March 25, 2017

The Jelly Donut Difference

Hey y'all!  I'm so excited to share with you today a great book that promotes an important message of kindness, which we as educators know is essential in today's classroom.

The Jelly Donut Difference, by Maria Dismondy, is a precious book about a set of siblings who often have a difficult time getting along.  Imagine that?!  But an encounter with a lonely neighbor helps these 2 see what a difference they can make by working together.  Through their acts of kindness, the siblings learn just how thankful they for each other.  Not to mention, they got to learn about a new sweet treat called paczki and how it is made!

Maria Dismody's books are always filled with such wonderful lessons that any child can learn from.  I absolutely love sharing them with my kiddos.  They are kid centered and the messages are powerful.  As a teacher, I love how Maria included discussion suggestions for before, during, and after readings in this book.  At the end of the book, Maria includes tips for families on how they can share kindness together.  It's exactly what our world needs right now!  It's definitely a must read for everyone! 

You can find The Jelly Donut Difference  by clicking here.  While you are there, please check out Maria's other books!

I was so fortunate to be able to receive this book to review.  I wanted to pay it forward by sharing with you a mini book companion that I made to go along with it.

This mini book companion contains anchor chart pieces, writing activities, a graphing activity, and a reproducible for creating a fun headband for students to wear.  I also included a suggestion page with suggestions on  how to use the activities in this set.

You can find this mini book companion in my store by clicking here

How can you share kindness today?  Our role as educators is changing.  It's so important to plant those seeds so that we can help teach our students learn just how important it is be kind.  Teaching  about character is not optional, it is essential!

February 22, 2017

Sneaky Spinach

I love children's literature! Jan Brett, Mo Willems, Laura Numeroff, ....... I could go on and on. One of my favorite things about teaching period is being able to share a book with my kiddos. I can't pile them up in my lap, but the carpet right at my feet is the next best thing! I absolutely love being able to dive into a book and bring my class with me. All my teacher friends out there....don't you agree?! So when I got the chance to review a new book, this teacher jumped at it!

Sneaky Spinach  is a precious book about a little boy who loves junk food.  Hmmm, I think I know a few others like him!  Nick is convinced that fruits and vegetables aren't for him. He is even more convinced that spinach isn't his thing.  But the spinach leaves disagree!  So they get together to ponder a plan to convince Nick that they aren't as bad as he thinks they are.  So the next morning, when Nick and his mom are making his morning smoothie, 3 spinach leaves dive into the blender with all of the other ingredients.  That day Nick was full of energy.  Amazing!  Each day after that, more and more spinach leaves "sneak" into the blender.  And with each day, Nick feels stronger and healthier.  By the end of week, Nick catches the "sneaky spinach" because he is feeling more smarter and stronger than he ever has.  He has a fabulous conversation with the spinach leaves and Nick realizes that his super powers have been a result of them.  Needless to say, Nick vows to continue to add spinach to his smoothies every morning.

(picture from Nékter Juice Bar)

Ya'll, this makes my momma heart happy.  But as a teacher, it really makes me happy to think that I could use Nick as a great example for trying something new like spinach.  I mean, what kiddo doesn't want to have super powers like him?!  At the end of the book, the author has even included a recipe for a Berry Banana Boost smoothie and 5 tips for making a great smoothie.  How fun would it be to whip some of these up for your students to try?! 

Sneaky Spinach is written by Alexis Schulze and it just so happens to be her very first children's book!  How cool is that?!  Alexis is also the co-founder and chief visionary officer of Nékter Juice Bar.  As a way to extend Nékter’s mission to help transform lives by offering a gateway to wellness, Alexis wrote Sneaky Spinach to encourage children and their families to live more healthier.

If you would like like to purchase this book, please visit Nékter Juice Bar's site.  While you are there, you can check out the site and learn about how a portion of the proceeds from the sales of this book  will benefit children throughout our country.  While you are there, you can also download a coloring book and readers guide.

