Tuesday, April 30, 2013

New Teacher Blog Tuesday



Our first blogger today is April from

1.             Name of blog and link: A Day in the Life: An Educator’s Journey


2.          Tell us about your blog and why you started it.
       I have wanted to start a blog so many times over the past couple of years.  First I wanted to do something and simply write stories about my lessons learned in life.  Then as I created this blog, it came to me.  Write a blog about my passion.  I love teaching and love to share my stories with those I love. Why not share it with the blogging world?  So, here I am.

3.            Tell us a little about your teaching background.
       I have been teaching 5 full years and did a little bit of time the year before that, shortly after my graduation.  I have a Master’s Degree in Early Childhood Education and am currently trying to get my act together to go back for my Doctorate in Educational Leadership. I have taught 3rd, Kindergarten, First and Second, and in that order.  I love my job and especially love working with those in special need, whether behavioral or academic.

4.            What songs are included on the soundtrack to your life?
Broken Road- Rascal Flatts Version
After All- Meredith Andrews

5.           What’s the hardest thing you’ve ever done?
In life, go through a miscarriage with our first child this year.
In School, switch from teaching 4th to Kindergarten 3 weeks before school started.

6.           What’s your favorite TV show?
       Pretty Little Memories

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


8.           Number of candles that appeared on your last birthday cake?
I don’t put candles on my cake. If I did, it would have been 28.

9.           What was the last book you read?
Hunger Games Series

10.        What chore do you absolutely hate doing?
Cleaning the bathroom. YUCK!

11.         Give us some links- Twitter, Pinterest, Teacher’s Pay Teachers, Facebook, a free teaching item etc.
My TPT store

My favorite Freebie!!! This is my classroom management system I created for this year.  I LOVE IT!!!

My Fact Family Freebie

My teaching board on pinterest


Our second blogger is Melissa from


1.             Name of blog and link:
My blog is called Jungle Learners 

2.          Tell us about your blog and why you started it. 
I absolutely LOVE giraffes. One of my life dreams is to go on a safari in Africa and see all of the amazing animals there. (Side note: last summer my husband and I went to Arizona and I found out that at their zoo they let you FEED the Giraffes!! So I made him take me to their zoo JUST so I could feed the Giraffes. We were surrounded by little kids in line and I think I was more excited than any of them!!)

Because of my love for Jungle animals I decorated my classroom with this theme and have named my blog “Jungle Learners”. I originally started it to be a way of communicating with the parents in my class, but have just recently transitioned it to be a teacher blog.

3.            Tell us a little about your teaching background.
I am currently in my 4th year of teaching. I started in 2009 as a head teacher for a Head Start program. I taught preschool there for 3 years, until my husband got accepted into grad school last year for Physical Therapy and we had to move. I was fortunate enough to find a job after we moved at a private school teaching Kindergarten.and I am loving EVERY minute of it!

4.            What songs are included on the soundtrack to your life?
“For Good” from Wicked
“Love like Crazy” by Lee Brice
“Drivin’ Around Song” by Colt Ford (Feat. Jason Aldean)
“The Sound of Sunshine” by Michael Franti & Spearhead

5.           What’s the hardest thing you’ve ever done?
I thought about making something up to make me sound more exciting like wrestling an alligator in the Everglades or scaling the cliffs of Mount Kilimanjaro but the truth of the matter is that I’m not quite that adventurous. (Maybe one day?) One of the hardest things I have done would be graduating High School with my Associates Degree. I had to take a bunch of college credit classes during HS and go to college classes throughout two different summer semesters as well to make it happen. {Wouldn't have done it without my mom either.}

6.           What’s your favorite TV show?
My husband and I LOVE Netflix. Our hands down favorite TV series we've watched is Prison Break. We’re considering naming our first boy Michael or Lincoln. For real! We are currently watching Parenthood and love that series as well!

