Wednesday, November 28, 2012


Wow! I need to thank Jessica at Joy in the Journey for nominating our blog for the Liebster Award. This whole blogging thing is so new to me, but I sure do love it. It is nice to know that others enjoy our blog and all of my craziness sometimes, too. Thank you!

The Liebster Award is given by bloggers to up and coming bloggers who have less than 200 followers. It is to show new bloggers that they are appreciated and to help spread the word about new blogs.

The Rules:
  • You must post 11 random things about yourself.
  • Answer the questions that the nominator set for you.
  • Create 11 questions for the people you nominate.
  • Choose 11 blogs you love (with less than 200 followers and link them in your post.)
  • No tag back, but please leave me a comment on this post with the URL to your Liebster post so I can learn more about you!

Random things about me...

  1. Random thing number 1...I typed this entire post and when I went to publish, well... one error code and one too many back keys later, and I lost the whole post. So I really must warn you; my first post was so much wittier and original and just down right hilarious. I am so sorry that it was lost out in the blog-osphere...
  2. I have four wonderful children that I am so proud of! But secretly, when I look at them, I think to myself that there is just no darn way that I am old enough to have four almost grown children. Holy Cow!
  3. I was in the Air Force an whole separate life time ago. In basic training when you get to list your "preferences" for duty, I listed Florida or California or anywhere that had a nice warm beach. They sent me to ALASKA!
  4. In February, I will have been married to the crazy and unpredictable Mr. Dunn for 20, yes...TWENTY, years! Guess where we met!? Alaska!
  5. If you had told me when I was a kid, that I would grow up to become a teacher, I would have told you that you were crazy. I was about as mediocre as they come, a true wall flower, please don't notice me sort of kid, and the thought of making a life out of school - well... it never crossed my mind. But I can promise you that, now, I could NOT imagine doing anything else!
  6. name is Tina, and I am a book hoarder. My friend, Linda, just helped me come up with that one. LOL
  7. How name is Tina, and I am a book sniffer! Yes, I said book sniffer, and do not sit there and pretend for one moment that the smell of a brand new book is not the most amazing smell ever! I mean the smell of new, crisp paper and glue and ink and the promise of new things to come! Can't get any better, but I must warn you. NEVER stick your nose between the pages of an old or used book; you do NOT know where it has been! (And if you are a true book sniffer, you have accidentally stuck your nose between said pages of a wrong book or two and lived to regret it.)
  8. My favorite punctuation mark is the ellipsis...I tend to overuse it. My second favorite punctuation mark; however, is the completely underrated and underused semicolon. Does that make me a nerd?
  9. I am a self-proclaimed nerd. Look at random thought led to another random thought!
  10. I love everything about flower gardens except the work it takes to maintain them. And my favorite vine is the wisteria vine, even though as I type this, it is out there right now diabolically consuming the grass garden that used to be my beautiful flower bed.
  11. Oh. my. gosh...(read that really slow and drawn out for full effect please) I have had about all I can take of randomness for one night...let's see if I can spit out one more. People at work often tell me I am very organized, but if they saw me at home, they would never say that. I guess once I leave the building any organization I have (if I really have any) stays behind. 
Questions from Jessica at Joy in the Journey...

  1. What grade do you teach and how long have you taught this particular grade? Fourth grade...whoop whoop! This is my 8th year.
  2. Do you prefer warm weather or cold weather? The hotter the better. I am a southern girl, through and through.
  3. What is your favorite subject to teach? Why? Anything reading or writing. I flip flop between the two all the time, but they are both my true passion.
  4. How do you incorporate technology in the classroom? This blog is one way, but we could not live without our SmartBoard or Ipod
  5. What's your favorite activity on a rainy afternoon? Hmmmm...reading!
  6. What's the best book you've read recently? An Echo in the Bone
  7. What's your most successful classroom management strategy? I cannot think of one strategy in particular, but the Responsive Classroom approach, as a whole, has been the best thing I have ever done.
  8. What time do you wake up on a typical weekday morning? 5:15ish but it takes two alarms and about 4 or 5 snoozes to get me up.
  9. What, if anything, do you give your students for Christmas? Can't say yet. Sneaky kids are probably reading this now ;p
  10. Do you decorate your classroom for the holidays? Not much. I am a bit of a Scrooge, but I did put lights on the silk tree we have in our room all year.
  11. What's your favorite vacation spot? Anywhere with the Flamingos, but a hot, sandy beach is best!
Questions for my nominees...

