Friday, August 26, 2016

Five For Friday! Last week of Summer :(

I had work days last week, but this weekend is my last official weekend before school starts!  So here is my Last Week of Summer Five for Friday with Doodle Bugs Teaching!

My school is doing a Hollywood theme this year.  I decided to have a photo booth with a gold background, props and a digital camera.  While parents were filling out paperwork, students could take pictures.  The teachers loved it too!

I bought this clip art to make the props.  I printed the ones I liked and attached them to straws.  I also had some hashtags available.

My brag tags, which I'm calling Bullpup Awards to fit our mascot AND Hollywood theme were a big hit.  I have a growing bundle in my store if you are interested!

The tags are available in color and black/white.  I'll be adding to them through out the whole year!

 If you saw my post yesterday about MascotGo you have already met my new assistant!

This is Marty McMeow and he joins Anakin PawWalker as the 2nd furry friend.  I never planned on having 2 cats but while I was on vacation, Anakin got out.  My neighbor told me got hit by a car :( so I adopted a kitten that had taken up residence in the bush by my front door.  About a week after Marty came to live with us, Anakin walked his happy tail into the front door when I went out one morning.  So now, I'm the happy mama of 2 furry babies!

I'm so tired.  So. Tired.

How was your week?  I can't wait to hear how it went!

Thursday, August 25, 2016


If you haven't heard, there's a BIG Pokemon craze happening right now!

 Before I really get started sharing, I want to clear something up.  I am NOT creating, or giving away, Pokemon materials.  Why?  I don't own it OR have the rights to produce materials with Pokemon images.  I have seen a TON of products out there and while some of them may have rights to create and sell Pokemon products, I'm willing to bet the majority do not.  I'm not willing to risk my integrity or my business by creating Pokemon products!

(Please excuse me while I jump off my soap box!)

What I do have, is a way to engage your students by linking in with something they are most likely familiar with and excited about.

I had no plans on playing PokemonGo until I learned about the company Niantic.  Niantic is also the creator of an app called Field Trip.  Field Trip is a locating app in that it gives you locations of places to visit based on where you are physically standing, including historically and culturally relevant landmarks.  I also knew that my students would be into PokemonGo and I wanted to experience it so I could relate to my students.

So guess where the PokeStops and gyms are?

You guessed it!  They are located at cultural and historical locations and landmarks.

I started playing in Alabama while I was attending Space Camp and was blown away by all the things I learned that I would not have been aware of had I not been playing.

That's also when I had the idea to bring the concept off the screen and into real life.

Just as a warning, this was a pretty complicated process that required help from my new assistant!

Not really, he's just precious.  His name is Marty McMeow and he is about 6 weeks old!

I went to the local Mighty Dollar and found a bucket (red=my school color), printed a picture of my school's mascot (bulldog), and dug my black glittery duct tape out of the craft box.

After laminating the picture, I used tape to attach it to the red bucket.  I also used the glittery tape to create some lines on the bucket for decoration.

This will be used to play a game I call BullpupGo!  Students will receive a small slip of paper with a problem or task on it.  After solving the problem and having it checked for accuracy, students will crumple the paper into a ball and try to toss it into the bucket.  If they get the ball in the bucket, the "catch" a prize-  which will be a sticker, brag tag or pawbuck.

That's my idea for incorporating popular culture into the classroom-- what new ideas do you have?  Tell me all about them in the c

Thursday, August 18, 2016

First Day of School Hugs

Two years ago, I switched from Kindergarten to 2nd grade.  Suddenly, the 3rd grade testing got very, very REAL.  On the first day of testing last year, I had a spur of the moment brainstorm!

I created a sign above my door that said "Free EOG Hugs here!"  It was a bit on the cheesy side and I wasn't sure how they would react to it... but they LOVED it!  Kids I didn't really know where coming in for hugs and words of encouragement.

My sign last year was crudely hand drawn... but this year I am going to be prepared!

I am creating, ahead of time, a set of Free Hug signs that I can post above my door, where I stand in the morning.  And I'm sharing them with you!

Click on the image below to download a Back to School Sign for free!

How do you encourage your students on the first day of school?

Monday, August 15, 2016

BTS Blog Hop, Freebie and Give Away

Hello!  Welcome to another stop on the BTS Blog Hop and Giveaway!  I hope you have been collecting lots of great classroom management and organizational tips.

I'm going to share TWO of my favorite classroom management strategies that helps keep my lines of communication open at ALL times but without interruptions.

Non-verbal hand signals have saved my sanity!  It is the first tip I offer to teachers who are struggling with interruptions.

