Friday, December 30, 2011

Run, run as fast as you wait, walk! You're in school!

The Gingerbread of my favorite units to teach each year.  We spend the week reading the different versions of the story, completing gingerbread man projects, and this year, we even sent paper gingerbread men to family and friends throughout the U.S. and received postcards back from our traveling cookies!

But the most important part of the gingerbread man unit, is the hunt at the end of the week.  Now my friend, Mr. G, has been hanging out in my classroom one week in December for three years now.  And each year he manages to sneak away and leave behind clues throughout the school that lead my class and I on an unforgettable hunt.  These clues say things like, "Run, run as fast as you can.  Go to room 13 + 3, that's where I am!" or "Run, run as fast as you can.  Go to where you eat, that's where I am!"

We travel to classrooms, offices, even the cafeteria, before we finally find him hidden in my ceramic apple where class treats are kept.  And so the story goes...

It was Friday afternoon.  Due to rainy weather during an unseasonably warm December, my class was having indoor recess.  If not for the piles of papers that get organized, desk that reappears, hallway window that gets redecorated, or papers that get corrected, indoor recess would be despised by me and my colleagues.  Let 'em play in the rain!  There is never enough space, never enough toys and games, never a proper clean up, and noise to make your head pound til dinner time.  This indoor recess soon became the noisiest yet.  Emma came up to me with a brown strip of paper in hand and said, "Mrs. Bushey, I like this note you put where the gingerbread man was."  Looking confused, I asked, "What's this?"  I read it and asked where she had found the curious rhyme.  She pointed to the pocket where our friend, the gingerbread man, had been sitting earlier and was now gone.  I turned off the lights and made an announcement to the class that our little friend was missing and that he had left behind some sort of clue.  I had Emma read the clue aloud.  Cue children screaming!  Bodies bounced like Pop Rocks!  I reminded the class that we had a Mystery Reader joining us after recess and the hunt would just have to wait.  No excitement diminished at this announcement.  I've never seen my class so eager for recess to end. 

Clean up consisted of hopping, skipping, hand holding, screeching, and a promptness that had yet to be seen.  The Mystery Reader arrived.  I must say, my class kept their composure well through the stories that were read.  Even amidst the excitement of an upcoming hunt, the magic of picture books can capture children's attention.

The hunt began by deciphering the first clue.  Room 13 + 3?  What could this mean?  To first graders, just beginning their exploration of addition, discovering the answer took some time.  Room 16 it was, but a few behavior reminders before we all poured out into the silent hallways.  "If we are too loud, the gingerbread man will hear us.  He could run away again.  Make sure you are very quiet and sneaky."  I tiptoed out of the room, with 21 tiny toes following suit.  In Room 16 we found yet another clue.  This one led us to the office where a clue had been left on the secretary's desk.  Then the nurses office.  The nurse had been so busy that she saw something brown quickly run through, but had no time to stop.  Band aids and thermometers trumped a tricky cookie.  We then made our way to the reading teachers' room.  A stuffed snowman held the clue for our ginger guy.  He was getting friends in on the act!  Upon reading, we made our way to the cafeteria.  Uh oh!  The recently mopped floor, left me to be the one to find what would be our last clue from Mr. G.  The clue that would lead us right back to where we began.  Our classroom and the candy-filled apple on my desk!  As I lifted the apple, it suddenly jumped from my hands and I screamed!  This in turn caused the children in the room to scream as well.  The apple mysteriously moved again and I tightened my grip.  When I was sure that all 21 kids had a view of the apple's lid, I removed it and inside we found our gingerbread man.  Of course a gingerbread cookie would have a sweet tooth!
The DumDums were gone, but inside he had left each child there very own gingerbread man cookie to celebrate the successful unriddling of clues.  Naughty but nice!  This cookie knew a cookie jar when he saw one.  Our new-found friend was passed around for hugs and then placed back into his pocket for safe-keeping.  This time we would keep our eyes on him!

That weekend, while perusing the children's section of Barnes and Noble, I came across a book entitled, The Gingerbread Man Loose in the School.  In this story, the students bake a gingerbread man at school then leave him to cool during recess.  Our main character is not so happy to be left behind by his friends and sets out to find the kids who made him.  Adorable!  This book had to be read to my class!  I bought it and brought it to school the next week.  Our gingerbread man was visiting the first grade class across the hall.  He was becoming a very popular guy in our elementary school.  And wouldn't you know it, he led Mrs. Glover's class on a similar hunt!  Bradley talked about it the rest of the day!  He could be heard down the hall after dismissal, telling his dad about his friend, the gingerbread man, and the day he ran away.  Creating school cookie at a time!

