Monday, December 10, 2012

Manic Monday Gingerbread FREEBIE!

I had such a wonderful Monday today! I finally took a personal day {I have SO many I haven't used} and finished almost all of my Christmas shopping! Woohoo! Another teacher friend of mine took a personal day as well and went with me. It was fantastic! The Outlet Mall was almost deserted and almost everything was 50% off! I believe the rest of my shopping can be done on Amazon and thank goodness I have Prime so it will be shipped in time!

Well ~ here is my Gingerbread Math Freebie that wouldn't load the other day!

There are 6 game boards in all. 1, 2, and 3 dice games in boy gingerbread and girl gingerbread. I'm no sexist! haha!

To get the Gingerbread FREEBIE click here.

I am also linking up with Manic Monday at Classroom Freebies here.

Hope y'all have a simply fantastic week!

Saturday, December 8, 2012


Well, it is definitely NOT beginning to look like Christmas in my room! Our district came down hard this year saying absolutely NO Christmas stuff! We can't put up little trees in our room, we cannot make ornaments to send home, none, zip, zilch, nada! I have been seeing all these amazing freebies out in blogland and get so sad because the majority of them are Christmas related. So, I instead of getting depressed I thought of fun winter'ish things that I could still do! Gingerbread, snowmen, snowflakes, etcetera! I had to decorate my door of course! Meet Sid the Snowman...

Isn't he cute?

For Language Arts we are doing a genre study of fairytales, folktales, and fables until break. I am so excited! I love fairytales! Last year I made three different anchor charts but this year our district specified that in first grade we don't need to get that specific. So my anchor chart is a combo of the three.

Such fun!

I can't seem to upload my gingerbread freebie so I will try to post it tomorrow!

Ta for now!

Saturday, December 1, 2012

Berry Pie and a Liebster Award - oh my!

I made it to the weekend! Seriously this week seemed so long after the Thanksgiving Break! I had a simply fabulous break so it was hard to come back for work. My sister came over with her family {they made the LONG drive to Texas from Arizona, bless her!} and helped me make a delicious meal! The biggest hit? Berry Pie! Her kiddos couldn't get enough! We had so much fun!

When I got back to class one of my little sweeties told me she missed me over the break and that made the transition back to work easier! Love those firsties!

Over the weekend I was nominated for a Liebster Award and isn't that the coolest?

 By two different ladies no less! I will try to answer the questions as best as I can!! So here are the rules:
- You must post 11 random things about yourself.
- Answer the questions the nominator has set for you.
- Create 11 questions for the people you nominate.
- Choose 11 blogs you love (with 200 followers or less) and link them in your post.
- No Tag back (But please leave me a comment on this post with the URL to your Liebster post so I can learn more about you)

11 Random Things

1. I am a beauty product junkie. Seriously - I can't get enough of Ulta or Sephora. Thank goodness for Ulta coupons in the mail! I am on the eternal quest for the perfect lipgloss, eyeshadow, mineral powder, and so on!
2. I have just about the most eclectic taste in music...ever. I love anything from Broadway Music to Black-Eyed Peas!
3. I have a hard time saying no to people! I hope that doesn't make me an enabler!
4. I love action movies! James Bond anyone? Die Hard? Love them all! Isn't my hubs a lucky guy?
5. I love decorating and decorating mags. The hubs always complain about my magazine stash and why can't I throw some out?
6. I also love documentaries, especially about animals. I always wind up crying like a baby during them!
7. Another latest beauty obsession I have is gel nails! I finally broke down and forked out the cash to buy an LED lamp ($50 at Ulta). I am in love! You will never go back to regular nail polish again! I brought all my gel nail stuff to work and my team had a gel nail party! One of my team members has already bought her own lamp to get started.
8. I am a Dr. Pepper addict. No hope of recovery.
9. I love me some Amazon. The one-click ordering is a blessing and a curse for me!
10. I lived in Hawaii for a semester (my hubs was doing his undergrad there at the time) and got engaged there. There is simply no place like Hawaii! LOVE it!
11. My undergrad is in Elementary Education from Arizona State and my graduate degree is in Special Education from Lubbock Christian University. There is definitely a special place in my heart for autistic kiddos!

So here are the question for me...

