Sunday, July 29, 2012

I've caught zebra fever and I'm seeing stripes!

Oi vey, it's kind of late and I have a nice 8:30 am professional development tomorrow- BUT- I have caught the zebra fever and I just had to share! Last year I had quite the "monkey" theme in my classroom when I taught first grade. It all started with a tree I created in my reading jungle and an enormous furry monkey that my parents found at BJ's :)

From there, the monkey theme just grew! The kiddos loved it and I did too, but I was looking for a little something else to add this year with my move to third grade. The answer my friends, is zebra print. I know you must think I have been living in a bubble to have missed ALL the zebra-patterned classroom materials, but honestly with "monkey on my mind" I really hadn't paid attention. Now that it is almost August, I'm in full blown classroom planning mode (yes, I managed to push that outta my mind until August!) and I've got zebra fever! 

Next year I am going to have a lime green, blue and zebra-print theme in my room. But don't worry, that monkey fellow isn't going anywhere! He's a well-known stuffed animal throughout the school, so he will be a permanent fixture :) Not to mention that he has monthly themed hats and accessories, thanks to a very crafty and creative mother of mine! 

Here is a little peek at my zebra print stash so far, but it is sure to grow...

To make sure I can achieve my full "zebra vision," I created some quick zebra borders that I can use in my classroom to label materials and book bins. There are so many free zebra-themed resources on TpT that I also snatched up, but I needed something basic, too. 


If you are loving zebra print for your classroom this year, you can grab these borders for {FREE} from my Creative Clips Digital Clipart at my TpT store. Click {HERE} if you want them!

Last thing! I am doing my very FIRST guest blog post over at The Hands On Teacher tomorrow (MONDAY). I am so excited that Marie invited me to make an appearance on her awesome blog! I am giving away two big freebies- one math and one literacy! One is a {Flash Freebie} so be quick! Hop over to Marie's blog to collect the goods!

Night blog friends, my bed and The Big Bang Theory are calling my name. 

Holy Moly Guacamole....and {Free} Writing Papers

Today I woke up in a panic. It was already 8:00 and I thought it was Monday, which would have meant that I was  late for an exciting day of professional development. It took me about 30 seconds to get my head together and realize that it was in fact Sunday. This was further confirmed with the TpT weekly email of 10 free downloads waiting in my inbox :) Oi vey- my body is completely freaking out at the idea of waking up for any kind of work!

Following my little morning mix up, I whipped up this delish dish for breakfast to celebrate my wonderful, lazy morning:

Holy moly guacamole. That, my friends, is an egg beater omelette with caramelized onions, mozzarella and the star of the show: guacamole. I know avocados weird some people out, but they are pretty much at the top of my favorite foods list these days... right after all the unhealthy stuff like DQ blizzards and ravioli :) If you are a fan of guacamole tho, you should definitely try it for breakfast! I use a mozzarella cheese stick for the cheese because it keeps me from dumping on large amounts like Paula Dean adds stick butter. Side that little tasty baby with a Tazo iced green tea in my Starbucks tumbler and I'm a happy camper. 

This is NOTHING like what I eat for breakfast during the school year! My 5:15 breakfast is usually bran flakes and coffee at my computer desk as I check email and weather. 

Anyway, I do have a quick freebie for you! I've been trying to stock up on miscellaneous lesson materials for next year to save myself the time later on. I whipped up some quick themed-writing pages that I can use for pretty much anything, but many of them have a "back-to-school" kinda feel with some school supplies borders. Here's a few preview pictures, but there are more pages in the whole pack:

Some page borders from Scrappin Doodles License #45285
Clip art from Creative Clips Digital Clipart

 If you wanna grab these paper (and more) to stash them away for quick go-to's during the hectic school year, they are yours for {FREE} if you {CLICK HERE}.

Alright, this girl needs to get moving. I'm on a hunt for all things zebra, lime green and blue today for my classroom decor- so stay tuned for classroom updates and pictures. Also, tomorrow (Monday) I am so excited to be guest blogging over at Marie's fabulous blog: The Hands On Teacher in First! I will post a link and reminder tomorrow because I have some great freebies and a {FLASH} giveaway that you won't want to miss out on!

