Friday, May 31, 2013

The F word

No no, not THAT F word... Freebie!!! What?! I have a freebie for you! Yes I do! Being on summer vacation has done me some good already! And, it will do you some good because I have freebies! Are you excited?!
Freebie Fridays
I have started planning for next year already. I know, summer break just started, but we all know teachers work on summer break. And I have had ideas in my head for so long that I had to get started. Every year I have at least a handful of kids that really need phonics help, but there is no time for that during regular instruction time. So, I am going to work with those children during morning work time. I bought a third grade phonics workbook but I needed more. So the first thing I made (for the first week of phonics fun- that is what I am going to call it) is a making words activity.


I will be doing this with my group, but it can be done as a center activity. (I realize this is definitely NOT something most third grade teachers need, but my tier 3 kids do. Feel free to pass it on to your friends that teach younger grades.) Each student will get a 3 letter word mat, 4 letter word mat, and a set of alphabet cards.  All of the image cards will be flipped upside down. One student will pick a card, say the word, and then we will discuss the sounds they hear and how to spell it. So if they picked the star (it says color on it, so the answer is pink), they would say pink and identify which letters make that sound. They would find the letters in their pile and put them on the mat. Then they will record the answer on their recording sheet.

There are a total of 11 cards for students to work through. To make it more "fun" looking, I am going to print the word mats and alphabet cards on bright colored paper. Or if I am feeling extra ambitious, I may print the word mats on white and color the beach balls in. 

I really think my kids will love this. Once we do a few together, I may turn it into a friendly competition. We will pick a card and then see who can come up with the correct spelling of the word first. The winner will get smart beads and a note sent home. (If you haven't seen my post on how I use smart beads in my room, you can click here.) 

I hope you enjoy this freebie! (click on the cover page picture to take you to the posting).

Ready for another F word. Two of them actually. Fabulous Finds (from Target of course)

A couple teacher friends posted pics of this AMAZING find in the dollar spot... and so I hunted them down and finally found them in my third target. I bought every single one they had (23). 

Book boxes! For $1! Now, I know they don't match. And well, they certainly don't go with my plans of doing a pirate theme, but I needed them, and for $1, I don't care if they match. Plus I am thinking of doing bright colors with a touch of pirate anyways. I am thinking of putting these on a shelf where you wouldn't be able to tell that they didn't match anyways.

My next target dollar spot find...
Happiness! All kinds of sticky notes and tabs. There were all different sized flags and even regular post its. But I didn't get those (yet). The 2 packs of dry erase markers were perfect because my students are going to need them for our multiplication tests next year (post coming next week). And the other thing you see is a 2 pack of mini erasers. Yes I know my kids could use socks or fabric scraps, but these were cute. For now, I only have 8 of each, but I will be going back to get a class set.

I am linking up with 
Classroom Freebies Manic Monday

Thursday, May 30, 2013

Summer Bucket List

Summer is here. And! We have spent the past 3 days outside playing and "swimming" in our little inflatable pool. Our yard is just not made for a real pool, but our little one works just fine. I have a LOT that I want to get done this summer. And since I am such a list kinda person, I decided to link up with Teri, Hadar, and April for their Summer Bucket List linky!


So what is on my list?!

1. Go on vacation... it is still semi up in the air. We KNOW we are going to Atlanta for at least 2 nights to go to the Chipper Jones retirement game during alumni weekend. We went to Atlanta last year and went to two games during alumni weekend and had a blast.  (These pics are from my mommy blog. I couldn't resist sharing.)

 BUT... we are waiting to see if my dad gets his vacation time approved. Because if he does, Payton will be taking her very first trip to

IF my dad gets off, the three of us will spend 2 nights in Atl and meet up with my parents in Disney for 6 nights. If he doesn't then the three of us will spend 4 or 5 nights in Atl and do Disney next year. 

