March 30, 2012


Word peeps . . . my Earth Day unit still in the works, but here's a little something to tide you over.  Last year when I taught Kinder I ran mini-books as one of my constant reading center rotations (from about mid-March on).  This was a spin off of an idea from one of my very dear friends, Carol.  She was the bomb-diggity at good old Evergreen.  
On Mondays my kids were given an overall mini book topic and a basic cloze sentence to copy and finish.  They usually completed about 1.5 pages per day and finished up their books by the end of Friday rotations.

When I first started this activity I ran with topics such as My Brag Book that offered up the cloze, "I can __________."  By the time we rounded the final bend into late May and early June, the kids were given tougher topics like My Verb Book with the cloze "I know __________ is a verb."  The kids always looked forward to this station . . . they took such pride in being an author :). 

I have offered up a downloadable cover and book pages for you.  One is easier (perfect for Kinder) and the other is a bit lengthier (a fun writing activity for 1st graders . . . gonna let my kids run without a cloze this year).  You can find detailed directions and the templates below.   

  1. Copy a class set of the cover pages and cut to size.  
  2. Copy a class set of the book page template (back to back) and fold down the center.  Be sure you show them which page to start on . . . remind them how you open a book.  I made the mistake of overlooking this frontloading opportunity!!!
  3. Write your cloze sentence on the board and host a discussion related to your chosen topic.  You may choose to just discuss a topic if you are teaching first.  
  4. Writing can be done as a whole class activity or in a small group setting.  As student complete each sentence cloze (or page), they illustrate it.  
  5. When all four pages are complete, attach a construction paper cover to the front of each student's book.  I was lucky enough to have a book stapler (thanks again Carol), so my construction paper wrapped around their pages like a book jacket.
  6. Have your students glue a cover illustration page (see photo above) to the front of the book.  This is where the kids write the title and sign their name on the author line.  Finally, they illustrate their cover.
  7. DO NOT miss out on the opportunity to host an author's chair with these.  The kids would beg me to do it . . . they never let me miss.  To save time, I had them buddy read.  They would partner up and read their stories aloud.  I usually had them trade partners two more times. (See photos/templates below!)

First Grade Template

Kinder Template

(to glue on the front of the book)

March 29, 2012


Here it is folks . . . hot off the press . . . a math center freebie with an Easter/spring twist!  Get this gem in my Teachers Pay Teachers store.  I came up with this puppy last night around 10:30.  As I TRIED to read my book before turning out the light, I was thinking that I need to keep spiraling back to those tougher math standards and time was pretty high up on my list.  So, I came up with It's Carrot Time.  I made this activity target time to the quarter hour, but I also included a blank version that you can customize to fit your specific time needs.  Also remember that this ditty only has carrot images . . .this way you can use it after Easter Break if you are already on break (lucky bums).
I had HUGE plans for today, but only managed to get this one little freebie out.  Hopefully, my body will cooperate a bit more tomorrow and I can finish up my Earth Day unit.  Stay tuned . . . 

March 28, 2012


In an effort to jump back on the "no TV Tuesday" train that my main squeeze introduced to our lives prior to my surgery, we turned the boob tube off and baked cookies last night.  We found a very special peanut butter cookie recipe hidden in our beloved cooking binder and decided to jump on it.  My grandmother used to make these treats with me and I could almost taste them when Travis pulled out all of the ingredients.  

What a learning experience this turned out to be . . . it seemed so easy when I was young :).  I now know what it means to "cream" something together and how to sift ingredients (we had to call the hubby's mom 3 different times to get some much needed baking clarity). 

After creaming, sifting, beating, mixing, rolling, and flattening, we popped the first batch in the oven and set the second aside while we started picking up the kitchen.  It was then that I noticed the UNOPENED box of brown sugar.  Yup folks, I forgot a whole cup of sugar.  Surprisingly, they aren't all that bad, but they sure aren't like grandma used to make and I have a whole bag of these "low sugar" goodies that I really shouldn't eat.  My impulsive behavior got the best of me and I made the mistake of pounding three of these . . . my new digestive system was royally ticked!  Whoops . . . live and learn :)

March 27, 2012


Now that spring is in the air (even though it feels much more like winter in my neck of the woods), I have been dreaming up potential post-vacation bulletin board ideas.  Going along with that whole "gotta hit pronouns" theme from earlier today, I came up with building a PRONOUN PATCH on my walls (or maybe even in my window). 
I am thinking that I will assign each kiddo a pronoun (he, she, it, they, or we) and let them design a sweet little flower for our special "garden."


