Monday, July 25, 2016

Back to School Bash!

Hey, friends!  Summer break has been a blast, but it's time to wrap up this week and go back next week...sigh.  haha  But back to school time is really my favorite time of year, so I'm having a celebration!

Every day I'll be posting a new dollar deal and a flash freebie!  Be sure to follow me on facebook or instagram for updates when the new deals are posted.

Sunday, March 20, 2016

Easter Eggs for the Win

So, Easter eggs.  Who came up with them?  I don't know, but I love whoever did.  These plastic little toys are the best thing in my classroom each and every spring.  Here's my favorite five ways to use them.

1.  Math Centers

This one is all over Pinterest, but it's really pure genius.  The best part is this one can be used in so many different grade levels and for so many different math skills.  Addition, subtraction, multiplication, division...even using them for ten frames, shape matching, coins, and time - the math possibilities never end.

2.  Behavior Management

This is otherwise known as - my way to rid my classroom of junk after spring cleaning.  So here's how it works.  Throughout the day, I'll find something some of my students are doing well.  Maybe walking in the hallway nicely, doing morning work quietly, etc.  When I see them doing it well, I'll announce that so and so's name is going in the bucket.  Then the rest of their classmates magically start doing what they're supposed to be doing - that positive reinforcement stuff, ya know?  When we have extra time during the day, I'll draw a name from the bucket and that student will get to come open an egg.  Some eggs have erasers inside, others have stickers or candy.  The best ones have a slip that says "Pick a prize."  If students pick this one, they get to choose something out of my magical pile of junk to take home!  Hooray!  So if its old books, posters, behavior charts - whatever - my students always love junk from the classroom to take home.

3.  Sight Words

This one is super simple.  I'll put sight words inside eggs for students to read.  The problem words might get in more that one egg, while the gimme words (like "the" and "and") will definitely only get in one.  Students can go to the eggs during a center and use the Trace, Cover, Write method.  If the word is "was," students say the word, trace it with their finger, cover the word (or turn it over), and write it.  This helps to build those dendrites in the brain that will keep words in their long term memory, which is the ultimate goal of sight words.

4.  Predicting/Inferring

This science skill is something students do naturally, but don't have a name to put with it sometimes.  Since we also read many stories where we have to infer, this is a great activity for integration between reading and science.  Fill those eggs with anything and everything.  From syrup (if you don't mind getting gross), to rice, to coins, to rocks - really anything.  Now, tape those suckers shut and put a number on each.  Students can go around the room to different centers to use their senses to infer.  For this activity, I typically would get the cheap Easter eggs that can be seen through when holding them up to the light.  This allows them to use an extra sense for inferences.  The students can record what they think is inside the egg and give reasons why.  That's some higher order thinking right there. 

5. Creating Words

Put familiar word families on one side of the egg (like -ap, -et, -ig, etc.), and put beginning sounds on the other side.  Students can twist the egg to make new words and record them.  For your higher kiddos?  Add suffixes or prefixes to one side and the base words on the other side.  We're learning about -ful and -ly this week, so these eggs will be perfect!

Happy Easter to all!  Good luck this week!

Friday, January 15, 2016


Sweet mercy!  I haven't posted in (several) months!  I just mainly came here to let you know where I was and what I was up to.  A lot has happened since August that I'll be happy to share with you in the coming months, but today I'm just thankful.

So where have I been?  With my class.  Engaged in their lives through smiles, stories, and huge bear hugs.  The Lord has blessed me with 15 sweet, smiling faces that greet me daily.  I can't tell you just how much they mean to me.  I'm not typically a crier, but tears start to form when I realize they will be leaving me after May.

I got this cookie cake for my kids this week because of their AWESOME midyear test scores.  I've never been so proud of anything in my entire life.  I also got this cookie cake because I love cookie cake and that's sure enough a good excuse for me to get myself a VERY large piece of cookie cake.

Last year was a struggle for many reasons.  I had some classroom issues to deal with and my kids weren't growing like I thought they should, but I was enjoying my blogging and TPT profits.  My weekly goals centered more around "how many products I could get up" and "how/when I should post on my instagram, facebook, or blog to get myself out there" instead of how far I should be taking my students.  This year I realized I had it all wrong.  Teaching isn't about blogging or making products for other teachers to use, it's about being there for your students and letting them see that you love them daily (duh!!).  Now, don't get me wrong.  It's very possible to all of that at once!  There's tons of teachers out there that do it!  Most of them have a family too that they're able to manage, and blogging and TPT really benefits their teaching.  I just haven't mastered all of that yet, and obviously I needed to get my priorities straight.

This year, I haven't created a single TPT product since August (nor have I blogged obviously), and I don't regret it for a second.  For the first time, I can tell that my students really see how much I love them.  Their behavior and academics improve daily, simply because they know I love them and they know I'm proud of them no matter what.  I'm not sure what I've missed the prior two years of teaching with my classes.  I've always loved my students, but I've never had such a bond with them.  It's fabulous, though!  And I could seriously loop with this group of kids through 6th grade if that was realistic.

So don't be ashamed to take a break from TPT.  I realized I loved making resources for my students, but making them perfect for TPT and other teachers consumed my time.  I had set TPT goals for myself, and believe it or not I still made profits.  Did I reach all of my personal financial goals for 2015?  No, sure didn't.  But to me, the relationship I have with my students this year and their success in the classroom is worth more than my weight in gold.

So hopefully I'll be blogging more here in the coming months about the amazing progress being made in my classroom, but if not, you'll know I'm living every glorious moment of bliss with my little ones through May.