September 19, 2014


ARRRRRRGGGGG . . . me thinks me found the treasure!  Did y'all know that it is International Talk Like a Pirate Day?  I sure didn't until the sweet Mel (From the Pond) alerted me to this fun little fact.  The crazy thing is that I have been working on a pirate-themed question pack all stinkin' week . . . Captain Question Mark.  #ohtheirony.

To help celebrate, I am joining forces with a bunch of sweet scallywags to bring you some serious pirate fun! You can score oodles of pirate booty in one quick little hop.  Each blog will bring you more free treasure.    

You can "dig up" my treasure by clicking on the image below.  It's a fun pirate themed statement vs. question page.  It's sure to delight your little buccaneers this fall. 

You can also click on the image below to find that a bunch of my writing resources are on sale today! It's all about selling the sizzle of sentences and paragraphs!!  Blimey, that's what I call good news!  

Captain Question Mark (my latest ditty) is among the "booty" on sale.  It is way out of the box and the kids are all about it every year.  I finally packaged it :)

Don't forget to pillage some other posts for more great teaching treasures (the links are below)!  Thanks so much for taking the time to visit.  I will be back Sunday to showcase some fun question mark ideas and activities that you can start using immediately.  

September 14, 2014


I just can't handle that glazed over look that many kiddos get during the writing block.  It breaks my heart. Writing is by far my FAVORITE THING to teach and it was the crux of my first degree  - Journalism.  There is something about playing with words that pumps me up . . . and I want my students to experience this feeling too.  

Let's face it . . . writing is HARD for kids of all ages.  (Heck, it can even be hard for me at times.)  To help combat this classroom/student reality, I began developing writing activities for my first graders to help mask this feeling.  I found that if you "sell the sizzle" of writing, your babes are much more likely to stay "with you" throughout lessons.  And, most kids find the whole process rather enjoyable.  Okay, so that is a BIG statement to make.  However, I have developed a method that eliminates those moans and groans when you utter the words, "writing time!"  I present to you my latest packet . . . Super Sentence Writers.

Over the years, I have continued to put myself in the wet-laced sneakers of a kiddo.  I think about what would draw me into the writing process and things that would excite me.  I also put myself a pair of lovely teacher Tieks.  I ponder the things that I want to get out of my writing lessons and the kind of writers I would like to see in class.  This combo has produced a pretty out of the box packet that has been tested and reworked for the past 8 years.  Boy . . . that was a really LONG way to say . . . here's how I roll :)

We always begin on the ground floor -- pocket chart style.  We build basic sentences together and talk about the elements that every sentence needs.  

Instead of running with the standard subject and predicate dance, we call this THE WHO and THE WHAT in our room.  Sure, I use the high level terms interchangeably, but it is so much more fun and meaningful to kids with this crazy twist.  If you know me, you know that I use silly voices and sound effects in a bunch of my lessons.  This one isn't any different . . . hehehehehe!

The "WHAT" voice is my favorite.  I fashioned it after Dave Chappelle's Lil John voice. I don't tell the babes this factoid (um . . . not appropriate).  However, the kids are all about that long drawn out "Whhhhhaaat??"
We transition into shared writing lessons.  Kiddos volunteer to help add the predicate (WHAT) to the subject of the day (WHO).  We wrote about fat cats and smelly teachers last week.  You could hear a pin drop and they were right there "with me" the whole stinkin' time.  They got to create their own final sentence . . . they made me giggle.  #teacherdream

I let my babes be wild.
Picking noses, burping, and puking is okay in the name of good sentences.

Wanna try one of these in your room??  Here's a freebie Super Sentence shared writing page.  CLICK HERE to grab a copy :)
As stated above, I like to complete the first two sentences together.
I let 'em fly on the last one and they share their creations :)
Thanks for the graphic, Melonheadz!

After a few of these, I let the reins out a bit more and we start running with our own adjectives.  Things get crazy . . . the kids are all about using the wildest description possible!  (You can bet that I encourage it . . . silly always seems to sell a lesson in my room.  Things can get serious once they can construct a quality detailed sentence.)

I toss in lots of fun activities to help mix things up.  They build on one another to help hone those super sentence skills.  This year I added a couple of new things to the packet that I cannot wait to try!!!  I am chompin' at the bit to get to the team sentence sort and the Finish My Thought game (a quick time filler activity that provides a portion of the sentence -- the kids have to orally add what's missing).

