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June 28, 2012

Notice Anything New?

I started this blog design adventure just a few short months ago and it has really taken off.  I mean OFF!

I have been working nearly full-time on it since school got out...and loving it!

I've made new friends and learned so much.

Along the way this little blog has been sadly neglected and I haven't had nearly as much time for blog stalking as I'd like.  But, like they say, when one door closes another window opens.  Or is it when one window closes another door opens?  Or is it . . .?  You get the gist.

As I've browsed and found design kits for others to use in their blog designs I've stumbled upon many bee themed ones that caught my eye.  Many got pinned onto my bee board.

So last night in the wee hours of the night when all the loved ones were sleeping and the dogs were snoring at my feet and beside me on the couch I decided to grab one of my favorite kits and give this little corner of the blogosphere a makeover.

I am in love and I can't help but keep coming back and smiling when I see my little honey bunch.

I've had many clients tell me that same thing after installing their designs and I didn't really get it . . . until now.

I hope you enjoy it as much as I do.  (Misty, you better by happy . . . you pest! lol)

You'll notice I added an email button in case you just have a burning desire to contact me.  Please do!

I've also decided to get with it and add some social links.

And to top it all off I've reached 400 followers!!

You know what that means?

Yeah, I have to take a shower AND have a giveaway! :)

I'm debating on what to do still but stay tuned so you don't miss it!

June 27, 2012

Expository Nonfiction

Our school uses Reading Street by Scott Foresman to teach language arts.

Scott Foresman Reading Street: Grade 2, Level 1 [Book]

It's not bad.  Although I thought the stories in our old series were more interesting.  :(

The one thing I like is the amount of nonfiction it includes.

Second grade boys LOVE nonfiction.  (So do the girls.)

As mentioned in previous posts I love the Teacher's Clubhouse for literacy posters and much much more.  But they didn't have one for a genre that our book uses.

So instead of paying them to make one for me I made my own.

It looks a LOT like theirs because I wanted it to go with my other posters so don't get mad at me.  Just click on the picture to grab it.

I found a website I'd never seen or heard of before.  It includes Smartboard lessons for many topics.  Check it out.

University of Missouri eThemes:  your source for content-rich, kid-safe online resources

I am a couple followers away from 400!!  Woo Hoo!

I'll be unveiling a new look for my blog and having a giveaway . . . so stay tuned!

June 23, 2012

You've Got Mail!

I can't believe it's been almost a week since I posted last.

Time flies when you are having fun doesn't it.

Thank you to all who left the kind words after reading about Sadie's untimely demise.  You'll be happy to hear that the reward has grown to over $7,000 the last I heard.  The police just have to catch the horrible person or persons responsible for this.

We've had some of my husband's family in town this week so I've been MIA.  Plus I've done some flower shopping (half price-woot woot!), blog design, cleaning (a wee bit), laundry (Happy Father's Day honey!), grocery shopping (ditto father's day), walking (gotta lose some winter weight), and a whole lot of lazin' around.

It's so nice to know that if it doesn't get done today it can get done tomorrow.  Sadly, I find myself putting things off all summer with that one.  Anyone else?

I got an order from Oriental Trading today.  (So much better than a bill!)  They had free shipping and had some bee junk stuff I thought I could use.
24 Bee Reading Guides
bee book marks/reading guides
(my kids love these but they tend to disappear!)
72 Bee Party Tattoos
bee tattoos for back to school gift bag
12 Busy Bee Sorting Graphs
busy bee sorting graphs for getting to know each other 
Busy Bee Pocket Chart
bee pocket chart
(couldn't resist)
Dry Erase Sleeves
dry erase sleeves

Busy Bee Eraser Pencil Toppers
bee pencil topper/erasers for on desks the first day of school
23 Pc. Busy Bee Sight Word Bingo
sight word bingo

Now this box will sit around my house for the next 6 weeks collecting dust and annoying my family until I head back to school.

I am only 7 followers away from 400 and then it's GIVEAWAY time!

June 17, 2012

My Heart Is Sad :(

Something sad happened right in my own neighborhood a little more than a week ago.

A house just a little over a block from us on a well-traveled road was broken into during the day.  (And the house next door to them was burglarized earlier the same day.)  The burglar(s) ransacked a part of the house but didn't get away with anything because they think the homeowner came home and startled the burglar.

