Saturday, May 25, 2013

Classroom Library & TCRWP Label Freebies

My sweet Emily is having one of her Cyclic Vomiting episodes and has been spending lots of time laying on her mat by the couch. 

She wants me and only me when she wakes every 20ish mn or so. 

This means I'm spending a lot of time on my couch with my laptop.

Too much of my time (and money) is being spent online shopping...Very Jane, Old Navy and eBay are a few sites getting my moola.

Must stop.

When I'm not blowing my cash, I've been putzing around making labels for the shift we're making in Readers' Workshop next year...

Our district will be following the Reading & Writing Workshop model from Teachers' College Reading & Writing Project. We've used pieces of Calkins' work for years, but now we'll have a comprehensive program.

In preparation, we're redoing our classroom libraries...switching over from a numbered level (Rigby, Reading Recovery) to lettered levels. So, all five bajillion books are getting re-labeled.

I wanted some cute labels for our new book baskets, so I whipped these labels up...
There are four color choices, each with a polka dot option and a chevron option. Feel free to grab them by clicking the picture above. Would love your feedback, too!!!

I've also made labels for my file tubs for each of the Teachers College Units...they look like this:

I am not sure what my file tub size will be so I made a variety of sizes. There are three different patterns, each with a complete set of three different sizes for the 7 First Grade Units.

You can snag them up by clicking the picture above.

I plan to shop for my file tubs soon. My goal is to store the mentor texts and files in the tubs. I'll be sure and post pictures of my final products!

Would LOVE for you to link up in our Shout Out Linky!!! Click the pic below for more details...

AND, not much time left at all to enter the Mystery Box Giveaway!! Click the pic below to hop to it, friends! I hope you win!!! (Heck...I wish I could win!)
Mystery box May

Friday, May 24, 2013

Shout Out Linky, Giveaway Reminder and Some Random Sauce

1. Stomach bugs are N.O.T. cool. Not. Not. Notty-Not-Not. (That's the chant I have my firsties say when I want them to NOT do in, "Repeat after me...I will not, not, ahead." Or whatever. I don't use it often, which is maybe why it's effective for 95% when we do use it? Gotta always have one who still does it anyways. Often the loudest chanter. Sigh.)

2. Going back to work before you're 100% is N.O.T. cool either. Can you say 5:30 p.m. bedtime? For-realzzz.

3. I am LOVING the independence of (the majority of) my firsties right now. Having mini-anxiety attacks when I think about the beginning of the year firsties in Fall. 

Hot, super humid school building (no a/c) + Lacking-in-Stamina 
= 10 trazillion activities each day 
= Super tired in noodle tired...every weeknight

4. Shout Out Linky! Katie and I would LOVE for you to join the fun!!! 

Click the pic below to get to the rules...(we especially love Farley's Rule of 3...)

Link up using the inlinkz at the very end of this post.

My Shout Outs this month go to these lovely ladies...

The phenomenal Lyndsey Kuster over at...

Her blog and TpT store have saved my patootie countless times over the last year+! I adore the way she arranges her graphics and page elements...she's got maaaaaddddd skilllllzzz. Plus, she is SUCH a kind soul. I.heart.her.tons.

I am currently prepping her latest pack to provide some great summer practice so my firsties keep their skills up over their joyful summer. 

This next pack is just too cute for practicing er/ir/ur. And, she has an ar pack (Smart Clark to the Rescue) AND an or (Stormy Norman to the Rescue) pack, too.

Lyndsey also has a ton of freebies on her blog and in her store. Click her button to get to her blog and right here to get to her TpT store.

My second S.O. goes to the incredible Faith Wheeler over at...

I adore her blog's updated look! (And am getting excited for my blog overhaul this summer!!!)

She makes the cutest darn work pages EVER! On ALL kinds of great skills! You must head over and follow her darling blog! Promise you won't regret it!

I am super excited to use this nice bundle next year (you can buy each fairy tale individually if you'd rather)...

She also has an amazing summer practice pack...filled with tons of wonderful skills practice! The girl is talented!

This lovely lady is FULL.OF.FREEBIES. And she shares SUCH creative ideas!!! PLUS, she is kind, thoughtful, smart and hilarious. Love.Her.Oodles.

Click her blog button to head to her blog and right here to hop over to her TpT store.

Thanks, Lyndsey and Faith for being so deliciously wonderful and inspiring to this gal!

5. Don't forget to enter this fab the pic to get there...

Mystery box May

Nine more days of school for me! Countin' down fo' sho'. 

