Thursday, July 28, 2016

Hello, KINDERGARTEN!

Call me crazy, because I'm teaching Kindergarten this year!  


I'm super excited for this change, but scared out of my mind!  ;)   With only two weeks until I meet my littles, I've been busy prepping for the new year!  

First thing on my list was my Welcome to School Postcards.  I have loved sending postcards to my future students before school starts each year.  It's a wonderful way to start the year off on a positive note and to start building up that rapport.  My students talk about their postcards all year long!  It's so special to them!  

I originally saw this postcard over at The Teacher Wife, but it is no longer available.  I thought it was the perfect postcard for Kindergarten, so I had no choice but to recreate it.  And how cute is that font from Abby?!?  I am in love with her new fonts and have been using them all over my classroom.  :)



While you can certainly print these postcards on your own, I sent mine to Vistaprint.  The quality and price are excellent.  They always seem to have a coupon code for an even better discount.  If you would like to use this postcard to welcome your students back to school, click on the images above.  They fit perfectly on the standard postcard size.  


Happy Back to School!

Monday, October 5, 2015

ZONK!


Today I'm sharing one of my favorite classroom games over on Cassandra's blog.  Check it out!

I learned about this game two years ago, and it has quickly become a class favorite!  I love it because it can be used for ANY subject and ANY grade level.  It keeps everyone engaged, focused, and quiet.  ;)  

The Set Up:

Buy some foam pieces and glue magnets on the back.  I bought my set from Hobby Lobby.  Write a variety of numbers on the back of each piece.  Use whatever numbers work best for your class to do mental math with.  When I was in 2nd Grade, we used 2-digit numbers, mostly multiples of 10, with a few ending in 5.  This year, I have mostly 2-digit and a few 3-digit, ending with a 0 or 5.  My co-worker in 5th grade used more 3-digit numbers.  Whatever works for you!  Write an X and ZONK on a couple of them.  

The Game:

I like to play this as a review before a math assessment, but it can be used for any subject!  Prepare questions for your students to answer using worksheets, task cards, and/or whiteboards.  I play boys VS girls, and keep score on the board.  Put all the foam pieces on the board.  Display your first question.  EVERY student answers it.  I set a timer to ensure we get through the questions.  When the time is up, choose a boy or girl to answer.  If they answer correctly, they come to the board to choose up to three foam pieces, and record the score.  If they answer incorrectly, the other team gets a chance to steal the points.  If the second team answers incorrectly, I explain the answer and move on to the next question.    

The Rules:

A student can choose up to three pieces.  They can stop at any time.  If they choose an X, their turn ends, but can keep the points they have already chosen.  If they choose a ZONK, they loose all the points for that round.  If a student talks out, they lose 10 points for their team.  You can add points to a team if they are cheering for the opposite team.  Silent cheers, of course!  ;)


It really is our favorite game!  
So easy, engaging, and exciting!  
I hope you have a blast playing it with your kiddos!  :)

Sunday, October 4, 2015

Shades of FALL

We've had fun this week working on shades of meaning!  This can be a difficult concept for many 2nd and 3rd graders, but I've created some fun, fall-themed activities to support distinguishing shades of meaning among related verbs and adjectives.  You can find my Shades of Fall packet here.


This week we started with identifying pairs of synonyms, and then decided which word was strong and which word was weak.  I gave each child a pumpkin card with one word on it.  Then, when I said go, they had to find their partner.  My class absolutely loves these types of activities, so we played a few times.  :)



Once everyone found their partner, we sorted the words into two groups - weak and strong.  


Finally, students completed an independent activity page.  This boy thought he was being so funny with his sentence...  How could I be mad when he did such an excellent job???  HA!  


On Friday, we did the candy corn activities from my packet.  We started by assembling candy corn puzzles.  Each candy corn was made up of three words that have similar meanings.  I cut them apart ahead of time, and then the groups had to assemble each puzzle.  


When they finished assembling the puzzles, they recorded their answers on the recording sheet.  


Finally, they chose one of the candy corn puzzles to create their own candy corn for.  They had to write a sentence for each word, showing the differences in their meanings.  


