Saturday, October 18, 2014

My Favorite Witch

I think I just need to get used to the fact that the first month, more like month and a half, of school EVERY SINGLE YEAR is going to feel like I'm drowning and can't keep my head above water.  

Why is that???

This is my 13th year teaching.  But somehow, although it IS easier, it is still tough.  There is very little sleep to be had, hours of planning each week, and clearly no time to share any of this with anyone - like you wonderful people who visit my blog.  You can see a pattern in my blogging history with my lack of posts in September and October.  

I guess I have to just admit it - I cannot do it all and I will never pretend that I can.  Please tell me I am not the only one.  

With that being said - I do still want to share ideas when I have the time to do so and I really love knowing that some teachers find their way here and take time out of their busy schedules to read what I have to say.  It's an honor!

So let's jump right into Halloween, shall we?

The last couple years I have been loving all things witchy around Halloween time.  This bulletin board has appeared two times so far and I just LOVE putting it up.

When the kids come to school the day after this goes up they just stop and smile.  Some of them try to high five the witch.  It just makes my day!

So since then, I have been sloooooowwwly working on some fun witchy activities for Halloween.  But since I can never get ahead in October (see above) - I have not been able to pull these ideas together into a final product......

until now!

Can I get a Woot! Woot!!

I'm just so excited to introduce my Halloween literacy pack: Bewitched.

I've loved watching this come together and now am finally able to share it all with you!

I'll start with my favorite part.
This original story was inspired by the poem Five Little Pumpkins and is called Three Little Witches.  I was lucky enough (and so honored) to have Nikki from Melonheadz design a custom set of clipart to go with my story and I just adore them!!!!  She is Ah-mazing!!!

This next part is always a favorite of my kiddos so I wanted to include it and spice it up a little.

Along with the Witches' Brew recipe I included labels for your bags (cuter than my handwritten ones) and an adorable writing craftivity where students create their own Witches' Brew recipe.  We had tons of fun with this one.  

In order to create the recipe we needed to review nouns and adjectives so I included a center for that.  

To add onto the nouns and adjectives center, I included a haunted house writing activity.  Students can create a book, or you can make a class book, called What's Inside My Haunted House?  Kids just love talking about oozing eyeballs and hairy spiders and whatever else might show up in their haunted houses.  Gross, but oh so fun!

I also added some activities to go along with two of my favorite Halloween read alouds: Room on the Broom and The Little Old Lady That Was Not Afraid of Anything.  I included sequencing, rhyming words, story maps, and a few more writing activities.  

If you are looking for some more activities to add to your Halloween repertoire then I hope you'll check out this pack.  Or if you are also just trying to get ahead, maybe this will help you so you don't have to feel like you are drowning.  

And if you are searching for something to do after Halloween, try this one out:

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

SUPER Announcement and a Giveaway

Hi friends!
I know it's been a little while, but I've been getting ready for this SUPER announcement.  

Some of my SUPER talented friends and I are so excited to announce the launch of our collaborative blog, Primary Powers!

Primary Powers

The greatest thing about collaborative blogs is you get to benefit from the SUPERPOWERS of so many amazing teachers all in one place.  PLUS we will probably want to share some freebies, giveaways, and amazing ideas with you too!  You will DEFINITELY want to follow along.

Ok, hang on while I jump into a telephone booth to show you what I mean.....

......Wow, these telephone booths are really small!!.........

.......Wait, are there really any telephone booths around anymore?........

Ok I'm ready!

Here I am as a Superhero!!  All of our bloggers at Primary Powers have special super powers.  If you would like to know what mine is, just click on my picture above to check it out.  You might be a little jealous --- I'm really good at it!  I do it almost every day!  

And now for the BEST part!!!  
We are having a SUPER giveaway to celebrate the new blog. 

There are SO many amazing prizes to win!

Click HERE to head over and enter!!!

But before you go, there is ONE more thing.  (I know, as if that wasn't enough).

We are also celebrating the launch of Primary Powers with an exclusive deal with Educents!

21 instant downloads, over 1,000 pages of materials that are ready to use, and variety of topics to pull your through months of teaching!  $100.75 retail value available for a limited time for $29.99 which is 70% off!  Extreme value alert!

Concepts covered are:  addition, subtraction, graphing, time, money, reading, fluency, spelling, writing, close reading, grammar, story element in fiction and nonfiction, and much, much more!  

Products are thematically correct for the upcoming seasons!  
- spiders and camping for October
- turkeys, Thanksgiving, scarecrows for November
- winter, penguins, the holidays, and New Years for December

Other great items include:
- a calendar that could be used as a parent gift
- a data folder to track student growth
- literacy and math centers
- printables
- units of study

Check out the previews below... 

Are you excited?  Because I sure am!  

Thanks for checking in - now get moving and check out all the SUPER FUN!!!