  1. What grade do you teach, and how long have you been teaching?
  2. Where are you currently teaching?
  3. If you were not a teacher, what would be your dream job?
  4. What is your favorite adult book?
  5. What is your favorite kid book?
  6. If you could meet any author, who would it be and why?
  7. Why did you start blogging?
  8. How did you come up with the name for your blog?
  9. If you could have any super power, what would it be and why?
  10. Are you an early bird or night owl?
  11. As you sit here blog hopping and answering questions from a random stranger, (just kidding) what are you thinking in the back of your mind you should really be doing right now?

Blogs I'm nominating...

The Third Grade Jamboree

Room 4 Imagination
First in Fifth
My Teacher Friend
Encouraging Patience
Everything's Peachy in 4th Grade
My Life as Little Miss...
Teaching Reading Between the Lines
Adventures in Teaching
Second Grade Spots and Dots

Don't forget to leave me a link to your blog when you've answered! I can't wait to read more about you, and I hope you enjoyed learning a little something about me.

Happy Reading!

Sunday, November 25, 2012

Turkeys and Reindeer

Holy Moly, Guacamole! This is the last day of our Thanksgiving break, and I have so much to do. Just like me to wait until the last minute to accomplish all of the mind-blowing, amazing things I had planned to accomplish on my break, LOL! 

I hope everyone has had a wonderful Thanksgiving. Of all of the holidays, this one  is my favorite! I love all of the traditions and family time. 

Our class started our break by giving! We donated the most canned goods in our school! We owe a great thanks to the wonderful parents and students that opened their hearts to donate to Hope's Closet. The school donated 4273 food items this Thanksgiving season! How awesome it that?!

We had a very busy and productive week just before our break, but I really enjoyed our morning meetings most! We are really getting into the groove of building a respectful community. Here are a few of our messages... 

As much as we are enjoying our messages, my kiddos love the activities we do! With our 11-15 message, we had a "snowball fight" with the paper the students wrote what they were thankful for on - tons of fun! When I called time, students had to pick up the nearest snowball and guess who was thankful for those things. Some were easy to figure out, some not so easy. We also played "telephone." It was funny to hear how mixed up our message became. My kid's favorite has to be "Would you rather?" I found this fun little activity at Classroom Freebies by Rachel.  You just have to check out her site and TeachersPayTeachers store. Tons of fun ideas and great freebies!


Some random photos around the room :)


Look at my sweet gift from a sweet girl!

I want to share a few more of my favorite Thanksgiving read alouds. We were lucky enough to squeeze in quite a few great picture books before our break. We laughed as turkey tried to find his way out of Thanksgiving trouble. We just loved all of the funny ways he tried to disguise himself from farmer in Turkey Trouble by Wendi Silvano.

Turkey Bowl by Phil Bildner is one of my new Thanksgiving favorites, and I was so excited to pick this up from the last book order. I love the illustrations by C.F. Payne. This story is all about family and Thanksgiving traditions, the very reason Thanksgiving is my favorite! 

This next little book is an oldie but goody. I was two when this book was first published, LOL, but it still makes me giggle. Sometimes it's Turkey, Sometimes it's Feathers by Lorna and Lecia Balian is just too cute for words. The illustrations make you fall in love with little, old Mrs. Gumm, and the repetitive phrases make it fun for the kiddos to join in. We all loved the ending! If you are at all familiar with A Turkey for Thanksgiving by Eve Bunting, then you will know how this fun little book ends. Both are sweet stories, but if I had to choose, I would pick Sometimes It's Turkey... couldn't tell you why ~ maybe because it's as old as I am, haha.
Who Will Carve the Turkey This Thanksgiving by Jerry Pallotta is a fun little back and forth story. I fell in love with the illustrations! David Biedrzycki is so talented. It is fun to hear the kiddos share who carves the turkey at their house.

My own kiddos this Thanksgiving! They grow up so fast :(

Katie and I had a blast running  walking (haha)
the Reindeer run for Reading 2012! 


Sorry for such a long post...I took this fall break to really catch up on things at home and spend time with the family, and I totally neglected Flamingos and Butterflies. I cannot believe how fast it has flown by, but I am excited to get to see my kiddos at school tomorrow! Believe it or not, I have missed them! I have said it often, but I am so proud of this sweet group I have!


This is what I was supposed to be getting caught up on, LOL. These notebooks have been sitting on my dining room table mocking me most of the break. As soon as I am done with this post, I will be writing letter after letter again. This is so time consuming with both classes, but I have learned so much about my readers this way. One of these days, probably just before retirement, I will find a way to efficiently answer all letters. If anyone out there has a great system for this, please feel free to share. I will say that I am super excited to answer all said letters using my new stack of Frixion pens! Whoo hoo...I LOVE these erasable pens! These definitely make my list of favorite things! The only problem is that you cannot walk into just any store to pick them up. I found some at Office Depot this weekend and picked up an armload!  

