Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Random Acts of Christmas Kindness

Made it through Christmas day and hunkering down for a winter storm! It was very heartwarming to see at while I was off the grid for a couple of days that I was given a Random Act of Christmas Kindness from Kelly over at An Apple for the Teacher. Thank you so very much, Kelly! I will be visiting your TpT store later today to pick out a goody!

Here's how it works:
You choose 2 blogs that you follow {one newer blog that you recently began following and one blog that you have been following since you first began} and highlight them on your blog by explaining why you think they are such a gift! Then you give them a RACK by offering them one item as a gift from your TPT store!

One blog that I have been following first the very beginning of blogging has been Michelle over at No Monkey Business. Being a new teacher, her blog has helped me a lot over the past year!

No Monkey Business

My second blog, one that I have just begun to follow, is Tracy over at Creekside Teacher Tales. She has so many cute TpT items! I love all of her grammar/reading focus packs!

Now it's your turn! Pass on this RACK by adding the button below and highlighting 2 blogs that you follow that are a gift! Be sure to link back to your actual post and not just your blog! Make sure you also let the 2 bloggers know about your post and the RACK gift they receive!

Sunday, December 23, 2012

New Packet for the New Year!

A new packet for the New Year! I am sure all of us teachers are thrilled to have started our winter break. I know bloggers and Pinterest addicts alike, we will all be spending at least 20 hours searching for ideas for the New Year. Look no further if you are teaching 2nd-4th grade. My New Year's packet is very similar to my Thanksgiving and Polar Express packets, but I have added different grammar/reading focuses and a few different number sense worksheets.

I want to keep this short because I need to prepare for a family gathering at my in-laws house. As always, the first five people to comment on this post will get my New Year's packet for free. I'd love it if those five people would look through the packet and let me know if I need to fix way to edit a packet in my eyes. I ask that those five people blog about and Pin the packet to spread the word. 

Happy Holidays! 

Sunday, December 9, 2012

A Giveaway, Christmas Movies and a Possible Creation Swap?

I was Sunday blog hopping and came across Creekside Teacher Tales giveway! Check it out.

It's a relaxing Sunday of watching Christmas movies and planning for the next two weeks. We start our Explorers unit this week and our second Addition and Subtraction unit for the year.

Not a long blog post today, but I want to leave you with a few things:

Christmas movies to watch:

I want to start a weekly creation swap. As teachers we all know that we don't make a ton of money, but that the curriculum is changing all the time. Lucky enough for us, we have things like TeachersPayTeachers and TeachersNotebook now. I create things to sell about once a week and would love feedback from my peers, without them having to buy it. And in return, I would love to edit/give feedback for other peers. If you are interested, leave me a comment and we can start planning! A great way to get new resources!

Also, if you know of any blogs or books that have AMAZING reader's workshop information, PLEASE let me know. I am really needing a switch for language arts.

Happy Holidays!

Saturday, December 8, 2012


It's that time of get my Christmas cards ordered! Along with other photo gifts. For the past two years I have been ordering photobooks and calendars from Shutterfly. They always have a ton of coupon codes to use.

Here is one for you if you have an order in the near future: Perk4u (save $20 on any order over $20) SUPER STEAL!

This is the photo I chose for our card. So excited!

Photo Card
View the entire collection of cards.

Monday, December 3, 2012

Currently and Polar Express!

Happy Holiday Season Bloggers! It's my favorite time of year, enough though in third grade we don't have all that much time to celebrate with crafts. I try and tie in as much holiday themed things as possible and I plan on having a Polar Express day with my kiddos when they fill their charm jar. We are going to wear our pajamas, watch the movie, drink hot chocolate, and do activities and crafts. Check it out by clicking on the preview page below. Be one of the first FIVE comments on this post and you will receive the packet for free!

And of course...the December Currently...courtesy of the great Farley!
Alright, remember the RULE OF 3 and head on over to 2 before your link and comment and then come back and leave a comment at the 1 behind yours :)

And to end the post...the latest family photos from our shoot...

Sunday, November 25, 2012

Liebster and Family Photos!

