Friday, March 6, 2015

Five for Font Friday!

Happy Friday!

I'm linking up with Kacey (thank you!):

Here's a quick run-down of our snowy week!

Monday - Snow Day
Tuesday - 2-hour Early Release (2:15)
Wednesday - Full Day
Thursday - Snow Day
Friday - Snow Day

Crazy, right? I know everyone is getting so sick of the disruption to our schedules, but I feel like this is a huge blessing. I didn't need a "break" in December, January, or February. 

But March is a completely different story.

This is my current situation:

And that is truly 1/4 of my stacks! I feel like I'm in the Hunger Games. It's portfolio and formal (year-end) evaluation time. It all hits at once and then it's smooth sailing the rest of the year. I also have six I.E.P. meetings in March and four classes to start and finish over Spring Break. 

I don't know what I'd do without these snow days.

 I am SO thankful!

I've been treating myself to very short blog-reading breaks and I've peeked a few times at the newest products at TPT. I literally schedule 5 minute breaks every hour to see what the rest of the world is up to!

This has been my biggest treat:

Kimberly Geswein is simply a genius! The past two weeks, she's been releasing  her Font Pairing Guide one page at a time (you can download the bundle here for free!). I've allowed myself a little "play break" as my newest product is patiently waiting for my portfolio to be completed!

Such a wonderful break - thanks Kimberly!

My presentation on Guided Reading was rescheduled for today :(

I'm ready! Maybe I could do a Virtual PD?

And lastly, one of my amazing colleagues just told me about this app ($0.99) called Mood Meter:

Here's an article to learn more and here's the link to where I purchased it. I've only tried it on myself and loved ones ;)  - I can't wait to try it out with my students! I'm definitely not associated with the app in any way...I just really like it!

Have a fantastic Friday! Jen

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Wednesday, March 4, 2015

Place Value Freebie!

Happy Wednesday!

We've got a BIG day ahead of us...our first (and possibly only) full day of school this week! Monday was a surprise snow day, yesterday was an early release for ice, and tomorrow we're expecting a MAJOR snowstorm.

We teach an extended day and students are in school from 7:40-4:15-ish. Most do very well, but disruptions to our schedule are pretty tough. I work with students with autism and they are most definitely struggling :( I love having snow days to catch up on all my work, but I recognize we also need to get back to routine!

Yesterday, I posted one of my students warming up with my newest rhyming cards:

I displayed four cards to read, then asked my students to find the two words that matched. I kept mixing them up, but the student above was able to identify the pair every time. Next, I had him explain how he knew they rhymed ("because they have the same ending sound"). He did really well with the rhymes, but didn't seem to realize nor care the eggs were green! 

I also updated my bundle to include this blank template:

Today we'll be using the rhyming cards again and then generating new rhymes using a dry erase marker on the cards (laminated) above. It's always so fun to hear what my students come up with!

If you've already purchased the bundle (thank you!), please redownload to get the latest update. 

We are about halfway through our Place Value Unit. My students can identify double-digit numbers and tens and ones, but comparing numbers seems difficult and I detect a little guessing. I've never had this much trouble in the past, so this weekend I will definitely do some research and brainstorm new ideas!

I'm using two of my products this week:

Last week, we used these cards for number identification. Next, we played a few rounds of "Blast!" with the cards. Now, we're playing "Slap!"..."Please slap the number 27" or "Please slap the number that is greater than..."  A lot of fun and helpful for building up fluency!

I just love the action shot on the top right :)

I'm also heavily dipping into:

This packet includes EVERYTHING I use to teach place value. I updated it last spring to 110 pages and I have a feeling I'll be updating it again with more practice comparing numbers.

I'm putting this packet on sale through tomorrow night, only $4.00!

I'm linking up this post with the amazing Miss DeCarbo:

I'm also linking up with Primary Chalkboard for a FANTASTIC new weekly linky:

Thank you for reading! Jen

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Tuesday, March 3, 2015

Kitchen Sink Update #1

Happy Tuesday!

I hope your week is already off to a wonderful start! 

Mine sure is...we had a surprise snow day yesterday! The timing was fabulous...I'm working on this portfolio and coursework (deadline April 12th!), plus presenting a professional development this Friday. Add in our "year end" formal observations next week...yikes! I spent yesterday in my pajamas glued to my computer.

March is so busy, but no worries...I have a relaxing trip to Florida for a long weekend in May and I just booked this:

I am SO excited! 

Are you going? 
We are flying in Wednesday morning and staying at the Venetian. 
Please let me know if you want to meet up! 

Now, please let me explain this blogpost title. 
It just doesn't sound that appealing :)
I posted this "catch-all" bundle on Sunday:

This bundle will be added to throughout 2015! I chatted a little about it over the weekend (here). It's still at the introductory price of $10.00. The price will increase as the bundle grows and grows. 

