Monday, 1 September 2014

September Currently

I cannot believe it is September already. Soon it will be my birthday! I still get excited like a little kid :)

Here is this months Currently.

Listening: I just woke up and am starting my morning routine which involves COFFEE!!!! It is sad to say but I cannot function without it.

Loving: I have such a hard time finding boots that will fit my wide calves and I found some grey ones I love. Bring on the fall weather so I can wear them.

Thinking: I bought a plastic paper organizer and the only problem is it is white and doesn't match my classroom decor (lime green and turquoise). I am trying to decide if I should paint it black or turquoise.

Wanting: Our union is still on strike trying to get good language on class size and composition (and a wage increase of course). We have been on full walk out sing the middle of June. Tomorrow should be the first day of school for us.

Needing: No explanation here...I HATE cleaning bathrooms.

3 Trips: Hawaii....beautiful beaches      Victoria ..... family and friends       Ireland ..... love the scenery and I want to go to an Irish pub.

Well that was a fun Currently and I would like to thank Farley at Oh' Boy 4th Grade for all her organization on this link up. Visit her blog to see more Currently posts. 

Monday, 11 August 2014

Shark Week Blog Hop

Slide5All teachers know that kids learn more when they’re excited and engaged. Today a team of bloggers come together to help your students take a BITE out of learning with a theme your students are sure to love!

I use individual whiteboards in my classroom all the time to keep all of my students engaged. They love writing on their own boards! For more tips on how to engage all your students check out my previous blog post here.

Of course, picking topics the students are interested in always helps, too!
Slide 10.png

What student (boy or girl) doesn't love sharks? When I am creating practice worksheets for my students I always add some graphics or activity that is related something they are interested in or a subject matter we are covering in another subject area. Even though they are practicing concepts they know and may get "bored" with the added elements makes it fun. freebie is a perfect example of this. The work is multiplication review but students get to solve a fun riddle at the same time.They also get to practice fine motor skills while they complete the cut and paste activity.

Click on the picture to get this fintastic freebie!

Before I move on to the blog hop links I thought I would share some humor I found and shared on my Facebook page!

Be sure to go for a swim in the linky party below. Every blog in the Shark Week Blog Hop features a fishy freebie for you and your students- but hurry! Shark Week only lasts until Sunday, August 17th  : )
An InLinkz Link-up


Wednesday, 6 August 2014

Back To School Ebook
One of the things I anticipate every back to school time is the TpT Ebooks. This year I managed to get in this one!! I am excited about that. There are over 40 TPT sellers who each created a page which has teaching tips and at least one free item. Believe me when I say you will want to download this one. I spent my morning going through the entire thing and have some fun activities for my students.

Before you head off to explore this ebook for yourself, I would like to give a HUGE shout out to Wise Guys for all their incredible work compiling this book.


Adding Text to a PDF

It is always great to get a product that is editable but what do you do when you get it and don't know how to edit it? Usually I make my editable items in PowerPoint so it is easy to edit. I do have a few earlier products that I made into a PDF.

I have had a few people ask me lately how to add text to a PDF file. Since I haven't found out yet how to record what I do on my computer I took a screen shot of what I did and added labels.

Here is how I add text to a PDF file.

I hope this helps!  


Tuesday, 5 August 2014

BTS Sale Finds!

I saw this blog hop link up and thought I would join because I love sharing new finds. I JUST checked out on TPT and almost forgot to use the code BTS14 to get the additional 10% off. I would have felt silly if I had done that.

Anyways I thought I would share with you a couple things I purchased.

My favourite find is these Send Home Science Kits. I think I will be using them for birthday gifts this year. I have already printed off the shopping list and am going to start shopping (I know I just finished shopping but I LOVE shopping!).

Another item I purchased were these adorable Classroom Rules Posters. I like how they are simple enough rules that they cover a wide scope and you don't need a ton of rules in the classroom. A bonus is that they will go with my classroom décor!

Of course I couldn't leave a TPT sale without getting fonts and clip art. Thanks to Jenna Hudson at Sew Much Music, Dancing Crayon Designs, and Khrys Bosland I will have more things to create with!

There is still time to get in on the sale so happy shopping!


Sunday, 3 August 2014

Back To School Sale and a Freebie!!!!

I love back to school time. I love buying new supplies to start fresh with and I love decorating my room. I get excited and nervous to meet my new students and this year I will be changing schools so I have new colleagues to meet! I also love the Teachers Pay Teachers Back To School Sale!!!!!

This year my whole entire (my husband would scream to hear me say this redundant statement!) store is on sale for Monday and Tuesday only. I will be putting everything at a 20% off discounted price. On top of that TPT is giving an additional 10% off at check out. All you have to do is use the code BTS14.

I thought I would show you a few of the new items to my store to help you get started.

I love having binder covers to match my classroom colours so I made these. They are my newest item and are editable to suit your needs.

