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Sunday, December 14, 2014

Remember the Reindeer!!!

The countdown is on!! One week left of school for me, but the week will be packed full of Christmas programs, parties, and progress reports. Fun, but exhausting!! The first graders have been busy with all things Christmas lately. One of the traditions I do at home with my sweet girls is making reindeer food. I found the cutest pack of Christmas clipart and papers and just had to whip something up! I love how my Remember The Reindeer activities turned out! It includes an original poem, mini-book, reindeer food recipe, and baggie toppers! Here's a pic of the smallest size of baggie topper. If you are saving on colored ink, it prints out well in black and white, too!
Grab this cute pack at TPT here! Warm Wishes for a Happy Holiday Season!! Love, Mrs. Baker's Dozen

Saturday, September 6, 2014

Five For Friday!!


Happy weekend everyone! I'm a little late to the Five For Friday party, but it's all good! ;)

It's been two weeks of school (minus Labor Day) and the last two days have definitely brought my spirits up!  That first week was mighty scary with 20 firsties running around. :)

1. We made it through a complete Daily 5 rotation!!  After increasing our stamina last week with Read to Self and Read to Someone, I couldn't wait any longer.  I had to do it!! So Tuesday we started a complete Daily 5 rotation and I almost ran from the school screaming.  Soooo, I moved my ELA block to the morning when I have more para suppport, and VOILA! Daily 5 success!  With 20 kids, I needed an extra set of eyes to walk around the room, redirecting those kiddos who get distracted.  Because we know that happens, a lot!!

2. Apples, apples, apples!  We started our two week unit over apples and Johnny Appleseed/Tall Tales.  We read apple readers from my new Apple A Day pack (which should be on TPT soon!), and did some awesome apple experiments with the 7th/8th graders in our small school.  Here's a pic of the Apple Eruption experiment I tried out at home with the girls. It was pretty exciting stuff. :)

3. Classroom pictures!! I was so swamped with inservice meetings and my daughter's 7th bday, that I never posted any classroom pictures.  Here are a few:
 My version of the Bravo board, ocean style!  Catch of the Day!

 My writing center from Seusstastic!  Ignore the mess :)
 Classroom library plus student book baskets.
 Morning meeting rug, love my Phonics Flags from A Day in First Grade!
Team labels for my kiddos!

4. This cooler weather today makes me long for pumpkin snickerdoodles and trips to the pumpkin patch! Bring on fall!!

5. Thankful my husband made it home okay from a business trip to Tennessee. <3

Have a great weekend everyone!!!!

Sunday, August 17, 2014

Meet The Teacher Linky!!

At the end of a busy day, there is nothing I enjoy more than logging into my blogger account and reading about the ups and downs of teacher life!  I love 'meeting' new teachers and exploring their blog pages full of ideas!!  I am pretty new to the blogging game, so I was so excited to see this linky.  Now more teachers can meet ME, Megan Baker blogger of Mrs. Baker's Dozen!

My school begins August 25th and our class sizes have grown considerably!  Last year's class of 11 has almost doubled this year.  I am now Mrs. Baker's TWO Dozen :) almost....21 is close enough!  I absolutely love seeing everyone's new ideas in their classrooms.  My list of things to do is growing by the day! 

Let's get this linky started!  I grew up in the country with Kansas farmers all around us.  I still do live on the outskirts of town, but I have a paved road. :)  I met my husband in college and fell in love pretty quick!  Here we are on our trip to Hawaii last month.  After 9 years, he still makes my heart beat pretty fast;)

My two girlies are 3 and 6, almost 7!  I enjoyed staying at home with them for the first 6 years.  Last year was my first year back in teaching, and I think we ALL needed it!  Love my girls though!



Romance novels (may or may not include vampires and other supernatural stuff:), Bath and Body Works lotion (Carried Away is my new fav), Kauai coffee, big bowls of cereal, taking walks with my family, and watching my girls sing and dance.

