Saturday, March 30, 2013

Shopping Update & Big News!

It's a lovely three-day weekend! I've actually accomplished one of the things from my Spring Break bucket list that I didn't complete two weeks ago. I bought pants. 

Yesterday, my sister--in-law and mom went to JC Penney with me and we found some pants that fit! They're a little long, but I'm okay with that because, as my mother put it, "They've got room in the butt." Yay!

Today I'm going hunting with my sister-in-law for fabric. I've been pinning like a nut job for wedding plans (it's a secret board so I don't bore all my friends to death before the wedding) and I'm really excited to make some bunting! 


So I'm going to go to Joann's and Hobby Lobby and see if I can find our colors. I also wanted to share with you about some goals my blog & store have met! 

My blog has 500 followers and my TPT Store has 1,000 fans! In honor of these great fans & followers, and also because it's Spring, I'm having a Spring Sale Friday - Sunday, April 5 - 7. Check out my TPT and Teacher's Notebook stores to get 20% off on all items!





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Thursday, March 21, 2013

Help, Texas bloggers!

Help! I am going to visit my wonderful friend in Dallas, Texas this weekend to hunt for wedding dresses. When she came to visit me, we scoured all of the shops here and couldn't find one thing in the style I'm looking for: 50s ish wedding dress. Short (knee length or tea length), sleeves (no strapless) full skirt. 

I know there are tons of bloggers out there from Texas like me! Do you have any ideas for shops I could visit in the DFW area for 50s dresses, or at least short dresses? Thank you!



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Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Pantsy Fants

So yesterday I blogged about my spring break bucket list. This means I blogged about wedding wedding wedding!

But today, reality has struck and I have one more thing to add to my bucket list.

Pants.

I have problems with pants. I hate to try them on. My figure, Greek goddess-esque, isn't exactly pants-friendly. It's more muumuu friendly. My waist is smaller than my hips, because my hips are enormous. I'm not sure why. It's like you took my mother's 5'9" curvy frame and squished it down into my 5'4" lumpy frame. 

LOL Just writing this makes me laugh. I don't hate my own figure. I just know it's special and unique and it hates pants.

Especially jeans.

I love wearing pants and jeans. I just hate trying them on. For this reason, I have worn the exact same kind of pants for the last six years. They are Target pants. I loooooved my Target pants. I had black, gray, brown, and two shades of khaki. And I wore them all the time! Target pants Target pants Target pants. 

Shopping for pants was great during this pants heyday. I could go to Target, stride straight towards the rack, check the size, and buy them, without trying anything on! Because I always wore the exact same kind! 

But alas, Target has found out about my pantstopia. They discontinued my pants. Now they have some system with four different styles, none of which is the style of pants I love. They're all "low rise, curvy thigh" or "high-buttoned boot cut" or "skinny pants pantsalots" and I just don't get it. 

I even searched online for my special pants, but to no avail. They just don't exist anymore and I'm not gonna wear those imposters with fancy labels.

I just want pants!

So I figured I would wear my pants until they fell apart. I can deal with buttons (I'll sew them back on) and loose seams (easy to fix), but some wear & tear is unfixable. Last week, I lost two pairs at the same time, due to the same culprit: thighs.

My curvaceousness extends to my thighs. These dainty thighs tend to rub against each other with every step, threatening to set fire to pantyhose and shredding the fabric between them into a fine mesh. Suddenly, I'll sit down and have a tear about three inches long, rendering my pants unwearable.

So now I have to go buy pants. I'm not excited about it. I'm not looking forward to it. I'm really just dreading it, and I'm not sure where to go, because Target has disappointed me one time to many. I guess I'll hit JC Penney. Maybe they have pants with the perfect blend of mom-ishness and just enough Greek goddess for me.

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Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Spring Break Bucket List!

For you Arrested Development fans, I have one phrase:

SPRING BREAK! WOO!


Kitty's face of ferocity exactly portrays my own determination to enjoy my Spring Break.

To kick off (two days late, I know) my Spring Break, I am participating in Brigid's Daily Lesson Blog Bucket List Linky Party!


My bucket list this Spring Break revolves around ONE word and ONE word only:

WEDDING!

My hunnybun and I set our date for October 5, and so the countdown has begun! I am excitedly (read: frantically) working on all of the absurd details I've decided are soooooo important. Here is the list and how it is affecting my Spring Break.

