Friday, October 31, 2014

So, I Read a Book... A Book Club Linky

Seriously, I feel like I have NO time to do things for ME! So, when Megan over at Cardigans and Caffeine offered up a book club linky, I had to join in. YES, I am a little behind in posting/linking up with the first book club choice, This Is Where I Leave You. I didn't know what to expect when I purchased the book, but I am not upset that I did! I was able to force myself to take some time out of my day/evening to read. So, here's my linky....

This book was an excellent choice. I felt like I was able to relate to certain parts of the madness this family was going through. I mean, who has a family that doesn't have a bit of craziness at some point?! I sure know mine does! I also did find that there were times that many of the scenarios that played out did make me feel better about my life, since it isn't quite that dysfunctional... okay, no where near it! 

I totally agree with Janine over at Faithful in First when she said that she was left wondering, "what happens next?" I too was creating scenarios in my head when I finished the story. 

One of the parts that bothered me were the reoccurring prosthetic leg dreams... Was this supposed to be symbolic of something? I felt like the dreams were distracting at times. What do you think? 

Thank you for hosting this linky, Megan! I can't wait for the next book club!! If you want to join up, head over to Cardigans and Caffeine for more info!

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Turn Up Tuesday!

Okay, I know Turn Up Tuesday sounds like a crazy title for a blog post but... we're not your ordinary bloggers!  After all, our name IS Droppin' Knowledge!  Working in inner city public schools, it is important to stay up to date on the lingo!  It keeps the students' interest & helps them feel connected to us!  

So anyway... it is Tuesday so lets turn up!

Whole Brain Teaching!

Thanks to the MAGIC of WHOLE BRAIN TEACHING, my first graders (to my GREAT surprise) began orally writing 5 paragraph essays last week!  This was my goal for them for the END OF THE YEAR!  When they did it last week, I couldn't believe it!

Here is a picture of one of my students teaching the class her 5 paragraph essay.  She starts out with a "Triple Whammy" (sentence with 3 parts), gives 3 supporting paragraphs, and then a conclusion!

Her essay was on things she likes to do and in the picture she is using the gesture for a comma (write the comma in the air and say "zoop"!).  The other students mimic her gestures but do not repeat her words at this time (silent mirrors).

She also is showing the triple whammy gesture on her other hand.  Students practiced the triple whammy alone for awhile before I thought about trying the 5 paragraph essay!  They would teach each other 3 of their favorite things (colors, movies, games, subjects, etc), 3 friends or family members, 3 books, 3 details from our chapter book, etc.

To start the 5 paragraph essay, I guided students to give me details about each of the 3 things they named in their triple whammys.  Then, as a conclusion, I had students repeat their triple whammy.  They need guidance at first but I swear, before I knew it, they were doing it all on their own!  They were using TONS of Brainies (WBT gestures) during their paragraphs and they even started giving more than one detail in each paragraph!  I am SO proud of them!

AND..... Since they are doing so amazing on their oral writing, I have decided that for conferences, I am going to do videos of the students telling their parents what their strengths and struggles are.... AND THEN....  I am going to have them orally write a 5 paragraph essay saying what they are thankful for!  I am excited to see how they turn out!

Featured TpT Seller!

I am so honored to be a featured TpT Seller on this blog!  Just like we are new bloggers, I am also a new TpT Seller!  I made this FREEBIE for my own class last year.  I decided to share it on TpT as one of my FIRST FREE products!  Since I listed it 2 months ago, it has almost 400 downloads!

Visit JW Designs - Teacher Freebies Blog! to see the post including my FREEBIE & other *freebies* for your classroom!

OCTOBER Festivities!

October is almost over and then its onto the hustle and bustle of the holiday season!  Where did 2014 go?  Well there is still time to get in some October fun!  Check out these activities and products!

What better way to celebrate October than with a pumpkin character book report!  This was the display we used to go along with our class book we made discussing this book!  My students LOVE David & making him into a pumpkin was such a fun class project!

Some other fun ideas for the rest of this month (and some for November) are...

Liebster Award!

We posted yesterday about being nominated for this award!  We are SO honored to get a nomination this early in our blogging careers!  Congratulations to all the other new bloggers that have also been nominated!  Teachers supporting other teachers is my favorite thing!

That's it for Turned Up Tuesday!  Thank you for joining me today!
Please leave me a comment and let us know how you "Turn Up"!

Monday, October 27, 2014

Liebster Award - Who Us?

We are so surprised and honored to be nominated for an award so early in our blogging career! Our Liebster nomination came from the AMAZING Jillian Starr over at The Starr Spangled Planner. If you haven't stopped by her blog, please do! You will quickly fall in love with everything she does (TPT, Instagram, etc)!

When we first saw the nomination in a comment on our blog, we didn't even know what it was! Heck, we were just happy to have a comment on a post! Thankfully, Jillian did a little research and posted what the Liebster Award is all about. The Liebster Award is given to new bloggers with less than 200 followers. Accepting the award and nominating other up and coming bloggers is a great way to make connections with other bloggers just like you! Collaboration and learning from each other, is the whole reason we started this blog and we are happy to pay it forward!