 Hmm, if I wasn't a teacher I would definitely be a children's book author.  I worked on many rough drafts while staying at home with my girls.  I sent out a few letters to some publishers, never heard back, and then lost my nerve. But I love writing and teaching writing to my firsties!
Compassionate, loyal, funny. 
"I love tying shoes every five minutes," said no teacher ever!
Probably my grandparents!  I'm sure they have lots of stories I haven't heard.
One Crazy Momma :)
Probably the power to fly.  My youngest daughter would prob love that!
Everything happens for a reason.
I've only created a few items, but my new favorite is my Meet The Firsties back to school pack!  I can't wait to use it the first week of school!
 Meet The Firsties!  A Back to School Pack for First Grade 
I have a twin sister named Anna!  You may also call us Meganna :)
It's been fun guys! Have a great back to school week!! 

Meet the Teacher Linky



Monday, August 4, 2014

A Week in Paradise + Swimming Through Sight Words Pack!

Hello world!!  Soooo, I've been a bit busy lately.  Busy laying on the beach, busy snorkeling, and MAYBE busy drinking Mai Tai after Mai Tai.  This has been a GOOD kind of busy.  Hawaii was incredible!  A total tropical adventure!  A week was plenty long though, I missed my baby girls!  Here are some interesting pics.  One of my and my handsome hubby, and the next one is the fire-throwing Hawaiian man from the luau we went to.  My husband told him to give me a hug. Oh my lord, I about died!  Sooo embarrassing!  He was pretty awesome though! :)  *kinda sweaty* lmao

I'm so excited about my newest pack, Swimming Through Sight Words!  We use the Fry word list at my school, so all of the words, phrases, and sentences are included.  Every student gets an underwater scene and go through levels of Fry words, phrases, and sentences.  Every time they complete a level, they get to add a super cute ocean creature to their ocean scene.  The adorable clip art by Krista Walden from Creative Clips, totally makes this pack!  My favorite is the jellyfish :)  Here's the link if you'd like to grab it on sale!  


Monday, July 21, 2014

Monday Made It with Wipe Off Morning Work

It's Monday Made It time!! I *barely* made it :)  Big thanks to Tara at 4th Grade Frolics for this awesome linkup.

Last year I used some awesome morning work I purchased off of TPT.  It covered everything and I loved it.  But with my class coming in this year, I just KNOW it won't work.  My upcoming class has so many different learning abilities that my lovely morning work packs would take forever to finish.

So I started to think of some ways to get quick review, independent work, and cheap materials all rolled into one.  Here's what I came up with:

On my Daily Focus Wall I will have our sight words of the day, focus words (vocab), and number of the day.  The last page is just a 'helper' page.  I printed off the worksheets, glued them to one manila file folder (the kind u can find a ton of at school!) and laminated, so PRESTO its dry erase!!

I plan on creating a new pack every month, so that the skills vary.  I'm excited to have something quick and independent for my little ones :)  Have a great week!!

Saturday, July 19, 2014

Sparkling Desk Awards for your neat and tidy kiddos!

Last year I had a super tiny class and I mean *tiny* as in 7 kids!!  Four more transferred in, but 11 to end the year is stillllll tiny!!  Out of my 11, I had three very neat and tidy students.  Their desks were organized and spotless, a beautiful sight to see.  I know y'all have kiddos like this and they need some recognition!

Last year our class mascot was Baby Dolphin, a small stuffed dolphin that matched our ocean classroom theme perfectly.  This year I've moved rooms and added more colors to my underwater oasis, so we will introduce some new mascots.  I purchased Pout Pout Fish and his Octopus friend at Kohls when the books were on sale.  I think it was last year sometime.  I love the check-out aisle at Kohls!  You cannot beat $5 books + characters to match!!  So after lunch or specials, the tidy students would return to find Baby Dolphin and some smarties on their desk. Their faces were always a riot!  They played along so well, thanking Baby Dolphin and the other non-tidy kids, well, you could tell they were contemplating their messy situations.  :)  It's a super fun and easy way to recognize and encourage kids to keep a clean desk.

