Friday, November 29, 2013

Gratitude and special announcement

When I was in Kenya, it was family tradition to sit down each night for family meeting. We would gather up, snuggle up and spend time together each night discussing and celebrating the day. We would also share gratitude.

Gratitude was a time where the kids, volunteers, and matrons could go around and say what they were thankful for.... kinda like going around the Thanksgiving table here in the states, but we would do this everyday.
So, while Thanksgiving is over, we wanted to remain in an attitude of gratefulness and share our gratitude today. We're linking up with Reading and Writing Redhead for her Time To Be Thankful Linky party! Here are the top 10 things I'm thankful for today. 
“Gratitude for the seemingly insignificant—a seed—this plants the giant miracle.” Ann Voskamp

We also are excited to share with you that we are having a Black Friday SUPER SALE on everything in our TpT store today! 20% off everything! Come grab some Melonheadz filled bundles that contain student-led games are perfect for an ELA student center, small group RTI intervention, or whole-class activities. There are also reinforcing activities that can be used to assess your student’s ability!.
Check out some of our favorites below:
We hope your Thanksgiving was filled with love and gratitude. 
We're SO thankful for YOU, friends.

Saturday, November 23, 2013

Oh Five For Friday how we've missed you!

Hi friends! It's been way too long since I've written on this little 'ol blog of ours.
Here's why... Stacy and I lead CRAZY lives. Being a first year teacher is insane. It's absolutely the most joyful job I've ever had the opportunity to do but I honestly feel like I could work all day every day and STILL not be done with everything. Stacy just started another course towards her CAGS degree (because she's amazing) and so she's super busy with that, too.
We're sorry friends! We've missed you! But be sad no longer, because we're back with a late Five For Friday. We love linking up with Doodle Bugs!
1. Let me let you in on a little secret of mine... I'm obsessed with the sky. For those who know me, it's no secret. I'm constantly telling my friends to look up and I'm always in awe of the way that it is continuously changing. These pictures are from a night that I stopped my car on my commute home from work to watch my God finish painting. Man it was stunning. I tend to make stopping my car to watch the sunset a habit... and it's an incentive I use for myself to get out of the building at a reasonable time!! 
2. For awhile now, I've been venting (almost daily) to Stacy about how my literacy block is just NOT working for my students. I'm learning that with this particular group of friends, putting them in groups and setting a timer for them to move in rotations sounded ideal but is not realistic. There are way too many students that are reading at the same level but behaviorally can not be in groups with one another... it becomes quite the management craze and I'm just not able to fully work with my reading groups the way I've desired to. SO... I was searching the internet, processing with Stacy and inspired by Teaching With Love and Laughter and I woke up at 5am on a SATURDAY to put together a work/choice chart for my class. I'm currently creating must do and may do options and I plan to begin implementing this choice Daily 5 (ish) literacy time on Monday. I feel really good about it but I'll keep y'all updated. Any advice on a choice based literacy block vs. a structured group time or reading groups in general? I'd love to hear what you all do!
3. I purchased Amy Lemons' Let's Be Thankful! {Literacy and Thanksgiving Book Activities} for my second graders next week but tried some of it out while I was babysitting this weekend. I read “The Best Thanksgiving Ever” by Teddy Slater and Ethan Long to the kiddies and then we created turkeys with our hand prints and wrote on each turkey what we were thankful for. Some of my favorites from these guys... "chicken nuggets" and "the color blue". Nothing beats the cuteness of these munchkins. I created the model for my students too! Perfection. Ps. Amy Lemons is amazing and so is this bundle of activities.  
 4. In both 2nd Grade and The Reading Room, we've had the opportunity to use one of our favorite products, The Old Wild West. This bundle makes learning the concept of closed syllable exceptions /glued SO much fun! This 20 page bundle contains a Board Game, Card Game, The SCOOT Stampede, 48 word cards, 16 task cards and WEEK of reinforcing student printables! These games and activies are perfect for an ELA student center, partner work, small group RTI intervention, or whole class activity. I was actually playing the SCOOT game with my class when the principal and superintendent walked in [cue minor heart attack]. Everyone loved it! You may be able to tell that we are slightly completely obsessed with Melonheadz graphics and her Wild West bundle was PERFECTION for this awesome pack.  
I promise you it is child, principal, superintendent AND teacher approved!!
Click the image above to grab your copy too!
5. Last but certainly not least, Stacy and some of the Kindergarten teachers at her school had the opportunity to use another of our favorite products, our November Literacy Centers. We, once again were just head over heels with the cuteness of Melonheadz and inspired to created that your pre-k/ kindergarten students will love! Students will have a blast practicing early literacy skills while playing the games and activities! This 30 page bundle includes THREE early literacy games, printables, and guided reading book. These activities are perfect for an ELA student center, small group RTI intervention, or whole-class activity.

