Sunday, November 25, 2012


Edit Posted by with 1 comment

Who doesn't love a good SALE?  I know I am a shop-a-holic so I can't wait to shop the AMAZING CYBER MONDAY SALE on TpT!  My store is offering 28% OFF ALL PRODUCTS!!!  I have so many items in my wish list right now and I am going back to add more.  I'm not sure if you knew about that.  You can add items to a wish list and not buy them until the sale begins.  :)  Is it terrible that I have more than 50 items on my wish list?  I told you I was a shop-a-holic.  I am also happy because I know that teachers that work hard just like I do are making the money and it's not going to some random educational company out there.  If you'd like to share some items on your list, please share on the comment section below.  We'd love to know the deals that will be out there tomorrow.  I am making my list, checking it twice, and buying from teachers who are super nice!!!  If you want a direct link to the sale, click below! 

Isn't this cute?  It's created by an AMAZING ARTIST on TpT.  Find her here...
I will have so many Christmas Goodies you can purchase!  Some of my best selling units are below...and I uh, wouldn't mind if you added them to your personal wish list...hehehe.  In all seriousness, they are some of my favorite products because I love the holidays so much!
Everyone needs a Gingerbread Man Unit! 
How about a math activity?
Sight words are always fun at Christmastime!

A little holiday story to top it all off?
Let us know what deals you end up getting!  I am so excited and I bet you are, too!!!
Happy Shopping!

Friday, November 23, 2012


Edit Posted by with No comments
Are  you busy shopping for all of the BLACK FRIDAY DEALS in the stores and online?  Don't forget to stock up on your teaching printables, too!  I am running a personal BLACK FRIDAY SALE today in my TpT store!  By clicking on the chimney above, you will be taken to my store where you will find over 80 resources at 20% OFF!!!  Now is the time to grab report card resources, back-to-school packets, Christmas games/centers, and MORE!!!  Head on over and grab up the deals because they are for ONE.DAY.ONLY!!!  Happy Shopping!!!  Let us know what you grabbed on the comments below! :) 

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Holiday Door Decor

Edit Posted by with No comments
The holidays are quickly approaching and I am staring at the blank door of my classroom each day wondering how I will decorate it?  I just took down my pumpkins and fall leaves to make room for a holiday display.  I wonder...should I do snowflakes so they last until January?  A big Christmas tree?  A display of holidays around the world?  Reindeer?  Santa?  The elves?  I went on the Internet for some inspiration and I wanted to share what I found.  Below, you will find examples of door designs I may attempt. 

cute holiday design #1

Source: via Ann on Pinterest

Source: via Rachel on Pinterest




Which one do you like best?  While I was searching for fun, fabulous holiday door decor for the classroom, I also came across this CA-UTE activity!  Check it out!
I think even my 5th graders will would love this one!  Which brings me to my last thought...I wonder if my students would like to have a contest to design our holiday door?  I would have them each create a design without putting their name on it, show them to the class so they can critique them, and have them vote on the best one!  Feel free to use this idea in your room and post letting us know how it turned out!  I am going to take the ideas on my blog above to show the students as examples and then, I will hold the contest in class tomorrow.  I'll post an update sharing the design with you and then I'll post the design once we create it on the door!  :)  How are you planning to decorate your classroom this holiday?  Leave any blog post links you have below so we can hop over and see your decor! 

Happy Holidays!!!


Sunday, November 18, 2012

Better About Blogging

Edit Posted by with No comments
With changing grade levels this year, life has been BUSY!!!  I have felt pulled in all directions while trying to learn a new curriculum, figure out and remember the names of all of the other teachers and students at my new school, and spend time making teaching resources.  My son also started Kindergarten at my school this year so I am learning how to balance being a teacher and a mom at the same school!  Have you ever felt like that?  It is so tough to find the time to do it all but before New Year's even gets here, I am making a resolution.  I am going to blog more because I love it sooo much!  Now that the first quarter at school is over, I can breathe a little.  I feel like I am able to balance a little better than when I first dove into started at my new school.  It's like I'm in a perfect rhythm...I know what to assign, when to grade, and how to hand it back.  I know what the students enjoy in fifth grade without making things too cutesy or babified for them (is that even a word? LOL!).  Don't get me wrong, I still enjoy making fun activities for the younger students since I spent so many years at that level, but there is just a certain line fifth graders draw when trying to add cuteness to their lives! :)  It's barely even cool to give the teacher a high-five anymore! 

