Friday, December 12, 2014

A Christmas Questionnaire

'Tis the Season!  I love Christmas, even all of the craziness that comes with it.  That is why when I saw the "Christmas Questionnaire" from Fabulous in First I had to join in the fun!  (I know I have been neglecting my poor little blog, but trying to get back in the rhythm now.  So why not start here!)

1. When do you decorate?
I usually decorate the weekend before or after Thanksgiving.  This year I had to do it all the weekend after Thanksgiving, I was lucky enough to get new carpet in my family room!

OK, yes I admit I may have a little problem with trees.  I love Christmas trees.

2. Elf or No Elf?
Yes, Elf times 2!  I also have one at home and school.  I love the one at school.  Every year I go online with the class and order my Elf the first morning back after Thanksgiving.  Later that afternoon, a special delivery arrives still frozen from the North Pole!  The kids are so excited!  However, I will admit keeping up with 2 elves is a little tough, but well worth it!

3. Christmas Cookies or No Baking for You?
Well it depends....  Sometimes yes and sometimes no, depends on the time I have available.  However, yes always cookies!  (You can always buy them.)  My favorite holiday treat is Chess Squares.  Very easy and yummy!  They also freeze very well.  I actually like eating them straight out of the freezer.  Click here to see the recipe. 

4. Favorite Holiday Tradition
My favorite holiday tradition is the Santa party I have every year at my house.  This year was the 11th year we had Santa come to our house and invited all of our friends and their families.  I have loved watching the children grow over the years.  Everyone brings a snack to share, they get to sit on Santa's lap and even make a Christmas craft.  This year was one of the best ones yet!

5. Favorite Christmas Movie
I would have to say "Christmas Vacation"!  Not even because it is really my favorite movie, but I love watching it with my family every year.  They laugh and laugh, especially my husband.  One of my favorite times of the holiday.

6. Snow or No Snow
I'm a Florida Native, so No Snow!!!  Although one year in the 80's, we did have a White Christmas!

7. Favorite Christmas Song
This is my new favorite Christmas Song!  I love it!!!

8. Favorite Gifts to Give and Get?
This is a tough one this year.  I don't seem to have a clue what I want or what anyone else wants.  I guess it is really a blessing, we have everything we need and want!  More time would be nice, but I haven't found it for sale on Amazon yet!

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

A Demanding Dudley?

Do you have a Demanding Dudley in your class?  I know I have a few, especially this time of year.  I recently read Demanding Dudley: The Power of Using Your Magic Words by Deneen Renae.  It was a book in a series of children's books with a message by The Wibblets.

You may be asking what is a Demanding Dudley?  Well Dudley is quite the little character who will help you reinforce the importance of patience and being polite.  Dudley is a very rude and demanding little guy who wants what he wants when he wants it!  Through out this story Dudley learns the importance of manners and magic words.  This is a lesson a few in my class really needed at this point in the year.  I loved the book so much, I ordered another copy for my nephew.  It will make the perfect Christmas gift.

Saturday, October 18, 2014

The Little Things

It's the little things that make the difference!  I am sure you can agree there are so many "little things" or quick fixes that make all of the difference in your daily life.  Some of them are so simple and you say "WOW! How come it took me this long to think of this?"  Well today I am sharing with you a few of my little ah ha moments from the past few weeks.

A chair and workspace makes all of the difference in the world!

You may have noticed it has been forever since I have blogged.  There are many reasons for this of course.  Mainly time but also because my office chair was so uncomfortable.  I was using my husbands old, worn out chair.  So instead of sitting and working at my desk, I would sit on the couch with my laptop and we all know how productive that can be.  So today I went and set in every desk chair at Staples.  I found one I loved, brought it home and even assembled it all by myself!  So now as I am writing this, I am very comfy and productive in my new chair!  I also cleaned and reorganized  my office area.

How do you hold your door open?

