Hi! Thanks for visiting my blog!

Welcome to look through and take the freebies
and then please share with family and friends about my blog!

Also, please head over to my Donor's choose webpage
and help me reach my goals so I can obtain some goodies for my firsties!

Thank you!

Friday, December 9, 2011


It's been a long time since I've posted anything. We've done so much in my classroom and I have to get better at blogging. With testing, report cards and parent teacher conferences out of the way and having my combination class slowly settling down, I'll try to post more.

However for now, I just wanted to share a story I saw that reminded me that I need to enjoy life. This post has nothing to do with teaching, but I wanted to share.

I saw this on one of my friend's facebook page and loved it. It reminded me that in our busy life when we're always in a rush to do things, we sometimes forget to stop and enjoy it.

As a working mom I am guilty of this. I'm so busy with work and taking care of what needs to be done (cooking, baths, laundry, cleaning, etc.) that sometimes I forget to just take a break and just be with my babies and husband.

Laundry will still be there. Dishes can be done later. The cleaning is never ending anyway. But my babies will only be this age for a while. My husband and I need more time together because we're not getting any younger either.

So, I am going to make a better effort at enjoying life. Enjoy my time with my girls and husband and loved ones.

Just like the other day. We were running late for church and it was freezing outside. So usually when we get to church, I'm rushing the babies inside the church, out of the cold. Well, on this particular Sunday there were leaves everywhere. It was a really windy weekend and alot of leaves had fallen off the trees onto the ground. My 2 year old of course wanted to run through the leaves. My gut reaction was "no. It's too cold and windy. I don't want you to get sick." But, I looked at her and she was just so happy. So we ran through the leaves. My husband rolled our youngest in her stroller through the leaves and we just enjoyed the moment. My oldest was so happy and that made me happy.

I have to let her enjoy life. I'm so worried about not letting her get sick or hurt that sometimes I'm the one rushing her through life. It's so hard though. It makes my heart so sad to see her hurt. But, I can still protect her and also let her be a 2 year old. :) Oh the things you learn with your first child and can change with the rest.

I have to remember not to rush through life. As the old saying goes, always make time to stop and smell the roses.

Well, onto the story that goes with the above picture.

"In Washington DC , at a Metro Station, on a cold January morning in 2007, a man with a violin played six Bach pieces for about 45 minutes. During that time, approximately 2000 people went through the station, most of them on their way to work.

After about four minutes, a middle-aged man noticed that there was a musician playing. He slowed his pace and stopped for a few seconds, and then he hurried on to meet his schedule.

About four minutes later, the violinist received his first dollar. A woman threw money in the hat and, without stopping, continued to walk.

At six minutes, a young man leaned against the wall to listen to him, then looked at his watch and started to walk again.

At ten minutes, a three-year old boy stopped, but his mother tugged him along hurriedly. The kid stopped to look at the violinist again, but the mother pushed hard and the child continued to walk, turning his head the whole time. This action was repeated by several other children, but every parent - without exception - forced their children to move on quickly.

At forty-five minutes: The musician played continuously. Only six people stopped and listened for a short while. About twenty gave money but continued to walk at their normal pace. The man collected a total of $32.

After one hour:
He finished playing and silence took over. No one noticed and no one applauded. There was no recognition at all.

No one knew this, but the violinist was Joshua Bell, one of the greatest musicians in the world. He played one of the most intricate pieces ever written, with a violin worth $3.5 million dollars. Two days before, Joshua Bell sold-out a theater in Boston where the seats averaged $100 each to sit and listen to him play the same music.

This is a true story. Joshua Bell, playing incognito in the D.C. Metro Station, was organized by the Washington Post as part of a social experiment about perception, taste and people’s priorities.

This experiment raised several questions:

In a common-place environment, at an inappropriate hour, do we perceive beauty?

If so, do we stop to appreciate it?

Do we recognize talent in an unexpected context?

One possible conclusion reached from this experiment could be this:
If we do not have a moment to stop and listen to one of the best musicians in the world, playing some of the finest music ever written, with one of the most beautiful instruments ever made…How many other things are we missing as we rush through life?"

Saturday, October 15, 2011


Hi everyone! Sorry I haven't been posting. We had our Fall break this past week and then I just returned from a much needed mini-vacation with my family. I'll be back soon!

