Thursday, January 31, 2013

Shout Out Linky - February

I would LOOOOVVVE some help to figure out how to set up a reply option underneath the comments my lovely readers make! 

When people leave a comment it comes to me via email and if their email address shows up I often respond back through an email. If they're a no-reply comment blogger then I can't reply via email and I'd love the option to reply right here on the blog. Especially if the comment includes a question that could help other readers.

I have found several tutorials from google and followed them to a T. No dice.

So, if you can help me set up "reply" in the comment section of my blog please comment below to send me in the right direction OR email me at growingfirsties@gmail.com.

I'd be sooo thankful!

If you'd like to link up, the guidelines and the widget are at the bottom of this post.

K...I'm SUPER excited to do my February Shout Outs! 

It was really, really REALLY hard to decide. Remembering that I can do more shout outs next month and the next month and the next month helped.

Shout Out Numero Uno goes to Katie King - Queen of the First Grade Jungle.
She featured my STAR Readers pack in her 1300 fb follower give away a few weeks back.


Shameless plug, I know...but it is a pretty fabulous pack and can be used with absolutely any reading program or format!

It was just SOOO super kind of her to do that for me and I was humbled. And, thrilled!

You can read a little bit more about it on this post (and, go ahead and link up with Katie Knight for her fun High/Low Linky!)

Shout Out numero dos goes to Laureen at Teach with Laughter
Teach With Laughter
A few months back I was one of her first commenters for a post she did about some football themed math centers.

Same thing with her recent Valentine Measuring center. Lucky me!

I absolutely love, love, LOVE her centers! The I can statement pages are SO helpful and easy to follow!

I'm adding some of her packs to my TpT wishlist in preparation for the big Super Sunday sale on TpT. They're sooo great!

You should definitely go check out her blog and TpT store! She's participating in a 14 day freebie blog hop so go give her some lub and tell her I sent ya.



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! :)


Wednesday, January 30, 2013

High/Low Linky & Some Giveaways

My lovely friend Katie over at Teacher to the Core is hosting a Linky and since I adore that girl, I'm fo sho linking up!
high low

If you haven't entered my giveaway yet, you'll definitely want to do so! There is sooooo much fabulousness...and not much time left to enter. 

And, onto the Katie's wonderful linky...
low
...definitely being in the hospital with my poor puking-like-a-maniac-but-it's-not-the-flu-it-could-be-some-strange-syndrome 4 year old daughter. You can read more about that on this post here.

The girl loves to twirl! And pose. And wear fuzzy socks. And princesses. Love her.

So, so, SO glad we're back to nearly normal...I do have a little bit of a "Hospital Hangover" and am still recovering. However, I'm uber-aware of the families and children I saw while we were at Children's Hospital those two nights. 

Families who spend their entire lives in and out of Children's working with the various medical needs of their children.

Humbled and in awe of their strength and courage.

And, wouldn't you know it...my low point lead STRAIGHT into my 

HIgh (2)


Life is so funny sometimes...

My high point was definitely the very next day we returned from the "hoss-ah-boe" (Emily speak) when Katie King - Queen of the First Grade Jungle featured my STAR readers pack on her 1300 facebook follower giveaway!!!

It was such a thrill to see all the sweet comments appear within moments of her posting it and to see my fb likes jump up!

What an honor!

AND to top it all off, I also got an email from Ashley Hughes - of The School Supply Addict fabulousness saying that I'd won her Valentine Kids clipart set from her fb giveaway. So sorry for the blurry pic, but if you click the pic it will take you to them on TpT.
Valentine's Day Kids {Graphics for Commercial Use}
Seriously - so, so, so fun!

It made me really think about how when things are tough you just keep. on. going.

You never know what's around the corner!

Thanks for the fun linky, Katie! Looking forward to our next one, too...starting Friday!

Hope you get the chance to head over to these other giveaways from some lovely ladies that I am honored to be involved with! Head on over and tell them I sent ya!



Monday, January 28, 2013

Mini-Giveaway Winner and BIG Giveaway Reminder

Have you entered the BIG giveaway yet? Click the pic to head over...just a few more days left!



