Sunday, January 22, 2017

100th Day Happiness!

We celebrated one of my favorite days of the year last week - the 100th day of school! It's hard to believe we have already reached this point in the year, but as we reflected on the first 100 days of school, we realized how much we've learned and how much fun we've had doing it! 

Two years ago, inspired by my friend, Holly Ehle (find her freebie HERE), I decided to make my 100th day celebration all about happiness - for ourselves and for others. We continued that on this 100th day with a few updates. 

Since I just started blogging again, one thing you may not know is that my daughter is in my class this year. I've had a lot of skeptical reactions to this, but it has been the absolute best decision we have ever made. I LOVE having my baby in my room this year! Here we are showing off our 100th day attire, and you can see the 100 streamers in the background. 

Our day started with a visit from one of our kindergarten classes, who showed off their 100th day superhero capes. How cute and amazing are these?!

Then we got to work! First, I issued a challenge to my class to read 100 books in one day, and they rose to the challenge! I let them record their titles as they finished using my special Mr. Sketch and Scentos markers!

Some of my kids, who sometimes struggle to focus long enough to stick with a book for Read to Self, read more on this day than they usually do in a week! It was so awesome! 

I helped by reading a few of my favorite 100th day books: 


This was the first time a class of mine made it to 100 books in one day. We usually have to extend the challenge for a second day to get to 100. But these little stars are AMAZING!

The glasses we are wearing are from Really Good Stuff. They loved them! 

For Work on Words, they wrote 100 words around the room. During Work on Writing, they wrote about what makes them happy now, and what they think will make them happy when they are 100. 
I used the free Aging Booth app for this, and they thought the pictures were HILARIOUS!

We also squeezed in a few GoNoodle brain breaks. We saved the new counting to 100 song for this special occasion. 

After lunch and recess, we started our 100th day math. 

We used the place value, addition, number sense, and ten more/ten less clues on the back side of this 100 chart (you can see them in my other post HERE) to determine which numbers to color and discovered it made a smiley face when we were finished! 

Then I split the class into four groups.

Two groups had a partially completed 100 chart (from an old issue of Mailbox I think) and a pile of Starbursts (because Starbursts are exponentially more engaging than just plain ol' numbers, and, well, they go with my star theme). Each Starburst had a number from 1-100 on it. They picked one, figured out where it would go on the 100 chart, and wrote it in that square. 

The other two groups had a tub of pattern blocks, which we have not used at all this year (helps with engagement again). They had to count out 100 blocks and make a design with them. This spurred some very creative thinking! I've also had kids build 100 cup or block towers, but we had already done some of that this year with other STEM challenges, and I wanted to keep the novelty alive. When both groups were finished, we switched. And when they completed both challenges, they all got to eat a Starburst. :)

Then it was on to writing. We brainstormed a list of activities and events that have made us happy in the first 100 days on the board. I gave them the first sentence and asked them to choose some of their favorite things to add to their papers. I absolutely loved what they remembered.

"The first 100 days have been awesome! I really like it when we do Kodable and the Christmas program and Grinch day and when we get 100 tickets. I wonder what we are going to do for the next 80 days!"

"The first 100 days of school have been fun! I really liked when Mrs. Zimmer teaches. Mrs. Zimmer is the best teacher. You the best. You always help us. When I saw you, you looked nice. We had so much fun with you. These make me happy!" 
Obviously this little sweetie earned some brownie points! :)

"The first 100 days of school have been awesome! I really like when it was Grinch day. We did Grinch things, and when it was Polar Express we drink hot chocolate and watch the movie Polar Express." He kept going on the back, but I forgot to take a picture!

"The first 100 days of school have been fun! I really liked IXL and Daily 5 and popcorn day and Grinch day and Kodable. These have made me happy!"

While these weren't about how to make others happy this year (you can see the ones that were HERE), they sure made me a very happy teacher to see all of the things they loved about this year so far. Other highlights included balloon drop math, our field trip to the pumpkin farm this fall, pajama days, having fun with friends, recess, and reading. I love these kids!

We finished the day with a little 100th day snack. 
I forgot plates, but they didn't mind. :)

It was a fantastic day! 

I hope you can use some of these ideas for your own 100th day celebration. 
To help, my 100th day pack is on sale all week! 
Click HERE to check it out! 

Happy celebrating!!

Sunday, January 8, 2017

It's a New (Noon) Year in First Grade!

Happy 2017!

One of my resolutions is to be a better blogger this year, which won't be hard considering I didn't have a single post in 2016. I started taking graduate classes in the summer of 2015 and finished at the end of last summer. Taking 24 hours of classes, teaching, and momming pretty much took up all of my time, and I fell out of the habit.

But I'm back!

And I wanted to start 2017 on a positive note!

When my own daughter (who is in my class this year) was a little bummed about going back to school after a very fun, family-filled Christmas break, I knew I needed to do something fun on our first day back at school. At the same time, I happened to see Chris Pombonyo's post about his Happy Noon Year celebration last year (follow him on Instagram HERE), and it was awesome!

I adapted the idea because I wanted to have a routine morning to get back in the swing of things, and I wanted to use the balloon drop to review some math concepts and kick off our new unit. So I just told them we would have a SURPRISE during math.

We spent the morning reviewing routines, applying for new classroom jobs, reading Squirrel's New Year's Resolution by Pat Miller (a must for teaching kids about resolutions), and I found a halfway decent Youtube video of the ball drop in New York City to explain that to them.

