Tuesday, June 23, 2015

The best home laminator!

I recently received an offer from Shoplet.com to review the Fellowes Saturn Laminator.
Some product specifics are:
  • Laminator features a rapid, one-minute warm-up with InstaHeat Technology.
  • The 9-1/2" entry width accommodates multiple document sizes.
  • Saturn3i 95 Laminator delivers hot lamination for 3 mil or 5 mil and cold setting for self-adhesive pouches.

I eagerly accepted this opportunity and here are my honest opinions!

*Lightweight, but did not feel "cheap"
*Heated extremely quickly!
*I have never used cold lamination, but I can now if I want!
*There is a ledge on the back of the laminator to catch your work as it comes through.
*MOST IMPORTANTLY, the lamination actually sealed all the way around my paper!  Usually when laminating with a small laminator, there are some edges that don't seal very well.  I was VERY impressed with how this one sealed!

*There are only 10 laminating pouches that come with the laminator. BUT, that is better than none!
*A little pricey, compared to other small laminators, but you do get what you pay for!

The Fellowes Saturn 3i 95 Laminator is seriously the best home laminator I've ever used.  It heats quickly, seals completely, and has an automatic shutoff feature.
If you need a good laminator, this is a great one!

Thursday, June 18, 2015

Win a GlassTech Case for your Microsoft Surface Pro!

I'm happy to announce that I am giving away a GlassTech case for the Microsoft Surface Pro and Surface Pro 3 on behalf of Gumdrop Cases
This would be perfect for your classroom!

The Gumdrop Cases GlassTech for Microsoft Surface features:
  • Ruggedized, impact-resistant skin - perfect for accident-prone kids and families
  • Tempered glass screen protector for ultimate touch sensitivity, with a special smudge-free coating
  • Fully compatible with the Microsoft Surface keyboard and kickstand
Learn more about the GlassTech for Microsoft Surface 3 here, and the GlassTech for Microsoft Surface  Pro 3 here. The cases are available in Green, Black and Red, and start at $59.

**Enter to win a case by leaving a comment below.**
I'm sorry, but the winner must be in the US.
Let me know why you think you should win the case in the comments along with you color preference and email address. 
Thanks for your participation!

Thursday, June 11, 2015

The 2015 Nashville Teacher Blogger Meet Up!

That's all you need to search for on Instagram to see what an amazing time we had last weekend!
If you've never been to a teacher blogger meet up, you are missing out.  You don't even have to be a blogger, blog-stalkers teachers are always welcome!
Greg {Kindergarten Smorgasboard}, Latoya {Flying into First Grade}, Cindy {Exploring is Elementary}, Alexandria {Classroom Action with Ms. Jackson}, Lawren {Teaching is a Royal Adventure}, and I had been emailing potential sponsors, brainstorming activities, searching for the perfect venue, deciding on a menu, and messaging each other daily for the last few months.  
It was completely worth all the work, because we had the most fun-filled weekend!
We kicked off the weekend at the Nashville Sound's baseball game at their brand new stadium.  It was a perfect night for baseball- the weather was great, cold drinks, hot food, 23 teacher blogger friends, and a win for the home team! We even made it onto the jumbotron!

GoNoodle provided us with some awesome sunglasses, which came in handy, because the sun was on us the first couple of innings!
Remind sent us the tshirts, along with some swag for our meet up bags!

Saturday's main event was held at Atmalogy, a super cool venue in Nashville with all sorts of unique spaces to hold meetings, get togethers, or 60 teacher bloggers!  Heather, the owner, was very easy to work with and gave us an amazing rate to use the space.  I highly recommend stopping by for a coffee or glass of wine in their cafe and checking out the space for your next gathering!
2320 West End Ave, Nashville, TN 37203

Y'all, this was so. Much. Fun.

We ended up with $14,000 in donations of one type of another.  Unbelievable, and probably unprecedented! We had SO many wonderful companies and people give us products!
In addition to Atmalogy giving us a great rate for our space, the following companies were also very generous!
Paid for our lunch from Jim N Nick's & gave us cool swag!
Donated a site license for an entire grade level.  That's a $2,000 value! 
Please shop from these companies and let them know that you appreciate them supporting teachers!

Saturday night we ended up at Opry Mills and had a delicious dinner at Chuy's!
After dinner, we walked over to Opryland Hotel and hung out at the Library Lounge!

On Sunday, we met at Monell's, a crazy good restaurant near the airport in Nashville.

I CANNOT wait until next year's meet up! Hope to see you there!
See more pictures by hopping through the blogs below!

