Feeling appreciated? + a FREEBIE

Next week is National Teacher Appreciation Week. My school is so large (approx. 1800 students, so imagine the amount of teachers and staff) that we are going to appreciate everyone for the entire month. I like that my principal decided to do that. We all need that push as the year comes to a close anyway. 

I love to look around on blogs and see some of the adorable ideas people come up with. I can't make them all for myself (though they are SOOO cute), I think part of being appreciated is the feeling you get when you help appreciate others. Let's face it - could we really make it through the school year without our coworkers? No one can do this job alone. Half the time unless you are talking to another teacher, do others really understand?! 

Here are some items I found:

These ladies at eighteen25 are awesome. Make sure you go there to download yours for your classroom! (I may even print some for my teammates). While you are there browse around at their other great ideas!

They are cupcakes. Too cute, right?! I love to bake plus to teach my students my name I always say it sounds like "cone, like an ice cream cone!" This has become very popular with the 1st graders when we learned about homophones. I'm a homophone! hehe. Go here to see how to do make them and get the printables. 

This site, Nothing but Country is full of great ideas and printables as well. Head over there. 

This site has a slew of ideas and directs you to others. I may do these and have my kids take them to the teachers (it's appropriate in my situation because my students have a bond with many of the other 1st grade teachers. My class formed in October so my students were taken from other's classes).

I went here just to get these editable printables. I changed to the name to ME. I make wearable flowers out of zippers and fabric. Lots of my teammates comment about them. I may try to make some and attach the little card. 

This is another cute idea that even if you don't want to try it for teacher appreciation, you could put letters on the blocks and have a fabulous word work game - or keep it as numbers and you've got yourself a math game (addition, subtraction, multiplication, division) and it's pretty to look at too!

A few more places to check out:


Waiting for the storm to pass

Sometimes in the midst of every day teaching - in the midst of each hand being raised and your name being called out, amidst frustration over small minutia - these glimpses of real life take place. These moments have power beyond our measure. They are out of our control and are created by powers and forces stronger than us. It is in those moments that we look at the faces of our small students and are reminded of how we are all connected. 

Each day in the early part of this week we waited for the storms to come. Monday our principal came on the loudspeaker after the buses had all left and said the skies were getting dark and we were under a severe thunderstorm warning and should head home. Nothing seemed that bad to me. When I got home, the ground was wet. I must have missed the storm.   

Tuesday was 'if'y  - a little cloudy, a little windy. 
Wednesday morning seemed off. The sky looked weird. It was very windy and by 7 a.m. it was already pretty warm. Since I teach in a trailer I got out of my car wondering how long it would be before they would call us inside. They didn't. The kids went home and I stayed to work. It still didn't look good outside. Around 4 p.m. our principal came on the speaker and said that it was getting dark out and very windy that there had been reports that some tornadoes had touched down in Alabama, heading our way. We were now under a tornado watch. About an hour later, I got home. 

We began to move items closer to the house. I knew already that for my family in Birmingham their neighborhood already looked like a war zone. I went to bed that night knowing they were safe - devastated but safe. I went to bed that night, but I slept with the news on the entire night. 

It barely even stormed here in Atlanta (though we take tornadoes seriously, since one came in 1998 and my dad lost his office and an entire neighborhood was wiped out). However, parts of North Georgia were hit badly. Tuscaloosa, Alabama (where the University of Alabama is) was hit extremely hard. No one is allowed in right now. Unfortunately, there are still children unaccounted for - college students. No matter the age, these are people's children. I am not the only one who personally knows people who were affected. Stories of loved ones and loved ones lost have spread all over school. Regardless of your faith or beliefs, the fact is we all come together in these moments.

From now on at the end of the day as you say goodbye to your students and hug them, squeeze them a little tighter, high five them with a little more enthusiasm, and know how lucky you all are.  



Another activity we did in my classroom this week was something to recognize Earth Day. Earth Day was this past Friday, April 22, 2011. We've constantly been talking about the 3 R's all school year and we recycle in our classroom (I mean, have you ever thought about just how much paper is wasted daily in a school?!). A lot of this was review for my kids. I did read to them the following books: 

The Earth and I by Frank Asch (he also wrote Happy Birthday Moon)

The Giving Tree by Shel Silverstein (also tying into learning about Shel Silverstein since April in National Poetry Month)

I still wanted to do more - something a little more hands on. I love getting to do art with my students because within the population I teach, I feel they just don't get enough exposure to it. A while ago I had seen this post on a blog I like to read daily by Lisa Leonard.

The project was to make papier mache nests like this: 
photo via lisa leonard

Isn't that pretty?! Well here I thought, great! I have paper bags at home. I have a paper shredder at home. I have the supplies. We were learning about Theodore Roosevelt and he collected nests (ties into curriculum), we're recycling and reusing. Plus it's Easter. I don't celebrate Easter, and not all of my students do either, so here was a great universal project. 

Here's how ours came out. Enjoy the laugh!

Those are my hands, they don't look like the pretty picture above, huh?

This was my student's who was taking the pictures. He felt he was "done."

A child's hands

Believe it or not this nest had potential. I'll let you know on Monday if any of the ones we saved and let dry actually worked! 

Hey at least we had some Friday Fun. And I hope you enjoy your Sunday. ;)



To Market, To Market

It's been a busy week so I apologize for my absence, but there was a lot of fun stuff going on at school that I want to share with you. Plus, I wasn't even there on Monday, so it was only a four-day week for me. Oh so much to cram in - and now there are only 5 weeks left of school! 