Back to the grind tomorrow! My family and I had a wonderful Thanksgiving in NY this past week. Both my family and my husband's family live within 15 miles away from each other (where we grew up) so it is great to be able to spend the holiday with both families. Anyways, it was a great surprise to find out over the week that I was nominated for the Liebster Award from three fellow bloggers! Since this post is going to be JAMMED pack of information about me, I decided to make my intro short...BUT I couldn't leave out the amazing family pictures that we had taken this week:
This is my daughter, Addy! Typical attitude here...has to be center of attention.

 My husband and I! Nice, because we never had engagement photos.
The rules:
- You most post 11 random things about yourself.
- Answer the questions that the nominator set for you.
- Create 11 questions for the people you nominate.
- Choose 11 blogs you love (with less than 200 followers) and link them in your post.
- No tag back (but please leave a comment on this post with the URL to your Liebster post so I can learn more about you)!


So thank you!!!
11 Random Things About Me:
Questions from Resource Room Rules:
Resource Room Rules
1) How long have you been blogging? Since this summer, so around 5 months.
2) Why did you start your blog? I enjoyed reading everyone else's blogs so much that I decided I wanted to start my own and share my ideas.
3) Where and what do you teach? I teach in Virginia and I am a 2nd/3rd grade looping teacher.
4) What is your favorite food? Tough one...but I love Thai and Mexican style dishes! Especially coconut curry or panang curry and anything I can put taco sauce on.
5) What is your favorite television show? I watch General Hospital everyday, or try to...but my favorite prime time show is a toss up between Grey's Anatomy and Revenege.
6) What do you do when your not teaching or blogging? Spending time with my family and friends. Wine tasting, play poker, taking walks, reading...
7) Last good book you read? Loved Fifty Shades triology!
8) Last good movie you saw? Twilight: Breaking Dawn Part 2, sorry but I am a total twilight geek!
9) Last memorable vacation? Beach trip to Topsail Island this past the beach!
10) Where have traveled? I've traveled out of the U.S. (besides Canada) twice visiting Poland, Germany, and the Czech Republic.
11) Favorite time of year? Tough one as well...but I have to say, because the current season that I love Thanksgiving to New Years holiday season. So much family time!

Questions from Third Grade Doodles:
1.  What is a recipe that you are famous for making? Delicious Guacomole!
2. Why did you start a blog? I enjoyed reading everyone else's blogs so much that I decided I wanted to start my own and share my ideas.
3. What is your favorite subject to teach? Social Studies
4. What is a favorite website that you use with your students? Spelling City and Brain Pop Jr.
5. What is the hardest thing about teaching? Teaching the things that come easy to you, such as borrowing and carrying in math or why you shouldn't start ever sentence with And...
6. If you could go anywhere, where would you go? To the beach, every day!
7. Describe in a sentence or two, your ideal classroom. Well managed, calm children with a love for learning, enough space to actually have small groups and individual space for Daily 5, more cabinets and wall space...unlimited resources at my finger tips that do not require a credit card number!
8. What is a favorite teaching theme or bulletin board idea that you've used? I love my current bright colors and polka dot theme!
9. Who is your favorite music artist? Bon Jovi!!
10. What is your morning poison? (i.e., coffee, tea, sugar, etc.). Coffee!
11. If money were no object, what one thing would you buy for yourself? For your classroom?  For myself...a house that is all paid for so there is no mortgage or rent payments. For my classroom...iPads!
Questions from Curious Firsties:
1. What wakes you up in the morning? Usually my three year old daughter crawling into bed with us.
2. Do you have a hobby that you enjoy? Reading
3. Do you have a recipe that you can't live without? Black Bean and Avocado Dip (1 can of black beans, 2 ripe avocadoes, salsa with corn, cilantro, scallions and lime amount is too small or big for this recipe. Serve with tortilla chips!)
4. What is your favorite movie? Love Actually and Twilight Saga...most Julia Roberts movies.
5. Why did you decide to start blogging? I enjoyed reading everyone else's blogs so much that I decided I wanted to start my own and share my ideas.
6. If you weren't teaching, what would you do instead? Event planning, which I do in the summer months.
7. How long have you been teaching and in what grades? I had been teaching since 2008 part time in all grades but 3rd. I was hired in my first full time position this past Feb. as a 2nd/3rd grade teacher.
8. What is your favorite household chore? does redecorating count?
9. What is a holiday tradition that you love to do each year? Watch National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation while putting up the tree!
10. Where do you like to shop? Kohl's, Old Navy, Michael's
11. What is your favorite pin on pinterest? Probably this one... haha!!
Oh boy, this is a long post!
Here are the 11 blogs that I am nominating:
Here are my 11 questions:
1. What is your favorite part of blogging?
2. What is your favorite Christmas/Holiday movie?
3. What is your favorite topic to teach?
4. Where and what grade do you teach?
5. What is the last great book you read?
6. What is your favorite TpT purchase? (leave a link)
7. What is your favorite pin on Pinterest? (leave a link)
8. What is your go to blog? (leave a link)
9. What could you not live without?
10. What is your favorite teacher tool?
11. What is your favorite teaching website? (leave a link)

