Saturday, July 25, 2015

Brag Tags Updated

As the new school year approaches, I can't help but think about the things that worked last year and those that didn't.  One thing that absolutely worked was these Brag Tags!!  
Click the picture to see the original post.

These are very simple to use and reuse over and over again.  Print them, laminate them, punch holes in the top, and slide a badge clip onto it.  Done!  I slipped them into badge holders last year and skipped the laminating step.  This time I skipped the holder and went for full on lamination.  

As we are walking through the hallway or transitioning to new activities I would pass out a tag.  Sometimes it was specific to the activity or the Habit that we were focused on, other times no so specific.  My colleagues were so gracious in asking the kiddos to tell them why they earned their badges and it was a great natural lesson in speaking clearly to convey a message! Their confidence was boosted and they walked ten feet taller when they wore a tag.  

I stored the tags in a pocket chart last year so that we could see what tags were available.  As the year went on, I let kiddos choose their own tags.  The "second in line" tag was the favorite.

I've just updated these to include rule specific tags with the beginning of year in mind.  "I can take good care of my favorite pencil" is one I'm hoping will save me buckets of money on pencils this year.  I bought Expos and sentence strips on Prime Day and I've resolved not to spend any more money on school supplies.  I hope I can keep my promise to my debit card!! The children are going to have to learn the art of conservation one way or another. :)

The best thing about these tags is that they are reusable over and over again.  Kiddos get 'em when you give 'em and they put 'em back at the end of the day.  The next day is a fresh start and a new opportunity to earn a tag (or ten).  Click the pictures to get your set at TPT.

Thanks so much for your constant support and kindness.  Here's a little look at the view I've been missing since coming home from the AMAZING (and crazy hot & humid) Hawai'i! I loved the sights, smells, and flavors of the Big Island.  I will never forget it!  I've been trying to paint the beauty of the island with acrylics, and it's a struggle, my friends.  Nothing measures up. ♥

In uploading this picture, I realized that I said "Use with badge holders or laminate & put on chains..."  Chains? What?! Haha!  Oops.  That's why we make friends and get editors, y'all.  :) Don't use chains.  Use lanyards.

•Ask me how I am thinking ahead today.
•Ask me how I am a good citizen today!
•Ask me how I am listening today!
•Ask me how I take care of my body by eating well.•
Ask me how I worked toward my goals today!
•Ask me how I’ve been thinking like a teammate today!
•Ask me how I cooperated today!
•Ask me how I follow directions quickly!
•Ask me how I help others to learn!
•Ask me how I am a buddy not a bully.
•Ask me why my teacher is so proud of me.
•Ask me how I am neat and tidy!
•Ask me how I treat others the way I want to be treated!
•Ask me how I earned the 2nd spot in line.
•Ask me why I’m wearing this badge! (9 varieties)
•I can walk as straight as an arrow through the hall!
•I can raise my hand to share!•I can lead by example!
•I have amazing stamina for independent work!
•I can keep my eyes on learning! (2)
•I can take turns patiently!
•I can stay on task!
•I can help keep my classroom clean!
•I can be as quiet as a mouse!
•I can keep my backpack in its place!
•I can take care of my school supplies!
•I can take good care of my favorite pencil!
•Ask me why I get to sit at the VIP table today!
•Ask me why I get to pick my seat today!
•I can keep my classroom organized!

Tuesday, June 23, 2015

Dare to Dream: TPT Seller Challenge

Hi y'all!!  I'm joining Week 2 of the TPT Seller Challenge and daring to dream about my TPT business and *slight panic attack here* something personal!  I'm taking a deep breath and sharing personal stuff here, people! Brace yourselves. 

First things first, I really want to work hard on my TPT store and get more products in there.  I have big dreams to really get supplemental materials posted. I've seen (purchased AND used) so many worksheets, but it's time to break away from the ease of worksheets and challenge myself to create more engaging materials for kiddos. I think this will come in the form of educational technology and idea books, but we will see how it goes!  

I feel very fortunate to be a part of the TPT community, but another goal is to get more involved in TPT!  I have not yet attended a conference and I would LOVE to!  I would also like to present at a conference but that may take me some to get the nerve up.  I'm a painfully shy person and it takes a lot to get me in front of people. Another thing I need to work on.

Ok, so those are my goals for the TPT future.  Now on to some personal goals.

FIRST: Love.  Just love.  It is as simple as it sounds.  I want to share my love with my family and friends.  I want to hug  my brother and hang out on the patio with my Dad.  I want to share love with my school kids and home kids (cats lol) and make sure they know just how much I care about them. I know this is a little known fact about teachers, but we love the kiddos!  Just love.

