Thursday, May 31, 2012

WOW! 200 followers, linky party, and FREEBIE

Shut the front door....I have reached 200 followers!!!
Can you tell that I am so so excited!! Thank you for including me as a part of this teaching blog collaboration community. I truly feel so honored & blessed! So I am in cahoots with some fellow bloggers to bring you a B-I-G giveaway in a few days. I am hopeful to get everything set up & organized by Saturday, so keep on the look out. You won't want to miss this!
Today I'm linking up with Sheila from Sprinkle Teaching Magic for her linky party about our personal blog journey:
1. Why did you start blogging? Last summer, I entered the wonderful world of blogging. I took a technology course over the summer & was introduced to blogger and how to create my own blog. The first blog that I found was Cara's from The First Grade Parade and I was instantly hooked. However, I set up a classroom blog & not a collaborative teaching blog. I blog stalked for many months and then thought, "Why not set up my own blog? I have a lot to contribute to the blogging world." So a few months ago, I decided to create my own teaching blog and never looked back.
2.  What blogs do you stalk?  The question is which blogs DON'T I stalk!! I haven't counted, but I'm thinking I have about 200-300 blogs on my blog list. It makes for many long nights of blog stalking, but I find so many great ideas from everyone, so it's worth it. I frequent The First Grade Parade, The Inspired Apple, First Grade Fever, Tunstall's Teaching Tidbits, etc. Honestly, the list just goes on and on...
3. Blogging tips, tools, and great ideas you have learned along the way: Be encouraging to other bloggers. All bloggers like to receive positive love, myself included. I've made a lot of bloggy friends by taking a moment to leave encouraging comments about a product or an idea on their blogs. We are all here for a common reason: To share and collaborate together in order to be the best teachers that we can be. I think bloggers appreciate each and every comment that they receive!
Also I find that using Powerpoint to create my activities & units is just awesome. It is so easy to edit and insert clip art. I just love it to pieces.
4. Blogging and balance- I'm still exploring this one! With the number of blogs that I follow, it has been hard to balance it all lately. Then add the end of the school year to the mix & it becomes really interesting! I try to write a short post almost every day just to share a thought or idea. I have a 2 year old & a husband that requires most of my attention, so I try & wait until my daughter goes to bed to do most of my blogging! It works pretty well that way.
5. What are your blogging goals for the summer? My blogging goals are: Continue to find brilliant ideas from other bloggers, to continue to share! share! share!, and continue to put a lot of work and effort into my own blog to benefit my followers.
Tell us about your personal blogging journey! Go and link up with Sheila at Sprinkle Teaching Magic! is a quick freebie that I whipped up. I know that most of you lucky ones are on summer vacation, but I still have 6 days left and tomorrow is Field Day! This is a certificate to print up and give to your students for participating in Field Day. If you are out of school, feel free to file it for next year!!
Click HERE to download!
Have a great evening friends!,

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Correction and close to 200 follower giveaway

Hi Friends,

I'm keeping this one short tonight! I have been so swamped with just about everything! I do have something to tell you... I made an OOPSIE!! I made a mistake on my Seed-sational Fact Families recording sheet. They were all + instead of 2 pluses and 2 minuses, so please head on over and redownload. I am soooo sorry! Brain overload...brain overload...
Click HERE to redownload. Thank you so much Nancy for letting me know! :)
Unfortunately I did notice that there is this annoying little black mark that shows up in one of the blanks on the recording sheet. When I design and preview it on powerpoint, it is not there & then when I convert it to PDF it is. GRRR...the frustrations of modern technology!
Well I'm signing off. It has been a long night making 80 of these for our school's Beach Bash Luncheon tomorrow...
cute summer cupcakes :}
I'm 5 followers away from 200!! Woohoo!! Thank you to all of the bloggers who have emailed me & offered to help give away one of their products for my 200 follower giveaway!! I truly appreciate it. :) Stay tuned...

Have a great night friends,

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

My Obsessions Linky Party...Giveaway alerts...and a Question for Y-O-U!