7.           Are you a Times New Roman or DJ Inkers kind of girl/guy and why?
I have never used DJ Inkers.is that where everyone gets all of the adorable fonts they use!? I usually grab fonts from DaFont or cute ones I find on Pinterest. The fonts I currently love are “Rowdy Spunky” & “Noteworthy” 

8.           Number of candles that appeared on your last birthday cake?
24, soon to be 25! My birthday is in May.hopefully I won’t have a ¼ life crisis!

9.           What was the last book you read?
Honestly, “The Luckiest St. Patrick’s Day Ever!” by Teddy Slater. OTHER than children’s books, I’d have to say the Hunger Game series. A-MA-ZING! (Is anyone else anticipating the next movie release in November!?)

10.        What chore do you absolutely hate doing?
Cooking! I don’t know WHY I despise it so much; I mean.we all have to eat! I have just never enjoyed it! I hope one day it will change, but in the mean time my husband is super good to me and cooks a lot right now. (And sometimes makes me help).

11.         Give us some links- Twitter, Pinterest, Teacher’s Pay Teachers, Facebook, a free teaching item etc.
I always have “Fans only Freebies” on my Facebook page if you want to check out the freebie going on right now!

I also have a “Number Surgery” freebie at my Teachers Pay Teachers store. I did a blog post about it that you can read here. Or if you want to go directly to TPT and check it out click the picture below! {I’m working on a bigger unit to go along with this right now!}


If you'd like to be featured, email me at dml8609@gmail.com!


Sunday, April 28, 2013

Are You Seeing 20/20?

If your answer is "No Dana, I am not seeing 20/20," then you need to read this blog post!
I recently discovered the online eyewear company, Firmoo.  They have a huge selection of cute frames for regular glasses and sunglasses.  Firmoo is currently having a giveaway!  They are offering FREE glasses (frames+lenses+shipping=$0) as well as coupons!  Don't miss out on this offer!  Maybe you've never had glasses and are starting to suspect that it's time you give in and get those reading glasses or maybe you've had glasses all your life and it's time to update your look.  Maybe you don't need glasses, but want some fake ones (like I have) or you want a free pair of sunglasses.  Whatever the reason, why not enter for a chance to win?  You aren't out anything...Go on...try it. SOMEone's got to win...Why can't it be you?!?  Find the giveaway here: http://www.firmoo.com/z/crazy-giveaway.html
Look how cute these glasses are!  I have a pair of their glasses and they are cute and comfortable!  The company is very easy to work with and shipping is extremely fast.
Furthermore, if you are a first time customer at Firmoo, you can also get your first pair for free . Only pay a minimum $6.95 shipping fee.  But for those who missed the free pair, you still don't have to be discouraged because they have another limited time offer which will save you 20% off on frames + total shipping fee.
Check out my glasses {HERE}.
Good luck!!

Friday, April 26, 2013

Who doesn't love a good notebook?

I received the coolest notebooks in the mail last week!  Shoplet.com has me prepared for any writing opportunity that may come my way!  

The first notebook came 2 to a package and have a nice black cover and cream colored paper with wide rule. Think pretty composition books, only they are 10"x7.5".  This notebook has 96 pages, so it's going to last you awhile!
$16.31 per pack (2 per pack)

The next notebook you see is more like a journal.  It also has a nice black cover and measures 5.5"x3.5". There's even a handy elastic strap to keep it closed.  
Only $5.83

The next notepad is my absolute favorite!  It truly is like none other I've ever seen before.  It's designed specifically for taking notes.  Focus Notes by TOPS is comparable to the Cornell Note Taking System.  The pages are 8.5"x11.75" and each pad has 50 pages.  The pages are easy to tear out when you're ready.  This will be perfect for faculty meeting notes!  

Love!
$3.51




Click any of the images below to find it listed on Shoplet.com's website.  I promise, you won't be disappointed with any of these great notepads!



Thursday, April 25, 2013

Pay with a Tweet!

Want to grab my May Writing Prompts for free??  All you have to do is click the button below the image! 
You choose how you want to "pay"-either a tweet or Facebook post- and it's yours!  





To my fellow bloggers- you should try this, it's pretty cool ad couldn't be easier!
Thanks to Michelle @The 3am Teacher for sharing Pay with a Tweet!

