Monday, February 25, 2013

When You Can't Do It All & Magical E's

I have come to the conclusion that I cannot do it all.  I would love to, but unless I want to give up my job, stay home and lock myself in the office, then I cannot do everything.  Have you ever had to come to this conclusion?

I would love to blog daily (or a least a couple of times a week), make TPT products, create my own cute clipart (I love to draw/doodle my own characters), but I still have to be a mom, wife, teacher, and friend.  I realized last week that I cannot do all of the things I would love to do and still keep my sanity!  Sometimes it is good to step back and reorganize your priorities.  I am definitely not the person that my Pinterest boards portray me as! I would love to be impeccably organized, beautifully coiffed, incredibly creative, and teacher of the year! :)  For now though, I will be happy being somewhat organized (and continuing to improve), put together nicely, creative (without pushing myself to the limits), and the type of teacher that does what is best for the kids.  All of my TPT purchases may not be laminated and my desk may have piles, but I know that I am doing what is best for the kids and that is what is important to me!

Maybe this summer I can set some goals to finish some TPT products and get some of those Pinterest inspirations complete, but for now, I am focusing on one week at at time instead of trying to do it all at once! Sometimes I just need to be reminded to work smarter...not harder!

So for this week....this is what we are working on in my resource reading:

That sneaky "e" will get you every time!  My reading group has the CVC pattern aced, but that "E" throws them for a loop.  Here is a favorite TPT product that I am using to help teach this concept in my reading group:

Click the picture above to be directed to the TPT so you can purchase your own Magical E bundle!

So what can you expect from me during my readjusting period?  
  • A sneak peak into the skills my reading or math groups are working on...hopefully with a great TPT product to share with you
  • An update about how the week went
  • A positive outlook school and being the teacher the kids need! :)

Do you ever have a readjusting time in your teaching career?  What do you do when you can't do it all?  

Monday, February 11, 2013

Chore Chart

A few years ago my husband and I took Financial Peace University by Dave Ramsey and I must say that it changed our financial lives.  I won't get into all of that right now, but I did want to share with you one of the good habits that we continue to use daily.

Dave Ramsey talks about kids and money and giving them an "allowance."  He does not "give" money to anything ;), so he suggests having your kids work for a commission.  My kids are nerdy like their mama and they loved this idea.  We discussed what the word commission means, how to earn a commission,and what to do with the money you earn (give, save, spend).  If you want to learn more about Dave Ramsey, Financial Peace University, or how teach your kids how to handle money at a young age with Financial Peace Jr. you can go to the link below:

PS: I am not in any way affiliated with Dave Ramsey or his company and I do not get paid to endorse his products.  However, I am a firm believer in the practices he teaches.

There's a Story in Every Box.
Now, I must come clean and say, we started Financial Peace Jr. with our children, worked on the chore charts, and we were incredibly successful. happened.  We moved, the chore charts were never unpacked, and we stopped keeping up with them.  So, this past weekend my husband and I talked about starting chore charts again and he urged me to make our kids charts this time.  The ones with FPU Jr. are effective and simple, but we wanted something a little "spicier" and interactive! :)  

Chore Chart How-To

scrapbook paper
bulletin board
thumb tacks
access to printer
white paper
craft sticks

1.  Make envelopes or pockets to hold the craft sticks/tickets (whatever you use to show your child completed the chore).  I used the template you can find here:

2.  Cut out envelopes and arrange on the bulletin board.  I used thumb tacks in each of the four corners to hold the envelopes securely in place.

3.  Label each pocket with a chore.  Our labels include: Pick up and put away laundry, Clear dishes (this means after supper), empty dishwasher, pick up toys, put away silverware.  These chores are the ones my kids are expected to do daily.  We add to this by giving each day a chore of its own.  (We have just started doing this as a family.  I am really hoping it helps us to stay on top of cleaning throughout the week so we do not spend all day on Saturday cleaning).  
Monday-Clean Bathrooms
Thursday-Sweep & Mop
Friday-Catch-all Day (whatever has been missed throughout the week)
Saturday-Straighten Bedrooms

You can find other chore ideas here: 

4.  When the child completes a chore, he/she place a craft stick in the corresponding envelope.  My daughter uses red sticks and my son uses blue sticks.  This helps me to keep up with who did the chore, especially in the extra chore pocket.

5.  Our kids are motivated by money.  We teach them the principals from FPU.  They earn commission based on each chore.
25 cents for each chore completed daily
25 cents for the weekly chore (daily)
10 cents for any extra chore above and beyond what is asked of them

Our kids are taught to GIVE, SAVE, SPEND.  They give 10%  to the church as a tithe, SAVE 10% or more for something they really want (a special toy, an outing, vacation), and what is left over they put in their wallet as SPENDING.

