Sunday, December 1, 2013

December Currently, a New Item, and Cyber Monday

It's December, and here is my Currently, hosted by Farley at Oh' Boy Fourth Grade!

Most of these are self-explanatory, except my favorite tradition. Each year, everyone in my family (there are only 5 of us so it's not too excessive) buys everyone else a stocking stuffer costing no more than $10. For some reason, we had stopped doing it for a few years. This year we decided to bring back the tradition. I like this because we have to be more creative with our gifts. It's always fun to try to think of things to buy others, and it's fun to see what everyone else gets.

I have created a new item for my store, just in time for Cyber Monday (and Tuesday)! My class has a very difficult time with multisyllabic word reading. So, I thought I'd make this simple game that can be used in various ways. You can put it in a center, use it in small groups, or make it a whole-class game.

Each child takes a turn choosing a card. If he/she reads the word correctly, he/she can keep the card. If a "mischievous elf" card is drawn, the player must put back all of his/her cards. The player with the most cards at the end is the winner. 

I have divided the words into syllables by using the colors red and green. This will help students to sound out the words. I plan to review all of the words with my class tomorrow before putting the game out for them to play.

One thing I love about this game is that the elf cards were made with elf clip art that I drew myself! Those elves can be found here.

Starting tomorrow, everything in my store is 20% off! When you make a purchase at TPT tomorrow and Tuesday, be sure to type in the code CYBER to get a total of 28% off everything in my store! Also, if you aren't already a follower of my TPT store, be sure to become one. That way you can get information about new products and sales. 

I already have several items on my wishlist that I plan to buy during the sale. What do you plan to get? Be sure to share with us in the comments below!

Saturday, November 2, 2013

November Currently and Some October Fun

It's November, and here is my Currently, hosted by Farley at Oh' Boy Fourth Grade!

Listening - It's laundry day, so of course I can hear the washing machine. Otherwise, things are pretty quiet right now.

Loving - I'm loving that it's the weekend! I can sleep longer, relax, work on my TPT products, and continue reading Allegiant, which I have been wanting to do all week. 

Thinking - I brought my car in to get the oil changed (and to get rid of that annoying light that says, "maintenance needed" or something like that), and they told me I needed 4 new tires. I already knew that, but didn't really want to spend the money. Well, there goes the money! :(

Wanting - I'm looking forward to using some of the new Christmas clip art that I bought to make holiday items for TPT!

Needing - Now that the holiday season is fast-approaching, I need to start Christmas shopping. Oh, wait! I can't do that now. I had to buy 4 tires for my car - UGH!

A Yummy Pin - Anyone who knows me knows I don't like to prepare food. Here is a pin of a dessert that sounded good though. 

It's a recipe for Chocolate Chip Cranberry Cheese Bars. I found it on Pinterest, but the original link is .

The day before Halloween, we were visited by the Candy Corn Bandit

He stole the Starburst candy corn I had for my class. Before we tried to look for him, we had to predict what he looked like and where the candy was hidden.

After that, we followed the clues to find where the candy was hidden. That bandit brought us to the cafeteria, PE, the playground, the library, and back to our classroom. It was hidden in the classroom the entire time! 

After that, we wrote about the Candy Corn Bandit and our adventures. Then, we completed the craftivity. My class really enjoyed that part because we hardly ever have time to do fun stuff like that anymore.

Obviously, some followed directions, and some decided to add their own creative touches. There were others that took creativity too far, so I didn't post those. 

The most difficult part was gluing the candy corn and the pipe cleaners. I have yet to find an easy way to get pipe cleaners to stick. I'd love to hear suggestions!

Did you do anything fun with your class last week? Be sure to let me know in the comments below!

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Math Fluency - This Is Great!

I was visiting Mrs. Croft's Classroom blog. By the way, I found her through the SLANT box program I mentioned previously. She shared about her experience with a site called XtraMath. It's a web site that gives students practice with basic facts in addition, subtraction, multiplication, and division. It sounded interesting, so I clicked over to check it out.

