Come on Over!

Do you want to write a post on my blog?

Hi all, I am going on vacation this Friday to lovely northern Michigan.  I have scheduled a few blog posts, but will not have consistent internet access.  I am looking for some lovely blogging friends to help me out by writing a guest post on my blog.  You can write about anything your heart desires, as long as it is somehow connected to teaching!  This is a great way to get some publicity and link back to your blog, so I hope that you will consider doing it.  I can take up to 6 or 7 guest posts on a first come, first served basis. 

Here's how it works:
1. Write a post in YOUR blogger, but do not publish it yet.
2. Click to the "Edit HTML" tab.  Copy and paste all of this, and email it to me at
3. I will let you know what day and time your post is scheduled for, so that you can publish it too!

Click {HERE} to see a guest post that I just did for Miss Kindergarten (aka Hadar). 

PS. In case you are wondering "Why would you ever vacation in Michigan?" here are a few photos so that you can see for yourself how beautiful it is!  Plus, my amazing family gathers there every August.

My Latests Target Treasure...

Do you like Brown Bear, Brown Bear?  How about The Very Hungry Caterpillar?
I found something AMAZING at Target this week.  Hop on over to Target Treasures to read my guest post about this fabulous find.

My Latest Scores...

I have to say that I am SO, SO sad that Borders is closing. I have spent many hours perusing the aisles, picking the perfect read aloud to accompany a theme or topic. The silver lining in this situation, however, is that everything is on sale. Here are a few of my best finds:
MAX!  I love, love, love Max and I love, love, love Where the Wild Things Are.  When I applied for my job I had to teach a demo lesson.  I did a read aloud of Where the Wild Things Are and an activity to go along with it.  I am still convinced that my love of this book (and reading it complete with crazy voices and facial expressions) helped me to land the job!  And the best part?  He only cost me $5.59!
I have been LUSTING after this Melissa and Doug pizza set for two years now.  We teach a pizza mini unit every fall, so this will be PERFECT for setting up a pizza shop in our dramatic play area.  I can't wait to see the little ones writing menus and taking orders!  Yay!

I also hit up A.C. Moore today to use my 50% off coupon.  Click {HERE} for yours.
I found some great clear ABC stamps for $3.00.  I also found this fabulous Owl Bulletin Board Set that I have been DYING for.  Isn't it cute?  I plan to put it outside my classroom door with a sign saying "Kindergarten is a Hoot" or "We're having a Hoot in Kindergarten" and writing each child's name on an owl.  Did you know that if you laminate it and write with a Sharpie, you can erase the marker with a rubber eraser, Mr. Clean magic eraser OR nail polish remover?  All of AC Moore's teaching supplies were 30% off, so it cost me around $9 instead of $12.99.  This is a great deal considering that the same set is on sale on Amazon for $25!

I also bought some small canvases (2 for $5.97) to make some cute signs for the classroom inspired by Abby's ceiling tile art.  I got the idea to use a canvas from Mrs. Propp.

Target is cracking me up...

I really hope I don't come across like this crazy lady!  I do love glitter, though...

Why I am About to go Bankrupt...

1.  Michael's is having a huge sale today and tomorrow.  Crayola is buy one get one half off, and Melissa & Doug is 40% off.  I am OBSESSED with Melissa and Doug.  On top of that, they have a teacher discount for non-sale items.  Yikes!  I got my coupons through email, but if you did not, I am sure you could click around and find one.

2. Office Max will give you a $10 gift card if you buy $39 or more in ink.  No coupon needed.  This worked out just fine for me because my stupid color cartridge alone costs $52.  This plan is not so much bankrupting me now, but bankrupting me later when I have to go BACK to Office Max to use my gift card.

