Monday, December 17, 2012

Spread KINDNESS and LOVE!!

I'm still in shock over what happened at Sandy Hook Elementary in Connecticut.  As an American, I'm saddened over this senseless tragedy that killed innocent victims.  As a teacher, I'm horrified because this hits too close to home.  It makes me sad that this event will instill a sense of worry in students, parents, and teachers across our nation for years to come.

I love my students.  I love their families.  I love my coworkers.  I work with some of the best who I know would do anything to protect their students.  I am surrounded by love and kindness everyday at my little school.  I want to remind my students that even though there are bad people out there, there are MANY good ones TOO!!

I created an ACTS OF KINDNESS FREEBIE to promote kindness.  It's an extension of my holiday "Acts of Kindness Homework Log."  I feel it's more important than ever to spread love and kindness among our students.  It's important for them to recognize caring acts of others.  It's important for them to be caring.  It's important for all of us to remember the good in the world.

Enjoy this FREEBIE with your students.

Proud teacher,

Saturday, December 8, 2012

Christmas Crafts & Gifts!!

Merry "Craft" Christmas!! I'm linking up with Cynthia over at 2nd Grade Pad for a Christmas Craft Linky Party.

My side tables and student desks' have been filled with tissue paper, glue, paint, glitter, and trinkets.  Messy, but fun!! I do love the holiday decorations in my classroom.

Here's a decorated glass jar my students made as a gift for their parents and/or family.  You can put a tealight candle in it.  Last year, I had my students write little notes telling why they loved their family.  They put the notes inside the jar.  Click here to read more about this from a previous post.

* liquid starch
* tissue paper (small cut squares)
* paint brushes
* black die-cut holiday shapes

Next, here's a holiday candle directed draw.  I love the colors!! It's easy ... and when you mix them with some paper poinsettias, the room is filled with holiday cheer!!

Be sure to check out the linky party at 2nd Grade Pad for more craft ideas to get you through the next few weeks!!


Sunday, December 2, 2012

December Currently and a FREEBIE!!

Happy December!!! It's Farley's monthly "Currently" linky party!! One of my favorites! Click below to check it out!!

I love the idea of Random Acts of Kindness (aka RAK) ... Thanks Farley!

* Listening: Yes, I'm obsessed with basketball.  I have an ESPN Score Center app on my phone that alerts me when a game has started.

* Loving: Local holiday boutiques are so great!!! I always find one of a kind gifts and I love supporting small business owners.

* Thinking: It's crazy time!! Everyday in the teaching world is a busy day, but the holiday season is filled with gifts, crafts, art projects, etc.  These three weeks are going to fly by!!

* Wanting: Mmm ... a warm holiday drink, like kahlua and coffee, would be so delicious right now!!

* Needing: Clothes!!! Seriously, I stand in my closet and stare at my clothes every morning.  I'm out of ways to mix, match, and reinvent my closet.  My clothes are old and my favorite black boots have seen better days.  Time for some holiday shopping for myself!!

* RAK: I bought an extra scratcher at the store and told the clerk to give it to the next person in line. 

Speaking of Acts of Kindness .... Here's a FREEBIE homework assignment!! It's great to assign during the holiday season.

Happy Holidays,

Friday, November 23, 2012

The Liebster Award

Karen over at Little Second-Grade Somebodies, Brooke from Whooo's in Second Grade, Gina from Beach Sand and Lesson Plans, and Lindsey from Teaching Snip-Its nominated my blog for the Liebster Award.  I'm very flattered!! This award is given to up and coming bloggers with 200 or less followers.  That's me!!!  Thanks girls for your nominations! Be sure to check out their fabulous blogs.
Here are the rules:
1. You must post 11 random things about yourself.
2. Answer the questions that the nominator set for you.
3. Create 11 questions for the people you nominate.
4. Choose 11 other blogs with fewer than 200 followers to nominate and link them in your post.
5. You cannot “tag back” the other blog, but leave a comment on this post with the URL of your Liebster post so I can learn more about you & see who you nominate.