For years I have used the little wedge door holders under the door.  You have to get them wedged in "just so" to get them to hold.  This summer, I was at a hotel and noticed the cleaning crew holding the room door open with a large dowel at the top of the door.  It worked so well for them.  So when I went back to school and was unpacking my room I found a few paint stirrers, put them together to the correct thickness and voila!  It is so easy now to prop my door open now in the morning.  It may not be that pretty, but it works very well!

Tearing out pages...

Teaching students to tear out workbook pages is always fun at the beginning of the year.  (NOT!)  It never fails, several students tear a page out of their math workbook and while doing it they rip the page.  Then I have to stop and tape pages back together.  So this year I decided to have the students complete the workbook pages in their workbooks, and then tear them out after we are finished.  So now when they rip their pages by accident, it is no big deal!

What little things make a big difference in your day??

Saturday, September 13, 2014

Do You DOJO?

I use Class DOJO in my classroom and love it!  If you haven't heard about it, please visit to learn more.  It is basically a behavior tracking website/ app.  It is amazingly easy to use, I love that I can access it on my computer, iPad or iPhone.  You can completely customize the positive and negative behaviors you track.  I used it last year with my students.  One of the great features is the behavior graphing tool; this is great for students on a behavior management plan.  Parents also have access to see how their students are doing.

This year they added even more new features!  One is a messaging feature for easy contact with parents.  You can also now access your partner teacher's class. Oh, did I mention it is FREE!

This year I set up a Class DOJO Prize Center in my office.  (Think arcade ticket redemption center.) )  I used shoe storage pockets, a black poster board and labeled each row with a point value range.

On Fridays, my Class DOJO Prize Center is open.  Students can chose to spend their points or save them until next week.  I open the Class DOJO app on my iPad and “edit bubbles”.  (Currently you have to reset their points to zero, so they have to spend it all at one time.)  In addition to the trinkets, I am also adding class coupons (no homework, special chair, etc.).  In addition I have a few “big ticket” items like a Wii game my girls don’t play anymore or toys donated. 

The kids love shopping!  I was worried this would take forever. However, I have found it faster than the old school treasure box.  The students can see everything.  I also love that it is out of the way, yet very appealing.

Would you like to set up your own Class DOJO Prize Center?  Click here to download the signs for FREE!  I also included a few blank point cards so you can set your own amounts.  

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Week 2

WooHoo!  I survived the first week of school with students!!  Boy was it an exhausting week, there is not tired like first-week teacher tired!  I think part of the problem with the first week is the lack of a regular schedule.  Not just in the classroom, but life in general!  We are all working 70+ hour weeks trying to get everything ready for the classroom, the housework falls way behind, our personal children.... (Blogging in non-existent at this time!) I think I am finally starting to get things under control now!

I just posted a great freebie and information about a great reading lesson I did today on my monthly post for my collaborative blog Teaching Blog Roundup.  Click here to hop over and check it out!

It was one of those fun first grade days today!  I had that "Phantom Pooper".  If you teach K/1, you know what I am talking about....  I smelt it all afternoon but could never quite figure out who it was!  I tried all of the tricks: walking around the room, calling them over one at a time to answer a question, and I reassured the class multiple times that it was OK to tell me, they wouldn't be in trouble and I would send them to the nurse.  No luck!  Thank goodness to Lysol Spray!

Saturday, August 9, 2014

It's Crunch Time!

How did I spend my last Saturday of Summer???  I was up at school working on my classroom.  I know it is ridiculous to spend my Saturday there, but I can't sleep or focus on anything until I get it done.  I'm not completely crazy though, tomorrow is "Sun"day and I am spending it doing my favorite thing in the world, relaxing on the beach.  I will spend my last day of Summer with my toes in the sand and a drink in my hand!

I did make major progress in my classroom!   I unpacked everything and put it all away.  I also have the furniture where I want it (at least I think I do...) Now it's the fun part, decorating!  I have also been purging as I unpack.  My fabulous intern from last year got a job teaching first grade and is right next door to me!  It is amazing just how many things in a primary classroom are bought by the teacher personally.  However myself and the rest of my team are paying it forward and helping her out as much as we can.

