Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Dollar Tree Goodies for Tried it Tuesday......Yay!

Hey y'all!

Amanda and I wanted to share some GREAT Dollar Tree goodies that we are using in our classrooms! I thought it would be fun to link this up to our friend Holly at Fourth Grade Flipper for her Tried it Tuesday linky to show you what we've bought and tried. :)

I went yesterday, and found some adorable window clings...well, I thought I would try them on the whiteboard rather than the windows and I LOVE how it created such cute and quick borders!!! COLORFUL and CHEAP!!!

Then, I found the most ADORABLE stickers ever! Well if you like pets!!!  :)  Now, I could just put these on my students' papers...BUT....I thought why not try them with a writing lesson! So, each student will get one sticker and one piece of white paper. Then, they create a picture focusing on the setting where the animal lives. Finally, they will write a narrative and pay close attention to describing the setting. They love getting to draw about what they write so now they get to write about what they draw!  :)

Okay, the last thing I want to share are these colorful bins! We have been using these all year and they still have some at Dollar Tree. They have been lifesavers for organization!!! The kids keep all of their journals in these so they are ready to go when we start our lessons...no more shoveling through desks to find a missing notebook! Yay!

Do you have any Dollar Tree finds??? I would love to hear about them!  :)

Have a great day!

Monday, April 29, 2013

Winners and #teachertalktuesday- Instagram!

We had a pin it to win it giveaway going for our end of the year teacher memory book (you can view that post HERE):

Here are our lucky winners:

Congratulations Toni and Ursula!  You have been emailed!  And, if you'd still like to try out the book, you can snag it for only $2.00 are our TpT Store!!

And, finally, thank you to everyone who liked our Facebook Fan Page!  We have a winner of our Sparkly Paper Bundle!!  Drum roll please....

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Thanks so much to everyone who entered!!  :O)

Annnnnd, we are jumping in with two feet to the Instagram craze!!!  We are linking up with Michelle from Apples and ABCs and the ladies at What the Teacher Wants for:

Neither of us have used Instagram before so we will see how this goes...its seems pretty simple (fingers crossed!).  If you'd like to follow us you can look for us at @collaborationcuties.

Sunday, April 28, 2013

You Wouldn't Want to Be...Series for Must Read Social Studies Mentor Texts

This week we are linking up mentor texts for the subject of Social Studies!  This can be any topic or even a book you use in Language Arts but it's based around your Social Studies curriculum!!  We love to integrate!

But, even though we do love to integrate, and I do have some books I want to share about that, I decided to link up some books that I used that were a quick attention-getter for my students!  These are great books to use to introduce a new unit.  I know with summer coming, we'll be looking for books we may want to purchase for next year, and I would recommend some of these!

I love that these books highlight the hardships of these time periods, mainly because it is so interesting for the students.  The illustrations are very eye-catching and interesting for them, too.

(You can click on the pic and it will make it bigger so you can look closer)

From You Wouldn't Want to Sail with Christopher Columbus  (I used this to introduce our explorers unit!)

The box with the bug in it has a caption that reads: "ITCHY? Ask other sailors to help comb the lice from your hair."  Ugh, right?  My students flipped out but wanted to hear more!

This is from the same book.  The caption next to the cheese says: "CHEESE is very smelly and full of worms."  I won't even tell you what the other captions say about the food...blech!!!

This one came from the book You Wouldn't Want to be an American Pioneer.

The caption at the top right corner says: "Handy Hint- Trapped in the snow and starving? You will get a tiny amount of goodness by making a stew from your leather boot."  Yum, yum.

See, aren't these fun?!?  At the end of the books, they leave the reader with a question:
If you were given the chance again, would you really want to sail with Christopher Columbus?
Had you known the hardships you would face, would you still have wanted to be an American colonist?

So, I made a little sheet for students to be able to make their own "You Wouldn't Want to..." poster about what we are learning.  I would want them to pick something small to focus on.  Like, "You Wouldn't want to be a Soldier in the Continental Army" or "You wouldn't want to be a Native American when Columbus Landed".

Here is the sheet- you can download it if it's something you might try!

I wanted their poster to look like the illustrations in the book.  :O)

There are TONS of these "You Wouldn't want to" books...go check Amazon...I'm not kidding you!

And, I'm breaking my own rules here, but I have some books that you might consider for your classroom library.

These are called You Choose Books.  It's a story and the reader comes to a point in the book where they have to make a decision for the character.  I have the American Revolution book.  First you get to choose your character.  Your choices are the daughter of a militia captain, a young Connecticut patriot, or a loyalist. Then it tells you the page that your story starts on.  From there,  you have to make certain choices.  For example, contact a spy network or go find your father.  Then, for each choice, you have to go to a specific page.

I think these are great for independent readers but you could do it as a class read aloud and then have students predict what will happen on certain paths that the character takes and explain the cause/effect relationships throughout the book.

I have a certain difficult student in my class and he LOVES these books.  He has read most of them, and it gives him something to share about when we are discussing some of these events in Social Studies.  I definitely recommend these for your classroom library, if nothing else.

