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Sunday, August 2, 2015

NO PREP Back to School First Grade Literacy Packet

First off, I seriously can't believe that it's August.  AUGUST PEOPLE!  That means work starts back up soon!  And don't get me started on the fact that all the school stuff replaced the summer stuff on like July 5th (thanks Target/Walmart for making it impossible to find what I needed for swim lessons).

I am also disappointed in myself for not getting on here more often.  I feel like I fell into the trap of SCHEDULES when summers shouldn't be that scheduled :(  It started with my oldest having tubes put in his ears and his adenoids out.  That meant chilling for a few days and total focus on him.  Then, of course, we jumped right into theme parks, swim lessons, etc.  The thing that really made things hard was that swim lessons are 30 mins for me and in the beginning of July my only option for him was to put him in the 30 min class there that ran 4 days a week for 2 weeks...AT 1:30!  What a ridiculous time.  Don't they know I have beaches to go to and naps to conduct?  And of course that was 5 minutes from my mom so we would spend a few hours there and blah.  Don't get me wrong.  I'm enjoying my summer immensely with my boys (except for the past few days of fevers and puking) and that's what's important.  But I really told myself I would focus here more than I had been. *SIGH*  Let's move on lol.

Here is my NO PREP Back to School First Grade Literacy Packet!  This packet is to serve as a review of Kindergarten literacy skills.

There are 26 different activities included.  There is no laminating, cutting (on your part), or waste of color ink.  Students may need pencils, crayons, scissors, and glue.

Here's a break down of what's included:
  • Circle the Rhyme
  • Beginning Sounds
  • Ending Sounds
  • Medial Short Vowels
  • Syllable Sort
  • Write it Out: Short A
  • Write it Out: Short E
  • Write it Out: Short I
  • Write it Out: Short O
  • Write it Out: Short U · Short or Long?
  • Read and Match
  • CVC Word Search
  • Build a Sentence #1
  • Build a Sentence #2
  • Build a Sentence #3
  • CVC Decodable Text: Short A “Jan and Dad”
  • CVC Decodable Text: Short A “Jan and Dad” Questions
  • CVC Decodable Text: Short E “Where is the Hen?”
  • CVC Decodable Text: Short E “Where is the Hen?” Questions
  • CVC Decodable Text: Short I “Sid the New Kid”
  • CVC Decodable Text: Short I “Sid the New Kid” Questions
  • CVC Decodable Text: Short O “My Mom’s Job”
  • CVC Decodable Text: Short O “My Mom’s Job” Questions
  • CVC Decodable Text: Short U “The Pug in the Tub”
  • CVC Decodable Text: Short U “The Pug in the Tub” Questions 
I am excited to pull this out for my incoming first graders as a review and to see where they are after the summer.  Hopefully, they haven't forgotten too much!  What are your concerns about your students coming in from summer break?  Are you worried their skills have slipped since June?  What do you do to get them back on track?  I love hearing your ideas!  Keep an eye out for more of my Back-to School activities!

Friday, June 26, 2015

Five for Friday! First week of SUMMER!

Wahoo!  First week of summer under my belt so let's end it with some Five for Friday fun! Thanks  Doodle Bugs Teaching for hosting this linky party!


I have made a promise to myself to work with my 4 1/2 year old this summer to continue to build his reading and math skills.  He knows his letter names, letter sounds, he can recognize and produce rhymes, and he can tell you beginning sounds.  I have him working on my Alphabet Trace Cards that you can get for FREE :)  He really likes them. He also really enjoys my A-Z Playdough Mats.  We started working on this -at booklet by The Moffatt Girls.  It is a slow process because he won't sit still for that long haha.  The thing he asks the most to do (and was a huge hit with my Kindergarteners) is this I Spy Letter activities by Teaching Products.  I put a bunch of things in a folder so when we have a second or he asks to do something I'm not scrambling.  I'm not obsessing and making everything perfect (like my head is telling me too haha).  I just want to make sure I don't forget to work with him.  Of course we play math and reading games in the car and around the house.  That is super important too!

