Tuesday, January 31, 2012


Oops!  I forgot to post yesterday!  I got distracted by The Bachelor...and the fact that I shut of my alarm in my sleep and woke up at 6:50....and I'm normally out the door by 6:55....so it was a hectic morning.  I was out the door by 7:00.  Yup.  10 minutes.

Anyway, Sunday I got bored and made cupcakes!  I found this recipe for Oreo Crunch Cupcakes over at the blog A Little Inspiration.  Oh My Yum!  They are AH-Mazing!  The boyfriend said they are the best cupcakes I've ever made.

Here is the recipe with my adjustments:

French Vanilla Cake Mix
Oreo Cookies (enough for 1 in each liner and a few extras crushed)

I (8oz) Pkg of Cream Cheese
Whipped Topping
1 tsp. Vanilla

(Makes about 24 Cupcakes)

Prepare cake mix as directed on the box
Add crushed oreo to cake mix
Mix well
Place oreos into baking cups.
Then just add cake mix over the oreo.
Bake as directed on the cake mix box. It takes about 15 minutes on 350 F

Make sure cream cheese and whipped topping is thawed and soft.
 Whisk 1/2 of the cream cheese and all the whipped topping together.
Add the remaining cream cheese only if you desire. (I added another 1/4, so it was 3/4 of a brick of cream cheese total). Its up to taste.
 Add vanilla and mix well.
  (If the mixture is lumpy and not well blended, Microwave for about 30 seconds and WHISK away!)
Refrigerate until spreading consistency.
Prepare to pipe and decorate.

Super easy and Super Yummy!  The frosting isn't super sweet, which isn't my style, but was good anyway.  Also- If I had my choice I would have used double stuff Oreos, but the boy doesn't approve of Double Stuff.  

If you want the original recipe head over to A Little Inspiration and check out her blog!  Oh and she is having a giveaway soon for a SodaStream Machine!  Not sure if I've mentioned that before, but I LOVE our SodaStream!  It's probably the most amazing invention EVER.  I've saved a TON of money on Soda!

Sunday, January 29, 2012

Versatile Blogger

So again I've been slacking in the bloggy world.  Things have just been a little nutso in real life.   Been doing all of the fun stuff Admin. laid out for us since they didn't approve of our test scores...Though I still don't understand how 89% of the first grade being proficient is a bad thing.  Ah well.  Their call not mine.

We've been working on Patterns in Math, nothing super fancy or fun, I'll try to come up with a fun activity this week so I can post it!

Working on Comprehension stuff in Reading.  Character questions last week, predictions this week.  I like predictions, they are fun.

I think I'm going to start a space/planets unit this next week or two for Science.  I LOVE that unit and think it's just SO much fun.  Can't wait to get that started.

So on to the fun stuff-

Super excited, Mrs. Hacker over at Just A Primary Girl has awarded me the Versatile Blogger award!

Here are the rules:

1.  Thank the person who gave you the award and link back to them.

Thank you so much Mrs. Hacker!  If you haven't checked out her blog Just A Primary Girl yet, you need to head over there RIGHT now!  She has some great crafty stuff, and her son Reid is SUPER cute!

2.  Tell 7 things about yourself. 
Let's see.....

- I'm a Marching Band Girl!  I've always liked the marching more than the music part...Yes, I know that's strange, but I still loved all of the years I marched!  I also joined a Music Sorority- Tau Beta Sigma, and my sisters are AMAZING.  Love them.

- I love rock music.  Like metal.  I've seen Metallica and Disturbed live.  I also love country music.  And oldies.  And pop.  I really just love listening to music.  But I think Country and Metal win for my favorites.

- I want to open a bakery!  Obviously from the name of my blog you can tell I'm partial to cupcakes.  I have fallen off the cupcake making wagon recently because I'm trying to lose a bit of weight (gotta fit into my bridesmaid dress for March!), but I'm trying to hop back on and take them to school for the other teachers instead of eating them ALL myself!

-I have a birthmark on my liver.  Thats always an ice breaker.  Technically it's a hepatic hemangioma, a non-cancerous liver tumor.  It's one of those red birthmarks some people have on their outside...mine is just on my liver!  

-I have a strange slightly crazy tendency to only drink out of plastic cups at home.  Somewhere along the line it got into my head that reusable glasses weren't clean enough and so now I buy Red Solo Cups in bulk from Costco....This drives the boyfriend CRAZY.  He's trying to break the habit.  Strange part- glasses at other peoples houses and restaurants don't bother me.  I just try not to think about them and the germs they might have.  But at home I let my crazy out a bit.

