Sunday, December 29, 2013

Long Time, No See

I know, I know. I've been missing in action for quite a while. Here I am! December is busy, what can I say?!

I'm on Winter break now. I took last week to celebrate Christmas, spend time with my family, and catch up around the house. This week will be all about getting ahead for school. I hope!

We did do some fabulous stuff this last month though. I was so busy trying to get everything done that I didn't take many pictures though! I know. I'm terrible.

I'll backtrack a little and show you what we did though. For Thanksgiving we made our own pumpkin pies. Cuteness!
 We started out by crushing up graham crackers for the crust. They LOVED this part!

 Then we got our filling all ready.

 Mixed it all up.

 Filled our crusts.

 Then completed the pies with whipped cream, of course!

We did LOTS of other things. We learned about that Bossy E, became Pilgrims and Indians, learned all about the Mayflower, and so much more.

Let's skip to December. It was filled with present making, adjective finding, Christmasy things, Polar Express, and so much more. I wish I could show you more, but alas, I was a terrible teacher photographer.

Look at the super cute presents we made though!! LOVE! Don't mind my messy area. Don't try to say yours doesn't look like that the day before the Christmas party, too!  We did Handprint Santas, Melted Glue Snowmen, Thumbprint Reindeer, and Frosty kids. We also made a handprint calendar, but no picture of that. I love them. I hope their parents did too.

Finally, I made something for you! Unit 4's Wonders Selection Tests. Hopefully, I'm ahead of you! I hope they are helping you out! Enjoy!

Maybe you'll see me again before the break is over!

Be fun and fabulous!

~Mrs. Sweeney

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

October Fun

Well, I started a post on the plane to and from Hawaii, but didn't get it finished and now it is lost in cyberland somewhere. Good thing is that now I have a product for you to go with the blog post. :)

Boy, has it been busy around here. I know it's been a while, but if you remember I was on my way to Hawaii for a week for an singing competition. Well, I made it there and back. My class survived. My sub survived. My classroom mostly survived (can't be gone without something getting broken, right?!) My family survived. I felt like I wasn't going to survive! Who gets sick in Hawaii?! This girl!! I got terribly sick my 1st day there. Lost my voice, horrible bronchitis which caused asthma issues, and more. Nice, huh? So pretty much I just laid at the pool every day because I couldn't breathe at all. Someone was sitting on my chest the entire time I was there. No fun, that's for sure. I missed all of the cool things that make Hawaii, Hawaii. Oh well, one day I'll go back. Maybe? Until then...

We did some fun things at school in the month of October, though. Let me show you.

We were learning all about communities, so we decided to make our own community map. They LOVED it. Here is the blank map.

 Then we went outside and explored natural resources. They took their clipboards and paper and drew what they saw. I loved seeing them outside, exploring. They found so many resources, some that surprised me. It was awesome, and they really knew what they were after that!
Then we came back in and felt real cotton. No, not cotton balls, cotton still on the stalk. They compared it to their shirts. Awesome!

Then they made their own natural resources to go on our map. I gave each group a certain resource, and let them create. Love it!
The next day we talked about the different buildings in a community and then they created their own. I think they did an excellent job. 

The next day, we walked around the school building, finding all of the people that helped in our school community. We talked to a janitor, the nurse, the secretary, etc. Then we came back and talked about who was important in the community. They made people to go with each building. Apparently, I did not get a picture of that. :( Let me just say that it was the coolest map I ever saw. ;)

We did lots with pumpkins. We compared them to apples. We gutted them. We decorated them. We counted seeds. We did an experiment to see if it would float. We only had one right guess! Who knew big, fat pumpkins could actually float! ;)

We learned all about bats. Bats sure have some awesome vocabulary words. The kiddos loved using those words all week. I partnered them up and let them read a magazine all about bats. Then they each picked their favorite fact and added it to our bat can/have/ are chart. 

Then that darn Candy Corn Bandit came and stole our candy corn. We had to make lots of predictions on where we would find it and who had done it. Thanks Abby Mullins from! This activity rocks!

