Monday, May 30, 2011

Big Prize Giveaway!

This is such a cute idea!  4 amazing bloggers have teamed up to do a big giveaway!  Visit Curls and a Smile to check it out.  You could win not 1, not 2, but 3 Fairy Tale Units!  See Ms. Mogart's blog for details.

http://curlsandasmile.blogspot.com

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Room Mom Gifts

The end of the year is always such a blur.  Ten million things to do and they all creep up on you with what seems like the same deadline!  The next thing you know it's time for the end of the year class party, and you forgot to get a gift for your room mom (if you were lucky enough to have one).  Sometimes I get to know what my room mom likes and other times my room mom ends up being a complete mystery to me!  Here's what I came up with this year:
I found this cute little straw beach tote in the Target $2.50 section.  Then I filled it with goodies like a cute little ceramic mug with a rubber to-go coffee cup cover, special chocolate (Ritter Sport Strawberry Cream milk chocolate bar), cute note pad, and cute pen set.  You can customize the contents if you know what your room mom likes.   Then I fluffed up some tissue paper for presentation and attached a little note that reads:

I'm "tote"-ally grateful!
Thanks for being our room mom this year!

If you're pressed for time and want to use it, you can get the note and fill in your name below.


Oh yeah!  And for the kids . . . I used to make personalized gifts like personalized mini whiteboards and personalized journals, but I've got a whole lot less time to do that with my 10 month old beauty!  So this time around . . . just a little goodie bag to send them off for the summer.  For their notes I put a little message on a summer coloring sheet so they could color the note too.  =)


Monday, May 23, 2011

Welcome my friends!

Hey all!

I just found out that one of my friends and her best friend have their teacher blog up and running!  Show them some love and drop by their blog.  Follow them and you get a gold star!  =)

Katie and Courtney are Kindergarten teacher and 1st grade teachers who have teamed up to give you a blog geared to K AND 1! Stop by and see what they're about.

 

Sunday, May 22, 2011

TpT 10 Free Downloads!

Do you get the emails from Teachers Pay Teachers?  If you do, go check out one of the lessons featured there by my friend The Lesson Plan Diva!  She's got tons of great stuff.  I talked about her a few blogs back.

Click the button below to see the 10 downloads featured in this week's TpT newsletter!

Friday, May 20, 2011

What must they think of me?!?!

Last month I had to take a few personal days to attend a family event.  I didn't tell my students where I was going or why.  We had just come back from Spring Break and I didn't really want to get them riled up with the thought of me being out of the classroom again.  While I was out I left a fun little writing assignment for the kids.  Since they had no clue why I was out, the writing assignment said that I was missing!  It asked them to make a Missing Poster of me and to write about what happened to me. This activity would be a good pairing with the story "Miss Nelson is Missing" by Harry Allard and James Marshall. 

When I got back and read their little stories I was surprised by their creativity.  A few brought me to a violent end involving sharks or wild animals.  Some were really sweet.  And then there are the many who make me wonder what they must think of me!  Quite a few wrote stories that found me in jail at the end!  Goodness!  What impression have I given them???  The stories were all quite comical and a few had undertones of "Miss Nelson is Missing.  It's a cute little writing assignment to have on hand in your substitute folder in case you have to be out of school last minute one day.  Here are some of the stories my kids wrote.  Some decided to illustrate what happened to me instead of making a missing poster.
Here I turned into a monster . . .
Here I am in jail . . .

And here I lose my hand to a shark.  Thank you doctor for helping me!
Here I was put into jail because I was putting on makeup while driving


I love this one!  I went to the islands!

Click to download the Google Docs file
I am including a link in the picture below to download the Google Docs file so you can replace my name with yours.  I'd be interested in hearing what your kids write about you if you use this. You may want to change to a cute font as well. The font and picture box got messed up as I uploaded to Google Docs, and I don't know how to fix that if it can be fixed. =)

Or click here to go to my TpT store to download the Word version!

Hope you get some cute stories!  Have fun!

Saturday, May 14, 2011

Dishing Out the Dirt . . .

So is it bad that my teacher friends and I were jones-ing to put something on our blogs while the system was in it's "read only" maintenance phase?  (I am NOT an addict, btw!)

Addict or not, it's time for confessions . . .

This week I was crazily grading papers when I realized how odd I can be at times.  I have certain teacher tendencies which cannot be denied.  I know I'm not the only one, but I thought it was kinda funny.  While I maintain that I am not OCD, it is quite clear that I do have undeniable "Teacher Quirks".  I'm sure you have them too.  Maybe you can relate . . .

Teacher Quirk #1
I MUST alphabetize my student work in alphabetical (ABC) order by the students' last name.  If it's something I'm grading, I have to stop and put the papers in ABC order before I move on.  Don't judge me.  I'm not crazy!  I can prove it by sharing my rationale:  If I alphabetize, it is easier for me to tell which student's paper may be missing since I know who should come next in ABC order.  Another reason is because as I alphabetize throughout the year, my students' cubby holes are also alphabetized according the last name.  If I'm grading work and I stack the papers according to this specification, I can blindly stuff cubby holes and Friday Folders without having to even look at the name!  It's much quicker and hopefully more efficient.

So there's a little dirt on me.  More to come later.  (Please tell me there are others out there like me!)

Anyhow . . . in honor of the end of the school year and in the spirit of revealing personalities, here's a little writing activity for your students for the end of the year. This is a freebie!

