Monday, December 31, 2012

New Years Link Up and Resolutions...

I think one of my favorite parts of blogging is looking at other blogs.  I have met (actually not met at all, just stalked) so many wonderful and creative teachers from around the country.  It is so cool to be able to read a blog and go "hey, I can do that!" or "phewww, so I'm not the only one that feels that way!"  I will also say that it has been a true blessing to see how many of these wonderful teachers are believers and followers of Christ.  How cool is that?!?!?!

When I found out about this linky party....I was excited but slightly nervous.  With all these people linked up, I may have to actually do these things!  As a teacher, I am snuggled in nice and cozy to how I do things...shaking it up really shakes me up!  But, maybe thats the point?  So here they are!

I also linked up late, so didn't exactly follow the schedule, but it really pushed me to make resolutions in general!

This time last year, I wasn't in the best place.  I had my wonderful job, family, and God...but nothing else was going the way I planned.  Looking back a year later, I can now say THANK GOD for this year!  Nothing overly drastic, wonderful or terrible happened...but it was a year to learn about myself and really grow. Knowing this, makes me super excited for 2013!

 Speaking of grow....oh my goodness my baby sister is a teenager.  And not just a teenager, a fashionable, gorgeous, funny teenager. It honestly seems like just yesterday I was a gawky SUPER awkward 11 year old picking her up from the airport.  That adorable 6 month old baby arriving off the plane from Korea has now turned into a 13 year old teen who I am so proud of!  So my not only a sister, but a woman she can look up to.  Being a teen in today's world seems near impossible, but I pray that this year I can make conscious choices with her in mind. Model how to be faithful, selfless and kind.

 This is me and my gorgeous best friend on her wedding day two years ago. This september, I found out that I was going to be an "aunt" and they were going to be welcoming a baby boy in April!  I was so excited and couldn't wait to be such a huge part of this baby's life...but wait...she lives in Rochester, NY.  As in, not that close to St. Michaels, MD.  I realized then that I have to make more of an effort to stay connected to people I love. So my resolution...reach out more to friends and loved ones.  I can get very comfortable in my own little work, come home, work some more, sleep routine.  This year I'm going to push myself to broaden my horizons and do more with the people I cherish!

And then comes Cami....who as you can see has to be in the middle of everything...
You can't take a picture, or move for that matter, without her there...

But, oh my goodness I love that dog!  She is the sweetest and most loving dog I have ever seen.  She is such a love and I can't imagine her not being in the middle (literally) of our lives.  When it is just the family in the house, Cam will settle down and chew a bone or nap like an angel....but when someone comes in the door...that's a different story.  She get's so excited about other's entering the house, that it makes it hard to have company and we end up having to put her away when guests come.  Which is such a shame, because they really would love her if they saw the true Cami. So my resolution...spend some serious time working with my dog. Goldens are such a smart breed...I know if I took the time, we could fix this.  P.s. comment if you have suggestions!  

At the beginning of this school year, I started my masters in ESOL Literacy. I crazy?!!??!!  So my resolution...Keep on keeping on!
I tend to ebb and flow with the whole desire to work out thing.  During this picture, I was all for running marathons!  Not so much two months later. So my resolution...look at exercise differently and make it a part of my life...not just a passing idea.

This year has been very hard for myself and many teachers around our area.  Counties have jumped head first into Common Core, asking us teachers to basically build the plane as we are flying.  With our curriculum guides and resources gone, we are the ones developing, creating, testing, and teaching this new curriculum.  In the beginning of the school year spirits were down and bad attitudes were up.  And I admit, I was right there with them.  It is very hard to truly connect and teach students when you are completely drowning in work, just to get from one day to the next. So my resolution...stop thinking the above quote is funny. I have talked to my colleagues recently about the awesome results we already see from Common Core.  Yea, it's hard work, it's frustrating, and sometimes it doesn't seem fair.  But the kids are benefiting, and how cool is it going to be ten years from now when I can say, "yea, I had part in developing the first grade curriculum in my county when we started Common Core." 

