December 14, 2014


Alright my friends.  We are almost there.  Do you see the light at the end of the tunnel?  It's faint, but it's there . . . I can make out a little gleam :)  This is one of the toughest weeks of the whole year, but it always seems to be one of the most magical as well.  With this said, here are FIVE monster tips that I have picked up in the past nine years that have saved my bacon on more than one occasion.

ONE - Keepin' It Real
My biggest tip (which all of you seasoned teachers already know) is to KEEP IT REAL as long as possible.  In other words, keep the systems in place as much as possible this week . . . especially with the little guys.  If I have projects to finish up, I toss them into group time.  (And, let's face it . . . I always have last minute projects to finish up.)  Groups are a great time to sneak extra Christmas writing into the mix as well as a bit off math.  At this point, pick a standard and take off running!

You always seem to get better work in groups this week
(especially when a mommy helper is manning the station).
A Themed Math Worksheet in reading groups??
Um, they are happy and learning . . . works for me!!
TWO - Kindness Counts
Over the years I have noticed that a couple of the kiddies find a naughty streak during this final week.  It's all of that extra excitement . . . they just can't contain it.  I always do my best to slip in ways to show kindness to others during this week to help offset some of the less desirable behaviors that pop up. My favorite activity is a freebie from Susan Jones' Shop (TGIF) - Stocking Stuffers.  The kids write secret "feel good" notes to classmates throughout the week.  It's always oh so magical.  CLICK HERE to check out Suz's free pack.

They cannot wait to check their stockings!
I also love to have my kiddos write a holiday card to someone on our school staff.  We brainstorm people we could write to and get to gettin' - custodian, secretaries, lunch ladies, maintenance, principals, yard duty, etc.  We even take a moment to hand deliver them.  If you want to try this in your class, snag my quick and easy holiday card template - just click the picture.

THREE - Help From Your Friends
If you have a big buddy class, be sure you find a time for them to visit.  If you don't have an older class that you partner with, find a teacher in an upper grade to visit ya one afternoon this week.  I love to have our BIG BUDDIES come in during this final week.  The BIG kids read Christmas stories to the little guys and help them with a tricky christmas or winter craft.  It always calls for a great afternoon . . . and the extra hands are oh so lovely.

If you know anyone musical, call 'em in for a little Christmas Concert/Sing-A-Long!  It doesn't have to be anything major.  Anyone who can strum and sing works for me.  It just so happens that I am lucky enough to call Ron Brown (Intelli-Tunesmy daddy . . . so we always get the coolest holiday show.  The kids eat it up and it makes for a wonderful afternoon break.  He even rigs it so "Santa" calls the babes.  It's pretty special.  We are all set to go on Tuesday afternoon this year!

Swoon . . . Thanks Dad!
Who knew that jingle bells could fit on your noggin??!!

FOUR - Winter Art
I like to take everything down on Wednesday and send it home on Thursday. However, I cannot stand empty classroom walls (my house walls on the other hand . . . well, that is another story . . . for another time).  In my opinion, bare walls just makes the room look too sad. Therefore, we start on those non-Christmas crafts and writing activities on Thursday and Friday.  Here are a few winter faves that make it up on the wall before the break or in time to welcome them back after the New Year.

Q Tip Snowmen . . . they take FOREVER (it's perfect for that final Friday)!
Antonym Mittens - cute and easy
We come back and hit opposites for a week.

I always run with one of these writes . . . depending on how I feel.
They are both from Susan Jones - Writing Through Winter
(Boy . . . thanks for all of the help SUZ!!!)

FIVE - Candy Canes & Snowflakes
It seems like you run into holes this time of year . . . or you just need a moment or two of down time.  Well, when all else fails, or your babes need a little brain break, try this!!!  We always end up making paper candy canes. The kids think it's magic and they will make these for DAYS!  It's so silly, but it ALWAYS does the trick. Here are the quick and easy steps.  

Also, we tend to end up making snowflakes to decorate one of the empty bulletin boards.  It amazes me how many kiddos DO NOT know how to make these.  Once they make that first one . . . it's over.  They beg to make them during every free moment.  Um, sure!  #teacherwin

Alright, that's it from little old me today.  I hope you found something to help you out at least for a moment this week.  And just think, it only took me from 8 am until 3:30 pm to write this post. . . I think I kept getting a little distracted ;) Hugs y'all and good luck.  

December 9, 2014


Have you heard about the California Kindergarten Association's Annual PK1 Conference?  Well, it's an outstanding 3-day event designed by teachers for teachers specializing in early childhood education.  If you teach TK, Pre-K, K, 1st Grade, or Homeschool and live in the California area, this is definitely an event you don't want to miss. This year's conference is scheduled to take place in Santa Clara, California (just outside of San Francisco).  The festivities kick off on Friday, January 16th with a Pre-Conference Institute and lasts through Sunday, January 18th.  Oodles of professional development workshops ranging from behavior management and the importance of play to integrating the Common Core Standards will be offered throughout the weekend.      

