Monday, May 2, 2016

Oooo Baby! A Giveaway, a Sale, and a BABY

It's been almost a month since Dennett Jae Smith joined us on April 6th and the days are flying by! My great intentions of blogging in full makeup and actual clothes (not yoga or sweatpants) while baby Dennett naps peacefully for long periods of time have failed, but I have scored some sweet snuggling sessions with this cutie, which are pretty much the BEST and I may have even snuck in a shower or two - Victory!
I'm out of pajama pants and back on my computer for a short time only, to give away 2 $10 TpT Gift Cards in preparation for the big Teacher Appreciation sale May 3-4!

All you have to do is fill out the super quick Rafflecopter below and I'll draw 2 winners on Tuesday night in time for some Wednesday sale shopping.

a Rafflecopter giveaway
The sale starts at midnight, so good luck and go find some sweet deals at TpT to get you through the rest of this school year!

Happy Teacher Appreciation Week!

Sunday, March 13, 2016

Pi Day Easy Peasy Activity - All You Need is Yarn

Here's a quick Pi Day activity for tomorrow if you need something fun to introduce or celebrate the day.  All you need is yarn, scissors, and round things.  Every classroom has those right?!

First, have students choose a round object.
Next, students wrap the yarn around the circumference of the round object and cut the yarn to show one measurement around their object.
Now have students take this long piece of yarn and see how many times they can measure the diameter of their circle.  They will cut a piece of yarn for every diameter they measure.
If students do this correctly they should end up with 3 diameter yarn pieces plus an itty little left over piece or 3.14 diameters (Pi!)

Yarn, scissors, round things, DONE!
Fun, memorable, and quick - my kind of Pi Day activity!

Happy (almost) Pi Day,

Sunday, February 28, 2016

Leprechaun Traps Pictures, PowerPoint, and Printable Freebies

If you're looking for a quick St. Patrick's Day art project, or even a longer STEM building project Leprechaun Traps could be just the ticket.  Here are a few pics of traps my students have made in past years.  All of these pictures are included in the free PowerPoint as well.
Although this used to be a staple in my classroom during the month of March, I've since shied away from giving this as a homework option as parents tended to become stressed out maniacs and no teacher needs 30 stressed out maniacs with access to their e-mail account around parent conference time (or really any time).  However, if time permits, this can be a worthwhile hands on problem solving project that lets students be creative and have fun (imagine that!) with the holiday while working on their teamwork skills.  Even if I don't have time for the art or building project, at the very least I like to use the PowerPoint with completed trap photos as an inferencing activity.  Click here or on the picture below to download the freebie from my store.
Happy March!

Sunday, February 14, 2016

100th Day of School - Free Printables

Tomorrow is our 100th Day of School (We start after Labor Day and have had a snow day or two thrown into the mix).  If anyone out there is yet to celebrate like me, maybe this 100th Day Fun Stuff Freebie will be useful for you.
It includes a 100 Seconds Challenge, 100 Times Spelling, Hundreds Picture Spelling, and 4 templates for Hundreds Day Art.  My kiddos' art projects turned out pretty darn cute last year.
Throw in a hundreds day t-shirt (I got lazy and just glued 100 beads to my Halloween Super Teacher Tee) and I'm all planned for tomorrow.  Hooray!
If you've already celebrated the blessed day, then keep this on file until next year.  It's never too early to start planning!

Happy Hundreds Day,

Saturday, February 6, 2016

February Fun Stuff Freebie Updated with Math Brainteasers

Happy February!  That pudgy little marmot didn't see his shadow and we have SUN (and only a skiff of snow on the ground) in MICHIGAN.  It's been a fantastic start to what is typically a brutal month.  Not so this year.  Thank you Mr. Groundhog!
I've been busy updating some of my freebies and just finished adding two new math brainteasers to my February Fun Stuff Freebie.  It also includes a Valentine's Day Make-Your-Own Word Find and a Valentine Candy ABC Brainstorm activity.  I find that second and third graders can talk about candy forever, so the ABC activity, although simple, is always greatly helpful as we celebrate Valentine's Day by inhaling sugar in its various forms.

If you need like the February Fun printables you can download the freebie here.

Happy Valentine's Day!

