Saturday, January 31, 2015

$1 Super Bowl Sale

I live in New England.  My football team is in the Superbowl!  Let's have a party and a sale!

Just click on the link here or on the picture to go to my store to catch the products featured for only $1.  They are on sale for today and tomorrow only.

Sunday, January 25, 2015

10 Ways to Beat the Winter "Blahs" In and Out of the Classroom

Is it just me or is this the winter the never ends?  I mean, seriously?  I live in New England and thus far this school year there has been one snowstorm.  One.  Not that I want to relive the blizzard of '78 but let's just keep it real here...I never get more excited to her my superintendent's voice then on a snow day.

Yup.  That about sums it up.  It's as big as getting a new car.  You know I'm  not lying!  The best is when my own kids have school but I don't.  That- my friends is a little piece of heaven. Just sayin'

I have absolutely no use for the winter after the holiday season, especially when there is no snow. It is ridiculously cold.  The playground is a sheet of ice and I'm just done.  Over. D-O-N-E. Done. So....are you feeling the same?

Let's see if we can "fall in love" with winter all over again, ok?  Ok...well maybe not fall in love.  Maybe.... figure out a way to get through it. Is that better?

I will begin with 10 ways to survive winter in the classroom because as we all know if you live in an area where there is snow there is only one thing worse than report card season and that is....INDOOR RECESS. I promise I won't say it again.  I know how painful it is.

Have a beach day! The kiddos can bring towels, wear a bathing suit or a Hawaiian style outfit (if it freaks you out to do bathing suits), read "beachy" themed books, scatter shells around the room.  You can grab some beach themed party decorations at a party store or from Amazon. This beach backdrop is from Oriental Trading.

 Did you know you can type in "Fireplace" in YouTube and get this awesomeness?

Ok so this next suggestion..... a disclosure:  this is not my personal favorite activity BUT it is my students'.  They love, love, love "Tent Day."  I bring in a bunch of sheets, drape them over my classroom tables and the kids work throughout the day on clipboards under the table.  I have also called this "Hibernation Day." Another disclosure:  I highly recommend leaving at least one side of the "tent" open so you can see inside.  I don't know a kid that doesn't love a tent or fort made out of sheets or blankets.

Let's face it-academic rigor is getting intense.  Are your students looking at you with those glazed over eyes as if you are speaking a different language?  Are they acting as if they are well hit golf balls in a tile bathroom?  I'm giving you permission to take a break from the academic rigor for a bit to do the "f" word.  Yup.  I put it out there.  FUN!  You can still have fun and the kiddos can still be learning. How about a fun craftivity?  There are tons of ideas on Pinterest and lots of sellers on Teachers Pay Teachers have some adorable craftivities.  First Grade Blue Skies has some adorable ones that I love like this:

Mrs. Masters Kinderlove has an amazing idea for a classroom mascot.  She uses a large life-like stuffed dog in her classroom for a class mascot.  I loved the idea so much that as soon as I finished reading her post about it on the collaborative blog The Primary Pack, I darted onto Amazon and bought my dear Charlie here.

Isn't he adorable? Since I have a beagle myself, I bought this beagle for my classroom. Let me just tell changing.  For real.  These kids are in love.  They write him letters and notes, leave him pictures, make him collars.  He sits with kids who are listening well.  It is one of the very best forms of bribery building a classroom community that I have implemented.  Even the parents love it.  One day, our assistant principal delivered a box of dog supplies guessed it...Charlie. 

Parents embrace the"gift of imagination" and classroom community.  When the kids ask me if Charlie is real, I tell them that to me, he is and that's a true story.

Ok now...don't judge.  Sometimes it's the simple things, right?  I use a plug in air refreshner in my classroom.  Every time I walk in, I am greeted with the aroma of lavender. You can choose between a plethora of scents and I tell works.  I dare you....

I am always getting compliments on my plants that I have in my classroom. Everyone wants to know if they are fake.  I swear to you...I can't even plant a grass seed with success. I have no idea why my plants in my classroom thrive but they do.  It must be those happy kid voices.  Whatever it is, they do add a bit of a "homey" touch and since windows align my back wall when I look out and all I see is ice or snow, it's nice to have some fresh green plants in the classroom. Disclosure:  Those are tissue paper polka dot pom-pom flowers on my closet doors. Those are fake but they make me smile. So are the lavender flowers in the pencil vase on my desk.  They make me smile too. :) They other plants aren't really and Spidey (my luscious spider plant) is missing from these pics.  Sorry Spidey.

How about a dance party?  Set a timer on your phone every once in a while during the day and take a break to have a little dance party!

