Monday, January 30, 2012

Comparing Numbers

Last week, we worked on comparing and ordering numbers in math.  My colleague and friend, Kristin, did this great Pacman printable for the students to practice the directions the greater than and less than signs should go.  It includes larger demonstration Pacman's and 24 each of greater than and less than student ones.  I used these with my number cards for students to practice comparing numbers.  I copied the pacman sheets on yellow paper and laminated and cut.  I gave each student the two pacman's and then gave each table a set of 20 cards.  Students chose 2 cards and put their pacman between the right way to compare, then chose 2 more cards and so on.  Then tables switched number sets and compared more numbers.  With Kristin's permission, I am sharing the Pacman printable with all of you!  You can get my number cards at my TeacherNotebook shop.  In fact, these number cards are the additional prize that Tricia, the Common Core Pack winner, chose from my shop.

Sunday, January 29, 2012

And the winner is.....

Tricia from Queen With Class.  Tricia wins one of my Common Core Packs in her choice of grades.  (I'm assuming it will be Kindergarten).  Tricia will also be able to choose any other item I have available in my DillyDabbles store or ThriftyTechTeacher store.  (Items in the ThriftyTechTeacher store are in the process of being relocated to the DillyDabbles store as my husband will soon take over the Tech store.)  I have sent her an email with all the details.  Congratulations!  Thanks again to all of you for following and making the beginning of my new blog such a great start.  To celebrate all of your help, the Common Core Packs in my store will be 20% off until Wednesday at 10:00pm Mountain Time.  As not all grades are available just yet, I'll have a 20% off sale for three days each time a new level is finished.  It looks like Kindergarten will be next and will be available next weekend.  Stay tuned for updates.

Saturday, January 28, 2012

The big 5-0 in followers!!!

Teach123 just became my 50th follower!! Thanks to her and all of my first 50 followers.  As promised, I will choose a winner for the Common Core Pack tomorrow at 1:00 Mountain Time, January 29th.  Since we reached 50 before the end of January, the winner can also choose from my other creations.  These will include those that are currently available in my sister store, ThriftyTechTeacher.  (My husband will soon be taking over that store and the items currently there will be moved to my DillyDabbles store)  If you became a follower and have not yet entered this contest, go here before 1:00 Mountain Time and be sure you are entered to win.

Thanks again to all of you and I look forward to this blog growing.  I hope you will all look for my upcoming contests and freebies.


Tag, I'm It....

Kristin, over at Little Miss Glamour Goes to Kindergarten,  and Amy over at the Resource(ful) Room just tagged me in this fun question answer chain.  Here are the rules: 

1. You must post the rules.
2. Post 12 fun facts about yourself on the blog post.
3. Answer the questions the tagger set for you in their post, and then create 12 new questions for the people you tagged.
4. Tag 12 people and link them on your post.
5. Let them know you've tagged them!

Step 1, 12 things about me I haven't shared. 

Well, you'd think this would be easy since I just started blogging, but it's difficult to think about what to share.  

~ I'll start with the fact that I have a cat.  His name is Rocky and he's about 4 months old.  In fact, he's been helping me type this post comfortably perched on my shoulder as I've been sitting on my bed typing.  Here is is on the day we brought him home.  I guess we better take some more pictures.

~ I have three terrific kids, I think I've shared that, but here's a picture: 

~ I have a master's degree in Educational Leadership, an ESL Endorsement and am working on a Reading Endorsement right now.  

~ I have lived in Utah, Washington (state), Oregon, Arizona, Idaho and Georgia.  I did most of my growing up in Utah.  We moved a bit when I was young, and again when I was in high school and college. 

~ My husband is also a teacher.  He teaches business and keyboarding classes at a Jr. High School.  (He's also taught High School) 

~ I have 5 siblings.  Two of my sisters are also teachers.  One in English and one in Art. 

~ I'd rather do just about anything other than clean, but I always feel better after I clean.  My husband does all the laundry at our house...LOVE him!!

