Monday, December 3, 2012

Word Way Game

It's time for Monday Made It again!

I was grocery shopping this weekend and forgot something.  I pushed my heavy, overflowing cart towards the home section and passed by this:
I don't know what came over me but a sudden urge to buy it because "I could turn it into a game!" came over me.  As I then made my way to the check-out I was already planning my new game: Word Way.

I transformed this sink mat into a game board (short vowel word families) and then made spinners to go with it.

Click here to go to my website and get a PDF of the spinners.

Kids use bouncy balls (bottom cut off) as tokens and then spin and move their way across the board making real words.

I'm excited to introduce this game this week and I hope you like enough to make it too!

Number Writing Book

Classroom Freebies Manic Monday

I made this book to go along with learning how to correctly write numbers.
Each number has a little rhyme to help kids remember the order of the strokes.

Monday, November 26, 2012

Cyber Monday SALE @ TPT

Head on over to TPT to check out the HUGE sale on all the great teaching materials that are offered!

Cyber Monday

Check out my store too:

My products are 10% off PLUS use the TPT Promo Code!

Readers' Theater POSTER

Classroom Freebies Manic Monday

Yay, we did our first foray into Readers' Theater last week!  
We started working on Monday and were ready to perform for parents on Wednesday afternoon.  Since we saw a performance of "The True Story of the Three Little Pigs" recently at the Performing Arts Center, we performed 3 versions of the Three Little Pigs:
-original version
-the Three Little Wolves
-the Three Little Turkeys

I made a poster with all the steps we go through (complete with velcro) to help guide us through the week.  

Sunday, October 28, 2012

Be a Good Writer

I'm linking up to Manic Monday Classroom Freebies to share a new writing poster I quickly whipped up on Friday because of something a colleague downloaded and of course I had to tweak it to fit my I LOVE to make things!

Making first graders cognizant of how they can improve their writing is very important and isn't rocket science.  You, their teacher, needs to be aware of the strengths and struggles in their writing and both praise and guide them along the path to becoming a good writer.

You'll find this cute poster here.


Classroom Freebies Manic Monday

Monday, October 15, 2012

Word Family Packet

T-minus 1 week until I'm back in the saddle of my 1st grade classroom!  I've really enjoyed the past 9 weeks at home with my daughter and new son, but I'm itching to get back to my new group of first graders and the classroom that I love!

Last year I learned about and tried implementing the Daily 5 in my classroom for our reading block.  It went really well and I'm going to ease into it again this year.  The "Word Work" that my students do is based on our reading curriculum's weekly word families.  I'm in the process of creating a packet for each word family that engages students in making words, spelling words, writing words, comprehending words and using words.  So I'm linking up again for Manic Monday on the Classroom Freebies blog.  Download this free packet and tell me what you think :)

Classroom Freebies Manic Monday

Tuesday, October 9, 2012


Seven weeks ago I reported back to school on the first inservice day for teachers.  I was 9 months pregnant and, oddly, felt great that day.  The next morning I woke up and went to get ready for work again when my water broke!  9 hours later I was holding my son and I haven't been back to work since.  I have about 1.5 weeks left of my maternity leave and then I'm back in the saddle again.  I'm excited and nervous and have been living in a bubble since the beginning of the school year, just staying at home taking care of my 4-year-old and new baby.

So what does this post have to do with Halloween you ask?  Well since I've been in my bubble I haven't really felt like Halloween is coming up.  But now I'm seeing pumpkins in the grocery stores and some decorations on houses in the neighborhood.  That reminded me of my Halloween packet and I wanted to jazz it up and make it even better because I'll be back in the classroom for Halloween this year.  So go on over to my TPT shop and download a preview.

Sunday, October 7, 2012

Reader's Theater

There is no better....funner way to practice reading fluency than by using Readers' Theater!
There are no props, costumes or scenery, but kids love using only their voice to convey the heart of a great book.  There are many scripts out there waiting for you or you can create your own.  I personally LOVE to whip up a script to go along with a book we've read because I can tailor it to meet the needs of all my readers.  I think the secret to success with Readers' Theater is all in how kids prepare for the "performance".  I am a very structured and organized teacher and that's how I run the preparation part of it.  So if you've never done Readers' Theater in your classroom or have but want to know how I run it, click below to download my guide.

I'm linking up with Manic Monday, so checkout Classroom Freebies!

Classroom Freebies Manic Monday

Monday, September 24, 2012

EDM SmartBoard Lessons

Inspired by another first grade teacher, I have created a SmartBoard presentation for every EDM (Everyday Math) lesson for Units 2-10.  I don't like carrying my Teacher's Manual around or having to refer to it.  So each lesson has pretty much everything from the Teacher's Manual in it, plus supplementation. 
Since SmartBoard files (unlike PDFs) are not locked, you can alter them.  So using my lessons as a guide, feel free to change them to meet your needs.

