Sunday, December 23, 2012

Balancing Act Silent Letter Patterns Center Game

Wow, this holiday season has been crazy!  I drove 8 hours to get to the airport a few days ago and then came all the way back home when weather ruined my flight.  I didn't get to make it home this year to see my family and friends, which makes me really sad! :(  At least winter break is finally here and I've really enjoyed having a few extra minutes to myself.  Funny how a couple extra days off really recharge my batteries and get me excited to go back.  Are you all enjoying yourselves?  I hope so!

I used some of my extra time to create a game for my kiddos to play when we return.  It goes along with our Reading Street program, but along with all my other games, you don't have to use that program to play it.  First of all, I've had these graphics for awhile and I have been really itching to make something using them.  The premise is pretty simple, but I think the kids will love it.  They draw a card with a seal on it and have to find the ball with the silent letter pattern that completes the word.  If they're right, they get a carnival ticket.  The student with the most tickets at the end wins!  Cute, huh?  I also added in an extra practice worksheet with this game.

You can check this game out in my TPT shop by clicking HERE.

Hope you all have a wonderful holiday and a happy new year! :)

Monday, December 10, 2012

12 in '12

So I cannot believe that 2012 is almost over.  When was the world supposed to end?  I thought it was sometime this month, but I don't like to pencil things into my plan book unless I know for sure they're going to happen. :)  I do not have my ESL class tonight (WOOOOOHOOOOO!) so I thought I would blog a little and link up with Kristin at A Teeny Tiny Teacher for her '12 in 12' linky party.  Here it goes!

12. Favorite Movie You Watched

The hubby and I go to a lot of movies, so this one is a little hard.  If I had to pick just one, it would be 'The Five-Year Engagement' with Jason Segel and Emily Blunt.
I think I enjoyed this one so much because there was quite a bit that my husband and I had in common with the main characters.  I moved from my home state where I was quite comfy and satisfied to the other side of the country so my husband could finish school.  After 4 years, we're still here and I haven't been the best sport about it.  Not to mention, we didn't even get engaged until we had been together for 5 years and we married after our 6 year anniversary.  The film was funny when it needed to be (often ridiculously so), but it was also very honest and heartwarming, so that's why I've chosen it! :)

11. Favorite TV Series

 Ugh....I'm a little embarrassed to say this as I have already previously mentioned that I watch the Vampire Diaries...  Thanks to a fellow teacher, I've been hooked on 'Pretty Little Liars' although I'm confident I'm not the show's target audience (even though Spencer plays a 17 year old and is really the same age as me!).  It's just SO good!

10.  Favorite Restaurant

My husband took me to a little diner that's been around since the 1930s called Ruth's.  Not only do they have amazing burgers and onion rings, but I accidentally stumbled upon the best-tasting daiquiri I've ever had.  I ALWAYS order a strawberry daiquiri because I'm such a picky eater/drinker but they were out.  I took a chance and ordered a mango one instead and was heaven!  This part makes me sound like an alcoholic, but I swear I have about one drink a month, if that!  Although there have been many times my job has made me wish it was a little more than that. ;)

9. Favorite New Thing You Tried

Well...this has got to be TPT!  Although I have followed teacher blogs for a few years now, I never really paid much attention to TPT, probably because I wasn't sure anyone would buy what I make.  I'm still a newbie to both the TPT and blogging worlds, but the little extra income I've made from the site has made it possible to quit my extra job.  It was just a few hours each week, but now I can come home after a long, hard day at work and not have to worry about putting in another hour or two on top of it all.  I just made my first K (total) on the site, so hopefully it'll continue to go up from there!

Ahhh...Deliverance8. Favorite Gift You Received

This year for my bday, I bought myself a banjo.  I count this as a gift because I had to get the hubby's permission to fork out that kinda dough on an instrument I *might* be able to play.  He's so great, btw!  Anyways, I haven't practiced as much as I would've liked, but I can play a few old-timey tunes now in a variety of ways, which is more than a part of me ever thought I'd be able to do.  So what if one of the songs is about cabbage? LOL.

7. Favorite Thing You Pinned

Well...I'm not as addicted to Pinterest as I was for the first few weeks I tried it.  I hardly ever get on it now, to be honest.  It's usually the last place I go when I'm bored, after I've checked TPT, my email, all the teaching blogs I follow, etc.  However, I would have to say that I really love this:

I love this. Every so often I need a reminder that happiness comes from within.

I know a few people who are like this and I'm incredibly envious.  This year has been super rough and I've need a reminder way too often that happiness comes from within.  Plus, the whales are so stinkin' cute, aren't they?

