Sunday, August 18, 2013

Back to School and a SALE!

Whew!  It has been a very busy week this past week!  We start school here on Tuesday, so I spent all of last week fixing up my classroom and getting ready for school!  I DO NOT feel ready to start.  It's so surreal.  I feel like I have all this extra time, when in reality, I don't.  And I have SO MUCH to do!  I don't even know where to start sometimes.  So I'm sorry, neighbors, my grass may not be mowed for a few more days.

I am sure you have all heard about the big Teachers Pay Teachers Back to School Sale!  I know I have already filled up my cart with some great products, and I'm currently trying to guilt myself into hitting the "purchase" button!  Luckily I still have all day today and tomorrow to do it!

Since this is my first Back to School Sale, I decided to do something special to celebrate!  I am having a Buy 2, Get 1 Free sale in my TPT store.  So on top of the 28% off you're already getting (don't forget that promo code- I did once!), you can get an item from my store totally FREE!

All you need to do is:
1.  Purchase 2 items from my store.  
2.  Do NOT put the 3rd item in your cart!  
3.  Email me your username and your choice of a free item to butler . erica @ gmail . com.  
4.  I will email you a link to your free item!

***The free item choice needs to be of equal or lesser value of the regular price.  So for example, you choose my "Talk Derby to Me!" unit for $6 (on sale for $4.80) and my "Investigating Arctic Animals unit" for $5 (on sale for $4), then you can choose an item that is $5 or less for FREE!***

I have been working on something new to put in my store for a very, very long time now, and I am so glad they are finished!  I loved the Beanie Baby Word Attack Strategies that you see all over the internet, so I connected many of the Fluency, Vocabulary, and Comprehension strategies to a different Beanie Baby, and created cards for them.  Now I have decided to create posters for each individual Reading Buddy.  I have been working on creating the buddies for over a year now- matching each Beanie Baby I own (which is a LOT!) with a strategy for teaching comprehension, vocabulary, fluency, and decoding!

For today ONLY, they are 50% off- regular price is $6.00, and they are on sale for $3.00, plus the extra 10% you can get by using the BTS13 code. They also qualify as one of your Buy 2, Get 1 free items because I am feeling super generous today!  Click on the picture to check them out!



I also purchased some of those wooden animal pieces from Hobby Lobby and some other craft stores, and I intend to attach them to dowel rods or popsicle sticks as Reading Buddies the kids can use while they are reading.  I found a lot of them, but there are some more I need, so I may just need to create them from clip art and attach them to foam core or posterboard or something.  I'll definitely share when I get them finished!  

Some of my favorites that are on sale this weekend include:
This is a great unit for back to school!  This is something you can start the first or second week of school if you wish, and the prep is super easy!  I wrote about how I use Family Journals in this post, if you didn't catch it and are interested in learning more.  Family Journals are one of the best things I implemented in my class last year.  

If you haven't started school yet, you may want to consider purchasing my Back to School Postcards.  There are 7 different themes, so hopefully one of them is bound to match your classroom theme or your tastes!  I use mine to welcome my students back to school and remind them about our Back to School Social.  I love it when they come to the social all excited because they got mail from their teacher! 

 
Some of my other favorites are my Investigating Writing Packs.  I loved teaching informational writing last year using my Arctic Animals pack.  This year, with the new Next Gen Science Standards, I will probably be using my Animal Life Cycles pack as my focus as I think it will go well with what we're going to be doing in my district.  My students did an amazing job of creating informational posters and writing their own informational books complete with a Table of Contents and a Glossary.  I almost cried, I was so proud of them.

And if you really want to get thinking ahead and start prepping for fall activities, I have my Trick or Treat Math Centers.  These centers have some fun ways of practicing math, including a Halloween Themed Yahtzee game, a "Cooking Up Some Magic" board game, and a "Slide to 120" game that is similar to Chutes and Ladders.  

Happy Shopping!  And please don't forget to leave feedback!  It's so easy- go to your Purchases, and click on the flashing "Leave Feedback" button!  Plus, you can redownload updated purchases as well.  When you leave feedback, you receive credit towards your new purchases, and you get $$$ off!  It's awesome!  



