Sunday, December 30, 2012

Banished into the Artic Night (And a Giveaway!)

Funny story. As I sat down to compose this post, a stink bug came crawling up on my desk.  Stink bugs give me the heebie jeebies, and there was no way this stink bug was going to survive in my house on my computer desk a moment longer.  I had to use cunning and the dangerous tools of a pencil eraser and a plastic cup, but I'm proud to say I was victorous over the stink bug, and it has been banished into the arctic winter night, where -- at the risk of sounding cruel -- I hope it dies.

Now, before you judge me as cold and cruel-hearted, I just want you to know that I peacefully coexist with many little critters, like the occasional centipede or the Daddy Long Legs that I see in the corners of the garage.  I'm okay with that.  But not the stink bugs.  They must go.  Would you  want this crawling across, under, and in your desk while you were working on it.  Next thing you know, it will be up your pant leg.  No, thank you!

Now, on with the big news about Mrs. Payton's 100 Follower Giveaway!

Mrs. Payton has reached 100 Followers on her blog!  Isn't that great.  And after this giveaway she is hosting, I expect she'll have even more!  She has 8 high-quality resources in her giveaway, plus $15 in free resources from her store.  $15 goes a  l--o--n--g way in TPT land!

Be sure to scoot on over to her blog, Payton's Precious Kindergarteners, and sign up for her rafflecopter giveaway.  Just click the button below.

Good luck!

Great Give Away!

Lori, over at the Reinspired Teacher, is celebrating 100 followers with a huge giveaway! She's starting with K-2, so head on over now to sign up! Also, check back to her site because she will follow up with two more giveaways after this one for older grades. Just click on the picture below to visit Lori's blog. Good luck!

Saturday, December 29, 2012

Waking Up

I woke up this morning to a few more inches of new snow and steadily falling snow. Right now, it's the big, fluffy snowflakes that look like cotton balls falling from the sky. So pretty, especially when I don't have to go anywhere! I also woke up to the sound of my husband shoveling the driveway! I'm glad he woke up before me! I woke up to my daughter's newly developed hacking cough. I'll have to keep an eye (or ear) on that. And finally, I woke up to my 18-year old son laying next to me for a morning catch-up session. How I will miss those morning chats when he leaves for the Marines in June. : (

It seems that teachers are starting to wake up from their winter break as well. More linky parties and follower celebrations are being posted, and there's an increase of buyers in my store. In the spirit of waking up, I have two linkys to share with you. Here's the first one:
Win My STORE!!!!

Cynthia, over at 2nd Grade Pad is celebrating her one-year blogiversary by giving away her store!  Can you believe it?  You don't want to miss out on this giveaway, so hop on over and sign up now!  She will announce the winner January 1st.

The second one is from An Educator's Life blog.  John has put together an awesome amount of freebie and paid items to share with you.  As you can see, his theme is all about waking up and trying new ideas in January.  I can't wait to dig through all those great ideas myself.  So head on over and wake up to all the possibilities of a New Year with new teaching activities!

Happy New Year to all!

Friday, December 28, 2012

Preparing for January

I hope of you have had a peaceful and restful winter break so far.  We had an excellent Christmas and are now enjoying the lull between Christmas and New Year's with lots of sleeping in, visiting family, and of course, shopping!  Those gift cards don't spend themselves,  you know? 

In between all the fun, I've been thinking about teaching in January.  I've developed 4 new eSources (my newly coined name for my digital resources; how do you like it?)  Funny story about eSources -- it started out as a typo when I left the "r" off  "resource."  I looked at it and thought, esource, huh.  Let's spell it eSource and it makes sense.

Anyways, back to my eSources.  Two are winter math games including adding, subtracting, and place value, January Roll and Cover with Mike the Moose


and Penguin Push


I also added a long and short O sorting activity to complement my other long and short vowel sorting packets, Short I and Short E.  The remaining vowels will be added -- someday.


And finally, I added a Martin Luther King integrated Esource packet.


Feel free to click on any picture above to visit my TPT store and explore these products further.

