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A Teeny Tiny Teacher by Kristinoldham@yahoo.com - 2d ago

Well, hello there!!



So . . . I didn’t blog last weekend.

Some of you may have noticed (some of you emailed me to check on me which I think is the sweetest thing ever in all the land) and some others of you may have not noticed at all, in which case, I do not blame you one iota).

But I skipped a post last week because I just didn’t want to write.  And people, that’s saying something because I really do enjoy hopping on to my little online diary and writing down whatever suits my fancy whether anyone reads it or not.

Instead of blogging, I went to Texas.


I took off!

I got on a plane and I went to see Kerry and the kids, and her husband, and her dog, too.  And, on top of that, my mom came, too!

During Christmas break, while Kerry was here visiting, I booked my trip.  This way, we would have a half way point between then and summer, but then all this other stuff in my life came up, and BAM.  God is so good and knew exactly what I needed RIGHT NOW, and what I needed was my family.

We had movie nights, we walked Baxter (the dog), we ate yummy food (Braums, Taco Bueno, Cotton Patch, Chuys, etc), we went to McKinney and Waco, we talked, and we laughed and laughed and laughed.  AND LAUGHED.


I’m telling you, there is just something about my mom and my sisters!  I don’t care if it’s something as simple and ordinary as getting on the on-ramp to the highway, we will laugh until we are crying and gasping for breath.  And yes, that little highway scenario actually happened.  Kerry started her car, backed it out of the parking space, and HOLY HOLD ONTO YOUR HATS because, the next thing we knew, she was zooming out of the parking lot of Chuys, careening onto the on-ramp of the freeway which just happened to be right there, and merging with traffic all quite nonchalantly, and all the while, my mom’s head was sort of flinging all willy-nilly-like as she tried to adjust her seat or her seatbelt or something, and the whole thing just cracked us right up.

I’m laughing as I type this but I know it’s probably not funny to anyone else.  I get that.  If Steve had been in the car, he would have looked at us like we were absolutley ridiculous.  Shoulder shrug.  He doesn’t know what he’s missing most of the time.  



I gave myself a break and it was exactly what I needed!

I feel like I’ve been really really really healthy when it comes to my coffee habit lately because ever since January, I’ve stopped drinking my International Delight Cinnabon creamer which I was basically in love with and would have married if I could have.  I’m sure I could have done so in a cartoon, but seeing as how this is real life, I’m married to Steve and not Cinnabon Coffee Creamer.

So anyways, in January, I switched to the Coffee Mate ALL NATURAL Salted Caramel Creamer and it only has four ingredients.  And don’t get mad about the sugar ingredient, or we seriously cannot be friends anymore.  Because I went from 423 ingredients (ballpark figure) in the Cinnabon creamer to only FOUR in the ALL NATURAL creamer so BACK OFF ALREADY.  If the four ingredients were SUGAR, CARAMEL, CHOCOLATE, AND NOUGAT, I would say but look!  It only has four ingredients!  It’s healthy!  So let’s leave it at that, shall we?


I’ve seen advertising for the Coffee Mate ALMOND MILK creamers, but my local store wasn’t carrying them.  Until this week.



I am not a milk drinker.  Nope.  NO.  Bleck.  But I DO like Almond Milk on my cereal and, if you twist my arm, I’ll drink a super cold glass of CHOCOLATE Almond Milk.

In other words, this Almond Milk creamer is DIVINE.  I feel like I am salivating right now.


By the way, it was really 5:15pm because I haven’t changed all the clocks yet.  I like to live on the wild side.  I can drink coffee or caffeine at virtually any time of the day or night and still sleep like a baby.  It doesn’t affect me at all.  I love sleep.

Maybe I would marry sleep in a cartoon . . .


I cracked up when I was grading this at home the other night.  Stay – the song!  HA!

I put this on my Instagram and no one really wanted to talk about how funny and cute that was.  Nope.  They wanted to talk about whether or not I created this Spelling Test.  And I did NOT.

