Thursday, February 28, 2013

Blogs by state and a giveaway

Diane from Fifth in the Middle had the greatest idea for a link-up, and I'm thrilled to join in. She has created a resource for bloggers to link up by state. I have found a few Virginia bloggers through searching, and I even started a Facebook page for us to gather here. But I like that this makes it easier to see which blogs match with each state. Go find your state and link up! And if you're a VA blogger, join our Facebook page and link your blog there, too!

Also, Amelia from Where the Wild Things Learn has reached 100 followers, and I am helping celebrate her giveaway! You have two chances to win, so definitely go check it out!

Then keep your eyes open for more on the way. I will be helping in another very soon where I will be giving away this:
St. Patty's Day Literacy Centers - Comprehension and Word

Happy Thursday!

Monday, February 25, 2013

New Magic Tree House pack

I'm a little afraid to say it after the past two weeks, but the Dalton household seems to finally be on the mend! Now I'm praying for warmer weather to stick around (most days this week have a high of 50 or more, so I'm hopeful) because this girl is TIRED of cold, dreary days. I don't know what I'll do with myself with a full week at school, though! It's been a little while between holidays and doctor visits.

This morning, I finished my newest Magic Tree House series! Isn't it cute? This one seems to be on a little higher level, and I had a lot of fun making it. Very cute story! I may even go back and add more to this unit because I thought about adding a biography sheet for Lady Gregory. You can click on the links below to find it.

Questions for Magic Tree House: Leprechaun in Late Winter

I'm keeping it short tonight because it's my favorite night for TV. How I Met Your Mother, 2 Broke Girls, and Biggest Loser. I missed everything last week because I felt like crap and went to bed when Keagan went to bed. Got some catching up to do this week!

Thursday, February 21, 2013

Hall Pass Linky

Wow, it's been a few weeks since I've done a linky party (so proud of myself for actually coming up with topics on my own), but I've been seeing this one float around and had to jump in! Reagan from Tunstall's Teaching Tidbits is hosting, and if you haven't seen her blog, where have you been? Seriously, though, go check it out! She's one of the bigwigs in blogging world!

It's not actually about Hall Passes, but more of a share about some of your favorites using the acronym "PASS".
Product - I feel like my favorite product is always my latest one, and now is no different. I love all of my literacy centers, but St. Patty's Day is especially fun to me (maybe because I have red hair, maybe because I lived in choose). I have mentioned them a few times lately, but they really are awesome! If you teach upper grades, these are made to work on some of the main comprehension skills. I love that I can just pull them out next year as I get to each season. I'm working to have one set for each month, so get ready for some spring centers to pop up before too long!

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Area - My favorite part of my classroom is at the adorable little rug that I bought over the summer with my own money, which is really big for me. I just don't spend as much money as the normal teacher because I'm poor and try to prioritize EVERYTHING for my classroom. I have moved the rug since taking this picture at the beginning of the school year, but it's still a favorite place for students to read or to take naps during a break on those days.

Signal - I have bought a bell and a timer over the past few years with all the intentions of using them. But honestly, I just told my kids it was time to change things up. Nothing special really. If I needed them to calm down, I might clap or say give me 5 or hold my hand in the air and wait. I guess I could say I use brain breaks as my signal now because I do those with some of my groups before they go back to class.

Oh, one of my favorite signals that I REALLY want to use but haven't yet is:

Teacher: Stop.
Students: Collaborate and listen!

I know I would die laughing every time though and not get much accomplished, but it would be so much fun!

Sanity - Well, I gave up cokes and most sweets to help me lose the rest of my baby weight (did I mention that I'm now only 1 pound from my goal?), so I guess it's really other teachers. I'm a big-time extrovert in the sense that I have to have people around (not necessarily the one always in the center or talking). When I can't have adult interactions, I start getting a little crazed. Then I start checking teacher blogs or Pinterest for new ideas. But seriously, my co-workers are some pretty cool people, and that usually is just enough for me. Even if I just sit in the office and talk to the secretaries. You can learn A LOT in there and get quite a few good laughs!

Go link up with some of your favorites! I'm going to work on finishing my newest literature pack.

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

New products

We had yesterday off for President's Day, and there were great plans for the day. First, we took Keagan to Keagan's, this fun little Irish restaurant (we had the name picked out first). Then we were going to go to the Children's Museum. Keagan really deserved a chance to play and enjoy himself INSIDE so he wouldn't get sick anymore. But after we finished eating, it was too close to his naptime and we didn't want to waste $16 when he didn't even get to enjoy himself. Then I started feeling crappy. Still not sure what it was, but I went home and took a nap. THEN I went to bed at 7. I missed all of my Monday night shows, and I still felt kind of bad when I woke up this morning. No fever or anything contagious. Just really weak and feel like I can't eat anything. I had crackers and a banana for lunch. And lots of water. Hopefully whatever it is will pass. I hate feeling crummy...

