Sunday, November 30, 2014

Cyber Monday Special Blog Deal!

Hey there, Cyber Monday shoppers! With just a few more hours left until the big sale, I've got two things for you! 1- An introduction to my newest and biggest product! 2- A special deal that you won't want to miss. So, let's get started, shall we!?
Incase you have been out of the loop for the past week, or are still in a food coma from all of the yummy things you ate on Thanksgiving, tomorrow is TPT's quarterly sale! You will automatically get 20% off when you shop in my store tomorrow, BUT if you use the code tptcyber when you check out, you will get 28% off! Who doesn't love a sale!?
I'm taking a break from filling up my own shopping cart to tell you about my NEWEST and BIGGEST product out there… Winter "Wonderfull" Mega Pack!
This mega pack is literally PACKED with engaging and meaningful literacy and math printables and activities for your pre-k, kindergarten, or first grade class. Here's why you'll want to snag this bad boy for 28% off tomorrow…
So, let's take a closer look at just SOME of the activities included in this new mega pack.
1- Jumbled Gingerbread: This activity will have your kiddos BEGGING to spell their sight words! All Dolch primer words are included, along with some extras. Each word is numbered so that you can easily figure out which pieces go together. Students will have to unscramble the gingerbread men to spell a sight word. With four recording sheet options, there is guaranteed to be a recording sheet for all of your students! **Using a cookie sheet to build the words on will make this activity even more fun!
2. Wintery Word Families: A spinner and a paperclip is all you need to have your students blending onsets and rimes. Students will spin the spinner, and build a word. Then, they will illustrate the word that they created. All short vowel word families are included! **Let your kiddos write in colored pencils to make this activity even more fun!
3. Chilly CVC Words: This activity really lets your creativity shine! Students will build the CVC word shown on the mitten. You can use any type of manipulative that you have available (magnetic letters, bottle caps with letters written on them, letter beads, letters cut out from magazines, letter stamps, etc.) You can also laminate these and have your kiddos write on them with dry erase markers- then they become reusable, too!
4. Cookie Comparing: Who doesn't love cookies!? Students will choose two number cards, and place the correct amount of cookies on each plate. Then, they record both numbers, and color in the plate that has MORE or LESS depending on the recording sheet you have chosen. **Added fun- store the cookies in a cookie box (shown) or cookie jar, have your students use a spatula to put the cookies on the plates, place the included Santa image on the plate with more cookies before you record (we all know Santa wants as many cookies as he can get!)
5. Cookie Crunch Version 1: Students will choose two number cards and place the correct amount of cookies on each plate. Then, they will use the two numerals to create an addition sentence. They can check their sum by counting all of the cookies together.
6. Cookie Crunch Version 2: Students will place 10 cookies on their plate. Then, they will choose a number card and remove the given number of cookies. They will use these numbers to create a subtraction sentence, and check their answer by counting the number of cookies they have left on their plate.
But, THAT'S NOT ALL! Those are just SOME of the fun activities that are included in this mega pack. Here is the complete list of what you will get!
I hope that you find this to be a helpful and fun pack full of literacy and math goodies for your classroom! If you're still not convinced, I'd like to offer you a special deal as a THANK YOU for following my blog. 
I hope that many of you will be filling up your shopping carts at my store this Cyber Monday {click here to go to my TPT store!} Happy Shopping!
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Wednesday, November 26, 2014

What's Better Than Making Butter?

