Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Shopping Surprises and a 1,000 view / 25 follower giveaway!

This past week I spent a few hours (and a few hundred dollars) shopping. I found some real bargains and some really neat products. Here's what they were, where I bought them, and what they cost:
Amazing Savings (only in NY and NJ, I LOVE this place!)
  • Word Master game (magnetic letter tiles to improve spelling and vocabulary list price $9.95 $2.99
  • Granny Apples (quick counting apple dice game) $9.99 $2.99 
  • Grafix My First 3D Spelling Puzzle $3.99
  • On the Dot brain teaser game (good for flips and turns) $3.99
  • Uno with Angelina Ballerina ($2.99) and Winnie the Pooh ($2.99) - those you could probably get at a dollar store
  • Be Rhymed! $3.99
  • Art Skills adhesive quick numbers $1.99 - I think I might have the kids use these to sequence events
  • Creative Hands Puzzle Alphabet Stickers $1.29
  • Newton's Apples Gravity Strategy Game $6.99
  • My First Word Match Puzzle $3.99
  • Fundomino (color / number matching) $6.99
  • Wood Clock Puzzle $4.99
  • Lost in the Zoo game with Under the Sea Hide and Seek $4.99
  • Full Time Deluxe Double Easel Desktop $10.99 (magnetic dry erase / chalk board - perfect for guided reading table)
  • Shoe lacing puzzles $3.99
  • Compo Combo-an-animal (match the head and tail and it makes a sound) $5.99
  • Chipboard ringed notebooks $1.99 - I have 2 which are used as bathroom trackers - one for boys / one for girls - they flip the notebook pages on the hook by the door to show their name so we know who is out of the room

Target dollar bin (everything $1.00)
  • Hawaiian flower and surfboard coarkboards (I'm thinking I'll do a beach/ocean theme next year)
  • Pocket Chart Schedulers (for centers)
  • Dry erase Class Scheduler
  • Daily Weather Chart Spinner
  • Dry erase learning mats - addition and time
  • Dr. Suess book bags
  • Crazy hats (for Dr. Seuss' birthday of course!)
  • Classroom signs
  • Pencil and star pointers (I think we'll use the pencils for skywriting and stars for sparkle spelling)
  • Some A+ workbooks for Social Studies, Science, and Phonics
Party City (they had a summer sale with some items being only $1)
  • Paper lanterns
  • Imprintable Papers
  • Plates (to use as picture frames)
  • Tablecloths (to use as bulletin board background paper)
I haven't been to Walmart, Michael's, Staples, or Five Below yet....that's for another blog and for when I get my 25th follower!

Here's what you need to do to win everything in my TPT store plus On the Dot, Art Skills Adhesive Numbers, 2 chipboard ringed notebooks, and a special surprise
1. Follow my blog.*
2. Add me to your blog roll.*
3. Leave a comment.*
3. Follow me on facebook.
4. Follow me on Teachers Pay Teachers.
5. Follow me by e-mail (see top left corner of blog).
6. Blog about my giveaway.  - 2 entries
*Must be done in order to win
You will receive 1 entry for each and the winner will be randomly selected on June 30 at midnight. Good luck!

Monday, June 27, 2011

Shots heard round the town...

This morning I awoke to the sound of canons firing. Yes, really! A Civil War reenactment and festival went on several hundred feet away from my bedroom. After several very loud blasts, I woke up and walked outside to see 15 Civil War soldiers firing guns and a canon. I live in Morristown, NJ (sometimes known as the "Military Capital" of the Revolutionary War) near Historic Speedwell. Our town is also very well known for the part it played in the Revolutionary War because George Washington made his encampment and headquarters at Jockey Hollow. It is part of the Morristown National Historical Park and former home and Ironworks of Alfred Vail (he made it possible for Morse code and telegraph use to be practical.) 

Many thanks to Gabrielle Moulton and Mike Dodd for giving me additional pictures.
Another blogger's pictures of houses in my old neigborhood
Here in New Jersey, every fourth grade social studies curricula centers around our state history. Besides living in Morristown, I have been lucky enough to have taught in Princeton, home to Princeton University, Drumthwacket (the Governor's Mansion), Educational Testing Service (the company that created the SAT and Praxis tests), Albert Einstein, and a major battle site during the Revolutionary War.  I taught right off of Nassau Street, also known as Kings Highway. You can follow Lincoln Highway / King's Highway down the road from Kingston to Princeton and Queenston (now Pennington)!
Check out these pictures of Revolutionary New Jersey!

