Thursday, February 26, 2015

Be.Still.My.Heart.

After school a second grade teacher told me about a run-in with one of our firsties.  Here's how she said the conversation went down. (well.. the best my not-so-dependable brain can remember)  

Student:  "Umm..... Excuse me.  I found this hat in the bathroom, can you take it to the lost and found?"
Teacher:  "You know where it is, right?  You can take it there."
Student:  "Well... you see.  I'm in school. And I'm in Mrs. Eshman's writing class right now. And I need to finish my story."
Teacher: "I'll take it down." 

I guess we're doing something right Em! :)

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

My Teacher Hero

"What teacher made the biggest impact on your life?"

This was always the question that was asked on the first day of a college course in the education department.  I hated  this question.  I would make something up every single time.  Growing up I did not have a teacher that made a big impact on my educational career.  I was the quiet girl.  Did my work, did what I was told, didn't cause trouble.  Teachers did not really pay much attention to me.

It is not a sad story.

I did not seek out the approval or love of the teachers around me. I got that at home.  My parents raised me to work hard, be kind, think for myself.  So I did.  They were my #1 teachers.  They are and will always be my heroes.

But when I started teaching, a new type of hero entered my life.  My Teacher Hero.  I have found that I surround myself with teachers that have a thirst for teaching.  They are always seeking to improve, learn more, try new techniques, and uplift children.  These are the people that inspire me.  Some are veteran teachers that have a wealth of knowledge but still the desire to grow, share, learn.  Some are brand new teachers that have such a positive attitude and the ambition to try every new technique that comes their way.

Thank you.  I will continue to strive to be a strong, determined, and positive teacher, just like the teacher heroes that surround me. 

As you read, please know that many of the teachers that inspire me are "virtual" teachers.  I love to follow, read, and learn from all the teachers blogging or commenting on blogs.  I grow from the experience daily.  Thank you.

TPT is throwing a sale to just say "thanks" to all the teacher heroes out there.  I included three "secret" items that I marked down 50%.  Thank you...but...

Who inspires you?

Monday, February 23, 2015

Meeting Up...Georgia Style


Alarm went off at 3:30 am on Saturday.  Yep...A.M.  Jenny, from Luckeyfrog's Lilypad, and I were headed to Atlanta for a quick 36 hour trip.

 We were super excited to meet up with other bloggers, check out some new products at the EdExpo, and explore the city a bit.  But our drive to the airport looked like this:

Thanks for the pic, Jenny!
7 inches were expected to fall and this was just the start of it.  We were pretty confident that our flight was going to be delayed, cancelled, something.  And we were actually not convinced otherwise until we were in the air and on our way!

But...


And when we got there we were amazed!  The Hyatt was so....Tall, fancy, and pretty!  Best of all...we got our own rooms.  Yes...OWN!


Our first 12 hours in Atlanta were filled with so many greetings, introductions, hugs, and fun!  There was lunch, sightseeing, and a BIG Georgia meet-up!


 I had dinner with a whole group of bloggers that I had not met before.  Many of you probably do not know that this is a huge deal from me!  I would be your student that is in the back of the class listening intently, doing my work, but not raising my hand. These were my table friends:
Lory from Lory's Page
Megan from I Teach What's Your Superpower
Lana from Prepping for the Primary Gridiron
Jen from Hello Mrs. Sykes
Kelly from First Grade Fairytales

After dinner, the welcoming reception started for the EdExpo.  I really think this picture says it all:


I pretty much could have stood at this table the WHOLE night!

The EdExpo was filled with so many products and ideas.  It was a teacher's dream come true to be able to walk through.  My brain is just filled with ideas, products I NEED, and goals for lessons I want to complete.  I am still sorting through all these thoughts but will share my top 10 products (with ideas) on Friday!

Please check back!!


Sunday, February 22, 2015

Thank You!!!

A heartfelt thanks to all our friends who entered our little snow day giveaway. 

And the winner is.....


a Rafflecopter giveaway


Wendy, and email is coming your way!

We have a delay already for tomorrow.  BOO!!!!!!!! 

Dear Snow and cold.....
I LOVE you on a quiet Christmas morning.  And maybe even for one or two snow days, but you have overstayed your welcome.  I. am. done.
Love,
Maria

Stay warm and safe friends!

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

A Snow Day Giveaway!

Dear Snow, cold... (and mother nature),
I'm tired of you.  Very. Tired.
Love,
Maria

In honor of having yet another snow day this week, we're having a *little* giveaway.  I need to feel warm and fuzzy on the inside.  Well.... I would just take warm!  I don't know how you wwwaaaayyy northerners do it!  I've had all I can handle.  I'm ready for 95 and high humidity! 