Lucky for them.

Not really.

They lost something more valuable than some stuff.

The tragedy was that the idiot(s) who broke in brutally killed the family's beloved eight year old pet, Sadie.

This is a photo of Sadie that was in the paper and can be seen on posters around town offering a reward to help capture her killer(s).

Most of you who regularly follow my blog know I am a dog lover.  We actually have three dogs.  (We'd probably have more if there weren't laws, neighbors, vet bills, and the hubs.)  I've never imagined anyone breaking in and killing our family pets.  Who could imagine that?

I imagine my pets following the intruder around begging for a treat or bringing over toys with that "play with me" look in their eyes.  Just like Sadie's owners think she probably did until the ransacking began.  Because even dogs know that's wrong.

Or I imagine someone tossing a big juicy steak in and sneaking around while the dogs gorge themselves (like happened to my aunt who lives in the Chicago area many, many years ago).

Did Sadie decide to attack?  Maybe.  Hopefully she did some damage before they did too much to her.

I often worry about my pets being trapped in the house if a fire broke out and perishing but this takes the cake!

My girls are worried about this happening to their best "fur" buddies and are even afraid to have their windows open in their bedrooms.  And they aren't little anymore.

What kind of sicko does this?  And what would this person (or persons) have done if a human being had been home?

I know there are wack-a-doodles out there but this just hit too close to home.

Thanks for listening.  It feels good knowing I could share my thoughts on this.

BTW, the family offered a thousand dollar reward for information helping to find the person or persons who did this and now the community is involved and donations are pouring in to add to the reward.  If the reward goes unclaimed the money will be donated to a local animal shelter.

June 16, 2012

What To Do When You're Angry!

Wow, I can't believe how close I am so 400 followers.  I'll have to think of something special to do.  (My husband just suggested I could shower!  Har har, honey!  It's summer and I don't have to!  Na na na na na na!)

Seriously I don't want you to think I'm sitting here in my own swill stinking the place up.  But sometimes often when the hubs comes home for lunch I'm sitting on the couch or deck on the computer still in my pj's.  So he isn't looking at me with a whole lot of lust in his eyes.  That's all I'm saying.

So I'll have to do some thinking.  Maybe while I'm in the shower cuz I do good thinking (and singing) in there.  And best of all, during the summer, it's not a quick-I'm-gonna-be-late-for-school shower.  No siree!  It's the-water-tank-still-has-a-bit-of-warm-water-left kind of shower.

Thank you to all who have said they like and can use my little posters for 2nd Step.

Here is another poster freebie for you.  This one kind of integrates the problem solving and calming yourself down steps but also includes reflection time.



June 14, 2012

Problem Solving Poster

Pick yourself up off the floor . . .

Come on, you can do it!

I know it's shocking that I've posted a so many times in the last week or so after neglecting this little ol' blog for months.

But it's summer people!

Can I hear a woo woo?!

A few days ago I posted a freebie poster about how to calm yourself down.

Here is another one.  Click on the picture to download.

We brainstorm problems and go through each step.  The kids love it.  Role play, be silly, have fun, be serious!

Use it for problems big and small.

Post it somewhere where you and the kids can easily see it.  I even have a laminated copy that I have been known to hall to recess with me.  (Some years and groups you need it more than others.)  I've got the poster on how to calm yourself down on the back.  Use a ring to hang it on the fence during recess if you need to.
Lucky Line 2CD 1 in. Binder Ring
Make it so that kids can use it.

There have been years where I've forgotten to bring it to recess and someone will ask if they can go get it.

The more you use it at the beginning of the year the less you'll need it physically later on as the kiddos internalize it.


June 13, 2012

Summer Time = Fun Time

Head over to Honey Bunch Blog Design and grab yourself one of two cute summertime freebies.  Or if you like grab them both.

Speaking of bare feet, I am in serious need of a pedicure.  But I am so, SO ticklish I think the pedi-girls want to hide when they see me come in.

It is so, SO embarrassing!

Like I've almost wet my pants embarrassing.

Tickling someone's foot (even if you don't mean to) while they have the other foot submerged in warm water is just evil, let me tell you.

Then they always suggest I invest in one of those scrapers that looks like a cheese grater.

