Fiction Friday: July 31st

I've finished several books in the past week including a number of adult series books that I found myself just sitting and devouring. I love series, and I especially love it when I find a new one to love. Now I'm waiting for the next stories to come out in August and September. I only read one children's book, but I have several more of our Sunshine State books waiting for me to finish my currently reading pile!

I found Sink or Swim by Valerie Coulman because I have been collecting titles to use in our lessons about the brain and growth mindsets. This is the second book about Ralph the Cow but I have not read When Pigs Fly - yet!
This is a great book for teaching about what having a growth mindset - positive attitude - can do for you when it comes to learning. When Ralph is told that cows don't swim his response is that he can't swim - yet! However, he is determined to learn and he perseveres and problem solves until he is enjoying the coolness of the pool.

Hopefully I'll have more for next week! And don't forget the Back To School sale - 20% off!

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MMI: July 27th

Three weeks from today I will be back at work for our week of pre-planning. I feel like I still have so much I want to accomplish! I am certainly going to have to get a few more school made-its done.

 This week I picked up some wooden letters at Hobby Lobby plus some Turquoise paint. Several coats of paint plus clear spray and I have these ready to put up on one of my walls. I was originally going to go with "READ" and at the last minute decided to make a STEM sign instead.

 This is a Marzetti dressing bottle that I re-purposed to be a pretty desk decoration. It's plastic, so no worries about it breaking! I'm picking up some artificial flowers - two or three - so I can vary what's in it.

I finished a new Kindergarten math product and uploaded it to my stores. I am totally addicted to Graphics From The Pond clip art, so just had to use the popsicles for this one.


I also finished 80+ pages of my new data books but have to get them all bound before I can show them off. These will replace my old folder system for students to record their progress. I'm writing about this now to give me a push to have them done for next week's Monday Made It!

Fiction Friday: July 24th

Last week I was mostly reading adult books so never got a FF post done. This week I finished several though!

My first book is one of our Florida SSYRA winners for grades 3-5. I really liked the story, and thought it would make a great classroom read aloud since the chapters are fairly short.

(click to go to book)

White Fur Flying by Patricia MacLachlan tells about Zoe's family. Her dad is a vet and her mom rescues dogs, Great Pyrenees is particular. The story of them with the dogs is sweet, but there is of course much more. A couple with a young boy rent the house next door and it turns out that the little boy does not speak. He is living with his aunt and uncle while his parents try to work through some problems (no details are given) and these are adults who are not used to children and don't really know what to do with young Phillip. As Zoe, her sister Alice, and their mom try to befriend Phillip and his aunt the dogs are a bridge to the child. I'm going to make myself stop telling the story so you can discover it for yourself!

(click to go to book)

Last summer I read the first book in this series by Katherine Applegate and added it to my classroom library for my many students who need below level texts. Never Swipe A Bully's Bear is the second book of the series and when I had a chance to pick it up free I jumped at it. Roscoe is a first grader who tries to stay out of trouble but always seems to end up in some sort of complicated situation. Kids can definitely relate to him and teachers probably know him well! In this one, Roscoe's beloved stuffed pig disappears and he is convinced that it was taken by the class bully. He ends up trying to get even which (spoiler alert) does not work out very well!

(click to go to book)

This is another of our SSYRA winners for this year. I loved this story by a debut author. Midnight Gulch used to be a town filled with magic - before a curse ended that. Felicity, her little sister, and her Mom with the wandering heart come back to Mom's home town for what they expect, or in the case of the girls dread will be a short stay, it may turn out that there's still a snicker of magic there. The heart of this story is the relationships - between the family members and between residents in this charming town.

So, what have you been reading? My TBR pile is down to 36 titles so I'm looking forward to hearing about some good additions.


New In Stores Now!

As I previously blogged, I am branching out with my math products to primary grades. My newest product went live in Teachers Notebook and Teachers Pay Teachers last week. These recent kindergarten-targeted products have come out of my experience of have several third graders each year who don't have an understanding of the number ten -- and it's crucial!

 This one uses a Popsicle theme (graphics from the wonderful Mel at Graphics From The Pond) to give your students practice with decomposing ten and finding the number that makes ten when added to another. I know I'll be prepping it for my own classroom for those kiddos who are struggling with this in third grade! I'm sure there are a lot of first and second graders who need to practice, too.

If you think this might be helpful, please check it out in your own favorite store. Maybe put it on your wish list to prepare for this year's Back To School sales -- that's what I'm doing now when I see new products :)

Click Below for Teachers Notebook

Click Below for Teachers Pay Teachers


Monday Made It: July 20th

I've been working on so many things the last couple weeks, but very few made its! Mostly I've just been stalking everyone else and pinning your great ideas!

 I'm very excited about my first (home) made it! I put together this quilt top last summer, so this summer I needed to put the quilt together, quilt it, and sew on the binding. I was so excited to finish stitching on Thursday! This is mostly because this is the first quilt I made for myself :) - my others have all been gifts or charity projects. It also cleared the decks for a new quilt to be started, of course.

 I finished and posted a freebie that had been hanging around for awhile. This is a set of cards that have jokes on them. They will hang by my classroom door so I can grab them during transitions to give us the ultimate brain break - laughing!

