February 2012Tales from Outside the Classroom: February 2012

A freebie and a sale!

First things first.  My sight word Easter eggs were so popular that I thought I'd create some for math.  There are 4 different ones and they work on addition facts to 20.  This time I used adorable graphics from Mel at Graphics from the Pond.  Click on any of the pictures to download the file.

And, of course, I'm sure you'll be doing some awesome TpT shopping today to take advantage of those awesome sales!  Click on the picture below to head to my store.  Remember the 10% off code you can use today for your entire purchase!

Happy Shopping!

TpT Sale Links

To make up for my super duper long post yesterday, I'll keep this one short and sweet!  Farley at Oh Boy 4th Grade is hosting a giant linky party for the TpT leap day sale.  Basically, every store that's participating (and it looks like it must be every store) has joined in the link up.  I'm #35 and there's over 170!
Hop on over and get those wishlists together before tomorrow!

These are a few of my favorite things....

My day was a doozy.  Duh-oozy.  It started off with two people calling off (they call off to me) and of course I was running late already because I didn't sleep well.  The morning seemed to fly by without me getting hardly anything accomplished (of course!) and then my day came to a halt....

I should probably start off by explaining a bit about my job to you.  First, I don't have a class of my own.  I oversee K-3 in my building.  One of the functions of my job is discipline.  Most days I love it.  I get to build relationships with those friends that need some extra love and support.  My teachers are amazing and do a great job of handling things on their own.  But I get the ones who have continued struggles, or the minor level disturbances.  I'll continue....

The K & 1 recess wasn't even over yet.  I walk into my office and find two firsties sitting at my table waiting for me.  They had gotten into a fight.  Before I could even begin figuring out what happened, a kinder friend got escorted to me for rock throwing.  Straight up, I'm throwing this rock at you rock throwing.  At this point, I've decided that we are going to have to spend lunch figuring this out.  As we go to classes to pick up lunch or lunch cards, I find out that there's another kinder friend who decided to just shove another one.  Now, that usually doesn't warrant a visit to me, but this friend has struggles sometimes and with recess being as crazy as it seemed to have been, I thought I should address that to.  So I got 4 friends for a lunch date to figure it out.  It turns out there was a play fight (of course!) and my friend intervened and got himself involved.  Situation unraveled; tomorrow we'll talk about what we can and can't do at recess and I think I'll have that conversation with all as well.  Kinder friend #1 was playing fire tag.  His fire was the rock. DUH!  How else was he going to fling fire.  Situation unraveled; tomorrow we'll review, yet again, how we play tag and how we can tag without hurting each other.  Friend #2.  Yeah, friend #2 continued to make farting noises and faces and make all the other kids laugh.  Friend #2.  Thankfully we were able to have a heart to heart and he spent the rest of his afternoon in a safe bubble where he couldn't hit anyone else.

Then, I was deciding where to venture to lunch (refer to aforementioned late morning) and a wonderful instructional assistant came in to tell us about some middle school drama.  I am sooo thankful I deal with little ones.  Lunch deterred for a bit.  I finally make it out for lunch and just as I get back, I get a firstie friend who decided instead of gluing her work she was only going to glue her hands together.  Ahhhhhhhhhh!  Some days I get no kids at all.  Some days I want to cry.  Don't get me wrong, I love my job.  Love it.  Some days it drains me though.

I bet you are wondering why this post is called a few of my favorite things when all I've done is vent and complain.  I know, I can read minds! :)  Well, I've been so lucky to get so many followers over the last month or so that I wanted to take some time today to share with you a few of the blogs that I enjoy reading each night.  After day's like these, these blogs help cheer me up and get my momentum going again.

~Heather's Heart- Heather is the sweetest blogger in Blogville.  Her post today perked me right up and reminded me why I love what I do so much.  Check her out!

~Buzzing with Ms. B- Chrissy posts tons of freebies along with her super cute products.  I've only recently discovered her blog and I'm excited to keep reading!

~All that Glitters in First Grade- Kelly is a sweet girl who gave me the Liebster award!  Her blog is absolutely adorable and I love reading her posts!

Of course, no favorite list can be without Classroom Freebies and Classroom Freebies Too.  Any blog completely dedicated to free items is up there in my book.  And I just so happen to be a collaborator on Classroom Freebies Too :)

I also discovered that TeachingBlogAddict is doing a new blog linky party.  Blogs less than one month old can enter.  I'm #27.  Stop by and check out a few new blogs.