Friday, August 16, 2013

Getting to Know Your Students



I have been sharing some posts about how to get to know your students and their families.  I think that learning about our students and their families is an important part of our jobs, and one that will make our jobs easier.  There are some simple things you can do to engage your families and connect with them, and these will help you have a successful school year!


One of the most simple ways I get to know my students is by sending home a survey at the beginning of the year.  I send mine home on the first day of school with the rest of their Back to School paperwork.  I call mine "Getting to Know Your Child" and I really love reading the responses on these.  I ask questions about their families, what they like to do, and what they think of school.  

These surveys are a very simple way to get to know your students.  You can place them in a binder, or in a file folder for each student, or whatever works for you.  Then you can reference them whenever you need more information about a student.  I like to read each one of them and then I can use this information to make connections with my students.  

Click on the picture above to get the freebie! 

Do you have a back to school survey you send home at the beginning of the year?  What are some other ways you get to know your students?

For more posts on connecting with your students, you can check these out: 



Back to School postcards

Monday, August 12, 2013

Let's Talk About Me! Teacher Week 2013!


It's Teacher Week!  I am linking up with Blog Hoppin' today for Monday's blog post, "Let's Talk About Me!"

Here are the topics for this week.  I don't know which ones I will be linking up with yet (my classroom is still a total mess!), but I'm going to try.  If you are interested, you can link up as well!  Just click on the picture below to go to BlogHoppin' and link up!



It was so hard coming up with 10 things about me, but I'm going to try!  Now you all will know how weird I am.  I hope you stick around!

1.  In this post, I played a little game called "Two Truths and a Lie."  Here are the answers.
1.  I am one of 24 grandchildren on my Dad's side of the family.  Out of the 24 of us, there are only 4 girls.- This is False, because it's the opposite of the truth!  Actually, out of the approximately 24 of us, there are only 4 boys.  Yep.  4.  My grandmother also has 6 great grandchildren, and only one of them is a boy!  There's a lot of estrogen at family gatherings!
2.  My first car was a 1997 Toyota Corolla that I nicknamed Yoda.  - True!  I named it Yoda because it was small, green, and squeaky.  
3. I live in a house that is called a "shotgun".  It was built in 1900.- True!  For those of you who don't know what a shotgun is, it's a type of house that is built where each room connects from room to room.  The doorways in the front and back of the house line up, as do the rest of the doorways in the house, so that a person theoretically could stand in the front door and shoot a shotgun through the house and out the back door!  Mine is technically a modified shotgun, as my back door does not line up with the front door.  
This is a picture of my house after it got a brand new roof in January.  You can see 3 of the 4 exterior doors (the last one is in the back off of the little porch).  It is a little plain, and needs some more curb appeal, but I'm on a limited budget here and I have to live in it, so you know where my money is going!)

If you want to learn more about shotgun houses, here is some more information.  As a bit of a history nut, I think they are fascinating.  I could talk about my house all day!

2.  My favorite subject in school was history.  I love learning about history.  That may be one of the reasons I live in a house that is 113 years old!  If I had decided to be a high school teacher instead, I would be a history teacher!  I also loved art class.  I wanted to take more art classes.

3.  Once I get a crafty idea in my head, I HAVE to run with it, no matter how crazy it is.  I get obsessed.  I can't sleep.  I draw sketches and look up stuff online to complete my crafty quest.  I love crafty stuff, so you will often find me doing things like cutting up curtains to make pillows and roman shades, painting an umbrella a very bright teal color, or dragging some half rotten cellar steps out of my garage to use as a plant stand.  No Pinterest needed here!  My newest crazy idea?  Painting a chandelier green and hanging it from my pergola (see picture!  I am in LOVE!)  I added solar lights to it so it would light up at night.  And since most of the time I have ants in my pants once I decide to do something, I tend to make lots of trips to Hobby Lobby!  I have an entire IKEA Expedit 5x5 shelf dedicated to overflowing with craft stuff.  That is dedication!  Ha!

