Monday, January 30, 2012

TAG... you're it!

Thank you to Karlie from We are all Special for tagging me!  

Here are the rules for this TAG game:

1. You must post the rules.
2. Post 12 fun facts about yourself on the blog post.
3. Answer the questions the tagger set for you in their post, and then create 12 new questions for the people you tagged.
4. Tag 12 people and link them on your post.
5. Let them know you've tagged them!

Fun Facts About Me
1. I live in a small town north of Montreal called St-Eustache.
2. I did my Bachelor’s degree at McGill University.
3. I have a Masters degree in Inclusive Education (also from McGill University).
4. I have been married for 1 ½ years. I got married in beautiful Mont Tremblant. 
5. I have a 3 year old son named Nathaniel. 
6. I am 6 ½ months pregnant with a second BOY! (His name is going to be Emerick)
I'd show you a picture of my belly but... I really don't want to! Hahaha! 
7. I watch WAY too much TV!
8. My favorite TV shows are Big Bang Theory, Big Brother, and Glee.  
9. I have a dog name Taz. He is a Boxer and is 10 months old. 

10. I love using technology in the classroom. I have a website that I created as part of my Masters degree (we had to do a huge special project that took a year to complete). My website is called Explore and Learn Online.
11. I love eating! There are not many things that I do not like so I enjoy tasting new foods, as long as it’s not a weird animal organ!
12. This kinda goes with the last one but... I really enjoy cooking. I’m always on the search for new recipes

Karlie at We are all Special asked...
1. Where do you live/Where are you from? I live in St-Eustache, Quebec. It is a small town about 20 minutes from Montreal.
2. What is your best teaching advice? Don’t be afraid to make a mistake. Kids are very good at forgiving and the best way to learn is by trying new things and learning from our experiences.
3. If you could only keep one thing that's currently in your classroom what would it be? My aquarium. I got it as a gift on my last birthday and i absolutely love it! I’ve had fish in my classroom for the past 4 years now and kids just love them. They enjoy naming them on the first day of school and love to take turns feeding them every day :o)
4. What is your favorite thing to do on the weekend? Well, I love to blog but my most favorite thing is to spend time with my son and husband. If I could, I would cuddle with them all day and every day!
5. How long have you been teaching? This is my 7th year as a teacher.
6. What is your favorite teaching memory? My favorite memory is... OMG this one is hard! Let me see... I think I’m gonna go with an Earth ay video I made with a grade 5 class. We came up with our top 10 “Earth Day tips” for the students of our school and made short skits for each tip. I put all our skits together and made a movie out of the whole project. I didn’t show my kiddies their movie until we were in the gym with the rest of the school. The looks on their faces when the whole school gave them that applause was priceless!!
7. What is your favorite store? My favorite store is Smart Set. I love their clothes!!
8. What do you typically wear to school? Lately, (being 6 months pregnant) I wear whatever fits! But usually I go with jeans and a nice shirt from... you guessed it! Smart Set!
9. What is your favorite activity to do with your students? Daily 5. I spend lots of time teaching my students how to build their stamina at the beginning of the year and, by November, they become experts! It’s amazing to watch them all at work and so engaged in their books!
10. What is your favorite book? Hmmm.... I really don’t have an answer for this one. I enjoy everything I read. Right now, I am finishing off Ellen Degeneres’ latest book called “Seriously, I’m kidding”. It’s HILARIOUS!
11. Do you have a Pinterest? Oh yes I most certainly do! It can be quite addictive but I love it! Here is my link. 
12. What is your favorite restaurant? My favorite restaurant is called Ottavio. It is a “bring your own wine” restaurant in Laval (north of Montreal, for those of you who have no clue where that is) and they serve Italian food. They have a huge selection of mussels and everything is DEE-lish!
Now it's my turn to learn about you....
Heather at Heather's Heart

Here are my questions for you:
What is you favorite thing about teaching?
Do you have a TPT store?
How long have you been blogging?
what advice would you give a  new blogger?
Do you enjoy using technology in your classroom? If yes, how do you incorporate it in your lessons?
If you could ask for anything to add to your classroom, what would it be?
What is your favorite food?
Any "kids say the funniest things" stories?
What do you LOVE about yourself (this is your time to be completely full of yourself! Hahaha)
where would your dream vacation be?
Any embarrassing moments you would like to share with the world?
Who is your mentor and why?