I was able to sign up very easily, and it took almost no time at all to get my class entered since it only takes first names. When students use it, they have to type in their assigned 4-digit PIN number. This was easy enough since they have a link to print out all student PIN numbers, one page in list format and another in grid format. I quickly cut apart the grid, taped each student's PIN to an index card, and they were ready to go!

The true test of this site was yet to come. I couldn't wait to try it out on my class. I set up my computers, logged in to my class, and it showed the names of the students that would go first. I only have 2 very old computers, but they were sufficient to run the site. I showed my class the introductory video so they would know what to do, then sent the first 2 students to the computers. They were able to log in easily, and seemed to have no problem working the program. They are given a pre-test to see what level they should be working on, then they can move on to that level.

One of the wonderful things about this site is that it requires no effort after you log in! When a student finishes, it shows the name of the next student to go. He/she will go tap the next person on the shoulder to let him/her know it's time to get on the computer. There is no interruption of class time at all! There are buttons to click if a child is absent or busy when it is his/her turn. When "busy" is selected, the program will simply call the student at a later time.

One drawback to this program occurred when almost everyone had had a turn. A child was on one computer, and her name also showed up on the other computer for her turn. That was resolved simply by pressing the "busy" button. So, it wasn't too much of a concern.

There are parent letters to let parents know how to let their child do this at home. That's a great way to get homework done while getting extra practice with math facts!

You can also see the progress of each child. Their daily performance is color-coded, and if you click on the arrow (it looks kind of like a little heart with an arrow in it), you can see which ones the student answered correctly and which ones he/she missed. Over time, it graphs the child's progress. You are also sent weekly reports in case you don't have time to check in on the site.

Here is a screen shot of one day's scores for one child:

The colored dots on the right-hand side show how each child did. The class list is covered by this student's scores in the picture.

To help you interpret the results above, here is something from the site's FAQ:

"What do the yellow smiley, green check, blue hourglass and red X icons mean?"
Progress Graph
"Click on the colored dots on the student report calendar or the class report usage column to see detailed information about the questions answered by the student. A yellow smiley face means the question was answered correctly within 3 seconds. A green check mark means the question was answered correctly within 10 seconds. A blue hourglass means the question was not answered within 10 seconds. A red X means the question was answered incorrectly."

The best thing about this site, and I KNOW everyone will LOVE this, is that it is FREE!!

I highly recommend trying this out. It's great for teachers and parents to help children develop math fact fluency. Parents can sign up even if their child's teacher isn't using it.

Do you know of any great learning websites that you'd like to share? Comment below and tell us!

Saturday, October 12, 2013

Flash Sale!

I'm having a 20% off sale from now through 10/14!

Click here to visit my Facebook page, and find out how to save even more!

Be sure to check out my new math facts card games when you visit my store!

Have a great weekend! 

Sunday, October 6, 2013

October Currently, a New Discovery, and a Treat

It's October, and I'm a little late, but here is my Currently, hosted by Farley at Oh' Boy Fourth Grade!

Listening - Yes, I live with my parents. I have lived on my own in my own house as well. This situation works out for us right now. Anyway, our computers are set up in what used to be the dining room. All is quiet, except for the faint sound of music from my mom's Scrabble game.

Loving - After MUCH nagging, I was finally able to get my 8-year-old son to clean his room! He had to be told what to do a little at a time, but he did it!

Thinking - I posted a few new TPT products today, and now I'm thinking of new ideas.

Wanting - It's Saturday night, and we still have Sunday. However, it's always nice to have a 3-day weekend. I tend to get more done when we have one. Too bad we don't this weekend!

Needing - During the summer I had lost 25 pounds. Once school started, it was too easy to fall back into my old eating habits. I need to get back on track!

Treat -  You'll have to do a few tricks to get it! Visit my store and find your favorite product that is $5.00 or less. Comment below with the name of the product and your e-mail address. On Monday, I will randomly select 3 winners to get their favorite product. Good luck!

