Saturday, July 30, 2011

Do you use data notebooks?

When I was a new teacher, I use to frown {okay so I may have rolled my eyes} every time I would hear an "older" teacher talk about how things never change in education and that every new idea was just "reinventing the wheel." It always made me feel like my opinions were not valued or that I didn't have anything to contribute because I was the new kid on the block. So as I went on in my teaching career, I was careful as a mentor to not squash any ideas and keep my mind open.
So picture is the end of the year and my former intern, teaching buddy, and trusted friend came to me about a training she just went to. AND what did I do? SQUASH CITY! I am embarrassed to admit it...I had become the "old teacher" who was defending what I had always done… not budging...not even listening. She began to tell me about the Data Notebooks that the middle school kiddos were using and how we are going to do them next year. All I heard was...we are going to do them. {Did I have a choice?} Now, it is known and I will admit it is not one of my favorite traits but I am somewhat of a control freak. Thinking back I probably could have handled this situation better. 
So as the summer went on I thought about ways to make the Data Notebooks more meaningful to my firsties. And I realized I don't know much about them. So I am hoping to make a mends and listen. My ears and mind are open. Do you use Data Notebooks? What kinds of things do you put in them? How much time does it take for the kids? Can they do it independently? 
Then...just like usual the blogging fairy granted me a wish and her name is Mrs. Saoud.
She posted this giveaway today. Not only does it look meaningful… it's pretty darn cute too...which is making the "you were right and I was wrong” pill a little easier to swallow. Now, I can't wait to read her post about Data Notebooks. Be sure to check it out today. But why wait...let's get started here. I would love to hear how you use data notebooks. 
Until next time...

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Crafty or Credit Card

I was feeling a little crafty this weekend. I have to say that I am more of the buy it not make it type. Don't get me wrong...I like to put creative things together but I 'm not all that good at the creating part. So when I saw this project...I thought to myself...I can do that! Well...maybe with a little help from my honey. Who by the way needs a little more sweet talkin' these days. I guess 16 years of marriage and 10 years of school projects has left him a little reluctant. I use to be able to persuade him with the "think of all the money we will save" or "do it for the kids" but these days he would rather give me the credit card. Which I guess isn't so bad either...

I have seen these all over the blogs. So when my neighbor so kindly bought me the most ADORABLE garden fabric from IKEA ...I had no excuse. I know you're thinking...what a great neighbor! She is a teacher further explanation needed.
Here are the directions:
I promise anybody can do this! Savings Tips: Use foam for a twin mattress. I doubled the foam to make a thicker cushion. Ask your local Home Improvement store for scrap wood or be creative. I used an old shelf.

I make these pointers every year since I ALWAYS even though I say I won't end up changing my theme. I buy a pack of dowels and painted glue them together and you are done!

My last project to share was a freebie from a local coffee shop. It started as a plain cherry wood chair. I spray painted it black and added the dots. Although, I am not sure if I like the dots yet or not...a little too busy for me. I might paint it all black and buy a cute polka dot cushion instead. By the way...did you know that you can buy the spray paint that is for plastic and use it for wood...NO SANDING is needed! I might have to paint some more stuff!

Until next time...

Tuesday, July 26, 2011


Winner! Winner! Chicken Dinner!
I have never quite understood that saying but it sure is fun to say! Thanks for coming by to check out my new blog. I really have gained so much already from being a part of this bloggy world.
And the winner is....

Please email me your email address to receive your prize. Thanks for following!

Friday, July 22, 2011

Party Time!

CFC is having a Linky Party. You should check this one out! I do have a little disclaimer before I begin. I am writing my letter to the host of this Linky Party. If you haven't checked out her site on to find out why she is my blogging idol!

Dear Jodi, 
    You don't know me but I am your official blog stalker. In fact, my addiction started so long ago...that I don't even remember when I first started reading your blogs. To put things in some perspective...I purchased something from you and received it via email. Which these days can be compared to talking on a land line. {I suddenly feel REALLY old.} I write this next line with total confidence that you will know what I mean is meant with complete adoration. I read your blogs and laugh out loud. {Which I haven't done since you know who left Two and a Half Men.}I laugh because I GET IT! I get life with toddlers to Adam Sandler to crayfish to being the "old teacher" on campus. I totally get it!  
   I first came across your store and blog when searching classroom themes. It seemed as every year you read my mind and were just waiting there with ideas to share. So I added your link to my favorites bar and never looked back. I adore your blog for many reasons...too many to share. But I will say this...when I read your blog...I feel as if I am listening to an old I can always count on to make me laugh...share ideas... and remind me that teaching isn't always easy but it is always worth it.
Still stalking...

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Leave Me A Heartprint...

I made it through my first week of blogging. Let's celebrate!  
I am having a giveaway for a 10$ TPT gift certificate.  

We all have our favorites books that we read at the beginning of the year. I was looking for something new a few years ago and found this book. It is an adorable story of how our actions make others feel. I always read it before we make our class promise. We collect and share heartprints daily in our room. I decided to make a cute bucket (see below) to collect them in this year. I start with heart cut outs in the beginning of the year with my firsties just writing who the heartprint is to and their name. Then, when we share I have them explain why they gave it.  I made a printable that could be used at different times of the year also. Click on the image to grab your copy.

