April 30, 2012


My class has found a new favorite game.  We wore out the whole Jeopardy idea, so I decided to move on to Let's Make a Deal!  It's simple, it requires little prep (hip hip hooray), and kids totally dig it.  I love to hear my class crack up when someone makes a bad trade.  Thanks to a little frontload action, my kids are such good sports about the whole thing. I did modify the game to make a win-win for everyone.  Interested? Read more below.

All you need for this fun game is a homemade question deck, prizes (quite a few small items, a handful of silly items, and a couple of really good items), and "doors" (I use garbage cans or boxes placed upside down over the item). 
Here's how I play . . . 
  1. Create a question deck.  I pick four categories or skills that need reviewing and come up with five question cards per category.  I have been hot on plurals, pronouns, quotes, and parts of speech.  Place these in a pocket chart at the front of your room.
  2. Split your class into two teams.  Two children (one from each team) square-off at a time.  I have the kids each roll a die to determine who gets to pick the category.  It just creates a little more "sizzle."
  3. STOP and frontload this.  Talk about what it means to be a good sport.  It will keep hurt feelings to a minimum.  I also take this time to say that EVERYONE will be a winner if they are a good sport. I give a small treat/prize at the end of the game for everyone who shows good sportsmanship. 
  4. When a category is selected, read the question aloud and have the two answer on mini-white boards.  For example, I make them write out the quote or re-write a sentence to include the pronoun instead of the noun.
  5. Whoever gets the right answer first is the winner.  It's just like the TV show.  I offer this child a prize and it is his/her decision to keep it or trade if for something under one of my "doors."  There is a chance for something really awesome (new lunchbox, games, toys . . . Dollar Store delights), but their is also a chance for something stinky (cans of peas, used batteries . . . anything I find in my desk that I don't want).  Most of the time they will trade even though they know they might get stuck with something icky.
  6. I have the rest of the class attempt to answer on their white boards while they are at their seats.  This keeps everyone working.  If both kiddos answer incorrectly then I hit up students in the audience.  Sometimes I reward correct answers from the crowd with a little treat. 

On a mildly related note, I have been frantically working on my heroes unit and I should have it up tomorrow or the next day.  For some reason I hit a creative "road block" this weekend and spent way too much time shopping Online rather than creating.  I have this really strange habit of going to different sites (J.Crew, RuLaLa, Banana, Piperlime, West Elm . . . sigh ) and filling up my shopping cart with tons of stuff.  Then, I leave before I buy anything.  Does anyone else out there do this?  It's kind of a freaky way to get my shopping fix, but it keeps my wallet happy!  However, I didn't say no to this new suit (whoops)!
In my defense . . . I haven't purchased one in three years.
Well, I think it's been three :)  I got it in a cute royal blue color!  Darn you J.Crew.
Don't forget about the COUNTDOWN CONTEST I have running.  We're talking $25 in TPT cash and Intelli-Tunes CDs!  CLICK HERE to learn more about how to enter.  It's super easy - just follow and comment.  Spread the word. The sooner this baby gets to 100 the sooner someone gets to clean out their long "Wish List" on TPT. 

Well, night gang.  My school starts testing tomorrow.  I just gotta give a shout out . . . GOOD LUCK SWEET EVERGREEN!  I'll be there in spirit.  You can do it!    

April 29, 2012


As I sit here and stew about when my body will shape up enough to allow me to go back to work, I started thinking about what I would be doing in my class next week.  In addition to letting our Africa Open House Unit take over, I would spend a little time in the afternoon just lovin' on my babes and taking time for art.  

I've done this project for years and it's always a favorite of mine . . . the kids dig it too. The best part is that it incorporates language arts with visual arts. Two birds with one stone, baby!  Oh yeah . . . and it's super easy and low-prep.

All you are really doing here is making a print - it's a spin off from a lesson I learned in NCAP Art Camp two years ago.  You need thick paper (I like to use pre-cut scrapbooking squares), tin foil cut to the same size as your paper, and warm/cool paint colors.  The steps are outlined below.
  1. Host a quick art review discussion focusing on color and line.  We sorted warm/hot colors and cool/cold colors and practiced drawing different types of line (zig-zag, dotted, straight, loopy, and so on).  This is also a wonderful time to showcase different abstract artists and their work.
  2. Invite your students to select a tempra color palate - warm or cool.
  3. Model how to paint various lines directly on the tin foil.  Invite them to use all of the colors on their palate. The lines and colors should overlap on their tin foil.  Just warn them about going crazy mixing colors - it will look icky if they go too wild.
  4. They must work quickly because if the paint dries this will NOT work. When they finish with their lines, carefully place the painted tin foil on top of the scrapbook paper and smooth your hand over the top.  
  5. Carefully peel the tin foil off to reveal a snazzy looking print.
  6. While the art is drying host a quick adjective brainstorm session.  I like to record the words on the board in "hot/lots of feeling" adjectives and "cool/calming" adjectives.  
  7. Have your kiddos look at their work and decide which adjective matches their work the best (i.e. what does their piece make them feel). 
  8. Pass out sentence strip pieces and have them record their adjective on the lines.  Staple up and/or hang for the cutest bulletin board!
Overlap the colors a bit more than here . . . I just wanted to show the lines. 