1) How did you pick your blog name?
I love rhyming and alliteration and I thought "crusade" seems very fitting when it comes to education!

2) What made you start writing a blog?
I decided to join in the blogging world instead of being a passive blog stalker!

3) What is your favorite thing to do with your family?
I love doing outdoor activities like just going for a nature walk, kayaking or canoeing. Austin is such a great place for outdoor enthusiasts! I also LOVE movies!

4) Coke or Pepsi?
Dr. Pepper!

5) Who is your favorite music group?
That is like picking a favorite star! However I really enjoy Mumford and Sons. They're both  folksy and soulful=)

6) What would you purchase if you had an unlimited budget?
I am a nester so I would just create one heck'uva cozy home for me and my family.

7) What is your favorite book to share with your students?
I love it when we do our genre study of Fairytales! I can't pick just one, I love them all!

8) What household chore do you like the least?
Toilet scrubbing. Does it get any worse?

9) What professional book or conference changed something about how you teach?
Probably the Daily Five. You have to practice behaviors again and again. I am a firm believer in routines.

10) What is your favorite color?
blues, greens, greys- earthy tones.

11) If you could eat lunch with a famous person, who would it be?
Hugh Jackman 

Now here are my questions...

1. What made you decided to be a teacher?
2. If you could be any animal what would it be and why?
3. What is your favorite movie?
4. What is your dream vacation?
5. What is your favorite book?
6. What is your favorite subject to teach?
7. Where did you graduate from college?
8. What has been your favorite place you've lived?
9. Night on the town or yoga pants and a movie?
10. Who are you dying to see in concert?
11. Who is the person who most inspires you?

Here are my nominees...

1. The Artistry of Education
2. Learning is for Superstars
3. The Teacher in Me
4. HoJo's Teaching Adventures
5. Realistic Teacher
6. The Groovy Teacher
7. Kindergarten Faith
8. Growing in Pre K
9. Reading and Writing Redhead
10. Live, Laugh, I love Kindergarten
11. Teaching with TLC

Have a fantastic weekend!

Sunday, November 18, 2012

The Lorax craftivity

Wow! Times has gone by so fast! Is it really Thanksgiving this week? I have only two days of school. I am kind of dreading it since I know the kids are going to be wired! I plan on having a lot of activities that will keep them busy busy busy!

This week we had a blast! I am at an IB school (International Baccalaureate) and our current unit is about how Conflict causes Change. Sometime good can come from something bad and vice versa. We read the Lorax and then did a reader response craftivity. The kids LOVED it and we had a blast. I love the conversation we had going after the book. The kiddos are so insightful!

Aren't they so cute? I drew the mustache and traced them. Then the kiddos cut them out. So fun!

Wish me luck for the next two days!

Sunday, November 4, 2012

Post Halloween

Whew! I made it! I have to admit, after Halloween was worse than Halloween day! Must have been the sugar crash! Friday was TOUGH! I left school feeling so frustrated and vented a lot to my dear teaching friends. Then when I got home I watched the news and WOW! Watching the devastation of Hurricane Sandy really made me feel like a jerk. Talk about putting things in perspective! And here I was complaining about my hopped up on sugar kiddos when people have lost their homes. So I decided to stop whining!

We had such a blast on Halloween! Our district doesn’t allow any dressing up or any parties so I to figure out what type of “Fun” activity I could do that would still apply to what we are learning that also seemed “Halloweenish”. I saw the most adorable spiders on Pinterest and decided it would fit in with my curriculum perfectly! In reading we are working on expository text and for writing we are doing research. So I read the kiddos a book on spiders and then for our writing research we wrote down spider facts on the legs.
The kids LOVED it! They had a blast and wore their spider hats with relish! Here is one of my cuties in her spider hat.

We are definitely doing this next year!

I also started to gear up for Thanksgiving! It is my favorite holiday! I LOVE it! I can't wait to get started on our Thanksgiving history lessons! I am in the process of creating a Thanksgiving count and color too! I'll post it next Friday. Here is my Thanksgiving themed decorated door!

I might have put it up too soon after Halloween because my kids thought it was a witch! LOL! I informed them it was a pilgrim. They still seemed a little confused! Guess what my read alouds will be this upcoming week? Yep. Pilgrims galore!

