From the Shop {November} and a Freebie!

Happy {almost} Thanksgiving!  I love this time of year.  It finally starts to cool off in Texas, and after Thursday, I can break out my Elf Tervis tumbler.  It’s the little things.
Here are the new sets from my shop this month.  Can you tell I’m feeling the holiday spirit?

I started making this Kristy Jumbo Bundle with a wintery theme in mind, but fell in love with the colors and didn’t want to limit their use.

But I couldn’t abandon this little snowman, so here’s the coordinating Frosty Mini Set.

All of your Christmas basics are in the Kringle Jumbo Set.

Here’s the coordinating Clara Mini Set to add in some chalkboard fun.

I updated my Basic Brights Papers.  If you own the Basic Brights bundle, they’re all in there!  You can purchase the bundle:

Or individual sets:

And as a thanks for making it all the way to the bottom of this post, here’s a Frosty freebie for you.

Be sure to subscribe to my newsletter so you don’t miss out on the exclusive monthly freebies.  There just may be a little more holiday goodness in the next newsletter (hint hint!)

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Sites and Apps Reading Teachers Love: Audio Books

Hey hey! If you’ve been here a few times you know I love technology.  Over the next month or so, I’d like to share some of my favorite resources with you.

Both of the sites I’m sharing today feature audio books.  One I have know about for a long time, but the other site was completely new to me.  Audio books are hugely important but also represent a black hole in many classrooms.

Let’s be honest, audio books are a pain.

I cannot tell you the number of times in my years as a teacher that  I looked over and saw tape SPEWING out of a cassette player attended by children with looks of total shock and fear in their eyes.  We have CDs and iTunes now, but still.  They’re expensive to acquire and a pain to make available and organize.  Online books give us the opportunity to offer children hundreds of books with little or no effort on our part.  That’s a win.

Why audio books? Kids need to hear books.  And more books.  And then some more.  This is how they develop the concept of story, fluency, and develop vocabulary.  Auditory books are even more important for your struggling readers.  It gives them the opportunity to independently access books that are on their interest level even if they are not their reading level.  Struggling to read should not exclude a child from loving books.

I’ll get off my soapbox now and start sharing resources.
First up, an oldie but goodie: Tumblebooks.

TumbleBooks features an incredible amount of high quality books.  They’ve got the good stuff:

I LOVE that the text is highlighted while it’s read aloud.

There are a lot of books on the site.  A lot.  Hundreds.  There are also games, some chapter books, puzzles, etc., but the strength of this site is the large number of quality children’s literature.  If you’re looking for a solution for a Listen to Reading station, Tumblebooks is it.


It’s expensive.  Like, really, really expensive.  $600-800 dollars a year for a school subscription.  We are very lucky that our local library subscribes to TumbleBooks, so we are able to access it through their website for free.  It’s definitely worth checking out with your local library.

The second site I wanted to share with you is one I just found out about recently.  I feel like it’s the perfect companion for Tumblebooks.  It’s called Epic!, and, well, it’s pretty epic.  Take a look:

Can you see the super tiny and super important text that says Epic! is free for educators.  Can we just stop and take a moment to say thank you to the guys and gals over at Epic?

Epic is set up a little differently than Tumblebooks.  It’s still full of books, but not all of them are read aloud.  There are a number of high quality text on there for kids to just read.  When you narrow your selection down to Read Alouds, this is where Epic! becomes an extremely valuable resource for your classroom.

Look at all that nonfiction.  It goes on and on and on.  If you limit kids' access to just fiction, you are losing a chunk of your population.  Think of all the reluctant readers that would just eat up these audio books.

Here’s a peek inside of an Epic! nonfiction book.
It doesn’t highlight the text as it reads, but it DOES read the nonfiction text features which is great because for some reason kids think they don’t need to read those since they’re not in paragraph form.  Why???  Please make it stop.  (P.S. I’m pretty sure the monkey doesn’t make it.  Sadsville.)

You can do all sorts of other things like make profiles and bookshelves, track who’s reading what, how long they’re reading, but to be honest, I’m not really worried about those features.  What makes Epic! such a fantastic resource is the large number of nonfiction texts available to readers.

What are your favorite audio book resources for teachers?  I’m always looking for more!

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Five on the Fifth {November}

It's the 5th of the month which means I'm here to share five great ideas from five great bloggers.

Want more Five on the Fifth ideas?  It even has it's own Pinterest board!

Introducing choice can be so hard with Daily 5-especially with those younger kiddos.  Catherine from The Brown Bag Teacher does a great job of taking you through introducing the element of choice into Daily 5.  It's such a key component in creating student engagement.  It's definitely worth the effort to bring into your classroom!

Dogs and Cats.  Main idea and details.  Dana from Prepping the Primary Gridiron shares a great post on bringing these together (as usual!!)

Starting guided reading can be overwhelming! While there are a number of wonderful professional reading books that get into the guts of guided reading (like I wrote about here), Melissa from Inspire Me ASAP! does an awesome job of breaking it down in a way that helps you see what you need to do to get started and the path to follow.

So, this is a cheater post because it's from the end of September, but it's a good one and totally worth breaking the rules for!  Amber from Peppy Zesty Teacherista takes you through the bane of a third grade teacher's existence-summaries.

Because the same thing over and over can get B-O-R-I-N-G, Molly from Lucky to Be in First shares a few ideas to perk up your word work. (Keep digging around to find her post on writing.  I love her Weekend Report!)

I loved reading Ashley from Shroeder Shenanigans' post on her visit to Ron Clark Academy.  I'd love to visit this school one day and see these amazing educators in action.  Hope over to her blog to read about her experience and get inspired.

Any blog posts from the past month that you loved?
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Happy November!

Psst! I’m over at Owl-Ways Be Inspired today with a November calendar for your computer.  (What is the official name for these things??? Computer calendar wallpaper desktop thingy?)  Click here or on the graphic to hop on over to download it!

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October Favorites

Hey hey! It's almost November.  Already.  Somehow.
I'm taking a look back at October and sharing some of my favorite things from the this month.

Booties.  I sent out an Instagram bootie plea (that sounds awful) last weekend.  I'm finally ready to embrace the bootie but so is everyone else so I was overwhelmed with bootie options.

These Sam Edelman booties + the Toms booties live in my heart now.  So stinking cute but also comfortable.  Because I can't deal with uncomfortable shoes no matter how cute they are.

Let's just take a minute to admire them.  Swoon.

This READ shirt from Claire Lynn Designs is beyond cute.  It's also super comfortable.  I ordered a medium which is what I usually wear, and it fit just right.  Plus it was a really good excuse to wear a t-shirt to work.

It's faux fall here in Texas (we still had a heat index  in the 90's last week, so it is very, very faux.)  I'm loving this scarf from Loft.  If I can get a close parking spot at school, I don't even sweat it up on the walk into school.

I went to New York City, y’all.  It was amazing.  I got to hang with some of my favorite blogging people, see my first broadway show, and visit the TPT headquarters.
**Side note: See-I do love that scarf! I really only like infinity scarves because regular scarves are too high maintenance for the school day.  They shift, y’all.  I don’t have time for that.  I just pin the two ends slightly overlapping, slide it through the sewing machine, and BOOM-I have an infinity scarf.

My October background made me happy each time I opened my computer.  I shared it at Owl-Ways Be Inspired.  I should have an November one to share with you next week!

Hope you had a great October, too!

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