Thursday, December 18, 2014

Presents and Snacks and Fun, Oh My!

Whew! It's been a week! The kids are so ready for a break...and the teachers are too! Fortunately, this year we have a full 2 week break!  I cannot express how happy this makes me.  I totally need those two weeks to regroup and recover!

We have been trying to squeeze in some fun nothings despite our breakneck pace and packed curriculum in third grade. Here's what we've been up to:

How stinkin' cute are these plates? I have done the legendary Cara Carrol First Grade Parade Snowmen

Plates for years and they always turn out sooooo cute! I love having a project that is ALWAYS successful. This year, I have one student who was in my second grade class last year and she already did the project, so we branched out from snowmen to also include wreathes and trees. This way, we had options, but were not necessarily holiday based.  I braved the snow and clear-coated all of these babies before coming home tonight in the yard outside the school I propped open my outside door and sprayed away, but still made the school a little smelly! It had to be done!

For my student gifts, I put little memo pads from the dollar tree with a winter pencil in little treat bags. I went all cheap this year. I normally buy journals for each student, but couldn't beat 3/$1.00 notepads from the Dollar Tree (and you know the kids love them just as much)!

I also stumbled upon a nice way to give each student a book. I have collected books from my Scholastic benefits, picking up as many dollar books with my free choices as I can. I always had a problem with kids not liking the books I gave them or complaining they have read them. Nothing makes you feel great as a teacher as when the kids whine and complain a both a GIFT you gave them! Last June, I spread the books out on a table and let the kids pick their own and it worked fabulously! Everyone got what they picked from the collection and I one complained!

 For Christmas, I put all the books in a big basket and tied a bow on it. My plan it to tell the kids the books are a gift for our classroom. They can each pick one and the rest will go in our classroom library. (I might be really cheap and save the extras for an end-of-year present....and yes, yes I am thinking about June!)

Finally, I always debate about gifts for colleagues.  It can get sooo expensive. Here's what I came up with (sorry about the poorly focused iPad photo!):

I bought little gift bags that come eight to a pack from Big Lots. I ordered soaps from Etsy (hopefully I will have time to label them in the morning!) and put them in treat bags with little burlap bows. I bundled six blank notecards from a huge pack I got at Joann's and added tree little cookie/candy things.  I'm callin' it good!

I am beyond excited to have some time to sleep, put some order into my life and maybe work on something other than school before college starts up again! I have a few TPT ideas that I just can't seem to get to. Hopefully I will find some time!  

What are you planning to do over your vacation? Have an amazing Friday!

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

On Being Organized…and New Things!

I’m not going to deny it…this year has been rough for me so far.  For a variety of reasons.  I have written a bunch of posts about it that I have never published, not sure of how much to vent or whine Smile!  At any rate, I have been trying very hard to look on the bright side as I try to acclimate to a bazillion (my students’ favorite word this year) changes, attending college, looking at some new opportunities, and trying to have some semblance of a personal life!

This year I have been struggling with trying to do so many things and feeling barely competent at any of them.  It is easy to become mired in the the stress and exhaustion.  My self-confidence has been pretty rough, especially as I work with many new teammates.  I always wonder what others think of my teaching and how I do things. I frequently remind myself that I need to be a grown up and do my job without worrying what others think.  But the reality is, I do.

Today one of the people I worked with said that I was so organized that it was nice to be in my classroom.  I thought “Me…organized???” as I looked around the cluttery areas of my room.  I even mentioned it to another teacher I worked with and she said that I am organized.  Really??? I surely don’t feel like it.  I rarely show pictures of my room on my blog because I never feel like it looks like the showplace that I want it to.  Compared to some of the amazing rooms I see out there, I feel like I can’t keep up.  Isn’t that the mixed blessing of a world full of blogs and Pinterest? I mean, really, how many of us have Pinterest board with room d├ęcor? So, I guess I learned a lesson that what I am self-conscious about, sometimes others do not see the same way.  It really put some pep in my step as I thought about this little compliment the rest of the day.  Such a small comment made my day!