We did our book report projects. They decorated a pumpkin to look like a book character. Look at this fantastic character!

October is such a fun month. I can't believe it is already almost Thanksgiving though! Geez, time sure does fly!

I finally finished my Unit 3 Selection Tests for the Wonders Reading Series. I meant to get it done in Hawaii, but that didn't happen. Here it is though. 

Comprehension tests of the weekly story for McGraw Hill's Reading Wonders Anthology stories. This pack is just what you need for all of Unit 3! Unit 1 and Unit 2 are also available.

Each test is 2 pages (10 questions) that can be copied front and back. They include multiple choice, true and false, and short answer questions perfect for the beginning of 1st grade. They cover comprehension of the story, details, sight words, and the spelling skill for each week. The tests will increase in difficulty with each unit. You can start out by reading the tests to your students, and gradually move to them reading it independently. 

Weeks covered are:
Week 1- On My Way to School
Week 2- The Big Yuca Plant
Week 3- The Gingerbread Man
Week 4- Long Ago and Now
Week 5- From Cows to You

Be Fun and Fabulous!

~Mrs. Sweeney

Sunday, October 27, 2013

Busy, Busy

Oops! I keep thinking about blogging. Does that count? I guess not. I have been insanely busy the last few weeks.

I don't know if I've mentioned it, but I'M GOING TO HAWAII! Next week! I have a singing competition and it happens to be in Honolulu. It also happens to be during school. Why couldn't it be during Fall Break?! Sooo, I have been working my little tail off trying to get everything done and ready. I've got to do sub plans for an entire week, plan for the week after since I won't be any good to anyone, and a million other things. So it has been insane around here. I've also left my camera at school 2 weekends in a row, so I haven't had any fun pictures to upload. i do have some though. Maybe on my super long plane ride, I will be able to do some blogging. We'll see. I did want to post one cute thing though!

This week is Red Ribbon Week. We are having a door decorating contest. I so did not want to add another thing to my to do list, but now that it's done, I LOVE it. It is so cute and I wish I could keep it up all year. Look, look, look! It fits my classroom perfectly. :)

Here it is closed with the palm tree on top.

here it is open into my classroom. I like it both ways. 

I hope we win, but even if we don't, I like it, the kids like it, and that's all that matters, right? Sort of. :) Have I mentioned I'm competitive?! :) 

Anyway, I am off to bed, but I wanted to share some cuteness. Hopefully, after Hawaii, things will settle down for me and I will be back here like normal.

Be fun and Fabulous!
~Mrs. Sweeney

Sunday, October 13, 2013

Assessment Queen!

Ha! Want to know something funny. All through school and student teaching, I constantly felt that I was lacking in the assessment category. That was the area I put that needed improvement every time I was asked. I wasn't good at making them up, and of course, I hated giving them. There are so much more fun things we could be doing rather than testing! :) But alas, the world of teaching is a lot about testing. So, apparently I turned that weakness into a strength and didn't even know it! I guess it just came gradually with time, but now it seems most of what I do is making tests! I made all of the assessments for our grade level this year. I made many for you on Teachers pay Teachers, and I've made some more!

We got a new Reading series this year, McGraw Hill's Reading Wonders. We noticed that they didn't have a weekly assessment that went with the story for the week. The booklet they gave us is like a 6 page test and it doesn't cover anything about the story. I wanted to be able to gauge the skill and what they were getting from what we had worked on all week long, so I started making a weekly test for the story. Then my team started using it, and what do you know... another TpT product was born. I figure lot of you could use these weekly tests as well. I might as well share.

Unit One is probably done for most of you, but I do have that ready to go. You can get it for next year. :)

Unit 2 is ready to go for you now. Click on the picture below to get it on TpT. I've also included the info sheet so you can see what you are getting and a sample sheet so you can see what page 1 of a test looks like. I hope they help you out. They will be scaffolded as the Units progress. Right now, I am reading the test out loud to the students. I will start letting them read it after Christmas probably. They are simple enough that they can be read on their own now as well. I just want to get them used to taking the test, so I can for sure see what they know, rather than maybe a guess because they didn't read it correctly. I will be adding Unit 3 soon. I hope you enjoy and they make life easier for you!

