Saturday, January 26, 2013

Happy Hearts!

I ran by the grocery tonight and was inspired by some candy that was actually on sale!  At this time of year? Yep, I couldn't believe it either.  I came home and made these Valentine cards and bag toppers:
Click on the preview to go straight to my TPT shop and pick yours up before it's too late, and all that candy is either gone, or back to regular prices!  You can use these for your students, to give to parents, co-workers, or use for fundraisers.

Happy Valentine's Day,

Friday, January 25, 2013

New Year, New Savings!

My Sweet Friends,
Just a short note to let you know that I have slashed prices at my Teachers Pay Teachers store!  As a new seller and new blogger, I'm learning as I go.  Although it takes me hours, sometimes weeks, to create my products for sale, I've learned that I'm getting a little faster, a little more creative, and a little less pricey!  Click on the banner above to go directly to my store for shopping savings.

Happy Friday!

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

January Fly-By

Can you believe January's almost over???  It's amazing to me that we're already into the new year, and especially almost upon February!

Yesterday, we celebrated Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.'s birthday.
We watched Martin's Big Words being read aloud on  In case you're still celebrating, or learning about Dr. King, the link is HERE.  It's a beautifully read version, with zooming effects, and whomever is reading it has the best voice I can imagine!

We also read some letters from a book I've had for about 10 or 12 years, called Dear Dr. King.  It has letters to Dr. King written by "today's" children.  Some are simple.  Others are moving, while others are simply heartbreaking.  After reading a few, and watching the video version of the other book, I had my students do a couple of activities.  First, we talked about eye color - you know the old study you learned about in college, where the teacher treated all the kids with blue eyes vs. brown eyes better one day, and then the opposite the next - I didn't tell them all about that, of course.  I just asked, what if I said all the blue-eyed people couldn't go to school here, or drink from the water fountain, or go to the movies, or...on and on.  They quickly observed that I couldn't be the teacher (I have blue eyes), and said that was crazy, stupid, etc.  PERFECT!  Then we talked about skin color being just like eye color or hair color - who cares??? It's just a color!  They SO got it!

photo from
Next, I showed them two eggs, one white, and one brown.  They took note of the difference - color only.  I cracked them open into bowls, and of course, the yolks and whites were identical. I even switched the bowls around a few times and then asked which was which.  None of us knew.  PERFECT again!

Finally, we made a simplified version of a First Grade Parade-inspired portrait of Dr. King and used Tori's freebie MLK I Have a Dream sheet to write our own dreams for our world today and in the future.  Y'all...the best writing I've seen all year!  So powerful and thoughtful!  I was really impressed by some of my babies' dreams!  We might end up with world peace one day!!!

Next week, on the 29th, we're celebrating Amelia Bedelia's FIFTIETH birthday!  WHOA!  You can download a party planning package from HERE.  There are some super-cute ideas, including a free costume rental (you do have to pay shipping), crafts, etc.  Can you believe that Amelia's fifty??? That's even got me beat!

Better get ready - Chinese New Year begins on February 10th, then on to Valentine's Day on the 14th, and Presidents' Day on the 18th! Holy Moly - before we know it, it's going to be St. Patty's (my birthday)!  Stay tuned for some fun ideas for all of these celebrations, too.

Flying Fast,

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Knocked Some Sense Into My Head ( or maybe out of it)!