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Currently, Election, & Thanksgiving

And it all boils down to tonight! Who will be the next President of the United States? I hope that everyone was able to go out and vote today! I will be up all night watching the results, that is for sure. My stomach is in knots!

Since today was Election Day and our schools are used for polling places, we didn't have school. Nice little day off and I spent the day creating a Thanksgiving Activity Packet with a special addition. Check it out on TpT here. And, for my followers, the first five people that comment on this post will get it for FREE!


And here is my November Currently! I am very excited that I found this linky party because it really does help get our blogs out there for new followers. I am going to make this a short one tonight because I need to get back to the poll results on CNN!

Thanks to Farley over at

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Currently...and Hurricane Sandy!

I have finally found some time to finish my October Currently. I see these on all the blogs that I follow and think it is a really cute idea and a great way for our blogs to get new traffic. So here it is...

Currently is brought to you by Farley at:

With one day in October to spare! I will have to do better for November. Speaking of November...I only have 14 days of school! Only one week of full school days and that is the last week of the month. We have had the past two days off from school due to Hurricane Sandy (thankfully we didn't get hit too bad and we never lost power). Next week is Election Day on Tuesday and I have teacher workdays on both Monday and Wednesday, no school Tuesday because our school is a polling place. The week after we have Monday off for Veteran's Day and we have our field trip on the 14th to Washington, D.C. And finally we have Thanksgiving week! Only two days of school for me, two and a half for the kiddos, but I used one of my earned release days so that my family can drive home for the holidays in NY. Quite the month, but I am looking forward to it so much.

For those that did get hit by Hurricane Sandy, I hope that you get your power back and that your belongings and homes are not ruined. This storm was a big one, that's for sure.

Friday, October 19, 2012

Decorations and Activities

This has been quite the hectic week! But, today is Friday, and school is out and I am looking forward to the weekend (well not my class tomorrow, but the rest). In school today, I finally got some things hung up in the room that I have had laminated and moved around my desk and some tables to make the room more workable. We FINALLY got our students computers today, as well. Our old ones were taken out over the summer and then when the new ones came in, they didn't have Windows 7, so they were shipped back. It has been crazy without them. I like to use them for listening to reading, spellingcity during word work and they are needed for the students to take their Accelerated Reader tests. What else do you use your students computers for? I would love to know!

Now on to why I named this blog post decorations and activities! I have been so down about not being able to do much season/holiday related activities, and I finally realized that I just need to get more creative. There are tons of halloween/fall themed activities out there on Pinterest and TpT, and I found some great ones that I want to share with you.

I also got creative today and decided to decorate my door in a fall theme...check it out!

Then this afternoon, my colleague and I put together our 3rd grade classes and had a blast doing a  food chain activity called Food Chain Hospital, which I got from this life science packet that is WONDERFUL: The kids had a lot of fun and did a great job with the challenge of putting together the puzzle pieces and then putting the food chain in order.

Have a great weekend!! Remember, the people that comment on my blog previous to this one, get a free Daily 5 rotation Powerpoint!

