Sunday, June 16, 2019

PSA: See Something? Say Something!

In my case, it isn't the NY Subway commercial I'm talking about...Nope.  This has to do with the big C.  Cancer.  After not having my period for two years, one night, it magically reappeared for a few days.  It was exactly one month after my mom passed away and my first split second thought was to blame it on the stress I had been dealing with for six months. 

Since it was the most stressful time in my life, it made sense.  But I also Googled three seconds later and read that it was the Number 1 sign of Uterine Cancer.  However, in the next sentence, it did say that 90% of cases turned out to be non-cancerous.  I was hoping I was in the 90%.  Nope.

I had surgery (Full hysterectomy) on April 9th and a week later, I found out that I was cancer-free!  No chemo or radiation needed.  Going into the surgery I did know that there are TWO types of Uterine cancer and I did have the "better" one.  Coming out of surgery, I also knew that my sentinel node was clear. So I was expecting good news with fingers crossed. 

Anyway, two things:

1. I am shocked how many people I've shared this story with that have bled from time to time long after periods have stopped and didn't get it checked out.  Don't be that person.  Go.  Chances are, it's a polyp.  I'm glad I made an immediate appointment.  My oncologist said that Uterine cancer gives signs/warnings unlike Ovarian.  My ONLY sign was the above and two weeks later spotting one night.

2. If in the NJ area and you find yourself in a similar situation, let me know and I'll help you out in any way I can starting with sharing my Drs. name who trained at Sloan. She was an oncologist/surgeon which is n't that common and her staff was top-notch! Within 45 minutes, I had to appointments books for consultations and I already knew I'd be going with her.  (When I called, I was crying and in such shock, I couldn't speak.  The receptionist kept saying: "Take your time,  I have all day.  We got this.  This is why people come to us.  Breathe."  It took me EIGHT minutes to get out my name and phone number.  Seriously.  Know someone having a hysterectomy? Give them this GREAT SITE: Hystersisters.  Seriously.  Who knew?

After six weeks recovering at home, I went back to school and my Firsties on May 23.  I feel good.  Tired.  Very tired but it is the end of the year.

Here's wishing YOU good health and remember: If you see something, say something and get thee to a doctor! STAT!

Saturday, March 23, 2019

Freebie and Updated Products

I know there are so many I Have, Who Has products out there but I just have to say how much I LOVE my long and short vowel games.  They come with the game and a Read the Room Activity. I updated all of my packets with new clip art and fonts and I love them even more.  I used to get so frustrated playing the game but not this old blog post to see how the execution finally is 100% perfect!


Would you like the above Long U packet for your sweet students?  
Leave your email here and I'll gladly send it to you!  Isn't the clip art adorable? 

Each pack is $3.00 but I have a great bundle to check out if interested. There is a short vowel bundle and a long vowel bundle (for $12 each so it's getting ONE free in each packet!) and then one with all of them that I'm showing you below.  At $21, that makes each one only $2.10.  You're getting 
3 packets for FREE in this mega bundle!

Have a lovely day!

Tuesday, February 12, 2019

Somebody Loves You, Mr. Hatch (My Favorite Valentine's Day Book!)

Somebody Loves You, Mr. Hatch is my all-time favorite Valentine's Day book! It's written by the wonderful Eileen Spinelli and illustrated by Paul Yalowitz.  Have you read it?  If not, enjoy the video!  Seriously, The. Best. Ever!  It's a lovely book about friendship and the the power one has when reaching out to someone.  It's a quieter book that I simply adore.  Any book that can my little ones make an audible, collective, GASP, is proof enough to me that it's worth sharing over and over again.  I'm lucky to own the book but that doesn't stop me from showing the video as well.  It's so nice, you must read it twice! :)

This book is SO PERFECT, that the conversations/discussions that follow your reading are all you need.  Honest!  But if looking for a little something to extend the book, you may want to check this out.  I KNOW you'll love the book as much as I do!  ENJOY!!!

Sunday, February 10, 2019

Valentine Day Poems Freebie

Here are a few poems I wrote for Valentine's Day.  Feel free to grab them!  A bit geeky but I like geeky! :)

Another Freebie for Valentine's Day here in case you missed it! 
Only 4 more days until the big day!  Enjoy!

Sunday, February 3, 2019

Hello Lighthouse by Sophie Blackall: Caldecott Winner!

Have you read this book yet?  It truly is beautifully illustrated!  I read it to my class the other day and it got two thumbs up!  I'm sure you'll want to read it to your class and linger over the illustrations but at least you can take a sneak peak here!

