Tuesday, December 26, 2017

Start 2018 Off Writing Some RESOLUTIONS!

Today I started working on my plans for January!  Each year I try SUPER HARD to get ORGANIZED!    Making lists and planning some fun ways to get back in the swing when we get back.  

I always like to start off with having the kids do some writing about their New Year resolutions.  I am always amazed at the number of kids that have no idea what a resolution is.  We talk about how they are like goals that we set for ourselves.  Once they learn how to use the word, they try so hard to get that "BIG" word in every sentence they can. 

We are going to start out by focusing on some resolutions for school and some for home.   We brainstorm and make some lists of things we might want to consider.  Then we WRITE, EDIT, and SHARE!  After we do that we publish our writing on some fun paper!  (You can get it below for FREE!). Once we finish our writing we hang them in the hall.  When we take them down, we put them in our writing portfolios.  I like to have the kids bring them out at the end of grading period to see how we are doing on meeting those resolutions.  

I keep all of the kids writing and projects in portfolios.  We used manila folders that we decorated.  I put them in a giant plastic tub.  As we complete things to put in them, I just drop the stack of papers in the tub.  About once a month, we get them out and look at them.  I have a few kids pass out the things that haven't been put into the folders yet, while they talk with their table about how much progress they have made.  At the end of the year, we take them home.  It's a really great way to end the year and the kids have something special to take home.  If you haven't start portfolios for your kiddos yet, it is never to late!  You can do one starting in 2018!    

My New Year writing paper just had a revamp and best of all it is a FREEBIE!  Click on the picture to download the file so that you can get a jump start on your plans.  The paper comes in lots of options!  You can pick the size of lines you want and also in color or printer friendly!  I like to print a bunch of the different color options off (thanks to HP Instant Ink of course!) and let the kids pick which one they want.

I hope everyone is getting themselves organized for 2018...  THE BEST YEAR EVER!

Sunday, November 26, 2017

Give Task Cards a Try and a Gift Card Drawing!

YES!!!!  It is finally here!  The annual TPT Cyber Sale! 
November 27th and 28th!
Save up to 25%!!!!!!
Want to win some TPT cash?  
Just click on the picture below to visit my Facebook page to enter!  
One winner will be drawn Nov. 27th at 9:00 p.m.!

Tasks cards....  where have you been all my teaching life?  Better yet...  all my life!  I know that I would have loved them as a student.

My kids and I use task cards all of the time.  We use them for both math and ELA.  Sometimes I use them as a pretest to see where the kids are and then we do the set again to see the GROWTH!

Task cards are great to play a game of SCOOT!  Scoot is super easy and keeps the kids engaged!  Just print out a set of task cards and hang them all over the room.  Sometimes I hang them in order and sometimes I don't.  Assign each student a card to start at.  Once we start, they read the card, record their answer on their sheet, and wait for the bell.  I use a bell sound on my phone to signal for them to move to the next card.  You can also say "SCOOT" or use any ringtone that you have.   Everyone moves from card to card around the room.

If two kids are at the card at the same time, no problem.  Some of the kids work a little slower and it is perfectly OK with me for them to take their time and do their BEST WORK!  The task card in this picture is in orange.  I print a lot of the task cards on colored copy paper to save ink. 

For a little variety, sometimes I just project the cards on my board. 

We use dry erase markers and write our answers on white boards.  I really like this way because I can walk around and see really quick who has the correct answers and who needs more help!

If you haven't given task cards a try yet, why not give it a shot!

Once you try them, I PROMISE you will be hooked and so will your kids!  I can't even explain how excited they are when they come in and see the cards hung around the room!  Are we playing this morning?  I must get asked that a million times!  They are so quiet when we play and you can see the engagement in their eyes!  Makes a teacher's heart HAPPY!  

We also use them in centers and for extra practice.  Just put the cards in a baggie or folder and the kids can practice them with a partner.  I even send them home with different kids from time to time.  

Still not sure?  Will you try it for FREE?  Download one of my freebies and see what you think?  I know you and your kiddos will love task cards as much as we do!

Just click on the picture below to go to my TPT store and download them for FREE!

If you love them, please leave me a blog comment below or feedback on TPT.  A Valentine freebie set is in the works, so check back soon!

Happy Teaching!

