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Five for Friday...

Today's Five for Friday is a bit of a stretch... and I am NOT going to lie.. I am TIRED!!!
1. We are still observing our butterflies. My prediction is that we will have chrysalides on Monday. I LOVE how excited and interested my students are! How did I even QUESTION whether or not I should do this activity?! 
2. Yesterday was an EMOTIONAL one in T.V. Yes, Grey's was totally the talk of the staff lounge at lunch. I won't give any spoilers, but I think this eCard totally sums up my feelings:
3. Wednesday, I was SOOOO grumpy after leaving school and having my car handle break in my hand. SO grumpy. I really shouldn't have been, because my door shuts, it locks, and my brother is a mechanic and can fix it. So, my pity party was quite short-lived! :)
4. Last night, I decided to create a BINGO math review for my class while watching Scandal, and I was happy with the results today. I played it with my group during centers. I included all the solid and flat shapes we've been reviewing, subitizing, number words, numerals, groups, and more. I also love actually using the items I create for TPT because after  a day or two, I already knew what I wanted to omit/add to the product. 
5. I have been slacking on my blogging, IG, and just plain social stuff. Tonight, I was able to catch up with some great friends at dinner. My roommate got into a graduate program, and we all went out to celebrate. Sometimes, one needs to hang out with adults when she is with 6-year-olds all week. 
More later! I am going kayaking tomorrow with our Outdoor Women's Group!! 

Five for Friday, April 17

Hey, y'all! I'm teaming back up with Doodle Bugs Teaching again for Five for Friday!
Numero Uno (1):
We are studying life cycles for the next few weeks, and I wanted to try something I hadn't done before. I ordered Insect Lore's Butterfly Garden and had 2 Day shipping, because, well, who wants to wait more than 2 days?! My students were asking me for days if that was the day we would start our butterfly garden!
While I was waiting on our caterpillars to arrive, I had to create our observation journals. 

Our "Class Pets" arrived on Wednesday afternoon!!

As you can see, this is REAL LIFE...How many of you still have students who get confused while writing on more than one line? These are going to be added into our butterfly observation journals next week once we decorate our covers and observe more. My little guys were SO worried that our caterpillars would transform into butterflies over the weekend. I had to explain how long each stage of the life cycle was again, and they seemed reassured!

Number 2:
Dove-tailing off of last week's organizational efforts, I continued to try to get ahead on planning and organizing. I printed all of the newest TPT products I created and purchased. I should be staying in my room next year, so I want to keep things as streamlined as possible. 

Number 3:

NEW SPIRIT SHIRTS! I loooooove having school shirts. Is that strange? I feel like teachers who have school spirit have students who have school spirit! I even got my name on the back! Whoop, whoop!

Number 4:

Don't mind my Tom's sneaking in
I found these rhyming flash cards in the Dollar Spot at Target a couple years ago and had to snatch them up. My students don't have a lot of difficulty identifying rhyming words, but they have trouble producing rhyming words. Anyone else have this issue? I used these cards to play a game in pairs. Students each got one card with a word family on the front. For the students who still had trouble creating/producing rhymes, they had helpful hints or ideas on the back. Using Partner A as a starting point, I would set the timer and play "rhyming war" where Partner A would say a word that rhymed with his word, and Partner B would try to quickly say one that rhymed and they would go back and forth until the timer went off. Then, I would set the timer for Partner B's words and play the same way. NO LIE, the next morning, students came in BEGGING to play again. I am really hoping this game will solidify struggling rhymers. :)

Number 5: 
Because, DUH!, we HAVE to read The Very Hungry Caterpillar  when learning about butterflies, we are slowly creating our own books using some fun fruit masters that I actually purchased at a yard sale last year! We will be painting each of the fruits and doing a scrambled sentence for each page (that I have yet to create). My students LOVE having a major hand in creating their own literature, and the parents say that they love to read them to their parents at home. I am ALL FOR students reading on their own accord! :)

HAPPY FRIDAY! I am trying to decide between Dickey's BBQ for dinner, or taco truck... Big decisions over here....

