Sunday, December 29, 2013

Cute Christmas Gifts and Giveaway

I'm joining Little Warriors in her Best Teacher Gifts Ever Linky Party.  While her gifts were totally awesome (you should check them out on her site!), mine were pretty clever, too.

I think this one was Pinterest-Inspired!  I need new socks, and love Bath & Body Works lotion, so it is totally appreciated.

Two pairs of socks and some lotion

This unique cookbook from schools across the country has some yummy looking recipes.  I will love reading the dog book, too!

A Taste of Home cookbook with recipes from teachers!
Dog Lover's Devotional book

Do you have a Culver's near you?  It's a restaurant that's famous for their delicious custard.  The packaging of these gift cards was so cute!

Culvers gift card with in one of their cups with white raffia inside to represent ice cream.

A grandma of a student who works in my classroom presented me with this decorative plate!  It matches the colors in the my kitchen so it's perfect!

Love this wooden plate from my class - they all signed their names on the back.

I'm taking part in a New Year's Giveway with my friend Jen from Sparkling Second.
Each item in the giveaway is brand new from some creative bloggers.
My contribution is a word work week-long unit for the -tion chunk.

We use Words Their Way but don't have any of the books so have to make up the sorts and activities on our own.
This packet includes two levels of word sorts so you can easily differentiate instruction.
The titles for each of the activities includes a -tion word, too!

Suggestions for reading -tion words!

There are word sorts for the classroom, and for homework, too!

I also included some math work with the sorts!  There are two levels of this activity included, too!

You can find this product in my TpT store here.
check out Jen's blog to win this product and others by December 31!

Saturday, December 21, 2013

Five for Friday - More Christmas Crafts!

I just love Winter Break.  Its' so nice to have time to relax, sleep in, cuddle with the dog, etc. etc. Oh yes - there are Christmas doings to prepare for, but there's a different layer of (fun) stress associated with that.
On to my Five for Friday post. 
Thanks to Doodle Bugs for the linky!
My teaching partner and I are leading a monthly after-school S.T.E.M. Club for third and fourth graders.  This past week we had them do some Candy Cane Science experiments, and I created a tri-fold for them to record their predictions and observations.
You can get it free in my TpT store!
We've been working on more Christmas Crafts during the last 2 weeks!
Recently we made these simple ornaments.
We just used snowflake stickers and sequins to decorate plain white balls.
I love the ribbon I found for  hanging. 
We did an update of the mitten wreaths I had mentioned in a previous post.
The students cut out mittens from a holiday scrapbook pack I purchased at JoAnns.
They then used glue to place the mittens in a pattern, and I hot glued the tops of the mittens onto the paper plate so they laid flat.
We added a ribbon bow and a string for hanging on the back.
Each was different but turned out cute!
At the last minute I decided to have my third graders make a card from green cardstock that I had.
I was inspired by all the cute reindeer thumbprint ornaments I've been seeing on various blogs.
We used a brown stamp pad for the thumbprints, and added details and border with markers.
They wrote a sweet note on the inside for someone special.
At our classroom party I gave a my students a book from Scholastic, and a pencil case that I had purchased last summer for a penny!
I can't remember if they were from Office Max or Office Depot, but they were a special deal at one of the Back to School sales.
I added some Washi Tape, and a snowflake label with their name on, and they were pleased as punch.
Hope you are enjoying a wonderful holiday break!


Saturday, December 7, 2013

Five for Friday - Christmas Crafts!

