Snowy Jumbo Set + a Bonus

Hey hey! It is time to shut this year down.  This is a crazy, stressful time of year.  I have spent a lot of time and effort in avoidance behaviors.  If you follow me on Instagram, you know I was avoiding work by designing Christmas koozies for my family.  Because, duh.  Big necessity, right?  Who needs wrapped packages.

I continued the procrastination theme by creating a new jumbo set, Snowflake.  You can buy just the papers:
Or the whole bundle:

I'm kind of super in love with those colors, so I made a bonus set for my blog readers.  Enjoy! I hope you have an amazing holiday break.  You've earned it!!!

your photo name

Five on the Fifth

Hey, hey! Welcome back.  November's gone (how in the heck did that happen?), and it's time for me to share five awesome postsfrom the past month from five awesome bloggers.  Want more great posts?  Check out the Five on the Fifth Pinterest board.
I'm a few days late because I've been busy giving away 20 TPT gift cards for my 3,000 follower giveaway!  You have until Wednesday night to enter.
Weekly goal sharing? This awesomeness if from Stephanie at 3rd Grade Thoughts.  She's a blogging/teaching genius with a super cute new blog design.  {Wink. Wink.}  Life is kind of just happening to our kids.  I love that this pulls them into the learning process in an empowering way.

I'm pretty much in love with everything Jen Jones creates.  These strategy cards are no exception.  There are lots of vague, touchy-feely types of professional texts on teaching reading.  I love when someone shows me what it should look like.

I looooooove this problem and solution lesson and extension from One Extra Degree.  She's one smart teacher who likes to get her kids THINKING about what they are reading.  When you visit Amanda's post, just keep scrolling through her blog for some more thinking about reading genius moments.

Yes, please! Yes! Yes! Yes!  Everyone needs this post from Dixie at Teachin' Little Texans.  Because there's always one kid.

And speaking of connecting . . . . Are academics important?  Absolutely.  But creating a community of learners is vital to the success of the classroom.  I love this post written by Kim from Practical Primary Ideas on her Friday Circle.

your photo name

Holiday Gifts for the Blogger/TPTer in Your Life

I love this time of year!  I love shopping for gifts for the special people in my life.  I'm not going to lie, online shopping has made my holiday life a million times easier.  I'm here today with a list of gifts that most bloggers and TPTers would love to have.
How cute are these graphics from Miss Tiina???


A TPT gift certificate.  Duh.  This actually is a great gift in any price range.  Double it if the special person in your life started in a new grade this year.

Any TPTer would be delighted to sip his or her coffee out of this mug from Small Glow on Etsy while burning the late night oil.  I used mine during the Cyber Monday sale in an effort to give myself good juju.

We're on the computer.  A lot<--Understatement of the year.  Brighten up your blogger's space with a personalized mouse pad.


A planner.  There are lots of planners out there: Plum Paper, May Designs, and Erin Condren and many more.  If you person is a planner person, there has been talk of THE planner.  "I want this planner" "Not sure I should spend that much" "Is it really worth it?"  These were all actually hints.  I have the Plum Paper planner, and couldn't love it more because I get to customize not just the cover but also the "guts".  They recently added a blog planner pages.  Not ready to commit to a planner?  Plum Paper and May Designs have super cute notebooks for jotting down ideas.
Bloggers are all a buzz about online shopping (because we're on the computer so much, and who has time to go to a store?)
Packages from Jane, Stitch Fix, Amazon, and Etsy shops (gift cards to these sites are all perfectly awesome gifts) are probably showing up at your door daily.  Another favorite brand is Alex and Ani.
Start a stack for blogger friend with an initial bracelet from Alex and Ani.

Are other bloggers excited to meet your blogger?  Maybe this shirt would make the perfect gift.


How about a Netflix subscription?  It can get a little quiet sitting at the computer for hours on end creating resources or writing blog posts.  Catching up on season 4 of The Walking Dead will make that time go by a little faster.