Click the picture above to grab your own set at 50% OFF THROUGH THANKSGIVING!!

So there you have it! A random selection of 5 things from two overly busy teachers! Thanks for sticking with us through all that! We really do love reading all about your lives and teaching though so leave some comments in the comment section for us to stop by your blog too! 

Ps: When's Thanksgiving Break start for y'all? We get out Wednesday at 11:40 and I actually can't wait!

Monday, November 11, 2013

Happy Veterans Day from The Rungs of Reading!

Happy Veterans Day, teacher friends!

First of all, any Mondays off are a blessing... but the real blessing here is being able to celebrate, remember and thank the courageous men and women that have fought for our precious freedom. 

This week in second grade, we spent time learning about this holiday, and taking time to remember what soldiers do for us. We used an awesome Veterans Day Activities Packet from First Grade Schoolhouse. I made it a little more challenging by asking students to include more details in their writing and it turned out great! I have a very boy-heavy class this year so they were SUPER excited with the solider/military items included in the packet.
I began the week by introducing my students to Walter and Dwayne, two friends of mine who are finishing up their time at the United States Naval Academy. I showed them pictures of the boys and cracked up when my little munchkins commented mostly about the size of their muscles (the photo is at the bottom of this post if you want to giggle with me). As the students built more of a personal connection with Walter and Dwayne, many began remembering soldiers and veterans in their own lives as well. We talked about what soldiers do for us and used that discussion to spark ideas for what to thank soldiers for in our writing. The students loved writing to Walter and Dwayne and have begged me to invite them into the classroom so they can meet in person. This precious craftivity took us a significant portion of Friday afternoon but it was worth it! Just look at them!!! I sent a picture of one to Stacy and she responded saying she has "no words". That's when you know it's something really cute! :) :)

These letters are currently hanging in the 2nd grade hallway but will soon be on their way to Annapolis MD to the mailboxes of two of my all-time favorite men.
As many of you know, Stacy and I began this journey when I was her student intern in the Reading Room. At her school, they celebrate Veterans Day with a special assembly for the veterans in the community.  Students lead the show by presenting poems, songs and dedications. Each year the assembly is extra special because Sergeant Dan Clark, "The Singing Trooper", captures the hearts of teachers, students, and veterans with his inspirational performance and entertainment.  This year, students were particularly enamored because he had sung God Bless America during Game 1 of the Red Sox/St. Louis World Series game!  Boy!  He puts on a fantastic show!
So... Walter, Dwayne, and all the men and women of the military: Thank you, from the bottom of our  second grade and Reading Room hearts for all you do for us day in and day out. 
We are grateful and appreciative.. and we will not forget your service.
And for all our teacher friends, in honor of Veterans Day, our product Sail Away Bingo will be on sale TODAY ONLY! Grab it quick! It's the perfect addition to your word work, reading groups or RTI group and it's one of our favorites... and our students' too!
Click the picture or here to be directed to our store where you can download it!

With grateful hearts to all who serve, GOD BLESS AMERICA!

Friday, November 8, 2013

I Am So Thankful! Blog Hop Stop #17

 Congratulations! You made it to blog stop#17! If you are just "hopping in", you can go here if you missed some stops along the way. This is also where you will find the I Am So Thankful giveaway!!  Don't forget to collect all the delicious "pie clues" along the way to enter!
Speaking of pie clues, Colleen and I agreed that "NEW BEGINNINGS" really captures what we are thankful for this time of year.  Our exciting year began when the two of us started working together in the Reading Room when Colleen was my student intern.  Little did we know that our student/mentor relationship would blossom into something bigger.  We are so thankful that when our paths crossed, we decided to start our little ol' blog and begin to share our ideas with all of you.  The blogging friendships we have made in just a few months have been AMAZING!  Thank you, friends for sharing this journey with us!  It has been a very exciting time in our careers! 
To celebrate our "New Beginnings" and Thanksgiving apple pie, we are offering one of our favorite products, "Picking the Biggest Apples", as our I Am So Thankful FREEBIE!  Your students will have a blast learning suffix endings (inflectional endings) when playing THREE games included in this bundle!  It includes 64 word cards, Board Game, SCOOT Spelling, Roll the Die Game and WEEK of reinforcing activities. These student-led games are perfect for an ELA student center, small group RTI intervention, or whole-class activity. The reinforcing activities can be used to assess your student’s ability to decode one syllable words with suffix ending s, es, er, est, ing, or ed.

