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Wednesday, December 31, 2014

January CURRENTLY

Not quite 2015.

But close enough that the January Currently linky is up. 


I LOVE Friends, and this episode has me laughing out loud. The one where Rachel teaches Ben about practical jokes. 

I'm listening to/watching Friends from my comfy couch and warm blanket. Love this time of no time constrictions.

Just happened to catch part of Mr. Greg last night. Then I searched around some more, and 2 hours later I was wide awake, watching videos, reading reviews and planning my deskless classroom. Can't wait to get started on the makeover!

So, for my classroom, I want two circle tables (and a couch and pillows and bath mats). I'm looking for flexible seating, so that my little learners have choices.

How often do I write in my Currently that I need to be healthier, eat better, exercise more? Add one more time...

Along with the classroom makeover comes more decluttering. I watched two webinars by Erin Klein (find links on her website) today. A quote that I wrote down is "My classroom is not a storage unit, purge, donate..." So, decluttering starts ASAP. Wish I could be in my classroom RIGHT now--I am so excited to get started (hey--sister--want to come help???)

A lifestyle change--more vegetables, more exercise, less soda.

A seamless semester of engaged learners, standards taught and mastered, and teacher heaven. Check back in June to see if that all happened...

Welcome 2015--I have great ideas and fantastic people around me that make wonderful things happen. Bring it!!


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Wednesday, December 24, 2014

What I'm Loving Wednesday

Oh how I love the time to write.

And reflect.

And watch tv. :)


Michelle keeps doing it... Finding ways to encourage those around her to write, write and write. Because how do we get better at (or feel better about) our writing? Write.

A list of what I love today, in no particular order:

**My Christmas tree that my sons put up yesterday (and I put on a few strands of lights, then they put on their ornaments)--it's perfect;
**an impromptu evening meal and movie with my mother-in-law and my family;
**a shopping trip with my school buddies;
**an Amazon gift card that just bought me my very first home laminator:
**the hope and promise of a new year;
**green olives stuffed with feta cheese.

Tell me, what are you loving today?

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Monday, December 22, 2014

Monday Letters

Many of us teachers are on a Winter Break.

That means no alarms. Lazy days.

And plainly deciding what to do and WHEN to do it.


Thank you so much for taking life slow, for allowing me to be lazy yesterday, and still have an opportunity to write today. I hope you have a wonderful Break, do fun things, relax a little and read (if you want to).
Sincerely, Alyce


Dear House,
I would really like to declutter you this break. Do not feel offended if you find some breathing room as I slowly toss or upcycle some of your possessions. 
Love, The Homeowner


Dear Husband and Children,
Do Not Panic. I will not touch your possessions as I declutter (even though I have dreamt about it), but I may move things around...
Fondly, Wife and Mother


Dear Winter Break,
Please be kind to me. Help me to keep my identity (teacher) even as I try out secret identities. Guide me to times of productivity, times of rest, times of people and times alone. Allow me to be present in each moment.
Gratefully yours, Alyce

That's it. Write your own letters and link up with--

Photobucket

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Sunday, December 21, 2014

Sunday Scoop (12-21-14)

The Scoop for today...


It was almost difficult for me to think of three things that I HAVE to do today. Isn't that lovely?

Do you know 
Curious Firsties

There are some great ideas and posts over there. The ones that I want to closely read today (again) are: Guided Reading Group Format, and Small Group Instruction. My first graders are gonna ROCK the benchmark assessments come January, and if they don't, then I'm gonna be ready for giving AWESOME instruction so that they can rock those assessments in May. "PMA (Positive Mental Attitude), that's the way, EVERYDAY!" Thanks Colleen at Literacy Loving Gals--not sure where and when she said that, but it was a family motto of hers growing up and I want to make it my motto also.

I started making some ornaments yesterday (I had the kit for 2 years, but it looked "not easy" and I was scared to try), but after helping my 3-year-old nephew make one, I think I can make some today.

What's your Scoop for today??


Thanks goes to Teaching Trio for hosting this party.
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Thursday, December 18, 2014

The Last Day

And the teachers are tired.

So tired that typos are very possible.

We are pretty lucky in my district. Our last day with students is today. And tomorrow is a work day. And that allows travelers to travel and get to their destination with ease. See, nice, huh?

I'm not traveling, but I will be enjoying these coming days of laying around in pjs, watching movies, surfing my favorite blogs and eating way too many Kit Kats.

How did we celebrate our time together you ask? We did a contraction smart art project (link here, go check it out, looks like it is on sale). We did the Santa, and the kids loved it.

We also watched Mr. Magorium's Wonder Emporium. The first part while eating lunch, and then on the floor with coats for pillows.



Some girls had fun with their socks (which were a present from their teacher).


And a visit from the Jolly Elf.


That sure doesn't sound like enough to make a person tired, but trust me, there was more and it was.

