When I was in . . . Linky

Love, love, love Mrs. Daniels' idea for a linky!  Post a picture or two of yourself when you were in the grade that you currently teach.  Then post a current pic.  Check out the link up at Second Grade Sparkle.  So many fun pics out there!
Here's mine -- Third grade!
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Great Buys! Plus Gift Card Giveaway this Weekend

Hi all,

Don't forget the Super Teacher Gift Card Giveaway starts this weekend.  The Rafflecopter will be up and running on Saturday morning!  I'm so excited about the awesome bloggers who donated and thrilled to send one lucky winner $80 in gift cards just in time for the holidays.
I'm also quite happy about my TpT Cyber Sale purchases!  Thank you to all the amazing teachers on TpT who spend so much time and effort on their products.  Here's what I ended up buying.  Can you tell I really didn't want to have mealworms in my classroom and had to figure out how to teach animal life cycles?  I'm sure mealworms are very sweet, but I didn't want to deal with them at my home over the holiday breaks.  Thanks to the creative teachers at TpT, I don't have to! :)
Economy 101 Lapbook by Amber Polk
Triangular Multiplication Flash Card Slide Shows
Triangular Flashcard PowerPoint shows by Lorraine Salome
Take a Penny Subtraction: Subtracting with Regrouping Acro
Take a Penny Subtraction Strategy PowerPoint by Tricks of the Trade
Brain Boosters: Creative Thinking Activities
Brain Boosters by Gina Coniglio
Life Cycle Collection
Life Cycles Cutable Collection by The Project Gals
Life Cycles Bundle
Life Cycle Bundle by Ella Reinke
If you would like to link up and show off some of your Cyber Monday + Tuesday TpT deals, hop on over to Falling into First.

WILD about first grade is giving away a $50 Kohl's giftcard, so while you're hopping, linking, and looking go over and enter!

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Sharpity-sharp! The Quietest Classroom Pencil Sharpener


I'm excited to finally get out my review for The Quietest Classroom Pencil Sharpener.  My students and I had a lot of fun this week talking about the pros and cons of the sharpener as we learned about opinion writing.  Since I used my review as a writing model, it's a little long, so I've included a summary below if you're not interested in the long version.

Quick Review:
The fact that this sharpener is still standing in November makes it the best sharpener I've had in eleven years of teaching.  My classroom pencils are sharp, I don't have to listen to the horrid noises emitted from the electric sharpener variety, and the kids love using it.  If you can put up with some pencil shavings and smudges on your classroom counters, this could be a great classroom Christmas present!
Greensharpenermainalpha.png
When I received The Quietest Classroom Pencil Sharpener I trotted it around during professional development days and showed if off to all my teacher friends.  I even asked some of their kids to try it out.  When school started, my 29 students seemed excited to use this new tool, so much so that some even pretended not to notice the pre-sharpened pencils in the "sharp" cup just so they could try out the new sharpener.  Now that it's November (almost December!), the newness has worn off and my students and I have had enough time to form some opinions about The Quietest Classroom Pencil Sharpener.

There are lots of great things about this little guy!  It sharpens new pencils quickly and makes them super sharp.  The pencils are so sharp in fact, that my (male) teammate decided to throw a newly sharpened pencil onto the cork-like ceiling tiles to see if it would stick.  It did.  The sharpener is definitely quiet, not like those annoying electric ones.  It is fairly easy to use, although a few of my students did say it took a few tries to master using the sharpener.  They also liked that once the pencil is locked in, you don't have to hold it anymore and are free to hold the sharpener while you turn the crank with the other.  I love that the sharpener comes in many colors and hasn't yet broken.  So far it's ahead of any other sharpener I've had in the survival department.

