Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Favorite Thanksgiving Book(s) Linky Party!

I have so many favorite Thanksgiving books that I love to read to my students! I am so excited to share them with each of you and with Teaching Blog Addict's Linky Party!

I LOVE Fancy Nancy. In the Spring, we do a whole unit on Jane O'Connor and the Fancy Nancy books. I cannot wait. I love the vocabulary, the interactions with Fancy Nancy's extended family, the teaching of the manners. I love it all.

The next is I Know an Old Lady Who Swallowed a Pie. Hilarious. Not only because I love pumpkin pie, but because of what happens at the end. I'd hate to spoil it for you if you haven't read it, but all my kids then write about their favorite float the following Monday. I hope that wasn't too much information....

The Littlest Pilgrim is another favorite because the poor main character is too small to help on the plantation. It is great for little ones who always want to help, but are "too little". We brainstorm ways and write about how they can help at this years Thanksgiving feast at their house.

I just came across this next book at the Scholastic Book Fair this fall. I love the illustrations and the point of view from the mouse. After reading it, all my sweet little buzzers started writing stories, "If I were a mouse...". It was a great writing workshop mentor text!

And last but certainly not least, my favorite informational text. Pilgrims of Plymouth has real photographs from the National Geographic Society. It allows the kiddos to see exactly how the Pilgrims and Wampanoags dressed for that first feast and in their daily lives. We compare and contrast their lives with ours after reading this. My sweet little buzzers also love seeing how the kids dressed and played!

That's it for now! I hope you had a great Tuesday!!
If you do not have a blog yet, please share some of your favorite Thanksgiving books in the comments section! I LOVE comments!!!


Monday, November 14, 2011

What a weekend!

What a relaxing 3 1/2 day weekend I had! We were done with school on Wednesday and had a half day inservice on Thursday morning and I was done. It was GREAT. I didn't accomplish much of anything, other than spend that time with my family.

Thursday after inservice I stopped at Quiznos. Oh my, do I love Quiznos. Great sandwich shop, in case you've never heard of it. I got sandwiches and soup to take out to my dad for lunch. We spent the whole afternoon shootin' the breeze and watching tv. It was amazing time that I will never forget! That night, my sweet hubby, parents and I went to the local steakhouse for filet mignon. LOVED the margaritas, too!

Friday was spent back at my parents making apple pies. We made about 12 pies and it was so much fun! My mom makes THE BEST apple pies and she finally passed down the recipe!

Do you see a pattern? Not one thought about school.....

Saturday I went shopping and started laundry. My sweet hubby went hunting and then we stayed in for a date night at home! And yesterday we went to church, went out to eat again with my parents and then spent the remainder of the day at my sweet hubby's grandmas. She is hilarious!

So, no school anything on this little blog for awhile. I feel terrible. The nearest 2nd grade teacher to me made these way cute poppies and stories for Veterans Day. And she gave me permission to share with all of you. But did I? No...I am not beginning to do them justice with these pictures either. Thank you Cait for sharing!

Did I ever write about our 50th day of school that lasted for a week? No...it was a BLAST though, thanks to Cara over at The First Grade Parade!
Root Beer Floats!

Writing about the 1950s!
The Greasers!

The girls!

And my all-time favorite.

I cannot wait to celebrate 50s day every year! It was SO much fun! My new best friend at school and I are going to celebrate 80s day also!!! We are already planning. :)

See.....we have been doing a lot in this little classroom of mine! I just haven't had the time to post any of our wonderful activities! Thank you for stickin' it out with me! Have a GREAT full week!


Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Math Space Shuttle Launch!

Have you guys seen THIS game??

Here's the story behind my math lesson today. I have been focusing on subtracting and my story problems are becoming a little bland. I started looking for this Monster Crossing game, but I couldn't find it during my planning time, of course. But I came across the Space Shuttle Launch game from our district first grade porta portal. LOVE that invention. Would one call that an invention? Oh well, I sure appreciate it!

