Sunday, September 29, 2013

Eye See October Freebie

October is just a day away!  October brings Halloween fun and lots of gross stuff in stores.  We all know kids love gross things!  What better way to trick kids into learning by using gross things.

One of my favorite finds was eyeball ping pong balls.  I found them at the Dollar Tree.  When you see them buy several packs!  Use one set to write sight words on (get it sight word eyeballs!)  Then also write numbers on another set.  You can use these great things all month in a multitude of centers.

Here is a great freebie to start you off with!  This freebie includes a fun Sight Words Eye Can Read and Eye Can Make 10!  Perfect for your word work and math centers this month.  Click here to download it.

If you like this freebie, make sure you check out more freebies at Classroom Freebies Manic Monday!
Classroom Freebies Manic Monday

Friday, September 27, 2013

Five for Friday and a Fabulous Freebie!

Happy Friday!!!  Can you believe this is the last Friday or September and October is just days away???  Holy Moly Guacamole, where did September go?  The Holiday Season begins and before you know it, 2014!

One of my favorite parts of Friday is the Five for Friday!  (I know I haven't done it in a while, but I'm back!) 

I had a pretty good week!

I finally finished and printed my Good Readers Zoo posters.  It combines the CAFE with beanie baby strategies with a few other things.  Each strategy is paired with cute little critter!  I couldn't decide on the frames I liked best so I made it with 3 different frames.  You can check it out here.  I still plan to add bookmarks and mini version for their binders.

I started introducing the Good Readers Zoo animal strategies this week.  My favorite is when a kid tells me "I was reading last night and when I got to a word I didn't know, I used stretchy the snake!"  Then another kiddo tells me "I used Chunky the Monkey!"  Those little things make it all worth it!

I started my own weekly linky!  It is Helpful Hints on Hump Day!  We had a few link up this week, but I am sure there will be more next week!  Make sure to stop by Wednesdays!

I can't forget about the new man in my life, Mac.  He is huge, bright, fast and can do so many amazing things!  He is my new iMac and I am in love!  I have been way more productive! 

Right now I am enjoying writing this post while I watch the new Castle streaming.  (If you haven't watched it yet, wait until next week!  I hate to be continued shows!  It is like reading half a book and then having someone taking it away from you for a week.  Really!)

I will admit last night was not fun, I had to share my Mac with my oldest daughter!  I don't like sharing, but I put on my big girl panties and let her finish her project...  I am so happy to have him back to myself tonight!

I stopped by the Dollar Tree to grab a few things quickly and hit the jackpot!  I found so many fun things that inspired a few great ideas.  (I will be posting about them this week.)

Here is the reason I went in to begin with.  I was putting together spirit cards for my daughter's cheer team to give the football players.  They are playing the Sand Crabs this week.  Here are the cards we mad.  The boys loved them!

A freebie for you.  This is a great beginning book report project all ready to send home.

You can download it free here.

Don't forget to stop by TBA's Freebie Fridays!

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Helpful Hints on Hump Day

Guess what day it is?  It's HUMP day!  I am also excited to launch my new weekly link up "Helpful Hints on Hump Day!"

Link up an join in the fun! Share a helpful hint that has worked for you and let others learn from your success!  Here are the rules so please play along the right way:

1.  Each Wednesday I will have a post with a linky at the bottom for you to link your helpful hint for all the world to see!  It will be open for 1 day only each week.
2.  Please include the "Helpful Hints on Hump Day" graphic in your post and link back to this post.
3.  Your link must be to a blog post. NO STORE LINKS PLEASE!
4.  If you don't have a blog but would like to share a helpful hint, please do so in the comments!
5.  Please visit at least 2 blogs If you find it helpful, please be sure to let them know!  Leave a comment or follow them!  We will share the love, meet some new friends in the process, and learn something new!  Happy Hump Day!

Now for my helpful hint...

Do you Symbaloo?  I do and LOVE it!

