Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Let's Teach Turkey!!!

It's turkey time folks!  Every November I have done at least a little something with my students on turkeys. This year I created a nonfiction turkey unit!  It comes with an All About Turkeys informational text, close reading questions/activities and extended activities(CCSS aligned).  Click on the picture for a closer look.
So much to do and so little time.  Hope you are having a great week! 

Friday, November 1, 2013

How to Print Full Scale in PowerPoint

Are you wanting to print something in PowerPoint, but it doesn't seem to print full size?  Angry at that pesky white border? Here is the solution!  I had a customer ask how to do this and wanted to share with everyone.

Go to File, Print.  Then follow these steps:
First, select the slides you want to print.  

Then select 'Scale to fit paper'.  Now you are ready to print! 

By the way, did you know you don't HAVE to print in color?  I save on ink by printing mostly in grayscale.  Just select 'Grayscale' from the drop down menu (shown above).

I hope these tips help you out!  Happy printing!

Sunday, October 13, 2013

Fall & a Flash SALE

Wow! Congrats to Tpt for reaching 100K Facebook followers!  I'm joining in on the celebration and everything in my Tpt store is on sale through 10/14.  I've been busy adding new products lately and I hope you check them out!  Here are a few products you may be interested in this time of year.  I love what buyers are saying about them! Click on each picture to see the details.

Don't forget the sale ends Monday 10/14 at midnight!  

Saturday, September 7, 2013

Johnny Appleseed & Apple FUN!

September 26 is Johnny Appleseed Day!  Every year I do some thematic teaching about apples and Johnny Appleseed.  I do some in September because September=apples right? I also do apples when we get to the Johnny Appleseed story in our anthology books later in the year. There are so many things you can do with apples!  Here are some pics from an 'Our Favorite Apple' graphing activity we did last year.

For this activity we used red, green and yellow apples.  

That handy dandy contraption is the best! Why did I ever try to slice apples without it?

Students getting their apples for the big taste test!  Then they got to vote for their favorite apple.   We recorded, graphed and discussed our apple data. 

I took a picture of each student wearing a Johnny Appleseed hat while holding their favorite apple.  The idea for this picture was something I found on Pinterest last year.  (I don't remember where it came from but if you know please comment so I can add the link.)  The poster this little Johnny is standing in front of is one I made for vocabulary in our anthology story about Johnny Appleseed. 

I ended up having a few extra apples left over so I turned them into "Golden Apple Awards".  Boy oh boy did the students want those apples!  It was a great motivator for everything that day :)  If you're interested in the "Our Favorite Apple" activity I included it in my latest unit Johnny Appleseed & Apple FUN!  It includes fun writing, math and science activities.  Take a closer look below.

Click on the pictures to check it out in my Tpt store.  Have a great weekend!

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Classroom Management - with Honey

I remember in college taking my classroom management class.  My professor said "This is the most important class you will take to become a teacher."  I don't know if I believed him then, but I sure do now!  It would be impossible for me and my students to be successful in the classroom without good classroom management.  As with everything in my classroom, my management has changed over the years as I try new things and try to perfect the art.  When I think of classroom management, this comes to mind:

Over the years I've  gotten compliments on how my classroom "feels" when people come  in to observe students learning. I'm a calm person by nature, and very organized.  I believe that teachers really control that "energy" in the classroom.  Students look to you -the teacher- for how to behave.  It is our job to teach them how we want them to behave in our classroom.  I've learned that means being absolutely EXPLICIT with EXACTLY what you want them to do.  You start teaching students these things the MOMENT you first meet them.  Teaching routines and procedures has a direct correlation to classroom behavior.  When students know what to do and what to expect, things will run much more smoothly.  Here are a few routines and procedures that I didn't realize I'd need to teach until I got my own classroom.

How to hang up your backpack/sweaters/lunchboxes (your mom doesn't work here kids!)
How to clean your table/desk (shoving everything to the back of the desk is NOT cleaning it!)
How to wash your hands (without getting water ALL over the floor)

You have to teach those kids EVERYTHING.  Students may have done these things before, but they don't know how YOU want them to do it.  So teach them!  There are so many little things they need to learn.   Some of those things may take a while, or need to be retaught throughout the year.  

