Best School Year Ever Giveaway and Back-To-School Resources

Hello Friends!

How many more days until you meet your new group of learners?  I have 15!  

I don't know about you, but I still have SO much to do!

Luckily, the TpT Best School Year Ever Sitewide Sale starts tomorrow, so I can move my "must have" resources from my wish list to my shopping cart!  Now is the time to take advantage of the 28% discount that starts tomorrow Aug. 1st and continues through Aug. 2nd!




Once you've bought what you need, you can get to printing, laminating, and prepping!  Be sure to leave feedback on prior purchases to earn credits toward new ones!  20 credits = $1 in cash to spend!

I've highlighted some of my favorite products that might be useful to you at this time of year and provided thematic links for easy-breezy shopping.  Time is valuable and helping you work smarter not harder is my goal!

When you are finished browsing in my store, be sure to hop over to Classroom Tested Resources and enter our TpT gift card giveaway as well!  My blogger buddies have some of their "bestsellers" featured there too!


Shop for back-to-school bargains at the sitewide TpT sale Aug. 1-Aug.2, 2016. Grab some great resources for your best school year ever!


I've tried to group the following resources thematically, and hope that you'll
find a few things that will help you kick off another great year with your students!
My best-selling fall graph attack pack is 50% off TODAY, July 31st!

Shop for back-to-school bargains at the sitewide TpT sale Aug. 1-Aug.2, 2016. Grab some great resources for your best school year ever!



Shop for back-to-school bargains at the sitewide TpT sale Aug. 1-Aug.2, 2016. Grab some great resources for your best school year ever!



Shop for back-to-school bargains at the sitewide TpT sale Aug. 1-Aug.2, 2016. Grab some great resources for your best school year ever!



Shop for back-to-school bargains at the sitewide TpT sale Aug. 1-Aug.2, 2016. Grab some great resources for your best school year ever!



Shop for back-to-school bargains at the sitewide TpT sale Aug. 1-Aug.2, 2016. Grab some great resources for your best school year ever!



Shop for back-to-school bargains at the sitewide TpT sale Aug. 1-Aug.2, 2016. Grab some great resources for your best school year ever!



Shop for back-to-school bargains at the sitewide TpT sale Aug. 1-Aug.2, 2016. Grab some great resources for your best school year ever!



Shop for back-to-school bargains at the sitewide TpT sale Aug. 1-Aug.2, 2016. Grab some great resources for your best school year ever!


I am off now to finish another superhero-themed pack of poems that I've created to help my little ones develop both their reading and social skills during our first weeks of school together!  Be sure to follow me on Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter to receive notifications of when I've uploaded them to TpT!  

As always, thanks for sharing my story!  Continue to hold a song in your heart, keep calm, and teach on!

Peace out,

My Summer Snapshots

Welcome Friends!

I have about two more hours of work in Room 2 on Monday before I can say that I am "officially" on summer break!  My last day with students was May 27th.  My district work day was May 31st.  My quest to clean, purge, and rearrange my classroom has been an arduous one.  One that has stopped, started, and then stopped again due to family, friend, and pet emergencies over the past few weeks.

Life has finally settled down a bit now though, and hopefully the rest of June, July, and part of August will have me...in the words of  Simon & Garfunkel...."slowing down, not moving so fast, looking for fun, and feeling groovy!"

I am not sure how much time I will have to devote to blogging and creating for TpT this summer because of some important commitments, so I wanted to share this picture-filled post and let you know just what I will be up to.....


Summer should be a time of reflection, fun, family, friends, and professional development for teachers.  Read about how to bring balance to your time away from your classroom.






Summer should be a time of reflection, fun, family, friends, and professional development for teachers.  Read about how to bring balance to your time away from your classroom.
MORNING MANTRA:  Weekend days will find me waking up slowly on my deck with a cup of coffee in my hand and this lovely, quiet view of my rose garden.  



Summer should be a time of reflection, fun, family, friends, and professional development for teachers.  Read about how to bring balance to your time away from your classroom.
TAKE ME OUT TO THE BALL GAME:  Traveling to Chicago and eating ballpark franks, peanuts, and cracker jacks while cheering on the Cubs last weekend was great fun!



Summer should be a time of reflection, fun, family, friends, and professional development for teachers.  Read about how to bring balance to your time away from your classroom.SCHOLARLY STUDIES:  On May 9th, I began the first course in the online series of five that
are required for me to earn my Reading endorsement.  Managing my time, doing the reading, and
 completing assignments has been quite a 
"balancing act," but I am learning so much about at-risk, diverse learners!


