Sunday, December 2, 2012

And the lucky winner is...

Heather Nance!! Yeah Heather!! 

I hope she enjoys the gift card. Thank you to everyone who entered. Maybe Santa will bring you what you wanted. :)

Friday, November 30, 2012

One more day for the giveaway!

Who's ready for the weekend? I am!!! This was a rough week after being on vacation. Behavior was not exactly sparkling this week. It didn't help that we were trapped indoors for 3 days because of the non-stop rain. I've been hinting all week to my class that I needed a helper or an extra set of eyes to watch them. So, here's my visitor for Monday. 

I'm REALLY hoping my little friend will have some kind of positive influence on my firsties behavior. We'll see what happens. Enjoy your weekend! 

Remember that there's one more day to enter my giveaway for the $50 Kohl's gift card. Spread the word! :)

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Lucky Me!!!

Yeah me!! I got a GREAT surprise when I checked my email this afternoon. I'm the lucky WINNER of this bad boy!! 

A BIG THANK YOU to Amanda Madden of Teaching Maddeness for hosting her AMAZING 1,000 Follower giveaway! She has 7 days of giveaways. I won Day #2!! There's still time to enter her AWESOME giveaway. Click on the picture below to check it out!

Don't forget to enter my giveaway for a $50 gift card to Kohl's. It's been fun reading what people would buy if they won. Spread the word!! You could be a WINNER too!! :)

Saturday, November 24, 2012

It's GIVEAWAY time!!!

Who loves an AWESOME giveaway?!? 
You better!! :)  

Even though Thanksgiving is over, I can still be thankful for you!! I am so thankful that there are so many amazing, creative, generous, and kind teachers out there in the blog world. You all have taught me so many things about blogging, teaching, and life!   
                   So, to say THANK YOU I'm having a giveaway!

Thanks to Kohl's, I'm giving away a $50 gift card to one lucky winner!! Who wants to do some shopping???

Kohl’s recently launched a tool in their toys department which allows shoppers to browse toys based on age. It makes shopping for age appropriate gifts for your kids, cousins, nieces, nephews and grandchildren a whole lot easier! 
**Click on the Kohl's image above to check out this great new website feature!**

The giveaway will end on Sunday, December 2nd. The lucky winner will be notified by email. Good luck!!

Books, books, books and an upcoming giveaway!!

I've got it BAD, real B-A-D...a LOVE of books that is!!! Since I was little, I've always had my nose buried in books. Any free time I had, I was reading, going to the library, asking to go to a bookstore; I just needed my hands on books. Some of my favorite memories growing up were listening to books on 45s or snuggling in bed with my mom and listening to her read books to me. I am excited to share my love of books and reading with my students and my own two kids. When a student says they don't have a favorite book or that he doesn't like to read, I gladly accept the challenge of making that kid a lover of books too!

As an adult, I am still hooked on books. I LOVE my nook (I have 3!) which fits easily into my purse so I can take my reading with me. I can easily read 4 - 7 books each week depending on how much time I have. It's such a great feeling to tune everything else out and sink into a book. I am always getting involved with the story, thinking about the characters (a little too much sometimes...haha!), creating pictures in my mind of what I think the characters, places, surroundings look imagination is always going when I'm reading a book.

Children's books are my weakness (well, one of them!). I'm always on the lookout for new books for the classroom. Whenever I'm reading blogs, I take note of blogger recommendations and am always pleased when I find a new discovery to bring back to the classroom. So, I thought I'd share some of my recent purchases. I'm sure you've seen some of these or even own them. Click on the pictures for more info.

Here goes:

So, YES I jumped on the Elf on the Shelf bandwagon! Last year I was kicking myself when I missed out on having our elf for home. I was determined to find my elf well ahead of time so I could share the fun with my family. I was so excited to get one this year, I got one for school too! I can't wait to start a new tradition at home with my own kids and do something fun with my students in December. I've done lots of shopping on TpT for Elf units to use in the classroom from some very creative teachers!! Pinterest has many ideas for your elf too. 

