Tuesday, December 31, 2013

New Year, New Sale!

Happy (almost) New Year, readers! It has been a wild and crazy ride this past year for me and I'm looking forward to what 2014 will bring. There are some big changes coming for me this year and I can't wait to share them with you.

In honor of the new year, I'm throwing a sale at my TPT store - 20% off everything in the store!

I just posted some new products for January - some great MLK Jr. graphic organizers and winter products! Check my store out here. I'll be adding some more products in the next few days, so stay tuned!

Well, have a happy, safe, and healthy new year! Have a great 2014!

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Sunday, December 22, 2013

Christmas Break is Here!

I cannot believe it's only three days until Christmas! 

I've been so incredibly busy with work and school and getting ready for the big, family Christmas Eve party! I'll be taking some time off from my blog but I will return shortly after Christmas. I do, after all, have three weeks off of work.

To get you through the next few days, here's a picture of my dog all dolled up for Christmas. She's ready to deck the halls. 

Have a Merry Christmas all!
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Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Decking the Halls and Walls

It's been incredibly busy and I feel like it's been too long since I've last updated but I just had to post some pictures of my classroom. Christmas is my most favorite holiday and I really take pride in getting my classroom and students in the spirit. 

These are just a few of the decorations we have up. I'll be posting some activities and crafts this weekend that my students have been doing - including a caribou/reindeer unit!

I'm so excited to share what we've been doing in my classroom. My students love all the decorations and they haven't been as distracting as some would think. Stay tuned for this weekend!

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Saturday, November 23, 2013

Thanksgiving Crafts and More!

Thanksgiving break is upon us! These last couple of weeks have been so busy for me. I've been in and out of the classroom because of trainings, IEPs, and Common Core lead teacher meetings. I love being busy and I'm beginning to feel that I've finally found my groove with my new job. It's a great feeling when you absolutely love what you do and (finally) feel like your teaching is reaching your students!

We had our last day of school (before the Thanksgiving break holiday) yesterday and my students have been busy learning about the first Thanksgiving and Pilgrims. We completed a circle map for pilgrims (available at my TPT store) after reading a comprehension passage from ReadWorks.org. (If you haven't used ReadWorks, it's a great website with leveled reading passages that each come with comprehension questions.)

I have a lot of non-readers, but I am always surprised at how much they get out of these reading passages and graphic organizer activities. They are always able to recall what we read in the story and enjoy sharing their thoughts aloud when we complete the circle map.

We also completed a cute turkey craft the other day. I got this idea from an Oriental Trading catalog. My students - who were deprived of these kinds of activities last year - are always appreciative of craft time in the classroom. They especially love anything with paint! 

We also had my classroom parents in yesterday for our school's Thanks to Parents event. We completed a couple of different activities with those parents who came in. The parents really enjoyed seeing the classroom and working with their children. Our first activity was a paper plate pilgrim - a Pinterest idea!

Next, we completed a cute geometric pilgrim card. The kids later wrote a Thanksgiving message to their parents inside the card.

We finally completed a Thanksgiving wreath - another Pinterest idea! We used bubble wrap and paint to get the corn texture on the manilla paper. The kids really liked this and the parents thought it was the cutest thing they've seen!

Before my parents left, we also gave them the opportunity to take pictures at our classroom photo booth. I couldn't resist taking some shots of my own before leaving for the day.

Today marks the first day of my week-long vacation and I've spent the day lounging and catching up on homework. Here's to a long week of rest and recuperation! 

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Sunday, November 3, 2013

Fall Freebie: Pilgrim Graphic Organizer

It's fall - one of my favorite times of the year! I've been working like crazy this weekend to get some TPT worksheets made for November - including several new graphic organizers!

As I've talked about before, I use a wide variety of graphic organizers in my classroom. It's a great tool for recording thinking and brainstorming - and my students really benefit from the use of graphic organizers in the classroom as a precursor or conclusion to any thematic unit. I like to use graphic organizers throughout the unit - a KWL chart as an opening activity, a circle map once we've done some close readings, a flow map for sequencing of events, and a venn diagram to compare and contrast events or people.

I created several new products for November (with more to come soon!) I created some graphic organizers as well as a writing prompts bundle. Here is a look at a few of the items...

To kick off November, I've created a freebie for everyone to grab on my TPT store! It's a great circle map for any teacher teaching about the first Thanksgiving or pilgrims. And it doesn't hurt that it has some cute DJ Inkers clipart too!
Take a look and download the freebie at my store! If you have the time, please rate my product - I love getting feedback from users as to how I can make my products even better.

