Want to go on an egg hunt with me? {Sale!}

{Sale graphic used WITH PERMISSION from Hope King}

Take a peek around my shop to find five of my favorite items on sale!  Although I love all the products in my store, since they are always created out of a need – what my students need – these are the Top 5 that I either use every day or LOVE to use.  I hope you agree! Stop on over and check them out. 


Barnyard Buzzers!

teacher tool tuesday

Yes, barnyard.  Sometimes our classrooms do sound like a barnyard so why not add a few more sound effects?!

My kinders love these little buzzers from Learning Resources!

<br><i>Why raise your hand when you can moo? </i><br>

I will use them for attention getters, in games, and just for fun!

I recently used them in one of my reading groups.

The children had to build a CVC word in their little “pocket”, then show it to me.  If they got it right they could hit their barnyard buzzer!


They had SO much fun!


Novelty items like this is what keeps teaching fun and exciting for both me and my students!  They love hearing the sound of the barnyard animals over and over and over and over and over…..again!

There are 4 buzzers in the box: a dog, a horse, a rooster, and a cow.  You do need to supply the battery for them, but mine have lasted quite a while now.

I bet you can think of all sorts of games that you can use these barnyard buzzers with!

Would you like to win a set?!  YES!! I know you do!

Learning Resources is giving away one set to a lucky reader to try out in their classroom!

Here is how you could win!

Leave me a comment telling me how you will use these fun tools in your classroom!

(Please be honest and actually leave a comment before you enter!!) a Rafflecopter giveaway


You can find Learning Resources on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and Youtube.

Good luck! Happy Buzzing!! :)


I’m working on a new set of fix-it up sentences (finally!).  These have a fresh new look, and I’m very excited about them!  If you’ve been waiting to get your hands on the first set of fix it sentences, now is your chance! 


They will be on sale for $3.99 until midnight tonight!

Click {here} to head over to my TpT shop to snatch them up!

St. Patrick’s Day Centers!


Here’s what was in our center drawers this week:

This was a packet that I got from my friend Traci a couple of years ago.  Since I have ipads in my room, I decided to use the app Telling Time to use this pack.  The kids loved it!


It’s a free app, so go ahead and download it! The kids were TOTALLY engaged the whole time.  They set the time on the clock on their ipad, and then transferred the time to their papers. You can find it {here}

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We are working on numbers in the 20s this trimester.  Most kiddos have a strong grasp on numbers and counting thanks to our Daily Calendar Book, but I always like to have a center where they practice counting.  I like to have them getting up and moving around the room too a little bit too! The cards are posted around the room.  I always post them in the same spot, so the kiddos know exactly where to find them each week!

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Here the children are counting shamrocks in ten frames and then coloring the shamrock next to the number that is the biggest. 


We practice counting on every day in our daily calendar, but this weeks addition center through the kiddos for a loop!  Most got it, but I could tell a few needed some extra practice with addition and understanding the concept of addition.  This was a great way for me to see that!


For this center, I normally do a big black plastic pot and put in some gold paper circles.  The children pull out 2 circles and then find the number on the 100s grid and color it in. I’ve also used gold gems that I’ve written numbers on with a sharpie marker!


This time I decided to use the IWB.  If you have an IWB, this page is easy to create.  Simply draw a circle and add a number (group these together).  Duplicate this for numbers 0-9.  Next insert a graphic (the pot of gold) and lock it on top of the numbers.  I made the pot a bit more transparent so it’s easier to find the numbers.  I added a “refresh” button that the children click to put the coins back “in” and also added audio instructions.  Does that make sense to you IWB users?  I have a Promethean board, so it might be different for all of you SMART board users!


Of course the children were obsessed with leprechauns, and they were crazy confused about the leprechaun mixing up our sight words (see the picture way above).  The children found the cards around the room, unscrambled them and wrote them on the recording sheets.


At this center, the children unscrambled the silly sentences!


and practicing with digraphs!


I also have a listening center every week!  This week the children listened to I  Know an Old Lady who Swallowed a Clover. The children drew and labeled the things that the old lady swallowed. 


I also have been using Lakeshore’s Phonemic Awareness listening center.  The children love these too!


St. Patricks’ day is a pretty special day in my family.  My grandma’s blood ran green!   Looking forward to a wonderful dinner of Irish stew, corned beef and cabbage, and green kool-aide, green bread, and green mashed potatoes (for the kids!) tomorrow.

If you’re interested in these centers you can find them {here}.  You can also find more St. Paddy’s day ideas {here} {here} and {here!}

I’ll leave you this St. Patrick’s eve with a few of my favorite Irish blessings.

An Irish Blessing - Free Printable - May Flowers Always Line Your Path



and the one that my grandma especially loved….

Irish Blessing Chalkboard Printable from {Too Much Time On My Hands}


Pocket Dice {Teacher Tool}


teacher tool tuesday

I get a LOT of e-mails asking me about the pocket dice that I use so often in my games and centers.  This is one teacher tool that I could NOT live without!


I think I have 6 or 7 of these dice! I use them for both math and literacy centers.  I like to have enough so that I can use them for whole group activities as well – so each table can have one. 

There are two places that I have found that you can order these dice from.


and Resources for Reading

ABCstuff MV324

I also found these cool dry erase dice – I don’t own them, but they might be fun to switch it up a bit!  I only wonder how easily the dry erase marker would wipe off.  Maybe using dry erase crayons would work better?  They are a little harder to wipe off.

Do you use these dice? Do you LOVE them? Any fun ideas that you use them for?

Shari Sloane {Music Monday}

music mondays

I thought I would try out a new series with you all!  Raise your hand if you love using music in your classroom! I do! I do!  Music gets me through the day!