I also had some time to create 2 more of my popular syllable sorts. This time the ocean and space were the topics. Perfect for adding in those science words!

The last new thing I am going to tell you about before I get to the freebie is my Editable Teacher Calendar. Staying organized is key for me and I like to do so in style. I have already printed and bound (at Staples) this calendar and am getting ready for back to school! And for my Canadian colleagues here is a Canadian version!!!
Okay, freebie time ...It was hard to decide which freebie I wanted to put on here. I decided to go with a fun one that can be used all through the year. My class cannot get enough of Duck Dynasty and have a blast playing this game.

 Well that is it for today. Don't forget to use the code BTS14 and any feedback credits you may have, when you are shopping on TpT during the sale.



Friday, 1 August 2014

My First Currently!

I am excited to finally jump on the Currently bandwagon!!! Farley from Oh' Boy 4th Grade hosts a Currently linky every month and I have always read them but never participated.

Here it is:
Listening: The sound of a fan is a great thing on a hot day like today. I would love a house with air conditioning then I could have put something more exciting here. We actual live in a rental that has thin walls so maybe my guys are that loud.
Loving: Steak on the BBQ is my favourite meat to eat! I could eat it every second day (alternating with fish) if I was allowed to. The steak has to be Barbecued though.
Thinking: As I mentioned we are renting but we are in the process of buying a house. We have looked at so many and it now has come down to 2 of them. One with a view of the lake or one with 5 acres of wilderness. Hmmm.
Wanting: Yup it is hot and a swim would help.
Needing: I am procrastinating doing outside chores for 2 reasons....1) it is hot outside   2) I am getting ready for the TPT Back to School Sale!!!!!
Well that is it for this Currently. I am planning on doing them from now on :)
Don't forget to check out Farley's blog for the links to all the other currently participants. There are some great posts out there.


Let's Have Some Fun Linky

I love having fun in my classroom and am bringing some "fun" to this blog post! Sally at Elementary Matters is having a Let's Have Some Fun Linky and I decided to join!!!

Part one of the linky has me sharing a funny story from my classroom. It took a bit of time to think of the one that I wanted to share. We seem to have many funny moments in my classroom. I decided that I would share something from my first year teaching Grade 1. My friends would tell you that me teaching Grade 1 is the funny part. I vowed I would never teach below Grade 3 but when you want a job you take what there is. Sorry I was sidetracked. Me teaching Grade 1 is not the funny

Here is the funny part: Each week we did spelling and this one day a student came up to me looking very concerned. I asked her what was wrong and she said that I gave her a swear word for their spelling this week and she didn't like that. Confused, I asked her what she was talking about and then she said I gave them the "a" word on the list. I had her point to the word and at that moment she said the word....YIKES I am glad no parents or administrator was around because she said the "A" word.... You know "as". Well we say as but a Grade 1 student sounding it out says "a" "s". I know I don't have to spell out the word for you but I got quite a chuckle and tell this story to colleagues still today. for a fun product.... This was an easy choice. My students have so much fun playing this Duck Dynasty game. It is always the first one to be taken. Students have to try and build the biggest/smallest/closest number to earn duck points. The person with the most duck points wins.

You can get Duck Wars along with other fun products for your classroom during the Teachers Pay Teachers annual Back To School Sale. My entire store will be on sale and if you use the promo code BTS14 at checkout you will get 28% off your total.

I know my cart is already filling up and there is nothing more fun than getting a discount!

Don't forget to check out the other links on Elementary Matters Link Up!


Thursday, 24 July 2014

A Sale and a FB Giveaway!
I just finished my space syllable sort and decided to put all of my syllable sorts on sale for $1.00. That's 50% off!!!

To go along with the flash sale I am having a giveaway on my Facebook page. Check it out to see what you can win :) 

Throw Back Thursday

First of all I have to say that I chose this picture because I use to be OBSESSED with trolls. Do you remember those cute/creepy little critters. I had so many of them. Anyways ...

Since it is Throw Back Thursday I thought I would take you way back to August 8, 2011 when I had my first blog post! This is the first thing I blogged about (after I introduced myself). Click on time machine to go back :)

That seems like so long ago.


Thursday, 17 July 2014

Teachers Funding Public Education

I don't normally write political posts on my blog but in light of our current union strike I knew I had to write this one. I have heard many times that teachers knew what they were getting into when they decided to become teachers so we should be happy with what we have. Part of that statement is true, most of it is not. Perhaps the biggest surprise to me when I began my teaching practicums and then transitioned into my own classroom was the amount of stuff teachers buy for their classroom out of their own money. 

Many people have asked my why I buy so much stuff for my classroom when I teach in a public school that is funded by the government. Well, that is why I am writing this post. This year I am moving schools AGAIN (I have been teaching for 9 years and have moved 8 times) and thought this year I would take before and after pictures of my classroom to show what it is that I have purchased and what was in the classroom for me to use.

