Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Good Old Giveaway Winners!

Thank you so much to all those who entered our giveaway to help me celebrate!  I am especially grateful for Kristin from A Teeny Tiny Teacher and Jennifer from Rowdy in First Grade!  Thanks again, ladies!

As promised, I used the random generator thingy to select 3 winners. The winners will need to contact me by the end of the day Thursday to claim their prizes.  Congratulations!

Next up...two sales, a linky party and the Everything's Primary Expo!  Details coming soon...

Thanks again everyone!

Thursday, January 26, 2012

A Good Old Giveaway!

Yahoo! Two of my favorite bloggers are joining me for a giveaway to celebrate making it to 1000 followers!  Blogging has been an amazing journey for me this past year.  My pals, Kristin from A Teeny Tiny Teacher and Jennifer from Rowdy in First Grade, are celebrating all of you with me.  I'm so grateful for all of you who read my ramblings, leave such sweet comments and inspire me to be a better teacher.

Now about those prizes...
A $10 gift card to Teachers Notebook from Jennifer at Rowdy in First Grade

A $10 gift card from Amazon.com from Kristin at A Teeny Tiny Teacher
A $10 gift card from Target from me

3 fabulous prizes = 3 lucky winners!

The giveaway begins today (Thursday) and ends Monday (1/30).  The winners will be chosen via the random generator thingy and will be announced at some point on Tuesday.

You can enter this giveaway 1 time for doing each of the following (take your pick or do them all for more chances to win)...
1.  follow my blog and leave a comment here
2.  follow Kristin at A Teeny Tiny Teacher and leave a comment here
3.  follow Jennifer at Rowdy in First Grade and leave a comment here
4.  follow my Tpt store and leave a comment here
5.  make my Teachers Notebook shop one of your favorites and leave a comment here
6.  make Jennifer's Teachers Notebook shop one of your favorites and leave a comment here
7.  blog about this giveaway and leave a comment here

See... I told ya this was a good old giveaway!  Thank you Jennifer and Kristin for joining in the fun! Good luck to all! 

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

MLK Activity Pictures

I'm finally getting around to posting the pictures of the Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. activities we did in my room. For a few days, we read lots of books about MLK. We had a class discussion about MLK and all of things he believed in, worked for and accomplished. After our discussion, we made a class web with MLK's picture in the middle.

Many of the activities I used this year were a pinspiration from the fabulous Anna and Crazy for First Grade. You can find her post here. Anna's blog is packed full of amazingness! If you are not already a follower...you need to check it out!

Here is a picture of the version of the art project my students did and a writing sample. I encouraged my students to write their own "I have a dream" speech focusing on anything they think would make the world a better place. Their topics of choice ranged from ending bullying to feeding wild bunnies. Gotta love first graders! Both the art project idea and the writing pages I used are from Anna's blog.

When my students finished their writing, I gave them the opportunity to say their "speech" while standing behind a real podium with a microphone. They LOVED it!!! I introduced each speaker and we listened to each of them 3 times because they enjoyed it so much. The podium is not very fancy, but the speeches were impressive and absolutely adorable. I've done this for several years. One year, I invited parents. Although I'm sure it would bring them to tears to hear the cute little speeches, I find that the number of students willing to try the podium thing is significantly less when we have lots of adults in the room.

Back to work I go... stay tuned tomorrow...it's almost giveaway time!!!

Sunday, January 22, 2012

Thrifty Saturday

My best teaching friend and I went antique shopping yesterday. We had so much fun that I took my daughter to a few of my favorite thrift stores later in the day. Other than the fact that my friend is also a teacher, this post obviously has nothing to do with teaching.

Here are my treasures which cost a total of $17.50! I'm often accused of only wearing black, gray and brown... so the pink purchases are kind of crackin' me up. Guess I was feeling the love of Valentine's Day.

black dot purse = $1.50
striped purse = $1
Michigan State sweatshirt = $2
dress (with tags) = $3
jacket (with tags) = $4
pottery for my collection = $3
vintage quilt square placemat = $2
vintage Valentine (which I'm going to frame) = $1

I also bought an antique library table for my new house (which I'm hoping to have soon). Oops - pretty sure you are supposed to buy the house first. Oh well. I'll take a picture of that when it's in the new house (instead of the garage at the rental).

Coming soon...I'm working on a linky party and giveaway for the next few weeks.

I'm off to take my kids ice skating at an outdoor rink in our little town!  I should probably work on some lesson planning too. So hard when reading all of these teaching blogs is so much more fun. Happy Sunday!

