Sunday, November 30, 2014

Elf in the Classroom
 I can't believe I am going on my fourth year of doing the #elfintheclassroom! Where has the time gone? I get completely and over the top obsessed over this #elfintheclassroom every year! I can't wait to show you what I have planned for the elf arrival! 

I have included all of the above which is pretty self explanatory. Click on any image for a complete description. 
In the meantime, take a trip down memory lane and check out some of my previous #elfintheclassroom escapades. Click on each year to go back to that post.
 Here is another post from 2012! TONS OF IDEAS!
Last year, Michelle from Apples and ABC's and I teamed up & hosted 2 linky parties. If you use the hashtag #elfintheclassroom on Instagram you will see a TON of other ideas for the elf in the classroom.
I created The Ultimate Classroom Elf Kit last year but never blogged about it...whoopsie. I added nearly 30 pages of fun! This kit is up to 158 pages & you can purchase for ONLY $5! I like to keep my prices low and affordable just for you!
Above shows you just some of the pages I added. This is for a keepsake for your students. I will use red construction paper (9x12) and fold it in half. Place the sheets in and make the booklets so your classroom elf can deliver them. Of course, make enough copies of the daily elf report for the amount of days the elf is appearing. As you can see in the calendar at the bottom of this post, our elf will appear 15 times.
As you know I am a huge fan of Daily 5. My students are obsessed with writing. I decided to add some exciting #elfintheclassroom components to meet the CCSS standards I have to hit. 
We do a class book together (shared writing). We also have journal prompts to write in their December journal. What do you think they want to write about in December??? Either they want to write to the elf or about the elf or about themselves. 
This kit takes care of all of that. There is a TON of writing papers, lists, graphic organizers, & notes to fill your entire month!
 We also have to hit all those ELA & Math standards as well! Your students will just FLIP over my "Elftastic Unit"! My students absolutely love each and every station! Check it out HERE!
  In case you missed this FREEBIE. Grab these signs for your classroom and I also made some for your school! I added about 5 new styles a few days ago! 
If you want the calendar, right click & print! 
I am giving away 5 kits to the first 5 stalkers who leave their email! I will be checking after I get finished with my lesson plans! Have fun! 
Happy Elfing! 


Sunday, November 23, 2014

Handprint Calendar Tips

I get lots of emails and questions about how I do things in my classroom. There is never a day that goes by that I don't learn something new or get a tip from another teacher in my school, on IG or FB or in blogland. 

Do you ever have those "duh" teacher moments? I do. Daily. 

This was one of those "duh" moments. My friend Stacey over at Teaching Ever After is also doing my handprint calendar with her class and even her own children. Check that out here

We were having our weekly grade level meeting discussing who has what paint and when are you doing this...when are you doing that...etc. We all had different ideas on how to get this done efficiently with little teacher or student frustration. 

Stacey decided to bind her calendars first! Unfortunately, I had already started BUT paused my class from gluing. Binding the paper first is genius. GENIUS. I will no longer be losing my mind trying to mentally figure out which way to glue the paper when you flip the page...that hurt my brain!

I have been doing this calendar since I started teaching over 11 years ago and have never thought of this. Was it always this cute? Um, no. This was my feature product when I was in the TPT newsletter in 2011 and it was not even near as cute as it is now! My point is...I am always improving and changing things from year to year. This is natural and everyone needs tips, right? 
Another tip is to stay organized. It's so easy to whip papers on top of your desk in a hurry. Trust me, I do it ALL.THE.TIME. If you stay organized with this calendar, it's so much more manageable. I keep myself organized by placing the students work in their numbered file folders right after they finish. We are doing the calendar in order so they are placed in order as we finish. I did this last year as well. 
Each monthly file has the calendars as well as extra copies. 
This is Stacey's calendar from last year. She did this with her 2 and 4 year old. Each of them did a month and she wrote their name in the bottom right hand corner. She printed the calendar out on cardstock in color so she didn't have to glue the finished product on construction paper. I would love to be able to do this with my students but it's just not in the budget. 

Another tip if you are doing this with your own children is to make one calendar. Make color copies of each handprint page and give them out to multiple relatives. This is the perfect gift while your littles have those tiny handprints! The gift that keeps on giving all year long! 

I did not even start this project with my 24 students until after Thanksgiving last year. Remember, I also moved schools! It is possible if you stay organized. 

Have a wonderful T-day all you turkeys!

Sunday, November 2, 2014

Handprint Calendar *Updated* what? 

The handprint calendar is indeed updated! Yay! You're welcome! 