Thanks, Doodlebugs for such a fun Friday linky!!! Click the pic to head over and link up with her or to see the other folks who've linked me some blog-surfin'!

Saturday, May 18, 2013

Headz Upz...5 for Friday

I am so excited to actually be posting again!!! I've been bogged down in all y'all have been, too! Thought I'd get my blogger legs back by joining in with Doodlebugs for her 5 for Friday linky...(on Saturday...)

1. Mother's Day Follow Up - The first thing I thought about when I woke up on Mother's Day was the smiles on my students' moms' faces as they received their's how they turned out this year...precious...

And, someone suggested adding something decadent to the cereal so instead of bowls I bought some bags of those Godiva truffles and put one in each bag with the spoons and cards. The bags were too small for the bowls anyways...they were the best I could find in the quantity I needed. Thanks, Michaels!!!

If you'd like to see my TpT freebie for this Mother's Day pack, click here.

2. Emily's recital is coming soon and she is so excited to be a fairy. 

Next year she'll be starting her third year of Pre-Ballet class...cuz she doesn't really pay attention or listen or really do much of anything she's supposed to so her teachers don't pass her on to the next class...she has fun so it's all good. :) Plus I gotta say I dig the Saturday morning ritual of bringing a book, or my computer or papers to correct while she's in her hearing their little feet on the dance floor and their sweet music while I work or read without any demands being placed upon me. 

Had to do her hair The Recital Way this morning...since I don't curl or do anything with my hair...EVER...let's just say it took some extra time to get it in a high ponytail with cascading curls. Tears may have been involved. (Her's...almost mine.)

3. Winner!!! 

A belaaaaaated announcement for my winner of the April Life is Better with Friends giveaway...congratulations goes to comment number 18...Meghan at First Grade Hugs and High Fives. Check your in-box for an email chock full of fabulousness! It should be there soon. :)

4. Did I reallllllly spend a zillion bucks on a pair of flip flops ?

Well...yes...but, actually, they're "Fit Flops" that were on sale and I had an additional $20 off. You supposedly get a workout while wearing them, which is NOT why I bought them (though it can't hurt)...they are seriously ridiculously comfortable and are made so that your foot has fewer pressure points touching the bottom. I love them so much I'm seriously considering paying full price to add a second pair of these to my life...these are the Fit Flops I'm thinking about.

5.  Heads up that I'll be putting together the May Shout Out Linky and posting it over the next few days, so get your thoughts together on who you'd like to Shout Out. It's so hard to narrow down to just two bloggers...there's so much amazingness out there!!!

Another heads up that you should keep your eyes open for the May "Mystery Box" giveaway!!!!!!! Too fun!

Go link up with...

Friday, May 3, 2013

Mothers Day Freebie - Mini-Breakfast In Bed

Hi Friends!

One of my VERY favorite projects of the year is Breakfast in Bed for Mothers' Day! 

Especially since it feels like I'm giving some love right back to the families after they've given me love during Teacher Appreciation Week.

Each year, moms have given me the happiest feedback, saying that it was their favorite part of Mothers' Day. Warms my heart!

And, moms DESERVE it!

You are welcome to download the freebie! Just click on the picture above to get to it. :) 

I didn't put the directions/list materials below, but they're in detail in the freebie file. Enjoy!

The following page gets filled in by each student and then re-copied onto a blank card. I usually buy a box of 100 "Recollections" scrapbook blank cards from JoAnn or Michaels every few years because they have such variety.

This poem is hand-copied or cut out and glued onto a gift bag or onto a white lunch bag (from WalMart). Depends on the writer.

Some kids get worried that they're not going to be allowed to wake up their mom a weensy bit early so I send this little note along with the following page stapled onto the letter.

This note generally helps the kiddo feel better about it with their dad. :)
If there's no Dad at home, I white-out the Dad on the letter & "For Dad's Eyes Only" but keep the rest. I also ask the kiddo if there's an older sibling or other grown up that can help out.

What do you do for your Mothers' Day project?

Thursday, May 2, 2013

5 for Friday (Giveaway included!)

Life is so so so much better with friends! These friends to be exact! We are are up too late (for our own goods) chatting and creating classroom materials to make your life easier.  This month's giveaway is fabulous! 

Click each pic, follow, and comment for a chance to win. Oh and did you see those cute birds in the graphic?  Let me tell you each of us has a "bird" story to share. Oh yes, that's right a bird story.... don't we all have a bird story? This group of friends either loves them, are freaked by them, or have had an encounter worth reading about! Click a pick to head on over. 

