August 31, 2012

Assessment in the classroom

Growing up birthdays are a special because it means you are one year older and capable of doing more than you used too. You see such growth in a child in a year. In education we are always trying to measure and quantify that growth. This leads to lots and lots of assessments. Which sometimes leads to frustrated teachers and discouraged students.

Source: via Madison on Pinterest

Today's Birthday Freebie, Assessment Ideas was designed to help you overcome that problem. Thinking up different assessments can be difficult, but these pages should make planning a pinch. Simply print out or store these poster somewhere you will see them often. I love to keep a copy of each poster in my planning binder. As you plan look the different assessment ideas over and find one that will work for you and your students. Giving your students a variety of assessments will encourage creativity and foster an environment where everyone can learn.

What is your favorite way to assess your students? I love to include performance products in my classroom. The students enjoy it so much, and I see their learning deepen dramatically.

Thanks for tuning into this week's Birthday Freebie Posts. Hopefully you found something to add to your files and strengthen the children you work with. Some questions about this last week:
What was your favorite freebie? What would you like to see more of on my blog? Drop me a line and let me know. :) I love comments.

August 30, 2012

Life Long Learning

I love to learn! It is my goal to learn something new each and every day. I also love to create cute things to share with other people to enhance their learning. Today I continued to learn how to use Pages effectively. After I finish this post I plan to tackle my new app "Mac Family Tree." I played with it yesterday for quite a while and learned what not to do. Do not work for 3 hours without saving your work. It ends badly. :(

On a lighter note, in the spirit of continued learning and support for all you lovely ladies (and amazing gentlemen) starting back to school, today's Birthday Week Freebie is a Learning Survey. Perfect for back to school and end of year assessments! Happy Birthday week from me to you!

Questions to think about:
What have you learned today?
Do you do genealogy work? What programs do you like to use?

August 29, 2012

Positive Words

One of my favorite things about having a birthday is getting to talk to all my friends and family. Positive relationships and words have such a powerful effect.  I think it is important to include that positive effect in the classroom as much as possible. Kids have so many negative influences in their lives. School should be a positive place to learn and grow.

Today I have a set of positive quotes for you to use and rotate in your classroom.

Make sure you check out some more of my favorite quotes.

August 28, 2012

The Beatles and All About Me!

In my family we have a tradition. Every birthday in order to start the day right we play the Beatles Birthday Song. Over and over and over again. Some years I think we hear it over 20 times. And I don't mind. It's part of our family tradition. Don't you just love all these random facts about my family?

In order to continue the trend of random facts, today's freebie is an All About Me Survey! Don't worry. I left it blank. :) This is perfect for back to school and new students. Happy Birthday Week from me to you! 

August 27, 2012


In my family we love birthday traditions. One of those traditions is using old comics from the Sunday paper to wrap presents. We loved the fun prints and my mom loved saving money on wrapping paper. My dad hates to wrap presents so he often enlisted the kids to help him. This led to some very interestingly wrapped presents and an early understanding of how to cut and tape paper. :)

Today I have Birthday Tracing/Cutting Cards just for you! They are my second attempt at using Pages and I still have a lot to learn. So bear with me as I experiment and learn. Enjoy and remember to keep spreading the joy!

Questions to consider:
How do you wrap birthday presents? 
What programs do you use to create?

August 26, 2012

Want to Know a Secret?

It's my birthday this week. (It is also Nikki's Birthday Week. Make sure you show her some love. Especially on Friday! She makes the most adorable clipart at Melonheadz Illustrating.)

Growing up I hated my birthday. I hated everyone focusing on me, and I hated having the pressure of telling people what I wanted. I would frequently tell people the wrong day so that no one knew for real. I'm serious. Some of my best friends still have a hard time remembering.

I would rather get a present for another person than receive one myself. My husband hates this. But it works out in your favor. Each day this week I plan to share a simple freebie with you. All I ask is that you spread the joy. Look for someone who needs a little love and do something about it.

My first present to you is How Many? Birthday Edition!

It includes the following two pages:

Perfect for back to school or a small math time activity. Happy Birthday from me to you! 
Click on the title above or either picture to get your free download.

P.S. Don't you just love Dropbox? I do!

August 22, 2012

Pinterest Gold Star Pinner

I love Pinterest! There are so many great ideas and resources on the web and Pinterest keeps them all in the same place for me. I love when people follow me and try to pin things that would help a large selection of people. I have a couple of pet peeves about Pinterest. I hate it when people I follow fill up my feed with repeat pins of the same item. Or when they post a product they created and don't include a price. I usually tend to stop following them quickly.

Rachel Lynette of Minds in Bloom had some of the same concerns. So she created a Linky Party for Gold Star Teacher Pinners. In order to link up you need to do the following:

  • At least 75% (3/4) of your pins must either be for a freebie, a useful website, or a blog post that offers useful content.  Useful content does not include contests and posts that are focused around promoting a for-purchase product.
  • When you do post a for-purchase product, it must have the price in the description or the $ sign to indicate that it is not free. 

Are you a gold star pinner? Are you looking for more pinners to follow? Hop by Rachel's blog and check out her growing list.

August 11, 2012

Family and Food

Yesterday my husband's family drove in to spend some time with us for the next couple of days. Family always means good food. I'm still trying to recover from our last vacation, so I am loving that we have a ton of fresh fruit in the house. Watermelon, grapes, strawberries, two types of cherries, and bananas. I love when family visits and fills my fridge with great food!

Today I share this gem with you. Have a great day!

