December 29, 2012

2013 Resolution Linky

I'm linking up with Amanda at Teaching Maddeness for

Teaching Maddeness
and Diane at Teaching With Moxie for

Here are my resolutions for 2013...
For School:
*to grade papers promptly (I have a very bad habit of letting ungraded papers pile up and it makes it even harder to get motivated to actually grade them! Please tell me I'm not the only one :)
*to create a daily plan for the weekly tasks I need to accomplish (that way I don't spend my weekend putting it all together for the following week)

*to exercise and keep a food journal
*to drink more water
*to spend more quality time with my family
*to cook dinner more often than not (this will give me a chance to try some of those new recipes I keep ripping out of magazines haha!!)
*to use my Life Planner more :)

*to take more pictures of what's happening in my classroom (I always intend to take pictures, but I get so busy and forget about it!)
*to reach 500 followers :)
*to blog 4-5 times a week

What are your resolutions for the new year? I'd love to hear about them!

PS: I LOVE reading your comments and seeing new followers :)

December 27, 2012

Teachers College Common Core Resource

I hope everyone is enjoying the vacation--I am definitely lovin' the relaxing :)

I'm so excited to share this resource with you! Teachers College recently released videos of NYC teachers teaching lessons around the Common Core Standards!! The best part can access the videos...for FREE!!

Click HERE to see the videos

I love the way Teachers College approaches literacy--unfortunately, my school is pulling away from it. It saddens me and I try my best to hold on to what I can of it. The videos are giving me a new and fresh way to approach the standards, while still using the TC methods that I love!

I hope you can use some of the information presented in these videos :)

How do you use TC's methods with the Common Core Standards? How do you plan to utilize the videos from TC? I'd love to hear from you :)

December 21, 2012

Welcome Winter Sale!!

Break is finally here and I'm super excited to say the least!! I can't wait to sleep a little later, lounge in joggers (AKA jogging pants!!), and not have to schedule my bathroom breaks around preps and lunch! Oh...the little things :)

Speaking of little things... 

I'm linking up with Casey from Second Grade Math Maniac for another sale!! Enjoy 20% off the items in my store this weekend :)

December 12, 2012

New Look and Giveaway Winners!

I want to give a HUGE shout out to Megan at I Teach. What's your super power? for designing my new blog :) Megan is so sweet and easy going--it is a pleasure working with her! Thanks again Megan!! You rock :)

If you are thinking about getting a new blog design, definitely check Megan's design blog out: A Bird in Hand


Here are the winners of the premium Jooners accounts:

Congratulations Lynn and Cherie!! Be on the lookout for an email from me :)

December 9, 2012

It's the 9th day of goodies...

Beth at Thinking of Teaching is hosting

My favorite holiday activities are reading The Nutcracker Ballet by Vladimir Vagin, listening to the music by Tchaikovsky, and watching the ballet with my class. 

One year, I was so fortunate to have a resident from the Lincoln Center come to our classroom and work with my students. He taught them about ballet--how to listen to the music and see how the dancers show their emotions. At the end of the residency, we were able to go to Lincoln Center and watch The Nutcracker Ballet live! It was amazing--the most amazing part was watching students who had no interest and background in ballet become engrossed with the show. 

Since I love it so much, I wanted to share some things with you :)

This is the book I read to my class every year (you can get it at Amazon)

I made a few activities to go along with this book. Here's the activities for grades 3-5...

   Here's the Kinder through 2nd grade  

If you'd like a copy of these activities, you can get them HERE

I'd love to hear the holiday books you love to use in your room :)

PS: Don't forget to enter my giveaway for a chance to win one of 2 premium memberships to (an online event organizer!) Click HERE to enter!!

December 3, 2012

Product Review and Giveaway!

        I was recently provided the opportunity to review Jooners--a one-stop shop for all your event planning. Jooners is an online signup sheet that helps you organize and streamline your social event planning, like your next party, fundraiser, or classroom activity! In doing this review I received a premium membership and complimentary gifts, however, the opinions in this review are 100% mine.

     All basic accounts on Jooners are free and you can even create a signup sheet without signing up. There are signup sheets with already made templates around these categories: friends and family, community, school, sports, and seasonal. **Some signup sheets do have spelling mistakes--be sure to read each sheet and correct any errors before publishing.**

     As I looked through the site, the possibilities for the kinds of signup sheets are endless--a few that popped in my head are: carpooling schedules, classroom volunteers (like mystery readers), classroom donation signup, and celebration donations. (The one I chose to create was a winter celebration event.)

Here is what you see when you log on.
     Any signup sheets that you create are saved at the bottom of your homepage. You can see my signup sheet titled A Winter Celebration. (As part of the premium membership, you create and/or add your own image to your signup sheet, which is what I did below. It's a cool feature that allows you to personalize your sheets!)

    I wanted to plan an event, so I clicked on that button. There is also a button for collecting information (this is great if you need t-shirt sizes for sports teams or any other pre-event ideas.)

    Anything you type into the sheets can be saved as a draft and you can preview the signup sheet before posting. You can also create my own sections by clicking and dragging the section title onto your sheet.You can even add attachments to your signup sheet (I added "stocking letter" to mine, which goes along with an activity I want to do at the celebration--this is a great feature because it helps keep all documents related to the event in one place!)

