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Monday, December 31, 2012

A “Perfect Pair” Giveaway

We slightly surpassed 300 fabulous followers a few weeks ago, and I’m not about to let that go uncelebrated!

We went all out for our 200 Follower Giveaway a few months ago, and while this giveaway isn’t as grand, I think it’s just as great!

I present to you a “Perfect Pair” Giveaway!

perfect pair giveaway

I’ve selected 4 items from our TpT shop, and paired them with the perfect children’s book.

{I think there’s a theme going on here}
Perfect Pair #1: My Reading Comprehension Passages {Winter Edition} unit is one of the newest in our shop.  It’s my latest pride and joy because I wrote all of the stories in it {brushes shoulders off…}.  In all seriousness though, my kiddos really, really, really need practice with this skill…especially going back into the story to answer the question.  These are perfect for classwork, small groups, centers, homework, and even assessments!  They are tried and true in my own classroom full of 2nd graders, but I think they’d be great for 3rd Grade too! {I’ll be back later this week to really get my brag on tell you about them.}

The book “The Story of Snow” by Mark Cassino is a great non-fiction book all about snow!   It’s the perfect addition to your classroom library!
Perfect Pair #2: My communities unit teaches all about suburban, urban, and rural communities using imaginary pen-pals.  There are so many fun activities in this unit, and it incorporates friendly letter writing too.  Win-win! 

“Roxaboxen” by Alice McLerran has made an appearance or two on this blog because it is one of my very favorite books ever!  {It doesn’t hurt that it’s illustrated by my very favorite, Barbara Cooney}  I use it when I introduce communities in my classroom.  It doesn’t correlate directly with types of communities, but it’s a great addition to any community unit and classroom library.  You want this book!
Perfect Pair #3: “Random Acts of Kindness with Mr. Hatch” is the first ever item I uploaded to TpT.  Mr. Hatch just got a big makeover in anticipation of Valentine’s Day.  I added some new sheets & activities and reformatted old ones.  I’ve decided my class will continue Random Acts of Kindness beyond the Christmas season, and this unit is a great way to do it come February.  Plus, I just had to make something to go with this book.  It is so darn cute!

“Somebody Loves You, Mr. Hatch” is the Valentine’s Day book if you ask me, but the message that Eileen Spinelli sends is so important, you can use this book any day of the year! 
Giveaway #4: “Love Is…” is a student created mini-book that has students explain what love is using similes. {example: Love is as warm as _________}.  There are many different sentence starters, a cover, and an about the author page.  A perfect writing and grammar activity for February}

I love all of Diane de Groat’s books.  “Roses are Pink, Your Feet Really Stink” is no exception.  Read it to your class AFTER they make their books though, so they don’t get too silly on you!

Good stuff, huh?

This is how it’s going to work:
*There will be 1 Rafflecopter, but 4 winners.  I don’t want to overcomplicate things!  Winners will get the prize in the order they are chosen.  For example, if your name is the second name Rafflecopter chooses, you win Perfect Pair #2.
*You need to be a follower of our blog to win this giveaway, beyond that there are many other ways to win! 
*This giveaway will run until Sunday, January 6th. 
*You can share this giveaway daily to have more chances to win!

Bloggers run giveaway to gain new followers, but also to thank the followers that are already with them.  So, thank you for being a follower of this blog!  I still can’t believe that there are people {more specifically creative, imaginative, visionary teachers like you} that read this blog and like my ideas!  A lot of times Sometimes teaching can be overwhelming and thankless.  This blog and all of you let me know it’s not always that way.

So thank you, thank you, thank you!

Now go win something!!!


a Rafflecopter giveaway

Sunday, December 30, 2012

Warm Up to a Good Book {FREEBIE}

Happy Sunday!

If you’ve been following us for awhile, you might remember that one of my very first posts was a bulletin board freebie called “Warm Up to a Good Book”.  Well, I decided over break to give it a little make-over.


It’s back and better than ever! 
The first time around, I posted one writing prompt.  Version 2.0 features:
*A planning sheet
*Tracers for mug & chocolate
*Marshmallows {or use real ones!}
*4 different prompts

warm up too

warm up

Click any of the pictures above to head over to TpT and grab it for free :)

And remember to stay tuned…I’ve got a pretty cute giveaway coming up {if I do say so myself!}


Thursday, December 27, 2012

Snowman Ornaments & December Happenings

Hi Friends!

