Thursday, September 27, 2012

is hosting a GIVEAWAY!

Fall at the cabin
This photo was taken by our Uncle Adam, at the family cabin.
Have I mentioned how much I LOVE Fall? Lately, browsing through some of the stores on Teachers Pay Teachers is like taking a scenic drive through the country on a fall day. You will see pumpkins, fall leaves, scarecrows and corn stalks. Not to mention, the amazing fall colors; reds, oranges, yellows and browns.
If you haven't noticed, Fall is Here! In honor of this beautiful season, I am hosting my first giveaway! ALL of the prizes are Fall or Halloween related, and created by a group of amazing TpT sellers!

Below you will find a list of the 24 prizes up for grabs. Within this list, I've included the names of the generous donors, links to their blogs and/or TPT stores, and a picture of the item they are donating. If you click on the picture, it will take you directly to the item, where you can find more specific information about it. One of the donors (without a picture) will be donating any one item of the winner's choice from her store! I've linked to her TpT store, so you can check out what you might be winning!

*After all of that browsing, don't forget to come back and enter to win!

The winner will recieve the digital files via emails from the donors after the giveaway ends.

I wish you all luck and a beautiful Fall weekend. We will be enjoying it at the family cabin (pictured above) to celebrate out son's 1st birthday!!! So many firsts happening for me! :)

Fall & Language Activity Book
Halloween Character Bunting
Halloween Stickers
Halloween Dots: Backgrounds & Frames
Fall Dots: Backgrounds & Frames
Halloween Howls Joke Pack
Halloween Math & Literacy Common
 Core 2nd & 3rd Grade Super Pack
Trick or Treat Equations
Autumn Creative Writing Task Cards
Halloween Vocabulary Activities
The Four Seasons: Posters & Activities for Fall, Winter, Spring & Summer
Place Value Practice in the Fall
Halloween Vocabulary Cards
Halloween Party Mega Pack
Batty About Bats Language Arts Activities
H"OWL"ween Math Facts Pack
Fall Handwriting Worksheets
Spider Addition: Doubles Plus 1 Matching
Scarecrows: A Thematic Unit
Happy Fall Ya'll Themed Unit
Parts of Speech Leaves
Spooktacular Literacy Center & Station Activities
Witches Brew and More: Wicked Witch Math & Literacy Unit
a Rafflecopter giveaway

post signature

Monday, September 24, 2012

joined a linky party!

I've been posting so much about Fall, I thought I would join some other fans of the fab season. I've linked up with 2nd Grade Pad by adding my Fall items to her list. Check out all of the great Fall resources that are there!

Sunday, September 23, 2012

is planning on hosting her first giveaway!

I can't hold back any longer! I have seen so many amazing giveaways out there in the blogging world, that I can't help but host my own. I posted the other day that I am a huge fan of Halloween, actually it's fall in general. I just don't know what there is to not love about this season. So, I've decided to host a "Fall is Here Giveaway".

My plan is to start the giveaway this Friday, September 28th and run it through Friday, October 5th. If you are interested in donating any items - such as clipart, lessons, units, games, etc. that relate to Fall, Halloween, Thanksgiving, etc., please click on the link below and fill out a form. I will accept entries until Wednesday night and then on Thursday I will start getting everything set up.
Fall is Here Giveaway Form (for those interested in donating items)

I will be adding ALL of my Fall/Halloween themed items from my TpT store to the giveaway! Here is a sneak peek...

Saturday, September 22, 2012

is having a Teachers Pay Teachers sale!

In honor of Fall and the cooler weather (well, cooler in the Northwoods, at least), I am having a SALE at my Teachers Pay Teachers store! Saturday and Sunday, enjoy 10% off everything in my store. That's a pretty good deal, especially considering nothing in my store is regularly priced over $8.50! Stop on by and let the savings begin!

Teachers Pay Teachers Sale

Friday, September 21, 2012

LOVES Halloween!