<3- Sarah

Thursday, December 29, 2011

walking the dog

Walking the dog.......lots of people do it.  For some it is a necessity due to nature calling, high energy pups, or daily routine.  For others it is pure pleasure.  Peace of mind.  A time to gather thoughts and bond with the one or two creatures (or more....I mean have you met my sister) who love you most.  For me, it is necessity one day and pleasure the next.  Usually depending on the weather, the motivation, or just the mood of the day. 

Lincoln started out as a puppy who just wouldn't walk.  When he joined our family in July, he was almost 3 months old, and hadn't seen much of a leash in his short life.  He came from a breeder in Manchester, VT, where he ran with his brother, Milkshake (love it!), in the back yard of a family with a half a dozen children.  Free to roam with a pair of eyes to watch at all times.  Those first few weeks, a walk with Lincoln would last less than a minute before he would be belly down, usually in the shadiest spot he could find. 

Now being a 20-something girl, who really wanted a baby but settled for a puppy, I bought The Dog Whisperer's book, How To Raise the Perfect Dog.  From the time Lincoln, formerly known as Charlie, came home from the breeder, Andrew and I followed everthing The Whisperer told us to do.  We even chose him from the two puppies who were left the way the book told us to.  We were told not to choose a puppy with high energy or the pack leader, because these types of dogs would be harder to train and less likely to be "calm, submissive."  Well...we only had two to choose from, so Charlie it was.  We asked many questions and it sounded like Milkshake, who broke out of the pen first and laid Charlie flat in the grass while playing, was not the one for us.  Good ole Charlie, calm, submissive, crying the entire ride home! 

Anyway...Charlie became Lincoln.  Named after our road and his very first home away from home.  The Whisperer made it very clear two walks everyday were important in the bonding, training, and tiring out of our pup.  But I just couldn't seem to find a solution in this book for a dog who literally wouldn't walk.  Apparently he may be uncomfortable with the area.  So we took little walks at first, very frustrating little walks.  After about a month of walking the same road over and over, I knew this was no longer the case.  There isn't much that changes on roads out in the Creek.  He had to be getting used to it.  I began bringing cat food, his most favorite thing on the planet, and tempting him to move ahead with it.  Swiping it in front of his nose til he caught the scent and jumped up toward me.  As he got used to the swipe and move forward routine, I started to just use my hand without the cat food and that seemed to keep him going a tad bit longer.  To say the least....the first walks with Lincoln included no peace of mind, birds chirping, thoughts running free kind of feelings.  I was just glad it was summer and I was home from work to.....yes.....TEACH this dog how to take a walk. 

Fall came and Lincoln got bigger, much bigger!  And, I can't tell you when or how it happened, but that dog, he started walking.  We would go farther and farther on Waites Hill.  He did find some things along the way that would make us have to turn back every now and then.  For example, cars, cows, ducks, road signs, pieces of plastic laying on the side of the know....very frightening things!  He seems to gain energy (in other words pulling-power)  as we get closer and closer to home.  There's many a time when Andrew or I end up running with him the last few yards to the house.  There's no place like home.

Today, Lincoln loves a good walk with his two favorite people in the world.  We are able to take different routes, with very frightening things along the way, and our calm, submissive boy fights through and keeps trudging on.  He still loves the walk home more than venturing out and picks up speed as the scent of the farmhouse draws him near.  On walks with Lincoln I have learned more about my surroundings, grown closer to my husband, gained patience, ran into family traveling back roads, met my neighbors and learned their dog stories, cleared my mind, written parts of songs that will probably never be finished, taken pictures of farmlife and small town happenings, watched snow sparkle like glitter as it fell, listened to favorite tunes, and bonded with my dog.

Lincoln and I are due for a walk later....but to Tractory Supply with my dad first.

Happy feelings!

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

On and On

Two years ago, on Christmas morning, my husband proposed to me. 

As stated before, I am truly a Christmas spirit and have always begun celebrating the holiday long before my parents (as a child) or husband (as an adult) would want to hear Bing Crosby ringing through the car stereos.  I remember one year, as I placed a Christmas tape in the car's tape player, my dad saying, "Aw, come on, it's way too early for this."  My response was, "NOOO, Halloween is over, it's Christmas time!"  To say the least, an engagement on Christmas morning made perfect sense for this girl.

Our tree that Christmas....the scrapbook page is propped to the right.

That Christmas Eve, my husband had stayed up much later than me....wrapping presents and setting up the TV I had asked for in the kitchen.  When we woke up the next morning, I was not surprised to see the TV there.  I was surprised that it had been completely hooked up and was turned on.  I thought to myself, "I really made out well this year!"  We opened our other gifts and took a breather on the couch before the day of  being bounced around from family to family began...or in other words "family foosball."

