Sunday, August 31, 2014

DIY Pointers

During the summer when looking at my classroom I said to myself... "What do I need more of? What is missing?" And one of the things that I came up with was... pointers! Many of us are on a budget so I went to my good friend Kindergarten Smorgasboard, and he had this fabulous blog post and idea....
I am so glad that I am able to collaborate and bounce off ideas with such amazing teachers like him! Check out his post HERE to find out how to create these cute easy-to-make pointers for a great price!

Michael's craft store is the place to be ;)

I hope you are all having a wonderful back-to-school experience... I wish you a great year, and I will be putting up pictures of my classroom very soon!

Saturday, August 16, 2014

5 Back to School Must Haves

 I am very excited to bring you my 5 must haves for back to school.  Many purchases I am sure you already have, but if you are a new teacher or forgot a few items, I hope I can help you out!

1. First and foremost, I wouldn't be anywhere without my laminator! I can print any of the amazing TPT products that I have bought or created, and LAMINATE them to stay durable for years to come.  Not only is this perfect for fun and engaging printables for activities and hands-on work, but also for classroom decor and materials that I just want to make sure stay in place!
The Scotch laminator shown above is the exact one that I have had for years! Love it, and very inexpensive.

2. I don't know about everyone else, but I am hooked on smelly stickers and markers, and so are my students!  My 4th graders loved them just as much as my Kindergarteners did last year.  It is a little treat for them and more than a reward to them :) Besides Trend Stinky stickers, Scentos, and Mr. Sketch markers, I also love the scented ink pads (and they last a long time!)

3. Cardstock is something that I always make sure I have enough of.  It can get expensive, but I usually get great deals at Michaels with a coupon or a deal that they already have.  With cardstock, I will print out special projects for my students that are keepsakes or gifts for their families.  I will also use it for important cards or if we are doing a project that requires durable paper.  I don't use it often, but the children know and respect that when the cardstock comes out, we are doing something special! :)

4. Paint! This is something I definitely ran out of as a Kindergarten teacher.  So I make sure, that if I see a sale or a coupon, I get a bunch of colors that I know I will be using.  Painting is so freeing for children and can be used in SO many ways... for example, last year we did dot paintings.. canvas paintings for gifts.. finger painting.. hand print painting... and painting for fun!  Art supplies in general I make sure I pick up if they are on sale or if I think I'll have a need for them. 

5.  My last must have is something that you personally may not need to think too much about in your school.  However, at the school I work at, we all make sure that we give the best parent gifts that we can.  Of course we are all on a budget, and for the holidays that we celebrate, I always want to make sure that I purchase craft and gift items ahead of time, or make sure that I have money saved up. 
Examples of parent gifts are from this post and this one as well. 

Also on my list:
Glue gun (holds anything!)
 Book bins (why didn't this make the cut as one of the 5?! A must!)
Mailbox (to stay organized and the best way for your kiddos to get their mail)
 I hope you enjoyed my must haves for back to school :) I will be posting pictures of my room soon!

If you liked this post, please consider following me on my blog, facebook, and TPT store.  Thank you so much for stopping by, and make sure you check out the other bright ideas in the hop :) There are tons of different ideas with different grade levels!

Monday, August 11, 2014

Shark Week Blog Hop

All teachers know that kids learn more when they’re excited and engaged. Today a team of bloggers have come together to help your students take a BITE out of learning with a theme your students are sure to love!

One way I help my students get excited about learning is to constantly change up activities - they love hands-on learning, and I try to make sure that I expose them to all different types of activities.  
I love that we do the Daily 5 at my school.  There are so many inexpensive ideas for Daily 5, and the children are constantly making their own choices, reading, writing, speaking, listening, and working the whole time :) Being given responsibility and choice as to what the students are most interested in, will quickly engage them in the learning!

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My Shark Week freebie is a nonfiction shark fact book.  This includes real life pictures and an ending page for students to reflect about what they read.  I have included 4 pages per 1 sheet of paper to save space and allow for less printing.  This can be used in Daily 5, reading groups, the possibilities are endless.  A lot of my students love learning about sharks too and are very engaged with texts like these. 
I hope that you and your students enjoy this freebie!
Click HERE to try it out!

Be sure to go for a swim in the linky party below. Every blog in the Shark Week Blog Hop features a fishy freebie for you and your students- but hurry! Shark Week only lasts until Sunday, August 17th  : )

Thursday, July 31, 2014

TPT Sale and Giveaway

I am very excited to announce the annual Back to School TPT Sale August 4th and 5th -- ALL of my products (including bundles) will be a total of 28% off with the code: bts14.  There will be so many amazing sellers participating in this sale, so please make sure that you fill up your wishlists now!
[Graphic from Creative Clips]

Here are a few of my favorite products that I have on sale--just click the photos of the ones that you would like to look at further! xo 
Thank you to all of you for following me on my shop, blog, facebook, etc.  It really means a lot! 
Happy Shopping!