Why and how long ago did you start blogging?
We just started blogging this summer (July 2014)! We had a rummage sale and spent our downtime picking our theme, name, etc!

What one word sums up the heart of your blog and why?

Collaboration - because we work together to keep our blog interesting, up to date, and relevant for our readers! The whole point of blogging is to SHARE our ideas with others and support each other and our fellow bloggers!

Is there something you learned late in your blog journey that you wish you had known earlier?

Since we are so new, thankfully this has not happened yet!

What is your favorite past time besides blogging?

Heidi: I am obsessed with making products for my classroom & TpT! I also teach Zumba & love to spend time with my family!
Samantha: This may make me sound like an old lady, but I have started knitting, and love curling up with a good book. I also love other little craft projects, including designing jewelry and various projects for my classroom.

How many hours per week do you dedicate to your blog?
Right now we do what we can! If we are not blogging, we are busy on social media! I would say each of us spend a couple hours each week on our blog!

What category of blog posts do you enjoy most?

Anything that can be used in our own classrooms. A better question is, what kind of blog posts do we dislike?
Where does your blogging inspiration come from?

Heidi: Mine comes from my students! I love watching them grow and I LOVE sharing it with you all!
Samantha: I totally agree with Heidi, my students are my inspiration! 

Which of your posts are you most proud of?

Samantha: The post I am most proud of is our first post. It was nothing special at all. However, after months and months of talking about starting a blog, we finally sat down and started! And. It. Felt. Good.
Heidi: I agree with Samantha! But I am also proud of my Whole Brain Teaching Blogs! I cannot believe the progress my students have made with WBT so I LOVE to share!

Is there any post that you are planning to do, but have been putting off for a while now?
Tons! Ideas for holidays, TpT Freebies, WBT progress, Samantha's Classroom Tour.... I could go on and on!

What is your favorite aspect of blogging?

Being able to share our ideas with others!

And now for the nominations...

Jenna over at Passionate About Primary (girl, you need to get a post up!)

And I was going to nominate Megan at Cardigans and Caffeine, but she JUST posted her acceptance post from another nomination. Bummer! Still and amazing blog!

And 213 followers is pretty darn close to 200, so we need to bend the rules a tad for our colleague, Amber over at Mrs. Unger's Unbelievable Elementary Experience! Without Amber, our blog may have never happened! We can't thank you enough for the encouragement, Amber! 

To those who have been nominated, here are the "official" rules for accepting:

1. In your post, link back to the blogger who nominated you as a thank you and "shout out." (Follow their blog if you haven't already!) 

2. Answer the 10 questions given to you (the ones I answered above).

3. Nominate 5-10 blogs of your choice that each have less than 200 followers. Provide them with 10 questions to answer or have them answer the questions above.

4. Let your nominees know that they've been nominated and provide them with a link to your post so that they can accept.

5. Send your nominator a link to your post so that s/he can learn more about you as well! (You can just put your post link in the comments below!)

Have Fun!

Monday, October 20, 2014

Monday Made It!

I have been in a "making things" frenzy!  Here are a couple of my projects!

I saw this awhile ago somewhere on PINTEREST & had to do this!  My firsties struggle with typing so what better way to practice than with sight words!  I found some old keyboards in our computer lab, took some book labels, and made these keyboards!  While the students are at this center, they have sight word flash cards & their computer logins to practice typing.  So far, they love it!

I have been looking for legos for a LONG TIME!  My aunt goes to garage sales all the time and she found these for me!  The mega blocks are so hard to find!  I got enough to make a Lego Math center AND a Lego Words center!  In the lego words center I am going to add capital letters and punctuation so my students can practice building sentences!

October is Bully Prevention Month so I made a Bully Prevention Packet to be used with primary grades!  I even included a special Whole Brain Teaching 5 Step Lesson Plan and Power Pix!  You can see everything in this packet by checking out the preview here!

Also, I made some other Fall FREEBIES for you!  Check out my TpT for Freebies including the following....

Thank you for sharing my Monday Made Its with me!  
Hope you all have a fantabulous week!

Thursday, October 09, 2014

WBT Wednesday on Thursday.... and more Graphing!

Sorry I am late with WBT Wednesdays but OMG it has been a busy week!  I wasn't going to blog this week but I wanted to share our progress with SuperSpeed!

I made my students their own data folders earlier this year and put the SuperSpeed Game in there.  I work on this with them during Guided Reading.  They LOVE IT just like Coach B says they will!

So this week in between sub plans, testing, and feeling sick...somehow I got more SuperSpeed folders ready!  I made a folder with JUST SuperSpeed 100 in it for each student.  I had them write SuperSpeed! on the front and we practiced playing.

I put an online timer on the smartboard for 1 minute and had them play by themselves.  Then I had them play with a partner.  One partner closed their folder and watched for the first minute, then they switched.  We are practicing how to start over at the beginning of each line if they mess up or miss a word.

I love this so far because my struggling students who cannot remember words like "the" and "to" now have a fun GAME to play to help them learn and remember basic sight words!  I have already noticed them recognizing these words in books!

