Sunday, January 20, 2013

Fabulous Find!

Happy Sunday to EVERYONE! I am linking up with Fluttering Through First Grade for their new linky party "Fabulous Finds!"
I love this idea because as teachers we are always finding things (big or small) that just make us so darn excited! 

My fabulous find has to do with Post-It notes! I LOVE Post-It Notes….Every color, every size, every shape...I JUST LOVE them! I use them for everything in the classroom be it organizational or for guided reading/guided math! 

This is my MOUNTIAN of Post-It notes from the beginning of the school year...
yes I have a problem! (sorry about the sideways pic) 

I was jumping up and down in the aisle of Wal-Mart last week when I came across this amazing, fabulous new item from my beloved 3M...

Now imagine how we can use this in our classroom? Here are a few of mine: mailbox labels, packets, folders, supply cabinet, and the list goes on and on! 

Don’t forget to head back to “Fluttering Through First”  to link up and read about all of the fabulous finds! You might just find your NEW find! :) 


Monday, January 14, 2013

Show and Tell-Winter Edition

I am linking up with Sunny Days in Second Grade for her weekly Show & Tell Tuesday party!
As soon as I saw that this week's theme is WINTER EDITION I knew what I wanted to share with you all!

I love this Inference Investigation product from Babbling Abby
Students investigated the "Snow Day Case Files" by sorting through evidence to decide what the main character did during his SNOW DAY. Students were broken up into teams of detectives and given a different case file with SOME of the evidence! They worked together to determine what that evidence meant. In one of the case files there was a packet of ketchup from McDonald's, a print out of movie times with the 4:15 pm time circled, and a Highlights magazine. Students then filled out their detective notebook where they wrote down the evidence they had and then what can they INFER from that evidence. 

THIS IS THE BEST PART! I gathered all of my detectives together and they shared their evidence! Group 1 shared that they had a packet of Ketchup from McDonalds, well group 2 and 3 are going crazy because they ALSO had something from McDonalds in their packet. Another group shared that they had  a box of movie theater candy, well the group that has the movie time print out is literally jumping up and down! The connections that the kids make between the different packs of evidence are simply SO MUCH FUN! 

Once everyone has shared the evidence we created a timeline of when we thought everything happened! It is interesting to hear the kiddos thoughts on why something would be at 12:00 instead of 12:15pm. Some of the times in the evidence are exact (for example the movie time), but most of the evidence they really have to think about. The students then each picked one event on the timeline to write and illustrate. 

Now we did this activity in August (it was 105 F), so I knew I needed to pay close attention to our classroom environment in order for this activity to really become an anchor moment for us! I sent home a note that the kids should wear "Wintry Day" clothes. I had hot chocolate cooking in the crock-pot, and Christmas music playing all day long. One of my kiddos told me that we should have decorated Christmas Cookies! I loved that idea and noted it for next year!

This activity has really become an anchor in our classroom. In guided reading I hear all the time "Use your detective skills" or remember when we had our "Snowy Day." Whenever I say the word "Inferring" students right away remember this special day and what they learned and the best part is they are able to APPLY their learning!

I hope you will link up with Show & Tell Tuesday! Can't wait to see what you have to share!

Saturday, January 12, 2013

Blog Heroes Round 1

How important it is for us to recognize and celebrate our heroes and she-roes!
 Maya Angelou 

 I have taught for 15 years and there have always been a few teachers at the schools I worked with that I respected so very much. I really learned from these teachers. Those are the teachers that I would ask to come into my classroom to observe me, to help me craft lessons in the best way, and to gain perspective with when things were tough. 

The world of blogs, Common Core Standards and Teachers Pay Teachers brings forth a new line of teacher heroes for me. The heroes that SHARE all they are doing in their classroom in order for ME (and others) to become the best teachers we can be. I was one of those blog stalkers for a long time and then I started actually commenting on products/freebies from TPT or on teacher's facebook pages, and of course on blog posts. Through that I started to get to know some of these amazing teachers a little. What a strange world we live in that we have bloggy friends" that we have never met, but that is how it is and I think we are much the wiser for it. The past two years of teaching these teaches have been my go to and I am so very thankful for them! 

