Tuesday, July 31, 2012

The Big 500 Giveaway

Can you believe it?  I made it to 500 followers! YIPPEEE!   This calls for a celebration!  You know me, I like my themes and I like things simple!  So here's the drill! The theme will be in 5's (in honor of my 500!)    The winner gets all 5 of the following:  

1.)   $50.00 TpT gift certificate (Yep!!! 50 buckaroos to spend JUST IN TIME for some back to school shopping)

2.)  5 things from my TpT or TN store (Your choice!  Anything goes!)

3.)  5 items from 5 of my bloggy friends with great stuff in their stores!  

A.  Nicole from Teaching with Blonde Ambition   Nicole is giving away her 45 Reading Response Sheets unit.  WOW!  This item is LOADED with incredible graphic organizers and goodies!  http://www.teacherspayteachers.com/Product/45-Reading-Response-Sheets-for-Common-Core-Standards

B.  Katie from Queen of the First Grade Jungle is giving away one ITEM OF CHOICE from her incredible TpT store!  http://www.teacherspayteachers.com/Store/Katie-King-Queen-of-the-First-Grade-Jungle/

C.  Lisa from Learning is Something to Treasure is giving away her Kids of Character pack, which is perfect for those new students you're about to get!  http://www.teacherspayteachers.com/Product/Kids-of-Character-Character-Education-for-Every-Week-of-the-School-Year

Kimberly from Love of Teaching is giving away one ITEM OF CHOICE from her growing TpT store! http://www.teacherspayteachers.com/Store/For-The-Love-Of-Teaching

Pamela from Teaching 4 Real is giving away a Rounding to Tens, Hundreds, and Thousands Sorting Activity, which is Common Core aligned!  http://www.teacherspayteachers.com/Product/Rounding-to-Tens-Hundreds-Thousands-Sorting-Activity

4.)  a $15.00 Starbucks gift card (Who DOESN'T need to grab a coffee or two, or three, on that first week back to school?!)

5.)  5 Free "Shout Outs" through social media  (I can either blog about a post you've done, PIN something for you, tweet about an item, Facebook post for you, etc.)  Anything to help you promote your store, blog, items, freebies, etc.  (Who doesn't love free traffic?)

The giveaway will be done through Rafflecopter, because I HEART Rafflecopter it's easy and Rafflecopter does all the work for me!  :-)  There are lots of ways to enter!  So come help me celebrate!  

Bananas for all 500+ of ya'! THANK YOU! THANK YOU!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Sunday, July 29, 2012

Dollar Days are HERE! $$$$

Today and tomorrow ONLY you can grab some items for only $1.00 or $2.00 on TpT.  (It's like a trip to the DOLLAR STORE! YAY!) The BEST way to get there, though is through the Lesson Cloud!  The Lesson Cloud authors got together and listed over 200 items on sale by grade level to make it easy.  Here's the Road map:
1.)  Click the Lesson Cloud Sale image for a list of items you'll be able to find on sale by grade level.  (While you're there, become a follower....Lots of great posts daily!)
2.)  Find a grade level that works for you and click on any of the images for a direct link to that specific TpT store.
3.)  Most of the Lesson Cloud authors listed anywhere from 5-7 items each on the master list, HOWEVER, you might want to browse their store carefully.  Several (including myself) put MORE items on sale for $1.00 and $2.00 in addition to the ones listed.  Think of it as a big treasure hunt!   (I have 16 items in my store available for either 1 or 2 bucks! )  Here's a sneak preview of just a few of the items:

**Don't forget to enter the $75.00 gift certificate giveaway to Really Good Stuff while you're there too!  

Happy hunting and shopping!  Good luck in the giveaway!  If you find some time, stop BACK by here and let us know what "MUST HAVE" treasures you found!  :-)

Bananas for good bargains,

Saturday, July 28, 2012

Lesson Cloud DOLLAR DAYS Sale and Spotlight Saturday!

