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Airborne Everyday Giveaway!

I was recently contacted by Airborne, eager to spread the word about their newest daily multivitamin with immune support. I don't often agree to work with companies that aren't directly linked to education in some way, but I was intrigued so I agreed. I have been compensated with free product but the opinions are mine.

What I did not know is that I was getting GUMMIES! I am a huge fan of gummy anything, so I was super excited about trying them. I've thought about buying them in the past, but I'm pretty notorious for buying vitamins and supplements and letting them go to waste. I opened them up and tried them right away and was very pleasantly surprised! Although they are different colors, they all seem to have the same citrus flavor. They are sugar coated so they start off quite sweet and then finish with a tart grapefruit flavor. I've actually reached for an extra gummy before stopping to remind myself that they are vitamins, and I’ve had my daily dose!

The thing I really love about the Airborne Everyday Gummies besides the great flavor and fun factor is the fact that I can just pop a couple in my mouth without water which is especially helpful at school. I can honestly say that this is the first time in my life that I've actually taken any sort of vitamin on a regular basis and I can see it becoming a habit that I can easily stick with. As busy teachers, coaches, moms, spouses, it’s easy to forget to take care of ourselves when we’re always taking care of someone else. Remembering to keep our own healthy habits in check is really the most important thing we can do for all those who depend on us.

Here's the fun part. I get to give away a bottle of Airborne Everyday Gummies to 3 lucky readers. Leave a comment on this blog post and tell me what you think of Airborne Everyday Gummies and how they can help you better support your immune system. Winners will be chosen by random number generator from comments on this blog post which must be entered by Wednesday, April 15 Midnight EST.

Good luck!

National Foot Check Day...EPIC April Fools Idea!

I'm learning that after you pull an epic April Fool's Day prank, word spreads. Sometimes you have kids that have heard tales of the prank from older siblings, sometimes other well meaning teachers play your prank before you have a chance with your own kids. Such has been the case for the last two years when with my Lirpaloof Bird Hunt. It was all kinds of awesome, but it became really clear to me that it was time to leave it behind me and search for something new. So I did. And it was incredible!

I have to give credit to Tina Miller inspiring this one. She mentioned the general idea and then I took it to the extreme. 

So many little things lined up to make this work. It was kind of amazing - like the Universe was totally in on the joke. Let me walk you through the day:

As the kids walked in to the room, I noticed one of my little guys hobbling down the hall with an orthopedic boot on. It took me a few minutes to realize that this was his April Fool's prank. And it was my perfect opening. I said, "Oh man. I guess you won't be able to have your foot check today."
He looked a bit panicked, but hobbled in shifting his limp from left foot to right. He caved after about 15 minutes and confessed to me quietly that he didn't really break his foot and that he'd be able to have his feet checked after all. We agreed that he'd tell everybody right before the foot check that it was a joke. Perfect.

Then our math special teacher came to our room because the older kids were testing. And guess what she had the kids do... they measured their FEET! Thank you, Universe! I told her quietly about our upcoming foot check and she managed to work it into her lesson. Rock on!

So, when it was time to do the deal, I called them to the carpet for the day's read aloud which was What if you had Animal Feet?  Great book, by the way.


I explained that today was National Foot Check Day for all second graders, and just like when they had their vision and hearing checked, today a doctor would come in and make sure that their feet were growing correctly for their age and height. I reminded them that their parents returned the form giving permission at the beginning of the year. I explained that the doctor would just come in, ask them to spread their toes as wide as they could and then measure their feet.

Then I gave them the handout that explained the whole thing and we read it together. Click HERE to download a copy.

I passed out baby wipes and we cleaned our feet really well. I mean, let's have a little consideration for the podiatrist. Who wants to touch 20 pairs of stinky, dirty feet? So we took off our shoes and socks and got to work cleaning up!

After cleaning up, we put our feet up on the tables so that they'd stay clean and the doctor could just quickly make his way around the room. I told them to tell the doctor if anything had been hurting them lately and to try to remember if they'd ever injured their feet before. Their discussions were completely serious. I told them to practice spreading out their toes as wide as they could so that the doctor wouldn't have to do it (because sometimes that can hurt a little). Look at their faces as they're spreading out those toes!

We waited like this for a bit. Some of us were more relaxed than others...

I honestly had to turn my face to the board a few times because I thought I was going to lose it more than once. When I couldn't take it any more, I spilled the beans. Their reaction was priceless! They totally fell for it! I mean, who checks their feet?? lol!


No Sweat, EZ Prep Centers

Full Disclosure: I'm resurrecting the beginning of this this post from a while ago when I first introduced my EZ Prep See-it Centers, but come on. It's a good one right? 