I hope everyone had a wonderful holiday surrounded by everything they love.
For me that meant my husband, my family, Georgie Girl, good food and wine, and games!
And lots of fun times with friends while we’re on break!

We had so much fun in 2nd grade leading up to Christmas Break!  The good news is that I took a TON of pictures.  The bad news is that most of those pictures were of their adorable faces, and therefore not blog approved.  I did manage to sneak a few sans faces though!

Hadar posted this adorable Name Tree Craftivity right before Christmas Break.  I loved it, but I thought it was a little to young for my 2nd Graders, so I used her idea as inspiration for our “Odd and Even Trees”

Click the picture to head to Miss Kindergarten’s blog to see her post and get the stars for free!

I had my kids randomly draw an odd or even number.  If they drew an even number, they used the directions on the projector to make your standard looking Christmas tree.  If they drew an odd number they used the directions to create an odd looking tree.  They LOVED this activity!

even odd sb

odd even trees
Wish this picture was more clear!

I   Our awesome ESL teacher also read “The Grinch Who Stole Christmas”.  She did such a great job…the kids were in a trance while she read. 

Thanks Maria!

Afterwards, students wrote what they would do to make the Grinch grin.  {No pictures, sorry!}

The next day, we watched the cartoon version movie, and drank Grinch Floats {lime sherbet and Sprite}.

grinch floats

The Thursday before break, we arrived in The North Pole on our Christmas Trip Around the World.  We celebrated by watching The Polar Express and drinking hot chocolate in our PJs.


Right before our North Pole Party we hosted our first ever Mug Exchange!  Students brought in a wrapped mug and swapped with their friends!  In the past we did a book exchange Pollyana for our holiday party, but I liked the Mug Exchange much more, for a a few reasons:

* Mugs generally cost less than most books
*In the past, I had many students receive books that were well above, or well below, their reading level {even though we sent home suggestions}.  They were great books, just not great for them!  Mugs are pretty universal!
*They’ll hold on to their mugs for a loooong time, and have such a fun memory associated with it!  I love that!

We’ll definitely do the mug exchange again!

A few days before Christmas Break, we made Salt Dough Snowmen Ornaments for our parent gifts.  This is the second year we’ve made them.  We teachers were older and wiser this year, and we were so excited about how these little guys turned out this time!!

snowmen orns 2
Love how they each have their own personality!

We use the recipe and directions from Kaboose but we’ve altered it a little bit.  I know Christmas has come and gone, but these would be great to Pin for next year, or for a snowman unit in January!

Grab our directions below:

Click here to grab the file.

snowmen paint
Painting our noses!

snowmen orns
The final product.

Tips & Tricks for Success:

*Let noses and faces dry separately {last year, we made the face and nose out of salt dough and let it dry together.  It was EXTREMELY hard for our 2nd graders to paint the noses orange, and faces white when they were attached  It looked veryyyyy sloppy.}
*Set up an area with orange paint, and an area with white paint.  {I had half of my students paint their faces white at their desks and half paint their noses orange at the back table with me…then switch}.  This meant we didn’t have to wash paintbrushes in between, and orange and white stayed separate!
*Use black sharpie for the faces.  Painting details that small is really, really hard for little hands!
*Give students creative freedom. You can’t see it here, but we had snowmenwomen with eyelashes and lips, and they were pretty darn cute.
*DON’T use acrylic sealer…it will cause the sharpies to bleed.

I hope all this December fun was inspirational for you for next year!  Pin it so you don’t forget!

I’ll be back later this week with Giveaway news and a few new products I’ve been working on!

Keep on enjoying this wonderful break we SO DESERVE!!!!


Monday, December 24, 2012

Married and MERRY!!!!!

christmas card
Our Christmas Card

Merry Christmas everyone!  

I have been a total slacker this week, but I promised myself I wouldn’t do anything that would make me crazier or more stressed out than usual!  We are hosting Christmas Eve tonight, and I’m running around trying to make everything absolutely perfect!

