Monday, January 30, 2012

Sales and Celebrations

Hey yall! I am soooo excited....I sold my very first ever unit on Teacher's Notebook!!! The joy that I felt when I read that much anticipated email was immeasurable! I hope to have that feeling many, many more times over the next couple of weeks.

In case you haven't had a chance to check it out, run on over to my TN store or TPT store to get your very own copy of my Lots of Love unit. And just to give you a little motivation, I am throwing a little sale right now thru February 4th!!! You can get this lovely unit for 25% off at TN or 20% off at TPT!!! I mean, who doesn't love a sale, right???

Okay, well, I'm off to get my week started! Happy Monday, yall!!!

Sunday, January 29, 2012

Tag....I'm it!

Hey yall! Okay, time for a little fun. Jessica over at apples and papers tagged me in to a really fun game, and I am sooo down to play! Okay, so here are the rules. First, tell 12 things about yourself. Then, answer 12 questions from the person who tagged you. THEN, make up your own 12 questions! See...told ya it sounds fun! we go!

  1. I hate the sound of swallowing. Like, seriously. It really creeps me out and makes my skin crawl. Sometimes, my hubby will swallow too loud and I freak out. I think it hurts his feelings, but I can't help it! I'm working on keeping my disdain in check, though...
  2. I have a passion for interior design. You know how alot of teachers say they always knew they would teach? Not me...I always thought I would be an interior designer. Don't get me wrong-I LOVE teaching, and I think I am darn good at it. I love my littles, and I love how rewarding it is when they really get something. But for as long as I can remember, I wanted to be an interior designer. It wasn't until I was in my 3rd year of college that I realized I would like to teach. I still feel like, one day, I will somehow fulfill this little fantasy of mine.
  3. I have favorite students (what? shocker!). I know you are not supposed to pick a favorite, but let's get real....everyone does. And I am no different. I try really hard to not let it show, though, and I think I am pretty good at that.
  4. The hardest thing I have ever had to do was say goodbye to my best friend 2 years ago. It was very unexpected and confusing, and I still do not have the answers that I desperately wanted. I think about her all the time and still miss her every single day. But I know that she is always watching out for me and I will see her again one day!
  5. I have a large family. I am the youngest of five, and we are all married. I have 6 nephews and nieces. When we all get together, there is 18 of us. And I love it.
  6. I have a pension for Cocoa Pebbles. It's my little guilty pleasure, and I usually have a bowl every night.
  7. Last month, my husband and I bought our first brand new car! I mean, we have had lots of different vehicles, but this was our first brand-spankin-new-hot-off-the-line car. We bought a 2012 Nissan Altima and we LOVE it!
  8. I am slightly OCD about keeping things even. Like if I randomly touch something with one hand, I have to touch it with the other hand. Yes, I know, I'm weird.
  9. I love owls. Not the actual animal so much as the cute, funky owl things :)
  10. I am currently obsessed with the colors teal and orange...together. Sounds strange, but they actually look really great together!
  11. I took piano lessons for about 10 years, and was actually pretty good. I quit when I was about 16, because I thought I had better things to do. Now, I wish I had stuck with it. I can still play, but am definitely a little rusty.
  12. When making lists, I will almost always add something I have already completed, just to get the satisfied feeling of crossing it out.
Whew! That was hard to come up with 12 random things about me. Okay, now to answer Jessica's questions:

  1. If you could meet anyone in the world, living or dead, who would it be?This is such a loaded question! I should say somebody inspiring, like Helen Keller or Abraham Lincoln....but honestly? If I met Mark Wahlberg, I might just die.
  2. If you weren't teaching, what would you be doing?Designing ah-mazing spaces, of course!
  3. What was your favorite thing about school when you were a student?I loved math, so anytime we had math games I was happy! I especially loved competing against other students to answer math questions. I know, I'm such a nerd...
  4. What do you wish you were better at?Teaching math. Math was always so easy for me in school, so I think I have a hard time making it easier for the littles. Working on this, though!
  5. What is your favorite store to shop at?I would have to say Target! It doesn't hurt that I get an extra 15% off, because my hubby works for the company :)
  6. What are two things you need for your dream classroom?A smartboard and more space!
  7. Where do you want to travel to?Italy is my dream destination.
  8. Favorite TV show?Probably that show!
  9. What is your least favorite chore?Hands down-laundry! Not so much the washing or drying part, but putting it away...ugh.
  10. Would you rather be an actor, singer, or athlete?Actor. I cannot sing and am not super athletic.
  11. Who or what inspires you?Abby from The Inspired Apple. But who doesn't she inspire? Also Deanna Jump from Mrs. Jump's Class. I just got an email that said she has made $500,000 in TPT sales! That is so amazing! Bonus: she is from Georgia!
  12. What's your favorite children's book?Hmm...this is hard, because there are sooo many that I love! But if I had to choose a favorite....I guess I would say any of the Skippy Jon Jones books. I just think the books are so silly, and always keep my class cracking kind of book! Plus also, he uses the word "dude" alot :)
Are you still reading??? I hope so! Now here are my 12 questions.

