14 Days of Valentines {FREEBIE}

So this idea is not technically teaching related, but you could totally use this in your classroom if you wanted to.  I decided to be a little extra sweet (literally) this year and give my fiance fourteen days of Valentines treats.  

I typed up these sugary sweet candy puns, printed them out on cardstock and punched them out with my handy dandy circle punch.  I scooped up this punch for about $11 with a 50% off coupon at AC Moore.  Next I tied each tag to the corresponding candy and voila... super easy and fun Valentine gift.  

Okay so this might not be the world's best picture.  These are five of the gifts I scooped up: a bag of lollipops with a tag saying "I'm a sucker for you," gummi bears that say "I love you beary much," Altoids with "We are mint for each other," Mentos that say "I like the way you roll," and Reese's that say "there are a million reeses why I love you!"

Some of my other favorites are "I love you a latte" (Starbucks gift card), "We are a perfect pair" (socks), "You're cool!" (ice cream) and "You rock my world!" (Pop Rocks).

 You could easily use these tags to make gifts for your little ones.  You can snag your freebie tags with a complete list of candy ideas below.  Enjoy!

All of the backgrounds will show up when you download the PDF.  You could also use this link

March Vocabulary and Literacy Centers

I promise this is the last new unit I will be posting about, at least for a little while.  I can't help myself... I got so carried away with all of the cute fonts and graphics.  I hope you enjoy!

Why keep making these products?
I make these because they work! I have used different versions of these for four years now and have been amazed by how engaged my little ones are when they are using them.  They literally fight over who gets to go to the writing center!  17 of my 22 are ELLs, and these word cards and mini word walls are *fabulous* for them.
The other thing I love about these products are how versatile they are.  They can be used for writing, story prompts, work work, word walls and so much more!

Also, they are SUPER easy to prep.  All you have to do is cut the word cards {laminating is optional}.  It takes maybe 4 or 5 minutes with a paper slicer if you are picky (not that I know anything about that!)

What's included?
{only English pages are shown, but all activities are also included in Spanish}

So easy... just cut and use them however you like!  On your word wall, for an ABC order activity {recording sheet included}, word work center and so much more.

Pop it in a frame or hang it on the wall and you have a mini word wall.  SO easy.  You could also laminate or pop in a binder sleeve and use as a word mat.

 Here are the frames I buy.  Only $1.99 each!  Thank you, Christmas Tree Shops.  It's kind of hard to tell from the pictures but they are freestanding 8 by 10" frames.  Super lightweight and portable.  When we are done using the mini word wall, I slip it out of the frame and into Our Class Dictionary {freebie}.  Voila!  The frame is ready for the next mini word wall, and the previous one is still accessible.

Pretty self explanatory.  Bubble map is for vocabulary development, prewriting or brainstorming.  Emergent writers could use invented spelling or draw pictures.
The ABC order recording sheet can be used with the word cards above.

This writing prompt can be used during writer's workshop, writing center or as homework.
Children use the word cards or mini word walls to fill in the blanks on the missing word page.  Fun!

Students cut up the word strips and manipulate the letters to create new words.  Great word work center!  An answer key is included.

The price is $4 for 33 pages.

You could also purchase this unit AND my February words unit as a bundle {HERE} for only $6 (for 69 pages of vocabulary and literacy fun!)

All translations have been proof read for authenticity and accuracy.

I {Heart} Technology

I have mentioned before that I have a lot of ELL students in my class.  I think the average over the past five years has probably been about 17 out of 22 students who speak another language at home.  Some home languages include: Spanish, Vietnamese, Polish, Arabic, Cape Verdean Creole and Haitian Creole.  I LOVE all of this linguistic diversity, but sometimes it can pose a huge problem: communicating with parents.  

We have a bunch of staff who are fluent in Spanish (I speak baby kindergarten level Spanish), but nobody who speaks any of these other languages.  Usually I can talk one of my bilingual parents into translating, but sometimes something pops up, no one is around to translate and it is SO hard to communicate!  How do you say "Can you please talk with your daughter about how she is constantly poking people during morning meeting?" or "Little Johnny scraped his knee when he was trying to scale the fence during recess" or my favorite, "She had an accident.  Ummm... pee pee?  Poo poo?"  I have become pretty good at charades :)

I was messing around on my phone this morning and found a magical new app... Google Translate!  I use this on my computer from time to time, but I had no idea they had an app!  I downloaded it and can't stop playing with it.

Without further ado, here is your crash course in the Google Translate app:

 1. Choose the language you want to translate from {English} and to {in this case I chose Vietnamese}
2.  Type in what you would like to say.
3. Check out your awesome new translation!  The little speaker/volume looking button on the left will even speak the translation for you (although to be honest this one sounded more like robot than Vietnamese to my English dominant ears).

Easy, right?

And here are some cool features that this app has.  Did I mention that it's free?  I refuse to pay for apps.
1.  This little button copies the text so you could paste it into an email, text or wherever your heart desires.
2.  This one sends your translated text directly to wherever you choose (Facebook, text, email, search engine, etc).
3.  This makes the translated text full screen so it's much easier to read.
4. Voice to text.  This is my favorite thing about my phone!
5.  Handwriting to text.
6. Take a picture of some text and it will translate it for you.  WHAT?!  So cool.

