It’s a SUPER Day and Giveaway!

February 7, 2016

Today is the day!!!! THE SUPER BOWL! If you know me (and even if you don’t) you probably know what a HUGE Broncos fan I am, and today…the Broncos are playing in the SUPER BOWL!!!

Just in case that doesn’t give you the chills (like it does me) we are doing a SUPER Link Up and Giveaway that will!

So many amazing bloggers (15!!!) have gotten together to share a SUPER classroom idea, a SUPER resource AND have a SUPER giveaway. If you have been following along all season, this giveaway will rock your socks!!!

I learned this SUPER classroom tip from a great friend and colleague a LONG time ago, but it has always stuck with me!

Once, many moons ago, I was looking with jealousy interest at my colleague’s clean and clear kidney/guided reading table. (In my room, it was the table with the most junk piled on it by the end of the day.) She told me that every afternoon, before she went home, she did a “10 minute tidy.” She set her timer for 10 minutes and cleared that table, and anything else that needed tidying, before she went home. Ever since that day, I have been a firm believer in the 10 minute tidy! I do it before I go home – I pick up papers, put away extra supplies (where they belong, not just in another pile), put books back where they belong and make it so my table is clear when I come in the next morning. It’s actually a huge relief to come in to a clean space.

There’s an oatmeal cup on there!!!!
Ahhhhh…..ready for tomorrow.

Up next, a SUPER resource!

In the SUPER giveaway below, you have the chance to win HUGE product pack with resources from all the amazing bloggers participating. From me, you can win my Decimals Activity Pack.

If you don’t want to wait to see if you win, click above! My whole store is 20% off today!

This is a great resource for upper elementary teachers – it has ideas for comparing decimals, practicing different forms (like standard, word, expanded and unit) and naming/matching decimals. One of my favorite ways to use this resource was to use the decimal cards to form groups!

Each student received a card, then they had to find the other people who had their decimal number in all the different forms. Once they were all in the group, they had three questions to discuss about their Thanksgiving break. Then they traded with other people and found a new group! It was fun and a great review. Enter the Rafflecopter below for your chance to win this and so many other great TpT products!

Last, but not least…..a SUPER giveaway!

It has been a fun season of Broncos Win, You Win giveaways, and this giveaway tops all of them! It’s SUPER awesome.

If you win the Grand Prize, you win everything in the picture below!

If you are a Runner Up, you win everything in the picture below!

Each pack includes a $50 Amazon gift card, 18 SUPER resources from awesome TpT’ers, a $25 SitSpots gift card, a Classroom Friendly Supplies pencil sharpener, a $10 Knowledge Bound gift card, swag from GoNoodle, a Bling Whistle from Champagne and Polka Dots and a pack of pencil grips from Pencil Grip Inc.!

If you are the Grand Prize winner, you will ALSO get a $25 Tieks gift card!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Thanks so much to everyone who participated in all the Broncos Win, You Win giveaways this season! It has been a blast connecting with people who love the Broncos (and free stuff) from all over!! Don’t forget to check out all the blogs below for more SUPER classroom ideas! And….


GO BRONCOS!!! {Giveaway and Blog Hop!}

January 25, 2016

The Broncos did it again!!! What an unbelievable game! I can’t stop smiling and shouting and screaming and jumping up and down!

The Denver Broncos are going to the Super Bowl!!!

My Football Journey

I used to watch football with my dad when I was a little girl. Way back then, he was a season ticket holder and every once and a while I would get to go to a game with him. I have great memories of being in the stadium (usually in freezing cold weather) and holding my dad’s hand as we got to and from our seats. In those days, you could bring thermoses with soup and my mom always made sure we had soup and a warm afghan. I wasn’t a huge fan back then, but it definitely developed my love for sports!

These are his lucky Bronco shorts.

Later on in life, my roommate in college was a sports reporter for our local newspaper and we got into the fun habit of watching games together. When I got my first teaching job, it turned out that many of my friends (and students) were huge Bronco fans too!

This was before the last SuperBowl.

And since joining the blogging world, I’ve found tons of new Broncos friends!!! We’ve been teaming up all season to cheer on the Denver Broncos and have some really fun giveaways!

A Fun Freebie

I love to talk football with my students and it’s a great way to get them engaged in math! Check out my newest freebie for something fun to do this week.

A Blog Hop

Make sure to hop all the way through for some great ideas to incorporate football into your lesson plans this week!

To keep hopping, click on Ashley’s button below! Once you get back here, you’ll know you’ve make it all the way through.

A Giveaway!

We are so proud of the Broncos and we want to share our enthusiasm!!!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

GO BRONCOS!!!! Stay tuned to see what we have in store for the BIG GAME!!