Tuesday, October 4, 2011


Things are settling down in my combo class. But just wanted to share these GREAT ideas/freebies that I'm planning on printing and making. (There's actually MANY things I want to make but these are the most recent.)

Check out these cool subtraction posters at Step into 2nd grade with Mrs. Lemons and this making words folder at Teacher bits and bobs.

I also forgot that I'm planning on doing the 100 books challenge discussed about here at the Teacher wife's blog. I used her letter and had it translated so I can send it home to my Spanish speaking families too. :) Click the image below to download.

Monday, September 26, 2011

:) Blogland

Since I teach Open Court, I always feel that my posts are "boring" compared to all the fun and exciting blogs out in blogland. I wish I had more time to do what I really want instead of filling up the days with Open Court and enVision. That's why I haven't really posted much about what I do in the classroom. It just doesn't seem as interesting. I try my best to make Open Court fun for my firsties, but for those of you who teaches Open Court, it's pretty scripted and not much you can do.

So I was very excited when Victoria from The wise and witty teacher awarded my little blog as a versatile blogger. :) If you haven't checked her out, go on over and see all that she does.
I love blogland. There are so many great ideas and inspiration to help me become a better teacher.

So thanks Victoria! You've just motivated me to blog more about what I'm doing. Even if it may seem boring to me, I can still share the little things I do to try and make Open Court interesting.

Friday, September 23, 2011

Lesson Plans

It seems like everyone's been sharing their Lesson Plan templates so I thought I'd share mine too. I used a similar template for the past two years, but have been motivated by all the new templates I've seen online to change mine up this year.

I am liking the format very much. I like the extra spot to write in any meetings, assemblies, etc. that may happen after I type up my lesson plans. I'm also really loving the yard duty times on top of my lesson plans. This way I can just circle which one I have for the week instead of typing it in each week. Why didn't I do this before? I also included a blurb about where materials for the week & teacher's manuals should be at and what to write as may dos and must dos for workshop time. (BTW: I LOVE, LOVE, LOVE these boxes I talked about here. I love that all the paperwork I need for the week are organized by days and it's all ready for me.)
Just click on the image below to download my lesson plan template. If you want the word version, just email me.
Have a good weekend!

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Homework Binders

My fabulous team created this homework binder for our first graders to use. The kids bring it home each night and return it to school the next day. They need to bring it home because they need to get their parents to initial their behavior chart that I discussed about here. The students also have to take their decodable books home, read it to their parents, get their parents to sign the book and return to school the next day. There's a spot for that book in their binder as well.

So, when you open the binder we have a sheet in English and Spanish which explains what our binder is and the reason for it.
Next, comes a "key" for the behavior chart and a behavior chart so the parents can see how their child is doing in the classroom each day.
The next page is the pocket for the decodable.
Then a list of our sight words, some addition/subtraction facts, a 100s chart, a sheet to teach how to form letters, we also have a folder that the school bought where we put into the binder. (I don't have a picture of that.) This folder is where we send home notes, completed assignments, etc.
Lastly, in the back pocket we have an explanation about homework and it's importance. That's the pocket where we send home our weekly homework in also.

We love this and it helps the students stay organized. Well, as organized as 1st graders can be. :)

Monday, September 12, 2011

Review Weeks Reading Logs

Here are the translated review weeks reading logs as promised! Happy Monday Everyone!
Click on the image to download.

Sunday, September 11, 2011


Here are my verb worksheets to go with Amy Lemon's nouns worksheets. I loved her nouns worksheets because it was simple and cute!
Click on the image to download.

I made these worksheets pretty simple because my first graders will be doing them also. I also plan on playing Simon says as a part of the verbs lesson to emphasize that a verb is an action word.

I hope you all have a good week!

Saturday, September 10, 2011

Teaching Blog Expo

How exciting is this! Join TBA in their first Teaching Blog Expo! Click on the image to go directly to the site.

Friday, September 9, 2011

Updated Reading Logs

I know. Two posts in one day is a no, no. BUT I had to. I just got the translated version today from our Bilingual Paraprofessional so I went and added the Spanish translation to all my old reading logs. I just had to share. Click on the image to download. I don't have the review week translated yet. I'll post that as soon as I get it.

Update classroom photos and randomness...

