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About Me

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I am a first grade teacher who has rediscovered a love for firsties this year. I have taught pre-k, kindergarten, first grade and even second over the past 16 years. I have been married for 17 years to my wonderful husband and have been blessed with 2 very active boys.

Pre-K Back to School

Pre-K Back to School
Pre-K Back to School

Pre-K/Kindergarten Literacy

Pre-K/Kindergarten Literacy
Pre-K/Kindergarten Literacy

Pre-K/Kindergarten Literacy

Pre-K/Kindergarten Literacy
Pre-K/Kindergarten Literacy

Phonics Games

Phonics Games
Phonics Games
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Graphics by: MareeTrueLove.
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Calendar Math for Primary Grades

Calendar Math for Primary Grades
Primary Calendar for the Year

Workout in my downtime?

Thank would be CRAZY!  I am linking up with Mrs. Wills Kindergarten for the Fitness Resolution and Step into Second Grade with Mrs. Lemons for downtime resolutions!

NEWSFLASH!  I don't want to workout in my downtime!!

So, I need to be a little creative and multitask:)  My oldest son, Justin, takes tae kwon do at our local YMCA 3 times a week.  What do I do then you ask?  Watch him, grade papers, and play on my iphone (of course) all while paying for a family membership!

So, my 2013 New Year's Resolution for Fitness is to GO workout while Justin is in class since that was the intent 2 years ago when we joined!!  That will be 3 days a week minimum in the gym. 

Which brings me to my New Year's Resolution for Downtime.  I want to take more pictures in the classroom and at home with the boys.  We wait to photograph the best projects, lessons, parties ... instead of appreciating the little things.  I want live in the moment and appreciate all moments- the big and the small.

BUT, I can't just leave them on my camera or computer.  I miss scrapbooking but don't have tons of downtime so I started using Project Life 5 years ago, but in 2012 only got to April. My kids have even said they miss seeing the pictures of things we have done (since the pictures are still on the computer).

What is Project Life?  Project Life is guiltless form of storing/displaying pictures and recording a memory or two about the pictures.  You can visit Becky Higgins' website to find out more.  There are links at the top to explore her blog, her products, freebies and recipes.  P.S.-Her Taco Soup recipe is to die for!!

I would love to hear what you think about this.  I will be sharing more in the months to come:)

Finally, I have posted a new product on Teachers Pay Teachers.  I have grouped together 4 activities for practicing spelling patterns while decoding words in fun games.  It is called Reading and Spelling Patterns (er/ir/ur, -le, long o and digraph qu, wh).  I know they are in a  random order, but they come in that order in our Harcourt Reading Series.  I am thinking I might list them separately too.  Thoughts?

I am giving away a copy to the first 3 people who leave a comment with an email address!
Wishing you and your families a happy, healthy and blessed 2013! 
Mrs. Wathen
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Professional Growth 2013

I am so excited that we are entering the year 2013 as 13 is my favorite and very lucky number!  I know that was totally off topic, but I just had to share:)

So now I am linking up with Amanda at One Extra Degree with Counting Our Blessings and Looking Ahead-Professional Growth Linky.

Professional Development Goals:


1.  Reading Groups- I want to challenge each group to their fullest.  We use Storytown by Harcourt and I use a ton of activities to supplement. I have incorporated several of the Daily 5 strategies.   However, I want to use pull  focus groups for comprehension strategies. I have read CAFE (the Sisters) and am feeling I need to jump in with both feet.

2.  Math Groups-  Go Math! is our adopted series.  I am struggling to fit in math groups and/or centers.  I have an hour for math instruction and the I do, we do, you do lessons take up most of that time.  I am going to take another look at that and see what I can do.

Professional Reading:

I am currently rereading Reading with Meaning- Teaching Comprehension in the Primary Grades by Debbie Miller.  It is a great book with many comprehension strategies.
Product Details

And while at Amazon, look what I found!  Reading with Meaning in the Primary Grades 2nd edition is available January 1, 2013.

 Product Details
I also ordered The Book Whisperer because I have heard so many fabulous things about it.

Product Details


I am going to register for the Destination Common Core:  Your Roadmap to Success in the Primary Classroom with Kim Adsit in Tampa, Florida.  Are any other Florida bloggers going in May? 

I also want to take a workshop for mentoring student teachers.  I have always backed away because I like the control in my classroom (Some call it OCD!).  I have had a fabulous college student (Michelle) come in for observation hours and I loved it.  Michelle was also my sons preschool teacher and went back for her degree in elementary education. She jumped right in and the students benefited from the both of us in the room.

