Wednesday, December 24, 2014

Merry Christmas to all & to all a __________

I have lots of wishes at this time of year, so I want to take a time out of my crazy day and wish all of you the best (and a FREEBIE!). As a teacher I know what it takes at this time of year to get it done... for your class and their families, your family and friends, and hopefully a little time for yourself (maybe between 1:00am-2:00 if you are like me! ho ho ho).

 But teachers are giving people, and it is not just at Christmas time. I love being part of this bloggie world (although I mostly stalk) and TeacherPayTeachers because of the loving and sharing community it is. And that support is what gets me through the low days of teaching as well as joyous days.
for being who you are,
 dear readers, 
wonderful teachers,
creative, silly, energetic,
sympathetic and empathetic,
gracious and understanding

Merry Christmas to all and to all a Good Rest!
Enjoy your family and your time away from school.

Santa has made all his deliveries.
Happy New Year!

Sunday, November 30, 2014

Ho, Ho, Ho Let the Season Begin

With Thanksgiving over, Christmas must be around the corner. I have been busily working in my little workshop  classroom to get a jump on this month. I have planned, copied, prepped, and stacked everything, well almost for the the next 3 weeks. I am determined that I am going to have family time this year.  I want to get my tree and decorations up before 3 days before Christmas Eve! Lofty goals but that explains my absence from my Blog. I've missed everyone and am grateful for those who have not forgotten me.
 TpT Store
Teachers Pay Teachers
Meanwhile, I have been readying my TPT store for the BIG Cyber Sale
 (I think I have been shopping more!)

I have updated my Calendar cards to include 2015 and 2016.

I have updated my Candy Cane Pack
I have also add a new phonics set.
It helps teach short and long vowels.
It also shows how vowels effect words as well as how syllables effect vowels.
Its a growing set, so get it now 
at this low price.
It's a good partner to my Phonetic Rules for Spelling
 Other Christmas Sets
 The Christmas Tree
The Christmas Tree
the Nativity

Ask Me a Clue..
Tell me a Guess!
This is a quick filler that I have been doing and have seen great benefits. 
I have someone pick a number between X and X. We started with 0 to 20, 
but we are now doing numbers between 40 and 70 or greater. 
Note that I do not write in all the numbers until we get closer to guessing the number.  
Now the rule is they have to ask a clue first before making a guess. 
This was not easy at first but as we have learned math strategies they are better at asking good clues. AND  I can tell the strategies are starting to make sense to some. They are also learning to ASK not tell a clue. Is it less than __? or Does it have a __ in the ones place? is better than '4' or 'Its bigger or smaller than __'.
They now try to guess the number in less that 4 clues.
We did it last week in 3!!

Countdown till Christmas break...19 days
 ( only 15 school days)

Saturday, November 1, 2014

November Currently

It's Fall!  It's Suddenly Colder, well for two days and then we have another heat wave coming! So I'll enjoy the fall leaves that decorate this months Currently and pretend that I live in a place that actually has Fall!

Listening: I finally loaded the dishes because we had no knives in the drawer. It has been a busy week and apparently I am the only one in this house that knows how to wash dishes or load the dishwasher! 
Well to my surprise my hubby just turned it on. 
Music to my ears....
until I saw that there is still a pile of dishes in the sink. 
Oh well at least I will have a clean knife for breakfast.

Loving: We actually had rain last night! and today! and tonight!
Last night it was kinda spooky...
On Halloween Night, the wind began to howl (well it was blowing) and the rain began to, well rain, and suddenly my bedroom door blew open...and no one was there.  
Well that was all that happened but it felt spooky!

Thinking: I should be doing report cards!
I have graded all my papers, and all I have left is to do the comments. 
Its hard to say all you need to say, in a nice way, when you only have a certain number letter spaces to use. 
And then try being positive about that one kid that is not low enough, not trying enough, just doing enough to get by. 
Then how do you have a reading grade when they don't read yet. 
I do not like report cards, Sam I Am!