Ways Google Apps Make My Life Easier: Learning Targets

January 13, 2016

Time for some real talk: I used to HATE Google apps. Especially Google drive. It drove me crazy that everyone would be working on the same thing at once and it was super slow!

But then, I moved districts. My new district does almost EVERYTHING with Google apps. So I figured I better get on board and get over my hatred negative feelings toward everything Google. (Except Gmail – Gmail has always been awesome. And just plain Google is pretty great too…I mean who can live without that?)

With the help of a few friends, I have finally come to realize the many ways that Google is trying to make my (and your) life easier!

Today, I want to show you how I use Google slides to help me effectively share Learning Targets in my classroom.

Our school has recently been doing professional development for teachers about using Learning Targets with students. I’ve worked on doing this in the past, and I haven’t been particularly successful. Good intentions aside, I would always “fall off the wagon” and forget to post them or really help students understand them.

This time, I tried to think about how I could really use Learning Targets for the benefit of my students AND to help me be a more organized teacher.

Enter Google Slides.

Here’s a look at how I’m putting Google Slides to work for me every day!

Each week, I begin creating a slide deck of Learning Targets:

I project the slides throughout the day, so that students and I are on the same page. This keeps me on track, with the learning objectives at the forefront of my teaching, and it gives students a clear focus for their work during the day.

At the end of each day, I’m able to evaluate whether we need new Learning Targets for the next day, or if we will still be working on the same ones. Either way, creating a new slide is quick and easy and keeps my teaching focus on track.

I have also been able to use Google Slides in place of some charts, which has saved some trees!

Overall, Google Slides has really helped me be more transparent with my students. I know what I am teaching, they know what they are learning AND we have a record of everything we have done throughout the day and week!

Have you found a great use for Google Slides? I’d love to hear about it in the comments!

Stay tuned…I have some great ways to use Google Drive and Google Classroom coming soon!

First {Currently} of 2016!

January 2, 2016

Happy New Year everyone! Can you believe that 2016 is here? I spent most of New Year’s Eve thinking that it’s not possible. I know I am going to write 2015 on everything for at least 3 more months…

Luckily, Farley at Oh Boy! Fourth Grade keeps us all on track, and she’s ready to go with the first Currently link up of the year! 🙂

Here’s what going on with me:

Listening: It’s pretty quiet around here this morning. Just one of my old golden guys sleeping and snoring. I’m sure the other one is sleeping and snoring somewhere in the house…and maybe my husband too? Who knows? 😉

Loving: This community of TpT participants, teacher bloggers and amazing teachers has me in awe this morning. There are so many inspirational blog posts floating around – so many heart felt conversations – so many teachers around the world supporting and uplifting one another in the name of the children we teach – that it makes my heart really happy. Keep rocking it, teachers!

Thinking: This break has gone really fast! I am definitely looking forward to seeing my 5th graders on Tuesday (work day on Monday) but I blinked and the holidays are over and I guess I better make some kind of lesson plan for next week.


Needing: This one is going to take a little work. I really need to find my stride – my teaching stride (we are starting a new literacy program next week – yikes!), my TpT’ing stride (more quality products coming soon!) and my personal stride (this husband of mine is pretty great – he needs my attention too!). Everything is a balance, and I really want to work on that so that I can be the best teacher, wife, sister, aunt, EVERYTHING I can be!

One Little Word: Perseverance is a word I use TONS with the 5th graders, and it’s about time I took my own advice. (Shhhhhh! Don’t tell them! They already persevere with GUSTO and I don’t want them to know I haven’t been!) I keep thinking about blogging and TpT and teaching. ALL things I want to be really good at it – but here’s the thing. I keep thinking about quitting (NOT teaching) and I have to just remind myself that anything worth doing takes grit and guts. Giving up on TpT or blogging would be the easy way out – instead I think I’ll stick with it and push forward! Only great things can happen that way. So I will PERSEVERE right along with my inspiring 5th graders.

There you have it folks! Currently January is in the books. Happy New Year to all – I hope your week after break goes great and brings you tons of joy!

Don’t forget to share your Currently over at Oh Boy! Fourth Grade!

A Good Reminder

December 2, 2015
A blog post to remind me what my main job as a teacher is.

My students keep their backpacks on the backs of their chairs.

Some are neat with everything in their place. Planners are tucked in a pocket, snacks are zipped neatly into a pouch, and gloves and hats are snuggled into the nooks and crannies.

And then there are other backpacks. The ones that are overflowing, stuffed full and jumbled. Drawings and lunch boxes spill over the sides, and occasionally a pink stuffed animal peeks its head out.

