Thursday, April 25, 2013

Good Things

The lovely Jennifer at Rowdy in First Grade thinks (and I agree) that it has been a while since we did this linky and it is time for another go-round.

A Good Thing From School:
My firsties are really getting adding three numbers. Even figuring out a problem like this... 9 + 8 + ? = 20. It has been a focus for the last week and they are GETTING it! Love when ideas fall into place. And, they all want to sit at my table and read for me. Like--do a running record. Crazy. But perhaps they are showing off what fantastic readers they are becoming!

A Good Thing From Home:
Tonight I got to have a hot dog roast. With my husbands family. At the home place. In the yard where I said my marriage vows. Tomorrow my in-laws are signing the papers that give ownership to another family. Someone we do not know. So, tonight was a blessing on so many different levels. Being together. Remembering other times. Creating more memories.

My life is full and rewarding. 

(And there are 19 days until summer vacation! Time to get started on my 2013 Summer Bucket List.)

Pin It!

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Common Sense

Common sense? Are we born with it?  Do we acquire it through lessons?

What makes a first grader think that picking up the dead mouse (or rat) found on the playground is a good idea?

Here is my version of the story.

Since it was recess time and the teacher on duty had not come out yet, I was on the playground. The sun is shining (even if it is 32 degrees) and I am enjoying watching the kids run with joy.

Now two students are running toward me hollering my name (again and again).

Out of breath, one says, "Mrs. Bartel, you are not going to want to hear this." 

I'm thinking--so, why are you telling me?

"Student A and B are carrying a dead mouse or rat, I'm not sure by the tail."

Me--ewwww, gross, yuck! PUT IT DOWN!!!

Thank goodness that is when the recess teacher arrived on the scene. So I quickly filled her in and found my way back into my classroom.

When students A and B came in from recess I asked them politely to go wash. 

They responded that they had. Twice!

So, common sense. 

Mom, when did I get mine?

Pin It!

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Potty Mouth

Do you know this book?

My principal loves these books and bought a bunch for school. To Share. 

I took this one, but I may not give it back. For 2 reasons.

1. We have been practicing singing 2 of the songs. (First graders are a riot when they sing about poop and pee.) This afternoon a handsome young man asked (as he turned in his completed work), "Mrs. Bartel, (he is so polite) is it ok if I read a book so I can get better at reading?" He was going after the above book. You bet, have fun!

2. We sang the songs for the kindergartners today. I think they might have been a bit shocked at our language (poop and pee). But they loved it. My favorite part... as we were leaving a sweet little K student told her teacher that she wants to be in my class next year. Cue my big smile. K teacher says, you'll have a good year if you are with Mrs. Bartel or Mrs. Jones. K says, but I want Mrs. Bartel. 

(If you have heard me speak about Mrs. Jones--the other first grade teacher--you will know that I love and adore her. She has amazing ideas and I am so happy to be working with her. So, K teacher is right, sweet student will have a great year with Mrs. Jones, they just know me because we are neighbors.)

My skepticism about these books is gone. They are super motivating for readers of all levels, and I think I need his other titles as well.

Pin It!

Monday, April 22, 2013

My Home Away From Home

It's true.

I spend more hours awake in my classroom (Monday - Friday) than I spend awake in my home.

When I get home from school I throw together some supper, collapse on the couch (maybe read what my blog friends have written) and then fall asleep. Someone will wake me up and I go to bed for the rest of the night. I am definitely a morning person during the school year. 

Anyway. The lovely Mrs. Reed at Flying into First Grade has these cool get to know you linky parties each Sunday. Sometimes I participate, like today. Yay.

The task at hand is to share my three favorite areas in my classroom.


This is kinda like a morning meeting. I review everyone's job, then I go over the day's schedule. My favorite part is when we "wish well" our absent friends and practice being a star.


Hunk and chunk wall. I love doing this with the kids, and they do, too. (I think.) We review each day, and somedays they do it on their own. They get especially excited when a new sound shows up.


My iPod and Gold Canyon warmer and scent pods. I got an apple scent pod last week, and I got many "oh, your room smells so good." It makes me happy to have my scent warmer going and my iPod playing with more than 100 songs on my favorite playlist. I can start it in the morning and have music all day. Love it.

My favorite places change all the time. (Just like my room arrangement.) Perhaps I need to do this every month so I can love more of my room.

What are your favorite areas? I love looking at your classrooms, they inspire me so much. Thanks Mrs. Reed for another great job and topic for this week.

