Tag Archives: All about me

Why Do I Use DOCUMENT FOLDERS? WHY? WHY? WHY?

Don’t YOU just LOVE it when something WORKS?

I am a PINTEREST JUNKIE!

I know. I am.

I saw these on PINTEREST and 

 I HAD TO HAVE THEM!

IRIS USA 12 by 12-Inch Portable Project Case, Slim

(I got mine on Amazon…FYI)

What are they (you ask)?

DOCUMENT  HOLDERS!

How do I use them? and WHY?

I have taken ALL of my MONTHLY MASTERS

Crafts, Reading, Writing, Math, etc

and I have ONE COPY..

YES..

ONE COPY

of each page 

in a clear document holder.

NO more HANGING FILES!

They take up too  much space!

*disclaimer…even though they have clips that hold it closed…

I use an “OLD SCHOOL” rubber band around it..

Just to make sure my papers don’t end up on the shelf!

Then I took SHARPIE PAINT PENS

 and wrote the month on the spine.

It has freed up SO MUCH SHELF space!

All of my HANGING FILES for my MONTHLY papers

(You know…they FUN THINGS!)

are now in one EASY TO CARRY HOME, folder!

I can take home the entire month of ideas

when I do my lesson planning!

EASY  PEASY!

Can you say…DECEMBER!

DONE!

I am trying to “get it ALL together”…

I think it might be my New Year’s resolution!

If so….DONE!

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In LIFE…there is NO “DO OVER”

In LIFE…there is NO “DO OVER”

Happy Holidays, my friends!

I just spent 2 1/2 HOURS…yes, hours…
putting up our
CHIRSTMAS  TREE!

Wendy….
WHY SO LONG?
Because.
My Christmas tree is NOT a
MARTHA STEWART tree.
It doesn’t match.
It doesn’t have a “theme”.
It is MY  family’s legacy.
It is a timeline of our life.
AND I CHERISH EVERY MOMENT!
I cried.
I giggled.
I remembered moments from years past.
My hubby kept coming into the living room
wondering what was taking so long.
Then…he would look an an ornament and say..
“Do you remember…?”
Yes!  I DO!
As I look through the ornament box,
my heart swells with happiness.
THAT, my friends, is what
CHRISTMAS is ALL about.
I collect ornaments!
I search them out EVERYWHERE we go!
I buy them for MY kids and MY grandkids!
ALWAYS…date the back!
Doesn’t seem important now…IT WILL BE LATER!
If you can’t find ornaments…key chains work fantastic!
Scavenge the “AFTER CHRISTMAS” sales!
Christmas boutiques, & craft sales!
It’s about a memory.
I never want to FORGET!
IN  LIFE…there is NO “DO OVER”.
There are “second chances”…but they are
DIFFERENT!
Here is a little “smattering” of my
Christmas Tree!
A cruise hubby & I took to the Caribbean.
The first ship I had ever been on!
After 10 months on fertility drugs…BABY on the way!
This was the first ornament I ever bought with a baby on it!
We didn’t know if it was a boy or girl.
Ended up being twin boys!
32 years ago & still cry at this one!
Happy tears!
Yes…I have the first 5 years for ALL of my kids!
We are blessed with 4 kids & 5 grandchildren.
Hubby’s FAVORITE!
JAWS FAN!
A trip to EUROPE with my mom & sisters!
4 California girls to England, Ireland, & Scotland!
We found our ancestor’s farm!
My auntie ( now 90 ) made this for me
when I was 5. ( 48 yrs ago ).
Very precious.
At the TOP of our tree.
The last remaining ornament HANDMADE by my grandmother.
My parents house burned to the ground 30 years ago.
In the attic were ALL of my MOM’s Christmas ornaments!
GONE!  Luckily, I had one from MY grandma.
Sniff…sniff…memories!
You think those little strings of popcorn won’t last?
Hubby’s from PRESCHOOL!
1965!
(It used to be much longer…I wrap it in tissue every year!)
For your kids…
If they play sports…get them a sports ornament
EVERY  YEAR!
There will come a day…when they won’t play!
Remember all the fun times!
KEY  CHAINS   MAKE  ORNAMENTS!
My little sis got remarried on the beach in HAWAII!
The WHOLE family went!
We went snorkeling and saw the SEA TURTLES!
FUN TIMES!
My son’s favorite sport ( He wrote this when he was 10 ).
He is now in the US NAVY!
I wonder if ALL the practices & games helped him get ready for LIFE?
YES!
My first trip to the EAST COAST!
We toured from NEW YORK to NEW HAMPSHIRE.
Stayed at the BEST B&B in Plymouth BAY!
TEACHERS!!!!
Yes…those  “SILLY”  classroom ornaments
DO MAKE A DIFFERENCE!
AND…GLITTER  MATTERS!
A plastic lid…some glitter…and  a picture!
Circa  1992.
So here is a “SMATTERING”
of
MY LIFE!
It’s  PERFECT for ME!
Remember..
IN LIFE…there is NO “DO OVER!”
Live, LAUGH, Love!
Merry Christmas & Happy Holidays
from
1stgradefireworks

