Monday, October 26, 2015

Dun, dun, DUN! It's Back..and in a BRAND NEW COLOR!

Ok, y'all. 

Let's have some #realtalk. Pencil sharpening is a NIGHTMARE. 

But guess what?? It totally doesn't have to be!

Classroom Friendly Supplies is hot off the presses with a brand new COLOR for their amazing pencil sharpeners! POPULAR PURPLE, people! It is gorgeous! And not only is it gorgeous, it's still the super-awesome-totally-excellent sharpener that it was before in all of the other gorgeous shades! 

Check it out for yourself:

Look at that beautiful purple color and those beautiful SHARP pencils! Oh my goodness, it's like candy for my eyes! I really do LOVE this sharpener. If you have never tried it, stop waiting, do yourself a favor, and order one!!!

It's super quiet, user-friendly, portable if you need it to be, easy to clean out, compact, requires no batteries or outlets, and let's face it, super cute! 

I am beyond in love with the new Popular Purple color and I really hope you'll give it a try! If purple isn't your style, you're in luck because there are 5 other shades to choose from!

Just head on over to to check them all out!
Click the pic to head to their site!

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Saturday, September 12, 2015

How to Make Geography Lessons Stick

How to make geography lessons stick - Educents blog

How do you teach geography? Do you spend hours creating a map, labeling, cutting and pasting? It's so fun imagining all the ways this Mona MELisa reusable US Map can be used in the classroom or at home. All the states, capitols, and geographic information is ready for you to stick on to the map!

Here are a few geography activities to try:
  1. Playing "Name That State" with family and friends during the holidays. What better way to get the whole family together than a game for kids of all ages. Work in teams or alone to identify states and challenge seasoned family members in lightening fast rounds.
  2. Need a little direction? Use the compass to have children in the class describe where states are in relation to each other. Let your kiddos take turns directing each other around the country by using the directions on the compass. They'll have an awesome time walking their fingers from east from west in search of the correct state-- but be sure to watch out for the oceans!
  3. Guess and reveal state capitals by peeling away the brightly colored shapes. Remembering capitals can be tricky, but the easy to peel states with state capitals hidden underneath offer up a great way to ditch the flashcards and take the learning to the walls!
  4. Keep track of where you've been (or where you're going). I love this one! Use the state names to label the states where all of the students in your class have been.

What a cool tool for your geography lessons! Don't miss out on all this time-saving geography tool, so be sure to check out the discounted Peel, Play & Learn sets on the Educents site. Mona Melissa Peel & Play Geography Set
Looking for more ways to save on geography resources? Check out more geography deals.

Don't have an Educents account? Sign up here!

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Sunday, July 26, 2015

Giveaway time!

Hi everyone!

I'm going to keep it pretty short, sweet, and simple today!

I am super thrilled to have partnered up with Educents to give one lucky winner $50 in Edubucks! How awesome! With Educents' great deals, you can snag some super awesome greatness with that prize! 
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Saturday, July 18, 2015

Book Raffles to the Rescue!

Welcome, welcome, welcome!!!! 

I am so happy to be joining this month's Bright Ideas Link Up!

So for my post today, I'm going to tell you all about how I use BOOK RAFFLES in my 2nd-grade classroom and how it RESCUED me from a huge stress factor! 

I posted a couple of snapshots of my book raffle set ups on IG a while way, way back. There was lots of excitement and interaction on those posts which lead me to write this blog post.

In order to explain this in an organized manner, I'm going to address the questions that were asked of me when I posted on IG in the hopes that I will explain it clearly enough that YOU can implement Book Raffles in YOUR classroom on Day 1 this upcoming school year! Yay!

Answer: In a nutshell, book raffles are a way of motivating students to work hard and get excited about reading! Students earn tickets for various things and then get to try and win a book that they want. I pick random winners to keep those books and then it starts over again. 

Now to expand upon that with more detail.... 

Answer: There are truly many different ways you could set up book raffles in your room. I will tell you how I do it, and then feel free to adapt to fit your classroom needs! 

I set the raffles up in 2 different ways this past year to see which I liked better:
As you can see, I tried cups and I tried with baskets. I found that the cups worked better for my set up personally and by displaying the books on the board, they were able to be seen easier. The baskets worked well too so definitely give that a try if you don't have any cups handy for ticket collecting!

