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November 23, 2011

I'm Walking on Sunshine

I love the Glee Mashup of Walking on Sunshine. It is a song that I love to crank up and rock out to in my car. It brings a goofy smile to my face and the hope that the day will get better. If you haven't heard it, I highly recommend it.

Yesterday Barbara from The Corner on Character brought an equally goofy grin to my face by awarding me The Sunshine Award. Thank you Barbara. You are the best!

The Rules:
1. Say thank you to the person that nominated you
2. Answer some questions
3. Pay it forward

Favorite colors: green, blue, and yellow
Favorite animal: dragon
Favorite number: 27
Favorite drink: Hot cocoa
Facebook or twitter: I spend more time on blogger and pinterest.
Giving or getting presents: Definitely giving. I have the HARDEST time receiving presents. I HATE to be the center of attention.
Favorite day: I love Thanksgiving. Good food, minimal stress, rest, games, and family.  Favorite flower: Sunflower or gerber daisies

10 amazing blogs you should check out:
Minds in Bloom, Pitner's Potpourri, One Extra Degree, Sub Hub, Ms. Kindergarten, Tales of Frogs and Cupcakes, Step into Second Grade with Mrs. Lemons,  Classroom Freebies, Seusstastic Classroom Inspirations,  and Confessions of a Homeschooler.

List of 10 other amazing blogs

I wanted to pay it forward by sharing some of my favorite quotes with you. Feel free to print these out and post them in a place where you will often see them.

November 21, 2011

Winner Winner Turkey Dinner

Thank you to those of you who entered my giveaway. Sorry to those of you that missed it. Our lucky winner is number 7.
Martha email me with your address as soon as you can.

November 20, 2011

I'm Thankful

I am blessed. 

I am thankful for my husband. He is my best friend, my problem solver, and my support whenever I want to try something new. 
My two favorite guys!

I am thankful for my family who love and support me. I am blessed to have two sisters who live less than half an hour away and I am more than a little upset I will be moving away from them both next year. I have a great parents and some amazing in-laws. I am also thankful for my little brother who makes sure to introduce me to his new favorite things.

I am thankful that God knew what I needed more than I did. I have been so blessed to be a substitute this year. I have had more time to blog, find ideas, and be the creative person I once was.

I am grateful for my Dropbox. It holds all my great teacher materials so I can pull them up wherever I am. 

I am grateful for all the amazing bloggers who have inspired me to be a better teacher and have shared their ideas with me. 

I am thankful that What the Teacher Wants started this linky party and I encourage you to link up.

P.S. In an effort to share some of my gratitude I have a small giveaway that is open until midnight. Don't forget to enter!

November 17, 2011

Home for the holidays

Sorry I have not been updating as often as I would like. Life is a little crazy and only bound to get crazier.  Mr. Handsome is stressing with deadlines and I am trying to keep my head above water. Why is that my dirty dishes seem to multiply when I am not looking? I have to tackle them again. Right after I finish some errands, take out the trash, pack for Thanksgiving and finish the laundry.

Know that I will be back and don't forget to enter my giveaway. Right now I only have 1 entry. Your chances of winning are high. :)

November 16, 2011

Chinese New Year Freebies

Panda Express is offering a resource pack to teachers for Chinese New Year.

Inside you will find:
Panda Express' Year of the Dragon DVD
Year of the Dragon Fact Sheet
Jade Emperor's Interactive Game & Activity Sheet
Chinese New Year Decoration Art Activity
Lai See Activity Sheet
Bookmarks (with a Free Kids Meal with purchase coupon attached)

Chinese New Year is not until January 23, 2012.  But it never hurts to be prepared or get resources for free.  This pack is geared for grades 2 – 4.

Looking for more? This website has a lot of great Chinese New Years Resources including printables, coloring pages, crafts, recipes, and reading suggestions.

Don't forget to enter my giveaway before Monday.

November 15, 2011

Give Thanks

Sometimes I find it hard to believe how much my life has changed in a short year.
I met and married my best friend.
I found blessings in unexpected trials.
I grew personally and professionally as I tried new things.
I gained a lot of great friends and resources from the web.
And I got to share some of the things I love with teachers around the world.
I am blessed!

In an effort to share some of my happiness I am throwing a simple giveaway for a $10 Bath and Body Works Gift Card.

How to enter:
Leave a comment saying you follow my blog.
Leave a comment telling me about your favorite post.
Leave a comment telling me something you want to hear about.

You can do one, all, or none of the above. :) I told you I was trying to keep it simple.

The giveaway will end this Sunday November 20, 2011 at midnight.  I will announce the winner on Monday.

November 12, 2011

Reaching Out Beyond the Classroom

This is Part 4 of the book study. If you would like to catch up click on one of the following links:
The End of the Molasses Classes 12, and 3

I greatly enjoyed this book and heartily recommend it to teachers and parents alike.
The principles I loved the most:

Teach parents how to tutor. Parents often want to help and have no idea where to start. I think it is important to send home different ideas, strategies, and hints. Parents are like new teachers, they just need someone to teach them the skills. Whenever I can I try to share great websites, resources, and books. Some of my favorites: Starfall, Read Kiddo Read, and

Accept the fact that if children like you all the time you are doing something wrong. I love kids, and I love having fun with them, but I know that education and working with kids is not always fun. Sometimes they need you to set limits and guide them. Don't be afraid to be firm.

Remember the little things in life make a difference. The children will remember the little things you do, the parents will notice and your colleagues will be inspired.

Whenever I read professional development books I always feel a mixture of inspiration and guilt. I see some things I am doing right, and some things that leave room for improvement. I must be a glutton for punishment and inspiration though, because I am always looking for more great professional development books to read. Does anyone have any recommendations?