You can leave me a heartprint also. 
You can enter three ways. 
1. Follow this blog and leave me a comment that you did. 
2. Post about your favorite back to school book and link to this post. Leave me a comment with the link.  
3. Leave me a link to another newbie blog and follow them too!

I will choose a random winner on July 26th. Be sure to check back!
Until next time...

I Heart Blogging!

Have I mentioned I HEART BLOGGING! Just when I thought I couldn't find another reason...Meesabelle over at First Grade Frame of Mind had to post a giveaway for the one and only laminator I have asked Santa for year after year. She has 50 followers. Can I hear a big WOO HOO! {As a new blogger myself... I am totally excited for her.} So check out her site for a great giveaway and some amazing ideas! (Click the button)
If that wasn't enough...she also started a blog for first grade common core standards.Which is just mind boggling to me...two blogs...I can't family would never eat!
I am so excited about this because my state is just changing over this year.THANKS Meesabelle and keep on blogging!

Wish me luck!

Monday, July 18, 2011

Language Games

Okay. Here it goes. My name is Anais Novak and I am an addict. A blog addict that is. I think my first sign of addiction was when my 13 year old asked me when I was going to the grocery store. I replied, "Just one more blog!" I mean I can stop anytime I want. Right??? I just love the feeling when I open a new blog and see all the freebies calling my name! It's like Christmas morning or the day after they vacuum my classroom! Both of which leave me gitty with joy! One thing I love about blogging is that every idea leads to another. For example, the other day I was blog hopping and came across this adorable idea from Growing Kinders. Now, I have to admit since I have spent so much time feeding my addiction...I wasn't feeling all that crafty. So I picked up a cute bag and called it a day... but you get the idea. You can see my handy work below. Click on the Growing Kinders image to get your own copy of this cute riddle.

My cute bag from Growing Kinders. Click below to get the riddle!

So as I was saying earlier...I love blog hopping because one idea leads to another. My hop to Growing Kinders inspired me to put all of the language games I just adore into a handy little ring set. Click below to get your own free set of 20+ activities!
Until next time...


Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Bulletin Board Idea

Okay...another blogging first for me. I am linking up with Really Ropers bulletin board party. Click the picture...

I am doing a garden themed classroom next year. I am thinking of putting up a bulletin board that says Watch Us Grow! The letters in grow would increase in size. Here's the twist.. it is going to be a timeline of some sorts. I am thinking a monthly shared writing about what's going on in our room. Three reasons I LOVE this idea. 1. I don't have to change it. 2. It teaches the kids elapsed time and is student made. 3. I love 3-D stuff on a board and the ideas are endless.... garden tools, kids handprints or pictures as flowers. I would love to hear your ideas. Be sure to link up!
Until next time...

Schedule Cards

This is a long post but if you keep reading...I have a present for you at the end! After 10 years teaching it never surprises me how anxious I still get before school starts. This year I am feeling a little more nervous than usual. It all began during Spring Break when I headed to what I thought would be a normal trip to Barnes and Nobel. Where I {of course} headed straight to the professional books. Hannah, who was completely aware we could be here for hours...told me to text her when I was done. So guilt free I started moving books here and there and scanning covers to find something that interested me. {I have found a gem or two this way.} This is where I stumbled upon The Daily Five book. Okay, I must give full disclosure...I am somewhat a "literacy snob". Like most first grade teachers-I have my beliefs of how kids learn to read. But I also think you get something from every conference, book, or idea that comes your way. Good or bad. So I kept reading and to my surprise when Hannah came over to see if I would buy her the latest vampire book she just had to have-I realized I had almost read my way through the first chapter. So I gave the "sisters" a chance.
I found that this book was not about a "program" at all. In fact, it was about a literacy structure instead and I love me some structure! The funny thing is that my literacy block was working just fine. But I liked the idea of my kiddos building stamina in their reading. So I thought let's give it a try. Better to find out now if it works instead of in the Fall when I will be reminding myself that yes they are like this every year in the beginning and that I will love them too. {By the to all my kinder teachers out there!} So I and my ever so flexible intern changed it up. And you know what...we liked it.
I soon realized I would need new schedule cards. Since I had my first "real" follower today {you know someone other than family and friends that I didn't plead with to check out my new blog.} I am sharing these cards with you. By the way if you haven't checked out Tunstall's the link on my page. I think you'll find her classroom is a place of calm and comfort. Enjoy. Click on the picture to get your set of schedule cards.
Until next time...

Monday, July 11, 2011

Words of Wisdom

When I first had my daughter people were always giving their insights to how your life would change. I had forgotten about this for the most part until recently when I was reminded of what someone once told me. I was warned {you know... in the tone that parents that know use to tell parents that don't know} that as soon as Hannah was sleep patterns would forever change. So when Hannah was hungry as an infant...I was up. When Hannah couldn't sleep in her new "big girl bed" as a toddler...I was up. And when Hannah had sleepovers like most TWEENS do...I was up. So tonight when I was sleepy eyed but wide awake. {This could only mean that I have met the point of exhaustion because that statement makes complete sense to me.} I began to ponder how did my sleep pattern get so mixed up? I now go to bed around 4 am and wake up around noon. Then, my somewhat neurotic thoughts were interrupted by teenage giggles and music from the room next door. I thought to myself some things never change.
After my trip down memory lane, I kept on working knowing that Hannah and I both would be sleeping in tomorrow. I began a project or two that I can't wait to share. I might even try to upload a picture. Wish me luck! 
Until next time...