Greg Tang!

I know I am an ELA teacher, but I had an "oh-my-goodness, oh-my-goodness" (read: Annie) moment when GREG TANG CAME TO MY SCHOOL!

Sorry for the shouty capitals. ;-)


We are Title 1 to the "nth" degree and we never get peeps like Greg Tang.

I am pretty sure he costs an arm and a leg.

Especially since he did 3 assemblies and 2 teacher trainings - all in one day.

In our 2nd-3rd grade assembly
Peeps, these kids were engaged and excited about math. And the teachers were super excited about our training that afternoon.

He gave us great strategies for teaching kids to master facts and we had a really frank and honest discussion about growing our kids to be abstract thinkers instead of concrete thinkers when it comes to math.

He also talked about his new site - www.gregtangmath.com!

It is full of games that teach kids to practice the strategies he promotes - (make ten, make the rest; using doubles, etc.). Right now, it's only $19.95 for a YEAR and... you get Scholastic Bonus Points! My teaching partner and I are planning on purchasing this for our kids for next year. At the very least, you need to head over there and check out the free resources he offers.

 I'll close by leaving you with a picture of my fabulous other half and I with Greg Tang.

Go ahead. Be jealous. It was way fun. :)


The Latest Giveaway Winner Ever :)

Hi peeps!

I am really sorry for the delay in announcing a winner. I don't even have a good excuse. I just plumb forgot.

Here we go!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Congratulations, Mindy! If you're still looking for a fun way to practice synonym and antonym skills with your kiddos, be sure to check out my freebie by clicking on the picture below.

Hope everyone has had a great weekend! :)


Bothered By the Bathroom?

Before I dive in to that intriguing blog post title, I wanted to say a sincere thank you to everyone who left sweet comments on Monday's post. This has been the hardest thing I've ever faced as a teacher and your encouragement and prayers mean the world to me. What a sweet group of bloggy friends I have!

This is such an awkward transition.

From thank you notes to potty talk....

Do you have a pet peeve?

Mine is :

"Mrs. Spann, can I go to the bathroom?"

"Mrs. Spann! I have to use it!"

"Mrs. Spann, its-a-mergency. Really."

TMI, tiny humans, T-M-I!

So, this year we have used this magical system (borrowed from a co-worker) and it has been GREAT! I love that my teaching partner and I have the same system in both of our rooms. Things like that make for a seamless day!

I just realized how dirty they are. Vomit. Oh well, I don't touch them!

One boy and one girl can be out at a time. I have two strips of velcro running down the side of a bookcase. Each child has their own velcro-ed Popsicle stick. When they are out, they simply move their name into the girl or boy spot.

I love it because I can see at a glance where everyone is!

In case you want to try something like this, I'm including some printable paper dolls you can use with yours!

I would include mine, but I don't know where they came from! I don't want the Copyright Cops coming after me! :(

You can copy the images into word and shrink or enlarge them as needed.

Hope everyone is having a happy hump day!

Top Teachers Giveaway!

It's Giveaway time and you are not going to believe this!  Over 20 items up for grabs from AMAZING bloggers all over the USA!  It's Top Teacher's Giveaway Galore!

Just enter the Rafflecopter on THIS POST
before APRIL 27th and from me you could win:

  Synonym-Antonym Rap Packet This packet is full of activities for a 2nd or 3rd grade classroom studying synonyms and antonyms. Students will enjoy the Synonym-Antonym Rap, partner game, buddy reading activity and other printables included in this set. Wrap it all up with a cute class book template that can be used with other units in the future!" (2-3)

While you are here, make sure you follow me through Facebook, Teachers Pay Teachers, and Pinterest.  

Then stop by these great BLOGS, look for this same post and enter to win their free products with them!
(Please note there is a link to the product and blog, you will want to visit their blog to enter.)