Healthy eating continues!  I love finding easy, DELICIOUS meals that I can make and have for a few nights.  This lasts us 3 nights.  It is sooo yummy!  I use whole wheat penne and a little extra lemon juice.  MMM!  You find the recipes here.


We started a new magnet system for my son.  It came with a ton of different magnets.  I chose what he needs to focus on the most.  Last week, he earned all of his magnets!  We were so proud!  When he asked for a little Lego set at the store last weekend we said yes.  I told him why mommy said yes and he had a big smile.  This week...well let's just say his board doesn't look like that :( He has had a super hard time with "Stop Whining."  That is the one he always has a tough time with.  We will reflect on that at the end of the week.  Also, it came with blank magnets and I am sooo making a "I will eat my dinner" one because he's horrible with eating what is put in front of him.  He'd rather starve lol. 

We went to our local tiny theme park twice this week.  We were given season passes last summer by my brother and we went ALL THE TIME.  It is right near my house.  So this summer I splurged and bought them again.  It is very exciting! The "sand" is a bit more "dirt" which is messy buttt they love it and mommy gets to work on her tan!

Today, we went strawberry picking!  It was fun!  We have a ton of strawberries now!  Good thing I didn't buy any this week!  We of course made strawberry short cake.  I also plan on freezing a bunch for my smoothies!  MMM!

I hope you all had a fabulous week!  I have made a few back to school products that I will be posting soon.  I am also working on making a yearly bundle of Kindergarten little readers.  On deck as well is finishing my vowel digraph decodable text packet!

Saturday, June 20, 2015

Construction Birthday Cake

I am sooo late on blogging about this seeing as my son's 4th birthday was in JANUARY.  I uploaded the pics to the computer kind of late.  Then I forgot about them.  Okay so it was mostly the latter part of that lol.  Well here it is!  It was inspired by this pin.

Let me just say that this was the world's easiest cake to make AND it was the cake that I have received the most compliments on!  All I did was bake 2 rectangular chocolate cakes.  I put one one on the bottom, took a piece of the corner off, then frosted it.  I then took about 2/3 of the second one and placed it on top of the first.  I frosted everything but the open part.  I then took part of the leftover 1/3 on top of the 2/3.  Again, I frosted everything but the open part.  My FAVORITE PART about this cake was if something just added more flair to the cake!  I stuck the little plastic construction vehicles all over it, put some chocolate chips in the dump trucks, and placed brownies around it.  It was awesome and delicious.  Once we started to cut the cake it did start to fall over but it didn't matter because we were eating it anyways!

I think what everyone enjoyed was the fact that it was so messy and not at all perfect.  In fact, if this looked perfect and clean I personally think it would lose it's special touch.  This one is going to be hard to top (and was when you see my post on my youngest's pathetic Paw Patrol cake I will post about soon).  The birthday boy most definitely approved!  Don't you just love the cheap construction hats I found in the dollar section of Target?!

I hope this gives you some ideas!  Enjoy!

Friday, June 19, 2015

School's OUT!

Wahoo!  We made it!  Today was my last day.  It was also my 4 year old's last day.  We are all SUPER EXCITED for summer!  Once we get through his surgery (tubes and adnoid removal) then we can really get the party started!  I want to take it easy like we did last summer.  I'm really only planning on him taking swim lessons and us relaxing the rest of the time.  I want to get season passes to our local small amusement park that has a tiny beach and waterpark.  It was AWESOME to have that 15 minutes from my house.  The boys loved it.  What are you looking forward to this summer?  I'm going to head back outside with the boys now but before I do, let me leave you with my son smelling the gorgeous flowers outside his school this morning.  Don't forget to stop and smell the flowers this summer!

Thursday, June 18, 2015

Brand New Layout!

Happy Thursday everyone!  For you frequent flyers you might have noticed something.  I have a new layout!  I'm so excited!  I have been contemplating this in my head for several weeks but haven't had the time.  Yesterday I had such an intense migraine that I took Excedrin and took a 3 hour nap.  When I woke up, I had to go get my Dunkin iced coffee before I got my kids (I had to leave work early due to my migraine and my mom is so awesome to have taken my kids for longer than she planned).  Soooo the caffeine in the Excedrin, the caffeine in the MEDIUM iced coffee (I do smalls and still get jittery), and my 3 hour nap meant I wasn't sleeping.  But that's okay because I had blog time!  What do you think?  I wanted to keep it simple.  I hate gaudy blogs.  I'm still working out a few kinks so bare with me.

