{{Major props to my super creative teammate, Phuong, for brainstorming the PERFECT blog title for tonight's post!}}

Anyone who's been around me for any length of time knows I'm weird.  I learned early on from my sweet Daddy that it's okay to be a nerd and not be normal about some things.  Or most things.  Or everything.

sigh...

And he taught me that there is no shame in that.  If you can't make fun of yourself, than who can, right?  It does seem strange.  But, looking back on it, I think he was using something silly to teach me something important: You are who God made you to be.  Accept it and embrace it.

So, I accept that I'm weird about a lot of things.  And I'm okay with that.  Tonight I accept that I am weird about...

COTTON!

I absolutely, hands down, 250,000% hate cotton balls.  I can not touch them without getting chills all over my body.  The texture does something to me that makes me think I have some sort of sensory issue...and I'm not kidding!  When I was a teenager, I had to use face pads to wash my face.  I could not use cotton balls or the cotton pads at all.  The feel just makes me twitch all over!  I'm even leery about Q-Tips.  When I get one out of the container, I have to make sure I only touch in the middle.  The sound of the q-tip in my ear just about does me in every time...

Not only does the feel of it send chills up and down my spine {of the bad variety}, but pulling apart cotton balls sends my body into pure panic mode.  I know you think I'm making this up.  I wish I were.  Just talking about it makes my heart race!

So, when my teammates first suggested using cotton balls for certain crafts, I. Freaked. Out.  They learned quickly that I will have nothing to do with cotton balls! Which CLEARLY means that they constantly feel the need to throw my weirdness back in my face.

Here are some of the crafts-that-never-will-be in my classroom.  I see the finished products and I want so badly to do them because they are all so. stinkin'. cute.

Like this Tornadoes are/can/have writing activity and tornado scene creation we do with our weather unit.  My sweet teammate's tornado scene looks totally adorable.
...but I just 'cotton' do it...

AND...I never even did the plain ol' version of this one for lack of time this year!

Look at these precious 100 year old people that my fellow first grade teacher's class made on our 100th day of school.  I love the 3D effect of the cotton...
 ...but I just 'cotton' do it... So we did white circle die cuts instead.

And last week when we were learning about George Washington during our American Contributors Unit, my sweet colleague's class made these hysterical Georgies...
 ...but I just 'cotton' do it... So we went back to the ol' standby...white die cut circles!

I see all of these cute cotton ball crafts and it makes me wish I weren't so weird.  But, tonight and every night, I'm embracing my weirdness.  We all have our quirks.  What's yours?


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We have been celebrating President's Day all WEEK in our classroom and the kids are totally in to it!  It always amazes me how interested they get in history and how different things were...

Monday was all about George Washington.  Tuesday and Wednesday I was out at workshops.  So Thursday was all about Honest Abe.

We read this book on Abraham Lincoln.

The kids LOVED the format of this book!  We charted our learning as we read...
{Liquid chalk pens have saved.my.life in the anchor chart world...it's soooo much easier than white crayon! And shows up better too!}

Then we added Lincoln's contribution to his light bulb hanging above our groups in our room.

We also wrote his contribution in our Bright Ideas booklet from this American Contributors Unit packet.

Friday was all about comparing the two presidents and choosing our favorite.

We started by doing a Venn Diagram together to compare similarities and differences between Abe and George.  Then, the kids did their own Venn Diagram independently.

Later, we graphed our favorite president.  

Common Core Unit 5 is when we introduce opinion writing.  We introduce opinion writing with this OREO graphic organizer and anchor chart.

Check out my Common Core literacy graphic organizers for lots of graphic organizers for writing and reading response, including this one. And find this anchor chart template in my store too.  My firsties learn to love opinion writing quickly because I choose one day a week randomly to pass out Oreos to students who have a "full" opinion piece.  For those that only have an opinion sentence and nothing else...they get the top cookie of the Oreo and nothing else!  They love this reward, but it's also good for them to see that it's less enjoyable to read opinion pieces with one sentence, just as much as it's less enjoyable to eat only part of an Oreo!

We voted for our favorite president.  16 firsties chose Washington and only 6 chose Lincoln.  It's so funny to me because there is always an overwhelming majority one way of the other {despite my forcing them to make their own decisions...eyes closed and all!}  And as my team and I were all hanging our presidents out in the hallway, it was fun to see how the other classes voted too!  After only a week of writing opinion writing, my kiddos did fantastic! I was so proud of them.  Several of them even had written so much information that they needed more than one paper!

And I think their crafts turned out so stinkin' cute!  I love how I can see all of their little personalities come through in our craftivities!

This little Washington cracked me up! He insisted on adding curls to George's hair!

Our hallway is so patriotic this week! I love it!!