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Questions in the Classroom

We all know how important questions are in the classroom. Just for a minute, imagine your class without a single question......It would be different, huh?  Some questions we'd love to be rid of- "Can I sharpen my pencil?" "Can I get a drink?", "Why does he get to do that and not me?"  You know the questions I'm talking about!
There has been LOTS of research conducted on Questions in the classroom.  I recently read a paper by Kathleen Cotton, titled "Classroom Questioning".  This paper contains information from 37 different research  documents.  
Some of the general findings were:
1.  Students in classrooms where questions are asked have higher achievement gains.
2.  Oral questions provide more learning that written questions. 
3.  Asking questions frequently is positively related to learning facts.
4.  Questions that require students to focus on most important facts aid in comprehension, as opposed to questions that do not relate to important information.

So obviously, questions are important, right?  Of course they are!  
Now let's look at higher cognitive questions and lower cognitive questions.  Higher cognitive questions are those that ask a student to draw upon their knowledge and create an answer.  These types of questions call for extended and strategic thinking.  When we ask students to critique, compare, prove and analyze, we are asking higher order thinking questions.  Questions that involve recall, reciting, labeling, matching, and recognizing are lower level thought processes.  Both types of questions have their place in the classroom, but we have to remember to ask a good mixture of them.    
Ms. Cotton summarized the finding on higher and lower cognitive questioning.  here are some of the points she made:
*On average, 60% of questions are lower level, 20% are higher, and 20% are procedural.
*Lower cognitive questions are more effective than higher level questions with young (primary level) children, particularly the disadvantaged.  {This surprised me!}
* Simply asking higher cognitive questions does not necessarily lead students
to produce higher cognitive responses.
* Teaching students to draw inferences and giving them practice in doing so
result in higher cognitive responses and greater learning gains.
She also discussed wait time.  Wait time is the time a teacher waits after asking a questions.  In my classroom, we call it "think time".  If we, as teachers, rush to explain what we just said, what good does that do the students?  This is an area I made a conscious effort to work on this year.  Sometime, I have to make myself be quiet so they can think!  From the research Ms. Cotton gathered, the average wait time is 1 second.  Imagine if you only had one second to think before someone demanded an answer from you!  
The research show:
* For lower cognitive questions, a wait-time of three seconds is most positively related to achievement, with less success resulting from shorter or longer wait-times.
* There seems to be no wait-time threshold for higher cognitive questions; students seem to become more and more engaged and perform better and better the longer the teacher is willing to wait.

In my state, questioning plays a part in the teacher observation rubric.  Here's another reason to work on questioning...ha!  My principal circulates the building often.  We never know when she will pop in and I am used to that, but when she walks in and SITS DOWN all of my awesome question words fly right out of my head! AHHHH the nerves set in and I feel tongue-tied!  I recently found something you may be interested in, if you are ever in a sitch like that- they are called A.S.K. Cards.  Actively-Seeking-Knowledge.  ASK.  
These cards are from CM School Supply.  I like them for many reasons-they are thickly laminated, come on a ring, English and Spanish, and provide various levels of questions.  The cards have open ended questions, how and why, problem solving, predicting, classifying and comparing, and creative thinking questions.  The cards are built on research based practices that are listed on the last card.  The set is only $9.99.  Click the images above to view them on the website.  These cards would also be great for a sub of educational assistant to use with your students.  
If you'd like a chance to win a $50 gift card to CM School Supply, so you can get your own set plus a lot more, click {HERE} for the giveaway!
Don't forget- I'm having a blogiversary giveaway going on this week!  Click {HERE} to enter!



 “Disclosure: I received complimentary products for review.  All opinions are my own and this is not a compensated post.”


Tuesday, April 23, 2013

My Blog is Turning 1! Enter my Blogiversary Giveaway

Graphics by The 3am Teacher, Frame by Graphics from the Pond, Background by Sonya DeHart











Click {HERE} to be entered in the drawing.