A HUGE shout out to the awesome sketch font by Kimberly Geswein Fonts.
My TPT store matches the blog and I am currently working on making my Facebook page do the same.  Speaking of Facebook, have you liked my page yet?  Head on over!  I'm thinking of doing some giveaways this summer through there.

On another note, my brain has been hard at work coming up with different product ideas.  This is what my ROUGH sketching looks like lol.  What do yours look like?  It all make sense in my head but I bet you guys are like WHAT IS THAT MESS!  That mess is probably what the inside of my brain looks like haha.  What are you guys up to this summer?  Keep checking back here frequently because I made a promise to myself to focus on this!


Wednesday, June 17, 2015

Can I Follow you With Bloglovin?

Why YES!  Yes you can now :)  I don't know why I'm so late to jump on the bandwagon lol.  But here I am!

How Do Communicate Your Behavior Plan to a Sub?

Hi everyone!  I wanted to share with you my Jungle Themed Behavior Management System that I just added to my store!  I had a clip chart posted awhile ago and jungle sticker charts. I have now redone everything and merged it into one convenient package!

I did this to of course help a classroom teacher BUT to also help make behavior systems clear and easy for substitutes and parents. Consistency is so important so when a substitute enters your room they have clear understanding of your behavior system. As a former sub, I found myself having a more successful day if I was familiar with the classroom's behavior system.

Here is what you can expect from this product:

Parent Letter

It is important that parents understand the behavior system you have put in place. The parent letter clearly states the expected behavior in your classroom and will help parents to be a part as well. A colored and black and white version are available.

Behavior Expectations

I created this sheet to hang beside your hanging behavior chart to give examples of what each color behavior looks like. I left it blank so that when you introduce this to your students, you can work together (if you chose so) to decide what behavior looks like for each color. I would laminate this and use a dry erase marker should you need to make adjustments.

Hanging Behavior Chart

The color behavior chart gets printed, laminated, and hung in a location in the classroom that will work best for you and your students. Use clothes pins or magnets with names or numbers on it for each student. Clips get moved throughout the day based on student behavior. I don't like to call out negative behavior and make a scene putting someone on yellow or red. A quick and quiet discussion with the student should suffice. Do call out positive behavior (and explain why) so that students can see examples of positive behavior. It is up to you to establish precisely what is grounds for movement (up or down). It would be great to leave this for subs as well.

Monthly Behavior Calendar

The behavior calendar gets sent home for each student. At the end of the day, have students (or yourself) do a quick mark on the appropriate day to show parents the color that their child ended on. Send home any behavior notices as well. Some teachers like to have parents initial each day, week, or month. This is up to you. The behavior notices should work just fine. You can also establish a reward system should you chose. Students can be rewarded for staying on green or higher for the week or the whole month or for having a certain percentage of the month filled with positive behavior. Again, it is what works best for your class!

Behavior Notices

These notices are for students who end their day on yellow, red, blue, or purple. You can use all of them or only the colors you see fit. I print these out on colored paper to make more stick out more in folders. These notices make students accountable for their actions that led them to end their day on yellow or red. They must show their parents, reflect on their choices, and have their parents sign. The notices that are sent home for blue and purple are to celebrate positive behavior and to let parents share in the excitement. There's never enough room on the monthly calendar to write explanations so these are quite useful. They are also useful should a sub be in your room and move a child's clip. This will hopefully eliminate the day after messages you may receive regarding a sub moving their child's clip.

Sticker Charts

Some teachers don't like sticker charts so don't feel like you HAVE to use these. I, however, find they work very well for my students. You can either implement these for all students or students that might need an extra push in the right direction. I won't bore you with the numerous ways on how to use a sticker chart because I am sure you already know!  Just be sure that your are consistent with the expectations you set as well as any rewards. Once you get off track, the sticker chart becomes meaningless. Again, please leave any explanation for subs!  Sticker charts are available in color and black and white versions. I like to use the black and white ones and print them on colored paper!

