Thursday, April 26, 2012

Earth-Friendly Owls and a Hoot

A few weeks ago, I found the cutest little owls to make for Earth Day (on Pinterest, of course) which led me to a cool new (to me) blog, The Learning Tree.  Here's a pic:

The best part was that if you re-pinned it or blogged about it, she would send you the patterns for free!  Can't beat that, huh?  So here is a picture of our cute little Earth-friendly owls:

I know it's a little late for Earth Day this year, but click the link above to head on over and check it out!

Now for the "hoot"!  We have snack every day.  Each child has 1 or 2 days a month when they bring in snack for the class. 
One of my little sweeties comes to me when he finishes his snack and says, "Mrs. Spradlin, can I have some minutes?"

" want some what?"

"Some minutes."

Now, I can usually figure out what they're talking about, but right about now, I was stumped.

So, I keep trying..."Baby, you want what?"

"Some minutes."

"What kind of minutes - minutes on the computer, time out minutes...?"

At this point, he starts to get really frustrated with me, "I just want some minutes!"

Finally, I have the bright idea to ask, "Honey, what are minutes?"

At which time he explains, "You know, when you give me more snack."

"Hahahaha!!!  You mean seconds?"

"Yeah, some seconds!"

I guess he wanted A LOT of seconds - he wanted some minutes!!!!  Maybe they shouldn't have taken time out of our math standards!
How's that for a hoot?

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

The Countdown Has Begun!!!

I just realized today that we have officially entered the "less than 30 days left" club!!! Woo-hoo!  We have 28 days left.  I can't believe it.  So - I'm trying to get my reading list together for this summer and was hoping you could help.  Leave me some suggestions - what are your "must-reads" (either teaching related or just for fun)? 

Now, since you're sharing your ideas with me, I'll share some with you.  I saw this really cute activity from Teaching with Love and Laughter.  Since we've been working on adjectives for a WHILE (if you know what I mean) and they still need more practice, I thought this activity was perfect.  Originally, the kids would draw a self portrait and use the cute cards to write adjectives on that describe themselves:

How adorable is that?  Since Mother's Day is coming up (you know where I'm going with this, right?), I thought it would be really cute if the kids would draw pictures of their moms and then use the adjectives to describe her.  Whadd'ya think?  We'll try these next week.  I'll take some pictures as soon as they're done!

*Don't forget to leave me with some book ideas for the summer!*

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Just a question...

Well, today was much better than yesterday.  Thank the Lord, because if today had been like yesterday, I would have been practicing my "Welcome to Wal-Mart" greeting 'cause I woulda quit!  I also discovered two new followers today.  Welcome new folks!  I have to admit, my follower count has been bugging me for a couple of days.  You see, I had 133 followers (yes, I watch it like a hawk) and the other day I logged on and noticed that I had 132 followers.  YIKES!  Really??  I was so bad that someone actually "un-followed" me (is that really a word)?  So today when I noticed that I was now at 134, I felt a lot better.  I'm telling myself that no one left, it was just a glitch and now I have a new follower, right?

Anyway, onto the question.  As we were leaving school today, my son asks me, "Hey mom, why are we always the last car in the parking lot?"  And yep, we usually are.  I always, ok usually leave by 5:00, so my question for you is, what time do y'all leave school?  I've probably asked this before, but I barely remember last week, so...

Monday, April 16, 2012

I'm Pulling My Hair Out (and it's only Monday)!!!!

***WARNING - this is a long post, but there is a freebie at the end!
So this week, our 3rd-6th graders have FCAT (which means high stakes standardized test for those of you who don't live in Florida).  I know, you're thinking, "You teach first grade, what do you care?" Well, because our specials teachers are helping to test small groups, that means we don't get our regular specials time.  Which means we are locked up required to stay in our classrooms ALL MORNING!!  Usually, we have specials at 10:45 which gives our firsties a good break.  Nope, not this week.

I quickly realized this morning that I was going to have to join BA (Baldies Anonymous...or it could stand for Boiling Blood Pressure Anonymous...or would that be BBPA?).  Anyway, today it seemed like the kids were doing the exact opposite of what I was asking them to do.  And it wasn't just my bad challenging kids either.  Some of it was my good kids that ALWAYS listen.  For example, we were making a map of Florida (well, really just using symbols to  mark some important cities in Florida) and the map we used just had Florida on it, no boundary lines.  We've done this for a couple of years and when we go to color in the water around Florida, the kids always color above the state.  So, we always have them extend the boundary so they are drawing the Eastern edge of the US.  One of my really good boys, Georgie (names have been changed to protect the guilty innocent), draws a line down, tracing the coast of Florida.  I politely tell him, "No, honey, go up to the top of your paper."  He again draws a line down the coast of Florida.  I get a map of the US out and show him where we're talking about and what line we have to draw.  He again draws down the page.  REALLY???  By this time, I realize it's all downhill.  I yell politely explain again that he needs to go UP to the TOP of the paper (emphasizing the important words - see, teaching test taking skills already).  Finally, he draws a line UP!!! 

