Saturday, March 12, 2016

Books & Brackets Blog Hop!

It's finally March which can only mean one thing...March Madness. Okay, maybe more than one thing...St. Patricks Day, Easter, and SPRING are also packed into this exciting month! 

I do enjoy spring but a little unknown fact... I love a good game of basketball. I went to George Mason University and was lucky enough to be there while they went to the FINAL 4! I will admit I didn't know much about basketball until GMU was in the finals but after attending my first basketball game in college, I loved it! I loved how fast paced the game was and I love the excitement in the crowd

I have found that in the classroom I could used the excitement of March Madness to engage my students in language arts. I discovered the book Midnight Madness at the Zoo by Sherryn Craig and it is perfect for the month of March! In the book, the crowds start to thin out as the zoo closes for the night. But soon the elephant's trumpet rings through the zoo calling animals from their pens for the nightly game of basketball. Animals, big and small, from all over the zoo come to play but they must finish their game before the zookeeper makes her nightly rounds! This book is a hit with my sports fans because it uses basketball terms throughout the book so our basketball experts can educate us on some new vocabulary! Meet the author and check out how the she got her idea to write this book:


{video clip: Sherryn Craig}


Enter to win a signed hardcover copy of the Sherryn's book here:

I have created a few activities to use in the classroom to go along with this book! I have included a prediction page, students favorite part part page, a summary page, and rhyming word cards with rhyming words from the story. You can download these activities for FREE in my TPT store! I hope you enjoy this color OR black & white FREEBIE!  



To celebrate the arrival of March Madness, St. Patrick's Day, Easter, and SPRING all in the month of March, 14 other primary grade teachers and I have collaborated to bring you 15 book giveaways and a grand prize $75 TPT Gift Card! All of the giveaways will end at midnight on March, 13th so make sure to enter THIS WEEKEND!

Enter the TPT Giftcard Giveaway below:


To find out what other great books to use in your classroom during the month of March make sure to continue the hop below! We have 14 other amazing K-2 grade teachers who are excited to share their favorite books, a FREEBIE, and a BOOK GIVEAWAY!

The Krafty Teacher
The Krafty Teacher
Don't forget to hop back through Monday morning to see if you are the lucky winner of any books or the grand prize TPT gift card!

Wednesday, February 10, 2016

Presidents' Day

I am excited to be linking up with Cole from Teach Glitter Grow to bring you three great things focused around Presidents' Day! February might be a short month but it is a great month to celebrate our Presidents and take time to reflect on their contributions. 

To introduce Presidents' Day I like this short video clip from Scholastic that gives students a few fun facts about George Washington and Abraham Lincoln. It gives a quick overview of their lives and I love that this video also makes comparisons to life today and life when these two Presidents lived.


When learning about George Washington and Abraham Lincoln my class researches their life through a QR code scavenger hunt, a timeline, books from our library, and videos from BrainPopJr. and Pebble Go. They take their facts and turn them into short biographies once their research is complete. 

We then construct a interactive bulletin board and their research about these two Presidents launches our Social Studies unit on Famous Americans! 


We use these headers to organize our bulletin board and then add facts to each American to help us learn, compare, and make connections between their lives and contributions.
If you teach Famous Americans, check out this bulletin board set in my TPT store!


To wrap up our President research on George Washington and Abraham Lincoln we compare their lives. It helps students to reflect on their learning and put some of their thoughts into a more concrete graphic organizer. We pull important words from a word bank. I find that using a word bank for this activity really helps because it makes students comparisons unique and gives them more flexibility instead of just cutting and sorting facts that are already written out for them. 

You can also find this comparison in my store for FREE!


I hope you have a wonderful Presidents' Day! Thanks for stoping by!

Wednesday, November 4, 2015

Winner Wednesday: American Indian Task Card Scoot

October flew by and I can't believe it is the first Wednesday of November already! I am linking up with Jennifer from A Day of Glue Will Do again to bring you the chance to win a product from my store for FREE! All you will have to do is enter your name into the Rafflecopter below!


