Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Random Teacher Tips & Tricks!

This is a completely random post.  If you don't need random teacher tips and tricks, scroll to the bottom for cute baby picture ;)

Task cards found >>> HERE.  

 The Vowel Song found >> HERE.  

 Glue Vowels found >> HERE.  
Center in a Minute playing cards found >> HERE.  

Guiding Firsties Math Unit found >> HERE

And, your cute baby pic.  You're welcome.

Happy Wednesday!

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Meet the Teacher | First Day of First Grade

First, here's 10 random facts you may or may not know about me.  I'm an open book, for the most part, so my list may or may not repeat itself in the archives from Meet the Teachers of the past.  {PS.  I'm linking up with Blog Hoppin' for Teacher Week!  Check it out!  And, yes, I am a day late on this particular linky.  Story of my life.}

And, now, onto our First Day of First Grade.  Which is officially over, and it went surprisingly well. I say that because I was anticipating the transition from mommy to teacher to not be the easiest on either of us.  However, he showed up dressed and ready at 7am, with plenty of time to wake up and watch an episode of Chima before the school bell rang.   We didn't finish everything in my plans, but that seems only natural on the first day of school.  I was always significantly over-planned for the first week of school when I was in the classroom, so I expected as much today.  Our Storybook Bible just arrived in the mail this afternoon, so I hope to begin that tomorrow.  

I started off by introducing this schedule to him.   If you don't post your daily schedule in your classroom for your students, I highly recommend it.  It was very helpful for him to know what to expect and to mentally prepare of whatever activity was coming next.  Kiddos appreciate the structure and sequence.  {Ignore the times.  I made this as a loose guide before finalizing my lesson plans yesterday.}

Next was morning work taken from my Handwriting Makes Me Happy sight word handwriting pack.  I introduced some of these over the summer, so they weren't entirely unfamiliar, but he was a little rusty.  No big deal.  Tomorrow, I will introduce him to three of the handwriting tasks associated with this activity.  We have all year to learn ;)

Since we didn't get a chance to do our Scripture Study, it was on to our first Brain Break!  HE. WAS. SO. EXCITED. about these! Again, knowing that Break Breaks were on the horizon after he completed something was very helpful in keeping him on task today.  Tomorrow could be a different story, but it worked today!  I introduced him to Go Noodle and he was hooked instantly.  In fact, he preferred to revisit the site for subsequent Brain Breaks, too!

Calendar Math was courtesy of Cara at The First Grade Parade.  We completed his Calendar Binder insert together and probably will do it hand-in-hand for the rest of the week.  I crossed the things out that we aren't ready to use yet (i.e. money, expanded notation, number sentence, etc.), and concentrated on being able to read the calendar to locate the date, month, day of the week, and year.  

This week, for spelling and phonics, we are concentrating on reviewing vowels.  If you don't own The Teacher Wife's cute little Glue Vowels resource, you *must* download it...FOR FREE!  We LOVE it.  Such an excellent visual for young learners and excellent way for the concept to stick.  Pun completely intended ;)

For word work, Beck sorted through our magnetic letters and separated consonants from vowels on our steel boards.  I love these things.  {They're also featured in Becks' bedroom >> here.} You could totally use them in your classroom by adhering them to the wall/door/wherever with 3M velcro strips, which is exactly what I did.  You can purchase them at Hobby Lobby or Michaels for around $8 a piece if you have a coupon.  

Another amazing freebie we used today is courtesy of Lisa at Growing Firsties!  Her Vowel Song is sung to the tune of Deck the Halls, and was the first addition to Becks' poetry journal.  He's busy decorating it below.  

Our math curriculum is courtesy of Deedee and Deanna, whom I love and adore for making this amazing resource.  Well, I love them anyway, but they really thought of everything when they developed Guiding Firsties.  Today, we found patterns in our subitizing cards.  Someone was a little too excited to use wax sticks that we had to spend a few minutes exploring them.  He is making a person below ;)

Well, more to come tomorrow!  Or the next day!  I'm exhausted.  This teaching stuff is H-A-R-D!  

But, it's good to be back.  With my favorite pupil ever :)

Monday, August 18, 2014

Why We Didn't Start School Today & My Weekly Plans :)

Now, more than ever, I really believe the good Lord is trying to teach me to live in the moment.  

Case in Point:

I had my whole weekend mapped out: planning, planning, planning!  I was so excited to sit down and sort through my material to plan for our upcoming first week of home schooling.  And then, lo and behold, Saturday morning happened.  

If you don't follow me on Instagram @babblingabby, here's the excerpt that accompanied the picture above:

This is Faith's central line. I tripped over her IV tubing yesterday morning and pulled it right out of her chest and dislodged its placement internally. We spent much of the day in the ER and then were admitted to the floor overnight. She'll have surgery today to remove what remains inside and to place a new one. I feel HORRIBLE. It didn't hurt her, but it's still another hospital stay and another surgery. B has been the best - calm when I was freaking out, trying to quickly clamp the line while she was bleeding, and so quick to offer me grace for my careless mistake. I don't write this for sympathy - I know that mistakes happen and that Faith is totally fine - but in case you, too, need a reminder tonight that His mercies are new every day. I've been playing this verse on repeat today because I needed it. Great is His faithfulness. #lamentations323 #newmercies #grace #stupidcentralline

So, yup, we spent all weekend at the hospital.  Faith had surgery yesterday and we're home now.  

So much for starting school today.  Gah.

But, I did finally get a chance to plan this morning!  A couple things to note:

A) It's amazing how one (i.e. ME) quickly forgets how intensive it is to plan!