October 3, 2015


It's October!  Finally.  I think  my class is settling in and we are starting to groove. Thank goodness.  Although most days I think I'm the one doing more grooving than the kiddos.  First grade is tough ya'll!  And throw in LOTS of rainy days, the blood moon, minor/major daily disruptions, and Hurricane Joaquin and you've get yourself a BIG ole' headache.  That hurricane may have never graced our presence officially here in SC, but we sure did get record breaking rain and floods.  In fact, we were out of school yesterday due to the potential of heavy rain and deadly flash flooding.  Thanks Joaquin!  Now head on out of here so we can get back to business!
Here's what I'm doing currently on this rained out, washed out, flooded out Saturday.
As I mentioned above, it has done nothing but rain the past few days.  The cooler weather that this storm brought in has been nice.  But the rain, I'm ready for it to go away!
Report cards go home in just a few short weeks.  That means I need to start scheduling parent conferences.  I'm planning only meeting with those that I NEED to meet with first.  Time is precious and I need to use what little time I have of it to set up plans of action for those who are not making progress.  Do you have that kind of flexibility?  Or, are you required to meet with every parent?
The only thing I want or need right is some sunny weather.  That's all.
I think my girls are boo-tiful!  I love them to pieces.  My oldest is a sophomore in high school.  She's smart, caring, loves the lord, and loves to play soccer.  She works hard and is taking a course load that I would have balked out when I was her age.  I'm so proud of her and grateful that she lets me participate in her life.  My youngest is a piece of work.  She's smart as well and has a vocabulary that rivals that of someone that is 20 years older than she is.  Thanks common core!  She is also kind, caring, and full of herself.  She comes up with things that makes us laugh and wonder where she came from!  I'm so blessed.
What are you up to currently?  How's the weather where you are?  Are you enjoying this beautiful Autumn season?
Head on over to Farley's and link up to share!

August 19, 2015

Week 4-Back to School Bash!

Well ya'll, I have survived 2 days of first grade.  That definitely called for a pizza and cat nap kinda evening last night at my house.  What was supposed to be a 30 minute siesta turned into an hour-ish nap.  I just couldn't help myself!  Back to school time is ROUGH! 
For the past several weeks I have helping host a fabulous linky series with some blogging friends.
It's our fourth and final week for this series.  And this week, we are sharing ideas about Parent Night and Open House.
Now I'll have to be honest with you.  My grade level doesn't host a Parent Night or an Open House. We have a Meet the Teacher night prior to the first day.   We have the option of hosting one after school starts, but in the past we have chosen not to.  At the beginning of the year we hold Fall conferences.  We use that conference time to go over any and everything with our parents.  We can be more detailed and specific with what we share with regards to individual children AND most parents are more comfortable asking certain questions during that time.  Yes, it obviously takes more time to conduct those conferences.  But, the payoff is far greater.  I feel like I can really talk with my parents about what is important about being a first grader.  Those individual conferences are also huge in building that parent-teacher relationship that we all know is key to the success of our students!
I would love to know your thoughts and ideas on hosting an Open House/Parent Night (just in case!).  What do you do to get ready?  What do you share with parents?  Do your students play a big role in getting ready for this special night?  Link up with us and share!  Then, check out some of the other posts in our linkup and share the love.  You know that some of the best PD we receive is from other teachers just like you!

Don't forget to enter our giveaway! Who wouldn't love a TpT gift card?!
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August 5, 2015