But, wait!!  There's more.  Some of your FAVORITE bloggers are going to be taking part in this amazing conference.  Just look at this fun line-up of blogger presenters that will be at this year's PK1 Conference  . . .





Don't go yet . . . we have even more for you.  Guess what else is happening?? We are thrilled to announce that the PK1 Conference will be hosting it's very first Blogger Fiesta.  At this fun evening event, you can meet and chat with your favorite bloggers over a plate of yummy Mexican apps.  Each attendee will receive food, a Blogger CD (filled with $60 of free products), and a raffle ticket to enter to win oodles of other fabulous prizes!  To purchase your $35 Blogger Fiesta ticket, click HERE.

Are you excited yet?  Let's up the ante a bit.  How about a chance to win a FREE conference registration?  Well, it's your lucky day!  The generous folks at CKA have given us one FREE conference registration to give away to our followers. Enter to win via the painless Rafflecopter below.  But, hurry!!!  This giveaway closes Friday evening and our BIG winner will be announced on Saturday, December 13th.  

a Rafflecopter giveaway

To learn more about PK1 and/or to check out the conference sessions in detail, CLICK HERE!  Thanks for taking the time to visit us today.  We hope to see you at this year's PK1 Conference :)

December 7, 2014


Boy, oh BOY!!!  Am I behind on this post or what?  It's way past fashionably late at this point.  But, since I started it yesterday morning, I am going to push through and get in on the action . . . albeit the 4th quarter.  

December is in full swing in good old ROOM 13, and the holiday spirit was kicked into high gear this week!  Before launching into Holidays Around the World, we always do a week on the Gingerbread Man.  I think I had just as much fun as the babes did!!  There were a few other fun themed elements tossed in the mix as well.  On that note, here is a little peek at our week . . . 

We are in the depths of our fact family studies and the babes are finally starting to get how those three little numbers work together.  On Thursday, we began work on our cute Gingerbread Fact Family Houses.  They absolutely loved these and this project always looks soooo cute up on the wall :)

I have been doing this one for years and it serves as the best little afternoon activity (especially when it is raining).  The kids unleash their creative spirit to design a gingerbread man or woman that fits a particular adjective.  These crack me up!  
ABOVE: This doll had colorful.
BELOW:  She nailed LONG :)
Check out my Gingerbread Adjectives Packet HERE.

During whole class phonics time, we are in digraph land.  This year's crew needs a little extra support outside of reading group rotations, so we review/intro sounds during a short phonics block in the afternoon.  We play games and complete a little craft to help us remember sound patterns.  This week we were all about TH.  We played TH math, completed a TH mini book, played a crazy TH game, and made these awesome holiday wreaths.  This pack will be out in January, but here is a look-see at the holiday craft we designed.  It's an easy one and the kids loved these . . . it just requires a little extra prep (cutting the holes) during your favorite TV program.
Hard at work!
We quickly discovered that these look awesome as hats ;)
Finished craft . . . they are hanging on our classroom sky wire!!

Our kids take word problems super seriously when Christmas is involved . . . who knew??  We completed a holiday-themed word problem page each day before turning them into awesome little books.  One sweet little kiddo actually squealed with delight when I showed the sample of the final product. These also look awesome on the wall.  

Look at that quality work :)
If you like this craft, it's part of my December Math Centers & More Packet
All of the games and activities are EDITABLE!!!

I am not going to complain too much as California sure does need the water, but we had inside recess for nearly the entire run this week.  We had one moment where we were able to slip outside (they all went nuts), but the rest of the time we were in inside recess lockdown mode.  Let's just say that by Friday the kids were a little antsy. Thank heavens for GoNoodle and our extensive toy collection.  Both kept us sane this week.   

We are ALL about Legos this year!
What is the favorite item in your room?
Alright, thanks for visiting me today.  I will be back on Tuesday with something awesome.  You don't want to miss this . . . especially if you live in California :) Enjoy your Sunday my friends.  I'll see you very soon :) 

November 30, 2014


Before I get down to business, there is a big question to ask.  Well, how was it? I am definitely still full, but the smile is still on my face.  It was a nice little Turkey Day with family and friends.  Just how I like it ;)

Now that we had a moment to chat a bit, I wanted to let ya all know that my December Math Centers/Activities are up.  As usual, these babies are CCSS aligned and are a bit out of the box.  

I changed things up a little this time.  For this round, I made them appropriate for both 1st and 2nd grades!  Yup, these work if you teach EITHER grade.  In addition, I made EVERY game/activity EDITABLE.  Double yup.  You heard me right!  You can change any of the centers to fit your specific needs.  How's that for a little holiday gift??  

Here is a look-see at the line up this packet has to offer . . . 

