Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Easy Attendance Goal Tracker for Your Classroom

Hey everyone! I've been getting a lot of questions about my attendance goal tracker that I posted on TPT. I'm sure you've seen something like this or have something similar in place, but if you don't then this is something you can pick up! It's something I made last year when our school started "The Leader in Me" curriculum. It's something simple, yet quite effective. Once I implemented this tracking system our attendance went up dramatically and we earned many rewards! The kids felt good about themselves and loved the system. 

I created letters about a half page in size to spell out the word "LEADERS". Before we started the system, the kids and I came up with possible rewards for meeting our attendance goals. We did things like extra recess, lunch in the classroom, watched a video and had popcorn, extra computer lab time, etc. 

Here's a pic of what it looked like on my wall. I found a skinny spot next to my door. I liked this spot because the kids could easily see it and it was low enough for them to add the letters. One student was in charge of managing the letters and letting me know if we earned letters for that day. They LOVED that of course! 

I also made signs to post outside the classroom for when we met our goal. The kids loved this as well, and I'm sure my administration did too!

If you want a custom order, let me know! You can also grab the one I made here at my TPT store, which I'm having a sale in until tomorrow! Woo hoo! Have a good day y'all!

Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Flash FREEBIE and a Sale!

Hey Ladies! I have a huge laundry list to get to today: groceries, laundry, sign up Jackson for Mother's Day Out and return some things at Target...ya know, mom stuff! So I just wanted to drop in to say I'm giving away my second grade math TEKS cards (yellow chevron background) for FREE today only. If you're a 2nd grade Texas teacher, make sure to pick those up soon! You can also share them with a second grade teacher if you aren't one. These cards are the new math TEKS. All I ask is that you leave feedback for me! Here's a link to the cards. Thank you!!

I'm also having a sale on over 90 other products. So make sure to check it out! Ok off to Mommy duty, happy Tuesday!

Monday, July 29, 2013

Monday Made It with a freebie!

Hey Y'all! Alright so this weekend my husband and I had friends over to our new house for the first time. So of course, all day Saturday I was working like a madwoman cleaning everything, organizing and decorating. The walls were the last thing we had to do so I took a nice shopping trip to Michael's to grab some frames. I was inspired by some pics I saw on Pinterest (aren't we all?) and I wanted to make a photo frame collage. I had a smorgasbord of other stuff that didn't really fit anywhere so I decided that the photo collage was the best way to get it all out there in a cute way.

I printed out black and white photos from my camera, laid the frames out on my dining room table a few different ways and this is what I came up:

The colors in my living room are camel, white, brown and red. All in all, I was happy with the way it turned out! I love that I can always add to it or change things out when I come across good finds. :)

I also made a little "Get Well Goody Bag" for my nephew Waylon. I found out late last night that he has the chicken pox!! Poor little guy. Well, he isn't really little anymore, he is going to be a 4th grader this year! I cannot believe it. Anywho, when I found out he had the pox and was going to stay at my mom's house this week I decided to bring him some goodies. 

I ran to Target (because Target is AMAZING of course) and I went straight to the dollar bins. I found some fun stuff he can annoy my mom with little spinner things, sidewalk chalk, pencils, pens, a notebook, multiplication dry erase workbook and Brain Quest for 4th graders. I LOOOOVED Brain Quest when I was a little kid, remember that? I don't know how much he will like that, he's not as much of a nerd as his aunt Dixie is, but I'm hoping it kept him entertained. I figured it was better than TV or staring at his iTouch all day.

Oh and I also bought him a cute little lunch sack that I put it all in, as well as a chocolate shake and cinnamon rolls from McDonald's. All in all, I think I did good. He was a happy boy! :)

Now for the freebie I promised!! This is a cute little science notebook cover you can print and use in your classroom. We always used science notebooks in my room. I had my kids use those composition notebooks, just cut out the label, write their name on it and glue it on. You can also laminate them and have a parent volunteer tape them on  if you want. Or print out the label, copy onto white paper and use it to make mini notebooks for whatever unit you're teaching in science. You can pick the file up here.

Make sure to checkout all the other awesome "Made Its"!

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Chevron Obsession!! (Math Stations Freebie!)