Anyway, I had the kids fill out their math journal and we were on our way. I turned on the SmartBoard, another great invention, while the little buzzers were getting their whiteboards, markers, and erasers. We then reviewed using a number line to count backwards, like we had learned to do yesterday.

I pulled up the game and the kids were immediately engaged. Like the snap of a finger, no talking, eyes on the SmartBoard, they were ready to learn! (A-lle-lu-ia) They watched for the new equation, wrote it down, and started using whatever "manipulatives" of their choice to solve it.

Since we had been learning about using the number line, many of them chose that.

There were some that deviated and I am totally okay with that.

They had a BLAST, no pun intended. Okay, you're right. That was intended.

If you use this game in your classroom, let me know how it goes! I plan to use it for Math Stations next Friday since they already know it and LOVE it! A win-win!


P.S. Bad news about my dad. We meet with the oncologist NEXT Wednesday. I hate waiting games. But from what we know so far, things are NOT looking promising. I'm trying to keep hope but this next week will be a challenge. I'm not good at being patient when it comes to this kind of stuff. Any thoughts and prayers would be appreciated!

Thursday, November 3, 2011

On Fire!!!

Well we had our first night of conferences on Tuesday. We have three nights of conferences, yes, three. A whole day of teaching and then conferences from 3:30-7:00. It's tiring. I got home right at seven bells and immediately went to bed. My poor husband. Fortunately, his business is booming so he's been just as busy and went to bed immediately, too! Tonight and Monday night will be the same as well.

But, in the midst of all the craziness, we have celebrated the 50th day of school, in style, thanks to my good bloggy friend Cara over at The First Grade Parade. Cara, you and your 50th Day of School Fun Unit, have been my lifesaver for the past three days. My kids have LOVED every single minute of your fun activities and I have to say, I have to. THANK YOU. More on that to come after conferences. I might be MIA until then.

I just wanted to share the exciting news from Mrs. Moran over at First in Maine!!!! She graciously awarded me with the Blogs on Fire Award! Hot dog! I guess I'm supposed to share 7 things about myself and pass this little award along!! Here goes!

1. I was just diagnosed with patellofemoral pain syndrome. Yes, it hurts as bad as it sounds. It is also known as runner's knee. Just when I develop a passion for running, God steps in and says, "Slow down sister!" So, I will be seeing a personal trainer for the next two weeks for strength training and if that doesn't help the pain, I will be seeing one of the many physical therapists in this city! Sad day. No Disney Half Marathon for me in January. :(

2. I am a competitive cheerleading coach for Dakota Spirit. I coach middle school girls and couldn't love it more. :)

3. My husband and I are contemplating starting our own business. As if him owning his own business and my teaching/coaching career isn't busy enough! We want to start flipping houses. Darn you HGTV for putting crazy ideas into our heads!!!

4. In case you didn't notice from #3, I love HGTV.

5. I'm obsessed with Sheldon from the Big Bang Theory. If it wasn't for my sweet hubby that I am totally in love with, I would be off finding Sheldon.

6. I know this isn't really about me, but my dad is a 6 year pancreas cancer survivor! November is Pancreas Cancer Awareness Month and most states will be holding Purple Light Vigils on November 20 to promote awareness of this terrible disease. I will be speaking at South Dakota's Purple Light Vigil and I feel honored to spread hope to other families going through this struggle!

7. I love to travel. Although my husband does not enjoy flying, he is a trooper and supports my travel addiction.

There are TONS of blogs I could pass this along to. I am falling in love with more of your blogs each and every day!! If you haven't visited these four or First in Maine, GO check them out and give them some love! Don't forget to tell them Buzzin' sent you!!

Today in First

The Teachers' Cauldron

Miss Kincaid's First Grade

First Grade Jabber

Hope your day is GREAT!!

Wednesday, November 2, 2011


Hello teacher friends!!!

My teaching bestie and I have a HUGE favor! We are LOVING all the math station games we have been finding and purchasing. Our kids LOVE them, too! They are so engaged and are learning so much!