Hi there, friends! We made it. Thanksgiving break. {Insert sigh of relief here} I don't know what it is about the day before a vacation, but boy, was there something in the water yesterday! I love love love my job, and I am totally not complaining, but yesterday was just a whirlwind of a day! I am so happy to be on break to take some time to regroup and replan so that we can start off on the right foot on Monday!
Speaking of REGROUPING, have you noticed anything different about this little blog? We underwent a MAJOR facelift over the past few days! I cannot thank Megan from A Bird In Hand Designs enough for being so wonderful to work with! I hope that I wasn't too much of a pain; I admit that I'm a perfectionist!
I decided to celebrate my new blog design with a fun idea and freebie for you! In guided reading groups this past week, we read a Rigby reader called Here Is The Butter. It was simple enough for my struggling readers to get through with support, and had some great meat to it for my advanced readers to discuss. I chose to use this book for all of my guided reading groups this week because of the topic. {Normally, each group is working on a different leveled text} Last year, my fantastic mentor shared with me how she makes butter with her class after reading this book. Since it was my first year of teaching, I was in no shape to be taking on this fun activity. But this year, I was ready!
How do we make butter? I'm glad you asked! The book does a great job explaining exactly what you need to do, and it is SO simple. After reading the book, my kiddos definitely did not believe that we could make butter! So, I said we'd try it!
I could not find jars with twistable lids, so I used small Betty Crocker tupperware. I taped the lids on very securely with packing tape so that nothing would spill out during the shaking!
You could really add as much heavy cream as you would like. Just keep in mind, the more heavy cream you add, the longer it will take to turn to butter!
It took us about 5 minutes! I gave each table of four students their own tupperware. I wish you could see their faces in these pictures, they are working SO hard!!!
It worked! There will still be some liquid in the container, so I just scooped the butter out with a spoon and put it into a cup (without the marble!).
Then we all got to try our very own butter! I made some corn bread the night before, and gave everyone a piece. It was up to them if they wanted to be brave and try our butter. Almost everyone did, and LOVED it! I have to say, it was pretty darn good!
Want to file this idea away for next year or just use it later without a Thanksgiving connection? I made a fun little freebie for you to use with this activity! Click the image below to grab it!
I hope you all have a wonderful Thanksgiving! Thanks for stopping by!
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Sunday, November 23, 2014

All I Want For Black Friday Linky and Giveaway!

Hi friends! I'm joining some of my best blogging buddies from The Primary Pack for a Black Friday celebration! We are sharing with you (a little early), a few of our most wish-listed items in our own carts and stores. We are also having a HUGE Black Friday giveaway featuring products from almost each member of The Primary Pack! Don't forget to enter at the bottom of this post!
First up, here are a few things from my own personal TPT wish list! 
These are items that I am dying to get my hands on! I'm hoping there will be a huge TPT Black Friday sale so that I can scoop some of them up!
1. Say It! Clip It! By Creativity to the Core: I absolutely love hands-on activities for my students! This product seems like a great way to get them practicing their letter sounds!

2. Writing Station Activities For Young Learners By Teaching With Love And Laughter: Who isn't always looking for fun and engaging ways for their kiddos to get meaningful practice at the writing center? I am!

3. Be A Reading Expert By A Year Of Many Firsts: This looks like an amazing supplement to my foundational lessons for the Daily 5! I would love to have this resource for the beginning of the school year next year!

4/5. Super CVC Practice and Super CVCE Practice By Miss Kindergarten: Teaching students to decode CVC and CVCE words is such an important foundational skill. These practice bundles would be great hands-on practice for my kiddos!

6. Flipping For Phonics By Reagan Tunstall: Digraphs and blends are so tricky for my kinders to master. I love the idea of using these phonics books daily during my guided reading routine!

7. The Ultimate Spelling Bundle By Cara Carroll: Some more CVC and CVCE fun for my kinders! I love finding activities that they will WANT to do!
Here are some of the most wish-listed items and bestsellers from my TPT store! They will be 20% off on Black Friday!
1. Listening Center Snapshots: My most wish-listed item! Differentiated to meet the needs of all of your learners, these recording sheets are perfect for any listening center!

2. Writers' Workshop Just Add Kids: Everything you need to launch or support writers' workshop in your classroom! This packet contains all the anchor charts and handouts you will need- with no hassle for you!

3. Back To School Night Teacher Must-Haves: My best-selling product! Everything you could possibly think of to make your open house, visitation, or back to school night a success! Snag it now and save it for next year!

4. Write The Room Year Long Bundle: All 11 write the room units in one pack! Differentiated for use with all of your kiddos, this pack is perfect for the Daily 5, early finishers, or as a literacy center!

5. Positive Postcards: Don't you love letting parents know POSITIVE things about their children?! Strengthen home-school communication with these editable did bits of positivity!

Drumroll please.... Check out this HUGE giveaway package you can win by entering below! There is a resource from almost everyone in The Primary Pack, perfect for all primary grades!! Good luck, friends and happy shopping!

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Now It's Your Turn To Join The Fun! 