~ I have been married to my amazing hubby for 11 years. (Picture is about 2 years old, but it's what I had on hand quick)

~ I like to sew and scrapbook, but I have boxes of partially finished projects in my partially finished basement. ;)

~ I wanted to be a veterinarian technician when I first started college.  Then my school dropped their program and I wasn't doing so well in my Science classes, so I decided to be a Math Teacher, I just wanted to teach Jr. High, so I went the Elementary route so I wouldn't have to take all those really high math classes and still teach Jr. High.  After my first year in the program, NCLB came and I would no longer be able to teacher Jr. High math with an Elementary degree.  So, I stuck it out in hopes of teaching upper grades and now I teach 1st.  Never thought this is where I'd be; but I love it. 

~ I like dark chocolate. (a little too much) 

~ I would love to visit Europe and Asia and just about everywhere else in the world. 

Now step 2...answering the questions: 
These are the answers to Kristin's questions, but I love Amy's questions too and I'll do another post soon answering those.  

1. How do you relax after a stressful day/week?
Cozy up on the couch after the kiddos are in bed and reading a good book or watching a good TV show.  
2. What's your guilty pleasure TV show?
My favorites right now are Gray's Anatomy and Private Practice.  We're trying to watch less TV; it helps that our 4 month old 32 inch has a problem with the volume control and is permanently on the loudest setting. 
3. How many pairs of shoes do you own?
Not nearly as many as I would like.  4 that I wear regularly and then another 8ish that I don't wear very often.  
4. What is your favorite place to buy school supplies?
I love the before school sales.  Staples is great with their penny and dollar deals.  
5. What is your favorite board/pin on Pinterest?  (or your favorite recent idea if you aren't on)
This is a tough one...there are so many...this idea is one I want to try soon as a way to do rewards perhaps.
Pinned Image 
6. What is a super easy meal you like to make for dinner?
My new favorite easy meal is a crock-pot sauce with ravioli.  Put a can of pasta sauce, a can of Italian style diced tomatoes, a small can of diced mushrooms into a crock-pot.  Cook some sausage and ground beef together and add to the sauce mixture.  Cook on low for 6-8 hours.  Add cheese ravioli and some grated cheese.  Cook for 15-20 minutes to warm ravioli and serve.  I love that it can cook all day and gets that delicious slow cooked flavor while I was away all day.  
7. What frustrates you about blogging?
Not enough time in the day to blog myself and view all of the fun posts by everyone else. 
8. If you found the perfect unit on a blog, the topic/skill would be ______?
This is a great question.  The first thought that came to mind was mini-lessons ready to go on writing and reading and phonics strategies.  Like a first grade pack on strategies students need to be good writers etc. 
9. What is your favorite thing to teach?
Math is my favorite subject to learn and to teach.  It's the area that got me thinking about being a teacher and I like the challenge of working through the problems.  I think I like teaching it because I understand it and because there is a process that can be thought through and explained.  I enjoy seeing the kids struggle through a problem and then feel so good when they find a solution. 
10. What is one of the funniest kid moments you've had at school?
My husband will attest to the fact that I don't have a very good memory.  The first thought that came to me happened to a fellow teacher.  I asked my husband if he could think of any that I had told him and we're both stumped.  I'll share these now as they come along.
11. The most played song on your iPod is _______?
I don't have an iPod or any other similar device.  I like to listen to Pandora when I'm at school working outside of regular school hours and usually listen to Jason Mraz or Michael Buble.
12. Who inspired you to become a teacher?
My Jr. High math teacher is who I always credit.  I don't even remember her name, but she made math fun.  I was in a class specifically geared toward females and minority students.  She worked hard to help us understand the reason behind the math.  

Part 3, passing along the tag... 
Tag, you're it: 
First Grade Heart 
First Grade Delight
First Grade at Klinger Cafe
Queen with Class
My Kindergarten Kids
Pitner's Potpourri
Smiling in Second Grade
Following Optimism
The Resource(ful) Room
Taming my Flock of Firsties
Peterson's Pad
Peace, Love and First Grade

Here's the questions for you bloggers: 

  1. What is your favorite food/drink to de-stress?
  2. What is your favorite book to read to your class? 
  3. What is your favorite book to read yourself? 
  4. How far do you travel to get to your school? 
  5. How many students are in your class? 
  6. Do you exercise?  How often and what types? 
  7. What is your favorite topic or unit to teach? 
  8. What behavior plans/rewards do you have in place in your classroom? 
  9. What do you wear to school?  (slacks, skirts, dresses, jeans, types of shoes)
  10. How old/new is your school? 
  11. What technology do you have available/use in your classroom? 
  12. How do you spoil yourself? 

