Sunday, May 21, 2017

Pack Like a BOSS!

It is finally coming!  The end of the school year!

Seems like just yesterday we were unpacking boxes for another year.

Over the years I have learned from my many, many mistakes!

Here is my list to PACK like a BOSS!

#1 - Do not be a HOARDER!

Get yourself a box of GLADE trash bags and go to town!

Take time to throw away anything that you didn't use the last two years.  (Face it - chances are you don't need it!)  Go threw all of the books in your classroom library, if they are torn up or missing pages, into the trash they go!  Have some sweet kiddos go threw all of your buckets of supplies.  If it doesn't work, write, or glue - OUT IT GOES!  My kids did this Friday and had a BLAST!

Why is this #1 on my list.  My friend next door.  She is a convicted teacher HOARDER!  Just last week she came to show me that she was throwing away a HUGE stack of blue DITTO papers!  Yes folks.... those old blue ditto machine worksheets from our childhood!

Don't be a hoarder!

#2 - Be a Photographer!

Take pictures of areas of your room that you loved!  This will make it that much easier to set back up when you return in the fall.

#3 - Clean, Clean, Clean!

Get some Clorox wipes and clean it before you pack it.  No sense in packing dirty bins.  You will thank yourself later.

# 4 - Organize!

Take the time to organize everything.  Put everything by subject in the same area.  If something is missing a piece.....  Throw it away!

#5 - Taking Home!

Only take home things you know you will use.  One year I took home several boxes that sat in my garage all summer and never got opened.  Don't do it!  I limit myself to 2 boxes of things I plan on working on.  Everything else stays!

#6 - Label each Box!

Put things together in a box and label it.  Run off a bunch of papers with your name and room number on it.  Use plastic tape to secure each box with a label - write in marker what is in each box.

#7 - VIP Box!

As you pack label a special box VIP!  Put anything you need to set up your room in the fall.  Scissors, tape, glue gun. staples, Ziplocks,  markers, glue sticks, and anything else.  This saves me so much time when unpacking because you can set up at the same time.

Label this box with bright paper so you can find it easily!

#8 - Box it Small!

Collect a bunch of boxes.  The best place to get them for free is a liquor store.  (Ha! Ha!  I am totally serious and while you are there....  pick up a couple of bottles!)

Think about the poor people that have to move things during the summer and pack lightly.  You will thank yourself when you don't break your back in the fall!

#9 - Work in Stages!

Don't try to do it all in one day.  Start the week before and do little things.  It makes it much easier and way less stressful!  If you try to do it all in one afternoon, you will end up just throwing things in boxes and come fall it will be a disaster!

I hope these little suggestions make packing up a little easier this year!

Enjoy your summer and take the time to relax!

Happy Teaching!

Monday, May 8, 2017

Get those carts ready!

It's that time....  TPT Teacher Appreciation Sale!

So get's your carts filled and ready for a SALE!

Use code -  Thankyou17 to save up to 28% on some great things to finish out the year STRONG or begin to get ready for next year!

Want to win a TPT gift card to use at the sale?  YES, PLEASE!

I've teamed up with great sellers and we are each giving away a $10 TPT gift certificate!  To enter visit me on Instagram!  Just hop around and hopefully you might be one of the LUCKY WINNERS!

I hope everyone has a wonderful Teacher Appreciation Week!  Every single one of you work day and night to make each day special for your kiddos!  You are making a difference each and everyday!  

Happy Teaching!

Wednesday, April 19, 2017

Chart in Action!

Just a quick follow up post on one of the test prep ideas I blogged about over the weekend!

If you didn't catch that post, you can read about the anchor charts right below this post.

This chart....


The kids loved it!  We read the book The Stray Dog.   After we finished reading we split into four teams.  Each team got a different color of sticky note.  They worked together and wrote their answer in a complete sentence.  I had them write in complete sentences so we could throw a little grammar and punctuation in while we were at it.

We talked about their answers and they were so engaged!  Not a peep and hands waving in the air to talk about their group's answer.

Here is a picture I took of the chart after we finished.

So this test prep idea gets 10,000 GOLD STARS!!!!!!  You might want to give it a try!  

Happy Teaching!

Sunday, April 16, 2017


Holy cow BATMAN!
It's testing time already!  Where did the year go?

We are in count down mode....  only 6 teaching days until the BIG DAY!

