What I’ve been doing…

Enjoying this winter wonderland…

IMG_1360   IMG_1332IMG_1234   IMG_1237

Enjoying some tea with the queen…

IMG_1492  IMG_1477

Watching some football…

IMG_1570  IMG_1612

Keeping my “eye” on London…

IMG_1649  IMG_1669

Spending time with my favorite girls..

IMG_1345   IMG_1350

and celebrating…

birthday graphic

Today is my birthday! I’m offering 20% off in my store today.  Thanks so much for all of your support this year!

(Just click on the picture to go my store if you’re interested)

Resolutions: Organization

I’m linking up today with Hope at Second Grade Shenanigans for my new years resolutions for organization!  Be sure to stop by her blog for a chance to win some awesome prizes and to link up with your post about your organizational resolutions!

I love and hate to organize. If I had time, I think I could organize more, but in the course of a day, week, month, year the piles start to add up.  Anyone with me? My classroom is neat and organized at the beginning of the day, but by the end…..wow.  I usually have time to pick up, but every so often I need to stay late and just pick.things.up.

So, here are a few pics of how I organize some things in my classroom:

I store my centers in this fabulous containers.  I love them SO much.


I store my books in these containers:


and I store my posters in these nifty organizers:


These projects were a huge organizational feat for me last year.  It took a LOT of time, but I am so happy with the results.  I know where everything is, and it is quick and easy to put them away.

I love my little landing station.  But, I will admit it does get cluttered by the end of the day because it’s right by the door. 


The green drawers house my math and literacy centers.  I keep track of my bus riders with the clothes pins (each bus number has a different color), and I stick notes from parents on the bulletin board.  I use my little supply caddy for scissors, pencils, pens, lotion, and hand sanitizer.


This year, I want to tackle THIS:

I’m trying to toss old things as the year goes on, but there is that nagging voice in my head that says “keep it…you might need it again.” *sigh*  I KNOW I won’t need it again, and I’ll just re-make it if I do, but…..what if??

I also want to organize play lists in my iTunes for each month.  I have quite a few already, but I want to have my songs organized for each skill – rhyming, syllables, counting, etc.


This is an older picture of my classroom, and I’ve changed it a bit, AND it is QUITE messy in this picture, but you can see said cabinets above!

And my cabinets, oh, my cabinets.  I don’t have doors on my cabinets, so I use curtains.  I MUST go through these cabinets and TOSS. Again.

I also need to get in the habit of using this:


I carry it back and forth to school every day, but it rarely comes out of my bag. So sad. :(  My family uses google calendar to keep track of all of our appointments and classes, and it’s just so easy to pull up the calendar on my phone.  I resolve to use this MORE for school appointments!

A lovely blog reader also left a comment and told me about this cool site:


I already create my lesson plans on my computer, so maybe I’ll give this a whirl!

I’m working on organizing all of my word/letter/sound sorts, and I LOVE this idea from the Sweet Life of Third Grade.

Organizing word / sound / letter sorts

I really LOVE this idea too!

organize stickers by season and theme in a shoebox

This brilliant idea for sticker organization is from Kinder Craze.  Isn’t it is SO smart!

What are your resolutions for organizing?  Be sure to stop by Second Grade Shenanigans for a chance to win some great prizes and read about many other ideas for organizing!

New Years Resolutions! Techno Style!

I’m teaming up with some of my bloggy BFFs for a super fun linky and giveaway series!  This is a LONG post, but there is a special surprise when you get to the end…

 (Thanks Amy Lemons for the great graphic!)

