Sunday, September 30, 2012

Handwriting Books!

I have a little friend in class who needs some handwriting help!  Like NOW.

So I tweaked my handwriting book that was Zaner Bloser style to make it D'Nealian to fit my new school.

I just put it and an updated version of the ZB book on TpT...

I was hoping to do a freebie today, but the Lions game kept me yelling at glued to the TV for the afternoon.  I didn't get much accomplished... so now it's game on for me for the night!  Hopefully I have better luck getting the job done than my team did today!

Saturday, September 29, 2012

Happy Saturday!

I'm still here!  My favorite blog stalker (my mother!) requested a blog update today!

I was in my room this morning and meant to take a picture to show you how I'm using some of these:

Yes- that is my ridiculous collection of Target pocket charts!

I found a way to use two of them... thus diminishing my count to a mere 22!

HA!  Hopefully I'll remember to snap the pic on Monday.

I'm hoping to be back tomorrow with a freebie... we'll see if I can tear myself away from the Lions game!

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

October's Just Around the Corner--- freebie refresh!

Ok friends... with October looming just around the corner (my b-day's only a week away!!!), I wanted to do a quick post with a refresh of some of my favorite freebies from last October from my blog- my blog was a lot smaller back then, and I'd hate for any new followers not to see these... I think they're pretty great!  I'll totally be doing "Tricks and Treats" at my party this year... even though I have 3rd graders!  My 1st and 2nds loved it way too much last year!

Just click each pic to head to that post to learn more!


And here's one more... this one isn't a freebie, but if you're planning for Halloween, you might like this flippy book that is available on TpT for just $1!

Ok- that's it!  My eyes are burning from being at the computer WAAAY too long tonight... I'm officially done for today!

Sunday, September 23, 2012

Double Digit Addition Freebies!

Ya'll have been so patient with me as I've been a little MIA and just so BUSY since school started... you've stuck with this little blog even though I feel like I haven't contributed anything helpful in a week or two (except maybe showing you about my RRJs which got some great feedback!).

So, today I finally have something useful!  It helps that I'm actually writing this post on Saturday while hubby plays Madden and the laundry is going and I'm simultaneously playing games on my phone with my friend... but anyway...

We run an intervention time called "Success Time" at my school.  Currently, we have a need for math interventions so that's what we're doing.  The third grade is needing extra support with story problems and double digit addition, so I have planned two double digit addition activities this week which I'm sharing with you!

Just click the picture to download them from my TpT store... I'd love to know what you think too!

It's Sunday so, of course, I'm off to school for the morning/early afternoon!  Hope your day is a great one!

Saturday, September 22, 2012

Milking a Goat Today... Whaaaaat?!

Yes, friends, you read that right.  Today at 3pm I'll be milking a goat in an annual teacher goat milking competition at our county fair.  I am not not not a country girl... (I'd so rather be strutting the streets of NYC right now!) and had never even touched a goat until I got roped into this about 5 years ago... but it's super fun!  I actually won once and got a huge trophy that I got to keep at school for the year!

So, think of me this afternoon... I want to be a bucket filler so I can win that trophy again!!!!!  Bwahaha!

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

RRJs Take Two!

What a WEEK!  We had Monday off for the fair (yay for country living!), yesterday we had a team building type of field trip, and today was the "Ag-Citing" fair day for 3rd graders in my county, so we loaded up in the buses and went to the fair!

We got to tour the animal barns and 4-H barns, eat lunch, and then break into smaller groups to explore the fair.  I'm EXHAUSTED but it was super fun!

Monday I posted about how we are using RRJs at my school to improve our reading comprehension and our writing and I got a TON of e-mails with questions and people wondering if I would offer my RRJ materials for sale.  So, I've tweaked them a bit to fit more classrooms than just mine and have put it up at TpT.  Just click the pic to learn more and download the preview.  It will be $4.00 until the end of the week!

