We're HAPPY so let's have a GIVEAWAY

I am SO excited to share that I hit a little TpT milestone I set for myself. NO, it isn't the big 20K one. Yet. I think I'll be dancing on my rooftop when I hit that one. No, this is just a little one but nonetheless I am still quite excited. To celebrate I wanted to share a little giveaway. Above my door is a little sign that says, "because we're happy". I am REALLY happy so I need to share! Since so many of you are the reason I was able to achieve this little milestone, I want to thank you. I am giving away a $10 TpT gift certificate and my Magic Tree House NO PREP (ELA) Books 1-5 BUNDLE. This is a $28 value all coming your way!! Fill out the rafflecopter below for your chance to win! Thank you for all you do for our kids. EACH and EVERY DAY. I am so inspired by teachers. The more of you I meet the more I am blown away. Have a wonderful week and I can't wait to send this giveaway to one of you!! Good luck!!
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Twin Towers Tribute: Patriot Day Activity

I realize I am a little late getting to this but I feel like I am finally catching my breath since school started. Please tell me I am not the only one. I see other people posting beautiful blogs within the first week of school and I was dying. I was so busy filling in bubbles for our GRADE test, juggling Dibels, staff meetings, grade level meetings, sorting through contact information, and trying to keep my sanity.

I have wanted this book for years and I recently got my hands on a copy of "The Man Who Walked Between the Towers". My class was mesmerized when I read it. I honestly had no intentions of doing a writing project about this but sometimes my best ideas come from spur of the moment thinking.


We had read about the Statue of Liberty and how it was a gift from the French nearly 100 years after we signed the Declaration of Independence. My kids made the connection between the Statue of Liberty and Philippe Petit who walked between the towers: both were done by the French.

I struggle talking about 9-11. I feel torn between wanting to tell my kids how terrified I was the day those towers fell. I was in high school. I remember watching my teachers try to comfort us and keep their composure. I remember being picked up by my mom in a panic. I don't think I've ever watched the news so intently. The plane that landed in Somerset was not far from my home. It was gut retching. My students were not alive for any of this. I am actually teaching them about history that I was a part of before their time.

I tried to direct their attention to not only the terrible actions that were inflicted on our nation that day but the positive moments the towers brought in the past. We worked on writing a simplistic informational piece on the man who walked over 1,000 feet in the air with a 28 foot pole.

I was so impressed with their writing. I always make my students try writing on their own first. I won't help them until they have made an attempt on their own. Once they think their sloppy copy is ready for the final drafting stage, they have a mini conference with me. We discuss what they did well, what they should improve upon, and then get their "fancy" copy.

For it only being the 2nd full week of school, I was really proud of how well they did. I'd love to hear what you do/did for Patriot Day!

Teacher Hack

I always feel like I read all of these amazing tips and ideas from other people and want to smack myself in the forehead. Like, "Why didn't I think of that?" Does anyone else feel that as they stalk follow their favorites on Pinterest, Instagram, and ugh all of the other social media sites that hog up space on my phone, laptop, and anywhere wifi is available??

Well, I am pleased to share my own little teacher hack!!

Happy dance. Happy dance.

The best part? It's under a buck.

I know what you are thinking. No way. There's a catch. No seriously.

My local Wal-Mart has become my "getting out" lately. I'm grimacing as I write this because I know I have now jumped head first into that 25 and over age group, married, with kids. But seriously. I cannot tell you how pleased I am when I scan my code on my receipt and get a little message saying I got money back on my Savings Catcher app!! (If you haven't signed up for Wal-Mart Savings Catcher...DO. IT. TODAY. You won't regret it, I promise!)

Oh, that hack idea? You still with me?

I was in the office/stationary section and was looking for any clearance back to school items for my kids and came across this tiny container. My first thought was, "What the heck would someone do with a container that small??" Then it hit me. I am always tossing my flash drives into bags, my laptop bag, and sitting on my table next to my bed. This container holds about 6 (give or take) flash drives securely The sides flip down to unlock and it came in 2 different colors. I am in love with this thing and it was $0.88. I told you it was a steal.

I would love to hear any of your cheap teacher hacks!! Enjoy your Sunday evening my friends!!

Pittsburgh Blogger Meet Up & GIVEAWAY

Hey ya'll so recently I was able to join an amazing group of local ladies to discuss one of my obsessions: TEACHERS PAY TEACHERS. If these 3 little words ring a bell than you will understand why a couple gals from Pittsburgh didn't make it to Vegas this summer for the big conference. If you don't know what TPT is than I'll fill you in super quick. TPT is an amazing website where teachers (yes teachers not corporations) are able to upload lessons, units, ideas and strategies that they use and have had success in their classroom and GET PAID. There are thousands of sellers worldwide and some have been so successful they have earned over a million dollars. Ok, there are only a few who made that much but seriously, isn't that just amazing? Teachers Pay Teachers

Wow. So, I connected with a few girls on a PA Tribe via Facebook (Any sellers who are reading this should consider finding a tribe that fits their grade level/state. It is a great way to connect with people in your area.)

Believe me, I so wanted to go to Vegas this summer but with 2 little guys, an expensive plane ticket, and not really knowing anyone I didn't take the plunge. When I found Laura from Create by The Creative Art Teacher I was over the moon excited that she wanted to try a Pittsburgh meet up! Yay, I could drive and make it home in a few hours. It didn't hurt that I could do a little early Christmas shopping beforehand! I love TJ Maxx and Marshalls!!

So let's chat about my new friends. Laura is an amazing clip art designer @ Create by The Creative Art Teacher. Sara @ Lovin' Little Learners is quite near and dear to my heart since she is a kindergarten teacher and I spent the first 5 years of my career in kindergarten. Amy @ 180 Days of Reading works in K-2 reading (obviously!!) and has some awesome things in her store for $0.50!

It was amazing to hear how each of these girls started their stores, their triumphs and let's face it...what didn't work for them. I don't know of anyone in my district or any of my teacher friends who are bloggers/sellers so I was thrilled to bounce ideas off these gals. They are all amazing and the best part is we all complimented each other so well. Laura has the art background, Amy is the reading specialist, and Sara and I both teach primary.

I left with a happy heart, inspired mind, new friends, and SWAG! Yes, seriously Laura was able to get several sponsors for our little get together. I was so thrilled she was on top of this since I was busy setting up my new classroom. After 9 straight days, I had little time for anything else. If you visit Laura's blog you can find out more about all of our sponsors.

Oh, that giveaway I mentioned before?? We are giving away one of 5 swag bags AND a $25 Sit Spots Gift Card & Classroom Pencil Sharpeners (Grand Prize is a $50 value!!) Sadly, I am not able to enter but YOU CAN! I know my school budget is blown. I mean low!!! I'm sure you could benefit from this great giveaway.

I'd encourage you to hop on over and check out these lovely ladies blogs also! Feel free to check out their amazing stores. Laura is giving away clip art as part of the swag bag!

Enter the rafflecopter for YOUR chance to win before it is too late!! Did I mention it was a $50 value?? Wahoo!!

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Non Fiction Reading Center


I know my kids love nonfiction reading but it is definitely more challenging vocabulary and concepts. Trying to maintain their enthusiasm and encourage them to read as much nonfiction in my classroom, I decided to enlist the help from my Scholastic Weekly Readers.

Now, before you ask, NO I do not purchase these on my own. My building purchases these for each classroom. I don't know how much they cost but I am sure you could ask if these could be purchased for a grade level for a discounted price. There was a Science Spin we did get one year as a promotion but we haven't used it for a few years.

When I first started second grade, I saw a colleague pulling out a large stack of weekly readers. Ever the curious one, I asked what she used them for. She told me she used them in a reading center to practice text features, vocabulary and social studies/science skills.

Of course this was a fantastic idea so I decided to try this in my room. I simply save 1-2 from each set per month (typically there are 4 per month) and that gives you quite a pile at the end of the school year.

I throw them in the laminator and they are good to go. The greatest part is the kids can use a dry erase marker to search for text features like:
  • title
  • heading
  • bold faced word
  • map
  • picture
  • caption

Or they can answer the questions on the back page in a center. Students can use these for research reports, fluency, the list is quite endless when you start thinking of the many ways these can be used. My suggestion is make sure the lamination is thick so they last for a few years before having to relaminate!!

Have a wonderful weekend my friends!