Don't forget to enter my COUNTDOWN CONTEST.  A $25 TPT Gift Certificate is up for grabs as well as some awesome CDs from Ron Brown's Intelli-Tunes. CLICK HERE or on the certificate image to enter - all you have to do is follow and leave your name in the comments!  Spread the word . . . I'll draw when I reach 100 followers!  Good luck and happy Sunday.

April 28, 2012


How many of you all can see the "light."  The end of the year is within reach for so many of us and it's this hint of summer that keeps us truckin' during this hectic home stretch.  We all love our classroom babies to pieces, but it's about time for a little family and "me" time.
Ahhhh . . . vacation.  I was lucky enough to go here on my honeymoon.
If you are looking for a great place, Rancho Pescadero was heaven.

As we round this final corner, I wanted to host a little COUNTDOWN CONTEST to celebrate! Here's how to play . . .

Simply become a FOLLOWER of this blog and leave a comment below sharing the number of school days you have left this year.  No calculating required . . . I am sure you all know :).  If you already are a follower, you can play too (ya just need to comment).    

**You can receive additional entries for becoming a follower on the Teacher Idea Factory's Facebook page or for mentioning this contest on your blog. 

On that note, wanna know what you're playing for??!!?? (I sound like the host of Survivor . . . ironically, it's a VERY fitting theme for this time of year.)

Yup . . . that's right . . . $25 at TPT!  In addition, I teamed up with Ron Brown's Intelli-Tunes.  A lucky second place winner will receive TWO FREE CDs of choice. His music is catchy, standards-based, and the kiddos love it.  If you haven't checked him out yet, you just gotta!

Well, that's it folks.  When I hit 100 followers, I will use the Random.org widget to generate our winners.  THIS CONTEST IS NOW CLOSED.  THANKS FOR PLAYING :)

April 26, 2012


With Mother's Day inching closer and classroom chaos on high (this time of year is NUTS), I thought I would share a card idea.  I have never really been happy with the Mother's Day cards I've run with in the past, so I played around today and created one.  Check it out . . . you can snag it on TPT for FREE.  

**I also have my first contest up and running.  CLICK HERE to find out more about how to win a $25 Teachers Pay Teachers Gift Certificate!!!
Love this girl . . . such a cutie! 
I HEART this one too!!  She's a delight :)

Letter Style Template

Poem-Style Template

In addition, Ron Brown's Intelli-Tunes is offering up their heart-warming Mother's Day Song for single-song download for a limited time. "Moms" is a great tune that the kids love to track and sing.  In addition, you could use it during a classroom Mother's Day presentation (set it to photos and perform as seen on this YouTube link). I hope to get my act together in time to pull something like this off next year!  

For more Mother's Day Ideas be sure to check out the Mother's Day Linky Party hosted by 1...2...3... Teach With Me!  There are lots of great ideas being uploaded daily.

On a sentimental note this evening, I want to give a shout out to my mommy. She's the best a girl could ask for and I am so lucky to call her mom. From our TJ Maxx shopping trips and planting flower beds to family dinners and movie nights, I absolutely treasure our time together.  I've gotta whole lotta love for my mommy . . . how 'bout you?

April 25, 2012


Yippee-ki-yay . . . I outsmarted that mean old graphic and finished up this Wild West/Cowboy Unit! It's now available on TPT or in my Intelli-Tunes store.  In honor of my success, I have a great little math game up for grabs today . . . FREE of charge.  That's right folks . . . FREE of charge!

Since the last western-themed FREEBIE fell into the reading category, I'm going to give math a little love.  Below you will find a clickable link to "Horsin' Around with Place Value" the cutest little partner game. There are two versions included to better meet your classroom/student needs (tens or hundreds). Your little buckaroos are gonna just love it!

Here are a couple of cute photos from our school's Rodeo Day.  We go all out at good old Evergreen.  From a yummy pancake breakfast and horseshoe tossin' to western themed center activities and chick petting . . . . it's a great day for our kids, parents, and teachers.  



Well, as I ride off into the sunset this evening (I promised my hubby that I would be off of the computer by the time he got home tonight), I leave you with two thoughts.  One . . . I have three more great end of the year units/packets in the works. Two . . . it's Survivor and American Idol night. YEE-HAW!

April 24, 2012


We hit a little graphics issue with the Western Pack.  It will be up soon, but I had to keep on truckin'.  So . . . with April in full swing, I thought it was time to create something with a little baseball flavor (there is a FREEBIE up for grabs tonight as well). 
I personally cannot wait to hit up a MLB game in the near future - SF all the way, baby! While I was growing up, I was lucky enough to catch a couple of games each and every summer at good old Candlestick Park (love you mom and dad). Remembering the thrill of the man screaming about his yummy "red ropes," watching my team run out of the tunnel, and feeling the sun on my shoulders darn-near brings tears to my eyes. There's just something about a baseball game!  Oh yeah . . . and from age 10 to about age 12, I wanted to marry Will "THE THRILL" Clark.  This made attending even better!

