Sunday, February 19, 2017

Sight Word Practice

My first graders always need practice with their sight words. You know what else they always need practice with?  Sentences!

I decided to combine the two and have them practice writing sentences with sight words.  I use these worksheets for morning work and for literacy centers.  If you need a literacy center, print out the word cards and have your students arrange them into a sentence. 

They can then do the practice page that matches the sentence.

Added bonus:  They get handwriting practice AND they have to show that they comprehend the sentence by illustrating.  Lots of literacy practice in one quick and easy print and go center!  All part of my work smarter not harder philosophy.  How's that working for's a work in progress ;)

Click on the picture below to take you to my TpT store and the Build a Sentence packets and bundle.

Sunday, December 6, 2015

Spruce Up Your Computer Desktop ~ With a Freebie!

I love all things cute...including my desktop background on my computer.  I made a cute background for my dell desktop, but oh my, look at all of those messy files! 

I just bought a new laptop, so it was a great time to start fresh and not let my computer files get so messy again.

I've seen a few desktop organization tutorials on blogs. I originally found this one from A Teeny Tiny Teacher.  Of course, I had to try it out for myself.  I've done several versions, but I think I love this one the best.

I love the frames for each category and I especially love the calendar, but I couldn't make up my mind on the backgrounds... so I made a few different backgrounds!

I love these so much, I decided to share them as freebies!  Click on any of the new backgrounds to get your freebie. I'm hoping to do a different background each month, so check back here or in my TPT store to see if I have another freebie for you!

Sunday, November 29, 2015

Teachers Pay Teachers Cyber Monday Sale!

Teaching in the Tongass is hosting a fun linky to celebrate the TPT Cyber Monday sale so I thought I'd join in. 

We're sharing our most "wishlisted" items to get ideas for things to put in our own carts.  I can't wait to see what's in YOUR cart!  Now is a great time to stock up and save--and get last minute tax savings before 2015 comes to a close.

My most wishlisted item is my
Nonfiction Text Features Resources packet.
Check out the preview to see everything that's included. 
If you do a nonfiction writing unit, this has great resources to supplement your writing workshop.
Nonfiction Text Features Resources

My Draw Conclusions with Fairy Tale Characters is my second most wishlisted item.
This packet is a fun way to learn about drawing conclusions. 
 Plus, you can incorporate it into your Fairy Tale unit. 

And finally, my personal favorite. 
 My Beanie Babies Reading Strategies packet
 is my third most wishlisted item.
It has lots of great resources to help your students anchor their learning.
Now I'm off to fill my shopping cart so I'm ready for the sale tomorrow!
Happy Shopping!

Monday, July 6, 2015

Buying Books for a Leveled Library

How do you decide which books to buy for your leveled classroom library?  Every summer, I try to buy some books to add to my classroom library.

Here is a photo (sorry for the poor quality.  I need a new camera!) of my classroom library taken on our 100th day of school. You can tell that it's months into the school year because our library is a bit messy. ;)  I have a pretty good selection of leveled books, but I always think I need more! ;)

Usually I buy a variety of book levels.  This summer, I am buying books targeted to my incoming students. Our school, like many others, is data driven.  In this case, that's a good thing!  We know that our incoming students are, overall, lower readers.

At the end of the year, as I was packing up my library, I realized my library is a bit lacking in the easy reader area.  I need lots of books for these students to be able to choose from when they are book shopping.  So, how do I choose my books so I know they are at the "just right" reading level for my students?  I go to www.  My school uses Accelerated Reader from Renaissance Place, so I use this leveling system.

Here's how I start my book ordering process:  First, I go to the website.  This is the first screen you will see.

Once you click on one of the choices, you will go to this screen. I click on Advanced Search.

On the Advanced Search tab, I click my choice on the quiz released box and the quiz type. Then I click on my choice for interest level and book levels.  Finally, I choose to sort the results by book level.

I go through the results and pick out books that I think my students will like.  Today, I noticed something new:  a Buy from Amazon button.  What!!??!! I've never noticed this before so I don't know if it's new...or just new to me.  Either way, it has made my book ordering process so much easier.  No more clicking between tabs, typing in the titles in the search on amazon. Whew! The things that make this teacher heart happy. ;)

I ordered books between the 0.5 and 1.2 levels.  My choices were predominantly non fiction because I find my students are much more engaged in non fiction books.  

So, how do you decide which books to order?    

Thursday, June 25, 2015

TPT Seller Challenge Week 2: Dare to Dream

Hello again!  I'm joining in for the second week of the TPT Seller Challenge:  Dare to Dream.  Get's a long story with lots of pictures.  
This week's challenge has been just that...a challenge for me.  My dreams/goals have been changing during my TPT journey.  As our lives evolve and change, I guess our dreams have to also.  My Dare to Dream board includes what I dreamed at the beginning of my journey...and my current dreams and goals for the future.

