What Works for Me Wednesday #5 with a freebie!

The last couple of weeks have been crazy busy, and I apologize for not posting!! Here are a few things that work for me!

1) Large Envelopes
I use brightly colored large envelopes to store all my activities!
 In the past, I used clear plastic bags, but changed for a few reasons. 
Plastic bags tend to look old and dirty, and that bothers me...and envelopes are just easier to store! 
I guess the bright colors make my visual self happy, too!!!

I print the cover sheet on regular copy paper, glue the corners of the cover to the envelope, and laminate the envelope. Then I slit the laminating film at the opening of the envelope. Easy!

My Tip for You: 
Large colorful envelopes are not cheap! You may want to use other "funds" or put these on a Wish List. Manila folders are less expensive if you don't mind the color.  I still use snack and sandwich size plastic bags for small pieces. They are just hidden inside the folders now!

UPDATE: These envelopes came from Office Depot. The brand is Wausau-Astrobright 9 x 12 envelopes. A pack of 25 is $6.59 online, but is much cheaper ordering through the school. 

They also sell 4 1/8 x 9 1/2 in packs of 50. Those are $5.99 online. Wausau has really pretty assorted copy paper, too.

2) Recycled Cardboard Boxes
I have been teaching 21 years. I have A LOT of books! 
There is simply not enough space in the classroom to keep all the books out at one time! That being said...
It helps to have them organized! HA! 
I always kept my books sorted and separated on the shelves with bright folders. Well, several years ago, I was at Walmart and saw all these great boxes full of paper folders. One of the employees was consolidating the boxes and putting the leftover boxes in a shopping cart. I asked her what she was going to do with them, and she was more than happy to turn them over to me. 

I took them home, typed some labels, and had myself some theme boxes! Yay! Now I can grab a box and go! It makes changing out baskets in the classroom so much easier!! 

A few weeks ago, one of my teammates needed books on America. I handed her my trusty cardboard box. Did I tell you they were FREE???

My Tip for You: 
Start looking at Walmart (or anywhere else that sells paper folders) when school supplies are first put on the shelves. Be prepared to make several trips. I did not collect all my boxes in one trip!

This is a very real (and messy) picture of my kids in our reading center 
where the books are being loved!

We are right in the middle of a super fun weather unit! 
The kids LOVE learning about Weather!! 
Here's a little freebie I made for us to use during our study! 
I'll be back this weekend with more Weather pics! 

Click on the pic to download!

Have a wonderful week!!

What Works for Me Wednesday #4

Today is What Works for Me Wednesday, but...since I'm on Spring Break, 
I'll share a couple of pics and remind you of a great opportunity!

So what works for me?

1) This normally very active kiddo surrounding himself with the globes
 as he gets comfy and SO engaged in his book!

2) These sweet boys seriously searching the room
 for our weekly skills during Read the Room!

3) This silly one who just wanted her picture taken as she was being measured. 
We might be a little off on this measurement...

 4) Parents who go above and beyond to make our class parties festive! 
Heart-shaped muffins and strawberries for our Valentine's Day Breakfast!

5) Teamwork: This ALWAYS works for me! 
So glad I had my camera when these kiddos were in their playground huddle! 
LOVE it!

Most importantly, link up with Crystal at Kreative in Kinder to lend support to fellow teachers! This one could work for all of us!!

Happy Wednesday to you!!!

Jack and the Beanstalk and a Few Presidents

Hope you're having an awesome weekend! 
We are officially on Spring Break! 
Today, I want to share a few activities we did while learning about Presidents and reading Jack & the Beanstalk.

Last week, we used Cara's Pint-Sized Presidential Unit and wrote
 about what we would do if we were President.  


"If I were President, I would tell the house builders to put cameras
 in houses so that kids would behave..."  
Teacher's Kid!!

 "If I were President, I would help my Mom's boss lady eat and put her clothes on."
Her Mom is a Home Health Nurse! Ha!

We also learned about Dental Health! How did I not take pics?? 
I'll post those next time!

Jack and the Beanstalk
We read Jack and the Beanstalk each year with our Plant unit. 
Well, I decided to make a mini-unit to go along with the book. 

The mini-unit is 41 pages of comprehension activities. 
Here's a sampling! 