Use these task cards to review the American Indian unit in your classroom. Along with these task cards are directions for three different activities your students can do with these question cards. This product includes two different sets of cards with 24 questions in each set. The first set is a fill in the blank set where students must complete the sentence with which region would make the sentence true. The second set of cards is a multiple choice set where students must choose between three options. Both sets have similar questions but it is up to you to decide if your class would prefer a fill in the blank or multiple choice answering method. 

This product includes:
  • Two sets of 24 questions each
  • Cards include questions about each regions land, climate, homes, transportation, occupations, tribes, and contributions
  • Student recording sheet for both sets of cards
  • Answer key for both sets of cards
  • Directions with details on three different ways to use these cards in your own classroom
This product focuses on American Indians in the Eastern Woodlands, Great Plains, and Southwest regions. The Powhatan, Lakota, and Pueblo tribe names are used in this product but I am happy to change these tribes if your school studies different tribes within these regions. 



a Rafflecopter giveaway
The drawing ends at midnight tonight so make sure to enter right away! I will email the lucky winner a copy of this product on Thursday. 

If you can't wait to get your hands on this product, then check it out in my store!  

Also, feel free to follow me on Facebook or Bloglovin' for other future Winner Wednesday FREEBIES and giveaway updates! Winner Wednesday happens the first Wednesday of every month thanks to Jennifer's wonderful link up! Make sure to mark your calendars for December 2nd and check back here for my next Winner Wednesday! 

Thursday, October 29, 2015

Productive Planning Time!

Balancing school and home life can be TOUGH! Our To-Do list can seem never ending and sometimes staying at school until midnight seems like the only way we could ever get it all done. For my own mental sanity I cannot stay in the school building from 8AM-8PM so I have a few tips that I have learned along the way to help me get out of the building at a reasonable time. 

1. Prioritize your "To-Do" list!

When preparing your To-Do list put everything that MUST be done for tomorrows lessons plans first! If interims are due by the end of the week and you know you need to do them at some point during the week, still put it on your list. But know not everything on your list will get done in one day. I always put my tasks that need to be done for the next days plans first so that I am prepared when I come in the next morning. Always accomplish what needs to be done for your kids and your lessons before tackling those other little teacher tasks because at the end of the day...it's all about the kids! They need to have engaging lessons and activities ready to go! 

I love a good list because there is nothing like the satisfaction of checking stuff off!

2. Learn what's best for you: before or after school?

I quickly learned I was tired, and cranky by the end of the day. So I learned that going to school early was the best time for me to be productive. At the end of the day it is hard for me to concentrate and I need a break, breath of fresh air, and a few minutes to put my feet up. So getting things done in the afternoon just doesn't work for me. I like to get a few small tasks done like setting up our morning meeting message, tidying up around the room, making a few copies and then calling it a day. When I come in the next morning I have my "To-Do" list on my desk and I get right to it. For me, it helps me to be productive because I race the clock to see how many things I can get done before that morning bell rings. I have more energy to tackle my list but I know that mornings might not be the best for everyone. Just figure out when you feel the most productive and tackle that list then. Maybe before or after school isn't when you feel the more energized to get everything done, maybe it is lunch or your planning period. Just find your time and start checking things off that list!

3. Stick to a routine!

Once your find our best time of day to check those tasks off your list, stick to it! If it is morning then make sure you keep that morning alarm set so you are at school early and ready to go. If it is after school then make sure not to schedule a lot after the bell rings. Just like our kids, we need to keep a routine to be productive.

4. Organize!

Don't spend your planning time running back and fourth to the copy machine or running up and down the halls to find your library books and lesson materials! First, get your plans set and straight. Next, make a list of all things you need copied, a list of the books you need to check out, and a list of materials you need to gather. Then get all of those "errands" around the school done at one time.

5.  Know when to socialize and when to get busy.

When you are out on your "errands" around the school, know when it is time to socialize and when it is time to get busy! Yes, a quick conversation with a friend down the hall can be a great stress relief and it is nice to talk to an adult after talking with your students all day. But, don't go into their room, make yourself cozy in their rocking chair, and end up staying for an hour, wondering where the time went. When you are running your errands around the school, be on a mission! Chat it up with your coworkers by the copy machine while you are getting your things done or stop by your teammates room to say hi! Just don't stay forever because they want to get stuff done too!

