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Friday, August 23, 2013

{ADORABLE} Blog Makeover = a Giveaway!!!

First of all, how cute is my new blog?!?

Across the Hall in 2nd

I know, I know…blog makeovers seem to be the thing these days but I’ve been wanting a change for a little while now.

The amazing Becca over at Jumpin Jax Designs somehow took all the mumbo jumbo I wrote down and turned it into something even more beautiful than I could have imagined.

Seriously, I am in love.  I wish I could take all the elements from my blog and hang them in my classroom.  I am that obsessed.

In honor of my new look I’m having a little giveaway of sorts. A new blog makeover should always equal a giveaway, right? I think so!

You can enter using the Rafflecopter below.  You can win any combination of products from my store worth up to $25 and you get my “Birds of a Feather” classroom décor kit to makeover your own classroom {see where I’m going with that?!?}

You can browse around until the Rafflecopter ends at midnight on Sunday, if you wish…

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Enter below!

Saturday, August 17, 2013

Best & Most Linky!!

So are you ready to shop or what?!? I know I am…I’m one of the “lucky” ones who doesn’t start school until after Labor Day, so I’ve been loading up my cart in anticipation of TpT’s most rockin’ sale. Don’t get me wrong…I bought plenty over the summer too ;)

To celebrate the sale and showcase some of our best products, Christina Bainbridge came up with one of the most creative ideas! I just love it!  We get to show you are best and most awesome products “yearbook style”.

Did you win any Senior Awards? I did. I was totally going to take a picture of my yearbook but it’s packed in anticipation for the move this week. Darnit.

I won cutest face, nicest eyes, and wittiest.

2 things made these awards very possible:

1} There were only 91 other seniors competing for the same award.
2} My best friends were on Yearbook Committee.

It’s safe to say I wouldn’t have captured those awards if I went to a much larger high school. But still, they were fun to win and I remind my husband often that he’s married to the girl with the most beautiful eyes :)

Without further ado…my “senior awards” for my TpT Products:
Best and Most 13
All of the products are hyperlinked to my store…just click on the picture to learn more about it.

I’ve always been longwinded {no senior award for that, though} so why stop now?  Let me explain why I chose each product:

Teacher’s Pet: MEGA Book Pack

My MEGA pack is my teacher’s pet for 2 important reasons:

One, with the exception of a teeny-tiny little Mr. Hatch unit {seriously, it was like 3 pages long} my MEGA Book Pack was my first thing in my store.  I got it up right before the TpT Back to School Sale last year.  It’s since gotten a MAJOR overhaul. Different graphics, different fonts, and new books and more activities…

Two, it really helps me set a tone for what I want my classroom to be like. I get to share my love of reading with my students and I get to do it with books and activities that are meaningful and teach valuable lessons related to school behavior, self-esteem, and kindness.  I have used these activities for years, we’re talking BTPT {Before Teachers Pay Teachers}, and now I finally have them all tied up in one neat package!

{All the book activities are also sold separately}

Most Likely to Help Your Students Succeed: Reading Passages {Common Core Aligned and BUNDLED}

This resource will take you through the whole year and it’s only going to get better and more expansive as I add editions. {You read that right…you can buy it now and get updates for free!!}  All passages are also sold separately :)

All of the passages are open-ended…no multiple choice, so students are thinking critically every time instead of just picking “c”.

The common core requires students to identify where in the book they found the information they needed to answer the question.  I use my passages for so many different things {homework, morning work, whole group}, but I use the with my lower groups to go back into the passages and highlight the words that helped them answer each question.

Hands down it is the most-used product I’ve ever made.

Cutest Couple: Communities {Interdisciplinary Unit} and Wants & Needs Mini-Unit

Teach the different types of communities? Teach wants and needs?  Both of these units will more than cover those topics and they offer so much more.  I like to use them because they’re both interdisciplinary…they cover more than just social studies…
craftivities, writing, reading.  I use them every year in my class and they’re always a huge hit.

Read more about my Communities unit here.