I also just put my entire TpT store 20% off until Tuesday.  I know we are all so busy and we have missed the big sale earlier.

Well I am back to getting a few more things ready.  Hopefully will have pictures later this week.

Tuesday, August 5, 2014


This year I had to change classrooms.  Unfortunately, I didn't find out until right before school ended last year so I had to hastily pack everything and haul it down to my new room.  I went in today to start unpacking and setting my room up again.  This is what greeted me...

WHAT A MESS!  This picture doesn't even show my office/storage closet packed with stiff too.  Goodness do I wish I would of had more time to pack and move.  My last move, I would pack a cabinet, take it to the new room and unpack it right away in the new cabinet.  Well no time for that this year.

Today I was able to unpack and organize my office/storage closet.  It is technically an office, however I don't use it as an office.  Mentally if I call it a storage closet I don't feel bad for what a mess it is for an office.

Then I started setting up the desks and main furniture, but forgot how I had it last year.  I loved my room set up last year, it worked great.  My new room is a mirror image of my last room.  I started flipping through my phone hoping I had pics from last year, no such luck!  Then I remembered I blogged about it last year, BINGO!  (Here is last years post.)

So tomorrow I will be back at it.  I will try an take pics to show my progress.  I still have a very long way to go!

P.S. Stop by and check out my post on Technology with Class.  It describes how you can read a bedtime story to all of your students the night before school!  Click HERE

Friday, August 1, 2014

Five for Friday and a Freebie

Is it really August already???  Time to face the reality that summer is ending and the school year is coming...

I'm linking up with Doodlebugs Teaching Five for Friday and Friday Freebie too!

I have started picking up a few things for my classroom.  I am proud to say I haven't gone overboard. I am keeping my same LEGO theme this year.  It has worked very well and I love it.  (I will be honest a changing it has crossed my mind, but I figured I didn't need that extra stress when I love what I already have.

I did buy these containers.  They were so pretty and just the right colors!  (I have an issue when it comes to containers, but I couldn't resist!)  They were at the Dollar Tree, I'm a big spender.  I also found a red rug and alphabet letter rug at Big Lots.  

Then I stopped by and checked out a new Teacher Store and found a few things too.  Magnetic border I can't wait to try!  I also found out the store has a room of used teacher supplies.  The store will buy the supplies from a teacher and 50% of what she will sell it for.  It isn't consignment, it's money up front!  This rocks for several reasons... Great deals and I have a place I can sell some of the things I have and don't use anymore.

I finally have my groove back!  I have been working on the computer like a mad woman.  Planning for next year, making things for my class, creating several new items and wasting a little time on Facebook.  (I swear I need blinders to keep me focused.)  I will be posting several of these new things free, so keep an eye out in the coming weeks.

I finished and posted my More Wonders for Unit 1.  (Last year I completed units 2-5 and 6 is on my list to finish.)  This is a great pack that makes my life so much easier teaching from the Wonders Reading Series.  It activities to complement and enrich the series.  (Not a lot of fluff.)  The pack includes activities for weeks 1-5 in the unit.  My favorite is the reading comprehension questions I have for the weekly on and above level readers.  The questioning is similar to what they will see on the weekly assessment and there is a place for the student to tell me where they found the proof for each question.  Then I have several word work pages, a POP game, writing prompt and skill sheet.  It is what I use every week and hope it will make your life as easy as it does mine.  Also, let me know if there is something you think would be good to add.  (Don't forget you can get it 28% off August 4 & 5 with the code BTS14 at my Teachers Pay Teachers Store.)

I survived taking my 13 year old daughter school clothes shopping today!!!!!  It wasn't easy, but it is done!  Believe it or not, she is the daughter that doesn't like to shop.  Then add on that they have to wear certain clothes to school, like solid collared polo shirts, she wasn't exactly joyful.  However, we were successful and even came home still speaking to each other!