So far Unit 2 is up, with others coming soon.
You can always find them by clicking on the page link on the right side of my blog.

Sunday, September 16, 2012

TPT -or- TN

My colleague Deanna and I are like ying and yang...salt and pepper...peanut butter and jelly.  She's the queen of surfing the net and finding TONS of great teaching materials and resources!  I'm the queen of creating teaching materials and resources.  So about a year ago she started talking about this website called Teacher Pay Teacher and went on and on about how much teaching STUFF she found there.

Monday, September 3, 2012

Made It Monday!

Made It Monday is now going to be on the first Monday of each month over at Tara's fantastic blog:

My blog has been as quiet as a sleeping infant lately because I gave birth to my son Max about 2 weeks ago, so life just got busier and I haven't found the time to blog...until now!  

So this project was completed prior to Max's arrival and is a spin-off of something I've seen from several people doing Monday Made It.

A Birthday Pot

First, I sprayed painted an old flower pot, filled it half way with polished rocks and put star stickers on the outside.

Monday, August 13, 2012

Made It Monday

I've been a busy bee this past week, keeping myself busy while watching the Olympics and waiting for my second child to arrive in less than 2 weeks!

This is my new job chart...I saw this on Pinterest and thought it was so cool!
So I used my Cricut, scrapbook paper, letter stickers and fadeless paper.  I put magnetic tape on the back so it stays on my filing cabinet and will make little magnetic names for my students, which will go on the chart itself.

Outer Space is my classroom theme once again....with accents of red/black/white & white polka dots.  So I went crazy with fabric!

Used magnetic tape, stapled to the back
to adhere it to my desk.

I write student's names on fat popsicle sticks and keep them in a jar to use when I need to randomly choose or call on students.  So I've jazzed up the sticks and the jar!

I also, finally, put my favorite Smart Board presentation up on TPT. 
I use my beloved Smart Board to manage my Daily 5 groups 
(students, noise, & behavior).  The file was on my Mac Mini at school and I finally brought it home.

Go check out all the fantastic ideas that are going on at:

Saturday, August 11, 2012

Working on STuff & TPT Sale

I've been busy putting my classroom together and making lots of great things to go with my Outer Space theme this year...I'll post them on Tara's Monday Made It (4th Grade Frolics) this coming Monday.

But if you are a fan of TPT and haven't heard, they are having a sale this Sunday and Monday August 12th & 13th and are offering 10% off.  I'm throwing a sale at the same time, for 15% that's 25% off of all my products!  I hope you'll come on over and check my store out....that's what I'll be doing too!

Thursday, August 2, 2012

Mini Voice Recorders

I recently read about lots of great things other teachers just can't live without, via this linky party.

One of these things, mini voice recorders, is something I had never seen or heard of.  

Tuesday, July 31, 2012

What Would You Do...with this?

Teachers everywhere are getting great ideas for their classrooms from Pinterest and blogs and finding great supplies from places like The Dollar Store and Target.  As you're out and about, do you ever buy something thinking "What can this be used for in my classroom?"  

I do!  Then it's like a game to see what creative use I can come up with.  But I got to thinking...2 heads are better than 1 and others might have an even BETTER idea than me. Then I got to thinking some more...others might be finding some interesting things that I could go out and get too!

So this is going to be my first foray into a linky party!

Monday, July 30, 2012

Made It Monday!

I worked on 2 things last week:


I found this short vowel practice idea on Pinterest and took it a bit further, turning it into a game.  I don't have a name for it yet, so I'd love some ideas.


I went to Lowe's and stocked up on paint samples to make it.
I would start by using this game in small reading groups and adding a vowel to it each week as our HM series progresses.  Blends & digraphs come in around January, so I'd add those then.

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

5 Things I Can't Live Without

This is from Kelley at the Teacher Idea Factory and it's fun seeing what different teachers can't live without.  Many things would make my list too, but there were a few JEMS in there that I didn't know about that I decided I had to have (um, Talk Point mini recorders....just got 3 on eBay!).

So here's my list:

1) My iPhone

* Pandora (love playing the George Winston, Jazz and Antonio Vivaldi stations)
* iTalk (I record and save all my student's running records)
* Timer (for timed math tests)
* Joann Fabrics app (for all the COUPONS!)
* Camera Pro Plus (for taking cute pictures)

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Outer Space Themed Classroom

I love the colors black, red & white.
Kids think Outer Space is cool.
Two good reasons to go with an Outer Space themed classroom!

Last year was the first year I tried it and didn't do a whole lot of decorating, but now that I've joined Pinterest (yep, took the plunge) I'm finding lots of cute ideas and am excited to get into my room and start setting up!

Monday, July 23, 2012

Made it Monday!

I've been busy this weekend making things for my Outer Space themed classroom...which I will hopefully get to start setting up and decorating in a week because Max is due shortly thereafter!

