Sunday, March 31, 2013

Let's Get Acquainted!!

I need to call this link party week!  Today, I am linking up with Latoya at Flying into First for her linky party!  This week, we are linking up for her favorites survey.

Favorite place to shop

I have several places I'm addicted to, but my all time favorite store besides Nordstrom is Cotton Island.  Ugh just saying those words make my heart start racing!

Favorite T.V. Show

I LOVE THE VOICE!!! Secretly I want to be on the voice.. I have seriously been contemplating going on the show, but then reality sets in and I remember that I am the only one that enjoys my singing.  (Except for my students of course, but they only enjoy it because I TELL them that I'm good..yikes)
Every time we sing in class I remind them that we are practicing for our auditions on the Voice and American Idol.  It works.  They think I'm great!

Favorite Sweet Treat

Chili's Molten Chocolate Cake!  Please go try this right now.  I'm serious, you will not be disappointed! 

Favorite Food

Brisket Tacos! Holy Guacamole....delish!!!  I dated this guy last summer who introduced me to the BEST brisket tacos on this planet.  He's a foody, and I promise you he took me on like this tour of Dallas. If you live here, e-mail me and I can tell you where to go!  It's ridiculous how many local places have insanely good brisket tacos.  

Favorite Restaurant 

Any Hibachi restaurant.  TO. DIE. FOR. 

Oh, and of course, Happy Easter!!

Saturday, March 30, 2013

Mentor Texts Linky Party

Two in one week....Go me!! 

I am linking up with Collaboration Cuties for their mentor text linky party!  I am excited about this because I LOVE BOOKS!  I have THOUSANDS and I'm a new teacher... I'm scared for my future classroom actually!  Fear that I won't be able to fit my actual students in my room! SOrry kids, your teacher is a HOARDER!  You will see me on hoarders someday, books just piled everywhere and then I have to go do interventions! (There are pictures of my classroom on my blog and you will see I'm actually very organized...I'm talking about the FUTURE if I continue buying like I do!)

Anyway, this is their first time doing this linky party so I hope everyone will go check it out and join in because I think it will be really cool!  Getting new ideas for books you may already have! 

So many books...which one to choose....hmmmm.. drumroll please.....

This is an AWESOME book!  It's about a girl that is writing a story for a contest, so she wants to make it THE BEST!  She gets advice from family members and they convince her to change her story a little bit.  One person says the best stories have humor, so she changes her story to make it funny.  Then someone tells her the best stories have romance.  So she changes her story and puts a wedding in it.  Then someone tells her the best stories have action.. so she changes it again.  In the end, her mother convinces her that the best stories are the ones that come from YOUR heart...not someone else's.  

It's great! When I use this book, there are actually multiple reasons behind it.  First of all, I use it for writer's workshop.  When I'm done reading, they cannot wait to go create their own story! My biggest thing in Writer's Workshop is allowing them to create whatever they want.  I don't ever give them topics.  It helps to show them that they have to love what they are writing about...and if they don't they probably should choose another topic.   I also use it for multiple perspectives.  If you use depth and complexity in your classroom, you can aways pull out the multiple perspectives icon and have your students write the different perspectives on what makes the "best" stories. 

Have a great weekend!  

Friday, March 29, 2013

Five for Friday

Happy Friday!! I am so excited to link up for the second time with Doodle Bugs Teaching for Five for Friday!  

1. Chia Chia!!! Ok so this activity is obviously in the beginning stages, but I have to admit that I am so excited about it!!  I will post about this activity again next week when they actually grow.. but we made chia pets in science this week! I'm going to allow my kiddos to give their "pet" haircuts, but talk about a lesson learned in disguise! We are growing grass, limas, and a flower.    

2. This is the same project we did last year during our goods and services unit!  We found this at Mrs. Saylor's Log and it was super fun!

3. My class is obsessed with post it notes! But have you ever heard of post it TAPE?!  I was introduced to it by our writing specialist (yes, the one I have mentioned in several previous posts) and it works really well !  We use it during writer's workshop.  Everyone knows the thin brown writing paper with handwriting lines.  We also know how easily it rips!  Almost every time a kiddo erases something, it tears!  My biggest pet peeve is when they are almost done creating a book, and it rips.  Because now there are tears.  Tears because we have been working on this book ALL WEEK.  Well, have no fear, post it tape to the rescue!! They can cover the tear or the word they wanted to change, and write ON THE TAPE! 
Now we don't have to start over on our rough drafts!

  4. This was a Short week!! We were only in class Monday, Wednesday, and Thursday.  (Tuesday we had a field trip and today we are OFF!) Not to mention that yesterday was the 28th, and do you know what that means?!  PAY DAY!! Happy Good Friday to MWA! Off to the mall because........

5. I HAVE BACKSTAGE PASSES TO BILLY CURRINGTON!! I mean I can't meet him in a yucky old outfit? Ew! (Please watch this video so you can hear the way I am saying "Ew")

Happy Weekend Y'al!!

Friday, March 22, 2013

Five for Friday!!


Well not only is today Friday, but I get to Link up with Doodle Bugs Teaching for Five for Friday!! It was a short week.. but here are a few highlights..
1) In all of my years of teaching, (okay so only 2) I can finally say, "I LOVE WRITER'S WORKSHOP!!"  You have no idea how far my class has come with this!  It might possibly be our favorite part of the day...seriously.  I am always finding extra ways to beef stuff up in my classroom.. and this one works!  You may already know about Brave Spellers.  Here is my Brave Spellers Board. 
It is the best incentive to get your kiddos to try and include those big words in their stories, without constantly asking you to spell things for them. Plus, they can't just tell me they tried a big word, I have to find it!  It has really helped encourage independence.. favorite word! 
2. I am fortunate enough to have a FABULOUS writing specialist in my district.  (The fact that her niece is in my class is just an extra bonus!!) She came to my class and taught a writing lesson one day. During her lesson, she introduced detail stickers. They have done WONDERS in our writing! Everytime I see details in their stories, we put a detail sticker. Sometimes they tell me they need one and that works perfect too!  They LOVE it! 