Example: How to line up to leave the room.  There is that moment every year when I realize I need to tighten the reigns again.  I dismiss students to line up for recess, and instead of the normal stand up, push in chairs, walking with normal chatter line up... there is a WILD stampede of six year olds knocking over a chair in their rush to get in line. The line looks like a heard of cats and the noise level reaches epic proportions.  (Tell me this doesn't happen to just me???) I stand there and think "What in the world just happened?!?!?!"  Solution - Operation Reteach and it goes like this: "Everyone go sit down...boys and girls that is not the way we line up for recess.  Raise your hand if you can tell me how we line up.  ( I call on a few students who give me the normal responses - no running, quiet, etc) Thank you, now I'm going to pick a table who can show the rest of the class how we line up.  Red table is showing me they are ready. Red table when I say go I want you to stand up, push in your chairs, walk to the line with your hands behind your back and your voices off... Go. (Red table successfully lines up) Thank you red table, I like the way you pushed in your chairs, walked to the line, had your hands behind your back and your voices were off. (Then I proceed to call the other tables to the line) Thank you boys and girls, I expect that the next time we line up it will look exactly like this. This time you did a great job."  Explicit teaching, modeling, and positive reinforcement.  No routine or procedure is ever too small to teach.  Some of the best teaching advice I ever got was "Assume they know nothing." :)

Praise - When I was student teaching, my mentor teacher had me constantly practice praising the students so that it would become a habit - now it is!  I remember writing "Praise" on a sticky note to help me remember to do so throughout my lessons.  When I use it in my classroom it sounds like this: 

"I like the way you..."
"Thank you for......"
"I see that you are....."
To help keep behavior in check with a behavior management system,  here are a few things I've tried that have been successful.
1. Clip Chart - You've probably seen these around, so I won't go into detail. If you'd like more info on how it works you can read up on it at Rick Morris's website.
2. Class Dojo - You can read more about how I use this in this previous post.
3. Table Points
4. Prize Box

I hope sharing these ideas and experiences help someone out there "Tame the Wild".  If you are struggling with classroom management remember that no one is perfect, and tomorrow is a new day!

Thursday, August 15, 2013

Teacher Week: Now Teach! Organizing for Instruction

I wanted to share a quick organizing tip with you.  Here is how I organize my files.
I started these files my first year and they've evolved over the past 8 years.  When I first made the files I only had the HMR 7.1 labels.  That stands for Houghton Mifflin Reading Theme 7 Week 1, which is how the reading series we use is organized.  Since then I've added more to the tabs to find things easier.  Now they look like the picture above.  I've added that weeks spelling patterns, focus vowel, word families, grammar, or anything else introduced/taught during that week.  When I run across something and think, 'Hey, this is a great idea! I need to save a copy!' I head over to my files and can find where I want to save it easily.  I add to the files through out the year.  I try to keep everything in chronological order from the beginning of the year to the end.  I keep the current file at the front and when that week is over I put it in the back of the file cabinet and the 'new' current file is in the front.  I don't use everything in the files every year, but I like having an arsenal of strategies, ideas, and resources ready if I need it.  This system has worked great for me and these files are by far my most valued teaching item.  I hope this post has sparked an organizational idea for you.  If you'd like to read more organization tips, head over to Blog Hoppin' for their classroom organization linky party!

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Teacher Week '13 - Meet the Teacher

Hi everyone! I'm excited to link up with Blog Hoppin's Teacher Week.  This post was supposed to be posted on Monday, but on Monday I locked myself and my daughter out of the house early in the morning :(. My wonderful sister Cristi drove 30 minutes to my house to come get us and took us to my parents house until my husband got off work.  Then this morning (Tuesday) I went to an appointment that turns out is really scheduled for tomorrow.  So now it's nearly 10:30pm and I'm just finishing this post up.  I feel like I'm losing my marbles people!  Anyways, thanks for reading along and I look forward to reading other blogs this week and getting to know everyone.

1.  I've been working with children for over 14 years.  During college I worked as a nanny, after school program teacher, and *my favorite* as a special ed aid for a preschool early education language program.  After college I subbed for about six months until I got my first teaching job as a 1st grade teacher.  In the past 8 years I've taught kindergarten and 1st grade.  The primary grades are for me!
2. I'm been married to a wonderful guy named Charlie for over 9 years. WHOA - I just had to recount and double check that number! We dated for 5 years before we were married so we've been together over 14 years. We have SO much fun together! He is truly my best friend and I am so lucky to have him in my life.

