Friday, December 30, 2011

Random thoughts from the airport

So. . . . . . .my Dad has this irrational fear of missing flights, so he insists on getting to the airport ridiculously early, which is why I am sitting here, an hour before my flight boards.  I think it stems from almost missing his flight to Appleton {the home of Lambeau Field and the Greenbay Packers} a few years ago.

Anyways, I am headed back to the frozen tundra that I call home.  It was 50 degrees here yesterday and 10 degrees in Anchorage - brrrrrr! Here are my random thoughts.

* My Christmas gifts to myself {yes, I buy myself presents} were a new nose stud {I really needed one} and some clipart from KPM Doodles.  I can't wait to play around and create some new things for my kiddos and to share them with you.

* My sister went to school for Graphic Design and she is pretty darn good.  Here is handmade swag I'm brining back with me.

2 shirts, one that says "Kindergarten Rocks" {and kind of matches my new life planner} and one that says "100 Days of School". Plus a new bag for Pigeon to travel back and forth in.  Cute, huh?

* I'm excited to get back to school and see my kiddos, but not so excited to get back to the drama that is my school this year, does anyone else feel this way?

I only have 20 minutes of free wifi here{what's up with that?!?!}  and I want to check out Cara's 3 dollar sale on TpT, so I need to do that before my connection expires.   Next time I post I will probably be wrapped up in a blanket with a warm beverage trying to readjust to the frozen tundra.

I went to click publish and my connection had expired. . . . .seriously!!!!!!!  But. . . . . . .my roommate's aunt gave us passes to the Alaska Airlines Board Room, so now I am sitting in a comfy chair and enjoying a nice drink before our next flight.

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

11 in '11

I'm linking up with Hadar and Kristin (two of my favorite teacher-bloggers). for the 11 in '11 linky party.

11. Favorite movie you watched: Probably Breaking Dawn, I <3 me some sparkely vampires.

10. Favorite TV series: Glee or Criminal Minds (2 complete opposites, I know!)

9. Favorite restaurant: Lahn Pad Thai, a tiny hole-in-the-wall place that makes the best Pad Thai!

8. Favorite new thing you tried: My tattoo, it was my 30th birthday present to myself.

7. Favorite gift you got: A tie between my Erin Condren planner and my new Danskos.

6. Favorite thing you pinned: I’ve been pinning lot’s of wedding shower ideas lately that I <3 (my little brother is getting married in august)

5. Favorite blog post: I’m not sure, I don’t think I’ve been blogging enough to have one.

4. Best accomplishment: Creating a classroom community and setting up routines and procedures with my kiddos this year.  Last year (2010-2011) was a tough school year and none of those things really “gelled” with my class.  This year is 10 times better, in fact I had the best observation I’ve ever had this past November!

3. Favorite picture:

My BFF's Kiddo C.G. with her brand-new backpack

2. Favorite memory: Getting to spend a week in Kotzebue (a village on the Bering Sea), renovating the Boys and Girls Club and hanging out with the kiddos up there.

1. Goal for 2012:  I have 3:

1.To be more organized within my work/personal life and to have more of a   balance between the two (hopefully my Erin Condren planner will help)
2. Spend time in my Bible everyday.
3. Do a better job teaching Math.  I am very confident in my ability to teach Reading, but I know that I need to work on my Math lessons.

Monday, December 26, 2011

What have I been doing?

This is what I spent my day doing - checking out my new Erin Condren Life Planner, watching some Real Housewives (Beverly Hills) and working on some stuff for school.

I created these cute snowflakes to help keep track of the books my kiddos read at home

I've been blogstalking to get ideas for Martin Luther King Day and my penguin theme and am working on some cute projects to go along with my Reading Curriculum (Houghton Mifflin).  

I hope you are all enjoying your time off, I know I am!

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

That crazy Pigeon and my 1st award!

Pigeon with my BFF's kiddo C.G.
I have a stuffed Pigeon {from the Pigeon books by Mo Willems} that goes home with my kiddos on the weekends.  He has been snowmachine-ing {snowmobiling in Alaska-speak}, played in the snow, decorated trees, seen multiple movies, flown from bunk beds and been attacked by a baby sister {this required surgery to repair his leg}.  Pigeon came home with me over Winter Break.  I have been taking pictures of him {at a dance recital, at the airport, dentist and in the dollar store} and I can't wait to share them with my kiddos.  He is currently spending the night at my BFF's house with her 5 1/2 year-old C.G.  When I get my book put together I will post so you can see it.  Do any of you have travelling buddies that go home with your kiddos?