4.  Speaking of crafty stuff, I am a bit of a "do it yourself-er".  I mentioned before that my house was 113 years old when I bought it, and it was not in great shape.  As far as the "bones" of the house, it was fine (no walls falling in or foundation problems!), but the place was a hot mess!  I am convinced that the previous owners did not own a single bar of soap.  It was ridiculous.  If you look at the 2 pictures, you can see how dirty the walls were, the fact that there were broken doors and duct tape on the walls, and the carpet was filthy and had holes in it.  And some of the things somebody did to this house back in the 80's made me want to go back in time and smack them upside the head.  Then I found beer cans inside the walls, and I knew why my house looked the way it did!  I bought the house knowing it was a fixer upper, and in almost 4 years, we have done a LOT of work to it!  Refinishing floors, laying tile, building pergolas and porches, and adding insulation are just a few of the things we've done.   I actually started a blog a while ago to write about my progress, but since grad school started, I haven't really done much to it.  But you can check it out of you are interested, and one of these days, I will write more about my house adventures!

5.  I have this unnatural love of fabric.  And for the longest time, I couldn't really sew, and I had absolutely no use for it.  But I still bought it anyway, even though I hadn't stepped anywhere near a sewing machine since I was 15!  So for Christmas, I bought myself a sewing machine (I guess my mother didn't take me seriously when I asked for one for my birthday and a few Christmases!)  And now I have a reason to own that much fabric.  :-)  Now I own more.  Much more.  I have a little Etsy shop where I sell some of the things I make.  My favorite things to make are taggie blankets for babies!  They are so fun to make because I can use lots of different fabrics I wouldn't normally use, and I get to be creative!  I have made an owl, elephant, dog, penguin, and monkey so far, and I'm working on a few more, such as a giraffe and a frog! 

6.  I have this need to "rescue" flowers.  I regularly check out the clearance plants section when I am at Lowes or Home Depot.  I can't help it- they are all just so pretty!  I usually end up bringing something home!  I want my yard to look like something out of Better Homes and Gardens someday, and that involves flowers.

7.  I love the show "The Big Bang Theory."  I watch reruns of it on TBS like I'll never see it again.  Same with the show "Friends".  I own both of these shows on DVD.  "The Big Bang Theory" is the only show that I watch that is currently still on TV.  I hate reality TV.  I wouldn't be caught dead watching any "Real Housewives" shows or "The Bachelor" or any of the other trillion reality shows on TV.  They bore me.  

8.  My favorite food is sushi.  Try telling that to first graders!  If I'm not eating sushi, I'm probably eating Mexican or Tex-Mex.  If not Mexican, it's pasta or Chinese.  I eat a lot of chicken, and I love shrimp and salmon!  I have never cooked a steak in my entire life, and I've never ordered one at a restaurant either.  I peruse Pinterest for recipes all the time, but I never have what I need when I want to make something!

9.  I have 2 sisters.  Kristen is 26, and Lauryn is 14.  She will be starting high school this week.  OMG.  Where did the time go?  
This is Lauryn on the left and Kristen on the right.  We were at Disney World waiting in line for the Small World Line.  Kristen was being silly and "eating" everybody.  We're kind of weird like that.  Her, for eating everybody.  Me, for photographing it.

This is Lauryn and I on her 14th birthday.  Not a great picture, but oh well.  

And my mom, me, Kristen, and Lauryn in Chicago.  I don't have any pictures of Kristen and I because I hate having my picture taken!  

10.  I have the sweetest dog named Molly. She is a Jack Russel Terrier/Beagle mix.  I love her so much.  We take agility classes together.  She loves it, and she's getting really good!  She's incredibly smart, which to me means incredibly rotten!  She's always getting in to something!  But she doesn't chew up my stuff, and she's adorable, so she redeems herself. :-)  She loves car rides, rawhide bones, walks, going to agility class, laying on the couch with me, sniffing everything, hunting small prey, and being outside.  She hates fireworks and thunderstorms, and being told it is time to come inside! :-)
So that's me!  I hope you learned everything you wanted to know!  I hope you will link up with Blog Hoppin too!  If you do link up, leave a comment with the link so I can learn more about YOU!

