Thursday, September 26, 2013


Caitlin and Carrie from Table Talk with C&C are hosting a very exciting *TpT Best Seller Linky Party and Giveaway* this week.  I am very excited to be donating my best selling writing activity for this linky and giveaway!  They wanted to have a linky and giveaway that showcases all of our hard work that goes into making meaningful and engaging products on TpT.  We all know how passionate we are about blogging and TpT product making, that we wanted to also celebrate all your hard work and accomplishments as a TpT seller.  The countless hours of creativity you put into these beautifully and thoughtfully made products deserve a little bit more love!  Why not celebrate them right here, right now?!?! Who's with us?  

The best part is that we connected with some very generous TpT Sellers who have donated their best *writing activity*  product and we want you enter to win them!!!  Enter the rafflecopter for a chance to win ALL of our donator’s Top Selling *reading activity* TpT Product!   
 You will have a chance to share your best writing activity seller through the linky AND enter the rafflecopter to win all of these amazing products!

Here's how it's going to work.  
1. Take a look through your TpT Store and sort your products by "Best Sellers."  
2. Find the product that is your best selling "reading " related product.
4. Enter the giveaway for a chance to win all the *FREE* best selling writing activities from our donators!
5. Spread the word about the linky and giveaway through all your social media!!

The *best selling writing activity* linky will be up for one week and then we will share the winner from the rafflecopter!   

We hope you will all join us and we celebrate the hard work, creativity, and countless hours that we have put into making teaching and learning more fun and engaging!! :)

The item that I provided in the giveaway is my common core writing/editing checklists.  This is what is included:

1: A CUPS page that addresses language standards for grades K-5. This is a great way to show the teacher areas that need to be retaught, reinforced, or accelerated.

2: 4 standards based checklists for: opinion, narrative, informative, and research papers for grades 1-5. Again, a great way to see what they need to know, what they are lacking in and how to challenge them.

3: A 3,2,1 peer editing sheet. Peers share 3 things that they like about the writing, 2 questions that they had while reading, and 1 suggestion to improve the writing. Students are not only told the negatives about their writing.

4: A student reflection and goal setting sheet. Students can reflect on each piece of writing. The goal setting sheet has a place for the teacher to check off when the goal has been met.

5: A teacher sheet with the standards for the 4 types of writing. The checklist is divided up into 3 sections: Fall, Winter, Spring. These are for all standards grades 1-5. First grade students will not be responsible for all that are on the list, but you may have some that need a challenge. I suggest highlighting the areas that your students are responsible for (their grade level and the ones prior) to help you. This is a great piece to show evidence of their writing growth.
I hope you link up your best selling writing product to this linky and enter this awesome giveaway!
Have a great night!

Monday, September 16, 2013

TPT *Reading Activity* Best Seller Linky and Giveaway!

Caitlin and Carrie from Table Talk with C&C are hosting a very exciting *TpT Best Seller Linky Party and Giveaway* this week.   I am very excited to be donating my best selling reading activity for this linky and giveaway!  They wanted to have a linky and giveaway that showcases all of your hard work and dedication to making your products meaningful and engaging for your students.  We all know how passionate we are about blogging and TpT product making, that we wanted to also celebrate all your hard work and accomplishments as a TpT seller.  The countless hours of creativity you put into these beautifully and thoughtfully made products deserve a little bit more love!  Why not celebrate them right here, right now?!?! Who's with us?  

The best part is that we connected with 14 TpT Sellers who have donated their best *reading activity* seller item and we want you enter to win them!!!  Enter the rafflecopter for a chance to win ALL of our donator’s Top Selling *reading activity* TpT Product! Yes, you heard me correctly all 14 items FREE!!  
Starting today, 9/15/13, you will have a chance to share your best reading activity seller through the linky AND enter the rafflecopter to win all of these amazing products!

Here's how it's going to work.  
1. Take a look through your TpT Store and sort your products by "Best Sellers."  
2. Find the product that is your best selling "reading " related product.
4. Enter the giveaway for a chance to win a *FREE* best selling reading activity!
5. Spread the word about the linky and giveaway through all your social media!!