Listening Center

I incorporate a lot of the Daily 5 into my centers, but don't follow it exactly.  Because of that, I don't change the activities in my centers very often.  I'm still trying to figure out how to organize my math games and centers, which I do more traditionally, so I have more of those.  Hopefully I can get some ideas from the linky party at The Lesson Plan Diva.  Here's a picture of my listening center.
(I use the drawers, from IKEA, to organize my math manipulatives and the blue pocket chart is for class jobs.  Posts on these to come later.)

I use inexpensive 1 and 2GB MP3 players and download one story on each player.  Here's one that looks easy to use. 
Ease of use is key when the kids are going to be the ones operating them. I have several lessons at the beginning of the year to train students on how to use the players and how to keep the center organized. The player is in a ziplock bag in the pouch with the book and the bag, player and book are all numbered.  The headphones clasp over simple tubs to keep them organized.  Students select a book and headphones and choose a spot in the room to listen.  I love this system for several reasons:

  • Students don't fight over the buttons
  • Students can go at their own pace, starting and stopping as needed to follow along.
  • Students don't have to wait for each other to all be at the center and ready to begin playing the book. 
  • Students can listen to books at other times in the day like when work is finished early. 
Here's a picture of the pocket chart up close.  I only change the books about once a month, sometimes less depending on how often we did centers.  Students only have each center once a week, so it can last a long time without changing.  Students love to listen to their favorites several times too.  

I have purchased most of the books on CD from Scholastic and the $20 listening sets they have in the SeeSaw orders.  I have a pretty good collection now.  I also use my Scholastic points for them.  Another way to create listening books is to use a digital recorder and record yourself, the principal, custodian, lunch workers, parents, etc.  reading books that you already have and creating your own listening books.  

Here's a similar pocket chart to the one I have:

And here's a good digital recorder that links right up to your computer to easily save the file.  I use a similar model.  Be careful when purchasing a digital recorder, many do NOT have a USB hook up so files cannot be saved.  

How do you organize your listening centers?

Contest Reminder

As of now, I have 47 followers!  Only three more to go before I draw for the winner of the Common Core Pack.  Go here to enter to win.  I think we just might make 50 before the end of January and I'll throw in a choice of another of my creations I have to the winner.

Thursday, January 26, 2012

100 Days of School

 I'm sure some of you have already had your 100th day of school, and for some it is coming up.  We are celebrating our 100th day tomorrow, (but it is really next Wednesday).  We wanted to have the all day celebration on a Friday, so we fudged the days a bit...SHHH don't tell the kids ; )  Well, it's Thursday and time for a book share.  I actually haven't read this one, but have read many other books by Natasha Wing with the Night Before.... theme.  I have loved all of them.  They are great for introducing holidays and milestones like the first day of school.  Leave a comment if you've read this one before.  Tell us how you liked it and any activities you did with it.

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

What's NOT Wrong

I found this linky party at Carried Away in Kindergarten through First Grade at Klinger Cafe.  Here's how it works... copy and paste the cutey little icon... Then think of five, count 'em, five things that are NOT wrong in your life.  List them.  Share them.  Link up at Carried Away in Kindergarten. 

1.  The muffins I made tonight are NOT wrong.  They may be full of calories, but that will be counteracted by my yoga session....right? 

2.  Speaking of yoga...Wednesday exercise is NOT wrong.  Each Wednesday afternoon I exercise with a group of teachers I teach with.  A few take turns each Wednesday leading the class and this afternoon was yoga.  My first time doing yoga and who knew it was such a great and invigorating workout? 

3.  Having a little inner celebration that a few students were absent today is NOT wrong.  We all need a little break every now and then.  