Thank you for stopping by The Rungs of Reading!!  We hope you enjoy our "I Am So Thankful" freebie!  For updates on what is going on in Stacy and Colleen's classrooms, please like our Facebook page.
Now hop over to the next stop on your "I Am So Thankful" journey! 

Friday, November 1, 2013

Colleen's November Currently & New Product Announcement!

Well hi, friends!
Here we are... we've made it to another Friday!
And this one just happens to be the first day in November which means we're linking up with Farley from Oh Boy Fourth Grade for her ever popular currently post! 
This week seemed to go so fast and yet drag on forever. Halloween certainly riled my little second graders' brains... and mouths. We were chaaaattttyyy this week! Every time I stopped to listen to the conversations they went something like this... "So what are you being for Halloween?!" "NO WAYY! That's so cool" "I can't wait for Thursday!" "It might snow on Thursday" "It might rain on Thursday" or my favorite question of the week... "Miss McBride, why do we have school on Thursday? It's a holiday!!"
WOOF kiddies... please just take one small chill pill on the Halloween business. 
However, HAPPY NOVEMBER everyone, Halloween is over! HALLELUJAH!
I'm currently listening to this AWESOME playlist from a Worship event I went to last night at a friend's church. I'm just loving that this is online because I wanted to know what some of the songs were! It was such a great night. I was a little weary going out on a Wednesday (it's a big deal when you know you have 24 little ones awaiting you with Halloween expectation on Thursday morning) but I'm so thankful for the opportunity to worship my God with so many others mid week! It was a good perspective changer too. He's in control. You can listen here!
This Boston girl is LOVING the Red Sox win Wednesday night... even if it was nearly impossible to keep my eyes open to watch it! I distinctly remember and hold dear to memories I have of my dad and I going into Boston for the 2004 World Series parade. Today my kids came into school BEYOND excited on Thursday (that is except for my one little oppositional yankees lover) and the principal played Sweet Caroline over the loud speaker after school. The kids were up dancing and shouting and it was joyous. It was also moments before the release for Halloween night so it was l-o-u-d. Oh well, ya win some ya lose some! It was fun.
I'm currently thinking about this weekend because it means the 30 hour famine is FINALLY here! I've been helping to plan this event since the summer and I'm so excited that the time is here! The famine is an event sponsored by an organization called World Vision. From today at noon until Saturday at 6:00 PM, we'll give up food in order to focus on the the impacts of hunger being experienced by millions around the world. While we will surely not solve the problem, this event will help raise awareness among the participants and the sponsors as well as raise critical funds for people in desperate need. It's amazing to me that just $30 can feed a child for a whole month! Or $360 could feed a child for a whole year...

I love the famine and I love the teenagers at my church who are eager to participate in this event as well. Stay tuned for updates on the famine. I'm sure they'll be some good stories from hungry teenagers! :) If you feel led, and want to start November - the month of Thankfulness - by remembering how much we take for granted, our donation page is found here. We've already raised over $7,000 and I am just blown away by all that is going to do for the hungry children around the earth.
I'm currently wanting my Njabini slippers. My roommates from college absolutely hate them because I used to wear them at ALL times that we were at home but I just absolutely adore them. First of all, they're so comfortable and warm. My toes right now are FREEZING! Secondly, they remind me of Kenya and sometimes even smell a little bit like it there. And that just fills my heart. 
 I'm currently feeling as though I need report cards and parent-teacher conferences to be over. [I'm not even close... booo!]. Don't get me wrong, I love meeting with parents and firmly believe in working as a collaborative team to create a strong home-school connection but they are just plain exhausting. Ours span over the course of the whole month of November [each Wednesday afternoon we have them]. They wipe me out, that's for sure. 

I'm curious to know, how does your school do conferences?
Who doesn't love chocolate fondue?  Look at this adorable idea from Clean and Scentsible!  This will definitely be on my Thanksgiving table this November!  What will be on yours?
Kindergarten November Literacy Centers
Finally, we are super excited to release our newest product for our Pre K/Kindergarten friends, November Literacy Centers!  Your students will have a blast practicing early literacy skills while playing the games and activities included in this bundle! This 30 page bundle includes THREE early literacy games, printables, and guided reading book. These activities are perfect for an ELA student center, small group RTI intervention, or whole-class activity. 
Have an awesome weekend, friends and a great start to your month!