Heart stories, Apple names, a Birthday Bonanza, and a Gooney Bird

We have been busy, busy, busy in the heart of the US. We have been in school for a little more than a month and have gone from 114 degree weather to 49 degrees in the morning. Gotta love this Oklahoma weather.
Last week we made heart maps much like Mrs. Carroll’s class at the First Grade Parade. She inspired us to do our best and think about all the things we know by heart. They are hung in our windows by our self- portraits that I have attached mini-clothespins so I can change out their great artwork and work throughout the year.  

We started our apple unit with labeling parts of an apple and cutting one open. Did you know apples have skin and flesh just like we do? We know it now! We also talked about sayings used with apples. I told them my grandma used to say ornery kids were bad apples and really good kids were good apples. My kiddos thought that was funny, we decided to make up our own. Each child colored an apple pattern then picked out letters in their names to tape together and put between the apple parts. They then added their own combination to _______is a _________apple. There was some funny ones like monkey apple, silly apple, goofy apple. But my favorites were: reading apple and learning apple! Yay! They see themselves as readers and learners!

We will finish up this week with Johnny Appleseed, and making fried apples! Yumm!

Friday we had an all-day Birthday Bonanza. Instead of parents bringing birthday treats for children on their birthday (and having hurt feelings when they dont) we celebrate everyones birthday on one day right around my birthday. We graphed, we sang, we danced, we decorated cupcakes, read birthday stories and made birthday wishes. It was a fun filled happy birthday day.

Have you read Gooney Bird Greene by Lois Lowry? It is a great book to get kids excited about writing, to get them thinking about how to write, and to help them expand their imaginations. I love how Gooney Bird tells her stories that are absolutely true and yet even the teacher has a hard time believing- until Gooney explains them. The kids ask for me to read more every day. We are just about done (its a short chapter book) We will wrap it up this week and spend the last chapter making mental images of Gooney Bird and her cat with no tail. Im planning on surprising the kids by having a Gooney Bird Day. We will tell stories, write, and dress like our beloved character! It should be a blast!

Thats all from last week. One of these days Ill find the time to write every day (I hope), but until then once every few days will have to do!  

Happy Fall Yall and dont forget to comment on my last post you could win an Amazon gift certificate!


Who Me??

I'm a winner! I'm a winner! Tammy (great name isn't it?) over at Teacher Tam's Educational Adventures had a  give away and I'm the WINNER!! Yep that's right! ME, Tammy Jo, The other teacher Tam!!! I won! I won! Can you tell I'm just a bit excited?? She giving me a 25$$$$ TpT gift certificate and I can hardly wait to spend it! What a great Birthday present! This is my Birthday "weekend!" I know I'm going to be filling my cart with TONS of cool things and MANY of them will be made by "Teacher Tam" herself. Even if you weren't a winner in this give away you can be by checking out her items on TpT or Teacher's Notebook. She has some really great items.
I have bought her Monster Math activity pack. My kiddos love it and so do I!

In the spirit of me being a WINNER and it being my Birthday WEEKEND I too am having a GIVE AWAY!
All you have to do is comment between now and September 30th and I will put your name in the drawing. Be sure and leave your email address.

OH YES! What am I giving away? A 30$ Amazon Gift Card! Happy Birthday to me! And good luck!


Life Away From School

A teacher’s life out of school…
Last night in our graduate class our professor asked what we did as teachers to build “community” with other teacher’s outside of school. My first thought was of course “blogging,” but I don’t think that is what she had in mind. I think she wanted to know what we do with colleagues outside of school and school hours. It made me think about the “MAPS” meetings a group of teacher and parent friends and I used to have each month.
It started as a lark-a spoof off of an area club that one teacher belonged to. This club (YAP) would meet each month and discuss community activities and events over dinner and drinks. We teased her that we could do that and do it better.
So from YAP… MAP’s was born. It was great fun. We met at my house or someone else’s each month and “discussed” school issues, gripes and concerns. We had gratitude journals. We made gratitude baskets for area volunteers or elderly citizens. We gathered food for Thanksgiving baskets for needy families, Christmas gifts for children in the area where we knew there was a need. We talked, discussed, sometimes cried and always ate and laughed.
But it somehow came to an end. No real reason. No one to blame. Nothing other than life, time and the responsibilities of adulthood.
Last night my teacher made me remember- made me think once again. I want my MAP nights back! I am committed to starting the “meetings” this fall. I am committed to finding the time and way to gather the best of my school and home life together to make a difference in not only my life, but to the lives of others.
What do you do to combine your school, home, friend, family, and communities? What do you do in this crazy-busy-time-deprived-life to make a difference in your life; to make a difference in someone else’s life?
What is your MAP’s?
Link up with your “Out of School Connections”

*Coming soon a copy of my invites to our “New and Improved MAP’s” and recipes for yummy food and beverages.*


get the InLinkz code

The Other Teacher Tam...