The *best selling reading activity* linky will be up for one week and then we will share the winner from the rafflecopter!

My best selling reading activity is my Independent Reading Goal Setting product.  Students set monthly independent reading goals for books *finished*.  They also have an opportunity to reflect on their goals each month.  Students collect bookmarks for each book that they finish.   On these bookmarks, students write a quick summary of the book and whether they recommend that book for others to read.  I have used this in my classroom for 3 years now and my students really enjoy it.  
Our classroom chart to graph our reading goals

Students keep track of their own goals

Bookmarks that students collect to show off the books that they have read.  They LOVE counting these!

Enter this fantastic giveaway and don't forget to check out the links others have left for their best reading seller!
Have a great night!


Monday, August 12, 2013

Back to school Blog hop AND giveaway!

Well, it's that time again to head back to school.  I start back on Monday, with the kids showing up on Wednesday.  I'm looking forward to seeing their excited little faces, but I always feel a bit nervous meeting them as well.

These are my tips that have helped me make it through Back To School.

1.  Save your plastic bags.  I can't tell you how many times students ask me for bags.  They need them for their wet boots, projects, you name it.  They especially came in handy the last day of school.  I only regret that I did not refill them through the year.  So, I save them up during the summer.  I take an old Kleenex box and decorate it.  I used Monster duct tape last year and kept all my bags in there.

2.  I study my class list names.  They don't have pictures attached, but I like to know their names before I see their faces.  That way, I only have to attach a name (that I already learned) to the face.  It's much easier for me to remember them.  It's so funny how attached I am to these kids before I even see their darling little faces.  :)

3.  I like to over plan!  I need to make sure that there is no dead time in those first few days.

4.  My goal is to stay organized this year!  I want to start the year off right.  I want to use my computer calendar to keep track of dates and deadlines.  I also want to make sure that I am teaching all the new common core standards and have proof of it, if necessary.  That's why I created my Common Core Writing and Editing checklists.
Common Core Writing and Editing Checklists

These checklists are for both the students to use and the teacher.  It has the standards laid out for grades 2-5 (some K-1).  This will allow the teacher to easily see which skills their students are lacking, on track for, or advanced in.  It also has some good peer editing forms and goal setting forms for your students.  Lucky for you, this item is going to be given away for FREE to one lucky winner!  Click on the button to enter Laurah J's giveaway!  There will be 2 winners!  The grand prize winner will win a prize worth $122 in Teacher Pay Teacher products, an awesome pencil sharpener and a Blog design (if that's what you choose).  The 2nd prize has a value of $88!

Check out the other blogs listed below to see what awesome products they are giving away!  Don't forget to click on the top button to enter the giveaway!  Happy Hopping!

Laura Santos
 Right Down the Middle” style=

Monday, July 22, 2013

Ten things I've learned from Teaching Linky

I've linked up with Miss Kindergarten for this fun linky.

I have learned a lot in the past few years...

1.  Sometimes I forget to take my teacher hat off at home.  Just today, my 2 kids were arguing during lunch and in my teacher voice I said "Boys and Girls!" (I have 1 boy and 1 girl).  My husband started laughing as I corrected myself by saying their names.  

2.  Even though I teach the older grades (3rd now, but 4-5 in the past) I will still be called "Teacher".  Calling them "Student" in reply does NOT change that habit.

3.  Students will ALWAYS try to get you off topic.  I swear there are about 2-3 who wake up each morning with a mission to get me off topic.  

4.  No matter how much I promise myself that I will use my plan time wisely, unless I lock myself in my classroom, I always end up talking to someone.

5.  The copy machine will always jam up when I need it most....the last 2 minutes of my plan time.

6.  I've learned that 3rd graders really do bounce!  No matter how much you tell them to sit down, they get right back up 2 seconds later!  "Sit down", boing, "Have a seat", boing,  "I'll talk with you in a minute", boing, "Raise your hand and I'll come to you", boing....