Read more about my Wants & Needs unit here.

And there you have it! My TpT Awards!

Happy Shopping Friends!  Click the button below to head over to my shop :)

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Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Come See Me!

Hi Friends!
I’m over at “Owl-ways Be Inspired” today talking all about building a classroom community. I’ve got freebies {including the one below} and a giveaway, so I hope you’ll come visit me there!
What I like about my classroom
Click the owl to head on over…

Have a great Tuesday!

Monday, August 12, 2013

Meet the Teacher Monday {{2013 Edition!}}

Is it really that time of year?  I feel like just yesterday I was participating in last year’s Teacher Week!

I just introduced myself over on Owl-Ways Be Inspired so I feel slightly silly talkin’ ‘bout myself again…but I’ll try to switch it up at least a little bit :)

First, the quick facts: I love lattes and lemon water, good wine and a really good cheeseburger, my dog is the love of my life, I don’t like spaghetti, but that literally is the extent of food I will not eat. I’m blue-eyed and blond haired, but I’d rather be olive skinned with dark brown hair and eyes.  I love decorating my home and my classroom and I am known to get my shop on…

I was born and bred a Midwestern girl. An Ohio girl to be exact. I’m from a tiny little town populated with more churches than stop lights and I wouldn’t have it any other way.  I am still friends with my core group of high school friends.  We just get each other.  We’re silly, sarcastic, and always having way too much fun {is there such a thing?}

{Here we are at my Bachelorette Party last July}

When I was 19 my family moved to New Jersey. I stayed behind at Ohio University for a year until I came to terms with the fact that I am a homebody through and through and I was just too far from my family. It was definitely the right decision. Of course because I met my husband here, but beyond that NJ has so much to offer. I am about 15 minutes from Philadelphia, 2 hours from NYC, an hour from the shore, and about 30 seconds from tons of restaurants, bars, and shopping! 

Speaking of Philadelphia, I have truly fallen in love with this city. I lived on South Street for a year and while occasionally slightly scary {South Street can be pretty crazy at times} it was yet another experience that changed me for the better.

My hubby and I are HUGE foodies.  Well, I call us “Rookie Foodies”…we haven’t tried too many crazy foods compared to the serious foodies out there, but we’re on our way!  We love a good pub with craft beer you can’t find anywhere else. We love going out to eat. I was raised in a restaurant family…I can’t help it!

Speaking of my hubby, he’s handsome, hard-working, funny, compassionate, and oh-so patient.  We met through my brother.  They were friends and well, you know how the story goes.  Another thing I love about my husband is how perfectly he fits into my family.  I love seeing the friendship he and my brother have, the respect my mom has for him {and he for my mom}, and he has such a  special way with my sister who is the complete opposite of me. It just works!

{My husband, me, my brother}

I love the beach and feel very lucky that my husband’s family has a beach house in Long Beach Island.  Unfortunately, we haven’t been down all summer because Hurricane Sandy wreaked some major havoc on the house.  Compared to many we were fortunate. The house is still standing and the upper level is completely unharmed.  Work is just getting way on the lower level. I guess we have some making up to do next summer!

This past year has been a whirlwind for us..

We got married and our wedding was everything I hoped it would be. Oh, and it was a blast!

I started on Teachers Pay Teachers and my blog grew so much. It has been one of the most rewarding experiences of my life.


And we bought a house…

To say that I am blessed is a true understatement.

Thank you for reading a little bit about me.  Be sure to head over to Blog Hoppin’ and learn more about lots and lots of other fabulous blogging teachers.  I’ve already been through half the posts..and I promise…their lives are a lot more interesting than mine!

Have a great week :)

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Thursday, August 8, 2013

Favorite Things Linky: Back to School Faves for the Kiddos

Well hello there!

I’m here today to share some of my B2S Favorites for my kiddos. Last week it was all about ME.  But let’s be honest, it never really is about you as the teacher…well except maybe for Teacher Appreciation Week!

Let’s get this party started!