All those nights hunched over the computer can lead to some achy muscles.  How about a gift certificate for a massage?
(This is what your TPT seller will look like pre-massage.)


Now we're getting to the good stuff.  Number one on this list?
The Silhouette portrait.  If your gift receipient is a blogger, she knows what a Silhouette is.  If she is even slightly crafty, this is a good bet.  You can get an awesome deal on these on right now.  $109.00 plus free shipping if you have Prime.

The teacher blogger world is a little obsessed with Tieks right now (including this blogger, big time.)  When you're on your feet all. day. long. it doesn't seem as big of a stretch to spend money on shoes that are cute and comfortable and don't look like your grandma at the home would be wearing them.
These slate grey crocs are great because you can wear them with black, navy, gold, silver, whatever.

Daddy Warbucks, Platinum Level Gift Giving

Are you going all out for you someone special?  Here are a few dream level gifts:

15 Macbook Pro, Retina screen
We're taking productivity to a whole new beautiful level.

The Teachers Pay Teachers Conference-July 2015
Your TPTer will meet up with all of her friends, gain valuable information on build up her TPT empire, and maybe win big at the casino.
Merry Christmas, Happy Hannukah, whatever you are celebrating, may it be a beautiful and special time of year for you.

your photo name

Elf on the Shelf and Kindness in the Classroom

Happy December to you!  I'm so excited December is here!  I love Christmas, I love reflecting on the year, and I love having a long holiday from school.  Amen, y'all.

I wrote a post a loooooong time ago about how I use my Elf on the Shelf in the classroom.  There are a lot of new people around this blog these days (woohoo!), so I thought it was worth writing about again.  He does fun and kookie stuff, but this is why I really love him:
I put this up in my classroom.  I had it printed on an 11x17 piece of glossy card stock at Office Max for about $1.50 and laminated it.

Throughout the day, kids can write about something kind they observed a classmate doing.  Franklin takes the notes each night to the North Pole.  You know-just in case Santa missed something.

Here's a picture from a previous year:
This year, since I am only working with small groups, this is going to be part of our warm up.  You can download this freebie (regular and large versions) for free here.  You'll need to download the font for the elf's name, or just use another font you like.

We'll have fun with our elf this year, but I love having him as part of our classroom to take the emphasis off of getting and on to others.
{Yes-one year they made cards for Franklin.}

Want more holiday goodness? I posted about my favorite holiday writing activity over on the Owl-Ways Be Inspired blog today!

your photo name

Sidebar Slider Tutorial

Do you see that sidebar slider over there to your right?  It's pretty amazing, right?  Go ahead.  Stare at it a little while.  I'll wait for you.

I got the code for this here, but I'm going to try to make it a little more teacher blogger friendly.  Once it's on, your good to go.  You can just go back in every once in awhile to change out images and links.

There are three parts to this tutorial:

1.  Getting address for your images.

2.  The code.

3.  Visiting the dark side {this is a maybe step}
Okay, part 1 is easy peasy.  You need to host your images somewhere.  Luckily, it's very easy to do that in Blogger.  Just open a new post, upload your image, and DO NOT PUBLISH.  You just need to upload them.  Once you do that, they have an Internet address.  {Click on HTML next to Compose in the top left corner to see your picture's Internet address.} Even once you delete the post, they are still stored in your Picasa Web Album, so they still exist.

Part 2, life gets a little trickier.  But not too bad.  Here's the code you need.  The parts you need to worry about changing are the pink and blue parts.  Copy and paste all of this HTML business into Word (or whatever you use.)  Make the pink parts your image address and the blue parts the link to your product.

Once you get your code ready, go to your Blogger dashboard-->Layout and add in a new HTML gadget to your sidebar.  Paste in the code from your Word document, and you are {maybe} good to go.

