ETA Hand2Mind

You Can Count on Rekenreks

Saturday, December 15, 2012


All of us in NM send loving thoughts to those impacted in Conneticut.  What a terrible event.  I can only imagine how difficult it was for the teachers involved and the families touched by this tragedy.  I am sure in the coming days there will be ways that we, in the other parts of the U.S., may show support.  I know I will find one of those outlets to help in whatever way I am able. 


Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Liebster Nomination

I was nominated for the Liebster Award!  In case you don't know what that is, here is the basic idea:
The award is given to new bloggers with 200 followers or less. I was nominated by First Grade Carousel.  Thank you for the nomination, I am flattered.  You should check out her blog, very fun.

The rules to follow are:
1. Post 11 random things about yourself
2. Answer the questions the nominator set for you.
3. Create 11 questions for your nominees.
4. Choose 5 other blogs with fewer than 200 followers to nominate and link them to your post- ones that haven't been nominated yet. 
5. Leave a comment on this post if you were nominated so I can learn more about you and see who you nominate.

11 Randoms
1.  My nominator and I have several things in common-  I am married to my high school sweetheart, have not one but 2 greyhounds (one is an Italian greyhound and the other is a retired racer), I have 2 daughters (although mine are young- 9 and 6), and I also don't like to be cold.
2.  I have taught PreK, K, PreFirst, and First.  Suppose some day I should try 2nd.
3.  I love Christmas music... even in the summer.
4.  I love Halloween almost as much as Christmas, but not quite.
5.  My husband has had his private pilots license since he was 15...he took me up in his Citaboria for our first date when we were 17.
6.  I love to dance.  My favorite styles are Jazz and Lyrical.  I would some day love to learn the latin ballroom styles too.
7.  I LOVE Disney World.  We go there every 2-3 years.
8.  I love lasagna, pizza, tamales, burritos, and pakoras.
9.  I am a vegetarian.
10.  I would someday love to go to Australia.  I have wanted to go since I was 3.  I love the animals, the scenery, etc. 
11.  I love chickens.  I grew up on a horse farm and loved the chickens we had.  I have had a few batches of chicks to teens with my young girls, but we never keep them.  We give them to friends to keep for egg laying (as we don't eat eggs).  We just love those fun little critters.

The questions First Grade Carousel wants me to answer are the following:

1. What is your favorite thing about blogging?
I love getting my ideas out there, and hearing what others are doing.  It's a great collective of wonderful and creative ideas from all those fabulous teachers out there!
2. Where is your favorite place to vacation?
Phew- there is more than one!  Florida (my brother's family is there, and we visit DW with my 2 cute kids), Durango (love the Polar Express and kid museum), Idaho (fun inner tubing and ice skating and my parents live there), and I think our soon to be new favorite place to vacation is the U.K. (we go there for the first time in December).
3. What is your favorite children's book?
Oh boy!  Again, too many to think of.... but as far as favorite for me to read (and yet is a kid book) is the Harry Potter series.  As far as kid book to read to my class, hmmm, has to be Oh, The Places You'll Go by Dr. Seuss.  I love all his work and cry everytime I read that book to my class at the end of the year. 
4. What do you like to do when you are not working on things for your classroom?
I love being with my family, camping, dancing, crafty stuff of all kinds, and organizing a variety of things.
5. If you could spend time with anyone ~ who would you like to meet and why?
Johnny Depp.... I was almost an extra in one of his little known films "Cry Baby" by John Waters.  A small portion of it was filmed in Sykesville, MD where I grew up.  I was only in 8th grade or so when my mom asked me if I wanted to be an extra in a film (although if she knew anything about John Waters she wouldn't have offered this to me).  I said no.  I sure wish I had said yes.  Funny thing though, Johnny was recently in my area again, only this time Albuquerque, NM.  Near where I live now.  He was filming Lone Ranger with Armie Hammer.  I would have loved to be an extra in that one!  I think the why of meeting him is pretty self-explanatory... he's lovely.
6. What food could you not do without?
Chocolate, period.
7. Tell a bit about your best day ever as an educator.
Each day has a super moment when someone "gets it" and understands what you want them to learn.  As far as best day, that's any day that a parent appreciates/sees the effort, love, care I put into my day as I work with their child. 
8. What would you like to have more time for during the school day?
Grading papers, never seems to be enough time to get it done at school and would very much like to get it done there, so I don't bring it home all the time.
9. What scares you most?
Every parent wants their family to be safe, so that's always a thought on my mind.  As far as irrational fears- spiders.
10. What is your favorite holiday or time of the year?
Christmas is my favorite holiday but hands down I LOVE summer time.  It's so warm and relaxing.  Full of easy going fun with the family and tons of camping trips.
11.  What do you tend to buy too much of?
Stickers.  Bags/Purses- I am a big fan of a company called Thirty-One and buy way too many of their cute bags. 

