Currently April!

Listening - Have I mentioned Bar Rescue before? The hubs and I are a little obsessed with it. I think it's because we both worked in the restaurant industry.

I'm also listening to the hubs try and eat his 100th popsicle of the week. He had his tonsils out on Monday... no more Snor-a-saurus Rex we hope!... and the last few days have been the toughest. Anybody have any good soft food diet tips? He's a little *over* Spaghettios, mashed potatoes, and Popsicles.

Loving - My parents are coming down to see my drama club kiddos perform on Friday night. Big hugs and love to Aileen at iTeach who has helped me wade through this adventure for 2 years in a row! 

Thinking - We must be the last school district on the planet to have Spring Break. The last night of our show marks the start of our vacation. I am excited for the play to open, but the next 5 days cannot pass soon enough! This lady needs a break! :)

Wanting - Spring is starting to arrive (finally) here in Georgia, and the daily pollen count and I are not friends. At all. I am a sneezing machine - and it has already begun. I went to CVS and stocked up on Claritin this afternoon. Anyone with me??

Needing - I mentioned the hubs' tonsillectomy. I have not been the best nurse 24/7 and may patient *may* be getting a little cranky. I need to be more patient with him and we both need to persevere through this healing process. I also love those words because they will be my mantra as I am looking ahead to Spring Break!!

Advice - I am in no way a big seller on TpT, but I do have a strong following there and here on my blog. (Thank you!!) I started in the summer of 2011 and my focus has been to share what works (and sometimes, what doesn't!) in my classroom. My progress has been steady, not instantaneous.

I did notice, however, that I gained momentum when I started networking with other bloggers. I participate in the forums, volunteer for giveaways, and reach out to the people I admire on my own! Some of the sweetest friends I have, I've never met in real life. :)

I'll also say this - don't try to pump up your store with a bunch of products as soon as possible. Teachers are picky people. :) Only put out your best. You'll attract loyal buyers who will come back again and again! Farley's right - don't get caught up in what everyone around you is doing. Celebrate your own successes!

Now go link up!


Spring Cleaning Sale!

Graphic courtesy of the fabulous Krista Wallden!

I'm linking up with several other blogger buddies and throwing a "Spring Cleaning" Sale on Saturday and Sunday! Everything in my TpT store will be 20% off!

Here are some of the things I'm excited to "clean out" of my wish list...

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This unit will be just right (and a lot of fun) as we wrap up the year by diving back into traditional literature. I've also been looking for a fun ways to integrate our speaking and listening standards into our Readers Workshop time.

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I cannot for the life of me figure out why my kiddos are having such a hard time with identifying the main idea and supporting details. Rachel's task cards have always been a perfect fit in my classroom. I couldn't believe these were still on my wish list. These will be great for our Thursday Remediation Stations or a quick game of Scoot! I really love that the passages are differentiated to support all of my readers. :) 

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Finally, if you haven't discovered Mr. Hughes and his mystery pictures, you need to get over there RIGHT. NOW. 

My kids loooooove these activities! They are a popular item in my Thursday Remediation Stations (a post is coming on that) and I also love leaving them when I have a sub. Kids also ask for them during dismissal or indoor recess!! This set will be perfect for my struggling readers who are still working on basic sight words. He also has parts of speech, homophones, and other skills integrated into some of his other packs. They are FABULOUS!

I want to hear what you're looking forward to "cleaning out" of your wish list. What's going to help you finish out the year with a bang?!

Be sure you stop by and visit all of the shops throwing a "Spring Cleaning" sale this weekend!


Multiplication Connection

I've said it before, and I'm sure I'll say it over and over again until my teaching partner and I are no longer working together. She is, for lack of a better word, my "other half" at work. I could not make it through the week day without her.

A couple of weeks ago, I had to schedule a doctor's appointment smack in the middle of our benchmark testing. Since we are departmentalized, "M" gives the math benchmarks to both classes and I give the ELA benchmarks to both classes. We were working within a window, and I didn't know how I was going to spread out the benchmark tests without making our kiddos completely miserable.

Enter my sweet partner and friend.

She took time out of her day while I was out so that we could squeeze everything in. She is amaze-a-doodles.

In return, I made sure the kids had some fact fluency practice while they were with my sub. When M and I started talking about the trade-off, my creative sparks went off.

Enter, Multiplication Connection!

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It's a "Connect-5" game that is differentiated to meet the needs of kids who need practice with easier or harder sets of facts. I included 2 versions in the packet.

The first version uses traditional 2 dice and helps kids develop fluency with facts 1x1 through 6x6. M encourages our kids to use the skip counting strategy, but I left the recording sheet instructions a little more vague so that you and your students can decide which strategy works best for them.

I was so excited to leave this for our kids... and then something TERRIBLE happened.

