Tuesday, June 26, 2012

ABCs and a Freebie!

I spent the day in my new classroom today! I am moving from Resource to Grade 1 next year so I get a brand new room! I walked into the building today and was instantly informed that my new room had been cleared out. It is COMPLETELY empty! One might think this is a good thing but... it is a little overwhelming! I'll have to figure out where I want everything and, right now, I don't have a plan! Ha!

So I decided to clean out my old room and just carry everything into my new space for now. I guess I have some brainstorming to do this summer ;)

I wanted to show you my latest addition to my TPT and TNstores. I made it with my little firsties in mind even though I know I won't be back until March. I'll admit, I'm kinda hoping my replacement teacher will be all "Oh my gosh! You are a genius!" and will use all my stuff! Hahaha!

Anyway, here it is! My ABC Literacy Centers Pack!
I started creating this pack by making an ABC chart just like my Sounds Chart from my Sound Blends Pack. 
I really enjoyed using my sound blends chart this year with my resource kids and plan to use it again next year in my Grade One class. However, I needed something to review the ABCs first!

As usual, one thing led to another and... a complete unit was born! Hehehe!

Here is what you can find in my ABC Centers Pack:
* ABC Chart (full page poster and half page for desks or notebooks)
* Alphabet Wall Cards
* ABC Order Center: Letters
* ABC Order Center: Beginning Sounds
* Syllables Sorting: Center Game and Cut & Paste Game
* Letter Matching Center: Uppercase and Lowercase
* Roll and Cover Game
* Alphabet Printing Pages

Each center comes with instructions posters and recording sheets.
Most recording sheets are differentiated.

This pack is great for pre-K and Kindergarten. It is also perfect for beginning of the year review in Grade One (which is what I will be using it for ;)

You can find this pack at both my TPT and TN stores!

Next, I am working on my 123 Pack! I'll be posting it later this week and when I do, I'll bundle them up for those of you who want both ;)

Don't forget to grab yourself a freebie before you go!
I am giving everyone the Roll and Cover game from my new pack :)


Almost forgot! Congrats to Sandra! Thanks for leaving me a comment, you just won yourself my Everybirdie Craftivity :)
Check your emails! Hope your kiddies like it ;)

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Everybirdie Is Welcome In Our Class!

I made a new craftivity for the first week of school! 
This is going to be so much fun! 
I'm calling it "Everybirdie is Welcome in Grade One". 
Of course, this can be altered to whatever grade you teach ;)

I think this will make a really nice bulletin board display!

I also made some writing papers to go with it:

And some bubble maps like this one:

You can find my entire pack at my TPT and TN stores! 

I can't wait to see these cute little birdies displayed on my classroom door :)

Want to win yourself this pack for free? 
Leave me a comment telling me what fun activities you like to do during the first week of school. 
I will choose a winner at the end of the week!
**Don't forget to leave your email if you want the chance to win**


Sunday, June 17, 2012

Guest Blogger - Tanya

 It’s a Wrap!
Hi, there! I’m Mrs. Dwyer, from Mrs. Dwyer’s A+ Firsties. I am so grateful to Valerie to allowing me the chance to guest blog while she prepares for the arrival of her new bundle of joy!

Mrs. Dwyer's A+ Firsties

The school year is over and it’s time to put away all of the things you’ve lovingly “needed” and used all year to help your students shine. I thought I’d share just a few {organizational} tips that I use at this time to wrap up the year and prepare for the next all at the same time!
Actually, I have ONE guiding tip that I use to clear my room for the end of the year: KEEP ONLY WHAT YOU NEED! Surprisingly, I find that I need a lot less than I think I do. We work so hard all year long to make and create quality resources for our kids. We shop. We buy. We organize and we clutter, lol! The end of the year is the best time to make sure to weed out things that are outdated, out of use, or just plain ‘ole taking up valuable classroom real estate.


Keep only the resources that you actually USE. I organize mine by use/purpose: word work, writing, sight words, poetry, printables, etc…
Admittedly, I am a bin~aholic and fixated on rainbow order so I store them that way. Everything that I need to set up stations when I go back in August is grouped together. The silver shelves are small baker’s racks. They fit perfectly at the ends of groups of desks without taking up a lot of physical or visual space. I love them!

What teacher doesn’t love books, books, and MORE books? These boxes aren’t very attractive, but they’ve managed to hold all of my personal read alouds for the past few years. One of my goals is to label them in a more attractive way for the new year…Pinterest, here I come! I’m also planning to replace them with plastic bins. Rather than having all books out during the year; I change them monthly, in order to maintain student interest.

…..and that’s all folks! Simple, clean, decluttered….a blank slate ready for the new year. Keep only what you need. Organize it so that’s easy to find when you return in the fall. I hope I’ve shared a little something that might be helpful!
Thanks for spending this time with me. Best wishes to you, Valerie….and your new A+ kiddo! Please stop by and see me sometime!


