Sunday, September 29, 2013

Second Grade Educents Bundle!

Remember how I introduced you to educents earlier this summer? We I have been in LOVE with all the great curriculum bundles they have put together lately, and am SO EXITED to finally get to be a part of the fun!!

Presenting... drumroll please... the 2nd grade curriculum bundle!! YAY :) I know you will love my "Dollars and "Sense" Bundle": single & multi-step money word problems. This engaging task-card set has 24 single-step and 24 multi-step word problems involving money. Perfect for 2nd graders who are struggling to grasp the concept of counting coins as well as those who are familiar with coins and ready for a challenge! You will receive 2 sets of task cards for each set – one set with colorful backgrounds and pictures of US currency on each card, and one set with no pictures or background. And this is just one of the 24 awesome packets included; there is a total 1058 pages in all! WOW!
When I first joined TPT back in February, this was my very first product, and it has been very popular! I gave it a shiny new makeover just for the educents bundle, and haven't even had time to upload the new version to TPT... so you are seeing it for the FIRST TIME here in the educents bundle!

"Dollars and 'sense' bundle" - just one of the 24 awesome products you can purchase through educents right now!

here's a closer look at the bundle, complete with a colorful makeover!

There are 23 other amazing products in our bundle to get your kids learning!  Hop along to "Journey of a Substitute Teacher" to see what's next in all the goodies you will get! (HINT: I'm soooo excited for her product!)  


But that's not all!  I am giving you a chance to Pin It to Win It (well, you can win any item from my store.)  Pin any image from my blog and enter below to win!
a Rafflecopter giveaway

The deal won't last long so head over now!

Saturday, September 28, 2013

something's coming...

Hey teachers, something big is coming tomorrow... can't wait! Come back Sunday to find out what it is!!

Friday, September 27, 2013

GNO part II - my review :)

If you remember my post on burnout earlier this summer, you may remember that I set a goal to do more outside of school and have more of a life... so this post has nothing to do with teaching, but has everything to do with taking time for yourself and getting out of the classroom!
Have you ever heard of cardio ballet? Cardio Barre recently opened in Quarry Bend, so I rounded up a few friends and we headed out for a fun-filled, energetic girls night out.
I was super excited to try this workout, because I took ballet and pointe for many years growing up... However, as they called out "first position, third position" I found myself having to think for a minute or two... clearly I need to brush up on my ballet skills!
we were posing with our cell phones as part of their instagram challenge... so in addition to working out, we were trying to snap some creative photos to win prizes! It was very fun and creative for sure!

I had so much fun! Any workout that starts with Imagine Dragons, rocks on with Maroon 5, and ends with a little "blurred lines" (I know I shouldn't like that song, but dang it's catchy!!) is a win in my book!  Who knew ballet could rock?!

I am excited to go back and try it again.  I am definitely more comfortable in my weekly zumba class, because I have been going to that for over a year, so hopefully by trying cardio ballet a few more times, I will feel more confident in this type of workout as well.  It is totally different from zumba, and I could feel the burn for DAYS after the class.

I am in love with the vinyl tree in the kids play area... how fun would that be in a classroom?!?

Subway Sandwiches, smoothies from Red Mango, and loot bags (complete with socks, a plush towel, and a tank top... now I'm ready to go to a second class in style!)

Thank you Cardio Barre and Lole SLC for hosting us and providing us with a great evening, snacks, and loot :) If you live here in Utah, you definitely need to check them out!


