Mother's Day Plates & Mayday Giveaway

Hey!! Guess who had their baby girl 2 weeks ago..... ME! And let me say, she is an absolute sweetheart! {Here's a link to her birth story if you're interested, and here's a link to her beautiful newborn photos.} Being a new mom again is wonderful, adapting to two kids is a fun adventure, and I kind of don't know what to do with myself now that I'm on maternity leave.

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It's almost May which means it's time to start thinking about Mother's Day ideas. I thought I'd share what my students did last year. (I waited until the very last minute to get these done, that's why I never posted about it last year...)

This was a pretty simple craft, but turned out so darling! And the good news is that it costs a little less than $1 per student.

I found these plates at Ikea for 79 cents! (I almost just bought them at the Dollar Store... but I was able to save about $8 by buying them cheaper at Ikea.)

I went to a local craft store and found markers to write on the plates. I found that it was cheaper to buy this mug kit than it was to buy the markers separately. 
This is the mug kit I found - it came with 5 colored special markers!

Here's a mug I decorated as an example.

Super simple craft that is oh-so cute! I loved how different each of my students' plates turned out and how they each found their own way to personalize it for their moms. I can't wait until my kids are old enough to make me cute little presents at school!! ;)

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Our cute friends at Fluttering Through First Grade are hosting a special giveaway! You'll want to check it out because we both {Rachelle and Natalie} are giving away products from our TeachersPayTeachers stores. Click the link below to find out more information on how you can win!!

The Ultimate Battle: Bieber vs. Skywalker

This time of year gets hectic.  The regular behavior management ideas that were working perfectly, no longer do the job.  They *kinda* work, but the kiddos aren't excited about them.

I like to find celebrities/topics that my students are obsessed with and make a behavior management tool out of it!

Enter:  Bieber and Skywalker:

Or perhaps you like the more "kid-friendly" pictures of these two. How adorbs:

Most  of the girls are OB.SESS.ED with Justin Bieber {I call him "the biebs"} and the boys love them some Luke Skywalker.  Here's how the management works. You need to show the students the picture of Beiber and Skywalker.  Tell them that need to choose a team.  Do they want to be on Team Bieber or Team Skywalker {it's not a boys vs. girls thing on purpose, but it might turn out that way}?  They use a tag to show their love for whichever celebrity they chose {it's for me to keep track of who is on what team}. They attach that to their desk:

When I *catch* someone from Team Bieber or Team Skywalker on task, I will give them a point.  If they misbehave, they lose a point {I usually don't take points away, but at the end of the works}.

It looks as if Team Skywalker might walk away with a victory!!!

Whichever  team has the most points at the end of the day {or the end of the week} gets a prize. I like to keep it simple, ya'll.  So, if Team Bieber wins, we listen to a Justin Bieber song {an age-appropriate one for sure} as we clean up that day. This throws them in a fit of excitement and dancing. It'll bring you back to the time of *NSYNC and Backstreet Boys.  If Team Skywalker wins, we listen to the Star Wars Theme and let me tell you.....there will be loads of pretend light-sabers {which I totally thought they were called light-savers} and only thismuch dancing.

I know what you are thinking. This TEACHER IS CRRRRAAZZZZYYY.
And. You. Are. Correct.

You can download this 
behavior management freebie {here}. 
I cannot provide the "real" pictures of Biebs and Luke, but you can google those images easily.
 I did provide everything else for you!  

So, tell me..... are you on 
Team Bieber or  Team Skywalker?


I've had tons of question how I grade my spelling test based on my post from {here}.

My 1st grade team has manipulated our spelling lists SO much in the past few years. We don't use a particular spelling program, we've made up our own based on the common core.  There are 3 different spelling lists {modified, regular, and advanced} and they all pertain to one specific spelling rule.