11 random things about me:
1) I've been skydiving once.  It was amazing!!! I had a perfect landing.  No joke!
2) I love ketchup!! I especially like to dip grilled cheese sandwiches in it.
3) I have 3 brothers.  I'm the only girl in my family.
4) I love summertime!! I feel a slight depression coming on every year when we have to change the clocks back. :(
5) Country music is my new obsession!! I'm addicted.
6) I always have music on!!!!
7) Italy is my favorite place in the world ... maybe because I'm Italian.  It's beautiful!
8) I'm still a Miss hoping one day to be a Mrs.  Sometimes I feel like the only single teacher left on the planet. Haha!
9) I ran my first 5k this month.
10) I'm still stuffed from my Thanksgiving dinner .... but I could go for a slice of pumpkin pie. Oddly enough, it was the only kind of pie missing from our feast.  Boooo!
11) I'm going to Japan in April for my cousin's wedding.  It will be Cherry Blossom time! 

1. Is education the only career you've had? If not what else have you done?
    Education is and will be my only career.  Before I became a teacher, I was a server in restaurants. 
2. Have you or anyone in your family ever served in the military? If so, what branch?
    Yes!! Some of my family members have served in the military.  
3. What type of school district do you work in? (urban, suburban, rural)
    My school district is located in a suburban area.  It's in a town outside of Los Angeles.
4. Do you have a favorite celebrity? If so, who?
    I don't have a fav celebrity.  I'm a huge Lakers fan, so my fav athlete used to be Derek Fisher.  Sadly, he's no longer a Laker player. 
5. Are you a reader? What genre?
    Yes!!! I love reading when I find the time or when I don't fall asleep. :) I like a variety of genres.
6. What is your favorite movie?
    That's a tough one.  "Love Actually" or anything FUNNY!!
7. What is the highest degree you hold?
    I have a Masters in Education from U.C.S.B.
8. What do you consider the most memorable event in your life?
     Anytime with my family & friends, my trip to Italy, and traveling ... I'm hoping my most memorable events are yet to come. 
9. What is your favorite food?
     Mexican and Italian
10. Do you have pets?
      None of my own, but I dog sit a lot for my family members' dogs. :)
11. Do you intend to "Black Friday"?
      Surprisingly, I will be shopping on Black Friday this year with my mom (which is actually in a few hours).  Shopping is one of my least favorite things to do.

My questions for my nominated peeps:
1) What grade do you currently teach? Have you taught any other grades?
2) What is your favorite thing about teaching? Least favorite?
3) If your school was donated $25,000, what would you want your principal to purchase?
4) What is your favorite TV show?
5) If you could go back in time, what era would you choose to visit?
6) What is your school mascot?
7) How many kids are in your class?
8) What is your current obsession? 
9) What is your idea of relaxing after a crazy day of teaching?
10) Do you have a favorite holiday treat or drink?
11) Heels or flats?

My nominated peeps:

Thursday, November 22, 2012

Cyber Monday (and Tuesday) SALE!!!!

Teachers Pay Teachers is having a Cyber Monday (and Tuesday) sale!!! Yay for online shopping!!!   Many TPT sellers will have their products on sale.  Be sure to enter the code above to get up to 28% off!! My entire store will be on sale.

I definitely will be purchasing a few items on my wish list.  I love TPT!!  I feel much better about buying quality products from other teachers instead of big businesses.  It's nice to support each other.

Happy shopping!!!

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

It's Beginning to Look A LOT like Christmas!!

I'm linking up with Tammy over at "123 Teach With Me" for a FUN Holiday Linky Party!! Click below to join in on the fun and to see many other FABULOUS holiday ideas.

I can't believe the holiday season is already here!  Starting next Monday, there will ONLY be 4 weeks of school until Winter Break!! Yikes! That means Winter Sing practice, holiday gifts, and CRAFTS, CRAFTS, and more CRAFTS!!!

One of my favorite gifts that my students make is "You LIGHT up my world" notes.  I originally got this idea from my sister-in-law.  A few years ago, my niece and nephew gave my mom a cute decorated mason jar that said "The Reasons I LOVE Me-maw" (aka grandma) on it.  Inside the jar were cute little notes telling my mom why they love her so much.  Such a great idea!!!