November 10, 2011

The Best Thing About Subbing

The best thing about subbing is the fact that I get to see amazing examples of organization, management, and ideas in every classroom I enter. This week I was blessed to sub four times and I got lots of great ideas to share. Stay tuned for some great phonics games and art projects.

November 8, 2011

Oh Say Can You Say?

Oh, Say Can You Say?
by  Dr. Seuss

My husband, Mr. Handsome loves rhymes. He is my personal Dr. Seuss and my inspiration. So when I saw this book I knew I had to pick it up.

The book encourages children to practice and recognize phonic families and blends as they read hilarious short stories.  Write out a page or two for your children to practice reading. Once they can read through the pages fluently, have them highlight different blends and vowel patterns. If they have extra time, encourage your students to write their own rhymes.

Click here for your copy. :)

November 6, 2011


I know this is not a normal blog subject, but Mandy from Cooperative Learning 365 has inspired me to talk about cancer. I hate it with a firm resolve. I have seen too many friends touched by it.

I pray for those who are currently suffering, I offer a listening ear to those who have beat it, and I urge everyone to be aware. Inspect yourself, go see a doctor when you have a concern, and do not be afraid to rely on friends.

There are big ships and small ships. 
But the best ship of all is friendship.

November 5, 2011

November 4, 2011

Daily Feats

Are you on of those people who likes to mark things off your list?  What about someone who likes to make small goals? I love making lists and thinking of small ways to make my life better. It is the little things in life that make me happy. And l love and think you might too.

The site was made to inspire people to do more good in their lives. People are encouraged to make small goals for the day, week, or weekend. These goals, called feats, can be something as simple as "take a deep breath" or "drink orange juice." Participants log on and keep track of their accomplishments. For each feat you accomplish you get points. Those points can then be used to get discounts for nearby businesses or to claim gift cards.

This site encourages me to try new things and take better care of myself. It also helps me be more aware on what I am spending all my time and energy on. The best part is I get to help myself and other people. One thing I really love? All the feats that teachers can mark off every school day. For example:

Share inspiration 4 pts, write 2 pts, read from a book 3 pts, do mental math 2 pts, read a book 1 pt, stay calm under pressure 2 pts, make it through Monday 3 pts, listen to a kid 20 pts, read with a child 3 pts, teach your kids 10 pts, teach 20 pts, teach the alphabet 10 pts, and lead by example at work 20 pts.

Check it out here, and let me know what you think. :)

Want more information? This website has been written about here, here, and here.

November 3, 2011


Today is Mr. Handsome's birthday! And in order to celebrate I thought I would share some good news. I opened my very own Teacher's Notebook Store!

This last week I finished my Pirate Text Feature Treasure Hunt. With some help from Tara from 4th Grade Frolics it is ready to go.

The mini-unit contains a lesson plan, vocabulary cards, worksheet, a mini-book about pirates, two pirate fast finishers, and a writing prompt. Interested? Click on the picture or the link above.

Don't worry. I would never plug for a product without a freebie. Get your two pirate fast finishers HERE.

November 2, 2011

A noun is a person, place or thing

One of my good friends teaches fourth grade and she makes the most amazing charts. And this last week I got to sub in her class and make some awesome charts too.  The great thing is these charts can be used for almost any grade level and they are super easy to make.

Create three charts: A thing, a place, and a person. In small group we discussed the difference between a common noun and a proper noun. The fourth graders then had to brainstorm example of each. They had a lot of fun and did not realize that they were learning to identify proper and common nouns.

I love the use of color and the fact that no two words are written the same way. Don't you think it is rather cute?

While I was working on this post I remembered some great resources that other teachers have shared.

Check out Crazy For First Grade's free noun sort.

Or Teaching First has a fall noun sort. (I had a hard time getting the link to work on her post. Try clicking on the picture below instead.)

Or Ladybug's Teacher Files has four cute noun posters.

Want to find more cute anchor charts? Head over to Tales of Frogs and Cupcakes and add your own ideas to the linky party as you search.

November 1, 2011

The Little Red Pen

The Little Red Pen 
Janet Stevens and Susan Stevens Crummel 

The Little Red Pen in this story sets to work grading papers only to find Scissors, Stapler, Pencil, Highlighter, and Eraser won't help her. But when she falls into trouble all the school supplies rush to the rescue. 

Sometimes as a teacher you feel a lot like the Little Red Pen. "If the papers aren't graded, the students won't learn. The school might close. The walls might tumble. The floors might crumble. The sky might fall. It might be the end of the world! Who will help me save the world?" 

I'm hoping to make your day brighter by sharing some of my ideas and resources.

Some excellent ideas for this book:
  • This story is an wonderful example of personification.  It will have your students looking at school supplies in a whole new light. You can discuss the importance of treating supplies with respect. 
  • As you read this story you can also discuss the importance of teamwork, knowing ones strengths, and being willing to try something difficult. 
  • You can hold a class conversation about the importance of reviewing what was marked wrong and learning from it. (It drove me crazy when I would spend hours grading papers, and have half of the papers were lost in backpacks never to be seen again.)
  • You can discuss alternate ways of grading. Teachers do not have enough time to spend all their time grading papers. Parents, students, and volunteers are an excellent resource. Use them.
  • This story can also be compared and contrasted with the Little Red Hen. 
    • Get a simple Venn Diagram HERE.
  • Yearn to Learn also found an excellent resource for this book. It includes a comprehension worksheet, a readers theater version of the story, a writing prompt, and a fast finisher. Click HERE.
PS Did you know Janet Stevens also wrote one of my favorite books? Tops and Bottoms