Friday, December 28, 2012

Poppin the Question!

I know I haven't blogged in a few days. Everyone's being so busy-busy and I've done nothing. Every time I look at my laptop, I think, "Nooo....I don't want to go there." Opening my laptop starts a whole series of events that includes compulsively checking my email (which I already check on my phone anyway!) reading the latest Yahoo! news stories (or looking at the pictures anyway) and checking out hundreds of blogs. 

This takes a lot of time, and I've been on cloud nine, so I didn't want to. Why am I on cloud nine? Cause...

What's that? It's wedding bells! For me!

Yes, my hunnybun popped the big question on Christmas Eve. Here's the bling:

The smarty-pants checked my pinterest board to see what kind of a ring I wanted. 
That whole day, I knew he was going to do it (he has issues with subtlety) and I was so excited to get home already and exchange gifts (expecting one of those gifts to be a ring). I had spent the whole day nagging him. "HUNNY! Let's go home! Hurry up! Presents presents presents!"

We went to church first and I could tell his hands were cold during the Lord's prayer. Mmm-HMM! I knew it! Nerves!

We got home and he handed me my stocking. 
That sounds weird. Let me clarify: I demand a stocking full of things. Special things for me. I also fill up one for him. You're supposed to do stockings on Christmas Day (everybody knows) but he is so excited every year, that we can't wait. So he handed me my stocking and I hurriedly pulled out all the special things he gave me. Creamer for my coffee, a package of rolos, and some mini Oreos and a bottle of wine. 
Okay, so it covered both my favorite beverages and some sweet stuff, besides, but no ring? I was sure it would be in there!

I shoved my hand all the way in and felt around the toe. There was something small down there.
I grabbed it and pulled it out. It was a Rolo. The package had opened and there were Rolos rolling around down there.

I shoved one in my face.

Then he handed me a large red box. 
YES! A big box with a little box in it, I thought. I tore open the paper and saw


He got me the sneakers I asked for.

I was very confused. I shoved another Rolo in my face. 

At that point, of course, is when he laughed, got down on a knee, asked me to marry him. With a mouthful of Rolo, I said yes! 

So you'll forgive me for being post-less and comment-less since before Christmas. My head is in another place, full of pearls and flowers, pinterest boards with adorable dresses and favors. I'm excited. I'll let you know how these wedding shenanigans go. And I'll be pinning away for our wedding on my Someday I'll Get Married pin board.

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Monday, December 24, 2012

The Twelve Days of Christmas Brea

It is officially Christmas break. I say that it's official today because normally I'd be at work, and today, I'm sitting. I went to make cookies at my moms, and I ate about 10% of the cookies myself. And then I came home and sat.

It's wonderful. 

As I've sat here, I thought a little bit about what my plans are for this break. I decided to share these plans with you. In the form of a song.

Twelve Days of Christmas Break

On the twelfth day of Christmas break, I will have ...
drank 12 cups of coffee (with whipped cream all over)
eaten 11 (different types of) cookies
watched 10 episodes of It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia
listened to Charlie Brown Christmas 9 times
worn 8 different pairs of pajama bottoms... as pants
consumed 7 alcoholic beverages (that number 7 is arbitrary and does not actually represent my alcoholic consumption.
visited 6 family households 
finished wrapping the last 5 presents
mailed 4 boxes (of gifts that won't arrive until after Christmas, so I'm a horrible friend)
taken 3 walks (because I feel guilty about the eleven types of cookies)
read 2 books (that I chose to read for myself!)
and gone to see the Hobbit ONCE!

I hope your plans are just as lazy as mine :)
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Friday, December 21, 2012

My Top 7 Christmas Movies

Christmas movies are probably the best movies out of all of the movies in the world. I don't think I am being biased when I say this. It's verifiable fact. How do I know? Well, after you finish watching some movies, you might think, "Wow. That was meaningful. I'm a little depressed." After watching a Christmas movie, you might think, "Wow. That was heartwarming. Let's drink hot chocolate an buy presents."
The choice is clear.
I do have one confession, though. I really like Christmas movies that give a naughty twist. So you may be very upset with me to realize that 