2. Spend time with Tim and Payton. Obviously. I don't get nearly enough time with them during the school year, especially the three of us together. In order to make our day care needs work, Tim and I work opposite times usually. So summer is our time to really spend together.
Last summer on the Maid of the Mist
 3. Organize. This has been my goal the past couple years. It is a slow process but I am getting there. I have decided to use binders instead of files. I have almost all of my science stuff organized. And most of my reading and language arts stuff. Math needs a ton of work and social studies has not even been started yet. 
This is something I already do (not my pic) but this board is FULL of good ideas.
4. Work on things for my classroom next year. I am doing a pirate theme and I have a TON of ideas. So I need to get going on those.  (no pictures here... you will have to wait until the big classroom reveal)

5. Create and mark things off the to do list for TpT. I have a TON of things to create this summer. I have been adding to my to do list all school year.

6. Read... I love to read and don't do it nearly enough. I have a TON of books (both ebook and in print) that are waiting to be read. 

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Dry Erase Love

Do your kids LOVE dry erase boards and markers? Mine do. I mean I could make the most boring lesson stellar just by letting them do their work on dry erase boards. Well, I was lucky enough to be able to review some dry erase pockets from My Binding. I received a set of 5 dry erase pockets and it couldn't have been at a better time. See, we were working on cursive and my kids needed to practice writing all their letters in more than just one word. (And what's even better is that at the same time as I got these, my school gave me 10 more- so now I have almost a full class set!!) So we started with just a couple words.  I told them to just practice writing words on their own, their name, anything, just to get used to writing.

And then I made them write me a paragraph about their favorite thing about third grade. A pretty menial task on a normal day, but being able to write it on these cool dry erase pockets, wow it was the best activity ever!!

And I promise you I did NOT tell them to write that I was their favorite thing about third grade. I just had the best kids this year, and I really will miss them! Thank you My Binding for letting me review this amazing product!! My kids saw them sitting on the table waiting to be used and were begging every day for when we could use them! 

Monday, May 27, 2013

Next year

I know I am not the only one who starts thinking about NEXT school year once summer hits as soon as state testing time comes. I mean I have to take everything down and pack it up (and this year PACK IT ALL UP to move to a new class) so why not start thinking about what I could do better next year. Every year during TCAP as I walk around my room praying that my kids do their best and picking up pencils, I start thinking of things I can do next year. And Kim from Joy in Sixth Grade has the perfect linky for this!
 Last year, my friend Lisa had an amazing blog post about her fluency time. And she helped me out a ton getting it started in my own class. And once we started it, my kids NEVER wanted to miss it. If we had to for an assembly, they were crushed! It was a nice transition when we returned from lunch to get them back into the swing of things in the classroom and get ready to finish their learning for the day. To see my blog post about this, you can click here.
 Seriously I say this every year. And I start off so well. And then something happens and all of a sudden I have hundreds of papers to grade and some are going in the blue bin (recycling bin) I just want to cry. I had a good system- grade during our Chinese time (30 min a day), grade when we went to the restroom (twice a day as a class), and grade when I was waiting to pick my kids up from support. I have no clue what happened but it fell apart.
I am not sure WHY I never did this this year because I had full intentions to do it. Something just always came up. I bought a third grade phonics book and I am going to use it next year. I have a really good morning work routine (you can read about that here) but the kids who REALLY need help with their phonics need the time with me. So I decided that I will have those students grab their breakfast and meet with me to work on some phonics skills. Then when we go over morning work as a class, they can just do it with us. So they are still exposed to the morning work skills but also getting the help they really need (because really, there is no other time in my day to work on phonics).
 My amazing friend Jenn helped me out a TON getting my math time situated towards the end of this year. And my kids LOVED it. In fact, I noticed in just the couple weeks we did it, their comprehension of the math skills was soaring. One of my lowest students was one of the first ones to be able to understand mixed numbers!! I have to be able to implement this ALL the time because they loved it, and it works. Read about that here.
 What? You don't know what it means to teach like a pirate? Well I highly suggest you grab yourself a copy of this book and start reading.... (hint: there is going to be a pretty awesome book study on this book this summer). The pirate theme really has nothing to do with this book. I just had a REALLY good idea for a bulletin board (details later once I have it up and done next year) and it spiraled out of control.

