Sunday, December 14, 2014

It's the Holiday Season for Giving Back, and Giveaways!

I'm back with Currently from Farley and I'm grateful for no Internet access issues this time around.  Last month I had my currently and blog post all ready but between work demands (I design our digital report cards), needing to replace a bad router and spotty internet during my week's vacation off for Thanksgiving I decided to save it for next year.  So here we go with December's!

This is a pic of an editable craft I've done with my students in the past. I found these cute reindeer and candy coated marshmallow pops on Pinterest. They have actually been quite messy and it's hard to set the chocolate without a freezer handy. 

Chocolate Reindeer Marshmallow Pops

This year I will return to using sugar cones and have the kids decorate them to resemble Christmas trees using green frosting, candy and sprinkles. 

Frosted Edible Christmas Tree Craft

Also my students get to try their hand at Dreidel. I provide red and green M&Ms for this activity.

I'm teaming up with other sellers including the Nitty Gritty Science Teacher to Give Back. I am happy to participate as I donate to several charities each December and I even prefer people donate to worthy causes I share rather than give me a gift. Some of my faves from Christmas past include Red Cross, Heifer International, and Kiva. My charity of choice for this event is Lungevity. This charity and organization raises funds to research better treatment options for people with Lung Cancer while searching for a cure. 

This charity is near and dear to my heart because my cousin Melissa Waller died of this disease at the age of 34 in 2010. She has been an inspiration to me in starting this blog as she had the courage to blog every step of her disease so she might help others.  I also set up a Memorial Fund in her name that you can still donate under. Another reason (besides having excellent ratings on is that my one of my Mom's best friends' husband died of lung cancer as did another one of her teacher friend's husband. Neither were smokers so it's important to know this disease can effect anyone. 

If you'd like to help out just click the circle below and any purchases you make in my store on Dec 14th. 100% of sales this day will go to my charity.  I'd even be happy if you donated yourself to any of the charities I linked to above or if this post inspired you to give back elsewhere. There is no greater gift this holiday season, or better way we can give thanks for our many blessings, then to give to those in need.

Now for some fantastic Christmas resources from my TpT store. Each year I head over to Walgreens for these itty bitty stockings for my students and they write a persuasive letter to Santa on why they deserve to have it filled! You can get the bulletin board sign in my TpT store along with the Santa themed writing paper. And if you are looking for Santa to write your students back, you can use this editable letter to include your name and class. So far Santa has brought us holiday pencils, erasers, stickers, and candy canes! I wonder what he'll bring this year!!!

Classroom Christmas Stockings

Free Dear Santa Letter Writing PaperLetter from Santa to your Students

Finally I'm teaming up with James Des Jardins of Elementary Music Teacher for a Huge Giveaway with 69 teacher authors and over $400 of TpT products! Just click the pic to head over to his blog and participate. This giveaway runs from December 14th-17th this week!

 Elementary Music Teacher's Huge Giveaway

I'm giving away this product in the 3-6 Rafflecopter. My third grade students loved the Candy Corn one I made for October so they could practice their multiplication facts during centers and now this Christmas Tree themed one is keeping them motivated to practice their division facts. Click the pic to check it out!

 Christmas Tree Multiplication and Division Fact Family Flash Cards

I hope you enjoyed this post and that you and yours have a blessed Holiday Season!

Monday, October 27, 2014

Currently FREE Tricks and Treats for Red Ribbon Week and Halloween

Linking up with Farley at Oh' Boy Fourth Grade for the October Currently.

Listening: I've been listening to a local pop station whose Morning Show is hosted by Carson Daly from the voice and they have been playing the song "Dangerous" by David Guetta & Sam Martin. If you are looking for some upbeat and energetic music especially for working out to, David Guetta has a few dance music albums where he has collaborated with many different artists so there is tons of variety.  This song is quickly becoming a work out favorite, next to David Guetta's and Sia's song "Bulletproof" from his previous album. 

Loving: I so excited that the holiday season is here! I love to decorate, bake and cook for Halloween, Thanksgiving and Christmas! Can't wait for all the good eats.

