Instagram & Fundraiser for Martin Richard

Hi friends!  I have been a little absent from my blog lately, but hope to get back to normal this week.  I had an extremely busy weekend which actually started on Thursday.  Anyways, this post is going to be short & sweet.

First, I have been on instagram for some time, but I never used it much for teaching things until recently.  I am linking up with Michelle over at Apples and ABC's for the Instagram Linky Party.  I will be participating in #teachertalktuesday as well.  If you would like to follow me, my username is @mrs_pauley.  You can follow me {here}.

I love following people on instagram so leave me a comment with your username so I can follow you on there!!  :)

Second, I am teaming up with Sara from Primary Buzz for a fundraiser for the Richard Family Foundation.  Martin Richard was 8 years old when he was killed in the Boston Marathon Bombing on April 15th.  His 6 year old sister, Denise, was critically injured.  HIs mom had a serious brain injury.  Click {here} to go to the fundraiser on Sara's blog.  You will get $78 worth of products for only $15.  Thank you for your donations!!

I will be back later in the week to show you all the fun zoo things we have been doing in my classroom.  :)

Tell Me Something Good!

Man, Jennifer over at Rowdy in First Grade really knows when it is a good time for this linky.  There is so much going on not only in the world, but also personally that I really need to just focus on the good right now.  I have been feeling a little down lately and I know this is just the thing to kick start me into positive thinking for the rest of the year!

Something good at School:

My students are really and truly becoming writers.  I am so proud of how far they have come.  Here is an example of one of my students' writing:

 This is from my Going to the Zoo unit that we are working on.

Something good at Home:

Unfortunately, we have had a lot of flooding not only where I live, but also where I grew up which is also where most of my family is.  Thankfully though, everyone is safe and well.  I am also extremely thankful that we have not had any water in our basement.  We have had that happen twice and we completely gutted the basement.  Looks like all our waterproofing paid off.  PTL!  Here are a couple pictures of areas close to my house.

Those blue signs are where the parking lot is for my son's soccer field.  No games for awhile. :(

This is in our neighborhood.  Yep, that's a street under there.  I have never seen the water this high in that particular area.

Link up with Jennifer and tell us something good!!  :)

Mystery Student, ABC Countdown, Fairy Tale Winner

I don't know about you, but kids definitely have "spring fever".  They were not my normal sweet class last week.  I have been more stressed the past week than the beginning of the school year.  It is CRAZY!  I decided I needed to do something different because obviously what we had been doing wasn't really working anymore.  The idea of the mystery student came to me.  I have seen pins about this on Pinterest so I am not claiming this as my own idea, but I am putting my own twist on it.

In our building, we have a building wide behavior system.  {I posted about it here and here.}  It is our Tier 1 for behavior interventions.  It is really nice to have all students on the same system especially when you are the teacher on recess duty!  In addition to this, I also do a class positive behavior system where we can earn class rewards.  This means that we have to work together as a class to earn the reward.  I am using this "Sweet Behavior" idea from Jessica Williamson.  Every time my class gets a compliment from another teacher or myself they earn a cupcake.  Once we have nine cupcakes on the board, our helper pulls down one and we earn the reward on the back.  This has been a system in place since Day 1 of kindergarten.  We are going to beef it up a bit now though.

Each morning I am going to pull a student's name and hide it so no one can see who our mystery student is for the day.  Then at the end of the day, I will reveal who our mystery student was for the day.  If that child did not move any sticks, then we earn a cupcake.  If he/she moved sticks, then no cupcake for the day.  We can still earn them for compliments though.  So now we have two ways to earn.

We discussed this as a class last week and I went to each student and asked, "Can you try your hardest to help us earn a cupcake?".  Of course, each and every student answered with an enthusiastic, "YES!"

Thursday was our first day having a mystery student and I will admit that I rigged it a bit.  I just wanted my class to feel some success and motivate my other students to want to help the class.  So, I pulled a name of student who has moved 2 sticks ALL YEAR LONG!   He didn't move any on Thursday so we earned a cupcake.  The class was so excited and this little guy was so proud of himself!  :)

Friday, I did not rig it at all and the student who was picked unfortunately had moved two sticks so we did not earn a cupcake.  The class was very gracious about it as I had prepped them about what to do if we don't earn our cupcake.  So proud of how they handled it.

I also wanted to tell you about my ABC countdown I do at the end of the year.  I got this idea while I was in college observing classrooms.  One teacher told me all about it and I was hooked!  I knew this was something I would always do in my classroom.  Starting 26 days from the last day of school, we do a letter a day from the alphabet.  For the most part, each day's activity is at the end of the day.  Students may only participate if they have good behavior {if they move 3 sticks in one day we have to send home a note to parents so that was my limit for this}.  Some of the class favorites are King for a day, Queen for a day, Ice Cream Day, and Popsicle Day.  I am not buying something for every day, but I do want it to be exciting to motivate my students to have the best behavior they can.  All it takes is one day of missing out and then they are usually back on track.  {At least, this has been my experience in the past!}  If you would like to see my full ABC Countdown, please click on the image below and you can download it.  This is same exact paper that I send home to the parents.