Wednesday, January 13, 2016

Super Bowl Football Math Freebie

Once again I've stopped paying attention to football since I have zero chance of winning any money in my Colorado teacher friend football pick 'ems.  I had 2 horrible weeks at the end of the regular season that put me out of the running.  Boo!  Any football information I receive is now from Reality Steve as I religiously read his Bachelor spoilers blog (I even listen to his weekly Thursday Q&A - oh my!) and he tends to comment on sports as a side note.
Even though I'm feeling quite over it, I pay enough attention to know that my kids love talking all things football come January.  If yours are the same and you need a freebie, check out my Super Football Math Freebie.  It's a good challenge to review addition, subtraction, multiplication, and division. I've used it successfully with 2nd, 3rd, and 5th graders so hopefully it will meet some of your Super Bowl needs.


Saturday, January 2, 2016

Math Challenge Freebie & Math Contracts - Perfect for Fast Finishers, Extensions, or Homework

If you're looking for a few new math items for after the break, try out my Math Challenges & Brainteasers freebie.  I've used these in my 2nd, 3rd, and 5th grade classrooms for a number of purposes.  
Here are a few ideas for how you might use these in your own classroom:
*Use a challenge or brainteaser as a homework option for students who need a challenge, or let them replace a simple homework assignment with the challenge to show parents how well you’re differentiating.  :)

*Use a math challenge or brainteaser as a “number talk” problem to start out your daily math class. Work through it as a class or let students work in partners or small groups to talk through it and solve it together. 

*Make a pack of challenge problems for advanced students to use as a fast finisher or during certain in-class math lessons where they've already mastered the material.

*Give a challenge or brainteaser to a small group of students as one of their independent math workshop rotations or use them with your advanced small math group rotation.

*Use the problems as an independent practice activity during a unit on problem solving strategies (guess and check, work backwards, etc.) or attacking a multi-step problem. 

*Keep a stack of challenge problems in your classroom fast finisher area for any student who wants a challenge.

*Choose one or two challenge problems for the month and reward any student who can solve both. You can put these on a bulletin board or have them available as additional incentives.
Currently I'm using these as a challenge for my second graders in the form of math contracts.  I have a few super amazing 2nd grade mathematicians who are way ahead of the rest of the class.  They have the option of completing math contract work at any time during our independent math time as a replacement for the assignments given to the rest of the class.  Typically at the beginning of the year I have 6-7 students on math contracts and this dwindles to the few who really enjoy the independent challenges and are willing to work through these multi-step problems.  Usually by the end of the year I have 2-3 die hard math challenge kiddos who have stuck with the contracts all year. 

These are great to show parents at conferences, especially for those parents who want to see how their child is being challenged.  I just print out 5 of the math challenges, add a math contract cover sheet and I'm good to go.  Differentiation Complete!

If you haven't already downloaded the freebie which includes 3 math challenges and brainteasers, hop on over to my store and check it out.  I hope you enjoy!

Friday, January 1, 2016

Happy New Year! Gift Card Giveaway and a Great Option for Unwanted Gift Cards

Happy New Year All!
If anyone has any unwanted gift cards after the holiday season gift card exchange madness, check out a little site called Cardpool.  I discovered Cardpool after receiving a (very generous!) gift card to Pottery Barn.  After I realized I could buy only a small bag of decorative rocks at PB with the gift card I'd been given, I looked into gift card exchanges and found where you can sell as well as buy gift cards at a discounted price.  I quickly exchanged my $100 to Pottery Barn for an $80 Amazon card and bought a killer toaster for our new kitchen.  They make money and I get something I can actually use.  Score!  My 4-slot toaster is way better than a box of rocks or seashells.  :)

I always use this site when giving wedding or birthday gifts instead of choosing a card for the recipient so they can choose one of their own.  I also go through them to buy restaurant gift cards so I can get more bang for my buck.  The hubs and I just bought a $50 Cheesecake Factory card for $40.50.  It's like getting $9.50 for free! (Confession: rather than just saving the money, I bought a slice of lemon raspberry cheesecake which was SO worth the calories!)

You can purchase regular gift cards they will mail to you, or can get e-gift cards which will be e-mailed to you within 1 day (usually within a few hours).  Give yourself a little time on the e-gift cards though.  I ran into a bit of trouble with this during Secret Santa week this year when I waited until midnight to purchase a Barnes & Noble gift card for my Secret Santa recipient.  It didn't arrive until the next morning at 10 am and then I was stuck explaining to my Secret Santa friend.  Luckily she wanted the $20 from Cardpool rather than the $15 we were sworn to stick to.  I technically only spent $15, but she got $20 because of my fancy online gymnastics.  Sweet!