 Here are some pics of my new mascots for this year PLUS a FREEBIE I whipped up.  Print these Sparkling Desk Awards out on cardstock and laminate to use over and over again!!

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Wordless Wednesday + *late* Monday Made It!!

Happy happy Wednesday everyone!  I have a houseful of girls (two are mine, two look like me but aren't mine) and clothes, makeup, accessories, My Little Ponies are flying everywhere!  Now is the time for a blog post, right?

Let's link up with Wordless Wednesday and Monday Made It!! 

My Monday Made It is dedicated to my dear eldest bro, he just turned the big 4-0!  Our big family celebrated his bday (along with my other brother and father) in Branson, MO.  I took his love of Jack Daniels and with the help of my sister-in-law and twin sis, we created a JD masterpiece!!

The bucket is from Hobby Lobby for $5.99 and it even has a cool chalkboard stripe around the middle!  I created the JD look alike stickers with chalkboard frames from the lovely Krista Wallden and chalkboard flourishes from Pink Pueblo.  The goodies are mini liquor bottles, lottery tickets, cigars, and stuff my brother will need while he gets older :) good ol' beano, denture whitener, etc.  It was one fun weekend!

Next up, Wordless Wednesday!!!  Does anyone else feel like my Claire Bear here?

This is my girl on the last day of swimming.  Love those floaties :)  Enjoy your sweet summer everyone!!

Wednesday, July 2, 2014

Wordless Wednesday with Sugar and Spice!! 

Happy Wednesday everyone!  Summer is flying by, but I can't complain because my girls and I are having lots of fun.  Here's a few pics of the projects I've gotten myself into this summer.  The first one is......JAMBERRY NAILS!!  I just put these on this morning and have fallen in love!  So fun, so funky!  Lily, my to-be seven year old, wants a spa party for her bday and guess what we will be doing? Jamberry nails baby!  The kids versions are adorable.

Number two is a banner to go with my awesome new writing center from Seusstastic  The Ultimate Writing Station 

Pardon my half painted hutch, I'm testing out chalk paint!!  I need another coat, distress the edges, and wax it.  I will share when its done!   

What are your summer projects??

Tuesday, July 1, 2014

Two Great Books, One Back to School Pack, and a FREEBIE!

Happy Tuesday everyone!  It's July 1st and I'm not sweating my booty off outside???  I can't complain with this Kansas weather!  I'm so excited to join the famous Mrs. Jump's Class with Book Talk Tuesday.  My love for children's literature grows and grows and each year my sweet daughters get older, we discover new treasures to read.

My first book is an oldie but goodie.  First Grade, at last!  by Barbara Park was the first chapter book I read to my firsties last year and I'm so thankful I made that choice.

Product Details

EVERYONE loves Junie B.!  I loved the fact that she needed glasses and felt self-conscious about them.  I had more than one kiddo in my class that could relate to that situation.  We discussed it as a class, and it was heartwarming to hear another student say "Well, I love your glasses!"  Talk about sweet kids!!

If you have a class full of first graders, then check out my newest unit, Meet The Firsties!  This adorable pack includes a sweet banner to hang in or outside your classroom, banner pieces for the kiddos to personalize, interviews to build a relationships between partners, use the graph and tally chart to get to know each other, and best of all, it includes printables to fill out as a class on how to be a great FIRSTIE friend!  Grab it while it's on sale until July 4th!!

Meet The Firsties!  A Back to School Pack for First Grade

My second book is a favorite of mine at home.  This book is so worn and tattered from reading it a hundred times to my sweethearts.  I have to be very gentle....and the girls do too!  It's called "Mommy Mine" by Jane Chapman.

This story has sweet rhyming words and such detailed pictures!  It goes through families of all kinds of animals, from penguins to hippos.  If you have a chance to check it out, read it to your babies, at school and at home!

