Saturday, August 8, 2015

Our Teaching Tribe - Product Swap!

Welcome to our blog hop! As part of Our Teaching Tribe's August challenge, we all teamed up together and swapped products to review and share. So, by the end of the blog hop, you'll be full of ideas and products perfect for you and your students!

I was fortunate enough to be paired with Ellen from Joyfully Teaching.

Ellen began her blogging journey just this summer! She currently teaches as a paraprofessional in an elementary school in Michigan. Her day is full of small group work with first, second and fifth grade!

Her store is full of fantastic resources for elementary teachers, both math and literacy related. I wish I could share them all with you in detail!

For this product swap, she sent her Long I Task Cards product for me to review. And, I am so grateful to have this wonderful product in my collection for our first grade long vowel work.

This product includes twelve different Long I words that follow the "magic e" or "silent e" pattern. Right up front, Ellen outlines various uses for these cards. She includes word work centers, literacy stations, Write the Room activities and Scoot games as potential uses. This is ONE product that serves so many purposes for your Long I needs.

My FAVORITE aspect of this product is that Ellen included so many natural ways to differentiate these activities. In first grade, I always have a wide, wide range of abilities and I am always in love with activities that are ready-to-go with built-in differentiation.

The twelve Long I words are featured in this product are done so in a way that can be tailored to your class's needs or even each individual student's needs. Perfect!

Each word is featured in five different ways: visual with word, word with no visual, fill-in-the-blank, sound boxes and visual with no word.

Isn't that perfect?

In my classroom, I try to always provide a "spicy" option. That's the term we use when we challenge ourselves. For example, the objective for this activity is to read words with the long i sound, right? Well, to make it spicy, my students could choose to fill-in the blanks to complete the word OR, to make it even spicier, write the word under the visual.

Okay, y' doesn't stop there! She provides response sheets to pair with the task cards, as well.

Provided in this product are the chance to illustrate the word, practice writing the words with proper handwriting lines, as well as the chance to order the words alphabetically. Oh, what's that? YES - that's another way to naturally differentiate! Those friends who wish to make it spicy can write alphabetically, while the on target group chooses to solely focus on drawing and writing the long i words!

I cannot wait to use this with my class when we arrive at our long vowel learning. I plan to use every level of the task cards in order for the students to choose their level of comfort with this learning objective. Then, in my word work area, I'll have the task cards and the response sheets (in dry-erase sleeves -- that's my jam) for students to practice the long i work.

Click the image above to grab your copy of Ellen's fantastic product!
To keep hopping along, click the image below - your next stop just happens to be Joyfully Teaching! Lucky you!

Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Are You a Bucket Filler?

I am excited to join Brenda from Primary Inspired and Ciera from Adventures of Room 129 for their Back to School Book Link-Up! 

This year, we start school Tuesday, August 11. This means that the first week of school will consist of four days. Yikes! In the past, we've started on Wednesday or Thursday. If you've ever endured the first week of school, you know that this extra day will really add to the stress of the week.

I'm so excited of this link-up to help me have fantastic back to school books and activities ready to go in case I need them. Oh, and...I forgot the best part: every activity in this link-up are offered FOR FREE in the teacher-bloggers' TpT stores! Yay! 

My favorite back to school read aloud is definitely How Full is Your Bucket? by Tom Rath. For my first graders, this is a perfect avenue to reinforce how our behaviors impact others around us. And, it gives us verbiage to use throughout the year to remind one another to be kind. 

Scholastic - only $4.46!


The story is about Felix, a boy who struggles to stay in a good mood throughout the day. His grandfather uses the metaphor of "filling buckets" to illustrate to Felix how his actions impact others. 

My favorite part of the story is that it explains that, by filling someone else's bucket, you're actually filling your own, too! I love that discussion of giving to others makes you feel better, too! 


After we read the story, we discuss actions that are bucket fillers and actions that are bucket dippers. We make an anchor chart to display that list both types of actions. Unfortunately, I don't have a picture of my past charts. But, here are examples of what first graders brainstorm: 

Bucket Fillers: inviting someone to play on the playground, sitting next to someone at lunch, helping clean up a spill, working hard at school, listening to directions the first time, smiling and waving when you see someone you know, etc. 