Here is what my classroom looked like on the last day of school before we went on strike (everything was left in hopes of a return before the actual end of the school year).

Lets go through my classroom section by section and you will see the major differences.

No baskets, borders, and only a few books left. Most of the books here are from a previous teacher but I included them because I didn't buy them.

No alphabet line or posters.

No calendar or moveable carpet. I left the black paper up because it was from the school.

No bins or labels for organizing.

No number line or word work centres.

No magnets or posters.


No posters, charts, or clothes pins. 

No games for the kids to play on rainy/cold days.
No Math or Literacy activities to work on.
No comfy chair for reading in.
The top shelf has a few textbooks but for any grade below 3, there are no textbooks.
My before picture of this was too dark to see but here is the empty shelf behind my desk.

Once I packed up my teaching resources this is what is left. Three math textbooks, a binder with answer keys for one of the textbooks, cd player, and some random teaching units. Oh yeah and a hole punch!
I didn't take an after shot of this but I wanted to include the rug I bought so my students didn't have to sit on the floor while reading or doing work. Because of budget cuts, the floor only gets washed once a week (no fault of our great custodian) and the kids don't want to sit on the dirty floor. Everyone was trying to cram on the blue carpet by the classroom library, so I gave them more room to sit.
These are just a few pictures of what I have spent my personal money on. They don't include the shelves and shelves of resources I have at home or the many different art supplies, food for those hungry students, seat cushions for comfort, parent gifts (Christmas, Mother's Day, and Father's Day), photo development, etc. which I have paid for.
So why do I do it and why will I continue to spend my own money (which could be spent on/with my son and husband), on things for my classroom and my students? The answer is two-fold.
Reason #1: I spend many, many hours a day in my classroom (another surprise going into teaching. Surprise no 8:30-2:30) and I want it to be an atmosphere I can feel happy being in. If I am not happy in my surroundings how can I be inspired to plan great lessons? If I was in a bland environment I would be desperate to leave and get outside. In my opinion, creating an inviting environment also welcomes my students and helps make them feel comfortable being in the classroom. They also spend a great deal of time here and they need to be happy/comfortable as well. I could go on and on with this point but I will stop :)
Reason #2: Students need to have engaging lessons and it is very, very difficult to do this by teaching strictly from the textbooks. If we have textbooks. Remember I said that for Kindergarten to Grade 2 there are no textbooks. I suppose I could say to my student day in and day out, "Okay, now turn to page ?? and we will carry on from where we left off yesterday." Really it would make teaching and planning a whole lot easier, but WOW would I be bored and so would my students. To get around not relying solely on textbooks, teachers have to find materials elsewhere and this usually comes from buying resources or searching online for something that might work.
If we were just "greedy teachers" we would not be buying things for our classroom/students. Everywhere across B.C. and the country, teachers would be heard saying things like "I am sorry that you are uncomfortable sitting in that hard plastic chair but we only can get one cushion for our classroom." "Oh you didn't come to school with pencil crayons or scissors. Sorry, I guess you won't be able to complete this art project." "Yup, it is raining again. What can you do? Well there is paper. Draw again. Or you can read one of the 20 books we have in the classroom." Again I could go on but will stop.
This strike action is more than just about teachers' wages and benefits. It is about the government adequately funding our public schools and investing in our children, like teachers have been doing for many years.


Saturday, 21 June 2014

Bright Idea Blog Hop: Organizing Unfinished Work

I know we all have those students who chronically do not finish their work and if you are teaching in a school like me, inevitably there will be students who will not do homework or who will not bring it back. A few years ago I really needed a solution to organizing all of the work that was not done or that had corrections to do.
Every year now I have an unfinished work folder for each of my students. Like the name says, this is where all of students unfinished work goes, along with any work that has corrections to do.

When students have spare time they know their first job is to go check their folder to see if they have any work in there. These folders have been a huge time saver and organizational dream.
No longer do students need to go through one stack of papers looking for anything that might be theirs and I no longer have stacks of random papers lying on my desk.
At the end of a work period anyone who has work that didn't get done, just puts the work in their folder (that is if I don't collect them to mark what they have done so far). Also a few times a week we hand out the folders and add any work that needs to be added.

Over the years I have gone through different folder types. I started by folding construction paper and stapling it together; they didn't last very long. I tried regular duotang folders but they ripped easily. This year, I bought plastic folders that I will be able to use for a few years. The labels I put on them at the beginning of the year, had to be fancy and color coordinated to my classroom (of course) but they didn't stick very well to the plastic so I had to come up with another plan. With my love of duct tape it didn't take long before I knew what to do. I found some white duct tape and used that. It was perfect... the labels are very secure!!! Oh Yah... I can color coordinate with the color of marker I use for the names :)
I hope this will help you with your organization and I would love to hear if you have any other brilliant ideas for organizing paper.
For more bright ideas more than 100 different bloggers, please browse through the link-up below and choose a topic/grade level that interests you. Thanks for visiting!

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