Friday, October 24, 2014

Five for Friday

It's Friday, ya'll! And while that is normally a good thing....I am a little sad that it is here.
You see, I've been on Fall Break ALL week. I have enjoyed every single moment. Every one. Including my few days in oversized sweat pants. ha!! Sadly, I am very serious.
This really is a true statement. I could NOT wait to just play catch up and relax a little. Mornings with coffee, watching TV, actually cooking dinner and not being on the go all the time....it has really been good for my soul! I'm sad to see the week come to an end. Back to the grind on Monday. On a happy note, I am looking forward to seeing my little explorers. 
Speaking of all things Fall - - has anyone tried this?? Holy Mother!!! Life changing. And no, I'm not being dramatic. It is literally the best ice cream I have ever tasted!
Just read what all it includes. Spiced Pumpkin ice cream, pecans, cinnamon-honey-praline sauce - OMG. My mouth is watering as I type this and I really think it would be inappropriate to have ice cream at 6:30 in the morning. Which - why in the world I am awake at this time over Fall Break, I have no idea....
Onward.
I've been wanting to do clip art for a long time. But haven't been sure how to grab the bull by the horn. I'm still not sure I fully grasp all there is to it. I love so many of the artists out there and would never want to compete....but doodling and art has always been a passion of mine. Here are just some random doodles I did over Fall Break. I haven't figured out how to convert the files to PNGs though. Despite the number of YouTube tutorials I've watched, I still don't get it. Any suggestions?
Are these cute? Would anyone even use them?? I don't know...
My Fall Break has also been spent finishing units that I've had ongoing for months. I've had some requests for different packs and I've never finalized them to post on TpT. So, I made myself sit down and get.to.work! Here's what I ended up with.....I would say this is a record. Posting 5 packs in one week (granted 2 are bundled) but hey - - that is HUGE for me! ha 
I finished my Blends and Diagraph Flashcard set. This set includes 26 student flashcards, a checklist, and word wall. It's great for student practice! It goes along with my Blends and Diagraph Poster set {here} or you can grab the bundled pack {here}. 
I also finished my Journaling and Book Review pack. If you have purchased my Explore Informational Reports unit, you'll definitely want to add these 2 to your collection! They accompany that unit perfectly. OR - for 20% savings, you can grab the bundled set {here}. I am seriously rather proud of myself. ha I have never in my life posted that many units in 1 week. I so want to do better...
While I'm on Fall Break...I've spent it in North Carolina with my love. Long distance relationships can certainly be trying, but I'm thankful for the time off so I can be here. One of my best friends lives in Charlotte and I'm off to meet her today. 
She took the day off work so we can have quality girl time. First up on the agenda is a Blow Dry Bar! These are apparently all the rage here. Anyone ever heard of them?? We have appointments at 10:45. I'm pretty excited.....and my hair could definitely use the help.
Stay tuned for my hair do! ha Head on over to Doodle Bugs and link up. Happy Friday!

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

New and excited!

OH MY WORD! I am drooling ya'll! Are you noticing my new...oh so sophisticated...blog design?!? Kassie Garlock from Designs by Kassie pulled my vision together perfectly. I wanted so badly to get away from the safari look and transition into something that was fun, fresh, and modern.
Kassie did it!!! She was wonderful to work with, quick to respond, and patient with my bajillion emails asking for changes here and new fonts there! ha It was a chore - - believe me! And, she pulled it all together beautifully. Exactly what I wanted! if you're up for a new design, I recommend her. 

Thanks for all of your hard work, Kassie! It is JUST what I had in mind! :) Maybe this will inspire me to blog more. ha After all, this is my 3rd post in a row. 

Someone pinch me!!

Tuesday, October 7, 2014

Writing, labels, and freebies - Oh my!!