First, I’ll share with your some of the ways that I use technology in my classroom.  I’m pretty lucky to work in a district that really emphasizes the use of technology with kids!
Here is what I use on a daily basis:
Promethean IWB
  If you have one in your room, you are lucky.  Just be sure you are not using it as a “glorified” overhead projector!  There is so much you can do with your IWB.  I use it on a daily basis for calendar time, literacy and math centers, and daily activities (math and language).  It does take TIME to make things interactive and useable for your kiddos, but they LOVE it.  I take a lot of my centers and import the PDF to a flipchart and use the camera tool to make them interactive.
image  image  image 
If you have an IWB and are looking for some activities to do on it and are not quite ready to build your own flipcharts, try out the Lakeshore activities for your IWB.
Patterning Adventures Interactive Activities Word Building Fun Factory Interactive Game
These fun games are super easy to pop into your computer and use as a time – filler, a whole lesson, or as a math or literacy center. My kids have enjoyed using both, and I can’t wait to get my hands on more. There are many Lakeshore games available for the ipad too! I love all Lakeshore products and these certainly don’t disappoint! The colors and graphics are fun and engaging for kids. It’s super easy for kids to work on independently – they are such naturals with technology!
Psst…keep reading for a chance to win some of these awesome software titles!
imageI was lucky enough to receive a grant to have 5 ipads in my classroom! Yeah!  So far, we have been using them during centers and for whole group lessons.
Some that we have used are:
There are things that your kids will never love: a long car trip, a neverending flight, a boring dinner at the restaurant... With magnetic alphabet this won't be a problem anymore!
Magnetic letters.  The free version only has uppercase.  We’ve use this for word building and other word work in small and large group.  (I hook my ipad up to my IWB.)
LetterSchool allows you to choose a specific type of handwriting style (Handwriting Without Tears) . It has wonderful animations! Try the free Lite version.
Letter School.  I LOVE this app, and the kids do too.  I purchased the full version for my daughter and she loves it too!  It teach the correct path of motion in a super fun way!
This app is called Monster Squeeze.  It goes with our Every Day Math Curriculum.  The children love it! It’s not a free app, but EDM often has if for free during the NCTM conference in the fall.
This is a free app you can use to practice sight words.  There is also one with a blue background.  You can’t choose the words, but the children still enjoy it. 
These are just a few off the top of my head, but I will blog more about the apps we are using at another time!
iTunes and iPod:
If you’re like me, you have TONS of CDs, and probably can’t remember all the songs that you have! I store all of my CDs on my school computer. I upload them into iTunes and create playlists.  I have an iPod and dock that I keep at school and keep my songs on there.  BUT, most often, I just search for the song that I want on my iTunes on my computer. This is the absolute EASIEST way to store music.  I don’t have to fumble with CDs anymore!
I’ll also create a page on my calendar flipchart for each month with my morning opening songs.  I call this my monthly “jukebox.”  I add a cute clipart and link the song to the clipart.  I just click on the song and it’s ready to go!
I will do this with YouTube videos as well – except I take a screen shot of the video, and then I link to it from the flipchart. I wish I could show you a picture of these two flipchart pages, but I don’t have my school computer with me!
Fitness and Technology:
Yes, sometimes it IS too cold to go outside in ND.  Usually when the windchill is below 0 we will stay inside.  One of the activities that my kiddos LOVE doing is Adventure to Fitness.
Adventure to Fitness is a 30 minute interactive workout.  The kids LOVE it, and I love that they still can get up and move around during our inside recess.  HIGHLY recommended by my kinders!
Listening Center:
This is another center that I have weekly.  Generally the children share the book, but this time I had multiple copies.  After they have finished listening, they will respond to a prompt that I have provided for them in their yellow books that you see in the picture.
MP3 Players:
One of my goals for the remainder of the year is to incorporate these little guys:

I have 4 of these that I received from a grant.  I hope to be able to upload a variety of books that the children can listen to after they finish their literacy centers.

I also have these:
Listen & Learn Letter Sounds Activity Program Listen & Learn Phonemic Awareness Activity Program
and I have a math one, but can’t seem to find it on Lakeshore’s site.  I want to use my mp3 players with these for independent work too.
Phew, I could go ON and ON about technology.  What are your favorites for technology?  What are your resolutions?  Post with a comment below!
After you’ve posted a comment, how about a chance to win some amazing prizes?!  You have a chance to enter TWO giveaways!  You could win a fabulous prize pack from  my bloggy BFFs and/OR a prize pack of THREE interactive games from Lakeshore learning for your IWB!
Here is giveaway number 1. Check out the catalog below – one lucky winner will win each of these products.  Use the Rafflecopter below to enter.  But be QUICK – this giveaway will end in 24 hours! *You actually get a little more time on this one -- I'm overseas now and I can get the Rafflecopter to show the correct amount of time because of the time change!*
a Rafflecopter giveaway Giveaway #2:  You could win 1 of each of these titles from Lakeshore Learning:
Phonemic Awareness Interactive Games Numbers & Counting Adventures Interactive Activities All About Life Science Interactive Activities
Enter in THIS rafflecopter to win.  This giveaway will be open for 1 week!
a Rafflecopter giveaway What are your technology resolutions?  What are you doing that works well?  Link up below and share!  Maybe you don’t know how to enter a linky – make that resolution #1!  Maybe you don’t know how to enter a giveaway?  Make that resolution #2!

Be sure to check out 2nd Grade Shenanigans for tomorrows link-up!


Here is a quick peek of some of the activities my kiddos will be working on this week! 

There are two options for writing and counting the room!  I’m using the write the room one as a “second” center that the kids can go to as they finish their first center.

IMG_0598  IMG_0613

At this center, the children use pattern blocks to measure their Christmas tree.


At this center, the kids grab a handful of “presents”, count them and tally how many they grabbed.


More patterns!


Dice domes and dobbers…what could be more fun!  Adding the two dice and dobbing the sum.


Here the children roll the dice and write the ending sum.  They “collect their gifts” as they travel around the maze.  It’s amazing how something so simple can keep the kiddos so engaged!


Unscrambling sight words!


Matching rymes


I have this center at my IWB.  The children manipulate the words to build a sentence.  They love working at the IWB!  The book is at our listening center.  The listening center is always one of our weekly centers.  I try to have the IWB be a center as well, and throw in the ipads when I can too.  Nothing like technology to keep the kids engaged!

IMG_0617   IMG_0618

All of these centers are inlcuded in my “Get your Jolly On” pack.  We still have 3 full days of teaching this week! Wish me luck friends!