Monday, February 23, 2015

Need some money for the TPT sale?

Have you heard?!  Teachers Pay Teachers is having a sale on Wednesday!  Woot!  Woot!  Two things I love the most in life besides my beagle and my family: sales and teaching products.  When they are combined into one.....bliss, I tell ya....bliss!

I have my cart all loaded up and ready to go.  This time....I will remember to type in the promo code when I checkout.  Repeat.  This time I will remember to type in the promo code.  HEROES!

These people are my heroes because my cart is filled with their products....
Pawsitively Teaching's personalized and editable end of the year awards are just awesomeness!  I love how this HUGE resource (hello!....1000+ pages) comes with ideas for individualized gifts for students that can be purchased at the dollar store. They coincide with the award you choose for each student.  I told you, see?  Awesomeness.
 Part of the first grade curriculum in my district is to cover folktales/fairytales.  I am in definite need of some help in this department as I've never taught this before. I found this fantastic resource from Amy Labrasciano last week. Love it!
In addition to covering folktales/fairytales, tall tales are also something we need to delve into.  Inspired Owl's Corner has a terrific Tall Tales resource that is sure to make learning educational and FUN!
 My students are a little, (sorry, I mean a lot) obsessed with the iPads. So Dirt Road Teacher's iPad resources are fabulous! They will be great for our reading workshop/Daily 5 rotations.

And....because I have an addiction to clipart these two items snuck into my cart. They are both by Teaching Super Power whose store I found this weekend. LOVE IT!
Do you want some help filling up your cart?  How about a gift certificate to TPT?  Enter the rafflecopter below for a chance to win.  Good luck!  I'd love to know what you bought so come back and let me know in the comments in case I haven't found the awesomeness yet!

Thursday, February 19, 2015

Seeing Green

Perhaps it's because I'm Irish but I LOVE St. Patrick's Day!  I love how the holiday seems to come at a time when we desperately need some fun in the classroom amidst assessments and obtaining data for report cards.

I kick off the day each year with a great read aloud: Clever Tom and the Leprechaun by Linda Shute.

The kiddos love having a engineering/craft project for homework.  It cracks me up how they think I am rewarding them when I send this letter home.

We talk about building the traps in class before the note goes home and I show them some examples from Pinterest so they have some ideas.

Then the fun begins!

Using a "blueprint" helps students with important pre-planning skills. Students draw and label the materials used to create their trap, as well as a final drawing/map of the trap.  When they complete their traps and return them to school with their blueprints, we share our creations. I love seeing the creativity!

Students also write an informative writing piece on how their trap works.  When I tell you it is a is just precious!

Another fun writing activity that we enjoy is to imagine that a leprechaun got loose in our school. Some of the responses are a riot!  At this point of the year you can really see the progress in their writing and it begins to have a "voice" so these gems get hung out in the hall! You can get this writing craftivity and project here.

Of course, the leprechaun has to come and create some mischief, right?

The little rascal tips over our chairs, leaves little shamrocks and gold coins all over (Dollar Tree), and even leaves tiny green footprints all around our classroom.  Right next to the window, open a crack, we find this letter.

We also find some treats on our desks! These treat bag toppers are FREE.  Just click the pic to grab 'em!

Happy St. Patrick's Day!

Sunday, February 15, 2015

Guide to Being Awesome

I'm a huge fan of Kid President so when his new book came out, I was waiting for Barnes and Noble to open.

What I didn't know about Robby Novak is that he has Brittle Bone Disease.  He has had over 70 breaks since his birth and several major surgeries.  Through it all, he lives life to the fullest and.....dances.

Join the movement for awesome! Use the book as a classroom tool to help make the world a little brighter. You can download the Teacher's Manual here.

When our field trip was cancelled due to snow the morning of our scheduled trip we needed some cheering up.  Kid President came to the rescue with his infamous Pep talk.

My favorite idea from the book (#60) on how to be awesome is to throw a pop-up art show. This is an excerpt from the Teacher's Manual you can download for free here.

 Give kids a disposable camera, iPad, or iPhone and have them take pictures of things they think are beautiful, represent their home, school or neighborhood or that they just like.  You can hang the pictures up in your school or have the students write about it (with their picture) to display. Since I'm a nervous Nellie about giving my students cameras, I tried it with my son first.  Here are his pictures:

This is where things get interesting.  Have you ever thought about things from the perspective of a child?  This is what Tyler had to say about these photos.  Top left:  We have had set records in Massachusetts this month with our snowfall.  Tyler took this picture from our screened in porch. He said the snow makes you feel trapped sometimes. Top right:  That's me.  Shopping for a bathing suit. In February. Kill me now. I asked him why he took this and he said "You told me to take pictures of beautiful things."  Wow!  He is going to make a great husband someday. Well...once he learns how to make his bed and clean up his room.  Bottom left:  This is his brother doing homework and our dog Bentley just wanted some cuddles.  Very simply put- beautiful. Bottom right:  Tyler made this popsicle house when he was in kindergarten for the 100th day of school. Ty says its beautiful because it shows his hard work. 