Modified spelling test:

Each of the words is worth one point {score at the top left corner}.  Each word in the sentence is worth one point, each punctuation mark one point, and the capital at the beginning of the sentence is one point {score in the top right corner}.
This kiddo did great on her modified word list {only 8 words and 2 sentence}.  She missed the word "doe" because she spelled it "boe".  I mark this wrong starting in January {I give them some time to adjust to first grade before I throw that in}.  Then, she missed "goes" and "road" in her sentences for a total of 12 out of 15 points.

Regular spelling test:

This is the regular list.  12 words and 3 sentences.  She did really good! :)  No reversals, she remembered her punctuation, and she spelled all of the words right and met her spelling goal for the week.

Advanced spelling test:

This advanced list is tricky! They kiddos really have to learn the rule and study hard. They love to be challenged.  I like to keep the sentences the same so that I know they can also spell the regular words, too. Once again, there is a reversal of the "b".  If the reversal changes the word, I mark it wrong. But, if it for instance, was a letter "h" that was backwards, it wouldn't be wrong. I still knew it was an "h" and it didn't change the way I read the word.  Capeesh {is that how you spell that}?

How on earth do I give three spelling tests?  I give the advanced spelling test while the other students do their journals in the morning {or seat work, whatever you call it}.  Then, when the spelling test time comes, the advanced list kids work on their journal.  You could also have a parent come in every Friday and take the advanced or modified list kiddos in the hall and give their test to them.

During regular spelling time, I give the regular spelling test.  I have the modified kiddos at my desk with me so I can watch them and *cough*, help them out a smidgen. :)  They know they stop on #8 word and #2 sentence. They get to draw a picture on the back when they finish! I'm the nicest teacher.
I've also done it where the modified and regular spelling list kiddos are at their seats and I give the advanced kiddos their words in between saying the regular spelling list. WHEW! That sounds intense, but it's really not, if it's managed correctly and the students know their expectations.  So, we do a lot of procedure practice.

On Monday's, I introduce the spelling words and have the kiddos practice on this sheet {I introduce the regular word list because that's where most of the students will be}. I send home their spelling list in their homework folder on Monday. They HAVE to practice at home too! When I introduce on Monday, I find that is helps them with the format if we practice on a sheet that looks like the spelling test:

All throughout the week we go over the spelling rule, play games, review, work in centers, and practice in the hall with parents.

I've LOVED how the Spelling Club has gone in my classroom!  LOOK!  All of the students have been awarded a SUPER SPELLER!!  We love wearing our slippers during the spelling test on Fridays! I make a personalized goal with each of the students each week. It takes some time, but it's so worth it!

Fore more spelling ideas, games and free download; click {here}.

If you'd like to download my spelling practice sheets and 6 other testing sheets, click {here}.

I also use these for practice:

So, this leaves me with a few questions:
1. What spelling program do you use?
2. Do you like what you are doing?

Oh, Tax Day!

In honor of Tax Day {April 15th} tomorrow {which I did google and apparently if it falls on a Sunday, then it is actually the next business day...but who's really keeping track?!}, we're GIVING YOU A TAX BREAK! :)

Thanks, Hadar, for the cute idea!

Head over to Natalie's TpT store April 15th for a "tax break".

Head over to Rachelle's TpT store April 15th for a "tax break"


Also, there are some pretty sweet giveaways going on that I'm involved in!

Head over to Miss Nelson's blog to enter to win my "Being a Guided Reading Wizard" packet  AND  Lesson Plan SOS's "Guided Reading Activities with Pizzaz" resource {which I own, which I LOVE}.

Then we have a whole lotta teddy bear love going on at...

If you head over to Busy Bees, you have a chance to win Erica's Bear Packets, my Bear Unit, and Busy Bees' Teddy Bear Unit

This Year Was Out of This World!

IWell, I'm still in school until July 2nd (year round), but I know some of my cute friends around the country are counting down their last days! I hope this one can help you.  It's a fun one, for sure.  Who doesn't want to have a MOON balloon countdown in their classroom?!?!

I've made a packet that is full of end of the year fun!  This alien/space themed packet has lots of fun activities for you and your kiddos to take a walk down memory lane and then get ready for the next year!