Anyway, before Monday, I had a wonderful weekend and actually got a few things accomplished.

I finished my St. Patty's Day centers! This time around, I use graphics from Ashley Hughes. Aren't they adorable? Steven even read over this pack for me and was very impressed. Maybe that will help when I'm spending hours blogging or working on new products. At least he's now seen what I do and likes it! Just like the other packs, there are 4 comprehension centers (fact and opinion, cause and effect, main idea and details, and drawing conclusions) and 4 word knowledge centers (suffixes, synonyms, antonyms, and guide words). Please feel free to pin as well!

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Then I finally finished my literature pack for this book.
Have you read it? It's a great Roald Dahl book for lower readers because it's short and funny (like all of his books). Did you know that you can't include the cover in your units, though? I had no idea until Kate reviewed my unit for me. Thanks for letting me know, and now I'm working to take out the book images in any other packs I have. Oops!
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Hopefully I will be able to add a few more units soon. I'm working on another Magic Tree House unit: Leprechaun in Late Winter.
Then I have a writing activity planned. AND I even have an idea for my very first linky party! Can you tell I love St. Patty's Day?

Friday, February 15, 2013

School craziness and some St. Patty's Day fun

This has been a CRAZY week! How about we spread out a few holidays so we have time to do everything? Not only did we have Valentine's Day, President's Day, and Mardi Gras (well, I did a little something for that), today was the 100th day! Oh, and did I mention that not only was I out Monday, but I ended up being out again yesterday? This week might has well have been a wash, and it's a good thing that Monday is a holiday.

Then I come back today, and we have TWO big incidents. First, a kid gets hit by a bus. Really. A kindergartener. I don't know exactly what happened because I missed bus duty while trying to catch up with teachers about what we were going to do (I would've done this yesterday had I been here). He's fine, but he's got a big bruise. The parents let him stay at school though. But WHILE this is happening, a fourth grader started choking and they had to call 911. Apparently he looked really bad, and his teacher (my former neighbor and teammate) was in hysterics from everything. She had to go home. Everyone was pretty shaken up from it, so it must've been a big deal.

So I know everybody at my school is very ready for this weekend. If it decides to snow Monday night, we might even take that, too.

Anyway, I have been working on my next products, and I've got a few things coming! I want to do something for Dr. Seuss's birthday, and I'm leaning toward some activities with his very first book, And To Think That I Saw It On Mulberry Street.
 No real ideas yet, but if you have suggestions or things you'd like to see, let me know!

My second favorite holiday is coming up soon, and that's what I've been working on this week. I finished my St. Patty's Day Literacy centers, and it's going through the editing phase right now. It should be posted by Monday. I think it's adorable. I used Ashley Hughes' clipart, and I love it!

I'm also working on two new literacy units. The first, Fantastic Mr. Fox, is one that I'm starting with one of my groups of kids. I LOVE Roald Dahl books, and this is a great one for struggling readers in the upper grades. It's a level P, but the story line is easy to follow, and the book is short - like 81 pages. I need short books with my groups because we only have 30 minutes (if that) AND mine check to see how much longer the book will take.
The other unit is related to St. Patty's Day again. I forgot I had a copy of Magic Tree House: Leprechaun in Late Winter. I emailed both of these to myself to work on this weekend, but we'll see how much I actually do. I am at least to chapter 5 for both, so it's possible! I'll probably ask for help reviewing both of these packets when I finish, so make sure you follow my Facebook page to get this chance!

Okay, now I'm going back to work on those packets some more. Steven's helping his dad, and Keagan's down for a late nap, so this might be the only chance I get to work on them this weekend! In case I don't get back on here this weekend, enjoy your long weekend!

By the way, if you want a chance at a free blog design, go check out Ruby Slippers Blog Design. She's having a giveaway!
Ruby Slippers Blog Designs

Monday, February 11, 2013

Sick day, Fat Tuesday, and Valentine's

Today's a sick day for me. Poor Keagan has had a runny nose and a cough for the past week, but last night he woke up 4 times screaming! I went to check on him the first time, and he had a fever. So I called in sick and took him to the doctor this morning. He has an ear infection, so hopefully the meds they gave him will kick in quickly. I hate seeing him so miserable!

One of the nice things about my new position (well, for me) is that when I'm out, they don't give me a sub. So I don't have to write sub plans. The negative side is for the teachers I work with, I can't push into their classrooms or pull their students out for the day.