Summer should be a time of reflection, fun, family, friends, and professional development for teachers.  Read about how to bring balance to your time away from your classroom.
BEING AN ADVOCATE FOR CHANGE:  Next week I will be attending a leadership conference sponsored by the Ohio Education Association, and later on this summer I will be serving on my school's PBIS committee.  It is time for me to be proactive!



Summer should be a time of reflection, fun, family, friends, and professional development for teachers.  Read about how to bring balance to your time away from your classroom.
SHOWERING THE PEOPLE:  On June 30th, my children will sit on either side of me at Wrigley Field while we listen to James Taylor and Jackson Browne in concert.  The tickets were their Christmas gift to me.  Other concerts at local outdoor venues with some of my best friends will color my summer world with more musical happiness!


Summer should be a time of reflection, fun, family, friends, and professional development for teachers.  Read about how to bring balance to your time away from your classroom.
BEING A CHILDREN'S LIT CHICK:  These two novels for young adults have been on my nightstand for a long time.  Quiet summer nights will be the perfect time to finally 
experience their magic.


Summer should be a time of reflection, fun, family, friends, and professional development for teachers.  Read about how to bring balance to your time away from your classroom.
JUST FLOAT:  I haven't tried this new raft at my friend's pool yet, but
it looks like the perfect place to be refreshed and relaxed!  I imagine that I will
capsize many times before landing in it successfully! :)


Summer should be a time of reflection, fun, family, friends, and professional development for teachers.  Read about how to bring balance to your time away from your classroom.
READING NINJA POWER:  In late July, my friend Em from Curious Firsties will be my partner in presenting at the Mazza Museum Summer Institute.  We can't wait to share the
comprehension strategies of
Tanny McGregor with fellow teachers and librarians!


Summer should be a time of reflection, fun, family, friends, and professional development for teachers.  Read about how to bring balance to your time away from your classroom.
IT'S A BIRD!  IT'S A PLANE!  IT'S A NEW CLASSROOM THEME!:  Room 2 will embrace all things superhero-related in the fall!  I recently won a classroom makeover from my local
teacher store!   In late July,  three employees will come and put up all new bulletin boards and
displays for me! 

Watch for my "classroom reveal" post in early August!
I am beyond excited!  

And yes......I cried when the store owner called
to tell me!

And then.....I created this Pinterest board to collect ideas
that can be used and adapted!





Summer should be a time of reflection, fun, family, friends, and professional development for teachers.  Read about how to bring balance to your time away from your classroom.
TOO MUCH STUFF:  Yep.  Twenty-four years worth of resources to purge, organize, and store.  
The custodians just
stand at my door and shake their heads....




Summer should be a time of reflection, fun, family, friends, and professional development for teachers.  Read about how to bring balance to your time away from your classroom.
KEEPING CALM AND CARRYING ON:  "Be brave!" are two words I often say to my students.....and to myself, so the superhero decor theme in my classroom will carry over 
into our everyday lessons as we compare and contrast fictional, comic book characters with 
non-fiction, real-life heroes.   We'll use this unit to get started in August and
refer to the positive character traits emphasized there throughout the year. 


Summer should be a time of reflection, fun, family, friends, and professional development for teachers.  Read about how to bring balance to your time away from your classroom.

See it {HERE}!



Summer should be a time of reflection, fun, family, friends, and professional development for teachers.  Read about how to bring balance to your time away from your classroom.
MARY, MARY....QUITE CONTRARY:  I've simplified the pots I usually plant for 
my front and back porch areas, and am trying succulents in my "container garden" that are hardy and
will host some new fairy garden accessories!  I became a little 
addicted while writing this POST, and just get a real kick out of
how cute they are!



Summer should be a time of reflection, fun, family, friends, and professional development for teachers.  Read about how to bring balance to your time away from your classroom.
WHO RESCUED WHO?  
My Rosie is aging, and this past week we weathered some scary vet visits together.
She's currently on a course of meds that will hopefully keep her comfortable and
mobile for a little while longer. 

Our walks are slow and short now, and I've cried many tears into her collar lately.  Her eyes are foggy and she doesn't hear me come in anymore, but her tail still wags when I rub her ears 
and kiss her nose.  

She and Brutus made me proud to
become a Basset Hound Mama five years ago, and I will continue to be her loyal caregiver--as she has been my loyal companion--until it is truly her time to go...


Summer should be a time of reflection, fun, family, friends, and professional development for teachers.  Read about how to bring balance to your time away from your classroom.