Thursday, August 8, 2013

Family Visits


Thank you for checking out my posts on Engaging and Connecting with Families!  It is so important to begin the school year on the right foot by building relationships with families!  Today, I am going to share with you some tips for using Family Visits in your classroom.  



Have you heard of Family Visits?  I know several schools require Home Visits, but Family Visits are something different!  Family Visits are a great way to connect with your students and their families, and establish a positive relationship from the very beginning.  I know many people have not heard about Family Visits- myself included- or are just really scared of the idea.  But I promise you, Family Visits are not scary, and they will give you some great insight into your students and valuable information about their families.

If you have never done a Family Visit, then the idea seems daunting, especially if you teach in a low income area, Title 1 school, or your students live in a dangerous area.  The first time I did Family Visits is when I did my student teaching.  It seemed scary to me when and I wasn't sure what to expect.  However, I really enjoyed them and have done them in my own classroom.

Tips for Successful Family Visits:

1.  Choose when you want to do your Family Visits.  You can do them before school begins or after school starts, depending on what works best for you, your school, and your students.  I choose to do mine after school begins, because sometimes a child on my roster may not end up in my classroom.  This way, any children who are added at the last minute still get the opportunity to have a family visit.  I usually do 3 visits a day and choose 2-3 days a week to carve out time to go.

2.  Send a letter home, explaining Family Visits.  I sent my letter home a few weeks after school began and we got into a classroom routine.  I chose a few dates that worked for me, and gave parents options of times to choose from.  You could also send home a postcard before school begins, greeting the students and welcoming them to the class.  You could assign a time and date for the Family Visit on the postcard, or just invite their students and families to schedule a visit before school begins.  I personally prefer to allow the families to choose a time that works for them.   

3. Make your Family Visits non-threatening!  Explain in the letter that you just want to get to know the students and their families better!  This is NOT a visit to check out their homes or judge the families.  It is not a parent-teacher conference!  I make it clear in my letter that I want to get to know them better and they will get to learn more about me too!

4.  Offer alternatives to visiting the home.  This also helps make the Family Visits non-threatening.  Some families are homeless, or live in shelters, or with other family members.  Some families are embarrassed to have their child's teacher visit the home.  So you can offer them the option to meet elsewhere instead.  I always suggest something like a local park or a restaurant like McDonalds.  This allows all families to participate, regardless of their living situation!

5.  Keep it short!  My visits are less than 20 minutes long.  In just a 20 minute visit, you can meet the family members, talk to the parents about what they expect from their child this school year, and answer any questions they have.  If the students want to, and the family is OK with it, they will often show you around their house- their rooms, toys, favorite books, pets, etc...  

6.  Bring a Friend.  I've been on Family Visits by myself, and I've also brought along a coworker.  You need to find out what the guidelines are for your school and follow those.  But you need to do what makes you feel comfortable!  If you are worried about going alone, you can ask a teacher friend, a grade-level colleague, a counselor, or your Principal to go with you.  Safety first!

7.  Take a Picture!  During the visit, I always take a picture of myself with one of my students.  The student gets to choose where the picture is taken.  I get the pictures printed up and create a "Family Visit" book.  The students can write a bit about their visit with their teacher in their home.  This helps each student to feel special, and also helps drum up interest from the other students when they see that another child had their teacher visit their house.


Here is another great resource online with some more information about Family Visits!   


I have also created an example letter you can send home to your students.  This one has my name and information on it, but if you click on the picture, it will take you to my Dropbox, where I have an editable PDF freebie for you.  I hope you will consider downloading the letter and going to visit your students in their homes!

So would you consider doing Family Visits?  Does the idea scare you?  Have you done them before?  Leave me a comment and let me know what you are thinking!

For more great posts about Engaging Families and building positive relationships, check out these posts!




