Ta Da! And the Common Core Conference

I spent the day in my classroom trying to transform my new spacewhen I came home opened my blog and look what I FOUND! Wow o Wowwie! McKenna at Project Three designs has been fast at work while I was away! It was almost as good as coming home to a clean house. Isn't it cute??
I decided to rename the “Klinger” part. I thought “storybook” sounded more fun! McKenna does such great work. I like moving furniture, desks (and classrooms) so she’ll probably be sick of me in the next few years.
I wonder if she hires out to do classrooms, because that is not going as wonderfully. I have run into a few roadblocks like, space, janitors, principals, paint, and time. But it is the last day of May and I vowed I would not go back after today done or not. I am taking off until August. I am. I will not return. I won’t.          I hope. 
Yesterday I attended a conference about the Common Core.
It was scary.
I thought there was going to be a lynching.
I think the presenters thought so too. We are in Oklahoma.  They were not.       I felt bad for them.              Almost. 
It was so scary they completely changed the format for the afternoon. The scheduled presentation was supposed to be an overview. The redesigned presentation was about the core and the new testing. It appeased the mob.            A bit.
Let’s just say there are many teachers here that are less than happy about our upcoming transition. And I do mean LESS than happy. They mostly consisted of those “big grade” teachers (that’s what my kiddos called them once). You know the ones. They don’t seem to care a lot about integration, and spend most days teaching the same thing over and over and over and over. They were not thrilled with the idea of having to intermingle writing and math, or writing and reading. They probably don’t like their food touching on their plate either.
    Integrate? Really? How dare those common core people!
I didn’t grasp a lot of the afternoon talk. It was a bit above my head in regard to the testing. It doesn’t pertain to first grade.    YET.      I did grasp that!      It is coming to first grade.              Soon. EEKK.
From this conference, my reading, and other conferences I have inferred that one of the most important aspects of teaching with the common core is going to be vocabulary.
Vocabulary is what is going to connect the dots for children and teachers alike.
It is not vocabulary in the sense of teaching new (big) words. Memorize them. Test.
It is our language. The language we use day to day, year to year, in our teaching, reading, and daily conversations with our students. It’s how we use the “big words” that’s going to make the difference.
My favorite part of the conference was when Dr. McCaw said “Is it unrealistic for our kids to sound as educated as they are?”
There is a lot of meaning packed in that short statement.     Loved it!
Next Thursday I’ll let you in on what they said about the units we teach, and an easy way to read the standards!
I am off to start my summer break now. No more classroom remodeling until August! I promise! Ok ok maybe not promise.hope! 
PhotobucketAnd look how cute I am over there! She was going to make me a blonde, but my bombshell days are pretty much over. Except for the highlights I get TOMORROW!!  

Quandaries, Plans, and Transformations!

Dear Bloggy buddies! 
I am looking for some help. First- how do I get my hubby from snoring louder than the TV?  I know it's never going to happen.
SO! Remember the pictures I posted of my new room here
Well the carpets are now cleaned and I can start moving things back in (after some dusting) Anyway, I’d like to paint one wall-the one that is behind my whiteboard. But I don’t know what color to choose.
In my old room my BIG wall had a tree painted on it, and I had sponge painted the wall blue. I think for the new room/wall I’d like to do something bright!
I’ve thought about red or orange, but I don’t want to excite my little darlings too much. And I thought yellow or turquoise would be niceor a green. The rest of the walls I’m just going to leave the dingy white they already are (I’m not that ambitious) but I will give them a good scrubbing.
I would also like (or find someone) to paint  a vine going up the wall to the right of the whiteboard.
And then there is the placement of shelves and writing workshop area, file cabinets, and tables. My first thought is to put my reading table where the nasty sink is now (my hubby is removing that for me).

So those are my quandaries any ideas, thoughts, or insights from your creative minds?

Did I mention if I decide to use your idea you could win a FUN summertime treat????

Leave your comments below. I will be anxiously awaiting you expertise!

