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!  :)

Monday, May 5, 2014

Product and Picture Overload - A SALE!

Whew!  It's safe to say that this time of year is straight cRaZy!  We are winding down the school year and trying to squeeze every last teachable moment we can into a short frame of time and it's nothing short of exhausting!  The good news is that it's Teacher Appreciation Week and TeachersPayTeachers is hosting its annual Site-Wide Sale that will get you an awesome 28% off everything in my TPT Store!  Now that's a deal!  Check out the items below that will help you get through the remainder of the school year!  Click on any item to take you to my store!  :)


Addition and Subtraction
QR Code
Self-Checking Task Cards

These are a great way to review Addition and Subtraction With and Without Regrouping with your students!  All you need is at least one iPad, iPod Touch, or iPhone and you have a fun center that's easy to differentiate for different levels.  The best part is that they are self-checking, so less work for you!  The students solve the problems, then scan the QR Code to check their answers - brilliant!  You can see how I organize my QR Code Sets below.  I put the different sets on a ring and the students can just grab a set and take off!  Click the picture below or click {HERE} to check them out in my store.

Spring ELA Printables

These are perfect for spring read-alouds.  You can check out my post about these ELA Printables and grab a freebie {here}.  Then check them out in my store by clicking the pictures below or clicking {HERE}.


Common Core-Aligned Book Clubs
I LOVE this resource for incorporating Book Clubs or Literature Circles in your primary classroom!  This is a wonderful way to hit on those Speaking and Listening Standards in the Common Core!  We always do Book Clubs at the end of the year with multiple copies of our favorite novels!  Check these out in my TPT Store by clicking the pictures or click {HERE}.



May Common Core Writing Activities

My monthly Common Core Writing packs are such a hit!  In the May pack, you can have your students writing their opinion about whether or not they deserve a summer break, writing an informative piece on the different parts of a flower and how it grows, writing a narrative about their favorite part of the school year so far, and finally a shared research piece on Memorial Day!  The students always have a blast with these pieces!  Click the pictures below or click {HERE} to check it out.

June/July Common Core Writing Activities

In the June/July pack, your students will be writing their opinion about whether or not a public pool should require swimming lessons, an informative piece about why you should wear sunscreen in the summer, a narrative writing about summer fun, and a shared research piece where they organize and plan their own summer vacation.  These are SO MUCH FUN!  Check them out {HERE}.

Summer Math & Literacy Centers

Love the graphics in these centers!  Perfect for the end of the year!  Common Core-Aligned and so much fun!  Check them out {HERE}.

The Mouse and the Motorcycle Novel Study

Ending the year by stepping away from the basal is so much fun!  My students always LOVE this magical little tale about a mouse and a boy who meet in a hotel.  The characters both learn important lessons in the story.  This unit includes a complete vocabulary study with over 70 words, comprehension questions for each chapter, comprehension activities for each chapter, and a cute little craftivity for displaying student work on a bulletin board or classroom display.  This is sure to be a hit among your students and a perfect way to end the year!  Check it out {HERE}.

End-of-Year Classroom Achievement Awards
in Color and Black/White for Easy Printing

There's something for everybody in this pack of Classroom Achievement Awards.  These come in both vibrant colors and in black/white for easy printing!  My students LOVE getting these each year!  :)  Check them out {HERE}.

Whew!  Hopefully, you can find some products above that will help you to wind down your school year!  And grab them while they're at such a great price during the sale!  Don't forget - my ENTIRE store is 20% off PLUS an additional 10% off from TPT by using the Promo Code TPTXO at checkout.  Happy Shopping, my friends, and Happy Teacher Appreciation Week!  :)

Saturday, April 12, 2014

Keep Students Organized with Folders!

Do your students seem to lose everything?!  Well if so, I have a tip that might help you out!  Teaching students to stay organized is a major component of my classroom.  I do this in a very simple, yet effective way.  It is simple, cheap, and easy!  Check out my Bright Idea for keeping students organized with folders!


The basic idea is a simple one.  RED means STOP and GREEN means GO - that's easy!  The students have two folders - one red and one green.


The red folder symbolizes STOP, because it never goes home.  It always stays in the student desk.  This houses all unfinished work that needs to be completed while at school.  

The green folder symbolizes GO, because it goes home each and every day.  I label the folder with one side saying "Leave at Home" and the other side saying "Return to School".  When we pass out papers at the end of the day, the students place them in one of the two pockets.


So that's it!  Easy, simple, cheap, and effective!  Have your kiddos organized in no time!  Just a helpful tip: I usually purchase the green and red folders during back to school time for pennies at local retailers.  Get started next year with some red and green folders!

If you enjoyed this Bright Idea, please consider following me on Facebook, Instagram, and TeachersPayTeachers for more ideas for your classroom.  Thanks for stopping by!

For more bright ideas, feel free to browse through the link-up below!  There are over 150 different bloggers sharing simple, easy, and effective Bright Ideas for your classroom!  Check them out below.  Feel free to PIN all the ideas that you find useful!