I just got an e-mail that my OSMO is coming very soon!!!  I am so excited, I can't wait!  Click here for my referral link to learn more about it.

Finally here is a freebie for you as you are getting ready to head back.  Click here to download these posters.  I use these Whole Brain Teaching rules, and love it.

Get more freebies by heading over to TBA's Friday Freebies.

Freebie Fridays

Thursday, July 31, 2014

Filling Up My Cart!

It is that time of year again!  The big TpT Back to School Sale is right around the corner!  You can save 28% in most stores, including mine!

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I am busy filling up my shopping cart and creating a few new things.  Right now I am finishing up my "More Wonders" pack for unit 1.  (I finished it for units 2-5 last year, but kind of slacked at the beginning and ending of the year.)  I will let you know when I am finished!

So right now, I'm getting back to work, I just wanted you to know what's coming up.  

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Cause and Effect Cookies

I have officially switched from Summer fun and vacation mode to school mode.  I already feel behind and can't shut my mind off.  I still have a week and a 1/2 until school starts for me; 2 1/2 until I meet my kiddos.  However, I have so much to do with planning and a new room to set up!  I keep thinking is has to get easier the more years I do it, but it doesn't.  I am always looking for new things and striving to keep up with change.  On the bright side, it is never boring!

I was out browsing/shopping at the Dollar Tree and found a few things I had to have!  (My daughter who recently helped me move all of my stuff was very adamant that I didn't need anything else!)  But I found a few things, and they were only a dollar!  Well actually, they were 90 cents!  Did you know most Dollar Trees will give teachers a 10% discount!  They don't really advertise it, but most do it.  I figured I will show you a few of my finds over the next few days.  (I should really be working on other things, but have serious computer ADHD and blogging is way more fun than the other items on my to-do list!)

I found these great coordinating shapes.  They are in color, already cut out, on card stock, and only 90 cents!  Way easier than making, printing and cutting!  The pack comes with 12 of each design.

So you may be asking yourself, "what can I do with these?"  Well, I love using "If You Give a Mouse a Cookie..." to begin teaching cause and effect.  I plan to use these and make a center activity with my class.  We always brainstorm a list of cause and effects.  Then I will pick several from our list (maybe add in a few of my own) and write the causes on the cookies and the effects on the drink.  Then depending on the level of the students, they can simply match them, record their choices or take the cause and effect and write it as a complete sentence.  Cute, simple, cheap and easy!

Speaking of reading strategies, I am also printing and getting my "Good Readers Zoo" ready to go for the new year.  I have each of the reading strategies used in the C.A.F.E. or F.A.C.E. related to a fun animal.  As I introduce our new little critters and their strategies, I add it to my wall.  

Thursday, July 10, 2014

Summer is Slipping Away!

Have you been to a store lately???  Back to school stuff is already making an appearance!  I feel the panic setting in!  I admit I have been a slacker this summer.  Blog posts have been few and far between.  Prepping for next year has also been lacking.  My normal motto is to relax and enjoy June and start thinking about school in July....  Holy Cow!  It is July already!!!

If you are in Target, check the Dollar Spot!  My favorite find was the clear dry-earase pockets!  I bought several last year, and of course bought a few more this year.  In addition to using them with the kids, I also use them to hang center signs too.  Love them.

Another great find was at the Dollar General.  They have tons of decorative tape for $2 a roll!  They have the duct tape size and also decorative skinny tapes.  Sorry I didn't get a picture for you.  I like using this tape to help organize my class library books.  It helps with keeping the books sorted correctly.

Thursday, June 26, 2014

Summer Fun and Shopping

Hello!  I know I haven't been blogging regularly lately.  It is Summer and I have been enjoying it.  We have recently returned from a trip out West.  My girls and I flew out to Utah, then drove to Jackson Hole Wyoming and Yellowstone.  It was a beautiful trip, but holy guacamole was it cold!!!!  Not only did we see remaining snow, it actually snowed while we were at Old Faithful.  So my girls first time seeing snow was June 17th!

