All About Books - Our Non-fiction Research Project!

I may have said it 3728970423498320 times...

but this project is MY FAVORITE!


We have finally started our All About Books!

 Our "sloppy-copy" folders are piling up and ready for their first round of editing!

We are only about a week in, but my kids are already loving reading AND writing about their animals!

This was the schedule for week one:

Here are my students during their book walk:
I spread out the books all over the room. Sharks on one table, bears on the carpet, etc. and students spend the first day just enjoying the different animal books and trying to choose which animal they want to write about.

After they find out their animal, I have them complete a fascinating facts page:
Students get to spend the second day with their research group, reading and exploring all the fun facts about their animals. When students find a new fact, they write it down - in their OWN words - and write the page number they found it on.

Next, we made a diagram and a dedication page! My pictures of those are on my real camera... which is dead... so next time I will add 'em to the post!

Some how-to writing:
How to Save Owls
  When people cut down trees we need to make sure the owls out of the tree. If an owl gets trapped in a tree we need to help them so they can go free. When owls are hurt we need to help them when owls are hurt.

How to Find Food for an Owl
 First, you go to the forest and find a dead rat at night and some worms. Next, you climb a tree and find an owl...

Okay...So.... We need to work on these lol, but they crack me up and they are just the "sloppy copies." I will be sure to take more pictures of the process as we go!

If you'd like to start this all About Book with your kids you can read more about it by clicking the picture below:

This unit is also in my Common Core Writing for 1st Grade Bundle which includes a unit for writing narratives and opinion pieces!

Now, I'm off to eat some dark chocolate and catch up on my DVR!

Snooki and JWoww here I come ;)


Linking Up With Love!

I am linking up with the AH-mazing Tessa, over at Tales from Outside the Classroom to showcase some things I am loving right now.

Some people I am loving:
I love lots of people... LOADS of people... really, I do... but there have been a few lately who have really stood out in the past couple days!

1. The hubs-to-be.
Enough already, I know! Obviously I love this guy, but he deserves this shout out for 2 major reasons. #1: he cracks me up! This is what he does at work:
He is giddy excited about the fact that this movie is named after him and spent the time taking pictures of himself, cropping them, and putting them on this poster. I wish I had time to do things like this at work. 
The second reason he gets a shout-out is THIS:
I was super, super, super stressed out on Thursday night. Tears and all that fun-stuff ensued that night. When I woke up the next morning, I stumbled blindly into the bathroom to find different post-it notes strategically placed all over. The ones above are just a sampling of his sweetness! He also cleaned the entire apartment! I am only lucky lady to be marrying him!

Two other people I love:
 {I stole this picture from her FB - this is me "asking" permission to use it}
Katie works at my school, but her classroom has moved ALL.THE.WAY. across the building. So, naturally I never see her anymore. It is reaallllly far away. On the off chance that I see her outside of work, I loveee talking with her about life! She has the most adorable lifestyle blog, A Kup of Katie, if you want a fun read :)

 This is us last weekend at a bridal expo here in Vegas! She is another one of my teacher-friends who I just adore! Michelle started her new teaching blog (Well, Michelle?) not too long ago, so go show her some love! Her last post has some more goofy pictures of us from the expo!

Some things I am loving:
Parks and I started Insanity for the 2nd time...... We did make it through the whole first month before giving up, totally failing, taking a break. This program is "for-realz" INSANE!

Which brings me to the next favorite thing I love.....
I hurt my back!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Like, bad. Hunched over, lying in bed all day, BAD. Wahhhhh! These "relief" patches are the only thing getting me through the day. Tomorrow at work should be interesting. Looks like Parker and I will be starting Insanity again.... next week... or month...

Some products I am loving:
I am pretty sure TPT products are the only way I teach now, so there are lots to love! Here are a few I will be using soon:

Okay... this one isn't technically out yet... but it will be SOON... and I will be using it!

Last thing before I go:
The always-amazing Lisa is having her 400 followers giveaway - WOO HOO!

You can win some great prizes so click the button above to enter :)

That is all for now! I will be back this week with some more FUN!


Football Writing Prompts and Craft!

Are you ready for some football?!?

As many of you already know... I am a HA-UGE Patriots fan.

So... after last week's loss to the stinkin' Ravens.. I was in a funk. I was moping around, snapping at loved ones... you get the picture. It is not a good look on me.

To get me outta this funk - I thought I would make a football pack for the Super Bowl!!
Yes - this little guy was made to represent TOM BRADY, otherwise known as the best quarterback of all time! For the rest of your non-Pats loving students, I also made a blank jersey so students can choose their favorite team/number/color to decorate!

Also, in the pack are lots of writing prompts to keep your kids hitting those Common Core Standards!
Here are some examples:
How-to achieve my goal - great for goal setting!
How-to show sportsmanship - students brainstorm ideas for before the game, during the game, and after the game.
How-to do a touchdown dance (my fave!) - students create their own touchdown dance and perform it for the class. They can teach their classmates how to do their dance with this how-to writing activity!

