Friday, March 22, 2013

Five Random Things 5 for Friday and Two FREEBIES!

Hello Everyone!

I am starting with a couple FREEBIEs.  I have been working on so many different packets that I have not been able to post anything on my TpT store.

The first FREEBIE is a sample of my /ee and /ea/ vowel pattern packet.  I love to focus my instruction and I have not seen many resources out there that only focus on specific vowel patterns. 

The second FREEBIE is a 2D and 3D Shape Match Game.  I have not had time to pretty it up to sell yet, but it is a fun way to reinforce the geometry common core standard 1.G.1.

I am once again linking up with Kacey over at Doodlebugs Teaching for the five for Friday link up for 5 random things that happened to me this last week.


1.  TGI Spring Break!  Yes it is finally here.  I absolutely LOVE the kids in my classroom this year and I mean LOVE each and every one of them. but I really did need a week off to try to get my energy back!  These last two weeks have been absolutely exhausting and emotionally tolling.......

2.  Target Time- At my school we have a 30 minute daily block of time for intervention/enrichment set to group all the students in each grade level so they get instruction at their level.  All year we have been reading focused and finally this next round of target time will be 100% math focused!  I am so excited!  We have 3 teachers teaching the average/high students skip counting/patterns, problem solving, and math facts on a two week rotation and then I have more of the "bubble" kids that are just below grade level and need that extra boost.  Math is my passion, but I love teaching guided reading and seeing the growth students make in a year to focus on teaching math. 

3.  Report Cards were due in last Sunday.  My students are performing very well and have come such a long way!  My own daughter brought home her first grade report card as well.  What does she need to work more on?  MATH!!  Her addition and subtraction facts are not the most efficient, but I could have told you that since she will not do any math activities I create!!  Talk about frustrating!!!!  I may have told her that her teacher wrote on her report card that she needs to start doing the weekly math homework I make my students do.... awful, I know :).

4.  The first and second day of spring = INDOOR RECESS!!!!  I could not believe it myself, but it was -10 degrees the last two days with the wind chill.  Will winter ever go away??  We have gotten 66" of snow here in my part of Wisconsin and I am dreading what it will look like when all this snow melts.

5.  Friday rant-  I have had a rough couple of weeks at school and I have wondered more about what is going on with our students now days?  Are we pushing too many academics minutes on our first graders?  I see all these wonderful blogs of other teachers and all these fun activities they can do in their classroom, but in my district we are limited due to the schedule that is set for us and the required instructional minutes.  I have been reflecting on things this last week and have tried to incorporate more culturally relevant activities in my day.  Every one of my "high need" students now have breaks in their day if they are meeting their goal.  These last couple days of those breaks have made such a difference on them that it made me wonder about the other students.  I bet they would like and need breaks too.  I just need to find the right movements or breaks since my students do not handle transitions quickly despite practice time after practice time : ).

That is all!

Tina Parker 

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Find Out a Little About Mrs. Parker


I am linking up with Latoya Reed of Flying into First Grade and sharing three things about myself related to my initials.

My name is Tina A. Parker (TAP)

T is for Time and how I never EVER seem to have enough of it.  I get up at 6:00am and try to get to school by 6:30 or 6:45.  Before school I either have a meeting ( I am also a math coach AND a full time teacher) for leadership or one of the coaching meetings (literacy, math, or PBIS).  This school year is more hectic with running around and "putting out fires" than normal so my lunches are either reteaching expectations with students or lunch duty twice a week.  The time formally called "prep" time is now PLC or collaboration time so prep now must be done before or after school.  After school I need to run and pick up my own children once I get out of school about 4:30 at two different daycares.  I race home to make dinner because I may have to coach swimming, take the crew to swimming practice or girl scouts, and even attend the ocasional after school meeting.  My husband works odd hours and coaches hockey so many times I am solo on parenting duties on our 3 children ages 7, 3, and 21 months.  Once I get the kids fed, baths, homework, reading the younger 2 book after book ( I can't say NO :)), and finally all of them to bed it is 9:00 or 9:30.  From there I have to choose if I clean the house that will be ripped apart again in 5 minutes flat or work on my To Do list for creating products for my students.  Finally I try to get in bed by 11pm.......

A is for Award.  I am anxiously awaiting (Since last July) to find out if I am the national recipient of the Presidential Award for Excellence in Mathematics and Science out of the state of Wisconsin.  I am one of two teachers from Wisconsin up for the mathematics award.  I am invited to attend an award ceremony in Madison, WI April 24 to be honored as a state finalist.  I am not one to like all the attention on myself, but I am definitely making an exception for this chapter in my life.  Even though it is a great honor to be one of the two state finalists anything short of winning in my mind will be failure (see letter P below).

P is for Perfectionist.  I admit it!  I am a perfectionist tried and true!  I set unbelievable expectations for myself and will not settle for less.  This perfectionist trait has led me to many sleepless nights, thinking/believing I can do it all.  I would like to admit that I have been working on my endless work hours relating to my teaching job, but I do like the gratification I get from the products I make and use in my classroom :).  I am sure all of you can relate- ADMIT IT!!

