Thursday, July 24, 2014

Back to School FREEBIE!

I love back to school time!  It's a time for new beginnings and fresh starts for your students and you, too.  The energy in the school is electric and enthusiasm is contagious.  Nervous energy fuels your students and maybe you, too.  Welcome back to the best and most important profession there is!  You might be nervous but I guarantee that your new students are even more nervous to meet you and to fit into a new peer group.  The first weeks of school are crucial team building and community building times.  During the first week of school the priority is setting routines and establishing a safe culture in your classroom.  Don't rush!
Grab the Freebie!
I created a FREEBIE for grades 3-5 that's simple and may be a welcome sight for your students.  Coming into the room students may be shy, and nervous. Finding a simple word search puzzle on their desk brings a sense of comfort and predictability at a time when things may not be so.  An answer key is included so students can check their own work and for your fast finishers, there's a challenge to alphabetize the words in the puzzle on the back of the paper.   :)

Enjoy your new students and welcome back!

Monday, July 21, 2014

Giveaway! :)

I think it is finally time to have my very first giveaway! (gasp)  I am so excited to be growing my blog and sharing my favorite teaching tips and tricks!  My goal is to give back to the teaching community and help as many teachers as I possibly can.
I am giving away one free product of your choice from my TpT Store via Rafflecopter!  You have the potential of earning 32 (you heard that right) entries!  It is very simple to enter.  You can get entries by following me on facebook, bloglovin, Google+, TpT, pinning an image from my blog, and the easiest, leaving a comment below with the product that you would love to win.  How simple is that?!

I cannot wait to hear what you guys have been dying to have from my store!  Good Luck, and may the odds be ever in your favor (brownie points to those who know where that line came from)!! :)  The Rafflecopter ends on August 3rd.  Enter and share away!
a Rafflecopter giveaway

Sunday, July 20, 2014

Math Tip: Back to School Get to Know You/Create a Graph

Are you worried about how to start off the school year?  Are you in need of some great ideas to get students engaged during those crazy first few days where it seems like you get nothing done?  Do you need get to know you unit with math skills incorporated?  Look no further!

During the first few weeks of school, I LOVE to use this data analysis unit to sneak in lots of math skills as my fourth graders get to know each other.  Students choose a survey question, survey their classmates and use their math skills to create a visual to show their results.  We study mean, median, mode, minimum, maximum and range.  You can tell who knows their addition facts quickly and who needs work as they add up the data and determine the mean.  Students also use my math webpage to play games related to the topic we're studying like mean, median, mode, minimum, maxium, and range and also graphing.

This set has 11 lessons, 8 pages of student handouts with answer keys, vocabulary posters, an assessment, and 3 SMART Board lessons. The best part, is . . . you'll have a very personalized Open House display that your students are proud of!  Below are a few full size previews that are included within the set.

"Create a Graph" is an online graphing website made by NCES (National Center for Education Statistics).  This site is perfect for use on a SMART Board with the "3 Weeks of Data Analysis Lessons & Graphing Project".  Students can input their data and print or save their graphs for use in other projects.  My fourth graders loved using this site to make graphs of the data they collected.  The site allows you to choose the style of graph, input your data and choose the colors used in the graph, and change the labels.  It's a totally custom graph just for you or your students!
I made a sample pie graph using the topic, what is your favorite holiday?  Entering your own data, the graph can look like this:
Enjoy everything math and graphing!

Friday, July 18, 2014

Word Crimes

Do you need a good laugh?  Teachers will get a kick out of this Weird Al Yankovic video about word crimes and grammar blunders.  It's a hoot as you would expect of Weird Al.  This is NOT for students, but rather for your entertainment.  Enjoy!

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

TpT Conference Fun in Vegas 2014

For those of you TpT'ers who were unable to attend the TpT Conference in Las Vegas a few days ago . . . we missed you!

Participants were able to attend four sessions put on by an amazing team of TpT seller-speakers.

Here are a few photos of our trip to Vegas.  My daughter and I were there Thursday evening to Monday morning and we had an absolute blast!  

On our first night we wandered around the Venetian Palazzo and found Carlo's Bake Shop.  We also went down the strip to Paris Hotel and stopped in at the Sugar Factory (so delicious).  

On our second day we spent all day at the TpT conference. Yes, we both attended sessions and shared what we learned.  WHAT A BLAST!  

On the third day we spent some time hanging out and shopping on the strip and we also went and saw Cirque Du Soleil's Ka. 

The last day we spent some time at the Palazzo pool but the heat drove us out, too.  Luckily the hotel shaded the pool until about noon.  We then spent some time gambling (only $20 each, losing more than that scares me lol) at the Wynn and Treasure Island.  We also saw Cirque Du Soleil's Mystere that night which was FABULOUS.  It is a must see.  Those people are so incredibly talented!
I have also linked up with A Burst of First for this post!  Head on over to check out other great take-away points from Vegas!