It's a Wonderful Life isn't on this list.
WHAT?! The outrage! The unforgiveableness! The blatant disregard for George and Mary and Angel's Wings!! 
But alas, it just doesn't make my cut. A little too deep for me.
These are my favorite Christmas movies, in reverse order of favoritism. 
#7 Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer

Why it's my favorite: Claymation is fantastico! And every time Rudolph's nose lights up, it makes this obnoxious and addicting noise. "WHOOOOO"
One problem: The island of misfit toys reminds me of a bunch of Debbie Downers. If you're already a little depressed, Charlie in the Box can send you right over the edge.
Favorite parts: Clearly, it's when Herbie says, "I want to be.... a dentist!" Great voice acting.
#6 The California Raisins Christmas Special

I don't know if this counts, but I'm the one writing the blog post, so it's going in.
Why it's my favorite: Um, do you remember the California Raisins?! Do you remember how cool they were?! I think it's pretty obvious why it's my favorite. The awesome factor is very high.
One problem: They were singing raisins, after all.
Favorite parts: Most definitely, my absolute most favoritest part was when the camels sang We Three Kings. All-time Christmas song high.

Isn't that lovely and weird?
#5 How the Grinch Stole Christmas: the real one. Sorry, Jim Carrey. Not doing it for me.

Why it's my favorite: Whos! And the general weird-ness of Seusstastic stuff.
One problem: Max makes me a little sad. He's kind of depressed and has to run around with a giant horn stuck to his head. He can't be enjoying it.
Favorite part: When the Grinch is slinking around the houses, gathering up all the decorations. It's exactly how I feel after Christmas, when I'm taking everything down and stuffing it into tubs in the garage. 
#4 A Christmas Story
Why it's my favorite: I know I wasn't even born during the time this movie depicts, but somehow, (grouchy father) this movie (mouth washed out with soap) seems to really resonate with me (gifts from family members that are completely age inappropriate). 
One problem: The kid has yellow eyes. I mean really? Also, Santa is absolutely terrifying. 
Favorite Parts: "*sob*Daddy's gonna kill Ralphie." (been there)
This part: 

And "You used up ALL the glue ON PURPOSE!"

#3 A Charlie Brown Christmas

Why it's my favorite: The kids' voices are charming and Vince Guiraldi really knows how to rock a soundtrack. 
One problem: This film can cause depression in those susceptible to it.
Favorite parts: I would say Linus' monologue, but that's understood. So I think my other favorite part would be when Lucy is trying to get Linus to play Jingle Bells. "No! Jingle Bells! You know, deck the halls and all that jazz?"
#2 Elf

Why it's my favorite: Ummm...cause it's hilarious? Will Farrell reminds me of myself around this time of year. 
One problem: Weirdly, every time I get to the part at the end where everyone's singing in Central Park, I cry. I don't think that's normal.
Favorite Part:
#1 National Lampoons Christmas Vacation

Why it's my favorite: Highly quotable. When in doubt, quote Clark Griswald. Or better yet, cousin Eddie! And I think it makes me happy to see a family in action that is more dysfunctional than mine.

This is exactly what my outlets look like.
One problem: Every family has a cousin Eddie. If you don't know who YOUR cousin Eddie is... maybe it's you.

He's been holding out for a management position.
Favorite parts: We're gonna have the hap-hap-happiest Christmas since Bing Crosby tap danced with Danny f*&#ing Kay! (been there)

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Saturday, December 15, 2012

I honestly don't know what to say, so silence is best anyway.

Join us tomorrow for a day of silence in the blogging community to honor and remember the children, teachers, and families of Sandy Hook.

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Friday, December 14, 2012

On the third day of Christmas, Ms. B gave to me...