Jump on over to the Lesson Cloud tomorrow morning July 29th and Monday, the 30th for some fantastic deals from some of TpT's finest creators.  Lesson Cloud authors are putting a few select items on sale these two days for either $1.00 or $2.00.  If you check back tomorrow morning, there will be a direct link to the Lesson Cloud site where you'll find these items listed for you (with direct links to the TpT store where they can be found) categorized by grade level for some easy shopping!  Have fun and LOAD UP for your new school year!

It IS Spotlight Saturday too!  You ought to go check out Lindsay's Common Core Journal Prompts.  It includes 19 different journal prompts that are great to use with any non-fiction text!  I think I like them so much because they are easy to cut apart and use in a variety of ways:  exit tickets, bell-ringers, reading group discussion topics, "parking lot" responses, etc.   It's 22 pages of quick, informal assessments on your students' understanding of non-fiction text!  As always, leave Lindsay a thank you note for her generosity!

Finally, I'm at 497 followers!  WOOHOO!  500 is quickly approaching.  I have a fantastic giveaway planned...JUST IN TIME for some Back to School shopping for you! 

Bananas for great sales, freebies, and my last "official" weekend of summer vacation.  

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Dollar Days Sale $1 or $2

Don't you just love a good sale AND giveaway?  The authors of the Lesson Cloud are having a Dollar Days Sale this Sunday and Monday ... July 29th and 30th.  A lot of our items will be temporarily marked down to $1.00 or $2.00 for those two days only.  On the morning of the 29th, I will post a link directly to the Lesson Cloud site where you can see a list of items (categorized by grade level) to choose from. These items will have direct links to the creator's TpT store, where they can be found for 1 or 2 bucks!!  It's that easy!  While you're visiting the Lesson Cloud, be sure to become a follower if you're not already!  There are some great blog posts that appear daily, often times with links to great freebies. 
 I'm participating in the sale! I'll have 7 items available for $1.00 or $2.00 in the categorized list, but will throw in a few extra that will NOT be on the list.  So check my TpT store to find some additional savings!  

In addition to the big SALE, the Lesson Cloud will be hosting a giveaway for $75.00 to Really Good Stuff!!!  Be sure to enter!   

Speaking of giveaways, I'm SOOOOOO excited that I'm approaching 500 blog followers!  YES, I have a celebration giveaway planned, so stay close!  

Happy Shopping and Good luck in the Lesson Cloud giveaway!

Bananas for bargains,

Saturday, July 21, 2012

Spotlight Saturday Freebies and a Growing Blog Roll

Yay!  It's SATURDAY!  You know what that means! I've got a few freebies lined up for you, so get your clicking finger ready to go!
1.)  Teach fact and opinion?  If you do, you'll want to click on the frog image for an adorable download from Pamela @ Teach4Real.  This one is a keeper and already in my Fact and Opinion folder.  Super for independent work, center activity, homework, etc.  If you have a frog theme or animal unit going, it's simply a bonus!  

2.)  Julie and Krista have a whopping 30 page packet for you FREE if you're looking to challenge your kids with root words and prefixes/suffixes.  This is one of 10 sets in their Greek and Latin roots reading program.  It's designed to increase vocabulary skills in a fun way.  It comes with quizzes, organizers, keyring cards, word wall words, awards, etc.   If you teach upper primary, this is SOOOOO worth investigating.  

3.)  If you're a teacher, I know at some point you're dividing your students into groups.  Need an easy way to put them into teams, groups, or pairs?  Aileen has a little 11 page packet with a variety of cards and ways to do just that!  These would be great to print off, laminate, and keep handy forever!  

My "To copy and print" file folder on my desktop is bursting at the seams.  I'm counting down the days until my "Craftivity" day with a couple of teacher friends.  We plan to fire up the printer, laminator, and whatever else we can get our hands on that day to create all the goodies we want to create.  

I say this every Saturday and probably sound like your mother, but don't forget to THANK these creators for sharing their stuff!  If you truly like it, tell them that.  I know when I get positive feedback on a freebie that I've taken some time on,  it drives me to create more and more for teachers!  Show them the love.  

