Friday, September 30, 2011

First Grade is a "HOOT"!

So CUTE! At my school we are not allowed to celebrate or decorate for Halloween so I am always on the lookout for Fall activities. Since we have Open House next week, I decided to create a hallway display about first grade and the fun that we are having!
Feel free to borrow it! It was a lot of fun!
I Think First Grade is A
Bee the Change~

Sunday, September 25, 2011

What's In My School Bag!

I was enjoying looking at all of the great bags over at the "What's In Your School Bag" Linky Party the Abby is hosting over at The Inspired Apple and I though that I would share mine. I apologize in advance for the photo quality. I used my phone camera as my good camera is at school (of course, right?).

First, I love my bag. I even wrote an entire blog post about it when I first got it over on my personal blog It's the Little Things. It is a custom order from L.L. Bean and better yet, it was a birthday present! I opted for a few fun extras like the extra long handles and the zip close top. Of course I also opted for the monogram and I got to pick the colors myself. Awesome.
Another monogram gift! This portfolio goes with me to meetings mostly because I find that it is hard to be grouchy when you are faced with pink & polka-dots. I get a lot of "F" monogram items due to the fact that it must not be a popular initial and is always in the clearance bin!

Also in the bag is my plan book. I transitioned to the binder a few years ago and it makes it easier to keep all of my papers in one place!

My books for planning are my Lucy Calkins (still cranking through book 1) and my Math Investigations book.

2 umbrellas........not sure why there are 2..........

Some stuff to do while I am watching TV tonight.

After I took out the stuff that I have shown in the pictures, this is what was left. Some popcorn, assorted writing instruments, a camera cord, a CD, Staples Teacher's reward card, and my extra pair of glasses (just in case).
Thanks for taking the tour!

Bee the Change~

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Who needs batteries?

NOT US! We recently had to stay inside for recess due to weather but did we mind? NO! I LOVE watching children play. Especially when there is all this imagination going on!

Tons of rubber animals
Tower after tower
Bridges and ramps
Lego ships

Bee the Change~

Saturday, September 17, 2011


I am a HUGE fan of a good sorting activity. One of my favorite (and most-used) books is Kathy Ganske's "Word Sorts and More". I love the ready-made ease and the purposeful thought behind her sorts.
While I have a bunch of Kathy's sorts copied and ready to go for later in the school year, I decided that I would create a new sort. Our school (and many others I am sure) are moving toward a more technology-based environment and children are exposed to so many symbols in this new tech world. I have always done a letters/numbers sort and have always made an "other" category for the items that did not fit. This year I changed the sort to letters/numbers/symbols and added some keyboard symbols.

Here is the symbol that had us tricked. It looks like an "a"........
Try a sort this week!

Bee the Change~

Friday, September 16, 2011

The best

OK...this is the best tool on the smartboard. OK maybe not the BEST but it is really, really cool. This timer is in the gallery section of the smartboard software and you can modify it to cheer, clap, have drums play or beep when the clock gets to zero! I used it today to help the children move to different math stations and it worked beautifully. I leave this as a smartboard file on my computer desktop so that it is always available to me. Try it!

Bee the Change~

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Clip Chart

I decided that this year I wanted to do something other than my usual "traffic light" clipchart. While cruising through the blogosphere I came across this adorable clip chart over at The Polka Dot Patch . Below is a picture of my version. I developed the PDF to hand out to parents so that they would know what the different colors mean. I am planning on putting it up on my classroom blog and will make color copies for the parents (as soon as the color printer at school is fixed).

Bee the Change~

Monday, September 12, 2011

Holding onto summer

The boys and I are ready for Recess. Aren't we too cool for school?

Bee the Change~

Sunday, September 11, 2011


WOW!!!!! SO SO COOL! My little old blog has received an award! I was so excited to log on this morning and see that Andi from Pencils, Glue, & Tying Shoes awarded me the Versitile Blogger award! Thanks Andi! A great compliment coming from you!
Here are the rules of the award:

*Thank the person who gave you the award and link back to them in your post.
*Share 7 things about yourself.
*Pass this award along to 15 recently discovered blogs.

SO....... 7 Things About Me!

1. I am slightly addicted to crafting. Pinterest has been a huge motivator to try new crafts and I actually feel that I need "crafting fixes". Is there an official diagnosis for that?

2. I was the elected Band President my junior and senior years of High School. I represented the band on the student counsel. I am proud to have been a band geek!

3. I do not like to bake. I LOVE to cook when I have the chance but baking is way too precise a science for me.

4. I love to read. My ideal day is starting a book in the morning and having it be so engaging that I finish it before closing my eyes to sleep that night. I do not often find books that are that engaging but when I do, I kinda check out.

