Thursday, December 22, 2011

12 Days of Christmas ~ Day 12

On the twelfth day of Christmas, Castles and Crayons gave to me…

a TpT unit to the first 12 to comment!

These ladies were QUICK! :)

Congratulations to:

Allison, Erika, Molli, Christine, Yearn to Learn, Amy, Mrs. Waldrop, Beth Ann, Shannon, Barbara, Mrs. Miller, and Jennifer!

Please leave a comment with your email address AND which TpT unit you would like. I will email them this evening to the first 12 who respond!

Thank you for all of your sweet comments during the 12 Days of Christmas! I had so much fun! For previous post and freebies, check out the side bar to the right {Blast from the Past} and click under December for all 12 days!

For some yummy cookie ideas, check out my Christmas Cookie Pinterest board!

I wish you and your families a very merry Christmas and a blessed 2012!

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

12 Days of Christmas ~ Day 11

On the eleventh day of Christmas, Castles and Crayons gave to me…

my favorite cookie recipes! :)

I. LOVE. CHRISTMAS. COOKIES! I mean…who doesn’t??? But no, seriously…I love cookies…chocolate ones, minty ones, vanilla ones! I have only met tried VERY FEW (like one, maybe two) kinds of cookies I didn’t like!

Here are a few that made the cut for my sis and I’s Christmas Cookie Bake Off this year:

Brownie Covered Oreos


Did you hear me??????? Brownies. Oreos. Two of my favorite things. Combined…RIDICULOUS! The red centers are just perfect! These are super fun to decorate!

Chocolate Gooey Butter Cookies


“If the word “butter” is in the title, you know it’s gonna be good!” Well said, Paula Deen! I ADORE HER! She is the ULTIMATE Southern cook! I know this first hand…she helped me gain 15 pounds the first year I was married because I made so many of her casseroles…I was trying to be a good wifey! :) These cookies are super yum!

Ginger Cookies

Another goodie from Paula! These are my hubby’s fave! I roll them in green or red sugar to make them festive! Your kitchen will smell divine!

If you are out of school, make these now! If you are still in school for the next few days, then make them when you get home…they will make you feel better!

For some more ideas, check out my Christmas Cookie Pinterest board!

Merry Christmas!

Monday, December 19, 2011

12 Days of Christmas ~ Day 10

On the tenth day of Christmas, Castles and Crayons gave to me…

 a Senses of the Season writing printable! :)

This printable is perfect for Wake Up Work, or to put in your Work on Writing station! It is very open ended and can be used with all students, no matter which winter holiday they celebrate! Click {HERE} to download from Scribd.

Please comment or follow if you download! If you can’t use this in your classroom, please forward to someone who can! The more, the merrier! :)

ONE MORE DAY! I am super pumped to sleep in, drink coffee in my pj’s, and bake cookies with my sis who comes in town tomorrow! The last 2 days of Christmas will feature my favorite Christmas recipes, since I will be elbow deep in cookie dough! CAN. NOT. WAIT.

Merry Christmas!

Thursday, December 15, 2011

12 Days of Christmas ~ Day 9

On the ninth day of Christmas, Castles and Crayons gave to me…

a making words activity! :)

This printable uses the letters in the word gingerbread to make new words. I included a black and white printable for individual word work {they can cut out letters to use from the bottom of the printable}. I also added a color printable if you want to print a few copies, stick it in a page protector, and put it in a word work station or center.

I hope you are not getting tired of gingerbread activities…because I am slight bit obsessed!!!!  I read on some blogs that some of you can’t celebrate Christmas in your classroom…GASP! So sad! :( I hope it is a safe theme for those of you who celebrate all of the winter holidays! :) 

I am currently gazing at the gingerbread tree in the keeping room in our kitchen.  LOVE!!! {Excuse the iPhone quality pic! :)}

tree home

Please comment or follow if you download! If you can’t use this in your classroom, please forward to someone who can! The more, the merrier! :)

Don’t forget…the 20% off sale in my TpT store ends tonight…click HERE to check it out!

Merry Christmas!

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

12 Days of Christmas ~ Day 8

On the eighth day of Christmas, Castles and Crayons gave to me…

5 giveaway winners and some holiday party ideas! :)

Bama Bloggers 

Congratulations to…

#12 Miss Atwell

#23 Donna at Kinderglynn

#30 Carey

#31 Mrs. S

#50 Jen at The Teachers’ Cauldron

Check your email, ladies! CONGRATS!


I survived my class party today…YAY! It was really fun…I loved all of our activities! We had four stations~

Gingerbread Playdough {I asked a mom to make this - she made a few batches and divided it into 17 balls and put one ball into a baggie – I set out some cookie cutters and let them have at it!}

Gingerbread Sticker Houses  {from Oriental Trading – a GREAT, FANTASTIC, CUTE party craft with NO GLUE…do you hear me???…NO GLUE! So fab! Only $5.00 for a dozen! Cheap and cute…LOVE!