The school laminating machine was out of film.

I was out of laminating sheets for my thermal laminator. At home AND at school.

I KNOW!!!!

M to the rescue. Again.

Enter sheet protectors.

They are not just for portfolios, people.

They are for pretend laminating, too. They even play well with dry erase markers!

I was relieved. Especially since it was 6:30 p.m. and I only had about 15 minutes to get my sub stuff together before they kicked me out of the building. 
Because I am the ELA teacher (and a bookworm), I also left a couple of fun read-alouds for the sub to choose from before they played the game:


I came back to rave reviews from the kids. They loved the game and they still ask to play it during indoor recess and during dismissal. No lie. 

So, from this post, you should have learned 3 things:

1. My teaching partner is amaze-a-doodles. I also believe she invented the word "amaze-a-doodles."

2. Sheet protectors are just as good as laminating film at 6:30 p.m.

3. There is a fun new multiplication game in my store(s) and you should check it out!


Grateful {+ a FREEBIE!}

On Tuesday of this week, I was talking with my kiddos about what to expect for our upcoming field trip. We are very fortunate to have several parent chaperones this time, and we were having a very serious discussion about how they would want someone to treat their parent if they were going on a field trip with us.

On Wednesday, I was away from my kiddos for the day. My fabulous, wonderful, incredible principal gives each grade level team a "Data Day" every quarter. We use it to grade benchmark assessments, look at what we need to review, where we can extend, work on report cards, and update our data cards. It's pretty amazing.

During the meeting, we found out that a VERY LARGE chunk of our field trip funding had fallen through. We were exactly one week away from our trip. How in the WORLD were we going to break this to our kiddos?

We decided not to.

People, God did BIG things through Facebook. We (my team) hopped on and sent out a call for help to our friends and family. We needed (roughly) $1300 for about 130 3rd graders to go on a trip. 130 3rd graders who never travel outside of their trailer park or apartment complex. The oohs and aahs I hear every year on I-75 as we drive through Atlanta break my heart. We had to have the money by Monday at the latest. Would our friends and families be willing to "sponsor" a child for $10?

They came through for us in incredible ways. By Friday afternoon, we had the funds we needed. Our kids never even knew their field trip was in danger. It was one of the most amazing things I've seen in my 11 years of teaching.

On Wednesday, when we come back from our trip, I'm going to tell them what happened and how people they've never met saved the biggest day of their 3rd grade year. We will write dozens of thank you letters. But the most important word I want them to learn and understand on Wednesday is grateful.

I want them to love their field trip. I want them to come back to school with a dozen new memories and stories to tell their families. But more than that, I want them to be grateful for the kindnesses that were shown to them by complete strangers. People who love me (and my teacher peeps) took a minute out of their day to love on my kiddos. Isn't that incredible?

So, I'm working this back into my weekly lessons.

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I don't remember why this didn't make it into the weekly rotation this year, but I was excited to find it when I was digging through my files on Friday afternoon. Before leaving me for the day, my kids will simply finish the thinking stems and tell me one thing they are grateful for this week, something new they learned, and one thing they are looking forward to.

I hope this is something you can use to celebrate the big and small victories in your classroom this week, or this month. It's really eye-opening and fun to see what your kids appreciate and take away from your classroom each week.

I'll try to remember to take pictures of ours this week and share them with you on Friday.

Somebody remind me! :)

Do you do anything like this with your kids? I'd love to hear about it!


Women's History Month Linky - and a {FREEBIE}

Being a Georgia teacher, Susan B. Anthony is one of our historical figures for Social Studies in 3rd grade. My kids this year were really interested in her life story.

When we're all teaching the same person at the same time, using the books we have available at school can get a little tricky. I tend to get a little Amazon "click-happy" --- anybody with me?

Here are a few of our favorite Amazon finds for Susan B. Anthony:

Deborah Hopkinson is one of my favorite non-fiction authors. She writes fantastic historical fiction and factual history books. I love the way she writes about women who helped shape our history and the strong female characters she creates for her picture books and Dear America novels.

This was probably my favorite purchase. I have a w-i-d-e range of readers in my classroom this year (who doesn't?) and this text made the information accessible to everyone! 

This last text was the best option for my advanced readers. I actually ordered a guided reading set of these and we had a great time "digging deep" and talking about what an incredible woman Susan B. Anthony really was.
I used it as a read-aloud with my inclusion class last year, and that worked well too. When I presented it that way, we created a K-W-L chart that we filled out as we read. It was a great anchor for the kiddos as we completed our unit for Social Studies. 

Finally, I retooled and relisted an old freebie that I'll be using with my kiddos this month. We'll be in St. Patrick's Day mode this week, but I thought this is something you might want to put in your files for the weeks ahead. :)
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How cute is that graphic from Melonheadz? I love it!! 

