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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Tuesday, September 1, 2015

Saving the Macaws

If you haven't heard of the Tambopata Macaw Project, you need to check them out. They are located in Peru and are working on the conservation of macaws. Teachers from TpT have joined together to help this cause. Check out the Saving the Macaws store on TpT. This store has some AWESOME products and bundles! The best part is that 100% of the proceeds go directly to the Tambopata Macaw Project. 

Thank you Carrie, from Not All Who Wonder,  for setting up this worthy cause!

Tuesday, August 18, 2015

TpT Love Back to School One Day Bonus Sale!

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If you missed the TpT Love Back to School Sale, you are in luck!  On Wednesday, August 19 TpT is throwing a one day bonus sale. Woo Hoo! So, get your wish lists ready and stock up for the new school year!

Sunday, August 16, 2015

2015-2016 TpT Back to School eBooks

The TpT Back to School eBooks are back! The best part is that they are FREE! These eBooks are loaded with freebies, teacher tips, and great products to help you begin the school year. Plus they introduce you to some fabulous TpT authors! I don't know about you, but I am downloading all of these wonderful eBooks! Be sure to look for the link to a free item on each page, and check out the other great resources by that seller.

There are different eBooks for different grade levels. Find the links for your grade level below, and start downloading!

Look for my page in the Grades 3-4 E-Book!

Sunday, August 2, 2015

First Day Tried & True Linky Party

It's that time of year again! Time to go back to school! Whenever I think of going back to school, I get the song from Billy Madison stuck in my head.

Anyways, what better way to celebrate going back to school than with a linky party! Whether you are just starting out or have a few years under your belt, I hope you enjoy reading all of our tried & true first day tips. Thank you, Chrissie at The Undercover Classroom for all of your help getting this linky party together! I can't wait to read everyone's tips and tricks for the first day of school!

My first day tried and true tip deals with teamwork. I cannot stress enough how important it is to create a team environment in your classroom. I like my students to support each other and lift each other up! A classroom that works together is a happy place.

I’m a quote girl and believe in the power of words. When my students walk into my room, I have a sign by the door that reads…

I keep this sign by my door because my students see it when they enter and leave the classroom, and it sets the tone for my expectations throughout the school year.

On the first day of school, I do a ton of getting to know you activities with my kiddos. One of the activities I have my students complete is a teamwork activity called the School Supply Structure Challenge. This activity is one of my absolute favorites! This problem-solving activity challenges the students to work together as a team. First, I divide my students into small groups of about 4 to 5 students. Once, they are in their groups, I give them their challenge. They have ten minutes to work with their team and create the tallest school supply structure they can make using only a ruler, five pieces of notebook paper, one yard of tape, and three paperclips. During the ten minutes, they have to brainstorm and construct their structure. Then I set a timer, and they begin! I have a Promethean Board in my classroom, so I like to use a visual timer for the students. My favorite timer is the Flash Countdown Timer from

This timer has a colored bar that changes as the time runs out. It even plays music for the kids while they work. I love using the Mission Impossible and Star Wars theme songs in my room!

While my students are working, I walk around the classroom to observe and monitor their work. I love watching my students during this activity. It's so fun watching them problem solve and work together. You can see who your leaders are, and who might need help finding their voice. I am always amazed by their creativity!

When the timer stops, the students must stop whatever they are working on. I go to each group and use a meter or yard stick to measure their structures. The team with the tallest structure is the winner!

The pictures below show some of our final structures.

Once the activity is complete, I like to discuss the strategies my students used while creating their structures. We talk about the strategies that worked really well and the strategies that didn't go as planned. This activity can be found in my Back to School Activities Pack. Feel free to check it out for other fun back to school activities.

I hope my post gives you some fun tips and tricks for the first day of school! Be sure to check out the other posts below for more first day fun!

If you have a favorite first day of school activity and would like to link up your own blog post, please join us!  Use the First Day Tried & True graphic from the top of this post in your own blog post and link up below! The collection will remain open for new links through August 21.