For the Subs Sheets

I mentioned substitutes and informing them of your behavior system several times in this post. I did so be a use as a former sub, I know how difficult it is t keep up with all the different behavior systems. Let's face it, even if there is a school wide behavior system in place, it tends to be interpreted in different ways. Having a substitute in your room throws off students as it is. Letting your sub understand your behavior system allows for them AND your students to maintain a sense of constituency. Hopefully this leads to a better day for all!  I left it blank so that you may specifically explain how behavior is managed in your classroom. There is also a copy of the colored chart that was sent home to parents by here is one with explanations that parents received and a blank one so that you can write exactly what you would classify as an example for each colored behavior. I have included a "From the Sub" sheet so they can clearly communicate any necessary information back to you. I know I was always super grateful when things were clearly laid out for me!

I hope this has been a great overview of this product.  I am SUPER excited about this!  Anyone who gets this and uses it, PLEASE let me know if it helped!  I would have loved this as a sub!  Look for different themed versions of this as well!

Tuesday, June 16, 2015

A Torn Mama

Ugh. I hate not blogging. I really do. I have been so focused on my kids and my new found love of working out/eating healthy that this has gone south. Not that I don't think about it because I do. A lot. I have so many fabulous ideas in my head and written down. There is just zero time to physically sit at the computer and work on it.

Last night, I sat down to get five minutes in. As soon as I turned on the computer my 4 1/2 year old was next to me insisting him playing in Lego land was seriously more important than anything I had to do.  I decided I needed to have a chat with him because this summer I really want to dedicate at least 30 mins during the day to my blog and TPT stuff. After all, this is a business and I really want it to grow. He got mad and left me when I tried to explain to him that all the fun things he wants to do cost money and that mommy needs to do work on the computer to earn it. I felt defeated after that conversation. However, this morning I was running early (shocking lol) so I turned the computer on. Sure enough he came over and asked if I was working because he reallyyyyy needed to go on. I told him I was setting it up so when I was done showering, I could work. He nodded and said if it was so we could do fun things this summer. I said yes and smiled. He then asked if he could play while I was showering. I agreed and he was great about getting off when I was done. 

The mom guilt kicks in a lot for me. I feel like I should be grateful that I even get to squeeze in 30 minutes in the morning to work out. How dare I ask for 30 more minutes. I know that sounds ridiculous but that is how my mom brain thinks!  And then if I do get that time I see them playing and feel super guilty that I'm not playing with them. I feel that way when I get home from work and try to straighten up and make dinner. I think all of us mommies struggle with that!  Anywho, I love my little nuggets and I know to be the best mommy I can be I need to keep healthy and take time to do work I love!  Look for tomorrow's post on my awesome new behavior management packet!

Tuesday, May 5, 2015

Successful Monday Meals

Hey everyone!  As some of you know, I have been doing the 21 Day Fix program since December.  I LOVE how I look and feel now!  It's a fabulous lifestyle change.  With that, I have been inspired to cook!  I don't enjoy cooking but I always want to make sure my family gets a healthy meal.  I wanted to share with you what I had today.  It was all stuff I was able to have using this program too which is fabulous!


This morning I had my chocolate Shakeology with peanut butter on my way to work.  Nothing too fancy about that but I realized it would have been the only meal I didn't talk about today haha.  I also got my 30 minute workout in too :)


It's hard to hold off until lunch but we've been busy at work and I haven't had time to think about it.  I decided a little over a week ago I was tired of the same lunch salad I had eaten since December.  Not that there was anything wrong with it.  It's a great way to get your veggies in and not hard to make!  I was just...bored!  Last week I tried making food butttt I'm lazy and it was too much cooking/prepping for lunch.  I found this recipe and decided that it looked diffrent enough from what I was eating and to give it a try.  I nixed the quinoa and opted for grilled chicken (rubbed with basil, oregano, garlic powder, onion powder, pepper, and a bit of salt).  I also didn't use the dressings suggested.  I used my usual balsamic.  Can I just say this was easy and SO YUMMY!  I'm so excited to give this a shot this week!  Oh, and I also had a yogurt and baby carrots.  But that's boring lol.  I should also state that I made individual servings based on 21 Day Fix containers and not the amount the recipe said.  What you see here is 1 green, 1 red, 1 purple, and 1 orange container.  Adding my yogurt and carrots would be another green and red container.


