Thursday, February 24, 2011

Thanks to The Inspired Apple!

{Thanks to The Inspired Apple.}

To those of you that are not familiar with The Inspired Apple, {which I am SURE you are, but for the few of you that are prepared to meet a gal that seriously is quite an inspiration.}  Seriously, I don't think Miss Abby ever stops thinking of awesome ideas {Miss Abby, I am awarding you Number #1 Teacher!}  I follow both of her blogs {both a-w-e-s-o-m-e!} and when she posted about her Mystery Box idea, I just had to run over to TpT to snag myself a copy.  This idea is completely the ownership of The Inspired Apple.  I am just so tickled that I finally have that darn box from Target and now she {the box}is good to go.  I am so super excited to use this with my kiddos.  I had an old Mystery Box, but seriously how stinkin cute is the new one?  So, thank you Miss Abby...keep the ideas a-flowing because I love them.  I hope that my little ole blog will be famous like The Inspired Apple some day.  {Just a reminder, that this was NOT my idea, Miss Abby from The Inspired Apple is the owner.}  Now go grab one from her at TpT.  Is it weird that I am so excited to come back to school tomorrow to use this? 

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Happy Birthday, President Washington!

I am sorry that I did not get this posted before Presidents' Day, however I wanted to share our George Washington art activity.  What a great way to use up white, foam packing peanuts.  We will be turning our Washingtons into a blabber {talking picture} as soon as we finish up our mini unit on Presidents' Day {should be tomorrow!}

{Check out that famous hair!}

{Our display outside our classroom door.}

Monday, February 21, 2011

Brain POP Jr. Honors Presidents' Day

If you are continuing to teach about Presidents' Day, the site BrainPopJr. has a free video with related activities for both George Washington and Abraham Lincoln.  The videos are geared more for 1st, 2nd, and 3rd grades.  Typically you have to have a membership to use this site {it can be costly}, but every now and then free videos and activities are offered.  I read several books about Washington and Lincoln to my firsties and then we watched the short videos and completed a few of the activities.  Enjoy!

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Stylish Blogger Award

Thank you to Dana at {love2shareandlearn} for awarding me the "Stylish Blogger Award."  I was surprised and tickled at the same time.  It's actually funny that she awarded little ole me with this award as I am in the process of giving my blog a new and improved look.

Here are the rules for receiving this award:
1. Thank and link back to the person who awarded you this award
2. Share 7 things about yourself
3. Award 5 recently discovered great bloggers
4. Contact these bloggers and tell them about the award

So 7 things about me...
1. I love reality TV {no judgement, please!}
2. I am completely over the moon that my son is now potty-trained {Can I get an Amen!}
3. I drink a Mt. Dew in the morning when I can't get to the shop to buy my favorite French Vanilla Cappuccino.
4. I love to clean, I love when everything is put back in its place.  Remember, I have two young kiddos and they have more toys then most toy stores have.  I am always putting every toy back in its special place, and yes I know that the toys are going to find a home on the floor in the matter of five minutes for the hundredth time.
5. I love the peaceful feeling when my husband and two kids are tucked in bed for the evening and I have the house to myself.
6. I love two-hour delays!
7. I am so excited to tell my daughter that we are going to see Taylor Swift in concert for her 6th birthday.  {Did I mention we are in row "A"!}

Now to pass the award on to 5 other recently discovered blogs...
1. Dana at love2shareandlearn
2. Laurie at morningsunfirstgrade
3. Tales from a First Grade Teacher
4. Kristen at firstgradeteaching
5. Elizabeth at fabulouslyfirstgrade

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Fabulous in First Give-A-Way

This is better than receiving an early morning call that there is a two-hour delay or better yet a cancellation.  Michelle from Fabulous in First {one of my favorite blogs} is having an A-M-A-Z-I-N-G giveaway.  If you have never been introduced to Fabulous in First, let me roll out the red carpet and sound the trumpets.  I was so tickled when I came across this blog.  Trust me, you will be hooked at reading all of her ideas and checking out the resources.  Go right now and check it out...don't forget to enter the giveaway.  Good luck!

OK, I was wrong!

If any of you read my "Who Knew" post you know that I had an addition that I was working on to add to our Olivia display.  When I came up with the idea {which, by the way, I thought was brilliant at the time} of having my firsties add a pop of red color to a plain image of Olivia {the piglet} I cute, right?  Well, here is a picture of Olivia in her pop of red color clothing from the actual story.

