Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Daily Questions

Do you do a daily question in your classroom?  We have seen it done lots of ways by lots of teachers.  We really like THIS way- it's quick, painless, gives the students more practice with their names and opens up great conversations with our students.  This packet is 200 daily questions to cover your entire school year- pick the questions you like best to use!  All the questions are 2 answer questions with most being yes/no.  Quick mini lesson covered for everyday of the school year? Check!  Remember the first 24 hours.... it's 1/2 price! 

Flash Sale!!

Flash Sale today only! 20% off everything in our TpT store!

Textbooks, anyone?

This post is a little off topic but I think could be useful for many of our followers. This summer I decided I was ready to go back to school and get my Masters in Library Sciences. I have always wanted to be a Librarian. I was just waiting for the need to return to school. I realized that I am not ready to leave the classroom yet but, if the opportunity arose, I wanted to be prepared. On top of this, my youngest daughter just graduated from high school and has enrolled in college. So, can anyone guess what is on my mind? Saving money!

That gives you some background as to why I wanted to post about this company, Campus Book Rentals. Here are some of the perks of renting from them:

-save 40-90% off of bookstore prices
-free shipping both ways-can highlight in the textbooks-flexible renting periods-we donate to Operation Smile with each textbook rented
What is Operation Smile? Operation Smile is an international children's medical charity that heals children's smiles, forever changing their lives. Check out their website for more details: Operation Smile
Have textbooks lying around? They have another program just for you.  RentBack is a new initiative that allows students to rent the textbooks they own - to other students... which is awesome because it makes them 2-4x more money compared to what they'd make through buyback options! 

Thanks for indulging me off topic for a bit. I decided if I could save just one person a little money then it was worth it!

Monday, July 29, 2013


Have you heard about this website? It is kinda like Groupon for teachers and parents! The deals rotate and if you don't find something you like today then check back next tomorrow or even week because it will all be different!

Here are some of our favorite deals from this week. Click on the link at the top of our blog to take you there and to read more details.

This deal starts today July 29th. Join The Magic School Bus Science Club and make science come alive! Each month your child will receive a kit. Each kit includes a colorful manual based on The Magic School Bus characters, as well as everything you need to complete at least seven experiments related to that month’s theme. For kids ages 5-12. Topics include: Magnets, Acids/Bases, Human Body, Weather Station, Water, Light/Rainbows and Mirrors, Volcanoes, Air, Fossils, Stars/Planets, Bacteria/Fungi, Solids/Liquids/Gases.

This deal starts today, July 29th, and is my favorite! What could make make-believe even better if you’re a kid? Dressing up in a costume you’ve designed, of course! Your children start with the creatively designed outline of an outfit for a princess, pirate, superhero, or other favorite pretend character. Then, using the markers included – and their imaginations – they color the clothing any way they like to create a truly unique and personalized costume. From there, it’s on to hours of pretend play!Choose from four different two-costume bundles. Geared for kids ages 4-8; grades PreK-3rd. What are your choices? Oriental Dancer, Queen, Princess, Nurse, King, Knight, Pirate, and Superhero.
This deal starts July 31st. Art, handwriting, and reading lessons come together in the perfect combination to motivate and inspire your children. This complete set includes all 8 books in the Draw Write Now series. Each one features 21 theme-related drawing and writing lessons with step-by-step instructions on 64 full-color pages. Intended for kids in Kindergarten through Grade 3.

Hope you will check out this amazing website. Don't forget the link will always be at the top of our blog for easy access.

Sunday, July 28, 2013

Hello from Louisiana

Hi everyone, I am Darleen from Third Grade Love. I am so excited to be guest blogging for these wonderful ladies.  I must admit that I am extremely a little nervous~~this is my first time!  I teach 3rd grade at a Catholic school. I am entering my 18th year of teaching and just love, love, love it!  I have been blogging for over a year and have learned so much through the process.  Meeting other wonderful teachers has been my favorite part!  But...Enough about me...I want to share some organizational tips and freebies with you!  I don't know about you...but I thrive on organization in my classroom.  I guess you can say I have a little OCD when it comes to my classroom.  Having things in the right spot or knowing where I can find a certain something helps my students as well as myself throughout the day.

