Saturday, May 25, 2013

Crayola goodness {on the cheap!}

It is no secret that I lu-uh-uv Crayola.  I won't use any other type of crayon, marker or colored pencil in my classroom and would rather spend my own money to buy replacements than use other brands that my kids donate because I can not stand a waxy, icky picture.  {teacher problems.}  My friends & family even think that my car smells like crayons even though I have looked multiple time and have never found a crayon rolling around in there in 10 years!!!
And now that I know how to get Crayola products on the cheap, I also love Zulily!!  Crayola is featured today...look at some of these deals.

{$7 dry erase ABC book - perfect for beginning of the year or reteach centers!}
{ABC & 123 floor mats - $7 for student made anchor charts!}
{3D chalk - $8.99 instead of $18! - so much outside fun!}

{mp3 player - $33 instead of $50 - hello listening center!}

{kid safe digital camera - $23 instead of $60!!}
{crayon aprons - $15 instead of $27 - hello art center!}
{ah-dorable crayon holders for portable centers - 50% off!!}
Zulily also has awesome deals on other clothes, adult clothes & maternity, home organizers {score!} & kitchen gadgets...books, art supplies & other toys.  As we good teachers know, anything great for home is even awesomer at school, am I right?!
I will say, if there's something you want, don't hesitate in adding it to your cart.  I've been cautious in the past and when I go back, they're sold out.  Good deals go quickly!  Click on any of the pictures to go to Zulily and check it out.  Membership are free and they're great about not sending a ridiculous amount of emails.And you can keep your receipt for a tax supplies!!!  ;) 

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Kinder-garrgh-ten Pirates!

Just in time for your beach, ocean & summer units...the pirates are here!  To go with my 2 previous posts on learning the {ar} sound and all sorts of pirate fun activities, the printable pirate pack is now complete!  :)

And yes, my loves, you can still get this sample page for free.  ;)

Have a fabulous long weekend!  I'm off to celebrate my sweet nephew's 1st birthday!!

Saturday, May 18, 2013

teaching adjectives.

My kids were having a hard time grasping how to add detail.  {I'm learning that it's a common ESL mistake to invert the sentences and write them out of order.  Never had to deal with this before!}  So we spent an entire week breaking down adjectives based on our five senses.  Each day we focused on one type of adjective and created an anchor chart where we brainstormed descriptive words and gave examples.

We practiced saying a sentence in the proper order to our elbow buddies then I let them choose words from the anchor chart to write their own sentences for practice.  I collected the pages and put them together so they could practice reading and saying detailed sentences at home.

Ours were practical but not super cute because they were just made on lined paper.  {And you know it was a busy busy week if I didn't remember to take any pictures!}

But I made this booklet for you so yours will be fab.  :)  Your kids can write detail words in the box as you brainstorm then practice writing sentences on the lines.  The point is to practice, they don't have to all be connected like in a story.  {ie. Socks smell stinky.  A cake smells delicious.  Lemonade smells fruity.  My mom smells fancy.}

OR if your students grasp the concept a little quicker, they can draw a picture in the box and write about it using lots of different descriptive words - like how a pizza party smells, tastes, sounds, etc.

However you choose to use it, enjoy your freebie, friends!

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

EOY printables {for K, 1st & 2nd}

Ah, my labor of love.  That's definitely what this packet was because I got to create it twice.  {As in...document shut down.  will not open.  google troubleshooting.  none work.  bang head on desk.  repeatedly.  start over from scratch.}

So, labor?  yes.  Love?  I hope so.  If you grab a copy, leave me some TpT feedback to make me smile.  I love specific's helpful for others to know if they want to purchase or not and it helps me know what you want when I create new units.  ;)

The packet has the pages shown before for students in Kindergarten, 1st & 2nd grade who are moving up to 1st, 2nd & 3rd.

On a side note, if you believe in the power of prayer, will you please add my sweet little friend Theo to your list?
{A little smile last week before things took another downhill turn.}
My 18 month old buddy went in for a kidney transplant on April 25th and has had every complication possible so far.  He's been in the OR 4 times in the last 3 weeks and every time they're about to move him from intensive care to regular recovery another major issue rears it ugly head. His parents, Nick & Natalie, have been nothing but amazing and faithful through the whole process.  But enough is enough  and we're really praying hard that Theo's body will not reject his aunt's kidney, that his organs and body parts will all begin to function properly {on their own} and just for healing in general.  We believe this kid is going to have a great story to tell someday but it's heartwrenching watching them go through it all right now.

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Class Dojo {super fab classroom management}

I just may have the solution to your EOY craziness!!!  And it's're going to love me for sharing.  :)

ClassDojo is my new favorite thing!  It's a website that tracks your students' choices.  Each student gets a little avatar next to their name and they can earn points for doing something great {being on task, helping a friend, participating} or lose points for making a not so great choice {being off task, not doing homework, showing disrespect}.

I keep mine pulled up on the SmartBoard where my students can see their points and be part of helping me track them.  It's easy enough to use that all I have to do is say "Great job Pinkalicious, you get a point for working so hard" and she just walks up to the screen, clicks her name & clicks "Hard Work."  Then her point total on the class screen goes up by a point!  {students with points are shown in green and students in the negative are shown in red}

From the home screen you can also take attendance, set a timer, choose a student at random {which is fun because it flashes through all of their names until it lands on one} or award points to multiple students at once.  You can also customize the behaviors to add things like "Walking quietly in line" or "Shouting out."  {Bonus: if you have iPad with internet you can take your dojo wherever you go!!}

We look at our whole class percentage each Friday to see how we're doing and set a goal for the next week.  With this report, I'd praise them for their on task-behavior and probably suggest some strategies for remembering to bring back homework.  I also like to compare the percentage to the week before.  If it goes up, we all get a little prize.

You can set a bigger goal for some of your fun EOY activities!  Maybe in order for your class to earn a special theme day they have to have 90% positive or higher as a group for a whole week?  Maybe some of your friends need a goal of having 80% positive or higher as individuals to participate in a field trip or school assembly?  There are so many possibilities.

Since Class Dojo is a website, parents and students can access it at home.  They each receive a special log-in code so they only have access to their account and it'll let parents see exactly what their child is receiving points for as well as which areas need growth.

If your parents don't have internet access, you can print each child's report to send home.  This is great if you have a student on a behavior plan because it keeps the data for you!!  {ie. how often they are off task}  Then you can work on strategies specific to the area they need to improve and track if the percentage increases or decreases each week.

For example, Diego here is fabulous at helping others but that could have a factor in his off task percentage being so high.  I would probably try to isolate him during work time and let his reward for on-task behavior be to go and help his friends or be a teacher helper...building on his overwhelming strength.

On the other hand, Barbie is doing a fab job in class but is having a hard time remembering to do her homework.  Since she's such a hard worker at school, I would probably make a phone call home to see if anything is going on that's keeping from doing her work - or if mom and dad even know that she's bringing work home!

I highly suggest that you check out and play around with the demo class.  It's fun.  It's free and it just might that change in classroom management that you need to get your kids motivated to make good choices again.  I have a feeling I'll be using it much earlier in the school year next year!!!

Sunday, May 12, 2013

Mother's Day {winner!}

Just a quick post today because I'm between Mother's Day celebrations with my mom & my mother-in-law!  But the winner of the awesome Origami Owl giveaway is...
Jean Brinkley!  Congrats on having the 18th comment in the giveaway post!!  :)  If you didn't win, have no fear!  Brooke is offering a free charm with the purchase of a locket & 4 charms for any readers who are still interested in getting one of these awesome lockets.  Email her at if you're interested...but the offer is only good for a limited time!  And tell her you're a Little Miss Glamour reader to get the discount!!  ;)

I wish all of you ladies a very happy Mother's Day and want to share with you an amazing letter to all of the types of moms that are out there.  It's from Amy Young at and I knew I wouldn't be able to say it any better.
{click on the picture if it's too small to read to go to her post!}

Love to you all!!

Thursday, May 09, 2013

composing & decomposing {CC K.NBT.1}

Composing & decomposing numbers.  This is a term I had to keep going back to because as I was looking for new strategies and ways to teach it I was like..."Wait.  What does that even mean?!"  :)  Basically, composing and decomposing is an intro to place value and helping students see that a "10" is really made up of a group of ones.

Here are a few things that have worked for us.  Starting with...s-l-o-w it down.  This is a concept that takes their brains in a new direction of thinking so let your math centers hibernate for a week or so and focus on some good, whole group instruction and practice time.

{Sing it}
Harry Kindergarten has done it again.  He's revamped his Numbers in the Teens song to get the kids singing about groups of tens and extra ones.  I started introducing this during our math brain break time a couple of weeks in advance just to get them familiar with it.

Then we moved into "acting it out" while we sang along.  Each kid built a 10 tower using pop cubes of the same color.  All of the other pop cubes were spread out in the middle of the carpet.  As we sang along, I paused the video at each number so the kids could grab another "one" and double check their groups.  I told them the color of their ones didn't matter because I wanted the difference between the group of 10 and the single ones to be clear.

