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Initial Sound Sorts

One of those crucial phonemic awareness skills is identifying the beginning sound in a word.  Once students are able to segment and isolate the initial sound, the rest of the word quickly follows.  This quick little no prep center helps students practice this important skill!  

Students can sort the pictures using a mini pocket chart.

I like to have students cut and paste the sorts into a notebook.

Perfect for Kindergarteners or early first grade review!

Grab 19 different initial sound sorts for only $3.00!

Teddy Bear Motivation

How does this teddy bear motivate my students to work hard in Writer's Workshop?  

It's so ridiculously simple that I can't believe it works!  I watch the students as they begin work on Writer's Workshop.  Then, after about 10 minutes, I make a huge production of pretending to have "Barry" whisper the name of the student he wants to sit with the rest of the day.  Barry only wants to sit with students who are making good choices and working hard.  I try to choose as many different students as possible throughout the course of a month.  It's quick, simple, and effective at helping get all students focused and working quickly!  Whichever student gets to sit with the teddy bear also gets a little certificate to take home so they can share their good work with their families!  Click on the picture below to get your own printable copy of the certificate.

November Currently

Linking up with Farley at Oh' Boy 4th Grade for my favorite link up!

Listening: Yes, we are watching the 1:00 browns game at 9:30.  My husband needed to spend some extra time at the office and DVR'd the Browns game.  I don't have the heart to tell him that I know they lost. (Someone posted the score on Facebook).

Loving: My children were HOT MESSES today.  We were out of town visiting my in-laws yesterday/last night so no one slept well last night, combined with the time change, it was a disaster of an afternoon/evening.  Both my children were in bed over an hour early, which meant I got a little bit of extra quiet time tonight!

Thinking: I've been planning a central Ohio TpT meetup for this upcoming Saturday!  I'm hoping it goes smoothly and that it is worthwile for those attending!

Wanting: Daylight Savings Time...just go away!  It was pitch black at 6:00 tonight!

Needing: I'm normally almost finished with my Christmas shopping by now but have only one bought yet this time!  Time to get moving on that Christmas list!

Yummy: My son has SUCH a full bag of Halloween candy...but I must resist eating some of it!!

Getting to Know You...

How do you celebrate your teammates birthdays and Christmas?  I've taught at several different schools and each team had different traditions.  At one school, we each handmade a gift for our teammates from something inspired by Pinterest.  At another school, we bought each other gifts for $10 or less.   I am the type of person that gets a little stressed out when buying or creating gifts - I want to get each person the perfect gift but let's be realistic - I have two little boys at home and I don't have time to hunt for the perfect gift!  

Enter my current school.  Previously, we've always ordered in lunch (Jimmy Johns) on birthdays.  We split the cost of the birthday girl's lunch between the rest of us.  This was always fun, but it was a management nightmare to whoever was tapped to collect the orders, collect the money (and give change!), and order lunch by 10:30.  One of my other teammates and I have always had a great relationship where instead of hand making something, or stressing over the perfect Christmas gift under $10,  we randomly pick up coffee, or buy them a favorite candy bar, or pick up some post-its in their favorite color.  It's great to randomly get a little gift and it really just makes your day!  

This year, I have two new teammates (out of 4 total, so half my team is new!).  Since we don't know our new teammates inside and out quite yet, I put together a quick little survey about their likes so we can start surprising them with little gifts!  

Click on the picture to download your own copy of this survey for your teammates!

How do you celebrate your teammates birthdays and other special events??

Open House

I'm linking up with Mrs. D's Corner for the Building Blocks of Back to School!  I think I barely got to the party on time for Week 1, as Week 2 starts tomorrow!  :)

This week it is all about Meet the Teacher!  Our Meet the Teacher night is the Thursday night before school starts (school starts on a Monday).  This year, Meet the Teacher night is on August 13th and school starts on August 17th - ahhhh!  It's coming way too fast!  Just a few days away!

I'm starting to feel the pressure as I have just a few days to Open House and less than a week until the first student day.  But it will all come together!

My main focus for Open House is to have to my classroom look clean, inviting, and organized.  For some families, this may be the only chance I get to actually meet the parents of some students so I want to make a great impression!  I have a folder for each child stuffed with some basic information for our classroom.

In this folder I have an information brochure, a letter requesting framed family photos (I love to display these!), a student information sheet, and an All About Me bag assignment for students to complete and bring with them on the 1st day of school.  

Here are some freebies for you from my Open House folder!  Click on the picture to grab the file!

Currently - July

JULY?  No!!!!  I refuse to think about school until after the 4th of July - I always take the whole month of June to decompress.  I don't feel like I'm reading to strt thinking about school yet, though!  I'm linking up with Farley from Oh Boy 4th Grade for yet another currently.  I really need to have my blog be more than just link-ups...oh well!

Listening: My husband is out on the back deck grilling and my two boys are playing in the water table.  I love this part of summer...lazy evenings cooking on the grill - which means I use paper plates and there is essentially no clean up for me!

Loving: I just discovered Facebook garage sale groups - where you can sell (or buy) your stuff.  I have started selling some baby items and am addicted to selling stuff now!  I walk around the house and wonder if I should sell random stuff I see lying around.  I am a purger by nature so I have to force myself not to sell everything! :)

Thinking: I have a huge summer to-do list and I haven't done much on it!  Between cleaning, organizing the basement, and designing new TpT products, my list is huge.  However, I've been spending a lot of time taking my boys to the zoo, the park, and playing outside, so I think I've actually been spending this summer the best way. :)

Needing: Summer to slow down.  Need I say more?   This past school year was rough so I need more time to feel ready for the next year.  On that topic...I just bought this book to read over the weekend - I'm hoping it helps inspire me for this next year!  I've been hearing lots of great things about it from various educators I follow on Instagram!

