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100th Day Giveaway!

Many of us are reaching the 100th day of school!
Some of you have been there and done that this year, 
but of course you'll be hittin' that big day again next year!
Regardless of what your count down is,
you will want to enter to win these amazing 100th day packets!

Click each picture to go to individual blogs.
 If you don't follow, you should:)
The link below each picture will take you to the product on TPT!
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Guided Reading and Guided Math Essentials

Every time we have a data meeting, I get a little lot stressed about how I am meeting the needs of every kid in my room!  It's not easy to juggle the needs of 24 kids daily!  Guided math and guided reading are a lot to handle...can I get an AMEN?  In my post today, I am sharing some favorite components for both reading and math! 

Just click on over to my post to gets some tips, tricks, and a freebie or two!
Click my blog button below!

Snowman Measuring Freebie and Font Giveaway

Elizabeth here from Kickin' it in Kindergarten

I wanted to share a snowman measuring activity that I love doing with my students. We have been reading snowman books this week so we do this fun math/writing activity to go along with the books. 

First, I show the kids how to draw a snowman on a large piece of white construction paper. and then they glue it down to the blue piece of construction paper. If they get frusterated, have them draw three seperate circles instead. 

Then, I cut out pieces of black (hat), orange (nose), red (scarf) and various colors (buttons) and passed them out to each table and let the kids come up with their own design. Some kiddos wanted a crown instead of a hat :) 

The kids drew on the arms, eyes, and ears with a black marker.

Next, it was on the measuring. Students used unifex cubes and measured from the bottom of the snowman to the top of the snowman and recorded it on the recording strip at the bottom. 
Finally, it was on to the writing. The students have to sketch their snowman and then give it at name. 

Grab this activity for free

Before I head out, I just created my first round of fonts this week. I am no Cara Carroll {queen of fonts) here but loved making them! It was almost therapeutic! If you would be interested in winning, leave your e-mail in the comments and tell me which one is your favorite. I'll send the winners an e-mail Thursday! 

Getting Organized

Hi Blog Hoppers! It's Leslie Ann from Life in First Grade (and now Fifth Grade!) and I'm here to talk about getting organized in 2014. Most of the time, I feel like a scattered, hot mess! I am SO not the most organized person, let alone teacher, but I wanted to share a couple of ways I organize some things in my classroom. Maybe it will give y'all some ideas. Be sure and link up with us below so we can see all of your organizational tips! :) 

I don't know how I've taught for the past five years without using task cards. I have found so many great ones on TpT for almost every reading skill. I knew I had to quickly find a way to store these without misplacing them or getting them mixed up. I found these great containers at the Dollar Tree and then used my beloved Silhouette Cameo to label them. 

I use to sort everything in separate notebooks for our weekly reading selection (I use Scott Foresman Reading Street). For example, I had a notebook filled with all the selection tests, another one for all the weekly word lists, another for DOL tests, and so on. Somewhere along the way I started filing everything in one folder by the name of the weekly story. This has worked much better.

I also have several of these great little drawers around my small group meeting area so the kids will always be able to quickly grab materials we need. Of course I had to break out the Cameo again to label! :)

Now I want to hear your organizational tips! Link up below :) 

Welcome 2014! Professional Goals!

Can you believe it's Day 4 of 2014 already?!?! Well It is, and that means it's time to share your professional goals!

I'm getting ready to head back to the classroom on Monday as I am sure many of you are. I always try to return from break with fresh ideas and some new items to get the kids excited. There is something special about the fresh start to the new year, mid-school year for me. I start looking at what I want to accomplish the rest of the year and this year I've come up with the few goals that I really want to focus on for myself and my students. So here's what I'll be working on in 2014!

