Bad Week...

So I had a formal observation today and I've been spending every last second working on that and getting things ready for Turkey day!!  So I've obviously gone over on my giveaway....  But alas - I will draw (random number generator) tomorrow for the winner!!  Don't forget to enter if you haven't already!!

I'm Back!! (Giveaway and a Sale!)

So it's been since August since I've made a post.... I know... SO BAD!!!  If I could share with you everything that's happened to me since then you'd be shocked that I made it out alive.  Unfortunately, blogging was put on the back burner.  Well, I now feel that my life is somewhat back to 'normal' and I can spare a few minutes here or there to share with all of you lovely bloggers!!  

I want to make my apology to everyone who follows me benefit you.  So in light of my return I'm throwing a 15% off Sale at my TPT store!!  It starts today and ends on Wednesday.  Go and check it out before Wednesday!!!

Also, I would like to have a giveaway!!!!  I'm going to pick one winner.  That person will win ANY item they'd like from my TPT store as well as a $20 gift card to Target!! (My favorite store!!)  Here's how to enter:

1.  Follow this blog
2.  Follow my TPT store
3.  Blog about my giveaway on your blog!

Leave a separate comment about each of the above to get three separate entries!  Good luck!!

And one last thing before I go.  I wanted to share the newest item on my TPT store:  Snowman Rounding!!  Click on the picture to view!!  So much for for either a center or a whole group quick review.  I haven't done this with my class yet, but when I do - I'll post pictures!!

Help with Grad Class

I'm in my final graduate class and need some help answering a few questions for my action research project.  My project is about reaching high ability students in a regular education classroom.  Please take a few minutes to click on the above link and answer some questions for me.  I'd greatly appreciate it!  If you have any questions, please let me know!

Ideas needed!!

I'm in charge of planning our school's Fall Book Harvest.  In the past - this has just been a family fun night with a book fair.  This year we want to change it into a literacy night but with fall themed activities.  I'm in need of fall themed literacy activities for 2nd-3rd grade.  Things families and students can do together...  Please please please respond with ANY ideas you have!!! Thanks!!

Sadness and Frustration

I'm just going to make a quick post this morning about TPT to see what you all think...

I just sold an item on TPT for $5.00.  It's a 23 page unit over the book, The Chocolate Touch.  This unit includes chapter questions over each question, plus other subject activities to go along with the book.  Someone bought this item and made a comment about it being overpriced for this 'skimpy unit'.  My rating is now a 2.1/4.0 on TPT.

I take a lot of time and effort in the items that I make.  It's heart crushing to hear that others aren't enjoying my items...

Do you think this unit sounds overpriced??  If yes, I'll definitely change it.  Also, what do YOU do when you get a bad review??  (You're all so awesome, I bet you haven't had any!!)  Is there any way to delete this review and get my status back to 4.0/4.0??

Advice needed please!!!

And just so you can truly tell me the truth - I've attached the packet for FREE below :)

(Click the Picture)

Story Elements

We always start each year off by reviewing the story elements.  Easy and fun!  I thought I'd change it up a bit this year by getting the students out of their seat.  I've made a fun and engaging activity where the students are given a piece of a fairytale (either the characters, setting, problem or solution).  They must find the other students who belong in their group.  (Ex:  If I'm given the character, I must find the setting, problem, and solution)  After they find their group, they are to sit together and together decide which piece is which story element.  They record their answers and then share with the class when done!  I've uploaded the file to teachers pay teachers!!  It includes enough pieces for a class of 28 students, directions, and the recording sheet.  :)  Please check it out if you're interested!!!  

Check it out here!

The first to comment gets a free copy!!  Enjoy the rest of your weekend!!

Writing Process Lesson Idea

So way back in the day when I was a student teacher (that's funny because it was only 4 years ago!), I remember going through some 6+1 writing training and the presenter did this really cute lesson teaching the  writing process using play-dough.  I hadn't remembered this lesson until a few days ago and am going to give it a try this year.  It's very simple and very cute.  I typed it up to share with the other teachers at school, but thought I'd also share it with you all :)

Click the picture to download
If anyone has any other adorable writing process lessons - please share!!! :)  Happy Thursday

And the winners are....

First place winner is:

Congrats Mindy!!!  You just won a $25 gift certificate to Target AND three free items off of my TPT store!!  Please send me and e-mail and we'll get everything taken care of!!

2nd Place winner is:

Congrats Debbie!!  You won TWO free items from my TPT store!!  Send me an e-mail as well!

And finally 3rd place winner is:

Luckymama!!  You are lucky!!  You've won one free item from my TPT store!!  Send me an e-mail as well :)  

Thanks to everyone who entered :)  Enjoy your Sunday!