  1. What is your favorite weekend activity?
  2. Dogs or cats?
  3. What is your favorite subject to teach and why?
  4. What is your favorite cocktail?
  5. How do you unwind after a long week at school?
  6. If you won the lottery, what would you do with your winnings?
  7. What are your favorite color combinations?
  8. What is your favorite sweet treat?
  9. Beach or mountains?
  10. What is your favorite shoe brand?
  11. If you had to choose, would you rather be deaf or blind?
  12. Who is your Hollywood crush?
Now I get to tag 12 new blog friends...yay! Here they are:

  1. Tanya at A Class Act.
  2. Randi at Teach it With Class.
  3. Katherine at All Things Katherine.
  4. Mrs. Cupcake (AKA Teri) at A Cupcake for the Teacher.
  5. Edana at Color Me Kinder.
  6. Angela at The Daily Alphabet.
  7. Latricia at Wild About Second Grade.
  8. Heather at Heather's Heart.
  9. Jennifer at First Grade Blue Skies.
  10. Cheryl at Crayons and Curls.
  11. Erin an creating and teaching.
  12. Christina at Mrs. Bainbridge's Class.

 Okay, that's it for me! Now on to my Sunday night blues....

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Lots of Love

Hey y'all! I have some BIG news! I have completed my first unit and it is on sale right now on Teachers Pay Teachers and Teacher's Notebook! I am sooo super excited! It is a 40 page unit jammed packed with fun math activities that are perfect for Valentine's Day! This unit includes base-10 memory match, fact family cards and recording sheet, Valentine top-it cards, time to the hour, half hour, and quarter hour and recording sheet, and a sweet graphing activity using conversation hearts! I hope you get a chance to check it out! Click on any of the pictures below to purchase it from TN and click here to purchase it from TPT.

 Please leave me some love if you purchase. I would love to hear your feedback!

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

This and That Tuesday

Hey y'all! I am slap worn out. This morning did NOT start out great. I was just snoozin' away, when I just happened to roll over and look at the alarm clock.....6:43!!!!! Then I'm up, flying around the room, wondering what happened to my alarm clock?!? I usually wake up at 5:30, since I have to be at school at 7:00, so you can imagine my panic this morning. I called my BFF and teacher neighbor Laura, so she could let admin know I was going to be late. Luckily, I was able to get my act together pretty quick, and made it there by 8:00. Crisis, averted. Is that not the worst feeling in the world? I mean, how did I manage to sleep through 3 alarm clocks?!?! The same thing happened to me on Sunday morning, when I woke with a panic at 7:25, only to have my hubby gently remind me it was only Sunday.

Anyway, today was a B-E-A-UTIFUL day in good ol' Georgia! We finally got to go outside for recess (whoo-hoo!!!) after having 3 days of rainy indoor recess. We never got a chance to do our 100th day exercises last week, so we made the littles do them during recess. You should have seen them, all 72 firsties doing 100 jumping jacks, 100 toe touches, and as many sit-ups as they could in 100 seconds. I'm pretty sure they were all running around holding their stomachs for the rest of recess. All this while the 3 of us first grade teachers sat back and grinned. It's the small things, people.

Since I was in such a rush this morning, I had forgotten to grab the little treat I bought for my babies for reading 100 books last week. My darling hubby said he would be happy to bring them to me, and even read a couple books to my class! He. is. the. best. :)

Isn't he just the best? Please excuse the mess.
 Ignore the fact that our place value chart only says 99 was, in fact, the 102 day of school.

Has anyone bought the Ed and Ing Word Endings unit from Lindsey over at the teacher wife? If not, you definitely should! My reading class did a fun little word hunt the other day...they were so engaged!

Um, do you see what a disaster my bookshelf is? There is literally no organization! That is my project for over the summer.

Anyways, my students also presented their book reports today. We had each student choose a book and then fill out a quick little book report. They also brought in 5 items that represented the book, and shared them with the class. They did such a good job with this! I was super proud at how well they all presented. But did I snap any pictures? Shame on me! I promise I am going to get better at taking pictures of all this cute stuff we do. To make up for that, here is a copy of the book report sheet that we had the kiddos fill out.