Faithful bloggy friends--If you are a follower and want to link up your blog to my "blog roll," please do. Just link up (preferably once) in the right category!  The link up will be open a few more days.  Follow the yellow brick road BLOGS TAB at the top! :-)  Happy Saturday!
If I'm "M.I.A." a little bit this week, it's because my friends from Ireland are here along with some additional family.  (The last count was 16 in my house!!!)  In my best Arnold S. voice...."I'll be back!"  

Bananas for a house full...my motto is the MORE the MERRIER! 

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Visitors from Ireland and a Lost Freebie

We are in the process of redecorating a room, planting 9 new shrubs in the yard, re-staining furniture, and about 10 other things in preparation for our company from Ireland.  This will be their 3rd year visiting us.  Long story short...my parents met this couple on a cruise a few years back.   They were "table mates" at dinner each night.  They became great friends and the next thing we all knew is that they were coming over for a visit.  My parents are 77, going on 35.  They still travel, golf, work, or whatever they feel like.  So I was expecting their "new Irish friends" to be about their age.  They ended up being my age!! They have two beautiful children (yes... adorable, red headed, and boy do I love to hear them talk!) and have become very dear friends of our entire family.  So every summer we all get together for more fun and visiting.  We've been to Disney World, Kings Island, the Smokey Mountains, etc. together.  I am anxiously awaiting their arrival tomorrow!

In the process of cleaning my office  the dining room table for their visit, I found a "lost freebie" that I meant to post, ummm...probably 4 or 5 months ago when I was actually teaching shapes.  It was like finding a little treasure to share.  So....while I'm thinking about it, grab it and throw it in your Geometry pile and use when you're teaching 3-d shapes.  Yes, it has the little detective clipart on it (again).  It seems like anytime I do a discovery activity, I'm throwing on that adorable clipart.  It's probably the best $3.00 I've spent this year.  (Scrappin doodles)   :-)
During my solids intro, I  placed a variety of 3-d shapes at each table and allowed the students to explore them and fill out this graphic organizer together.  It prompted some great discussion since some of them weren't sure about the word vertices.  It's simple, but fun.  We checked together, discussing the solids' real names, fixed their errors, etc.  It's a great little intro to solids if you need one. Click on image to grab!

Bananas for my Irish friends and the little treasures we find when cleaning!

Monday, July 16, 2012

Back to School Binders & a Freebie

My dining room table is no longer a dining room table, but a teacher workstation.  I know we have an office, but I can't spread out like I can on my dining room table.  :-)  Anybody else having this problem?  What room have you turned into a temporary classroom this summer?
One of my projects this summer was to redo my binders.  My students are required to have a 3 ring binder that they carry with them back and forth from home to school EVERY SINGLE DAY!  It becomes such a habit, and they feel lost without it!  The parents know to look for it and it has become a survival tool for all of us.   My team and I try to keep it pretty simple for everyone involved, so it has 5 key ingredients!  

1.)  The first is the COVER sheet.  Each of the 3rd grade classrooms have a different theme.  (Hmmm...can you guess mine?)  Yes, it's monkeys.  So my students' binder covers all have monkeys on them.  If they get lost in our school of 800+ students, everybody knows it belongs to one of my kiddos!  If a fish, puzzle, owl, bee, or rock star notebook get lost, they know to look for my teammates!  

2.)  A clear plastic pocket (page protector) is the first item on the inside.  I label it with MONEY & NOTES!   It's transparent AND has a pocket on the bottom so nothing falls out! The parents and I can SEE if anything crucial is coming home or to school.  Kids put their field trip money in there, transportation notes, etc.  I put positive (mostly positive) notes about their child in there!  

