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Dealing with a Loss

{*Disclaimer...this is not at all teaching related.}
I have gone back and forth about a million times of whether or not to write this post.  It is not teaching related at all, but ultimately I decided that my blog is an archive, and this is someone that I want to remember forever.
My high school best friend passed away two weeks ago.  She tragically died in an avalanche while skiing in Jackson Hole. 
We first met in Kindergarten.  We did gymnastics together our whole lives, and then added cheerleading, diving, and track to the mix in middle school and high school.  She was a free spirit that lived life to the fullest.  She was always up for trying something new and exciting. 
This quote truly sums up her life.  This is a picture of her doing her infamous yoga pose that she would do everywhere. 
She never sat still for long, and she was always the life of the party. 
She traveled the world and truly made friends with everyone she met.  She had a heart of gold and a smile that could light up the darkest room.  She was hilarious, smart, kind, and outgoing.  She lived more life in her 36 years than most people will ever live.
I could tell stories about her all day long, but I shared my favorite one during her eulogy at her funeral on Monday.  When she was working on her doctorate at Northwestern in Chicago, my husband and I went to visit her.  She introduced us to her friend, a homeless man that lived on the streets of Chicago.  While most people would shy away from the homeless, she befriended him and got to know him as a person.  She would bring him her leftovers, and eventually even took him to his doctor's appointments. 
She touched so many lives and made the world a better place.  She will be missed by so many people!  In light of this tragedy, I have learned to LIVE LIFE to its FULLEST!  If you want to do something or go somewhere, find a way to make it happen.  No one is guaranteed tomorrow.  Do what makes you happy!
Her tagline was to #grablife and she definitely did that up to her last breath. 
 She will never be forgotten and will live forever in my heart.

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Our 100th Day of School

Monday was our 100th Day of School.  I meant to share these pictures on Monday night, but life threw a huge curveball at me and it's been a really rough week.
I decided to break my students up into 4 groups after some inspiration from my friend Cara at The First Grade Parade.  I had them complete 100 day themed activities at each station. 
 We made gumball machines at one of our stations.  I bought a package of paint dobbers and my students put 100 dots on their paper plates.  Then, they filled in the bottom of their gumball machine.
It was definitely challenging for a couple of them to keep track of how many gumballs they had made.  We talked about how to organize ourselves when doing this project.  For example, make 10 green dots, then 10 yellow dots, etc.  You can grab the free gumball machine download by clicking HERE.
One of their favorite stations, which again, I found on The First Grade Parade, was the cup station.  I placed 100 red solo cups on the carpet and let them work together to build away.  They LOVED it!
Another group worked on 100 day necklaces that we bought from Really Good Stuff.
At the last station, I placed 100 pattern blocks in bags.  Each student at the station had their own bag to create whatever they wanted.
Later on in the day, we completed activities from my 100 Day Booklet.  You can click on the picture below to check it out.
Happy 100th day!
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Black History Month

February is always a jam-packed month of teaching.  We have dental health, Groundhog's Day, President's Day, Valentine's Day, and it's Black History Month.  I love teaching my students about influential African Americans that have changed the course of history in our country.
I finished this Print & Teach Black History packet last week that will be perfect for introducing my students to each person.
 Each page has a short biography and comprehension questions to follow up the reading.
 Last year I created this Black History Flip & Read packet that digs a little deeper into each person.
 These are great for getting students to go back into the text to answer questions.  My students like to use highlighters to prove their answers.
One of my favorite bulletin boards to do during February is an "At the Heart of Black History" board.  I assign a different person to each student.  They write a fact about that person onto a heart, and then I post it on the bulletin board.
I have bundled each of these three products into one if you would like to check it out.
You can also find each one separately by clicking on the pictures below.


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Martin Luther King, Jr. FREEBIES

We will be learning about Martin Luther King, Jr. next week.  I like to teach about him the week before the holiday, so my students have an understanding of why we are out of school on that Monday.
This week, after we have learn a little bit about Martin Luther King, Jr., we will complete this writing activity.
This is my third grader's dream for the future.
And my Kindergartener's dream.  Lol!
At least she's honest, right?
You can download this FREEBIE by clicking on the picture below.
We will also be completing this Martin Luther King, Jr. Flipbook.
The students will be reading about his life, how he changed the world, and then telling about what they learned.
This is also a FREE download in my store.
You can click HERE to find this flipbook.
If you like this flipbook, you may want to check out my entire Black History Flipbook unit.  This is perfect for February!

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The New Year

It's a new year!  Even though it's not a new school year, it can still mean time for a fresh start.  The students have had a break, and it's the perfect time to rethink your classroom.  What's working?  What's not working?  What changes do you want to make?
Here are a couple of things that we will be using to kick start our new year:
Last year I posted a New Year's Flip book and a poem that was a perfect activity to do for that first day back to school.  I have updated both for 2016.
I love discussing New Year's Resolutions and goal setting.  It can be pretty entertaining to see what they come up with sometimes.
You can click HERE to check out the flip book.
I also have this FREE New Year's Poem download that you can find HERE.
One of my favorite times of the day is Morning Meeting.  We discuss our day, complete a morning message, do calendar, and then I read a "Discussion Card."  I LOVE using these.  They really get the students thinking and talking.  This past week, I finished up a second set of 100 cards.
I use these for discussions, but they would also be great writing prompts.
You can click HERE to check out my first set, and HERE to check out my second set of 100 discussion cards.

I am also excited to use my January Guided Reading packet when we return next week.  These packets make planning SO simple!
I have 4 nonfiction and 4 fiction stories.  Each story includes 3 different levels of passages, vocabulary words, comprehension graphic organizers, and writing prompts.
 I also know for sure that we will be taking full advantage of GoNoodle!  My students need Brain Breaks anyways, but I'm pretty sure that after having 2 weeks off, those Brain Breaks will be a definite necessity.
Hope you have a wonderful start to 2016!

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Writing Prompts with Editable Word Banks

So many times when my students begin their writing, they want help spelling certain words.  I always remind them to not worry about spelling difficult words when they are writing.  I don't want them to shy away from using words that they are unsure about.  My main focus during writing is the writing process, not spelling.  {I want them to spell taught words correctly.} 
I like to write some "common" words on the board that I know my students may need if we are writing to a particular topic.  For this reason, I began creating writing prompts with Word Banks.
As I started working on these, I began to realize that I may want to edit these word banks for different students in my classroom.  I also may want to change the list of words each school year depending on current situations.
So, the word banks on each of the writing prompts are completely editable to fit your needs.
Each of the 48 prompts also include an editing checklist for my students to check their work.
You can check out the entire packet by clicking on the picture below.

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