Thursday, November 29, 2012

I'd like to thank...

a whole lot of people that nominated me for the Liebster blog award. This post is going to be a novel so if you make it to the end, well a BIG HUGE THANK YOU. Even if you read a portion of it. . . thank you! If you aren't sure what this means... the Liebster blog award is given by bloggers to other bloggers that have less than 200 followers. It is to show a little piece of appreciation and spread the word about our little places in this big cyber world.

And to the six people who nominated me... Realistic Teacher, This Little Piggy Reads, Where the Wild Things Learn, Sparkling in Third Grade, The Wild Rumpus, and Writing Pad Dad

Here are the rules:
1. Post 11 random things about yourself.
2. Answer the questions that the nominator set for you.
3. Create 11 questions for the people you nominate.
4. Choose 11 other blogs with less than 200 followers to nominate and link them in your post. Go to their blog and let them know you nominated them.
5. You can not "tag back" the person that nominated you. Instead, leave a comment on this post with the link to your post so I can learn more about you.

Ok... 11 random things about me...
1. I love Disney World. Given the choice of two places to vacation I have always picked Disney. The year I got married I spent a week there with my best friend 2 weeks before my wedding. We then spent two weeks on our honeymoon in Disney. It was 3 weeks in Disney over the course of about a month. And no I wasn't sick of it.
2. I am terrified of birds. Well really, of all living things that fly.
3. I love to read. But I don't read heavy stuff. I read light fluffy books. Chick lit if you will. And I haven't found a book that I didn't like from that genre.
4. I am a fan of the Buffalo Bills. Yes they typically do terrible. No I don't stop being a fan. No I didn't become a fan because they went to 4 Super Bowls. And yes I am aware they lost (my first year teaching one of my students said "HOW can you go to the Super Bowl four times in a row and NEVER win?... My thoughts exactly friend..)
5. Every monumental thing that has happened in my life (other than my own birth) has happened in June (though I was DUE in June but born early in May..had I been born on my due date I would be a day younger than my husband)... I started dating my husband in June, got engaged 2 years later in Disney in June, got married two years later in June, and had my first baby in June.
6. I have a lot of hobbies. I am not perfect (or even remotely good at some) at them, but I enjoy them anyways. I like to sew, but currently am taking a break from it because time is limited. I love taking pictures but have no clue how to really use my fancy camera...I really need a good class.
7. I absolutely HATE cooking. Standing at the stove and dealing with food is not my idea of a good time. Give me a crock pot recipe though and I am happy as can be.
8. I love pens. Pretty ones. Ones that write nice. I have more pens than any one person could possibly ever need yet every time I am in the store I look for new ones. And if I lose a favorite I get really distraught.
9. I hate the snow but miss the "first snow" of the season in Buffalo. If it snows here, well usually it doesn't stick. And if it does, the 2-3 inches don't really impress me.
10. I have a shih tzu that I love . He is probably the dumbest dog you will ever meet, and he is a pure spaz, but I can't resist him...even when he is getting on my nerves.
11. I love dolphins and killer whales and have since my first trip to sea world. I wanted to be a dolphin trainer but found out that the program needed requires you to learn how to train all kinds of exotic animals... including birds. And if you read number 2, you understand why i never went for it.

Ok now the question portion. Since I was nominated by 6 people.. I can not possibly answer 55 questions. That would take me until next week and who would even read it. So I am picking 2 from each person.

From The Realistic Teacher
1. Do you have any tattoos? How many? Of what?    I have 2... One I got my first year of college that is a sun/flower thing with 9 rays. For the 9 close friends that got me through high school. Sadly we aren't friends anymore, but no hard feelings. I just grew away from them. And I have a dolphin that is carrying a ribbon that is the colors of the Italian flag. They are both on the inner sides of my ankles.
2. If you could eat lunch with a favorite person who would it be?    I would have lunch with my Aunt that passed away in August and my mom and her daughter would be there too. We used to have game night every Friday before we left Buffalo and it was some of the best times I have ever had in my life. I don't share this with people, but her death was really hard on me. 

From This Little Piggy Reads
1. What led you to decide you wanted to be an educator?     I had an amazing group of elementary teachers. In particular my first and fifth grade teachers. My third grade teacher was not good. In fact, she called me brain dead (mind you I had straight As). I knew I wanted to be like my first and fifth grade and prevent a small portion of the students in the world from getting a teacher like my third grade teacher. My students seem to love me so I guess I am doing a good job.
2. Favorite TV show...     I have quite a few of them. Current shows- How I Met Your Mother. Lots of reality TV (Big Brother is probably my all time favorite reality tv show). My husband and I invested in netflix so we can watch shows we never have before and watch them in order. We are currently watching Arrested Development and its pretty darn good. Last series was My Name is Earl and my first thought was "REALLY?! You want me to watch a show about trailer trash?!" But really... I was sad when it was over haha.