And. . . . . . . . . . . . .

I got my 1st award!  Thanks to Chrissy at First Grade Found Me.

This award is for newbies, and it's goal is to spotlight up-and-coming blogs with less than 200 followers.  If awarded, you must:
copy and paste the award on your blog
thank the giver and link back to them
reveal YOUR top five picks and leave a comment letting them know
hope your followers will share the love with them :)
Here are my top 5 picks - 

Monday, December 19, 2011

Fire Drills at 18 degrees. . . . . . . .

Picture this . . . . . . . . .it's the Wednesday before Winter Break.  I am {finally} done with my assessments and can work with small groups during Work Stations.  I send my TA down to the work room to finish up our calendars {gifts to the parents}.  My kiddos are doing fabulous, working hard and following directions and then the dreaded sound. . . . . . . .the fire alarm.

My kiddos line up at the back door, I grab our two emergency backpacks and we head out.  As we are round the corner to head to the front of the building and our line up spot, my TA meets us and whispers "it's not a planned drill", which means that we now have to wait for the Fire Department to show up. . . . .  outside. . . . . . . .in the cold. . . . . .the snow. . . . . . .and the wind.

We line up, I pull out the green "everyone's here" card and we wait. . . .and wait. . .and wait.  We have fleece blankets in our emergency packs, so we pull those out and wrap them around kiddos.  My TA {thank goodness she was there} and I each take half of the kiddos and have them huddle up and we turned our backs so the wind was hitting us, instead of them.

Thanks to some quick thinking by our BPO, we were able to call off the Fire Department {he accidentally set off the alarm}, but we were still outside in the cold and wind for about 10 minutes.   All in a days work teaching in the frozen tundra of Alaska {thankfully it was on the warmest day that week}.

Currently. . . . . .

I'm linking up Farley at Oh' Boy Fourth Grade

{and now, I really do to get to bed!}

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Beginning. . . Middle. . . End

I was shocked, my kiddos were amazingly good today.  I was thinking that with it being so close to Christmas, a short week and the day after a snow day they would be a bit CRAZY but they were awesome!

We are taking a break from our reading series so this morning I got to do a reading response/comprehension lesson with an actual story {don't get me wrong, some of the stories in our program are great, but some - yuck.  Plus they are really hard to teach with since they don't grab the kiddos attention}.  We have been talking about retelling stories and using the words beginning, middle and end.

I made up this chart to help my kiddos retell stories.  It's just colored paper and black poster board laminated.  I use post-its to write the words {later on, I will have them write} and then I have the kiddos draw a picture to go with the words.   Today we retold the the story The Gingerbread Cowboy.

Tomorrow is our Holiday Program - wish us luck!

Monday, December 12, 2011

Surprise Snow-Day

I was woken up this morning {at 6:30}, by my phone and about 5 text messages.  We've been having some crazy weather, it's been warmish which causes the snow to melt, then freeze at night which makes for some slick roads.  I was not expecting for it to be a snow day so it was nice to stay in comfy clothes all day and get stuff done around the house  umm, watch trashy reality TV. I did get some laundry done and started packing for my trip home over Winter Break {I can't wait to see my BFF and her kiddos and go wedding dress shopping with my future sister-in-law}.  I also inputted some grades into our reporting system and created this sight word activity for when we get back from break.

Is it weird that I'm really hoping we have school tomorrow? {they've been out plowing so I'm sure we will} We have a lot of stuff to get through this week, but only 3 days to do it.

Sunday, December 11, 2011

It's Beginning To Look a Lot Like Christmas. . . .in my classroom!

