What Works! Teacher Appreciation Linky

I am linking up with some great teachers to share how much I appreciate teachers and all they do. I am here to share some of the great secrets that have I learned from other amazing teachers.
Read Alouds– I don’t know how big a secret it is but, it is one of the most important things I learned a long time ago. Reading to students is the best way for kids to become lifelong readers. It doesn’t matter if they are 4 or 14, kids love to be read to. I had an amazing assistant principal that loved books and reading to kids. She would come into the classrooms and read to the students with so much enthusiasm. She taught me to take time to read daily to my students just for fun. This is her dressed up as Cat in the Hat reading to my students many years ago.
Conscious Discipline– This classroom management program has made a huge difference in my teaching. It has taught me the importance of building a school family. I have learned how to better control my emotions so I can help my students with their emotions. Our district has been a huge supporter of this program. Below are some pictures of my Conscious Discipline classroom. You can learn more about this program by checking out the Conscious Discipline website.
HPIM2085    calming lotions
 school family jobs
 The first picture is of my safe place. This is a place for students to go when they are having problems controlling their emotions. The calming lotions are used to help soothe the kids when they need a little extra love. The last picture shows my kids’ jobs for the week. Every student in my class has a job. This is just a sma
So to show how much we appreciate teachers, I have joined with many other teacher bloggers to have an awesome giveaway!  Check out all the great prizes you can win. The more entries you have on the rafflecopter the more chances you have to win.
Just take a look at everything you could win…One lucky reader will win this entire prize package!!!
Prize Bundle #1 Includes
PLUS….$140 Gift Box of Fabulous Teacher Supplies sent to you from Amazon
We aren’t finished yet….take a look at everything a second lucky winner will win!!!
Prize Bundle #2 Includes
PLUS….$140 Gift Box of Fabulous Teacher Supplies sent to you from Amazon
Be sure to enter both rafflecopters for a better chance at winning one of these amazing prize bundles!
Enter to Win Prize Bundle #1 Here



Enter to Win Prize Bundle #2 Here




You won’t want to miss out on all the other great secrets being shared by successful teachers!  Be sure to check out all the other great posts below.

Thanks for stopping by!


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September 11th in the classroom

September 11th is only a few days away. As teachers, most of us still remember that day in 2001 like it was yesterday. Our world drastically changed that day and life as the way we knew it would never be the same. Our students that we are teaching in the elementary grades were not even born when this happened. They do not have that connection like we do. So how do you teach about September 11th to kids that don’t know what happened? How in depth do you go with elementary kids? I have always made it a priority to teach my elementary students about September 11th. It is shocking to me that as the years go by, some students have never even heard about September 11th or events that happened that day. Maybe it is because we live so far away from the events of that day. I believe it is our duty as educators to make sure that all students know about the importance of 9/11.

sept 11

I try to focus on the positive actions of people. There are so many great deeds that so many people did that day and the days that followed. I also believe the students should know what happened that day but, they are not ready to see all of the images. There is a great Brainpop video that discusses the events of 9/11.


There are also great read alouds that you can read to your students. I have listed some of my favorite ones.

The Man Who Walked Between the Towers – This is one of my favorite books. This story takes us back to when the towers were built. It tells the story of the great tightrope walker, Philippe Petit, that walked between the towers. At the end of the book it shows how the towers are gone but not forgotten. This is definitely a great book for all age levels. The illustrations are amazing! Laura Candler has some great activities that go with this book.

14 Cows for America – This is another amazing book about the generosity that came about after 9/11. This story is about how a small village in western Kenya gives an extraordinary gift to the American people. Suzy Red has some great activities that go along with this book. There is a reader’s theater that my kids last year loved. It was so awesome to see the kids really care about the events of 9/11.

Fireboat– This is a great book for younger kids. This is a story about an old retired fire boat that was brought back out of retirement to help put out the fires from the Twin Towers. This is inspiring story about hope. I read this to my 1st and 2nd graders for many years.