Such a dreamy first baseman . . . especially when you are 10.
(We won't get into his looks now.)
On that note of nostalgia, this packet hits up all of the "major league" language arts standards that I know my own kiddos need to review. From adding -ing and workin' with the sounds of -ed to plural practice, this pack is a "safe" bet for sure. Scroll on down a bit to find a fantastic FREEBIE from this unit. If you like what you see . . . find the rest on TPT!

Graphics by the ever-popular Scrappin' Doodles!
They always make me look good :)

Last but not least, I came across the cutest little baseball craftivity.  Teri over at A Cupcake for the Teacher always has the best ideas and it just so happens that she created a "baseball buddy" that would go oh-so well with my new review pack.  It even comes with a wonderful writing activity!

Find this in A Cupcake for the Teacher TPT Store!

April 22, 2012


Howdy gang!  Pardon the tardy post, but I am still recovering from yesterday's rodeo extravaganza.  It ended up being so HOT in the stands, but the show still brought the same smile to my face. 

I did end up having that corn dog despite my better judgement.  Oh, boy . . . it was SOOOOOOOO good, but I SOOOOOOO paid for it.  I was in bed by 6:30 and had to miss out on the pizza our round-up crew had for dinner. Check out this mother of all pizzas . . . absolute absurdity.

30 inches of greasy goodness.  I'll be ready for it next year by golly!
I am nearly done with my Cowboy Unit.  My fingers are crossed that I will hammer it out tomorrow.  As a quick sneak-peek, here's a little FREEBIE action for you.  Just click on the link for your free download.

This is what the sorting cards look like. It comes with a follow up worksheet too!
Graphics by the fabulous Peach Pops Clip Art!
Well . . . later y'all.  This tired girl has a date with her Kindle and kitty cat.  
I should be back tomorrow with another Wild West FREEBIE and (hopefully) a Cowboy Unit!

April 21, 2012


Hey y'all . . . sorry for the lack of posts!  We have been getting the house ready for company.  The rowdy RB Rodeo is officially in full-swing and we have been preppin' for all the fun!  I so look forward to this one little weekend all year long. As soon as Valentine's Day is over I start my countdown to the next best holiday . . . the 3rd weekend in April (ROUND-UP WEEKEND)!  

The weather is absolutely perfect here today and I cannot wait for all of the wild action.  I am still contemplating the whole "jumbo corn dog" thing this year.  My new guts might seriously call it quits on me if I try and shove one of these things down.  However, the jury is still out . . . when I catch a whiff of that golden crispy goodness all self control could very well be out the window.

In honor of my beloved "local holiday" I have been inspired in the cowboy department.  I have been working hard on a new WILD WEST unit . . . just in time for all of the springtime rodeo action in small towns everywhere.  I always like to do a little cowboy theme toward the end of the year to keep my kiddos engaged and hooked into learning!  

Check back tomorrow for a cowboy-flavored FREEBIE and some highlights from today's action.  Ahhhhhhh . . . good friends, buckin' bulls, and sunshine.  It's gonna be a great day!

April 18, 2012


Bugs . . . bugs . . . and more bugs. I took a slight detour with yesterday's garden unit, but I just couldn't stay away for long.  Below you will find a few tidbits about my new insect packet as well as that plant FREEBIE I promised!

My Incredible Insect Book is a cute little collection of craftivity/writing projects that you can turn into the best little insect book.  I ran with this in my Kinder class last year and they really loved it.  I must give a shout out to the wonderful Evergreen K Crew for giving me this student book idea.  It was a gem of a notion and I ran with it.  Although I spun it off in a new direction, as a tribute to their generosity it still contains one of the cute buggy pages that they shared with me last year!  

This little ant hill just makes me smile!  There are 4 other awesome
craftivities just like this one in my new packet on TPT!

Thanks to Pink Pueblo for the awesome clip art
and Kevin & Amanda's Free Scrapbook Fonts!

As for that garden/plant FREEBIE . . . here you be!  I pulled a more K-1 friendly game today.  This one targets sight words. (The version on TPT is in my Growing Greatness Garden Unit and it contains a version that you can customize to fit your specific word needs . . . so don't feel left out 2nd Grade!) Simply click on the link below to download.  Last one to snag their copy is a . . . Rotten Tomato!

Last, but not least this evening, I just have to share my awesome news.  The doctor lifted my diet restrictions last week and fiber is back in the game.  Take a look-see at what this girl had for the first time in OVER A YEAR.  I have two very delicious words for you.  BEAN. BURRITO. Okay, okay . . . so I had 2 inches of my colon removed 8 weeks ago, but it'll be just fine, right?  Night, y'all!


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