To get a head start on my new blogging committment, I'd love to know what your students are learning about.  Are you planning on celebrating Christmas or will you cover all of the holidays?  What major skills and strategies are you going to teach in the next month or so?  For me, the line up looks like pronouns, verbs, research papers, The American Revolution, data and graphing, prefixes, suffixes, and roots, inferring, evaluating, and questioning.  All of that plus a little holiday fun = the end of the year and the second quarter are going to F.L.Y.  B.Y.!!!  Look out for a few FREEBIES to come to help you and your students during the HOLIDAY SEASON.  Consider them early Christmas gifts!  In the states, we are getting ready to celebrate Thanksgiving in the next few days.  What does that mean?  A mini-vaca from school, of course!  For all those enjoying the same, have a wonderful holiday with family and friends!  I'll be waiting to hear from you!

Warm Hugs,

Sunday, October 07, 2012

Fall Has Arrived!

Edit Posted by with 1 comment
Fall has arrived and I am thrilled!  The cool air, crisp leaves, orange pumpkins, and apple cider make me feel nostalgic about autumns gone by.  As I was driving to the dollar store today, I noticed the October skies and changing leaves.  It made me excited for Halloween and pumpkin carving! 


Because of the cold, rainy weather, I stayed in and finished up my latest resource which can be found by clicking on the pic below.  I was lost in the world of autumn so I thought I'd create a resource about turkeys!  With my fifth grade students in mind, I added activities for decimals, place value, multiplying one and two-digit numbers, writing, and more! They enjoy when I make themed activities that cover fifth grade content. I almost have to stop making games because they ask for them ALL.THE.TIME! :) I
differentiate by giving students' time restrictions for solving, adding writing as an explanation piece, and by choosing certain sets of numbers for some students vs. others. Differentiation is so easy when you use centers or games (yes, centers are okay in fifth grade...especially when they finish early!) With all of the curriculum that needs to be covered, extra resources just add a bit of fun to the busy day! I find that if you connect the fun activities to the learning, you can even replace some of the curriculum because the goal of the activity is the same goal as the lesson! Wow! That was a mouthful! You will find those kind of Common Core-aligned games in my latest resource here...
While I was at the dollar store, I picked up some synthetic autumn leaves to add to my classroom door.  I think I will scatter them about, put leaf clings on the door, and add my students' names on pumpkin cut-outs.  I'll add a picture when it's done!  While I was searching online to see if the dollar store had the leaves I was looking for, I came across this post on their website... Dollar Tree Autumn Leaf Idea for Teachers 
source:  Dollar Tree
I love that they are so teacher friendly that they came up with a lesson and listed the materials you could get at that store!  It doesn't get any easier than that!  Thank you, Dollar Tree, for thinking about the teachers!!! 
Happy Fall to everyone out there!  I hope you are planning, creating, designing, and enjoying autumn!

Sunday, September 30, 2012

I Met Lucy Calkins!!!

Edit Posted by with No comments
I am so excited to share that I met Lucy Calkins on Friday!  I attended her workshop, "Reading, Writing, and the Common Core" which was hosted by the publisher, Heinemann.  The workshop was fabulous!  She broke down every bit of the reading and writing sections of the Common Core.  She provided models of what the thinking should look like and how students should be responding.  We watched videos of students engaged in learning aligned with the Common Core.  I could not get enough!  We were able to purchase her newest book, "Pathways to the Common Core" which can be found by clicking the link below.  She has sold over 100,000 of these books (and I bet a bunch were sold yesterday).  The best part?  She signed my book, "Hold on to your dreams!  ~Lucy Calkins"  AAAHHHHHH!!!!!  I couldn't wait to show everyone I met (many of whom are not teachers and were like....ooookkkkaaaayy).  ;-)  If you have the chance to do so, attend one of her workshops.  You won't regret it!   Let me know if you've had a chance to attend the workshop or read the book.  I'd love to hear your thoughts! 

P.S.  This book is on sale right now!  Just click on the pic to get your copy!