Summer should be a time of reflection, fun, family, friends, and professional development for teachers.  Read about how to bring balance to your time away from your classroom.
SONGS THAT TELL STORIES:   On rainy summer days, I often pull my guitar out 
and dust off the song sheets that used to make-up my college coffeehouse playlist.

The memories that the familiar chords and melodies bring back make
me smile.  Folk music always has, and will forever be, medicinal and therapeutic for me.

May your summer be full of special stories and songs, my friends.  As always, thank you for sharing mine.  

Peace out,









June Pinterest Pick 3 Linky

Hello Friends!

This is the first time in my teaching career that I've not taught through the first two weeks of June! My last day with students was Friday, May 27th, and my work day was May 31st!

I am still slogging through my piles and files in a valiant effort to organize and close down my classroom, but wanted to take time to share ideas that will make your school days a little easier if you are still in the trenches this month!


Check out these easy ideas and activities to make end-of-the-year learning fun and engaging in your primary classroom!






Thinking up ways to thank your parent volunteers, holiday party planners, co-teachers, and helping staff members is often a tough task.  Next year, I plan to make these "ice cream buffet in a box" treats that Aimee from  Primarily Speaking created!   What a great way to scoop up great gifts and show your gratitude for the folks that make my job easier all year long! 



Check out these easy ideas and activities to make end-of-the-year learning fun and engaging in your primary classroom!
 Click {HERE} to see the original pin!






Kids and their families love sweet treats too, and what better way than to combine an old-fashioned ice cream social with a book swap?  My dear friend Em from Curious Firsties hosted one in her neighborhood before introducing it to her school community! She's outlined the steps to organizing an event just like it over at Adventures in Literacy Land!  What a fabulous way to promote summer reading fun for your students and their families!



Check out these easy ideas and activities to make end-of-the-year learning fun and engaging in your primary classroom!



Click {HERE} to see the original pin!



Check out these easy ideas and activities to make end-of-the-year learning fun and engaging in your primary classroom!  



Check out these easy ideas and activities to make end-of-the-year learning fun and engaging in your primary classroom!






On the second-to-last day of school this year, I provided Play Dough and craft sticks for my students to enjoy while we took turns cleaning out our lockers and packing up our journals, binders, and folders. Wax paper squares kept our desktops from getting sticky, and I found small canisters of Play Dough for each child at my local Five Below store.  My class had a GRAND time, but it was an expensive activity.  Luckily, I will not have to incur next year because of this fun, flavored, and easy recipe I found from Momma's Fun World!  



Check out these easy ideas and activities to make end-of-the-year learning fun and engaging in your primary classroom!
Click {HERE} to see the original pin!



It even coordinates with the two other ice cream ideas posted above, which just makes my
little ole' "theme-queen" heart very happy!  

As always, thanks for stopping by to share my Pinterest  picks!  I hope you'll follow me there for more ideas for your classroom!


If you decide to "scream for ice cream" during your final weeks of school, be sure to share this animated version of Jack Pretlusky's  Ebeneezer Bleezer's Ice Cream Store with your students!  The list of flavors is NOT Baskin-Robbin worthy, but it will induce giggles and silly smiles for quite awhile!  Enjoy!


Check out these easy ideas and activities to make end-of-the-year learning fun and engaging in your primary classroom!



A special thanks goes out to Ashley from Just Reed, Lisa from Pawsitively Teaching, and Marissa from The Inspired Owl's Corner for hosting this fun linky every month!  Be sure to check out these other fabulous ideas from this great group of teacher-authors!



An InLinkz Link-up


Warm Regards,















Flip Flops, Beach Chairs, and Great Books!


Welcome!

My friends from The Reading Crew are back with more mentor texts to share this weekend as summer break begins and thoughts turn to lounging by a pool, soaking up the sun on a restful walk, or tickling your toes in the sand!


David Wiesner's FLOTSAM is a great mentor text to use as you help students expand their ocean vocabulary and visualize their thinking about word meaning. Free Mind Maps and a creative writing booklet are included, along with picture clue cards.



If you've followed my blog for any length of time, you know that I absolutely LOVE vacationing in Naples, Florida.  My family celebrates Christmas there, and this sign on my condo mantel just sums up how I feel about all-things ocean related.....



David Wiesner's FLOTSAM is a great mentor text to use as you help students expand their ocean vocabulary and visualize their thinking about word meaning. Free Mind Maps and a creative writing booklet are included, along with picture clue cards.



