Reflections of 2015

I'm linking up with A Teeny Tiny Teacher, Dragonflies in First, and Miss Kindergarten for a reflection of 2015.


I started off the year with a bang! By "bang" I mean, a burn to my chest and face with boiling potato water. This is why people don't trust me with hot items (or cooking in general). 


In March, I started this blog! You can see I have clearly come A LONG way since then! I have done everything on my blog myself, with lots and lots of help from tutorials I stumbled upon. I haven't been the most dedicated blogger on the planet, but I'm chugging along in this blogging world.


Also in March, we discovered indoor rock climbing. So much fun! We have been back time and time again and have convinced lots of friends to try it out, as well. Disclaimer: you might not want me to belay you.


In April, I converted to active seating and I am never going back! I wrote a Donor's Choose project for some new seating options, including a wobble stool and a bean bag chair, and supplies to help students work around the room. My project was funded in a week and we dove right in! My students and I loved it right away, and my students this year love active seating too.


For my birthday, in June, I got a smart phone! Welcome to the 21st century! I love my new phone! I can actually put apps on it and use it for things besides just phone calls and texting.


My mom came up for my birthday, and we took our first trip to Conner Prairie. I can't believe I've lived in Indianapolis for over 3 years and I had never been! It was awesome! We learned a lot and had a blast.


My friend, Christina, is the director of the Indianapolis chapter of Royal Family Kids Camp, which is a week-long camp for foster children. She convinced me to join her crew this summer, and I ended up having a great time! I was one of the camp photographers, and I had the pleasure of capturing many happy moments throughout the week.


We got a classroom iPad this school year! We've had the iPad for a few years, but we could only use it for assessments. Boo. This year, we finally got the okay to use it for additional educational purposes in the classroom. We have had a great time exploring apps, including PicCollage.


I took a long weekend trip to Branson, Missouri with my friend, Christina, and her mom and sister over fall break. We had a grand time exploring the beautiful Ozarks. Christina is a wild woman with a golf cart, but we survived.


I also spent part of my fall break hanging out with my parents in Florida. We found a pumpkin patch (we didn't even know they existed in FL), along with some cool cypress trees and springs.


Our school started Girls on the Run this past spring with our 4th and 5th grade girls, and it went so well that we decided to keep it going this fall. We trained every Monday and Wednesday after school, and our hard work paid off! We ran in the Jingle Bell Run for our celebratory 5K, and our girls rocked it! We ran with a 4th grade buddy, and we finished in 32:45. It was so much fun running through downtown Indianapolis!


Another Indianapolis first for me was seeing the Christmas tree of lights at Monument Circle. What a way to end 2015! 

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year! 


Five for Friday: December 4th


I have been slacking on the photo taking department (with the exception of elfies- elf selfies), but surely I can get it together for a Five for Friday post.


Our elf came to us in a nice little wrapped up package on Monday morning and my students could barely contain their excitement. I was worried when we started taking name suggestions. Luckily, Snowflake won the vote. Math? Really?

Our elf is tech savvy and she likes to take pictures of all her adventures in the classroom while the kids are gone. She somehow manages to set her pictures as the background on my computer and the kids just go crazy when they see her latest escapades on the projector.

Two of my girls brought in their Elf on the Shelf reindeer on Tuesday, and our elf hung out with them while the students were at a Indianapolis Colts convo. They were ecstatic!


Our instructional assistant has had a lot going on with health and family issues, so our elf told us to give her lots of hugs (see #1). This is NOT what the elf meant, but I think she appreciated it anyway. 
How can you not love these kids?


I love teaching social studies for many reasons.

#1: It's fun!
#2: I only have about 20 kids (rather than 27).
#3: I have a very loose curriculum, so I can supplement as much as I want.

One of my favorite units is Christmas Around the World. I use the packet from First Grade Garden and I LOVE it! We do the scrapbook and crafts, and the interactive slideshow is perfect for more information.


In addition to slacking in the blog and photo department, I failed at posting about my AWESOME blog shirt from A+ Images. All I had to do to use their custom designer was choose my shirt size and color and upload my blog button. It really doesn't get much easier than that! It took me a few minutes, because I have trouble making decisions, but I'm pretty sure Mrs. B did hers within 3 minutes.

Thank you A+ Images for your generosity to teachers!


So, technically, this is from last week, but Monday was still November, so I feel like it can count. Plus, I'm sure my mom wants to watch it. #HiMom

Thanks for stopping by!

