What a _____ start to the year!

Fill in the blank how you may, the beginning of the year is ALWAYS eventful!

I have been SO bad at updating my blog and working on new resources!

Here are 5 adjectives I would use in the blank so far (take them as excuses if you will).

What a busy start to the year!

-We begin January with assessments… lots and lots of them. We check in on their sight words, reading progress,  spelling  (twice) , reading comprehension, and writing. The month has flown by!

What a stressful start to the year!

-This month I have been a member of a committee reviewing potential math resources for our elementary level students across our district’s three schools.  Taking time away from the classroom to hear vendors is extremely time consuming. Seriously, writing up sub plans is more difficult than just going in to teach myself.

What an overwhelming start to the year!

-This month I also “volunteered” to be observed as a part of instructional rounds in my classroom. This meant ALL district administrators from ALL school levels (about 16 of them) passed through my classroom observing in 10 minute blocks. First graders, of course, are intrigued by this. Of course we are told this is “non evaluative”, but I care about my job and success, so it was quite overwhelming preparing and just waiting for it to be OVER!

What a noisy time of year!

Is it just me, or do all students come back from break with SO much to say and share… for days and days and days. The chitter chatter of a productive classroom is something I embrace, but this is a whole new level of noisy.  I blame it on the cold weather and indoor or shortened recess, but I know it’s probably got a lot to do with their growing friendships and getting back into our routine.

What an exciting start to the year!

We have had an awesome and exciting beginning to the year! We have worked on some of my favorite units (bears and other winter animals, snowmen, and MAGNETS!) We had an awesome visitor come to present to the kiddos about magnets and it feels so good to watch their eyes widen as they make new hands on discoveries. It is also the time of year when we begin writer’s workshop, so that’s pretty exciting too! Tomorrow is also the 100th day of school for us, so I am busy planning for the fun first grade happenings that we enjoy on the 100th day! (more to come about that!). It’s also my BEST TPT month and I am so excited to watch my little shop grow!


I have also decided to try something different, I am going to try to post some  parts of my freebies , to save you a step when it comes to accessing them online! We are toying with more advances to the blog.

Here is my first ever freebie! Please comment to share your Start of the Year Adjectives, or let me know what you think of the freebie(including if you have any trouble accessing it!)

sight-word-tic-tac-toe! (click here for the full PDF of the freebie!)



New Year, New Desk- & TPT tip

New Year, New Desk, New discovery about my husband…He is super handy!

He’s a computer guy, so making little programs for me to make my previews, fixing my glitchy computer, recovering lost files- he’s always been super handy for that kind of stuff!

Recently, he has a new found passion for building things. After looking long and hard for a desk for our new home office and thinking we would have to break the bank to get what we wanted, he decided to design and build.

I am in LOVE! It’s a 10 foot shared desk for the two of us (he works from home).

IMG_1238 IMG_1181


There is even enough space for my two boys to squeeze in between us as we work!

When sharing of the desk pictures with my friends and colleagues many of them asked “Wait, how may computers do you have?”

The answer- One desktop and one laptop- 2 monitors for each.

So i’ll let you in on a little secret that my super handy husband and the rest of the computer community has been keeping from us for a long time- 2 monitors are better than one.


Hook up 2 monitors to your computer and adjust the display in the settings ( your computer must have a video card that supports 2 displays). Your mouse will be able to move from monitor to monitor and even drag things back and forth.

How do I use this super cool feature as a TPT seller?

I open up my clip art files on the right monitor and the packet I am working on on the left monitor. No more clicking back and forth, clicking the “insert image” and then scrolling through all my clip art. I just have the folder open on the right side, copy, and paste right into my projects.

It’s a TPT time saver for sure!  It helps me edit packets, add graphics, and even work from some of the templates I have to customize for the topic I am working on.

So there you have it… a TPT tip (and best kept secret).

Happy New Year!



New Year Writing Fun!

Hey there! I am trying to be better about posting, but you know…. the life of a teacher!

Well, when I taught third grade, I wrote a little poem, and created a really fun and thoughtful project for the kiddos to do.  Now that I am in in first grade, we are always sharing new and fun ideas.

This year, I used resources created by any awesome member of my teaching team, Tara Hardink,  to do our New Year writing.

New Year 2016 writing Freebie!

Click here to get it for free!

My students used the cut and glue model along with some circle tracers, that I use several times a year,  to make their faces. At the beginning of the year, one of my super parents donated some really cool textured and printed card stock, so that’s what we used for the background of the tracers.  I also added some party squawkers for fun (did you know that’s what those shiny things are called? I didn’t!).  The students had tons of fun thinking of ideas, warmed up those fine motor skills with the cutting, and were super detailed in the pictures of their faces.

                    New Year Writing! New Year Writing New Year Writing!Happy New Year!

Check out Tara’s new blog here!



Gingerbread Story Activities

Teaching my Gingerbread Activities was probably my favorite part of the entire year so far!
We started by reading the Gingerbread Man story and creating a story mat to practice retelling. We really focused on the characters and setting in the creation of the story mat.

Then we wrote letters to the gingerbread man telling him whether he should run away or not.

Then, we read another version Keep Running Gingerbread Man, and retold that story using our mat as well. Doing both retellings helped the students to compare the stories with lots of detail!

On Friday, we celebrated SAVE THE GINGERBREAD MAN DAY! We began by discussing the problem in the story of the Gingerbread Man. IN all the stories we read, the Gingerbread Man had trouble when he got to the river. We made lists of ways to save the Gingerbread man (yes superman and Spider Webs were allowed on these lists, along with portals and Enderdragons).

Then, I posed the “crossing the river problem”, the students had some materials and they had to try to engineer some way to get the Gingerbread Man across. It was at this point that we narrowed down to real life engineering solutions.

The kids LOVED IT!
To end the week, they rewrote the ending to the story, where the Gingerbread man was heroically saved by a catapult, boat, or hidden bridge (depending on their creations). It was an awesome week! Check out the resources I used !

Gingerbread Story Activities