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Thursday, November 24, 2011

I'm Thankful {and NOT thankful} for...

Happy Thanksgiving ya'll! Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday because of all of the yummy food, the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade, and spending time with family! Thanksgiving is a time to think about what you are thankful for, so what better time to jump into a couple of Linky Parties?! I'm linking up in time for the one over at Oh' Boy 4th Grade and using the questions from What the Teacher Wants.

1. What are you thankful for in your classroom?
I never got a classroom this school year, but landed a maternity leave as a library media assistant {which just ended}. I'm thankful for the wonderful opportunity I had at a brand new school and county! I love the people at the school I was at, and made true friends! I also discovered awesome books for my classroom that I will be putting on my Christmas list! :)

2. What person are you most thankful for?
I have so many people to be thankful for this year! I'm thankful for my wonderful family that has been there for me no matter what! I'm also thankful for my BESTEST friend Sarah that listens to my crazy rambling and super long voice mails!

3. What 3 blogs are you most thankful for?
I'm thankful for blogging and ya'll in general! I love Amy Lemon's blog at Step Into Second Grade with Mrs. Lemons. I love the creative ideas she has and how she is so generous with her work!
I also like The Teacher Wife, Lindsey always has awesome ideas!
Finally, I love Hope King's blog over at 2nd Grade Shenanigans. I wish I could just go spend the day in some of ya'lls classrooms!

4. What guilty pleasure are you most thankful for?
Pinterest, Reeses Peanut Butter Cups, reality tv, and my cowgirl boots :)

5. What are you most thankful for?
Wow! There are so many things to be thankful for this year. The tornadoes of April 27 changed my life forever. My family and home were not affected, but I knew so many that were. I had friends that lost everything, hospitalized, or worse. So I guess you could say that this year I thought more about the things I'm thankful for! :) I'm thankful for my health, my family and friends. I'm thankful for the wonderful life and plans that God has for me!

Now let's talk about the things that I am NOT thankful for. I'm linking up with First Grade Blue Skies for this one!
1. Rude people--ya know like people that cut you off on the interstate or pushy people!
2. Roaches, spiders, and just bugs in general!
3. Whining
4. Zits

5. Bad Weather

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Let's Take A Virtual Field Trip to Plimouth Plantation!

Hey ya'll!  I can't believe that this week is Thanksgiving!  Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday, and I'm so excited it's almost here!  For those of you that will work on Monday and Tuesday here are a few websites you might be able to use in your lesson plans about Thanksgiving.
Last week in the library our students went on a virtual field trip to see Plimouth and learn about the Wampanoag and Pilgrims.  Click here to go to Scholastic's website for the Virtual Field Trip!  There are three videos on Scholastic's site.  Your students can learn about the Wampanoag tribe, the Pilgrims, and Plimouth! 
With our kindergarten classes we used another website, click here for the link!  This site has pictures and then words.  We just summed up what each picture said.  I liked that this site had several activities to get the students involved such as sequence of events and comprehension. 
Finally, there is an awesome video on You Tube now on how to draw a turkey while telling a story called "Turkey Lake"! This makes me think of my PawPaw because he always told me stories that turned into a picture!  I always thought that was the coolest thing ever!   Click here for the link to the video!
I hope that these sites might help some of you with your two school day this week!  Happy Thanksgiving ya'll!

Monday, November 7, 2011

Veteran's Day

Hey friends!  Today I wanted to share a sweet book that could be used to discuss Veteran's Day.  The Wall by Eve Bunting is about a little boy that visits the Veterans Memorial with his father.  The little boy's dad lost his father when he was his son's age.  They look for the name of the little boy's grandfather.  While they are there they see flowers and notes along the wall.  The little boy wishes he could have known his grandfather, but is proud that his grandfather was a hero!  After reading this book my class creates cards that I send to the Paralyzed Veterans of America every year.  My students always get a thank you from them!
I also do a handprint flag, which  always turn out ah-dorable!  Click here for the link! :)  What do you do for Veteran's Day?

Sunday, November 6, 2011

I'm Still Alive!!!