I hope this finds you ready for the week ahead. I'll be back later this week with some ideas for teaching conjunctions, a few anchor charts to share, and (hopefully) another freebie for you!

If you have any great resources for Women's History Month, I'd love for you to link up with a post! It can be anything - products, freebies, books, poems, teaching tips, whatever! I'll leave it open for the rest of the month!


Currently and a St. Patrick's Day Makeover!

It's that time again! Sweet Farley is hosting her monthly Currently link-up. If you're not sure how to join, make sure you check out the tutorial below by Teresa at Confessions of a Teaching Junkie. She's fabulous!

Confessions of a Teaching Junkie

If you've hesitated to link up before, I hope you'll feel comfortable joining in on the fun now!
Here's mine!
Listening: It's Sunday night, so in our house that means The Simpsons, The Cleveland Show, Family Guy and Bob's Burgers. He watches so many of my shows during the week I don't fight it. :) 

Loving: Last night my sweet boy took me on a mystery date. Peeps, he had this thing planned for weeks! I knew to set Saturday night aside for us and to be ready by 8pm, but that was it! 
on our way to fun!
We ended up at a super-swanky restaurant in Atlanta called Bacchanalia. Holy goodness. Five courses of absolute deliciousness. 

It's definitely a special occasion place or once-in-a-blue-moon surprise night out for us, but it was the perfect surprise. :) 

Thinking: We had some flurries here this morning. Oh, if they had only come through tonight with a little more gusto. I need a snow day!

Wanting: Conjunctions to go away. Or at least be a little easier. I've found some fabulous (and free!) resources I'm looking forward to sharing with you this week after my kids have had a chance to use them. I'm also working on a few activities of my own. I just don't understand why 8 and 9-year-olds need to know something now that I didn't learn until middle school. Seriously?

Needing: If you didn't see Teach123's Tech Tips post on ergonomics, I highly recommend you go and check it out now. 
I'm pretty sure my new friend, the pinched nerve in my neck, has a lot to do with how I sit when I'm working at my computer. Sad face. While I try to find a way to convince the hubs I need a new desk, I've already ordered this wireless mouse:

Like, Love, Hate: I like apples. A lot. Growing up, part of my family owned an apple orchard and we had them all year round - sliced with peanut butter (my favorite!), in cakes and pies, fried in brown sugar, butter and cinnamon, in fruit salads and later, I learned how to make and preserve my own applesauce from my friend Kari, and her mom Cile. You can read their recipe here. They are both amazing cooks and women. :)

I love Anchorman. I think I might be even more in love with the idea of Anchorman 2. Especially since they keep announcing people they are adding to the movie.

Seriously. Kristen Wiig... John C. Reilly... Kristen Wiig??? I can't wait. 

I hate armpits. They are gross. And this time of year, there are some 3rd graders with some ranky-stanky ones. Especially on P.E. days. Gross. 

Finally, I wanted to let you know I've updated my St. Patrick's Day Packet O'Fun! 

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It did get a new name, but I didn't change it on TpT so that everyone who bought it last year can download the new goodies for free. I've doubled the number of pages in this fun packet with a new poem, 2 new responses - a skills scavenger hunt and a point of view activity, a mystery word and mystery phrase and a parts of speech sentence sort. It has taken me FOR-EVER, but I am marking it down through Tuesday to $5.00. If you snag it now, you'll save $2.00!

Make sure that if you already purchased this last year that you go back into My Purchases and find it so you can download the upgraded version!

Have a fantastic week! I'll be back soon! Go link up!


Farkle in the Classroom


I fell in love with the dice game Farkle during a weekend getaway with my sisters. As soon as we played our first round, I knew I had to find a way to bring it into the classroom. If you have not played this game before, go to Amazon or get in your car and drive to Target, WalMart, KMart, or whatever "Mart" you like and look for this:

Or, you can be cheap like me and go to the Dollar Store and buy a pack of dice. You'll need six. If you don't know how to play, you can try to decipher my kid-friendly reminders, Google it, or watch this YouTube videoThat's probably best. :)


When I thought about teaching this game to kids, I knew that students would need a recording sheet. I also wanted to include scoring reminders and a kid-friendly list of the rules for playing. So, I created the packet below.

Find my Farkle printables on TpT!

Farkle is perfect for incorporating mental math, place value, adding large (three to five) digit numbers, and probability all into one game. I like to run copies of the scoring sheet back to back and have a laminated page of the "Rules to Remember" for each group playing. My students have always needed a double-sided copy to keep track of their scores throughout the game. I've played this game with 3rd graders, 4th graders, and 5th graders. I have no doubt that 2nd graders who love a challenge would enjoy this game as well.

Make sure you save this post so you can come back whenever you need a Farkle refresher!