Last but not least here is the dropdown menu that gives you the all of the language possibilities.  I didn't count, but I'm pretty sure it translates into approximately eleventy billion languages (including Gujarati... what the heck is that?)

Wouldn't this app also be awesome if you were traveling?  I love it and can't wait until next time I need to translate something.  

Also, in case you are wondering I have a Samsung Galaxy SIII, but I'm sure that most smartphones can access this app.

February Vocabulary and Literacy Centers

I am so so so so so excited about my new unit!  I have been cooped up at home for almost two weeks after an awful ear surgery, so I have put even more time than usual into sketching out the unit, creating it and searching for the perfect clip art.  I even switched up the font on my word cards.  It is still super legible {to me this is the number one most important thing for little ones} but is way cuter!

What's included?
{only English pages are shown, but all activities are also included in Spanish}

Word cards that you can use in a pocket chart, on a word wall or as a word ring.  I use them as writing prompts, making words (with magnet letters, on magna doodles or white boards, in sand or salt, etc) and so much more!  There are 5 pages total in each language.

I put these in 8 x 10" acrylic frames and place them in my writing center.  The kids LOVE to write the words they see!  You could also use as a word mat or hang on the wall. 

Bubble maps can be used for practicing vocabulary or as a prewriting activity until they are in ABC order, then record.

This writing prompt can be used during writer's workshop, writing center or as homework. 
Children use the word cards or mini word walls to fill in the blanks on the missing word page.  They LOVE this activity!

Students cut up the word strips and manipulate the letters to create new words.  Great word work center!  An answer key is included.

All of this for only $4!

This unit is also included in my brand new Winter Words BUNDLE
all in one Fabulous BUNDLE for only $9.  That is a 22% savings over buying each unit separately.

I only make units that I believe are the highest quality, and that I actually use in my classroom.
I hope you will come check this out!

How to Add a TPT Gadget to your Blog

April 2014
TpT has updated their gadget since I originally wrote this tutorial.   Check out the updated version {HERE}

Original Post
Thanks so much for all the comments on my last tech post... love it!  I have gotten a few special requests asking me how I got this awesome little graphic on my blog.  WELL, here you go ladies (are there any men out there in teacher blogland?  I don't think so!).  This is my longest tutorial yet, but I think it will help so stick with me!  I am not naturally tech savvy, so everything you see in my tutorials is what I have discovered after hours of experimenting
You can click on the tutorials link at the top of this page to see all of my other tutorials.

First,  let's talk about why this widget (look at me talking like a tech pro!) is awesome.
 Your followers can click the little arrows on the bottom to get from one product to the next without ever leaving your blog.  So easy and fun!

They can click on the picture or description of the product and be brought straight to the corresponding TPT page.

 And they can click SEE ALL to be brought to your main page with all of your products.  So cool, right?

Go to TPT and click on the "My Sales Dashboard" page.  Click on "Link to your store from a blog or other website with readymade badges."

Self explanatory... just click the button :)

Select whichever type of widget you would like: Featured Items, Top 25 Selling Items, Featured + Top 25 or Most Recent 25 Items.  Personally I chose Top 25 Selling.  I didn't want to overwhelm people who might want to browse from my blog.

 Select vertical (it's the only choice!) then next.

 Copy the text in the JavaScript code box.  DO NOT click next but DO NOT close the page!

Okay, this part gets a little tricky.  Open a new tab or webpage.  Go to your Blogger homepage "Design" tab and click Layout.

 In the layout tab, click "Add a Gadget."  You should be adding the gadget wherever you want it to appear on your blog.  Top left, top right, bottom... wherever!
In the window that pops up, scroll down to HTML/JavaScript and click on that.
Paste your code into the box that appears.  You do not need to add a title.

 Click back over to your TPT tab.  Now copy the "Code Snippet" text.

 Click back over to the Blogger pop up window.  Confusing, right?!?
Paste your Code Snippet in the box below the other text you pasted.  I would recommend pushing enter to go down a few lines in case you need to come back to replace anything later.
Now you can click Save!  You can also close down your TPT tab {you don't need to click save here}.

Now check out your snazzy new page!  Isn't it awesome?!?

These are a Few of my Favorite Pins

I hope this is the song that popped into your head when you read that title... I can't help it, I still love this movie!

I haven't done a "best of Pinterest" lately, so here goes!

                        Source: graham-and-parker.blogspot.com via Mary on Pinterest

This site has awesome resources for a light table.  She has 26 different ideas listed (one for each letter of the alphabet.  I got a light table through Donor's Choose and it has been the absolute best thing I have ever gotten from them!

                        Source: momto2poshlildivas.blogspot.com via Mary on Pinterest

Easy Flubber/Gak recipe!  There are only three ingredients: glue, borax and water.  Yessss!  My little ones will adore making this with me.  It would be a great opportunity to follow a recipe and write a "how to" afterwards.