Wednesday, August 7, 2013

Day 7- A Whole Year of Blogging Blogiversary


Whew!  This "week" of fun giveaways and freebies is coming to an end.  I use the term "week" loosely, because it has been such a crazy busy time, I got a little behind.  :-(  

So originally I had asked 6 bloggers to donate something to my giveaway, but I never received a response from the last one.  So today, Day 7, I am just going to go ahead and tell you about myself instead.  I'm going to play a game called 2 Truths and A Lie.  I am going to list 3 things about myself.  You have to guess which one is the lie!  Leave a comment with your guess.  I will choose one of the people who get the answer correct to win one item from my TPT store. :-)

1.  I am one of 24 grandchildren on my Dad's side of the family.  Out of the 24 of us, there are only 4 girls.
2.  My first car was a 1997 Toyota Corolla that I nicknamed Yoda.  
3. I live in a house that is called a "shotgun".  It was built in 1900.

I will post the winner, and the answer, sometime tomorrow!  (I hope!  This pesky thing called "life" keeps getting in my way!)

It is also time for the August Currently.  I wonder how it is already August... 

Most of these are pretty self-explanatory.  

Loving- I have been working on a little patio "mini makeover" this summer, trying to make things cute and cohesive.  I will have to post pictures as soon as I get it finished.  It is so much fun hanging out there right now!  I still have a lot of things to do, but I love going out there and swinging on my swing!

Thinking- I am a total night owl.  I have been staying up late and sleeping in every day.  It has been great!  I have also been babysitting the CUTEST little 3 month old.  I am going to miss taking care of her when school starts.  Too bad it doesn't pay enough to do full time! :-(  
(I took this today when I was working in my classroom.  She loved being able to sit up in the saucer chair!)


Needing- I haven't been to the beach for 3 years now.  For those of you who have never been, or haven't been in awhile, you must be rolling your eyes.  But I am DYING to go on a trip of some sort.  I haven't been on vacation for 3 years.  I want to go to the beach.  Or just to a different city.  Anywhere that isn't Cincinnati, because I grew up there and that isn't vacation.  :-)  (I go there all the time to visit my parents).  I just need to get out of here and relax!  I don't have anybody to go on a trip with, though. :-(  Pathetic.

B2S Must Haves-  I bought my first set of Flair pens this summer, after listening to lots of other teachers talk about how they LOVE theirs.  OMG they are amazing!  I bought 2 sets, because Staples had their Flair Pens on sale this week for $10.  Yep, $10 for a 12 pack of Flair pens.  You better run, don't walk!  And it is enough of a purchase to have a $5 minimum! :-)  

I can't live (or teach) without my sweet tea!  I just bought a new iced tea maker for $12.50 today at Kroger, to replace my old one.  So excited!  

I am always looking for comfortable, cute shoes that don't cause me to take out another mortgage on my house!  I want some cute sandals that are relatively flat and not made for 80 year olds.  Apparently that is a lot to ask. :-(  
(For the record, these aren't comfortable enough, though they are cute and they were only $6!  Something about the 4 inch wedge heel makes them not quite appropriate for the classroom!)


Soooooooo... since it is Day 7, I wanted to have one last celebration of my 1 year blogiversary!  So I created some Book Basket Labels to replace mine, which are fading and looking a bit old.  I thought I would share them with you!

I just added these book basket labels to my Facebook Fan Page.  Mine were starting to look a little old and tired, so I created some new ones!  I hope you enjoy them- I worked really hard on them!  They will be free until next Wednesday- that is one week!  If you like them, please feel free to share with your friends!
I do NOT have labels for different authors on the freebie.  I don't have permission to use the photos of characters like Junie B. Jones or Chrysanthemum, so I didn't include these labels in the freebie because I don't want to get in trouble.  If anybody would like labels for these books that do not feature the actual characters, let me know, and I will be happy to upload them for you!  I have created some that have generic characters instead of pictures from the books.  

