Sunday, October 12, 2014

I'm Back from Fall Break... with a FREEBIE!

This past week was Fall Break for us and I can't tell you how much our family enjoyed it! We didn't go anywhere {purposely}. We just enjoyed sleeping in, being lazy, watching movies, playing outside, and doing, well, not a whole lot really! Just what we had planned!

If you read my last post, you know I took a small break for a little while from blogging, creating, and social media, but I'm back! And I can't think of a better way to celebrate than to offer you a fun little FREEBIE! Don't you agree?

I know many of you haven't reached Fall Break status yet, but if you have, you know that your students will be DYING to tell you ALL the things they did over Fall Break. Well, how about we turn all those fun stories into an authentic piece of writing that meets the standards while killing two birds with one stone. Sound good? I think so!

{Click the image above or click HERE to download for FREE}

I created this fun little Fall Break Writing FREEBIE for you and your students. It contains a narrative writing prompt, a graphic organizer, and publishing papers (with both primary and intermediate lines). I hope you enjoy this little writing activity. If you do, please be so kind as to leave me some sweet feedback in my TPT Store. Please feel free to pin it and share the link to download with your friends! I'll be posting it to my Facebook Page as well!

I also have these other fun, fall products if you're interested! Click on each picture to take you to that listing in my TPT Store.








Enjoy! Happy Fall y'all! :)


Sunday, October 5, 2014

Lost Time is Never Found Again

Hey friends and followers! Today I am writing in a much more serious tone than ever before on this blog. I haven't posted in a very long time and honestly I truly, truly miss it. I miss the sharing, the connecting, the friendships, and the sweet comments from all of you who take the time to read my blog. This post is not teaching related.



I've been a little absent from the blogging world for a little while and I've been barely keeping my TeachersPayTeachers Store current. I can be honest in saying that I have had to step back and find balance in my life. I am a very driven person and when I do something I tend to go all out and give 110%. Many times this has been a good characteristic for me. I've achieved success in many areas of my life for this reason. But then on the other hand, sometimes it takes a toll on me physically, emotionally, and spiritually. I make sacrifices I shouldn't make and put things on the back burner that shouldn't be placed there.

So for a little while, I had to take a stand and change that. I had to prioritize. For me, my #1 priority is and will always be my family and I needed to make sure that I wasn't sacrificing time with them while keeping my plate completely full at all times (as I tend to do). Second was my health and wellness. If you've been following me for a while, you know that I've gotten on quite the fitness/health kick lately. You can see more details of my journey {here}. This was important to me, but once again, I needed to find the balance between the gym, my health, my family, my teaching career, and my blogging/TPT Store.

I haven't posted many new products other than my newest line (Perfect Paragraphs One Step at a Time). I haven't blogged. I definitely haven't been posting on my Instagram account for 2nd Grade Stuff in forever. I haven't even logged on! For that, I am sorry, but then again, I'm not sorry. I am sorry to all of you who depend on us bloggers for inspiration and ideas. I am not sorry for taking the time to find the balance in my life that was much needed. That meant stepping away from the computer and social media for a little while.

The good news is... I'm back! This time around I refuse to lose sleep. There were times in the past that I would try to go, go, go on 3-4 hours of sleep a night and it took a huge toll on my health, which is what lead me to my fitness journey in January. This time around I refuse to sit at the computer for endless amounts of time when in all reality... it can wait or I can finish it later. This time around I will find balance in blogging, while still offering quality ideas, tips, and tricks without my blog being a permanent advertisement for TPT products. This time around I will maintain balance. This is a promise that I'm making to God, myself, my family, and you, my followers.

Thank you for continuing to stick with me while I worked to find this balance that was much needed in my life. This workaholic is going to slow down, enjoy life, prioritize, and share awesome ideas and products with all of you right here on this blog. I'm back and I'm looking forward to reconnecting with each one of you. Thanks for following along.