If you save this for Mother's Day next year, then check out my FREE Mother's Day pack.  It includes an original poem, word work activities, and a mini book!  

 Mother of Mine

Happy Reading!!

Saturday, June 28, 2014

Become a World Traveler in your little ol' classroom!

I don't know about you, but when the snow/rain is blowing outside and the kids are wound up in the classroom, you start to crave a little vacay :) While we can't load the kids in a bus and haul them to the beaches of California, we can visit the Pacific Ocean virtually with the help of the Internet andddddd my new close reading packet, World Traveler!  

 World Traveler: A close reading unit

Take a peek at my newest pack, 88 pages of informational text covering regions of North America.  I've included the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans, Rocky Mountains, Grand Canyon, and the Great Plains.  This pack has a five-day lesson laid out for you and tons of printables to choose from!!  To celebrate, the pack is on sale for $4.00 for the next 24 hours!!!  Happy Traveling!!

Friday, June 27, 2014

Daily 5 Book Study Chapters 5-7

And so it continues, the Daily 5 book study!  I'm a bit late, but I've been having too much fun with these bathing beauties!

 A week late on this post was worth it I think!  So here it goes, my fav parts of Chapters 5,6, and 7 of Daily 5 (Second Edition).

In Chapter 5, they put a huge emphasis on repetition.  Repetition will be the key to developing good literacy habits.  Take the first few days slow when you implement Daily 5, and thoughtfully build a solid foundation.  The Sisters also reviewed the three ways to read a book:  Read the Pictures, Read the Words, and Retell the Story.  I remember using their shoe activity last year when we first started Daily 5 in my first grade class.  I brought in a ballet slipper of my daughters, a cowboy boot from my husband, and one of my dress shoes.  We then took turns walking (playing) in each shoe, talking about how it felt wearing them and if the shoes helped us walk or not.  I then said if I wanted to find a shoe that was a 'good fit', which one would it be?  Next, I laid out different types of text: high school history book, huge dictionary, and some leveled readers.  We went through the process again of finding a 'good fit' book.  By being able to touch and move with the visuals, my kiddos flew through the process.  

Chapter 6 goes over what to do after you choose a perfect book.  Next choose a spot that is just right for you, away from distractions and comfortable enough to read for up to 7 minutes (not the first few times of course).  Then Work on Writing begins with setting up a notebook.  Begin by writing lists of ideas in the first couple of pages in the notebook.  Read to Someone can be implemented after Work on Writing is up and running.  During read to someone, students must sit EEKK (elbow to elbow, knee to knee), make sure their voice level isn't too high or too low, and be able to pick a partner that is right for them.  During read to someone, I love the idea of how each student is a 'Reading Coach' to their partner.  If a student is having trouble with a word, they need to count to 3 in their head and then ask if they would like coaching or time.  If they need time, let them figure it out alone.  If they need time, offer a reading strategy.  This is also something a teacher should model and let the students practice and practice some more.

In Chapter 7, the Sisters talk about when to launch each part of Daily 5.  Once the students reach the required minimum of stamina for read to self (K:7-8 min, Primary:10-12 min, and Intermediate:12-14 min), then you can start to introduce work on writing.

Next week will be the big and anticipated Math Daily 5!!  I'm so excited to start using this in the classroom.  I know it will lead to an organized chaos that last years math rotations seemed to be.

Finally, and I do mean F.I.N.A.L.L.Y. my World Traveler Close Reading pack is sooo close to being done!!  I am proofreading this big boy and will post about it soon!  It will include non-fiction pieces on regions of North America, like the Pacific Ocean and my favorite, the Great Plains! :) Gotta love the Heartland.....  Hope you stay tuned to check it out!

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Daily 5 Book Study Ch. 3-4 plus a FREEBIE!


