Friday, January 18, 2013

Spelling Chain

Since my school is a magnet school for art (among other things), we incorporate art into our units. Our current math unit is about geometry. They just learned about solid figures and plane shapes. This week they are learning about equal parts.

I got a sudden burst of inspiration as I was thinking up some fun activities for the kids to do with their spelling words when it hit me! Spelling chains! I'm surprised I hadn't done this with them yet this year. I guess with all the other things going on, I completely forgot the obvious, tried and trues I used to do.

But I also thought they need extra practice in getting along as well as using equal parts. So I got out two different colors of large construction paper. I gave all my Peanut Butters (one of my classroom management systems, which I can write about another time) one color, and Jellies another.

I told them to fold it into two equal parts (or half). Once they did that, I told them to fold it again, and then again. This created eight equal parts when unfolded.

They were to then cut out along the lines they made.

They then had to sort the strips of paper so that each partner got the SAME NUMBER of green and purple. I left this step pretty ambiguous so they could figure out their own way of making that happen. I was surprised that most kids understood what it meant. I was also surprised that one of my brightest/nosiest (not noisy, but nosey) student and his partner were not able to figure it out. The first time I walked over to them, they had basically swapped colors one strip at a time. The second time, they had most of the purple on her side, and he had most of the green. Quite comical.

Once they each had equal parts green and purple, they were to write their spelling words with one word on each strip in the middle of the strip and then make a pattern. I gave them two more strips beyond what their spelling words are so they could find two words with the skill for the week in their decodable reader (Super smart idea by the way! It kept the fast finishers busy letting the other catch up.).

They then linked the paper strips together to create a simple chain. I gave them the option of either taking their chain home, or donating it to our classroom for a spelling display above our Reading Wall. Many students donated and I couldn't have been more thrilled!

Here's the final product!

If you need the spelling cards (unit 3) that I have on my focus wall, check them out here on my TPT store.

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

New Look Part Deux

Did I mention I love the new look of my blog? Seriously. Too cute, right?

I think the real reason I'm proud to have a new look, isn't just that it's cute, but it feels more...official? No, I'm serious. It is something I bought...and didn't have to pay for! Wait, whaaaaat!?

Okay, let me rephrase that. I did have to pay for it. Honestly. I used PayPal. However, my PayPal account is solely used as a place to collect my TPT and TN earnings.

And knowing that it didn't cost me anything but a little extra time in the evenings creating resources for other teachers, makes me feel proud. It also inspired me to create new resources...for a different grade level.
Screen shot of Treasures Second Grade Spelling Cards (PDF)

I figured if I needed spelling words and vocabulary cards for my grade, wouldn't people who teach the same curriculum need them in their grades too? So I was able to borrow the teacher's manuals for second grade. I'm hoping to hop on up the grade levels and help even more people! Be on the lookout for your grade!

Sunday, January 13, 2013

New Look!

I'm so excited!!! After much searching, I finally found a blog template that is more my style. First Grade Diaries on Etsy has some amazing digital work. Once I received my quarterly payment from TPT, I decided to splurge on the beautiful blog template (that she installs for free!). Keep a lookout for it, it's coming soon!

Sunday, January 6, 2013


It's the last few hours of my three week winter break. Oh I spent so much time in my classroom this weekend! And what's the first thing I did (after stuffing my face)? Perused Teachers Pay Teachers for freebies about our new unit starting tomorrow. Oh, did I not mention I am the President and Vice CEO of The Procrastinators Club? I would've been the CEO, but I waited too long to apply.

What I found was Uh. May. Zing.

There are SO many free things on TPT that I had yet to find! I've been so wrapped up in my mothering, and juicing, and creating, and mothering, and blogging, and mothering, and stressing, and potty training, and...well, you get the idea. I simply forgot that there are other things on TPT besides borders and clip art!

My absolute favorite find of the weekend was a "Weather Mini-Tool Kit" by Erin Palleschi.

In this tool kit, students tally the weather daily and then graph their results at the end of the week all on one sheet! There is a separate sheet for the weather person of the week. SUPER cute!

But the BEST part of the kit is a Weather Caterpillar! SO stinkin' cute! After downloading, I immediately went over to my cupboard and pulled out my stack of paper plates to create one of my own. 
Here he is!
He wraps all over the top and right side of my dry erase board. My kids are going to be surprised to see him tomorrow! Hopefully he'll take the sting out of Felf being gone?

Speaking of free...did you know that Jessica over at Covered in Glitter and Glue is have a giveaway to celebrate 100 followers? Click her button below to enter!

And if you haven't heard, Teacher's Notebook is having a pretty sweet giveaway too! They are going to be giving away your choice of an iPad mini, a Kindle Fire HD, or a Nook! You can enter once per day. 

My Sunrise & Sunset giveaway ends in a few hours, but I'll be posting a new giveaway soon (I like to have a giveaway for each new item in my TN store I post).

Whew! What a weekend! And what way to end my three week winter break! Happy Monday!

Saturday, January 5, 2013


I got an e-mail a few days ago alerting me to feedback on one of my TPT products. The particular item is a freebie that has had over 600 views and over 300 downloads...with zero feedback. So I was happy to see that someone had actually given me feedback!

However, the feedback wasn't "good", it was certainly quite helpful. They alerted me that the file was incorrect. Because of this, I was able to post the correct file and alert the 300+ people who downloaded it that I have put the correct file up. Without this feedback, hundreds more people could've downloaded something that was not helpful to them and my credibility would be hurt.

So, my point is, either everyone downloading was trying to not hurt my feelings by not posting feedback, or they do not like posting feedback. Either way, I encourage everyone to post feedback when purchasing or downloading from TPT or TN. Even if you don't feel it is "nice," it may certainly be helpful!

