Sunday, December 15, 2013

A Little Surprise Turns My Day Around!

Not a teaching related post, but definitely a good read for those who like those nice little stories that make you realize there are plenty of good people out there.

Here is my little story....

Have you ever had one of those mornings that nothing seems to go right?  This past Friday, I had one of those days.  I couldn't get myself out the door.  On top of the minor setbacks, I left my breakfast on the kitchen table.  I stopped by this locally owned breakfast restaurant, Martins.  (They have the BEST biscuits in the world!)  As I pulled up to the window, I handed the lady my card.  She handed it back and told me the gentleman in front of me had paid for my breakfast and simply said Merry Christmas! I couldn't believe it! I was so moved by what this man did for me. 

Such a simple little act.  Completely changed my day on small little act.  So small, yet I couldn't thank him, and he will never know how his act changed my day.   Of course I plan on paying it forward with an act of my own, but I was so  moved by his actions that I wanted to share with everyone I could.

Whoever you were... Thank you! 

To those of you reading, I challenge you to pay it forward.  One small act.  Nothing big. 

Happy Holidays!

As always,

Happy Blogging!

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Getting Back into the Groove: Research Writing

After almost two months of neglecting this poor blog, I figured it was time to hop back online.  Like many teachers, I have been swamped with school work. 

Teaching children how to take notes always gives me a headache.  I am still on the hunt for the perfect lesson on how to introduce 4th graders to note taking.  I went about it a little different this year.  My goal for this lesson was getting my students to answer questions they were looking for and to write it in their own words.

I took construction paper and made it into a mini folder:

All I did was cut rectangles that were a little bigger than the index cards being used.  Then, I had the kids glue each side except the top where the cards would be inserted. 
Students wrote their topics on the front of the mini folder.  On the back of their research folder, they wrote where they got their information from (works cited).
I gave each child 3 index cards.  I had 3 questions every child had to answer about their weather topic. I placed a sticker with each question on the blank side of each index card. 

Once the students found an answer to a question, they wrote it on the back of the index card. 
It worked well, but I am sure I will tweak it again. I am not sure how sold I am on teaching fourth grade students how to take notes.  Sometimes, I feel it is too young.  Mine still struggle with writing complete sentences. Anywho, enough with the ranting.
I hope to get my next post up some time this weekend.  I am tweaking the final activity that I will be posting.
Until then,
Happy Blogging!

Sunday, August 18, 2013

TpT Back to School Sale

School is back in session and I am drowning in back to school work.  I will make this short and sweet.  I will be revealing my classroom in my next blog post! I did want to give all my followers a heads up that my entire store will be on sale this weekend!  Don't forget to use TpT's extra 10% off coupon code!


Happy Blogging!

Sunday, August 4, 2013

Back to School: Tips, Freebies, & Giveaway!

Back to School

School is back and what does that mean?  Back to School Blog Hope! Before you begin to read this blog post, you might want to hop back to Christi Fultzs' Blog to hop back to the beginning of the blog hop!  Why?  A giveaway of course!  Every blog participating in the blog hop will have a fabulous freebie.  When you finish making your rounds to all of the blogs, you will have the opportunity to win products from everyone participating!

Back to school Tip

       Think ahead.  Conference week will eventually arrive.  I hated having to always scramble to find who had what siblings at our school. The worst thing is when siblings have different last names.  I also disliked having to wait for every teacher to go through the offices' files to find siblings.  Why not take care of the sibling issue at the beginning of the year when you are guaranteed to meet almost all of the parents & get all of your paperwork returned?  I am not sure what other schools do, but the plan I was using (waiting until every teacher met and looking through tons of files) didn't work.
*Keep Reading for more....*


(click button to grab my freebie!)
 So..... a few years ago. I came up with a solution.  A student/parent information form.  I give the Spanish/English for to all of the parents in my Meet and Greet folder. I ask them send the paperwork back to school with their child. Results: I always have a copy of the family contact information and their siblings.   The best part about it..........  I don't have to scramble or run to the office looking for "John's Siblings".  Enjoy the freebie, and please leave some feedback.  I update the form every year!


Confessions of a Teaching Junkie

(click blog hop button to head to next blog!)

 Hop on over to Confessions of a Teaching Junkie to find another great tip and freebie!  Remember, complete the blog hop and enter the giveaway!  A LOT of great items are up for grabs!

Thank you for hopping by!

As always, Happy Blogging!

Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Back to School: The Nesting Bench & Tuesday Folders

The Nesting Bench

I have been teaching 4th grade for quite some time, and one thing I have learned is that 4th graders DO NOT like to sit on the rug or floor.  So, this summer I had a vision.  This vision will hopefully be my mini lesson savior :)  I call it the The Nesting Bench. 