There’s one more category: the ones where I can tell that a child’s life is in disarray. Papers are crumpled, extra clothes are stuffed inside, and it’s pretty clear that no one has looked in their backpack since August.

When I walk around the classroom and I happen to catch a glance inside the different backpacks hanging on chairs, it reminds me.

It reminds me that it’s my responsibility to provide the safety and structure that ALL students need – I know for some students it may be the safest and most structured part of their life.

It reminds me that I have to be patient and kind – I have to keep the whole child in mind, not just the student part I see at school every day.

It reminds me that, first and foremost, the people I share my day with are children – they aren’t just mini-adults. They are still learning (in school AND in life) and I owe it to them to support them when they make mistakes, not turn it against them.

It reminds me to take a step back and *think* about the individuals who lives are represented in those backpacks – they need me to appreciate who they are and what they need.

Every now and again the universe sends me a reminder like this, just when I need it. It stops me in my tracks and makes me rethink. I smile at my students more, really listen when they tell me a story, and make sure that I give them grace when they need it. (And hugs if they want them…)

This beautiful mess of a job is so much more than imparting knowledge…and I appreciate the reminder.

A Word A Day!

October 10, 2015

I am feeling really lucky this year. I have the kind of class that tries everything you throw at them, and does it with gusto.

Like when one of my students who visits our ESL teacher came back to class with a little notebook and explained that he was trying to find awesome and interesting words to fill it with. And he agreed to share this plan with the whole class. And just like that, everyone wanted a notebook to keep vocabulary in too.

Coincidentally, we had also just introduced the CAFE strategy “Tune Into Interesting Words.”

Once this idea started to spread like wildfire, kids were coming up to me left and right wanting to share the words they found in their writing. Since we had a few extra minutes the first day, I let one person share a word they had found.

And since we are such a gung-ho bunch? It’s become a daily routine.

Each day, during Read to Self, each person keeps an eye out for interesting words – they can be words they know, or words they don’t. They record them in their notebooks…

At the end of Read to Self, one person volunteers to share their word, which I record on a sticky note.

Then, they read the sentence where they found the word. We do a quick turn and talk about what everyone thinks the word means based on the sentence.

A few people share out their ideas. We try to decide what part of speech the word is and come up with a possible definition.

Then, we use the classroom iPad to look up what the word actually means. I LOVE this Learner’s Dictionary from Merriam-Webster. The definitions are much easier to use than a traditional dictionary – I hate it when you have to look up words in the definition to understand the word!

Once we know the part of speech and the definition from the website, we come up with a definition in our own words. I record it on a sticky note.

Then later, I will let the student who volunteered the word write everything on a card and we put it up on the board!

This has been such an authentic was to incorporate vocabulary into our day! If we don’t have time to get to a vocabulary word, I hear about it! Everyone is involved, and I’ve already seen some of the words we discuss popping up in their writing.

I’ve never been great at incorporating vocabulary instruction into our days, but my students’ enthusiasm and excitement has made this one of my favorite parts of the day! I can’t wait to see all the words we will have as the year progresses.

If you are interested in your students learning a word a day I created a resource with directions, ideas for extensions and printables to help you get started. You can check it out in my TpT store by clicking the picture below.

How do you incorporate vocabulary into your day? I’d love to hear more ideas to help this time become even more effective!

October Currently

October 2, 2015

It’s been a while since I’ve joined up with Farley at Oh Boy! Fourth Grade for her monthly Currently link up!

Aaaaand…since my blog has been a big ol’ desert lately, I was really excited to see that it’s Currently time!

Listening: Our DVR has been on the fritz so I’m just now catching up on DWTS. Not sure who I like the best, but I think Bindi is pretty darn cute!

Loving: I drove home signing my lungs out today because I love my class, I love my school and I think my principal is pretty awesome. I love feeling happy each day at work!

Thinking: FALL!!! It’s my very favorite season. Even though it’s still pretty hot here, I have faith it will get cooler soon. Leaves are changing – that’s my proof!

Wanting: Can’t wait to haul out all the cold-weather clothing!

Needing: The only downside about fall? So. Many. Papers. If anyone wants to grade papers in exchange for very, very little money (read: what’s in the change jar) or possibly just adult beverages, please let me know.

Boo-tiful: Changing leaves. Random emails from former students. (Feelin’ the love!) Getting great feedback on a challenging math lesson. All gorgeous in my book.

Thanks for checking in over here! Don’t forget to head over to Oh Boy! Fourth Grade and link up what’s Currently going on with you!

Product Swap and a Giveaway!

September 23, 2015

Don’t you just love it when you find a new resource that you know will make your teaching life easier? I know I do. Luckily for me, I met Kelly from An Apple for the Teacher during the TPT conference this summer, and let me tell you, she has some AWESOME resources.

