Wednesday, April 16, 2014

99 problems... but sharing an ipad isn't one!

Well,  there are several problems... math problems to be exact. I have my one and only personal ipad and love to use it in my classroom. Today I had a spur of the moment idea for our 30 minutes of review time in the afternoon.

It was wonderful to project the ipad with my document projector (or Elmo) so that everyone could see it. My hubs found this awesome app called Math Board that gives problems with multiple answers. There are loads of variables that you change on it to fit your class or child's needs: timed or untimed, multiple choice or not, amount of numbers, how large the numbers, operations, etc.

To make it more interactive, my kiddos were using base ten blocks to solve and show their answer. They had a great time taking turns to come up and select the answer or to read the math problem to the class.

I'll definitely be using this again today so that all of my students get a chance to push the answer!

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

The Answer to the Burning Question!

Did you L-O-V-E the Bright Ideas link up for this month? I did! I got some new and fabulous ideas to put into place. This time of year, I usually need some new and fabulous! I also got a lot of e-mails and messages about my bright idea:

As much as I'd love to take credit for making these adorable dots and creating them, I actually found them as an idea from another blog as a solution to not having a rug. I wish I remember who's blog it was but it was several months ago... I hate when that happens!

Any who, you can get these from a company called Sit Spots. They have TONS of different colors, designs, and shapes. You can purchase for different seasons or all year long. I went with all year long bright colors so that I didn't have to trade them out. You can also get a great sample. I'm actually using the sample as the 'Line Leader Spot' so my line knows where to start.

Let me tell you that my custodian is SOOOO happy with me at this point because I don't have masking tape all over my floor (any more... ;) )!

Monday, April 14, 2014

Come Join in on the Adventure: Ziggie's Big Adventure (A Virtual Book Tour)

Welcome to the VIRTUAL BOOK TOUR of Kathleen Wainwright!

 I am so thrilled to be able to be your first stop in this amazing tour. After reading Kathleen's great new book that just came out, I was able to talk to her and find out a bit more. You simply must read her new book: Ziggie's Big Adventure!

After reading this wonderful book, I had to find out a little bit more about Kathleen, her methods, and her (possible) madness:

Q: What inspired you to begin writing?
I've always been a reader so writing has always come very natural to me. I always wanted to 

write a book but it wasn't until I became a teacher that I made a conscious decision to actually 

write one. As a lover and avid collector of children's books, I wanted to write an adventure or a 

story that kids could fall in love with.

Q: How did you come up with the character's names?
So, Ziggie was the name of my cat and Marley Blossom and Layla are my nieces. When my 

niece Marley was reading out loud to me the other day I made the connection... Ziggie... 

Marley... Ziggie Marley! Get it!! lol! Ziggie got his name because when I got him that is the 

name that came to mind first when I went to call him.

Q:. What adventures do you see Ziggy taking next?
Ziggie's next adventure is actually being developed now! I am mapping out a choose your own

adventure-like story. It will be around a Halloween (Trick or Treat theme. I am in the 

brainstorming stage- which is actually my favorite part of the writing process!
Q: Who do you think readers will identify with most?
I really think the readers will connect to Marley- mainly because she is the typical free spirited

kid. She is fun and colorful. Any child who owns a pet will be able to relate to the connection 

she has with her cat. **I forgot to add that Knox (the big furry monster) was the name of one of 

my dogs growing up.

Q: If you could say one thing to your readers, what would it be?

If I could say one thing to my readers it would be keep reading! I just remember growing up that 

reading was one of my favorite things to do. In fact, as a student I struggled. I had to study very 

hard to get good grades. I honestly think that because I loved to read so much, I became a 

stronger student. I could read just about anything and became very good at studying, taking 

notes, and writing essays. I think the fact that there was only one tv in my house as a kid played 

a huge part in losing myself in a good book- when I read it was like watching a movie in my 


Q: Can you give us a 'peek' at the title or idea of your current project?

I have two major projects in the works! In addition to brainstorming the book in the series, I am

also just observing the kids that surround me (my students, my nieces and nephews, my 

friends' children) and allowing their everyday actions to spark new ideas for my writing. So far 

I've developed a few new characters- Randy the Raccoon is one of my favorites. The second 

project is a picture book that I have been working on. It requires a good deal of research and it 

is about something very important to me- the humane treatment of animals.

Don't miss out on all the fun!!

An InLinkz Link-up

Don't forget to enter to win your own copy of this awesome book!" rel="nofollow">a Rafflecopter giveaway

Saturday, April 12, 2014

Can I help you find your seat? [A Bright Idea!]

I am so excited to show you this awesome little idea that I used in my classroom. I've been wanting one of those gorgeous and HUGE classroom rugs. You know, the beautiful and EXPENSIVE rugs that range from $300-$500 depending on design and size? This idea is so much better than that because it's movable, washable, reusable, and can be made to fit your theme!

One word: VELCRO!

Yep, those beautiful and adorable dots are velcro. They stay put even when vacuumed or kids sit and squirm on them. Plus, they are easily moved, cleaned (washing machine!!), and coordinate with a color scheme. These are wonderful little things!

 If you enjoyed this bright idea, please consider joining me on Facebook, Instagram or Teachers Pay Teachers for more great ideas.