This is where my morning becomes something like a scene from A Christmas Story.  My husband said, "Hey, what's that up there on the bookcase?"  Was it an Official Red Ryder Carbine-Action Two-Hundred-Shot Range Model Air Rifle?  No...I'd shoot my eye out!  It was a wrapped gift, looking much like the shape of a calendar, something that just happened to be on my list every year.  I grabbed the gift and brought it back to the couch to open it.  As I pulled the paper away, my breath was caught in my chest.  It was a scrapbook page...THAT MY HUSBAND HAD MADE!  Now after dating a guy for 11 years...this can really only mean one thing.  While I am an avid scrapbooker, my husband was not one to craft.  This page had two pictures on it, one of us from our high school graduation and another from our college years.  There was a poem written in his handwriting that he had copied from a page I had made of the two of us years before.  And at the bottom of the page, there was a little pocket that had letter stickers written out to say, "Will you marry me"  He had forgotten the question mark, but hey let's give the man some credit...he was scrapbooking!  Inside the pocket was my engagement ring, tied to a piece of gray yarn.  This is where the hands begin to shake and all breath is gone.  Andrew got down on one knee and put the ring on my finger.  Then he said, "Sooo?"  And I said, "Yes!"  I hugged him, kissed him, and tears came. 

My hands shook for the remainder of the morning.  Shaking as I called and texted everyone, who already knew and were waiting anxiously!!!  Shaking as I finished up craft gifts for his parents.  Shaking as I got myself ready to show off that ring.  Christmas morning will always be even more special to me....I didn't think that was possible.

Now 4 days ago, on December 22nd, my sister's boyfriend proposed to her.  Similar to my husband and I, they were at home.  Her boyfriend pulled out a yellow box that had been hidden behind their tiny apartment-sized Christmas tree.  He got down on one knee and the rest is history.  I am so happy for the two of them and I know they will share years of happiness together.  The large box of wedding magazines that I had been hoarding for years now, has been passed along to my little sister.  It doesn't make me sad to pass them along.  When asked how I felt after my wedding, was I sad or happy it was over?  I felt neither.  It felt perfect...I didn't want to plan anymore, but I hadn't felt overwhelmed by the experience.  I am hoping this same feeling for Shannon as she plans and eventually ties the knot.  I am hoping she will pass these magazines onto some other new bride-to-be with joy some day.  She deserves it.

Shannon and Nick at my wedding.

We can go on and on
Won't ever feel too long
I'll always call you home
And we'll go on and on
-Miranda Lambert

Hoping your Christmas was as full of love as ours.

<3- Sarah

Monday, December 12, 2011

Cake batter @ 6 am...

Your 20''s a decade full of many life changes.  You start out as a college student, concerned mostly with yourself, your classes, your friends, your parties, your way-too-far-away 21st birthday.  This usually leads into a career of sorts....possibly not the one that college degree wes supposed to get for you, but a job none-the-less.  As the years continue on, bridal showers, weddings, and baby showers begin to dictate your summer weekends.  You tend to see less of your friends and more of your family.  In my gets better with each passing day. 

Saturdays evolve from gatorade and hangovers to coffee and quiet to cereal and cartoons.  This Saturday, I woke up at 6 am and began baking cupcakes for my husband and sister-in-law's birthday party that night.  Licking Funfetti batter from a rubber spatula and wrapping gifts, so meticulously, as if the wrapping was the gift itself.  The funny thing about your late 20's is that, in the same weekend,  Saturday morning might involve an early rise for baking and wrapping and Sunday morning you're sleeping-in to recover from a late-night birthday bash!  At the same party, one friend may be taking their 2nd shot while another friend is showing you pictures of their son's 2nd birthday party.  You are stuck somewhere between bars and bibs. 

I believe there really is no other decade quite like your 20's.  It seems that everything your life once was and everything your life will become, collides.  You move on, leaving behind some passtimes and replacing them with others.  "Settling down" they often call it. 

As our wild weekends begin to slow down, the activities I get most excited about have changed.  I enjoy sitting on the couch with Lincoln and getting his hugs.  I enjoy a cup of coffee or tea early in the morning and sometimes at night too.  I enjoy watching a movie with Andrew, while GrayC curls up on me.  I enjoy a clean I didn't say cleaning the house....just a clean house!  I enjoy baking.  I enjoy reading novels and Country Sampler magazine.  I enjoy seeing my friends' babies, admiring at what amazing mothers they have become and how adorable those kids are.  I still enjoy nights out with friends, drinks, dancing, wild nights.  Probably always will...I'd just rather spend MOST of my time doing those other things I've come to enjoy. 

