Saturday, July 30, 2011

It's a "Banner" Day Giveaway!

Hiya Peeps!! Kerri here...
Do you ever have days where your hair sucks, your face feels yucky, and you just want to wear a big ole mumu all day?? Well, that's me today!! Off topic, I know. Just had to get it out there...

I don't know what my deal is, but all of a sudden I am OBSESSED with making banners using my pretty little CRICUT machine!! It all started with my besty Lindsay's baby shower, and I made one with her baby's name on it to spruce up the party. It was pretty adorable, if I do say so myself! Then, whilst perusing the aisles at Michaels (Quite the dangerous thing to do! So dangerous, in fact, that the hubs had to put me on a budget. Oops!!) I got the brilliant idea to make one for my class to go along with my new Dots on Turquoise color theme. Here it is...

Isn't it purty??  It goes so well with all of the decorations I got from Creative Teaching Press last week (also good reason for the budget!)...

Well, then my daughter wanted one for her room...

Zebra print, of course! She chose it and it is FABULOUS!

And of course my little one HAD to have a banner for her room too...

I got to choose Katie's theme. She still lets me have creative control!! :)

And then I decided to make one for my daughter's 6th grade teacher, who I adore. She has a UCLA theme in her classroom...

And others are in the works for fellow teacher friends! They are oh so easy to make and they look so RAD when they are finished, don't they?? Soooo...Who wants one??

Here is the Giveaway... You all, my lovely bloggy pals, have 5 ways to win!

1. Become a follower of our blog and leave a comment that you jumped on board!

2. If you already are a follower, leave us a comment that you are!!

3. If you are really feeling like you love us and you have your own blog, add us to your sidebar and leave us a comment with your URL!

4. Blog about our giveaway on your blog, and provide a link back, and then leave us a comment with your URL!!

5. Pin our banner idea onto your Pinterest and then leave us a comment with a link to your Pinterest page!

Easy Peasy, lemon squeezy, right?? We will choose a random number for the winner on Tuesday, August 2nd. Then, you just email  us the color scheme you are looking for and I will whip one right up for you, send it off in the mail, and you can proudly display it wherever you want!! 

I'm sooo excited, friends!! Let the contest begin!

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Word Family Notebooks...and a couple FREEBIES!

Hi Everyone! Kerri here...
I LOVE teaching my kids about word families, or chunks, as we sometimes call them. We learn about a new word family every week, and my kiddos absolute LOVE it! They can't wait to find out what the new chunk of the week will be, and they get so stoked when they find words that have that chunk in their phonics stories, or other books that they read throughout the week. Here are some of the things that I have found useful when teaching the different word families...

These posters from Carson-Dellosa are FANTASTIC! I laminated mine and every week, the kids brainstorm words that belong in the word family that I write onto the chart with a Vis-a-Vis marker. Works great and the kids love how fun the charts are! I think Lakeshore also sells a set.

This chart is super fun because it has a CD attached and each word family is made into a song from traditional tunes. I think the words repeat 3 times, so the kids can practice singing along. Plus, the chart is write and wipe so I let the kids some up and circle the word family words that are found in each song. They love it!

These are THE BOMB!! 25 stories, each focusing on a different word family. The stories are cute, colorful, and you can also purchase a read-along CD that has cute sound effects. At the end of each book is a page of riddles and my kiddos love to play the word family guessing game!

Ok, these are HILARIOUS! This is a CD and DVD combo. The DVD has a little song and movie for each word family. Catchy tunes, simple but fun artwork for each word family and the kids really get a kick out of watching the little 2 minute music video each week.  This is the short vowel DVD.

Long Vowel DVD. My chitlins LOVE it!