Hey Friends!  Wow I cannot believe that I haven't been on here lately!  My computer crashed, and I have been without a computer for awhile.  My brand new PURPLE computer finally arrived, and I'm so excited that this is my first post on Lillac (which is what I named my computer)!!!

On my last post I told ya'll I had to go and take a test in order to get an interview.  Well what ya'll didn't know was that had to drive about 4 hours just to take that little test!  The test consisted of 5 short essay questions and one math problem!  I thought to my little self that it was going to look so good to that school board that I came from out of town...and then there was a girl from Texas that came just to take the test!  Texas!  She drove all the way to Alabama to take a test!  So then I never got a call for an interview...so that was really sad!  Until...last week...still haven't heard anything, but I felt good about the interview.

Since then I took a maternity leave as a media assistant.  That's been really fun!  I have discovered so many awesome children's books... I may go broke before it's over!  :)I'll be posting about some of the books I've found! In two weeks that leave will be over...so I'm looking for a teaching job...

Here in Alabama there is a new law that has been passed, and the amount of pay towards retirement is going to go up after December.  This is going to make a lot of teachers that planned on retiring after this school year end up retiring in December.  So I'm hoping and praying for one of those jobs!  So we will see what happens!  I'm optimistic and I know that God has another classroom full of students planned for me!  I just wish I knew when that classroom was going to come my way! 

Thursday, September 8, 2011

September 11th Memorial Mosaic

Hey ya'll!  This is going to be a quick one!  I wanted to share a cooperative group art activity that I do for September 11th.  You will need butcher paper, magazines, construction paper, glue, a marker, and fake rose petals (optional).  After talking about September 11th and reading books about that day, the students work together to make a memorial mosaic of the Twin Towers.  I sketch out a drawing of the Twin Towers and then the students make a mosaic out of construction paper and magazines.  I always read the book September Roses by Jeanette Winters.  The book is about two sisters from South America that fly to New York on September 11th for a flower show.  When they find out what happened they make a memorial of the Twin Towers out of all of the roses they had brought, so that's why I let them use fake rose petals on the mosiac.  The mosaic always turns out really cute and is a wonderful way for the students to create their own memorial for all of the people lost on September 11th.  I make this a group activity, but you could also let them make individual mosaics.  I just like for this mosaic to be larger! My class also also writes a letter and draws a picture for the local fire and police stations in the community, thanking them for their service.  I wish I had a picture to show you of the mosaic, but I don't have a picture from last year and no class this year.  I was going to make one to post....but I have a test to go and study for instead!  I have to take a test for another county in order to get an interview for several openings....so please say a little prayer for me on Friday when I take the test!  I really would like to have a class again this year, because I have missed teaching...especially with all of ya'lls awesome teaching ideas!

***Stop by Denise's awesome blog at Sunny Days in Second Grade to link up your patriotic ideas for her American Pride Linky Party!!! ***

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

September 11th

Hey friends!  I had planned on posting this earlier for ya'll but the winds of Hurricane Lee had other plans!  I finally got power last night...and ya never know how much you appreciate something until you are without it for awhile. :)
I can't believe that Sunday will be ten years since September 11, 2001.  I still remember sitting in Mr. Hodge's AP US History class, decked out in Homecoming Powder Puff  attire, on that sunny Tuesday morning.  The principal ran in to tell us to turn on the tv because something bad had happened.  We watched stunned as the second plane crashed into the twin towers.  For the next week at school we watched footage after footage of the events that occured. 
It's hard to teach students about September 11 because they were either too young to remember or they weren't even born yet.  It is even harder to explain why someone would do something so terrible to young children when I don't even really understand why. While some teachers may not teach about September 11, I do because I think it's important for students to learn about a turning point in America's history and how the world changed as a result.  I love teaching with picture books, and these are some awesome books that I read aloud when teaching about September 11.  So check them out!
Product Details
This book is the true story of a fireboat called the John J. Harvey.  A group of friends buy and restore the fireboat when New York no longer needs them. When 9-11 happened the John J. Harvey came to help put out the fires.  It is a touching story with beautiful artwork.  My students love this book!
Product Details
This is one of my favorite books!  It is about two sisters from South Africa that come to New York for a flower show with thousands of roses.  When they arrive to New York they fly through smoke, and learn about the terrorist attacks. When they hear about the attacks they decide to make something very special with their flowers.  They create a monument of the Twin Towers out of all of the roses they brought with them.  This is a very moving and touching story! 
Product Details
I'm sure everybody has heard of this book!  It was written by first grade students, and is about how they knew everything was going to be all right after the terroist attacks.  My first graders last year loved this book!  They said "Wow Ms. Newberry!  Look at how good those kids can color a picture!"  Ha!  The joys of kids!
The Man Who Walked Between the Towers
This book is NOT about September 11, but it's about the Twin Towers.  It's the true story of a Frenchman, Philippe Petit, that walked on a tight rope and did tricks between the towers in 1974.  It has beautiful pictures and the kids always enjoy this book!

