Happy New Year Sale!

Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Happy New Year Friends!

Can you believe it is almost time for second semester to begin? WOW! I am working to be sure I have everything planned and ready for my students arrival back at school. I am excited to throw a New Year Sale but hurry because the sale is only ONE DAY! 

Here are a few items from my store that may help you in you planning for second semester. 

My newest product to help with incorporating non-fiction text with small group reading
Polar Bears, Penguins and Wolves Book Guides

My favorite fictional text that begin working on during second semester is FROG AND TOAD! YAY!
Frog and Toad All Year Book GuideFrog and Toad Together Book Guide Frog and Toad Are Friends Book Guide
During the month of January we prepare for Science Night with our Dental Health unit. Check out this best seller - Totally Teeth. 
Totally Teeth - A Dental Health Unit for K-2

Are you Preparing for February?

February 2nd is Groundhog's Day. Take a look at this packet. Includes a fact book - All About Groundhogs. This is one of my students all time favorites! 
Groundhog Day Fun for K-1

This Valentine MEGA packet is over 100 pages of Language Arts and Math activities and printables aligned to the K-1 CORE Standards.
Valentine MEGA Pack - K-2 CORE aligned activities

I LOVE using this math unit in February!
Hershey Kisses Addition FUN!

Have you taught 3D shapes yet? Time is ticking.... Here are a few products to help.
3D Space Shapes - A 10 day Geometry Unit all about 3D Shapes 3D Shape Fun - Games, Printables and Much More!

Finally, due to numerous requests I have now combined all 16 Kindergarten and First Grade CORE Math Units and they are now offered at a bundled discount price. 

Even better they are 20% off with the sale! 
Kindergarten CORE Math Units 1-16
First Grade CORE Math Units 1-16
Happy New Year Everyone!

Arizona Blogger Meetup!

Monday, December 30, 2013

Hi friends! 
Tonight I had the pleasure of meeting up with some amazing ARIZONA bloggers! We had some dinner, conversation and a little gift exchange. FUN! 

We ended our evening with a little photo!
These ladies were so uplifting and fun! Tonight was a great reminder of how much I enjoy blogging and the incredible opportunity it has given me to meet and collaborate with such amazing teachers! 
"A key to growing as a teacher is to keep company mainly with teachers who uplift You, whose presence inspire You and whose dedication drives You."- Robert John Meehan

Polar Bears, Penguins and Wolves OH MY!!!

Saturday, December 28, 2013

    The Common Core State Standards require that we now give equal emphasis to both fictional literature and informational texts. I found this great website that gives more information about this shift from Teachersfirst.com:
There are a number of factors that led to this shift. Numerous studies have shown that students (in general) are engaged in reading very little informational text during the school day—in many cases less than five minutes per day. The study “Reading Between the Lines” (ACT 2006) determined that students who reached the benchmarks in reading for the ACT exam were those who were able to analyze and interpret complex texts. In 2006 the number of students who reached the benchmark was the lowest in over a decade. Why? Appendix A of the Common Core State Standards offers the following:

  •  K-12 reading is primarily narrative in style, while college and workplace reading is mostly expository
  • Research shows that K-12 school texts became easier after 1962
  • Instruction is heavily scaffolded in grades K-12, but less so in college
  • High school students are not often held accountable for independent reading

The Common Core demands that our students do a lot more reading in the course of their day and that there is a balance of literary and informational text. If we are to move students along a path of reading and understanding texts of greater complexity to assure their college and workplace success, then we need to build in more experiences with expository/informational texts.
    So, I am doing my best to expose students to high-quality nonfiction text but with our older reading series that is often very difficult. I have found that it is also extremely difficult to find exemplar informational text at the appropriate reading level. BUT… I have found something I LOVE - National Geographic KIDS books! 

     I use these books during our guided reading time with my on grade level and above grade level reading groups. (My most emergent readers are not yet ready for these books). These books are very affordable especially if you purchase them through Scholastic BookClubs. I found this set of three books for $8 or 200 Bonus Points. Another great way to get your students hands on these books is by writing a Donors Choose project. I have had a lot of success getting books for my classroom through Donors Choose, try it out! 
    Because these books are more complex with lots of vocabulary I have created Book Guides to accompany the text. During the month of January, we are going to be working on winter animals so I created books guides for the above books. The Paper Police are in full patrol at our school so I created each book guide to be easily copied back-to-back and folded in half to create 7 pages of comprehension and vocabulary questions.

I am working on a Martin Luther King Book Guide and presidents packet that I will have posted in January! 

Christmas Presents for Parents

Monday, December 16, 2013

Hey Everyone! Three more days until Xmas break...but who's counting?! 
We worked on our Christmas presents today and although they are not super fancy they are meaningful and the perfect gift for parents. I have spent many years creating everything from handprint calendars, to plaster of paris hands, to candy trays. I get exhausted just thinking about it!