Fall Break is over for us! I can't believe it goes by so quickly, but at the same time seems so long! I am going to be struggling in the morning, that's for sure! 

Be fun and fabulous!

~Mrs. Sweeney

Monday, October 7, 2013

Assessments Galore!

Woohoo! It's F A L L     B R E A K! Don't get me wrong. I love my kiddos and love to teach, but boy, have I missed sleep! :) We aren't doing anything special this week, so I finally feel like I can stop running all over the place and just relax and take things slow. Plus, I get to work on things that I've not had time for like my Common Core Assessments Packs that I've been working on for weeks!

Our team does common assessments for the whole grade level every 3 weeks. We do this to get an accurate picture of where each child is and where we might need to intervene. I happened to be the one to make them all for the grade level, so I get to share them with you! We took each standard and made an assessment to match. We even did them in smaller tiered- incremements so we aren't moving on if the kiddos aren't getting the basics.

We give the assessment to every child throughout the grade level. Then, for those kiddos that might be struggling or just aren't there yet, we usually re-teach the skill in a small intervention group.  I made a Form B or 2nd assessment so we can re-test after the skill has been re-taught. Hopefully, by this point they've mastered the skill. If not, further intervention is needed and we go from there.

So, here are the assessments packets I've got for you today!

This is my Reading Foundations Assessment for skill 1.RF.2. It's a Form A and For B for each of the 4 subgroups. It gives the standard you are assessing, the teacher and student instructions, and the assessment form. It is a quick, easy way to assess your students often so you always know what they are mastering. It's a great price, so click on the picture above to check it out today!

Finally, I've combined my Math Common Core Assessments into one, big mega pack. It's 47 pages of Math Assessments! That's a lot of Math! That's a lost of assessments! Believe me, this pack will make your life much easier by giving you the data you need, and helps you get a firm grasp on what your kiddos are retaining. This packet tests all the skills for Operations and Algebraic Equations, as well as Numbers and Operations in Base Ten. I have these assessments in separate packs, specific to the standard, but this is the better deal because you get all of them in one for a lower price. Click on the picture below to take you to my TpT store.

Be fun and fabulous!

~Mrs. Sweeney

Saturday, September 28, 2013

Apples, Apples, Apples!

I just love apple week! I've noticed many of you do as well. Hooray for apples! They make learning fun!I'll talk all about that in a minute, but something interesting happened yesterday.

My principal apparently read my blog! Um, that was embarrassing! LOL! I did not expect that at all, so that conversation was interesting. It caught me off guard so I sounded like an idiot, again. I think he likes to make me squirm. I like to stay quietly behind the scenes, so I didn't really want anyone around here to know about my blog, etc. Well, that cat's out of the bag. I should have expected it, but I liked being anonymous in the world wide web. :) So Mr. YouKnowWhoYouAre. Shoo! You make me nervous! :) :) :)

I love my blog though. It helps me remember the fun things we do each year. I love writing, and I love sharing. So, thankfully, I love my job, my school, and my kiddos. My blog is squeaky clean, so I guess it doesn't matter who reads it, right?!  I'll just pretend to be oblivious to readers I might know. :)

So, on to apples. We had a great week. In fact, we had so many apples sent in that we get to do more next week! Yippee!

We ate lots of apple products. We had one or two things a day, rather than one big apple tasting day. I like it better this way, and they really get to enjoy the things they try, rather than stuffing it all in. We had the 3 different colors of apples, apple bread, apple chips, dried apples, apple butter, apple juice, apple jacks, apple pie, etc. We even made our own applesauce and wrote all about it. They loved that. It was easy, and it tasted yummy! Crockpots are awesome!

We also did some cute writing all about apples, but I forgot to take a picture of that since it was hanging in the hallway. I'll try to remember to come back and do that next week. 

