Sunday, March 24, 2013

What Do You Think of My New Blog Header???

But seriously.  Is it too busy with the background?  It was driving me crazy that I didn't have a header, just a title, and I can't afford to pay a blog designer right now, though I'd love to hire Barbara at Ruby Slippers Blog Design!  Maybe one day...

But even if it's a little busy, I am proud of myself for figuring out how to put a header together all by myself!  I am NOT a scrapbooker OR digital scrapbooker, so go me.

Seriously, though--what do you think?  Is it cute?  Would less be more?

Happy 22 months to my sweet baby boy tomorrow!  (Sounds a lot better than saying "tomorrow's Monday," doesn't it?)


Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Fractured Fairy Tales--LOVE.

OK, guys, this may just be my favorite unit I've ever taught.

We talked about what we were going to do for Open House this year and decided to ixnay the Texas Unit, as it is really not in our TEKS (state standards), and 1st grade already does a lot of the same things for their Texas-themed Open House.  So back to the drawing board it was.

Part of our Texas Unit had included Texas Fairy Tales, so we finally came up with the idea to get going on one of our genre studies that are part of our new TEKS.  Hence, a FUN unit was born!

I plan Language Arts for our team, so I was the lucky winner to put all this together.

We started off by brainstorming what we already know about fairy tales/what things we often read about in the stories, etc. and ended the unit with the students following the writing process to develop their very own FRACTURED fairy tale based on a traditional one.  IT.  WAS.  AWESOME.  At least the kids thought so.  LOL.

Here are some of my favorite fractured fairy tales that we read and discussed the story elements of:

Three Cool Kids
by Rebecca Emberley

First, we read a traditional version of The Three Billy Goats Gruff and discussed the story elements, and then, before reading this fractured tale, I asked, "What if we rewrote the story but made the characters different?  What could they be instead of goats?"  We brainstormed, and we decided that our new story would have 3 dogs--a chihuahua, a beagle, and a bulldog.  Too funny!  They were super into rewriting the story (this was all done out loud, not written down).  The next day we read this book, which takes place in the big city, and it is too cute!  I loved that the main characters were still goats, but they were "citified" and each was interested in different things, style-wise, and had different talents.  Super cute story.

Wolf! Wolf!
by John Rocco

This is a fractured version of The Boy Who Cried Wolf, which I purposely chose to use for a group lesson because I have some wolf-criers in my class who are just SO SICK at least 3 times a week.  One of whom finally actually DID throw up one day, and of course, no one believed that he was actually sick!  I'm somehow doubtful that the lesson from this story stuck, but you know.  A girl's gotta try.  This was a great book to discuss with the kids, because the author changed the point of view!  The illustrations are beautiful, too.  This may be my favorite "new" book I've read this year.

Kate and the Beanstalk
by Mary Pope Osbourne
Illustrated by Giselle Potter

I'm pretty sure my kids told me that Mary Pope Osbourne writes Magic Tree House.  Is that right?  Her name is definitely familiar.  But anyway, great book!  The kids were ALL about predicting the ending on this one! 

(Not including the credit since the words are so big!)

But dude.  If you haven't read this book, you MUST.  Seriously.  Buy it immediately or check your library.  You won't be sorry.  The kids will LOVE it.  But be forewarned--there will be LOTS of hysterical laughing.  Little hyenas.  You've been warned.  But I absolutely love this book.

 Goldilocks Returns
by Lisa Campbell Ernst

Have you ever read her books?  They're all good.  Just sayin.  But this one is SO CUTE!
Goldilocks comes back to the bears' house many years later!

I could go on and on and list tons more, but I really enjoyed these during our new unit this year and wanted to share!

I don't know that I've ever seen my kiddos so excited about a reading/writing lesson each day!  I wish I had taken pictures of everything and pictures of the kids engaged in their writing!  It was awesome.  But if you ever visited my classroom (this year, not every year), you'd see that there is scarcely time for me to snap photos when I spend most of my "free time" putting out fires and diffusing volatile situations.  Sad to say.  I guess I need to at least snap some of their final stories and artwork hanging in the hallway!

