Sunday, December 13, 2015

Grinch Day :: Reindeer :: Polar Express

Hello. It's Me. I was wondering if after all these years you'd like to meet...

A little Adele anyone?! Ha!! But seriously. HELLO!! From the other side of this computer!!! It's been awhile since I've blogged and I've really missed my little corner of cyberspace. I wasn't sure where exactly the best place to pick back up, but what better place than smack dab in the middle of the present?! It just so happens to be December. Teaching in December. It's not for the weak of heart!! But in the midst of all the crazy, it's fun to work in some magical moments! 

This past Friday was our annual Grinch Day! The kids love it every year and I have yet to ever tire of it. Here's a peek at ours with a few FREEBIES to snag along the way. 

The day before I send home a little note with my class so that everyone can get into the Grinchy green spirit.

Of course, reading the story is an absolute must!!! All the kids want to tell me about the movie. I like to let them know that the movie is based on this original story. 

Then we  listen to the You're A Mean One Mr. Grinch song and jump into adjectives. Together the class brainstorms words describing him and his heart before it grew. We come up with words to complete the sentence:

"You're a __________ one, Mr. Grinch!"

Writing about How to make the Grinch Grin is always worth a few laughs. Some of the kids wrote about giving him cars, hats, and big presents from Santa, but you can read my favorite two below. This writing sheet is a freebie from A Cupcake Teacher that you can grab on her blog, here

We also make some Grinch faces to display alongside our writing. 

Another activity I re-use each year is this Grinchy Green Word Scavenger Hunt I made with "ch" words. (You can download it here.) This one is always a lot of fun and can really been done in 10-15 minutes.  I love the top shot I snapped of my little green mob as they were entering the lobby to begin the hunt! 

When the hunt is complete they earn their Grinch licked candy canes. It was a Grinch Day miracle y'all!!! The ALL green candy cane boxes were back this year at Walmart ($2). And this tiered teacher heart grew a few sizes upon finding them. For the past few years I have made a class set by hunting down multiple boxes of the Starburst multi flavor candy canes, but this year I was in and out in less then ten minutes!! I adore these tags from Cara and have used them year after year. They're a freebie here on her blog. The kids get a kick out of telling everyone who will listen that the Grinch went and licked their candy canes green!! 

We've also been learning All About Reindeer this month! Nonfiction studies in the classroom are a always a favorite. This month was no exception!!

We start with our reindeer mini- readers. I put these up under my doc camera and together we read through them and highlight all of the important vocabulary words as we find them. 

These words also remain on display throughout the unit so that the kids can refer back to them and continue to use them in their writing. Right now they're hard at work putting the finishing touches on their very own Nonfiction Reindeer books

And finally, these cute little reindeer are the first thing you see when you enter our room and they bring a smile to my face every time!!! Too cute!! 

Our last day before break is Polar Express Day! This is the hot chocolate bar that my teammate and I set up for the kids last year. I can't wait to replicate this cozy table of treats again this year. Crockpot hot chocolate is a MUST!!! Along with PJ's and a reading of the original story. 

I pull from my pack of Polar Express Day activities to keep the theme rolling all day!

Whew. That was a lot of December for one post! 

I'll leave you with these final words of December wisdom.

#twastheweekbeforechristmasbreak #teachingindecember

Monday, September 7, 2015

Objectives Made Easy

As the weekend winds down over here I wanted to show you one way I prep for the start of a new week. Part of my planning includes printing out my new weekly objectives!

Editable Objective signs. Type and display in the classroom!

 I created an editable objectives template for each subject. Tonight I looked at my plans for the week and typed these up real quick to take with me to school tomorrow. Print & go is definitely my style!! 

At school I display them on my white board using page protectors and sticky clips.

This makes it super simple to swap them out each week!

Side note: I'm thinking about moving these from the white board to a bulletin board this year, which will mean using staples instead of stikki clips for the page protectors.


 Me: "Hocus Pocus..."

My Whole Class: "What's Our Focus!!!"

That's what you will hear when it's time to read one of our weekly objectives!

It's amazing what those two little magic words can do to get kids excited about something like objectives! I like to call a student helper to point to the objectives with a special pointer as we read them all together.

Writing these in kid friendly language and making them interactive doesn't make me feel like I am wasting precious wall/board space, one of my pet peeves! We also refer back to them during our lessons. 