Write on, write on!

At our staff meeting today, we had time to work with our grade level to evaluate our report cards and the assessments and the pacing and timing of each. I truly love working with my grade level because everyone is just so COOPERATIVE! We were sharing one area that we would love to beef up as the year ends, and, as most of you may agree, it was hands down in the area of writing instruction. One thing that is helping my students in the area of narrative writing is the graphic organizer I created. You can find it here. I had seen something similar in another classroom, but I wanted to expand on the concept. Each day, I took a familiar story and had students writing during centers at my group on each topic or area of the story. One day was characters. Students wrote a sentence (or two) about the main character(s) and drew a picture. The next day is setting. Then, the problem, solution, supporting characters, and conclusion (if there is an additional ending) . It really helped build comprehension and solidified the academic vocabulary of narrative. My students were AMAZED when we were through that they wrote about 6 different sections of the text, and wanted to read their finished product immediately. Since I had some absences last week, I told students  we needed to finalize our editing so that when we do share, they will all be at the same step of revision. I plan to make their writing into mini books with the next story we write about, but this time, we made storyboards using large pieces of construction paper folded into quarters. I can't wait to tell you how the Author's Chair session goes!

Just in case you were wondering.... There are:
Thanks for the sign, Sarah!

Confession Time!

Hi, my name is Erin, and I am a container whore/hoarder! Phew, now that the confession is out, I feel so much lighter! Crap just got real, and chances are, if you are a primary teacher with a little too much on her plate, you are JUST. LIKE. ME. Why do we as teachers have the need to  have everything organized and sparkling clean for pictures? Does it make us better teachers? I would venture to say: no. BUT, as I worked in my classroom today, I was able to set some goals for organization, as long as I stay in my current classroom. If I have to move rooms, I would like to pack in the most organized (ha!) manner possible. On the hoarder note, I would have to say that I keep things thinking of great uses for them in the future. Unfortunately, I don't NEED these things. I just like the security of saying I HAVE them. I may just have to go out there again next weekend or stay late sometime this week to chuck some more. Maybe.
This is literally the most organized section of my room.....

On another note:
I wanted to talk about REMINDERS. Here are some of the ideas I have come across in the past few years for reminding parents about important events and information....

1. Taping the flyer to the child's shirt. Now, I have done this, and while I appreciate the idea behind it, it doesn't work for my students. They typically flap around or even fall off. Plus, when I hand the taped page to students to put on, it somehow gets twisted, dirty, or just plain doesn't work...

2. I have heard the Remind app is very useful for many teachers. Most parents have a cell phone they text on, and the app is free! I haven't used it, but I am considering downloading it for next year.
Go here to find it on Google Play...

3. Your school's system of call-out reminders. We have a reminder call sent out before minimum days, holidays, etc. I like that it covers what needs to be covered without effort on my part, as those days are typically busy for us teachers.

4. What I am now using in my classroom to remind parents is my Reminder Bracelet pack. I just print the bracelet I need, make copies on colored paper, and tape around a students' wrist. Simple. As. That.

What are you using in your classroom to remind parents?

Five for Friday Linky Party

This is my second week with Five for Friday by Kacey!!
Since it is my Spring Break, I don't have any in-the-classroom updates, but I have done PLENTY for my classroom this week!!
I went to a wedding reception for a very cool couple this Saturday. The bride and groom are both SO much fun, and hosted a great party. They had already gotten married in February in the trees in Big Sur, so they just wanted to celebrate with us. It was a ton of fun catching up with friends and celebrating two great people.
I got a chance to see my boys play on Tuesday! YAY for baseball! Even though the A's lost, I spent great time with the high school kids from the youth group, and my "little" cousin even went!
Gotta love the Dollar Tree!!

 This TV was picked up within an hour of putting it out! Thank God!!