{For effect, please read the following in your best infomercial announcer voice}

Are you tired of spending hours laminating and cutting materials for centers? Have you gone through endless reams of card stock and too many ink cartridges to count? (you're doing the voice, aren't you? good. Keep going. And imagine a very exasperated teacher blowing her hair out of her eyes)

Do your children run in the opposite direction when you enter the room with arm loads of lamination that needs to be cut? Are you constantly struggling to find the right organizational system to keep track of little cards, stamps, manipulatives, baskets, buckets and envelopes you need to keep your materials together? (Now imagine a very harried looking teacher surrounded by game pieces, various baskets, bags, envelopes, etc. who looks at you and says "There's got to be a better way!")

Ok, before you change the channel. I'll get to the point ;) After spending about 2 hours printing, cutting laminating and sorting things for the upcoming week, I honestly started to think there has got to be a better way! Now at the same time,  I've been mulling over the fact that we were recently told by a common core implementation team that we need to bump up the rigor of our independent centers. I honestly can't argue with them there.

So true story, later that night while in the shower, inspiration struck me like a thunderbolt! I think I figured out a way to make at least some of my centers easier to prep while providing both rigor and engaging activities for the kids. I'm calling them EZ Prep See-it Centers. EZ Prep for you, See-it for the kids. All you have to do is print out ONE page for the center and and answer sheet for the kids - and done! This is from the preview, it explains the whole idea. You can download the preview here.

Since that original post, I've created EZ Prep Centers for  Beach and CampingFall,  Winter FunBowling and Day at the Park, Pirate Adventure and Undersea Fantasy and a FREE Back to School version.

Here's a peek at my newest set, which happens to be my favorite. It's a great one to use at any point in the year and it's going to captivate both boys and girls with the fantasy scenes.

All you have to do is make one color copy of the scene you decide to work with first and then copy the ELA or Math answer sheet for the kids. That's it! Each set contains 2 ELA and 2 Math centers, so really if you use one a week, it will last you all month. These also work great for an early finisher activity. I also have one in my emergency sub folder with the directions to project the scene and let the kids collaborate on the answer sheet. That, by the way, is a great method to introduce the centers to the kids for the first time.

Along with the scene and answer sheets for the kids, I've also created answer keys for you with possible answers. These are really valuable to help you train the kids for how to find what they're looking for. It may be odd at first for a kid to try to list 10 verbs they see when there are no words in the picture! They pick it up fast though and this center has a ridiculously high engagement factor compared to matching cards and writing sets of answers.

Hope you dig this idea as much as I do. I'd love to know what you think!

Tardy to the Valentine Party!

I'm pretty much a professional procrastinator. So just in case we're kindred spirits, I've got some fun, free stuff you might be able to use this week. Or you know, next year...

I've shared most of this before, so you may already have it. Sometimes you just need to see it again to jog your memory. I made one big file with everything you see below so you don't have to click click here, click click there, here a click, there a click...well - you get it.  So click here (last time, promise)

These task cards make great discussion starters or writing prompts.

Everything you need to play this subtraction game is included - you'll just need some extra counter manipulatives or bottle caps.

These make a SUPER fast and cheap gift for your kids.
 Cut them out and stick them to a ruler and call it done!

Use this holiday themed word work for a bell ringer or homework.

Of course - BUMP is back for February!

See this post to learn a bit more about this February word shaker. So fun!
And in the non-free department for this month, my February Math Mats are ready! I know I'm partial because I made these and all, but seriously they are so easy to prep and really provide the kids with some great practice. See the second grade set here and first grade here.
I would have had this post up earlier, but I spent this past weekend in North Carolina working with some of my amazing friends and the team at Carson Dellosa. More on that really soon.

Happy Hearts & Flowers Day, my friends!

Blogging about some new things "under the sun"

So when I had my blog redesigned last year, I specifically asked Michelle to add this phrase to the scrolling bar at the top:

Back then, I had the idea to incorporate more "lifestyle" ideas into my teaching blog. I tossed around the idea of starting a whole different blog,  but then decided to first dip my toes in the water here instead. Surely I'm crazy because I do NOT live in a Pinterest perfect home or claim for one second to be a fashion diva. I'm certainly not one to hand out fitness advice and I don't have children of my own adorably wrapped up in ruffle-butt outfits with big bouncy bows on their heads. Though I try, I am not a great photographer and I will probably not dazzle with you with fancy angles and perfect lighting in my close up shots of household decor. Boy, I'm really selling myself here, huh?