Monday, May 4, 2015

Teacher Appreciation Week Giveaway!

American Greetings is hosting a giveaway for teachers like you - who work hard year-round to educate and inspire students!
To show their appreciation, they’re hosting a Teacher Appreciation Week giveaway. 
The winner will receive a $500 Staples gift card to use towards classroom supplies and a $30 Starbucks gift card as a personal treat. Additionally, 2 runner-ups will each receive a $100 gift card to Teachers Pay Teachers.  
All you have to do is register with your school email address so they can make sure that a teacher is receiving the prize.  You also earn extra entries by following American Greetings on Twitter and Facebook.

Friday, April 24, 2015

How to deepen Number Sense with Rekenreks

First of all, what exactly do I mean by "number sense"?
Broadly defined, number sense refers to having the intuition to not only understand numbers and number relationships, but also developing the ability to flexibly use this knowledge to solve mathematical problems. It’s a skill that’s developed early on in a child’s education, sometimes as young as age 2. According to the University of Cambridge’s NRICH Project, young children can identify the difference between one, two or three objects before they even learn to count.

My mind was recently blown by the October 2014 National Governors Association Paper that stated,
"A child's math ability when he or she enters school has proved a better predictor of academic achievement, high school graduation & college attendance than any other early childhood skill.  Early mathematics competency predicts later reading achievement better than early literacy skills.  High-quality early mathematics instruction supports later learning of the science, technology, engineering & mathematics skills U.S. employers require."
(Bold & underline emphasis is mine, not theirs.)

YOU GUYS!! This is HUGE.  Number sense in the early grades is crucial! We've GOT to make sure they're getting it.  The textbook alone is not going to teach it.  Our youngest learners need hands-on activities.  Rekenreks are a great hands-on way to help develop number relationships and flexibility when it comes to thinking about numbers.
Of course you can buy them, but ain't nobody got money for that!
I made an entire class set for $6.
1.  Pony beads, foam board, and pipe cleaners.  That's all you need!
2.  I cut my foam board into approx. 5"x3" rectangles and cut 2 slits on each end.
(I found that a X-acto knife was the best cutting tool.)
String 10 beads on each pipe cleaner, using two colors (5 & 5).
3.  Tuck the ends into the slits & twist them on the backside.
4.  That's it!  Your students could even make these!

Now what?
There are great resources all over the web for using reckenreks in the classroom.  
  • K-5 Math Teaching Resources has a great explanation of how and how.
  • Here's a free E-book by Dr. Barbara Blanke that has 10 activities along with an introduction to using the Rekenrek or Number Rack. It even includes correlations to the CCSS!
  • There are tons of great ideas on Pinterest, of course.  Click the image below to see lots of them!

Do you use rekenreks? Tell us about it in the comments! Also, feel free to leave links to other great rekenrek resources!

Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Ship your Stuff with Avery!

When Shoplet asked me to review the following Avery labels, I couldn't say no.  Because they're Avery, of course.  The following opinions about these labels are honest and my own.

So, a few short months ago I started making vinyl designs for shirts.  I totally blame my friend Sue, because she showed me how fun it was.  Occasionally, I  ship a shirt to Arizona or Florida and I need a shipping label (because that beats standing in line at the post office!).  I Googled until I found out how to print postage paid labels at home, after buying a nifty little postage scale from Amazon.  Once I knew how to do it, I had to do it. I began using full sheet labels and wasting half of the page, because the label prints on one side and the receipt on the other.
Cue awesome Avery shipping labels...
The left side is the label and the right is just paper.  They are GREAT!

 Click the image to see them on Shoplet

The Brown Kraft label is cool because it can be printed on, blends in with the box, and doesn't allow old labels to show through.  These labels come two to a sheet.
Click the image above to view on Shoplet.

I also liked these Avery White Shipping Labels because they are 10 per sheet and have TrueBlock Technology.  As you can see, neither color or old labels show through them. 

Click the image above to see them on Shoplet

The Avery WeatherProof Labels were fun to test! While they can be printed on, I used a BIC marker to see if the ink would smear.  It didn't.  I also scrubbed it with a wet paper towel to see what would happen.  As you can clearly see below, the Avery label held up, but the original label on the box did not... New Balance, you may want to invest in these WeatherProof labels!

Click the image above to view them on Shoplet.