-I have a slight obsession with Reality TV and Non-Reality TV...really just TV in general.  I watch WAY too much.  Luckily we have a DVR.  Unluckily we tend to have more than 2 things on at once.  I think I need another DVR.  My favorite show of all times is Gilmore Girls.  I <3 it.  ALOT.  And during the summer will watch the entire series straight through.  All day every day.  And then I begin to talk fast and drink alot of coffee like Lorelai and Rori.  

- I have a teeny tiny HUGE obsession with Disney.  I love anything Disney.  I would live there if I could.  I might try someday.  Also, I told my students a few months ago that Mickey Mouse was my boyfriend.  They did not appreciate that the way they should have.  It made me sad.

3.  Pass this on to 15 newly discovered blogs and let them know they received the award.

Oh goodness, this is the hard part!  

Debbie makes the greatest Super Sentences and Perfect Paragraphs!  She also does some super awesome stuff with the Imagine It! Reading Series.  Makes me wish we still used it!

Ally over at Stickers and Stars has some great ideas!  Check out this post with her Month by Month Thematic Writing!  What a great resource!

Krazy About Teaching

If you are looking for tips and links to great sales and sites this is the new place to be!  

Side note: It's getting late and there is no way I'm going to be able to name 15 of these before midnight!  I'll name a few more fun blogs I've recently found and become a follower of, then I'm off to get some sleep!

First Grade Friends

Primary Classrooms Are Oceans Of Fun

Seriously Primary

Okay, gotta wrap this up and get some sleep so I'm not a zombie at school tomorrow!  I'll post pictures of the cupcakes I baked tonight tomorrow!

Saturday, January 21, 2012

Report Cards and a new Increment!

So report card grades were due by 4pm on Friday....meaning I spent all week thinking about needing to get my grades into the computer....and then spent Friday afternoon frantically entering the grades that I'd put off entering to get them done on time!

That's always been one of my major goals- To grade things immediately and get them entered into the computer on a daily/weekly basis, so that I'm not rushing like a crazy person on the day they are due.  I usually do really well for a few weeks, and then begin to slack off.  I need to be more organized (another goal every year that goes out the window by week 2!).  Anyone have any tips on being organized and getting grades in quickly and efficiently??

And I haven't had anything really good to post lately.  We haven't done a whole lot of fun stuff in the classroom.  We took our Mid Year Assessments (YIKES!) two weeks ago, so we were reviewing and finishing up Increments 1 and 2 and then testing.  My scores were okay- Apparently not good enough for our principal, but seriously, that guys not happy unless we are at 95% proficiency and how is that practical?  That would mean that 20 out of my 21 students had reached proficiency, and my class has some low babies.  Ah well, I had an 81% which means that 17 out of my 21 kiddos were proficient.  I'm pretty happy with that.

Here are the things my class had trouble with:
In Reading:
Rhythm - This question was CRAZY hard, it had a sentence that had a particular beat to it "My name is Frannie Frog, My friend is Sammi Snake."  And the kiddos had to pick out of 3 sentences which one had the same rhythm.  Ouch!

There were two Poetry/Prose standards that my kiddos needed to work on.  I dislike poetry.  :(  It shows.  I really need to come up with a great poetry unit and really kick it into gear and teach it well.  Anyone have a great way to teach the basics of poetry/prose to your kiddos??

And last but not least Statement vs. Question.  This one was my fault.  I didn't teach the language.  We talked about telling sentences and asking sentences.  I don't think I ever used the word statement.  :(  I've fixed this, we talk about statements on a daily basis now.

In Math:
Putting Fractions in order- seriously?  Even my 5th graders last year had trouble with this!

Properties of Addition/Subtraction- this question was a find the missing number question ala 8+7=7+8, what is 10 + 9 = ____ + 10.

Fact Families- I've worked these to DEATH.  Not sure how to make this any easier for my kiddos.  :(

Measuring with non-standard units.  This question was interesting.   I think it more tested their spatial sense than their ability to measure with non-standard units.  It showed a chalk board with some apples under it (they went almost halfway across), then asked how many apples across the chalk board was.  My kiddos knew to draw in the missing apples then count, but my kiddos aren't exactly artists....so some of them had small apples, and some had GIANT apples, and lots got the wrong answer.  :(  We'll have to practice our artistry.

Anyway, this Increment should be easier, and I'm really excited.  90% of our 3rd Increment in Math is patterns.  So I get to teach almost a full quarter of just patterning.  Which in the end means I'll teach patterns for a couple of weeks and then teach all of the basics they are missing and also re-teach all of the things they weren't proficient in.

One of the results of our test scores (which as a team the first grade reached 89% proficiency, but apparently that was not good enough for our principal, go figure!), is that we now have to have not 1, but 2 team meetings each week with administration.  Seriously?!  2 days a week we have to go and lose our planning time and meet with admin!!  What a waste.