I really, really, really want to buy a house.  In my head, it is silly that I can't find a cottage like Miss. Honey lived in.  Why should this be so difficult?  This is the perfect place for Cami and I, pre- boyfriend, marriage, and kids. So my resolution...keep saving, being smart with my money, praying on it, and looking for a suitable house to buy.


Sunday, December 30, 2012

The Desk Fairy Has Landed...

So in college, I had a ton of professors who explained that the "feeling" of your classroom will rub off on your students and set the tone.  They also said that if you are organized, your students will be too.  Well friends, I am organized.  So organized sometimes, that I forget where I labeled and put something important.

In the beginning of the year, I always take Friday afternoons to model for my students how to organize and clean out their desk.  After awhile, in my head, this should be catching and they should do it automatically.  Not so much. Enter the Desk Fairy....

I know there are 1000,00000,0000 versions of a desk fairy system out there...I also know 1000,00000,0000 isn't a real number. But, I wanted to create one using original lyrics and rhymes!  Check out my TPT store here, or click the picture below to go right to the item!


Saturday, December 29, 2012

Happy Snirt Week Friends...

 Let me just start by saying that as a Christian, I celebrate Jesus' birth all year long.  Being a Christian isn't always fun,rainbows, butterflies and super sparkly days, but my belief in Christ does give me a joyful heart even when I am not "happy."

BUT that week after the actual man-made holiday of Christmas....that time is kind of depressing.  I think I like the build up (Thanksgiving-Christmas Eve) so much more!  I equate the week after Christmas to the week after a freshly fallen snow (which by the way, with this global warming stuff...I doubt I'll ever see snow again in MD).  You know when the pretty snow (Christmas) starts to melt and mix with dirt and becomes that nasty brown mess (the week after Christmas)?  Well that nasty brown mess, my friends is SNIRT (snow/dirt).  And we are in the midst of snirt week.  Good luck!

Snirt week has a way of highlighting the things in your life that you weren't noticing during the freshly fallen Christmas snow time....

1. I need to get out of my vacation coma and do lesson plans.
2. We still have a lot of school left in the year.
3. IRA's and report cards are looming in the January forecast.
4. I have no room in the inn for all of my clothes/accessories.
5. My dog is not as trained as I thought she was.
6. I somehow have acquired a taste for very expensive things (David Yurman, Tory Burch, etc.)  These brands aren't sold at Target...and hello, I'm a teacher.
7. I pay for the gym monthly...enough said.
8. Eating peanut brittle and sugar cookies for breakfast isn't socially accepted after January 1st.
9. I only have four more days to wear yoga pants.
10. Can someone please sell me their adorable, little, perfect for a single teacher house...for relatively cheap?

In other snirt week news, I FINALLY finished my snowman literacy activity packet for TPT. Check it out!

My next task is to create 'THE DESK FAIRY" system that I threatened my students with before I left.  Stay tuned for that!  

Also, before I depress you too much....
Holy Teacher Chair!!!!! I cannot wait to set this up in the front of my classroom!

Holy Teenage Sister...when did that happen??!!?!?


Saturday, December 22, 2012

Let's See How Long This Lasts....

So here's the thing...I have gone on a school work strike for the holidays...or for a few days of the holidays, let's be realistic.  I had huge plans to create and sell on TPT from day 1 on break, but friends I need a break.  After 4 hours of being on break, I had that antsy "I need to plan" feeling...I didn't let it get to me though!  We all have been giving 150% since August with Common Core, Courageous Conversations, and so much more!  I am going to force myself to not do school work until after Christmas!  This is hard for me, but I know it will be good for me. So, how have I been holding down the "I need to plan" feelings....let me show you!