One more thing! There is a HUGE giveaway going on right now!

You can win this from Tunstall's Teaching Tidbits....

...this from A Cupcake for the Teacher...

...this from First Grade Blue Skies...

...this from The Bubbly Blonde Teacher...

...and this from Miss Kindergarten!!!

Ummm.....can you say ah-mazing??? So head on over to Miss Kindergarten to enter!

Sorry for the long post :) Till tomorrow!

Monday, January 23, 2012

Monday Mumblings

Man, oh man, it's Monday. Another weekend come and gone, way too fast. I spent all day Saturday in my jammies watching movie after movie. Something about the rain puts me in a comatose state.

On Sunday, my hubby and I got the itch for some puppy love, so we headed out to the new local Humane Society. I was so surprised at how nice and clean it was! The only other shelter I had ever been to was pretty yucky, so it put a smile on my face to see such a nice facility. There were also alot of empty rooms, which means that lots of dogs had been adopted! We wandered around to pet and play with the pups, and dreamed about getting another dog (don't worry, Mom, not yet!). That won't happen until we finally buy a home with a big back yard. We already have our 2 pups at home, plus we will have my sister's lab for a couple of months in the Spring.

Speaking of, look what came in the mail the other day! My sister lives in Okinawa, Japan and is moving back next summer. She has a beautiful black lab named Holly. The airlines won't fly dogs in the summertime because of the heat, so I get to go to Japan and pick her up over Spring Break! You have no idea how excited I am! Only 2 more months!!!

So, remember how the other day I had forgotten to take pictures of our adorable 100 scrapbook 100 year olds? Well, I remembed today. Take a look!

This guy was actually from my neighbor's room, but I had to show you. Look at that face...ha! (Hi, Alexis!)

They all turned out so cute and different, and are lining the first grade hall as we speak :)

BTW, I am totally stoked to have 33 followers!!! I think that is pretty awesome. I am already planning my first giveaway, when I reach 100 followers. So get the word out! I am also working on my first unit for my TPT store. It's a Valentine's unit, so hopefully I will have that done by the end of the week.

Well, I'm off to get a haircut! Thinking I am going to chop it all off.....stay tuned for pics! Oh, and today is my sweet niece Alyssa's 7th birthday. Happy birthday, Alyssa!!! I love you!!!

This was taken last summer at Stone Mountain. Please excuse the blue tongues :)

Saturday, January 21, 2012

100th Day Giveaway

I wasn't going to post today, but I just wanted to let you all know about an awesome giveaway. Anna Brantley over at Crazy for First Grade is having a HUGE giveaway! You can win a super cute fabric magnet board, a monogrammed tote bag, a personalized clipboard, and any 3 of her TPT products! What a great haul! Hop on over and check her out!

Now, back to my rainy Saturday. I may or may not still be in my jammies...

Friday, January 20, 2012

Evidence of my exhaustion

Whew, we made it! 100 whole days of school, come and gone. Today was a whirlwind of activities and I felt every. single. minute. This girl is T-I-R-E-D. Okay, here we go....see if you can keep up (I know I hardly could!!!)

I work at a charter school, so we have a school uniform. But (Mrs. Lemacks, you said not to start a sentence with but!) once a month everyone gets a dress down day. Our dress down day for January just happened to be today, the 100th day. So, what would any good first grade teacher do? Have the kids dress up like they are 100 years old, of course! I am pretty sure I cackled for the first 20 minutes of school....everyone looked too cute! See for yourself.

We already had a reading test scheduled for the day (drat), so we had to do a little real work today. But that didn't last long :) I had told the students about our lofty goal to read 100 books and they were super excited! Every time they read a book, they filled out a little information sheet and put it in the jar. Then they made a tally on our chart.

They read throughout the day, and they did it....they read 103 books!

We made some cute little 100 day glasses, but I blanked on getting a picture of those. It was just a '100' that we cut out, decorated, and glued onto a popsicle stick. My littles kept telling me that they weren't actually glasses since they didn't go behind your ears. But they turned out cute anyways :) Honestly, I had gone to School Box to buy some, but they were sold out. So this morning when I was down at the copier and found one of our kindergarten teachers copying these, I was thrilled. She is a sweetie and even gave me the cardstock to print them on (Hi Emily!). 

My favorite part of the day was when we made our 100th day portraits. These were 100% inspired by Abby at The Inspired Apple (my blog idol!), and she was inspired by Jenn at Finally in First. But guess who forgot to take pictures again.
I promise I will take some on Monday and post them for you guys, because they are too cute not to share. My littles used this writing sheet to write about what they would do at 100. Click on the picture for a copy.

