Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Tell All Tuesday: Summer Flashback

It's time for another Tell all Tuesday with Jayme from Teach Talk Inspire and Diana from My Day in K! Todays Tell all Tuesday is a summer flashback to way back when...

Each summer my family would travel down to Duck, North Carolina for a week at the beach. It was a summer tradition that lasted throughout my high school years. 

When I was little my Dad was always working so I quickly learned that a week at the beach was a guaranteed week of Daddy time, without him leaving for work! I loved stroller rides and time at the beach but there was one thing I didn't like...sand!  
Headed to the beach with Dad!

I hated the sand so much that my parents had to put a boogie board down just to give their arms a break from holding me. Once I was on that boogie board I wouldn't move, I would stand there the whole time and just look around. My parents didn't have to worry about me running away when we were down by the water, thats for sure! 

A few years later I got over my fear the sand but to this day I still hate the feeling of sand in my bathing suit. I mean..does anyone really like that feeling?!? I am not one to sit on the shore and let the waves rush over me unless I am in a chair (and a good book in my hands). 

Anyone else with me?

Thanks for check out my summer flashback true confession!

Thursday, June 25, 2015

Share & Prepare: B.O.Y. Hopes & Dreams

I am linking up with Marie from Once Upon a Classroom to "Share and Prepare" for the beginning of the school year this fall! 

Each school year, before starting with classroom rules, I have my students start by identifying their "Hopes and Dreams" for the coming school year and for their future. From these hopes and dreams we then create our class rules by posing the question, "If we want to achieve all of our hopes and dreams, what rules will we need to make our classroom a safe and friendly place where hopes and dreams can be reached?" I have found by creating these hopes and dreams first and then having students think of rules that the class will need, it gives them a sense of ownership to the rules that are created.

So how do I get my students to generate hopes and dreams you ask?

While, before introducing hopes and dreams I use a treasure box full of items that show the class what they can expect to learn during their school year. For example, in my box this past year I had the following items:
  • Butterfly wings from our Monarch Butterflies unit
  • Clock from our math unit on measurement
  • Writer's notebook from our Writing Workshop to discuss that we will be becoming authors
  • Piece of animal skin to show the type material used to make clothing worn by American Indians from our social studies unit
  • Baseball to represent Jackie Robinson from our famous Americans unit
  • Weather vane used during our weather unit
  • And much more! 
The students love finding out what items come out of the 'treasure box' and it gets them excited for the year to come!

After the box is revealed, I read the book Someday by Eileen Spinelli. I love this book because the main character has all sorts of hopes and dreams for her future but she does things each day to help her reach her future goals. During this book I begin discussing that we all have hopes and dreams for our future just as the girl in the story does. 

Then we examine some hopes and dreams by using partnering cards and then student generate a list of possible hopes and dreams for our school year and their future. To conclude this activity students then write and draw about their own hopes and dreams from the pages in this product:
We display our hopes and dreams in the classroom the whole year on our back wall. This past year I cut out pictures of my students and had them glue it between the speech bubbles so that parents could see their own child's hopes and dreams on back to school night! The class loved looking at each others pictures and it also helped them identify students in the classroom since they are still learning each other's names early in the year.

My HOPE is that I gave you some new ideas to start your school year off this fall! I usually complete this activity sometime during the first week of school. My DREAM is that your students will love this activity as much as my past classes have! 

You can visit my store to get a copy of this product HERE!

Happy share and prepare!

Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Dare to Dream {TPT Challenge}

It's week 2 of the TPT Seller Challenge hosted by Third in HollywoodTeach Create MotivateSparkling in Second, and Peppy Zesty Teacherista! This week's challenge is to DREAM BIG and think about what TPT could make possible for me and the future. 

So I sat down and started thinking...why did I start posting activities and lessons to TPT and what can my TPT earnings help me do?