September 12th – This is a great story to read the day after September 11th. This was written by 1st grade students. Each page talks about the hope that they had the day after 9/11. It shows students that even in America’s worst moments, there is always hope. My younger students always loved this story.

September 11th is a sensitive subject but, I believe we can show kids the hope and kindness that occurred in our country due to these tragic events. What stories do you like to read about 9/11?



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Must Read Monday: Favorite Read Aloud

I am linking up with Amanda from Teaching Maddeness to share my favorite read alouds.

Must-Read Monday Linky
I switched to 3rd grade this year and my students get vote on  Bluebonnet books. So I read the some of the chapter books with them. One of my favorite books I read to them was The One and Only Ivan by Katherine Applegate.

This is a great book that one the Newberry Medal in 2013. This is about a gorilla named Ivan that has been  living in a shopping mall for over 20 years. The story is told from his point of view. He talks about his friendship with his other friends that also live in the mall. It is a heartwarming story that even had some of my students in tears. If you haven’t read this you definitely need to put this on your list.


I am currently reading one of my favorite read alouds, Sideways Stories from Wayside School by Louis Sachar. I have been reading this story to my students since I became a teacher. My kids have always loved it.

This story is about a school that was built up instead of horizontal. So the building is 30 stories tall. The story is about the classroom that is on the 30th story. Each chapter is about one of the students in the class. They are definitely an interesting bunch of children. I remember my teacher reading this book to me when I was in school. My students love it as much as I do.

Go by and check out Amanda’s site to see what she is reading. Let me know what your reading in your class.


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“Super Sale”

Teachers Notebook is having a “Super Sale” starting February 1st at 12:01 am through February 3rd at 11:59 pm . My store will be 30% off everything. Teachers Notebook is offering an extra 10% off your whole purchase. No code is needed. Make sure to come by my store and check it out.


Enjoy your weekend and enjoy the “game”!


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Cook-a-Doodle-Doo (Must Read Mentor Text)

I am linking up for the first time with Collaboration Cuties to share one of my favorite Language Arts mentor text.

Mentor Text Linky Button 2

I want to share a book with you that I have been reading for several years with my kids. The book is called Cook-a-Doodle-Doo! written by Janet Stevens.



This is fun book that is a spin-off of The Little Red Hen. The rooster in the story is using his great grandmother’s (The Little Red Hen) cookbook to make Strawberry Shortcake. The rooster has his friends help him make the Strawberry Shortcake. Of course the story takes a silly turn and the animals are hilarious. There are also sidebars on the pages that offer cooking tips and techniques.This part of the book is great to use for text features. The back page also has the recipe the rooster used to make the Strawberry Shortcake.

I read this to my second graders every year as an introduction to procedural text. This is a great book to show the importance of following directions. There are a lot of transitional words such as, first, next, and then. After I finish reading the book we discuss what would happen if the animals did not follow the directions in the correct order. We discuss that a recipe is a procedural text that must be read carefully and done in the correct order.

I then give the students a recipe for cupcakes that I got from a great website called The Virtual Vine. She has a great recipe that is easy to make. You can download the recipe and activity by clicking on the cupcake picture.

Christmas Cupcake_10




We look at the recipe and talk about what we are going to do. I have 2-3 students come to the back table and we make the cupcakes while the other students are answering the questions. It is really easy to make the cupcakes. Make sure you have an electric skillet with a lid. I line all of the Dixie cups (with the students name on the cup) in the skillet and put the top on for 15 minutes. ( Different flavors of cake mix may take more time.) The room smells so good! The kids love making their own cupcakes. There is also a great comprehension page that goes along with the recipe.

cupcakerecipeandas_Page_1Cook-a-Doodle-Doo also has some homophones and homographs in the story. This is what confuses some of the animals while making the cake. I have an activity that goes along with the story that I use that deals with the multiple word meaning. If you are interested go check out a preview of the activity in my TPT store.