1. Napping with my Cami Girl

She is loving having me home all day with her, but, as you can see, she does not like being awakened for a photo op

2. Pinterest
This sums up my daily life as a teacher

Festive, but looks so much better on Pinterest...they must use hand models

3. Baking....from the stump!!! These are the three desserts I am trying for our Christmas Eve party @ my Dad's.  So far, I have successfully finished the chocolate layers for the peppermint cheesecake.  Yay me! Click the pics for the awesome blogs I got these from.

4. Shopping

From excited for this.  Cami always ends up losing her dog tag on her collar.  Now she can't!
Why wouldn't my dog absolutely NEED a toile dog bowl?

T-2 days until Santa comes!  Enjoy your break my teaching friends!


Tuesday, December 18, 2012

An Amazing Holiday Gift...

Happy Tuesday Friends!

Today was our last day of school in the 2012 school year (how crazy is that??!?!?)  I have just hauled in my many amazing kid given cards galore, a Coach purse (holllly awesomeness), tons of sweet treats and the cutest six-year old written cards you will ever see. The best gift I got today was seeing how truly thrilled all 19 of my students were to get the chapter books I gave them.  It was such a blessing to see how excited they were...a few of them even stopped mid-chaos-holiday party to begin reading!

I am now going to get sappy and share with you something that truly touched my heart and will be with me forever...I had a great day with my kids today.  The day was laid back (it was PJ day) and stress free.  I had fun!  My kids and I made hot chocolate, we laughed and were excited about Santa coming, and we had a blast eating treats literally all day long! It was one of those days where you say to yourself, as you're wiping frosting off a desk, "this is why I teach."

Which immediately brings me to tears because I have felt sadness and deep loss for those students in Connecticut as if they were my own.  My heart cannot fathom the pain those parents are feeling, but I can begin to understand what those teachers are and were feeling, because every teacher knows the very unique love we all have for our students.  Even the ones who drive us absolutely nuts, we love them. We provide a second home, a welcoming smile, a constant in their lives.  And regardless of what happens that is evil in this word, that fact will never change.  Ours is not a profession that you fall into, it is not a profession that you come into half heartedly...and that is evident in the stories and accounts we are hearing on the news.  I thank God for those amazing teachers who loved those babies until the very end, I thank God that we are still a nation full of schools with amazing educators, I thank God that every one of my students was shielded from the media and had no idea there was a reason to fear, I thank God.

On a lighter note, I will will leave you with some of my holiday highlights from the past week....

Kettle corn with melted peppermint hershey kisses...amazing!

Holiday Language Arts packs I sent home with my Language Arts friends

Tacky Christmas Sweater Family Portrait

Rosie's Holiday Haircut 

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

You Down Wit TPT?

So I got the Teachers Pay Teachers bug after I had spent probably a trillion dollars buying cute/amazing stuff for the last year.  I had been creating the math lessons basically from scratch for my whole team (as my county so awesomely leapt into Common Core without handing over the parachute) and my wonderful teammate Shafer, for the hake of it, posted one of my worksheets on TPT for free...and I got a lot of downloads!  She then began teaching me how to navigate the TPT world, which is like heaven on earth for educators....seriously!  It's like hitting up the under $5 section in target....don't pretend you secretly don't look like this when you find something new on tpt you love....

Anywhoooo, I did my famous "duh...Caitlin" line and realized, why shouldn't I get paid, or at least free downloaded, for all the work I put into the stuff I create?  Thus began my WHOPPING $4.80 franchise on TPT.  I'm pretty sure thats 10 hours/cent...but who cares!!!! I have just been creating small, itty bitty things to sell, but tonight...DUH DUH DUH...I ventured into the $8 price range. 

Now, I realize friends, no one will probably ever buy this bundle for $8, but a girl can dream right?!?!?!?!  Let me give you my sales on the first image to go straight to my store. 

This is a review lesson, two study guides and an assessment, with a version with numerals, I created for my first grade math unit on the below standard. 

