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Merry Christmas (and some SNOW!)

It's coming a day late, but just wanted to say:



For us Texas folks, we got a very sweet Christmas present..... SNOW! 

As you know, we don't see snow here that often, and DEFINITELY not on Christmas day!  In fact, the last time it snowed on Christmas day was 37 years ago (this is what the news said!!) 

This snow was a GREAT present, since our house has been not so fun lately!  My oldest son had the flu, I have had bronchitis and an ear infection, and my little sweet baby is getting a cold now!  :(

Thank goodness it's Christmas break, so we can all hopefully get well for the new year and ready to go back to school!

We attempted to get out this morning and do some running around, but quickly turned back around as all of the roads by our house are iced over! 

We are getting plenty of pictures, because as soon as it warms up.....we have NO IDEA when we may see snow again! 

(I'm sure people up North are laughing at us for our 1 inch of snow!) HA!

This was the view out our back door this morning!

This is what made us turn around this morning! HA!
Hope everyone else is enjoying this time with friends and family! 
Merry Christmas to you and your family!
Jessica Travis
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It's beginning to look a lot like...


Can you believe that Christmas is just 16 days away!  Where has the time gone?!  I absolutely L.O.V.E this time of year not only at home, but also in the classroom!  This past week, we dove straight into our Christmas activities! 

Starting with one of my favorites.... THE GRINCH! 

I always like to take a theme and run with it!  So whatever we are learning about....put it with a theme!  This week was no different!  We were busy with compound words, story elements, context clues, and writing!! 

Since we were doing compound words and the Grinch, why not put the two together?!  I put together the grinch holding his heart (now 3 sizes bigger!) and wa-la....a Compound Grinch! 

(forgive me for it being blurry....taken with my cell phone!)
Students drew a compound word out of a bowl and had to break it down into it's two individual words.  They then created their compound Grinch! 
The next day we introduced context clues!  The Grinch came in perfect, because we called our unknown words "GRINCH WORDS".  Students selected a "Grinch Word" and found the definition and had to use their new word in a sentence!   They then had to create the grinch who was holding their context clues! 

It says: 
The Grinch has given you a word that's new, Can you find out what this word means to you?"
We also focused on story elements this week, using "How the Grinch Stole Christmas!"
and Ginchy ABC Order:

You can click on both pictures to grab your FREE COPY!
There are SOOO many different things you can put up for a display in the hallway right?! 
I knew I wanted something with elves, and I couldn't really find what I wanted, so I drew a quick template of an elf holding a paper!
The students were so creative and wrote about:
"If I Worked at the North Pole..."
WHEW....that was a busy week! 
These next two weeks will be jam-packed of fun activities!  (Yes, we still have 2 more weeks.  We don't get out until Dec. 21)
If you are still looking for some Christmas activities....
Check out my Holiday packets in my TpT store:


The Polar Express packet is packed with over 80 pages of activities to go along with the best Christmas book! (In my opinion!)
Also are Holly Jolly Centers (10 centers {5 literacy/5 math} that go great through December!
Hope you having just as much fun as we are!
Have a Merry Christmas!!

Jessica Travis
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The Liebster Award

WOW!  I have been nominated for the Liebster Award!  This award is for new bloggers with less than 200 followers and helps to find other new blogs with less than 200 followers!  Thank you to 2 Super Teachers for this nomination!!

Here are the rules:

1. You must post 11 random things about yourself.
2. Answer the questions that the nominator set for you.
3. Create 11 questions for the people you nominate.
4. Choose 11 other blogs with fewer than 200 followers to nominate and link them in your post.
5. You cannot "tag back" the other blog, but leave a comment on this post with URL of your Liebster post so I can learn more about you and see who you nominate.

Here are the answers to the questions from 2 Super Teachers:

1. How long have you been teaching?
I have been teaching for 6 years!  Every year keeps getting better and better!

2. How long have you been blogging?
I am a NEW blogger.  I have only been blogging for 2 months!

3. What do you love to teach the most?
This is a tie between Reading and Math! I love so many things about each subject!  With Math, there are SO MANY ways to teach it and with is AMAZING to see students progress throughout the year!

4. What book are you reading right now for enjoyment...not school related?
Well, I am in-between books now!  I just had a baby, so that takes a lot of my time! 

