Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Wishlist Sale - Spectacular Space!

Woo! The Wishlist sale begins today!
My number ONE wishlisted item is my Spectacular Space Unit!
My Space Unit is very near and dear to my heart! It took me many, many hours over Christmas Break last year to create it. I LOVE teaching about space! It's usually $8.00 but for today only you can grab it for 20% off making it $6.40! That's over 170 pages for $6.40! Can't beat that! :)
There's a lot of goodies in this pack. Here's a quick synopsis of what you get:
1. An Anchor Text (810 Lexile)
2. A Student Mini-Book to accompany the anchor text – the mini-book is on an approachable level for 1st grade students.
3. 4 Concept Maps
4. Vocabulary Cards
5. 5 Experiments/Demonstrations – All with an accompanying worksheet/recording sheet
6. My Night Sky Diary Homework Mini-Book
7. Collaborative Grouping Cards
8. Space Test
9. 5 Math Centers – Focusing on: Addition, Subtraction, Tens Frame Card Game, Measuring, and Counting
10. 5 Literacy Centers – Focusing on: Sentence Structure, Long and Short Vowel Sounds, Past/Present/Future Tense Verbs, Singular/Plural Nouns/Pronouns, and Root Words/Suffixes
11. Various Worksheets and Recording Sheets to accompany centers and anchor text.
12. Alien Craftivity with Writing Extension & Graphic Organizer
13. Rocket Craftivity with Writing Extension & Graphic Organizer

 Click on any of the pictures in this posting to head on over to my Space Unit on TpT!
Have a great day!
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Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Guest Blogger: Tamara Russell from Mrs. Russell's Room

Howdy everyone! :)
So excited to be sharing a little something with ya since Daina is on her way to the great state of Texas!  Those of you who follow us, know that we taught first grade together last year and had a total blast the whole way through! :)  She will surely be missed here, but...thanks to the 'bloggy-sphere' she will never be more than a few quick clicks away! :)
So, let's chat a bit today about two things that I think about in the weeks before school starts.
One of the things I am most passionate about is parent participation.  Work on building a relationship with them early.  I find that once parents are comfortable with my routines and proceedures, they typically go with the flow...but the first few weeks of the year, they are typically a bit nervous and needy. Remind them that it really is going to be okay and that you're in this TOGETHER. Offer them specific opportunities to participate in students learning.  Make sure that it is something that they can be successful with...and that they can experience with their little learner.  Apple Day, Pumpkin Day...these are great days that include both learning and play.  The parents will enjoy getting to see how you interact with their child, and to see what they are learning.  This year, I am hosting a Teacher Talk night once a month to explain to the parents a little bit about what I'm teaching in the classroom and to show them how to review the reading and math strategies at home.  I'm hopeful that it will be a great opportunity for us to share our enthusiasm for their children's learning!

Something else that I think a lot about before I start the year is daily routines.  I had a mentor once upon a time that gave me a list of 100 common classroom procedures that I should have an answer for in my room to make sure that my management of the children was always on point.  Things as simple as how do the children take care of sharpening their pencil to what do they do if they find a book that needs repair.  I was surprised at how many things I didn't have an answer for.  If you are a teacher that struggles with having students that constantly come up to you and ask you questions about procedures...then, those are the things that you should be thinking about explaining more clearly...while you have the time to do it in the summer.  Sometimes...even after all these years, I've found that I need to adjust some of those procedures because children change over time...or some procedures don't work in all situations.  Be open to that as you review your procedures.

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Sunday, July 28, 2013

An Apple A Day Linky: Intervention

I am guest blogging over at Leigh's blog, The Applicious Teacher, today! I am hosting her linky party and today is all about intervention!
I hope you will head on over there and read my post! I shared some apps, websites, and classroom tips for intervention! Just click her button below!

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Saturday, July 27, 2013

Wishlist Sale Details!