Today, we are both blogging about a little product swap we did! I’m so excited to share Kelly’s awesome 5th Grade Math Journal Prompts.

This year, I am working on implementing lessons through the Engage NY curriculum modules, and I LOVE it. But I was also looking for something to add to the mix that would help kids show their problem solving skills while using some of the amazing concepts they are learning through Engage NY.

Kelly’s product really has great problems to showcase what students are learning in our daily math lessons. For each Common Core Standard, there are 4 journal prompts. The Table of Contents below shows each cluster of standards, but the journal prompts are for individual standards!

Not to mention, she gives some awesome ideas for HOW to use the prompts in your classroom! (I’ll show you how I used them in a minute!)

I decided to use the first prompt with the whole class to reinforce a standard we had been working on:

Each page focuses on problem solving, creating a representation and writing a sentence with your answer. We had been working on using place value concepts to discuss how much each digit in a number is worth and why. So this prompt seemed like the perfect way to reinforce this idea and see how much my students had learned!

First, I had my class work with partners to discuss the problem and solve it. They were able to think of a model that worked for them and then get their equation, solution and sentence as well. I liked having them work in partners for the first one, since they were getting used to the format and it was new! (When we did a second one this week, they worked on their own.)

It was great to see them applying what we had already learned in a new way!

The best part? They LOVED it!! Here are some of the things they had to say about this activity:

“It was so fun to do. I like that it is organized.” -Z

“I liked this activity because it helps keep yourself organized. The thing that was most helpful was the model.” -C

“What was helpful was there as a spot for everything.” -F

“I liked this page because I like my thinking organized. It was helpful because I  knew where everything was supposed to go.” -J

“The boxes were big so I had room to write.” -M

This product has been kid tested and it got glowing reviews! I would also give it my stamp of approval.

Students were able to take previously taught skills and concepts and show their understanding in a new way. I love that I can use something as a quick formative assessment to see where kids are in their learning! I can’t wait to get on to other standards so I can continue to use 5th Grade Math Journal Prompts. Maybe I might even use some as a preassessment!!!

See?? The wheels are still turning.


Thanks so much to Kelly for swapping products with me! If you want to check out my product that she tried in her classroom, head over to her blog, An Apple For The Teacher!

An Apple for the Teacher

Are you looking for new ways for students to show their understanding?? Well, you are in luck. Enter below to win a copy of 5th Grade Math Journal Prompts and a $10 giftcard to TPT!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

What’s your new favorite teaching tool?? Share in the comments below!

SLANT Box Exchange Awesomeness

September 7, 2015

If you haven’t had the opportunity to participate in the amazing SLANT Box Exchange put together by Jameson at Lessons With Coffee, I bet you will want to after seeing this!!

I was SO extremely lucky to be randomly paired with the fabulous Rachel from Mrs. O Knows. In case you weren’t sure, SLANT stands for Sending Love Across the Nation to Teachers. And I could TOTALLY feel the love from Rachel. 

We knew each other a little bit already from some collaborative blogs and Facebook groups, but this was an opportunity to get to know each other even better. The theme was Summer Jam, so we decided that we would put together a box to keep summer going. Rachel asked me questions about my favorite music, hobbies, food and activities that make summer what it is. Before I knew it, she sent me an email to say my box was on the way!!!

When I got home and checked the mail, I found this adorable box full of goodies!

Rachel is so crafty! Even the box was super cute!

When I opened the box, I found a sweet note and individually wrapped presents! I’m sure that my mouth dropped open with excitement, because my husband asked me if everything was ok…

Everything was packed in so neatly, I was hesitant to even take stuff out of the box. But, I’m sure you know, I quickly got over it and started opening each one!

Each one had a tag with a note! So thoughtful!

Every gift was SO perfect for me. Rachel really took the time to get to know me, and made sure each present reflected that in some way. I haven’t been so touched by a gift in a long time…I even got a little teary eyed while I was opening them they were so thoughtful. She paid attention to my favorite team (the Broncos), my favorite beverages (coffee and beer), my favorite snack (Chex Mix), my favorite music and more. Even if you didn’t know me, after seeing the gifts in this box, you would totally know me!!

You’ll notice the Chex Mix is missing? Someone else in this house loves it too….

I am so glad I participated in this exchange. I loved getting to know Rachel better, and hopefully making her feel as special as she made me feel!

Thanks so much to Jameson who puts this whole thing together. It’s a lot of work and I’m sure it’s not easy, but I really appreciate it because it gives us the opportunity to get to know other teachers around the world! If you are interested for next time, make sure to watch for upcoming sign ups by following Lessons With Coffee.

 Thanks again to Rachel! You made me feel really special! 🙂