Phew, could I give you anything more to chew on???  I hope you aren't on overload already because I want you to be able to read all of the other wonderful mentor texts that are being linked up!!

(If you have never linked up before you can check HERE for more information.)

I CAN'T WAIT to see what Must Read Social Studies Mentor Texts you link up!  I'm super excited!!!!

I promise this is the last time you will see this giveaway (for our Facebook fans)!!  A winner will be chosen tomorrow!  ;O)


a Rafflecopter giveaway

For the Linky- Please make yourself a SANDWICH!  Please comment on the person who linked up before you and the person that linked up after you.  I know everyone puts in a lot of time and effort to these posts and I want everyone to feel the love!!!  (Haha, see, you're a sandwich...you know...because you are in the middle of the comments...do you get it?)  ;O)

Next week's topic- Language Arts (anything goes- reading, writing, or grammar!)

Saturday, April 27, 2013

End of the Year Memory Book- For the Teacher {Feedback from students}

Hey there!

I wanted to share something that I created last year for our class.  It's not your usual end of the year memory book where students write their favorite memories of the year and then take it home to keep.  It's a memory book FOR the teacher, a sort of feedback on the year.

The reason why I created this last year is simple.  I taught 3rd grade for 11 years.  In 2011, I was asked to move up to 4th grade, and so I looped with my class.  I had taught them for 2 years, and at the end of last year, I really wanted to know:

What worked?

What didn't?

What did they love?

What did they hate?

What was their advice to me for next year?

And I knew they'd tell me.  Because I asked them to be honest and to take it seriously because I wanted to grow as a teacher and be even better the next year.  So, for the sake of my next class, they told me what they thought!!

We get feedback from our principal or assistant principal, which is great, but the little people whose lives I affect every day should get a say, right?  And these little folks knew me really well.  I wanted...maybe needed...to hear what they had to say!

I'm sorry that I don't have pictures from what they wrote last year, but that was before our adventure into bloggy world.

But, I did read all of them and I took all of their feedback to heart.  It motivated me to try and take what they liked and what they didn't and make my next year of teaching even better than the last!!

Here is a little of what it looks like:

If you'd like to have this to get feedback from your class this year, you can snag it from our TpT store for only $2.00.  Or, you can pin it to win it!!

Here are the rules!

1) Pin the Teacher Memory Book image on Pinterest 
2) Leave a comment with your email and the Pinterest ID in the comment (all you have to do is copy the URL after you pin it to your board and then paste it into the comment section).

I will choose 2 lucky winners Monday!  :O)

I'm not sure if this counts for Joanne's linky since it's really a teacher motivator, but maybe?

Check out Joanne's blog for student motivators!!  :O)

2 more days to enter our giveaway!!!


You can enter to win through the Rafflecopter!  :O)

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Friday, April 26, 2013

Testing, Cheese Dip, and Mother's Day Freebie!

We are here for a Five for Friday Flashback!  Thank you to Kacey and Amanda!!


Testing....testing....1, 2, 3.........4, 5...yep.  State testing.  Aaaaaaaaaaaaaalllllllllllllllllll weeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeek!!  But, it's over.  I would have taken a picture of them testing, since that's really all I have to show for the week, but I'm pretty sure that would be a testing anomaly and I'd be written up and fired....so I didn't take a picture of them testing.  But I'm sure you can imagine what it looked like.  I just know that I'm exhausted and all I did was WATCH them take it so I can only imagine how THEY feel!  But, they worked really hard, so I know they tried their best.  For me, that's enough!!   Thank you to all of our sweet friends and followers that checked up on us throughout the week to see how it was going!  That means so much!!  ~Amanda

Off to a fiesta- the best way to relax after testing is to share some time with a bowl of cheese dip, a little guacamole and some tortilla chips! Yummmmmmmmmmmmmmmm!  We love our Mexican food! (It's such a comfort food, Amanda had Mexican 3 times this week!  Ahhhhh!)

Thank you to everyone that liked our new Facebook fan page!  If you liked our page, but didn't enter the giveaway, be sure to!!  We'll pick a winner on Monday!

In appreciation, here is what you can win!!!


You can enter to win through the Rafflecopter!  :O)

a Rafflecopter giveaway

We helped to host a Peace, Hope, Love, and Kindness linky with our lovely friends Jessica and Joanne.  Please consider linking up, any time!!  Click the button below to see all the warm fuzzies that were already linked up!!!  You can even add more links whenever you'd like to share more warm fuzzies!!

I have created a cute book that students can fill out for Mother's Day. This is an easy gift your students can create to go along with any craftivities you are doing. If you can't use it as a full page, just print 2 sheets to a page to make a mini book! Click the link below to get this Freebie from our Teachers Pay Teachers store. 

