Saturday, December 31, 2011


Your votes have helped our Donors Choose project get FULLY FUNDED! A brand new, shiny document camera is headed our way! I will be sure to post pictures when the document camera arrives.

Friday, December 30, 2011


I am breaking out in hives over here! My project is #2 on the SA 500 Kids challenge.

Click on the link above to vote and help ease my troubled heart! We need to make it to the number one spot in order to be funded. We really need that document camera!

Thanks for your help! I 'll be sure to post pictures and ideas of how we use the document camera in the classroom should we make it to #1! :)

Brand New Year - Brand New Look

Yay! One of my resolutions was to get a new look for both me and my blog.

I got a super-short haircut and my blog got a cute new look!

I bought a pre-made template from Ladybug Teaching Resources and I LOVE it!

My classroom theme is Wild about Learning so I feel this new look fits me and my classroom. So here is to a great new year of teaching, learning and blogging!

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

11 in 2011

I am in love with Linky Parties...who knew I could "party" in my PJs while watching football and entertaining a toddler. This is MY kind of party! :) Here are my favorite 11 from 2011!

11. Favorite Movie

I saw A Game of Shadows yesterday. Robert Downey Jr. is my favorite: LOVE him! If I did this post two days earlier I would say Captain America was my favorite. I love a good kick-booty action movie. I really liked Green Lantern too. Ok, now you know I'm a comic book fan. feels great to have that out in the open. Ok, only one answer per number now...promise.

10. Favorite TV Series

I love {or is it loved?} Community. I saved the paint ball episodes on my DVR. HILARious!

9. Favorite Restaurant

The Melting Pot is amazing. It is a fondue restaurant. If you love cheese, you must go. It is pricey but if you long for melted goodness. It is well worth the green! :)

8. Favorite New Thing

My sister and I ran the Warrior Dash this August. The day before school actually. What better way to spend your last day of vacation leaping over fire, scaling 12 foot walls, and wading through a pit of mud! We are already signed up for next year!

7. Favorite Gift
My little sister bought a life planner for me. I am super excited about finally having a place to put everything! :) Thanks Mandy!

6. Favorite Thing You Pinned

I love Pinterest. I have pinned a great many things! One of my favorite is the Workout Jar. This idea can work for almost anything!

Put one dollar in a jar every time you complete a workout. when you achieve your goal use the money to treat yourself! a massage, a cute pair of jeans, whatever feels in line with what you've accomplished. Most excellent!

5. Favorite Blog Post

I am going to go with my first post. A simple beginning...

4. Favorite Accomplishment

My transcripts came in the mail TODAY! It is official! I have a Masters in Education with an emphasis in Reading. I DID IT! There were many days when I wondered if I would finish and why I was torturing myself! But it is worth it....finally...finally!

3. Favorite Picture/2. Favorite Memory

My favorite picture is also tied with my favorite memory. I lost both of my grandmothers last year. This picture is from my wedding WAY BACK in 2005. We had such a fantastic time {as you perhaps inferred from the photo!} My grandmothers and I danced, laughed, and little did I know we created a memory that I will always cherish.

1. Goal for 2012

My goal for both personal and professional is simple: do what you can, where you are, with what you have. I know I can't have it all but I will be thankful for what I have.


Happy New Year - Linky Party

Happy {almost} New Year! I love this time of year. I think it is the fresh start: a brand New Year. I feel the same way in August {minus the butterflies}. A new start to a new year and I'm lovin' it! 

Here are my resolutions for the Linky Party hosted by A Teacher's Treasure. I love the time capsule idea. What a super way to start 2012!! 



1. Run my 2nd mini-marathon. Training is necessary so I better start. I resolve to "hit the gym" and train at least four times a week. That means setting the alarm clock to 4:30am!! I can do this! Mini-marathon is in May! I'm already signed up so HERE WE GO! :) 

2. I resolve to write more hand-written letters. I am LOVING being a blogger but I need to send some handwritten letters to let people know how much they mean to me! Grandma, Grandpa, and Sister Blanche do not have computers (or microwaves). :) 

3. I really want to be a successful blogger. The creative juices start flowing when I read and write posts. I'm in love with Pinterest and need to find the happy balance between successful momma, wife, teacher, blogger, and still have time for me. 


