If you haven't read Llama Destroys the World yet, let me introduce you! https://www.facebook.com/getyourteachon/videos/2841276295927367/ This is one of my FAVORITE picture books. The illustrations, the story...it's whimsical and hilarious...and there are so many different activities you can do with your kids after reading this book. I love to incorporate several different comprehension skills when reading this story. To start, this is a great book for reinforcing the concept of cause and effect. I'll start with a "hook". If you watch the video, you can see how I set the stage for introducing this skill with an egg. After … [Read more...] about Llama Destroys the World – A Virtual ELA Lesson
I always start a new year with lofty goals and about mid-week of the first week in January, I usually forfeit those big ideas with a quickness. I’m the kind of person who falls off the horse and finds it WAY too daunting of a task to get back up and keep going. Instead, I abandon said goals and resolve to just “do better”. This year I knew I wanted to do a better job of reading. I LOVE losing myself in between the pages of a good book and would sit down and read for hours a day if I could, but in all honesty?! I’m riddled with guilt when I do…especially when I know there are a million … [Read more...] about January 2020 Book Review
If you're anything like me, you might have a soft spot in your heart for the sentimental. Something about the holiday season really pushes those feelings into overdrive (for me, anyway). I think this is why Christmas cards are my favorite. I love running to my mailbox in December. I anxiously tear open each and every card and swoon over the beautiful faces and sweet handwritten sentiments hiding of each envelope. And because I'm so sentimental, I absolutely can't part with ANY of those Christmas cards at the end of the season. It kills me to think that my friends and family spend so much time curating the perfect card only to … [Read more...] about Christmas Card Covers
It's always a bit of a challenge shopping for kids whether they're young, teens, or semi-adults. I'm all about the gift cards personally, but when I'm gifting to the kids in my family I like to try and put a little more thought into what I purchase. Hopefully these gift ideas help you while you're crossing things off your list this year! If nothing else, I hope they give you a little inspiration and maybe a few new ideas! *This post contains affiliate links from which I may earn a small commission. Thank you so much for supporting my blog!* Pranklopedia - for the kid who loves to pull pranks, here's a book full of ideas!Knee High … [Read more...] about Holiday Gift Guides for Kids, Tweens/Teens, & College Students
Continuing on with our holiday gift guides, today we're highlighting stocking stuffers and gifts for those special guys & couples in your life. *This post contains affiliate links from which I may earn a small commission. Thank you so much for supporting my blog!* 11-in-1 Survival Gear Kit - I hope my husband and boys are NEVER in a situation where they need this kit, but just in case they are I want them to be prepared!Rechargable Hand Warmer - I'm thinking this is one of those gifts intended for him, but will be stolen by me in no time.Solid Cologne Sticks - these are such GREAT stocking stuffers! Perfect to carry … [Read more...] about Holiday Gift Guides for Him & Them
With the holidays right around the corner, I wanted to start rolling out my annual gift guides so that you'll have plenty of time to shop for your family, friends, and everyone in between! Just in time for Black Friday and Cyber Monday. Today's gift guides are for the ladies in your life whoever they may be and most of these gift items are from Amazon! I know how much we all love to Prime :) Gift guides for him, them, kids, tweens/teens, college students, cocktail enthusiasts, book lovers, travelers, faith-based, and teachers will be rolling out each day between now and Thanksgiving Day so stay tuned for those! *This post contains … [Read more...] about Holiday Gift Guides for HER!
I can't believe we're staring down the end of another month. I swear the older I get, the faster the days and months fly by. Anybody else? Last week I sent out a math game to my email club. If you aren't subscribed, I'd love for you to join us. I promise I won't inundate you with emails, but it's definitely the quickest way to get updates and freebies just like the one I'm about to share. I designed these games to accompany the activities I created to use with the book, Monster Trouble. Monster Trouble is a great read ANY time of the year, but it definitely lends itself to the festivities and themes in October. This game is no … [Read more...] about Monster Math – a Freebie!
Being a teacher is really something special. From the kids to the curriculum, teaching most definitely has its perks. Not only do teachers have the distinct privilege of growing lifelong learners, but teaching provides its educators with constant opportunities to continue learning, too…and I’m not just talking about content! With each year spent in the classroom, teachers learn more and more about what it means to be an educator. How to reach the hearts of their students. How to teach their minds. How to adapt to challenging situations & recover from failed lessons and classroom … [Read more...] about I #MoveFor Learning with Easy Spirit!