Last Night for Giveaway!!!

Don't forget to enter my giveaway!  Today (Friday) is the last day to enter my giveaway!!  I'll announce the winner sometime on Saturday.  Click HERE to see what you could win!!!  Happy Thursday night!

Wanna see a MAGIC trick!?!?

In just a few more hours my husband will be turning this...

Into THIS...

I love reallygoodstuff..  but spending $200 on something he can make for under $100 is just not right!! He's making it right now, then we have to paint it.  It should be done in the next 24 hours :)  Soooo excited!!  I'll definitely post pictures when its done!  Happy Sunday evening!

Also - don't forget to enter my giveaway for a $25.00 Target gift certificate!! :)

THIS is why I love garage sales!!!

Any teacher who doesn't garage sale for their classroom is crazy!!  The deals on books, furniture, equipment, etc is fantastic!!  See what I got today!
I got all these this morning going to just a few garage sales.  They are all in beautiful condition!!   
And Yes!  This is the entire set of Junie B Jones books... practically brand new!!  Be jealous!

I also got a flower vase with fake beautiful flowers inside and a new radio/CD player for the classroom (mine broke last year..)  I think I spent maybe...  $25 on EVERYTHING!!!  :)  The summer is almost over, hit them up while you can!  And don't forget to enter my giveaway!!  $25.00 Target gift card and more to the 1st place winner!!

300 Followers Giveaway!!

So it's almost 1:00 AM and I'm still up...  Can't sleep!!  The Harry Potter midnight showing last night really threw me off my sleep schedule.  But I think it was ALL meant to be because I'm on Blogger and found out that I now have 300 followers!!!  This definitely calls for a giveaway!!!!  So here's what I'm offering to all of you faithful 300 followers and any newcomers as well ...

First Place - $25.00 Gift card to TARGET (My favorite shopping destination!) AND YOUR three choice items from my TPT store.

Second Place - Any TWO choice items from my TPT store.

Third Place - Any ONE choice item from my TPT store.

I haven't put much new on my TPT store lately, but hopefully will soon as soon as I get my classroom finished and can start working on thing on my computer :)  Here's how to enter!!

(Each of the following is one entry.  Please comment separately for each one to make sure you're entered the right number of times!!)

Entry #1 - Follow my blog and let me know you're a follower :)
Entry #2 - Blog about my giveaway and let me know you did!
Entry #3 - Grab my blog button and place it on your lovely blog!
Entry #4 - Follow my TPT store!

So excited to have so many wonderful followers and I'm even more thrilled to be following all of YOU as well.  It feels so great everyday when I get on here and see all of you who are just as dedicated and passionate about teaching as I am.  It really makes me feel like I'm a part of something special.  :)  Good luck to everyone.

The giveaway will end on Friday at midnight!!!  One week!  Ready... GO!

Classroom Library Linky Party!!

Not ONLY did I find a new blog, but I also found her doing a wonderful Linky Party!!  I think a classroom library can really make or break a teacher's classroom.  I'm proud to say that mine is so full that my students rarely have to go to our school's library to get book!!  Now these pictures are from last year.  This summer I'm going to do a little more organization as far as genres with my books.  But I still think it looks great :)

This is my rocking chair - which is actually getting repainted as we speak!  Also one bookshelf with book organized by author and series!

This is the whole view.  My theme is a reading garden.  If you look closely I have little bugs, water cans, wheelbarrows, baskets, flowers, and trees scattered around everywhere.  I also have the blue fabric in front of the shelves with books on them.  

This is the other side with some pillows and another bookshelf.

If you get some time, make sure you check her out AND join her linky party!! :)  

NEED HELP!! (Free item from TPT!)

I'm currently getting my masters and in one of my classes I must collect comments via a 'Voice Thread'.  I have three questions I have asked on the voice thread.  If you have a spare 5-10 minutes sometime between now and tomorrow evening, could you PLEASE leave your opinions??  All three questions are on technology in the classroom.  You can respond two ways:  with your voice or by typing.  If you do it with your voice (which is really what I need), you'll have to create an account.  It will prompt you to it and takes literally 10 seconds.  Its free as well.  I'm in dire need of more comments.  Please please please help me out!!!  If you do - you may choose any one file from my TPT store for FREE!! :)

Here's the link:

If you click on it and it doesn't work, copy and paste it into your browser.  I promise it doesn't take long!!  Leave a comment on this blog entry after you're done and let me know you left a comment on my voicethread.  Also let me know which file you want and your e-mail and I'll get it right to you!  Thanks in advance!! :)

Beginning of the Year Bulletin Boards Linky Party

So one of my favorite things when going back to school is putting up new bulletin boards in the hallway to welcome back the students.  I try my best not to reuse any ideas I've had in the past and either come up with or find new ones to use.  Here are some I've made in past years...

