Sunday, August 21, 2016

Best Year Ever Bonus Sale & TpT Gift Card Giveaway!

If you missed the Best Year Ever Sale, you are in luck! On August 22nd TpT is having the Best Year Ever Sale part two! I'm giving away a $10 TpT gift card for your back to school goodies. This giveaway is for one day only so you can enjoy the sale. Use the Rafflecopter link below to enter.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Good luck! Now go load up your wishlists and get ready to shop for an amazing school year. Happy shopping!

Sunday, July 31, 2016

Stock Up During the TpT Best Year Ever Sale!

It's time to load up your wishlists, and stock up your classroom! It's time for the annual TpT back to school sale. I love this sale! I have a bunch of great products in my wishlist ready to go for August 1st. I also have some great products in my store to make going back to school much easier.

If you are looking for easy to use writing centers for upper elementary students,check out my Write 'N' Roll Writing Centers. These centers are aligned with the CCSS and cover the four main types of writing; descriptive, persuasive, expository, and narrative. To do these centers, your students just need to write and roll!

This pack has 21 different centers that focus on the following skills...

-Writing a Paragraph
-Story Starters
-Vivid Vocabulary
-Writing a Friendly Letter
-Narrative Writing
-Writing a Personal Narrative
-Persuasive Writing
-Tall Tales
-Fairy Tales
-Opinion Writing
-Expository Writing- How-To Writing
-Descriptive Writing
-Informative Writing
-Creating Comics Using Figurative Language
-Informative Writing-Writing a Newspaper Article
-Persuasive Writing- Writing a Speech
-Writing a Book Review
-Play Writing
-Song Writing

If you are looking for some fun centers for your writing time, feel free to check them out! You can download a sample center on fairy tales for free here

If you are looking for early finisher activities, check out my Early Finisher Activity LotusThis product includes 32 weeks of early finisher work. Each week is set up as a lotus diagram and includes 8 activities. The activities are designed to meet the needs of diverse learners. This product was designed to take up minimal space in the classroom and use few supplies. All you need to do is print, display, and you are ready to go! 

Choice boards are one of my favorite learning tools. They challenge students and offer them a choice in their learning. I have to yearlong sets for both reading and math.

I hope you have a great school year! Now get your wishlists ready!

Thursday, July 28, 2016

Back to School Gift Ideas

I like to give gifts to my students and coworkers at the beginning of the school year. This year I found two cute ideas that didn't break the bank! My husband will thank me later :-). 

For my students, I made these cute glow stick cards for Meet the Teacher Night. You can get a pack of 5 glow stick bracelets at Party City for $.99! I was able to get a present for all of my students for only $6! Which means more money for classroom supplies! Woo hoo! You can get these Glow and Grow Back to School cards for free at my TpT store. I made cards for kindergarten through fifth grade. Enjoy!

You can get these bracelets in tons of different colors at Party City!

I wanted to give my team something they could use. Maybe it's just the southern girl in me, but I think that thank you notes are a must! I found these adorable monogrammed thank you notes from the Christmas Tree Shop for $1 a pack. Each pack has ten cards to use during the school year.

I made labels for the cards using my Burlap and Barnwood Editable Classroom Decor labels. I think they turned out pretty cute. I can't wait to give them to my team on our first day back!

Friday, July 22, 2016

Organizing Your Classroom Library

I am loving my new classroom library!  I spent a bunch of time reorganizing my books at the end of the school year and giving my library a much-needed makeover! The best part is that this makeover didn't break the bank. I found these awesome clear tubs at the Dollar Tree. They are long and perfect for holding both chapter and picture books. I had to buy 26 tubs for my library, so I only spent $26! Woo hoo! I love a great deal!

Then I organized my books by genre. I know that there are many different ways to organize your library, but this seems to be the way that works best for me in my classroom. When I conference with my students I find out what genres they like to read. Organizing by genre helps me easily recommend new books for them to try.

I have a bunch of bright colors in my classroom, so I made these bright chalkboard labels for my book baskets. All of the fiction genres are marked in green and the nonfiction genres are marked in blue. I printed the labels out and used clear packing tape to attach them to each basket. For extra organization, I placed color coding dot stickers on each book to help students remember where they need to return their books. For example, fiction books have green color coding labels and nonfiction books have blue color coding labels. On each label, I wrote a short abbreviation for each genre and placed the same color coding sticker on my book basket. Here is the list of codes I used for each genre:

Fiction Labels (green) 
- Historical Fiction- HF  
- Family & Friends- FF
- Realistic Fiction- RF  
- Graphic Novels- GN
- Poetry- P  
- Animal & Human Relationships- AH
- Fairy Tales- FT 
- Legends- L  
- Tall Tales- TT 
- Mystery- M 
- Fantasy- F 
- Myths- My 
- Holiday Books- HB 
- Sports- S
- Scary Stories- SS
- Humorous- H
- Action & Adventure- A
- Animal Characters- AC

Nonfiction Labels (blue)  
- Social Studies- SS
- Science- S 
- Biographies- B 
- Math- M     
- Holiday Books- HB

You can find these dot stickers at any office supply store.  I found mine at Staples.
We spend a bunch of time learning about genres at the beginning of the school year. I have a bulletin board right next to my library so I created genre anchor charts to help my students remember each genre. The anchor charts have the same bright chalkboard theme to match the book basket labels. You can get these labels and anchor charts from my TpT store here.

