Friday, June 23, 2017

Summer Reading List 2017

I am so excited to sit down, put my feet up and FINALLY catch up on my laundry list of "free reading" I have been wanting to do. Summer is the time where I make time to escape and let myself get lost in a good book without any guilt!

This post contains affiliate links for Amazon. By puchasing an item on the Amazon site using these links, I will receive a small commission on your purchase. 

I have to say, I definitely have more WANT to read books for this summer. I never seem to quite find the time or balance during the school year to get any free reading done. Between teaching, filling my wifely obligations, my boys' baseball practices and games, lending my chauffeur services to my two children (and others, of course) my days fill up quickly. Please tell me you can relate and that I am not alone!!!! Now that summer is here, I am ready to find the time to sit down and read a few good books.

The Pact is a heart wrenching love story between two teenagers that ends in tragedy. Get the tissue box ready because you are going to need it!

The Other Boleyn Girl is a fantastic historical fiction book about Mary and Anne Boleyn and their rise to power with their love Henry VIII. I couldn't put this book down!

The Identicals Several friends have mentioned this book, so it is at the top of my reading list this summer. 

Grit Genius v Grit which will win out? I think grit will get anyone on the path to success. I can't wait to read and find out.

The Teenage Brain As a mom of a teenager, I have to get started on this book. Talking to my teenager gets me shaking my head on a daily basis. I need to understand his ridiculous comments, vegetative state and horrible communication skills so I don't lose my mind so easily! I hope this helps make me a better mom.

The Salt House Anything that is Jody Picoult-esque is right up my ally. This is a book that I know is going to tug at my heart strings. Bring it on!

Do you have any great books you want to share? What are your MUST reads? Leave the titles in the comments section and I will make sure to check them out. 

Now it's your turn. Link up with Lucky To Be In First and share them with all of us. 

Wednesday, April 5, 2017

Spring Ideas For Your Classroom

Open House is on the horizon and quickly approaching.... and so is Spring Break! I saw these cute pop art bunnies all over Instagram and Pinterest and knew I had to squeeze them in before Open House.

The original bunny template can be found at this website. I simply made a copy for each student on white paper. Next, I modeled how to make the vertical lines in each section of the bunny.

When the vertical lines were completed, the students cut around the bunny and glued it onto Astrobright cardstock. 

For the glasses, I used clip art I already had and copied it on bright colored paper. You can also find a pattern for free if you Google "eyeglasses" or "sunglasses".

One of my favorite activities to do with my class are these cuties with sunglasses. I gives the students an opportunity to reflect on all the learning they have accomplished throughout the year. AND it makes for an adorable bulletin board that is a great conversation piece. Click HERE for the templates.

To continue the theme, I give each student a pair of their own sunglasses with this tag attached. It is placed on their desk as a surprise when they walk into the room with their parents. You can grab these free tags from Molly at Lessons With Laughter.

We also are finishing up our unit on time, and I wanted a way for my students to show off their skills. The kids created these sun clocks. Thanks to Smitten In First for sharing the idea.

We also wrote autobiographies to share with our parents at Open House. The kids loved Amy Lemons Write On Unit and felt like movie stars without a doubt.

I hope you were able to get some new ideas for Spring that you can use in your classroom.


Monday, March 6, 2017

Scholastic Printables Membership GIVEAWAY

Have you ever been in a jam and needed a quick skills assessment to give your students OR realized you had 102 degree fever and needed to create sub plans so you could stay home and rest? We have all been in those situations at one time or another.

I LOVE creating materials to use in my classroom, but there are those times when I have used my own self-created resources and those of my colleagues and I need MORE. That's when I turn to Scholastic Printables! I love everything Scholastic and these resources are no different!

Just last week, I was reviewing cause and effect with my second graders. I had used my cause and effect task cards in a game of Scoot, created flap books, played a matching game of cause and effect. BUT I needed more. I wanted to assess their knowledge during morning warm up. I didn't have much time, so I turned to Scholastic Printables. I quickly typed in the topic I needed, the grade level range and up popped this fabulous page. I printed it out and used it to assess my kiddos. What a time saver!

Later in the same week, I wanted to go over contractions with my students. Once again, I used Scholastic Printables. They read this adorable story about Humpty Dumpty and needed to put the underlined words into contraction form. The kids loved the story and easily completed the printable. Win-win!

Whenever possible, I like to give things a try before I jump in with both feet. Here are few samples resources for you to look out and download so you can get an idea of what Scholastic Printables is all about.

Have your students make a rain gauge to measure daily rainfall with this template and easy-to-follow instructions.