My polka dot trimmers finally came and I was able to replace all the old trimmers in my room. Slowly but surely my room is coming along. I just need to change the purple papers here, to black so that it'll kind of go with a polka dot/black and white/bits of color scheme! :)
Having to prep for a 1/2 combination class has kept me busy. Otherwise all of the room decorations would have been completed already. I really want to tear down my bulletin boards and make it turquoise like my boggle board here. But that will have to wait until things calm down at work.
I'm getting ready to create some verb worksheets to go with Amy Lemons nouns worksheets. So look for those soon.

I also moved my birthday chart down because I wanted the kids to be able to see the photos. I enjoy hearing them talk about their birthdays and when it's coming up. :)
After reading about the writing Cara at the first grade parade's doing, I knew I just had to do it too. We did our heart maps today and here's my version to show the kids.
Here are some examples from my kids. They did a really great job.:)
And here's the download of the heart map I made for my kids to use.

Lastly, I love having my kiddos draw self portraits. They just make the classroom a little happier. Here they are on my cupboards.
Have a great weekend!

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Sight words

I've looked at so many blogs over the summer and downloaded so many good ideas that I have no idea where I got this reading log idea from. If it's your idea, please let me know so I can give you credit. ***Found the awesome person who I got this idea from. Amy Lemons from Step into 2nd grade with Mrs. Lemons.***

I showed it to my team and they loved it just as much as I did. So I used the original reading log to create our reading log/sight words review form for our homework packets. (I thought it was so cute I even kept the cute clip art and "reading log" font. Good thing I had the same font and clip art.)

We use our sight words as our spelling words. We do 5 a week and then a review week of the previous 10 words.

So, if you'd like a copy, click on the image to download. It's a 100 words, plus review weeks so there are 30 pages! :)

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Open Court signs for 2nd grade

Well, I'm feeling a little better about the 1/2 combo class. I made some signs for the 2nd grade curriculum to share. Click here to download. :) After meeting with the wonderful 2nd grade team at my school, my principal and specialists, I may be even a little excited about this 1/2 combo class. Here's to a new challenge.

Tuesday, August 23, 2011


Hi everyone. I was just told today that I would be teaching a 1/2 combo class this year. That starting on Monday, I'll have 17 1st graders and 6 2nd graders. My brain is racing, thinking of ways to fit in two curriculums. Stress level is through the roof. :(

Monday, August 22, 2011

birthday sign

Here's the birthday sign I'm going to put up with my birthday display. :) Happy Monday!

Saturday, August 20, 2011

Sorry @ Question Concept Board

I just looked at my google document for the QC board signs and the Homes and Things that go signs didn't transfer over correctly in the PDF file. I don't know why but google docs isn't transferring over the font. So if you'd like those signs, please email me and I'll email them to you.

My district also has adopted the Envision math program. I made these labels to go with the center games. I didn't create the icons/clipart. These were taken directly from the program. I wanted the clip art to match what was on the game cards, so the kids would be able to quickly see which game is in the basket. My team and I probably won't get to all of the games in each Topic, so that means I won't make labels for all of them. If you need one that I didn't make, just email me and I'll try my best to get one to you quickly. (These labels were made for the Avery, white shipping labels 5352. It's 2" x 4.25")

Question & Concept board

For those of you who teach Open Court, here are some signs I typed up to use for each unit. (If you teach Open Court, please let me know. I'd love to pick your brain for ideas. Especially how you teach the concept of this board to little first graders.)

Now, some of the letters are on a different page. I was trying to save paper. I don't know about you all, but our school's so limited on paper. We only get 5 reams per trimester. LUCKILY, my donor's choose project for paper and pencils have just been funded. :) So excited.

Anyway, here's a picture of what I did with all the signs. And yes, I colored all of them. :) Coloring is very soothing to me. I just sat with my 2 year old and we had a blast coloring together. She also LOVED all the signs. She kept asking me, "Mommy. You color letters?" How I've missed her this week.

Friday, August 19, 2011

More classroom photos

Here's my boggle wall. (I just realized that this picture isn't a recent one of my boggle wall. Because it now has the word Boggle in that empty spot right above the letters.)
(Remember to imagine polka dot trimmers. I'm still waiting for them to get here. :) ) I used clips to hold up the letters because I didn't want to fight with the stapler every week. And yes, I rigged the boggle wall so that my little kiddos would be able to find sight words. I wanted to use the boggle wall to review their weekly sight words. Another way to get the little ones to learn their words.