6. Favorite Blog Post

I should probably say that my favorite is a post that actually has comments, lol, but I'm going to be honest.  I posted Science Magic! a few days ago and it doesn't seem like much to other people I'm sure.  Like I said before, it's been tough this year.  I've considered becoming a statistic and quitting before my 4th year, but that day gave me a boost I desperately needed.  The post is simple and mostly serves as a reminder for me that there are good days and I can get my teaching confidence back!

5. Favorite Accomplishment

I've thought about this one a lot and I've decided it's got to be eating better.  I need to lose some weight as usual, but I've always wanted to be a vegetarian.  This year, the hubby and I have cut out a lot of meat and I've discovered that some veggies (hello, brussel sprouts!) aren't as bad as the child in me remembered.  In fact, we're having brussell sprouts tonight.  So...I guess I'm excited that little by little, I'm closer to living in a way that reflects my beliefs.

4. Favorite Picture

I don't have my school camera at home with me now, so I'll use a personal picture instead.  After browsing my computer and seeing I've only taken 3 photos this year that weren't of my cats (they're super cute, what can I say?), this one is my favorite.  We went to see an outdoor musical of Sleepy Hollow (my favorite Halloween-y story) and it was such a great date night! Not to mention, I was rockin' my $5 Old Navy orange jacket that I love oh-so-much! :)

3. Favorite Memory

See number 4 above.  I hope that's not cheating.

2. Goal for 2013

For the billionth time in my life, my old new goal is to lose some weight.  We've been trying to have a baby since we got married a year and a half ago and the doctor says it's more than likely not going to happen for a variety of reasons.  However, I do know that losing some weight will be beneficial to me for all sorts of reasons, and there's a part of me that's hoping once it comes off, my body will change its mind about wanting to reproduce.  We shall see!

1. One Little Word

The Affirmation for this Weekend Wordle is: Healing Words and Healing Thoughts carry my body, mind, and spirit to healing places.
Since this year was definitely not my favorite, I think it's appropriate that my word for 2013 be "healing."  My aunt, to whom I was very close, passed away rather unexpectedly from cancer at a very young age and I have not come to terms with that.  I've lost a lot of my teaching confidence and I'd love to get that back.  My body is also in some need of healing, as well as my mind.  I hope next year is one of joy and peace for me because I'm due for a rebound!

Well, thanks for reading, everyone!  Hopefully this wasn't too boring.  Stop on over to A Teeny Tiny Teacher by clicking on the 12 in 12 pic at the top to link up!

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Science Magic

Have you ever been amazed at how smoothly a lesson went?  Well, that was me yesterday!  We started our Force & Motion unit this week and the first concept we've been learning about is gravity.  For our first experiment, the kids made predictions and observations about a variety of falling objects. During our debriefing, a lot of the kids just couldn't believe that the items hit the ground at the same time regardless of weight.  Even when I demonstrated dropping some of the objects from an equal distance, the kids could not dismiss their predictions that the heaviest object hits the ground first, despite what they were actually witnessing.

Then, a light bulb went off!  I grabbed the digital camera, laid on the floor, discouraged the kids from throwing anything at my behind, and video taped a student dropping pairs of objects in front of the camera.  I popped the memory card into my laptop and we watched the videos in real time and in slow-motion and the kids LOVED it!  I hadn't planned on doing that and I was a little proud of my ability to think on my feet.  The kids were able to see that all the objects, regardless of weight, hit the floor at the same time.  This clarified the concept for them and led us into a great discussion.

I know that this probably doesn't seem like much, but considering that my year has not been going as planned, I really needed this little pick-me-up.  Have you had any moments like this during your teaching career?  I'd love to hear about them! :)

Thursday, November 22, 2012

Shopping Frenzy Time!

I hope everyone had a very happy and fulfilling Thanksgiving this year! We didn't celebrate with a big dinner this year for a variety of reasons, but I'm very thankful for the break.  I'm still recovering from my illness with the help of some doctor prescribed medicine and some much needed time to sleep. 
CM300x250I've also been busy getting ready for the Cyber Monday and Tuesday sale that TPT is putting on, which means I've gotten some already-started projects crossed off my long to-do list.  Up to 28% off!!  I can't wait to shop, shop, shop!  My shop will be on sale as well, in case you're interested. :)