My moving madness is about to begin on Monday and my guest blogger posts will be taking over my blog for the upcoming week!
But, I couldn't leave without explaining the upcoming sale that myself and a couple of other fabulous bloggers are participating in!
Tamara from Mrs. Russell's Room came up with a fabulous idea and I just had to hop on board!
The sale is going to run from July 31st through August 4th and here's how it works!
Each of us participating has checked our TpT stores for our top 5 most wishlisted items! Each day, starting July 31st, ONE of those 5 products will be on sale for a discounted price! But you have to hurry, each product is only discounted for that ONE day because the next day will include a different wishlisted item at a discounted price!
It's a surprise from day to day during the sale WHICH items from my store will be discounted. If you have some items in my store that you've been eyeballing, go hit "Add to Wishlist" right now and maybe that product will make the Top 5 Most Wishlisted Items!
Starting July 31st all the way through August 4th, you will see a quick blog post about the product that's on sale for that particular day. I will also share the sale info each day on my Facebook Fan Page!
I hope you will participate and take advantage of the sales that myself and these other wonderful ladies are offering! :)
Happy Wishlisting!

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Friday, July 26, 2013

Heading Home!

Ok, so if you aren't an Instagram follower of mine, you MAY have missed my big announcement!
I am currently living near Orlando, FL but that's about to change!
I am BEYOND THRILLED to announce that I am finally moving back to my home... the great state of Texas!
We are moving to Fort Worth. I grew up in the DFW area and I can't wait to be back!
 I am a CITY GIRL at heart even though I do love riding horses and being in the country every now and then. Can't wait to be back in the big ol' city!
I'm hoping to take my daughter to the Fort Worth Zoo soon after we get there!
I remember going to this zoo as a child and I loved it! I know she will too!
I'm also very excited about my new teaching position!
I will now be teaching 2nd grade!!!!!! I have loved teaching 1st grade but I am also very excited to give 2nd a try! I'll be teaching in a team where I teach Reading/Language Arts and my partner teaches the other subjects! It will be a new experience for sure and I'm just super stoked about it! I'll be teaching in Fort Worth ISD. If any of you teach there, I'd love to hear about it in the comments!
I wrote this post to update you on what's going on with me and to also let you know that due to moving, I will be offline most of next week (7/29-8/02) HOWEVER... I have lined up several guest bloggers while I'm gone! I do hope you will check in and read their amazing posts! I am so grateful that they took their personal time to help me out!
I will still be on my FB page periodically so make sure you are following me there also! I will be sharing photos of my move via Instagram and Facebook too!
Before I leave you, make sure you check back this weekend for a post about my upcoming SALE that will be happening next week!
Bye for now! :)
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Thursday, July 25, 2013

Watch Out Electric Sharpeners!

Calling all electric sharpeners that can't survive 1 month in a classroom!
It's time to pack your bags and get out of town cause there's a NEW sharpener in town!
It's the amazing, must have Quietest Classroom Pencil Sharpener from Classroom Friendly Supplies!

Just look at those beautiful, sharp points!

This sharpener is amazing because it gives you a beautifully sharpened pencil in the end but also because it's QUIET and students can sharpen pencils BY THEMSELVES!
I know that as teachers, we are usually thinking this:
But, with this pencil sharpener, you will finally be able to feel like this again:
The pencil sharpener is very user-friendly for students.
You simply pull out the silver part in the front until it stays in place. Then you squeeze the two black "knobs" together while inserting the pencil. The nifty little prongs on the inside hold the pencil in place. Turn the handle until it automatically stops the pencil, squeeze the knobs and take the pencil out and you're done!
I have my sharpener free standing so it can be moved around the room so I teach the students to hold the sharpener down with their left hand and turn the handle with their right hand. They have no problem doing it and it's very quick! But, don't worry, it does come with a mount in case you want to secure it in one spot!
From the day I unpacked the sharpener, I never heard the words "Mrs. Roberts, can you sharpen my pencil??" again! That's like heaven to a teacher's ears! :)
Overall, this sharpener is compact, super quiet, and kid-friendly. What more could you ask for?
Go ahead and click the button below to pick up one (or a whole pack) for your classroom! You WON'T regret it!