Now is that because my feet are so bad I need one.

Or is it so they don't have to do it.


Anyone else so ticklish?


June 12, 2012

More Labels

I had a request for my labels from yesterday's post with ladybugs.

If I didn't have a bee theme I think it would be ladybugs.  They are so darn cute and can't help but make people happy.  Kind of happier than bees . . . which often want to sting people and make my kiddos run and scream and freak out when they fly into the classroom.  Yes, no screens on the windows.  Those cost money people!

Side note here:
Our building is phasing in new windows.  Nice windows that are better at holding the heat in (from our aging boiler).  The kind that you don't have to scrape with a scrapper on the inside to have your calendar person check the weather.  The kind that don't let the wind through to blow the shades around.  And the kind that slide open instead of push out.

Best of all, the kind that have screens!

But, and this is a BIG but, the roller shades are being taken down and tossed out, which they probably deserve to be (yick!) and they are not replacing them with anything!

Now, I love me some natural sunlight but some of my kiddos get flat out hot with the sun shining in on them.  Not to mention that it makes it hard to see anything on the Elmo projector or Promethean board.  And heaven forbid we watch an educational video.

Last fall they were installed (during school) on the kindergarten side of the building.  Picture those littles watching the men working on the scaffolding instead of the teacher.  The drilling.  The hammering.  The chaos.  This kindergarten group was a challenge as it was . . . so you can imagine the teachers.  It wasn't pretty is all I'm saying.

This summer (supposedly BEFORE school starts they are doing the first grade side of the building.  And next summer they'll do the second grade side of the building.

So in a few years I won't hear the screams of "There's a BEE!" at the pitch of a jet taking off.

So here's the ladybug labels.  I made two because I couldn't decide which bug I liked better.

Curtain Number One - Soft Subdued Ladybug
Curtain Number Two - Dark Red Ladybug


June 11, 2012

Love Some Labels

I love to be organized.  (Doesn't always mean I am . . . but people often say I am.)

Looks can be deceiving, huh?

I love labels too.

Last year I finally bought one of those portable label things
But it doesn't have the fun AND function I like my labels to have.  So I use it for a lot of things but not for everything.

I whipped up some new labels for my "in" baskets.  Which actually aren't baskets at all but drawers.  (Well a couple go on baskets but that's neither here nor there.)

Have I mentioned I love drawers?

I am actually going to buy a few more of these as soon as I see a sale and do a Pinterest inspired make over on them.  But that's a future post.

2073 - ClearViewâ„¢ Small 3 Drawer Unit

Okay, I seriously need to focus.  Summer brain runs rampant and on a tangent could have been the title of this post!

Anyway, I made some labels for my drawers.  (Funny how that makes me think of panties . . . and speaking of panties this comic strip from a few days ago just tickled me!)

Baby Blues Cartoon for Jun/06/2012

But I digress yet again.

I made a set with bees (for those wacko like me) and a set without for those of you who are more sane.  Take your pick . . . of labels not mental states! :)  Just click on the picture to download.

I love black and white too.
(I think I need another twelve step program or pill or something. lol)

June 10, 2012

Journal Sharing

Do your students beg to share their journal writing or other writing?  Mine do!

I usually choose a few people each day to share something they've written and when sharing time is up there are moans and groans a plenty.

Some days we only have time for a quick share with a partner or partners.

Sharing is fun and powerful.

I created stickers that I give to the sharing child to put on that journal entry or writing piece.  I keep them in a place where they are easy to grab . . . Could it be a plastic drawer with a cute label?  Bingo!

After a while one dear child will usually go and grab me a sheet from the drawer as soon as I announce that is time for author's chair.

I print these on labels and voila!  I keep a variety in the drawer with different graphics.

After an author shares, I write the date on a sticker and the child sticks it to their writing piece.

Students can quickly see if they've already shared a writing piece and decide to share a piece again if they've done some revisions to their piece.

Take your pick.  Just click on the pictures to download.

for journal entries

for any writing

Do you do anything for kids who share their writing?  I'd love for you to share your ideas!


June 09, 2012

Calming Yourself Down Poster

School is out (in most places) for the summer but it's not hard to recall the turmoil that can happen on the playground or in the classroom (bathroom, hall, lunchroom) or anywhere for that matter.

