Friday, July 7, 2017

Any Binge-Worthy TV Show Recommendations?

If so, I'd love to hear from you!  I like to have something playing in the background in early morning/late evening hours when I'm working on school-related "stuff."  So far this summer, I watched Stranger Things and loved it! Having only one season so far appealed to me since I knew I could watch it quickly.  I'll be watching Season 2 for sure.  (Love these kids!)

Then I moved on to this AMAZING, highly-rated Netflix documentary, The Keeers,  which was only 8 episodes I think. I highly recommend you tune in but be prepared to feel outraged on so many levels. So, so many levels.

I also watched something I had ZERO interest in but ended up liking it.  I needed a bit of fluff after the The Keepers.  I am certainly NOT the targeted age group but it was fun and campy and again, only one season so far:

It's Archie and the Gang in modern times.  Who knew Jughead was played by Cole Sprouse of Zack and Cody fame?

Right now, I'm on Season 3 of a show many of you most likely have been watching for a while: SUITS.  I like it a lot but not sure if I'll go the distance of seven seasons!  (Watching it on Amazon Prime.  The new season starts on USA Network next week.)

I also watched my beloved Orange is the New Black but was disappointed in the season which took place over three days.  Boo to that!

I don't have HBO so no Big Little Lies for me yet which I heard rocks!

Looking back at this post it seems like I watch WAY too much TV!  Eek!  Just when I'm working.  I like to multi-task!

One last thing...I never gave a shout-out to Matthew who graduated from High School a few weeks ago.  He'll be going to Rider University just 30 minutes from here (but he will live on campus) in September and major in Sports Media.  So proud of him and know he's going to do great things...he already has!

Sarah will already be a Junior in Newhouse at Syracuse University in the fall. How did that happen? They're getting old which only means one thing:  I AM GETTING OLD!  :)

It's raining here...a perfect day TV!

Thursday, July 6, 2017

My New Early Readers!

They'll be out in September!  Yea!  I had a blast writing these although it took some getting used to the format.  I usually write chapter books from 7,000 to 15,000 words and I had to tell these stories in 800 words...

Mission Accomplished!  

These are my first Early Readers and I'm excited that I'll be able to use them in my Guided Reading Groups!!

Look for them in your library in the fall!

Happy reading!

Wednesday, July 5, 2017

Mildew Stains on Deck? Dirty Pool Steps? Problem Solved!

This isn't school-related but I just have to share two outdoor tips for you if you have a pool and a composite deck.  These two products are MIRACLE WORKERS!  Seriously, they rock!


First off, most people have white steps going into the pool.  These get grimy and no matter what product I've used, still look dirty.  The white is a bit textured and sunscreen and such get into the tiny groves.  When the water level fluctuates, you get the dreaded water mark, too.  Our pool is SUPER CLEAN yet when you look at the white step area, it doesn't look clean.  Almost like a ring around your tub.

Pool companies have sold me liquid cleaners that you pour on...but they pour right off and into the pool and DO NOT WORK.  After 8 years, someone suggested MR. CLEAN Magic Erasers.  In less than a MINUTE, the entire white area looks BRAND NEW!  Seriously, I almost cried after trying it for the first time.

On to the second product: Corte Clean!  The year we got our deck, it looked perfect!  Our neighbors had a three year old composite deck and came over to see if we had mold like they did.  When I saw their deck with gray specks COVERING it, I assumed they got a bad batch of decking materials. Within a year, mine got that way too.  YUCK!  We had it powerwashed (which you shouldn't do to a composite deck) and while it looked good for a week, by the second week, marks reappeared.

Then I discovered CORTE CLEAN from my cousin who owns a hardware store.  (NOTE: It is only now available online because it has a six-month expiration date. I have nothing to do with the company.  I just use their product.)  Again, it will rock your world.

After you use it, your deck will look like new for a good year IF you do a quick. light cleaning in fall as maintenance  Check out their website for specifics and a video on how to use it if interested. We used it on our top deck yesterday.  Our deck looks new today. Check them out if you've had it with your composite deck.  If you use it correctly, your deck will look like it did on DAY 1. Seriously.

I will update this post soon with pics.  For now, I just wanted to offer a solution for anyone out there desperate to find one to these two problems!

Sunday, July 2, 2017

Summer...FINALLY! (And a Limited Time Freebie Here)

Happy summer to me,
Happy summer to me,
Happy summer, Dear Lisa,
Happy summer to me!