I decided to use this idea as a holiday gift for my students.  This product can be found on my TPT store.  It includes tags, cards, and letter stationary that students can make for the special people who "LIGHT" up their worlds.  Teachers can also fill them out about their students.

I also love this idea I found on Pinterest. The jar below has random acts of kindness that kids can do throughout the holiday season.  So great!!!

Lil Light O'Mine Blog

Happy Holidays!!! I hope you have a wonderful Thanksgiving weekend and holiday season to come.

Monday, November 12, 2012

Student Resources & Teaching Tips Linky Party

Oh yay!! A linky party for teaching tips hosted by Miss Kindergarten!!

 Here are 3 simple teaching tips:
#1  Build relationships with your students.  If they feel respected & loved, they will work hard for you!!
#2  PLAY MUSIC IN YOUR CLASS!!! (It puts everyone in a good mood!!)
#3  Give your students LOTS of resources to make them successful.  Read below. :)

In case you haven't grabbed my Reference Sources freebie from my TPT store .... here it is!! This product includes 6 mini-posters and a sorting game for commonly used reference sources.  I post these mini-posters in my classroom.  My students refer to them all the time. 
The sorting game was challenging for my second and third graders the first few times they played it, but now they're really good at it.  It's helpful to put a sample of each of the reference sources (dictionary, thesaurus, etc.) next to the game.  Then, your students can look through the books and refer to the mini-posters to help them.
I also just posted kid friendly math reference sheets on my TPT store.  This product includes 4 reference sheets to help students with math problems pertaining to place value, money, geometry (shapes, triangles, and lines), word problems, and measurement.  I put these reference sheets in a 3-prong folder for my students.  This math folder is kept in their desk for the year.

 My students also have writing and reading folders with a variety of reference sheets to help them.  I like folders because they're a resource my students always have access to, but they can be put away.  I LOVE anchor charts, but I DON'T like clutter.  The neat freak in me can only stand to have a few up at a time.  Haha!

This final FREEBIE is a Reading Strategies Reference Sheet.  I put this in my students' reading folders.  I got this idea from a cute pin on Pinterest.  I adjusted the strategies and questions to match my reading curriculum. 

Monday, November 5, 2012

Quote-ly Speaking

I'm crazy about quotes! I post them ALL over my classroom.  They are like warm little fuzzies!! 

It has been CRAZY at work ... crazier than usual that is.  I was feeling a little stressed today and had to remind myself to take a breath, to be thankful, and to focus on the things I LOVE about my job ... like my stinkin' cute students!

During this season of giving thanks and reflecting, I decided to start "Quotely Speaking." I will post some of my favorite classroom, teacher, and personal quotes once a week on my Facebook page.

Here is a freebie!! It's a typed up list of quotes that are posted in my classroom .  This list is included in my Back to School Night packet and placed in my students' classwork folders.  When my students  need reminders to try their best, to do the right thing, or to be positive, I often refer to a quote!! 

Here are some pics of my posted quotes.  

This one is obviously not a quote, but it looks cool & really helps my phone monitor. :)

 Enjoy, relax, breathe, & be thankful!!!

Friday, November 2, 2012

November Currently

Happy November my peeps!! Here's my first Farley's Currently.  I LOVE these!! 

As my followers know, I play music A LOT in my classroom.  Check out my Turn Up the Music blog I wrote last week.  My favorite song to play right now is Katie Perry's "Firework."  I play this song on Friday afternoons for "Friday Celebrations".  This is when my students and I add up table points for the week and have our weekly raffle.  We celebrate good choices and successes for the week!! "Firework" is inspirational and upbeat!! My students BELT this song out when it comes on.  So cute!

I'm also still in love with the song "Home" by Phillip Phillips .  I played this a lot at the beginning of the school year right after the Olympics.  This was the theme song for the USA girls gymnastics team.  I played this song during my Back to School Night Powerpoint Presentation for my parents as well.  Such a great song!

Turn it up my friends!! Enjoy!





Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Booooo! Happy Halloween!

I hope you all had a fabulous Halloween!! I had to share pictures of the AWESOME treats my students got today! I have the best parent helpers this year.  They are really creative!!!

The mummies are white chocolate covered oreos.  So yummy! What a great idea!!