Our grade level is switching to community supplies this year. I am BEYOND excited about it.  I think these little guys would be great on student desks.  No pencils rolling everywhere. You get the idea. I am surprised they are as pricey as they are {{they’re so tiny!}} but I will probably bite the bullet and click purchase anyways!

I use binder rings for just about everything with my students.  Hanging writing portfolios, reading beads, hanging charts, word rings, reward coupons, flashcards, etc.  I always have to have a bunch on hand!


Come September my students will have anywhere from 3-4 of these folders with their names on them.  I buy them from Walmart.  They’re about 50 cents and it’s worth it to me to have things look somewhat uniform in my class.  They’re tough enough to withstand little fingers and they come in such bright colors.  For their writing and homework folders I add sheet protectors so I need the fasteners.

Oh boy, what a pathetic picture, right?  My grade partners and I recently purchased shower caddies from Walmart’s college section for students’ table caddies. I love how many compartments there are….less of a chance of all the supplies ending up together!  The colors weren’t my favorite, but I’ll get over it.

I’ve mentioned my love for these Second Grade Helpers before but they belong on this list too!  I am so excited about having a resource for my students that is useful and easily kept in their classwork folder.  I love the level of accountability it gives to my students.

Post-Its are a must have for my students. We use them for everything. Jotting down notes while we read, making really quick graphs, exit tickets, bookmarks {in a pinch}.  I am a true believer that the bright {or shaped} ones are more visually appealing to my kiddos than the pale yellow ones are!

I bit the bullet and bought plastic book boxes from Target early this summer.  At $3 a pop it wasn’t necessarily cheap, but I was throwing over $1 down the drain every year purchasing the cardboard kind.  Not to mention the mini anxiety attack that ensued when IKEA was out of stock and we had to buy ugly ones off of Amazon. My kids LOVE their book boxes. We do a lot of practice at the beginning of the year calling them their newborn babies. And boy to they cradle their book bins!  It’s fun to see how their own personal book box that holds their own books that they picked can open the door to a love of reading.
The ones pictured on not from Target, sorry! But aren’t they cute?  I am a sucker for the small metal pails in Target’s Dollar Spot.  We use them for everything in our classroom: student reward tickets, math manipulatives, secret treat buckets, marker holders, scissor holders, craft supply holders…so basically everything!

My absolute favorite resource for my kiddos {and I’m sure they’d agree} are Laura Martin’s {Peace, Love, and First Grade} Reward Coupons.  I LOVE them because they’re cost free for me and because I really, truly love the idea of not giving them yet another plastic toy.  And the kids LOVE them because the rewards are so stinkin’ fun! Win! Win! One of my best purchases on TpT ever!

Well there you have some of my favorite resources for my kiddos heading back to school!  I’d love for you to link up and share yours!

I also recently shared some of my favorite Back to School pins. Check them out by clicking the image below.

b2s pins

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Tuesday, August 6, 2013

My Favorite Pins for Back to School

So it’s about that time for a lot of you out there. You know, Back to School Time!
I have a little less than a month before I need to report for duty, but come August my brain pretty much switches from Summer Brain over to Teacher Brain.

One of the things I love about going back to school is that it’s my opportunity to try out new ideas, to change up the decorations or furniture placement in my room, and to become a better version of my teacher self. I have last years mistakes and successes under my belt. I know what works, what really, really works, and what I won’t do again. Heading into my 6th year of teaching {{gasp}} I’m starting to finally feel like I know a few things :)

I decided to round up some pins and products that I am really excited to put to use come September.  Hopefully you will find some new ideas too. And if you’ve already tried an activity, tip, or product, I’d love to hear what you think about it!

All the pictures are linked to the original source so you can read up on what makes them so fabulous!

35 Must-Try Back-to-School Ideas at Positively Splendid

There are so many cute ideas listed here.  It’s an especially awesome pin if you are also a parent with kids heading back to school.

I especially love this adorable binder from Thirty Handmade Days…

I’m loving the idea of individual trash cans so my kiddos aren’t up and down every time we make a craft or do a project.  The ones pictured are from the adorable Michelle over at Fabulous in First.