3. Before Spring Break we did a huge author study on Kevin Henkes. Cliche? Random time of the year? I know... But the purpose was strictly for writer's workshop. We focused on noticing details in his writing and the way he puts details in his pictures. Not to mention that all of his characters show up in other stories and most of them are mice. Well...I decided to do an illustrator study when we got back. David Catrow worked really well for this! We loved the details in his pictures, especially facial expressions and emotions. If you are ever looking for writer's workshop lessons, there is NOTHING wrong with grabbing a random book off your shelf and discussing the author's techniques throughout it.
4. This is one of my favorite read alouds.. Everyone has heard of the A-Z Mystery series, but this one is AWESOME! My kids were falling off the edge of their seats with this book.  You could literally hear a pencil drop in my classroom.  I won't give anything away, but it's a must read!   =
5. This was a gift to me from my team last year.. my star power! I'm ordering them for several teachers at my school right now. If you don't have yours yet, you should really consider getting one!
Happy Weekend!

Thursday, March 21, 2013

Quick Draw with Shapes

 This was our first week back from Spring Break.  It was awesome rough!  I’m pretty sure I had kids pushing me to come into the school. My heels planted on the ground, toes in the air, hands out to the side so I couldn’t fit through the door, screaming “don’t tell me what to do!” . I’m not kidding, it was dramatic. Don't get me wrong, I LOVE school.  Ask anyone.  But I would have survived with just one more day of spring break. 

This week in math, we are learning about shapes.  We always start with some sort of warm up (usually Marcy Cook).  If you are not familiar with her warm ups, you need to research them pronto! They are FAB!  But when learning about shapes, I live and breathe Quick Draws.  This is the book I have:
Basically, it is a book full of random pictures.  

You show a picture on the overhead/smartboard for about 3 seconds.  (Being in 1st grade, I show it for 8.)    I tell them to study the picture, and when I cover it up they need to draw it.  Then I show the picture again for about 3 seconds so they can tweak it.  This gets them thinking not only about shapes, but spacial sense.  Here are a few examples of the pictures:

You only use one, so the other picture on the page is covered up.  After they have done it, you allow the kids to describe what they saw, and how they drew it.  Not only do they love this activity, but it requires really good thinking strategies.  Some may say they saw four trapezoids with a square in the middle, while others saw a square inside of another square.

Sometimes I draw the picture the way they describe their thinking, and it usually doesn't turn out like the real picture.  They notice how specific they need to be with their words.  They can't just tell you they saw a big square with a smaller square inside, they need to be SPECIFIC! 

Another way to do the warm up is to describe the picture to them.  This now requires following directions!  I tell them to draw a big square.  Inside the square there is a diagonal line starting from the bottom right corner and ending in the top left corner, etc. You get the point!  My kids LOVE these activities!  Again, this is just a warm up, so it only takes about 10-15 minutes (unless you choose to extend it!)

Wednesday, March 6, 2013


Hello!  Welcome to my teaching blog!  I'm a second year 1st grade teacher.  For the past year, I have lived vicariously through other teaching blogs.  I think these teachers are FABULOUS!  I do not think that I am fabulous, but I was inspired by them to make this.  In doing so, I have one goal in mind:  To  completely eliminate attempt to de-clutter my classroom.  Yes, I know, I've only taught for two years.  But have you SEEN my filing cabinet???  It is FULL.  Like all 4 drawers are FULL!  It is so full, that I don't even attempt to open it to find upcoming units. I just search blogs for new ones because the thought of looking in it is scary!  So this is going to be my new filing cabinet!  I'm going to post what I do in class, and next year I will be able to find things easier.  Find samples, find copies to make, remember how I taught things, etc.. I am simply posting what I do in class, so that next year I can reuse it.  Eventually, I plan on creating my own units to share.  Just not yet.  Let me remind you, I AM A SECOND YEAR TEACHER!!  I am already busy!! So busy that I make lesson plans on Friday nights! I am still figuring everything out.  And to make new full units for everything??  "Ain't nobody got time for that!" 

Anyway, let me tell you a little about myself.  My name is Katie and I'm 25 years old. I grew up in St. Louis but now I live in TEXAS! :)  I am single and have no children. (gasp) Go ahead, take a moment to soak that in.  I know, I KNOW, it's crazy!  You should see my student's faces when they hear that.  It's like I have this disease or something.  They go into shock, but when they come out they have sympathy for me.  They do this "Awwww" thing.  And I quickly tell them, "No, I am lucky!  You are my children! I don't have kids to buy things for so I buy them for you!"  They don't realize that I'm actually serious.  I spend almost everything I have on my classroom! Men are lucky they are not with me because I would spend all of our money on school!  "No honey, instead of buying a new home, buy me a brainpopjr. subscription and those really fancy things you put on the backs of chairs so my kids don't have to get up every time they need their journals."  

If you haven't noticed.. I rant.  It's actually something I need to work on. Maybe I can keep my ranting to my blog?  I'm excited to start this, because my friends are probably sick of hearing my stories.  But you know what, kids are the most hilarious things in the world.   And sometimes I just want to share those funny things.  This way, I can keep my friends, and still rant.  Win-Win!  Stick with me for a while because I PROMISE, I'm going to start sharing some really good stuff!