You can download the preview file to see what is included... it's 40 pages of stuff to help you implement RRJs in your classroom!  I believe (and having taught it for two years, I am positive) that even first graders could do a modified version of this... even if they aren't keeping their own personal RRJ, the strategy pages would be great practice for printing off when studying different comprehension strategies.  The pack includes RRJ pages for students to practice summary, predicting, visualizing, text-to-self, text, and world connections, inferring, questioning, character traits, and a blank one for you to add your own strategies.

Tomorrow is a friend's b-day and I'm so excited to give her a present... shhhh... part of it is a chocolate bacon candy bar!

Monday, September 17, 2012

What the Heck is an RRJ?

We're using RRJs in my building this year to build writing and reading comprehension skills... and so far, the kids are loving them!

What's an RRJ you ask?  They are our Reading Response Journals!

Our kiddos used regular composition books and decorated the covers:

We used binder clips to put reading logs in the front of each RRJ.  The kiddos can remove and turn in their reading logs when filled and then add a new one by clipping it inside.  They have to write the date, title, genre, check the strategy they are writing about, number of pages, and AR color.

Each student also has a reference page on the first page of their RRJ.  I copied mine on yellow paper so they stand out.  The reference page explains how to fill out the RRJ and gives a list of genre definitions because they have to include the genre on each RRJ entry.

Right now, we have only learned how to summarize.  We read a few books together and did oral summaries.  Then we read and wrote a summary together.  Then I read the kids a book and each kid wrote their own summary on a half sheet of paper- this way they have the definition of the strategy and an example of what they are supposed to do.  They glued them in their RRJs.  They must also write their name, date, book title, genre, and strategy at the top of each RRJ entry.

Now my kiddos are summarizing on their own.  They summarize their reading each night Monday-Thursday and I read them during their specials and give a little note of feedback.  They love coming in to find their RRJs on their desks to see what I've said to them!

That particular little lady is quite the writer- most of my kids are doing a small paragraph of about 5-7 sentences.  They have LOVED doing their RRJs so far and I am excited about introducing more strategies in the future so they can have their choice of what to write about!

Hooray!  My first "meaty" post since school has started... YES!

*Addition on 9/20/12- the pack for RRJs is available to purchase!  Click HERE for more info!*

Sunday, September 16, 2012

Winners x5!

I promise I didn't forget about my giveaway for 5 people to win 5 products from my TpT store... yesterday turned out to be super busy!

It's County Fair time and, any of you country bumpkins will know what I mean when I say that this is a busy time of year!  I was helping to clerk for 4-H projects allllll day yesterday.  Next weekend I'm actually competing for the 6th time in a goat milking contest among area teachers!  I won once and got to have a HUGE trophy in my classroom for a year!  Me... I'm SO not cut out for rural livin' and am a true city girl... but the fair just does something to a gal!  Hubby and I live right in town so the smells and sounds of the fair waft the 8 blocks through the air and to our house all week long.  I love it!

Anyway... today I'm going shopping with my seeister in about 20 minutes and just returned home from working in my room, so another busy day!

I hope you're forgive me for not making a fancy graphic to announce my winners.  I did use and promise (pinky swear even!) that these are the true and legit results...

Congrats to:
22- Lisa
44- Allison
94- Stephanie Buck
46- Megan
31- The Sesquipedalian

You can all choose 5 items from my TpT store, e-mail me what you'd like (, and I'll send it your way!  You did not all include your e-mail addresses in your comment, so I hope you'll see this!  If I don't hear from you by the end of the week, I'll choose a different winner.

Ok!  Happy Sunday!  I really really want to show you my students' RRJs this coming week.  I meant to take pics today but totally forgot... so keep your eyes peeled!

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Winner and ANOTHER Giveaway!

The response to the laminator giveaway was overwhelming... 325 comments!