I know I know, everyone is obsessed with chevron. I feel like it started last summer but it's in FULL swing right now. I'm buying things designed with chevron, wearing things with chevron and creating things with chevron!! I just bought a bunch of digital paper on! My husband is like what's with the zig zags? And I told him...umm it's chevron and it's awesome right now. ;)

Alrighty, enough with my ode to chevron. I wanted to share what I've been working on. I'm creating a back to school math stations unit with easy peasy math stations for second graders. I'm creating fun stuff that is super simple to ease the kiddos back into a routine and also brush up on those first grade math skills. 

I was shocked when I moved to second to realize how many kids did not have basic addition and subtraction facts mastered. We worked on sums of ten for ummmmm the whole first semester it felt like! It was one of those things where you felt like you were beating the topic to death...and then they would still say something like 4+6=11 and you're like "AAaaaahhh I'm the worst teacher ever!!" But no, I wasn't, or at least I hope I wasn't! I figured out it just takes the kiddos repetition and multiple modes of practice. 

So what designs do you think I chose to decorate my packet with...?? One guess...yup! You're right! Chevron! :) Here is a memory match game to brush up on match facts. For this game you can let the kids play by themselves and match up the math facts or let them play with a partner and do it memory style. I always had my kids record their answers in their math journals, just for reinforcement. On the back of the cards you can use some sort of sticky dots, stickers or just mark them with different colors to make the game self checking. The first two slides have the addition problem and the second two slides have the sums. You can pick the file up here

Alright friends, I'm off to take Jackson to my sister-in-law's house for a little visit with his cousins! Have a great Wednesday y'all!

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

An oldie but a goodie!

Hey Ladies!!
If you follow my blog you know I moved and I'm trying to organize my entire house, but really focusing on organization in the office. I posted a pic a few weeks ago of what my office looked like. It looks a lot better now but I don't want to post the after picture just yet, I still have a LOT to do. as I was rummaging through old boxes of teacher stuff I have. And I found a sign I used last year during my number talks. If you're not familiar with number talks, you should definitely check out the book by Sherry Parrish. It's kind of expensive, but it comes with a dvd that has teachers modeling the practice which I thought was super helpful. I actually modeled a number talk for one of my district's math trainings, which would have been fine with me if I wasn't 9 months pregnant at the time and about to pop!! My ginormous belly probably distracted everyone from what I was teaching...but that's ok. (Oh and I remember I was wearing this really pretty gold Heidi Klum maternity top...but in the video it just made me look like a giant Cadberry egg!! HA!)

So back to number talks...basically you pose a problem to the kids but you really push wait time. For example, I would write 24+15 on the board. Instead of all of my kids throwing their hands up and yelling out answers, I ask them to think. To reinforce the process, I made a little visual aid with a red think sign, similar to a stop sign. (I found this idea in a Donna Whyte book but changed the images to suit my needs.)

Here's the original sign I made, I just covered up a stop sign I had on a popsicle stick, I think it came in one of those Dollar Tree teaching supply sets. It wasn't very pretty but it did the trick! When I held this side up, the kids could not raise their hand or talk out. It meant it was just time to THINK!

After think time was up, I would turn the sign over to a green sign that had an alarm clock going off. This meant the kids could raise their hands and share answers.  


We would share several answers, then I'd call on a few kids to "defend" the answer they believe is correct and we would have a discussion about the method they used for solving the problem. I liked doing this because kids who got the wrong answer could see where they went wrong and had those "Aha" moments.

I made a newer, nicer version but instead of the alarm clock I chose to write "Hands Up". 

To make the sign, print out the pages, laminate them back to back and then cut a slit to stick in the popsicle stick. Or you can laminate them separately and hot glue them together. You can pick up the file here.

Monday, July 22, 2013

Easy Peasy Back to School Math Station

Hey Friends!! I am working hard on some requests I've gotten for TEKS cards. I feel like I know every single TEK for K-5 like the back of my hand...funny! (For those non-Texans out there, the TEKS are our standards. For some reason, we decided to be one of the very few states that did not adopt common core.) 

While I was working on these, I took a break to brainstorm some back to school math stations. I remember thinking when I moved to second, "What do I put out at the VERY beginning of the year...second graders are more independent than firsties and kinders but what SHOULD they already know?" 