Here's a peek at what has been going on in my neck of the woods, you know, apart from assessing my poor Super Stars to death. The other day I called a kiddo to my table and they were like "Can't we just do reading group? I already did this!" {believe me sweetie, I feel your pain!}

Despite all of this, we have been able to get in the Holiday mood ~

1.) Our tiny tree {waiting for kiddo-made decorations} and our "Holidays Around the World" books we are making in Social Studies.
2.) Snowflake pattern whirligig thingys. The kiddos cut out a spiral then used snowflakes {die-cuts} t0 create a pattern. Super simple, and super cute!
3.) Handprint turkeys drying {for our handprint calendar gift}.
4.) Gingerbread man Write The Room.
5.) Snowflake gel clings on the window by my door.
6.) Gingerbread glyphs
7.) It's staying dark most of the day, I think we are down to about 5 hours of daylight right now. Seriously, it's already dusky when we get out at 3:30.
8.) Holiday wreath on my door handle.

It's going to be a busy week! I still have a few assessments to finish up {uggh}, we are performing Wednesday afternoon for our parents, and Thursday is our Pajama and Polar Express day. Friday, the kiddos are off, but teachers have to be at school {grade-reporting day}

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Sunday, November 13, 2011

Lesson Plan Link-Up

I'm trying to get back in the swing of blogging, so I thought that I would link up with A Teacher's Treasure Lesson Plan linky party.

{click to see my Lesson Plans}

Yes, I have a sheet for each day.  With all of the requirements from my Principal this year, I couldn't fit everything into my old template.

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

My Teaching Life (in random Facebook Updates)

I love my job,  here are some of the funny comments my kiddos have made that have found their way onto my Facebook status updates - 
We were watching "Noisy Nora" during snack today. A says "Nora is really bad!". Z replies "no she's not, she's just making bad choices!". I just ♥ my kiddos!
Parent today "D says he wishes you were his teacher for 1st, 2nd, 3rd, 4th, 5th and 6th grade. Why? Because she gives me hugs when I'm down."
Kiddo, "Ms. W, where is Mrs. O?". Me, "In the office." Kiddo,
"Did she make a bad choice?"
Me (to a kiddo laying in the middle of the classroom) "You need to get up buddy." Kiddo, "I can't, I died."
 Hopefully I will be a better blogger soon!

Friday, September 30, 2011


I was collecting the Sammy Seals {our Alphafriend for the week} my kiddos made today and had to laugh -

And here's what he's supposed to look like -

{we have a lot of work to do}

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Tuesday, September 27, 2011

* Fall, it's super short up here in the AK {I'm talking 2-4 weeks tops!} It's here right now and I love it!

* Caramel Apple Sundaes - yum!

* Sugar Free Vanilla, Soy lattes.  Nice and warm on a chilly morning {seriously, there was frost on my car this morning}

* My Super Stars!  Last year was a tough year, we never really got into a routine or "gelled" as a class.  This year things are going great , we have a good routine going and are turning into a nice little community.

* Random Moose sightings.  Here's what I saw on my way home from work the other day

The baby had just crossed the street right in front of my car.

Literacy Stations - Theme 2 {Colors All Around}

I LOVE my Literacy Stations.  I only switch them out once a Theme {every 3 weeks}.  I change worksheets out as needed, but the basics of the station stay the same.  Since our theme is Colors All Around some of our tubs focus on reading and writing color words. 

{Yes, my tubs are out of order, that's how my Super Stars put them back today}

Tub A - Building Color Words {using these Brown Bear cards from Doodle Bugs Teaching}

Tub B - S or Not S sorting worksheet {this will change each week as we focus on a different letter}

Tub C - Playdough Words {with glittery, black playdough}

Tub D - Listening Center

Tub E - Color, Trace, Write

Tub F - Poetry Journals {They glue in the poem, them draw a picture, highlight letters and words, then read the poems}

Tub G - Letter Beads  {letter beads and pipe cleaners, they can build words, sort by letter etc.  I may bring this back later, but require them to build words}

Tub H - Which S Will Win? {another one that will change to go with our letter for the week}.

Other stations that my kiddos visit are Library, Computer and working with my TA, this week they are sorting picture cards by their beginning sound - S or not S {see a pattern. . . . .?}

Hopefully I will remember to take pictures this week. . . . . . . . . .

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

School Bag Linky Party

It's late, but I wanted to join Abby's linky party.  I've been drooling over all the cute 31 bags, but here is my functional {not so cute} bag.

I carry a backpack to and from school.  When it's snowy and icy 6 months of the year the trek from the parking lot to my classroom can be dangerous and I don't want to lose anything if I slip and fall {which happens more often than I'd like to admit}.  The blue bag next to it is my purse, it's a Keen bag - I love it!  I can sling it across my body and keep my hands free.

