Monday, December 31, 2012

My Shout Outs

I have been incredibly inspired by the amazingness out there in the pinter-blog-iverse and it was hard to narrow down to just two shout outs.

But, as co-host of the linky, I suppose I had better follow the rules, eh?

I would love to give Susan Moran of T.G.I.F. my first shout out...(she has more, waaaayyy more, followers than me).
And, I'm sharing her first 'cuz she was actually the original seed that sprouted and blossomed into this Shout Out Linky Idea.

See, she gave me a Shout Out on her blog back in Fall. And the feeling of being acknowledged and validated from someone you admire stuck with me. I want others...lots of have that feeling, too! So, we're sharing the love!

Susan wrote a post about her Personal Narrative pack (which is FAB and I use) and mentioned MY Personal Narrative unit, too (the two packs work great together)!!! was on HER blog...a blogger I had been admiring and stalking for a long time.

I highly recommend any and all of her TpT products. I own and use lots of them. She has a brand new Valentine's Pack that is just presh!

In addition, Susan is just a lovely, kind and wonderful girl with nuptials upcoming. (Check out her engagement pics from a recent post! Amazing!)

That indescribable feeling of seeing your name and blog talked about on someone else's blog is just so cool. Kewl. Super duper cooool. Thank you from the bottom of my heart, Susan!

My second Shout Out is for the uber-talented Linda Kamp from Around the Kampfire. 
She is another brilliantly creative and kind-hearted blogger who inspired me to do a craftivity!

As in, make tracers, cut, copy and prep a bunch of construction paper pieces. And even make a sample.

The first fly-solo-with-no-parent-helpers-planning-prepping-and-making the craftivity in a loooonnnng time.

For many of you, craftivities are second nature.

For me? Not so much. (Those of you who know me are nodding.)

Maybe it's a patience issue. Or PTSD from copies or the copier gone bad. Not sure, but my kids are pretty deprived.

As in...the art tub often beats out the iPads or Indoor Recess Bags on Fun Friday! The art tub contains white paper, colored pencils and glitter crayons. Nothing too special. Yet they clamor for it!

I am seriously depriving them. Poor little firsties.

It was Linda's darling Pigeon craftivity that got me inspired to try a craftivity. Maybe because I adore Mo Willems? Or because Pigeon just all out rocks? Or because I'd taken my daughter to see the play at the local children's theater?

Not sure.

But I was inspired. Actually, more than inspired, because sometimes I'm inspired but then I forget about it until I'm stuck in insomnia-mode.

Or the dental hygenist is talking to me and I can't respond so I verbally uh-huh at appropriate times but my mind is wandering and I remember what I was inspired about.

But then I leave the dental chair and it's gone again.

This time, I was inspired to buy the unit, print it, prep it AND implement it. That's huge. Huge. Plus - it was fun!

Pretty sure I'll even be doing Susan's Love Potion craftivity from that Valentine Pack!

You really should check out Linda's blog and TpT store. She is just so talented and has lots of great products!

My wishlist on TpT has her super cute New Year's Resolution Writing pack...
Thanks for reading this long post! I am in awe of the amazingness you do in your classrooms and look forward to another year of being inspired!

By the way...make sure you visit my partner in crime to see who she's giving her shout outs to...I heart my co-host extra-ordinaire Katie Knight of Teacher to the Core!

Shout Out Linky Party - A Monthly Event

I am thrilled to be co-hosting this Linky Party each month of 2013 with the fabulous, hilarious, brilliant and adorable Katie Knight of Teacher to the Core.

The Pinter-blog-iverse is growing by leaps and bounds.

Bloggers post powerful, revolutionary stuff out there each and every day.

Let's share who inspired us.

Each month.

This Linky Party has 3 components:

1. Link a post where you have given two shout outs to two bloggers that have inspired you. One blogger with fewer followers and one  with more followers than you. This seems obvious, but please make sure you give links to those inspiring posts/blogs so others can be inspired, too!

2. Please let the two bloggers you are shouting out know that you're doing so. Leave a comment on their blog - maybe on the post that inspired you or on their post dated closest to when you link up. They'll most likely want to know what it was that inspired you to give them a shout out. :)

3. We love Farley's "Rule of Three" which means that once you link up, please comment on the posts of the two previous bloggers that linked. Then, come back later and comment on the post of the blogger after your link.

We'd love it if you came back each month to link up! :)

By the way - if you are "linky party savvy" and want to offer any suggestions, we're all ears!

