Sunday, 30 November 2014

New Product Giveaway and It's Time for a Sale!

Don't You Just Love a Good Sale?

Are you ready for a SALE?  I am so excited to buy a number of things that have been sitting in my cart for a while.  I would like to take a minute to highlight some of my best sellers and some new items. 
Don't you just love this graphic from Creative Clips! 

One of my best sellers is my Take Home Reading Program Essentials pack.  This is a ready-to-go package to get a home reading program going in your classroom.  But wait!  The comprehension questions included in the back are also great for teachers to use during guided reading.  This is a sample of one of the pages in the package.    
 My Word Jail is also a very popular product.  My students love to put words in jail and I love that we can do a lot of explicit practice around those rule breaker words since they are all found in one place.
 Over in my little corner of Teachers Pay Teachers, I have been adding a few new products, some with a seasonal theme.  If you haven’t checked out my new graphing centers you should take a look.  I have 4 different thematic packs, available on their own or as part of a cost-saving bundle.  There is a math manipulatives set as well as a fall, winter and Christmas theme.  They are super simple to set up and the kid will love both the spinner version and the grab and graph version that requires a paper bag.  I also recently added some new products to my "Gus the Plus" line.  I now have a set of centers as a well as a read and write the room.

 My latest product is bound to be a hit with my kids.  I will be introducing it on Tuesday!  We have an Elf on the Shelf named Snowflake and he is going to be the official delivery elf for our letters to everyone at the North Pole Rudolph, Mrs. Claus, Frosty (he lives there, right??), Santa and the Elves.  The kids can even write to the classroom elf.  I am very excited to share this with everyone.

Would you love to win this pack to use in your classroom?  Enter the rafflecopter below to have a chance to win it this week!

Lastly I want to urge you to go back to your purchases page and leave feedback on your purchases!  If you don’t already know, feedback earns you credits that you can use to save even more.  I know I have to go back and leave feedback before my shopping begins.  Don’t forget to use the code TPTCyber to get the full 28% off! 

Happy shopping everyone! 
a Rafflecopter giveaway

Saturday, 29 November 2014

What!!! It is almost December!

I don’t know about you, but I seemed to have blinked and now it is almost December.   At the beginning of the year I always think it is such a long haul to get to Christmas, but after our Thanksgiving in October (I am Canadian) time seems to speed up.  Now, here we are 3 weeks from the Christmas Holidays!

Christmas is my favourite time of the year and my first graders think so too.J   Hallowe’en was barely over and the talk turned to Santa and Christmas.  Our school population almost overwhelmingly celebrates Christmas, so I am able to celebrate with my students.  Our curriculum in Grade 2 has a Traditions and Celebrations component so I don’t go into a lot of detail about other celebrations, although I do touch on them.  I leave that to their Grade 2 teacher.

Today I stayed after our Professional Activity Day to start getting the room ready.First up this Monday is the arrival of our Elf on the Shelf, who is currently sitting in our Christmas tree.  I am so excited to see what this group of students thinks.  I expect some will literally be “vibrating” with excitement.  We had a lot of fun with Snowflake last year and I expect the same this year.  Last year I had a student who constantly wanted to write to Snowflake.  I was inspired to take this idea and expand it into a writing unit.  I am in the process of creating a Christmas writing package that will allow the children to write to Snowflake and all of the others who live at the North Pole.  Each night when he “leaves” to go to the North Pole he can deliver our letters.  I think the kids will be very excited about this.  I hope to have it ready for the Cyber Monday sale, so be on the lookout for it. 

