100 Day Freebie!!!

Happy MLK weekend!!!  Do you get a 3-day break??  Or do you have to go to school on Monday?? The boys are off on Monday and we were thisexcited when they hopped in the car on Friday afternoon.  My kindergartner exclaimed, "YESSSSS!!!!!  We're off of homework for THREE whole days!!!!  YESSSSSS!!!!"  Bless him.  So we celebrated with some coke floats from Sonic and took a little Sonic selfie to kickstart our extended weekend.  

Dang, I love those boys.

Now let's talk 100th Day.  That's right.  The 100th Day of school.  I know many of you have already celebrated.  Lots of you are celebrating this week.  And then there's still more who are planning their 100th day celebration as I type.  

For the first few years of my teaching career, I didn't think the 100th day of school was all that.  I mean sure...it was special.  SUPER special (for lack of a better description).  But I didn't invest much time in planning because I guess I didn't think it was THAT big of a deal.  Oh, how naive.

As the years passed, I realized I was missing out on a pretty cool celebration.  I started to become a bit more inentional with planning the days' festivities.  At the time, that consisted of decorating 100 day crowns, making 100 day Froot Loop necklaces, and indulging in a 100 Day snack.  Perfectly perfect. 

Then I switched schools & districts.  My eyes were opened.  The 100th Day of school was a HUGE deal.  Our whole campus celebrated with a balloon release.  Pretty. stinkin. awesome.

And we reminisced about 100 things we learned in the first 100 days of school...

The I made a big move 4 hours south and started teaching at a Kindergarten campus.  My administrators value and celebrate every milestone and special day you can imagine...homemade tshirts, parades, the whole 9 yards.  Yes my friends...the 100th Day is a BIG deal.  And I loved watching it all through the eyes of my boys....

I loved celebrating it with my babies just as much.  But there was NO way I could fit in everything I wanted to (darn you, Pinterest!!!!!).  I couldn't figure out a way to finagle my schedule so that I could attempt to fit it all in.  It's really an impossible feat.  But I sure did the best I could...and we had a pretty amazing celebration...

Then last year's 100th day rolled around and I felt like I **finally** had a system for getting as much out of the day as I possibly could.  I wanted to go all out, but make the day meaningful as well.  I didn't just want a day full of play, but I wanted our activities to be fun as well.  Finally...after 13 years...I found a system that was stress free and it actually WORKED!!!!  And we had a blast!!!  

I decided schedule 8 different 100 day stations throughout our day...we even had time for a 100 day parade, a special snack, and a few read alouds, too!  It really was a perfect day!

After posting all about our 100 day festivities last year, I had several requests to make the station signs, punch cards, and crown templates available.  SO...if you're interested in setting up a successful and stress free 100th day full of rotations, here you go!  A little 100th day freebie for you!  

I hope this helps your planning go smoothly and I hope you love it as much as we did!!!!!

Five For Friday!

Today I'm linking up with Kacey at DoodleBugs for a little 5 for Friday...

But first, can y'all believe it's already the 16th?!  I always feel like January and February are the two months of the school year that just D-R-A-G on, but dang...this month seems to be passing me by in the fast lane!  

Anywho, let's get started.

Let's start with someone to follow.  Are you on Instagram??  If you are and by some chance you're not following Miss May at One Fab Teacher, do yourself a favor and follow.  I absolutely LOVE her posts.  They are always SO positive!  In a profession where it's easy to let the worst get the best of you, Tiffany is a  bright spot in every day.  Her positivity is contagious!  I just LOVE her!  And she's a Houston girl, so she had my heart right away ;)  
Miss May blogs at One Fab Teacher, too!  Love her blog!!!

I've been a little busy the last couple of weeks prepping and planning for a busy February full of conferences.  
I love presenting. I really do.  Let me follow that up by saying I am NOT a pro at it.  I have a LONG way to grow.  I get nervous...REALLY nervous.  I get so nervous that I talk  REALLY fast.  I have that problem normally, but put me in front of a room full of teachers and it's fast talking times ten.  I often rush through my presentations without giving enough wait time or explaining everything in perfect detail because I don't want to leave anything out.  My ADD gets the best of me for sure.  However, I'd like to think I'm getting better each and every time I present. I'm learning what does..and doesn't...work for me. I've learned to slow down and talk slowly.  I've learned that it's okay if I don't make it all the way through every.single.slide.  I've also learned that no matter what the content or the way it's presented, you can't please everyone all of the time...and that's okay, too.