3.  In February I became a mom to the sweetest baby ever.  I love my baby Isla so much!!!  Now, hopefully you're reading her name as "eye-luh" and not "is-la" as many, many people have.  If you did it's understandable and I'll forgive you. I had serious conversations with myself about her name before she was born.  Being a teacher, I didn't want to give her a name where there would be 3 in every classroom but I didn't want to give here a weird name either.  And I didn't want to give her a name that would be mispronounced... oh well.  It happens ALL.THE.TIME. lol My husband and I did battles over her name for about 8 months. Isla was the only name we could agree on :) If my dear husband had had his wish she would have been named "Alexia".  So see, it could have been worse ;)

4. Random Food Issues: One of my favorite treats is eating brownies with orange juice.  I hate tomatoes on hamburgers, sandwiches or salads but I like eating them sliced.  I think you can never have too much ketchup with your fries.  I can't eat fish if I see scales - yuck!
5. I'm the youngest of 7 kids.  I have one brother and 5 sisters.  My oldest sister is 20 years older than me and my sister closest in age to me is 6 years older.  My parents saved the best for last IMO.  Here is my sister Susan and I on a trip to San Fran.

6.  This weekend my lifelong friend Suzy is getting married and Charlie and I are in the wedding party.  Suzy is marrying Charlie's cousin, so now we will officially be family :)!  Here is a pic of me and Suzy dressing up as brides when we were little.  I think this may have been Halloween.  Thanks for those bangs mom!

7. Lately I've been obsessed with making headbands for Isla.  I'm eagerly awaiting an order from Etsy to make her some more. Shabby flowers = LOVE
8. DVR is one of the best inventions ever.  Here are some shows you will see on that play list: Swamp People, Duck Dynasty, Cake Boss, 19 Kids and Counting, Survivor, Once Upon a Time. I can't wait for the season premiere of Duck Dynasty this week!
9. I love crafting and garage sales.  I really miss Martha Stewart's show.....One day I want to have a fabulous craft room instead of a junky craft table in the garage.
10. Best trip ever? ITALY.  It was the trip of a lifetime!  Charlie and I went there for two weeks with another couple.  We went to Tuscany, Venice, Amalfi Coast and Rome.  I HAVE to get back there someday!

It was nice to meet you! If you'd like to read about some more teacher bloggers head over to Blog Hoppin'!

Tuesday, July 30, 2013

My 1st Facebook Fan FREEBIE

I FINALLY have my facebook fan freebie button up and running! I'm so exited!!! It took me hours to do...I know, it should not have taken me that long.  Thankfully I found a wonderful how to video AND blog over at Ms. Fultz's Corner.  She's amazing!  If it weren't for her I would still be working on it.  So I hope you like my first fb fan freebie.  It's a little something for those teachers using AR/Accelerated Reader.  I have used AR in my classroom for years and love how it motivates students.  Click on the picture below to head over to my fb page.  Hope you like!

Tuesday, July 2, 2013

July Currently

I'm linking up for the first time with Oh'Boy 4th Grade's Currently Linky - Geez, where have I been???

Listening: I swear that sometimes the BEST sound in the whole world is peace & quiet!

Loving: Ok, I know I'm totally dorking out on these Vintage Seed Packet stamps but they are SO pretty!  Every time I get handed ANOTHER book of the liberty stamps I sigh. So last time I was at the grocery store and got handed these pretty little things I actually cooed.  I can't wait to use them for my daughter's birth announcements!

Thinking:  Have you ever loaded up the dishwasher and then forgot to turn it on? That's what happened to me and it's been happening way too often lately!  So now I have a stack of dishes ready to go in the washer and clean ones ready to be put away...but writing this post sounds so much more fun!!!

Wanting:  I love breakfast.  BIG breakfasts.  I could really go for a breakfast burrito right now, but then I'd have to make it...

Needing:  Just when I thought we had a schedule going, my sweet baby decides to change it all up.  It's near impossible to get things done lately, but she's so cute and so much fun I don't mind. Yikes! I hear her waking up! Type!!! Type!!!

45 minutes later....