Whoop whoop. I'm back folks.....2 days in a row! Today, I'm posting about what's been going on in Writer's Workshop. I began with labeling and my explorers are doing so well with it! I loved Julie Lee's idea on labeling the teacher and Cara Carroll's idea of making an anchor chart to hold the labels...so I went for it. And oh.my.word, my students loved everything about it. Brilliant.
Here is the after math of it all. ha And I'm not sure what is up with my outfit. Well, I do know. I was running late and went down to my garage to leave...in just my shirt and shoes....hoping my black pants were clean and hanging in the laundry room.....and, well, I was wrong. ha And I didn't have time to go back upstairs and change my shirt...so I grabbed the first pair of pants I could find. Wardrobe fail. They did NOT match. heh Good thing I'm with 5 and 6 year olds all day....
It is important to remember, that when teaching Writer's Workshop, (you match your clothes) AND you generate ideas for writing with your students. ha ha Providing "live" demonstrations, while showing the students how to write the same type of text they will, is so important! You should provide interactive writing opportunities where you "share the pen." When you do this, you're inviting the students to record some parts of the shared text. Here is my classroom example of pen sharing:
And for those of you not familiar, this is a labeling chart on our sweet and precious Gertrude. You can read more about our classroom pet here. We discussed how a label gives the reader more information and how we needed to educate others on our guinea pig. ;-) Afterwards, students labeled their own guinea pig.
If you're interested in a Gertrude labeling page, you can grab it by clicking the image below. Also, check out Katie Mense's most recent post on labeling and the great freebie she included. So smart! 
I also wanted to share with you a great sheet I put together based on the teachings from Dr. Deborah Rowe from Vanderbilt University. There are many conditions that support young children's writing and we must remember that students learn write best when the learning instructional environment provides: 
1. A purpose for writing and a real audience
2. Immersion
3. Demonstrations
4. Collaboration
5. Response from Others
6. Engagement
7. Responsibility
8. Expectation
9. Approximation
These are great to remember when carrying out your Writing lessons and conference times. This reminder sheet is tucked away in my plan book and I refer to it when planning. I sure hope you've found some helpful tips. Happy Writing!

Monday, October 6, 2014

Nocturnal Animals and a freebie!

Hey friends! Long time, no post. I've missed you all. I wanted to post on what my Explorers are learning this week. It's my favorite unit to teach - - nocturnal animals! Here is a little glimpse into what we will be doing. 





We will be making Owl fact books from Deanna Jump's unit. These are wonderful for teaching sentence structure, labeling, and illustrations. We will record some of our new learning on a have/can/are chart and afterwards, dissect owl pellets!
I purchased an owl pellet kit through a STEM grant and my students (last year) LOVED it! You can get a similar kit from Amazon {here}. 
This great little poster was included with the kit and showed the bones students might find when they dissect their pellets. Students were able to bring their bones up to the poster and figure out what part of the Vole it was from. A Vole is a small rodent, resembling a mouse, but with a stouter body. Here is a picture of a Vole skull we found. 
My students begged to take their findings home and show their parents. They were so excited! I'm not so sure my parents were, though. ha ha My explorers, this year, are already counting down to dissection day! It is definitely a wonderful, hands-on learning experience. I plan on teaching about Bats as well and I want to begin with a KWL chart. Here is one that I've put together. We will begin adding to it, tomorrow.
Afterwards, we will compare and contrast Bats to Owls and make a Venn Diagram. 
This wonderful idea stemmed from my bloggy BFF - Katie Mense and it came together so well. The bat pattern is from Cara Carroll and the Silly Shaped Owls can be found here. If you're interested in doing something like this with your students, you can grab the Venn Diagram labels and a recording sheet below. 

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Teacher week: Where

Hey friends. I am bound and determined to do a post everyday this week for Teacher Week! Fingers crossed that I make it happen. ha Today is all about WHERE you teach and of course, I'm linking up with my sweet friends at Blog Hoppin'.
So here is my classroom. You can read about my drastic transformation and painting it {here}. I would NOT recommend doing that yourself. If I would have had the funds, I would have hired it done. Lord.have.mercy! It was a ton of work. I wanted my classroom to be crisp, clean, and warm. Obviously, during the school year....I spend more time at school than I do at home so it is important for me to feel comfortable there as well as my students. Well...what are you waiting for? C'mon in...
When setting up your classroom, I would recommend checking out Spaces and Places by Debbie Diller. She suggests that you should draw out a diagram of your classroom first and use sticky notes as furniture. Move the sticky notes around on paper before actually moving the furniture. Your back and janitor will appreciate. 
This is my view from the back corner. I have one green accent wall and love it!
This is my view from the front of my room. I have 2 closets in the back and my teacher area/desk is to the right. My classroom rug was funded through Donor's Choose and has been a total blessing!!
This is my Writing Center. My students beg to visit this station! The Writer's Eye posters are from the fabulous Cara Carroll.
One of my big projects, when redoing my room, was painting all of my shelves. I wanted everything to be uniformed throughout. So I painted all of my shelves and closet doors black and kept the bulletin board paper/border the same! :) I just think it makes things "flow."
My library center is my favorite! To me - - it's just dying for a student to come sit a while and read a book. It's inviting, cozy, and fun!
I spent all last summer organizing my books and labeling them.  It has made my classroom library so much more functional and helped to keep my books in order! Although it took a ton of time, I am beyond thankful I made it a personal goal. 
Well - - I hope you enjoyed the tour! Be sure to link up and stop back by tomorrow for the WHY. See ya then. 