Also included is this easy writing center with football prompts. There are narrative, informative, and opinion prompts to meet all the standards. Students can shuffle up the cards and complete them independently with some free writing time!
If you'd like to know more about this pack you can check it out at my TPT store by clicking on the cover below!

Happy weekend everyone!


Place Value Boot Camp and a FREEBIE!

Happy, happy, happy long weekend!

Before I start this post, I must introduce you to my inspiration for all this. It was my first year teaching when I discovered the hilarious Teacher Tipster. I must admit, I had (okay, fine... HAVE) a huge crush on this man! Nothing melts my heart more than a guy that is SO good with kids - and he is seriously a creative genius. After you watch this video, head over to his site and check out all the other amazing tips he has to offer!

This little video inspired our yearly ritual of PLACE VALUE BOOT CAMP!

My teaching bestie, Lindsey, and I take our kids outside and get them amped up for boot camp! Lindsey uses her whistle often and I have an excellent yelling voice ;) so we make quite the team. We sing the same song as above except instead of saying "add all the babies onto the end" we say "add all the little ones to the end." 
Remember my little army lover from this post.... can you guess which little guy it is?!
Also, don't mind my face in all these pictures... I was yelling... a lot :)
We had our kids sit with a partner and write down the number they saw on a whiteboard so we could do a quick-check of who was getting it and who still needed some practice!

After 2 days of outside boot camp, we took our littles inside for a place value scavenger hunt!

Lindsey and I put little cards all around the great room and covered them with sticky notes. With a partner, students had to walk around the room and try to find all the place value cards, count up the tens and ones, and record on their sheet.
(note^^^ it was "crazy hair" day - she doesn't normally have purple and red hair)

To mix it up a little and keep the boot camp vibe, we added in some exercise cards for the kids to do!
Push ups by the trash can?! We are so mean.
The kids had SO much fun with these place value activities and called me Sergeant Moran all week long. I highly recommend this boot camp procedure! It will get loud and it will get a little wild... but it'll all be worth it in the end - I swear!

I saved the scavenger hunt and I am offering it as a freebie for you in case you want to try it out!
Just click the image above to snag your copy.

I am off to a bridal expo for the day and then I have the PATRIOTS tomorrow! Woooo!!!!!

See ya later this week and enjoy your extra day off :)


Common Core Writing for 1st Grade!

I have a bunch of errands to do before the PATRIOTS game {WOOOOOOHOOOOOOOO} but I wanted to let you know about a new product I put up in my store.

Well, it is actually a bundle of three of my writing units:


This is a discounted value-pack of all my writing units. I design them to fit the 1st grade writing standards, but they are perfect for Kindergarten and 2nd grade as well!

Along with each complete, writing unit, I just added grading rubrics to help teachers guide their instruction! These units have been a HUGE help to me over the past few years and I hope they can help you as well!

Alrighty, next on the agenda:

Skype meeting with our officiant for the wedding


Some more Martin Luther King Jr. and a Winner!

I have a dream...

That these little sweeties will grow up to be kind, respectful, and knowledgeable adults!

Today they gave me a glimpse of their dreams and I was very impressed. We read books about Martin Luther King Jr. all week and my students were genuinely inspired by his story. My favorite book, Martin's Big Words, was read over and over by my students this week.

After we read if for the 3rd time, we created our very own book of "big" words. We defined big words as words that are important in our life.
The little guy on the top right is OBSESSED with all things military. His dad and his dad's dad and his dad's dad's dad all were in the army and he loves to enlighten the class with everything he learns about the military from the history channel. It is pretty adorable. He chose "World War II" as one of his big words and as for the reason it is important to him he wrote:
"because after WWII was finished, the good soldiers went to take the enemy flag down and then they got freedom"
I couldn't help but giggle when he read it me (c'mon it's pretty darn cute!) and he looked at me very seriously and told me "Ms. Moran, this is VERY important to me you know!"

Later in the day, my students created their MLK Jr. crafts and wrote down dreams that they had about making the world a better place. My camera was dying at that point, but I snapped a few close-ups.
 "that the whole entire world is safe and I know that is a law, but I want it to be forever. I have a dream that you should love your enemies because that would be nice. I have a dream because you can help."

"My dream that is no fighting and no guns or swords or cannons or bullets or missiles"

Other students' dreams:
-more shelters to help the homeless
-that all people would give money to the poor
-RECYCLING (about 6 kiddos had this as their dream)

I can tell you they left for the weekend feeling pretty darn hopeful that they can change the world!

Both of these activities are from my MLK Jr., mini-unit available in my TPT store.

Before I go, I have 2 winners to announce!

Congratulations to...............
Suzy & Bren!!!

