Monday, July 29, 2013

Giveaway week 4 - Classroom Decor & Word Walls

Welcome to week 4 of giveaways.  Are you having as much fun as I am?! Today we are going to talk about classroom décor.  You might remember my post about pinterest and how I’ve never had a “theme” in my classroom before… I think that is partially because I was unaware that these themed classrooms even existed.  And while I am not in any way opposed to a cute classroom theme, I tend to put my energy and efforts into other things. I’ve already found a lot of cute things I would like to do in my classroom, but I’m already thinking “maybe next year” LOL!  Summer is almost over and I’m starting to enter panic mode, but I have yet to step foot in my classroom… this has got to be a world record for me to stay away from school for two full months!!  Two years ago I moved into a BRAND NEW school, and had only 5 days to set up and get things ready to welcome my little 2nd graders to school.  If you want to see crazy, you should’ve seen me that week!  I recruited every friend and family member I could find, and was at school most nights until midnight.  Here’s a few pictures from 2 years ago as I was getting ready to start off my new year.  As you can see, it’s nothing glamorous… I’m fairly certain that I will not see these pics popping up on pinterest with comments about recreating this in their own classrooms.  But that’s okay… it works for me and that’s all that really matters. 

Today’s giveaways will help you get your classroom all decked out in style.  All you have to do is hit the print button and you’re ready to go!  Your classroom will be stylish in no time :)
Here’s a rundown on all the goodies up for grabs.  You know the drill by now.  Enter using the rafflecopter below.  Giveaway runs until midnight on Wednesday and winners will be announced on Friday!  Good luck

Up first, Mandy from Mandy’s tips for teachers is giving away 2 sets of her adorable bug themed open house, newsletter, and classroom décor set.
 Next – 3 winners will receive this adorable bee themed set from Chrissy at Buzzing with Ms. B.  How cute is this?!
Cyndie from Chalk One Up for the Teacher is giving away customizable book bin labels & an adorable bug themed classroom décor pack to 2 lucky winners!
 Lisa at Learning is Something to Treasure is offering her darling Chevron décor pack to 2 lucky winners (I am *loving* all the cute chevron stuff lately!!)

Have I already mentioned my love of all things chevron?  I also adore the trendy chalkboard stuff that’s popping up lately… this next bundle has both of those for one lucky winner!!  Amanda from Mrs. Richardson’s Class is offering her super adorable chalkboard word wall headers, which will complement Deb Thomas’ darling chevron bundle!! Swoon… I wish I could win all these prizes :)

The last prize this week comes from Kim at Carried away in K!  2 lucky winners will win these fabulous color-coded Dolch word wall words to start creating a great word wall in your classroom.

And finally, head on over to Gina’s blog, Third Grade Tidbits, where she’s celebrating her bloggy birthday, with giveaways scheduled ALL WEEK!!  I’ve donated one of my items for someone to win!  Have a great week!

Friday, July 26, 2013

Winners - Week 3

Happy Friday everyone! This week was a holiday in Utah, and I haven’t been around much, so I’m going to keep this short and sweet. Thanks for all the comments, I always enjoy reading them! Congrats to all the winners listed below… if you’ve won and haven’t received your loot yet, please be patient! Many teacher-authors are soaking up the last few weeks of summer and might not be around their computers every day.  Some of the sellers are putting their items on sale this weekend, so as soon as I have that info, I will post it below, or you can check their stores through the previous post (I totally blew it this week! Having a holiday on a Wednesday just throws off my whole week! LOL)

And now, the moment you’ve all been waiting for….

Ashleigh’s monthly journal:
1.      April B.
2.      Lee Ann B.
3.      Amanda E.
Jennifer’s math prompts:
1.      Kindergarten winner: Katie N.
2.      1st grade winner: Andrea L.

Laura’s spelling packet:
1.      Jessica M.
 LaToya’s math morning work:
1.      Ruby S.
2.      Doreen B.
Angela’s kindergarten morning work:
1.      Katy S.
Fab 4 RTI pack:
1.      Michelle J.
2.      Caitlin C.
3.      Cherie Mae O.
Lory’s 2nd grade math homework:
1.      Tanya W.
2.      Tami M.
3.      Carol L.