1. Share and connection with other educators:

This was the true reason I started on TPT! I really want to be able to share activities with other educators. I feel it is better to share with others than to reinvent the wheel all by yourself. This quote says it best:

We all work so hard for our students so that they can explore the world and become life long learners. If something works for your students, then I feel as educators we should share that with other teachers so that other kids can benefit as well. I find that lessons that are hands on and encourage children to collaborate are the best for my students. When I create a lesson that works and is engaging, what better place to share than on my blog or TPT! 

2. Save for my daughter's education:

Higher education is important to both my husband and I so we started saving for our little girl's education way before she was even born. Any extra income that can help me save for her college, to allow her a world of opportunities, I am all about! 

3. Buy a house:

Living in Northern Virginia definitely has it's advantages but the cost of homes is not one of them...the average home in our area is quite pricey! So pricey, that a lot of the teachers that work in my county don't live in the county. My dream is that money earned from TPT can help us afford a comfortable home in our area and also allow us to pay off our mortgage quickly. 

Thanks for stopping by to read all about my dreams! I would love to hear if you have any of the same dreams, so feel free to comment below! 

Thursday, June 18, 2015

New Blog Design & Giveaway

I recently had my blog redesigned by Gabby's Classrooms. I asked her to update my look because it used to be so boring! I told her I wanted to incorporate coral and navy in the design but other than that she could do whatever she thought looked best...and I couldn't be happier with what she did! Take a look at my old grab button that I created and the new one she made!

my old design
my NEW design! 
I also had her update my TPT Store with a new banner and update my Facebook page too!

TPT Store Banner
Facebook Cover
It was wonderful working with her! We communicated through email and she was always quick to email me with updates on how the blog design was coming along. She asked for my input on the design multiple times and made little changes here and there to tweak my design!

I am not the only one to love her designs either! I have partnered with A Traveled Teacher, Kindergarten Squared, and Love Laughter & Learning to bring you a chance to win your very own custom blog design by Gabby!  
{Five bonus entries will be given if you share the above image on Instagram!}

To win, enter the Rafflecopter below! 

Your custom design blog will include a custom header, background, navigation bar, sidebar photo/bio, post signature, and much more!  You will also have the option to choose a Facebook cover and tab or a TPT custom banner and widget!

The giveaway will end this Sunday at 12AM and one lucky winner will be chosen randomly! You have 12 chances to enter and win plus an additional 5 points will be given for sharing the image above on Instagram using the hashtag #teachersofinstagram! Good luck!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Wednesday, June 17, 2015

Makeover MADENESS {TPT Challenge}

I am so excited to be participating in the TPT Seller Challenge hosted by Third in Hollywood, Teach Create Motivate, Sparkling in Second, and Peppy Zesty Teacherista! This week's challenge is to makeover an old product. I decided to revamp a best-selling product of mine: Inch and Centimeter Task Cards!

For the makeover I updated the cover, terms of use and credits page, added some new clipart, and updated the font. 

Cover Before
Cover After
However my BIGGEST makeover came from listening to my buyers feedback to include an additional way to use this product!  

Originally, I had this product as two different task card scoots: an inch scoot and a centimeter scoot. However, a buyer of mine asked if this product could have the inch and the centimeter scoot combined together into one longer scoot. This terrific feedback allowed me to rethink the my product and now I have added this option. I have renumbered the task cards and created a new recording sheet for the students to use! 

If you have purchased this product already please make sure to go back to TPT and download it again for your updated copy!

If you don't have this product already, head over to my Facebook page to win a copy by the end of the week!

Tuesday, June 16, 2015

Tell All Tuesday: Summer Snapshot

It's Tuesday which means it is time for Tell all Tuesday. I am linking up with Teach Talk Inspire and My Day in K again and this weeks topic is Summer Snapshot.  

This is the last week of school for my school district and summer is so close you can almost taste it!  This summer we are taking more of a stay-cation with the baby being so little. So, I am going to be dreaming about our summer trip from last year. 

