Five for Friday {A Short Week}

Where did January go?  It sure flew by quickly and I am thrilled with that!  January was not a kind month to the Maddens.  We were struck by the flu and it was ugly.  Here's to a much healthier February!

The last week of January went a little like this....

We wrapped up our Biography Unit.  One of my favorites.  Love, love our Living Museum!

We had an early release on Tuesday due to snow.  This was the picture from my classroom window at that time.  We really did end up getting a little snow.  We were out on Wednesday, Thursday, and had a delay on Friday.  Snow is a big event here in South Carolina...even if it's just a little. ;)

I fell a little more in LOVE with Grateful Bags when I carried my new Julia tote for the first time.  Softest leather EVER!

I continued to SCOUR every Target dollar spot to pick up these incredible blank books.  I have BIG plans for these...starting with publishing our very own poetry books.

We reviewed telling time with one of my favorite activities from our Telling Time Unit #2 where students designed their own watches and then roamed the room to ask "What time is it?"

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Snow Day Fun....Err...Productiveness!

Have you had snow this week?  It seems like almost every single state has enjoyed a little of the white stuff.  We were released from school early on Tuesday due to snow.  We are still out today.  There is no snow left, but some of the roads were still a little icy this morning. 

My favorite thing about a snow day is no alarm!  Let's be honest.  Anytime I don't have to set that sucker for 5:20am is a great day!  But, my second favorite thing about a snow day is time to get caught up on things.  I have been super productive today and that means that my weekend will be a little more enjoyable. :)

What have I been productive on?  We have a couple of new little products coming soon.  Well, one has just been posted.  Our Winter Games Center Unit!  And, the other will be up soon - a little Black History Month Bundle.

I previously posted about a little Olympic giveaway.  The winner to that giveaway was Brenda!!
Expect an email soon! :)

But, since this new Olympic goodness is hot off the presses, I thought we would do another giveaway for it!  If  you didn't win the last one, here's hoping today is your lucky day!  Here's what you could win...

5 literacy and 5 math centers all common-core aligned to grades 1-3!  All you need to do is head to our FACEBOOK page and comment on the post there to win.  We'll choose the winner later TONIGHT so don't delay! :)

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Olympics in the Classroom

I'm a sports girl at heart.  I am very competitive.  I love everything about the Olympics!  I'm already planning all the ways I can incorporate the Olympics into my classroom.

We have a unit called The Worldwide Classroom Challenge that is PERFECT for the Olympic season.  We learn all about the continents of the world in December.  Now that my little ones can identify the continents on a map and know a little about some of the countries in each continent, it is the perfect time to take a "trip" back through the continents for a little competition!

This unit has one "event" for each continent:

* Asia - The Chopstick Exchange - Who can transfer the most marshmallows using chopsticks in one minute?

* Antartctica - The Great Ice Melt - Who can melt an ice cube in the shortest amount of time?

* Australia - Kangaroo Hop - Who can hop the farthest? {and use their measurement skills to prove it!}

* North America - Name That State - Who can name the most U.S. states from their pictures in two minutes?

* Africa - King Cobra Snake Stretch - Who can make the longest clay snake?

* South America - Life Cycle Race - Who can use their science skills to complete a life cycle relay the quickest?

* Europe - Language Match - Who can match the number words in English, Spanish, and French?

Medals are included for all winners and each participant gets a certificate.  How much FUN do we have??  Look for pictures of our unit in action soon! :)

Speaking of the Olympics, my friend Tracy over at Creekside Teacher Tales has a great new WINTER GAMES unit, too!  It is packed full of math games to celebrate Olympic events...and learning in your classroom!  If you're not already a follower of Tracy's click the link above - you will LOVE her!!

Would you like to win both of these Olympic-inspired units for your classroom??  Follow both of our blogs and then comment below with your favorite winter event.  I'll pick a winner on Wednesday!  Good luck, friends!

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Budding Blogger Showcase: {Fun & Fearless in First}

Hey All!  My name is Colleen and my lil' blog is Fun and Fearless in First.  I'm thrilled to be here with you today on Amanda's blog.  How cool is she to share her blog space?! 

I'm excited to share a little bit about myself with you today.  If you like what you read, hop on over and check out my blog!

Fun and Fearless in First
All About Me
I started my blog about a year and a half ago.  It was around then that I really started to find and read teaching blogs.  I was so psyched to discover this amazing teaching community right on my laptop.  I decided that I wanted to contribute, too!  My sister helped me come up with my blog name and every time I say it, I smile.  My sister is truly my best friend and I don't know what I'd do without her!
Me (left) and my awesome sis!

I'm also blessed to have two beautiful nieces!  I write about them all the time on my blog.  I just can't help myself.  They are so darn adorable!

