Sunday, December 1, 2013

Cyber Monday TpT SALE!

Well, it has been way too long!  Life happened, and Courtney and I have truly had our hands full since our last post. 

Just a quick post to remind you that Teachers Pay Teachers is having their Cyber Monday SALE! 

Visit either of my TpT stores this Monday or Tuesday to save 28%!

Thanks to Krista Wallden from Creative Clips for the wonderful add pic.

Courtney and I promise to be back real soon to post some going-ons...

All the best!

Saturday, October 19, 2013

Fabulous Finds Friday, October 18, 2013 -- A Day Late!

So sorry we are late with our Fabulous Finds Friday.  It has been that kind of week...

The first find we would like to share was found by Courtney last weekend when she took advantage of the Barnes & Noble Teacher Appreciation Sale in our area.  She found these fabulous Scholastic A True Book Series.  She purchased Polar Mammals, Walt Disney, and Sam Walton.  They are a great addition to her classroom library.  Each is priced at $6.99, yet they were buy 2 get one free plus 25% off with the sale.  You might want to check to see if there is a sale going on in your area...

The other find both Courtney and I found, but we had not even discussed our find with one another.  Great minds think alike! :0)  Wendell Minor's How Big Could Your Pumpkin Grow? is a must have!

Synopsis from Every year, giant pumpkin contests take place at fairs across the country—the 2012 record-holder weighed over a ton! The latest craze is to carve the most enormous pumpkins into racing boats. But what’s next? Why not think really big? Award-winning artist Wendell Minor does just that as he imagines larger-than-life pumpkins decorating some of America’s favorite places—as immense as the Capitol dome, Mount Rushmore, the Brooklyn Bridge, even the Grand Canyon! This celebration of famous landmarks and landscapes plays with concepts of size and scale and is full of fun facts.

What a great picture book for teaching about adjectives this time of year as well.  Take a look at two of the beautiful pages from inside the book.

Visit Wendell Minors website to learn more about this phenomenal artist and writer.  You are sure to be taken with him and his creations, if you aren't already.

We would love for you to link up for Fabulous Finds Friday!

Have a wonderful weekend!

Friday, October 11, 2013

Fabulous Finds Friday - October 11, 2013

Just a few finds today for Fabulous Finds Friday...

How to Grow Pumpkins: Libby's Pumpkins

Found this fun and educational video on YouTube---Growing Pumpkins with Libby.  We just happen to teach next door to Morton, Illinois, the Pumpkin Capital of the World, and home of Libby's Pumpkin.  You know that famous canned pumpkin you use this time of year to make those delicious recipes?  This video chronicles the journey of Libby pumpkins from seed to can--not just seed to pumpkin.  Not to mention, the kids get to listen to/watch a young reporter on location in the fields and factory.  A wonderful learning experience!

Mixed Media Pumpkins

Photo Courtesy of The Artist Woman

Looking for an art idea for next week? I found this wonderful art idea on The Artist Woman's blog--Mixed Media Pumpkins.  What a wonderful process for the kids to go through, and the products are unique, yet timely.  We used torn brown lunch bags, yellow streamers, and torn magazines. We also used liquid tempera paint instead of cake tempera. 

The first step was to adhere strips of each type of paper to the paper with brushed on glue.

Then students painted their papers with orange tempera once dried.

I will be posting pictures of the kids' finished pumpkins next week...  Can't wait!

Number Jugglers

Courtney "found" this oldie-but-goodie when looking through her math material tubs.  Upon finding it, she realized it was actually a book that was shared with her at a workshop the summer before last.  She was pleasantly surprised to find this jewel--a set that she has had since she student taught many moons ago.  It is actually still available new and used on  A great collection of math games to help build number sense.

Thanks for flying over today!  Have a splendid weekend!

Friday, October 4, 2013

Fabulous Finds Friday -- October 4, 2013

Life Cycle of a Pumpkin

Here are some great finds for teaching kids about the life cycle of a pumpkin!

Now, I have A LOT of books--so this is something I "found" among the oodles of books I have in the classroom; a book I had totally forgotten about. It's always been available for students to read, but it's not one that I have taken out and read aloud to my students.  It is one of the wonderful books in the Let's Read and Find Out Science series--From Seed to Pumpkin by Wendy Pfeffer.  It will come in handy next week--a great example of informational text that models a scientific process.

This is a fun and quick crafty idea I found on Making Learning Fun--a pumpkin life cycle bracelet. You can download a step-by-step printable so students can independently make their own bracelet.  These will be a wonderful review of the process, but it will also be excellent for students to use when retelling and writing about the process of a pumpkin's development from seed to pumpkin. Photo courtesy of Making Learning Fun.