And just so you don't feel sad, I found a freebie on TpT when researching food. Food Pyramid Graphing!

August 9, 2012

Look for the positive

Today's smile was also found on Pinterest. I am a Pinterest Addict. I love that there are so many encouraging words and ideas! It's easy to list what is wrong in your life and what you want. Today I challenge you to find at least one thing to be grateful for in your day that you might normally appreciate.

Today I am grateful that my husband gets up early every morning and goes to work. It encourages me to get out of bed and do something with my day. It also means that I can stay at home with our son. It also means that I can get up with him and kiss him goodbye. Which brings me to my favorite Pinterest find of the morning.

Thank you for bearing with me. Hopefully you smiled at least once. If not, maybe this will make you smile. Teacher's Notebook is hosting a Back to School Bonanza. What does that mean to you? It means they are giving away 100 $25 gift certificates. Yup. Free! Are you smiling yet? Don't forget to enter today and tomorrow.

August 8, 2012

Harry Potter Giggles

I know you are all busy, so I will keep today's ray of sunshine short and to the point.

My little sister is a HUGE Harry Potter Fan. To the point that her 16th birthday party was HP themed with a homemade Honeydukes and Quidditch in the backyard. This one is for her.

Love sharing Harry Potter with your class? You might want a copy of Rachel Lynette's Harry Potter Would You Rather Questions. Stop by her blog HERE or her Teachers Pay Teachers Store HERE for a free download.

Who is your favorite character? For me, it's a toss up between Hermione and the twins. I think Harry is just a little to whiney sometimes.

August 7, 2012

Nerd Joke

I married a computer programmer, I grew up on comic books, and it is National Inventors Month. You know I had to throw some thing nerdy into the mix right?

Did anyone else think the landing of the Curiosity is amazing? I love sharing exciting news like this with my class. I've always been intrigued with Mars. I can't wait to see what new things we discover. Do you have any boys or girls who want to explore space? Any great books you love? Make sure you link up to my science book linky party. I would love to add more science books to my collection. :)

And while we are talking about planets let me direct you to the Down Under Teacher who has a Free Planet Hop Board Game that would be perfect to practice reading and spelling -oi and -oy words. The best part is you can easily make your own review cards for another subject and use the board again and again.

August 6, 2012

Smiling! It's my favorite!

Earlier this month I mentioned that the second week of August is dedicated to smiling. Who knew? I for one am not going to waste this week. Each day to combat all the angst and drama of back to school I plan to share something with you that makes me smile. Hopefully the effect will be contagious and you will smile. Bear with me. And if you feel like joining in and spreading the joy please do. :D

One of my favorite pins found within the last week.

Another thing that makes me smile is reading Farley's blog and participating in her Currently parties. You can find out how to write and link your own post HERE. Remember the important rule of reading the two posts ahead of you and the post after yours and leaving a comment. Sharing comment love makes bloggers happy. :)

The final thing that made me smile was Mrs. Christy of Mrs. Christy's Leaping Loopers gave me the Versatile Blogger Award. She is a sweet K/1st Teacher who is just getting started in the blogging world. Go show her some love by visiting her HERE and let her know that I sent you. 

August 3, 2012

Science Secrets Linky Party

Since August is National Inventors Month I couldn't resist having a linky party about my favorite science books.


 I would love for you to add some of your own to the list. In order to join the party please blog about your favorite books and link back to this post. You can use the simple graphic I included below or just add a link specific to this post. Scroll all the way down to get the graphic and add your own link.

On to the good stuff. The books! You can pick a theme or just share the ones you can remember off the top of your head.  I tried to group mine together but all my books are in boxes and I have a hard time remembering.

So You Want to Be an Inventor? by Judith St. George

Now & Ben: The Modern Inventions of Benjamin Franklin by Gene Barretta (He has a couple more books out for other inventors. I would love to get my hands on them.)

  Janice VanCleave's Earth Science for Every Kid: 101 Easy Experiments that Really Work (Science for Every Kid Series) This one is a classic for me. I purchased it for one of my teaching classes and love it. Simple science at it's best.

There's No Place Like Space: All About Our Solar System (Cat in the Hat's Learning Library) by Tish Rabe. You either love her books or you hate them. I love them because they introduce complex science terms in kid friendly language. The kids love the fun drawings and rhymes as well.

National Geographic Kids Everything Rocks and Minerals: Dazzling gems of photos and info that will rock your world by Steve Tomecek. My students love this book! (And almost anything else by National Geographic Kids.) Does anyone else see a huge demand for non-fiction in their classroom? Not just my boys but my girls love non-fiction books. I need to add more to my collection.

Human Footprint: Everything You Will Eat, Use, Wear, Buy, and Throw Out in Your Lifetime (National Geographic Kids) by Ellen Kirk. I love the visual way they represent the amount of things we use. It blows your mind. This book is perfect for Earth Day.

Science Verse by Jon Scieszka. The poems and pictures in this book draw in older and younger kids.

Grab the code for this picture in the box below:

August 2, 2012

Did you know?

Did you know that August is officially National Inventors Month?

I love finding out National Holidays and celebrating them. It gives each day a special feeling and focus. August hosts several important holidays.

The second week of August is dedicated to smiling. I love this! There should be more days dedicated to smiling.

The third week is dedicated to friendship.

And the fourth week has two important days to celebrate. The day Martin Luther King gave his Dream Speech and the day that I came into this world.

Tomorrow I plan to celebrate National Inventors Month by sharing some of my favorite science picture books. I would love for you to join me. I also have special plans for all the other holidays. Make sure you don't miss out and check back soon.