<!-- SLIDER CSS -->
<style type="text/css">
 * jQuery FlexSlider v2.2.0
 * Copyright 2012 WooThemes
 * Free to use under the GPLv2 license.
 * Contributing author: Tyler Smith (@mbmufffin)

/* Browser Resets
.flex-container a:active,
.flexslider a:active,
.flex-container a:focus,
.flexslider a:focus  {outline: none;}
.flex-direction-nav {margin: 0; padding: 0; list-style: none;}

/* FlexSlider Necessary Styles
.flexslider li {
border: 0 none !important;
padding: 0 !important;
text-indent: 0 !important;
margin-bottom: 0 !important;
.flexslider {margin: 0; padding: 0;}
.flexslider .slides > li {display: none; -webkit-backface-visibility: hidden;} /* Hide the slides before the JS is loaded. Avoids image jumping */
.flexslider .slides img {width: 100%; display: block;}
.flexslider .slides, .flexslider .slides img, .flex-direction-nav { margin: 0 !important; padding: 0 !important; }
.flex-pauseplay span {text-transform: capitalize;}

/* Clearfix for the .slides element */
.slides:after {content: "\0020"; display: block; clear: both; visibility: hidden; line-height: 0; height: 0;}
html[xmlns] .slides {display: block;}
* html .slides {height: 1%;}

/* No JavaScript Fallback */
/* If you are not using another script, such as Modernizr, make sure you
 * include js that eliminates this class on page load */
.no-js .slides > li:first-child {display: block;}

/* FlexSlider Default Theme
.flexslider { margin: 0 0 60px; background: #fff; border: 4px solid #fff; position: relative; -webkit-border-radius: 4px; -moz-border-radius: 4px; -o-border-radius: 4px; border-radius: 4px; -webkit-box-shadow: 0 1px 4px rgba(0,0,0,.2); -moz-box-shadow: 0 1px 4px rgba(0,0,0,.2); -o-box-shadow: 0 1px 4px rgba(0,0,0,.2); box-shadow: 0 1px 4px rgba(0,0,0,.2); zoom: 1; }
.flex-viewport { max-height: 2000px; -webkit-transition: all 1s ease; -moz-transition: all 1s ease; -o-transition: all 1s ease; transition: all 1s ease; }
.loading .flex-viewport { max-height: 300px; }
.flexslider .slides { zoom: 1; }
.carousel li { margin-right: 5px; }

/* Direction Nav */
.flex-direction-nav {*height: 0;}
.flex-direction-nav a  { text-decoration:none; display: block; width: 40px; height: 45px; margin: -20px 0 0; position: absolute; top: 50%; z-index: 10; overflow: hidden; opacity: 0; cursor: pointer; color: rgba(0,0,0,0.8); text-shadow: 1px 1px 0 rgba(255,255,255,0.3); -webkit-transition: all .3s ease; -moz-transition: all .3s ease; transition: all .3s ease; }
.flex-direction-nav .flex-prev { background: url("") no-repeat scroll -15px -92px transparent; left: -50px; }
.flex-direction-nav .flex-next { background: url("") no-repeat scroll -15px -15px transparent; right: -50px; text-align: right; }
.flexslider:hover .flex-prev { opacity: 0.5; left: 10px; }
.flexslider:hover .flex-next { opacity: 0.5; right: 10px; }
.flexslider:hover .flex-next:hover, .flexslider:hover .flex-prev:hover { opacity: 0.9; }

/* Pause/Play */
.flex-pauseplay a { display: block; width: 20px; height: 20px; position: absolute; bottom: 5px; left: 10px; opacity: 0.8; z-index: 10; overflow: hidden; cursor: pointer; color: #000; }
.flex-pauseplay a:before  { font-family: "flexslider-icon"; font-size: 20px; display: inline-block; content: '\f004'; }
.flex-pauseplay a:hover  { opacity: 1; }
.flex-pauseplay a.flex-play:before { content: '\f003'; }