I hope your day was more relaxing than mine and that I was able to share some awesome new blogs with you.

Leap Year Sale

Just like so many others out here in blog land, I'm participating in the TeachersPayTeachers Leap Year Sale!  From today through Thursday all of my items are on sale for 20% off!  For an even better deal, TpT is offering an additional 10% off on 2/29 only.  This ends up being 28% off.  It's a fantastic deal and is a great time to stock up on items you've been eyeing.  Make sure you use the shopping code in the image below.  Clicking on the image will take you straight to my store.

I finished the first part of my grammar unit!  I decided that I was going to have to think of each part in chunks or it would take me entirely too long to finish it.  The first unit covers nouns.  It practices identifying nouns, common and proper nouns, and singular and plural nouns.  I decided it would be entirely too much to try and go into the different ways to pluralize or irregular plurals so I left them out.  I'm thinking I may make a mini-unit on that at some point.  Here is a preview of the unit.  (Please be gentle, I'm still trying to figure out how to best make these previews).  You can click the preview to head to my TpT store to buy the unit.  Of course, it's also on sale through Thursday.  It includes 3 posters, 3 sorts with recording sheets , 4 worksheets, and one game for centers.

Because I hardly ever post about a new item without also giving you guys something new, I'm sure you're expecting a freebie by now.  And of course I'm going to give you one!  I put the three posters into one file for you to download.  You can get those here.
 Let me know what you think about my unit.  I'm excited to have something new to share with everyone!

Pin It

A freebie and a giveaway!

How was your weekend?  Mine was pretty relaxing.  I spent time with friends yesterday and time on the couch today.  Of course that means I haven't gotten nearly as much accomplished as I should have.  Right now I'm struggling with balancing everything I want to have going on in my life.  On a perfect day, I'm gone for work from 6:30-5.  I have about a 20 minute commute and our days are long.  That means by the time I get home, I don't have energy to do much and then of course stuff comes up as well.  Do you have any tips for managing your time?  I tried a calendar in the past and am thinking I might need to start planning stuff out again.

After I complete this post I'm going to get up and get some laundry done instead of pinning and blog stalking the rest of the day.  I wanted to put together a new freebie for all of you but I think I need to get some other things done around the house.  But, to thank you for following me, I'll send you to a freebie you may not know about!  I made a caterpillar families center activity and posted it in my TN store and my TpT store.  I will eventually be making it into a bigger unit but for right now it just works on some of the most popular short vowel word families.

Click here to get it from TpT:                                                                        
Click here to get it from TN:

Pin It

Oh, and Kelley at Buggy for Second Grade is doing a giveaway for a $25 TpT gift certificate.  If you haven't followed her adorable blog, stop over to check her out and follow her.  I love her stuff!  Once you do, be sure to enter the giveaway.  You can get to that post from here. If I don't win, I hope it's you :)

Have a splendid Sunday night!

Sight Words

Our kinders are struggling with identifying their sight words.  They do better when the words are in isolation, but struggle when they are within text.  While this isn't exactly the same as reading the words in the context of a book, I thought it would be a fun way to practice identifying them.  Students find the word and color it in with the corresponding color.  Some of the words repeat.  I also created a blank one so that students could select their own sight words and colors.  Click on the image to download the file. I'd love to hear how your students like it!  I know we've got a while to go until Easter but I'm thinking Spring!


Speaking of spring, we're currently under a winter weather advisory.  Right now they're saying we could get about 5 inches of snow.  They've made it clear that it will be a very wet and heavy snow.  However, I live in lake effect district and work in the snow belt.  You probably don't know what that means, but essentially it means that even though they're calling for 5 inches, I would not be surprised if we get like 12.  Snow does crazy things here.  Not to mention, we kept being told it was going to be the worst winter ever and it's been nothing short of amazing!  So, I keep thinking that we're in for a terrible February and March.  Now, I'm not wishing for a snow day.  Nope, not one bit!  We haven't had any yet and have already had two of our built-in days off.  We only have one left and that's in April.  I would rather keep that one for a much needed break because April and May are two very loooooong months.   Have you had to make up any days?  Are you in one of those districts that does the dreaded Saturday school to make up your days?  Here's to hoping I wake up to only a few inches!

Kids Say the Darndest Things!

