Saturday, December 27, 2014

Delicious December

To my faithful friends - I hope you had a unbelievably amazing holiday and are now enjoying some well deserved rest and relaxation.  I am on vacation right now and wanted to pop in for a quick second and join my blogging buddies for this month's edition of Weekend Warriors.  

We decided that this month we would stick with what comes along with the holidays and that is FOOD!!!  I don't know about you, but I've been eating NON-STOP since Halloween!  Guess I'll be joining the millions of other people with the New Year's Resolution of losing that extra weight.  At least I had fun doing it - right?

So I'm going to share a super yummy, super easy, crowd pleasing recipe with you today.  This is my go-to item to bring to get togethers, make for parties, etc.  Everybody loves it and it is SOOOO easy.  That is what I need in my life right now, so I was thinking that maybe, possibly you did too.  

I discovered this taco dip recipe during (wait for it)...............

Home Economics in high school.  LOL!!  No lie!  

I don't even remember if we took someone else's recipe and modified it for an assignment or if our teacher gave us the recipe, but I do remember writing it down and NEVER forgetting it because I loved it THAT much!  I know there a gazillion variations of a layered taco dip, but this one is my favorite because it's so simple.  

So here it is:

I'm sorry I don't have any pictures for you, but I promise that people WILL eat it and they WILL love it!  And if for some reason I'm wrong, then more for you.  #winwin

I didn't want to leave you with only one take away for the day so I wanted to share a few of the recipes I have found on Pinterest and actually tried out for my family and loved.  If you click on them they will bring you right to the pin.  




BTW I do eat other things for dinner besides chicken but I haven't found any great recipes that I've tried out yet.  These pins are all on my Favorite Recipes board on Pinterest if you are looking for more ideas.  I can't vouch for them all yet, but boy do they sure look yummy!  

I hope you are able to find more tasty items from my friends below.  Thanks for checking in this month!  

Wednesday, December 10, 2014


Hey, hey!!! 
Did you stop by because you saw the word FREEBIES in my title???  
I don't blame you - freebies are FUN!!!  

So I'm not going to take too much of your time today - I'm just going to get right to it!  Then of course you should check out the other freebies in the link-up by clicking the picture above to go to Primary Powers.  

My freebie for you today is part of my Animals in Winter unit.  I'm sure you are in the middle of a Holidaze right now in your classroom, so I wanted to give you something that you could use after the holidays when the dust has settled and the Christmas cookies have all been eaten.  

This freebie has some fun, easy printables for you to use when teaching about Animals in Winter.  To grab your freebie, click on the picture below.

If you want to check out the whole unit (which is one of my favorites!!!), click HERE.  I just sent out for my copies of this unit so I can be prepped and ready for the new year.  

Happy downloading and of course, Happy Holidays!!!

Sunday, November 30, 2014

Reindeer Facts and Fun

So I just have to say that this is my FAVORITE pack everrrrrrrr!  

And it just so happens to be my best seller as well.  As I was getting this unit ready this year I decided that I wanted to do a little update.  Since I've had so many fabulous people enjoying this along with me, I thought I would give them some fun little updates to spice it up this year.

Here is what is included in this pack (both what was there before and what is there now).  First, I updated the fonts and clipart because I have found some serious talent in the world and wanted a fresh look.  I also added some real photographs with these Fact Cards.  I can't wait to use these with my kids - they are going to LOVE them!!!
I don't know about you, but my students go crazy for NON-FICTION and really enjoy learning all about reindeer in this unit.  It's also the perfect unit to use in December that brings in some common core AND a fun topic without going Christmas crazy.  (I'm not saying I don't ALSO go Christmas crazy, but I know not all teachers are able to in their schools).

Next up, I added these Vocabulary Activities.  I first did this in my Animals in Winter unit last year and my kids did so well with this little vocabulary book that I really wanted to include it in this unit as well.

Finally, we have the FICTION activities to bring out the other side of things.  These two books make for the perfect literature connection to this unit!  And don't forget the Craftivities, which can be used with either the informational or creative writing.

If you want to check this unit out, just click the picture below.  It will be on sale until Tuesday and then the price will go up.  If you have already purchased this unit then you will want to re-download so you get the updates.

Thanks for stopping by!

Sunday, November 23, 2014

My Classroom Must-Haves Day 2

Hi again!  
So yesterday I shared 3 of my organizational must-haves in my classroom.  Today I am just sharing some things that aren't necessarily for organization, but they do help me in my day-to-day teaching so I thought I would share.  