I use nonverbal hand signals for several reasons.  First, constant interruptions drive me mad!  Second, I feel that impulse control is something that most young children need to work on.  Third, I want to keep the lines of communication open so children know they can always come to me.  Fourth, part of my job is meeting student's needs and I can't do that unless I know what they are!  However, reason #1 is what started it for me a few years ago.  Click here or on the picture to 
find it in my TpT store!

My other tip for you today helps minimize interruptions during small group or guided reading time.

My No Talk Tiara is a tiara I originally got in a children's princess set for Book Character Day.  The very next day, it became my No Talk Tiara.  I wear it while I am in small group, guided reading or working one on one with a student.

Students know that while I am wearing the No Talk Tiara, they can not interrupt me (unless someone is bleeding, vomiting, being kidnapped or caught on fire!).  They stand on an X that I taped on the floor beside my small group table and wait for me to give them my attention.

I frequently forget to take it off when I am done with small group so I made that a students responsibility!  I kept wearing it around school and wondering why people were telling me happy birthday when my birthday is in the summer!

Thanks so much for visiting!  Remember to enter the giveaway below and click the apple to head to the next hop!  Don't forget to hit the arrow to enter BOTH contests!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Thursday, August 4, 2016

2nd Grade Math Centers

As a Kindergarten teacher, Math center time was a valuable and constant part of my day.  Learning how to move through centers and work independently was one of the first things students learned.
When I moved to 2nd grade, I desperately wanted to bring center time with me.  It didn’t happen my first year.  I was overwhelmed and unprepared.  The curriculum was different and I was lost.  I really struggled to find the perfect fit for 2nd grade.

My 2nd year in 2nd grade was better.  I was familiar with the curriculum and developmental levels of students, but I still struggled with math centers.  There were some great weeks of math centers… but more weeks without.

I spent some time in deep reflection over centers and developed a plan.  Part of my problem was time.  So I decided to tackle Back to School season first.  This meant creating, printing, laminating, cutting and organizing 17 math centers.

The creation part was simple.  I enjoy making activities for my class. 
Here came the problem.  I had 160 pages to print for the first few weeks of school!  I started doing a little research and discovered the HP Instant Ink program.  My first step was buying a new printer.  Mine was old and wasn’t one of the printers on the list.  You can find all the details, including printers and plans, here.

This is my HP OfficeJet 4652 All in One.  My favorite feature is the hassle-free 2 sided printing!

After buying the printer, I went to the website to set up my account.  It was pretty easy and just required some basic information. 

HP Instant Ink made my math center dreams come true!  After printing a large chunk of centers over the span of a couple days, I got an email that I had ink on the way.  WHAT?  Yes, that’s right.  My printer ordered its own ink and told me it was on its way!

If you’re interested in checking out the HP Instant Ink program, you can use my referral link.  Click here or enter fvcRw in the referral box. 

My friend Kayla from K’s Classroom Kreations shared a tip with me that made a HUGE difference.  You can sign up initially for the 300 page package.  It costs $9.99 and sounds like a lot of printing BUT you can use the code FREEINK to get a free month.  If you use a referral link, you can get even more free months!

The HP Instant Ink program has a lot of features that make it a win in my book!
·         You can change your plan at any time.  Need more prints one month? Less?
·         Color prints are treated the same as black/white.  No paying extra!
·         If you go over your plan, it’s only $1.00 for 25 print outs- much cheaper than a print center.
·         Signing into your account lets you check your print count.
·         Did I mention the PRINTER orders the ink? Usually before you even know you need it!
·         Roll over prints!  You can roll over as many pages as there are in your plan.

One thing I want to point out is that I had to wait for my welcome kit with official HP Instant Ink to start the program.  I bought my printer at WalMart and then enrolled in the program.  If you buy a new printer through the website you may not have to wait.

If you would like to check out the math centers I created for August and September, you can find them by clicking on the pictures below.  You can also find other math activities I have created here.

Saturday, July 2, 2016

School's Out Blog Blowout!

I am so excited to be joining with some fellow bloggers for the School's Out Blog Blowout!  I don't know about you, but this was a loooooong year!  I usually spend the first week of summer in a comatose like state and then I'm ready to jump feet first into the fun!

I am delighted to have some time to relax by the pool with a book.  The first book on my list is actually one that I have read before, but I like to read it every so often.  It's called Choice Words by Peter H. Johnston.  It's a simple read, not very complicated and new stuff jumps out at me EVERY.SINGLE.TIME!

I originally started rereading this book as part of a book club at school, but I never made it to any book club meetings because of other meetings or tutoring.  So I didn't do a good job keeping up then but I'm on it this summer!

Since I'm celebrating summer, I want YOU to celebrate too!  Grab this freebie from my store, but grab it fast because it will be gone soon.