Wanting: My formal observation is Tuesday! 
I just found out on Wednesday. 
But I had 14 parents coming to help with out Big Pumpkin Extravaganza Math Investigation on Friday, the last day of the quarter, when all the assessments need to be done. 
Halloween Day seemed like a good day to have a pumpkin investigation when we planned this a month and a half ago. 
Who knew it was going to be this crazy. 
Well it has been. One special event after another, new student at the beginning of October and now another at the beginning of November. 
And then I do have my granddaughter that is keeping me busy. 

Needing: A Break! I have all these ideas in my head and I have no time. I have a great little class this year, but I have some very low one and some very, very high ones, with a few in the middle. There is always  a spectrum of levels that have to be met, but this year it's more like islands that are remote from each other. And trying to differentiate, for not very independent first graders, so you can work with the lower ones, has proven to be a challenge.

Reading: WHO has time to read? Our principal has given us two books that we are doing as a book study (Yes I did say 2!)
The Power of Right Believing by Joseph Prince and How Full Is Your Bucket? by Tom Rath and Donald O. Clifton. I told her I read the kids version but she didn't seem impressed!
I'm enjoying both but I can't keep up and grade papers, meet with parents, do report cards, and plan a formal observation.... I think you get my drift.

Now it's your turn! and I can't wait to hear what's happenin' in you neck of the woods....or wherever you are. So go to Farley's Currently at Oh Boy Fourth Grade which is really at Oh Boy 3rd Grade because she changed grades.
 Oh Boy Fourth Grade
Oh Boy Fourth Grade-Currently

Sunday, October 5, 2014

October Currently and a Treat!

I can not believe it!
 Well I can't believe it is October, but that is not really it!
I am already late joining in on the October Currently.... But you don't even know how late...
because when I downloaded the October page
 (and isn't it cute) 
I realized that I did but never posted September's!!!!

 Maybe it was the heat...

maybe it was a time warp

you know like the Twilight Zone?

Maybe I have no idea, but I seem to becoming back to my senses.

So here is my October contribution to Currently.
(we are just going to let September stay quietly in the background somewhere)

a Freebie!
Listening: Even though it is in the 80's, here along the coast, there is something about hearing football games that you just feel fall-ish. Okay I am not running for my sweaters just yet. Fall in Southern California means going to school with temperatures at 58 degrees and lunchtime at 78 degrees. Yep! The layered look has a whole different meaning here.

Loving that conferences are over. The anticipation of meeting new parents always puts me in the state of jitters. Mine went very well this year. Nice parents of nice children!

Thinking that if it is October, then the holidays will quickly be here. I want to be ahead of the game this year; In my class and in my life. I really am excited about Christmas with a 1 year old! So fun!! and Nana gets to spoil her.

Wanting: I would like to get some technology for my littles to use individually. I am at a small school and we don't have much in resources, especially in the younger grades, including a resource person. I have been told if I submit a list of what I want/need they would see what could be done. I have one desktop, a projector, and a document camera. I am using my i-pad with the projector and doc camera, but that still isn't putting it in the kids hands. I said I rather get i-pods or i-pads or??? for the kids to use, instead of a smart board. Help!!! Any advise?

Needing nothing really. Time would be nice. Time to do all the ideas and plans that bounce around in my head! Maybe that is what happened to September???

Treat: I am working on more of my Phonics sets. I have started one for my Interactive Journal for the Difference between Short and Long Vowels. So my treat is a preview of 2 pages. I hope you can use them. 

Thank you Farley for keeping this going. It's so fun to hear what others are doing!

 Farley's Currently
Farley's Currently

Happy Fall where-ever you are!

Saturday, September 20, 2014

What a difference a year makes...

I just finished my 3rd week and already I am doing things that I haven't been able to do for the past couple of years. The past few years have been really difficult. You know the kind that has you thinking maybe I'm done, maybe I need to move on. But my heart kept saying no, and I removed the fun, the fluff, the extras, buckled down, and barreled on. I loved the kids, but the maintenance was much.

But the year of reprieve has arrived. I have a much smaller class, and although I still have the low and high and vast gap between, they are sweet, and funny. 
Transitions don't take 30 minutes. 
I am early everywhere because we can line up and go and don't have issues that have to be dealt with. I keep asking myself, "What should I be doing right now?" as they are working quietly. 

I used Miss-Kindergarten's School Cool Craft for my Back to School Bulletin Board.

