Monday, January 19, 2015

Making it Rain and FETC 2015!

Thanks for a day off from school, I finally have a chance to blog and catch up on work a little.  It is pretty sad that I am excited for a day off because it gives me time to work.  There has been so many great things happening in the class, I have so many blog post ideas.  However, I just can't find the time to write them.

Last week was a 3 day week for the students.  (We had a workday and PD day Thursday and Friday.)  Because of this, we didn't have our normal reading curriculum to follow or test to give.  So instead, we did Science all week.  The kids LOVED it!!!

Make it Rain!

We were studying about water.  One of the investigations we did was the standard shaving cream cloud on top of the water in the jar.  Then I dropped blue food coloring on the "cloud" to show when it is full of water droplets it begins to rain.  My little scientist were all recording their observations.  I loved that one student observed that "clouds smell really good!  They smell handsome."  (Of course, I had to explain real clouds don't smell this way.)  After the discussion, students wrote about the final results and what they learned.

Just as the first of our blue drops began to fall from our "cloud",  the sky outside also opened up and it began to pour!  My students were amazed that "Mrs. Phillips' really can make it rain!"  My timing could not have been better.  

This is why I love teaching K/1!  My students think I can make it rain and that clouds smell handsome!

I am so excited that the week of FETC (Florida Educational Technology Conference) is here!  This is my first year going.  Is anyone else going???  I have 2 poster presentations and would love for you to stop by and say hello.  

Thursday, January 22nd from 2:30-3:30p.m. I will be presenting "Maximum Exposure with Minimal Devices."  I will be on aisle 600 in the Exhibit Hall Poster Area 1.  

Friday, January 23rd from 11:00-noon I will be presenting "And the Emma Goes to... Educational Multi-Medi Awards Night."  I will be on aisle 1500 of Exhibit Hall Poster Area 2.

I would love to personally meet my blogging buddies.  Let's meet up at #FETC 

Friday, December 12, 2014

A Christmas Questionnaire

'Tis the Season!  I love Christmas, even all of the craziness that comes with it.  That is why when I saw the "Christmas Questionnaire" from Fabulous in First I had to join in the fun!  (I know I have been neglecting my poor little blog, but trying to get back in the rhythm now.  So why not start here!)

1. When do you decorate?
I usually decorate the weekend before or after Thanksgiving.  This year I had to do it all the weekend after Thanksgiving, I was lucky enough to get new carpet in my family room!

OK, yes I admit I may have a little problem with trees.  I love Christmas trees.

2. Elf or No Elf?
Yes, Elf times 2!  I also have one at home and school.  I love the one at school.  Every year I go online with the class and order my Elf the first morning back after Thanksgiving.  Later that afternoon, a special delivery arrives still frozen from the North Pole!  The kids are so excited!  However, I will admit keeping up with 2 elves is a little tough, but well worth it!

3. Christmas Cookies or No Baking for You?
Well it depends....  Sometimes yes and sometimes no, depends on the time I have available.  However, yes always cookies!  (You can always buy them.)  My favorite holiday treat is Chess Squares.  Very easy and yummy!  They also freeze very well.  I actually like eating them straight out of the freezer.  Click here to see the recipe. 

4. Favorite Holiday Tradition
My favorite holiday tradition is the Santa party I have every year at my house.  This year was the 11th year we had Santa come to our house and invited all of our friends and their families.  I have loved watching the children grow over the years.  Everyone brings a snack to share, they get to sit on Santa's lap and even make a Christmas craft.  This year was one of the best ones yet!

5. Favorite Christmas Movie
I would have to say "Christmas Vacation"!  Not even because it is really my favorite movie, but I love watching it with my family every year.  They laugh and laugh, especially my husband.  One of my favorite times of the holiday.

6. Snow or No Snow
I'm a Florida Native, so No Snow!!!  Although one year in the 80's, we did have a White Christmas!

7. Favorite Christmas Song
This is my new favorite Christmas Song!  I love it!!!

8. Favorite Gifts to Give and Get?
This is a tough one this year.  I don't seem to have a clue what I want or what anyone else wants.  I guess it is really a blessing, we have everything we need and want!  More time would be nice, but I haven't found it for sale on Amazon yet!

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

A Demanding Dudley?

Do you have a Demanding Dudley in your class?  I know I have a few, especially this time of year.  I recently read Demanding Dudley: The Power of Using Your Magic Words by Deneen Renae.  It was a book in a series of children's books with a message by The Wibblets.

You may be asking what is a Demanding Dudley?  Well Dudley is quite the little character who will help you reinforce the importance of patience and being polite.  Dudley is a very rude and demanding little guy who wants what he wants when he wants it!  Through out this story Dudley learns the importance of manners and magic words.  This is a lesson a few in my class really needed at this point in the year.  I loved the book so much, I ordered another copy for my nephew.  It will make the perfect Christmas gift.

Saturday, October 18, 2014

The Little Things

It's the little things that make the difference!  I am sure you can agree there are so many "little things" or quick fixes that make all of the difference in your daily life.  Some of them are so simple and you say "WOW! How come it took me this long to think of this?"  Well today I am sharing with you a few of my little ah ha moments from the past few weeks.