In my classroom, I have some must-have needs~~group baskets (see picture below), sharpies (and lots of them), and labels.  I provide each group with a basket organizer for their supplies.  They can put whatever necessary school item in the basket.  Usually, the basket has glue sticks, pencils, markers, crayons, scissors, erasers, and sharpies.  For the past several years, each student had their own personal basket.  It worked out for a while until the basket became too full to hold what was needed.  This year I decided that each group would have one basket.  Along with the regular supplies, I will put a set of  Story Sticks, multiplication/division flash cards, and bathroom passes (one boy/girl for each group).  The sticks are used for retelling stories.  I thought this would be a great brain break activity.

I just love how the baskets came out.  They are so bright and cheery!  You can grab a copy of the group signs (HERE).

To help with my obsession, I created some chevron desk plates and labels.  You can grab your FREE copy (HERE).  In this pack, I've included 3 different colors~~pink, green, and purple.  I printed the labels on full sheet shipping labels then cut them apart.  They are the perfect size for cubbie baskets, library buckets, or just about anything you need a label on. 

I can't thank you enough for allowing me to share my ideas with you!  I had the best time!!  Thank you Stevi & Tamara~~you rock!!


Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Fine Motor Skills

LOVE LOVE LOVE this packet!  It is one of my most favorites that we have.  My 7 year old broke his elbow at the end of June- BUMMER SUMMER I tell you! And now he is working on getting full range of his elbow again.... we are at the VERY beginning stages and starting over on his fine motor skills so this packet is fresh on my mind.  If you have already purchased this, go re download it because we made a few minor changes.  If you do not have this in your classroom you MUST check it out!  

Monday, July 22, 2013

Guest Post by Funky First Grade Fun

Hello!  My name is Kimberly.  I'm so happy to be here to guest blog for Stevi and Tamara! Let me start by saying that every kindergarten teacher needs a raise!  Don't ya wish they would let me be in charge of all that?  So, cheers to Stevi and Tamara and all the other kindergarten teachers out there!

I currently teach first grade in Michigan and you can visit me at...

I just returned from a 19 day camping trip with my family.  Relaxing is not easy for most teachers and it's been a personal goal for me this year.  That didn't really go so well during the school year, but it sure works when I'm in the woods, enjoying the beach, swimming in the lake, napping in the sun, enjoying long walks and bike riding along the lakeshore.  Folks, I read 8 books on our trip (without telling anyone to go get a tissue and wash their hands)!  Plus, we LoVe Lake Michigan!

Now, that I'm finally home, it's time to get organized.  
In Michigan, we don't start school until the day after Labor Day.  
Once upon a time, 
one of the governors passed a law saying we had to start school after Labor Day 
to increase travel and tourism over Labor Day weekend.  
Perhaps, he meant that I should return to the lake?  
Probably not, but doesn't it sound nice?

As soon as I finish unpacking, I need to pick a day to go into my classroom to organize a few things. In the spirit of relaxing, I'll try to go when no one else is there.  I'll wear my hair in my messy summer bun and sing really loud while I work.  That sounds relaxing...

While I was sitting on the beach, I decided that I need to reorganize the area behind my desk first.  In the past, I had bins for things that need to be copied, filed, sent home, etc.  I just made new labels for those bins.  Having bins for each of those things helps me keep my desk cleaned off (a little). I'm also going to make bins for each day of the week this year.  I used file folders for each day of the week last year and they seemed to be overloaded on a regular basis, so I'll use a bin to keep the things I need for each day this year.

If you'd like a copy of the labels that I made, you can click on the image below.  The link will take you to my blog where you can download the labels.  I have lots of other freebies available there as well. 

I'd like to thank Stevi and Tamara for inviting me to be a guest.  Happy summer, everyone!

Now, this tired girl needs to get some sleep.  Sleeping in my own bed after 19 days is going to be dreamy. I hope you'll stop by to visit me soon!  


Saturday, July 20, 2013

Freebie for the kids

For our meet the teacher/supply night we are going to have glow bracelets for all the kids.  For the students that don't come they will get them for on the 1st day of school.  Here are some tags if you want to do the same!  What do you do for back to school with your students?  We'd love to see what other cute ideas are out there!

Saturday, July 13, 2013

Literacy & Calendar Journals

The day has finally arrived! We are super happy! I mean really, really happy!