Cookie Decorating {An oldie but goodie…decorating sugar cookies with icing and sprinkles! We also let the kiddos have their snack and drink at this station.}

Book Exchange Station {I had a sweet mom read The Gingerbread Baby (any gingerbread book will do) and every time she read the word gingerbread, the kiddos passed their book to the next person in the circle. Whatever book they had when the story was over was theirs to keep! They loved this!}

I hope all your partays are perfect! :)

Don’t forget…everything in my TpT store is 20% off until Thursday, December 15…click HERE to check it out!

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

12 Days of Christmas ~ Day 7

On the seventh day of Christmas, Castles and Crayons gave to me…

a sale on TpT! :)

HA – I just HAD to make it rhyme!! Does anyone else have that problem…I try to make everything sound cute???!!! Everything in my TpT store is 20% off until Thursday, December 15…click HERE to check it out!

Only ONE more day to enter the Bama Bloggers giveaway for a chance to win 5 TpT units {1 from each of our TpT stores!} We will announce the winners TOMORROW Wednesday, December 14.

Click on the picture below for more information!


Monday, December 12, 2011

12 Days of Christmas ~ Day 6

On the sixth day of Christmas, Castles and Crayons gave to me…

a Let’s Make a Prediction printable for FREE! :)

We are focusing on making predictions during reading comprehension this month! This printable can be used for almost any book! We kicked off our making predictions unit with a Laura Numeroff author study {LOVE the new If You Give a Dog a Donut} and have used several holiday books in the past few weeks. We will use this printable with gingerbread books this week!

Click {HERE} to download! Please comment or follow if you grab this! :)

Be sure to enter the Bama Bloggers giveaway for a chance to win 5 TpT units {1 from each of our TpT stores!} We will announce the winners on Wednesday, December 14.

Click on the picture below for more information!

Bama Bloggers

Friday, December 9, 2011

12 Days of Christmas ~ Day 5

On the fifth day of Christmas, Castles and Crayons gave to me…

some ornament and craft ideas! :)

I remember my first year of teaching…I was on the HUNT for some precious ornaments for the kiddos to make for their parents! While this is not a ‘freebie’ to ‘print’, I thought it would be fun to share some of the ornaments we made in our classroom this year, in case you are still looking for some ideas! And hey, it’s Friday! The hubs is waiting for me! HA!

This year, I was inspired by Pinterest! DUH! Can’t. get. enough. of. Pinterest.

I love a good handprint craft! Isn’t this the CUTEST????? Hands down, one of my favorite ornaments I have ever made! Easy and adorable…score!


Next up, we made salt dough ornaments! These were super easy…just 2 Tablespoons of flour, 1 Tablespoon of sugar, and 1 Tablespoon of water. Click HERE to check out the website!

salt dough

One more Pinterest inspired craft…which doubled as a measurement mini lesson/craftivity this week…this presh Christmas tree! Click HERE to go to Mrs. Karen’s Preschool Ideas. This pic is my example for my class. I got all of the paper from Hobby Lobby! I got 2 sheets of each paper and I have PLENTY left to make it again next year! :)


Stay tuned for a non holiday freebie for Day 6!

Be sure to enter the Bama Bloggers giveaway for a chance to win 5 TpT units {1 from each of our TpT stores!} We will announce the winners on Wednesday, December 14.

Click on the picture below for more information!

Bama Bloggers

Merry Christmas!

Thursday, December 8, 2011

12 Days of Christmas ~ Day 4 and a Giveaway!

On the fourth day of Christmas, Castles and Crayons gave to me…

a giveaway AND a Cookie Comparison activity! :)

This printable is just perfect to compare all of the AMAZING versions of The Gingerbread Man. Some of my faves include The Gingerbread Cowboy, The Gingerbread Girl, and The Gingerbread Pirates! I can’t wait to read the brand spanking new The Gingerbread Girl Goes Animal Crackers I scored at the Book Fair last month!!!

Please click {HERE} to download a copy for FREE! I am OBSESSED with the ginger this season!  Stay tuned for a non holiday freebie coming soon on Day 6! *Please pass this on to a friend if you can’t use it in your classroom! The more, the merrier! :)* Please follow or leave a comment if you download!


It’s time for a Merry Christmas Y’all Giveaway, from your Bama Bloggers!

Bama Bloggers

Jennifer, Melissa, Sarah, Yolanda (Ms. A!), and myself have teamed up to bring you a giveaway! 5 lucky winners will be able to choose an item from EACH of our TpT stores for FREE! 5 people will get 5 units! :)

All you have to do is follow all 5 of our blogs AND all 5 of our TpT stores! Leave ONE comment on THIS post telling us you follow all 5 blogs and TpT stores! Be sure to leave your email address in your comment! :)

Castles and Crayons {Kelli’s TpT Store}

First Grade Blue Skies {Jennifer’s TpT Store}

F is for First Grade {Melissa’s TpT Store}

First Grader…At Last! {Sarah’s TpT Store}

Oceans of First Grade Fun {Ms. Arnold’s TpT Store}


Merry Christmas from your Bama Bloggers! :)

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

12 Days of Christmas ~ Day 3

On the third day of Christmas, Castles and Crayons gave to me…

SAFARI and BEE Binder covers for FREE! :)

It’s not too late to implement organizational binders in your classroom! It could be a new and improved 2012 thang! :) I included a Kindergarten, First grade, and Second grade page for both the SAFARI (Students and Families Are Responsible and Informed) and BEE (Bring Everything Everyday) binder covers. Click {HERE}to read an older post all about organizational take home binders!