P.S. This Wednesday I am attending another workshop on the Common Core. After that my plan is to do a common core post every Thursday highlighting one core a week, with thoughts, ideas, activities, and freebies to go with it. At least that's the PLAN! 

P.P.S.S Be on the lookout for my super cute and cool transformation in the blogging world!

Happy Weekend!
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Summer is Here!







School is out. Daughter is graduated. Son has moved his things out of his room and into his new home. Parties are almost over (one more). My classroom is empty. Summer is here. And I am ready to get it started.
I have many plans for this summer. At the top of my list is to trade rooms with my bestest teacher buddy. Which we are doing, and hope to have completed by the end of the weekif the carpets get cleanedand if I don’t poop out before it gets donewhich I may.
Here are a few pictures for your viewing pleasure, and for my bragging pleasure. And then I am moving on from all the graduation and ending sorrow. Until August when daughter leaves for collegebut we’re not going there yetnot yettoo soon to worry about that.
That's my beautiful baby!

Empty old room




Empty new room





PhotobucketSummer is here. Time for relaxing, refreshing, reflecting, renewing, and revolvingI mean evolving. There will be no spinning in circles only progressing. And it starts today with my afternoon filled with READING my favorite summer pastime. Any suggestions for a good read? 

We Are Celebrated Authors

       Two down and two to go, yesterday was our last Monday and my last duty day of the year. WOO HOO! Today was our Author Celebration day. We invited parents in to view our writing and see how much we have written and grown this year. We had muffins and punch, and greeted our guests with handwritten thank you notes.
We practice our mature author voices and good manners before our guests arrived, and placed our best pieces of writing out for all to view. At exactly 3:00PM our first parent arrived and our greeters were on point.
It was a while before the next parent arrived at our door, but they finally trickled in. We did not have as many guests as in years past, but thankfully the ones that did were gracious and gave all the kids equal time.
I was so proud of them. They remembered all their manners. They served their guests first, refrained from asking for seconds, and used their best inside voices, and didn’t burp, snort or chase each other around the room were extra polite.
Here are a few snapshots of our celebration. Each child got a Poetry Anthology of the poems we wrote during our poetry unit including the one our principal wrote during his visit. It was funny when they opened them up to read their poetry. I had five or six come up to me and tell me I gave them the wrong poems. So we had a quick little lesson on the term “anthology.”
Ignore the bare walls the cleaning has begun!







We are Authors in first grade and today we celebrated like it!
       Tomorrow is Field Day. Fun games and treats all morning, movie day in the afternoon. Thursday awards assembly and board games, and the last day of our 2012 school year. I can already feel the tears welling up. I have a feeling I am not going to make it through the Kindergarten Graduationso many short years ago it was my babies crossing that same stage, and now
Photobucket       Friday. High School. Graduation. I am ready. It is going to be GREAT. I will be FINE. It will be WONDERFUL. I really am so very proud of my baby girl, and so happy to see the life she has before her. Does it just have to start this week??? 

A Bucket Full of Ideas



Summer Bucket List…
A summer bucket list, what a novel idea, I always just called it “my summer to hurry up and get done before school starts list”.
I like the sound of a bucket list much better. Sounds more outdoorsy… and fun… so here goes this is what I’ve thought up so far. But as usual there will probably be more added daily, and much of it won’t get done…and then I’ll start panicking about mid-July…forget what I really wanted to do…then just give up nap and read.  But here goes…

Paint my laundry room, and lay new flooring (that part is for my hubby…does that count?)
Gather/make things for daughters’ dorm room
Refinish a table and chairs for my son.
Read, Write, Stalk, Slice (those are pretty much a given)
Go to the “All Write” with my bestest teacher buddy
Cook-Outs on the patio
Early mornings on the patio
Walk every morning-replace some old habits with new ones
Review the Common Core-make TpT products
Rebuild Blog Design (in the works now…be on the lookout for “Storybook Café” in lieu of Klinger Café)
Move classroom to the hotter, smaller classroom of my bestest buddy cause that’s just the kind of friend I am hee hee
Spend as much time possible with my family J
Have at least one “girlfriend’s” night out
And at least one weekend away with just me and my hubby.