Enjoy your Sunday!

Friday, July 27, 2012

Newbie Blog Hop and Back to School Clip Art Snatch


I was so excited to find a linky part for newbie bloggers- because my blog is just a month-old baby at this point. I have been absolutely {AMAZED} at how much I can learn from other bloggers and this linky party is no exception. It is a great way to share and learn tips/tricks and pick up some new bloggy friends along the way!

If you are a newbie blogger too and want to link up, you'll need to answer the questions below. Here's my answers:

1. what state you are in: I currently live in Delaware. I moved here last October, but before that I lived all over- Tennessee, Ohio, New York, Pennsylvania, and West Virignia.

2. your current teaching position: This year I will be teaching third grade!

3. your teaching experience: I have taught first and second grade. Next year I will be teaching third grade and I'm super excited!

4. when you started blogging: I just jumped on the “blog wagon” at the end of June, so I truly am a newbie! I was quite the blog hopper/stalker last year, but just didn’t have the time to get my own up and running. I’m so excited to join the bloggy world. There were so many times last year when I would do something in my classroom and think, "I could write a blog about that...." This year I can!

5. share a blogging tip / blogging resource: I knew NOTHING about starting up a blog when I was getting everything set up. I wanted an original blog design and spent a lot of time figuring out how to make my own. Since then, I have found a{TON} of blog designers that would have saved me a lot of trouble! So if you are thinking about starting a blog, search for some blog designers and also Google “blog tutorials” for what you are trying to do. This is a website I have used a lot for tutorials:

I also wanted to leave you with a preview of my newest clipart bundle from Creative Clips Digital Clipart: Back to School Bash! I haven't been able to post it on TpT yet because the site seems to be having a few quirks still. I will hopefully have it up tomorrow. This is my biggest bundle of clipart yet {28 images including black line digital stamps} and you can snatch it up for personal or commercial use for just $4.00. {BUT} the first person to comment on this post will get it for free! Make sure to leave your email so I can pass it along to you :)

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Merry Christmas in July Sale!

Two blog posts in one day! I just blogged about my 400 Followers Giveaway earlier this afternoon, but when I was making my blog hoppin rounds to some of my favorite bloggers I saw this fun sale and I had to join in! This is the perfect time to stock on Autumn activities, or an Elf on the Shelf Shelf Literacy Unit and Behavior Incentives, or a little Winter Wonders Literacy and Writing Workshop Mega Pack! I'm off to fill up my own cart with some goodies!

A huge thank you to Babbling Abby for making this adorable picture!
NOTE:  Teachers Pay Teachers will be off line on Wednesday until 8am, so sadly there will be no earlier birds...
Do you want to participate?  Quickly link up over at Blog Hoppin and let everyone know!

400 Followers Giveaway!

Yay! Today I am celebrating my 400 followers over at my little Teachers Pay Teachers store! It can also be 15 followers celebration for my blog, too haha :) I have never done a giveaway but I thought now would be a good time to try it. The first FOUR people to comment on this post saying you are a follower of my blog and my little TpT store will get my Creative Reading Response Sheets for ANY Book and my Creative Reading Response Sheets for ANY Book 2 packs from my TpT store for {Free}. It's a beautiful word, "free." :)

These packs are some of my most popular products! The first pack has 24 response sheets and the second back as 20 response sheets PLUS 20 themed papers for writing extensions. That's over 60 pages of "thank you very much" for following my store and blog! Now let's be honest folks, I have currently have 15 followers on my blog, so your odds are pretty good that if you are at your computer reading at all checking blogs today, you could be a winner haha Please leave your email so I can send you your prizes!

Hope you're having a fabulous Tuesday! I have four chapters to read for my faculty book club meeting... which is... tomorrow (which I have had all summer to read, whoops), so this blogger girl has to go get a strong iced coffee and bury herself in a book!