Tomorrow is Fat Tuesday, and my sweet friend, Andrea, from Reading Toward the Stars created this adorable unit that I plan on using with some of my kids. My favorite parts are the vocabulary cards (since everything about Mardi Gras is foreign to my kids up here in VA) and the main idea game. I think the kids will have fun with it. If I were in the regular class, I would have to also bring in a King Cake to see who found the baby. Mardi Gras is so much fun!

For the rest of the week, I'm going to be doing centers to work with kids on a smaller scale. At the writing center, they are going to work on my Valentine Writing Craftivity. I can't wait to see what they come up with!

I Can Spread Love - my new Valentine's Day writing craftivity
You can buy this packet at my TN or TPT store.

I am also going to be using some more of my Monster Valentine centers. We've already done a few of them to go along with skills being taught in the classroom, but I'm going to have some of these out for students to practice with.

Monster Valentine Literacy Centers - Comprehension and Word knowledge
You can buy this packet at my TN or TPT store as well.

What are you using to celebrate Valentine's Day this week? And do any of you celebrate Mardi Gras?

Friday, February 8, 2013

Long week, testing, and a giveaway

Does anybody else feel like this week is just dragging on? I feel like maybe it's because we've been doing 2nd nine week benchmark tests, but I have been off all week. Today is my last day of testing kids (or maybe one more because I had one absent), and I'm SO tired. Although I'm glad I went ahead and did this now before SOL time rolls around. I know exactly which kids of mine need help with test-taking. I think I almost made a boy cry today when I fussed at him for not using ANY of the strategies I and his classroom teacher have been teaching him. He got a 39, and he's one of my higher readers that I'm looking at possibly releasing later this year. Oh well, I think he needed to hear it. I made sure to tell him I was so upset because I knew he was smart and COULD do it if he tried. It just frustrates me to see them just click and go. 

Speaking of, what kind of strategies do you teach your kids for test-taking? We do a lot of highlighting important information in the passages. I have them go back and find the answer, then they are supposed to highlight it to prove it. Some teachers at my school have students stop and jot for every paragraph. I know I would've HATED that as a kid, so I don't make them, but I know it really works for some kids. I'm actually still sitting with one of my 3rd graders right now because he's stopping and jotting for everything (Rebecca, if you're reading this, he's working hard!). We also teach them to "plug it in" for questions using context clues, etc, and we have them "slash the trash". Those are our major strategies. Any other tips?

Alright, some giveaway news:
If you love Valentine's Day and want some great activities for next week, go check out this giveaway! Four fantastic ladies are giving away items from their stores. Even this Valentine "grinch" (as my hubby has started calling me) is entering the giveaway!

Oh, and don't forget that I'm offering 15% off all the items in my Teacher's Notebook store through tomorrow. Go check it out!

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Follow me at TN!

I took the plunge and started my own Teacher's Notebook shop!!

One thing I really like about Teacher's Notebook is that they give more back to the teacher (even with their free shop that's brand new). They've made some updates, and now they have a search feature that makes it a lot easier to find what you're looking for. That was my biggest problem with it and why I tended to use TpT more.

I'm slowly adding items to the store based on need first. All of my February activities can already be found there, and I should have any non-holiday activities on by the end of the day (or at least tomorrow). Go check it out, and please follow me!

Oh, and to celebrate opening my new store, I'm throwing a sale! 15% off all items until Saturday. Sorry, no graphics for now. It's time for some Zumba before heading home!!

Monday, February 4, 2013

Wonder review and new blog!

Okay I told you I would give you my review on this book once I read it. You HAVE to read this book, especially if you work in the upper grades. I picked up the book from the library last Friday and had it finished yesterday afternoon. With a little boy who hasn't been feeling very well and doesn't want me to put him down, that's REALLY quick! Now I need to buy my own copy because this is a book I've got to have.

This link is to Amazon where the book is $8.89, which is the best price I found considering it's hardcover only right now.

Anyway, the book is about a boy, Auggie, who is terribly "deformed". He's been in and out of surgeries his entire life, but he just looks weird. His outer ears aren't existent, his eyes are out of place, and so on. Auggie has always been home-schooled, but his parents decide it's time for him to enter the "real world" as a 5th grader. The principal has three "good students" chosen to welcome Auggie into the school and take care of him, but kids are kids! There are many parts in the book where I wanted to yell at a child, but there are plenty of others where I was so proud that I wished they were my own students.

My favorite line in the book is at the very end. Auggie makes a precept that is so perfect, I may have to make a sign to post in my room. "Everyone in the world should get a standing ovation at least once in their life because we all overcometh the world." So sweet!