Friday, August 1, 2014

Five for Friday & a FREEBIE

I have been MIA from the blogging world for a little while as I try to get caught up with LIFE!  This is the last Friday for me before my first full work week next week {sniff, sniff}.  Not sure where my summer went!  I am excited to get my new group of 2nd graders, but I sure am going to miss sleeping in every morning!  To get back in the groove, I'm linking up with Doodle Bugs Teaching for Five for Friday!  Click the button below to join in the fun!


So here are five random things that I've been up to lately!


First, let me tell you how I've spent my summer!  I'll tell you one thing I haven't been doing and that's blogging.  So sorry, my friends.  I needed to prioritize and spend some time with my family without the stress of deadlines and to do lists.  So this is how we spent most of our summer....

First, we went on two {yes you heard me right} TWO beach vacations this year!  The first one was just us three and the second one was with our entire family - in ONE condo!  Haha!  We had some wonderful times and made some unforgettable memories.  We laughed until we cried and I'm pretty sure it was one of the best vacations we've ever been on.  See why I needed to prioritize!  I didn't want to miss out on any memory making this summer.

When we weren't at the beach, we spent our time outdoors.  We are a family of 3 who LOVE the great outdoors!  One of our favorite memories from this summer were the times we spent floating down the local creeks and rivers in our kayaks.  This was the first year that our little boy was able to be in his own boat, so again, there were some awesome memories made.  I love this picture of my boys up ahead.  :)


If you follow me on Facebook, I'm sure you have already downloaded this.  I uploaded a FREEBIE for Back to School!  It's a sample Common Core Writing activity that's all about making friends.  It's perfect for the first few days of school.  The students will write an informative/explanatory piece on how to make new friends.  It includes two graphic organizers and publishing paper (both primary and intermediate lines).  You can find it {HERE} or by clicking on the picture below.  I would LOVE if you left some sweet feedback when you download the freebie! ;)


You can find all of my other Common Core Writing Activities {HERE}.


I have also been super busy getting this new product line ready to post in my TPT Store!  Introducing.... Perfect Paragraphs One Step at a Time: Back to School Edition.  I am SO excited about this new product launch!  I just think it will be so helpful in so many classrooms.  


This product series will give your students a step-by-step guide for writing awesome, detailed paragraphs!  It is Common Core-Aligned for Grades 2-3 so the students will be writing Opinion, Informative/Explanatory, and Narrative paragraphs.  It is simple enough that any student can grasp the concept of writing a good paragraph with an introduction, three details or reasons, and a concluding statement.  It uses a painting analogy that the students can visualize as they are writing their paragraphs.  Included are 2 seasonal paragraphs with a back to school theme and 2 generic paragraphs that can be used any time of the year.  I can't say enough how excited I am about this new product line!  Check it out in my TPT Store {HERE} to get more details.  I will be creating these for every month, so continue to check back in my store!



I also got super busy creating a new product that promotes leadership in the classroom.  Creating Superstars in the Classroom: A Tool to Promote Leadership is a classroom management and classroom job tool that creates a real world simulation in your classroom.  Students will begin to recognize positive behaviors and leadership skills in themselves as well as their classmates.  I think this will be a wonderful addition to your classrooms!  You can find more information in the Product Description in my store (including the entire contents of the product) by clicking {HERE} or on the pictures below!




And finally, last but not least, back to my personal life.  If you follow me on Instagram or my Facebook Page, you might have already discovered that I am quite the fitness freak these days.  I have completely changed my lifestyle and eating habits for the better.  I am in the gym at least 5 days a week and am now into clean eating as far as my nutrition goes.  As of today, I have lost 18 pounds and am not done yet!  In order to keep this journey separate from my teaching blog, Instagram, and Facebook Page, I have created a fitness Instagram account and Facebook Fan Page to highlight and share information regarding all things fitness and food fun!  Both accounts are called Stronger Every Day, because through this journey to fitness and weight loss, I have discovered that not only am I stronger physically every day, but I'm also stronger mentally, emotionally, and spiritually as well.  If you want to join in on my fitness journey, you can come follow me by clicking the links below.  Be prepared for sweaty gym pictures, flexing fun, and before/afters!  :)

Stronger Every Day on Instagram - @strongereveryday3


If you want, feel free to PIN any of the pictures above!