Standard: 1.OA.1 Use addition and subtraction within 20 to solve word problems involving situations of adding to, taking from, putting together, taking apart, and comparing, with unknowns in all positions, e.g., by using objects, drawings, and equations with a symbol for the unknown number to represent the problem. 

This bundle includes: -A Smart Board lesson with two days of review packed in. -Two study guides my kiddos complete in class and then take home to review with families (parents sign the study guide and return the next day). -My assessment on the 1.OA.1 standard with number words in the word problems. -My assessment on the 1.OA.1 standard with numerals in the word problems for differentiation.



Sunday, December 9, 2012

My Album Dropped....

Hello Friends!
On Thursday night, Kelly M, Kelly U, Ali, Susie (over at Shafer's Shenanigans),Santa and I debuted my song (sung to the tune of "Call Me Maybe?") "Presents...Maybe?"  And I'm happy to was a hit!  We were all so nervous, but it went perfectly.  The audience loved it and we got many compliments afterwards.  It was a great winter program and I'm so proud of all of our kiddos.  It was a late night and we all rolled out of bed exhausted Friday morning and taught on.  And guess what, we made the local paper! So until our next performance, I'll leave you with our chorus....

Christmas is coming
carols, lights, stockin' stuffin'

Hot cocoa and its snowing
Where you think you’re going, Santa?

Hey, I haven’t seen you,
Watching me all year,
But I’ve been good,
So presents, maybe?

I couldn’t stand it,
If I just got coal, 
so here’s the chimney
Presents, maybe?


Sunday, December 2, 2012

On a Note Kick Tonight....

On a joyous note, the Spurry household has officially decked the halls...and we are exhausted!  I am lovvving all things holiday right now and my teammates are going to start getting annoyed because I literally throw up Christmas on everything I touch.

On a bah hum bug note, I was discussing with Shafer today how the weeks before winter break can literally suck the fun out of the holiday season.  We have the holiday program, interims, meetings, curriculum work, observations ( I am untenured, so I have 7 (GASP) a year) and on top of everything else we have to teach and be merry! I refuse to grinch it up and let this get to me....

On a I need to hit the gym note, has anyone else noticed how much food is put in a teacher's face this time of year?  How do you say no when a child hands you food?  They are so excited to see your face when you eat it...and you kind of also need the sugar to get through the day.  What a conundrum...

On a super exciting note, my album dropped a month ago (which means I wrote lyrics to go with someone else's song and like to say my album dropped as if I'm T.Swift) and some of the staff will be performing my original song Thursday night at the Winter Program....stay tuned for pictures and a video....maybe?

On a princess A note, happy birthday sweet girl!

On a freebie note, here are my cooperative learning tags that I created and am loving....I have started implementing these mostly during our CraftPlus writing time. The kiddos are loving it and I am noticing some great changes in behavior in some of my friends who have trouble staying on task.  These friends take their job VERY seriously. Click on the leader below and enjoy!


Wednesday, November 28, 2012

And The Countdown Begins...

Ok Friends...16 (school) days until Christmas Break!!! I feel like time painfully slooooowwws between Thanksgiving break and Christmas break and trudges along like molasses being poured on a freezing cold morning...yea thats the simile I came up with.

Anywhoo....Thanksgiving was amazing and I am oh so thankful for so so much!


Now that I'm back to school, I thought I'd blog about something that has to do with first grade....ahhh what a concept.  A month or so ago, I was doing my nightly Pintrest scroll through and came across this....

I got super excited because I'm always looking for new ways to engage my students who are reading below grade level, especially the boys!  I took this idea and created these....

I tried this out...after ALOT of modeling...and it was a super success!!! I have 2-3 students play during small groups.  What I love is that both students are actively reading during each turn. So, player 1 would read a word on the parking lot and tell player 2 to park his/her car there.  Player 2 then has to drive his/her matchbox toy car to that parking space and then read a word for player 1. Super fun!


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