                        Source: growingajeweledrose.com via Mary on Pinterest

Fake snow using only three ingredients! Corn starch, shaving cream and fake snow from the Dollar Store.  This will work so well with the Snowman Sand Table project I do every year.  Check out {this link} for a freebie!

                             Source: poppitscupboard.com via Mary on Pinterest

I definitely saved the best for last {or at least my own personal favorite for last}.  How absolutely adorable are these story stones?  They would be TO DIE FOR for all of my students, but particularly the reluctant writers and ESLs.  Each character stone has the same character on both sides, but displaying different emotions (for example happy and tired).  They are SO expensive though.  Does anyone have any ideas on how to make these on my own?  Where to buy the white stones, what kind of markers I could use, etc?

How to Link to Other Products in Your TPT Store

I have been noticing in a few TPT stores I have been browsing lately that people were linking to their other {similar} products in their TPT product description.  "Oooh cool!" I thought.  Well, I googled and googled and googled and could not find one tutorial about how to do this, so I made my own!  

 1.  Go to your TPT store and click on the product you want to add the link to.

2.  Easy!  Click on the EDIT icon.

 3.  Here is the only kind of tricky part.  You will add the HTML code that you want to link to.  To do this, follow this simple guide:
<a href="URL">words</a>

In the blue URL spot, insert the link of the product you want to link to.  Just copy and paste!  In the pink words section, add whichever text you want the link to display.  For example, if you are linking to a product called Family Word Cards, you would write just that.

 4.  Click on the "Skip thumbnail generation!" button.  Unless of course you want to generate new thumbnails.  I think that this is a total pain in the butt!  Click NEXT.

5.  Tah dah!  Beautiful new link to encourage people browsing your store to check out other, similar products.  Personally I linked all of my word card vocabulary products to each other.  You could link all of your math products, seasonal products, etc.  The possibilities are endless.

If you want to see what it looks like live

I would love to hear from you if you decide to try it out!

Clip art by Blair Turner... http://www.teacherspayteachers.com/Store/Blair-Turner

Happy Birthday Dr. King {and a FREEBIE}

Like many teachers out there, I love to teach justice and equality, but sometimes struggle with how to do it in a developmentally appropriate way.  Of course, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. is the most predominant hero in the struggle for civil rights.  I have taught about Dr. King every year in pre-k and kindergarten since I began teaching, and through trial and error have found a few things that work really well for me.

Without further ado, here are a few of my favorite ways to teach the amazing legacy of Dr.  Martin Luther King.

Listen to the I Have a Dream speech (or at least part of it).  What could be better than hearing from Dr. King himself?!?  Early exposure to original historical sources can only be a positive thing.  I know that it may seem a little intense to show this to children, but I promise you they respond really well to it if you give them enough context.  They get SO excited to see and hear Dr. King, and who wouldn't?  I still get goosebumps every time I listen to this amazing speech.

I always place some of the songs from this AMAZING book at my listening center, along with color photocopies from the text placed in binder sheets because the book is thick and can be a little overwhelming and I don't want it to get damaged.  It is a New York Times Bestseller and a Booklist Top 10 Art Books.  As one review says, "The poetry is enough. The illustrations are enough.  The CD is enough.  Together, this book is a treasure of which you cannot get enough."
It has everything from Langston Hughes to Tupac and Maya Angelou to Lauryn Hill.  The four things I have in my listening center for MLK day are an excerpt of I Have a Dream, The Rosa Parks by Nikki Giovanni, and for fun Books by Eloise Greenfield and Ham 'n Eggs by The Sugarhill Gang.

Here is Nikki Giovanni talking about the book.  Sorry if I have gone on and on about it... I have had it for six years and cannot get enough!

My absolute favorite book to read to the children is Martin's Big Words by Doreen Rappaport.  The pictures are gorgeous and it is not too too long for the little ones.  I love that the author added read MLK quotes, and the children are always obsessed with the illustrations!

I also like Happy Birthday, Martin Luther King by Jean Marzollo.  It is very child friendly, and is a unique take on a biography.  I have always wanted to have a birthday party as a culminating activity for learning about Dr. King.   How fun would that be?

Like I said, it can be difficult to find literature that is appropriate (as in not super long and not too detailed about the assassination).  My first year teaching I wrote a book that is a little more child friendly, and ends with a question to prompt text to self connections.  I just found it again and jazzed it up a little.  Click on the link to download your copy!  I would love it if you would follow my blog in return for downloading.

Lastly, here are is a great unit that I found with "craftivities" for Black History Month.  I am out all next week (I just had ear surgery and the recovery is loooong and awful), so I left two of these great projects for my awesome para and sub to do while I am gone.  I can't wait to see how they turn out!
Peace Kids
Martin Luther King
Pictures from Color Me Kinder
If you like these, scoop up the Black History Month Craft Pack by Color Me Kinder like I did!

PS. I have no association with Color Me Kinder... I found her awesome product on TPT and decided to share it.  That's what I love about the teacher blogging community... I think we should all share and support each other when we find something great!