My Dilemma…DO you Teach Halloween? October? Fall? Want a FREEBIE?

So my dilemma.

We have a two week vacation

 from Oct. 1-Oct. 17.

(NO COMPLAINING HERE!)

BUT…

We return on Oct. 17.

 MONDAY

14 days (exactly ) until….

YOU  KNOW  IT

MONDAY, October 31, 2016

HALLOWEEN!

Parties,

CANDY,

Kids who can’t wait to get home ( highly DISTRACTABLE!)

(some schools…not mine….)

COSTUMES!

So …

My  dilemma.

When we go back,

Do I put out HALLOWEEN themed centers?

Do I keep it OCTOBERish with Columbus, Halloween, Fall, Pumpkins,etc?

Do I just “touch” on the “HOLDIAY” stuff…and Promote the FALL  stuff?

Do I  add  THANKSGIVING?

Should I keep it ALL going until THANKSGIVING?

What to do?  What to do?????

BTW…   I  LOVE, LOVE, LOVE   FALL!

My favorite  season.

YUMMY!

But…

CONTENT is EVERYTHING!

My student’s MUST take a BENCHMARK ASSESSMENT in December.

I want them to do well.

( I don’t tkink there will be a HALLOWEEN question on it.)

Unless it’s about

HOW MANY CANDIES DID YOU EAT ALL TOGETHER?

So ..what to do?   What  to do?

INTEGRATE!

I must teach SCIENCE and SOCIAL STUDIES!

( Living things…life cycle…Plants/animals…Lifestyles Long Ago..)

So here is MY plan:

Reading:

  • Nonfiction about pumpkins, apples, plants
  • Biography about Christopher Columbus, Squanto
  • Fiction about Fall, Halloween, Pilgrims, Thanksgiving

I am checking my district curriculum ( yes, we have one )

for REQUIRED (Tested )  Skills & Strategies for this quarter.

As we delve into our reading…I make SURE to incorporate TESTED strategies.

Questioning? Sequencing? Retelling? Etc..etc…

Vocabulary?   Again…check NECESSARY vocabulary for success!

I spend A LOT of time on necessary vocabulary. I have 10-12  English Language Learners.

They need visuals, modeling, & practice before they can “TAKE ON” the new information.

Phonics?   Spelling?   Grammar?

 Required phonics skills for this quarter.

What to use for  Spelling?

BOTH!

  Required spelling skills AND  thematic vocabulary words.

WHAT?      WHY?

Because…I want them to have some  INTRINSIC vocabulary to use easily in their..

WRITING!

I want MY Mummy!  🙂

Sorry….couldn’t  resist.

Writing:

  • “How To”..grow..carve…etc… about pumpkins, apples, plants
  • “Informative”  about Christopher Columbus, Squanto,Pilgrims
  • “Narrative”  about Fall, Halloween, Pilgrims, Thanksgiving
  • Thank You cards, Invitations, Lists, Etc.

Again….I am checking my district curriculum

for REQUIRED (Tested )  Skills & Strategies for this quarter.

Whatever our REQUIRED writing prompt will be

( I already know mine  is INFORMATIVE)

We will practice, practice, practice!

I won’t skip the other genres.

Just FOCUS on the INFORMATIVE!

BUT wait!

I want crafts! I want CUTSIE! I want products!

I Love BOOKS!

And so…we will make CUTSIE lapbooks, paintings, charts, stories & crafts

 about???

