Friday, September 9, 2016

A Brand New Adventure

Hello. It's me. ;)

I really disappeared there for a while, didn't I?!

I'm (hopefully) back now. Back with a brand new adventure. I took a leave of absence for the 2015-16 school year. I stayed home. I cooked. I cleaned should have cleaned. I was a mom. A wife. A piano teacher. A crafter. A photographer. And I didn't really even think about school for a really long time. That was super weird for me.

About February, I started thinking about school. Not school so much. Teaching. I started thinking about teaching. And I realized that as content and happy as I was staying home and being all of those things, I really missed teaching. 

One morning I casually mentioned to Luke, "What would you think about me cleaning out my craft room and turning it into a preschool room?!" I swear he would have started hauling things out of that room right then if I would have let him! 

I kind of let the idea marinate in my brain for a few weeks and then put a few feelers out on Facebook. 

Our community has just about as many preschool teachers as it does photographers - A LOT! I wondered if I'd even be able to fill one class, let alone two. I was blown away by the response. Within days, both my Glowworms (3 year olds) and my Fireflies (4 year olds) classes were nearly full. My heart just about exploded.

I went before the city council and had my business license approved. I submitted my letter of resignation to the school district. And I started clearing out that craft room with the awesome red shag carpet. 

My classes were completely filled early this summer. I was given desks and chairs and caps and gowns and stacks of paper. 

And now, here we are. September 9th, 2016. Today my littles have their 3rd day of preschool. Yesterday my little littles had their 2nd. We've had a few hiccups. A few tears. A few sleepless nights. A little playdough. A little coloring. A little tracing. A little scissoring. A little story time. And a whole lot of wonderfulness.

This morning I was up early. Really early. I made stuff. Preschool stuff. It's so great to be back.

Guys!!! I am a PRESCHOOL teacher!!! 

Monday, October 26, 2015

[it's PURPLE!!!!]

So...a few weeks ago, a special package arrived in my mailbox. Inside that package was a product I was eagerly anticipating, and super excited to do a product review for.

Let me just say that I've been a long time fan of the Classroom Friendly Pencil Sharpener (aka the World's Greatest Pencil Sharpener - the one all the teachers are talking about)!
I mean, really, look at this great line-up...

What you may not know, is that Troy is one of the most generous and thoughtful business owners I've ever worked with. For each pencil sharpener sold, he donates $1 to help develop a school in a developing country. He also very kindly gifted Kenton two different pencil sharpeners (the super darling car sharpener that sat in the drawer of his hospital table and a black one that stayed in the halfway house) when he was going through his cancer treatments. For my little artist, those sharpeners allowed him to have super sharp pencils in his hospital room all the time, so when he wanted to draw, he could.

With the best product on the market, and the best customer service, Classroom Friendly Supplies is my go to company for teacher appreciation gifts and housewarming gifts. I love LOVE that there is now a permanent mount available! 

In my classroom, I had 2 blue sharpeners. I loved them. My kids loved them. The other teachers in my building coveted loved them. Soon, every teacher in our hall was the proud owner of TWO Classroom Friendly Pencil Sharpeners. Yes, they're that awesome. 

Back to what I was saying earlier...a few weeks ago, a special package arrived in my mailbox. I let McKayslin open it because I knew what was inside and I wanted to see her reaction (she will only sharpen pencils in a Classroom Friendly Pencil Sharpener - as will Luke - and well, you already know how I feel about this little guy!).

Seriously so cute!

She was so excited!!  The best pencil sharpener in the world (which even sharpens those stupid really great "holiday" pencils, colored pencils, and cheap pencils like a dream) NOW COMES IN PURPLE!!!

Of course, she had to try it out immediately.

Such an easy sharpener to use - my littles (first graders!!!) caught on after only a couple of minutes of instruction! You just squeeze the little black grips together, pull the metal piece away from the sharpener and insert your pencil. Release the black grips (they'll hold the pencil tightly). Place one hand on top of the sharpener body to stabilize the sharpener and use the other hand to twist the handle. You'll know when the pencil is sharp because the sharpening sound stops. To remove the pencil, simply squeeze the black grips together again and take the pencil out of the sharpener. This is the kind of point you can expect every.single.time. It's pretty great!

This little gem has taken up permanent residence with McKayslin's art supplies. Her colored pencils sharpen quickly without getting worn down or torn up. I love that. 

In my classroom, my favorite feature of this sharpener, is that once the pencil is sharp, the kids can keep on cranking away, but the blade disengages so the pencil doesn't get eaten up in that super awesome game of "Ireallydon'twanttodomyworksoI'llsharpenmypenciltoatinylittlenubandthengetanotherpencilanddothesamethingagain!" 

Bonus, the blade is replaceable! I had my classic blue sharpeners in my classroom for over 3 years before the blades needed replacing.

Honestly, every pencil ever sharpened in my Classroom Friendly Sharpeners has come out with a clean, sharp point, every single time. 