Sandy Hook is still very much on my mind, and I decided to really just enjoy my students’ company this past week, and I sooooooo did!  We had an absolute blast, I tell ya!  I can’t wait to share pictures {wish I could of their cute little faces :( }, but I’ll be sure to share all of the pics I actually can…including some ideas for NEXT year :)

Have a wonderful, lovely, magical, happy, happy Christmas!  Count your blessings!

Monday, December 17, 2012

You’ve Been R.A.C.K.ed {a FREEBIE}

Today was no ordinary Monday.  Everyone who entered our school did so with heavy hearts.  I promised myself to just enjoy my time with my students, time that I normally take for granted.  For today, at least, I didn’t get frustrated when they didn’t start a sentence with a capital letter, or when I had to ask them, again, to sit quietly while I was on the phone.  I just took them all in.  I am lucky.  We are lucky.  I know this.

A few weeks back, we started Random Acts of Christmas {or Classroom, if you prefer} Kindness.  Now more than ever, this seems pretty relevant.  Kindness is so, so, so important.

So far, we’ve read books to our Kindergarten Buddies, bought coffee and donuts for our office staff {and wrote them letters}, ordered pizza for our janitors, and brought in lunch for our #1 Maintenance Man, Mr. Ed {he got lots of sweet, sweet letters too…I just don’t have the energy to white-out the names on them tonight. Sorry}.

They’re tickled pink to do these things for the grown-ups in their school, and it’s infectious!



rack pizza

We attach a R.A.C.K. tag every time we complete one of our acts.  It’s here as a FREEBIE if you’d like it {I know the tags in the pictures have a typo…the ones in Google Docs do not}.

I hope everyone takes the time to enjoy their students just a teensy bit more this week. 

 I know you already are.

Clipart: DJ Inkers
Some Fonts: Hello Fonts

Saturday, December 15, 2012


Sandy Hook has not left my mind since yesterday afternoon.  I think of my students, and how much I love them, and how I would do anything to protect them, and my heart aches.  Something has got to give.


Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Linkin’ Up: 12 in 12!

I’m linkin’ up with two of the best bloggers I know idolize…

Miss Kindergarten and A Teeny Tiny Teacher are hosting a 12 in '12 Linky party!  So fun, especially because I missed out last year, not being a blogger and all…

Here we go…

{Did the NSYNC song just pop into anyone else’s head?}

12. Favorite movie you watched:
Hunger Games.  Hands down.  OBSESSED with the books.  Almost as equally obsessed with the movie {and Peeta too, of course}

The Hunger Games Poster

11. Favorite TV series:
Parenthood.  I wish I was a Braverman.

10. Favorite restaurant:
Oh gosh.  This is sooo hard because we love, love, love going out to eat.  I’m gonna have to go with The Little Tuna, a place near our home in adorable, downtown Haddonfield.

9. Favorite new thing you tried:

8. Favorite gift you got:
Our Kitchenaid Mixer maybe?  It’s a tough call because we got lots of goodies having just got married!

7. Favorite thing you pinned:

I’m gonna go with my dream home…

i wish

I wish.

6. Favorite blog post:

Ooooh, that’s a hard one.  I choose my “Stuffed with Thankful Thoughts” post, because I got such heartwarming comments from other bloggers.  Melted my heart :)

thankful linky

5. Best accomplishment:
Making the Top 10 Best Selling Items list on TpT last week!!!!

TeachersPayTeachers  - Lesson Plans,Teaching Materials and Other Teacher-Created Resources
Still amazed!

4. Favorite picture:


I’m partial to this one.

3. Favorite memory:
My wedding & my honeymoon

Wine tasting was AWE.SOME.

2. Goal for 2013:Be easier on myself

1. One Little Word:Grateful

Such a fun Linky!  Go link up so I can read your answers!!!


Monday, December 10, 2012

Holidays Across the Hall {So Far…}

We are immersed in holiday fun right now!  Our days are literally so packed, and we have so much left to do, I wonder how we’re gonna fit it all in, but we are having such a blast, you won’t catch me {or any 7 year old for that matter} complaining.

airline video

We’ve taken off for our Trip Around the World on Reindeer Airlines to see how other countries celebrate Christmas and other holidays. 