I reflected on the change I was feeling as I drove home and thought that others must be feeling the same way.  A nice word goes a long way and I have resolved to say more sincerely nice things to the people I work with.  We are all working our hearts out and everyone needs to hear it!

We are well into the school year, but I thought this quote reflected my thinking…or overthinking!

The myth of the super teacher | The Cornerstone

Found on

In my spare time (cough, cough) I put together a couple new things for my store!  I have loved Kate Waters’ books for years!  I actually started a Samuel and Sarah Unit a while ago and it just needed a little more work.  The Mayflower and Tapenum Packets were inspired by the popularity of my first product.  They are perfect for this time of year or any unit on the colonial era. Click on the images to check out the full descriptions!




You can also get all 3 packets in a compressed zip file at a discounted price! Check it out here on TPT!

Colonial Life Research and Writing Mini-Units

A great big thank you goes out to everyone who has visited my store on TPT!  I am so thankful that so many can use the things I make for my own use.  The support is also wonderful for someone who is endlessly attending college!

Have a great remainder of the week!

Thursday, October 30, 2014

Halloween Sale!!!

I’m throwing a sale in my Teachers Pay Teachers Shop tomorrow (well, starting now)!  Everything will be 20% off!  I thought of 3 very good reasons to throw a sale:

  1. Tomorrow is crazy, but so much fun – It’s Halloween!  Since I don’t have trick-or-treaters way out where I live, I have to celebrate somehow!
  2. I have officially had a record month on TPT!  So excited to see people are finding the things I make and use to be useful for themselves!
  3. I have a fun new product that has been in my “Work in Progress” folder for one, maybe two years! I used Sarah Morton’s Day and Samuel Eaton’s day over a decade ago when I taught 4th grade social studies. I had my girls read about Sarah and the boys read about Samuel. Then they worked together to compare information and write a compare and contrast piece about the lives of boys and girls in the Colonial Era.  Fast forward to CCSS and I have added writing pieces for each of the 3 genres!  Click on the image to check it out!


Check out the other items in my store while you are there! 

I have 2 new products for students to practice rounding skills – perfect for 3rd and 4th grade CCSS!

Round-Up Rounding Bump GamesRounding Task Cards and SCOOT Games 

Several reading products have been very popular this month:

imageSummary Cards

Terrific Tall Tales Unit SupplimentSticky Note Reading Responses

Here are some other great items that I created for use in my classroom! (Just be aware that some of the products have my old logo and/or blog name on them. The originals were lost in the great jumpdrive disaster of 2013, so what you see is what you get!)

Daily Reading Log Addition Facts Sticker Book

Writing Topic CardsBirthday Pack

Roll-and-Respond Reading Response Activity Instant Writing Centers - Fun Thematic Writing

Summer Journal Jarimage

imagePoetry Task Cardsimage

Instant Magazine CenterSequence CardsMystery Egg image

image imageimage

image image image

Please stop by my store if something interests you!  Have a fabulous Friday and a happy Halloween!

Sunday, October 12, 2014

Hello October (and New Products)!

Wow!  Where have the weeks gone?  I know that it has been over a month since I last posted, but I have been one busy chick!  The new-ish grade level is kicking my butt and I have so much to say/share, but can’t seem to focus on one idea long enough to write a post. 

I’m back to teaching third grade this year!  I love third grade, but the beginning of the year curriculum is the pits, particularly when you are using a canned curriculum. I am so excited that we are finally getting past the ho-hum stuff and getting into some super fun content!  Sadly, this is just as my student teacher is leaving! 