I was reflecting on all of the things I need to hit up and/or review when I finally get to return to school and pronouns managed to land at the tippy-top of my list.  With all that "he, she, it, they, we, me, I . . . " on the brain, I came up with a little FREE center activity.  Download it in my TPT store and take a moment to rate and/or follow me!  Happy end-o-day Monday gang - you made it :)

March 26, 2012


Most of my kids jump at the chance to do a word search and I can never seem to find enough of them to fit my current theme.  So . . . I decided to make one. I like to put them out for Good Morning Work the day before a vacation or offer them up as an "early finish" task.  This one isn't too hard (nothing goes backwards or diagonal), but it's still educational and oh-so fun.  
The graphics are from the brilliant mind of Kelly Medina (
Here is a great photo of my kids in word search action -  I love to watch them work together!  This was one of the first searches I hit them with way back in October.  They've been hooked ever since.

March 25, 2012


I am FINALLY finished with this baby . . . after promising my hubby that I would only need one more hour at least three different times throughout the day :). To check out the contents of my "Egg"straordinary Easter Unit, click on my TPT link.  Well . . . that's that.  I am off to take a shower (I'm super gross), rest up a bit, and watch some basketball with my man!


Good morning gang!  How 'bout a spring-themed FREEBIE on this fantastic March morning?  I have done this as a center activity for years and I have repurposed it to fit just about every holiday.  The kids really love it. Directions for SKETCHIN' OUT SENTENCES are outlined below.  

  1. Gather any spring or Easter-themed drawing books that you have hidden in your bookcase.  I have a couple Ed Emberly and other fun doodle books that contain bunnies, flowers, eggs, chicks, baskets, and other timely directed draws.  If you don't have any books like this, you can find themed images or directed draws on your computer to print out.  
  2. Invite your kids to peruse the books looking for a picture they would like to draw.  Students are to sketch out this picture in the first box on their worksheet.  Remind them to include a "setting" . . . no floating rabbits pretty please!  
  3. Ask your students to write a detailed sentence on the first set of lines that corresponds with the picture that they drew.
  4. If they finish prior to the center's end, ask them to color their creations!
NOTE: You should be able to drag the image to your desktop and print from there.  Or, you can open the image in a new window and click print (don't forget to change your page setup to landscape).

March 24, 2012


I took a much needed break to "fill up" last night.  The honey was gone and I finally caught up on my American Idol . . . it  has become such a dippy obsession.  Yahoo had spoiled the results for me, but I enjoyed the show just the same.  I even managed to spend a little time with my neglected DVR.  How Alien becomes a viable follow up to American Idol I'll never know??!!  Yes, I've seen this classic multiple times before.  However, my hand was still covering my eyes though most of it :).  Thank goodness my cat (Lu-Lu) was by my side to protect me.

I have been hard at work this morning.  I should have another Easter packet as well as a timely freebie or two posted by the end of the weekend.  

Happy Saturday folks!

March 23, 2012


The sun has managed to sneak out from behind the clouds this morning and I am missing my kiddos like crazy today!  The last time we had a rainy stretch and good old Mr. Sun popped out, we took advantage of it.  These just make my heart happy . . .  


March 22, 2012


I love to celebrate Easter . . . springtime mixed with cute bunnies, huntin' eggs, and lots of chocolate . . . who could ask for a better holiday??!!

Here are some shots of my class hunting eggs last year.  I host the easiest hunt around (thanks Mr. Brown . . . he came up with it years ago and it has become a bit of an Evergreen Elementary School tradition).  It has 3 simple steps.  
  1. Bring your kids out to a large grassy area and sit them in a line.  Have 10 or so bags of mini chocolate eggs pre-loaded into in an Easter basket (don't show your kids yet).
  2. Tell the kids they get to watch you hide the eggs . . . they will boo and whine.  It's so awesome.  Then, show them the basket full of chocolates.  Start runnin' around the field chuckin' handfuls of these eggs.  They will go CRAZY and they'll think it's the coolest thing now!
  3. Quickly outline your expectations, blow your whistle, let 'em go!
They absolutely love this and it's so cute to watch them share with one another.  The best part is that it requires VERY little prep.  Simply start asking for parent chocolate donations now and you'll be ready to roll in a few weeks. 


