Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Awesome resource for 1st grade Treasures Reading Series!

I discovered a new blog over the Thanksgiving holiday break and boy am I ever thankful for it!  If you use the Treasures Reading series (Macmillian/McGraw-Hill), then you are going to want to check it out, bookmark it, and shout it from the rooftops!  The blog is Settle On In and Tara has done a FABULOUS job pulling together tons of resources for each week/unit.  This week are on unit 3 week 1- Kate's Game.  Just look at all the resources!
I copied this straight from her blog.  She uses Glogster and pulls together every skill from the basal.  I can hardly contain my excitement!  As far as I can tell, she just has 1st grade, but phonics and reading skills overlap from grade to grade.  SO check it out- you won't be sorry!!

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

New Teacher Blog Tuesday

Today's your last day to catch the cyber sale at TpT!  Hurry on over and enter the code CMT12 at check out to save an additional 10%!
Click {HERE} to go to my store.

Today we have the pleasure of meeting two new blogger friends.  Read on to get acquainted and then go on over to their blog and see what's going on!
First, we'll meet Heidi from Fun and Easy First Grade Ideas
Fun and Easy First Grade

1.              Name of blog and link:

2.           Why did you start blogging? I love sharing new ideas and finding new ideas.

3.             Tell us a little about your teaching background. This is my 29th year of teaching.  I taught 4th one year and 2nd one year.  The rest has all been in 1st grade- my true love.
4.             What songs are included on the soundtrack to your life?
I Will Survive,  I Am Woman,   I’m Alive

5.           What’s the hardest thing you’ve ever done?
Taught the last 3 years in a cast/boot on a knee scooter. I had 2 surgeries but now I am walking with 2 good ankles and no pain!!

6.           What’s your favorite TV show?
Person of Interest

7.            Are you a Times New Roman or DJ Inkers kind of girl and why?
DJ Inkers girl because I love unusual and out of the box things.

8.           Number of candles that appeared on your last birthday cake?
Too many to count

9.            What was the last book you read?
A John Grisham novel
10.         What chore do you absolutely hate doing?
Cleaning the bathroom

Next we'll meet Sarah from Using My Teacher Voice
My Button

1. Name of blog and link:

Using My Teacher Voice

2. Why did you start blogging?

I love every single minute being home with my little boy, but when it got to August and my teacher friends were posting on Facebook about getting their classrooms ready, I realized this was the first year since I had started Kindergarten that I would not be going back to school in some way or another. I really started missing the classroom, especially the creative part of designing lessons and activities. Throughout my career, I have learned so much from bloggers and teacher websites that I wanted to contribute in some way to the online community. I also wanted some way to still be in touch with the education world, and I wanted a platform to share free ideas, activities, and printables as a way to give back for all of the help I received when I was just starting out. To top it off, I want to be a writer when I grow up, and let’s face it, I am an opinionated lady, so put all that together, and my blog was born.

3. Tell us a little about your teaching background.

I graduated from Georgetown College in Kentucky with a B.S. in Elementary Education and earned a M.Ed. in Reading Education from the University of Central Florida. I started teaching fifth grade here in central Florida, which I loved! After three years in fifth, I moved to a new district. There, I taught third grade for five years and may have loved that age even more than fifth. My last three years of third grade were with gifted and advanced students, which was an amazing experience. People hear gifted and think “oh that must be easy.” Gifted students came with their own set of unique and sometimes quirky challenges, and they kept me on my toes and motivated to be a better teacher. Right now, I teach an online class for gifted students, and I stay home with my little one year old.

4. What songs are included on the soundtrack to your life?

“Coal Miner’s Daughter” by Loretta Lynn, “Angel from Montgomery” by John Prine, “My Best Friend” by Tim McGraw, “She’s in Love with the Boy” by Trisha Yearwood, “For the Moments I Feel Faint” by Relient K, “The Sweetest Gift” by Linda Rondstadt, and oh OK I will admit”I’ll Sleep When I’m Dead” by Bon Jovi.

5. What’s the hardest thing you’ve ever done?

Hmmmnursing my son was really hard. I’ll spare you the graphic details, but it hurt. A lot. I didn’t think I would make it for the first week and kept telling myself one more day, one more day. But we made it to a year and are going strong.