We are having difficulties brainstorming ways to store them and keep them organized so that we do not forget about them. How do you guys store all of your math and literacy station games? Any and ALL ideas would be appreciated! THANK YOU!!!!!!


Also, have you seen this? Rowdy in First Grade, Ms. Preppy, and Teaching First are having a FABULOUS giveaway!! Go check it out here!!!

Monday, October 31, 2011

Happy Halloween!

Happy Halloween from my classroom to yours!!!

My sweet hubby helped me carve this beauty for our classroom this year!

Have a SAFE and FUN night! :)


Friday, October 28, 2011

Our Halloween Party

Today was a smashing success. I always worry about the Halloween Party because it is the first big party of the school year and sometimes the kids go WILD! I was hoping to prep them and talk about expectations of the party before hand, but it was such a busy day that I didn't even think about it. Although that was skipped, my little buzzers did amazingly well! There was only one out of 27 that was running around crazy. And only one more out of 27 was yelling! Not bad if you ask me!!! Our principal even came in and was impressed by the relaxed atmosphere!

Our principal really digs Halloween. I mean, REALLY digs it. She has our whole office staff dressed up in theme. This year, they were bees. Whoa. Copycats!! Haha...they were cute. Usually I am a bee since that is the theme of my classroom, DUH, but this year, one of my little one's personal assistant and I were Pooh and Tigger. It was hot. But cute. Too bad we don't have a picture of that yet. My camera battery conveniently is dying and I have NO idea where the charger is. That's a-whole-nother story that I might need Cara to help me with. ;)

The 1st and 2nd graders parade around the whole school while the Kindergarteners and 3rd-5th graders sit in the hallways and watch. It's so much fun.

As you recall, Wanda the Witch has been leaving us random notes and treats all month. She made her appearance today.

Well, it was really my sister-in-law who is the South Dakota State Director for March of Dimes. She comes in about once a month to read to my little darlings and does an AMAZING job with them.  Look how engaged they are (and the parents for that matter!):

She mixed all the ingredients together:

She even had two little Buzzer apprentices to help her:

They put a magic spell on it:

Double, Double, Toil and Trouble...Time to EAT!

All the kids LOVED it! I hope if you have a Halloween Party it went as well as ours!!!

Happy Halloween Weekend to you!!

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Hope this brightens your day...

I was telling my little buzzers that I was running a Trick-or-Treat Trail Run this weekend with my friend and instructional coach, Kersten. They started blurting out what they thought I was going to dress up as and I explained to them that Kersten and I need a pair, or couples, costume since we are running together. Well, all through writing time they were secretly writing what they thought we should dress up as. Most of them said things like witches, bees, baseball players, etc. One even said peanut butter and jelly OR eggs and bacon. But my personal favorite was this:

Can you tell I live in South Dakota???


Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Jack-O-Lantern Math

I need to get better about finding time to post DAILY!

Here's what we did for math yesterday...
The sweet little buzzers got this sheet...

and this sheet...

Then, they had to come up with faces for the Jack-o-Lantern's that were different. All we tell them is that they have to use the eyes, nose, and mouth on the paper. They cannot come up with their own. They are also told they can mix and match to create the faces.

My sweet little buzzers were SILENT. The whole time. It was AMAZING. They were so engaged and wanted so badly to find each combination. It was adorable really. I'm starting to LOOOOOOVE this class. They are ca-ute.

Have an AWESOME day!

Friday, October 21, 2011


Wow! What a week! It went by so slow, until today. Today CRUISED by!

Today during Math Stations, we made spiders. They took way longer than I expected so it was mass chaos. Not gonna lie. I cannot claim this idea...it came from my new teaching bestie, who "lives" next door. She is awesome, to say the least.

We start with a big, black oval (or circle). The kids write their name on the back. Then, they come up with 8 equations that equal 8! They had so much fun doing this...

And the best part is that it is self-leveling!

When we have them all put together, they make a face on the front. Some are SCAAARY faces and some are CUTE faces! They will look so cute in the hallway for conferences!