GNO - Cardio Ballet

Have you ever heard of cardio ballet? Cardio Barre recently opened in Quarry Bend, so I rounded up a few friends and we headed out for a fun-filled, energetic girls night out. I asked one of my friends to write the post for this, because who doesn't love a guest post every now and then?! (And because I was too sick to care... this class was 2 days before I ended up at instacare... the rest of September is mostly just a blur!) So please welcome my friend C, who will be reviewing our trip to Cardio Barre!
A & C - sisters & guest bloggers for the day :)
One recent Thursday night, my friends and I were long past due for a Girl's Night.  What do you do for Girl's Night when you have a stay at home mom, a teacher, a medical professional, and a business professional all of whom work crazy hours.....find time to work out together, so we all can try to maintain some sanity in our lives.  I've been trying to focus on working out more (and not just more work!), so we decided to check out the opening of  the new Cardio Barre in Quarry Bend! 
I've been watching for these types of classes and was glad I got a chance to attend one at Cardio Barre.  The class is fast paced, with fun music, and new moves to keep you going.  I loved the soft carpeted floor and that they had the weights that you needed there.  There is a lot of space on the floor and the barre space which makes the workout more enjoyable. 

It was a fun workout and I can see this type of workout keeping me motivated to leave my work and go enjoy an hour to myself.
Thank you Cardio Barre and Lole SLC for hosting us and providing us with a great evening, snacks, and loot :) If you live here in Utah, you definitely need to check them out!


Friday, September 20, 2013

Ikea-style classroom makeover

Oh. My. Goodness. I am SO tired!!  Why is the beginning of the year ALWAYS so exhausting?!?!  Every year I think it will get easier... it never does... *sigh*.... so, sorry this post is about a MONTH late...but better late than never!  So this summer, I had the awesome opportunity to go to Ikea and participate in a special catalog launch party for bloggers... I called up 2 of my teacher friends and we headed to ikea for breakfast and shopping!
Ikea breakfast... yum! Much better than the muffins or slimfast I end up taking to school for breakfast each day.
 I had been busy blogstalking other teachers all summer, and had already planned on getting some things at Ikea, so I was super excited to explore {confession: I've only been to Ikea once or twice before with friends... and the store OVERWHELMS me! So I've never *really* explored it!!}

My main Ikea inspiration came from the lovely Tracy @ Creekside Teacher Tales... I saw this storage bin and was in LOVE:

Click on the picture to visit Tracy's blog and learn more about her writing centers!

And yet... as I am working on this post... I just realized I don't have a picture of this in my classroom! LOL... mine is not NEARLY as cute as Tracy's, so maybe it's better that I don't have a picture... I haven't had time to get the cushion made to put on top of it... and I am using mine to store all sorts of different random things... I am already thinking about buying another one!  I love it!!
RUGS! I've been teaching for 9 years and have never had a rug! One of the teachers bought the orange one, then another teacher saw my pictures and bought the black one! Can't beat it for $20!

This button rug was love at first sight... but by the time we got to the rugs, I already had SO MUCH stuff in my cart.... so I took a picture and just kept drooling over it.... This rug was $40, and I knew I would need two... so I didn't buy it :(
Some of our loot! Obviously this picture doesn't do it justice since everything is in boxes... notice, all the PINK stuff is mine :)

Ok, so once our field trip was over, it was back to reality... time to set up my classroom!  I moved to a brand new school in my hometown and this is the beginning of the 3rd school year that we have been open.  My darling little 2nd graders love that they are the first group who has been in the school since Kindergarten... I don't really have "before" pictures (didn't really think of that back in June)... so just use your imagination with the plain "before" that the classroom was.

Oh, before I show you the classroom, here's some of my new school supplies... I think I could be on an episode of Hoarders for the insane amount of school supplies I buy every year!

Dry erase pockets, washi tape, duct tape, pocket charts, magnets, planner, calendar, supply totes, command strips, name tags, post-it notes, advil, Dr. Pepper {not pictured, but equally important!!}
I got most of my supplies at Target's dollar spot, and picked up a few items at Lakeshore as well.  That store is DANGEROUS! LOL!

Ok, enough rambling... time for the classroom tour!

