Monday, August 11, 2014

Shark Week! FINtastic freebies!

EEeeeeek! It's Shark Week!!
Are you ready for some FINtastic freebies?!
All teachers know that kids learn more when they’re excited and engaged. Today a team of bloggers come together to help your students take a BITE out of learning with a theme your students are sure to love!

One way I help my kiddos get excited about learning is using games & fun activities in the classroom. I am a true believer in the power of games in learning. Honestly, sometimes it's almost like kiddos learn in spite of themselves! HA! They are so engaged, are so focused on winning....while they're strategizing they're really internalizing concepts. Look at that smart thinking over there on the right! Check out those combinations they've put together to make a yard! And the big plus...they're so engaged!

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My Shark Week freebie is a shark themed I Spy. I've had LOTS of people ask me to make these for subtraction, and this is my first one! If you haven't tried one of my I Spy's yet, you are in for a treat! They're perfect for workstations and really are print & go! Just add magnifying lenses & kids! Kiddos LOVE these....they use the magnifying lenses to search for subtraction equations. One the recording sheet, they have to tally the differences they find, then turn the data from the tally chart into a bar graph. I love that they're getting a little boost in creating tally charts, graphs, and interpreting data.

Click HERE to try it out!

Make sure you swim all the way through the linky party below. Every blog in the Shark Week Blog Hop features a FINtastic freebie for you and your students- but hurry! Shark Week only lasts until Sunday, August 17th  : )

Friday, August 8, 2014

Triple Scoop of Second Grade!

I love second grade! I'll have to admit to you....second grade is really my first love (when it comes to grades to teach, anyway!). I taught 4 years in second before going down to first when I began my 1-2 looping career. I did that loop for 4 years, then last year I started teaching the 1, 2, & 3 Multi-age. Second grade & second grade skills are definitely solidly in my reportoire! So, I was super excited when we all decided to do this Triple Scoop of Second Grade Linky! So here's my triple scoop......

These I Spys are my kiddos favorite workstation activity! They are SO engaged when they're doing joke! I LOVE that they are intently looking for equations in the picture...head bowed & so focused! They are super engaged and concentrating so hard...once they find an equation, they have to solve it, then make a tally chart of the sums. After they find all of the equations, and the tally chart is done, they have to translate that data into a bar graph. Ya gotta love when you can get so many skills in (& the kids are happy about doing it!): fact fluency, tallies, tally charts, creating and reading bar graphs.......WIN-WIN!! I've discounted it 20% off this weekend in case anyone wanted to check it out! Another WIN!

I also rely quite a bit on this Writing Workstation Pack for my workstations, and it's also a favorite with my kiddos (I'm noticing a favorite workstation activities are the ones that my kiddos find most engaging. hmmm). Anyway - one of the reasons they like it is because it has that element of student choice. There are lots of writing tasks: Draw & Write, stories, books, letters, cards, poems, acrostic poems, and even recipes! Each pack is also filled with lots of writing paper choices. I usually print them all out, add them to our writing workstation and let the kiddos choose the paper that they want to use. It's a very popular choice during workstation time! This is an awesome deal right now...the bundle is already discounted 25% and includes 7 seasonal packs. I'm going to be adding a Back to School pack next week (& then 3 more in the coming months) and the price will go up when I add the new pack! So, purchasing now is like getting the other 4 packs for FREE! PLUS - it's an additional 20% this weekend!
I am super excited about adding this to my math instruction this year! Adventures of Room 129 has a brilliant set up for helping kiddos master those pesky word problems (why ARE they so hard to master?!) She's had phenomenal success using it in her classroom, AND it's research based! I am super excited about the impact it'll have with my kiddos. 
She's got so much in here! 
*Anchor Charts
*Pre/Post Tests (3 versions)
*Rubric to help grade
*Example Answer Key
*8 Detailed Lesson Plans 
*I do, We do, You Do printables for each lesson
*3 end of the unit games/activities
I'm happy that this'll give me THREE weeks of math already planned and ready to go!

We've got lots more scoops of second grade for you! Make sure you stop by & check out everyone else's triple scoops! There are some real treats in store for you!!