So I learned quickly that mastering the basic math facts and ten frame knowledge is a big deal at the beginning of second. Many of them need that review from first. I'm in the process of making a unit with back to school math stations just for little "seconds" and I came up with this diddy. 

Most second graders will find this easy peasy. It's a simple survey that they can use to ask their new friends questions. The bottom portion has some pretty basic questions for the kids to answer about their data. I included a question about the "difference" between two categories. The word "difference" always stumped my kids! Not only will this serve as an introduction/review of data analysis but it will double as a little ice breaker activity. 

I made two: colors and subjects. I'll include more in my upcoming math stations packet. Here's a freebie that you can put in your math stations at the beginning of the year, use as an ice breaker or store and take it out during your data unit later in the year. Pick it up here.

Thursday, July 18, 2013

Back to School Survey Freebie

Hola! I'm about to head over to the pediatrician for Jackson's well visit, but wanted to post this little freebie for ya. This is a simple little diddy that you can use for those first days back, when you want to learn more about your kids but also want to keep them busy at their seats while you're doing lunch count, attendance, helping kids get unpacked, etc, etc! 

The front side is a simple version of just favorites, could be used in 1-3 grade. The second page is more fill in the blank style questions. I would use the second page in 2-4th, might be tough for first graders at the beginning of the year. Pick it up here and keep it in your files for that back to school crazy time! :)

Happy Thursday Y'all!

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Rain!! :) And don't you love the dollar bins?

Hey Ladies!! I'm feeling pretty thankful today because we are getting RAIN! YAYY!! My husband and I just sprayed nematodes in our yard for pest control and we are supposed to make sure our yard is moist. Well...keeping our yard moist is quite difficult because we live in south Texas and are under drought conditions at the moment! My husband has had to water by hand every night but we are super stoked to see some dark clouds and little water droplets falling from the sky! WOO HOO!! (I guess I don't have to do my rain dance anymore...) ;) 

Alright so this is not my "back to school" hectic time, but it is my friend's! I helped her setup her number line and brought some cute Dr. Seuss flashcards for her kids back to school gifts. They were $1 each at Target...and I actually got a few free. Target was having a promotion going. Yay! I love free. :)

Check out all the Dr. Seuss stuff in the Target dollar bins!

Here's a pic of the transportation signs I made for her. I'll be updating my Dr. Seuss classroom decor pack with these cute little signs:

And the shapes posters...(color posters are on my list!)

I've had a lot of Texas teachers emailing me about TEKS cards with different designs so I need to go get to work! Y'all have a good one!

Saturday, July 13, 2013

Back from Bama and Back to School!

Hey Y'all! We are back from our trip to Alabama. We try to go once or twice a year. This year we went to celebrate my grandparents 60th anniversary. My grandparents are pretty much my favorite people in the whole wide world. I love them SOOO much! 

They had the best time with Jackson. He was definitely the center of attention the entire trip. Daddy and I were really proud of him, he was amazing on the airplane! He pretty much slept the entire flight. YAY!

We sat next to a lovely woman who knew some relatives of mine in Huntsville. She was so sweet! She kept talking about how cute Jackson was and offered to hold him so we could settle in. Well...turns out he liked her A LOT. He ended up falling asleep on her and slept the whole flight. It was kind of amazing. She isn't a Grandma yet, but she'll be a great one day!

Here's a pic of my Gigi and Grandaddy! Aren't they PRECIOUS!!? They've been married 60 years! How awesome is that?! 

So the title of this post is a little misleading, considering the fact that I am actually not going back to school...but my friends are! If you follow my blog you know I resigned in May to stay home with my 9 month old son Jackson. I'm continuing my blog and TPT store as a way to let the hardcore teacher in me have a creative outlet. I'm thinking of looking for mother's day out or nursery school type programs to work at part time, that way I can teach and Jackson can do what he does best...PLAY! Anyway...back to the point...

My good friends at my old school are starting back Tuesday. Well, Tuesday all the teachers have to be back and the kids come the following week. Crazy right!? I taught at a year round school, so summers were usually about 6 weeks or so. I really enjoyed the schedule because we got an awesome and much needed break in October. 