I used to do the whole Black Friday excursion until a few years ago when I was literally terrified for my life.  My sister and I were waiting outside Target at 3 o'clock in the morning so I could get my now-hubby some kind of chair he really wanted.  It was frigidly cold thanks to the Illinois winter wind and we had been waiting in this long line for more than an hour.  Ten minutes before the doors are due to open up, a huge mob shows up and instead of getting in line, crowds around the doors in front.  People were shouting at each other and fighting.  The tension was really mounting.  All of a sudden, everyone starts running toward the doors and we got swept up in the crowd, being pushed and knocked over.  It felt really surreal at the time.  All I could think was, "Am I really about to get stampeded at Target?"  It's funny to talk about now, but it was pretty scary in the moment.  That was the same year some poor woman was killed when she was trampled at a Walmart. So....long story short, I really am in love with Cyber Monday and I choose to do my holiday shopping from the safety of my own home.  
What about you all?  Did you brave the morning rush to get some awesome deals?  Tell me so I can live vicariously through you! :)
My wish list is all ready to go for Monday so I thought I should focus a little on my shop.  I feel like I've been pretty productive.  Here are the goodies I've added to my shop:
'Homophone Safari Card Game' that I'll be using with our Reading Street program, but you can use it whenever your kiddos need practice with identifying homophones.
'Multiplication 500' is a little racetrack game that has students recall multiplication facts 0-9.  I absolutely love the clipart that I got from goodnessandfun on Etsy.  She's got a great sale going on right now, so you should go check her out!
'Counting Coins Makes "Cents" Pack' which uses my sister's amazingly realistic coin pack.  I'm really excited about this pack 'cuz it's got lots of great resources and is so fun and colorful.  I can't wait to use it with my kiddos!
You can click on any of the photos to check out the listings in my TPT shop or my sister's.  She's been adding tons of awesome new clip art, so if you're looking for cute graphics for your new project, check her out!  Here's a preview of her coin set.  It's a screenshot so the pic is a little wobbly looking, but that's not how the actual product looks.

Well, I've been on the computer all day and the hubby is demanding I take a trip back in time and watch "The Good Son" with him. :)  Enjoy all your shopping, both indoors and out and stay safe everyone!

Monday, November 19, 2012

Cootie Catchers Freebie

Blah...I'm getting sick AGAIN!  I have a pretty tough immune system and have gone entire school years without getting sick once, but I'm making up for that this year.  I feel like as soon as I recover from one thing, I come down with another.  Grrr...

Anyways, I figured it made sense that since my students' cooties have invaded me, I'd offer a pair of Cootie Catchers as a freebie today.  When I was a kid they were called "Fortune Tellers" and we only used them to predict which boys we were going to marry and girly stuff like that.  However, teachers are so innovative and have turned this student-loved craft into a curriculum tool.  I used one to review multiplication facts the other day and my kids just FREAKED!  They loved it so much.  If you haven't used them with your kids yet, give it a try.  Even the older kids like them.

You can download a cute set of cootie catchers from my TPT store to review basic language concepts with your kids. One catcher quizzes students on common vs. proper nouns and the other addresses contractions.  They have cute dinosaurs and sea creatures on them to make them even more fun.  The download includes folding instructions.

Click the photo above or visit my TPT shop to get this free download.  Hope you like them! :)

Sunday, November 18, 2012

Alice in Multiplication Land Pack

Hey, everyone!  I'm back to share a little about my latest (and greatest!) product, which I donated in last week's giveaway.  It's my 'Alice in Multiplication Land' pack and I'm so happy that it's finally TPT ready.  I've been using it with my kiddos as we've been learning multiplication, so it's kid-tested.  The super cute graphics really make it fun I think!  Not to mention it's HUGE at 105 pages.  Here's a peek.


The foldables were the kids' favorite part of this pack besides the games.  I really liked using them to add to our math journals and it got the kids just a little bit more engaged than they normally are. Not to mention my kids always flip for 'cootie catchers.'You can check it out at my TPT shop by clicking HERE.

Don't forget to drop by my shop on Cyber Monday next week because all items in my shop will be discounted on top of TPT's general discount!  That means huge savings for you!  Woot! Woot! I've been stockpiling tons of great resources in my wishlist and I can't wait to finally get them.  :)

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

And the Winners Are....

Thanks so much to all of you who entered my Fabulous Fall Giveaway!  I hope you discovered some other fantastic blogs or TPT stores in the process.  I'm also very thankful to those gracious TPT sellers who contributed all these wonderful prizes to our lucky six winners!  If you're new to my blog, welcome!  I'm very happy to have you here. :)

Alright, down to the exciting stuff.  If I can have a drumroll, please...............
Our lucky winners are as follows:

Prize Pack #1 Winner: Rachel M.

Prize Pack #2 Winner: Amy Mc.

Prize Pack #3 Winner: MrsPeggy P.

