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TPT Cyber Monday Sale.... Happy Shopping!

Hello Friends,
It is Cyber Monday and TPT is hosting a BIG sale! The promo code is SMILE and many of my TPT friends have been promoting it with photos of themselves as kids! It's been fun seeing all the toothless, frizzy haired pictures! Here's mine......I am  in 6th grade.  Of course, I thought I looked fantastic.... :) I remember how I got my hair to make those side curls. I attached pink tape to my face and slept that way all night. When I woke in the morning, I had red streaks on my face where the tape had been! I still cannot believe I did that to myself...... :)

You can click the image above to take you to my TPT store. All my resources are on sale and if you use the promo code SMILE, you can get up to 28% off on your entire purchase. Here are a few of my favorite resources:

Happy shopping, my Friends! Enjoy these wonderful Christmas days! Click the image below to take you to links to the stores of my Blog Hoppin' friends....


After Thanksgiving pics, Needs and Wants Freebie, NEW Story Elements resource, Five for Friday

Hello Friends,
I just love Thanksgiving! It is a holiday where families strive to spend the day together, there are no gifts to wrap, and decorating is USUALLY kept to a minimum. Don't get me wrong; I LOVE Christmas, too, but it's nice to have a holiday where all you have to do is think about the food!

I am joining with Doodle Bug Teaching for Five for Friday...

1.  I couldn't resist starting my post with this photo of my son's dog, Zooey. She was not too pleased to be dressed and photographed for a Thanksgiving picture! :)
2.  Our Thanksgiving table was beautiful this year. It was especially nice to be able to keep my eating to a reasonable amount because our food was very healthy this year... Well, ignore the gravy and mashed potatoes.... and I DID have a piece of pumpkin pie.....

3.  I revised my Christmas Around the World unit and am looking forward to starting it on Monday. We start the unit with what to pack in our suitcases. I bring in a suitcase filled with articles and we take turns sorting them into "wants" and "needs". I have purchased most of the items from Target and Walmart in their clearance aisle. I DO add a pair of kid's underwear and socks to the suitcase; they are not shown in this photo.

After we do this sorting activity together as a class, they "pack" their own suitcase in their Christmas Around the World" booklet.

If you would like the NEEDS and WANTS posters, you can get them in a Google doc form by clicking HERE. (Please note that sometimes your school/district does not allow downloads from sources outside of your network. If that happens, check with your district as to how to unlock the restrictions on your account.)

If you purchased (or want to purchase) my REVISED Christmas unit, click HERE.

4.  For the past few years, it has not been unusual for me have a couple of kids who come to kindergarten already reading. These kids do not need the constant drill of learning letters and sounds that is such a big part of our day in kindergarten. I have tried purchasing first/second grade workbooks to use in a guided reading group, but they just haven't worked for me. The skills might be appropriate for them, the content may not be. I do not believe in putting a five year into a workbook. So.... I have been working on this resource for a LONG time. I have put together activities that can be used with ANY book. I have found such success with these activities! My kiddos can read any trade book at any level and then we can use the activities in the packet to enrich what was read in the book. I have used these sheets with picture books AND chapter books. These sheets are also nice to print and have available for early finishers. After reading a book or story, kids choose a sheet to do that is both fun and educational.

This resource can be found by clicking the image below.

5.  Here's an easy 'THEN and NOW" activity to do. Staple plain paper into a colorful napkin. Kids draw pictures of things that happened (or were around) THEN and things that happened (or were around). They label their pages with words or sentences. We did this with our Thanksgiving Then and Now unit. :)

That's all for now, my friends... Make sure that you hop over to Doodle Bugs Teaching!
Until next time!

The MINDFUL EATING Challenge! Week One....

Hello Friends,
Yes, it has been a LONG time since I have blogged...  I noticed about a month ago as I was perusing through my blog, that I seemed to be posting the same things from year to year and decided that I was going to TRY to come up with some new and different posts from now on. The hard part, though, is coming up with new ideas because even though the approach I use with each class is different, I still do a lot of the same projects and themes each year.... so I have been struggling with coming up with a way to share projects and activities that I have shared in the past and coming up with new and fresh ideas!