My favorite activity in the packet is new to my plans as well.  I can already see the "writing on the wall" with this one.  The kids are going to eat this up (and so will I . . . hehehehe). 

We are going to show off our sentence writing powers on Monday, September 22nd with Super Sentence Capes (I am so excited about this one that I already wrote it in the plan book).  You can bet that we will be fly around the room and read each other's work!  

Well, there you be.  My sentence writing style in a nutshell.  It's structured.  It's silly.  It's meaningful.  It's effective.  

 This packet offers 13 different activities to help build better writers.  
Many of the pages/games are EDITABLE!
It even comes with a sentence tune from Ron Brown's Intelli-Tunes.  

If you are looking for even more writing goodness, I bundled this packet.  You can snag my Punctuation Has Personality collection (just as out of the box and fun) with this new pack for a reduced price!  I put this packet and the bundle on sale through Monday!  


Thanks for taking the time to visit me today.  I will see you a little later this week with a fun fall freebie.  Enjoy the rest of your Sunday and here's to a wonderful week :)

September 13, 2014


Whhhho-Whooooooo!  Happy weekend my friends.  Well, how was it?  Ours was fast and furious, but we are getting there.  I can't believe that we have already tucked WEEK 4 neatly into our pocket.  Um, time . . . would you slow down pretty please :)

As to not waste a moment more of this precious time, I will get on with it already ;)  I am shocked that I am on top of FIVE FOR on an actual Friday.  Maybe I am turning over a new leaf (well . . . for this week any-who).  Classic Dolling.  I didn't finish this last night . . . bwahahahahahahaha.  SO much for that brand new leaf :)

We kicked off our addition introduction this week in good old Room 13.  I never do it the way the book wants me to . . . it's missing that extra spice.  So, every year I break out the cereal.  This ain't nuffin' new to most of you, but just in case you got sucked into your new CCSS math program (we've all been here) and forgot about fun . . . here you be.  The extra bonus this year was playing with the cereal under the new document camera --- the kids had an actual visual of what I wanted them to do.  Yes, you read that right . . . the new doc cam.  We just got one.  

We had been using the trusty light bulb overhead until the second week of school THIS YEAR.  I am slightly embarrassed about being in the Dark Ages . . . so, I am whispering this scary fact (maybe you won't read it).  Thank goodness our tech team finally pulled through and tossed us into the 21st century.  Jeez-o!

Here are a few pictures of the crew in action. They always seem to get the part-part-whole thing when they get to shove the WHOLE into their mouths.  Oh yeah . . . it's not the politest thing in the world, but I do what I can to keep 'em hooked during those LONG afternoons ;)  

We started with just placing Fruit Loops into circles.
They would drag them together to make a WHOLE and they would count the total.  
They got this no problem (thank you Kinder teachers), so we upped the ante.
We began writing the equation under the circles together.

They nailed this too, so I pushed them again. 
I got out the timer and they had 20 seconds to write out the equation.
Hook . . . line . . . sinker.   
I know that I have talked about his before, but writing on the tables is the way to go.
Yes, it is messy.  However, they adore it!
I always sell it BIG TIME and make them pinky promise not to tell on me . . .
Someone always does ;)

Speaking of math, stations have absolutely SAVED us in the afternoon.  I have always been hit or miss with these, but I made a vow to my teaching partner that I was ready to stay on track this year.  Well, holy moly . . . I didn't know what I was missin'.  These are such fun and the kids cheer when I utter the words, "It's station time!"  Here's a quick look-see at a few of the fun games we ran with this week . . . I had a little help from some friends!

Thank you Moffatt Girls for the great paper-pencil practice.
We only have 1-2 of these sorts of ditties in our 10 tubs.
Annie's papers usually make up one or both of them!
This is ALWAYS a beginning of the year favorite.
Thank you Cara Carroll for this fun comparing numbers game.
The giggles were absolutely contagious.
Number Word Knockout is one of my crazy games.
The kids always really get into this one.
I let them punch the air when they knockout a number - anything to keep 'em engaged.
It's part of my September Math Station Packet.
We ran with a football theme theme this week and the kids were all about it.  From teamwork crafts to goal setting and centers . . . every thing had a little pigskin flavor.  We will wrap up out football fun next week before rolling into apples and fall.  
So Much More than a Field Goal
This "begin with the end in mind" craft is always a favorite.
Thanks for helping BIG BUDDIES :)
Our sweet mommy helper read a fun Peanuts Football tale.  
The kids then sequenced their first story. 
I gave them the beginning and the end and they filled in the middle.

