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Thursday, December 31, 2015

Fabulous Finds

This post is all about a few fabulous(ly random) finds I've come across in the past couple months.

The first one is pretty much expected considering #TeachersLoveTarget and even more, The Dollar Spot.  These adorable snowmen ($1) were meant for counting down the days until Christmas, but I used it in my classroom as a math center to practice more and less.  Students work together to pick a number, spin the spinner, then identify that number on the snowman by placing a white "snowball" onto it.  The object of the game is to try to get all of the numbers covered on the snowman.  Low prep, skill centered, and fun!  Thank YOU, Target.

The second thing I'm super excited about this month is the 7" Amazon Fire Tablet.  It's now only $49.99, and during Amazon's Black Friday promotion, it was at an even lower price!  At that, I impulsively bought two!  Eek!  I have yet to bring them into my classroom since my students have needed some extra practice with respecting property lately, but I can't wait to start using them with my kids.  I'm all ears to any suggestions, ideas, and educational apps to download!



So here's my last fabulous find:  Parabo Press.  Download this app to turn your iPhone photos into beautiful high quality prints.  These are the 5.5" square prints, and they turned out great!  Use the code SQGR5 at the checkout for your first set of 25 prints FREE.  The only thing you have to pay for is shipping, but it's totally worth it!  Check out their website and instagram for more details and coupon codes.

Oh winter break... I love you.  It's just my luck that I've spent every single day so far sick with a bad cold and cough, but this break from work is just what I needed.  I've found time to cook, craft, write, spend time with friends and family, explore new places, try new things, and most importantly, r e l a x .  Pictured above is one of the little crafts I put together for my roomies in our little home.  I bought the wooden sign from Michaels, painted it with my favorite color, hot glued some clothespins to the bottom, and selected some photos to print.

Well seeing as it's December 31, I guess it's adios until next year!  I'll be spending this evening with good company, champagne, and cheese.  :)  One more thing I just discovered is cranberry goat cheese... oh em gee... that stuff is heavenly.  Happy 2016!



Thursday, November 5, 2015

Fact Fluency Freebie... Say that ten times fast!

This year our new principal created and introduced a school-wide fact fluency program that focuses on  fluency and flexibility in thinking about numbers and the equal sign in all four operations.  Going through the program, students are required to solve for missing addends and parts (or the whole) of an equation in all positions by understanding part-part-whole relationships. The first few stages involve addition and subtraction beginning with fluency of facts within 10.  

Here's a fact fluency freebie for your firsties (woahhhhhh alliteration overload!) that can help support understanding of the equal sign and finding the missing number in subtraction equations with zero.  Cut out the pieces and have your friends match the missing number with the equation it belongs to.  Enjoy!

Click on the picture to download from Google Drive.

I also came across this post from Teaching in Progress about word problems.  She posted a great visual and freebie that has helped me to expose my kids to all different types of problems.  Hooray for math and fact fluency!


Saturday, October 24, 2015

First Thoughts on First Grade

UPDATE:  I love first-grade!  I think I should actually change that to "I love first-graders" because they're so stinkin' adorable.  I'm especially in love with the sweet smiles and "Good morning Ms. Chin!"s I'm greeted with every morning.

I taught 4th grade for the past two years, so this is my first time actually teaching 1st.  I'm learning so much about phonics, reading, and basic math from this experience which honestly has made some most days a SERIOUS struggle.  I've had about a million and a half realizations and "Oh righttttt, they're only six years old." moments, but overall I know this year is off to a great start and it's going to be a blast!

We had our first field trip to the National Zoo this week and the kids had so much fun!  We researched gorillas for our non-fiction writing this quarter and we were so excited to see the gorillas at the stinky ape house.  (Although some of them were over dramatically gasping for air once we got out!)

Right after we exited the ape house, we got to see the orangutans walking across the O line.  This was by far my favorite part.  Of all the times I've been to the zoo, I've never been able to see this.  Of course I had to take a video!




Hmmm.. what field trip should we go on next?



Sunday, August 23, 2015

One Last Time

Hello!  I'm currently at the beach in Duck, NC enjoying my last work-free weekend with this absolutely breath-taking view:




Can you believe this place?  It's beautiful!  My friend's parent's dream was to own their own beach house one day and they made it a reality a few years ago.  Their home is like a jungle, and her mom likes to call it, Where The Wild Things Are.  (Yes, she is a teacher!)