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Wednesday, July 24, 2013

A, E, I, O, U {And a FREEBIE too!}

I am excited for this post today!
I love to dance! I love to play the Kinect Dance Central games in my living room any chance I get! Dancing is fun and gets you up and moving around!
Kids love to dance too. And you know what else they love to do? Sing!
So why not take those two things and combine them with LEARNING!
I still remember the "50 Nifty United States" song that I learned in 3rd grade! I am 26 years old and can recite the entire song, with all states in alphabetical order, to this day! And let me tell you, social studies was NEVER my strongest subject because it has never really interested me. So why do I still remember that? Simple, it was a song and it was fun to learn!
I love to use music during brain breaks or while the students are working. I especially love Dr. Jean and her songs for the primary students! They are very fun and upbeat and educational!
Y'all already know that this past year I taught with Tamara from Mrs. Russell's Room and we did a LOT together and had a blast doing it! One of my FAVORITE things that we collaborated on and did together was our "I Know My Vowel Sounds" song to the tune of Gangnam Style. It was truly a 50/50 split on the effort and creativeness because we sat in my classroom for about 3 hours one Wednesday after the students left, listening to Gangnam Style over and over and over, trying to re-write the lyrics! I would come up with a line, then she would feed off that and we went back and forth until we had the song completed! Little did we know that the ELC students were in the hallway listening to us the whole time.. so of course we had to do a performance for them!
Why did we do that you ask? Why would we take 3 hours to re-write lyrics to a song?
Well, that's a very easy question to answer. We knew our students were struggling with short versus long vowels sounds and while our phonics program is wonderful, we wanted to provide them one more strategy for remembering the difference. 90% of our students had heard "Gangnam Style" on the radio. They knew the beat and the tune and they semi knew the lyrics. I mean who REALLY knows the lyrics to the original "Gangnam Style"?!?
Anyways, what better way to get students excited and involved in their learning??
We taught them the song and even choreographed a dance to go along with it. Everyday they would ask when we were practicing it.
But there was one defining moment where I really knew the song was stuck in their head and they had it as a permanent strategy. We went on a field trip and I was sitting across the aisle from two of my students and they sang that entire song from memory for the entire 30 minute bus ride home! They even mimicked the movements of the dance! I can just picture them now, taking a standardized test when they are older, singing that song to themselves if they can't remember a vowel sound!
You're probably wondering what my point is. Well, my point is this...make sure you are creating moments in your classroom where students can apply modern day things they love to their learning. It makes the connections so much more fun and real for them and they truly take ownership in learning it. Get your kids out of their seats and don't be afraid to dance and have fun with them! Use music in your teaching as much as possible!
If you are interested in HEARING the song, you can watch the video below to see Tamara and I singing it. I wish I had a more updated version as this was our FIRST run through of singing it for our class, but nonetheless, I hope you enjoy it!

And if you are feeling INSPIRED to teach this song to your class, click the picture below to get the lyrics for FREE! Yay!!!!

I also have an exciting announcement to make later today on Facebook! If you haven't "liked" my FB page yet, head on over, grab yourself some fan freebies, and find out my exciting news! :)

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Sunday, July 21, 2013

Let's Get Acquainted Linky: Advice for New Teachers

I love, love, love Latoya's linky party and it's time for another one!
Be sure to click the picture to visit Latoya's blog!!

This linky is all about advice for new teachers! So if you're a newbie, this post is for you!

