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Sunday, March 24, 2013

Blow-Out Blog Brouhaha... Never Miss This Event

How do I talk about this event without gushing? If you live anywhere within 100 miles of these meet-ups, it is well worth the effort to attend. I am not even kidding. First of all, you get to meet me. Why is that such a big thrill? I am the oldest of all of you and started teaching before many of you were born. Don't even think about arguing with me about that.  Remember that I am super bossy! 
The event was held at Red Robin ( okay Fran might have taken that up a notch but you know how old people like to complain) by two of the cutest women I have ever met. Kate from Second Grade Sparkle and Katie from Teacher to the Core. I loved both of them within seconds of meeting them. They did an amazing job of organizing this blow out party and a ton of bloggers came. There were no random, creepy people that showed up which was a real relief! Stop laughing. They have been known to just join the group. Okay I digress. The party planners, who clearly understand that we are all like first graders, had precious name tags for us and goodie bags (big shout out to Wendy for all the books). Christy and Tammy from Fluttering Through First Grade brought the cutest pads in the world and we loved them so much. Heidi, yes our Heidi is from Southern Cal. dropped a billion of our DVD's on the table for teachers to have. I knew that would make you jealous. Anyway, we talked and talked and resented when the waitress interrupted  us to take our order. The nerve of her! What did we talk about... everything you can imagine! Traci from Dragonflies in First sat next to me and needs to be my friend forever. She is so talented and smart  and I just love her personality. We chatted like old friends. She has created an amazing planner that you need to purchase if you haven't done so already. You have one? Check hers out cause it is brilliantly designed. Yours can't be as good... just sayin'  Do you know Christy and Tammy? Christy sat next to me and she is hilarious and I got to hear all about her partnership with Tammy. These two ladies are just the smartest and best out there. They have the best of both worlds as part time teachers, bloggers, and moms. Check out their packets because you will be so impressed. My Annie ( I love her so much) was across from me (Annie Moffatt) and it is always so much fun to be with her. Annie is a mom who is home schooling her children and is always working to stay ahead of the curve in education. She has new ice cream scoop packets that are adorable so you need to look at these. Your students will find them a real treat! She is truly talented. Hadar (Miss Kindergarten)  was at the other end of the table but we finally got to chat for a bit and I also spent a little time with Michelle from Apples and ABC's. It was so much fun to catch up with these gorgeous ladies and Layla, from Fancy Free in Fourth is expecting her second child. We took the cutest picture together with her "bump". Layla was the only upper grade teacher in the bunch but if you know teachers who need Common Core packets that are well designed, she is your person. 
Heidi (our celebrity) also came to this gala event and generously brought a ton of her stuff for teachers to have. We loved her for doing this. Okay I hear you yawning so I will bring this to a close. It was one of the best days ever! 
These events are so important to me. Why? They make me realize the power of the internet and how blogging has changed my life. I have met warm, wonderful teachers who have changed my world, one kid at a time. I love you guys and I am counting the days until we meet again. 
I know I left out a ton of people but others will have done a better job. Back to my Common Core assignment... I swear I need to stop jabbering about this day!

Thursday, March 21, 2013

Do Not Get Jealous But We Are Meeting Up Again!

I cannot believe how lucky I am to be included in the Southern California meet-up that is happening this weekend. I cannot wait to see some BFF's from other occasions and meet some new faces. These events are always a crazy amount of fun and I am always so amazed by all the teacher talent at the table.Usually I think I will be gone for just a few hours but this ends up being an all day event where we hate saying good-bye to each other. How is it that we all feel so connected to each other? We just do! When we met in Irvine we stayed in the restaurant most of the day and you could hear us all over the mall shrieking with laughter. I am counting the hours until the next party and I hope all of you So. Cal bloggers have this on your calendar. 
A big shout-out goes to the party planners who set this up,Kate at Second Grade Sparkle and Katie at Teacher to the Core. I will have pictures and lots to talk about after this event so please check back with me... OMG you must be so jealous. I wish this included all of you.
Love, Fran 

Saturday, March 9, 2013

I "Sort Of" Love Jelly Beans So Have This Freebie

Who loves jelly beans? Do I hear "me, me, and me"? I did a training on the Common Core and filled plastic eggs with jelly beans. I used the Sweet Tart version and the teachers loved them! We played a game reviewing text complexity which was a blast but I ended up with a ton of jelly beans and did not want to eat one more. What's a teacher to do? I decided to make this little sort for my kindergarten friends to use. 
How this works:
Fill up small plastic eggs with a bunch of jelly beans (all different colors)
Do one for each student in your room.
Run off this sorting mat and graph for them to use.
Each student opens up his egg and sorts the jelly beans provided.
Once the sort has been completed the number is recorded on the right side of the frame.
Now you can model for them how to record the answers on the right side of the graph and color in each section, with the appropriate color.
Common Core wants our kids to be able to collect and record data but did anyone say it couldn't be fun?
Have a belly full of jelly beans! Click on the picture if you want this activity!

Friday, March 1, 2013

No More Simple Readers... Meet the Challenge!

I hope you have been adding some sparkle to your reading program and now is the time to step it up and bit.
March is here and the year is sliding by. Is it just me or did this happen quick as a snap? Here are some readers that can be used with any program to enhance your small and large group instruction. 

So as I move around my district as a Common Core teacher I have been in many kindergarten classrooms asking them what emergent readers they would like to have. These are four new Sparkle Readers I have created just for them. I have a balance of fiction and non fiction so that our children are building crucial academic vocabulary and knowledge which is age appropriate. These can be found in my TpT store and have sentence builders to go in the pocket chart. Each book has a sentence with a focus on "I like" and then a second one with a repetitive piece. There are a variety of activities provided to keep your students engaged such as word writing, counting by 10's, cut and paste, and working with transition words. Why do I have two lines? Common Core tells us that our children need to build stamina and be challenged! I am taking it up a notch and with repetitive text my ELL's will work on wrapping around which is crucial for first grade. It is March and I need to get them on the path to becoming first graders! No more little foldables... on to the real work of learning to read. Dots are provided to help children track these words as they sweep around the text. Are you up for the challenge? Check them out here!