This picture is the reason I became a TPT seller.  I wanted to build an "Empty Nest Dream Home." My husband is a small business owner.  With our combined income, we did not see how this was going to be possible.  Add to that college expenses for our two seemed nearly impossible. I printed this picture and hung it by my desk to remind me of my goal.

We have not built our dream home may never happen.  My husband and I are constantly going back and forth with our decision.  It's a big step at this point in our we're not sure we want to take.  My husband is all about living debt free and this would seriously compromise his goals. :)  On Pinterest, I added a board called "Love It or List It" (don't you love that show!?) where I've pinned ideas for either possibility.  Right now, for various reasons, we've decided to stay in our current home so I'm tackling some "Love It" projects.  The wonderful thing is that because of TPT, I have the freedom to do this without going into debt! 

These are my two sweet babies, Abby and Justin.  Not really babies anymore, but I will always think of them in this way-even when we are toasting Justin's 22nd birthday.  Ack!  Never pictured having wine/cocktails with my kids, but it's kind of nice establishing a relationship with my kids as adults. :)

Abby completed her bachelor's degree and is working as a nurse.  She graduated with very little debt. I wasn't a TPT seller while she was in school, but I was still able to pay for most of her college expenses so she wouldn't be saddled with student loan debt.  Justin is still in school so TPT has enabled me to pay for most of his expenses.  He is responsible for some of his expenses-he wants to be "invested" in his education. :)

When Justin was in high school, he told me he wanted o try out for drum corps.  I had no idea what this involved at the time, but agreed to drive him to an audition camp weekend four hours from our home.  I told him I would pay for one summer of drum corps, but after his first "family day" performance with the Glassmen, I was hooked!  It has been an incredible experience for him and I'm glad I was able to fund his adventure.

Justin had the opportunity to travel to Japan with Carolina Crown.

Teaching is my second career.  My first "career" was as a stay at home mom.  When Justin, my youngest started first grade, I started thinking about what I wanted to be when I grew up. ;)  I asked myself what I would choose to do if I had to work for free.  Becoming a teacher immediately came to mind.  It scared me though, because I had such admiration for my kids' teachers.  I prayed about it, talked with my pastor, and finally decided to take a leap of faith and go back to school for my Master of Arts in Teaching.  It was the best decision I've ever made.  I love teaching!

Sooooo, long story short ;), because I started teacher later in life my retirement fund will be a bit lacking.  Also, as I mentioned before, my husband is self-employed, so he is responsible for his retirement fund.  My goal is that my income from TPT will provide a comfortable retirement for us-if we ever decide to retire. ;)

Finally, my last dream/goal!  I'm not a huge philanthropist, but I like to live generously every day in little ways.  These little ways may include buying extras for my classroom and students with a happy heart, contributing to the two drum corps that had such an impact on my son's life, or buying resources to share with my teacher friends.  Having the extra resources to share my blessings is a wonderful thing!

Whew!! Who knew I had so much to say about my TPT dreams!  If you've made it this far, you deserve a prize...or at least a freebie!  I'm sharing this on google drive.  I'll keep the freebie active for a week.  Grab it if you'd like.

These fabulous bloggers are hosting the TPT Seller Challenge.  Visit their blogs to read more about how TPT Seller's have Dared to Dream!

Sparkling in Second
Peppy Zesty Teacherista

Thanks for sticking with me through this long post!  I hope TPT can help you fulfill your dreams!

Sunday, June 21, 2015

TPT Seller Challenge Week 1: Makeover Madness

I am so excited to be taking part in the TPT Seller Challenge.  This week's challenge is Makeover Madness. It's just the nudge I need to zsush some of my products.

When I started thinking about which product to makeover, I decided on my little Back to School Booklet.  If you're like me, you start thinking about back to school time before the current year is over.  I know...I have a problem. ; )

Here's what I started with:

It's a cute little booklet, but it needed more to make
the first day of school special.

I love to do cut and paste activities with my students, especially on the first day of school! ;)  It's the perfect opportunity to see who can/cannot follow directions, who may need OT support, and who may need a gentle nudge to stay on task.  

I also wanted a few things just for fun.  Besides explaining/modeling the rules and routines of the classroom, I like to get my students excited about school. Hopefully, these cute little pencil toppers and awards certificates will do just that!


So there you have made-over Back to School mini unit.  If you'd like to grab it, it's in my tpt store at 50% off for 48 hours. Click here  or on the pic below.  Happy Back to School!

If you want to check out more Makeover Madness, check out these fabulous blogs.  I can't wait for next week's challenge!  How about you?

Sparkling in Second
Peppy Zesty Teacherista