I always get the first photo with the babies!

<3- Sarah

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

livin on love

Tomorrow is pay day....yay!  Unfortunately....tis the season to be completely broke!  Checks are currently in the mail to pay bills that will pretty much equal most of my not-yet-received pay check.  My 27-year-old husband is turning 28 on Saturday so gifts, dinner, drinks are in the works....not to mention the fact that he's a twin, which means I also have a sister-in-law with a birthday on Saturday as well!  Can't wait, going to be tons of fun celebrating in Saratoga Springs but these things cost money...ya know?  Oh boy...don't remind me that Christmas is in 18 days and not all of my gifts have been purchased. 

While emptying the dishwasher earlier with my birthday boy husband I said "I hate being broke!  But I love being broke with YOU!"  If there were anyone I had to live paycheck to paycheck with it would most definitely be Andrew Bushey.  I could have a husband who panics and stresses and takes it all out on me with a negative attitude about our current (not permenant....we are still young and making our way in this big ol' world) situation, but I don't.  I have a husband who calms me down, smiles, focuses on the moment, cooks dinner, and moves on.  This is exactly what I need....remember that first husband type I described...well unfortunately that persona matches my own much closer than my even-headed husband's.  I am a worrier.  A trait passed down from generation to generation on my mother's side of the family.  It does seem to lessen as the offspring carry it on....maybe my future children have some hope at a rational-minded existence.  But they will always have their worrisome mother there to remind them of all the possibilities in every situation. :)

As my husband and I create a family of our own, there will be hard times ahead financially (especially in the month of December!), but the chance to live out this dream with him is something I would never pass up.  Not for all the money in the world!  I would much rather be "Livin on love!"

Livin on Love
Alan Jackson

Two young people without a thing
Say some vows and spread their wings
Settle down with just what they need
Livin on love

She don't care bout what's in style
She just likes the way he smiles
It takes more than marble and tile
Livin on love

Livin on love, buyin on time
Without somebody nothin aint worth dime
Just like an old fashioned storybook rhyme
Livin on love
It sounds simple, that's what you're thinkin
But love can walk through fire without blinkin
It doesn't take much when you get enough
Livin on love

If you know this song by Alan Jackson, you know that there is another verse about "two old people."  One day, this next verse will be true for me.  Maybe we will have a little more money, but it doesn't matter whether we do or we don't, we'll still be livin on love. <3  That will be enough.

<3- Sarah

Monday, December 5, 2011

While visions of sugar plums...

Working in a school 3 weeks before Christmas can be a bittersweet experience.  There are a number of ways I am reminded, daily, of the upcoming holiday and I love it because I am, and always have been, a true Christmas spirit!  There is a daily announcement email that is sent out each morning, reminding us teachers of the school events that will occur within the next month (most of which are holiday related), the windows of each classroom decorated with lights, trees, paper crafts created by small hands, and snow made out of anything from cotton balls to silver glitter, picture books being read aloud within the classrooms, full of characters such as The Gingerbread Man, snowmen of all sorts, and the all important, Santa Clause, faculty and staff decked out in their best Christmas sweaters, sweatshirts, socks, and pins, and students on a school bus asking the driver, "Hey Joe, is today a Christmas music day?"  Only the beginning of the many sights and sounds of the season I will embark upon throughout my work days this December!

As I walked my first grade class out to the buses this afternoon, while passing by a fellow teacher, she gave me that, "Oh my goodness!" look in response to the energy level streaming down the hallways of our rural school building.  I replied with, "Christmas is coming!" and I heard her quiet voice (she is always very quiet when she speaks....sometimes wish I could be the same way) come back with, "Visions of sugarplums!"  This reference to the classic poem, The Night Before Christmas, could be the very best way I have heard a teacher describe the anticipation felt by these little guys.  Even 180 years after it was written, these words still explain the pure joy felt by little ones at Christmas time, with simple sentiment.

Now you may be wondering where the "bitter" part comes in b/c everything I have written so far sounds quite sweet!?  Well...unfortunately December does not get to be all about our friends, The Gingerbread Man (one of my favorite units to teach all year b/c of our Gingerbread Man hunt...more about that later in the week), snowmen, and our old friend Mr. Clause in first grade.  There are still assessments to be completed, homework assignments, administration observations, etc.  (Man...talking about the sweet part was sooo much sweeter!)  It is not so easy to get 6-year-olds to think about spelling words when all those sugarplums are doing "The Twist" in their noggins. 

