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Saturday, September 29, 2012

Apple Mania, End of Quarter Sale, and Check Out This Giveaway!

Just a really quick announcement: I’m holding a 20% off sale in my store because it’s the last weekend of September.  Thank you everyone for your support of my store.  It’s crazy to me that my products are in classrooms all over the world!  Warms my heart :)

Now, on to the yummy stuff…

Apples have taken over the blogosphere classrooms, and our room was no exception.  Check out how we celebrated Johnny Appleseed’s birthday in our classroom this week :)

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We started off by trying apple cider and apple cider donuts.  The whole class knows that Mrs. H loooooooves apple cider donuts, so they were pretty excited to share this bonding experience with me chow down.
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Then we graphed the results.  Can I tell you how much they loved that the graph went off the board?  They were rolling on the floor.  “She has to get a chair to reach!!!!”  It’s covering the alphabet!!!!!!!!!!!!!”.  It was adorable.

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Then we graphed our results on paper, and interpreted the data.  This was our first graph of the year, and I have to admit, they had some trouble comparing the results.  I was really surprised!!  Note to self: more graphs this year!

We complete the “Happy Birthday Johnny Appleseed” book from Alisha. {Sorry, no pictures, but the book is really cute!}

And we finished up our apple glyphs and apple writings from my “Favorite Way to Eat an Apple” pack.




I modeled the detailed sentences first, then a topic sentence, and well as a closing sentence.  We’re definitely working on organizing our writings.  There is a lot of room for improvement!

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The finished result!  They look adorable in the hallway.

I hope to be back soon to share some Back to School Night photos and ideas, as well as offer up a pretty big giveaway!!!

Speaking of giveaways, check out “What Happens in First”.  You can win a LOFT gift card {something every teacher needs :)}


Monday, September 24, 2012

I Made a Font!

You guys. You guys!  This new to me  iPad App {iFont Maker} is going to take the blogging world by storm.  Mark my words.

I caught on to it when I became obsessed with Jennifer’s fonts over at Hello Literacy.  I did some digging around and realized the iPad app is how she makes her fonts.  She has it down to a science.  Her fonts are perfect, and they’ve replaced ck handprint on almost every printable I’ve made since July.  I’m obsessed with fonts, and they usually can’t hold my attention for long, but I love, love, love Jennifer’s fonts.

Anyways, I’ve been playing around on my iPad all night, and I finally came up with a font I’m ready to share.  I’m going to name my fonts after some of my favorite students, so I present to you Bobby.  Bobby always thought outside of the box, so that’s what I wanted from this font.
ATH Bobby Sample

Click the picture to download a copy.  Let me know what you think, and if you love it, use it!  Just link back to our ‘lil ol’ blog!

Alright, I’m off to bed font.

{I think I just made up a new verb}

Halle :)

Sunday, September 23, 2012

Giveaway Winner and a Fall Sale


I hope everyone is enjoying their Sunday!  It’s a beautiful day here in NJ.  We took our morning “Starbucks Walk”, and I even got a little shopping in.  I’ll be spending the rest of the day alternating hanging out with the Mr. and our family and {his} friends watching some football and getting some grading done.

I wanted to pop in and announce my Burlap sign winner:

a Rafflecopter giveaway 

Congrats, Maria!  I’ll be emailing you to find out what kind of sign you would like :)

As you’re most likely aware, a bunch of really awesome bloggers are holding sales in their TpT shops, and since I’m all about the sales, we had to join in too.

I just posted my new Candy Bar Election unit to TpT.  I am soooooooo, soooooo, sooooo excited about it.  Candy bars are the yummiest best way to teach your kiddos about the election process and really get them involved. I used it 4 years ago, and my kids were OBSESSED. I’m going to devote a future post to my unit to show it in all its glory, but here’s a preview pic. 

Candy Bar Preview

Click the picture to head straight to my store and get it while it’s on SALE.

Alright everyone!  Hope you’re enjoying your first FULL day of fall!


Friday, September 21, 2012

{Storytown} Focus Board Freebie and a Giveaway Reminder

A quick little post for you today :)

I’ve said before that we use Storytown as our Basal Reader.  I decided my Focus Board needed a little make-over, and so that’s just what I did.

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Very colorful.  You like?  If you do, I’ve uploaded it to TpT for you to download for fa-ree.

And yes, I’m cringing at that genre poster too.  It says Realistic Fiction, but Arthur’s Reading Race is labeled as fiction in our series.  So, my genre posters are gonna get a little makeover too :)

Don’t forget, I’m hosting a Burlap Sign giveaway.  {They’re cuter than they sound ;)}

Join it here.  It ends tonight!!!



