Monday, October 20, 2014

Manic Monday Linky: Motivation & Freebie


Good morning! Hope you had a restful weekend and are ready to start off a new week. Although Monday is not my preferred day off the week, it is a blessing nonetheless!

Just in case you’re like me and need a little motivation to help get you started on the right foot this morning, I made this just for you…

be happy JPEG

… and just to make you smile even more, here’s a freebie that should help you next time you have to give a spelling test…


With this freebie you have 3 different tests to choose from… more reason to smile, right!







Classroom Freebies Manic Monday

Sunday, October 19, 2014

Florida Blogger Meet Up

Seaworld Blogger Meet Up 2014 pic 2 JPEG

Last Saturday I had an AMAZING time getting to know this group of fellow teacher bloggers at SeaWorld in Orlando, Florida! They are just the nicest bunch of teachers!!!!

I loved having all day to get to know some of my blogger friends in person… Especially since many of us connect via Teachers Pay Teachers, Instagram, Facebook, and other Social Media long before we ever meet face to face. So for me this was a real TREAT! Seaworld Blogger Meet Up 2014 pic 4 JPEG

One of the teachers I was happy to get to know last weekend was Cara from Kindergarten Boom Boom. We had an interesting conversation about Class Dojo. I’ve been using it with my 3rd graders this year and have found it to be a lifesaver and she’s looking to try something new.

I also had the pleasure of meeting Marla Hunter from I Live. I Love. I Teach! She has got to be the most positive and bubbly person I know!

Can you believe that she works 3 different jobs and does them all with a smile on her face because she says she loves each one of them. WOW!!!!!Seaworld Blogger Meet Up 2014 pic 3 JPEG  And these are just a few of the teachers I got to meet.

We ate, we talked, we shared, and we got to know each other a little bit better. That’s what these meet ups are all about.

I love being able to meet others that are facing similar situations and circumstances as I am and simply getting confirmation that I am not alone in feeling overwhelmed, unprepared, and honestly even underappreciated at times.

In Florida, we have had to face way too many changes in such a short amount of time with minimal guidance. So being able to connect with other teachers that are facing the same rollercoaster of emotions and being able to offer each other some form of support is HUGE in my book :0)

Besides meeting such amazing bloggers and teachers, the best part was all the GOODIES that were donated from our generous sponsors!

Seaworld Blogger Meet Up 2014 pic 5 JPEG

Treat by Shutterfly was INCREDIBLE!!!! I had the pleasure of being able to personalize four different mugs and thank you cards for the teachers joining us in SeaWorld.

Personalizing the mugs and cards was as easy as selecting a pattern I liked, uploading a picture, and typing my message. That was all!!! As easy as 1-2-3 and I must say that the end product was AMAZING! Take a look…

Seaworld Blogger Meet Up 2014 pic 6 JPEG


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The teachers really seemed to enjoy this personalized TREAT!!!!!

With the holidays coming up, I think I’m going to have to go back and place a few more orders.

I mean who wouldn’t like something personalized as a gift, right?

Seaworld Blogger Meet Up 2014 pic 9 JPEG

The Blue Bird Bakeshop also provided us with some DELICIOUS treats… Their chocolate cupcake was my absolute favorite! The best part was that since they were mini-cupcakes you didn’t feel so bad having 2 or maybe even 3. (shhhhhh don’t tell anyone, but I tried one of each of the 3 flavors…LOL)

Seaworld Blogger Meet Up 2014 pic 10 JPEG

Papervirgo donated some handmade jewelry… I must say that each piece was unique and beautiful! Another great site to keep in mind for the holidays…

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Sportswear for Teachers donated some shirts for our teachers. My hubby is modeling one of their adorable designs. Isn’t that the cutest shirt ever?

Seaworld Blogger Meet Up 2014 pic 12 JPEG was also kind enough to donate a 1 year subscription for each teacher that attended our meet up so that they can try out their online lesson plan service. Isn’t that wonderful?

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On behalf of Mary (A Classroom Full of Smiles), myself, Amy (Learning Lessons with Mrs. Labrasciano), Lisa (Learning is Something to Treasure), Tammy (The Space Coast Teacher), and Bridget (Hard Core Teacher Resources) we would like to thank ALL of the teachers that attended our 2014 Orlando Florida Teacher Bloggers Meet Up and ALL of our generous sponsors who made this past weekend a HUGE SUCCESS! We look forward to our next meet up…

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Sunday, September 28, 2014

Class Dojo


Hey there, friends… hope you had a restful weekend! We busy teachers sure deserve it!