Friday, July 31, 2015

TpT Love Back to School Sale

It's that time of year again, time to go back to school! So get your wish lists ready, and stock up on all of the TpT items you need for your classroom.  All of the items in my store will be 20% from August 3-4. When checking out, don't forget to add the code BTS15 for an additional 8% off.

Happy shopping! I hope you all have a wonderful year!

Monday, July 20, 2015

Writing Centers in the Classroom

I don't know about you, but I love a good writing center. During Writing Workshop, I like my students to practice their writing in different ways. I feel like students need to mix up their writing methods and strategies. It gives them a chance to be creative and think outside of the box.

That being said, I just found the coolest game at Wal-Mart and I cannot wait to use it as a writing center in my classroom! Have you ever seen Rory's Story Cubes? If not, you need to check them out! The set I have below is on actions. Basically, your students just roll and write! When the students are getting ready to write, they roll the dice. The actions shown on the dice need to be included in their story. The best part about this game is that you can easily modify it for any of your students. If you have a struggling writer, you can have that student roll one die. For your higher writers, you can have them roll as many dice as you want.  This game would work really well with ESOL students too since it shows actions.

This game got my creative juices going and I worked on creating some writing centers for my classroom. I wanted to create writing centers for upper elementary students that aligned with the CCSS and covered the four main types of writing; descriptive, persuasive, expository, and narrative. With the dice theme in mind, I created Write 'N' 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

Monday, July 13, 2015

Viva Las Vegas! TpT Conference Linky Party

What happens in a good time! I had a great time this year at the annual TpT conference. I met so many amazing teachers and learned so much. I love my TpT family. My husband joined me and we got to have a couple of toddler free date nights while on this trip, courtesy of Grandma and Pop-Pop. Thank you!

This year I was able to attend the Vegas blogger meetup before the conference. Thank you to all of the teachers who put this event together! When I arrived the line was 1,000 people long and I got there early! Holy blogger line Batman! The meetup was full of awesome teachers and amazing prizes. I even got to meet Deanna Jump. I was so glad that I was able to attend this year. 

The conference was AMAZING! The TpT team did a great job again this year. All of the sessions I attended were awesome. I left feeling energized and excited. If you ever get a chance to go, I highly recommend it.

Thank you Elementary Entourage for hosting this fun Linky Party. I can't wait to check out the other posts!

Monday, July 6, 2015

TpT Vegas Conference Sale!

It's that time of year again! Time to head to Vegas for the annual TpT Conference! Woo Hoo! I can't wait! In honor of this awesome event, I will be throwing a sale from July 8-10. Everything in my store will be 20% off. I hope to see you in Vegas!

Friday, July 3, 2015

TpT Seller Challenge Week 3: Make Your Masterpiece & Early Finisher Giveaway

I'm taking part in the TpT Seller Challenge and this week's topic is to make your masterpiece! I just finished working on my Early Finishers Activity Lotus. It's my latest masterpiece! I love this product and can't wait to use it in my classroom next year!

This product is for third and fourth grade students. It includes 32 weeks of early finisher activities ready to go. Each week is set up with eight different activities on a lotus diagram. The activities are geared for diverse learners. Students will write, sing, act, solve, calculate, experiment, create, illustrate, explain, design, and research with this fun activity set! There is no prep required, and the lotus diagram takes up minimal space in the classroom. All you have to do is print, and you are ready to go! Below is a sample of week two.

Here's the best part, you can register now to win this product here!a Rafflecopter giveaway
On July 10th two lucky winners will win this set for their classroom. So enter now for your chance to win!

How do you manage your early finishers?

Sunday, June 28, 2015

TpT Seller Challenge Week 2: Dare to Dream

I'm a little late joining the TpT Seller Challenge. However, I love this week's topic. Dreams are so important. As teachers, we teach our students to dream daily and sometimes forget about our dreams. It's nice to sit and reflect about one's dreams.

I joined TpT in 2012 and it has been such an amazing opportunity! I love collaborating with other teachers and sharing my ideas. TpT has allowed me to network with other teachers and has given me the freedom to enjoy things in life I wouldn't normally get to enjoy.