After this, we finally make it to lunch.  We could not get out of that classroom fast enough.  Now, I'm lucky enough this year to have a lunch time that overlaps my daughter's by about 10 minutes.  So every Monday we eat outside for those 10 minutes so I can hear about her day.  I'm looking soooo forward to this today, not only because I wanted to hear how she thought her FCAT was going, but also because I just needed to be a mom right then and not a teacher (if you know what I mean).  So I'm taking our lunches out and I set them down on the wooden picnic table to grab something else (some of you know where this is headed) and when I go to pick them up, I get a HUGE splinter UNDER MY FINGERNAIL!!!   OUCH, OUCH, OUCH!!!!!  Well, she's not out there yet, so I see the PE teacher sitting at a table and ask her to look out for my daughter and let her know I'm in the clinic.  I go to see the nurse to ask her to pull it out and we end up spending 15 minutes digging under my fingernail to try to get the splinter out.  Now, y'all are teachers, so you can do the math.  We get 25 minutes for lunch.  By the time I drop the kids off, get my lunch ready, get a 3 inch splinter under my fingernail, and then spend 15 minutes trying to dig it out....well, you know.  I had just enough time to tell my daughter I love her and then I had to pick my kids up.  Which left me trying to eat my lean cuisine as I am walking down the hallway.

Math didn't get any better.  Let's just say my daughter told me after school that as they were walking by my classroom to go back from their lunch, they could hear me yelling politely reviewing all of the rules of our room.   Recess then began at 1:30 - recess which is really my planning period this week due to FCAT - and no, we didn't get there until 1:45.  Recess is over at 1:55, so you know what my planning time was like today. 

After recess, we went to practice our play on the stage.  Now, we've been practicing this play for like a month.  We go live next Tuesday.  Apparently, today, NO ONE could remember when they needed to come to the mike to say their lines.  There must have been some kind of crazy force field around the stage that made all of the kids forget where they needed to be and when.  We're doing this play with 2 other first grade classes, so I was happy to see that it wasn't just my kids who were off in space today. 

It was so rough today, that right at 3:15 when the teachers could leave, I told my kids to grab their scooters and we took a walk to the park.  Luckily, we live in a really small town and it's only about a 10 minute walk to the park.  It was so nice. No one was there and I was able to sit and enjoy the peace and quiet and decompress. 

When we got back to school, my mind was a little clearer, and I was able to focus on what I needed to get done.  I've noticed lately that my kids are forgetting how to do missing addend problems and those problems that ask "How many more?" or "How many fewer?".  So, I created this worksheet to give them some extra practice.  It has a frog theme because our story this week is a Frog and Toad story. 

For those of you who read my warning and skipped right down here to the freebie, I don't blame 'ya!  For those of you who really read my rantings, thank you!  That's why I love y'all!
Frog-Tastic Word Problems

Thanks, guys for letting me vent.  Sometimes, you just gotta get it out.  Hopefully, tomorrow will be better...

Sunday, April 15, 2012

Blog Meet-up

Ok, so I've been reading about all of those super fun blog meet-ups that have been going on lately and have been soooo jealous.  They look like so much fun, but they're always sooo far away.  I mean, California, Tennessee...just couldn't do it!  But now, there's one in the works for Florida bloggers!  YEAH!!!!  Head over to A Teacher's Treasure to get all of the info.

 Blogger meet up

 Can't wait to see you there!

Friday, April 13, 2012

Earth Day Giveaway

Hey everybody,
   You've got to check out this awesome giveaway!  7 bloggers are teaming up to bring you the best Earth Day units.  Head over to Mrs. Freshwater's Class to get the details!

Monday, April 9, 2012

Spring Time Even and Odd

Ahhh, springtime!  The warmer weather, the flowers, buds appearing on the trees...I'm just reminiscing about Ohio - here in Florida springtime just means hot weather and lots of pollen (seriously - my car is yellow with pollen).  I wanted to tie in the theme of spring with my centers this week, so I made a cute springtime tree even and odd math center. Here's a picture:

 I found a bare tree from The Mailbox magazine, and added a title to the bottom.  I didn't know about sharing something from The Mailbox here, so I looked for some bare tree clipart that was free and made this:
Springtime Even and Odd Trees

I also made a recording sheet for your kids to record their work on:
Springtime Even and Odd
The only thing that I didn't make was the sheet with the leaves.  I figured you might want to make your own so you could customize the numbers.  This is a great activity because you can differentiate it based on the needs of your students.  I hope it's something you can use!

Saturday, April 7, 2012


So, it's that time again!  I've loved reading about everyone's super powers!  If you're not sure what I'm talking about, jump over to Farley's blog and join in the fun!

So, here's my Currently:

So...what would your superpower be?

Monday, April 2, 2012

Hippity-Hoppity, Easter's On It's Way!

Spring is here, and here in Florida, so are the 90 degree days.  Luckily, we only have 3 days this week (which is good, 'cause last week 'bout killed me), so we are doing some fun Easter activities this week.  Since we're only going to be in school 3 days, we're not doing a story in our reading series, so it was up to me to come up with something to keep 16 VERY excited kids busy all morning.  I knew we'd read some Easter books, but, oh yeah, gotta get some learning in there too.  So as I was looking over my Easter books, I found this one:

The Easter Bunny Is Missing!In this story, the animals are worried because it's the day before Easter and no one can find the Easter bunny.  Each animal decides he/she will be the best one to fill in for the Easter bunny and gives the reasons why.  I paused before each animal gave his/her reasons and had the children predict what the animals would say.  It was funny to hear some of their reasons.  When the Easter bunny finally comes back, I ask the children to infer where he was.  In the picture, he's wearing a Hawaiian shirt and a lei and is carrying suitcases. The kids inferred that he was on spring break and one of them figured that he must have been in Hawaii.  If you haven't read this book, it's really cute!

We also had some fun in our literacy centers today.  In our word work center, I took some plastic eggs and broke them apart.  On each piece, I wrote one half of a compound word.  I made sure to mix the colors too, to make it a little harder for them.  I put them in a cute Easter basket with some Easter grass and told them that it was their job to match the eggs to make the compound words.  I made this sheet for them to record their answers on:
My Easter Egg Compound Words

Hope you can use it!