The hard part about December is keeping the kids engaged when their minds are clearly elsewhere.  I try really hard to incorporate Christmas themes into our reading, writing and math to help keep them learning and interested.  I recently created a collection of Data Management centers that are thematic.  My latest additions are Grab and Graph and Spin and Graph Winter Edition.
Each product has 6 centers that are print and go and have colour and black and white options, to save ink.  With Grab and Graph you print out the sheet of mini manipulative cards, cut them out and put them in a paper bag.  Students use the accompanying worksheet to graph what they “grabbed” from the bag and to communicate and make comparisons about the data.   There is just a bit of colouring to keep the kids engaged and busy for a time and it requires very little direction so it will foster independence.
Spin and Graph uses the same themes but instead students have either a colour copied spinner that I laminate (to use with dry erase markers) or a B&W version.  Students spin 20 times and mark their tallies.  They then complete the worksheet, graphing and communicating about their data.  I am really excited about using these with my students.  I am sure they will enjoy them. 

This brings me to my final though before I sign off.  I have some amazing news that I have only shared with a very few people.  A few weeks ago I decided to put together a page for the TPT Holiday Ebook.  I knew that I would be submitting to the Grade 1-2 book and that competition for those 50 pages would stiff.  I am happy to report that I got an email confirming that I would be one of the lucky 50 included in the book!  I am beyond thrilled and excited and might have did a little squeal right in the middle of my classroom when I found out.  J  It is available starting December 7th so be sure to download it for 50 awesome tips to use in your classroom and 50 FREEBIES.   
This is by far my most “awesome” news this week so I am linking up with Erin at Mrs. Beattie’s Classroom and her “Year of Awesome” linky.  Be sure to check back regularly during this month as I plan to blog about all of our holiday happenings.

Don’t forget to visit TPT on Monday and Tuesday and scoop up some deals.  I know my wishlist is ready and I will be spending some time leaving feedback on items that I have not had a chance to leave feedback for.  Did you know that by leaving feedback you get points that you can use towards future purchases?  It makes the 28% off sale even sweeter.  I would love it if you could return and leave feedback on any items of mine you might have purchased.  I love reading your comments.

Until next time.

Monday, 24 November 2014

A TPT Holiday Giveaway!

Are you ready for a TPT holiday giveaway?

I am joining a great group of Canadian teachers to offer you a chance to win  either a $30.00 or $15.00 TPT gift card.  With the holidays approaching, I would love to move a few of my wishlisted items over to my cart to make the hectic time leading up to the holidays easier.  That can be a reality for you if you enter the rafflecopter below for your chance to win. 

You might be interested in a new product I added to my store recently.  I recently added a holiday themed set of Graphing Centers - Grab and Graph and Spin and Graph - Christmas Edition.  They are super quick to set up for your Math Centers - just print off the cards or the spinners and the accompanying printable, grab a paper bag or paper clip and pencil and you have the centers ready to go. 

Are you looking for a FREEBIE?  Each year I love to read Santa's Stuck to my students and do a cute writing activity to accompany it.  I love to incorporate poetry into this time of year as well, so I wrote a poem that is perfect to use with this book.  It is repetitive and simple to learn.  I am sure it will be a hit with your students.  You can find it for FREE {HERE}. 

a Rafflecopter giveaway

All I Want for Black Friday... Wishlist Linky Party and Giveaway

All I Want for Black Friday...Wishlist Linky Party

I am linking up with the bloggers at The Primary Pack to share with you some things I really want from my TPT wish list and some things you may want to add to your wish list! 
Although I am a Canadian teacher and have already celebrated Thanksgiving I get excited for Black Friday and the official start of the holiday season. 

Here is a collection of products I think you SHOULD have on your wishlist! 

I have recently created a themed collection of graphing centers.  My Winter and Christmas editions of these centers have been recently added and are starting to get wishlisted.  I can’t wait to use with my own firsties in the coming weeks. 

The Word Jail is another product I feel is a “must have” in a primary classroom.  I have blogged about how it works {HERE} and {HERE}.  Trust me, it is a great way to teach kids those tricky, rule breaker high frequency words.

My Patterning Centers forPrimary Grades is a top wishlisted item in my store.  My own students loved it and I know your students will too.  Addition Centers withGus the Plus will make an appearance in my classroom just before Christmas (or just after if we get to busy with holiday related things J).  My students LOVED Gus the Plus last year and I am sure this class will be the same. 