Now for my new discovery! I found the blog, Lessons With Coffee, and found this:

The SLANT Box Exchange

 If you sign up by the 3rd of the month (I was too late for this month), you are paired up with another teacher. You get to know one another, then you send a box with gifts (worth no more than $10.00 total) based on the monthly theme, and a hand-written note to that person. By getting to know the person beforehand, you get ideas for what to send. It sounds like such a fun idea! I signed up for next month already! Click on the picture above to find out more about these SLANT boxes!

Also, I have added a few new items to my TPT store. They help students develop fluency in addition and subtraction facts, and have a fall theme. They are all 50% off for a limited time! Click on the pictures to learn more!

Remember to comment below with the name of your favorite product in my TPT store that is $5.00 or less and your e-mail address! You could be one of 3 lucky winners chosen on Monday!

Saturday, August 24, 2013

The First 2 Weeks...

Wow! The first 2 weeks of students is done, and I'm exhausted! I think I have a pretty good class this year. They are VERY different from last year. Last year, seemed easy as far as my students were concerned. I showed them what to do, and they did it. They were fairly independent, so I could focus on learning 2nd Grade curriculum. This year, my class doesn't seem to have the same independence. So, I've been modeling, modeling, modeling. They are trying very hard to do what is expected, but I can feel the difference between this class and last year's class.

I feel good about taking my time with rituals and routines this year. I keep reminding myself it will be worth it later. Then, I hear about all of the things other teachers on my team are already doing. That's when I start to wonder if I'm going TOO slowly...

Then, today I check my e-mail, and find this in my box . It was a wonderful reminder that I am doing the right thing. I have subscribed to this e-mail list for months now, and have both of the books on my Kindle Fire. After reading today's e-mail, I thought I'd share it with all of you so you could benefit from it too.

What has inspired you so far this year (whether you've started school or not)? Feel free to let us know in the comments section!

Saturday, August 17, 2013

Back to School, a Freebie, and a TPT Sale

Our students returned on Tuesday. I have 4 students I have had previously (3 from Kindergarten, and one I retained last year whose mother wanted me to have again). This is a very different group from last year. Last year's class didn't need as much direction, and were calmer overall. That's exactly what I needed because I was starting in a new grade level, and wasn't exactly sure how I would do things. 

This year I'm trying to be more organized, and I know how I want to do routines based on things that worked/didn't work last year. This is good because I can focus more on getting the children to learn routines. So far they have been receptive to learning how I want things done. I just have to make sure I don't let them get carried away with the talking. 

One of the routines we practiced was the Morning Message. This year's anchor chart for the message came out much better than the one I did last year.

After making the chart, we did a practice message together. I showed them how to get their materials (pencil, clipboard, paper). Then, we went through the message sentence by sentence and tallied mistakes. After that, I showed them how to fold their note papers and put them in the Morning Message Bucket. 

The next day, I had them try one on their own. I only put 3 mistakes. However, only 2 people got it right. I'm sure more of them will get it right with practice. The children who get it right get a small prize. It's a great way to review skills taught in class.

Before going back to school (when I had lots of time), I made some table labels for myself. I liked them so much that I made them into a freebie for you. The colors are pastel, but they show up nicely in my classroom.

Click on the picture above to download.

Teachers Pay Teachers is having their annual Back to School Sale on August 18 and 19! All of my products will be 20% off, PLUS if you enter the code BTS13, TPT will take another 8% off. You'll get a total of 28% off of your purchase! Also, remember to leave feedback for all purchased items. If you do, you'll earn points good towards $$ off of your purchases. This works all the time, not just for the BTS sale!

Click on the banner below to visit my store.

Thank you to Zip-A-Dee-Doo-Dah Designs for the sale banner!

I also have a brand new product! I decided to make editable templates based on a theme. Since My current theme is sea life, I went with that. 

In this packet you will find editable templates with a sea life theme. The templates can be used for nameplates, nametags, signs, word walls, notepads, binder covers, flash cards, and whatever else you can think of.