And my latest product that I just LOVE... My Grade 1-2 Nonfiction Close Read Product :)

What would this post be...without a giveaway?! :) I am giving away a $10 gift card to Target.  There are so many wonderful things to buy at Target (especially my favorite--the dollar spot.)  So as a THANK YOU to all of you for being so awesome, please enter the rafflecopter below from 8/1 - 8/6 midnight! 

Homework Notebooks

I am getting ready to get my homework notebooks ready for my kiddos.. but I wanted to show you pictures of my last years kids :) These worked out PERFECTLY for my individual students who were in all different places (especially Kindergarten! They come with all different experiences and knowledge, and I LOVE what they all brought to the classroom!) This year I am teaching a K-1 mix, so I will definitely be doing a lot of differentiating :)
I wanted to share some GREAT products for Math with you for homework journals.. these are perfect because I am able to cut and paste and put right in each journal.  Not every notebook is the same - if someone needs more practice with subtraction, then I'll focus on that, etc.  It's the perfect way to differentiate and I really emphasize the

Word Problems for the Younger Learner {1st grade}
Those two are my favorites!
 And I also have my own Kindergarten Word Problem Set as well.. 16 total questions :)
Like I said, a great tool for smaller class sizes where you can differentiate and really teach to the individual :) Have a great day!

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

A Real Treat

Good evening everyone! I should be trying to get to sleep since I am working summer school early in the AM, but I just have to tell you about a wonderful site called Treat.  To me, there is nothing better than a homemade or heartfelt gift - and a card is just that.  I love looking through cards at the store, but I never knew that CREATING cards could be so fun and personable (for around the same price!)
On top of their quality cards, the workers at are there to help you and make sure that you are completely satisfied with your experience and your purchase.  They are awesome!
Treat is a greeting card company that want to create that special memory for you to send to your loved ones! There are so many different options at Treat, and there are wonderful "Thinking of You" cards just like the one I created below :)

I recently created this beautiful card for my mom.  Why?  Just because.  I think those are the best kind of gifts.. unexpected, and just from the heart.  I was able to easily navigate the site and pick the template that I liked... and on top of that, I could add any picture that I liked!  The picture I featured was on my phone, a little blurry and out of focus.. but it's one of my favorites, and I knew my mom would love it too.  I was very impressed with the quality of the print, and I couldn't imagine how amazing it would've turned out if my phone picture was even more in focus!

Something else that I love about making these personalized cards, is that you can PERSONALIZE almost everything about them! Instead of handwriting your message (which you can gladly do so with these cards as well) I was able to type the message I wanted, AND... it came with a beautifully typed up envelope to send straight to my mom's house.  Perfect!

Needless to say, takes greeting cards to a whole new level - sharing memories through photos and words from the heart, cards are something that will never go out of style - you can personalize them as much as you want, and make them PERFECT for your loved one : ) These can be printed or sent digitally - there are so many options!

Saturday, July 19, 2014

Fun Way to Book Shop

Happy Summer! I am already thinking about "bright ideas" for back to school - how can we not, they are all over the place ;) 
A cheap and fun way for students to book shop is with... book bags! Not the book bags you put on your back, but the cute little shopping bags that you can find in Target and other stores near you (I got "The Very Hungry Caterpillar" and "One Fish, Two Fish.." at Target for only $1 each!)
My students use these books during Daily 5, but you can incorporate them into any of your literacy blocks.  After talking about good fit books, the students are able to exchange their books weekly.  Especially with the little ones, they find it so much fun to use these bags and book shop! I let them do it a couple at a time, and with consistency and modeling, they quietly select books that they will enjoy and read for the week, while putting their other books back.  
 I use the little hooks like these and they will hold forever since the bags are so light :) I also recommend making a schedule for your children so they know when their book shopping day is!
Thank you so much for reading about my bright idea :) If you would like to stay in touch with me, please consider following me xo
My Blog
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Click below for more bright ideas ranging in all different topics and grade levels! Keep enjoying your summer, and remember to do things for you!

Saturday, June 21, 2014

Being a less wasteful teacher

Today I am bringing you an idea of what to do with scrap paper.  There is always so much of it after the children are done cutting, and even with recycling, sometimes I feel bad "throwing it out."  I thought of something fun for the kids to do with their scraps - they were so excited about this!
During their free time, four of my Kindergarteners were very excited to make books out of construction paper.  And not just any books.. different shaped books! Rectangles, squares, stars, even trapezoids! I let the kids write about whatever they wanted and use crayons, markers, pencils, and stickers - anything to make it even more enjoyable.
My student below wrote about "Art and Glass" - can you tell she is quite the artist? :) The other two books were going to be for her sister and parents.  Such a nice little sentiment to give to your family and write from your heart.
Always remember that you can create something beautiful using old materials.  I hope this inspires you to think outside the box with paper and scraps!

Please stay in touch with me on my blog, facebook, and my TPT store.  I appreciate you stopping by and I'm always here to help :) is the best place to reach me as well!

For more bright ideas from 100+ different bloggers, please browse through the link-up below and choose a topic/grade level that interests you. Thank you so much!!