Please click on the picture above to download a copy for FREE!

*Please pass this on to a friend if you can’t use it in your classroom! The more, the merrier! :)* Please follow or leave a comment if you download!

Merry Christmas!

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

12 Days of Christmas ~ Day 2

On the second day of Christmas, Castles and Crayons gave to me…

a Gingerbread Measurement activity! :)


Please click on the picture above to download a copy for FREE! We are ALL about some gingerbread in our room! Stay tuned for a non holiday freebie tomorrow for Day 3!

*Please pass this on to a friend if you can’t use it in your classroom! The more, the merrier! :)* Please follow or leave a comment if you download!

Merry Christmas!

Monday, December 5, 2011

12 Days of Christmas ~ Day 1

On the first day of Christmas, Castles and Crayons gave to me…

an elf writing activity! :)


Please click on the picture above to download a copy for FREE! I keep this in my Work on Writing station for the whole month of December! My kiddos LOVE to write all about what Sparky {Bollman’s Bunch elf!} did the night before! If you don’t have an elf in your classroom, your sweeties could write about the elf they have at home!

Merry Christmas!

*Please pass this on to a friend if you can’t use it in your classroom! The more, the merrier! :)*

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

There Was an Old Lady Who Swallowed a Bell!

Happy Hump Day! Hope everyone is having a good week! My house is all decorated for Christmas, the new episode of Tori and Dean is on Tivo ready for me to watch, AND I am going out to dinner with my sweet hubs tonight…life is good! :)

Denyse at Scrappin Doodles worked her magic again and designed graphics for the book There Was an Old Lady Who Swallowed a Bell by Lucille Colandro. Love, love, LOVE! Click {here} to check out the There Was an Old Lady Who Swallowed a Bell mini unit on TpT! It includes sequencing cards, a sequencing printable, an alphabetical order printable, a sentence frame printable, noun and verb sort cards, a noun and verb sort printable, and a Spin and Graph activity with printable.


BELLS make me think of music!!! The first FIVE people to guess my favorite Christmas song will get the There Was an Old Lady Who Swallowed a Bell! {Mini Unit} for FREE! I will email the unit to the winners tomorrow! :)

***Congrats to Deborah, Gladys, awrinkleintime, Sandra, Kellie, and ruskieroo! You guessed fave Christmas song is JINGLE BELL ROCK! Check your email for your FREE copy of There Was an Old Lady Who Swallowed a Bell! {Mini Unit}
Merry Christmas, ladies!

Stay tuned for some festive fun in December!  Beginning this weekend, I will be celebrating the 12 Days of Christmas! For 12 days I will post a freebie! Who doesn’t love a freebie…especially around the holidays??? If you can’t use the freebie, please pay it forward and tell one of your co-workers about the post! The more, the merrier! Some of the freebies will be holiday related for you to use right away, while others can be used later in the year!

WAIT! There’s more!!! Five Bama (that’s ALABAMA for you non Southern folk!) bloggers have teamed up to host a merry giveaway of 5 TpT units of YOUR choice {1 unit per blog/TpT store}! Details coming soon!

Enjoy the rest of your week!


Friday, November 25, 2011

Black Friday and Cyber Monday!

YAY! It's officially the most wonderful time of the year!!!!! CANNOT WAIT to decorate our house! :)

Everything in my TpT store will be 20% off today for Black Friday and it will 20% off again {plus 10% with TpT code CMS28} on Cyber Monday!

Happy shopping!

Sunday, November 20, 2011

The Legend of the Five Corn Kernels {FREE!}

Happy Sunday Funday! I CANNOT WAIT for some DELISH sweet potato casserole in T minus 4 days!!!

This is a little activity I have done since my very first year of teaching. This is one of those things that had been passed from teacher to teacher…so I am not sure where the original idea came from, but I DO know it is not my original idea! :) This would be perfect for those of you {ME INCLUDED! :)} who have school Monday and Tuesday this week!

First, you read a paragraph explaining that during the first winter in America, the Pilgrims only had five parched kernels of corn to eat on some days! After reading, show the students a paper plate with 5 popcorn kernels glued in the center. This is SUCH an amazing visual for them! One of my sweet firsties said, “WOW! I would be STARVING!” I know, right???!!!!


You can give your kiddos a snack size baggie, with the The Legend of the Five Corn Kernels story and five pieces of candy corn, to take home. :) I also included a fill in the blank story page that the kiddos could fill out and you could simply staple a baggie with five pieces of candy corn to it.

Click {here} to download The Legend of the Five Corn Kernels activity for FREE on TpT!

I extended the 20% off sale {both units are $2.40} of the I Know an Old Lady Who Swallowed a Pie mini unit and the Oh My, Pumpkin Pie! mini unit until Tuesday, November 22. These mini units would be great for this short Thanksgiving week, too!