Monday, September 10, 2012

Discussing 9-11 in the Classroom

Edit Posted by with No comments
Are you looking for a way to discuss 9-11 with your students?  If so, Laura Candler of the Corkboard Connections Blog has a wonderful page of ideas for you!  Stop by and check out her wonderful post.  The book she recommends is FABULOUS and I know since I have used it year after year.  My students were amazed!  I am sure yours will be as well.  Please leave a comment for Mrs. Candler if you visit her blog and use the ideas.  I know she would appreciate it!  :)  Let's remember to keep all fellow Americans in our thoughts and prayers tomorrow.  God bless,

Saturday, September 08, 2012

Learning About the Moon

Edit Posted by with 2 comments
If anyone has to learn about the phases of the moon this year, pick up my latest resource here...
There are lots of fun activities for your students to do instead of those boring ones that come in the science guide!  It's just $6.80 right now as I am running a 15% OFF SALE on TpT.  The sale runs through Wednesday! Be sure to print your FREEBIE from the resource by clicking on the word search!
I would love to know how many people cover this in their curriculum so please leave a comment below letting me know!  I would also love to hear about other science topics you study as I will be creating more science resources this year! 

Saturday, August 25, 2012

Edit Posted by with No comments
Hi!  I am so excited to introduce my friend, Lacie, as our guest blogger today!  She has such a cute blog so follow her if you get a chance! :)  Please comment on her freebies and let her know what you think!  

Hello! My name is Lacie from Polka Dots and Pencils, and I SO excited to be guest blogging today for the STUFF YOUR FILES EVENT!!! Yay!!! I hope everyone is off to a fun and exciting school year! If you haven't went back to school yet, I wish you luck in the coming days of preparing your classroom and meeting your kids! 

I would like to tell you a little about myself. This is my 5th year of teaching in a public, Title I school in upstate SC. I have taught 3rd, 4th, and 5th grade, but currently I am teaching 4th! I had the privilege of "looping" up with my 3rd graders from last year! It is so much fun! :) I am also currently working on my Master's Degree, and I will be finished on October 14!!! I can't wait!!! Please go check out my blog! 

I also have some wonderful FREEBIES for you today!!! First, I have a WANTED poster you can use in reading!!! My students absolutely LOVE using this poster to describe their favorite characters in class! Just click on the picture to go to my TpT store to download it!

I also have another FREEBIE for you!!! It is a MATH REVIEW PROJECT that I created for my kids to review their multiplication, addition, subtraction, and word problem skills! It was a huge hit in my classroom! Again, just click on the picture below to head to my TpT store to download it! 

There also several other great FREEBIES you should check out in my store!!!

Thanks for letting me a part of this awesome bloggy event! I hope you enjoy today's freebies to stuff your files with!!! :) 

Friday, August 17, 2012

Top Teachers Stuff Your Files with No Monkey Business...

Edit Posted by with 2 comments
Today, you are going to LOVE, LOVE, LOVE the FREEBIE and tap light idea on this post!  Michelle has a lot of experience and has been so kind to share with all of us!  Thanks, Michelle! Please be sure to follow her if you like what you see.  She would love to hear how you like her post!  Happy Reading!

Hi "Creative Classroom" friends!  I am so happy to be sharing some FREE stuff today!  My name is Michelle and you can find me over at No Monkey Business...Just Bunches of Learning blog.  I'm a 22 year teaching veteran that's taught everything K-3rd.  Until very recently, I was a third grade teacher and perfectly content!  48 hours later I was in a Literacy Coach position.  Luckily, it was in the SAME SCHOOL.  So I can't even begin to tell you how supportive my staff has been and how blessed I feel to be where I am!  Change is difficult, but sometimes a good thing. 

On a more personal note, I am a Kentucky girl living in Tennessee.  Let me rephrase.  I'm a die hard Kentucky Wildcat basketball fan living in a rival state when it comes to sports.  It always makes things interesting when I wear my royal BLUE on "ORANGE" day.  :-)

It seems funny that my title is "Literacy coach," because I plan to share a MATH lesson with you all.  Hmmm...You can take the teacher out of the classroom, but you can't take the classroom out of the teacher, huh?!

With our teachers currently diving into place value, I thought I'd share a FUN, MOTIVATING math lesson with you that your students are sure to enjoy.  I always like to keep my students up and moving.  I think they are more relaxed, carry on valuable conversations with each other, and it makes learning fun.  This activity is no exception AND it's EASY to make!