Back to the good friend Hannah asked me to create some Dr. Seuss style printables for her classroom and like a good friend I did my best! I've created her a set of ABC posters, number posters, desk tags, transportation sign and shape posters. I had my mother-in-law watch little Jackson for a couple of hours so I could go help her setup her room. (I'm going to teach vicariously through her this year...she doesn't know that yet...unless she is reading this post, which she probably is because she is such a good friend! Right Hannah?) ;)

Here's a pic of the number posters I made for her:

I told her we have to do something about her green calendar...just doesn't go anymore! (This is why teachers are always broke, particularly at the beginning of the year!! I definitely won't miss the broke part, but will miss the excitement of NEW stuff!)

Here's little Miss Hannah with her monster glue gun. I cut off the bottom of the picture because it made her look like she was a teaching material hoarder...which she kind of is, but I'm pretty sure that just means she is a really amazing teacher. (I was actually a super hoarder, I don't even want to begin to tell you how many boxes of teaching stuff I am storing in my's ridiculous!!)

I need to get more pics, she has a ton of other cute stuff in her room. I made these gift tags for her as well. In second grade I would send home math fact flash cards at Meet the Teacher night and I would attach a cute little gift tag to it. These tags go with her blue/red Dr. Seuss style theme and are about the right size to glue or tie onto a pack of alphabet/number/sight word/whatever flash cards. Pick them up here if you'd like to use them! I made several sets with red/blue stripes or polka dots and I created some that say "Welcome to Kindergarten" and "Welcome back to school!" This way other grade level teachers can use them. Enjoy!

Thursday, July 4, 2013

Happy Fourth of July Y'all!!

Today, my best friend Ashley is in town from Mississippi! YAYY!! I am so excited, I don't get to see her but maybe 2 times a year now that we live so far apart. I've known Ashley since elementary school but we didn't become attached at the hip until 7th grade when we had a math class together. We've been like sisters ever since. She is the BEST person in the whole world, one of those people that would give you the clothes off her back if you needed it. I love you Ash Ash! :) 

She's in town with her hubby Kris, I call him "Paul Bunyan". He's a tree man. He is very tall and always has an ax on him...ha ha just kidding! But he is an outdoorsy type and he is hilarious. The four of us, plus my little man Jackson, are going to drive out to Luckenbach, Texas today. If you don't know where Luckenbach is check out their website here. Luckenback is a tiny, tiny town known for it's old general store and dance hall. If you are a Texas country singer, you've played at Luckenbach. I've been going to Luckenbach since I was a little girl. My mom and dad loved driving out there to listen to some good ole Texas music and have a good time. I'll make sure to take some pics of our trip to share with y'all .

While I'm out and about, I'm throwing a sale in my TPT store. 20% off for the 4th of July! Woo hoo!! Y'all have a safe fourth of July and be thankful that we live in the country that we do. Thank you to all the military and their families! Your sacrifices are not forgotten! 

Wednesday, July 3, 2013

And the winners are...

Alrighty friends, we have the winners from my give-a-way!

Congratulations ladies! I've sent y'all both emails. Thank you to everyone who entered. Y'all are amazing!! Now it's time for mommy, Jackson and aunty Hannah to visit the pool! YAY! Jackson is sporting his Gymboree crab swim set. LOOOOVE it. 

Don't mind the basket of laundry that needs to be folded in the background. It never ends does it!! Time for fun!

Tuesday, July 2, 2013

Ear tube surgery done and a freebie!

Hey Ladies!

Thank y'all so much for the sweet and encouraging words about my baby boy's surgery. It was SO fast and so easy. Jackson didn't cry ONCE. He was such a trooper. He was very interested in all the people around him and was loving all the attention. His grandparents on both sides came out to wish him well and he was just smothered in love from everyone. It was so nice. 

Also, our ENT is AWESOME! His name is Dr. Bonilla, he is one of the only pediatric ENTs in South Texas and he was incredible. So nice, professional, informed and comforting. The surgery was literally 10 minutes. Then we got to go back and feed him and cuddle with him and it was like nothing had happened. He was completely normal and content. I'm so thankful and feel so blessed that everything went well. Now, let's pray that those ear infections go away!
Here is Jackson getting his vital signs taken. He did SO good. It is extremely rare that he sits still like this. He was just so into all the cool toys the nurse had.

