I am so excited to be a part of this amazing teacher Blogger/Instagrammer/TpT Seller April Fools Spring Giveaway! (See the Rafflecopter at the bottom of this post- you still have a whole day to enter this wonderful giveaway if you haven't yet entered!) 
My favorite part about this giveaway is that we swapped products with each other and tested them out in our classrooms! I was lucky enough to get to choose an item from Amna's store, Teach Two Reach. Below is the product I chose to use in my classroom! (Click on the picture to see her file in her store. She is the one who taught me how to make pictures clickable. Thank you, Amna! :)

I am so excited to share this wonderful Fact and Opinion Craftivity and Adjectives Craftivity and Writing pack with you! I love it when synchronicity is in effect! This one definitely caught my eye! I knew I would soon be teaching opinion writing and adjectives in my upcoming Houghton Mifflin theme, so I did a little happy dance inside when I saw this product! By the title alone, I knew my kiddos would be excited to complete the activities in this pack! I also knew I needed an engaging, more hands-on way to teach these concepts. What I didn't realize was just how much is packed into this file! 

The first activity we completed was the Fact and Opinion craft. This is always such a difficult one for the kiddos! They often confuse this concept with true and false. In the first activity we completed, students categorized each cookie as fact or opinion. I had them write an "O" above the opinions and an "F" above the the facts. They colored each cookie, then we discussed the correct answers and students cut out and glued the opinions onto the plate and the facts inside the glass. The students were encouraged to neatly color their cookies, plates, and glasses. When they were finished, I let them glue their work to pieces of 12x12 scrapbook paper. (I have been hoarding this paper for at least 5 years! I knew they would look like placemats with plates and glasses glued on top!) 
Next, we taste-tested three different Oreos- Golden Chocolate, Berry Burst Ice Cream Oreos, and regular Oreos. We started with what the cookie looks like, and moved on to feels, smells, sounds, then finally, tastes. Some of them had a hard time waiting to eat their cookies!
(By the way, the Berry Burst Ice Cream Oreo was their least favorite!)
We discussed the details they came up with, then they created a descriptive paragraph about their favorite Oreo.
I noticed I had six students who were still having difficulty with adjectives, so I pulled them to the back table and we completed the adjective craft together. We brainstormed different adjectives that describe cookies. I listed them on my white board, and they chose five of their favorites to write on their cookies, colored them, then cut them out and glued them onto the glass, which they also colored. This extra practice really helped to cement the concept!
Next, I had the students move to opinion writing. They wrote a three paragraph essay about their favorite Oreo of the ones we taste-tested. I have never had students so motivated to write an essay! After reading what they wrote, I am confident they understand this genre and are prepared for their upcoming opinion writing proficiency test. 

This pack helped my students with important concepts in a fun and engaging way. Amna provides templates to create the crafts, as well as a variety of color and black and white writing pages with adorable cookie graphics. I love the art aspect of this file as well. It can be difficult to fit art in at times, so combining it with grammar and writing is a great idea!

Thank you, Amna, for allowing me to use your amazing product with my students. They gave it two thumbs up!

Be sure to enter our giveaway to win your choice of product from each of us! Be sure to check out the other blogs and see what product they have used in their classrooms!

a Rafflecopter giveaway
Good luck! And have a great weekend!

Wow! The end of the year is quickly approaching! I figured I'd better hurry up and share what I plan to give as an end of the year thank you to my amazing parent volunteers. 

Five years ago my class size rose from 20 to 32. I knew I would not be able to teach students the way I was used to. I needed help for those kiddos who needed extra one on one time with decoding, basic facts, spelling, etc., and I knew with a huge class size, I wouldn't be able to give them the same attention I had been used to giving. My parent volunteers stepped up and have made such a huge difference in the lives of my kiddos. I am so grateful for their time! I have at least one that comes everyday! 

For the past few years, I have used this idea as an end of the year thank you. It's from the Eighteen 25 blog. There are so many wonderful ideas on this blog! Their tags are adorable for Mother's Day and an end of the year teacher gift. Since seeing this idea a few years ago, I began making my parent volunteers a strawberry-themed gift basket and homemade strawberry cupcakes in a cute cupcake box as an end of the year thank you. Last year I bought the strawberry containers here, like the Eighteen 25 girls suggested, but this year I may do something a little different. (I will check out Target's Dollar Spot for sure!) I already bought a few of the gifts for the baskets, but I needed a few more things, so I ordered here from Bath and Body Works. I bought a small candle, hand sanitizer, lotion, and hand soap. 

Below is the Strawberry Cake recipe. (This recipe is a hit, by the way! My mom is a total foodie and LOVES this cake!) You can download the recipe here. (Please let me know if you have any trouble downloading it.)
I bought the cute cupcake boxes at Joann's last year. I had a few left over. 
And here is the basket. 
I have small containers of hand sanitizer coming from Bath and Bodyworks to add. You could also add strawberry flavored lip balm to this basket, or anything strawberry related that you can think of!  If you would like the printable toppers, you can download them here. I trimmed mine around the green edge and attached it to a white cake pop stick which I bought at Joann's. You could also cut the tiny green edge off and use a corner rounder, the way the Eighteen 25 Blog did. That looks really cute too! If you can think of anything else school related that you would like the tags to say, please let me know!

Have a great week!