You can check them out HERE or by clicking the image above to see more. 

That's it! One more things off my ever growing to-do list!! Now I'm going to curl up on the couch and do a little Netflix-ing to end this glorious 3-day weekend. Hope y'all are doing the same. :)

Saturday, September 5, 2015

How We Get Down With GoNoodle

Let's talk GoNoodle!! I first found out about the amazing-ness that it is two years ago and it's been a staple in my classroom ever since.  Read on to see how I use GoNoodle in my classroom AND enter for your chance to win your very own Champ T-Shirt!!

My group this year is already head over heels for GoNoodle!! I introduced the expectations for how to GoNoodle along with all of our other important routines like lining up in the hall and how to use the bathroom. Why? Because GoNoodle is one of our daily routines!

{GoNoodle-ing on the first day of school..zap it zap it make it happen!! }

So much so that I begin teaching the procedures below on day one! I can't even tell you how impressed I am at the way my class follows these four simple rules in just two weeks time. I don't even have to tell them to sit down after each GoNoodle. They do it automatically! 

I use GoNoodle to serve three purposes in my classroom...

I'm very careful not to only use GoNoodle as a reward for good behavior because it's not just something we do for fun. Brain breaks make such a huge impact on the amount of learning that happens each day. Two years ago I shared how our GoNoodle brain breaks helped transform my afternoons. The number we do each day is ultimately flexible depending on how our day is going and the overall needs for one. But to give you an idea, after the first few weeks (once our stamina has grown) these are the times you are likely to see them happening.

The afternoons are pretty long in our class. Brain breaks make for nice transitions. 

I have a tally system on my white board with smiley faces and frowny faces. If at the end of the day the kids have more tallies under the smiley face than the frowny face they earn a "Just for FUN" GoNoodle! This is also a time when we'll try new GoNoodles.

Last year, we were lucky enough to have Koo Koo Kangroo perform at our school as part of their West Coast School Tour!! As a result, we are perhaps just a little bit biased when I say they are our FAVORITES!!! :) My kids beg to do Koo Koo videos. They would Pop See Ko til the cows came home if I let them!

In the Spring I traveled to Nashville along with some blog friends to meet-up with the GoNoodle team on their home turf. While we were there I learned about GoNoodle PLUS. It includes 16 additional games, and the cool things is, they all incorporate academic content! I wanted to share one detail of what you can do on this end of the site because prior to the trip I had no clue myself. 

{Rocking the Champ T-Shirts....enter to win yours at the end of this post!!}

I can create & save my own questions to use with each game OR I can pick from pre-loaded content that comes with each game by grade level and skill. I can also select the length for each game. 

If you want to check out all of the PLUS features for yourself you can scroll to the bottom of your dashboard and sign up for a 15 Day Trial. 

Do you GoNoodle yet?! If not, you need to sign up... right now!!! It's FREE. 

Alright, it's time to talk GoNoodle Swag!! I'm giving away a Champ T-Shirt!!!
This shirt makes many a Friday appearance at school. 

Use the Raffelcopter below to get yourself entered. It's short and sweet!!

You can also save 15% off ALL the goods in the GoNoodle Shop
Sept 5-11th using the special code: BTSwithGoNoodle

Happy GoNoodle-ing!!! 

Tuesday, September 1, 2015

Teacher Week: Make Ahead Meals

Ok so I'm going to keep it very real here and let you know that I do almost none of the cooking around these parts. Sure there are a few meals I can put together, but it's just not something I enjoy doing. Now eating, that's a whole different story. I LOVE the eating part!!! The planning and prepping, not so much. So that being said, Mr. Stewart gets all the glory for this post!!


In researching some healthy eats for us he came across some blog posts about mason jar salads. He preps them in batches on Sundays and we take them to work during the week. If you'd like to whip these up yourself his first important tip is:

Put the dressing in first so that the leaves don't get wet. Your greens will always be the last thing you put in on top.

You can really fill the middle with just about anything you'd like, but he gave me a list of suggestions to share with y'all below.


  • Red or green peppers, tomatoes, celery, carrots, cabbage
  • Quinoa or Orzo  (They make the salad more filling.)
  • Chicken or Turkey meat
  • Macadamia nuts or Walnuts
  • Goat cheese
  • Apples with lemon squeezed on top (It keeps them fresh!)
  • Grapes
Shake the jar before eating to spread your dressing and you're good to go! 