6. What’s your favorite TV show?

Breaking Bad, Dexter, Bones, Forensic Files, and when I don’t want something involving murder, drugs, and crime, then I really like Parenthood.

7. Are you a Times New Roman or DJ Inkers kind of girl and why?

Is this a metaphor for life or do you really want to know about fonts? More of a Noteworthy and Comic Sans kind of girl I guess. I like the cute fonts, but I also like FREE!! That goes for life too, I like cute and fun, but cheap and practical usually win. If I can get cheap and cute and practical, too, then we’re golden.

8. Number of candles that appeared on your last birthday cake?

31 candles on the S’mores pizza cake that my wonderful husband made

9. What was the last book you read?

Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn. Could not put it down!

10.What chore do you absolutely hate doing?

All of them. Probably dishes are the worst, though, because they are NEVER done. There are always more dirty dishes, especially with a baby. My husband and I play Jeopardy while eating dinner and loser does the dishes. So that usually works in my favor ;) 

If you would like to be featured in December, email me at
Thanks for visiting!

Friday, November 23, 2012

Freebie Friday-New Holiday Products

Freebie Fridays
I just quickly wanted to share with you 2 new products I created this weekend.  One of them is a freebie! 
These labels would be perfect to use in the classroom or at home on your own gifts!
Click any of the images above to download.
I would be eternally grateful if you would leave me some feedback or pin to Pinterest!
I also made something to use next week in math.  we use enVisonMATH and this goes with topic 10 for 1st grade, but it meets standards for K-2.
There are Ten-Frames, counters, Memory/match cards, and match the facts to the sums for the numbers 11-20.  Click {HERE} to go to this activity.
I used some of my favorite graphic designers, as well as some new ones I recently found.  Check them out- cute stuff!  the font I am using on this post came from Jen Jones at Hello Literacy.
Hello Literacy Blog Button     smitten_a_christmas_paper_preview-e1337871805927  myblogbutton2  square STS button
Hope you had a great Friday, whether it was out fighting the crowds, shopping online in your pj’s or none of the above!

Thursday, November 22, 2012

Awesome sales Saturday-Tuesday!

Happy Thanksgiving everyone! This is my 100th post!  It is filled with good on-
What great sales!  Every where you look- Target, Best Buy, Teacher's Pay Teachers and Teacher's Notebook!
My TpT Shop will be on sale Monday and Tuesday.  Use code CMT12 for even greater discounts.
My Teacher's Notebook shop will be on sale Saturday through Monday.
Fill up your cart now and checkout during the sale!!

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

New Teacher Blog Tuesday

It's Tuesday again...but more like a Friday for me!  Today is our last day before Thanksgiving! I am thankful for that :)  I will also be thankful if my surprise observation is today.  I am ready to get that over with!!  How about you, when is your last day? I know some bloggers have been out all week- lucky!

I am also thankful for TpT's Cyber Monday (and Tuesday) Sale!  I am participating, along with MANY other great sellers!  Fill up your cart and check out on Monday using the code on the graphic below!
Graphic created by Surfing to Success

Well, anyways- let's meet some new friends, shall we?

Our 1st new friend is Karen from An Apple a Day in First Grade

1.             Why did you start blogging?  I was a blog stalker for the longest time.  But after awhile, I found myself wanting to blog too.  I was so inspired by other bloggers and I just wanted to be a part of such a great community of educators.  I truly feel like I have grown as a teacher this past year since finding the “blog world.”

2.            Tell us a little about your teaching background.  I have been teaching for 17 years.  I have taught Special Ed, Child Development, Kindergarten, and First Grade.  Out of all of the different age groups that I have taught though, First Grade is my favorite.  It is also the hardest!!!  But, the rewards that you receive each and every day watching the connections that first graders make, trump all of the hard stuff!!!  Along with teaching first grade right now, I am working on my Master’s degree. 