Here's the illustration that generated the most buzz with my little ones:

Two of my all-time favorite books about lighthouses:

My students love the suspense of this book.  An excellent read aloud!


I always thought the Sea Chest should have won the Caldecott Award.  I had the author, Toni Buzzeo, at my school for an author visit.  If you are looking for an awesome author that teachers and kids will ADORE, she's the one!  

And if you are looking for a little something to support Hello Lighthouse with your class, you may want to check out:

Have a  lovely day!

Sunday, January 20, 2019

Thinking Ahead: Valentine Box Letter

Want to make your life a whole lot easier this year?  Have your students make their Valentine Boxes at home.  It saves you so much time and with my editable freebie, it's a snap for the kids and the parents.  HONEST!  It's always a blast when they bring in the boxes for the big reveal and you get to see their personalities in full bloom!

Try'll like it! PROMISE!

Saturday, January 19, 2019

Thoughts on this Kindergarten Classroom?

TED Talks inspire me.  Make me want to do better.  Be better.  I honestly could watch them all day.  Doesn't matter the topic.  They fascinate me.  I recently watched this one and I would love to know your thoughts.  I'm digging it.

Totally.  I'm all in.  Isn't this how Kindergarten should be?

Sunday, January 13, 2019

Battle of the Vowels Game (Freebie!)

Battle of the Vowels came about one day at Morning Meeting when I wanted a different activity to reinforce long and short vowel sounds that would be QUICK and FUN! It was impromptu and I just used plain paper.  That’s honestly all you need. However, I made up these recording sheets to make it easier/neater for the kids. Having two pictures up top helped reinforce the beginning /middle vowel sound the second time we played! 

To play is simple, and again, you certainly don't need this download to play...just wanted to make it easier for kids...

1.Divide students  into equal groups that have a good mixture 

2.Give each group the same or different vowel.  Up to you!  The
first time I did this I gave each group (4 kids in each group)
a different short vowel.  The second time?  All the same.  Kind of 
wish I did that the first time out.

3.I assigned a student to record answers but explained that 
EVERYONE contributes.

Here is one group at work:

4. Set timer to see which group or individual can get the most words in allotted time.

Here are the winners the first time we played without the above sheets.  (I'll post pic of latest winners using these sheets when I can locate them.)

Think of all the variations you can play with this game!  As the year progresses, I'll hold kids accountable for spelling of words IF we learned all the sounds associated with the word.  (Example: -igh in fight.)  The first time we played, if they read off the word correctly, I counted it like you see in the pics above.

Download here.  

Let the battle begin!  ENJOY!

Tuesday, December 18, 2018

Unruly After Recess? Problem Solved!

I'm lucky that my students get a full hour for lunch and recess.  I firmly believe the kids need recess to run around and get their energy out.

Work hard, play hard!

I never bring them in to finish work or anything like that as I truly feel it is "their time." I need that time to recharge and they do, too.

That being said, getting them back in and refocused on work can be challenging. It's hard for them to turn it off and they have come in loud, joking, and a bit scattered. It doesn't help that my classroom is so small either.  We have a closet and it is stuffed...STUFFED with backpacks and their belongings.  There's little room to move in/around it and everyone seemed to get cranky after lunch trying to squish their way in/over to the area.  I tried everything: calling one row at a time, letting a few kids in room at a time, etc. This year, I found myself dreading the ten minutes after recess. No more!

NOTE: We practice Responsive Classroom where we are supposed to have a Quiet Time after lunch. It's supposed to be a time to refocus their energy after eating, playing and running around. I always felt like I was wasting time and eager to get the kids working.  Those ten minutes were stressful.  I felt like I was rushing to get their coats away, listening to complaints/cranky kids, etc.


Really.  My classroom management is strong.  I am organized.  Why was this ten minute time-frame such a mess?

I think I figured it out.  I needed to TEACH the kids how to be calm.  How to refocus. And I finally realized it needed to start BEFORE lunch!