Teaching Experience
I have been teaching for eight years now, but teaching is actually my second career!  I started out in advertising, but just didn't quite feel satisfied.  The minute I walked into the classroom I felt at home.  I've taught four different grade levels (1st, 2nd, 3rd, 4th), in three different districts, and two states (MD and NY).  The past eight years have been a whirlwind, but I wouldn't change a thing!

I currently teach first grade in Syracuse, NY.  I grew up in Rochester, NY and it's great to be so close to home, where most of my family still lives.

Favorite Subject
My favorite subject to teach is most definitely reading.  This wasn't always the case, though.  It wasn't until I began teaching first grade that I fell in love with the joy of the foundations of reading.  I think there is no greater pleasure than seeing a child blossom in reading.  The growth is so tangible in first grade.  I feel so blessed to be a part of instilling a life-long love of reading.

In My Room
If you popped into my classroom unannounced, you would most likely see kids working around the room independently, in pairs, and see a small group with me at my reading table.  I just recently wrote a post about Daily 5, which is one of my favorite times of the day!

Those Days
Though I absolutely adore my job, we all have "those days."  When one of those days hits, I turn to chocolate, like most people!  I usually wash it down with a Diet Mt. Dew.  I'm not a coffee person, but I do need my caffeine.  
I also get a lil' help from my friends.  Two of my teammates are my well-known partners-in-crime.  I'm lucky to have one across the hall from me, and one right next door.
All dressed up for Halloween this year!

Classroom Can't Live Without
I am well-known for my organizational OCD, so I definitely couldn't live without plastic classroom organizers.  It's an obsession finding the right bucket, in the right color, and place it precisely in the right spot.  My co-workers benefit when I go on an organizational binge, because they get all the discarded supplies!
Organizational bliss!

Teaching Style / Favorite Activity
We keep pretty busy during our day.  I like to think my teaching style consists of clear expectations, consistency, and a whole lot of learning fun!  My favorite time of the school year is in June (…and not just because it's so close to summer vacation, haha!).  In June we have the chance to wrap up our learning and see all the amazing progress we've made throughout the year.  We reflect, and look forward to the year ahead.  My team always puts together a June Fun Calendar with exciting activities each day.  One of our favorite days is Camp Skeeter.  We have a whole day devoted to camping activities!  We learn about nature, do a craft, get our faces painted, and of course make a snack!  You can read more about Camp Skeeter {HERE}.
Blogging Goals
I think one of my blogging goals is just to stick with it!  Blogging can be time-consuming and it often falls to the bottom of the priority list.  But I find that when I blog, it helps me to reflect on my teaching and then rejuvenate for what's ahead.
Thanks for hanging in there if you've read this far!  And thanks again to Amanda for letting me share a little about my life and my blog.  I hope this glimpse inside my classroom will pique your interest into reading more on my blog.  Hope to see you soon!
Fun and Fearless in First

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Budding Bloggers Showcase {Learning to be AWESOME}

Hey everyone!! I'm so excited to be here today sharing a little about me!  Thanks so much to Amanda for this opportunity!!

My name is Erin, and I'm over at Learning to be AWESOME.  I got started blogging at the start of 2013 as a way to get my class more excited about writing.  What started as a simple look back each week at what we had learnt, quickly turned into an amazing resource that has connected me with so many wonderful teachers out there!  I have learnt so much in this past year, and I can't wait to see where this adventure takes me in the future.

Alrighty then!  Let's get to know me.
Amanda has some questions for me - so I'm just gonna go right on ahead and answer them!

Personal Info (state/family/pets/interests) - I am from a little country at the bottom of the world (or the middle of the earth, depending on who you ask), called New Zealand.  I grew up in a beautiful town called Taupo. My parents still live there, right next to the Waikato River - awesome for swimming in the summer!!  And the mountains are about an hours drive away (the same mountains as in the LOTR's).  It really is an outdoor paradise.  I am the eldest of 5 kids - two brothers then two sisters.  One of my sisters is in her final 6 months at Oregon State University - GO BEAVERS!! (hehe)
I love everything about music, drama, and the arts.  I play and teach the piano in my spare time (what is that?!). I also have one cute dog called Ollie - She lives with my parents because I live 3 1/2 hours away from paradise in the big city of Auckland.

Most of us kids (and my brothers GF) at a cousins wedding earlier this year.

I'm totally legit famous.  You should get to know me for sure!

Aunty, brother (about to do Ironman New Zealand), ma, pa, other brother and me

Three crazy sisters

Literally the ONLY family photo I could find with all of us in it - about 20 years ago.
Grade you teach/How long have you taught? - This coming year I have a class of year 5/6 students. MOST of these kids are year 6, with just a handful of 5's. (Year 5/6 is the same as grades 4/5 in every other country.  Here in New Zealand, school starts at age 5, and they have 13 years of school).  I have just completed 7 years of teaching, and in that time I have taught ages 2-18.  I have only had my own class in years 4-8 (g 3-7), but have relieved in a range of schools from ECE to high school.