Monday, July 22, 2013

Giveaway week 3 - Self-Starts & Homework

Have you heard of Educents? I hadn't heard of it until recently, and was so excited when I discovered it!! It's basically like groupon or living social, but for teachers. I have already made a few purchases for my classroom and am loving all the great deals that get delivered to my inbox each day. Check out some of the things I've snagged recently:


Right now, Educents has a great deal going on. Sign up for educents by August 31st and get a free $5 credit to use toward your first purchase. Click HERE to get started :)

Okay, today we are going to talk about self-starts. This concept has many titles (self-start, morning work, bell-ringer, etc.) but the concept is the same. Kids need to have a consistent, independent activity that they can start working on as soon as they arrive at school. I have found that having an effective self-start can really set the tone for your entire school day. Now, I don't know about you, but I am NOT a morning person, so I always need a few minutes to collect my thoughts anyway, but it seems like every morning there's a hundred things that need my attention RIGHTTHISECOND!! We use an online attendance program, so I have to be at my computer checking attendance and getting it submitted on time, and it seems like there's always an email from the principal that needs attention, or a note from a parent that needs a reply, not to mention students who need to pay lunch money or need the phone pass because they forgot their lunch. ANNNND, please tell me my class isn't the only class that has kids dilly dally forEVER at the coat rack.... Hanging up a coat and backpack should NOT be so complicated!!

So, as you can tell, the first 15 minutes are a blur every. single. morning. This year we are trying a block schedule, which I thought was a great idea, until 2nd grade was put in the very first block at 8:45 (and our tardy bell rings at 8:40... Eek! Talk about a busy morning)... So, I'm still not sure exactly how the self-start will work in my classroom this year (my guess be that when we return to the classroom at 9:30, I will have them work on the self-start, since most mornings we will start somewhere other than our classroom). But, either way, I still swear by self-starts. The two important things to remember about a self-start is that it must be both SIMPLE and CONSISTENT. It is important for kids to internalize this skill. This should be as natural as waking up in the morning. They should come in the classroom, hang up their backpack, turn in their homework, and get started on their self-start. Of course, this is going to take some major training at the beginning of the year. The more time you put into it at the beginning of the year, the better off your whole year will be! For the past few years, I have had a self-start basket with these little half-sheets of paper for the kids to work on.  
They knew that after they had hung up their bags and turned in their homework, they picked up this paper and began working on it while I took attendance and checked their planners. The only problem with these books is that they were created before the common core (BCC as I call it)... Some companies are scrambling to align their products to meet CC standards, and other companies (such as arithmetic developed daily) have said that they have no intention of updating their products.  That's what makes today's giveaway so great.... I've rounded up all sorts of common core aligned goodies to get your mornings off to a great start. Be sure to scroll down to the rafflecopters at the bottom to enter each giveaway. Because so many of these are grade specific, there will be a lot of rafflecopters this week. Enter as many as you want that apply to your grade!!

The other thing I wanted to talk about is homework. The dreaded word.... Every parent's (and many teachers') worst nightmare. As a brand new teacher, I never assigned homework, other than when students were absent. The only homework my little firsties had was to read 20 minutes each night. I honestly didn't know much about homework and was surprised that so many parents WANTED homework for their kids... To this day, I have a love/hate relationship with homework. Aside from the reading homework (which is a mandatory school-wide requirement as part of our participation in the "Road to Success" program), we have been told that students should have 10 minutes of homework per grade level they are in (so 1st grade = 10 mins, 2nd grade = 20 mins, 3rd grade = 30 mins, etc.). Everyone has their own philosophy on homework, and nobody is right or wrong when it comes to this topic. Now, I am definitely not an expert, but I'm going to tell you my beliefs about homework. First off, I agree with the 10 minutes per grade. That is a good rule of thumb. My students have (on average) 40 minutes or less of homework each day. The 20 minutes of reading is really non-negotiable. We all know that reading is the key to becoming a better reader.... Kids should be reading EVERY DAY at home. The only other homework I assign is spelling (and seriously, it is nothing glamorous.... I have a paper that another teacher made, and frankly, that's good enough for me. Ain't nobody got time to deal with making spelling homework pages every week), fluency (this can be done with 6 minute solution, decodables, anything that you already have... Don't make it complicated), and math 3-4 times per week. Math is probably my least favorite homework to assign, because our new common core math text is a little bit hard, and some of the homework is confusing even for the parents.  I also give my students math flash cards and tell them to practice the basic addition facts.