Do you use poetry with your students.  We usually do a poem of the week that relates to our word wall words or a theme for the week.  These poetry task cards are perfect to put in a center during Literacy Centers or Daily 5.  They can be used with ANY poem. 

Lastly, my Take HomeReading Program Essentials is a complete package to create a take home reading program.  It includes a sample letter, recording sheets for teacher and students as well as prompts for parents for reading levels A N. 

I hope you will decide to check these products out and add them to your wishlist! 
These are some of the products sitting on my wishlist. 

We recently acquired 20 ipads to share at our school quite a feat when we have over 300 kids.  I am hoping to begin using them shortly and started looking for good resources to get me started.  Reagan’s Ipad Essentials fits the bill. 
I have been looking for ways to improve my guided reading time and I think this kit might fit the bill from JD Rockin Readers. 

During a recent Professional Activity day we were introduced to the idea of Number Talks.  I haven’t had time to further explore this concept but was excited to find The Number Guy’s resource and might use that as a starting point. 
What can I say about Creative Clips clipart?  I am addicted!  These penguins are beyond adorable and I am sure they will make it into my cart. 
Don't forget to continue your hop though the blogs below and see what other bloggers have to share with you.  On a number of the blogs you will have the opportunity to enter a fantastic giveaway! 

Sunday, 23 November 2014

A little bit of this and that!

I am linking up with Erin from Mrs. Beattie’s Classroom this week.  It has been a few weeks since I have linked up but I am back to share some of my awesome moments.  I have been commenting to my colleagues that I think this group of Firsties has finally figured it out and is settling down.  We have had two really solid weeks.  I think having said this I might have jinxed myself, as you will find out as you read on. 

For the past several weeks in Math we have been working really hard on recognizing and representing our numbers to 30 using 10 frames and base 10 blocks as well as pictures, tallies etc.  We are practicing in lots of different ways but I have shared some of our favourites.  The students LOVE using whiteboards so we use them all the time.  On this particular day I slipped a 10 frame sheet in a page protector and called out numbers for them to show in the frames.  Pictured below is the second part of the activity where they flipped their “whiteboards” over and drew the base 10 blocks.  I love how they all get comfortable and are working so hard.  Another great activity is to simply put a pile of number cards on the table and have them  use the blocks to build the number and have a friend check.  I truly feel like most kids have this concept mastered. 

Later in the week I challenged the students to solve a problem for me - I wonder how many tables there are in our classroom?.  I told them they could take a clipboard and the “whiteboard” ten frame or blank side and see if they could figure it out.  They were excited for the challenge and I wanted to see if they could represent a  number greater than we had worked on.  It was very interesting to watch them go.  Some students had a plan right away they touched each desk and made a mark in their tens frame some wrote a number, some a dot.  Others stood back and tried to count all the tables from a distance.  Their answers were very telling.  At the end of the task they shared their answers and I wrote their numbers on the smartboard.  We discussed the answers that were less than 20 (we have 20 students) and talked about why that wasn’t a possible answer.  The math talk that followed was great to hear.  On day two we repeated the task but with chairs.  This time all of the answers were above 20 and many were right on.  It was great to see the kids apply the skills that they have worked so hard on.

During our word work this week I added 5 new words that the kids all decided needed to go to the word jail.  We practiced them daily and then on one of our practice days we did “find and print’ using just our new words and the word jail.  These two little guys often struggle but when you mention that the words are in the Word Jail they light up and start searching right away.  As you can see, they spelled them perfectly (barring reversals).  They were so proud of themselves AWESOME!

Another highlight of our week was our Character Ed focus around kindness and using our WITS.  WITS is a program that our school adopted to teach children how to solve small problems on their own. For foyr days we reviewed each choice:  Walk Away, Ignore, Talk it Out and Seek Help.  On the fifth day we worked on our door.  We read some great read alouds but the favourites were probably The Recess Queen and King of the Playground.  I think the kids could really relate to each book.  We had a great discussion about how to use our WITS to handle kids like Mean Jean the Recess Queen and Sammy from the King of the Playground.  We used a Venn Diagram for the first time and compared the two books.  The kids figured out how the planner worked right away and had some great contributions. 

