Friday, August 30, 2013


My first day has come and gone and it was FaNtAsTiC!

I think it was probably my best first day in all my years of teaching.  I was sooooo nervous though, complete with butterflies and a tummy ache!  The only time I ever get nervous like that is the morning of a (running) race, so I don't know why I got so nervous this time. I didn't overplan, we got through everything, I poured on the praise and the kids were so well-behaved!

I started with my favorite first day book, First Day Jitters by Julie Danneberg.
I also ate lunch with my kiddos, which was very interesting, but it was good that I was there to help those kids who are new to our school and the whole lunch routine.

One of the things I love about teaching 1st grade and kids so young is that you can turn anything into a game and they eat it up.  One of our former, awesome, gym teachers played this when it was time to line up and leave her class and I've adopted it for whenever we leave our classroom -AND- during group bathroom breaks: the Secret Person Game.

Before dismissing kids to line up I choose 1 boy and 1 girl to especially keep an eye on BUT I don't tell them who it is and thus, they all line up hoping it's them.  As they line up I think aloud to encourage them all to line up and stay lined up nicely (Is my Secret Boy lining up quietly and staying quiet?  Is My Secret Girl making sure there is space in front and in back of her?).  If the Secret Boy lines up nicely and stays quiet I announce who it is and he adds a gem to our 'Gem Jar' and the same thing goes for the Secret Girl.  If one or both of them does not line up correctly then I tell kids we can't add a gem, but I don't announce who it was.  This game works SO well it seems silly :-)

Tomorrow we're going to write about our summer vacations after listening to 
So I can get an idea of my student's writing abilities.

Both of the books I've mentioned above are part of a Back-to-School Literature Activities PACK that you can find at my TPT store and it's on sale!

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Today is the Day!

I'm sooooooo nervous!
The above quote will be my game plan then :-)

Not only is it the first day with my new 1st graders -BUT- it's also my daughter's first day of Kindergarten!  Can't believe this milestone is already here but I'm so excited for her to embark on this journey.

Have a great day everybody!

Monday, August 26, 2013

What a Weekend!

This weekend it was absolutely GoRgEoUs up here in Anchorage, Alaska!

It has been raining straight for the last three weeks....I was ready to build an ark!  But the sun came back in full force and we soaked it up.  My sister is visiting and we hiked Flattop Mountain (with everybody else in the city it seemed).

I've been back at work for the last week and a half, but I haven't had students yet.  We are so fortunate that K and 1 teachers get 5 extra days before students arrive and we schedule conferences with incoming families.  During these conferences we assess students (AIMSWeb reading & math and our own reading and math assessments) and connect with parents right off the bat.  It's really a fantastic thing and I'm thankful every year!  Wednesday morning we get the show on the road though :-)

Have you ever heard of this book?  It's an Alaskan tale that popped into my head today twice.  I'm always making connections between children's literature and my own life and I love to share that with my students!

1st Connection: At the end of our hike we saw some people berry picking on the hillside and down in the valley.  I assumed it was blueberries they were eagerly picking.  So we climbed up onto the hillside and began to pick as well.

But we discovered, by asking a woman who had a huge bucketful of these berries, that we had picked crowberries.  Never heard of them?   Us either.  They are used to make jam and are put into aqutak (Eskimo ice cream).
I'm going to let our little collection ripen and then make some crowberry muffins.

2nd Connection: Later in the evening we hiked on a huge sand dune that we had no idea was 5 minutes from our house.  I just bought a toddler hiking backpack off Craig's List yesterday so we got to try it out (actually my sister wanted to carry Max).

Blueberry Shoe is the story of a family that goes hiking and the toddler in the backpack loses one of his shoes.  A vole, a fox and a bear all come upon it and use it for awhile.  Dirt and blueberry seeds find their way into the shoe and the following spring it is found (with a blueberry sprout) by the family again.

I encourage you to get your hands on a copy because it's a cute story and could fit in nicely to a plant lifecycle lesson or unit.

Monday, August 19, 2013

A Winner, QR Codes & A Freebie

Happy Monday everyone!
The First Grade Bloom and The Library Fox would like to congratulate Rachael Wallace for winning our giveaway last week!  We thank everyone who participated and I want to thank the Library Fox for collaborating with me.
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I've seen a few QR code things on Pinterest lately and have them stuck in my brain.  So the only thing to do is to find out what they are and use them.  
So I created a quick little 'Teacher Scavenger Hunt' that kids and their parents can do during our Back-to-School Open House tomorrow night.  Each clue will be displayed somewhere in the room, in a frame.

Parents can then use their mobile devices and a QR code reading app to play along.

To create this fun activity I used:
- Microsoft word (especially screen shots)
-photos I pulled from my iPhoto
-Photobucket (because each photo is given it's own URL)
-the website

I can't wait to try it out tomorrow night!
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And finally I'm linking up with Charity over at 

to share a poster I created for my favorite way to teach my first graders to select a book from our Classroom Library.  Since my kiddos start in a week, I'll be pulled that poster out as I continue to set up my classroom this week.

Have a great week everyone!

Sunday, August 18, 2013

A Fortune & A Back-to-School Sale

This is what was inside of my fortune cookie the other day:

I had to chuckle because it's literally true...thank goodness I teach first graders because I'm only 5'4!  But it's also figuratively true and a great reminder for the beginning of a new school year.  Kids look up to us as we are models of everything from good readers to good behavior.