Holding off until dinner is SO HARD.  I try to make an early dinner not only because of my but my kids associate me with eating as soon as they see me (3:30PM)!  I kept all of us busy by enjoying the beautiful day.  We played outside, planted flowers, and went for a 20 minute walk.  Me pushing a heavy, uncooperative double stroller up hills qualifies as workout #2.  Okay so by now we are STARVING! I followed this recipe (that I had been looking forward to since I decided to make it yesterday).  The only thing I changed was I added some of that yummy grilled chicken from lunch (I cooked a bunch last night) and opted for whole grain penne.  Containers were hard for me to think of on this one.  I portioned out from the pot 2 yellows and 1 blue for sure.  As for anything else, I think I probably got in 1 red and 1/2 green.  Added bonus to making house smelled yummyyy.

T.V. Snack

I love to snack while I watch T.V.  I highly doubt I am alone.  I also know that my snack choices are not NEARLY as poor as most Americans.  However, I still feel guilty.  I've been trying super hard lately so I reverted back to my quick but yummy apple snack.  Heat oven to 350 degrees.  Peel and slice 1 apple (that serves as 1 purple container for you Fixers).  Put into a baking dish.  Sprinkle nutmeg and cinnamon to taste.  Toss to coat.  Pop in oven for about 15 minutes or until the reach your desired consistency.  Again, THE HOUSE SMELLS GREAT!  Move over Yankee Candle lol.

Something I didn't mention is that I drink A LOT of water.  I fill up two huge water bottle and bring them to work.  I make sure I drink them throughout the day.  I also use them at home to keep me in check.  This post might seem random but this blog is about the life of a BUSY MAMA.  And this busy mama likes healthy, yummy, QUICK meals.  Did you try any of these out?  Do you have anything you think I should try?  Let me know!

Friday, May 1, 2015

Five for Friday...WOW It's been awhile!

Apologies for not doing this in so long!  What a year my family has had.  The never ending sicknesses have taken over my household and my life.  I have soooo many ideas and things floating around in my head but I never get to it!  Here's to me getting back into the swing of things! Thanks  Doodle Bugs Teaching for hosting this linky party!

Part of why I haven't done this in awhile is because I haven't had much to report on work wise.  We finished up the last intervention cycle on April 10th.  The following week was April vacation (my Disney experience will be blogged shortly).  Now we have spent the past two weeks doing extra assessments on our kids, reviewing data, meeting together and with teachers, planning groups, and prepping for our groups.  There was a paper/book explosion on my table this week haha.


My little nugget was feeding Paw Patrol lol.  I love that he's so caring.  He is OBSESSED with Paw Patrol.  I guess it's a good thing we're doing a Paw Patrol themed party for his 2nd birthday soon!


My healthy eating continues as do my daily 21 Day Fix workouts!  I will be posting info on two awesome coaches should anyone want to join us on this journey!  The bottom picture is the lunch I made for several days this week.  I was soooo tired of salad!  I found some different salad recipes that I may try soon.  I miss the super easy prep of my old salad lunch.  It's hard actually cooking stuff to bring to lunch.  I found myself scrambling one minute to get the eggs done one morning. 

I picked up EDUCLIPS new "Carnival" clip art.  I couldn't resist!  I love when clip art inspires me.  I wish I had more time to sit and actually work on stuff.  Hoping I will FINALLY land myself a full time position for the fall and I can treat myself to a laptop.  I'm hoping to do some carnival theme comprehension passages with questions and story element graphic organizer!

I have been working on a digital scrapbook for my mom since we came back a few weeks ago.  I fully intended on it being a Mother's Day gift buttttt I never have time to work on it.  I'm sad that by the time I order it, it won't be ready in time.  But that's okay because she will love it anyways!