Making Words with Blends by DeAnne of First Grade and Fabulous: "Making Words is a great activity to work on phoneme isolation, segmenting sounds, and blending sounds to make words. This packet includes Blends (with both short vowels and long vowels with silent e. You will find ten different making word directions which include their own recording sheets." (k-2)

Dolch Sight Words for Kindergarten by Lidia Barbosa of Kid’s Reading Activities: "Sight word cards in a fun theme. Use them in a center, small group or on your word wall. A word sorting activity is included." (K)

  Center Signs in Spanish by Lidia Barbosa of Kinder Latino: "These are 24 colorful center signs in Spanish. It includes two sizes. One full page size plus small cards for your Centers pocket chart." (K)

  Adding 3 Numbers Pack by Melissa of Dilly Dabbles: "Pack full of activities to support instruction on adding three numbers with sums within 20." (K-2)

 Baseball Antonyms by Sally DeCost of Elementary Matters: "This is a game to practice antonyms. It has a baseball theme, and can be played like "Old Maid" or like "Concentration". It can be played with a pair of children, or a whole reading group.." (1 - 3)

 Compound Word Magic Square for Grades 3, 4, & 5 by Heather of HoJo's Teaching Adventures: "This is a great fun puzzle where students need to match 24 compound words together. You will get three different puzzles with this item."(3-5)

  Interactive Student Notebook by A Teacher's Treasure: "The ultimate alternative assessment & differentiating tool. Students will become creative, independent, reflective, thinkers, readers and writers. Students will be able to express their own ideas, process, and or apply the information and skills learned in this class. This notebook serves as a live journal, personalized textbook, and working portfolio. Engages learners of all learning modalities & multiple intelligences." (4-12)

  Vocabulary Detectives 2 by Ruth of Teacher Park: "Run weekly vocabulary contests! As your students read their books, they fill out the Vocabulary Detective cards and put them in the Detective Jar. Have a drawing at the end of the week for the winners!" (4-6)

  Alphabet Writing: Quick Prompts From A to Z by Erin of Small Types: "Get students' pencils moving and their creativity flowing with these short alphabet-themed writing prompts. Students can write notes to friends, make lists, turn alphabet letters into main characters and describe the details in fictional adventures--All corresponding to the letters of the alphabet. (Includes five prompts for each letter to suit different levels and interests.)"

Fun on the Farm by Brian of Hopkins' Hoppin' Happenings: "Here is a fun Farm Packet for primary grades. It includes Farm Rhyming Words - The words used are actually from the book Country Morning by Christine Lynn. Read more about it on my blog. It also includes I Have Who Has Dolch Words, Addition and Subtraction Center. You can use them as concentration matching, go fish, etc. All, but the I Have Who Has, has a work sheet and an answer key to go with it! I hope you enjoy!" (K-2)

Geometry Fun: A Supplemental Unit by Mandy of Mandy's Tips for Teachers: "This 77 page packet includes vocabulary cards, a student dictionary, three games, two sorting activities, two creative art projects and a short assessment." (2-4)

 Busy Teacher Forms by Michelle of Teach123 : "Fourteen forms to help busy teachers." (K-3)

Farm Math Work Station Activities numbers 11-20 by Mandy of A Special Kind of Class: "Seven math work station activities including, subtracting, counting, number recognition, number matching, measuring and 2 adding activities. Includes response sheets and answer keys." (K-1)

  The Three Frogs by Arlene of LMN Tree: "This is an ELA Guided Reading and Writing Unit for Grades 1-2. It includes a complete lesson plan, Word Study, Make and Take Book, Graphic Organizers, Story Sequence Writing Activity, Phonics Worksheet, Writing, Chant and Activities.