The flower box ended up being filled with flowers the students had made based off of their name.   I can add the activity if anyone's interested. (And yes, I know the word 'peak' is spelled wrong.  I fixed it but never took a picture of the fixed door!!)

Now I've only been teaching a few years so I don't have many to share...  I would LOVE to see what you all have done in the past!  Come join me in my FIRST Linky Party!!

Writing and Technology

Technology enhances so many different aspects of teaching, like math and ipod touches or reading and e-readers.  But one part about technology that is really picking up speed is writing using technology.  State standardized tests are very quickly becoming computer based and with that includes writing.  Students will need to know how to successfully type up a quick essay or paragraph on the computer or other electronic device for an assessment.  But what can teachers do to prepare for this?  And how can teachers use this as a way to enhance their students' writing?

I feel that the process of writing truly enhances the writing process by bringing together so many of the steps or writing into one format.  Traditionally, teachers would pass out a worksheet or a scrap piece of paper for the brainstorm, then another piece of paper for the rough draft.  Then it would take a lot of time to self, peer, and teacher edit the papers for both content and mechanics.  Then finally the final copy is written.  By using technology - these steps can come to life for the writer.  Programs such as Kidspiration can make brainstorming come to life.  Then as the students are typing up their essays or reports, the editing feature is automatically taking place (for mechanics).  Using technology for writing truly brings out each individual step of the writing process and allows the students to connect to them in a way that provides for their 21st century learning styles.  Also, using technology allows the students to publish their writing, which in turn, brings out an entirely new component of writing - critiquing. 

There are many setbacks and advantages of having students publish their writing on the web.  One advantage is easy access.  Students, with one click, can access another students writing.  This saves time and even paper for the classroom.  Another advantage to students publishing and critiquing each others' writing on the web is the exposure.  I find it very hard to find time to allow all students to read everyone's writing in the entire classroom.  That takes a lot of time and a lot of paper.  With having student's publish their writing online, it saves paper and even better, exposes the students to even more writing.  Writing progress comes a lot from modeling and exposure to others' writing.  The more exposure to the different writings and styles out there, the more ideas, knowledge, and know-how the students will have to put into their own writing.  I think the exposure to the different types of writing is one of the best advantages.  Another quick advantage would be the capability of doing some collaborative writing in class.  This is a great strengthening exercise for young writers that really gets the creative juices flowing. 

The only true disadvantage that I can think of is simply the loss of manuscript.  Becoming a loss art already, students who use technology for writing are exposed even less to using manuscript writing than those who do use it.  Is this really a disadvantage with the fact that today we e-mail, text, and blog all of our thoughts?  Not really sure..

I think blogging can become a true gem in the classroom.  Blogs open up a completely different atmosphere of communication that a lot of students feel more comfortable with as opposed to face to face communication.  The discussions that can take place on blogs can be in depth, meaningful, and engaging all at the same time.  Take for example this teacher who uses classroom blogs for her TalkBack Project in her classroom. (Click picture to read article)

Witte, S. (2007). "That's online writing, not boring school writing": Writing with blogs and the Talkback Project. Journal of Adolescent & Adult Literacy, 51(2), 92-96. Retrieved from EBSCOhost. )

Teachers can use blogs for classroom management.  They can post notices, fliers, and reminders about their classroom.  Even a student's personality can come to life using a blog.  Allowing them to design and create their own blog as a portfolio of work can really enhance a students performance.  Using blogs, students are also exposed to a certain type of writing style.  Blogs do not typically use a 'formal' writing style.  Instead they are more of a laid back, expressive, type of writing, which I feel that students would latch onto more.  Here's another great example of a teacher using blogs in her classroom.  This teacher even has a classroom mascot to help engage her writers into writing! (Click picture to read article)

Boling, E., Castek, J., Zawilinski, L., Barton, K., & Nierlich, T. (2008). Collaborative Literacy: Blogs and Internet Projects. Reading Teacher, 61(6), 504-506. Retrieved from EBSCOhost.)

There are many benefits to having students use technology and writing together.  This is just another way to enhance our Web 2.0 classrooms.  Before you begin to start your classroom blogs - here's a great website resource to read over first! 

Great Technology Tool!

So if you've stalked me at all, you'll know that I'm in love with using technology in my classroom.  My district is great about providing wonderful and engaging technology tools to our teachers as well.  Frogs, Bees, and Under the Seas posted today about a great online website called  I will completely support her by saying this is such a FANTASTIC tool!  I made a screen-cast about this amazing website to give you all some more information about just how great this website is.  If you're interested, check it out!