Thinking: I love dressing up for Halloween and our school does a story book festival where students and staff may dress up as long as it is a character from a book.  Last year my team and I dressed up as characters from Alice in Wonderland, and the year before that I dressed as the Paper Bag Princess. This year I'd think I might be a character from Hunger Games. I'm deciding between Katniss Everdeen or Effie Trinket. It will depend on what items I can gather together in time. 

Wanting: I'm waiting for it to cool down a bit more so I can break out my boots with skinny jeans tucked in for fall without feeling too hot. Right now we've had mornings start in the high 50s which is pretty chilly for us in Southern California, the only thing is the afternoons are still warming up to the high 80's.

Needing: With the holiday season upon us and all the yummy food I definitely need to make more time to work out or I won't be fitting in to any skinny jeans, or pants for winter. Lol!

Trick or Treat? Does your school require healthy snacks and treats? My school emphasizes healthy eating and has an approved snack list for parents to use as a guideline especially when donating food items to share in the classroom and/or for individual student snacks. However some treats are still allowed to celebrate the holidays (in moderation and teacher choice) if they are tied to a specific lesson. As we strive towards making more healthier choices for our kids it got me to think outside the box. So last year I picked up these Clementines for a healthier Halloween treat option. 

The kids used a sharpie marker or you can use Wilton's Food Writers to decorate their "mini-pumpkins". I even had a kid come back the next day and say, "My sister didn't believe it was a pumpkin." I was like "Uh, remember I told you they were small oranges." Kids say the darndest things! I guess this guy got tricked instead of treated.

I also bought pumpkin seeds for a math estimation games last year. I've tried digging them out of a fresh pumpkin before but I don't like the mess so I just buy the pumpkin seeds already roasted. This year I plan to use them with Laura Candler's Pumpkin Seed Multiplication since we are in now in our multiplication unit. Just click the pict to go to her TpT store and pick up this awesome FREEBIE.

 Laura Candler's Pumpkin Seed Multiplication FREEBIE

More Treats! 
Here you will find my FREE banana template I used for my Red Ribbon Week door.  I just printed the bananas on yellow copy paper then I made a hand written sign that says "Don't monkey around with drugs. They'll make you go bananas." I also added the monkey graphic you can get in the free download. For the tree I scrunched up some brown butcher paper then rolled it for the trunk, cut out some green leaves after looking up a picture of a banana tree and drew a huge leaf that was my template for the others. I then clipped both ends with heavy duty magnets to hold it on my metal door. Packaging tape might also work well.  Click the pic to get the monkey graphic and banana template for student to write a brief anti-drug messages and their signature on.

Red Ribbon Week Drug Free Monkey Poster and Banana Templates

I've also uploaded this drug-free pledge (bookmark sized) to TpT that I use each year and copy on red card stock.  Click {here} to get the Drug-Free Pledge Bookmark. 

I've been wanting to share this picture of the crazy pumpkin house that I happened upon last fall down in Santa Monica! I was astounded by all the pumpkins in what could only be Pumpkin Hoarderville! This is just the right side of the house. There left side has way more!!

Finally, here's my lone light-up pumpkin that I will hang to surprise my students on Halloween. I will need to see if I can get my new TA  to help bring the kids in while I hide. Then I'll jump out near this lighted pumpkin saying"The Great Pumpkin is here!" and scare the kids like I've done the last few years.

I hope you have a wonderful Halloween! I'd love to hear in the comments below how you celebrate Halloween in your school or classroom.

Friday, October 10, 2014

Halloween Bash Blog Hop and Giveaway

I'm so excited to join up with The Teaching 2 Step collaborative blog that is hosting an awesome Halloween Bash Blog Hop and Giveaway with over forty bloggers and TpT authors! In celebration I'm offering one FREEBIE that includes a recipe for a tasty Fall or Halloween treat and one new product at 20% off during this blog hop! You can also enter to win your choice of one my TpT store products. 

First I want to share my FREEBIE and how I use Doreen Cronin's Diary of a Worm as a mentor text and for our Fall Reading celebration.  As part of our character unit I teach students about different character perspectives and with this book they can really see how point of view drives a character or story. We also use Diary of a Fly and Diary of a Spider so students can truly grasp different point of views. For an added challenge students can chose an animal or object and write from their point of view.