My talented and brilliant friend, Christina at Mrs. Winter’s Bliss did!  Isn’t it a great test??  You test the students on the words (in our case, the phonics pattern(s) of the week, you make sure they can find and correct errors in a sentence, AND, you make sure that they can READ their spelling words in context!  We’ve been using these tests for YEARS AND YEARS AND YEARS.  Seriously.  Like at least 15 years!

Christina has several grade levels available, so if you’re looking for a COMPLETE spelling program, this is it!  But she also just sells the template, too!  

I love Guided Reading.

It’s my favorite!

This week, one of my groups was reading a version of the The Three Little Pigs.

When one of my little guys turned the page and saw the picture of the wolf, he shouted out Look!  The wolf is wearing skinny jeans!


I died.

I have probably read this with at least one group every year for the past however many years and this was a first for me.

But once I started looking closely, well . . . those are some pretty tight jeans.

Either that or the Wolf has some junk in the trunk.

Just saying!  

Well, it’s here!!  Steve will be racing in his first Olympic triathlon TOMORROW!!  He has been working SO HARD and now he just can’t wait to get it over with!  Ha!  We are heading down to Coronado today and will spend the weekend there with his work buddies and their families.  It should be fun and exciting!  

I can’t wait to see how he does!    And what I mean by that is that when he gets up at the crack of dawn, I’ll keep sleeping, and then a couple of hours later, I’ll go wait at the finish line for him.  

I hope you all have a wonderful weekend!!




The post Five for Fraturday appeared first on A Teeny Tiny Teacher.

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A Teeny Tiny Teacher by Kristinoldham@yahoo.com - 2w ago

Happy Saturday!  It’s raining here so Hibernate, Get Cozy Under Blankets, and Eat Yummy Food is in full effect.  

This little one cut her hair and DID NOT KNOW.

She is the cutest little thing with A LOT of hair, and it is super long and, apparently, she cut some off.

We were cutting out “paper dolls” (this goes with our life long ago unit) and getting hair-cuts at the same time.  I like to teach multi-tasking to my students along with all of the academic standards, as well.  Call me an overachiever BECAUSE I AM.

She said I don’t know where this came from.  And her eyes were really big.  And she was looking at it like it was a lizard or a rat or a piece of trash or something.  She did not want to touch it.

I said I’m pretty sure that came from your head.  Especially since the boy next to you has super short dark hair, and the girl on the other side of you has white-blonde hair so . . . um, yeah, pretty sure it came from your own head.

She said But I didn’t cut my hair.

I’ll translate for you in case you don’t speak first grade.   This could go one of two ways:

1)  She was lying or 2) She didn’t do it on purpose and she was seriously dumbfounded.

For this particular girl, it was the latter because she is a good good GOOD girl and would never do something like that on purpose.

Meanwhile, all the kids are coming over to her and picking up the piece of hair to hold it close to her head to show her that it matches.

Was I proud of my little detectives for being problem solvers and using context clues and drawing conclusions and all other manner of academic vocabulary type of stuff?

Why, yes.  Yes, I was.

She finally shrugged and said all nonchalantly It’s okay, I have more.

That was Monday morning.  

Place Value – I LOVE YOU.

The kids love you.

We love Place Value!

We have been having a blast and loving all the parts of it, but especially using our base ten blocks.  This week, we played the Tens and Ones Game which you probably already know about it, but I’ll just drop it right here really quick, just in case.

{The picture above isn’t that great because I don’t know where their dice is!}

You need base ten blocks and a dice.  I like to keep the groups small so I only have two or three in a group, but you could have more.  Each group needs a dice.  (Die?  Who cares.  Just go with me here please.)

Player One rolls the dice and collects that many ones.  Then Player Two does the same.  Once a player has collected ten ones, they go to their “bank” and “trade” their ten ones for a ten.  Play continues like this until the first person reaches 50 or 100 or 120 or whatever the pair decides UP FRONT.