Talking about Thanksgiving makes me hungry- so I'm off to eat!

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Interactive Bulletin Board

Well it has been a while since I posted. Last week I got sick. I knew it was too good to last! I completely lost my voice. When I went to the doctor he told me I had a cold. What kind of cold makes you lose your voice completely? I asked. Well apparently there is some weird strain going around. I took Friday off and didn't speak for three days. I told my friends that this was my version of hell ~ losing my voice cause I love to talk! They completely agreed with me. I'm not sure if that is a compliment or if I should take offense=)

I'm finally getting my voice back {though I still can't sing at the top of my lungs with the radio, which I am fond of doing} so I could catch up on some work that we missed from my sick day. I am sure every teacher out there knows what I am talking about when I say taking a sick day is more of a pain than going in. And I even have a sub tub prepared!

We have been working on graphing for the last couple of weeks in math. The kids really seem to like graphing. Now when it comes to using that information they still have to be guided by me but at least they are enthusiastic about it!

We did a monster graph craftivity which they loved! Here is an example...

Does anyone else feel like their word walls, anchor charts, vocabulary, etc. is just wallpaper? The students just don't seem to be utilizing the information that I have posted around the room. I don't know how many kids ask me how to help them spell words that are right on the word wall! They also have a laminated word wall I let them keep in their desks. Kind of driving me crazy.

Anyhoo- I decided to try to make my boards my interactive. I decided to start with my math wall. To start off I'll just have a basic addition number sentence with pictures.

It's just a small section on my math board but I am hoping that it will get the kids to notice the information up there. I used poster putty for the fruit and number. That way it is easily removed. I also think I will change it up with different holiday's, seasons and such.

I'll let y'all know how it goes and post about it next week!

Saturday, October 20, 2012

Doozy of a week and a FREEBIE!

Wow! Am I glad this week is over! Let me just say it has been a doozy of a week. Was it something in the air? Were the stars aligned just so? I have no idea. I had kids biting, licking {yes, licking}, and peeing in the pants {3 times}, and an angry parent. To top it off - I had staff development today. Yep on a Saturday. True story. I am utterly exhausted. Yep- I'll say it again, glad it's over!

I had planned on working on my numerical fluency packet but just couldn't seem to muster the energy. However- I did get enough energy to create a math game. You might have noticed that I am a bit obsessed with math games. I just love them cause my kiddos get such a kick out of playing them! This weeks game is a Star Wars themed ODD and EVEN math game. The kids loved it...especially the boys! Here are some pics of the kiddos playing the ODD and EVEN game and last week's Halloween Count and Cover.

I re-discovered the amazing Mathwire website. I found the wonderful idea of laminating 100 charts and cutting them up. Whenever the kiddos are finished early they just grab a puzzle. This has quickly become one of their favorite past times!

If you want a copy of the Star Wars ODD and EVEN game click HERE.

I'm keeping my fingers crossed that next week will be better. Much better! Have a great weekend y'all!

Saturday, October 13, 2012

If You Can't Be Deep, Be Funny Linky Party

I truly believe that laughter is the best medicine! So when I saw this linky party over at Learning 4 Keeps ~I had to join!

Learning 4 Keeps

Here are some of my favorite pins...

Be awesome. #laylagrayce #quote

Ironing is bad for the soul - I am convinced!

...some days just deserve it!

Friday, October 12, 2012


Whew! It has been a week! Thank goodness conferences are over! On a bright note - I had 100% attendance at my conferences! First time ever!

So I thought that I had solved my dry-erase marker problem by buying dry-erase crayons and found myself with a new problem - they are the devil to erase! Ugh! If anyone has any solutions - I am wide open to suggestions!

So for FREEBIE Friday I thought I would post some number sense pages I had my kids work on this week. You can download them here.

I've really been working hard at number sense with my kiddos. Here is a little Bridging to Ten Activity we did in class this week. It was so simple and easy and the kids loved figuring out the number sentence to write down!

I FINALLY put up my conflict/resolution board. Our counselor introduced the "Kelso" the frog. I remembered seeing Kelso the frog years ago - and loving it! Kelso helps the kids work out small problems by giving a bunch of tips on how to solve small problems. I have been amazed at the number of kids I see go up to the board to look at the choices for their problems!