Thanks to all of you for such a great first year of blogging!  This giveaway will go through April 30th, so tell all your friends!

Monday, April 22, 2013

New Teacher Blog Tuesday & some Freebies!


Our first blogger is Stacey from


  1.  Name of blog and link: Riedmiller’s Room 
  1. Tell us about your blog and why you started it. My blog is very new! I started it to help get myself involved with the online community of teachers. I have had a teachers pay teachers store for about a year now and I started following a lot of great teaching blogs. I wanted to get out there and share my ideas and teaching experiences, just like everyone else. I talk mostly about language arts things, my other endeavors and fun stuff about teaching.

  1.  Tell us a little about your teaching background. I graduated from college in 2010 with a Bachelor’s in Elementary Education. I spent an entire year as a substitute teacher, eventually doing a long-term sub placement for the teacher whose job I have now :) The year after that I was a full-time teacher’s aide for a student with special needs. This is my first official year as a full-time teacher and I love it.

  1.  What songs are included on the soundtrack to your life? This is a tough question! I love country music and I know some people don’t think that’s cool. I grew up listening to everything from classic rock to hip hop. My soundtrack would have some Johnny Cash, TLC, Janet Jackson, New Found Glory, Loretta Lynn, and right now a lot of modern country: Jason Aldean “Dirt Road Anthem”  Miranda Lambert Mamas Broken Heart Little Big Towns Tornado, and anything by Luke Bryan or Eric Church ;) Its so hard to choose when there are so many songs I love!

  1. What’s the hardest thing you’ve ever done? The hardest thing I continue to do is be a mom. I LOVE being a mom, we have a daughter who is almost four and plan to have at least one more child, soon, actually. Being a mom is hard, no one tells you just how hard it is to have a piece of your heart out running around and away from you. Our daughter started preschool this year, she goes to the school where I teach, and everyday I am still so worried about her. I know once she gets older it will be harder to let her go out and do things. I think I’m just one of those crazy overprotective helicopter moms!

  1. What’s your favorite TV show? That would be a toss up between The Walking Dead and Duck Dynasty. I love TWD and my husband and I have become these super obsessed people with the show. It has a total cult following and I love the storyline. It. is. so. good. It doesn’t even matter if you don’t like the idea of horror or zombies. Duck Dynasty is where it’s at! Jack! We love listening to Uncle Si’s stories and seeing what all the cute bearded boys are getting in to!

  1. Are you a Times New Roman or DJ Inkers kind of girl/guy and why? Can I say Lettering Delights or Kimberly Geswein?! :) I am definitely more of a cute font kind of girl... to an extent. Sometimes when I buy stuff on TpT my kids can’t read the font and that’s where I draw the line on cute. I do sure love me some good fonts and clipart, though.

  1. Number of candles that appeared on your last birthday cake? Twenty Seven! I can’t believe I’ll be 28 this year. Most of the time I still feel like I’m 25 for some reason.

  1. What was the last book you read? I am actually re-reading The Help. I loved that book so much and I love any literature grounded in the South, especially around or during the Civil Rights Movement. It’s my favorite time period to read about, fiction or non-fiction!

  1. What chore do you absolutely hate doing? I DO NOT like doing the dishes, but only if there are a ton of them. We have this habit of not doing dishes a lot during the week and then Saturday hits and I’m overwhelmed, to say the least! I really enjoy cleaning though, if you can believe it!

  1. Give us some links- Twitter, Pinterest, Teacher’s Pay Teachers, Facebook, a free teaching item etc.  
Instagram: staceythirtyone I love Instagram friends! :)
Freebie: Teacher Post It To Do List http://www.teacherspayteachers.com/Product/Teacher-To-Do-Post-It-Freebie


Feature Teacher:  Our next feature teacher is Sara


1.            Name of blog and link:  Polka Dot Kinders   

2.          Tell us about your blog and why you started it.
I’ve been a blog stalker/follower for a few years and have loved reading posts and learning from this fantastic community.  I wanted to be more than a follower though.  With some encouragement from my teammates, I decided to take the plunge and become a blogger myself.  My blog gives me a chance to “meet” other bloggers and followers along with showing what we are doing in my classroom.   
3.            Tell us a little about your teaching background.  I’ve been teaching kindergarten for 13 years.  I’ve taught half day, all day/every other day and now all day/EVERY day kindergarten.  My heart truly belongs in the kindergarten classroom.  I’m also a pretty techy teacher and love using my classroom iPad and SMARTboard.  This year I was a candidate for MN Teacher of the Year and was named a TIES Exceptional Teacher (technology in the classroom award).

