Thursday, February 21, 2013

The Many Reasons We are Ready for Spring Break!

Happy Thursday!
We are teaming up tonight for a post of several reasons why we are SO ready for Spring Break!  We don't know about you but our kids are all sorts of CUH-RAZY!  Anyone else feeling this? 

Juli is busy with her daily boy statements!  Keeping our hands to ourselves, appropriate behavior in the bathroom, and frequent questions like, "Does this classroom look like the playground?!" Frequent the day. 

Heather is keeping up with her DRAMA as usual. "No, I rolled my eyes because you said my idea was dumb." "No you rolled your eyes before I said anything." "You just don't want to me nice to me because you are all BFF with her now." These are of course the girls talking - Heather barely gets a word in when the drama is full force.

It just can get so exhausting some times!

Reason #1- We are ready for Spring Break is the fact that I (Juli) am currently typing this blog post at 6:30 pm at night while SITTING in Heather's classroom.  Heather is sitting at her U table grading papers while we listen to Pandora.  Both of us have literally been in the school building for 12 hours.  Why are we here, you ask?  I am so glad you asked that question!  Our kids are performing tonight for the PTO board meeting and we are required to be here.  Thankfully, our husbands came to the rescue with our children and allowed us to eat dinner at Chick Fil-A and get some much needed work done in our classrooms.

Reason #2- Our children are leaving flatulent notes for other students.  What is this, you ask?  We didn't think you'd believe us so here is evidence.  Our classes rotate to differentiated reading groups each day.  When Heather's group of kids came to her class, a little girl brought the note to Heather and said, "This was on the desk where I sit, and it does kinda smell over there!"  While Heather is thrilled with the majority of the sight words spelled correctly and it has a correct contraction, it is just evidence of the day to day things we are dealing with!

                                                   "Don't sit here cause I farted"

Reason #3- I can't keep a straight face during book clubs. We are introducing the concept of book clubs and discussions about books.  I (Heather) have been using thick questions as a starting point.  The groups read an agreed upon number of pages and then have to think of two thick questions to bring back to discuss.  That alone has been difficult.  FINALLY today we had a breakthrough. Someone had a thick question and we had a discussion.  All names have been changed to protect the innocent.
Me: "Ben share your great thick question with the group."
Ben: "Why is Jim so mean to Junie B.?"
Steven: "Because she is mean to him."
Ben: "No because sometimes he is mean to her and she hasn't even been mean to him yet."
Sarah: "Maybe because he just doesn't like her."
Me: "Well let's look at how old Jim is in the story. He is in Kindergarten and most boys in Kindergarten don't really like playing with girls. Maybe it's just because he is a boy and doesn't know what great friends girls can be."
Ben: "But I liked playing with girls in Kindergarten. Except Sally. She was annoying."
Steven: "Yeah, she was not nice!"

Now keep in mind Sally is our class and working at a station 2 feet away while this conversation is going on.  I know I'm not suppose to laugh, but I could not keep a straight face! I just ended book club right there. Where can you go with that?

And although we have many more reasons, our time for the performance has come.  Happy ALMOST Friday!

Tuesday, February 19, 2013


I hope everyone is doing well.  It is raining here in North Carolina which makes me just want to stay in bed!  But our garden needs some good rain, so I will take it!

Heather and I received some very exciting news this past week.  Our school will be adding one more desktop computer to our classrooms (we currently only have 2) as well as each teacher will be receiving a laptop.  We were jumping with joy when we found out!

Which leads me to my blog post for today.  (I am not receiving any compensation for this advertisement) How do you make lesson plans?  Do you handwrite them, do you type them on the computer?  I would love to see how some of you plan your days and weeks out!  Heather and I are lucky to be at a school that does not require us to have our lesson plans submitted early and approved.  However at any moment, we need to be prepared to show our lesson plans to an administrator if needed.

Recently, I have been having an ongoing discussion with my husband about emergency sub plans.  He has asked me what my emergency sub plans look like and how many days they can be sufficient to get me through, if an actual emergency occurred.  As we have been talking about it, I realized that I have emergency sub plans but they are really just "busy work".  I don't know about you but if I am going to be out, I want the sub to continue what I have been doing in the classroom.  We all know what it is like to return to a classroom after you have been gone.  Disaster!  So, I began wondering how I could have my lesson plans prepared daily in case of an emergency where I wouldn't be up in the middle of the night typing up plans for a sub to read.

I did some looking around online and discovered a website that allows you to have your lesson plans online.  Hmm....I began toying with the idea.  I can type faster than handwriting plans and I like the idea of being able to have them available at anytime.  PLUS...if I could find a program that was accessible from my iphone or ipad, that would be icing on the cake!

I came across  It is set up like a word document.  They had a 14 days trial so I signed up.  Immediately, I was in love!  I can type in it just like a word document.  I can attach files and it has the entire common core linked so each plan you can have the standards that you are teaching.  Here is a screenshot of my math plans today.  At the top you can see we are teaching time this week.  Underneath the standard is my plans for that day.  

It also allows you continue a plan for as many days or weeks as you choose!  So this is what I did:

I took my current sub plans, you know, the ones that have the minute by minute schedule and directions that you don't need with instructions for each block of the day but want your sub to have.  Then I copied and pasted it into the plan book and asked for it to repeat daily until the last day of school.  Then I had my entire schedule and important information that a sub would need in every day for the rest of the year.  That meant that all I need to do for myself is to type into that template.  I might not need that extra stuff, but it is there JUST IN CASE! Here is just a snapshot of two blocks of time in my day.