Included in this packet:

* This grade was out of this world {writing}

*My teacher is a star {writing}

*Blast off to ___ grade! {writing}

*Blast off to ___ grade questionnaire {writing}

*Blast off craft
*Alien headband craft
*Was this year over the moon? {survey and graph}
* I spy a moon pie! {spelling and/or sight word practice}
*Moon Pie, Moon Walk {poetry walk}
*Moon Pie taste test {graphing}
*Stars bubble map
*Stars informational writing
*Moon bubble map
*Moon informational writing
*Pop the Moon Balloon with memory book

My favorite activity:

Common Core and You {Part 5}

I know many of you have looked on my district's website for Common Core resources. It is a fabulous resource, but is SUPER overwhelming!  They have laid out all of units {which I only use for a reference, not an exact guide}, but I find it to be too much.  My team and I created this Scope and Sequence to align with the new Common Core and our district's website!  We haven't adapted the Math Common Core yet {next year} and so this Scope and Sequence will change again this summer.  I thought you might want to look at the format {keep in mind I teach 1st grade in year-round school}!

Click {here} to download a copy of the Scope and Sequence

And.....we've been working on Narrative {just like the Common Core demands me too}..... like always! :)
I read this book:


We pretended like I went missing! First, we fill out our story board by sketching a picture in each box {First, I always have my student fill out characters, setting, problem, and ending. Then, they fill out first, next, and last}:

They retell their story to 2 friends BEFORE they start writing.  I model each of these steps EXACTLY how I want them to do it. It usually take 2-3 days before we are finished with everything.

Then, they go ahead and write their story:

I have some student examples that I meant to take a picture of before I went off track...but dangit.... I forgot! I'll *try* to get into my classroom sometime this week to show you!

I've remade the story board and writing paper so that you can do it with your kiddos {without my name on it, HA!}.

Click {here} to download this


It was Teacher Heaven

Anytime you get a LOT of teachers in a room {especially blogging teachers}, plus food, plus cheesecakes, and you've got the equation that's FABULOUS and wayyyy too much fun {4 hours of fun at Cheesecake Factory}.

I put everyone's blog URL on this post. So, PLEASE visit each blog and become a follower!

I was in Heaven.  It was the most fun EVER!  Thank you to Hadar for setting this all up.

 Franme, and Hadar
Fran was PERFECT! She's HILARIOUS, energetic, knowledgeable, talented, and just amazing. 

 Look at these cuties!

These ladies were full of ENERGY that I loved!!!!  Tammy and Christy teach together and just started a blog. Go ahead, check out it's fabulousness.  Sandy is a SWEETIE!!!!  She's got the cutest blog and I loved meeting her! Michelle student taught at my friend Sharon's school!  What a small world! She's got a great blog and facebook page!  Kristin....I LOVE HER! I told her she need to write a book. What do you all think?

 Fran brought us Hey Girl pictures. Michelle, Sharon {my most favorite Hostess EVER}, Catherine {who came from Vegas...LOVE HER!},  Gwyn, and Lindsay.
I didn't get to talk to these ladies at the end of the table as much as I would have loved. Next time, right?

 Group shot, minus Vicky {she was a tad bit late}.  But I did get to talk to her and I just love her!!! You can't see it, but I sat next to Kathy!  I adore her!

 Heidi was there! I felt like I was meeting a celebrity! :)  

Me, Annie, Hadar, and Traci
These ladies and I talked for hours!!!!  I admire each of them! a fabulous mommy who is SO gifted!  The things she does to help her little girls learn, is so AMAZING!  Traci is a triple threat! She's a teacher, blogger, and clip art maker!  Cha-ching! :)

This is my soul sista! Hadar is FABULOUS. I cannot say enough about her. She's an amazing teacher, creator, never says no-er, and a do it all-er!  We are thisclose, especially because we shared cheesecake. :)
Sharon...did you really think you could get out of being in a picture? Love ya!

