Friday, May 23, 2014

5 for Friday Math Center Style

Good Evening!

I write to you with a belly full of Chinese food.  I attended a very nice graduation party for a friend of mine.  There were way too many yummy foods I had to try: shrimp dumplings, beef lo mein, fried rice, spring rolls, and much more.  Yum!

School was chill today.  It was actually supposed to be Field Day, but it got postponed due to rain.  When I found out the festivities were canceled, I had no plans.

What do teachers do when they have no plans?  Centers of course!!!

Actually, it was the perfect time to do centers because we are in a Mental Math unit where I am pushing addition and subtraction fact mastery like crazy.  Parents received a letter and facts practice log sheet, so they can be accountable for practicing with their kids 5-10 minutes a night.  Many of my kids have their facts to ten, but struggle up to 20.  A few still need their fingers for facts to 10, which is only going to make things harder moving into second grade.

For 5 for Friday, I will share the 5 math facts centers, I whipped out today.

Lakeshore Puzzles

To be honest, I don't buy much from Lakeshore, but I can't deny their puzzles are pretty great.  I have some for phonics and math.  This set is their reversible addition and subtraction puzzles.  

Addition and Subtraction Color by Number

Subtraction Flash Cards

They recorded their work on this cute sheet from First Grade Fanatics.

Part-Whole Card Fact Families

Students drew Part-Part-Whole or Number Bond cards and wrote out the fact families.

Fruit Splat

This is a great differentiated game from Sheppard Software.  It has multiple levels as well as timed vs. un-timed versions.

All in all, it was a fun and fact-filled Friday!

Saturday, May 17, 2014

Sparking Motivation with a Freebie and Where My Heart Is

It's that time of year again!

26 days left!!!!

That's 1 day for every letter of the alphabet, which means...'s time for the ABC Countdown to Summer!!!

I can't think of a better way to Spark Motivation at the end of the year than to have a fun, alphabet themed events for the last days of school.

I tried doing an ABC Countdown for the first time last year and fell in love.  It was the most fun time of the year for me and my students.  At the time when they should have been begging for summer, they were all excited to come to school each day to celebrate the letter of the day.

Pick up the ABC Countdown and parent letter I use by clicking the picture below.  If you are already at less than 26 days left (I'm jealous), put two letters together or just save the idea for next year.

For those of you who have been following me for awhile, you probably know that my heart is missing a big piece.  No, I did not have major heart surgery or anything and I do not mean to make light of that at all.  What I mean is that a piece of my heart is in Hyderabad, India and will stay there forever.

Last summer, I spent two life-changing weeks in Hyderabad after never having wanted to go to India in my life.  There is not time to recap the whole journey of how I got there now, although you can read about it here.

There is also not time to share about all my experiences in India, although I blogged about them all.  Just click the "India" link on the list of labels to read those posts.

All there is time to say is...


To say I'm excited is an understatement.  As I look forward to going back, I want to share with you the new journey that led me to this point.

As many of you know, if you had looked me in the eye last year and said, “You will go to India, love it, come back, and then lead a team there,” I would have laughed and rolled my eyes.  I had my plans made and my bags packed for a trip to Uganda.  When God threw my plans up in the air and called me to India, I was shocked and upset.  However, I could not deny the almost audible voice telling me “come and see the people I love.”

One year later, God has shown me that His heart is bigger than mine.  Now, I am beyond excited about the opportunity coming up in August – I will be co-leading a team with World Orphans on a trip to Hyderabad, India from August 14-24, 2014.

There are millions of orphaned and abandoned children around the world with no one to care for them. As a follower of Christ, I believe that it is the church’s place and responsibility to care for these children.

World Orphans is a non-profit ministry committed to strengthening the local church around the world to rescue and care for these children. World Orphans takes the time to identify churches in the developing world that are already caring for orphans and could do more with support and encouragement from an American church. By partnering with World Orphans, our team will get to see how God is working through churches to rescue children.

On my trip I will get to work alongside the local churches who run various orphan related ministries and outreaches to the community. The specific details of our trip will be determined as we get closer to the trip. My prayer is that God uses this experience to further reveal to me how both my team and I can serve as advocates for orphans when we return home from this trip.