So, last week was a little odd, to say the least!  One of my best volunteer moms came in on Monday limping.  When I asked what was wrong, she told me her curling brush had caught ON FIRE, and that when she dropped it, it scratched her chin and she jumped back and slipped, hurting her hip.  I thought she was talking about the famous InStyler, and offered her mine (which I never use).  Before giving it to her though, I thought I'd try it out on my daughter and myself one last time, so Wednesday I got it out, heated it up, and was just finishing up the last strands of my bangs when I dropped it, jumped back and slipped.  Instead of hurting my hip, I fell completely backwards, cracking my head THREE times on the bathroom door hinge, the door frame and the floor.  Brilliant!  Within a minute or so, I realized I was bleeding - you know how head wounds bleed - a TON, but I didn't think too much of it until my husband came running over and freaked out!  He was yelling, trying to get me to stand up, making me hold a washcloth to my head, and all I could worry about was how hot that dang InStyler gets, and trying to get him to UN.PLUG. it!!!  Of course all of this was going on within about ten minutes of the usual time I leave for work, with my daughters in tow.  Naturally, we had a field trip scheduled, too.  Instead, I took a field trip to the E.R., where they stapled my head back together with SEVEN huge staples.
No one mentioned a concussion.  No one tested for a concussion.  Nothing.  I went home, slept all day and night, and went back to school the next day.  Pulling in the school parking lot in the pouring rain (the sixth straight day of it), I realized I had both morning and afternoon car duty.  Blech!  Then I got to my room, which looked like a disaster area (my fault, not the sub's).  I burst into tears.  I went to morning hall duty crying with quite the headache.  Everyone wanted to know why in the world I hadn't taken the day off, but I tried to explain that the next day, my Clare would have minor surgery.  My head hurt so bad, I couldn't even think straight.

Friday morning went well, and Clare did great.  I even worked on a social studies Regions Unit.  By afternoon, the headache was back.  I called my doctor, who sent me back to the E.R. (yep, that's three trips to the hospital in three days) for a CT scan.  Concussion.  Wow.  Okay, so now I had to cancel my chiropractor appointment, a massage, which I needed more than ever, and a hair cut & color appointment (which you can see I desperately needed to cover all the grey!).

What makes the whole thing hilarious to me is that the very first thing my assistant principal said to me was, "Well, did you knock some sense into that hard head?"  I laughed and said, "Greg, all I can do is pray that it didn't knock any more out!"  I also literally thank God for such a hard head and so much hair - you can't see a single thing with my hair fixed.

Moral of the story:  If you drop your curling brush, flat iron, InStyler, or whatever...DO NOT JUMP BACK!

Happy MLK, Jr. Day,

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Measurement Mania,,,In the Southern SNOW?

Or is it measurement maniac?  I feel like I've been working for-e-ver on my new measurement mega unit, but I'm so happy to share it with you!  So far, my kiddos are lovin' it.  We've made our snowpeople, played Icicle Measurement, and are working toward my other activities involving length right now.

In South Carolina, we wish for snow.  We have snow dances.  I was even taught, at an early age, to stand on the front porch, facing the house, and throw ice cubes over my left shoulder, out into the yard to encourage snow!  We pray for snow.  When we hear that snow might even think about coming, we run out to the grocery and buy up all the milk and bread, in case we're "snowed in" for days and days.  We celebrate snow - even a flake can send kids into a frenzy.  It's been exceptionally mild so far this winter, so I thought we'd have snow much fun with measurement, even if we can't measure real snowflakes, real icicles, real snowmen, or even if we don't see a single tiny snow-cloud.  My kids are into it - they're in their dang shorts, and we're running the fans in my room, because the heat won't turn off, but we're playin' in the snow, by goodness, and we are LOVING IT!

They don't know it yet, but they've earned a "compliment party", and I plan on our having a (paper) snowball fight on Friday!!!  Yep, that's how we roll down here.  So, to all my friends in Nebraska, I have to say how much I miss Y'ALL :), but your snow just "ain't right" - it's beautiful, and it's deep, and it sticks, and it stays for weeks - months even, but in all the time I lived there, I could only make one snowman because that snow is just too dry.  I'll never forget the first snow we had while living there - we got all bundled up, went out to play, and I picked up a handful of the white stuff to throw a snowball at my little girl, but couldn't even make a snowball...the snow just won't hold together.  It's like that plastic stuff we put all around our Christmas village!

