Hello everyone!!!

Favorite Things Graphic

Today we are throwing  a big, humongous bash to celebrate YOU!
Last year we blogged about our favorite non-school related things, this year we have decided that we will share with you our favorite school things! So here we go:

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One of my all time favorite educational websites is Reading A-Z (which you can win a subscription to below!). I have used it for years and honestly swear by it. I love the selection of leveled texts, especially their nonfiction options which are so hard to find for beginning readers.

I also like the ability to search by topic, standard, or comprehension skill like main idea, retelling, or problem/solution.


I have a ton of these books printed (and color coded by level) for take home books. My students bring one home each night and are responsible for swapping it out the next day. This is great practice reading leveled text. This structure also ensures that books are in my children's hands each night, regardless of their home life.

I also created comprehension baggies that my higher students take home each week. I place a copy of the book, a copy of the discussion questions (from the site), and a written response question inside. Students turn it in each week as part of their homework. They always need more practice with written comprehension and this also gives parents an idea of expectations for comprehension.
It does take a lot of paper and ink to print the books but I find it totally worth it. I also print copies of the comprehension quizzes and graphic organizers on colored card stock and laminate them. Students can work on them with dry erase markers as needed. Another way I save copies is by creating a folder for each. I print all of the pieces that go with each book, including multiple copies of the book for small groups. I label the folders and keep them all on one shelf. Last minute small group, TA pulling for intervention, or sub plan...done!

I highly recommend this site!

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If you've read my blog before you know that I love to organize and am slightly obsessive about it. One of my favorite ways to organize is with hanging folders. I use them to organize student papers, colored construction paper (which is a life saver during projects), leveled books, and read alouds. I think using them to organize my math picture books is the most helpful. I quickly can see all of the books that focus on addition or subtraction for example and tie literacy into plans.






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Ok, time for one more favorite- I love, love, love personalized gifts! One of my favorite websites to get special custom gifts from is Zazzle. They have a great variety of already made items (wrapping paper, shirts, mugs, blankets, buttons, canvas prints, totes, etc.) as well as blank versions you can customize. As a teacher blogger and TPT author it has been wonderful for business- I can create notebooks, binders, business cards, and even totes with my logo on them. I can picture lots of my friends liking monogrammed or personalized notebooks for all of our staff meetings.
 
When I'm not busy slapping my label on everything (oops!) I like to make gifts for coworkers, family, and friends. Each of my team mates received a first grade tote this Christmas and they loved them. I also ordered mugs and shirts as gifts and everything came out great. They are always having a sale of some sort which makes the reasonable prices even better. One of my favorite parts is their Zazzle Black membership ($10 per year) which provides free (and fast) shipping. Believe me- I have more than taken advantage of this perk! The hardest part is knowing when to say no...and remembering that not everything (sadly) needs a logo. Hope you can find some custom goodies for yourself or loved ones.




Now on to the best part...the prizes! Once again we want to treat you all to our favorite things!!! Check out these great prizes!

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Enter the Rafflecopter to win this prizes!!!
a Rafflecopter giveaway

Come and visit my other teacher friends' blogs for their favorite websites, organizational tips and much more!


Link to link up http://www.inlinkz.com/new/view.php?id=585883

Hi there! I don't know about you but I think this time of year always seems hectic and the kids are extra off the walls crazy excited about everything. While I would love to sit back and cave to my secret desire to do arts and crafts all day....teaching still needs to happen! Today's Math Tip Monday link up brings you tons of fun ways to incorporate seasonal activities into math lessons, while also keeping the level of engagement and content needed.

I promise to keep it short and sweet today because let's be real...life is busy! Side note, not all of the activities below are super cute/pin worthy but the kids are enjoying them and that my friends, makes this teacher happy. 
One of my favorite ways to get kids excited about a new season is to change up my math manipulatives. For example, we used plastic eyeballs for halloween counters, acorns in the fall, and little pumpkin beads in pie pans for Thanksgiving. This month I am busting out the jingle bells! You can find small packs at Dollar Tree or any craft store. You can also use mini ornaments. We use these for counters and manipulatives for solving math problems. 
 
Over the past few weeks we have been focusing on adding 3 numbers. Our classroom kindness elf Elvin helped inspire this anchor chart. Using themed anchor charts and word problems makes everything seem more interesting, while also keeping a focus on the topics that need to be covered. I also created an entire winter set of math pages for morning work, homework, and quizzes. 
Creating fun math centers goes along with using manipulatives. I got packs of mini presents at the Dollar Tree, slapped a piece of colored tape on each, and wrote a number up to 10. Students grabbed 3 presents and added them together. If you wanted to bump this up you could write the numbers down and have them tell how many hundreds, tens, ones, etc. You could also add only 2 gifts. 
                                 











                         The next few pictures are basically the same idea, just different foam cut outs (from a craft store). I put a variety of pom-poms into baggies along with index cards or post it note Keys that had a different number for each. You could also use buttons or actual gum drops. Students added 3 pom-poms based on the key and could create any combinations that they wanted. 