6. Focus, school time is school time! 

As tempting as it might be do text your family during your time before or after school try to avoid your phone...or Pinterest! I like the think that anything I can do at home like get ideas off Pinterest can be done at home. Calling my Mom to check in on her can be done at home...so wait! Keep your game face on and keep plowing through that to do list! 

7. Know what can get done at home and what has to be done at school.

I know not everyone likes to take home things from school and I get that. However, I like to do some things from the comfort of my couch instead of my guided reading table. Things that can be done while some HGTV or Modern Family is playing in the background help me make it out of the building before dark! I like to bring home grading, lamination cutting, or anything that involves folding/stapling/gluing. Taking some stuff home gives me a break from school while we eat dinner before I go to take care of the few things left of my to-do list. 

8. Be okay with some things not being done, but have plan so they will get done. 

Know that not everything can get done! We only have 24 hours in a day and I personally need sleep so I am not a grump in the morning. It can he hard, but you have to learn to come to terms with the idea that not everything may get done. BUT have a plan to finish it! Tell yourself that you will set aside 20 minutes the next day, night, or weekend to get it done. Even if you break a big task like getting writing interims into 4 days of 20-30 minutes blocks each night. 

9. Kids want to help!

I tried to do it ALL my first year teaching, then I learned my kids loved to help. My kids waiting for the bus to arrive in the afternoon like to help with those little tasks like sharpening pencils, getting our morning meeting area ready, and passing out papers for the next morning. It helps get those routine tasks done while giving them a sense of pride and ownership that they prepare our classroom too. 

10. COLLABORATE and find your teaching soulmate!

Find your teaching soulmate and COLLABORATE with them daily! I know that this won't happen for everyone every year but you will find someone that you enjoy working with. I found my soulmate my second and third year of teaching and it was amazing! We worked together on everything. This split our to-do lists in half because we planned together and prepped the same lessons. It was like we spoke the same language, we had very similar teaching philosophies and we pretty much completed each others thoughts. Collaboration was key when trying to be productive! 

I know that not all of these tips will work for everyone and some of these tricks you might already be using, however, I wanted to share with you things that have helped me along the way. We all work differently but I hope you will be able to take away something from this post to help you be a productive planner! If you have any tips of your own that have helped you be a productive planner, I would like to hear them, so leave a comment below.

Thanks for stopping by!

Wednesday, October 7, 2015

Winner Wednesday: STEM Columbus Day Challenge

It's finally October andI am linking up with Jennifer from A Day of Glue Will Do again to bring you the chance to win a product from my store for FREE! All you will have to do is enter your name into the Rafflecopter below!  


This STEM challenge incorporates learning about history while challenge students to use their engineering skills! After reading a book about Christopher Columbus or the history of Columbus Day, students will be challenged to build a new, modern sailboat that can be powered by wind! 

This product contains: the engineering design process model as an anchor chart, the lesson plan, teacher preparation and tips page, the challenge, and a six page student lab book to use throughout the STEM challenge. 

You will need a few supplies in addition to this package. This includes: aluminum foil, plastic wrap, styrofoam cups, plastic straws, popsicle sticks, cork, index cards, and duct tape.



The drawing ends at midnight tonight so make sure to enter right away! I will email the lucky winner a copy of this product on Thursday. 

If you can't wait to get your hands on this STEM Challenge, then check it out in my store

Also, feel free to follow me on Facebook or Bloglovin' for other future Winner Wednesday FREEBIES and giveaway updates! Winner Wednesday happens the first Wednesday of every month thanks to Jennifer's wonderful link up! Make sure to mark your calendars for November 4th and check back here for my next Winner Wednesday! 

Thursday, August 27, 2015

Whooo C.A.R.E.S.?!?!