On Monday, I'll hang the completed candy corn craftivities up for an educational and festive display!  

You can find these activities and more in my Shades of Fall packet.

Saturday, September 26, 2015

Fall In Love With Teaching

Since making the move from 2nd Grade up to 3rd Grade this year, I've been fortunate enough to meet some incredible 3rd Grade Teachers.  They have been so patient and helpful as I ask a million questions on a regular basis!  I am thrilled to be part of a wonderful fall blog hop with some of these amazing 3rd Grade Teachers!  I can't wait to hop along and learn more from these fabulous teachers.


I'm a summer girl by heart, but I absolutely LOVE fall in Arizona.  It's about 80 degrees and absolutely heavenly!  I do miss the beautiful colors of fall and the sound of the crunchy leaves, so I still like to pretend it's fall with plenty of fall themed activities.  

When I was in 2nd Grade, I made Shades of Spring - a packet to help teach the standard distinguishing shades of meaning among closely related adjectives and verbs.  I thought it was a tricky standard to teach, with minimal resources available.  But since using this packet, it quickly became one of my favorite units to teach.  I love all the possibilities and crafts and hands-on activities it provides.  And, of course, anything involving paint chips is my favorite!  :)

This year, I decided to combine my love for fall and my love for shades of meaning and create a brand new product!

Introducing...

This packet is packed FULL of fall-themed activities to help teach this 2nd and 3rd Grade standard.  I've come up with centers, worksheets, craftivities, bulletin board displays, and assessments for all the fun fall themes!  I've included apples, leaves, pumpkins, and candy corn.  

One of my favorite things about teaching shades of meaning is all the opportunities for students to practice working in groups and using non-fiction text features.  For most of the activities students work in groups to use a thesaurus to look up synonyms.  Once they compile a list of words, they write them in order of their intensity on paint chips, or other fun craftivities!  I don't have enough time in my day to do art projects just for fun, so I try to incorporate our curriculum into our bulletin board displays.  I've learned pretty much anything can be turned into a cute display!  ;)  

Tell me this isn't the cutest candy corn you've ever seen???  
I just love this little craftivity!  
This is just one example of all the fun you'll find in my Shades of Fall packet.  

I'm giving away this 80 page packet to one lucky reader!  
Just enter the Rafflecopter below.  

Or, if you'd rather buy the packet, it's on sale through the weekend!  :)

Now hop on over to Pam at Hedgehog Reader and see what Fall fun she has in store for you!  

In addition to our own giveaways, we have a GRAND PRIZE for you!!  We are giving away TWO gift cards to Teachers Pay Teachers!  This giveaway will run from September 26 - 30, so make sure you enter!  Good luck!  :)

Sunday, August 30, 2015

How To Keep Parent Volunteers Organized


Today I posted over on Hello Sunshine about how I keep parent volunteers organized in my classroom!  Parent Volunteers can literally save your classroom.  I have had years with no parent volunteers, and years with more than I could possibly find a use for.  It really just helps the classroom stay organized and run smoothly if you know how to utilize them properly.  Last year I had so many that I just didn't even know what to do, so I came up with these systems to help me keep me organized.  Click on the picture below to check it out!  

Tuesday, July 21, 2015

First Day Fun with Play Dough!


Today I posted over on Hello Sunshine about one of my favorite first day activities!  This is a highly engaging activity that requires no teacher guidance - allowing time to collect and assemble supplies.  Click on the picture below to check it out!  


Wednesday, July 15, 2015

DIY Chair Pockets

Happy Summer everyone!