P.S. Lots of people have snagged this Wintry Fun Syllable freebie go ahead and join them if you'd like. :)

Sunday, December 30, 2012

Wintry Fun Syllable Freebie

Have you heard about the Shout Out Linky I'm co-hosting each month?! If you want to learn a little more about it & link up, check it out right here.

LOVE Freebielicious!!! Here's a little wintry freebie for you.

If you do decide to download it, I would soooo appreciate it if you would please leave me a comment and/or TpT feedback. Thanks a BUNCH!

This freebie is part of my Stupendous Syllable Practice - Set 2, containing 5 different themes of printables and literacy centers. You can find  iton TpT...

You can get the freebie by clicking on any of the pictures...


Friday, December 28, 2012

Oprah Part 3 & Year End Sale

You might be stopping by to learn about the Shout Out Linky Party I'm co-hosting with Katie Knight of Teacher To The Core. If so, please check out this post.

If you are just learning about my Oprah's Favorite Things experience (back in 2004) and want to get caught's Part One and here's Part Two.

Okay...Oprah, Part Three - During the Show
So, there we were in the front row, off to the right side. We settled into our seats, marveling at where we were.

The set looked smaller in person than in real life. We so wished we could have kept our cameras. But, Harpo security didn't allow it.

There were several audience specialist people who were placing and rearranging audience members. It seemed like it was according to color. Luckily we got to stay seated together!

Katie and her husband who were a few rows back in the center of the audience. (They ended up being on the opening montage due to their adorable-ness and position.)

Jen and her sister who were directly across the studio looking fab!

Sarah was towards the back in the center section with her friend. It was hard to see her, though, because of all the cameras and lighting stuff. We exchanged thrilled smiles.

Can't believe how many people we got to experience the insanity with. So cool. It was a blast to make oh-my-goodness-is-this-for-real eye contact throughout the show!

At this time we were still under the impression that the show was about teachers and teaching. So, we just kind of hung out, thrilled to be there & quietly visiting with each other and talking to the people immediately around us.

People had come from ALL over the country. Which completely made sense. I only had to drive two hours. My guest, Cathy, used to live near and teach at my school, but she'd recently moved to Little Rock, AR, so she flew in from there.

Right before Oprah came out, some Harpo studio workers came out to get us psyched up and excited about the show. Not sure we could have been more excited, but it was really fun, knowing that Oprah would be coming out momentarily.

When she did, she was doing her normal hand shaking, high fiving and clapping. The audience was screaming and cheering and clapping and jumping up and down. Oprah was adorable, of course, graciously accepting our insanity.

Then she went into the opening statements which lead into the real topic of the show...

"I love teachers. Teachers give and give and give. That's why I wanted to give you the...hottest ticket in television." And then everyone REALLY fuh-ruh-eaked.

Oprah started going through the things we were receiving one or two items at a time.

Intense is an understatement.

I literally had a headache within the first 15 mn from all the screaming (my own and others'). Which seems like I'm complaining, but I am sooooo not.

How can one brain process all the layers of what was happening?

Don't get me wrong - I still acted like a buffoon, jumping, yelling, clapping, etc. I still had an time. And, happily adjusted to my headache. :-)

Several times during the show, Oprah took breaks from recording and chatted with the audience. That was so cool! She even hugged a few people.

In the end, it was around $17K worth of gifts. Nuts. And, Oprah personally helped out with the tax situation so we didn't get hit so hard. Amazing. Truly.

Some of the gifts came right out to the audience (Movado watch, mp3 player, Dooney & Burke leather weekend bag, Sony Vaio laptop, $500 Office Max giftcard, Magellan GPS, Takashimya champagne flutes, Lollia creams and bubble bath, Bourjois roll of lipsticks in a gorgeous carrying roll) and we got to carry them home in big white Oprah's favorite things gift bags. I still have them. Can't part with them.

Some of the gifts came out in an envelope with a certificate inside (Maytag washer/dryer, Flat Panel tv, Apple Bottom jeans, Williams-Sonoma 1000-thread count sheets & wool blanket, Miraval Spa trip, Orbitz airfare for the trip, Key Lime Bundt Cake, SpecialTeas tea gift certificate, Italian Water Garden tea cup and pitcher set)

Some of the gifts we picked up on our way out of the studio so they could give us the size we needed (Burberry coat & scarf, Eileen Fischer waffle weave merino wool hoodie and pants).

She ended the show with a Bebe Winans and Rob Thomas singing a gorgeous Christmas song to us as a duet.