Midweek we took a break from the WITS focus to decorate our door.  If you ask any of my students they would say this is the AWESOME highlight of the week.  The reason being is that we made Minions!  I found this craftivity {HERE}.  I had intended it to be a surprise but I left my sample out where one very observant student spotted it.  He loves to make crafts and was beyond excited, which got everyone else excited.    Unfortunately I didn’t get to make them with them because I had a Collaborative Inquiry group meeting at our board office but they had a special supply teacher Ms. Makinson!  She taught many of them last year.  They were excited to see her.  The minions turned out AWESOME.  Now the question of the day is “when do we get to take them home? “ 

As the end of the week approached the tide turned in the classroom and things started going seriously off the rails.  I am not so sure whyearly Christmas fever, snow who knows.  When Monday rolls around it is time to rein them in again so that we can make some more awesome moments in our classroom.  Next week is filled with a number of great extra-curricular activities so stay tuned.

On a totally different awesome note:  I finally got my Christmas data management centers uploaded to TPT!  I already had posted the fall, winter and math manipulatives sets and have been anxious to get this set posted.  If you are going to be teaching graphing to your students in the next month you will want to check these sets out.  

Saturday, 15 November 2014

A Simple and Effective Strategy to Practice Sight Words

Practicing those tricky Word Wall Words! Practice, Practice and more practice is the key to having your first graders or any early reader grow their sight vocabulary.  I am going to share with your a simple strategy I use and a resource to help with the trickiest of words - the rule breaker words.

I am linking up with Mrs. McClain over at Buzzing with Mrs. McClain for her monthly You Oughta Know blog hop. Other bloggers and I will be sharing things that you “oughta know” for your classroom.

In First Grade we practice all the time.  We need to build our vocabulary and I love to find fun ways for kids to do just that.  One idea that I have implemented in my room years ago was "word wall pockets".  Every week students are introduced to five new words for the week and are given these words on little flashcards.  I create a table in Powerpoint with 2 columns and 5 rows and then print them off and slice them up so I can save paper and make them the perfect size for a library pocket. They cut them apart and store them in their pocket.  

The fun starts when they get to sit with their partners and practice their words.  Sitting knee to knee and eye to eye, one student shows the other the word and them puts the card in the proper pocket depending on whether it is a "word I know" or a "word I need to practice".  They truly enjoy working with their partners to do this.  I have paired up stronger students with weaker students so that I have lots of little teachers around the room prompting and coaching.  I hear lots of "try it again" and "sound it out" and "yes, you got it, good for you".  

When they are done their pockets they put them aside and write the current week's words on each other's backs and then they try to guess what the word is.  They are all so engaged during this little chunk of our day!  

Until next time,

Saturday, 8 November 2014


This is my first time linking up with Farley over at Oh' Boy 4th Grade. 

Listening to - My daughter loves to bake.  Right now she is watching a Youtube video and making single serve cookies in the microwave.  She is on her second batch.  The first one was crumbly but tasted yummy.  The second looked doughy to me but she fed it to her father.  The only problem is she hates cleaning up after the baking! There was flour everywhere.  

Loving - Friday, and now the weekend.  It has been a long week for some reason.  I just finished my progress reports and am trying to get back into the groove with my guided reading after  bit of time off to do some assessments.  

Thinking  and Needing - I need more sleep.  I have kicked my TPTing into high gear in the last few months.  I have been creating like a maniac and I am staying up late working on products, pinning and working on my blog.  There just doesn't seem to be enough time in the week.  However, I got a good solid 8 hours last night so I am feeling somewhat refreshed  

Wanting -  A new pair of black boots.  I love my brown ones but would like a pair of black high boots.  Time to go shopping!  :)

Reading - Don't get me wrong.  I love to read.  However, I am one of THOSE people who put the world on hold when I am in the middle of a good book.  I will literally sit for hours and read.  My last great read was the last book in the Outlander series. Right now I should be doing some professional reading for a Collaborative Inquiry I am part of.  

