Thursday, July 31, 2014

Goodbye to my Teaching Mentor

Sadly, my 94-year-old grandmother passed away. I still remembering visiting her classroom when I was  young. She believed every child was special and made you feel that way. Rita had the perfect blend of sweetness and spunk! I only hope I can touch half as many people as she did with her time here.
Nana warming up my son, Casey
The family flew from all over the country to our beach house on Long Island for our final good byes. It was a pretty emotional few days for all of us.

So I apologize that I am a little late announcing that Kerry Tinsley is the winner of my Sight Word Go Fish: Fry Words 1-100!
Go hug or call your loved ones! Funerals sure do make you appreciate how little time we really have.


Saturday, July 26, 2014

Sight Word Go Fish Giveaway

I love to make learning fun for my students. One of the girls I am tutoring needs to practice her sight words so I made a game we could play called Sight Word Go Fish: Fry Words 1-100!

 I split Fry's first 100 words into groups of 20 and color-coded them. That way I can assign a group a certain deck (color) and know the words are at their ability level. {This corresponds exactly to my Sight Word Superstars program for those that use it. } 
You could also pick just the words you want the group to work on and ignore the colors.
I included a title card with the corresponding color for each deck. My plan is to buy plastic soap boxes like this one and Mod Podge or hot glue the title on the top. You could also just glue it to a baggie or simply leave it on top when you use a rubber band.
Source: Shady Tree Diary
I plan to make the Second Grade version next using Fry Words 101-200. I am excited to have another  game that I know my students will enjoy during literacy centers or guided reading groups.

This game is only $3 in my TpT store or you can enter to win below. I asked for the blog or Facebook comment to be about your school dreams. Mine have started already and I am VERY unhappy with my subconscious!! I have less than 3 weeks left and I know it is going to fly by! 


Friday, July 25, 2014

Chevron Jewelry Display

My old jewelry box just wasn't working for me anymore. I couldn't see what I had and I was tired of digging around to find what I wanted. I went online thinking I would buy something to hang on my wall but I couldn't find anything I liked. Pinterest inspired me to make my own!
 I started with a four pack of 12 x 12 cork boards.
 Like many of you, I am obsessed with chevron and found this fabric at Joannes. There were a lot of great fabrics there but I didn't want anything too busy so the jewelry would stand out. 
I used a hot glue gun so it was easy to do. The only tricky part was the corners. The good news is that no one will see the back!

 I added a yarn bow to two of the boards so I could hang my earrings. 
 I used clear pushpins since that is what I had. I may change them out if I find some silver ones but these pretty much disappear which is good.
One of the reasons I went with yarn over ribbon was that I wanted to be able to easily insert post earrings.

The whole project cost me less than $15 and I am happy with how it turned out!


Monday, July 21, 2014

Letter Fishing FREEBIE

I think I have mentioned that I am tutoring 3 sisters this summer. I made a Letter Fishing game for them last week and I thought I'd share it here as a FREEBIE.
I used the cute clipart from Kristen and added letters on top in a font I made called SpaldingInspired.
I laminated and cut out the fish, then slipped a paperclip over the mouth to make it magnetic.
I found a dowel in the garage and hot glued some string to one end. The other end I tied to a magnet I had with a hole in the middle.
The 4 year old practiced letter identification and the Kindergartener told me all the letter sounds, including those that made more than one sound. A lot more fun than simple flashcards!


Sunday, July 20, 2014

Fun Lakeshore Game

Do you have a child in your life who would benefit from a little review before school starts again? Lakeshore Learning sent me a great game to try with one of the girls I tutor. It's called Are You Ready For 2nd Grade?
It asks both language arts and math questions at varying difficulty levels. They have the game cards numbered and grouped so you can play 6 times without ever repeating a question! I was pretty impressed by that.

Some of the questions ask the child to write about a topic. I was thrilled to see my student write a paragraph without blinking an eye! She felt proud getting to put the card in the "correct" bin and the play money was totally motivating to her!!