Congrats to #47, Kelly Austen!  I'll be e-mailing you shortly to get your mailing address so you can get your very own!  If you didn't win... I'm sorry.  I crossed my fingers for all of you!!!!   The good news is, I think they are fairy inexpensive and so (please tell me I'm not the only teacher who puts classroom stuff on their Christmas list) maybe Santa will bring you one this year for Christmas!

I've been SO busy adjusting to my new grade level!  I am loving 3rd grade... we've been working hard on Daily Five in our class but, I only have 50 minutes with each group of 3rd graders... and it's hard to fit everything in!  I'm so happy to say that we can all successfully read to self and read to someone.  I'm hoping to start listen to reading tomorrow.

It's pretty amazing how quickly thirdies pick up on things.  It has only taken 2 days on read to someone and all of my classes are checking each others' comprehension, being active listeners, and correctly knowing when to coach or give time to their partner when they struggle!

I'm looking forward to hitting a stride though so I can be an active member of the blogging community again!!!!

Today I hit a blogging milestone by acquiring 2500 blog follower friends!  I am so excited about how much better of an educator I have become by blogging and networking with such fabulous teachers from around the country... and I'm honored that so many of you enjoy peeking into my classroom through my blog!

To celebrate the milestone, I'm having a sale and giving away 25 products from my TpT catalog!  On Saturday, I'll select 5 random commentors from today's post and each of you can choose 5 items of your choice from my TpT store!

Just leave a comment below to enter... say anything!

And everything at TpT and Teacher's Notebook is 20% off until Saturday too!
TpT          or          Teacher's Notebook

All right, sweet friends... talk to ya later... and thanks for helping my little blog grow!  If you want to enter to win 5 free items from my store, remember to leave a note below!  (I've just tried typing BELOW twice.  The first time I typed blowe.  The second time... loweb.  This lady is TIRED!)

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

One More Night... Laminator Alert!

Enough said.

You have one more night to enter to win a laminator!

Click the picture below to head to that blog post and find out how to enter!

Sunday, September 9, 2012

Laminator! Laminator! Laminator! Did I mention you could win a Laminator?!

Happy end of my first weekend after my first week of school!

I've just returned from HOURS of working in my classroom to get ready for next week.  One thing I did NOT do was laminating.  Read on to find out why!  ;)

On the first day of school I always have my students do this:

1.)  I print each students' name in a different font.  I make sure not to fill the font with color.
2.)  They color their names, cut them out, and glue them on construction paper... which they then cut aroud.
3.)  I laminate them and hang them up so they are there on the 2nd day.
4.)  They stay there all year long!

This year I got a new student on the 2nd day of school.  I wanted her to do the same activity... so she did.

And I tossed it in my teacher bag and brought it home to lamiante this weekend!

Here's what I got from a Papermonster A3 Business Laminator:
It came with those stickers so you can decorate it yourself!  I love that!!!

So, here I am, getting my item in the pouch and protective case to run through the laminator...

 And waiting for it to heat up...

Running it through!  I was pretty giddy with glee as I waited for it to come out...

So close!!!

And... there it is!  My first thing lamianted from home!  :) 

I LOVE this Papermonster brand laminator.  It is small, fast, and SUPER affordable at less than $50... by the time you add some laminating pouches you can get free shipping too!  It can do pages as wide as 12 inches and as long as 17 inches!

I am so excited about the work-out this laminator is going to get at my house!

Later on, I did all of these:

I have all of the 3rd grade books and this 2nd grade one from Creative Teaching Press- they are really quick and easy to use for word work centers!

And I *JUST* laminated my new compound word matching activity which you can check out by clicking the pic below if you're interested...

Anyway... how have I gone 6 years of teaching without one of these laminators?!  If I had known they were only $50.00, I would have bought one ages ago!!!!  Seriously.

I am now racking my brain to think of things I can create just so I can use my laminator!

I know you want to win one... and you can!

Be sure you follow my blog and leave a comment below to let me know that you do and I'll pick a winner on Wednesday!

Good luck!