Ahhhhhh, the time to actually ORGANIZE and clean!!! I am heading out to work tomorrow (technically today) to unload a TRUNK full of stuff. I love when other teachers are willing to share. One of my good friends' mom is a former kindergarten teacher, and asked if I wanted anything. Um, YES, PLEASE!!! I scored some great stuff!! I also met a nice woman at my last Dream Dinners session who used to teach kindergarten and is now a stay-at-home-mom, and she offered me a bunch of stuff! I am sooooo fortunate to have met the people I have. I also finally sorted my extra crayons by color into containers, something I have wanted to do for over 2 years. I know it seems a little cray-cray, but I already feel better looking at them. I made the labels really quickly, and I am really glad I did. I am taking them out with the rest of the load tomorrow! Since I have been cleaning out my stuff, I wanted to allow my TPT followers to clean out their wish lists in my store. I am hosting a sale of 15% off everything through Friday. 
This girl right here was SOOOOO productive today!! I got rid of that darn TV that has been sitting in my garage for a year, dropped off used ink cartridges at the e-cycling location, listed some DVD's on ebay, sent a package, and this was ALL before noon! In the afternoon, I headed to Ikea in Sacramento (about 1.5 hours away) to return a bookshelf that I had bought that had a broken piece. It was SO easy to do the return. I then picked a NEW shelf and loaded it into my Ford Fusion for the drive home. Tonight, I put it together. Now, the whole purpose of the shelf is to store my DVDs, but I would like to eventually have some parisian accents here and there to spice it up from being "only functional."
I am participating for the first time in an Instagram loop!! If you follow my instaGram, @veryperryclassroom, you will see how to participate to win $150 to Target. Who wouldn't want an extra $150 to Target?! I know I am wishing I could win or participate, but you should totally enter!

Ok, that is my five!! Next week should be a little more "classroom-oriented," since I will be back in my portable palace! ;) Stay tuned later this weekend for a post on how I send reminders home in my classroom!

What I ate: Monday edition

Since it is Spring Break (I know, I sound like a broken, bragging record), I have the advantage of cooking lunch at home. When I don't have time to cook/eat at home, I usually will make my lunch in the form of leftovers (which I actually LOVE) from dinner the night before. I have had a lot of "spring" expenses sneak up on me in the past 2 months, so I am really trying to stick to my budget and what I have on hand before going out and grabbing what I don't truly need. I am also trying to get Vegas ready and lost those lovely 8 pounds that crept up on me over the last year or so. (My username on MyFitnessPal is: erper83, if you want to find me) ANYWAY, today's lunch was in the form of a Dream Dinner. I know that I have touched a bit in the past on Dream Dinners, but I hope to explain it a little deeper today...
SO, Dream Dinners are dinners that are prepared (but not cooked) by you at a Dream Dinners location. You prepare 36 (or more) servings at each session. You may come as frequently as you choose. Since I am single, I typically prepare 12, 3-serving, meals monthly at the beginning of the month. The Dream Dinners location I go to allows you to also pay $20 to pick up your meals already prepared. I actually prepare all of my own because it feels like I am on a cooking show, and I like to see what is put into my meals. I typically take about 60-90 minutes to put them all together. For a month's worth of meals! Here is the deal: you take them home, put them in your freezer, and when it is time to make a meal, you take the bag out of the freezer the morning of (or night before) and defrost in the refrigerator. The meals typically take about 15-25 minutes total to cook. It is SUCH a time saver because I am not trying to figure out what to eat for 20 minutes, and I am not actually a huge fan of the monotony of crock pot meals. My mom likes them because she thinks they are "dummy proof!" She is not a fan of cooking, so it is cool to see her excited again about her dinners. Since signing up in July, I have had over 10 friends also join and make this a part of their lifestyles. AND, most of them are teachers and SWEAR it saves them SO much time between sports, music, after school activities, church, etc. I really like how affordable it is for me. Typically, I spend about $170/month on my meals. Which is less than I would spend on groceries a month. And I really only get TP, creamer, Dr. Pepper, and milk at the grocery store.
SO, do you have questions? Here are a few questions I've heard:
I am gluten/dairy/meat/nut free...Can I order here?
In my experience, I have seen Dream Dinners offering MANY different substitutions to accommodate allergies and preferences. Also, if you don't like it, you don't have to put it in, and DD is helpful in providing ideas for substitutions.
How about side dishes?
DD offers many "Take Home" side options. They vary from store to store, so check your local DD store.They even have dessert, YUM!
What if I don't like one of the meals I eat?
You can become a PlatePoints member for free and rate your meals as you prepare and eat them. This is saved in the system for the future, so they can adjust future menus accordingly. I have NEVER had a meal that I have hated.