Half the battle of using technology with primary students is getting them to the correct place.  There are so many great and free resources out there for kiddos to lean and practice skills, but we don't want them spending all of their time entering web addresses. is a bookmarking site where you can create your own webmixes.  Then you can set the webmix as your homepage for quick and easy access to all of your favorite sites in one place.  You cna also share your webmix with others.  I share my class webmix with all 10 of our first grade teachers. Even better, the site is FREE! 

Once you sign up making your mix is super easy!  You can search for your fav sites and many of them already have buttons ready to go.  There is also a little button you can add to your browser toolbar for a quick "add to Symbaloo" option.  Once you add your buttons you can customize your display as well by adding custom clipart images for non-readers to find the sites they are looking for.

My mix has links to our textbooks and school specific links in the lower left corner.  Then I have a sites for science, math, listening to reading and language arts practice.  In the middle bottom I have several safe sites for searching and finding clipart. 

My students really maximize their computer time with Symbaloo.  It is great for them to use at home too!  I hope you have found this hint helpful!  Be sure to share your Helpful Hint on Hump Day!

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Guess What Day Tomorrow Is??

It's HUMP DAY!!!  If you are like me, your children (and several co-workers) love saying this over and over!

I have been wanting to start a weekly link up!  I love sharing with others on some of my favorite link ups and thought I could host my own and "give back"!  I wasn't sure of what to do and this gave me an idea!

So this Wednesday, "Hump Day", I will be debuting my new weekly link up!

Please make sure to stop by tomorrow link up or see all of the Helpful Hints on Hump Day!  The link up will feature teaching blog post sharing helpful hints.  Even the smallest hint or thing can make the biggest difference in classroom.  I can't wait to find new blogs and gather some hints from my favorite blogs.  I have a great hint to share tomorrow that is a real life saver in the classroom!

Sunday, September 22, 2013

In Love & Good Readers Zoo

I am in love!  I have a new man in my life and his name is Mac!  He is big, bright, fast and powerful.  What more could a girl ask for!!!

Can you hear the heavens singing???  I picked up my new man at the Apple store yesterday.  The educator discount helps a lot!  I do have expensive taste when it comes to my new man.  I have spent all day with him and been very productive.

As I was transferring a few files, I discovered air drop!  If you haven't found this yet, WOW!  No more connecting with cords, transferring files to a jump drive or anything.  Just drop it on the other device wireless!  I can not wait to get to school to see if my student computers have this capability.  I am so hoping they do!  Imagine how easy that would be to transfer files.  I will let you know!

I mentioned I was productive... Here is what I finally finished!

I love using the beanie baby reading decoding strategies.  I wanted to incorporate them with all aspects of reading and display them in my classroom.  Here is the complete set of posters with all 32 strategies and headers.  I couldn't decide on the background I liked best, so I did 3 different ones to let you choose from.  You can get this set of posters at my TpT store here.  I did them in primary colors to match my classroom.  I think I may do them in bright colors too.

Here is a freebie for you!  It is a decoding strategies bookmark.

Don't foget you can find many more freebies at Manic Monday!

Classroom Freebies Manic Monday

Thursday, September 19, 2013

QR Taks Card Freebie!

Anyone who teaches K/1 knows getting those little guys to work independently and stay on task while you pull small groups is a VERY daunting task!  Today I tried a new independent practice activity with my kiddos and it was AMAZING!!!  I just had to share!

Ever since I took my firsties on a QR code gingerbread scavenger hunt they have be QR code crazy!  Every time we see one they want to scan it!  Task cards are also all of the rage right now and a great way to encourage independent practice and staying on task.  I have seen several printed task cards students complete and then scan each card to check the answer.  These sound fabulous for upper grades, but I envisioned half of my class just scanning the answers and copying it (after all they are QR crazy!)  Well here is my solution and I am sharing it with you all to try for free!  Click here to grab it.

So here is what you do.  First download the file and follow the printing directions.  It takes no time at all.  I made the mistake of laminating my cards, the glare from the laminate interfered with the scanning. Make sure you have a QR scanning app on an iPad, iPod, tablet, macBook...  Show the kids how to scan a code.  Then demonstrate how to record their answers on the answer sheets.  I had my students do this as a part of their Super 6 Daily Differentiation.  They were in groups of 3.  When they completed their 12 task cards, they would come to my table and scan the answer key QR code and self check. 