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

A Ha! Moment

Today was the 30th day of school, and it finally happened... my language arts block went almost as planned! It felt pretty amazing. All the students were working, either with me in guided reading or in their Daily 5 round. We were all so busy working that we ran 5 minutes into recess and no one even noticed!

A few things contributed to my successful language arts block and of course I want to share them with you. The first thing is that I am taking a guided reading course this fall that gives teachers amazing resources for implementing guided reading. Unfortunately, my school didn't have the funds to buy both my colleague and I the newest guided reading class set books, but we did get a set of the older ones. Which, it is nice to have 30-40 titles in my room to choose from when creating my lesson plans, and then we have a guided reading rooms with tons of leveled books. Our school was able to purchase the book baskets, reading notebooks, and some other small group necessities like dry erase markers, mini erasers, etc. Anyways, our class meets once a month (and we met for a whole week 3 weeks before school started this summer) and we talk about how to properly implement small group reading and the Daily 5. Our two bibles: Jan Richardson's The Next Steps to Guided Reading and the two sisters Daily 5 book. If you haven't read the Jan Richardson book, check it out: The ideas and procedures in this book helped me as a new teacher really understand what guided reading is all about. 

The other amazing thing, an idea that I heard about at my guided reading class, is a Daily 5 PowerPoint with slides that keep track of where the kids are and the timing of each rotation. It was so helpful that I wanted to share it with the world of teaching. You can find it here: Daily 5 Rotation PowerPoint at TeachersPayTeachers. But, just for my followers and maybe some others that might stop by, comment on this blog post and pin my blog on Pinterest and I will email it to you for FREE! 

My kiddos were so good today during Daily 5 and I was super proud of my guided reading skills, which still need a lot of growth and work! I am a little sad that I will not be in school tomorrow morning to have Daily 5 (I am out for a Science Professional Development class for the morning). Speaking of professional development...this week has been CRAZY! Both last Saturday and this coming Saturday I am taking a Handle with Care class (a restraining course), Monday I had a half day math training for new to our county teachers, yesterday I had a half day training for Special Education in the General Education classroom in the morning and my guided reading class in the evening and tomorrow is the science one. Way, way, WAY too much for one week. And the icing on the cake is our annual goal setting conferences with parents that start tomorrow evening. Needless to say, I am completely looking forward to November (5th-workday, 6th-off for election day, 7th-workday, 12th- Veteran's Day and of course Thanksgiving mini break 21st-25th). 

Don't forget to leave a comment and pin my blog! I will be happy to send you my Daily 5 PPT for free for giving me the exposure. 

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Beginning of the Year Blues!

It's been a while since I have posted a blog! Being a first year (well, first year beginning the year) teacher, I am having quite the time nailed down a schedule. If you have been on my blog before, you know that I am a looping teacher, 2nd to 3rd and then back again. This is my first time teaching the 3rd grade part of the loop. Major differences between 2nd and 3rd grade: SOL's and teaching all subkjects, every day. So instead of teaching a whole unit of science (3-4 weeks) giving the end of unit test and then moving on to a Social Studies unit. So, of course, the day didn't get any longer going from 2nd to 3rd grade, just more to teach!

Our Schedule:

8:45-9am- Students arrive, start working on Morning Work (Evan Moor Daily Oral Language and Morning Math that our Math Resource teacher makes, she is amazing!)
9-9:10am- School-wide announcements and Fitness 5 (a five minute exercise video that is played for the students to follow featuring teachers or students leading the exercise)
9:10-9:30am- Students line up to make their lunch choice using the Promethean Board, all other morning business like attendance, notes to office, checking of agendas
9:30-10:15am- Social Studies
10:15-11am- Specials
11-11:15am- Walking back from specials (always a traffic jam in hallways) and eating snack
11:15am-12:20pm- Language Arts, including minilesson and however many Daily 5 rounds we get to
12:20-12:40pm- Recess
12:40-1:10pm- Lunch
1:10-1:20pm- Walk About (a 5-10 minute walk around outside for extra exercise)
1:20-1:50pm- Science
1:50-3:00pm- Math
3:00-3:20pm- Core Extension which is used for intervention, pull out time for math and reading specialists
3:20pm- Afternoon announcements
3:35pm- Usually all kids are out the door

Looks like it is a schedule that flows...but it doesn't. Because of the extra exercise things put in the day, snack, and the hallway traffic, bathroom breaks, etc... I just don't get through it.

