Sunday, October 19, 2014

How to Use Dollar Tree Finds in your Classroom

So I'm here to talk to you about the dollar tree and what GREAT treasures and finds are hidden there. 
 First of all:  It's sooo CHEAP!!!  That is a huge plus and benefit for teachers right?!?
Second:  Be open minded and go in there thinking and maybe even bring a notepad.  I have jotted ideas down and seen something to match that idea.  For instance I knew I was going to make a pack about main idea and I wrote down the word meatballs.  I knew right away when I found 'tongs' it would work for my meatball main idea center - see:
Third:  There are TONS of seasonal items there every month.  So be creative on how you can use these.  I saw ice cube trays and immediately thought of 'arrays' for multiplication.  So I added some witchy, pumpkin and skeleton erasers and I now have an array math center for about 5 dollars.
If you look closely at the grid item in the's a sink mat.  When I looked at it I immediately thought:  multiplication chart:
See how I might think's almost the same.  I purchased about 8 trays because as the trays are added the array changes if we are working on say 7's or 8's instead of 3's or 4's.  It gives you lots of options.
Here is a fun freebie to go along with the ice cube tray idea:
If you find a blow up reindeer write math equations on it...have a game of quiet ball where the kids toss it to each other and whatever their hand or thumb lands on they have to answer that many ideas all you have to do is be creative and ....SHOP!  Have fun and share some ideas you have used from the Dollar Tree.

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Cancer ~ such an ugly word

Cancer - one of the very worst words you can ever hear uttered!  Hopefully with education and early detection it doesn't have to be though...I heard those words in October of 2006 for the very first time...well obviously not for the very first time but for the first time when I knew in my heart of hearts it would forever effect me.  It's like your insides are getting ripped out and your heart just stops for a bit.  If you have never heard those words in such an intimate way you just don't understand to the depth that I 'm trying to explain it.  You are forever changed.  There's no going back.
Most of you know my sweet mom and true bff lost a battle to cancer in 2007.  I heard the news Oct. 2nd, 2006 and she took her last breath April 1, 2007.  It went SOOO quickly and it hurt so deeply.  I will never be the same that's for sure.  Every award my son gets hurts in a way...every volleyball match my daughter wins has some pain in it because I can't share it with my mom.  She would be so incredibly PROUD of my kids!  She adored them and I'm so blessed that they knew her even though they were much younger.

Although my mom didn't pass away to Breast Cancer I'm happy to support ANY kind of cancer to be honest.  So I'm here today to discuss breast cancer as it is breast cancer awareness month.  First be sure to do your part in your monthly self exams.  If you have any history of breast cancer talk to your doctor.   I have put together a little list to help you get out and make your mammogram appointment:
 Top 10 reasons to get a mammogram:
10.  Early detection is the BEST defense
9.  Mammograms work!!  They do what they are suppose to do and you can get results - in fact they get results about 1.7 years sooner than a physical exam would do.
8.  Risks increase with age...I'm 43 and started getting these mammos when I turned 40 as recommended by the American Cancer Society.
7.  You only have to do it ONCE a takes about 20 minutes or less out of your life and could SAVE your life!
6.  You will look great in the pink robe they provide. Ok so that one is a little vain. :o)
5.  You will immediately feel older and wiser - so you might not want to feel older but you will be wiser!  Tell your friends that you had one done and encourage them to do the same.  It's so easy!
4.  A mammogram is safe and reliable.  All mammograms are safe - the exposure to radiation is equal to dental xray exposure.  Which is so minimal and the results are fast and efficient. 
3.  You want to keep your breasts and hair!!!  If a simple mammogram can keep your breasts intact and hair in place without pain and devastation why not?!?!
2.  Statistics alone!!!  I took stats in college...ugh!  But these stats are brutal 1 in 8 women will get breast cancer.
1.  You want to save your life!  Also spread the word and save the lives of your friends and loved ones.  So you get your ta ta's squished a bit big deal.  I promise that is much better than the alternative!
This past fall during my regular well woman appointment my doctor found some 'dense' tissue in my breast that was a bit tender to the touch.  She suggested I get an ultrasound as I had recently just had my mammo in December.  Everything went well and I was all clear but still why wouldn't I want to be proactive in a situation like this? 
Quick, no pain and're done before you know it!
I am teaming up with my sweet friend Katie Knight from Teacher to the Core on our mission to inform all of our wonderful friends about breast cancer awareness!  Here is one of her awesome tips:

5 Tips for making your mammogram great (2)

{ click picture to visit her awesome blog }
So smart and just so simple - why didn't I think of that?!?!  Thank you Katie!
So ~ join our mission to save the TA-TA's.  Spread the word by sharing our blog post or facebook post.  Also enter to win some great PINK swag to better support the cause below:

A HUGE thank you to Michelle's Place in Temecula for donating these items for our giveaway.  Check out their facebook page by liking them below.
Here's a close up of the silver cuff:

Saturday, October 4, 2014

It's that time again ~ Chalk Talk * Multiplication Fun *

Hi friends,
  I'm beyond excited to share this tip with all of you.  I have had this little gem in my hands for decades and it's amazing.  My wonderful mom created this in the 80's and I'm just thrilled to let you in on this tip:
First you need to watch the video on it and then I will share some 'still shot's'.
So after watching this you can see that it's way more fun than flashcards and quite different.  My kids LINE up to work on these everyday and take turns as I have only made 12 and I have 24 students. 
Be sure when you are making these to leave space between each stick so the tape can go across and be flexible.
Head on over to the Primary Chalkboard and see what my friends have going on...