Bucket Dippers: ignoring friends, excluding friends on the playground, hands and/or feet not kept to yourself, etc. 

Last year, I implemented the "Looks Like, Sounds Like, Feels Like" format for a lot of our procedures including bucket filling, Daily 5 and writing workshop. I really liked the breakdown for my first graders. For bucket filling, the discussion went like this: 

Looks Like: friends helping each other, students working hard, students working together, teachers helping students, everyone smiling

Sounds Like: compliments, kind words, invitations ("Would you like to...?"), friendly tone of voice, manners, encouragement

Feels Like: safe, happy, caring, helpful, comfortable, kind

My biggest advice is to let the students generate these ideas. As every teacher does on a regular basis, we can lead them to what we want them to say. BUT, let them discuss - it's so much more powerful when they can determine the expectations!

My freebie for this link-up includes headers for your anchor chart! Yay! 


After our class discussions, I allow students to reflect upon themselves as bucket fillers with a writing activity. I do this with two different prompts: I Can Fill a Bucket! and I am a Bucket Filler! I like to include choice wherever I can in my classroom, so I give the kids a choice with these prompts.

The forever freebie I have for you includes these two writing prompts. It also includes sentence starters for each prompt for your little friends, if you think they should need them!

Click on the image to download your forever freebie!


The term collaboration is one that is super important in my classroom. I start this culture right away the first week of school. This book allows me to do it in a fun way! The day after we read How Full is Your Bucket?, we discuss collaboration. We define it as friends working together to reach a goal. Then, we go outside and become actual bucket fillers! 

Here's what you'll need: 
  • Two large buckets (think mop buckets like this one)
    • One of these will need to start out full of water
    • The other will need some sort of "Fill To" line here
  • One small plastic cup for each student

Students stand in a line, each holding his or her empty cup. When you say, "Go!" - the student closest to the full bucket dips his or her cup in and then transfers the water to the next person -- this movement goes on down the line until the last person in the line dumps the water to the empty bucket. The task is complete when the water reaches the "Fill To" line.  

Hopefully, you can grasp a better understanding with photos from last school year's fun!

I hope that How Full is Your Bucket? is a valuable addition to your back-to-school fun. I certainly can't wait to read it with this year's class!

Check out these other teachers' forever freebies for your back-to-school needs!

Monday, July 20, 2015

Must-Have Monday

Everyone loves a good link-up! And, I'm no exception! I'm excited for this week's link-up from the ladies at Freebielicious. Each day brings a new theme with their link-up. How fun!

I hate to admit it, but I am fairly high-maintenance picky neurotic particular about certain things in life. And, the items in my must-have list are definitely among them.

So, what are my teacher must-haves? 

Let's face it: everything in this picture is definitely a luxury and not a necessity. BUT, without them, say goodbye to Miss Fancy Pants and say hellooooo to Miss Grumpy Pants!

Coke in a Styrofoam Cup

Remember that particular thing we discussed? Well, here you go, folks: Exhibit A in the case of my neurotic tendencies. I am very discriminatory when it comes to beverages. If I ask for a Coke, and your answer is, "Is Pepsi okay?" -- the answer is always a resounding, "No, Pepsi is not okay." Yikes. Anyway -- my top must-have is a Coke Zero with a splash of Cherry Coke in a styrofoam cup. I wish I was kidding about my drink order. But, I am not. 

Lucky for me, the gas station closest to school offers a punch card. Every seventh drink is free. Yippee! That's a DEAL! (can you hear my eyes rolling?)

Wireless Mouse

I love my Logitech wireless mouse. The first thing to love is that it doesn't cause any unsavory cords hanging out on your desk. The best thing, though, is that I can carry this bad boy around the classroom with me as we discuss anything on the projection screen. I love using Everyday Math's eTools feature, which allows me to use virtual manipulatives for the whole class to work with together. I can do this from anywhere in the room, thanks to my trusty wireless friend. The engagement factor goes through the roof when I hand off my wireless mouse to a student to control. 

There's an On-Off switch, so the battery doesn't die as quickly. But, truthfully, I forget to switch mine to Off most nights, and the battery still lasts an incredibly long time - several months. You can find these just about anywhere: Target, Wal-Mart, Best Buy, etc. The one pictured happens to be from Target. They usually run between $10-$20. 