Tips, Tricks, Hints:  You know that old saying - 'Rome wasn't built in a day'?  I agree. I spend A LOT of time on the units I make for Tpt/TN.  I'm not going to put a product out there unless I'm completely happy with it.  If I don't like it, why would anyone else?  So I take my time.  Occasionally I get really excited about an idea, get totally tapped into creativity mode and it gets done fast. But most of the time my ideas are tiny seeds that need plenty of sun and water.  I write my ideas down in a notebook so I don't forget about them.  When I get writer's block I take a break and revisit the idea in a day, or two, or 90... So my advice is that if you want to create a quality product, don't rush it :).

Have a great 4th of July!!!


Sunday, June 30, 2013

Follow with Bloglovin!

<a href="">Follow my blog with Bloglovin</a>

I should have done this weeks ago, but now you can follow me with Bloglovin!  Just click on the sidebar button.  Hope everyone is having a great summer!!!

Sunday, May 26, 2013

Teachers Care for Oklahoma

As you've probably read in the newsletter this morning, a group of Tpt Teacher Authors (myself included) have donated an item from their stores to the "Teachers Care for Oklahoma" Fundraiser.  There are four bundles of learning resources available for purchase - two K-2 bundles and two 3-5 bundles.  For only a $25 donation you will receive some amazing resources!  100% of the proceeds for this fundraising event is being collected by TPT, and will be distributed by check to the appropriate Moore Oklahoma School District Representative earmarked to specifically aid the teachers as they begin the process of rebuilding.  How awesome is that?!  These bundles are only available for a limited time - until Monday June 3, 2013. Click on the links below to check out these great items!

K-2 Bundle #2**My Long A ~ Activity Pack is in this bundle

This is the unit I donated to this fundraiser.  Click on the picture to take a closer look!

A special thanks to Crayon Box Learning for putting it all together!!!

Friday, May 24, 2013

End of Year Autograph FREEBIE

Here is a fun and EASY activity and keepsake I wanted to share with you.  A dear teacher friend introduced me to this activity years ago.  The kids love it!  Here's how it goes:
1. Have a 3x5 class photo you've taken during the year printed for each student.  I go to Walmart and it's only a few dollars.
2. Print a class set of this freebie and give each student a copy to put on their desk.
3. Students walk around from desk to desk with their favorite colored crayon or marker and autograph each paper.  Tell the students not to write in the middle rectangle because a picture will go there and their name will be covered if they do (There is ALWAYS someone who does this despite the warning! Grrrr).
4. Collect the papers, glue picture in the middle(or have students glue it), laminate and give back to students as a special keepsake.
That's it!
I have added pages for K-5. Click on the picture to download!

I've had students come back years later and show me they still have these! Enjoy and have a great rest of the school year :)

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Let's Get Aquainted Linky Party

Today I'm linking up with Latoya over at Flying Through First Grade for a fun linky!

1.  What made you decide to become a teacher?
When I started college I planned on doing something with computers, like graphic design.  It wasn't long until that changed.  I decided to become a teacher the day I went to visit my nephew Alec's special day preschool class.  I fell in love with those kids.  I decided I really wanted to do something to help people.  So, I became a teacher :)

2. What has been your most rewarding experience as a teacher?
The first thing that comes to mind is one of my former students.  Let's call him Johnny.  I attribute all my gray hairs to my time spent with that boy.... Johnny came into to my classroom below where he needed to be and I believe that most of the reason for his low performance was due to his behavior.  I knew he had the potential to succeed if I could just save him from himself.  I tried a lot of different ideas to turn things around for Johnny and it was exhausting.  Here's what ended up working: I gave myself a pep talk every morning before school.  It went something like this - 'Smile.  Johnny can never know how much his behavior makes your blood boil.  Love him.  Don't give up on him.  He has to succeed.  Johnny is on the fast track to gangs and jail if he doesn't succeed.  He HAS to succeed. He can do it, you know he can.  Smile. Go.' This little pep talk, silly as it seems, got me through the year.  I also started a small after school group to give a few students extra support.  While the thought of having Johnny in my classroom an extra hour each day was almost more than my sanity could handle, I knew he needed it.  Slowly Johnny began to change.  He started to care.  He wanted to do well and doing a good job became important to him.  He was no longer consumed with wanting to drive his peers crazy or constantly needing to be the center of attention.  Not that he became perfect, but his bad behavior was about 1/3 of what it once was.  Best of all Johnny soared to the top academically.  He became a great reader and was strong in math.  I asked his second grade teacher how he was doing and she said "Johnny? He's one of the highest kids in my class!"  I knew he had come a LONG way, but hearing from another teacher how great he was doing a year later was awesome.  All that hard work had paid off :)
3. If you were not a teacher, what would you be?
If I wasn't a teacher I would be an archaeologist, museum curator, or baker!  I love history.  I was very close to getting a minor in History, but I just wanted to finish college and be done with it.  Why baker? Because I love the show 'Cake Boss', and would love to do something creative everyday that makes people happy.