Now I have a few weeks at home to catch up on a few things and relax a little.  I'm trying to get into a routine mixing summer fun with a little work.  We are also driving up to D.C. later this summer.  It will be our first long car trip.  Let me know if you have any tips or advice of what to see and do on the trip from Florida to D.C. or while we are there.

I've also been doing a little shopping.  Check out what I just ordered.  I am so excited to get it!  It will be perfect for centers.  They are accepting pre-orders now at half off.  Click here if you decide to order one.  (It is my referral code.)

Tuesday, June 10, 2014

A New Book to Love!

Hello all!!  I am finally out of school and back in the blogging world.  My last day was Friday, June 6th.  In addition to the normal end of year checklist, I also had to add packing and moving my classroom to the list.  Then on Saturday, June 7th I had my daughter's 13th Birthday Annual Beach Bash!  Of course I didn't get it all moved in my 1 paid post-planning day, so I was back up there moving more stuff today.  (I really have too much stuff!!!)  Enough about me and my life, on with the good stuff!

I am linking up with Mrs. Jumps "We Love Books" Tuesday linky.  It was one of my favorite reads last week.  Bloggers are linking up featuring their favorite class read-a-louds.  I have found some pretty good new books to add to my wish list.  I can't wait to discover a few new books this week. Click here to "jump" over to Mrs. Jump's page.

I am sharing one of my favorite books with you, "Henrietta Hexagon and the Triangles".  (It was actually written by childhood friend of mine.)  This is a very touching story about adoption, family and shapes.  It is available on Amazon as a paperback book and for Kindle.  (You can read it for free if you have Prime.)

As an infant, Henrietta Hexagon was left alone in a shape sorter with no one to care for her. She was found and adopted by a family of triangles. She loves her family more than anything but she can't seem to get past the feeling that she doesn't quite fit in. 

One warm spring morning, Henrietta goes outside searching for hexagons. She does manage to find one but in doing so, she finds herself in a very sticky situation. She heads back home feeling down and defeated but when she arrives, everything changes! This sweet story about adoption and family relationships also subtly teaches a valuable math lesson. Children will adore Henrietta and will also learn the important lesson that it doesn't matter what you look like on the outside, it's what's on the inside that counts.

I love reading this book to my class when we are covering shapes in math.  It is also a great story to map.  The story is also a fabulous book to discuss problem and solution.  Here is a cute story map you can use to accompany the book.

If you would like to learn more about Mandi and the book, go to her blog and see a few more pages from Henrietta Hexagon.  Mandi was kind enough to Skpe with my class and the students really enjoyed meeting the author and illustrator.  Talking with Mandi made my class realize they can be real writers and illustrators too!  She really inspired the students in my class.

I hope you discovered a new book to add to your collection of class read-a-louds.  I was able to teach so many great lessons with this story.  What is one of your favorite read-a-loud stories?

Monday, May 5, 2014

Teacher Appreciation

Happy Teacher Appreciation Week!  I hope you are feeling appreciated this week.  Today I got several notes from my kiddos that made my day!  One card I got even had a few scratch-off tickets.  It was very fun, I even won $1 with one!

One of the highlights for me is the Teachers Pay Teachers Teacher Appreciation Sale!  I know I have a few items on my wishlist I am ready to get.  I am having a 20% off sale in my store, then if you add the promo code TPTXO you get an additional 10% off from TPT.
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This weekend is also Mother's Day.  I think it is a very fitting end to Teacher Appreciation Week.  After all every child's first teacher is their mother!

I have a cute "Mother's Day and Learning Too!" freebie for you.  Click here to download it from my TpT store.

I'm Linking up with Classroom Freebies Manic Monday!

Classroom Freebies Manic Monday

Monday, April 28, 2014

Things Kids Say!