Tuesday, September 18, 2012

I Caught the Burlap Fever {Giveaway Alert!!!}

I’m somewhat tardy to the party.  I know.

But I caught the burlap fever, and I want to spread it to share it with you!

I got crafty this weekend, and made not one but two burlap wreaths.  One component of the fever was a wreath for my front door, and another was for my classroom.  You’ve seen the wreaths all over Pinterest and Blog World.

And I know I’m not the first to do a giveaway of one of these puppies, but that can’t stop me from sharing the love.

Here are my babies signs:

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Aren’t they so cute?  I copied Miss Nelson and used my pencil for my Writing Bulletin Board, but I have a sneaking suspicion another {personalized for my door} one is on its way.

Please enter…please….using the Rafflecopter below.  I’m begging because it’s my first Rafflecopter Giveaway and I am hoping for more than 6 entries!  If you win, you get to pick pencil or circle, and I will personalize it, however you want. 

Here are some suggestions:
1} The Write Stuff
2} Mrs./Ms./Mr./Miss/My ____________’s Room
3} We’re a Sharp Bunch
4} Happy Fall
5} The ____________’s
6} I Won a Giveaway and All I Got Was This Lousy Burlap Pencil

…or whatever you choose :)

The giveaway ends Friday…and we’re hoping to follow it up with a 200+ Followers giveaway soon after, so…spread the word!!!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Good Luck!


Thursday, September 13, 2012

Our First Few Days {and a FREEBIE}

Hello there!
We’ve been in school a little over a week now.  My kiddos are still learning our routines, but have come such a long way since this time last week. 

My grade partners and I have been assessing our little guys and gals in fluency and comprehension, as well as writing and math so we know how to place them.  For reading, we’ve been giving the Storytown assessments {our basal}, as well as fluency passages, and comprehension sheets to round out our results. {Those Storytown Benchmarks are a doozy for them}.  In math, we’ve used both the end of year first grade Benchmark, as well as the beginning of the year 2nd grade Benchmark in EnVisions. I {heart} EnVisions.

We’ve also been reviewing a few addition/subtraction strategies.  These are purely supplemental.  How much do you supplement your math/reading programs?  I feel like we do a lot, especially in the “memorization of facts” department.

So far, we’ve done the Flip-Flop rule as well as Best Friends {Numbers that make 10}.  I can’t believe how much practice my students still need with these strategies, so I’ll continue to hammer review them well into the first quarter, along with our EnVisions program.


What’s pictured?  Our Flip-Flop facts on, well, Flip Flops. Best Friends Musical Chairs on Post-Its. {I meant to use the cards from my Best Friends unit on TpT, but the laminator ate them instead}, our Stripes pictures from my Stripes unit, our Monster Behavior sort, and draw and write craftivity, Best Friends bulletin board from my Best Friends unit, our Playground Promise from my Bully Packet. {Yes, I know…I spelled nicely wrong :(}

Needless to say, we’ve been busy!  Next week we’ll start with our regular curriculum, and I am anxious to really get our routines down.  “I’m Done!!!” needs to be an extinct phrase in my room by September 21st!!

As promised, I have a freebie for you!!!  And, can you believe, I’ve already had a little one out sick?  I needed a last minute “While You Were Out” folder because all of mine from last year didn’t make it through the summer.  I uploaded it to TpT, and you can find it here :)

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*While You Were Out Folder

Have a good one!


Sunday, September 9, 2012

Currently {and a Tip!}

Happy Sunday everyone!

There’s something about Sundays, starting in September.  They’re all of the sudden special again, because I know I have to go back to work tomorrow.  This morning, the hubs and I took Georgie Girl for a walk to Starbucks, and I got a pumpkin spice latte.  I’ve loved everything about this morning so far, and it’s only 10:30!!

I know I’m late to the {Currently} party, but I wanted to come anyways!
september currently

My favorite things:
1} Mac and Georgie. Obviously.
2} Balsamic vinegar makes almost everything better.  We have a store near by that sells it in every flavor imanginable.  My sister in law got me the apple {get it, I’m a teacher!!}, and I love it on veggies.  It’s also delicious on laughing cow cheese with crackers.  Yum.
3} Amazon.  It is my go to for everything.  I’m a Prime member,so I get free 2 day shipping.  If there’s something I need {not just books}, I check Amazon first.

Make sure you link up, and follow the Rule of 3!!!
And now, the tip you’ve been anxiously awaiting. {Indulge Me}
Yesterday, I showed off my classroom.  See it here.

