Sunday, July 29, 2012

It's official...

...I'm a homeowner:)
I am crazily moving, unpacking, planning, and organizing both new home and classroom. I just wanted to take time to quickly say thanks to those of you who have commented and emailed with your prayers and best wishes. This was a very stressful, wonderful time for me and my boys and we are overwhelmingly happy to have a place to call our own!!
Will post again when things calm down a little, and I'm a little more settled!
You wonderful, little bunch of followers are the best!

If you are also hurriedly planning and organizing (who isn't at this point!), my thoughts are with you, as well! I hope we all have an incredibly successful beginning to our new school year:)

Thursday, July 26, 2012

Merry Christmas indeed! & one more pic...

I'm sharing my shopping and one more classroom pic...before I close on my first home in the morning!! Hallelujah, and PTL:)

I love me some First Grade Parade. It was the v-e-r-y first blog I ever stumbled onto:) From there, I just kept stumbling...and what a tumble it has been! I just {heart} this bloggy world, and all of you precious followers!

I have had Cara's Mooseltoe packet in my wish list since right after Valentine's Day. I just figured I would get it closer to Christmas. But...since everyone threw an early Christmas celebration, I scooped it up! Along with Cara's Merry & Bright packet, and Valentine's Friends pack---which also includes a little Presidents' Day & Groundhog activities. What fun!
And speaking of The First Grade Parade, do you have Cara's Writer's Eye Freebie? I was really inspired by her post which included the freebie and a link to her inspiration. I used both her materials and the original blog to create my newest bulletin board. Excuse the blurriness; I had to use my son's iPod!
Does anyone else think these look like Cookie Monster's eyes? If they were a little closer together...I don't know:)

Our building is doing a Heroes theme this year, and I made this while working in the room today. The graphics are from Clementine, a cute little etsy shop:) I've seen this poem floating around, and I just love it! If you think you can use it in your classroom, feel free to click and download!

Alright, wish me blessings, dear friends! If all goes well, I will be an official homeowner this time tomorrow! Have a SUPER day!!

Tuesday, July 24, 2012 & my first FREEBIE!

Have you ever just felt in-over-your-head by a project? That is how I felt the last few days in my classroom.'s still not complete! Thank goodness I still have a few weeks before school starts (so sorry to those of you who have already started meetings...and SCHOOL! unbelievable...)

Quick backstory, last year when I was hired, I barely went through my room to de-clutter the things the former teacher had left. My sweet principal and school secretary had gone through a few things, but mostly it was up to me to sort through what I wanted to keep and what I wanted to pitch get rid of donate (to the landfill). This year, going through the ENTIRE ROOM was first on my priority list...but somehow it has wound up being one of the last things I have done. Any of you have that problem?

You will still see some piles and, what appears to be, clutter...but trust me, it is a FAR cry from what it was in the middle of June!

Without further ado, current photos of my home-away-from-home!
One wall of my library...the other side was MUCH too cluttered to photograph!
Writing station, just behind library
More Writing/Word Work stations....That long black wall will hold our sight words
Calendar/Gathering Place...I L-O-V-E my lantern lights:)
 (btw, the calendar board is unfinished, in case you wondered! See, still more work...)
My teacher desk (above)....I gave it to my para & aide last year, I so RARELY used it.
The Bulletin Board you see as soon as you walk in my room.
Our building theme is HEROES this year...I'm stoked!!
That's all I have for now...stay tuned for more!

Oh, yeah...I promised you a freebie; as in, my FIRST FREEBIE! I hope you like it:)

When I introduced the CAFE strategies last year, I found the coolest website that introduced each component with an animal character. I absolutely loved this idea, but altered it slightly to fit my OCD perfectionist personality. I kept two of her original characters (Cool Comp Cat & Expanding Ellie Elephant), but added two of my own (Fluent Finnyus Fish & Accurate Annie-Conda). Together, they are: The CAFE Friends! Each animal depicts the reading component perfectly (I think), and the kiddos really liked deciding "who" they wanted to read like each time.

If you like this idea as much as I do, feel free to download these character mini-posters to display on your CAFE board, or simply to use during Guided Reading. This is my first time using Google Docs...I'm a little nervioso! So if this doesn't work, leave a comment with your email and I'll send you the PDF directly:) If it did happen to work, just click on any of the characters to download your copy!

Okay, I am off to bed because I have a TON of stuff to do for my new home....I close (hopefully, say some prayers!) on Friday:) Night, sweet friends!

Oh!  Don't forget to go shopping tomorrow! It's that fabulous Christmas in July sale!!! Yay!

Saturday, July 21, 2012

An Awesome Blogger Packet & a Giveaway!!

Jenn, from Finally in First, has created a little Decoding Strategies packet, to help parents when reading with students at home. I love this idea, but I think it will be great for teachers to have at their guided reading tables during coaching/guided practice, as well!
Here's a pic at the packet cover:

This packet features an awesome little checklist for parents/teachers, as well as some cute little strategy cards you could post on your CAFE board:

If you click on the packet cover above, it will take you right to Jenn's blog where you can enter to win this little baby! I know I'm excited about that:) If I don't win one, I am definitely using my TpT  points to purchase it! (Do y'all know about TpT points? They sure come in handy!) Okay, onto the giveaway!

Amy from the Resource(ful) Room has lots of reasons to celebrate: her blog just turned 1, she got a brand-new "bloggy" look, and she opened up her own TpT store (yay!). In honor of these big things, she is throwing a BIG giveaway! Click on the banner below to go to her blog and enter:)

And I just got my 25th follower!!! Hmmm...perhaps I should be thinking about my first giveaway?
I know, I know I said there would be class pics. Very soon, girls; it's nearing completion:)

Friday, July 20, 2012

Linkin' Up!

