Sunday, June 30, 2013

Currently July

It's time for Currently, thanks to Farley from Oh Boy 4th Grade!

Here is what is happening currently in my life.

It's amazing what you hear when you have time to listen.  I'm not a very good listener.  Honestly, I just can hardly stop talking long enough to listen.  If I had to describe how my brain works in three words it would be "supersonic hamster wheel" (perhaps that is 4 words).  My mouth works the same way.  That might make me a bad friend, but at least I'm aware and thinkin' about trying to start fixin' the problem. :)  Anyway, I do love to listen to birds chirping.  The fact that I have time to listen makes it even better.

Yesterday, my 7 year old son competed in a 25 meter swim race for our swim club's swim team.  He's not even on the swim team, but based on his performance during lessons they invited him to try it.  It was his 8th time swimming a full lap in the "deep lap pool" and he there he was in a real race.  We're callin' him brave boy!  

Speaking of brave, one of my friends recently introduced me to the Brave Girls Club.  It's all about girls being good to each other.  I love their daily messages and my ten year old daughter and I started our own "Brave Girls Club" journaling project this summer.  We journal about the daily prompts they send out.  She makes an entry and I make an entry on the same topic for the day.  My daughter is brave, but I want her to feel empowered to be herself, respect others who are different and encourage other girls by being positive.  

A camping we will go...for 17 - 20 days depending on the weather.  We can't wait!  But that means a ton of packing and preparing.  

Oh how I wish chocolate, french fries, banana cinnamon milkshakes, running and weight loss would go well together.  Don't worry, I also eat healthy things. I've been running...but life seems too short to give up all the things I love to eat.  I used to be able to just run more and lose any unwanted weight.  Now, not so much. Blah, blah, blah.

manicure - on the schedule for tomorrow
fresh highlights - gonna let the sunshine reflecting off the lake during my trip take care of that and then I'll schedule an appointment when I emerge from the woods
exercise plan for the school year - wish I could figure that out between soccer, baseball, dance and piano lessons

Tips, Tricks, Hints
It's important to remember why you started blogging.  It is easy to get caught up and in over your head.  The bottom line is that I need balance and I give myself a limit when I sit down to blog, create and/or network online.  For that reason, I don't post as often as some.  I miss some posts by my favorite bloggers and sometimes I am out of the loop on certain things.  That being said, I still feel super grateful for each of you who read my blog, excited when I talk to my best blogging friends and inspired by the wonderful ideas that teachers are willing to share.

Carpe Diem!  I'm off to do just that with a little bit of relaxing (my OLW) on the porch with my own little ones and a pile of books.


Friday, June 28, 2013

Hello Bloglovin'

Goodbye Google Reader...hello Bloglovin'! For the past few years, lots of you have been reading your favorite blogs via Google Reader. As of July 1st, Google Reader is "going away" (whatever that means). I hope you'll stick with me and Funky First Grade Fun no matter how you follow. 

 You can now follow my blog on Bloglovin' by clicking on the image below.
It's easy...I promise.

Hope you'll join me! 

  Follow my blog with Bloglovin Follow my blog with Bloglovin

Thursday, June 27, 2013

Time for Throwback Thursday!

It's time for Throwback Thursday! Throwback Thursday is like a blast from the past, hosted by Cara from The First Grade Parade!

Here is one of my most popular posts from 2011!  It's all about my super spelling slippers!  You can read it by clicking on the image of our slippers below.

Oh, how I love summer...

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Back to School Books Linky Party

We just finished school on June 7...but the summer is best time to shop for books from my classroom.  Or maybe it's just about having time?  Whatever the case, I love books and I love shopping.

I'm linking up with First Grade and Fabulous to share some of my favorite books for the first week of school...

My favorite back to school book is called Hands as Warm as Toast.  The author, Lisa Himle, is a colleague and a friend of mine.  It is really a perfect story to read during the first few weeks of school or any time that a child may be feeling nervous or unsure about trying something new.  

Listen Buddy by Helen Lester is a hilarious story about the importance of listening. My students always  love this book!

I use We Share Everything by Robert Munsch to remind my first graders about my expectations for sharing in our classroom.