As great as the sharpener is, it does have a few downfalls.  The big one for me is that it's messy.  It always ends up with shavings around it and leaves black smudges wherever it sits.  I've attempted to fix this by putting large art paper under the sharpener area, but the shavings still have a way of making it onto the table.  My students seem most concerned that the sharpener doesn't do well with colored pencils.  Twice I have needed to rescue a colored pencil tip using a paper clip tip while my students shouted, "It's broken!"  When I asked my students for pros and cons as I prepared this review they wanted to make sure prospective buyers knew that the sharpener will not sharpen small pencils.  It really bothers third graders that they can't sharpen their one-inch long pencils.  I, as a teacher however, love this feature.  I highly dislike those nasty nubby pencils and strongly believe that a writing utensil under two inches should be thrown in a trash can as quickly as possible!

Overall, considering pencil sharpening has been  an issue I've yet to solve, I would recommend The Quietest Classroom Pencil Sharpener to teachers old and new.  Although somewhat messy, it gets the job done quickly and quietly and is relatively inexpensive compared to some of the electric sharpeners I've seen ($80 to $100 - yikes!) I also love that these are sold by a teacher!  Overall, the Quietest Classroom Pencil Sharpener has been a great addition to our classroom.

Now I want a red one!  
Firehouse Red
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Cyber Monday + Tuesday! Best selling product linky!

Back to the grind!  :)  Actually today was a lovely day with the kiddos.  I'm pretty sure we've all been staying up much too late and were all a little tired today.  That means a calm, if slow moving, classroom day.

I'm so excited to go home and do some Cyber Monday shopping.  My TpT cart now has over 150 items in it.  I just found some awesome new products last night!  I'll update my blog with my purchases later tonight.

So far this is my best seller.  Hooray!  I guess people are still setting up (or adding to) their word work centers or needing new ideas for Daily 5 word work.
Don't forget to use the code CMT12 on any TpT purchases!  It will save you an extra 10% off the already discounted prices.
Teachers Pay Teachers Cyber Monday


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December Holiday Fun Freebie plus Get Excited for a Gift Card Giveaway!

If you're like me, you've been hanging around in your jammies, eating (too much!) good food, snuggling the dog, and just realized you actually have to go back to school in the next 48 hours.  If you're in the same boat and need to get your "extra stuff for kiddos to do" pile stocked and ready for the upcoming weeks, then click on the link below for my December holiday activities freebie.  It includes some money math, letter writing paper, a Holiday Tree Dot Game, and a Santa's Flight Path geography activity.  
If you are interested in finding more holiday ideas and activities, check out Laura Candler's Holiday Learning Link Up and The Hands-on Teacher's Holiday Linky!
Here's a little sneak peek at my upcoming gift card giveaway.  I'm so excited!  Start entering on December 1st.

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Winners, New Products, Sale, and Upcoming Giveaway

I hope everyone had a lovely Thanksgiving and is enjoying their Friday.  Here are the winners from my Multiplication and Division Around the Room Giveaway.  You should already have an e-mail in your inbox winners.  Please let me know what you would like from my TpT store for FREE!
If you haven't heard already, the big TpT Cyber Monday sale starts on Monday and ends Tuesday.  Tons of TpT sellers are participating so get your shopping cart ready.  Mine has over 100 products in it, so I'm very excited!  Most sellers are giving 20% off their store for two days plus you can use the code CMT12 to get an extra 10% off your purchase.  Hooray for sales and for TpT!  Check out the linky at the bottom of this post for many of the sellers participating in the sale (including me!).  I've been bundling some of my products in order to get ready for the sale.  You can see pictures (with links) to these math review products below.

Also, I'm getting ready (along with some of my lovely bloggy friends) for a very exciting GIFT CARD GIVEAWAY (I love gift cards!) as a holiday treat for one of you awesome readers.  I'll post more about this next week so please check back!  

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Proud Mama and Multiplication Division Product plus Choice from my Store Giveaway

 Wohooo!!!  Lots of reasons to be proud and thankful this week.  
Thank you to McKell, the superteacher, for giving a concrete example of my happiness.