I also love PlatePoints, because I can get free stuff with my points. Who doesn't love free stuff?
There are many FAQ's answered on the Dream Dinners website here

I have included a few pictures from today's lunch: Chicken Costoletta. SO yummy!!

 Almond Green beans

Don't mind my FILTHY oven!

Almost a month's worth of meals!

Today's YUMMY lunch; Total time: 24 minutes

Five for Friday

This week, I am also participating in Five For Friday, hosted by Doodle Bugs Teaching!
So, without further ado....
 I started a new instagram account to sell some of my closet as I am Spring Cleaning!

2. These are obviously in NO particular order, because this one is the MOST exciting thing about this week: My blog design is complete! I am thrilllllled with how it turned out! Lindsey did a great job!! 
3. This week, I both sent and received the March SLANT box. I was paired with Kapua from Hawaii, and we changed the theme up a bit, since we don't live in very cold places. We stuck to the indoor theme, and I am very happy with the box I received, and had fun putting her box together!

4. Have I mentioned how HAPPY I am to be on Spring Break?! I LOVE my students, but my body was starting to fight me out of PURE exhaustion! It is my own fault, because I tend to take on many, many things at once, and then feel a bit stressed because of it. SO, I have decided to chill out and take it easy during this break... And I am already going stir crazy on day 1! (I have blogged three times in 24 hours.... Must be a record). I stopped by a local fruit stand on my way home yesterday and got a coffee. I know, it sounds counterproductive. One of my great room moms works there, so we had a fun chat! And she put extra whipped cream on my coffee. #treatyoself
5. I am hosting a giveaway because my team was out of March Madness last Saturday, but I only have 6 entries! Somebody is going to be verrrrrry lucky if nobody else signs up before Sunday!!

 You can enter here
Have a very Happy Easter!!

Teacher Thrift Store

I knew sitting still would not last long! I went this morning to my nephews' daycare for their adorable egghunt. E wanted to go home with auntie and grandma, since we came to see them... The boys were going to need to be picked up early anyway, so we, of course, obliged. Who can say no to a 3 year old who says "please"?
After the egg hunt, my mom, E & L, and I went to Target for "a few things." Well, as you all know, Target became the black hole, and we were there for over 2 hours. :) I was proud of myself for only spending $30.
After Target, we went and got lunch from Freebirds, and took it to my mom & dad's house for a "picnic" outside in the beautiful weather. I LOVE that kiddos will think anything is fun if you give it an exciting name! E was thrilled with the idea of a "picnic" at "Gwamma and Gwampa's Fahm" (my parents live in the country), so he entertained us with stories and songs. When the boys went down for their naps, my mom dropped me off at my house (my sister stayed with the boys), and I laid on the couch for, oh, about 5 minutes.
 I had been talking with my roommate about my overabundance of clothes and my plans this break to clean out my closet, and she suggested that I set up an Instagram store to sell some of it. So, if you are looking for some gently used teacher fashion (and weekend wear!), follow my instagram @teacherthriftstore. Lots of dresses, blouses, and pants!

I am sure that I will be back to blog more soon! Happy Good Friday to y'all!