5. What is your favorite food?
I LOVE Italian!  Anything with pasta is delicious!

6. Do you have any pets?
Sadly, No :(

7. What are your hobbies?
I love to be outdoors!  On the lake, outside at the house... anything outside is great!  I also love to read, scrapbook, BLOG, and create things for my classroom!!

8. Do you have your own children?
Yes! I have 2 boys.  My oldest will be FOUR in January, and I just had my second son this past August!

9. What grades have you taught?
I have only taught 1st grade for the past 6 years!

10. Where was your last vacation?
We went to a little town in Texas (Jefferson) and we stayed in a cabin on the lake!  I was 7 months pregnant, so this was pretty relaxing! 

11.  Have you always been a teacher?
YES!  However, in college, I worked at a chocolate factory and then a pharmacy!!

Here are 11 random things about ME!

1. I am an only child!
2. I have lived in Texas my ENTIRE life!
3. I LOVE to sing!
4. I am so glad it's Christmas time.... I would leave the tree and lights up all year if my husband would let me!
5. I love to do puzzles and word search puzzles! 
6. My classroom is a jungle! I have trees and monkeys and safari all over!  I can't get enough!
7. I have NOT been to a movie theater in over a year!  :(
8. If I had all the money in the world, I would probably spend half of it at HOBBY LOBBY!
9. I LOVE to play golf!
10. I have a hard time keeping plants alive!  No green thumb here!
11. I could eat Breakfast for every meal of the day!

Here are the 11 questions for blogs that I have nominated:

1. How long have you been teaching?
2. Who is your favorite author?
3. What is your favorite subject to teach?
4. Do you have a special talent?
5.  What do you do when you are not teaching?
6. What is your favorite movie?
7. How long have you been blogging?
8. What are your plans for Christmas this year?
9. What websites do you visit most often?
10. Do you have children of your own?
11. If you could travel anywhere, where would it be?

Here are the blogs that I am nominating:

Frugal in First
Sun Tans and Lesson Plans
My Colorful Classroom
My Life in First Grade
1st Grade Fireworks
Elementary Safari
A Day in the Life of a Kindergartner
Mrs. Slappe's Kindergarten Class
Salt Life Teacher
The Dog Days of Third Grade
Color, Cut, and Glue

Don't forget to let me know when you have finished!  I can't wait to learn all about you too!

Jessica Travis
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I am Thankful

Happy Thankgiving! 

I have so much to be thankful for this year.

In the beginning of 2010, we began trying for baby # 2. When nothing happened in the first few months, we began to wonder, "will this ever happen?"  A few more months went by, and each month became harder and harder to face knowing that our oldest son may be an only child, like me.  After a year of trying, we went to the doctor, did tests, and finally I was put on Clomid. 

After 7 rounds of a fertility drug, which I thought would be a "miracle drug", we still were right where we started.  I went through multiple tests, bloodwork, pills, injections, more bloodwork, and STILL, we were unsuccessful.
We went into a "break" of trying, simply because 22 months of trying for a baby had broke me down emotionally!  During this break, we would decide if we would continue with IUI, then IVF.

Let me just say.... GOD is GREAT! 

In December of 2011, I became pregnant with our second son, drug free, fertility medication free....all natural in the hands of a God, who definitely has a plan! 

In August of this year, 2012, our family welcomed our second son.  Thankful would be an understatement.  Blessed, thankful, and grateful are only a few of the words to describe my Thanksgiving this year. 

My family is healthy, happy, and we are so blessed to have what we have.  I thank God everyday for the blessings we have and what we have been given.

As we all know the traditions of Thanksgiving, many include SHOPPING!  On Monday and Tuesday, Teachers pay Teachers is having their Cyber Monday AND Tuesday sale.  Everything in my store will be 20% off, then using the code listed below when you checkout, you will get up to 28% off your purchase!! 
This is a great time to stock up for the rest of the year!!

I hope you and your family have a wonderful Thanksgiving!

Jessica Travis
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Literacy Centers & Friday Freebie!

Happy Friday! 

So, I started my new literacy centers and rotations this week!  Centers are awesome for our kiddos, but it does take a LONG time to get everything organized! This is how I have done mine for this year....