Still can't believe it happened to me.

Gotta say, though, that like Oprah has often said...with all the stuff you're still just who you are.

Totally agree. Got all that stuff (donated and gave several things as gifts). But I'm still the same old me.

Coming Soon: Part 4 - Meeting Oprah After The Show...

Also, I'm linking up with Khrys Bosland of Keepin' It Kool In Kinderland for a Farewell 2012 Sale.

I'll be having a 20% off sale at my TpT store through the end of the year. Some of my best sellers are:

Smiles, friends! Hope to see you back for the big Shout Out Linky on January 1st!

Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Merry & Holly Bloggy Christmas!

Hoping that your holiday season has been full of memory-making! We celebrate Christmas and it's been a memorable one for sure...

In case you're stopping by to learn about the upcoming Shout Out Linky please go to this post. Katie & I would love to have you link up!
I had so much fun participating in the Holly Bloggy Christmas Exchange! Thanks so much to Ms. Preppy for organizing!

Grab button for Holly Bloggy Christmas
I got to sendsome of my favorite things to Erika of My Crazy Life. Head over to give her some love! 

My favorite things from top to bottom: a Starbucks giftcard (love me some chai!); turquoise Duck tape; striped mini notebook & colorful pens; dark chocolate with sea salt; pretzel m&ms & a striped scarf. It was lots of fun putting the package together!!!
And, I got to open the gift I received today! It was nice to learn a lesson on delayed gratification! Ha!

My wonderful gift came from the adorable Liz at Teaching in the Valley. She wrote the sweetest little note that put a huge smile on my face. What a cutie pie!

Make sure you give her some love, too!
I absolutely LOVE my gifts!!!! Thanks so much, Liz!

A White Barn chestnut & clove scented candle. It smells ah-mazing...we've had it burning since I opened it. :)

When my daughter saw my polka dot fuzzy socks from Old Navy she about died of excitement. She has similar ones and loves to be a mini-me. So, we've been twins for hours already today. She's already told me that we better wear them to bed tonight. Thanks, Liz, for helping me make more memories with her.

Saturday, December 22, 2012

Coming Soon - Shout Out Linky - A Monthly Event

As the year 2012 winds down and you reflect on how the blogging world has inspired you this year, you might think about joining up in the "Shout Out" Linky Party, beginning January 1st.

It'll be a monthly party where you can share how two bloggers inspired you in some way.

Katie Knight of Teacher to the Core fabulousness and I are thrilled to be co-hosting it.

To link up, you'll write a post that gives two different bloggers a shout out. One blogger with more followers than you and the other one with fewer. 

Simple concept, right?

We're posting this now with the hope that it leaves you some time to get your thoughts in order and come back on January 1st for the big Link Up. :)

May your winter break be amaaaaazing and memorable, friends!

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Winners! And...another chance

So...I'm not a very good host. Hosted a giveaway that ended almost three days ago and never did the winner thing.

Feel free to throw tomatoes.

For real.

I'll just make sure I'm wearing my Buzz Lightyear Astronaut-ish costume for extra protection.

The giveaway was for my Building S.T.A.R. Readers pack, which I have on sale at TpT until 12/25. It's been selling nicely - I'm thinking people want to use it right when they come back in January.

These two ladies will get it via email shortly...

#223 Carrie Ann

#3 Cherie Mae Ong

Congratulations, ladies!

If you didn't win, you have another chance...but not for long...head over to my blogging buddy Katie's fab blog Teacher To The Core to enter.

Friday, December 14, 2012

Shout Outs, A Sale & Giveaway Reminder :)

I am linking up and having a sale on everything in my TpT store. sale is from the 14th to the 17th. I'm "fashionably late."

Don't forget my ends soooooon! :)

My editors for Building S.T.A.R. Readers were so incredibly amazing. They gave such incredibly thoughtful feedback and helped my initial ramblings come together into something much more cohesive! I'm thrilled with the final product!

In no particular order, because I love them each to pieces and would love to display them all in the number one position (plus, I haven't figured out pictures so well in blogger), here they are...
Teacher to the Core
Katie Knight - Teacher to the Core
Linda Kamp - Around the Kampfire
Fun & Fearless in First
Colleen Dembs - Fun & Fearless in First
First Grade Smiles
Melissa Machan - First Grade Smiles
 That First Grade Blog
Jen Mariano - That First Grade Blog

Ellen Yucht was also an amazing editor! Thanks so much, Ellen for your great feedback and for blasting it on Pinterest!!