3.             What songs are included on the soundtrack to your life?  My Girl by The Drifters (I will always be my daddy’s girl!), It’s Your Love by Tim McGraw and Faith Hill (first dance song), Home by Dierks Bentley (My home is my safe haven and where I always want to be.),  Girls Just Wanna Have Fun (It reminds me to let loose and have fun with my 2 daughters!), Never Give Up On Me by Josh Bates (It reminds me that there is always someone watching over me who is more powerful and protecting than any other.), Hit the Ground Runnin’ by Keith Urban (That ‘s what I have to do each day when I walk into my classroom!), Courageous by Casting Crowns (I’m learning to have this courage.  I’ve been stepping out of my comfort zone more and more these days and sometimes it is frightening for me.  Blogging has been one of those steps for me.)  God Gave Me You by Blake Shelton (How I feel about my family.)  Hilbilly bone by Blake Shelton (Ya’ll, I’m a country girl!)  and Rolling in the Deep by Adelle (Because some days are just like that!!!)

4.            What’s the hardest thing you've ever done?  This is a hard one!  From an education stand point, the hardest thing that I ever had to do was change grades after the school year had already started.  Several years ago I was geared up to teach Kindergarten and spent the whole summer planning and getting ready.  I was even supposed to have a “stacked” class full of students that I had taught the previous year as 4 year olds.  But, 3 days into the year, my principal approached me and told me that our numbers were low and I would have to move to first grade!  I was devastated!  I really loved my class and my room.  Anyhow, I moved to first grade where I taught a group of 10 students who scored in the bottom percentile for DIBELS.  Not only was I teaching first grade for the first time, I was teaching a group of students who were already behind.  I made the most of it that year and I learned so much about teaching from that small group.  That move turned out to be the biggest blessing in disguise!  I have been teaching first grade since that move and absolutely love it!!!!!!

5.           What’s your favorite TV show? NCIS and NCIS Los Angeles

6.           Are you a Times New Roman or DJ Inkers kind of girl and why? DJInkers-I’m more into the cutesy fonts versus the traditional.  Times New Roman seems so formal and traditional.  It doesn't quite fit my style as a first grade teacher!

7.            Number of candles that appeared on your last birthday cake?  39!  I will celebrate the big 4-0 this summer around the time I finish up grad school!  Can you say BIG party?!

8.           What was the last book you read?  Diary of a Wimpy Kid-Rodrick’s Rules (It was for my adolescent literacy class that I am taking this semester for my Master’s!)

9.            What chore do you absolutely hate doing? Cleaning the toilets!

Our next new friend is Pam from Diary of a First Grade Teacher

1.             Why did you start blogging?
After a year of following multiple teacher blogs, I decided to try making my own. I was always an avid blogger in middle school and high school so blogging is something I knew. One of my main reasons for blogging is to motivate myself to try to create activities and worksheets to use in my own classroom. I saw all these cool things online and wanted to try making my own too.
2.            Tell us a little about your teaching background.
This is my first teaching job. I received my preliminary credential and Masters in Teaching two years ago. I was very fortunate in getting a job teaching first grade last year and am now on my second year. I am also on my second, and last, year of BTSA. This means I will have my credential cleared after this school year is over. Hooray! 
3.             What songs are included on the soundtrack to your life?
This I Promise You Nsync & All My Life KC & JoJo (high school songs), Just the Way You Are Bruno Mars (song with the bf), and all other songs I hear on the radio?
4.            What’s the hardest thing you’ve ever done?
Hm. This is a toughie. I suppose finding a balance between work life and personal life? I’m still working on trying to find that balance but am definitely doing a much better job of it this year!
5.           What’s your favorite TV show?
Oh man, after my list of tv shows you’ll think I’m a tv junkie! I watch all version of NCIS, CSI, Law and Order.  Those are my crime shows. I also watch medical shows, Grey’s Anatomy, Private Practice, and House before it got cancelled. Recently I have also started watching Revolution, Once Upon a Time, and Grimm.
6.           Are you a Times New Roman or DJ Inkers kind of girl and why?
Times New Roman before entering the teaching field. After becoming a teacher, DJ Inkers. I love experimenting with the fonts to make things look much cuter.
7.            Number of candles that appeared on your last birthday cake?
I always have to think about this before I answer. Twentyfive?
8.           What was the last book you read?
This is kind of sadThe Daily Five. BUT, the last book I read during the summer was The Lucky One by Nicholas Sparks. I feel like I am very behind in reading books. Haha.
9.            What chore do you absolutely hate doing?
Cleaning the bathroom!!!! I especially hate cleaning the shower stall (I don’t have a tub).

