Monday, April 29, 2013


I've missed you! I am in way over my head with wedding planning, long-ish term sub plans for wedding, pre-wedding celebrations, PALS testing, report cards, and oh yea...TEACHING every day! :) Ahh!
I couldn't miss out on a chance to link up to the instagram Party, though! What a fabulous idea.  I loooove instagram and have managed to find some of you, but this will be an awesome way to find new blogs AND to get my blog fix when I don't have time to sit at the computer and surf.  I'm happy to announce that "What Happens in First Grade" now has an instagram account.  Unfortunately, it will probably only have pictures of Sawyer until I can get to school in the morning and snap something else! ;)'s brand new!
Click below to link up!

We have indeed been busy, busy, busy in first grade despite my blogging absence.  Here is a quick "photo dump" of what we've been up to!  I promise I'll be back soon....even sooner if anyone wants to write a week's worth of sub plans for me.  Any takers? ;)
Fact Family Review
Some of our favorites:
-Number Sentence Sliders (super easy to make with sentence strips - cover one of the numbers OR the +/- sign and your partner has to guess what is hidden!
- "Visual Math" Number Sentence Shakers
Phonics Work with the Sounds of "oo" 
Fruit Loops and Sunglasses make everything more fun!

Money Practice Games
-Most are from from the fabulous Cara Carroll at The First Grade Parade.
-We also had an awesome time with my little "Money Bugs" count the room activity.
 Taking advantage of the pretty weather to do a little short i/long i partner writing sort with sidewalk chalk

PS - The UPS man just made my day with these precious little koozies for the wedding...

I'm ready to say I do!
Happy teaching to you...and see ya on instagram! ;)

Sunday, April 14, 2013

Money Bugs!

Is anyone else working on counting coins this week??  I just finished making a few activities that I can't wait to use with my kiddos. My laminator is warming up as I type this!
My kids LOVE "read around the room" activities this year so I made a "count around the room" money game called "Money Bugs."  Get it? Like money bags? 
Get it? Get it?
I thought I was really clever but Andy just gave me a strange look when I told him.  Sigh.
If you are interested, check it out at my TPT store.  It includes dimes, nickels, and pennies but NOT quarters. Just FYI! :)
We have been enjoying an absolutely perfect Sunday.  I've been busy, busy, busy on plans after a long walk with the pooch and a grocery store run. Andy is busy studying for a BIG paramedic test for work tomorrow. 
Today, I am thankful for the electrical outlet on my screened-in deck because it doesn't make me feel so bad to spend the entire day on school work when I can enjoy the fabulous weather and a cool breeze!
I am also thankful that yummy fruit is starting to be in season.  I can hardly stand to buy it in the winter when it doesn't even taste like real fruit!
Oh yea...and riesling.  I'm thankful for that too. ;)
I am also thankful that you decided to stop by my blog today so I have a FREEBIE for you.  This is basically the game of "WAR" with coins.  I just don't like calling it war...don't ask me why, I just don' I call it "top-it." 
Students will pair up and take turns turning over the top card on their stack.  The person with the highest amount gets to keep both know the drill.
This is war top-it of the coin variety and it's yours if you would like it!
This also includes mostly dimes, nickels, and pennies.  The last page does include some quarters in isolation that you can leave in or take out but it does not include a lot of practice with counting quarters. 
So if your kids are smartie-pants and already know how to count quarters with dimes, nickels, and pennies...SORRY!  hehe.  We're not quite there...yet...
but...practice makes progress!
Happy Monday and Happy Teaching to You!

Sunday, April 7, 2013

What's the BIG idea??

Spring Break has officially come to an end and I am SAD about that but going back means I'm getting closer and closer to May when I get to marry this handsome guy! 
Then, of course, glorious summer days ahead!  I think I can do it!
Spring Break was productive, but not busy.  I had plenty of days to sleep in and work on some wedding projects at home.  It FINALLY warmed up yesterday and spring decided to make an appearance in my little corner of Virginia so I spent the day getting a little (too much) sun and reading a book.  It was a REAL, grown-up book.  I don't read those much from September-June!  I read "Gone Girl" by Gillian Flynn.  WOW. I highly recommend.  I finished it in two days...couldn't put it down.  It's definitely not a "feel good" story...pretty disturbing actually, but quite good!
I also had a chance to FINALLY finish up a new unit I've been working on for quite some time. I had a really hard time in the past teaching main idea to my first graders as a reading strategy.  I feel like I've finally come up with some ideas to help them grasp the concept.  This year was the first year I felt truly  successful with it, so I decided it was time to share!  This is also the first year that I feel like I've truly used the concepts of main idea and details to help my students as writers.  I am shocked at how it helped many of even my reluctant writers feel confident writing a short paragraph with multiple sentences on the same topic....YES!
I also noticed that as I shopped on TPT, there were a lot of resources out there for upper elementary grades...but not so much for primary. So if this is something that you are working on this spring with your little ones...I hope you can use it! 
It is on sale this week for $4!
There is a lengthy preview available on TPT so you can see exactly what you are getting. Just click the picture below to check it out. :)
I'd also love to give away a copy to the first 3 friends to leave me a comment.  On your mark, get set...go!
For now...I'm off to watch the Country Music Awards and gear up for my kiddos tomorrow! 
Happy Monday and as always...Happy Teaching to you!

Monday, April 1, 2013

My clock is broken.

Seriously, it must be broken.  I woke up early, poured some coffee in my Bon Jovi mug (Yes...I have one of those.  Don't you judge me.) and watched part of the Today Show.  Then, I went to get my oil changed (wow.  WAY past due.), went by my parents' house, ran to Target, and I swear the next time I looked at the clock it was 6 pm. 
Why do spring break days go by so darn fast??
I'm going to blame it on Target. 
Going to Target on a weekday is a little slice of heaven...and it's possible I may have indulged for a little too long.
On that note, here is an ode to Target via Pinterest.  These make me laugh.

I haven't posted a lot lately because my student teacher took over full time teaching the two weeks before break and her time with us has been FLYING by. Is it seriously April?

I have been a labeling/filing/paperwork doing/grade entering/long-term planning FOOL while she's been teaching.  
I did want to drop in tonight and say a belated "HAPPY EASTER"...and of course...drop off a quick freebie!
This is such a simple math activity, but one of my (and my kids') absolute favorites.  They have no clue how much they are learning by doing these 100's Chart Puzzles. ;) 

They just think it's fun!

I made new ones this year because my originals were showing their age.  I leave these in my regular math tub rotation and keep some handy for early finishers because they learn so much by working them and noticing all of the patterns.  They will get REALLY quick at doing these eventually...but the first few times they are totally bewildered with all of the pieces and feel pretty awesome when they get it all put together!
Basically...I just printed this little 100's chart on lots of different colors of paper and laminated them.  (My Scotch laminator at home has a lot thicker plastic than the one at school, so I used that to keep the pieces a little sturdier.)
Then, just cut each 100's chart into crazy, zig-zag pieces and stick them in a bag. 
Voila! Puzzles!

Click on the picture below to get your free copy!

(By the way - it is supposed to be off-center. I wanted the pieces to be more square instead of rectangular so I squished it to one side.)'s another fun 100's chart just in case you need one!  Feel free to grab it.
I'll be back soon with a brand new packet full of Reading and Writing Ideas to study Main Idea! Check back to WIN it.
Happy Spring Break and Happy Teaching to you!