3.  This is the one that is really trying to bankrupt me... five little (but extremely dangerous) words: Pottery Barn Kids + Eric Carle.  Everyone knows that this equation could equal disaster!  I do not have any kids of my own, but this stuff is so cute that it hurts my body!  Click HERE to see the cuteness.  Halloween costumes, placemats, crib sheets, hand towels and wall art, oh my!  Do you think anyone will judge me if I show up on the first day of school with a Very Hungry Caterpillar lunch box?

Friendly Letter Writing Lesson

In Summer School this week we are learning how to write a friendly letter.  These kids have just finished first grade and will be in second next year.  I wanted to find a fun way to teach all of the parts of a friendly letter, which can be difficult for struggling students and ELLs.  I found this super cute resource, and decided to run with it.

First I drew a little lady, and labeled the five parts.  Together we created definitions for each part of the letter (for example, a greeting means hello, and usually we write Dear).  We also used our bodies to demonstrate the parts of a letter (the "body" portion is much longer than any of the other parts).

Then, we analyzed a letter that I had written.  We marked up the text using our new vocabulary to find the five parts of my letter.  Next time I teach this lesson, I will have the students write the letter together on chart paper.  This way the children can refer to it (I used the white board... whoops!).
Lastly, each child wrote his or her own letter to the firefighters who were kind enough to drive to our school on the HOTTEST day of the year (It was over 100!).  They let the kids climb all through their fire engine, try on their helmets and they even tried on all of their gear for the kids to see.  Wow!

Demonstrating why they keep their pants over their boots...
 And making sure the kids know why they wear a mask (and reminding them not to be scared if they ever see a firefighter in a mask)

Sorry for the terrible picture quality... A. They were taken on my phone and B. They were the only ones with no children's faces in them.

Oh, Vocabulary..

This is the perfect example of why we need to explicitly teach vocabulary in a way that is meaningful for young children.  Of course, this is especially important for little ones and English Language Learners.  I know I'm preaching to the choir here...

Yesterday my little first (almost second) grade summer school friend was illustrating his story about going to a baseball game.  During a mini-conference, I encouraged him to add more details to his picture.  He suggested "How about a baseball cap?"  and I responded with "Wow!  Great idea!"  When he ran over a few minutes later to show me his "baseball cap" I couldn't help but giggle.  It looks like this batter is about to graduate, and that I have some serious schema to correct :o)

The Space Man

Introducing "The Space Man."  Isn't this little guy adorable?  My amazing, fabulous, fantastic para Ms. C noticed that many of our students were squishingtheirwordsalltogetherlikethis.  In just a few minutes flat, she made a whole bunch of these adorable little guys to help with writing.  All the kids need to do is put the Space Man at the end of the word they just wrote before writing the next word.  I can't even tell you how much they LOVED using these little guys.  It sparked tons of interest in the writing center because everyone couldn't wait to use these little astronauts. 
I love how they all look just a little bit different!

 Ms. C whipped up each Space Man using half a clothespin, a little paint and a Sharpie.  She is magical!  I am trying to convince her to sell these.  Don't you think she should?

And the winners are...

Drumroll please!
 First place, the $25 Amazon gift card goes to...

Second place, your choice of one of my favorite back to school books goes to...

Ladies, please send me an email with your address so that I can mail you your prize!  Jody, please let me know which book you would like.  My email is 

Thank you all SO MUCH for entering this giveaway and for following my blog.  You are the best!  Please check out the "thank you for entering my giveaway" freebies as my little thanks to you.


In the spirit of giveaways, I thought I would add a few more that you should definitely check out!

Mrs. Tabb is giving away a free shoe unit if you blog about it!

Eberhart's Explorers is giving away some great personalized prizes that are perfect for you to give as gifts.  Check it out!


Erica Bohrer shared a fabulous giveaway prize pack.  12 bloggers are teaming up to give one winner a HUGE prize!

Ingles 360 is giving away another huge prize pack from 9 authors.  Wow!


The number of fantastic teachers following my blog has DOUBLED in the last few days.  I cannot tell you how blessed I feel from all of this blogging love!  Thank you so much for entering my giveaway.  The winners will be chosen at random tonight at 6pm eastern time.