4.  It is NOT wrong that it is just after 9:00 and ALL of my children are sound asleep, (even the cat). 

5.  It is NOT wrong that I am procrastinating the reading I need to do (and it's partnering paper) for my reading endorsement class tomorrow night by blog stalking and blogging while listening to the Adele station of Pandora.  

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Contest Reminder

Remember to submit your comments on my contest post here, to be entered to win a Common Core Packet (grade level of your choice).  I'll choose as soon as I have 50 followers on the blog.  We only have a few more to go and if we reach 50 by the end of January, I'll throw in a little extra...another item of the winners choice.

Monday, January 23, 2012

Monday, Monday

Whew...the weekend sure went fact did I just finish a weekend?  Anyway, I thought I'd share the math activity we did today to introduce the concept of comparing numbers.  It's our first day with the concept, so to get the conversation going and the unit started, here's what we did.

I gave each student an odd number of m&m's.  The valentine ones worked great because there are basically only 3 colors: pink, white and red.  I limited my selection for each student to 2 colors, but you could give an assortment of all three.

I asked students to write in their math journals what they noticed about the candies.  They immediately started with the appearance of the candy like color and shape.  I hinted to look at the number(s) of candies they had.  Then I had students share at their ideas at their tables.

We came together as a class.  I showed students my odd number of m&m's on the doc. camera and asked them to tell me about the number of m&m's I had.  As students used key words like most, greatest, less, etc. I put the words on the board.

Then we formally discussed how we could compare the number of candies in a statement such as "I have more red than white." or "My 4 red candies are greater than my 3 pink candies."  Students then had to tell me a comparative statement to be able to eat their m&m's.

Then small groups of students were given some numbers and practiced their statements.  Students took turns choosing 2 cards and then giving a comparative statement for the two numbers.

Now that I'm blogging about it, I wish I had taken pictures.  I'll have to get into a better habit of that. ;)

Sunday, January 22, 2012

Welcome to All!

Wow!  I don't know if I can say anything more.  I'm am so humbled by the response that my blog has had in a week's time.  A big THANK YOU to each of you who are now following me and have left such kind comments.  I so appreciate those who have blogged about my giveaway on your sites.  I hope I can reciprocate.  Welcome!!

Reminder, chance to win a common core packet

Remember to submit your comments on my contest post here, to be entered to win a Common Core Packet (grade level of your choice).

Saturday, January 21, 2012

A Day in My Shoes... A Linky Party

I saw a post to this linky party from Taming My Flock of Firsties and thought it sounded like a fun first linky party to join up with.  Katy, from Adventures of a 6th Grade Teacher is hosing this linky party on what a "typical" day in the life of a teacher looks like.

Here was my Friday, yesterday: 

5:40 Husband has been up for about an hour and comes back to the room to say his good-byes for the day.

6:30 alarm goes off, but I pushed snooze three times until 7:00

7:00 kids alarm has gone off and my 5 year old comes into my room and climbs in the bed

My 7 year old and 5 year old get ready, pretty much on their own for the day. (They are super kids!) 7 year old gets a bottle for the 1 year old and gets him out of bed while I shower and get ready. (Of course all of this would go smoother if I actually got up at 6:30)

7:45 Hurry everyone to the car

7:55 Arrive at the sitters and drop off the 5 year old and 1 year old for the day.  I take the sitter's son to school.  Realize that I forgot the baby's antibiotic for his current ear infection and run home to get it.  

8:20 Arrive back at sitter's to give baby medication.  

8:30 Arrive at school and stay in the car to finish my yogurt breakfast while the 7 year old heads into the building. 

8:35 Get to my classroom and get "ready" for the day. 

8:55 Students come into the classroom and we start our day. 

9:00-9:30 Shared Reading (We took our spelling Tests)

9:30-10:00 Writing (Students worked on their small moments writing and adding adjectives)

10:00 - Lock Down Drill

10:15 -11:20 Guided Reading (Usually starts at 10:00)

11:20 Class did a making words activity from the letters in tamale

11:35 Take class to Lunch / Eat my lunch

12:10 Pick up class from lunch

12:15-12:45 Math assessment on place value unit we just finished

12:45-1:45 Math centers while I do the interview portion of the math assessment

1:45-2:15 Friday Fun (choice time as a reward for weekly behavior)

2:15 - 2:45 Recess (usually just until 2:30, but it was a beautiful afternoon and the teachers were loving it as much as the students. 