Have a great weekend!

Sunday, October 7, 2012

Twas the Night Before Parent - Teacher Conferences

And all through the house...not a teacher was snoring, only her spouse.

Well, I always have a hard time falling asleep the night before Monday. Now especially the night before conferences! I'm a little nervous but for the most part anxious to talk to the parents about the kiddos. Especially my little ones who are so behind! I have quite a few and they really worry me! Hopefully the parents show up for conferences tomorrow!

Well, I decided to create another FREEBIE! I thought the kids would get a kick out of some Halloween themed stationery. So if you would like a copy click HERE.

Friday, October 5, 2012

Parent Conferences and a HALLOWEEN MATH FREEBIE!

Whew it has been a week! Parent conferences are on Monday and I still have so much to do to get ready! I really don't want to have to go to work on Saturday but I just might do it! Ahh...but the sales at the outlet mall are calling me! What is a girl to do?

Some people have hot dates on Friday night, but not this hubs was picking up his cases downtown so I got to stay home and watch Monk reruns while I put together a fun math game freebie, with a Halloween twist of course! If you would like one click here.

Have a great weekend!

Monday, October 1, 2012

Gearing Up for Halloween!

For the last week in September my kiddos have been talking nonstop about their Halloween costumes. And now that October is upon us they are even more excited! I have a precious little girl who is going to be Red Riding Hood and her little two year old brother is going to be the wolf. How adorable is that?

I was so ready for September to be over! From here on out there is a holiday every month! Woohoo! So I decided to actually do something I saw on Pinterest and decorate a door! Here it is!

Basically I have this door in my classroom that links to another room. I usually put anchor charts on it but I decided to designate this door to whatever holiday is coming up. When my kiddos rolled in this morning they oohhed and ahhhed. They love it! Hmmm...what to do for November? A pilgrim? We'll see what I can come up with!

I also thought I'd post a quick activity we did in reading for elements of fiction - beginning, middle, and end. It is such a quick and easy lesson to do. You can pretty much read any fiction book and then have the students respond with a sticky note. I pause after reading the first two pages and have them respond, pause for the middle- response, and so on.

This is a lesson from the Comprehension Toolkit by Stephanie Harvey and Anne Goudvis. I love their books! They are so teacher friendly! It is easy to prep the lesson and the students are always into it.

I read "Where the Wild Things Are" - always a favorite with the kiddos. We had some great discussion about imagination and what is happening in the story. Such a great book!

Friday, September 14, 2012

Reading Buddies and a Freebie

Wow! It has been such a busy week! And to top it off it was very rainy today. So the kids were squirelly all day. The bright spot in my day was we started our Reading Buddies! We join up with a 5th grade class and the kids LOVE it! First I had the kids do a little getting to know you activity. They interviewed each other and were having a fantastic time finding out their common interests. I overheard a lot of great discussions and some very amusing ones as well! Here are a few pics of the kiddos interviewing each other.

Get your Freebie here.

I have staff development tomorrow. Yep~I have it on a Saturday. At least I'm getting paid for it! It's a math workshop called "Do the Math." I hope they have stuff I can implement right away in the classroom. Those are my favorite workshops! Make and takes! Woohoo! Keeping my fingers crossed!

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Objectives Board

Does anyone else have a love/hate relationship with dry erase markers? I tried to do a math activity today and what should have been a 10 minute quick check turned into 20 minutes! My students frantically searched through my stash for a dry erase marker that worked! Ugh! I also wind up spending quite a bit of money on them. Our school has a small supply but they really - but it's more of one marker per teacher type of thing. Oh well, what can you do? Fork out more cash for dry erase markers I guess!

I am still getting stuff situated in my class! I didn't print off book box labels until today! We have such a transient population that I always wait to finalize things until after Labor Day. I'm sure I'll get a couple new students next week! You know - after laminating, cutting, affixing, etc. right?

At our school we have to have our objectives posted so I thought I would share my cute objectives board! Here it is!

The chalkboard was one of my summer projects. {a summer project I actually finished!} I saw so many cute chalkboards on various decorating blogs that I was determined to make one myself! I'm so happy with the way it turned out!