We also have to give weekly standards tests on the standards we are scheduled to teach that week.  Which means I'm now off to write a reading test on "What questions would a character in a story ask, predict, and confirm."  What does that even mean?!  Guess I'd better go do some research!

Sunday, January 15, 2012

A Day In My Shoes!

The Adventures of a 6th Grade Teacher
Love it!  A day in the life Linky party over at Adventures of a 6th Grade Teacher!  So let me tell you all of the boring  interesting things that go on in my day!

5:30- Alarm goes off....Some days (few and far between), I actually get up at this time...Most...I hit snooze.  

5:45- Alarm goes off again...This time I get up.

5:45-6:15- Shower, Hair, Teeth, Makeup, Clothes - the whole bathroom routine...Most days I skip the makeup....and the hair is just brushing it out, I never blowdry it.  I think I probably look like a bum most days, but really, who am I trying to impress?  My first graders tell me I'm pretty, so I'm good.

6:15-6:30- Check email and Facebook and ProTeacher

6:30-6:45- Feed Dexter.  This entails live crickets and Kale...I'm not a fan of crickets.  They are gross...and sneaky.  Yes sneaky.  I sometimes find escaped crickets weeks later randomly around the house.  Well, I don't find them, usually one of the cats find them.

6:45-6:55- Make lunch/throw leftovers in a lunch bag.  Make a Soda with the SodaStream - coolest thing EVER.  Seriously.  It takes my soda obsession to a new level.

6:55- Grab shoes and head out the door.  Wait for the elevatore...this usually takes FOREVER.  And our building has 3 elevators.  But usually at least 1 isn't working.  Say "Hi" to Bob the doorman and laugh at his sarcastic/angry comments about the weather/how much he hates his life.  Walk the 3 blocks to the Train station.

7:15-7:49- Train ride to work.  It's awesome.  I love taking a train and not having to drive.  I get to read for a half an hour and just relax.  Well, until the last 5 minutes when we have to stop to wait for another train to pass (it goes down to 1 rail), and the train driver wanders back to tell me about his son and hunting adventures and how much awesome money he makes....Yup, EVERY day.  While everyone else is just sitting quietly....It's awkward.  VERY awkward.  I try to be polite...I smile and nod and laugh at his jokes...

7:49- Walk to the School.  It's a quick walk.  

7:55- Arrive at school.  Drop into the office and sign in.  Head to my room and drop my bags.  Grab any papers I need to copy.  Head over to the Spanish Teachers room and hang out and chat.  

8:05- Run to the copy room and wait in a line of 3-5 teachers all waiting to make their last minute copies.  PRAY that the copier won't run out of paper/ink/toner/the will to live and won't get jammed.

8:15-8:30 Pick up kiddos from the Gym and head back to the classroom.  They unpack and usually do some sort of word search/review worksheet.  I take attendance/talk to a million parents that want to tell me that "Susie is bully Johnny and yesterday she beat him up"....I hear this daily.  My kids pick on each other. They are seriously mean.  Not sure how to make that stop.  I assure the parents I'll keep an eye on their precious little one (and usually spot them hitting/kicking/saying mean things to whoever was supposed to be "bullying" them.)  This time is also for handing out name tags...they can't be in their desk or in their cubby or handed out by a student, our SOP (Stupid Standard Operating Procedure) is that we MUST hand out the nametags personally.  And if a student doesn't have their nametag they don't get to eat lunch...?

8:30-9:15- Science/Social Studies.  I LOVE having Sci/SS at the beginning of the day!  I had always had it at the end of the day and usually ended up skipping it and just continuing with reading/math.  By having it at the beginning we get Sci/SS every day.  At the beginning of the year I thought it was stupid and I hate it, but now I really enjoy it.

9:15-9:55- Specials.  Library, Spanish, PE, or Science Lab.  We don't have Science Lab right now, but I think we start it again for 3rd quarter.  This is my time to prep for the rest of the day.  I also check my email and go visit/gossip with my team leader.  She rocks my socks.  Every other Wednesday we have team meetings with Admin during that time.  Those are my LEAST favorite days.

9:55-10:05- Come back to the room and clean up from Sci/SS or do a read aloud.  

10:05- 10:15- Bathroom Break.  Probably my least favorite part of the day.  We've done BB's twice a day all year and they STILL can't get the routine/rules down.  Plus they are stinky.  

10:15-11:15- Reading.  I usually start with a phonics routine, then do the routine from the reading series.  Then we read the story from the reading series.  Monday, I read the story to them.  Tuesday, they read it to themselves.  Wednesday, we read it out loud round robin style (I know this is a big no-no, but it works for us, so =P).  Thursday, they read the story with a partner.  Friday, we take our test.