  Writing Center by Caitlin of Kindergarten Smiles: "I created these activities for my students writing center. They are all independent and fun! These can be used throughout the year (more than once). Activities range from name writing, to writing the globe, to sight word writing, to much, much, more!" (K-2)

   I Spy With My Frog's Eye-A Differentiated Word Work Activity by Marsha of A Differentiated Kindergarten : " This is a differentiated I-Spy activity which includes 16 pages of CVC, CVCC and CVCe activities that are tiered to help you meet the readiness levels of all your students." (K-2)

  Writing Lists by Nicole of Teaching With Style: "This set of 10 lists is perfect for using during Daily 5. In my classroom, if students choose Work on Writing, they can work on their story from Writer's Workshop, start a new story, write a letter to a friend, or write a list. " (K-3)

  Digital Clock Sorting Game by Jennifer of Best Practices 4 Teaching: "This product allows students to sort digital clocks by 'quarter til', 'quarter of', 'quarter after', etc. Students will quickly see the pattern of the times and commit it to memory! In 2 days, all of my students had learned this concept using this sort whereas the lesson in our math kit totally confused them!"

Sight Word Snap Cubes by Jennifer of Empowering Little Learners"Looking for a fun new center for your kids? How about having them make the sight words with Snap Cubes! Use these cards to have your students count out blocks to create the letters and form the pre-primer sight words! Then they count how many cubes it took to make the words! Two recording sheets are included (one where students just count the snap cubes, and another where students count and write the word.)" (K-3)

Early Elementary Science - Human Body Unit with Literacy Math by Lisa of The Lesson Guide: "This Early Elementary Science based Anatomy Unit will teach students about the Human Body (inside and out) with colorful graphics and diagrams using a variety of Literacy and Math skills. This unit includes Measurement Skills, an original Poem with a Get Moving Analysis, Information/Facts about each Body Part with Vocabulary, Templates for students to create a nonfiction book about their body, Full color pictures of body parts and locations of body parts, a Classification and Math graphing activity with Critical Thinking Analysis, a Unit Project/Human Diagram, a Word Wall Classification activity with Phrase Cards, Resources and more!" (K-2)

  Building Popcorn Words by Krissy of Mrs. Miner's Monkey Business: "This product includes weekly cut, build, and glue activities that follow along with my Monkey Popcorn Word Fun Unit as well as the Treasures series word list (which includes many Dolch and other HFW as well). It also has center materials that students can build the words in a pocket chart." (K-1)

  Scooping Up Story Elements by Tonya of Super Second Graders: "This is a fun way for students to pick story elements to plan out a story. Students will pick a card from characters, setting, and plot and record then on the recording sheet. Students will use the chosen element to create a story. Students will have a blast getting to create fun and whimsical stories. " (1-4)

  The Answer is… What’s the Question? Math Task Cards by Michelle of Making It As A Middle School Teacher: "28 numbered cards that leave the level of difficulty and specific math skill to be assessed up to you! Some students may only do basic operations, while other students may be required to do more advanced skills and give more details for their answers. Two student response options are also included!! Use for early finishers, have the whole class complete in Round Robin style, or use as a center. Pull out specific cards or use all 28 cards." (5-8)

  David Shannon Author Study by Mary of Sharing Kindergarten: "This is an 80 page author study using the books of David Shannon. It features 8 book. Each book title has a reading comprehension game, answer key, and writign prompts with it. " (K-1)

  Candy Land Long Vowel Game by Mel D of Seusstastic Classroom Inspirations: "This unique game is one of over 50 games I have to offer! Over 18 pages of long vowel words are on "look-alike" Candy Land cards. All you need is a game board & game pieces. Print, laminate & cut & use for years to come. These games can be used during Daily 5, tutoring, literacy stations, Daily 5 Math, RTI, ELL, Title 1 groups, homeschooling & more! The possibilities are endless!" (K-3)

A Not So Wimpy Resource: Fractions, Decimals & Percents Using Money by Kathie of The Diary of a Not So Wimpy Teacher : "This resource is great for differentiating instruction. Help struggling students, or those who have a difficult time with math concepts, understand fractions using money. This resource includes an info sheet, practice sheet, flashcards, and a bingo board." (3-5)

Again, enter via Rafflecopter on this post to win MY product before APRIL 27th.  Winner will be announced on April 28th!  

And then hop on over to these great blogs to enter to win their free products too!  