Our grade partner, Erica, found this Airline Safety Video on YouTube.  It’s from Thompson Airlines.  Our kiddos were enthralled by this video.  Enthralled, I tell you!  They thought it was the coolest thing ever.  It is so adorable {little kids + British accents= Too cute!!!!}, I highly recommend showing it anytime you “fly” somewhere with your class.

airline video2

So far we’ve been to the Scandinavian Peninsula, Germany, and France.  My class is loving the booklets from our unit.  I am loving that they are so engaged in what we’re doing.  They are genuinely interested in what they’re learning and having a blast.  One of my boys told his mom he wants to dress up as a Star Boy {Sweden} for Christmas!!

scandinavia bookstar boys

These booklets come from our Holidays Around the World unit.  It was a Top 10 Seller last week {whaaaaaaaaaat?!?!?!?!?!!?!?!?!!?}, which put us over the moon!  We’re so excited so many of you are using this unit to teach your kiddos about holidays around the world!


We also started our Secret Santa unit last week.  Oh my word, are they eating this little community building activity up!

They got really excited when I put their envelopes up.  “What are those for Mrs. Hird?”, “Are we getting new mailboxes?”, “Do we get to take those home?!!!???”, “Is that for candy? Money? Tickets?”


We got right to work on our Secret Santa messages.


Before I actually let them spread out and write their messages, we talked about being as specific as possible to make our friends feel good about themselves.  The messages they wrote were pretty funny, and down right sweet…


Shane does always dance to MJ.  And we do always have a really good time!


C Hming does have really neat handwriting {not just in math}, and he is so, so, so sweet.

We have a few more messages to get out before Christmas Break next week, and I can’t wait to see what else they write!

If this looks like something you’d like to do with your class, click the pic below.


I’ll be back later this week with an update on our trip around the world, as well as a cute Christmas craftivity for even and odd numbers, and to share how we’ve been working on arrays.  At least I think I will…I have HIGH HOPES!

Have a good night friends :)


Tuesday, December 4, 2012

A Holiday Writing Freebie

I have a freebie for you tonight.

{Hold the applause}

Every year we do a "Holiday Traditions” writing in 2nd Grade.  It’s an idea our grade partner Erica brought with her to 2nd Grade. {She totally rocks, by the way}.  Each year students decorate a foam gingerbread man and write about their holiday traditions.  In the past, this project was done completely at home, but we decided to take the writing portion, and have students complete it in the classroom this year.

Earlier this week, we sent home a letter explaining the project, as well as the gingerbread men and a graphic organizer for students to complete with their parents.  Later this week, we’ll start our writings.

This really is a wonderful project.  It’s fun as a teacher to hear how other families spend their holiday, and students learn so much about their own traditions along the way.  Win. Win.

I’ve uploaded a general letter explaining the project to families, as well as the graphic organizer and writing paper to Google Docs.  There’s also a rubric to guide families when they’re creating their gingerbread man.

Pretty basic, but definitely a worthwhile holiday project.  Please download it, by clicking the picture below, if any part of it would work for your classroom.

gingerbread project cover

Have a good night friends!


Sunday, December 2, 2012

December Currently {and a QUICKIE giveaway!}

Well, it’s December.

When did that happen?

dec currently

My Currenty this month is pretty self explanatory.  Basically, I love to buy Christmas decorations {on clearance every year…yay me!}, but the actual process of decorating overwhelms me, and it takes me forever to decorate my house.  So I’m a nut…that’s all :)

Oh' boy fourth grade
Go link up and get some RAK {Random Acts of Kindness} Inspiration!

Anddddd I decided I want to do a quickie giveaway!!!
You can have any item from our store as long as you comment below with a link of how you shared it.

This giveaway is now CLOSED.
{I go to bed early on Sundays apparently!  I'm pooped!}
I used the Christina Bainbridge method of choosing tonight's winner:

Lindsey, you win!  Check your Inbox!
Everyone else, thank you so much for taking part...maybe we'll do another one soon!

Maybe you want one of our holiday units…


This can be a blog post, a FB link, a pin…whatever…just share the item YOU want however YOU want!  Easy Peasy!  I’ll pick a winner before I go to bed tonight. {PS: I live on the EAST coast}

Don’t forget to leave your email!
Enjoy your Sunday!