I absolutely LOVE Halloween! I don't know if it's because I love Fall, the colors of the season, dressing up, roasting pumpkin seeds, the fact that I get to wear my fabulously blue wig, or a combination of it all. Either way, it's my favorite holiday!

I Love My Blue Wig
Sporting my blue wig at a
bridal shower a few years back.
Guess who won the toilet-
paper dress competition? ;)
Halloween this year will be even more amazing now that I have another costume to plan for. We still haven't decided what our little guy will dress up as, but the ideas have been swarming around my brain for a while.

Combining my love of Halloween and my fascination obsession with buntings, I recently created an adorable Halloween Character Bunting. I've added it to my TpT store, if you're interested.

Halloween Character Bunting

I actually just printed one and hung it above our living room entryway, since I have no classroom to decorate this year (insert pouty, sad face here). Now I'm just waiting for Jack to wake up from his nap so I can enjoy him ooo-ing and awe-ing over it, like I know he will. After all, he notices everything!


Thursday, September 20, 2012

uses "Give Me Five!"

I can officially say that I am a substitute teacher again! Last week I had my first job in a kindergarten classroom. Yesterday I subbed for pre-k and today...middle & high school!!! YIKES! Actually, today wasn't that bad. I will admit, I was pretty nervous last night, thinking about how long it had been since I had walked those same hallways of my high school, and how strange it would be to sub for my middle and high school science teacher. It turns out I had nothing to worry about. I'm subbing in my small, hometown so it was a little strange to have some of my cousins in class and require them to call me by my last name. But, overall, I was very happy with how well it went.

Now that I've had a chance to get into some classrooms, I'm reminded of how important it is to have a method in place to get your student's attention. When you're a sub, if the teacher hasn't written anything in the plans, you always wonder what the class is used to. I usually end up just asking a student, "how does your teacher get the attention of the class?" Some of the responses I've gotten...

"She says, 'LISTEN UP'... really loud."
"He gives us 'the look'."
"She raises her hand and waits."
"She yells."

Since, I'm not comfortable or used to most of these methods, it can be difficult for me. When I taught fifth grade I used "Give Me Five" of "Show Five". It was quick, respectful, and the students knew exactly what it meant. I said it while raising my hand, the students would stop what they were doing, stop talking, turn to look at me and listen for my direction. This was one of the first routines I modeled and taught at the beginning of every year. I used it all year long and loved it, and ALWAYS included directions on how to use it when I left sub plans.

So you can imagine my delight when I entered a pre-k classroom last week and immediately noticed "Give Me Five" posters on each of the four walls. The students knew what it meant, I didn't have to yell to get their attention, and we had a great day. In honor of all teachers who use this method, or would like to start, I have added two free "Give Me Five" posters to my TpT store (one colorful, one black & white). I hope you all enjoy them!

Give Me Five Colorful Poster

Give Me Five Black and White Poster

Monday, September 10, 2012

teaches the Common Core Standards with writing prompts.

Coffee! Must have coffee! I stayed up WAY too late last night, working on my latest TpT item. I couldn't rest until it was finished and now, (with a half pot of coffee down) I'm so glad I didn't. I am so proud of this Common Core State Standards Writing Prompts Resource (With Pictures), I couldn't wait to post it and blog about it here. In fact, it makes me want to be back in the classroom in the worst way.
Last year, my fifth grade team and I fumbled our way through the Writing Workshop, as it was fairly new to our school. I was more familiar with the model, having taught using the America's Choice Model in GA. However, adding the new Common Core State Standards to the mix, and using what little materials and books we had, it was quite a task to write an entirely new curriculum for our fifth grade students.

I proudly report, we had a successful year and felt pretty darn good about our workshops in the end. Of course, as all fabulous teachers do, we spent a LOT of time reflecting on what was working and what needed improvements.