Congratulations to the winners of my Common Core Crunch - February pack! It's been selling great already and I'm thrilled that it will be used!!

If you didn't win, you can still get it for 20% off at TpT until Thursday night.


Michelle J.

Tania K.

Marie E.

Check your email!

Sunday, January 27, 2013

400 Follower Giveaway - Erin Condren & More!

I have been so excited to get this giveaway going that I decided to make it live before I'm officially at 400 Google Followers...thanks to all of you email followers out there I'm well over 400!

I'm looking forward to posting another installment of my Oprah's Favorite Things experience...I've got two more to go. Thanks so much for your patience!! (Your emails crack me up! I promise I'll get to it!!!!) You can catch up by on the first three posts by clicking on the Oprah label/tag over on the right side of the blog.

So...what's the skinny??? Or fat...or phat...SUCH a fabulous giveaway!!!

Some of my very, very, VERY favorite peeps are helping me out and you are gonna luh-uh-UHV it!

I have actually tossed and turned a little bit about what order to put these fabulous prizes in...they all deserve TOP billing!!!

Are you familiar with Erin Condren
I am on my second year of using the life planner and I am in LOVE.  I tried to use my phone and some digital apps to plan my life and I just wasn't able to make that transition. Maybe 2014? Or maybe I'll stick with E.C.

I love to carry my clipboard around my room while recording student data for math and writing. The back of the clipboard has the pattern of my life planner. LOVE.

The notecards and notepads are also so fun! The notecards are heavyweight cardstock and come with the address labels. Both the cards and notepads have a plastic carrying case which protects them when they're in your purse, car or bag.

Fabulous Prize #1...

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Are you looking for some FAB digital backgrounds or clip art? Or even a blog makeover? The absolutely terrific Alicia from Dreamlike Magic designs offers all kinds of other digital cuteness, too, so make sure and check her out!

Fabulous prize #2...


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Please tell me you are familiar with Ashley Hughes...The School Supply Addict! She is SUPER talented. Sick talented. Her Visual Directions Cards have SAVED me. SAAAVVVEEEDD me. I also love her clip art and backgrounds and her darling blog!

Fabulousness #3...


 ==========
My next friend has made the TOP 10 on TpT for the last few weeks!!! Her American Heroes Unit, which I had the privilege of editing, has made a huge splash on TpT and I am so so SOOOO proud of her and happy to call her my friend!

Fabulousness #4...
Are you following her darling blog yet? I also got to edit her Chinese New Year pack and she rocked it again. I'm looking forward to Feb. 10th in my class and if you win, you will too!


==========
Another buddy (and my not-so-secret crush), Greg Smedley, is also helping me out! I just love this guy! He is super fun, amazingly creative and deliciously sarcastic. His blog posts put a smile on my face every. single. time.

Fabulousness #5...
Go and buy his Snow Unit!!! It is SUCH fun and, of course, Common Core aligned!

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You might have seen Linda Kamp's recent feature on TpT for reaching the $20K milestone. I'm telling you...she earned every penny FOR A REASON. Creative is an understatement for this kind, thoughtful friend of mine.

Fabulousness #6...
She is hosting a Suess-ish giveaway right now, so make sure to head over and maybe even let her know I sent ya! And, if you haven't seen her Tomie dePaola Unit you DEFinitely need to check it out!


==========
Almost last, and certainly not least, is another favorite...Susan Moran of TGIF is a total ROCK star! I own just about everything she sells on TpT and can also attest to her kindness and generosity. She is one amazing teacher and creator extraordinaire!

Fabulousness #7...

This up and coming blogger, Khrys Bosland of Keepin It Kool In Kinderland, has some fab products in her TpT store, including some darling clipart! She's recovering from surgery so make sure you go give her some lub!

For the last set of prizes...
You might be interested in my Building STAR Readers for Reading Workshop, Personal Narrative Writing Workshop Unit or my Friendly Letter Writing Workshop Unit. If you win, you'll also get Common Core Crunch for February!

You can read more about it here on this post...it's selling wonderfully right now and I'm already thinking about what skills to include in the March set.

Gulp...you're ALMOST there!