I hope you and your family have a very blessed Thanksgiving!


Monday, November 14, 2011

I Know an Old Lady Who Swallowed a Pie!

Happy Monday, y’all! I know many of you are in your final days before the Thanksgiving break {jealous!}. We go next Monday and Tuesday, BUT I am excited because my kiddos are performing in the CU-TEST Thanksgiving music program on Tuesday. Turkey Tango, anyone? :)

I absolutely LOVE ALL of the ‘Old Lady’ books!!! They have been one of my faves since I began teaching! Last week, we used I Know an Old Lady Who Swallowed a Pie as we wrapped up our unit on the Human Body and nutrition. I contacted Denyse at Scrappin Doodles and asked her to create graphics to go along with I Know an Old Lady Who Swallowed a Pie. She did an absolutely AMAZING job! Could they BE any more perfect {Chandler, anyone??!!!} Can I please be her???? She whipped them up in seriously, like, 24 hours. Now, THAT is service! :)


Click {here} to check out my I Know an Old Lady Who Swallowed a Pie mini unit. It includes sequencing cards, a sequencing printable, an alphabetical order printable, syllable sort cards, a syllable sort printable, and a Spin and Graph activity…all about the foods the old lady ate! This unit would be perfect for those of you who have school Monday and Tuesday next week and need a little something fun to do, while reviewing some key concepts!

Please comment below to receive this unit for FREE! I will give away 8 copies in honor of my followers! :)

Enjoy your week!

Friday, November 4, 2011

Seashells by the Seashore

TGIF, my friends! Ahhh....Seashells by the Seashore! I SO WISH I was at the shore. Instead...I am in my fleece pajamas, Cherry Coke Zero and Bagel Bites by my side, and TiVo remote in hand! :) You know you’re getting old when…haha! But seriously, this is HEAVEN {if I can't be at the beach}!

Considering the climatic Halloween rush, quickly followed by the post Halloween meltdown that always ensues on November 1, we had a great week! Our word study was digraph /sh/. We read Shelly’s New Shoes {LOVE Phonics Tales ~ always so perfect for a sub!} and completed a word sort activity.

Click {here} to check out my Seashells by the Seashore Digraph /sh/ Word Work activities on TpT.

In Writing, we are still focusing on Descriptive Writing. This week, we focused on using color words to make our writing more interesting. We started off the week with Abby’s presh crayon box activity. Then, we used books such as My Many Colored Days, The Crayon Box That Talked, and A Bad Case of Stripes during our mini lessons, always pausing to point out and discuss color words.

Still pounding away on Fact Families in Math and the Human Body in Science…nothing noteworthy there. Can’t wait to wrap it up next week so we can begin busting out the turkeys!!! :)

Have a FAB, FALL weekend!

Sunday, October 30, 2011

Spiders, Skeletons, Pumpkins, Oh My!

Happy Halloween Eve!

CRAFT OVERLOAD! CRAFT OVERLOAD! We whipped out 3 crafts this week…which is a BIT more than I usually dig into!

Confession: I am a first grade teacher and I don’t really LOVE crafts! Oh sure, I love the IDEA of the craft and the finished product! I just don’t necessarily love the {I can’t find the other piece, glue stuck on the tables for 7 DAYS, cutting hair with scissors, I’m not done!} PROCESS of the craft. OK, there I said it!!! Anybody with me, or am I the lone teacher whose blood pressure rises just a touch when the glue bottles break out?? I WILL say that music seems to help…I always try to find a fun theme related song to play while the kiddos craft. Then, I can NICELY say that I can’t hear the music if it gets too loud! :)

Now that I got that out of the way…if you are looking for a fun craft to do with your kiddos tomorrow to celebrate Halloween, check out some of the craftivities we created this week!

First up, was our Cinquain Spiders! We are learning all about descriptive writing this month.  We discussed adjectives and we wrote about spiders. Then, they glued the poem onto black paper and added the legs. They turned out really cute and this was a relatively painless craft!

Spider cinquain 2           Spider cinquain 

Next up was the Q-tip skeleton to go along with our Human Body unit! After reading Dem Bones {LOVE} and watching the Dem Bones song and book on School Tube, we crafted up this cutie! I found this presh idea on Pinterest! I put 20 Q-tips in a baggie for each kiddo and passed out black paper and glue bottles and let them have at it! I did have to cut 6 Q-tips in half for the fingers and feet. My firsties LOVED these!

qtip skeleton

Last up, was a Fact Family house. Really simple…just a rectangle for the house and a triangle for the roof. They glued them together and wrote the three numbers (1 on the roof and 2 in the windows that they drew on the house). Then, they wrote their 2 addition and 2 subtraction number sentences at the bottom…adorable visual! :) You could make these {Haunted Houses} if you wish!

I am off to make Monster Munch and Pumpkin Fluff Dip for our Halloween party tomorrow night! Both of these recipes would be fun to make in your classroom, too!