I, on the other hand, seem to have a hard time resting and relaxing... at least that’s what my husband says. (LOL- He’s right!)  My weekends are spent washing laundry, cleaning the house, grocery shopping, writing blog posts, creating activities for my 3rd graders, etc… I guess that’s why I crash the minute my head hits the pillow! (Besides the house work, I LOVE everything else!)

Just this morning while vacuuming the house, my mind was going a mile a minute and I decided that it was time to share with you how Class Dojo has been working in my own classroom.


I’ve been using it for about 5 weeks now and I must say that my students absolutely LOVE IT! They can’t get enough of it and I must say that I enjoy how easy it is to setup and use. It is very user friendly and the best part is that it is FREE!!!!

Once you sign up for a free account at Class Dojo you enter your student’s names and they are each assigned a random avatar or adorable monster character which they can easily personalize.


Next, you enter a series of positive behaviors that you would like your students to exhibit in the classroom, and assign them each points. You can choose anywhere between 1-5 points for each behavior.

Slide4 After that, you add the negative behaviors or “Needs Work” behaviors and enter the number of points the students will be deducted for exhibiting this behavior. Once you have these simple steps completed you are ready to reward your students with points.

Class Dojo pic JPEG

What the students LOVE is that I usually have the home screen on the Smart Board. Then whenever I award a student a point they hear a bell and their name appears on the screen letting them know why they received a point. (instant feedback) Likewise, if I catch a student off task I can take away a point. At this time a different sound is heard (sounds somewhat sad) and the student’s name appears on the screen as well as the behavior they need to work on.

I try to reward mostly positive points, and the majority of the time when the off task students hear the positive points, they get on track. However, if it doesn’t work and I’ve already given them a warning, I do take a point away.

Later on this week, I will go into details about the positive and negative behaviors, the timer function, the handy dandy Class Dojo app, and I will explain what my students do with all of the points they accumulate during the week.

For now…good night and happy teaching,


Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Cool M&M Experiment

Cover JPEGHi there friends! I’m so excited to share with you a SUPER COOL experiment we did this week using M&M’s. (The fact that we used candy in science makes it so much cool-er…)

intro to science JPEGAfter using my Intro. to Science Unit to teach my kiddos all about the Scientific Method and the different tools scientists use, I decided that we were ready for our first real lab.

The kids were ECSTATIC yesterday when I told them that we were finally ready for our first experiment of the year! I wish you could have seen their faces and their reactions when they saw the beakers, hand lenses, stopwatches, cups, and M&M’s. And of course I was overjoyed to hear them identifying the tools they saw to their friends. Especially after we had made these science tools tab books.Intro to science 2 JPEG

Our problem statement read: What happens when different colored M&M’s are placed into water?


The students began by observing their M&M’s using a hand lens and many of them were surprised to see that the white letter M was made up of many white dots grouped together. Some even noticed white spots on their candies that they decided was part of the M that had probably rubbed off.

Slide6After observing, they wrote their hypothesis following the pattern “I think… because…” I like using this sentence frame because it encourages students to explain their thinking. Most of them want to stop with the “I think”, but struggle with the “because”.  I’ve noticed that students have a tough time explaining why they think a certain way.

Next, it was time for the FUN PART… the EXPERIMENT…

We had a blast observing and recording the changes our M&M’s were going through. Every 3 minutes we stopped to  record what our cups looked like…

This is what we saw …3 min


Then …

6 min

“What happened to all the color on the M&M’s?”


9 min

Can you see it? Do you see how the M&M starts to lose it’s color and then eventually my favorite part happens… The M begins to slip off of the candy and slowly floats towards the top of the cup! It never ceases to amaze me :0)

We weren’t done just yet. We still had to write our conclusions…  Slide7We ended with “What’s Next?” where the students record what further questions they might have after conducting the experiment or what might they try differently next time.


Check out the neat idea my kiddo had. She seems to be a natural scientist. She’d like to see what happens when you put Coca Cola with cotton candy. I’d like to find out too, as a matter of fact!

I’ll keep you posted…

If you haven’t started experimenting yet, take my advice and try this one out with your munchkins. It’s sure to be a crowd pleaser not to mention a teacher pleaser as well. (wink, wink)

Have you tried any experiments with your students so far this year? If so, then please share. I’m always looking for new experiments. They’re just SO MUCH FUN!!!!!!