Speaking of Michelle…

I am really excited to use her “Second Grade Helper” this year. This is going to be such a great resource for my kiddos to have in their desks. I can already hear the words, “Use your Helper.” Love it!

teachingtoday:        This is such a simple idea I found online, but it is helping me SO MUCH with keeping organized this school year!
{The link to this one is not a link to the specific post. I couldn’t find it on there! I’m also Tumblr-Illiterate so that might be part of the problem}

I’m on a never-ending quest to be more organized and I love this idea. It lays it all out there for ya!  When I make a big long list the important stuff sometimes gets lost in the shuffle. I might have to make a cutisfied version of this one but I love the inspiration!

Teacher Idea Factory: BACK TO SCHOOL BASICS - FORMS + LETTERS + CHECKLISTS + MORE editable!!! Love 'em!!!

Speaking of being organized I am so loving this awesome InFORMation Kit by none other than the awesome, amazing Kelley Dolling.  She’s seriously thought of everything, made it cute, and even better…editable. I wish I thought of it myself.

I like the "unfinished" basket

This is a MUST DO for me.  I love the “More Time” Bin.  Instead of papers getting hidden in classwork folders, students put unfinished papers in the basket.  They can go back to the basket whenever they have extra time AND I always know who is still working on what.  Genius!

Bathroom Reminders Free

I don’t have a classroom bathroom anymore, but I’m going to put these in the hallway bathrooms.  They’re cute and they get the point across…don’t you just love when that happens?!

Tips for Parents...How to Help My Child Succeed Free Downloads from Fun in First

Parent Handouts (Primary Junction)

Parent Handbook Flip Books!

I love, love, love all of these Parent Resources for Back to School. Consider them printed and prepared for the first day of school and/or Open House.  They’re attention grabbing but have really important and relevant information and tips for parents.

[print] what i like most about my classroom... would be cute if your whole class signed it on the 1st day and then hang it up to enjoy for the rest of the school year.

Creating a tightknit classroom community from day 1 is so important to me.  I organize plenty of activities year after year that have worked wonderfully and I am excited about adding this one to the mix.  I bought the frame to make this today and I can’t wait to have my kiddos sign it the first day. {The print is a FREEBIE by the way :)}

A class list with each students picture. Perfect for a sub binder, volunteer, or exit ticket for the door.

This class list idea is oh-so-cute and perfect for a sub-binder or student teacher. Or those first few crazy days where you don’t even remember your own name, much less those 28 little people running around your room.

MEGA Book Cover

Okay, so I kind, sorta, cheated with the second image because it’s a product of mine, but really, between Alisha’s totally awesome, super-fabulous “Savvy in Second Grade” pack and my “Back to School MEGA Book Pack” my lessons and activities for the first two weeks of school are completely covered.

Alisha has compiled some of the cutest crafts and activities into this pack.  I am seriously obsessed.

Seriously. I’m lovin’ it.

I am also a HUGE book lover and I want my kiddos to have the same love for reading that I do.  I try to incorporate as many story-based lessons as I can {outside of our regular curriculum}.  I start off right away with my Back to School MEGA Pack.  It has tons of lessons to go with your favorite Back to School books including…

*The Recess Queen
*The Juicebox Bully
*Hooway for Wodney Wat
*Dear Teacher
*How I Spent My Summer Vacation

I’ll be back soon to show off a few of the activities!

The above are only a few of my Back to School Pins. You can check out my Back to School Pinterest Board by clicking below.

b2s pins

Don’t forget…my Favorite Things Linky is this Thursday!  The category this week is Back to School Faves for the Kids.  I’ll be back with even more Back to School goodies!

Favorite Graphic

There’s also still time to scoop up this fabulous BUNDLE from educents.  There are so many great products included in this bundle by so many of my favorite 2nd and 3rd Grade bloggers.  This is good stuff, people!

Educents Bundle

Have a great night everyone!

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