When I work in different schools and talk to teachers in between sessions at conferences, I always hear something along the lines of, "there's just note enough time for (science & social studies!!!!)" Teachers. I feel you. I really do. There's barely enough time in our day to teach the skills & objectives you need to teach in the first place! So often, we as teachers look at our curriculum and see everything through compartmentalized lenses. If we're teaching literacy skills, it must be done during our ELA block. If we're teaching math, it can't go beyond that 90 minute time frame we have carved out … [Read more...] about Fitting It All In with Science
If you've ever attended one of my professional development workshops, attended one of my sessions at a conference, or invited me to visit your school, you know how passionate I am about cross-curricular instruction. Integrating concepts and themes across the board and weaving objectives through each of the subject areas is one of my biggest academic passions. So often we, as educators, look at our content through a compartmentalized lens. If our schedule says "Math from 1:00 - 2:00", then we stick to teaching math in that designated time slot and teach it in that time frame only. I'm such a strong believer in making connections across … [Read more...] about Classroom Connections
WHERE TO STAY IN BANFF If you’ve been following my IG for a while, you might remember that my husband and I…along with two of our friends…traveled to Banff Canada for a few days in June. I’m not an expert on traveling, and I’m definitely not an expert on traveling to Banff, but here’s just a little rundown of the lodging and food after several people have asked for trip details. We reserved our lodging only about a week and a half prior to our trip due to poor planning on our part. By the time we were ready to reserve our stay, most lodging in Banff was completely sold out. We ended up having to split our stay … [Read more...] about Banff Canada – Lodging & Food
I'm often asked by friends and strangers alike what my thoughts are in regards to holding a child back an extra year as opposed to sending them to Kindergarten with a June-early September birthday. As a former K-2 teacher who spent fifteen years in the classroom, I definitely have my opinions about this. However, instead of sharing my perspective solely through the lens of a teacher, I'd love to share my opinions with you from the viewpoint of a mother who made this decision for her child as well. Keep in mind that these are my opinions based solely on my personal experiences. We all have vastly different experiences both in and out of … [Read more...] about Why We Gave Our Child The Gift of Time & Delayed His Start in Kindergarten
For those of you who know me, you know that I have a slight obsession with SONIC® Drive-In. The ice. Those cheese sticks. And I'm convinced no other fast food establishment serves a tastier fountain Coke. While all of that is amazing in and of itself, SONIC's partnership with educators is what keeps me going back. Ten years ago, SONIC partnered with Donor's Choose to recognize teachers needing more support in public schools in our local communities. Through their Learning for Limeades campaign in partnership with Donor's Choose, SONIC has donated $11,902,421, supported more than 27,407 classrooms, and provided learning materials … [Read more...] about Limeades for Learning
The end of the school year is always so bittersweet. While I always loved anticipating the freedom summer would bring, I was always really sad to say goodbye to the kids who spent the year growing and maturing right before my eyes. As I've said before, I always loved spending the last few weeks of school reflecting on our year. It's also such a great time to look ahead to summer. I love implementing writing activities and crafts at the end of the year to give me an opportunity to do both. I created a set of four different hand-drawn craft templates to accompany writing prompts. These prompts are pretty straightforward and simple … [Read more...] about End of Year Writing Activities
If you know me well, you know how much I believe in the power of telling kids WHO they are. I love praising kids not just when they succeed, but when they progress and improve, too. The end of the school year is one of my favorite times of the year for doing just that. While I think it's important to celebrate growth and progress all year long, I love giving kids tangible pieces of praise in the form of awards to affirm how much they've grown throughout the year. I am so excited about these growth mindset awards! These tangible pieces of paper praise are great for recognizing yearlong growth, but they're also perfect to give to … [Read more...] about Editable Growth Mindset Awards
In years past, I loved using the month of May to reflect on the school year with my kids. As much as I loved doing this for myself, I've always felt like there is so much power in showing kids how far they've come in just a few short months. This was especially fun in Kindergarten. I loved showing my kids writing samples from the first few months of school compared to how they're writing in May. "That is NOT my writing!", they'd exclaim. "I never wrote like that!" Trust me sweet children. You DID. And those first few months of your writing journey were painful (for both of us). Can I get an amen?! As soon as our countdown to … [Read more...] about End of Year Reflections & Memories