We started out the year with Wembly Worried by Kevin Henkes, using
 1st Grade Hip Hip Hooray
Back to School Unit. 
I can always count on these creative teachers for good ideas.

Meanwhile I have been working on things for my Phonics Notebook. We are doing our vowel sounds so I quickly threw together 2 pages for the short and long 'I'. I was going to use a six for the short i so I made the flap to say 'six. However, I changed my mind a did a chicken but forgot to change the word from six to chicken. 

Fast forward to the next morning when I realize the mistake. I admittedly told the class of my error that happen because I had hurried to fast and didn't check my work. 
 (I figured I would get a lesson in there) 
They were soooo cute. 
They said that's okay Mrs Pretz, we all make mistakes! [Blushing]

I told them we could fix it by crossing out the word six and write the word chicken. 
But, and this is how great my class is this year.... ready....
Someone said, "Well we could draw six eggs."
And someone else said,"Yeah, then we could write chicken on the inside."
And then someone added, "Cuz the chicken lays eggs!"

So that is what we did!

What a difference a year makes!!

Saturday, August 16, 2014

Something New and an Organizing Tip

WoW I finally have a day without a plan! Err maybe that should be without appointments and commitments! This summer has been busier that most summers...but all good! Just not checking those things off my 'ToDo' List very quickly!

We all know someone who is lucky. I mean they always win, sometimes they don't even have to enter and they win! I'm not that person. I never win. My husband wins a lot of the time, but he was not with me at the TpT conference. Any winning to be done, It had to be done on my own.

 I did it.  Well I didn't have to do anything, but I won.!
 And Here it is my new Look!
Yes I won 50% off of a blog makeover from Tales from a Blog Designer.

I have to say Tessa was wonderful to work with. She was patient with me in all my indecisiveness! Hey it is not easy and it is such a commitment! She gave me a couple of designs to start. I vocalized my likes and dislikes, and after maybe 3 tweaks she had my vision and knocked it right out.

What do you think?
It's the perfect mix of coastal and whimsy.

ANd on to my tip... Although I am sure I'm not the only one who thought of this.

As I have been adding sets to my TpT Store , I began building a Binder of each pack for a reference. Well I would "steal" pages from it to replace something gone missing or for a quick use. I also found that I was going in and out of my store to check a price, or what I said about a particular product especially when I was loading up a new product.

Now several people have put together a binder of forms to help keep track of things (I have a couple of them and I love them!) However they only work if you use them and they don't have the detail I sometimes want such as the description I wrote.
I went to my store and I printed out all of my product information pages
 and put them in my TpT binder!
Now I have all my product info at my fingertips.
The description,
number of pages,  
the Standards I referenced, etc.
It made it so easy.

So there it is. Something simple to make life a little simpler.
I hope someone was helped by this.
I you were...let me know.
Or did it help spark another idea?

My newest getting ready to be loaded
is another Detective Themed Pack.
available in green  or blue chevron to match
 my other DetectiveThemed products.

Mini Cards both in color  or print black ink ones on bright cardstock...

31 Posters...

44 Activity cards....

also a Workmat, Directions and Idea page, and I can statement cards.
Meets Kindergarten and First Grade Common Core Standards and would be good as remedial for Second Graders.

Monday, August 4, 2014

Are You Ready for a Back to School Sale?

Hi All! It's Sale Day!
I know that I have been looking forward to this sale...
My buying list is long!!
There are so many wonderful products that it makes it hard to choose.
20% off my store items + 10% extra from TpT = 28% offand don't forget to use your TpT points for extra $$$ off, earned by leaving comments!CODE: BTS14Meanwhile...
I have been working on updating some of my products.
I have recently learned how to make editable sheets and the first thing I wanted to so is make my Detective Word Wall Sets Editable.
So if you have purchased them go back and download them again.
 TpT Store 