There are times when a teacher needs to sit back and let the excitement fill the room.  Rules, routines, lessons aside....children are what make the season magical and alive.  While adults are bustling around with shopping, baking, decorating, wrapping, cursing the fact that they waited til the last minute, children are making sure they watch plenty of Christmas movies, see the lights (I mean they really stop and admire the lights), savor candy canes, slowly and gently hang tree ornaments, and read and reread their lists for Santa as many times as possible.  Their little eyes grow 2x bigger between the months of October and January, there is sooo much to take in.  Over these next few weeks, watch a child enjoying Christmas and join in.  We can all re-learn something that we once knew and have now forgotten about the joy of the season. 

                        Love how the lights reflect in all directions through the top of this jar and the window behind it.

While I write this, in my living room full of twinkle lights (but no tree just yet)...I'm enjoying the TV special, Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer, a holiday tradition for many families.  I've seen it every year since I can remember!  This teacher is enjoying being a kid for the evening.  SHE THINKS I'M CUTE!!!

Lincoln and GrayC getting along....Tis the Season <3

<3 - Sarah

Friday, December 2, 2011

a little bit of life

When I first began my blog back in July, I had been inspired by so many educational blogs and the ideas that they were filled with.  I had known blogs were out there, but I had never really read anyone's blog until, searching for teaching ideas, I stumbled upon teacher blogs.  Now that I have been blogging (kinda...funny how teaching tends to get in the way of my teacher blog) for about 4 months and I have stumbled upon some blogs that don't relate to teaching, I'm motivated to begin adding some other life happenings into my blog. 

Teaching is an enormous part of my everyday thinking...escpecially b/c I don't yet have any babies of my own.  So it will make an appearance for sure, but with so many other wonderful things happening in this 27-year-old's life, I'm wondering, "Why not?"  Why not share a little more of what Mrs. Bushey is all about?  For example, I loove crafting!  After finding Pinterest and etsy, two crafter's dream sites, I've wanted to craft more than ever.  I just finished my first hooked rug and I'm looking forward to starting to knit my second baby blanket within the next couple weeks.  With my sister being a mommy-to-be, there are sooo many ideas, hopes, and dreams running through this head.  These are things I feel like sharing in my blog each day....soooo...why not?   I became a cat person in my college years, after rescuing a barn kitten that was left behind by her mother and littermates.  I now have two cats, the barn kitten, GrayC, and a chubby gray and white cuddler named Annabelle.  My husband and I got a Golden Retriever puppy this summer and named him Lincoln as a tribute to our first home together which resides on Lincoln Hill Road.  These lovies give me something to write about nearly why not?

GrayC's version of Facebook

Santa Paws brought a cat scratcher covered in catnip for Christmas!

The first time Lincoln ever laid in his crate by choice...we were thrilled!  It broke our hearts to hear his cries at night, but it all turned out always does. :)

My life is filled with things, good and bad, to share, to talk about, to get out of my head.  So this is me saying, that this blog may transition into something more than just a teacher blog.  There is this other part of my life where I am not Mrs. Bushey...I am just Sarah.  That part of my life is wonderful and worth sharing also.  So, why not?

<3 - Sarah, the blogger formerly known as Mrs. Bushey :)

Sunday, November 20, 2011


While reading a relative's inspiring blogs, (A Winsome Journey: check Jessica out....beautiful blogs about life, love, and laughter out on the farm) I'm sipping tea out of a mug that reads,

"peace.  it does not mean to be in a place where there is no noise, trouble or hard work.  it means to be in the midst of those things and still be calm in your heart. (unknown)."

This quote can relate to all parts of life, but as a teacher, it truly fills me with hope.  Most mornings, while getting ready for school, I say to myself, "No matter what happens, try to be calm, try to stay enthusiastic, try to find something wonderful that is going on in the classroom, something that will make you smile."  Luckily, 22 first graders provide many joyful moments throughout the school day, but there are always those moments when you feel yourself boiling up and you just wonder...."are any of these kids listening to me?"  I literally have to take a deep breath in these moments.  I am not always the calm, enthusiastic teacher that I aspire to be, but I reflect everyday on those moments that got to me and learn. 

This quote touched me so much, that I even cut apart the box that the mug came in, printed with the quote, and framed it.  It sits on a shelf in my living room and makes me feel calm whenever I look at it.  I admire people who are calm, soft-spoken, and peaceful. 

My job will always be full of noise, trouble and hardwork, but that doesn't mean it can't also be full of peace.

