Wednesday, April 18, 2012


We've been using Houghton Mifflin for reading for the past seven + years in my school district. We've just been told that next year we're switching to HM's new program called Journeys. Does anyone have any experience with it? I do like our Houghton Mifflin program, but I think there's a lot of room for improvement, so I'm excited to see what this new program has to offer. I'm a little bummed though, since I've spent money buying some great units and activities on TPT that go along with our current program that I won't be able to use any more. Oh well. I'd love to hear any info and feedback.

Sunday, April 1, 2012


I can hardly believe it's April already! This year is flying by and I am STOKED that Spring Break is just three days away! Wahoo! Anywho I'm linking up with Oh' Boy 4th Grade in her always-fun Currently party. Did you see her super power. Absolutely perfect! Check out her blog to join in the fun!

Saturday, March 24, 2012

3 of a Kind

It's been another crazy week here and I'm so ready for spring break (12 more days!). First of all, the whole first grade put on the musical '3 of a Kind.' It was a ton of work, but the kiddos did SUCH a great job. Sorry you can't really see how cute they really are, but I had to put some smiley faces over most of their faces.

I'm also helping a friend with her little girl's birthday party today so I made this Pinkalicious cut out (this is one of my neighbors acting as a model). I wish I could take a nap with my little guy right now, but I need to get ready for a four year old's party! Wish me luck!

P.S. Happy 100th post to me!!!!

Sunday, March 18, 2012

Subitizing Dots

I'm probably behind the times, but I just learned about subitizing and why it's important to use in our classrooms. If you're like me and this is a new concept then click HERE to read a great article about subitizing.

I love the idea of teaching kids to play with numbers and practice different ways to make numbers. For example, we can show the kids eight dots and ask them all the ways they can make or see eight. Some will see the 4+4, while others will see 2+2+2+2. Either way, the answer is the same, but the point is getting kids to quickly see those patterns to find the answer so they're not just counting to eight. Does that make sense? If not, read the article :o)

Click below to grab your copy of my Subitizing Dots activity

Saturday, March 3, 2012

Family Reading Night

It's been an exhausting week and I'm way too tired to do a real post, so here are just a couple pictures from our Dr. Seuss themed evening. Hopefully I'll find some energy this week so post some more (probably not!). It was a lot of fun though!

Thing 1 and Thing 2 Photo Booth
(now I just have to email the ~150 pictures I took to the parents!)

Face Painting done by the Jr. High cheerleaders - the kids thought they were celebrities!

Thursday, March 1, 2012

Happy Dr. Seuss Week

Love me and my little man!

notice our Dr. Seuss shirts :o)

Saturday, February 25, 2012

I Award Myself... {+ a Freebie!}

...worst blogger of the month!

Yikes! Has it really been almost a month since I've blogged? I've been super busy, but I know that everyone is super busy, right?! Honestly, I've been having difficult time balancing my time at home with my family and my time on the computer, when I'm creating documents and blogging. I'd really like to know how you all do it. Seriously - any tips or idea would be great.

Remember how I volunteered to head the Dr. Seuss Spirit Week and then a Family Reading Night? That has taken up a lot of my time. PLUS I'm starting a math class in the next town over this week, so I've been trying to squeeze in as much extra time with my little guy to make up for all the time my assignments will take up.

Anywhoo...I just thought I'd share my current bulletin board - just in time for our Dr. Seuss Week. I got the idea from the wonderful Rachelle at What the Teacher Wants.

It's a little crazy and chaotic, but that's what Dr. Seuss was all about, right?

I also added in some of my favorite Dr. Seuss quotes. You can grab them HERE. I had to shrink some of them down so they'd all fit. Hope you can use them.

Happy Dr. Seuss Week Everyone!

Saturday, January 28, 2012

Dialogue Journals and a FREEBIE

One of my amazing co-workers introduced me to both of these ideas for this post, and they are just too good not to share! The first is using a Dialogue Journal to enhance and making writing more meaningful. For this activity I just got those spiral bound notebooks (I used college ruled because they're dirt cheap!) and then took them to get cut in half. Then I tell the students that these are used to have conversations with other students through writing.

The only rules are:
1. No talking
2. You can't write to the same person each time
3. While you're waiting for a response you need to be reading at your seat

We just started these this past week and I'm going to show them to their parents during Parent-Teacher Conferences (next week!). Soon I'll let the students take these home on the weekend to use with family members.

The kiddos have LOVED this so far!

Finally, here's a quick way for the parents to let me know their concerns and questions ahead of their conference time so I can have some materials ready for them (that's for another post!).
Click on the picture below to get your copy!

Friday, January 20, 2012

Groundhog Contraction

We have less than two weeks until Groundhog's Day so I created a quick contraction activity. Click on the picture of the groundhog to get yours!

Thursday, January 19, 2012

And The Award Goes To....

...this bulletin board for being the cutest thing EVER! We have some amazingly creative people at my school. I laugh every time I see it!