We also have FINES.  Fines are -25 cents for infractions to house rules.  My kids are 10 and 5, a girl and a boy, respectively.  Let me let you in on a little secret...they LOVE each other all of the time, but they don't LIKE each other all of the time.  Many times, their infractions come from not getting along with one another.  Also, our daughter is ten thinking that she is going on sixteen! Ugg!  Sometimes attitude and pre-hormonal hormones take over that child's body!!!!  Need I say more?! :)

6.  On Saturdays, we tally the number of chores complete and figure the amount of money that is owed to each kid.  They could earn a minimum of $6.25/week if they complete all of the chores as outlined on the chart.  If they chose to do extra chores then they could earn extra money, but I like to cap it at $10.  :)

Here is our completed chore chart, hanging, and in use:

I hope you enjoy this and find it useful in your home, too!


PS:  I know this was not school related, but you may able to modify this in a way that would be useful for behavior.  I am thinking, smaller pockets inside a binder with a good choice/preferred behavior on the envelope.  The student can earn tickets to place in the pockets and earn rewards based on the number of tickets.  Just a thought ;)  I had to make it "schooly" somehow! 

Sunday, February 10, 2013

Sight Word Box from Teacher Mama

I am linking up with The Resource Room Teacher today!  I have something incredibly exciting to share!

Several blog posts ago, I mentioned a few of the projects from Pinterest that I would love to accomplish.  One of those was from Boy Mama Teacher Mama and it was her Sight Word Practice Box.  Pictured below:

Well, yesterday I received a message from her saying,  Hi Mrs. H! Just wanted to let you and your readers know that I now have the templates for the sight word box available! I appreciate you featuring our idea and for all the friends you have sent our way!! Here is the link--

I must say that I am quite excited about this!  I hope you are, too!  Here is a link to her TPT store where you can download her templates for the Sight Word Practice box along including several games!  Ready....GO!!

Thursday, February 7, 2013

Personal Word Walls

I love the concept of a word wall!  I've toyed with the idea of putting up my word wall (on the wall) all year, but I know that once a word goes up there it doesn't really get used or looked at again.  The kids forget what the word is and then get frustrated about not being able to remember the word or read the word, so they lose interest and the words become just another decoration in the room.

So, we make personal word walls.

Each student is given a manila folder and stickers (some are leftover alphabet stickers and others are plain dot stickers and the students write the letters on them).  The students place the stickers on the folder in order and remembering to leave enough space to write words.  Not only is this a word wall, but a pretty good fine motor and visual planning activity.  Some of my kids had a hard time with this.  In the picture below you will see a quick accommodation I made for a student with some fine motor challenges.  I used small sticky note to help him with spacing his letters out appropriately.  (I love when little things make a big difference!)

After all of the stickers are added, the students decorate the front cover and then begin to add words to their "wall."  One way I help motivate my students to collect words independently (words that are not their practice words or in our story for the week) is for every ten words the students collect for their wall they receive a sticker to use for decoration on the cover of the folder.  The kids love to rummage through my sticker collection to find "just the right one." :)
Some of the words my students add are:  (the two items in bold are words they are required to add to the word wall)
the sight words they are practicing for the week
vocabulary from the weekly story
any word they do not know that they read in a book
interesting words
words they have a difficult time spelling or saying

Students then use the words they have collected to add into their writing assignments, practice reading, or use for word work time.  I like to do my word wall this way, because it allows me to differentiate for each student (as far as words and vocabulary is concerned).  The students are allowed to have words that interest them, words that are on their level to continue practicing, and gives them ownership over the words they choose to make a part of their collection.

Activities for Personal Word Walls:
Write and read all of the word you have in common with a buddy

Switch word walls with a partner and read your partner's words

Time yourself reading a list of words or your entire word wall

Bang!: Students each choose 5 of their word wall words and each one on a slip of paper, then place the paper in a box. The children sit in a circle and each take a word from the box. If they can read the word, they get to keep it. If they cannot, the word is returned to the box. If they pull a card with the word Bang! from the box, all the cards they have collected so far must be returned to the box. The child with the greatest number of cards when the game ends is the winner.

Around the World:  All the students sit in a circle.  One student stands behind another student who is sitting. The teacher flashes them a word card (collected from the word walls). Whichever child says the word first will move on to the next student. The student who makes it back to his or her own desk or starting point is the winner.

Pay Per Word:  Divide the children into two teams. Have play money available in the following values: pennies, nickels, dimes, and quarters.  Each money denomination represents an activity with an increasing degree of difficulty. 
Penny = child reads word
Nickel = the child reads the word and acts it out
Dime =  for a dime the child reads the word and tells its meaning
Quarter = the reads the word and uses it in a sentence correctly
When it is a a student's turn, he tells how much money he is playing for and then performs the activity associated with that coin amount.  If student answers correctly he (or his team if you would rather play teams) gets the money.
If the student is incorrect the other team gets a chance to steal.
The team with the most money at the end of the game wins.