So, I created this little diddy off of a similar Lakeshore worksheet last year when I went to first grade. I run it back to back, with room for about 20 or so different word families. Even though I teach a different word family every single week, I knew I wouldn't have time each week to do the Word Family Notebook, so I only ran mine with 20 pages. I put them in the 3 prong folders that are SUPER cheap right now at TARGET (15 cents each), and we used them the whole year. Sometimes we did it whole group (mostly at the beginning of the year or when I wanted them to focus on their printing), small group in centers, or even with partners after they got the hang of the routine. 
Click here for the file

 I also used this notebook in Kinder and we did it whole group each week from January on, focusing only on the short vowel word families. In First Grade, I love this because you can really focus on the different spelling patterns and give the kids something concrete to help them remember each one! There are 3 sections: a place to brainstorm the chunk words, a place for a "SILLY" rhyming sentence, and a place for an illustration. The hook for the kids is the silly sentence, of course, and I really like this part because each week we can talk about writing a complete sentence, capitals and end marks and all that jazz! You catch my drift??
Click on the words below the picture above to download the Word Family Notebook, and click on the pic below to download the Word Family Notebook cover! AND... I would love to know how you teach word families in your classroom! So, how about you leave a comment and let me know!! :)

STOP THE PRESSES!! As I was sitting here typing, a package arrived at my DOORSTEP!!
TADA!! I CANNOT WAIT TO DECORATE MY CLASSROOM WITH THESE BABIES!! Don't you just LOVE Dots on Turquiose from Creative Teaching Press?? I DO! Pics from my newly decorated classroom will come in a few short weeks! Stay tuned...  :)

Friday, July 22, 2011

Reading Strategy Beanie Babies!

Hi Bloggin' Peeps! Kerri here...
First of all, I have to GUSH over the most scrumptious cookies I have ever had, and I found them over on Cara Carroll's domestic blog, Pearls, Handcuffs, and Happy Hour. Oh my snaps, they are delicious, and I am not a huge cookie person. Plus, I had sooo much fun making them with my little ladies here at home!! Check these bad boys out!!

On a teaching note, I absolutely LOVE the reading strategy posters that Ms. A made to help her kiddos read new words. You can find that post on her blog Oceans of First Grade Fun. She also made AWESOME bookmarks and a parent poster as well! 

This post reminded my of my own Reading Strategy Posters that I got from Deanna Jump's AMAZING blog, Mrs. Jumps' Class. We've all heard of her, right?? :) She shared adorable reading posters which I proudly displayed in my classroom last year. Here they are in my classroom...

When talking to a fellow colleague, she told me about Beanie Babies that go along with each reading strategy character (here is the website). WHAT?? How adorable!! I quickly went onto and in less than 10 minutes, I had all of the beanie babies I needed for around $40 (I have a problem with instant gratification, I'll admit it!!) Aren't they just sooo darling??

You can also get beanie babies for the Reading Comprehension Strategies, which are also found on this website. I can't wait to introduce a new beanie baby each week as we learn different decoding strategies, pull them out during guided reading groups, and maybe choose different students each day who are working really hard on a particular strategy to keep the beanie baby on their desk. Your thoughts??

I can't wait to introduce these to my kiddidles in September!! 

Monday, July 18, 2011

I Couldn't Help Myself!

Hi Peeps! Kerri here...
I have an obsession with all things "Chicka Chicka Boom Boom!" I love to read this book during the first week of school and teach my class how to make their own Chicka Boom Tree out of construction paper. (Directions in a forthcoming post) They LOVE it!  I also have 2 Chicka Chicka Boom Boom trees in my classroom-one against my back wall and another that is free standing and...wait for it....lights up! I got it for $11 two years ago at Big Lots and I about died when I saw it. I hang cut out letters all over it. Check 'em out...

So, when strolling through the aisles yesterday at Target, my daughter showed me this wee baby light up Palm Tree that PLAYS MUSIC, and I really and truly tried to abstain. Even though it was on clearance. And  plays "Wipe Out' and "Jump in the Line" (my personal conga line favorite!).  And flashes little lights as it sings. I ALMOST walked away. Then my 8 year old turned it on and started busting a move in the aisle. I could feel my resolve wavering. When she started spouting Classroom Management techniques to me (Mom, you can turn it on and let your kids get out their wiggles!!), I knew it had to be mine!! 
And here it is, the little darling!