During the first few days, while I'm introducing rules, I read Following Rules and Respecting Others by Robin Nelson.  Both are nonfiction books with real photographs.

Excuse the blurry pictures...I guess that is what happens when I snag images.

Don't forget to head over to First Grade and Fabulous to check out the other books teachers are using for the first week of school!

New Girl on the Block

In May, I met a Kindergarten teacher at Kim Adsit's Differentiated Instruction for the Little Guy presentation. Her name is Kristin and she mentioned that she might be starting her own blog. Kristin was so sweet and it was fun to talk to her at the conference. She did start her own teaching blog! You can check it out by clicking on her button below.
I hope you'll stop by to visit Kristin and I hope Kristin will keep in touch! 

Friday, June 21, 2013

Wish Jar Freebie

Last year, I posted about the Parent Wish Jar that I use at Open House. You can read my original post here. I made a few new versions of the label for the jar and a few new versions of my "wish jar slip" for parents to write on at Open House. I ask parents to fill out one wish for their child's school year at open house. My school has open house the week before school starts.  You could do a wish jar anytime at the beginning of the year.  This is an old picture of my wish jar from last year. I have not decided which new label to use yet.

Click on the image below to see the new labels and parent wish slips.  
Please follow my store  and/or vote for this freebie if you like them enough to download them.

I'm linking this post to TBA's Freebie Friday!  

Freebie Fridays

Happy Friday (but isn't every day a Friday in the summer)!  YAHOO!

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Pen Pal Letters

A few days ago, I mentioned that I would be posting about my summer pen pals.

At the end of each school year, I give each student an envelope and invite them to be my pen pal over the summer. The envelope is for their first letter to me. I put a label on it with my address and attach a little note to explain this writing opportunity to their parents.

Last summer, I received 27 letters from my students. Not every student wrote to me, but many of the ones who wrote sent more than one letter over the summer. I promise the children that I will write back to them each time they write to me (and I send stickers for them with every letter). Some children use a letter writing form that I included in their summer packet

 We just finished school on June 7. So far, I've received 5 letters from my class. This one made me sweet!
Emma moved to our school (from another state) on my birthday. We immediately decided she was my "birthday present" and what an amazing little birthday present she turned out to be! I miss seeing her face each morning too. 

 I am enjoying these summer days though. I woke up early and went for a quiet run (hooray for me). Then my family started the day at our swim club with trampoline lessons for both kids and swimming lessons for our little guy. Then we had a picnic and I took a nap. Then it was off to dance class for my daughter. This evening, we squeezed in a family bike ride and a long dog walk. The weather is beautiful here this week. I am so grateful for this time to be with my family. Life is good! 

 Happy summer to all of you!

Sunday, June 16, 2013

Krazy Kool Summer (freebie)

I'm just now finding time to share about the last couple days of school. I'm not sure why, but I've had kind of a hard time "winding down" so far this summer. Believe me, we've been enjoying riding around town with the top off the new Jeep, get togethers with friends and days by the pool...but it just has not really settled in yet. 

 During the craziness of the last few days with my super nice class, I finished the class slideshow (500+ pictures) and burned a CD for each student.

To encourage writing practice over the summer, I give each student an envelope with my address and invite them to write to me. I will be doing another post about my pen pal experiences in the next few days, but here is a pic of the envelopes.  I make sure I give them at least one envelope with my address already on it and a note that tells their parents about being my pen pal.

I also give my students a summer packet of work to do over the summer months. Each student takes home their packet in one of these large envelopes. 

 If you wish to checkout my summer packet, please click on the image below.  It includes a variety of summer reading and writing practice activities (summer reading log, nouns, verbs, adjectives, writing prompts, summer poetry, informational text,etc).  I send my packet home with students, but you could use this packet for tutoring as well.  I also include some math work in the envelopes for my students, but the pages I give them are from one of our math programs.

And just for fun, I gave my students a fancy straw and a package of Koolaid.  I was surprised to learn that most of my students had not tried Koolaid before (and alarmed when one of them tore open the package and tried to eat the powder like candy).  Oops.

There are several versions of a label to go with these floating around out there, but you can click on the image below to grab a copy of  my version if you need one for the future.

