Saturday, June 22

Five for Friday...on Saturday

Hello, sweet friends!

I'm a little late to join yesterday's 5 for Friday party...but I'm okay with it if you are.

1. I was going through my recent TpT feedback (gosh, you guys are wonderful) and came across this new seller...First Grade Kate. I saw this lovely product and had to download it. (It's a freebie!). I got to be her first follower which makes me all kinds of happy. I remember back in October, 2012 when I first started.

Well...then I read that she lives just down the road from me so I had to give her a little bloggy love. 

I know she'd love it if you stopped by her store to follow her and snag it up, too. You can get there by clicking the product picture...

2. In my Teach Like A Pirate post yesterday I talked very briefly about meeting Barbara Gruener from The Corner on Character. Barbara lives in TX but is originally from WI and is in town for a big family shindig after presenting at a conference in St. Louis. We had such a lovely lunch in a sweet cafe and the time FLEW!

Barbara's was a blog I started following a long time ago...she offers gems and nuggets that stick with you! I sooo wish we had guidance counselors in my district. Well...we do but their split into so many schools that they just can't do what they could if they were at the same school all the time.

We talked for two hours straight and I'm quite sure we could have gone into the afternoon and evening. She is full of energy and enthusiasm! It's no wonder she is hired to speak!

I heart her and hope our paths cross again! Sooner rather than later!

3. Freebie Review...This whole past week was filled with freebies...if you didn't get a chance to snag them up, click the pics/captions below to get to those posts and snag them up...
Mini-Common Core Crunch Pack

Reading Strategies Poster & Bookmarks
Sight Word: Find, Tally & Graph

Data Binder Covers

Bunting Header for posting your Learning Targets
4. I adore, adore, adore my Fit Flops. I didn't realize how much I love them until I put on a different pair of flip flops that I used to wear all the time. That pair felt like I had a slab of wood under my feet and I couldn't even wear them longer than a few minutes. I'll definitely be ordering another pair soon!

Oh my '12 tabs open' fashion of being on the 'puter, I just headed over to Amazon and they're on sale, so I bought two pairs for just a bit over what I paid for the first pair (which is also discounted compared to when I bought them).

So now I'm sharing pics and case you want to start (or continue) your addiction.

  This was my first silver, though.

 This pair is coming my way in black.

 This pair is also coming my way in pale bronze.
You can click any of those pics to check them out...via my Amazon Affiliate.

5. This sweet, spunky, sassy girl will be having her birthday party today. :) It's a dance's my first party using the local Park and Rec department and we are literally showing up with Emily and that's it. They are doing everything else! And it was not terribly expensive either! I'm so excited to see how it goes...cuz the little man is turning nine in about a month. 

Three Generations
Go link up with Five for Friday (today, if you wanna join me in the We Are Late Party...or next week)!!!

Friday, June 21

Teach Like A Pirate - Chapter 5

I'm a bit of a "my eyes are bigger than my stomach" sort of girl.

I'm not horrible at saying no to's just that I always have GREAT intentions and semi-okay follow through.

When I signed on as the Hostess of "Chapter 5: Transformation" with Gina & Jennifer's (LOVE those girlz) Teach Like a Pirate Book Study over a month ago I intended to order the book IMMEDIATELY. Well...just got it on Monday. (not because Amazon failed was cuz I ordered it last Friday.) BTW, Amazon Affiliate links may be included in this post, where I earn a small commission on purchases made through the links.

Which wasn't so bad when you consider I thought my chapter's post was scheduled for NEXT week Thursday.

See, I'm a day late on my actual host date.
At any rate...I have been a busy girl this week and since I thought I still had a wee bit of time, I didn't start reading the book until Wednesday.

Now...that's another thing I'm excellent at...working to deadline procrastination.

So, when I started the book two days ago, I was thinking I had a whole week to read it. But then, Sweet Gina let me know that yesterday was my day. So I hastily began to read to get to Chapter 5 so I could say something slightly meaningful. (That will be up to you to determine, my friends.)

I will admit, the first 25 or so pages (ya know, the ones with Roman Numerals followed by the regular number pages which are introductory) I was not fully engaged. (Sorry, Mr. Burgess!)