Not bad for independent.  We will get there :)
Love this Football Buddy Craft from Ms. Cupcake - I changed it just a bit.
By leaving out the body and changing the writing template,
we worked in a character building lesson.
We had the most wonderful discussion on teamwork.
Our room is looking pretty festive.  
Just gotta get a sign for our football players and we will be golden :)

In addition to football, we launched into our sentence studies this week.  A whole post will be dedicated to this tomorrow, but here's a sneak peak.  The babes learned all about complete sentences . . . with lots of support this week. We constructed some super silly lines together.  Next week I will let out the reins a bit more -- lots of games, guided writing, and shenanigans.  

A bunch of sentence goodness can be found in my latest pack . . . Super Sentence Writers.  I am all about making writing meaningful and fun -- I was a journalism major after all.  I think I managed to create a massive pack does just that . . . :)  I'll be back tomorrow to share and offer up a little freebie.

We are officially rolling into Week 5 come monday and that little "tickle" has turned in to an irritating scratch.  And, as an added bonus, the sinus passages are acting up.  Ha . . . it never fails.  I should have known when one little boy was leaving used Kleenex all over the classroom :)  How many of you already succumbed to kiddie germs??  I am sending GET WELL cyber vibes your way!

Alright, I am off.  See you tomorrow.  I can't wait to share all about building better writers - my FAVORITE thing to teach in the whole wide world.  Big hugs and Merry Saturday to you!

September 1, 2014


We are officially charging in to Week 3 and it's time to get real in the math station/center department.  I wasn't really happy with my game/activity selection in relation to our new CCSS math program.  I was doubly unhappy when I thought about the "holes" hiding in our crew's mathematical knowledge. So, I locked myself in my office this weekend and made my own little collection of math centers to pull from this month.  

We run math stations in the afternoon.  Our day is SUPER packed as it only runs from 8:20-2:00.  Therefore, after a quick math warm up and a whole group lesson/activity, we jump head first into our station time.  We usually only get one rotation in per day.  This is a-ok per my standards as I don't have to come up with new stations every day or even every week -- thank the CLASSROOM MATH GODS.  

My teaching partner and I have 10 labeled math bins and we put 2-3 kids in a group (we have 22 kids so far this year).  We only host math stations Monday-Thursday and we miss a day from time to time.  If you quickly do the math here, this is pretty doable in the prep department :)  We load these with new ditties every 2.5-3 weeks.

In addition to games that target current and past standards, we also toss in some "fun" math stations.  These include number tiles, puzzles, pattern blocks, geoboards, etc.  

My September Math Stations + More Packet will carry us through an entire month and will take care of the "business" end of our math stations.  The rest will be those "fun building" activities mentioned above.  

September's Packet covers everything from number sense and place value to addition, word problems, and graphing.  It even comes with a song from Ron Brown's Intelli-Tunes!!!  Oh, and the standard is conveniently located on each write up.  How's that for service ;)

September Math Stations + More Includes:
Number Word Knockout (Dice Game - Math.K.CC.4)
You Can COUNT ON It! (Counting On Game - Math.1.NBT.1)
Number Sandwiches (Before/After - Math.1.NBT.1)
Number Eatin' Alligator by Ron Brown's Intelli-Tunes (MP3)
Play-Doh Gators (Comparing Numbers - Math.1.NBT.3)
Schoolhouse Spin Off (Comparing Numbers - Math.1.NBT.3)
Just One More (One More - Math.1.NBT.1)
Stuff The Chart (Number Sense Game - Math.1.NBT.1)
Climb The Ladder (Addition 5, 6, 7, 8 - Math.1.OA.3 + Math.1.OA.6)
Drive the Bus (Addition Game - Math.1.OA.5)
That's SUM Apple (Addition Game - Math.1.OA.6)
OH... Domino (Addition/Number Bonds - Math.1.OA.1)
Great Graphs (Colors, Shapes, Number Words - Math.1.MD.4)
Draw & Solve (Word Problem Mini-Book - Math.1.OA.2)

I will be putting my head together with my teaching bestie every month to create one of these Math Station Packets.  We will be utilizing them with our own babes throughout the year.  Look for the October collection to pop up at the end of this month.  