Finally, I have a quick and easy MLK freebie for you.  It's a dove of peace made out of paper plates.  I've been doing this activity along with MLK for years in my classroom.  It makes a nice wall dsiplay when I pair it with the children's writings on what they think would make the world a better place today.


If you click on the picture, it will take you to a page with the PDF on it.  Open the PDF for directions and a step-by-step pictorial tutorial for you.

Enjoy and have a very Happy New Year!

Friday, December 21, 2012

Project Snowflake

Earlier this week, the National PTA sent out a memo about making snowflakes to decorate the new school that the students of Sandy Hook Elementary will be going back to when school reopens in January. They want to make it look like a winter wonderland.

Today, the students at my school spent all morning making and decorating snowflakes of all shapes and sizes. Our first graders teamed up with fifth graders, who helped them make their snowflakes.

Give kids scissors, paper, gluesticks, and gllitter and watch what happens!


It was a beautiful, beautiful morning of children eagerly performing service for children they have never met!

5th graders use precision glittering techniques, unlike 1st graders, who go for the overall shake and dump.

5th graders use precision glittering techniques, unlike 1st graders, who go for the overall shake and dump.
 After two periods, the whole school gathered in the gym, along with the priests and many parents.


At 9:30, as the church bells rang, we observed silence and prayer.

Then Father blessed the snowflakes.


After closing prayers, we packed up the snowflakes.  The local UPS store boxed and shipped the snowflakes off to Conneticut this afternoon at no charge to us!  All in all, it was a perfect start to our Christmas vacation.

I leave you with one of my students' writing from this week about the true meaning of Christmas.


This is wath I thinck the True meaning of Christmas is. It is note about presis. It is abowt Jesus Brthday. We have to celebrate!

I hope your celebration of Jesus' Birthday is filled with much joy and love and hope!

Saturday, December 15, 2012

Silence for Sandy Hook Elementary


Please visit TPT Sunday, December 16. 10% of all sales will be donated to help the families and Sandy Hook school. Many teachers are running sales to help increase the amount sold for the day.


Reindeer Games!

I posted about craft day, and I posted about getting sick soon after. Now, I want to share a craft that we make every year. It's so cute and easy to make! Many thanks to my first grade teaching partner of many years who shared this craft with me my first year at my school. Glitter and this craft are two things that always make me smile and remember her!

So here's how you make this adorable reindeer.

1.  Gather up your supplies.  Here's all that you need.

smallish red pom for the nose, smallish googly eyes, two clothespins, and geegaws to dress up the antlers, and craft glue.  I get all these at the dollar store  and can have enough supplies for a whole class for about 6 dollars. 

2.  Next, glue the two clothespins together as pictured.
3.  Then glue on the red nose and the googly eyes.


4  Glue on the antler geegaws to dress it up, and you have a super-cute reindeer ornament to send home.


You can glue an ornament hanger on the back to hang it in a tree or clip in the tree.  Either way, it makes a great addition to the tree or a great gift for a relative!  Enjoy!

All I Won for Christmas Giveaway!

Sorry for the late post on this -- busy week + sickness = late to post.

If you hurry over to Tanya Rae's blog, you still have time enter this giveaway!  She's got 68 fabulous products that she's giving away in two different rafflecopters.  But hurry -- it ends in 15 hours!  Click the link below to take you there.  Good luck!
All I WON for Christmas Giveaway

Friday, December 14, 2012

Heavy Heart

I came to post about a giveaway, but it just doesn't seem like the thing to do right now. My heart is heavy, thinking about all those innocent children in Conneticut, and all those families whose lives are being turned upside down by this tradgedy. I can't make sense of it, just as I've not been able to make sense of any school shootings anywhere in the world. Why?

As teachers, we can't help but think about our own school situations. We know no place is immune, but are we doing all we can to make our schools the safest they can be? Schools are run by routines, and anyone with bad intent just has to study those routines to figure out a way to get in. All we can do is keep our doors locked, stay alert, and practice our emergency procedures. And keep a big bat by our classroom doors.

Please pray for the children, staff, and families of Sandy Hook Elementary.

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Crashing and Burning

In my previous post, I talked about the stress that disrupted schedules can cause to a school day. Well, it is Wednesday evening, and we made it through the schedule distruptions with minimal damage! Tomorrow will be a normal schedule, normal learning day. Praise God!

The only fatality is me! I'm crashing and burning right now. It started on the way home from school with sneezes and a scratchy throat and is now progressing to headache and stuffy nose. Boo :( I see two nyquil tablets and an early night in my future!

Here's a picture I snapped of my little elves. Aren't they the cutest little bugs?

They made and wore these darling elf hats freebie by Over the First Grade Rainbow.  We made 5 different crafts in a little over two hours and ended with a cup of hot chocolate.   I could never have done it without my parent volunteers.  I'm so grateful for the willingness of our parents to help out in school.


Click on the picture to get your freebie Elf Hats for next year!

That's it for me tonight.  I'm off to take my Nyquil!

Saturday, December 8, 2012

Schedule Disruption Survival Plan

Before I begin this post, I must make a disclaimer:  I really do love the holiday season.  I love the traditions that surround Christmas, the concerts, the crafts, the Santa's Shops.  I really do.  BUT. . .

Oh my, how they disrupt a daily schedule, and if you teach young children, you know...know...KNOW what a disrupted schedule means...hyper-vigilence on your part and ENGAGING and EXCITING activites to keep them focused.

This week we have -- Monday, dress rehersal for Christmas play.  Monday night, Christmas play, Tuesday afternoon  (all afternoon) Santa's Helper's Craft  Day,  Wednesday morning, mass, Wednesday afternoon, Santa's Secret Shop, and Friday, regulary scheduled superstar student guest reader.  That's a lot of schedule disruption.

So what's a teacher to do?  Pull out the big guns!  Pull out those extra special fun learning games to keep everyone involved.  I've got two I've been saving... one I created just yesterday, and one I created about a month ago.  In math, we've been learning addition strategies, so I created this game.
Race to Bethlehem finishedjpg_Page1

I'm using one paper dice with numbers on it and one dotted dice.  The idea is the children will practice counting on from the numbered die  instead of counting each dot on both dice.  Most of my kids are getting this concept, but I still notice some putting up fingers for both numbers when adding.  Hopefully, playing this game will help that concept sink in for a few more.  Ive also differentiated the resource by including number dice from 1-6 and 7-12.  This will give you sums to 12 or sums to 18, depending on which die you use with your dotted dice.  This resource can also be used to reinforce subtracting from the bigger number.  Don't you just love a versatile resource?
You can claim this FREEBIE from my TPT store by clicking on the picture above.  For our public school friends who may not be able to race to Bethlehem, I created an alternate version:
Race to North POle coverjpg_Page1

Same concept as above, but you're racing to the North Pole.  Click on the picture above to grab this FREEBIE from my TPT store.

The other game I've been saving for math class is Elf Toss.

Current JPEGs1

This is a fun and fast-paced game that is similar to bump, but I've added my own unique twist to it.  It also includes worksheets that I can use as homework this work.  So math is taken care of for this week!

In language arts, I will be ditching the reading series for this week -- but not the reading series skills!  This is the week I will pull out my stories of celebrating the holidays around the world.  I have a wonderful SMARTBoard presentation that I found on SMART Exchange.  If you've never looked there, you should check it out.  I use various literature resources and crafts and interactive learning activities to illustrate how Christmas is celebrated in other countries.

Bearly Orderlyjpg_Page1

In addition, I will be using my Bearly Orderly resource with the whole group and with small groups.  In addition to alphabetical order, we will be practicing phonics and writing skills.

Because of our crazy schedule this week, we probably won't have time to do more than focus on math and Language Arts until at least Thursday.  I think I've got the first three days of the week covered pretty well with my "Schedule Disruption Surivival Plan."  How do you get through weeks like this?

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Chance to win a Nook Color HD!

I feel like all I've been doing lately is promote giveaways, but this is a good one!  The Top Teachers over at Tips For Teachers are giving away a boatload of free resources AND a Nook Color HD.  As soon as I finish this post, I'm running over to enter!  I'd love to put a Nook Color HD into my center rotation, and now Scholastic is offering Storia for many of their books.  If you get the enhanced stories, it makes them interactive.  I wonder if that would work on the Nook Color HD?  As someone else said, I'd sure love the chance to find out!

Good luck to all who enter!

Monday, December 3, 2012

'Tis the Season for Giving

I have two more giveaways for you to take part in.  First, rush over to Angela's blog, Hippo Hurray for Second Grade (how cute is that name?) and enter to win one or all of her prize packs.  She has two different giveaways going with great teaching resources in both packs!  But hurry because these giveaways end in two days.

From there you can stroll on over to The Realistic Teacher's Blog.  She's got 5 different prize bundles you can enter to win! Her giveaway ends in 5 days.

Congrats to both on reaching 100-plus followers!

Saturday, December 1, 2012

Something Just for You: A Gift Card Giveaway

Wow, here's a super chance to win $80.00 in giftcards from Katie over at I Want to be a Super Teacher just in time for the holidays!  She has so many ways for you to win!  Be sure to click on the picture and enter her giveaway!


It's a Freebie Linky Party!

Thank you to the fabulous Ladies over at Feebielicious for hosting a Fabulicious Freebie linky party.  I'm sure there will be lots of great freebies, so click on the picture above to see what interests you!

Here's my newest Freebie I'm offering at my TPT store.  I'll be using this in December wth small groups.
Ho Ho Ho Spin-a-Word Blendsjpg_Page8

Look for the companion products, Spn-a-Word blends.  It includes blends wtih R, L, and S, as well as follow-up worksheets!  I plan on using all of these products in small groups during the month of December, since our focus this month in our reading series is blends.

In case you missed it, this has been my best freebie.  I used this in the first month of school as we reviewed each short vowel sound, and I constantly refer to the sounds in the context of the stories when a child is sounding out words and mispronounces a vowel, as in "Remember what Miss Short U says with her umbrella?  U-u-u-u-u!"

I hope you find these resources helpful and find lots of great resources over at the Freebielicious blog!  I know I did ; )

Thursday, November 29, 2012

That explains it!

What a past few days I've had.  The kids have really been wound up.  Then I went outside, and I saw this

Oh, that explains it, and it gives me hope for a calmer next week.  Anyone else notice a change in their kids during the full moon?

In honor of the full moon, here's a science project for you.  I'm selling it in my store, but I'm giving it to you as a thank you for reading my little blog.  It's a moon clock that the kids can use to keep track of the moon phases!



Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Cyber Monday Bestsellers

Robin over at Sweet Tea Classroom started a linky party to showcase the bestsellers from our stores.  I had a great day yesterday, my second best as seller, and I was able to purchase some great items as well!  It was so much fun being a part of the excitement and watching Paul's (TPT owner) updates throughout the day.

So here are my two bestsellers from yesterday.  The first is my Advent book and craft activity,
Advent:  A Time to  Wait and Prepare

and the second was my Elf Toss Common Core math games.

Elf Toss: Two Common Core Correlated Math Games

If you're interested in checking out other people's bestsellers, head on over to Sweet Tea Classroom and check out the Best Seller links.  There's a lot of great products showcased!

Teachers Pay Teachers Cyber Monday

Today was our first day back after Thanksgving break.  The kids were pretty subdued most of the day.  I was so glad to have a few leftover Thanksgiving projects on hand because our copier machine was out of commision today, and I had to depend on what I had in the classroom. 

Now I'm starting to think about Christmas.  Can you believe that we only have four weeks of school before Christmas break?  It  will go so fast.  Later this week I will make a post about what I plan on doing my December centers and lessons.

Until then, happy teaching days!


Monday, November 26, 2012

The BIG DAY has Arrived

Oh boy, am I ever glad to be off work today! Thanks to all the hunters in Western PA, the first day of deer season is a given day off for most districts here.