I spent the morning trying to come up with a list of things I am confident they know and what we need to revisit this week.  My lesson plans are a list with a ton of sticky notes attached to it!  Ha Ha!

For my class, the ELA portion will be much harder than the math.  Might it be that I am a better math teacher than ELA....  afraid so!

I made this anchor chart to give them something new to look at this week and hopefully they will remember to do some of these things next week.

Test prep is SO BORING!  So I wanted a plan that will keep them engaged.

To help get ready for the reading portion, I have picked a different story to use each day as my read aloud.  Each day we are going to focus on the same skills with each book.  My kiddos love to write on sticky notes.  So I made these charts to use.  After we read they will work in groups or with partners to identify their answer and write it down.  We will talk about all the answers and evaluate them.   The best ones will be left on the chart.  Then, one student will be blindfolded and use a pointer to pick the winner!  And....  the winner gets a TREAT!  Nothing like some candy to keep them working hard!

Here are some of the charts I'm going to use this week:

We can't ever get enough practice with this skill.  I'm going to make them write in a complete sentence to get some English skill review in at the same time.

I put some "starters" at the bottom to get them thinking.  Towards the end of the week, I'm going to cut off the words and see how we do without them.  FINGERS CROSSED!

This is something that we really struggle with.  So we are going to do a lot of practicing this week!

I wanted this to be different than the PIE chart that we have in class.  We are GREAT at naming the author's purpose, but struggle to find ways to express how the author feels.  Hopefully working with these questions will help us get some practice.

Easy as can be, helps us review for the test, and everyone will be engaged!    

For math I'm going to do a lot of white board review and some Skittle Math.  If you haven't downloaded my Skittle Math Freebie, click right here.  The kids love it and work so hard to earn those Skittles!  

I'm also going to pull out some math task cards.  One of my favorite ones is a set that reviews all of the Common Core math standards.  It has 4 questions for each standard.  

Are you looking for a test prep bundle that covers both math and ELA?  

Take a look at this edition for second grade!  Just click on one of the pictures!

Take a look at this edition for first grade!  Just click on one of the pictures!

I hope everyone has a wonderful week and if you are getting ready for state testing....


Happy Teaching!

Happy Easter.... Let's have a SALE!

Happy Easter Everyone!

I hope you are relaxing and enjoying the day with your family.

I've teamed up with some great TPT sellers to have a special one day SALE!

Each store is 20% off on April 16th!  So hop on over and get yourself some great deals!  Click on the picture to go to my TPT store!

Happy Shopping!

Friday, March 24, 2017

Making Arrays

One of my favorite things to teach each year is ARRAYS!

I just love them!  It makes the kids feel so grown up because now they can multiply.  And let's be honest, it is a great break from three digit subtraction across zeros!  Ha Ha!

I had this great lesson planned to introduce arrays and low and behold I forgot my flash drive at home that morning.  Well no problem it's in the icloud....  Oh no it isn't!  Well drats!  Quick thinking and I came up with this little activity.

We divided a paper into four sections.

We wrote the problem in the first section.  I gave them about 10 different ones they could pick from.  I kept them under 5x6 so that everyone would be able to meet with success since this was one of our first day working with arrays.

In the next section they made their sets.  We used all those little stickers that we all have in a drawer someplace because we never seem to use them.  I let everyone keep their page of leftover stickers to take home.  You would have thought I gave them a MILLION DOLLARS! They were so excited!

In the bottom sections we wrote out our problem in words and as repeated addition.  Can I say a BIG SCORE for this one!  The kids loved it and the best part....  they asked for more paper to make extra arrays on.  Two days later and they are begging to get more stickers to keep practicing.

Isn't so funny that sometimes the best lessons are the ones that you pull out of the air because what you had planned didn't work out?  It happens to me every so often and they always are a hit with the kids!

I hope everyone has a wonderful week!

Monday, February 27, 2017

Teacher Appreciation Week! #thankateacherweek

Hi Everyone!

This week I've teamed up with some amazing teachers to appreciate YOU!

For all the long hours....
For all the countless nights of no sleep....
For all those lost crayons.....
For all the heaps of papers you grade....


It's time to appreciate the teachers that give it their ALL!

Join in the fun and you might win gift cards, free products, sale items, and $350 GRAND PRIZE!