When I got to meet up with the incomparable Barbara Gruener (The Corner on Character) yesterday (which I will blog about over the, love, LOVE her...), we chatted about this book.

One of the things she said hit me square in the face showing me how just UNengaged I was in the book (again, Mr. Burgess, I'm SUPER sorry)...she recited off the chapter names quick as a wink. I was amazed and then she revealed the acronym...

See...I didn't REALLY read page xxiii well enough. The part where it said, "{this part of the book} is divided into six chapters, one chapter for each letter of the word {PIRATE}."


So...yesterday afternoon while my daughter napped made a ginormous mess in her room (which she then freaked about cleaning up...but mama prevailed), I began reading again.

Again, I wasn't super engaged. Could have been the evidence of mess-making instead of nap-taking that I was hearing above my head.

But then...

I got to the R chapter - Rapport. Now, Burgess was getting to me...

Then the A chapter - Ask and Analyze.

At that point, I was totally and COMPLETELY hooked!







My almost five and almost nine year old are not thrilled with me. Neither is my husband, for that matter.

Come on, family, I NEED to read. Fend for yourselves!

This is why I don't read fiction too often anymore. It takes over my life.
----------------------------------------- Since I'm the Chapter 5 Hostess (but not necessarily with the mostess)...I reckon I better start yammerin' about it!

The chapter starts with this Burgess quote:
"Provide an uncommon experience for your students and they will reward you with an uncommon effort and attitude."

Now, Mr. Burgess is a High School teacher. His students see several teachers in a day. We've all been to HS and can relate to the "Buehler. Buehler. Anyone. Anyone." type of teacher. 

In my first grade setting I try to have one "Big Deal" lesson per week...a lesson where the students go home and tell their parents all about it. 

Sometimes it's a craftivity (I'm not great at those. I might be allergic to glitter. Or just faking an allergy to it.), but TpT has helped with that! (Thanks, Linda Kamp, for your brilliant academic craftivities!!)

Seriously...when I whip out a craftivity, the class goes nutso.

Other times, I use a video clip to further illustrate what we're learning.

And...there's always Reflector on the iPad...and the document camera...soooo great for featuring and highlighting student work!

The kids REALLY love to see one another's creations or see each other on video. Those lessons, to us, are Big Deal lessons.

In this chapter, on pg 56, Dave writes a letter about how he would like his students to view his class. It's a pretty sweet letter and he put it together based on his vision + what students have said to him.

Getting meaningful feedback is so incredibly validating. I got some wonderful TpT feedback today for the new product I listed today...
I maybe have read 50 times already...and smiled at it each time I read it...cuz it validates my thought process, creativity and that teachers are helped by the things I create. Powerful stuff.

Burgess challenges readers to write their own's my non-letter letter...  

I would like to think that my kiddos love coming to my classroom each day because they know it's a 





sort of place.

UPDATE: Thanks to Gina's suggestion, I've made the above into a printable poster...with a few options. :) Click this link to this Growth Mindset Caring Classroom Poster Freebie to download all the options. 

Pin the pic to save it for later in case you need to find it again!

He also asks two questions to get us to re-frame our thinking:
1. If your students didn't have to be there, would you be teaching in an empty room?
2. Do you have any lessons you could sell tickets for?

Wowzers. Deep stuff.

I definitely need to work on number 2, but I feel great about number 1...I had PLENTY of teachers that were the YES to #1 type teachers. They shaped the way of knowing what kind of teacher I did NOT want to be.

He talks a lot about re-framing our thinking about our lessons and I love this! He shares some personal anecdotes about dealing with his own children (and students) where he's successfully re-framed a situation. Loved reading the anecdotes, as it helps me see how to apply them to my life....

AND, it reminds me of my Huh. Lair. Ee. Us. friend Wendy who is SO amazing at re-framing that it's sometimes has even had the opposite effect as she's intended.

Her most famous example...

One of her students had lice. Students took home a letter from the health room and came to school with questions the next day. In an effort to save some dignity for the kiddo who had it, she tied it into their study of habitats and how hair is a habitat for lice.