First up is what I use as my only real homework for my students.  I won't go into my feelings on homework (I'll save that for another post).  But I do think that especially first graders need as much time reading as possible.  Time to practice.  Time to develop a love of literature.  Time to spend with family members (hopefully).  

I hope you have at least heard of Reading A-Z.  If not, feel free to leave and go check them out because their resources are endless!  My school district has provided us with Reading A-Z accounts for about the last 10 years.  I don't use everything and probably don't even know half of what they offer, but I do love their printable leveled books.  They have both fiction and nonfiction texts - at least 25 per level (at this point there are probably way more than that).  So every Monday I send home 5 leveled books for my students to read throughout the week.  I choose books at their independent level and I tell the parents to try to read each book twice to work on fluency.  Each week I switch out the books.  The teacher who retired before me had these all numbered, which was genius, so I just grab the next 5 books in the bin.  It is a little time consuming, but I've gotten pretty quick at it.  I would rather spend some time doing this than time grading homework papers.  Maybe that's just me!  The other great thing is these books are just paper so if they don't come back or get ripped you can just print out a new one.  

My next classroom must-have are my book boxes.  These are just cardboard magazine holders that I spray painted black.  I tried to pretty them up with colored duct tape but it didn't stick enough on the glossy spray paint so I decided it wasn't worth it.  
Each student in my room has a book box.  Every couple weeks we make time to switch books in the boxes.  These books are also leveled, but I do allow them a few "off level" books to put in there for fun (usually library books or seasonal books that I have out on display are hot additions).  My goal is to keep them loving reading by giving them opportunities for choice, and finding books that interest them makes a huge difference.  I also don't really love having students go back and forth to my library area over and over again and thus not putting books back where they go.  Usually when this was an option the kids wouldn't actually spend time reading because they were too distracted.  Now my students will sit for a long time with a bunch of different books to read and not get bored.

No my final must-have may sound a little silly to some, but Mr. Clean and I have a bit of a love affair!  His Magic Erasers are truly magical and are a dry erase dream come true!!!

I use dry erase markers on most things that I have laminated: centers, charts, center board, birthday chart, etc.  So I use these babies... all.  the.  time!  And did you know that Magic Erasers will even erase things like Sharpie (not so permanent, eh?)!  Once I had a substitute teacher use Sharpie on my white board and thankfully Mr. Clean came to my rescue.  

So that wraps up this month's Weekend Warriors.  Thanks for joining me!  Maybe you found a new must-have for your classroom.  Feel free to tell me about your classroom must-haves in the comment section below.  

Thanks for stopping by!

Saturday, November 22, 2014

My Classroom Must-Haves Day 1

Weekend Warriors is here again - and this time with some of our classroom necessities.  I'm going to keep it simple today and stick with 3 of my absolute must-haves.  I am positive that I am not the only one who finds teaching without them nearly impossible.  So let's get right to it!

Oh, I love you so!  I love the colors.  I love the different sizes.  Post-its and I go way back!  In the picture above you can see some of the ways I use them in my classroom.  I use them during guided reading with the students to go along with various lessons: finding sight words, monitoring comprehension, etc.  I use them to keep track of my student's reading levels in a file folder.  This is so easy to just open up and see my whole class at a glance.  I use them for anchor charts and I also use them in my planbook to remind me of meetings, assemblies, things to do, etc.  

I even use post-its on myself :)  Actually, the kids used them to label me when we were learning about labels in nonfiction texts.  

I am not the only who loves post-its.  This beautiful wall was at the Teachers Pay Teachers office in NYC with notes from the Las Vegas conference.  I'm pointing to the one I wrote.  

I think I should start buying stock in some of these things.  Ziploc bags - Yup, I have boxes and boxes! I organize all of my centers into Ziploc bags.  I use the small ones for smaller pieces and then I put that bag and the rest of the center materials into the gallon size bags including recording sheets and directions.  I ask parents for donations of Ziploc bags in the beginning of the year since we go through so many of them.  The other thing I love about storing centers this way is they easily fit into these plastic bins and I can see right away what I have in them.  Such a time saver and helps the kids stay organized too.  

And speaking of plastic bins or tubs or whatever you want to call them - that's my #3 must have for today.  This picture doesn't even do justice to the number of plastic organizing totes I have in my classroom.  

Every year I buy a few more.  I just wish it didn't cost so much money to be organized.  But it definitely is worth it.

Now check out my friends and what they find necessary to their day-to-day teaching.  You know you want to ;)