We went down to South Carolina and boy do I LOVE IT THERE! While down in the Carolina's we traveled to downtown Charleston, Boone Hall Plantation, and Isle of Palms. 
South Carolina
We love the historic feel and architecture of Charleston, not to mention the amazing restaurants that are down there. Our favorite two restaurants were Poogan's Porch and 82 Queen. 
Waterfront Park, Charleston, SC
Charleston, SC
We also went to Boone Hall Plantation in Mount Pleasant. We had a great time touring the home, not to mention I love the live oak trees that line the entrance of the plantation. 
Boone Hall Plantation where part of the The Notebook was filmed
We also spent a lot of time on the beach and enjoying this great view from the condo we rented for the week! 

Isle of Palms, SC
I would love to hear your favorite places to visit when in the Charleston area! We are going to be headed there early next spring for a wedding and would love to check out any of your suggestions!

Make sure to check out these great bloggers summer snapshot too:

Friday, June 12, 2015

Tell All Tuesday: Fib Reveal

On Tuesday I linked up with Teach Talk Inspire and My Day in K for a fun game of "Two Truths and a Lie". I am back today to reveal my fib and also share a freebie with you!
  1. (TRUE) I spent a week in Walt Disney World one summer to attend a conference all about Kagan structures. We looked at different intelligences and practicing structures. The structures help students become engaged in curriculum while learning to collaborate with their peers. 
  2. (FALSE) I looped from 2nd Grade to 3rd Grade with my students. I love looping and think that it is very beneficial. Looping with a class can increase learning time because the class can spend less time learning routines at the beginning of the second school year and students gain a sense of stability and constancy.  
  3. (TRUE) I still keep in touch with my favorite elementary school teacher from 4th Grade. Her passion for teaching was so radiating that she inspired me to become a teacher myself.
Number 2 is almost TRUE except for the fact that I didn't loop with my second graders to third...I looped with my first graders to second! Looping with my class was an AWESOME experience and I recommend it to any teacher who has thought about trying out a new grade level. 

Looping with a class has many benefits for both the teacher and the students. Just to name a few:
  • The teacher has fewer students and parents with whom to relate over a longer period of time, allowing for more in depth knowledge about the students and their needs 
  • Learning time increases as the students are already familiar with the teacher and routines during the second year
  • The sense of community in the classroom is stronger; greater support for children who look to school as a stabilizing influence in their lives

Personally, the best part of looping was continuing to build a strong relationship with my students. The year that I looped I didn't have the same butterflies in my stomach because I knew my students strengths and areas for growth right away. From the start of the second year I was able to start differentiating to help my students transition smoothly into second grade. 

Another big difference was my students excitement as they started the second year with me. They came in the first day ready to share all about their summer. Instead of a quiet first day of school when students are still shy, my students were talking up a storm. We still spent some time playing a few fun ice breaker/get to know you games because who doesn't love a fun ice breaker?!?! But then it was right to work! We were able to get started on the curriculum much sooner then all of the other classes. They say to spend the first six weeks working on routines but I would say that we cut that time in half the second year because so many routines my students were able to recall. We didn't have to spend a whole week learning how and where we put away supplies or how I like papers collected.  

I have added the letter, to my TPT store, that I sent to my student's families last year to communicate with them that I would be looping. My principal and I worked together to allow parents input, so with the letter I have also included a parent looping preference form. 

If you ever get the chance to loop...DO IT! I promise you won't regret it! :)

Thank you for stopping by to find out my fib!

Tuesday, June 9, 2015

Tell All Tuesday: Two Truths and a Lie

I am linking up with Jayme from Teach Talk Inspire and Diana from My Day in K today for their first Tell All Tuesday Link Up! This week we are getting to know other teachers and bloggers with a great beginning of the school year game: "Two Truths and a Lie!" 

If you haven't played "Two Truths and a Lie" before here is how it works: give three "facts" about yourself making two of them true and one of them untrue. 