Serving dirt pudding with worms on top just seems like a logical end to our writing and reading unit on characters. This is also a great way to provide a treat for students who may not celebrate Halloween, and it just so happens that I have two students who don't this year. I love telling my students that they are going to eat dirt pudding with worms!! When they realize it's food they are greatly relieved and excited to dig in.

 Dirt Pudding Recipe + Book Connection {FREEBIE}

I have included a letter home requesting parents to donate or help with the Dirt Pudding supplies. The letter is in both English and Spanish and includes this easy recipe with pictures of the items needed to make this treat with your students. Click here or the picture to download.

Since our school has quite a few students who don't celebrate Halloween we also hold a Storybook Festival where students may only dress as characters from books. During the Storybook Festival parade they must carry the book their character is from. Here's a pic from last year's festival with my awesome third grade team and one second grade teacher. We decided to dress as characters from Alice and Wonderland!

Next up is an old favorite updated into a fancy new product.  Before my students would write a fact family on similar candy corns I made, then they would color them. I still have this option but I wanted to move away from my old and plain triangle flash cards. I'm very proud of these flashcards as I took what I learned from Nikki Cassava from Melonheadz' Illustrating this summer and finally applied it! She led the Rock Your Own Clipart workshop at the TpT conference in Las Vegas this past summer. After updating my hand-drawn candy corns with a unique design, I uploaded them digitally and colorized them using Very easy to use and FREE!

The Candy Corn Multiplication and Division Fact Family Flashcards and Practice, contains over 150 flashcards that include facts 0-12. It's a new and colorfully themed take on triangle fact family flash cards! It's 20% off in my store through the 15th, or like my Facebook Page which you can do through the my single Rafflecopter after this pic. (Through the 16th)

 Candy Corn Multiplication andDivision Fact Family Flash Cards

These are a hit in my own classroom centers, and students can't wait to finish up their math work so they can use these! They are organized by facts so you only need give students the flashcards they have been introduced to already. Students quiz themselves or others by covering a digit with their thumb.

They can also make their own flash cards using the black and white masters provided and write in the middle the corresponding fact family sentences for additional practice. An added bonus is when students color them in they can be displayed in your classroom as both a decoration and evidence of Common Core math work.

Or maybe try your luck at winning this new product or anything else you might want from my store. All you have to do is like my Facebook page via this Rafflecopter.  

A Rafflecopter Giveaway

Here's a sweet selfie with me and my favorite candy. 

Sorta fancy and not typically for Halloween but Lindt's truffles are so good and who needs a holiday to indulge? I love their new dark chocolate alongside my old fave the white chocolate truffle. These just melt into deliciousness when you pop them in your mouth, and they brighten up an exhausting or trying day at work. (Sometimes I can't wait until a break or 2:40 and my students see me get one and ask, hey what about us?) I keep one bag in my drawer and one at home with some of each.

I'm also giving away a product of your choice from my store in the the 2-5 Giveaway Pack below. I hope you continue to hop a long at the end of the post to all the other wonderful bloggers. And you can re-pin this image below for 5 entries in the raffle. 

 Halloween Blog Bash by Teaching the 2 Step
*Now through the 17th due to previous Rafflecopter Link issues that have been fixed.

K - 2 Giveaway Pack

A Rafflecopter Giveaway

2-5 Giveaway Pack

A Rafflecopter Giveaway

Secondary Giveaway Pack

A Rafflecopter Giveaway

 An InLinkz Link-up

Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Currently Treading Water and So Many FREEBIES!

Joining up for my first Currently Linky party with Farley at Oh Boy 4th grade!

I find that I'm drowning in another highly ambitious and busy school year, so to chill out I've been listening to the Beatles Love Soundtrack from Cirque de Soleil and Tori Amos using a great music app called, 8 Track. I’m a huge music fan and feel blessed to live in the city of Angels where I can catch so many concerts. Seeing Tori Amos with one of my besties this summer was a dream come true as was taking my parents to Beatles Love. Of course my parents are responsible for surrounding me with tons of music growing up. I’m sure many of you youngsters out there may not be familiar with what an 8 track is, but let’s just say it was a predecessor to the cassette tape, and almost as big as an old VHS tape. I remember it in some old car my family used to have. 