An Explanation of Sorts

I know a few of you are aware of recent events, but I feel like I need to explain why I haven't been as "active" this week.

my sweet girl

On Monday, I lost one of my favorite students, Ruby, to a 5 year battle with leukemia. You can read more about her here. My husband and I don't have any children of our own. Like many of you, I love my students as though they were my own. The day she walked into my classroom, Ruby carved out her own special place in my heart.

I know her body is whole and that she is singing with Jesus, but my heart is so broken. I miss my girl. Please pray for her parents to find healing and comfort. Lift up the teachers and students at our school who are also grieving. Pray that we would all run to Jesus the way Ruby did.

Earth Day Winners --- and a Freebie!


I'm please to announce the winners of my Earth Day Excitement raffle.


Earth Day Excitement!

I've been working hard to get my Earth Day packet ready!

{Click} the picture to go to my TpT store!

It's "that time of year" so I tried to include as many review skills as possible:
  • parts of speech: nouns, pronouns, verbs and adjectives
  • subjects and predicates (complete and simple)
  • making words
  • acrostic poetry frames
  • types of sentences: statement, question, command and exclamation (*For my upper level peeps, there is a duplicate set with declarative, interrogative, imperative and exclamatory.)
And, of course, there is a poem that anchors all of it together! :)

But wait!!! There's more fun coming!!!

I'm giving away three of these units! Follow the links on the Rafflecopter below!


It's a Sale!

{Click Me} to go to my TpT store!
I love a good sale, don't you? :)

Everything in my store will be 15% off for two days only - April 15th and 16th!

A super big thanks to Hadar and Rachelle for brainstorming this awesome idea and creating our super-cute sale sign!

An even bigger shout-out to Hillary for hosting our linky party! 

Go ahead. Get your shop on.

Simply Scrumptious

Do you have that "thing" that you put off teaching because you know it's going to be hard?

When I taught 4th grade, it was simple machines. I HATE simple machines. Boring. Yuck. Blech.

When I came back to 3rd grade, it became subjects and predicates. So, I tried to find a way to make it easier for the kids. If I could make it easier for them, I could make it easier for me! :)

{Click} the picture to go to TpT

I used to try and teach subjects and predicates at the same time. I kept banging my head against the wall! Finally, I tried teaching just subjects first. Once they mastered complete and simple subjects, I would move on to predicates.


This is the 3rd version of these games I've created. I used 2 of them in my Wonderland of Subjects and Predicates Unit. I created these separately for those of you who might just be looking for a game to reinforce what you're already doing.

Stay tuned - I have some printable freebies coming up!

Creepy Contractions

{Click Me}
This week's freebie is a little different because it's a flipchart! As I was creating this, I wondered if this was something everyone in blogland could use. I figured it was worth sharing, even if the format limits it to people who have a Promethean ActivBoard.

We're in the midst of reviewing for the CRCT next week and I put this together last night and used it today! My kiddos had fun and we were able to recap a much needed skill for "The Big Game" next week.

I'll talk more about "The Big Game" later this week. It's off to bed for this girl!

On a side note, we were given some yuck-o news today at our staff meeting. Our school is losing a significant number of new teachers to reassignment, and it's absolutely heartbreaking. I like to think of our school as one of the best kept secrets in the system. We are our own family, there is a sense of community and a strong love for the children we serve. These people are not easily replaced.

Hold tight to your school families, peeps. They are precious! And if you don't have one, know that those places do exist! :)

Back in Business

First, I want to say a big (and overdue) thank you to Marissa at Wild About First Grade and Courtney at Teaching in Paradise for nominating me for the Lovely Blog award. Unfortunately, your sweet comments came right in the middle of the Charlotte's Web storm that took over my life for 2-3 weeks. Both of these ladies have fabulous blogs and you should definitely check them out.

As for Charlotte's Web, it was a smashing success. I don't think I've done my kids justice on here by just mentioning it a time or two. There were about 35 kids in grades 3-5 (cast and crew). This has been a 6 month commitment for them and a TON of work. We met every Tuesday and Thursday from 2:45 - 4:30. The show is 2 full acts with a running time of about 75 minutes. We ran the show for 3 nights and they were picture perfect every time. What makes them even more incredible is that most of these kids do not speak English as their first language. I cried like a baby every night when they came out for their bows. They were incredible.