This is the view as you enter my room... I hate the color red almost as much as I love the color pink... these desks are a total eye sore!!  Our principal decided to order all our school furniture in our school colors, red and black. *cringe*
Here's another view from my desk, opposite of the door.  I have my desk in the back of the room (and there is purposely no picture of my desk because it always looks like a bomb just exploded!)
my lunch basket... SO CUTE! I smile every time I see this!!  I took a plain toy basket and added some cute vinyl to it! {I won't mention the tragedy of my previous lunch basket.... let's just say that one child's bum was probably sore after he somehow managed to land in it and break it into pieces! I still don't know how it happened - and I was NOT the teacher in charge when it broke... but that's another story for another day}.
Computer Station / College Bulletin Board: We are supposed to encourage our students to think about college... so naturally I want them to know about the BEST college in Utah! Go USU!!
My favorite part of my classroom - my teacher table area!! I LOVE my new pink chair from Ikea... all I've had was one of the student (hard plastic) chairs, so this chair is a little piece of heaven! I might have to buy one for my house too. I love it that much!!

 Here's a few more pictures of my teacher table area.  Another teacher and I went to observe the darling Rachelle from "What the Teacher Wants" this summer, and she had the most adorable crate chairs... so of course we had to make them too... here's her tutorial if you're interested in making them too. (and if you're like me and don't have a husband to help you with the project, I suggest making the other teacher's husband do all the work, and buy them a gift card for dinner at their favorite restaurant.... yes, I'm shameless!!)  Prior to my makeover, all I had was plain black plastic chairs, and NO teacher chair... yup, I was chilling on a student chair too!

SWOON! I just love how these turned out!!  I got the cute fabric at Wal-Mart, ribbon at JoAnn's, and the totes at Wal-Mart and Target.... and I also learned the hard way that Target's crates are 1 inch shorter than Wal-Mart's (which makes NO sense considering that they are made by the SAME manufacturer... whatever)... so some of my cushions are a little too short... oh well!
I *love* my chair and whiteboard from Ikea.... these whiteboards are hundreds of dollars in teacher supply catalogs... At Ikea, they are under $20! Score!!
another picture.... just because it's so cute!
Also, now that we are using the crate seats, I just have to say again how much I love them! My students love that they can sit OR kneel on these and not get in trouble for tipping their chairs (I have tripped more than once when they are tipping their chairs to kneel or sit in some other random position). I love my new small group area :)

This is right behind my table... student coatracks / mailboxes. I LOVE Fancy Nancy and received the doll as a going away gift when I left my previous school.  The Cabbage Patch is dubbed my "favorite student" haha! She's adorable!
Listening center... the cart is from Ikea... this is one of the items that I went back for later on.... I love that it has wheels so I can roll it around easily.  I think I need to add some vinyl to the sides and jazz it up a  bit!

Remember the cute button rug I was in love with?! Yeah, totally went back and bought one... then another one!!  I love it! My students are very protective of it and take really good care of it! I'm sure it will get dirty in the winter, but it is SO CUTE! Definitely worth the cost because it makes me smile every time I see it :)

I don't have a lot of practical bulletin board space in my room, so I use one corner of my whiteboard for vocabulary. I found these cute magnetic border pieces at Lakeshore this summer and HAD to have them!! I got the pocket charts at Target, and cut the words out with a vinyl cutter (we have a professional vinyl machine at school)
These last 2 pictures are just to show how I organize my supplies at each table... the labels came from this pack made by the darling Cara Carroll.  I used washi tape to label the pens, pencils, scissors, and glue sticks at each table, so when things end up on the floor, I can quickly put them back where they go... sadly, I have already had to confiscate the scissors since a few students decided to give themselves haircuts one day... *sigh*... It's going to be a long year.

 Ok, that's all for now... I have a few more posts I need to get finished... I also have a cool freebie for you (I was going to include it today, but totally forgot to take pictures at school today, so I'll take a picture next week and get it posted!!) and I think there's another giveaway right around the corner.... so stay tuned!!


Sunday, September 15, 2013

Winners and other cool things

Happy Sunday! I wanted to quickly tell you a little bit about my new favorite store, Brookstone.  Have you ever been there?  I hadn't until recently, and I have to say, it was so cool!  I went to buy a fitbit, which all my friends bought this summer... so of course I had to be cool like them and get a fitbit too!

my fitbit one!