This fun-to-make paper project is a creative addition to a unit on American arts and crafts or a great way to target early learning concepts of patterns and symmetry.

Are you interested in trying Scholastic Printables? Now is your chance.

Scholastic Printables provides you with instant, unlimited access to thousands of skills sheets, activities and lesson plans. To start your own free trial, please click here.

You can also win a one-year subscription of your own! Simply use the rafflecopter below to enter. Good luck!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

*Disclaimer: This post contains information about products that were given to me by Scholastic for review. However, all opinions and ideas for use are my own.

Saturday, February 4, 2017

Valentine's Day Ideas for the Classroom

It's hard to believe Valentine's Day is just around the corner! As teachers it is difficult, at times, to find the academic link to spread help spread the love. I am here to share a few ways to integrate Valentine's Day and academics in your classroom.
My students and I LOVE task cards! What better way to integrate Valentine's Day but with math? We just finished learning about adding and subtracting three digit numbers. And word problems always seem to be a challenge for my kiddos. Now they can be engaged in their learning with these word problem task cards! I use these cards at an early finisher activity, whole class game of Scoot or as partner work. The best part... they will be reviewing their math skills all while getting extra word problem practice with some Valentine's Day flair!

click the picture to grab your set
I also love to challenge my students with multiple choice task cards problems. These Valentine task cards force my students to show their work before choosing their answers. This allows me to see their thinking and help them to correct their errors when regrouping. You can grab this set of task cards for FREE in my Teachers Pay Teachers store.

This craft is full of hearts, love, and academic fun! I love to use it because it is so adaptable for any academic area. I used it with my students to review their math skills but it can be used for compound word practice in language arts, grammar practice and much more. All you have to do is provide your students with different colored hearts of various sizes and the sky is the limit. 

I just love these adorable bookmarks to give to each of my students for Valentine's Day. I printed and laminated them. Then I hole punched each one and tied a ribbon to the top. These are from Primarily Speaking and are part of her Love Bot Writing Prompt Packet. This packet is full of great ideas!

What kid (or adult for that matter) doesn't love emojis? Well, I know I do and so do my own children. I fell in love with this idea as soon as I saw it! I ordered plush emoji key chains at Amazon and had them shipped to me the next day (gotta love Amazon Prime). Then I printed out these adorable tags from Molly at Lucky To Be In First and had my son signed his name. Ready to make your own set? You can grab these tags for FREE by clicking HERE.


Tuesday, December 13, 2016

Holiday Gift Giving Ideas

The clock is ticking. Time is running out. What in the world am I going to get for everyone on my list? I don't have time to scour Pinterest. Amazon won't ship my items in time. What's a girl to do?

Have no fear! Here are a few quick and easy ideas you can throw together in no time!


Salt Dough Snowman Ornaments: These are always a HUGE hit with families. You need a couple days to complete this project. I suggest making the salt and flour dough at home. I worked with small groups of 2-3 students to make the ornament shape. Then, I took them home to bake them and painted them the next day. 

2 cups of flour
1 c of salt
1/2 c water
*This recipe make 8-10 ornaments depending on how large and thick you make them.

Paint Stick Snowman Ornament: You need: Paint sticks (free at your local home improvement store such as Home Depot), white, black, and orange paint, google eyes, and scrap material for the scarf.

SUPER Easy Snowman Ornament: This year time was of the essence. I was on a budget and needed a quick gift idea. I was at Michael's for what seemed like the 100th time in a week, and I looked over to find these plastic ornaments on sale! I think they were 70% off! I grabbed a class set before they disappeared! A few shelves over were bags of mini snowball fill and ...TADA! My mom came into class to help fill the ornaments and tie ribbon to the top. Then, I had each child draw the nose, eyes, and mouth on with permanent markers. Wrap them in pre-printed bags. Add a tag, And you are done! This was all completed in one school day!

If you want to get a bit fancier with the wrapping, you can always use festive clear wrapping paper and tie it with a pretty bow.


This year I thought ahead and picked out books from Scholastic for each of my students for the holidays. Even if you haven't planned ahead, you can use bonus points and at the books shipped to you in about 2 days!

I ran out of red and green tissue paper. And no other teacher had any for me to borrow.... I had used all my cute Santa plastic bags to wrap their parent gifts in.... SO... I decided to go out of the box and use brown lunch bags as my wrapping. I created personalized bookmarks for each student. I laminated them and used them as the tag on the outside of each bag. Now when they open their present they will have a special bookmark to go with their brand new book! 