My kids now beg me to play this every day.  Now that everyone knows how to play, it will go into a center.  TALK ABOUT EASY!

A little word to the wise — let every player have their own bank and be their own banker.  Or just have a bank in the middle.  But don’t let anyone be in charge of the bank or you’ll just have drama.

Trust me on this.

I am still experiencing PTSD from a few years ago when I didn’t know any better.

Last year, we played Place Value Races with my magnets and you can check that out {HERE}.  We’re going to play that this coming week and I cannot wait because I know it will be a HUGE hit!


I did a whole Instagram story about this book and the entire time, I was hugging this book and holding this book like it was a brand new baby.  (Then I never posted it because I don’t know why)

To say I love this book is a complete understatement.

I first learned about it from Katie at Queen of the First Grade Jungle and then I saw a little lesson that Catherine at the Brown Bag Teacher shared and I HAD TO HAVE THIS BOOK IMMEDIATELY.  Thank you, Amazon Prime.

Every single teacher needs The Invisible Boy by Tracy Ludwig.  EVERY SINGLE TEACHER.  I’m talking EVEN MIDDLE SCHOOL TEACHERS and possibly EVEN HIGH SCHOOL TEACHERS.

I almost asked my principal to get me a sub so I could spend the day reading it to every single class at my school for Read Across America week.  SERIOUSLY.  And I think she would have, but then one thing led to another and I didn’t.  Doesn’t mean I won’t, though!!!

So this boy is invisible because he is quiet, and he doesn’t cause any problems, and the teacher has to deal with the other students who take up a lot of her time, and his classmates don’t invite him to birthday parties, or allow him to join in during recess, and he sits by himself at lunch AND I SERIOUSLY GOT SO CHOKED UP READING IT BY MYSELF and TO MY CLASS.

Catherine’s lesson was a follow up writing activity asking who might be invisible in their class.  I MEAN.

I didn’t have the time for an entire writing lesson so I just passed out sticky notes and asked my kids to write down a name of anyone they thought might be invisible in our class.  I said if they didn’t think anyone was invisible, they could write No or No One.


I was so so so relieved to get all of these sticky notes with No and No One written down.  ESPECIALLY because I have had the revolving door (I just got a new student last week and he makes number twelve or thirteen for in-and-out) and I’ve been trying so so so hard to create a family in our room, and a community in our room, and it’s hard with all the students coming and going.

Invisible has now become part of our vocabulary.  My kids will say well, we don’t want him to feel invisible!! Or she felt invisible at recess so I played with her.


That’s what I’m talking about!  That’s what this book is about.


One little girl in my class asked if she could write down her own name on the sticky note.

People.  This little girl is NOT invisible.  She is popular.  She has a gazillion friends in our class and other classes, too.  Everyone knows her.  She is never alone.  She is smart, she is friendly, she is funny, etc.  She is NEVER invisible because she pretty much NEVER stops talking or needing my attention or my praise for her coloring, her writing, her math, her shoes, her earrings, her hair, etc etc etc.

I said that of course she could write her own name down.


Invisible VS Ignore is a thing.

Just saying.

Keeping it real as a real teacher in the classroom.

This is a screenshot of my new desktop!!!!!!

Isn’t my desktop BEAUTIFUL?!

Don’t you just want to look at it all the day long?  Because I do!

I am IN LOVE with my desktop!!!

Jillian at the Starr Spangled Planner is the mastermind behind it and she has these available in her TpT shop for only $3 plus unlimited updates and new designs as she adds them!!  YEEHAW!!!!!!  She also has a tutorial of how to do this on her Instagram (starrspangledplanner) and she walks you through it STEP BY STEP if you don’t know how to do it.

I made the circles on my own (again, this is in her Instagram tutorial) AND I AM JUST SO IN LOVE, I CAN’T STAND IT.