December Currently

I didn't realize how much I've been slacking on my blogging...Oops! I'm here to break free of the slump with Farley's link up!

Better late than never, right? 

Listening: I'm attempting to get to bed early tonight, and I'm laying in bed, enjoying a little peace and quiet. I feel like my classroom has a constant buzz all day long, so I'm grateful for a little silence.

Loving: While my students may be a little nutty with all the Christmas excitement, I can't help but love their pure joy at this time of year. They are obsessed with our classroom elf and they think everything about her is magical. They are just so happy and excited and I love it!

Thinking: While I do enjoy some beautiful snow, I'm already crying about the cold. Recess duty is starting to get chilly. Our school also turns the heat off (or at least way down) as soon as school is over, which means it gets real cold real fast when I'm staying to get work done, and it makes the mornings cold, as well. I typically keep my coat on until right before the kids come. Brrr!!

Wanting: We have 1 short observation and 1 long observation in my district. I already had my short observation, and now I'm waiting for my long one to be done, so I can breathe a little easier. My 2 week window started yesterday, so my principal could be dropping in any day now...

Needing: I'm trying to watch what I eat, but with the cold and the tiredness, I'm starting to struggle. I need to get back on the healthy snack train and cook healthy meals a little bit more frequently. #thestruggleisreal

Real or faux: REAL! Okay, so I don't have a real tree in my apartment, but I grew up on real trees, and I hope to go back to that once I have a house of my own. Every year, we would drive to the tree farm, where we would pick out and cut down our own tree. I loved every minute of it! 

Thanks for stopping by!


Five for Friday


I'm alive! Parent teacher conferences, fall break, life... you know. I thoroughly enjoyed my fall break, and I'm finally back in blogging action!


While I didn't getting any blogging accomplished over fall break, I did finish and post a new product! Click on any of the photos to check it out!

We use interactive math notebooks every day, as our independent practice during math rotations. We LOVE interactive notebooks! I have found some great interactive notebooks on TPT, but my school uses Everyday Math and sometimes I think the sequencing of skills is a little wacky, making it difficult to use interactive notebooks that are seasonal. So I made my own that go with Everyday Math lessons and have generic clip art, so they can be used any time! The nice thing is that they can be used with any series, because all the skills are relevant to 1st grade, in general, and they can be used any time in the year. This makes me feel better about spending all this time creating them when our math series is up for adoption for next year... 


We had an impromptu "there is an awesome library down the road and you can check out books for FREE, so you should convince your parents to take you" lesson the other day, as I went online and put a hold request on the 2 newest Elephant and Piggie books (I Really Like Slop and I Will Take a Nap). 

"Is it really free?"
"Yes. AND you can keep your books for 3 weeks, instead of only 1."
"The books are free?"
"The library card is FREE. You can BORROW books for FREE. Just like our school library."

They are all about some free books.

Anyway, we LOVE Elephant and Piggie books in our room. Mildly obsessed. One boy was sobbing after library on Tuesday because he got in trouble for hitting another student with his library stick and he didn't get to check out his book. AND IT WAS AN ELEPHANT AND PIGGIE BOOK!!!
I thought I wrote a whole post about how we use them during read to someone, but apparently I just planned on it and never did, so it just made a short appearance in a Five for Friday post one time. Anyway, these books are perfect for read to someone and my kids love them, so I just keep them coming.

Seriously, how cute are these two? They are for real curled up with a good book. My teacher heart was so happy. 


We started SUPER E this week! This kid was crushing it at teacher table. How cute are these little readers?! 

*Please ignore the kid who looks like he's about to attempt a handstand in the background.*
#whatthewhat #clearlyofftask


My awesome teammate created this great resource called Destroy the Sight Words. Students have sight word flash cards with the numbers 1-5 across the top. Each time they read the word correctly, they get a number crossed off. Once they get all 5 numbers marked off, they have mastered the sight word and they get to destroy the card. They can stomp on it, tear it up, cut it, anything they want. This guy had a slew of cards he got to destroy this week and it was priceless. He was putting them on the floor and stomping on them, and then when we was satisfied, he picked them up and tore them up into the smallest pieces he could. My kids are obsessed with these cards! #teacherwin


Okay, so technically this happened last week, but it just cracks me up. This little cutie is in love with her. Clearly. It takes a special person to be a special education assistant. They say it takes a village, and I am so grateful for my crazy, fun village.


October Currently

Look at me! Two blog posts in two days! I am on a roll! I'm a few days late, but I'm linking up with Farley at Oh Boy 4th Grade for October's Currently.