In the picture of my desk, you can see a really cute little chevron bucket.  Here, look below, I made it extra easy for you to spot!
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I keep student incentives in here so I remember to use them.  I used to store them in my closet, and while I was getting my room ready this year, I discovered I had literally hundreds of award certificates and notes that I had barely even touched.  Many were unopen.  I decided to grab a few of each kind {writing, reading, math, effort, behavior, super helper, caught being good, etc} and toss them in my little basket.  Now they’re front and center for me to remember to use them.  I’ve already given a few away.  These of course are on top of my regular behavior plan, just extra special little notes.

Everyone loves a little pick me up.

So there’s my tip, if there’s something small you normally store away and forget all about, keep it out to see and use!  That might be a big duh to most of you, but it wasn’t to me until about a week ago :)

Enjoy the rest of your weekend, and have a great start to the school week tomorrow!


Saturday, September 8, 2012

My Classroom Reveal

We’ve been back in school for 3 whole days, and boy did I earn my weekend.
I am loving my new sweeties, and looking forward to getting them established in our classroom routines and procedures.  We had a lot of fun during our first 3 days, and I can’t wait to share some pictures of some of the activities we did.  Until then, I present to you my classroom for the 2012-2013 school year!
Starting at my desk, which is in the back right hand corner and moving clockwise.
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This is the view I see when I’m sitting at behind my desk.  {Not much time to sit once there’s actually students}.  See what’s up on my computer??
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This is my guided reading table.  Behind the guided reading table are my math manipulatives {on shelves}, In-Bin, clipboards, and teacher materials.  The table in front of my desk will eventually be where students head for “Work on Writing” and “Word Work” materials.  The bulletin board behind my desk is my word wall, and is by The Teacher Wife.  Even though it semi-clashes with my more colorful décor, I think it’s adorable, and I love using the phrase popcorn words to describe our high frequency words.  Students who can read all the words on our popcorn word wall get a bag of popcorn :)
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Our classroom library is the last thing along the back wall.  I have a lot.of.books.  Tons. You can’t see about 18 more bins in this picture.  {I forgot to get a long shot of the library}.  I’ve been using Reagan’s Classroom Library kit to organize my books this year.  {They’ve always been organized my category, but I decided to get much more specific, finally}.  It has been a lot of work, and I’m still not done, but I know it will be worth it in the long run, when my students spend so much less time shopping for books, and so much more time reading them.
{PS: She’s doing a pretty amazing giveaway right now.  Head there as soon as you’re done reading my post :)}

Christina Bainbridge posted about her magnetic bookshelves, and I had to have them.  They cost me a pretty penny, but I have been looking for a space saving way to display seasonal books since my first year of teaching 5 years ago.  A Cupcake for the Teacher found some at Lakeshore for a slightly smaller price tag, and I’m trying to stop myself from snagging those as well :)  I have all the books I will read the first few weeks of school up there right now.  Most of them go with my Back to School {MEGA} Book Pack.  My kiddos LOVED the Stripes  and Chrysanthemum activities
I’m not loving all the different color bins, but that’s what happens when you keep buying books, and The Dollar Tree doesn’t make your favorite bins anymore.  The rocking chair is begging for a really cute paintjob, but that’s gonna have to wait.  Mr. Owl is begging for a new eye, but I don’t know how to sew, so that’s never gonna happen.  What? It gives him character.  The rug?  I definitely didn’t pick that out!!!
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This is the wall above my classroom library {left side of room from desk}.  I decided to use the long bulletin board above the chalkboard as my writing bulletin board.  Right now it’s displaying characteristics I MUST see in their writing at the start of 2nd grade.  Above that is the most adorable math alphabet from Little Lovely Learners.  I love how much color it has added to my room, and I can’t wait to refer to it throughout the year.
I hate the way the chalkboard looks, so I covered it on the right with butcher blog paper, and in the middle with streamers.  I’m debating covering the left side with contact paper, but if they decide to ever give it the whiteboard treatment, I’m scared the contact paper would ruin it.
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Still along the left wall, are my student computers, as well as what I guess you could consider a math bulletin board.  I don’t really do calendar in 2nd grade, but I do refer to it as often as possible to reinforce calendar skills.  This is the first year our 2nd graders are coming to us having not been exposed to money in school {Common Core}, so I put up money pictures and words right away.  I’ll alternate this section to include place value displays and money values.  The Hundred Chart will come down about halfway through the year.  The Best Friends {numbers that make 10} and Flip Flop display are on an actual bulletin board.  They’re the first skills we teach/review {along with doubles facts}.  I’ll also change out this bulletin board to reflect what we’re learning in math, but the best friends stay up all year long because I LOVE them so much, and because they really are key so many math concepts we’ll hit throughout the year.
I have an extra desk because, rumor is, I’m a desk hoarder getting a new student.  Until then, it houses our pencil sharpener {and tissues now too}.  That table all the way to the right is our listening center.
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A far shot of the wall.  The rolling cart houses math bins, hundred charts, and flashcards.  Oh, and dictionaries because that makes sense :)
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The closet to the left of my door is where I display my {FREE} owl birthday charts.  A small bulletin board next to my door houses our adorable owl job chart.
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The wall to left of the door {right of my desk}.  The sentence strips say “In __________ I can”, and are where I’ll list my daily objectives for each subject.  The direction cards are from A Cupcake for the Teacher.  The pencil says “Word of the Week” {words in this case}, which students wait for my to say before they do anything {line up, take out their workbooks, etc}.  The vowel glue bottles are from The Teacher Wife.  Below the whiteboard is our gumball machine, which is our whole class reward.
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Last picture!  Here’s my polka-dot clip-chart, which you can get here for free.  {It doesn’t print crooked, I just glued it that way…oops}.  The rules to the left are modified whole brain teaching rules from Fourth and Ten and they’re adorable.  I am really trying to incorporate more WBT into my classroom this year.  I could watch videos for hourssssss on WBT, it’s amazing.  To the right of the clip-chart are schedule cards by Cara Carroll.  Our schedule is extremely routine, so I will probably change that board once we start our reading incentive at the the end of the month.
Well, that’s it!  I’m realizing now I forgot a couple of “bigger picture” photos, so I’ll try to get those up eventually.  When I heard I was moving rooms for the 5th time in 5 years, I didn’t think I would ever get here, but I am pretty proud of how my room’s turned out!
I hope you like it too!
Enjoy your weekend!