First, create some grids with a variety of different digits in them. (see photo)  I had a parent volunteer make about 8 different boards on simple butcher paper and laminate.  Divide your students into small groups.  Find an item that will be easy to toss, but not roll.  (small blocks, pennies (they don't typically roll, but land flat), small discs, etc.)  Students toss the same number of blocks onto the board as the place value they're currently working on.  For example, if their focus is on hundreds, then the students will toss 3 blocks.  If they're working on thousands, then they will toss 4 blocks.  Each student stands x amount of feet back from the board (4-5 works well) and tosses their blocks.  If thousands is the focus, the student records their four numbers in Round 1 of their Place Value Pitch answer sheets.  Play until everyone gets through 5 rounds and comes up with 5 sets of digits.    The next step is to manipulate the digits according to what the directions say on the Place Value Pitch sheet.  (make the largest number you can, smallest number, sequence the numbers greatest to least, least to greatest, what is the value of the digit in the tens place, AND MANY MORE).  The record sheet even challenges students to create a question of their own where someone would have to use their place value skills to solve.  Students are doing math, but also required to think, write, create, and even share.  Need differentiation?  Sure thing!! This can take place in your small groups.  One group might be focusing on hundreds, while another group is practicing the ten thousands place.
The place value pitch game is a FREEBIE available in my TpT store!  So be sure to grab it!  The images will get you to the link!  Another variation of this game that I play is called Bulls-eye. It can also be played in cooperative groups, but is SMALLER in size and can be played at students' desks. I have the Bulls-eye Place Value game also available in my TpT store.  Although similar, they are different enough that my students LOVE and beg to play both!  They get to experience some hands on, interactive, and fun ways to practice this necessary Common Core skill.  The record sheets hold them accountable for staying on task and communicating their progress with me. 

Looking for another fun Math freebie or two?  I fell in LOVE with the Tap Lights this summer.  I visited stalked my local Dollar Store until I got enough to outfit many cooperative groups!  They have a "game show" kind of feel for reviewing some basic math facts.  Turn over a card, be the first to "tap" your light to come on, and answer the question correctly!  The tap lights come in a variety of adorable shapes too! (moon, heart, etc.)  Warning:  Your students will ask over and over for these to come out!
I'm so appreciative of Leanne letting me hang out on her blog today!  I hope you, her readers, have been able to take something FUN and ENGAGING back to your classroom.    You can find me at No Monkey Business!  Come by to say hi and/or let me know how the "Place Value Pitch" or Tap Light activity goes in your classroom!  
Bananas for the opportunity to "hang" here today,

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Top Teachers Stuff Your Files with Dilly Dabbles

Edit Posted by with No comments
Today, we have Melissa from Dilly Dabbles guest blogging and sharing some FREEBIES with you!  Don't you just LOVE the name Dilly Dabbles?!?  I could say it all day long! :)  She has brought some great goodies for you so please be sure to pick them up and follow her over at her blog!  Comment, comment, comment if you like what you see!!! Enjoy!

I'm happy to be part of this fun Stuff Your Files event.  I'm Melissa and I blog at Dilly Dabbles.  I'm a first grade teacher recently turned instructional coach.  I love to share the ideas and tips that I've learned as a classroom teacher and that I am now learning from other teachers and from coaching teachers.

The ideas and items I have to share with you today are all about word work.  Word work is something that I believe is important, but is also something that can be left behind when trying to fit everything else in.  These few Word Wall practice activities can be done during any little bit of time you have throughout the day.  They are great for when you're waiting in line for something or finished a lesson a little ahead of schedule.  They are also great to do as a whole group and then place in centers for independent work.

Play "Word Wall Spin"

This is like that popular TV word guessing game.  Go to the National Library of Virtual Manipulatives spinner online here and display it through your projector.  Choose the change spinner option and replace the color names with numbers.  Choose a word wall word and put line blanks on the board for the number of letters in the word.  Split the class into 2-4 groups.  One person from each group takes turns spinning and guessing a letter.  If they get a letter, they receive the points they spun for each letter that was in the word.  If the letter they guessed is not in the word, no points are awarded.  Buying a vowel costs points (decide this before the game based on the number values you are using).  The team that solves the word receives bonus points (again pre-determined based on the number values you are using).

Play "Don't Eat the Word"

Print and laminate this "Don't Eat the Word" template.  With an erasable marker, fill in the boxes with word wall words you want students to practice.  (Students can choose their words or you can provide a list when this activity is put in a center.)  To play as a class, put the board under a document camera and place a piece of candy on each square.  Smarties or Skittles or M&M's work well.  A child is chosen to leave the room.  The class decides on the special word.  The child returns to the room and begins to remove the candies one at a time.  The child must say the word under the candy and if read correctly, may eat the candy.  The child continues to remove the candy, say the word and eat until he/she gets to the special word.  When the child reaches for the special word, the class yells "Don't Eat the Word" and the child's turn is over.  Put new candy on the now empty squares and choose a new student to be "it."