I've already sketched out big plans...

This list is already three pages's so hard to not upload everything right now! If you have already purchased it (thank you!), I did upload this activity this morning:

There's 18 rhyming cards and they are purposely TRICKY for my 1st grade smarties. I have words that rhyme, then rhyme again (more than one match), words that "almost" rhyme (i.e.: beat, bean), including words that have the same initial sound. I don't actually want my students to fail, BUT I want to see how they are thinking. 

The cards have clear, enlarged font to use during warm-ups or cool-downs, or they would be perfect in a pocket-chart and/or small groups. 

To get the upload, please go to "My Purchases" and redownload. I'm updating the zipfile of goodies and renaming the file by the upload number. So fun to have everything in ONE place!

Have a wonderful week! Jen

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Sunday, March 1, 2015

Currently: March!

Yay for March!

I'm linking up with Farley (thank you!) for this month's Currently:

Listening: Parenthood! I just started the series this winter on Netflix. I definitely spend more time "listening" than watching...I'm up to Episode 21 of Season 2. I've already shed
a few tears and I know that there's more to come.

Loving: I'm going to Vegas this summer for the TPT Conference! What a fabulous thing to look forward to...I'm already mentally packed and ready!

Too early? ;)

Thinking: What am I NOT thinking about? Working on my portfolio and have four more courses to go. Ever.
Deadline: April 12th 

Wanting: We've had many snow delays and close calls,
but I really do want a few snow days to finish all this work.

Needing: April 12th to arrive!

Spring Break Plans: 4 online classes :(
but I'm visiting Florida in May!

I'm extremely excited about my latest "solution"  - I can't remember how many times I've said  written "I'll share soon..."
or "I'll post someday soon when I have more time..." 

Today was THE day:

This is the 2015 bundle and it already has five files loaded!

Positively Learning's Everything But The Kitchen Sink 2015

What's it all about? I'll continue to upload activities as I finish using them with my own students (tried and true!). What types of activities? Throughout the week, I work with K-2 CCSS standards, Guided Reading, Guided Math,  writing, interventions for students with Autism, 3rd grade reading intervention, etc. Plus tools for teaching...organization, data tracking, home-school connection, professional development, mentoring teachers, and more!

So many times I've had something I've REALLY wanted to share because I've had success with it and now I have figured out the ideal venue to get these materials out!

Here's a glimpse of what's already in the bundle:

The growing bundle is now available
at the introductory price of $10.00.

The price will be increasing as more and more goodies are added! 
Please let me know if you have any questions. 
I'll be sharing about the updates in future posts!

Special shout-out to Lucky to Be in First by Molly Lynch

Not only is she amazing (I have ALL her BAT books), but she unknowingly helped me make my dreams concrete.

 I've been trying to create this "mega" bundle for over a year because I knew I'd personally like something similar. It's just so nice having everything in ONE place. BUT I wasn't sure if anyone else felt like that.

When I saw Molly's Grab Bag Galore on my "new products by favorite sellers" newsfeed, I got SO excited. Of course, I purchased it (it's wonderful!) and  then I reflected on how much I
 loved the idea and always have.

And now I realize, other people may think like I do
(at least when it comes to teaching materials)

I finish this post with "alarming" news.
Have you seen this yet?

Say it isn't so! I must purchase every single thing Kimberly Geswein is even associated with. Very sad for my finances! 
She also posted cute skinny borders, the kind I really, really ♥ 

Have a super Sunday! Jen

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Friday, February 27, 2015

Five for Friday!

Happy 5 for Friday!

Thank you Kacey for the linky!

Whew! Today is a half day for our students (7:40-12:30) and then we have a Professional Development until 4:30. We also had a SNOW DAY yesterday (a BIG deal for us)!

Did everyone enjoy the mega sale?

I tried SO hard to keep it together with my TPT purchases during the Super Sale to celebrate teacher heroes. I REALLY tried.

But I'm working on this portfolio...

Don't look too close...I've already fixed the grammatical errors ;)

This portfolio plus FOUR courses will all be done by April 12th. That's exactly 50 days if anyone's counting.

In 50 days I will be free from all of this...and I keep telling myself how blessed I am. I have this monster project (that will be SO worth it when it's done) and have to work on it when the weather is downright AWFUL, I have an endless supply of coffee, there's no major holidays I'm missing out on...

I even got a bonus snow day to knock out a few artifacts!

I've been really focused and trying to put on blinders to all the wonderful products and ideas that I see other teachers posting. I can't even take the time to write them down, but I've pinned a few. I also have been creating like crazy to meet my students' needs. Later this spring I'll be able to bundle them up and share.