 Now for what's in my bag.  I had church tonight so I didn't bring too much home with me.  My MacBook goes to and from school with me everyday.  Most of my school stuff is on there.  I'm working on my Lesson Plans for next week {also on my Mac} so I brought home my manual for our next Theme in HM {It's my favorite Theme - Colors!!!}.
I made a quick stop at Wal*Mart tonight to pick up Velcro {I ran out}  and Letter Beads {for a new Workstation Activity}.  My 6 Traits book, stickers and my favorite Post-Its. 

I also have this pencil pouch.  I keep Flair pens, Highlighters, Pencils, Sharpies and Post-It flags in it {you never know when you may need them}. 

 I also brought home my Data Notebook so I could input data into the spreadsheets on my MacBook. {I had to cover up my name and school}.

Saturday, September 17, 2011

Rainbow Writing

Sorry it's been such a long time since I've posted.  This whole beginning of the year thing is kicking my butt.  I have a couple of "special friends" that are having a hard time getting into the routine of school, but most of my kiddos are doing a fabulous job.

We've been practicing writing our numbers.  We started with whiteboards and markers, the kiddos listened while I read a poem for each number, then they tried to write the number on their whiteboard.

Then we moved to writing the numbers on paper.  Since Kindergartners tend to rush through things {or maybe that's just my kiddos}, we do a lot of "Rainbow Writing".  The kiddos get to use markers (not a common occurrence} and switch colors for every number.

{Aren't my Super Stars adorable?}

I've uploaded the Rainbow Writing sheets if you would like to download them.  I included the poem for each number to help my Super Stars {and their parents} when they practice at home.

Monday, August 22, 2011

Teacher Talk Tuesday

So, I am a fairly new teacher, but I've learned quite a bit in my three years (this is my fourth).

* If you are a new teacher, don't spend tons of time planning and organizing to your specific curriculum.  My first year in the AK I spent tons of time organizing my things to go with our First grade HM curriculum, which was pretty worthless considering I taught Kindergarten the next year. 

* Don't sweat the small stuff.  It may not be perfect, but it's okay.  Kiddos will probably not remember that the lesson you taught had cute clipart or a fun font, but they will remember the fun they had and the relationship that you build with them.

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Sunday, August 21, 2011

Meet The Teacher Monday

 Tell us a little something about you...

My name is Miss W. and I teach in the frozen tundra of Alaska - the biggest (and least populated) state.  I grew up in Washington state and my family still lives there (my parents bought my grandparent's house). 

 How long have you been teaching?

This will be my fourth year teaching.  I taught half-time, half-day Kindergarten in Washington, taught 1st grade my first year in Alaska, and Kindergarten last year (after 5 days with my firsties) and am teaching Kindergarten again this year. 

What are you looking most forward to this school year?

Starting off with my kiddos.  Last year I started teaching 1st grade at the school I was hired at, and because of low numbers I was displaced after 5 days to a new school and a new grade level.  It was chaotic and crazy, and I was really not on my game for most of the year.  I am excited to be teaching the same grade level and same curriculum two years in a row!!!!

Also I am using Workstations this year and I am excited to teach my Super Stars how to work and use the hands-on activities (and the fact that I've planned them out based on our Houghton Mifflin themes and will only change them out every three weeks).

What do you need to improve?

I need to work on managing my time better and learning to leave things at work and have a personal life.  I am a perfectionist by nature and I have a hard time letting things be (ex. it needs to be cute and visually appealing).  I spend way too much time at school, but I'm hoping since I am teaching the same grade level and curriculum as last year I won't have to reinvent everything.

What teaching supplies can you *not* live without?

Diet Pepsi - I live off of caffiene, I keep a stash in the cupboard by my desk.

Sharpies, Flair Pens and Chart Markers - Makes making charts and materials fun and cute!

Poppin' Patterns (by CTP) - super cute and fun bulletin board accents and calendar pieces.

My Macbook - I did afterschool tutoring my first year up here to earn money to buy it.  I {heart} it.  It has all of my charts, lables, and materials on it and goes pretty much everywhere with me.