For more information and to download your own SuperSpeed Games, go to

While I am here I thought I would share some of the other things we have been doing!  We are still working on graphing & Power Pix!  Here is our graphing Power Pic...

I made my own PowerPix to go with my jungle theme and to correlate to Common Core State Standards.  We have been playing power pix games all week and it is awesome to see the students teach each other!

During a game reviewing Power Pix, one student is asking "What is a graph?" (using brainies) and the other student is answering "A graph compares numbers." (also using brainies)!  Then I say SWITCH! and the other student stands up to ask the question.  

This day one person was Phineas and the other person was Ferb! :)

After we review what we are learning, we have to practice it!  One way we practiced graphing this week was with skittles!  (It is always more fun when food is involved!)

You can get my skittles graph and sorting mat for FREE at My TpT Store!

Another thing I started this week was to do these take home sheets every Friday and put them in their Take Home Folder covers.  That way the students can go home and actually tell their families at least ONE thing they are learning about.  We all know that infamous conversation.... 

"What did you do at school today?"

Well, hopefully these papers help my families avoid those conversations!

And last but NOT least....

US Cellular funded my DonorsChoose project too!  I am super excited to finally be able to use my Leappads (that I got funded last year) in Centers!

Okay and that is all for WBT Wednesday on Thursday!  I hope you all have a wonderful weekend and please leave me a comment!  Thank you for sharing this WBT Journey with me!

Saturday, October 04, 2014

October Currently

Did I really just write that? October? It is really October??? Ah! I love OCTOBER but this means my baby turns 6 in two short weeks. Six sounds so much older than five. Anyway, I decided to get on here and join Heidi in her efforts to keep our blog alive and current. Speaking of current, I am joining up with Farley at Oh Boy Fourth Grade for her October Currently link up. This is my first time linking up and I am a bit excited! So, here it goes...

As I just mentioned, my son, Deagan is turning six this month, which means he is in kindergarten. This first month has been a roller coaster with him starting school at the same school as me. Deagan is a spirited little boy and we have had some challenges with setting boundaries in a school setting over the last couple years. I think we finally have some consistency in the classroom and Deagan is making some great progress with his behavior. He is also really woking on his reading skills and I am currently listening to him play a word game on the iPad. He just LOVES to learn new words!

Speaking of iPads, my project for a classroom iPad was funded by US Cellular over night! WOO HOO! Last year, I was featured in an article in our local newspaper for using to fund classroom projects. This year, my goal is to have more projects funded than last year. I don't know if I will out beat the dollar amount funded though, since I did get a 3D printer through and Almost Home Grant. 

As far as my thinking, wanting, and needing categories, I don't have any pictures for you! My house is a disaster and you don't want to see pictures of my messes! Laundry is so back piled and I just heard the washer finish up, so I should really be switching loads over right now! I really need to do the cleaning before I get the mums and pumpkins that I WANT for my front porch. I am not the only one that has fallen behind in laundry, right? 

I totally forgot to add my trick! In an effort to be balanced with my teaching and home life, I will share a trick I use. After school is over, I decide how late I want to stay and set a timer to go off 5 minutes before that time. That way I don't stay at work too long! This has helped keep me from staying at school until dinner time!

Friday, October 03, 2014

5 For Friday!

Its Friday ...PARTY DAY... as we say in First Grade!

I have been so busy this week and actually blogging a lot!  I thought I would throw some of those posts into one on this 5 FOR FRIDAY and add some of the other things I wanted to blog about!


I really cannot believe it is October already!  I am NOT a fan of fall at all so because I know that means winter is coming! :(  Still dreaming of the day I can move somewhere with palm trees and a beach.. til then, I have to survive in Wisconsin....

ANYWAY, my number one and number two for this Friday are my October Packets available on TpT!  Bully Prevention for primary grades & Fire Safety!

Pick them up HERE at my TpT Store or leave me a comment for a chance to win!

I might not be ready for fall for my Firsties are!  We have been working SO hard at graphing and we had an amazing 84 degree day last week so I wanted to take advantage of it and get outside!  

What better way than to graph the leaf colors!

Looking so professional with their clipboards!  Ready to Tally & GRAPH!

And they are off!!!  First we tallied up the different colors.....

Then we stopped to count the tallies....

Then we found a comfortable spot to graph our findings!

Once they were done, I let them chillax for a bit and enjoy the nice weather since they did such a GREAT job!

You can pick up a copy of my leaf graphing for FREE here.

My fiance is finally here!  He drove up from Texas last month and so far so good!  After almost 2 years being long distance, we are finally both in the same place!

And even better, he is back to school to become a teacher and already has a job as a substitute in my school district!  It has all been very exciting!

And last but not least....

Our city has a BEST OF... every year and includes categories like Best Restaurant, Best Hairstylist, Best Fish Fry....  One of the categories is Best Teacher and guess who got 2nd Place!  The first place teacher has been teaching in our city for 43 years!  To make 2nd place in my 3rd year teaching was truly an honor!

Thank you so much for visiting my blog and HAPPY FRIDAY!!!!