On a separate note, I just learned about the awesome Donors Choose Community, Caring Classrooms.  It's such a great idea and way to get the word spread about new classroom projects in need of funding.  I just donated to a project for a classroom to get a puppet show about accepting others' differences.  How cool!  I didn't know that you could create projects that weren't just for school supplies, books, etc.  Anyway, that project has ALREADY been funded because of how generous everyone in this online community is.  

I'm going to leave here on this high note and go get myself an acai bowl (my latest obsession) before I make my trek back home to reality.  Tomorrow is my first PD day and I (honestly) can't wait to be back in my classroom to start prepping for the school year! HERE WE GO! :) 

Saturday, August 8, 2015

Superheroes 2.0

Is it August already?!  Where did the time go?  If your school is like mine and they make you move classrooms each year, then I'm sure you'd agree that the packing, moving, and unpacking process is a huge PAIN.  That being said, I'm trying to keep everything as simple as possible and I'm keeping the superhero theme.  Hooray!

Here are a couple things I already have for the decor:

Name tag labels for either the door or bulletin board.

Back to school picture frame!  This is my first time doing this and it was super fun and easy to make!


Picked these borders up on my most recent trip to Lakeshore.  I wish I had seen these last year, but I can't wait to use them in my classroom!

I can't wait to get into my room and start setting up!  Unfortunately that won't be for a couple more weeks, so in between babysitting and laying by the pool I'm going to try to prepare myself by reading some Lucy Calkins resources for guided reading.  Bring on first grade!

Friday, June 5, 2015

A Little Friday DIY

Rain, rain, go away!  We've had some unfortunate gloomy weather here in Maryland lately, so I'm looking on the bright side with this fun and cheery, super easy DIY project:



Okay, so ALL of the credit actually goes to my good friend who is super crafty.  I love the fun pastel colors she chose.  She ended up nailing these to a tree in her backyard and it looked so cute!  She had lots of extra stakes, so she gave me some to make my own.


I swear, those aren't weeds, they are flowers just waiting to bud; my roommates and I planted them by seed!

Three of these stakes were cut shorter and then they were all painted with some acrylic paint.  

Fool Proof Steps to Make the Directional Signs:

1.  Purchase wooden stakes from a hardware store.  These are from Home Depot.

2.  Paint them any color(s) of your choice then wait for the paint to dry.

3.  Use a thin paint brush to paint on the names of your most loved places.

4.  When it's all dry, spray the pieces with a spray sealer to weatherproof and finish your signs.

5.  Hammer and nail it together to either stick it in the mud, or nail 'em to a tree!

And that's prettttty much it!  I've seen these all over pinterest, but this was an extremely inexpensive and easy project to make whether its for fun, or any special event.  I'll probably be making more of them for my mom's garden because they were so simple to put together!

Friday, May 22, 2015

Ramblings and Randomness

Well hello hello!  Ready for some rambling and randomness?  Here are three things I am currently loving.  Woo! 

1. Honey Balsamic Dressing

How have I lived 24 whole years without this in my life?  It's the most addicting combination of tangy and sweet to ever grace my tastebuds.  Somehow I stumbled upon it at the grocery store (I got the Kens' brand) and now I don't think my fridge can ever be without it.  ...Told ya this would get random!



2.  Ear Jackets

I stopped a coworker to compliment her on the earrings she was wearing last week and turns out she is a jewelry consultant for Stella & Dot.  So I quickly went online and purchased my first pair which got delivered in less than a week!  I also have ZERO SELF-CONTROL so I continued to browse Bauble Bar and accidentally spent a little over $150 on way too many earrings.  #worthit


 The set in this picture is from Bauble Bar, but I actually love wearing the crescent ear jacket piece from Stella & Dot with the stud.   You can mix and match the studs all you want.  All the jacket pieces are adjustable too!


3.  Andrew McMahon


This guy isn't lying when he says he's "traveled around the world in a punk rock band."  Andrew McMahon is an incredibly talented dude who has been dropping pop punk / alternative hits since his high school band, Something Corporate.  He was also the frontman of good ole Jack's Mannequin, battled and survived leukemia, went solo, and is now Andrew McMahon in the Wilderness.  Please just listen and picture yourself driving with the top-down on a road trip along the Pacific Coast (disclaimer:  I have never done that before, womp womp).  I also just love the message of this song and how it's for his daughter.  Check out this beautiful unplugged version here.  


Enjoy the long weekend and Happy Memorial Day!

Tuesday, April 28, 2015

Pretty Planet

You know it's spring when the weather gets warmer, leaves get greener (is that a word?), and you feel like scraping your eyes out.  Yep, it's that time again!  My allergies are in full bloom.  Hooray!

In celebration of Earth Day (and my little brother's 21st birthday), I made a quick template for some Earth Day haiku writing.  I used this as a minilesson and center activity.  Here's what my kids came up with:



It's FREE!

Speaking about spring, here are some highlights from my spring break trip! :)  My roommates and I flew down to Ft. Lauderdale and explored as much of southern Florida as we could fit in 4 days.

Riding bikes on Ocean Drive in South Beach.
There were palm trees EVERYWHERE!

Watching the sun set in Key West with the roomies!

Gotta love this pretty planet we live on.  Where to next?!

Saturday, April 11, 2015

Identity Crisis

A lot of people these days have picked up the hobby of blogging.  I've always joked around with friends saying that if I ever tried to be one of those people, I'd use my last name to my advantage.  "Chin Up Buttercup" or "Keep Your Chin Up" were just ideas that sounded pretty quirky, but the more I thought about it, the more it stuck.  So here it is!  The birth of Keep Your Chin Up.  I plan to use this to blog to write about more than just TPT, however, with my lack of updating I'll just be taking it one step at a time.

If you like the new background here, check out these Julie Song desktops from DesignLoveFest.


In addition to the new name, I have some exciting news!  Right before spring break, the staffing positions for next year were announced at my school.  About half of all teachers have been moved around, so all of the changes are quite a shock. Anyway, I am moving from fourth grade to.... FIRST!  I've heard so many wonderful things about teaching first grade, but also that it is a very challenging job.  Nonetheless, I am thrilled to make the transition.  Any suggestions, tips, words of advice are welcome.  :)


Thursday, February 26, 2015

Snow Day #3

Oh yes, don't you just love surprise snow days?

So it looks like my fourth-graders won't be practicing the PARCC today!  It really would be great if they could get a little more practice using the tools and gaining familiarity with the test infrastructure, but I guess I'll gladly take this beautiful snow day instead.  :)  

We took my roomie's dog out for a refreshing freezing cold walk in Fed Hill Park this morning.


On a separate note, what is everyone buying during TPT's Superheroes sale?  I am super excited to purchase Leslie Ann's Bloom's Taxonomy Ladders.  They would be a perfect addition to my guided reading resources.  Perfect timing too, because we'll be starting some new fantasy chapter books next week!

Tuesday, February 17, 2015

Teachers Love...

...Snow Days!

Woohoo!  This is my third snow day of the year and I couldn't be happier that it so conveniently turned this holiday weekend into a four-day weekend.  After school closings were announced last night, my roommates and I decided there was no better way to celebrate than by hitting the casino.  It was actually my first time there and it's only a five minute cab ride from our house, so why not?  (I won $50, lost half of it, then cashed out.  I know, I know, I like to live life on the edge.)

I also spent a majority of my day off yesterday working on this blog.  I'm pleasantly surprised and proud of myself (after hours of photoshopping and googling HTML codes) for putting all of it together.  I really am inspired by all of the teaching blogs out there, so I am  s l o w l y  trying to find time and learn the tricks of the trade.  If anyone has some feedback or tips for me, I am all ears!

[Gotta give credit to KG fonts and this handy website which I used to help me with image mapping.]

One of the additions to this blog is my classroom page where I've finally posted pictures here of my superhero themed classroom.  #betterlatethannever, right?  I also posted the behavior chart that I'm using this year for free on my Teachers Pay Teachers store.



Wow.  If you made it here, thank you for reading!  I'm going to go enjoy the rest of my snow day, but hopefully I'll be finding more time to update in the near future!