I'm back for more with the Daily 5 Second Edition!  I think the biggest things for me in Chapter 3 were Building Stamina and Stay out of the Way during Read to Self.
Let the students set their pace, then provide practice to build stamina.  Read to Self may only last thirty seconds in the first practice, but reading stamina takes time to build and every student will be different.  
Stay out of the way is definitely something I need to work on.  Last year I started to travel around the room to listen to individual students read, but that led to other students chatting and moving.  Your own lack of movement allows students to focus better.

In Chapter 4, I took careful note of how to create the perfect reading environment.  Since I am in a bigger room this year, my classroom reading are will expand.  Having a variety of places to sit gives students choices.  Make sure they are comfy so that kids can sit and read longer.  I used wind chimes last year as a signal and book boxes for their personal library.  The kiddos loved having their own book box!  Since I might have up to 19 kids this year (!!!) I am in the market for some new ones! Maybe something like this...

from Really Good Stuff.Durable Book And Binder Holders With Stabilizer Wing & Label Holder™ - 5-Pack Neon

Now for a cute freebie for sending a sweet note to your former/future students!  This idea actually came from my sweet friend, Sarah, who is another first grade teacher.  The plan is to send a short note, telling students what you're doing this summer.  In the envelope, include another piece of writing paper, envelope, and stamp for the students to write you back!  Now we have Summer Pen Pals!  I can just imagine the faces of some of my Firsties  Secondies (?) and I know they will love getting the mail!  Click here to get the Summer Pen Pal Papers!  Enjoy the sweet summertime!

Sunday, June 8, 2014

The Daily 5 Book Study 2nd Edition

Chapters 1-2

I'm linking up with the wonderful ladies from Freebielicious to share thoughts on the 2nd edition of the Daily 5.  If there was one thing I loved about my first of teaching, it would be the Daily 5.  If there was one thing I felt 100% CONFIDENT implementing in my classroom, it's Daily 5!  

Although I was a late hire to the district (2 weeks before school, yikes!), I already knew from reading blogs that I wanted to try the Daily 5.  Sure, the first few weeks put some pressure on me to enforce the behavior I expected from the kiddos, but the hard work in the beginning totally pays off!  Like the Sisters say, "Practice these skills until habits form".

So the Sisters have put out their 2nd edition of the Daily 5 and I think they have loosened the reins on a few things.  Here are my top 3 new ideas I love from Chapters 1 and 2!

1.  Daily 5 doesn't have to be 5 rotations every day.  I had a lot of trouble squeezing in all 5 rotations in my ELA block.  In fact, I frequently let it run into our Science time.  If you know your time is AUTHENTIC and MEANINGFUL, then don't stress about getting it all in.








2.  Trust and respect the students' abilities to be independent readers and writers.  More than likely, if you provide students with authentic activities and build stamina, they will be independent readers and writers.  But remember to PRACTICE BEHAVIORS you want to see and BUILD STAMINA, which will probably vary from student to student.  My higher students may end up with an independent reading stamina of 10-12 minutes, while my struggling students might top out at 7 minutes.  And that's okay!  I love how the Sisters gave examples of bringing those struggling students back to them to review skills and give them reminders that they CAN DO IT!





3.  Accountability runs both ways during the Daily 5.  Students and teachers alike have to be held accountable.  Teachers need to show and guide students to participate in Daily 5, while students are held accountable in the choices they make, like where to sit during Read to Self.  This was a tough one for me last year.  I think the maturity of a student and their decision-making skills plays a big part in Daily 5.  Honestly, one of my highest students had the most trouble because she just wasn't at the maturity level of some of the other kiddos.  this year, I know I will need to practice and practice on the behaviors I want to see.  And then practice some more every so often. 

I created this little self-assessment for those students who have a hard time taking a look at their own behavior.  Use Rate Your Reading for a quick questionnaire after Read to Self or really any time a student has some independent reading time.

Rate Your Reading

Rate Your Reading 

 If you have the book, join our book study!!  Every Friday the Freebielicious ladies will be covering 2 chapters.  Have a great week!!