I hope you read Cook-a-Doodle-Doo to your class and make the cupcakes. It is really a lot of fun!

mentor text sign


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Favorite Thanksgiving Books

I am going to share with you five of  my favorite Thanksgiving books to read the week before Thanksgiving. I really enjoy doing fun Thanksgiving activities throughout the week. The kids also love listening to the Thanksgiving stories.

Thanksgiving scene_colorgraphics by A Sketchy Guy

#1 Thanksgiving at the Tappletons by  Eileen Spinelli- This is a story about all the trouble that come along with fixing Thanksgiving dinner. The turkey goes sliding out the door and the other holiday foods get ruined in humorous ways. So what do the Tappletons do? They eat a nontraditional meal for dinner.

I really like the older version of the story with people instead of wolves. After reading the book we would make No Bake Pumpkin Pies. I would put the recipe on the overhead and the students would copy it for their recipe book. Click on the title for the recipe.

#2 A Turkey for Thanksgiving by Eve Bunting- This is a fun story about having a turkey for Thanksgiving dinner. Mr. Moose goes out looking for a turkey to have for Thanksgiving dinner. The rest of Mr. Moose’s friends come along for the journey.  Mr. Moose finds Turkey and brings him home for dinner. After getting to the Moose’s home, Turkey realizes he is a guest and not the dinner.

#3 Thanksgiving by Gail Gibbons- This is great nonfiction book that gives facts about Thanksgiving. There are facts about the Pilgrims and Native Americans. Gibbons also describes traditions we have with Thanksgiving.

#4 Thank You, Sarah: The Woman Who Saved Thanksgiving by Laurie Anderson- This book is about Sarah Hale and her persistent pursuit in making Thanksgiving a national holiday. It took her 38 years of letter writing to get Thanksgiving recognized as a national holiday. This is an easy book to read for young students.

#5 Twas the Night Before Thanksgiving by Dav Pilkey- This story mimics the Night Before Christmas. It is a fun story about some kids that go on a field trip to Farmer Mac Nugget’s turkey farm. The kids realize what is going to happen to the turkeys and sneak them home with them. My kids always love hearing this story!

After reading the story we do a turkey story map. Click on the image below to get a copy of my turkey story map. If you like this activity, I also have a Thanksgiving Turkey Unit that includes this story map and other turkey activities.

turkey story map

Freebie Fridays

I hope you have a great Thanksgiving! What are some of your favorite Thanksgiving books? Share in the comments section.


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Fairy Tale Activities

Fairy Tales are so much fun to teach! I  really enjoy doing different fairy tale activities. I use the fairy tales written by James Marshall to teach plot, theme, and comparing different fairy tales.

James Marshall has some great fairy tales. There are 4 different ones that I like to read to my class. Scholastic has also made videos for all of these stories and you can find most them on  United Streaming.

There are some great activities you can do with these stories. After I read each story I do some type of story map with each story. The story map is a great way to review plot by listing the main characters, setting, problem, solution, and theme. This is a picture of the one I do with Hansel and Gretel.

fairy tales unit_Page_18 hansel and gretel

I also talk a lot about how the fairy tales are the same and different. I have a comparing activity that the students do after I read The Three Little Pigs and Goldilocks and the Three Bears. Below is a copy of the comparing diagram along with directions.

comparing fairy talesThese are just a few of the activities I do with James Marshall’s fairy tale books. Here is a preview of my fairy tales unit.

fairy tale preview

If you are interested in these activities you can purchase them at my store.

fairy tale activities

What type of activities do you do with fairy tales?


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Book Talk Thursday


I have linked up with Reading Toward the Stars  for a weekly book talk.  I am going to review a great teacher resource book called Math Work Stations  by Debbie Diller.

This book is essential if you are wanting to begin math work stations in your classroom. The setup of the book is very easy to use. The first chapter explains what a math work station is and what it looks like in the classroom. Diller writes, ” math stations allow you to differentiate  for the various levels within your classroom”. I know that I have seen the huge differentiation of levels in my classroom the past several years. It is not beneficial to teach the same lesson to the whole classroom the same way for me anymore. My high kids are bored and my low kids shut down because they don’t understand it. Math work stations have been very beneficial for me because, I can work with small groups of children while the other kids are doing math stations.