Lyndsey and I are emailing you ASAP!

Happy weekend everyone!

Nine More Days & an MLK giveaway!!

Are you already counting down the days until your next vacation?!? I AM! Being off for winter break has spoiled me.

 Nine days. That's it - just nine more school days until the long weekend for MLK Jr. day! In honor of this fantastic 3 day weekend, I thought I would team up with one of my FAVORITE bloggers to throw a quick little giveaway.

 I have been admiring the uber-talented Lyndsey, from A Year of Many Firsts, for quite some time now and I was just plain giddy when she said she would co-host this giveaway with me!

It will be a quick-n-easy giveaway to enter. 

Here are the big-ticket items:


The giveaway will run from today(Tuesday) through Thursday night!
We will pick 2 lucky winners!!

Good luck!

Let's write an opinion!

I have been working hard the past couple days to put the finishing touches on my opinion writing pack and I am happy to say it is done!


This pack has everything you need to get your students expressing their opinions and providing reasons for them!

Here are a few sneak peeks into this writing pack:
Anchor charts for: opinion, fact, and persuasion!
A variety of opinion writing prompts with graphic organizers!
Writing letters of persuasion to your principal and/or your parents!

Plus much more!
 Click (here) if you'd like to read more about it.

This pack will be on sale through the weekend if you want to snag your copy!
Enjoy what is left of your weekend :)


Will you be my bridesmaid???

Thank God for Pinterest.

I must say I am a lucky, lucky gal to be getting married in the post-Pinterest world. Other people and their creativity amaze me. They also make me jealous.

I have officially been engaged for over a year and I can FINALLY say that I am getting married this year!!!! WOOOOOHOOOOOO!!

I saw these on Pinterest about a year ago and I knew I wanted to put my own twist on these adorable boxes!

Here is my take:
 3 of my 4 bridesmaids live back east and I don't get to see them that often, so I wanted to make sure I had these done for Christmas! They all knew they were in my wedding, but I hadn't "officially" asked them yet.
I bought the boxes at Michaels (super cheap - like $5 each) over the summer and painted each of them with a flower and my bridesmaids' initials. My base wedding color is navy and my accent colors are orange, yellow, and coral! I think it'll be perfect for my September 20th wedding.
First, I used my handy-dandy glue gun to line the top and bottom of the boxes with 2 different fabric squares. Inside each box were the following:
Nail Polish - OPI Mimosas for the Mr. and Mrs. (what I will be wearing on the big day)
Orbit gum - for fresh breath
Bracelet - matching bracelets from Francesca's
Dress - example picture; the girls are all picking the style that will look best on them
Personal nick-knack - Each item reflects my main ladies' personalities! Tina: Owl air fresheners for her new car, Kathleen: key cap! She will be getting her license soon and will be sporting a new ring of keys at all times, Shayla: eat, drink, and be merry wine opener, Romanda: mustache iPhone cover!
Wedding Cards - I stole the titles right from my inspiration and tweaked each card to make it fit for my maids! The text on each card is below.
The Big Day:
Parker and I are getting married!!
We will be tying the knot at {blablablabla - address disclosed}.
Our wedding ceremony will take place on
Friday, September 20, 2013.
More details about the day to come
for now, just remember this date!

The Dresses:
Each of you are uniquely beautiful and my main requirement for attire is that you feel comfortable and gorgeous. Who is better to pick out your dress, than you?!
I have made it easy for you because I have already picked the color, length and fabric:
Navy, short, & silk chiffon from JCrew.!
You can go online to their wedding website and pick whichever one suits you best.
The Girls:
Kristina, my amazing younger sister, who makes me laugh more than anyone in the world! {Maid of honor}
Kathleen, my youngest sister, who is growing into a beautiful young woman right in front of my eyes! {Maid of honor}.
Shayla, my oldest, dearest, and bestest friend who I share so many of my favorite memories with! {Bridesmaid}
Romanda, my soon-to-be sister in law, who I look up to in so many ways as a smart, independent woman! {Bridesmaid}
I love all of you so much and I cannot wait to celebrate this day with you!

Your Role:
I know weddings can wind up being a lot of work for bridesmaids. I don’t want that to be the case. Do not worry about bridal showers, bachelorette parties, gifts, etc. I truly only have one wish… that you are present on this very special day in my life.
I want you to…
enjoy this day with close family and friends.
look and feel beautiful.
wipe away all my happy tears.
understand how much your presence is appreciated.
What I am trying to say is…
Will you be in my wedding?!

Lots more decisions were made for the wedding including our menu: 4 courses, all delicious and New England/Fall themed! The honeymoon destination is also decided - now we just have to hammer out travel details and payments! Should I call a travel agent or just book online?!? I have never used a travel agent before... but I also don't travel that often! More details with wedding planning to come!

Happy 2013!!
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