Adventures in First Grade

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Where Have You BEEN All of My (Teaching) Life?!

I feel so blessed to have stumbled into this teaching bloggy world.  It is truly an educator's dream.  So many people with awesome ideas, and I want to do everything at once! 

When I first began "stalking" my favorite blogs, I read how so many of you use the Scotch Laminator.  I checked them out but saw in the same section laminating pouches that do not require heat.  I tossed a couple of boxes in my cart and thought that my problems were solved.  And they were.  Until last night.  I slipped to the store yesterday evening because I needed some laminating pouches.  I rounded the corner, and....NOTHING.  They were OUT!  Didn't the store KNOW that I needed them to get some Thanksgiving centers finished because my family is coming into town this weekend for my son's birthday and I will never get it finished? 

Desperate, I grabbed one of the laminators, two boxes of thermal pouches and ran for the check-out.  Taking my new supplies to our office, I set up the laminator and waited for it to heat up, all the while thinking that this was so NOT going to work.  I was wrong.  So very, very wrong.  That little invention from Scotch is AMAZING!  There was no bubbling, wrinkling, and the seal was great.  I am a believer. 

I feel like a new woman.  Before I burst into song (believe me, NO one wants that to happen), I better just say, Happy Laminating!

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Take Three, Thank You, and Oh My Goodness!

As you can tell from the title, a lot has been going on in my little world. 

Well, after all of the drama from our canceled field trip, and then it was cancled again due to rain, we finally, FINALLY, FINALLY were able to go yesterday.  It was a perfect autumn day without a cloud in the sky.  Thank goodness!

I would like to thank Dee from First Impressions for the Blog on Fire Award!!  Thank you, Thank you!!

This school year has been quite difficult for me, so this really warms my heart!  I am supposed to share seven things about myself and then pass on this award.

1.  Fall = College Football Season!!  I love football...especially because some of the teachers at my school participate in a football pool...the winner at the end of the season is free from bus duty!

2.  My sister is an artist.  A real one.  I, however, cannot draw a stick figure without a ruler, and even then it is hard to tell what I have created!

3.  I have lived in Southwest Virginia for almost ten years.  I love the mountains!!

4.  I got lost in the corn maze yesterday on our field trip.  My kids didn't seem to realize...shh...don't tell them!

5.  I LOVE chocolate!

6.  My oldest son is going to be six next week...SIX!

7.  My youngest son thinks he's a Ninja could be the Halloween costume.
I would like to pass on the Blog on Fire award to:

Doodle Bugs Teaching
Dandelions and Dragonflies
Ms. Preppy

Finally...onto the Oh My Goodness.  I was observed today.  By my principal.  A surprise observation.  Let me set the scene for you: 

I have had to rearrange the way that I do my work stations (due to some poor work habits and behavior).  Today was the first day that we tried my new system.  I had just settled in with my first group when in walked my principal...with her clipboard (clue # 1 that it was time for someone's observation).  She headed back to our first grade closet (which is actually the Reading Recovery teacher's space) and I thought...shew, it's not me!  Then she pulled a chair my small group table.........and sat down................with group time.  (Look up deer in a headlight, and there you will find my picture!)

This particular group that I was working with has four sweet little firsties.  One of them, though has the small problem of saying whatever pops into his head.  A lot.  So as my principal is getting settled, I am busy thinking, please don't say anything crazy!  Thankfully, all went smoothly, after I got over my initial shock.  Now I can breathe a little easier, knowing that my turn is over!!

Happy Tuesday!!

Friday, October 14, 2011


Oh. My. Goodness.  Today was supposed to be our field trip to the corn maze/pumpkin patch.  We got an e-mail this MORNING from the people saying that is was just too muddy.  Do you know how hard it is to break the news to first graders that we are not going to be going on the field trip after all?  We had tears, and "But, why?", as you might guess.  So, in order to make it up to them a little, we ate lunch in the classroom and did lots of fallish crafty projects.

Thankfully, we will be rescheduling our trip!

Oh, it has been a day!

Thursday, October 13, 2011


Tomorrow we are going on a field trip.  To a pumpkin patch/corn maze.  In the mountains.  It has rained here for most of the day....heavily.  Hmm.  Corn field + heavy rain = muddy disaster! 