We started today and celebrated August birthdays.  Tomorrow is Bubble Beach Day.  The students will bring in beach towels and I am providing bubbles.  Hopefully it is nice enough that we can go outside......I think there is rain in the forecast!

Last, but not least we need to find out who won Elizabeth's Fairy Tale Unit.  Once again, I can't figure out how to get the graphic for the random number generator.  Sorry folks, but I am exhausted and after trying for about 15 minutes I gave up!  The winning number was comment number 1 which means Amy Swan you are the WINNER!!!  Congrats!  Elizabeth should be emailing you soon.

I am going to bed now.  I know it's only 9:15, but this lady is exhausted.  I started coaching my daughter's softball team tonight and that wore me out!!


Earth Day & Zoo Unit

Tomorrow is Earth Day.  I plan on doing a one day mini-unit on Earth Day.  I will, of course, be using my Taking Care of the Earth Emergent Reader.  If you click on the image you can head to TpT to grab yourself one.

I also searched TpT for some freebies to use with my class tomorrow.  Nothing like waiting until the day before right??  I wanted to share some of the awesome freebies I found: {Click on the images to head to the freebie!}

I have been hard at work this week and weekend creating my new "Going to the Zoo" unit.  It has anchor charts, reading response activities, literacy centers, math activities, and math centers.  It also has everything you need to teach 9 different animals:  alligators, elephants, giraffes, hippos, lions, monkeys, rhinos, tigers, and zebras.  There are graphic organizers as well as an All About Zoo Animals book.  Click on the image below to check it out.

I also created an emergent reader to accompany my zoo unit.  You can check it out here:

Lastly, I created a zoo roll & color freebie.  If I don't include a roll & color in my math centers, my students are so disappointed.  We don't want them disappointed so I try to have one each week!

I have my whole store on sale through tomorrow so head on over to pick up these while they are on sale!!  :)

Now I am off to laminate all the fun activities from my zoo unit.  I plan on starting it on Tuesday!  Can't wait!!

Product Swap!

I am linking up with Jessica from Mrs. Stanford's Class today for the Magical Product Swap!


I was lucky enough to be paired with my sweet friend Elizabeth from Kickin' It In Kindergarten.  You remember her right?  We just had a giveaway together.  She is amazing! {Click on the image below to check out her fabulous blog!}

It wasn't hard for me to choose a product from her TpT store as I had this one on my wishlist already.  I chose her Fairy Tale Unit.  I have never done a fairy tale unit and I wanted to do one this year.  She had everything I needed in her unit!

This unit has activities for Goldilocks & the Three Bears, The Three Little Pigs, Little Red Riding Hood, Jack & the Beanstalk, and The Frog Prince.  She also has some great literacy centers in this unit. Just look at these:

Most days I start off our morning with a chit-chat message.  This original idea came from Deanna Jump.  I first heard about them after reading her blog, but I know many people do something similar to this anyways.  {Our reading series even has something along the lines of this, but I prefer to make up my own about our weekly theme.} 

My students' favorite story was Goldilocks and the Three Bears so spend two days on that particular story.  We read about four different versions of the story.  Here is the story element activity and size sorting activity from Elizabeth's unit that we did to go along with the story.

This was my favorite activity.  The students had to write what they would do if they found Goldilocks in their bed.  It was hilarious what some of them said.  Here are few of my favorites.

We read about Little Red Riding Hood and creating this using the story elements.  I really like using the fairy tales for story elements instruction.

We also read about Jack & the Beanstalk and The Three Little Pigs.  We unfortunately ran out of time for The Frog Prince activities.

On Friday, at the end of our week long study of fairy tales, we completed this writing activity telling which fairy tale character we would like to be.

My students and I really enjoyed all the activities from Elizabeth's unit.  There was so much to choose from.  That is always a plus in my book when it comes to buying a product from TpT.  I know I will be using this unit for years to come.

Elizabeth has been sweet enough to offer a free unit to one of our blog followers.  Just make sure that you follow my blog AND Elizabeth's blog publicly and then leave a comment below telling me your favorite tale and your email address.  I will choose a winner at random on Monday!

Elizabeth is reviewing my Math Surveys for the Year so if you would like to here about that head on over to her blog!!

As a celebration of the product swap, my store will be on sale today through Sunday night.  Click {here} to head there.....after you comment for your chance to win of course!!  :)

Five for Friday

Linking up with Kacey from Doodle Bugs Teaching for Five for Friday!

It has been a very long week and I am so thankful it is Friday.  Here are five things from my week.