I had a few people ask about the fitbit after I posted a screenshot from my phone on facebook this week, so I wanted to share the scoop with you!  Fitbit is like an advanced pedometer that tracks steps taken, total miles walked, floors climbed, and it can even track your sleep if you want it to!  I also love competing against my friends each week to see who can take the most steps.  This has been the best purchase I have made in a while.  It has helped me become more aware of my daily activity, as well as my really bad sleep habits (I am really trying to go to bed before midnight on school nights!!) Here's a few screenshots to show you what it tracks:

first day of school - proof that teachers don't just sit around all day!

full day of school plus an evening Zumba class... I was EXHAUSTED!

this is what a GOOD night's sleep looks like

hmm... looks like I had a rough night...

you know it's going to be a bad day when your sleep looks like this!
I have insomnia, so these charts will be great to have next time I meet with my doctor to discuss sleeping pills, and see what the best options are to help me sleep better at night.

Right now, living social has a deal for Brookstone, where you can buy a $50 gift certificate for $25... that takes the total cost of the fitbit flex or fitbit one down to only $75, and believe me, it is worth it! BUT, since I already have a fitbit, I think this time around, I am going to purchase the super cool sand that they have at Brookstone.  I saw people playing with it at the mall last week, and was so curious!  Just look at this.... how fun would it be for a science activity table??  AND, I *love* that it doesn't make a mess!  Here's a little bit of info from the brookstone website:

SAND is kinetic—that means it's designed to stick to itself but not to you. It flows through your fingers just like wet sand, but leaves them completely dry and mess-free. And no matter how you pull, stretch and separate SAND (even if some gets on the floor), it always recombines easily. No vacuum cleaners or mops needed. But here’s the best part: when you’re ready to break out the SAND again, it’s just the same as it was when it came out of the jar. It never dries out and needs no liquid additives. If it does get wet, just let it dry out before playing with it again. It’s that easy.  
I'll be honest, I had a little too much fun playing with it at the store!  I don't have any pics from that day, because I was playing with it while my iphone was being repaired at the Apple Store... but trust me, it is SUPER FUN... I think my students will love it!
 And finally, the moment you've all been waiting for... I'm sorry to be so slow about posting the winners for last week's awesome giveaway... here's the lucky winners for the homework pack from Second Story Window! Be sure to check your email for your prize!
a Rafflecopter giveaway

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

The Quietest Pencil Sharpener

 Hi everyone, today I am talking about Classroom Friendly Supplies! Have you heard of them?? “Classroom friendly supplies” was created by a teacher, because who knows better than a teacher what a teacher needs, right?? I have seen countless posts about the "quietest classroom pencil sharpener" floating around the teacher / blogger world, but I was still a skeptic. I couldn't imagine that a small, hand-cranked pencil sharpener could possibly work better than my big bad beast of an electric pencil sharpener, so I contacted the creator, Troy, and told him of my disbelief. He immediately sent me one of his amazing pencil sharpeners to try in my classroom (and I must take a moment to apologize to Troy - the pencil sharpener arrived the day I was going out of town, and the day I returned, we ended up taking my dad to the ER, and the whole rest of the month is a blur between hospital visits and setting up my classroom!) Now that I have finally settled into something of a routine in my classroom, I was ready to break out the pencil sharpener and give it a shot. 
So here's what comes in the box.... I was surprised at how little is actually is. I put it side by side with my "beast" pencil sharpener, and it just looked so cute and tiny... 


I decided to try a few different pencils and do some side by side comparing, and I really think the photos speak for themselves.... I started with just a normal pencil and put one in each sharpener. Any guesses as to which pencil was sharpened by the quietest pencil sharpener?

Well if you guessed orange, you'd be right! I can't tell you how happy I was after just 1 pencil. But then came the real test. The pencils I have for my students are a little bit bigger / thicker than standard pencils, and I was worried that they wouldn’t fit…. Luckily they did, so I began sharpening… (I don’t think you could fit anything too much bigger in this sharpener though, so if you love the chubby kindergarten pencils, it might not work.)
Here's a side-by-side picture of my students' pencils prior to sharpening them.... Wowzers!! Just LOOK at those tips!! I was seriously in SHOCK! My "beast" pencil sharpener could never deliver a point like that. Not gonna lie, I was impressed.... I sharpened pencil after pencil...