Good Evening Friends!,
I hope you had a great day, whether it was at school or enjoying your summer vacation! I am unfortunately with all of you who are at school still, BUT only 8 DAYS LEFT!!
I am linking up with Bonnie at Living a Wonderful Life for her "I Have a Confession, This is My Obsession" linky party!
Obsession #1: Blogging
Yeah, I spend hours upon hours a day browsing blogs constantly. You have helped me become the best teacher that I can be. My husband gets mad sometimes...but I can't apologize for it! I can't help that you all have brilliant ideas!!
Obsession #2: Pinterest:
Pinterest Logo
Again, I spend hours pinning away! Can I apologize to my husband for this? Sorry, nope! LOL. I have so many Pinterest projects on my to-do list this summer that I can't even see straight. The summer is going to go by real fast.
Obsession #3: Scentos:
It's plain and simple...I. LOVE.SMELLY.MARKERS!! It makes me happy & makes me want to grade papers more! My students love them too.
Obsession #4: Cute clip art
I adore cute clip art. I am obsessed with Scrappin Doodles!! Something about their clip art screams "USE ME!" I can't get enough of that either when I create my units!!
So go and link up at Living a Wonderful Life and share some of your obsessions!!
Michelle over at No Monkey Business is celebrating 100 followers!! Woohoo! You go girl! She is celebrating with a giveaway with 10 products from her TPT/TN store! Wow!! So head on over and check it out. She has an adorable blog with great ideas!!
No Monkey Business

Also Katie from Queen of the First Grade Jungle is having a ginormous giveaway for 1,000 followers! Wow, what a milestone!! She is giving away products from a slew of fabulous bloggers!! You don't want to miss this. Katie is such an awesome blogger & I am so happy for her!!

So speaking of giveaways, I am getting pretty close to 200 followers. I just had a big giveaway for TPT certificates. As much as I would love to do that again, I can't seem to find that money tree around anywhere... 
So I was thinking of a different kind of giveaway. I am almost done with my watermelon unit to give away. Would anyone be interested in donating a product from their TPT/TN store for a 200 follower giveaway? Therefore I can have a grand giveaway! If you are, email me at and I will keep you updated and let you know when. I would soooooo appreciate it!

Have a great evening bloggy friends,

Monday, May 28, 2012

Alphabet Songs + Math FREEBIE

Happy Memorial Day Friends,
I would just like to take a moment to thank everyone out there who has or is currently serving our country. You are not only appreciated today, but every day. Thank you for risking your life every day to keep us safe.

The buzz around several blogs is about the Alphabet Songs by Have Fun Teaching. Being naturally curious, I had to check it out. I am SO glad that I did. These songs are cute, fun, and extremely catchy! 

I always take the first week or two of first grade to review letters and sounds with my students. I had my own alphabet songs that I used & my students just weren't into it this year. I think they were a little babyish for them & not very excitable. Now I found Have Fun Teaching's Alphabet Songs to use. Just sitting here listening to them had me ready to get up and dance (which I don't do very well... ha!). I know my students will feel the same way. I can't wait to see the spark that it brings to my students at the beginning of next year. I. can'!!! Now for even more awesome news...not only does Have Fun Teaching have letter songs, but they have songs for math and phonics!!! 
I am beyond the moon "excited" because I found this valuable resource to help continue to make learning fun for my students. Thank you, thank you Have Fun Teaching for sharing these videos with us. If you head on over to Have Fun Teaching, you can find out how to get the Alphabet Videos download for free! So run, don't walk because they are only offering this until May 31st.
Now for my freebie...
I have been working away on my Wild and Wacky Watermelons unit. As a little sneak peek & for being so supportive of my blog, here is a little freebie for you!
Click HERE to get it from my TPT store!!
Have a great day friends,

Sunday, May 27, 2012

All about giveaways!!

Happy Sunday Friends!,
It's kind of a soggy Sunday down here in the Sunshine State. Subtropical Storm Beryl is paying us a visit, but I'm not complaining because we desperately need the rain! I was so excited about finding out the winners of my giveaway this morning that I hopped out of bed this minute my eyes popped open & ran to my computer so I could have Rafflecopter pick 2 winners. And the winners are:
a Rafflecopter giveaway Congratulations to Crystal & Andrea!! I've already sent your $25 Teachers Pay Teachers gift certificates your way so please check your email. This was so much fun- I can't wait to do it again sometime soon!
Speaking of giveaways, Rachel at A-B-Seymour has hit 200 followers! 
My Photo
I am so excited for her. She is having a HUGE giveaway to celebrate with a lot of amazing bloggers giving away items from their TPT stores. Head on over & check it out!
Also Brittany from Sweet Seconds is having a 100 follower giveaway!!
Sweet Seconds
She is giving away a $25 TPT Certificate & a $20 Amazon Gift Certificate. Congratulations Brittney!! So head on over & check it out!!
Until the next time friends!,

Saturday, May 26, 2012

Rockin' Resources and FREEBIE!!!