Just click on the picture to read all about all the wonderful things you can win 
this week while we celebrate YOU!

My challenge to you....  tell a teacher how much you appreciate them!  It can be someone you work with, a teacher that touched your life, a teacher that teaches your own child.  Just find a teacher out there and make their DAY!


Happy Teaching!

Monday, February 20, 2017

Easy Read-Aloud Ideas!

Do you love read-alouds as much as I do?  Each week we dive into a new book.  We read it, discuss it, and write all about it.

Here are some easy ideas to use with any book you are using!

Groundhog Gets a Say (Focusing on New Learning)

We loved this book!  If you haven't ever read it, you MUST!  It's a cute story about the day after Groundhog's Day, but it has LOTS and LOTS of facts you might have never heard about the groundhog.

We started out on Monday in small groups.  Each group wrote a sticky with one fact they all knew about the groundhog.  Then each day after we read the story, the same group got together and agreed on a new facts they learned in the book.  By the end of the week, we had a huge list of new learning that they used to write a paragraph to inform.

Here is a picture from Tuesday.  This was a great way for us to work together and discuss the book. Nothing but chart paper and a few sticky notes.  You could do this with so many different books!

Oddly enough the kids loved this chart so much that when we started a new chapter book on Abe Lincoln and they wanted to do it again.  So I quickly made one and without me saying a word they got into groups and brought me sticky notes!  This proved to be a great resource for the kids to use when we were writing about Lincoln last week.

Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day and Alexander Who Used to be Rich on Sunday (Compare and Contrast)

This is a great pair to compare and contrast with.  Just draw a giant Venn Diagram and let the kids use sticky notes to write their ideas.

Comparing and contrasting two books by the same author is so much fun!  One of my groups of kids decided to compare and contrast Alexander as a character in the two books.  I've also done this with Ezra Jack Keats as an author study.  After we read several of his books I let the kids pick two of their favorites to compare and contrast.  We will be doing this next month, so I will be sure to get some good pictures to share.

The Plump and Perky Turkey (Sequencing)

Ok, I know not the right season, but this idea was a keeper!  After we read the book several times, we worked as a class to come up with important events in the story.  I took those events and wrote each one on a large piece of construction paper.  Each pair of kids worked to illustrate their event.  After we finished, the class had to use non-verbal communication to get all of the pieces to the story in the right order.  Not only is using non-verbal communication SUPER hard for second graders, getting all the events in the right order wasn't easy either.

This is another one that works with any book!  All you need is paper!

I hope you can use some of these easy ideas to add more fun to your weekly read-alouds!

Saturday, February 11, 2017

Showing some LOVE!

It is almost Valentine's Day, one of my favorite holidays to celebrate!  Who doesn't love love!???   Hopefully, your kiddos will SHOWER you with some love this week!  

But we wanted to show some LOVE too!  I've teamed up with some amazing teacher-authors to show one special teacher some LOVE for their feet!  

A $200.00 Tieks Gift Card!!!!!!!!!

Teachers all across the country are talking about how stylish AND comfy these shoes are!  You can enter the giveaway up to 27 times!!!  Yes, you read that right 27 times!

It is EASY to enter!  

Use the Rafflecopter below to enter! 

The giveaway runs February 11th-16th.  The winner will be announced and contacted on February 17th.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Monday, February 6, 2017

LoveTPT - It's Time for a SALE!

Just a quick post to let everyone know that it is time for a TPT Sale!

If you are like me, sometimes you have to buy your own Valentine's Day present!
Show yourself some LOVE and get some deals just in time for Valentine's Day!

Don't forget to use the code Love TPT to get the discount!

Happy Shopping!

Monday, January 30, 2017

Groundhog Excitement

We started learning all about the groundhog today!  We visiting the famous Phil website. The kids were amazed at all the people that come out each Feb. 2nd to see if good old Phil will see his shadow.  We watched the clip from 2016 and they were HOOKED!

The kids loved our first read of Groundhog Gets A Say.  I've never used this story before, but I can say it is a KEEPER!  If you aren't familiar with the story it is about Feb. 3rd and the groundhog is not happy that no one is paying attention to him.  He lists all the reasons that everyone should celebrate the groundhog for a whole month!  The kiddos loved it and the facts presented in the story were great.  We were able to pick out the facts and opinions with ease!