I was up late last night . . . the wheels started turning and I couldn't get 'em to slow down until about 3 in the morning!  I thought I would be a total zombie today (missing the Walking Dead already I guess).  However, I jumped up at 7, brewed up a HUGE pot of coffee, and got down to it.  I have a bunch of springtime ideas and mini units in the works.  Thank goodness I have a helper on this wet and chilly Thursday . . . 
Say hello to my little baby - Tilly!  She's still recovering from her  play date with a skunk.
The groomer got most of the funk out.  However, her ears still smell like 8th Grade PE!
Check out my creative space!  I have absolutely blown it up.  I thought when we moved into our new house (December) that I would be a little neater.  Guess not.  Sorry sweet hubby!  I will clean it up eventually . . . I promise!


March 21, 2012


Well . . . I finally finished it and it's posted!  It took me FOREVER to figure out how to reduce the file size and jam it into one monster PDF file.  I was so proud of myself - it only took me 2 hours to outsmart my computer :).  I somehow managed to locate the ounce of "tech smarts" that I have hidden in my little toe in RECORD time this evening!
On a more business note, this unit is perfect for KINDER right NOW and will be a great unit in early fall for 1st.  When I was creating this packet, I kept in mind that kiddos fall at many different levels. Therefore, I differentiated (when applicable) to make your lives just a little easier!  Check out my TPT site to download your copy today!  Here are a few of the pages for you to take a look-see at!

Unit Includes:
~You Dirty Rat (card game) 
~Fantastic Project (art activity)
~Watch Your Back (interactive reading game)
~Grab-N-Go (PE infused reading game)
~Fabulous Flip Books (just like it sounds)
~Independent Center Ideas (2 sorts, 2 word family finds, a word dictionary, and a short a story)


My first unit is now available and it's FREE!  Whoop . . . whoop!  Chalk one up for primary teachers everywhere.  Check out my Teachers Pay Teachers store to snag your FREE download today (just click the TPT button on the right side of my blog to be magically transported to my page). 

Activities include:  
~Spring Into Parts of Speech (Nouns/Verbs/Adjectives)
~Some "Bunny" Loves Cause & Effect
~Springtime Skills: ABC ORDER
~Quote Me

March 20, 2012


I was bummin' a bit this morning because it dawned on me that I will miss out on all of the Easter festivities in my classroom this year.  I always love all of the fun theme stuff you can tie into your lessons.  The kids always get so jazzed and totally buy into anything you're "selling."  Well . . . I was able to stop feeling sorry for myself when I realized that I can create a few fun things at home to help fill the void.  So, here you go folks . . . the first of many Easter/Spring Freebies.  I know quotes aren't a part of the first grade standards, but it is such a fun thing to teach . . . and it helps you sneak in quality sentence writing in a whole new way.  I have done this activity in the past around Christmas time and the kids loved making up crazy sentences to go with the pictures.  

I suggest that you do a quick mini-lesson on quotes and show a sample of your own (maybe do it on the overhead with them while they come up with their own sentences).  Be sure to remind them that the quotes "hold on to" what the character is saying.  

NOTE:  To print this bad boy, click on the image.  When the worksheet pops up in a new window, right click and select open in new window.  Print from this screen . . . and please DO NOT forget to change the page setup to landscape or you will end up with a very small worksheet :).   I am still trying to figure out the best way to post printables on my site.  If you have suggestions, please email me!


I took a break from thinking school to spend some much-needed quality time with one of my favorite people.  My little cousin and I played Candy Land, Chutes & Ladders, drew pictures, and built awesome houses out of Legos.  We also broke into the Thin Mints (shhh . . . don't tell her mom . . . I let her have way too many cookies before LUNCH)!  I just might get used to this recovery thing.

March 19, 2012


I have been working my tail off on a collection of short vowel units.  Stay tuned for free download opportunities as well as units for sale in my stores :)


Yup . . . that's my classroom door!
Hello cyber world!  I have been meaning to get a blog up and running for the past couple of years, but I just never seemed to have the time.  Well, now that I am home recovering from a recent surgery, I have what seems like all the time in the world.  On that note, I am going to start reflecting on some of the things I have done this year in an effort to get some of my ideas out there.  I still have one more month left on my recovery (and my awful low-residue diet) . . . heaven help me . . . I need to keep busy!

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