Each week I’ll try to share with you a song or video that we enjoy singing in our classroom.

This week I’m going to share with you my friend Shari Sloane’s new CD.  I have seen Shari present a number of times – she is amazing, and is SO smart! She is definitely “Minnesota Nice.” I have always enjoyed  my time visiting with her.  Last summer, she shared with me that she was working on a new album…. The album was just released and I am SO excited to introduce my kiddos to the songs on this album! 

SO many songs that I sang as a child! These will be great for quick time fillers or brain breaks – and just to HAVE FUN!

Be sure to stop over at her website to listen to previews and to purchase her new album!

Guided Reading {How I do it}

I am certainly not an expert on guided groups, but I will share with you how I work with kiddos in small groups throughout the day.

We are fortunate enough to have one Title 1 paraprofessional help us with groups for 2 – 30 minute blocks. She will take my higher kiddos, and I will take the lowest. So I am able to work with my struggling readers everyday for about 20 minutes each session. The rest of the class is working at literacy centers and literacy rotations.

guided reading

We will always start out with a familiar re-read.  Usually it’s the book that we worked on the day before.  I will usually hone in on child and make sure that she/he carries over the skills that we worked on the day before.  After she/he is done reading I’ll make 1 or 2 teaching points based on what I saw that child doing.

Then, we’ll move onto some sort of word work. This is always based on the skills that that group of children need to work on. The purpose of this is so kiddos can understand and reinforce how letters and words work. I might lay out a bunch of letters and they have to find all of the s’s.  Or we might sort letters by features (lines, curves, etc.).  OR - I might use a new word in the book we’re working on and review a challenging word.

Here we are using magnets for word work with a sight word this group was struggling with:

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I give the kiddos the magnet letters and we will “mix and fix” or play “missing letter”. Here she is “breaking the word.” She’ll start with the first letter (focusing on left to right sweep) and pull each letter to the left while saying the letter name.


When she’s moved all the letters over she’ll put her finger underneath and do a “slow check” saying the word.

Later in the year we will start to break words – looking for familiar chunks in words. Helping children understand how words can be taken apart and how parts look like other words they know will help them use what they know to decode unknown words in their reading and writing.

These letters from Lakeshore are my absolute favorite. I use them everyday!

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Then we might write the word a couple of times on these mini-white boards. I also use the “magna doodle” type boards from Lakeshore.  Sometimes I have the kids do the magnet work on these boards too just to give them a smaller space to work on.

IMG_2183_thumb[3] IMG_2184_thumb[3]

We will also do some writing with the target word. Again, we’re focusing on left to right, proper letter formation, spacing, etc. Their books are just white paper cut in half with a construction paper front and back. They’re just stapled on the side. Super simple. I keep a stack of them ready to go when we need them.


Sometimes I’ll take the sentence that they wrote, write it on a 1” strip, and then cut it apart for them to reassemble.  I don’t have time to do this every day though.

And finally, we read a new book! I’ll give a good introduction and point out any tricky parts. I want them to be successful with the book!


I don’t use paper books all the time (and highlight), but because we were focusing on the word like, I wanted to use this one. This ended up being a very simple book for this group. However, they all still needed work on looking at picture clues and confirming the first letter of the word. I don’t want to move such fragile readers up “levels” so fast. I want to make sure their strategies are secure so that they can read these “easy” books without me. Sometimes the easiest books are the hardest for kids!


Some days, we will play games or work specifically on certain skills like rhyming, segmenting and so on.  My lessons are always based on what the kids need!

I also REALLY love using these books with kiddos:

Fountas & Pinnell Leveled Literacy Intervention

These are the Fountas and Pinnell LLI kits. The books are spot on and are great for my struggling kids. We have a huge selection of leveled reader book packs available, but these are my go to for my lower kids. I don’t necessarily use all the components in the lesson, but use it as a starting point. I always let my students guide my instruction.

How do you run your GR groups?  Any tips, tricks, or strategies that you would love to share? 

Guided Groups {Where it Happens}

My small group area is where I spend the most time sitting during the day!  I am hardly ever sitting, but when I’m working with a group of kiddos, my focus is on them. 

When I am working with a group or individual child, I turn on my “ghost light.”  The ghost doesn’t have any significance, my daughter had it for Halloween one year, and I grabbed it! The kids know that when it is on they can’t interrupt me!


Here is my table where I work with kids.  I try to keep everything that I might need close.



I adore this easel.  It has a magnetic dry erase front and little pockets on the back that I can shove all sorts of goodies in.  It’s certainly not neat and tidy in this area, but it’s where everything goes down! It’s a busy place!  I keep pencils, mini-fly swatters, post-its, pointers, dry erase boards….just about everything right in this spot.

Here is what’s inside those little drawers:

IMG_2331    IMG_2332IMG_2333    IMG_2334

I also have small letter tiles available.  I use these a lot for CVC work or for whole class word building activities. It was a set of letters that I got at a teacher supply store in the bulletin board section – I really want to say that it was a Fountas and Pinnell set, but I can’t remember!  They are about 2” square.


I keep running record papers and my nifty Fountas and Pinnell running record calculator handy as well.  This shelf is to the left of my table.  I keep each groups books/lessons/activities in the colored buckets on the top shelf.  There are leveled books on the 2nd shelf, some “just for fun” books that the children can choose for their book baskets on the 3rd shelf, and more decodable readers, and my science/social studies/math books on the bottom shelf.

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I also have a large selection of Lakeshore center activities that I will pull out.  Those are in a shelf to the right of my table.   

I’ll share more later of how I might run a guided group!