Another great find--Lita Lita's Pumpkin Life Cycle Fold and Learn.  Perfect!  ONLY $1.20 in her TpT store!

Text Talk Lessons

Courtney recently found this one and shared it with our teaching team. This wonderful PDF file contains Text Talk Lessons, an approach to read alouds, shared by the Utah State Office of Education.  101 texts and lessons are included in this resource--a MUST download! Photo courtesy of Utah State Office of Education.

We hope you find this week's finds as FABULOUS as we do!

ALSO--don't forget to take advantage of my new FREEBIE--Candy Corn Odds & Evens! Just visit my TpT store to download!

Have a fabulous Friday!

Wednesday, October 2, 2013

Odd and Even Math Center FREEBIE & New Graphics!

Just a quick post tonight to share a free math center and some new graphics...

Head on over to my TpT store to download Candy Corn Odds & Evens!

Courtney was in need of some simple Halloween graphics, so I whipped some up for her.  You can check them out in my Graphics by Sarah Beth TpT store...


Here are some other goodies I created...

Friday is just around the corner! Enjoy the rest of your week...

Thursday, September 26, 2013

Fabulous Finds Friday -- September 27, 2013

Today is Fabulous Finds Friday! Time to share some great finds...

There's a Dragon in My Art Room

I actually found this fabulous website earlier this summer, but I just sat down this week to continue browsing the WONDERFULLY CREATIVE ideas that are overflowing on There's a Dragon in My Art Room.  Phyl, a retired art teacher of 36 years, shares the amazing masterpieces created by students of all ages.  I was especially taken with the Slavadore Dali mustache portraits created by her second graders. I am always thrilled to find art websites/blogs.  Fly over and check this one out!

 Photo Credit: There's a Dragon in My Art Room 
Place Value Bull's Eye

A couple of days ago I was did a generic search for place value base ten activities and I stumbled upon Place Value Bull's Eye shared by Natalie and Rachelle from What the Teacher Wants!--a post from way back in 2011.

Loved this easy prep way to practice place value, so I whipped up some bull's eyes to coordinate with the place value arrows we use in the classroom.  We played a table-top version with ten regular sized paperclips.  The gist--the kids drop paperclips onto the bull's eye and then record the number of 1s, 10s, and 100s on their recording sheet.  Then students write the number in expanded form.  You can find these recording sheets, and an explanation of the game, on What the Teacher Wants!  Fly on over to check it out!  You can also download the bull's eye boards I made HERE!

Better Homes and Gardens: Food Gifts

OK--I know it's not even Halloween yet--BUT I found this goodie on my latest trip to Sam's Club--been finding some great things there lately!  It's never too early to start thinking about the holidays--I think... This holiday edition is all about creating tasty food gifts in crafty packages.  I picked this one up because it has some great ideas that can be used for parent helper, colleague, and student gifts for the holidays.  

Some of my favorites...

Toffee-Pecan Cookie Mix (in a decorative Mason jar)
Hot Cocoa Mix in a Jar (decorated like Rudolf)
Spiced Apple Tea Mix
Kitchen Towel Wrapped Cake Mix Kit (with store bought mix)

Feel free to link up your fabulous finds, and have a splendid weekend!

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Traits Tuesday -- ANYTHING GOES!

Weighing in a little late in the day for our new linky--Traits Tuesday... This week's topic is ANYTHING GOES!

I have chosen to share a wonderful idea that I found on Make, Take & Teach from back in 2012--focus sticks.

The picture comes directly from Julie's post on Make, Take & Teach.

I found this idea some time ago and will be making some of these goodies soon.  Before I do, I am going to have my students brainstorm some picture icons to represent each of the traits we focus on for much of the first half of the year--ideas, organization, and conventions.  I will then create a cup of focus sticks that will be housed in the writing center for students to use as they are writing and editing.  Love this idea!  I think having this visual/kinesthetic item will help guide and motivate students.  I will post a picture of our finished focus sticks after doing some further work with my students... :0) Fly on over to Make, Take & Teach to learn more!

Join us in the learning fun and link up your ANYTHING GOES traits ideas for this week's Traits Tuesday!

Just grab our button, create a post, and stop back to link up!

Sunday, September 22, 2013

The Potato Chip Champ -- A Champion in More Ways Than One!