Near the end of the past school year I decided I wanted to start doing unit plans rather than the weekly plans that most of my colleagues do. I got really excited about it and set up my long range plans for the whole year and then came up with my unit format. My goal this summer has been to completely fill in the first two unit plans (unit 1 is done), which will put me into mid-October for math plans. The last week of school the cart came around with the new math books for the upcoming year (we use GO Math) and I accepted the student workbooks but said I did not want the textbook. I want to cut that cord (it's not as if the textbooks really match up with our standards or curriculum map!). I don't know if I will make it through all 9 units I have to cover, but this week I got the first unit's resources all put together.

I gathered together the resources I need for the first 14 lessons of the year. I'm sure I will end up tweaking this quite a bit, but hopefully that will just involve opening up the binding to switch out some things. Anyway, I'm going to give it a try! Now I have to get to work on unit 2, which is a longer unit. One thing is for sure - I won't print at home like I did this one. I just wanted to have one book done to see how it all went together. 

Transition Time Freebie

I have a confession to make - I'm terrible at remembering jokes and riddles. This is kind of a pain, because having them stored in your memory is a great tool for transition times or to just get little brains working! Because I'm so bad at remembering I decided to put some joke cards on a ring that I can just grab as we go out the door or to use whenever appropriate.

I have six pages of these and am offering them to any of you who also are "joke challenged!" Just click the picture to download a set and enjoy the giggles!

Fiction Friday: July 10th

Somehow in the midst of all my reading last week I totally forgot I never wrote my FF post! Perhaps I was too excited about reaching my 2015 goal of reading 200 books -- I made it on June 30th, so now I'm working on the next 200 :)

I read PIE by Sarah Weeks this week. It's one of our Florida SSYRA books for this year and I had seen some positive comments about it on the web. I used to make it a goal to read all 15 of the award books each summer but no longer. Now I read the ones that I'm really interested in because I have so much other reading I want to do in the summer. PIE caught my attention when I noticed it had recipes for the pies included. I have a couple adult series that I really enjoy that include recipes, so I was intrigued by reading a book with pie recipes (not that I bake pies very often - I'd rather read about baking than do it!).

PIE is the name of a bakery (serving only pies) in a small Pennsylvania town. It is operated by Alice's beloved Aunt Polly and her pies are the basis for the economy in the little town. She doesn't sell them - she gives them away for free - and people flock to this little town to see the award winning baker and have pie. When Aunt Polly dies, the secret to her world-famous pie crust goes with her. In her will, she leaves it to her disagreeable cat, Lardo, and leaves her cat to her niece Alice. The recipe is no where to be found, though there are those who are trying to find it. There is a great twist at the end, but I don't want to spoil it for you!

I stumbled across a picture book at the library last week and sat right down and read it while the kids were at a magic show there. Bats at the Ballgame by Brian Lies is baseball (one of my great loves) played by bats! Apparently there are other Bat books also, so I'm going to be looking for them when I'm back at the library.

The illustrations are a huge part of the story and are wonderful. It's a simple story of a young bat's first time at the ballgame and I think the author does a great job of creating the emotions of that experience. AND, it's told in rhyme! Just imagine the spectators in the stands . . .hanging upside down :)

I have become a huge fan of Sharon M. Draper after reading Out of my Mind and Copper Sun. When I saw that she had a new book out this year I put it on my TBR list and requested it from my library this summer. It did not disappoint! Eleven year old Stella lives in a small segregated southern town with her parents and brother. One night Stella and her brother see a meeting of the Klan, which terrifies them and disturbs all their friends and neighbors. Draper uses elements from her grandmother's journal to shape this story. Two things really stood out to me - Stella wants to become a better writer and there is a lot of detail about her efforts. Also, her father wants to register to vote -- if you have seen the movie Selma (I finally saw it this week on DVD) you will definitely connect the two stories. The story is well balanced in that while Stella and others face difficulties from many white people, they are also treated with great kindness by others


Dino Match -Meeting A New Goal

One goal that I have this summer is to branch out beyond my own grade level for the products I create and post into my stores. As a third grade teacher I tend to create things for my own students plus down into second and up into fourth grades. I have had good intentions of expanding into the kindergarten and first grade classrooms and finally I've started working on these. My first new product is for kindergarten classrooms (or pre-K/1st).


Dino-Match is a set of cards that can be used as a "memory" game for practicing the numbers from 1 to 20. It includes the standard form and word form of the numbers to match with a representation of the number. It has been uploaded into both my TN and TPT stores and is available now.

I am going to give away one copy to someone who comments telling me how they would use it in their early childhood classroom. The winner will be chosen on Friday. Good luck!

Monday Made It: July 6th

My first made-it happened because I had an extra one of these:

I was no longer using it as a bulletin board so I decided to re-purpose it. I found some wooden pushpins at Walmart and stuck them in with a little help from a hammer. Then I hung it on the wall of my closet and now I have this:

I decided I wanted to have a drawer for each day of the week to replace the crate/hanging files that I've been using. I also wanted it to be pretty, so decided to try the whole spray paint the plastic thing. I only bought one set of drawers at Walmart (in case it didn't go well!) so will have to go back next week and get another to paint. Pretty happy with the way it turned out!

I finally completed a project I started last summer. My clip art binder will help so much as I try to find the right clips for the activities I put together! I wish every clip artist would include a page showing everything in their sets -- if they do I just print out in greyscale. For others I came up with a format to show just one or two pieces from a set along with the title so I can still find it in my huge electronic file (I have a slight clip art addiction and have no need of an intervention!).


Be sure to link up over at 4th Grade Frolics to show off your made-its.
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