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Back to School Setting Up & a SALE

Whew! Does anyone else have the B2S Stress?! I'm really feeling it here! My first teacher day & our Meet the Teacher Night is Thursday and school starts with kiddos on Monday! On top of son is getting married on Saturday (SO excited!!), & my daughter also is getting her very first classroom ready, so I've been helping her with that (bulletin boards went up tonight). That's her over there on the left.

Her color scheme is going to be different from mine, so I've been updating a couple of my 'gotta have it in my room' packs for her. Hopefully, I'll get them all uploaded by Tuesday afternoon, but I wanted to share some of the progress with you. Here are the 'gotta have its'.....

Calendar Math Pack. This one product has made a HUGE impact on my kiddos' learning over the past couple years. I developed this pack after reading Laney Sammons' first Guided Math Book. As she suggested,  I took a look at the Common Core Standards & thought about the skills my kiddos typically struggle with or need more practice in. Wow! Was she ever right! It's definitely a gotta have it for any classroom in my opinion! You can read more about it in my original post.

I wanted people to be able to match the focus wall with the room decor, so I the pack has lots of color options in it as you can see in the picture below.

But it doesn't have the colors she's using, so I've been working on a new pack. What do you think?

I'm also working on a brand new Classroom Number Posters Set for her room. Right now, I have Gingham & Pastel and Turquoise, Lime & Pink in my store. The new set is Purple & Black. It's going to be super cute! 

Of course, it's not all about classroom decor! We're also printing out some super easy to prep activities for her (& me!) to use those first few days. My kiddos always LOVE doing these I Spys....I love that they're learning, working on fluency, AND on graphing skills! I also love that you just have to print, grab some magnifying lenses, and you're ready to go! Over the summer, I bundled them all up so that they're more economical to buyers, too. And they're an especially good deal right now, because I am going to be adding to each of these bundles...and when I do, the price WILL go up! If you buy now, it's like getting all the additional packs FREE - you'll just have to download when the new ones are added!

They're actually and even BIGGER bundle right now because, to help alleviate some of the B2S Stress, I decided to throw a SALE!! EVERYTHING (even the big bundles) in my store is 20% off until Tuesday night!! Make sure you stop by, maybe clear a few things off your wishlist & get rid of a little bit of B2S Stress!

Thursday, July 24, 2014

Play = a Brain-Friendly Classroom

I love, love, LOVE this book! Silly Sports & Goofy Games by Dr. Spencer Kagan. Like most of you, I realize that play is important to kiddos. Sure it's important for kiddos' physical's also important for the brain and learning!

Here's the nitty-gritty: "As students play, even if it is only for a two or three minute game of quick tag, their heart rates and volumes increase, pumping more oxygen and glucose to the brain. Their respiratory rates and volumes increase as well, oxygenating the blood. With more oxygen and glucose pumped to the brain, students are more alert. Thus, Silly Sports & Goofy Games actually nourish the brain, aligning our classroom practices with how the brain learns best."

How awesome is that?! I had already planned on using lots of the games in the book in my classroom. My teamie & I have noticed that kiddos really just don't know how to play. When we go out at recess...out kiddos mostly swing or play chase. We actually are having a CAMP IN with our class tomorrow (yep-- roasting hotdogs, making s'mores, lots of fun stuff, and actually sleeping in the gym!), and are planning to teach them how to play some games so that they have a repertoire to pull from when they go to recess. BUT - now that I realize the benefits I'm actively trying to think of how I can build games into our day!

If you've read my blog, you know that I teach a 1, 2, & 3 Multi-age classroom...and I also team teach, so what we've really got going on is 54 kids -- 2 teachers. We really focus a great deal on being a TEAM - what it means, what it looks like, what it feels like. We try to do lots of team-building activities, which is what drew me to this book in the first place.

I really, really like that the games in the book are all divided into sections according to what skills they help kiddos develop. How cool is that?
You can actually take into consideration the skill your kiddos need to work on, & find a game that supports that!

So -- here are 5 ways to use play to create a brain-friendly classroom.