Let's see if you can guess my fib:

  1. I spent a week in Walt Disney World one summer to attend a conference all about Kagan structures. We looked at different intelligences and practicing structures. The structures help students become engaged in curriculum while learning to collaborate with their peers. 
  2. I looped from 2nd Grade to 3rd Grade with my students. I love looping and think that it is very beneficial. Looping with a class can increase learning time because the class can spend less time learning routines at the beginning of the second school year and students gain a sense of stability and constancy.  
  3. I still keep in touch with my favorite elementary school teacher from 4th Grade. Her passion for teaching was so radiating that she inspired me to become a teacher myself.   
Thanks for stopping by and spending a little time getting to know me! Leave a comment below to tell me which number you think is my fib. I'll be sharing which one was the lie by Friday. Don't forget to also stop by others in this link up to get to know them too! 

Wednesday, June 3, 2015

Winner Wednesday: End of the Year Math Review Task Cards

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!  

This Cumulative End of the Year Math Review covers concepts taught throughout the school year. This set includes 30 task cards with directions for three different games. Using this set students can play Showdown in groups of 3 to 4 students, move throughout the classroom in a Scoot, or play Quiz-Quiz-Trade to quiz others in their class! 

These task cards cover the following concepts: place value, number sense, skip counting, rounding, fractions, addition, subtraction, word problems, time, money, geometry, measurement, and much more! An answer key is also included.

A colleague of mine used these in her room for a classroom Scoot! Her kids love moving around and are very active so she finds that review activities that allow them to move are the most beneficial. My class loves to talk and interact with others so I use these cards for small group Showdown! My kids love becoming the "Showdown Captain" and reading the task cards aloud. 

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

The drawing will end tonight at midnight so make sure to enter right away! I will email this product to one lucky winner! 

If you can't wait to get your hands on this copy, visit my TPT store and grab now! If you are a first grade teacher and would like a cumulative end of the year math review I also have a set of task cards available at my store just for first grade! 
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!

Monday, June 1, 2015

Technology in the Classroom: Expeditions by Google

I am pretty sure most teachers out there would agree that field trips provide terrific learning experiences for our students! Sometimes though there are places we wish we could take our students but it would involve a plane ride and a lot of money. 

However, did you know there was a teacher in Canada that took her students on field trip to the Galapagos Islands and another teacher from Chicago that took her class on a trip to the Great Wall of China. 


How you ask?

Expeditions by Google

Expeditions allow teachers to take their students where buses can't go! Think of it as your own "Magic School Bus"! Basically you would get to be a new and improved Mrs. Frizzle and take your students on the field trip of their life! I know that my kids would love this and I want to get my hands on a set of these!

Google's website explains how it works...
"From the Expeditions app on their tablet, a teacher is able to send synchronized three-dimensional 360° panoramas to each student’s Cardboard viewer, pointing out areas of interest in real time and instantly pausing the trip when needed." 
Google Cardboard
Expeditions will soon offer virtual field trips to some of the world's top museums, monuments, galleries, and natural world wonders. Expeditions is set to be released this Fall so click HERE to submit your name on an interest form to Google to see if you could get a kit to pilot in your classroom! 

If I could use these in my classroom, I would love to take my students to a Monarch Sanctuary in Mexico! During the school year we learn about Monarch butterflies and their migration from Canada through the United States on their way to Mexico. The Monarchs spend the winter on Oyamel Fir trees in Mexico. There are so many Monarchs there that they cover the trees in blankets of orange! Being able to take my students there on a virtual field trip would be the best way to conclude our journey on following the butterflies. We could incorporate math by estimating the number butterflies on our virtual trip. We could also integrate social studies by learning about the history of Mexico. Of course we would incorporate science too, as we learn about the butterflies habitat! 

I would love to hear where you would like to take your students using Expeditions, so leave a comment below!