Wishing everyone a peaceful week and a Happy Thanksgiving!
<3- Mrs. Bushey

Saturday, October 1, 2011

The Reading Teacher's Plan Book on YouTube

I'm struggling this year with my guided reading groups and how to get my other firsties to rotate through literacy centers while I meet with my leveled groups. So...I started searching the web for some inspiration.  I wasn't finding much to help my reading blues until I came upon The Reading Teacher's Plan Book on YouTube.  This teacher's organized, calm way of moving through her guided reading lessons really got me excited about this part of my day that had been bugging me the first few weeks of school! Here is just one of her many lesson examples:

We are heading into our 5th week of school and after missing the entire 4th week b/c of my "Back to School" back problems, I am going to start our guided reading and literacy centers block from scratch.  The students will still move through the same centers, but I am going to use the next week (or two) to go through each center together to discuss the different activities they will be expected to do at the centers throughout the school year.  (Probably what I should have done from the beginning...woops!  That's why we reflect and change it up when necessary!)  Hopefully, this will allow for my guided reading group time to have a more organized, calm feeling like "The Reading Teacher" on YouTube.

Love when I am inspired by fellow teachers!!!  Thank goodness for blogs and web videos where I can observe these great educators at work from the comfort of my own couch...which is covered in blankets right now b/c it is getting CHILLY here in upstate NY!  Not sure at the moment if I'm using my heating pad to help with the back pain or just warm up in this frosty weather!  Either way....loving it!!!  Happy Fall bloggers!

<3 - Mrs. Bushey

Friday, September 30, 2011

Not so BACK to school...

What a crazy week!  All that work I put into getting my classroom ready in August, got the room ready for back to school but it didn't get me so ready for BACK to school. (Pun intended!)  My back had been bothering me ever since the last week of August and took a terrible turn for the worse this week.  On Monday I woke up and could barely stand or walk.  Long story short...I have been out of work all week and am just barely back to normal today.  Sooo hoping I will be ready for school on Monday.  I don't know about you, but I go a little nuts when I have to stay home from school and prepare lessons for a sub. I just feel like I'm missing everything that's going on.  I used to feel the same way when I was student and had to miss a day of school...I know, I know...a little dorky!  I've never had to do it for an entire week though, so this has just been not soo fun.  Luckily, my school assigned one sub for the entire week and she is a certified teacher.  She went above and beyond the lesson plans I supplied for her and wrote me on fb everyday to let me know how everything was going....LOVE HER!

So while I'm sitting at home just waiting for this back to heal, I figured I'd post a pic of the treats I made for my firsties to go along with our Kissing Hand theme.  I got this Kissing Hand cookie idea from Michelle at Fabulous in First.  My cookies are not quite as adorable as hers, but my kids didn't know that, so they loved them!  Some of them were actually jumping up and down when they came into the room and saw their Kissing Hand treats!  Soooo cute!

My kids were also sooo excited to find out that Mr. Bushey helped make the hearts in the middle of the cookies!  They made sure that the two cookies that were left over after snack time were saved for Mr. Bushey (because he was such a good helper) and my dad (because he is a busdriver for my school). 

On a whole 'nother note...I may be missing school, but I am loving all the extra time I am getting to spend blog stalking now that I can actually sit up!  Getting lots of great apple, pumpkin, and fall ideas for the upcoming weeks.  The leaves up here in New York and Vermont are starting to turn into beautiful fall foliage.  LOOOVE FALL!

<3 - Mrs. Bushey

Monday, September 5, 2011

No rest for the crazy!

We are back from ARUBA and I've spent every weekday getting my room ready for first grade friends.  We had our professional development days last Thursday and Friday and I knew there wouldn't be much time in the classroom so I needed as much done as possible before then.  Unfortunately, all that time setting up my new classroom has meant NO time getting lesson plans ready for the first couple weeks. :(  Don't worry my plans for next week are finally done!

We also had our Open House on Thursday where I got to meet 12 of my 22 firsties!  They were very excited about the guinea pigs and seemed to be great listeners while I quickly went through the G.O. Book, which I got from Michelle at Fabulous in First, with their grown ups.  And... two of my first grade team members will be using the G.O. Book this year also b/c they loved the idea when I showed them my example. I am excited about this b/c we can compare how its working in different classrooms with different groups of kids.

So, am I C-R-A-Z-Y to head into school today, on Labor Day, to finish up some last minute projects and have one last look at the classroom before the 1st day of school?  Here are the reasons why I have decided this is not soooo crazy:

1. The things I have left to do will be really quick and I have already done most of the work at home.
2.  I now have two guinea pigs, Vera and Janie, living in my classroom and I want to check on them over
     the long weekend.
3.  My hubby is coming along to see the progress.  (Ya know those scary pics I posted earlier..that's
     what he's seen so far.)
4.  I LOOOVE my job and it really doesn't feel like doing work on Labor Day anyways!