I'll be sharing more Word Wall ideas on my blog throughout September.  Keep these two ideas at the ready to pull out at a moments notice throughout the school year.

Thanks to Leanne for hosting this fun event!

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Top Teachers Stuff Your Files with Thinking Out Loud

Edit Posted by with No comments
Please welcome Jana from Thinking Out Loud as a guest blogger today!  She is bringing you some FREE writing resources that I know you will find SUPER USEFUL!  We are lucky to have such a talented teacher sharing with us today!

Hello, everyone!  I am Jana from Thinking Out Loud.  I am thrilled to be here today as part of the Top Teachers Stuff Your Files Event!  Thanks, Leanne for the fabulous opportunity!

Today, I want you to be able to stuff your writing files.  As the school year begins, you want to get a feel for the skills your students have and need to work in writing.  One way I accomplish this is through a writing prompt.  Typical beginning of the year writing prompts ask about summer break.  My students always complained that they didn't do anything over the summer.  Writing prompts can also be a little boring.  I don't want the beginning of the year to be boring, so I jazzed up my writing prompts with pictures to create (you guessed it) picture writing prompts.  The pictures also help those students who need a little extra nudge to begin writing.

Above is an example of one of the writing prompts in the following packet.  The packet has the writing prompts with a background color for projection.  The same prompts are on a white background, so they can be printed without using all of the printer ink.  The packet also included writing stationary for the students to use.  Click on the picture below to get your own writing prompt packet.

Depending on what grade you teach, the following files will help you improve your students' writing once you have assessed them.  The first is for lower elementary students who need to write complete sentences.  Last year I worked with first grade students and used the Crafting Sentences activity below to help them learn to write a complete sentence.

I have also taught older students.  These students where able to write in paragraphs, but the paragraphs were boring.  My students were just telling me what was going on in the story instead of showing me through descriptive language.  I used this lesson (Show, Not Tell) to model writing a more descriptive paragraph that created vivid images in the reader's mind.

It has been a pleasure sharing some writing resources with you.  Thanks again, Leanne, for having me!

Sunday, August 12, 2012

Top Teachers Stuff Your Files with Sub Hub

Edit Posted by with 3 comments
I am so excited to have one of the BEST substitute teachers out there guest blogging today!  She has wonderful ideas and truly brings an outstanding educational experience to all of the students in her care.  Rachel from Sub Hub is someone who I have enjoyed collaborating with over the last year or so!  Don't forget to get more tips and news about freebies over at her blog!  Just follow her to recieve the latest updates.  If you get a chance, please comment and let her know how you like her freebies!

Hello, everyone! And a huge thank you to Leanne for hosting such a wonderful event as Stuff Your Files. I saw one of those funny eCards on Pinterest the other day that said something like, "I hate getting free teaching materials... said no teacher ever." Ha! And how true is that! Don't we all love free stuff?

I am Rachel from Sub Hub. My blog is focused on improving the profession of substitute teaching as well as helping teachers learn ways to make the most of those days when they have to be out of the classroom. Too many classroom days across the world are spent with substitutes, for those days to just be written off as "busy work" days, "babysitting" days, or "fend for yourself" days. I offer tips, tricks, and techniques to teachers and subs to be the best they can be with the end goal of benefitting students in the best way possible.

What I have free for you today is free always and forever... emergency sub plans. It's quite OK to admit that there are those days when you have to be out and for one reason or another, you just can't get around to writing plans. I have a set of free K-5 emergency sub plans. Each set of plans is one-day's worth of grade-specific lessons focused around a theme or book. Included in each set is a materials list, printables, and instructions for a warm-up activity, a reading lesson, a language arts lesson, a math lesson, a science lesson, and a social studies lesson. Use as much or as little as you need. You can find each grade level of plans in my Teachers Pay Teachers store. The images here are from the first and second grade plans, but like I said, K-5 sets are available.

I hope you find something you can stuff your files with for this new school year! Again, thank you to Leanne for being such a gracious hostess, and stop by and visit Sub Hub sometime!