Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Don't BEE Bugged By Birthdays!

Have you ever been looking for a certain computer file when you happen to stumble upon another file and then you think to yourself, hey this would be a great idea to share on my blog? No? [crickets chirping]. Well anyway, in the past I have gone WAY overboard trying to make my students' birthdays their most special day EVER. What I have learned after my six years of teaching is that, THAT kind of thinking is why teachers get burnt out so easily. Therefore, in an effort to dissolve my disillusionment about what a good teacher is or does, I made an easy way to say "Happy Birthday" using this fun, inexpensive and EASY idea!

First, I found some great inspiration from the web about making flowers using giant pixie sticks. Then, I used some flower graphics and changed them to go along with my BEE theme. Voila! I made the flowers before school started and stuck them in a vase to give my room some added color AND it created extremely high anticipation from my students.

In my class, when a student celebrates his/her birthday, we make a booklet for him/her. The cover is colored by the birthday student while the rest of the class works on his/her cards. This year, I created a smaller booklet so I wouldn't feel guilty about using soooo much paper. :) I saw this cute birthday poem from First Grade Fresh and adapted it to suit my needs.

I left some of the words blank and then below I added (choose a noun) or (choose an adjective) to evoke a Mad Lib feel. I can't wait to use it this year! Since I have shared a lot of FREE resources lately, I decided to offer this download for FREE as well! You can find it here. Enjoy!

Please let me know what you think! Your feedback is greatly appreciated! :)

Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Behavior Management - No Problem!

If you haven't heard of ClassDojo, then stop what you are doing right now (well read this post first and then stop what you are doing) because it is the coolest thing in classroom management! And yes, it is another FREE resource! You can access this website from your computer or more conveniently, from your Apple Ipad or other notebook device.  First, students get to pick their avatar. Once you have set up your class, then students can easily be assigned points for positive or negative behavior. Class Dojo already has a list of behaviors but you can modify it to your own liking. On ClassDojo, you can also print parent reports and quickly take attendance.

This program is very user friendly and extremely helpful to teachers like myself who are not techno savvy. Now I have to be honest, I have yet to try ClassDojo with my own class but I have a coworker who uses it ALL the time and she absolutely loves it! She uses it in conjunction with her clip chart behavior system. Students can clip up or down depending upon how many points they earn or lose. This helps challenge students who seem to reach the top of the clip chart before lunch and vice versa, it allows students who struggle with their behavior more chances to improve instead of ending up on the bottom of the clip chart before first recess.

Check it out and have fun!

Click Here

Sunday, July 28, 2013

I'm Back!

I know it has been a while since my last post (ALMOST a year to be exact), and I openly admit that I am the world's worst blogger, BUT I have been busy creating new items to sale in my TPT store and I thought it would be fun to share some remarkable resources that I was fortunate enough to stumble upon.

First, is a website called My Cute Graphics, and it is AMAZING! It has clipart, backgrounds, frames and borders. And oh, did I mention that everything is FREE? There are other graphics available for purchase starting at $3 as well. Everything on this site was created by a talented artist named Laura Strickland. She is a big supporter of teachers and to share her talents for free is a wonderful blessing. I just want to give a big shout out to Laura and tell her "thank you" for sharing her remarkable talent with teachers! You will fall in love with her lively and colorful creations! I have used her work in many of my own creations and now, you can too!

My Cute Graphics

Second, you may have already visited this wonderful teacher's blog, but I'm sure there are some teachers out there like me who have never heard of it. It is called Pitner's Potpourri. Mary Pitner shares some FANTASTIC ideas and has a lot of educationally sound activities linked with the common core standards. I particularly appreciated the activities for common core text exemplars that are FREE! In fact, she offers free downloads on a lot of her creations.  Be sure to visit and leave wonderful feedback for a fabulous teacher!

Activity shared from Pitner's Potpourri

Lastly, is a blog called Mel Stampz. Mel is a wonderfully talented crafter who openly admits her love of sharing her things for free. Can you BELIEVE it? I particularly appreciate her wonderful collection of paper and overlays. Thank you Mel for being an inspiration and sharing your wonderful art!

Mel Stampz

These are three unbelievably talented women! Check them out and I'm sure you'll agree! :)

Saturday, August 11, 2012

Pizza. Not only does it taste good, it is great tool to teach fractions. And the other day when I was at Dollar Tree (my favorite store), I came across a storage container for a slice of pizza. Note: I went online to find a picture so that I could show you what it looks like but interestingly enough I couldn't find one. Anyway, this inspired me to create some fraction games. I then visited Scrappin' Doodles (my favorite clipart) and found some really cute pizza clipart. Yea! So I created two games using the clipart.  I will store the game pieces for the first game in the pizza slice container and then store the other game pieces in a small 7 or 9 inch pizza box.

I remember back to the options my mom had as a teacher as she began her career 36 years ago. She was limited to workbooks and die cuts. Now, I marvel at how far technology has come and how much it has benefited the lives of educators and students alike. Thanks to technology and talented artists, we can turn our inspirations into reality.

Well, I was able to upload the first game on TPT but not the second. I will let you know as soon as I figure out the problem.  Until then, you can check out the first game here if you are interested. Below are some examples of the worksheets I created to use with the games.

First Game
Second Game
Second Game

Thursday, August 9, 2012

My First Sale!

Just a quick note to let you know that everything in my TPT store is 20% off! It may not be much, but every little bit helps, right? :)

Monday, August 6, 2012

Math Center Idea

I have been busy creating and collecting materials for my math centers this year. I have also been browsing teacher blogs for ideas.  I was thrilled when I came across Mrs. Clapp's blog, Serenade to Second Grade, where she posted some fun and simple math activities. She was so gracious to share her ideas with everyone that I thought I would create some number cards and hundreds charts to go with these activities. I tried to make them look similar to her game cards so they would coordinate. 'Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery', right? You can find them for free at my TPT store here. I hope you enjoy them!

Incorrect! :(
Correct! :)

JUST TO NOTE: I made a mistake on #8, but have corrected it. So, if you downloaded it previous to August 9th, you will need to download it again. Sorry about that!

Friday, August 3, 2012

Thank You!!

Lately I have been so BUSY spending time with my three girls and of course, designing math and literacy centers for school. Too busy it seems to accept the Versatile Blogger award from Dray on her blog, Second Grade is Sweet. Crazy, I know! Thank you Dray for believing in me! I love your website so I hope everyone checks it out!

As part of accepting this award I have to share 7 things about myself. Reluctantly, here it goes:

1. I have been married to my patient and loving husband for 21 years. Together we have four wonderful kids (one son and three daughters).

This was a few years ago but I love the matching hats and scarves, don't you?
Here is the man that puts up with my craziness!
2. I love to dance and sing however I am not good at doing any of these things. Unfortunately my daughters would agree.
3. My family and I went to Disneyland for the first time this year! Sad, but true.

4. My daughters and I have become cupcake bakers! There is even a rumor going around our neighborhood that we are actually good at it. :)
5. I enjoy recognizing the talents in other people which is probably why I love watching reality shows  like X-Factor, American Idol, Cupcake Wars, Chopped, So You Think You Can Dance? and Project Runway. My poor husband!
6. I love creating things but because I have ADD it is often difficult for me to focus on finishing one thing at a time.
7. I love sunsets! I live in Utah along the Wasatch Front. To the East of my home are the Wasatch Mountains and to the West is the Great Salt Lake. On any given evening, I can step out and watch the most spectacular sunsets!

photo by Greg Jackson of the Great Salt Lake

It's difficult for me to narrow down the field of blog nominations because there are so many wonderful blogs and I don't have all day, but I have discovered a few blogs with great ideas:

Christina from Bunting, Books, and Bainbridge
Jennifer from Hello Literacy
Lesson Plan SOS
Lory from Lory's Page
and last but not least, Amy from Step into Second who has inspired me to create my own materials!

Well there you have it whether you wanted it or not. Thanks again Dray for nominating me! :)