My students always enjoy Bad Kitty, so I couldn't pass up A Bad Kitty Christmas. Along with the usual naughtiness of Bad Kitty, it has a meaningful Christmas message to share with your students.

David is another student favorite. We like to see what trouble David gets into this time. I like reading David Shannon's author bio inside the back cover of his books. The kids like knowing that his David stories are based on him. We also like trying to find his white Westland terrier that he hinds in all his picture books.

All the Snowmen books are fun to read and have such colorful illustrations. Who knew that snowmen, or should I say snowpeople, are so busy at night?!

This next one is not a holiday story but it is so funny! My son wanted me to read this to him again and again. Such a cute story! I think I'm in the mood for a taco...

Onto another topic...

I'm having a BIG giveaway starting TOMORROW!!! Come back and check it out. You. Won't. Want. To. Miss. It.

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Movement in My Classroom

With such a large class size and large amount of boys, taking a few moments for some kind of movement activity during the day is key for me. I try to incorporate movement when introducing new words to our Word Wall, reading poems together in a pocket chart, practicing spelling words, reading our Morning Message, doing phonics activities, during transitions, before or after testing, Friday Fun or just as a reward. There is such a positive response from all the kids in my class, that I know they need these little breaks just as much as I do. :)

There are a number of teachers on Teachers Pay Teachers who have created some great movement activities under various titles--Brain Breaks, Shake Breaks, Brain Gymnastics, etc. Check them out! You won't be disappointed.

Here's a video of one of my class' favorites--The Bazooka Bubblegum Song. My boys LOVED it as much as the girls! We always have fun moving along to this song. It's a great little workout too! ha!

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Thanksgiving Break...WOOHOO!!

It's Thanksgiving Break!! I'm so thankful that we get this whole week off. I am going to de-stress, relax, and just enjoy my time off. I think I've earned the right to be lazy, sleep in, read smut, watch TV, etc. after these first few months of school. It feels so GOOD!!

One of my students gave me this cute little owl basket filled with my favorite candy--pretzel m&m's! YUM!! I've been nibbling each day. 

So the boy who gave me this is always full of surprises. He's a super smart boy with amazing, supportive parents. But he's also my one who I'm giving constant reminders to keep his hands off of other kids, to raise his hand instead of shouting out, walking in line, etc. I feel like I wear his name out each day. Haha! On one particular day that him and I were not seeing eye to eye, he was really pushing my buttons ALL. DAY. LONG. We were cleaning up to go home and he handed me a folded piece of paper. I set it on the table and went about cleaning up. I was curious as to what he gave me, so I opened the paper. Inside was a hand drawn picture of me and the boy, holding hands with the following words--
     Mrs. Tompkins is the best teacher. I love being in your class. 
     Thank you for being my teacher!

Really??? This from the same boy who I had to give lunch detention and miss recess in the same day??? My heart melted a little and I made sure I told him thanks and gave him a hug. He had a huge smile on his face and said, "You're welcome."

Even though I may have to "ride" some kids during the day, they still appreciate and like me. These little surprises make the craziness that happened earlier in the day disappear! I LOVE IT!

Monday, October 8, 2012

Treading Water

School started 7 weeks ago and I am struggling to stay afloat. I was prepared to begin the new year with 28 students. That number quickly grew each day as we got closer to the first day of school. I started with 31 students on the first day, and within the next few days, 2 more were added to my class. My somewhat manageable 28 turned into an unbelievable 33! My classroom was built for 20 students. Fitting 13 extra desks, chairs, and students was a HUGE struggle. Of my 33 students, 21 of them are boys...yowsers! Each day has been a never ending struggle with management, transitions, space, time, and sanity. I have never been so tired and stressed as I have this year. My teaching pace has slowed down dramatically because I'm spending so much time on managing students than on teaching.

Fortunately, I have a wonderful group of parents. My parent helpers have saved me by taking over a lot of my paperwork--checking in homework each day, stuffing folders, correcting, and filing. All of these things were keeping me from enjoying the little free time I had at recess and lunch. My students' parents have given me support with their time and kind words, which have meant the world to me. Just when I think I can't handle anything else, I'll get an amazing e-mail, note, or some much needed chocolate, from a parent letting me know how much I mean to their child and what a great job they think I'm doing. These words give me a little push to make it through another day. :)

Unfortunately, nothing can be done with my class size... :(  I have the biggest first grade at my school and in the district, which is not cool.