Before lunch, I call kids (one row at a time) to get water bottles and backpacks to put on desk/chair.  We keep our coats in our backpacks to save space and help closet stay neater. So when recess is over, this is what I have the kids do:

1. REPACK coat, gloves, hat, scarf into backpack and sit down. They come back into the classroom without talking and into a room with soft music and lighting.  I use Spotify and play classical music.  Avoid songs with words because then the kids will sing and ruin the calm atmosphere/mood. For some reason, I found that Ode to Joy/Canon in D works well and the kids love the versions I have. They come in, take off coats and squish into backpack and sit and drink water/relax.  The key: no talking. I made up my own mix of Ode to Joy and Canon in D but also use this:

2. RELAX: drink water to rehydrate.  I used to call kids and tell them when to put water away.  I now let them pick when is best for them.  I am always surprised HOW MUCH they drink which tells me I wasn't letting them drink enough.  I swear I think drinking water calms them!

3. BREATHE! I lead the kids in some deep breathing exercises and they love it.  Many are joining in and several are doing their own "zen" activity.  All done very quietly.

4. TAKE CARE OF YOURSELF: At this point, some kids are getting up WITH WATER BOTTLE AND BACKPACK to put away, get pencil, tissue, go to bathroom, write a compliment, etc.  It's usually a trickle of kids doing what they need/want to do.  Even having them be in charge of when they hang up backpack and put water bottle away seems to work better than when I told them to do it.

5. SET GOALS! At about 8 minutes in, I switch from leading breathing (although most kids continue to engage) and ask them to reflect on their morning.  We don't share out.  It's just to refocus them and reflect: What were you most proud of this morning? What activity did you enjoy?  Is their something that was difficult or frustrating for you? How did you persevere?  Then, I ask them to set a afternoon goal for math.  (That's the only subject we have left.)  I start off by naming MY GOAL for math.  It usually reflects back to yesterday's lesson.  For example: "My goal today is to explain the partner game better than I did yesterday.  What's your goal?" I give them a minute to think about it.  Then music goes off. Lights on. And I ask 3 kids to share goal with the class.  I am always amazed how their goal setting is so spot on for them.  And they are honest: "My goal is to be a better partner today because yesterday I didn't check to see if they jumped on the number line the right way."  Or "My Goal is to not ask to use the bathroom when I'm in a partner activity.  I'm going to try to wait for Math By Myself."

After the three kids share, I ask all kids to share out with partner across from them and then join me on the carpet.  Takes about 30 seconds.  Then, when all on carpet, we do one last 10 second deep breath activity together and then I say, "Hello, Mathematicians!" and they are ready and eager for math.

I'm not one to waste time during the day so to say I feel the ten minutes is worth it is an understatement.  I find that I actually SAVE time with the above schedule and make those ten minutes meaningful.

If you're not happy with the way your kids are coming in after recess, I hope some of my tips can help.  And if you have any tips for me, I'd love to hear them!

Saturday, November 24, 2018

A Revision Finally Finished! (And a TpT Sale Treat!)

The summers usually provide me with lots of time to make new products for my classroom and TpT.  Last summer was not one of those summers.  Instead, I revisited my best-selling item, OPEN-ENDED MATH QUESTIONS.  I reorganized them into units!

Redownload if you've purchased!  I am still keeping the monthly packets available in the BUNDLED VERSION in case people rather have those. (You can redownload the, too as of today.)  I added over 125 new pages (lots of second grade!) and freshened up all the pages.  A labor of love that took many, many months!  (I split up Number Sense into First and Second Grade packets.  You can easily pull from both to help differentiate.

Haven't used Open-Ended questions?  See my earlier blog post (with old pages featured!) and decide if it's something you want to venture into.  I can't stress how much I love seeing my kids complete these pages. Much, much deeper thinking occurring in my room now!

NOTE: If you purchased all of my MONTHLY PACKETS, let me know and I'll send you the units.  So much easier to use.

If you plan on purchasing the above BUNDLE during the sale, email me after and I'll send you 3 Book-Its of your choice as a thank you.  Buying anything at all will get you one free Book-It if you mail me.  Just to say thanks for your continued support!

BTW: I have 3 FREE Book-Its in my store. I use one each week as part of my Tic-Tac-Toe reading program but they're so easy to leave for a substitute too!  Check out the freebies and grab one!  

What's up next?  Working on Open-Ended Math Questions for Third Grade!  Just finished the first unit!

Okay- I taped another Hallmark to watch it!

Saturday, November 10, 2018

Freebie Alert! (Addition Bump!)

A bit random today but a random post is better than no post at all...don't you think?

Click above to grab.  Designed to be easy with numbers in order. 

Sunday, September 16, 2018

Dot Day Fun

After starting out the year with making magical wishes using this fun Magic Play Clay activity,  I promised the kids it would be a magical year.  On Friday, I continued with the magic for International Dot Day!    (A global celebration of creativity, courage and collaboration.)