Prize Pack #4 Winner: Debbie M.

Prize Pack #5 Winner: Mindy W.

Prize Pack #6 Winner: Kirra L.

Check your emails ladies for all the great goodies headed your way!  Don't forget to check your spam folder.

Thanks again everyone for making this giveaway a big success!

Friday, November 9, 2012

Crazy Fabulous Fall Giveaway!

I'm in the mood to celebrate!  My fall evaluation is finished.  Parent-teacher conferences are over. I'm finally finished with my latest product for TPT.  I have the greatest followers.  As you can see, I have lots to be thankful for and as November is the month to be thankful, I'd like to throw a giveaway for all my friends out there in the blog-o-sphere!  It's quite a fabulous giveaway, if I do say so myself! :)

You can win one of 6 prize packs below.  Check out these wonderful teacher shops and get to entering to have a chance to win these awesome packs!  I tried my best to group products by variety and grade level so that you'll get the most use out of your freebies.  I'm donating my Alice in Multiplication Land pack that I just recently finished. I'll tell you more about it in a future post.  Good luck and thank YOU! :)

The winner of prize pack #1 will receive:
Mr. Snowman Activity from Christine Maxwell
Sight Words Slap Attack from Saddle Up for 2nd Grade
Fall Writing Prompt Packet from Miss Martin
English Shape Posters from Doodles and Kreations
Winner's Choice from Silvia Garay Sanchez
Winner's Choice from One Room Schoolhouse
Winner's Choice from Smiling in Second Grade
Winner's Choice from Teacher's Toolkit
Winner's Choice from Flying Into First Grade

The winner of prize pack #2 will receive:
Phonics Word Sort Mega Packet from Brian Hopkins
Winter Snowman Craftivity from Adventures of Ms. Smith
It's Turkey Time! A Thanksgiving Glyph from Bright Concepts 4 Teachers
Winner's Choice from What's The Buzz in First
Winner's Choice from Positively Learning
Winner's Choice from Teaching with a Twist
Winner's Choice from Teach with Laughter
Winner's Choice from The Fun Factory

The winner of prize pack #3 will receive:

Thanksgiving Problem Solving Pages from Fourth Grade Garden

Gummy Bear Inquiry Lab from Sparkles, Smiles, and Student Teaching
Big Stripes Borders from Jess Cabral
Winner's Choice from Nia's Niblets
Winner's Choice from Andrea Crawford
Winner's Choice from Jan Lindley
Winner's Choice from Liv to Teach

The winner of prize pack #4 will receive:
Read OWL About It: Writing Templates from The Peanut Gallery
Alice in Multiplication Land from Classroom Compulsion
Period Practice: Thanksgiving Theme from Third Grade Gems
Winner's Choice from Adventures in Teaching
Winner's Choice from Teaching MrsT
Winner's Choice from Games 4 Learning
Winner's Choice from Marci L

The winner of prize pack #5 will receive:
Poetry Possibilites-Winter from Barbara Evans
Thanksgiving Literacy Pack from Cate O'Donnell
Summarizing Pack from Ladybug's Lounge
Monstering Multiplication Facts by A Series of 3rd Grade Events
Winner's Choice from Stellar Students
Winner's Choice from Zip-A-Dee-Doo-Dah Designs

The winner of prize pack #6 will receive:
Reward Coupons from The Happy Teacher
Fraction War! from Miss Math Dork
Literature Circle Assignments from Realistic Teacher
Winner's Choice from Charlotte's Clips
Winner's Choice from Tara L (Science in the City)
Winner's Choice from teacherteacher (Using my Teacher Voice)
Winner's Choice from Third Grade Troops

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Saturday, November 3, 2012

AMAZING Giveaway!

Hey, blog friends!  Wanted to let you know about a super awesome giveaway that's going on right now.  It's hosted by my pal, Wendy, over at Teacher's Toolkit.  She's reached 200 followers (more than that now) and is celebrating with a huge giveaway.  Tons of awesome stuff has been donated by lots and lots of sellers from all grade levels, so head on over to her blog to enter.  I've donated any item from my TPT store.

Click the picture above to check out the giveaway or visit Wendy's blog at Teacher's Toolkit.  Good luck! :)

Friday, November 2, 2012

Fall Musings

I hope everyone had a wonderful Halloween!  I am honestly glad it's over.  I never thought I could be sick of chocolate, but I sooo am!  Too bad I still have a giant bag left since we didn't have as many trick-or-treaters as anticipated.

