Saturday, December 20, 2014

All I Want for Christmas is a…. TpT Gift Certificate! {GIVEAWAY!!}

Did you know that TpT now sells gift certificates?! This has been my go to perfect, no brainer gift for other teacher friends and student teachers! 

I know that most of us are now on our much needed Winter Break and don't even want to think about school or working!  I hope that you are able to find the time to relax and enjoy yourselves with family and loved ones….Too often we as teachers forget to enjoy ourselves and relax!

 The break is going to fly by for us all, and on that dreaded Sunday before returning back to school, most of us will be scrambling to come up with our lesson plans for the upcoming week. 
Don't sweat it though, because I will be giving away a $10 TpT Gift Certificate to one lucky follower!

 You can use it for some top-notch resources upon returning to school, OR gift it to another teaching buddy of yours :) I am linking up with Laura Candler from Corkboard Connections and a BUNCH of other great teacher bloggers who are also giving away a $10 certificate on their own blogs. Be sure to head through the link-up at the bottom of this post and enter each drawing!  

How to Enter
I'm using Rafflecopter to host my giveaway, and you can earn up to 5 entries if you complete all the items listed. To enter the contest, complete any or all of these entries before midnight EST on December 23rd. Be sure to read the terms and conditions before you complete the entry form.

Remember, if anyone asks you what YOU want for Christmas, be sure to tell them that all you want for Christmas is a TpT gift certificate! I sincerely hope your winter holiday is fabulous and that you enjoy time with the special people in your life! Be sure to check your email on December 24th to see if you won!

Tuesday, December 9, 2014

Holiday Gifts

Happy December, Friends! 

Today I am linking up with my blogging buddies from the Elementary Grapevine to present to you a Holiday Blog Hop!!

Today I will be sharing some gift ideas with you that I have done in the past.

Student Gifts
Each year, I order books from Scholastic and stock up on the multiplication flash cards from the Target dollar section. I will usually add in a candy cane, Christmas pencil, and some type of holiday straw into their gift bags. 

I also bake these melted snowman cookies for them. 

If you would like detailed directions on how to create these cookies, as well as an awesome sugar cookie recipe you can check out this post.

If you're interested in using these editable cookie bag toppers, you can download a free copy in my TPT store.

Parent Gifts
Each year my students make snowman finger printed ornaments to gift to their families. It is super simple and easy. I purchase clear plastic ornaments (because the glass ones easily shatter) and fill them with glitter (fake snow).

Faculty Gifts
I usually like to give something small to the office staff, custodians, counselors, etc. They help to ensure the school runs smoothly but often get overlooked. It can get a bit pricy when purchasing something for all of these people, so I usually like to bake something. 

One year I made some chocolate covered pretzels and decorated them with sprinkles. In addition I baked some brownies and added some candy canes to this cute holiday box and then tied it up with a cute bow.

Another idea is to make some puppy chow, add some holiday m&ms and throw them into a Mason Jar. This comes out SUPER CUTE and who doesn't like puppy chow?! 

In the back row of the photo above, I also used some large Mason jars and added dry cookie ingredients. I decided to do M&M cookies, since they're much more colorful than plain chocolate chips (although I believe they have red and green chocolate chips now!) 

I added some ribbon and tied on directions on how to prep. the cookies (along with the wet ingredients needed). You can snag the labels I used here

I hope you are able to use some of these ideas this holiday season! All of these gifts are easily adaptable for anyone :) What are your go-to holiday gifts? I'd love to hear in the comment section below! 

Head on over to Lory's blog to find out about Classroom Snowball Fights!! 

Monday, October 20, 2014

Task Cards in the Classroom.

Do you use task cards in the classroom??

I LOVE using task cards in my classroom. Over the years, I have collected, created, printed, laminated, and cut A LOT of task cards. My collection has grown quite large over the years. 

Task cards are so great because they offer valuable practice, review, and reinforcement of students for important concepts. Being that we are a testing grade, students need lots of practice to ensure they have mastered the skills before that dreaded test. It kills me to see worksheets xeroxed, used, piled up on my desk to be graded, returned,  stuffed into cubbies or desks, then dumped into the trash can. Task cards allow practice for students without having a gazillion worksheets to go through. The plus side of it though is that students love them too. My students often cheer when they find that it is time to work on task cards. 

The neat thing about task cards is that there are so many different ways to use them. 
Here are some of our favorite ways to use task cards in our classroom:


For a game of SCOOT, students are all seated at their desks. They each get one task card, and you assign the cards around the room in number order. Students record their answer on their recording sheet, then quietly wait until the teacher calls SCOOT. At this moment, students will pick up their pencils, recording sheets and SCOOT to the next seat to answer the next task card. 
Students LOVE SCOOT. They think of it as a game. I love it because it's a great formative assessment to see who knows what as well as to see misunderstandings they may be having. It's also a time for some peace and quiet :) 
SCOOT works best for skills that don't require much time such as rounding, identifying parts of speech, fractions,etc. This would not be an ideal activity for things like word problems, elapsed time problems, etc. 

Task Card Scavenger Hunt
Students also love hunting for their task cards. I will often tape them up around the room, and students will go around with a clipboard and their recording sheets. They find their card, and record their answer on their recording sheets. 

Task cards also work great as a center activity in both language arts and math. I will often lay task cards out on the carpet area and students work quietly there solving through their task cards. 

Another reason I love task cards so much is that once it's done and prepped for, you don't need to do it again! I use my task cards again and again year after year. 

Here is how I organize all of my task cards.

I used the mini Sterilite plastic drawers and just added labels. All my cards are nicely tucked away and easy to access year after year. 