Back to School Bash-Meet the Teacher

Hey ya'll! 
 It's week number 2 for our Back to School Bash. 
This week we are all about Meet the Teacher.
With little over a week left before Meet the Teacher night, I've started to think about what needs to be done to get ready.  I like to keep things as simple as possible.  No speeches for me!  Tried that and nobody paid attention to anything I said.  They were all to busy filling out all of those dreaded forms we give to them.  So now, I mingle and chat.  Most of the time that gives me all the information I need!   It also gives me a chance to talk to parents who have major concerns or issues that will directly impact their child in my classroom. 
So to start, I typically put all of the necessary paperwork that I have for parents in pocket folders.  On one side I put a label that says Please Sign and Return and on the other I put a label that says Please Keep at Home.  I have found this to be the best way to get back what I need. It also keeps everything organized and in its place, especially when you are handed another stack of papers 20 minutes before Meet the Teacher starts!
I typically place those packets on a desk right by the door with a container of pens.  I also place a welcome sign along with those things.  When parents come in, I guide them straight to this spot.  I don't put packets out on desks for parents to find simply because I don't have nametags on desks yet.  I have been burned to many times doing it this way.  Students don't show up or I've unknowingly written the wrong name on the tag.  After the first few days I go back and create nametags.  That gives me time to see who shows up, to check names, and to see who can sit next to each other (or not!).
One of the things I personally include in the packet is a student information card.  Our school requires that students have one on file in the office, but I also like to have one on hand in my class.  I run them on cardstock, punch a hole in the corner, and place them on metal ring.  I then hang it on a hook next to the phone in my room.  Easy access!
You can download the student information sheet here.
As my students leave, I like to surprise them with a little gift.  Each year I try to do something different.  This year on Pinterest I saw the cutest bubble gift and knew that was what I was going to do.  I found a 24 pack of bubbles at The Dollar General Store for $3.50.  I recreated the tag and hit print.  I had my daughter put it all together for me and now that's one more thing I can knock off my long list of things to do!

You can download the bubble tag here.
If you haven't registered for our giveaway yet, do that now! 
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Now that I've shared some ideas for Meet the Teacher, why don't you link up and share yours.  Once you have linked up, please remember to visit 3 other posts to share some love! 

Thanks for stopping by! 

August 1, 2015


Well August has arrived.  Can't do anything to change that.  So now I must embrace it and get my rear in gear for this new school year!  Here's a little bit of what I'm doing Currently!
I'm so hoping that I can get into my classroom to work this week.  This is my last week off.  I don't really want to spend every minute of it working at school, but it's the only way to get myself ready before the madness starts.  I have list after list of things to buy, make, and do.  I take one and crumple it up to only rewrite it again on a bigger piece of paper. I have stack of "things" to look at and read.  I have professional books I "need" to finish.  Hmm, a little bit more summertime would be nice right about now.  But in all honesty, I don't think it would all get down even if I had more time!
My baby girl is back from music camp.  So my little family is all back together again.  Both my girls have had a busy summer going here and there.  I've been nothing but a glorified cab driver and personal ATM.  Wouldn't trade it though! It's been a good summer with my family.  So blessed.
This year I want to really work hard at sharing words of encouragement.  It's free and doesn't cost anything.  But the impact of those words have the potential to be huge.  This year my first grade team will really need to rely on each other and be supportive for several big reasons.  Those words of encouragement will be NECESSARY.  I also want to try and just surprise my teammates with fun treats every now and then.  Again, just little things that could be so meaningful at any given time.
What are you Currently doing?  Head on over to Farley's and link up!
Happy August!

July 29, 2015

Back to School Bash Linky Series and Giveaway

Hey ya'll!  It's hard to believe that we are rapidly approaching a new school year.  I'm so excited to kick this new school year off by co-hosting a FABULOUS Back to School Bash with some of my favorite blogger friends. 
Each week we will have a Back to School topic for you to link up with and share.  We also have a fantastic giveaway planned for you to participate in as well!  What a great way for all of us to share what we do best and hopefully spark some enthusiasm for this new school year.
This week we are all about classroom set-up. 
Now as overwhelming as it is to get back in gear after summer vacation, I do get excited about getting back into my room and getting it prepped for my new first graders.  Unfortunately I haven't been able to get into my room to work, so I'm gonna throw it back to the beginning of last year.  And I'll let you in on a little secret, my room this year will more than likely look a LOT like my room from last year.

Can't wait to see what you all have planned for your rooms!  I would love some new ideas for my classroom this year. 
You can link up right here.  Once you link up, don't forget to visit 3 other posts and share some love!  Feel free to grab any of our images to use in your own posts.

But that's not all! 
Don't forget to enter our giveaway!  There are some pretty amazing prizes involved!
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Now get busy linking up!  And for homework, start thinking about next week's topic!