Next week we are moving on to the contributions of leaders in black history! Bring on MLK, Harriet Tubman, Jackie Robinson and George Washington...Carver {not confusing at ALL!}

Read more President's Day posts >>>HERE<<<

Happy President's Day, ya'll!

In Room 210 in the yellow hallway, it's Happy President's WEEK!  Today was our first day with our Common Core, Unit 5: American Contributors Who Have Bright Ideas!

So, this week, in honor of President's week Day, our American Contributors that we are learning about are George Washington and Abraham Lincoln.  This week's activities all come from this Presidents Comparison Pack.  It is a mini-unit, that is included in the full American Contributors unit.

Today was all about Georgie! He was our first president, so it's only natural that we start with him!  We started by reading a non-fiction book on George Washington.  I love this set of Rookie Biographies!  They are the perfect level for first graders to understand (and some can even read them independently by now!)
http://www.amazon.com/George-Washington-Rookie-Biographies-Mara/dp/0516273353/ref=sr_1_2?ie=UTF8&qid=1392686877&sr=8-2&keywords=george+washington+rookie+biography

We charted as we read about him.  As we read more texts this week, we will continue to add anymore little details to this chart (mainly, we are missing the fact that he is on the quarter and dollar bill!)

We started reading our Washington poem from this year long, first grade poetry pack.  We will continue to read our Washington poem this week during our shared reading time and students will add it to their poetry folders on Friday.

Then, students got our unit long, "Who Had a Bright Idea?" booklet.  We filled out our Washington page with his main contribution, "He helped our country win its freedom."  We will continue to add the contributions of other important people throughout our unit.  This booklet is also great to reread as a class during a shared reading time.

During each Common Core Unit, I change out the signs above my group tables to go along with our unit.  This unit, each table group is named for one of our contributors.  I made light bulbs out of large yellow construction paper and posted a picture of each of the 6 "focus" contributors on one side.  The other side stays blank until we add their contribution.  As we wrote George Washington's bright idea in our booklet, I added his contribution to his light bulb.  My George Washington table was *pumped* that I was writing on their table group's light bulb! It was adorable!!

Later this week, we will be learning about Abraham Lincoln, comparing the two presidents, writing an opinion piece about our favorite president, graphing our favorite president, and making a Lincoln and Washington craft!  Stay tuned...President's Day isn't just a day in our classroom.  We will be celebrating President's WEEK all week long!

Read more President's Day posts >>>HERE<<<


What better day to start joining in the linky party fun than Valentine's Day?!?  Giving some linky party love to...

So here are my 5 random *L*O*V*E* thoughts for the evening.

1. Last weekend, we made heart-stamped valentines for grandparents and great-grandparents using toilet paper rolls.  Thanks to {wait for it...} Pinterest for the idea!


Then we used Cooper's thumbprints to sign the valentines!

2.  My firsties always use hearts to decorate their bags and I like for them to use some creativity and not just make something I tell them to.  But...that usually means that 22 out of the 25 Valentine's bags look like hearts have vomited all over their bag {Can I get an Amen??}  So I turned to {wait for it...} Pinterest for some ideas.  I stumbled upon this heart animals montage along with some others.  I posted pics of the animals on our Smart Board and the kids chose a heart animal to make or could make their own.  I liked that there was more structure with this baggy craft, but my firsties still got some choice in what to make!



3.  Here are the valentines I made for my firsties this year.  They were a HUGE hit.  Idea came from {wait for it...} Pinterest

I added the labels: "I *mustache* you to be my valentine!" for the guys and "A *kiss* for my valentine!" for the gals.  You can download the label files here.
4.  For several years now we have been playing Valentine's Minute to Win It games during our party.  The kids absolutely love them and they are strangely quiet during these games because they are so intently concentrated on doing the tasks!  And as an added bonus, it's great fine motor development and an exercise in perseverance!  I bet you can't guess where I first saw the idea....Yep! Pinterest!  Well, sort of.  Actually, I had a home room mom my first year that did these games with my kiddos.  Then, I guess I forgot about them until I saw them on Pinterest about 2 years ago!  So maybe Pinterest doesn't get ALL the credit for this one!

One minute to stack a tower of hearts as high as you can.

Using pencils like chopsticks, transfer the hearts onto your paper.  I usually use cups, but I totally forgot to buy them so I had to figure out something last minute {literally}.  I actually liked the paper idea this year and it's cheaper.  But I'm thinking I'll die cut hearts for it next year to make it extra festive!

We also do a marshmallow toss {toss a mini-marshmallow in a partners mouth.  Keep taking steps back and toss again.  If you miss, you are out.  Last set of partners standing, wins!} Somehow I got too busy during this one to take pics!