When the theme for this mentor text hop was announced, I did not have to think twice about my book choice.  I hope you'll enjoy the magic and the mystery of using David Wiesner's Flotsam to help your students visualize story events and expand their content vocabulary!



David Wiesner's FLOTSAM is a great mentor text to use as you help students expand their ocean vocabulary and visualize their thinking about word meaning. Free Mind Maps and a creative writing booklet are included, along with picture clue cards.






This Caldecott Award-winning picture book begins with an illustration that focuses on the tools of observation that a young boy has brought to the beach.  You'll notice that he has a magnifying glass, binoculars, and a microscope laid out on his towel, along with snorkeling gear in his bag.  This page sets the stage for the the discoveries he is going to make as he spends the day exploring what has washed up on the sand around him.



David Wiesner's FLOTSAM is a great mentor text to use as you help students expand their ocean vocabulary and visualize their thinking about word meaning. Free Mind Maps and a creative writing booklet are included, along with picture clue cards.
www.davidwiesner.com





After showing my students this illustration, along with the title page, I model how to complete a Mind Map for the word flotsam, and together talk about their own personal experiences they have had while visiting the ocean shore.  We also discuss the different kinds of  "treasures" the waves wash up there and where it all might come from.



David Wiesner's FLOTSAM is a great mentor text to use as you help students expand their ocean vocabulary and visualize their thinking about word meaning. Free Mind Maps and a creative writing booklet are included, along with picture clue cards.


Making personal connections and drawing picture clues helps deepen understanding of word meaning, and Mind Maps give learners a way to organize and make their thinking visible.


David Wiesner's FLOTSAM is a great mentor text to use as you help students expand their ocean vocabulary and visualize their thinking about word meaning. Free Mind Maps and a creative writing booklet are included, along with picture clue cards.






Once we have completed the flotsam Mind Map, I introduce these slides and/or photo cards of words related to the story and the old-fashioned underwater camera and film the boy discovers.   Individual students or partners then select their favorite word from my collection and work to complete a Mind Map of their own.  Students then present their definitions, synonyms, context clues, and pictures to each other.  Other images and words in the collection I share include ocean, treasure, adventure, journey, waves.  There are also cards for binoculars, microscope, magnifying glass, and oceanographer.


David Wiesner's FLOTSAM is a great mentor text to use as you help students expand their ocean vocabulary and visualize their thinking about word meaning. Free Mind Maps and a creative writing booklet are included, along with picture clue cards.



After our thorough study of beach- and ocean-related vocabulary, I share the story with my second graders, asking them to "give it words" and describe what they see in each picture.  It is great fun to turn each page and experience their delight as the photos taken by the mysterious underwater camera are revealed.  Sea turtles swimming above seashell houses, aliens riding seahorses and fish, and faces of children from places around the world ignite their imaginations, and generate great discussions!




Once we've read and discussed the story, I ask my second graders to think about what would happen if they threw the underwater camera back in the ocean like the boy in Flotsam.  What pictures would it take?  Where would it end up?  What would happen next?  They use this booklet to write and illustrate creatively about their ideas.


David Wiesner's FLOTSAM is a great mentor text to use as you help students expand their ocean vocabulary and visualize their thinking about word meaning. Free Mind Maps and a creative writing booklet are included, along with picture clue cards.


You can grab the free MIND MAP worksheets 
and the free VOCABULARY SLIDESHOW & WORD CARDS

I hope that your student oceanographers enjoy exploring what they'd see under the sea
with this magical story!  

As always, thanks so much for stopping by
to share my story!


Be sure to enter our giveaway for a chance to win some great gift cards!  

a Rafflecopter giveaway

You might also want to follow this great Pinterest board for more ideas on how to use
mentor texts in your classroom!


David Wiesner's FLOTSAM is a great mentor text to use as you help students expand their ocean vocabulary and visualize their thinking about word meaning. Free Mind Maps and a creative writing booklet are included, along with picture clue cards.




Have fun stopping by the rest of these blogs to gather great lessons and freebies from
some of my favorite teacher-author friends!

May your summer be
as peaceful and easy as my days and evenings at the beach!



David Wiesner's FLOTSAM is a great mentor text to use as you help students expand their ocean vocabulary and visualize their thinking about word meaning. Free Mind Maps and a creative writing booklet are included, along with picture clue cards.



David Wiesner's FLOTSAM is a great mentor text to use as you help students expand their ocean vocabulary and visualize their thinking about word meaning. Free Mind Maps and a creative writing booklet are included, along with picture clue cards.



An InLinkz Link-up

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