School has only been out a week!  Whew!  I am THRILLED to be off!  And I am ever so grateful to all of you who have read my Blog and allowed me to read yours!  I just made a small product for my store and am offering it here on my blog for FREE for a week to thank all of you!  Just click and download!  (Edited to add on 7/14:  I actually left up for almost two weeks.  Hope all who downloaded this enjoys it!)

I was so tired of searching for long-lost birthday pieces for my calendar that I finally broke down and made some of my own.  I added jokes and can already hear the giggles as the Birthday Boy or Girl reads the joke during Morning Meeting.

UPDATED:  Just finished these Dinosaur and Sport Sets which are available in my store.
Only $1 each for the next 48 hours.


I uploaded a few more products, too:

On sale for $2!  That's 50% off!  I love having my kids complete a memory each month and observe the growth!
Parents are always amazed at their progress when they read each entry.

Book It: Retell It, Write It, Make It! (The Relatives Came) Book It: Retell It, Write It, Make It! (My Lucky Day)

My Book-Its are my go-to ALL THE TIME in my own classroom!  Lifesavers!

I'm off to bed!  'Night!

Sunday, May 28, 2017

One Game, Six Ways (Morning Meeting)

I started to play POP about five years ago during Morning Meeting. My kiddos love it and when asked, "What game should we play?" POP is almost always the answer.  I'm not sure if you play the same way, but I play it like this:

1. I pick a number...say 11.
2. We stand in a circle and start counting off one by one.
3. When the person who is 11 goes, he says, "POP"  and pops down to sit.  (Some teachers start sitting down and pop up.)
4. Next person starts at 1 and it begins again. Play continues until only one person remains.  We call the winner the King or Queen of Pop!

Yep.  That simple.  Here are some variations that my class has really enjoyed.

Play in Spanish or another language.  Okay...secret here.  I needed a chart sheet when counting in Spanish beyond ten so I actually made a set of these and hung them up.  A lifesaver for me!  :)

Count Back:  Start at any number and count down to 1 with a POP on the way.

Pick a DIGIT: Example: Any number with a 3 in it, you must POP.  They LOVE this one because the 30s wipe out 10 kids in quick succession!  The first time I did this, the look of shock was picture worthy!! Now they are prepared for the massive sit downs!

POP 1-2-or 3:  This has become our new favorite and involves a bit of skill.  Again, select a number. This time, kids can say 1, 2, or 3 numbers in a row.  For example: Number is 14.  First person can say 1 OR 1,2 OR 1, 2, 3  Next person can say 4, 4,5, OR 4, 5, 6.  Always interesting when you get close to the chosen number and see the kids trying to figure out if student next to them will be saved or out. EX: student next to me said 12...and then looked up and smiled a sly smile at me.  Then said 13.  So I was 14.  POP!  Little rascal got me out on purpose!  Always lots of laughs!

Skip Counting: This one takes longer because I usually pick a very high number like 120 that we not only COUNT to and Pop before starting all over again, but I make them say the number and the digits.  Why?  Because kids have a tough time with 105 when writing it (That tricky does it go?) or 102, 104, etc. if playing by skip count by 2.  (I usually say, "Let's start at 100 and skup count by 2s to 120)  This game has really helped kids solidify skip counting skills!

Hope this has given you a few new ideas to try at Morning Meeting!  Have a great day!

Saturday, May 27, 2017

Throw Kindness Around Like Confetti

Two years ago, one of my students had the cutest shirt on with this saying.  Since then, it's become our class motto.  Now I've been kicking it up a notch leaving these on desks (message on back):


They are pint size so easy to print four on a page.  

It's a great way to strengthen the home/school connection too!

I've also given to teachers who have done something especially kind so they can hang in the room.

Sometimes it's a challenge to do the KIND thing for little ones (heck, big people too!) 
but I have lots of reminders around the room:

This year, I'm going to give one of the full-size posters (printing on card stock) to my class as an end-of-the-year gift BUT I'm allowing them to pick their own color.

I was going to frame them but have decided to simply attach curly ribbon on the back so they can hang it easily anywhere at home.  Plus, it will save me a ton of money. 

I'm going to frame one of the You Threw Kindness Around Like Confetti posters for my room mom and have each child sign the back of the frame.  Gift giving made easy this year!!  If you need a gift, you can easily make this or check out my store.  Lots of way to use the product!

Have a great weekend!!

Sunday, May 21, 2017

Problem Solved: Hundreds Chart Tool

A few years ago, I saw translucent tiles that could slide into the little pouches in your 100/120 chart to "highlight" number patterns.  What a great visual, huh?