Personally, I have not yet started. I work way better under pressure. I did not start until after Thanksgiving last year, moved schools & still was able to get 24 calendars done! Bam! 
Here is what is brand spanking new this year! The biggest request was to have a boy and girl option. Nikki from Melonheadz heard my whining, begging & pleading all the way from Chicago and gave in to my updates.! now have the boy and girl versions (color and black & white)! 
There couldn't possibly be any more requests (I hope not)!  
When these were passed out there were tears of joy! That my friends is priceless!
I will have this gift that keeps on giving on sale throughout the week. I "plan" on getting started after break. We shall see about that! 
Peace out!  
First five to leave a comment with your email will win this for FREE! Give me until noon-ish to check. We had our annual Halloween BASH last night & I bet I'll be a tad bit tired.

Saturday, October 18, 2014

Daily 5 Post-It Lesson Plan-Bright Idea

Daily 5 Post It Lesson Plans
I'm back!!!!! I know I have disappeared from blogland for several months. I needed a break and was getting way too overwhelmed with my little first grade nuggets. They are my first priority. 

I wanted to share an idea I came up with to keep me organized. As you know, I am a HUGE Daily 5 fan and still implement in my own classroom. I change things up from year to year and try to make them better. Anything to make my life easier, yes please! 

I was walking the aisles of Target one day...of course the post it aisle. I have always had a post it obsession and now it's COMPLETELY sort of out of control (according to the hubs). 
Post It Sub Plans

I posted this photo on IG the other day and noticed there are some other post-it fanatics out there. 

I was making sub plans which we all know are so painful to do. So I decided to show my IG fans how I make them pretty and more organized for my sub. I thought I should share this here too! 

I always have plenty of these handy for when I need to put them on stacks of paper. It makes it easier on me and my sub. I like to see certain papers and some I want to make sure go home. I also don't want my interactive math, reading, or language arts papers to be mixed up with something from my regular lesson plans which has happened one too many times. 

post it note lesson plans

Here is a close up of my Daily 5 Post It lesson plans. For my guided reading groups I always use specific colors. For example, group 1 is always pink, group 2 is always yellow. I do this for both my guided reading and math groups.
I keep extra post-its on Saturday and Sunday for easy access. Some extra post-its have their reading levels on them as well.
post it note lesson plans

I keep these plans on my small group table for quick and easy reference. I can even have the students run up to my lesson plans to tell me which group I have for that particular day. If you noticed the arrow that says "today" that is how they know. If I need to know what group I have for math then they just flip the page. I also have tabs for when I know I am assessing or when I have a sub. If something comes up, which it always does, I can simply adjust my post its and shift them as needed. Notice how I write my plans underneath the post-it? Make sure you write in pencil in case you have to change your lessons. You can always use arrows too!

post it note lesson plans

 As you can see below you start with a template for the size post its you will be using. For this particular calendar it comes with full adhesive 2x2 post its. After you print out a plain sheet you will then insert a text box and type in the text you want to appear on each note. I found this template by doing a google search for free post it note templates. After you have your text the way you want it then you have to place the post it notes on the blank post it page and insert it into your printer. Each printer is different so I can't give you a tip on which way to put it in.

post it note lesson plans

For more bright ideas from a variety of other bloggers, please browse through the link-up below and choose a topic/grade level that interests you. Thanks for visiting!

Sunday, October 12, 2014

Classroom Faces Giveaway

Every once in a while,  the girls at Freebielicious discover a really awesome product for classroom teachers that is so amazing, we just have to share it with you! Today is one of those days! Get ready because we are hosting a super cute giveaway for custom classroom t-shirts from We will be giving away a class set* of custom t-shirts to THREE lucky Freebielicious fans! Isn't that amazing? 

These are NOT your average t-shirt designs. The people at ClassroomFaces are so creative, they found a way to print a collection of drawings from every child in the class on the set of t-shirts, to create a truly custom design! Nobody else in the world will ever have a t-shirt exactly like the one your class designs. The website may be called "Classroom Faces" but there are SO many more options for children to draw than just their face. Sample designs on the website show creative ideas using student handprints or drawings of the school mascot.

Since the Freebielicious girls are such good friends, we designed our very own set of Classroom Faces t-shirts. We enlisted the help of our talented friend (and fellow Freebie gal) Nikki from Melonheadz to create custom drawings of each of our faces. The finished t-shirts were absolutely ADORABLE! I absolutely love my new custom Freebielicious t-shirt from Classroom

About Classroom Faces

Creating a class set of t-shirts featuring your students drawings is easy. Each child just needs to create a simple drawing. To create t-shirts with one-color ink on a solid colored t-shirt (like ours) each child needs to draw their picture using a fine point black marker. The ClassroomFaces website has downloadable templates that you can use to guide your students. Full-color illustrations on a plain white t-shirt are also possible. Look how cute these t-shirts are! 