#1 Lily is still alive!
There was a small mishap last week including a velcro harness that I didn't attach tightly enough.  After realizing I was dragging a harness minus a dog, I ran screaming (in my hoarse teacher voice of course) down the busy road in my fluffy boots in the dark.  Thank heavens my little gal was smart enough to sit in a pile of leaves in the gutter until I came to get her.  I don't know what I'd do without sweet Lil' especially if I was the cause of her demise.  This was my unproud mama moment.
 
#2 I just finished another product for TpT - Finally!
I have stockpiles of stuff I've made for my classroom, but turning these into something other people can use takes me forever.  Here is my newest product.  I'll be giving away 3 of these.  All 3 winners can also choose another product from my store too!  Just fill out the Rafflecopter below and I'll choose 3 winners and announce the winner this weekend.

a Rafflecopter giveaway #3 Look at these amazing Super Teachers!  
Thank you to the sweet and amazing teachers who sent me pictures of their Super Teacher Halloween costumes.  It truly did make my day to receive these.  You guys look hot and quite super-teachery in my humble opinion!  I like to consider myself the proud mama of these darling super teachers.
 
#4 I received an e-mail from one of my first students (now 21 years old!) last week.  What fun to hear from him.  He thanked me for helping him work on his reading.  What a sweetie!  Look out ladies!  He's 21 and lives in Utah.  That's marrying age around there!  :)

#5 I have the whole week off and so does my hubby!
I am so excited to see some great movies, hang out with friends, and celebrate Thanksgiving with a 5K, dinner out, and pie (ordered from the yummiest cafe in Boulder) with friends (who are providing ice cream from the yummiest place in Louisville).

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Thank You Gram Freebie

Every week before Thanksgiving the kiddos at my school are invited to write Thank You Grams to school staff.  I love going to my box at lunch every day and seeing sweet notes from past students.

These could be used as a center or a whole class writing activity.

Click on any of the pictures below to go to my TpT store and download the Thank You Gram paper I use for free.



Happy Thanksgiving!  Enjoy your break!

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Cross Legged Critter Turkeys - Great for the week before Thanksgiving Break


I love to do this activity on the last day before Thanksgiving break.  You can turn it into a listening activity, a following directions activity, or a reading "how to" writing activity.  Students can take these home and use them to hold napkins or just take up space and fall over on their Thanksgiving table.  :)

My finished example is below (although since he's been in the art cupboard getting squished by sequins, felt, and paper bags he's currently looking a bit sad -- I shall glue a few more feathers on him before I show him to my kiddos next week).
I typically model step by step and then have two groups: one that can be more independent following the written directions (I like to make 15 or so copies so all students have access to the written directions) and one group with me that will work on following step by step oral directions.

Here are the printable directions I use and give to students.

Because I am a touch OCD, I suggest that students glue their feathers on the back of the critter as it looks prettier on the front, but this is really unimportant to any normal person (or third grader).  :)

A great fast finisher: students can use the extra paper they get from cutting their original rectangular paper into a square to make baby turkeys.  Fun, cute, (and let's face it) time consuming!

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Book Character Halloween and New Olivia Post

Olivia Halloween or March is Reading Month Costume - Includes links to the dress and an updated how-to-put-the-costume-together post
Busy, busy, busy!  October just flew by!  I love planning for our team Halloween costumes (I start contemplating these around Labor Day - so many fun ideas!), and am super excited about how our book character theme turned out this year.  One thing I love about the book character garb is that you can reuse the stuff for March is Reading month (this is how I convinced the hubby that the Olivia dress was a need rather than a want).  Olivia the pig is my absolute fave!  I looked all over for the perfect dress and finally found it at Modcloth. If you want the same one it's called the Looking to Tomorrow Dress.  Just click on the links above to check it out.  If you want step-by-step details about putting your own Olivia costume together check out my updated blog post here.  It gives info about the dress, tights, and how to make your own ears out of a headband and pink fun foam.  In my opinion the GIANT ears are a must! 
Olivia Halloween or March is Reading Month Costume - Includes links to the dress and an updated how-to-put-the-costume-together post

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