SECOND:  I really want to become a Nationally Board Certified Teacher.  I'm not sure what prompted me to yearn for that quite as much as I do, but it is a serious goal of mine.  I plan to start the process in August (I think...hahah).  How about I plan to look deeper into the process in August.  That's an attainable goal.  I think I can do it!

THIRD:  I want to use my master's degree in C & I and actually write some curriculum for first graders.  I might even go back to my roots and work on some stuff for kinder kids.  I totally believe it is a goal I can and will conquer!  I want to create things that use fewer worksheets and get kiddos creating authentic pieces that they are proud of.  

FOURTH: I want to explore and travel the world.  There are a few specific places I want to see but honestly, I just want to see everything.  I don't have a bucket list (maybe I should?) because there are just too many things to list!  I want to see all the typically touristy places, but I would love to go in a shark cage, visit the African Savannah, stick my feet in the waters of every ocean, see some orcas in the wild, and help with the conservation efforts in preserving endangered species all over the world.  So, basically I just want to do a little bit of everything. I'm not sure how attainable this dream is but it's a dream for a reason, right?!

FINALLY:  I want to share something with you that I ran across this morning. My sister, Jodi, passed away 3 years ago. She'd suffered with a multitude of things since 2000 and the night before had undergone bypass surgery.  The doctors were sure it was a success but the morning after the surgery she suffered a pulmonary embolism and was just suddenly gone.  I know she's dancing around and feeling no pain or sadness but I miss her. 

I found this card this morning and the inside of the card says, "Dream Big."  It was like she was talking to me and telling me go ahead and get my dreams out there.  She's supporting me all the way through her spirit and the beautiful words she left behind:

So... just love.  The most important goal on my list. ♥

Wednesday, June 17, 2015

Makeover Madness

I'm jumping into the summer #tptsellerchallenge and working on some makeovers of my TPT products!  Beginning Place Value pack was the first and I'm so happy about it!!

Here's the quick before & after: 

I created this little station before I really had an idea what I wanted my brand to look like so it was all about pink!  Lordy, I do love pink but it just didn't work.  It was too hard to tell what the product was all about.  

The updated version is a bit more clear (even though I messed up and saved over my original file, put "4 sets" when it's really 3 and had to go back and fix that, etc.... it seems I'm a little clumsy electronically too.  Shocker!)

The only other thing I would do differently is add some real life photos of the station in action.  I don't have those right now since all my manipulatives are packed away at school and my children cats don't really understand place value, but...that's a thought for future makeovers!!  

Tell me what you think and then head over to my store to grab it at 20% off until 6-20-2015!  Click any pic below to link directly to my TPT store. :)

Saturday, April 11, 2015

A Photo Walk :)

Where has this school year gone?! I cannot believe it is flying by so quickly.  We've been crazy busy and I thought I'd share some of our daily lives with you through a little photo walk.  
This is a new favorite activity on the playground. And I don't get tired of taking their pictures while they do it, either.  So funny!

We've been working with Reagan Tunstall's iPad Essentials Series to tell math stories and this little robot dude had to get into the action.  I'd love to show you the video to go along with it, but the kiddos have discovered selfies and they are all in the video!  Hysterical, I tell ya!

Here's a little sample of a sweetie doing his own math story video in the Shadow Puppet Edu app.  They have loved creating their own videos and have gotten really creative. The app is really versatile and can be used for so many different things! We are working on book reports using that app right now along with another one against a green screen background.  The kids are pros!

This is an image the kiddos took a picture of to use against the green screen when doing reports on landforms.  You can see we are kind of limited in our space (even though I kind of took up the end of the hallway and we get in the way quite often).  The kids plugged this into the Green Screen app and created a video telling all about Mount Kilimanjaro.

We've been learning all about non-fiction in the classroom.  The kids have been amazing about using resources to find information.  We are still working on it and next week they will create their own expository book!  I can't wait.  I know they will rock it.

Digging a little deeper into expository texts. 

I may have had a tiny bit of influence on the new love for sloths.  Are they not the cutest critters ever!? I just love them and so do the munchkins. 

Please note the spellings for animals that do not live in the rainforest (aka: hippos & zebras).  We had to have a little spelling-use-your-resources-intervention but first I had to take a picture.  "Slofs" was too good to pass up.  