Happy November!
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Friday, November 1, 2013

Bring in the Fall!

I absolutely love November - if for nothing more than the beautiful fall weather! Living in Southern California, our weather fluctuates between really hot and fairly mild. We don't get real seasons like the east coast and other parts of the country (which is probably why I absolutely ADORE going back to New York whenever I get the chance!) 

November gets me excited for a few different reasons. First, it's a fairly short month for teachers as we have Thanksgiving break. And - as many teachers would agree - a week off from the kiddos is always a welcome break. Secondly, November signifies the coming of Christmastime - my most favorite time of year! I start breaking out my Christmas decorations the day after Halloween so that I get at least two full months of Christmas lights and decor. Finally, I get a week off to spend with my family and friends - oh, and I get to eat some amazing food that my mom cooks. 

 So, Happy November/Fall!
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Sunday, October 27, 2013

Teaching How to Use Tech

As a teacher who has become very invested in the continued and effective use of technology in the classroom, my first priority before using any technology is to teach my students how to use it. 

In a time where more and more students are coming into the classroom as digital natives, it's important to remember that not all students have access to technology in the home and subsequently may not know how to use classroom tech. I have students who come in knowing as much about iPhones and iPads as I do - all by age 10. I also have students who do not have computers or fancy cell phones at home because their parents cannot afford it. 

Apart from knowing how to use technology, I think it's important that my students know how to properly care for the technology these use in the classroom. Before my students even touch our classroom iPad or iPod, I make sure to teach them the rules of handling our technology - and I make sure to point out that the technology does not come cheap. (And if they break it, they lose more than just their Friday free time!)

Being as it is I've been stuck at home the last few days sick, I have had ample time to catch up on my graduate school homework and work on some new products for TPT - including some iPad rules posters which I adore and are modeled after the practices I use in my own classroom.

These posters are great for classrooms that utilize technology like I do - and they're available through my TPT store right now! 

Before you let your students run free with technology, make sure they understand how to properly care for it!
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Friday, October 25, 2013

First TPT Sale!

I woke up this morning not feeling very well (I called in sick to work) and after finally managing to make it out of bed by 10:30, sat down to find a wonderful surprise on my computer. 

I am happy to announce that I made my first TPT sale! Yay! I've had my products up there for a couple weeks now and wasn't getting any bites. But by some chance (miracle), someone finally took a chance on me and bought one of my awesome products!

So to celebrate, I am having a sale in appreciation and gratitude of my first customer - hopefully there will be many more to follow.

Come check out my TPT store - I have several Halloween inspired goodies on sale and some GREAT graphic organizers for October. I would love to customize anything you like - just send me a message! 

Thank you, friends!

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Wednesday, October 23, 2013

An Apple for Teacher

I was recently surprised when a brand-new Apple TV arrived through the district mail for me. At first I thought our technology department had sent it to me by mistake. But I then found out that I received the unit in response to a request I made for something completely different earlier this school year. I'm ecstatic to have some new technology in my classroom!
I have an Apple TV in my own home and I'm curious to see how other teachers utilize Apple TVs in their classrooms. I've been using YouTube to show videos and Hulu and Netflix for our Friday Fun Day movies.

As CCSS Technology Lead for my school site, I also have the opportunity to visit a 1:1 iPad classroom in November. It's an opportunity that is sponsored by Apple and I'm so excited to get to see this time of classroom in action. Our district is attempting to have all classrooms with 1:1 iPads in the next couple of years. I'm very excited to see how technology and CCSS will be used collaboratively within the context of special education. 
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Monday, October 21, 2013

New MelonHeadz TPT Product

I am so excited about my new TPT product that I have decided to write a quick post about it! As many of you know, I have a jungle theme classroom this year. I worked so hard this summer coordinating all my bulletin boards and posters and decor to match my theme. 

However, the one component I didn't complete with our jungle theme was our classroom rules. They were written the first week of school with my new class and while we refer to them ALL THE TIME, they have remained written on a piece of chart paper that has since fallen off the chart and is now thrown on top of our storage unit. 

I wanted to find a poster set on TPT that incorporated the jungle theme but also included rules that we had established in my class and that were applicable to my students. I didn't find any TPT products that I was happy with and that were worth spending $3 on.

So, I decided to (finally) create my own posters! Using some MelonHeadz clipart,  I created my own classroom rules poster. If you have not heard of Nikki's designs, please check her out - she's fabulous!

Here's a preview of what the classroom posters look like - they are super cute (and affordable)!  

Check out my TPT store here if you're interested in purchasing these cute posters - there are seven in all and I'm more than willing to customize the posters as my customers see fit!

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