Wednesday, December 28, 2011

11 in 11

I know, I know, I already blogged today BUT I've only blogged once since I went on vacation so I'm just catching up! Besides, Hadar and Kristen are hosting a linky party that sounded like fun, goes!

Favorite movie
Bar none, my favorite movie was the last installment of Harry Potter! I went with a bunch of friends, and we’d all gone together to see all the other Harry Potter movies, and when this one ended, we all heaved a collective sigh and wiped our tears! Harry, we’ll miss ya!
Favorite TV series
This is hard – there are a lot of good shows out there that I watch (like Top Chef and Big Bang Theory) that I like, but my real top two favorites are:
1.      True Blood
I can’t WAIT until the summer for Season 5 to begin! I even bought the music from each season! Very cool music (really different!)
2.      Survivor
I’m not terribly excited about the winner of this year but I guess it could have been worse… I can’t wait for everyone to finish watching their DVR so we can all CHAT about the results!
Favorite restaurant
Outback- yum…yum..yum..My kids/families gave me a gift certificate to Outback for Christmas (isn’t that so nice?)) so I’m looking forward to going out to dinner one night soon!
Favorite new thing
Blogging – I just love reading all your blogs and writing my own blog. I love everyone’s creativity and I get more creative because of everyone else! My teaching is better because of you all and my children reap the benefits. Sometimes there’s so many great ideas, that I literally have to just STOP and say, “I can’t use that this year – maybe next year.”
Favorite gift I received
I got a Kindle last Christmas, which I LOVE! I’m thinking HARD about buying a Fire now-I keep thinking I’d like an IPad but they’re expensive just for a toy…the Fire is half the price and I can play without thinking, “Boy, I paid a lot of money just for toy!”  (I know, I know – those of you out there with an IPad are indignantly saying, “It’s NOT a toy, it’s useful!” but I have a computer so this would be an extravagance for me.)
Favorite thing you pinned
I don’t pin – it’s interesting to look at but I have way too much going on in my life to add one more addiction – blogging and stalking blogs take up a LOT of time! Add to that, the quilts that I make and the lesson plans, I just don’t have the time or inclination. I might as well just confess it all – I don’t Facebook either.
Favorite blog post
Does it have to be one of mine? If so, it would be “Do you want to laugh until you cry?”
If it’s not mine, it would be Reagan Tunstall’s “Dream Squashers”, which is why I was laughing until I was crying.
Favorite accomplishment
I was asked to do a presentation at the Children’s Literature Festival on the author George Ella Lyons. I’m doing it with a friend of mine – AND both of our entire classes. I’m a little nervous, since I have an Interesting Class With Lots of Personality. However, George Ella Lyons is such a wonderful writer and illustrator. (For those of you who use Houghton Mifflin Reading in First Grade, she wrote one of the big book stories, Counting on the Woods.) I’m praying expecting that my kiddos will mature over the next couple of months so that, when we present in front of 500 teachers and George Ella herself, they will do a good job (and no one will hit anyone…sigh…)
Favorite picture
I’m so amazed that I learned how to make a blog button! (If you’re wondering how to make one yourself, you can check out my blog for instructions. I hope you’ll find it useful.)
Favorite memory
Of this year? Wow…hmmm… well, I guess it would be going to Laughlin with my husband and just relaxing! We went a couple of times this year, and it was just lots of fun. I even won a little (and I mean a little) money at the casinos, which was a first!
OH! AND…My niece is pregnant and having a baby girl in February, and I’m just so excited! I’ve already made her a quilt for the baby, which I gave her at Christmas. I have been known to troll the baby aisles at Target looking for cutie-pie outfits for the baby.
Goal for 2012
I want to continue to eat healthy and stay at my goal weight – my hubby and I lost a bunch of weight over this last year, which I’m very proud of and I like my size 4 jeans!

A New Award - and a New Friend!

Libby, at Dual Kinder Teacher, awarded me the Liebster Award! Thank you so much - I'm honored. You have to check out her blog - it's very cute!

This award is for new blog, and its goal is to spotlight up-and-coming blogs with less than 200 followers. If you earn the award, you must:

  • copy and paste the award on your blog.
  • thank the giver and link back to them
  • choose YOUR five top picks and leave a comment on their blogs letting them know
  • hope your followers will share the love with them.
Here are my top five newbie picks:

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Surprising Statistics!

I hope you all had a wonderful Christmas and are all relaxing - or shopping - or still eating Christmas goodies! Everyone came to my house and brought so much STUFF to eat - it was really hard not to graze through it all in one sitting. Did you all have a wonderful Christmas? My sincere hope is that you did. Anyone go shopping yesterday? 