Some free resources

If you are interested in having some reenactors visit your school, visit the The Society of Jersey Blues website!

What do you know about NJ...besides the Jersey Shore?

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Tangram Tales

I recently did a tangram math lesson. I told the students that one of the Pirates of the Caribbean was about to be captured, so he took the treasure map he was holding and ripped it into pieces, flinging it towards the beach as he was made to walk the plank. They were then given their tangram shapes that were made of paper.
First we reviewed the shapes in the larger tangram square (triangle, square, and rhombus). Then I told we needed to rearrange the pieces to make one large square "map." After some struggling and, "I need some help!!!" students settled in and learned that they needed to turn their pieces to make them fit. Once most of the students had the pieces put together, we helped the others complete the square.
click on the book to purchase and answer sheet to download

Next I read Grandfather Tang's Story. In the story, two friendly animals were able to morph into other animals as they played tag. Students were asked to make predictions about what animals the tans would be arranged into next and to remember their sequence as the story went on. At the end, students were asked to try to create their own animal, person, or object using all seven of the shapes. After they chose and arranged the pieces, they colored and glued their pieces down onto paper. They were then to write a few sentences describing the picture.
Check out the Tangram Tales writing paper I created at Teachers Pay Teachers!

Leave a comment with your e-mail address when you buy and I will e-mail you an accompanying lesson plan!

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

School's Out for the Summer!

That also means that I have to turn my work computer in :(
Luckily Apple offers discounts for teachers (and others - see below) so I'm celebrating the end of the school year by buying one!
Don't worry, I'll be able to work on new TPT items all summer long!


Those eligible to purchase from the Apple Store for Education Individuals include faculty, staff, students and parents as follows:
K12 - Any employee of a public or private K-12 institution in the United States is eligible. In addition, school board members who are currently serving as elected or appointed members are eligible. PTA or PTO executives currently serving as elected or appointed officers are eligible.
Higher Education - Faculty and staff of Higher Education institutions; and students attending, or accepted into a Higher Education institution are eligible to purchase. Purchases from the Apple Store for Education Individuals are not for institutional purchase or resale.
Higher Education Parents - Parents purchasing on behalf of their child, who is a student currently attending or accepted into a public or private Higher Education Institution in the United States, are eligible to purchase.

You can also get teacher discounts from New York and Company (20%), Verizon (15%), Ann Taylor Loft (15%), JoAnn Fabrics (15%), J Crew (15%) Borders (25%), and Barnes and Noble Booksellers (20%)! See others here.

Monday, June 20, 2011

End of School Year Celebration - All TPT items free for 24 hours!!!

In honor of our last day of school on June 21, I will be giving away all of my Teachers Pay Teachers items for at least 24 hours... or as many hours long as I have followers (so 30 followers = 30 hours, etc. - hopefully it will be more than 24!)

Check it out and invite some friends!

A side note - I've almost reached 450 blog views!
Many of my blog viewers (colleagues, friends, students, and parents) do not have blogs themselves but it's really cool that they come from all over the world!
Check out the map to see where everyone who has visited (so far) is from.
And please....leave a message so I know you've been here! :)    

Update: over 500 views and only 3 new followers...I am DYING to know who you are and what you downloaded! If you don't have a blog, you can use the box on the top left to follow by email or leave a comment under this post! :) 

Saturday, June 18, 2011

Writing Genres Freebies! (and new TPT account)

Are you looking to get your students writing more creatively? Are you tired of personal narratives and persuasive writing? Maybe it's time to focus on other genres. 

Download my writing fables, fairy tales, folktales, legends, and myths genres posters for free by clicking on the fables page to take you to Google Docs or click the link underneath to download it free from my new Teachers Pay Teachers page (hopefully it will be embedded soon). 
**It's free - all I ask is that you follow my blog or leave a comment if you don't have one of your own!**

Why Mosquitoes Buzz in People's Ears narrated by James Earl Jones

Download a tall tales bingo game by clicking on the image above.

Visit Scholastic's Myths, Folktales, and Fairy Tales website for information on reading and writing each type of story as well as publishing your own!
Use Starfall to teach younger students about fables, folktales, and fables!

Check out the American Folklore blog for text of each of these types of genres.

Giveaways Galore!

Reposting these blog giveaways - check out the links and enter to win!

