Monday, December 31, 2012

Happy Manic Monday New Years Eve!

Happy New Years Eve! My big new years resolution is to take some time to relax this year! I've felt so burnt out lately. While my class is super adorable, it's a HUGE challenge teaching 3 grades at once all day. Add in the fact that it's SPED, you can imagine how stressful the days can be, then I bring home more work at night.

Starting now, I'm trying to force myself to just relax a bit! I already finished my book club book a whopping 3 weeks early! This is a record. I'm usually finishing the book a day or two before our monthly get-together. Book Club is one of my "grown up" time activities that gets my mind off my class. Although most of us are teachers, so sometimes we stray back to school talk...oops!

Since I've been trying to relax this holiday break, I've keep my TPT creations to a minimum. I haven't even looked at my curriculum and I completely forgot my lesson plan book at school. So... I have no idea what I should be creating for my class right now! In the mean time, I did finish both my Winter and Valentine ABC Matching. Both are FREE in my TPT store (click the pics) and Google Doc.

Google Winter
Google Valentine

Classroom Freebies Manic Monday

Friday, December 28, 2012

Winter ABC Matching

Have I mentioned how much I've NEEDED this winter break?! I have taken a full week to do nothing but shopping, spending time with family, and finally getting healthy again (or really close to it!). I haven't even looked at a single blog until today! I've become a total blog stalker this year, but I was just plain fried by the time this winter break came along. I'm finally starting to feel refreshed! It's amazing what sleep, tea, and super strength antibiotics can do!

In honor of my new found relaxation (and extreme shopping with my gift cards!) I'm throwing an end of the year sale. Everything in my TPT store is 20% off until New Years! Enjoy! Click here to go to my TPT store!

I also created a freebie! This was a request that I wanted to fulfill a month ago, but then I got super sick and couldn't. So it's better late than never. I'll also be making a February themed version of this soon! I love filling requests, so let me know if there's more you'd like to see in my store. I also think I'll try to make a few more emergent reader activity pack since my Gingerbread one was such a hit. Let me know if you'd like to see a specific theme or set of sight words included in the next one!

Click the image for my TPT store download or HERE FOR GOOGLE DOCS.

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Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Merry Christmas!!

Merry Christmas!

Sorry I'm in my longest run ever without posting, but I've been terribly sick. I'm on super duper antibiotics, so I'll hopefully be back to normal very soon. Right now I've been taking naps daily just to get by.

I've been busy with the holiday hustle and bustle. It's been a great Christmas here with the family. My mom gave me a new pasta maker attachment for my Kitchen Aid mixer. I made a delicious spinach bucatini pasta with homemade alfredo sauce for our Christmas dinner. It turned out amazingly!!

I'll be back to blogging world soon. I hope you all had a fabulous holiday with your families.


Thursday, December 20, 2012

Polar Express Pajama Day!

Did you think I disappeared?! It sure has felt like it this week. I haven't looked at a single teacher blog in a few days, including my own! This is a weird record for me! I'm addicted to blog hoppin! So what happened?? I'll tell ya... Sickness and Christmas! I have had a HORRIBLE sinus thing which made my asthma go crazy so I cough a bunch, plus it was the week before holiday break. I never caught up from the 2 sick days I took off last week thanks to a mean old stomach bug. Either way, it's been an exciting week! Now I'm OFFICIALLY ON HOLIDAY BREAK FOR 2 WEEKS!!!!

So today was Polar Express PJ Day in Lower El. My staff forgot my tradition and asked if A) I spent the night at school or B) Didn't feel the need to shower and get dressed this morning. I quickly informed them my day would be so much better than theirs because I got to hang out in my PJs, drink cocoa, and have Christmas in the classroom all day!

The best thing about PJ Day is my secret present every year... My mom and I sew brand new PJs for each kid in the class. This year I have all adorable boys, so they got matching jammies this year! Super cute!! I should have gotten a close up of the pants. They have super cute little snowmen wearing scarves. Have I mentioned how much it kills me to cover their adorable smiles!! I'm pretty sure the parents sign release forms for photos, but I think it's only for the official school site, so I feel weird putting kid faces out there for everyone.