For nametags, simply print the page(s) on full sheet labels, then cut them to the appropriate size. The rest of the pages work best when printed on card stock. After printing, laminate for durability.

I have typed in the text boxes so you can see where they are. Simply replace my text with your own in whatever font and size you choose.

Click here or on the images above to check out this product.

Now, my question to you is this:

What themes would you like to see in editable templates?

Thursday, August 1, 2013

August Currently

I know - you're amazed that I'm posting twice in one day! I am too! :) It's time for Currently from Oh' Boy 4th Grade!

The Listening is self explanatory. The Loving is that I've lost 22 pounds this summer! I still have a long way to go, especially since the loss doesn't seem to show that much, but I'm very excited to have lost as much as I did. I hope I can continue to lose even after school starts!

As for the Thinking and Wanting - don't we all? I already have a to-do list of things I want to get done before we start school next week. This summer has been a fun and restful time for me, and I hate to see it end. 

Needing, well I'm kind of embarrassed about this. Since summer started, my sleep schedule has gotten WAY off track. I can't seem to fall asleep until around 3 am, and then I sleep until 11 or 12. It's going to be hard to get out of that bad habit. Yes, my son gets up earlier than that. He wakes me up when he gets up. I get him settled, and he keeps himself busy (he's very good at that). Then, I go back to sleep. Also, we live with my parents, so they are there to help out with him if he needs something. I consider myself very lucky!

Now for the back to school must-haves! I LOVE Sharpies of all different colors! I just love writing with the fine tip and using multiple colors on posters for my classroom.

Computer labels are definitely a must-have! It's so nice to just print out an entire class of names on labels to put on nametags, journals, folders, cubbies, pocket charts, and whatever else I need to put them on. It's so much easier than hand writing the names on everything like I had to do when I first started teaching.

As for the 2nd Grade Data Folder and Checklist, it's an item I found on TPT by 1st Grade is WeinerFUL. Our grading system and report cards are drastically changing this year. We will be starting to implement Common Core, and I am terrible at keeping data. So, when I found this product I was thrilled. There are pages and pages of charts for students to keep track of data, as well as Common Core checklists for them to use. Also, it's CUTE! Everyone who knows me knows I need to have teaching materials that are cute. If it isn't cute, I make it cute. If you want to check this out, click on the picture below.

Be sure to download the preview because it gives you a good overview of the product, and you get a few freebie pages in it. I don't plan to use all of the pages, but many of them will work for me. Also, I may print 2 pages each on the back and front sides of the paper to save on copy paper.

UPDATE: I found out she has them for Kindergarten and 1st Grade as well, and they are just as cute!

What are your back to school must-haves? Let me know by leaving a comment below. Thanks!

Back After All This Time!

After being lazy relaxing this summer, I'm finally updating my blog! I apologize for my absence. I'm finally ready to start thinking about school (now that we're going back on Tuesday!). I haven't been completely lazy relaxing the whole summer though. I did manage to copy all of my books on CD to the MP3 players for my listening center. I even have plenty of room on them to add more books!

I went to work in my room a few days ago, and was actually quite productive. I was able to arrange furniture, organize a bit, and put stuff up on the walls. This was a nice change since for the last 2 years I had to move my classroom and unpack. I was so glad I didn't have to unpack again this year. There is still lots to do though!

Instead of my usual rectangular white baskets for the children to put their supplies in, I found some really cute metal buckets that will match the colors in my room. I'm still working on a way to make the buckets quieter when they put their stuff in. Any ideas would be appreciated!

 I found these adorable buckets in the Target dollar section!

Later, I found these at Walmart for 97 cents! They have a label on them that says, "dry erase." I don't know what I would use that for, but it's nice to know I have the option!

I have a FREEBIE for you! It's a new lunch choice sign. I had another one with A, B, and C lunch choices (which is still offered for free at my store). My school no longer offers 3 choices, so I made a new one. This one is a better match for my decor.

If you'd like one for your class, click here.

At my school, we have an incentive plan for children to become fluent in addition/subtraction facts. I firmly believe in memorizing the facts, but some children might find that boring. So, I created 4 addition card games to make it more fun for children to become fluent in the facts. I plan to add games for subtraction, multiplication, and division very soon!

As a back-to-school special for you, I am offering each game at 50% off now through Sunday, August 4! The best deal for this is the bundle pack, which will normally offer all 4 games for the price of 3. At 50% off, you can get all 4 games for a little over the price of 1! 

Click on the pictures below to see details about each game.

It will be nice to get back to work, but I will definitely miss staying up late and sleeping in! I am not a morning person at all! We go back on August 6, and the children return on August 13. When do you return to school, or have your already returned?

Comments are always appreciated!

Sunday, May 5, 2013

Teacher Appreciation, A Giveaway, and Caterpillars

Happy Teacher Appreciation Week! I hope all of you are shown how much you are appreciated this week! Our school is pretty good about doing that. We are usually treated to something special each day of TA Week. We get small treats, lunches, ice cream, and even a day where we can get a massage during our lunch time. Since I'm a vegetarian, they also make meal accommodations for me (even when we have parties and stuff throughout the year). So I guess I can consider myself lucky. 

What does your school do for you during Teacher Appreciation Week? I'd love to find out what different places do.

Speaking of Teacher Appreciation, TPT is having a sale to celebrate! Of course, my store is participating! You get 20% off of everything in my store, and you get an extra 10% off of that price from TPT when you enter the code TAD13. This will give you up to 28% off everything you buy! Click the image below to check out the sale!

Melissa over at First Grade Smiles is having a 200 Follower Giveaway! There are several prize packages with fantastic prizes from your favorite TPT Sellers! Click the image below to enter.

When I taught Kindergarten, I would always order caterpillars and teach a butterfly unit. It was one of my favorite units to teach. The children would learn big words like metamorphosis, molting, emerge, chrysalis, etc. They would be so intrigued by the process, and ask lots of questions. There was lots of learning going on. I loved it!

When I moved to 2nd Grade, I was thrilled that they do the unit as part of their curriculum. Our caterpillars arrived last week. Unfortunately, I didn't take a picture of them on day 1, but I did get one from day 3.

The children are fascinated by them. They have so many good questions about them too. I'll share a few in an upcoming post.
I found a cute FREE observation journal to use with this unit as well. This was created by Susan at T.G.I.F. Click on the image to download.

Finally, I just wanted to share a picture I took last week. My class is so into completing the Morning Message. We even started graphing our class average of it each day, kind of like they do with their personal test scores so they can see their progress. I think they especially like it because they get a treat if everything is correct. I just think it's fun! It's also great to see them working together on it.

Feel free to leave comments below! If you have any great ideas for a butterfly unit, I'd love to read them!

Thursday, May 2, 2013

May Currently and Some Giveaways!

It's a new month, and time for Currently, Sponsored by Farley at Oh' Boy Fourth Grade! I know, I didn't do it last month. I was getting lazy, but I'm getting back on track now. 

Here it is!

Yes, I'm listening to my son singing in the other room. He is playing Minecraft, his latest obsession. He gets these songs from the game or about the game (Thanks, You Tube! - Sarcasm) in his head, and keeps humming or singing them out loud. It's quite annoying since now those stupid songs pop into my head at various times during the day. I just wish he'd sing Bon Jovi or something instead! :)

I recently learned how to make editable products to post on TPT! I saw it on the Seller's Forum, and was thrilled to find it! It inspired me to update my Bright Schedule Cards. I updated the originals that are ready-made with subject areas on them, then made some editable ones with and without clip art so people can change the font or even choose to have text-only cards. I also made smaller cards to include the time of day. I thought they came out pretty good, even if I say so myself. :)

My class, the one that has been wonderful all year, is starting to go crazy! They are much more talkative, opinionated, and a few even like to argue with me. I'm finding myself having to be much harder on them, which I really don't like. Only 23 more days!