On the third day of Christmas, Ms. B gave to me...another embarrassing story!
Embarrassing Story

It was my first Christmas in my own house, and I had invited my friends over for a Christmas party! I had bunches of people over - mostly my teacher-friends, and I was excited to have covered my house from top to bottom with garland. We had a nice evening and, upon teacher-request, I made a pot of coffee.
I am a big coffee drinker. I like my coffee a la Marilyn. Blonde and Sweet. But I use sweet'n'low. So to serve such a demanding coffee population, I had gathered up a few options from my mom's house. I had a little baggie of sugar and a little baggie of splenda.
I poured a cup of coffee for me, and one for my friend's husband, Mike and dressed them up with creamer and splenda. As I walked back to the den, Mike said, "Uh, Chrissy. This coffee is...bad." What do you mean? I asked. "It just tastes...bad." I took a sip. Yup. Bad. Very bad. Bad like acrid bitter coffee. It had a flat, yucky flavor. 
My brain went nuts. Can coffee go bad? Can splenda go bad? Was it my coffee maker? It was kind of old. What if there was something in the bottom of the mug? What if I poisoned Mike?!
I tasted my coffee. Gross. I tasted coffee directly from the pot. Ok. I tasted the creamer. Fine. I tasted the splenda.
I turned out, I had made myself three little baggies. One of sugar, one of splenda, and one of kosher salt, and I'd been 'sweetening' everyone's coffee with the latter!
Mystery solved. Coffee re-poured. Party ensued.

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Wednesday, December 12, 2012

On the First Day of Christmas, Ms. B Gave to ME...

On the first day of Christmas, Ms. B gave to me... an embarrassing family story!

It's the Twelve Days of Christmas!

My family absolutely loves Christmas. We have a lot of traditions, and if we were to somehow have to 'do' Christmas without them, I'm not sure if we could deal. This year, I'm starting my own blog tradition. The last twelve days before Christmas, I'm going to share things with you. I will share a story and a thing. 

Today's story is an embarrassing family story. This is easy to do because I have an embarrassing family.

Embarrassing Family Story:

My youngest brother, Matthew, is a nice boy. The story I am about to tell you is not going to make him look like a nice boy. But he mostly is. We all make mistakes when we're hopped up on sugar.
When Matthew was little, he was a typical little boy. Except that he loved fudge. Absolutely loved it. He could eat entire trays of it (if he were allowed). And he was pretty much a fan of sugar altogether. 

One special Christmas day, when Matt was four years old, we had a house full of people. There were bowls/plates/trays of sugar in all of its forms: candy, cookies, and other tasty green and red colored items.

Matthew, while we were otherwise engaged, spent the morning going from tray to tray and consuming large quantities of any Christmas-ish items.

So by the time we were ready to open gifts, he was really just a clothes-wearing sugar boy. If you'd licked him, you would probably taste frosting.

Now, this was the extended family Christmas. We had already exchanged family presents, and now we were really only giving gifts to the people we hadn't seen yet. Matthew had one gift to open. A foamy football. He took it and went into his bedroom, we hoped, to nap. Or at least sit and watch cartoons. Or do almost anything other than what he actually did next.

My mother and I were out in the den with the large group of family. Everyone was talking and shouting over each other, until a moment of lull in the conversation. At the same moment the conversation died down, I heard a distant shout, bordering on a scream. My eyes darted across the room and met my mother's, who had clearly heard the same thing. She nodded at me, and I raced down the hallway to my brother's room.

I found Matthew sitting in the middle of his floor, surrounded by little green bite-shaped pieces of foam. I watched in horror as he raised the football to his mouth, took a bite out of it, spit the bite out onto the floor, and shouted, "I WANT PRESENTS!"

What a nice little boy he was.

Needless to say, we cleaned up the football bites, force-fed Matthew some protein in the form of a hot dog or some such nutritious foodsource, and never, ever, ever told my father.

As penance for Matthew's horrific behavior, I am sharing for free, until midnight tonight, my Word Work at Santa's Workshop centers from TPT! Grab it free until tomorrow, at which time it will return to 3.00!

Product for Free for a Limited Time!

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Tuesday, December 11, 2012

12 Days of Christmas starts tomorrow!

My principal is a sweet and wonderful woman who seems to love celebrations. At our school, each grade level and special team is designated a special day when they are responsible for bringing in something to share with the rest of the school. 

One of the teachers remarked that,  instead of the 12 Days of Christmas, it should be called The 12 Pounds of Christmas. So far, I've had donuts, cakes, bagels, hot chocolate, candy, and several other tasty treats sure to add on the poundage.

One special grade level gave us calendars instead of food. While I very much appreciated the thoughtfulness towards my waistline and closet, I must admit..... I like food.