I'm teaming up with other teachers for a 20% off sale at TpT! I am planning to start my sale tomorrow and it will run through Sunday- and possibly Monday too! I have so many things in my cart! I have been buying a ton lately- so many good things on TpT!
I hope you enjoy your Friday and have a wonderful weekend and Easter! 
Be sure to enter our giveaway HERE if you haven't already! 
I wanted to post this little freebie multiplication practice with cute bunnies. I have a few kiddos who still need practice with multiplication facts, so I'm hoping this will do the trick! Click on the picture below and it will take you there. It's almost the end of the week! Yippee!!!
I'm super excited about this giveaway! Six of us swapped products and are using them in our classrooms! I chose to try out Amna's From Teach Two Reach Cookie Fact and Opinion and Descriptive Adjective Writing Craftivities. I knew it would be perfect timing because I was going to be teaching both in an upcoming theme! There is so much in this pack, that I am not even finished with it. My kiddos have already given it two thumbs up! Check it out below!
And here are a few of the fun lessons and craftivities in this file. I will be back later in the week to explain what we did and share more about this amazing file! 
But for now, be sure to enter in the giveaway below! It will run until April 26th! Check out the other blogs below. 

I have a book covering tutorial for you that I hope makes sense! Covering all of my books with Con-Tact paper has saved them over years. Some of the books I have had since I first started teaching back in 1995, and they are in great shape! I know that's because I always cover them, or have a parent volunteer cover them, before the kiddos can touch them. 

I prefer to use Con-Tact Clear Covering that I buy at Target. I have tried other brands, but this brand is the easiest to work with. Some brands are difficult to peel off the backing and crease easily. This one is nice and thick, not like the other brands I have used. The finish on this one is a bit opaque, but that doesn't bother me. Knowing that my books are safe while in the students' hands is more important. 

These National Geographic Kids nonfiction books really need to be covered. They are flimsy and easily ruined when students keep them in their desks. The first thing you will need to do lay your book on top of it the Con-Tact paper, writing side down. Use your book as a template and mark off where you will cut. (When I'm in a hurry, I skip that step and just cut. If you want straight sides, use a ruler and draw a line!) The paper backing has grid lines which makes it very easy to cut. I could have brought the book down more on this one, and there would be less wasted film. You can fit two chapter book sized books going in the opposite direction of this book, but these are a little longer than a chapter book. I wasted less Con-Tact paper by laying my book this way. (Forgive me of the picture quality of these pics!).
Next, mark the paper where you are going to trim the sides a bit. I try to leave a little less than one inch on each side.  I forgot to snap a picture before cutting. (I'm new at this, LOL!) You can see how much I cut off from each side in the picture below.  

Peel off the backing and lay the book face down on top of the film, sticky side up. Leave a margin of film on the side. I lay the book on the left side and smooth out the film as I go, pressing to get all of the air bubbles out. I start at one end and lay it down, kind of rolling it toward the spine onto the film. Just practice with this part. This film is pretty easy to work with. 
Next, I roll the other side of the book onto the film. I start by turning the book onto its spine then rolling it onto the film instead of just laying it on there. Be sure you don't have the film on there so tightly that you can't close the book. Work out any air bubbles. They won't hurt anything, they just look a little annoying. I fold over one side, starting in the middle, and smooth it out as I go. I also like to fold over this edge instead of cutting it clean because it protects the sides of the books. I used to cut it off, and then had frayed sides. (In case you are wondering, that 630 on the inside cover above is the lexile level. I also lexile all of the books and organize them by lexile level, since my school does Reading Counts. It's so easy to grab a book for a kiddo and go!).
Next, I trim the top and bottom as closely as I can without digging into the book. 
And I turn the book over and do the same thing to the other side. It's easier for me to do it this way, but you might find a technique that works for you. Flip the book over and cut off the bottom excess just like you did on the top. 
I see an air bubble on Martin's face. It bothers me in this picture, but I don't even notice it in person. 
So that's how I've kept 18 year old books looking (almost) new! I hope this helps. Just practice and you will get the hang of it! 

I really love using these books to teach nonfiction text features. I have seen a lot of freebie text feature recording sheets out there. I was having a hard time finding one that went along with these books perfectly, so I made one. If you can use it, you can find it here. (Please let me know if you have a hard time downloading the file from Google Docs. I messed it up the first time I tried loading something on here.) If there is a text feature on the sheet that isn't in the book, I have them create an example of what that text feature would look like, using information from the book. For example, if the Penguins book below didn't have bulleted lists, students could create a bulleted list of the foods penguins eat, as long as that was mentioned in the book. I have also had them write down examples of the actual text features they found in their book. Since this was the first time we did this, I just had them write down page numbers. 

I hope this was helpful! Have a great Friday and weekend! 

This is the first year I am really excited about state testing! That's because we are only field testing the Smarter Balance Assessment. Even though our students won't receive  scores until next year, I want them to know how important it is to always do their best. We previously gave the STAR test, and I had lots of goodies and incentives to go along with that theme to promote the test. I kept thinking about Smarter Balance and I wanted to come up with ideas and catchy phrases to promote this test. Smart cookies and Smarties candy came to mind, and Smartie Water, so I created this little file here.

Included are Smart Cookie Homework Passes, You're One Smart Cookie labels to attach to a package of cookies, round Smart Cookie labels that you could use instead of the larger ones, or print on sticker paper, cut out, and give to students to wear, I'm a Smartie cards that you can tape a Smartie candy to, Smartie water bottle labels (two versions) to attach to mini or regular sized water bottles, (you can have them drink this before the test on the first day!), Smartie Tickets to pass out to those on task and working hard during the test, and labels for Hershey Bars to raffle off each day after the test, or you could give one to each student after the test is over. If you can think of anything you might like me to add, please let me know! I'm super excited about this little file, because I know my students are going to be so excited about it! I hope you can use parts of this file with your Smarties too!
Have a wonderful week!
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