We started our Literacy and Calendar Journals last January.We completed them one by one and have been working on the fall months this summer. We love these so much and saw how much they helped our kids last year. We wanted these fall months to be perfect.

We have finished September, October, November and December. We have also bundled them together. Our only problem is they are large files so they wouldn't fit in one bundle---or 2 bundles! So, we have combined them into 3 bundles. (You can still get each month individually.) You save $1 per month if you buy the bundles.

Fall bundle includes September, October, November and December.

Winter bundle includes January, February and March.

Spring bundle includes April, May and June.

We hope your kids enjoy these packets as much as ours do! We saw how much it helped to have those small amounts of daily review!

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Heather is Visiting to Share Accommodations

Hey everyone!  This is Heather from over at Teaching Through Turbulence and the state of Indiana. I am very excited to be here with you all today. Thank you to Stevi and Tamara for having me guest blog.

Do you feel that Special Education teachers are always asking you to do more things or to remember more information?  As a Kindergarten (or even some other primary grades) Teacher, you may have students that need extra help, but you are all they have right now (due to not being identified yet).  How do you start incorporating modifications and accommodations for these students in your already busy schedule?

I have taught Kindergarten and I am now a Special Education teacher, so I have been on both sides of it.  I want to share some simple things to try in your classroom when you need them, especially for behavior. 

First of all... here is a simple fillable form for you as a freebie for when that information is being thrown at you.  You will notice that this page does not say Special Education on it at all because of the confidentiality.  It also does not have the eligibility area on it, because of confidentiality and honestly.. as long as you know what the eligibility area is, you will be working to meet this child's individual needs.. not the specific disability needs.  Click on the picture to go to TPT to download for free.  You can fill in on the computer or print out.

- Put together a visual schedule for a child to help them follow your daily routine.

 - Add in visuals for time to your daily routine.  You can get FREE templates for these by clicking on the pictures to go to HANDS in Autism.
This color one puts you in charge of the time limit for something.  When time is starting to run out, take off the green and put it on the back.  When time is up, move the yellow to the back and show the red.
This one is for number of tasks.  You do not have to do 5, but take one off each time something is completed, so a child knows how much is left.
 -If you have any runners, teach them to run a certain area that you are alright with and then slowly try to shorten that and put in a replacement behavior.  By giving them an area to run, you are keeping them safe.  They will usually start to trust you slowly and allow you to help with replacement behaviors.

- Provide a safe spot.  Find an area of your room that a child can go to self-calm in.  We want students to learn to self-calm themselves without having to be removed from the environment.  This can just be a desk in an area of the room away from others.  For more information on Safe Spots, click here.

- Use an "I Am Working For" Chart.  Throughout your normal routine, just have a student or 2 that need extra support pick something quick that they want to earn.  As you go throughout a lesson, just give them pennies or stickers on their chart.  It is quick and doesn't take much time away from instruction.  My students earn tickles, hug, bounces on ball, 1 minute of play with a toy, high five, or jumps on trampoline.  All of these are quick and can be completed while others are transitioning.  More information on those can be found here.

This is for more than one student at a time.  This is the front.
This is the back of the card, where the choices and pennies are stored.

This is for one student.  The back looks the same way as the multiple student one, except with less pennies.

What about tracking data?  If you need to track how many times a student does a behavior in a certain amount of time, it can be very difficult to write these all down each time while teaching. You may be asked to do that sometimes and you think.. "Great.. another paper I have to keep track of."  How about using a homemade counter with beads and pipe cleaner? You can attach this to you or to a clipboard that you have with you. 

Just move a bead up or down to count.  I fold the pipecleaner over so the beads go on 2 strands and are less likely to move on their own.  I moved down on this one, so this child has had 4 incidences.

If the child is having a lot of behaviors, make it a double one where one side counts the 10s.  Every time you get to 10 on one side, you reset and add one to the other side.  This would be 16 incidences (1 yellow = 10 and then 6 colorful ones)
There are so many more ideas I could share with you, but I hope these will get you off to a good start!  Feel free to come visit me.  I am happy to help with certain behaviors if you ever need that also.  Thanks again for having me here!!