1. Collect and clean jars.

I saw this adorable pin on pinterest.


And I thought "I could do that!" So I've been collecting jars. I bought the etching cream and stencils from Michael's and when my lovely maid of honor came to town to visit, we practiced! We made seven jars. It took for-e-ver. But they are so pretty! (We also did one empty wine bottle because it was such a pretty shade of blue)



So now, I have a sink full of jars generously donated by my friends and a box full of jars previously cleaned. I'm going to buy a couple new stencils so I can be a little more efficient, and then make a bunch of them in a row!



2. Go to Goodwill and buy saltshakers. 

To decorate the tables and make little signs for the fixin's for dinner at our reception, I'm going to take wire and old salt shakers and make them into little card holders! The other day, my sister-in-law and I went to three Goodwills. And we found.


wait for it...



one salt shaker. This one.


But I'm going to keep hunting.

3. Go to Dallas and find a wedding dress!

My BFF (hee-hee, it makes me laugh to say that) who I've been BFs with since the second grade (seriously, I know!) came to visit me about three weeks ago. 


We went to several different wedding dress shops and found N.O.T.H.I.N.G. 

Truth be told, I'm kind of picky. And I'm looking for something verrrry specific that I don't think I'll find in the town where I live. So I'm hittin the road! I'm going to visit her in Dallas and we're on a mission: wedding dress hunting.

I'll let you know how it goes.

Visit Brigid's blog and link up with your own Spring Break missions!




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Sunday, March 17, 2013

Camp Read-a-Lot

I promised a while back to post about our superfun Literacy Night. We had a good turnout and the families who came seemed to really enjoy the activities! Here are some pictures from our fun camping event, all centered around A Camping Spree with Mr. Magee!
Our teachers loaned us sleeping bags and set up tents on the back patio behind the school. What a fun way to read with your kids!
Once it got dark, the kids used flashlights to read! They had a blast.
 Our kids made puppets from the book: Dee the dog, and the bear!

Fishing for rhyming words! We taped an index card with a word on the floor. Then kids used their fishing poles made of branches, string, and magnets to fish for words that rhymed!

S'mores station was a big hit. We used graham crackers, chocolate, popsicle sticks, and marshmallow fluff. The kids followed the directions to make a S'more and then wrote about it on their five senses sheet.
We had such a great time! It was a fun way to celebrate Read Across America, but you could use it to kick off the school year or to close out a great year! 
In case you're interested in having your own Camp Read-a-Lot, you can purchase the materials at TPT for 2.00! Have fun camping!
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Friday, March 15, 2013

Still Working on Writing! *Freebie!

Just a little update! We are hurtling towards the Writing STAAR in Texas, and I've been pulling out students to work with in a writing class. It's been a challenge to cram so much into such a short amount of time, but I've really enjoyed putting together some lessons and modeling the writing process for the kids. 

Test-taking writing stinks, but writing itself is so much fun to teach. I think so, anyway.

This week, we continued with the third lesson from my Revising & Editing Lessons pack (freebie below)! 

I found a yellow pocket chart and it made things sooo much easier. No more taping to the board for me! So I wrote the sentences from the lesson on sentence strips to build the paragraph. The first day we worked with verb tense. 

The kids used the context of the sentence to choose the correct tense of many verbs, including find/found, use/used/using, are/were. 


To prepare for Tuesday, I cut words that had homophones out of the sentences. Then I wrote the homophone pairs on cards and we decided which belonged in the sentence. We chose between our/are, their/they're/there, and it's/its. 

On Tuesdays, my buddy is unavailable to help with the group, so our lovely principal stepped in! She even explained to the kids about how important it is to stop and think about whether the "it's/its" in the sentence means "it is" or "belongs to it". I think that's a valuable life lesson. Let's just say I know a lot of adults who don't take the time to check before they send an email!


In case this sounds like something you'd like to try out in your own classroom, I put together a new freebie pack!


It includes the lessons, how to prepare, and pictures of the first lesson's delivery!
Grab it free at TPT or Teacher's Notebook!

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Saturday, March 9, 2013

Revising & Editing Lessons, continued! *Freebie!