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

McTeacher Night and a Winner!

Tonight our school had a fundraiser at McDonalds called McTeacher Night. It was the first time we've done this and it was a two hour time period where we were able to get a portion of the proceeds the evening. All the teachers signed up to help out. Some cleaned tables, some helped put food out, some gave out prizes to the kids, and some passed out free smoothie samples. I got to have a really fun job and passed out stickers to all the kids. It was so busy and packed the whole time! About half of my students came with their parents and everyone said they had such a great time.

I encourage you to see if your school can do something similar. It was by far the easiest fundraiser we've ever done. So our school library got money, McDonalds got money, AND each teacher who worked got a coupon for a free value meal. Win-win-win!

I'm also happy to announce a winner from my giveaway! Congrats to Jennifer from Keys4Education. Thank you to those who entered and gave me some ideas for my upcoming Family Reading Night. I appreciate all your help!

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Parent-Teacher Conferences

It's almost that time again! I feel like we just had Parent-Teacher Conference, too. Anywhoo - here's a really simple self evaluation I have the students fill out to discuss with their parents. It's really surprising how hard they can be on themselves. Breaks my heart!

Click on the picture to get your copy.

Also my friend, Nicole, did a post last year about some of her cute ideas for PTC. My favorite that I'll be using this year are the packets of hot chocolate for the parents. It'll be perfect for this extra cold weather! Click on the picture to go to her blog and find the downloads for these.

Finally, don't forget to enter my GIVEAWAY {here!}

Monday, January 16, 2012

Texture Art and an AWESOME gift idea!

Since we don't have an art teacher at our school or district (for elementary at least) our PTO asks for Art Moms (or Dads) to come teach a lesson once a month to the students. This year I totally lucked out and got two fantastic Art Moms.

Last week they taught the kids about using different textures in their art (think Starry Night) and they combined lots of different things into each color of tempera paint. Here are some of the examples. Then they talked about how some paints would be smooth (Dawn, Oil) and some would be rough (Salt, Glitter, Potato Flakes). Then they had the kids do a loopy pencil sketch and paint in each section with a different color.

Don't these just look great?!? I didn't know how they would look on the black paper, but the colors all dried so bright and beautiful!

Today was my husband's birthday and like most men, he's pretty difficult to shop for. So I starting thinking about his gift way back in November. I came across this really cool shop in Etsy and I was able to message Amanda, the owner, and she designed this awesome Darth Vader pattern just for my husband (she now makes them for her shop). Needless to say, my husband LOVED his gift and he's going to hang it in his classroom (he teaches English at the high school).

I highly recommend you stop by and check out Amanda's shop (click on the picture below) and tell her Rachel sent you - who knows - maybe one day in the future we can do a giveaway (please Amanda!). You can also stop by her art blog {HERE}.

P.S. Please check out my post below and leave me some ideas for my upcoming Dr. Seuss Family Reading Night!

Saturday, January 14, 2012

Is a BRIBE worth your time?

Have you ever volunteered to be in charge of something and then wondered why you did, right after? Well, the last week of February / first of March is our Dr. Seuss Spirit Week and I signed up to take charge. We've haven't done this before the my "co-captain" AKA the person who is normally in charge or this sorta stuff isn't excited at all about it. So I basically volunteered because I want the students to have a blast celebrating Dr. Seuss. Thankfully I have you guys to help me out! I'm using a lot of our fun activities from Rachelle's Dr. Seuss unit. {Thanks, Girl!}

I do have a favor to ask of you guys though...That week we're supposed to have a "Family Reading Night" and I need some great ideas. One room will be a "Royal Reader" reading some classic Dr. Seuss and another room will have some parents doing face painting. I need around three other rooms where parents and their children can join in on some fun, easy Dr. Seuss based activities that would be fun for K-4. I'd appreciate ANY and ALL ideas!

As my way of saying thanks for you help I'm also throwing in a GIVEAWAY! I bought this great Dr. Jean CD a few months ago just to be used for a giveaway, but I was waiting for the right moment and this just feels right :o)

You have 3 ways to enter! { with 3 separate entries }

1. Follow this blog (or let me know that you already do!)
2. Put Ed Link - First Grade on your blogroll
3. Leave your idea for the Dr. Seuss Family Reading Night

That's it! I'll choose a winner next Wednesday-ish.

Sunday, January 8, 2012

Final Endings of nd, ng, & nk {freebie!}

Here's just a quick worksheet to review one of our new concepts being taught this week (for Houghton Mifflin). Click on the picture to grab your copy.

Friday, January 6, 2012

Spelling City

Spelling City ( is such a great interactive site for making spelling practice fun. Incase you're not familiar with Spelling City I've included a how-to.

Once you've created your lists you'll see a screen like this:

One feature that took me a year to notice is the 'print' button next to several games. It's great for whole group since my classroom only has three computers.

I know this was a really quick run down, but I hope it has helped some.