A few weeks ago we posted a freebie for Sentence Dictation.  It looked a little like this.....

https://www.teacherspayteachers.com/Product/Sentence-Dictation-with-5-Star-Checklist-1580083
This is what it looks like in action.....
 
Once we have finished each sentence, we use our five star sentence checklist to be sure we have all parts that are needed for each sentence.  We go one-by-one and I have the students actually TOUCH capital letters, punctuation, and fingerspaces.  I'm trying my hardest to get them in this habit.  Once we get to looks right, students again are supposed to touch each letter to be sure all letters are living in the right place (upstairs, downstairs, and basement). Students read what they wrote to make sure their sentence sounds right.  This last one is still a WIP (work in progress).  It's hard for firsties (as you may know) to read what they ACTUALLY write down, but hey.... we're working on it. :)
https://www.teacherspayteachers.com/Product/5-Star-Sentence-Checklist-1580050
This is what our checklist looks like in action.  I have laminated these little guys and taped them to my firsties desks.  We use dry erase markers to check off each star AFTER we've checked our work. Then we wipe them off with tissues. (Fancy Nancy would be so disappointed) :) 
 

 
So.... do you want to win your own class set of Five Star Checklists... LAMINATED?????
Just enter below and we'll send them your way!
 

a Rafflecopter giveaway
Happy Snow day sweet friends!

Monday, February 16, 2015

Power of Play


PARCC....honestly, it gives me a headache to just say the word.  On Friday, it was the source of a migraine.
I am not sure about anyone else but the stress is there.  It is real.  It is awful.  And I only teach first grade.

I have been really starting to step back lately and wonder how we got here.  What made me want to go into teaching?  It was not the outcome of test results, for sure.

It was the learning. Real learning.
Some of this real learning smacked me in the face today.

My girls and I decided to head up to Columbus, Ohio to visit my cousin over the weekend.  We met at the Columbus Art Museum.  My cousin said they had a kid section but I was not sure what to expect.  When we walked in, this is what we saw:


Then...we saw hallways and rooms filled with Play, filled with Learning.  My girls were instantly engaged.
They were architects:


They constructed furniture to fit in tiny homes:


 They built bird nests:


They used natural materials:


They were artists:


 There were questions amongst the activities that prompted discussion for us:


 And after 2 hours of engaged children, we were still not completely through the kid section of this art museum!  But we finished our trip by answering what we created, wondered, and learned.


You may be wondering what in the world this type of play has to do with the PARCC or any other assessment.  Probably nothing.  But for a couple hours my head was thinking about the hands on learning that we were doing.  It reminded me of the real learning, the engaged learning that I am always striving for.

It was a good day.


Sunday, February 15, 2015

Sunday Letters





Dear Dad,
Thank you so much for taking my Ruby to her first dance.  She was so excited to buy a new dress, new shoes, and get all dressed up.  She could not wait for the big night to hang out with you!  And to top it all off....you bought her ice cream!  I love you!
* Your Oldest Daughter







Dear Parents,
Thank you so much for attending conferences.
It means so much to us that you come and listen to all the great things that are going on with your child.  We are so thankful for the support.
*A Very Appreciative Teacher


Dear Whole Foods,
I was so sad that you stopped selling my favorite pretzel bun, Pretzilla.  My turkey burgers just won't taste the same again.
*Sad, but still devoted, Customer

Dear Sarah Mlynowski,
My girls and I have been seriously enjoying your "Whatever After" series.  Most princess chapter books have not been as pleasurable.  I find myself wanting to know what is going to happen next.    I am one grateful mom!
*A Mom of Two Girls

Dear Jess,
It has been so much fun trying out so may new ideas lately.  Finding ways to connect all their new learning to a real life experience is a fun challenge.  I am loving our math journey this year!  Can't wait for our 100 day smarter celebration!
*Your Math-Mate

Dear Team,
Thank you for taking over my load of teaching while I administer the PARCC.  I am so grateful to work on a team that I love, trust, and admire.  It is really, really hard to miss so much instructional time but know that we will support each other through it.
*Em

Dear Donors,
20 days ago my school started a fundraiser for a co-worker.  Her baby just had his 4th heart surgery.  We worked together to get the word out there.  The family was featured on 3 local news stations, local online newspaper, and all over social media.  We were able to raise over 11,000 dollars.  It is amazing to see so many people come together.  There is so much goodness :)
*A Thankful Friend

Thanks Michelle for this wonderful link up.