1. I just finished my Masters. (Got the transcripts TODAY!) I resolve to start taking classes towards my Gifted and Talented license. 

2. I resolve to find a creative way to get more Donors Choose projects funded. I have had my last 12 projects expire without funding. 

3. I resolve to create quick assessments for the Common Core reading and math standards. Five questions on a standard with a simple way to track the information for each student. 

Monday, December 26, 2011

Looking Ahead

My sister personalized and bought a Life Planner from I love it.  I have been busy updating dates and information amidst the chaos of Christmas with a toddler.

I was going through some of my picture files and found a few ideas I used last year that I plan on updating and tweaking and using with my firsties this year.

Torn paper snowmen are always a nice addition to January-themed units. I also plan on trying the shaving cream and Elmer's Glue idea I pinned on Pinterest. Love Pinterest!

Martin Luther King Jr. Day will be here before we know it! 

I love these for Presidents' Day. I also do a famous American unit where I use the timelines. 

I love looking through old photos and getting new ideas! Sharing is Caring! :)

Thank you!

Thank you so much for voting for our DonorsChoose project! We went from #999 to #49 in two days!! We only have five more days to make it to the #1 spot.

The project is for a document camera and my students will LOVE to have this amazing piece of technology. (And for any of you who have one, the teacher will LOVE it too!)

Click here to vote!

Voting is FREE! Spread the word and vote daily!

Love and Learning,

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Donors Choose Project - Vote

Please consider stopping by  Save Shop Give use the link here and please vote for my project. It is free to vote and if I receive enough votes our classroom project will be funded! I requested a document camera for my students!

                                                            Please vote!   Thank you!

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Happy New Year

I just had to take down all of my Grinch and gingerbread wall displays before I left for break today. They would have bothered me...hanging there until I came back in to work. That and I hate sending home holiday work AFTER the holiday. I love hanging up Ike's seasonal work during that actual season.

Long story short....They are  GONE!

These are up waiting to greet my happy learners in 2012! 

I got the idea from the Glyph Girls


Merry Christmas

Yeah!!! Ike and I are watching Toy Story together. Christmas parties, pie-ing, and all the other Holiday activities are finished! Now it is time to start enjoying our break!

The presents for the kids turned out really cute. I was trying to find cute, kid-friendly treats for them to enjoy.

                   I spruced up the gift bags by running sandwich bags through the die cut machine. Very cute and very cheap!

I stuffed them with a your teacher thinks you are sweet note, a homework pass, and my Pinterest inspired crayon craft. 

I had fun peeling, cutting, and melting the unused and unloved crayons into new tree-shaped crayons. We had tons of treats from around the world. Students and teachers went home happy! 

Monday, December 19, 2011

The Grinch

Our class had so much fun with the Grinch mini-unit by Deanna Jump. You can check out the mini-unit here on Teachers Pay Teachers. My goal is to one day put a few of my unit ideas on TPT. Some day...
Anyway, we listened to the story, watched the movie, drank Grinch juice, made text-to-self connections, and wrote about how we would make the Grinch grin. What a fun Grinchy way to spend a day!

2 Days Left!

We have two days of learning left! My husband teaches HS Chemistry and he always laughs at me as I rush around this time of year. He had a new reason to laugh as I discovered the "joys" of spray adhesive. It is NOT the same as Elmer's Glue or Rubber Cement. He laughed as I stuck to the phone, the door knob, Ike's jacket. He then told me I could wash my hands in cooking oil or gasoline and the adhesive would lose it's stick.
I always overbook myself this time of year. Start a blog...sure! Holiday Extravaganza...why not! Staff presentation tomorrow....of course! Between the presents, parties, obligations, extravaganzas, concerts, and that other thing I am sure I am forgetting it is easy to lose sight of the reason of the season. Working hard to remember the reason for the peace on Earth and trying to impart goodwill to all men (women and children too!)