If you are still reading the end is near:)  As with so many  bloggers, I hope to grow my blog and TpT store in 2013.  I have learned and grown this year in my own practices.  I am looking forward to 2013.
Mrs. Wathen
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I {Heart} Organization

I {Heart} Organization!  Yes, I do:)  I am one of THOSE people.  My construction paper is in the order of Roy G. Biv.  I should own stock in Rubbermaid.  Every bin has a label.  On and on it goes.

So when I saw today's linky, I know I had to chime in and search everyone else's posts about organization! So I linked up with Second Grade Shenanigans with Counting Our Blessings and Looking Ahead with Organization.


I even did a post back in August titled For the Love of...Page Protectors!  I love anything that helps me organize.  And even when I think I am organized, I am still looking for a better way!  I think I need a 10 step program.  Hi, my name is Tammy and I have an organization addiction.

BUT, I fall off the wagon  (so to speak) because I have another problem!  I am a "PILER"  I am not sure if that is even a word.  WHY don't I follow through with my organization systems?  I love being organized!  But am embarrassed by my piles, so I get bins and label the piles!  Do you see my problem??

So, this year my resolution is to stop the piles!  Thoughts?  Suggestions?  I think I need a plan.

Mrs. Wathen
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Lions and Tigers and Technology Oh My!

Technology is a scary beast in my mind!  That is why it is amazing that I jumped into the land of blogging in May and TpT in August!  I have grown by leaps and bounds, but there is still so much more to learn in both these arenas.  I have not only surprised myself, but my husband as well:)

So I am linking up with Kathleen at Growing Kinders with my technology resolution.  The scary technology beast still needs to be conquered and 2013 is the year.  I do not have a Smart Board, and I am OK with that...for now:)  However, I do have clickers (am I dating myself?).  I WILL get them installed and I VOW to USE them by February!  Does anyone else have clickers?  Suggestions for activities are welcome!

We do use our 4 computers and listening center daily.  Razz-Kids is our new favorite website  and I am so thankful to our principal for purchasing this for us:)  The kids are totally addicted to it!!

So head on over and link up and check back tomorrow with Second Grade Shenanigans for the Organization Resolution Linky.

Mrs. Wathen
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Merry Christmas to You!

I hope everyone had a very Merry Christmas!  I had an absolutely wonderful time spending it with family yesterday.  Unfortunately, late in the afternoon I came down with a horrible cold and have been feeling horrible since then.  Hoping tomorrow is better:)

In my December Currently, I mentioned my random act of kindness.  Well, I sent out a list to my family members to join me and the response was amazing!  We had a gift card, a calendar and a gift bag for each girl (14 total), along with a huge basket of goodies for the house.  My hope and prayer is that these girls know there are people who care about them and more importantly, Jesus was born on Christmas to give us the gift of second (and yes third) chance!

Speaking of gifts, I have just added my January Class Journal Covers to my TpT store for you for FREE!  It is my gift to you for following along and supporting me as I embark on this blogging/TpT adventure.  I hope you can use them in your writing centers or as class book covers.

I linked up with Teaching Blog Addict for Freebie Friday.  Head on over and check it out:)


Off to drink some orange juice, take my NyQuil and go to bed!
Mrs. Wathen
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Twas the Week Before Christmas

Tragedy has a way of putting things in perspective.
As so many of us, Friday's tragedy is weighing heavy on my heart.
I kept asking myself, "What can I do?"
and the answer I heard LOUD and CLEAR

So, starting on Sunday, I have prayed for a child (along with their family and friends)
a day from the list of students that was posted on Facebook.
Sunday's prayers were for Charlotte, 
Monday belonged to Daniel 
and today's angel was Olivia. 
I posted this on Facebook and was amazed with how friends and family rallied around this idea. 
I believe this is the LEAST I can do.
I owe it to them.

I also am choosing to love a little more.
Even in the most difficult times
With the most difficult children!

I am also diving into Holidays Around the World full speed in my classroom.
This was already in my plans, but my goal is even more to create 
acceptance and love for those who are different from us!

I have been using the unit Holidays Around the World
by Rachel from What the Teacher Wants.

There is a small box on each page to the students to draw an illustration.
I have used this box  as a place to create a mini  art project.
The kids love it and it will be a super cute keepsake for them.

We stopped in Germany and read The Gingerbread Man.

Then onto Italy and read Merry Christmas Strega Nona

And today was a visit to France and the story of choice was Madeline's Christmas.

Tune into tomorrow for Mexico (our first stop, but I forgot to take a picture) and Kwanzaa.

Mrs. Wathen
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Silence for Sandy Hook Elementary

Mrs. Wathen
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All we can do is PRAY

Words can not explain the sadness that is felt right now.  Emotions are raw as we hear the news, watch the footage and talk to each other about the shootings in Connecticut.  Innocent children lay victim so such a horrific act.I can't wrap my mind around it.

All we can do for the moment is pray.  Pray as God wraps his arms around these families, children, staff, friends, and community and holds them tight.  He WILL carry them through the saddest days.