I'm joining up with Doodle Bugs for my first Five for Friday Linky in a loooong time.
And I'm actually going to shake this Five for Friday post up a bit, and share five ideas for Christmas crafts.  These are crafts we've done over the last few years, and now that I'm a blogger I have the opportunity to pass these ideas along.
Most were not my original idea, but something I saw in a magazine or got from one of my creative colleagues.
Tree Wall Hangings
I purchased 10 packs of artist's canvas boards for these wall hangings. 
The gray border was better on the student pieces because they used a thin line of fabric paint.
The snowflake and silver circles were from Michaels.
The parents loved these.
Mitten Wreaths
I found blue paper plates and cut the inner circle out.
Then I made cardboard templates for the students from a mitten shape I had.
We used scrapbook paper for the mittens, and paper punched from the scraps for accents on the solid color pieces.
I liked that this craft could be on display through the winter months.
Snowman Doorknob Hanger
Home Depot donated the paint sticks that we painted white on the bottom, and black on the top.
A craft stick was painted black for the brim of the hat.
We painted on the facial features, and added googly eyes.
I used a hot glue gun for the raffia and button the hat, as well as the string hanger.
Decorated Placemat
I found some stencils and foamy stickback tape at Walmart. 
The students colored various designs on the placemats, and then added the different varieties of foamy tape.
Dog Biscuit Reindeer Ornament
These were so cute!
We started with a larger dog biscuit and used a hot glue gun to attach the antlers (slotted craft sticks broken in half) and ribbon hanger.  We turned them over after they were dry and attached the nose and googly eyes.
This one was my model and I lost one eye, and I couldn't find a replacement that was the same size. 
So,  this one looks a bit goofy. 
With the same size they're very cute.
I'm always on the lookout for new crafts if you have some to share!
I also wanted to let you know about a giveaway that I am a part of.
Lacey, at The Fabulous Life of an Elmentary Teacher, is having a giving away 12 winter-themed products, as well as a $25 TpT gift certificate.  Check it out here
The giveaway ends on December 13.  Good Luck!


Monday, December 2, 2013

OMG - It's Currently Time Again

Yes - it's been a month since I blogged! I have the best intentions to share more posts but somehow one thing or another gets in the way.  At any rate  - here goes!
I had watched the first few episodes of  The Voice and liked one guy enough to buy one of his songs on iTunes.  The next time I caught an episode he was gone.  Darn. 
Over the weekend I was able to do a good cleaning of my garage.  I love driving in now and seeing how spotless it is. 
We're working on writing non-fiction pieces, and I'm getting my thoughts together on the best approach for tomorrow.  I also hope we have enough books for researching.
Even though I'm good on the cleaning, I'm behind on the decorations. This coming weekend is targeted for tree set-up, etc.
I have been on the look-out for some black boots but haven't found any in my price range that I like.
I love our tradition of going to Christmas Eve mass around 4:00, and then going out to dinner.  We've found quite a few nice restaurants still open on Christmas Eve (although I feel for the people who are working), and then we open presents at home afterwards. 

I wanted to share some pics from my classroom while I'm here!
This is one of the "I Can...." statements I created for our non-fiction unit.
We started the unit by looking for text features in big books.

Our local Lions Club came to our school to do a presentation, and gave each of our third graders a dictionaries.  The students love them!

And - yes, the items in my TpT store are on sale today and tomorrow!

Saturday, November 2, 2013

Currently - Checking In!

Happy November!

I made it through conferences, birthday fun, and Fall Break!  There's so much to do but little time to blog.  I have been keeping up on Instagram, though, so check me out there, too!
Thanks to Farley for giving me a very good reason to check in on the blog today.
Currently the Badgers are ahead!  Sorry to my friend Diane at Fifth in the Middle, who I know is cheering for the Hawkeyes.
So what to to with that extra hour tomorrow?  There are lots of things on the list.  I'll probably at school checking things off that list.
This weekend I'm putting together a project for TpT that addresses CCSS SL3.5.
That's the one where the students have to create an audio recording of their reading.
Last week my students used our iPad minis to do just that, and it worked out really well.
Watch for that project in my TpT store later this week.
In our district we have to develop all of our lesson plans around the CCSS and enter them into school's system.  It takes a loooong time just to develop the lessons, and then entering as we go adds to the stress.  I'd like to have a secretary sit with us as we develop the plans and enter them online. 
A girl can dream can't she?
 I bought a cheap shoe rack at Bed Bath & Beyond, and just organized most of my shoes in the hall closet.  Now to tackle the shoes in my bedroom closet.  Yikes!
This Mexican Dip has been a big hit at many get-togethers.  The key ingredient is the cilantro - yum! 