This little guy is very organized in putting together his information but do you notice the animal in the top left corner?  Giraffes do not live in the rainforest, friend!  Another mini intervention but a LOT of crazy woohoos for that organized white board.  

This is our current display of our rainforest animal research project.  We based our display on a "Wonder Bubble" activity by Chandra over at CJayneTeach.  The kiddos used different resources to gather information about animals of the understory layer of the rainforest.  They had a great time and were so excited to see the finished products. I was more picky about content than neat & tidy cutting so forgive the messy edges if you're a little OCDish like me.  

Look at that little margay!!

A little fraction circle fun...

No slapping your friends.... and that handwriting!  Love.  ♥

This QR sight word station is still going strong!  Click the picture for the product link.

This precious Saint Patrick's Day writing made me super happy!  Who can beat number 10 when you love your "hole" family!  I heart these kids.  ♥

Progress monitoring is moving right on along, too.  Reading charades is a super favorite.  I need to think of more things to act out! Click the pictures for the product link. 

Cause and effect activities have been so funny.  The reasoning of first graders gives me chuckles for days. 

Next six weeks we dig down deep into poetry so we did a little pre-teaching and "accelerated learning" this past week.  Fun times, my friends!  Fun times!! 

Starting next week I'm going to get these kiddos started on Kid Blog!  That's going to be a challenge, but I have a feeling these little social critters are going to pick it up really quickly.  You should check it out.  There's both app and web based versions.

And finally, because my sweet old man is having a hard time in his old age... here's some sunshiney love from Domino. He's my sweet sugar kitty. 

Hope everyone is healthy, happy, and well!! ♥

Sunday, February 8, 2015

HFW & QR Codes: Gettin' Nerdy With it!

I introduced the sweet Munchkins to a QR code station a couple of weeks ago.  They went nuts!  Every time they scanned a code, it linked them to a photo of a landform or a body of water.  They had to decide which landform/body of water the picture represented and sort the QR codes accordingly.  It was my first adventure into QR codes. #betterlatethannever

It was a blast and they LOVED it!! They kept bringing them to me showing me what appeared on their devices and I pretended like I'd never seen that image before in my whole entire life!  It was hysterical.

So now, they need a little something new.  After a few assessments, I realized that many of them are still struggling with identifying high frequency words.  Then I saw this post on using Wordle with HFW from the ever-amazing Cara at The First Grade Parade. #thelightbulbwentoff  I had so many ideas all of a sudden and then I thought, wait.... is that even possible?  

What I decided I wanted to do was link a QR code to a voice recording.  My brain started to ache as I tried to figure out how.  Do I made a video? Do I have to record my own not made for tv voice? Oh no... that will do.  So I did a little searchie search and found this site: and oh hallelujah praise the little children!  Everything clicked into place.  

I made 113 of this little cuties that link to First Grade Dolch words and HFW/Sight Words from Saxon Phonics for First Grade since that's our phonics curriculum in my district.  If you hold your pretty little device up to the screen and scan that code you'll hear a sight word read out loud!  Yes, out loud!  There are so many possibilities here... I made a list on a sticky note somewhere of all of my ideas.  I'll find it soon, I'm sure.

Anyhow... the kids will follow these very simple directions below.  Scan.  Listen.  Find.  Record.  How easy?!  I can't wait.

Here's what's included in the pack on TPT:

I'll add some action photos as soon as the kiddos get their hands in it!  I can't wait!  Check it out by clicking the image above or by following this link to my store:



This is what it looks like after they scan the code. Just a heads up, if your wifi is on the slow side, the word "streaming" will appear as the sound loads. The kiddos may think that's the word. Mine did! There may be times where they need to replay the word. There's a play button on there or they can back out and re-scan. 


Have you seen these markers from The Markerboard People?  If you haven't found them yet... I encourage you to do so!  Not only do they have exceptional white boards for the classroom, but these markers come 30 markers and 30 erasers to a set for just $30!

I'm on year 2 with these markers, y'all!!

They have a nice conical shaped tip so student handwriting is gorgeous and the fact that they are munchkin sized make them the most popular markers & erasers in the room!  I will admit that I kind hoard them.

Check them out here.

They rocked this station! I started by introducing Set 1 in a small group (words 1-25).  We'll stick with that set for a few days and then I'll either add more words or switch it out completely.  Some kids would do great with all 113 words at once, but I'm going to take it slow.

 I may also need to add some recording pages with wider writing spaces, but until then they are happy with these. Frankly, their neat as all get out handwriting is making me crazy happy! 

Thanks so much! ♥