Here's the bucket filler display. The kids just need to finish coloring their little buckets and then I'll glue them onto library pockets to tape up on those two empty cupboard doors.
Lastly, here's my birthday chart. I still need to put up the "happy birthday to us" sign and put up the kids' pictures.
I hope everyone's enjoying their class. Happy Friday!

Birthday display and First Grade Fanatics

I absolutely love my new birthday display. (I'll have to post a picture of it later on today since I left my camera at work. But you can get a quick glimpse of what it looks like here.) I took pictures of the kids holding up the date of their birthday and then plan on hanging their picture under their birth month on the ribbon. If you would like a copy of the birthday icons and numbers I used, head over to First Grade Fanatics TODAY, where I'll be featured and you can get the downloads there. (You can also download the behavior chart my team and I use in our classrooms and a bi-weekly progress note as well. These are both in English and Spanish.)

FYI: I decided to have the kids hold up two number cards instead of just one if their birthdate has a double digit. That's why I only made numbers 0-9.

(By the way, Monday was our first official day back at work. So I've been busy with professional development, meetings, etc. And Wednesday was our first day of school. I must say that my batch of kiddos this year are extra cute! I already love them. And they LOVED the gingerbread man hunt and magic playdough.)

Click on First Grade Fanatics' button to go directly to their blog.

First Grade Fanatics

Sunday, August 14, 2011

Bucket Fillers

I made this sign to go with my bucket filler wall. If you haven't heard about being a bucket filler, go over to the First Grade Parade here or at Clutter-Free classroom here and read about it. LOVE the idea and I can't wait to use it this year with my kids.

I know the sign doesn't look like a sign. Just a bunch of letters. BUT I'm planning on cutting out the letters, gluing them on card stock, laminate and then putting them up on my cupboards. :) So, if you'd like to use it, feel free to download it here.

Friday, August 12, 2011

Revamping the birthday chart

I'm going to use this idea from the Clutter-Free Classroom and this idea from Step into 2nd Grade with Mrs. Lemons and revamp my birthday chart. :) So excited to share the end result. Come back and see next week!

Here's what it looks like now!

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Classroom Photos

So I don't have any before pictures because I started this blog AFTER I had already begun working in the classroom. I'm almost done but there's still so much to do. I'm adding polka dot trimmings on the bulletin boards. But the borders won't get here until next week. So I'm leaving my old trimmings up just in case the polka dot trimmings don't get here on time. So imagine my bulletin boards with black and white polka dot borders. :)

Here's a view of the front of my room.
Up close of the calendar.
Over there under the flag to your left (where that purple birthday sign is at) will be where I'll put my boggle wall. I got this idea from Create.Teach.Share. She even has the letters all ready for you to download. :) I'll also put up the self portraits up on those cupboard doors. They're so empty without the portraits.
Here's a view of the back of the room from my desk. The heart that we're going to do that I discussed about here, will be put in that empty spot to the left of the TV. Now I just need to figure out where to put my box of crayons that I'll make with the students. And a close up of the work wall where I can put up the kids' work. I LOVE the clips because it makes it so much easier to add/change up the work. I got that idea from my resident teacher.
Lastly, I wanted to share this.
I got this idea from, Clutter-Free Classroom. This is such a great idea to organize the week's lesson plans and materials. (I got the cute magazine storage boxes from Target. They were only $1. :))

Will post more as soon as the kids come and put their marks on the classroom!

Go check other teachers' classrooms at TBA's classroom photos linky party! Click on the icon below to go directly to that page.

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Activities for the first couple of days

I love all these teaching blogs. So many great ideas and they've all truly been an inspiration to me. After "stalking" MANY, MANY, MANY blogs, here are activities I will be doing the first few days of school. (Which starts next Wednesday!!!)