One of the biggest revelations we had at the end of the year was to give more prompts and less student choice in the future. WHAT!?! Wait a minute! Isn't that completely opposite of what most great teachers are trying to do these days? Yes, maybe it is. But, you have to do what works best for your students. I'm not saying to take away all student choice. Absolutely not! In fact, if you stepped into my classroom, you would definitely notice the abundance of choices my students have. Last year, however, it became a little too much for them to handle, and it was very difficult for us, as teachers, to keep track of it all during our workshops. So, we decided that we would still give students choices in what they wanted to write about, but we would narrow down the options with carefully chosen prompts.

That's where this resource fits in beautifully! I've compiled and written prompts that are best suited for grades 3 through 5. However, several could work great for grades 2 through 6. The prompts are categorized by the CCSS writing genres; informative/expository, opinion/persuasive, and narrative writing. Each genre includes 25 color-coded prompts + 5 blank cards to add your own.

The best part; RUBRICS! I've included a rubric for each grade level (3, 4, & 5) for each genre. That's 9 rubrics to use in assessing the students' writing. I've also included posters of all the common core writing standards that are covered across the three grade levels. There is a checklist for students to keep track of the prompts they've used, and posters describing each genre and the importance of using prompts.

Like I said, I'm pretty proud of this resource. I only wish I had the time to create it last year! I hope others can find it as useful as I know it is.


Saturday, September 8, 2012

loves PicMonkey!

Well, I'm back! From PicMonkey, that is. If you're wondering why I was there, you didn't read my last post. Okay, now that you're up to turns out I really am going to love PicMonkey. I followed this tutorial at Something Swanky and now I have my own, unique set of social media icons for my blog (over there, to the right). What do you think?
Social Media Icons

I know...they're a little rough. It was my first try. I kinda like them, but I'll have to play around with the size a little bit more to get them just right. Anyway, I just wanted to share! Now, back to creating some goodies for my TpT store before Jack wakes up. :)

USED to miss

Picnik is over
That's right, I USED to miss When I heard the picnik was over, I was heartbroken. What in the world was I going to use to edit my photos? I know there are tons of other sites out there, but picnik was my favorite! And having such a limited budget doesn't allow for the purchase of those "other" fabulous programs I hear so much about, so now what?!?

Enter....PicMonkey!!!! Now, I can't pretend that I know everything about it...I've pretty much just read about it. Thanks to a quick review by Something Swanky, I'm headed there right now to check it out. I loved the enthusiasm in her post, so much, I've already decided to end my time of mourning for picnik, and fill that empty space with PicMonkey. I'm off to try it out...will post pics soon!

Friday, September 7, 2012

loves Lucy Calkins.

Okay, so I love her ideas! Anyone teaching a writing workshop following Lucy Calkins Units of Study, knows that one of Lucy's units teaches students to write about small moments vs. the entire experience. For example, I may have vacationed in Hawaii, but I should pick one moment from the trip (like seeing the ocean for the first time) as my story. She refers to these small moments as "seed stories" and the entire experience a watermelon. Clever, right!?! I love it!

When I have taught this lesson this lesson in the past, I've had my students practice, over and over, coming up with seed ideas because they always want to tell EVERYTHING instead of zooming in to the smaller moments. Well, I created a resource to really help with that and it has been a top seller on my TPT store!

It includes:
- A cover page to place in a writing binder.
- A writing graphic organizer to help "spit" out the "seeds" instead of choosing the "watermelon".
- 7 pages of "seed idea" lists for students to come up with. This is a great resource for students to keep in their writer's notebook, or writing binder to refer back to when they need an idea to write about (including a generic "Seed Ideas" brainstorming chart, and a blank chart).

Head over to my store to see for yourself.
Writing Workshop Seed Ideas Resource

Thursday, September 6, 2012

is offering another FREEBIE!

I can't resist! I just have to give away another freebie! These Green and Blue Polka Dot Frames are too cute! You get four frames, one with a transparent middle, one with green, one blue, and one white middle. These would be great for stationary, letters, lesson plans, TPT creations, or flashcards. Enjoy!

Dot Frames

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

posted a great freebie to TPT!

For those of you selling on TPT, creating your own lessons, units, etc., or if you're looking for some new scrapbooking designs, check out my latest Colorful & Black Dots Backgrounds and Frames on my TPT store! The best part is they are FREE! If you download these images, please leave me feedback, and follow my store. Enjoy!