7.  Heads up 7 up is STILL my favorite game!

8.  Setting high expectations in your students helps them set high expectations for themselves!

9.  Kids will do anything for a Jolly Rancher.

10.  Pencils don't work unless they have a very sharp point...Once that sharp point is gone (although there is still plenty of lead), they have to get up and get another pencil or sharpen it **boing, boing**  This is what I'm planning on tackling this year....stopping the quest for the sharpest, pointiest pencil!

This was a fun linky.  I enjoy thinking back on things and then remembering that it's all starting over again in a few weeks!

Have a great day!

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Clip Art???

So, I like to draw in my spare time.  Am I an artist, no.  Am I good, not so sure.  My husband says I am.  :)  I like to use my own images in my products and I'm working on a Pirate Literature Circle set.  I'm soooo excited about this.  But, I am wondering, what do people think about the clip art?  I would LOVE some feed back.  Is it good, bad?  We don't know each other personally, so my feelings won't be hurt!  :)  My hubby on the other hand...well, I think he has to tell me that it's good.  Also, is this something I should sell?  I'm thinking no.  I don't think people would be happy spending $$ on it...but who knows.  Should I add other images to what I have here?  I do have a treasure chest and working on a ship.  Just curious what others think.  I'll send 2-3 people who are willing to look at this my images  to give me feedback.  Just leave me your email address in the comments section.  Here is what I have so far.
Thanks so much for any and all feedback!

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Liebster Award

I got an email from 3rd Grade Theatrics this morning telling me that my blog has been nominated for the Liebster Award! My blog is so new...I'm shocked!  :)  Needless to say, I'm having a GREAT day!

What is the Liebster award?  It's an award given to up and coming bloggers that have under 200 followers.  It's a great way for bloggers to connect with each other and to get the word out about new blogs.
This is how this award works.  To accept the nomination I have to:
1.  Link back to the blog that nominated me
2.  Nominate 5-11 blogs that have under 200 followers
3.  Answer the questions posted for you by your nominator
4.  Share 11 random facts about myself
5.  Create 11 questions for my nominees
6.  Contact my nominees to let them know that I nominated them.

I nominated:
Stephanie at The Creative Classroom
Chris at Owl about us
Stephanie at The Learning Chambers
Carrie and Caitlin at Table Talk with C&C
Foreman Teaches at Foreman Teaches

Questions from 3rd grade theatrics:
1. When did you know you wanted to be an educator?  
It took me a while to decide this.  Teaching is my 2nd career.  I went to college to be a pharmacist because I heard they make great money.  I later changed my major to Management and graduated with that degree.  My dad was a teacher (taught for 40 years), and I guess I was trying to not follow in his footsteps.  I was out of college for 5 years when I decided to go back and become a teacher.  I should have known that it was in my blood.  
2. What is your favorite classroom memory?
This one is hard.  There are a lot of good memories...I guess thinking recently to the past school year, it would be when we finished our trickster tales and shared them with the class.  I was very impressed with how they came out, especially with my ELL students.  Their stories were by far the best in the class and that was a great moment for me and them.  They didn't want to share their stories, so I read them out loud using my best voices and the look of joy on their faces was priceless!
3. What is your dream vacation?
My dream vacation is to travel to Europe.  My Great-Grandfather was born in Germany and I would love to see where my family came from.
4. What was your funniest teacher moment?
This was when I was doing my Field Experience.  I was in a 3rd grade classroom like once or twice a week and teaching a unit on community.  The community we lived in was Mooresville, Indiana.  So I was doing what our community was and what it wasn't.  We were comparing it to other communities (like Indianapolis).  So, John Dillinger was from Mooresville and David Letterman is from Indianapolis.  I was trying to get across that well known people can be from anywhere.  I was also talking with them about the interstate that goes through and around Indianapolis and that there is no interstate in Mooresville.  Again, the point I was trying to get across was that there is more traffic in Indianapolis than in Mooresville.  So at the end of the unit I asked the kids what they learned.  They learned that criminals come from Mooresville (John Dillinger) and that no accidents happen in Mooresville.  Talk about a smack my head moment.  LOL!
5. What is your favorite summer activity?
Relaxing!  I love not having an agenda.
6. What is your favorite brand of handbags/purses?
Honestly, I just LOVE purses!  Doesn't really matter to me.  I like to change them out often.  Though lately, I've had 2 coach purses.
7. What is your favorite movie?
I love Gone With the Wind.
8. What is your favorite children's book?
My favorite children's book is a Raggedy Ann book.  It was an old Golden Book.   This was my favorite because I remember when my dad gave it to me.  I guess it made me feel special.  Now my daughter has it.
9. Which holiday, during the school year, do you look forward to the most?
Ugh.  I hate holidays at school!  I dislike holiday parties!  But, I guess I most look forward to Christmas because we get a break and get to see lots of family.
10. What is your favorite on-the-go snack?
I like to take cut up apples with me when I go places.
11. What is one piece of technology that you can't live without? 
I just got an iphone a few months ago.  I can't live without that anymore.  What we did before smart phones, I have no idea.