All Star - ORGANIZER!  Need that PowerPoint outline from two PD meetings ago?  I have it and I know exactly where it is.  Can't seem to find that important email from the principal about a new required assessment?  Don't worry, I've got your back! :) 

Makeover Madness

Today I'm linking up with the TPT Seller Challenge group started by these fabulous bloggers:


for #makeovermadness.  I'm pretty sure I'm just about the last person to link up this week!  With two little ones at home, my computer time is limited but I managed  not only to completely overhaul one product, but also update my blog and Facebook pages!

What do you think of my new look?  I love it! :)

I chose to update the clipart in my Short Vowel Sorts & Activities product.  This was one of the very first products I made and it sells pretty well.  I desperately needed to update the clipart now that I've spent WAY too much money over the past two years amassing a huge collection of clipart!

I use these cards as center activities (sort by vowel sound) and also in small groups, when I choose just a few cards to quickly sort as a warm up before a guided reading lesson.  Now I have to work on updating the matching long vowel sort product!

Summer Bucket List

I'm joining Natalie & Rachelle over at What The Teacher Wants for their fun Summer Bucket List linky party!  I've been on break for 2 weeks now and I must admit thinking there is less than 8 weeks left of of my summer break gives me a pit in my stomach - there is so much I want to do!

School: I've been wanting to come up with my own alphabet chart/chant with motions for each letter for a while now.  What I use now is a combination of several different well known chants and I've made up quite few letters up myself.  My goal is to make a matching chart and large alphabet display to match the chant I use each day.

Personal: We hope to sell the condo we are rapidly outgrowing and buy a house this upcoming spring.  I know I will need to purge a lot of stuff at that point to make our house pretty for all those showings so I'm hoping to get a head start and work my way through the basement and some closets.  We had our 2nd baby boy last summer and we are stopping with 2 children so I have lots of baby stuff to get rid of!
I want to try one brand new recipe each week!  I tend to get into a rut during the school year and just go with what I know is quick and easy.  Hopefully I can find a few new recipes to add to the rotation!
I have such a hard time getting new products ready to upload during the school year-teaching first grade with 2 little ones at home is exhausting and I end up falling asleep before I get to work on anything!  I already have finished and uploaded one new thing over the summer (My Reward Coupons) so hopefully I'll get to make a few new products and update a few old ones!

Fun: This summer is all about my boys!  In the 2 weeks I've been off, we've gone to the zoo, had a picnic at a park with a lake, visited a few new playgrounds, and gone to the pool several times.  
We are heading to Ocean Isle Beach in North Carolina in mid-July.  We last went 3 years ago when my oldest was just 1, so I'm excited to go back with a 4 year old and a 1 year old!
Last, the school year sometimes seems like non-stop go, go, go-so I am going to enjoy every minute of down time we can get this summer!!

March Currently

Wow--I've neglected this little blog for so long!  I've been really good about taking pictures of everything I do this year, but then I just never get around to posting them!  I really need to work on that!

I'm linking up with Farley at Oh Boy 4th Grade for March Currently. 

Listening: Oh Bubble Guppies...your cheerful enthusiasm drives me crazy some days, but my oldest loves you!  I don't mind so much when he comes and tells me that the cheetah is the fastest land animal.  At least he's learning something! :)

Loving: We got about 6 inches of snow yesterday (Sunday) and most of the roads are fine.  I teach in a suburban/rural district so we had a 2 hour delay today to give some of the back roads a little more time to get cleared.  That extra sleep time was crucial to my sanity today!  My 8 month old had a horrible head cold all weekend and would only sleep when being held/rocked in a recliner, so I didn't get much sleep!  He seems to be doing much better now, though.

Thinking:  I've had a student teacher for about 5 weeks now, and today she won't be at school because of a required class she needs to attend at the university.  I have to teach ALL.BY.MYSELF.  I don't know if I remember how to do it on my own!!  ;)

Wanting: For spring weather to arrive.  Enough said!!

Needing: I need to get back on my T-25 workout routine!  I was just starting to see changes in my body when life got in the way with sick kids, I got sick, and life got busy!  I really need to get back into that!!

Spring Break plans:  I don't have any major plans.  Hopefully I'll just get to enjoy some extra time at home with my boys and maybe the weather will be nice enough to play outside or head to the zoo.  (I can hope, right???)

Creepy Carrots

Have you read this book?  It might be my favorite book to read in October.  It could be read any time throughout the year, but something about October - the longer nights, the excitement (and spookiness!) of Halloween - makes me feel like I should read this book in October.  The suspense of this book, along with the awesome illustrations, has made it a favorite of my students.  Since we loved it so much, I designed an entire unit around it!

Students made their own "creepy carrots" using only paper, scissors, and glue.  How amazing did these guys turn out????  

We worked a lot with some of the great vocabulary in this book.  Passion, sinister, and approach are just a few of the ones we worked with.  I love this students sentence using the word passion.  I'm right there with you, honey!

We made our own plans to catch the creepy carrots!

Last-and what might have been my students favorite activity - we played "roll a creepy carrot" with the following game board!  It was so funny to see how they all turned out.  

Want this unit (with even more activities than just pictured) for your own classroom?  

Click on the picture below or on the following link: