Thursday, February 28

Fraction Leprechaun Freebie

Looking for some Leprechaun Fun for St. Patrick's Day with your firsties or kinders? Even your second graders would like this one!
Growing Firsties

My sweet, hilarious (best one-liners of ANYone. Hands down.), creative and lovely colleague Shelley (of Indoor Recess Bag fame) shared the Fraction Leprechaun a few years ago. 

It was a hit!

But now, it's a copy of a copy of a copy. Blech.

So, I re-did it using the uber-talented Ashley Hughes' St. Patrick's Day clip art. Love her clip art. AND her. She's fab-dorable. And so's her work.

At any rate...every kiddo colors their leprechaun however they'd like.

Then they cut it vertically in half along the line going up the middle (it's kind of hard to see, but it's there).

They each KEEP their left half and swap their right half (the half with their smile) with a classmate. 

Assemble it onto 9x12 construction paper.

Name their little Leprechaun & add their own names to the label.

This sample cracks me right up! The firstie who made this was QUITE sure that Leprechauns do NOT exist! Even wrote in both spots! Too cute!

You can also do it with fourths...

If you're so inclined, add a little glitter.

Glitter with first graders has been known to make me break out in hives so I probably won't. (Sorry, Greg!)

Maybe you'd like your sweethearts to do some writing about their leprechaun's adventures, too...

 Three types of writing paper: 
Plain, dashed & HWT-type lines.

You can have these pages by clicking right here or on either picture.

Friday, February 22

How To Writing, Question-Answer Freebie

My fabulous team was discussing how we don't tend to love teaching the How To writing genre at this time because last year the students' writing in last quarter became less detailed after we completed the unit.

The students included the basic steps of how to do something (make a sandwich, build a snowman, get ready for school, etc), but there just wasn't a ton of elaboration or careful word selection any longer.

After we'd spent SO much time teaching and conferring about elaboration and details!

Of course, some writing was more delightful to read than others, but in general, the overall quality of our student's writing went down.

I didn't like dreading a new genre, so I decided to visit the local library to find some better mentor texts. 

So glad I did - I'm now super excited to get started on the genre this year! 

Here are some of the hilarious books (Amazon affiliate links) the children's librarian helped me find!
How to Raise Mom and DadHow to Babysit a GrandpaHow to Clean Your Room in 10 Easy StepsHow to Be a Baby . . . by Me, the Big Sister (How To Series)

With these elaborated and delightful mentor texts, I believe our writing will be a LOT more solid!!!

Plus, read aloud time will be a hoot!

AFTER we're done with How To writing, we're beginning Question Answer I whipped up this little freebie.

Students will make inferences in order to match the question card with its answer and then record the matching pair on the recording page.

The cover graphic is for St. Patrick's Day, but you can really use this center at any time of year since the cards and recording page graphics are more neutral.


Tuesday, February 19

Friendly Letter Writing Pack

Here's the Friendly Letter Writing Unit you're looking for! Make sure you download the preview to see all the details in this interactive, top-selling writing workshop unit for first and second graders!


Saturday, February 16

Common Core Crunch - March...

Oops - I think you're looking for this post...{Click Here}.

Wednesday, February 13

Oprah's Favorite Things - Part 4

K...Oprah....Part 4...Meeting Her 
AFTER the Show you know...the Favorite Things experience was absolutely NUTso.

And...I was there with friends...this is important...

K...once the taping was over and Oprah said her good bye to the audience, the Harpo folks were having us leave one section at a time.

So we could pick our Burberry coat size (couldn't pick color) and Eileen Fischer lounge set size (couldn't pick color). Not complaining, just sharing.

And then go to security to get our phones, cameras, etc back. (This was 2004 so many folks had both phones & cameras...)

I think there were 4 sections to the audience...

All my friends and were in different sections...

My section got let out first...and we slowly made our way out into the mid-November weather...

There were news stations and lots of people milling about outside, carrying their stuff...

My guest and I hung out for about an hour and a half...right about that spot.

I REALLY wanted to hug and de-brief with my friends about the whole experience...

Two cutie pie friends had to leave. 

And I REALLY wanted a group pic of us by the Harpo Studio signs...

It's important to note that I had to...well...nudge the leftover friends...semi-forcefully to do this...

chilly temps

high heels

Awkward (but AWESOME) bags and boxes to carry


BUT...I nudged...cuz I (was) a scrapbook girl...

and it was HARPO Studios

and we hadn't taken the pic before the show cuz we rushed to get our place in line.

So...I nudged...we trudged to the corner...

And there was no one around to take the pic...cuz EVERYone had left by then, 

plus it was on the other side of the block (Harpo takes up an entire city block) so it was away from the hubbub.

So...we waited...til a random couple was walking along and we I  accosted approached them to take our pic.!!!

Trudge back to the car...giggling about how our feet hurt and how we were so hungry we could eat our arm.

We heard something behind us...but kept walking...

Heard it again...turned around...saw a black SUV...kept walking...

We'd been asked NOT to leak anything to the press until AFTER the show aired on Monday...

Heard it again...kept walking...

If nothing else...we are rule following teachers...

we didn't want to offend Oprah!!! 

She'd just given us the most insanely awesome experience of our lives!!!

So then we heard, in a man's voice, loud and authoritative...

LADIES, you will WANT to stop right now.

We turn back and there's a security guard there...


the SUV door is opening...




Saying, "Girls - I was just asking you where you got all that cool stuff!!!"

We basically behaved like Justin Bieber fans...

at first...

then we chatted with her for a few minutes...

And asked her to take a pic with us...

She obliged...

I wanted her security guard to take the pic (he was not verklemmt)...

But a random stranger was walking by and offered...

The fact that she also did the Bieber thing a second beforehand should have had me sticking with my gut...

But, I didn't want to offend her OR Oprah by being rude to the kind stranger and I didn't want to take up any more of Oprah's time...

Result...blurry shocker...adrenaline-hands and all...

but I like it...

It speaks to the experience...

Still can't believe that happened. Any of it, really.

My last Oprah installment will be about the spa trip to Miraval.

Not sure when I'll get to it, but that was an AMAZINGLY cool experience, too.

Sunday, February 10

Valentine Note Freebie

This simple, yet meaningful, Valentine Love Note freebie is one of my favorite things to do with my class each year. So sweet and easy to set up - I use that big paper from the rolling cart to make the speech bubble and heart, and thick Sharpie markers for the I and U...then tape it to my smartboard. My class loves getting their pictures taken!
Growing Firsties first grade

I absolutely KNOW I saw a photo similar to this on a blog recently. But it was a chalked-in speech bubble on a black chalkboard with "I love you!" wiped off the chalk with something wet.

I have searched blogger and pinterest and google for QUITE a while to find it and I just can't.

Please help if you know where this came from.

Must. Give. Credit.

At any rate - I modified it for my class and you can have it, too! Just click right here or on the first picture.

This freebie is featured in the incomparable Laura Candler's site Corkboard can find LOADS of February freebies by clicking the picture below!


Saturday, February 9

Jen Hatmaker


I'm all kinds of messed up.

For reals.

I spent last night and this morning listening to Jen Hatmaker.

Pardon my I've-almost-hit-the-ugly-cry-sheen and 4th-case-of-pink-eye-since-November glasses.

Are you familiar with her?

She hails from Austin, TX. 

Words that describe her...

On her website, she's: 

wife. (to Pastor Brandon Hatmaker of Austin New Church)

mom. (to 3 biological kids and 2 kids adopted from Ethiopia)

author. (of 9 books)



My friends and I would describe her as:









My soul is all tangled up after hearing her speak about Christians and Christianity.

How polarizing we can be...

When all there really is, is to serve with love. Be like Jesus. That's it.

As a Christian, am I REALLY living out these principles day by day?

I had seen her a few years ago and she ripped me apart then. I'm in a different place now so I'm ripped apart differently.

I don't quite have words yet or even an inkling of an idea of where God's path will take me. 

But I will listen to Him.

You will see what we all saw if you like her on facebook (along with 20,000 others) or follow her blog or see her speak.

I own several of her books and I'm going to be reading and re-reading them.

I own (affiliate links included): 

Out of the Spin Cycle: Devotions to Lighten Your Mother Load

A Modern Girl's Guide to Bible Study

Growing Firsties first grade teacher

Jen, thank you.


Thursday, February 7

Self-Evaluation Freebie

For our upcoming parent-teacher conferences, the parents will be scheduling their conferences using an online tool.

I have mixed feelings about it...(parents scheduling their own conference) in...there are certain folks who I'd rather not have scheduled in my last (or first) time slot.

And, it's not necessarily because they're difficult to work with...sometimes it's that they're so darn nice and supportive and fun to talk to that doing the shoo-shoo at the end of the night is SUPER hard.

Also, my personal preference is to have several slots in a row filled up, followed by a potty and catch up break, followed by several slots in a row filled up and then buh-bye.

Not so much a fan of conference, break, conference, break, conference, break, etc.

If they're scheduling themselves I can't really do it that way.

Guess we'll just have to do it and hope that we'll get the opportunity to give feedback afterwards. It's never too hard to come by my opinions.

Our third quarter conferences are optional...either the teacher or the parent can request the conference.

You might be interested in this conference self-evaluation has two sides, two version includes Quarter 1 2 3 4 in the upper right corner, the other version does not.

How does your school schedule conferences? 

You can get the freebie by clicking the first picture. If you're willing to take a moment to leave me some TpT feedback, I'd be super-dee-duper grateful.

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