Please consider linking up with Katie and I for the February installment of our Shout Out Linky party...it will be live beginning Friday, February 1st!

K....here's the Rafflecopter...and....GO!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Friday, January 25, 2013

Common Core Crunch

GIVEAWAYS CLOSED.
Are you ready for February's Shout Out Linky? It's coming Feb. 1! Who ya gonna shout out??

Are you getting as excited as I am about my 400 follower giveaway?

Erin Condren ($25 to spend)

Ashley Hughes (Visual Directions Cards)

Dreamlike Magic ($15 to spend)

Linda Kamp (TpT item of choice)

Katie Knight (Chinese New Year Pack)

Susan Moran (TpT item of choice)

Greg Smedley (TpT item of choice)

And of course, Me (2 TpT items of choice)

SOOO much excitement on the horizon!!! A ginormous thanks to my amazing bloggy buddies willing to help me celebrate!

Technically I am well over 400 followers (google & email)...so as soon as I can get my act together I will be posting the giveaway!

Now...onto my latest project...

I am super excited about my latest creation...Common Core Crunch! It is up and live on TpT and sold within minutes of being posted!!! How fun is that??

This pack is filled with 21 make-your-life-easy printables aligned with Common Core English Language Arts Standards, all centered around excitement in the month of February...

Groundhog Day

Presidents Day

Valentines Day

Dental Health


Here's the TpT preview (but you'll see it larger if you download the preview from TpT)...


You know I love to give some copies of my new creations away, so go ahead and leave a comment telling me (and my wonderful readers) one of your favorite TpT purchases! Don't forget your email address!!! 3 winners will be selected this Sunday night. After that, the pack will be on sale for a few days.

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Indoor Recess Freebie

The van said it was -6 degrees today. Air Temp. The wind chill made it even colder.

Can you say indoor recess?

Sigh.

This little freebie has REALLY helped! (LOVE my friend Shelley for sharing the idea!!!)

Hope it can help you, too!


Parents love it because there are fewer McDonald's toys underfoot at home.

Hint - I love TpT feedback!

AND - my 400 follower giveaway got even BETTER today!!! 

Erin Condren

Dreamlike Magic

Ashley Hughes

Susan Moran

Linda Kamp

Greg Smedley

Katie Knight

How do I even choose the right order to list them? They all have equal billing!

Every single one of those peeps are AMAZINGLY talented and wonderful and I'm super excited to host such a fun giveaway!

Bring on 400!

Sunday, January 20, 2013

Back to Normal, Giveaway Heads Up and a Cool Product Review

Hi All!
Well, we've been working on getting back to "normal" since my daughter's illness/hospital stay.

Ya know...normal...meaning dealing with stuff like this:
Me-thinks perhaps a bit of excessive blogging (stalking & posting) contributed to letting go?

This happened just prior to my daughter's illness and we just recently got it dealt with...good to know that a spare tire really does work! 

AND - that the Mister and I can change a tire! Trickiest part was figuring out how to get the jack out of its storage compartment!

I highly prefer stalking and posting to the maintenance stuff of life, but I must admit I do feel a lot more productive once "normal" is dealt with! 

I'm on the quest for balance. Sigh.

Shameless Plug #1:
Are you thinking about your shout outs for the February Shout Out Linky? Here's the January one if you'd like more information. February will be posted by February 1st and we'd LOVE to have you!

SP#2:
My Ramp Up to 400 follower giveaway is going to be FAB! Erin Condren, Dreamlike Magic, Ashley Hughes, Susan Moran, Linda Kamp and more! 

Keep your eyes peeled! 

Well...not really.

Product Review
The sweet folks at Barker Creek (Tessa, especially) have EVERY reason to be annoyed with me...

I was to review two of their Draw-Write-Now products in early DECEMBER and I didn't.

My intentions were GREAT. My execution was not.

Better late than never?

So - Tessa sent me two of the books to review and I must say, my students really enjoyed them both.


Even the it's not Thanksgiving any more book! (Sorry to be late!)

There were several great things about these products and I'm so glad I get to keep the titles!

Draw-Write-Now is a series of eight books intended to provide factual information, show how to draw and demonstrate handwriting.