What I do need from you and my other blog friends is some advice, tips, suggestions, words of wisdom, etc. that can help me make it through this crazy school year. I have noticed some baby steps towards improving behavior, managing my HUGE group, and dealing with day to day tasks...but everything is ssssslllllloooooowwwww. So, please help! I'd appreciate anything you have to offer. :)

Saturday, August 4, 2012

Mini Birthday Bags

In years past, I've given my students a book for their birthdays. In my organized years I had assorted books pre-ordered and waiting to be handed out for the birthday girl or boy. In less organized years, I would be scrounging around (at the last minute) in my closet for any book I could find, and hope the birthday kid liked it (or better yet, didn't have it). 

This year I'm way ahead of the game! Yay!! I decided to make birthday bags...simple and cute. :)  I didn't put any candy inside the bags because of school always has them! Each bag (contents included) only cost about $1.00 to make.

The cute little bags go with my WILD theme.

 Inside each bag:  crayons,

a little notepad (some for girls & some for boys),

and some bubbles.

I got everything at Target except the bags, which I got at Michaels.

I finished these today, so I can FINALLY check something off my HUGE "to-do" list!!

Monday, July 23, 2012

I've done a little shopping...

I've done a little shopping around town this past week. Made a few stops at Target, Michael's, Kohl's, and Office Depot. Here's what I found:

More zebra print--table cloth, lunch box, pens, the 'M' is a magnet, and the glasses are purple/black zebra print too. I think I might let the kids wear the glasses when they're sharing their writing with the class.

I found these at Michael's. They're hand tattoos. I want to use them for a greater than/less than lesson. I bought 6 packs; they were on sale for 79 cents but I got 25% off my whole purchase! yay!

Can never have enough wiggly eyes! The ones on the left have sticky backs, so I think I'm going to use those to make reading pointers (put one on the end of a colored craft stick).

Stationary, mini gift bags, and duct tape!

This was a total surprise to find in a bin at Michael's. It's a cute story! I love all the "Old Lady" books.

Also from Michael's--basket. I think I will put my monthly read-alouds in this.

These are from Kohl's! I thought I was the last one to get these but I guess I was wrong. :) $5 each! The bumble bee is so soft!

I have yet to set foot in a teacher store...that's coming! Just don't tell my husband when I do! Haha!


Thursday, July 19, 2012

Must Have Picture Books Linky Party

Lindsey from The Teacher Wife is having a "Must Have Picture Books" linky party. I'm a little late but I'm joining the party!! 

 Here's my top five favorites (sooo hard to narrow down to just 5):

1. Unlovable by Dan Yaccarino is a cute story about a pug who learns 2 things: 1)that he is lovable just the way he is and 2)the true meaning of friendship. My students LOVE the surprise in this story!

2. Stephanie's Ponytail by Robert Munsch is about a girl that likes to have her own look. So when her classmates begin copying her ponytail, she finds increasingly outrageous ways to wear her hair until she outsmarts the copycats. My students always wonder what Stephanie will do next!

3. I Wanna Iguana by Karen Kaufan Orloff is about a boy named Alex. He is trying to convince his mom to let him have an iguana, so he puts his arguments in writing. So funny! I LOVE, LOVE, LOVE David Catrow and his illustrations!

4. My Lucky Day by Keiko Kasza. A hungry fox is sure that it's his lucky day when a delectable-looking pig knocks on his door by mistake.

5. Stand Tall Molly Lou Melon by Patty Lovell is about a little girl who embraces her differences and stands up to the class bully. She doesn't let anyone get her down. A great story for teaching children acceptance and self-esteem. Once again, David Catrow does the wonderful illustrations.

Those are my picks and you can find a TON of others if you go check out the linky party!!

Monday, July 16, 2012

Awards...Thank You!!