What’s Included:
Mini-unit Cover-page 1
Table of Contents- page 2
Vocabulary/Character cards- page 3-9
Sequence the Beanstalk-Story Sequencing- pages 10-11
What would I say? Character Speech Bubble Match (color)-pages 12-14
What would I say? Character Speech Bubble Match (B/W)-pages 15-17
What Would I say? Speech Bubbles-pages 18-20
Unscramble the Beanstalk-Sentence Scramble (color)-pages 21-25
Unscramble the Beanstalk-Recording Sheets-pages 26-27
Make Words with “beanstalk”-Making Words letters- page 28-29
Make Words with “beanstalk”-Making Words recording sheet-page 30
Describe Jack-Bubble Map- page 31
Describe the Giant-Bubble Map- page 32
Label The Beanstalk-Labeling Mat in color-page 33
Label The Beanstalk-Labeling Mat in B/W-page 34
Creative Writing: What would you trade for Magic beans? page 35
Creative Writing: would you climb the beanstalk? page 36
Beanstalk Craftivity-pages 37-41

I'm excited about the craft! It's easy to prepare and won't take forever
 for the kiddos to complete! I think it turned out really cute!

You can find my mini-unit at TpT and TN for $5!
Click here for TN!

The Arctic
How cute are these??
Our Venture students (Gifted Classes) studied The Arctic
 and created this polar bear and igloo! 

The polar bear is made out of newspapers. 

The igloo is made out of water and milk jugs.

We couldn't help but use this as a photo op!! 
The kids thought the inside looked really cool!

Have a wonderful weekend and Happy Spring Break (if that's you)!!

What Works for Me Wednesday #3

Two Days! That's what we have until Spring Break!! 
We are spent! All of us!! We NEED a break! 
(End of the day! I'm telling you-SPENT!)

Scary part-When we return, we have 3 weeks until Easter Break
 and then 6 weeks until summer! Oh, my!! 

Now, on to What Works for Me!

A quick one today!

Gumball Math

One of my first posts was the way I used 

Several of you asked to see it with gumballs, and here it is! 

We use large pom poms for the gumballs. 
I let the kiddos choose their colors.
It works for us and is so colorful!

My Tip for You: We try to do Math drills twice a week.  
Every other week we complete 3 drills. 
During that week, I make sure one of the drills is a review drill. 
This gives struggling kiddos a boost of confidence.

Listen to Reading
We implemented Daily Five this year! 
I love each of the components, including Listen to Reading! 

Well, those of you who have Listening Centers know 
how difficult it can be to manage. 

What I have found is individual CD and cassette players 
work well with my babies.
No arguing over titles or who is in charge. 

We still have a CD player with 4 headsets if the kids want to read together, 
but the individual sets are options as well.

My Tips for You: 
1) Batteries!!! Know going in...you are going to need batteries! One of the only downfalls to individual players is the many, many batteries you will consume!!! Purchase rechargeable ones if you can.

2) Model for the pumpkins how to use the players! Then model again! 
Then practice! Oh, goodness! Do it! Really Do it! Just trust me!

Definitely a quick one today but hope you found something useful!!

Don't forget to visit Taming My Flock of Firsties for a fun giveaway!

Currently and Giveaway!

I'm linking up with Farley at Oh, Boy, Fourth Grade! 
Here's what I'm doing...
My kiddos would say I'm Merry
We are a happy bunch and laugh and sing A LOT!
My friends would say Mellow. I'm all about just hanging out! 
My family would say Myself
I'm not interested in being anyone else!
Thank you, Farley!

Spring Giveaway
I am participating in a super fun giveaway with 
Beth Ann at Taming My Flock of Firsties!

Look at what you can win!!
From Beth Ann at Taming My Flock of Firsties

From Sue at SOS Supply

From Natalie at Teachery Tidbits

And from me

Here's what you need to do:
1. Follow all blogs. *one entry (four blogs)
2. Follow all TPT stores. *one entry (four stores)
3. Follow Teacher's Notebook stores. *one entry (Laura and Natalie)
4. Follow Facebook pages. *one entry (Sue, Natalie, and Beth Ann)
5. Blog, FB, or Twitter about the giveaway. *two entries

That could be six entries! WOW!!!
This contest will end Sunday, March12th at midnight. 
We will contact the winner Monday morning.