Alright my other item of business today (hehe, I just wanted to say that) is that my real-life best friend has started her own blog yesterday, and I'm SOO excited! Her name is Amanda, and she teaches 1st grade, although she spent 5 years in kindergarten. We both are kind of equally obsessed with Mo Willems and the pigeon, so she cracked me up when she texted me to see if I was okay with her blog title being Teacher at the Wheel. Of course! Go show her some blogging love. She's awesome, and I know she'll have some great ideas to share!

What are you waiting for? Go read this book!!! And if you teach upper grades, please read it to your kids! Oh, and of course, go follow Teacher at the Wheel!

Sunday, February 3, 2013

Lazy Sunday and a giveaway

I'm home with a sick little boy today (poor baby has a ton of congestion and might be cutting more teeth), so I get a chance to catch up on blogs while he takes a nap. If you haven't already checked out Farley's currently, go do it! It really is a great way to connect with other bloggers. It's SUCH a popular linky party, and it's pretty easy to join.

Also, make sure you head over to TpT AND TN today. They're both having big sales. My store is a part of it, and I plan on doing some shopping later today as well. Just enter the promo code SUPER at check out (for TpT) for 28% off. That's a great deal!

Finally (because I hear Keagan waking up), Kelly from First Grade Fairytales is having a giveaway where you can win a $25 amazon gift card, one of those amazing pencil sharpeners, OR a set of 7 great books. Go check it out!!

Have a Super Sunday, and enjoy all the food! I'm hoping I still get to go to our Super Bowl party tonight. I'm looking forward to some game snacks!

Saturday, February 2, 2013

Currently February

I can't believe I've been doing these for over a year! Farley is so awesome to put this on at the beginning of each month, and it has gotten HUGE! I looked and I'm the 169th link-up! Geez! 

Listening: We had a birthday party this morning (one of Keagan's little buddies turned one), so Keagan's sleep schedule is a little off. I put him down for a nap when we got home at 12:30, but he only slept for an hour. So I put on Jonah, and it kept his attention for a little while. It makes me smile that he loves Veggietales. They're so cute!

Loving: I can't believe that I've already passed the $500 mark since opening my store last May! I finally took the plunge and upgraded to a premium seller. This month has already proven that was a great idea!

Thinking: I had been wanting mint color jeans since the summer, but I was waiting until I lost some more weight. Now that I'm 2-3 pounds away from my goal, I'm starting to buy more clothes. I went shopping Thursday and bought some mint jeans, black leggings, and a sweater. Surprisingly, the only thing I'm keeping are the leggings. I'm in love with them, and I never thought I'd do that!

Wanting: Have you heard of these It Works wraps? I have a lot of loose skin around my belly, and a lot of people have lost quite a few inches from using them (with proper eating and exercise habits in place). I've been doing a lot of healthier eating and using my Zumba dvd more frequently. I think I may try it, but I have to be ready to spend $60 for it. Has anyone else tried it?

Needing: This week was not a good week for me exercise-wise. I decided sleep was more important. Then my actual Zumba class I go to on Wednesday had to be cancelled because storms were coming.

Pet Peeves: I believe I've talked about these before, but I HATE both of these things! I see too many kids (and parents or other adults) who feel like they deserve things they haven't done a thing for. It drives me CRAZY!! And, like Farley, I would rather my kids tell me the truth no matter how bad it is than lie to me. I can't stand not being able to trust them. I tell them that every year. That once I find out they've lied to me, I won't trust them anymore, and that kills me.

Okay, Keagan needs my attention. I think he's cutting more teeth!

Friday, February 1, 2013

Super Bowl Sale!

There's a huge sale going on at TpT AND TN this Sunday for the big game! I love football, but I don't particularly care about either team playing this weekend, so this will be the highlight of my weekend! My store is 20% off, and then you can enter the coupon code SUPER at check out for an extra 10%, giving you a total of 28% off all purchases!

Thank you Aimee from Primarily Speaking for this adorable button!

Here are some items that I'd hate for you to miss out on:

Monster Valentine Literacy Centers - Comprehension and Word knowledge
Complete with 8 literacy centers - 4 comprehension and 4 word-knowledge
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A drawing conclusions/inference activity
Changing History One Lad at a Time - activities to do with "John, Paul, George and Ben" by Lane Smith

Biography packet for John, Paul, George, and Ben by Lane Smith

Inferencing "Scoot"
20 cards to teach making inferences - geared toward upper grades!

Go check out the linky party at Keepin' It Kool in KinderLand for more people participating in the sale!

Oh, and I said I would post my adorable Keagan picture, so here it is! Isn't he the cutest thing? Too bad he wasn't smiling in this picture. He had a HUGE smile before I took the camera out.