What tips and tricks do you have for organizing your classroom library?

Sunday, July 17, 2016

Light Up Your School Year With a Lightbox Giveaway!

I just got a Heidi Swapp Lightbox, and I'm in LOVE! I can't wait to put my Lightbox to use in my classroom. I've been busy thinking about all of the quotes I can use to motivate my students throughout the year. It's so much fun!

You can purchase kits from Heidi Swapp to make your Lightbox your own, or you can use vellum paper to print your own. In the picture above, I used vellum paper to print a sign for my class theme.

Now who's ready for a giveaway!?! I'm giving away one Heidi Swapp Lightbox to a lucky reader. This giveaway ends on July 23, 2016. So, go to the Rafflecopter link below for your chance to win and light up your school year!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Saturday, January 2, 2016

Two Books Every Teacher Needs to Read

Teaching is not an easy profession. During the school year, you are so many different things to your students; a parent, nurse, counselor, leader, role model, listener, data analyst, and above all teacher. You want to change the world, but it can wear you out! During the year you can get so wrapped up in your job that you sometimes forget to take care of yourself. Stop, breathe, and take care of yourself. If you don’t take care of yourself, you can’t be all the things you need to be for your students. 

In an effort to take better care of myself, I stumbled upon two amazing books; Big Magic by Elizabeth Gilbert, and Daring Greatly by BrenĂ© Browne. These books have absolutely nothing to do with education, but speak to your inner teacher. They give you the strength you sometimes need to survive this profession. 

Teaching is a creative profession. Teachers are some of the most creative people I have ever met. Meeting all of the educational needs of your students takes a bunch of creativity. Unfortunately during our career, some people try to take away our creativity.  I have seen too many AMAZING teachers leave the profession because they felt like their creativity wasn’t acknowledged. To be totally honest, I’m sure that we have all felt like that at times. 

One day I was feeling the creativity drain and stumbled upon the "Magic Lessons" podcasts by Elizabeth Gilbert. I don’t want to be dramatic, but it was like everything she was saying was speaking to my soul. I was so inspired by her podcasts that I read her book Big Magic. The book did not disappoint. If you ever feel like you are in a creative rut, you need to read this book. Big Magic helped me overcome my creative obstacles.  

Teachers are leaders, and all leaders need the courage to be vulnerable. I stumbled upon BrenĂ© Browne while watching her TED talk on vulnerability. If you haven’t watched this talk, you need to. It will change your outlook on life. After watching her talk, I was inspired to read her book Daring Greatly. This book will completely change the way you interact with people. In this book she explores vulnerability, how people handle their vulnerabilities, and how understanding your own and other’s vulnerabilities will help you become a more effective person. This book is one of my absolute favorites. I think that all teachers should read this book to better understand each another and their students. 

These two books have helped me deal with the challenges the teaching profession can bring, and changed they way I look at problems. Read these books, they will change you.

Saturday, September 26, 2015

What's In My Teaching Bag?

Time for some teacher fun! How many of you read People magazine? I am addicted! My husband thinks that reading this magazine will rot my brain, but it’s my guilty pleasure. Let’s face it, after reading with your students all day, you just want to relax and read something entertaining! One of my favorite articles is the “What’s in My Bag” article. Maybe I’m just nosey, but I love seeing what products the stars use and put in their bags.

Tammy at The Owl Teacher came up with a great idea for a Linky Party! Instead of celebrities showing off what’s in their bags, teachers are going to show off what’s in their teaching bag. Let the fun begin!

My teacher bag is from Thirty-One. A student gave it to me a couple of years ago, and I have loved using it throughout the years. The only downside to this bag is that the pockets don’t close, so small items easily fall out.  To solve that problem, I have a matching pouch that zips. I keep this pouch in my bag to hold all of my small stuff. 

I keep all kinds of goodies in my teacher bag. Sometimes I feel like Mary Poppins because I keep so many things in my bag! My computer, flash drive, iPad, and grade book are essentials that I keep with me at all times. You never know when you will need them at home, and I'm always grading papers during my spare time.

While grading papers, I always use my Papermate Flair Pens. I LOVE these pens! They are bright and just make me happy! I tend to use the purple pen the most, so I keep extra purple pens with me. I also keep my "Correct Your Mistakes" stamp, and EZ Grader with me to make grading papers easy.

I try my best to stay organized, so I keep a planner and my to-do list notebook with me. I tried using sticky notes for to-do lists in the past, but I always lost them. Now, I use a notebook I date daily to help keep me organized. I also use colored sticky tabs to mark important pages.

I adore anything lavender! The scent has such a calming effect, so I keep a small tube of the L'Occitane Lavender Hand Cream with me. I also have a rollerball filled with a mixture of lavender and peppermint essential oils on hand for headaches.

My teacher buddy has gotten me hooked on Xocai Healthy Chocolate, so I always have a few pieces on hand for a quick snack. These dark chocolate nuggets are delicious and nutritious, so you don't feel guilty when you need a chocolate fix.

Well, that's what's in my bag! Check out what's in other teacher bags by selecting a link below.

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