Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Gearing Up For Summer!

We are so excited about summer!

Personal life catch-up:
While we shared that we were planning to move this weekend, plans have been altered. The owner decided to sell the house (after we signed the lease) so we are pretty much back at square one. Today, we decided to settle and we filled out an application for an apartment. We find out tomorrow if we are approved. If we get approved we will still be moving this weekend...

Also, this week is filled with dress rehearsals for Lil Man. Then we have company showcase on Friday night, 2 recital shows on Saturday, and 2 recital shows on Sunday!

Rock Stars:
We are getting everything ready to start our new schedule next week. We have our daily themes decided on, but before we share we are off to design our logo for each one. We will share them by Sunday and be ready to launch on Monday! With all the craziness in our personal life this week, we may not be around here as much as we'd like. No fears though, we still love you and we'll check in (you can email us if you miss us **wink wink**)

As part of our new schedule, we will have a weekly featured teacher. Each week we will feature a different fellow TpT teacher-authors. If you would like to be one of our featured teachers, please fill out the form.

Hope everyone is having a wonderful week and everyone enjoyed the Memorial Day holiday.

~Steph & Manda

Saturday, May 25, 2013

Giveaway Winners!

The giveaways have ended and Rafflecopter has chosen the winner for each! 

Congratulations to Laura S.!!

Thank you so much for participating in our giveaways! We will contact the donators and have them send you your products! 

~Steph & Manda

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

3..2..1.. The Countdown Continues!

We hope everyone is getting those entries in for the giveaways! If you haven't had a chance yet there's still time! Yesterday's post (They're Here! 3 Giveaways!) has all three in one easy spot for you! The end Friday night at Midnight.

School is over on Friday here so we are getting ready to gear up for Summer! Lil Man is excited about his dance classes and camps, but we're excited most about moving and having lots of time with him! We're wanting focus on academics this summer as well (with a fun twist of course)!

One thing we're going to work on is reading. I've been reading blog posts about Summer Reading at A Mom With A Lesson Plan and her posts about Summer Schedule and Summer Goals. I'm so excited to get this Summer kicked-off to a great start!

Tell us your top 3 goals for this summer!


Tuesday, May 21, 2013

They're Here!! 3 Giveaways!!

Thanks to everyone who has helped us reach our goals!!

#1 We reached our TpT follower goal!
Aspire to Inspire and QR Queens have each donated a product to this giveaway!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

#2 We reached our blog follower goal! 
Read All About It and Across the Pond have each donated a product to this giveaway!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

#3 We reached our Facebook follower goal!
Owl Things First and Latoya Reed have each donated a product to this giveaway!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Monday, May 20, 2013

No Themes This Week! 3 Giveaways Headed Your Way!

It's the last Monday of the school year around here! I went to the school and straightened up the room I've been subbing in. It's really bittersweet this week. I'm glad to have the time to work on packing and stuff, but I'm so missing those kiddos.

We are getting ready to revamp our weekly themed schedule for the summer! We would love to hear what you'd like for us to include in our schedule!

We are ready to celebrate! We have been ready to host 3 giveaways, and now we have reached our goals in number of followers for our blog, TpT store, and Facebook page. We will be posting the giveaways tomorrow!

We will also be hosting a 4th giveaway next week to kick-off summer!

When is your last day of school?


Friday, May 17, 2013


TGIF! I hope everyone enjoyed their week. Next week is the last week of school for kiddos here and we are so excited to start summer vacation! For today's Friend or Foe Friday post I wanted to talk about prepositions. When students are learning about this part of speech it can be confusing. Sometimes it is hard to understand what word in the sentence shows the relationship to the noun or pronoun to another word in the sentence. I have frequently heard that an easy way to remember preposition words is to think about anyway a squirrel can be to a tree. Ex. near, on, around, or in. I liked this concept and used it in class to help students understand preposition words.
I split the class into groups and gave them each a piece of chart paper. I then gave each group a relationship similar to squirrel and tree. Ex. Airplane to a cloud, worm to an apple, and book to backpack. My students then had to draw a picture and write as many preposition words as they could. My students were very creative and the posters were great! I think this activity gave them a great understanding of prepositions.
I have included an example to what my students did on their chart paper.

What have you done with your students to cover different parts of speech?
I hope everyone has a wonderful weekend! :)

Thursday, May 16, 2013

Chapters Ending and Chapters Beginning (On a more personal note)

Here's a random inlet to our lives...
We have 2 pet turtles (Peanut & Walter) [We found out later that they are both girls.]

Here's Peanut when we first got them...

Here's Peanut now (1 year later)...

It's not that we like Peanut more, she's just calms faster when she's out of the tank. Also, please note our 55+ lb pit-mix, Red, who looks terrified of the turtle "hanging" in the air. He's our big baby! 

Well, about the chapters ending and beginning...

Tomorrow is officially my last day in my long term sub position. However, today was my last day getting to see all of my kiddos. I took frosted sugar cookies and goodie bags for them. We played games during their time in my class. So this chapter is coming to an end. 