Please make sure you check out Growing Firsties giveaway today!  She is giving away 3 31 bags and tons of products from some amazing sellers!  Here is the link: http://growingfirsties.blogspot.com/2013/08/extravaganza-day-3.html

Monday, August 5, 2013

Day 6: A Whole Year of Blogging Blogiversary Giveaway


Have you heard of Tori Rebholz from Tori's Teacher Tips?  If you haven't, you should!  She is so sweet, and full of good information.  She just began a "support group" for teachers called "Teachers Talk to Teachers" where teachers can ask questions or answer the questions of other teachers.  How awesome is that?  It is on her Facebook page, if you want to check it out!



Remember when I said she was full of good information?  Well, you should check out her series of posts on the Daily 5.  She has one for each of the 5 components, Listen to Reading, Work on Writing, Word Work, Read to Self, and Read to Someone.  And they are all full of freebies!  She also has another set of posts on fluency. I referenced this post when I was working with a group of students on fluency this past year, and I loved this little poster she included as a freebie in that post. I used it with my students, and they totally "got it" because of this poster! 

She also has another great post about her Math block.  She uses the Daily 5 as a model for her Math block, and differentiates her instruction based on the needs of her students.  They can either meet with her, or be in a "Math with Someone" or "Math by Myself" group.  I've been trying to figure out how to do this in my own classroom, while making sure each student gets what they need, and it's HARD.  I'm so glad she confessed that it took her 14 years of teaching to figure this out, because after 5, I'm still not 100% happy with my Math block.  She also talked about how she uses word problems with her students each day, something that I began at the beginning of the year, but had difficulty keeping up with last year.  In her store, you will find her Math Daily 3 pack, which has all the information for setting up your own Math Daily 3 in your classroom!  Plus, she was so generous and agreed to give this pack away to one lucky reader!  Not gonna lie, I'm a little jealous!  This isn't something she usually uses for a giveaway (I feel special!), so this may be the only time you can win this! :-)  

In her store, Tori also has some great Social Studies units.  I feel like Social Studies is one of the subjects I have a difficult time getting to as often as I should.  I am so glad I have these two packs, because I know they will help me stay focused and teach about elections and geography.  Last year, I used the Presidential Election to teach about elections, but with this year being a non-election year, I knew I didn't have any way to try to teach elections.  Tori's Election Pack to the rescue!  Instead of using the Presidents, I will use this to do an Animal Election!  How cute, educational, and fun!  My favorite way to teach!
She also has some great geography units.  One of the ones I am really excited about using is Tori's "Me on the Map" unit.  This is a little booklet that your students can use to learn about their town, city, state, country, etc...  It goes really well with her Geography Challenge pack where students learn about maps.  I think even first graders can benefit from learning about maps and where they are in the world.  And you know they are interested!  When learning about Holidays Around the World last year, we marked the different countries we studied about on a map.  The students wanted to know where THEY were on the map, so we had to label our city on the map as well.  :-)  So I know my students would love learning about maps!

So if you haven't heard of Tori yet, run, don't walk, over to her blog, TPT store, and Facebook page!  She has so much knowledge, and she is so sweet and helpful!  

Also, another one of my blogging buddies, Growing Firsties, is having a great giveaway this week!  Please check out Lisa's "Favorite Things Giveaway" (and read about how she met Oprah!!!)

Also, I have another freebie for you today!  I don't know why it took me so long to do this, but I felt like I needed to create some "long term" plans so that I could write down specific activities I wanted to do during specific weeks.  For example, I like to remember that the last week of April/first week of May is Derby week, so I would write that down here.  I will probably go through mine and add dates in addition to the week number, or I may add the "school week" to the week number as well.  I just wanted to create something that would help me to plan ahead and stay focused, and I thought others might want to be able to use it as well.  There are 3 different versions:  black and pink, green and blue, and a blackline version, if you are like me and have no color ink!

I hope you are able to use these!  Click on the link above, or the picture below, to download your desired colors!  Please remember to leave feedback! 

 

 

 

Sunday, August 4, 2013

A Whole Year of Blogging Blogiversary- Day 5!