For more bright ideas from 150 different bloggers, please browse through the link-up below and choose a topic/grade level that interests you. Thanks for visiting!


    An InLinkz Link-up

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Down the rabbit hole...

Do you ever feel like the hole you dig yourself into just gets deeper and deeper and deeper?!?! That's been me for the last month. I have missed blogging, creating, and just all around feeling productive! I have finally made it to Spring Break and am really excited to be relaxing now.

I wanted to share a couple pictures with you from my week so far:

Yep, that's right. I spent the first day and a half  of Spring Break... in my classroom making up snow days. But I at least got some things done and all my centers and tubs are put together for next week! Yay for really being able to relax now... which is awesome since my husband just bought me my early mommy's day present:

I already have it set up and am just waiting for kiddos to head to bed. Then it's me and this baby! I can't wait! It looks like an easy to use machine. I'm doing a happy dance!

Saturday, March 29, 2014

Talking Sticks with Laura Candler

Have you ever need a new strategy? Just something a tiny bit different that would make a HUGE impact? This is what you were looking for!

Talking Sticks Book Discussion (Kindergarten CCSS Aligned)

The creator, Laura Candler, let me try this out in my classroom and it is fabulous! My students were excited, motivated to speak and share, and were engaged the entire time.

Here's how I used it this week:

I simply printed out the already made and categorized questions. Passed out the magic talking sticks and began our discussion. My students are used to retelling the stories using a 'retelling hand' but the questions that Laura created are more out of the box and fun. Since we were using this with a newly introduced book, A House for Hermit Crab, I really wanted them to think about the book outside of the characters and setting and think about the book in a new way.

Since I focused on really getting them to think about the book in a new and fun way, Laura's Personal Response Questions were the best with this fiction book.They loved the 'Do you think this would make a good movie?' and 'If you could have been one of the characters, which one would you be?' They were by far the favorites!

I wish I could show you a picture of my adorable students. They were in a circle and stayed circled up for 20-25 minutes (yes Kindergarteners!!) engaged the ENTIRE time discussing, taking turns, and participating. It was AH-mazing! I made sure to ask enough questions that everyone would have some type of input and everyone was able to use their magic talking sticks.

This is my new favorite way to talk about a book afterwards! Laura even has projectable questions that you can purchase to make it even easier for your higher learners.

CCSS Reading Discussion Prompts (Kindergarten)

AND if you are like me and love to have everything match, she includes blank templates for you to create and add your own questions to the mix. You can also get the entire set with printable and projectable by clicking here.

I wish I had had this resource earlier this year! Make sure to take a moment and click on the images in this post to check out this resource (available for every grade level)!

Friday, March 28, 2014

Spring Cleaning... a happy thing!

Piles. I have piles of stuff. It's seriously a horrible case of piles! That's in my house... stuff here and there and EVERYWHERE! I'm counting down to Spring Break to be able to clean it all up. Until then, I'm going to be productive in other 'cleaning' ways... cleaning up my TPT wishlist and cart! You can too!

Today through Monday, I'm a part of the Spring Cleaning Sale. My entire sale is available to you for 20% off! There are over 99 other TPT stores that will be doing this same sale. You. Do. Not. Want. To. Miss. This!!

Thursday, March 27, 2014


Y'all I am so excited about my new adventure! I 'met' a new online friend who happens to be in charge of an AWESOME resource for teachers online: Educator's Room. After talking and 'hanging out' online with her a bit, I am now adding my two cents in for other teachers online as well. I hope you'll take a moment to pop on over and read my very first published article:

5 Tips from a Veteran Teacher: Surviving Your First Year

I'll be sharing two more articles by this weekend and I can not wait! 

Sunday, March 23, 2014

Snowy Saturday Work Day

Yesterday I got to work in my room which was awesome... I totally didn't have a plan since I had my two kiddos with me to entertain as well. With all the snow that 'Hot'lanta saw this winter, teachers missed 2 days of Professional Learning... hence Saturday workdays. I did 1/2 a day yesterday and did manage to get 1 great project done.

I moved my word wall! It was on the bulletin board but I moved it to the front of my room and now the words are all magnetic. Very cool! I'm very excite about it. My plan for the fall is to add the letter of the day as we learn about it. That way at the end of 26 days, we have all the letters on our word wall and can start adding up the sight words.

I always love moving around my furniture so yesterday I did just that a filling cabinet here, a desk there, a bookshelf from one wall to another. Nothing super big but it always helps to 'defunk' my brain every now and then. Now I can spend a rainy day making the activities I just planned out in the car:

Don't forget that you can follow me on Instagram to get snapshots of daily life!

Friday, March 21, 2014

Quickie Sight Word Game

So, I've really, really been wanting my students to write their sight words correctly ALL year... we're still working on it. lol

Anyways, I started this little review game this week and they love it!

It's the same idea as my math review game from earlier this week. All you needs is student whiteboards, markers, and a stack of sight words.

I simply told them what word to write and when they were done we checked it. I helped my lower babies sound it out a couple of times. My higher readers got the harder and trickier words (digraphs and such) to work on.

Each person gets a point for the ones they get right. The first person to 10 wins!