Why am I so glad, you ask? Because today is the BIG DAY, day 1 of the TeachersPayTeachers Cyber Monday Sale.  Click the picture to take you to my store to shop.  From there you can get to the main site as well.

I already snagged four great items off my wishlist and will probably go back for more throughout the day.

Here's what I got:

Nativity Doodles by Danielle Flury, Jesus and Friends by Vickie Moore, Christmas Borders by Pink Cat Studio, and Perfectly Polar Penguins and Polar Bears by Martha Moore.  If you want to see what other people's great deals and steals, head over to Erin's blog, Tales From Room 112, and check it out.

I can't wait to use these resources in my class or to make new resources to use with my kiddos and to put up for sale (or free) on TPT!

Happy Shopping!

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Cyber Monday Sale on Teachers Pay Teachers

Can I just say how excited I am about TpT's Cyber Monday Sale?  Not only as a seller, but also as a buyer.  I've been adding to my wishlist and plan on getting some great bargains, up to 28% off, on those iteams.  If you click on the below picture, it will take you to Mercedes' blog, Surfing to Success, where you can see a list of many of the sellers who have linked up to take part in this great savings opportunity!  Thank you Mercedes!

Be sure to check out my store, Practice Makes Perfect.  Click on the picture to claim your freebie for visiting my blog, and check out my other resources as well!

My whole store will be on sale, every item, at the maximum amount of 28% off.  You'll get awesome teaching resources at a great price!

You can also check out Charlotte's blog, Charlotte's Clips and Kindergarten Kids, for a list of free items that sellers are offering.  Be sure to view their other items and see what you might like to add to your cart for Cyber Monday.

Happy Shopping!

Friday, November 16, 2012

It's Center Time!

Jessica over at Second Grade Nest is hosting a Thanksgiving Linky Party, which I linked up to.   Thanks for the opportunity, Jessica!

Second Grade Nest

She asked what we will be doing with our kids these last few days before Thanksgving break, when everyone is really looking forward to a few days off, and concentration wanders.

I plan on doing centers daily!  I find that centers really help my kids to be settled and focused on work.  During center time today, there was that satisfying, low murmur of kids who were totally engaged in their work.   Here are some pictures.  I've included links to all the great TpT products that I'm using at the centers.  Some are free, some are not, but all have made my life sooo much easier!  Just click on the pictures!

Here are my center clips.  I hot-glued the kids' names to clothespin.  We store them on this little chart I bought at Target for a buck a few years ago.

They clip their names to this center pocket chart.  The blue dots tell the kids how many can be at that center at one time.

At the SMARTBoard center, the kids are playing "Turkey Toss."  They LOVE this game.  I have this linked to the PDF version of the game.  If you are interested in the SMARTBoard version, just let me know!  I'd be happy to talk to you about it.  In this picture, the kids are playing the three dice version like in "Bump."  In Math class, we will also play "Turkey Toss" but use the two dice version.  In that version, they have to add or subtract and use strategy to decide which operation gives them the best move.  For instance, if they roll 4, 2, they can get a 6 and put a chip on the board, or they can subtract and bump the opposing team off the board!

Here are two of my centers, one in the math center and one in my library center.  "Turkey Feathers" focuses on common core objective 1.NBT.2. Understand that the two digits of a two-digit number represent amounts of tens and ones.  The "Plenty of Vowels" center, which I've been using for years, was the inspiration for the short vowel center in my TpT store.

There are tons of books available in my library center at all times, from big books to magazines, to student-made books.  I have them all color coded and sorted into baskest using my free differentiated   book basket labels.

At the pocket chart craft center, the girls are hard at work on their cornecopias.  I don't have a product for this, but maybe this summer I'll create one.  My kids love doing the different paper crafts at this center!

At the writing center, the kids are using a free Thanksgiving mini-book by Doodles and Kreations.

In addition to these centers, I have two computer centers, a painting center, and a shelf toys center.  As you can see, I am quite prepared for the last two days before Thanksgiving break with lots of great and engaging learning centers, many of them from TpT!

Have a great weekend, everyone!
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