2:45 Teacher Read, I read 

3:10 Clean up 

3:15 Dismissal Bell Rings

I Corrected spelling tests and checked in homework then gathered things to bring home. 

3:45 Met with parents for a parent conference they rescheduled from last week.

4:00 left school with 7 year old to pick up kids from childcare.  Went to the bank and then to pick up a pizza. 

5:00 Arrived home with dinner and the kids.

Friday, January 20, 2012

Narrative Stories Published

My grade level focused on writing narrative stories during our second quarter.  At the end of each unit, we go through the editing, revising and publishing process.  I've found it difficult to do the more traditional writers workshop approach, but have found this method very useful and doable for my first grade students.  Throughout the term we wrote several narrative stories.  I use Lucy Caulkins' lessons.  The last two weeks or so of the term, we start by choosing the story each child wants to publish.  Then we go through the revising and editing to end with publication.  For the most part, the writing is usually student published.  I don't think that having myself or a parent type up the child's story is helpful to such young students.  So, students do the writing for their published books.  You can get the cards I used this last go around to guide students in revising and editing their stories here.  Also, here is the paper I used for the inside of the books.  I used scrapbook paper cut to 5.5 x 8.5 inches for the covers.  Below are some pictures of our finished stories.  We used the Japanese Stab Binding method of binding the books.  I used a single hand hole punch to punch the holes and we used yarn.  (A hint on sewing with yarn, dip the end in melted candle wax and let dry.  Then you have a stiff tip and don't need to mess with needles or wrapping the end in tape.)  Ribbon and embrodery thread work well too.  Be sure to have an odd number of holes.

Here's a tutorial from Youtube:

And here's the pictures of our books: 

I love this shelf.  We display our published works and the students love to read each other's books.

My dog bit me

We are still working on capitalization. ; )

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Reminder, Win a Common Core Packet

Remember to submit your comments on my contest post here, to be entered to win a Common Core Packet (grade level of your choice).

Story Share Thursday - Plaidypus Lost

I thought Thursdays might be a good day for sharing some of my favorite story books.  So, here goes the start of a tradition.

I discovered these sister authors, Janet Stevens and Susan Stevens Crummel, this past fall at the Utah Council IRA conference.  Not only are they hilarious presenters together, their stories are wonderful.  I read this one to my students last week and they loved it. It's an endearing story about a toy made from old clothing and his adventures.  Students relate to it and it is predictable. (Notice the spelling of PLAIDypus)

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Martin Luther King Jr.

I had a long weekend as I had parent conferences last Thursday and so we were given Friday off for the extra time we spent and then had yesterday off for MLK Jr. Day.  I decided to do some MLK reading and activities on Thursday.  It was something meaningful and easy to do on a crazy day.  Anyway, I got on to post a video clip and worksheet that I used, which I will still post, and saw that Crazy for First Grade posted a You Tube Version of the book Martin's Big Words.  So, below you'll find links to the FREE worksheet that I used and the two videos.  Enjoy!!

The first video is from Studies Weekly and can be found on their website here. It's also on YouTube, but I couldn't get it to embed.

The video of Martin's Big Words is done by scholastic and is on YouTube. It's embedded above.  A link to the book is below, just click on the book cover.

And of course the FREEBIE!  I did some clouds for the dream theme.  There is a blank cloud, a cloud with the prompt "I have a dream that..."  and then a lined version of the prompt.  Enjoy!  Click here to download your freebie from google docs. 

Contraction Activities Pack

My Contraction Activity Pack is now available in my TeachersNotebook store.  Part of that pack includes folding contraction cards.  Here's a video tutorial on folding those cards.

Monday, January 16, 2012

Win a Common Core Standards Pack!

This contest is now over, but check back to my blog regularly as new contests will be coming up. 

