October 31, 2011

Happy Halloween!

I love cute clipart and have a hard time paying full price for it, so when it goes on sale I am delighted!

Current price for color and blacklines? $2.50

Today until midnight KPM Doodles is having a 50% sale on her clipart.
Wow! She is also doing a buy 2 get one free promotion.
And if you happened to follow her blog there is another discount code hidden in this week's posts.

Show her some love, follow her blog to be up to date on more discounts, and get some cute clipart.

I got 9 sets for just under $9. Sweet!

Plus if you find the treat on her blog you get a free clipart set. Good luck! It took a little searching.

October 28, 2011

Help Wanted

I am working on a pirate lesson about text features and need some feedback.

I have a lesson plan, a short example story, vocabulary cards, and some fast finisher sheets. I need two people to look it over and give me honest feedback on what you liked and what you might change. Interested? Leave me a comment with your email and I will send it to you ASAP. If you help me out I will send you a finished copy before it is ready to sell. :) Thank you in advance.

October 27, 2011

Free Halloween Activity Book

Head over and “Like” Education.com’s Facebook Page for a FREE Halloween Activity Booklet for your kids.
You can actually select if you want a Pre-K Booklet, K-1st Grade Booklet, or a 2nd-5th Grade Booklet. They have Halloween Coloring printables, and educational worksheets inside!

I actually cheated and got all three. These are great fast finishers and perfect for a  substitute or someone just looking to fill a little extra time. Hurry on over, because you never know when they will stop a deal like this.

Letters to Disney Characters

Kristin at Couponing to Disney posted about a great writing idea.

Did you know that Disney World and Disney Land will send you an autographed picture when you write them a letter? All your children/students need to do is write a letter to their favorite character and send it to one of the following addresses:

Walt Disney World Communications
P.O. BOx 10040
Lake Buena Vista, FL 32830-0040

Disney World should send you a colored 8x10 picture within two weeks.

Walt Disney Company
Attn: Fan Mail Department
500 South Buena Vista Street
Burbank, CA 91521

Disneyland will send a black and white photo within 4-6 weeks.

I think this would be a great idea to introduce or review letter form. What little kid would not love a picture from their favorite star? Just make sure that your child's writing of the character is legible or you might get sent a picture of the wrong character. :)

October 26, 2011

Creating the Right Climate and Culture

This is part 3 of our book study. If you would like to catch up click on one of the following links:
The End of the Molasses Classes 1 and 2.

Part 3 is about creating the right climate and culture. 
I had a hard time just picking a couple of strategies.

51. Don't constantly stress about test scores. We have to stop sending the message to our students that the purpose of learning is to take a test.
Last year my classes was tested and tested and tested. They got to the point that they either freaked out about the test or blew through it because they just gave up. Testing is important and it has its place in the classroom, but it is not the most important thing. The most important thing is helping the students learn something new. You can't teach if you are too busy giving too many tests. Focus on personal improvement and mastery.

53. Stay connected; have the parents on speed dial.
This is something that I have wanted to do for a while, and I never seem to get to it. I was always afraid to give my cellphone number to people, and I realize that it shows how my level of commitment to my classroom needs to change. Parents need to know the good and the bad. Sending home short notes on good days prepares parents for the days when more serious conversations need to take place.

70. Teach the students not the board
I have a hard time writing in a straight line when I am looking at the board. I imagine that looking at the students will lead to more crooked writing. And I decided, I am ok with that. Students need my eye contact and my smile. They don't really need to see how crazy my hair is by the end of the day.

There are so many great ideas in this book. I highly recommend you check it out. See if your local library has it or a colleague. Or live a little and splurge. You won't regret it.

October 25, 2011

A Fair Bear Share

A Fair Bear Share
by Stuart J. Murphy


I love stories that teach children in a fun visual way. If you have not heard of Math Start you should really look into the company. They have lots of fun books that cover different math concepts. A Fair Bear Share teaches all about regrouping. Four bears are sent out to gather ingredients for a pie, but one little bear plays instead of doing her share.  When they come home, Momma bear helps them measure how much they have by putting the ingredients into groups of ten. Have your children count along as you read or have them act out each part of the story with colored unifix cubes.

October 24, 2011

A confession

I am an addicted to getting things for free. I love finding new ideas, recipes, and freebies online. In fact I have almost filled up my entire dropbox with resources from amazing bloggers around the world. If you wanted to help with that current dilema, feel free to open your own account. Then I get 250 MB more space for free. Read more about Dropbox HERE.

I am also addicted to Pinterest. I love searching and storing new ideas in a quick visual way. I spent a couple of hours yesterday organizing my school ideas into different categories to make it easier to find things. You should take a look and see if any ideas spark your creativity.

I love sharing ideas and free things, so I knew I just HAD to introduce you to a new blog.

Classroom Freebies was created by a former teacher to help teachers find free resources for their classrooms. There are over 30 authors who contribute free ideas and products for your use. Ideas range from preschool to high school and cover a variety of subjects. You should definitely take a look HERE.