If you're ready to hear your students' impressions of you, here's a little something I call "Dishing Out the Dirt".  You can explain the idiom "dishing out the dirt" to your students and then tell them that they will be giving away secrets to the students coming to this class next year.  They can advise next year's students on how to get on the teacher's good side, give them a heads up on which procedure are the most important to make sure they are always following, and give them tips on how to be successful in your classroom. 

I hope you and the students enjoy!
Click the preview picture to download for free!

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Not that kind of plug . . .

I named this whole thing "Plug-n-Plan" because my eventual goal is to provide you with units that will include various materials you might need for a unit so that all you'll have to do is just plug the pieces into your lesson plans.

Well, the post you are about to read is not that kind of "plug".  (Now say it with your best Southern accent: "Oh, my!  Well, I'm just not THAT kind of plug!"  J/k!)

If we were studying dictionary skills right now, this might be definition number 2:

plug: 1. (v) to insert or drive a plug into, 2. (n) a shameful, unabashed promotion

I'm not sure who reads this blog (if anybody), but I have got to shamefully, unabashedly promote 2 of my dear friends.  These 2 ladies are some of the most creative, hard-working teachers I know.  We've taught together in 1st grade for years.  It has been such an immeasurable blessing to be part of a team with these women.  I strongly doubt (but would be pleased to be proven wrong) that there many teams out there like the team we have together.  We share everything, encourage and support one another, and even spark up some good ol' healthy competition! This past year one of them was moved to 3rd grade, but we're still a team nonetheless!

Both of these ladies have quickly spiraled into a full-blown Teacher Blog addiction.  It's seriously out of control.  They dove head-first into this online world and are sharing some great stuff!  (Trust me, we trade stuff all the time and the materials are quality!)  Here's a little bit about them.  Please check them out!

The 1st plug goes to Dana who now teaches 3rd.  Walk into her room and you'll want to ban anyone from ever seeing your room again.  She's super organized and clean.  When we worked in 1st together she would crank out those assessments for us to use.  Between the 2 of us, we filled up our school's shared drive with Reading Comprehension sheets to go along with the leveled readers in our bookroom for Guided Reading.  The files are still growing.  Please check out this dedicated teacher at http://3rdgradegridiron.blogspot.com/.  She pours her heart into everything she does . . . above and beyond.

The 2nd plug goes out to The Lesson Plan Diva.  This hard-working woman is known for her creativity.  If classrooms were closets, then she'd be like the sister I share clothes with.  We go into each others' rooms and grab resources and lessons from each other all the time.  Somehow she is able to raise standards in her classroom and then go home to work a second job making the most amazing up-scale stationary for celebrity clientele (no really . . . celebrities).  And now she has added blogging and cranks out really cute teaching resources on top of that?!?!  Once I get into the Summer days and I can stay home with my adorable, teething 9 month old, maybe I'll be able to crank out the units I wanted as well!  In the meanwhile please check out http://lessonplandiva.blogspot.com and snag some of her simple, to-the-point, and yet so cute and creative materials.  (Then hit up www.jshawdesigns.com to see her more sophisticated art work!)

Hope that wasn't an overload, but I can't just give you their links . . . I've got to brag about my friends.  If you knew them, you'd understand why.  Love you ladies!

Let's squeeze one in!

Speaking of very little time . . . things are super, super busy here at the end of the school year!  I'm taking just a minute to quickly upload a freebie for you.  This will be included in the Time Unit that I plan on getting together . . . eventually!  It's a simple game to practice time.  I use it as a center and bring it back as review at the end of the year.  I hope you enjoy it!




Tuesday, May 3, 2011

So what's this all about?

 Welcome to Plug-n-Plan!

Seeing as how this is a brand new blog, I thought it might be a good idea to explain why I started yet another teacher blog . . .

My name is Melissa and I've been teaching 1st grade for 9 years now in Gwinnett County, GA.  For years I put in endless hours in the classroom, coffee shops, and home working on lesson plans, grading papers, creating centers, drawing up worksheets, etc.  You know the drill.  Then 7 years into teaching I got married, and I kept up this same routine only this time I'd bring stuff home to work on while my husband studied or worked on stuff for church.  Now in my 9th year we've added a beautiful baby girl to the equation!

Life has definitely changed.

I'm still doing all I can, the best I can but I try to make it a point NOT to take stuff home unless there's a really big deadline.  (I've got to put my family before my professional life.  Priorities, right?)  So that means that I'm squeezing in as much as I can into every "spare" second of the day.  Not everything gets done, and a lot of things don't turn out as well as I would like.  It can be pretty exhausting.  You can relate, can't you?

Ready for a confession?  I haven't been fully satisfied with what I do at school.  I know that I can do better if I had more time.  I know this because I know what I used to do. Factor in a teacher's tendency towards control and perfectionism and you can imagine my frustration.

I know I'm not the only one out there who wishes they could make the creative centers they imagine in their heads, plan effective lessons, gather/develop practice sheets and assessments, AND still have a life outside the classroom.  This is why I've started the blog.  It's my goal to put together packages for specific skills that include all these things so that all you have to do is just "plug" the pieces into your own lesson plans and save yourself some time!

So in the spirit of saving time . . . let's start with a file folder game on TIME!

(Complete unit to follow shortly . . . check back soon!)

Monday, May 2, 2011

Coming soon . . .

I'm somewhat of a perfectionist, so I can't post the 1st blog yet!

Just wait . . . it's on it's way.

I'll try to make it worth your wait.  =)
This is my beautiful, baby girl at the beach.  9 months old!
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