Monday, August 18, 2014

Teacher Week: WHO

Hey everyone! Can you believe it's already here!!? Teacher Week 2014! Whoo hoo. 
Today marks week 3 of my school year. That's right!! Three weeks into the school year already - we went back EARLY! Whatever happened to starting after Labor Day?! ha ha I am already looking forward to Fall Break, praying for snow days, and counting down until Summer of 2015. Anyone with me? All funny stuff aside, I love what I do and have such a sweet group of students this year. Anyways....onward with Teacher Week. 
Today, all of my friends at Blog Hoppin' want to know WHO you are! Don't be shy! ;-) This is your time to tell us all about YOU!
As you know, my name is Erin Eberhart. My last name is pronnounced with a short e. Although, my northern Grandmother would say different. Ha Sadly, it can be a mouthful with Kindergarteners and I've gotten "Neverhart," "Earnhardt," "Airhart," along with many others...ha! It can be quite comical. She would not approve.
JOB
This summer, I landed a job with the State Department as a Common Core Coach and I absolutely loved it! The opportunity, the travel, the collaboration, friends, etc. It was a wonderful experience and I hope to continue doing it each summer. During our training, I was fortunate enough to meet our governor and have a Q/A session with him and the coaches. You can imagine the questions asked from a room full of educators! ha He is a brave soul. Questions like: will we get a raise, what about state mandated PreK, is Common Core here to stay, etc?! It was intense, but interesting. After my training, I spent the month of June traveling and educating teachers on Common Core. I spent many weeks in classrooms conducting sessions on writing and math practices. One of my sessions was in a high school biology room and in the middle of my class, I heard laughing. I immediately paniced. Was there something in my teeth? Did I goof up? Nope, just 2 skeletons behind me, groping one another!! ha ha Can you see it in the photo? Yup! I'm sure some high school boys got a good laugh. Nice...
I was fortunate enough to be selected as my school's 2013 K-4 teacher of the year. I was honored and shocked! I was even more thrilled to receive a call from our assistant superintendent saying I had been selected as Washington County's teacher of the year for 2013-2014. What?!?! I went on to fill out my paperwork for the state and found out I placed 2nd regionally and missed the vote by 3 points. One of the judges said it was so close, they re-counted just to be sure but Congratulated me for being so close. Someone pinch me.
LOVE LIFE...
I have the sweetest boyfriend EVER- Daniel. He is everything I have prayed for in a man...truly. I went through a tough break up last January and had my heart broken. I had never been so hurt before. Looking back, I am beyond thankful for unanswered prayers and know that it was all part of God's perfect plan for me and my life. He has absolutely filled my life with joy and made my heart whole again. I am beyond thankful for Daniel and know (without a doubt) that he is my husband. I'm just waiting on that rock! ha Kidding....kinda. ;-)
HOME LIFE...
In the midst of all that and a busy school year last year, I bought a condo and moved. I know, I know! Why not be completely overwhelmed?! lol I have loved the way my vision for my home came together. It's the perfect mix of eclectic - old with new. And I am thrilled! I have my southern antique look, along with my Pottery Barn couch, and French Country feel! ha It's so warm and cozy and makes me look forward to coming home each day. 
FAMILY & FRIENDS...
As many of my faithful followers know....I have a nephew who I am OBSESSED with. You can read about him {here}. ha I have one sibling, a sister, who is 12 months and 12 days younger than me. People often think Emily and I are twins (which I have NO clue why) but they do?! You be the judge. Here is a shot, from the back of my Mom's camera, at my cousin's wedding last weekend. Thoughts?
She is my best friend and we are very similar in a lot of ways. When her and my brother in law broke the news to me that they were expecting, I boo hooed! Seriously people, like "ugly girl cried!" I was thrilled. Jensen Russell is my world and I joke that he is MY baby because he has so many of my traits. She just carried him for 9 months and birthed him! ;-) She, however, is not a fan of that joke. Not sure why??
I have a classroom pet, Gertie, who is a total DIVA! She is a local celebrity and has had 2 full page spreads in the local newspaper, been on the evening news, AND is working on a book deal. No joke. She is a rockstar and was purchased through a grant called Pets in the Classroom. You can read more about my piggy {here}. Total ham. No pun intended.
I recently turned 30, less than a month ago, and was worried that it would be difficult for me. Ha, nope! It was seriously the BEST birthday ever. My family has pretty much made it their goal in life to embarrass me whenever possible. So....behold the town marquee. Family - 1, Erin - 0. ha ha
Speaking of family, here is the familia. They are the best and I am beyond blessed with support, love, advice, help, and friendship.
And ya'll, I can NOT say this enough. I seriously get by with the help of my friends. I have such a great group of friends....both near and far. I am so thankful for the friendships I've made through blogging and the friendships I have here at home. They're always here for me, no matter what! 
Shew. Enough about me. Gah! I want to hear about YOU! Be sure to join in on the fun and link up at Blog Hoppin'. Here's the schedule for the rest of the week. Happy Monday!