1.  My very first concert was an Alice Cooper/Scorpians concert and I got to go onstage and dance during the Scorpians song Wild Child.
2.  I started playing the church organ when I was 14 years old.
3.  I  broke my arm during a marching band competition.
4.  I secretly want to be a cake decorator.
5.  I LOVE cooking shows, especially cooking competition shows.
6.  I love anything with Johnny Depp in it.
7.  I lost 50 pounds!  
8.  I knew I was going to marry my husband before I met him.  :)  My friends all knew him and kept talking about him.
9.  My favorite color is Orange.
10.  I love Pink Floyd.
11.  I hate air conditioning!!!  I freeze...brrrr.

My 11 questions
1.  What is your favorite subject to teach?
2.  Who is your role model?
3.  What is your favorite TV Show?
4.  If you could have dinner with any 3 people of your choice, who would you choose?
5.  What's your favorite grade to teach and why?
6.  What advice would you give to a new teacher?
7.  Who was your best teacher?  Why?
8.  What's your favorite dessert?
9.  What's your favorite song right now?
10.  What are your hobbies?
11.  What are your hopes and dreams for this upcoming school year?

Wednesday, July 3, 2013

Using Band challenges in math?

If any of you were ever in band, you understand the concept of challenges.  You challenge someone to move up in chair order.  I LOVED challenges!  One thing I hated to do, was practice.  But, challenges motivated me to practice.  A few years ago, I started Math Facts challenges.  They signed up to challenge each other on one set of facts (7's, 8's, etc...).  They could also challenge ME!  They loved to challenge me more than each other.  They were very motivated to beat me.  I did not slow down for them.

The 2 students would get 20 problems and have 1 minute to finish them ALL.  If I'm being challenged, I do the same sheet as the students with the same expectations.  To win, they have to have them ALL answered correctly!  If both students have them all correct, then the one who finished first wins.  I tell the students to stand up as soon as they are finished.  It can be time consuming, but it's very motivating for the students.

I added these trophy sheets to my Challenge wall.  You can get these for free here.  In the trophy, where the line is, I always put in the fact that they won on (like x7).  

I am looking forward to giving this a try again this year.  I would LOVE to hear of any suggestions that you have for making this work.  

To help students be held accountable for their multiplication facts, I have created a weekly math fact program.  I did this with my students last year and it was very successful.  Here's a copy of the math facts class chart that I had hanging on my data wall. 

Here's the link to my multiplication product.
Math Facts Mastery

Have a great evening!

Tuesday, July 2, 2013

July Currently and More Giveaways!

I'm linking up with Oh Boy 4th Grade for the July Currently.

LISTENING:  I always seem to be listening to Spongebob or some other kids show.  They have control of the TV for most of the day.  I get my work done at that time.  My guilty pleasure, however, is Big Brother!  Can't wait for it today!

