Monday, July 28, 2014

Science Interactive Notebooks for Little Learners

Aside from the craziness of the beginning of the new year...I really do love it. 
I love its newness, the clean slate, the smell of freshly sharpened pencils, the look of pretty new backpacks and shiny new shoes. 
It's wonderful! 
The new year is just a few weeks away...and I'm taking some time to reflect on what I want to focus on this year. One of the main areas I'd like to put my energy into is interactive notebooks. I love how these notebooks keep students organized and help them understand and internalize lessons previously taught. They're a great way to promote student learning...and they become a wonderful
resource throughout the year. 

Science has always been a favorite subject...I love the hands on I thought this was the perfect subject to introduce interactive journals to some little learners. 
I have created this little packet to be an introduction to science. 
It is full of interactive pages that will help your students learn some basic science concepts. 
As the year progresses, I'll be creating additional packets that will cover a wide variety of topics from magnets to the water cycle...I've got my work cut out for me that's for sure. ;) 

I'm excited to introduce the kids to interactive notebooks...I hope they'll love them as much as I do! 

Do you use interactive notebooks with your students? 
I'd love to hear more about it! 

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Wish List Wednesday

Hey y'all!
Once again I'm linking up with the lovely ladies over at Owl-ways Be Inspired for
I know that it's still summer...and that most of us are trying to wrap our heads around organizing for back to school or classroom decorating. But, if you ask's never too early to start planning for this special day. My kiddos and I love the 100th day of school...and it's always a big deal in my classroom! 
We always use Hooray for the 100th Day to help us celebrate. 

Today I'll be hosting a giveaway both here on the blog and on my Facebook page...this means you'll have double the chances to win! 
Just leave a sweet comment with your email addy if you'd like to enter here...then hop onto my FB page and do the same...easy peasy, lemon squeezy! ;)
I'll randomly select 2 winners on Friday, July 18th.

If you're not the giveaway worries...this 'lil unit will be on sale for 20% off until Friday.

Don't forget to stop by Owl-ways Be Inspired to snag those other Owl goodies.

Sunday, July 13, 2014

For the Love of Books: The Trashy Crafter's Story

Y'all know how much I love books...especially children's books...there's just something so refreshing about reading kidlit. I love it! So...when Kim contacted me and shared her story with me I knew she had to stop by the blog and share it with you all as well! I hope y'all sit back and enjoy a cup of coffee while you read all about Kim's passion and love for books.


Welcome, Kim!!
Books are magical, they give you the ability to go on a jungle safari one minute and a deep see dive with mermaids the next, but what happens when books have gotten lots of love from years of use? The pages get creased, dog-eared and ripped, they bend or even start to fall off.  That’s where my Mom Helen and I come in, and this is where the story of Trashy Crafter begins. 
My name's Kim, and I have pretty much been a crafter since I was old enough to hold scissors in my hand and not eat the Elmer’s glue.  As a little girl I would come home from school each day, and as long as my homework was done I could create crafts all afternoon at my Grandmas house until my Mom and Dad came to pick my sister and I up after work.  My Grandma made beautiful crafts and sold at lots of holiday craft shows, crafting ran in my blood and it was bound to become a part of my life some way or another.
One day when I was in my senior year of college my Mom and I went to the local thrift store. While there we noticed they had these auction bins out front of the store full of damaged and outdated books.  We found out that when books would not sell at the thrift store due to being damaged or outdated, they auctioned them off, and if the folks sifting through the auction bins thought they could not sell the book or it was too damaged it was just thrown away. 
 Needless to say my Mom and I were heartbroken that all those beautifully illustrated children’s books were just thrown away…so we grabbed about 25 books each in our arms and took them home. I was really busy with school at the time, so the books sat in the corner of my room for about 3 months.  I was trying to think of a useful thing to turn the books into when it hit me!  I was very lucky to have a 3rd grade teacher that was very crafty, her name was Mrs. Bryant.  She had taught us how to roll magazines pages into paper beads (I’m sure many of you have done this in girl scouts or grade school).  I made my first few beads and knew from then on, I was hooked, the most magical part about it is that you not only create beautiful, colorful unique beads made from something that was going to be thrown into a landfill, but you know what book or item it was made from!
Everyone has stories, and connects with them so well, the reason we continue to create recycled book beads, map beads and sheet music beads is that when people purchase a set at a local craft show or online they have a story behind what they wear. Perhaps they went on a road trip across the country, and that map bead bracelet they wear reminds them of the fun they had, or they had a band teacher that taught them to play an instrument, so they give them a sheet music bracelet as a token of appreciation…or even a gift for a mom or teacher that read you a book as a child that connected with you and stayed in your memory to this day.  As humans we all connect universally with stories, and it’s a beautiful thing to throw away, so my Mom and I plan on fighting the good fight and continuing to turn old books into beautiful, wearable works of art.

