Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Wordless Wednesday - My First One!

This is my first time participating in Wordless Wednesday!  I'm really excited.  

My friend, Mrs. DeCarbo from Sugar and Spice does this weekly on her blog and anybody can join.  Here are the rules:

Where is your favorite place to work?

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Two For Tuesday ~ 7/22

It's time for another Two For Tuesday!

I'm so excited to introduce my first Two For Tuesday deal because I just finished it last night.  My brand new Back to School Activities for 5th graders has all different kinds of math practice your incoming 5th graders.
The standards in the activities are from 4th grade so that you can see what skills your students have retained over the summer and what you may need to review before jumping into the 5th grade curriculum.  There are activity pages and 3 sets of task cards.  Regularly $4.50, today it's $2.25.

My second Two For Tuesday steal is Multiplying Decimals with Visual Models pack.  This contains several mini lessons for teaching your students how to multiply decimals, and also includes models to help illustrate this skill.  In addition to the mini lessons, it also contains a quiz and task cards for practice.  This $3.50 product is $1.75 today.

I hope you enjoy this week's Two For Tuesday!

Monday, July 21, 2014

TpT Takes on Vegas!!

I have been back from Vegas for a week now and I'm finally getting around to writing about the AMAZING time that I had while I was there.  I can't wait to tell you all about it!!
{The picture on the bottom right is me outside of the Venetian on the way to go meet my friends.  The picture on the bottom left is actually from Saturday night after the conference ended.  I saw the TpT sign and loved all of the messages on it about what TpT is all about and who we are.}

I made it to Vegas on Friday night and headed straight to meet my bloggy friends from The Teaching Tribune.  I have been working and collaborating with these fabulous ladies for a year now and I'm just finally meeting some of them!
On the left, in black, is Cyndie from Chalk One Up for the Teacher, Michelle from Well, Michelle? is in the striped dress, and Christina Marie from Sugar and Spice is in the adorable sparkly gold top.  Cyndie and Michelle gave me that sweet "Welcome to Vegas" bag filled with lots of Las Vegas goodies.  Aren't they awesome?!  We even had our own version of TpT Amy (TpT Community Manger) to bring around with us.  I had such a great first night meeting my friends and couldn't wait for the conference to officially get started on Friday.

Friday morning rolled in pretty quickly and we were up and at 'em to head to the morning's Keynote with a special inspirational speech from TpT extraordinaire, Deanna Jump, from Mrs. Jump's Class.  She has inspired so many of us to get out there and set high goals for ourselves and she has truly given me the motivation that I need to continue doing what I'm doing.
We also had Paul Edeleman, founder of TpT, start off the morning by telling us how TpT came to be.  He is amazing, humble, truly loves teachers, and has given all of us the opportunity to expand our creativity in the classroom while also helping others and making some extra $ - something teachers have desperately needed after the many years of frozen pay scales, cutbacks, layoffs, and furlough days.  How many people get the opportunity to have their success in their own hands while doing something they love?  The morning speakers amped us up for an incredible rest of the day of informative sessions and opportunities to meet old friends and make incredible new ones.

I learned some fascinating new information on Pinterest, something I plan on using more this year for getting ideas for my classroom.  I sat in on a data session and was able to see how product descriptions can impact search results.  I finally met Rachel Lynette, task card queen, and learned how to build my brand and market myself better.  It was an informative day and I definitely learned a lot!

After the day was over, I was able to have more time to socialize with everybody.  I was so excited to meet people in person that I have received so much amazing advice from in forums and Facebook groups.
On the top right, I was able to see two friends that I met last year - Greg from Kindergarten Smorgasboard, and Heather from 2 Brainy Apples.  On the left I met so many other incredible ladies that I am so excited to continue working and collaborating with this coming year.  They are so talented, creative, and sweet and their enthusiasm for teaching is quite infectious.

Words cannot describe how much fun the TpT Conference in Vegas was.  I am so happy that I went and I'm already looking forward to and planning for next year's conference.  I hope that I will get to meet many more people and, if I'm lucky, I will stay away from the roulette table!

None of this would have been possible without TeachersPayTeachers.  Thanks, TpT!

Monday Meet Up ~ Kristen

Hey everybody.  Monday Meet Up is actually over, but there was a Meet Up that I didn't get a chance to do, so I've decided to bring it back just on my blog today.

This week I'm introducing you to my friend (and fellow Jersey girl) Kristen over at Kristen's Common Core Creations.
Kristen teaches 5th grade ELA and Spanish and has been blogging since early on this past school year.  She has some great resources for Novel Studies, ELA assessments, and more over at her TPT store.  Head on over to her blog and check her out!

I hope you guys have a great start to your week!

Thursday, July 17, 2014

Pinterest Board Makeover!