Sunday, August 27, 2017

Back to School... Some Favorites!

Back to School brings lots of new things!  
I want to share my top 5 favorite things about my classroom this year!

The best part of this post, is that each of these adorable pictures 
are linked to my favorite things!

Where have you been all my life?  I mean SERIOUSLY!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

How fun is it when all your reading centers are in colored ink?  Every math game comes to life!  Best of all no more COLORING things in!

If you don't have HP Instant Ink....  don't walk....  RUN and get yourself signed up!

The program is really simple.  Sign up for the service and your printer lets HP know to send you ink. No more running out at 1:00 in the morning to buy ink!  The ink comes right to your mailbox.

They have different plan levels from $2.99 to $9.99 a month.  I am on the $9.99 plan.  That gives me 300 copies a month!  Unused copies roll over to the next month.  (One catch is that you can only bank 300 copies in the roll over)

If you have an HP printer that is wireless you already may be in luck!  You can check on the link to see if you already have what you need. (Just click on the cute kid above!)

I bought the HP Envy 5540 at Best Buy for less than $75.   Turns out that I could have gotten a better deal at CostCo, so make sure you check them out before you buy.   Also check online for some great deals at Amazon and Walmart.  I have a few friends that have bought one the last few weeks and have gotten some great deals!

Once you have your printer, all you need to do is log in on the site and set up your account.  The huge bonus is that you can enter promo codes to get free MONTHS!  Yes, FREE MONTHS!

When I signed up I used two codes and got 7 free months of ink!  These codes worked for me and also for my friend last week, so give them a try.



Don't forget to check your box because you might have scored 3 more free months like my friend did!

I promise if you only give yourself one gift this year....  MAKE IT INSTANT INK!

I am always looking for new sites for the kids to use in the classroom and this summer I discovered a WINNER!


Zearn is a free independent learning program that allows the students to work at their own pace mastering their math skills.

It is rated as a Tier 1 instructional program with proven research based results.  You can read all about it on their site.

This is my first year using it and so far I am impressed with it!  The kids seem to really be engaged and want to get extra time on the computer to work on it some more!

Take a peek at it and see if it will help your kiddos!

This book is FANTASTIC!

This is one of my favorite ways to start the school year off and we always revisit this clip every so often to help use make sure....

We aren't being a VOLCANO!

At the end of last year I read about NAIER and had to take a look!

NAIER is basically a teacher paradise with all kinds of supplies we need at HUGE discount prices!

You have to apply to be a teacher member and it does take a few weeks to get approved, but it is worth the wait!

I ordered 24 rolls of Scotch brand packing tape, 12 tablets of sticky notes that were 12x12, 6 rolls of duct tape, markers, pens, tape dispensers, and more!

Total cost.....  $47

Yes, you read that one right!  The only drawback is that it does take a few weeks to get your order, but it is so WORTH the WAIT!

If you haven't checked it out yet....  take a look!

Well...  that one is a WISH!!!!!!!!!  A classroom that is all set and ready is just a DREAM!  Every year I stress and worry that the kids will be disappointed if everything isn't perfect.

THEY DON'T CARE!  All they want to do is spend time with YOU!  The decorations, name tags, and color coded stuff can come later.  All they want to do the first week is spend time with YOU!

It is so easy to get tangled up in all of the stressful issues that surround us each day, but this year celebrate the JOY and SUCCESS!  That joy and success is far more important than anything else!

I hope everyone has a wonderful school year.  Enjoy every minute with your kiddos.

Happy Teaching!

Monday, July 31, 2017

TPT Cash!

Have you heard the news?  A TPT Sale is coming!  

TPT is having a sale August 1-2.  Everything in my TPT store is 20% off.  Combine that with the TPT discount and you will save 25% off all of the items you need for BACK TO SCHOOL!

Want to win some TPT cash to spend?  Enter to win a $10 TPT gift card!  Just hop on over to my Facebook page and comment on the post with the grade level you teach.   A winner will be chosen 8/1 at 10 p.m.  Click on on the picture below to go to my Facebook page!

Happy Teaching!

Math Game Monday!

The next few weeks I'm sharing some of my favorite activities and ideas!

This week is Math Game Monday!