I plan on hanging foamy letters all over it and displaying it proudly in my classroom! $10.48 on clearance at Target, and worth every penny to see my little girl shake her booty down the aisle!!
Hurry, Peeps, and go grab yourself one before it's too late!!

Friday, July 15, 2011

Summer Catch Up! Plus Free Back to School Printables!

Hi Friends! Kerri here...
I know,  I know,  I'm a major slacker, right? It has been FOREVAH and a day since my last post, but you can relate right? SUMMERTIME!! Here is a brief recap of my last month...

Getting to see Tom Mycoskie, founder of TOMS shoes, speak at a Focus on the Family Event! TOMS shoes are my absolute FAVORITE shoes, because every time you buy a pair of TOMS, the company will give a pair to a child in need! So far, they have given away 1 million pairs of shoes. AND, they are adorable! AND they are super super comfy! If you don't have a pair, you should check out the TOMS website and order yourself some! Seriously!! I heart my TOMS!!

Redoing our backyard OURSELVES right when it decided to get hot! 2 weeks of sweaty, back-breaking labor (well, mostly by my husband, but I did help!!) After all that work, and even though it is still a work in progress, I am pretty happy with how it is turning out! Cross your fingers that the clover grows in!

Throwing one of my besties, and the co-author of this blog, Lindsay, a baby shower! She is having her first baby in August!! I can't wait to be a surrogate auntie! And, big news...she is going back to Kinder! Thank the Lord! She will have TONS of AMAZING things to share girls, trust me! She is the bomb Kindergarten teacher! BTW, why did I get cut out of the above picture? Just saying...

Going to see a taping of one of my FAVORITE summertime shows EVER, "So You Think You Can Dance"!! It was sooo awesome! After the nightmare of driving up to Hollywood, standing in the scorching sun for over an hour, and then almost not getting it, it was well worth the sunburn I got! Anyone else obsessed with Cat Deeley??

Making myself 6 of these bad boys for my guided reading table after seeing the most FABULOUS step-by-step directions on probably my favoritest blog, What the Teacher Wants. I just had to try, and they came out even better than I imagined!! I can't wait to try 'em out in September!! :)

Shopping for all things classroom related, including pencil boxes (80 cents at Michaels, thanks to a 20% off coupon and a gift card!), glues (25 bottles of glue for a penny each!! Thank you very much Staples!!), and this very cute Clifford and hardbound book from Kohl's ($5 each!) I plan on adding him to my growing collection of "Book Buddies", as I like to call them. So far, I have 15 stuffed animals and matching books, each one housed in a cute drawstring bag. I send them home with the kids as part of their weekly homework. They get to keep the buddy for the week, read the book, and fill out a simple book report. In my collection I have:  4 Eric Carle characters, 5 Dr. Seuss, 1 Clifford, 2 Duck at the Door characters, and 2 Llama, Llama Red Pajama guys, plus one more I can't think of right now! Seriously, these are THE BEST DEAL EVER and my kiddos LOVE it when it's their turn to take one home!

Spending LOTS of time soaking up the Vitamin D in the backyard, reading and hanging out with this lovey face!! I mean, seriously, she is the best POOCH EVER!!

WOW! I think I have been pretty busy! This next month has 2 VBS's, lots of time at the Orange County Fair eating caramel apples and cinnamon rolls, and purchasing new cubbies for my classroom from IKEA! Aren't they so cute!! I plan on using the small green bins, and the unit fits 24 in all. Out the door, less that $200!! Pretty cheap right?

I do have a couple of little tidbits to share with you for your 

first week back to school. They are: 
Summer Writing

Back to School Self Portrait Page

First Day of School Coloring Page-Perfect for Kinder too!

Click on the captions to download, file away until 

August/September, and get back out in the sun, ladies!! 

Happy Summer!!