PLEASE check out their blogs and show them some love! I'm so grateful for their wonderful brains & precious time!

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Texts from my daughter's 4k her!

So, my 4 year old daughter Emily is a bit of a pistol. Darling, hilarious, sweet, spunky and adorable.

Definitely a pistol. (Soooo not apple-tree, right?!)

Her 4K teacher is fanTASTic.
We love her.
For many reasons.

Her wonderful handling of Emily being one of them.

Several times this year I've brought my phone in to the lounge to read her text/email messages to my team so we could share a laugh. After today's they urged me to share them on my blog.

I thought...why not? Then, if my phone dies I will have saved them for posterity and, maybe they'll make you smile, too. ;)

Here are a few of my faves...

The first one was a typo in an email that any one of us could make (which is why I laughed so much, maybe?) and of course it went home to all the families AND it was in the first few weeks of school. It happened on a day that they had a special event first thing in the morning (can't remember what it was).

Heads up. The ____ ran long so chapel ran late so lunch ran late and rest time was short. You might have crappy kids tonight.

**crabby (oops. too cute.)

Favorite Text Message #1
T: Hey, I'm having a container of grapes mystery. Did Emily have a pink round container of grapes today?

Me: Yes. (seriously wondering what was up with the randomness...knowing Emily had been up to something.)

T (half hour later): Here's the story...I found the container under the table unopened. I asked the table who lost their grapes. Emily told me it was Ashley. Ashley hates fresh fruit. Emily denied they were hers to me, Mrs. ___ and Mrs. ___ so she visited the principal and ate her grapes.

We love that she follows through. The above example might seem a little harsh if you don't know her or Emily, but it was totally appropriate for Emily! (And, the principal - out of Em's ear shot - told me it was the highlight of her day.) And...she's so not harsh...she's awesome and hilarious and loves four year olds.

Favorite Text Message #2
T: A funny thing happened at rest time. Not really at the moment. Emily put a button up her nose. She blew it out on the third blow. There was a small bloody nose afterwards. I am texting you a pic cuz it's amazing how big it was.

(It was nearly as big as a dime! In her tiny little nose!)

Me: Oh my word.

Text #3
T: Emily had some issues in a center so I sent Santa a text and Santa asked her to be kind and nice. Emily is now having a great day.

Text #4
T (later that same day): Emily has been a rock star.


Emily has already grown so much under her! We are so blessed to have her in our lives!!!

Saturday, December 8, 2012

S.T.A.R. Readers - Study Think Ask Respond

Are you looking to raise the rigor and increase the fun with your little readers? You might want to introduce them to the S.T.A.R. Readers...

Then, you can work with them to set goals while they Build the Habits of S.T.A.R. Readers.

This pack isn't really a can be the underlying foundation/overarching umbrella to your entire reading instruction. 

Maybe you're looking to mix things up at this time of the year?

I will happily give away a copy to two Rafflecopter winners. (Scroll down for the widget.)

Click here if you'd like to take a look...

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Featured!! :) Thanks, Dana!

If you've headed over from Dana's blog, WELCOME! Thanks for stopping by! Check out the blog archive or labels on the right side for topics of interest. :) If you like what you see, I'd be honored if you'd follow me. If not, no worries. (I'll actually never know. Well, unless you write a mean comment, but I doubt you'd do that.)

Thanks so much for offering to preview my Building STAR Readers pack! (See post here.) I've sent it out to my "editors" and will eagerly await their feedback. :)

Dana over at Fun in First Grade features different bloggers on Tuesdays...I'm thrilled to be featured today along with two other bloggers. :) Head on over and show Miss Dana and the other ladies some love!
New Teacher Blog Graphic

Sunday, December 2, 2012

December Farley & Looking For Fresh Eyes

Love hooking up with Farley at Oh Boy 4th Grade!

And - I am working on a Common Core Reading Workshop pack called "Building S.T.A.R. Readers - Study Think Ask Respond" and I'd love some fresh eyes to look it over and give suggestions/feedback.  If you'd like to be my fresh eyes please comment below, (leaving your email address AND the grade(s) you teach) if you can get me some feedback by Saturday, December 8th. Once the unit is complete I'll send you the final version as a thank you! :)

I'll choose from the commenters and send out the unit by Tuesday. Thanks so much!

Here's a little preview of part of it (Pardon the odd formatting of the pictures...I just can't figure that out on blogger):