When I presented in Vegas, I had only done it two other times before that...and those times were spread out 6 months apart.  It's hard to get better when the breaks are so long in between!!!  I'm loving the consistency this year. I'm loving all the teachers I've met and all the advice and feedback I've been given.  I love feedback... I really do.   I love hearing what teachers liked or could've done without. Just like when I was in the classroom.  I loved getting feedback from my administrators.  There's ALWAYS room to grow!!!!

I'm excited to spend the next few weeks with teachers in my great home state and Alabama & Kansas, too :)  

Before heading out to present, I'll be hopping on a plane and heading to Atlanta.  I'm crossing off one of my most exciting bucket list items...to spend a day at the Ron Clark Academy!!!!  AAAAAAHHHHHHHH!!!!!!!!

I can't wait.
This has been a dream of mine for years!!!!!  I can't wait to learn from the best of the best.  And, of course, I can't wait to become slide certified!!!  And did you know they just opened a new wing in the school?!?!  MAGICAL!!!! 

I really can't wait to meet the face behind the book, too.  Kim Bearden's book, Crash Course, is one of the most inspirational books I've ever read.  Ever.  Whether you're a teacher or not...it's a book for everyone.  And it's a game changer.  I blogged about it back in the summer and you can read more about it HERE.

If you're in the market for some quick and easy to prep...as in NO prep...math activities, I just posted a series of Flip Strips just for math.  These were by request and I'm currently finishing up Money Flip Strips, Time Flip Strips, and the rest of my ELA Flip Strips, too!  Quick and easy...and I put them on sale for 20% which makes them all less than $4!!  

Here's a sneak peek inside each....

These Numbers 1-20 Flip Strips are perfect for my K friends, but a great review for 1st, too.  Included are numbers 1-20.  Lots of cut & paste options are available which is great for honing those fine motor skills.  You can grab it for $2.60 until tomorrow!

This is the time of the year our K babies start on 3D shapes and I never have enough 2D/3D shape activities to supplement my curriculum.  These 2D/3D Shape Flip Strips are the perfect little supplement with lots of opportunities for independent practice.  They're on sale for $2.40.

These addition and subtraction flip strips would be a great for quick assessment, but you can use them lots of other ways, too.  Cut and paste options are available for all of the strips and offer lots of opportunities for reinforcement and independent practice.

You can grab them individually for $3.40 a piece (through tomorrow)...


you can buy the bundle for $5.60 (through tomorrow) and save!!

Stay tuned for more flip strips in the next week!

I know a lot of y'all are celebrating the 100th day of school in the next few weeks.  I posted all about my 100th day fun last year.  Let me tell y'all that in my 13 years of teaching, last year's 100th day of school was the best, smoothest 100th day EVER.  Yes...quite a bit of planning and prep work went into our day of fun, but it was totally worth it.  I can't stress it enough!!! 

If you want to read about what made our day so special, you can read more about it  HERE.

Tomorrow, I will be posting a packet full of 100 day FREEBIES!!!  Some of y'all asked for the downloads to the station signs, 100 day hat, folder printable, and the punch card.  I'll post them all as freebies tomorrow, so come back and get yours if you're thinking about organizing your 100 day activities this way!!

Many of our 100 day activities came from this packet...

...and you can read more about those activities and how they were incorporated into our day HERE.

Don't forget to stop by tomorrow to grab your 100 day freebies!!!


Penguins!!! (And A Couple of Walruses, Too)

Teaching my kids about penguins has always been one of my favorite themes.  There is just SO much you can incorporate in this thematic unit of study...science...math...literacy...a little bit of everything! If you're in the process of planning out your penguin activities for the next few weeks, I thought I could share a few ideas that might help make your planning easier :)

First up, here are some of my most favorite penguin picture books.  I don't get around to reading them all during our unit, but these are several I've read throughout the years and have loved.

The Penguin Who Lost Her Cool is a great little read if you have any friends riding the struggle bus with anger issues...just sayin' ;)

These are a few of my most favorite non-fiction books, too.  I like to keep a variety of non-fictio books in our library during our thematic unit of stuy to give kids the opportunity to do a little self-guided research.  

We always start out our unit of learning by activating our schema.  We talk about misconceptions and new learning as well and then this stays displayed as an anchor chart throughout our penguin study.