LOVING:  I have a short summer this year, but I'm trying to make the best of it.  I'm really enjoying it so far.  This past week, my parents took my kids for 5 days!  Kid free for 5 days was FANTASTIC!

THINKING:  I'm always thinking of new things to much so that I get overwhelmed and don't do any of it.  :(  We've also been talking about painting for a while now.  We actually have the hopefully we won't just talk about it anymore.  :)

WANTING:  The sun.  It's cool out today.  I think it was in the 60's.  All last week it rained.  I don't mind the days when I can have my windows open, but I do miss the sunshine.  Hate the air conditioner though.  I freeze!

NEEDING:  Like I said before, I have a ton of things in my mind about what I want to do.  I need to make a list and it needs to be OK to not get to it all.  On the top of that list needs to be relax and enjoy my family though!  I do believe that I am being successful with that.

TIPS:  On my NOTES ap on my phone, I have a huge list of things that I think of at various places.  I was picking up my kids at my parents yesterday and added 2 things to my list.

I have been participating in a lot of giveaways lately.  I have 2 to blog about now and one that starts in a few days.

This first giveaway is going on for the WHOLE month of July!
Nancy's giveaway
The second one goes on for 4 more days!
3rd Grade Theatrics

Good luck on these giveaways!  I'll be back tomorrow!

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

A new book, giveaways, and goals!

Follow my blog with Bloglovin Vacation is finally over, so I can get back to blogging and creating.  We spent our vacation in the Smokey Mountains and had a great time.  The weather was beautiful and it was very relaxing.  I was super excited to get home copy of Teach Like a Pirate was waiting for me at the door.  I haven't been able to get very far in yet, but I like it so far.  I'll try to post some of my thoughts as I go through it.  I really can't wait to get through it!

Anyway, I have been spending my time brainstorming things for next year and trying to create things that will benefit me and my students next year.  I just created a common core writing/editing checklist to help my students learn to edit and peer edit AND to help me check off what I have taught already and see how I need to differentiate for each student.  I can't wait to use this next year.  I will give a free copy away!  Just leave a comment from now until Friday, June 28 and I will pick a winner.  Be sure to leave your email address so I can send it to you.

Common Core Writing/editing

Lastly, another giveaway.  I am participating in MindSparks 100 follower giveaway.

My goal this summer is to be more active on my blog.  What types of things are you interesting in seeing on blogs?  

Have a great Tuesday!

Saturday, June 8, 2013

Summer has finally begun

I'm so happy that it's summer time.  I can't wait to sit back and enjoy my family, the warm weather (finally), and just relax.  I didn't realize how much I needed this break!  Anyway, I wanted to post about  a few things that my students were working on....up until the last day of school.  We learned about the solar system.  I had the students do some research on each of the planets and put together a foldable planet book.  As always, there are things to work on that I will improve upon next year, but the kids really enjoyed this project.
This is the foldable that the kids put together.  

Here is a picture of the cards that they put inside.  They had a picture and the planet name on the front, facts on the back.

We also were doing a pioneer unit.  The students read the book "If you traveled west in a covered wagon".  This is a great question and answer book.  The students looked through the table of contents and picked the 6 questions that they wanted to know the answer to.  We practiced restating a question to answer a question, writing in complete sentences (and in our own words), and picking 2-3 other important facts that support the answer to the questions.  We made our own covered wagon books.
Cover page of their covered wagon book.

I'm participating in 2 giveaways.  I hope that you take the time to visit these blogs and sign up to win some great prizes.  Visit Second grade stories and A Tale of Two K Teachers.

Well, I hope I can find some things to continue blogging about this summer.


Sunday, May 26, 2013

Almost done....

My goals for this summer are to:
A.  Blog more frequently
B.  Create more products
C.  Relax!

I have started a new Pinterest board that a number of different teachers are posting to for Word Study.  If you are interested in following that board, please click Word Study.  There are a ton of great ideas on there so far.