Tomorrow will be a day of silence here to honor the victims and their families.  It is a way to show our our love and support for Sandy Hook Elementary School.  You can read the details over at Farley's Oh Boy, Fourth Grade.   A huge thank you to Farly for organizing this.

For today, hug you family a little tighter, show kindness to those you don't know and spread love in the world around you.


Mrs. Wathen
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Happy Dozens Day!

The day has finally arrived!  12-12-12 has come and now is almost gone.  It was such a fun day both in class and at home celebrating Justin's 12th birthday.

My It's Your Lucky Day Giveaway has ended and the 12 winners are posted on  the Rafflecoptor under the original blog post with the 12 giveaways.  I have emailed all the winners and the very generous bloggers who donated a unit or two or even three!  Thanks to all who entered and who are now following:) 

OK-totally switching gears...I LOVE my elf!  I purchased the Magic Elf Activity and Writing Pack  and my kids love the sweet notes left my Magic Elf every day! I {heart} the messages that focus on the true meaning of Christmas!  My kids literally run in the room to look for Magic Elf and his message. 

I have linked up with Run! Miss Nelson's Got the Camera.  Head on over and check out the other blogs:)

All I can say is 7 days until vacation!  My poor house has been neglected this year.  I JUST got the lights on my tree tonight but hope to will have the house and tree decorated by the weekend!
Mrs. Wathen
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Rally Coach

This year I went to a cooperative learning workshop which focused on Kagan strategies.  I have implemented several of them, but have to say, I am not as consistent about using them as I would like to be.  As with anything else, I have a few strategies that I like and use more often.

Today was different.  I introduced a strategy called Rally Coach during Reading.  We were working on identifying who is telling the story at various points in the text.  So my spur of the moment lesson was to introduce Rally Coach, give four page numbers and have the partners dive into the text to find out who was telling the story. 

Rally coach is set up with partners.  The "Rally" is the partners taking turns going back and forth like a rally in tennis.  The "Coach" come is when a partner needs to encourage his/her partner with a "Good Job!" or a helpful hint (without giving the answer).  The kids did a beautiful job with this.  I went from the same handful of kids answering to a class where 50% were answering at one time and then the other 50% on the next question giving me 100% engagement!

The funny part is there were no cute engaging graphics or fonts.There were 4 page numbers handwritten on a paper with lines next to it for the answer.  Imagine that!

Ironically, later this afternoon I had a fabulous lesson planned using the same Kagan strategy with a fun, engaging fact family lesson for my FORMAL evaluation.  Did I say FORMAL???  Yes, and the kids were engaged...and trying...but so many did not get it:(  Well, I am off to plan my reteach for the lesson.  

Tonight is the last night for my giveaway It's Your Lucky Day 12-12-12.   Thank you to all who donated, entered and shared this giveaway. I am so blessed by this blogging community!

On a final not, my friend Deanna has a FREE unit called Dozen Day- A Day of Literacy and Math Activities for 12-12-12. Stop by, check out her TpT store and she even started a blog this week. It is called A Primary Owl.   Remember that first post when you feel so funny writing because you think nobody is reading it!  Please stop on over and show her some love! 

Mrs. Wathen
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12 in '12 Linky

OK folks, if you have been here lately, you know I am all about the number 12!  I am linking up with A Teeny Tiny Teacher and Miss Kindergarten for their 2nd annual linky party called 12 in '12 Linky!


And since the Sound of Music is one of my all time favorites,
I love that "These are a few of my favorite things"

12. Favorite movie you watched: 
Hunger Games
I read all 3 books first in a week and immediately bought the DVD!

11. Favorite TV series:
General Hospital
Does that count?  Don't judge me:)

10. Favorite restaurant:
Anything Mexican with a fruity beverage of course!!
9. Favorite new thing you tried:
Blogging!  I love all the sweet comments:)

8. Favorite gift you got:
Alex and Ani bracelets
They are made in Rhode Island which I love and expanding as we speak!
I just bought another one at Disney World!

7. Favorite thing you pinned:
 Cooking corn on the cob in the oven...EASY and DELICIOUS!!!!

6. Favorite blog post:
I am excited as it has one day left and I was so surprised and touched by the FABULOUS bloggers who supported me in this endeavor! Check it out is you haven't already:)

5. Best accomplishment:
Opening a TpT store.
I am not one to step out of my comfort zone, so this was a biggie!

4. Favorite picture:
It is such an ordinary picture, but it is Dear Hubby and I at Outback having dinner for date night.
I have the BEST husband in the world.  He loves and supports me through all I do! 

3. Favorite memory:
We usually go once a year.  This year Zach chose to go for his birthday and Justin said to me
while on It's a Small World"Mommy, you are so happy here!"
I never thought about it, but I guess it is the happiest place on earth! 
2. Goal for 2013:
Live a  healthy life.

