Friday, October 2, 2015

Flipping for Fall Mentor Texts {The Little Scarecrow Boy}

Welcome to the Flipping for Fall Mentor Texts hop!  This is an amazing hop because you not only will you pick up lots of freebies and ideas related to fall texts, but you will actually be able to WIN THE BOOKS!  You will find the start of the hop here.  I am part of the primary hop, but you will also find the links to an upper grades hop there as well.
The mentor text I chose is "The Little Scarecrow Boy" by Margaret Wise Brown.  It is such a sweet story with adorable pictures.  It has lots of repetition, would be great to use for retelling, teaching story elements, theme, and even vocabulary.
To briefly summarize, the little scarecrow boy wants to be FIERCE like his father and scare away the crows.  He practices and practices making all of six his father's scary faces, but each day is told he must stay home and grow because he is not yet FIERCE enough.  One day he decides to go out anyway without permission.  He makes all his faces but the crows keep flying at him.  Eventually, his father stands behind him and scares the crows away, but the little scarecrow boy thinks he is the one who did it with his final FIERCE face, feels proud, and grows up to be a FIERCE scarecrow.  

When I was teaching second grade, one thing we worked a lot on was character traits, especially feelings and supporting responses with evidence from the text. "How is the character feeling?"  "Happy."  "Why?" "..."  Sound familiar?  I found that students really need A LOT of scaffolding with this and sentence stems and graphic organizers really helped.

When I went back and reread "The Little Scarecrow Boy" I thought it was the perfect book for analyzing how a character's feelings CHANGE throughout the story.  So I made a little flip book to help guide students.
Students need to complete the scarecrow face on the front for the beginning, middle, and end of the story to show how the little scarecrow boy was feeling.  Then, underneath each flap, they need to complete the prompt by choosing a feeling word that matches their illustration and support their choice with evidence from the story.

Click the image below to download the freebie from my TpT store.  Make sure to follow my store while you are there, as that will be a Rafflecopter entry at the end of the hop!
I definitely recommend making an anchor chart with feelings for your students before getting into this type of activity so that they can go beyond words like happy/sad and be more specific.  Here are a couple of freebies that I found.
Click the image below to find some adorable scarecrow crafts from Crafty Morning if you have time for that sort of thing!
Click below to visit the next stop in the hop.
Make sure to go all the way to the end of the hop because you will have the opportunity to WIN THE ACTUAL BOOKS from all the posts!  
Collect the mystery words in orange (mine is FIERCE) from each post and record them on the recording sheet to increase your chances!

If you missed any of the stops, click the button below to go back to the beginning of the hop.  

Saturday, September 5, 2015

Blog Hoppin' Teacher Week

I'm a day or two late, but I wanted to link up with Blog Hoppin' for teacher week. At least it's still the same week, right?
First up, some sanity savers.  I'm not good with word walls...I don't always have the words ready, struggle with making them all fit, and also with making them usable or visible to students.  So last year I tried a moveable word wall for sight words and loved it!  Since I taught second, I just put them all up since they are all over the place in this area.  The kids loved it, because the words were portable they used it a ton, and it kept me from having to have words ready every day or week to add.  Click on the images below to see a blog post with more info.
I ALWAYS precut everything I can for my students.  I do this for two save time and to keep them from making a mess.  I hate scraps everywhere and I hate wasting time on things like cutting.  So if I were to have something like below for my students I would use the paper cutter and precut the two little pages before giving them to my students.  Then they can just cut out the word boxes quickly with no mess!
I also gave using station bookmarks a try last year and they worked great!  I didn't have the problem of broken clothespins or lost station tags.  They also took up no space, just a little bucket.  If they got lost, I just reprinted them. Best of all, they provide students SOME choice (they get to choose the bookmark with their three tasks) but essentially eliminate the arguing while choosing or the need to monitor how many people can be at each station (I kept this in mind while creating the bookmarks).  Click on the image below to read more and find them for FREE!
Annnnd of course my favorite subject to teach is READING!! Specifically to first graders.  I just think that's such a special (and important) time for kids learning to read and I love the challenge!  Plus I LOVE books.
This table (or the floor) is my favorite place to be during the day!  I love working with my kids in small groups and really figuring out their strengths and weaknesses so that I can help them grow.  I also like seeing the rest of my kids work with one another without my help.  Makes me proud!
Click on the image below to download this sign for free in my TpT store.
I hope you all are enjoying your weekend!

Wednesday, September 2, 2015

September Currently

I can't believe it is already September!  So happy that it is finally getting cooler here in Texas (and by that I mean it isn't reaching 100 every day).  We can actually go outside and walk now as long as it's before 9.

It's five AM and my husband just left for work so what I really want to do is go back to sleep.  I'm thankful that he left quickly and quietly and didn't wake the baby up though because that doesn't always happen.  So I am just sitting in bed typing this listening to white noise through her monitor.  White noise is a miracle worker.  Helps our Gracie sleep allllll night long, really, 12-13 hours.  I hated listening to it at first but now I don't notice. 
Speaking of Gracie, she turned 10 months yesterday.  She had been taking a few steps here and there for a few weeks, but yesterday she was really walking. So exciting!
I've actually gotten back into posting on my personal blog this week and have been feeling motivated to do that.  It's so much easier to think of family related ideas since I am home this year.  Click the button below to find it.
As for my goals, I need to do a better job cleaning the house.  Maybe a schedule of what to do each day would help me.  I don't know.  I feel like no matter how many times I clean the floors, they look the same (dirty!) so what's the point sometimes?  I also want to spend less on unnecessary things because we are getting Gracie's pictures done soon, are going to be making her playroom, her birthday is coming, and then Christmas.  And I also wish I could relax more instead of always feeling stressed.  So on that note, I think I will lie here a little while longer.