I highly recommend you buy a laminator! Every school is different and they all have different laminating policies! You want to make sure that you can protect your hard work and use it more than once. Protect important posters, center activities, and so much more! They really aren't that expensive and can save you a lot of time!
I use this Scotch Thermal Laminator. Click on the picture to check it out on Amazon. Refill packs through Amazon are also MUCH cheaper than in retail stores!
Make a To-Do list for everything! There are so many things to do and keep track of when teaching that it's essential to stay organized! If you don't use an app or good ol' paper and pen to keep track of it all, you will feel overwhelmed within the first week! I still struggle with staying super organized and I have been teaching for over 4 years now. If you want to excel at only one thing in the beginning of your career, let it be organization because it will make everything else so much easier!
Grade papers during meetings! This also includes texting on your cell phone, surfing the web, or chatting with a teammate sitting next to you. Yes, I've seen a ton of teachers doing it over the last 4 years however it still drives me crazy! I just find it extremely rude and it does not make you come across as a professional. I apologize if you are someone who does this already, but it is very distracting to teachers who are there to listen and absorb information. Also, administrators DO notice what you are up to during faculty meetings, trainings, etc. Please be cautious of your actions.
Over the first few weeks of your teaching career, you will probably be assigned a "mentor" teacher from your school or grade-level which is always great! I recommend that you find a mentor teacher no matter what. If you don't feel supported by your assigned mentor teacher, then find another teacher that you get along with who is willing to help. Most teachers are more than happy to help and mentor! Don't be afraid to ask! After all, we are teachers... we are giving people! I just know that life can be soooo much easier in the classroom if you have a teacher that you relate to, have similar teaching styles, and share interests with.  
Find a way to make time for YOU! All good teachers want to spend countless hours in their classroom... grading papers, creating activities, making sure the reading area is just right, leveling or sorting classroom libraries, watching PD online videos, and the list goes on and on. It's important to do all of these things but it's also important to take time for yourself. You have to be able to separate yourself from your classroom at times and relax/decompress. Take a relaxing bath, or curl up and read a good book, or perhaps you like theme parks to de-stress. No matter what you enjoy doing for you, be sure you still find time to do it after your teaching career begins!
Always be flexible! The world of education is constantly changing. It will change within your classroom, within your team, within your school and within the nation and a good teacher will be ready for that. Don't get stuck in your way of doing things and be closed to other ideas/opinions. There will be teachers who have different views and opinions and different approaches to teaching certain concepts. That doesn't mean you have to do those different things, I just ask that you remain open and flexible to change. Be willing to change your classroom management technique from year to year if it isn't working for your new class one year. Be willing to attend meetings on short notice. Be willing to learn new standards. Just be willing to change and life will be so much easier for you and everyone you work with.
And that's my advice! Hopefully I wasn't too blunt for anyone. Just trying to be honest!
Be sure and check out the other bloggers that linked up! If it is your first year, best of luck to you!


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Thursday, July 18, 2013

Ten Pin Linky: Writing

I'm back with another installment of the Ten Pin Linky hosted by Ashley over at Just Reed!
This week's focus is writing ideas!
Here are my ten favorite pins for writing!
1. Opinion Writing Anchor Chart
Great way for students to visualize opinion writing!
2. Round Robin Writing 
Check out this pin and it will take you to an awesome blog post about this fun activity!
3. Checklist Writing Page 
Love the checklist at the bottom of this writing page!
 4. Skittles Reinforcement
Awesome idea for how a teacher reinforces proper punctuation. Check out the pin!

5. Snaky Sentences
This is a fun, free center to help students understand how to form proper sentences.
6. My Teacher's Secret Life Writing Activity 
This activity looks so cute! Check out the pin so you can read the WHOLE blog post about it!
7. Beginning of the Year Handwriting Practice 
Love this for really helping those students who are still struggling with their fine motor skills! Also great for Pre-K or Kindergarten!
8. Writing Rubric 
LOVE this visual rubric for students to assess their writing!
9. Website Reviews
 Fun way to get students interested in writing! Mixes it up a bit instead of the usual journal prompts!
10. Describing Words

Cute graphic organizer for describing words!
Well, there you go!
10 of my favorite writing pins!
Thanks for stopping by!
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