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Sight Word Dominoes *FREEBIE*

It has been a busy week, people!! And it's only Tuesday!!  Snow days get me off track, faculty meeting, progress monitoring, annual reviews, IEPs to write...ugg the list goes on and on, but so does life.  :)

I did have some time to crank out a wonderful freebie for all of you lucky blog readers!

Here you will find SIGHT WORD DOMINOES!  I used the first 100 FRY word list.  These are the words my school uses to assess sight word recognition.  Click the picture for the file!

To play this game:
1. Cut apart sight word dominoes
2. Place all dominoes face down on playing surface
3. Each player chooses 7 domino cards. The remaining cards are placed in
a pile to the side.
4. Each player holds dominoes so that the other players cannot see words.
5. The first player takes his turn by placing a domino on the playing
6. The other player then tries to match up a word with an open word. If
player does not have a matching word then he draws from the pile.
7. Finish the game when a player uses all of his dominoes or no more
matches can be made.

I am currently working on the second and third 100 FRY word lists and will have them available on TPT for a nominal fee very soon!

If you download this set, please leave me a comment and let me know how they work for you or if any changes should be made.  One of my suggestions is to make a couple of sets of the dominoes, because you can then build off the domino with a matching word in several directions.

Hope you enjoy!

Special Thanks:
Border from Creative Clips

Font in Kidding Around Too from:

Friday, February 1, 2013


Listening:  I love the Hip Hop Power Workout channel on Pandora.  It plays a lot of the songs we exercise to in Zumba.  I. Love. Zumba.  This channel always makes me dance!

Loving:  Snow days!  Gosh, they are awesome.  I love the 5:30 wake-up call saying school is cancelled for the day.  Then I get to roll over, turn the heating blanket back up and then snuggle in for a few more hours of sleep.  The kids and I hang out in our pjs all day and watch movies!  Perfect!

Thinking:  I am glad that it is the weekend.  This time of year moves so slowly.  I don't know if it is the cold or dark, dreary days, but the winter just creeps.  I usually live for the weekends, because I get to relax and there is no running around, unlike the work week with something to do every day after school.

Wanting:  I am thankful for this snow day and I am ready for it to melt now.  I had plans of shopping this weekend.  However, the weather man is calling for another 2-4 inches of snow.  Ahhhhh....KY weather!

Needing:  I always have laundry to put away.  'Nuff said!  Grrrr!

Pet Peeves:  I have tons of pet peeves.  I could drone on and on about all of the things that annoy me, but I'll  limit my rants to today's daily annoyance.  I just came home from Wal-mart and the lady behind me was right up on my behind.  Literally!!  I tried to take a step back and bumped her buggy.  There is no personal space in a check-out line.  OOOOOHHH and what bothers me even more than a person's buggy being up on me is when the actual person is right behind you, so close that you can feel their breath or hear their phone conversations!  Bleck!!  

Here's to a great weekend!!!

Yes, I Would Love Another 3 Day Weekend! & Football Fanatic

Guess who has another Friday off?  That's right!  This girl is settled in for another snow day!  Geez, I love KY weather!  We went from ice last Friday to freezing cold, to 60 degree weather, to severe thunderstorms and tornadoes, and now back to snow!  If you don't like the weather in KY just stick around a day or so, because it is going to change!  Any snow day is a good day in my book though.

This Friday, I am joining the 3AM Teacher again for her Friday Five: Freebie, Find, Funny, Frazzle, Feature

1.  Freebie:  I do not have a freebie of my own to share today, but I do have a freebie to share of someone I follow from TPT.  I have several students that have difficulty with prefixes and suffixes.  This activity meets all of my needs this week: prefix, suffix, and football!  Gotta love some Superbowl themed activities!

2.  Find:  Sticking with the Superbowl theme, I found some great free football clipart from one of my favorite clipart artist, Ashley Hughes.
Football Frames {Graphics for Commercial Use}

3.  Funny:  First off, let me say that I attend the most amazing church in Central KY.  If you are ever in the area you must stop by Grace Christian Center and worship with us.  Now, for the funny...each year our pastors film a hilarious Superbowl commercial.  Here is GCC Superbowl commercial 2013...Grace Christian Style:

4.  Frazzle:  I love snow days.  A lot.  I do have a lot that I need to get done at school though.  Fridays are the day that I progress monitor and now that is pushed to Monday.  This leaves me off schedule...FrAzZlEd...just a bit!  I'm not complaining though...because I love snow days!!!!!!

5.  Feature: So the Superbowl is said to be the biggest food consumption day right after Thanksgiving.  I am working hard to eat right and exercise, but Superbowl parties (well and life in general sometimes makes that hard).  Today I am featuring a website that has helped me meal plan and keep health on track.  This website offers tons of healthy recipes.  You can store your recipes on an online recipe box, create a shopping list to load to your smartphone and make a meal plan!  I love this website!

I hope you all have a wonderful weekend!!!  Get ready for some football!!! 

Go Ravens!  (This is for my husband, since the 49ers beat his beloved Falcons last week!)