Monday, May 13, 2013

Let's Get Acquainted Linky

I am so glad Latoya has these linkys because I have been in a major slump lately when it comes to blogging. I am trying to get my exhaustion under control but it just isn't happening. I am hoping once school is out I can get things back on track. 7 more days with students, 1 admin day, but who is counting?! Anyways...
This week's linky is short and sweet...three questions

1. What made you decide to become a teacher?
When I was in first grade I decided I wanted to be a teacher. I had an amazing teacher and I wanted to be just like her when I grew up. I strayed away from teaching for a semester in college and was majoring in communications, but decided it wasn't as valuable and rewarding. So I went right into education after that first semester.

2. What has been your most rewarding experience as a teacher?
I don't have one specific moment that stands out that much to me. Maybe that makes me weird, but I feel like everyday there is SOMETHING rewarding. Whether it is big or small, you will see something positive in your day as a teacher. I think overall the fact that we have such a rewarding profession daily IS the most rewarding experience.

3. If you were not a teacher what would you be?
Something that pays me to read. A book editor/publisher? Or... somebody pretty important in Disney World. Working in the happiest place on earth would be pretty darn cool if ya ask me.

Be sure to click the image above and link up with Latoya!

Thursday, May 9, 2013

A little more appreciation

I hope that you have felt very appreciated this week! I am teaming up with some of my friends to show some more love!

One lucky teacher will win all of these FABULOUS prizes!

Wow! I wish that I could win! :) 
Enter below with the Rafflecopter! Contest ends Sunday night at Midnight. 
a Rafflecopter giveaway

Sunday, May 5, 2013

Teacher Appreciation

I know I have been slacking with the posting lately, but I promise I am working on getting back into things. I have a lot going on with having to pack up my room and end of the year other things and a mile long to do list, that blogging has been taking a back seat. I am reading blogs every few days but just not posting. I will get it together I promise. But that isn't what this post is about. It is about teacher appreciation.

Does your school do anything special? We used to get a box of printer paper. I know that might sound weird but it was probably the best thing ever- that stuff is scarce and expensive when you use it all the time! Then last year our PTO did something different. We had a lunch (we do every year, though I haven't heard about one for this year) and a chair massage. They are having a chair massage again for us this year on Friday, which also happens to be my birthday! Double bonus for me! But it isn't often that students or parents do anything for us. The PTO has tried sending notes home but it hasn't been successful.

But here is a way for all teachers to feel appreciated... TpT is having a HUGE sitewide sale  on May 7th and 8th where you can get up to 28% off your total! I will be putting all my items on sale for 20% off plus using the code TAD13 will get you the extra 8%.

Graphic from the lovely and talented Beth at Zip-a-Dee-Doo-Dah Designs
I have already started loading things into my cart for the big sale. I hope you are getting ready too! Here are some of my favorites from my store.
This is my top seller and my kids really loved this one!
This is another top seller and another my kids really enjoyed. 
This is my newest creation. I haven't even posted about this one yet.  
This one is one of my favorites. It could be because of the candy theme. 
And this is going to help me get organized this summer :)
Now, if you made it this far.... I am asking for some help. My daughter has 3 teachers at her day care (well 2 and the director) and we LOVE them. We want to give them something that won't cost a fortune but still shows that we love them and appreciate them. I would appreciate any and all ideas that are budget friendly. And anyone that leaves a comment will be entered into a drawing. I will choose one winner to win an item of their choice from my store.

Oh and don't forget to leave feedback for all your prior purchases to get TpT credits!!!

I am also linking this up with Mrs. Leeby. Click the image below to be taken to her post with links to other teachers/bloggers participating!

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