I am just going to go ahead and apologize for my 2 day absence.  I didn't forget about you all, I was just incredibly busy this weekend!  Thursday evening, I had to use these movie passes before they expired, so I went to see Despicable Me 2 with a friend, and didn't get my post done.  Friday, I had a horrible morning, had to babysit my friend's adorable 3 month old, and work in my classroom!  My best friend was in town Friday evening through early this morning, so I was busy with her and some other friends!  Whew!  There was just not enough energy (or time!) left to get this done!  So I apologize!

Anyway, I am calling this Day 5, which means there are just 2 more days of this super awesome blogiversary celebration!

I am so excited to blog about another one of my favorite bloggers, and another (former) Kentucky girl, Katie King from Queen of the First Grade Jungle!

I believe that I started following Katie because she lived in Kentucky, like me.  I know that we all love to find people who have something in common with us, and living in the same state was one of those little things.  She, of course, no longer lives in Kentucky, and now she teaches 2nd grade, but I will continue to follow her anyway! :-)  She has some really fun ideas that are engaging for kids!

 I have a feeling that Katie is best known for her Busy Teacher's Best Friend packs.  These packs are full of different easy activities that you can use with your students in a pinch- no laminating required!  Just print, copy, and you're ready to go!  She has one for every month, and she's working on the Second Grade versions now. :-)  I know that sometimes, I just need a quick review or practice sheet for a skill my kids are working on, and my students actually do pay attention to cute graphics and borders, so this makes it fun for them as well.  

I actually won this pack from her awhile back.  I was so excited because I knew there would be some great activities in here!  There are full page sized posters, mini posters and flashcards, some picture/spelling cards that you can use for all sorts of activities (she includes some suggestions!), and some games and handouts.  I use the posters and flashcards when practicing these sounds, because my students really struggle with hearing the sounds of some of the blends.  Tr is a prime example of this!  So I loved that I won this pack so I can use these materials with my students.  And speaking of teaching blends and digraphs, I LOVED her post on how she taught her students the "sh" sound.  Too fun!  It makes me want to snatch up the post-Halloween clearance costumes just in case!

I love reading Katie's blog, and I was so excited when she started doing Techy Teacher Tuesdays.  There were several Tuesdays where she would post different iPad apps that could be used in the classroom for different purposes.  Since our school now has 20 iPads for the entire school, I was always looking for new apps to use with my students.  I love the iPads!  :-)  I took some of her suggestions to our STC and she put a few of them on our iPads.  

She also finds awesome ways to engage her students.  I particularly liked her unit on Poetry.  She posted some of the super cute poems her firsties wrote, and talked about the super cute Coffeehouse the class had to share their poems with their families.  I have always wanted to do something like this in my classroom, so it's nice to see another teacher do it in theirs!  

I also like how the products she makes are very versatile.  I think that, since a lot of us are teachers, we tend to make products that are more geared towards girls or girlie stuff.  Not necessarily on purpose, we just tend to use the things we like.  Katie has her Sporty Kids Math Stations that feature different sports-themed games.  Your boys (and girls!) will love these!  There are lots of great common core math games, and you could potentially tie these in with different sporting events, field day, or even just a unit about being healthy and making good choices.  

Katie has very sweetly agreed to donate her Money Mega Pack!  I wish I had this pack to use with some of my above grade level firsties last year.  But I will definitely have it this year!  It's a great pack to help your students practice their coin counting skills.  I know that money isn't in the First Grade Common Core Standards, but if you are like me, you don't care because you know how important it is that they know this skill!  I have a whole bunch of other things to teach, so I don't go into great depth, but I do hit this topic every year with my students.




So for today's extra special giveaway, I have a Chevron Banner set of your choice from my friend Sara Bibee!  Sara is a music teacher, and she recently opened her own TPT store.  She sells some decor items and some music activities as well.  She needs some new followers as well!

Want to win?  All you need to do is enter here on the Rafflecopter!

a Rafflecopter giveaway I will choose a winner tomorrow!