From Where the Wild Things Learn
1. What is the craziest thing a student has ever said or done in your classroom?    Hmm I don't think I have had too many crazy things happening. (I always said I should start a blog just to keep track though because things do happen I just forget.) Maybe I need to make this a regular occurring post though. Anything something happens, add it to a running list... hmm
2. What could you not live without in your classroom?     My to do lists. I put EVERYTHING on them. From what papers I need to put where all the way to what PD I need to do online. I have lost the list twice in the past couple years and I swear you would have thought the world was ending. I have so much to do that I can never remember. 

From Sparkling in Third Grade
1. How long have you been teaching and what grades?     This is my 6th year. My first year I taught in a Catholic school. I taught grades 6-8 science (I HATE science), 8th grade math, and 7th grade religion. My 2nd year I moved to TN and taught 20 whopping days in 2nd grade until I got moved to third grade and have been there ever since.
2. What is your worst teaching memory?     ALL of last school year. It was the worst group of kids I have ever dealt with and I really don't know how I made it through the year without quitting. That was the general consensus of every third grade teacher in our school. This year my class more than makes up for it though (but I am trying to keep that hush hush because I fear for next year). 

From The Wild Rumpus
1. Coffee or tea?     I like Ugly Mug Chai tea with flavored creamers. I do not like coffee. Or any other chai tea from any other place.
2. If you hadn't become a teacher, what would you have become?     I think about this all the time. I think my dream job would have been to do something that involves reading... book editing? And then learn photography and do that on the side.

From Writing Pad Dad
1. What do you do to relax?     Relax? What's that? No really.... I do a lot of things. I love to read and sometimes I do that to take stress away. And I just lay in bed and watch TV sometimes with my husband so that I stop thinking of whatever it is that is stressing me out.
2. Can you cook?     Ummm... I can follow directions. I can not just cook on my own and yes I measure when a recipe tells you to. I even measure when I am making Kraft mac and cheese. My husband likes what I cook (when I cook) so that is what matters.

And now the 11 bloggers I am nominating... (sorry- I have to break the rules. I got to 8 and have to stop for the night.)
Adventures in Second Grade
Fourth Grade Lemonade
The Reading Olympians
Beach, Sand, and Lesson Plans
Under the Sea in Second Grade
Krazy Town
One Class One Sound


Wednesday, November 28, 2012

What's Working Wednesday...

It's time readers! Our very first linky party co-hosted by myself and Brandi from Success in Second Grade. A linky party where we share just WHAT is working in our classrooms. And now you can join in too! Share something that is working in your classroom. It can be something you have done year after year or something new you have tried this year that is working. The purpose of this is to hopefully help others. I don't know about you but I have read things that make me say "DUH Gina..why didn't you think of that?!" And then I try it and BAM it works. Every teacher I know loves to store ideas away for their bag of tricks. You just never know WHEN you are going to need to pull something new out. So what do you say? Share something that is working for you and link up!

So what is working for me? Having the best class in the universe...that's what! Ha I kid I kid... but really I do. What is working for me is my high notes. My kids are so awesome I wanted a way to recognize it without having to spend too much time writing out notes to parents. So searching I went and I found "high notes". I can't remember where I found them, but I liked the idea and I ran with it. I made a little form and all I have to do is write the child's name, x off the boxes and write a quick comment. Done in 2 minutes or less while students pack up. I then give the students clues "this person is a girl who worked really hard in math today and got all her answers right". They then conclude (gotta get skills in every chance I get) who it could be. The child gets a moment of pride as we all cheer for them and then they pick which color music note they want for our display.
I can't get this to turn. But Hopefully you get the idea!
You notice the notes are just blank right now. I am trying my hardest to get everyone a note before I start giving out high notes to students who already got one. But once they start getting seconds and thirds, they will get to add stickers to their music note. At the end of the year they get to take them home. Nothing fancy, but you can sure see the pride in their faces.

I have been doing a lot of reading about these brag tags. They are all the rage (so it seems) and I am considering starting that up at some point. If I do, students who have a high note will get their high note tag. Then for each extra note they can add a bead to their chain. But brag tags and all that is for another post another day, if/when I start doing them.

So do you have something that is working fantastically for you that you want to share with the blog world? You never know who you might be helping out! If so, grab the banner below, display it proudly on your post, and join in the linky party! All we ask is that you follow the rule of 3... check the two blogs listed in the linky before you and leave them some love, and come back to find the person that posts after you and leave them some love. Everyone needs a little love once in a while right? And make sure you link back to our blogs so others can join in on the fun too!

If you would like to use this button on your blog, please just save the picture to your computer, put it in your post, and link it to either my blog or Brandi's blog.


Sunday, November 25, 2012

What's in Your Wishlist?

I am linking up with Shuna over at Pocket Full of Kinders to show you what is in my wish list for the big Cyber Monday Sale. But I am not showing you my wish list... because that would be well over 300 items. I use my wish list more as a memory of what I might want to use at some point. Instead I am going to show you what is already in my cart and ready to be bought tomorrow.

First up...
From Amber at Adventures of a Third Grade Teacher. I have some of her other foldables and love them. And we are just starting our big map skills unit so these will be perfect!

Next... Tacky Holiday Sweater Fashion Show Writing Activity from Nicole Shelby. I can't get a picture of this one to work, but if you click the link, you will want this too. I don't even NEED it. Nor do I know if I will manage to get to it before winter break. But I love it and want it. And her stuff is never a let down!

Then we have...
From Tracy. My kids struggle all the time with main idea. And being able to implement nonfiction reading with the skill is just perfect!

Next up
We are working on generalizations this week (YUCK) and I will be using these as an assessment tool. My kids love task cards and don't even realize I am testing them. I have my kids sitting in groups so we don't exactly SCOOT but that is what we say we are doing because we scoot the cards around. Though this time I am thinking of hanging the cards around the room and letting kids travel around to each card, just to make it more fun for them. 

And finally (saved the biggest for last...)
from Hope King. I love her things. Absolutely love them. And I need a way to motivate my kids to do some authentic reading. This has a TON of stuff in it.

Are you ready for the sale? What's in your cart/wish list? Link up and share!

And I promise promise promise to thank each and every one of you who have nominated me for the Liebster Award. Just as soon as I get lesson plans done and papers graded... which make take me clear into the middle of the week. But just know that I am NOT ignoring you lovely bloggers :) I am just a slacker and have a bag full of papers to prove it!


Saturday, November 24, 2012

December Literacy Centers

I promise I will become a more regular blogger again! I am so far behind in everything that I haven't even had a chance to read all my favorite blogs. I see so many that I want to read as they post, but I have 2.5 seconds at a time. Which could be why it took me FOR.EV.ER to finish my December centers. BUT they are done! And just in time for the sale on Monday/Tuesday! I can't guarantee that I will get anything else done by Monday because I have a stack of about 500 papers to grade (maybe not 500 but it is over 200 that's for sure). And I have no lesson plans done for this week, except for spelling. THAT is not going to cover an entire day's worth of teaching. I just want to share with you some quick pictures of my centers, because I know the previews on TpT aren't the greatest. If you want to purchase these (definitely do it during the sale because they will turn out to be $3.60 instead of $5.00), you can click on any of these images and they will take you right to the item listing. I am going to be holing myself away to get these papers graded and lesson plans done and then I am planning to get back to creating and blogging... I have so much I want to share with everyone! These are just pics of the different pages for each center. Now... I haven't even had my kids do my own November centers BUT they are all cut out and ready and I plan to do them next week after testing ( I guess I kinda do have plans done) so that my kids can have a break from sitting in their desks and still be learning! But these ones I fully intend to have ready to use all of December.

Ok I am off to make a dent in my to do list (I suppose step 1 would be to MAKE the to do list..ugh). I will be back sometime in the hopefully near future!


Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Cyber Monday {+ Tuesday}

I have never participated in the Cyber Monday sales (as a shopper I mean) because well, I am always at work. Now Black Friday... I am always going out for something. But this year, I am participating in Cyber Monday in a different way... as a seller. That's right! TpT is having a HUGE sale for Cyber Monday (+ Tuesday). They are giving 10% off plus all of my items will be marked down 20%. That ends up being a total of 28% off! Just use the code CMT12 on Monday or Tuesday when you check out! Start filling up that wishlist/shopping cart now because you do NOT want to miss out on these amazing prices!

Here are just a few things I have recently added..
There's an Elf in Our Classroom
 This has only been posted for a brief while and has already become a top seller. It is 60+ pages of Elf mischief and fun. Be sure to check it out by clicking on the image to take you directly to the listing.