Saturday, July 21, 2012

Free Fonts from Creative Clips {FONTS}

Hey blog friends! Since I am new to the blog world, I'm not sure if you get updates when I make changes to my "Pages" on here. Just in case you don't, I want to tell you that I have started making my own fonts! I'm a bit of a font collector, font addict, font enthusiast.... I'm sure many of you can relate. There's something about a cute font that makes typing lesson plans, newsletters, or classroom materials just a little sweeter, dontcha think?

I have posted my first {FREE} font to my TpT store called "Kidding Around Too." Here's a little preview. Click on the picture below to hop over to my store and start building up that font collection for {FREE}.

Make sure you check out the Creative Clips {FONTS} tab at the top of my blog to stay updated on new freebie fonts and new fonts to my TpT store. I will be offering a lot of them for free, but any fonts that I do put up for sale will always be $1.00. You can use them for personal or commercial use without any additional licenses. My only Terms of Use is that you please give my TpT shop a little shout out in the credits page of your products for sale with a link back to my store and my button :)

Stay tuned for more fonts to come! I also have some exciting things in the works including a new JUMBO math packet for my TpT store, being a guest blogger and a new endeavor for Creative Clips Digital Clipart on an amazing resource website for teachers! Hang around for the ride and I'll fill you in soon!

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Lesson Planning Oasis

I finally finished my little balcony makeover and had to post some pictures. I wanted to close in my balcony a bit more so there was some privacy with the other apartment buildings being so close. The weather is so dang hot right now I pretty much have only looked at it through my sliding door without sitting yet, but I picture it as a perfect place to lesson plan and grade papers in the evenings after school starts. Is it sad that I think like that when I see a nice sitting area? Anyway, there is just enough room on that little bistro table for my laptop and a glass of wine, so I think it only makes sense :) Of course my binders, books, papers etc will be all over the ground, but I purchased a nice outdoor rug for those, too. Anyway! Just wanted to share, but will give you a real post tomorrow :)

Boring Balcony BEFORE

Lesson Planning Oasis AFTER

Monday, July 16, 2012

Back to School and Author's Purpose Swap

Does anyone remember the commercial for back-to-school shopping (I saw it last year, and maybe even the year before that) where a woman is skating around on a shopping cart with a huge smile plastered on her face as "It's the Most Wonderful Time of the Year" plays in the background? I forget which store the commercial was for.... but I do know that the woman in the commercial is DEFINITELY NOT a teacher :)

Back-to-school supplies have popped up EVERYWHERE and although I have been tempted to dig elbow deep into the waist-high bins of crayons and glue sticks, I haven't quite brought myself to the reality that my summer is slipping away (although all the classroom planning and lessons have been a pretty good reality check already!). I did notice that Walmart has a "teacher section" of supplies where everything is 88 cents, so I'm pretty sure I'm going to give in to temptation next time I'm there and check it out. I'll post some pics if I find any "hafta-have-ums" for you. 

Sooo, although this has NO connection to back to school shopping, I wanted to do a post about author's purpose because it was one of the last skills I worked on last year with my firsties. Can I just say that my kiddos L-O-V-E-D learning this! I made a few resources to help me kiddos out with the idea of author's purpose, but I also found some awesome products on TpT that helped me keep my sanity towards the end of the year when I didn't have time make up everything myself. I used the resources in some different ways than they were described in the products, so lemme fill you in.

First up, I purchased Tiffany Gannon's Author's Purpose Activity Packet for $3.00 which has some *awesome* anchor charts that I used in my classroom. I decided to print out small cover pictures of books that I read to my class and stick them below the three different anchor charts to help students start making connections between books. It also helped my kiddos see similar characteristics of books with the same purpose.  Here's a picture of how I set it up- although it is nothing too fancy:

I laminated the blue pieces of paper and the mini book covers so that I could reuse them. We started author's purpose around Earth Day, so there were A TON of great books for persuade that also worked into our Earth Day activities.  Also in Tiffany's packet is a questioning sheet that helps students determine the author's purpose for a specific book. I don't want to post any pictures of that to respect her work- the anchor charts shown above are shown in her product preview, so I feel comfortable sharing those. Lemme tell you- the questioning sheet is FABULOUS! We used it as a guide for our discussions whole group and then for when students were ready to tackle the concept independently. 