The thing I've learned about homework is that a student's in class performance will tell me whether or not they are actually DOING their homework or not (even if their planner is signed each and every day). If they are not passing off their math facts on rocket math, I know they are not practicing their flash cards at home. If their DIBELS scores don't increase as I progress monitor them, I know that they aren't reading at home. If their spelling test score is low, they are probably not practicing at home each day like they should be. The more years I've taught, the less I seem to correct from day to day (I either do a quick check and skim over it, or we correct the paper together in class.) I have found that a 5 (A) child will usually turn in 5 quality work.... A 4 (B) child will turn in 4 quality work, and so on. It doesn't seem to matter if I correct 5, 10, or 100 assignments.

Wow, this has become another novel. Sorry everyone! Here's a quick overview of everything up for grabs this week!! Giveaways close Wednesday night at midnight mountain standard time! Thanks for entering and good luck!
** please note, the “leave a comment” option is on every rafflecopter… one comment will cover all the “comment” entries :)

Up first is a fabulous Monthly Learning Journal from Ashleigh’s Education Journey. Read more about it here.  I am so excited to use this in my classroom this year! 3 lucky winners are going to snag this amazing packet!! This is great for a self-start, fast-finisher, homework, or anytime activity!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Next I have 2 sets of math prompts from Jennifer at Teaching With Grace.  She has these for both kindergarten and 1st grade! One kindergarten teacher and one 1st grade teacher will win these! This is a year-long resource that is incredible! (make sure to include your grade in the rafflecopter!)


a Rafflecopter giveaway

One winner is going to snag a cute owl-themed year-long spelling packet from Laura Love to Teach.  This is so much cooler than the lame spelling homework I send home with my students… looks like I might need to revamp things a little!

a Rafflecopter giveaway  
LaToya from Flying into First is donating 2 of her 1st grade morning work packets. These would have been great to have as a first year teacher!

a Rafflecopter giveaway  
Angela from The Daily Alphabet is donating a whopping 222 page packet of Kindergarten morning work for the ENTIRE YEAR… one lucky teacher is going to hit the jackpot with this giveaway!! (If only I had the patience to teach kindergarten!!)

a Rafflecopter giveaway
The Fab 4 teachers are offering their RTI letter and sound identification practice pages… another great resource for all you amazing kindergarten teachers! Read all about it here!  3 teachers will be lucky enough to win this great packet!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

And last, but certainly not least, is a STELLAR math homework packet from the super talented Lory Evans.  Maybe I’m just a little bit biased since she is also from Utah, but I swear this woman must have super-human powers to do all that she does.  Lory has revolutionized math homework as we know it… I am SO excited to try this out.  I don’t know why I bother making anything… as long as Lory continues to teach 2nd grade, I’m set! I love everything she makes!!
a Rafflecopter giveaway **BONUS** Every Winner is also going to win an incredible reading log from 2nd grade surprise!  She has these created for grades 1 – 5 and they are awesome!! Take a look for yourself:

Friday, July 19, 2013

Utah Teacher Blogger Meet Up & Winners

**First off, be sure to read all the way to the bottom for some freebies and discounts on some of the products that were highlighted this week!**

I am so excited for the Utah Blogger/Teacher meet up next month.  Are you a teacher in Utah? If so, click on the picture above and join us for some food and fun. As a newbie to the teacher/blogger world, I hope I don't embarrass myself in front of all the celebrity bloggers we have here in Utah. I recently went to observe the fabulous Rachelle from What the Teacher Wants, and felt like I'd been given a backstage pass at the grammys!  Seriously, she is AMAZING! I can't imagine a whole restaurant filled with other amazing teachers.  It's gonna be a fun day!  Thanks to Lindsey, aka the Teacher Wife, for organizing this awesome event.