I will be using these Avery shipping labels from Shoplet to ship my shirts.
If you'd like to help me continue to test these labels against the elements and post office, order a shirt from me! ;)

Saturday, March 28, 2015

2015 Teacher Tool Exchange Linky

Two weekends ago, I had the pleasure of attending the 2nd anual teacher blogger meet up in French Link, Indiana.  I blogged about my amazing experience last year {HERE}, in case you want to know how it all started. 
One of the activities at this epic blog meet up, was the Teacher Tool Gift Exchange.  We divided ourselves by grade levels, so the gifts would be more appropriate and because there was no way we'd all fit in one giant circle!  Since I teach K-5 in the library, I chose the 2nd grade group because it falls in the middle! We had all brought our favorite teacher tool and while Amanda read a crazy story she made up, we passed our gifts to the right or left, depending on the code words she read.  It was kind of a hilarious story!
Once the story was over, we went around the circle and opened our gifts.  There were so many awesome things!
My gift was every type and size of Post-it Notes you can imagine. I LOVE them! My library finds itself the host of almost every meeting we have at my school.  My pens and Post-it Notes, tend to get "borrowed" often, so now I can replenish my stash!
Bobbi from Bitty Bilinguals put together this awesome gift!
Bitty Bilinguals

You can see more awesome teacher tools on the blogs below!  
Come back tomorrow to read more about my weekend!

Wednesday, March 18, 2015

It's a Joy Cowley Classroom Giveaway!

Joy Cowley is a fantastic author who has written many books for young readers.  One of her most delightful characters is Mrs. Wishy- Washy!  You can enter to win a big book on my blog and a whole classroom supply of books over at Hameray Publishing!  Keep reading to find out how to enter both contests!
Just for fun, I've come up with 5 things she and I have in common...
1.    We both love to clean. Neither of us can stand a mess.  She even loaded up her animals and searched all over town for water when there was none on the farm! {Mrs. Wishy-Washy and the Big Wash}
2.    We have both entered our (clean) animals in the fair and won!  As a teenager, I showed cattle through 4-H and have a box full of ribbons to show for it!
3.    We are both farm girls.  She currently lives on a farm and I grew up on a dairy farm.
4.    We are both hard workers.  Her hard work, and cleaning obsession, is apparent in Mrs. Wishy-Washy on TV.  She scrubs every animal and person in sight until they are sparkling!
5.    A cow, pig, and duck sang to me on my last birthday too, just like in Mrs. Wishy-Washy’s Birthday.  Just kidding, but it was really sweet when it happened in Mrs. Wishy-Washy’s Birthday!

Now that you know a little about Mrs. Wishy-Washy and me, let me tell you 5 things you’ll love about these books:
1.    Each book has a teacher’s guide specific to that book.  It’s not a separate document that you’re bound to lose, but actually printed on the back cover.  It’s a brilliant concept that I wish all books had!  You could easily leave this book for a substitute teacher and just say, “follow the guide inside the back cover” and you’d know your students were going to get a great lesson. 
2.    The word count for the four books I have averages out to 198.  A perfect length for beginning readers.  The stories are engaging and humorous.  The vocabulary in the books is varied and each one has 3-4 specific words listed in the guide to pull out and talk more about.  Students can take these new words and come up with antonyms and/or synonyms, put them in alphabetical order, or create new sentences using the words.
3.    The characters are constant.  After reading a few books, children can expect to see the cow, pig, and duck.  Stories can be created from one of the animals’ point of view.  Predictions can be made about what the animals did to get so dirty or what they’ll do after their baths.  Book summaries are a great thing to do with your students to make sure they understand parts of the story.  You can download a story summary chart below to use with any Mrs. Wishy-Washy book.
4.    These books would adapt themselves well to a Reader’s Theater script.  After a shared reading of the book, students can work together to retell the story and create parts for a script as they work.
All sorts of word studies can be done with these books.  Mrs. Wishy-Washy’s Birthday lends itself to a study of onomatopoeia, words with suffixes, and compound words.  
There are currently four sets of readers by Joy Cowley.  The third release is the Orange Set.  This selection of books includes brand-new stories featuring brand-new characters! Read new adventures featuring Little Sister and Big Brother, Barbie the Wild Lamb, Pen and Pencil, the Gruesomes, and Oscar, all written by Joy Cowley.  The fourth set is the Blue Set and is also the newest.  This selection of books includes stories featuring brand-new characters, Mr. Tang and Miniboy!
Hameray Publishing is hosting the Joy Cowley Classroom Giveaway, in which one lucky grand-prize winner will receive a classroom package of Joy’s stories, which include the newest adventures of cherished characters Mrs. Wishy-Washy, the Hungry Giant, the Meanies, and others. This year’s package includes ninety leveled readers, nineteen big books, a set of finger puppets, and more, with a prize total valuing at $1,000!

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