I find myself wanting to do so many things, but I have to choose just one. I want to read, play computer games, write in my blog, make new products, etc., but I am only able to focus on one thing at a time. Oh, what a joy it would be to be able to enjoy everything at once!

Like I mentioned earlier, I had gotten lazy, and wasn't writing as frequently. I'm working on that now. :)

My summer bucket list: 

1. I need to get serious about losing weight, which I'm hoping to do over the summer.
2. I have tons of books on my Kindle Fire that I haven't read yet. I hope to get to many of them over the summer.
3. I'd like to go away somewhere fun, even if it's just for a few nights. I'm not sure where, but I'll let you know when I go! :)

By the way, if you are still looking for a Mother's Day activity for your class, check out my Happy Mother's Day Pack. I'm working on the booklet with my class now. They sometimes surprise me with what they write in the blanks. My 2nd Graders even put speech bubbles (they didn't really do that in Kindergarten) to make the booklets even more entertaining. It's definitely a great keepsake for Moms!

Curriculum Core is having a 100 Follower Giveaway! Be sure to check it out!

The Learning Lab is having a May Giveaway starting on May 5. Remember to stop by!

Both giveaways have great prizes!

Feel free to comment below! I love hearing from my readers! 

Saturday, April 27, 2013

Mother's Day

Mother's Day will soon be upon us. Of course, I always have my students do something to celebrate their mothers or, in the absence of a mother, another significant person in their lives.

When I taught Kindergarten, we would have a Mother's Day Tea. All mothers would be sent an invitation to join us in the celebration. I had the children make corsages out of coffee filters colored with markers, and sprayed with water (which gave them a beautiful effect when dry). I'd put a green pipe cleaner for the leaf and the stem, and add a safety pin for the mothers to pin them on. Click here if you'd like to see an example. I always had the children color more than what is shown.

One year, I also had the children make hats for their mothers in addition to the corsages. I'd cut the center out of a Chinette plate, glue a Chinette bowl in the center, have the children paint them in pastel colors, and tie tulle around the hat so it would tie around the mothers' chins. After finding out that the mothers didn't like wearing them very much, I decided to stop making them.

The tables were decorated with table cloths, and placemats made by the children. In the center of each table was a ceramic tea pot, which all of the mothers seemed to love. The mothers drank their tea from glass or ceramic tea cups. Over the years I found it was easier and more pleasant for the mothers if I put iced tea in the tea pots instead of hot tea.

When the mothers arrived, the children were instructed to greet their mothers and show them to their seats. They would then give their mothers the corsages and a Mother's Day book they had made (more on that below). While the mothers looked at the books, the children gave them massages. After everyone arrived, I would have the children "take their mothers' orders" as to what they wanted from the snack table. Then they would get the food and serve it to their moms. If their mothers offered them food, they were instructed to say, "No thank you. This is your day." They would get to eat later.

After everyone was served, I would call the children over to perform some Mother's Day songs (more on that below) we had practiced. The mothers always loved this part! They would then rejoin their mothers, have a snack, and enjoy the rest of the tea party with their mothers.

Every year, the mothers would rave about how much they enjoyed the Mother's Day Tea. Now that I'm writing about it, I'm actually considering doing it in 2nd Grade this year, even though I thought I wouldn't.

The Mother's Day books are something I've also done for years, and I'm doing them again this year with my 2nd Graders. They make great keepsakes as the children fill in the blanks and illustrate them. I still have my son's book from when he was in Kindergarten.

I have created a version of the book in my new Happy Mother's Day Pack, available at my TPT store.

The pack includes a variety of pages you can use to make your own books. There are 18 total book pages to choose from. Some examples are below.

For people who would like something similar to the book, but on one page, I have included a certificate with fill in the blank sentences. There is one for Mom and one for Someone Special (both in color and blackline).

There is also a coupon book for children to make and give to their moms. A few examples are below.

 Finally, I have included the lyrics to the songs we sing at the Mother's Day Tea. These include possible actions you may want your children to do with the songs.

Do you do anything special with your class for Mother's Day? Feel free to share your ideas below!