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Math Tip: Skater Math

Today's math tip is an online multiplication game called Skater Math.  It's perfect for use on a SMART Board but students LOVE playing it on a computer.  They love it because it makes them think fast and they think they are getting away with playing games at school (shhh don't tell them they are actually learning!)  Students time their answer so that when they click they can jump over objects as they practice multiplication skills (or addition, subtraction, and division).  The Multiplication Skater Math is also Common Core aligned for MP 6. Attend to Precision!  How awesome is that?!  You can find this game linked from my math web page for students, plus other web links for students.
Teacher Tip:  This game has an ad (kid friendly) that is 15 seconds long and has sound at the beginning.  You may want to silence the ad before playing the game or get it ready and pause the game before using it with students.

The HoodaMath website has lots of other math games to check out.  You can search by math grade level and skill as well.
Enjoy everything math!

Friday, July 11, 2014


What an incredible day! One quick post before my daughter and I head off to dinner (I will post a lengthy one later on to really dive into the biggest tips and tricks when I get back home).  I wanted to share my top 3...okay maybe 4 take-aways for the day.  I hope you all had as much fun as I did if you attended the conference.  If you didn't, I really hope this gives you a snapshot of some of what I found to be the most important tips from the day.  Meeting the faces behind the names and store fronts was awesome!  I already know this, but connecting with others today reinforces that TpT’ers are ALL incredible human beings with stories that inspire me.  The TpT team is amazing, talented, and here to help all of us.   The TpT speakers shared what worked for them so we could learn and pay it forward with others.  We are all one one BIG TpT family.  
L to R - Top: Deanna Jump (Mrs. Jump's Class) and me, my daughter and I, Kimberly (KG fonts) and me
Middle: Myself, Paul Edelman (TpT Founder), and my daughter, our breakfast table with Rachel Lynette (Minds in Bloom) and Laura Candler (Teaching Resources)
Bottom: Myself and Erin Cobb from (I'm Lovin' Lit), myself and Rachel Lynette (Minds in Bloom)
I want to say a quick THANKS to everyone who worked to this conference a reality!  I’m so thankful I could attend.  I’ll do my best to share with all of you what I’ve learned.  My mind is swimming and I'm sure my next few blog posts will be full of hints and tips for other teacher sellers, so be watching for that!  

Thursday, July 10, 2014

Math Tip: My Favorite Online Calculator

Student engagement. That's what it's all about.  If you don't have their attention, they're not learning.

I love using a SMART Board for just that reason.  While working on anything that requires use of a calculator, this is a must!  This calculator is an online website, great for use on the SMART board to make learning more interactive.  The kids love coming up to the SMART board and pressing the buttons (that even make noise as they press them) on the huge calculator!    I must admit I even use this at home because it's so fun.  :)

This calculator is hosted in the U.K. by Ambleside Primary School and it has the most awesome sound effects that kids love.  Check it out!  This and other great math web links are located on my website for students and teachers.
Online Calculator link
Enjoy everything math!

P.S.  My daughter and I are off to Vegas for the TpT Conference in Vegas!  How exciting!  Stay tuned for updates from Vegas.
I think I'm getting good at this whole "selfie" thing :)

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

FREEBIE! Math Assistant Reference Chart

I wanted to give you all something unique and special that is not already in my TpT store so I created this FREE math helper chart just for today's Worksheet Wednesday Summer Bloggin' with The Teaching Tribune!

These charts are especially for students in grades 3-5 but could be used with other grades as well.  It's a must-have for back to school math journals.

Follow my blog and Facebook using the cute buttons at the top of the page.  You'll be the first to get cool teaching products before I post them to TpT.   :)

Head on over to my TpT store to get this great math helper!  It's FREE from my TpT store!

Also, if you're looking for an organized web page for students to use to reinforce what you're teaching, check out my website.  I have links to all sorts of topics for students in grades 2-high school!
Enjoy everything math!

New teachers!  Head over to Teaching Science with Lynda for some great ideas and FREEBIES!

Math Tip: Dynamic Paper is Dynamite!

Hey everyone.  I absolutely LOVE teaching math!  In this series of Math Tips, I'm going to be sharing some of my favorites websites.  You can also find these and MANY more on my teacher and student website, .

Today's featured website is created by National Council for Teachers of Math.  I can't say enough about how great this site is to help you teach math more interactively.  It helps you create math tools you can use in your classroom and if you are lucky enough to have a SMART Board, you and your students will love using this website.

This web page is listed in the "Interactive" section of the site and is called Dynamic Paper.  Here, you can make custom images that you can download and use to create your classroom presentations and handouts.  You can make your own graph paper, create number lines and grids, make spinners and nets, and demonstrate tessellations.  Using the tools you can color the items, too.  Check it out!
Teach, love, math!

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

Math Vocabulary Poster Sets Help Students Learn the Language of Math

I'm linking up with The Teaching Tribune's Two For Tuesday and that means 50% off for you today on not TWO products, but THREE!
I absolutely LOVE teaching math!  Math is FUN if students understand the basics like what the words mean.  Never take for granted that students know the most basic of words.  One year I discovered words that I thought were "no brainers" like row or column were mixed up by many of my 4th graders. OH MY GOSH.  I was shocked!   From that moment on, I knew that I needed to directly teach math vocabulary and the payoff always came during testing when students made incredible gains and their confidence soared.