I have my class divided into 5 groups, based off their independent reading levels.  There are no more than 4 students in a group.  I have 5 center rotations throughout the week so that each group will visit each station once a week.  I have my groups labled as safari animals and their group picture will rotate throughout the center signs each day!

My five rotations include:
 Reading with Teacher (my guided reading group),
Spelling center (students will complete a fun spelling craftivity or activity with the words of the week),
 Literacy Tubs (students will pull a large envelope from the literacy tub which includes concepts that have recently been introduced in the class or reviewed),
Sight Word Center (students will be completing activities that focus on sight words)
Writing Center (This center has students writing on a topic and illustrating their writing)

Below are some examples of the centers:

One of the literacy tubs (this activity is focusing on blends!)
This is the sight word activity for this week.  Very simple....washed out gatorade bottles, filled with words and rice!  Students will complete the Shake & Read form as they find their words!  I painted the lids on the bottles and labeled them 1-6, depending on which six weeks we introduce the sight words in!  The kids LOVE this center!!
I have a large shelf in my room with each of the centers labeled and organized for the students:
The baskets contain the recording sheets that students will need with the center!  After the rotation is over, students turn in the recording sheets in the blue bucket!
In my class, students will take home a baggie with their reading book all week (to build fluency and comprehension!).  They take home their reading log, parent letter explaining our reading program in the classroom, and their baggie of sight words for the six weeks!
So far, the students L.O.V.E. these centers!  I love how they can work independently and still be engaged in learning! 
Now....onto a Friday Freebie!  With Thanksgiving so close...what better than a Thanksgiving writing craftivity?!  I know a lot of teachers have off ALL of next week, but not me!  I still go Monday and Tuesday, so my firsties will be doing some extra Thanksgiving activities! 
This is one that we will be doing:
How to Catch a Turkey!!
We will plan our writing, then using the feathers, they will write the steps! 
Just click on the picture for your freebie!!!
Hope everyone has a great weekend....and if you are off all next week....have a GREAT THANKSGIVING!!! 

Jessica Travis
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Election Day & a Freebie!

Happy Friday!
This week literally......FLEW BY!  We did all of our parent conferences this week and had a lot of testing, so it was stressful at times, but very productive!

We also celebrated ELECTION DAY (and the 50th day of school already!)

We did many of the activities from my ELECTION DAY packet, which was a best seller for 4 weeks! (Thank you!)

We read Duck for President, and of course had a class election!  Duck won by a landslide!

Later in the day, we had finished reading some more GREAT election day books!  We read "Grace for President" and "My Teacher for President".  We created our ballot to have 3 candidates (Duck, Grace, and Mrs. Travis (me)
This time Mrs. Travis won by a landslide.... however someone still voted for duck! Ha!
My firsties had a blast as we set up our little voting station in our classroom and voted in privacy one at a time!  We also completed other activities in the packet {If I were President writing activity, a President application, our voter registration cards, and making a web of qualities that a great president has!}
This next week, we will be starting a new grading period and I have made a lot of changes in my classroom!  We will be starting all new Literacy centers this week, so I will have to post how this turns out and what the students think! 
I have made new phonics cards for my class, as my old ones were missing some of the sounds and the pictures needed to be updated!  We go through these phonics cards everyday at calendar and the beginning of a guided reading lesson!  It is amazing how it really sticks in their minds!  They will come to a word while reading and know the sound instantly!  LOVE IT!! 
The set includes blends, digraphs, short vowels, long vowels, vowel pairs, and more!   
You can grab your FREE set by clicking the picture below!! 
Have a great weekend!!

Jessica Travis
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A Thankful Freebie!

So now that it is November.....I couldn't wait to start all of our Thanksgiving activities!  With the holidays so close together, I want to be able to use as much as I can throughout our units!

Today we became thankful firsties!  We shared our ideas of what we were thankful for and wrote them down for all to see (at least those that travel down our hallway!)

You can grab your FREE template by clicking the picture below!  I made two different templates because I couldn't decide which one I wanted to use!! 

Have a great weekend!!

Jessica Travis
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Our Pumpkin Exploration!