5.  Well, this one has nothing to do with Pinterest, but it's too cute not to share.  Enjoy an "I love you" message from my adorable, messy-haired, 16 month old love bug.

video

In other news, here are his FANTASTIC Valentine's pictures by my awesome father-in-law, Jimmy Shaddock Photography.




Okay, so I actually did get this pose idea from {wait for it...} Pinterest.  sigh...





Is it Friday yet?!? Here's my week so far: Parent-Teacher Conferences until 6:00 Monday night.  Parent-Teacher Conferences until 7:00 Tuesday night.  Field trip on Wednesday plus church Wednesday night.  And the 100th day of school today.

....AND tomorrow is Valentine's Day party and such!!

Whew!  I'm exhausted.  It's a super fun week, but there is laundry piled up to the clouds, my floors haven't been mopped in a week and my sweet mother-in-law ran and unloaded my dishwasher for me while keeping Cooper or else I'd have dishes piled to the ceiling.  Whew!

It's all good though because my firsties have had a blast this week.  And so have I!

Today we celebrated the 100th day of school.

But it was actually the 103rd day of school.

But it should have been the 114th day of school. Thanks, snow days!

I think this is the first year that I have celebrated the 100th day and Valentine's Day in the same week.  I guess that's why I decided to make our "100 years smarter" doorway hanger Valentine's style this year...
Moving on....

Our whole grade level always dresses up like we are 100 years old.  It's so fun...and {bonus!} our classrooms always smell like baby powder!  Here are {most} of my awesome teammates.  One sweet teammate was out of state today and the other is preggers and decided against dressing up like a pregnant 100 year old lady...{Sarah from the Bible, anyone??}  But seriously, these 6 ladies I teach with are amazing! It's not often that a team of 7 teachers can work together as well as we do, but I'm am proud to call them all some of my dearest friends! Aren't they precious??

Not all of my kids chose to dress up, but we did get an awesome picture with the ones who did! Darn privacy rules keep you from seeing their sweet old people glasses, mustaches, and unibrows! They were fantastic!  My two sweeties with the canes played the part and wobbled around the room and down the hallway.  All. Day. Long.  So fun!

We did lots of activities from this 100s Day Packet today! They are tried and true and have stood the test of 8 years.  I just don't get tired of some of this fun stuff!

We made 100s Day trail mix with a twist this year...by accident...I send home a note {included in the packet} asking some parents to bring in a specific item.  We usually ask for cheerios, chocolate chips, white chocolate chips, raisins, goldfish, pretzels, m&m's, peanut m&m's, peanuts and marshmallows. But apparently this year goldfish were actually animal crackers and white chocolate chips were chocolate animal crackers!  Ha! It was great though.  Just funny! The kids loved rotating through the trail mix stations and counting out their snacks.  We did this first thing this morning and snacked all through the day!

Then, we did the Then & Now slideshow included in the packet.  We looked at pictures of airplanes, cars, sports, phones, schools, families and first graders from 100 years ago.  This year, my kids were OBSESSED with the fact that nobody smiled for pictures 100 years ago. Maybe they weren't happy because they didn't have computers! Maybe they didn't like smiling! Maybe they didn't like wearing weird clothes! They were seriously cracking me up!  We also sorted pictures into "Then" and "Now" categories using this slide:

During math, we played Race to 100.  Partners take turns rolling a die and adding that many numbers on their blank 100s chart.  The person to get to 100 wins!  We only had about 15 minutes for them to play because our day was so packed, but I think they could have played all morning! It's a first grade favorite!

During all of our games and independent activities, we listened to "100 year old" music...instead of our usual classical music.  They loved listening to different music today and even bounced to the beat.  Gave a whole new meaning to "Whistle While You Work..." Here's the album we listened to.

After that, we wrote about what our lives might be like when we are 100 years old.  We reviewed and discussed future tense verbs and talked about the need to use them when we are talking about what WILL happen when we are 100 years old.  This is hands down, my favorite thing to do each year on our 100th day!  Their writing is just priceless.  We made a 100 year old self-portrait to go with our writing {a teammate of mine found the frame on Pinterest a few years ago, and I can't seem to track down the link...the writing paper is in the 100s Day packet, though!}

If you were to look at my teammates' portraits, you would see super cute cotton ball hair.  Not on mine.  I have issues with cotton balls.  That story is for another time though...

"I might wear glasses and I also might enjoy going to the mall with my grandchildren.  I'll maybe have wrinkles."

I love the curly hair on the left and the "gaudy" earrings!

 I believe this little guy thinks he might be the Incredible Hulk at 100.

Check out this one...you just can't make this stuff up!

Omigoodness, what a day!  I think I laughed all day long!  As exhausting as some weeks are, teaching 6 year olds is just plain fun when you are surrounded by such amazing people!


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