Not sure if this packet is for you?  That's okay.  How about if I give you a little FREEBIE to try out??  Our math program hits the ground runnin' with number bonds.  It only seemed fitting to make a little center game to go along with this concept.  CLICK THE PICTURE to snag the file :)  

Alright, I am off to finish up my 3rd Grade Good Morning Work packet.  Nothin' like being a last minute Lucy.  (Sigh . . . story of my life in the GMW department.)  Gotta get going as I also have to sneak in a bit of Fantasy Football draft practice tonight.  Our big event goes down tomorrow at 7pm and I have a title to defend.  Hugs y'all and Merry September!


August 30, 2014


With National Grandparents day right around the corner (September 7th), I will be vicariously living through my students . . . soaking up all the grandparent and "grandfriend" love I can get on Friday:)  

Every year we take a moment in early September to talk about community and family . . . Grandparents Day fits oh so nicely into the mix.  A few years ago, our school started inviting grandparents and "grandfriends" in to the classrooms for a little celebration.  I'll be honest and say that it falls at the WORST possible time of year . . . we are just getting back in to the swing of things and the training is still in full force.  Yes, stress is through the roof before they walk in that door.  However, after our little afternoon celebration, I always find myself feeling all warm and fuzzy inside.  It's soooo worth the extra effort.  

You can make a Grandparents Day celebration as big or small as you want. Some teachers at our school host a picnic lunch and afternoon art activity. Others invite grandparents to drop in throughout the day and have special stations set up.  Another set of teachers host a very low-key afternoon dessert and simple activity.  It's whatever you wish to make of the day.  

I always opt for the low-key ditty.  Students invite grandparents or "grandfriends" in for lemonade and cookies.  The grandchildren serve their elders and present them with a card.  Then, they read books together.  Finally, they complete a grandparent interview sheet and word search together if there is time. It is the cutest thing ever - I have to keep a Kleenex in my pocket ;) The whole thing takes about 30-45 minutes.  Many of the grandparents take their kiddos home or on a special date when they finish at the school . . . love when the babes get extra GP time!  Swoon . . . :)

For those babies who don't have grandparents who can attend (or maybe they don't have any), we allow them to invite a "grandfriend."  I know what you are thinking . . . what if no one shows up for a little sweetie?  I cannot tell you how amazing it is when the grandparents who do attend "adopt" another kiddo.  **Again . . . cue the tissue.**  As long as you frontload your babies, the students are able to saddle up to a sweet grannie or grandpa who is there for another student.  

This year we will be learning a song to sing to our Grandparent guests.  Ron Brown from Intelli-Tunes wrote one that tugs on that heart for sure - Grandparents.  I cannot wait to start practicing this tune on Tuesday.   

If you are looking to host your own celebration, create a quick and simple card, and/or sneak in a little grandparent learning and want a little support . . . I created a packet last year that fits the bill {Thank Goodness for Grandparents}.  The song is included in this collection -- as is a grandparent mini-book, can/have/are chart, letter templates, card templates, word search, and an interview sheet.  It also has celebration ideas and a parent note.  My goal was to create a series of quick and easy activities that you could copy and run with with little effort!

Alright, I'm out of here.  Must mow the lawn before the neighbors start forming a less than desirable opinion about the Dollings :)  On a final note, if you are lucky enough to have a grandparent left in your life, think about taking a moment to call or write.  Not a day goes by that I don't wish I could pick up the phone and tell my Grandad or Gram how much I love them. 

August 25, 2014


Hey friends . . . I'm hanging over at Blog Hoppin' today.  Won't you come for a little visit?  I am offering up the fun FREEBIE you see below! 

This little collection is perfect for teaching your playground expectations to the little guys - grades Pre-K to 1st :)  Click the button below to read all about it and snag the FREE file!  It even comes with a Recess Rap!  #ohyeahbuddy

August 23, 2014


I sound like a 70+ year old dock worker and I fell asleep on the couch as soon as I finished my dinner last night, but I am all smiles.  We are officially five days into the 2014-2015 school year and I couldn't be happier.  What amazing adventures await us . . . yes, it's going to be one of those years.  