I knew in theory this should have all worked pretty well.  I figured the first graders would require quite a bit of help the first few times, but eventually they would get.  Boy was I wrong!  They all took to it immediately and better than I ever envisioned.  They were fully engaged, on task, helping each other out if needed and LOVING it! 

Check out this quick video of my students in action!

I plan to make a few more of these this weekend.  I would love to hear what you think about them! 

I am linking up with TBA's Friday Freebie!

Monday, September 9, 2013

Student Self Assessment Freebie

Happy Monday!  I am slowly but surely making my way through my to-do list.  I am super excited to have finished my classroom signs for student self-assessment!

This year we have moved to a Marzano scale of 1,2,3,4 for our report cards.  A part of the teacher evaluation tool our district uses looks at students ability to self-assess.  At first I was like "What the heck are my firsties suppose to do, write their own test or make up an assignment??  Then grade it themselves?"  That is just crazy!

Well I got to thinking about the 1,2,3,4 scale we are using and BAM!  I figured I could use the numbers to assess their understanding of learning throughout the day.  I taught them the what each of the numbers represent.  Now I simply ask them "On a scale of 1-4, what is your understanding?"  Then the most amazing thing happens!  18 hands pop up quietly with a number and I can quickly scan to see how they think they are doing.

I put together these cute posters for a visual for my kiddos.  (Honestly, it is a reminder for me to have them check for understanding!  I also figure it will look good to have posted in my room!)

If you would like these posters for your room free, click here to hop over to my TpT store and grab them!

Hope you (and I) have a great week!!!

Thursday, September 5, 2013

Beginning of the Year Fun

I am happy to report I am almost finished with my 3rd week with kids.  It is going great and I am slowly finding by groove with this class.  I wanted to share a few things I did with my kiddos during the first weeks.

I did the Jitter Juice the first day of school.  I used the Fun with Firsties pack by Abbey Mullins from  (I loved this pack, a huge time saver for me! So glad I purchased it.)  I was going to make the "Jitter Juice" punch... but then I thought of dragging a punch bowl to and from school mixing it all... yada, yada, yada.  Especially on the first day of school.  So I figured out a lazy efficient way to do this.   I bought a few of the flavored seltzer water 1 Liter bottles and a bottle of blue Mio flavoring.  I squirted a few drops in to turn it blue and wrapped a fancy lable on it and Voila!  I have special edition Jitter Juice!

We also made these cute backpacks.  They have a list of items first graders need to be successful in school.  On the ruler, they wrote one of the class rules.  Then the students recorded themselves saying what they want to learn in first grade.  We used to easily record and package their recording as a QR code.  It was so easy.  Check out my previous post on recording with QR codes here

I have to share a funny that happened while we were recording.  I was teaching the students how to record themselves.  When it was time for them to speak, I would tell them to "go".  Well one of my sweet little girls was with me and I said "go" and she turned and walked away!  SO the lesson I learned was to say "speak" next time!  Got to love those little guys sometimes.  (Maybe not when one tells you he really wanted a skinny teacher this year, not a fat one like me!  OUCH! But that is a whole different story.)

Monday, September 2, 2013

My Classroom and Manic Monday Freebie

This year I wanted a new classroom theme (I've had a farm theme for a while) and I also planned to incorporate more STEM projects incorporating Lego blocks.  I decided a Lego Building Brick theme would be perfect!  I set out to search the stores, catalogs and internet to find things... I found nothing!  So still determines, I went to creating this summer.  I love how it turned out and it has the kids so excited!  I thought I would share!

It has been a while since I shared a freebie... This is a PowerPoint to teach Part/Part/Whole.  I explain the part/part/whole concept using the first slide and then the kids play a game to guess what is under the circle.  When you click the number is revealed.  Click here to get it.

Classroom Freebies Manic Monday
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