My Kinder Team - They were my life savers last year and I am so excited we get to stay together this year.  We are all completely different, but we work well together (I'm the techie-support one!)

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Tomorrow is the big day!

I think I'm ready for tomorrow. I ran in real quick to grab somethings for my friend who is sub-starting a 1st grade class and snapped a picture with my phone. Hopefully I can take better pictures later this week.

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Monday, August 15, 2011


I have been busily getting my room ready for my new Kinder kiddos and today we had our staff training where we went over the expectations for our school year. It was mostly basic stuff, schedules, staff development, human resources stuff, but we also discussed my Principal's new expectations for our Lesson Plans.

Here's and excerpt

"Lesson plans should be written so that, if you were a substitute, you would feel comfortable in coming into the room and would know what was expected in each of the subjects to be taught that day (ie. subject, instruction each day, times, objectives, materials needed, special consideration for struggling students, extension activities etc. . .)"

And later

"The following items should be included, but not limited to in the daily lesson plans:
1.) Objective
2.) GLE's
3.) Lesson Materials
4.) Reteach/Review Materials
5.) Small Group Interventions
6.) Assessment"

I'm not quite sure where to begin. Does anyone have to have these detailed of Lesson Plans? What do you do? Is there a way that I can do this without my Lesson Plans being 20 pages long?


Saturday, July 30, 2011

Where, oh Where Have I Been?

Me, in front of Surprise Glacier today - so cool!!! (please excuse the hair, it was super windy and my hair is not quite long enough to pull back, but I had to do something!)

I have been spending the last couple weeks of my summer helping with Americorps/Hope Youth Corps. We had a group of 20 young adults come up from all over the lower 48 to help renovate the Boys and Girls Clubhouse in Kotzebue, Alaska. I spent 7 nights sleeping on the floor of the clubhouse and 8 days helping to organize, clean, gut and paint the space where the kiddos hang out. Plus we got to hang out and connect with the kiddos.

We flew back on Wednesday, hung out downtown yesterday and today went on a Glacier Cruise (we got to see one of the glaciers calve!!!).

I will be back next week with some fun back to school craft ideas and hopefully pictures of my classroom, although I can't get in to my room till next Thursday (seriously??? we have to report back for trainings and meetings on the 10th!!!!).

Have a great weekend!

Saturday, July 16, 2011

My Favorite Target Find

I'm linking up with Target Treasures to share my favorite find from Target this week.

These are going to be my supply caddies. Each kiddo will have one of the long, skinny baskets to keep their crayons and pencils in; each table will have one of the handled caddies with glue and scissors on the shelf {they don't need them on their tables all the time}. The letter size trays are for their journals/supplies for projects etc. There are four colors because I have 4 hexagon tables and each table is named for a color and shape {ie Blue Circles}
And a non-teaching related purchase. "Turquoise and Caicos" by Essie {It's the perfect matte teal shade for summer}.

Thursday, July 14, 2011

My Epic Shopping Trip

I have to report back to school August 10th {Of course I will be in my classroom before that getting organized}, but I am leaving for Kotzebue {a small village up north} on Tuesday and won't get back till the following Wednesday so I decided to get a lot of my school stuff today. Plus I had coupons to use.
Of course I had to get some Starbucks to get me going.
Cute, comfy shoes are a must {I LOVE my Keens!}
This was the high temp today - much different than most of you
All my purchases
I went to:

Office Max: $1 for 12 Sharpies (with coupon); 2 packs of bright cardstock and 1 pack of white cardstock.

Michaels: Glass Gems {$1 a pack}; Plastic Jewels; Scrapbook Paper {to make paper lantern stars}; A large R and K with hooks attached {my name starts with R and my TA with K}; Stamp Pads {for $1}

Target: Plastic Cups {for name, chant, cheer sticks}; Plastic Baskets and Caddies for student supplies

Costco: 1 inch clearview binders {for my STAR notebooks}; Lysol wipes and Ziplock Baggies {I have students bring these in, but I got a stash for me to use before school starts}.

I will go to Wal-Mart once I get back from Kotzebue to get supplies like pencils, glue, crayons, markers etc.

This was my view at 9:30 when I got home from Small Group - I love living in Alaska!!!!

My Teacher Always Says

Mrs. Bainbridge is hosting a link party! Here is her description.