Okay so you have to remember that I am one of 16 first-grade teachers. We decided to have Market Day for our students. Because there are so many of them, we actually made it into two days. One day half of our kids would shop and the other half would work, and then the other day the ones who didn't shop would and the ones who didn't work would. Make sense?  
Each classroom was a different "station" or Market. The students had to "pay" with fake money to come in (some of our "workers" were collecting money). So right there that was one standard being met - fair trade with money/trading coins. Each Market was a different price, for example I was the Photo Booth, the got to dress up for their picture and make a frame with popsicle sticks -cost 75 cents. There was a Tattoo Parlor (fake of course) for 25 cents each. Bottom line from a teacher's perspective there was a LOT of planning and a lot of STRESS that went into this, but it was an amazing two days of a somewhat real-life experience for these students. I think almost every administrator came to check it out, and even parents came. Here are some pictures of what our hall looked like. 

My kids were covered!

This adorable teacher had a disco ball hanging inside from her ceiling, streamers from the ceiling, and great music going. It was the hottest spot in town!

The kids could get their refreshments here and then go next door for a movie.

My photo booth

My awesome coworker, whose husband is an actual police officer decided to be the jail, for bad behavior. She did a great job. Her "workers" were the sheriffs and brought people in, and she let my kids work as "security" in the halls!

My favorite sign in her room that made me laugh every time I walked in - yep, you had to pay to get out of jail - cause that's real life!

Remember these photos are just of our hall - the other hall had:
- a post office (letter writing, another standard being worked on)
- an egg hunt
- an ice cream/popsicle parlor (and they had a huge graph where they graphed their favorite flavors, yet another standard)
- a HealthMpowers room (free if they ran out of money, cause that's real life - the kids love that music and exercises)
- a Yoga room (also for free)

Whew, I'm exhausted just posting all of this. I'll be back for more later!


FREE McGraw-Hill Apps

My brother sent this to me yesterday and I just downloaded these all to my phone. I don't have individual ones in my classroom that my kids can use, but I have them downloaded now in case I ever do. Plus, I haven't decided if I will put my old ipod in my room. Either way, go check these out, all grade levels are covered.

Sale ends TODAY!

McGaw-Hill Apps

I also posted about it over at

Don't forget to join my linky party down below!


It's that time again!

Last week I decided to make this a weekly Saturday thing - a combination of You Know You're a Teacher When and What I've Learned This Week. Well now I've decided to let you join in. It can be funny, serious a little bit of both. Let's face it, our weeks all vary and that's part of the teaching community. Hope you'll join in. Here's mine:

- your back hurts so very much from standing up while giving the CRCT to 1st-graders for hours on end. 

- you realize comfy shoes may indeed be, tennis shoes.

- you must document, document, document! You never know when a parent is going to walk into a building a place blame. Thank goodness for the clinic cards you have documenting an injury. 

- you truly understand that as nice as it is sometimes to have your class be the only ones on the playground, remember the cotton commercial, "it's best when we go out in to the world to hold hands and stick together," the same holds true in teaching. It's best to stick together with a teacher buddy and someone with you. You never know when you will need another set of eyes to voice for an incident. 

- you love those Fridays when you are exhausted and your coworker is too and you decide to have movie day!

- you're worn out and out of patience, and the one child who you don't want to hear from tells you you are beautiful. 

Wow. I learned a lot this week. It was a busy one. Your turn...


Yay for ME and Free for YOU!

 You may be in luck. I think I got the labels to work. (thanks so much Hadar for pointing me in the right direction).

Now I do understand that everyone has their own way of organizing and may not have a need or want for these. I also understand that there are many others similar to these out there. However, I began my library system with colored dots (I will try to post  picture of that soon on my blog). While that still works well, as my library has grown AND my children's reading has developed I feel there are needs for further organization. I teach in a Title 1 school with a large ESOL and transient population so the pictures are helpful. Also, on chapter book labels I put the name of the chapter book series, but underneath I put the author's name (for example: Junie B. Jones (a.k.a. Barbara Park). I want my students to begin to learn that there is actually a person - a writer, an AUTHOR - behind all of their beloved characters and they may indeed write more books than they realize.  The world of books is so fun and these are just too cute!

library labels


Can anyone help?

 Can someone help me know how you are able to have the picture of the google doc you want to share so that you just click on it and it takes you right to where it can be downloaded? I have uploaded something to google docs, but the link they provide me to share does not seem to work in blogger. I am certain there is a tech genius, or brainier than me who knows how to do this! Help make my Friday fabulous, cause my class was the only class to finish CRCT testing in 3 days and I am exhausted!

Without further ado...

Ha! Made you look. By now, I am sure you have heard of all these Teaching Blog Addicts out there. Well friends, my name is Sydney and I am an addict. The first step is always admitting your problem, right? Head on over and learn about me. I never properly introduced myself over here so it's a nice way to get to know me. Hopefully with what wasn't said over there you can also tell I have a little bit of humor, a lot of fun, and get by a day at a time. Thanks again to all of YOU for sharing what you do so well.

click it, you know you want to ;)


Out sick :(

I've loved getting to read everyone's posts this past week while I have been in bed, ALL week sick. Oh and did I mention that this past week was also my spring break?! So much for living it up, huh? The nice part I was able to put my own school work out of the forefront of my mind and truly relax and get rejuvenated, in part due to some of your amazing ideas. However, I love the "You know you are a teacher when..." that I think I am going to make it a weekly Saturday post.

you are at the pharmacy and you reach inside your purse to pay only to pull out a child's behavior sheet!!!

you finally take an outing on break cause you have been so sick, and you stop at The Dollar Tree because they may have "those baskets" for math centers.

you are excited about how many tissues you have used because you have three empty boxes to turn into homemade dice for centers and games. woohoo!
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