4.            What songs are included on the soundtrack to your life?  I LOVE musicexcept for most country (sorry!).  I heart Black Eye Peas (any song), Justin Timberlake (love his new Suit and Tie), and Beastie Boys (old school).  In my kindergarten classroom, we start the day by playing either Will.i.am’s What I Am or Miley Cyrus’ Nobody’s Perfect.  I love how these songs start the day on a “We Can Do It!” note.  

5.           What’s the hardest thing you’ve ever done?
The hardest thing I’ve ever done was become a mom.  It is also the most rewarding though.  This year is a strange one because I have a kindergartner at home and then I teach them all day.  It is weird being on the other side of the conference table. 

6.           What’s your favorite TV show?
I’m going to break it down by reality show and sitcom.  I am a huge Project Runway and Top Chef fan.  I’m watching the finale of Top Chef right now. J  Non-reality TV speaking, I like How I Met your Mother (Favorite quote:  It will be legen-wait for itand I hope youre not lactose intolerant because the second half of that word is dairy!!-Barney) and Big Bang Theory.

7.           Are you a Times New Roman or DJ Inkers kind of girl/guy and why?   DJ Inkers all the way.  I have been known to be a font snob.  I have waaaay too many fonts and sometimes agonize over what font to use for a project.  Times New Roman is never used in my room though.

8.           Number of candles that appeared on your last birthday cake?
35.  I try not to think about the fact that 35 rounds up to 40!

9.           What was the last book you read?  I love to read.  I usually have two books (or sometimes even 3) books going at once.  I am listening to The Discovery of Witches and am reading Gone Girl.  The last books I finished were The Night Circus and Beautiful Disaster.

10.        What chore do you absolutely hate doing?  The one that I am avoiding right now is emptying the dryer.  Drives my husband insane.  There needs to be an invention that magically takes the clothes out of the dryer and puts them in my dresser and closet.  If you invent such a thing, contact me and I will pay you top dollar!

11.         Give us some links- Twitter, Pinterest, Teacher’s Pay Teachers, Facebook, a free teaching item etc.  
Pinterest-http://pinterest.com/saraedgar/
Teachers Pay Teachers-http://www.teacherspayteachers.com/Store/Sara-Edgar
Free Teaching Item- Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs Class Book.  http://www.teacherspayteachers.com/Product/Cloudy-With-a-Chance-of-Meatballs-Class-Book


If you'd like to be featured, email me at dml8609@gmail.com!


Tuesday, April 16, 2013

New Teacher Blog Tuesday & some freebies!


Our first blogger is Charlene from

1.             Name of blog and link:  

2.          Tell us about your blog and why you started it.

3.           I started my blog when I saw that many teachers were using blogs to share ideas and tips about teaching. I have been making worksheets, games, and other resources for years and giving them to my colleagues. I ran across Teachers Pay Teachers   by accident when I was looking for something different to start up the school year.  I couldn’t believe it! Here was a goldmine of resources that was available for teachers from teachers. I had to jump on the band wagon. As soon as I created a couple of products for TpT, I watched Charity Preston’s videos and decided to try my hand at blogging. It is definitely still a work in progress, but I think I am getting the hang of it and I love being able to share with others that teach.


4.            Tell us a little about your teaching background.
I started out teaching elementary music in 1983 and after a few years of teaching English and French Immersion music classes, I knew that I really wanted to teach in a classroom. My first classroom job was a Grade 1 French Immersion class. I taught this for 4 months while another teacher was on sick leave. For several years afterwards, I taught part-time music and part-time primary classroom. I have been teaching full-time primary now for about 15 years. I love it. I still teach ukulele to extra-curricular and community groups.