Fern Smith is hosting her very first Linky Party about the Top Three posts that your blog has had. Naturally, I was curious - I knew there was a way to check out the stats, but hadn't really paid attention to it. Wow! Was I surprised! A lot of people read my blog- I'm amazed and thrilled! This was a fun idea, Fern!  Here are my top three blog posts:

Jul 18, 2011, 14 comments
1,508 Pageviews
Jul 8, 2011, 8 comments
1,439 Pageviews
Jul 25, 2011, 4 comments
535 Pageviews

Thursday, December 15, 2011

I Think I Can, I Think I Can...

Oh my….one more day with my first graders and I’m so pathetically happy to have it almost all over I can hardly stand it. My dear first grade friends have the glazed look of Santa Overload and virtually no work is getting done without a LOT of cajoling and cursing  pleading on my part. We had a party today with our 4th Grade Study Buddies, who are a very young 4th grade and are also on Santa Overload. 55 kids sitting around holding scissors supposedly doing a craft project that went home mostly unfinished. Ah well…
Tomorrow we have our official class party – the parents want a 2 HOUR party, complete with cookie decorating, 5 crafts, a bingo game, and a movie/plate of food. I don’t know about you, but I know there is NO WAY we are getting through all that, even if we gave them the entire day. Santa Overload, remember? And yes, I foolishly agreed to this in a fit of weakness. Don’t ask – my parents scare me – so I Gave In. Caved.  
My husband is keeping me going by saying, “Only one more wake-up and then it’s over!” Many cups of coffee are being ingested – thank HEAVENS for Starbucks! I’m one of those people that, when stressed, don’t sleep much – I have circles under my circles under my eyes right now! Of course, in reflection, it could also be all that coffee...
Now, I know that there are some of you out there that have to work next week too – bless your hearts! I will think of you fervently and send wishes your way that it goes FAST! As for me, I’ll be like the little train and say, “I think I can, I think I can” and get through tomorrow. I hope all of you get through tomorrow too – good luck, dear friends!

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

What's a little bribery between friends?

So…my friends in first grade have struggled with appropriate behavior in the school library. Not all of them, mind you, just a small vocal group that makes my life in the library a true embarrassment: When we’re in the library, the entire WING knows we’re there! I haven't heard this much screaming and hooting at a Nascar Race! Truly, We Are LOUD, people - and rude...You can see this small group of boys saying in their brain, "Bite Me" when I talk to them. You're laughing right now, but I SWEAR it's true. The ironic thing is, in the classroom, they're not poorly behaved - I think it's because the library is more unstructured and they just can't handle all that freedom. Hence the hootin' and hollerin' - sigh...

On someone’s blog – I regret to tell you I don’t know which one – I saw an anchor chart that was about how we should behave in the library – and I thought, “Yahoo! This is for me!” 

Today, before we went to the  library, I gathered up chart paper, markers, and tape – took it to the library with my kiddos. We built the anchor chart together. Now, it wasn’t NEARLY as wonderful as this one (see the picture above)  but it got the point across. Our visit to the library was calmer and more focused – and it didn’t hurt that I told them that if they could keep it together, I would give them a treat after the library! (I know, I know…but with four days before Christmas break, I’ll take good behavior ANY WAY I can get it! It wasn't a big deal - just one little gumdrop - honestly!)

I think the librarian thought I was nuts but, to quote the Grinch, “Oh, the noise, noise, noise, NOISE!” I just couldn’t stand it anymore!

If this was YOUR wonderful anchor chart, would you let me know? It is wonderful and I appreciate your idea more than I can even begin to tell you! It may save the life of a first grader! Ha!

Enjoy the night, all! 

Monday, December 5, 2011

Happy Sinter Klaas Day!

My firsties and I had so much fun today! We've been studying Christmas Around the World and today we went to Holland. We found Holland on the big map and I read them a story about how children in Holland celebrate the season. In case you don't know, today marks the beginning of the Christmas season for Holland. 

I described to the kids (and showed them cheesy little pictures) how Sinter Klaas comes into the harbor on his boat with Black Pete, his companion, and his horse. I (thrillingly, ha!) told them how he quizzed the children about their behavior and how bad children had to have a "chat" with Black Pete - not something Dutch children want to do! (Imagine lots of consternation among my little darlings right about now since several spend quality time with me discussing said behavior.)

Finally, I told them how they put their wooden shoes outside their doors, with carrots and hay for the horse. AND THEN, I told them that I thought, if we wished hard enough, perhaps Sinter Klaas would DROP EVERYTHING and come to our school. How about if we try it?  Let's put a shoe out - I just HAPPEN to have some carrots and hay - and see what happens? 