So anyway, since I'd already made most of the handouts for our students, I decided to put it all together with lesson plans, trade book recommendations, and all that jazz and post it on Teachers Pay Teachers.  Click any of the pics to check it out in my TPT store. 

Here it is in all its glory...

The unit is actually 30 pages long, so this is just a small sampling of what it includes.
The next 2 pages give more details about the contents.


I hope you got some good book recommendations you didn't know about!  What are your favorite fractured fairy tales to read/teach with??  I'd love to hear!

Sunday, March 17, 2013

Growing Firsties' 500 Follower Giveaway!

Wow.  First of all, if you don't already follow Lisa Mattes at Growing Firsties, head over there now!

Secondly, you MUST check out her 500 Follower Giveaway!


Lisa has some amazing prizes to give away, so be sure to head over and enter to win!

What a compliment to have 500+ fellow teachers be interested in your work and your contributions to education.  I think it's amazing all the teacher bloggers out there who put (no doubt) tons of work into their daily lives in the classroom but then spend all this EXTRA time working on their own lessons and activities and then share them with us.  I'm new to doing this, but some of these bloggers are seriously AMAZING at it, and I truly am baffled at how and when they get all this amazingness done!  Congrats, Lisa, and thanks for the giveaway!  :)

On a side note, I stayed up WAY TOO LATE last night finishing up my Fractured Fairy Tales Unit (which we finished up before Spring Break, but putting it together to sell is quite another thing!).  I was SO SAD, as you can imagine, when I finally finished the darn unit and it wouldn't upload to TPT!  Tho thad.  Theriously.  So yeah.  I've tried probably 20 times since last night, and I'm still not able to upload it.  I contacted Support.  

Well, here's a sneak preview so that you can be waiting with bated breath.  HA!  :D

I'm sad to report that my Spring Break is officially OVER tomorrow!  :(  *tear*  *lots of tears*

Happy Spring!

Sunday, March 10, 2013

Five for Friday & Currently: March 8th- and a Birthday Sale!

I'm linking up with Doodle Bugs Teaching for her Five for Friday Linky Party AND with Farley at Oh Boy 4th Grade for her March Currently!
First up is Five for Friday:

1.  I'm officially on my Spring Break, which includes my birthday tomorrow (the big 3-2)!  How nice of them to give me a week off for my birthday.

2.  Hubby and I are thinking about doing a cleanse to get us started off in a new, healthier direction for our eating and exercise (or lack there of).  Thoughts?  Any of you done a cleanse and have advice or recommendations?  What about the Insanity workout?  We are considering that, too.  OR I could just use the gym membership I paid for...just a thought.

3.  Exercise would also be good because exercise gives you endorphins.  And endorphins make you happy.  And happy people just don't kill their husbands.  (Or their students.  Ha.)  But seriously--I'm so thankful to have a week off, I can't even tell you HOW THANKFUL.  This year has been an interesting and stressful one thus far!

4.  My students just finished up a new unit I created this year on Fractured Fairy Tales, and I have been working to get it completed and uploaded to TpT, but it is taking me forever (what with all my spare time and all).  But seriously:  my kids LOVED the fairy tales, and especially the fractured versions SO MUCH.  At the end of the unit, each student wrote his/her own fractured fairy tale, and they were so cute!

5.  Did I mention Open House is over?  HOLLA.

Thanks, Farley, for hosting and creating another adorable CURRENTLY!

Do you watch The Mentalist?  It's very good.  Until tonight, I've only seen it on repeats.  There's a back story, but you can still pretty much follow what's happening if you tune in to a random episode.

God Bless SPRING BREAK.  Oh wait, have I already mentioned that in this post?