I have enjoyed getting back to blogging.  I hope I've shared a little personal info with you, as well as product info.  I never like my blog to be a straight infomercial for my TPT Store, so I hope I've mixed in a little fun from my personal life in this post too!  Thanks for reading!  Don't forget to click on the Five for Friday Link at the top of the page to join in on the linky or read more Five for Friday posts on Doodle Bugs Teaching Blog.  Thanks!

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Wish List Wednesday Giveaway and SALE

Well, that was quick!  It's another Wish List Wednesday!  I haven't even blogged since the last Wish List Wednesday!  It's safe to say that summer is flying by....

So for Wish List Wednesday this week, I have my Common Core-Aligned Fairy Tale Unit!


I originally created this unit, because the Common Core Standards require students to "Compare and contrast two or more versions of the same story (e.g., Cinderella stories) by different authors or from different cultures." I loved the idea of using the traditional fairy tales and then reading a fractured fairy tale as the other version for the students to compare and contrast. They have so much for with this unit! Most of the feedback I get is that there are so many activities included that the teachers sadly can't get to them all! So there is plenty to choose from in this unit! It's my #3 Best Seller and has been on the Weekly Best Sellers list several times and the All-Time Best Sellers list as well. Go check it out {HERE}.


The other collaborators over at Owl-ways Be Inspired are also hosting Wish List Wednesdays on their blogs, so go check out the link-up to see who all is participating and enter to win some more awesome products from my friends! Click {HERE} to see the other bloggers participating!

Now for the best part! You can enter the giveaway below for a chance to win my #3 Best Seller - Common Core-Aligned Fairy Tale Unit! Enter in the Rafflecopter below. You have 7 easy chances to win! The giveaway will end at midnight tonight (Wednesday) and the winner will be announced Thursday morning on my Facebook Page so make sure you "Like" my page {HERE}.  The 20% off sale will last through Friday night at midnight. Good luck!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Wednesday, July 2, 2014

Wish List Wednesday - Giveaway & FREEBIE!

It's Wish List Wednesday!

Each Wednesday, I will be showcasing different products that are my most wish listed products by my followers.  The good news is that I will be having a giveaway of each of these products on Wednesdays AND each of these products will be on sale until Friday night!  How exciting!

Credits: Graphics by Krista Wallden, Frame by Bubbly Borders and More, and Fonts by KG Fonts.

This week's featured product is also my #1 Best Seller: Common Core Graphic Organizers: 2nd Grade Edition.  It has been purchased by thousands and the feedback on it is top-notch!


This product contains multiple graphic organizers to assess each and every Common Core Standard for ELA, both Literature and Informational Text.  The standards assessed are clearly labeled at the top right corner of every page.  This is a great way to make sure that you are covering, and the students are mastering, every single Common Core Standard.  This product also helps with RTI documentation, progress monitoring, and standards-based grading.  You can read more about how I use these graphic organizers and see more pictures of them in action {HERE}.

You can get a FREE SAMPLE of my Common Core Graphic Organizers: 2nd Grade Edition {HERE} or by clicking on the picture below.  Please be kind and leave some feedback for the freebie!  It has been downloaded over 40,000 times!  Thank you in advance!
Not teaching 2nd Grade next year?  No worries!  I also have Common Core Graphic Organizers for 1st Grade, 3rd Grade, and 4th Grade.  You can check them out by clicking on the links for your grade level.

The other collaborators over at Owl-ways Be Inspired are also hosting Wish List Wednesdays on their blogs, so go check out the link-up to see who all is participating and enter to win some more awesome products from my friends!  Click {HERE} to see the other bloggers participating!