Light The Tree - Addition/Subtraction/Missing Addend Partner Game
Pass The Present - Facts to 10 or Missing Addend Small Group Game
Santa's Little Helpers - Addition Facts to 18 Card Game
Stuff the Socks - Addition or Fact Family Whole Group Game
Snowball Fight - Addition or Fact Family Whole Group Game
Doubles Song - MP3 & Lyrics
Gimmie Gumdrops - Place Value Game
Santa's Workshop - Place Value Center
Order the Ornaments - Number Sequence Game
All Wrapped Up in Word Problems - Word Problem Craftivity Book

That last one up there is my favorite.  I always make a Draw and Solve Word Problem book in my monthly collections.  Well, this time I added a holiday spin too it.  What can I say??  I wanted a cute math bulletin board for these next couple of weeks.

Finally, this jam-packed collection comes with a tune as well.  (I couldn't pass up an opportunity to share some killer good classroom music with you!)  Ron Brown's Intelli-Tunes offered up his Doubles song this month.  The MP3 and the lyrics come with the pack!!!  

Speaking of DOUBLES . . . I couldn't let you get out of here without a little taste of what I am cookin'.  So, here is a little FREEBIE to get a feel for the type of games/centers you will find in the collection above.    

If you like what you see, come on back and treat yo-self to the BIG packet -- I discounted it today (just in case you wanted to get to preppin').  However, it will be back on sale Monday and Tuesday for the huge TPT Cyber Monday Sale.

Alright, I am off to edit my Hanukkah packet and work on one more quick ditty before I finish up report card comments.  I think I can . . . I think I can. Nothing like waiting until the VERY last second.  #waytogodolling

I finished it . . . check out my Hanukkah Traditions Packet!!!


November 25, 2014


Hey friends . . . I am not here today.  Come and find me dishing out the THANKS over at Blog Hoppin'.  Check things out and link a post up.  We'd love to have you join in the fun :)  

November 22, 2014


It has been ages since I have jumped in on Doodle's awesome weekly linky.  It sounds stilly, but it feels like I am missing out on some big party every time the weekend rolls around and I fail to post. Well, Mrs. Dolling put on her big girl panties this week and kept her camera handy.  I managed to get enough footage to cobble one of these together. So, without wasting a moment more with all this yammering, I bring you a wacky Five For Friday (on a Saturday - go figure).  

We had a string of rainy days this week mixed with constant interruption - lockdown drills, countless office phone calls, an assembly, Thanksgiving play practice, hot dogs . . . the works I tell ya.  With this said, I KNOW that y'all KNOW exactly what this does to your classroom routines and systems.  I was doing everything I could to stay ahead of them by the time the afternoon rolled around.  Well, Kim Sutton's Random Numbers Activities were just what I needed to break up our math block.  The kiddos were engaged, learning, and quiet. PTL! Creative Mathematics definitely came through for me this week!  

This resource really rocks my socks!
CLICK HERE to check Kim's books out.
Love them all :)
Along the random and constant interruption note, you thought I was being my usual nutty self when I wrote "hot dog" in the paragraph above, huh??  Well, it ain't as out of left field as you might think.  After lunch on Monday, as the kids are walking back in the door, a babe calls out, "Hey, there's a hot dog on the floor."  I thought it was from the kitchen set.  Therefore, I chose to pick my battle and ignore it.  Um, my mistake.  Within seconds, five or more kids were circled around an object on the floor (with more sweeties exiting the carpet with each tick of the clock).  Yup.  There was a piece of hot dog on the floor and it took about 10 minutes to calm them back down.  Okay, so I was laughing uncontrollably and that probably fed the situation. However, you just gotta go with the flow in first grade :)

I used a tissue to pick it up.  #sogross
These boys asked to pose in the picture.
Speaking of the staying ahead of them line (especially right after the hot dog incident), I tried some out of the box transitions to help keep 'em in line.  One in particular stood out as my favorite.  We completed a math paper and I asked them to file their corrected papers in their mailboxes.  However, I asked them to walk with their paper on their head.  This transpired into a silent transition . . . #teachervictory!  Try this one when they are antsy and you can feel a loud transition brewing.  It works - at least once ;) 

Our annual 1st Grade Thanksgiving Play was on Thursday night.  Although we weren't quite sure how it was going to turn out this year, the babes pulled it off when things mattered most.  SWOON!  Our students performed, sang a little song, and  stated why they are thankful. It was a sweet little evening and I was very thankful for my crew . . . and awesome co-teacher!

SO . . . my December Math Centers, Activities, & More pack is already up. Sometimes I surprise myself :) This round is differentiated for both 1st and 2nd grade and . . . wait for it . . . EVERY SINGLE activity is editable!  This pack includes a song from Ron Brown's Intelli-Tunes (like usual) and it even contains a fun little math craft.  

Here is just a peek at some of the items included!

I also have a Noun packet that is nearly finished (one more activity write up) and a digraph collection (SH to be specific) that is 3/4 of the way done! Gonna buckle down this week and get 'er done.  

These two are COMING SOON!  GO KELLEY, GO!!!!

Alright, that's it from this girl.  Thanks so much for visiting me today. I am off to work on the postcard exchange and then it is down to Chico to meet a fellow Nor Cal Blogger . . . Renee from Fantastic First Grade Froggies.  YAY!



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