Fall, Halloween, pumpkins, apples

, plants, Christopher Columbus,

Squanto, Pilgrims, Thanksgiving

DON’T  tell  our FIRE MARSHALL..

I might HANG THINGS UP!

Definitely!

I won’t tell,  if YOU won’t tell.

MATH:

  • addition / subtraction
  • missing addends
  • place value
  • graphing
  • story problems

And MATH??

Lots of Graphs, addition & subtraction, problem solving, story problems

ALL ABOUT THEMES!

How many apples, pumpkin seeds, candies, turkies, indians, etc, etc.

(Math Journals are GREAT for this!)

and, yes..

I will need to keep it going until Thanksgiving.

And I will need to use EVERY MINUTE of EVERY DAY!

And yes… it will take planning, and prepping…

BATS!

Black  Cats

Growing  Pumpkins

Making APPLESAUCE!

Happy Birthday Johnny Appleseed!

And YES

I WILL LOVE EVERY MINUTE OF IT!

You see…

FALL IS MY FAVORITE SEASON OF THE YEAR!

To those of you who hung in there to the bottom of this LONG POST…

A FREEBIE FOR YOU!

Happy FALL!

Change YOUR mindset..work-play-work-play

I LOVE my job!

Really!

I love to plan, to create, to share with YOU!

BUT…

I   LOVE   VACATION!

Who  doesn’t?

I am in GMA mode.

Disneyland Parade!

Princess staying with us for a while.

Family at the beach!

WHAT A VOLLEYBALL GAME! 🙂

And so…I have been playing!

BUT…

My brain won’t STOP!

And so…I am trying to

CHANGE MY MINDSET!

Instead of:

I MUST STOP!

I MUST LET IT GO!

IT’S SUMMER…STOP  WORKING!

I am changing my mindset to:

I AM GETTING ORGANIZED FOR NEXT YEAR.

I AM CREATING PRODUCTS THAT WILL HELP OTHERS.

I AM ENJOYING THE CREATIVITY I CAN EXPRESS!

This will make my classroom “work” easier & more engaging!

And so..

I create..

If YOU are in need of new & exciting products to help

 your classroom, homeschool, and students

become “independent learners”..

check these OUT!

                                Daily Proofreading Practice                                        BTS  HFW “DOTS”

MEGA BUNDLE

This is HUGE!

YOUR  entire  year  in one MEGA  BUNDLE! 🙂

( Who  doesn’t LOVE to be organized for the WHOLE  YEAR?)

*  It correlates to CA JOURNEYS but….can be used for ANY  curriculum.

Hide & Seek BUNDLE

5 packets of HIDE & SEEK ( Kiddos LOVE this!)

 These products are also available individually!  🙂

And for YOU!

A FREEBIE to help your kiddos when working on close reading!

ENJOY!

And so…

I am back to work, play, work, play!

I LOVE VACATION!

ENJOY YOURS!

Nibits for Newbies..5.15.16 WHAT ARE YOU PACKING?

If It’s SUNDAY

It MUST be time for

NIBITS for NEWBIES!

What am I packing?

NO! NOT “THAT!”

I mean…

WHAT ARE YOU

 PACKING IN BOXES

 FOR THE END 

OF THE SCHOOL YEAR??

Here is my list:

It’s ALL about ME!

What will I need the first week?

My TE’s…Sticky notes inside to remind my “aging” brain…what I INTEND to do!

What MATERIALS will I need to accomplish this?

USE THOSE STICKY NOTES INSIDE YOUR TE!

You will NOT remember months from now… what you are thinking about TODAY!

Use the next few weeks to make your NOTES!

Don’t forget…hide a few

 water bottles, mints, chocolate, and Tylenol

 for the first week back…FOR YOU!

Never know how that FIRST WEEK will go!

BE Prepared!

Student materials ( packets, papers, journals, etc ).

RUN THEM NOW!

( Nothing feels better than pulling out MUCH NEEDED

things…ALREADY DONE!)

Whew! SO glad I prepped these BEFORE school was out!!

Get some puzzles, games, blocks, etc. out.

THEY WILL NOT BE INDEPENDENT!

Have a few things ready so they can have “down time”…

while YOU are doing ONE-TO-ONE assessing!

You know you will HAVE TO…prepare for IT!

Last….MANY BOXES for centers, games, things you need to go through

LATER!

I know you NEED these..

