they could still turn it around and get a smiley face later in the day.  We love it.  The kids love it.  And the parents love it.  Win-win-win.

Oh!  One more tidbit!  One day, completely out of desperation and frustration, I managed to find the most brilliant, wonderful, amazing solution for those kids who consistently win the Non Sequitur Award.  It even works with the Notorious B.L.U.R.T.:

Unifix cubes.

Seriously.  One day I was nearing the end of my rope with one little guy and I gave him a stack of 5 and whenever he said something off the wall, I took one.  The leftovers earned him a treat.  I still do this occasionally with my story tellers and major blurters.  They respond pretty well to it.  I give them a stack of 5 and at the end of class, however many they have left is either worth money for our classroom economy or minutes to tell me a story.  They quickly realize it's much more fun to have the money or a private conversation with me than it is to blurt out and interrupt my ever so brilliant instruction.

I hope all of you kindergarten teachers out there will link up with Mrs. Miner!  I would love to hear about your behavior management systems.  Because who knows...I could walk in tomorrow and need to come up with a totally different game plan.  Oh, the children.  They like to keep me on my toes. 

Monday, November 14, 2011

Holly Bloggy Giveaway #4!

Here we are...just a few weeks away from Christmas and ready for the fourth HBC Giveaway!  This week we're ready to help deck your halls...

The Wise Owl Workshop has some crazy cute Christmas signs!

9 1/4x 19 wooden Christmas Sign "A Feeling Of Christmas" A MUST SEE

9 1/4x 19" Wooden Handpainted Sign We Wish You Merry Christmas Sign Vertical WIth Personalized Family Name

How adorable?!

To enter:
1. Head over to Wise Owl Workshop etsy shop and add her to your favorites.  Leave a comment to let us know what your favorite item is!
2. What is your favorite holiday decoration or decorating tradition?  Leave a comment! 

OK...giveaway starts now and ends Friday at 11:59pm.  I will announce the winner on Saturday!  Good luck and have a great week!

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Stroke of genius?

A funny {and ironic} thing happened at my staff meeting today.  A very nice man came to talk to us about his company which is offering stroke risk assessments at a discounted price.  It's a great opportunity, I guess.  But that's not the point.  Point is...he's offering STROKE RISK ASSESSMENT.  To TEACHERS.  I don't know why, but I got a big kick out of this.  I mean, we are some of the most chronically stressed out people.  And I know I don't need some radiologist to look at a film to tell me about my stroke risk. 

At least once a week I feel like I'm about to stroke out because my little friend decided to run across the room, dive and slide under his table, do some kind of Spider Man maneuver, and jump into his seat at 7:00 in the morning.  Or because I have fourteen kindergartners to provide interventions for but not enough time, space, or man power to do it.  And anytime I look at the ever growing piles of paper to grade and file and analyze and give to someone else so they can grade and analyze and file too, I can feel the stroke a-comin'...  So I don't really think teachers need to pay money to have someone tell them they need to chill out or else.  We know we're stressed to the max and that our high blood pressure is not good.  But for some reason {most likely insanity*} we love what we do and keep on keepin' on, high stroke risks and all. 

*Maybe in addition to stroke risk assessment, they could offer reduced price psych evals.

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Assist, please!

OK, you guys are like the biggest, bestest staff lounge EVER.  So I know you'll have some tips and tricks for me on this one.  My team is in the process of hiring a new kindergarten assistant.  We love the sub we have right now and hope to make her a permanent part of our team.  Even though things have gone very smoothly over the past couple of days, I'm still a little uneasy about this transition in the middle of the year.  Have any of you ever hired a new assistant mid-year? 

I am also really interested to hear how all of you use your assistants.  In the past, I've just had mine kind of hang out in the room and help as needed.  But this year with half of my 28 kindergartners needing interventions, I know I can use her more wisely.  Please tell me what you do!  Does she pull small groups?  Does she lead some whole group instruction while you do small groups?  My 90 minute math block with kindergarten looks like this: 20 minutes of calendar, 40 minutes of whole group, and 30 minutes of stations.  Thoughts?  Ideas?  How do you use your assistant?

And instead of a penny for your's a freebie for your advice!  We're working on teen numbers right now in kindergarten and this will be part of our stations next week.  Enjoy!  I also have a fun Turkey Teens counting book in my TpT store.

Sunday, November 6, 2011

Tofurky Day!

Yeah, yeah, yeah... I know I'm only supposed to post once a day.  BUT Jennifer from Rowdy in First Grade guessed my fave vegetarian Thanksgiving food!

Yum, yum!  I can't wait.  I should probably start checking the local health food store to make sure they have some in stock.  Last year I had to get a different "turkey".  And it wasn't as good.  Any other veggie teacher bloggers out there with some fun recipes/neat finds?

Math Feast!

I've been busy working away on my Thanksgiving unit for the past couple of weeks.  It's finally up in my TpT store!  Check it out:

Here's a preview of some of the activities included (all activities are also listed for individual sale):
Four different Race to the Turkey activities: numbers to 10, number words, teen numbers, and shapes.

Counting Cornucopia: Fun counting book for students to practice representing a number on a ten frame, writing the numeral, writing the number word, and drawing objects to represent the number.

Fact Family Feast!  Great for practicing sorting math facts into fact families!

Turkey Teens: My students are loving making this teen numbers counting book in stations right now!  They are working on representing the number in a ten frame, writing the numeral, and drawing objects to represent the number.
Thanksgiving Feast game to practice finding missing addends.

Two versions of Turkey Trot are included: numbers to 20 and basic subtraction.

And since I'm so very thankful for all of my wonderful followers, the first person to correctly guess this vegetarian's favorite Thanksgiving food gets a copy of my Math Feast for free!  {I know, I know...vegetarians aren't much fun at holiday gatherings centered around a big ol' turkey...}

Saturday, November 5, 2011

We have a winner!!!

Congrats to Mrs. L from Life With Mrs. L!  Send me an email and I'll get you hooked up so you can get a jump start on your holiday cards!

Don't forget to check out Sarah's blog next week for our next giveaway!  Thanks to all who are participating in and sponsoring Holly Bloggy Christmas.  It's going to be lots of fun!

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Super Giveaway!

I've teamed up with Jennifer from Rowdy in First Grade and Rebecca from Teaching First to do a Super Giveaway!  It's November now (how'd that happen?!), so we're each giving away one of our Thanksgiving units.  Head over to Rowdy in First Grade and enter to win.  You won't want to miss out on this opportunity!

Pumpkin Spice Math and Literacy Unit by Jennifer at Rowdy in First Grade

Turkey in the Straw Packet: Language Arts and Math By Rebecca at Teaching First

Thanksgiving Math Feast from moi!