1. One Little Word:

Off to blog stalk read others' linky posts now instead of grading papers.  My formal evaluation is tomorrow and I am SO NERVOUS!  You would think that after 18 years of teaching, it would not matter...NOT!
Mrs. Wathen
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One week and counting until 12-12-12

I can't believe there is just a week left until 12-12-12!  Have you entered the It's Your Lucky Day Giveaway yet?  There are 12 generous bloggers offering AMAZING units!  There is still time:)

I have another surprise for you!  Mr good friend, Deanna Sessoms, has opened her TpT store and her first item is called  Dozens Day- A Literacy and Math Unit for 12-12-12 with tons of fun learning activities for 12-12-12!  The best news is it is her 1st TpT item so it's FREE!  She would love you to head on over to download it and show her some love!

The number 12 seems to be popping up all over the place!  Lisa at Learning is Something to Treasure is having a 12 Days of Christmas Giveaway with daily GIVEAWAYS and FREEBIES!  She is such a talented and generous blogger.  Head on over and check it out if you haven't already.

Mrs. Wathen
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December Currently and a Giveaway

It is AMAZING that December is already here!  I wish I could put the slow motion button on, but I know it is going to ZOOM by!  I need to be more conscious with myself and with my boys to remember the REAL meaning of Christmas:  The Birth of Christ.

So, I have joined in with Farley over at Oh' Boy Fourth Grade for this month's Currently! Such an cool way to get people to share.  She is even taking it a step further this month and asked that we enter our state. {Love that!}.  I also love the addition of the RAK (Random Act of Kindness) for December.

While you are here, don't forget to enter my It's Your Lucky Day Giveaway for 12-12-12!  Good luck!

So go link up with December Currently at
  Oh' boy fourth grade
 and enjoy the rest of your weekend. 
Mrs. Wathen
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It's Your Lucky Day Giveaway

I am so EXCITED!  I have waited 12 years for 12-12-12 to be here!  Let's back up.  My son Justin was born on 12-12-2000 and on 12-12-12 he will be 12 years old! 

So I am having a HUGE giveaway with units by 12 FABULOUS BLOGGERS! I have linked each unit to the seller's TpT store.

Lori  from Teaching with Love and Laughter is am amazing teacher.  I love her blog and her packets are AMAZING!  She has donated her unit Happy Holidays Scrambled Sentences.

Mona at  First Grade Schoolhouse started blogging a few months before me and has fresh, creative ideas.  She has donated her Winter Math Story Problems Addition to the giveaway.

I {heart} Kasey's graphics and units over at Doodlebugs Teaching.  She has donated Christmas Centers for the giveaway.  Head on over to check out her blog and her  stationary at Doodlebugs Paper

Talk about great winter writing activities!  I had it on my wish list before Jessica and I starting cooresponding!  Check out her blog over at Tales of a First Grade Teacher and her Writing in a Winter Wonderland.

Michele over at Run!  Miss Nelson's Got the Camera is FABULOUS!   I love that she has been a supporter since I have started my blog and is always so generous on hers:)  She is donating THREE units from her TpT store!  YES!! YOU READ THAT CORRECTLY! 
My Photo
Teri at A Cupcake for the Teacher has the BEST crafts!  She has donated  Elf Magic! {craftvities and printables}for the giveaway, but head on over and check out her other Christmas Craftivities:)

Corrina over at Surfin' Through Second is giving away one unit from her TpT store.  She has so many great units it will be hard to pick!  Head on over and check it out!
surfin' Through Second

Marie from The Hands on Teacher in First is the SWEETEST person on Earth!  She always takes to time to leave sweet and meaningful feedback on posts and her blog is inspiring!  She is donating Nouns are Poppin' Up for the giveaway. Did I saw she is having a 500 follower giveaway?

Susan over at T.G.I.F. is a SUPER talented blogger.  She is giving away her Addition with 3 Addends.  I love that  it is not seasonal, so it is there to compliment your math instruction whenever you are ready for it.

These are my FAVORITE poems!  Jodi at Fun in First has donated her December Poems and Songs for this giveaway!   She has a different set each month that my students and I look forward to:)  I even posted about them back HERE.

Lynn Barrett is an very talented teacher that  I have had the opportunity to work with.  She teacher a Primary Experience classroom which includes Kindergarten through 2nd graders.  She has recently opened a TpT store and has generously agreed to donate her Smiley Face Math unit. 

Finally, I am giving away my Rockin' Around the Christmas Tree Unit which includes fluency and word work activities for the busy holiday season. 

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Thanks for sticking around for this super long post!  I will be back soon for a SUPER CUTE FREEBIE for 12-12-12!  Good luck!
Mrs. Wathen
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