Just a few rules to follow and your on your way:
1. Download the images above!
2. Add your favorite sellers products in your TpT cart to the "My Black Friday Wishlist"
3. Add your own products to the "For Your Black Friday Wishlist"
4. Link up below to share your Black Friday Wishlists!
5. Don't forget to enter our fabulous giveaway above AND visit others linked up below!


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Friday, November 21, 2014

It's a Turkey Product Swap & Giveaway!

Well, I finally made it!!! Parent-teacher conferences are OVER, and I am happy to say that I have survived! I had 11 conferences in a row yesterday, and it is an understatement to say that I was POOPED when I got home! 
Now that I am conference free, I can finally tell you about the fabulous product that I got to try from the lovely ladies over at Kelly and Kim's Kindergarten Kreations. I have been bursting at the seems to write this post, and I am lucky that both Kelly and Kim were so understanding that there was no way I was getting my little fingers to type last night! Thanks for being great swapping partners, ladies!
After you read my post about them, you should hop on over to their blog by clicking their button below!
If you have read my post on The Primary Pack, you know that I have trouble steering away from our district's curriculum to incorporate fun, seasonal activities. Well, this week, I got to use one of Kelly and Kim's products that is not only seasonal, BUT aligns with CCSS as well! Here is the adorable product that I got to try out with my kinders:
Let me tell you, the ideas for using this product are endless! First, I set out the cute black and white turkeys as morning work for my kiddos. 
Surprisingly, this activity took no instruction! They saw that I left out scissors and glue for them, and they were able to hop right in. {They LOVE anything that has cutting and pasting involved!} I really liked how this activity focused on multiple letters and letter sounds at once. While I was walking around the classroom during morning work time, I was able to see at a glance who was mastering these particular letter sounds, and who needed a little extra support. I scooped those kiddos up and worked on the activity with them at my table.
Later on in the week, I used the colorful turkeys that I had cut and laminated as a word work center object. I chose two letters that we had been focusing on for the week, and had the students match the images to the correct letter. I differentiated this for my more advanced students by having them try and write the words as well. I think the adorable turkeys hooked them, because they were so engaged!

Finally, I used the letter turkeys as a supplement for our Fundations program. I posted one of the turkeys on the board, and had the students take turns pulling pictures out of a hat. They had to decide whether the picture belonged on the turkey (if it started with the letter) or not. If the answer was no, they had to identify what sound the word started with. This was fun because it got them up and moving!
These turkeys have endless possibilities, and Kelly and Kim give some great ideas of ways to use the turkeys in their pack! I will definitely be using them more for the last two days before Thanksgiving break! 
So, have I convinced you? Are you feeling like you just have to have this pack to use in your classroom? Enter the rafflecopter below to WIN a pack! Don't forget to also head on over to Kelly and Kim's Kindergarten Creations to find out what product of mine these ladies tested!
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Thursday, November 20, 2014

Four Things I'm Thankful For {Linky}

Hi there! Happy almost Friday! Today I am linking up with The Primary Pack to join the Four Things I'm Thankful For linky party! Hop on over to The Primary Pack to link up and join in on the fun!
With the holiday season slowly approaching, I've started to feel that holiday cheer. No, I don't love the cold weather, but I do love the feelings of family and friendship that are strongest at this time of year, even though they are always there. So, this is the perfect time for a linky like this one!
I am tremendously thankful for my amazing family. My mom, dad, brother, and boyfriend are the most supporting and loving people in the universe. Living in different states has not made us grow apart, but has made us closer. I am so very thankful for all of the time that I get to spend with them, and I am lucky to have them!

I am also very thankful for the 12 amazing years that I got to spend with my best friend, Reilly. Yes, my dog was my best friend, and if you'd ever met him, you would have known why! I miss him every minute of every day, but I cherish all of the memories that I have!
My friends, both near and far, are the ones who keep me sane! Even when we spend long stretches apart, we always seem to pick back up right where we left off! I was always told that  once you start building a life, you will find who works hard to keep you in theirs. I am not only thankful for the friends who have been there for years, but for the new ones that have come into my life as well! All my Primary Pack peeps out there- I am THANKFUL to have gotten to know you!