I'm giving this Linky-thing a go! I hope I have it figured out:)

The Teacher Wife
Lindsey, The Teacher Wife, is hosting a "Favorite Picture Book" Linky and children's literature has a very special place in my heart; it's originally why I decided to go into education!
So, here are my top 5 read-alouds in my classroom (and, boy, was it h-a-r-d to choose)!

This is an absolute class fave right before school gets out for Christmas break! I bet we read it a dozen times last December:) I just love the "BB&G" list, and it does have a good message about how it's better to give than receive...greedy young elementary students could always use that lesson (and even some adults)!

We had a "Favorite Picture Book Day" towards the end of the year, and this is what Ms. Olson shared. It's not actually my favorite (That comes last in the list), but somehow I neglected to read this ALL year last year, so it needed to make an appearance! Also, a great message of being proud of your dreams!

The good Dr. is my favorite M.D. of all time:) He also happens to be my favorite author! Last year, I had a lot of Seuss decor that I will greatly miss this year, but I will still continue to bring in MANY of his stories...and The Sneetches is my absolute favorite one of all!

So hard to choose a favorite character among great ones like Pigeon, Pete, Clifford and Arthur, not to mention a new "favorite" Pinkalicious (remember, I have sons, so I did not "meet" her until this year!). However, I think Skippyjon tops them all. He gives me an excuse to use my totally awesome Span-eesh accent (Ha!) :D and my Firsties adore his creativity and imagination!

The best for last (at least in this novice teacher's opinion)...

My former mother-in-law and original inspiration for teaching introduced me to this amazing story. When she read it, she took two days. It lends itself to making predictions, and that's exactly what she did! Of course, this past year, I totally stole her idea...and it was a HUGE success with my kiddos! They made very creative predictions for who they thought the Pumpkin Smasher was:) If you can find it, you MUST get it! I also l-o-v-e the black & white-with-some-color-accents illustrations:)

Oh, I have sooo many more that I heart:), but I won't keep you any longer! Check out others' choices, and link up for yourself! Next time: classroom pics! Have a great day, friends:)

Thursday, July 19, 2012

An Amazing Gift for Followers...

Just a quick post. I am in my room working ALL day, but taking a quick break to catch up on a little blogging. That organizational stuff makes your head hurt after awhile:)
One of my very favorite blogs is offering up a HUGE (and I mean h-u-g-e) freebie to all of her loyal followers.
If you are not already following Lisa at Learning is Something to Treasure, go check her out now!
She has the coolest ideas and resources!! I bought her "Wacky Watermelons" unit from TpT, and I cannot wait to use it with my kiddos in a few weeks:)
Anyway, this freebie is 84 pages long (told you it was HUGE!), and covers some of our favorite back-to-school picture books, like Chrysanthemum and Officer Buckle & Gloria.
Hurry now! This offer is for a limited time:) She will be putting it in her TpT store soon, so head on over!
As for me, I am back to the grindstone and also taking pics of my cute new look. I will post pictures soon...stay tuned:)

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

My FIRST Award!

Ever have internet issues?
I am currently in the middle of moving to a new home and when I asked to have internet access turned on for the new address, they accidentally turned off the internet/cable at the current address!
Therefore, I have been without internet/cable for 3 whole days!!! I know;  don't I sound pitiful?
We are such a spoiled society, aren't we:) But seriously, I felt like I had been detached from the world!
It also wasn't great timing because I had just launched this little blog :(

So imagine my surprise when access to the internet was finally re-established today....
....and I see this comment from my "pilot" post!

"Hi again Amber! I nominated you for a blog award... stop by my blog to get it!"

The sweet Cyndi Lacy over at Lacy's Letters was kind enough to award me my first bloggy award! Yay, me;) And thank you, Cyndi!

This award recognizes blogs with less than 200 followers.  Here are the rules:

1. Copy and paste this award on your blog.

See above.

2. Thank the giver and link back to them.

So, thanks sooo much Cyndi. If you haven't checked out Lacy's Letters, head over there now for some inspiring ideas from a super cute blog!!!

3. Reveal 5 other bloggers and let them know by commenting on their blog.

Here goes (this was the trickiest part!) :
~great common core ideas!! Her packets are PHENOMENAL!~
Kristen at a day in first grade:
~such cute and practical packets on TpT! Check out her store!!~
Not to be confused with Brittany at A DAY IN FIRST GRADE:
~I am new to this blog, but it looks super cute!~
Kate at EduKate & Inspire:
~though she is quickly approaching 200...check her out for some great technology tips!~
and last but certainly not least, Terri from 1st Grade Princess:
go here for a virtual vacation in paradise...ahhh:)

Hopefully, my technological issues are over {for now...aren't they always a problem? ;) }
and I can start blogging and blog-stalking more frequently/a.k.a. like normal!

Go check out these spectacular blogs...and thanks for making my day, Cyndi!
Wish me luck with moving/getting my classroom ready/planning/...are we all starting to feel some pressure as we near August?!?

Sunday, July 15, 2012

What's in a Name?

  I have fretted about so many things before finally making the plunge into the blogging world.
Will I have to join Facebook now?
            (No, I don't live under a rock. I have my reasons...
                   though they are becoming obsolete).
What about giveaways?
        (Let's don't get ahead of ourself just yet...we need a Follower or two first!)

How do I grab those buttons, and design one of my own??
     (I STILL have so much to learn...)
What should my blog name be???