This writing prompt also came from Abby, although I recreated the document.
We read a few 100 day books, and then made our special snack. I previously had parents sign up to send in snacks for a chex mix, and I put these in bowls. There was 10 different snacks: Chex cereal, popcorn, Goldfish, M&Ms, chocolate chips, butterscotch chips, raisins, marshmallows, pretzels, and teddy grahams. I put a couple of bowls on each group of desks and the students passed them around. They counted out 10 of each item, and then circled groups of tens on their snack sheet. In case that makes no sense, here are some pictures...

I found this idea on Pinterest, but the idea orginally came from Eberharts Explorers.
Then we practiced counting by 10s to see how many snack items we had. They were all super excited to have 100 snacks!!! I let them eat some, and then they took the rest home.

We also had a mystery reader come in, treasure box, student of the week announcement, and token exchange. Have I mentioned how utterly busy today was??? Whew....thank goodness it's the weekend!

Evidence of my exhaustion...hence the title :)

Happy weekend!!!

Thursday, January 19, 2012

MLK, Shadow Fun, and a Freebie!

Whoo-hoo, I have 7 followers! You cannot imagine how excited I was to have such big name bloggers, like Jennifer from First Grade Blue Skies, Christina from Mrs. Bainbridge's Class, and Heather from Heather's Heart as followers. It definitely put a smile on my face all day!!!

So, my team was really on the ball last week, and we celebrated MLK early, on the Friday before the long weekend. And then, of course, I found gobs more stuff over the past few days that I would have loved to do...sigh...guess I'll have a full agenda for next year! We read "Martin's Big Words," and a few others that I had. Yesterday I got wind that there was a video of this book...drats!!! I'm definitely going to try and carve out some time tomorrow to watch it. We also watched the Brain Pop Jr. video on MLK (raise your hand if you love, love, love Brain Pop!!!) Then we made these cute little MLK guys.

These were super easy, and we went step-by-step (definitely a great listening activity). I even let the students use my super special Sharpies to draw the faces. Of course they thought that was the coolest! The poem is a good one, but I think next year, I will have the students write with an "I have a dream..." prompt.

Our unit in science right now is light and shadows. Yesterday, we completed shadow centers and I became the best teacher ever. They LOVED these! We had 3 different centers: put on a shadow puppet show, read with a flashlight, and trace a silhoutte. I handed them lightblubs and off went the lights. I managed to snap a couple of pictures, but please disregard the Droid doesn't do so well in the dark :)

Reading with a flashlight

Tracing silhouettes

Shadow puppet shows
I have to admit, it was quite enchanting to have only small rays of light throughout the classroom, and the kids were so engaged. Score! After we finished, I gave the students crayons and let them add faces, hair, and clothes to their silhouettes. They were over the moon to have a poster sized portrait of themselves.

Tomorrow is our 100th day of school, so I will definitely be back with an update on how that goes. We have tons of fun activities planned and I am so excited! One thing we are going to try and do is read 100 books. Throughout the day, students will read as many books as they can. Each time they read a book, they will fill out a book slip and make a tally on our chart. Then when we reach 100 books, we will have a mini-celebration. Here is a copy of the book slips they will be filling first freebie! Click on the picture to get a copy.

Hope that works okay, it's my first time ever trying anything like this. Let me know if you have any issues :)

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Well.....hi there!

Hello blogging world! Whew, I feel like we're old friends, even though you have no idea who I am. Let me formally introduce myself :)

My name is Natalie, or Mrs. Lemacks to my firsties. I am in my second year teaching a first grade class. I teach at a public charter school in Georgia. I absolutely love teaching first grade, and firmly believe that I am meant to stay in first. Want to hear my life story? I didn't think instead, here are just some random facts that will help you get to know me better.

  1. I like making lists (but what teacher doesn't?!?). And crossing things off of my list :)
  2. I am 26 yeras old, soon to be 27. I know this is relatively young; however, probably 95% of the teachers at my school are under the age of 25, soooooo.....
  3. I have a wonderful hubby of 4 years. Tomorrow is actually our 8 year anniversary of being together! Love him.
  4. No youngins of our instead we have 2 fur babies. Abby is 8 and super cranky. Dude is 2 and is the goofiest, sweetest, most lovable dog EVER. Both are long-haired chihuahuas and, of course, are adorable. See exhibit A.
  5. I have been blog stalking for quite some time now, and muling over the idea of creating my own. So many amazing blogs out there have made me a much better teacher! I was going to wait until the summer to start, but Tanya over at A Class Act gave me the inspiration to start. She started her blog just last month and already has 70 followers! Way to go, girl!
Anybody reading this yet? Hmm...well, I guess I'll have to get my name out there. So how about a linky party? My first ever...whoo-hoo! And this one seems so fun! So I'm linking up with Mss Klohn over at Adventures of a 6th Grade Teacher.