We really loved the visual Table of Contents:
My class went straight for the penguins and polar bear! The kayak was a hit, too!

The format is consistent throughout the book. There is a page containing a beautiful illustration and some factual information followed by a page that shows how to draw the main element of the illustration.

Here are a few pages:

My first graders worked with a partner to read and draw and were able to handle these texts well!

At the end of each informational page there is an inferential question that leads to nice discussion. The two questions above:
Air Migration: How do birds know where to go?
Wolf: Why are the northern wolves white?

I really enjoyed these books and will use them in my Illustration Station. I may just have to use them to brush up on my own illustrating, too!

The combination of informing and illustrating was just right for my kiddos!

Go check them out right here...

Thanks so much for a fun and educational product, Barker Creek!

Monday, January 14, 2013

Hospital...Syllable Pack Giveaway...Common Core Crunch

You never, ever know what a day will bring.

My 4.5 year old daughter woke up last Monday perky as usual and went to school like normal.

She had to get picked up by my husband mid-day because she threw up.

I scrambled to write sub plans for the next day and rush home. What sick kiddo doesn't want their mama?

Had to stay home the next day, too. Let's just say that I was bowl holding and back rubbing every 15-20 mn for a day and a half solid.

Even through the night.

My second day home with her wasn't so tough. She seemed on the upswing.

So I went back to work on Thursday. Got a text from my husband that I didn't see until my after school meeting was over. She was sick again and that I should be planning to be out the next day, too.

Before I got sub plans ready I called her pediatrician, who encouraged me to bring her to the E.R.

While I finished getting my sub stuff ready to go, my husband and eight year old son drove her to my school and I took her to the E.R. at Children's Hospital of Wisconsin...about a 15 mn drive.

She was totally silent. Which is incredibly unlike her. So so soooo unlike her.

I was so worried I could barely drive.

Emily got seen right away.

And she e...ven...tual....ly got admitted. While waiting I could hear Code Blue announcements, followed the sign inside the room that suggested remaining in the room with the door closed due to infectious diseases, screaming kids, beeping equipment...

Scary.

We finally got to Em's room in the hospital and were there for two nights.

She may have a condition called cyclic vomiting, which is also known as abdominal migraines. She's had multiple vomiting illnesses over the last few years...

We have an appt with a specialist (apparently he's the leading expert on vomiting in the country and he practices at Children's Hospital of WI...lucky break) in a few weeks and will know more at that time.

Getting to go home to our own beds was amazing!!!

You just never know what a day will bring.

If you know anything about cyclic vomiting/abdominal migraines I'd love to hear from you...growingfirsties@gmail.com.

In a more positive light...
I have a new syllable pack that I'd love to give away. I haven't decided how many to give away yet...but I'm feeling generous (actually giddy with relief that my daughter's okay!) . :)

You might remember the freebie part from a few posts back...go ahead and grab that here. If you could leave me some TpT feedback after you download I would really appreciate it!

Here's the newest pack with five themes...available on TpT.

If you'd like to win the pack, go ahead and do these three things in a comment below:
1. Tell me what name you follow me under.
2. Leave me your email address.
3. Tell me what ELA skills you'd like to see me include in my "Common Core Crunch - February" pack.

Common Core Crunch??? That's my newest creation that I'm hoping to have posted by the weekend. And yes, I'll give some of those away, too.

Here's a Sneak Peak of Common Core Crunch..."A tasty mix of CCSS ELA & Writing Fun!" 

This will end up being a monthly series of printables that can be used as supplemental practice, Daily Warm Up or homework...

Here is a tiny sneak peak...there will be big variety of ELA practice opportunities using the February themes of Valentine's Day, President's Day, Dental Health Month and Groundhogs Day. Generally first grade focussed...




And, Elizabeth at Kickin It in Kindergarten is having a giveaway for her darling MLK pack that includes the reader below as well as some other cute stuff. Head over and give her some love. Tell her I sent ya.



Lastly - if you'd like to link up to or check out the Shout Out Linky...there's still time...just click the pic below and check out the great blogs who have linked up so far...

Smiles -