We are super excited about the next chapter though! 
  • We are moving in 2 weeks (oh wow time is flying)! [Notice the boxes behind Red?] 
  • We're still hoping to find full-time teaching positions for next school year. We're stalking all of the local districts' websites for openings. 
  • We are getting geared up for an awesome summer focused on our blog and TpT store!
  • And this will be Lil Man's first summer not going to the daycare summer camp. Instead he'll be attending his first summer of dance camp and classes. He wants to take gymnastics and swimming too (he got swimming lessons and free swim at daycare). 

Are you ready for Summer Vacation? What are your plans?

~Steph & Manda

Physical and Chemical Changes

I hope everyone is enjoying their week and ready for Through time and Space Thursday! This week is focused on a science topic! This week I wanted to talk about physical and chemical changes. This concept can be very confusing for students and teachers. It always comes with question after question and tons of "what if scenarios". There are times that even us teachers can get confused on what changes are physical and which ones are chemical.
When my class discussed these changes while student teaching we quickly realized that just talking about these types of changes wasn't going to cut it. We decided to devote a week in science to centers that focused on exploring chemical and physical changes. The room was split into several stations and students were split into small groups. We then rotated to different stations and did this everyday until all groups had rotated to every station. These stations allowed students to explore with materials and by following the directions or getting help from a teacher students changed these materials. They did things such as melting a candle, crushing potato chips, and oxidizing an apple. After exploring with these materials and changing them in some way students had to decide what type of change it had and explain it. The students gained such a great understanding of the difference in a chemical change and a physical change. I think it was a great idea to give them such a hands on experience with this topic.
What do you think? How do you cover this topic with your students?
If you would like more info on the centers let me know and I will post more info about them.
Thanks guys!

QR Codes

**Sorry I thought I had scheduled this to post, but somehow missed it.**

With all the advancing technology we as teachers have to stay up to date. I for one love technology in the classroom! I also love student-directed learning whenever possible. Have you seen products/resources with QR codes? Have you used them in your classroom?

I've used QR codes once with my 2nd grade kiddos. They loved being able to check themselves when they completed the task cards! Unfortunately, we only had my personal tablet to use so it was a little harder than I would have liked.

We'd love to hear some of the awesome ways you've incorporated QR codes in your classroom!

If you have any great TpT products that use QR codes please share and we'll promote them too!


Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Winding Down

The school year is winding down. At SCE we have CRCT retakes and Math Olympics this week. Next week we have the End of the Year AR Reward party, Field Day (2 days), and grade level end of the year awards and parties. There's so much going on!

My last official day of long term subbing is this Friday the 17th which is Math Olympics. I'm planning on doing something small with my kiddos this Thursday.

I can't wait to have my own classroom for an entire year and actually be able to doing something big for the end of the year. We've applied like crazy in our district and surrounding districts. I had an interview last week at the school I'm long term subbing. I made the top 5 candidates, but unfortunately they are only taking the top 3 to the next round of interviews. Now I'm considering taking the test to add middle grades certification.

Anyway, what do you do with your class to celebrate the end of the year? Do you have any really cool projects you do year after year or even for the first time this year?


Monday, May 13, 2013

Basic Facts

So I've been thinking about how my 3rd graders struggle with their basic multiplication facts. I'm also a private math tutor for a 3rd grader, from another school, who struggles with addition & subtraction facts but not multiplication. It has me wondering, do teachers really just give these students a list of facts and expect them to memorize them?

During our education courses, we took a course that taught us how to teach number strategies and another course that taught us how to access and correct. There are so many different number strategies or "tricks" we can teach our students; so why don't we?

I'm working to teach these students different relationships and strategies to help them remember their facts. If you can help students understand why, then they have a better chance of remembering.  If we help them understand how to work with the numbers and let them do things with them instead of simply drilling them (which is still important) they'll understand and remember.

I'll leave you with a couple of quotes/sayings that I like:

"Tell me and I forget. Show me and I remember. Let me do and I understand."

I do, You watch
I do, You help
You do, I help
You do, I watch


Thursday, May 9, 2013

Native American Lessons

Hey everyone! Tomorrow is Friday and I know we are all glad to see the week coming to an end. Here is another Through Time and Space Thursday! This week we are focusing on Social Studies and more specifically focusing on lessons in social studies focusing on Native Americans.
When I student taught in a 4th grade class Native Americans were a huge focus in Social Studies. We spent weeks going over power points about different kinds of Native American tribes and how they were alike and different. We discussed each group in depth with the class and at the end on the unit we did a project. The students were put into groups and given a specific tribe and they had to create a poster that discussed their tribe. Their poster included the things about the tribe we discussed in class. They also presented their posters at the end so that all the students were able to get a review of each tribe. I felt that this did teach the students about Native Americans. I just felt that more could have been done to help students remember more about these tribes.
What have you done with students to teach about Native American tribes?