TpT Store

TpT Store

And here is a little secret....
Are you ready?
I have been working adding to one of my best sellers,
My Phonetic Spelling Ruleswhich meets CCSS Reading Foundation skill for
kindergarten through 5th grade.
RF.K.3, RF.1.3, RF.2.3, RF.2.3, RF.3.3, RF.4.3, RF.5.3

and I have added more posters,
a Teacher (and Parent) Easy Reference Sheet,
a generic worksheet for practice, and a
6 page mini booklet or rule pages to use in an interactive notebook.
I'm going to wait to mark it up until after the sale.So you'll want to get it now!
This is a great reference,
letting you in on all the rules for when and why words are spelled that way.
When do you use C, K or is it CK?
Is it ou or ow? Does power follow the rules or is it an exception?
Many of the "exception" words really are following the rules.
I used these posters and cheers last year and my scores
improved in language arts.
Need math items?
 Here are some of my new items to check out.
Number Posters with # 1-30.Each poster visually depicts the Number
the Number Word,
The 10-frame for each number,
and Dominos showing the dot patterns.

and in addition to these very helpful posters,
I've included mini cards for individual set to put on a ring,
and a matching game to play.
and my latest product I made for my class, who were having
difficulty comparing numbers and using the correct symbol.
This Multi-leveled Less or Greater Clip-it Activity has students
practice choosing and
reading the symbol in a sentence.
And it has 2 Editable pages!

Multiple options

And oh so fun! Who doesn't like clothespins?
Happy Shopping Everyone.
I hope you will take a moment to check out my store.
Email me if you have any questions.

Saturday, August 2, 2014

August Currently

I am joining Farley's Currently for August. This is actually the earliest I have ever done a currently! Hurray for me! 

My husband loves watching all these "mysteries and unsolved murders" shows, where they repeat the same information over and over and have commercials every 7-10 minutes. What's worse is that they is never any closure since its an unsolved murder and the case is still open.
I have been wanting to redo my blog but picking out a designer and paying for it can be overwhelming.
I was so lucky at the TpT conference to win a gift certificate toward a new blog design!
Tesse Maguire of Tales of a Blog Designer and Tales from Outside the Classroom has been so nice to work with and she understood my vision for my blog right away! We are tweaking, not twerking, little details and putting on the finishing touches now. 
Can't wait for the big reveal!
It's August!! 
How do I get all my summer to do's done now in 3 weeks!
I know I'm not the only one thinking this. So now I am prioritizing my list to get the have to's done.
 My little sweetie has just gone through the right of passage into toddler-hood;
She got her first tooth!

She is growing so fast and I'm really glad that I have been spending time this summer babysitting, which is why my list is not getting smaller.
I think it's been worth it.
After all she won't be small for long.
Did start sorting one box tonight. Progress!

23 days! Enough said.

If you join in, Don't forget to follow the rules and comment to 3 people;
 2 before you and 1 after.

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Techy Tips Tell-All

Since coming back from the TPT Conference, I have been fired up.
But blogging, or creating new sets still seem to be overwhelming.
So I have been on a quest to be more knowledgable about all this blogging, posting, uploading, etc.
And no I am not the expert! I know enough to figure my way around... 
and around...
and around... and some things do take me for-ev-er. 
I know there has to be an easier ways and at least some short cuts!

So I am here to share some places that I have found to be really informative and helpful.

First let me do a shout out to Creating with Cynthia & Cyndie.
They have a series of lessons from very basic
 to more advanced lessons for your TpT store. 
I think I was muddling along fairly well on the basic creations, 
but each lesson either reaffirmed what I was doing 
or gave me an easier tip. 
What I have appreciated most 
was their willingness to respond back 
fairly quick to any question that I asked. 
Definitely worth doing, plus they are great people.

And if you haven't seen the linky from Weekend Warriors 
Blogging,TpT, and Teaching Secrets 
- Its a must!! It truly was one of the best blogs hops I have followed. 
I don't know who started it, but I began with Schroeder Shenanigans. 

The first tip was about giving credit 
for your clip art and font artists. WoW what a time saver! 

There were more awesome tips from:
Many of these wonderful ladies have already taken the time to answer back to some of my comments/questions.

And the last resource I used this weekend
(And I'm sure many of of you have already discovered)
is You Tube. Jessica Sandford from Mrs. Sandford's Class has many tutorials that were very helpful.

So if you are creating for you own class or beginning to sell on TpT, I'm sure you will enjoy these resources. I was able to finally able to respond to the many requests for my Detective Sight Words sets to be editable!! 

Thank you ladies for all your help!