The day following this little chat she got an email from the parent talking about how her daughter came home in TEARS because she REALLY WANTED TO BE A HABITAT FOR LICE.

Wendy rocks at reframing. I try and wear her on my shoulder when I am in sticky situations. Kind of a "What Would Wendy Say?" mentality.

Seriously, much of what we do as teachers is how we frame we frame impacts students attitudes towards school and therefore their attitude towards LIFE. Burgess has given me some serious food for thought and I can't wait to finish it this weekend! (Groceries? Dinner making? Baths? Daughter's b-day party? Whatev. I've got reading to do.)

Folks, you'll love this book! It's excellent at re-framing your thinking about your teaching. Usually self grandstanding and boisterous wackiness rub me the wrong way.

But not with Dave. (You like how I said that as if we're friends?) He's the Real Deal. And, if he gets to WI you can bet I'm going to do what I can to see him speak!

Thanks for revealing your secrets, Mr. Burgess!!!!

Hoping our paths cross some day! In the meantime, though, I appreciate the way you re-framed my mind around teaching and learning. I was getting a little boring.

If you haven't read Teach Like a Pirate I highly recommend it! If it's already sitting on your nightstand or in your school bag...start reading it already! It's a keeper!


Common Core Crunch - September & A Freebie

I love using my math & ELA Common Core Crunch packs for...
Morning Work
Word Work

Sub Tub

They are created out of the first grade is aimed at typical firsties...but many teachers have told me they use it with their strong Kinders and developing 2nd graders. September is aimed at typical September firsties with a variety of skills.

Gotta love a "Try Before You Buy" option, so make sure you
 download the Preview for 3 freebie pages.

Here are a bunch of pix of what's included with ELA...(you can click the cover pic to get to it on TpT.)
Common Core Crunch - Growing Firsties

Common Core Crunch by Growing Firsties

This pack is available as part of two bundles...Bundle 1 has Sept - Dec...the Yearlong Bundle has Sept - either pic to get to it on TpT.

There are multiple pages of the sampling you see below...for example, there are multiple "It Begins With..." pages that use different letters for sorting...

Short Vowel Sorts Letter Sorts

Beginning Consonant Sorts Vowel Sorts Upper Lower Case Sorts

Digraph Sorts Syllable Sorts Word Family Sorts

Opinion Writing List Making How To Writing

You might also be interested in starting your school year with a mini-unit on kindness.
Growing Firsties -

If that's interesting to you, go check out this related post about building a strong classroom community!

The Math pack is so handy, too!

Also available in a yearlong or semester and even a September bundle of ELA & Math together.

For your freebie, I have a wee bit bigger freebie....see, I was going to make a CCC-Summer Edition. I worked on a bunch of pages but I just couldn't get it done. Way TOO much going on in May! I tried...I really tried...but I had to deal with what was in front of me and that had me whooped each night.

So...I'm offering you all the pages I made as a thank you for your amazingness! There are a few extras in the pack that are not in the pix below.

Click the cover pic to get the freebie.
Syllable Sorts

Parts of Speech Sort

Long Short Vowel Sorts

Topic or Detail Sort

P.S. I was supposed to post yesterday about Chapter 5 of the amazing book Teach Like A Pirate and I didn't...Looooo-Zuh. So...I'm breaking blogging etiquette and will have TWO posts today. Hope you'll come back to check it out, cuz that book is FABULOUS!!!

Thursday, June 20

Rave Reviews & Sight Word Freebie

I've been getting some fun TpT feedback on my Rave Reviews pack and thought you might be interested in learning a little bit more about it...

The kids have an absolute blast learning all about and writing reviews. 

Here are a few pics of what's included...

For your freebie today I have three different Sight Word Find, Tally & Graph pages using sight words that are visually similar-ish. Gotta help train those eyes to look all the way through the word. 

If you enjoy it, you might want to read more about my Sight Word Math Packs...Set 1: Graphs & Patterns...Set 2: Coins

Click any pic to download it...

Have a wonderful day, friends! I know I will...I get to meet Barbara Gruener from The Corner on Character...she's in town from Texas and I'm SO excited to meet her!!!!

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