Snowy Suffixes
 This is new and I briefly mentioned it in an earlier post (I think... this flu has really worn me down). I am doing suffixes next week and was trying to be ahead of the game and plan at least one thing before Thanksgiving. Hip Hip Hooray I did plan ONE thing. And this was it. It is a week long, 30-45 min a day lesson and activity. Again, click the link to take you to the description and listing.

Victor/Vicky Verb
I mentioned this before and we just now finished them up (I was out of the room twice in the past two weeks and it took a lot of my plans and threw them all kinds of upside down). My kids absolutely LOVED this. We only did the writing and craftivity part because I created the practice pages AFTER realizing what would have helped my children more. We will probably be doing the practice pages for review of this skill. As soon as I get more things checked off my to do list, I have a post planned to show off some Victors and Vickys!

I also have a December writing calendar available. But I can't seem to get the image to load, so just click the link.

Now... I am in the process of getting some more things created by the time this sale starts. In the works: December Literacy Centers, December Food Writing (similar to my Turkey Treats), Jan-March writing calendars, etc. I plan to be very busy in the next few days. I will be sure to update you if/when I get things finished!

I am linking up with many other teachers participating in the sale. Be sure to check out their posts too!

And a HUGE thank you to Michelle from the 3AM Teacher for setting this linky and button up for us!!


Tuesday, November 20, 2012


Well.. a day lat but I finally am at my computer to announce my winners for my giveaway. Thank you so so so so much to EVERYONE that participated. And a HUGE thank you to everyone who was generous enough to donate an item to giveaway. I will be sending the list of winners to my wonderful teaching friends and they will send your prize along to you! Congratulations. And don't worry... if you didn't win I have a big fat announcement coming up in the next few days for you...

a Rafflecopter giveaway a Rafflecopter giveaway a Rafflecopter giveaway


Monday, November 19, 2012

A giveaway update

Just a quick post to say thank you to everyone to participated in my giveaway! I haven't drawn winners yet because the flu has taken over our entire house. I am posting this from my phone just to let everyone know that I will draw winners as soon as I am off the couch and functioning again. Thanks again!


Sunday, November 18, 2012

Just a quick post for now...

I don't have much time (again)... we had a sick baby Friday night and now my husband is sick leaving me to take care of a recuperating 1 year old who either is clingy or crazy (she changes her mind on the hour I swear... right now, it's crazy) by myself with a lot of school work to do. But I did want to post because someone DID guess my favorite Christmas movie/special of all time. And that person was...
A lot of people guessed Charlie Brown Christmas... and I do love that one. But Rudolph is my ultimate favorite. Diane was the first to guess. Diane if you see this before I get to your blog to let you know, send me a quick email to thirdgradetidbitsATgmailDOTcom.

In other news... Linda from Curls and a Smile has thrown all of her Thanksgiving items in her TpT store on sale. Be sure to check them out! Here is her store link!

And last but CERTAINLY not least... you have just about 6.5 hours to get entered into my amazing 100 follower giveaway! I am telling you these prizes are amazing!

And that is all I have for you today... I have a ton to do for the little 2 days that I am in school this week... and Monday is a sub plan day (luckily my kids are in support a lot making my plans super easy). But I need to get it done because I have quite a few things I need to get my self in gear and working on pronto!

Oh one last thing... after Thanksgiving we are going to be working on suffixes for spelling. I noticed that making my kids work solely on their words at home just isn't cutting it now. In fact, their grades have gotten so bad that I am mad. So I am now devoting about 30 minutes a day to our spelling lessons. And for that I created this mini unit- Snowy Suffixes. I will do a blog post about it later on, but just wanted to share just in case anyone is in need of some suffix work!
Ok, that is all for real now! I will announce the winners of the giveaway tomorrow! Good Luck!


Saturday, November 17, 2012

Giveaways x2.5!

I don't have much time to write today because my daughter was up sick all night and I am exhausted, yet still trying to get some work done for after Thanksgiving. Yes I am thinking to that week instead of next week (even though I do have things to do for next week too...). But I wanted to remind you of a couple giveaways going on.

First- I am still waiting on someone to guess my favorite Christmas movie of all time to win my Elf in Our Classroom packet. I will give a hint... it isn't so much a movie as it is a "Christmas Special".

You have until tomorrow night to enter my big 100 follower giveaway! This is huge as far as prizes goes! I didn't do the math on the value of the prizes but I should have because it is ginormous!