Teacher-Only Writing Utensils

Most of my classroom's components are there solely because they make our learning environment better for the students. But, there is one cup of materials that is off-limits to my six-year-old friends: my teacher-only writing utensils. I will very, very, very, very rarely ever accept writing with anything but these three things: 

1. Sharpie Pens

2. Flair Pens

3. Papermate Sharpwriter Pencils

What are YOUR teacher must-haves? Link up or check out other teachers' must-haves here

Sunday, July 19, 2015

Christmas in July - Dollar Sale!

Good morning!

It's hot, humid and sticky this morning in Indiana...and it's not even 8am yet! Yikes! We're in for a treat today.

BUT, you are in for an even bigger treat! My Indiana friends and I are throwing a Christmas in July $1 sale just for you! Here are the four items that my store has marked down to just ONE dollar until July 21.

Click on the images to hop on over to grab yours!


Wednesday, July 15, 2015

#PeriscopeTeachers - Scope it Out!

Hi, friends!

I've spent my day sharing and learning at my district's educational technology conference. I cannot wait to share with you my presentation, as well as fantastic ideas and resources that I learned from others. I will have to save all of that goodness for another time, though.

TODAY, I'm thrilled to share with you an upcoming #periscopeteachers opportunity! I was at dinner with my best gal Whitney from The Crazy Schoolteacher, and we were raving about Periscope! We are absolutely loving it. I have to be honest with you and tell you how refreshing it is to see real teachers with real lives: no makeup, messy houses, crazy hair and all!

We took advantage of both of us being in the same zip code and broadcasted our first Periscope together! We had a BLAST. Here's the obligatory selfie that followed:

Well, from our conversation stemmed a fabulous idea to host a Periscope challenge each week. We want teachers to share about the everyday essentials in their classrooms. Every Tuesday, we'll share the topic for the week, and we'll also broadcast about that topic. Then, we're asking YOU to broadcast about that topic, too! Fun, huh? Yes. The answer is YES, it's fun!

We're calling this challenge Scope it Out. Shoutout to Jenny from Luckeyfrog's Lilypad for helping us with a catchy name!

The first topic will start July 27. That means that if you haven't figured out Periscope yet, you have 12 days to play! I promise you won't be disappointed. To stay up-to-date with the fun, make sure you follow both Whitney and I on...




While you're playing on Periscope, check out Sheila Jane Teaching's fantastic Periscope link-up! She has a collection of phenomenal educators to check out on Periscope! 

That's all from me for now! I cannot wait to see all of your Periscopes each week!

Friday, July 10, 2015

Five for Friday

Well, well, well - here we are again! Fridays have a lot less appeal in the summer than they do during the school year. I've come to the very real truth about how quickly my summer is dwindling. There is still so much to do! Oh, jeez.

To calm myself down, here's a quick look back at my week! I'll remind myself how much fun I've had this summer and that all of that school business will be there waiting when I'm ready to tackle it.

I started the week with a dinner hosted by four of my loveliest friends. We celebrated my birthday a few days early because of travel schedules and whatnot. If it's my birthday, you can be certain that there were chips and salsa, as well as Minion balloons involved. And, of course, the cupcakes weren't anything to complain about - seriously, pink lemonade cupcake. Yes, please. 

Speaking of Minions - their new movie was released today! So, naturally, like every soon-to-be-27-year-old, I just haaaaaad to see it the night before for its opening! What could be better? In this movie, my very favorite yellow friends are in England. Yes, Minions in London. Uh, hello.

Here's our creepy back of the dark movie theater selfie! 

I've tried really hard this summer to tend to Kristen's needs, rather than Miss Cannady's needs (let's face it, if you're a teacher, you have at least two personas: you and you as a teacher - I sometimes have a difficult time separating the two!). Anyway, I've been cleaning and organizing every corner of my apartment. A couple of weeks ago, I successfully cleared out and sorted my pantry. But, the labels I wanted for my spices were at school, and I kept forgetting to grab them whenever I was there. Well, this week, I finally remembered! Yay! I'm very pleased with how they turned out. I'm convinced that a KG font and a mason jar can fix most of the world's problems. 

Nordstrom's Anniversary Sale started. 
You know what? Nevermind. Let's not talk about it.