This year I gave myself permission to keep it low-key *cheap* and try a little Oriental Trading. 
As we put up our own tree this year, I realized that the most meaningful things (in my eyes) are crafts my daughters have created. I love ornaments with their pictures. So I ordered these ornaments from Oriental Trading, they were only $6.50 for 12! AWESOME! 
We also made these cute little snowman card to match our ornament. This art project was inspired by The Elementary Art Room. We simply folded a piece of construction paper in half, did a little tearing and gluing and we were done. The best part - FREE!
We used a little tissue paper to wrap up our gifts and placed them in a Hobby Lobby bag (10 bags for $1.49) and DONE! I don't know if you are keeping track but total cost is only 69 CENTS/student! 
Although I was not super innovative with this craft :) they turned out adorable and I know parents are going to love them! 

Partner Time!

Sunday, December 15, 2013

I swear this is the face that comes across my kiddos the second that I say we are going to work with a partner!

As soon as this word "partner" comes out of my mouth and reaches their little ears they begin plotting with looks across the room, hand gestures and sometimes the sudden bolt from their chair - and all of this happens before I even give directions! 
Well, I have had enough! To ensure my sanity (let's face it, I have many years to retirement), I have created this little "Hive Helper". Using this bookmark helps my students choose different partners, ensures feelings are not hurt when someone is not picked as a partner and allows me to ability group partners (I often assign the first three partners).

I have tried several other versions of this idea from clock partners to partner wheels and this is what works best in my class. I uploaded it as fan only FREEBIE on Facebook! (Colored version and Black and White version) So, simply click the image to visit my page and you can download this for free!

Here is a little "sneak peak" at what I am working on right now. I wrote a Donors Choose project for some National Geographic KIDS readers for guided reading groups. My project was funded *yay* and I now have 6 copies of 19 different NG books! I am thrilled to begin using these with my reading groups and so I have been working on Book Guides to accompany the text. I am creating a bundle for the books - Polar Bears, Penguins and Wolves. I should have them posted by the end of the week and of course I will do a little giveaway for the first couple comments so follow me on Facebook so you can win!
Time to get some rest, I have 4 more days before Christmas Break begins and my little firsties are going slightly crazy with the anticipation of Christmas so I am going to need all the patience in the world this week! 

We Remember, We Heal, We Act

Saturday, December 14, 2013

As educators, we remember and honor our fallen colleagues and their students from Sandy Hook School. We honor them each day in our classrooms in which we continue their dream of teaching our children. We honor their memory with our service. Join with teachers everywhere in committing random acts of kindness to show our love for Sandy Hook.

A year ago today our lives as educators changed forever. It is hard to believe that it has been a year and it is still so fresh in our minds, perhaps it always will be. Being a former kinder teachers and current first grade teacher, the events of that day are unfathomable. My heart still hurts for the families in Newtown. 
I have a beautiful piece of art hanging above my desk that an artist created in remembrance of the teachers and students who lost their lives in the tragedy at Sandy Hook. Often times when all the *stuff* involved with being a teacher is starting to get to me, I take a moment to regroup by looking at the picture. How quickly my thoughts and priorities can change when I stop to reflect on what really matters - the amazing young learners within the four walls of my classroom.  

The victim's families of Sandy Hook have asked that December 14 be designated as a day to perform Random Acts of Kindness to honor those who lost their lives. So show your love to our fallen colleagues and the victim's families and do something nice for someone else. 

This amazing FREE packet from A Year of Many Firsts is a great resource to help your young students understand Random Acts of Kindness and how they can affect others with kindness. Thank you Lyndsey for sharing! 
Free Packet: We Are Kind Kids {Random Acts of Kindness}

Cyber SALE!

Saturday, November 30, 2013

I made my own button for the Cyber Sale! YAY! I always have hopes that I will get one made and then...life happens. The graphics for this button are from JWIllustrations - I LOVE her!
(Feel free to grab this button for your blog but please link back to my blog.) 
 I am totally prepared for this sale, my cart is stocked with new items and I can't wait until Monday! 

My Kinder and First Grade CORE math units will be on sale for 28% off!
You can click here to read more about how these units have helped teachers implement new CORE math standards. 

Or perhaps you need a little something to prepare for teaching 3D shapes?
3D Space Shapes - A 10 day Geometry Unit all about 3D Shapes

Maybe some practice with non-standard measurement? 
Meet the Measurements - Nonstandard Measurement Unit

OR...if you don't use my CORE math units and your students could use a little help with problem solving then check out these - Kinder and First Grade Math Journals! Each journal has over 170 pages of word problems for you K-1 students!
Kindergarten CORE Math Journal     First Grade CORE Math Journal
Can you tell I am a little bit of a math geek??? 