5. I have always wanted to be a teacher. My report cards always talked about how much I talked and how I was always helping the other children with their work. I would love to go visit all of those teachers that thought that was a "Bad" thing. Bet their report cards said the same thing when they were little.

6. I have a secret dream to work in radio. Any person that has seen me with a microphone will not be surprised by this....Also, I love to talk. Go figure.

7. Even though I dream of traveling, I have never had the desire to live anywhere other than where I live. I went 2 hours away for college but did not explore any opportunities to move away to teach because I wanted to stay in Rochester and be close to my family. I did not grow up with extended family close by and wanted to raise a family where my children would have access to their grandparents and cousins. (As I write this, my kids are playing with their cousins!)

The last rule of this award is that I have to pass this award along to 15 other bloggers so here you go...15 blogs that are inspiring to me. Go visit them and become followers.

A Teeny Tiny Teacher

Hayley over at Bishop's Blackboard


The Polka Dot Patch

Jena over at Mrs. Saylor's Log

And for a soul-inspiring blog visit Amy over at The Poem Farm. You will want to visit every day!

Now I am off to figure out how to make myself a button!!! Suggestions?????

Bee the Change~

Never Forget

My mother says that she remembers the day that Kennedy was killed. 1963. I bet that she remembers the clothes that she was wearing, the class that she was in and the hours and days following the assassination. I bet if I talked to others in her generation, they would be able to tell me the same thing.

I was talking to a friend at lunch about this and she was telling me that she remembers what she was doing and where she was the day the Space Shuttle Challenger exploded. 1986. I remember too. I was a junior in high school and I remember my teacher crying while we watched the coverage on TV. She was crying, no doubt, for one of her fellow educators that was on that voyage.

1990. I came home from a dinner out with friends to find my Mom and Dad glued to the TV watching as Desert Storm began. I remember thinking the my Dad, an Army Reservist at the time, would not be called up and months later I was home from college helping him pack.

2001. I was a substitute teacher that did not get called in to work that day. I dropped my 2 year old son at Daycare and went home to watch Good Morning America. As I was driving home I remember thinking what a beautiful day it was. As I watched the events of 9-11 unfold LIVE on television, I could not believe my eyes. I cried for days. To this day I can pull up the exact feeling that I had when I watched those towers fall. I remember going to St. Helen's Church the next day to join with strangers in a novena for peace.

Every year when the coverage of 9-11 comes on TV I am jealous of my children. My children, one of which was born 9 months to the day after 9-11 ask me "Why would people fly those planes into the buildings if they knew that it would kill people?" How do I answer that? Is there an answer that?

As I write this, my wish for my children and the children of the world is that they will never sit and write a post like this. That they will never cry at the thought of events that occurred 10 years ago. That they will never have to endure the pain and sorrow that so many Americans endure today. That they will never have to stand in a church, hold hands with strangers and say a novena for peace.

Never forget? If you were alive and old enough to is impossible to forget.
Bee the Change~

Thursday, September 8, 2011

The Power of Words!

I tried an activity that I found on Blog Hoppin' that had to do with building your classroom community. You know how sometimes you see an activity on one of the great blogs out there and you think "that would NEVER work in my classroom"? I was a skeptic but I was WRONG! This lesson was powerful and thought-provoking for the children.

We started by reading Chrysanthemum by Kevin Henkes. I read it the first day for pleasure and the next day as a teach piece. (Personally I was surprised by how few children in my class had read this book). This story is about a little mouse who LOVES her name. When she goes off to school, some of the children tease her about her very long and very flowery name.

The next day we read the story again and talked about the words that we use that are kind and make our heart feel good.
On the second heart we wrote words that hurt. The children were VERY HESITANT to tell me bad, hurtful words because they have been trained to NOT say them. I had to give them the OK to share and said that it was OK to say them when we were learning what NOT TO SAY. Once I gave them the go ahead, the floodgates opened. As we read back the hurtful words, I folded up the heart. We talked about how using hurtful words hurts the heart. Their eyes were riveted to me as I folded it. Using the word "wilted" from the story made it all the more powerful. I had the children give me the words that would make the hurting heart feel better and I unfolded the paper. We talked about how the heart was big again but still wrinkled. Even saying "I am sorry" will not make the heart all better.

One of my students suggested that we keep the heart with the kind words on it but throw away the one with the hurtful words on it. One of my other students suggested that I rip up the heart with the hurtful words and throw it away. Great idea! Unfortunately, I was not using my BLOGGER brain and forgot to take a picture of the wrinkled heart before I ripped it up. It would have ruined the dramatic factor anyway!
It was a great lesson designed by a great teacher (Thanks Deanna) made greater by terrific kids!

Bee the Change~