Saturday, November 30, 2013

Days Until Christmas-Chalkboard Edition (Christmas Countdown Printable)

Yippee! It's almost Christmas, which means it is time to start counting down the days!!

There are 16 different designs so just choose the one you like and print to a color printer!
Then place in an 8X10 frame and use a dry erase marker on the glass!

Use in your classroom, office, teacher's lounge or home!


Here is a sample of some of the designs.

Get this HERE!

Hope you enjoy!

 Follow my store on TpT to be alerted of new Christmas stuff coming soon!

Thank you!

FREE TpT Sale Banners for Upcoming Cyber Sale!

Did you know Teachers Pay Teachers is having a CYBER Monday (and Tuesday) sale?! I have made some banners to dress up your TpT store! They are free so grab them HERE!

Here are some close ups of the 4 options.

Once you choose the one you like, you simply upload it to your store. Here's how!

1) Log into TpT and click on "My TpT" in the right hand corner.

2) Scroll down and under "Marketing and Promotion" click on "Dress up your store"

3) Under "Profile Page Leader board"click Browse and find your banner. Remember to select the jpeg file.

4) Below it, choose one of your products to link your banner to. (You cannot link to a blog or outside website.)

5) Click "save changes". After TpT approves your banner it will be placed in your store!

Hope you enjoy!

Please follow my BLOG and my TpT store to be alerted of my latest creations coming soon.

Follow HERE!

Thank you!

Thursday, November 21, 2013

Follow for a FREEBIE!

So, I know it's better to be a LEADER than a FOLLOWER in life but when it comes to Teachers Pay Teachers, it pays to be a follower. Why? When you are a follower, you are notified of all new products and upcoming sales. You might even luck out on a few freebies that are offered for the first 24 hours. :)

I am SOOO close to 100 followers, which is very exciting. I will be throwing a SALE when I reach 100.

SO, in the meantime, I need to round up a few more! I am starting my "Follow for a FREEBIE" campaign today. Simply go to my TpT site and click on "Follow Me" at the top of my page. Then REPLY to this post by stating your follower number and email address. I will send you one of my files under $4 (your choice) for FREE.

Once you have clicked "Follow Me", notice which number follower you are and reply to this post. Include your follower number, email and which product under $4 you would like for free.

Example: "I am your 97th follower and my email address is and I would like (product) for FREE!"

If you'd rather email me directly with that info, that will work too.
My email address is

Stay tuned for the upcoming sale and happy following!!

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Preview of The First Thanksgiving: Sequencing Activities AND FREEBIE offer for NEW followers...

Here is a preview of what is included in The First Thanksgiving: Sequencing Activities. I added an answer key. :) All pages are available in black and white for easy printing too.

Get this HERE! It is now just $2.00 but become a NEW follower on TpT and I will send it to you for FREE! Just simply reply to this post with your follower number and email address and I will send you the file!
Example: "I am your 96th follower and my email address is…."

Or if you would rather email me personally with that info, you can at 


Monday, November 18, 2013

The First Thanksgiving... with a focus on Sequencing!

Oh my goodness…it is almost Thanksgiving! I have a new product to share just. in. time!

In class this week, we are learning all about The First Thanksgiving by doing a Readers' Theatre. We have assigned parts and the kids are super excited. I created these sequencing activities to help the kids understand how it all went down. It was interesting when my kids completed their KWL chart this morning on what they already knew. (Get the KWL chart HERE from one of my fellow teachers!) Basically, we knew there were Pilgrims and Indians. Oh, and they came on a ship called the Mayflower. the end of the week, they will know the order of events of this special American holiday.

Here are some of the activities that are included….

FIRST, teachers can read aloud The First Thanksgiving story…or print for individual students or partners! 

THEN….students can complete this sequencing activity. I think I'm going to partner my kids up for this one!

 Next…a FLOW MAP!

Lastly, students can retell and summarize The First Thanksgiving story in their own words! There are 4 different writing pages, also available in black and white. :)

This is FREE for TUESDAY (11/19) only so get it now!!


UPDATE: I wanted to post some pics of my munchkins completing the sequencing activity….

After reading through the Thanksgiving story (twice), I had the kids partner up and order the events on another sheet of paper. They did a great job, working together and discussing the events.

This group got them all correct and in order.

If you downloaded this product, I hope you and your students enjoyed! I did receive some excellent feedback from some of you, so THANK YOU!!!

Be sure to check out the rest of my store for MORE

Sunday, November 17, 2013


I have one word for this week. Honored.

Thank you so much to my awesome co-workers for naming me Teacher of the Year at McAuliffe. I am truly honored to represent our amazing school.

And I guess that is just the reason why I feel so honored. Have you been to our school?! It is the BEST elementary school around with classrooms full of incredible teachers. We are blessed to have supportive parents and fantastic students. McAuliffe is a place of high expectations where we know how to work hard and play hard. I love my school….