Teacher Tam At Teacher Tam's Educational Adventures is having a great giveaway. If you visit her blog so he is giving you up to four opportunities to win! So hop on over and enter. She is giving away a 25$ gift certificate to the Teacher Pay Teacher's store. How great is that!?! I have a lot of her items on my wish list. You should check them out too.

Good luck and don't forget you have FOUR ways to enter!



Jennifer at Rowdy in First Grade is having a POSITIVELY Wonderful Linky party called-Spread a Little Sunshine  ! She is asking everyone to link up with their positives from their day. Well this week there has been many positives with my kiddos so I think I’ll do the WHOLE week. I hope that is ok Jennifer. I just couldn’t contain myself. 

**My SCHOOL Positives**

This week we worked on our first digraphs and my kiddos really caught on quickly.  

We learned the difference between fiction and nonfiction, and the meaning of Genre.

Every day at calendar someone was able to tell me the difference of odd and even numbers.

All my Highlight slips were signed and returned…freebies coming shortly!

We finally figured out Miss. Lindsay’s schedule.

**My LIFE Positives**

Our hot, dry summer came to an end with a rainy cool 59 degrees today.

My daughter had her first senior night and her brother came up to watch (I know I already posted that…)

My daughter washed the dishes without being reminded.

My hubby came to my classroom twice after school, and is going to get me some brackets to hang the wire holders for my book bins so I will have more shelf room!!!

My group made an A on our presentation in my grad. class (OK so did all the others,but I'll take an A anyway I can get it)

And today all September birthday teachers (and a few others) went out for lunch. The waiters sang us happy birthday and gave us a really yummy fried ice cream-sopapilla combo drizzled in chocolate sauce. YUMMO!

And it’s only Thursday! So far it’s been a positively wonderful week!

Catching up Quickly
This is our fourth full week of school. We have been through testing, procedures, discipline, eye exams, snowball “fights” to learn names and make friends, worked on independent reading, just right books, and partner reading, our first Rise and Shine assembly, fire, tornado, and stranger drills and the dreaded inside recess. We are coming together learning to trust and love each other; we are becoming a first grade community-family.
In some ways it feels as if we have just started in others it feels as if we’ve been there much more than four weeks. Miss Lindsay started her student teaching the second week of school. We are so happy to have her in our little family she is a shining spot of our first grade routine. The second week Miss Lindsay was with us she shared a book with us she had made about “her.”
I liked it so much I decided to change my family involvement project I do for our writing notebooks. I usually have the kids decorate them with their families with pictures about them, and then add a note about the student. Instead of naming them “writer’s notebooks” I called them “Me Notebooks.” We still discussed how to use them, what heart stories and ideas would fit well in them, and how other writers use theirs. The kids and families did a great job. My favorite part was in the note I asked the parents to write why they were so proud of their child. The answers were heart- warming.
This past week we read Laura Numeroff’s 10 Step’s to Living With Their Monster . It is a great story and one I’ll be adding to my yearly read aloud list. We made mental images after I read the story the first time through without showing the illustrations. Then we read it again (this time with the illustrations). I then gave the kiddos some templates I’d made of “monster parts.” Each one picked their parts, traced, cut out and glued. Their creations were MONSTERLY creative.
This week we read it again (because Miss. Lindsay had missed it the first two) and then wrote a class book “The 10 Step Guide to Living with Your First Grade Monster.” Their responses and ideas were very intuitive and FUNNY!  We will be placing all in the hallway outside our door for everyone to see!
On a personal note Monday night was my daughter’s first Senior night. I had no idea this senior stuff would begin so early in the year, and I have another to go through in the spring. Her brother surprised her by showing up, and of course that made me choke back even more tears….Oh where did my babies go?  
Hadley and us at her senior night. She was the only senior:) 

Snowball fight to learn names.