Freebie Fridays

Have a great weekend! :)

Thursday, April 25, 2013

Peace, Hope, Love, and Kindness

Today we are here, working with our good friends Joanne at Head Over Heels for Teaching and Jessica at Ideas by Jivey for a Peace, Hope, Love, and Kindness Linky!  The purpose of this is to have one place where we can store all of our warm fuzzies so that when things are getting tough, we can look at all of these wonderful posts and feel better!!  Let's be inspired by the peace, hope, love, and kindness around us!

Our post is dedicated to some things that have brightened our days recently.   These are not huge things...but they do make a difference!  Sometimes we get caught up in the big things and miss the smaller things that can mean so much!

I want to share some "little moments" of kindness I have found at school this year.  :)

~ A student drops his tray in the cafeteria and looks as though he is about to cry. Immediately another student who is headed to recess, stops, picks up the trash with the student and then mops it up for him...Just because....

~ We are making special candy treats one day and a student who has a hard time getting along with others is absent. Everyone is excited to make their own treats and they get started. One little girl comes up and asks if she can make one for the student who is absent. She doesn't want him to feel left out. She made him one too...Just because...

~ A teacher was having a rough day with her class. Another teacher sees the frustration on her face and jumps right in to help. "Here let me take the kids for a little bit. I'll read them a book. Do what you need to do. I have a break right now." She could have done what she needed or wanted to but instead she helped a fellow teacher...Just because...

~ We all know that state testing is stressful for students and teachers. A student walks into the classroom on a testing morning, runs to her teacher and gives her a big hug. Neither one say a word. Then the little girl smiles and walks away. A comforting hug...Just because...


Have you seen this book?

It's basically like the Liberty Mutual commercial where one person does a nice thing for another, someone sees it, and then they do something nice for someone else, too, and it keeps getting passed on.  This book is like that, except it all starts with a smile.

Stacia and I talked about smiles.  How contagious they are.  How happy they are.  And, how they can affect others.  I try my hardest to always smile at people, but I'm sure I fall short.  Especially when things get stressful or dealing with that difficult person in your life, who, no matter how nice you are, how much you smile, or how positive you try to be, they just pull you down with the weight of their negativity.  That's when I have a hard time smiling.  When that person is coming towards you and you know whatever they are about to say is not nice or is a complaint of some kind, it's hard to smile, isn't it?  BUT, that's when a smile can matter most!!  I need to remember this.  It's my goal to smile on!!  It's my challenge to myself!!

I have a student in my class who smiles all the time.  No matter what.  Anytime you catch her eye, she smiles beautifully, happily.  Even when I'm right in the middle of a lesson.  If I catch her eye, she smiles.  And you know what.  I smile back.  Because it's contagious.  So, I have some fun things in store for myself and my class with this book in the future.  I wasn't able to get it all worked out before this post since we are in the midst of state testing right now, but I will post about it in the future. I think it will be an interesting experiment...just to leave you hanging...  I will ask you this though:  What does it cost you to give one smile?  How might it affect the person you smile at?  How do you feel when someone genuinely smiles at you?  Isn't it amazing what something so simple can do for you and for someone else??  One smile...

There are a few people in our blogging world that are making a difference, just because they want to help!

This weekend I bought some amazing products from Jen at Runde's Room.  These items had been on my wishlist for a month or so, and I knew I wanted them, I just hadn't gotten around to buying them.  This past weekend, she had a very special sale in her TpT store.  She put all of her items on sale and then donated every last penny that she earned to her very good friend, whose son Taten, is battling cancer.  You can read more about this HERE, but needless to say, when I saw this post, I went straight to my wishlist and moved everything on my wishlist from her store to my cart and bought it.  I can't really begin to go into all the feelings I was having but I will say that what Jen did was inspiring and it blessed my heart.  At then end of the weekend, she had quadrupled her goal.  I can only imagine the impact that will make on her friend and their family.  What a blessing!  If you haven't visited Jen's blog, I highly recommend it!  She's amazing all around!

One more fundraiser that is happening now:

This is a donation that has been set up and 100% of the money goes to One Fund to help the victims of the Boston Marathon bombing.  Many teachers have donated to this cause!  For a donation of $20, you can get one of these bundles, or you can donate $40 for both!!  If you are interested in donating, click the button above to take you to the blog where donations are being made.

K-2 Bundle (Valued at $150)

3-6 Bundle (Valued at $170)

Last but not least, I (Amanda) received two gifts this week......Just because.  

The first came from Stacia's husband (oooooo! I know!).  It's the owl cup!  He bought Stacia one (isn't he sweet?) and I saw it and adored it (my classroom theme is owls...in case you were wondering).  Guess what?  He went out and got me one too!!!  Just because!  Isn't he the sweetest!  The second gift came from another teacher I work with.  She saw the notepad and said it screamed Amanda (I guess the owls were yelling my name) and she had to get it for me.  Just because.  

And, just because they did this...it made me happy and to want to do something for someone else...just because...

How about you?  Do you have something that you can link up that gives you warm fuzzies?  If you do, please link it up below.  And don't forget to go check out all of the other warm fuzzies linked up, too!!

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