If you would like to be featured, it is very easy! Just email me at
Thanks for stopping by!  You're wonderful!

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

New Teacher Blog Tuesday

Welcome back!  Ready to make some new friends?

Our first new friend of the day is Melissa 
1.                  Name of blog and link: Don’t Let the Teacher Stay Up Late
Don't Let the Teacher Stay Up Late

2.              2.    Why did you start blogging?
I originally started blogging at The Dalton Gang because the girls in my small group had blogs, and it sounded fun. Once I got started, I found a lot of amazing teacher blogs! I began posting more about teacher-y things, but I always felt bad posting so many pictures of Keagan. I finally decided to split them up, and I started my new blog. The name is a play off of Don’t Let the Pigeon Stay up Late. I’m OBSESSED with Mo Willems’ books!
3.                  Tell us a little about your teaching background.
I’ve been teaching for 7 years (can’t believe it’s been that long already) in the same rural school outside of Richmond, VA. I began in 1st grade when the school was only primary, then I quickly moved up to 4th grade the very next year as the school began its transition to prek-5. Last May, I completed my master’s and became certified as a reading specialist. At the end of the year, my principal caught me off guard and told me I had the option to move up to 5th or become the Title I Reading Specialist for grades 3-5. I chose Title I and am LOVING it so far! Now I do a mixture of pushing in to classes and pulling out small groups of students. No grading, and I get to read SO many good books!

4.                 What songs are included on the soundtrack to your life?
I love this question! I remember watching Emperor’s New Groove back in high school and loving how Kronk provided his own theme song music. Here’s a few of my picks:
Knee Deep – Zac Brown Band
Accidentally in Love – Counting Crows (I just love this song)
Ain’t No Other Man – Christina Aguilera
For the Moments I Feel Faint – Relient K
Blackbird – The Beatles (or I have Sarah Mclachlan’s version from I Am Sam)

5.                 What’s the hardest thing you’ve ever done?
I don’t want to say “giving birth” because it seems like such an obvious answer (although it actually wasn’t so bad). So I’ll pick the part that was the hardest for me: letting them hook me up to the IV. I HATE needles, and they missed the first time. I cried! I’m such a wimp…

6.                What’s your favorite TV show?
Big Bang Theory, hands down. I love Sheldon and Amy, or Shamy (especially now that I’ve made the connection that Amy Farafowler is Blossom. Did you know that?). My only problem is that I’m WAY behind because we have small group on Thursday nights.

7.                 Are you a Times New Roman or DJ Inkers kind of girl and why?
DJ Inkers (although I rely on because I’m poor and I LOVE their free fonts). Plain fonts bore me, and now that I’ve discovered all the cute fonts, I can’t go back!

8.                Number of candles that appeared on your last birthday cake?
Well, it’s been quite a while since I’ve put candles on a birthday cake, but it would have been 28.

9.                What was the last book you read?
I’m currently reading Unglued by Lisa TerKeurst and LOVING it! We’re doing it in my small group. I highly recommend it. As far as children’s books go, I’ve been reading The Graves Family by Patricia Polacco. Love her stuff!

10.            What chore do you absolutely hate doing?
Cleaning dishes when food has been sitting. When I was growing up, I had really bad gag reflexes and would literally have to leave the room. Now I think my least favorite job would be cleaning out Keagan’s diaper pail or shoveling dog poop. I don’t like poop.

Now let's meet Amy from Active Learners and Writers

1.       Name of blog and link:

2.     Why did you start blogging?
July  2012

3.      Tell us a little about your teaching background.
I am in my 14th year of teaching Fifth Grade. I enjoy integrating technology into my teaching everyday. I strive to make each lesson engaging for students through using mulitimedia tools and my Promethean board. In the past few years I have been “re-trained” as to how to teach reading and writing. This workshop model has changed my teaching and I am excited to share it through this blog.