I am thankful for the new life that I've built in Connecticut. Moving away from home was one of the hardest things that I've done, but I'm so grateful for the home that I've built. I can't wait for the next few chapters to come.
Finally, I am thankful for my wonderful job as a kindergarten teacher. When I was 7, I decided that I wanted to become a teacher, and I dreamed of reaching my goal ever since! My basement was decorated as a classroom, and I would teach my stuffed animals every day. Fifteen years later, I was lucky enough to be hired during a time when there are so few elementary teaching jobs available! I know that I have the best job in the world, and I wouldn't trade it for anything. I love seeing my 16 kiddos each and every day, and being able to share my love of learning with them!
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Sunday, November 16, 2014

100 Items for $1.00!

Happy Sunday, everyone! I have a love-hate relationship with Sundays. I love that I spend the first half of my day still in my pi's catching up on the blogging world, making products, and finishing up my plans for the week. But, I HATE the lingering feeling that Monday is coming and I can no longer sleep without an alarm set!
This Sunday is extra special, however, because it is one of my fellow blogger's birthdays! Mrs. Dailey over at Mrs. Dailey's Classroom is throwing a humungous birthday bash to celebrate her special day! 
I am helping her celebrate along with 100 other teacher-bloggers by placing 3 of my favorite items on sale for $1.00 today through Tuesday! Here's a peek of the three products that I've linked up:
1. My most wish-listed item. You can never have enough differentiated listening center response sheets! These are a lifesaver for me, because they can be used with ANY book at ANY grade level! Just print, copy, and go!
2. My newest seasonal item. This item has been a hot ticket in my store since I've uploaded it to TPT. A Turkey for Thanksgiving is one of my absolute favorite Thanksgiving books to read to my kiddos, and now I can use this book to practice the reading skills that we are focusing on for this reading unit. I am using this book companion this week and next, and I can't wait!
3. The item that I've used most in my classroom this year. I don't get a chance to make as many positive phone calls or send as many positive emails as I would like, but Positive Postcards makes it super easy for me to send home that little bit of encouragement with my students. 
Don't miss out on the great steals below! I know I've already filled up my shopping cart! Enjoy the rest of your Sunday, and try not to dread Monday too much!

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Sunday, November 2, 2014

Life Is Good.. Find Out Why!

Two Saturdays ago, I was fortunate enough to attend an AMAZING workshop put on by the Life is Good company. You know those t-shirts? Did you know that the company was created for the purpose of helping children who have experienced some form of trauma in their lives, and the t-shirt side of the company was developed as a way to promote their program? Fun fact!
I was so inspired and excited when I left the workshop, that I wanted to share some of the things that I learned with you!
Did you know that play is important to children who have experienced some form of trauma (and even those who haven't?) Play helps students thrive and even helps them nearly overcome the effects of a traumatic experience.
So how can we incorporate playfulness into the school day with all of the standards we have to help students reach and all of the content that we have to teach? Well, one of the most helpful quotes that I took away from this workshop was..
So you don't have to make time to squeeze in play… you can make what you already do playful! Here's some fun ways that I've made my lessons more playful after being inspired by the workshop:
-Jazz up a boring letter/sounds lesson by having students give a drumroll on their knees while they're waiting for you to say the next letter.
-Have students practice the counting sequence by making it into a game. Choose a number to count to and a movement to do. The kids will count as they do the motion. Ex. Count to 80 while doing jumping jacks.
-Use a pretend microphone for your kiddos to read with during guided reading. They can pretend that they're a celebrity!
-Trade places with one of your kiddos during a calendar lesson or other lesson. Let them be the teacher while you sit in their carpet spot and pretend to be them.
Know your kids and when you notice they need a break, let them take a brain break. But, don't go prep for the next lesson during the brain break. Do it with them! Show them that you can be playful and that it's okay to be silly! I have to say, I've started doing the brain breaks with my kids instead of putting things away, and I see such a difference in my kids who are letting their guard down and letting themselves have fun. It makes my heart happy!
Lastly, talk with your kiddos and find out how they are doing. Sometimes, they need to know that it's okay to be having a bad day, or that someone cares that their tummy hurts. I took down my question of the day and turned it into "How are you feeling today?" with a smiley face and a frowney face as the choices. I take time to check in with the kids who chose a frowney face and talk to them about how they are feeling. It takes just a few minutes to check in with them, and you may be the only adult who shows them that they care all day.
Visit lifeisgood.com and click on "playmakers" to learn more!
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