My biggest fear right now is that I am going to:
     a.  get lost in the corn maze
     b.  lose some of my kiddos in the corn maze
     c.  all of the above

I'm sure it will be fine.  But then again, you might see this segment on the Today Show, "First Grade teacher and class get lost in corn maze."  That would be my luck!

Happy Almost Friday!!

Monday, October 10, 2011


I have a confession.  I would rather do a full week of bus duty then have to plan for a sub.  However, I am sitting here thinking about this because my oldest child had a stomach bug last night, so here I am.  Worrying about what is going on in my classroom, and feeling guilty about thinking about what is going on at school.  (For the record, my eldest is feeling better, just tired from the long night).

Since I hate to be absent, I feel like I am always scrambling to prepare. For example:  I was at school this morning by 6:40 to get ready.  My husband thinks that is crazy. It probably is.  But, I just can't come up with things on the know?  And what I might have planned for me to do, might not work with a sub.

So my question is this.  How do you prepare for a sub?  Do you have a generic sub folder loaded down with stuff for the kids to do?  I find that I write out step-by-step lesson plans (today the plans that I left were seven pages long!)  HELP!

I hope this makes some sense....I'm working on little sleep here!

Have a great day! 

Sunday, October 9, 2011

Poetry Journals

Several weeks ago, Babbling Abby of The Inspired Apple fame, first introduced her poetry journals (I've linked you to a recent post where she goes into more detail how she uses them in her classroom).  I LOVED the idea of poetry journals.  I am not much of a poet, so this was a way for me to introduce my kiddos to different types of poetry by better poets then me!

During the first week or so of school, I set up a poetry "bedazzling" station.  I gave each child four minutes to use as many different stickers as they wanted to decorate the front of their poetry journal...a boring old composition notebook.  Here is one example.  I appologize for how it looks, I scanned the images into my computer because my camera batteries were dead.

Every week I find a new poem and write it on chart paper.  The poem will usually go along with what we are learning in Science or Social Studies.  We work on reading the poem all week.  On Fridays, we write the poems into our journals.  I model this in my own poetry journal using my document camera.  We then illustrate our poems.  Sometimes we simply draw a picture.  Other times I might print off a picture for each child to use.  This past week, we worked on a Fall poem.  So, I brought in leaves and we did leaf rubbings.  Here are the poems that we have worked on.  The first poem was actually from our reading series.  We were reading a story about ants, and it included an ant poem.

The next week, we worked on a fall poem:

For the next week, we worked on a caterpillar poem and then drew the life cycle at the bottom (she kind of got a couple pieces switched around, but you get the idea).

The next week, we were studying Patriotic Symbols.  So we worked on a poem about the Libery Bell:

Our poem last week was another autumn poem.  This is the one that we illustrated using leaf rubbings.

I was worried at first, that the students would think that it was too hard writing on regular lined paper.  But, for the most part, they have done a great job.  I figured that this would be an awesome way to show how their handwriting has improved throughout the year. 

This has become one of my favorite times of the week.  My kiddos, now seeing that we illustrate in different ways, are always excited to see how we are going to decorate our poems.

Does anyone else use poetry journals?  If so, how do you use them in your classroom?

Have a happy Monday!

Thursday, October 6, 2011


I was super surprised this afternoon when I checked my e-mail and saw that Barbara from Grade ONEdeful had given me the Versatile Blogger award.  THANK YOU so much!  It has made my day!

Part of the requirements are to share seven things about myself and pass the award on to others. 

Okay.  Seven things about myself.

1.  I was raised on a dairy farm.

2.  My mom, aunts, and several great aunts were all teachers.

3.  My husband and I met on a blind date.

4.  I have been married for seven years.

5.  We have two boys ages 5 and 2.

6.  We have two dogs:  a black lab named Iron Man (it's a loooong story) and a beagle puppy named Tucker.

7.  I have my masters in Reading Education.

On to the next.  I would like to give a Versatile Blogger award to:

A Teeny Tiny Teacher
F is For First Grade
First Grade Blue Skies
First Grade Factory
First Grade Frame of Mind

Happy Thursday!!