Monday, April 29, 2013

Start Your Engines!

Ladies (and two gentlemen), start your engines (or push your pedals)!

Every year, my school sets school wide reading goals for March. We usually do a goal for each grade level in our K - 2 building. Then we plan a "reward" for the students if they reach the goals. This year, our principal promised the students that we would invite them to one of our secret staff big wheel races...if they reached their goals. He told them that students are usually not invited, but that just this once we would invite every student in our building to watch our next race. He also told them that the loser of the race would be sprayed with the giant hose from one of our local firetrucks.

They reached their goals...and we gathered our race gear and set a date for the big race. We actually had to do the race in mid-April to avoid the snow that hangs around in these parts. Our principal (Mr. Principal of the Year - for real) LOVES these big events!

 Here he is all ready to rock in his race gear! 
We drew numbers out of a hat for our big wheels. 
 Obviously he did not get a good number. :)

  Now these are intense machines! 

Pre-Race Photos

 This is me and my friend Nicole (who teaches K across the hall).
We spent the week before the big race doing timed trials in our hallway.
We even used our big wheels to lead the class to and from special classes, 
to strengthen our leg muscles for the big race.

And... this is the lead member of our Pit Crew,
 my friend Kathy (pit name, Cynthia), 
who also teaches K across the hall.
Diggin' her pit crew outfit! 
I think my eyes might be closed, but who could tell with that Super G mask on my face.

Action shots
Just off the starting line (me = pink helmet). 
 It appears that I am slightly behind the racer on the right.  
I was.  They actually made me and a few others start behind those radio flyers 
because our razors were so much faster.  Blah, blah, blah.

In this picture it appears that I came in 3rd place.  I did (boo!).  Our PE teacher came in 1st place, but he was in the army and spent his time jumping out of planes...
so I'm guessin he might have some kind of special big wheel training.

Our principal conveniently came in last and was showered with cheers from our students 
and LOTS of water from the fire department.

So proud of our students and so grateful to be part of this staff.
Another great day in Dexter...

Sunday, April 28, 2013

Camp Read a Lot - winners!

For everyone who entered the Camp Read a Lot (Classroom Campout Fun!) giveaway...


You're all winners! 
 I couldn't pick just one. 
Check your inbox. There should be a message from my yahoo account (titled From Funky First Grade Fun). Yahoo allows me to send the giant files that gmail doesn't like. :) 

 Happy Sunday and happy camping!

Saturday, April 27, 2013

Camp Read a Lot (part 3) - S'more Vocabulary Please!

Three of my students told me that our classroom campout was the "best week of their life". I'm sure that might change the next time they go to Disney or when the local Dairy Queen opens, but for now I'm honored that they enjoyed it so much. 

 You can read my Camp Read a Lot part 1 post here

 You can read my Camp Read a Lot part 2 post here

 My campers made a few different camp souveniers to take home at the end of camp. One of their favorite souveneirs was the s'more vocabulary craftivity. At Camp Read a Lot, we had daily themes which you can read about in the part 1 post above. We did the s'more vocabulary craftivity on the day with theme S'more Reading Please. 

 Here is a picture of the s'more vocabulary craftivity. My campers were so excited to be able to make their very own little s'more. I let my campers use stamps to stamp camping themed pictures on the inside of the s'more (and they wrote the words). I just happened to have a set of old stamps that were camping themed. In my Camp Read a Lot (Classroom Campout Fun!) pack, I included a set of pictures (with lines for campers to write the words). The instructions and the cover are also included.

This is what the inside of one looked like.

Stop by my Tpt store if you'd like to check out the Camp Read a Lot (Classroom Campout Fun!)!

I will be contacting a winner (or maybe 2) for the giveaway soon.  It will probably be tomorrow, because today's schedule includes soccer pictures, a soccer game, baseball pictures, a baseball game, 2 dance recital performances and two very tired parents.  

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Camp Read a Lot (part 2)

I've always wanted to have a classroom campout! This year I finally did it. It was honestly so much fun for my students (and me). I posted a bit about it earlier this week. You can read that part here (Camp Read a Lot part 1)

Each day during our camp, we transformed our normal morning meeting into a "campfire meeting". One of my campers was chosen each day to use a rainstick to signal the start of our campfire meeting. The campers gathered around the campfire to sing the camp welcome song to start each campfire meeting. We made up the camp welcome song together (with a few suggestions from the camp director - me) on the first day of camp. Then we sang the camp welcome song each time visitor came to our classroom camp throughout the week. I think we sang to the reading intervention specialist 5 times that week and I'm pretty sure some teachers stopped by to chat just so the cute little campers could sing to them. 

Here is our campfire. 

One of the teachers across the hall also let me borrow her inflatable campfire. That made spontaneous campfire meetings quick and easy. You can purchase your own by clicking on the image below.

My Camp Read a Lot (Classroom Campout Fun!) pack is available in my Tpt store.  

More about the camper favorites in the next few days...


Monday, April 22, 2013

Camp Read a Lot (part 1)

I'm a little behind on the posts that are on my to-do list. Soccer, baseball, dance, grandparent's tea, staff big wheel race, piano list of excuses could go on and on.