 Problem was I wasn't spending $15 on them.  I looked everywhere for a cheaper set and couldn't find any at all.

really, really, really, really, really, really

Now thanks to this...


I have a few sets in yellow, blue, red, and green!  I don't know how I survived so long without them.  Honestly, it makes learning to skip count so much easier.

It's a bit embarrassing that it took me so long to realize that you can cut up a translucent FOLDER into small squares and use them.  Cost?  Under a buck!

Easy breezy!  Oh, so easy!  If you already did this, A+ for you!  
If not, get thee to the closest Dollar Store and have at it!  

Saturday, April 29, 2017

A Shout Out To My Better Half

My FABO husband, John, is also a teacher, media specialist AND an author!  Yep- we have co-written a few books together:

Our collaboration was a smooth one and truly 50/50. He's an amazing historian and researcher and the books above required such attention to detail.  Excuse me while I brag a little more about him!

He was named Teacher of the Year in his school this year!  WAHOO!  SO WELL-DESERVED!

The Mullarkey Fam is BEYOND excited for him!  He's going to be honored at a Board of Education meeting is a few weeks:  Sarah will be home from Syracuse, Matthew (my Senior in HS) already put in for the night off of work so all is set! 

 Did I mention he's also a great artist?  He makes clip art and loves to doodle when he can.  
Here's a sampling of his two styles:

But honestly, what I admire John the most for is his KINDNESS.  I don't think I've ever met such a kind kids agree.  We are blessed!

Sunday, March 26, 2017

It's as simple as "Be Kind."

This little guy, Prince George...

is officially enrolled in a school where the first rule is:  Be kind. LOVE IT!  So simple. I'm a sucker for school mottos and love when they are reduced to just a few words that even the youngest child can understand.  My district motto/slogan/theme this year is : Attitude Determines Altitude -Fly High! What's yours?  I'd love to hear it!

Have you read this awesome book about paying it forward?

And I'm sure you've seen this video a dozen times but I still get inspired to pay it forward each time I see it!  Enjoy!

Tuesday, March 14, 2017

Random Stuff! Freebies! 50% off!

Hope you are staying warm and dry on this snowy, sleety day.  We were supposed to get 18-24 inches.  Instead, we have about 6 inches of snow and a lot of ice. Too much ice!'s much easier to handle when you know that spring is truly just a few days away!

I was surprised to see our Shamrock Freebie in the newsletter since we didn't submit it.  I did last year but never even thought about it this year.   John is the artist but I did these simple ones.  Hopefully, you can use/grab them!  Enjoy!!  SIDE NOTE:  We just purchased ILLUSTRATOR and are hoping to create clip art on it soon.  Output should be much greater...I think!  John draws everything by hand and it takes forever.  Would be nice to even just COLOR on the computer since that would save oodles of time alone.  Crossing fingers we can learn it!!

My kids' drawings make me SO HAPPY! It was a directed draw and I love the way each one turned out.  Thinking of using watercolors next year.  My Principal and Assistant Principal are pictured with The Cat in the Hat.  I love the simple paper hats that made for their hair and MUST remember to do it next year.  Although, I did see some kids wearing cute blue tutus upside down on their heads, too.

Random, I know...but this year, we eat snack at 9am.  I am shocked to see all of the junk food: cake slices, cookies, chips, etc.  I've written general notes to encourage healthier choices.  No luck.  It wasn't until I started posting pics of kids making healthy choices on my class Twitter page that I started to see fresh fruits, nuts, and veggies.  Of course I don't pic poor snack choices!  Just the healthy ones from time to time.  Glad I thought of it! 

These make me happy, too!  NAMEBOWS! I've seen this on Pinterest and honestly don't know who to credit.  Kids use adjectives to describe themselves.  I usually have a few more rays but reducing to only 5 this year made the whole project so much easier.  Grab the small sign below if you need it.

Sharpening pencils is a PAIN IN THE NECK, isn't it??  But I smile when I do it...just means my kids are writing up a storm!  I don't think I ever had to sharpen so many pencils each day!  Honest!

Last up:  I used this day to finish my latest product: Contraction posters and games.  March is the month I start to really focus on reading/understanding contractions.  Even my lowest readers are encountering them in their daily reading.  Check out the packet if interested.  Offering for 50% off for next two days.  I use them for Do-Nows, Fast Finishers, Summer Send Home, Reading Workshop, Free Choice, etc.