Pin It!

Friday, April 19, 2013

Friday Wrap Up

Joy comes in the morning.

1. My drive to school today was in the sunshine! Yippee! And I bought a delicious coffee drink (and an apple scented thingy for my warmer thingy I got for my birthday 18 months ago) from the local convenience store.

2. Chores went very well this morning. Sunshine and breathing. It seems that by the end of the week they know what they are doing (and I can walk around taking pictures). What a relief.

3. Our marigolds are up! Twice this week we observed and journaled about what we saw. We showed our greenhouse expert. She was proud of me/us. She knows that I just don't make growing things a priority. Although, I read an article over spring break, and now I think I need LOTS of plants in our home and in my classroom.

4. Yesterday we finished The Boxcar Children. Today we began Fantastic Mr. Fox. I was thinking about showing the movie, but alas, it is rated PG. 

5. No picture for this one. Tonight I sit on the couch, watch tv or movies while my men are off doing manly things (watching KU basketball players in Wichita). Perhaps I will prep some posters for next week. Perhaps I will cut out some math games. Perhaps I will take a nap. 

I hope you had a great day. Hop on over to Doodle Bugs Teaching to read more Five for Fridays.

Pin It!

Thursday, April 18, 2013


Breath. I take it for granted. Don't give it much thought. Until I should have.

If I could just stop. Take a deep breath. Listen. Then, when I'm good and ready, speak.

If only.

Walking out to the barn in the mist, through the mud and water, with 12 students, I didn't breathe.

When the sheep got out and the children were chasing them, I didn't breathe.

With the sheep back safely in their pen I breathed. And called the children (and the grown ups) together.

With breath, I realized that I was embarrassed. Apologizing to kids and grown ups is humbling.

I wish I could go to confession. And be done with these feelings.
Pin It!

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

This is math, This is math, This is math

I love my neighbor teacher. We can be serious, and we can joke.

Yesterday I was in the hallway (just dropped my kids off in music) and heard her telling her students, "come in, sit down, and then we will have snack." 

I thought that sounded pretty good. So, I went in, found an empty desk (I have no idea where the lovely student was that was supposed to be sitting there) and sat down. She was teaching and talking (and getting around to snack) when she finally looked around the room and noticed me.

We laughed a bit, I left (without my snack) and smiled that we can be goofy in a very serious profession.

Today she walked in my room to discuss morning recess. Go outside or not? 28 degrees, finely misting. She looked around my room and asked--they are already having recess?

Um, no. They were playing a math game. Upon closer inspection she realized that it was a math game.

These were some comments she made:
1. Look, they are working together.
2. Oh, they are helping each other.
3. See how those two are sharing a chair?
4. This is math.
5. This is math.
6. Repeat this often Alyce, this IS math!

My teaching buddy (who does not live near by, but comes by often to plan and chat--I love her, too) and I are using a great product this week in lead up to Earth Day. (Find it here on TpT.)

For math today they started with addition cover up (from the packet), then practiced adding three numbers, then played the above game (identifying 3-D objects) when my neighbor came in.

I am so glad to have my neighbor teacher near by. She encourages me. She gets me to think out of the box.

And she brings me K students who have big questions that I can answer for them.

That is what she did this afternoon.

I thought it was going to be something like "how are kids supposed to treat each other," or "this is why you learn letters."


His question (after she left him in my able care), "why can't we talk about God at school?"


I looked up and the secretary was smiling at me. Oh boy!

I did the best I could and sent him back to K.


In other news...

We are working through an awesome Reading Unit. All about characters. See it here on TpT.

Today was day 2, and I blended Critter Cafe with it. Iggy the Inferring Iguana.

The kids "got" it. I love it when that happens.

What's going on in your neck of the woods?
Pin It!

Friday, April 12, 2013

Five on Friday

What a crazy up and down week. I'm glad it is Friday! So much politics is going around my school. I wish teaching was just that...teaching.

What to show? What to tell?

1. I'm loving Just Dance on YouTube. And the kids are loving it. As we began our math lesson this morning I told them that if they worked "hard" (what does that mean anyway---quietly, quickly, or following directions? I'm not quite sure) I would show some Just Dance for our morning recess. It was so cold at 8 am today that I was sure we would be inside. Well, they worked their little selves off, and just as I was thinking about firing up the old YouTube, I checked the temp and it was 37, with a wind chill of 28. The sun was sunning, so out we went. Oh, the drama of sadness swept the room. They did not want to play outside, they wanted to stay in and dance. So, new plan... after the second recess, I would show a just dance and enjoy their free spirits dancing.