      When you are ready to publish, you can send your signup sheet through email or you can provide your volunteers with a direct link. I love this feature because if I don't have someone's email address, I can post the link on my website or send the link address home with my student. If you choose to use email, Jooners has a great feature that allows you to import email addresses from Gmail/Google, Yahoo!, Outlook, Apple/IPhone, or Microsoft Excel. Or you can choose to type in the email addresses...

     **The published signup sheet does show your email and phone number for your recipients to see. The email you use to sign up for Jooners is the email that is posted. I did have to contact customer service because the email I used to sign-up was not the one I wanted my students' families to see. Customer service replied the next day and allowed me to change my email to one that I use for school. All correspondence was through email and the changes were made that day. So if you are planning to use this for school events, I recommend using an email that you don't mind parents seeing.**

    Speaking of privacy, Jooners doesn't sell member's information and they take safety/privacy breaches very seriously. I love that all my information is safe!

Jooners has graciously offered me the opportunity to giveaway 2 premium memberships (valued at $49.95)!!
Here's the advantages of a premium membership:

The giveaway will run from tonight 12/3 through 12/11. Winners will be chosen through Rafflecopter and announced on 12/12/12!! Good Luck :)

     a Rafflecopter giveaway

November 18, 2012

Teaching Point of View and a freebie!!

Our first units of study in reading and writing on the Iroquois and the Algonquians has ended! Now, we move onto explorers!

I love that the transition from Native Americans to exploration lends itself to point of view perfectly!

To introduce point of view, I used these posters from Chrissy Beltran...

You can get them HERE from her TpT Store! Thanks Chrissy :)

Before the lesson, I went over each poster--describing what the point of view means and how authors use it. The introduction was very broad--the lessons after are focused on the specific points of view.

Our narrative writing unit focuses on 1st person point of view. So it's important for students to have a strong understanding of it. Here's how I started it...

I used two texts... Encounter by Jane Yolen (available at which is written from a Taino boy's perspective of Columbus' arrival

and Thunder in the Sky by Marcia Sewall (available at which alternates perspectives between the Wampanoags and the Pilgrims.
I only focused on the first few pages of each text pinpointing the point of view (how the author chooses to write the story) and the perspective (who, in the text, is telling the story), which is a very difficult concept for 4th graders to grasp!

I modeled how to pull apart the text and analyzing what the character really means (especially the vocabulary and how different ideas are described, like the ship--"across the Great Sea floated the island with tall trees upon it, hung with white clouds") using Thunder in the Sky.

We answered these questions...
1) Who is telling the story?
2) Based on the text, how did the Natives perceive the strangers?
3) What are you learning about the relationship between the Natives and the strangers?

The students tried the same thing with some pages from Encounter using the same questions.

Here's a cute text that will get your students thinking about 1st person point of view:
Click HERE to get the text

(I found the text on Highlights, for the original site, click HERE)
and here's an activity page to use with it:
Click HERE to get this!
Be prepared for little giggles as your students read the text! 

If you try this activity in your room, I'd love to know how it turned out!

November 12, 2012

Teachers Helping Teachers

Cynthia from 2nd Grade Pad wrote...
I’m sure it is rare if there is anyone out there reading this post who has not heard of Teachers Pay Teachers, better known as TPT.  Not only is it a great site for teachers to share their wonderful teaching ideas, it is also a place of true heartfelt kinship with other teachers and many of the teachers form virtual bonds with each other in friendship.  This is one of those times.
One of my best friends, 2nd grade teaching buddy, fellow blogger and TPTer is in CCU in Atlanta with critical medical issues. 
I asked for all of my wonderful friends on TPT to help pray for her.  Prayers have been sent up for Teresa from all over the world.  I truly believe that prayer can bring about miracles and Teresa is certainly in need of prayers.
These very wonderful and special teachers then began asking, "What can we do to help?"
Out of their love and concern came
Teresa has pulmonary hypertension and is experiencing complications. She loves teaching and has a wonderful sense of humor that keeps us all smiling. The most important thing we can all do for her, is to offer prayers on her behalf. Financially, you can help by purchasing one of the below packages. All of these items have been donated by her fellow TPT colleagues who wish to help across the world.

If you visit Teresa's blog you will see she LOVES all things piggy...hence all the pigs! :-)
You can also view her great products on her TPT store.

We know how medical bills can quickly become astronomical, especially when in the Critical Care Unit. Therefore, we are offering you some wonderful deals in exchange for donations.

We have a HUGE pack of goodies in return for your donation of $25.
This is a value of $115.

You will receive all of these items via e-mail when you purchase.
After you purchase, please complete this google document so that I can e-mail your TPT units to you.

Click on each picture to see more information about the products.

In addition, several teachers have joined in another collaborative effort to form a piggy unit (Teresa's favorite kind).  This unit is available on my store for $10.  All proceeds will also be given to Teresa to help with financial needs.

Thank you so much for your donations.  I really appreciate it, but most of all, keep those prayers going!

Thank you!