I posted a mini pumpkin unit {Oh My, Pumpkin Pie} on TpT. I plan to add to this more next year, but thought I would go ahead and upload what I had so far in case anyone was looking for some pumpkin math and literacy fun! It includes  a short vowel /u/ word work word sort and printable, a making words activity with the letters in pumpkin pie, a how to make {individual pumpkin pie} writing activity, and a Spin and Graph {pumpkin edition} activity. Click here to check it out! AND…just for reading all the way to end, I will give this unit to the first 3 people that comment on this post! :)


Monday, October 24, 2011

Blog Stalking :)

Holy October!!!! Where has the month gone??? While I haven't posted, I HAVE been blog stalking! You know you do it want to catch up in blog land, but don't want to post. And who needs to when all of these FUN ideas are floating around!

So...this post is all about the activities that I have been doing {stalking} from YOUR FABTASTIC blogs! :)

Pumpkin Parade ~ We will be having our parade on Halloween! Thank you Lauren, at Just Add Clipart, for this PRESH idea! Can't wait! :) We always did Disguise a Turkey in Kinder and I was looking for a cute home project for my firsties! LOVE!

Candy Corn Fact Families ~ ADORABLE idea, Mrs. Saoud at Primary Graffiti! I found some candy corn cut outs at my local Parent Teacher store to use. I am going to cut them into 3 parts and the kiddos first have to put together the candy corn puzzles. Then, they can pick two candy corn fact families to write the facts.

Fairy Tale unit ~ THANK YOU to Mrs. Magee at First Grade Brain for this awesome unit! It saved me soooo much time as we just added this unit to our curriculum map this year! LOVE the story maps, and the Would you kiss a frog? graph activity is too cute! This unit was perfect as we prepared for our field trip to Birmingham Children's Theatre to see Cinderella!

I will leave you with a quick Spooky Subtraction freebie! I am using this during Number Work with pumpkin erasers from Target as their counters.

Enjoy the rest of your week! :)

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Fab Follower Freebie!

WOW! Thank you to all of my fabulous followers!!! It really is amazing! While I do not anxiously check my number of followers every hour like I did when this blog was just a baby {come know you did it too!!!!}, I DO get excited each and every time there is a new follower! :) Thank you so much for all of your positive and sweet comments! Blog land has made this my most creative and FUN year of teaching yet! :)

Here is a freebie to celebrate YOU and your awesomeness! :)

We are studying Fairy Tales this week, so I created a Spin and Graph {Fairy Tale edition} to use as a math menu choice. I did the first Spin and Graph {Apple Edition} a few weeks ago and it was JUST RIGHT for my kiddos!

You can head over to my TpT store to grab it for FREE!

Thank you, thank you, thank you! Enjoy the rest of your week!

Sunday, October 2, 2011

Math Menu Update - Spin and Graph

Happy Sunday Funday! Hearting the HECK out of this cool, fall weather here in Bama!

Now that the Daily Five is running smoothly, it is time to shake things up in math! HA! We launched Math Menu last week! I explained to my firsties that I was so impressed with their Daily Five rock star selves, that we were going to try Daily Five in math! I modified our choices a bit from my posts this summer! {reason being: Mountain Math is an effective teaching tool when we review the answers together and Math Menu did not really allow for this. Some students might complete it on a Monday and we might not check it until Friday. Sooo…we replaced the Mountain Math choice with a Data Detective choice!)

I asked them if they would ever go to a restaurant and order two dinners. They enthusiastically said NO!!! I then asked them if they would ever go and order two desserts…some actually said yes to this one! :) {Don’t judge!!!} I told them that they could each ‘order’ {choose} an item from the main course AND the dessert menu every day!

The main course choices are :

Math Journal

IXL { – a great website that our fab PTO purchased a subscription for}

Data Detective {see more info below!}

The dessert choices are:


Math games

Number Work

We wanted to incorporate more data into our math block. So…enter Data Detectives! We will rotate different activities, the first of which is SPIN AND GRAPH!  I will modify graphing activities as the year goes on to make it more challenging and to keep it fresh! Coming soon…pumpkins and leaves! :)

spin and graph apples

The first five people to comment on this post will get the Spin and Graph {Apple Edition} activity for FREE!  Leave a comment with your email address and how you will use the activity in your classroom! :)

Have a GREAT week!

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Wild About Writing {Writing Folders}

TGI-almost-F, friends!!! Super excited for a fun fall football weekend! :)

One of my main goals for this year is organizing our writing curriculum {the other being making more math games}! I used to {gasp!} dread teaching writing in Kinder. It was my least favorite time of day! How many times did I hear, “How do you spell {insert ANY word here}. I loved the hilarious phonetic spelling, but even that wasn’t looking pretty until about December-ISH! BUT…since moving to first, writing has become my FAVORITE thing to teach! I ADORE their precious, creative writing! AND all of your fab blogs have been so inspiring! :) Thank you for helping me to LOVE teaching writing again!

Our first unit in August is a review of the Craft of Drawing I used to teach in Kinder. It reminds kiddos to use ovals to draw people and to add details to make their illustrations more interesting.