3.)  Our school orders student planners for each and every student.  It contains a yearly calendar and other special things in there unique to each grade level.  The kids really like these!  We use them to do a Daily Agenda in.  It's my students' first job of the day to come in and copy  their agenda from the board into these planners DAILY.  That way when they go home, their parents can see exactly what topics were covered that day. Parents initial them nightly.  I cannot remember who our school orders them from, but they're available everywhere.  Amazon even has them!

4.) Two folders with pockets are the next items in the binder.  One of them is labeled "Take Home."  The stuff that goes in here goes home and DOESN'T come back!  It's mostly graded work, mail from the office, etc.  It's emptied nightly.  The second folder is labeled with SOCIAL STUDIES & SCIENCE.  Our 3rd grade actually changes classes for Science and Social Studies.  I teach my kids Social Studies for 4 weeks straight, then they switch to my teammate for Science for 4 weeks, while I teach her kids Social Studies.  Therefore they're either in S.S. OR Science...never both.  So that folder is used for those subjects.  We create and work on a lot of things in 4 weeks that we don't want to send home permanently.  The students have a unit test at the end of those 4 weeks, so a lot of the material they need to study with is IN this folder.  Parents (and students) are "trained" that everything in this folder STAYS PUT until after the test!  

5.  Most binders come with that extra little pocket in the front and back cover.  We label this pocket "HOMEWORK POCKET."  We do homework packets instead of nightly homework.  Students are given a packet on Monday, and it's due the following Monday.  So homework is NEVER LOST, okay, ALMOST never lost.  

That's it!  In closing, I have good news and bad news!  Bad news always goes first, right?  I have a bunch of binder covers...REALLY cute ones! (monkey, owl, rock star, giraffe, sports, frog, ocean, puzzle, etc.) available in my Back to School Packs on TpT!  They're not free though, because the packs are many, many pages long full of activities for the first few days of school!  The binder covers are included in that pack!  HOWEVER, that being said, you know I DO LOVE ya' and I can't really stand NOT giving you something to work with. :-) So I do have a binder cover in 4 different colors that's generic enough that you could use with any grade level and any theme....and it IS FREE!  So grab your favorite color and go!  Click on image to take you there!  

Bananas for organization tools that work,

Saturday, July 14, 2012

Spotlight Saturday and New Teacher Toys

Happy Saturday, friends!  Hope you're ready for fantastic finds out there in bloggy land.  FREE, of course.  It IS Spotlight Saturday, so let's get to it!  :-) 
Who doesn't love a good game of "Go Fish?"  Except this is "Go Darth"...as in Darth Vader! This Star Wars themed game focuses on equivalent fractions and is designed to be a student led, independent activity, so it comes in handy if you're busy with a small group!
Go check out Fern's fun game by clicking on Darth.  May the force be with you!  

Freebie #2 is comes from The Teacher Garden who has some really cute Math posters with problem solving reminders written as acronyms.  U.P.S. Check (Understand the Problem, Plan how to solve it, Solve the problem, and Check your answer!)  The other poster has C.U.B.E. on it.  (Circle the numbers, Underline Important words, Box the question, and Eliminate unnecessary information.  The greatest thing about these posters is that they're available in 9 colors!  The link I'm sending you to is the Teacher Garden's blog so you can choose your color from there!  Then download away!!  These are great reminders for the upper elementary kiddos!  (Including my 3rd graders!) 

Are you ready to rock?  Ashley from The Teacher's Treasure Chest has an adorable Long O practice for you!  It's 29 pages of student activities with Long O regular words, nonsense words, alphabetizing long o words, sorting long o words, etc!  Get your groove on with this freebie.  Great for centers, small groups, or teacher directed activities!

As always, drop these teacher friends a thank you note if you download!  As a lot of you know, it takes a lot of effort to create, upload, layout in an attractive manner, and then GIVE it away!  They do it because they love sharing!  

YES! YES! YES!  I broke down and purchased some new 'teacher toys.' I got myself a home laminator AND a stacker toolbox that everybody seems to be creating this summer!   I haven't even taken them out of the box yet.  I'm saving up for a CRAFTIVITY day I'm having at my house in a couple of weeks with some teacher friends of mine!  We're having a make and take workshop on my dining room table!  I'll take pictures!!!  Stay tuned!  