A chair and workspace makes all of the difference in the world!

You may have noticed it has been forever since I have blogged.  There are many reasons for this of course.  Mainly time but also because my office chair was so uncomfortable.  I was using my husbands old, worn out chair.  So instead of sitting and working at my desk, I would sit on the couch with my laptop and we all know how productive that can be.  So today I went and set in every desk chair at Staples.  I found one I loved, brought it home and even assembled it all by myself!  So now as I am writing this, I am very comfy and productive in my new chair!  I also cleaned and reorganized  my office area.

How do you hold your door open?

For years I have used the little wedge door holders under the door.  You have to get them wedged in "just so" to get them to hold.  This summer, I was at a hotel and noticed the cleaning crew holding the room door open with a large dowel at the top of the door.  It worked so well for them.  So when I went back to school and was unpacking my room I found a few paint stirrers, put them together to the correct thickness and voila!  It is so easy now to prop my door open now in the morning.  It may not be that pretty, but it works very well!

Tearing out pages...

Teaching students to tear out workbook pages is always fun at the beginning of the year.  (NOT!)  It never fails, several students tear a page out of their math workbook and while doing it they rip the page.  Then I have to stop and tape pages back together.  So this year I decided to have the students complete the workbook pages in their workbooks, and then tear them out after we are finished.  So now when they rip their pages by accident, it is no big deal!

What little things make a big difference in your day??

Saturday, September 13, 2014

Do You DOJO?

I use Class DOJO in my classroom and love it!  If you haven't heard about it, please visit to learn more.  It is basically a behavior tracking website/ app.  It is amazingly easy to use, I love that I can access it on my computer, iPad or iPhone.  You can completely customize the positive and negative behaviors you track.  I used it last year with my students.  One of the great features is the behavior graphing tool; this is great for students on a behavior management plan.  Parents also have access to see how their students are doing.

This year they added even more new features!  One is a messaging feature for easy contact with parents.  You can also now access your partner teacher's class. Oh, did I mention it is FREE!

This year I set up a Class DOJO Prize Center in my office.  (Think arcade ticket redemption center.) )  I used shoe storage pockets, a black poster board and labeled each row with a point value range.

On Fridays, my Class DOJO Prize Center is open.  Students can chose to spend their points or save them until next week.  I open the Class DOJO app on my iPad and “edit bubbles”.  (Currently you have to reset their points to zero, so they have to spend it all at one time.)  In addition to the trinkets, I am also adding class coupons (no homework, special chair, etc.).  In addition I have a few “big ticket” items like a Wii game my girls don’t play anymore or toys donated. 

The kids love shopping!  I was worried this would take forever. However, I have found it faster than the old school treasure box.  The students can see everything.  I also love that it is out of the way, yet very appealing.

Would you like to set up your own Class DOJO Prize Center?  Click here to download the signs for FREE!  I also included a few blank point cards so you can set your own amounts.  

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Week 2

WooHoo!  I survived the first week of school with students!!  Boy was it an exhausting week, there is not tired like first-week teacher tired!  I think part of the problem with the first week is the lack of a regular schedule.  Not just in the classroom, but life in general!  We are all working 70+ hour weeks trying to get everything ready for the classroom, the housework falls way behind, our personal children.... (Blogging in non-existent at this time!) I think I am finally starting to get things under control now!

I just posted a great freebie and information about a great reading lesson I did today on my monthly post for my collaborative blog Teaching Blog Roundup.  Click here to hop over and check it out!

It was one of those fun first grade days today!  I had that "Phantom Pooper".  If you teach K/1, you know what I am talking about....  I smelt it all afternoon but could never quite figure out who it was!  I tried all of the tricks: walking around the room, calling them over one at a time to answer a question, and I reassured the class multiple times that it was OK to tell me, they wouldn't be in trouble and I would send them to the nurse.  No luck!  Thank goodness to Lysol Spray!

Saturday, August 9, 2014

It's Crunch Time!

How did I spend my last Saturday of Summer???  I was up at school working on my classroom.  I know it is ridiculous to spend my Saturday there, but I can't sleep or focus on anything until I get it done.  I'm not completely crazy though, tomorrow is "Sun"day and I am spending it doing my favorite thing in the world, relaxing on the beach.  I will spend my last day of Summer with my toes in the sand and a drink in my hand!

I did make major progress in my classroom!   I unpacked everything and put it all away.  I also have the furniture where I want it (at least I think I do...) Now it's the fun part, decorating!  I have also been purging as I unpack.  My fabulous intern from last year got a job teaching first grade and is right next door to me!  It is amazing just how many things in a primary classroom are bought by the teacher personally.  However myself and the rest of my team are paying it forward and helping her out as much as we can.

I also just put my entire TpT store 20% off until Tuesday.  I know we are all so busy and we have missed the big sale earlier.

Well I am back to getting a few more things ready.  Hopefully will have pictures later this week.
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