Sunday, June 30, 2013


It's that time of year again... In my 14 years of teaching, I have moved or changed my teaching space 12 times. This year is one of those times, again. 
The good news is, I'm moving from a wide-open pod classroom to an enclosed room with walls and a door! I'm super-excited about that. 
But the not-so-good news is, it's a LOT smaller of a room than what I had before. So that means all my 14 years of accumulated stuff can't come with me. 
So I'm taking this opportunity to make lemonade out of these lemons and make the best of the situation. I've decided to de-clutter!
I had to start with my classroom and professional library. Even my principal resorted to calling me a book hoarder so I knew it was time to do something. I went through and pulled out all my professional books that I haven't referred to in years (if ever!) and then I went through 50+ baskets of kids' books. I pulled out duplicates, old books and much-loved books that were not-so-much-loved anymore. I mean, has anyone had a kid actually ask for a Rugrats, Amelia Bedelia, Berenstain Bears, or Arthur book in the last ten years?
I'll be honest. My books are my treasures to me. Last year, several kids in my class said that next to me, they'd miss my library the most. So just giving the books away was not my first thought. But after making a trip to Half Price Books in hopes that they would offer me about $30 for my awesome professional books, I was instead told that they couldn't use any because they were overstocked in that category. 
So, I decided to pay it forward. I am donating my books to a brand new teacher who has nothing. I've had fabulous friends through the years who have done the same for me, so now it's my turn. Here's a picture of just the kid books that I'm giving her.

So when I titled my blog entry "Moving", I realized that it wasn't just about moving my stuff into a new physical space. It's also about moving on and letting go. And being totally okay with that.
I hope to do a much better job of keeping this blog updated. Stay tuned...

Saturday, February 9, 2013

Time for BIG Numbers!

It's been quite a week at school! We've had parent-teacher conferences Tuesday evening (which I truly enjoy!) and the 100th day of school on Friday. To top it all off, us three first grade teachers decided to dress up like "old people" just we asked the kidsto do in order to celebrate the day. Needless to say, it was a CRAZY day! Here's a picture of us nuts:

I'm the one in the rollers, head scarf, slippers, and housecoat on the left. My two co-workers needed walkers so with only a cane, I was the nimblest of them all. It truly gave everyone a good belly laugh to see Sandi (the one in the middle) take ever-so-long to get down the hall in her walker. Her large pill-box and bingo card also made the picture complete. Heather (on the right) got the gray hair bun by using baby powder!
We had so much planned to mark this special day and actually got to about maybe 10% of it. The best was the self-portraits the kids did of themselves as 100 year olds. They wrote about what they WON'T be able to do at that age and what they WILL be able to do then also.
But boo to me because I forgot to take pictures before leaving school on Friday (justifiable exhaustion is the excuse here!). I promise to add those next week.
To top off the week, I turned 50 today! I don't feel 50 and I truly believe it's because I work around so many young souls. And one is as old as one feels, right?
The highlight of my week was when my class, while counting to 100 by tens, stopped at 50 to sing Happy Birthday to me! It's been a while and I was so tickled!
I know our blog has a lot of followers out there and we truly appreciate all of you! But unfortunately, only 8  show up on our page as followers! I'm wondering if it has something to do with "Google"? If any bloggers out there know why, please let us know! Also, is there a reason some people can't post comments on our blog?
Next week is going to be a short week as we're off for a nice, long 4 day weekend! Yay! More time to post stuff on here.
Stay tuned...

Sunday, February 3, 2013

More Fun with "Fundations".

Who would've thunk it? Certainly not Stephanie and I! We are surprised to find that 6 people actually purchased our Fundations Unit 7 SmartBoard Lesson that was posted on TeachersPayTeachers a week ago! We really haven't had a chance to advertise or push it on other people's blogs. So it's been a pleasant surprise.

It feels so good to have someone out there that can use what we've created and have been using in our classrooms all along.

Like we said when this blog was first started, it's nice to give back.

Unit 8 is a similar lesson and was posted late last night (well, actually REALLY early this morning **YAWN**). It's been priced the same as Unit 7. We hope that people who are purchasing this are finding it useful. If anyone has any suggestions, they are much welcomed and appreciated.

Here is a link to our TPT store if you would like to check out our newest product:

And we're up to 8 followers on our blog! Please help spread the word. I know it's not the prettiest blog out there but we mean well and will add more as we learn it to make it more appealing.

By the way, TPT is having a big sale today and tomorrow. (Just type in code word SUPER when checking out to get a discount).

Now that the Superbowl frenzy is over, I get my TV back and I can watch Downton Abbey in peace.

Have a great week!

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

And We're Off!!!

Hello friends!
We are happy to announce that we made our first sale on Teachers Pay Teachers! Our share came to a whopping $1.50 but everyone has to start somewhere, right? We will follow our friend Sandi's advice and not spend it all in one place!

Today we spent the day at an in-service looking at the Common Core Standards for first grade and developing a pacing guide to go with it. We used google docs to adjust the document as we went. It was really cool to see our collaborative efforts take shape! In a few months, we will meet again to choose assessments to go with these standards. It's exciting work and felt good to work with other first grade teachers that we don't get to see very often.
So tomorrow will be our first day back with our students since last Thursday. Meenal plans to follow Reagan Turnstall's (fellow blogger) advice and take LOTS of pictures of our products as the students create them.

Since Meenal has an owl theme going on in her classroom this year, here are the PERFECT bathroom passes:

(Ok, confession time here.  Meenal just wanted to practice inserting a picture into the blog format. And it worked!)