I hope I didn't pick anyone who has been tagged before. If I did, feel free to ignore me ;)
For those who have not been tagged yet, I can't wait to read your posts!!

Online Books for FREE!

I just found and amazing website where you can read books online. They have more than 160 books that are available for FREE!
The website is called We Give Books.

The reader lets you zoom in on the book so you can get a better look at the illustrations. 
It's really cool! You gotta try it ;)

I'll be adding this to my website Explore and Learn Online. If you haven't already stopped by, please check it out and let me know what you think!

Sunday, January 29, 2012

Valentine's Day and Building Words FREEBIES

Good morning my blogger friends,

I've been uploading some of my creations to my TPT account. Here are a couple of FREEBIES for you on this wonderful Sunday!

First, I made a cute little Alphabetical Order game for Valentine's Day.

I also added my Building Words game.

If you did not do so already, I'd LOVE it if you could follow my blog. I have a lot more great ideas coming your way!

Enjoy and have a great Sunday,

Saturday, January 28, 2012

Sound Blends Activity Pack

It’s finally done! My very first sound blends activity pack is completed and ready to be downloaded by YOU!

We have been learning our sound blends in my resource classroom and my students are very excited to be reading more and more words! Their decoding skills have improved so much in the last month due to all these sound blend activities that we have been working on. It is so nice to see them work hard and begin to realize that, they too, can read just like the other kids in their class! What a joy to see!

At first, my students were using a sounds chart that I did not feel was very complete so I started teaching them sound blends with the help of a great chart, created by Leslie at First Grade Frenzy. I then decided to create my own chart in order for the sounds to match the other activities that I was creating for my classroom.

Things have been going so well with all of this that I decided to hop onto the TPT wagon and start creating my own materials. I hope you enjoy this activity pack as much as I do! Please leave me a comment if you choose to download it. I love to get feedback from other bloggers ;)

Up next, I will soon be putting up more resources on my TPT so stay tuned and make sure to become a follower if you are not already!

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Digital Learning Day Linky Party

Hi everyone,

I’m joining Cara’s Linky Party at Teaching my Calling. This linky party is all about sharing our ideas on the use of technology in the classroom. If you don’t know already, I have worked on a special project (as part of my Masters degree) involving online resources that can be used in the classroom.

My website is called Explore and Learn Online and you can check it out HERE.

Please let me know if you stop by and check it out. I’d love to get some feedback from you!

Have a great Friday everyone!

Sunday, January 22, 2012

Liebster Award

Wow! I am so excited to have been nominated for the Liebster award. My first award!! Yipeee! 
Thanks so much to Karlie at We are all special! I appreciate the recognition ;) 

I’d like to pass on this award to the following bloggers: 

The Teaching Resource Resort

Sweet Times in First

Ms. Rachel’s Room

It's been a blast to be a part of this blogging world. I have learned so much from all my fellow bloggers and I love to share my ideas with everyone.

I've been working on my first TPT pack so stay tuned and make sure you become a follower if you aren't already!

Have a great week everyone :o)

Saturday, January 21, 2012

My New Button!

Wow! I’m so excited this morning because I finally got around to making my very own blog button! It’s very simple but I’m extra proud of it because I made it myself AND I made it with a picture from my wedding. This flower was in my bouquet :o)

I had no idea how to get started on this thing but figured it out by finding a few tutorials online. Here is how I did it:
1) Basically, I took a picture from my wedding album and re-sized it to 150x150 by using my simple photo editor. (If you have Microsoft Office, Picture Manager works great!)
2) I then put the picture in Microsoft Word and added text on top of it by using a text box. You can also do this in Power Point.
3) I copied the entire thing in ‘Paint’ (I think everyone with a PC, that is not a Mac, has this!) and saved it as a jpeg. I’m sure it would have been fun to use Photoshop or some other *fancy-schmancy* program but I am not equipped with any of that yet.
4) The last step was to upload my picture into This allowed me to get an HTML code for my button. This website is super easy to use and, most importantly, it’s FREE!!!