So, I've been super disciplined...until yesterday. Yesterday, it all got to me! The stress of the portfolio and a little cabin fever led to TPT shopping! I did THREE rounds! 


I picked up some fabulous deals...I'll have to stop back and post some TPT Treasures once I've had the opportunity to try them out with my own students.

I visited Sasha from The Autism Helper, Sonya DeHart (gorgeous art!), and Kaitlyn Albani, just to name a few.

What wonderful resources did you add to your bag of tricks?

Please share :)

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Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Wordless Wednesday & Freebies!

Happy Hump Day!

Here's a picture that sums up our week so far:

Apparently, the above pictures are all me!

My students were total rockstars at their word work yesterday and earned ONE full minute of free time with the whiteboards ;)  

The top right gave me pause...why is my head not connected? The bottom right made me really question my teaching practices. I appreciate the bottom left and I think the top left nailed it - you can tell by my eyebrows and mouth that I'm more than a little concerned.

Here's a pic from my 3rd grade intervention group:

Bummer, it's sideways!

We are working on "do's & don'ts" for answering multiple choice questions. We did a quick sort (which we will definitely have to do again!) and they received matching bookmarks to refer to.

I'm eventually wrapping all of these into a bundle along with my Quiz-E quizzes aligned with NWEA (wait until you see these - they have flipped my teaching on its a good way!):


These quizzes use the Quiz E template from Pink Cat Studio and 


Sorry to shout, but my toughest, crankiest 3rd graders ♥ them! They are perfect for instruction and behavior management! 

I'm aligning questions by RIT Band...different questions than my NWEA packets - they "mesh" together, perfectly!

If you don't use NWEA MAP Testing, the cards will still work - they are aligned with Common Core. No matter what test your school administers, this All-Star Testing Freebie pack will help keep you & your students together (in a positive way)!

This post is linked up with Miss Decarbo's Linky:

Please follow the link to see what everyone else is up to this week!

UPDATE: I'm also linking up with Luckeyfrog's Lilypad to share about our own special heroes:

LOVE that graphic :)
Thank you Jenny for hosting this special linky & my sincere apologies for totally missing the boat..I linked up after completing my post & missed a BIG detail:

My Own Teacher Hero

This is actually much tougher than it seems. We all have fave teachers from school, right? Not exactly. I actually went to fantastic schools and I'm sure so many of the teachers were doing their very best to help all of us learn.

 But it was all kind of a blur...I was often a bit bored and thought the work seemed "busy." I didn't fare too well on the daily schedule and only excelled when given a "challenge" (i.e.; speech contests, spelling bees,etc.). I'm quite sure my teachers weren't thrilled with me, but I was friendly and never caused trouble. This went on for most of my school years...

BUT, outside of school was a different story! I took piano lessons with one of the most amazing teachers. I loved everything about her and the lessons...she was funny, had a beautiful home, and I always felt like her favorite.

 In return, I practiced piano no less than 2 (maybe 3?) hours per day...for years. I even became a piano teacher (for 15 years) and loved it :)

The last five years of my piano teaching, two special things happened. My students were almost all receiving special education services at their school (they weren't able to find piano teachers who would take them...isn't that mind-boggling?) and I had the opportunity to return to school myself to become certified (Early Childhood Prek-3rd and Special Education K-12).

Fast forward, I'm now a special educator who uses music daily to reach my students. I always felt a little left out of school, but with my very special piano teacher, I learned how fun it was to learn and work hard. I hope my own students are learning the same thing!

Please visit Luckeyfrog's Lilypad's Linky to read more stories about teacher super-heroes.

And, you may have heard...

TPT is generously offering an extra 10% off EVERYTHING today! My store is also the 10% means everything in my store is 28% off, including the NWEA cards above!

Happy Shopping! 

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Tuesday, February 24, 2015

More February Freebies!

Happy Tuesday!

I know that Read Across America doesn't technically start until next week...but we're busy reading ALL year long! 

In the past week, I shared these freebies for literacy (& more):

and today, I'm back for more!

This week's sensory bin matches features our favorite cat:

So much fun! 

My students cannot get enough of the rhymes and alliteration with all the Dr. Seuss books - so much fun!

What can go in a sensory bin? I like to mix it up...I will either add task cards to match the text we're exploring, or I'll add one of my themed Sentence Scrambler sets:

This is a sneak preview of what we'll be using in 2 weeks!

I also throw in these open-ended cards (freebie!)
 that can be used all year:

Do you incorporate sensory activities into your teaching? This is my first year trying it out, although I've always included hands-on activities. I'm working with several students with autism this school year - I'm learning SO much!

Have a terrific Tuesday!

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