11:15-11:45- Lunch.  I usually grab my lunch and head back to my classroom and eat in front of my computer while chatting with the boy online, and checking ProTeacher.  Some days I'll go eat with my team leader or she'll come eat with me.  Those days are fun.

11:45-12:30- ENI Reading.  ENI is Evans Newton Incorporated.  It's a fancy company that came and aligned our curriculum and decided what we need more focus on.  It's basically just an extension of our reading routines. 

12:30-12:40 Bathroom Break #2

12:40-2:00- Math.  We start with a calendar routine, then do a lesson from Saxon.  Then we do our ENI block.  Pretty much the same routine as reading, just switched up for math.

2:00-2:15- DEAR time.  Technically we were told to stop doing this.  But I think it's important.  And I like taking that 15 minutes to pass out papers/prep their folders to go home.  So admin can just deal with the fact that my kids read for 15 minutes a day.

2:15-2:30- Packup/Dismissal.  My least favorite part of the day.  It is hectic and I can't get a good routine.  Our bus/van kiddos get picked up at about 2:20.  I take my parent pickup kiddos and head to the door at 2:30.  Parents are lined up in the hallways and grabbing kids from my line.  And then we stand out side and the kids run into the street when they see their car....super safe.  Seriously, as much as I love once the kids are gone, I HATE dismissal time.  

2:45-3:10- Drop any leftover kiddos off at the office.  Head to my room and prep for the next day.  Straighten up.  Whatever needs to be done.  Pack up my stuff to take home.

3:10- Head to the train.

3:22-4:11- Train ride home.  Again, I get to read for a half hour.  Un-interrupted.  I LOVE it.  Some days I'll call my mom and chat on my ride home.  But usually I read.

4:11-Walk home.  Check mail.  Visit the mail room with the Crazy mail lady.  She scares me.  

4:20-5:30- Get home, unpack school stuff, put on sweats, grade some papers (if I feel like it), watch DVR'd shows from the night before.  

5:30- The boy gets home.   I make dinner.  We watch TV and hang out.

Anywhere between 9:30 and 12:00 I'll head to bed.  The boy is usually up until 1 or 2am.  He's nuts!

So there it is.  Thats my day in a nutshell.  Nothing to special or unique or exciting.  Just a plain 'ol day. 

Saturday, January 14, 2012

Love to Joplin

I haven't posted much lately, but here is something that tugged at my heart strings, so I had to re-post it.

Mrs. Wills over at Mrs. Wills Kindergarten decided to do something AWESOME.  She is hosting a linky party for donations for the teachers of Joplin who lost their classrooms in the tornado 8 months ago.  If you have any TPT or Teachers Notebook store and want to donate a unit to those teachers head over and join in with the linky party!  If you are like me and don't have a TPT or Teachers Notebook store you can use this link:  TPT Gift Certificate and donate a gift certificate for them to give away.  

It's so sad to see all these poor teachers have been through, and anything to get their spirits raised is a bonus!  Their meeting is on Monday, so make sure you get over their ASAP.  :)

Thursday, January 5, 2012

Subs and Behavior

So the ringworm on my arm has gone out of control.  It has turned into some sort of crazy infection and no one is quite sure what to do about it.  Saw the dermatologist today and she did a biopsy and gave me an antibiotic cream for it.  Hopefully the biopsy will show that the actual ringworm fungus is gone and we can treat the infection/allergy reaction more aggressively.  Did I mention the allergy part?  She thinks it all started with me developing an allergic reaction to the anti-fungal cream for the ringworm...which is apparently pretty rare.  Awesome.  :(

So to get to the point of the post- I was out of school today.  And got the text message in the afternoon that my kids were terrible for their sub.  I hate that.  I don't know what's gotten into these kids.  They have been terrible lately.  (And we've only been back two days!)  They talk over me, they get out of their seats, they are just plain nuts!  I've tried everything!  I use a clip chart behavior system, I send home their color every day.  I've called parents.  I've yelled.  I've taken away recess.  I've done heads down time.  I just really don't know what will get through to these kids.

I know for sure we are having a class meeting tomorrow morning where they will hear how incredibly disappointed in them I am.  And then they will be writing apology letters to the sub, and to me.  Will it work?  Probably not.  I tried to bribe them.  I told them if they were good and I got a good report they would get 2 "snowballs" on their behavior chart to earn a class prize.  Obviously that's not going to happen.

The only good news to come out of it- My behavior plan kiddo, was apparently really good!  She had her meeting with the school counselor today and was quiet and on task.  Maybe she'll get a reward while the others write.