Don't forget: tomorrow, it begins! That makes today the 12 Days of Buzzing with Ms. B's Christmas Eve! Exciting!

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Saturday, December 8, 2012

Expository Text Structures

Our latest plans for nonfiction!
In fifth grade, the teachers are introducing expository text structures. The TEKS call for these text structures in fifth grade: cause-effect, compare-contrast, sequence, logical order, and classification theme. The teachers are reading different articles with the kids and searching for the 'signal words' that indicate the relationships between ideas. They'll build this chart as they go! 

At the end, we planned for them to distribute shorts texts to the kids and have them sort them by organizational pattern, and complete the graphic organizer for each one. 
Wish us luck!

To help your kids understand how to analyze text structure, you can check out this Reading Strategy MiniPack on TPT: Analyzing Text Structure! It uses the gradual release model to support kids in understanding how to analyze text structure in expository text.

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Thursday, December 6, 2012

New Unit: Nonfiction Features!

Embarrassing Story:

Today my hunny and I went to Corner Bakery to do a little work on our laptops and enjoy some tasty stuff. I worked away (blogging, creating. You know the business) and he worked as well. He is the photographer for our district, so he was working on editing some pictures of the cute little guys we go to work for every day! At one point, he flipped his laptop around and showed me the most beautiful picture. A little pre-K boy with his tiny little fingers clenched in glee, laughing like he'd never seen anything so funny. I immediately cracked up. This little guy just looked so joyful.

Then I asked, "When did you take this? Why is he laughing so much?" and my hunny said, "It was the first day of pre-K and they were doing Head, Shoulders, Knees, and Toes during PE as fast as they could."

And this is when I became a smushy puddle of jelly. I started cry! Right there, in the Corner Bakery, I had tears spilling down my face and onto the napkins made of recycled material. Something about the sweetness of a little boy being so excited to do Head, Shoulders, Knees, and Toes on his first day of school was so moving that I fell apart like a person with a chemical imbalance.

Which I may well be.

Anyway, this is what I intended to blog about: (Don't you love my skill-less transition?)

Actual Blog Content:

One of the more difficult texts for kids to navigate is expository. This is unfortunate, because kids love to read about information and it's such an invaluable skill! I think it's largely due to the lack of experience kids have with informational text. The less exposure they have, the more difficult it is for them to glean information and identify how ideas are related.

My school has begun teaching about expository text this month. For the next several days, I'd like to share with you some of the things that we've planned to do in the expository genre.

To get started, we're helping kids do some basic text navigation by creating this anchor chart. Students often have experience identifying the text features. However, using them is a different story.

Ask a kid, "Where's the caption?" and he can probably point to a caption. Ask the same kid, "How does that help you? Why did the author include it?" and the kid stares blankly. (This is what I call the dead fish look.)

To me, this is a slight flag-raiser. Everything we do is to help our kids understand text and become better readers. If what we're doing doesn't do that... why do it? So to assist in this, we made sure we added a column on our chart entitled "Why was this feature included?"

Once students have learned to identify (and appreciate) the features text has to offer, they need to do these two things with them:

1. Use the features to make good predictions about the text
2. Gather information from the features

To help out with this, I'm sharing a couple of documents that you can use to help kids make and record their predictions and record facts they have learned from features of nonfiction.
(I require students to use the nonfiction features to gather information and record them on this organizer.

Grab them free at google docs!
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Monday, December 3, 2012

Saturday English Camp: Gingerbread Adventures and GIVEAWAY WINNERS!

Saturday was our last day of English Saturday Camp for our ELL students. They had so much fun. Our fifth graders read Too Many Tamales (love that book) and made ornaments. Our fourth graders read Braids and made bunuelos! And our third graders made adorable gingerbread men from salt dough.
I must admit, though. I spent a lot of time with second grade. They made gingerbread men, too. Out of gingerbread. These are just a few pictures of the fun things they did:

They made the gingerbread from a mix and rolled it out.

Then they oh-so-carefully decorated with m&ms.

And then, they baked in toaster ovens!

Tasty. I'd recommend it.

And, what you've all been waiting for...
These winners have each won the corresponding prize from my giveaway! Congratulations and thanks to everyone who entered!
a Rafflecopter giveaway
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