So last week, I shared an idea I'm trying out in my writing classroom. My students and I used a paragraph through the whole week to work on some revising and editing skills. I aligned the questioning with STAAR, but instead of boring test practice, it was interesting and engaging! (I thought it was, anyway). 


This is the paragraph I had on the board the first day (you could also do a pocket chart): One benefit of being a reader is that you can grow your vocabulary. When you read, you learn new ___ and you can use them in your own writing! I have to use context ___ to figure out their meaning and understand what the message was.

On Monday, we practiced editing skills: apostrophe or plural? You can read about that here.
Then we practiced the STAAR released question that addressed this skill.

Tuesday - Thursday, we practiced revising skills. Below are the skills and the questioning that we practiced. 

Tuesday: Look at sentence __. The phrase “---“ does not express what I was trying to say.
- Which word could BEST replace “grow“ and help me improve the meaning of the sentence?
- Which word could BEST replace “figure out“ and help me improve the meaning of the sentence?

Choices: expand, demonstrate, determine, decrease


Then we practiced the STAAR released question that addressed this skill.

Wednesday: I would like to add the following sentence to the paragraph. Where is the BEST place to insert this sentence?

Sometimes I come across words that I’ve never seen before and I don’t know what they mean.



Then we practiced the STAAR released question that addressed this skill.

Thursday: I want to add a conclusion to my paper. Which of the following could BEST follow sentence __ and close the paragraph?

-       I don’t like taking vocabulary quizzes.
-       When I use my vocabulary strategies, I get the most out of reading!
-       Yesterday, I learned the word, “elated”.
-       Some context clues are difficult to find.



Then we practiced the STAAR released question that addressed this skill.

At the end of the week, this is what the paragraph looked like:

One benefit of being a reader is that you can expand your vocabulary. When you read, you learn new words and you can use them in your own writing! Sometimes I come across words that I’ve never seen before and I don’t know what they mean. I have to use context clues to determine their meaning and understand what the author’s was. When I use my vocabulary strategies, I get the most out of reading!

It took about fifteen minutes each day, and fifteen minutes more to practice the STAAR-released question that utilized the same exact skill, as well as some Mentoring Minds questions.

Not only did we create a pretty decent paragraph, we addressed several difficult revising/editing skills in an engaging, collaborative way, and we applied it to test-taking situations to prepare for the STAAR test. I think it was a week well-spent. 

In case this sounds like something you'd like to try out in your own classroom, I put together a new freebie pack!


It includes the lessons, how to prepare, and pictures of the first lesson's delivery!
Grab it free at TPT or Teacher's Notebook!

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Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Revising & Editing Lessons *Freebie!

I'm camping out at Dunkin' Donuts. My hunny and I brought our laptops and we are oh-so-busy, working away. I broke down the data from our last third grade reading assessment (they kicked butt) and then I looked at fourth grade writing. Our fourth graders are having some trouble with revising & editing skills. This is not surprising. It's hard to teach these skills in a concrete manner, and apply it to a testing situation. 
I'm working with a pull-out group of students (it's a large group; about 20 kids), and so I wanted the most efficient way to practice a skill and then practice it in test questions. 
And this is what I came up with. I sincerely would like your opinion. Do you think this is something I should pursue? I'm rolling it out this week with a group of students who have struggled in the past on revising & editing, so I have pictures in action.
This was Monday. We worked on editing skills. One area I noticed the kids struggling in was when they should use an apostrophe and when they should make a word plural. (Shocking, right? But all the kid's seem to be confused with these skill's.)
To start, I read this paragraph and left out the blanks. Then I held up the two cards that said "words" and "word's". 
"What's the difference?" I asked.
"That one has the comma up there," said one brave student.
Ah, yes. The 'comma up there'. I've also heard 'comma in the air.' This apostrophe, apparently, is the Michael Jordan of commas.
I introduced the name for this punctuation mark: apostrophe, and we talked about its use; to show belonging. Then we looked at the other card and decided it meant more than one word. I had students reread the sentence and decide if something belonged to the word, or if it was more than one word. (It was more than one.) 

We repeated the process with "clues" vs. "clue's" and "authors" vs. "author's". This part of the lesson went pretty well.

After this, I had students practice two questions that required them to use this skill. That was our editing day. The remainder of the week, we worked on revising skills. I'll share those, too.

What do you think? If you like it, I can share the paragraph and daily sequence with questions.
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