October 15, 2016

My Favorite Halloween FREEBIES

It's almost Halloween, ya'll! This time of year is super fun, but I'm pretty sure NO ONE is excited that Halloween is on a Monday. Yikes!

This is the time of year when Teachers Pay Teachers is super important for my classroom. The students are so easily distracted, my prep time is filled with me scrambling for something engaging, and Halloween is just too fun to ignore integrating into our instruction. There are SO MANY amazing Halloween resources on TpT and here are a few of my all time favorite Halloween freebies! If you download, don't forget to leave feedback on the product to support these amazing teachers! And make sure you keep scrolling too see even more FREE Halloween resources linked up by other teachers. If you have a favorite, link up!

Created by Karen Jones

Created by Reading and Writing Redhead

Created by Daisy Designs

Created by Tweet Resources

Created by More Than Math by Mo

Created by Mrs. Hedges

Created by Games for Learning

Created by Teaching Second Grade

Created by Confessions of a Teaching Junkie

Also check out my new Build a Place Value HAUNTED HOUSE! Inspired by the original Build a Place Value House. So fun.

Have a favorite FREE resource you'd like to share? Link up to 3 FREE Halloween resources below!

October 13, 2016

KEVA Planks are the Bomb

You guys, I have been wanting KEVA Planks for my classroom since last January when I saw a presentation about them. The presenter was amazing and gave me tons of ideas on how to use them. I was so excited! So you can imagine how excited I was when MindWare contacted me to review them here on my blog!

Disclaimer: This post contains sponsored content, affiliate links, and review products. Regardless, these are 100% my own opinions.

So what are KEVA Planks?

KEVA Planks are wooden building pieces. Yeah... it's simple. Every piece is the same unlike other building blocks and the size and weight of the pieces make structures incredibly stable. Take a look at this structure I found on the official KEVA website.

Back in January, I went to a STEM workshop in Orlando and one of the presenters was showing us amazing uses for KEVA planks in the classroom. In the beginning he showed us Brain Builders. Mindware sent me two packs of Brain Builders and I cannot WAIT to use them with my students in my classroom.

The Brain Builders pack (not the Junior version) has everything you need to get started. It comes with 40 planks so if you don't want to buy a large set, you can start with the Brain Builders and at least get started. The challenge for students is to use the 2D images to create a 3D structure.

Here's the fence I built.

You can see that I had all the views necessary in the 2D diagrams to build it. This was a Beginner Level card. The Expert Level cards are NO JOKE, people. I tried the rowboat... but... I decided to take a picture of my fence instead....

For those of you looking for STEM activities for little ones, MindWare also offers a Junior version of Brain Builders.

What I like the most about the Junior version is that it is very easily integrated into any subject area. I taught Kindergarten previously (now I teach Second) and I love how these challenge cards show letters, numbers, shapes, and even some cards for Science topics. I would have loved to see that moon and stars card when we did our Day and Night unit!

I chose the Structures set to start with for my classroom. It comes with 200 pieces but there are larger sets available. The Structures set comes with a booklet with ideas and inspiration for students to take a look at and get creative. MindWare also has other sets like "Contraptions," "Connect," and "Colors." Remember, all the planks are made to be the same. The booklets in each set will provide different types of things to build. Take a look at these pages from the Structures booklet I received with my set:

The tops of the pages indicate how many planks you'll need for the structures.

There are so many ideas on how to use KEVA planks in your classroom. Here are some that I came up with just by opening the pack. Think about what your kiddos will come up with!

I am so excited to use these with my students next school year. If you use KEVA Planks in your classroom, comment below! I'd love to hear your ideas! If you don't already use KEVA Planks in your classroom, take a look at MindWare's website to get started. Click the image below to head there now!

September 10, 2016

Lots to Celebrate!

If you've been keeping up with my blog, you'll notice I've been gone for a little while. And if you've been keeping up with my blog (or social media sites), you'll have probably guessed why! Yep! Baby Isaac is here!

My little chunky monkey in the hospital. I'm a little sad because he has already lost a little bit of those chubby cheeks! But in this picture he was less than a day old so... he was a little puffy. <3

Our first family photo. So in love!

So now you know where I've been! I will continue my online presence as much as possible and to celebrate Isaac's arrival, here's a brand new freebie in my shop! And for those of you who are waiting for the Second Grade Wonders Unit 2, it will definitely be ready on schedule based on my goal date of September 30th! In fact, I'm trying to aim for sooner than that, so keep your eyes peeled!

Thanks for your patience, readers. I can't wait to continue to share resources with you and your students.

August 21, 2016

TPT Bonus One Day Sale!

What?! Yep, that's right... TPT is doing another site-wide sale tomorrow! For those of you who missed the last big sale or for those like me who already have a crazy long wish list... tomorrow is the big day!

What's in your cart this time?

I, of course, am loaded with clipart because I'm not in the classroom this year (if you are wondering... NO, the baby has NOT arrived yet and he is definitely late...). Here are a few things I've got waiting for me! SQUEE!!!

Teaching in the Tongass has such cute bundles! I have a project on the to-do list with cars and transportation and this is just the perfect set!

How do I not already own this?? These graphics are PERFECT for a lot of the activities in my Wonders packs!

And this one is just a super fun one that I can't pass up. I'll be getting it tomorrow for sure.