Saturday, September 8, 2012

The Big Reveal... and Blue Man Group {I'm an honorary member!}

YES- the thing inside the box was a laminator from!

I'll be reviewing it tomorrow and giving you a chance to win one!

So... Debbie Jacobson guessed right first!  But... you didn't leave me your e-mail address so I can find out which item from my TpT store you'd like to win.  Please e-mail me at

Now on to Blue Man Group.

I am the newest honorary member!


I just finished dyeing, washing, drying, and folding 27 t-shirts.  And I'm blue (please ignore the gross nails!  I'm a biter!)!  Yikes!

Check back tomorrow for a chance to win an at-home laminator and to see the first item I laminated with mine!  I'm in love!

Thursday, September 6, 2012

What's In the Box?

Ok.  I stink.  Not literally.  But blog-erally.

I have no meaty post and no pics and nothing to share today.  I'm TIRED!

I am glad to say that my kiddos are starting to figure it out!  We aren't quite working quietly enough yet... I'm a pretty big stickler on that.  But, we're running smoothly and I have three best friends in my room who will do anything for me... so that helps!  :)


Look what I got today:
It's open...

And... it's... empty?!

Just kidding!  I took my goodies out already and can't wait to review them and tell you all about it!  I *think* I even get to give you an opportunity to win whatever was in the box!!!!!

I'm going to review it over the weekend (I hope!) BUT... I'll give away one product from my TpT store of YOUR CHOICE to the first person who can guess that was in the box!  Good luck... and don't forget to leave your e-mail address!

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

New School, New Grade, New Blog Look!

It's done!  The first day in my new school and my new grade is finished and, aside from being terribly tired, it was so much fun!

I have a sweet group of kiddos!  The day went by SUPER fast and I didn't get in half of what I had hoped... which is typical for the first day!

I hope to be back this week with some pictures and other goodies... I'm getting really close to a new "followers" milestone and have a great giveaway brewing in my brain!

Last... check out this amazing blog design that Christi Fultz did for me!  I think I ran her ragged with my requests and my half-truths about not e-mailing her about tiny things (which I totally did!).  She was awesome to work with and I couldn't be happier with my new look!  I love it!

Monday, September 3, 2012

I'm Ready! AKA- Wanna see some pics? {and get a freebie?}

Well, the thing I've been planning for and working on all summer has finally arrived... tomorrow is the first day of school!

I think I'm prepared.

Yesterday I went in and made sure the evil elves hadn't messed up my organization and today I popped back in to drop off my Gerbil, run a copy, and laminate one thing.  Surprisingly enough... that is all I did!  I was home within the hour... which NEVER happens!  So, I think I can safely say that I've done all there is to do.

Here's what it looks like now...
^  Here's the view from the door.  ^
My bins are all ready for students to put their community supplies in to.

 And here's the board at the front of the room with directions and the schedule.

 Direction cards- I pull these down and add a note beside them to help students remember the steps to a project.  Keep reading to see how you can get a set!

Ok- it's really bright and hard to see... but see that curtain?  That's right.  I made it!  I made three of them!

 Even Gerbie is watching for kids to arrive!  She's got a long {hot} night ahead of her!

This is the last thing I need to do but I'm waiting until I teach about "Work on Writing" to stock this up.  I won't be able to have a true "writing center" like I did last year, so this shelf houses all of my writing stuff.  It'll be kind of a "grab it and go" type of situation.  Supplies are in the drawers, the blue thing is a little desk thing, the little blue and reddies there on the bottom are little lap desks, and I have September's word wall vocab card displayed so kiddos can find relevant words to September writing!

So there you have it!  Room 108 is ready to go!

You can pop over to my TpT store to get a free copy of the supply cards and the direction cards that I have displayed on my board.

Just click the picture below!

And, don't forget that I've put my most recent best sellers on sale at 20% off at TpT until the end of the night!  You can visit yesterday's post to find out which items that is!

PS- want to see what I've been reading?  Check out my latest review at The Best Endings!
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