Saturday, August 31, 2013

10 days down and a freebie!!

Well, folks... we have survived the first 10 days of school with only a few bumps in the road. We have definitely faced some challenges at our new school but overall we are loving our new home! We quickly realized we have A LOT of work cut out for us this year but feeling very needed is a good thing!  Everyone at our new school has been so helpful and welcoming! Small schools are just awesome like that!

As you know we have a brand new reading series and we are tackling that monster head on! We plan to create a word work packet for each week to help our new first graders to catch up learn and master the new spelling patterns. Our new series is tough!

Here is a sample of our packet for week 2:  CLICK HERE to download this packet for FREE!!!!


























School is always ALL CONSUMING at the beginning of the year but we have WEDDING on our minds! Brittany's wedding is LESS than two months away! We have her bridal shower and bachelorette just around the corner and her fabulous Maid of Honor (me-moi) is a having a hard time focusing on school with all of the exciting events for my best friends wedding floating around in my head.

"Sorry kids, your teacher will return (mentally) on October 21... post nuptials."
Hope everyone had a great start to their school year!!! As Brittany aways says, "Teach procedures, procedures, procedures and nothing will go WONG!" Ha! We are Harry Wong fanatics, what can I say!

Sunday, August 25, 2013

Wonders McGraw-Hill Unit 1 Week 1

Hi Friends! We had a very busy first week back with our kiddos! Next week we are starting unit 1 of our new reading series. We created a packet to help us follow along with our new series. It's a freebie!!!




Tuesday, August 20, 2013

It's the FINAL countdown...

TWO MORE MONTHS!!!! 



My beautiful, smart, hilarious, fabulous Best Friend is getting married in 2 MONTHS from today!!!! Let the final countdown begin.... Brittany is getting married!!! I'm one proud and excited maid of honor over here!!!! Can't wait for the BIG DAY!!!

How perfect are they? LOVE them! 


On another note, we survived the first two days in our new school! That would explain why I am cutting this post short. The first week of school and I have a LOVE/HATE relationship! I'm sure I'm not alone on this one. My eyes are closing this very moment! I'm clocking out early today because I'm far past tired and in the beginning stages of delirium. Good night my friends, I know it's only 7:30 but bedtime has never sounded so good!


Monday, August 12, 2013

It's officially... OVER!

Hey there frugal followers, we are writing this post tonight with heavy hearts... our summer has officially come to an end (insert sad face here)!  I know I say this every year, BUT I'm going to say it anyway, I wish we had just one more week!!! Time went by way too fast... as it always seems to do when you're having fun! The alarm clocks are set for 6:30 tomorrow morning... ugh!  That's going to be rough!  I have definitely taken full advantage of sleeping in this summer, thank god for Dunkins right?!?  Sidenote, did you know that if you purchase this handy dandy little mug you can get refills of ANYTHING for 99 cents... hot, cold, flavored, coolatta... the options are endless!!!
I know what you're thinking... "NO WAY!"  But, YES WAY!!!  Melissa and I didn't learn this nifty little fact until AFTER the school year was over!  You're welcome Dunkins, half of our teaching salary has been spent on coffee!  Needless to say, we will be taking FULL advantage of this frugal deal this upcoming school year!  A large iced coffee at Dunkins is about 2.50ish and with your refill mug it costs $1.05 (after tax)... it doesn't sound like much, but believe me people, it adds up!
 
So, back to being depressed about the end of our fabulous summer.  Now don't get us wrong, we are super excited to start the school here... 
at our new home...
 Anthony Elementary
 
We made it official last week with these shiny new badges!  Snazzy!
 
 
Although we officially start tomorrow, Melissa and I have been into school several times throughout the summer to deal with this...
   We had to turn this awful mess into a cute, organized learning environment.  It was a big task!!! We'll save picts of the finished product for a later post!  (I know, I know, the suspense is killing ya!)  Oh, and did I mention that a ton of creepy crawlies made this lovely mountain their home while we were off enjoying the start of our summer!  That's Florida for ya!  A LOT of cleaning and de-bugging went into setting up our classrooms this year.  Eww!
 
Since it's "pre-planning week eve", what better way to reflect on our awesome, yet frugal, summer with a quick trip down memory lane!
Melissa posted back in June about our A-MAZ-ING kick off to the summer with picts from the beach house in Palm Coast, but to refresh your memory here's a quick throwback...
 

 
Let's be real people, there was nothing "frugal" about this trip, but every once in a while you just have to treat yourself!  And that we did!  We figured it was the perfect way to reward ourselves for a job well done at the end of last year!   
 
In addition to our week at the beach, we also took several day trips to the coast making sure to catch as many rays as possible!  And of course, we brought the necessities...
 
 
Can you guess which cup is mine?!?! haha
 
And we had the pleasure of being accompanied by this adorable little beach babe! LANDON!  And yes, that is a keyboard in his lap.  He played that baby all the way to the beach!  
 
 
Let's not forget this special moment when Melissa got the chance to pop the question!  Holla fo ya matron of honor!!!  How could I say NO to that bling bling ring thAng! 
 
 
Since our old first grade team is parting ways this coming year, we decided to meet up mid-summer to catch up on new happenings and just hang out!  From left to right you have Barbara, Susan, Melissa (duh), Susie and Amy.  Sorry about the random in the background, just a fellow Blue Highway Pizzeria patron! 
 

 
Lots of laughs were had at this table!  Love these ladies!  Melissa and I are bummed we won't all be together next year, but it gives us a reason to plan a girls night every now and then!  Can't wait!
 