Here's the process for implementing raffles into your classroom:
I raffled 4 books every 6 weeks. For drawings near a holiday, I added a few extra books as a bonus! I displayed the books using the tray of my whiteboard and next to each book was a cup where they placed their tickets. I drew an arrow from the book to the corresponding cup so they knew exactly where to put their tickets for that specific book. I wrote the drawing date and how may winners there would be right above where the books were displayed so they knew their deadline for those particular books. I also had frequent discussions with my kiddos about how to be strategic about using your raffle tickets. For example, if you like all of the books up for raffle and you see that one cup has very few tickets in it, you'll have a better chance of winning that one if you put your raffle tickets in there. On the other hand, if there's only one book you like, work hard to earn lots of tickets and put all of your tickets in the cup for that one book to raise your chances! 

I allowed my students to earn tickets for a variety of things although I mostly centered it around AR. You may ask WHY I centered it around AR and that's because my students were not motivated. They did not want to read books more than once. They did not want to take quizzes and when they did take quizzes, they were BOMBING them. It goes on and on and something had to change. For them. And for me. That's why I started book raffles in the first place and WOWZA, it worked! It became such a success that I added more ways for students to earn tickets that focused on the behavior side of classroom management. 

Tickets are earned as follows:
- 1 ticket for every 100 on an AR quiz.
- 6 tickets for meeting your AR goal. 
- 3 Bonus tickets if you met your AR goal EARLY
- 1 ticket for every student anytime we receive a class compliment in the hallway or at specials.

Those are the main ways. I would also randomly find other reasons to give tickets. For example, give a ticket to the fastest table to get quiet or a ticket for someone doing something extra get the picture. My students became more motivated to read AND comprehend their reading. They became more EXCITED about reading and more interested in the different series out there in the world to read! They also became more focused and harder working because they just never knew when I was going to randomly give out more raffle tickets!  

I know this is probably the top question because we ALL know that, as teachers, we spend way too much of our own money on classroom items. 

The way I got all the books needed for my book raffles this year was through Scholastic Bonus Points. Every school year, the Scholastic Book Club program does a special bonus points offer such as "On a class order of $100+, you'll receive 3,000 bonus points" or something to that effect. The first one of the school year is always the best offer and the perfect time to capitalize on your classroom (and personal) orders. I really try and rally the parents to place orders during this first month to get my total class purchase as high as I can. I will then factor in any book purchases I know that I will need to make for my classroom that year and combine it. This allows me to have a fairly high order and then I can claim all of those extra bonus points. If you are strategic in using those bonus points, you can easily get enough books for book raffles for the entire year. I got enough last year to last me through this year's book raffles! 

If you don't use Scholastic book Clubs or you don't want to, I would try seeking book donations, a project on DonorsChoose, yard sales, Dollar store books, etc. 

Where there's a will, there's a way! :)

I stated this above, but in case you missed it, I raffled books every 6 weeks. This allows them time to work on their AR goal and make those 100s on their quizzes AND earn their tickets for meeting their 6 week AR goal. But as I said before, that's what worked for me! Adapt as you see fit! 

I wanted to make sure that the book raffles were fair. If a student had already won a book, I didn't want them winning another and another while some students hadn't won any yet. At the same time, I didn't want those who had already won to be discouraged either so I had to come up with a solution. 

After the very first round of book raffle winners, I added a PRIZE CUP next to the books that were being raffled off and wrote the list of prizes up for grabs (pencils, stickers, sharpeners, etc.) I made it a rule that once a student had won a book, they would then start putting their tickets in the Prize Cup for a chance to win a prize. When I picked book winners, I would also pick about 3 or 4 names from the prize cup. 

I made it a rule that once every student had won a book, we would start over fresh and THEN it would be OK for someone to win a second book. 

This was a personal choice because I wanted every child to feel the excitement of winning a book they had wanted so badly. You may want to do it differently! 

Kudos to you and THANK YOU for checking out my post about book raffles today! I truly hope you will give this a try in your classroom this school year. As the image I made above says, book raffles motivate students to read. It feeds their interests, and it gives them CHOICES which they don't always get. If there are any questions you have that I didn't answer, please leave a comment or email me!

If you enjoyed this bright idea, please consider joining me on Facebook, TpT or check out one of my other bright idea posts!