4.      What songs are included on the soundtrack to your life?
       Time of Your Life-Greenday
       A Pirate Looks at Forty-Jimmy Buffett (this is coming very soon!)

5.     What’s the hardest thing you’ve ever done?
       Be a stay at home mom with a newborn and toddler.

6.    What’s your favorite TV show?
           Mad Men

     7.     Are you a Times New Roman or DJ Inkers kind of girl and why?
      I like to keep it on the straight and narrow with Times New Roman.

8.    Number of candles that appeared on your last birthday cake?
9.     What was the last book you read?
       To Heaven and Back by Dr.Mary Neal

10.   What chore do you absolutely hate doing?
Food Shopping!! It has been a bit a bit more bearable since I started wearing headphones. I saw someone doing it and decided to try it!

If you would like to be featured, email me at
Thanks for stopping by today.  I hope you will go visit these new bloggers!

Sunday, November 11, 2012

Teaching numbers 1-100 with Whole Brain Teaching

Do you have students who can't identify all of the numbers from 1-100?  With Common Core, students must learn to 120.  While perusing the Whole Brain Teaching website, I found the game Super Speed Numbers.  It is a partner activity that only takes 1 minute for each round you play.  Have an extra 5 minutes before lunch?  Pull this out; it would be the perfect time to get in a few rounds!

What is Super Speed Numbers?  It is an activity appropriate for students in grades K-3 who need help identifying numbers.  Levels 1-30 introduces numbers 1-30, levels 31-37 introduces counting by 10's.  Every 3 levels are followed with a Challenge where the numbers previously learned are reviewed.  The final Challenge is a 100 chart reviewing all the numbers.  To adapt for Common Core Standards, just replace WBT's grid for a 120 grid and create a level 38 for numbers 101-120.

An explanation of levels 1-3.  The student copy will not have  these labels.

To play Super Speed Numbers, pair up students (1 higher to 1 lower), give out a copy of level 1 and start the timer for 1 minute.  The students alternate reading the numbers in the list.  Help from the other partner is allowed.  Students get as far as they can in one minute.  At the end of the minute, they mark how far they got.  The the students play again, this time the other partner starts and they must start from the beginning of the level that they ended on the time before.

The beauty of the game is that the teams are never playing against each other.  They are playing against their own personal record!  This ensures the learning goal is set at just the right place.  Talk about DI!  There is also a version called Super Speed Math for addition, subtraction, multiplication, and division.

I encourage you to download the free e-book {HERE} and try it out in your classroom.  I am going to use it this week. I will let you know how it goes and I hope you'll come back and tell me how it went in your classroom!

Friday, November 9, 2012

Announcing the Whole Brain Teaching App!

If you use the Scoreboard from Whole Brain Teaching, you may be interested in this app in iTunes.  It was launched this week and is currently $4.99.  It will run on the iPhone and iPad.  


Not sure what the Scoreboard is all about?  It is a motivator to use with your entire class.  It is very simple and effective.  WBT says to start out with the students playing for 1 extra minute of recess or something simple and small like that.  Slowly, as in every few months, increase the free time reward.  All you have to do is draw a lower case T on your whiteboard.  One side is “smilies” the other is “frownies”.  Use tallies to keep up with the number of smilies and frownies.  Award them frequently and also give frownies just as frequently.  WBT says you should always keep the score close to keep them on their toes.  Students can have a 1 second celebration when they receive a smilie. This is called a Mighty Oh Yeah!  Students (in unison) clap, and shout Oh Yeah!  In my class, they know (because we practiced and practiced) that as my marker goes down to make the tally, they clap once and say oh yeah in unison.  It’s always kinda fun to give a frownie immediately after, if someone celebrates longer thatn one second or they don’t celebrate in unison. hee hee hee  Does that make me a mean teacher??  When they receive a frownie, we pull our shoulders up to our ears, drop them and grunt loudly.  As with smilies, it must be in unison and last no longer than 1 second.  The great part about this is, you can adapt it to fit your needs.  It can be a silent celebration, last longer than one second, what ever you want.  Go crazy.  Or don’t.  It’s up to you!  The WBT website has many variations to the game.  You can read about them by clicking {HERE}.  There are also ideas {HERE} for 5th through 12th. 

