Goodbye Las Vegas... We are moving home!

*You can follow our road trip fun over at my personal blog, Late Nights & Lattes*


Three years ago, Parker and I graduated college and were looking for something "fun" to do.

After a not-so-long walk to the park, we had made up our minds... we were moving to Las Vegas. What could be more "fun" than that?! We were young, we didn't have jobs or much money, or any idea what to do when we arrived in Vegas, but we knew we would make it work. After all, that is the way do things - we are NOT planners.

A couple short months later, our bags were packed, tears were shed and we were out on the road for a cross-country road trip! Vegas or bust was our mentality... and bust we almost did. After our first stop our car broke down and needed a $900 repair to get moving again (which was about one-third of all the money we had to our name).

After seeing Chattanooga, New Orleans, Austin, and Albuquerque we finally arrived in Las Vegas!

Then came the harsh reality:
It was hell for both of us to find jobs and took much longer to get on our feet than we had initially anticipated. We could not have done it without the help of our family - most of all my sister-in-law who let us rent some rooms in her house. We love you, Romy!

Once we did get settled, we were amazed by how much we loved it here. It is here where we got our first "big people" jobs, got engaged, made new and lasting friendships, and created (then disbanded) 3 different businesses -ha! It is here that we learned we could do anything we set our mind to... and we could do it together.

As I sit here, only an hour away from leaving the city we have called home, I am teary-eyed thinking of all I am leaving behind. All the friends, families, and students I have met have given me so many memories that I will keep for a lifetime.

I am anxious to get started on the next chapter of our life together as we look forward to getting married, starting our family, revisiting our old friends and family we have left on the East Coast, and our exciting road trip that starts right about n-o-w!

To all our friends here in Vegas - WE LOVE YOU and we can't wait to come back and visit!
To all our friends and family back East - we love you too and we are on our way!!


Until next time...

***

I have been wicked (aka very - gotta get back in the New England mentality) busy these past few days, but I am sure you have heard that google reader will be gone soon and the new cool place to be is Blog Lovin! Please click the button below to make sure you are following me there!
Thank you Anna from Crazy for First Grade for the cute image!
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Throwback Thursday: Writing Through the Seasons!

I am linking up with Cara again to bring you my Throwback Thursday post!
I am leaving Vegas this weekend and I am sitting on my couch in a room with PILES of junk everywhere!!! AHHHHH! I promise when I finally get settled back east, I will have some new, fun info for you!

The post I chose was from Veteran's Day last year and it is my most viewed post EVER! It was when I came out with my Writing Through the Seasons packs! Enjoy!

***

Happy Veteran's Day!!

I am so excited to share my 2 latest and greatest packs with you. Let me just dive "write" in!

I love teaching writing. If you have read previous posts, you know that back in the day, I was horrible at teaching writing. HO-RRI-BLE. Now, I love it! I have just made two common core aligned writing packets to help your students become better writers through the seasons Fall and Winter!


 In each packet, there are fun narrative, informative, and opinion prompts with graphic organizers and writing templates! 

Here are a few of my fave parts from my Fall unit:

 {Roll-a-Story}
Characters and setting version:
This is such a fun, easy writing center, where students roll a character and a setting (page not shown) and write a silly narrative using the two. The students' stories get pretty darn creative!

These are just a few of many different writing prompts & activities!

Some favorites from my Winter pack:


 {Roll-a-Story}
Problem and solution version:
Step 2 - even more creativity involved! Students roll either a problem and come up with a narrative with a fitting solution, or students can roll a solution and come up with the problem. Another great writing center!

Some more prompts and a fun how-to craft!
I send home a packet of hot cocoa and the brainstorming sheet for homework the night before my students complete this activity!
They are available in my TPT store!


Now, I am off to enjoy the rest of my day off!

P.S.

Check out my new Writing Through the Seasons {All Year Long}! pack! This has all 4 seasons bundled for a discounted price!

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Throwback Thursday!


I am linking up with one of my *all time* favorite bloggers, Cara Carroll, for a little throwback Thursday fun!

I have been blogging for a little over a year so there isn't TOO much to look back on, but the post I picked is from September 2012! It is filled with freebies and photos and is basically just a bunch of different stuff thrown into one post... which, if you follow my blog, you know that happens often! So sit back, enjoy my throwback post, and then click the button above to go read some other great bloggers' ideas!