And now... drumroll please.... the winners are.....

For Mel's coupon packs:
1. Rebecca D.
2. Heather K.
3. Helen Jo M.

Behavior bundle pack:
1. Sam T.

Kindergarten Planner:
1. Krystal H.

Teaching with Grace Planners:
1. Angie W.
2. Christie N.

A Modern Teacher (Winners Choice!)
1. Katie N.

Miss Teaching Resources 101:
1. Stacey C.
2. Brooke F.

Miss V's Busy Bees
1. Andrea L.
2. Jordan W.
3. Natalie J.

Also, if Breanne Simons is reading this, you are a winner, but rafflecopter garbled up your email address... so comment on here or email me with your email address so I can get your prize to you!!

Congrats to all the winners, and thanks to everyone who entered! I enjoyed reading all of your comments and wish that every single one of you could win!! Be sure to watch your email this weekend for your prizes (and please be patient if it doesn't get sent right away... some of the teacher-authors are on vacation right now!)

Be sure to check out the following products, which are on sale this weekend!
Lemonade Classroom Management (20% off Saturday & Sunday)

Laura's Classroom Reward Coupons

Essential Binder & Calendar (40% off!!)

Miss Teacher Resources 101 - whole store is on sale!!

Miss V's Busy Bees - 15% off her entire store!

Remember to come back on Monday for another fun round of giveaways! Next week we will be discussing morning work / self starts, and homework (9 packets, 13 winners... it's going to be AWESOME!!)  And if you didn't win, don't feel bad..... here's some awesome freebies you can snatch up! 

Back to school printable sign from April @ A Modern Teacher

Lemonade Name Tags & Daily 5 signs from Teaching Ever After

Managing Work Stations from Teaching with Grace

Alphabet Memory Match from Miss Teacher Resources 101

Book Review Templates from Miss Teacher Resources 101

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Giveaway Week 2 - Classroom Management & Organization {part 2}

Welcome back!  Yesterday’s giveaway was so big that it’s continuing today!  Today’s topic is classroom management… this is one of the BIGGEST challenges that teachers face… starting off on the right foot with classroom management can make or break your entire year.  So, first I’m going to tell you a few things I do, then I will highlight a few of my favorite products that can help you get off to a great start this year!  One of the most basic tips that has saved me thousands of headaches and arguments is so simple, I wish someone would have told me this as a new teacher (no worries, I figured it out on my own after 3 or 4 years!)… so, what’s the big secret?? It’s simple… Number. Your. Students.  That’s it.  Number them.  Why, might you ask?  Well, initially, I decided that I needed numbers for the times when the office would call to tell me that little Susie got sick at recess, and would I please send her backpack down to the office so she could leave?  Well, I had 29 kids (mercy me!!), how was I supposed to know which powder puff backpack was hers??  It was a nightmare.  So I decided that numbering the hooks might make my life easier… but I didn’t do it right then… sigh… the next year, I encountered more problems with my numberless class… I basically had 2 types of students.  Those who ALWAYS had to be first in line, and those who lingered at the end and kept running away to be at the BACK of the line… OY!  Trying to bring my class in from recess was a 3-ring circus.  It was then that I finally decided to number them.  With numbers, there was no pushing and shoving to be the first OR last in line.  Recess started looking like this: bell rang, kids lined up, we all walked inside.  I swear I could hear angels singing.  Initially, I numbered the kids in ABC order based on first names, because that was easier for them to make sense of, but the past few years I have switched to using their last names, simply because it matches our attendance and gradebook, which is all online, and is a pain in the rear to go in and rearrange names.  Now, to be fair, my last name was closer to the END of the alphabet, and I was always jealous of my best friend, whose last name started with a C… he ALWAYS got to be near the front!!  So, to solve this problem, I have a “line leader” and “caboose” helper each week… so everyone gets a controlled chance to be first and last… I never have any arguing or pushing and shoving in line!