And, with all of the #tptvegas15 and #teachersNOTinvegas and #fomo action happening this week, I totally jumped on the Periscope bandwagon. Okay, friends - I'm in love. My head is spinning with ideas for the classroom! Seriously - so excited. The possibilities are endless. Ice cream social! Meet the Teacher! Pen pals! Book buddies! Science experiments! Recess fun! Oh, my heavens - what an exciting new tool for teachers. Yay! 

This is my "professional" account - I plan to keep my classroom account separate and more protected in terms of viewers. You know - safety first :) 

I am sure that I will have a lot of posts throughout the school year about this! Stay tuned! 

How was your week? Link up with Doodle Bugs Teaching and let us know! 

Wednesday, July 8, 2015

Make Your Masterpiece!

I'm crossing the TpT Seller Challenge's third week finish line at the very.last.second! In fact, I may be a little late. Oh, well. #betterlatethannever - right?

The third week's challenge was to Make Your Masterpiece! This is a lot of pressure, right? I have so many products and ideas on my to-do list that I struggled all week to really commit to one. Well, ladies and gentlemen, last night just before midnight, I had a spark of inspiration. So, naturally, I was up until the wee hours putting this product into place.

I am really excited about this product because it's the biggest I've ever uploaded - 46 pages! - there's a lot to this little baby! And, it's the first product for which I created a separate preview file. Seriously, it's getting real over here.

I wish I had real photos to share with you of these products in use - butttttt, my room is completely packed up for summer and bulletin boards have not yet been recreated. My plan is to add real photos to the actual product once I'm able to take some!

So, what's in it?

Birthday Bulletin Board Materials

The first week of school, I take a photo of each month's birthday group. So, every student with a January birthday smiles together. Each student holds up the number that corresponds to his or her birth date. I then input each month's photo to the correct birthday month template and display them on our birthday bulletin board. 

Student Birthday Treats

My school does not allow birthday treats from parents for a child's special day. That's actually a huge relief form as a teacher. But, I do like to give them a little somethin' somethin.' Displayed next to the birthday bulletin board, I have a collection of crazy straw balloons that each child receives on his or her birthday. I also let them take a birthday coupon of their choice! 

Class Birthday Book Options

As a part of my classroom birthday display, I have a cute birthday gift bag sitting next to the birthday balloons. In the bag, there's our class birthday binder. I include a list of student birthdays and enough copies of our birthday book pages for each student to complete the night of his or her birthday. They bring back the binder the next day and share their work with the class. 

Click the photo of the cover below to head on over to my TpT store. This pack is on 20% off through tomorrow night! Yay! 

Sunday, July 5, 2015

My Favorite Quote

Happy, happy holiday weekend! I hope that you all had a fantastic Fourth of July - mine was full of family, laughter and sun! I may or may not have a killer farmer's tan. I'll take it!

Today,  I'm linking up with Monica from I Heart Grade 3 for her weekly summer link-up! Each week presents a new topic. I'm coming in at the last minute for this week's topic.

I'm a quote monger. I love them. I put a different quote each week for my classroom newsletter, I often post fun images of them on my Instagram and have them constantly changing on my phone wallpaper.

My Very, Very Favorite Quote

This quote speaks for itself. I am a big believer in smiling and acting positively. Yes, of course, I have my moments, my days, my weeks, etc. BUT, even a quick "Hello!" in the hallway can brighten someone's day. Why not always try to be a rainbow for someone else? 

This is just darling. It makes me smile so much. In fact, it's actually the quote that I put on the back of my teacher planner this past school year - see?

He Melts My Heart!

I cannot speak highly enough of my friend Kid President. His videos, his quotes, his book, his tweets - seriously, I'm obsessed. I adore him. His quotes are frequent fliers on my classroom newsletter. If you don't know about Kid President, please please please STOP EVERYTHING right now and watch this video. Please. Why are you still reading? Stop. Watch the video. Now! 

I couldn't find a graphic for my very favorite quote from him, but I have to share it anyway:  

"No matter who you are, someone is learning from you."

For obvious reasons, I love this for the classroom!

A few other fun quotes from my main man: 

Isn't he precious? 

To see other teachers' favorites, click here!

What's your favorite quote?