Saturday, December 17, 2011

Blogging Button

The world of blogging is a fascinating place. I have been reading posts for a long time but my creative heart is filled with joy now that I am learning about buttons, html formats, Google docs...well, joy and trepidation, but mostly joy! :) Leslie over at Kindergarten Works made this fantastic button for me. You really need to head over to her page to check out her awesome ideas. She is a Common Core QUEEN: she rules!

I am learning how to add this button to my page with this tutorial. They say that to be a teacher is to dedicate your life to true! Trying to remember what I tell my students, "We learn best from our mistakes!"

Friday, December 16, 2011

Liebster Blog

Christmas has come early for Learning in First!  Lisa at Connecting the Dots has awarded us with the Liebster award! Thanks Lisa!

This award is for "new" bloggers, and its goal is to spotlight up-and-coming blogs with less than 200 followers.  If awarded, you must:

Copy and paste the award on your blog
Thank the giver and link back to them
Reveal YOUR top five picks and leave a comment letting them know
Hope your followers will share the love with them :) {I just know you will!}

Christmas Extravaganza

We have a fantastic PTA. They organized and orchestrated a Christmas Extravaganza for our K, 1 and 2 students and parents. The little ones were the highlight of the night. There is nothing more precious than 5, 6, 7 and 8 year olds belting out those jolly tunes! Two-claps for our music teacher for staggering the grade-level performances so we can fit everyone into our stage-ateria! With careful planning, our PTA put into motion a series of activities for parents to visit with their children while they waited for their child's grade level performance. The school looked AMAZING! We had cookie decorating, hot cocoa, silent auctions, bake sales, photos with Santa, and my personal favorite, the raffle.
Yes, that is a ten foot tall Christmas tree. :) Wouldn't be an extravaganza without one! The halls were decorated with paper chains and light-up trees.

You could even take your picture with Santa. Our talented art teacher donated her time and talent. This is my little one and Santa. He asked for a REAL Buzz Lightyear. I guess imitation Buzz toys are a big problem in the two-year-old world. Authentic or bust...right? Hmmm....

Getting back to the raffle: I put three tickets in the "pie the principal in the face" basket. I was one of the lucky winners! On Wednesday, I get to pie my boss in the face. :) 
Love it! For photos and more click here to head on over to my teachersite for more information about our amazing school and our fantastic learners! I'll be sure to post pictures of the pie-ing! 

Sunday, December 11, 2011

The First of Many

I know how to keep a web site for parent information, but after being inspired by the seemingly countless blogs for and by teachers. I wanted to create a space to share ideas. So here is Learning in First....
I know this site will get flashy-er. (There is only room for improvement! Ha!) My vision is posting ideas, free activities, and uplifting stories about what it means to teach.

Saturday, December 10, 2011


Visit my Donors Choose Site

Thanks for visiting!


This is my sixteenth year teaching! I have taught everything from gifted to special education in first grade through high school. I'm currently teaching first grade and I LOVE it! 

My husband David and I have been married twelve years now. We met in Ireland and it was love at first sight. We have three kids! They keep us busy. 

          Here's a bit more about my educational background. I went to college at Indiana Wesleyan University. I graduated in May 2002 with a Bachelor's Degree in Elementary Education and Special Education. I have a teaching license in Indiana and Pennsylvania. I graduated in 2011 with my Masters in Education from Ball State University. 

I love the beach. Growing up in New Jersey, I took for granted the 10 minute drive to the shore. I miss it and my family who still reside there. The beach is my happy place. I also enjoy traveling. I have been to Israel, Jordan, England, Scotland, Ireland, Wales, and more recently visited Italy, Greece, and Turkey.

In my classroom, I promote and atmosphere of safety, trust, and respect. I want my students fall in love with learning. My favorite educational term is "cognitive greenhouse". I wants students to learn, grow, and improve.