But, wait, the numbering system gets even better!!  I use the students’ numbers for all sorts of things.  My coat racks are labeled with big vinyl numbers, so there’s no pushing and shoving at the coat rack (and, bonus, I now know where Susie’s backpack is when she’s sick!).  Students write their numbers on their assignments, so I can quickly see who hasn’t turned in their assignment, and entering grades online is a breeze.  When there’s a fire drill, kids know to line up in “number order” as I call it, and I quickly count to see who is here and who is missing.  Students sign off their homework each morning on a numbered chart (that’s another post for another day, I promise!) and again I can quickly see that 7, 9, and 20 didn’t bring back their homework.  I will think to the day before and check if anyone was absent, then I will write their numbers down so they can finish their homework at a later point in the day.  I also use their numbers for my card pull chart, which is the classroom management my school uses.  I know everyone has an opinion about card pull charts… personally, I like them… however, it’s a school-wide requirement that we use them, so, yeah… I have used the card pull system for 7 years now, and still have my original card pull chart.  It’s kind of in sad shape, but every year I keep hoping it will make it through just one more year… this year I had a child get mad and rip his pocket off, but it was easily repaired with some packaging tape and a quick trip through the laminator ;) see, problem solved! HA!  Whatever classroom management tool you choose, the most important thing is to be consistent with it.  At my school, everyone starts on green every day.  The first card pull moves you from green to yellow, and yellow is simply a warning.  I always have to remind parents of this, because they often freak out or get very upset with their children for consistently pulling yellow cards.  Kids are not allowed to move back to green until the next day, so if they get a warning but stay on yellow, it’s still a successful day for the most-part.  If the misbehaving continues, they will pull to red.  Red cards result in 5 minutes of missed recess.  I make them write behavior sentences during those 5 minutes.  If the problems continue, they then move on to orange, which is called “stop and think time”… they have to fill out a problem-solving paper in another classroom and take a 15 minute cool-down break.  If that STILL doesn’t solve the problem, they are on blue, which is an office referral, and they get to visit with the principal… it’s VERY rare for kids to get on orange or blue… usually blue cards are a result of physical aggression and a white slip… (if they are sent to the principal’s office for BIG problems, or get suspended, etc., then it’s an automatic blue card).  Now, that’s how we do it as a whole school, so it’s great because by the time the kids are in 2nd grade, they are familiar with the program.  I have worked in schools where everyone did their own thing, and many teachers chose NOT to use card pulls.  Find what works best for you and stick with it!!

 Here’s an example of a card pull chart from lakeshore… I can’t find a picture of mine, and I’m not going into school just to take a picture :) mine is basically just a poster with library envelopes and colored cardstock, but you get the idea:
Today’s giveaways are all about classroom management, and the best thing about these packets is that they will complement any existing behavior program you may already have in place!  Up first is a set of AMAZING behavior coupons from the self-proclaimed teachaholic, Mel D., who blogs over at Seusstastic Classroom Inspirations.  Mel recently wrote a FABULOUS post about classroom management, and I would encourage you to check out the entire post here, which explains her packet in greater detail. (She is also writing an e-book, which I can’t wait to read!!) Anyway, THREE lucky winners are going to snag her AWESOME coupons.  I’ll be honest, I struggle with rewarding students for doing the things that they are SUPPOSED to be doing at school… and I’m not the most creative teacher on the planet, so I’m not good at coming up with rewards that kids will like and be motivated to earn.  Well, with Mel’s packet, there are 65 options for you to choose from… certainly there might be something that you can handle, right??  Mel has spent her entire summer revamping this amazing packet and it’s guaranteed to work wonders in your classroom!  Take a look at this awesomeness:

The next few items will be bundled together for one lucky winner!  Remember to scroll to the bottom to enter today’s giveaways!!