/* Control Nav */
.flex-control-nav {width: 100%; position: absolute; bottom: -40px; text-align: center;}
.flex-control-nav li {margin: 0 6px; display: inline-block; zoom: 1; *display: inline;}
.flex-control-paging li a {width: 11px; height: 11px; display: block; background: #666; background: rgba(0,0,0,0.5); cursor: pointer; text-indent: -9999px; -webkit-border-radius: 20px; -moz-border-radius: 20px; -o-border-radius: 20px; border-radius: 20px; -webkit-box-shadow: inset 0 0 3px rgba(0,0,0,0.3); -moz-box-shadow: inset 0 0 3px rgba(0,0,0,0.3); -o-box-shadow: inset 0 0 3px rgba(0,0,0,0.3); box-shadow: inset 0 0 3px rgba(0,0,0,0.3); }
.flex-control-paging li a:hover { background: #333; background: rgba(0,0,0,0.7); }
.flex-control-paging li a.flex-active { background: #000; background: rgba(0,0,0,0.9); cursor: default; }

.flex-control-thumbs {margin: 5px 0 0; position: static; overflow: hidden;}
.flex-control-thumbs li {width: 25%; float: left; margin: 0;}
.flex-control-thumbs img {width: 100%; display: block; opacity: .7; cursor: pointer;}
.flex-control-thumbs img:hover {opacity: 1;}
.flex-control-thumbs .flex-active {opacity: 1; cursor: default;}

@media screen and (max-width: 860px) {
  .flex-direction-nav .flex-prev { opacity: 1; left: 10px;}
  .flex-direction-nav .flex-next { opacity: 1; right: 10px;}
<!-- SLIDER HTML -->
      <div id="flex-isfb">
        <!-- Preloader -->
        <div id="preloader"></div>
        /* Preloader */
        #preloader {
            position: absolute;
            background-color:#fff; /* change if the mask should have another color then white */
            z-index:999999999999; /* makes sure it stays on top */
        <div class="flexslider">
          <ul class="slides">




</ul> </div> </div> <!-- SLIDER JS --> <script src=""></script> <script src=""></script> <script type="text/javascript"> $(window).load(function(){ $('.flexslider').flexslider({ animation: "slide", controlNav: true, directionNav: true, easing: "swing", slideshowSpeed: 3000, animationSpeed: 600, }); }); //<![CDATA[ $(window).load(function() { $('#preloader').delay(350).fadeOut('slow'); }) //]]> </script>

**This is set up to have four images in the slider.  You can easily add more.  Just copy and paste in this code below the last set of <li> to </li> (where your were working with the pink and blue text.)

You may need step 3, which is entering the dark side (your blog's HTML code.)   After you saved your sidebar gadget, one of two things happened:

1.  It worked.  Yay you!

2.  You just have a little white bar.  No slider.  Wonk wonk wonk.
The most likely culprit is your pin it hover button.  You need to find that code.  It should be above your </body> line in your blog's HTML code.  (Use CTRL F to search for it.)

Once you find it, you need to remove this line:
<script src='' type='text/javascript'/>

Save and you should be good to go.  ALWAYS BACK UP YOUR TEMPLATE BEFORE DOING ANYTHING TO YOUR BLOG'S HTML CODE.  You will be sad sad sad when you don't because if you accidentally delete one stupid symbol from that nonsense nothing will work anymore.

Good luck!

your photo name

The Warm Up Conundrum

Sounds like an epidsode of The Big Bang Theory, doesn't it?  Unfortunately, I'm not nearly as funny as Sheldon and the gang.
Anyway, warmups.  The fact is, there are lots of great warmups out there.  In fact, you could spend all day on warmups.  Doing the warm up, peer checking the warmup, reviewing the warmup, grading the warmup.  You could warmup All. Day. Long.  But then, nobody would ever learn anything.

So many warmups, so little time! Take a step back to make sure you're making the most of your minutes.

There are grammar warm ups, reading warm ups, vocabulary warmups, fluency warmups, phonics warmups, social studies warmups, math warmups, math fact warmups, science warmups.  I think Evan Moore has a daily review for every single thing you could think of:
Sweet mercy, please don't do all of these to your students.