One link up that I AM going to blog about is the Mindful Eating Challenge hosted by Rachelle from What the Teacher Wants. The challenge is to get through the holidays using healthy eating and exercise as the stimulus to not overeat or hate yourself in January. This is definitely the challenge for me! I have a tendency to think that I am still 20 years old over the holidays and eat the way I did back then. As I have aged, I have noticed that I have to be SUPER careful eating foods with sugar and starches in them. I have always said that I can live without sweets and I CAN. I can go forever without the craving for candy or cookies or cake or ice cream... BUT.... if I DO have a bite of something sweet, I completely fall off the wagon and binge until it is gone.... sigh.... I also have a HUGE challenge with chips, crackers, dip, cheese..... I DO crave salty snacks, so avoiding these foods is my biggest challenge. I haven't had a french fry for over THREE years!  I fear, though, that  I will ALWAYS crave a good French Fry.....

I worked with a health coach this spring and summer and she helped me so much! I have always had trouble drinking water. I gave up soda years ago and replaced it what I thought was healthy flavored sparkling water. Come to find out the brand of water I was drinking was flavored with aspartame which stimulated my brain to crave sweet foods AND is not a healthy chemical to add to my diet. So.... she convinced me to try unsweetened flavored sparkling water  and La Croix has become my number one go to drink. My brother-in-law also gave me an infuser for my birthday and I have come to enjoy plain water flavored with fresh fruit. It's true what they say - water DOES play a HUGE role in eating and staying healthy.

 I have lost 15 pounds since March. I know that is not a huge amount of weight, but I feel good about what I am doing. I know I could be better. I still crave popcorn - and I am talking INSANELY crave popcorn. When I allow myself to have popcorn, I pop it myself - no microwave bags; just popcorn and a little oil. I have learned to enjoy popcorn this way and it is my go to snack when I start to fall off the wagon!

One thing that I have done with photos of me in the past, is crop the "bottom" part of me off because I was so ashamed of how I looked from my neck down! Well... after I lost those 15 pounds, I have started to feel better about myself and how I look. So, here is a recent photo of me from head to toe in my classroom! (I know, I know... it looks like the umbrella is growing out of my head!) I still have a ways to go, but I am HAPPY with myself right now and THAT is why I am for Rachelle's challenge!

Here is my plan for Thanksgiving....

1.  Ride my exercise bike when I get up.
2.  Eat my usual bowl of cereal and fruit for breakfast. My kids will be home on Thursday morning and they have asked me to make homemade cinnamon rolls for breakfast. I plan to eat MY breakfast first so that I will not be tempted to eat "just one bite" of the rolls when they are all sitting around the table!
3.  Eat some fruit and carrot/celery sticks BEFORE Thanksgiving lunch/dinner.
4.  Drink lots of water!
5.  Take small helpings of the foods I love and NOT go back for seconds.
6.  Have one glass of wine and savor it.
7.  My gym is closed on Friday, so I plan to ride my exercise bike again on Friday morning and use my bands for strength training for my arms.

So... that's it for now, my friends! Click Rachelle's link at the beginning of this post or HERE to go to Rachelle's link up and if you have a blog, link up yourself!

I wish you all a HEALTHY Thanksgiving!


Owls, Bats, Veteran's Day, Native Americans, too many leaves, and oh, yes Five For Friday!

Hello Friends,
Finally..... report cards and parent teacher conferences are over for awhile! Yay! Between Halloween, conferences, and just plain LIFE, time becomes limited and precious. Yesterday, we taught from 8:00 a.m. - 11:30 a.m. and then had conferences from 12:15 p.m. - 8:30 p.m. It is a very, very long day BUT the reward is TODAY! Our school gives us today as a bonus for our long day yesterday and I am determined to NOT waste it... Luckily it has been a beautiful fall day and such a joyous day to be alive. I thought that I would take a quick break from my outside work and join Kacey for a Five for Friday post and then continue on with my day before I lose the sunlight.... :)

1.  We did our bat/owl compare and contrast project this week. I really love this project because we do more than just a cut and paste activity. The kids create a 3D owl and bat which REALLY cements the idea that owls have feathers and bats have fur because they glue these items upon their 3D animals. They also create a paper owl and bat as well as a Venn diagram. We read tons of books about owls and bats which gives them a great foundation for creating their owl/bat projects.