We made the parts of an apple all together and then they made it on their own. I did this last year so I didn't take a picture of that, but I'll add last year's pictures for you to see.

We also graphed our apples. Notice that everyone liked at least one type! Woohoo! That's a miracle! We have some picky kiddos, that's for sure! I had 2 that had never tried an apple before! Amazing! 

We did an experiment to see what would help an apple stay yellow, instead of turning brown. Yes, I had to use Root Beer because the only other soda I had was Sprite, and I thought the lemon in that would keep the apple yellow. LOL. We used soda, milk, water, and lemon. We got the experiment sheet from Her Applelicious Activities Packet is great.

For math, we graphed our seeds and then practiced subtraction problems with the seeds to introduce subtraction in a fun, tactile way. 

It was a fun week. Next week is our last week before Fall Break. I get to get observed, a student teacher is coming to watch us one day, and we have our field trip to the apple orchard. It will be a busy, filled up week!

Be fun and fabulous!
~Mrs. Sweeney

Sunday, September 22, 2013

It's Done!

Woohoo! FINALLY! My Math Common Assessments are all done! I have all of the Operations and Algebraic Thinking and Numbers and Operation in Base Ten complete and ready for you! Whew! That was a lot of work, but they will be worth it for both myself and all of you. It will save us a lot of time and headache, and it's a great way to have that important data that is always needed. I will be combining the packets into one which will be 48 pages worth of Common Core goodness, but for now, I've put both packets on sale! They are both 20% off in my store for the next 3 days. Now is your chance to get them while they are cheap!  :) The year has just begun and we have a lot of assessing to do. Might as well get that monkey off your back so all you have to worry about is the actual giving of the assessment, rather than making your own or finding one here and there. These are all in one place, plus there are so many options to choose from. You can do smaller assessments for a quick look at your student's progress. You can give an in-depth one that covers everything on the standard. You can re-teach and retest with the Form B, etc. Many, many options. I hope to save you some time and headache. Your life will definitely be easier, at least where Math is concerned. :)

Plus, did I mention they are on sale for 3 days! Get them while they are hot! 

Be fun and fabulous!
~Mrs. Sweeney

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Fun, Fun, Fun

What a fun week we've had. Of course, my camera is at school, so I will come back and add pictures later, but for now, let's blog! remember that time when I used to blog just about every day. Whew! Now, I'm good to do once a week. Oh, the summer life. :)

We are talking about living and non-living things this week. Such fun! We love learning about this. We started out learning our "It is Living" song. They love it, and it helps remind them of the characteristics of living things. We watched a powerpoint, a video, and sorted objects. We also learned a poem about worms. It's pretty cute, and it talks about eating worms, so they love that! We are also writing about worms this week. They are doing a great job. It's amazing how so many of them think that a worm is not living because it can be easily killed. We started our writing by reading Diary of a Worm and then trying to decide if a worm was living or not. This was before we had talked about living things at all, so they really had to use their brains. I had several say they weren't living because they shrivel up and die in the sun or people can squish them, or they can get cut in half. Boy, they are experts now, though! :)  Today was the best day yet. I brought in real, live worms and gummy worms. I put them on a plate and let them explore! They loved comparing and contrasting them. It really helped them see the difference in living and non-living. They LOVED it. Even my scaredy cats who didn't want to touch them. :)  Worms are fun. :)

We also had 2 fire drills this week. They were long, BUT we found a little friend. A turtle kept coming to visit outside our classroom! Perfect timing, little turtle! We got to watch him and decide what made him living. I do have a picture of this because I took it with my phone. :)

Yesterday, we met after school at a park and had a class meet and greet. Such fun! I started doing that when Shy Guy started Kindergarten because I wanted to see who he hung out with every day. I've done it every year since for both of my boys and for my classes. I love it, the parents love it, and the kids really love it! We didn't have as good a turn out this year. We were supposed to have the party last week but it decided to do a torrential downpour 30 minutes before the party so I had to reschedule. Yesterday was great weather and the kids loved coming to play. They talked about it all day today. :)

We loved making our Living Tree. I make it every year and the kids love it. They get to create, while showing what they learned. They get to pick their own living thing, make it out of construction paper, however they want to, and then write about why it is a living thing. Then we display it on our living tree for a couple of weeks.