Here is a picture of the work of one of my firsties...

Now, you know that I could not have added this or the many more detailed ones {that I didn't take pictures of} to our hallway display or I would have been heckled by my collegues.  Although, I nearly wiped away all of my eye makeup from tearing up and laughing so much that day, I did have the best laugh with my instructional aide.  Gotta love the the work of a six year old. :)

One More Valentine Decoration

I am sure that you are getting a little tired of decorations for Valentine's Day, but I thought I would share a simple window decoration that we made in my classroom.  I have two large windows in my classroom and I love to keep the blinds up on the one window...I like natural light in a classroom.  I had my kiddos make stained glass hearts with tissue paper squares and clear contact paper.  I put the hearts through the laminator when the kiddos finished pressing their tissue paper squares onto the clear contact paper {window}.  This is a simple decoration that makes me smile when I pull into work and see my classroom window from the outside of the building.

I always have my kiddos make a holiday themed stained glass something to decorate our window.  Next up for display...shamrocks {of course!}  By the way, notice the other windows have the blinds pulled way down. :)

The Little White Owl

I teach a unit on owls in the fall, which I assume many of you do as well.  I came across the book, The Little White Owl and just fell in love with the story itself, but also the cute illustrations.  This is a great story about becoming friends and being happy with who you are {even if you are a plain, white owl}.  After reading the story, I had a discussion with my firsties about expecting others.  Then, I had my firsties create a new, colorful character for the story. 
 I wish you could see the detail better.
We made a display for our window...Be Whooo You Are!

Fractions with Conversation Hearts

I know that many of you use conversation hearts for graphing activities, which I also do this activity with my firsties...but, I wanted to make good use of the conversation hearts, so I thought I would reinforce a math concept that we were learning...fractions.  I gave each of my students one box of conversation hearts and had them represent fractions of a set {1/2, 1/3, or 1/4} and also non-unit fractions {2/3, 3/4, ...}  I was so tickled that they really "got" fractions.  Here are a few pictures of my kiddos and our sixth grade buddies showing their knowledge.  Oh, I also found some great additional activities for conversation hearts at The First Grade Parade...I wish I would have come across these earlier...there is always next year!

Friday, February 11, 2011

Who knew?

Who knew that a dixie cup would make a great heart stamper...{ummm, not me until today that is!} and who knew that a $2.00 box of valentines would inspire my little firsties to write {ummm, not me again, until today!} I got the Olivia writing idea from The Inspired Apple {this gal is a-w-e-s-o-m-e!}  My firsties picked an Olivia valentine out of a special bag and wrote a short story about the story behind the picture.  I was unable to download the Olivia stationary from The Inspired Apple {because for some unknown reason, the site where it is located is not accessible from my school computer...crazy!}  So, I had to create my own took a whole five minutes {seriously, it did!}  Oh, by the way...there is an entire site dedicated to Olivia.

After the kiddos shared their stories {so funny, by the way!}  I thought that the stationary should be matted onto a background for an optimal display,so since my firsties loved this writing activity so much, I thought this would be a great background to paste our Olivia stories onto.  We used a plain Jane dixie cup, and it worked great!   

Student wrote the following...Olivia is playing dress up with her cat.  The cat is wearing a blue hat.  Olivia was playing with her cat because her friend was not allowed to come over.

Also, our display is not quite complete...I will post a picture later {I thought of another addition!}

Happy Birthday, President Lincoln!

Today I began I began a mini unit on President's Day with my kiddos.  If you have not been introduced to the site, BrainPOP Jr., I highly recommend that you visit this site ASAP, there is a free Abraham Lincoln video with related activities.  We also read the following books...
 This is a great kiddos enjoyed learning the story behind his famous hat.
This is a great listening story since it's a song...{listening as in CD...because I don't sing well unless, I am in my car!}

My kiddos also made the most adorable Lincolns that we will be turning into blabbers {as in talking picture}...the site, Blabberize is awesome for digital storytelling...and it's free {score!}  Each kiddo {Lincoln picture} will introduce themselves as President Lincoln and share some facts about his life.  I was really impressed with the list of facts that my little firsties came up with. I will post a few "blabbers" when we complete them.  Here are a few Lincolns {if you think these are cute, just wait till you see our Washington pictures}...

 I guess I didn't realize that Abraham Lincoln had buck teeth {I love the drawing of a six year old.}

I couldn't rotate these photos {my apologizes for the neck cramp.}

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

My "FIND" in action...