Now I'm off for my pre-bedtime nap.

Hope your last day with students is fun, memorable and ends with a yummy drink (mine did)!
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Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Wordless Wednesday: Christmas Caroling



Today we walked four blocks "downtown" to carol at the local greasy spoon (love that place!!). As we were walking I had to turn around and snap a photo... Because they spontaneously started singing Rudolf the Red-Nosed Reindeer. Love them also. (Blurry photo because it was an action photo, and we had to keep moving because it was about 25 degrees or maybe less and we were COLD.)

Do you get to Christmas carol with your students?

Want more Wordless Wednesdays? Hop on over to Miss DeCarbo's blog and check them out. 
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Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Secret Santa According to Me

You know how Secret Santa goes.

Here's my version...

I get a name. Try to figure out some small gifts to give that are meaningful or fun or something that my person will like and give throughout the week. And then there is the last present. 

And this year, there was no specified $$ limit.

Meanwhile I begin to receive presents. That are AWESOME. Perfect for me. And everyday.

So there is a constant battle in my head--am I spending too much (never really a question, I'm a cheap gift giver), will my person that I am gifting think I am a cheapskate? 

Does it matter?

Yes!!

Moving forward...

Today we all gathered in the cafeteria to give our last present and let our person know who has been giving gifts. As I was heading that way with my gift, I saw my person leave the building... Guess I'll give it tomorrow.

Sitting together. Waiting. Wondering. Nothing. No present. Did I get forgotten? Can I hold my tears in? 

That was silly--I got MANY presents, of course I had a person. But who?

Then my buddy headed my way. Smiling HUGE.

Tears again.

She handed me a bag and a card. The card was awesome (and mentioned that I maybe could talk about it on my blog!!) and meaningful and personal and let me know that she "gets" me. And a gift card for some fancy nails.

Tears again and some hugs. Seriously wonderful. To feel loved. Cared for. Accepted for who I am. Encouraged to be the best person I can be and then be even better.

That was the best part of Secret Santa.

Now I know.

I know a lot of "things." Other "things" I can see demonstrated and then can do.

Next year (or maybe in January--Secret Snowman anyone??) I will be that Santa that encourages, loves, accepts and brightens someone's day.
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Sunday, December 7, 2014

Sunday Letters

Tis the Season (or day) for letter writing!!


Dear Coffee Friend,
I had such a great time with you yesterday. It is so good to talk for 2 1/2 hours and be understood. About families, parenting, school, jobs, and everything else! When are we meeting next?
Love,
A Grateful Heart


Dear Daily Schedule,
Get ready. I'm in the mood to change. Again. But do not worry--the time frames will be the same, however, in order to meet the needs of this class, we must be flexible and allow for us to play and learn. I'm thinking--shorter periods of direct instruction and a bit more time for practicing and applying the new learning. We will need to be creative so that the standards are taught (and learned) and remember that the students are 6 and 7 years old and can "listen" for 7-10 minutes at a time. I know that You (the schedule) are important. And I know that You know that we are doing this (educating) for the students. So, let's get together, brainstorm and figure this out! Thanks for understanding.
Sincerely,
A Reflective Teacher

Do you have a letter to write? You can join Michelle @ Big Time Literacy and add your letter, or read other Sunday Letters. 

Have a great day!
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Tuesday, December 2, 2014

December Currently 2014

The days last forever, but the months fly by.

Right?

Because, November's days were long, but now, here I am in December...

And another Currently from Farley @ Oh' Boy 4th Grade. This is one of my favorite linkys. I notice that there isn't much change between the months and my responses...


So, my shoutout:

Julie DiBenedetto from First Grade Critter Cafe. She is many levels of rigor and relevance. Her classroom is engaging, beautiful and inspires me to be a better teacher. I had the pleasure of meeting her several years ago, and we communicate by email often. She offers suggestions and advise and is so kind, generous and caring. If you do not know her, go check out her blog. 

Reagan Tunstall from Tunstall's Teaching Tidbits. She has so many ideas, her blog and classroom are kid-friendly and she offers wonderful products in her TpT shop. I have never met her, but refer to her as "Reagan" with Mrs. Jones... Collaboration conversations with Mrs. Jones often start with "Well, when I was reading Reagan's blog this weekend I saw (insert any idea or product) and loved it. How could we incorporate that in our day?" 

Wishing you and yours a Very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!

Off to post some comments...

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Saturday, November 1, 2014

November Currently

Helloooooo November! I have been waiting all day to post my Currently, and here it is. :)

I am so pleased that Farley @ Oh' Boy 4th Grade continues this monthly tradition. My explanations follow...


Listening: ABC Family is making my night with a fun movie.

Loving: Yep, lesson plans on paper. They are boring and a whole bunch of talk, talk, talking. So, now to make them pop with hand-on first grade goodness. Pinterest, don't let me down...