That’s the start. Now to find a bucket big enough to hold all of those ideas/dreams…

It’s been fun thinking about it all. You should link up too with  HadarApril, and Teri

Literally FOUR More Days!

Four days. We have four days left in our school. Four days left with these little firsties (who are acting more and more like icky seconders). Four more days to get in an author’s celebration, field day, awards, report cards, ice cream celebration, pack up the room, paperwork, end of the year stuff, and of course the all-important teachers vs sixth graders yearly volley ball game that the teachers of course always mostly win (except the year my daughter was in sixth grade).
Four days to complete all of that and five days until the next Klinger graduation, I swear I have partied so much in the last two months I feel like it is 1982 (The year I graduated)!
I wanted to share with you the bulletin Board my teacherbuddy and I made to hang up in a local grocery store here. They are our PIE (partners in education) partners and each grade decorates a bulletin board for them each month. We always pick May. We used the cute little dog pattern from the Glyph Girls. They turned out so cute.


I also wanted to share with you this awesome book I bought this week. I bought it for my firsties, but am going to give it to my daughter. It is AMAZING! It is a super sweet story about parents sending their child out into the world. I love the bits of advice that is added to the inside of the book covers. I thought I would lay the book out at her party and let friends and family members add their own bits of advice and words of wisdom to the book jacket. And so of course I had to buy 2 more copies, one for my son, and one for my firsties. Jeeze I’m such a sap.









PhotobucketFour more days. How will I ever get it all in? But I guess I always do. How many more for you? 

The Mountains of My Youth

I'm Joining The Slice of Life Tuesday Writing Challenge   you should too!


When I was young I lived in the heat and people filled valley of Phoenix, Arizona. I was born there and lived there until I was fifteen, when my parents decided to move to Oklahoma. I wanted to move to Oklahoma too. I yearned to be closer to family, and out of constant manhandle of the city. I loved the easiness of the country, and dreamed of a small farm filled with horses and animals.
  
I was a lucky young girl and such dreams did come true. Still today I live in the small town we moved to that spring day so many years before. I married here, and raised my amazing children here.

But there are times that I yearn for the mountains of my youth. The browns and grays of the desert dunes remind me of the dust storms on a hot summer evening. The brilliant purples and yellows of the desert blooms against their sides almost hurt your eyes in their stark contrast.

And then the “Rim” where many weekends were spent; higher in altitude- past the desert blooms, fragrant from aspen and pine, clear in breath and sight. It was my favorite. Past the crowds and cut out campsites, off the path to the secluded spots to camp and fish.  Bent and limber pine tree limbs became my horse, and cool streams my water fountain.  

The White Mountains higher still were for longer weekends and week-long vacations. So high snow could be found in June- a childhood dream come true.  I caught my first lake trout here trolling along in my brother’s rubber raft. I don’t know who was more excited.  Happy Jack the name still tickles as it rolls off my tongue. I think I could have been happy forever there. I probably still could.

PhotobucketI often miss the mountains. It makes me sad. And homesick. But my roots are in the plains. The mountains of my youth will forever be there for me to visit, in my memories, when I can.    

Tears, Freebie, and a Thank You!

       This is just a quick post  to brag about my weekend and son. Hope you don’t mind! Saturday we spent the day in Stillwater with Kanten, his girlfriend and her family, our moms, and my good friend (and a kindergarten teacher).
We started the day with a yummy lunch to meet the girlfriends’ parents, then headed to Kanten’s apartment to rest a bit before the ceremony. From there we added his roommate to our group and headed to the college.
While most of the group headed to find seats We headed to the reception to meet some of Kanten’s fellow graduates and professors. We then parted to find the rest of our group and our seats. That’s when the tears started.
I watched as Kanten entered (with the 700+ graduates) and made his way to his seat. I watched as he searched for us in the sea of proud parents and family members, and then give a nod when his eyes finally came to rest on our frantic waves. I watched as he listened intently as the faculty and guests addressed the crowd, and as he patiently waited for his turn to cross the stage. I watched as he handed the speaker his name and reached out to shake the hands of the professors before him. I watched while he good-naturedly waited for the rest to do the same, and then smile as the President of the college congratulated them and instructed them to switch their tassels. I laughed as the beach balls magically entered the auditorium and one bounced off of his head. But I cried tears of pride as we all sang the school song as we swayed in unison, because all I could see was the cute little kindergartener so many years before in his paper hat and yarn tassel made by his momma.
Kanten Zayne 2012 OSU Graduate