Back to the measurement, this Winter-Themed Mega Unit covers all of the second grade CCSS MD standards 1-9, with over 40 pages of games, craftivities, hands-on measurement in standard and metric systems, word problems, practice pages, and ideas for centers, small groups, partners, individuals, and assessments.  Every page has teacher notes to explain how to set everything up, what to copy, what to post, etc.  I hope you'll love it as much as we are.  You can click HERE to get yours from Teachers Pay Teachers.

My next project is tackling the U. S. Regions for social studies.  It will include cultural contributions by Native Americans, immigrants, regional folk tales, tall tales, and fables, regional landscapes, economics, natural resources, and more.  It's a doozie, but should be ready soon!

Okay, my friends, it's once again almost midnight, and I'm still working, so it's off to bed for me, but remember, pray for a little snow to come our way!

Saturday, January 5, 2013


Ever feel like life passes so quickly that when you turn around a year's gone by?  I gotta tell ya, Merry Christmas, Happy New Year, and maybe I should go ahead and say Happy Presidents' Day, MLK, Jr. Day, and Valentine's Day, too!

Just before school was out, we finished up my Auntie Claus unit, and our class won the school door-decorating contest with our Auntie Claus door & hallway space.

Our little corner of the world...
Auntie's North Pole
Auntie's NYC penthouse
Close up of Auntie
Close up of Santa Moon

You might remember that we were planning a surprise Disney trip for my sweet girls for my husband decided we should leave that day!  Whoa!  Back up the bus - I wasn't ready!  First, I'd missed the last day before school was out with Clare running a fever.  Then Callie got back in on the act and had a bad sinus infection that she shared with Brady.  I was so crazy taking care of all the sickies that I baked not one cookie, sent not one card, shopped on the 23rd (only), made up a scavenger hunt for the Disney tickets at midnight on the 24th, and never looked back.  You could tell when we got back home and saw the post-cleaning-ladies nightmare of a mess we left everywhere!

Cinderella's Castle lit by laser to look like a gingerbread castle!

We did have a fabulous time, and by New Year's Eve, everyone was well, except Brady, who's still sick.  I took my laptop, but never even took it out of the suitcase, which I'm pretty proud of, since last year's resolution was to be a better mother and, still workin' on that.  This year, my top resolution is to MMOB (mind my own business - or at least keep my mouth shut, whenever possible!), followed closely by sticking with Weight Watchers & adding exercise (ugh - I HATE sweat!), because that 54 pounds in the trash (or wherever lost weight goes) is lookin' pretty good, but 50 more would be WAY, way better!

We started back to school Thursday, oddly - I wasn't sure what to do with only 2 days - but we thought a lot about resolutions, reviewed our class rules, and talked about how to be better bucket fillers.  I made a mini-unit for my sweeties to use to really think about what New Years Resolutions were, how they came to be a tradition, and what they might want to work toward in 2013.

The mini-unit comes with both versions - the cute kiddos, and the Hoo-Ray owls, and you can pick it up on Teachers Pay Teachers by clicking on the large picture above.  It's lasting us more than two days, but I'm flexible like that, and I want my babies to think hard before making some random promises to themselves about 2013.

Here...some final copies of New Years' resolutions...
 I'm working on a Measurement Mega Unit, that should be ready by next week.  I'm starting it on Monday, but it covers all the second grade CCSS standards, so I'm not quite finished with the last bit yet.  Be looking for that to come soon (I hope!)  It's super-cute, and winter/snow themed...we can dream down here in S.C.!
We'll also be starting to learn about matter Monday, and I love how all the winter math ties in with the fun water experiments I have planned for studying changes in matter, so I'm just going all out and reading Snow Day, The Wild Toboggan Ride, Snowmen at Night, and lots of other wintry tales, while we learn to infer characters' feelings, authors' purposes, and unfamiliar word meanings.  I found a fab you tube video of a small group lesson on making inferences, and pinned it to my "It's Elementary, My Dear" board on Pinterest.  You can click here to find the pin about half-way down the page.

I hope this year finds you peaceful, well, rested, and happy!  Thank you for all your loyal reading in 2012 - I'll do my best to write more often in 2013.