***

A little bit of this and a little bit of that!

Here is a quick peek into our classroom on Photo Friday:

[Our sweet little Star of the Week!]
I left that smile in there because she was CHEESIN' all week long! As our first star of the week she was thrilled to be our line leader and helper. She was also beyond happy to take home this little book we made for her today and to quote my little lady "ohmigod, my mom is going to be SO proud of me!!!" Warm fuzzies all over!!

The inside:
"she is a really nice friend"

"because she is special" lol
and
"she is fun and funny"

My {Star of the Week} booklet is always a BIG hit and is in my store for FREE!
If you want to download, just click on the image below:

Next we have the Investigations math game, Counters in a Cup.
We have been working on subtraction and finding missing parts and my students loved this game on Tuesday. Naturally, I brought it back for "fun" Friday (A.K.A. regular day but Ms. Moran smiles a lot and keeps saying over and over that everything is so FUN! - kids are so easy to trick)
 
Start with 10 counters. Students work in pairs to hide some of the counters under a cup while their partner isn't looking. Partner turns around, records how many counters are outside the cup and tries to figure out how many are underneath. Easyyyyy and fun!

[Happy Birthday!]
I am not.that.fun.
 I don't have a huge birthday display or a cape or a party for my birthday kids.
No time.

I do, however, draw a little puppy with a party hat on a card and throughout the day I gather quotes from the other students about the birthday student! I compile them into one card, read it aloud and we sing our hearts out. My favorite quotes of today were "I have a big crush on him" and "He is crazy in a good way!"

Lastly, we learned a wee bit about our 5 senses today!
First we read this book and had a pretty thorough discussion about our 5 senses and how they help us to be aware of our surroundings.

Then we completed a 5 Senses flipbook I made:
 They had to write down three things they could see, hear, taste, feel, and touch. Pretty simple? Yah, but it was a quick formative assessment to let me see who was getting it and who wasn't.

If you'd like the flip book I uploaded it to googledocs. Just click below!

Happy weekend!

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All About ME! A Back to School Unit

I have finally been working on some school stuff!

I wanted to take some of my favorite back to school activities and put them into one pack. While we are reviewing different math and literacy skills from Kindergarten, I like to throw a bunch of get to know you activities in the mix.

The activities I chose to put in this pack are ones that I use sporadically throughout the first month of school. Here is an explanation of the activities:

First, I have 2 partner activities that lets students get UP and moving while getting to know one another.


 With "Get to Know Me" students each get a card and walk around the room to find the student with the matching symbol. When they find that partner, they must do what is on each card. You collect and shuffle cards before repeating numerous times! I pull this game out a couple times during that first month. "Teaming Up" is a game to help students get to know each other better by sharing their similarities and differences. I also included a recording sheet to hold students accountable for listening to their partners!

Next, is a"get to know us" book. I have my students each fill out the following page at the beginning of the year and we turn it into a class book. It is a fun keepsake to look at as the year goes on.

Another activity is called Namesakes! This is a presentation I have the students make to the class after they go home and talk with their parents about where their name originates from. This always makes for a fun conversation between your students and their families and they come back with lots of fun facts about themselves. Since I do this as an oral presentation, I included some speaking and listening rubrics/checklists for you to take an initial assessment on your students' skills.

The next project I have is called, "These are a few of my favorite things" and I have created two options for this craft! I like to create the first one for an open house or back to school night. They are fun to hang around the room and help decorate! It is a mobile with students' favorite things attached. There are 7 pieces to this mobile, but I usually have students pick the 5 they want to include on their craft.
Pieces I chose: my favorite after-school activity, my favorite outfit, my favorite color, my favorite book, and my favorite food!
Here it is hanging!

In case you don't have time to make the mobile, I have included a mini-book option that is just as fun!
Disclaimer: Spongebob is not really my favorite TV show... but I do really love The Giving Tree!

Still with me? Lastly, I have one of my favorite beginning of the year projects - Color me Happy! I love to do an art project at the beginning of the year to get students expressing themselves in different ways. This project goes with the Dr. Seuss book, My Many Colored Days, but could easily be done without it!
 