This is for my "team captain" item for each
table grouping.
It's supposed to resemble a space ship.

Move it Mondays

This cute idea comes from a blog called Teacher Idea Factory. She posts great little ideas for how to get your kiddos moving during the day so they don't lose focus or when they start to lose focus. This week she's inviting others to contribute, so here goes:

My moving activity is a team scavenger hunt.  
You hide 3-4 different kinds of die cuts around the room (while their heads are down and they're listening to music). Then 1 kiddo per team gets up to start "hunting" for the hidden items. Kids can only find and take 1 thing at a time and then they "tag" the next person on their team. This keeps going and going until you think most items have been found.  

Then, if you want to extend the activity, you can graph the results and discuss. Then, if you want to KEEP going, you can have kids tally/add points/total money for the things they found. 

I usually use this activity around special theme times
(i.e.  fall, Thanksgiving, 50's day, winter, etc.).
I used this activity once when I was being formally observed by my principal and she loved it!

Take a peek at a Back-to-School Scavenger Hunt I put together by clicking here.

Sunday, July 22, 2012

Look Where I Was Caught Reading!

This super cute idea is from Tori's Teacher Tips!
Here's where Max (due in 5 weeks) and I were caught reading: 

The Fountain at the Loussac Library

Saturday, July 21, 2012

Target Finds

One of the best things Target ever did was to create the Dollar Bins that lure everyone in the store to load up their carts and baskets with cheap little things that they may or may not need or use. 


I bet the people who benefit most from the Dollar Bins are TEACHERS.  We're resourceful, creative and frugal....and the Dollar Bins help us create amazing classrooms with tons of fun stuff! 

So I finally decided to check out our local Targets to see what goodies they had stocked up on.  We recently got back to Alaska from our annual month-long vacation in Minnesota (where I'm from) and their Target stores hadn't yet been invaded by school supplies.  

Here is what I've picked far:

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

It's All About the Little Things

This is my motto.  As any teacher does, I work extremely hard and love what I do.  But it’s so important to remember to take care of yourself and treat yourself.  Vacations are our #1 way of doing that, but it’s also about doing little things everyday to make sure you’re happy and healthy.  
A sign I bought at Northwoods Confections in Duluth, MN.

Monday, July 16, 2012

Made it Monday!

A friend of mine told me about a blog called 4th Grade Frolics that has a cool sharing forum on Mondays only. If you've made something recently, you can link from the blog to your blog or website (if you don't have either, it says you can e-mail the blogger). There are TONS of cool ideas and it's a great way to discover other teaching bloggers! My intention was to be up at the crack of dawn (AK time of course) to post a link to my Word Stretcher creation...but I ended up surfing, painting, getting ready, etc. and didn't do it until lunch time, so my contribution is #120.  I can't wait to check all these ideas out and you should too!

Sunday, July 15, 2012

Word Stretchers

For the past 13 summers I've happily gone to Lakeshore Learning, in St. Louis Park, MN, to spend my hard-earned money on things I and my classroom have needed.  Over the years, I've spent less money there because I felt confident of the things I had in my classroom and didn't need as much new stuff.  Since I moved up to Alaska 8 years ago, this is my yearly pilgrimage and I keep a running list all year of the things I'm going to look for.  But of course I get in there and it's overload because there is SO much stuff to look at and drool over.  I stick to my list (and my budget) and get the things I need (stickers, borders, etc.).  But I always find something, usually a game, that I must have!  I make a lot of my reading and math games, so when I find something it's really a treasure.  This summer I found two things.  One was a short vowel sorting box game and the other was something called Word Stretchers.  Three thoughts crossed my mind upon picking up the Word Stretchers box: #1. AIMSWeb....phonemic segmenting task, #2. I could totally make that, #3  What a simple idea that somebody came up with and is now making tons of money on!  So I decided to make some word stretchers that I can use in small reading and RTI groups to help kiddos differentiate (aurally and visually) all the sounds in a word. 

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Get This Party Started

     You've got to turn on your inner radio and hear Pink's "Get This Party Started" to understand the title of this post.  I started this blog a month ago and haven't done much.  I've wanted to do more but am still trying to figure out how this all works.  Plus, it's summer vacation and I'm 33 weeks I'm finding lots of other things to distract me (i.e. trying to visit all my friends and family in Minnesota during a month-long vacation, trying to waddle my way up and down stairs while Max's head is enjoying laying on my bladder, etc.).  

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

The Beginning & The End

The Beginning
      Strolling through downtown Anchorage in early June, I admired the blooming flowers and thought about how my first graders bloom so much during the school year.  Some kids come in ready to bloom and some take their time and bloom later in the year.  I love the flower analogy and have been curious about blogs so I'm putting both together because I really want to share with fellow teachers and learn from fellow teachers through this blog.  

A peony bud from my mother's garden.