Monday, February 24, 2014

3 new products, pin it to win it!!

Woah.... I have been busy this past week!! If you're not following me on facebook  here's what you've been missing! Keep reading to find out how you can win one of these awesome packs!!

 Up first is "time-o" -- a fun and educational twist on a popular card game that kids know and love :) This packet features colored and black line cards and has EVERY TIME to five minutes (in both digital and analog). That's 200 pages of time-telling goodness!!

No sooner had I finished making "time-o", I had a lightbulb moment and decided to make another uno-style game for all of the basic math facts.... Thus "math-o"  was born!!
Math-o features 4 decks of cards: addition, subtraction, multiplication, and division. Each deck of cards has 36 problems along with their respective answers. The problems are called the "basic 36s"... If you are not familiar with the basic 36s, you can read more about them here. This is a great review game for any time of the year.  I plan on making a few sets to keep on hand for indoor recess!!

And as if those games weren't enough, I also made a whole pack of first grade common core aligned math vocabulary word wall cards  This has been requested for a while, but I just haven't had the time or energy to do much of anything! I feels good to be back in creation mode again :) I am hoping to make the 3rd grade set soon, so hang tight if you teach 3rd grade. Ummm, hello?! These are even cuter than my original second grade set!! I think I might have to give those a little makeover. I'm already jealous of the adorableness of this set!!
One more thing before the giveaway.... Did you hear the big news from TPT?! They are officially THREE MILLION MEMBERS STRONG. And that is a great reason to throw a sale :) the sale is on Thursday and Friday this week, and you can save up to 28% in my store by using the code TPT3 at checkout. My cart is already overflowing with goodies. Go load up your cart now and the products will all go on sale automatically on Thursday :)


And now it's your chance to win. Simply pin whichever product you would like to win, and enter the link using the rafflecopter below.... I'll pick a winner on Thursday so that you will know who the winner is before the sale ends on Friday (but don't worry, I'll leave my store on sale all weekend just in case you forget!)
a Rafflecopter giveaway

Saturday, February 15, 2014

Winner winner :)

Thanks to everyone who stopped by and commented this week... 

Congratulations Elizabeth!  Please check your email and respond within 48 hours :)

I hope you all survived your Valentine parties and are able to relax and enjoy your long weekend. We had a comp day on Friday for our parent-teacher conferences, so I am already feeling refreshed, and looking forward to sleeping in on Monday.  I'm working on a fun new game to help my 2nd graders with telling time... make sure you're following me on facebook and TPT so you will be notified as soon as it's ready :)

Friday, February 7, 2014

Valentine Love {a FREEBIE and a giveaway}

In honor of Valentine’s Day next week, I wanted to share the love with you, my wonderful blog readers and supporters!  Today I have an AWESOME freebie, and a giveaway :)  Read on for all the details!

As a first year teacher, I taught in a really nice area, and the room mother had an amazing valentine party planned for my class. All of my students made home-made boxes, and we had a great party. The following year, I moved to a low-income school, and quickly realized I was not going to have that same support. Being a new teacher, I was still REALLY into parties.... So of course I had to order cute valentine bags from oriental trading. I won't tell you how many hours I spent hot gluing fuzzy pom-poms to curly pipe cleaners... But it's safe to say that I've taken things down a notch or two over the years. I still enjoy parties, it just gets a little hard when you don't have a lot of parent support and have to plan it all yourself.... That's where the idea for these valentine bags were born. It actually started as a hallway bulletin board idea, then I realized they would look perfect on a bag.... Ta-da! I've been making these bags with my class for a few years now, and they always get a kick out of it. I make these bags with the whole class a few days before Valentine’s Day, which ensures that every child will have something to take their valentines home in. My students are still welcome to decorate a box at home, but I realize that not everyone gets to do that, so these bags prevent any child from having to take their things home in a walmart bag.

Today I'm going to share them with you... you will be able to download the pattern and directions for FREE, exclusively on the blog :) (and I bet you already have everything you need to make these!)  If you use them and love them, please leave me some feedback... I love reading comments :)
Click on the picture for the pattern and directions.

And now… the giveaway!!  I had originally planned to do this for my birthday, but I was so sick that I had no energy to do ANYTHING… so why not do it now?! Up for grabs today is one of the “quietest pencil sharpeners” from Classroom Friendly Supplies… what better way to celebrate Valentine’s Day than with a super cute PINK pencil sharpener (I think I will have to give in and buy a pink one since I can’t seem to get lucky and win it on any other blog).

 I’ve told you before about how much I love this pencil sharpener, and I still swoon every time I sharpen my students’ pencils.  One week recently, I was being lazy and used my electric pencil sharpener, thinking that my students wouldn’t really notice… OH NO… they definitely noticed!! I even heard one student say “Look, she didn’t sharpen them all the way” LOL! Busted!! Lesson learned…. Always sharpen with the quietest pencil sharpener :)  Use the rafflecopter below to enter… and don’t worry, if PINK isn’t your thing, you can pick any color from their pencil sharpener collection.  Giveaway closes on February 15th, so the winner will be announced next weekend... stay tuned :)
** please note, this giveaway is open to US residents only due to shipping purposes. Thanks!

Sunday, February 2, 2014

Bright Ideas Blog Hop!