Seriously ya'll, I cannot explain how much I love the teacher blogging world.  We understand each other!  We know each other without even meeting! :)  

Are you ready to meet-up again? Are you going to I Teach K in Vegas July 9-12?  I know I don't teach kinder, BUT I don't live far from Vegas and some of my DEAR friends will be presenting and/or going. It's the perfect time to meet-up again for a HUGE partay. 
REMEMBER, you don't have to have a blog to come!  

There will be more information to come! Spread the word!

Are you interested in meeting up in Vegas? 

SpellingCity: Website Review

Learn spelling and vocabulary

Let me start off by saying that I am VERY new to - I've always known it was there and I've always used it as a resource for parents who wanted more ways to help their child with spelling, but I had never used it as part of my classroom spelling practice, instruction, or assessment.

This is my second official week of trying out my new Premium account. So far, I am very happy with what I've seen!

My students love using this website for practice! The different activities are fun and engaging for them, and they like it a million times more than a boring worksheet or other traditional spelling assignments.

As a teacher I like that that I can track my students' progress and see the work they've done each week.

I know that I have only just touched the surface of what this fun website can do, and look forward to learning more about it in the coming weeks.

I asked my students what they liked most about using Spelling City. Here are some of their responses:

"I like that the spelling test will read the words to me as many times as I need."

"My favorite game is Hang Mouse because it is fun and helps me learn."

"I like doing the tests on the computer because I don't have to worry about messy handwriting."

"I like the games because they can be fun and they help me with my homework."

"I like how if you get a word wrong, it helps you spell it so you can get the words right next time."

"I like how the games really do help you learn and help you learn to spell better."

I would recommend this website to anyone who wants to improve spelling scores in their classroom. In just a few short weeks I've realized how much time it can save me as a teacher, and how my students' attitudes towards spelling have improved. I plan on using this website again next year as a fun and engaging way to help my students improve their spelling!


Thanks for all who played along in my mini-giveaway of my Outlaw Words {Literacy Centers}.  I asked who was my first country concert.

It was.....

Billy Ray Cyrus {congrats Elisabeth}!!!!!   I remember going to the concert when I was 6 and feeling TRAUMATIZED! My mom kept yelling out "take your shirt off"to Billy Ray and all I could think was that she didn't love my dad anymore. HA! It's funny now and I don't even think I need therapy anymore! :)


We've had an egg overload in my classroom today!  Check out these fun activities we've done and it's only Monday! Whoa....spring break must be coming soon if we're this motivated.

I've been using resources from April's "Chickens Aren't the Only Ones" Unit. It's so amazing!  I've also been browsin' online {Who me? Browse online? No way!} and came across Hubbord's Cupboard April Theme.  LOVE!!

We did this little activity in my classroom too:

 We talked about oviparous and not oviparous animals.  The students picked an oviparous animal to write about.  They wrote the poem first.

Its started as an egg.
It hatched and grew.
It became a ______,
All brand new!

 Then, they cut out the egg and had to place the egg {not attach...yet} on the paper so they could see where to draw their oviparous animal so it looked like it was coming out of the egg.

After they drew their picture, they could make hold in their eggs to get it ready to put a fastener through. They used a push pin and poked their egg on the side and made a hold {I have them do it on the carpet so they don't poke themselves}.

Then they stick their fastener through their egg pieces and then through the paper.  Viola! You have the cutest darn oviparous animal hatching from an egg!

Then, we wrote about how egg-cellent we are!  I had the students write; I'm egg-cellent at _____ because _____.  They had to write about 5 or more things they were egg-cellent at.  I also bribed asked them to have good handwriting because the handwriting fairy was surely watching them.  I was AMAZED at their writing AND their handwriting. Mrs. Smith is one proud teacher.

Can you read that last sentence? HILARIOUS!  
"I'm egg-cellent at sleeping because I never snore." Bahahahahaha

One of my cuties {not the one above} wrote:
 "I'm egg-cellent at filling buckets because I filled 7 buckets today".  Ahh.....cute!

I hope you are all having a great week! I'm having a great week because it's a short week!
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