Bananas for friends that love teaching as much as I do!

Monday, July 9, 2012

Story Game Board Freebie

Well, I've returned from my RELAXING, FABULOUS, CAREFREE beach trip...Only to come home to my refrigerator not working. UGGGH! Seriously? Reality check and quick reminder that my days as a beach bum are over! Not all is a total loss...When your refrigerator is out, you have no food to cook, therefore you get to go out to eat and don't have to cook! (insert evil laugh here)

So....who caught that I just TOTALLY skipped over my Spotlight Saturday feature last Saturday?  Yeah, sorry about that.  (Beach bum mode totally took over that day!)  Thought I'd make it up to you by throwing out another freebie.  I took an excerpt from my Genres Bundle unit.  It's a cute activity you can do with any story you read.  It involves students creating a game board that matches the theme and story elements of a book/story they've read.  It's a great way to allow students to be creative and still practice some essential reading skills.  My students LOVED actually playing their game boards once they were done creating them!  (Check out some of their creations!)
Easy to put in a center, use as a cooperative group/pair activity, or even use as a form of assessment.  (Add a rubric to it that holds them accountable for adding characters, setting, problem, solution, plot, etc.)  An optional idea:  If you teach 3rd grade or older, you could have students create a board that they can take down to a younger grade level and play with them...especially if it's a story they're familiar with.  (Like the fairy tale game boards my students made in photos)  

You can grab the FREEBIE by clicking the image at right.  

Hope everyone is enjoying their summer.  When do you go back to school?  Are you mostly relaxing or planning?  

Bananas for my week at the beach. Not so bananas for a broken refrigerator. 

Friday, July 6, 2012

400 followers, Freebies, & Tap Lights

Good morning friends!  Wow! I'm in a good mood!  Three cheers for reaching 400 followers, a new Freebie, and I'M STILL AT THE BEACH!  YAY!!!! Wooohooo!!  Yippppeeee!
I'm not sure which I'm most excited about! 
First of all thank you, thank you, thank you for helping me reach yet another milestone with followers!  I'm always so happy and feel so 'at home' when I'm blogging.  I'm grateful I have time to share, learn, collaborate, and hang out with other educators!  Instead of another giveaway so soon, I'll just GIVE AWAY a couple of freebies that I'm very excited about!  On my last trip three trips to the Dollar Store (The guy that works there just laughs when I come in now!) I've been scooping up all their Tap lights.  Have you seen them?  I saw them at a workshop I went to awhile back. You put batteries in them, tap them, and the light comes on.  Yes, they are only $1.00!!  They also come in a variety of shapes!  So... I went "tap light" crazy and just started creating TONS of games to go with them.  So as a THANK YOU for sticking with me, I'd like to give you ONE, well, actually TWO of them!  I created one game for facts 0-10 (for my bloggy friends who teach the youngers) and the other one is for facts 0-20 (for my bloggy teacher friends who have kids who need to work on facts to 20!) *I have some 3rd graders who still need some work here!   Click image to grab one or both as a THANK YOU for all 400 of ya'!     If you enjoy the freebies, be sure to check back in the next few days and weeks for all the other tap light games I've created:   nouns, verbs, adjectives/adverbs, geometry, fractions, counting money, patterns, and the list goes ON and ON!  I've been a busy girl!   :-)

On another 'sunny note,' my beach week is going GREAT!  We've had beautiful weather, I've finished a book, we are enjoying being able to  spend some quality time together, NO SHARKS in sight, and YES, I've managed to stay off my computer (okay, well most of the trip!)

NEED some additional DOLLAR STORE IDEAS?  Check out Sweet Tea Classroom's Dollar Store Idea LINKY! 

Hope everyone enjoyed their 4th of July celebrations!  ....it's back to fun in the sun for me!

Bananas for 400 followers, the Dollar Store, and crab legs for dinner!  YUM! 

