Tuesday, December 11, 2012

12 in 12 Linky Party

12.  Favorite Movie You Watched
This is not starting out well.  I honestly do not think I've watched a movie all year.  How sad is that?  I'm obviously not a big movie watcher - plus Mr. Husband and I hate movie theaters.  He hates all the popcorn chomping and whispering.  I hate lice that is probably on the seats.  

11. Favorite TV Series
Does Hoarders Buried Alive count? I LOVE that show!  I don't watch much TV.  

10.  Favorite Restaurant
Good news here...I do eat a lot of food.  My favorite restaurant is Dan's Downtown Tavern.  You'll have to come to Michigan to eat there (it's a one and only).  It's not fancy.  I hate fancy restaurants.  I like to be able to recognize my food. They serve yummy pub style food at Dan's and they know my drink order by heart.

9. Favorite New Thing I've Tried
This year, we started going to a new church.  I'm not sure my family is thrilled with my decision to attend a non-Catholic church.   But,  we are feeling relieved to find a place where we feel welcomed and comfortable.  Last year my OLW was faith... changing churches was a major leap of faith for me.

8.  Favorite Gift You've Received
I have 2 favorite gifts this year...
1.  Mr. Handy (husband) made me a table.  I LOVE it!  It's a farm style table.  It fits in our new kitchen perfectly.  Here is a picture...

2.  Mr. Handy (husband) also made me a mantel for Christmas.  We still have to stain it, but I'm already in love!  He will freak out if I post pictures of the unfinished project.  So, I'll post pictures when it is finished.  

7.  Favorite Thing You Pinned
In my next life (or sooner if the Governor keeps up with his current shenanigans), I'm going to be Goldilocks and I'm going to take a really quiet nap in a fancy bed like this one.  No one is going to tap my shoulder.  No one is going to say, "Mrs. Gillow, Mrs. Gillow, Mrs. Gillow".  No one is going to ask me where they should put their paper when they are done.  I'm just going to fluff the pillows and sleep in total silence.

6.  Favorite Blog Post
I think my favorite blog post is the one about my writing anchor chart.  I love how it is working in my room.  My students are using it daily and I even used it as a tool to discuss writing goals with parents at conferences last month.  You can click on the picture below to read the post.

5.  Favorite Accomplishment
Our new house is my favorite accomplishment this year.  After spending 2 years in "for sale mode", we sold in the first few days of the 2012.  We got a great deal on our new house and are now able to save lots more money for college for our kids and retirement.  Our friends thought we were crazy trying to sell (in this market) when we didn't really have to sell.  But, these 2 teachers had a plan and we can declare our mission accomplished.  We love our new home!

4.  Favorite Picture
How cute are these munchkins!?!?  I took this picture with my new camera (another favorite gift from Mr. Husband).  Marissa (age 9) and Donavon (age 6) are my own little ones.  They are really good kids and we are super proud parents.  We are truly blessed!

3.  Favorite Memory
My favorite memory this year was visiting Amish country in southern Ohio.  I have always been fascinated by the way Amish people live.  I will admit that it felt a bit like being in a time warp to visit a place that does not rely on technology like we do.  At the same time, it was refreshing to have a chance to appreciate the most simple things in life. Our family learned a lot and will definitely visit again.

2.  Goal for 2013
My goal for 2013 is to try really hard not to let the drama surrounding education in our state effect my health.  Last year, I started clenching my teeth at night and ended up with a swollen face, numb jaw and lots of pain.  I actually thought I might have a rotten tooth from consuming a disgusting amount of chocolate.  The dentist laughed about that and told me to avoid stress.   I will try really, really hard not to stress out about things that are out of my control.  Not sure if it will work, but for the sake of my teeth I should probably try.

1.  One Little Word
I officially declare my one little word...RELAX.  I am honestly not very good at relaxing.  It kind of feels like a waste of time to me to be honest.  It makes me feel guilty. Although, I am jealous of all those people who know how to relax without feeling guilty.   This year, I am going to try to relax more.  I really need to.  I'm going to watch a little more TV, not set my clock every Saturday, sit on the porch and read a book and watch the stars on my balcony.  Maybe I'll even watch a movie or two, so I can have a favorite for 2013. :)

Relax - yep that is the word that can trigger a big fat argument if my husband says it to me. "Just relax"...blah, blah, blah.  He actually doesn't say it anymore. :)  

But, the truth is that I do need to relax.  I'm gonna need a support group for this one. Oy...

Click on the 12 in 12 image at the top to visit the linky party to read/link up! 

Monday, December 10, 2012

Everyone Needs One

Everyone needs...an Emily. 

 My good friend, Emily, is a retired teacher. It's been about 5 years since she retired. I'm still trying to get over the fact that she is no longer in "her" room. Emily has always been a mentor to me. She is someone I look up to. She is someone I never want to disappoint. 

 The lucky part is that once a week, she visits my room. Yep, that's right. Emily has been volunteering one day a week in my room as a gift to me (and my students) for the past 3 years. She works with students, organizes my mess, listens to me vent and helps me/my students with special projects. She comes in the morning and stays the whole day!  My students love her and ask about her when she is not there.  She is amazing!
Each time she comes, I worry that I have not thanked her enough. I promised her that I would gift a teacher the same gift when I retire. I feel so lucky to have her help. 

 Last month, she gave me another gift. It was better than my favorite flowers, better than chocolate turtles and just as great as a winning lottery ticket. During one of her visits (and in between me whining about the curriculum and my conference schedule), she told me that she wants me to know that I am a good teacher. Those words and her weekly visits mean more to me than Emily will ever know. 