As adults it's hard to see how hurtful someone calling you a "big meanie" or cutting in line can be when we're dealing with budgets, health issues, and other "big, adult" problems.

But we need to remember that for our little ones (or not so little ones) these everyday occurrences are a big deal.  And they can cause some kids to blow.

So it's important that we teach our kiddos to recognize their own (and others) emotions and manage them.

Too many adults in our world haven't learned these crucial skills as one can attest by driving down the road and witnessing all the road rage.  (Maybe we'd need less medication in our world if we all learned and practiced these skills more regularly.)

Our school has used the Second Step program that teaches empathy, emotion management, and problem solving for as long as I can remember.  And like all things, there are some components I like and some I dislike.

But one that I have always liked was the way they teach kids to recognize their own emotions and manage them.  I see a lot of adults who haven't learned this biggie and know that I sometimes struggle with this one too.

Second Step has some posters that come with the program but they are really blah so a few years ago I redid them.  They were a bit better but . . .  Let's be honest here.




I mean a primary classroom is supposed to be happy and homey and all those other feel good things.  I honestly spend more time in my classroom than my own house people!

And research shows how color makes all things more appealing.  (As if I needed to have research prove that to me . . . at a cost of billions of dollars!  lol)

So this is the first Second Step poster to be redone.  It is "Calming Yourself Down".  Feel free to nab and enjoy.  I hope you can use it . . . for yourself or your classroom.  :)

Stay tuned for more as I tackle the job of redoing these posters!

June 07, 2012

Free Manners Posters

Not yet a week out of school and the wheels are turning, creative juices are flowing, and late night Pinterest hopping is occurring.

Love, love, love summer!

With school and blog designing and life in general so little of that has been happening for me lately.  And I'm not complaining at all because I love everything I do but it's nice to have a little extra "free" time to do those things that don't come easily during the year.

I am so looking forward to actually reading a whole book for PLEASURE and then posting about it on The Best Endings too.  Most everything I've read during the year has been recommended by someone else's posts so I'm searching for something new and exciting.  ;)

As I've been slowly working on cleaning, organizing, and packing my room away for the summer, I've noticed a few things that need updating or tweaking.

Before school started I found a set of free manner posters from somewhere . . . can't find or recall where.  Anywho, I hung them up and the kids and I loved them and referred to them often.  But, they didn't really fit in with my theme.  So naturally I had to redo them.

You can grab them for free from my Teacher's Notebook shop.  Since I couldn't get them to upload to my shop you can grab them here for free by clicking on the picture.



June 04, 2012

Summer & End of the Year Student Gifts

Today was my first Monday of summer vacation!  Woo Hoo!

Is there anything better than a Sunday night and a Monday morning during the summer?  I don't think so.

But I went in to school to do a little packing and cleaning and I was sad.  :(

I missed my bug-a-boos.  It just felt sad and lonely and way, way, way, too quiet!

This class, with all their quirks, was one of the best and I will so miss them.

For end of the year gifts for the kids, we brainstormed words that went with our class . . . nouns, verbs, adjectives, etc.  It was a great (and quite sneaky) review if I do say so myself.  Then I typed up the list of words (and added a few of my own) in a Tagxedo which is basically a Wordle in a shape.  So cool!  (You can even upload your own shape. . . very very cool!)

I really wanted a bee shape for my bee theme but the shapes I uploaded just lost something in creation.  (A simple shape is much better, take my word for it.)  So I finally decided on a cross since I teach at a Catholic school and second grade is THE year for all the big sacraments.

Anyway, I think they turned out fabulous!  I added a quote by Dr. Seuss at the bottom.  You know the one about not being sad because it ended but happy it happened.  I love that quote!

(BTW, when you download the Tagxedo image, it has that purple frame around it.  But you can just crop that off and voila!  Beaut-a-mus!)

Then I printed them all off for each child (in color of course!) and each child in the class autographed the matte that went around each one.  (We had someone donate a box of picture mattes to our school.  So more free!)  I left the framing up to the parents because of the expense but you could get frames at the Dollar Store.  I didn't see any that appealed to me and of course it was last minute.  HA!  And this way the frame can match their decor.

I've already heard from a few parents who loved and appreciated this little keepsake.

This is definitely a keeper for next year.


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