This art/writing project allows students to get in touch with their feelings and create their own masterpiece! The project has plenty of organizers to help guide students' thinking and then you get to let them loose with the paint, crayons, markers, and colored pencils! You will be amazed with what they come up with on their own!

So there you have it... my All About ME unit is complete and is available in my TPT store for $5!
Make sure you follow my facebook page... ya know... in case there happens to be a giveaway or something.... WINK WINK WINK WINK WINK!

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Five for Friday!

I am linking up with Doodle Bugs for Five for Friday!
fiveforfriday

I have been out of school for one whole week now and it feels WONDERFUL!!

Here is what I have been up to:

(1)
Some of my teaching friends and I spent the night at the Hard Rock Hotel here in Vegas... and in case you have never been.. it is a goooood time! Here is some visual proof:
 ^Craziness^
 Me, Michelle, Lindsey
Me & Linds enjoying the pool!

(2)
The next day, Parker's dad and brother came to visit us here in Vegas! We casino hopped all over town and ended up staying at the Golden Nugget one night:  
 
My future fam - how good lookin' are they?!
 
The Golden Nugget pool surrounds a big ole shark tank and they even have a water slide that goes right THROUGH the tank - crazy!

(3)
I am finally doing some TPT work! It has been awhile, but I am almost finished with my new All About Me! unit for back to school. I am very excited about it and it has lots of my favorite activities for the beginning of the year. Here is the cover:

Fingers crossed it'll be uploaded and ready this weekend!

(4)
Road trippin'
We are leaving Vegas in just 16 short days and we have lots to do!!! We have our road trip route though! When we moved here 3 years ago we traveled the southern route and visited Pennsylvania, Chattanooga, New Orleans, Austin, Albuquerque, and ended up in Vegas! We did that all in 14 days. This time we are driving longer between stops and it'll be only 8 days but here is the route:
Denver - 2 days
St. Louis - 1 day
Chicago - 2 days
Washington D.C. - 2 days
H-O-M-E!

I am in the process of planning our events at each stop, so if you have any ideas or "must-see"s let me know! So far all we have planned is seeing The Book of Mormon in Chicago!

(5)
Wedding colors:
My wedding planning is moving along quite nicely! I receive my invitations in the mail and we are sending them out the weekend we leave Vegas! I posted this on my personal blog, but I finally mapped out my color scheme and what I want my wedding to look/feel like! This is what I came up with:

You like?!

Time to clean up this apartment, go to the gym, and get back to work on my All About Me unit!

See you soon!
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Andddd it's over.

Many tears were shed this past week as I wrapped up my last 4 days at school. It has been such a great 3 years of laughing and learning and I will never forget all my students, parents, and colleagues who I had the pleasure of getting to know!

After a few hours of cleaning and packing this is how my day ended yesterday:

My teensy little classroom looking all dark and dingy.

Let's rewind a little bit.

Here is how I spent my last few days with the kids.

Monday:
 we made memory books and I gave the kids their end of the year gifts:

I used the same gifts as last year - water bottles from the dollar store and bunches of smarties!
I also gave out Reagan's free candy awards that were a HUGE hit!

Tuesday:
Game day! I spent the morning cleaning our math tubs and letting the students play all our math games from the year. They reviewed some important math skills and had a blast! After lunch, my kids had brought in their own board game from home and basically had a free-for-all playing all sort of different games with their friends.

Wednesday:
Half-day and last day with kids.
No lunch is served on our last day so I decided to provide breakfast for my kiddos! We had cereal, poptarts, and lots of OJ!! I also laid down some butcher paper and markers for my kids to decorate while I was serving breakfast.


After breakfast we read a few of our favorite stories from the year. Watched an episode of Phineas & Ferb and shared lots of hugs and tears before we left for summer!

I cry every year, but this year was a whole new level of sadness since I will be moving so far away.

Now that this chapter of my life has closed, I will be anxiously awaiting what life has in store for me next. For now, all I know is that we are hoppin' in our little mazda 6 on June 30th to head out for a 8 day, cross-country road trip back to Boston.

It will be a wild and busy summer, but I will be sure to keep this blog updated as much as I can!

For everyone still in school - YOU CAN DO IT - and for everyone else that is already on summer break with me.... Cheers!! I am heading out to the pool with a margarita in hand.

See ya sometime next week ;)






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