Look closely.  At first glance, it looks like a bookcase, but in reality it is a bench within a bench.  The first bench serves as storage.  It never moves. When the children come to the rug, they use the handles on the side, and move it back. 
When the bench is pulled back, it will reveal another bench.  The benches are sturdy enough for both storage.  When the mini lesson is over, two students use the handles and return the slightly taller bench back over the small storage bench.
These are so great, that I am returning to Home Depot tomorrow to create another bench for the other two side of my rug.  If you're interested in making these they cost about $205 without the staining. 
Materials needed to make benches:
* 2 x 10 x 16 piece of wood  (ask the home depot guy to cut it into 2- 15 inch pieces, 2 18 inch pieces, 1 3 1/2 ft board, 1 4ft board, and the remainder as shelf for little bench)
* #8 screws
* Drill
* 2 braces (for the taller bench)
* 2 x4 hardboard (backing for the tall bench optional)

Tuesday Folders

On Tuesdays, my school sends out information, newsletters, and school wide letters to parents.  They go home in a red folder called Tuesday Folders.  My math partner and I decided to save time and send their weekly work home in these folders. 
I want to share how I get everything out to students.  In the picture below are my homeroom's mailboxes.
Mine are numbered because I have a large student turn over rate.  In the past, I have labeled their mailbox with their name.  Throughout the week, I have students return papers and graded work in the mailbox (along with all of the school papers).  When Tuesday rolls around, students grab their folder (left side of mailbox) and take all of their papers out.  They go home, have them sign the page stating the parent looked through the folder and return it back the next day.  It is super easy and the children do it all on their own. 
Summer has flown by. I return to school tomorrow. Keep a lookout for back to school freebies. I predict a large list of freebies to come (within the next few days).
As always, happy blogging!

Sunday, July 21, 2013

My new love Art Studio, I made it, & New Blog Design!

I have started to dabble in an app called ArtStudio. I love to draw, and so I wanted to try my hand at clip art making.  After playing around with the app, I found it very easy to work with.  I definitely suggest using your sketches to create art, instead of doing it from scratch in the app.  Anyways, here is a glimpse of what I would possibly look like if I was a cartoon.

Once again, I have found another way to post daily objectives and homework for students. Our county provides agendas for all of ours students.   As part of their morning routine, students are required to write in their agendas.  These are super easy to make and use.  Once they're done, you can write with Expo marker and wipe off easily.

After all was said and done, the total price of this project was less than $10.  The frames are actually from the Dollar Tree.  The frames I used were the 8X10 certificate pop out frames. The other thing you need are command hooks. 

All I did to make these simple frames was find a cute little border that matched my class theme. Then I typed the title of all the sections in the agenda. After that, I printed the paper, placed in in the frame, and hung it up in my room.  I didn't post a picture of it on the wall because I need to work on getting the gunk off the left side of my board.  You can see it in the second picture on the top left corner.

I am SUPER DUPER excited to show off my new blog design!  Nancy Messenger from


 just finished (literally like 10 minutes ago) redesigning my blog!  She was so wonderful to work with! If you are in the market for a new blog design, please stop, visit her site, and show her some love.  Everything was custom designed to what I wanted, and best of all it was very budget friendly!

Be on the lookout for the next few posts.  I am currently finishing a new bilingual parent and students information page and a new idea/twist on how to get big kids to gather at the rug. 

Until then, happy blogging!

(don't you love my new, cute signature!)

Thursday, July 4, 2013

Welcoming Parents and Freebie

My school has many parents who speak Spanish. I can't count the number of times they have come to the school asking how they can help their child. I just started a series called "Bilingual School Stuff". My vision is that the set will contain across the curriculum items that we use or activities from the classroom and explain it to parents in Spanish. As I was creating the set, I was thinking of all of the various situations we have in the school. I realized I also needed to make a set that contained English and Spanish because we also have families with language barriers. The older some of the kids get the less they use their Spanish, or in most cases, many of the students never learned how to read it or speak it. I figured having both languages on the cards would help those families because the child and the parent can read the card and both understand what questions they need to answer before, during, or after reading.

Of all of my work, I am really proud of this set. I struggled with reading when I was a child. My parents, bless their hearts, tried to help, but the language barrier was such a problem. Hopefully, these cards can help a few parents and teachers out there!

Please check out READ WITH ME at my TpT store!

Here are what some of the pages look like!

Now...for all you cute template people out there! As for now I am making these free. I had so much fun making these cute, that I couldn't sell these. I have made, what I (hopefully) think, is a cute nurse pass/note set. These should make you life easier when you send a student up to the nurse with a note. Everything has been filled in and all you have to do is check the child's symptoms! I think I covered all of the reoccurring symptoms. If you happen to catch one that I overlooked, let me know and I will add it on the nurse list. Enjoy! Here is the link to my store to grab these!

Happy Blogging!