"We've all got those "things" that we say. What is something you always say to your students? Maybe it's something cute that you love... or maybe it's something that you heard them start to say to each other that made you go "uh oh!". "

Here are those things I find myself saying all the time.

1.) "Is that a good choice?" I typically say that when one of my kiddos is starting to make a bad choice.
2.) "Big problem or small problem" This is used when my kiddos are coming up to tattle. If they have a small problem they need to make a "Kelso's Choice".
3.) "Stop, Look and Listen" {in a sing-songy voice} Used to get my kiddos attention
4.) "That's okay, we can try again tomorrow" If one of my kiddos has a tough day {I got an email from one of my parents this summer thanking me and telling me about how her son had said that when he didn't get to do something he wanted to do because he got in trouble - it made my teacher hear happy}.

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Reading Parent Survey

Authors Note - Hallelujah! I FINALLY figured out how to create PDF's of my Word documents without having to mess around with Illustrator. Expect to see many more printables from me!

This is a Parent Survey I created after reading the Book Whisperer. In one of the "Whispers" Donalyn shares about the surveys she has her 6th grade students fill out at the beginning of the school year. Teaching Kinder it's tricky to have my kiddos fill out a survey {or really do any "writing"} at the first of the school year, so I created a survey for my parents to fill out to help me get to know their child.

Writer Survey

Saturday, July 9, 2011

Rainbow Popcorn

I was thrown into Kindergarten last year, so I wasn’t as prepared as I like to be so I’ve been spending my summer searching for ideas to make each of our themes in Kindergarten special {I mean really, a 3 week theme about numbers?}.

One of my favorite themes that I get to teach in Kindergarten is “Colors All Around” {Houghton Mifflin – Theme 2}. I mean in what other job do you get to dress up in all one color and do fun Art projects. In my all my searching for each theme {10 reading themes, plus all the extras my team chooses to do} I came across a ­fun snack idea for our color theme.

Jello Popcorn Recipe

or you could save the cute recipe card I made (click on the picture and "save as")


10 Things About Miss W.

I'm linking up with Mrs. Owens to share 10 things about me. Enjoy!

Schedule Cards

One thing I've learned is that my Kinder Kiddos love schedules. They want to know what is going to happen during the day. I made up these nifty cards to help show exactly what we will be doing on a given day.

I've uploaded the cards that I use, click below for the download.

Schedule Cards

Friday, July 8, 2011

Book Whisperer - Chapter 3

I have been loving the Book Whisperer! I have it for the Kindle on my iPhone and I was reading it during my free-time at camp last week {one benefit of having it on my phone was I could read it after lights out {I used to hide books in my desk and read during class}.

I teach Kindergarten so I can’t do exactly what Donalyn suggests in the book, but I love her suggestions. As a teacher one of the most important things I can do is instill a love of reading in my students

Book Boxes

I love my book boxes! My kiddos keep their books from Guided Reading as well as their Library book {they don’t let Kinder’s take home their Library books at my school – stupid!} and 2 “interesting” books. My kiddos use these boxes during our Workstation Time.

You can purchase these boxes from Really Good Stuff, or you can find them at Target for 2.50 a piece.

I couldn’t find them last year when I went to purchase them, and shipping is outrageous {to Alaska!} so I actually purchased ice cube holders at Wal-Mart. They work perfectly and were only $1.95 a piece.

Time For Reading

At the beginning of the school year my Kinder Kiddos don’t have a long attention span for anything, let alone reading independently. We start of talking about what the room should look like and sound like during reading time. We make Anchor Charts that we go over every day for the first 2 months. Then we practice getting our books, finding spots to read and actually reading. We start off with just 5 minutes on the timer and me walking around providing reinforcement and redirection. As they get more capable we increase the amount of time.

Along with reading from their Book Boxes I have my kiddos read in-between activities if they finish early – it’s so cute to see them on the rug, reading books together {it makes my teacher heart so happy!}

So. . . . .those are my thoughts on Chapter 3. What do you think.

Check out Swamp Frog First Gradersfor Heidi's thoughts on Chapter 3, and don’t forget to stop by Thinking about Teaching for more book study goodness!

Thursday, July 7, 2011

My Loot!

I purchased tons of stuff for my classroom while I was visiting the lower 48. These are some of my favorites!

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