Look at my baby boy's cheeks! He gets it from me... ;) And I LOVE that his squishy, chunky arms are popping out of that wrap! Ha!

We were up very early!

We all went to eat breakfast after the surgery, Jackson chowed down on his cracker and some scrambled egg yolk.

If you read my last post, you know I hinted that I might be offering a freebie today. Well lucky you...because I am! :) I am working on a Dr. Seuss inspired classroom decor pack. My friend Hannah asked me to make something Dr. Seuss-ish but simple, not crazy. She wants her room to have the Dr. Seuss feel but she wants everything to flow and not be that's what I'm trying to do for her. We are sticking to red/blue/black/white. I've already posted the main pack: alphabet, numbers and shapes. You can view that file here. Now I'm working on some extras: desk tags, labels, sight words and transportation. 

Here are some desk tags and bin labels I've made. I'm posting this for free! If they work in your classroom or home, grab 'em! 

I've included three versions: handwriting lined, a plain line and blank. All versions come in red or blue. You can pick up the file here. Enjoy!

Don't forget my give-a-way ends tonight at midnight!! I'm giving away 2 TPT $10 gift cards to ladies who enter and follow me on Bloglovin! Winners will be announced tomorrow morning. Good luck!!

Monday, July 1, 2013

July Currently!! For the first time EVER!!

OK y'all I'm super excited to do my first currently hosted by Farley at Oh Boy 4th Grade

Oh' boy fourth grade

I'm a little late...but hey it is July 1st isn't it??! Here's what I got for y'all...

Listening: My husband and in-laws are chatting after we had a nice taco dinner. It's kind of late but it's been a whirlwind of a day. My in-laws come over often and usually stay no less than 2 hours at a time...not complaining! They are awesome!! My mother-in-law helped me so much tonight: held my crazy 9 month old so I could finish dishes, bathed him and read to him so I could get some more work done...yay!! ;)

Loving: Jackson does NOT go to sleep sweetly...he hates to sleep and will do whatever he can to avoid it. So tonight, he went to sleep quickly and quietly...very rare! So happy though. 

Thinking: Jackson is having ear surgery tomorrow. He's getting tubes because he has had recurrent ear infections. I feel so bad for him! I hate ear infections, they're the worst. And as a parent, you really can't do anything to help them other than some numbing drops and antibiotics. It's so sad...I'm praying that his new tubes will solve the problem and he will be all better real soon! All prayers are welcome!! I know it's a pretty routine procedure but I'm a mom, I worry!

Wanting: OK so this currently seems to be all about my 9 month!!! He is kinda taking up every aspect of my life right now. Because of his ear infections he hasn't been sleeping through the night and he has slept through the night since 7 weeks it's been rough. I feel so bad for those parents who have kids who never sleep through the night. It's EXHAUSTING! I'm crossing my fingers that these tubes do the trick so we can get my little boy back on his awesome, sleeping through the night routine. 

Needing: Alright so I think I'm taking the longest route to move in to my house. If you follow my blog you know I moved back in March...well...things are still not where they should be. It's been tough because we did a lot of painting and redid some floors and the baby got sick with ear organizing and decorating has been put on hold. However, I really need to get my booty in gear so that this summer doesn't slip away from me before I know it. I've set some goals for myself (I'll share these later) and I'm trying to organize my office so that I have a nice, cozy and inspiring place to work/blog/read/regroup/create, etc. I found some AWESOME Pinterest inspiration:

I'm going for somewhere in between these two pins...organized but girly. We shall see...gosh I love Pinterest...what did we do before Pinterest??!

Tips, Tricks and Hints:  Make products that you would LOVE for your own room. I found that if I wasn't really excited about something, it didn't come out that great. My best selling unit has been my "Magnet Mania" unit because I was really excited about jazzing up boring old magnets for my kids. My district had a crummy science curriculum and I spent a lot of time making my own unit and it was really easy to make and has done really well on TPT. If you aren't excited about it, don't waste your time!!

Alright ladies...stay tuned because I might have a freebie tomorrow...we shall see. Make sure you go back to Oh Boy 4th Grade and check out some more "Currentlys". Prayers for my baby if you can!! Night night!