My main dream with TpT is that it will allow me to have the financial freedom to focus on being a mom. Don't get me wrong, I love teaching. I have been teaching for twelve years now. I love getting to know my students and watching them succeed. I would just love the opportunity to spend more time with my daughter. As you know, teaching is not a 9 to 5 profession. I am constantly grading papers on weekends and taking classes over the summer. She is growing up so quickly and I feel like I miss out on so much. During the school year, I can't go to her school functions because I am teaching. It would be so nice to have the freedom to watch her grow.

My next dream is to travel. I love experiencing different cultures! There are so many places I would love to see. I would really love to go to Peru and see where my great uncle is buried. He was an amazing person! He started many orphanages in Peru and I would love to go see the lives he touched.

My final dream is to live generously. I feel that we need to take care of each other. I like to give back and help people in need. I've always liked this quote from Atticus Finch in To Kill a Mockingbird,  "You never really understand a person until you consider things from his point of view -- until you climb into his skin and walk around in it.”  

Well, those are my dreams. Thank you for letting me share!

Friday, May 1, 2015

Teacher Appreciation Sale & 500 Follower Freebie

Happy Teacher Appreciation Week! Thank you for ALL that you do! In honor of Teacher Appreciation Week, TpT is throwing their annual Teacher Appreciation Sale. So get your wishlists ready! Everything in my store will be 20% off, and when you checkout use the code ThankYou for an extra 8% off.  Happy shopping!

On another note, my store just reached 500 followers! Wow! When I started TpT 2 years ago I never imagined anything like this would happen. Thank you for following my store, and letting me share my ideas with you! You guys are amazing! In honor of this milestone, I am offering my All About Lines and Angles Lesson Pack free for one week only (5/3/15-5/9/15). This pack has everything you need to teach your unit on lines and angles in your classroom. This pack includes an interactive presentation with assessment questions, word wall vocabulary cards, 3 games/activities to apply what your students have learned, and three leveled assessments to meet the learning needs of all of your students.

Thank you again for your support! I hope you have an amazing Teacher Appreciation Week! 

Monday, April 27, 2015

Mother's Day Student Gift

Freebie Friday! This week's freebie is for Mother's Day.

Mothers hold their children’s hands for a short while, but their hearts forever. ~Author Unknown

Mother’s Day is quickly approaching. Every year I like to have my students create a special present for their moms. I like the presents to be heartfelt because those gifts are priceless. Over the years, I have done many different craftivities with my students. I’ve done the tea for mom, handmade cards, books about mom, etc. You name it, I’ve probably done it.

Two years ago I joined the wonderful world of motherhood and my ideas about motherhood began to change. Maybe I’m sappy, but I wanted my students to give their moms something that was heartfelt and one hundred percent truthful (in only the way kids can be). So, I created a poem that I would love for my daughter to give to me. It follows a simple format and the students fill in the blanks. Each line starts with a verb and the students finish the line describing their moms. The poems are always a huge hit. Every year I do this activity with my students, I get happy emails from my students’ mothers.

So, this year I decided to share my poem with anyone who would like to use it in their classroom. You can download the file here. This file includes color and grayscale copies, and four different layouts so students can individualize their gift.

I hope you enjoy using this in your classroom! Happy Mother’s Day to all of you mothers out there!

Sunday, April 5, 2015

One Day Spring Sale! Link Up!

A big thank you to Danielle at Nouvelle By Danielle, for hosting a one day Spring Sale! Join us Monday, April 6th to celebrate everything spring! A bunch of teachers are offering 20% off their spring related products. I added my Figurative Language Choice Board and Earth Day QR Code Listening Stations Set to this fun sale! Click here to learn more about the products on sale.

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Get Your Students Moving with Go Noodle!

Earlier this year, a colleague of mine told me about Go Noodle. Let me tell you, this website is A-MAZ-ING! This site has a plethora of movement activities to use throughout the day with your kiddos. My students absolutely love this site. Some of my students set up free accounts so they can do these activities at home. Yes, they are that fun!