My take away is:  I am definitely going to do this with my students!  How fun, motivational and inspiring!!!

Imagine if we gave kids a camera and they showed us life from their perspective, what awesomeness they could show us? 

I'll end with one last thought from Kid President....

For me, it's my son, my students, my husband and my dear blogger friends Amy, Lisa, and Marissa.  How about you?

Monday, February 9, 2015

Valentine's Day and President's Day Ideas and Activities

 I am home again on day 657 of no school due to snow cancellations.  Actually, I think it's the 5th day but it feels like 657 and I'm losing track.  I'm losing my grip if we're keeping it real here!  Currently, we have 3 1/2 feet of snow on the ground and it's still coming down to beat the band.  So here it is.... Monday and I should be in school but this is my view today....

This is right outside my front door, people! I literally opened the door and snapped this picture with my phone.  Other than walking the dog, I'm not going anywhere. Redic. Just redic.  Enough already.

So...because I have all this time on my hands and I'm losing my marbles I have been spending a lot of time on my laptop looking at Pinterest and various blogs to get some ideas for when I get back to school and I found some real gems!  Check out these great ideas for President's day from Pawsitively Teaching! Click on the pictures below to learn more about her great resources that I found and shared here and swing by her blog to check out some great videos about our Presidents, take a virtual tour of The White House, and watch some online fiction and nonfiction stories.  You can also get lots of ideas for read alouds, classroom resources, and some freebies!
My students LOVE word searches!  They are going to love this. How adorable are the bookmarks? 

The All Things Presidential unit shown here features amazing facts, texts and activities.  I learned a few facts myself! Did you know that you would have to climb 897 steps to reach the top of the Washington Monument?  I'm lucky if I can walk to the top of my driveway but that's a post for another day! 

Valentines's Day is this week!  Are you ready?  This Valentine's Party Pack is so cute and easy for me to prepare for Friday's party! It's from Inspired Owl's Corner who has some cute and great ideas for Valentine's Day and some freebies as well. They are perfect as valentine's for my students and for classroom decorations.  It really does make it so much more fun and festive to have some cute decorations!

These parent volunteer gifts are adorable and free. I will be giving them out this week since I dropped the ball with giving my parent volunteers Christmas gifts.  Oops.

Come to think of it....these would make great gifts for my son's teachers too!

 I have a student in my class who celebrates Chinese New Year so it's important that we celebrate that too.  Learning Lessons with Mrs. Labrasciano has a fabulous Chinese New Year resource that I can't wait to use.  I love how she makes learning fun and yet it's still so educational and valuable. She blogged about this unit on the collaborative blog The Primary Pack and she also has a freebie. Grab it here.

Are you snowed in or are you lucky enough to be somewhere warm?  How are you celebrating Valentine's Day, President's Day and Chinese New Year. Oh and......I'd love to know what you do for storing those valentines.  Do you make student mailboxes?  I'd love to hear about them.  I love hearing from you.  It makes my day and I love your ideas so...let's hear it!  Comment below.

Stay warm (or cool)!

Tuesday, February 3, 2015

February Pinterest Pick 3

I love this linky!  I get sooo many ideas each month from all the different bloggers who participate. It's so fun to try new and creative ideas!  So I'll get on with my top 3 Pinterest picks for February....

I love these paint chip bookmarks.  They could make an adorable gift to go with Valentine's.  My district has a "no food" policy so I am always looking for little gifts that do not involve food for my students. 
click on the image to see the original pin
This will be perfect not only as a gift to send home to parents (if I can get it together in time), but also as a great addition to our end of the year slide show. 
click on the image to see the original pin
 Here's another great picture for the slide show.  I love this!  I think this image says so many things. In fact...I think I just came up with a great writing prompt idea!
 click on the image to see the original pin
Happy Pinning!
Don't forget to see what other bloggers have chosen as their top three February Pinterest picks by clicking on the buttons below.

Monday, February 2, 2015

All you need to be Sweet on Valentine's Day

My friend Lisa from Pawsitively Teaching has some awesome ideas, resources, and freebies for Valentine's Day.  It's definitely worth a visit! Just click on the picture to grab this freebie and see all that fabulousness she has!