Well, they were all for it so we all ran willy-nilly out to the cafeteria (which just happens to look out on the bus loading area). We picked this spot because that boat was PRETTY BIG and it wouldn't fit in front of our classroom, THAT'S for sure!! We put out a shoe, everyone filled it with hay and carrots, and HOPPED back to class, one footed - er... sneakered, if you will. 

ALLELUIA! He CAME - he really CAME! There was a HUGE knock at the door, and NO ONE was there - and then, EVERYONE yelled, "Maybe it's Sinter Klaas!" The carrots and hay were magically eaten by the horse, we presume, and two pieces of candy were in their place! Can you imagine the joy and hysterics right about now? AND, as if that wasn't enough - I "allowed" them to EAT those two pieces of candy in class! Christmas certainly came early in Room 1, that is for sure! 

So, as you can guess, the trick to this fun day is to have your school secretary "be" Sinter Klaas, Give her a big bag of candy and have her pound on the door dramatically - OH! And don't let your kids go to the bathroom because that actually happened one year. The same time the kid went skipping out to the bathroom was the same time that Sinter Klaas/Secretary was busily emptying and filing shoes. She came back yelling that the school secretary was stealing the carrots and now Sinter Klaas wouldn't come! You gotta love first graders, don't you? 

Okay, so yes, I paid for the fun with a high class all day, but you know, it was worth it! I have a class who will never forget this experience and I can imagine the dinner conversations they'll have tonight. I have to admit, though, I'm exhausted! Enjoy your evening, dear friends!

Friday, December 2, 2011

Do You Want to Laugh Until You Cry?

If you haven't already read Reagan Tunstall's blog entry called "Dream Squashers", you absolutely have to! I laughed so hard I cried - and then, I read it to my husband - who said, 
"Hey, how'd she get your class?"

The best part is, all day long, when kids would say or do things that truly belonged in this classification of Dream Squasher-ing (is that even a word? Don't know...), I'd get a big grin on my face. My kids all thought poor Mrs. Mac had gone temporarily insane and they'd get the funniest expression on their face. (Think, "Poor Mrs. Mac, she is getting so old and decrepit, that now she's acting weird; bless her heart.) Oh the bright side, I got lots of sweet hugs today!

So, in the spirit of Dream Squashing, here are some of the dreams that I personally squashed today:
1. Can I go to the bathroom for the seven zillionth time in one minute? No, you were just there. Oh...yeah...
2. Can I go to recess even though I have not gotten any work done at all? NOPE  - sit down.
3. Can I get hot lunch even though my mom personally packed my lunch for me? Absolutely not.
4. Can I just read instead of doing my work? (Editorial Comment: I can't believe I have to make this choice - hmm... reading....working.... reading....Oh wait, it's not ME we're talking about.) NO - work first, read when you're done.
5. Can I sit next to my friends on the carpet and poke them? DREAM SQUASHED FIRMLY.

And finally, I had to squash a mother's dream today, when she called to tell me that her child (the new kid - who (fyi) reads at a level 5 (which is the kindergarten exit level) and knows his numbers to 11) was doing really great (the top of his class!) in his old school and why was the work so hard in his new school? OY.... I offered another year in Kindergarten but she was not amused. Barring another year in Kindergarten, she agreed she would work daily in a little phonics book that I sent home with him today.

However, it's all good because today was FRIDAY and now I am home! I hope you all have a wonderful weekend - and don't get blown away!

Thursday, December 1, 2011

12 Days of Christmas Giveaway!

Here's an exciting giveaway, worth a second blog in one night: Head over to Oh Box 4th Grade for the details! Every day there's a new giveaway, hosted by a new blogger - it sounds like lots of fun! 

Blown Away

Brain Williams said it best on the NBC News tonight: Californians are being blown away - literally. There are 70 mile an hour winds out here, called the Santa Ana winds. We Southern Californians usually take these winds in stride, but they are a doozy this time - we haven't seen winds like this in several years. Even so, our school district went to school - although all around us, they declared it a Wind Day - I was not happy to have to leave my warm house this morning, that's for sure!

The children were CA-RAZY today! They were SO excited - they've never ever seen winds like this in their little lifetimes, so it was an Event. However, recess came and they eagerly went out and played and came back in with pink cheeks and stories to tell! 

My city was lucky, though: Although there are plenty of downed trees and fallen palm fronds, we have not (yet) lost our electricity. There are other cities around us that have lost their electricity and it's not projected to be back on for a week - YIKES! I'm thinking we'll all be having a Little House on the Prairie moment!

More wild winds tomorrow! More wild children too, I'm sure! Anyone else live in So Cal and experiencing these winds? What's it like in your city?

Happy Anniversary!

Jenn at Finally in First is celebrating her first anniversary as a blogger! Wow! Congratulations, Jenn! She's throwing a big giveaway party to celebrate! Click here to go there!