BUT

You will “SURVIVE” looking at them LATER!

NO STRESS!

( YEAH, right!)

Prepare today…

after a RELAXING Summer…

the thought of coming back

and redoing everything in a day or two is

 EXCRUTIATING!

Breathe…relax…make your lists…stick to them…and PREP AWAY!

The payoff is HUGE!

Now…where did I pack that STAPLER?

* PS…I just found out I have three weeks to pack up

MY ENTIRE CLASSROOM!

I am getting NEW Carpet!

I am happy…I think!

PACK UP 26 years of stuff?

In 3 weeks?

EVERYTHING?

Time to PURGE!

( My Materials…HAHA)

I think I need a LOT MORE BOXES!

Hi HO..HI HO…It’s off to pack I go!

What is TRUE Teacher Appreciation? It might SURPRISE You!

I am a VETERAN teacher.

NO.

 I have NOT fought in a WAR.

I have taught in GRADE 1

 ( exclusively )

for over 25 years!

WOW!

( Never “graduated” to second grade..as my students tell me!) 🙂

But…

I have changed my “VIEW” on teacher appreciation.

We ALL want to be appreciated.

We want to be recognized for

SOMETHING “GOOD”

 we have done!

But..

things can get a little …

OUT OF HAND!

I believe..

YES…

I believe there are

those who are

APPRECIATED

and those who

WISH THEY WERE!

I will say this ONE TIME..

IT  IS  NOT  ABOUT  TEST SCORES!

The teacher’s with the SUPER highest test scores

are NOT, always,

the teachers who are

APPRECIATED the MOST!

Now…disclaimer…teachers work WAY TOO hard!

I got that!

Some are SOOOOOO  focused on the “data”..

they forget, or can’t “document” the traits of the child the “data”came from!

No where is there a box to check that says:

___  Didn’t have breakfast ( or dinner the night before ).

___ Couldn’t sleep because parents were arguing LOUDLY!

___ No one would help with homework/reading ( for the past two weeks!)

or

___  not in a good “mind set”  today.

BUT…

these are kids!

This is life!

To attach a “number” to a student based on “today’s testing module”

is NOT

 what teaching is all about!

( Ok sorry..OFF my soapbox!)

So ,

Teacher Appreciation.

Where? How? When?

Admin’s…

Please ..I don’t need a new pen with my school name on it.

If YOU really want to show me your appreciation…

HAVE MY BACK during an IEP

when ‘the team” says

I NEED TO DO MORE!

By the time I have gotten to his stage..

I HAVE DONE ALL I CAN DO!

Take the stand that I AM DONE!

SEND ME SOME HELP!

Now I have great admin’s…

I know they have my back!

THAT’s  APPRECIATION!

If you want to “give” me something…

…TAKE MY RECESS DUTY!

…Take my class for an hour at the end of the day, if MY child is home sick!

… Come in and do reading groups once in a while

( an extra adult doing centers is ALWAYS appreciated).

You see…it’s NOT about the “things”

it’s about WHAT you DO!

How do you know if your “team” appreciates YOU?

Do you “share”?

Do you “follow through?”

Do you “care” about each other?

My “teaching partner”..

( I said “partner” one time..it took on a WHOLE DIFFERENT meaning!)

and I have taught next to each other

( rooms 3 & 4)

for 17 years!

We are going to retire together 

the same year…in 7 years.

( We “pinky sweared”…

..as long as nothing catastrophic happens before then).

Her mom works in her room.

I call her MOM!

Our student’s think we are

SISTERS!

See the family “resemblance”?

In my heart..

SOUL SISTERS!

We run homework for each other.

We share our students.

We laugh, we cry, we CARE about each other!

We are NOT the ONLY grade 1 teachers.

We have 1-2 others who teach with us.

( Depending on the year and student numbers).

We ALWAYS include them!

This is NOT a

CLOSE YOUR DOOR & DO YOUR THING!

NOPE!

WE DO!

Together.

Feel appreciated? YEP! Daily.

( I could have transfered to another school in MY district..many times!)

NOT LEAVING!

LOVE MY

CRAZY TITLE 1 school!

and then..

Your students..

When do they make YOU feel appreciated?

Is it when you are passing out report cards?

Is it when they forgot their homework?

Is it when they have interuupted you for the 1000th time that day?

Probably NOT!