I’m pretty sure I am the teacher who needs to be ignored because I won’t stop bragging about it and showing it to others.  I would say I’m annoying myself, but I’m really not because I LOVE THIS SO MUCH.

I can’t wait to see what Jillian comes up with next!!


In the fall, I wrote a post about how I was pretty much heart broken because of a couple of my students and their circumstances.

Thursday and Friday this week were very tough.  My newest student is so fragile and has such a sad story, and has lived through so much in his seven years of life that it is killing me.  On Thursday, when I had him exactly a week, he was pulled out of class and was told some devastating news.

When he returned, the rest of the class was at lunch so it was just him and me in the classroom.  He broke down and I just held him in my arms while he cried and cried and cried on my shoulder.  I had no words to say.  I couldn’t say it was okay because it wasn’t.  I cried too (but he didn’t know) and I cried out to God in my mind I do not understand, Lord!  I do not understand!  What should I say?  How do I help him?  Why?  WHY?!  

He patted me on the back while he was crying.  

I do not understand.  I do not!  But I am choosing to trust God and know that He put this little boy in my class for a reason.

I hope I get to keep him until the end of the year.  I pray I will be a bright spot for him.  A safe place for him.  A place where he finds comfort and fun and safety.

At this point, I do not care about any of the academics.  I don’t.  I don’t care.

On top of all of that, I got bad news at the dentist on Thursday.    

And my family has hit another rough patch (I’d rather not talk about it on here) with a family member, and I am just here to tell you that I feel a little banged up.

It was a rough end to my week so I am really just counting my blessings.  Trying to stay positive.

  1. I can make a difference in this little boy’s life.  I can.  I will love him.  I already do and I will make a point to show him every day.
  2. I have an amazing dentist and an amazing oral surgeon.
  3. My family is strong.  We are there for one another.  We are believers.  I love my family.


Taking this weekend to rest.  To pray.  To be quiet.

To breathe.

I’m sorry for ending this on a sad note.

In the meantime . . .

I hope you have a wonderful weekend!

Thank you for reading my blog!    I am thankful for all of you, too!




The post Five for Fraturday appeared first on A Teeny Tiny Teacher.

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A Teeny Tiny Teacher by Kristinoldham@yahoo.com - 1M ago

So here we are again.  Two weeks in a row and I’m not blogging about FIVE for ANYTHING.

Because I don’t really have FIVE things to talk about.  REALLY.  I mean I have LOTS to talk about (ALWAYS) but probably not stuff you’re interested in.  Are you interested in the fact that I ate yogurt with blueberries, raspberries, and a little granola EVERY SINGLE DAY for breakfast?  And then I ate a green leaf salad with bell peppers, cucumbers, carrots, sunflower seeds, and chicken with a super expensive Primal Kitchen salad dressing EVERY SINGLE DAY for lunch?  And then I went home and ate two street-size chicken tacos EVERY SINGLE NIGHT for dinner?  ARE YOU?!  Because that’s all I’ve got until it was finally Friday and I had two donut holes for breakfast, a brownie for lunch, and Pick Up Stix for dinner.

Because, people, THAT WAS MY WEEK.

In the meantime . . .

I really really really wanted to, but I did not.

You guys.

Benchmark Advance is KILLING ME.  It is BEYOND me.

I feel like a terrible teacher.

And I’m not saying that so that you will leave a comment or email me, and tell me how amazing I am.  I promise.  That is NOT what this is about.

But here it is.  It’s February.  FEBRUARY!  Practically MID-February!

And I’m just standing around wondering what I’ve done for the last six months or so, Language Arts wise.


I’m not hating on Benchmark, either.

This is not about that.