I am looking forward to purchasing some more clipart from MelonHeadz and Krista Wallden at Creative Clips for my next FREEBIE extravaganza coming soon!
Penguin bundle by melonheadzGina's winter bundle by melonheadzSnow Buddies {Creative Clips Digital Clipart}

AND... I LOVE me some Kathy Law and I can't wait to try her new Math and Literacy Picture Puzzles. I already have all her monthly Color by Codes and my kiddos love them!
December Math & Literacy Picture Puzzles
What are you looking forward to purchasing?

Crazy Weekend!

Sunday, November 17, 2013

Do you use any of these National Geographic KIDS books in your classroom? They are amazing! The pictures are fantastic- these books are full of facts and vocabulary and they are just the right reading level for a first/second grade class.

I am doing my best to try and incorporate more non-fiction text in our first grade class and one of the easiest ways to do this (for me) is during guided reading. Only problem, I don't have 6 copies of these to use with my kiddos BUT...that is where Donors Choose comes in!

Last week I wrote a Donors Choose project to get more non-fiction text for my guided reading groups. I requested 6 copies of 19 National Geographic books in various Science and Social Studies topics. I wrote to a parent in my class who's family owns the Earnhardt Car Dealership in our sunny state of Arizona and they were thrilled to help fund my project. I was so amazed by this family, they also were willing to make a donation to our entire school library! 

I had the opportunity on Saturday to meet Mr. Tex Earnhardt and I was so thrilled. I grew up in Arizona and I have watched his commercials on TV since I was very little and I honestly felt as if I was meeting a celebrity! The Earnhardt family invited myself and our school librarian out to the Grand Opening of their new Dodge Dealership where we got to talk on the radio and thank the Earnhardt family for the donation to our school. AMAZING! 
Note: When I say "we" talked on the radio what I really mean is Laura our Librarian talked on the radio. Things like that give my hives and I just CAN'T do it, I would sound like a rambling mess but she was awesome! Laura our Librarian just began her TpT career stop by her store and show her some LOVE because I adore her, and you will too when you see her cute stuff. 

If you have never tried a Donors Choose project, I really encourage you to. It is amazing how willing families are to help out teachers they love. I am beyond thrilled that my project received funding and so excited to get those readers in the hands of my students! THANK YOU Earnhdart family! 
Tomorrow we are starting our -Story of the Pilgrims Thanksgiving Books tomorrow. This book is the #1 Top Seller in my TpT store!
We make this book every year to go along with our study. This book takes us about a week to complete and my kids learn so much when we are finished.

This 24 page packet includes:
- front cover for student book (pictured above)
- direction page with pictures and activity suggestions
- mayflower art page with black lines for ALL shapes and labels for the parts of the boat
- mayflower facts writing page
- Mayflower suitcase black line with suitcase label
- Mayflower suitcase writing page
- Black lines to create pilgrim boy and girl
- Life as a Pilgrim sorting activity
- Black lines to create Squanto. Labels to describe his important role helping the pilgrims
- Letter to Squanto page
- Black lines to create Thanksgiving Turkey
- Venn Diagram to compare current Thanksgiving traditions to those of the past.
Here are a few of my favorite books that help us with our study of Pilgrims and Native Americans. My favorite of all is If You Sailed on The Mayflower in 1620 by Ann McGovern!

On a totally unrelated and personal note....
My baby turned one today! AHHHH! Such mixed emotions as a mom because it is thrilling to watch her learn and grow each day but sad because she is my baby. We had a low-key birthday at the park with my family. She LOVED the cake and dug right in. I am so grateful for my beautiful girls.  

Owl Pellet Fun!

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Wow! The finale of our Owl Unit was owl pellet dissection. What an amazing time we had with our owl pellets this morning! Here are a few pictures. 
This is a picture of the kit that I had ready for each group. Each kit contained: tweezers, dissection sticks, gloves, ruler, one pellet, Dissection Form, magnifying glass and diagrams of various animals so students could identify which animal their owl ate.
 Here you can see me little investigators comparing their bones to the diagram.
 I had several mom helpers so there were only 3-4 kids/group.
We had the most amazing time, the kids LOVED it and really saw themselves as little scientists. The pellets were great, most kids had at least 2 skulls in each pellet! I highly recommend obdk.com (and I am not a paid sponsor, I promise).

As promised last week, I have combined all the activities from the 7-day Giveaway Event into one packet and just posted in to TpT. Click here to check it out! It is 50 pages of Owl fun! Whew! 

Activities Included:
-Anticipation Guide for “Owls” by Gail Gibbons
-Owl Vocabulary Book, Game Cards, Word Search and ABC Order 
-10 Page Math Journal
-Pellet Dissection Information and Recording Sheet
-2 Thinking Maps and Writing Pages
-Fact and Opinion Sorting Activity and Anchor Charts
-Guess Whooo??? Owl Craftivity

Stay tuned because in the month of December we will do it all again. I am still undecided on the theme of the next Giveaway Event but check back, I will let you know. 

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