I created math vocabulary posters for grades 3, 4, and 5 in kid language with examples.  The poster sets are readable from across the room and are a permanent fixture in my classroom.  We refer to the definitions ALL THE TIME.

The posters are totally aligned to the Common Core Math standards and are identified by domain to help you keep them organized.  A student "The Vocabulary of Math" book is also included so students can write about the word, draw an example, and use the word in a math problem.

Enjoy teaching the language of math!  For great teacher online links to web resources, check out my online Teacher's File Cabinet!  For learning websites for students, visit the Student Section of my classroom website!

Monday, July 7, 2014

Meet Me (Heather) Monday

Today I am linking up with The Teaching Tribune for Meet Me Monday.  Since most of you are just now finding my blog, I thought this would be a great way for you all to get to know me a little bit better. I've been around the website world for for YEARS, but the blogging world is new (and FUN) to me.  I can't wait to meet more fellow bloggers!  

Favorite Childhood Thing:  I had a half Quarter Horse/half Arabian during my middle and high school years.  I loved every minute riding and spending time with Margie. 

My Name:  My parents named me for the Heather in the Scottish Highlands.  I love my name.  My dad is from Scotland and I’m a dual citizen!  My dad wrote stories of his life growing up in coastal Scotland and he posts them to his website, Scottish Heritage.  At age 70 something, I taught him how to make a website. He's one of my best students!   :)  Check out his website!
Worst Thing (that actually turned out awesome):  The year my daughter was in my 4/5 blend, 2000-2001 we studied the JASON Project, Hawaii Volcanos. We were learning about the underwater atmosphere created by the volcanos of Hawaii. The students researched all about the volcanos and underwater sea life and turned our classroom into an underwater scene.  It was the coolest thing ever!  We had blue cellophane strips hanging from the ceiling to represent waves and the windows gave our room a blue haze complete with an underwater volcano (which one day had erupted overnight and created chaos in the classroom).  Students also turned our floor to ceiling bulletin board into a rocky shelf with sea stars, mussels, crabs, sea urchins etc.  It really made learning come alive! The custodian was NOT HAPPY at all, but luckily I asked my principal ahead of time if it would be okay and she loved the idea. Needless to say, I helped the custodian clean all the blue paint out of the window cracks when we were finished.  Yikes!   It was STILL worth it!   My new thought:  It's easier to ask forgiveness that it is to as permission.   :D
Please excuse the image quality (technology 14
years ago wasn't quite what it is now  :) )
Fictional Character:  My camp name was Lorax when my 6th graders went to Outdoor School.  I love that the Lorax spoke for the trees, who had no voice.  I also love seeing creatures in their habitat, not the ones we create for them.  My favorite saying is, "Free the whales!"  For now, going to Universal Studios Seuss Land will have to suffice. 

My Siblings:  I’m the middle child with my brother two years older and my sister eight years younger.  My brother lives a few miles from me and my sister lives in the San Juan Islands with an incredible water view.

Favorite Breakfast:  We learned about Dutch Oven cooking at our local Sportsman's’ Show.  We cook in the Dutch oven on our back deck and also while we are camping in our camper.  There’s nothing like it!  We put hash browns on the bottom of the oven, then add sausage links, cheese, and pour scrambled eggs over the top.  The smell is amazing and the taste is ever better.

Friday, July 4, 2014

Teacher Agenda - 2-Page Planner

I don't know about you guys, but I NEED my agenda planner to stay organized.  Sometimes it's hard to keep track of all the IEP meetings, grade level meetings, staff meetings, duties, days off, the list just goes on and on!  I have searched long and and hard for the "perfect" planner and came to the conclusion that it didn't exist, so I created one!  This planner fits perfectly in my binder with all of my other teaching essentials.  I cannot wait to start using it (while I am retired now, you still wouldn't believe all of the things I have to keep track of.  I feel more busy now than ever before!). 

I hope that you all find this 2-page planner just as useful as I do :)  Please post pictures of you using your agenda!  I would love to feature all of my agenda users in a future blog post!  E-mail your photos to  Happy planning and organizing everyone!

The brand new agenda is on sale for the first three days!  

My favorite part of this agenda is all of the space on the monthly layout to write down everything I need to do for the day.  I also love that there is extra room, just in case. :)

If you are really trying to get organized, you may also want to check out some of my teacher binder sets that include binder covers, spines, divider pages, and the most important teacher forms!! :)

Wednesday, July 2, 2014


Today I am linking up with Christina over at Sugar and Spice for Wordless Wednesday.

Sometimes a photo really is worth a 1,000 words.  We have been having some thunderstorms all day, which left an erie feeling for the evening.  As sunset rolled around I saw my daughter grab her camera and run outside.  I wasn't sure what she saw, until I really looked and saw the gorgeous sunset.  It must be the photographer in her (I don't know where she got that from, certainly not me).  When she came inside and showed me the photo I knew I had just the perfect photo to share for my first Worldless Wednesday.

What is your favorite way to spend your summer nights?

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