50th Product Celebration!

I just posted my 50th product 

To celebrate this milestone I have chosen one product in my store and discounted it by 50%.  Can you find it?  Click on the picture below to head over to my store to scoop up a deal. 

Thursday, 6 November 2014

Liebster Award!

     I was nominated for the Liebster Award by Ms. Makinson,  an amazing teacher and seller on TPT.  I am excited to share about myself and to nominated 11 more up and coming blogs.  

     1.  Why and when did you start blogging?

I started my blog at the end of this past summer of 2014.  I had been wanting to start but never had the push or the time to investigate exactly how to do it.  I decided that the time was right at the start of the new school year and dived in! 

2.  What one word sums up the heart of your blog and why?

I like to think my blog will give some insight into what it looks like in a Grade 1 classroom.  I guess my one word would have to be “insightful”.

3.  Is there something you learned late in your blog journey you wished you knew before?

Take pictures!!! I am really struggling with remembering that.  Life is busy in my classroom.  There is rarely time to stand back and just watch the kids.  I am trying to keep my phone closer at hand and make notes in my plans to take photos of things that I want to capture and for some formative student assessment.

4.  What is your favourite past time other than blogging?

I love to read, but save most of my reading to vacation time.  When I pick up a good book I have a really hard time putting it down.  I love to spend time reading other blogs, checking out Pinterest and creating products for my TPT store.  Creating has definitely been my favourite thing to do recently.  It  is a bit of an addiction. J

5.  How many hours per week do you dedicate to your blog?

Not many right now  I am still wrapping my head around blogging.  I have been sending some of my time looking for opportunities to join blog hops and linky’s to broaden my exposure. 

6.  What category of blog posts do you enjoy the most?

I love practical posts that provide ideas that I can try out tomorrow in my classroom.  I also love organizational posts and classroom tours.  Anything with photos will keep me reading!

 7.  Where does your blog inspiration come from?

My blog inspiration comes from my students and my classroom.  I love to share how I do things in hopes that it might inspire or help someone else. 

8.  Which post that you ‘ve written are you most proud of?

That is difficult to answer.  I haven’t posted a lot yet but I guess if I had to pick it would be my word wall post part 1. 

     9.  Is there any post you’ve been planning to o but have been postponing for a while now?

I have part 2 and 3 of my posts about my word work program.  I would like to post about math and my guided reading time too. 

 10.  What is your favourite aspect of blogging?

I love to read blogs.  It is like a window into the world of other teacher’s classrooms.  I get excited by the new ideas I see but also a little overwhelmed by the sheer awesomeness of the classrooms. 

11.  Which project or idea on my blog would you be most likely to try?

I love your dying clothespins post.  I love the bright colours.  That is something I might try for my classroom.

     I nominate the following up and coming blogs for the Liebster Award:  Click on their link to check them out!  

Now that you've been nominated here are the official "rules" for accepting:
1. In your post link back to the blogger who nominated you as a thank you and "shout out".
2. Answer the 11 questions given to you (the ones I answered above).
3. Nominate 11 blogs that have less than 200 followers each.  Provide them with 11 questions or have them answer the questions above.
4. Let your nominees know they've been nominated and provide them with a link back to your post so that they can accept.
5. Send your nominator a link to your post so s/he can learn more about you as well.  (You can just put your post link in the comments below). 

Happy Birthday, Amanda @ Daisy Designs!

I hope you will join me in wishing Amanda at Daisy Designs a big Happy Birthday.  Lucky for you she is celebrating with a giveaway that I am thrilled to be a part of.  Please be sure to enter the Rafflecopter below and take a look at the fantastic sellers involved and the products they are offering. I am offering my newest Thanksgiving product, Turkey on the Loose!  Good Luck! 

a Rafflecopter giveaway