I started off by reading the story The Dot by Peter Reynold's.  Then we watched the short video of the book.

I have a Book-It in my store so I used it as an opportunity to model the Pick-a- Prompt for independent work like that yet. I also modeled retelling the story.

We then made words out of the letters in WATERCOLORS, too.  (We made 38 words and it was the perfect time to introduce plurals with that lovely "S" on the end of watercolorS!)

Next up: We colored in our "Dots".  Here is where the magic comes in!  I used the FREE coloring page from the Quiver App:

then used the App to magically turn them into 3-D!  (I took a screen shot of each one.)


I posted them on Twitter and then showed the kids.  They were thrilled to see the magic!  (I didn't tell them about the App or let them know why I was taking pics.)

So...did you participate in DOT DAY?  
Be Brave!  Make your mark today! 

Wednesday, August 8, 2018

Dollar Tree/Kohl's Find

I get tired of the same old birthday celebrations in my classroom so this year, I'm going to snap a picture with these Photo Booth Props and post on Twitter for the parents. Maybe the birthday child can pick a friend or two...still thinking!

I found them yesterday at Dollar Tree in the birthday aisle.  For just a buck each, a fabo assortment!  I think the kids will have some fun with them! (Nice quality!)

After the Dollar Tree, I ran into Kohls and grabbed Batman!  Wahoo!  Biscuit, Pete, and Pinkalicious were available too.  My kiddos LOVE to read to their stuffed animal friends but many of my animals lean toward the girls. So, thrilled to snag two Batmans.  Could more of these characters be far behind?  Superman? Spiderman?   A teacher can only hope!

I use them for Fluency Friends.  Grab this freebie here!  Hope you can use it!  Have a great day!

Monday, August 6, 2018

Update: MANUKA HONEY (Problem Solved!)

If you haven't read and filed this post away, please do it now.
Go ahead.
I'll wait.  It may just save your life one day.

A few minutes ago, I watched a segment on Good Morninig America about Manuka Honey which I talk about above.  Google GMA and MANUKA and you will see the article.  Happy to say, my Manuka purchases has been real honey BUT I saw the results of the TRADER JOE brand!  HALF THE PRICE!

A steal!

I quickly ordered 6 on Amazon for some family members.  As I ordered, I saw quantities go down, down, down and limits be reduced to 4 per person.  This was all in a matter of minutes.

So I suggest you check out Amazon (22 bucks for 8 ounces!) or get yourself to TRADER JOES ASAP.  When you read the article, you'll see why TJ will have to get approval next time.  All explained.

Bottom line:  Research it.  Watch the GMA video of the Drs. using it on infants.  Keep it.  USE IT!

That's my PSA for the day!

Wednesday, August 1, 2018

A Few Freebie Reminders...

Are you loading up your cart up for the TpT Sale?  I am!  Buying tomorrow!  Today, I concentrated on updating some products since I really can't make new ones yet. Here's one you should grab! Honestly, poems are a great way to kick off the year!  I start my poetry binders right away.

I also have these freebies which I think you might like to have at the beginning on the year:

Have you seen my Book Its?  Grab these two freebies and check them out!  I love them for a few reasons.  The first being that sometimes you just want a FEW activities to support a book.  Not a full-blown unit.  Another reason I love it (and have been getting feedback about to!) is that each packet is TERRIFIC for leaving with a substitute!  Each packet provides three meaningful activities that could take at least an hour for a sub to cover in class:  After reading the book: Make words, Retell Story (oral or written) and my favorite, Pick-A-Prompt.  Seriously, my kids LOVE them and they are lifesavers!  Download the SANDWICH SHOP and HARRY THE DIRTY DOG and see for yourself.

If you haven't read The Sandwich Swap, please, please, please check it out of the library or watch on YouTube ASAP.  The perfect book to kick off the year with that reminds us all to be tolerant of others in all ways.

Here are two new ones I recently finished that I'm planning on using at the beginning of the year:

Here's a freebie that CAN be used for the calendar but I use in my counting centers.  Have fun with it!

Although this isn't free, I think you should check it out IF you are looking for a MONTHLY memory book.  We use this each month BUT then fill in several fun pages in June.  So, it's like a combination.  Why I love it: You can see monthly progress!  Seeing September vs. June blows me away...every year!
 Can see full preview in my store.

Gotta run!  Hope you see something that would be helpful to you!  Have a great day!