This week I really wanted to review a BUNCH of skills that I am concerned we need a little more practice on.  So I have planned a different review skill for each day that ties into the story.

Today we worked on plot.  I projected this on the board and we filled it in together.

Tomorrow we are working on problem and solution.  I'm going to work at the table with some of my friends that are struggling with this concept and the rest of kids are going to work with a partner to create this flip book.  Don't you just love these fat groundhogs!

On Wednesday the kids are going to split into small groups and work on either vocabulary or cause/effect.  Thursday we are going to start an opinion writing piece.  Should we celebrate Groundhog's Day for a whole month?  (In the story the groundhog thinks he is so important that we deserves a month long celebration!)

We are also working on good old fashioned facts about the groundhog by making this booklet.  It's a great way to tie the science into the read aloud for the week.

This activity has everything you need to teach the whole booklet with projectable pages along with the student pages.  It even has their "I Cans" and exit slips already done for you.  It takes us about two days to do the whole thing. However, once we are finished we have read, cited evidence, discussed vocabulary, answered comprehension questions, and wrote about the facts we learned.  This activity is one sale for only $1 this week in honor of Groundhog's Day!  Just click the picture to see more!

I hope everyone has a FUN and eventful week teaching about Groundhog's Day!

Happy Teaching!

Wednesday, January 18, 2017

Looking at Math Differently!

Just wanted to share some quick pictures of our math review today.

We have been working on different ways you can add two-digit numbers.  After learning all these different ways most of the kids have a go to strategy that they like.  When we practiced today it was SO MUCH FUN to walk around looking at their "method".  We explained our "method" to our Turn and Talk Partner.   I had them revoice how their partner solved it so they could work on explaining it back to the student that originally wrote it.  We had some tongue tied moments, but all in all they enjoyed it.

I really liked this one.  The model in the left corner was her first idea and then she said she "scrapped it" for another method.   When  I asked her why she didn't erase it, she looked at me puzzled and said, "You always say to leave everything, so you can see our mistakes!  That was a mistake, it was WAY easier the other way!"

It is completely amazing to see how differently they all think and what makes tick.  I think about how I taught math 19 years ago and it is NOTHING like what I do today.  I have no textbook, workbook, or a stack of worksheets.  We talk more than I ever thought possible and the kids talk WAY more than I do.  They experiment and try to figure things out for themselves.  They draw and question.  They discuss and create.  They are learning math at a level that I would have never thought possible.  OK off my math soap box!

Have a great weekend!

Happy Teaching!

Thursday, January 12, 2017

Bringing Back Some Old Favorite Activities

It might be a NEW YEAR, but I'm bringing back a few of activities that I had completely forgot about.

Over the holiday break I was going through some old files trying to PURGE the pile and I came across some old games I used a long time ago.  They were ragged and I threw them out.


Then I realized that the game pieces were trash, but the concept was a WINNER!

Old fashioned memory cards and letter tiles need to be added to my stations STAT!

I found a cute packet on TPT for New Years and SNAP....  it had letter tiles!  We had the best time moving the tiles around and trying to make as many words as we could!  It was a great way to celebrate our first day of 2017 together!

I loved to walk around and watch how each of them organized their paper letter tiles differently.  Some of them lined up the vowels and then lined up the consonants. Some of them had them in random rows or just in a pile.  This little one spelled out Happy New Year and then pulled tiles out to try and make a word.  Then she put them right back into their original place.  When I asked her about it, she said well I already found three words just by organizing them into Happy New Year!  I love listening to them explain the whys and hows of their methods of doing things. It really makes me understand their thinking so much better.  

Another good old game we have brought back was MEMORY MATCH!  How did I ever forget this one?  I have no idea!

We have been studying geometric shapes and are struggling to recognize some of them.  A pentagon is a tough one!  Not to mention if a hexagon is thrown into the mix.

The words are on the blue cards and the pictures on the green cards.  The kids pick one blue card and try to match it with a green.  It they make a match, they keep the pair.  If they don't, it goes back into the game.

We played in groups and had the best time trying to remember where the different cards were. Not only did we practice identifying the shapes, but we had a great lesson on the strategies to help you win. Did I mention that we had two lose a turn cards and two put one pair back into the game cards?  This helped make the game last a little longer so they could work on their strategies to remember which cards were where.

I hope everyone is enjoying 2017 with their kiddos!

Happy Teaching!