What is your favourite subject to teach? - With out a doubt, it would have to be literacy.  I love teaching writing in particular.

What would we likely see if we popped into your classroom unannounced? - Depends on the day and the time!!  No really you would see chaos.  Organised chaos, but chaos none the less.  Kids would be everywhere - under tables, upside down, curled up on the beanbag.  All learning, but where ever they wanted to be.  I would be hard to find, and it would be pretty noisy!  I have music playing in my class as often as I can.  I love it!

What gets you through one of "those" days? - Laughter.  I have "those" days reasonably often at my school, they are tough cookies!! But I just find that they are so weird and wonderful that it isn't hard to find something to laugh at!!

What is one "can't live without" teaching resource? - Oh gosh! I can't live with out my iPhone.  It documents our learning through photos, keeps the music playing, has class dojo on it, and picks the next student for answering plenary questions - among other things.

Give us a glimpse of your teaching style by sharing a brief summary of a favourite classroom activity/project. - This is a hard one.  I think the best thing to share would be my Friday afternoon "Free Art" time.  For the last 30 minutes of most weeks I give the kids free reign of the art supplies (within reason) and let them go for it.  Most of them go back over what ever it is that we have been learning in art at the time, or copy something that they have seen somewhere.  I love the unrestrained creativity of it all!  The kids love it, so do I.
What is one of you blogging goals for this year? - I love blogging, and learning from other people.  My blogging goal for this year is to find something that I really love in my teaching programme and get it out there to the world.  This will probably be in integration, or assessment for learning techniques, as these are the big driving forces in our school at the moment.

Thanks soooo much for stopping by and seeing a little bit about me here!  Check my blog out by hitting the button below.  I'd love to see you round and get to know you a little bit!

Learning to be Awesome

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Budding Bloggers Showcase {A Tall Drink of Water}

I'm thrilled to be sharing a blog from not only a fellow South Carolinian today (we really do need next year's meet up to be in Charleston!), but also an old school girl!  Who knew there were so many of us from the SGTC in the blogging world now???  Read on to find out more about Rachel....and then go show her some love over at her blog!

Hey y'all!  I'm Rachel from A Tall Drink of Water!  I'm so excited to be a part of Amanda's Budding Blogger Showcase! I've been a stalker follower of Amanda's since back in the day on the Second Grade Teachers' Club! Can I get a holla for old school teacher communities!

Like I said I'm from A Tall Drink of Water
My mom calls me that all.the.time! I'm 5'10'' barefoot.

Personal info:
I was born and raised right here in South Carolina!  (Part of the reason I became a huge Amanda fan!) I'm on the coastal side of the state in good ol' Charleston! 
It's a beautiful place to live!  
I'm the Aunt to these 3 cuties!!  Can I tell you that being an aunt is the best thing ever!
I'm the mom to these 2 furbabies!

I teach 3rd Grade.  I've been teaching for 10 years and have taught many different grade levels which include 2nd, 4th, 5th, and a year teaching computers! I'd have to say teaching 2nd and 3rd grade are by far my favorite grades! Although, I've been itching to try first.  Maybe I'm crazy!   

Favorite Subject:
My favorite subject to teach is math!  I think mostly because I hated math when I was growing up and I don't want kids to feel the same way about it as I did.  I'm team teaching for the first time this year and I'm loving it!  I love being able to focus on certain subjects.
In my room:
If you were to stop by our room, you would definitely see kids all over the place!  I love teaching in a small group setting!  I feel like you can get to know students as individual learners so much easier.  Especially now that I have twice as many kids! 

One of “those” days:
What gets me through those days?!? Chocolate and a Diet Soda!  My teammate keeps the chocolate and change on hand for just these occasions!  Because as we all know, "those" days are never planned!

“Can’t live without”:
Ok...this is probably silly, but I feel like I couldn't possibly live without Pinterest!  Y'all! It's my go to for lesson ideas!  Sometimes just the picture can spark an idea, but most of the time it leads me to other teachers' blogs and Teacher Pay Teacher stores!

Classroom activity/project:
I love making crafts so I try to include them as often as I can.  Some of my favorite lessons include a craft of some sort that sneaks in learning!  Don't you love when that happens?!

Blogging goals:
I started my little ol' blog back in 2011.  I didn't start out as a teaching blog.  Honestly, teaching blogs weren't that big back then.  Then this summer I decided to start sharing what I love most...which is teaching.  Since then, I've had nothing but success!  I love sharing and learning from other teachers.  I love the friendships I'm making through this process. I've always had the goal of blogging once a week.  I don't always make that goal, because life gets, well...busy.  So my goal is to keep trucking along this journey!

Thanks for the chat! I'd love to hear from you!

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