Student Response Systems

During my student teaching I had the opportunity to learn about and implement the use of ActivExpressions from Promethean. I loved using them with my fifth graders because I could do multiple choice, true/false, and short response! They are so expensive though! In my EIP room, I have ActiVotes which allow me to do multiple choice and true/false. This is a great tool, but sometimes I just would like a little more. The school won't purchase the ActivExpressions because they opted for iPads (5-6 per classroom). Well thanks to a 2nd grade teacher I work with, I have been introduced to a new technology tool, Socrative. I love it and wanted to share it with our readers. I got to see it in action yesterday in his classroom. It is a student response system the is completely internet based. There are apps that you can download for Apple or Android, but you don't have to. Teachers simply log in to their virtual classroom on t.socrative.com and set it up. Then you have your students log in on m.socrative.com to participate. You can use any device (computer, tablets, smartphones, iPod Touch, etc) that has a web browser. When you're finished with the activity you can print the results or have them emailed to you. I'm so excited to get to start using this tool! Check it out and let us know what you think! Have you used it before? Do you have a similar tool you'd like to share?


Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Classroom Seating Arrangements

Hey everyone! I hope everyone is having a good week. It is time for Too Much To Talk About Tuesday and this week I thought our topic could be seating arrangements. It use to drive me crazy in school if the teacher moved around my seat. Then other teachers kept the class in the same spot for most the year. Some teachers loved rearranging the room and throwing the whole room into craziness. It drove some students crazy and some students loved it.
Do you change your students seats around often? I have been wondering what kind of teacher I will be. I like knowing where everyone in my class sits because you can instantly tell who is missing when their is an empty seat. I think there are many benefits to keeping students in the same seat. On the other hand I completely understand moving students for behavior reasons. If students are not getting along then the easiest thing is separation. I just don't understand moving students around to rearrange the room or just to "mix things up".
Do some teachers just like the change? What about having a reason to the seating? Does anyone have a reason for sitting their students certain ways, such as ability grouping?


Monday, May 6, 2013

Teacher Appreciation!

As you probably have heard by now, TpT is having a two day sale for Teacher Appreciation Week. It starts at midnight! Everything in our store is 20% off! If you use the promo code TAD13 you will get an additional 10% off the reduced price for a total of 28% off! 

~Steph & Manda

The many ways of math

What's your favorite math topic to cover with your students? I honestly can't pick just one. I love math! I have been so blessed to be working in this position in an EIP math class. I think one thing I love most about math is that there are so many different ways to approach it. And I think that's one of the biggest things we need to remember as teachers, really in any subject. A couple of my students are English Language Learners so it's even harder for them to understand some ways that things are explained.

I love when I'm explaining a concept in class and everyone is on the same page. It's a great feeling. But at the same time, there are days when I realize I don't have everyone following the lesson. The great thing about math is being able to stop and explain it a different way to where hopefully they can better understand it. Sometimes we may not know another way to explain it, but it's ok have your students help you out. Choose a student who gets it and ask that student to explain what you're doing in his/her own words. You can even have a few students do this. Or partner students. This has really worked well for my group.

How do you feel about math? What do you do when you are losing students with your explanation?


Saturday, May 4, 2013

Word Families

I hope everyone is enjoying their weekend. We are late with our Friday post this week but better late than never here is our Friend or Foe Friday post! This week I wanted to focus on word families. As all teachers know learning to read can be a major "foe" for students with our complicated and inconsistent language. Word families can help students pick up on patterns in the language and therefore begin to learn to read. Word families are a major focus of early learning and it is important to work with these in our classrooms regularly.
I have been working on several word family packets for our TpT store. These packets include several worksheets covering specific word families. Each packet contains items such as word searches, matching sheets, and fill in books. We have been posting each word family separately but we are now working on combining several packets into one and selling it for a reduced price. So don't miss out on these combination packets in our TpT store!
I hope everyone has a wonderful weekend and we will talk to everyone Monday for Maniac Math Monday so don't miss it!!

Thursday, May 2, 2013

Class Pets

Now for our Through Time and Space post for the week! This week we are focusing on science. Something on my mind this week is class pets. I subbed in a class the other day and a students had brought tadpoles. I thought that was such a cool addition to the classroom. I thought it was a great experience for the students to be able to see a tadpole change into a frog. The teacher and the assistant  in the classroom seemed to think it was a bother to have in the class.
I understand it is some extra work to have a class pet but is it worth it?
While student teaching we had a student bring in two pet turtles for the classroom. The teacher felt the same way the teachers this week did. That it was an unwanted burden. I took care of them and when it was time to go home for the summer the turtles came home with me. (They are also now members of the family! lol)
I just want to hear some different opinions on class pets? Beneficial or Bother?

~ Manda

Making Clipart

Hey guys sorry Tech Wiz Wednesday is a bit late this week. I hope everyone is enjoying their week. On Tuesday I asked everyone to tell me about there favorite product on Tpt. Now I want to ask about making clipart. Many of you guys make clipart for your products and I want to learn how to do this. I have played around with some basic things. I want to do some more detailed clipart. I was wondering if anyone wanted to share their knowledge about making clipart? Does anyone have a video or directions that they found helpful?
Most the time we use our Tech Wiz Wednesday to inform everyone about something with technology. This week I wanted everyone else to help with the information. :)
Thanks in advance for your help!