Teaching Through Turbulence

Monday, July 8, 2013

Prediction, Setting, Character, Order Of Events

As promised..... here is our Kindergarten packet covering prediction, setting, character and order of events for the entire school year.  It covers 36 books, one for each week, plus a blank form for your favorites.  Each day it will take you 10 min to dive into the concept for that day.  Our First Grade packet has has a great response!!  The difference with this packet is that it gives the kids a little more room since their handwriting is still a little big, also this packet includes prediction.  We hope you are as CrAzY about this as we are!! First 24 hours it's half price!

Tuesday, July 2, 2013

Greetings from Virginia!

Hi everyone!  My name is Tamara and I am an instructional technology resource teacher (ITRT) from Mechanicsville, Virginia.  I am thrilled to be a guest blogger on the site this week!  For those who are wondering, "What is an ITRT?" my main responsibilities include leading professional development sessions on technology integration for teachers in our district and at local/state conferences as well as collaborating with teachers in the classroom for additional support with implementation.  I get ideas from teachers about lessons they want to teach, then I either create or find resources to make their teaching more engaging! 

For those of you with SMART Boards, I am a SMART Certified Lesson Developer and you can find several of my lessons on the SMART Exchange for FREE! (create a free account - then search "tletter" without the quotation marks.)  I am looking forward to introducing blogging and the flipped classroom approach to my teachers next school year (If you are interested in classroom flipping, check out the wiki I made for a presentation I gave at a local conference recently - lots of good stuff here!)  I am also passionate about using Edmodo in the classroom for a safe, social media alternative which allows me to communicate with students and parents as well as post quizzes, polls, videos, documents and more!  (Click here for my Edmodo training wiki.)

But enough about school!  I'm on summer break - how about you?  How are you spending those dog days of summer?  We are entering our third week of summer break (we don't go back until the day after Labor Day), so my brain is just now shifting from "work mode" to "stay-at-home-mom" mode.  I have three children in ages ranging from 3-14 (crazy, I know!) and when I'm not working with technology in my professional realm, I'm using it for my personal joys, too! 

One thing I LOVE to do are Random Acts of Kindness.  Last year in celebration of my 40th birthday, I did 40 Random Acts of Kindness and documented all my adventures on a WordPress blog.  Once I completed 40 acts, I realized I couldn't stop - doing nice things for others made ME feel great, too!  So I'm still RAKing and blogging as opportunities present themselves.  I even made a Random Act of Kindness Card you could use in the classroom to encourage students to do RAKs, too - click here to download it for FREE!

I also love to cook for my family.  I wanted to make an online cookbook for my daughter, but the thought of having to type out all my favorite recipes made me want to cry.  So much work!  So I found a website called Snapguide (that also has an app for your mobile devices and iPads - yay!) and it allows me to make a visual how-to guide for anything I like!  Click here if you want to look through some of my recipe guides - I have over 113 posted!  (And, of course, they are all FREE!)

I'm also blogging about my family and all the fun things we do in the summer.  Last week I introduced a "Snack Shack" where my children have to "pay" to eat snacks.  Oh, what an adventure it has been already!  Click here if you want to read more!
Let me know your thoughts and plans for the summer, too!  Thanks again for allowing me to "jump on board" and blog a bit about my world!

Be blessed!
Tamara  :-)

Monday, July 1, 2013

Guest Bloggers

July is here and that means mixed feelings for us! We love summer! We love spending time with our family! We love sleeping in and staying up late! We also love being with our students! We love the looks on their faces when they finally get something we've been working on! Whether we like it or not, July is here and summer is half over!

We have some CrAzY awesome guest bloggers coming up this month. We will still be blogging but have some others coming in to give you a chance to check out some super-amazing teachers!

Please show them the love!!

Puzzle Mania

I have always loved puzzles. My students have always loved puzzles. I was super excited to see Krista of The Creative Chalkboard post these super cute puzzle pieces. You know the best part?? They were FREE!

 So I decided to make some puzzles for my workstations. I think the kids will really enjoy them and I created several different ones so they can be changed out through the year. This packet includes 4 piece puzzles for the following topics: beginning sounds, ending sounds, numbers to 10, rhyming, beginning blends, digraphs, ending digraphs, short vowels, and long vowels. It 46 pages with a total of 92 puzzles!! All you have to do is print (I prefer card stock), laminate and cut out!

As always with our new products, it is 1/2 off today!