Growing Firsties
Fluttering Through First Grade



In our old house, we had a bat problem shortly after we got a new roof and covered the fascia with trim.

For several days there had been some "black rice" on our stoop. It sparkled a bit. We faithfully swept it off each morning, stumped by what it could be. Each morning there was more black rice. Took us a few days to realize it was bat guano. EWWW!

Once we thought that's what it was, we stayed outside at dusk. Sure enough, a bat swooped out of the fascia at the peak of the roof.

 And another bat swooped out.

And another...

And another...

We stopped counting at 48 bats. We still heard more squeaking.


What does one do when you have a zillion bats???

Call...the BATman!

He was a trip! (I do recommend him if you have a bat problem in the Milwaukee, WI area...despite what you are about to read.)

See...he came out and installed steel wool around the fascia wherever there was a crack larger than the small side of a match book. That's ALL the space bats need!!!!

He also installed a one-way door so that the bats could get out that night but not go back in.

Here's where it gets even freakier!!!

See...I was pregnant...the contract above was from July 6th...I had Zach on August I was verrrrry pregnant.

Well, my mom and her friend were in town to do the Danskin Triathlon and staying with me for the weekend. We were having all kinds of fun working in the nursery.
My stepdad built the crib and helped us put in the wainscoting. Loved that nursery...a children's literature theme.
Jeff was downstairs laying on the couch watching television that night when all of a sudden he screamed. Screamed.

Then hollered, "BATS ARE EVERYWHERE!!!!!!"

He was exaggerating maybe a wee bit.

See...there were *just* four bats flying around INside our house.

So, technically not "everywhere."

The bats did NOT like the steel wool, so "Batman" said they somehow went down the studs into the basement, then flew up because they were so freaked out by the change in their habitat.

But 4 bats IN the house???? OHMYGOSH....insane, insane, insane. (not the fun insane like being in Oprah's favorite things audience, but the insane, insane. Like go cray-cray QUICK insane.)

Two bats exited the house fairly quickly once we opened the door. The other two...not so much. They, apparently, were babies and didn't understand how to head for the outside.

We had to go into "Bat Mode" every night for a week or two until we could get them out of our house. Being nocturnal, they'd sleep during the day. Around dusk they'd wake up and start flying around our house. Bat Mode means we'd close the door from the kitchen to the dining room and the door from the kitchen to the family room.

We'd watch them flying around our kitchen from outside in the back yard and open the door trying to get them to go out. Unsuccessfully.

One night, we noticed only one.

The next day...I made brownies.

The day after husband smelled something bad. Really bad. Like carcass bad.

After MUCH following of his nose to no avail he decided to pull the oven out from the wall.

He sniffed his way to the vent in the back of the oven and got the screwdriver out to take off the vent for a closer look...
So...this is what he did...

And yes..we'd already eaten the brownies.

As for the other bat...that's a whole other story and if I can track down the video we took, I MUST post it for your entertainment.

Is it wretched that we didn't mention the bat problem a few years later when we sold the house? We never had them again.

Thanks, BATman!

Life gets so cray cray at times.

When was the last time you tried to hooler-hoop (in Emily speak)? For was this week. We've FINALLY had a few nice days weather-wise and it's been a blast to giggle with my daughter while attempting to hooler-hoop. Emily has it DOWN! Me? Not so much. :)
 It's been 90 days since I had a Diet Coke. I still want one sometimes, but for the most part, after getting through the first few weeks, all I want is water. Soooo glad to not have that, "I want a Diet Coke," thought obsessing around in my brain.
Don't forget to leave a comment to enter! Seven chances to win, by entering, following and commenting on each of my buddies' blogs!


Link back up with Doodle Bugs by clicking her graphic below!

Farley, Common Core Crunch - May & Giveaway Alert

People...Meghan Farley is AWESOME! Love her Currently Linky!!! Make sure you go link up! :)

Your sweet emails nudged finally gitrdun. Woot Woot!
Common Core Crunch - May is printed and copied and ready to go!

Now that it is done, I'm very excited to use it for word work, Daily Warm Up, homework and my sub tub!

LOVE that copying is the only prep needed!

Here are the 3 Freebies you get when you download the preview file...

And here are some weirdly placed preview pics of some of the other pages from the 30+page pack...


So, keep your eyes peeled for another Life Is Better With Friends Giveaway post...maybe *especially* be looking tomorrow. :)