Sadness and Shopping

I'm too sad today to blog about anything decent today.  I dropped my older daughter off to go to camp for the first time ever.  I was so excited for her until she got on the bus.  I may or may not have been already crying before I got back to my car.  Now I'm already missing my buddy and can't wait until Friday afternoon.  My younger daughter (who is totally lost without her big sister telling her what to do) and I are staring at each other going, Now What?  Our little summer trio is missing a member, and it does not feel good.

So what's a girl to do?  Shop.  That's why Kristen's linky party over at Ladybug's Teacher Files is perfect for me in my time of sadness.  Shopping will help me get through.

I'm moving from fourth to third this school year, so I knew I couldn't go to third without my go to for our Word Work Station:

I love these.  They're like a math brain teaser, except letters instead of numbers.  I always have these available as well as Letter Links.  I let them work in partners if they want.

Why, yes, that's a bullhorn.  Less than $15 on Amazon!  I always bring my whistle to recess.  But when you blow your whistle, every child looks at you except for the kid that you were blowing the whistle at.  Problem solved.

Made a trip to Dollar Tree and got six of these for my tables.

Bought any and everything at Teacher Heaven that went with my Dots on Turquoise theme.

I want to make this but can't figure out where to buy the basket.  Any ideas?

Well, go on and find out what everyone else is shopping for this summer!  Head on over to the linky party at Ladybug's Teacher Files to get some good ideas.

Happy shopping,


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Seusstastic Writing Station

So this post is probably more appropriate for Dr. Seuss' birthday in March, but I can't wait that long to share this with you! Towards the end of the year, our reader response station was just starting to feel O.L.D. Dry. Musty. You get the idea. I came across this pin on Pinterest:

Source: via Megan on Pinterest
I thought, 'Wow. How deep.' And then lightning struck! I should have the kids write about it. I made these posters:

**Posters made using elements from the Imagine digital scrapbook kit from Stuff to Scrap**
I might have gone overboard with the poster making. I don't usually buy kits, but I was really excited about this station. And it was only $4.00 Anywho, the task was to choose one of the quotes and write a response. Here is the writing sheet they used:

And guess what? Everything is available for you to download (scroll down), and then of course you can head on over to Office Max or Office Depot to have them printed. : ) Not sure what I'm talking about? Read this post to join me in my obsession!

I'm linking up to:
Classroom Freebies Manic Monday
Freebie Fridays



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My Rockin' Resources

I've been packing up my classroom this week to move from the fourth grade hallway to the third grade hallway.  I thought I would use this post the share some of the things I clutched to my chest  before boxing up.  Some are cheap and some not so much.  Summer is a great time to spend cruising around the Internet looking for items to improve your teaching, make your room cuter, and life just a little bit easier.  Kelley at Teacher Idea Factory is having a lovely link party.  So after reading my must haves, check out what other teachers are loving here:

1.  Office Max's Print Service
I detailed my massive love for the Office Max's printing services here.  It's a serious love.  The bottom line is this: You can print an 11x17 poster in color on glossy card stock for about $1.50.  All the posters you want, saying exactly what you want.  That's love.
Here are couple I've put up in my room:


**The full set of Feeling Sad/Mad/Bad/Glad is available to 
download as a freebie at the bottom of this post.  Yippee!

2.  Ikea FLYT Magazine Boxes
Seriously, I use these things everywhere.  If my classroom wasn't boxed up, I could show you more pictures.  I use them to organize my books, organize my copies, organize my small group instruction, you get the idea.  I shared here how I use one little Ikea box to organize my reading assessments so that they don't become the stuff of nightmares.  $2 for 5 of these babies.

3.  Mr. Sketch Markers
My love affair with Mr. Sketch markers began when I taught second grade and wrote a morning message everyday.  I would usually try to write 3-4 at a time.  That's a lot of marker stink filling up your room.  They recently changed the tip, though, and I'm still peeved about that.  I've adjusted.  Sigh.