For more bright ideas from other bloggers, please browse through the link-up below and choose a topic/grade level that interests you. Thanks for visiting!

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Thursday, April 9, 2015

Mentoring Minds

Hi everyone!
     I’m excited to post today because there’s a company that I really want to share with you all!

     The company is called Mentoring Minds and they are pretty great because they focus on fostering a skill that every teacher wants their students to be great at… CRITICAL THINKING!

     We all know that critical thinking and making kids “dig below the surface” is a very difficult, sometimes daunting task. There are ways to make it more exciting and fun for the students (and you!) though.

     Mentoring Minds has a plethora of products to choose from in all subjects areas including reading, math, writing, science, and social studies. Later on in the post, I’ll highlight some of my favorite resources that I think you should check out!

     Now, I’m sure you’re thinking about how there’s tons of websites out there that offer great products for teachers but there is something that sets Mentoring Minds apart in my honest opinion. What I really love about them is the fact that they have an entire section of their website dedicated to RESEARCH. They truly took the time to put together the research BEHIND their products. I really appreciate that because:
         A.      It helps me to understand the company’s thinking when creating the product.
         B.      It helps me to choose the correct products for my students and my classroom because I know the product’s intentions and that there is actual research to back up its validity. 
         C.      It saves ME time because I don’t have to go searching and trying to find out the information for myself. (Cause let’s face it, ain’t no teacher got time for that!)

      I’m just highly impressed with this part of the website because it’s one I haven’t seen on other educational product websites. It’s also very easy to navigate. You hit the OUR RESEARCH tab, then choose the products you’re wanting to know more about, and there is a thorough, detailed explanation of the research behind it. Can’t beat that!

     Now, you’re probably wondering what the products are like. Well, as a Texas Teacher, I really like the STAAR related products. They are aligned to the TEKS I teach and the products include every piece of information possible to help me plan and implement. Want to see for yourself? You’re in luck! The website lets you download a Student Sample AND a Teacher Sample so you know exactly what you’re getting before you purchase. Click here to head straight to the Total Motivation Reading product and look under the pictures to download the samples!

They also have some great MATH products that you can check out here!

Some other favorites (Click on the pics to head straight to them):

     These are a very small sample of the products that I love from Mentoring Minds! I truly hope you decide to look around the site for a bit and see what all they have to offer!

Thanks so much for stopping by! Xoxo

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Wednesday, April 1, 2015

Surprise Announcement!

Have you heard the news!?  Educents is opening their MARKETPLACE!  What does that mean?  That means that besides the already AMAZING deals they offer on a daily basis, you can now purchase items from sellers stores, also on a daily basis!  WHAT!?  That’s right!  Over 500 sellers have already created stores in the Educents Marketplace, so you are sure to find some money-saving deals any time you need them!
To LAUNCH the whole thing, several of the sellers are joining in to bring you a sneak peek at a FREE product offered for their new sale, as well as hosting a giveaway for $50 worth of Educents Credits.  You can buy a LOT of educational materials with that kind of money!  And, there are several groups of bloggers who are joining the LAUNCH, which means multiple ways to enter. Doesn't get much better than that, right?!?

As you check out the marketplace, you'll also find some FREEBIES highlighted in the new storefronts! 
You can snag a PREVIEW SAMPLE of my Non-Fiction Edition Prove It! Resource! The preview sample gives you a whole passage and comprehension questions so you can try it out with your class, kids at home, whoever you want for FREE so you know if the product is right for you and your learners!

You'll also find an I Have, Who Has? Freebie in my store as well, with more to come! :)

Make sure you enter below for your chance to WIN a $50 credit!
Educents Marketplace $50 in Edubucks Giveaway #7 - Second Grade Stores

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Sunday, February 15, 2015

House of Gav Jewelry Giveaway!

Hi everyone!

One of my best friends from high school recently opened her own Etsy shop where she is selling handmade jewelry! Her pieces are so beautiful and elegant and she has been kind enough to let me host a giveaway for 2 pairs of earrings and a ring!

Ashley has also been kind enough to offer an exclusive 20% off code for my fabulous followers!

Click here to head to Ashley's Etsy shop and be sure to use code houseofgav20 at checkout!
I hope you will check out her shop, enter to win, and spread the word!

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