I love teaching reading, and I think is shows. I know how to get my students excited about what we are doing. I love children's literature and can share hundreds of books I've read and know well with them. I can create fun activities and relate difficult concepts at many different levels. I see the growth in my students, and I know what I am doing as a reading teacher is working. Math is a whole different story! I don't HATE math, but I don't LOVE it either. I find it so difficult to break down and differentiate lessons. Concepts continue to get more difficult and yet the master of basic concepts isn't developing for my students.I feel awful about where we are right now, and again my students work is showing it! Not easy to see as a teacher but I have to admit that it! So my first goal is to get better at teaching math. Especially difficult concepts in different ways that may help my students understand the content better. I've ordered a couple books to get me started and I'm looking forward to reading them. The first one is about Mathematical Comprehension

I am excited to make the connection with literacy strategies! I am hoping a connection to ELA will really give me a new perspective. The second book is a short easy read with lots of great ways to make math accessible to all students. I have skimmed through this one and it already looks great!
Goal number two is all about keeping teaching fun and refreshing my love for the profession. January through March is the longest part of the teaching year, and definitely the time when I start feeling a little burned out. 

This year I would like to do something to keep myself motivated so here's goal number 2.
Since I'm focusing on getting better at teaching math I'm looking for a good conference where I can learn some great strategies for teaching math in the upper grades. Not one I'm required to attend or just any old conference, but one I find interesting and really want to attend. I haven't found one yet but I'm looking!

I am a special education teacher and most of my students are struggling in more than one area academically. That leads me to goals number 3.
With increased demands to meet all academic standards it has become harder and harder to focus on the individual need of each student. Teaching three grade levels reading and math can be overwhelming. It's easy to get into a routine, following the district instructional calendar and moving on. My goal is to be more intentional about meeting the individual needs of students so that they master concepts rather than just skim the surface and keep moving. I don't have a lot of time in my schedule and students have so much that they have to get done in their general education classes so this is going to take a real collaborative effort. I know it's what's best for them so I am committed to making this goal happen.

What are your professional goals for 2014? Link up below and share them with us!

Thanks for reading,

Welcome 2014 Linky - Fitness

Hey friends!  It's Kelley from Teacher Idea Factory.  I'm here to host today's Welcome 2014 Linky installment.  What's the topic you ask?  Well, we made it to Day Three . . . 

I know . . . I know . . . Dolling is probably not the person you expected to see leading the fitness post, right??!!  Well, I thought I'd toss my hat into the ring on this one to not only help motivate my own sad self, but to also possibly inspire those who loathe working out and have the hardest time getting back up on that big 'ol horse!

Here's a little fitness history on little old me.  I was really active in high school and played volleyball year-round.  I could run that all-mighty 3-mile loop faster than anyone on my team (okay . . . except for speedy little Heidi, but she doesn't count) and we had to run that darn thing ALL THE TIME.  I was in AMAZING shape.  Then, graduation happened.  Little Kelley moved away to college and joined a sorority (Alpha Delta Pi - HOLLA!!).  I went through stages of trying to be fit.  I managed to keep off the dreaded Freshman 15 via gym memberships and intramural sports.  A few bad relationships {and even worse breakups} kept me in "check" for the next couple of years.  However, the late night burritos, toaster pizzas (don't ask), and frequent trips to The Bear finally caught up with me senior year.  It was bad.  Really bad.  After college, I moved away, stopped all of the shenanigans, and began working out again.  Things improved drastically and I felt healthy.  Well, I didn't keep up with this once I changed careers.  The move from marketing/PR to teaching was killer.  In the past 7 years I have made attempts to workout and they ALWAYS fail.  I work at the computer instead of getting physically active . . . in my mind, "I DON'T HAVE TIME!" {Yes, I said that in BIG shouty caps!}  I have become the QUEEN of excuses.  Sound familiar?

Okay, so my goal in spewing all that bloody history was to hopefully create a bond between you an me.  A bond that will help us make some changes this year - there is something to say about working together when things are hard.  Whaddya say??  Can we do it?  I'm ready - join me.

I am not making any epic fitness/health goals this year.  NO NUMBERS allowed in my book.  I simply want to make working out a doable weekly routine and to stick to my tummy-approved diet.  With this said . . . here are my goals.  