A few years ago I need a quick group game that we could play on a regular bases and would be student led.  I made up this chart and laminated it.  You write a number from the chart on a sticky note and put it in your pocket.  The students have to ask yes and no questions to try and figure out what the secret number is!  As they ask questions, you cross off different numbers that it couldn't be.

You could use any group of numbers depending on your kiddos ability level.  This game is great to reinforce key math concepts and really helps the kids formulate quality questions.  When you first start is a learning process.  They have to practice and listen to each other.  After playing a few times they get the hang of it and now the BEST PART.....

Let it become STUDENT LED!  Yes you read that right, let a student run the game!  The student that guesses right gets to become the next leader. They can play this FOREVER if you let them!

Once they get good at being in charge of the game, this frees the teacher up to do some quick reteaching for a friend that needs extra help.  Everyone stays engaged and best of all....  they are having FUN!

Another favorite math game is BUMP!  If you haven't discovered it yet, you are in for a real treat!  TPT has BUMP game boards for lots of different ability levels and skills.  The best part is that I have been able to find one for anything I needed that was FREE!

My kiddos LOVE IT!

Ready to give it a try?  Click on the picture to download one for free from my TPT store!  Just make copies, get some dice and cubes.  You are ready for the kids to use this in small groups, in centers, or for early finishers.

I hope everyone is having a great week!

Happy Teaching!

Sunday, July 30, 2017

Where did June and July GO????

June flew by and now July is almost over....  How did that happen?

I spent the first two weeks of June in Nashville training to lead professional development.  One of the sessions dealt with the new Tennessee Standards for ELA and math.  The other was a special session designed for 4th grade teacher to dive into fractions.  (I'll blog about that another time.)  Both of them were AMAZING!

While I was in Nashville I managed to lock my keys in the car.  Yes, my car beeped at me over and over to tell me that it didn't want to lock, but I forced it to.  I was in a hurry and wasn't thinking.  Thank goodness that my insurance covers people popping your locks.  (Please check and see if yours does!  You will be glad you did)  Just a phone call, they pinged my phone to get my location, and in ten minutes a nice man had my car open.  (Lesson - When your car beeps it is trying to tell you something!)  When this happened I said that things couldn't get worse.... I was wrong.

The next day I got that call....  the call that NO PARENT wants when they are 3 1/2 hours away from home.  It was my husband letting me know that our youngest son was pitching at a baseball game and was hit by a line drive.  He needed me to find a place to take him because they were certain it was broke.  I think my heart stopped for a second....   I have always worried about not being there if he ever got hurt and now I'm hours away and can't do a thing.  Thankfully the wonderful people at Marriott took my insurance information, called to verify a fax number with ER, and got everything taken care.

Jackson was lucky....  I mean extremely LUCKY!  It turns out that when he released the ball, the batter hit it hard and it was coming straight for his head.  Had he not put his hand up, he would have been hit in the head.  So as bad a broken hand was, things couldn't have been so much worse.

Then I realized....  his injury would keep him out of TN Future Stars.  We were suppose to leave in three days.  Jackson wanted to give up his spot so that his team would not be down a player, but after contacting the staff of TN Future Stars the decision was made that he would still attend.  With sad eyes and a broken heart, we ventured off to take part in the experience that was so amazing last year.  While he didn't get to play, he experienced another year of working like a college football player.  He came home more determined than ever to work hard and make his dreams come true.

We made a quick trip to visit my parents on their 51st Wedding Anniversary.   I was walking behind my mom and Jackson when it hit me....  13 years ago I walked behind them down the sidewalk at our house and took a picture just like this.  He was much smaller of course, but I remember thinking to myself how could I love two people so very much.  

That's when I realized....  SLOW DOWN!  Enjoy each day!  Make them all count.  

So here I sit realizing that this summer went by TOO FAST!  All of the things that were on my "list" never got done and I'm OK with it.  I spent the last two weeks being a MOM!  Yep, I sure did!  I volunteered at my son's new high school for two football events and enjoyed time with him.  I think we might have gone to lunch almost everyday and I wouldn't trade that time for the WORLD!  Don't tell my husband!

So while you start making goals for this year....  put family FIRST!  Every year I make goals for school.  While I am still working on those, the first goal I made was to commit more time to my family.  Enjoy being a mom and make every minute count!

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!