I will be reading the Gingerbread Man and doing the Gingerbread Man hunt from Mrs. Southard at Fun in first. I thought this was such a great idea to tour the school and have a little fun as well. It's been hard finding those little Debbie's gingerbread cookies that Mrs. Southard uses. I even considered baking the cookies myself. But didn't want to spend my night before the first day of school baking 25+cookies (25+ so I'd have extras, just in case some break or I eat a few. :) )So I researched and found this at walmart.com and bought it. I can bake a huge gingerbread CAKE or brownie or even a huge sugar cookie! I'd prefer those much more than gingerbread. It would be much easier to bake one huge one, and I can use it during Christmas. My daughters would love it!)
I'll also have Magic playdough for the kids. I first read about it at the Clutter-Free classroom, and then Fun in first posted about her first two days of school and included this awfully cute poem to go with the magic playdough. (Click here to go to her site and download it for yourself. )

I always read David Goes to School by David Shannon and we discuss what David does and what we should do in first grade. The kids LOVE hearing about all the wrong things David does and will come up with what David should have done. I take this opportunity to review my rules and consequences in my classroom as well. I'll also read Chrysanthemum and discuss about how mean words can hurt our hearts and do the heart activity as explained by Cara at The First Grade Parade.
I'm also reading The crayon box that talked.
After reading this book, I will take pictures of the children to make our own crayon box. I printed these crayons onto colored construction paper and will put the kids' pictures at the tip of the crayon with their names. I'll put the kids' crayons into a big crayon box that I will make with the saying "Although we're all different, we all belong together" or something similar. I can't decide which saying yet. I will post a picture of the final product next week. Click on the image to download the crayons.
I'm torn between these two books!
They both discuss about being nervous about going to school. Decisions! Decisions! Decisions! After I read one of them (maybe both :) because I love them both!) I'll have the students write about how they felt the night before school. (This will also show me where each student is at with their writing. Click on the image to download.)
Every year I have the kids draw self portraits. (I have them do one at the end of the year too. I display these two portraits on the child's desk during open house. The parents, kids and I love seeing the difference between the two. :)

I believe that's it. WHEW! That was a long post. :) I am absolutely excited about school starting! I can't wait to meet all my little ones.

Go check out Fun 2B in first's linky party for beginning of the year/fall activities!

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

First Grade Fanatics!

At First Grade Fanatics they are having this HUGE give away! Go check them out! While you're there become a follower because they are also giving away freebies as part of their 14 days of summer event! How awesome is that! A give away AND freebies! I LOVE it!

First Grade Fanatics

Linky Party!

How exciting! My first linky party. Head on over to Tunstall's Teaching Tidbits blog to join in on the fun. :)

Here's my top 10 reasons why I know it's back to school time.

10. I can no longer walk into Target or Walmart without cruising through their school aisles.

9. I HAVE to go through Target's dollar bins and search for any goodies to use in the classroom (even thought I've just been there the day before. You never know what you might have missed.)

8. I'm having dreams about school. (Some are more like nightmares. The not-having-anything-prepared,-everything-in-boxes-still-and-school's-about-to-start-in-15-mins kind of dreams. :( )

7. My time that would usually be spent perusing Facebook is now used for researching ideas to implement into my classroom.

6. I get a little giddy seeing all the school materials (especially new crayons. :) School just isn't the same without a new box of crayons.)

5. I've spent way too much money on school supplies.

4. My right palm's bruised from putting up new bulletin boards.

3. Instead of just watching TV, I now sit on my sofa with a long roll of laminated materials to cut out.

2. How the month of July just came and gone. (I'm still wondering if July happened this year.)

1. Lastly, my to-do list just keeps getting longer and longer. No matter how much I've already crossed off.


Monday, August 8, 2011

Behavior/homework Calendar

I used this calendar in 4th grade (click on the picture to download.) I laminated those yellow 9 x 12 envelopes for each child and attached this calendar on top each month. They had weekly homework packets but were assigned certain pages each night (as seen in the previous post about homework logs here. With fourth graders you get the luxury of having them help correct the homework.) So for about 10 mins before class started, the kids took out their homework, passed it to another person at their table and we corrected the few pages quickly together. Then they passed it back to the owner while I walked around and quickly wrote "C" for complete or "I" for incomplete on the calendar.

I used the card system in my class so whatever color they were on at the end of the day, they were responsible to mark their calendar accordingly to the behavior chart. I then only walked around to check the students who were not on green for the day.
I also have the calendar in Spanish that you can get here.

Again, I will post what I use in first grade soon since those files are at school.

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