* * *
You've probably seen and heard about the BIG Teachers Pay Teachers 'Back-to-School' sale so I'll just jump on the promotion bandwagon and say that I too am joining in!  So you get 10% off from me and then an additional % off when you get check out (be sure to type in the code BTS13).

* * *
And to wrap things up, my sweet boy turned 1 today!  One year ago today I was 9 months pregnant and went back to work when teachers reported.  I felt really good that day (no backache)....well that was my warning. The next morning I got up to go shower and get ready for work again when  MY WATER BROKE!  9 hours later the happiest baby with the most beautiful blue eyes came into this world and fills my heart with so much love and laughter!

I love you so much!

Saturday, August 17, 2013

Saturday Apps #7

Apps make the world go round....well not quite, but they do make our mobile devices go.  I stumble upon apps, I find apps on Pinterest and Facebook and seek out FREE apps on AppsGoneFree. 

I'll share an app or two with you and include pictures or even a video.  I would love it if you would either:  share an app with us  or try out the app I've recommended and let us know what you think.  

If you share, please tell us:
* the name
* the price
* what devices it works on (iPod, iPhone, iPad, etc.)
* how you use it
* why it's worth downloading

This week I'm sharing: TypeDrawing
I found this app thanks to AppsGoneFree and it's been free since Tuesday August 13th.  It's normally $1.99 (which I wouldn't have paid for) but since it was free...  This app is meant for your iPhone but can be used on the iPad if you tap on the 2x button to zoom in. 

In a nutshell, this is a concrete poetry creator.  Concrete poetry is when you use words to draw pictures.  

First you type in your word or words, then you can change the font and color and finally you draw on your blank canvas and watch your words come to life.  You can change words (fonts, colors) whenever you want and you can change the entire background color as well.  Plus, you can insert an image and draw on it!
This GoRgEoUs view is only 3 minutes from our house!


Obviously this app is a fantastic tool for kids to be introduced to and write their own concrete poetry.  But I could also see this being used to practice spelling or vocabulary words.  I have to say that this simple app is very fun and kind of addictive!


Monday, August 12, 2013

Monday Made It, Outer Space Freebie & B2S Giveaway

My motto is 'Carpe Diem' and because of this I'm very ADHD because I try to get lots of stuff done and cram everything I can into every waking moment (when my 2 little ones are napping, occupied or sleeping).  While writing this post I'm literally bouncing back and forth between making baby food, blogging and texting with my brother-in-law about hooking up our built-in speakers.  I bite off way more than I can chew, but it seems to suit me :-)
Here we go:
Feels great to link up once again with
I made something for my classroom that I saw on a recent blog post.  
When I read it I laughed out loud, thought of my 5-year-old and then knew it would be cute on my desk.
Hee, hee, hee...
I also made something for our new home!  This marks the first thing I've made (that is not for my classroom) thanks to inspiration from Pinterest.  I had to convince my husband though, which was easy because we made a deal: he got to hang a painting his grandmother did (in a spot I wasn't a fan of) and I got to do whatever with our mudroom!
You can use a dry erase marker to write on these frames
(which have scrapbook paper on the inside).
Our daughter starts Kindergarten in 2 weeks and our son still goes to daycare, so I wanted to do something with this room to make sure we're all on the same page about our days.  The artwork was something we had and was perfect because we're like a "herd of elephants" trying to get out of the house on time in the morning!  I LOVE PINTEREST!

Finally, I didn't time dinner well tonight because the baked potatoes were almost done and I had just put the chicken in daughter and I made 'chocolate covered graham crackers' on a whim.  She is a bit obsessed with having them every time my husband takes her to a coffee place (and it seems like you can only find them at coffee places, WAY overpriced).  So we pulled out ingredients and I literally made up the super simple recipe.  I added peppermint extract to the chocolate just because we had it and it was delicious!  I stuck them in the freezer and they were ready in time for dessert :-)

This one is a 'person'.

My classroom has an Outer Space theme and I revamped our 'Classroom Rules' signs this past week and put them up in my classroom.  You can find them by clicking below
Now go over and check out all the other freebies at
I'm soooooooo excited and thankful to be doing my first blog collaboration!
I recently discovered Crystal's blog over at The Library Fox and am a fan of her cute clipart.  So we're doing a joint giveaway!
a Rafflecopter giveaway

Spread the word!

Thanks for hanging in there for that whole post...that's what I get for not blogging this weekend (which was dedicated, somewhat, to catching up on a year's worth of scrapbooking for 2 kids, yikes!)

Thursday, August 8, 2013

Let's try this again!

I got an idea from Kristen Smith over 

She's releasing a new product and is giving away a free copy of it to someone who leaves her a comment and is chosen at random.  I'm sure many of you either do that on your blogs with your products or have seen it before but it's new for me (blushing).  I'd like to do the same thing but with a TwIsT...

I'd love for you to check out this new resource by downloading a preview over at my TPT store.  But I'd also love to give a few away....yep, a few!  
So here's what to do:

1) Go on over to my classroom website.
2) Figure out "Where in the world did I get engaged?"

3) E-mail me your answer:

4)  I'll give away 10 of them (the first 5 who e-mail me and then draw 5 randomly) and e-mail it to you!

I'm excited to see how this works :-)