After playing, parents can enter the results for an skills assessment! 
My student asks me to play this game every time we tutor now! Her Kinder sister saw it and wished I had one for her to play. They do make a version for all the grades K-5.

This game is regularly $29.99 but you can get it for $19.99 using the coupon below.

Thanks Lakeshore for making another quality product!
Check out their Back-to-School Sale now through Aug. 31st in stores or online at! They have some great in-store coupons and doorbusters for up to 50% off!  


Friday, July 18, 2014

American Monuments FREEBIE and a Chevron Winner!

I am in full on clean and organize mode. My husband came home yesterday and our office floor was covered in papers I had purged from our filing cabinets. We trade off doing the bills. It has been his turn the last couple years and let's just say filing is not his forte. Looks like it is my turn again!

I am also purging and organizing my computer files. I came across this FREEBIE that I made and never posted! It is a student booklet I used to teach my first graders about American Monuments.

Just cut the sheets in half and staple on the left side to make a mini-book. My kids love these!

Congrats to Nikki on winning my newly updated Editable Chevron Teacher Binder and Calendar!
You can grab your copy in my TpT shop for only $4!


Monday, July 14, 2014

Editable Chevron Teacher Binder Update

I'm back from the East Coast! We had a good time but I get kinda antsy being away from home that long. My first morning back I woke up early and the first thing I did was clean out the refrigerator! My husband thought I was nuts but it was the perfect opportunity since it was pretty empty. It felt so good to purge I went through the pantry also!

Ah! There is something about a clean, organized space that makes my soul sigh in contentment! I put the baskets in last summer and I am pleased to say that this system has been very effective!

Today I updated my Editable Chevron Teacher Binder and Calendar. I changed the calendar for 2014-15 but made the dates editable for the future. This file is in Powerpoint so you can easily add your own titles! Only $4 in my TpT shop!

Would you like to win a copy? Enter below and I pick a winner in a few days!
a Rafflecopter giveaway

I am pleased to announce that Diane Ireland won my last giveaway for a copy of my new informational book club 2 pack Cheetahs and George Washington.


Friday, July 11, 2014

NEW Informational Book Club Packets

Do your students love the National Geographic Kids readers as much as mine do?
I made another informational book club packet. This time for Cheetahs and George Washington. I got my sets from Scholastic using my bonus points. 

I included comprehension questions, vocabulary matching, and the use of text features.

The skill of comparing and contrasting is also required in question form and using a thinking map.

I also included an option to scan a QR code that links to related National Geographic videos.
This 2-book pack is only $3 in my TpT store! Enter via Rafflecopter below if you'd like to enter to win a copy.
a Rafflecopter giveaway


Wednesday, July 9, 2014


We are back from Nantucket!

I love it there. I feel so relaxed and at peace. My boys look pretty happy, too!
My two adorable nieces joined us for lunch and a day at the beach. I forgot how many times little kids need to go to the restroom!
Never too old to dig in the sand!!!
We saw what we think was a seal about 30 yards away from us. He hung out for a while.
One day, I turned to my husband and said, "Doesn't that voice sound like the guy who played Ed?" As I said it, I looked over next to us and sure enough, Tom Cavanagh was playing with his kids right next to us!
My sweetie!

We have a couple more days on the East Coast before we head back to California. I can't believe summer is half over!


Saturday, July 5, 2014

Facebook Fan FREEBIE and a winner!

Do you give out homework passes to your students? I give them out as inexpensive gifts at holidays and the kids love them. I had one cutie who saved hers up all year so she could plan a perfect NO Homework Week!

I uploaded a version without my name for you as a Facebook Fan Freebie! Just click HERE to visit my Facebook page, LIKE me, and then click on the Fan Freebie tab to download your freebie.

I'd also like to announce that Rebecca King won a copy of my new Lemonade War Book Club packet! Congrats! If you missed this giveaway you can check it out in my TpT shop.
I am headed to Nantucket tomorrow to visit my brother and his family. Have you been? I love it there and will be sure to take some photos to share.