Don't forget that the BUNDLES in my shop WILL be included in the sale tomorrow! That includes the Year Long Kindergarten Wonders Bundle which brings the price of all the units to almost HALF off buying them separately. It also includes my Year Long Second Grade Growing Bundle which is already dirt cheap at only $28 and it will include all 6 units as you need them this year. Unit 1 is already posted a available and you'll get the updates for free if you purchase the growing bundle! Check them out below!

August 15, 2016

Teacher Wish List Feature!

You guys, I discovered something pretty awesome a couple of weeks ago. Let me break it down for you:

I am (hopefully) having this baby soon.
My husband and I got a lot of cool things as gifts from our baby registry.
I thought... It would be cool to have a teacher registry for those little things. I mean, I get parents and personal friends asking me all the time if they can help.

Yeah... it exists, ya'll...

Disclaimer: This post contains sponsored content, affiliate links, and review products. Regardless, these are 100% my own opinions.

Oriental Trading has started this new Wish List feature and it is basically a registry and with their amazing teaching supplies at reasonable prices, I made one. It was so fun! Just like making my baby registry, I loaded that thing up! Upon researching more about it, you can give the link to the wish list to anyone and your information is not given out, they can easily order something, and it gets shipped straight to you. This would have been a life saver for my first year teaching or the year I moved grade levels, so new teachers, listen up!

I then decided to do some searching around for some new goodies. Although I'm not in the classroom at the moment (seriously, why have I NOT had this baby yet??), I'm itching for new fun things to use! I also have a sub that could benefit, so why not now? I've got the time on my hands to shop, right? Right.

Here are some things I recommend for a Teacher Wish List: (click any of the images to head to the product on Oriental Trading).

Index Card Boxes

The pack on Oriental Trading came with 12 boxes! Two of six different colors. What I am most excited about is that I JUST discovered (it's been an enlightening month...) that it is possible to PRINT ON INDEX CARDS. This is a game changer, people. Look for a post in the future on how to print on index cards. Can you imagine the time saved from cutting out task cards?? And index cards are cheap!

I am also excited that there are 6 different colors. In the reading curriculum my district uses, there are 6 units, which means I can color coordinate task cards per unit for easy storage and ease of use for the kids! If you use Reading Wonders, check out the units I have available in my store. Kindergarten is all done and the 2nd grade bundle is growing!

Foam Math Dice

How useful are these bad boys?! This picture does not do the pack justice... because it comes with 144 dice!!!! I love that they are foam, because nothing is more distracting than loud dice rolling around the desks and floors during Math centers and I love how there is a mix of numbers, dots, and symbols. These are something that can definitely be used year round in multiple ways.

I can't WAIT to pair these with the dice games I use in my classroom. Take a look:

Large Pocket Dice

Speaking of dice... I have seriously wanted one of these for SO LONG, but the ones on Lakeshore were too expensive and then when I finally bit the bullet and went to buy them I couldn't find them on their site anymore! Thank you Oriental Trading! Definitely less expensive and I can't wait to use these for.... pretty much everything.....

Library Pockets

Aaaaaand, speaking of pockets... I love library pockets, ya'll. I usually order the ugly boring kind from the ordering system at school, but I had to have these. Look at the pretty colors! They had a ton of different designs, but I went with just the rainbow set. They also have an adorable Eric Carle set that was super tempting. Maybe I'll just plop it on my wish list and see what happens....

Number Order and Sequencing Cards (or what I like to call, Hundreds Chart Cards)

Where are my fellow 2nd grade teachers?? I LOVE THESE SO MUCH! They are dry erase, ya'll. Dry. Erase. And there's 50 of them. I have a feeling this will be used to death in my class. Not only are they dry erase and 50 of them, but they are front and back. The product description on the website does not do this justice. I was so excited to see how awesome these are. This is a fun unit to teach and I can't wait to pair it with my Hundreds Chart Activity Pack. The pictures included are similar to the activity in this product, but there are tons more activities included in this set like Diagonal Sums and Compatible Pairs. LOVE!

But for real, won't these cards go so well with this unit??

Composition Book File Folders

This image is from Oriental Trading's website. I did not get a chance to take a photo of this one, but will certainly do so in the future. I have a great writing lapbook idea that I can't wait to try out! I was going to just use regular file folders, but I mean... it's a WRITING lapbook... and these look just like the kiddos' writing notebook... so... how could I pass this up?! Future post for sure, so keep your eyes peeled!

Music Note Scratch Art

Okay, I didn't take a picture of this either... but it's because this is a present for my mom! She is a Music teacher and I thought it would be kind of neat for some of her students to help decorate the classroom with these cuties for the beginning of the year! If she remembers to take some photos, I'll post those to my Facebook and Instagram, so be sure to follow me! (PS- it was really tempting to open this and scratch them all up. I really had to remind myself that they were for the kids...)

I am loving my new goodies from Oriental Trading! I have more on the Wish List and would totally put the link in newsletters to families or even post online! You never know who is willing to help out a classroom in need. All you need to do is head over to Oriental Trading's website, make an account, and on any item you would like for your classroom, just click the little heart button that says "Add to Wishlist." 

Here is my current Wish List so you can get an idea of what other people will see when they go to it. As you will see, your personal information is not given out, just like a baby registry! :)

If you make a wish list, share it in the comments! I'd like to see what ya'll are shopping for! It will probably make me double the length of my own wish list... but... It's fun!!!