It saves me time because I can type my plans quickly.  The beautiful thing is that at the top of each day, there is the option to print the plans.  So if I still wanted a paper copy  for the week, I could have it.  Or I can just pull it up on my phone or ipad and there it is!

Check that out!!!  If for some reason you don't get it taught that day you can bump it to the next day.  Or if you miss  a day because of weather you can just bump it also!  They've thought of everything!

The only tricky thing is that it costs $29.99 for an entire year to enjoy all of the perks of the program.  They offer a free version too, but it didn't include the features that I had grown to love over the 14 day trial.  I thought it was worth the money so I purchased it.  I have been so pleased with it.  Yesterday, I needed to take the day off.  I simply selected print and had my subplans completely ready to go.  I didn't have to type a single thing or worry that the plans weren't good enough or lacking anywhere.  It was a truly beautiful thing.

And now that we are getting laptops of our own, Heather plans to sign up too!

We would love to hear what things you do to make your planning easier.  And if you haven't ever tried online plans, I highly recommend them, it has made life so much easier!

Happy Planning!

Thursday, February 7, 2013

Candy Heart Graphing

Valentine's Day is quickly approaching!  Do you have lots of fun things planned?  In our school, we are limited to the number of class parties that we are allowed to have.  This means that our Holiday party and End of Year party take precedence and all other celebrations go by the wayside.  It also means that we need to get creative to use the holidays and special events in fun and unique ways to meet the core!  So, we took Valentine's Day and created a Bar Graph activity for our students to do with candy hearts.

In honor of the Day of LOVE, we are giving it away for free!  Just click on the picture below to download it.  Included is a graph with colors and a blank one in case you use a different type of candy hearts that doesn't include the same colors as ours.  We'd love for you to leave us some Blog Love too!! 

Happy Valentine's Day!


Sunday, February 3, 2013

Boys vs. Girls

Hope everyone is enjoying the Super Sale over at TPT! I know Juli and I have already purchased some stuff. 

Friday when Juli and I were at recess I was reminded how incredibly different boys and girls are.  Last year Juli and I were introduced to the idea of single sex classes.  We were fascinated at how different boys and girls learning requirements are.  Our school does not provide an opportunity to teach such classes but Juli and I talked at length about how I would LOVE an all boy class and Juli would LOVE an all girl class. So of course what happens? This year I get a girl heavy class and Juli gets a boy heavy class!  Neither of us were thrilled.  But we have pushed forward and gotten used to our roles.

But Friday when we were sitting together at recess, I was amazed at how different our roles are.  No lie - in a 30 minute period - these are the words that came out of our mouths to our children...
(Please keep in mind all these statements are made to different children - not the same ones over and over)

"Did your hand make contact with his face in anyway?"

"This is why we are not allowed to play with balls anymore!"

"Should your hands ever touch anyone else?"

"Why is he in tears and needing a bandaid?"

"If you can't control your body, you won't be allowed to play with them."

"I already told you several times that we aren't allowed to play with balls anymore."

"Is this drama or trauma?"

"You know I don't do drama."

"Just because you think they are lying doesn't mean you can call them liars."

"Why is it you think they are talking about you?"

"Why can't she play with y'all?"

"I know you are BFFs, but you have to be nice to everyone."

"I know you were stretching for gymnastics, but she was already in that spot."

So these comments pretty much sum up our days in our rooms.  Fun times for all! Speaking of boys not being able to keep their hands to own two boys are currently pushing over a super hero toy. BUT there is no drama involved so I can totally handle this!

Saturday, February 2, 2013

Super Sale and More

Good Morning Friends!
Does everyone have big plans for the big game tomorrow?  I am hosting a Super Bowl party at my house with some friends from my small group at church.  It should be a fun time.  I don't have any ties to either team, so I will be enjoying the company and commercials!  In honor of Super Bowl Sunday, Heather and I will both be participating in Teacher Pay Teacher's Super Sale tomorrow.  Head on over to our stores to pick up some of our great products for up to 28% off!!  I know we are excited to pick up some of the things we have been eyeing! (Thanks to Ashley Hughes for the cute button!)

Speaking of some products we've been eyeing, you might want to head over to see Rachel aka The Tattooed Teacher to pick up her cute Lil' Veggie Patch Cuties craftivity.  As you know, I love to garden with my class.  I love all of the standards you can teach through the garden!  We planted carrots, scallions, 3 types of lettuce, and peas.  We worked on partitioning rectangles into rows and columns.  We measured the distance between rows and seeds.  We used calendars to count days until germination and then harvesting.  We read Heroes of the Vegetable Patch.  A book you can get at your local IKEA.  Then we created How To Plant books and displayed them in the hallway with our cute Veggies!

We had such a great time getting our hands dirty!

Here are our charts that each group made!

If you like to garden with your kids, pick up your copy from Rachel!  It is on sale for the super sale as well!!!  I think Heather might pick it up too!  And don't forget to shop both heather and my store tomorrow for the Super Sale!!  You won't be disappointed!  

Happy Vegetable Gardening!