In September, our unit is The Writer’s Way. A lot of my ideas came from the cutey Cara at The First Grade Parade. Click {here} to read all about her Writing Workshop launch!

I ADORE her idea to use Click, Clack Moo: Cows That Type to introduce WHY writer’s write. We focus on this for the first week. The next week, we go into HOW writer’s write…lists, thank you notes. Each day I model writing a different list {grocery list, packing list, school supply list, and a birthday present list}. The third week, we worked on generating topics through writing our own Word Webs. We made Word Webs about fall, the playground, going to the movies, and the beach {AAHH!} The last week I borrowed another idea from Cara! We made our heart maps…PRECIOUS! I just can’t stand it! They turned out beyond cute! I have already said a few times, “Look inside your heart and find something you love to write about!” Could you DIE???? :)

Click below to download some freebies to use with your Writer’s Way unit:

{List writing paper}

{Word Web}

{Heart Map}

Here are some pics of our Writing Folders. LOVE the Author at Work graphic from the Scrappin Doodles Writing Kids set!


Inside the folder, I put an Alphabet Chart {a free download at TpT} and their Heart Map.

alphabet chart photo3

The left pocket is for finished work and the right pocket is for unfinished work.

photo4 photo5

Coming soon…our next writing unit for October ~ Super Sentences! Enjoy your weekend! :)

Thursday, September 22, 2011

The Daily Five Page!

Happy Fall Y'all...a few hours early! :) I don't know what I am more excited about...pumpkins, apples, leaves, football, or all my new fave shows premiering this week! I HEART fall!!! To celebrate, I made my teacher friends Apple Pie Pops. Yes, I did...I said Apple Pie Pops! Apple pies on a stick...absolutely presh AND genius! Check out this delish recipe from Dina at Buttercream Bakehouse! :)

Now...let's get back to something that is relevant to my post title! I have added the Word Work and Listen to Reading anchor charts on the Daily Five page...located at the top of my blog! So now all five anchor charts {plus a chart for EEKK} are all located in one spot on this page!

I am posting from my iPad for the first time...I hope it looks okay! :)

I am off to watch Grey's on TiVo! Have a fabulous fall weekend!!!

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Coming Soon…

Happy Hump Day!!! HAHAHAHAHAHA! This is me laughing my booty off at Modern Family tonight! I am not an original fan…after repeated texts EVERY Wednesday from my mom {Are you watching Modern Family? It is REALLY funny!} I finally tuned in last spring. This is hilarious stuff, people! One of my new faves!


Alicia, over at Dreamlike Magic, will be adding pages to my blog in the next few days! I love the blog format, but felt like ideas were getting buried under blog post after blog post. I know you can find it in the sidebar…but still! During my easy breezy summer days, I LOVED scrolling through blog after blog, post after post,  bookmarking and making notes about lots of fun ideas! But now that the school year is in full swing, I am looking for specific ideas and printables for what I am currently teaching or about to teach, ya know??? I will have pages for The Daily Five, Phonics, Math, Writing, and Thematic units! I hope this saves you some time as you search for exactly what you need! Stay tuned! :)

Monday, September 12, 2011

Peek at Our Week

Happy Monday, blog buddies! I had a MARVELOUS Monday…my kiddos were so sweet and ready to learn! I seriously ADORE my class! I was *secretly* QUITE nervous about my class this year, since I had the same class for the past two years (I looped from Kindergarten to the love of my life, FIRST GRADE!). But, I have fallen head over HEELS for this awesome group of 21 kiddos! :)

Here is what we’ll be up to this week:

Phonics: short vowel /o/

*If you have already launched Word Work and are feeling crafty, check out this PRESH short vowel /o/ word sort from sweet Sarah at First Grader…at Last!

Writing: Word Webs

*Click here for a blank Word Web to use for whole group modeling or individual writing!

Math: Addition Strategies – Doubles

*Click here to download a great Power Point presentation of a Doubles Rap! After we “rap” (HAHAHA!!) I have the students fill in the sum on this fill in the blank Doubles Rap.

Social Studies: School and Community Leaders

*Click here to download a book I made, First Grader, First Grader, Who Do You See? It is in a Word document so you can change it to fit your school and classroom as needed. I used Tinker Toy and Doodle Tipsy fonts. There are 7 pages in the book~

{Page 1} Cover page

{Page 2} principal

{Page 3} teacher

{Page 4} school nurse

{Page 5} mayor

{Page 6} fire fighter (the blank is for the name of your city and firefighter…example Birmingham fire fighter)

{Page 7} police officer

*Click here to download a poem, Helping Hands. I found it online many years ago (HA – this is only my seventh year of teaching, so I would venture to say 7 years ago!) and retyped it to look like our poems.

This is my first time using Scribd…I have a love/hate (more hate) relationship with Google Docs. Let me know if it works and there is something you can use in your classroom! :)

Have a FAB week! :)

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Dinosaurs Galore!

Hey, hey! We have made it 20 days! GO US! :)
This week, our science unit is Dinosaurs and Extinct Animals...such a FUN unit! I wanted to share a quick craftivity (thank you for that fantastic word,
Cara!!) with you...PLAYDOUGH FOSSILS!