Jeannie at Kindergarten Lifestyle is hosting a Kids Say the Darndest Things linky party.  My first entry is one I will always remember!  I'm sure I'll be thinking up some more as the day goes on!

Head on over to her blog to add yours!


I used random.org to select the 3 winners from my weekend giveaway.  Unfortunately, I didn't get email addresses for any of them!  If you won, please comment with your email address or use the option on the sidebar to message me.  Include the priced item you would like from one of my stores (both have the same items).
Winner #1 was Miss Reid.

Winner #2 was Sara
Winner #3 was Mcgoumar

Thank you to everyone who liked my new FB fan page and to all my new Pinterest followers.  

I am working on creating a grammar unit since my teachers are constantly looking for additional resources since our textbook isn't so great.  Right now I'm thinking about including nouns, verbs, and adjectives.  I was also thinking about including pronouns, common and proper nouns, and singular and plural nouns.  Too much?  Do you think I should include something else or something different?  I'm afraid I'm thinking entirely too much about this and am thinking about putting entirely too much into it?

I hope you all have a fabulous 4 day week (and I certainly hope it was a 4 day week for all of you too)!!

Captain Cool

One of my new items was featured in the Teacher's Notebook newsletter this morning.  I'm so excited!  It's an item that I uploaded pretty late last night so I was really surprised to see it in there.  Did you see it?  You can click on the picture below to head to my TN store.

Also, I know most people are more familiar with TpT than TN.  If you're one of those people and you'd like to open a TN store, you can go through this link to get referred through me.

TpT is back up this morning!  That means I can share my new stuff with you!!  My first grade teachers came to me because they were looking for some ideas and resources for function machines.  They hadn't been able to find much on the internet that wasn't a standard worksheet.  I think part of the issue is that everyone seems to call this something different.  I call it rules, it's also patterns, and then I've heard in-and-out boxes and function machines.  Have you found some helpful resources for this?  What do you call these?  Leave a comment below and I'll share it with those teachers!

I created these 3 games using superheroes (I'm pretty sure all kids love superheroes don't they??) that can be played in centers or as independent practice activities.  Each game is played a bit differently and the rules are included.  Laminate them or place them in sheet protectors, store with dry erase markers and dice, and you're ready to play!  Because I'm all about giving away tons of free stuff, I put together one of the games on its own and am giving to you all for free!!!!  I know, I know. You can think me later ;)  Click the image below to download the game.
After you've played one game, I know you'll want to come back for the other two!  You can buy the complete game through my TpT store.
Don't forget to enter my giveaway on yesterday's post.  You have until tomorrow night to enter.  I'm heading to Costco to pick up some things.  I seriously love that place!  I hope you have a fantastic spring-like day!

Updates, a giveaway, and a freebie!

This is going to be a very long and very random post.  There are a lot of little things I want to share with everyone so forgive my randomness!

I created a Facebook page for my blog!!!  You can "like" it on my sidebar or find it on FB the next time you're there.  I'm trying to learn the contest rules on there because I'm thinking of giving away a few items to my followers there.  As soon as I figure that all out- you all will be the first to know.  You can find a direct link here.

I created a collaborative Pinterest board called Centers and Small Groups.  If you haven't noticed, most of what I create (which of course goes along with how I teach) is made for small group work.  This way, students practice skills while you have time to meet with groups or conference with students.  That board is here.  If you are interested in being able to pin to that board comment with your username below---but keep reading before you do!

And, finally, as a thank you for reading this entirely too long post, I've decided to give you freebie.  These are phonics terms I used with my students.  I found that giving them a cute saying helped kids remember them.  I still use these terms to refer to chunks with my 3rd graders.  Click the picture to download it.

Thank you again for all of the love!

Sweet treat for you!

Our amazing kindergarteners have been practicing counting money.  While this isn't a standard, we're long through the kindergarten standards and always choose to teach them at a higher level to see where they can take it.  I was looking for some Valentine's Day ideas and found these springy clip art pictures (thank you Pixel Paper Prints!) in my file.  I put together 4 cute purchasing sheets where students can practice counting a collection of coins.  It doesn't look like they'll get to it this round of money practice so hopefully some of you will enjoy it!  And if you do, let me know what you and your kiddos thought!

Click on the picture to download the file.

Update!  I accidentally uploaded the file that only had the first page.  My apologies!  The link now works!