Amber at Adventures of a Third Grade Teacher has exceeded 700 followers on her blog and she too is having a HUGE giveaway (and a gift from yours truly is included in one of the prizes!) Based on the time remaining on her rafflecopter, it will be ending at the same time as mine! So hurry and enter these amazing giveaways!

Back to working now...

is it too early for Christmas music because I am about to put mine on...


Wednesday, November 14, 2012

It's time...

I did it! I made it to 100 followers! And I am breaking the big fat only one post per day rule because I am so stinkin' excited! Thank you so much for all your support in this adventure of mine! I never thought I would be able to blog about teaching and be able to meet so many amazing people in the process. My teaching has become better in just the few months that I have been blogging than ever! To show how appreciative I am of all of my followers, I asked some of my teaching bloggy friends to donate... and boy did they donate. Because I had so many people willing to shower you with gifts, I split the items in a couple different giveaways. I tried to bunch them together by grade level.

ENTER QUICK- This giveaway ends Monday

First up: Giveaway number 1 includes these 12 amazing items!!! (Most of these are good for grades k-2)

From Jackie (one of my BFFs ever)... All About Character
From Valerie at All Students can shine...  Thanksgiving Activities for Your Classroom 

From Maria at Kindercraze... Fruity Colors Booklet and Poster Set

From Randi from Teach it With Class... Thanksgiving Math Activities

Teach It With Class

From Katie at Teacher to the Core... Winter Nouns 

Teacher to the Core

From Michelle at Inspired by Kindergarten... Writing Center Book

From Laura at Peace Love and First Grade... Christmas Math Tubs
Peace, Love, & First Grade

From Farrah at Fabulous Firsties... Holiday Money Magic

Fabulous Firsties

From Heather at Hojo's Teaching Adventures... Math Magic Squares

HoJo's Teaching Adventures

From Krissy at Miss Hutten's Buttons...Pilgrim, Pilgrim- A Thanksgiving Story (I have this... super cute!)

From Melissa at Dilly Dabbles... Quiet as a Mouse Theme


and finally, from Greg at Smedley's Smorgasbord of Kindergarten.. his brand new Run Run as Fast as You Can Gingerbread Unit 


a Rafflecopter giveaway

Now for the second AMAZING giveaway... (seriously- aren't teachers the best ever?!) This giveaway has 9 amazing items that are good for grades 3+

I will be giving away my Elf in Our Classroom packet.

From Lynda at Teaching with Curls and a Smile... Thanksgiving Break Personal Narrative Writing
Curls and a Smile

 From Gina at Beach, Sand, and Lesson Plans... Multiplication Scoot.

Beach Sand and Lesson Plans

From Stephanie at Teaching in Room 6... Fall Poet-Tree

From Nicole at Teaching with Blonde Ambition (my students will tell you how awesome her stuff is... I have quite a bit of it and they know her name)... Turkey Trouble Reading and Writing Unit

Teaching with Blonde Ambition

From Amanda at One Extra Degree... Gobble Gobble- Centers for Fall Y'all (it kills me just to type that word- y'all... I can not be southern lol.. oh and I have these too LOVE THEM!)

From Krista and Julie at The Reading Olympian... Christmas Figurative Language Activity and Cards

From Abby at Third Grade Bookworm...Goin' Buggy Fluency Phrases

From Kim at Teaching by Hart... Writing in Math?

And JUST ADDED!!! Heather from Hojo's Teaching Adventure has generously donated another item... Multiplication Magic Squares

HoJo's Teaching Adventures

a Rafflecopter giveaway

And the third giveaway... don't be disheartened because this one has less prizes.. this package is AMAZING..and has things for all grade levels and even some clipart for those of you who want to dabble into creating your own products (or those of you that already do- you know clipart is a big deal!)
From Ashley Hughes at the School Supply Addict... choice of snowflake clipart

From Heather at Kickin' it With Class... The Traveling Scientist Kit

From Amber at Adventures of a Third Grade Teacher... Editable Lapbook and Foldable Templates (I have these too... Love love love them!)

And from Nicole at Lanier Lions... Christmas Clipart (I have her Thanksgiving clipart and OMG so.stinkin.cute!)

Lanier's Kindergarten Lions

a Rafflecopter giveaway

I want to send a HUGE THANK YOU to every single one of these teachers. Not only have they donated but they have helped me a TON in the past few months. I couldn't have done this without them! Show them some love by going to their pages and liking/following. Trust me- every single one of them deserve the love!
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