When we get back tomorrow, all the Thanksgiving books are put away and it is time for all things Christmas! I want to share my favorite Christmas CD. The  kids will come to know it well! I play it almost everyday during this time of year. I picked this up at Kohl's one year and absolutely fell in love with it. It is a lighthearted, fun Christmas CD ~ doesn't hurt that it has my man, Jason Mraz, on it.

Now one last picture book for you. This is my all time favorite Christmas book! It is a long read but WELL worth every minute! This is the book that made me fall in love with Berkeley Breathed! His writing style is full of such descriptive and figurative language, and Red Ranger Came Calling is a Christmas masterpiece. I spend a few days sharing this one, smiling the entire time. Please forgive me that I do not share much more information yet. I don't want to give it away just yet... I want my kiddos that are reading this to be surprised. ;) Be sure to check back to see what the surprise is.

All right my sweet friends... with that I must say good night. Those darn notebooks are still mocking me and the hour grows toward The Walking Dead. 

Happy Reading!

Sunday, November 11, 2012

Happy Veteran's Day

I cannot think of Veteran's Day without thinking of one of the most memorable men I ever knew. I sure do miss my grandfather, Mac. I do not have a picture of him in uniform because he was long retired before I came around, but I fondly remember how excited he was when I joined the Air Force. You would have thought I had hung the moon because I followed in his footsteps!

Following in his footsteps is the path that led me to meet the love of my life, Josh Dunn. Where would I be now if I had not followed him? 

If I ever write a book, he would be one of the main characters front and center! The stories I could tell about my grandpa! Miss you Grandpa and Happy Veteran's Day to all that served ~ Thank You!


I stopped by school today to get ready for the week. I am sure I have said before that there is not enough time in the day to fit it all in. You would think this is still my first year to teach, LOL. Maybe before I retire I will be able to fit everything I need to do within school hours! We can only hope, right?


I spent a few minutes rotating the book baskets on tables and adding Thanksgiving books. This is about as festive as I get for any holiday. I am almost afraid to admit I am a bit of a Grinch. I hope you all can forgive me. I promise it's not that my heart is two sizes too small. I promise that I have always wanted to be one of those people that decorates for every holiday, but that is just not who I am. So I guess we will have to live with new holiday/ seasonal books in our book baskets!

So on that note, I thought I would share some of my favorite Thanksgiving picture books.

I stumbled upon this awesome book, Thank you, Sarah The Woman Who Saved Thanksgiving by Laurie Halse Anderson, at a reading conference last year. This is a great, and somewhat different, look at the history of my favorite holiday. Sarah, her pen, and her persistence, save Thanksgiving! Anderson's wit and Faulkner's perfectly humorous illustrations are a great combination. And, oh do I love how things can all fall right into place when you need them to because we are about to roll right into opinion writing. I will just have to throw in a little "Common Themes in Literature" as well ~ perseverance!

Squanto's Journey The Story of the First Thanksgiving by Joseph Bruchac is beautifully illustrated narrative story. My kiddos are already in love with Joseph Bruchac's amazing writing, so I cannot wait to share this with them!

I'm A Turkey by Jim Arnosky is just for fun! Love this story, and I love it even more because you can download a free MP3 version of Jim Arnosky singing it here. How fun!

One of my all time favorites is The Thanksgiving Door by Debby Atwell. For me, this is what Thanksgiving is all about. I love that open door, we are all family, kind of feeling! Acceptance and kindness are always wonderful things, and I know I blog about them often. This book is a sweet look at these common themes and the meaning of Thanksgiving.
A cute little back-and-forth text that I love is The Perfect Thanksgiving by Eileen Spinelli. We are all different, and our families are all different. Hmmm... acceptance and kindness. What a wonderful time to look at what makes us the same. Spinelli did an awesome job with this story, and I know exactly which family mine would be. :)

Can you believe that this is our last full week before Fall Break? Whew...I cannot! So I must say that I am excited that I will get to read all of my favorite Thanksgiving picture books this week because I expect to finish our read aloud tomorrow, and I do not want to start a new one just before a break. My kiddos are loving, I mean hanging-on-every-word-loving, Wait Till Helen Comes by Mary Downing Hahn. This is usually the case when I read this one. Hahn has a way of creating characters that you love to hate and characters that you love to root for. I cannot wait for all of the discussion when we finish! 

We will finish up our biographies and our study of Sacajawea this week! We are headed straight to our opinion writing pieces. We have a lot to fit in here in this next little bit. Lots of hard work ahead.


Here are a couple of our morning messages. Each morning my kiddos look forward to their message. They usually let me know if it doesn't meet their expectations, haha. There are days in which they have to respond, but others that they just simply read. They seem to love them all the same so far, and I cannot believe I haven't used these forever!


With that I will say good night! Happy reading!