Materials needed:
paper plates
Rotini pasta

Before starting, write the kiddos names around the paper plate. I figured out the HARD way last year that you can't really write their name on the bottom of the paper plate with the greasy Playdough seeping through!!! :)

Give students a baggie filled with rotini pasta. Let them crush it up! They can smash it on the table or stomp on it!!! This MIGHT be their favorite craftivity all year!

Once they have their pasta (bones!!!!) crushed up, they can spread out their playdough in a circle on the center of the paper plate. They can arrange the pasta in whatever shape they want. Some of my super creative kiddos did an intricate dinosaur footprint...others did their initials, some did a handprint...WHATEVS! They turn out super cute! :)

Thank you SO MUCH to Mel, Kristin, Christie, and Jennifer for nominating Castles and Crayons in their Top 10 blogs! What an honor! Go check these fab ladies' blogs out...NOW!

A Teeny Tiny Teacher

Thursday, September 1, 2011

More Daily Five Freebies - Read to Someone

Happy September!!! Can you feel fall in the air?? is a balmy 97 degrees in Bama! CAN'T WAIT for all things fall....apples, pumpkins, and leaves, oh my! I stopped at Bath and Body Works to get some hand soap and left an hour later with a MASSIVE headache because I sniffed all the new fall scents...Sweet Cinnamon Pumpkin is still my absolute fave! :)

Let's talk Daily Five! How is it going??? We have built our stamina to 13 minutes for Read to Self (so I am FINALLY able to begin assessing) and 9 minutes for Work on Writing. We introduced Read to Someone this week and it is going great! We are up to 6 minutes!

This is our what our Daily Five time looks like currently ~

10 minutes - review three ways to read a book, I PICK chart, and Read to Self chart
13 minutes - Read to Self
5 minutes - add to stamina chart and review Work on Writing chart
9 minutes - Work on Writing
5 minutes - add to Work on Writing stamina chart and review Read to Someone chart
6 minutes - Read to Someone

Click HERE for the Read to Someone anchor chart

Click HERE for the EEKK poster *I did NOT write this poem! I have seen it floating around the internet...I just made it match my other posters! Please let me know if you know the original author so I can give credit! :)

Click HERE for the Read to Someone activity sheet (fill in the blank anchor chart)

Next week, we will have 2 work sessions and students will be able to choose between Read to Self and Work on Writing. I was really anxious about this last year, but because I know how awesome it is, I can't wait this year!!!

TGI-almost- F!!! :)

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Three for Thursday!

WOOHOO!!! TGIT my friends! We had our Parent Orientation tonight! It went really well and I have some super SWEET parents this year! I always feel a little better after Parent Night...I mean we have gotten through Meet the Teacher, the first day of school, the first day of all of our specials, and now Parent Night! I feel super accomplished! :)

Now, it's party time! Three for Thursday! I am BEYOND indecisive so this is pretty tough for me! :)

My favorite font ~
Doodle Tipsy
Be still my heart! I adore this font for firsties! Super presh!
I also LOVE CK Handprint, Smiley Monster, and Digs My Hart.

My Favorite Blog ~ HARD to choose! I really heart Kristin at The Teeny Tiny Teacher. She is so funny and REAL! The first blogs I ever read were The First Grade Parade and The Inspired Apple! Who doesn't ADORE Cara and Abby??!!?? :) They are such blog superstars!!

My Favorite Online Resource ~
This is a toughie! I am a Pinterest addict, of course! My most favorite resource, however, are YOUR blogs!!! :) I really adore reading all of your super creative ideas! Blogging makes teaching SO MUCH FUN!

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Where It All Goes Down Wednesday!

Happy Hump Day! Today was our tenth day! SO HAPPY to be in the double digits! We are settling into our routine! LOVING my babies this year!

Click HERE for a tour of my classroom! :)

Be sure to check out Blog Hoppin for some Teacher Week fun! :)

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Teacher Talk Tuesday!

Just got back from seeing The Help....LOVE! So amazing! GO SEE IT NOW...or maybe this weekend! :) Which brings me to the topic of today's post...teacher talk time!

~ Ask for HELP! Don't try to do it all alone! :) And...GO SEE THE MOVIE!

~ Keep yourself happy! :) Go see a movie (The Help, perhaps??!!), drink Diet Sunkist (or Sonic Coke for those of you who can't seem to get enough), get a pedicure, read a good (non teacher related!!!) book, soak in the tub, WHATEVS! You HAVE to be a happy person to be a happy teacher! Haven't you heard the saying..."If mama ain't happy, ain't nobody happy!" SO TRUE!!!

~ Be friends with the office staff, lunchroom workers, and custodians! They WILL save your life one day soon! :)

~ LOVE YOUR BABIES! Praise, praise, praise! I can't say enough about positive reinforcement! It works, people! (for parents and students alike!)

~ Embrace teachable moments! Go to Plan B if needed! Teaching is ALL ABOUT flexibility...which I am not great at (I'm a BIT Type A) :)

~ Write EVERYTHING down! :) It is just too much to keep in our brains! Make to do lists!! I get the BEST feeling from crossing things off my list...don't you???