It has been great having an extra hand and I love getting new ideas from a student teacher, but I have never had one at the very beginning of the year. I never realized how hard it was to have the beginning of the year under a bit of a microscope.  Admittedly, I have not been at my best. Moving a classroom and grade level is always discombobulating.  I am also part of a co-teaching format with a special education teacher completely new to the grade level and a brand new teacher.  It has been tricky to compromise so that we can work together, but also set up things the way I know works for me.  I am my own harshest critic, but I feel like the beginning of the year was bumpy.  As much as I have loved my student teacher, I am looking forward to the opportunity to “reset” the class next week now that we have a set schedule (hopefully) and we are finally beginning interesting units.

I have been creating like mad to match the curriculum and make the boring stuff a bit more fun, but putting the items in final form is taking me sooooo much longer than I expected.  Here are 2 new products I have added to my store:

1. Rounding Round-Up Bump Games


Rounding Round-Up Bump Games


2. Rounding Task Cards and SCOOT Game

Rounding Task Cards and SCOOT Games



These are super fun takes on classic games!  Once they are created, keep them in your collection for review throughout the year and as a ready-made center when you need it!  Thank you to everyone who has supported my store!  I any VERY close to meeting my personal goal this year and am so thankful that I can support other teachers while also supporting my return to college!

I hope that you are off to a wonderful month and enjoying fall!

Monday, September 1, 2014

September Currently

Wow!  Where did August go?  I remember thinking of all the things I wanted to do in August and then…WHAM…it was over!  It’s “Currently” time!  Link up with Farley over at Oh Boy, 4th Grade!  Here’image


Yep!  I think I am listening to Bachelor Island….or whatever it is called.  I haven’t really been paying attention because I have been making things for my first day back – TOMORROW! I don’t actually watch this show, but I am in too much of a groove to get up and change it when the remote is all of 20 feet away. OMG!  It’s like the grown of version of high school – awful melodrama.  I am not a convert!


I think I have mentioned that I elected to return to 3rd grade this year!  I am so excited!!!!!  I love third and I have an amazing team.  So many different personalities, but our team meeting was like a breath of fresh air.  Plus, I am team teaching/co-teaching with another teacher and a special education teacher.  We have been working together planning for a few weeks and are like siblings!  It is an amazing dynamic and makes me feel like my heart will be back in my job this year.  Plus, I think my Para is super amazing! Here’s to a great year!!!


Yep!  Tomorrow is the first day of my 14th year teaching.  I am pretty chill about it and in the back of my mind, that makes me nervous.  I’m usually pretty laid back, but I have so many things that I should have a student teacher starting on day one!!!  The teaming dynamic will be awesome, but I feel like I am putting so much more time in to make it all jive.


I am NOT a morning person.  Oh, how I wish I were.  No being one makes the job of teaching a bit tricky because, not only to you have to be up and at work on times, but little people arrive and you have to be both ready and…pleasant Winking smile! If only I could be chipper in the morning (did I mention my co-teacher talked about working out a 5AM – before work???)


I am obsessing over a new planner.  I can’t do the Erin Condren planner. I watched reviews on YouTube – yep. I’m that person. It is SOOO expensive and I would have to buy it every year. Plus, the days are set up vertically and, I know this makes me a bit neurotic (okay, a lot), but I can’t deal with that. Plus, I am sick of rewriting things in the planner every year.  Hence, I may have a very expensive new addiction – but it will be less expensive in the long run…THE FILOFAX! It is a binder type planner, but the size of an Erin Condren. So, I can move pages that work from me from year to year and not do that whole awkward carrying around two planners at the end of the year thing.  Plus, people design pages that can be printed off for just about everything you would want Ii n a planner. I just need to make the purchase…

3 Trips:

Oh, how I love to visit new places. I have an obsession with Alaska. It may be my husband’s addiction to the numerous Alaskan shows on TV or my preoccupation with self-sufficient living, but Alaska would be amazing!  Ever since I saw the Tweeto’s on Flying Alaska fly in teachers from remote schools to attend staff developments, I have be stuck on the idea of teaching there.