So, what do I have to offer?  Well, I'm just a real life teacher keepin' it real. I struggle to keep a clean-ish house. I drink entirely too much coffee. Occasionally, I lock myself in my craft cave for hours on end. I have recently become a subscription box junkie. I'm a late bloomer when it comes to experimenting with make up and jewelry (well, the 80's don't count. I inhaled too much hairspray during that era to be held accountable for those decisions). I alternate between being on a diet and dining out at some fantastic restaurant to reward myself for said diet (I know. I know...) I'm addicted to the Food Network. I have every kitchen gadget known to man including a Veggetti and I'm on a quest to actually use them before they become antiques. I do have a pretty fantastic husband with whom I love to take little trips (and naps). I'm trying to embrace my "curvy girl' status and break through my selfie-phobia. In my old age, I'm trying to be kinder to myself and forgive my flaws and love myself a little more.  I watch super random shows when I have the TV to myself {Hoarders, True Tori, Intervention, My Strange Addiction, 90 Day Fiance}  I love memes, but not mimes - they're actually quite annoying.  I'm fluent in sarcasm and I live pretty passionately.  I've never been accused of being graceful. I'm a former band nerd. The nerd part kind of stuck. Above all else, I try to cherish every imperfect day and find humor it in all. And sometimes I just want to share all of that with you! After 21 years of teaching and 4 years of blogging pretty consistently, it feels like the right time to branch out and share a little more of the real me. I'm stepping out from behind the teacher's desk and asking you to walk with me my real life. How does that sound?

It's like we've been "work friends" for a few years now and now it's time to get more personal. The primary focus of my blog will continue to be teaching, but I think writing about things that inspire me in other areas will add some new life to this little blog of mine. 

Much of this stems from trends I've noticed on Instagram. It seems that the pictures with the most comments and interaction are usually those that are more "me" and less "school". I find that I do the same with people I follow.  I love to write, always have. It's one of the reasons I started blogging in the first place. I still get excited to post about my classroom, but I feel more "me" when I'm writing about my real life. Plus after four years of blogging about my classroom, it's getting a little difficult to find new ways to show what's going on. Unless I changed everything I do every year, there's bound to be some repetition, which explains my inconsistent and lackluster blogging of late.

I already feel so much more like "me" writing this post. I'm not trying to sell something or myself and I'm just chatting with some old friends. I hope you enjoyed the visit and I'll see you again real soon.

Math Practice and a "Super" sale!

Hello, my friends! Anyone out there? It seems like less and less people are connecting over blogs and more of us are connecting over Instagram. I do it myself. Seems like I rarely have the time or inclination to go search out a blog, but I certainly do have time to flip though my Insta feed. You know - at a red light, in the line at the grocery store, at faculty meetings. Oh wait, not at faculty meetings. At faculty meetings all of my undivided attention is on the important information being shared. ;) Actually, our faculty meetings are not bad. And they're not all that frequent or long. And plus we don't have reliable wireless internet connection in the media center, so I'm for sure not flipping through Instagram at faculty meetings. I have to say, my principal loves social media as much as I do, so he's probably scrolling and posting to Insta during the meetings himself! I know. I'm lucky. He's pretty awesome. If we're not connected yet on Insta, feel free to join me. Find my profile here. And if you want, you can find my principal here . He's on Twitter here. He tweets a lot of good info and all of his posts make me even more thankful to work for him.

Ok, so on to some new stuff. I've recently finished my February Math Mats. I started these back in October and I've been using them every month. I love them because they're quick and easy to prep and get into the hands of my kids. No cutting and sorting and organizing. If I'm feeling particularly lazy busy I don't even laminate them. I just stick them in a page protector and call it done! I've been very careful to research standards and pacing for first and second grade to be sure that the skill on each set align as close as I can to what's typically taught in each grade during each month. Of course, we're not all on the exact same page, but it should be pretty close. I love the red and black theme for February. And the little bunting. And the hearts & polka dots! Squee!! I'm such a sucker for cute. But cute without substance is just a darn waste of cute. So be sure that there's lots of substance and rigor and standards and such in these little mats too. Click on the pix to see them on TpT.

You can find the other mats here:

I've been asked about bundling the mats. I will for sure bundle them when they're all done. I don't want to start a growing bundle because the pressure of that kind of freaks me out!

In other math news, I created some addition practice pages that are just simple and straightforward. Sometimes I just want plain, old practice for my kids. Oddly enough, that's a little hard to find! This pack includes 2 computation practice pages and one problem solving page for 2 digit with and without regrouping, 3 digits without regrouping, with regrouping once, and regrouping twice. I did have a suggestion to add some mixed practice and I'm working on that. Besides being great for classwork and homework, this pack can also help you differentiate and assess. Click on the picture to see it on TpT. A subtraction set is in the works, but still a while away from being done.

I've been waiting to hear about a big site-wide sale on TpT, but no news yet, so I'm going to join some other sellers and throw my own! Tomorrow (Super Bowl Sunday) only. I know I'll be shopping while fake-watching the game...

This is Your win a Xyron Machine!

I have been raving about my Xyron machine forever. It really is an amazing little thing, so when my blogging buds over at Owl-ways be Inspired decided to have an awesome New Year's giveaway bash, I knew exactly what I wanted to pick as my prize! Yup, this is YOUR year to own a Xyron Machine!

Enter with this Rafflecopter widget below:

I'm not the only one giving way a something awesome, so are most of the Owl blog authors. Be sure to check out the blog to see what else you can win and to enter to win the grand prize of a $100 Amazon gift card! But hurry, the giveaway ends January 3rd.

Best wishes for an incredibly Happy New Year!

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