I've been away from my computer this past week. GASP! I know! Been trying to enjoy the last of summer vacation. Can't believe how fast it's starting to fly by!

I was awarded the Liebster Award by two blog friends -- Christa from Sweet Life of Second Grade and Emily from 2nd Grade Mon-Stars. THANK YOU ladies for recognizing me and my blog!!! If you haven't stopped by their blog yet, please check them out!

This award highlights blogs that have under 200 followers. Here are the rules for it:
1. Copy and paste this award on your blog.

2. Thank the giver and link back to them.

3. Reveal 5 other bloggers and let them know by commenting 
     on their blog.

I am happily awarding the Liebster Blog Award to:

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Say what?! A Teachers Inky Linky Party

So this is a whole new different kind of linky party...and I like it! Josh from Mr. B's Beach Brains is having a non-school related linky party. He wants you to share your teacher tattoos or just any tattoos you might have. I know there are a lot of hip teachers out there on the web, who probably have some cool let's see it!

Here's Josh's RULES:
1. Please use good judgment when posting pictures of your tat. If  
    it's in a place where we have no business looking at it, then 
    please don't. If it contains profanity or other vulgarities, please 
    do not post it.

2. Please DO share your pic and story as to why you got it and what it symbolizes. 

Here's my tattoo that's on the inside of leg, just above the ankle.  
It's not as bright and colorful as it used to be...when I was 21! I wish I had some cool story about why I chose it or how I got it but I don't. 

I was going to school at Cal State Long Beach and my boyfriend (now husband) and I were going to visit his brother at UCSD. We were in his brother's dorm room, trying to think of something to do before we went to Tijuana for the night (that's where college kids drink beverages...and have fun). I was looking in a phone book and saw ads for tattoo places and one stuck out in particular--The Avalon. So, we decided to check it out. Little did we know that you had to have an appointment (we were so naive) but we were able to get in. I had no clue what I wanted to get. At the time I thought a dolphin would be cool (soooo glad that I didn't get that!) but the dolphins I saw there were all scary looking or had mean, snarling faces. Yikes! So at the last moment, I saw the daisy design and  liked it. (See no special significance or awesome story! Totally random!) I was first to get a tattoo, my husband went next, and his brother just watched. haha!

My mom flipped out when she saw it. I thought I could hide it from my family when I went home to visit...WRONG!! She saw it first, called my dad at work, went to the neighbors to tell them what I did, etc. In my family, I'm the LAST one that anyone would've suspected to get a tattoo. Surprise! haha!

As for school and my students, they get a little shock when they see it and say, "Mrs. Tompkins, you have a tattoo?!?" and then that's it. haha! So parents, your children are safe with me! Your first grader will not be getting inked any time soon. :)

Thanks Josh for a different kind of party!

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Classroom Theme Change...or Not!

I've been thinking the past few months that I'd like to change my classroom theme to something new and different. For the past few years, I've had a WILD theme, mostly zebra print decor and each year, with help from my students, it's grown. I was almost certain a few weeks ago that I was changing my theme this year. But I couldn't decide on a new theme! There's so many wonderful, creative ideas out there in blogland but I can't narrow it down at all. I realized that I have a LOT of  zebra/animal print things left over, that I ordered from Vistaprint last summer, that I should probably use.

Click here to see what I ordered last summer.

So I'm going to stick with my zebra print one more year and hopefully, think of something really awesome & unique for next year. :)  While I was surfing the net last night, I remembered that Melanie from Schoolgirl Style had some super cute zebra print decorations that would be perfect to add to my room. Even though she calls it her "Rock Star" theme, there's a lot of zebra print cuteness! Check out her store on Teachers Notebook if you're interested in buying anything. 

 These pictures were taken from Melanie's website 
 I need these new book basket labels! CUTE!!

 Wrapping paper instead of butcher paper for bulletin boards...LOVE IT!

With all the black and white, I want to add pops of color. So I might get some of these bright baskets and organizers from Really Good Stuff.

 Since I can't get into my classroom until next month, I have some planning/stalking/work to do. I will share any projects I make to go with my zebra print theme. :)