Friday, September 7, 2012

Our New Blog Design and a Winner!!!

Well hello there!

Popping in so super quick to give a huge thank you to Erin over at Creating and Designing for creating and designing our adorable new blog!  I have a feeling I was one of her more picky bloggers, but she's a lady so she would never say.  Jenna and I are both psyched at how well it turned out!

I'm exhausted from our first week back.  I have pictures of my classroom and a few first week pics to share, but it's gonna have to wait until I have at least a little energy!

Anddddd, the winners of my "My Favorite Way to Eat an Apple" giveaway are:
1} Lori
2} Kate

Be checking your email this weekend, ladies!

I'm leaving the unit on sale through the weekend, so if you didn't win, hurry up and grab a copy!


Monday, September 3, 2012

A Different Way to Celebrate Johnny Appleseed Day!


I hope everyone had a fantastic Labor Day Weekend!  The rain here has put a damper on BBQ plans, but I'm kind of loving having some time to veg out and drink wine from our honeymoon coffee while I get a few last minute school things done.

We start tomorrow.  The kids start Wednesday.  I was pretty excited, now...not so much.  Not wanting to say goodbye to summer and all it entails.  But, I'll get over it.

I wanted to share one of the ways I celebrate Johnny Appleseed Day with my kiddos.  Not really the day itself, but leading up to it.

See, I love, love, love 2nd grade, but one of the disadvantages of teaching a higher primary grade is that a lot of our students have "been there, done that", so I need to come up with new ways to get them excited and keep them engaged.

{Although, it seems none of our first grade teachers have discovered "First Day Jitters".  What's up with that??! Believe me though, I am NOT complaining!}

Anyways, to get my kiddos excited about Johnny Appleseed, I go straight to their stomachs!  That's right.  Food.  {It's always worked for me!!!}

Leading up to Johnny Appleseed Day, we do a writing piece on our favorite ways to eat an apple.

Apple cider donuts!!!!

That should be the only right answer.  But I let them tell me other ways because I'm still nice {at least at the beginning of the year}.  Two years ago I had a student who ate her apple slices sprinkled with lemon juice and salt.  Say what?  

I've always done this little writing piece, but I finally took the time to cute it up a little.  We always make a glyph to go with our writing too.  I put it all together in a little packet and uploaded it to TpT

If you're interested, there are 4 different writing papers to choose from, 3 class book covers to choose from, and prewriting activities as well.  I should mention that I use this piece as a way to introduce/reinforce topic sentences, so the prewriting sheets focus on that.

"My Favorite Way to Eat an Apple" is on SALE for $2.00 until after our first day of school, but of course I'd love to give away one or two as well.  To enter, leave a comment below telling me YOUR favorite way to eat an apple.  I'll announce the winners sometime before the SALE ends.

Grab it here.

I hope everyone had a great weekend, and has a good weekend back at school!