Finally...Here are the pics I will be using for my four Math Tray areas.  I use four different colored pocket charts with the pics and the student names in them and those colors match the Math Tray that those students will use for the day.  I didnt have a pic of the charts but they look like these from Lakeshore.  I use the blue, yellow, green, and red (I wish I had the purple and orange too!  Those are super cute!).  For my trays I took 4 old lunch trays from our high school cafeteria and wrapped them in duct tape in those four colors.  The activity I place on the tray is what those students will do that day. 

 These are the four areas where the students will go with their Math Tray activity.

Stay tuned for pics of the new guinea pigs!  For anyone starting school tomorrow like me, Good Luck and keep on smiling!  And for all of you heading back for another week, Keep up the good work!
<3- Mrs. Bushey

Sunday, August 14, 2011

Honeymoon + Hallway Cleaning = Lucky Coincidence

I've spent the last two weeks in and out of my new classroom as much as possible, but with a not-yet-potty-trained puppy and being a bridesmaid in my best friend & cousin's wedding, it really has been more out than in!  Luckily, the week the custodians in my school are cleaning and waxing the hallways (which means no one allowed in the building for a whole week!) is the same week I will be on my honeymoon in ARUBA!!!  That really just worked out perfectly b/c if I had to miss 2 separate weeks for honeymoon and hallway cleaning my new first graders may have been coming into a not so pretty classroom for Open House on September 1st.  I am feeling lucky!!  Hopefully I can pass that luck onto my husband while he's at the casino at our resort! :)

I do have pics of what has been done so far in my room and I finally have the pic of my goodies that I bought a couple weeks ago.

Bottom of closet BEFORE...old posters
 and such.

Top of closet BEFORE...old, odl, old reading series books, workbooks, etc.  

I actually found the phonics workbook my school used when I was in 1st grade!  Yes, I  work at the school I went to for K-12! 

Closet AFTER....yay! My supplies.....all organized!

Here are my goodies from JoAnn's, Target, and Borders.

After the big, broken shelves were taken out by my awesome custodian, there was a very scary mess underneath.  He swept, scraped, and scrubbed the years of grossies left behind then waxed my classroom floor.  The bulletin boards that were hidden behind will be used for my Bucket Fillers display, center chart for Math Trays & Reader's Workshop spots, and I haven't decided on what will go on the third board.

I bought these three fabrics and decorated the boards with them.  I love how it turned out!  I will post pics of how it looks when it is all put together.

Honeymoon starts tomorrow! Everything is packed and ready to just watching a movie and hopefully getting some sleep tonight but sooooo excited!
Is it terrible to bring a notebook to jot down school ideas that pop into my head while relaxing on the beach?  Nah...I knew you'd understand! :)

<3- Mrs. Bushey

Monday, August 8, 2011

Wait...what was I doing again?

Setting up my classroom is one of my favorite parts of the school year....but I can sometimes feel like a bouncy ball in there.  I start sorting a tub of teacher resource books and end up wiping out the cupboard underneath the sink!?!?  Somehow one thing always leads to another then another until there are half completed jobs still to do the next day.  Oh well...even though my room still looks scary to the custodians who frequently pass by and just shake there heads at my piles, it really has gotten better....I promise!  So here are a few more pics of what I've been up to in Room new classroom!

This sideways bookshelf (woops!) is now filled with my own reading and math supplies and looks a whole lot neater!

I had some little helpers (another first grade teacher's daughters) help with clearing these shelves.  All of these books were left in my classroom by former first grade teachers!  I love books...but holy cow this is a lot of sorting to do.  These books are now all covering my carpet and the shelves are filled with games/toys for indoor recess and free times.

Tomorrow I need to tackle this cabinet full of posters.  Another gift left by former teachers of Room 10.

When I got home (after I stalked my many fav blogs) I drew up a plan for how I will arrange my classroom this year.  I probably won't be able to to move things around until the end of the week when things are sorted a little more....but hopefully it works out as planned!  I just can stand to have my room the same way two years in a row!

Alright....puppy was chewing on the chair in our living room and is now chewing on me!  Time to tire him out and get some rest so more miracles can occur in Room 10 tomorrow! :)

<3 - Mrs. Bushey

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Whistle While You Work! Day 1 in Room 10

Okey Dokey!  So I got into my new classroom on Monday morning and, luckily, the custodial staff had moved as much as they could into the new room is pretty full of ooooold first grade materials that were left for me to sort through.  I knew this ahead of time so this is why I'm getting a head start on my room set up this year...a whole month ahead!  Blog stalking has made me excited to get in there though so its all good!

So this is what I walked into:

I organized all the paper that was left in the room.  Here's a before and after.  Now I just need to put it back on the shelf.