 Their 3D owl and bat is created from a Styrofoam ball glued upon an upside down cup. Details are added with tacky glue. The wings are traced upon foam and glued to the back of the cup.
 If you would like the Venn diagram activity, you can find it HERE as a google doc. The templates for the owl and bat are found in my Fall is Here Winter is Near packet which you can find by clicking the images below.

2.  We will be honoring Veterans all day on Wednesday. We DO have school on Veteran's Day. We spend the day learning about our military as well as participating in an all school Veterans' day ceremony. Our kindergarten will be making this Veteran's Day book.

This Veteran's Day activity can be found by clicking the link below....
3.  We also will be starting our Native American unit next week. I know that many teachers and schools do not feel that teaching this unit is politically correct. But I disagree. If we stop teaching children about American Indians of the past, we will lose that part of our history and I think that would be tragic. I strongly feel that young children can be taught about native people in an empathetic and caring way. Instead of lumping all native people into one group, I use the words "some", "most", and "a few" when introducing concepts. We mainly concentrate on native houses and crafts. For a tipi, we use tortilla shells and use markers to decorate with early writing. The house is secured with a toothpick and placed over a paper cup to dry. They are VERY fragile and do not last long, but I haven't found anything better and reasonably priced that has the look and feel of what American Indian tribes used to create their tipis.

 4.  I have made 3D pueblos with my students in the past, but it involves too many steps and is a bit expensive, so they draw their houses instead.....

If you are interested in my Native American packet, you can find it by clicking the image below.

5. And finally........for those of you who wish for seasons..... I thought I would share with you a reason for why seasons are not always so much fun.... We have two beautiful trees in our front yard, but in the fall when they drop their leaves.....ugh.... They are WORK and that's what I did early this morning... raked and raked and raked... then bagged them all up. I have to say that the bagging is the worst BUT it's done... at least for awhile!

 Here's my son's puppy.... yep, she's a puppy... She's a 5 month old pure bred German Shepherd. Sweet as sweet could be, but wow, she is going to be big! We were shocked that she slowed down enough to take a photo with me..... :)

So, that's it for now... Make sure that you visit Doodle Bugs Five For Friday post by clicking the image below.
Until next time!


Fall and Halloween freebies and Five for Friday!

Hello Friends,

It is a Saturday morning in the Fall and I am once again writing my Five for FRIDAY post on a Saturday. I think it is time for me to stop writing that sentence because it seems to be the NORM for me these days and I just need to face the fact that when school is out on Friday, I am a slug and cannot bring myself to do anything school related!

I thought I would share with you a few things that we did this week and a couple of things that I plan to do THIS week...

1.  In our kindergarten, we still believe that patterns need to be reinforced. We have taken out the old "AB, AABB, ABC" language, but continue to teach the repeated pattern concept. It is true that patterning is taught in most pre-K classrooms, but I believe that it must still be reviewed and reinforced in kindergarten. We do many patterning activities, but this one is my favorite. After exploring patterns, we send this home and ask parents and child to create a pattern upon this pumpkin. They can use anything that they have at home. The variety is always fun and because it is such a simple project, we usually get 100% participation.

You can download this patterning activity as a google doc HERE.
2.  We did this cute Fall tree math activity. First we read Lois Ehlert's RED LEAF, YELLOW LEAF book. Then we did the math activity. I told my co-teacher that they kind of looked like hot air balloons, but oh well... it's the learning that counts right?

 You can download the words for this activity HERE.

3.  We also did some pumpkin investigating. Here we are measuring the height of our pumpkins using unifix cubes. This is from Deanna Jump's Pumpkin Patch unit.

3.  We also made a mini book of the pumpkin life cycle. You can click the image below to take you to Five Fabulous Pumpkin Literacy centers resource.

4. We are going to make these witches next week. I know that many of you cannot do Halloween things, but we still can in our school. The kids will follow the step by step directions for how to create the witch and then write some sentences about it. This will be a project that will done during our Writer's Workshop time. This witch is free in my TPT store. Click the image to take you there.

5.  We will also be creating a few more Halloween characters as well as reading a Halloween emergent reader. These are taken from my Halloween I Can Draw, I Can Write packet.

And that's it for now, my friends! Make sure you visit Doodle Bugs Five for Friday! Poor Kacey has the stomach flu, though, so she did not write her fantastic weekly post... Take care, sweet Kacey....

Be safe and healthy! Until next time!