I’m just remembering how our district used the Houghton Mifflin Language Arts curriculum for about . . . oh . . . fourteen years or so.  Scratch that.  Fifteen years.  TO BE EXACT.  And while it wasn’t the end-all, be-all, strictest-Common Core-situation, I KNEW IT.  I knew which parts met the standards, I knew what I needed to supplement the curriculum, I knew where to fill the gaps, I knew what worked and what didn’t, I knew the pace of it, I KNEW IT.

And I do not know Benchmark.

And it confuses me.

And there are things I think I have already taught until my kids say I haven’t, even after I say but yes, I did, don’t you remember how we played that game show, and we were screaming and yelling, and having a grand ole time . . . AND THEY ALL JUST STARE AT ME BECAUSE I’M TRYING TO CONVINCE THEM THAT THEY ARE LAST YEAR’S CLASS.  Or even THE CLASS BEFORE THAT.



I really really really miss the hardbound textbooks of the olden days.  Don’t get me wrong.  I love that we have consumable-floppy-text-magazine-type-of-things that each child gets to write in and “annotate” with our new Benchmark stuff.  I DO LOVE THAT.

But . . . and maybe I’m missing something . . . BUT . . . the stories/texts/passages/what-have-you are just not that meat-y {SO FAR}.  I mean, I have high hopes, but, as of now, they just are NOT that meat-y.

And meat-y stories lead to drawing conclusions, inferring, comparing and contrasting, identifying the problem, finding the solution, characters, setting, using various text features to locate key facts or information, ETC ETC ETC.  Stories with SUBSTANCE lead to all kinds of good stuff.

And, SO FAR, I just feel like . . .

And all of that is what is leading me to think and reflect and feel like I am just the WORST teacher in the history of mankind.


I was talking to a couple of my fourth-grade teacher friends (holy cow, fourth grade, no thank you, nope, can’t) and THEY ARE FEELING THE EXACT SAME WAY.

And one of them PILOTED different series last year and she wanted WONDERS.  Which, by the way, if I was voting on NAME ONLY, I totally would have picked the Wonders curriculum.


Wonder, the book.

Wonder, the movie.

Wonders of the World.

Wonders, the Language Arts Curriculum.


But that’s just me.  It’s similar to how I’ll go for a certain football team.  I just go with the color of the uniforms that I like best.


Any who.

She had a Wonders textbook and it was hardbound and pretty and beautiful and I wanted it.



I don’t know.

I mean it.

I really just do not know.

There are so many Teacher Editions and Supplemental Stuff and, even though it’s been six months, some of them are still shrink-wrapped.



There it is.

I am LOST.

I feel like I am KILLING it in Math.  Which is, if I’m being even more honest with you, usually a struggle for me.  But we are LOVING math.  Give me all the counters, cards, games, apps, songs, whiteboard work, challenges, small groups, extensions, etc, GIVE IT ALL TO ME!

Is anyone else struggling with Benchmark?  Does anyone out there have any advice for me?  Is there something I SHOULD be doing?  That you love?  Is there something in my cupboard that I need to take out of the shrink-wrap immediately and use next week?

And, just so we’re clear, I know and understand that Benchmark is JUST A TOOL to meet the standards.  I KNOW IT.  And because I know it, I tend to revert back to things I’ve done in the past when, truthfully, my admin and my district WOULD LIKE ME TO USE THE CURRICULUM THAT THEY SPENT MILLIONS OF DOLLARS ON.

I also know the “shut your door and do what’s best for you kids motto” and I am a firm believer in that, too.


I’m just going to leave this here and see if I get any response of any kind.

Because surely I am NOT alone, whether it’s the Benchmark curriculum or another curriculum, or just being on the Struggle Bus IN GENERAL.


We’re all in this together . . .


So.  With all of that being said, I DID NOT HIT MY BENCHMARK.  I did not.  I WANTED to, but hitting curriculum would have hurt my hands.


PS  I hope to be back with a Five for SOMETHING next week!!




The post I Did Not Hit My Benchmark. appeared first on A Teeny Tiny Teacher.

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