You can set-up a free account, or you can purchase a subscription. Once you have your account, you have access to these fun activities. No more searching the internet for kid-friendly activities! They are all here for you! The activities are organized into categories like Zumba Kids, Brainercise, Indoor Recess, YouTube, etc. This site even lets you add activities you may have used in the past to your account (I personally love this feature).

When you set-up your class, you get to select a mascot. This mascot is used to keep track of your students' progress. When your students complete a certain number of activities, the mascot enters the Transmogrifier and changes its appearance. The mascot even helps your class earn awards for reaching certain milestones.

If you haven't tried the site out yet, sign-up and get your students moving! I'm glad I did!

Monday, February 23, 2015

Teachers are Heroes (Sale and Giveaway)

We all have that one special teacher that made a difference in our lives. Someone who believed in us when we didn't believe in ourselves. Someone who had a key role in shaping who we are today. If you could talk to that teacher today what would you say?

In high school, I was an average student that struggled. I had to work really hard to earn my grades. In ninth grade, I was fortunate to be placed into Coach Riddle's Geography class. He made learning geography fun! His stories made learning interesting and the class discussions were insightful with the right amount of humor. In fact, I find myself talking about some of those discussions while I teach my students today. Most importantly, he made me believe in myself as a student. At the end of the year, he gave me the opportunity to take AP History the next school year. Something I thought I could never do. I never had a teacher believe in my ability to learn like that before. It felt great to have someone think that I was smart enough to handle that responsibility.  So, I jumped at the chance and earned that AP credit.

As a teacher, I often think about how I impact my students. I have been teaching for twelve years. I've had the privilege of teaching twelve bright groups of students. Each year, they have taught me so many important things and helped me grow into the teacher I am today. I just hope that I have been the type of teacher that makes a difference in their lives like they have mine.

In honor of all teacher heroes, like Coach Riddle, TeacherspayTeachers in having a site-wide sale February 25th. All of the items in my store will be 20% off. Use the promo code HEROES to receive an extra 8% off your total purchase. Thank you, teachers for being heroes to your students!

As if this sale isn't awesome enough, The teachers from The Best of Teacher Entrepreneurs (TBOTEMC) are having a giveaway! You can register for a chance to win one of three $100 gift cards! Click here to register for this awesome giveaway!

Monday, February 2, 2015

Exploring and Understanding Quadrilaterals

We are currently exploring quadrilaterals in math. When teaching this skill, I find that my students have a difficult time understanding the concept of a square. Not only is it a polygon and quadrilateral, but it is also a parallelogram, rhombus, rectangle, and last but not least a square! Yikes, so many vocabulary words for one shape!

In order to help my students understand this difficult concept, I use a couple of different activities during this lesson.

To introduce this lesson, I give each student a copy of my Polygon Geome"tree". This graphic organizer classifies polygons, and puts them in order using a tree chart. On the back, each polygon is listed with a definition describe each shape's attributes. You can download this graphic organizer for free here. This graphic organizer works great as a polygon study guide as well.

Next I show my students the YouTube video Math Mansion Show 34 Get Back in Shape and Be a Square. This short video examines parallelograms, and shows students how to classify quadrilaterals. I like the visuals used in this program, and my students enjoy the humor.

After we watch this short clip, I like to create an anchor chart like the one used in the video. I post this chart in the room, and keep it up throughout the unit. The chart below is the anchor chart I created this year. I added a trapezoid off to the side to show that he doesn't fit into the parallelogram club.

Then I have my students create different quadrilaterals using Geoboards. I give them clues for creating their shapes. For example, I don't just ask them to create a square. Instead I would ask them to create a quadrilateral with four right angles and four equal sides. My student can use their Polygon Geome"tree" graphic organizer to help them with this activity. After they have created their quadrilateral, I have them hold up their Geobaords so I can check for understanding.

Finally, I use my All About Polygons Lesson Pack to instruct and assess the students. This pack includes a presentation about polygons with an interactive quiz, and three leveled assessments (with answer keys) to meet the needs of all of your students.

By the end of this lesson, my students are polygon masters! What strategies do you use while teaching this concept?