October 20, 2011

The End of the Molasses Classes Part 2

Parent involvement can make a HUGE impact on your classroom. Ron Clark has lots of excellent ideas to keep in mind. My favorites?

25. Be prepared for the long haul if you want your child to succeed. 
This point is very important. Helping your child get an amazing education is a full time job. You can't just come in for conferences and forget everything the teacher said. You and your child must be committed to reaching your goals. It takes a lot of work, but it pays off in the end.

27. Realize the impact of gratitude and appreciation.
Everyone likes to be appreciated. And if they think you like them they are much more likely to go out of their way to help you. A simple note, a small treat, taking the time to say hello can go a long way in the mind of an overworked and underpaid teacher. I still remember the parent who brought whiteboard markers and a giftcard to use for art projects in my classroom. She expressed her gratitude and love and inspired me to work even harder with her son that year.

31. Show them how to study. Realize it won't come naturally. 
Students and often parents will not know how to study unless you show them. Teach them different methods and have them discover what works best. Do they love mnemonics, movement, music, flashcards, or summarizing?

I love this book and can't get enough of it. I HIGHLY recommend it to all teachers, parents with children in school, and people who come in contact with schools in any way.

October 19, 2011

Perks of being a teacher

Today I got to return to the school I taught at last year as a substitute teacher. I had a blast!
My children from last year were so excited to see me. I believe I got 12 hugs from one little girl who came to visit me at least four times. It made all the small problems from last year melt away. Sometimes it is all worth it.

The End of the Molasses Classes Part 1

The Teaching Blog Addict Book Club is at it again,  this time reading The End of Molasses Classes: Getting Our Kids Unstuck--101 Extraordinary Solutions for Parents and Teachers. I am loving this book. It inspires me to be better and expect more from my class and from myself. There are so many great ideas in this book that I really have a hard time narrowing it down to a couple to share.

I love principle three. "Define your expectations and then raise the bar; the more you expect; the better the results will be." When you set high expectations and stick to them, the students will rise to the occasion. I know this is true. I have seen it in action.

Principle seven inspired me, "Get to know your students in nonacademic settings." I want to be the teacher who knows about a child's piano recital, football game, or job and makes the time to get there. I know it can make a world of difference to a child to know someone cares about him or her.

So many great ideas to think about and to implement. I think I need to make a goal to apply a new principle to myself each month.

October 18, 2011

It's Picture Day Today!

It's Picture Day Today!  
by Megan McDonald and Katherine Tillotson

I recently taught a third grade class on picture day. They all looked sharp in their Sunday best. One little girl even had on mascara. I'm pretty sure I did not put on mascara until I was in high school. Anyways back to picture day and the book that started my rambling.

Look at these adorable pictures. It's Picture Day Today!  lends itself very well to a creative writing and art project. Students can create their very own self portraits using a variety of odds and ends and then state why they used each piece in a short paper. I love the bright colors, the sly humor, and the button that will have your children searching each new page. Definitely worth adding to a class library.

October 12, 2011


I have a confession. I love getting people presents. I love seeing their reaction and feeling like I have made a difference in their day. I love spreading joy. I think that is part of the reason I got into teaching, spreading joy in a child's life every day.

I bring this up for several reasons.

1.  Jennifer brightened my day yesterday. Jennifer aka Rowdy in First Grade sent me my very own laminator. I love it! Who knew that my support group extended all the way to Texas? Jennifer has an adorable blog that you should definitely check out. Leave some comment love and make her day. She deserves it.

2.   Sarah from Kindergarten Korner and Caitlin from Ms. Preppy are hosting a Christmas gift exchange. The details:

-        Holly Bloggy Christmas is a Christmas gift exchange for members of the teacher blogging community.  Participants will receive a gift from another teacher blogger AND a virtual stocking full of teacher resources from our sponsors!  It is free to participate, but sponsorship options are available and all donations will go to support TOYS FOR TOTS! (See their blogs for more information on sponsorship.)
-        Sign-ups begin NOW and will last until October 31st.
-        In order to sign up, please send an email to hollybloggychristmas@gmail.com.  Copy and paste the questionnaire below into the body of the email and answer the questions. We will send your answer to your secret pal, along with your address.  This information is TOP SECRET!
-        Sarah and I will put participant’s names into a bowl and draw names to match you with your secret pal.  By November 10th, you will receive an email with the name of your secret pal and their answers to the questionnaire. 
-        Get to crafting and/or shopping!  Be creative!  There is a $15 spending limit before postage.  Before you place your gift in the mail, snap a picture and email it to us.  On Christmas we will post all of the pictures of the super fabulous gifts everyone received!
-        Send your wrapped gift in the mail (with delivery confirmation) by December 5th.  This way it has plenty of time to make it to your secret pal!
-        Open your gift on Christmas morning!  NO PEEKING!  We will have a linky party for everyone to link up to a post about their gift and their wonderful secret pal!
Holly Bloggy Christmas Secret Pal Questionnaire
1.      Full name or your “teacher” name (for monogramming!)
2.      Mailing address
3.      Email address
4.      Blog/Website/Store (so your pal can learn a little more about you – but you don’t have to have a blog to participate)
5.      Grade level
6.      Favorite treat
7.      Favorite colors
8.      Not-so favorite colors
9.      Give a little bit of information about yourself.  Married?  Kids?  Hobbies?