The Grand Canyon is on my bucket list.  I love seeing amazing geographic locations and I hope to see this one while I can still make the trek down into the canyon.

I love, love, love Spain!  I went my senior year in high school and feel like it would be an amazing trip to take again as an adult.

Leap on over to Farley’s to link up!

Thursday, August 7, 2014

Back to School Shopping

So do you still go back-to-schooling shopping? I'll admit that I am a bit of a fashionista. I love clothes - especially items that have a unique flair. I had a huge clothing haul from Maurices, capitalizing on their 75% off sale. Since then I have tried to limit my clothing budget, but a few things have snuck in!

I am totally obsessed with Target's Ona Flats! They are so comfortable that it's like you are wearing slippers. Plus they look really nice with so many different outfits. You know how the feet ache those first fees weeks of being back to school and these are perfect for those days. I bought them in black, nude, gold, and cognac. On Monday, I just happened to browse the shoe section when I returned a skirt and saw they had LEOPARD Onas! Oh my! My old leopard flats are beat and I think you can never have too many items in animal print (I'm not gaudy,I swear!).
I also picked up a gray patent leather skinny belt from the clearance rack. A cute belt can make the outfit!

I also picked up this beautiful shirt from Forever 21. I saw it on a blog and thought it was so gorgeous. Too bad it is more of a spring/summer item.
I also picked up two scarves on clearance from F21. Not that I need anymore scarves...but the were so pretty and on sale and I needed them for free shipping...yep, I'm sticking to that!
                                                   Source                                            Source
Did you know that Forever 21 is offering a 15% off teacher/student discount on Fridays? Just bring your id in up until the end of August on a Friday and get the deal! It's an awesome deal, I just lose my mind in that store. If you do Ebates, you can also get 4% back!
I also had a small thrift store haul, but I need to decide what I'm keeping before I'll share!
So, what about you? Do you shop for your BTS wardrobe? Would you like to know more about the outfits I put together for work?

Wednesday, August 6, 2014

Show Us What You Bought Linky!

I'm linking up at Blog Hoppin' for the Show Us What You Bought Linky! Of course, I broke the bank, but it is all good stuff! Can I tell you I made THREE separate purchases?!? See, if you work out the math, you can stack the sale with credits. I made a purchase and then used the credits to get a discount on my next purchase. That way I don't have credits lingering and I make use of them right away! Finally, I can use coupon tactics with teaching! Stack those deals!!!

I LOVE everything that One Extra Degree puts out. The quality is amazing and I love how she thinks about reading. She is brilliant and I so want to be her when I grow up (even though she is younger than me ;). I am so excited to include these activities into my reading workshop and reading groups!

I have been obsessed with making more of my buddy reading time. I just never seemed to find the time to wrap my brain around the routines I wanted to set. I picked up this goody from Clutter Free Classroom and can't wait to incorporate it into my classroom!

I'm always looking for a bunch of BTS activities.  Every year I find that classes react differently to the activities I have planned and, based on the chemistry of the class, I like to have a bunch of things to pull from. Can't wait to give these a go! It was a total impulse buy because it popped up on the front page of TPT and I added it to my cart right away!


I LOVE to teach social studies and it is one of the thing is LOVE about our 3rd grade curriculum.  (Is that enough love for ya?) We teach cultures of the world and I love to incorporate content into my reading block. I am so glad many of these items were still on my wish list from last year when I taught 3rd. Now that I am returning to 3rd, I am so excited to add them to my curriculum!

Finally, the items that broke the bank! We are beginning Lucy Clakins' Units of Study this year...seriously, where have we been? Next we will be rediscovering Fountas and Pinnell! So sad when amazing practices fall through the cracks because the crazy testing culture!  I picked up these two amazing packs to help me through all the change this year!  I think indeed to go to school today to print and start planning!  Can't wait to play! 

Now I am back to trying NOT to think about school ;) Soaking up those last few days of summer! What did you buy during the BIG sale?