2. I have a friend who teaches kindergarten in the town I live in. She even taught my older son's K class. She is adorable, kind, loving and has a HUGE heart. Her class made my class Easter baskets way back when. Today we make a thank you card and each child drew a picture and wrote a story to go along with it. I bundled them all up and dropped them off at her school after my school day ended. She wasn't there, but I left them in her mailbox. I hope to continue this back and forth with her over the next year.

3. Supper tonight was the annual "stuff yourself in order that we may feed the hungry" meal. My family of four went to the MCC sale to eat verenike, cherry moos and pie. Yummo. The real name of the buffet is "Feeding of the Multitude."

When I first moved to Kansas, I was sure that verenike was not my cup of tea. But, I have learned to like it. I LOVE it when my mother-in-law makes it. I compare all verenike to hers. The MCC verenike is fine, but... Grandma Betty's is THE BEST!

4. After we ate supper we headed to the Big Slide. Our boys have been enjoying this slide since they were each 2.

The best was hearing my young adult nephew as he was getting off..."just as fun as it used to be." And watching as a young boy of 3 bonk his head on the first hill, scream/cry the rest of the way down, be consoled by his mother immediately upon arrival at the bottom and then promptly say..."I want to do that again." My boys each got four trips  down that slide.

5. To top off the evening...

Whoopie pie and snickerdoodle cookies. 

Time for bed and some Tums. But first head over to Doodle Bugs Teaching and enjoy more randomness in the weekly party.

Pin It!

Thursday, April 11, 2013

We Are Windy

Force and Motion has been our glue the past several days. We have read about it. And yesterday we did math with it.

Using a straw and your own air, can you make the following objects move? Paper clip, marker, scissors, pink eraser. First predict and then conduct your experiment.

Wonderful fun. (I asked the same questions at supper last night. Interesting to hear the 45, 13 and 10 year old responses.)

We also planted some marigold seeds. The pots are in the window. I sure hope they grow. It will be a huge ego boost for me. So far this year, every green thing brought into my room by our greenhouse gardener has bit the dust!

Since we were talking about wind, I read aloud The Three Little Pigs. Today I had three leveled copies of readers (of The Three Little Pigs) and my kids gobbled them up! They were so excited to have their own book (thanks to Reading A to Z) to read and mark "hunks and chunks."

I was so impressed with their reading. Cannot wait to do more books next week. A week long "Earth Week" is on the lesson plan. Could someone quickly write some books for my kids to read? There are none out there. I would be happy to pilot the readers in my classroom and write a fantastic review for you...

Just let me know if you are interested! :)

Pin It!

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

A Mini-Update

I meant to write this last Wednesday. And Thursday. And Friday. I even missed the Five for Friday last week. 

There are 31 days left in my current school year. WHAT? 

31 days to inspire and lead. To give hugs and smiles. To love and cherish, this, my first group of first graders. 

Right now it looks like I will get to teach first grade with my buddy again next year. YAY!!!

Moving on...

We made our April quilt last week. Lovely as always. Maybe next year I will adapt it, to make it more "farmy/aggy." (Although our Kindergartners are incubating eggs even as I type.)

I think my entire class will be asking for a boxcar playhouse for Christmas next year. (Parents, you are welcome. I want one also, in case you were wondering.)

We are LOVING The Boxcar Children.  This is always the last part of our day, right before they head to music or pe or computer lab or library. When they get back we grab backpacks and race to the bus. (Ever try to get 22 kids to the bus on time? Without yelling?)

Today, instead of reading (much to their chagrin) we worked on filling out an awesome anchor chart. I just have to say, I think I have the most intelligent first graders ever! Their answers and recall of details was incredible. 

See our handiwork...

(I think this summer I will take a "Neat and Nice Handwriting for Elementary Teachers" course. Or, maybe I could play around with calligraphy--that might help.)

Last week I was Pinteresting and found some great examples of anchor charts for story elements. I found two that I really liked and mixed them together. Here is my anchor chart board, can you figure out which two were my mentors?

We have a possibility for "wintry mix" tomorrow am. Snow day dance anyone?

Pin It!

Sunday, April 7, 2013

I'm Stranded, Now What?

Yep. I'm about to be stranded on a desserted island. What three things should I take along?