Proud Parents and Sister

Proud Grandmas

Sweet Girlfriend


Ok I promised short, but here is a freebie too. I never make my kiddos write like this (they are their own authors), but I thought it might be fun for once and they could create some really silly, funny stories. Here is a copy if you’d like to do it too. We may brainstorm some fun words before they write, or I may just let them come up with their own. You can get it here right now because TpT is not letting us upload because of the amazing sales going on, but the font didn't convert. I will upload to my TpT  store later tonight!


On this Teacher Appreciation Week-I just want to say Thank You to all you amazing teachers out there. My kids would not be who they are today without the influence and guidance they received throughout the years from their teachers. I became a teacher not because of the teachers who influenced me, but because of the wonderful teachers my children had in their early years (and later).
We deal with a lot in a year, a semester, and even a day in the classroom, and school- but still we continue. This year has been especially trying in certain areas, but through it all I have had the inspiration from so many of my fellow bloggers (and my bestest teacher buddy) to remind me of why I wanted to be a teacher, and what is truly important-the kids! 
Happy Teacher Appreciation Week You are AMAZING!  

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Currently Lazy



We are out of school today and I should be cleaning, cooking, paying bills, plucking my eyebrows, painting my toes, making lesson plans, etc. But instead I am reading all the fun Currently on Farley’s blog Oh Boy 4th Grade, and waiting to go get my hair cut (YAY).
My mother-in-law will be here soon. My son is graduating tomorrow at 4:00. We are meeting his sweet girlfriends’ mom tomorrow at 11:00 for the first time- for a birthday lunch for girlfriend. Going to a pre-graduation reception at 3:00 and then graduation at 4:00, any idea what one wears to all these functions?
PhotobucketOnly 8 more days at our school and 9 more days until the daughter graduates and the cleaning, plucking, painting, cooking, clothing thing starts allllllll over again. 






Slice of First Grade

      Whew Parent-Teacher conferences are now O-V-E-R. YAY Done. Done. Done!!! 
      One more faculty meeting and ten more school days then- Schooools out for summer!
     Not that I’m that excited, but I guess it can’t be stopped, so I might as well enjoy the time I have left being the parent of school age children, and not one adult and one college girlL. But I can tell you I am one PROUD Momma. My son graduates OSU this Saturday with a JOB! And baby girl graduates in two weeks WITH honors.
      Meanwhile back in first grade we are learning all about fish. And my kiddos love it! Here is a chart I made up to put what we are wondering.       I cut the edges off post-it notes for the kids to write their wondering's on. Then I put them on the fish like scales . No making fun of my fishy now...an artist I am not. I teased Hadley I used her lips for my model (she really has full beautiful lips and I am jealous).

The kiddos came up with some really great “wonderings” for us to discover through our unit. We are learning about “Oklahoma fish” and “Ocean fish” before we go on our field trip next Thursday.

       Also as promised I snapped some photos of my kiddos poems from our poetry unit. They are quite clever first graders...especially the one that wrote about her teacher!


A submarine ship that goes under you can see the fish you  can see the sharks  you can see the catfish you can see everything

Cell Phone
A cell phone talking to someone today hi hi hi cell phone hand back up hi  hi h i goodbye  see  you later

My teacher My teacher my smart teacher she knows adjectives homonyms synonyms and more
when I go to second grade I will never forget my first grade teacher is the best in the world

A Herd of clouds
Have a great week only two more days for me we are out on Friday!

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