If you are interested in creating your own little bloggy button, here is the HTML code that you need to make your new button come to life on your blog (just fill in the missing pieces):

<center><a border="0" href="http://YOUR" target="_blank"><img src="YOUR ‘DIRECT LINK’ IN PHOTOBUCKET"/></a></center>

And here is the HTML code that you need to make the scroll box under your button (if you want people to add your button on their blog, they will need this):

<textarea cols=”15″ rows=”6″>
<a border="0" href="http://YOUR" target="_blank"><img src=" YOUR ‘DIRECT LINK’ IN PHOTOBUCKET "/></a>

So all you have to do is add a gadget in your blog layout (choose the gadget for HTML code) and copy both codes from above. Don't forget to replace the bold words by your own info!

I also found a website where you can test your HTML code. This was very useful because I had no idea if my code would work or not. Go HERE to test your HTML code.

An hour later (don’t laugh at me you experienced bloggers! Hehe!), I had a beautiful blog button that I am very proud of! YIPEE!!!

 Well, I’m off to make more coffee... Have a good one!

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Sight Words Bingo & Board Game

Good afternoon blogger friends,

I’m taking a quick minute to share with you an activity that I used in my resource class today. I created this last night. This BINGO game includes the sight words that my kiddies have been learning over the past week.

I also made a board game. You can use it with the same sight word cards as the bingo game or you can change the cards depending on which words are being taught in your classroom.

Have a great evening everyone :o)

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Making Books in the Classroom

It seems like a while since I have shared an online teaching tool with you all but today I have something that I think might interest most of you!

I was searching for a template to make a pop-up book with my kiddies and I stumbled onto this amazing website. There are loads of different book templates that can be used with your students. Plus, there are also over 150 writing paper templates

**I would suggest saving some of these in your computer as you never know when this website will disappear... it hasn’t been updated since 2008.**

I hope you find some use in this discovery of mine... Enjoy!

Don’t forget to check out my website for other amazing online resources :o)

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Snowflake Art Project

It’s SNOWING!!! Finally... we’ve hardly had any snow here in Quebec so this recent snow storm has been a real treat! I admit, I’m not a fan of the cold or having to clean my car every morning but the pretty white picture outside my window is priceless!

In honor of this pretty white stuff we call snow, I thought I’d let you in on a little art project I like to do every year. Its super simple, once you get the hang of it ;)

Here is a picture of my son showing his off for you all:

Last year, my grade 4 students made a bunch of different colored snowflakes like this one and we hung them in the classroom. It was bee-autiful!

If you are interested in trying this 3D art project with your little ones, go to this website for step by step instructions (with pictures). They even have a video to show you how to make these wonderful creations!

Have fun!!!

Sunday, January 08, 2012

New Year's Resolutions

Hello blogger friends,
I hope everyone has had a wonderful holiday season! I spent most of mine cuddling with my hubby and my son... it was great :o)
Now that we are starting a New Year, I thought I’d share my New Year’s resolutions with you. I chose resolutions for both at home and at school.

At home: 
Keep my house clean! I spend so much time on my computer, cooking, playing with my son, or watching TV that I sometimes put cleaning aside. By the time Friday comes along, the house is a complete disaster and I have to spend my weekends cleaning and re-organizing instead of doing things I love like reading and blogging! This year, I plan on teaching my son to keep his toys in his playroom. Nathaniel is 3 years old now so he is old enough to learn how to keep his things in order. He is also a perfectionist so I know this will not take much time for him to learn!

In my classroom:
1) Use more positive reinforcement. I know how important praising children is but I sometimes get so caught up in planning my lessons, organizing my students’ work, and doing a million other things that I often forget to spend time letting my students know how well they are doing. This year, I plan on pausing from all the chaos and taking time to give my students more positive reinforcement. Stay tuned for a blog post on how I will be doing this!
2) Stay organized. I know we teachers always have this goal of staying organized and, before we know it, our classroom feels like complete disaster! As a resource teacher, I work with students from different grade levels and I spend little time with them each day. I switch groups every 30 minutes! This does not give me much time with each group so I tend to skip clean-up and end up with a messy classroom at the end of each day. In order to become more organized, I will be sharing this goal with my students. Students usually enjoy helping their teacher and I’m sure they will LOVE to remind me to clean up before they go back to class each day ;)
3) More blogging!! Now that I am almost in the third trimester of my pregnancy, I am feeling much better and am ready to return to the blogging world. I was so dizzy in the first few months that I did not spend much time in front of my computer! However, I plan on changing that in 2012. I look forward to sharing my ideas and accomplishments with my blogger friends!

Happy New Year everyone!!

Oops! I almost forgot... I am having another BOY!! :o)