My teaching partner (Court) and I taught together during this initial run so the new crew could get to know both of us.  It was so nice having another adult in the room . . . someone who is a seasoned teacher and your good buddy (now that's a #winwin).  As we navigated our first week together, the two of us had countless moments where we would look up at each other in absolute disbelief. This crew listens.  This crew is kind.  This crew does it THE FIRST TIME.  Um, someone pinch me . . . I must be dreaming.  We were able to do so many fun things this week because they are so amazing.  Here is a peek at our week. Five for Friday style (a bit tardy on this Saturday afternoon).

We turned our new crew into a team of Rock Star Students this week.  The kids were all about this theme.  It proved to be a super easy way to sell high-level behavior expectations and various activities throughout the week.  Here are a few highlights . . . 

(L) Rules Rap Stars - we learned our classroom rules rap style!
(R) - We went on TOUR (tour of the school that is). 

(L) - Our first write of the year.
(R) - These kids really did "Rock the Roll."

The perfect follow up after reading Pete the Cat!

The kids did a great job with this all about me book.
Great informal assessment for us :)

We continued our Rock Star fun with a little graphing action.  Court came up with this one and it played out brilliantly.  We graphed our favorite instruments. However, there was a super fun catch . . . they got to play them first.  Our room was SO loud - we were banging drums, tappin' rhythm sticks, shaking the crud out of maracas, and slamming cymbals together.  There wasn't a kid who wasn't grinning from ear to ear.  The best part for us . . . when we gave the signal, they all stopped without slippin' in one more tap, bang, shake, or slam. They did this EVERY TIME.  Can you believe it??  I sure couldn't!  This activity and all of the other Rock Star themed goodies are part of my Rockin' Back To School Pack.  

Last year our school switched recess and lunch.  In other words, our babies eat after they play . . . while we {the teachers} are on our "shove food in your mouth and stuff reading folders" break.  With this said, we walk our kiddos to recess instead of the lunchroom.  This means we no longer get to teach manners and overall cafeteria expectations as we help them get through the line -- aides do this now.  I think our presence during the beginning part of lunch is missed and problems in the cafeteria seem to be on the rise.  Well, I wanted to nip this in the bud this year.  SO . . . we explicitly taught lunchroom behavior this year with a few fun activities.  We reviewed expectations shared-writing style and completed a little lunchroom manners pledge write.  Then, the kids made a darling little craft to house it!  These look so cute on our skywire! Ron Brown from Intelli-Tunes even wrote me a little song to help reinforce these expectations . . . thanks dad :)  This (and more) is all part of my Boxin' Up Lunchroom Manners Packet.  

The write is on the back of these fun little boxes!
My favorite sentence . . . 
In the lunchroom this year, I will not say that, "I don't like it!"  
I will just put it in the trash.

Our kids absolutely ate up PE time this week.  My students last year could give or take it.  However, by in large, this is one of the things that our sweeties liked best this week.  I'll be honest . . . I am HORRIBLE at PE and it always seems to get edged out of my plans although it was scheduled in (unless it is a standard-based active ditty).  I am thrilled that this is Court's fave . . . she will help me get back on track with teaching structured physical education games :)  

We played a number sense race this week.
This is PE Mrs. Dolling style.

This doll's shoe flew off.  
He was laughing uncontrollably as he hopped off the course.

The kids played Zookeeper this week too.
This is PE Mrs. Haedrich style.
I can learn a lot from my buddy. 
The kids were ALL about this game!

I always like to run with a tear art self portrait craft the first Friday of school. These are a great way to teach kiddos that mistakes are just "happy accidents" and that art never turns out how you think.  The darlin' faces always get hung in the window with a little speech bubble write explaining what each child's favorite thing was about the first week of school.  Our windows make me smile now! This activity is a FREEBIE in my shop.  CLICK HERE to check it out :)  

Alright, so there you be -- the first week in a nutshell.  OMGOODNESS, my friends . . . I am still so tired today, but I don't know if I have ever been more in love.  What a ride this is going to be :) #bringitonroom13



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