Up first is a great coupon packet from Laura at Peace, Love, and First Grade. She has compiled 50 darling coupons, and almost all of them can be implemented without spending a penny!!

Next is a brilliant classroom management system from Stacey at Teaching Ever After.  She has come up with a darling lemonade-stand style classroom management set… I LOVE the “sour notes” and “cool it” cards! You can read more about her system here.

And finally, the lucky winner will get a set of jungle-themed punch cards and an “all about me” packet from Dilly Dabbles.  I love punch cards / sticker charts to keep a few struggling kiddos focused.  Some kids need something right on their desk to motivate them, and these are a perfect solution.  The “all about me” poster would be great as an incentive that they get to share with the class when they have earned 12 punches, or as a fun back to school activity to share with the class as the year begins.

Hurry and enter… this giveaway closes Wednesday night at midnight!!

a Rafflecopter giveaway a Rafflecopter giveaway

Monday, July 15, 2013

Giveaway Week 2 - Classroom Management & Organization {part 1}

Welcome back for another fun-filled week of giveaways!  Now that we’ve conquered back-to-school open house basics, let’s talk about getting organized.  It seems like no matter how hard I try, I always feel like I’m running around like a chicken with my head cut off the first few weeks! Over the years, I have learned a few tricks to help me get organized and not feel stressed at the beginning of the year.  One of the most important things we need as a teacher is a good planner… and as teachers, we are all on a tight budget!  I always feel so much better walking into school Monday morning knowing that my planner is filled and my week is organized and ready to go.  I will be honest, this is one area that doesn’t stress me out too much…I generally use whatever planner the principal buys for us, or the free planner Lakeshore offers during the back-to-school sale. However, I recently discovered that there are designer planners out there that cost an arm and a leg… EEK!  Seriously, yes, they are beautiful, but $60?! I would much rather buy the new Ogio bag that I've been eying for a few months!  Today, I have not just one, but NINE awesome planners up for grabs!  These planners are just as cute and trendy, and can easily fit within every budget.
(Each planner is linked to the individual listing on TPT… be sure to check them out!)

This first planner is specifically for you wonderful kindergarten teachers... There's a special place in heaven for you, I'm sure of it!  This planner was designed by the darling Lori @ Conversations in Literacy with kindergarten teachers in mind... it has everything you need to administer kindergarten letter, number, shape, and color recognition, in addition to name and number writing.  This will have it's own rafflecopter since it's Kinder-specific :)

Next up is Jennifer from Teaching With Grace.  She is offering 2 of her Essential Binder and Calendar sets which have everything you need to get organized and ready for the new school year.  I love the color scheme she went with, and the overall simplicity of the set. Check it out:

Up next is April from A Modern Teacher… April has a HUGE variety of planners available in her store, and there’s sure to be one to meet your needs… (yes, even the upper grade teachers have options to choose from)… Am I allowed to enter my own giveaway? Because seriously, I am in LOVE with those owls!!  One lucky winner is going to score ANY planner from April’s store!!
 Next is a darling black& white planner from Miss Teacher Resources 101.  2 lucky winners are going to snag this awesome planner and be ready for the new school year!

The last planner I’m highlighting comes from Sara at Miss V’s Busy Bees.  3 of you have the chance to win her ultimate teacher planner… this planner is one you can use over and over because the calendar pages are blank!  There’s also a to-do list, parent communication log, daily schedule, and more.  Take a look then enter below for your chance to win!
This post has already gotten rather long... so... come back tomorrow for part 2, which will be all about classroom management and have even more great giveaways!