School is gearing up to wind down. Right now being stranded on a desserted island sounds pretty good. I'm kinda overstimulated at the moment.

This is what I want to have with me:

1: My iPad (obviously the island is a wi-fi hotspot, and has an endless supply of electricity). Now I can stay as connected as I want. Blog. Read books on the Kindle app. Facebook. Email. Surf my favorite buddies blog's. Write plans and notes in Evernote.

2: A cooler with plenty of drinks. I know they should be water, but, maybe some Dr. Pepper and wine every once in a while would be nice.

3: Burt's Bees Lip Balm. My lips just feel empty without any. This will be especially important since I will have lots of liquids to drink.

I'm not really going to be stranded. Just doing the "Get Acquainted" party with

Flying into First Grade

Mrs. Reed says this party is about getting to know other teachers and bloggers and it really is great. I love reading them.

I was being sort of silly with my responses, but truthfully, this was way hard for me. My son and husband have been reading some books by Gary Paulsen. They started with Hatchet, and have read 3 more (going on 4 more). I have overhead some of it. I can see it happening. But I hope it never does. In one of the books, Brian goes back to the woods and plans what he will take. So I know that if I ever do get stranded my list will be different. Three things. How will I ever choose?

P.S. What happened to my Google Reader?
Pin It!

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

I'm a Copycat

If Julie did it and blogged about it, you can bet that I am thinking about it and doing 1/2 of it.

First Grade Critter Cafe

I love her Critter Cafe. Way back in September she started blogging about it and I was hooked. I have not kept up with strategies like I could have, but I do squeeze in some. 

Last week Julie wrote about Main Idea and Details. What a tough piece of comprehension for me. To really understand and to teach. But it is HUGE on our state assessments. Which is why I was excited to copy Julie and give these first graders a great start.

Today was potato day. (More on that in another post.) We did some stuff. Then I read a non-fiction book about potatoes, and used an on-line lesson plan about teaching main idea that I followed it to a "T." Kids kinda got it.

We did some more stuff.

Then I introduced Digger the Dog. He digs for details to support the main idea. The kids loved him.

I read Jamie O'Rourke and the Big Potato to them. We filled in the anchor chart I had whipped up (per Julie--of course) and learned a whole bunch.

Truly, 2/3 of my class got it. And the other 1/3 understood (at least they looked like it--you know wide eyes, nodding heads, their "me too" hand signals were up).

Here is the photo I snapped of our awesome chart. 

I am so excited to do this with more books. I love making abstract ideas real and concrete. Digger the Dog really helped.

I won't be doing any comprehension with The Boxcar Children (which I started reading today). It is a "read for enjoyment, not "assessing" book. But you know, so much comprehension happens anyway. I just don't have to plan it! They were so quiet and now they can hardly wait to find out what happens to Benny, Violet, Jessie and Henry tomorrow. 
Pin It!

Monday, April 1, 2013

April Currently

It's the most wonderful time of the month. The day (or day after) the new Currently from Farley comes out.  I have to make mine quick, because I want to read the 200 that have already linked up and I wait until I have submitted mine to read. No reason, really, just a weird thing I do.

*Sometimes after teaching all day I just want to be alone. But son wanted to learn how to make spaghetti (so he will be better off than me when he moves out). I am so happy that husband took that teaching opportunity on tonight. (And I get to blog.)

**Saturday am was so productive. My co-teacher and I spent 2 great hours mapping out the rest of the school year. Cool science units. Standards based. TpT ROCKS! Thanks to all of you who create, so people like me can buy (and turn in our receipts to our PTO and be reimbursed) and have AWESOME units that are integrated math, science and literacy. Keep it up you wonderful sellers!

***My school keeps getting press, and it looks like we may get more. So exciting. Perhaps our dream of two new classrooms by August will come true. We have no more classrooms, and have enough kids on a waiting list to add another teacher and 20 students to our roster for next year. 

****iPhone. Still on the list. I have no smartphone now, so it would require a data plan. But I just want to be cool, like my friends at school, and my bloggy buddies.

*****Should have finished those lessons Saturday (watching BB), or Sunday (hanging with family) or today (inservice). But I didn't, so now I will have to do that while watching DWTS tonight.

******Blogging advise: this works for me. I am real, share funny stories, share heartfelt thoughts/ramblings, and join the parties. Parties are so much fun, and I make new friends all the time.

Jump, hop, skip, walk, or whatever, but head to Oh 'Boy 4th Grade and grab some ideas or friends.

Pin It!
Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...