Sometimes, you just have to close the lesson plan book and do a fun read-aloud. Sometimes the kiddos are just coming a bit un-glued and you just gotta "reel it back in." My students LOVE Junie B. Jones books by Barbara Park.  Clementine by Sarah Penny Parker is great for older kiddos.

When all else fails.... stop for a Grande Mocha Latte on your way into school.  You deserve it. Permission granted.

Now what about You ?  Here are some ways that you can beat the winter blah's. 

1.Get a pedicure or manicure.
2. Go to a local coffee shop with your favorite magazine and give yourself 30 minutes with your favorite beverage.
3. Get a massage. 
4. Buy yourself a new outfit.
5. Can't afford a manicure or don't have the time?  Buy a nail polish in your favorite color.
6. Break out the crockpot and make a great soup.
7. Find a home accent you love.  A new picture frame, an adorable knick, knack, an artificial plant or wall hanging. The possibilities are endless.
8. Get a great smelling candle.
9. Buy yourself some fresh flowers and put them in a cute vase or mason jar.
10. Grab a blanket, comfy slippers, and People magazine and enjoy some time for yourself.

 As a finish this post-be careful what you wish for....a major blizzard is on its way and will land here in Boston in the next 24 hours.  I better apply some of my strategies.  Grandmother Winter is holding strong but....I am stronger.

Enjoy the day. Do you have any tips for beating the winter blues? I love hearing from you!!! :)

Saturday, January 3, 2015

January Pinterest Pick 3

I'm so thrilled to participating in another Pinterest Pick 3 linky with the very talented ladies Marissa from Inspired Owl's Corner and Lisa from Pawsitively Teaching. Click on the images to be taken to the original Pinterest pin/link.
When we return for winter break I plan to jump right into Amy's from Learning Lessons with Mrs. Labrasciano fabulous Chinese New Year unit.  Since I have a student this year who celebrates Chinese New Year, I love how this unit is not only aligned with the Common Core, it is fun and engaging, and educationally enriching!
 This is one of my favorite projects and I do it every year.  After reading the book Snowmen at Night we love making these beautiful snowmen that include our writing samples of what we think snowmen do at night.  It makes a great hallway display!
I use this gem in one of my word work stations and it is always a favorite and best of's FREE!  Students love using a magnifying glass to find the hidden sight words in the picture.
Make sure you check out the other fabulous ideas from the talented bloggers who have also linked up.  I get my best ideas here!
Happy New Year to you!


Thursday, January 1, 2015

Ringin' in the New Year!

I am thrilled to be linking up with Stephanie from Primary Possibilities as we kick off the New Year!

Do you have any goals for the New Year?

I have one major goal. And for's major. Huge. But....I am committed.  I am a sugar addict.  Seriously.I am addicted to sugar like some people can become addicted to drugs or alcohol.  It's controlling my life.  I am the biggest size I have ever been in my life. I struggle with migraines weekly, trouble sleeping, fatigue and so on. When I have tried to eliminate sugar from my diet, the withdrawal has been so significant I end up going back to it despite the physical ailments. I can't keep doing this.  I bought this audiobook and it's already changing the way I look at food, which is a critical step for me. It starts with the way you think about food, right?  I use sugar when I'm stressed, when I'm not stressed, when I'm hungry and when I'm not. When I'm  bored, tired, upset, happy.  You name it. Sugar, we are breaking up. I'm over you and I'm living my life without you and I'm not turning back.
I'll let you know how the Whole30 diet works for me.  If you follow my blog, I'll even post some recipes.
My professional goal this year is to continue to incorporate Balanced Literacy in my classroom. My district is shifting from the Daily Five to Balanced Literacy.  The models are very similar.  They are not a ELA curriculum, but rather a management system or model.  I can already see its benefits in the reading stamina of my students. Their reading fluency is improving and the reading comprehension skills that my students are displaying is much more significant than in years past.  They really benefit from the mini lessons that are the cornerstone of the Balanced Literacy model.
When we return from break I can't wait to use another one of my close reads with my students.  We will be learning all about Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and his important contributions to our nation's history.

 I'm also looking forward to learning about the goals my students have for the New Year.  We are going to do this New Year's writing craftivity the first week we come back and I can't wait to hang them in the hallway.  They will make a great display and I will always smile when I see them because my husband designed the boy/girl templates for my New Year's Writing Craftivity that is on sale in my store now. 

  How are you kicking off the New Year?  Perhaps you could use some new products? How about a Teachers Pay Teachers gift certificate?  Enter to win the giveaway below and you could win both.  What a great way to start off a new year!

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