I'm starting off the New Year (Happy 2016!) by running a little gift card giveaway to Cardpool.  Enter in the Rafflecopter below.  The giveaway runs through January 4th - hopefully bringing a little New Year's happiness to a lucky teacher who goes back to work that day.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Good luck!

Thursday, December 24, 2015

Happy Holidays!

Now that everyone is actually on break (kudos to you fantastic teachers who taught through Wednesday!), I hope you're all relaxing and enjoying some well deserved time off with family and friends!

Happy Holidays!

Sunday, December 13, 2015

5 Simple Holiday Student Gift Ideas for the Classroom

Are you freaking out this weekend because you've realized (like me) that unless you have Amazon Prime or pay extra for shipping, anything you need to buy for students will not be getting to you in time for the last day before break and who has time to go to an actual store and wrap 30+ items to make them look cute, plus you have so many other things to do this week anyway . . . like finding a reindeer headband, a tacky sweater, holiday PJs, and red tights for holiday dress up days not to mention Secret Santa, which in a moment of weakness I signed up for.  Gah!
If this is the holiday boat you are in, here are a few simple ideas for student holiday gifts you can make this week and have ready by Friday.  You will need ink, a printer, and a laminator (optional), but hopefully you have full access (or sneaky secret access) to something that prints at your school and don't have to do your own printing at home.  Ink gets expensive!!
Classroom coupons are the easiest FREE print and go option.  Just download the freebie here, edit the options for classroom privileges/rewards, print on cardstock and give to the kiddos.  You don't even need to laminate.  Hooray!  Along with some personalized pencils from For Teachers Only, this is my go-to holiday gift.
Top Ten Lists are FREEpersonalized, easy, and the kids love them.  These are, very simply, a list of 10 things you (or classmates) like about them.  Since you'll need to make one for every student they are more time consuming, but you can knock them out in a night.  Use the editable freebie here and customize one for every student.  If you have time in class you can have other students brainstorm character traits or interview classmates to see what others like about said students, but if you're in a time crunch you can just do these on your own.  Print on cardstock, laminate, give to students.  Holiday gift complete!
Classmate compliments are FREE, don't require color printing or laminating, and give students an extra something to do during that last week before break.  You can even use them as a writing center!  Have students decorate paper bags (we call them RACK sacks - ONE because I find the word "sack" funny, and TWO because it rhymes with RACK/Random Acts of Classroom Kindness) and put them somewhere safe in the room.  Throughout the week students are assigned or can draw names of classmates to write a sincere compliment to.  I have the kids turn these in and pass them out to RACK sacks myself to avoid any weird anonymous compliment mayhem.  At the end of the week students have a number of nice things others have written about them to take home and cherish.  :)  Holiday gift done!  These are included with the freebie above.  If you haven't already downloaded it, click here for the freebie
If you have Amazon Prime or don't mind paying for shipping, these are my cheap go to supply gifts. At my school last year students were in desperate need of school supplies so they received new crayons for Christmas and at the end of the year.  I am also a big fan of buying Composition Notebooks at the Back to School Sales and saving them to give as New Writer's Notebooks for the new year.  I also love the personalized pencil sets from For Teachers Only, but you do have to order those in advance.  If you are going to order them though, make sure you click on their site through Ebates and get cash back.  
I am also a big believer in gifts for the whole class.  A new class game or PE equipment (I love having a few sets of Speed Stacks in the classroom), noise muffling headphones (my students are obsessed with these at the moment), chapter books for the classroom library, new pillows or lamps for your reading corner, or a class picture book are great gifts for the kids and for you.  

I hope one of these gift ideas will work for you if you're in a bind and save you some valuable holiday teacher time.  

We're almost there!

Sunday, December 6, 2015

Free Holiday Gift for Students - Editable Holiday Coupons

If you're feeling like a quick, easy, and free gift might be just the thing to give to your students for the holidays, then look no further!  My editable coupon freebie might save you some time, energy and money.
This freebie comes as a PowerPoint file with editable coupons you can customize with classroom privileges or prizes students can redeem after the break. It's easy to use and FREE!  Completed coupons look like the pictures below (with your info on there of course). 
Come on back in the next few weeks for more affordable, memorable, practical, and even a few more free holiday gift ideas for your students.

Sunday, November 29, 2015

Fun December Printables Freebie

Hope everyone had a fabulous and relaxing break!

If you're looking to start your December copies tomorrow you can check out my December Holiday Fun Freebie pack that includes four free December printables.

and don't forget the TpT SALE starting tomorrow.  Hooray!
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