I posted 3 of my favorite Halloween jokes on my Facebook page, but here is one last joke .....

What do ghosts chew? Boo-ble gum

So silly, but it makes me laugh!

Good night my friends,

Sunday, October 28, 2012

Loving my new look!!

I LOVE my blog design!! It is just what I wanted and really expresses my style.  Thank you Christi for doing such an amazing job!! You are professional, easy to work with, and very creative!!

If you're looking for a new blog design, you should definitely check her out!!!

Turn Up the Music!!!

I'm obsessed with music! I play it all day long .... in my car, when I'm home, and of course in my CLASSROOM!!  Not only does music put me in a good mood, but it truly helps me to be a better teacher.  I use it for classroom management, transitions, and to put a smile on my students' faces!!!

Using music for transitions is brilliant!  I initially got this idea from the fabulous Rick Morris.  Check out his website for many great ideas!! He's amazing.  Attending his teacher workshops permanently changed how I do transitions in my classroom. 

Like Rick Morris, I have a playlist of songs that I use for important transitions throughout the day.  Instead of giving oral directions ALL day long, these songs cue my students to do specific jobs.  They love it and it saves my voice a little. 

It's also a HUGE time saver.  It only takes my students 2 minutes and 51 seconds (the length of Raiders of the Lost Ark) to clean and pack up at the end of the day!! I'm talking about ALL 28 students!! It's so great!!

 My playlist:
* Crazy Frog Ding Dong Song - 
     I play this in the morning.  Students know to put their backpacks away, turn in homework, and start working on their morning work.
* Andy Griffith Show Theme Song -
     I play this right before recess & lunch.  Students know to clean up and get ready.
* Dancing with the Stars Theme Song -
     I play this right before silent reading time.  Students know to take out a book and start reading.
* Raiders of the Lost Ark Theme Song - 
     I play this at the end of the day.  Students know to clean up, pack up, and get ready to go home.
* You've Got a Friend in Me (Toy Story) -
     I play this after art or when we have rainy day schedule.  Students know to clean up and put their supplies/games away.

My favorite song is the Ding Dong Song.  My students love it!! I play this song with the video.  The first few times I played it, my students were in a TV coma and stared at the screen instead of doing their "jobs".  I promise they'll get over the novelty of it and it will work like magic!!

If you can't access YouTube at your school, you can also find it on Vimeo.

I found all my theme songs from  This site has a ton of shorter songs that are perfect for transitions and more importantly, they are FREE!!!

Using music for transitions adds some FUN to your classroom and will make your life a little bit easier.  Enjoy!!!

Sunday, October 21, 2012

Harvest Art

Here's another fall art project I love putting up in my classroom.  It adds a nice harvest touch and it's really easy to prep.  I love the colors!! 

Here are some student samples.  All you need is construction paper, scissors, and glue.  I always encourage my students to free cut each item.  Some will ask if they can draw the item first with pencil, but I like the look of a rough cut.  It makes it look like "kid" art, which is always SO cute! I have each student cut out one large pumpkin, two bunches of grapes (green and purple), one red apple, and a yellow pear (or squash).  All pieces are glued onto a black background and mounted on yellow.  Voila!!!

Enjoy your day!!!

Sunday, October 14, 2012

Happy Fall!!!

I'm so excited to start my blog!! Yay! This is my first blog!! I can't wait to share my ideas with others.  I get so many great ideas from other teacher blogs.  I'm always so impressed with the creative and clever ideas out there!

Even though summer is my favorite season, October is one of my favorite months.  I love the colors, decorations, and art projects I do with my students.  I love going to Lombardi Ranch, a family owned ranch in my hometown, to get pumpkins and the BEST corn on the cob ever!!!
The entrance to Scarecrow Alley at Lombardi Ranch

  One of my favorite art projects during this time of year is my Frankenstein Art.  This art is based on the book Frankie Stein.  It's a cute story!!
I love doing directed draws!! They always come out great.  Even though I give the students step by step directions, all finished products come out differently and are SO unique.  Here's the basic template and a few AWESOME student samples.  Feel free to use it in your classrooms.

My students loved making these and were so proud of themselves!! Enjoy!
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