(Blogger isn't allowing me up upload ANY videos or pictures... so you'll have to click on the link to see the screen-cast)

Last Day of School!

So my last day of school was last week.  Where have I been since then?  Completely enjoying all of my free time and constantly thinking about next year...  It never ends does it??  Oh well!  I love it and wouldn't change a thing!  I just wanted to share a cute idea that we did on our last day.  I know memory books are all the rage and I do them, but I take out the 'autographs' page.  Instead I give each student a beach ball!  The ball becomes their autograph page.  When I sign the ball I write "We had a 'BALL' in 2nd grade!"  The kids LOVE it!  Check it out!

I'm hoping to get a lot done this summer - so I'll keep you updated on ideas and work that I'm doing :)  Happy Summer!!

Tick Tock Clock Dice Game

So my kids LOVE dice games and I try to come up with as many as I can to keep them engaged. With the school year only having FOUR days left... this is just what my kids need!! Here's a simple little game to help review telling time even with a little competition! It's called Tick Tock Clock.

The directions and recording sheet are included!  Enjoy!! 

End of the Year Math Project

One of my favorite things I do at the end of the year is the Favorite Number Project.  This is such a great and easy project for students to do to show what they've learned all year long.  This project can easily be changed for younger or older grades too.  So much fun!  Here is the project I use and the rubric for grading.  

Click on the pictures to download for Free :)  Pictures to come soon!  Enjoy!  

What are some of your favorite end of the year projects?

Character Trait Frames

We have been learning about character traits for a few weeks now and I honestly think the best way to teach them is to have the students describe themselves and their friends and family using the character trait words.  I got the idea of having the students make character trait 'frames' to help describe themselves.  We simply took a large piece of white construction paper and cut a large hole in the middle.  Then we titled the frame and wrote colorful character traits around our frames.  And Ta-Da...

The kids LOVED them!  Hope you do too!  
Happy Monday Night!

Time for some new ideas... about teaching TIME

Ok....  we have like 15 days of school left.  The kids have checked out... I'm about to check out.  We've learned everything we going to learn for the year.  We are on review.  I've used all of my resources, games, etc.   I'm in desperate need of some simple, low preparation, telling time activities.  Please please please share if you have any!!!

Is it Friday yet???

Blogger Trouble

So I'm really freaking out here.  All day long today, my blogger dashboard has said that "I'm not currently following any blogs...".  WHAT!?!?  I currently follow about 200+ AMAZING blogs!  What's going on!?!?  I haven't been able to check anyone else's blog today.. :(  I really sad.  I hope that something hasn't happened and I have to go back and find all of them again.  Anyone else had this trouble?  HELP!!!

Teachers Pay Teachers..

Is not working right now!!!!!  I'm so mad!  I want to take advantage of this huge sale going on and it's getting close to my bedtime ;)  I hope they get it back up and running soon.  :)

So so busy...

I feel like such a bad blogger...  I haven't had time to be on here much to update, but I promise there will be more to come soon!  I just wanted to let everyone know that in light of Teacher Appreciation Week I'm having a 10% off sale!!!  Check out my store soon.  The sale ends Friday!  Happy Shopping.  I appreciate all of YOU!

Let me tell you about my Baggage!

Let me tell you my baggage!  And by baggage I mean the multiple ways we've used paper bags in the last week!  We don't have a lot of time to celebrate Earth Day in our school :(, but instead we do a very simple but yet very FUN Earth Day community project.  I started this for my school three years ago.  We contact a local grocery store and go and get paper bags from them.  We have the students decorate them, reminding the members of our community to reduce, reuse, and recycle!  Then we take them back the day before Earth Day along with a poster saying, "Central wants YOU to Recycle!".  They lay them out on ED and let the customers use them.  Parents actually will go to the store to try and find their child's bag!  Its so great.  Here are a few good ones I picked out to show you.  

Here are the students who were selected to make the banner to take to the grocery store with the bags!  I forgot to take a picture of the finished product :(  It was sooo cute!

But wait!  There's more!  We have been doing our very last nonfiction study for the year the past few weeks.  So I decided to assign an at home nonfiction project!  I just love doing the paper bag/chip bag book projects for nonfiction.  Its so easy and the kids love them.  Here are a few examples.  

The bag is supposed to represent a bag of chips and then inside are chips with facts on them from the book they chose.  I have added this project to my TPT store here if you want to check it out!

I hope you all have a very Happy Easter tomorrow! :)  Enjoy being with friends and family.  

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