So here is what a typical day in my shoes would look like.

5:00 am- First alarm goes off. Ha, not getting up yet! Hit snooze.

5:15 am- Second alam goes off. Not a chance. Hit snooze again.

5:30 am- Third "I MEAN IT, GET UP NOW" alarm goes off. Fine, I'm up. Stumble to the shower, contacts in (I can see!!!), and brush my teeth.

5:45-6:25 am- Hair and make-up. Yes, it takes me a long time. You would think the end result would be not the case. But I do my best.

6:30 am- What to wear, what to wear? Why didn't I lay out my clothes the night before? Curse myself silently and throw on something that looks half way decent.

6:45 am- Finally out the door and on my way!

7:00-7:20 am- Get morning work out for students, clean up any messes I left the day before, chit-chat with my team, get my coffee, and heat some breakfast.

7:20-7:40 am- Mrs. Lemacks! Mrs. Lemacks! I lost another tooth!!! I made butter last night! My brother broke his arm! etc, etc, etc,

7:40-8:00 am- Students complete morning work, and I turn on quiet piano music. This is probably my favorite time of the day. All of my students work so hard in the morning, and I get to breathe before the mass chaos of the day begins.

8:00-8:45 am- Reading class. Our students switch classes for reading, and I teach the advanced first grade class. We have an amazing reading curriculum, so our class is jam-packed with phonics, comprehension, fluency, building words, vocabulary, and so forth.

8:50-9:35 am- Specials. This is when I make my massive stack of copies for the team, grade papers, team meetings, SST meetings, write lesson plans, etc. The only time I actually get anything done, planning wise.

9:40-10:15 am- Reading centers. We always do a spelling center, phonics center, guided reading center with me, and then either a vocabulary or computer center.

10:15-10:40 am- English. We alternate between grammar and writing units. This week, its writing, so my class is super quiet....ahhhhh.

10:45-11:15 am- LUNCH! Yes, I know it is an early lunch, but believe me, I am starving by this time, and so are the kids! I usually starting getting the "When is lunch?" questions around 9-9:30! They have finally realized that it is at the same time every day, don't ask me again, look at the schedule, check out the clock and figure it out.

11:15-11:35 am- RECESS! Since there is only 3 first grade classes at my school, we all have recess duty every day. But I honestly don't mind, I enjoy being outside and forcing myself to not be productive for 20 minutes :) It's like a break from myself for awhile.

11:40-12:00ish- Read aloud (usually Junie B. Jones) and finish up English.

12:00-1:10 pm- Math. To be honest, I hate our math curriculum prefer other math curriculums, but what can you do? This is my least favorite time of the day. Does anybody else hate teaching math, or am I totally crazy?!?! I think it's because math was always such a breeze for me, so I feel like it's so simple and get frustrated when they don't understand on the first try.

1:10-1:30 pm- MORE RECESS!!! My students take their snacks outside and eat for the first few minutes, then play for the rest of the time. Again, another break from myself :)

1:35-2:10 pm- Science or social studies. Today, it was shadow centers and BOY did my firsties love, love, love me! More on that tomorrow :)

2:15-2:20 pm- Pack-up and dismissal.

2:25-4:00 pm- This time really changes everyday for me. At our school, we are required to sponsor two afterschool clubs and tutor one day a week. I tutor on Mondays, sponsor Puzzle Club on Thursdays, and sponsor Fashion Club on Fridays (really? a fashion club in elementary school? yes....really). I am also the grade level chairperson, so those meetings are on Tuesdays. Oh, and don't forget our bi-weekly staff meetings every other Wednesday. Sprinkle in carpool duty 3x a week.

4:00 pm- FREEDOM!!! Ha, no not really...well, maybe. As much as I love my babies, I am out the door at 4:00 sharp. If it doesn't get done in time, I save it for the next day.

4:15-9:30 pm- Play with the pups, blog stalk, facebook, cook dinner, run errands, catch up on my DVR, become a coma in front of the TV. My hubby and I usually head up to bed at about 9:30, which makes me feel sooooo old but I usually don't fall asleep until 10 or so.

Whew! If you made it this far, give yourself a medal! Sorry for the long post :)