 Every teacher needs an Emily. Some day, I'm going to try really hard to be "Emily" for someone else who needs her as much as I do.

Sunday, December 9, 2012

Snowman Subtraction Sort Freebie

Happy Sunday!  

Today, I'm sharing freebie #5 of the week (oops - maybe the week was over yesterday).  I appreciate each of you and the many new friends I've made since I started blogging. Please visit my posts from last week, if you didn't have a chance to download the first 4 freebies.

 You can download a copy of this snowman themed subtraction sort by clicking on the image below.  If you like it, please leave a comment.  I really do love comments. :)

This girl is going to bed early!  Have a great week!

Saturday, December 8, 2012

Dancin' Teachers and Snowman Addition Freebie

Fun weekend at our house! 

 Last night, my husband (a teacher) and several other teachers at his school won our annual Schools of Rock competition. Teachers from each school in the district perform routines (dancing mostly) in a competition that serves as a fundraiser for our educational foundation. 

Below... is my groovy husband. And if you click on his photo, you can visit the link that will play the video of his staff in their award winning routine. They rocked the stage (and won 1st place for the 2nd year in a row).  

I'm starting to think middle school teachers are just more fun (or at least better dancers)...check it out and see what you think.  I'm pretty sure my middle school wood shop teacher couldn't dance like that.

And a freebie for you...

Off to walk the dogs and take a nap, so I can cross both off my lazy Saturday list. :)

Thursday, December 6, 2012

Addition Math Boxes (Freebie)

A quick post...which I meant to do last night (but I ended up waiting in the urgent care  waiting room for the whole evening instead).  Oy... today was much better.

This week, I'm celebrating all of you with 5 freebies!  This is #3.  If you missed the others, please head back to my 2 previous posts if you'd like to download the 1st two.

Today was kind of a stressful day at the office if ya know what I mean.  Actually, it's been a bit much all week.  I have a really nice class.  If I could just hide in my room with my kids (and avoid the hallway drama, the curriculum disasters and the doom that is lurking in our state government), life would be so much less stressful.

So, I'll end with three simple things that I'm thankful for (just in case any of you had a similar week).

1.  I'm thankful for kids that have good manners (my students have  great manners - really).

2. I'm thankful for the mom who stopped me in the hallway today to tell me that her daughter hated reading until she met me. (The little girl was in my reading intervention program 3 years ago.)

3. I'm thankful for my next door teacher neighbor (and friend).  She smiles when I barge through our secret door (which connects our classrooms) to tell her something not very important about every 20 minutes throughout the day.  And...she shares recess duty with me.  It is so nice to have a friendly neighbor on the other side of our secret door. Love ya, Jenny!

Yippee!  It's almost Friday!!!

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Funky Fun Freebie #2 (List Making Writing)

Thanks for helping me celebrate!  This post contains freebie #2 for this week...so if you missed #1 yesterday you should could go back and grab it.

During writer's workshop, I've been talking about the things that good writers do to help organize their ideas.  We did a mini-lesson this week about list making.  I started by showing them my special pink notebook.  It's really just an lined journal with a pink leather cover that holds my precious "to do" list.  I love to put little check marks by each of the things on my list.

I also read the book, Everything to Spend the Night  by Ann Whitford Paul.  It's about a little girl who takes "everything from A to Z" to her grandpa's house for a sleepover - but she forgets her pajamas. 

I wanted my students to practice making a list about a specific topic.  I modeled "everything to bake cookies" first. 

Then I had my students write a list about "everything to make hot chocolate".  They brainstormed ideas with a partner first (just in case someone has not had hot chocolate before).  Then we shared our ideas with the group in a circle before each child worked on his/her own list.  They were super excited to work on this project. They will be using the lists they made today to help them get started on their how to writing project tomorrow.

What my students don't know yet is that we will be having a hot chocolate and candy cane publishing party in two weeks!

You can click on the image below to download a copy of a few winter themed list writing pages.   

I'm off to drop my daughter off at dance class, walk the dogs and bake cookies!

I love cookies and comments! :) 

Monday, December 3, 2012

1500 Hooray! (5 Funky Fun Freebies)

I'm ALMOST to 1500 followers! I have not been posting as much as I want to this year, but I'm doing my best to post a couple times a week. I still remember when my goal was 15 followers. How funny is that!? That was back in the day when I could barely attach a document to my post, I had no Funky First Grade Fun facebook page and I had never heard of Tpt or Pinterest. My how things have changed in just a few years! 

 I owe a huge thank you to all of you! Thank you for following my blog. Thank you for liking my facebook page. Thank you for following my Tpt store. Thank you for making my Teachers Notebook shop one of your favorites. Thank you for pinning my ideas/products. Thank you for all of your purchases. And...thank you for the super nice comments that always make me smile!  I feel so lucky to have made so many new teacher friends.  I'm inspired each day when I read all of the blogs I follow.

Now, on to the celebration!

Here is the first freebie of the week.  You can click on the image below to download a copy.  If you do, please leave a comment to let me know you grabbed it. 

And please...someone send a friend so I really can get to 1500!  

Coming throughout the week...the other freebies.  Hope to see you back here soon.  Thank you for following my little old blog!  

Happy Monday (it's almost over so that seems ok to say now)!

December Currently

It's time for Farley's December version of Currently!
Head over to visit Farley so you can read/link up/share some love by leaving a comment for other bloggers.
Happy Monday!