Happy Saturday Friends,
I hope your weekend is off to a good start. I enjoyed a relaxing pedicure this morning with some shopping afterwards, so I can't complain! I came home with the intent to clean the house, but I'm blogging instead...oh well. Story of my life!! :) Hang in there...this is another long post...FREEBIE at the bottom!
Just one last reminder... my giveaway ends tonight around midnight!! 2- $25 gift certificates to TPT are up for grabs, so make sure you enter. It could be your lucky day! I will announce the winner tomorrow morning.
*I just found a new blog! Every New Beginning is a new blogger on the block & to celebrate, she is giving away a $25 gift card to Target. Who doesn't love Target?!? So head on over & check it out!
Today I'm linking up with Kelley from Teacher Idea Factory on her Rockin' Resources Linky Party. It's her first linky party so show her some love! If you haven't seen Kelley's blog, you should stop by. She has some awesome resources and her blog design is just precious!
1. Brain Pop Jr.: My students cannot get enough of Brain Pop Jr. Have you used it before at your school? It is a very kid friendly website with short educational cartoon videos featuring the characters Annie and Moby, who is a robot. It is extremely humorous and the kids are TOTALLY into it. There are videos on several topics for Reading, Language Arts, Writing, Science, Social Studies, and Math. 
If you haven't seen these videos before, go and check them out. They do charge a subscription fee for it, but it is totally worth it. They usually have a free one that you can view if you would like to see what it's all about.
2. Whiteboards: I love my whiteboards! My kids use them in whole group for answering questions, small group to practice spelling words, and in my reading group for writing & blending words together. I would be lost without them!
Product Details
3. Fountas & Pinnell Leveled Literacy Instruction Program & Take Home Books: I have written about this program in a previous post
Product Details
Oh my gosh, it's all kinds of wonderful. I had students who started off first grade at DRA level 2s and 3s and they shot up to a level 18. All the lessons are scripted for you. No longer are you looking for something to do for intervention- it is all right there! There are take home books for each lesson to give the kids, which are the stories they read in their intervention lesson. The stories are very appealing to the students. I was amazed at how excited they were to read them. If your school gets an opportunity to jump on it, do not hesitate! 
4. My MOBI- Everyone in our school got a MOBI last year. This is my lifesaver. I can walk anywhere in the classroom and use my MOBI.
It's a wireless mouse, acts as an interwrite workspace where you can annotate over already made worksheets, and interacts with whiteboards. I always pass around my MOBI for my students to use with Activinspire flipcharts & they love it! I find them to be so much more engaged in lessons, because they want to have the chance to use the MOBI.
5. HeidiSongs: Have you heard of  HeidiSongs? They are educational songs for students. They are very catchy and fun. My kids adore them and really pay attention when I play them. Even when we are working on individual seatwork in class, you can hear some of my sweeties singing them.
Be sure to link up with Kelley at Teacher Idea Factory to talk about your Rockin' Resources.
As promised, here is another freebie for you! It is a word sort for r-controlled vowels (specifically -ar).
Click HERE to get this from my TPT store. 
Enjoy the rest of your day!!

Friday, May 25, 2012

Last week of school ideas + Giveaway Reminder!!