What do you do for September 11th?

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Three for Thursday

Today I'm joining in all of the fun again over at Blog Hoppin'!  Everybody is sharing their favorite font, blog, and online resource.  This is an awesome way to learn about new websites!

Favorite Font
This is hard to pick just one...I'm a font-a-holic!  I'm always downloading new and super-cute fonts!  I would have to say that my favorite fonts come from the wonderful Kevin and Amanda!  I love that they are from Auburn (War Eagle!) and that their fonts are free!  One of these days I'm going to have my handwriting turned into a font by them!

Download Free Scrapbook Fonts
Download Free Scrapbook Fonts

Download Free Scrapbook Fonts
Download Free Scrapbook Fonts
Download Free Scrapbook Fonts

Favorite Blog
Wow!  This is SOOOO hard to pick just one favorite blog!  I have gotten so many creative and awesome ideas from ya'lls blogs....I don't know if I can just pick one!  I love Abby's blog at The Inspired Apple.  She is so funny with the way she writes and always has creative ideas to share!  I also love Christie's blog at Teaching in Flip Flops.  I love all of her zebra and polkadot stuff that she shares!  Kara at The First Grade Parade has an awesome blog, and all of her Hollywood themed ideas are so cute!  Amy Lemon's at Step Into Second Grade is also super cute!  I love how she is so generous with her printables and that she also creates a lot of stuff in Spanish.  My list could go on and on my friends!  Oh please don't make me choose just one!!!

Favorite Online Resources
I love Scholastic's Book Wizard.  The website is easy to use and I can quickly level all of my books by reading level with this website!  I also love DOGO News and used this when teaching science and social studies!  It touched on world events in a kid-friendly way.  Mathwire is an awesome website for all kinds of fun ways to teach and introduce math concepts!  I also hit up Laura Candler's website and click on her files for wonderful ideas.  Mandy Gregory's website has some awesome Writing Workshop ideas.  Mrs. Meacham's Classroom Snapshots  is another great resource!  And of course then there is Pinterest!  I love this website because you can "pin" all of your great teaching finds.  Pinterest has helped me to discover new teaching blogs, and has inspired me with all of the wonderful ideas from delish recipes to DIY projects to of course...teaching ideas!

Now hop on over to Blog Hoppin' to see what everyone else has posted and post your favorites!

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Teacher Talk Tuesday--Advice for New Teachers

Here it is day two of Teacher Week at I'm Blog Hoppin'.  The topic today is advice for "newbies".  Since I've only been teaching for two and a half years, so I guess I'm kind of still a "newbie".  This is what I've learned during my teaching experiences...and hopefully it will be useful advice for someone! :)

1.  Make friends with your grade level:  Get to know them personally, and don't be afraid to ask them questions or ask them for advice.  At my old school it was very obvious which grade levels did not work well with each other.  I was so blessed when I taught first grade last year because my grade level and I instantly became best friends!  We not only talked at school--we would text at night and go out to eat sometimes!  We worked together so well and it showed with our students' test scores!  I still consider all four of them my mentors!