Another product I used was Rachel Lynnette's Author's Purpose Task Cards for $2.25 Even though this product is labeled for the older grades, I modified it to use with my firsties. The set has 24 cards with a paragraph or two on each with examples for each author's purpose. I decided to use these cards as part of our morning warm-up, whole group. I put one card up on the Doc Camera and I would either read it aloud, or have a student read it. We would use the question sheet from Tiffany's pack to guide our think-aloud and determine the purpose of the card. Again- my kiddos LOVED THIS! There was one morning where an early assembly kept us from doing one and my gosh, they were disappointed until I promised to work it into the afternoon :) The cards are great because it exposed my kiddos to many text examples without taking up a lot of time reading each one. 

After seeing how much my students loved author's purpose activities, I made up an Author's Swap Mini Book that took author's purpose to the next level. When my kiddos had mastered determining the author's purpose, I had them give evidence for their choice and also evaluate whether or not they thought the author was successful in their purpose: Did they persuade you? Did they do a good job of entertaining you? 

I set up the activity as a swap so that I could use it as a literacy center throughout the week, or as a cooperative activity with partners and have different books rotating among them (since I never seem to have enough copies of a single book!). Just pop copies of the Author's Purpose Mini Book in a Manila envelope with copies of any book and voila! Instant center.

Here are a few pictures the Author's Swap Mini Book. Click *{HERE}*  if you wanna snatch it up for your own use- for free! I call it a "mini-book" but it is really just a single paper copied front-to-back and folded down the  middle. There is something about making a simple paper fold that changes students' ideas about an activity- so this format took this activity from a WORKSHEET, to a much more exciting MINI BOOK :) 

Graphics by Just So Scrappy Too License #0066 and Scrappin Doodles License #45285
Fonts by 

That's all for today folks! I have a few TpT products that I'm working on and a balcony makeover at my apartment that is in the works- gotta finish them up while I have the time! I'll post pictures after, even though it's not a teacher topic :) 

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Save yourself some work with a Word Work Freebie!

If there's one thing I always am on the look out for, its some good "go-to's" for my Word Work center. Last year, my kiddos got into a good routine for their daily Word Work centers, but I always liked to mix it up- Lord knows I get bored doing the same thing all the time, let alone my little firsties. Throughout the year, I ended up making a bunch of activity sheets (some ideas borrowed and changed, some ideas new) for word work and decided to offer one HUGE freebie from my TpT store. The result: a 26-paged freebie, packed with reproducibles and materials to add to your existing Word Work activities. I have been BLOWN AWAY by the response I have gotten for this packet, so I wanted to share a link for it on my blog, too. So far it has over 17,000 downloads and over 22,000 pins on Pinterest. I'm so excited that other people are able to use these resources in their own classrooms- so if you are looking for some more variety to spice up your Word Work center, click on the link below and grab a copy for yourself!

Here are a few pictures of SOME of the pages in the packet. Most activities can be used over and over, or I have included blank templates for you to modify them for a specific skill focus :)


Thursday, July 5, 2012

Order's Up! Calendar Cupcakes

I promise this blog will not just be a push for products on my Teachers Pay Teachers store, but since I am just getting started I have a lot to share and tell you about! PLUS, I'm excited about some new clipart that I just finished and wanted to thank Cindy for her great idea and special product request. I have just added my Calendar Cupcakes Bundle to my little TpT store- 12 different cupcakes, each with a monthly theme. These are perfect for classroom birthday posters, favors, games and more :) Here is a look at the set that you can grab for $3.00. In this bundle you also get 12 black line versions of the cupcakes so 24 images total!  AND- not to jump the gun on back-to-school planning, but I'm offering up the September "school-themed" cupcake for free. Just click on the cupcake image below to grab it up or click on the set below to zip on over to my store :)

That's all for now! I'll leave you with a little sneak peak at some autumn clipart that I'm doodling for a new bundle :)