One little guy was TERRIFIED of the Polar Express! He was plugging his ears and begging me to "fast forward 3 minutes!!!" I had him sit on my lap (the wonders of a private school where I won't get sued for loving my little gems) and whispered in his ear that the whole movie is about the magic of Santa and there is no way anything bad would happen on a magical train ride to meet Santa. By the middle of the movie he was telling me our classroom was the Polar Express and we were having a magical journey!

We also had our holiday singing thing. Does it have a real name? I dunno actually! All I know is my class sang Rudolph and Up On The Housetop. And by "we" I mean all but one little guy. I teach kids with disabilities, and do you know what happens when you put one in a crowd and step just slightly out of sight... a crying fit! One little guy was positively sobbing! I had to rock him in my lap while a counselor took pics of the rest of my kids singing. They were super cute, but sadly I didn't think much about it because I felt so bad for my little guy who was so upset.  It's quite a challenge to quietly sooth my little guys in an insanely crowded room full of parents and students. Thankfully he calmed down. I got to meet his extended family who were in town for the holidays and they were all raving about how much better he is doing since I've been his teacher. They've seen an incredible difference in his ability to talk to them and share things compared to the gibberish he spoke when I met him this summer. He literally could not form a sentence, and now he's cracking jokes. Love it!

My kids and their parents spoiled me rotten this year! I might have the most amazing group of parents and kids this year than any other year since I've been a teacher. They have been so patient and understanding despite the constant chaos in my room. Teaching 3 grades at once, with gigantic ranges in both academic and social skills has been a challenge to say the least. This is by far the biggest academic/social range I've ever had. Every parent is very grateful, thoughtful, and understanding as I'm doing everything I can to teach each of their super diverse kids.

This is one of my awesome gifts from a parent! She made me an adorable crochet purse in my favorite color! She might be the most talented crafty person I've ever met. You should see some of the other amazing things she's made!

Here is the finished product of our snowman presents the kids made for their parents. I got the adorable boxes at Michael's for 50 cents each, maybe less with the teacher discount actually. 

This week I also got an email from a parent of a child no longer at my school. The mom was telling me how she was thinking about me and misses having her son in my class. So sweet!

Saturday, December 15, 2012

Sad Day + Some Holiday Cheer + Money Centers

Yesterday the speech teacher and I were hanging out together during our prep period when we heard the news. We were trying not to cry. So sad! As a teacher, this hits so very close to home. I've experienced lock-downs and scary situations on campus, but thankfully no one was ever hurt. To think a whole classroom of children is gone is such a frightening thing. Moments after I heard the news a student was brought back to my class from PE for trying to run away and out the school gates. I was terrified for him. I was scolding him about how a stranger could hurt him if he leaves the school. It's so scary to think a stranger could come IN the school to hurt such adorable little kids.Tomorrow I'll be part of the Teacher Blogger Day of Silence.

My students finished their snowman parent presents yesterday. I just need to tie a ribbon around the necks for a "scarf" once the paint is dry. They turned out pretty cute! Although, despite my best efforts to teach them how to make a carrot nose, half of them made a scribble nose. Oh well, it wouldn't be a true kid-made present without something sloppy! It makes it genuine! Now I need to find some coffee mug boxes or something to wrap them in.

They turned out pretty good! (My new sample one is the snowman on the right since my cracked original one is now headless!)

Kinder started learning about money this week. They are doing shockingly well! They even understand the concept of starting at 5 when they have a nickel in with their pennies! Here are the money centers they were working on. This are all part of my Beginning Money Centers in my TPT store.
Match the piggy bank to its coins

Money Puzzles (words, coin images)

Match the coin front, back, amount, name
These all come from this set:

Thursday, December 13, 2012

Field Trip Day!