I have all these great plans, great ideas, FUN ideas and projects...but in all honesty, I am barely getting through the content that I need to cover. How do you do it? What is your schedule like?

Also, what do you have your students do when they first come in in the morning? Our morning work is expected to be gone over everyday as a class. It winds up taking around 20 minutes to go over the both of them (math and language).

Saturday, September 1, 2012

Back to School!

Phew! Made it through our week of teacher work days. Lost of professional development, meetings, planning, and my favorite (!): decorating and setting up my room.

This is what my room looked like after my first day back...didn't get much done. But I had an excuse! The desks legs still had to be raised since my kiddos are 3rd graders, not 2nd graders anymore (if this is the first time you've been on my blog, I'll let you know that I loop with students 2nd to 3rd grade). The only things I got done were hanging my new calendar, moving my book shelves and putting the baskets in, and hanging up my WBT rules and schedule chart with my Polka Dot Schedule Cards.

On Friday, I was making some progress! Decided to make tissue paper poms, instead of buying chinese paper lanterns. I had to make like 100 of these one time for a wedding, so making six was a breeze. I sorted my library books and was able to label most of the chapter books with their DRA levels, which I have to do for a class I am taking. I cannot even imagine how long it will take to get them all leveled! Check out Stickers and Staples DRA Label Stickers...they were a time saver since I hadn't made my own. It you purchase these, make sure to change your printer settings to actual size and not shrink to fit. She got back to me right away after I printed them and they were not aligning with my labels. 

 Here are my BUILD math baskets! I am super excited about these. The idea has been floating around on Pinterest for a while and I decided to go with it. Here are some amazing math centers that I purchased on TpT: Easy as 1-2-3 Math Centers by Amy Lemons, Money Activities for any Money Unit by Jamie Rector, Telling Time to The Five Minute Activity Pack by Fourth and Ten, Math Place Value Go Fish Center by CTG, and Place Value Mystery Pictures by Cara Carroll. I also bought a bunch of flash cards, wipe off math bookets and flash cards from Target's $ Spot. I plan to find games to go with base ten blocks and connecting cubes for the Using Manipulatives basket.

These are the student cubbies. In each are their book baskets, which I bought from the Dollar Tree. Inside each book basket their is a reader's notebook that our county sells that includes a book log, want to read list, mini lesson notes, response pages, etc. Also on the cubbies are my Classroom Jobs- Polka Dots! My classroom polka dot jobs are my #1 selling TpT item. There are jobs for every student and after each week, I will rotate them. I have them on the cubbies with velcro.

And finally, my teaching cove. I tried to make this area as small as possible. I moved my mini fridge to a counter and decided to house some more of my classroom library by my desk. Not sure what I will use the bulletin board for yet. It is in the back of the room so I feel like it is a wasted feature of my room. I will probably put our Daily 5 anchor charts up on here since I cannot figure out how to adhere anything to my walls (tried masking tape, packing tape, tacky AND hot glue! but it is just so humid in there). I covered my teacher chair with pink polka dot fabric, which I love! And next to my desk will be my guided reading desk. I asked for a horse-shoe shaped table on my wish list at the end of last year and I got an email this past week saying it was ordered! I am super excited about it. I just realized I didn't take any pictures of my crate seats! I'll have to do that.

On Friday we had our school's Say Hello! New and old students come in to meet their teacher and tour the building. I have 5 new to our school students this year, 8-9 returning students from my 2nd grade class, and 6-7 students that were moved into my room from another class. I will be the LD/ED teacher for our 3rd grade team and I am excited to have support in my room. Looks like I am holding steady at 22 students, which is pretty low for our school (1st grade has 29-30!).

Well I hope you enjoy my classroom pictures and head over to my TpT store to check out my materials. One last and VERY important shout out to Ms. Durning from K-2 is Splendid, as I will be using her Daily 5/Cafe Launch schedule. Have a wonderful Labor Day weekend!