I recently had the privilege of providing professional development for an amazing group of primary teachers. We discussed a lot of different strategies, best teaching practices, and activity ideas. Professional development days are always my favorite...especially when teachers are eager & excited to learn more in an effort to provide kids with every learning opportunity they possibly can. During this particular PD, we talked a lot about sight words. It always fascinates me how the expectations differ from school to school, district to district. At this particular campus, the teachers were using Fry Words as the basis for their … [Read more...] about Sight Word Fluency
You might not know this about me, but just in case you were wondering, sentimental stuff is my jam. This time of the year brings out the sap in me and I find myself knee deep in everything that's nostalgic. My favorite part of the holiday season is decorating our family tree. The store bought ornaments are great and all, but my tender heart lets out a sentimental tear or twenty whenever I pull out the ornaments handmade by my boys. Their little fingerprints painted on the matte acrylic kills me. Can you even believe their fingers were tiny enough to cover just a teensy portion of an ornament?! Now their man hands would CRUSH them! But … [Read more...] about Keepsake Ornament
*This post contains affiliate links via Amazon* On a personal level, Thanksgiving is my most favorite holiday. The parades. The family. The FOOD!!!! And when the weather cooperates, it's one of the most magical days of the year (for me, anway). So it should come as no surprise that I would feel the same about celebrating in the classroom, too. Well, any holiday, really ;) Here are a few things I've done with my Kindergarten and First Graders through the years during the month of November. Of course, I don't have time for everything you see every single year, so depending on the dynamic and abilities of my students, I pick and … [Read more...] about Preparing for the Thanksgiving Holidays
Since I posted my Yearlong Planning & Pacing Guide for Kindergarten and First Grade several years ago, I've received an influx of messages and emails asking if I'd be willing to create pacing guides for each year since 2015 (when it first posted). You asked, and I'm happy to answer "YES!". In fact, I wanted to go one step further just to simplify things for you as best I could. I created a fully editable pacing guide for you to add to however you'd like. In addition to the pacing calendar, I also created a fully editable yearlong calendar that can be printed, bound, and updated (by you) year-to-year. I even hand-drew the … [Read more...] about Simply Your Teaching (And Your Life, Too…Maybe ;)
At the beginning of every school year, I like to send small gifts in with my boys to gift their teachers. Typically these gifts aren't expensive nor or they extravagant. Just a simple little token of appreciation to let them know that we're looking forward to a great school year with them as our teachers. I was at my local Hobby Lobby about a week ago perusing the scrapbook aisles and I found tubes of washi tape on clearance for less than $5!!! I was so excited. I use washi tape in my planners, snail mail, bible journaling, etc. so I bought several different tubes to bring back home. I knew the amount purchased far exceeded what I … [Read more...] about Back to School Gift & Teacher Questionnaires
After a few different requests, I'm trying something different on the blog today. Welcome to the Saturday Style Files. My plan is to come back every Saturday and post a few outfit ideas that are perfect for the classroom...or anywhere else you like to wear clothes :). You won't just find the outfit details, but I'll also include similar options at different price points, too. Hopefully this helps answer some questions I've been getting and gives you a few ideas, too. ***This post contains affiliate links*** One of the easiest outfits to throw on...for me anyway...is a short sleeve or tank dress & a kimono with a pair of wedges or … [Read more...] about Saturday Style Files
As we embark upon a new school year, I wanted to take a quick minute to introduce you to a literacy resource I think you'll love...especially if you're a Kindergarten or 1st Grade teacher. When I'm visiting classrooms and working with teachers, one common recurring thing I continue to hear is, "I wish there were an easier way to fit it all in." If you're anything like most teachers, I'm sure you feel the same way. Last fall Abby and I started brainstorming different ways we could help teachers streamline their literacy instruction while maintaining the integrity of the standards & objectives as well as providing teachers with … [Read more...] about ELA in a Day -Back to School
Ahhhh, summer. It's almost here. In fact, it's so close I can taste it. I love summer. Everything about it (except the crazy Houston heat and humidity!) What I love most about summer is having my kids home with me. Having them home also means I need to figure out ways to keep them busy. Not shuffle them here-and-there kind of busy, but active (both physically and creatively). Since the boys were little, they've been helping out around the house (as much as they can). If I'm being totally honest, this last year they've been slacking in the responsibility department quite a bit. I can't blame them solely for it though. If I had a mom … [Read more...] about Summer Chores & Boredom Busters