Gotta love that my students no longer know what a cassette tape is and that they were mystified by one that I used for listening center last year. But back to the free 8 Track app and website. Its playlists are all user created so you can find others with similar taste in music. I also find the algorithms are very good at recommending new playlists I might like which is surprising since I have such a broad and eclectic taste in music. I like it much bette than Pandora, Spotify, or iTunes radio.

Are you a crazed music fan too? I love working with it on, whether it's cleaning at home, organizing my classroom after school or driving a long. There is something good to listen to for every mood I'm in. I also love to play music in the classroom, especially using Rick Morris’ songs and his music cue app to help my students, transition, or finish tasks up.  Check out his post about it here. I honestly don't know how I'd survive without music. 

Which leads me to a memory and the Weird Al Yankovic Parody song "Word Crimes" on grammar that went viral this summer. Love it! I also have to mention one of my star struck moments when I first started teaching at this school ten years ago, was when my third grade team and I went to lunch at this local sandwich and pastry shop and Weird Al was there too! One of the walls was lined with signed photos of celebrities who frequented there. It is surprisingly common to run into or meet stars here in Los Angeles and I can’t even keep count of how many I’ve seen or met now. 

I’m loving that it’s finally cooling off for Fall here in Cali. It was a hot summer with over 100 degree temps the past few weeks and my central air is being fixed.  It’s been hard to do any work or grading at home so I was staying at work a little longer or having dinner out at a cafe with wifi. For now I’m grateful for a portable window unit to keep the bedroom cool.

I’ve been thinking how will I ever keep up with my blog and TPT goals with another new school year and it feels even busier, than any before. So I created this editable Blog, Social Media and TpT schedule for myself that I’m also offering as a FREEBIE below. I have to mention that this is no ordinary schedule, its actually based on lots of research I did to find the best times to post on social media, taking into consideration a teacher work schedule. I left Tuesday blank, as it happens to be an early release day at work, for our weekly meetings, professional development and planning time. Sometimes I don’t leave work until 5:30 on these days so that leaves little time to work on my blog. You can easily edit this document to suit your needs and download the matching script block font it you like as well. So far this has helped me stay more organized and focused on my goals.

I'm also using this sheet and FREEBIE Seller's Goals and Milestones from Math & Science with TLC, to track my progress as a seller. The best part is that this sheet is editable and it's fun to check off each apple as you surpass your goals!!!

Track your TPT progress and goals

I need to reorganize all my mentor classroom books using the extra book bins I have now after getting my kiddos these awesome chair pockets you see pictured below. I got them from Learning Resources and the were on sale! I recommend the medium sized pockets for grade 2 or 3 chairs. 

It’s been so wonderful since these beauties arrived! No longer do I have to hear book boxes toppling over, nor do I have to run into them when students place them on the floor. Now they have these to hold their books instead! Not only that I’m reorganizing my classroom library to include new shelf and books that came in.  I found these super cute black and white chevron themed book labels that come with pre-made labels and another file to edit. The best part is that they are offered for free by seller Andrew Juranek on TpT.

 Library Book Bin Labels FREEBIE and editable

After printing, laminating, and cutting these out, I will use this extra wide packaging tape that I found on Amazon to attach them to my book bins and boxes.

I want to go on vacay already! This school year has been quite busy. These are the three trips I’d like to go on in the near future. (Dream trips are on another list and something I save and plan for every few years.)  First to visit my brother and his family near Spokane, Washington, next to see friends who moved to Indiana and finally tour our Nation’s Capital. Besides my brother’s real job he has a weekly radio show and I will get to be a guest co-host on his show sometime. I was able to guest DJ with a friend on a college radio station back in the day and it would be fun to do it again. Also we love catching concerts together. Last year I was able to see Metric play in Portland, Oregon with him and his wife. Easily one of the top five shows I’ve seen and I have seen a lot of shows! Here's a pic of us at the show last year.

Well that’s it for my first currently. I will be back soon with a post on all the cool math stuff I’m doing with my students.  TTFN!

* This post contains affiliate links to Amazon. All other links are unpaid and and just additional recommendations to some of my fave products.