Saturday, September 27, 2014

SitSpots aren't just for rug replacements...

Ahh ~ what a few weeks it has been in my household.  I have been so MIA and I apologize!  Things are looking up though and I'm ready to get back in the {blog} game!  I'm here to talk about SitSpots.  If you aren't familiar with them you have GOT TO check them out!  We had the pleasure of meeting Joyce at the TPT conference in Vegas and let me tell you she is one smart cookie!  As a former principal/educator she came up with a brilliant idea and teachers all over the world are benefitting from it.  If you aren't familiar with SitSpots they are pieces of Velcro type shapes that stick to most carpets that can be vacuumed over, written on, moved etc. I actually chose to use mine in a different way though.  I have a big black rug that I like and since I now teach third grade I don't feel it's quite as important to have that 'personal space' as it was for my firsties.  So here is what I'm up to and I have more ideas up my sleeve.
Many of you read about my Trash Can Spelling post  - if you haven't you can find it { here }.  Well Joyce sent me these adorable OWL SHAPED SitSpots so of course I had to use them.  I assigned points to the color owl for my game and viola!  Now I have a fun engaging activity/game that the kids love that is cute!  Who ever thought that would happen?!?  These are easily movable and can be used for so many things!  Small groups/Literature Circles to keep them in a certain spot, in place of a large rug/ small games/ intervention groups on rug, etc.  You can even write on them - use them for math groups, sight word practice and more!  I'm a huge fan and so thrilled that I'm able to use these - not just because they are practical and useful and fun but they are so CUTE too!
Those are bright, colorful owl shapes!  There are so many shapes and colors to choose from:  you can check out all the options

Monday, September 8, 2014

Back to School Stuff

Welcome back to school everyone!  I've been back for a while but I know lots of my friends just started back!  I am LOVING third grade so much and so happy to have been able to make the change.  I'm curious what you do for first day of school pictures...Pinterest has ideas all over the place and for years I have done this:
So this year I wanted to switch it up a little and I used a chalkboard themed background for the's hard to tell from the photo unfortunately but the I'm a third grader is a thinking bubble over their head.
The first day of school I had the kids come up with sticky notes { which they loved } and place them on the following anchor chart posters.  It was fun seeing where and why everyone put theirs.
Do you have children?  If so do something special for them this week...make a special breakfast, encourage them in their sport or activity of preference or take them on a date.  Our time with our kids is so limited. 
Ok my friends ~ I hope your first week went amazing.  Room reveal post to come soon!

Sunday, August 31, 2014

Smile Tiles { a fun spin on brag tags }

Hi sweet friends!  I have had fun receiving emails from teachers that have implemented my smile tile reward system and wanted to share it with you.  It has been shared on facebook but not on my blog.  I created smile tiles last year because they were cheap and easy to use.  Brag tags are fun and companies make them for teachers but it involves a necklace and plastic tag that can get expensive.  Well my smile tiles are easy and can be printed out on the spot and handed out to deserving kids or printed early on and saved in a file ready to use as well. 
 My smile tiles cover a large variety of topics....
*being good for the sub
*AR points
*class behavior
*rewards by subject ( great in math today, way to read, etc. )
*hallway behavior
*lost a tooth
*quiet during the assembly
*100% on spelling test
*being a good friend
*knowing my sight words
*being a good student
*being a bucket filler
*having a great first day of school
*knowing multiplication facts
*being a good leader
*seating quietly on the rug
*writing neatly
*great journal writing
*being a shining star
*having a neat desk
*being a peacemaker
*trying their best in cursive
*being a math whiz
*being a great buddy reader to younger kids
*helping a new student
*great presentation
As you can see these cover a wide range of topics and come in Black and White or Color for your printing needs.  Here are some proud kiddos wearing them...
Here are a couple reviews from my ratings section on this product...
Give them a try and please tell me what you think.  I love receiving emails with pictures of teachers using my products...have fun.  I'm very confident your kids AND parents will love them.  They look darling wearing them home and they will be so proud too.
You can get your own set { here }

Friday, August 29, 2014

Trashy Crafter GIVEAWAY

I'm so excited to be working alongside Kimberly and her mom at the Trashy Crafter!  They are a talented duo that recycles books, sheet music and maps by turning them into jewelry.  How genius is that?!?  I received the Caps for Sale bracelets in the mail and am raffling off an earring set to one of my lucky followers!  Each piece is hand made by rolling the pages of the damaged books to create beautiful beads.  These are then teamed up with other jewelry beads to make a very unique and beautiful piece.  I love it also because they are conversation pieces and...if you have a favorite book it would be so special to 'wear' it on your wrist or ears.  PLUS as teachers ~  well need I say more...hello we LOVE books!

 I proudly wear my bracelets to school and almost every time someone stops me and asks me about them. 

They arrived quickly and were packaged soo cute! 

Even the packaging is smart is that?!?
You absolutely MUST try these and you will fall in love!  If you are a teacher it's a must have - a librarian - a lover of books - a lover of music ( they even make these with sheet music ).  The creativity never ends!  If you'd like a chance to win those adorable Little Red Riding Hood book earrings enter the rafflecopter below: