Thursday, January 30, 2014

A Hodge Podge of FREEBIES

Hey everyone, I hope you're all having a great Thursday.
I'm happy to announce my GIVEAWAY winners!
Congrats to Crystal and Marybeth!
Thanks to EVERYONE who commented!

I've been making some practice sheet here and there for different things and haven't got around to posting them. So I thought I'd post them now. This is very random and I hope you can use them either now or next year.

I used these to introduce 'How to Writing'. They are also a great sequencing review. Click HERE to download.
We've been working on counting to 120. So here are a few practice sheets. There are 4 'Fill Ins' and 4 'Start and Stop'. 
Click HERE to download. 
 This is a little game I re-made. Now it goes to 120. My kiddos LOVE playing it. 
Click HERE to download.

Thanks for stopping by. I hope you've found something you can use in your classroom.
Come back tomorrow for news of my upcoming SUPERBOWL SALE!

Monday, January 27, 2014

Blog Make Over and Giveaway

Do you like my new look?
Thank You Barb! I couldn't be happier.
If you're looking for an awesome blog designer you need to check out
Ruby Slippers Blog Designs.
Barb is so talented and easy to work with. She has wonderful and creative ideas.
She also has a fantastic first grade blog called Grade ONEderful.
Grade ONEderful
To celebrate my new look, I'm having a giveaway!!
I'm giving away 2-$10 gift cards to
That means there will be 2 winners!!
All you need to do is leave a comment on this post before Wednesday (January 29) midnight (MST).
I'll select 2 winners by the good ole random generator and notify you by Thursday.
Good luck and thanks for reading my blog!

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Meet the Author and Illustrator

We had some very special visitors at our school today. Our fantastic librarian, Mrs. Adams, planned an awesome assembly for just the first and second graders. She invited the Buehners to speak to us. They are the husband and wife team that author and illustrate the cute Snowman books. I found out that you say their name with a long e- (Bean-ner). They have made 22 children's books with the Snowmen series being their latest.

It was so interesting to hear how they create a book from start to finish. They told the kids it takes over a year. They showed them sloppy copies, editor notes, thumbnail sketches, and oil painting canvases of some of their books.
They talked about how they get ideas for a book. Mr. Buehner told the kids how they came up with the idea for the snowmen series. He had built a snowman in the front yard. One morning they noticed the snowman had moved from the middle of the yard to next to the porch and now had some soup in his hand. They laughed about it for weeks before they discovered some good friends had stopped by one night to deliver a gift for a sick family member of soup and bread. When they arrived, the Buehner's house was dark because everyone had gone to bed. Seeing the cute snowman, they decided to play a practical joke on them and proceeded to move him over by the porch. Later, the Buehner's thought it would make a great story.
Cara writes the story first and then Mark gets busy with the art work. Sometimes he'll spend up to 4 weeks on just one pages by the time he sketches, makes changes, and paints it. Each picture is painted in oil paints on canvas. Just amazing.

They took time to autograph books and take pictures.
I was super excited to get this book WITTILDA. It's out of print and now it's autographed as well!
They have several great books you really should check out.
It really makes you appreciate how much work goes into making the picture books we LOVE!
Thanks Buehner's for sharing your wonderful talents!!!

Saturday, January 11, 2014


The good Lord blessed me with a few good talents but being ARTSY is NOT one of them! I can't draw a straight line let alone a circle. It might be because when I was in school, ART was not part of the curriculum. The first real art class I remember taking was in college for my elementary teaching degree. I loved it, but looking at other people's projects I soon realized I was not very good. Thank goodness my school has a wonderful art teacher and I don't have to teach it! But it's still hard being an elementary grade teacher and not being able to draw. I can really relate to my firsties when they tell me they don't know how to draw.

But I found some great books that have helped me and they are helping my kiddos too.

This is a series of books by Barbara Soloff Levy. It shows you step by step how to draw tons of objects. I found them on Here is the best part- they cost only $1.35 each. If you click on a book above, it will link you over to Amazon.
 I put them in my writer's workshop area. My kids are always grabbing them when they are illustrating their stories. I have to admit their pictures have really improved since I introduced these book. Mine too!!

Happy weekend everyone!

Friday, January 3, 2014

I Can Read...Emergent Books Packet

I just finished a packet I've wanted to do in a long time. Glad I had my holiday break to get it done.
It is 7 Emergent Phonic Reading Books.
Repetition is the key to making words automatic. These books are designed to give students that repetition and practice in a fun way. The concepts are:
Blends, Consonant Digraphs, Vowel Digraphs, Bossy R, Compound Words, Hard & Soft C, and Hard & Soft G.
 I use them after I have taught each concept in guided reading, reading centers and they are in my leveled reading boxes. I make several copies of each book. My kiddos love to practice the words over and over again.
They are easy to assemble and take only 2 pieces of paper per book. They are in full color, with fun graphics. Here you can see each page of the 1st book.
 There is a reminder page of each concept being practiced.
 There is a page without pictures so students can practice decoding.
You can check it out by clicking my shops on my side bar.
Oh and this packet will be on SALE this weekend!

Thursday, January 2, 2014

Vocabulary Spelling City

Welcome to 2014! I just know it's going to be a GREAT Year! I can feel it in 'me bones'. (Even as old and achy as they are :)

I have fallen in LOVE with VocabularySpellingCity! I really feel behind the times with this one. I've seen several posts out there on it and kind of passed over them. Because a few years ago, I checked it out, saw that it was expensive but there were a few free things you could do. So I  told my parents to go there and have the kids play games with their spelling words and that was that. But over the break I checked it out again and WOW am I missing out by not using it. I either missed all the cool things it can do for FREE or it has really updated.
Go here to check it out for yourself: Spelling City

The Premium Membership is $49.99 with lots of cool extras. But if you are a poor district and/or poor teacher like me, the FREE version has a lot to offer. 
What I didn't know was that teachers can set up a homepage for FREE. Then you can create your own spelling and vocabulary lists for your kiddos to use. And did I mention it is FREE!!!

I can assign a list with activities for homework or use it in the classroom. It can be used on computers or you can get the app for Apple, Android and Kindle devices. I'm always looking for more ways to use my Kindles and iPad in the classroom and this is a GREAT one.

Here is what my firsties see when they go to my homepage and click on my teacher list.
I've created my list for week 19 with our 4 popcorn words and 8 word family words (4 each). I customized the definitions and sentences for each word which makes it great for my firsties. 
Now my kids can choose 'Teach Me' where they will learn each word one by one. 
Then they can choose 'Play a Game' where they can pick a game to play using these words only. They can play: Hang Mouse, Word Search, Word Unscramble, Word Match, Missing Letter, Read-A-Word, Alphabetize, Sentence Unscramble (my sentences that I customized), or print a Handwriting sheet. And finally they can click 'Spelling Test' where the computer will give them a practice test. 

There are lots of Teaching Resources for teachers too. The lesson ideas, videos, and printable worksheets look fun. There are also great articles and other word list.

I have a few little ones that are struggling with some sight words. So I can make a list just for them. Then they can do the activities with their words for extra practice.

If you are one of the those bloggers that has posted about Spelling City before, I am soooo sorry I didn't read your post sooner! This is a WONDERFUL FREE Tool for teachers. I hope you won't be like me and ignore it because you thought it was too expensive. Did I mention that it's FREE!!

Thanks for stopping by. Have a great finish to your holiday break!