Today was field trip day! We went to a local nature preserve/kid hands on learning center. It's called CuriOdyssey, but that probably doesn't help you understand it much. Basically the kids find "evidence" of animals in the wooded area around the building. In other words...POOP!! Or as the science teacher/guide lady put it "scat." But either way the kids thought it was hysterical to look for poop! Of course we also looked for other evidence such as webs, footprints, and half eaten leaves. We also found salamanders, turkey vultures, leaves caterpillars had nibbled on and various other stuff. The kids enjoyed it while I hung back with my pocket of tissues and travel bottle of hand sanitizer since I have the sinus infection that never seems to end.

Then we explored the hands-on, learn-through-play area without the guide. They also have a small zoo where we saw a bobcat, otters, a porcupine, birds, snakes, newts, and a raccoon. My favorite was when we saw a coyote and the kids told me it was like the one that ate The Gingerbread Cowboy and then we saw a fox who "ate the Gingerbread Man!" No pics of the animals, sorry! I wasn't feeling well and forgot about my camera until half way through the day. Oops!

The kids was super perfect today. Not a single kid got in trouble for anything! We took pictures together as a class by the water (the San Francisco Bay). Then I surprised them by taking them to an AMAZING playground in the park. I only had 4 out of my 5 boys. The last little guy had an appointment and we weren't sure how he'd handle the trip anyway.
So adorable, I hate blocking out their faces!

Walking among the trees


Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Snowman Parent Present

Hey bloggers! I went back to school after 1 1/2 days out sick. Honestly, I probably should have stayed home, but the nightmare of doing sub plans from home made me come in. It went fairly well as I kept cough drops and a tissue box in the middle of our table. What are the odds that I'm perfectly healthy for our field trip tomorrow?!

A mom came to check out my class and see her son in action. By the time she left she shook her head and laughed, "If I had your job, I'd call in sick 365 days a year! I don't know how you do it! FIVE of these boys ALL DAY!" She stayed for story time, and me teaching 2 things at once math time (coins to kinder, double digit add/subtract to 1st/2nd). The wonders of K-2 sped...

Today we started making our snowman crafts for the parent presents. You can find my original post about how to make them here. Thanks to the fabulous art teacher at our school, I discovered the wonderfulness of Model Magic by Crayola. This playdoh is sooo much better than the one I made from my recipe. Plus it was on sale at Michael's this week, and with my teacher discount it was only $14 for a 2 lb. tub instead of $20ish.

The art teacher said it won't crack when it dries like the other one did. My head fell off of the sample snowman I made for the kids! Oops! Not a headless Frosty!!! Take a peek at how the kids did! We'll paint them once they're dry.

Today I also started a speech jar. I have one little guy with HORRIBLE speech. He has a medical condition that caused it, but we're trying are darndest to correct it. He's totally getting better, but it's not without a lot of prompting. My other kinder boy is also struggling a tad bit too, so the speech teacher and I decided to start a speech jar. I often hear, "I fink" "I'm firsty" and "I have free cards." All of which should have had /th/ instead of /f/. I got the idea from Simply Speech.

Here's what my jar looks like. It says "spotted using good speech" but you can't really read it in the picture thanks to the curve of the tub I used. It's actually a soup container from Safeway. I put a marble in if I catch them (or they catch themselves) using a speech sound correctly. I take one out if I catch them using it wrong. I suddenly had a ton of "thank you's" today! Previously known as "fank you!" Whatever works :)

I'm off to get some more rest before tomorrow's trip! Ta Ta For Now!

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Sick Day

I've disappeared from blog world for the last couple days, and landed in the world of chicken noodle soup! I got so sick at school yesterday that I had to leave in the middle of the school day! I am SOOO unbelievably thankful for my amazing teaching team! They all gave up their prep time and took turns teaching my class. I'm the only K-2 teacher at my school, so these guys are used to older kids who generally sit still and can follow basic directions, the drop 2, 3, or even 5 grade levels I'm sure was a bit of a challenge too. I was told that my kids did great for the rest of the day. Thank goodness! Last week there were tantrums nonstop, so I was a little nervous what would happen when I left. No idea about today though. I guess I'll find out when I show up in the morning.