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Death Row Brownies

I probably should have titled this post "GOODBYE Death Row Brownies"! For some reason, my husband and I had a conversation a few years ago about what our last meal would be if we were on death row. To be clear, neither of us has plans to be on death row...ever. But, we have our final meal menus ready just in case. 

My menu only has two items...

Yum!  I call them gas station brownies, because you can buy them at almost any gas station in America (you just have to check for freshness).  When the news broke that Hostess was going out of business, I nearly had a heart attack...until I remembered that my death row brownies were made by Little Debbie.  I've talked about my love of Dt. Dew so many times before that I'm sure you are not surprised that it made my menu.

Today, on a regular Wednesday...I must throw away my Death Row Brownies. 
 Yes, I will. 
 I can do it. 
 During the school year, my fitness plan is more like a survival plan. It includes random 2 mile runs (every few months), daily dog walks (which don't seem to be very helpful in terms of weight control for me) and an abnormal amount of death row brownies (and Swedish Fish and maybe some other stuff). 

I'm turning 40 this year. I'm on an upward slope - on the scale. This can not go on. Now that I finally finished school, I'm back on my summer workout plan (which includes 3 mile runs at least 3 times a week and lots of dog walks and bike rides in between. Still, I must say goodbye to my Death Row Brownies. Booo! 

 Off to run. Then tomorrow (when the detox sets in) I will follow this plan (thank you, Pinterest) for my "off days".   I linked it to the blog that Pinterest links it to, but I can't seem to find it on her blog.

I will survive without brownies and Swedish Fish in my life, right? Please don't suggest that I should give up the Dt. Dew too. I only drink one a day (unless we have a staff meeting) and I just can't do without that for now. Pathetic, but true? 

Just in case you are wondering, my husbands menu includes only one item (in mass quantities).  If he had to choose a last meal his meal would consist of Bezeau ribs (no need to google it, they are ribs made by our friends).  Wouldn't it be a nice compliment if someone chose your cooking for their last meal?  Considering my cooking skills, it would be a miracle.

Anyone else working on a fitness plan this summer?  I might need a support group.

Wednesday, June 5, 2013


We are down to 1 1/2 days of school.

My head is spinning...Since my husband and I are both teachers, our family goes into survival mode at this time of the year. I bought extra bottled water, cookies and chips at the store last weekend, just incase my google calendar sends me an alert to say that I volunteered to take one of those things to the endless list of functions for the week. 

Not that anyone has time to sit on the couch...but they would have to fold the laundry first. It's clean. And...I don't have time to inspect the picture for undies that may be sticking out of the pile. Excuse those if you see them.

 I got a new Jeep last week. I love it! It's my tattoo. Well, not really. My husband thought we should do something wild this year since we both turn 40. He liked the tattoo idea, but a new Jeep is as wild as this girl gets. Right about now, we are so busy that I'm scared to take the top off because I have no idea how to put it back on and I'm sure it will rain as soon as I figure out how to take it off. When summer hits, I'm gonna put on my big girl pants and a hat/head band/hair band and put the top down! And...I will not complain (to my husband) about how much it hurts when you have to brush knots out of your hair. Did I say that I love my new Jeep? I really do. 

 To sum up the school business... 

We've been doing lots of fun things in the last few weeks...that I won't have time to blog about until later. 

My class is super nice (sad to see them go). 
My parents are super nice (might need to hire them to train future parents).
I'm done with my report cards (amen). 
I only have a few things left on my checkout sheet (yippee). 
Looking forward to a  paycut and an increased class size (boo). 
I still love teaching (lucky)

 And the highlight of my students day today...chair washing. Yep. Every year they love it! So far, no one has complained about me asking kids to do such a chore.  My students use a blob of shaving cream and then we carry the chairs outside to the "scrubbing station" and the "rinsing station".  Then we have recess while they dry in the sun. It matches a standard and I have an I can statement for it, so I can't see why anyone would complain.

Ahhh...clean chairs (and bins).

Off to think of an I can statement for the Ice Cream Sundae party that I'm hosting tomorrow.  And...I might need to stop at the store and buy some gummy bears to replace the ones that a student brought a day early (oops).