Summer is almost over and I have a small amount of time to get things organized before I head back to school in just under 2 weeks.  One of the best things I learned at the TpT conference in Vegas was that my Pinterest page was a hot mess.  Thanks to the advice of Mr. John C Hughes of Created by MrHughes, I have decided to give my Pinterest board covers a nice makeover and really work on the content inside of each board.  (**Caution - I am still working on the content of each board - it takes a while!**)

To get my boards looking beautiful, I used a tutorial from Ladybugs Teacher Files on how to make and post cover pages.  If your boards need some help, I definitely suggest checking out her post.  It's a very easy step-by-step guide to making new board covers and it's fantastic!

Here's what mine look like now:
I wanted to try and keep my blog and logo colors and also keep them somewhat clean and clutter-free.

If you have any fantastic blog posts of ideas for your classroom that I can pin to my boards please leave them in the comments section and I would love to share them.  I would like to avoid product posts, so please comment with some unique things that you do with your students that are not product-related.  This could be a game, classroom procedure, etc.

I look forward to checking out some of your ideas, especially as I'm getting ready to head back to school!  Enjoy these last few precious weeks of summer :)

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Two For Tuesday 7/15: FRACTION LINE PLOTS!!

Are you ready for another edition of Two For Tuesday?!  I can't even believe how fast the summer has flown.  I have less than 2 weeks until I head back to school for pre-planning, so I've been trying hard to get all of my summer goals accomplished.
This week's two for Tuesday is all about Fraction Line Plots for 5th Grade!  *You can also use these for higher-level fourth graders to give them a push or preview for next year*

The first product on sale for 50% off this week is my Fraction Line Plot Activities.  This pack contains 3 sets of task cards for students to have an interactive approach to plotting fractions on a line.  Originally $4.50, today it's just $2.25.

The second product that will be half off today is my NEWEST creation…my Fraction Line Plot Packet.  This contains mini-lessons, student practice pages, and differentiated task cards in order to help introduce your unit.   Originally $4.00, today it is only $2.00.
I hope you enjoy your Two For Tuesday!  Don't forget to head on over to The Teaching Tribune to link up your Two for Tuesday or see who else is participating!

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

Keeping Your Child Engaged (NOT Bored) in Summer

The minute school gets out for the summer, there is usually one thing that a student is most excited about doing…ABSOLUTELY NOTHING!  For parents, it's usually the opposite do I keep my child occupied for the next 2-3 months without them completely forgetting everything they've learned this school year?

Luckily, there are ways that you can almost trick your child into learning over the summer without them even knowing it.  Shhhh!  It will be our little secret :).

How do you get your child to stay engaged, learning, and motivated during the summer?  Of course you can buy workbooks and have them go on educational websites, but I want to show you how to use activities that are already on your summer agenda.  Here are just a few ideas on how you can incorporate education into your typical summer routines so that you're challenging your child and they still feel like they're enjoying their summer vacation:


If your family is planning a trip or going out of town at some point during the summer, make it educational in these ways:

  • Give each of your children an opportunity to plan a day of the trip.  Have them research things to do/see in your destination and have them come up with an itinerary.  They can also give facts about each of the places they want you to take them to so that they are learning about the area and its history.
  • Toss the GPS aside and have your child navigate (if you trust them!).  I used to use a road map on family trips and determine the distance from one state to another by measuring the route using the scaled distance on the map key.  Once your child  figures out approximate mileage for the state, have them divide it by your speed to give an approximate estimated time of arrival.  (This is a more challenging activity)
  • Play the game "two truths and a lie" using facts about your destination.  Each child will give three sentences about it - 2 of them true facts, and one that is not true.  Your child will have to do some research on where you're traveling to and try to see if you can figure out which of the 3 sentences are true and which one they made up.

  • Traveling to a foreign country?  Teach your child about that country's currency and give them a short lesson on exchange rates.  (They will need to know how to multiply decimals)  Give them an amount of money that you plan to exchange and then have them calculate how much that translates to in that country's currency.  You can also have them do a currency project to get them excited for the trip.  Check out my FREE foreign currency activity HERE.

Spending Times with Friends
  • Encourage your child and their friend(s) to come up with a play of some sort.  They can write a script and rehearse for a performance, make a video, or do simple improv.  This is sure to keep them creative.
  • Book Club anyone?  Help your child organize a book club with their friends.  They can choose a fun book they haven't all read before and arrange days to meet to discuss different parts of the book as they read.  If this book is also a movie, they can celebrate finishing it with a trip to see the film version.


  • If you take your child shopping or out to eat, have them help you calculate how much money you would save if something's on sale, how much tax will be added onto a bill, or how much you should tip your server at a restaurant.
  • Give them a budget and have them figure out how they will maximize it in stores they like to shop at.


For those of you who think that you will have a difficult time keeping your athletes learning over the summer, there are unique ways to have them exercising their brains as well.
  • Baseball/softball players can keep track and calculate their batting average throughout the season.  Have them create a chart after each game to see if their average is increasing or decreasing.
  • Runners can divide the time of each run by the distance to find their average running speed.  

Summertime is meant to be fun, but it can also be educational, so why not combine the two? Keep your child learning and motivated without sacrificing the "fun" of it.   Have a great summer and keep on learning!