Ok, are you sure you have enough room on your computer for all these fantastic things? Anna from Crazy for First Grade, Melissa from Mrs. Freshwater's Class, Erica from Erica Bohrer's First Grade, Michelle Oakes from Fabulous in First, Amanda from One Extra Degree, Cara from The First Grade Parade and myself, Kinderglynn have teamed up to offer you ALL these fabulous units and games! This is HUGE! Enter here!

Attention! Attention! You don't want to miss out on this awesome opportunity. THIRTY-THREE teacher-sellers at Teachers Pay Teachers donated top notch classroom products for our T2T MEGA CONTEST! There are 3 major contest categories: K-2, 3-6 (1 winner each), and Middle School / High School (5 winners -1 per subject area: English, math, science, social studies / history, and fine arts). Enter here!

Friday, June 17, 2011

Creative Classroom Celebrations

Having an end of the year party? Here are some great ideas - some best used for specific holidays or seasons.

Many schools have adopted low sugar / low salt party policies for parties and birthdays. My room parents of 2007-2008 gave me the great idea to theme the food along with the party. For example, we ate all red fruits and vegetables on Valentine's Day and all green vegetables on St. Patrick's Day. Before Memorial Day, you can use cookie cutters to make stars out of pineapple like in this picture. Try dipping fruit in yogurt and freezing it instead of using chocolate. You can also replace the blue strawberries with blueberries.
Check out this chart for other ideas!
Fruit and vegetable color chart
Repurposing and recycling to make table decorations
For Earth Day, we used newspaper for table cloths. We used the flowers we had grown from seed that were planted in newspaper pulp pots we had made. Our table confetti was made from paper we had made and imbedded with seeds so that they could be planted later. Students made picture frames using recycled cardboard and puzzle pieces from boxes that were missing pieces.
(Note that these are not my pictures, I didn't think to take my own!)
Check out my website for lesson plans and websites for teacher and student use.

Gifts for Teachers

So it's that time of year when parents are searching for end of the year teacher gifts and looking to get more creative than the old fall backs (baked goods, ornaments, mugs, coffee gift cards). The knicknacks are cute, but after a few years of teaching, there's no room left on the desk, or chalkboard, or shelf... Many teachers are going clutter free, so try something that will be immediately useful, whether for classroom or for personal use. Just remember not to over do it, be creative, be personal (but not too personal), and know that every gift is appreciated.
Remember that every teacher is different, and that you can tell a lot about them by spending a minute or two in their classroom. You can instantly see their color scheme and a few personal touches. Plus, elementary school students remember everything their teacher says / wears / likes and will tell you if you ask. (You'll never see the apple-pencil-school bus-teddy bears theme in my room, I'm a bit more beach + rainbow+ stars +Yankees = dream theme... trust me, it sounds weird but it works!) I'm going to share with you the best gifts I've gotten / would want and break it down by teacher specialization. Note that these ideas may not apply if the stores  are not near where you live and that many ideas can work for any teacher.

All teachers
Elementary teachers (most of whom are happy to accept gifts for the class because they spend so much of their own money)
Science teachers
  • animals like fish, hermit crabs, hamster, etc. (make sure they are welcome and allowed in school and that there are no allergies - not a good gift at the end of the year)
  • plants and gardening supplies
  • gift certificate to a plant nursery
  • membership to planetarium or science museum
  • lab supplies like cotton balls, toothpicks, food coloring, vinegar, baking soda, aluminum foil, balloons, straws, sand, Ziploc bags, etc.             
Drama teachers
  • movie tickets
  • movie bucket (fill with popcorn bags, candy, and movies for school / teacher movies)
    Music teachers
    • theater / Broadway tickets
    • iTunes gift card
    Art teachers
    • art museum membership
    • donation to art foundation
    • art clock
    • art theme music box
    Gym teacher / coach
    • Brita water filter bottle
    • personalized sports t-shirt
    • personalized sporting equipment (like this)
    New teacher (graduation or student teaching gift)
    Check our more ideas on Pinterest!

    Wednesday, June 15, 2011

    Goldilocks and the 3 Chairs: Choosing a Just Right Book

    I just love these graphics, charts, and bookmarks for helping students choose books that are "just right" for their reading level. If you want to know how it's done in guided reading, check out my Fry Readability blog post.

    Click the chart to download this chart from Becky McCrary.

    5 finger rule bookmark
    Click the poster to check out Reading Maven's blog.


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