Don't get me wrong, I soaked up every minute of sleep and rest during my spring break. BUT - I cannot wait for next year. My co-director and I are already planning! :)

Last, but not least, there is the fun of being tagged! :) Barb @ It's About Time Teachers tagged me and I am excited to play!

Here are Barb's questions:

1.         Favorite holiday?
I love Thanksgiving. There are no strings attached, no gifts to worry about - just fellowship, family and food. :) 
2.        How long have you been at your current school?
10 years! I can't imagine a better place to be. We are truly blessed with great administration and fantastic staff.
3.        Do you prefer to eat dinner at home or go out to a restaurant?
I hate doing dishes. I love to cook, but I hate cleaning up. In the end, I'd rather save money and know what's going into the food on my plate. At home for me! 
4.        Location of the best vacation ever?
Guanacaste, Costa Rica!!!!
5.        Have you taught for < or > 20 years?
< than 20. At 10.5 right now! 
6.        Favorite author?
I LOVE Jodi Picoult. Love, LOVE, LOVE!
7.       Last movie you saw in the theater?
Hunger Games! Yippee!!
8.       How old is your car?
My little doot-doot-mobile is 7 years old. She's paid off and running (knock on wood) beautifully. I love her! 
9.        What is the 1 thing you will NOT eat, no matter what?

rutabaga - smelliest vegetable on earth. blech.

10.    Do you still have a land line (phone)?


Whew! That's it! I'll be back soon with a new freebie! :) 



I know there were some issues downloading my latest freebie. I've done some troubleshooting with the Superhero Scuffle game. I know the folks at TpT have been working hard to fix several issues on the site.

Sorry for the delay. My sweet boy and I ran away to Florida for a few days. Luckily, I brought my laptop so I was able to fix the download issue today.

If you click on the image above, you can go directly to my TpT store and download it for FREE!

Let me know if anyone still has problems!


A Wonderland of Subjects and Predicates

It's finally finished!

{Click Me}

A special thanks is due to Rachel and Lori @ Polka Dot Owl for proofing this unit!

It is p-a-c-k-e-d with games, anchor charts and goodies. If it's something you can use, be sure to click on the picture above and check it out!


Superhero Scramble

I was monkeying around with an old game this morning and gave it a fresh new look.

It's a partner game that requires my kiddos to switch back and forth between synonyms and antonyms. They can identify and create them in isolation, but once I ask them to mix it up... it's a mess. I'm hoping this will be a fun way to practice when we get back from Spring Break. 

It's easy to prep and easy to play. All you need is a file folder, a dozen or so red/yellow chips (you know, the ones that are collecting dust in your math manipulative closet) and a set of pawns for each partner. Print off the game boards and recording sheets and you're ready to go!

Best of all, it's FREE! Leave me a little love if it's something you can use!


Hawk Eyes

I need hawk eyes, peeps.

Can I borrow yours?

I just finished a g-i-n-o-r-m-o-u-s packet on subjects and predicates.

My eyes are swimming.

There are 30+ pages worth of goodies in this thing.

I'll email it to the first two people who volunteer to PROOFREAD it.

Wanna help a girl out?

Be sure to leave your email address!

April Currently

Linking up with Farley again!

You know those teachers in your school who seem to do nothing but scream at their kids all day long?

Of course you do.

We all have one. Or two.

Wouldn't you just love to give them a death ray stare and shrink them?

Just temporarily.

But long enough for those sweet tiny humans to give her (or him) a taste of their own medicine.

I could use it on anyone who's being particularly cranky. Or rude. Or just down-right nasty.

Oh, the possibilities.... :)

I hope everyone has had a restful weekend. Don't forget that if you're a GA blogger or reader, there is a meet-up this week in Atlanta!