Welcome to the "bright ideas" blog hop.... today I wanted to talk about what I call "school-year resolutions".  So here we are, one month into 2014... and we've already failed at keeping our new year's resolution.... those 5 pounds that magically appeared over Christmas break don't seem to be going anywhere, and the house isn't quite as clean as you'd like it to be, right? How many of you can relate? See, here's the thing about new year's resolutions.... it's hard to start something new in the middle of the school year... I've never quite understood this mentality... perhaps it's because January is cold, dark, dreary, and frozen here in Utah, so I'm not exactly motivated to do much of anything when I leave school and it's already dark outside at 5 o'clock at night... but also because for as long as I can remember, my new "year" always started in August.... school usually started in August, dance classes would start in September... so that's when I would set goals... by January, I was already working hard on my goals, and didn't need to resolve to change anything, because they were already in place (and because in my school-year mind, January was NOT the beginning of a new year.... I was still in the same grade, I was still in the same dance classes... you get the idea).  Today I'm going to share with you a few of my SCHOOL-YEAR resolutions... maybe you'll find an idea or two that you like that will make your life a little bit easier :)

Resolution #1: have more of a life outside of school.... I talked about this at the beginning of the year when I talked about burnout... as teachers, we know that our job is never done... there's always one more thing that could be done. Is it any wonder that out students think we LIVE at the school? I decided that this year, that was not going to be the case. Yes, there are days when I leave, and things aren't quite as ready as I'd like them to be.... but as long as everything is ready for the next day, I take a deep breath, walk away, and tell myself that there's always tomorrow. My friends and I organized a monthly craft group, and we've had lots of fun finding ideas on pinterest and getting together to make them... we bring a treat to share, talk, laugh, and have a great time... and best of all, it's something OTHER than school.  Another group of friends and I buy groupons for various workout classes... I've been enjoying cardio ballet as of late... (well, I don't enjoy being sore for DAYS after class is over, but it really is a great workout! Gotta get in shape for HAWAII!)  I also bought season tickets to a local theater with some of my friends... it's great to have a scheduled girls night every once in a while.

Resolution #2: Not bring school home with me on the weekend... Ok, this one is a *little* bit hard for me... But I decided it was time to stop spending my Sunday nights hunched over my table, stressing about lesson plans for the week. I am not allowed to load up my rolling cart and bring all my planning materials home with me. I broke my rule ONCE this year, and guess what... the rolling cart never even made it into my house (something about carrying it up 15 stairs from the garage wasn't all that motivating either)... so I dragged it home for nothing.  I have to have my weekend AWAY from school. Now, this means that SOMETIMES I might stay at school REALLLLLLY late... but I'd rather put in one late night than drag stuff home. One quick example: back in December, the weather forecast said we were supposed to have a really bad snowstorm on the last day of school before Christmas, I knew that the school would be open for a few days over the break, but I didn't really want to spend my holiday break at school... so I stayed at school until around 7 one night, making sure that everything was 110% ready for the whole first week of January... let me just tell you, when I woke up on the last day of school before the break, and we had a good 10 inches of snow outside, I was SO GLAD I had stayed late to get things ready.... Here in Utah, we pretty much NEVER have a snow day, and this day was no exception.  It felt really good to walk out of the building at the end of the day without a SINGLE thing in my hand, knowing that the whole first week of January was mapped out and ready to go.  This was quite possibly the best Christmas present I've ever given myself.

Now, there's one little exception to this resolution... I bring papers home, but I don't correct them. My mom recently had to stop working due to some health issues, so she is stuck at home all day, and loves playing "teacher" for me (and thankfully she lives close enough that I can drop things off to her on my way home from school). I realize not everyone has this luxury, so here's a few time-saving tips to help with correcting papers:
  • choose ONE assignment to grade after teaching the skill a few times... put stickers on the other pages and don't worry about a score. 
  • if you have parents who want to volunteer, ask them to help with correcting papers {make sure this is okay with your administrator... we have the parents sign permission slips at the beginning of the year authorizing the students and volunteers to correct and/or pass back papers that have been graded}
  • correct some assignments together with the students... my kids feel so "official" when they get to use the "correcting pens" (aka red or blue ballpoint pens from Target).  Correcting their own paper can provide the kids with a great learning opportunity... they see their mistakes and fix it with the correcting pen... then I can just quickly look over the paper they have already corrected :)
Resolution #3: be okay with just being "GOOD ENOUGH" (big surprise, right?) I'll be honest here... I look around at other blogs and definitely feel overwhelmed... I am surrounded by SO MANY amazing bloggers who are far more experienced than I am... I see pictures of classrooms on pinterest, and I wonder how many hours (and $$$) it took to look like that... I see visual lesson plans posted, and I wonder when these amazing ladies even sleep!!  I have so much respect and admiration for them, but I have to remind myself that we are all at different points in our teaching journey, and at the end of the day, my students are still going to learn and grow in my "good enough" classroom.

Keep hopping along for even more great ideas.... up next is the ever-so-talented Alyssha at "Teaching and Tapas"... she has a fun blog post ready with some "minute to win it" activities that I know you're going to love! Alternatively, you may visit the link-up below and choose a topic that interests you. There's also a great board on pinterest that is filled with "bright" ideas.  Thanks for stopping by today :)