Last month, my class went to Camp Read a Lot (which was really a classroom campout in our classroom). I honestly think it was my favorite week of teaching (in 15 years)! My little campers (and their camp director) had so much fun!

 Here is a picture of the outside of my room all set up for camp!

 We used the table in the picture as our camp registration table. As I welcomed the campers on the first morning of camp, one of my parents worked at the registration desk to register each camper. The registration form is in my Camp Read a Lot (Classroom Campout Fun!) product.
 I did my campout during the last week of March, 
but it could be done at any time of the year.  
I'm thinking it would also be lots of fun at the end of the school year.


Don't ya love my teepee?!?!  It's actually not mine.  My friend, who teaches across the hall, let me borrow her teepee.  I had another teepee (from our library) and 3 small tents (borrowed from parents) set up in my classroom throughout the week.

We had a theme for each day of camp.  The themes were Read Under the Stars, Hike and Read, Campfire Stories, S'more Reading Please and Camp Sing a Long. Activities to go with the theme for each day are also included in my Camp Read a Lot (Classroom Campout Fun!) pack.

Here is a picture of my kids on Read Under the Stars day. I hung glow in the dark stars from the ceiling so the little campers could read with their flashlights.  I also played one of those sounds of nature CD's since there are always crickets chirping in the dark at camp.

More about Camp Read a Lot coming soon...

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Spring Math Boxes Freebie

Happy Tuesday! 
 I have a little spring themed math box freebie for you today!  

If you like this version, you might want to go back to this post (here) to grab the winter version that I shared as a freebie a few months ago.

Enjoy your day!

Monday, April 8, 2013

Bring on Spring Sale!

I love sales! I think you're supposed to clean in the spring...
but I decided to bring on spring in a different way.

I'm having a sale at my Tpt store!  If you've made purchases from my store in the past, please know that I truly appreciate it.  The money I earn in my Tpt store allows my two teacher family to give the college savings accounts for our children a big boost.  The Gillow family is grateful. Thank you!

Here are some of my best sellers...

Animal Research Book (can be used with any animal)

Informational Text Unit
Short Vowel Centers
Sight Word Stories for Beginning Readers

And here are some spring products 
that might be helpful...

A memory book for your students to complete and take home as a keepsake!

A Mother's Day book that your students can give as a gift 
(or you can use the individual pages).

Spring Math Journal Prompts (I have a fall and a winter set as well.)

My most recent additions...

Late to the Party - Visit TBA to Get Your FREEBIES!

I'm late to the party.

Here are my excuses...
1. Pikes Peak
2. Cave of the Winds
3. Glenwood Springs Natural Hot Spring
4. Red Rock Amphitheater
5. hiking in the mountains
6. antique shopping
7. Colorado Rockies - opening day baseball game!

Do my excuses sound like a list of the fun things my family did over spring break? Oh, how I love spring break!

I also love TBA (Teaching Blog Addict)! TBA is celebrating it's 2nd birthday! TBA has changed quite a bit since Tamara (the founder) had the brilliant idea of starting this "collaborative blog" while she was getting a haircut. When I get my haircut, I'm usually just focusing on my fear that someday I'll need a complete wash of color (rather than the highlights that barely cover my gray these days). Ha!

 To celebrate two great years, TBA is offering a TON of freebies for their faithful followers (and anyone who wants to stop by actually). I was not late to the "add your freebies" part of the party. I added several of my own freebies to the list of freebies that you'll find on TBA.

Teaching Blog Addict - Ultimate Freebie

Check it out! Clear off your desktop and get ready to download. You won't be sorry you visited! Happy Birthday, TBA!

What's happening this week...

Happy Monday!

Sunday, April 7, 2013

Let's Get Acquainted Linky

Home sweet home! We just returned from a trip to Colorado and I'm trying not to think about the fact that spring break is almost over. If you're lucky enough to live in Colorado...we love your beautiful state! It was hard to leave, but we are glad to be home (at least that is what we keep telling our kids). 

To help me avoid reality, I'm trying to catch up on all the bloggin' that I missed.

Latoya, from Flying into First Grade, is hosting another Let's Get Acquainted linky party!

 The topic this week is... 

Stranded on an island...what 3 things would you have to have with you? 

 1. family? And if they are not allowed to come...then my phone which has lots of pictures of my family.
 2. Water - I really wanted #2 to be chocolate, but that doesn't seem sensible.  So...water it is. I hate to be thirsty/hot and I associate the word "island" with both. 

 3. Sunscreen - My skin is butt white and it gets crispy like a lobster if I don't wear SPF 70 at all times. I even buy makeup with SPF 30 so that my ghostly lookin' skin stays that way in the winter.  I live in Michigan folks.  The sun rarely shows it's face in the winter here.  But, just in case it does...this girl is ready! This is my favorite sunscreen. I use about 5 bottles of it all by myself each summer (seriously). Love this stuff!
 Hope you'll stop by to visit Latoya and link up for her party!  

I'm workin' on a freebie or two for later this week and I still have lots of catchin' up to do.