Tuesday, September 4, 2012

made another set of sight word flashcards.

My Polka Dot Sight Words were going over so well on my TPT store, I decided to mix it up and create another theme. Check out my new Splatter Theme!

Sight Words

This is a set of 220 Dolch word cards. It includes 5 sets of cards, each on a different color, splatter-themed background.

- Pre-primer Sight Words (word cards, 4 blank cards)
- Primer Sight Words (word cards, 4 blank cards)
- First Grade Sight Words (41 word cards, 7 blank cards)
- Second Grade Sight Words (46 word cards, 4 blank cards)
- Third Grade Sight Words (word cards, 7 blank cards)
If only I had a class to use these with this year! :(

Saturday, September 1, 2012

teaches with Wordle.

If you’re familiar with the website, Wordle, then it should be no surprise to you that this powerful teaching tool has managed to hold a permanent spot on my list of Top 10 Favorite Sites to Use With Students. I first learned of the site a few years ago while attending a workshop on Web 2.0 in the classroom. I’ve gone to this site for personal use, for educational purposes, and have even used it to advertise for Tanya Rae Designs!
Here is a Wordle I made for my son, when he was born. It sits on his bedroom dresser.
(Personal information is blackened out.)

Wordle is amazingly simple to use and can work magic in your classroom. It’s basically a word cloud, where the more you type a word, the bigger that word gets. You can edit the font, style, order, layout, and color, and can print out the final product.

It’s a great way to preview, review, or display vocabulary and spelling words. I’ve always used it with my fifth graders to have them summarize a text - with the biggest, most important ideas being the biggest words in the Wordle. It’s great for any poetry unit, or for reflecting. For example, after a field trip, I had my students create a Wordle to represent what they learned and what they thought of the experience. There are so many more ways to use it. But my two favorite ways take place at the beginning and end of the year.

Before school starts, I always make a Wordle about myself. I include things that I want the students to know about me, and then I hang it on my door, or even frame it and put it on my desk. During the first few days, I have each student make his or her own. They can hang theirs on lockers, desks, glue to their notebook cover, folder, or display on a wall. They LOVE this!

At the end of the year, I do something a little bit different. I take the students to the computer lab and have them each log in and open up Wordle. I instruct them to type in their own name fifteen to twenty times (cut and paste works wonders for this). When they’re finished, they and stand up and rotate one computer/chair over, sit down, and type one (positive) word that describes the person whose name is repeated on the screen. We continue rotating and typing until each student has typed one word on every other student’s Wordle. I make sure to type something on each student’s computer, as well. When they get back to their own computer, they hit ‘Create’ and can play around with the colors and fonts, etc. They can then print out their Wordle.

Their name will appear the largest and if several students in the class type the same word, this word appears larger than the others. For example, if there is a student that everyone knows as being helpful, that word will probably be the biggest. It’s great for the students to see what character or personality trait they possess, stands out the most. You do need to talk about being appropriate and positive. I even go over a list of possible character traits or adjectives with the class before doing this. Otherwise, you’ll have those students that just go around typing the word, ‘nice’, on everyone’s computer.

If your district doesn’t allow the students to print in color, have the students choose a bubble-letter font and print in black & white. They can take them home to color, if they would like.

Another tip is to have the students type in Word and copy and paste into Wordle. I recommend this because once you start typing in Wordle, you can’t save and come back to it later. You can save the text in Word, however.

How to Use Wordle:
  1. Write some text in a word processing program.
  2. Select all of the text and then copy it to the clipboard.
  3. Go to     
  4. Click on ‘Create your own’.
  5. Paste the text.
  6. Click ‘Go’.
  7. Edit the layout, font, color, etc. with the appropriate tabs.
  8. Use a screen capture tool to save the wordle, or click ‘open in window’ and print.
Oh, and by the way: here's the Wordle of this post. I set out to write about using Wordle with students. Looks like I've succeeded!