This book also explains how to get organized  and get started with math stations. The first step that Diller says to do is to sort your stuff. She gives step by step instructions on what to do. She also has lots of pictures to see what to do. I think the hardest part of this for me was to purge (which is her 2nd step). I seem to hold on to things thinking I might need that one day. Just like most teachers do. In order for your math stations to be successful you really have to be organized with your manipulatives.

The best part of this book is that Diller lists by chapter the different types of work stations you can have in the classroom. She lists the games, directions,  and materials needed for the different types of math concepts. She also has pictures of students playing the games.

The book is for grades K-2 but, the games can easily be modified for older grades. She has beginning number concepts, addition and subtraction, place value, geometry, and measurement work stations.  She also has a picture glossary in the back of the book with all the math materials that she uses in math stations. The appendix has all the types of forms that she used in the games listed in the book.

So if you are just getting started with math stations this is definitely a book to get. It’s a great book to get during the summer so, when you get back to school you have an idea of what you need to do to get your room ready. Hope you enjoy this book as much as I have!




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Teachers Care for Oklahoma

teachers care for oklahoma

Teachers Care for Oklahoma is a fundraiser that was started by TeachersPayTeachers sellers. After news broke about the tornado that ravaged Moore, Oklahoma, including two of the elementary schools,  many TPT sellers wanted to do something. So some came up with the idea to put together resources to sell to raise money.

There are 4 separate bundles of great activities and resources. There are 2 bundles for k-2 age groups and 2 bundles for 3-6 age groups which includes clipart. Each bundle is valued at over $100. It is available for $25. They are only available until Monday, June 3rd, 2013.  100% of the proceeds for this fundraising event is being collected by TPT, and will be distributed by check to the appropriate Moore Oklahoma School District Representative earmarked to specifically aid the teachers as they begin the process of rebuilding.

Click on each picture to go to direct link.

Teachers Care for Oklahoma Fundraiser ~ K-2 Bundle 1 ~ EL      Teachers Care for Oklahoma Fundraiser ~ K-2 Bundle 2 ~ EL     ** Teachers Care for Oklahoma Fundraiser, 3-6 with Clipart     ** Teachers Care for Oklahoma Fundraiser, 3-6 with Clipar



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Top Ten’s Children’s Books for the Classroom Part 3


These are my top 3 favorite children’s books to use for teaching our grade level standards. It was difficult to pick my favorite. If you ask my class they will tell  you all of the books I read to them are my favorite!  If you didn’t get to see part 1 or part 2 please go by and check them out.




The Gingerbread Girl by Lisa Campbell Ernst is a great book for teaching story structure. I love all of the Gingerbread books but, this is my favorite one. It is the Gingerbread Boy’s sister. Even though she is just as mischievous as her brother she is a much smarter cookie! She still runs away from everyone and ends up at the same river with the same fox as her brother. It does end differently than the original. This story can also be used for sequencing. It is also good for comparing the original fairy tale to this alternate version.


Baloney(Henry P.) is another book written by the great Jon Scieszka. He is such a great author and this book is no exception. This book is about an alien that is late for szkola again. He goes on to tell this outrageous tale about why he was late. The whole book is filled with words like szkola. You have to use context clues to figure out what the words mean. The words are written in twenty different languages.

My favorite book of all time to read to my kids is….

The Lorax by Dr. Seuss is awesome! I always read this book on Earth Day to my students. I know everyone knows this book but my kids love for me to read it to them. It is a great book to use for cause and effect. It is also a wonderful story to discuss pollution and it’s effect on our world. even has a section on their website called The Lorax Project that have activities, games, and more information.

I hope you found my list helpful.  If you missed the other 2 parts click the link below to read them.

Top Ten Books Part 1
Top Ten Books Part 2

Did I miss any of your favorite books? Please comment below any books that would be on your list. I would love to check them out!


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