Well, my firsties were just as excited about using the monster bags for a spelling activity as they were when I announced that we are having pizza at our Valentine's Day party.  I love when the littlest thing makes someone happy...I mean, I was thrilled at my "find" from the Dollar Store.  So, from a six year old...I am sure it really made their day.  Here are a few photos of the monster bags in action...

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Dollar Tree Stole My Heart

At the end of a wild day with my firsties, I knew what I had to, I grabbed a Mt. Dew and decided that tonight I had a date at Wal*Mart.  I decided I had better pick up the supplies for my treats and goodies that I am making for Valentine's Day {see below}.  Now typically, I can find everything I need at Wal*Mart and 95% of the time I leave that place, I spend an extra $50 or more on items that never even had a home on my list {I'm not even kidding, I can't leave that place with just the things on my list.}  Well, knowing that Valentine's Day would not be the same without the cotton candy ice cream cone just has to make an appearance in my daughter's classroom this year...I braved the 3 degree winter weather and made another stop at The Dollar hopes of finding bagged cotton candy.  Nothing {I repeat nothing} could have prepared me for what was about to happen inside The Dollar Tree this evening...I was greeted and asked if I needed assistance...I'm sorry, but I had to take a moment and digest what just happened.  I have never been greeted and asked if I needed assistance at The Dollar Tree.  Now, of course I'm not going to turn down an offer that is going to lead me to the checkout counter much quicker than me spending my time hunting down bagged cotton candy.  A helpful, young employee marched me to the back of the store as if the bagged cotton candy was screaming "We're over here!"  And right before my eyes was all of the bagged cotton candy I could have hoped for, so I grabbed six bags...awesome {check off list}.  The employee said "Ma'am, do you need a cart?"  I replied, "No thank you, this is all I needed tonight!"  As I walked to the front of the store, I passed by the gift bag aisle.  Here comes the second best part of my day {finding the bagged cotton candy was the first} I found monster gift bags that I believe was posted on The Inspired Apple.  At that point, I knew I would need atleast a store basket.  So many activities were swirling through my head, I knew I just had to have them.  Hello...they can be used for math {fact families}, fact and opinion, word families, spelling activities...the possibilities are endless.  So, I snatched 12 bags right up, there are four different monsters.  I plan on giving a set to my BFF {AH} and  using a set tomorrow {that's right baby...spelling activity!} and the last set would be packed away for future use.  Who knew that The Dollar Tree would be a goldmine in one evening.  After a few more minutes in the store...I had to do my store basket in for a cart. I told you I can't leave a store with just the items on my list.  If you live near The Dollar know what you have to do.

This is all I needed.

And this is what I walked out with...yippee!

Monday, February 7, 2011

I Heart My SMART Board

To those of you that have a SMART Board in your classroom, you know how L-U-C-K-Y you are to have one, right?  Well, I have had mine in my classroom for the last two years and I love it as much as I love a group of firsties that keep their hands to themselves and their shoes tied {at all times}.  Of course there are a few moments every now and then, when my board is exhausted from being so SMART and declares a rest...which then sends me into a frenzy to scramble to find the few lost souls of chalk in my classroom to go back to the old days of the "chalkboard."  Well, if you haven't taken the time to check out the Smart Exchange, you don't know what you are missing...there are so many amazing educators that create files for the SMART Board and share them at the Smart Exchange.  I downloaded files for the 100th Day of School, Groundhog's Day, Hangman {spelling game}...hello, these files were free...which means I saved myself the time and energy I would have used to create the files myself and scored myself some extra "me" time...that's too's rare to have "me" time with my two kiddos.   
Groundhog Day
100th Day Fun 

Love, love, love it!

After taking an extra deep breathe last night and realizing that I had my family tucked in bed for the evening...I did what any one of us would do...I grabbed the laptop and checked my favorite blogs for awesome ideas and this is what I found with help from the First Grade Parade.  The crafty lady behind this adorable valentine goodie is At Second Street.  I am totally making a trip to Wal*Mart this week and getting my supplies {sorry, I just had to put the star in there as my firsties do this every time they write in their journals.}  I just might get the ooohhh and aaahhh from my daughter's teacher when Emma takes these into her classroom...I am so pumped to make these.  Too bad that I am not pumped to make dinner tonight.

Did I mention the printables are tatertots & jello.

Oh, and I'm making this...