Speaking of non-fiction, Deanna Jump has a great non-fiction unit on Penguins that I've been using in my classroom for the last 4ish years or so.  Here's a little non-fiction writing & craftivity we did when I taught first grade..

I LOVE how much my kids write when it comes to composing non-fiction pieces.  I always think it's so much easier to get MORE out of my kids during the non-fiction writing process because they know what to write about...it's all so concrete.  When  I notice kids struggling with writing...or when I'm introducing a new writing skill..I like to add a lot of non-fiction writing to my plans because it's easier for them to implement new writing techniques or ideas when they're not having to think about what kind of story they want to write, too.  

Here's a little craftivity we did with our non-fiction writing last year.
I don't have a template for the craftivity, but it was super simple to create.  Cut out a big circle in black.  And then a circle about an inch and a half smaller in white.  I used circle hole punches for the eyes...then cut out super simple beaks, feet, & wings...and the kids added hair (depending on the kind of penguin they were making).


One of our favorite penguin picture books is The Penguin Who Wanted to Fly by Catherine Vase.  If you haven't read it, you must.  And if you already know what I'm talking about, then make sure to pull it out again this year and try out this little text to self writing craftivity!!!  

I love the way these turned out, too!  So simple and easy.  Again, no template (womp, womp)...but the assembly is super simple. Cut out a large blue square...round the edges.  Cut out a smaller white square...round the edges.  Cut out small orange squares for the feet...and, you guessed it...round the edges.  Finish it off with a skinny oval for a beak and larger oval shapes for the wings.  I used a small circle punch for the eyes.

Speaking of freebies, here's an oldie but goodie.  Beginning and ending digraph sorting...with a penguin theme :)  Click on the pic to download your copy.

Here are some penguin themed math & literacy centers.  My kids LOVED these last year!!!  
They were a great supplement for our learning.  

Now if you're all about the arctic animals, here are a couple of things we did with walruses.  

This was one of my favorite writing activities of the year!!  Through our non-fiction reading, we learned that walruses whistle.  We even watched a video about it on Discovery Education.  I can't find that video at this moment, but the first 16 seconds of THIS VIDEO are awesome!! 

Anyway, after we learned all about whistling walruses, I had my kids compare themselves to their friends with a little compare/contrast writing activity.  All they had to do was pair themselves up with another friend in class and try to whistle...then they wrote about it.  You can read more about that HERE.

And Feed the Walrus was one of our favorite winter math games!!! 

 I explained to the kids how we have one/two/three digit numbers and for this game, we were going to see how many two digit numbers we could create with number sentences.  First up, I had one friend roll the dice.  We practiced “counting up” from the highest amount rolled and then fed the walrus that number of sea creatures.  After the first friend rolled the dice and fed the walrus, my next friend came up, rolled the dice, and fed the walrus the next amount. After the walrus had a full belly {two rolls of the dice}, we pulled out the “food” and used the tens frame tray to count the total amount.  Then we created number sentences to go with them!  This was a great little learning piece because the kids got to see how different number sentences can still equal the same amount.  For example…8+7=15 and so does 10+5.  They did such a great job working with their tens frames! After everyone had a turn to roll and write, we counted up the two digit numbers for a quick vocabulary review.  We had more number sentences with two digit sums than not!  Pret

I do hope this helps with your planning these next few weeks!!!

Now, if you own my Work on Writing Growing Bundle, go into your purchases and download the February edition!  It was added to the bundle yesterday!  If you're interested in adding these activities to your writing center, you can grab this packet for 20% off through the night!! 

Snowman Fun, Freebies, and a Place Value Sneak Peek!

Happy New Year, friends!  2015....really?!?!

Have you made any resolutions?  Me...notsomuch.  Of course, I always want to be a better version of who I was the year before, but resolutions never quite "stick" if you know what I mean.  Sure...I want to eat healthier.  Work out more.  Get more organized.  Keep the house clean.  Do the laundry...regularly ;)  Yes...I want all those things.  And to eat all the things and still be able to fit into my jeans.  But really...I just want to have a great year filled with lots of laughter and more memories than I can count.

Instead of a resolution, I'm going into 2015 with a  mantra...

I think that sums it all up perfectly.  And I'm starting this book to help me get better at saying "yes" to the things that really count.

I tried to start it a while back, but I'm not the best at time management, so I never got around it.  Dangit.  

Anyway, whatever you resolve to do...or whatever your mantra may be for the new year...I pray that 2015 brings you MANY blessings!!!!  