This really hit me, when I moved to 4th grade and was compartmentalized.  I had 2 hours to teach reading, writing, grammar, and spelling and work in some independent reading time and learning stations.  Every minute counted.

I couldn't wrap my head around it until I ignored minutes and started thinking about percentages.  What percentage of my time should be dedicated to reading? Writing? Independent reading? Word study? It was a break through moment for me.  It also made me realize I had very little time to dedicate to warming up.

Now that I'm working with small groups, I'm limited to a 30 minute time slot (it's really about 25 minutes because getting all of my friends collected is like herding cats sometimes.  And sometimes little people really, really, really need to tell you about the tooth they just lost.)  I can't spend half of it warming up.  Their teachers let them away from precious instructional minutes, so I need every minute to count.

I found out about this FREE resource by Whole Brain Teaching from Amanda at Teaching Maddeness.  There are two levels, Super Speed 100 and Super Speed 1000.  I love them.  It takes us about 2 1/2 minutes for fluency practice that focuses on the most common words.
Then, we work on a very fast Phonics review.  We practice a phonics skill for about 1 minute.  Next, I have them apply it by spelling nonsense words.  Let's be honest, if you show 2nd graders and up a picture of a cat and have them circle the correct spelling "cat" or "cut", they can get it right.  They have seen that word a million times, but they still probably don't know the short a sound.  Nonsense words force them to think about sounds.

After that, it's on to our guided reading group.  We reread something from the previous day to practice reading fluently.  This is quickly and with whisper phones.

Every elementary teacher on the planet needs whisper phones.
I was lucky enough to get mine from Lakeshore during a sale for $1.99 each.  Since every group uses them, I wipe them down with Clorox wipes between uses.  Because ewwww.

Then, it's off to the races and we're learning, learning, learning.

Don't want to let go of your warmups?  Don't.  Just consider rotating through them monthly or quarterly.  It's not that warmups aren't valuable (they certainly are!), the reality is there's just never enough time in the day.   As my groups have finished Super Speed 1000, we're moving on to Jennifer Jones picture of the day inferencing lessons (GREAT post here from her on that).  We'll do that for awhile and move on to something else.

Got any great warm up tips to share?

your photo name

Five on the Fifth {and a few}

Hey hey!  I've had this post planned for several days, but it's turned into 5 on the 5th + 5 days.
Here's a little truth.  The juggle is hard.  The momma, wife, teacher, blogger, TPTer, blog designer juggle is no joke.  But let's be honest, the first two jobs are the most important. So, sometimes the blog gets schlepped to the side.  But, I'm back on track with five fabulous posts from five fabulous bloggers. Want more Five on the Fifth?  Check out the Pinterest board to see previous posts.
Another truth for you: I'm a bit of a Jivey stalker.  I can feel a new hashtag coming on, #jivestalking.  This post popped up at a great time.  I'd uttered the words, "Let's underline what's most important," to one of my small groups, and a friend underlined EVERY. SINGLE. WORD.  Jivey can help you with that.

I loooooooooooove math games.  All the math games.  Best teacher thing about math games?  Friends can't lean over to peek at a neighbor because it just won't help.  They have to resort to thinking.  Molly from Lucky to be in First has a great post on some math games for the younger crowd.

Got just one iPad in your room?  After that SQUEAL! iPad moment, did you wonder what in the heck you were going to do with one iPad and 20+ kids?  Jamie from Second Grade Stuff has a great post on using one iPad in the classroom.

I got a chance to meet Amber from Peppy Zesty Teacherista at the Dallas blogger meet up, and she is all kinds of fun.  I love this human number line she wrote about.

I am LOVING Jessica's newspaper station.  Hop on over to her blog, The Teacher Talk, to find out how she set it up and all the details of this great idea.

Hope your October was rockin' and your November is even better!

your photo name