There are a few ways I would invite you to be involved. First, you can share this information. The more we talk about the problem of orphaned children and the ways that God is at work caring for them, the more people will be involved and the more children will be cared for. Visit the Journey117 website: to learn more.

Secondly, you can pray. If you are interested in supporting me and my team in prayer, please contact me and I will add you to my e-mail list and keep you updated on how you can be praying.

Finally, you can make a gift to The Crossing Church to assist with my expenses. I am responsible for raising $3000 on behalf of World Orphans to help cover the cost of the trip.  I would be grateful if you wanted to give. You can donate through The Crossing Church.  Checks or cash should be set to the following address. 

The Crossing Church
222 Laurel Ave.
Livingston, NJ 07079

Please label all donations with Mission2India2014.  Please also include my name on the donation if you want to give specifically to me.  Otherwise donations will be shared with the team.  Either is greatly appreciated.

If you prefer to donate online, please use the following link or the widget on the top right of my blog to contribute to my GoFundMe account.

Please let me know if you have any questions. I would love to tell you more about this opportunity and why I am so excited!

Thanks for reading my story.  To be honest, I did not want to have to ask for support this year.  I was so thankful for everyone's generosity last year, that I did not feel right asking again this year.  I did my best to save and prepare for this year and I plan to pay as much of my way as possible.  However, God has changed many things in my life lately including my financial situation, so I am in need of some support to be able to go to India this summer.  My team would also be grateful for your help, so please consider contributing to the whole group by donating to The Crossing Church.

Thank you for your understanding and support.  I cannot wait to share more stories of what God is doing in India with all of you when I get back.


Friday, May 9, 2014

All Things Friday and Two Freebies

Oh my poor lonely blog.  How I have neglected you over the past few weeks.  Will you ever forgive me?

Actually, taking a blogging break was a necessity due to the many things going on in my life.  I have been very busy and have had a lot of big changes going on in my life.  Some scary.  Some unexpected.  All good because God is good and His plans are better than mine.

Anyways, where should I begin to get caught up?  I am going to share for several linkys, but first, I can't help but share a few pics from my AMAZING, fun, relaxing, refreshing, laid back, sunny spring break in San Diego.

Vena Cava Winery near Ensenada
The beautiful valley and mountains of Valle de Guadalupe
Starting the hike to Potato Chip Rock
Climbing higher.
Potato Chip Rock!!
Gorgeous sunset from Sunset Cliffs
It was such a nice break full of food, fun, epic fails at surfing, major blisters from hiking, and just being sisters.  Seems like a long time ago now....

Back at school, I have been busy with the "It's Almost the End of the Year" tasks.  We start our ABC countdown for the last 26 days on the 19th.

Meanwhile, we've been busy every day.  Here's a look for 5 for Friday.

Teacher Appreciation Week

I felt very appreciated this week as I enjoyed tons of sweet and savory treats provided in teacher's lounge.  I also got some cute notes from my kiddos, which I always love.  Plus, my class captain brought me an orchid on behalf of all the parents.  It's so beautiful.  I hope I don't kill it.


Speaking of plants, we wrapped up our plant unit in science.  Though are seeds are still growing (hopefully), it was time to asses.  Since the actual test was so easy, I told the kids to invent their own flower on the back.  I did a bigger project like that last year, but did not have the time to do it this year.  Still, their drawings turned out pretty crazy and cool.


Persuasive Writing Publishing

Writing partners worked together to edit their persuasive letters using this checklist.  Click the picture to download the freebie for yourself.  I wish I had taken pictures of their persuasive letters.  Some of them were so cute.  

Character Changes

We also wrapped up our character study unit by discussing character changes and they lessons they learned in the story.  I found that my students needed support to connect the events of the story to the changes and the lesson.  They were not using what they knew about the problem and solution to understand how the character reacted.  Therefore, I made up this graphic organizer to help them make the connection.  I modeled how to use it with some Kevin Henkes books and then the class practiced for several days with the No David books, Rainbow Fish etc.  Here are some of the results.

You can grab the graphic organizer for free by clicking the picture below.

Fuel Your Faith Friday

My fifth thing for the week is something that God really used to comfort me this week.  Though I have known these verses for awhile, it is true that the Word is living and active.  It speaks exactly what we need to hear when we need to hear it.

Hold that promise as you finish the year strong.