Now for the best part!  You can enter the giveaway below to enter for a chance to win my #1 Best Seller and #1 Most Wish Listed Product - Common Core Graphic Organizers: 2nd Grade Edition!  Enter in the Rafflecopter below.  You have 7 easy chances to win!  The winner will be chosen tonight at 10:00 CST (Wednesday, July 1) and announced on my Facebook Page so make sure you "Like" my page {HERE}.  You can also enter on my Facebook Page if you can't get to a computer!  The sale will last through Friday night.  Good luck!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Thursday, June 26, 2014

Throwback Thursday @ Owl-ways Be Inspired

Hey friends!  Just stopping by to let you know that I blogged over at Owl-ways Be Inspired today.  If you don't already follow us over there, we are a collaborative blog that is specifically for 2nd and 3rd grades.  Hop on over and check out my Throwback Thursday post about clothespins - one of my Top 3 most popular blog posts.  Please feel free to link up with your own ideas about using everyday items in your classroom!  All are welcome!  Click the button below to head on over and check it out.

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Surviving the Pencil Problem!

Pencils.  Pencils.  Pencils.

I have a love/hate relationship with pencils.  I love the yellow #2 pencils that are so nice and sharp and long with a full eraser, but let's be honest... they only stay that way for a day or two and then they look a little something like this:

Well there are many things I have patience for in the classroom, but by the end of the school year the constant sharpening of pencils just really gets on my nerves!  Please tell me you agree!  So I decided it was time to step it up a notch and implement "The Great Pencil Challenge" in my classroom.  The idea is NOT MINE!  All credit goes to the sweet blogger behind Ladybug's Teacher Files and you can read all about it {HERE} and {HERE} and get her FREE files for it {HERE}.  And if you haven't read her blog before, what are you waiting for?!  She has so many great ideas and FREE printables on her blog.  She was one of the first blogs I started following and I seriously can't say enough good things about her!

I changed her idea up a bit and used mechanical pencils!  How fun!  The kiddos felt so grown up!


Basically, I gave my students mechanical pencils (numbered with their classroom #) and gave them the challenge.  Who can keep up with their pencil the longest?  Each week we check in on Friday and those who still have their pencil get a small treat or reward of some kind.  They also get to sign our board.  You would be seriously amazed at how much this little bit of challenge motivated so many of my students to keep up with their pencils AND use the lead sparingly.  This is how I displayed Ladybug's Teacher Files FREE Printables that I linked to above.


You can see I displayed the checklist which I laminated so that I can write on it with a dry-erase marker and use it again next year.  I displayed the next check-in date.  That Friday I recorded the stats (how many students kept their pencils), and then the students were allowed to sign the board under the Pencil Honors sign if they still had their pencils.  

Isn't Ladybug's Teacher Files SO talented?!  Her printables are always so beautiful!  If you've been hanging around my Blog on Bloglovin', my Faceboook Page, or my Instagram long enough, you also know that her style matches my classroom perfectly - black and brights!  Kudos to my sweet friend and her talents!  Go check out her blog!  You won't be sorry!

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Meanwhile, now that I'm on summer break, I have officially moved classrooms - NOT grade levels, just rooms.  I only had to move two doors down, so it wasn't that bad at all.  Call me crazy, but I'm excited about the change!  It's like a clean slate waiting for all my fun classroom decor!  Can't wait to post pictures along the way.  You might have already seen one like this on my Instagram account.  This is where we are right now in the process.  It's a big mess, but I can't wait to organize!  The ideas are already flowing :)

So as soon as I got home from moving my classroom, I decided it was time to get busy on a new alphabet.  I know I'm showing some super love to Ladybug's Teacher Files today, but I also purchased my new alphabet from her and oh.my.word!  Look how cute it's turning out!  Laminated and ready to cut!  You can find her Flipped Signs Alphabet in her TPT Store {HERE}.


So there you have it!  That's what I've been up to this summer and how I survived the last few weeks of the pencil craziness thanks to a my fellow blogger friend Ladybug's Teacher Files.  Follow me on all the different social media sites to follow my journey this summer transitioning into a new classroom - same grade, just a different room!


Thanks for stopping by!  Leave any questions you have in the comments below.  I always respond to comments by emailing the person who commented, so if you leave a question make sure to check your email for the answer!  :)