Do any of you do a Character Study unit?  I just posted "I Can..." statements for this type of unit in TpT that has been very well received.
Check it out here.

Saturday, October 12, 2013

Five for Friday (Finally) and a Character Banner Freebie

Well, these first few weeks have a been a whirlwind, and it's the first time this school year that I've been able to hook up with Doode Bugs Teaching's Five For Friday
Here we go!
Did you know this past week was Fire Prevention Week?  We don't pay as close attention to it in third grade as I had when I was teacking K and 1, but I did want to work it in somehow.  We used this app during station time:
I also used some fire related books during guided reading time, like Firehouse Dog and The Great Fire.
We did some lessons on context clues and I created this anchor chart:
I made up the word "derzle" and asked the students what it could mean based on the other clues in the sentence.  I love that someone thought that it could be a leaf blower!
I found out my first Donors Choose project was funded!  Hooray!
I had requested subscriptions to Scholastic News as our school no longer funds them, and they are great for teaching non-fiction. And the students write and mark all over them.
The project was funded within a month by the NEA Foundation and U.S. Cellular!
We have conferences three nights next week (ugh) so we prepared some projects to hang in the hallway.  We are currently studying character traits so I created banner pieces share favorite characters and traits. 
You can access the banner piece here, but I'm not sure how to delete the bottom triangle so the students just cut that part off.
Can anyone help with telling me how you delete lines in powerpoint?
My classroom is right across from our sensory room and next to a EEN classroom.
Yesterday one of the EEN students had a major meltdown which happened right outside our room and it got physical.  We were just on our way out the door to go to our weekly grade 3/4 gathering and were told we had to stay in our room until the situation was over.
We had to stay in our room for 45 minutes!
It was tense.......
for the people in the hallway I mean.
My students were great.
We turned on a video about Christopher Columbus and all was fine.
Only one person asked to get a drink of water but I discreetly told her we weren't allowed to go into the hallway just yet.
Apparently the principal hurt his back trying to settle the  EEN student.
What a way to end a week.
Hope YOU had a great week.

Thursday, October 3, 2013

Currently October - Pumpkin Book Log

Hurray - it's time for another Currently.  Thanks to  Farley at Oh' Boy 4th Grade for hosting  - I like the idea for "Trick or Treat" this month.
I love the new TV season!  The only problem this year is that two of my favorites - Parenthood and Scandal are now on the same night at the same time!  The big question is - which to watch, and which to DVR?
One of my sweet friends left two beautiful mums on my porch yesterday as an early birthday present.  I was so happy to see them!  I had wanted some fall flowers but never got around to buying them.
We have a field trip to a nature center tomorrow, and the weather is calling for rain. And we've had gorgeous weather for the last two weeks.  Couldn't this run have gone on for one more day??
My class is the only one in the school that hasn't had someone come forward to volunteer as the Room Parent.  This volunteer usually coordinates classroom helpers and field trip chaperones.  Very disappointing....
We got $500 worth of new books for our classroom libraries at the beginning of the year.  Mine are still sitting in a box in the corner of my room.  I may use one of the rainy days this weekend to tackle that project.
Click this link to access a pumpkin book log to use with your students.  I usually have a bin of Halloween books out for a station, and students record the ones they read on the sheet.  They can also rate the book on a scale of 1-5 for how much they like the book. 
The product includes free Reading Response Journal labels, too!

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Tried It Tuesday - Grammaropolis App

Yes!  I am hooking up again this week with Holly's Tried It Tuesday Linky!
I'm also linking up with Christy at Teaching Tales Along the Yellow Brick Road for her Classroom "App"lications Linky.
Last week I introduced common and proper nouns to my third graders. 
This week we are working on verbs.
Luckily I found an App to use in small groups that reviews both of these grammar concepts.
The App is called Grammaropolis, there is also an online website with similar games.
The App includes a short tutorial along with a video and quiz. While it begins with common and proper nouns, it also gets into concrete and abstract nouns, so would work best for third grade and up.
It is very easy for students to use.
The videos are jazzy enough for kids to really get into them.
Check out other great ideas on Holly's blog!
Also, again this week I am helping out Table Talk with C&C with their Best Selling Writing Activity Linky - you could win LOTS of great writing activities!


Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Tried It Tuesday - Tootsie Pop Reading Stamina

It's been ages since I joined in on Holly's Tried It Tuesday linky.  We've been doing some fun activities to launch Readers Workshop, and it's a perfect opportunity to share something that went really well.
Our mini lessons this week have been about building stamina, which we call "reading long and strong!"
"I Can..." statement charts like these are available in my TpT and TN stores.
Yesterday I took out a tootsie pop, and said I had a connection between the sweet treat and reading.  The students faces looked like, "whaaat?"
I then asked what they knew about tootsie pops, and they said things like:
"they've got a good gooey center"
"you lick them"
"they're yummy"
Someone even said they had seen the commercial where they ask, "How many licks does it take to get to the sweet center?"
I then said that a book is like a tootsie pop because sometimes you have to keep reading it until you get to the really good part.
I said it was important to not give up on a book, and that the longer you read, the better a book could get.
The students really seemed to understand the connection, and them we did a timed Read to Self to show me how they could stick with their books.
Of course we didn't do the greatest the first round, but they've really kicked into high gear on the second and third tries today.
To drive home the point, I said if we made it past 10 minutes they would get a tootsie pop.
I made stickers to put around the suckers.
Of course we achieved our goal, and are going for even longer tomorrow.
Check out more Tried It Tuesday ideas on Holly's blog!

Also, remember to check out the Best Seller Linky Party and Giveaway that is being hosted by


Monday, September 16, 2013

TpT Best Seller Linky Party! (I Can.... Statements for Launching Readers Workshop)

Caitlin and Carrie from Table Talk with C&C are hosting a very exciting *TpT Best Seller Linky Party and Giveaway* this week. I am very excited to be donating a best selling reading activity for this linky and giveaway! They wanted to have a linky and giveaway that showcases all of your hard work and dedication to making your products meaningful and engaging for your students. We all know how passionate we are about blogging and TpT product making, that we wanted to also celebrate all your hard work and accomplishments as a TpT seller. The countless hours of creativity you put into these beautifully and thoughtfully made products deserve a little bit more love! Why not celebrate them right here, right now?!?! Who's with us?

The best part is that they connected with 14 TpT Sellers ( like me!) who have donated their best *reading activity*  item and we want you enter to win them!!! Enter the rafflecopter for a chance to win ALL of the donator’s Top Selling *reading activity* TpT Product! Yes, you heard me correctly all 14 items FREE!!
Starting today, 9/15/13, you will have a chance to share your best reading activity seller through the linky AND enter the rafflecopter to win all of these amazing products!
The item that I have donated is my I Can Statements for Launching Readers Workshop!

I use these charts to introduce each lesson as I launch workshop during this first month of the school year.
The set includes 12 different charts, along with 12 smaller charts for students to place in reading response journals.

I made an 8X10 frame to serve as the focal point in the front of my room, and then post the charts in the frame daily.

 After I have taught a mini-lesson on the skill, and the students have practiced the outlined goal, they glue a smaller version of the chart into their Reading Response Journals.
Next, I've asked them to write about what achieving this goal would look like.

This item will be a one of the MANY great products you could win if you enter this giveaway at
Table Talk with C & C's blog!

You will definitely want to add your top selling reading item to this linky!

Here's how it's going to work.
1. Take a look through your TpT Store and sort your products by "Best Sellers."
2. Find the product that is your best selling "reading " related product.
4. Enter the giveaway for a chance to win a *FREE* best selling reading activity!
5. Spread the word about the linky and giveaway through all your social media!!

The *best selling reading activity* linky will be up for one week and then we will share the winner from the rafflecopter! The schedule for the linkys are below!

We hope you will all join us and we celebrate the hard work, creativity, and countless hours that we have put into making teaching and learning more fun and engaging!! :)