Sunday, September 7, 2014

Finally...Classroom Pictures with Freebies

Ok my dear friends!  I am FINALLY sharing my classroom pictures.  Oy vey!  This was a long time coming.  I'm not sure if I mentioned this before, but my daughter Lauren started Kindergarten this year. I teach in the same district we live in, so I'm pretty close to home (about 25 minutes or so) but it is still further away than I would like to be.  Towards the end of the school year last year there was an opening in the school that is right down the street from our house, which is also the school that she would be going to.  How could I NOT try to get even more time with my little girl???   So of course, I went for it.  I did not switch districts, but I did change schools so that meant I had to pack up my classroom and then unpack in a new room.  Always a chore, but I know I am preaching to the choir because I know you ALL know what that is like.  

So that is ONE reason why my classroom pictures are so delayed.  The other reason is a pretty awesome one ---- I entered a contest on Instagram to win $200 to Creative Teaching Press and....

Can you believe that I WON!!!!  I was one of the 10 people who won!!!!  How exciting is that?!?!?

As you can imagine, I immediately jumped on the site to order some goodies.  I spent that $200 faster than you can say Supercalifragilisticexpealidocious (no idea how to spell that =).  There was SO much to choose from - not to mention it is super fun to spend someone else's money.  Am I right?

You can see a bunch of birthday goodies, stickers, pockets, bulletin board borders, days of the week set, large letters, and some awesome letter stickers (for those of us who don't have a Cameo Silhouette - these are AWESOME!!!).  I also got a couple bulletin board sets and some classroom/learning music CD's (not pictured).  

When these goodies came in the mail can you believe that CTP actually gave me even MORE than what I ordered?!?!?  I couldn't believe it!  They doubled much of what was shown above AND threw in the all of this too ....

They were so incredible to work with and made everything so easy!  I couldn't wait to start decorating (once all my other boxes were unpacked that is).  

So without further ado, here is my NEW classroom!

This first picture is standing in the doorway and looking towards the front of the classroom.

Now focusing in on certain parts...My Word Wall and student mailboxes.

Behind my Teacher Desk. 
On the wall are our classroom rules and these chalkboard prints from CTP.

From this view you can see (kind of) the polka dot alphabet above the board, a couple more chalkboard prints under the board, and the carpet area.

The shelf below sits right in front of my desk.  I LOVE it ... but I didn't love it so much before.  Keep scrolling to see why.

Here it is --- YIKES!  

And here it is after my little makeover.
So much better!  

Back to the front of the classroom.  Here is my easel, which is currently set up for our What's in a Name activities.  

Under the easel you can see some whiteboards that I found at the Dollar Tree.  They are flimsy, but they are better than nothing.  

I also scored these adorable chevron bags from JoAnn's to hold our reading buddies and big books. 

Moving up to the wall.  Here is part of my birthday bulletin board pack I got from CTP.

Next to that is our Morning Meeting board with calendar, days of the week from CTP, months are from their birthday pack, number chart, number line, and number posters.  

I made new numbers for my pocket chart because I needed to go past 100 and I wanted them to all look the same.  I used them for this and also to label our snack pockets.  
You can get the number cards for FREE too!

This will be our writing center and I will also store my iPads in the paper organizer.  

Now moving to the other side of the room.  I have 22 students so I have 4 circle tables of 4 kids and then a rectangle table with 6.  In the back I have one more circle table to use for a center.  

On this wall is our Amazing Sight Word Race bulletin board all revved up and ready to race!  That chevron border is once again from CTP.  And YES it's really dark outside - it may have been past my bedtime when I was taking these photos.  

This is the back of the classroom.  Nothing much to look at from this angle.  

Here is our lunch clip chart (which you can get for free if you are a Facebook fan - just click on the link for Fan Freebies.  There are more choice options also.)

This are next to the sink became a small supply center.  The drawers have color labels on them (sorry I didn't get a closer picture).  Any lost crayons go in here and kids can grab a color whenever they need it.

You can also get these labels for FREE.

The next picture is of an orange leather chair that was in my new classroom and I did not want to get rid of it.  

I had big plans to recover this chair, but somehow time got away from me.  Not like that ever happens, right?  So instead, I grabbed a super soft blanket and fun pillow.  I have since clipped and pinned the blanket a little tighter around the chair, but you get the idea.  It's a little better.  I plan on using this chair as a special reading chair and using it as a reward.

The last part of my room is the reading table.  Behind the table I have all my supplies: leveled readers, centers, letter tiles, flashcards, reading pointers, SCENTOS, and much, much more!  

The bulletin boards all have the super fun borders from CTP.  The two bulletin boards that will stay as is are my Beanie Baby reading strategies and my Smart Cookie math board from Lucky to be in First. The other two will eventually hold anchor charts, but for now they have these great posters from CTP and a couple small pocket charts from Target's Dollar Spot.  

So I think that's about it.  I hope you like it!  We have now started school and I am loving how much space I have this year with my 22 kiddos.  

One more thing...

Before I go, I just wanted to share a few more goodies I got from Creative Teaching Press.  I put together these awesome Birthday Bags for my kiddos.  We had our first birthday on Friday and the little boy was super excited to open his gift.  
 The bookmarks, bracelets, and cootie catchers are from CTP.  I got the bucket of pencils with erasers at BJ's and the bubbles and balloons from Target.  I also will give each kid a birthday certificate and a crown to wear from CTP.  

Thanks so much for stopping by!  
Keep smiling! =)

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