1.Treat Caddie: I saw this idea on Instagram and/or Pinterest. These crates are from the Target Dollar Spot. Fill it with a few special treats and add a tag with ribbon and you have an instant awesome gift to give!

2. Lottery Ticket: This might not seem like much but it could be worth thousands of dollars! Give each colleague a scratch off lottery ticket as a gift. Add a tag that says. "I won the LOTTERY with you at our school" or "I wish you a LOTTO happiness this holiday season". Everyone loves to play the lottery, but may not buy a ticket for themselves. This gift will surely be a hit.

I would love to hear what you give as gifts to parents and colleagues. Please share your ideas in the comments. Happy Holidays!

Saturday, November 5, 2016

Thanksgiving Linky, Giveaway, & FREEBIES, Oh My!

November could not arrive fast enough! I love the cooler days, leaves changing colors, and the extra special time with family and friends.

With the holiday season just around the corner, I decided to join a few of my blogging friends to bring you a linky full of freebies and a giveaway you are going to want to gobble up in a hurry!

One of my favorite activities to do with my students is to teach them about Pilgrim life, their voyage on the Mayflower, and how the first Thanksgiving came to be. I love to bring these concepts to life through the Scholastic First Thanksgiving website. There are several videos to choose from, depending on the age of your students. They do a great job bringing the content to life for my students. If you haven't checked out these videos, head over now! You will love using them.

After we watch a couple of the videos, I like to complete a follow up activity about main idea and details. As a class, we brainstorm ideas for a main idea about the voyage on the Mayflower. Then, we chart all the details they can remember about the voyage, which support the main idea we generated together. The children use the turkey template below to show off their skills. They write the main idea on the body of the turkey and an important detail on each of the feathers. You can also choose your favorite Thanksgiving story to use, if you decide not to use the videos.

This activity makes a festive display in our classroom, all while integrating social studies and language arts skills! You can grab your FREE template HERE!

I also like to share stories about Pilgrim life with my students. They always find it interesting to learn about how Pilgrim children lived long ago.

After we read one of our Pilgrim books, we create a flip book to go along with it. The children focus on the characters, setting, and plot of the story. We create a chart, as a class, with their ideas. Then, they work in pairs to complete their flip book.

Each student also creates a Pilgrim boy or girl to display with their flip books. These make for a great writing display too!

This is another fun activity I like to do with my students to review math skills. We are usually working on place value and addition and subtraction skills during this time of the year. I have my students complete these word problems during our morning warm up time. Next, they color and attach the turkey and add feet to the bottom of their page. They love seeing their working hanging all around the room.

Now that you have a few festive FREEBIES to use, how about a chance to put some TpT cash into your pockets? We are giving away FIVE TpT gift cards worth $25 each! Make sure to use the rafflecopter below to enter for your chance to win. Then hop on through and visit some more of my blogging friends and grab their wonderful freebies as well.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Wednesday, September 28, 2016

Array City: Ideas to Integrate the Curriculum

This week I introduced arrays and repeated addition to my second graders. I explained rows and columns and how arrays help us to count things faster. The first day, I gave them stickers and they created their own arrays on index cards. Today we built a city! Read on to find out how...

I originally saw this idea on Pinterest and followed the link to Resources From the Hart. I just knew I had to adapt the lesson for my second graders. If there is a way to connect math to art, writing, and more, I am all for it!

Each student started with the following items: one sheet of black paper per student, colored construction paper, glue sticks, scissors, black felt tip marker, and a white crayon or colored pencil.

I modeled a sample array city for them. I showed them how to cut different size buildings. I explained that every window does not need to be the same size. I stressed the importance of lining the windows up into rows and columns to clearly model their understanding of what an array should look like. I also told them they could not repeat the same array. Each building needed to be different.

Students worked at their table with their partners. They needed to check each other's work, before any windows could be glued down.

After the windows were glued, they needed to write how many rows of windows there were on each building and how many window were in each row. This showed their understanding of rows and columns. Then, they needed to write a repeated addition sentences to connect their understanding to arrays.

When they were finished, their partner checked their writing and made corrections where needed. Then, each student traced over their writing with a black marker to "seal the deal." Finally, they used their white crayon to add a night sky to their city. Below is the finished product!

I extended this even further and had each student write a word problem to go along with their Array City. Tomorrow, during math, we will pass out the word problems to different students and have them solve them and share their answers with the class.

If you are looking for some other ways to help your students learn and understand multiplication strategies, here is a FREEBIE for you:

Multiplication FREEBIE
Array Task Cards

I hope you can get some inspiration from this project and adapt it for your students too. Enjoy!