We also took a day and went bridesmaids dress shopping in Orlando.  These were my two beautiful models!  Aren't they GORG!  We didn't end up finding a dress in Orlando, but no worries, we ended up finding one back in Ocala.  We made it a priority to stop by The Cheesecake Factory while we were in Orlando!  My FAV!
 
 
We wrapped up the summer with a trip to St. Augustine to finish up some wedding details!  Here's Matt being goofy!  Can you tell how much he LOVES taking pictures (sarcasm intended)
 
 
That's a quickie of some of our most memorable summer moments.  It was fun while it lasted!  Now its back to the books... no pun intended!  Melissa and I are truly excited to see what this year will bring!  We have already met some amazing people at our new school and can't wait to meet the rest of the bunch tomorrow at orientation!  We are in the process of working on some great packets to go along with our new reading series so stay tuned for those!  Hope everyone has enjoyed their summer as much as we did!  It's early to bed for these frugal girls tonight... we've got school in the morning!!!!   

Friday, August 9, 2013

Ch-ch-ch-changes!!!

Normally I LOVE Fridays! But this Friday is a sad one. It's the last Friday of SUMMER! Next Friday is "Meet the Teacher" and Brittany and I will be meeting our new students and their families! Earlier this week I had lunch with one of my former students, Ryan and his sweet grandma. It was a reminder that my first graders (of only two months ago) are about to be second graders. It was also a bit sad that I will not being seeing their smiling faces in the halls. My former students visit every Friday before the bell rings to give me some "Good news for goodies" and it's something I've always really enjoyed! It's a great way to make sure they are staying on the right track! I'm really excited about a new school year but also a little nervous because it feels a lot like being a new teacher again. I know our coworkers and new students will be very accepting, though. It's a sweet, little town and we've already been given a very warm welcome! Just wish I could take all my kiddos with me!

We made our school-change official the other day when we went to go pick up our new I.D badges!

Fancy, I know! Why must all id/license pictures look more like mug shots?  I wanted to spend my last day of summer doing something F-U-N and I chose to spend most of the day on the couch watching a lot of TV... it was perfect! I also did some reading and of course... some blogging! I'm working on a packet for our new reading series. I'm still on unit 1 but hope to be finished soon. Here's a sneak peak..





So far the packet is already 15 pages and it's only for 1 week but I made sure to incorporate activities for all different levels and teachers can use this packet to differentiate activities according to student needs. I plan on having a packet for every week/unit in our new series so I have a lot of work to do! I'm going to get back to my relaxing Friday and put this packet on hold until next week! For all of our friends who are back to school already, good luck and we hope it went smoothly! 

Monday, August 5, 2013

Read EVERY DAY!!!

Happy Monday! It's our LAST Monday of summer... sob. Unfortunately, I scheduled a bunch of trainings for today. I thought I'd enjoy the extra money$$$. I wish I would've followed Brittany's lead and only signed up for in-services on one day this week. Instead I signed up for all three! It seemed like a good idea at the time! Doesn't it always?? I have so much to do in my classroom and around my home that the last thing I want to do is sit in an inservice about our math series. B-O-R-I-N-G!

Enough of my rant. On a brighter note. We have a freebie to share with you today! Cue: CHEERING!
This is only a sample of what the reading log should look like! 

Reading logs are a BIG deal in our classrooms. I had a really hard time monitoring weekly reading logs and keeping up with the copies. Last year I created a new one and it is a monthly log. It is so much easier to manage and I think the layout provides everything I need.

I give the Monthly log out at the beginning of the month (The first Friday of each month). Students have from the Friday night until the following Thursday night to complete their log. I check logs on Friday at school. The first few months of school I only ask that students read for 50 minutes a week (an average of 10 minutes a night). After winter break I usually up the reading minutes to 75-100 minutes a week (an average of 15-20 minutes a night). On Friday's, after I've checked logs, I invite all students who have completed their minutes to LUNCH BUNCH with me! One of my 1st grade team members, Susan shared this idea with me. It's free and we always have a great time! Sometimes we have a picnic outside. Other days we watch a movie. The kids really get a kick out of it and it really serves it's purpose. My students READ ALL--- THE---- TIME! They simply can't miss lunch bunch! Most of the time I have almost my entire class with me! When we do get the whole class I usually surprise them with some playground time. We don't have recess in our county :( It's AWESOME and I enjoy hearing about all of the books they are reading during our lunch date!


Here's your copy! Enjoy!!! 
Click here for your FREE Monthly Reading Log! 



I file the logs at the end of the month. For every 100 minutes my students read, they earn a bead for the A.R necklaces! I give out the beads at the end of the month and hand out a fresh log for the new month.







Saturday, August 3, 2013

WBT: Mirror Variations



Happy Weekend! We only have one weekend left before school starts. Oh sweet summer, why must you end so soon? Some how we both managed to get today off from work at our second job so we have a little time to blog! Since "BACK TO SCHOOL" time is just around the corner we have "Whole Brain Teaching" on our minds. We started using the WBT methods two years ago and folks... we are never going back! 

One of our favorite parts of WBT is the Mirror strategy:


Teacher: Class!
Students: YES!
Teacher: Mirror (teacher puts hands up in front) 
Students: Mirror (students follow teacher gesture)
Once everyone is in position teacher will use hand motions and words (you can teach mirror with just hands or words if you'd like). 
After students have "mirrored" your gestures they are ready to teach each other.
Teacher: TEACH!
Students: OK!!!
*Give students about 1-2 minutes to "teach" concept using gestures and words learned while mirroring YOU! 
Watch this video below to see "mirror" in action: 


This strategy is using the motor cortex: 


Below you will find some variations to using MIRROR gestures in your classroom!

We're looking forward to spicing up our whole brain teaching approach this year! 



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