Our Process:
My Mom Helen and I gather the books from a lot of different places, sometimes we find them in cardboard boxes outside of libraries, in thrift stores on the clearance shelf or in the bins, and even get books, maps or sheet music donated from folks that love and support our mission. Once we gather all of the books we measure and hand cut the book pages into long narrow triangle strips and roll them one at a time onto lollipop sticks.  Once they are on there we coat each bead 3-5 times depending on the thickness of the paper.  Once that is done we spray them with a matte finish and then we start to make them into the finished jewelry. We purchase damaged necklaces and bracelets from the local thrift store and strip them apart to repurpose the beads. We create the jewelry with a mixture of the paper book page beads we made along with the repurposed beads. Once that is finished, we hand cut recycled cardboard bracelet holders and place the book labeling on to each set so folks know what book their bracelets were made from J


Thank you Kim for recycling those precious books and transforming them into something beautiful!

If you want to learn more about Kim and her amazing can visit her websites...I'm sure you'll find tons of inspiration. 

Thursday, July 10, 2014

Throwback Thursday: My 2012-2013 Classroom

Hey y'all...happy Thursday! 
You know what that means, right?
It's time for another...

This time we're going to revisit my Dots on Chocolate (via Creative Teaching Press) classroom...this is one of my favorite classroom designs I've had. 
Hope y'all like it too! 

I'm finally sitting down to post some pictures of my classroom set up for this year. Pheeeww! The first two weeks of school have been crazy sweet class has had to put up with all the craziness of the beginning of year...but they're troopers all 22 of them..and they are absolutely fantabulous! without further delay here are my classroom pics..
small group table..and part of classroom library..this is where the magic happens. ;)
another you can see the bulletin board that will be full of reading anchor charts..once we get started on those important reading strategies. I {puffy} heart my numbers with 10's a great visual for my little firsties.
my dots on chocolate calendar set is awesome! My whole group area is in front of this white board..{no smartboard for this!} but unfortunately I forgot to take a picture {double boo!}
Christie's good listening rules are in my whole group firsties recite them every morning during our morning meeting..and y'all they really help with their behavior on the rug!
Thanks, Christie!!
I'm in love with that "Reading is a Hoot!" bulletin board...can you spot the dots on chocolate border? I'm obsessed..I tell 'ya! ;)
computer center..with more owl decor.
listening center..I want one of those chevron rugs..that my bestie Alisha snagged up at Big Lots for this area..if only we had a Big Lots in my tiny town..{sigh!}
word work you can see from my alphabet  I am OBSESSED with chevron..lovely!
I'm also thinking a small rug in this area would complete the look..though I love my concrete's hard and cold for my littles.
my writing center bulletin board..looking fabulous thanks to Creative Teaching Press, Cara, and Lindsey. A humoungous thanks goes out to all of them..they make my life as a first grade teacher..a little bit easier. ;)

I {puffy} heart my classroom...and I know that lots of learning will take place within these four walls..I hope that everyone has a FABULOUS school year!


Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Wish List Wednesday

Hey y'all!
Today I'm linking up with the amazing ladies over at Owl-ways Be Inspired for
One of my most favorite products...and one that has been wish listed the most is my All in the Family {a Fact Families Mini-Unit} this little ditty has always been a HUGE help in introducing fact families to my littles. It's so student friendly and the kiddos love the story that I tell to help them make that connection. 
I adore it! 

So today I am here to offer an old fashioned giveaway (again) Rafflecopter today (#sorrynotsorry) just leave a sweet comment with your email addy if you'd like to win. ;)

I'll randomly select the winner on Friday, July 11th. 
If you're just not the giveaway can snag this little unit for 30% off until Friday. 

Don't forget to stop by Owl-ways Be Inspired to grab the other Owl goodies.

Friday, July 4, 2014

Five for Friday

Oh I love thee!
Isn't this the truth?! ;)

Today I'm linking up with the ever fabulous Kacey over at Doodlebugs Teaching for let's get this party started!
Y'all...this has been our summer so far...playing, swimming, reading. That. Is. All. 
We're lovin' it!
This week I received these amazing book bins from Steps to Literacy...they're fabulous! I can't wait to start reorganizing my classroom library! Stay tuned for a little giveaway, once the organization process gets started. ;) 
So, I've been going back and forth about which planner to use this year...because we all know that for us teachers...the real "new year" is the beginning of the school year, am I right? much as I love a very popular planner out there...this year I knew I wanted to try something different and this Lilly Pulitzer Agenda is just what I have been looking's perfect!
I've been working on these Print and Go Activities that will supplement the Journeys basal series we use in my district. I'm having so much fun creating these...they're perfect for those little firsties. 
In honor of Independence Day...I'm having a little sale over at my TpT store...20% off everything! I hope y'all have a little time to stop by and visit me between your July 4th festivities. 

The sale will run through midnight! Enjoy!

Thursday, July 3, 2014

Throwback Thursday: The Retelling Rope

Oh.My.Gosh, y'all!
I just realized that I've been blogging for almost 4 years, what?! That's insane! I can't believe I've had this little corner of cyberspace for 4 years now...unbelievable. Thank you so much for your readership, y'all...I am humbled by your 'ya from the bottom of my heart!

Throughout these 4 amazing years...I've had a few guest bloggers that have come to my rescue when I've been too busy with family activities but didn't want to leave my blog behind...these awesome bloggers were heaven sent. Truly heaven sent. ;)
As I was looking for a post worthy of Throwback Thursday, I came across Kelli's guest blog Kelli! It's an oldie, but goodie. 

Happy Monday! It's Kelli from Castles and Crayons!
Castles and Crayons
I am SO thrilled to be a guest blogger for Gladys today! I hope I can fill in the pinky toe of her fabulous high heels! :)
ONE of my favorite things about first grade {I have about 5, 273 things!} is teaching comprehension. As a former Kinder teacher, I LOVE that we can dig a little deeper in first!
We focus on a comprehension strategy each month. Here is our map for this year:
August ~ Daily Five launch
September ~ Characters
October ~ Main Idea and Details
November ~ Making Connections
December ~ Making Predictions
January ~ Making Inferences
February ~ Asking Questions
March ~ Retelling
April ~ Summarizing
May ~ Visualizing
This month is all about retelling! One of my very favorite ways to teach retelling is with the Retelling Rope. One of the reading coaches in our district shared this idea with us and I knew you would love it too!
After reading a fiction text, I have one of my students hold the Retelling Rope in front of the class. We touch each part of the rope as we retell and discuss each element of the story.
All you need is ribbon, the wooden shapes {I got mine from Hobby Lobby}, a few beads or pom poms, and a hot glue gun. If you don't have a craft store near you, I included some pictures that you could print, laminate, and glue to a ribbon. I made four Retelling Ropes {for my first grade team} for a total cost of $10. It is simple, adorable, and EFFECTIVE! What's not to love??!!?? :)
Click {HERE} to download the directions to make your very own Retelling Rope!

I would love for you to stop by Castles and Crayons! I have a SLIGHT obsession with The Daily Five, Word Work, There Was an Old Lady books, and the color pink! Hope to see you soon! :)