I am giving you a free copy of my Hundred's Boards puzzles.  I used boards that go to 120, but you can always cut off the bottom 2 rows if that is too much for your students.  There are 7 puzzles in total and range from easy (large chunks to put together) to hard (smaller pieces to put together).  These puzzles are a great way to practice number sense.

To use these number puzzles, print them out, cut them apart and place them in a bag or envelope.  

Students take the puzzle and put it together.  Then, they record their work by filling out a hundreds chart and coloring it to match the puzzle.

You can click here to find this in my TPT store!  Move quickly though, it will be a paid item soon.

The first 2 items on my bucket list are related so I'll group them together because they are happening at the same time.

In a couple of weeks, I will be making a pilgrimage to Florida.  We went last year and had a blast (even though my car broke down!)  The original plan was to go to LegoLand, but after getting stranded we did Disney too!

 This year, I am finally heading to Universal Studios.  I have wanted to go to Universal since The Wizarding World of Harry Potter was revealed.  I'm a huge fan and can NOT wait to go to Ollivander's for my very own wand!

At the same time, I will be taking a couple days to attend the TpT Conference for the first time!  So while I'm improving my TpT skills- a friend of mine is going to have our children floating around Florida!

The third thing on my bucket list is a trip to the beach.  I leave on Monday to spend a few days with my toes in the sand!  Last summer, we stopped at Daytona on the way to Legoland.   That is one beautiful beach!
I love that my travel buddy is just as relaxed as me when it comes to travel.  We always have a very loose plan with lots of wiggle room.  Some of our best adventures- like the side trip to Daytona- happened on a whim!

The BIG bucket list item is math centers.  I know... odd bucket list item!  Since moving to 2nd grade 2 years ago, I have wanted to do math centers.  I have really struggled though because it was really overwhelming to get organized.

This summer, I am determined to get the first 2-3 months of math centers created, printed, laminated, cut and organized!  I almost have them first month created.  My goal is to have 16 centers ready for each month.  It's a good thing for you too though because you will be able to find it in my store!  Click here for the first month!

I just signed up for the HP Instant Ink program and I'm in love!  If you haven't signed up yet, you can use my referral code by clicking here.  The deal is, you sign up for a certain amount of copies a month and HP sends you ink before you run out.  My friend Kayla from K's Classroom Kreations shared a great tip.  She said to sign up for the $9.99 plan even if you won't use 300 copies.  You can use the code FREEINK to get the first month free and then downgrade to a cheaper plan.  You can roll over a certain amount of unused pages too!

The 5th item on my bucket list is epic!  For the past 2 years, I have worked hard as a member of my school's STEM club.  We have taken 2 graduate level math and science classes (omg) and had monthly meetings to learn how to best bring STEM activities to our kids.  In August, I AM GOING TO SPACE CAMP!!!

I am so excited I almost can't stand myself!  They even gave us Go Pro cameras to take with us!

Come back to my blog in August to see some things I learn.  You can also follow me on FB and Instagram to see pictures of my adventure while I'm there!

The last part of the blog hop is a giveaway.  Enter here to win $100.00 from TpT!

Click on the picture above to see Mrs. L!

Friday, July 1, 2016

Currently- #btbc16

In July, Michelle from Big Time Literacy hosts are huge blogging challenge!  She has a topic planned for every day of the month.  I found the challenge in the middle of the month last year so I only joined a couple of times but I really enjoyed it.  I'm hoping to link up more often this year.

The first post takes the Currently format that we all know and love.  I'm saddened that Farley has decided to stop hosting this link up, but I completely understand.  All good things must come to an end...

I always enjoyed filling out the currently image so I made one of my own!  It's not nearly as good as the ones made for Farley's Currently, but I've put one at the bottom of the post if you want to grab it!

I'm listening to The Golden Girls while I blog away!  I love this show.  My friend Karen and I have a plan for our retirement that involves moving to the beach and living it up Golden Girls style!

Not setting an alarm!

I have some big vacay plans to finalize.  I'm heading to Florida in July for a family vacation/TpT conference.  I'm a little overwhelmed at the planning and prepping needed for both events to be happening at once.

Last summer, I went to Florida with a 5 day plan that turned into an epic adventure.  The original plan was drive down on Monday, LegoLand during the week and head home on Friday.  A tear in my gas line gave my 5 day plan a rather large and expensive extension- but we got to go to Disney so it was ok!

Groceries!  I detest going to the grocery store...

With this challenge, I'm hoping to get into a writing habit.  I would really like to grow my blog presence but struggle to get my thoughts into words that are readable.  I'm hoping that I'll be able to get in the habit and help the words start to flow from my brain to my fingers.

Here is the image I made if you want to use it. You can also head over to Big Time Literacy to see the rest of the posts or link up yourself!

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