~ Did I already say positive reinforcement?? Well, I'll say it again! It is THAT important! :)

Link up to Blog Hoppin to join in the party! :)

Monday, August 22, 2011

Meet the Teacher Monday

Happy Monday! My name is Kelli and this is my seventh year teaching! I taught first grade my very first year of teaching in a suburb of Atlanta, Georgia. I then moved down to Kindergarten for two years. Then, my hubby and I moved to Birmingham where I taught Kindergarten for two years before looping up to first grade last year! I LOVE FIRST! It is so much fun...they are cute, presh, AND a little more independent! :)

I have my Bachelors degree in Early Childhood Education, my Masters degree in Early Childhood Education, my Specialist degree in Instruction, and my gifted endorsement.

I grew up in a suburb of Atlanta, Georgia with my wonderful dad, mom, and little sis! My hubby grew up in the Lowcountry of South Carolina! We met in 2003, were engaged in 2004, and married in 2005! We celebrated our five anniversary with a trip to Italy last summer! LOVE! (Italy...and my hubby!!) No Baby Bollman's yet...

A Few of My Favorites ~

Candy ~ Mike and Ike’s

Children’s Book Author ~ Dr. Seuss

College Football Team ~ South Carolina Gamecocks

Colors ~ hot pink and lime green

Drink ~ Diet Sunkist

Family ~ my hubby, parents, and little sis :)

Flower ~ hydrangea

Food ~ cupcakes

Holiday ~ Christmas

Movie ~ Sweet Home Alabama

Restaurant for Lunch ~ Ashley Mac’s

(the BEST chicken salad, pimento cheese and strawberry cupcakes!!!) in Birmingham

Restaurant for Dinner ~ Two Urban Licks in Atlanta

School Supplies ~ Flair pens, Sharpies

Season ~ Fall

Snack ~ Honey Nut Chex Mix

Tech Tools ~ iPad and Promethean board

TV Shows ~ The Bachelor/Bachelorette, Grey’s Anatomy

Vacation Spot ~ Positano, Italy


Link up to Blog Hoppin to join in the fun of Teacher Week 2011! :)

Sunday, August 21, 2011

The Daily Five posters and activity sheets

If you have just started or you're about to start teaching The Daily Five...this post is for YOU!

The Daily Five - The First Week: Introduce Read to Self

Day 1 - Good Fit shoe lesson, Make 3 Ways to Read a Book anchor chart *

Day 2 - Goldilocks and the Three Bears Just Right book lesson, Make I PICK anchor chart *

Day 3 - Make Read to Self anchor chart and model correct and incorrect ways to Read to Self

Day 4 - Review charts and build stamina for Read to Self

Day 5 - Review charts and build stamina for Read to Self

The Daily Five - The Second Week: Introduce Work on Writing

Day 6 - Review Read to Self charts, build stamina for Read to Self, introduce Work on Writing

Day 7 - Review RtoS charts, build stamina for RtoS, make Work on Writing anchor chart

Day 8 - Review RtoS charts, build stamina for RtoS, Review Work on Writing anchor chart, model correct and incorrect ways to Work on Writing

Day 9 - Review RtoS charts, build stamina for RtoS, Review Work on Writing anchor chart, build stamina for Work on Writing

Day 10 - Review RtoS charts, build stamina for RtoS, Review Work on Writing anchor chart, Make list of topics to write about during WonW, and build stamina for Work on Writing

*For more info, refer to the book. In order to do D5 effectively, you MUST read the book! :)

The beginning lessons focus on modeling and discussing what it should LOOK like and SOUND like during D5. It is A LOT of sitting!! I created these fill in the blank sheets for the kiddos to complete that complement the anchor charts in the book. I did this for 2 get the kiddos off the carpet for a few minutes AND for the parents to see the Daily Five expectations! :)

I also create the anchor chart posters in bright and primary to match your room! :) My plan is to take them to an office supply store and get them blown up a little, or you could post them as is! :)

Please comment to let me know you've downloaded these and if they are useful for you in your classroom! :)

This week will be all about short vowel /a / word families, Work on Writing, Addition with manipulatives, and My Family and I! Have a great week! :)

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Patterns and First Full Week!

WOW! It is hard to blog during the school year! HA! I started this blog in the summer when my days were easy breezy! I hope to blog at least once a week now that ACTUAL teaching is occurring!!! :)

This is our first full week! We started last Thursday and did lots of fun get to know you activities the first two days! Click HERE to read a little more about those activities!

This week we will learn all about:

Phonics: Short vowel /a/

Reading and Writing: Intro to the Daily Five

Math: Patterns

Social Studies: Marvelous Me

When I was gathering my activities for planning, I Googled and looked for some cute new pattern activities. BUT…I did not find much! So, I decided to create some and then post them to TpT! Click HERE or on the pic below to check out my Perfect Patterns mini unit! It has 3 printables, perfect for reviewing AB, ABB, and ABC patterns with our brand new firsties!


Pin It button on image hover