These shelfs were full of supplies.  I went through it all and now they will be taken down so that I can use the bulletin boards behind them.  Can't wait!

And here is all of the supplies that I will not need.  I've already had a team member stop by and grab some goodies for herself. :)

So because I was so overwhelmed....then overworked on my first day of setup, I forgot to take pics of the supplies I bought the other day.  Day 2...promise!  I'm babysitting for a friend the next couple days so I have a break from the classroom!  Stay tuned for Day 2...

<3 - Mrs. Bushey

Sunday, July 31, 2011

Back to School Shopping....great finds today!

While shopping today in the Clifton Park, NY area, I picked up a ton of great classroom goodies!  I will only be able to give a list of items and the stores I bought them at pics (camera cord is at school plugged into classroom computer...pretty sure it's been there all summer!  Woops!)  Big plans to start cleaning out old supplies from my new (to me) classroom tomorrow.  So I will hopefully grab that cord and post some pics tomorrow before my PTA meeting. I know...PTA meeting already?  I can hear the summer clock ticking away! ANYWAYS...back to the back to school shopping :)

First of all.....JOANN'S was having a 50% off sale on children's decor items and school supplies.  So fashionably fab for the classroom!  I got the following: canvas storage box w/ chalkboard space to cute!, 2 small plastic bins, 2 adorable composition notebooks that I'm planning on using for team meetings and possibly student observations throughout the school year, glitter alphabet stickers, warm fuzzies (great behavior management/character ed. idea from Mrs. Dillard), and fabric, of course!  The bummer part was that I didn't have my school ID on me to sign up for the teacher discount card....I would have received 15% off my entire purchase!!!  Oh well....definitely next time!

Then...BORDER'S going out of business sale.  Bought some Dr. Seuss books, Little Miss Chatterbox by Roger Hargreaves (I plan on using this to discuss chatting during listening times), and a giant floor puzzle of North American animals.  All items were 20% off and one of the Dr. Seuss books was 40% off b/c it was a Christmas book!  They even had a sign in the store that said, "Don't keep our sale a secret, spread the word!"  I immediately thought of my I'm like a true blogger now!

And finally...TARGET dollar spot had perfect mini buckets for Bucket Fillers!!!  They were $1 each and fun colors!  I also grabbed some bookmark and sticker incentives, a plastic tray for paper organization, and sparkly warm fuzzies (see link above)!  Yay!  For all you Dr. Seuss fans, there seemed to be a Dr. Seuss theme happening at the Clifton Park Target dollar spot.

Pics coming tomorrow!  Day one of classroom declutter begins tomorrow morning!  Unfortunately, I need to clean out old first grade materials from my new classroom before I even begin to think about setting up my own supplies.  Thank goodness I enjoy organizing......or oh boy!  I'm inspired to take pics of my classroom progress as I go thanks to bloggers like Ms. Leslie Ann from Life in First Grade

That's it for now!
<3 - Mrs. Bushey

P.S.  I just previewed my post and this will really be so much prettier when I add some pics to my posts!  I'm sensing a pic theme in this post....really gotta get that camera cord!

Saturday, July 30, 2011

Mrs. Bushey's Very First Blog!

After searching for pictures of first grade classrooms, I came across Mrs. Dillard's Blog: Oh the Places We'll Go.  I was blown away by how much first grade info I could gain thru one quick glance!  I felt like I had spent the day observing in Mrs. Dillard's classroom (I wish!) :)  This led me to other blogs just as incredible as hers and I WAS HOOKED!  Only a week I am...writing my very first blog post!  So exciting!

I have named this blog Apple Pie Spice because the wonderful ideas shared between educators are the "spice" that creates a great educational system.  Let's face it....the apples and crust just wouldn't be the same without all that yummy sugar and spice!  Okay...gotta stop talking about apple pie when there is none to be eaten in my house right now!  It's leading to a major craving!

My purpose for this blog is to, hopefully, spread some creative ideas while I stalk the blogs of others and gain some new ideas for myself.  I truly believe that by sharing with fellow teachers I will be inspired and motivated to be the very best first grade teacher I can be!  We all have those days when nothing seems to work and you end up huffing and puffing as you lock that classroom door.  It is on those days especially, that I will turn to my new blogging crew and stalk a few inspiring educators' blogs.  This will be the first of many Thank You's that you will see from Mrs. Bushey!  I have another month left of my summer vaction but I am already being kept up at night with classroom ideas running through my head thanks to you! :)

Looking forward to finishing up summer vacation and starting a new school year....all while stalking and BLOGGING!!!

<3- Mrs. Bushey