Thanks so much for being a guest blogger for me, Tanya! This post was very helpful. I'll be keeping your advice in mind when it comes time to clean out my classroom in 2 weeks!
By the way, I LOVE that you store your bins in rainbow order! Hehehe! Too cute ;)


Saturday, June 16, 2012

Cool Website and a couple of WINNERS!

Have you heard of Wordmark.it??? I came across this website this week as I was blog stalking. I wish I could remember where I read about this... I really should PIN more! Hahaha!

This website is absolutely amazingly helpful for creating units, letters, anything really! All you have to do is type something at the top and the program will show you what you typed using every font in your computer! What a time-saver!!

Check it out:
 Fun, right??

Alright, now it's time to announce the winners of the "Pin it to Win it" contest!
Thanks to everyone who participated and thanks to Andrew from the TPT forums for putting this little contest together. What a fun and clever idea!
My items were pinned many times during the last week with this contest but these lovely ladies are the ones who remembered to leave me a comment with their contact information!

Congrats to Amy and Peggy! Check your inbox for your prize ;)

Tomorrow, I will have another amazing guest blogger so keep an eye open for her post on organization for the end of the year!

Have a great weekend everyone,

Monday, June 11, 2012

Super Sizzling Summer Special Monday Linky

Happy Monday!

Cynthia at 2nd Grade Pad having a linky party called Super, Sizzling Summer Special Monday. She will be hosting this linky every Monday until July 31st to offer some great deals on TPT and TN products!

I wasn't sure which items to choose from today so I decided to go with the summer theme since that is the theme Cynthia went with this morning! Hehehe!

My DEAL for you today is:

Buy my Summer Fun Literacy Pack

 and get my Summer Handwriting Practice Pack for FREE!
 (you can choose between the printing pack or the cursive pack)

These items are both in my TPT and TN stores so check them out if you want to see what's inside these great packs!

If you plan to participate in this week's special, all you have to do is purchase my Summer Fun Pack at one of my stores and send me an e-mail so that I can send you the Handwriting Pack for FREE!
DO NOT purchase the second product as I will not be able to reimburse you. Send me an e-mail instead ;)

Want to see what other deals are out there today? Click on the picture below!

Have a great Monday everyone,

Sunday, June 10, 2012

Google+, Rubrics, and Month By Month Writing Portfolio

Has anyone been using Google+ lately? I'm new at it and I'm looking for some tips! lol I'm not sure that I understand the whole thing... Teachers Pay Teachers has just started their own page so I thought I'd jump in. I've been signed up on Google+ for quite some time but never did anything with it so now I'm struggling!
I started by adding some fellow bloggers/TPT sellers to my circles but don't know where to go from here...
If you are on Google+ and want to add me or be added to my circles, let me know by leaving me a comment. We can maybe attempt to figure it out together ;)

I didn't get many comments on my last post. I hope this doesn't mean not many people are interested in my Writing Rubric Pack!
I'm going to assume it's because many of you are busy soaking up the sun instead of blog stalking ;)
Anyway, congrats to Kimberley for winning this pack.  I love your business card idea for positive reinforcement, by the way!

And now for my latest addition to my TPT and TN stores.
Here is my Writing Portfolio Pack!

This year, my grade 2 students had a journal called "This is me in...". Basically, every month they would fill out a writing sheet titled "This is me in (insert the month here)". Every month they were given a writing prompt and were asked to write a few sentences. The point of all this was to record their improvement during the year and have a little booklet to show their parents at the end of the year.
This activity was really cute but our booklet was pretty boring. So, of course, I decided to fix it for next year!
I created 2 different types of writing paper and made them with both primary and secondary lines. So for each month, there are 4 choices of writing paper. Students can either choose their own or the teacher can choose for the entire class. At the end of the year, these pages are put together to make a nice little keepsake! I think parents will really like to see their kid's writing improvement displayed this way :)

Now for the freebie of the week!
I am giving everyone the writing prompt for September.

If you like what you see, you can get the whole pack at my TPT store and my TN store.
Hope you and your kiddies enjoy this!


Are you as addicted to Pinterest as I am?? I always see great stuff for my classroom and wish that I had it. Have you ever seen one of the products from my TPT store and wished that you had it?

Well now you can... for FREE!!
I'm part of the "Pin It To Win It" contest being held by a group of TPT sellers on Pinterest.

Head to my Pinterest board titled "Pin It To Win It" and follow these instructions:

On Friday June 25th I'll pick a WINNER in the first ever "Pin it to Win it" contest!

Good luck everyone,

Friday, June 08, 2012

More Smiley Sentences, June Currently, and a Sneak Peek!

I got so much amazing feedback since I posted my Smiley Sentences poster that I decided to expand on the idea a little bit! I started creating some rubrics to go with it and things got a little out of control! Haha!
I put it all together and made a Writing Rubric Pack.

This pack is filled with everything you need to accompany your Smiley Sentences poster!

* smaller versions of the poster (students can paste these in their journals or writing books)
* posters to go with each criteria on the poster and rubric
* writing rubrics that follow the same pattern as the poster
* rubric stickers (avery mailing labels size, can be printed on sticker labels and posted directly on student work)
* everything you need to make your own WRITING GOALS classroom poster!