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Going to Bat for Breast Cancer: Exciting UPDATE!!!

Honorary Bat Girl Kimberly Fugere, her husband Ross, and Dustin Ackley pose for a pregame photo.
MLB player Dustin Ackley , Kimberly and her husband Ross

So, I have some GREAT news to share!  The few weeks ago I did a post about my dear friend Kimberly who is fighting cancer.  Her father entered her into a MLB contest to be an honorary bat girl on Mothers Day.    Kimberly WON!!!! Kimberly was honored on Sunday at the Seattle Mariners game.  She is so deserving of this honor and I am so happy for her.  Thank you so much to everyone who took a moment to give her a vote.  You can click on the picture below to read more about Kimberly's story and watch her throw out the ceremonial first pitch.

Thursday, May 9, 2013

Shopping the Teacher Appreciation Sale

I'm so excited about my purchases from yesterday! I did some clip art shopping and found some great stores to get them from.  I'm always on the lookout for great clip art!  I really had to restrain myself and lots got moved over to my wish list.  I have about 4 projects half way done and so many ideas that I can't wait to get started on.  This new clip art is definitely motivating!!! Here's what I got:
 I love all the different colors.  This set came with flat and 3D!
SO exciting to plan a unit with this clip art!
I know exactly what I'm doing with these.  They were a killer deal too!

How did I not find this store before? SUPER cute graphics!

 Honestly, I don't know what exactly I'm doing with these fab graphics, but the second I saw them I knew I HAD to have them!

I am so happy with all of my purchases!  I haven't bought from ANY of these stores before, but will definitely be shopping with them in the future :) If you'd like to see what other teachers have bought or share your purchases, head over to Blog Hoppin' and link up!

On another note, the other day I came across a great resource for everyone!  It's a new facebook page called Teacher Made Freebies.  Head on over to facebook and like their page for updates on great freebies!

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

A School Secretary FREEBIE

Do you love your school secretary? I do!  She is the BEST.  A few weeks ago I got an email request from a teacher who's school secretary is having a baby. She asked if I would mind doing a "Our Secretary is Having a Baby" version of my freebie "My Teacher is Having a Baby".  I'm always happy to fulfill requests and luckily she caught me at the perfect time.  I had checked my email first thing in the morning and was able to whip it up and email it to her before my daughter woke up!  So, I thought there must be other people out there who could also use the secretary version and wanted to share it with you. Click on the picture below to get your copy :).

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Cat Naps and a SALE!!!

Christine Sedley Photography Click to see more pics!

I am so in love with this happy face!  This is my sweet 3 month old daughter Isla (and for those who are wondering, it's pronounced "eye-luh" :). And she is an EXCELLENT cat napper....ya... It goes something like this: 'Holy cow, she's asleep!  I ever so gently lay her down, then dash through the house like a ninja trying to get things done. But 8 minutes later -  she's awake again.  Then we go through the whole routine again: diaper, eat, play, yada, yada, and she's asleep again! If I'm lucky, she's asleep for 20 minutes.  Thankfully she doesn't sleep like that at night, but I haven't gotten a whole lot done lately(I only do computer stuff when she's sleeping). I have oodles of ideas and Tpt units I can't wait to finish.  I'm getting to write this post because I woke up when my husband left for work and she's still sleeping - fingers are crossed I can finish this before she wakes up for the day! {Update: Nope, it didn't get done. So, I'm finishing up today!}

This week I will be having a Teacher Appreciation Sale in both my stores!  I am having a 20% off sale on everything in my stores, plus you'll get an extra 10% off when you enter the promo codes at checkout.  Don't forget to leave feedback and earn Tpt credits towards your purchases.  Here are a few of my items you may be needing this time of year, click on the pics for more information!

TPT Teacher Appreciation Sale!  Mat 7-8, 2013  Up to 28% off with code TAD13
Click on the pic above to go to my Tpt store.
Click on the pic above to go to my TN store.