 Now please, do me a favor and head over to Blog Hoppin' to link up your best make ahead meals so that I can pass them along to my sweet husband. ;) 

Monday, August 31, 2015

Five Fun Facts #TEACHERWEEK15

Teacher Week 15' is here and I'm all in!! Today I'm linking up with Blog Hoppin' to share five fun facts. Let's see if I can't dig up a little randomness for this one.  

1. I met my husband when I was 19, exactly one day before my 20th birthday! We were babies. At the time we were both studying aboard in Australia. Now, I'm currently in the very last year of my 20's. Eek!!! Say What Now?!! 

2. I love me some coffee, but the coffee don't love me! Y'all I am NOT a morning person by any stretch of the imagination. But sadly, coffee can give me the shakes and some seriously awful headaches if I don't wait until AFTER a full meal is good and settled into my stomach before I drink it. So there is no *rise and shine pour a cup to get with the program* for me. I'd guesstimate that one out of every 7-8 cups turns on me. Usually because I tried drinking it too early or too late in the day. But I love coffee too much to quit it, so I keep coming back for more!! 

3. Fur babies. We have two. They're our only babies for now and yes, they're spoiled pretty rotten. They're both rescues. We got Ariel as a puppy and Ziggy when he was about a year old. Pretty certain her favorite thing in the world is snow and his are all his toys.  

4.  On our first teacher work day this year my principal surprised us with a trip to Sports Authority Field (Home of the Denver Broncos-!!) for a teacher training camp! We set goals for us and our students, had our PD in a VIP suite, and toured the stadium. We even had our own lockers in the visitor locker room waiting for us!!! 

5. FALL is my absolute FAVORITE time of the year and I cannot wait for it to be here!!! Bring on the boots, the pumpkin lattes, and all things Halloween!!!! 

Seriously, so stinkin' excited!! 

Want to share 5 facts about yourself? Head over to Blog Hoppin' to link up!! You can also get in on the action this year using Instagram or Periscope and the hashtag #teacherweek15.


And check out the schedule for the rest of the week. 
I'll be back tomorrow to share my current go-to make ahead lunch! 

Thursday, July 23, 2015

A Modern Teacher Planner Giveaway!

Hello my bloggy friends!! I'm crawling out of my summer shell for a minute today to share one of my most favorite back to school staples with you. Like many of you, life pretty much revolves around planning and organizing on paper during the school year. This is my second year using the Teacher Personal Planner created by my friend April at A Modern Teacher. Y'all I am super picky about my planner!! I want it to be both pretty and practical. Having used this one all last year, I already know it will be along side for the ride with me on the daily.

This planner is hard covered and spiral bound. I wish I had a picture of last year's to show along side it. Both covers look good as new. I didn't have to worry about durability in any way. I like that it's not too big or too small in size. I slip it into my teacher bag and it travels back and forth with me each day. 

Here are a few peeks of what it looks like inside.
There is plenty of space to jot down your to-do's, notes, and organize by week and month. It has crisp and clean lines, another things I favor in a planner. The Make it happen page let's you add quick and ever changing sticky note goals, which speaks right to my office supply loving heart. Every month there is also a different teacher joy listed.  October happens to be one of my personal favorites. ;)

Even though it's not a lesson planner, I do use it primarily for organizing my work life. My absolute favorite section last year was this part right here. 

In the 'At A Glance' section there are enough take note pages to record notes at staff meetings for the entire year!!! There are few things I seem to lose faster in life than meeting notes. So even though I might still lose the handouts (sigh) at least my notes can all be found in one spot. Bless. 

So now for some exciting news

April is letting me give a planner away to one of you! Just follow the Raffelcopter below. I'll be picking a winner next Thursday. Check out all of her designs HERE.

a Rafflecopter giveaway
Not surprisingly, all of her planners were sold out within a month of releasing them back in May. This week, she released her second and final re-stock of them for the year! I just wanted to give fair warning because I had so many people asking me where they could find one last year on Instagram. So if you know that you have to have one, definitely enter the giveaway!! Then you can also keep an eye on them at the link above so you don't risk missing out!!! :)