OhYeahGroanHere is the app description from iTunes:

Join the Whole Brain Teaching revolution! Over 70,000 educators worldwide, 2,000,000 views on YouTube, 10,000,000 pages of free downloads from
Specially designed for the most challenging classes, you won't believe the simplicity and power of Whole Brain Teaching's Scoreboard, the world's simplest and most powerful K-12 classroom management app. When your students are doing well, give them a Smiley point on the Scoreboard. When they're not doing so well, give them a Frowny point. At the end of the day, or period, if Smilies outpoint Frownies, award your class a small bonus: a minute of extra recess or free texting time, one problem less math homework, a short music break, whatever.
Classroom tested by tens of thousands of K-12 educators across the U.S. and around the world, the Scoreboard turns classroom management into a lively, irresistible game. This powerful app can be used as a supplement to, or entirely replace, existing management systems like PBIS, CHAMPS, Fred Jones or Harry Wong.
The Scoreboard comes with complete instructions, over 20 icons providing variations on Smilies and Frownies and the ability to keep track of multiple classes. In addition, unlike most iPhone and iPad apps, the Scoreboard is backed up by an enormous library of supplementary materials, all available as free downloads at


With or without the app, I encourage you to try it.  It’s fun and effective!  I use it in my classroom everyday!

Thursday, November 8, 2012

Whole Brain Teaching-10 Finger Woo! and It’s Cool!

   If you’ve missed my previous posts on Whole Brain Teaching, you can click {HERE} to catch yourself up.  Just to give you a little background- I discovered it over the summer, watched some YouTube vidjas, attended a (free) conference, and fell deeply in love with WBT.  It’s a classroom management that totally works.  I feel like it is so much more than just management.  It’s a style of teaching.  It is a way of life in my classroom.  We use the rules, Power Pix, and several of the techniques.  I recently taught my students a few more Whole Brain things that I’d like to share with you.
   The first is the 10 Finger Woo!  If some one does a great job,gives an fabulous answer- you know what you consider awesome in your room-you give them a 10 finger woo!  the teacher says, “Class give so and so a 10 finger woo!”  And the class holds out their hands, kind of pushes their fingers toward the awesome kid, and says “WOO!”  In my room, we wiggle our fingers while we do it.  The WBT website says a “rolling 10 Finger Woo” is wiggling your fingers and rolling your hands at the person.  the teacher would say “Give so and so a 10 finger rolling woo!”  We are just doing the regular woo, maybe one day when I have an answer that knocks my socks off, I will teach the rolling woo!  This is easy and the kids love it.  Sometimes I give the entire class a 10 Finger Woo! if they have all done something fabulous.  With all WBT techniques, we practiced and I laid the ground rules.  We practiced 2-3 times and haven’t had any problems.  The children say woo in unison and I stressed that it is a very short woo, we don’t drag out the oooooo.  :) It’s a great confidence builder for those shy students. 
   The other thing I want to tell you about is the “It’s cool.”  When a student gives a wrong answer, the teacher quickly says, “Tell so and so ‘it’s cool’!”  The class simply says, “It’s cool!” and we go about our way.  We practiced this one a few times aw well.  We shrug our shoulders and say “it’s cool” very nonchalantly, like we’re too cool for school.  :)  The. kids. love. it.  The funniest thing happened after I taught it.  We went over it a few times one afternoon and i didn’t say anymore about it.  So the next day, I said the wrong page number, but then corrected myself.  One of my boys in the back piped up with a “It’s cool!”.  It cracked me up because I had totally forgotten about it.  This is a great way to ward off any snickering that might happen when a child gives an incorrect answer and it also makes them feel better about themselves and not be so embarrassed.  I don’t use it every time I get a wrong answer, but I try to do it every time a shy or struggling student answers incorrectly. 
   Like I said, Whole Brain Teaching is so much more than just classroom management.  It’s a style of teaching all it’s own and the great thing about it is that you can customize it to fit your needs.  There is no WBT police or hard and fast rules you MUST follow.  Pick and choose, Adapt it to fit.  Try it, you’ll like it or your money back 100% guaranteed.

Blogging tips