But if you really like the owls, they are from a local teacher store and are made of rubber. In class, they are wrapped around a bottle of hand sanitizer. They leave these on their desks while they go to the bathroom. When they return, they can use the hand sanitizer if they forgot to wash their hands (yes, first graders really DO forget...often!) and then it goes back on the shelf. It's a system that works well.

Report cards are almost done. Parent teacher conferences are next. So we'll try to slip in a blog post or post a product on TPT as soon as we can.

Sounds like most of the country is in a deep freeze right now. If that includes you, try to stay warm. If you're living in warmer climates, enjoy (and pardon us while we shoot you dirty looks)!


Wednesday, January 16, 2013

So I need to start with an apology to our 7 followers! I chose the yellow for the font thinking it would show up nicely on the black background of our blog. But we had no idea it would send you emails in that same color. Yellow ink on a white background is just plain "hideous" (my son's word). 
So to make it up to you, I'll give you a heads up on an up-coming activity I do with my first graders that might make you chuckle.
For Valentine's Day, I like to ask my students about love and romance. Their first reaction is usually "Yuck! Gross!" But the answers they give to my questions are hysterical yet touching. I just started the process yesterday when I had 7 out of 20 students absent (flu season!). So I'm not done collecting answers yet.
I take the time to interview each child individually. Some kids need a lot of prompting. If they can't think of anything, I ask them to think of something they may have heard others talking about or seen on TV. The hardest question is usually the last one. Years ago, I had a child tell me his parents met in a bar! Of course the mother vehemently denied it!
But here are some of the better ones so far this year:

1) How can you tell when someone is in love?
    They give you heart cakes.
    A boy stares at a girl and they sigh a lot.
    They act cool but pretty at the same time.
    Some girls act like a dog and follow boys around.
    They say hi, giggle, and walk away.
    They act lovey to each other.
    The guy wears something black and the girl wears a dress.
    They have hearts in their eyes.

2) Describe your ideal husband or wife.
     A prince who dances and works at Key Bank and makes $4 every day!
     He finds us food and makes good dinners.
     He's a nice guy and acts lovey all the time.
     He gives her a car, a house, and a diamond ring.
     They're good at taking care of the kids and taking the wife out to eat.
     Someone who likes sports, video games, and hugging me.
     Someone who works a lot to get money so they can buy better stuff.
     Someone who is generous, kind, and works hard.
     Someone who can fix a broken hand and a broken car.

3) What is your idea of a romantic date?
     Go out for Chinese food.
     Go to a wedding.
     Go on a cruise boat for 2 days and then go out for food.
     Eat dinner at Denny's (a 24 hour diner).
     Go to a fancy restaurant that has white tablecloths and candles and napkins, where the
        waiters are really nice. Then go out to a ballroom for dancing. End the date by going
        church to pray.  (This response was from a non-Christian student who has never set
        foot in a church!)
4)  How did your parents meet?
     Mom wasn't married to anyone. My dad's mom called her and said to her, "My son
          doesn't have a wife and he's looking for one." So they met and got married! 
     They were both born and mom was looking for someone. She found someone and asked
          him when he was born. He said Oct. 5th and she was born on May 5th. They thought
          that was cool so they decided to get married. Then, he brought her to America.
     They went to Denny's and ate chicken wings. They both loved chicken wings and they
          loved each other so they got married.
     How can I know that? I wasn't borned yet! But I'm glad they met or I wouldn't be here!

When I'm all done interviewing, I'll put the best responses together in a booklet and create
a class book. Then I send it home to the parents. If you want me to post the template for the
book, let me know and I'll put it up as a freebie on TPT.

Happy Reading!


Tuesday, January 15, 2013

It's late and I should be in bed. But I'm happy to say I finally posted my first "non-freebie" product in our TPT store!  Now before you start booing us, please know that it took a LONG time to create this file. (And it took forever to get it uploaded to TPT too!)
It's great  for you if you use the Wilson Fundations Phonics program and if you have a SmartBoard in your classroom. And it's a measly $3.00. I'm hoping this one will be successful so we can work on creating many more.
Thanks to all our supporters for becoming followers! We're up to a grand total of 7 now! Hey, you know what they say...every expert was once a beginner, right?
Thanks for being with us for the beginning of our journey.
Still haven't figured out the picture thing yet. Maybe next time...
Now I'm off to join all the other teachers who are already snug in their beds. Sweet dreams!

Friday, January 11, 2013

Snakes Alive! A FREE math game!

It's that time of year when report cards and parent-teacher conferences are looming near. So Stephanie won't be able to do too much blogging right now. Since Meenal is a master procrastinator (especially for all kinds of paperwork!), she has volunteered to post Stephanie's first freebie for her.
Check out our latest FREE game to help kids practice math facts.
Here's the link:

Once we figure out how to upload pictures to this blog, it should look prettier!
In the meantime, we hope you're enjoying the freebies.

Stay tuned for more and thanks for your support!

Meenal & Stephanie

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

Download this FREEBIE!

Ok, cross your fingers! We're posting a freebie for you to check out. This is our FIRST product in our Teachers Pay Teachers Store (insert mental picture of Snoopy doing a happy dance!).  And you can find it right here:

Ok, so it's not fancy. But it's all done already and that saves you time and money! So go download it already!

This is a first of many more to come. Bear with us and we'll keep you posted as we progress.

HAPPY NEW YEAR!! May 2013 bring peace, love, and lots of Snoopy dances your way!