I LOVE the beginning of the year because it gives me a chance to teach my students about character education and social skills. I teach my students about C.A.R.E.S. and I can integrate these themes into our social studies unit about citizenshipC.A.R.E.S. stands for Cooperation, Assertion, Responsibility, Empathy, and Self-Control. If you miss my posted introducing CARES and covering the bulletin board that accompanies these five topics check it out HERE!
Using C.A.R.E.S. topics during the first few weeks helps build a positive classroom atmosphere, while teaching my students about our class expectations. I have created five lessons, each one covering one of the C.A.R.E.S. topics.  Each lesson introduces the topic and hooks students with a read aloud by Mo Willems. I like using Mo's Elephant & Piggie series because these two characters are in each book and show my students that a character can display each one of our CARES traits. There are other great books out there for teaching CARES traits but my students really enjoy the Elephant & Piggie series because they are kid friendly books with not a lot of language. The drawings in these books grab their attention and the simplicity of the stories allows me to get right to the teaching topic. 


In "Today I Will Fly!" Piggie wants to fly but Gerald isn't too willing to help. With the help of another friend Piggie shows Gerald that flying can be possible when working together. This makes for a fantastic read aloud when teaching cooperation!

"There Is a Bird on Your Head" is perfect for teaching assertion because Gerald becomes frustrated when two birds make a nest and lay eggs on his head. He doesn't know what to until Piggie suggests that he kindly ask the birds to go somewhere else. To Gerald's surprise speaking up solves the problem and the birds go find a new place for their nest.

In "My Friend Is Sad" Piggie discovers her friend Gerald is sad. She works really hard to cheer Gerald up because she understands that being sad is no fun! The simplicity of the story helps students to focus on the meaning of empathy while getting a good laugh at all the silly things Piggie does to make Gerald happy again. 

Gerald realizes he is getting cranky and the only thing to help him get out of his cranky mood is a nap! In "I Will Take a Nap!" Gerald teaches us that taking care of our self and being responsible is very important. 

Self-control is a theme displayed through out "Waiting Is Not Easy!". Gerald learns that surprises can be worth the wait even when it is hard to use self-control and be patient. I like reminding my students that waiting to be called on or waiting your turn in line can be challenging, but just like Gerald experiences in the story, the wait can be worth it. 

If these read alouds interest you and you are looking for some new lesson ideas to teach your student's all about C.A.R.E.S, click on the pictures below check out these lessons:





Don't forget, if you want all five lessons and the bulletin board, make sure to grab the bundle in my store and save $4! 

Wednesday, August 5, 2015

Winner Wednesday: Find Someone Who!

Wahoo! What an exciting week! That TPT sale was so much fun and I stocked up on TONS of goodies! There are some talented TPT'ers out there! I hope you were able to find a few great products yesterday! 

Today I am linking up with Jennifer from A Day of Glue Will Do again to bring you the chance to win a product from my store for FREE! All you will have to do is enter your name into the Rafflecopter below!  


"Find Someone Who" is such a great structure to use for a back to school activity to promote class community building while allowing students to get to know one another!

To play "Find Someone Who" students each recieve their own paper. They then walk around the room, meet other classmates, and talk to them to find out if they fit any of the categories or boxes. If a student finds another student who fits, he/she has the other student sign his/her name or initials in the box. The goal is to complete all boxes in an allotted amount of time. 

Lets play a few rounds! If you can say yes to any of the following categories let me a comment below!
  • Who loves math?
  • Who has a sister?
  • Who has a pet?

This is an editable product and you can open the file in PowerPoint to change my categories or make your own! Page 3 of this file is not editable and is ready to use if you do not want to create your own. If you like most of page 3, but would like to change some of the categories, then edit it on page 4 by clicking on the text. If you want to completely make your own edit using page 5. 

To use the same font that I have used download and install the font from these amazing font makers!

If you would like to enter to win this product for FREE please enter below:


The drawing ends at midnight tonight so make sure to enter right away! I will email the lucky winner a copy of this product on Thursday. 

If you can't wait to get your hands on this BACK TO SCHOOL product, then check it out in my store

Also, feel free to follow me on Facebook or Bloglovin' for other future Winner Wednesday FREEBIES and giveaway updates! Winner Wednesday happens the first Wednesday of every month thanks to Jennifer's wonderful link up! Make sure to mark your calendars for September 2nd and check back here for my next Winner Wednesday!