Friday, January 20, 2012

Winter and Spring Math Journal Prompts

My students love solving problems in their math journals! I now have 3 different sets of math journal prompts at my Tpt store and in my Teachers Notebook shop. I have a fall, winter and a spring set. The spring set is new. You can read about how I use the math journals in my room by visiting an old post here.

If you want to check them out, you can click on the images below to find these products in my Tpt store. Each set is only $1.50.  You can also find them in my Teachers Notebook shop.  Don't forget you earn points when you purchase things through Teachers Notebook.

I'm off to watch the snowflakes, while I catch up with my favorite bloggers.

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Winter Themed Long A Word Sort - Freebie

I love snow! We usually get tons of snow in Michigan, but this year it's been kind of an unusual winter. It snowed a bit today and my favorite meteorologist guy claims the flakes are gonna fall this weekend too. My husband and I bought our kids snowboards and ice skates for Christmas. So, let those snowflakes fall!

I've been thinking about posting this for a while...just couldn't seem to finish it until today. I am grateful for all (oh so close to 1000) of you. Yippee!! Little old me didn't even have a blog at this time last year. Here is a little freebie that I'm hoping some of you might be able to use.

Please follow my blog if you download and are not already one of my (almost 1000) followers. Did I already say "Yippee"?  Or send a friend - I'm pretty sure everyone loves free stuff, right?

Thanks again for reading/following/sharing. Happy almost Friday!

Monday, January 16, 2012

Penguins and Poems

Since there are all kinds of great penguin stories and my kids love penguins...my class wrote penguin poems last week. First we read lots of penguin stories. We started with fiction and ended with nonfiction. We used the nonfiction to help us gather the information on the chart below.

The children used the information from the nonfiction books and the chart above to write their own penguin line poems. They also made a penguin craft. They turned out super cute! Their handwritten poems are on display with their penguin craft in the Gillow Gallery (which is really just the hallway outside my room).

Their poems also became published when we typed them and turned them into a cute little bookmark. I got the ribbon at Target in the dollar spot a few years ago. It came with 4 different colors/designs for $1. They were so proud to take their bookmarks home!

In a couple weeks, we will begin our big informational text unit and study nonfiction text features. I use my informational text packet, which you can find by clicking on the image below. It's in my Tpt store and my Teachers Notebook shop.

When we finish the informational text unit, we will start our animal research reports. My students will use the animal research report that I made last year. It is also in my Tpt store and Teachers Notebook shop.

I'm off to rack up some points for the Fun Fitness Challenge at my school.

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Just 3 Words and a freebie

First of all...it's official! Hip, hip hooray! I'm homeless (I mean, mortgage free). Hopefully not for long, because I have FAITH (that's my OLW) - or at least I'm trying really hard to have faith - that we will find something fabulous to buy very soon. Here is one of the pictures from our late Christmas card Happy New Year card. I couldn't send the cards before the closing because that is super bad luck - but now it's done and the Happy New Year cards are heading out tomorrow. Yahoo!

We're getting back into the swing of things in my classroom. Throughout the year, we've been using the strategies draw/write/symbolize to help us think/prove/discuss our mathematical thinking. Our discussions were a bit rusty after the 17 day break (seriously? THANK YOU CALENDAR COMMITTEE!). So, we made this chart as a quick review for how to use the draw/write/symbolize strategies.  I used tree stickers and weather stamps in the "problem" I modeled for the class.  We drew those, wrote a sentence and a number sentence and thought of different ways to symbolize.

My students frequently use a similar form to draw/write/symbolize to help them think/prove/discuss different problems that we are working on in the classroom.  You can click on the image below if you'd like to download it.

I've been working on my presentation for the Everything's Primary Expo in February.  Will post more about that soon...

Monday, January 9, 2012

Currently January

I'm linking up with Farley from Oh Boy, Fourth Grade again this month. It's so much fun to visit her to find out what's happening in Blogville. Thank you, Farley!

Here's my currently...

Saturday, January 7, 2012

Holly Bloggy Thank You!

I found my camera!!! Moving stinks...booooo. But, finding my camera means I can finally share a few pictures with you and properly thank Meghan from Little Girl in the Big World for the amazing gifts I received in my Holly Bloggy gift box! Turns out Meghan was Holly Bloggy Christmas pal and she sent me a package with tons of my favorite things (Mr. Sketch markers, Sharpies, scrapbooking paper, post-it notes and the Swedish Fish that I ate before I took the picture)! Thank you, Meghan! I love my Holly Bloggy surprises! You rock!

I also found a picture of this ornament that my daughter made at school this year. It is so beautiful and the picture does not show it's true beauty...but I decided to include it in case anyone wants to file pin the idea away for next year. Her school picture was photocopied on an overhead transparency (luckily I have a stash of those even though I did a happy dance when they removed my dusty old projector from my space). She cut around her picture and put the picture and some sequins and glitter into a glass bulb ornament with a pretty ribbon tied onto to finish it off. The glitter and her picture just floated around in there and sparkled on our Christmas tree. So pretty!

I've been working on organizing a Fun Fitness Challenge for my staff. We are going to start it on Monday (when we return to school) and it will last until the day before our spring break. Everyone who enters pays $10 and you earn points for every 15 minutes of exercise. For example, walking is 1 pt for 15 minutes and running is 3 pts. for 15 min. There is a whole point system. The person with the most points at the end of the challenge wins the money. My husband is coordinating one for his staff as well. All that exercise has to be good for me, right? The truth is that I do much better when something is a "challenge".

Happy Saturday!

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

So I asked for a paper fireplace...

I meant to post this a couple weeks ago, but I realized that the only pictures I took had my students in them. So, I went to school today (even though I'm on break until Jan. 9). I know... what was I thinking? I was trying to control the never ending to do list that spins 100mph in my head at night if I don't feel prepared "enough". I didn't stay long and I do feel better. I also remembered to take the picture.

Last year, I asked my parents if someone would be willing to help me make a fireplace out of bulletin board paper. Actually, I was hoping they would make the whole thing without me. One of the dads in my class responded to my email right away saying he would make it. I asked him if he'd like me to send the paper home or if he would be coming to pick it up. He said, "no thank you". Hmmmm... My plan was to have the paper fireplace ready to tape to the wall on the last day before winter break. We always have pj day right before winter break. I envisioned my little ones sitting in front of the fire in their pj's reading peacefully at their "just right" level.

A week before the winter break, I started to get worried. I had not heard from the volunteer dad. I kept asking his son how the fireplace was going and his response was, "don't worry, Mrs. Gillow". Great - now even the kids were saying that to me! Then... two days before the winter break, the office called my room during writer's workshop. They said I should be expecting a large delivery from "Mr. volunteer dad". There he came down the hall with the coolest "let's read peacefully at our just right level in our pjs fireplace" ever!!!!

I mean really...check this out!

It is made of wood!
It has a real mantel!
It has fancy trim!
It's painted (white with a mantel that matches my tabletops)!
It has flames (a fan with lights to make it look/feel like a fire)!!!
It has a switch on the side to turn the fire on/off!
It is amazing!!!!!

I didn't bring it out this year until the day before the winter break. My students were just as surprised and excited as last year! I decorated the mantel for the holidays. The fireplace will stay in our room throughout the long winter and the mantel will be decorated with snowmen for a while, a heart theme, something lucky looking for March and since we still get snow in April...maybe some bunnies.

And in the spirit of my OLW... I will try to have more faith in my volunteers. They are truly AMAZING and so is my fancy fireplace!

Sunday, January 1, 2012

My Word!

I think my grandma says that...but whatever she means is probably not the same as what I mean by "my word".

I've been inspired by Farley from Oh Boy, Fourth Grade and Ali Edwards to choose my very own word for 2012. I just happen to love words, so this is rather exciting! It was also a challenge to choose my own one little word (OLW). I picked a word, but then felt not so comfortable with it.  I discussed it with my dogs (because if I mentioned it to my husband he might say something annoying like, "Is this one of those dumb linky parties?"). Then I decided that I need to stick with my original word...because I need it. It would be much more comfortable (and like me) to choose a word that guarantees automatic comfort and success. But, one little word describes what I need in my life... faith.  Wouldn't it be nice if everyone who said, "don't worry" to me would say, "have faith" instead?   Maybe I should make a t-shirt so they know that saying "don't worry" sends me over the edge, but that hearing "have faith" seems more like a friendly reminder.

In 2012...
I am going to try really hard to have faith that my family will find a house to buy.
I will examine my religious faith (I have faith in God, but have been struggling with my church...or maybe it's just Catholic guilt).
I will have faith that our parenting decisions are strong and will continue to guide our children positively.
I will try to have faith that no matter what decisions are made in my district/state, I will continue to love teaching because I do love kids.

Thank you Farley and Ali for inspiring me to chose one little word for 2012!  Happy New Year!