 
I love having the kids make crafts and strongly believe that they need time to cut, paste, and be creative. However...I do not want to the be teacher caught having arts and crafts time during a surprise observation or anything. My solution is to tie in projects with math. I gave each child a Christmas tree template and colored paper. You could pre-draw ornaments and copy onto colored paper but I kind of like their independence on this one (and I forgot to think ahead). They wrote a fact on each ornament that equaled the sum on the stump. I also do this type of project in literacy with word families, prefixes, categories, etc. 
Last but not least, here is a fun way we practiced decomposing numbers. I started with a problem like "We baked Santa 7 cookies. Some were chocolate chip and the rest were sugar cookies. How many of each could he have?"
The kids often get confused with these kinds of problems and end up adding some number to 7 rather than finding two parts that equal 7. We glued their cookies onto paper plates so they would have a visual to represent this concept. I also gave larger numbers to my more advanced kids.

Their projects turned out so cute I turned it into a FREEBIE for you. I hope you enjoy it and can find many ways to stay on task this holiday season. Don't forget to check out all of the other ideas shared below.



Want to pin it for later? 






Happy belated Thanksgiving! It's been awhile since I have linked up with Doodle Bugs Teaching's Five for Friday Linky so I thought today would be a great day! (Please ignore the fact that it is actually Saturday...this whole having a few days off thing makes me lose track of time!).
Last week was full of Thanksgiving projects in the classroom and turkey fun. Students brought in their family Disguise a Turkey projects. Many of them turned out super cute! I am hoping to do a gingerbread themed one in a week or two- I love having my kiddos let their creativity and imaginations run wild.
We did a lot of math stations with a Thanksgiving theme also. I created a simple folder (folded construction paper) for them to keep track of all of their recording sheets and it seemed to work well for center management. I don't usually do a lot of worksheets, but having everything in one place held the kids accountable and they could see which centers they haven't done yet.
Our favorite activity was our Decomposing Turkey. I quickly freehand sketched out some parts and copied onto colored paper (read- I was not prepared and felt like a slacker for not having an adorable Thanksgiving craft). Each student wrote all of the ways to compose their assigned number on each feather. Add some google eyes and voila, a meaningful and engaging math craft :)

So I shared some Thanksgiving wins above...here is my Thanksgiving fail! I was super proud of myself for single handedly creating a glorious Thanksgiving feast. It didn't matter that the biscuit can wouldn't open...I couldn't get the top off of my wine...that I ran out of butter (who does that!)....or that the sugar bag spilled a little too much into my homemade applesauce (scooped some out and called it a day). I resolved everything, made up a plate for myself, and realized all that was left was my stuffing. I am for sure a Stove Top kind of girl. I threw it in the microwave and went on my merry way. Until I smelled something funny. Nope, nothing in the oven was burning. Hmm...back to decorating while I waited. Then I noticed a strange yellow tint forming on the top of my microwave. I opened it naturally and was greeted with a face full of SMOKE! Yup...my one ingredient recipe (just add water) was MISSING the water!! So, my house filled with smoke, my eyes watered...I gagged...it wasn't pretty! I tossed my burning (flamed!) stuffing outside. Two days later and I still haven't been able to close my windows because it smells so bad. OOPS!
Sidenote- my smoke alarms go off when I preheat the oven, make a slice of toast, or blow out a candle. They apparently do not go off however when I practically light my microwave on fire and fill my house with smoke. Lesson learned. 
Yesterday was spent Black Friday shopping from the comfort of my pajamas and safety of my bed. I got some great deals and am almost done with my Christmas shopping. Wahoo! I also added more ideas to my wishlist after linking up with the Primary Pack's Black Friday Wishlist Linky. Check it out for great ideas for yourself and your classroom. I also shared what my most wish listed items are and why they might be great for your classroom.
What goes better with adding to a wishlist than a sale?? Have you heard the news? Teachers Pay Teachers is having a huge Cyber Smile sale on Monday and Tuesday this week. Get ready to make your list and check it twice. I know that I will be stocking up on some bundles and fun ways to get through the next few months with rigor and meaning!
Lastly, I have been busy creating the last few weeks. I just added my Long Vowels Highlight and Record product to my bundle (and individually). I can not tell you how great it feels to have completed this one! It is filled with over 100 pages of long vowel practice, both at the sentence and story level. CVCe, vowel teams, and other long vowel patterns are included for students to identify in text, highlight (their favorite part), and record/sort based on pattern. Huge hit in my classroom and works so well for word work time.



I hope you are enjoying a few days off and can find calmness and peace in the holiday chaos that is now underway! See you soon.

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