Monday, September 3, 2012

First Grade Scientists!

I try to do a craftivity on Friday's and saw this super adorable one {for free!} on Teachers Pay Teachers. Find the link HERE.

Here are some pics of my kiddos scientists!

My firsties absolutely loved this activity! We had such a good time!

So far my Labor Day weekend has pretty much been running errands and such! You know, the stuff you put off during the week because you are so busy? That what I'll be doing! Fun stuff like getting the oil changed, vacuuming, mopping, groceries, etc. My friends are going to the beach! Ugh!

Happy Labor Day!

Saturday, September 1, 2012

First Week of School! Classroom Management Lesson and Freebie

Whew! I think I made it! Hooray! The first week is over! I actually had a great week. But am I ever tired! My feet were absolutely killing me by the end of each day! The only major incident I had was when one of my sweet firsties projectile vomited all over another girl behind her in the lunch line! UGH! And I had sent her to the nurse and they sent her right back! If they don't have a fever they send the kiddos straight back to class, which kind of irks me to no end. I've had this happen before (last year) with the vomiting after I send them to the nurse. Frustration! I mean I get that the nurse sees a jillion kiddos a day but when they are turning green at the gills? Isn't that a clue? My sweetie who was vomited on was such a good sport! Bless her! She just marched to the nurse and changed her clothes! I think I would have demanded to be sent home. Sure she changed her clothes but it must have soaked through? *shudder* she kept soldiering on! You gotta love the crazy things that always seem to happen in the first week!

So everyday we have been making anchor charts - What does good classroom behavior look like and sound like? and so on. I think my poor kids are anchor charted out! No matter how cute I make them! The behavior has been pretty good so far, so the anchor charts must be working!

By midweek however, the tattling was starting to get ridiculous! Thank goodness my first grade team whipped up one of my all time favorite lessons for classroom management! The minnow and whale lesson! Yes, you heard correct...minnow and whale. And we refer to this lesson all year long! The kids NEVER forget it!

First you start by reading the classic book by Dr. Seuss...

We then discuss how the little boy in the book likes to exagerrate..."stop turning minnows into whales!" his dad tells him. We talk about small (minnow) and big (whale) problems. I chop up some examples of problems and give one to each student. They are then supposed to identify if it is a minnow or a whale problem. Then they get to stick their example on the minnow and whale anchor chart. Our's looks like this..,

Like I said - I refer to this lesson ALL YEAR LONG! And the beauty of it is the students remember! When they come to me with a small problem, all I do is say "minnow or whale?" and usually it is a minnow and they go off to solve their own problem!

Download the problem examples HERE

Hope everybody enjoys the long weekend! I'm going to my friend's 30 B-Day party! Woohoo!

Well, my hubs is harassing me about needing the computer to look up football scores! Football madness begins! *sigh*

Sunday, August 26, 2012


Oh my goodness! Tomorrow is the first day of school! I definitely have some butterflies in my tummy! I hope I will be able to sleep tonight. I swear I'm worse than the kids! I had such a sweet class last year! I am hoping that this year is just as wonderful!

I was in my class yesterday for some last minute stuff and wound up staying for 7 hours! What is wrong with me? And somehow I still didn't manage to accomplish all I had hoped to. I did however, finish putting up my tree. Every year I have to have a tree or two in my classroom. I need greenery! And since I don't have a window in my room having any live plants is out!

Another good thing about the tree is that it is FREE! I just love good ole butcher paper!

First you start off with some brown butcher paper. And crumple, crumple, crumple!

This will be your trunk. Now staple it to the wall. If you can't staple than use hot glue!

Now crumple some more brown butcher paper and add some branches!

Hmmm...seems a little sparse. Let's add some more branches. And make them a tad thinner!

Now it is time to add the greenery! Grab some green butcher paper and cut out some leaves. I don't use a stencil, I just wing it!

These leaves definitely need more texture, so let's scrunch some more!

Now make A LOT more! And repeat, once again- A LOT! Then staple, staple, staple, until you get the amount of greenery that works for you!

And there you have it! A lovely tree to add interest to your classroom! Oh how I love my tree! Here is another view!

In my humble opinion every classroom needs a tree! Go ahead - give it a try!