Extra Savings for Freebielicious Fans

Freebielicious fans that order a class set of tshirts can save $1 on each tshirt and receive 1 free teacher tshirt with their order using promo code FREEBIE14. Orders must include 15 or more paid shirts to qualify and must be postmarked by December 31, 2014

Enter to WIN a Class Set of Custom Classroom Faces T-Shirts

Now that you have seen how ADORABLE these t-shirts are, it's your chance to try and win a set for your classroom. The wonderful people at ClassroomFaces are graciously giving away a class set* of custom t-shirts to 3 lucky Freebielicious fans! Each set is valued at over $250. Stop by the Freebielicious blog for your chance to WIN! 

*Up to 24 tshirts will be included in each prize pack. Winner can choose to order a class set of traditional single-color tshirts or tshirts will full-color illustrations. Additional t-shirts can be purchased for $11 or $13 (depending on t-shirt size and style). Shipping is free for winners that live in the US. If a winner requires shipping outside of the US, the winner is responsible for shipping costs. (Shipping to Canada costs between $5-$20 depending on weight and location).

Sunday, September 7, 2014

Michael's Gift Card Giveaway!

I’m so excited to be teaming up with my favorite freebie-friends for a BIG giveaway to help get you going this school year! Over at the Freebielicious blog, we’re giving away a BIG, GRAND PRIZE (scroll down to the bottom of this post to read all about it!) and right here on my little blog, I’m giving away $25.00 to my favorite store to go school shopping: Michael's.
Michael's is my all time favorite craft store! I hate to say it but it's so close to my house, I could walk there. Sorry to those of you that don't have one close. But, that's ok! You can use the gift card online too! Holla!!! 

Please enter with integrity, using the Rafflecopter below. I’ll choose a winner a week from today.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

But, wait! That’s not ALL!
The Freebielicious ladies know how much of your own hard-earned money goes into buying supplies, tissues, books, and classroom d├ęcor to get your classroom “kid-ready,” and we want to be able to put some of that money right back in your pocket. Over at the Freebielicious blog, we are giving away a $300 Visa gift card! YES…YOU READ THAT RIGHT! $300!!!
To enter the BIG GIVEAWAY, click HERE or on the button below!

Also, while you are there, be sure to check out what the other Freebie-ladies are giving away. Be prepared for some AMAZING prizes. Take a peek at some of them below!


Sunday, August 3, 2014

Meet the Teacher Night #create2educate

If you have been a follower for a while then you are well aware of my addiction to chalkboard and neon. My entire classroom was redecorated to reflect my obsession. If you happened to miss my reveal check it out HERE.

I am so excited to be participating in Michael's Stores #create2educate giveaway. All of the materials that are pictured are from my favorite craft store, Michael's. 

Since I am back to school in a few weeks and our "Meet the Teacher" night is EXACTLY one week from the day we start....EEK! I figured I would do something for that night. 
The parent reading tips brochure is from my dear friend Lyndsey or at A Year of Many Firsts new "Be a Reading Expert" pack. This girl is so creative and talented it's ridiculous! The girl makes me run out of ink constantly! She is truly gifted!
There is a photo release and another brochure about my specific class and I also include blank index cards for the parents to fill out all of their info. I will show you more from my "Meet the Teacher Night" in a few weeks.

Here is what you will need in order to make your own. 

Well, I hope you LOOOVE this idea!  I'd love to read your thoughts on what you do for "Meet the Teacher" night.

And now...
Do you love to craft, too?  Then you'll be SUPER excited to hear that Michaels is hosting a crafting contest… and you could WIN a $50 gift card to shop in their store!  What?! :)

To enter the contest, simply >>
1.) Create your own B2S project and upload it to Instagram between August 1-15.  Post as many projects as you want… entries are UNLIMITED!
2.) Be sure to use the hashtags #Create2Educate AND #sweepstakes in your post/s.
3.) Don't forget to tag @MichaelsStores with each entry.

FUN and EASY, right?!

A few other things to note:
*You don't have to be a teacher to participate!
*Winners are chosen daily, so you have plenty of chances to snag that $50 prize!
*In order for your entry to be shared on or other social channels, you must give permission.  To do so, just go to Michaels' Instagram and follow the link in their profile.  Then, complete the steps in order to give Michaels permission to share your photo.