2.  Make friends with the whole staff:  While it's important to get to know everyone at your school make sure you stay away from gossip!

3.  Ask a veteran teacher to sit in on parent conferences:  I asked a fellow first grade teacher to sit in on a conference with a very particular parent.  My cohort was more than happy to help me!  This not only benefitted me, but also the parent.  The parent was able to hear advice from two first grade teachers! 

4.  Stay organized:  If your organized then you will feel prepared.

5.  Classroom Management is SO important:  Establish your rules and procedures from day one and stick to them.  If you find that your behavior mangement system doesn't work well--change it!  I changed mine in the middle of the year last year and it worked wonders.  I love the clip chart system.

6.  Plan--Have a well thought out lesson plan, and always have extra copies just in case.  If you think the lesson will last 20 minutes plan for 30 or 40 just in case.  Anything you don't use can always be put into a sub folder or used for another day.  Keep calm and pretend this is on the lesson plan. I saw this quote on Pinterest.  It's so true!  Sometimes your lesson plans don't turn out how you planned...but I learned that you just need to go with the flow!  Once I was being observed by my principal for a math lesson and my well thought out lesson plan did not work as planned!  I had planned on using the ELMO, and my bulb was dead....so I just had to teach on and make my plan work.

7.  Stay true to your word:  If you tell your class you are going to do something do it.  Don't let them see that you can't follow through!  Kids pick up quickly on things like that!

8.  Parent communication is important:  Communicate with parents to let them know what is going on in their child's class.  Send home weekly grades, skills agendas or weekly newsletter, behavior charts, etc.  I like to send home little notes to students that are always good...and just brag on them.  I also like to send a little note to a student and his/her parents when I have seen improvement!

9.  Grading papers:  This was something I really struggled with my first year.  I thought "if I'm going to make them complete this two page math worksheet I need to grade it!".  What happened was that I was overloaded with papers to grade--classwork, homework, and then weekly tests on top of that!  That really stressed me out...and then I learned I didn't have to grade everything.  I liked having grades besides tests--but I didn't have to make everything a grade.  I finally got smart and made homework in math and reading due on Fridays.  Then I just checked to see that my students completed the work and gave them what I called "participation points". Which took a couple of minutes to put into the gradebook and I was done! 

10. ENJOY IT!!!  We are called to be teachers, so enjoy what you do!  Enjoy the hugs, the smiles, the funny things they say, the little "flowers" they bring you, their artwork.  If you enjoy what you do, then the students will enjoy learning!

Monday, August 22, 2011

Meet the Teacher Monday!

Ya'll know that I love a good linky party, so with a name like "Teacher Week" over at Blog Hoppin'  I have to join in on the fun!

My dog Buddy and I ( He loves his Auburn bandana!)

Dutchess and I
Tell us a little something about you.
I'm Ashlee and I graduated in 2008 from the University of South Alabama in Mobile, AL.  I am from a small town outside of Birmingham....you blink and you miss it!  I LOVE AUBURN FOOTBALL!!!  I have two furry babies:  a cat named Dutchess and a Black Lab named Buddy (A.K.A the Budster).  My mom is a teacher and I swore to myself that I wasn't going to go into teaching like my mother!!! So I started out in communications.  I wanted to be an investigative journalist just like Lisa Ling...and for those that know me...well they like to get a laugh out of that!  After many, many communications classes I realized that I was not cut out for the degree I was pursuing.  I decided that maybe I should be a teacher because everytime I would babysit I had a plan.  I would have a picture book with an art activity, and I loved planning things like that.  So I changed my major right around the same time as my bestest friend forever--Sarah did.  The crazy thing was that we were both in communications and didn't discuss the thought of changing our majors!  So we were both very happy when we found out that we were both going to be teachers and could still take classes together!  Best decision ever!!!