Before we look ahead to the new year, let's take a look back at a few things we did going into the new year in years past.   Maybe there are some activities and freebies that will help you with your planning these next few weeks!!  

This is typically how I start the new year with my cuties.  These were our goals in 2011...

In 2011, I blogged all about these snowman activities.  

I got this cutie snowman painting idea from What the Teacher Wants and then paired that with a reading response for Snowmen at Night.  You can read all about our fun that day HERE.

The following year, I was inspired by The Elementary Art Room with this cute snowman craftivity.
I decided to have the kids create this with their response to the story.  LOVE the way they turned out!!!  You can check out our writing HERE.

At the time we were also working on expository writing.  I had my kids build their own snowman out of construction paper...create a little scene...and then write about HOW to build a snowman.  

Here's what we did when I taught Kindergarten in 2013.  I made these little snowman parts in power point (sorry...I don't have the file!!! :() and then had the kids build the snowman and then write about how they built it.  In these parts of Texas, my kids will probably never have a chance to build a snowman, so this was a way to make the writing a bit more tangible and relevant.

We were also working on blends, so I created this simple little activity.  You can grab it for FREE!!!

Speaking of FREE...and who doesn't love free?!?!....here's a little freebie I blogged about that same year.  A little something fun for the writing center. 

And of course, a few little math freebies, too!

This little math craftivity was inspired by Joanna Davis at We Heart Art.  I used her cutie snowman for  problem solving. They used their thumprints to create the snowflakes and then made patterns on the snowman's scarf.  You can read all about it HERE.

I love introducing the concept of symmetry in January.  Really, any time of the year is appropriate, but I love the activities I can do this time of the year with this concept.

Here we are making a symmetrical snowman.  This really helped the kids to "get" the concept.

And we've made these symmetrical snowflakes as long as I've been teaching!  13 years!  Say what?!

This was such a FUN whole group math game!!!!  My kids LOVED it!  A great way 
to reinforce making 10 while keeping with the whole snowman theme.  #targetsnowflakesforthewin

Speaking of games, this was another class favorite!!!  Aaaahhh!!!  This was SUCH a blast for the kids...they asked to play it almost every day after that!  Great way to reinforce the concept of comparing numbers.

Speaking of games...here's another "making 10" game we loved.  Only with this one, we practiced using the number line.  You can read more about it HERE.

Here was a little patterning activity we got from Julie Lee at Mrs. Lee's Kinder Kids.  I absolutely LOVED these!!  So did my kids!

This was a game we played a TON last year.  It really works with ANY skill.  You can find out how we played it in this post.

Another favorite was this great sight word activity we kept out almost all winter long.  My kids had to dig for sight words and build them with "snowballs".  You can grab the FREEBIE HERE.

We did SO much more in January in the years past, but this post would be a mile long if I included everything.  So I'll save that for another post...maybe tomorrow or the day after that.  Hopefully these activities will help you with your planning the next few weeks!!!

Here's a little something I'm THRILLED about going into the new school year...my new Place Value Intervention packet of activities!!!

Does that sound silly?? #teachernerd

I'm really passionate about teaching math and place value is one of my most favorite concepts to teach.  Here is a little sneak peek at just a few of the activities in the packet...

Climb the ladder is a fun small group game where kids have to correctly answer several different questions about a number and the value of it's digits to win the game.  

The pyramid place value tray is a different twist on building numbers and I absolutely love anything I can put a twist on.   I really believe in taking one concept and finding lots of different ways to practice the skill so that the novelty doesn't wear off.

Not only does this intervention packet include lots of whole group & small group games & activities, but it also provides opportunities for independent practice and reinforcement.  That's something our kids can NEVER do enough!!!

I like using independent acivities for whole group lessons as well.  It's a great way to introduce a concept.  And when the kids are familiar with a game/activity, that's less reteaching you have to do later on and less interruption you'll get when it comes time for that independent practice.

Speaking of independent practice, I included 15 different print & practice activity sheets.  These would be great for morning work, homework, or anything you can think of.

And if you have interactive journals in your classroom, I also included a few supplemental (editable) journaling pages for additional practice and reinforcement opportunities.

If you're in the market for a few more place value resources, I have this available as well.  Lots of hands on games and fun for this skill!!!

And if you're looking for a few things to help your planning go a little smoother while transitioning into the 2nd semeseter of the school year (WOO HOO!!!!), here are a few things that might be able to help!!!

Have a FABULOUS weekend before the crazy starts up again!!!!