Monday, August 31, 2015

What I'm missing about teaching as a SAHM

Before I get into this post, let me say that I am incredibly grateful that I was able to stay home with my daughter last year (she was born in November) and that I get the opportunity to do it again this year.  I know that many would kill for the chance to do the same and being a mom to this little cutie has been the most rewarding gift.  
Buuuuuut (there's always one, right?), as everyone around me goes back to school I'm feeling a bit left out and missing some things that I NEVER thought I would miss ha!  Last year, I wasn't missing work at all since I was *super* pregnant at this time of year and couldn't think about anything other than getting the baby out!  And then came figuring out how to take care of a newborn.  Now that Gracie's nine months, I finally have time to reflect on what is going on!  Here's some of the stuff I've been longing for.  

Note:  I do realize these are all superficial components of teaching...but that's probably all I can handle right now!  And all I need at this moment to fulfill my longingness (word?).
First up, school supplies (and games and books and toner and arts and crafts stuff and containers and everything else teachers buy during the summer)!  I get knots in my stomach as I walk through Target and see all the new crayons and buckets of glue sticks and pencils.  I know I don't need the stuff (I have plenty still in a closet upstairs) but I still want to buy it and add it to my collection.  Because someday I might need it, right?  If my husband didn't have me on a budget and so toys and stuff for my daughter obviously comes first, I probably would buy them anyway!  Priorities change I guess.
Sharpening pencils...beyond the first week of school I hate sharpening pencils.  I always try to pass it on to a kid, but they break the pencil sharpener or arguments begin or they can't sharpen the ones with the lead that keeps falling out over and over so sometimes I'm stuck with it.  But right now it seems like fun.  Maybe I should find the ones I have and just sharpen away and then I'll have enough for the rest of my teaching life.
This is my poor lonely laminator collecting dust at the bottom of a bookcase...and I don't even know where my cutting board is since it's not with its partner.  True story, I asked on the Facebook page for my local community if there are any teachers nearby that need help doing this stuff because I can do it at home at night.  It's too hard for me to actually volunteer at a school right now because I have my daughter all day, but I'd totally do it at night.  My baby is turning one in a couple months and I'm already thinking about what I can make to use my laminator!  
Containers and ones, colored ones, decorating them, sorting supplies into them...all teachers love doing this right?  Soon we are making a playroom for Gracie.  I guess I'll have to get my fill there.  Poor girl is going to be going to mommy school before she can talk!
Books!!  It seems like every year I spend forever labeling and sorting my library books (in a different way than the year before of course).  Mine have been in bins for a year!!  I miss them.  Actually I want to buy them all again and put them in Gracie's room.  Is that weird?  I don't want her to have the used books that have been in and out of my classrooms for nine years, but new ones.  Even if they are the same.  She probably doesn't care, so I guess it's me who wants the new ones.  But when I go back to work, I'll need books for school and books for her, right?  
Whoever thought I would WANT to wear dress clothes?  I have apparently forty pairs of work slacks...I need a reason to wear them.  I actually find them comfy!  Jeans aren't that comfortable.  But if I were to wear black slacks around home they'd be covered in cat hair, milk, and baby drool.  And I'd love to wear my flats again!  Right now I live in flip flops.  
I miss rushing around, being busy every second, and having the day fly by.  I always loved the morning rush to get to work as soon as possible once the building was open so that I could have as much time to myself to work as possible (I'm a morning person, not a night person).  The day being over before I knew it, no chance to eat or sit or use the restroom.  Yes I miss that!  Sometimes I have no chance to eat or use the restroom now too, but the day doesn't go by as fast and sometimes I feel like I have accomplished nothing and struggle with what I am supposed to be doing.  Never a problem as a teacher.  Always something to do.  I'm sure if I was doing it right now I'd feel differently, but we know the grass is always greener on the other side!  
Then there is the heart of teaching, planning, collaborating, working with students, making a difference in their lives.  I'm not sure I miss this yet (well I miss it, but I'm not ready to actually do it), because I don't think I could handle it along with being a mom.  I wouldn't know how to split my time or how to not do something completely.  So to those of you who do, you are amazing!  I don't know how you do it all.

Are you staying at home this year?  What do you miss?  Have you in the past? How did you know you were ready to go back?  
If you are a STAH, then you might understand the post on my personal blog today about my husband always waking up the baby.  Click the button above to find it.

Wednesday, July 1, 2015

July Currently

Listening:  I've been binge watching Parenthood and I just started the last season.  I always feel sad when shows that I get into end.

Loving:  This baby is 8 months old today!
Thinking:  She has swimming lessons this morning and it's really hard to get everything to work out perfectly so they go well.  She has to have napped and eaten, but not so far in advance that she is tired and hungry while we are there. She also can't eat too close to going or she might spit up in the pool.  Sitting here with my fingers crossed she wakes up at just the right time from her nap!

Wanting:  One of these years I want to go to Vegas too.  Instead it'll be just me and Gracie here since my husband will  be in Argentina for work.  Maybe we should just take our own trip.

Needing:  My photos will no longer sync with the cloud or my mac.  I even went to the Genius bar at Apple to try to get it fixed because I've tried everything.  They couldn't get it working right either and said I need to try resetting my phone so the software reinstalls.  We had been there an hour already so I figured I'd just do it myself at home.  Always paranoid everything is going to get ruined though.

All Star Multitasker:  I prefer doing many things at once and get more done that way!  I think that as a teacher (and now a mommy) this is a necessary skill.  Yes, I can hold a baby, feed her a bottle, and work the remote, phone, or computer at the same time.