Just wanted to stop by and share what I did this weekend with you all.  It was a total blast!  The hubby and I went to see a live version of 'The Legend of Sleepy Hollow' by Washington Irving.  It's one of my most favorite Halloween-y stories.  The show was outdoors and it was set in a colonial-themed "village" with games and a hay ride.  The festivities were mostly for people with little kids, but the hubs and I enjoyed ourselves as well!

Like my crazy red eyes? I had gone to the eye doctor before we went and it took them awhile to recover from the dilation drops.

Anyways, a few exciting things to note:
  • I'm working on a new multiplication pack that is so cute, I almost can't stand it!
  • I'm participating in a great giveaway.  I'll post about it when it's up and running tomorrow.
  • My sister and I will be holding a giveaway of our own here very shortly!
Well, I best finish getting ready for school.  It's a short day so I get a few hours to finish up report cards.  Hooray for Term 1 being over!  Thanks for the shoe suggestions on my last post.  I will definitely check them out! :) 

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Shoe Suggestions?

I'm going to start this post off with a disclaimer: I hate feet.  Really, anything to do with feet and I cringe.  I don't like to touch them or see them.  I don't mind my feet really, but as a general rule, feet gross me out.  I like to imagine a future world where our feet have been replaced by a wheel like the Jetson's robot maid.  :)  So I apologize that this post is all about feet.  With that being said, I am in need of some sage advice from you guys.  What kind of shoes do you wear to work?  Lately, my feet have just been killing me.  I don't get much time throughout the day to sit down so I am constantly on my feet and I feel like I've developed heel spurs because of it.  Thank goodness for the loving hubby who rubs them (almost without complaint) when I get home! <3

I'm in the market for a new, super comfortable pair of shoes that might reduce my foot pain.  I've seen a lot of shoes for medical staff that are white, which doesn't really work for me.  I want something flattish that looks dressy enough to wear with work pants.  After scouring four shoe stores, I haven't found anything, so for now, I've resorted to some Dr. Scholl's inserts, which help, but not much.  I'm sick of having to come home and soak them in a salt bath just to be able to walk in socks (it's that painful right when I take my shoes off!).  I was just curious as to what you wear and if you recommend any good brands or specific shoes that you find comfortable for all-day standing.  Thanks so much for any help! :)

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Fall Bingo Freebie

Hello, all!  In honor of my fall break having started a few hours ago, I created this fun Fall Bingo freebie!  I'm gonna use it with my kids during our Halloween party just to give us something fun to do that doesn't involve tons of sugary treats.  Here are some pics:

My backgrounds are from my sister's paper pack I mentioned in the previous post.  If you'd like this freebie, you can get it by visiting my TPT store or by clicking HERE.  I probably won't be back until the end of break, so I hope you all have a nice weekend.  I've got lots of fun (non-teaching-related) stuff planned! :)

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Fall Fun

Today was absolutely beautiful here!  It was a little overcast with a chilly breeze that made me want to bundle up in a hoodie. I <3 fall!  With or without the weather's cooperation, I've been in a fallish mood because my class has been working on their scarecrow and pumpkin art projects.  We finally finished them and I was able to get the board up.  I think they turned out super cute (minus the creepy ones with red eyes)!

Here's my model I made as the kids made their own:

And here's our finished Pumpkin Patch board!  The pumpkins are part of LessonPlanDiva's How-to Writing Pack.

I figured while I was on a roll, I would link up (a few days late) with Oh' Boy 4th Grade's October Currently.  Here it is!  I'm excited because it's also my first one. :)

And I clearly need more practice with these because you can hardly read it.  Well, if you care it says the following:
Listening: to the ID channel about a serial killer in Indiana.  I love these types of shows every though they make me scared to be at home alone!
Loving: my cute little kitties who are enjoying a pile of warm laundry right now.  I wish my life was that simple!
Thinking: about how hard-working my hubby is.  He's across the room working on his cartography homework, yuck!
Wanting: fall break to start NOW instead of on Thursday.
Needing: a really good back massage.
Book: The Legend of Sleepy Hollow.  I read it every year around Halloween.

The hubby and I tried to make caramel apples the other evening which I did with my mom when I was younger.  I didn't look up any recipes because I figured it couldn't be too hard.  I followed the instructions on the back of caramels, but we must have messed it up because it ended up waaay too hard to eat.  We cheated and bought some from the store instead.  They definitely got me even more into the fall spirit!

And for some more fall deliciousness, my sister over at Zip-a-Dee-Doo-Dah Designs has created this super cute fall-inspired gingham (is that the right word?) digital paper pack for you to use and make all sorts of super cute projects!  Check it out HERE.

Well, that's it for now, ladies and gentlemen.  Have a fabulous fall day!