It’s when that SAME little girl walks in EVERY morning

and says..

“Can I have a HUG?”

or

When the little boy who STUTTERS ( severely )…

asks if he can READ his newest story

TO THE CLASS!

( And EVERYONE cheers  for him!)

or

The “behavior problem” child

who knows ( his MAMA tells him a lot )

that he is a PROBLEM..

and he hands me a heart he made with a picture of me & him!

( Melts my heart..right before he hits another student!)

and last…

the “older students” who come back..

just to say HI!

or..

“I got my driver’s license & I promise to be safe..just like you said!”

“I got a full-ride scholarship…to HARVARD!”..yes  it did happen!

“I want to be back in first grade so I can PAINT!”

“Thank you , Mrs. McCarty, for listening to me!”

Giggles, Grins, Hugs, & High Fives to 

ALL of YOU!

YOU make a difference!

Do YOU Know the SECRET to LIFE? I DO! Nibits for Newbies 4.17.16

If it’s SUNDAY..

It’s time for

NIBITS FOR NEWBIES

Sorry I was MIA  last week..

I have a great excuse..

 Gma & Gpa ( & Daddy )

took little one

to see…

MICKEY   MOUSE!

So fun!

OK…So

 I KNOW the

SECRET TO LIFE!

No…I have NOT climbed the highest mountain..

or whatever…

I just “FIGURED” it out!

I do my BEST  “THINKING”

when I am GARDENING!

No…the SECRET to LIFE is NOT GARDENING!

It’s great…but I don’t think it’s the SECRET!

Here it goes…

There are 3 things 

you need to KNOW

 to be SUCCESSFUL

in ANYTHING!

Have a PLAN!

DUH!

Heard this before.

BUT, it makes sense.

I am gardening.

If I don’t have a plan for my garden, some things will grow.

Not EVERYTHING in this world needs MY touch!

BUT…If  I really think about the VARIABLES ( Sunlight, water, plants next door..)

I can ENHANCE the outcomes with just a little THOUGHT!

If I have a “PLAN” I know where to put all of my HARD work!

In my classroom…

If I know where we want to go..

I can “PLAN” HOW to get there.

“Winging it” only works for a short time.

You gotta know where you want to go!

I am NOT saying you can not DEVIATE from the plan ( it may enhance it)!

BUT,

having a goal

is the #1 SECRET to Success!

OK..I have a PLAN!

Now what?

The #2 SECRET TO LIFE is….(drumroll)

Have the RIGHT TOOLS!

I am working in my garden.

I have lots of energy…I know where I want things to go.

I have a MASTER plan..

GO!

So I did!

I wore my good athletic shoes!

UGH! Silly!

Now I have to clean them.

REALLY GOOD!

I started with a shovel!

Farmer’s tools!

DUMMY!

Forgot the GLOVES!

OUCH!

Many blisters & very SORE HANDS!

Finally…got out the ROTOTILLER!

To the RESCUE!

I should have gotten ALL of the RIGHT TOOLS

BEFORE I started!

Would have saved aches & pains!

In my classroom,

Have the CORRECT tools READY TO GO!

If I am teaching GUIDED READING,

Get my whiteboards, HFW word cards, books,

EVERYTHING I will need

CLOSE AT HAND!

I don’t need my SCIENCE TE on my reading table when I teach small group reading!

Have the RIGHT  TOOLS for the JOB at HAND!

SOunds like good classroom ORGANIZATION!

So..the #2  SECRET to LIFE is….

Have the RIGHT TOOLS for the JOB AT HAND!

and last…

The # 3 SECRET to LIFE is….

BE FLEXIBLE!

I know how I wanted my garden to be…PLAN

I used the correct tools….TOOLS

BUT….

The SPRINKLER PIPES ARE IN MY WAY!

So…

With the best of intentions…

AND

FLEXIBILITY…

My straight rows ..

are

NOW…

ROUNDED!

Same ending RESULTS…

Just a “LITTLE”  different!

Don’t be afraid to change your “PLAN”

to get to your goals!

It may make YOUR LIFE

a little EASIER!

And so my friends..

There are the 3 Secrets to LIFE!

Are they REALLY SECRETS?

I dunno.

NOT TO ME!

Happy Spring My FRIENDS!

Enjoy the “FRUITS” of your “LABORS”!

🙂    Tee Hee