We have a little less than 2 weeks left of school.  I'm so excited.  I could never imagine my teachers as I was growing up feeling this way about school being out.  LOL!  Anyway, I have a few projects that I'm hoping to blog about over this summer.  As for now, I'm participating in a giveaway for My Kinder-Garden.  Here is the giveaway:

a Rafflecopter giveaway

I'm giving away my reading incentive program (posted previously April).

Good luck!


Sunday, May 5, 2013

May Currently

I linked up with Oh Boy 4th grade  on my May Currently.

Listening:  My son was not feeling well, so he's laying on the couch watching Spongebob Squarepants.  I have to admit, I do enjoy some of the episodes...others can be disgusting!

Loving:  With the weather getting warmer, I have been able to run outside.  I have decided that I do enjoy running outside much better than on a treadmill.  I'm hoping to get a lot of runs in this summer.

Thinking:  Time is running out this school year.  I have so much to do...2nd grade visit on Tuesday, getting ready to go back in time to the 1800's on Friday, so I have to demodernize my classroom.  Field trip to a one room school house and Celebration of the Learning and Arts next week  Celebration is when our students share their portfolios and artwork with their families...portfolios that I need to get started on.  DRA's, class placements, all of my end of the year paperwork...ARGH!  My eye is twitching as I type!

Wanting:  We purchased a Mac!  It should arrive on Friday.  I don't want to use my school computer for personal stuff or my husbands work computer...and our desktop is TOOO BIG to sit on my lap in the living room while I watch TV and do my work.  LOL!  I can't tell you all how excited I am.  I've wanted a new computer for a very long time.

Needing:  I NEED the nice weather.  I NEED my windows open.  I NEED to hear the birds chirping.  I NEED to smell grills.  I HATE being cold! 
Summer Bucket List:  My kids.  I want to spend time enjoying the summer with them.  Going to the park, having picnics, going swimming...etc...  Creating and adding to TpT.  My store is still in the beginning stages.  I can't wait to be planning for next year and add to my store.  Lastly...relaxing!  Our summer is super short!  We end on June 6th and go back August 5th.  I want to relax!

I've been trying very hard to post new items to my store at least once a week.  I created a book study for the Whipping Boy.  I have a group reading this book and I'm so excited to have them work through the different pieces. 

This is all I have for tonight.  Thanks for reading!  Enjoy your night!

Friday, May 3, 2013

Calming the chaos

Welcome to the Calming the Chaos Blog Hop hosted by 2peasandadog.

All of us bloggers have come together to share our top tips for making the last month of school run smoothly. Visit each of our blogs to learn something new and catch a freebie or two!

Happy Hopping

The end of the year can be very difficult.  Kids are done...teachers want to be done.  But, we aren't done!  How do we keep our kids activly learning during this time?  Here are a few things that I do to help my students.  Every year, our school has a Celebration of the Learning and the Arts a few weeks before school is out.  Students put together a portfolio of a years worth of learning.  They spend some time looking through their work and reflecting on it.  Some of the reflections that they do are:  I enjoyed this activity because....  This activity was difficult for me but....  I'm most proud of this piece because...  I LOVE hearing my students saying "I forgot about that!  It was so much fun.  Do you remember when we did this?"  It's a great way to bring in the year and remind them of where they were and how far they have come. 

Something new that I'm doing this year is in addition to the portfolios, I'm having the students work in groups and create posters for each subject area, highlighting all the things that we have done.  Again, the students work together and go through their books and journals and remember the activities that they had done.  We are just in the process of doing this.  I can't wait to post pictures of how they turn out!

Lastly, I always do a compliment quilt with my students.  Every year, I get about 6 stickers that have my students school picture on it.  I rarely use them all, so each student puts a sticker in the middle of their compliment quilt and then everyone in the class writes a compliment to that student and then colors it in.  The kids love seeing this.

My sample of the compliment quilt.
You can download this at my TPT store for free here. 

Primary Grades
Check out this Great Giveaway!