B)  There are a bajillion and forty-seven amazing activities I want to cram into each and every day.  When I left the classroom, I still feel like TpT was in its infancy!  Now, I'd need about five additional days each week to do all the amazing activities there are out there.  

C) I am SUPER SCARED about home schooling!  Like, I could royally mess this all up!  

D)  It is 6:29pm and I haven't showered today.  Heaven help me.  ETA: It's now 10:35pm, and I have showered.  Amen.  

But, alas, here are my plans that I intend to start tomorrow.  Bedtime is scheduled for 8pm tonight and we are going to do the dang thang starting tomorrow.  My plans are COMPLETELY subject to change, but I needed something to go by.  And, I can already tell you I left a few things off.  Such is life.  

>> To view the product or activity, simply click the picture or product cover <<

We need a better name than Mullins' Academy.   Booooooooring.  If it were up to Becks, we'd be something like Lego-Ninjago-School-for-Ninja-Turtles-and-Avengers.  For real.

Oh, and if you want to check out some other amazing weekly plans, check out Mrs. Wills' Kindergarten and her Peek at My Week linky! 

Well, I guess I better get to bed.  First Day of First Grade is TOMORROW!  Aaaaaaaaaaah!

Night :)

Monday, August 11, 2014

A Colorful Canvas Calendar + A Freebie!

I bought three REALLY large canvases about three years ago.  Because I am a craft hoarder like that.  Truthfully, they were purchased with intention for a project that was never completed, and they've been sitting around for eternity just begging to be painted.  

So, I decided to do right be them and get creative.  I painted one all pretty nice-ish for Becks' room. 

Two remained.  One in my living room that consists of the half-completed project, the other I painted black the same day I painted the above canvas black, knowing I'd use it for something.  Goshdarnit.  

And, as I began to work over our home school room, I decided I'd like a hand-painted calendar in there.  I could've used my Cameo to make the letters fancy fonts, but I didn't want it to look too manufactured since it was going to be hanging in our home.  

Luckily, I hoard other things, too, like white acrylic paint by the gallon.  

And, because I wanted straight-ish edges, I grabbed the closest straight edge.  Bonus?  Inch measurements.  Hooooollaaaaaa!  {This was Becks' name tag from last year that's been hanging around.}

After I measured a 15"x21" rectangle and marked off lines every 3", it was time to hold my hand as steady as possible and paint that bad boy.  You can't tell in the pictures, but the lines aren't perfectly straight.  Just fine by me.  I also hot glued some black clothespins on the right side.  Right now, they are being super convenient and holding Becks' First Grade Helper (from Michelle at Fabulous in First) and some inspirational quotes (from Hope at Elementary Shenanigans).  I will use them throughout the year to hold various educational things.  
Then, I had the Beckster put the numbers in order on the calendar.  It was fun to watch him think and do a quick little assessment of his ordinal number skills :) #momteacher

Then, we velcroed it to the wall.  Because nails and screws scare me.  So permanent.  

I love how it turned out.  Nothing fancy.  But, perfect for our needs this year <3

If you'd like to download the calendar numbers and labels, click the graphic below where you can snag them for free.  All months are included. 

Happy Monday!

Sunday, August 10, 2014

Ain't No Tired Like Teacher Tired

It is Sunday and I am feeling every bit of teacher tired today.  

It is our last official week of summer at the Mullins' house, and I am sharing that back-to-school pressure with you today.  I haven't had to ready myself for students in three years, and I'm suddenly remembering what it's like to prep and plan and organize and decorate.  Aaaaaand, still be a mama, wife, and nurse.  It's like four part-time jobs, that all require full-time attention.  I'm not doing any of them very gracefully right now.  

Seriously, yesterday was the kind of day where I finally left to run errands at 4:00pm - no shower, no make-up, hair piled into a nest on my head - Lord willing the kiddos would fall asleep in the back of the car and I wouldn't run into my high school boyfriend...or anyone for that matter.  Well, I guess running into my high school boyfriend wouldn't be all that bad.  {I married him, in case you didn't know.}  In which case, I might've left the kids with him and booked it to the nearest Starbucks for an IV of espresso.  Someone should definitely suggest that, by the way.  Since it doesn't exist yet, I am living on this cold brew liquid amazingness.  I drink mine with whole milk and it's worth every dang calorie.

This is us yesterday.  A very clear picture of what life is like these days.  Just a big ol' messy blessing.
And, clearly, you should also consider shopping with a Ninja Turtle.  

Though I've barely thought about what our first month is going to look like, I am ever grateful that there are plenty of resources out there that are going to be timesavers/lifesavers this year.  Cue I get by with a little help from my friends. Smart, smart ladies, these chicks are.  I was able to grab a bunch of goodies during the B2S TpT sale, so my pocketbook didn't suffer too much ;)

Here's a little snapshot of what we'll be using in our curriculum this year...
 >>> To view the product, simply click the product cover <<<
 Some super cute clip art...
 >>> To view the product, simply click the product cover <<<
 And, some resources from my shop which might make your year a little easier, too!
 >>> To view the product, simply click the product cover <<<

Since we're not going back until next week, I don't have a Peek at My Week to share just yet, but am sooooooooo excited to participate this year!  Lucky for you, Deedee's is up, along with a linky for you to check out and join in!  Expect to see mine there next Sunday!  {Click the pic to go to her post.}

Happy Sunday, everyone.  I am praying for the masses this week, knowing that God has a plan for you in your classroom.  Big hugs and a virtual cup of coffee from KY!