I also would like to give a shout-out to Corinna at O "FISH"ally a First Grader for her recent post about No-Reply Bloggers. Apparently, this is a problem for people who want to respond to blog posts. I just found out I'm a No-Repy Blogger and didn't even know it!!! Please check out her post to find out if you are unintentionally one too!

Thinspirado Debut

Okay, so I know this blog is mostly about teaching, but I've created a new blog and am ready to reveal it here. If you are interested in following my journey in the world of juicing, feel free. Thanks for the support!

Friday, January 4, 2013

Notebook Tablet for the Teacher

I just received an e-mail for a promotion from Teacher's Notebook that I think is pretty sweet. You can enter to win an iPad mini, a Kindle Fire HD, or Nook HD! You can enter once per day and the sweepstakes ends on January 31st. I've already entered!

Feeling a little...normal?

As my three week winter break comes to a close, I feel like I'm just now feeling like myself! I want to just sit and create. I want to paint, draw, build, clean, and blog. Wait wait wait...did I say clean? Cuz that's not me. I don't know why it has taken almost three weeks to decompress, but I'm glad to feel...normal

Too bad school starts back on Monday. I'm nowhere near being ready. I've managed to stay away from my classroom like it's infested with bees. Oh wait, that was my classroom last year. Seriously. A hive of bees. In my classroom. During class. Did you know they "wake up" around 10am in my town? Yeah, I didn't either.

But now, all I want to think about is Valentine's Day and the cutesy clip art I've created. I'm also working on some President's Day clip art. *insert shameless plug here*  

I use Art Studio to create the clip art and found some great resources about drawing caricatures. I'm not super comfortable with it yet, but I'm hoping to learn more and then maybe post something on here about how to use it. We'll see how that goes. 

Anyway, enjoy the remainder of your winter break! I know I will!

Thursday, January 3, 2013

January Currently

With a new year comes new hopes, dreams, aspirations, thoughts, desires, and of course a sense of purpose. It is a cleansing, a renewal, and a hassle at times. We want to continue doing what we think works, but we want change too. It's a tricky balance. I'm in that boat as well.

My juicing is going okay. I don't want to dwell on it here, so I won't bore you with the details. But I do want to say, it's certainly easier to drink your veggies than to eat them. And who better than to tell me that? My son.

Which got me to thinking. If I can juice veggies and drink them and make them taste good in my own home, why can't I do it in my classroom? My classroom had a "healthy snacks day" which was quite successful. And since we will be starting a unit on weather soon followed by a unit on matter, I'm thinking this would be a great lesson on how matter can change? I can bring the juicer to school along with fruits and veggies and see who is brave enough to try the juice at the end! Oh I can't wait!

Today I'm linking up with Farley from Oh' Boy 4th Grade to exploit my January thoughts. Be sure to check out her fantastic blog for great ideas!

Also, be sure to join my giveaway on Teacher's Notebook! Or visit my Teachers Pay Teacher's 20% off sale!

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

PowerPoint Games

A new year tends to bring new ideas and new goals. Tonight's goal was to clean up my e-mail inbox. Going through the 2,000+ unread forgotten e-mails, I came across one that I had been meaning to look at, but never really did. One such e-mail is a diamond in the rough.

A long time friend of mine knew I was in search of games for my students to play using my Promethean Board. She teaches high school back east and sent me some links to sites that have great resources. I feel it's important to share them with you.

The first site is UNCW.EDU/EDUGAMES. These are free templates for you to use in your classroom. She said that her students love the "What's Behind the Box?" game. Here's an example of the one I made. I plan on using this game to introduce our next science unit on weather.

To add your own picture (the templates are blank behind the boxes), simply click on the "Format" tab and then on "slide background". Then choose the tab at the left to say "fill" and the tab at the top to say "picture or texture". Next, click "choose picture". This will allow you to choose any of the pictures you have downloaded or saved onto your computer or thumb drive.

The other site she recommends is This site has free templates of games that are crafted after game shows including Pyramid, Jeopardy, Wheel of Fortune, Who Wants to be a Millionaire, and Are You Smarter Than a 5th Grader?. Jeopardy is a great game to play as a review of lessons taught.

The Jeopardy game is a little more technical, and will take a little time to set up, but worth it in the end. I recommend saving a template as well as a custom made one so that you can keep that topic and create a new one based on a new topic.

I am excited to create these games for the kids to use! If you find other games, feel free to post them in the comments section. Also, be sure to stop by my giveaway on Teacher's Notebook, and my 20% off sale on Teachers Pay Teachers!

First, Second, Fifth -

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

Today is New Year's Day. I've started a new project in a new frame of mind. I'm hoping that this goes well. I've been inspired to start juicing. Yes, juicing. I've been concocting new potions in my kitchen and drinking them down with gusto. I feel good about it because I'm taking it slow. I'm not going "all or nothing". I'm drinking one in the morning for breakfast, and then the rest of my day is same as always. Except, I've cut out candy.

Yeah, that's not fun. This time of year candy is EVERYwhere. I have a brand new bag of candy that I'm wondering what to do with. I should just throw it away and feel good about it, but my practical side thinks that is wasteful and crazy.

I've also decided to blog about my juicing journey in a new blog I've started. I'm not really ready to share it yet. I'm not confident with it. Maybe when the juicing gets going along more smoothly, I'll share it.

I've also decided to blog more in general. I'm thinking my New Year's resolution could be to make a goal each month and try to stick with it. January's goal? Juice. And blog about it.

I did find some time last night to create some backgrounds that I think are pretty cute. I've posted them in both of my stores. I'm having a 20% off sale at my TPT store starting tomorrow, and a giveaway for them on my TN store. Stop on by and check them out!