Here is a sneak peek of some of the task cards I have available in my store:

This is my newest set which practices multiplication word problems. It has a QR code version as well as a non QR code version. 

I have these cards for rounding- they come in a colored version as well as black and white. 

Multiplication and Division Word problem task cards

Multi-step word problems in both color and black and white
Differentiated (3 different levels) elapsed time task cards

Fraction task cards (simple)
Fractions on a number line
Parts of speech task cards (noun, adjective, verb, and adverb)

All of the task card in my store will be on sale for today and tomorrow!!

Monday, October 13, 2014

Juggling Housework and Work-work

Being a teacher is rough because our jobs never end. If you're like me, I know you've got a to-do list somewhere that is about a mile long. One thing many people don't know is that when teachers go home, they are still working- grading papers, lesson planning, creating/finding awesome resources for their students to learn with, printing, laminating, cutting, gluing, etc.

Teachers are T.I.R.E.D. 
(like this guy)

I can get so caught up and stressed out about all the things I need to get done at home..that I can sometimes  quite often neglect the housework. I get so caught up in crafting, grading, multi-tasking and using every bit of space I can find in my house….then get soo tired..very very tired....that things stay out on the table, overnight. Overnight turns to several days. Before I know house looks like a disaster zone!

 When this (above photo) happens, I get even more stressed about the mess, then think of all the time it'll take to get it cleaned. 

Please tell me that I am not the only one here, people!

SOOOO Today I wanted to share with you all how I avoid ending up in this situation!

I follow THIS:

This cleaning schedule helps me to stay on task and keep my house orderly. It only takes about 30 minutes each day to tidy up (keeping in mind my 1,100 sq. ft. home is probably much smaller than yours). As soon as I walk into the door, I get cleaning. 

I love it! It's soo much easier to clean a little each day, than to have a whole entire messy home to clean up all at one time. 

I feel relaxed and happy when I walk into my house when it's clean. I can focus and get work done a lot better when I have a clean home. 

This is what I came home to today…
Can you see my little puppy looking at the camera? He blends in with the kitchen rug ;)

I recently got rid of my dish rack. I love how spacious the counter looks now! Rather than using the dish rack, I pull out the drawers of the dish washer and let all my dishes dry in there. I can put them away when I have the chance and it isn't a total eye sore. The dish rack just looked super cluttered to me!

Do you feel a cleaning schedule can help you?  

If you do decide to try this out..I would LOVE to hear how it works for you! 

Saturday, October 11, 2014

Reading Wonders Organization

This year my school began implementing the new Reading Wonders Curriculum. 

Since it is our first year with the program, we are being told that we must implement with fidelity. I was and still am overwhelmed with this series. There is just SO MUCH to teach in a weeks time and there are also SO MANY resources. Today I wanted to share with you how I organize my Wonders materials.

We were lucky enough to have the school purchase all of the leveled readers for guided reading groups. The only problem that came with this was finding storage. I pretty much had every single shelf space in my classroom already occupied.. I decided to store them in file folders based on week in my filing cabinet! 
I love that the books are put away in the filing cabinet but are still easily accessible. 

I have also been creating some supplemental materials to go along with each week of Wonders. 

In these units I have anchor charts, supplemental worksheets and task cards to go along with the focus skills for the week. 

After the week is done, I take the laminated anchor charts and the master copies of the weekly worksheets and keep them filed away in the folder with the weekly readers. This makes it easy for me to have everything in one place from  year to year. 

I look forward to next year when all of my copies and already laminated anchor charts in one place and ready to go for that week! It has been quite a bit of work becoming familiar with the program, creating weekly units, and printing/laminating all of the anchor charts in time to teach it…but it'll be well worth it in the upcoming years! 

If you're interested in seeing my weekly plans for Wonders, you can check that post out here.

Saturday, October 4, 2014

Building Fact Fluency

Hip,Hip, Hooorayy! I am officially on Fall Break. This is definitely a very much needed break. 
The first thing I did on my break was write a blog post. I'm so happy I finally have the time. I have so many things I'd like to share but just haven't had the time. 

I've recently teamed up with some amazing bloggers in a NEW collaborative blog on the block. Check us out at the Elementary Grapevine! 
I just posted over there about building fact fluency! Head on over to read all about it (there may even be a freebie!) 

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

October Currently!

Seriously?! Can't believe it is already October, folks. The year has FLEW by and I have been desperately trying to stay afloat this school year. I have a bunch of ideas brewing in my head of blog posts I want to share with ya'll. Give me a little more time, and I hope to gain a little sanity back after next week's fall break! Then I'll be back to share what I've been up to in the classroom!! 

Until then…lets go and link up with the fab. Farley for this month's Currently! 

LISTENING: I recently adopted a stray dog that was roaming around my neighborhood. He is the cutest, most loving dog around. It took my Princess awhile to get used to him, but now they absolutely LOVE each other. They are always running around the house playing together and their little collars go jingle jingle :) 

LOVING: That I only have 2 more days until I have a week off from school! This is some time that is desperately needed! I feel like I am struggling to stay afloat this year-maybe even just as much as I struggled my first year of teaching!…I thought things should get easier..not harder?!

THINKING: Of my mile long to-do list. I have so many things that I plan to do over break. I'm hoping I can at least get through half ;)

WANTING: A nice, hot slice of pizza! Hubs and I are eating healthy tonight but a slice of pizza sounds  devine!

NEEDING: If I only get one thing done over break, it must be to get my house CLEANED and ORGANIZED. It is a mess and has been driving me absolutely insane. :(

TREAT: Love this surprise in this month's currently. I am going to be giving you a treat!

My entire TPT store will be marked 15% off for the next 2 days ;) 

I've recently added some Reading Wonders materials:

and this fun Cultural Research Project