4.  Lakeshore's High Interest Reading Folders
I not usually really big on this sort of prepackaged stuff.  However, these folders are great.  I used them with my ARI kiddos.  For some reason planning my ARI lessons hugely stressed me out.  I'm not even sure why.  I plan a million other lessons??  Whatever.  These worked beautifully.  They did get the high interest element correct!  If we missed a day, several of my kids would ask when we were going to get back to "that story about . . . ."  It was very easy to build a week's worth of lessons from the text and resources materials.  I loved these.  They were well worth every penny of my school's money.  ; )  

After finding out I was moving from 4th to 3rd, I hopped on the Internet to find out about these folders for the younger set.  They don't make them.  Why??????   I e-mailed Lakeshore.  They replied that my e-mail had been forwarded to product development.  Somehow I don't see these coming out by October for 3rd grade.  Grrr.

5.  My MimioTeach
So maybe one day your principal says to you, "Hey! We've got $800 we'd love for you to spend.  What would you like to buy?"  If that ever happens to you (after passing out and regaining consciousness), you should ask for a Mimio.

Why a Mimio?
One main reason.  Before moving to my current school, I had an ActivBoard by Promethean.  I loved that board.  It was one of the hardest things to leave behind.  Oh yeah, there was an amazing staff, too.  But I loved that board.  Here's the thing, though.  It's a board.  Which means it has to be mounted to your wall.  Lots of labor there.  Plus giant holes, drilling, etc.  That gets expensive and is not the sort of thing you can just grab to bring to an inservice or easily move with you to another classroom.
Not so the Mimio!  The Mimio just attaches to your existing dry erase board.  This makes it waaaay cheaper and gives another element to its use.  I've used it in different rooms for staff in services at my school, and it will travel with me this year to our district wide inservice.  Try that with an ActivBoard.

Now that you've read what I can't live without, click on the picture below to head to the Rockin' Resources Linky Party to find out what everyone else is lovin'!

Happy shopping!

Click on the image below to download the Mad/Bad/Glad/Sad set.


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Comprehension Toolkit

Tomorrow is my first official day of summer!  So after sleeping in, my thoughts immediately turned to . . . The Comprehension Toolkit???  Probably because it's avoiding the reality of needing to pack my room, so I can move a few steps over to the third grade hallway.

We have a district wide back to school in service day every year.  This year, I'll be presenting on The Comprehension Toolkit.  They've asked me because they know what an amazing job I've done using the toolkit these past few years and have become quite the expert.  Um, yeah, right.  In reality, when your district's language arts coordinator e-mails you and asks you to present, you say yes.  I did get to pick my topic.  I don't mind picking something that I'm not an expert in because the great thing about our coordinator is that she doesn't care if you're an expert, just that you're enthusiastic about your topic.  Takes a lot of the pressure off!  Okay, well, a tiny bit of pressure.

I mentioned in my summer bucket list post that I had dipped my toes into The Comprehension Toolkit this year and fell in love.  I had heard enough about it not have a blank stare on my face when it came up in conversation and blogs.  Our school had one kit to be shared by eight 3rd and 4th grade language arts teachers.  We all know how well that works.  But then, gasp!  This spring my school bought one of these babies for everybody:

Yahoo!  I dived in right away and realized it was everything and more that I'd heard about it.  I even discovered a huge trick to make teaching with it tons easier on my kiddos and me.  I'll post about that next week.  This post is getting waaaay too wordy.

So here's my summer plan (how does it take an entire summer to prepare for one day's inservice???):
1.  Read the books again. And then probably again.
2.  Search teaching blog land for all the amazing resources out there.
3.  Pinterest!  I searched Comprehension Toolkit on Pinterest and the resources were pretty much none existent.  I think this the first time Pinterest has ever failed me.  So, I started my own board and will post all of the resources I find to it.  You can see it here:

Follow Me on Pinterest
Comprehension Toolkit Board

The link will take you straight to my Comprehension Toolkit Board. You're welcome to follow all my boards, but I figured not everyone wants to see all the recipes and inappropriate e-cards that I pin.

I found one super duper amazing pin, though, and it led me to an even more amazing blog, so not a total fail!  You have to visit Belinda at I Love 2 Teach to read her blog and download every last resource she posts.  Look at this one:

See? I told you.

Anyone know of any great Comprehension Toolkit resources or have a tip for me?


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