How long have you been teaching?
I have been teaching for two and a half years.  I graduated in December, and I was so excited when I landed a long-term sub leave where I completed my student teaching in 2009!  From 2009-2011 I taught third and first grades at a school in a rural area.  I miss my third graders, and I will never forget them since they were my very first *real* class!  I loved my sweet little first grade class, they were always making me laugh!   My school was one of the many areas affected from the April 27, 2011 tornadoes so I learned so much about kids resilience after that tragic time.  Sadly, with budget cuts and losing students after the tornadoes (moving to other areas) my unit was cut...so I've been looking for a teaching job all summer.  I'm optimistic that something will open up soon!!!  So say a little prayer for me!

You might not know...
I'm a shop-a-holic!  I can shop for hours on end and I love a good sale! I don't eat buffets or anything on a bone...the little blue part totally grosses me out! 

What are you looking most forward to this school year?
I guess that would be landing another teaching job and getting to know my new students!

What do you need to improve?
I believe that good teachers are always thinking of things that they need to change.  One thing I'm constantly changing is my behavior management system.  I love the clip chart that's all the rage on the blogs these days, and I created one this summer to use.  I also want to really focus on doing small groups more often with my higher students. 

What teaching supplies can you *not* live without?
I can't live without R2 Blast Neon Pens ( I love these!  You can only find them at the Dollar General :A.K.A:  The Little Yellow Boutique)  Post-It notes, Mr. Sketch markers, chart paper, the ELMO, my timer, Reese's Peanut Butter Cups, and Dr. Pepper!

So go link up with Blog Hoppin'!  I can't wait to read everyone else's posts!!!

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Top 10 Teacher "Must Haves" for Back to School

Amanda over at the Teaching Thief is having a Top 10 Teacher Must Haves Linky Party!  Of course when we are getting ready to go back to school we think about what we need to have for our students.  What do we get ourselves?  Here are my top 10 things that I get for myself when it's time to get ready for back to school!
1.  R2 Blast Pens:  I love the way they write and the fun, bold, neon colors actually work!  I'm obsessed with these pens!  I only use these pens when I'm grading...never in red.  You can only find them at the Dollar General--which I call "The Little Yellow Boutique!"  I always pick up a pack when I'm there!
2. Mr. Sketch Markers:  These bring me back to yester-year!  I love using Mr. Sketch markers for anchor charts and bulletin board projects.  I need a new pack!
3.  Bic Mechanical Pencils:  I like the way that mechanical pencils write.  I guess you could call me a pencil snob because I only use mechanical pencils. 
4.  Dry Erase Markers:  I love the neon colored ones.  I hate that the black expo markers smear when you erase the board...anybody else notice that?!?  I'm also glad to hear that other teachers do not share their markers either!  I keep a sticker on mine too so I know which markers belong to me!  When my students come to the board they use one certain marker without a sticker...if it has a sticker they don't touch it!  LOL!
5.  Mr. Clean Magic Erasers:  I use these for cleaning anything and everything!  Did ya'll know that these will clean off Sharpie marks?!?
6. Sharpies:  I love Sharpies almost as much as Mr. Sketch markers!
7.  Wite-Out: I'm always making some kind of mistake!
8: Kleenex:  I'm what you would call a germ-a-phob...so I have my own pack of Kleenex behind my desk that my kids cannot reach.  Maybe that's a little mean...?
9.  Post-It Notes:  I use these bad boys for everything!  From reminder notes for me to using them in lesson plans! 

10..  Dr. Pepper and Reese's Peanut Butter Cups:  I always keep a case of Dr. Pepper in my fridge...which comes in handy when I'm working late after school!   I'm totally addicted to Reese's!  Who doesn't need a chocolate fix while the kids are a PE?  Of course I share with my cohorts!

So head on over to Amanda's blog to join the party and tell everybody what your Top 10 Teacher Must Haves are!!!

Sunday, August 14, 2011

Go Check It Out!

Melissa over at Plug-n-Plan is having an awesome give away to celebrate reaching over 200 followers.  Today until 10:00 she has posted her newest unit called "French Fry Facts Flash" on Teachers Pay Teachers for...wait for it... FREE on Google Docs.  This is a math unit created to help students master their addition and subtraction facts.  Anything to make memorizing facts fun, right?!?  So head on over to Melissa's fab blog and help her celebrate!