  1. Teach games to students so they have a 'toolbox' to pull from when out at recess.
  2. Use games that foster balance, coordination, & challenge when students aren't working well together.
  3. Provide some 'comic relief' by playing a couple rounds of tag, or some Goofy Games when the class has been working on a challenging activity.
  4. Some kiddos have too much emphasis on winning? Try some Silly Sports to emphasize the joy of play & deemphasize the outcome.
  5. Pull kiddos up out of their seat with a helper game to build empathy, caring, & mutual support.

Aaaand....Guess what!! I just found out that Kagan's Silly Sports & Goofy Games is currently on Educents!! You can grab it at an excellent discount (but it ends on don't wait too long!)

We've had a lot of fun practicing the games here at home (so I know how to play by tomorrow night!)

Sunday, July 20, 2014

Announcing....Build Your Own Bundle!

Did you know that today is
National Ice Cream Day?!

That's right....time to enjoy a creamy, sweet sundae...or a cool ice cream cone...or a decadent banana split! (As if we needed a special day for that, right?). Before you head out the door on your way to the local Tastee Freeze, I want to make sure you know about the special way my sweet friend, Ciera from Adventures in Room 129, are observing the day.

We'd LOVE to invite you all over for a Build Your Own Sundae Bar.....but since we can't do that, we decided to do the next best thing!! That's right......we're hosting a

Build Your Own Bundle Bar!!

That's right...and we have 3 sizes available. Small, Medium, & Large (of course!).....Your choice!! This deal is TODAY ONLY!! 
Just click the pic to head over to my store.
Happy Scooping!!

Thursday, July 17, 2014

Some Vegas Swag for YOU!

I know you've already heard how fantastic the first-ever TpT conference was in Vegas......and they're not lyin', friends! It was MARVELOUS! The week was inspiring, exhilirating, motivating. I met so many great people.....some of them new, & some of them old friends, but the first time meeting in real life. What a wonderful experience!

My first evening in Vegas, I was lucky enough to meet the co-founders of Educents! What a brilliant pair of women! I loved hearing how they came up with the idea & how Educents was born. Such an inspiration to me & a reminder that we can all do anything we put our minds to!

Kate - one of the founders of Educents

My good friend Krea, from Learning in Progress & I also went to the SDE I Teach 1st Conference earlier in the week. Got to see & hear some GREAT sessions! Wow! If you're ever on the fence about going to a National SDE Conference....GO! Check it out....

The incomparable Erin Klein -- Magical Math-Creating a Playground of Innovation. What a thrill to meet her, too! I have followed her for many years....she's been instrumental in my learning about and implementing so many things in my classroom! I am so thankful that she shares all of her tech knowledge with teachers!
(Sorry for the blurry happens when you have strangers snap pics for you! ha!)
Hope King - Setting the Stage to Engage. Oh my word, friends, this gal is a ball of energy! What a fabulous session! Can't wait to use these ideas in my room!

Rachelle Smith - Guided Reading Mini-Lessons: Reading Thoughtfully & Attentively. What GREAT ideas for guided reading mini-lessons! Rachelle is such an inspiration! If you haven't checked out her blog at For Blogness' Sake, you really need to! She's really been an inspiration & helped motivate me to live a more healthful lifestyle. Baby steps, folks!

Amanda Nickerson - Interactive Notebooks. As you can guess....just an amazing presentation. Loved it! She's just a sweet person, too!

Of course, there were blogger meet ups....both impromptu & planned! 

There were lots of meet ups & lots of swag! Weren't able to go this time? Well....guess what?!!
I've got a swag bag for YOU!
Just enter your info in the Rafflecopter below & cross your fingers!!

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Christmas in July DOLLAR SALE!

The Indiana Bloggers are at it again! We've teamed together to bring you one of the biggest Dollar Sales in Blogdom! haha! Seriously, though....there are over 110 products that have been deeply discounted to just $1. There are probably several that are already on your wishlist! Just cruise through the linky below. Each product links directly to the product on TpT....

Are you ready to 'shop til you drop'?!

Happy Shopping!