I wasn't sure what to think when I came across this broken pencil.... As much as I love my indestructible pencils, there's always one child who will find a way to break these.... Once they are broken like this, I usually have to throw them away.... I decided to put the pencil sharpener to the ultimate test, and as you can see, it passed with flying colors!

All it took was one afternoon of sharpening and I was in love. But wait, it gets better... The quietest pencil sharpener is now available in PINK!!! Woah!!! Hold the phone.... I am definitely going to be ordering a PINK pencil sharpener to match all of the pink in my classroom (annnnd.... I know...I still need to post my classroom makeover pics... I will get to it soon, I promise!) Want to know the best part about the pink pencil sharpeners?  $1 from the sale of every Precious Pink Pencil Sharpener is donated to cancer research and awareness! Breast cancer is something near and dear to my heart, and has affected many of my family anything that supports cancer research is a win in my book.  And seriously?! How adorable is this?!?!
Oh, and did I mention that all of their orders include FREE SHIPPING?!  That's right. The price you see is the price you pay. No extra charges for shipping. And since most of us pay for many school supplies out of our own pocket, every little bit counts!
 Okay I have rambled on long enough.... One last thing to tell you about these pencil sharpeners.... The down side.... The morning after I sharpened all the pencils, my students definitely noticed a difference in the sharpness of the lead. My boys were running from table to table showing off their SHARP pencils.... And arguing over whose pencil was sharper. HA! It was so funny. You'd think they had never seen a sharp pencil in their entire lives. Three days later, the pencils were still going strong and I hadn't had to sharpen a single one. I think I am in pencil sharpener heaven! Thank you, classroom friendly supplies, for the awesome pencil sharpener!

PS, if you're still reading this, remember to enter for your chance to win the 1st grade homework pack from Second Story Window.  Click HERE  to enter.


Sunday, September 8, 2013

Second Story Window - Review & Giveaway

Have you heard of "Second Story Window"? Well if not, you are in for a treat. Second Story Window is the brain child of 2 wonderful sisters from right here in Utah, and they have some ahhh-mazing products in their TPT store. Today I am reviewing the brand-spankin-new 1st grade homework pack from them. (I teach 2nd grade, and they have TONS of 2nd grade resources too... Because they were 2nd grade teachers...But so many 1st and 3rd grade teachers loved their 2nd grade products that after many requests, they began making products for all of those teachers too!)
I don't know about you, but homework is something I struggle with... It's hard to have a consistent homework routine when things don't always go as planned from day to day. The math program I use does provide homework pages, but we can't always complete a lesson every single day, and sometimes the homework is confusing, so homework becomes frustrating and ineffective. That's what is so great about the homework packs from second story window. Take a look at some of these pages:

The packet is designed to be copied front to back then cut in half.... So it's just a simple half-sheet of homework every day. You can read more about their homework routine here. The packet comes with 100 days’ worth of homework.... If you want even more homework, there's an add-on pack that you can buy here.

I love this homework because all I have to do is copy, cut, and I'm ready to go. It doesn't matter if we get through the math lesson or not... It's a simple, consistent, half-sheet of paper that goes home every day. I photocopied it on colored paper so it's easily identifiable in students' backpacks each day. Parents know to look for either a gray "go math" page or a green "half-sheet" homework as I call it. The next morning as students are turning in their homework, I have a check off sheet that they mark so I can quickly see who has turned in their homework and who hasn't.... And for those who haven't turned in their homework, I have a few extra copies of the half-sheet ready for them to complete during 1st recess.

2 lucky winners are going to receive second story Window's 1st grade homework packet. Use the rafflecopter below to enter. Giveaway ends Wednesday night. Good luck!
a Rafflecopter giveaway