Days like today remind me why I love teaching the little guys.  You just never know what they will say!  Today I had 3 funnies to keep me smiling on a Monday.

Here is #1

We were discussing our vocabulary words this week and demand was one of them.  "Little Johnny" raises his hand and was excited to tell us what demand means.  He proceeds to tell us that it means you can watch any TV show any time on the demand channel!  They even have movies on the demand channel!  

Here is #2

We were finishing up several Earth Day/ environment papers today.  I had the students turn their paper over and draw a picture of things they can recycle.  One of my favorite students (who happens to be the son of one of my dearest friends) shows me his picture.

He then tells me "I drew a picture of wine bottles!  We put wine bottles in our recycling bin."  I couldn't help it and giggled out loud.  Of course then I sent a text to his mom!

Here is #3

I definitely saved the best for last! We were reading a story and it said "She gasped when she saw the picture."  I asked the class "What does the word "gasped" help us infer about the character and how she is feeling?"

The first student to answer said "It tells us she was surprised."  The "Little Johnny" raises his hand and I call on him.  He says "It means she farted and probably feels better!"  I had to ask him to repeat his answer...  So he repeats it and elaborates by telling me she had gas so she "gassed" or passed gas!  Well then I gasped and had to chuckle!

Sunday, April 20, 2014

Happy Easter and Earth Day!

Good morning and Happy Easter!  I hope you are enjoying a fabulous day with friends and family.  May you also be able to sneak candy from your child's basket without being caught!  (How awesome are those Reese's Eggs!)  Even more importantly, may your students not eat Easter candy for breakfast in the morning!!!

I am excited for next week and teaching about Earth Day.  It even falls on a non-story week/ assessment week in our reading series, so I will have a little more time with it. 

Here is my packet of Earth Day activities I use with my class.  It is available in my TpT store.  I am going through it today and will probably be adding to it today.  If you have already bought it, you of course will get the update free, so keep an eye out.  I'm feeling a QR code activity coming!

Here are two freebies you may like!  The first is a Spring Break writing graphic organizer and paper.  (We had our Spring Break weeks ago, but I know many are beginning or ending their break now.

The second freebie is a "I Can Recycle" graphic organizer and writing paper.  I love doing this activity with the class.  I bring in a bag of "trash" from home and we sort through it to determine what we can recycle and what is trash.  You could even take it further and and add in composting.

Looking for more freebie fun?  I will be linking up with Classroom Freebies Manic Monday linky!  Check it out!

Classroom Freebies Manic Monday

Friday, April 18, 2014

Five for Friday and a Freebie!

Happy Good Friday!  (I can't believe I have school!)  Anyways I am linking up with Doodlebugs Teaching Five for Friday once again.

I was so excited to get an e-mail this morning with this exciting news!

The featured blogger on todays TBA Friday Freebie!  It made me hop up, run in here and write a post.  (Hubby was like "Really, that's all it takes to make you get up quickly?  I am so not a morning person!)  This Friday is starting out Good for sure!

This week I went back and updated my very first file I created for TpT.  I can say, I have deffinitely improved over the years.  It went from this...

To this...!
Not only is the cover way cuter, but I also added several more things to the pack.  Then I recreated about half of the pages because of all of the "not quite perfect" things that now bug me immensely!

This week I finished up the graphing and data analysis with a the best, tried and true math activity for the skill, graphing M&M's.  I found this great graphing sheet free on TpT from Mrs. Henke! (I also realized one more reason I love TpT and the internet, it is so much easier than digging through my resource books and files to find things!)

Do you Go Noodle?  We do and we LOVE it.  As I prepare for two weeks of inside recess due to state testing for grades 3-6 at out school, I cam across this fun site.  It is FREE and have many great brain breaks!  They even have them broken down for you as calming and energizing.  My students love it.  Another one of our favorites is Adventure to Fitness, also FREE for teachers!

Now a freebie or two as we prepare to celebrate Earth Day! I hope you enjoy them.

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