Questions for my nominees:

1.  What has been the best advice you received from a colleague?
2.  Who do you think is an amazing teacher and why?
3.  If you could travel anywhere in the world, where would it be?
4.  If you could change one thing about your school (for the better) what would it be?  Just one!
5.  What is your favorite classroom theme to use in your room?
6.  What is your vice when stressed?
7.  What is your favorite song and are there any memories to go along with it?
8.  When you were in elementary school, what did you think you would be when you grew up?
9.  What advice have you given a coworker/new teacher that you think would be good to tell others?
10.  What book would you bring to a deserted island?
11.  Do you have any fun talents/skills?

My Nominees!!!!
1.  Our Sweet Success
2.  First Grade Shenanigans
3.  Frogtastic First Graders
4.  Spotted in First Grade
5.  Fresh & Fun First Grade
 Please check them out.  Each unique and offering something fun.

Thanks again First Grade Carousel!!!

Monday, November 19, 2012


Come check out the huge savings from a variety of people, including me, as we place many of our items on sale Monday the 26th and Tuesday the 27th after Thanksgiving.
Click on the above sale sign or the one below and it will direct you to my store.  Thank you and happy shopping!  I know I will be getting several units for myself. 

Saturday, November 17, 2012


Thanksgiving/ Pilgrim Book Freebie!
I am so excited that it is almost Thanksgiving!  Our school has off the whole week- which rocks!  Makes it so much easier to visit with family when you have the week to organize it.  Although, the week is given to us by taking away a couple other holidays that all other schools have off- but I don't mind a bit.  :)

This break gave me some time to post a FREEBIE on TpT for Thanksgiving.  Click {HERE} to go to my store and download the Thanksgiving book. 

Have a delicious and family filled Thanksgiving everyone!!!

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Veterans Day bulletin board

Here is how I used the dog tags from my Veterans Day mini-unit that I have available as a freebie on TpT.  I had the children draw a sketched (pencil) self portrait.  I had them make sure they drew nice big heads and then a neck and shoulders below.  Then they traced in black markers the drawing.  The following day we colored in great detail the self portraits and cut them out.  The kids cut out, wrote on, and strung the dog tags onto string.  Then they gave the necklace and heads to me.  I stapled the necklace onto the neck areas so that they dangle off the children's necks on the bulletin board.  The bulletin boarder is from the Dollar Tree (patriotic for election day) and the extra decor of flags, stars, and flag decorated balloons is also Dollar Tree.  The banner is from a freebie I found from "What's the Buzz in First" USA Pennant Banner.

I LOVE the way the heads turned out, they are so cute.

If you wish to download the dog tags, click {HERE}. 

Thank you to those who serve and who have served.  We (my students, my coworkers, and myself) appreciate your service!


Monday, November 5, 2012

Veterans Day

Our school LOVES to celebrate Veterans Day in a BIG, BIG, BIG way.  We have such a big celebration for the veterans that we have news crew from our area each time we have our Veterans Day event!  We host many veterans from various branches of the military (last year we had a WWII vet in attendance).  We put stars on a gigantic flag structure that name various people living and not, who have served the military and who are part of our school community in one way or another.  Our chorus and band show off their great skills and sing or play patriotic songs.  It always makes me cry!  This year I feel extra excited about the chorus because my oldest daughter will be a part of the chorus (she's old enough now).  Each class creates letters to the veterans.  They are given at random to the veterans in envelopes, one older class letter and one younger class letter are incorporated in the envelope.  The attending veterans stand during their military branches song (we clap a lot).  Each attendee's name is called, they go up to get a pin, letter, and they get to place their own star on the giant flag structure.  We have a special guest speaker.  Last year it was a very powerful speaker (Air Force 1st Lt.Alea Nadeem) whose father was from Iraq.  She told her story of her difficult childhood.  She told of how her father kidnapped her and took her to Iraq and how she came to be part of the U.S. Military and now a veteran.  There was not a dry eye in the place!!!

We usually have a flag given to us from someone/somewhere special.  Usually someone serving currently who is connected in some way to our school, sends it.  It gets presented and "flown" by our school's boy/cub scouts.  They do a whole marching thing with the drill commanads.  The entire courtyard where all of the ceremony occurs gets majorly decorated. 

When the ceremony is over our band leader plays Taps.  The veterans stay for a big breakfast that our school and school community supply.  Everyone donates to make sure we have tons of food and drinks for these amazing people who help keep/or helped to keep our country safe and free.  The boy/cub scouts help to serve the food/drinks to the veterans.  While the veterans eat, pictures of the veterans themselves get displayed on a screen in a slideshow format.
Thank you to all the veterans!  Our school and school commmunity appreciate you!