Prefixes and a thank you freebie

I spent most of the day yesterday at home working on items for school. I haven't gone into many details but I work with the K-3 classrooms in the building. Some parts of my job include finding and creating materials that the classrooms teachers can use. That's where most of the items in my TpT and TN stores come from. Since we were blessed with this yesterday morning....

...I didn't go out and do much and spent time creating. (Please forgive the super crooked photo.  I am not a remarkable photographer and am even worse on my outdated, flashless smartphone.)

One of my second grade teachers had asked me for some activities that they could do with prefixes and suffixes to keep them from constantly doing worksheets the whole week.  While I found an adorable bulletin board idea on Dandelions and Dragonflies that made trees, I knew they needed more than that.  So, I put together 3 different games- all working on the prefixes re, dis, un, and pre.  You can find it on sale in my TpT store by clicking on the image below.

To thank you all for finding my blog in its first week of existence (and reaching the 25 follower milestone!!!) I put together one of my prefix games and am giving it away for free!!  Click the gameboard image below to get that for free!

America: Fact and Opinion

My kinders are practicing fact and opinion while studying America, Presidents, and American symbols.  I put together some sorting statements for an interactive minilesson next week.  I thought I'd offer it to all of my new followers for free.  Click the image to get it.  Enjoy!

Valentine's Day

With Valentine's Day next week, I thought I'd throw my Valentine's Day items on sale from now until then so you all could get them on a discount before the big day.  Both of my items are on sale at both my Teacher's Notebook store and my Teachers Pay Teachers store.  Just follow the links below the pictures.

 TN- Addition with and without Regrouping
TN- Subtraction without Regrouping
TpT- Addition with and without Regrouping
TpT- Subtraction without Regrouping

I also thought that I'd throw my first Linky Party in honor of the most lovable holiday!  Included below are some great items (free or for sale) that help you celebrate Valentine's Day while also practicing other content. Happy Love Day!

Have I mentioned I like games?

As a teacher, I always spent TONS of times creating games and other hands on activities that my students could do to help them learn without always doing worksheets.  While there is a time and a place for worksheets, too often they are the easy and go-to solution for teachers looking to have time to meet with small groups.  I hope to share many easy activities teachers can use instead without breaking the bank.  This game is called Left-Right-Learn.  It's a partner game that can be played in centers or as a whole class.  I have two versions.  The first one does only the multiplication facts to 5.

Click the picture to head to my store to download the facts to 5 version for FREE!

The second version does the facts through 10.  This version also offers 4 game boards and 54 facts for each board.  This way, if students randomly grab a board, they will have practice with a variety of problems.  And by keeping the cards to 54 per game, they have more repetitive practice with each problem.

When I think of this game, I think of line dancing.  I visualize stepping to the left, criss-crossing to the right, back to the left, and so on.  I'm not sure why but it makes me want to move! :)  Click on the picture to go to my TpT store.  Thank you to Graphics from the Pond for the borders!

I'm linking up with Corkboard Connections' Super Math Centers linky.  Head on over to check out some other great math centers.

Winter's Back?!?!?

I don't know about you, but I've got spring fever like crazy!!! This time last year we had almost 2 feet (yep!) of snow!  The area was under a state of emergency for two days.  I'd love to say that's a fluke but we have crazy snow storms like that twice a winter- thought it's usually closer to 1 foot than 2.  This year, though, we've had two snowy bad weather days- one in Dec. and one a few weeks ago.  That's it.  There's been no snow to sled in, no snow to make angels in, and no snow days to make students and teachers giddy!  At this point though, I'm ready for spring.  We've had way too many days in the 50s for me to enjoy the 30s and flurries that were flying around today.  So this is my one last hurrah for winter.  I'll take this cold weather today but then I'm moving on to spring.  For my last hurrah, here's my winter word work freebie I made a couple weeks ago. (Thank you to Graphics from the Pond for the absolutely adorable penguins and igloo)  This is great for those kinders who need to practice CVC words for their nonsense word test.  Each picture below will take you to a different item in my store- each working on a different short vowel.  Oh, and did I mentioned that all of them are free?!  Enjoy!

Guided Reading

My teachers and I were talking about an easy way to document what happens in their Guided Reading groups. Their lesson plans are stored on index cards and are organized in a box by level.  They wanted an easy form that they could use to document observations and any spur of the moment teaching that occurs.  Each student would have a page and then they could be stored by group.  What do you think?  You can download it for FREE from my TpT store!