Monday, December 31, 2012

January Brain Boxes and a SALE reminder!

January Brain Boxes are finished and uploaded to my TpT store! Today is the last day of my “End of the Year Sale,” so pick up January Brain Boxes for 15% off! If you haven’t used Brain Boxes as a “fun when you are done,” activity and want to learn more about them you can check out my blog post here
January Brain Boxes
Check out January Brain Boxes by clicking on the picture above.  Don’t forget to download the free answer document (click here to get it).
Get your January Brain Boxes and anything else in my store for 15% off!  Today is the last day of the sale!
End of the Year Sale
Happy New Year everyone!

Saturday, December 29, 2012

Winter Break (Big SIGH)…and a SALE!

I feel just awful about neglecting blog world.  I have awoken from my mini hibernation and am energized and ready to go!  10 years ago, when I went back to teaching after being home with my girls for 5 years, one of my co-workers told me that I would be so exhausted I would sleep my entire break.  Of course, I didn’t believe her.  Then, break came and guess what I did….yep, I slept my whole break away.  It is so tempting to fill up our days running around, but I think it is important to remember to rest so that we can go back and start the second half of the year with a renewed energy and sense of purpose.

Speaking of purpose, if I ever needed a reminder of why I love my job so much, I received a whole book of them from my class for Christmas.  Again this year I was incredibly blessed.  One of the moms in my room organized an amazing class gift and had the students all write a page in a cute little mitten book that she made.

Rafe Mitten

This one just melted my heart.

Dawson Mitten

This one made me proud.  I have been working hard with this kiddo on silent final e.  I will forever have a reminder that I just might be getting through to him!

Paige Mitten

This one made me laugh so hard!

I am so very blessed to have a job that I love.  Every day that I wake up and go to school I feel that I am exactly where God called me to be.

I have also been working on some new stuff for my TpT store in the moments I haven’t been sleeping, cleaning, or shopping!  To kick off the new year I am having a little sale in my shop.  Everything is 15% off through New Year’s Eve.  If you have had your eye on something, now would be a good time to grab it!

End of the Year Sale

Here is one of the new products I have been working on.  There will be more to come in the next few days!

Author's Purpose Task Cards

When we get back from break we will be doing a little review of author’s purpose.  I can’t wait to make the cute anchor chart I saw on pinterest.  You can check it out here.  Then we will use these task cards for some more review.  Not sure how exactly I will use them yet, they are so versatile and there are so many options!  I have included 2 pages of ideas for using the cards in the packet.  Now I just need to decide!

Monday, December 3, 2012

My Life Is Like a 3 Ring Circus…..

This is exactly how I feel right now.  I am trying ( and I feel like failing) to be super teacher, mom, and basketball coach’s wife right now.  Not to mention, shop, decorate and prepare for Christmas.  My life is C.R.A.Z.Y.  In all caps.  That feeling kind of inspired my latest product for my TpT store. 
This week’s skill in reading and writing is compare and contrast.  So, here it is…..comparing and contrasting, 3 ring circus style.
We started off our writing time today by getting a partner, randomly (yet in some cases strategically) picked by yours truly.  I wanted them to get to know someone they might not ordinarily talk to.  It turned out to be a GREAT thing.  I found this gem in my turn in basket.
Notice how in the middle of the Venn diagram it says, “I don’t like thise.”  There is, of course, a story that goes with it.  Two actually!  First story.  I happen to work with this kiddos mom.  She called me after school to tell me that her son told her about this writing project they worked on in class.  He said, “Mom, I wrote ‘I don’t like this’ on the front of the paper.  But then, I kind of starting liking it and I forgot to erase it before I turned it in!”  Gotta love their honest feedback of my hard work!
Story 2:  This same kiddo was working with his partner and they could not come up with anything that they had in common.
I tried to give them some help.  “You both have a parent that works at our school,” I said, “You could use that.” 
The young man then looked long and hard at his partner and said, “You have a parent that works here, I never knew that.” 
“Yes, her dad works at the school, think about who her dad might be.”
Blank Stare
“He teaches your P.E. class.”
“Oh, that’s why you have the same last name.  Hey, I bet you love PE too.  That is something else we have in common!”
This is why I love my job.  They keep me laughing all day long!
The venn diagram foldable and writing activities can be found in my circus themed Compare and Contrast pack.  It also includes informational text to read and then write a compare/contrast paragraph about, along with other compare/contrast reading activities.  All of the activities are common core aligned.  Check it out  (here) and let me know what you think.  I will give away a FREE copy of it to my first follower who comments. I will also give a free copy to my first NEW follower.  Just leave me your email in the comments!
Happy Monday!

Saturday, December 1, 2012

A “How To,” Christmas Freebie……

Our writing skill for the week was writing an explanatory paragraph.  In the past, I have done “How to Make S’mores,” but we already did that this year with our Earth’s Layers S’mores.  I have done, “How to Blow a Bubble,” which I love but so did a second grade teacher on my campus last year and I have 7 of her former kiddos.  So, I was trying to find a fun idea that we could write directions for.  I finally came up with this……

How to Wrap a  Present


I saw a few things online, but of course I had to make it my own with this adorable scrappin doodle reindeer and a prewriting foldable! ( I LOVE foldables!)

Click on the pic above to download it for FREE!

I wanted my students to experience actually wrapping a gift before they tried writing directions for doing it.   I wanted it to be an authentic experience.  I also remembered reading blog posts last year about Random Acts of Christmas Kindness, so I thought why not combine the ideas and have them wrap a gift to give away.  The big question became how to get gifts for them to wrap.

I have this amazing family this year and they are always asking what I need help with and if I need any supplies for my classroom (I am so very blessed!).  They also happen to own a candy company here in town and they make the best candies!  So, I emailed my rather large request and was so excited when I got a yes back!  Thank you so much Cerreta’s for supporting our learning!

On Monday afternoon as we packed to go home I left my kiddos with this…..”Tomorrow we will begin something fun and exciting in writing….it involves candy and wrapping paper.  Be here tomorrow if you want to find out about it!”  They hate when I do that to them, but they are always so excited to come to school the next day! 

We began our writing time the next day by wrapping our gifts.  They were a little bummed to learn that the yummy Cerreta’s candy was not for them but they were so excited about the “Random Acts of Christmas Kindness,” idea. 


These are our cute little Cerreta’s snowman boxes with our yummy chocolates inside.



After wrapping the gifts, we taped the “Random Acts of Kindness,” note to the front.  The notes are included in the FREE download of my “How to Wrap a Present,” pack.  Then we brainstormed people that we could share our gift with.  They came back to school the next day so excited to share with us who they gave their present to.  Our gifts were given away to a bus driver, a police officer, a worker at Chick-Fil-A, the lady working the checkout lane at the grocery store, a neighbor brand new to the neighborhood and the list goes on!  They were so excited to be able to spread some Christmas cheer.

How to Wrap a  Present1

We then used the foldables we made to write down all of the steps that we took to wrap our present.  The last step was taking those steps and writing them in paragraph form.  I have to say that I think the lesson was a hit, they are still talking about it!  And, I think that some moms will have more help wrapping gifts this year now that they are “experts,” at it!