I can't wait until Friday. Our county does a big Reading in the Schools Day once a year. It's a big deal where we celebrate reading. I am one of the coordinators for this in my school. I LOVE this day. It's fun, it promotes reading, it gets the kids excited to read, and  the community gets involved. We ask parents, grandparents, community leaders, football players, firemen, etc. to come in and read to our classes. It's a whole day of reading! What could be better, ESPECIALLY in a school! We are going to start the day off with a school wide book parade. Our class is doing the book "Rainbow Fish".  They loved the story and loved making their "costumes". I can't wait!

Next week will be lots of fun, too! It's Apple Week!

Hopefully, this weekend I will get my other Math Common Assessment packet finished. I just haven't had any time at all to work on it. My goal is this weekend! Be on the look out!

Be fun and fabulous!

~Mrs. Sweeney

Thursday, September 12, 2013

Budding Blogger

I am linking up with I {heart} Recess for the Budding Blog Linky Party. I started teacher blogging this summer and love it! Of course, I've slacked off a bit since school started, but now that we are calming down a bit, I hope to be back in full swing soon. I have lots of plans for some cool new things, and can't wait to share. I hope you become a follower to see what fabulous things our class can come up with!

Here are the answers to my questions. :)

1. Why did you start blogging?
     I love reading other teaching blogs to get ideas and fun, new products. A few of my teacher friends told me I should start a blog, as well. I put it off for a while, and then this summer I decided to bite the bullet. I didn't think it would amount to much, but I love writing, and I love putting my ideas down, even if it is just for myself. I did it, and I love it! I love sharing what we do and my ideas, and I hope it helps someone else in the process. 

2. What is your favorite subject to teach and why?
     I love pretty much all of it! I guess my very favorite is Writing, with Reading and Social Studies being a close second. I love that when they come in to first grade, they can barely write 2 sentences, and by the time they leave, they can write a whole page or more. I love seeing how much they grow and how they go from inventive spelling, to real words. I love that they use punctuation, and adjectives. They get so excited to write more and more. I also LOVE all the fun lessons that we can do in writing. It's my favorite time of the day!

3. Describe your teaching style.
    I am very hands on and activities oriented. I love getting them up and involved. We sing a song or do actions  to something (anything!) several times a day. I love it when they have fun and don't even realize they are learning. 

4. Give three interesting facts about you.
    Hmm. Let's see. I sing and dance in a women's a capella group. I am pretty shy and quiet in real life, but I love performing, so it shocks people a lot of the time. 

     I've lived in several different states. My dad was in the Navy, so we moved a lot. I went to 3 different schools my 3rd grade year. I don't remember 3rd grade at all, and my ability to do fractions shows that! :)

    I hate to talk on the phone. I pretty much don't answer unless it is my husband. I like to see people and their faces. I love email and texting though.

5. Do you have a TpT store? If yes, post the link :)
    Yep! I just started that this year too. I have lots of free things too, so go check it out. I love new followers!

                                  My TpT Store

Thanks for offering this linky party, Jess!

Sunday, September 8, 2013

Short and Sweet

Whew! I am tired! I've been working all weekend on my newest product, and you will love it!!


Yep! All the Assessments you need to assess student mastery of the Common Core Standards in Numbers and Operations in Base Ten. This is a 23 page mega assessment tool. Everything you need to get all those pesky assessments out of the way.

I am also almost done with my assessment packet for Operations and Algebraic Thinking as well. Woohoo!

Each standard has it's own short and sweet assessment and a follow up assessment that you can give if the first one wasn't quite mastered. There is also a student mastery checklist, and so much more.

Included in this packet are assessments for the following First Grade Standards:
Numbers and Operations in Base Ten

Go check it out! It will save you lots of time and headache.

Happy Assessing!

Be fun and fabulous!

~Mrs. Sweeney