Leave all comments on Beth Ann's blog. 


Hope you're having an awesome week!

Math Games, Awards, and a Freebie!

Hope you are having a great weekend! 
Our Spring Break starts this Friday-hard to believe!

Math Games
One of the Common Core Math Standards for First and Second Grade is 
"mentally" being able to add or subtract 10 from a given number. 

I don't know about your pumpkins, but some of mine struggle with this skill! 

I made an "I Have, Who Has" game to practice this a few weeks ago, 
and the kiddos loved it!

We used number grids to help us find or check our answers. 
The kids really had to listen and THINK, 
and the number grids were excellent tools for practice. 
This is what we did:
  1. Each child was given a number grid and an "I Have, Who Has" card.
  2. I read the first card, and each student listened and placed one finger on the addition fact I read.
  3. Example: Who has 27 + 10? Place one finger on 27 and count up 10. By this time, most students know the shortcut to this skill.
  4. The child who had the answer then read his card. Proceed from there.

This offered great practice for adding 10 to a number.

Well, I've been asked if I were going to make a subtraction one, and here it is! 
My kiddos were excited to see this!! 
Love it when they enjoy practicing a difficult Math skill!

You can find both games at my TpT or TN store. 
Just click on the pics!

Awards-Feeling Blog Love!
I was very honored to receive two awards this past week. 
Here's my acceptance speech!

It's so nice to be recognized and included in this blogging community! 
I appreciate all who stop by this little blog! I love reading your comments! 

I also want to thank all who have purchased from me 
on TpT everyday AND during the Leap Day Sale! 
I can't thank you enough! 

I enjoy using my creations in my own class, 
but it makes me smile to think someone else may want to use them, too. 
It's very humbling.

Thank you to Jen at Hello, Mrs. Sykes and Jenn at A Pirate's Life for Us, who awarded me with the Top Ten Blogger award! 
I have to say, I love those two blogs! 
They would definitely be on my Top Ten list!!

Thank you also to Jessica at Apples and Papers and Traci at Dragonflies in First, who awarded me One Lovely Blog award! 
Jessica is so inspiring and writes the sweetest comments, 
and Traci has the cutest stuff! I heart their blogs, too! 
Funny how you start to feel like you really "know" these girls!!

St. Paddy's Day Freebie
I adore St. Patrick's Day, but it falls during our Spring Break! 
We will celebrate this week instead! Whew, do you feel like I do??
 Valentine's Day, Mardi Gras, Seuss Week, and now St. Paddy's Day!! 
Can you say SPRING BREAK???

Anyway,  I made a little Shamrock Syllable Sort for the kiddos to do this week! Click the pic to get it from my TpT store!

Teri at A Cupcake for the Teacher has reached 800 followers! 
Go check out her giveaway!

Valerie at Grow Up Learning is having her very first giveaway! 
She has a great looking Spring unit up for grabs!

Have a super week!

Happy Birthday, Dr. Seuss!!

Today we had a school-wide birthday party for Dr. Seuss!
Mississippi Public Broadcasting helped us celebrate with a precious Seussy program complete with the Cat himself!  

They gave out goodie bags for the kids AND the teachers, too! 
The student goodie bags contained a book, bookmark, pencil, eraser, and notepad, all Seuss themed! 

And get this, ALL teachers and K-2 students received a Cat Hat!
Did you know the Cat had his own Boogie?? 
Well, we learned the Cat Boogie today!! What fun! 

We continued the celebration in our class with Seuss-inspired Friday treats! 
I asked the parents to send the ingredients and let the kiddos do all the work! 

We made Red Fish, Green Eggs and Ham, and The Cat's Hat! 
My sillies loved it and kept saying, "This is the best day!" 
Don't you love those days?? I'll definitely do this again next year!

We had a little extra icing as you can see! 
Why waste it when the kids will eat it???

Before Seuss Hat pics:
Love to see them get comfy and read!!

We had a lot of wild and fun hair! 
This precious one is actually a VERY athletic boy! 

So engaged in the book-Love!

Sweet friends reading together! 
Our 5th grade had a fundraiser today for their class trip.
Hence, the Sprite!

First grade teachers: Don't you love this time of year when your babies can sit and read independently?? Love it!!

Happy Birthday, Dr. Seuss!!!