5.            What songs are included on the soundtrack to your life?
       Believe by Josh Groban   (to remind me to always Believe)
       Believe In You by Amanda Marshall (reminding us to never give up)
       I’m On Top Of the World   by  The Carpenters (my 
        engagement song)
       Butterfly Kisses by Bob Carlisle (special reminder of my children growing up )

6.           What’s the hardest thing you've ever done? 
       Saying goodbye to a school  and community I had been part of for most of my career when the district closed it down.)

7.           What’s your favorite TV show?
I like to watch the show Touch.

8.           Are you a Times New Roman or DJ Inkers kind of girl/guy and why?
I don’t care Times, but I am not sure what DJ Inkers is.  I like fancy fonts, but for my products I like to use Chalkboard because it matches  a classroom environment.

9.           Number of candles that appeared on your last birthday cake?
I  am  57 years young.

10.        What was the last book you read?
I read The Law of Attraction by Michael Losier  most recently.

11.         What chore do you absolutely hate doing?
I hate cleaning bathrooms.

12.       Give us some links- Twitter, Pinterest, Teacher’s Pay Teachers, Facebook, a free teaching item etc.
Twitter:       https://twitter.com/iamdiamondmom  (I am still getting used to using it)


Our second blogger is Christy from


1.             Name of blog and link:  


2.          Tell us about your blog and why you started it.
I am a born and raised Kansan, and part of coming from this great state are all of the Wizard of Oz  references; I decided to embrace them in naming my little blog. I was a blogstalker all throughout college, and this became an addiction when I discovered Pinterest, and I decided to be apart of the blogging community rather than just an outsider looking in.  I’ve used it to document my first year in teaching. I’ve made many blogging buddies that I don’t plan on stopping anytime soon! J

3.            Tell us a little about your teaching background.
I am a recent graduate from Kansas State University, and I am in my first year of teaching. I’m currently a K-5 special education teacher, covering two different school districts. This last year I started my masters in special education, and I plan on finishing it, but a job change is in the near future. Starting next fall, I will be one of the  4th Grade ELA teachers! I’m pretty excited for all that next year holds. I will still be coteaching, but this time with my mentor from this last year, the 4th grade special education teacher.

4.            What songs are included on the soundtrack to your life?
Got Whatever It IsBy Zach Brown Band (All but one line holds true for my hubby and I)
I Can Love You Like ThatBy John Michael Montgomery
{Usually not this mushy, but those two songs will always be favorites of mine}
The rest of my soundtrack is like my iPod shuffle a random mish-mash of Christian, country, pop, oldies (think Beach Boys, Temptations, The Chiffons, etc. my dad influenced my musical tastes), and little bit of rock ‘n roll (ACDC).

5.           What’s the hardest thing you’ve ever done?
I switched majors after a year and a half in biochemistry. This meant a 21 credit hour semester, with my part time job, and 100 hours of community service (for a scholarship). It was crazy, and had me running across campus, but I made it with a 4.0, and graduated in 4 years.

6.           What’s your favorite TV show?
Duck Dynasty is my favorite, though Law & Order SVU and Smash make up my current top 3.

7.           Are you a Times New Roman or DJ Inkers kind of girl/guy and why?
DJ inkers! I have a font obsession. Times New Roman is alright, but I like to jazz things up a bit more J

8.           Number of candles that appeared on your last birthday cake?
23.

9.           What was the last book you read?
Teaching Students with Severe Disabilities Im in the middle of a graduate course; I cannot wait until I can read something for fun again!

10.        What chore do you absolutely hate doing?
Cleaning out the fridge. When forgotten food items {that always seem to hide in the deep dark corners of the fridge} take on a life of their own. It can be scary!

11.         Give us some links- Twitter, Pinterest, Teacher’s Pay Teachers, Facebook, a free teaching item etc.

If you'd like to be featured, email me at dml8609@gmail.com!

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