Have a wonderful rest of the week!


Friday, March 8, 2013

TGIF! Seriously!

Hello and Happy Friday!

Here is my Five (maybe not so) random events that have happened this past week:

Five for Friday Linky from Kacey over at Doodle Bugs

1.  The staff at my school is absolutely wonderful.  I am up for the PAEMST (Presidential Award for Excellence in Teaching Mathematics and Science) national award for 2013 (mathematics portion).  Since I am one of two state finalists for the state of Wisconsin some members of the school staff arranged a day for the whole school to honor me!  I am a very humble person by nature and a bunch of extra attention is not my cup of tea, but to see all the students so excited for me, especially my former students, made this one of my most memorable teaching moments! 
2.  The next step for the Presidential Award was to have a ceremony in Madison, WI this past Tuesday, BUT Mother Nature had other ideas.  Since I would have to travel 3 hours in a winter storm with warnings to stay off the road, the ceremony is now postponed until April 24.  Even at that time I will STILL not know if I won the national award.  I will find out some time in May (Winner gets a trip to Washington DC to meet the president and take a White House tour along with $10,000). 
3.  SNOW DAY Tuesday!!  We now need to make up two days of school.  As of today we will need to go until June 12! At this weather rate we will be celebrating the 4th of July for the first time during the normal 180 school year :).  I spent the whole day with my three kids (1 very helpful 7 year old girly girl, a high maintenance "mama's boy" 3 year old hating every minute of potty training, and a sassy, VERY opinionated 21month old princess) and trying to catch up on my TpT products not quite finished.
4.  4:00am- The time my littlest one has decided to get up since Tuesday night screaming from ear pain.  This is her second ear infection since getting tubes and her adenoids out in December.  A bought of pneumonia in January was yet another sickness this child has had to go through.  Actually I am posting this for my sympathy.  In bed late and up at 4:00 am all week.........
5.  What an end to the week!  I could tell there was either another storm in the mix or a full moon because the storm always blows through my classroom first!  I can't even begin to tell you everything I did to put out "fires" all day.  I am just plain exhausted!  I absolutely love my class this year, but boy do they have energy! 
How does everyone manage their time?  I can't believe how I can survive on such little sleep.  My husband is gone very often so the kid duty is on my shoulders.  I feel like I not only struggle getting caught up, but the time I used to have in years past to create products and activities for my students is now replaced with greater curricular demands. 
What math curriculum do you use?  Do you have one?  Is anyone using EnVisonMath (Common Core Aligned) math program from Pearson?  Our district is in the middle of a core program review and this is one of the programs that presented this last week.  It looked wonderful during the presentation, but I am wondering if it seems a little too paper pencil for first graders and is there enough "meat" for the full 60 minutes? 
Thank you and have a WONDERFUL weekend!
Tina Parker

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Another Snow Day!

I am home again today due to the winter storm that arrived over night.  Even though we have a day off of school I always view these snow days as a chance to get caught up on my blog writing, cleaning up my classroom, and trying to get as many TpT products finished.  I have about 20 products started, but then have to put them off until I create enough materials to finish each product.

I posted two new products a few days ago.  The first product I finished up is a Long Vowel packet focusing on CVCe vowel patterns.  I have found a lot of wonderful long vowel resources, but not many that kept the focus only on CVCe vowel pattern rather than all vowel patterns. 

The next product I posted is a teen number packet that focuses on understand teen numbers.  Too many  students struggle remembering the names of the teen numbers so I created these activities that will help students recognize numbers by the quantity of number rather than memorization of a name. 

 My current project is creating math task cards to cover all of the first grade math common core state standards.  I have the Operations and Algebraic Thinking and Number and Base Ten tasks finished.  I have at least one task for each standard with the majority of the standards having more than one task.  I created these with the end of the year goal in mind, but also created some tasks so you can write in the numbers that will help you progress monitor your students during the whole school year.   Included will be a task booklet for your students to keep track of their work.  I am planning on having this product posted by March 10th in my  MY STORE.   Eventually I hope to also create task cards for both kindergarten and second grade also.


I have recently joined the facebook world for the very first time.  Although I am still learning all the ropes I cannot believe how addicting it can be!  I now follow all my favorite blogs on facebook and find so many free resources!  My current favorite is a page by Charity Preston called The Organized Classroom Blog.  She only believes in posting free resources and there are plenty!
As for my freebies for the week:
 I am choosing a product by Susan Moran  This is the addition game I am having my students complete for my weekly math homework.  Students add three dice and then explain to their parents their strategies for solving the problem using mental math. 
My second freebie is a telling time activity I created to help my students practice telling time to the hour.  Telling Time to the Hour
Well off to shovel another 4 inches of snow that already has covered the other  inches of snow shoveled earlier today!
Have a great rest of the week!
Tina Parker