1.  Persuasive Writing:

Here is my example I did with the class.  The kids were cracking up at my first reason. ;)

2.  I had to wear BOOTS in the middle of April.  Crazy!


3.  My class recieved TWO compliments on the way to lunch about quiet they were walking in the hallway!  I wish I had a picture of their faces. They were so proud of themselves and I was beyond proud of them. I gushed and gushed all over them.

4.  This picture is at the bottom of my mom's street where I grew up in central Illinois.  There is some major flooding.  Thankfully my mom lives up the hill a bit so her house is fine and she is safe as well as the rest of my family that still lives there.

5.  I saw this little gem on either Facebook or Pinterest.....I can't quite remember.  Anyways, since Queen is my all time favorite band, I just loved it.  :)

Have a great weekend! 

Getting Acquainted....Skittle Style

First of all, I have to say that my thoughts and prayers are with all those affected by the tragedy in Boston.  I was in tears this morning on my way to work hearing a first hand account of the explosion and happenings directly afterwards.  I can not even imagine what those people went through.

I decided that I needed to post something upbeat so I am linking up with Latoya today for her weekly Getting Acquainted Linky party.

This week's theme is skittles....yum!  I keep a jar of them in my classroom, but I call it "brain food".  When we have worked our brains hard we get one or two.

TOPIC - Skittles Game

Here is the code:
Red - Favorite Ice Cream Flavor
Orange - Favorite Memory from College
Yellow - Favorite Sports Team
Green - Favorite Fast Food Place
Purple - Wild Card (Tell anything about yourself)

Red - Favorite Ice Cream Flavor.....this is a hard one, but I would have to pick Sgt. Camo.  It is made by a local company and part of the profits go to military veterans groups.  It kind of tastes like a s'more. :)

Orange - Favorite Memory from College.......I went to the local community college and then attended the University in town so I never "went away" to college.  I married my husband and had my son all while still in college.  I would have to say my favorite actual "college" memory is just all the friends that I made during my time in college.

Yellow - Favorite Sports Team.....We are Bears and Cubs fans in this house!

Green - Favorite Fast Food Place.....I don't really like "fast food" places because I get sick whenever I eat anything greasy or fried.  {Doesn't mean I never do, but it does always make me sick.}  So, I am going to say Panera is my favorite fast food place.  :)

Purple - Wild Card.......Something about me is that I have an older brother and a younger sister.  My sister are exactly 9 years, 10 days, 12 hours, and 2 minutes apart.  When she was born I was fascinated with the fact that it was so close to my birthday.  It was also interesting that I was born at 3:06 in the morning and she was born at 3:08 in the afternoon.  Made it easy to figure out this weird fact....ha!

I have to tell you one quick funny story about my kinder babies.  We started learning about fairy tales this week and reading all kinds of fairy tale stories.  Yesterday we were talking about what things a fairy tale would have.  I call on one little girl {English is her third language} to tell me something about fairy tales.  She says, "They can fly."  I thought hmmmm......she must be confused so I said, "Well, if there is a witch maybe the witch can fly." Then I called on another student.  This one says, "They have wings!"  I finally realize their are telling me about FAIRIES not FAIRY TALES......ha!  I had to compose myself because I almost started laughing right then.  Not because what they were saying was funny, but because I didn't get it at first and I never thought they would get the two things confused!  Today we talked a lot about how we are learning about FAIRY TALES and not FAIRIES like Tinkerbell.  :)

Last, but not friend Regina hit 100 followers and I am helping her out with a great giveaway.  Head on over to check it out!


Giveaway Winners!

Elizabeth and I picked winners for our 200 follower giveaway.  Thank you to all who entered!  Ladies, check your email later today as you will receiving emails from both Elizabeth and myself.  Congrats!!


Five for Friday!

I am linking up with Doodle Bugs Teaching for this week's Five for Friday.  This has been quite the busy week.  I don't even know where to begin!

1.  As I said yesterday, I meet with my student teacher in the fall and she is FABULOUS!  I am really looking forward to having her in my classroom this next year.  :)

2.  We made the most adorable crafts this week:

3.  My students are writing like rockstars.  Here are some examples of their rock star writing.

{They use their back legs to jump.  Grasshoppers live by grass.  They can be brown or green.}

{Flies eggs look like rice.  Flies help flowers grow.}

These are from the "All About Insects" book from my "All About Insects" unit on TpT.

4.  We got our pictures back from the wonderful photographer that came to capture our family a couple weeks ago.  Here are a couple pictures:

As I was posting these pictures, I thought maybe I post too many pictures of my own children on here.  If I do, I am sorry.  I just love showing off my two munchkins.  :)

5.  Last, but certainly not midnight our giveaway ends.  Hurry and enter while you can!!

Now I am off to shop til I drop tonight.  I keep talking about getting some new clothes and I am finally going to do it!!!  What are you up to this weekend?