Happy Friday Friends!,
And a very happy Friday it is!! Who's psyched to have a long weekend off?!? (me! me!) I look forward to doing nothing but relaxing, spending time with my family, and working on some more units!
Just a reminder, my TPT giveaway ends Sunday at midnight. If you haven't entered, please click HERE! I am super excited because since I posted that giveaway last week, I am up to 151 followers!!! Thanks so much for all of your support.
*Also Ms. T over at Journey of a Substitute Teacher is celebrating her Blogiversary with a HUGE giveaway. Go and check out her blog!
I'm linking up with Valerie at All Students Can Shine for an End of the Year Celebrations Linky!
So how do you spend your last week of school? I know some of you are done with school already. (I'm just a bit jealous!) After a long rigorous year in first grade, this is our time to have some F-U-N!! I plan a summer themed day every day of the last week of school. 
Our 1st summer themed day is Wacky Watermelon Day!! We do many literacy and math watermelon themed activities. I have my students taste test various watermelon flavored foods and drinks. Then they graph their preference.This is the next unit I am working on:
 My favorite part of the day is when we have a Watermelon Seed Spitting Contest. The kids always go crazy over this. It is so much fun! 
The following day we have Ice Cream Day! I am so excited to use Cara's Ice Cream Unit!! You must take a look if you haven't already!
We work on ABC order, inventing an ice cream flavor, and the kids personal favorite, making ice cream in a bag! 
Then in the afternoon, we make ice cream sundaes- just in time for me to send them home all sugared up! :) I do plan on making some activities for this unit also in my free time (ha! what's that?)
On Wednesday, we will have Beach Day!! All of the kids dress in beach attire and we are beach bums for the day. We make snow cones, create our own beach towels using butcher paper, and do various math/literacy beach themed activities. I can't wait to use some of these ideas also:
Super Second Graders: Ocean Unit
Paper Plate Shark Craft
That day is so jam packed, because we will be also having our End of the Year Awards. I am using Reagan's Candy Awards this year. They are adorable. Check them out if you haven't already!
On Thursday will be our end of 1st grade celebration. We have a Bug-a-Loo with insect themed activities, such as Hot Tarantula, Web Walk (like musical chairs), Cocoon (see picture below), Fly Swatter Fling, Sponge Bug Relay, and Bug Parachute with inflatable bugs.
I am looking forward to using Deanna's Insects unit also and we will also make dirt cups in the afternoon!
Ahh now to Friday... the last day of school.
This is a very "chillaxing" day for us. We have a reading camp out. I set up some tents and the kiddies bring blankets and a pillow to school with some of their favorite books. We just spend our last few precious hours together enjoying each other's company. I so want to use this unit from Cara!:
We make smores and I want to definitely make one of these precious campfires for my classroom:
Faux logs for Camping Theme!  Creative!
Well that's all for now!! I can't wait to see who the winners of my giveaway are tomorrow night! Stay tuned...
Have a great evening friends!,

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Addition Fact Fluency and FREEBIES!!

Hello Friends!,
This is a long one, but hang in there...I have 2 freebies waiting for you at the bottom!! I wanted to take some time today to talk about getting your students to learn their addition facts fluently. I'm sure like many schools, our second grade teachers like our first graders to come in with a strong foundation of addition facts memorized from 0-10. As a first grade teacher, this can be hard to achieve at times. However, I  began this system in my classroom quite a few years ago & it has been very successful! It's called "Racing Through the Facts". I begin this the last 2 months of school once math begins winding down. I cut a race track out of black butcher paper and section it off 0-10 with white crayon. Here is an example:
I apologize for the blurry pictures. The reflection of the light was not cooperating, but hopefully you get the idea! Here are some closer pictures of sections of the race track...

I used clip art from Scrappin' Doodles to create race car icons for the race track. I add a small address label with their name on it. Before we begin the race track, I send home an addition table with all of the addition facts from 0-10 so the students can practice with their parents. All of the students begin on 0. I give them a 20 question drill based on what number they are on. They have 1 minute to complete it. If they get 80% correct (which is 16/20), they get to move on. I started off many years ago trying to have them get them all finished before moving on, but that proved to be a bit difficult, so I have found that this modification has worked better for my students. Once they get through all of the facts 0-10, I give them a certificate and a prize.
I have seen a lot of growth from my students with this kit. They are so enthusiastic about the race track & I feel like they are better prepared going into 2nd grade for the harder math that awaits them.
Side note: I firmly tell my students before beginning the "Racing Through the Facts" that they are not to tease or make fun of anyone during this friendly competition. They are warned that they will start over if they do so. Needless to say, I have never had any issues with this.
I know that you may have seen some similar variations of drill competitions out there. I wanted to share what works best for me & share my kit with you if you are interested. It includes a picture of my race track, a parent letter, 0-10 drills, clip art to use for your students ( in color and in black & white if you want your students to color their own cars), and certificates of completion for boy & girl.
Click HERE to get this for FREE from my TPT store!!

And here is another short I word sort FREEBIE that I created for you also:
Click HERE to get this from my TPT store!
Have a wonderful evening!,

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

What I'm Loving Wednesday! + Giveaway at My Second Sense

Hi Friends!
I'm linking up with Jamie for What I'm Loving Wednesday!

First...I'm loving that it's 2 days away from the weekend! Whew!
I'm also loving that I have 11 days left of school! I'm a teeny tiny bit jealous of those of you who are already enjoying your summer vacation! ;) 
How about this dress!?!?!!
And, shoes!!!! I love all of these shoes...
I am definitely making the following craft for my classroom!

Go link up with Jamie and talk about what you're loving!! I will be back tomorrow with a freebie! Stay tuned...

Tania over at My Second Sense is having a great giveaway!! She has reached 100 followers- you go girl! She is giving away 4 Pigeon books. Who doesn't love Mo?!? So head on over, her blog is great!
Have a great evening friends!,