I put the easiest one first . . . hahahahaha!  I am so bad about reaching for water.  I have a cup of bold coffee every morning.  At night I have a cup of tea and maybe one or two glass of H2O. Pretty dumpy, huh??!!  School always kills my water vibe - I can't make it to the bell . . . if you know what I mean. Twenty-fourteen is the year to change this I tell ya!  I must find a way :)  

Without being too graphic, I had a major surgery two years ago that didn't go very well.  I had a resection of sorts (I'll spare you the dirty deets) and my body does not digest/handle food very well any more.  I do so much better when I stay away from gluten, dairy, and soy.  However, I cheat WAY TOO MUCH and I pay for my poor choices.  It's time to get serious - it ain't worth it.  

I am starting small with this one, so I don't get discouraged.  Exercise can be walking, running, or anything that gets my heart rate up for 20+ minutes.  {In spring I will count gardening for sure.}  I am not looking to become a ripped gym goddess . . . I simply don't want to cough up a lung when I attempt to run a mile with my students.      

It's silly, but I do this way too much.  My hubs is always getting after me when I talk this way. It's time to make a change . . . for him . . . and for me :)

Alright . . . there they are.  My four little goals.  Now that I really step back, I guess they are actually kinda big goals.  However, I have faith this is gonna be my year.  How about you? What are you feeling right now??  Wanna join me in my crusade to get healthy???  I made a little blank goal template for you to run with below.  Link up.  We can be in this . . . together.  

On a final note, I have made a little Healthy Me Note for you to take with you today.  You can download this puppy and make a few notes (fitness related or inspirational) to post on your mirror, computer, or fridge.  

Alright gang . . . now I am done.  Thanks so much for taking the time to visit us.  Hugs y'all and Merry 2014!


 Anyone that wants to link up with a group of teachers and bloggers, please do! This is a group that plans on working together to stay healthy, share meal plans and hold each other accountable! Just head over to FB and click to join #teacherfit 

Welcome 2014! Crafting and Creating Linky!

Hello Friends!

I LOVE to craft and create! I can spend HOURS sewing, painting, scraping, cutting, hot gluing..... well, you get the picture! My kids grew up with the sound of a sewing machine and understood how upset I would get when they used my sewing scissors to cut paper!  GRRRR! My daughter graduated with a Studio Art degree and I think part of the reason she chose this career direction is because of the time she spent creating at the kitchen table with her Grandma and me!

I have to admit, though, that it has been awhile since I have actually used the sewing machine for more than hemming up pants! I love decorating my classroom, so I have spent a lot of time creating fun stuff for that, but THIS year, my resolution is to finish those projects that are sitting in a pile waiting to be completed!

Quilting is one of my passions and I get this from my mother. If I can be half the quilter she is, I will be satisfied! She is amazing! Here are a couple of the Christmas quilts she has given me. Aren't they gorgeous?

A quilting project that I started a few years ago is a "Santa Through the Years" quilt. The squares are first appliqued and then sewn and bound together into a quilt. I only have ONE more square to go! My 2014 resolution is to finish that last square and hopefully go on to the next step of adding details to each square.

I am SO CLOSE to finishing this quilt! My daughter cannot believe that it is just sitting in the TO DO pile!

If you are a beginning quilter (like me), this is a GREAT book for giving easy directions for simple quilting blocks. It is a "print on demand" book which I THINK means that once you purchase it, they print it; so it takes a little longer to get it.

I also want to try making some aprons. I am the supreme MESSY cook, MESSY painter, MESSY teacher...... well, you get it! I NEED some CUTE aprons! This one was started by my daughter and it is my resolution to finish it in 2014!

I have had this pattern for a few years and want to try it!

I love buttons and found these at Walmart before Christmas. My kiddos LOVE to use pointers while practicing their reading. So, I am going to heat up the hot glue gun and make some cute pointers - easy peasy, right???

And FINALLY ............ it is my 2014 resolution to USE this beautiful Cameo Silhouette machine! I have seen so many cute projects that were created from it and I KNOW I will LOVE it when I finally take the time to use it!

So that's it for my 2014 Crafting and Creating resolutions! Make sure you link up and share YOUR crafting resolutions! I know I will be inspired by them!