3. Last night hubby and I made some treats to drop off at a neighbors house. How many of you have gone ding-dong ditching before? Basically you make a bag of treats, dress up completely in black, ring the doorbell, and then run like a ninja so no one sees you. I love the adrenaline rush, the smiles on peoples faces, and the bonding experience. I created a simple note to leave behind. Feel free to grab it and have your own ninja adventures. All you need to do is print it, fold it in half, make or buy a treat, and wait till it get's dark. I loved doing this as a child and love it even more as an adult. :) Happy Haunting!

October 11, 2011

My Teacher Likes to Say

I know you are not supposed to judge a book on it's cover, but this one is so cute, I could not resist. If you can see in this tiny picture, the boy in the middle has ants in his pants. :)

My Teacher Likes to Say by Denise Brennan-Nelson

My Teacher Likes to Say gets your student's thinking about what the words they say really mean. It lends itself to all kinds of fun activities. Wether you are drawing a four square of idioms, writing your own idiom and proverb book, or discussing quotation marks this book will have your kids giggling as they learn some great history behind the things we say.

This book is full of idioms and proverbs. For those of you who have a hard time distinguishing the difference, know you are not alone. In order to solve this problem, I created two awesome posters to help your class be able to tell the difference.


October 8, 2011

Notes from a substitute

I have been certified to be a substitute teacher for a couple of weeks now. But I only recently made the decision to go for it. In an effort to get ready for someone else's classroom I created several substitute report sheets. I received my inspiration from Creating and Teaching. She has a great sub pack for free on TPT. While mine is not as cool as hers I decided I would share them with you to use if you so desired.

If you enjoy these please leave a positive rating. Thank you!

October 4, 2011

Currently October

Farley  from Oh' Boy Fourth Grade is  hosting another one of her awesome linky parties. I just couldn't resist.

Two of the many blogs I am stalking: 

I love October. It signals the start of fall weather and a plethora of scary movies. I can't wait.

Science Fair Bunnies

If any of you lovely readers follow TBA you know that last week was Science Week. For those of you who have no idea what TBA is or think it stands for Turkey Bacon Avacado now would be the time to learn about Teaching Blog Addicts. You will love it.

That aside I was wondering the public library yesterday when I found a cute book related to science fairs. I liked it so I thought I would share.

Science fair bunnies by Kathryn Lasky
Don't be surprised if you have never heard of it. I hadn't either.

Clyde awakes the week before his science fair only to discover his science fair bean plants have died. Frantic he begins to search for another idea. He decides to test the effect of different substances on teeth. He discovers that science is about discovery and not money. I imagine reading this would inspire little scientists everywhere to develop their own experiments. A cute story, worth investigating.

P.S. I finally got my copy of The End of Molasses Classes: Getting Our Kids Unstuck--101 Extraordinary Solutions for Parents and Teachers and I am so stinking excited. Later this month Janine at Faithful in First is hosting a linky party. If you want to join in, find a copy of the book. You will be so grateful you did. I have only read the first three solutions and I am in love.  

October 1, 2011

Versatile? Me?

I heart Mrs. Lyons. If you have never been to her blog you really need to check it out.

The reason I bring her up, beside the fact that she is utterly and completely awesome? 
She nominated me for the versatile blogger award. 

Versatile is such a funny word. I admit here and now that I am a word junky and that I love the dictionary. Whew! Glad I got that off my chest. 

I also admit that I looked this word up. Have you ever had someone call you something and you are not sure exactly what they are saying? Well that isn't what happened. I had a vague idea. I just wanted a little more clarity.  So for the rest of you curious people out there, Merriam-Webster defines versatile as embracing a variety of subjects, fields, or skills. Or turning with ease from one thing to another. (I liked those two definitions best.)

The rules?

Thank the person who gave you the award. Check. 
Mrs. Lyons is the best!
Thank you!

Share seven things about yourself.

1. I love children's books more than new clothes, purses, or jewelry.
2. I am crazy about using coupons and getting things for free. 
3. I spent my birthday at the library. Yes! I am that big of a bookworm.
4. I am married to the man of my dreams and love spending time with him.
5. I have a hard time getting rid of anything. I need to watch more episodes of Hoarders and then I will feverishly clean and declutter. 
6. I can not spell or use a comma to save my life. 
7. I love to create experiments in the kitchen. I watch the food network and say, "I can do that." Only to realize half way through I am wrong. 

Now I have to nominate 15 blogs.

Oh, I wish this weren't so hard. 
I know some of these ladies have been nominated before, but I really think they deserve it. These are the ladies that inspired me to restart my own blog and the ones who inspire me everyday. 

In no particular order...


The Moffatt Girls


Can Do Kinders

I wish I could nominate you all. It takes a lot of work to maintain a blog. 
I have been so blessed by the great ideas, books, activities, and pages you have shared with me. 
For more great blogs click on any of my blogrolls. You won't be disappointed. I promise.