Listening: I'm so excited that all my favorite shows are starting back up again! I'm catching up on the newest Bones episode. I love this show! It's one of my favorites. They started the season off with a bang!

Loving: While I really would prefer a few 70 degree days, I was super excited that it was finally cool enough for BOOTS on Thursday! I love boots!!! Boots! Boots! Boots! I got to wear boots 2 days in a row! *swoon*

Thinking: Parent teacher conferences always stress me out. I feel like I repeat myself over and over 28 times, saying the same things, and crossing my fingers that I have happy, content parents, who have nothing negative to say to me. We do not have the luxury of half days for conferences, so we have 4 hours on Wednesday night and 4 hours on Thursday night. I'm exhausted just thinking about it.

Wanting: Luckily, we have fall break right after conferences. My first year of teaching, we had fall break before conferences, so you got 2 weeks to relax and then came back to a stressful, exhausting week. I'm grateful they decided to switch it up and now we get a nice 2 week break after conferences!

Needing: We've been in school for 47 days and everyone is ready for a break. The kids are ready for a break, I'm ready for a break, everyone is ready for a break. I need to stay positive, otherwise it could be a long week. I really do love my job, and I really do love my kids, and I just need to stay strong and remember that this week.

Boo-tiful: I can always count on my students to make me feel boo-tiful! I love all their smiles, compliments, and hugs! First graders are so loving and that's one of my favorite things about them!

Thanks for stopping by!


Five for Friday


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One of our awesome kindergarten teachers saw that I was struggling with building stamina last month, and she shared a post about Flashlight Friday with me. I loved the idea, but wasn't sure how I was going to effectively come up with 28 flashlights. Obtaining 28 finger lights, was feasible, though! I stumbled upon finger lights in the clearance section at Walmart a while back, and now they have them in the Target dollar spot, so I picked up what I needed to complete a class set. It was a success! I will definitely be using this more often!

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I decided an engaging activity to get everyone pumped up was in order, so I decided to bust out Grammar Police. I wanted to keep it simple, so I whipped up a set of sentences to focus solely on capitals and periods. It was a hit! Police officers handed out citations and the citizens had to correct the sentence and have it reviewed by a judge (me) in order to avoid jail time. It was just what we needed!

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My latest teacher crush is Kayla Delzer at Top Dog Teaching, and I love that she uses flexible seating like me! I saw she had posted to EdSurge about her room, so I went and checked it out. I was looking at her seating options, and I saw that she table with the legs removed, so students could sit on the floor. I decided to try it out, so I did a little rearranging this morning. I used wiggle seats, old couch pillows, and a carpet square with velcro on the back to mark 6 "spots" for the students to sit at, and I'm glad I did. This table was a hit all day! The first 6 students to come in this morning all went straight to it. Having designated "spots" helped alleviate the over crowding that was trying to ensue. Maybe it's just because it's new and different, but anything that excites them works for me! 

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Not to sound like I have a really weird teacher crush or anything, but I also loved Kayla Delzer's idea to make a video newsletter. I decided that even though I didn't have the time for it with all the progress monitoring, sight word assessing, and fluency checking, and actually teaching students, I was just going to make time and do it. It's by no means a high quality video, and there is a bit of background noise in the back, and kids who are clearly off task in the background (someone will surely judge me), and the kids were awkwardly reading their lines off a small strip of paper...but we did it! I'd like to try it again next month, but there are definitely some things I would like to do differently. But hey, I took a risk! 

*By the time I finished typing this post, at least 5 parents had watched it (9 views-my 4 views) and one parent already said she loves it and hopes to see more in the future. #happyteacher

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I'm just taking risks all over the place here! Our district bought iPad minis for us a year or 2 ago, but we were only allowed to use them for DIBELS testing. It was the worst. I had this awesome resource, but it was completely locked down and I couldn't use it for anything useful. Well, DIBELS was much better on an iPad than a Palm Pilot (did you even know they still exist?!) but it was frustrating that I couldn't do anything more with it. This year, our township has finally unlocked our iPads, and we can actually use them for teaching! *Ironically enough, we now have to do DIBELS with paper and pencil.* I decided to try out Plickers with my class using the iPad, and we are loving it! We no longer have to take grades for science and social studies, so I decided to try out quizzes with Plickers. I like it, but it's still taking us a while to submit our answers quickly and efficiently. We're working on it, though!

Happy Friday!