In the meantime, I have created some new free items to thank each and every one of you who entered the giveaway.  Just click on the image to download.

I have used these tags for the past few years, and they have been a lifesaver!  I print them double sided (they have my name, school name and school phone on the back), laminate them and attach them to each little one's backpack with yarn.  This helps the children know where to go, and helps adults bring them to the right place if they are wandering or lost.  Once a little boy was dropped off by his bus driver on the first day of school but nobody was there to pick him up!  This backpack tag helped to make sure he was safe.  I uploaded it in Word so that you can edit it with your information.

This is a little math assessment that I created for my pre-K class.  It is short and sweet, but gives you a snapshot of where each child is in terms of number sense and geometry.  I uploaded it in Word so that you can edit it to suit your needs.

I know I already posted about this, but don't forget to download the printable version of the pennant banner tutorial.  It even includes a tracer to help you make each triangle.  Enjoy!

Don't Forget...

To enter my giveaway!

First Prize:
 $25 gift card to Amazon!

Second Prize:
One of my favorite back to school books (you pick which one!)

Read all about it and enter {HERE}

Good luck!

Fabric Pennant Banner

I saw this banner on pinterest a few months ago and knew that I absolutely, positively MUST have one for my classroom!  I did TONS of research and found a couple of fabulous tutorials to help this sewing challenged girl make the perfect banner for her classroom.  I narrowed them down, and decided to combine the easy peasy-ness of this one with the technique and measurements of this one.  Here is my mish mash tutorial of how to make a beautiful, simple no sew banner.

5 pieces of complementary fabric (I bought a yard of each which was WAY too much!  1/4 or 1/2 yard should do the trick)
2 spools of ribbon (I bought 18' spools of 5/8" ribbon)
 3/8" ribbon scraps (optional)
1 roll of heat 'n bond adhesive

1. Fold the fabric twice so that the "ugly side" is up, and you have four layers of fabric.  Trace isoceles triangles onto your fabric.  My triangles were 6" at the base and 8" long.  Click {HERE} to see my pattern.  I used a fine crayola marker to draw on my fabric :)

2. Keeping the fabric folded, cut out  your triangles (so that you are cutting four at once).  I ended up with about twenty two of each color (110 triangles total). 

3. Heat your iron up halfway (my setting was "wool").  Roll your thicker ribbon out onto the ironing board, and apply the adhesive paper side up to the center of the ribbon.  Iron each section for about six seconds.   When cool, peel the paper off of the adhesive.

4. Arrange your triangles right side up on the adhesive and ribbon and iron away!  Overlap the triangles slightly so that the adhesive doesn't stick to the iron.  Remember to leave space at the end to hang the banners.  I chose to leave 12" on each side, and to apply thin teal ribbon to the center of my thicker white ribbon to jazz it up a bit.  I stuck it on the adhesive, ironed it and tucked the end under the first triangle.  *If you want the ribbon to show, simply iron the triangles wrong side up. 
 5.  Flip the banner over and iron the back of the ribbon for about one second to set the adhesive.

6.  Have a tester make sure your banner is fun to play with and soft enough to lay on (this step optional)

The finished product:

For a step by step printable of this tutorial, and a pattern to trace click {HERE}

Thank you to Abby, Britt and Leigh Anne for the inspiration!

Fabulous Giveaway!

I am so excited to have such fabulous followers.  In celebration of YOU, I am hosting a giveaway!
First Prize:
 $25 gift card to Amazon!

Second Prize:
One of my favorite back to school books (you pick which one!)

You have four chances to enter:
1. Follow my blog
2. Follow my TPT Store
3. Download one of my free items on TPT and rate it
4. Write about this giveaway on your blog (and link back to this post)

Please leave one comment for each step that you do.

This giveaway will end this Sunday at 6pm EST.
Good luck!