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Happy Fourth from the Beach & Worthwhile Repost

Happy Independence week from the BEACH!   I FINALLY made it here!  I'm not sure I can accurately describe how much I love the beach, but I'm one happy camper when I'm here!  Something about the sun, water, sand castles, seagulls, breeze, walks with my toes in the sand, salty smell, and seafood takes me far away from the hustle and bustle of everyday life and allows me to regroup.  My prayer for the week is that we have beautiful weather, my kids and I will laugh a lot, I will stay OFF my computer (at least a little bit), I'll get to finish some books I've started, AND... that SHARK WEEK doesn't come on TV this week.  ;-) 

I'm also so excited that I'm so quickly approaching 400 followers!  YAY!  As soon as I get there, I'll have another freebie to share with everyone!  I can't wait! :-)

In honor of the 4th, I thought I'd REPOST the link to my "Adopt a Soldier" post from a few months ago in case you missed it.   I had under 100 followers when I first posted it, so am hoping to share with a few more of you.  It's really a worthwhile cause you and your students can get involved in.  Just let me know if you have questions or need help!  ADOPT A SOLDIER LINK HERE!

Happy 4th!  God Bless our country and soldiers who give up so much so that we CAN celebrate.  A special shout out to my friend, Keenan, who is a helicopter pilot and currently serving overseas in Afghanistan.  Fly safe, my friend and THANK YOU for all you do!
Bananas and hugs for all my veteran friends,

Sunday, July 1, 2012

Post Hopping Freebie & an Award

Who had a great time at the blog hop yesterday?  Me!  I am always amazed at the incredible amount of talent, generosity, and resources that are available on a daily basis on the many educational blogs there are out there.  If you missed the blog hop, it's not too late...you can go back a day, check out my wonderful guest blogger, Rebecca and start HERE.   I had the privilege of posting on Sally's Elementary Matters blog.  My post was about the importance of closing a lesson strongly and making sure you know where your students are after a concept has been taught.  I shared a freebie full of some of my very favorite ways to do "quick checks" for understanding with your students.  You can find the freebie in my TpT store if you missed it!  (Click image for direct link)

An award for me?  YES!  Not 1, not 2, not 3, but 4!  Katie, over at Dirty Hands and Lesson Plans, as well as Darleen at Third Grade Love, along with Erin @ First With Franklin, and @ Heather @ Can't Make This Stuff Up awarded me the Versatile Blogger Award!    THANK YOU so much ladies!  It means a lot to me that you thought of me when you received your award and wanted to pass it on!  :-)   I've been told these are the rules:
1.  Thank the blogger who nominated you.
2.  Include a link to their site.
3.  Include the award image in your post.
4.  Give 7 random facts about yourself
5.  Nominate other bloggers for the award.
6.  When nominating, include a link to their site.
7.  Let other bloggers know they've been nominated.

OK, so 7 random things about me?  Hmmmmmm....
A.  I once caught a chipmunk with my BARE hands. (Seriously!)  Yes, it bit me, but hey, who can say they've caught one before?  (I was only 8 and FAST!)
B.  If you've been around awhile, you may know that my students and I "adopt" soldiers every year to send letters and care packages to.  
C.  I'm a little addicted to Mexican food. Okay, a LOT addicted to...
D.  I grew up and went to school (and cheered through school) with Miley Cyrus' mom, Tish.
E.  I'm an obnoxious & faithful Kentucky Wildcat Basketball fan!  (Go Big Blue!!)
F.  Put me on the beach and I'm a happy girl.  :-)  
G.  (This one is a classic) I had to DUMPSTER DIVE for my cumulative records and report cards a couple of years ago when some "not so attentive" students were making the rounds to recycle stuff and GRABBED my box of records and DUMPED on the last day of school!   

Passing this lovely award onto the following bloggers:   

Congratulations, bloggy friends!  You deserve it! 
Bananas for friends who think my blog is cool enough to nominate for anything! :-)




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