Stop by Classroom Friendly Supplies and check out all of the fun colors Troy has to offer. And while you're there, pick up a sharpener. Or three. I love them in the classroom, and I love them at home. I promise, you won't be sorry!!

Friday, October 2, 2015

[The Quietest Classroom Pencil Sharpener]

Something pretty awesome showed up in my inbox this morning! These are the best pencil sharpeners of all time! (Seriously, ask any teacher that has one!). 

And something new and super fun is coming soon from the makers of The Quietest Classroom Pencil Sharpener... 
smile emoticon

Monday, August 3, 2015

[Waves Hello...] Daily Calendar Work for First Grade

Well, guys, I have some news. After 19 years of teaching (which is basically my entire adult life!), I am taking a leave of absence for the 2015-16 school year. It's still freakishly weird for me to not be getting my classroom ready, and planning the first week of school, and...and...and. But on the flip side, this is so great!!!  

My plans for the year are to do a lot of nothing. ;)

Just kidding. I've started designing digital scrapbook kits (if you're a digital scrapbooker, I'd love for you to come follow me on Etsy). I hope to expand my skills in that area with some fun school clip art and papers and borders and...and...and... 

I also will be doing more photography. 

And - I'll be going back through the things I have created in the past to update and improve them. There will also be new activities and lessons posted hopefully weekly here on the blog. Some resources will be free and some resources will still cost money. (This no paycheck thing is kind of scary!!).

The first new product I'm listing is a daily calendar and number sense pack. I developed this in January because I really was not a fan of the calendar program we were given. My kiddos LOVED calendar time once we implemented this! They really caught on quickly and became rockstars at money, time, counting by tens and ones, expanded notation, and creating equations.  Because the only thing that changes from month to month is the actual calendar to fill in the date and the graph (because we totally ran out of grid on the sunny day bar by like April!!), this becomes a great morning routine that the students look forward to and enjoy.

You can find it on Teacher's Notebook. Incidentally, I'm having a sale. :)  And...just for fun, the first 3 commenters here (YOU MUST LEAVE YOUR EMAIL ADDRESS in your comment or email me directly!) will receive the full file free! 

Have a super great day - and good luck with school! I know I'm going to miss it, but right now, this is what my family and I need.

Monday, January 19, 2015

[Detective Scoot FREEBIE!!] CCSS 1.OA.D.7

One more game.  One more chance for my littles to practice this before the test. I'm pretty sure that I found and fixed any errors.  However, if you see something out of place, PLEASE let me know.  Image is linked.  This one's free for a few days.  Maybe forever.  

Bread is rising, and I'm going to do something.  Not sure what.  Maybe play with paper.  Maybe make a game for the next chapter.  Maybe make a review sheet for Go Math Chapter 5.  Maybe have a nap.  Wouldn't that be so nice?!

McKayslin and I went to town today and found some great things to decorate Kenton's grave for Valentine's Day.  Tomorrow after school we'll stop to see our boy, take down Christmas (finally!), and put up llloooove day.  Thursday marks 2 years that Kenton's been gone.  This is a super hard week for our family.  Thank you for your continued support and prayers.

Sunday, January 18, 2015

[Cattle Round-Up] CCSS 1.OA.D.7

CCSS1.OA.D.7 ~ Understand the meaning of the equal sign and determine if equations involving addition and subtraction are true or false

Here we go again.  ;)  Image is linked.  $2 at Teacher's Notebook.  Practicing equations with values of 1-6 only in this set.

Last night my brain tumbled around and around and over and over with game ideas for this concept.  This is the one I settled on this morning, although I may or may not have a game of SCOOT in the works also.

I find that once I start working on games/plans/etc... just being creative ... that my creativity increases like crazy and I have ideas tumbling about in my head all the time.  That makes me happy and I am determined to not let go of this chain of creativity that seems to have found me.  It usually doesn't stick around for more than a few days, so I need to harness it and use it while I can.  

Gratefully Luke just picks up all the slack all the time, and more so when I get locked into creative mode.  Yesterday he washed the dishes, did all the laundry, and swept and vacuumed the whole house.  I'm pretty spoiled.

Have a great Sunday!  Hopefully I'll "see" you tomorrow with something else new and fun.

Friday, January 16, 2015


Wowsers did my kiddos ever struggle with this concept!  CCSS 1.OA.D.7 ~ Understand the meaning of the equal sign and determine if equations involving addition and subtraction are true or false.

They did better yesterday than Wednesday, but a little more practice is absolutely necessary before our chapter test.  

So last night while Luke was off playing basketball with some friends, and McKayslin was sleeping, I sketched out this little game.  And this morning, I pulled up some of my favorite clip art and boom!  Here's the game we'll be using for review!

TRUE OR FALSE - the image is linked to the FREE download.  There are 10 pages.  5 in color and 5 in black and white.  Same game.  Same cards.  

Happy Friday!  :)

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