Monday, July 28, 2014!! 
I swear I never thought I was going to catch up!
 I think I slept for 3 straight days. It's all a blur. A very fun and sleepless blur. I'm so glad I went, it was absolutely amazeballs A.M.A.Z.I.N.G! 
My BFF's over at Freebielicious and I had a booth at the exhibit hall during the SDE conference. It was a complete blast! I finally got to meet the friends I chat with daily IRL! 
We gave away an Ipad, tons of sweet treats & a zip drive full of our best sellers! We loved chatting with everyone that came to chat. Even though I hate pictures of myself, it was so fun getting to know all the new Freebielicious fans.  
I absolutely loved getting to know Scott from Lakeshore Learning! He was a complete blast! He took us to a fancy smancy dinner at Bouchon in the Venetian. Conversation was awesome! Let's talk about collaboration with bloggers...yes, please!
I'm sure you recognize these beautiful faces! Deanna Jump was the first blogger I ran into...almost literally. My friend Stacey from Teaching Ever After, hit me & said "Isn't that Deanna Jump?" If it wasn't for her, I would have missed her! Deanna was nice enough to walk us to our Freebielicious booth since it was my first time in the hall. 
From left to right starting on the top row......
Jennifer from First Grade Blue Skies
Stacey from Teaching Ever After
Fran Kramer from Kindergarten Crayons
Angela from The Daily Alphabet
Latoya from Flying Into First
Jodi from Fun in First
Kristin from Teeny Tiny Teacher
Jennifer Kadar from Simply Kinder
Obviously....Deanna Jump from Mrs. Jump's Class
So I was leaving the exhibit hall after begging vendors for door prizes & I ran into Fran Kramer and her sleepy husband. We took a picture and then I see Annie Moffatt walk by & make her show me how to get back to the room...I have no sense of direction people and this hotel was like a mini country. Next time, I am going to strap some kind of navigation device to myself. 
Anyway, I was walking with Annie & it happened. We were walking & talking & then I see him. I see all the TPT miracle workers all in one spot. Should we go back? OMG will they know who we are? What should we do???????? 
We turned around REALLY quick before we lost them! 
That amazing guy up there ^^^^^^....he KNEW ME! 
He said "'s Mel D!" Are you kidding me? He employs how many teachers & he knew me & of course he knew Annie...who doesn't???? He must have flash cards or something. Love him & he was extremely nice, down to earth & he loves wearing too. I am tho thad that I did not get a picture with the rest of the fabulous TPT crew :o( 
So here is me taking selfies while my roommate slept. This is the night before my presentation and I was still tweaking the presentation people. I was a total hot mess. The picture in the middle is me in front of the room where the presentation was going to happen. I should NOT have went to look. 
I freaked. Things got REAL after I saw that big screen and all those chairs. My friend Kacie from Mrs. Hoffer's Spot made me the awesome cup above. Peace, Love, Pinterest...yo! You really need to visit her Etsy shop and follow her.
Crystal from Kreative in Kinder made me 3 different shirts to give away. The one above says "They call me Pindiana Jones". True story. I need another shirt...girl...I gave it away. It could fit my big toe...yo. 
Check out her millions of styles here.
So here is me during my Advanced Pinterest presentation. I have heard from a lot of people that attended and I really appreciate the positive feedback. I really can't wait until I see a video so I can see what I said. I was running on pure adrenaline at this point and it came out naturally. 
I am so honored that TPT entrusted me to be a part of the very first conference. 
I am still in shock! 

We were able to take a photo of most of the swag winners.... but some snuck away. Camera shy people apparently.
 It's ok...I get it. Anywho, I would like to give a shout out to all the peeps that donated fabulous prizes for my session. 

Pinterest sent bags, stickers, and pins for every attendee in my session! Thank you Pinterest! If you are not following the Teachers on Pinterest boards, shame on you. 
You can follow us HERE

Lakeshore Learning Software 
2 blog planners from Modern Teacher
Blog design from Jumping Jax Designs
3 Pinterest t-shirts from Kreative in Kinder
3 Pinterest tumblers from Kacie's Etsy Shop
1 Vegas bag & 2 mouse pads from
$50 gift card from Schoolgirl Style
Melonheadz gift certificate
$200 worth of products from the girls of Freebielicious
Seuss style teacher shirt from Claire Lynn
Here are all the awesome TPT presenters! I really wish I had the chance to talk to each one of them! Such a wonderful group of inspiring teachers who truly love their jobs!
I have to end with my favorite friends from Fluttering through First. I watched these ladies present and they were incredible!
 I miss them already! 
I am linking up with A Burst of First's linky party....apparently I am usual.