Hope you had a great week! I'll be linking up here, at Clutter-Free Classroom's Weekly "A Peek in My Planbook" Linky Party!  :)


Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Witches Brew

What's with the frigid cold temperatures? Last week it was in the 80's and today it's down to 32 degrees!!! My poor kiddos are FREEZING!!! And they still don't get it to bring hats and gloves yet. Poor dears.

Many of you have asked about my Wanda the Witch brew we have cookin' up over here. I do not actually have the letters in PDF or anything electronic. I received them from my former best friend at school who moved away.

Here are the ingredients I use:
Owl Eyes- skittles or m & ms
Rat Bones- cheetos
Slimy Earthworms- gummy worms
Chicken Toenails- candy corn
Yummy Ants- mini chocolate chips or raisins if you're healthy
Cat Eyes- lemon drops
Bat Bones- pretzels
Butterfly Wings- triscuits
Cat Claws- peanuts or sunflower seeds
Human Eyeballs- eyeball candy found during Halloween time
Blood Drops- red hots
Lizard Gizzards- Nibs
Snake Eyes- sixlets

This year I got smart and emailed the parents telling them it was a BIG secret and they all have joined in. They each brought in an ingredient to the office and put it in my mailbox so the kids didn't find out. GENIUS. And way less expensive for me this year.

Since I don't have the letters electronically, I did find this post from What the Teacher Wants. Rachelle's witches brew is VERY similar to mine! Go check it out and DON'T forget to tell her who sent ya! ;)

If you REALLY can't live without our Wanda the Witch letters, email me and I'll see what I can do. :)
busybeesandcupcakes at gmail dot com

P.S. My kids cannot stop writing about Wanda the Witch OR ghost stories. There was about 5 minutes before we went to recess the other day and the lights were off. Luckily, there is a flashlight by the door so I grabbed it and started telling a ghost story. Oh my word, they took off with that! Now, they are writing their own ghost stories and they are HILARIOUS! I LOVE IT!!!!


Monday, October 17, 2011

Monday, Monday...

If I received a nickel for every time I had to say, "Hands to yourself", this girl would be RICH!!! Wowsas...this just days after our counselor came in to do the ol' hands and feet to yourself lesson.

I was SO busy last week. A meeting every day after school, not to mention I was out of the classroom Tuesday and Wednesday for project-based learning training. The long leisurely lunches were FABULOUS. I could totally get used to that!!! A lot of learning took place on my end and I am so excited to implement more project-based learning in the future! I can't wait to share them with you!

Today, we worked on visualizing. I love teaching this during Halloween season because there are so many great graphics in books for Halloween. Today we listened to one of my favorites:

I played it on c.d. and the kids first closed their eyes and visualized in their heads. They like to call visualizing, "making movies in my brain". Whatever. It makes sense to them, right? Then, they go back to their desk and fill out the top part of their form (Before seeing the actual illustrations) while they listen to the story again.


Then, they come back after about five minutes and we listen to the story again BUT this time they get to see the illustrations. They go back to their desk and illustrate the real Goodnight Goon illustration. The form isn't all fancy shmancy. Definitely not TPT material. If you have commercialized fonts and want to make it fabulous, email me a copy. :)

The little buzzers were SO engaged in this lesson. It took about a half hour and they were so enthralled. I was hoping the assistant superintendent that was visiting our school would stop in, but no such luck.

How do you teach visualizing???

Hope your week is starting off great!


Friday, October 7, 2011

Wanda the WITCH!

For our October Project-Based Learning unit, I was going to do spiders. With all of the cute things on Teachers Pay Teachers, I thought that would be SO much fun! But then I remembered my former best friend at school Katie used to do Wanda the Witch and I couldn't resist bringing it out....

We had a visit today from Wanda the Witch!!! YIKES!

The kids are LOVING it!
She first left this before school...

with a letter inside that said this...

And then she returned after lunch with a letter that said this...

I wonder when she'll make her next appearance...

Have a GREAT weekend!
I'm off to our Autumn Festival Craft Show!!!