In the spirit of getting reading for Back to School, I'm throwing it back to this post from almost exactly four years ago!  I was preparing for my new year and about to order a set of expensive chair pockets online, when my dear mother volunteered to make me some!  She's an excellent seamstress, and they turned out great!  I washed them every year and they lasted about three years.  I could have kept using them, but moved to a school/grade where I didn't use chair pockets any more and was ready for something different anyway.  Enjoy this tutorial!  :)



It’s been a long time since I've posted. I'm enjoying my summer up in Canada visiting my family. I have a few school projects I want to work on, but for the most part I am enjoying my vacation! My mom and I finished my first summer project: chair pockets. I have to give a shout out to Mrs. Merchant for introducing me to these. She made a few sets for the first grade to use the last few years. I have LOVED them. They help keep my class and kiddos clean and organized. My favorite. The ones I had started to get a little dingy and worn out (4 years and 85 kids later…) so I wanted to get new ones. Since I don’t sew AT ALL, I was just going to buy the ones from Really Good Stuff. I was going to save my summer money to pay the big $150 for a class set. Then my wonderful mother (who is an awesome seamstress) offered to help me make some. So long story short, for under $50 we have made some super cute chair pockets! If any of you are interested in making your own version, I tried to include a tutorial of how we did it for you. It’s hard to explain in words how to make something, so hopefully with the directions and pictures, you can figure it out. :)

First we bought 6 ½ yards of blue twill (54 inches wide), 1 yard of 8 gauge plastic (3/4 would have been plenty, but they were only sold by the yard), and matching thread.

We needed two sizes of the fabric – a small piece (10 inches tall 14 inches wide) and a large piece (21 inches tall 14 inches wide). This size fits perfectly over our little school chairs. I used the measurements of a Carson-Dellosa desk plate to decide how big to make the plastic name tag. We cut the plastic 10 inches by 4 inches. Once everything was cut, we taped the plastic pieces in the center of the small piece of fabric.



The plastic was the worst part. It moves around like crazy. We taped it down on all four sides, and then sewed around three sides using a zig zag stitch. A longer stitch seemed to help. It still wasn’t perfect.




Next, clean finish the top edge (the 14 inch side) however you want. We turned and zig zagged. Then, take the longer piece and clean finish the 14 inch end, as well.



Lay the shorter piece over the longer piece with the plastic on the inside. Line them up along the bottom, with the two finished edges face up (as in the second picture below).  Clean up the sides. 




Pull the longer piece down behind the shorter piece, about 3 ½ inches. Pin the sides.




Sew around the three open sides. Be careful not to sew over the folded side.


Miter the bottom two corners (or if you are a non sewer like me, basically cut them at an angle, but don’t cut over the sewn part).



Flip it right side out.


Iron the edges flat. Top stitch the final edges on the top sides.


Insert the super cute name tag of your choice, and voila!



Don't you love my homemade name tag and over sized chair?  :)  I don't have any of my school stuff here, but I'm going to order the frog ones I linked to at Carson-Dellosa above.  Just one more thing to add to my frog themed room...

*I ended up with 28 completed pockets and a few scrap pieces*

If you have any questions or comments about the pockets, let me know.  Good luck if you try them!

Monday, July 13, 2015

Viva Las Vegas!

I cannot believe that the TpT Vegas Conference is over!  Since I didn't go to the conference last year, I feel like I've been preparing to go since then, only to have it fly by in just three short days!  To say the conference was amazing would be an understatement.  I can't put into words the incredible experience it was.  There is just something so special about over one thousand teachers coming together to be inspired and uplifted.  I met so many incredible people and learned so much valuable information.  I hope I can remember this feeling until next year!

Such a BEAUTIFUL hotel!

This was my favorite meet up!  
Ashlyn and Lindsey put on a wonderful party!
It was so much fun to flamingle with such fabulous teachers.  
I even won a gift certificate to Thirty One Bags, and two TpT Stores!  

This meet up was AMAZING!  
The ladies of Blog Hoppin' sure know how to put on a fabulous party!
Over one thousand teacher/bloggers all together in one room!  
Talk about a good time!
{Yet, slightly overwhelming...}  

I LOVED each one of the sessions I attended.  
So much valuable information was given by so many inspiring teachers!

We stopped by the GoNoodle Cabana Party and I won a t-shirt!  
I also got to meet Freckles Sinclair himself!  
#starstruck

Happy Hour was a fun way to end the conference.  
One final good-bye to old and new friends.  

So much delicious food was enjoyed!  

My main takeaways from the conference.  
I learned way more than I can fit on one slide, but these were my favorite.

I can't wait to read everyone else's blog posts all about Vegas!  
Click on the button to check them out!