I think I will add a super cute tag that reads...You melt my heart...I know, totally cute!

Oh, my it dismissal yet?

Hello fellow teachers...I just completed a super-sized exciting day with my firsties.  Not only did we celebrate the 100th day today, but is Monday...the Monday after Super Bowl...many of my kiddos said they watched the entire Super Bowl, so with the excitement of staying up later, the exhaustion from staying up later, the celebration of the 100th day and the fact that it is indeed a Monday...I am exhausted from hearing myself talk.  Bless their hearts...I do adore them, but wow...what a day!  Yes...we did indeed decorate t-shirts, made crowns, masks, necklaces, and so I guess I really asked for the elevated level of exhaustion.

Sunday, February 6, 2011

Meet the Teacher

Cara from the First Grade Parade is doing a teacher linky, so I'm joining in on the fun. By the way, if you have not made a blog stop at the First Grade Parade, I highly recommend it, she is awesome!
I typically go by Suz {that is not, I repeat not Sue} instead of Suzanne...I have been married to John for almost 9 years {we have been together for 15 years}. We have two awesome kiddos...Emma Grace {5 1/2} and Jack Sloan {2 1/2}...and they keep us super busy, so we are offically a family of four {no more additions, unless Emma does get that puppy for her 6th birthday.} I love my family and friends. I love the thought of building a new house near my sisters. Those who know me best, know that I enjoy making others laugh.  I have been teaching for seven years...all in first grade, and there is no chance I'm giving up my firsties to go to a different grade any time soon.

 Emma Grace
The other man in my life...Jack Sloan

{ Q & A }
Q: What would you be doing if you weren’t a teacher?
A: I am embarrassed that I'm not stating that I would be a "stay-at-home-mom", but I would love to be an event planner {you know the bossy girl with super stylin clothes...I can so be bossy at times} I love to plan big events...and accessories, don't get me started.

Q: What are your hobbies?
A: Please don't think I'm crazy, but I LOVE working in my classroom {it's my "me" time} I really enjoy shopping, reading, blog stalking {I mean reading}, entertaining, spending time with my family {we really are a hoot!}

Q: When you were little, what did you want to be when you grew up?
A: So easy...a TEACHER of course {I knew in second grade and I ALWAYS had to be the teacher when my friends and I would play school...there I was being bossy again!}

Q: What are your guilty pleasures?
A: Mt. Dew, Twix, Real Housewives {you name the city and I watch them all}, People magazine, H & M, Jersey Shore, expensive shampoos and conditioners, and my Uggs

Q: What is your biggest fear?!
A: That my son will never be potty trained {just kidding, he's 2 1/2, but seriously I am so over Pull-ups!} On a serious note...losing my family {I love them to the moon and back and then some.} I also fear palms start to sweat when I see a spider.

Q: When you’re on vacation, where do you like to go?
A: The beach! Love my sand, sun, and the sound of the waves!

Q: What’s the best advice you’ve ever received?
A: From my BFF {AH} "Let it go!" I tend to over think things and stress over the little things.

Q: What do you value most in others?
A: Honesty and commitment…I like when I know I can count on others.

Q: If you could choose one of your personality traits to pass down to your kids, what would it be?
A: My sense of sisters think I'm super funny!

Q: If you could have lunch with anyone in the world….living or dead…who would it be?
A: My dad {I miss him each and every day...I just want to hear his voice again!} Also, I would love to have lunch with Taylor Swift {but, my daughter would definitely tag along:)}

Now tell us one random thing about yourself:
I high-fived Josh Groban at a concert in Pittsburgh, I can recite the lines of Pretty Woman as if I was Julia Roberts, and I am a happy girl when I can sneak a that's three random things.

Inspiring Me...

After sneaking any free time away from my two beautiful {yet demanding} children to stalk my favorite blogs this past weekend, I realized that perhaps...I too should begin a blog dedicated to teaching, sharing, and gabbing about the wonders of first grade. I currently maintain a blog {Yee-Yaw! Welcome to Classroom 103} which is dedicated to the academics and activities of each week specifically for the parents of my students and my first grade kiddos, and then I share a blog with a first grade teacher in Austin, Texas...Blogging Buddies.

I have become...I hate to say it...but quite obsessed {I should really say "smitten"} with a few other blogs...Blabbing Abby and Fabulous in First. These two ladies really know there stuff and because of their inspiring and enchanting blogs...I have become inspired, so without further ado...Diary of a First Grade Teacher is born.