Ok here's all the rafflecopters... I'm going to try and keep this simple. The giveaway will run until Wednesday at midnight so that I can get all the winners' info gathered on Thursday and hopefully post everything on Friday.  Next giveaway will start on July 22nd, so make sure to come back for even MORE stuff!! :)
Kindergarten Planner: a Rafflecopter giveaway All the rest of the planners: a Rafflecopter giveaway

Friday, July 12, 2013

Facebook Finds Friday & WINNERS :)

Today I'm linking up with my friend Mindy for a little thing she likes to call "Facebook finds Friday".. basically, you find funny photos throughout the week, and post them on Fridays :) Mindy and I met in college (through an online class, ironically, which was a rarity back in the olden days of the early 2000's! HA), so it seems fitting to be linking up with her blog now :) So without further adieu, here's a few funny things I've found on facebook this week!
 I laughed when I did my laundry this week... it was mostly swimming suits and pajamas! Oh how I love summer! (and yes, my friends frequently come over in pajamas... and we will go out in public to get dinner and come back to watch movies or play just dance... cuz we're awesome like that!)
 HAHAHA!! I laugh every time I see a status update from friends who have children, asking how many more days until school starts again??  (I haven't counted... it will only depress me)... someday, I will LOVE being a stay at home mom, and will treasure those long summer days... but for now, I will enjoy each and every moment at the pool since I don't have kids :)
I don't think there's anyone out in the teacher-blogger land who is sweeter than Denise (aka "SunnyDays"). I just adore her!!  I really want to frame this photo and hang it in my classroom next year.
 'nuff said.
 Oh math... how we love thee so...
 this one also made me laugh... and basically sums up how I feel right now... I want to sleep!!
I've never been to a high school reunion... don't really see the point now with facebook... I stay in touch with those I want to be in touch with :) But there is something funny about this one!!
And now we'll end on a positive note :)
Which one was your favorite??

ANNND... finally... the moment you've all been waiting for..... drumroll please....
The winners are: Dani, Linda, Kirsten, Breanne, and Theresa... be sure to watch your email for your prizes this weekend :)

Congrats to all the winners, and thanks to everyone who entered... be sure to stop back on Monday for week 2 of giveaways.... it's so big, it will have to be split into 2 parts!
Also, if you didn't win, don't feel bad... you can still snag the items for 20% off (or more!) this weekend at TPT... (the items will be on sale Saturday & Sunday only)
Christina's Open House Packet (She just BARELY updated it with even MORE pages, be sure to check it out!!  Her packet is already on sale so head on over and grab it now!)
Becca's Helping Hands Volunteer Packet - 40% off!! Makes the price only $2.40! WOW!!!


Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Welcome to Wednesday

Welcome to Wednesday. I just wanted to give you a quick update on the giveaway... It was going to be open until Thursday at midnight, but I've decided to close it TONIGHT at midnight... I just got moved from the wait list on a class that I apparently registered for last month, so I will be in class all day Thursday and Friday (in addition to ANOTHER class that I just signed up for next week, having forgotten about the other one.... And I'm THISCLOSE to a lane change, so I want to go to the classes and get my credits... However, I am not looking forward to 5 straight days of classes!) anyhow, hurry and enter if you haven't already! I will post the winners on Friday and the next set of giveaways will start on Monday.... Let me just tell you, it's so big, I might have to split it into TWO posts! You will not want to miss it :) and, if I learn anything cool in my classes, I'll post about that too.... It's all about how to use your iPad in the classroom, so it might actually be useful :)

In the meantime, head on over to Christina Bainbridge's blog for a chance to win something awesome from learning resources! 

Monday, July 8, 2013

Giveaway Week 1 - Back-to-School

Welcome to week 1 of my back-to-school giveaways… this week we are going to focus on the actual back-to-school stuff!  If you’re like me, you are still enjoying your summer and don’t even want to begin thinking about open house, back-to-school night, or meet-the-teacher morning…. However, it is already July, which means we will be back in our classrooms again before we know it!! (Can someone please tell me where the entire month of JUNE went?!)  Ok, so at my school, we have an open-house the first morning of school, and parents rotate around the school to meet their students’ teachers for the first hour, while the PTA and Watch Dogs keep the kids busy outside.  This is a fun, but stressful morning! Parents have so many questions and they ALL want to talk to you about their little Johnny or Jane. 