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Just Ramblin'

Hey friends!  I know it's been awhile since I have posted.  I have been reading so many blogs of teachers in the same boat as I am looking for a teaching job.  Low enrollment, budget cuts, bigger classrooms, and proration oh my!  It's so sad to hear about these teachers that I think are just FAB-U-LOUS also looking.  I know that something will open up soon for us and I'm praying for ya'll also every day! 

In the mean time to keep my mind off of everything (and to stop constantly eating Reese's Peanut Butter Cups!) I have been busy creating things that I plan to share with ya'll soon!  I sit by my phone hoping it will ring every day (and yes sometimes I call my phone just to make sure it can ring! LOL!)...so while I'm waiting for what I call my "Fantastical Phone Call" I work on ideas that I hope to use in my classroom next year!  I have had so much inspiration from my new blogging friends and Pinterest that I eat, sleep, and breathe new teaching ideas!  I know that because of ya'll I will have an even more awesome year of teaching...one day soon...ok hopefully this year! 

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Classroom Jobs Linky Party

The Lesson Plan Diva is having a Classroom Jobs Linky Party!  I have several jobs each week for my students.  I had a small pocket chart on the side of my desk.  The classroom jobs  and student's names were written on index cards and I changed out the names each week going by the student's number order.  The students love when it's their turn to have a classroom job!
  • Production Coordinators {girl and boy}--they give each student hand sanitizer and make sure the students arequiet in the restrooms
  • Director {Line Leader}--I changed this out every day and went by the student's number order.  The director was also the door holder. {When it was a student's birthday he/she got to be line leader that day.}
  • Script Runner--the student took notes to office/other teachers; took lunch bag and receipt book to the box in the morning; passed out papers; etc
  • Studio Crew--they picked up pencils, made sure the books were put back into their baskets
  • Litter Patrol--at the end of the day all of the students picked up any trash around their area. 
  • Center Patrol--this is an awesome  idea that I want to do next year!  I found this idea from The Lesson Plan Diva.  Learn more about this job here!
What kind of classroom jobs do you have?  I'm always interested to learn new ideas...so share away!

Saturday, July 23, 2011

Pinterest Linky Party = Awesome!!!

Michelle's Math in the Middle is having a Pinterest Linky Party!  If you haven't heard of Pinterest it's the AWESOMEST website EVER...and best of all...it's FREE!!!  It's a place where you "pin" the things that you like to a specific board.  I have so many boards and even more pins.  I have found TONS of ideas for next school year (which I hope I get a phone call soon with a job...but anyway back to Pinterest)!  Instead of googling a certain topic search for it on Pinterest because chances are someone has already found exactly what you are looking for!  Once you have found what you like you just "pin" it to a specific board.  I have other boards besides teaching such as: recipes, wedding ideas, holiday and party ideas, ideas for your home, and DIY ideas.  I ended up creating new boards because I was finding tons of fabulous teaching ideas.  So you can create a specific board for each subject...which I wish I had thought of that when I started! LOL! If you are not on board with Pinterest yet....get on board!  Send me your email and I will be happy to send you an invite!  If you are on Pinterest click my Pinterest button!

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Linky Recipe Party!!!

I am so excited about finally being able to participate in a Linky Party (and I hope I'm doing this right!)  I'm linking up with Clutter-Free Classroom for a week long Linky Party!  Today's topic is: Share a recipe that you often make during the school year. Bonus points will be awarded if your recipe freezes well or can be made in a crockpot.  Here is recipe that looks delish ya'll!  I can't wait to try it!  It's Easy Crockpot Lasagna from girl who ate everything.  I mean...it's lasagna so how can you can go wrong, right?!?!

Easy Crockpot Lasagna
Easy Crockpot Lasagna

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Hello Blogging World!

Hello fellow bloggers.  I'm finally getting on board the blogging world!  I already have several favorite teaching blogs that I continuously stalked last school year! This is new to me...so let me know how to make the most out of my blog!