My kids were soooooooo sweet to me for the few hours I was there yesterday! They could all tell I wasn't feeling well from the beginning of the day and just kept getting worse. I started with a sinus infection, and lucky me somehow got a stomach bug at the same time, yuck! One little guy offered to let me come over to his house so he could take care of me. He told me he has a super comfy green couch and cozy blankets. Cutie pie!

My boy with pretty classic autism had 2 special moments before I left. First, he was pretending to put his jacket on a book as a "book jacket." He was reading Amelia Bedelia book where she sews little jackets for the books at the library. Pretending is a huge social leap for him! His second moment was when I went to leave, he told me "I'll miss you!" Expressing feelings is another new skill for him. Last week he told me he loved me, unprompted, twice! Yay!

My last little bit of student love came today. A mom emailed me a letter he son wrote for me (she took a pic of the handwritten note). It said, "Dear Lisa, I'm sad that you are sick & I hope you get better soon. Sincerely, M (The friendly monster)" Yes, he did use the "&" symbol and wrote it correctly, and yes, he called himself a monster in parentheses. This is my little kinder genius boy. He can be so sweet.

I'm going to work tomorrow, and crossing my fingers I feel better than today. We have a field trip Thursday too. I hate sub planning for a multi-age class! I was there for an hour after I should have left yesterday, just so I could have things for the sub to do. I could not find my emergency sub plans to save my life and gave up. It's in a neon orange folder and somehow still managed to go missing. And of course, so did my book Miss Nelson is Missing. Maybe they are having a party together. Okay, I'm off to drink more 7-Up and eat saltines for dinner.

Sunday, December 9, 2012

Wanna Be Pen Pals? Book of the Month!

So I was thinking my kids would LOVE to have a Pen Pal class to work with. Would any of you be interested in partnering up for K-2 pen pals?? My one little thing is that I have a tiny class of 5, so I could only have 5 letters sent to you each time. Maybe another teacher with a small class? Or a big class make it a special treat to have 5 writers chosen each time? Please email me if you're interested!

I'm still feeling pretty icky, so I'm keeping this short today. I finally got a flu shot for the first time in a decade, and the doc never mentioned you shouldn't get one if you aren't feeling well. I was getting over a small cold, and the flu shot sent me into chills, a low fever, and a sinus infection on Friday. No fever or chills, but my nose is a mess now.

This weekend my friends and I had an Ugly Christmas Sweater Gingerbread House Decorating Party! I was the first to get picked for a team because "The kindergarten teacher is a ringer!" Haha! Needless to say my cutesy skills definitely made us win the contest! Take a peek! My design for the Chiclets roof is my favorite part :)


We won!

Now for the Book of the Month Club!

1) Merry UnChristmas by Mike Reiss- A story about a town where it's always Christmas and it's not special anymore, so the little girl counts down to "UnChristmas" every year when she gets to finally go to school to see her friends and eat TV dinner instead of a big feast. My students' reactions to the story was priceless! There was lots of "That's wacky!" and "why wouldn't you like Christmas?!"

2) The Night Before Christmas by Jan Brett- I love her illustrations and I have about a dozen of her Christmas/Winter themed books. I even have the CD's to go with them so the kids can use them in the listening center. So I'm counting all of the Jan Brett books in this little section, there are too many to list!

3) Snowmen at Night- My newest favorite! It's all about what the snowmen do at nighttime when everyone is sleeping. Super cute!

4) Pete the Cat Saves Christmas- My students were obsessed with the other Pete the Cat books, so I just had to get this one. I have it hidden, so they don't even know about it yet. I need to download the song first so it has the full effect!

Happy Holidays Everyone!
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