Before you start to stress, take a deep breath and remember that it’s okay to just be “good enough” at your open house. Whether it’s in the morning, evening, before school starts, or after school starts, the lovely Christina Bainbridge has you covered.  Christina has an awesome open house packet that has everything you could ever imagine for an open house (and a few things you probably HAVEN'T thought of, like a snack table!! Brilliant.) The great thing about this packet is that all I have to do is print it, and it's ready to go. My #1 rule as a "good enough teacher" is to never reinvent the wheel.  If something great already exists, I would rather spend a few dollars on it than spend HOURS trying to come up with something on my own.  There's no shame in buying an amazing open house packet (and at $4.00, it's a steal for how great it is!!)  Oh, and did I mention that this packet is EDITABLE?! Oh yeah!!  I can type in my class information, print it, and BAM! everything is ready for open house.  Parents show up, I look awesome, and nobody knows my little secret (well, except all of you, because I just told you :) )

Here's a glimpse into this fabulous packet:

After going through this packet, I am *almost* excited for school to start again :) And, the best part about this packet is that it’s already made! Look how many HOURS I just saved myself!!  (More time to hang out at the pool and enjoy the hot summer days!)  See, being "good enough" is really GREAT!

Another fabulous back-to-school resource that I am super excited to use this year is
a set of back to school editable organizational files from teach4real.  This packet is filled with spreadsheets and other editable documents so  that you can add your own class information, print it, and you're set! The documents include student transportation info, a student information sheet, student directory, supply list, customizable welcome letter and more!  Take a look at what's included (I love the cute cover page!!):

 teach4real has offered to give THREE lucky winners this pack!!  Use the Rafflecopter below to enter!

Now, while we're already on the subject of open-house, let's discuss parent volunteers.  I already know what some of you are thinking... "parent volunteers?! How do you get parent volunteers??"  Believe me, I understand.  I have taught in many different settings over the years... I've had parents SO involved that all I had to do was show up at school and my party was all planned, organized, and supplied (which is SUPER AWESOME), and I've also been in schools where parents never step foot in the classroom and I'm on my own for every. single. party. OY! Needless to say, I've become great at simple party planning... remember, 7 year olds are easy to impress :) 

So, back to volunteers... Occasionally I have parents who are able to come into the classroom and help out, but it's not always a consistent, set schedule, and I'm sometimes caught off-guard and don't have anything ready for them. (sound familiar??) Luckily, the talented Adrianne over at "The Tutor House" has created a great binder-system to use in the classroom.  As soon as I saw her binder set, it was love at first sight! This binder has everything you need to get parents involved in your classroom: step-by-step directions to get your volunteer program up and running, volunteer sign up sheets, confidentiality agreements, reading guide (complete with a reading strategies poster and recording sheets!), word study list and games (including game boards and directions), common core math vocabulary (some of those fancy math words can be confusing!!), divisibility tips, and quick and easy math games using a deck of cards.  This binder will make my life so much easier when parents show up at the last minute and want to help.  Take a look, isn't it great?!

In addition to in-class volunteers, I've had many parents over the years who have offered to help at home, because they all work full-time, but I've never known how to organize and execute great at-home volunteering (therefore, I've never utilized parents as much as I could have, and end up bringing home WAAAAY too much stuff to finish on my own!)  This is where Becca Foxwell comes to the rescue!!  Becca has designed the most amazing parent-volunteer system called "Helping Hands", and let me just say... this is nothing short of brilliant!  I think I already everything I need to assemble my "helping hands" bags, and can't wait to get them put together.  I have not yet used this system, but am SO EXCITED to implement it in my classroom this fall.  She has written multiple blog posts about how she uses parent volunteers, so I know this system really and truly works.  Parents can sign up when they come to your open house or back-to-school event, or you can send a note home to parents who aren't able to attend those events. Look at how awesome this packet is:

Christina, Adrianne, and Becca have offered to give their packets away to 2 lucky readers... you can enter by using the rafflecopter below. The contest will run from Monday until Wednesday night at midnight.  If all goes as planned, I'll have the winners posted Friday night or Saturday :)