I just finished my First Grade Common Core Standards Pack and I'm celebrating my new blog and pack with a giveaway!  You can win a 174 page Common Core Standards Pack for your grade level.  (First grade is done and I'll be working on other grades over the next few weeks.)  I'll randomly choose a winner from the comments to this post the day after the day I reach 50 followers on the blog.  If we reach 50 followers on the blog by the end of January, I'll add in a choice of any product from my TeachersNotebook store (growing daily).  So follow closely.  Here's how to enter to win:

1. Follow this blog (and follow me anywhere else you'd like to including Facebook, Twitter and my TeachersNotebook store) and leave a comment below telling me you are now a follower.  You can leave a comment for each way you follow me.

2.  Share my contest/drawing on your blog or facebook or twitter and leave a comment with the link.  You can comment each time you share.

3.  You can leave 1 comment telling me what you think of my preview file that can be downloaded here.

Saturday, January 14, 2012


Dropbox - Secure backup, sync and sharing made easy.
Do you find yourself emailing documents back and forth or carrying a thumb drive with you wherever you go?  Do you get to school and realize you left the document you were working on at home or get home to work on something and realize the documents you needed are at school?  Well here's a great solution.  I've been using Dropbox now for over a year and I LOVE it!!  It is a web-based storage program and it is FREE!  You can download the program to your frequently used computers and once you save an item there, you can access it from any of the computers you have downloaded the software on.  OR you can log in online to and access your documents from any computer anywhere.  There is also a subscription option if you need more storage than the free option allows.  This has totally solved my problem of accessing documents and remembering to email them to myself or carry a thumb drive everywhere.  Click on any of the links to get started.  If you have questions, Dropbox has some great video tutorials to help you along.

Friday, January 13, 2012

Math Vocabulary Wall Cards

I was thinking about creating some math word wall and vocabulary cards, so I was doing a little search.  Well, I found this great resource available through Utah's Granite School District and figured, why go to all the work to create something that is already available and great.  So, check out the link and get math vocabulary resources for grades K-7 correlated with the Common Core. Each grade includes a math vocabulary list  and then alphabetically listed vocabulary cards in 3 ways including just the word, the word and graphic, the word with the graphic and definition.  Other resources on this site include templates for word study, lesson and activity ideas and other resources.

You can go here for the Granite School District curriculum maps.  I find it helpful to view other maps when our team works together to review our map.  I'm not sure if these are correlated to the common core just yet though.

And while I'm at it, here's the language resources from this district as well.  These are not the common core yet, but if they update them and share, it will be a good place to go in the future.

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Monday, January 9, 2012

Free Online Readers

Have you ever heard of the "I See Sam" phonics reader series?  Well, they are a series of phonics readers that have a long history.  They have now been put into an interactive form with lesson plans, phonics instruction, and comprehension support and practice.  Children can listen to the book or read it on their own.  Best part.... It's FREE!  go to and sign up for a free account to get started.   You can assign students usernames and passwords (this takes another registration step, but is still free.)  Give it a try and let me know what you think.  I just signed up today and am excited for a few of my students to give it a try.  I plan to also share the student log in information with parents at our parent conferences this week so they can do it at home too.

Saturday, January 7, 2012

First Blog Award!

 Thanks to Nicole at Teaching With Style for the Versitile Blogger Award!  It's my first blog award and it's so exciting!

Here are the rules of the award:

1. Thank the person who presented the award to you and link back to them. (Above)

2.  Tell seven things about yourself.
       1. I'm a mom of 3: Girl 7  Girl 5  Boy 1.
       2. Teaching is a hobby and profession for me.
       3. I've been married to my college sweetie for 11 years.
       4. I must be have a distant connection with Nicole of Teaching With Style, I have my M.Ed. in Educational Leadership and have been pursuing an administrative position for the past 2 years.  I'd also like to teach pre-service teachers one day.
       5. I have a September birthday
       6. I have been to Disneyland and Disney World each once when I was 18.
       7. I'm a newbie to teacher blogging, but loving it so far.

3. Pass this on to 15 newly discovered blogs and let them know they've received the award.

I'm still working on number 3.  I'll post this part a little later.


Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...