Want this pack for FREE?? 
Leave me a comment saying how you use positive reinforcement in your classroom and I will choose one winner on Sunday!
Don't forget to leave me your email if you want to be a winner ;)

I'm linking up with Farley's currently today!

I'll be back on Sunday to announce the winner of my Writing Rubric Pack.

I will be showing you my new Writing Portfolio Pack too!
Here's a sneak peek:

See you Sunday,

Tuesday, June 05, 2012

Linky Party and a WINNER!

Hi everyone!

I'm joining the linky party over at Kindergarten Lifestyle. I think I'm a little late on this one but better late than never ;)

I know, it sounds weird right? I just love having the time to walk my dog to the park and sit on a bench to enjoy a nice cup of coffee. I get home feeling refreshed and ready to start my day. It's my way of having a reason to get dressed and go out. Sometimes, I can be a little bit of a couch potato so leaving the house in the morning for a short period of time gets my day started on the right foot. Plus, my dog is really happy too! Hehe!

Alright, I'm ready to announce the winner of my Ice Cream Craftivity. I'm so proud of this little craft of mine. It's already a popular item at my TPT store :)
Thanks for leaving me your comments about summer. Isn't this time of year so wonderful??

Congrats to Jennifer at Key4Eduction! 
Check your emails, girl ;)

I also wanted to give a little shout out to Sara over at Smiling in Second Grade. She guest blogged for me over the weekend but for some reason I didn't get a whole lot of views! Check out her guest post cuz it was really great!

Thanks again Sara for being a guest on my blog ;)

**If anyone else is interested in guest blogging for me, let me know and we'll set it up!**

Later gators,

Sunday, June 03, 2012

Ice Cream Craftivity and Smiley Sentences

Are ya tired yet???
My teacher friends actually have 3 weeks of school left! Most of them are getting pretty tired and restless, just like the kids! Every year we go through the final moments struggling to get through it all... The kids are tired and teachers are looking forward to some rest.
We all can't wait for summer!

I was asked to create a fun craftivity for the last weeks of school so I decided to go with ICE CREAM! Who doesn't like ice cream?? Hehe!

I started out creating a little craft and then got carried away and made a bunch of writing prompts and other activities to go with it ;)

I put it up on my TPT store and TN store but I will also be giving it away to one lucky winner!
All you have to do is leave me a comment telling me what you love about summer and I will choose a winner tomorrow night :)

In the meantime, I made a little freebie for you!
I saw something similar to this last week (I think on Pinterest but I can't remember and can't find it!). It was called "Smiley Work". I liked the idea and decided to make one for writing.
**If anyone knows where this idea comes from, please let me know so I can credit this person**
UPDATE: Thanks to Colleen for helping me find what I was looking for! The picture that I saw on Pinterest can be found on the Coconut Cutie's Classroom Blog :)

You can download this poster for FREE at my TPT store or my TN store!

Enjoy :)


Saturday, June 02, 2012

Guest Blogger - Sara

Hi all!  

This is Sara from Smiling In Second Grade here to guest blog for Valerie and I'm so excited to be here! 

 One of the questions that I got a lot over at my blog is, how do you keep your classroom so neat?  My answer? Labels!  I label EVERYTHING in my classroom and it makes a huge difference for the students (and myself!).  Not only do they know where everything goes, but they are also very independent in getting it themselves which is an important skill for second graders.

This is where my students pass in their hw, notes and folders in the morning.  Each bin is labeled so the students know exactly where to put everything without having to ask each morning.  It is also easy for me to grab important notes quickly.

In our classroom library, all the bins are labeled by genre, topic, author or guided reading level.  We do a lot of work with genre in second grade and this system makes it easy for my students to choose books that interest them.  Every once in a while, I get some stray books but my class librarian takes care of it.

This picture is a little far away, but here is my writing center and, as you can see, everything has a label!  Yes, it is always this neat.  There are drawers for different types of paper (first draft, second draft, letters, etc) as well as drawers for a variety of writing tools (highlighters, pens, markers, crayons, colored pencils, etc)

In my spelling center, there are lots of games, manipulatives and worksheets for the students to use.  This is an area that the students use independently.  I assign each group 1 or 2 activities for the day and they get the materials on their own.

Last, is my math materials.  My students know that when they are completing math work, they are allowed to use any of the resources available in the math area (unless specifically stated otherwise).  If they need rulers, base-10 blocks, counters, calculators, coins, etc they can visit the math area.  The students also know that they are responsible for putting away their materials when they finish.

That's all there is to it!  My goal for next year is to make all my labels match and make them a little bit cuter with all the new clipart that I've accumulated!

Do you use labels in your classroom?  What do you do to keep your room organized?

A big thank you to Valerie for letting me hang out here today!  Hop on over to Smiling In Second Grade to learn more about my classroom and teaching style!


Thanks so much for your guest post, Sara!
I wish I was as organized as you are... You have inspired me to make a few changes in my classroom ;)