Thinking: This is my fourth year in a general ed classroom, third year in first grade and I finally think I have a handle on most some of this stuff. So much to learn and make better, but this feels so much better than 2012. Yahoo!

Wanting: Time to finish my homework that was assigned last weekend. It is due on November 8, but why wait? Let's get it done!!

Needing: Time. Enough said, right? With my family, with my students, with my own professional development, with a hobby, to get healthy.

Reading: I learned of this book last weekend. So many great ideas in this book.


I love the currentlys, they are a fun way to reflect or anticipate. So, what are you doing Currently?



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Friday, October 31, 2014

Five for Friday (Halloween, 2014)

Party Day Tired has hit me hard.

Halloween 2014 recap. 

1. All school parade down the four blocks to say "hi" to the community and fill our bags with candy. No pictures, cuz I was parading (and freezing) and couldn't take my hands out of my pockets.

2. Runway in the class where we got to show off our costumes while I provided the best color commentary ever. No pictures, again, I was commentating.

But the cool thing was that a handful of parents were able to be there and cheer and have fun with us.

(The runway idea came from Sprinkle Teaching Magic and it was a HIT.)

3. Party time. For the first time ever I planned a party. Yep, with four activities. Thank you pinterest and blog buddies!!

The activites were: Bingo using candy corn; Pumpkin ChuckingHandprint spiders--we made brown recluse, because I did not have black paint; and a writing activity. 






It was so much fun! Parents ran every activity and I got to see everyone having fun! Win-win.

4. After the party we ate. It was a mini-feast with crackers, cheese, and fruit.



Another idea I read about--after the eating, ask parents to clean up while I take the kids for a recess. Brilliant!

5. And now--catching up on Marvel's Agents of Shield with my boys and eating homemade pizza. No pictures, I'm too lazy to get one...

Happy weekend friends! If you need more Halloweeny/harvest/fall recaps, then head to Doodle Bugs Teaching and read all night long.

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Sunday, October 26, 2014

Sunday Morning Letters (October 26, 2014)

Gratitude Makes the World Go Around

Dear Becki and Jan,
What an inspiring two weekends we spent together. Thank you for teaching me about how to differentiate (but not really) by incorporating the "Big 6" into my core teaching. I am excited to see how this makes the classroom fun, but rigorous and relevant. 
Fondly,
A Learning Junkie

Dear Students,
You make my heart sing. Thank you for being kind and helpful. For trusting me to guide you. And for encouraging me to be a better teacher every day.
Love,
Your First Grade Teacher

Dear Volunteer Grandpa,
You may (or may not) know how much your presence in our classroom means to all 23 of us. It is huge. Everyone wants to sit with you. You are a great addition to our afternoon. Thank you for coming in every day and working on sight words (or whatever else I may have for you).
Sincerely,
A Blessed Teacher

Dear Blogland Friends,
Thanks for offering me a mini lesson each time I read your posts. You inspire me. You encourage me. Someday there has to be a HUGE meet up that lasts all summer long. So that I can glean from you. Plan with you. And enjoy your company.
Much love,
Alyce

Have your own letters? Link up with Michelle at Big Time Literacy.

No letters? Tell me what you are grateful for today...

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Saturday, October 25, 2014

Old is Relative

Thank you Mr. Classmate.

I finished up the class today. Except for the unit plan and lesson plan homework that is due in two weeks. I'll get to that later... 

But I had a moment today that just made me smile.

This class was BIG on using the strategies that we were being taught to teach us. 

It was good. It will help me differentiate. And I can leave my ponies and pudding and knives at home.

While we were working on a group project I mentioned my son and Mr. Classmate said, "You have a son in high school? You do not look old enough to have a son that old."

He was kind of quiet about it, but I'm just sure that is what I heard.

I'm not sure why this makes me so happy. But it does.

So, old is relative, and I guess my relative is young.

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Friday, October 24, 2014

Five for Friday (October 24, 2014)

Just five? There is so much to share...

But I will narrow it down to my top five of the day...

1. I got another present today. Quite possibly I could be blinged out by Christmas...


2. My group during our 4-H time started learning about the lifecycle of a sunflower and wheat plant (by watching some short YouTube videos). They got a small bag of seeds to create patterns (a math standard for us--repeating patterns for K and growing patterns for 1st)



Thinking we've got the pattern thing. 

3. Jenny. She got moved to a new-to-her pen. With more green grass. This is how she felt about it. 

video

4. Jenny again. She is such a blessing to our school family.


5. This week I jumped into what so many do effortlessly... Facilitating research projects with first graders. Some day I may write about the process. For now, group photos are it.







Now, hop on over to Doodle Bugs Teaching and read what my friends are up to.

I'll be doing my homework--college class AGAIN this weekend. It's good stuff, but golly, I'm tired!


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