Teaching with Blonde Ambition
Nicole creates detailed, creative, and in depth products for the upper elementary grades. Nicole's products were one of the first that I came across and I am pretty sure I own everything from her TPT store! A few of my favorite products from her are:

Throughout the past year when I had questions about anything she would patiently answer me! She helped me to see that even though I teach an upper grade, I can still be CREATIVE with my planning! Thank you for that Nicole! 


I just "met" Lindsay from Primary Polka Dots this school year and BOY AM I GLAD I DID! I honestly don't know what I would do without her ideas! Lindsay takes something like Inferences and creates this amazing mini-unit out of it! My third graders LOVED her Point of View activity at Christmas time! Honestly, just go put it in your TPT cart RIGHT NOW  so that you will be ready for next Christmas! I love Lindsay's excitement for teaching and creating. She has really helped me to look at what I am teaching and make sure I am going IN DEPTH, not just teaching on the surface! Thank you Lindsay!


LESSON PLAN SOS chicas are simply amazing! I have learned so much about Guided Reading and Writing from them. They not only create amazing products, but they take the time to walk you through everything through very detailed blog posts. When I handout a packet to my third graders they are always so excited when it says "Lesson Plan SOS" as they know it will be a fun activity to do! I really do own EVERYTHING in their store. It is hard to pick and choose what is my favorite product from them. Their "Brain Breaks" product pretty much has saved my sanity this year! I have a very active group of kiddos, so the easy organization of this product and easy implementation was HUGE for me! I have emailed them a lot about questions or to share how their product was used in my classroom and they are ALWAYS so encouraging and helpful!

We always hear how important teacher collaboration is, but do we ever have time to do that at school? I don't, that is for sure. I have found that I collaborate and learn most through emails and chats and occaisionaly phone calls with teacher friends from all over the world. 

What a blessing it is that we get to teach and share and learn from each other through this amazing world of blogs and TPT and forums and the list goes on and on! 

So thank you not only to these ladies, but to so many teachers out there that insprie me EVERY. SINGLE. DAY! 


Friday, January 11, 2013

Five for Friday!

I am so THANKFUL it is Friday! I am linking up with Doodle Bugs for her FIVE for FRIDAY! Just sharing five random things from this week! 

1) We started our Westward Migration Unit this week! One of my favorite units EVER to teach! I set up the unit as a simulation like a lot of teachers do! The classroom desks are arranged as "wagon trains" circled around a "campfire" and wagon families earn points as they are trying to get to Oregon City. Mrs. Renz has some AMAZING products on TPT to help on this journey! Highly recommend everything she has in her store!  

2) has been a long week as I had NO VOICE! It started to go on Monday and was completely gone by Monday evening!  Thankfully the voice is coming is Friday after all!

3) One of my students was in Chicago last week and on Monday morning she walked in with this...

a SPRINKLES cupcake!  I love this bakery! What a special treat this was!

4) We have been working hard on prefixes this week! I used a great activity from The Grammarheads! They have written this catchy song called, "The Prefix Kick" and my kiddos LOVE it! I also used Primary Polka Dots, "Flower Pot Prefixes and Suffixes" TPT product. I love this product because it not only makes a great bulletin board, who doesn't love flowers and flower pots, but ALSO you can make a great center with it! I love products that I am able to use in different ways!

5) Today I had the opportunity to attend a Staff Development for Educators conference in Wichita (just about an hour away from me).  I signed up for this conference because Rachelle Smith from What The Teacher Wants was going to be there! I have followed this blog for a couple of years and simply love everything that is posted and I USE just about everything that they post! The chance to actually meet one of my blog heroes was AMAZING! I can't wait to blog about all of the great things I learned...that is all for another post!

Happy Weekend! Make sure you check back at Doodle Bug for everyone's FIVE for FRIDAY!

Tuesday, January 1, 2013


Linking up with Farley for her monthly Currently Party! 

You might be wondering what my OLW word is. You can read all about here! I just love this word! 

Don't you just LOVE the super cute font I used? It is SWEET TRACER SPARKLE from SWEET TIME IN FIRST GRADE! If I were you I would GO and BUY them RIGHT NOW! 

Wednesday, January 2nd, we have a flexible work day. I LOVE these days! It means we can come in and work if we want to do, but we are not required to! Progress Reports are due at 3:30 pm regardless, so if you are done with your reports, it is like you get an extra day of vacation! I am ALL ABOUT THAT!