Whew!  This week has been jam packed with so many things to do (both at school & home!)  It didn't help throwing Halloween smack dab in the middle of the week either!  Although the kids are SUPER teachers would much rather have it on a Friday!!

On a positive note, we get to have tons of fun with our pumpkin exploration!!!! 

We started off graphing who has carved a pumpkin, and to my surprise, I had A LOT of kiddos who got to share their first carving with me and the rest of the class! 
Before we carved our pumpkin, we had to predict all about and explore our pumpkin!  We predicted the number of lines, if it would sink or float, how much it weighed (13 lbs), and many inches around and how many cubes high....and of course how many seeds were inside!

Our precious pumpkin was 35 inches around and 13 cubes tall! 

It floats!  (screamed many of the kids!)
We then had to count all of the seeds.......and we had 388 seeds!  We have been talking about place value the past week, and these smart little firsties immediately said that we needed to put the seeds in groups of 10 to count!  So smart!
As we predicted all about our pumpkin, we used our super fun "Pumpkin Exploration Book".  You can grab it in my TpT store
Now it's November!  MY OH MY! Where has the year gone?!  I have only been back for 4 weeks, and that has FLOWN by! 
Now off to all of our Thanksgiving activities!! 
Be sure to check out my Gobble Gobble Math centers just in time for Thanksgiving!
Jessica Travis
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Friday Freebie!


Nothing says Texas like 85 degrees one day and 48 degrees the next day! Thanks to this wonderful weather, and I am sure a few first grade germs, I officially have LOST my voice! 

But, that doesn't stop a good freebie from coming your way!  This week we have been sequencing some our favorite fall stories, including "There Was an Old Lady Who Swallowed Some Leaves"!  Don't y'all just love these Old Lady books?  I LOVE them...and so do the kids!

Here is a little sequencing activity that we did this week, and now you can have it too!  Just click on the picture!!

Have a great weekend!  If your weekend looks like's completely packed full of things to do!!

Jessica Travis
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A little bit of everything...

I can't believe tomorrow is already Friday...the weeks seem to be flying by!  CRAZY!! 
I can't believe next week is November! AHHH!

So this week we have been learning some new things.....  Place Value, Heat Energy, True & Fantasy...and playing catch up!!

We started this week discussing Heat and we made a list of things that give off heat!  Well bless one of my dear students....she responded with "BIG TEX".  If you haven't heard, our famous Big Tex at our state fair caught fire last week and is no longer with us!  SO my dear sweet student is exactly right, but caught me off guard! 

Each student then wrote about what they think heat is:

We also finished up place value this week doing many activities with tens and ones!  There are so many different activities you can do with place value! Love it!
We also dipped into a little bit of True & Fantasy!  We always call it Fact and Fantasy, but our standards this year changed the wording to TRUE!  We had some good laughs sorting our statements this week! 

I am looking forward to next week...HALLOWEEN!  I can't wait to do all of our pumpkin activities and exploration in class!  The kids have a blast and it is SO.MUCH.FUN!! 

Jessica Travis
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Monster Writing & a late Freebie!

Don't you just love this time of year?

From now through Christmas, I just can't get enough!  From the themes, decorations, holidays, weather.... I love it!

With Halloween being so close, it was time for some creative writing!  So what better way than to become Monsters! 

To get us started....we needed to plan!!  I made this simple monster planning page where it allowed students to brainstorm their thoughts in the boxes.  We shared all of our ideas together and then students could select from that list, or of course, add their own idea!

After students had their thoughts on paper, they wrote their story!  I found these ADORABLE little monster crafts at Hobby Lobby, which went perfect with their writing!!

You can get your copy of this monster planning page HERE!

The students really loved this and came up with some great creative ideas!    I thought these were just too cute not to put up on a bulletin board display! 


I can't wait for more creative writing this year and fun learning-filled activities! 
Have a great weekend!!

Jessica Travis
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My WILD Bulletin Board!

So I am slowly getting things back up and running in my classrom!  I can't believe I have been back for over a week now!  WOW!

I finished my Wild About Work bulletin board this afternoon and just wanted to post an updated picture! 

I can't wait to put up some AWESOME work from my firsties!! to bed before the little one wakes me back up to eat!  My sleep is precious these days :)

Jessica Travis
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