Then this is what I did during my lunch. Thankfully it's pretty easy to hang an upside down trash bag from the ceiling (you can also buy balloon bags that are made for balloon drops, but Target didn't have those, and there was no time for Amazon by the time I planned this).

I was a little excited. :)

When the kids came back from lunch, I stopped them in the hall outside our door and told them the surprise was ready, but I needed them to go to their seats first so I could explain. They were just a little excited, too.

After they were all seated, I explained that inside the bag were balloons, and that everyone would get one and would sit with others who grabbed the same color. *Teacher tip: I told them if they popped their balloon, we would have to throw it away, but if they didn't, they could TAKE IT HOME. You would've thought I said the balloons were made of gold.* Each balloon had an addition or subtraction fact on it. Their job was to solve the problem and talk to their team to figure out what strategy made the most sense to solve that problem. 


They were all able to solve their equations and could tell me the strategy they used!! I was SO proud!

Then I told them that our new unit for January is about graphing, so we were going to graph the balloons that were in the bag to see which color we had the most of. I gave them each a balloon to color to match the balloon they grabbed, and we made a little class graph. 

Yellow won! 

We put balloons in backpacks and came back to answer questions about our graph, talk about collecting data and what that means, and some different types of graphs. This was a much more engaging way to introduce data collection and interpreting graphs than had I just started with a workbook page. And hopefully they will remember it. :) 

We finished the day writing our own New Year's resolutions. 

I wish I could tell you where this little project came from. I think it may be older than I am, but it's so darn cute, I do it every year! 

Happy 2017, everyone! I hope your year is off to a great start! 

Sunday, January 1, 2017

Spring Teacher Blogger Retreat!!

We are ready to roll out the red carpet and announce that we are opening registration for the

And you WILL NOT want to miss what we have planned for you this year!
Are you ready to be treated like the red carpet star that you are?
Need a weekend of pampering to escape from the “work” of teaching?
Need to be re-energized and fall in love with teaching all over again?
Ready to shine and be recognized for the teaching-star that you are?

Then come walk the red carpet with us at French Lick Resort!
French Lick is an incredible resort is located in southern Indiana, but it is within 3 hours of Cincinnati, Nashville, Indianapolis, and St. Louis!

And let me tell you...they are ready to pamper us again!  

Here are the details...
WHO:  YOU are invited!
WHAT:  Spring Blogger/Follower Retreat!
WHEN: March 17, 18 & 19, 2017
WHERE:  French Lick Resort & Casino - French Lick, IN
WHY:   To meet new friends, share blogging & TPT tricks & tips, 
and just have fun! {LOTS and LOTS of FUN!}

Join us for the whole weekend, or just a day!
Here is a peek at some of the things we have planned…
Friday, March 17th
·       OPTIONAL:  Many attendees gather and socialize at the beautiful West Baden Hotel.  Come early and join us! 

Saturday, March 18th
·       Blogger Meet-Up Luncheon:  Get-to-know-you luncheon, teacher product giveaways, and “Teacher Tool” gift swap game

·       Keynote Speaker:  None other than PRINCIPAL GERRY will be there to uplift, inspire, and create a room full of laughter

·       Teaching, TPT, Blogging Round-table and Workshop Sessions:  We will send out a survey asking for topics of interest and we invite you to submit a round-table proposal as well. 

·       Dinner Reservations at Resort Restaurant/s:  (OPTIONAL) Meet up for dinner at one of the resort’s casual, but classy restaurants.

·       Saturday Night Social Event:  Since everyone who is a teacher knows they went into this profession for the fame and fortune (yeah right!!)……We will be rolling out the red carpet for you as we invite you to dress up as your favorite star, pose for the paparazzi, and fabulous fun with friends!  (Heavy hors d’oeuvres, non-alcoholic beverages, photo booth pictures and party favors included.  There will also be a cash bar.)

Sunday, March 19th
·       Sunday Breakfast/Brunch:  (OPTIONAL) Meet at the resort’s famous breakfast buffet for our last gathering of good food, good conversation, and goodbyes!

The cost for attending this event is $75, which includes your lunch and beverages, the whole afternoon of workshops and fun, and our Saturday night social event (including food and non-alcoholic drinks).  This is the ONLY required fee for the entire weekend!  The rest of the event (hotel fees, if you choose to stay on site, and the remainder of the meal fees will be on your own, based on your choices!).  If you live close, you may choose to drive in for the day.  This fee needs to be paid by Feb.12 to guarantee your registration.  Also, note that due to the increasing popularity of this event, registration may have to be limited due to size.  (More details for payment will be posted on our private FB meet-up/retreat group page.)
Wondering if this event is something you might be interested in?  Check out what some of last year's attendees have to say...
Hannah F.Last year was my first year at French Lick and I was so nervous! I remember driving up there and imagining all the things that could go wrong! (of course) But, when I arrived I was overwhelmed with the kindness of every single person there. Everyone felt like they belonged and they did! The whole weekend was full of fun activities that helped me grow as a teacher and as a person. I made so many brand new friendships that I will carry with me forever. I remember driving away feeling refreshed and so ready to get back into my classroom! This weekend will refresh your love for teaching from the very instant you step into the hotel! “

Heidi N. "It was so refreshing to be surrounded by like minded teachers!  I left the weekend with new perspective, new ideas, and a lot of new friends!"

Maja A. "Last year's meet up inspired me to do so many new things, I finished out the school year strong with the things I learned from the other teacher/bloggers there!  I am so excited for this years meet up!"

Are you ready to sign up for a star-studded weekend of fun?  Simply click HERE to register for the event.
Questions?  Feel free to contact us at