In honor of Veterans Day, I have posted a Veterans Day FREEBIE in my TpT store.  Click {HERE} to check it out.  You may also click on the pictures below.

Thank you for checking it out.  If you download the mini-unit, please take a minute to give feedback.  I am working hard to make products that are helpful and would love to hear how I am doing.



Saturday, October 27, 2012

TpT Sale!

Halloween is almost here and we sure are having a lot of fun with the kids.  Our first grade finished our state study and ended with a NM Fiesta (yesterday) full of many activities!  My hard working room mom helped organize the event for the first grade.  We had NM bingo, ristra making, sand painting, pumpkin character displays with their matching books, pinata bag decorating with NM stickers, and of course the fun but exhausting Mexican Hat Dance!  To end the festivities we had a pinata for each class.  Phew, sure was a big day!  My amazing friends/coworkers were the ones to create all the ideas for the festivities years ago.  My first grade coworkers are such brilliant ladies.  I am so lucky to have amazing friends to work with on a daily basis.  They are a continuing inspiration for me. 

As we are all working hard on getting ready for the end of Oct and beginning of Nov, I am having a sale on the items in my TpT store to help out.  I hope you check it out!  Click the picture below to see what I have for you.  I will have Thanksgiving items coming out soon too.

The cute graphic below was a FREEBIE graphic from LetteringDelights.  Isn't it cute?  Click {HERE}if you want to check out thier cute fonts and graphics.


Monday, October 22, 2012

"My State is Beautiful" Study

I just posted a packet on TpT at my store.  It discusses a variety of questions/topics about anyone's home state.  I left it open ended so that each person may fill in the necessary information in regards to their state and state facts.  If you wish to check out the product, please click {HERE}.  I live in NM so I use NM facts with this packet.  I LOVE using the book E is for Enchantment: A New Mexico Alphabet by Helen Foster James.  It is part of an alphabet series that discusses each state.  There is a book for each state, discussing the many wonderful traits and aspects of all 50 states.  I found the one I use for NM on Amazon.  If you click the picture immediately below, it will take you to the Amazon website.
Below I have a few pictures from the packet posted on TpT. 


Friday, October 19, 2012

New Math Menu

I just completed a new math menu for my students.  It goes well with Everyday Math's Unit 3.  There are coin, time, pattern, odd/even, missing rule, graph, and skip counting pages.  As the menu spans the entire unit, I have the students put their menus in their math folders so it does not get squashed inside their desks.  If you wish to check out the menu, it is for sale in my TpT store.  Click {HERE} if you wish to check it out.  I loved using Scrappin Doodle graphics for the pages.  Those bats fun!  If you use the math menu, please let me know.  I'd love to hear how it worked for you and how you put the menu into place in your classroom.  Below are a couple of the pages in the packet.

Tuesday, October 16, 2012


I had mentioned yesterday that I would get pictures of the cute styrofoam Fall items. 

The kids are doing a great job trying to earn a "visit" with them. 

I thought, while I was posting pictures, I would post my kids cute lunch boxes purchased from Thirty-One.  If you wish to check out their Fall catalog, they have a ton of adorable stuff.  Click {here} to see my friend Nina's webpage with the catalog.

From the same company, is my teacher bag and matching purse.  :)

Monday, October 15, 2012

Behavior Management Monday

The children are aware that it is getting closer to Halloween.  I came across a couple cute styrofoam Fall/Halloween themed items from the $1 section of Target.  I bought a large styrofoam spider and large styrofoam candy corn.  Anytime I felt a child was behaving well (sitting quietly, raising hand, working hard, helping others) I placed one of the items on their desk. They were allowed to have the item for about 5-10 minutes and then it had to leave for another student's desk.  It worked well, and the students were so excited to get one of the items on their desk.  This will be used until October is complete.  I found a very silly turkey hat for next month to use in the same way.  Although, I might not have them wear it- it might just sit on their desk.  I will post a picture of the candy corn and spider tomorrow.     

Sunday, October 14, 2012


I am a first grade teacher in the Albuquerque area.  I am happy to have my first post on a blog, ever!  I have been teaching in the Early Childhood ages for 9 years.  I love teaching.

I have been working hard in the area of math.  I am always looking for new and easy ways to differentiate for my students.  I recently created a math menu for the unit I was working on in Everyday Math.  I will try to place the unit below, but am not totally sure how to do that!
I have posted the math menu freebie on Teachers Pay Teachers in my store.  Click (here) if you wish to check it out.   
I use the menu for students to extend and practice the math skills covered in each unit.  This unit discusses time, money, sums of ten, and counting up and back on the number grid.  In my class, the children have math kit's that include many math related items.  The die needed for the number grid game, within the packet, is in their kit.
I hope you enjoy the menu and if you use it in your class please tell me about it.