I am able to do the very best job that I can because of the incredible support our school provides. It is awesome.

Here are a few pics taken on Friday when they revealed Teacher of the Year…

I absolutely LOVED the reveal…My daughter came into our library carrying a gorgeous bouquet of flowers with my son following closely behind with an envelope (gift card to my fave restaurant inside!). Then my mom, aunt, sister and father-in-law all walked in behind the kids. Truly a surprise!

Introducing Myla to the staff (most of them know her already, but she will be in kinder there next year!)

This year, we had a great TOY committee who made it all possible. Complete with a variety of bundt cakes for everyone! 

 It was already on the marquee!!

Me and my beautiful sister. Once an amazing 2nd grade teacher herself!! Now she stays home with her adorable kiddos with one on the way!!

We had to be sure to take pics for my husband, who couldn't be there. Preparing for the first home basketball game…Ah, the life of a high school coach!

So, to stick with our ONE WORD theme….the word HONORED really sums up the week. It's not easy being a teacher at times but receiving a little positive recognition goes a long way and I am grateful and appreciative. 


Tuesday, November 12, 2013

All About Nonfiction Features!!!

Check out the complete unit HERE!

Call me a nerd, but I love, Love, LOVE teaching about Nonfiction Features! It has always been one of my favorite things to teach. Maybe because it brings out the little detectives and/or scientists within the kids?! We had a lot of fun with our Nonfiction Features unit last week so I thought I would share.

To start off the unit, we do the Comprehension Toolkit lesson 2: Notice and Think About Nonfiction Features by Stephanie Harvey. This simply introduces the text features in a fun and engaging way as the kids look at some nonfiction books or magazines and identify different features. Then it goes a little deeper and explains each purpose for the features. I created a Feature/Purpose T-chart on chart paper, while we went through the lesson, as the kids recorded on their own paper. (see below!)

The next day, I partnered the kids up and they chose a nonfiction book to look through to find the different features. They used post-its to label what they found. We came together as a class and shared what we found in our books.

This year it seemed my kids had more background knowledge about Nonfiction Features so we were ready to start our Nonfiction Features Project! The students got to choose whether they wanted to create a poster or a book of nonfiction features.

Here are the directions and a Project Plan I gave the kids before they could start…

I really encouraged the kids to think about a topic they already knew some facts about but still wanted to know more. Of course my kids think they are already experts on their topics but this really allowed them to stop and think. And they LOVED being able to research a little and record their results. I explained that I wanted them to decide based on their research results if they would rather do the poster or the book. I had a pretty even split on books and posters in my class.

Here are some pics of my kids working on their projects!

Starting their books or posters!

They were really into it…didn't even notice me taking pics!

Having fun researching!

And here are some fabulous finished products!!

Since the main objective was to have the kids use and apply the nonfiction features, they were pretty easy to grade. Here are the rubrics I used!

I was really impressed by the kids' work!

After our projects, I had a Nonfiction Feature Scavenger Hunt ready to go!

And then to wrap up the week…we had our assessment. The kids did FABULOUS!!

I have to say that I'm looking forward to teaching this again next year!

Check out this complete unit HERE!

Here is a PREVIEW!


Friday, November 1, 2013

Putting "Tired" Words to Rest!

In writing, we have been taking our drafts through the revising stage. If I could pick a favorite stage of the writing process, this would be it. I love revising…even though it is one of the most challenging stages to teach. Revising is all about making your draft or story SOUND better…adding details and adjectives, making your story more interesting and exciting etc. So why is it challenging?? Most kids think their writing is absolutely perfect and does not need any changes. So…to model revising and to show that even Mrs. MeGown has to revise, I prepared a quick draft, omitting exciting details, on a larger piece of chart paper. Then I modeled reading my piece out loud to hear how my story sounded. I re-read several sentences and added details and adjectives. Then I re-read my revised story and received a round of applause. :) It was much better.

Later in the week, our team decided to focus on overused and tired words. Our beginning writers often struggle with thinking of words outside of these tired words. We also have intermediate writers who just need to expand their vocabulary. Because the week of Halloween was upon us, we wrote the "tired" words on tombstones (grey construction paper).  Then we wrote some alternatives to the "tired" words in hopes to use them in our drafts!

We did this one together as a class…

We wrote the new words in color to show how these words "add color" to your writing and make it sound better.

After our class example was completed, I had prepared 5 more so that each group could brainstorm together. Some were more challenging than others. I gave the group about 10 minutes to see what they could come up with before I came around with some word books and thesaurus on the iPads. Once completed, the next day, we did a gallery walk where the kids visited each tombstone to see all the groups' "tired" words.

After the gallery walk, the kids got out their drafts and changed a few "tired" words to exciting words. I did emphasize the importance of not completely kicking these words out of their drafts. It is sometimes necessary and will sound best with those words, just not all the time. So we discussed that we are not burying the words completely…just putting them to rest for awhile. :)

When we were finished, we put them out in the hallway!