OK, so I can't actually AFFORD an iPad.  Those of you who have a Kindle Fire, what are your thoughts?  Is anyone familiar with both?  We use iPads at school, so I'm pretty familiar with that they can do.  I also have an iPhone, and I've got lots of apps already.  I have an old school Kindle that I like reading on.  I dunno.  I'm bad at decisions, and I don't like spending large amounts of money.  :)  I got a $150 Amazon gift card for my bday from my class (HELLO?  AMAZEBALLS!), so that would go a ways toward the Kindle Fire.

Shopping!  Tomorrow!  My lovely in-laws got me a Dillard's gift card (my fave), so I'm gonna go check out any sale stuff they may have!  YAY.  Also planning to look for a new comforter/duvet, because ours is just plain worn OUT.  We got it for our wedding, which was almost 5 years ago, and it's well loved.

I could really do with a long sleep.  A loooooooong one.  Baby boy is with the in-laws until Tuesday afternoon, so I plan to sleep in the next 2 days!

This was VERY hard with the letter G!
Like: glam sunglasses.  I have about 10 pairs (there'd be more if I didn't break them or lose them so much), and they're always $20 or less, and I like 'em glam.  The bigger, the better.  :)  I even have a pair with heart-shaped lenses that are outlined in fake tiny gems.   And a turquoise blue pair.  Yay!

Love: good days.  Like I said, the letter G was very difficult!  But you know:  those really good days that don't come very often?  Where you feel like your kids have really learned something, or you've solved a problem between friends or taught them a life lesson, etc?  I love those days.  I also love days where I get to spend time with my little guy and he snuggles me and gets the giggles!!

Hate: gossip that's intended to be hurtful.  I don't know why people do it.  Toxic people!  They need to go away.  Fun gossip is different--I'm all for that!

OK, finally--for my big birthday, my Teachers Pay Teachers Store will be 20% off tomorrow, Monday, March 11th, all day!

(Haven't learned how to make buttons yet; this is the best I could do!)

You may be interested in... (click each pic to view in my TpT store)

Engineering Station Pack: $1.60 after 20% discount

A Research Project Unit for ANY Topic:  $2.40 after 20% discount

Counting Coins to $1.00:  $1.20 after 20% discount

Place Value Numbers to 500:  $1.20 after 20% discount

Famous African Americans Research Project: $3.20 after 20% discount

 Have a fantabulous SPRING BREAK!!

Monday, March 4, 2013

Sale on Black History Research Pack!

Hey guys, I've been SUPER busy trying to prepare for Open House (this Thursday), so I'm really slacking on the blogging.

However, I wanted to let you know that I've put my Famous African Americans Research Pack on sale now that Black History Month has ended.

If you'd be interested in purchasing it for next year or for just anytime, I guess, then it will be 15% starting tomorrow, March 5th, through Friday, March 8th.

Here is the direct link to the product on my TpT store:
Black History Research Project with QR Codes

My students are all (but 2 who never finish anything) finished with the research part of their project and are totally taking off with their products to share their learning.  It is amazing to watch them be so self-driven about their learning!!  I wish every assignment were this engaging for them.  Sigh.  One lesson, one unit at a time is all we can do, right?

Many of them are making slide shows on Animoto, which is amazeballs and easy if you haven't tried it!

Here's one of their Animoto shows...this is his first draft--he has since made many improvements to punctuation, etc., but how awesome is it for an 8 year old??? His next task is adding some more specific details to his facts so we can learn even more about his famous American in history!

Several are writing and performing puppet shows, and others are making Power Point slide shows and using Apps like Educreations or Fotobabble to share their learning.

YAY for getting my 2nd graders excited about research and getting them working on something because they WANT to!  Yay self-motivation!

Hope you are all having a good week and are hanging in there until Spring Break--holla--my 32nd birthday (I told my kids today I was turning 25, LOL) is coming up on Monday, so I'm definitely going to host a big sale for the occasion in case anyone's looking to do some shopping over Spring Break, haha!

Thanks for stopping by my little blog, and I'll try to post something more interesting soon!

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