We repeated this to start the lesson for the next few days and as they got more familiar with adding a one, I didn't have to pause the song anymore.

{build it}
Next, I grabbed a dry erase board and wrote a random number from 11-19 to see if they could still build it when the numbers didn't go in order.  We practiced this for a few days as part of the lesson.  Then, to flip flop their thinking, I built a number using pop cubes and let the kids all have dry erase boards.  This was a little harder because some of them wanted to count all of my cubes instead of seeing the 10 tower as a known group.  {This was also a great teaching moment to explain WHY it matters how they write the numbers - if they wrote 15 as 51, I'd build 51 to show the difference.}

Again...practice for a few days.  :)

Once I was ready to introduce practice centers, this was an easy activity I knew they could do on their own.  The kids took turns writing a teen number while their friends built it.  {you can see our pre-built single colored 10 towers & multi-colored ones in this picture.}  They passed the dry erase board around so they could each practice being the teacher.

{draw it}
This could be done in a center but I used it as my last whole-group activity to get a better grasp of who was understanding the concept.  We did 11 and 12 together as I modeled how to draw on the board.  Then they finished the rest on their own.  {This folding didn't allow us to draw 19 but I figure if they could do 13-18, that was a pretty accurate measure.}  ;)

{add it}
We learned this game in partners and then they practiced on their own when it was time to rotate centers.  The first 10s frame is already built to keep that group intact.  My kids drew a number card, added that many counters to the second 10s frame and wrote the number sentence.  I also had them explain their board to their partner before erasing - "14 is a group of 10 plus 4 ones."

{practice it}
This week, in addition to our current review centers, I'm going to introduce this {free} matching activity from Clearly Kindergarten... well as some of the fabulous games and practice centers from my friend Leslie at KindergartenWorks!

Hang in there.  They will get it!!  :)  And remember to enter for your chance to win an Origami Owl locket:
{winner chosen on Sunday at 5pm Eastern time}

Sunday, May 05, 2013

Teacher Appreciation. {$10 coupon code}

Did you know that it's Teacher Appreciation Week this week?  If you're a teacher, I hope you get enough cards to cover your door, more flower/weed bouquets than your vases can hold and maybe even a gift card or two that we all know is secretly what you're crossing your fingers for!!  ;)  And if you're a parent with kids, please take the time to tell your teachers & school staff members thank you for all that they do!

There will be lots of Teacher Appreciation sales and deals this week, starting with Really Good Stuff.  This is my favorite place to buy buckets, bins & organizers.  They have lots of color combinations and mix & match deals.  This week only you can get $10 off {plus another $10 off for a future purchase} with code TAFB13.

3 of my favorite classroom products:

{compartment caddies} for my table supplies & writing center materials.

{book & binder holders} for individual student book bins.

{stacking baskets & paper baskets} in various sizes for books, paper, center materials & portable activities.

Happy Shopping.  And regardless of how appreciated you feel this week, or any other, remember what you make as a teacher...

Saturday, May 04, 2013

getting to know our characters. {ie Pigeon's funny expressions}

As we delve deeper into character studies, we looked at facial expressions this week. {CC K.RL.3} I started by reading a few books on feelings and having my kids practice making each expression as they came up in the story. {It was hard for them to keep angry or sad faces while looking around at each other on the carpet and trying not to laugh!}  Two great options to lead your mini-lesson on expression are Today I Feel Silly and The Way I Feel.

Then we made an anchor chart of some of the expressions we read about.  I drew the heads and let my kids draw the expressions.  It helped to make the faces again so they kids had a good idea of what to draw.  ;)

And who better to help us read expressions than our emotional friend Pigeon?!  We had so much fun with this Mo Willems character, reading a different book each day to practice telling how he felt.  {I also got to introduce body language because Pigeon is just so animated!}

After practicing looking for character expressions in our book bins, we created this Pigeon bubble map to show some of his various expressions and the feelings they conveyed.  How great did my little illustrators do?!

Thanks to The Kinder Cupboard for their blank Thinking Maps!  Here's a copy for you.

After even more practice - and explaining our characters' feelings to a partner - we talked about how their feelings can change throughout a story.  Focusing mainly on Don't Let the Pigeon Drive the Bus! the kids got to choose 3 expressions for Pigeon and explain why he was having those feelings at each stage of the story. much more fabulous than I expected!!  What was meant to be a quick skill practice is turning into the makings of a super cute bulletin board!  :)

And here's another download for you!

Remember to enter the Origami Owl giveaway for some new fabulous jewelry too!  Enjoy your week friends!  :)
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