Miss. Lindsay and her  inspiration for our "Me" notebooks.

Making First Grade Monsters.

Using sticky notes to find sight words.

First Grade Monsters!

Last night in my class we discussed the difference between a manager and a leader. We went through a spread sheet of the differences. It was interesting. Below is a copy so you can go through the list if you'd like. Which one are you in your classroom, your school, your community, your life? Or are you a bit of both? 

Leaders and Managers
Manager Examples
Leader Examples

Attitude toward goals
Goals arise out of necessities rather than desires

Goals arise out of desires

Impersonal, if not passive, attitude toward goals

Personal, active attitude toward goals

Goals are deeply embedded in his/her organization’s history and culture (and are therefore necessities already identified)

Makes own goals

Identifies problem issues and the best ways to achieve results so that people continue to contribute to the organization

Generates and presents fresh approaches to long-standing problems

Aims to shift balances of power toward solutions acceptable as compromises among conflicting values

Is open to new options

Is not a risk-taker

Is a risk-taker

The survival instinct dominates the need for risk

Is disposed to seek out risks and dangers

Works from high-risk positions

Attitude toward mundane, practical work
Tolerates the mundane well

Sometimes reacts to the mundane as if it were an affliction

Toleration for the mundane comes with the domination of the survival instinct over risk

At times is unable to pay attention to the ordinary tasks at hand (because this person is an innovator!)

Job focus/emphasis
Rationality and control are central to the manager’s work

Leaders are intuitive.

Is an organizer who establishes procedures and expectations so that everything runs smoothly

Because this person is innovative, intuitive, open-minded, and always looking for the possible, he/she may at times appear disorganized

Views work as an enabling process involving some combination of people and ideas interacting to establish strategies and make decisions

Leaders change the way people think about what is desirable, possible, and necessary

Aim to shift balances of power toward solutions acceptable as compromises among conflicting values

Is open to contrary opinions

One often says a manager is doing his/her job well when he/she can effectively put his/her feet on the desk and relax

Searches out competence

Is vulnerable to the skills and talents of others

Relationships with people
Prefers to work with people

Avoids solitary activity because it makes him/her anxious

Enjoys, needs, and thrives upon solitary activity

Seeks others with whom to collaborate

Has the ability to break off intense, one-to-one relationships

Relates to people according to the role the person plays

Takes in emotional signals and makes them meaningful in a relationship

May lack empathy or the capacity to sense intuitively the thoughts and feelings of others

Relates to others in intuitive, empathetic ways

Continually needs to coordinate and balance opposing views

Human relationships often appear turbulent and intense

Aim to shift balances of power toward solutions acceptable as compromises among conflicting values

Negotiates and bargains using rewards, punishments, and other forms of coercion

Incites creative problem-solving in others

Communication style
Uses “signals” instead of messages

Uses messages vs. signals

Indirect in his/her communication

Communicates directly

Those under his/her management are “subordinates”

Perceives and interacts with those under his/her leadership as a team vs. as “subordinates”

Communicates easily at all levels

Tells why rather than how

Relation to organization and/or environment
Separates from the environment and/or supports, perpetuates, “upholds” the organization

Breaks with the status quo of the organization in order creatively to solve problems and incite others to do the same

Upholds the existing structure

Not concerned about upholding the existing structure but in creating something new, fresh, and positive to move forward in stronger, better ways than the existing structure allows

Belongs to the organization

Never belongs to the organization in the sense that the organization cannot “own” him/her

Can be a tribal storyteller (imp. Way of transmitting our school’s, classroom’s, or other organization’s culture)

Sense of self worth
Perpetuating and strengthening existing institutions enhances the manager’s sense of self worth

Breaking from the status quo enhances this person’s self worth

This person is a creative problem-solver who incites others to be creative problem solvers thereby enhancing his/her self worth

Other characteristics

Has consistent and dependable integrity


Cherishes heterogeneity and diversity

Hard worker

Understands the concept of equity and consistently advocates it


Leads through serving


Understands and speaks for the school’s, district’s, or even “education’s” value system’s participatory leadership



From Oklahoma State CIED 5183 Dr. Skinner