Just read a post over at Digital: Divide & Conquer yesterday, and I loved how Matt used the work LINKTACULAR when he was linking up with several bloggers! So I will use his wonderful term and call today's post linktacular as well...

Here goes... This is a CHAMPION story in more ways than one!

At the beginning of September, Tara at 4th Grade Frolics shared a wonderful text she was using with her fourth graders--The Potato Chip Champ by Maria Dismondy.  I was immediately taken with the story and asked her if it would be appropriate for second graders.  Indeed, it was!  I hopped on and ordered several copies so I could share it with my students...

The last couple of years, I have used A Bad Case of the Stripes by David Shannon for a dual purpose--to teach students about character traits and as a character ed lesson about how important it is to be yourself and to like a person for who he/she is.

This all changed when I discovered The Potato Chip Champ by Marie Dismondy, a story of kindness and a perfect text for learning about character traits.  I read the text aloud to students (more than once), and then some students reread the story in smaller groups.  Let me say that the responses from students were heartfelt.  Many thoughtful comments were made throughout the read aloud and afterward.  When asked to share a lesson/moral that the author was teaching us, we heard--kindness rules all, it's about who you are, etc.

Tara at 4th Grade Frolics also shared Maria Dismondy's website in her post, so I went over and checked it out.  I found a wonderful unit created by Runde's Room to accompany the story.  I especially liked the potato chip bag activity that included a bag template and questions about the story printed on potato chips.  My kids LOVED this!  Not to mention, their responses to the questions were spot on! 

Students also generated a HUGE list of character traits that could be used to describe both characters, and they had to give evidence to back up their inferences before we would add a trait to the list.  Finally, students paired up, chose a character (Walter or Champ), chose four character traits to best describe the character, and came up with a reason to support each trait.  This was done in the form of a character web. Download a copy of the character web template here ! Template is for legal sized paper and frames clipart courtesy of KPM Doodles.

I cannot say enough how this story MOTIVATED my students. At times, I have overheard students talking about the story, now almost two weeks after reading it the first time.  When parent visitors came, the story was one of the first things they shared--in detail along with the lesson.  I have heard from many, "I LOVE that story!"  Even more importantly, I believe the story has motivated my students to show the kind of kindness that Walter showed in the story.  I think it is truly rare when one story is adored by all and creates such an excitement for reading... 

Looking for a story that will motivate your students--I believe this one will!

Well, it did not stop there! Champ is a lover of potato chips, and so is my class.  When I brought the bag of question chips out, many asked if they were real chips!  Regretfully, I had to answer with a "No" that was followed by a resounding "AAW." The weekend after reading the story, I was talking to my husband about it and decided to pick up some chips at Walmart during our Saturday errands.  It was an easy math connection--a potato chip taste test!

As you can imagine, the kids were PUMPED!  They tasted like real champs! We surveyed, collected data, and created a graph.  I will also post these templates for you to download when I return to school on Monday...

Wow! What a fabulous time had by ALL!  You MUST pick up this book, if you haven't already.  It has made an entrance into my top ten of all time. Thanks to Tara at 4th Grade Frolics for sharing, and a HUGE thank you goes out to Marie Dismondy!

Fly on over to these wonderful blogs to read more! Monday's linkups will be active tomorrow...

Smiles for a wonderful week!

Friday, September 20, 2013

Fabulous Finds Friday - Septemeber 20, 2013

Whoo-ee, it's been a busy week! We are ending the week with Fabulous Finds Friday...

I have been wanting to add some nonfiction books on CD to our classroom listening library, yet they have not been easy to find.  Just recently I stumbled across a series of nonfiction (many written with a blend of facts and a "story") texts on CD called Read, Listen, & Wonder.  SO I ordered three that I thought looked especially interesting, and they came in the mail a couple of days ago.  They are truly wonderfully written and illustrated and are the prefect fit for my second graders.

After finishing dinner the night the books arrived, I passed one of the books to my husband and told him to take a look at "these awesome books."  He looked through a book and came to the inside of the back cover where about 15 books in the series were featured.  He asked me if I was going to get the whole collection.  I chuckled and said, "That would be nice...".  He asked me how much they were, and just like that he said he would like to buy the collection for my classroom.  My response, "Dear, you don't have to do that!"  His response, "I said I wanted to buy them, so you better order them before I change my mind!" Anyway, I hopped on and placed my order!

Here are just a few of the titles I purchased...

Cost: $8.09 each (includes book and CD) on

We would love for you to link up your fabulous finds! Just grab our button, link back to us in your post, and link up below.  

Have a wonderful weekend!