Sunday, September 21, 2014

Quick Magnet Trick

Slide1Hey there! I hope you had a restful weekend… if you’re anything like me you’re probably making sure you have everything set for this week.

Anyhow, while in the middle of getting my plans organized, I decided that it was time to take a break and share a little magnet trick that I picked up a while back, but has saved me a TON OF TIME!

Ever since I moved into a classroom with magnetic white boards, I’ve been putting strips of magnets on the back of everything that goes onto my board.  I don’t really like that sticky blue stretchy stuff they call Sticky Tack! I guess you can say we are enemies. I also hate strongly dislike the residue it leaves behind.


instead I love to buy business card magnets in bulk and then cut them into more manageable strips.


I LOVE using magnets! To this day I even put magnets on the back of the borders on my white board. Since I divide my board into sections, being able to change the size of my math or reading areas whenever I want is HUGE PLUS in my class eyes.



The only problem I found with the magnets was that after a while they started to lose their stickiness and things started to fall off of my boards… bummer! That’s when I started to do a little research on the web and discovered the best and cheapest trick ever. (Unfortunately I don’t have the link to the genius that came up with this idea.) In the mean time, here are the easy steps.


Take your sign and cut the magnetic strips the size that you want them.


Then adhere them to the back by peeling off the white strip that comes on the magnets. They are kind of like stickers. Get your clear packing tape ready for the final and most important step.


Place a piece of tape over the magnet. The tape is thin enough that the magnet will still work but strong enough that you will never have to worry about your magnets falling off of your board again.

Isn’t that JUST AWESOME!!!!! There you have it, my magnet trick that will hopefully save you some time and headaches.

Goodnight and sleep tight!


Sunday, September 14, 2014

Storing Supplies and a Freebie

Student Supplies JPEG

Hi there, friends! Today I’ve decided to share with you the way that I collect and store my students’ supplies. It is the best method that I have found to work with my 3rd graders.

Many years ago I USED to collect all of my students’ supplies and we would divy them up into adorable bins labeled scissors, red pens, pencils, glue, etc… {They looked ADORABLE all organized and labeled!} Then whenever someone in the class needed a supply we would simply take it from the “class supply” bins.

That was a HUGE MISTAKE on my part! I soon realized that this was a bad idea… I’ll never forget the day one of my students was leaving our school and the parent requested that I return the supplies that they have given their child at the beginning of the year. {They wanted the specific highlighter, pen etc… that they had bought their child.} Uh ohhhh!!!!!

On repeated occasions I also had to deal with students wanting a certain red pen or highlighter that their parent had bought them. {I can understand their attachment to certain supplies, especially since I’m quite picky myself about the pens AND pencils that I use.} But I knew that my students could NOT keep all of their extra supplies in their desk.

So what was my solution?


This fabulous rolling basket from Target {I have 2, a blue and a pink one} and these expanding Ziploc bags have been my life savers…


Basically, I give every child a Ziploc bag that has a label with their name on it. If necessary, I give them 2 baggies. On the board I then write a list of supplies that they must keep in their zipper pouch at their desk. All extras get dumped into their personal baggy.



What I love about these baggies is that since they have an expandable bottom, they store quite a bit.

After the baggies have been filled with extra supplies, my students come up and place their bags in either the blue or pink cart. These colored carts also make it soooo much easier for the kids to find their bags.

Girls boys JPEG

Most importantly, we have a few rules that go along with the bins. If a student needs a certain supply, they know that they are only allowed to access the bins in the morning (They have about 30 min. in the morning to get settled in) or at the end of the day. If by any chance all 5 of their pencil points are broken, and their sharpener is not working, then I DO have a set of sharpened emergency pencils that they may borrow.

The best part about these carts is that they have wheels so the students can easily roll them in and out from underneath the sink…


Then with a quick close of the curtains, our classroom supplies are stored safe and soundly out of sight.

Supply curtain JPEG

For the past 2 years, this system has been my salvation. If a child ever leaves my class or the school, all I have to do is find the baggy with his name on it. Simple, simple, simple!

And now for another simple solution! If you’ve been planning your parent conferences or searching for a form to document your meetings, here is a FREEBIE to make your life easier. (Simply click on either picture) BTW- It is EDITABLE!

contact log JPEG

contact log 2 JPEG

Happy teaching,


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