A Couple of Great Giveaways and Peace Update!

There are a couple of really AMAZING giveaways going on!

First up, Amber at Sparkles, Smiles, and Successful Students is giving away $25 off an Erin Condren teacher planner. I seen posts about these planners and they look amazing. I get so excited about buying a new planner every year, and it has be just right! I was seriously thinking about ordering one of these this year. If you haven't done so yet, check out Erin's great blog and giveaway and Erin Condren's awesome planners.

Next up is Gabrielle at Teaching Special Thinkers. Gabrielle has several giveaways going on: $25 shopping spree, K-2 product pack, 3-5 product pack, and special education product pack. Pretty great, huh?! Head over and check it out before it's too late! 

Finally, for last week's Peace, Hope, Love, and Kindness linky, brought to us by Jessica, Joanne, Amanda, and Stacia, I posted some acrostic poem templates. Here are some of the peace poems that my kiddos wrote! 


May Goals Linky and Bloom's

On this magnificent Monday (can you sense my sarcasm?) I am linking up with Jess at I {heart} Recess for her Monthly Goals Linky. I love this idea! If you haven't done so yet, check out Jess's adorable blog and link up.

Here goes:

1. Personal - So often I read, see, hear something that makes me think of some really good friends that I have lost touch with. Seriously, with cell phones, texting, Facebook, and email, how is it possible to lose touch? I need to get better at being in touch with my friends! 

2. Health - Ok, I know I have already posted this in another post. My goal was to get back to the gym over spring break. Well, I didn't do that ::hangs head in shame::. Starting tomorrow, I will go to the gym at least 4 times a week. 

3. Blogging - I have so many lesson plans, worksheets, and units that I use that I have always just typed up quickly and handed out to the kiddos. Now that I have become a clipart/font addict, I must pretty these items up, make them TpT worthy and get posting! 

4. School - We have 8 more weeks of school. We have so much testing to do still and so many upcoming events. Testing is in two weeks, so at least after that we will be able to focus on having a little fun! 

5. Fun - Speaking of fun, I need to start getting out and having more fun myself. I have never been big into the bar/club scene, but I need to make an effort to start going out on Saturdays (that's the last thing that I usually feeling like doing on Fridays!) I am too young to be so old! :o)

Finally, on Thursday, I have a full-day PD at another school in my district. We have been attending Keys to Literacy (the Comprehension portion) trainings throughout the year. At the first one we even learned to juggle scarves (definitely one of the best PDs I have attended to date!) Any-who...for anyone that is familiar with Keys there is a focus on top-down webs and Bloom's. One of my creations that I am bringing with me on Thursday is posted below. Feel free to grab it if you are able to use it. I have been using this with my kiddos lately, they love being the "teacher" and calling on friends to answer their questions! 

Click on the picture of the prompt page below to link to the freebie. 


Fun x3

Ok, ok, so I know I am only supposed to post once-a-day, buuuuuut there are just so many fun things going on that I have to share!

First, thanks to Mandi over at Third Grade & Lovin' It, for sharing the 3rd Grade Blog Lovin' Linky from Megan at I Teach. What's Your Superpower?  That's a bit of a mouthful and lots of links, but I just L<3VE finding other third grade blogs and this is an awesome to do it. Thanks to Megan for creating the linky and Mandi for sharing! If you're a third grade blogger and you haven't linked up, get on it!!

Next up is the Instagram craze! I have been on Instagram for awhile at a personal level. I love looking at pictures and following all of my famous "friends!" I recently noticed that some other bloggers have Instagram so I just started one for my blog as well (thanks for the idea everyone!) Now, the girls at What the Teacher Wants and Apples and ABC's are linking up to share their Instagrams and to start #teachertalktuesday. Such a great idea! Head over and link up, and if you don't have Instagram, set it up, it's lots of fun! 

If you want to follow me you can find my blog Instagram @teachingwithtwitte or personal Instagram @taraa413. Yay! :o)

Finally, Autumn at Anchored in 3rd Grade has a neat giveaway going on...you get ETA hand2mind's Common Core Fractions Kit. She reviewed this kit and has great things to say about it. You should definitely check it out and enter! Even if you're not a third grade teacher, head over and check out Autumn great blog! 

My First Mentor Text Linky - Social Studies

I am linking up with Amanda and Stacia of Collaboration Cuties for their Must Read Mentor Texts Linky.

These ladies do this every Sunday, with a different topic, today is Social Studies. I have always had a very hard time fitting Social Studies and Science into my day. We have a Science teacher in my building so my kiddos have Science once or twice a week depending on the term, so I don't worry about Science quite as much, but one of my goals every year is to make time for Social Studies. A couple of summers ago, I took a Reading in the Content Areas with an absolutely amazing professor who has also become a good friend and inspiration. For this class we had to create a unit, so I chose to do the American Revolution because I always want to teach it and never get to it. This was the year! I have had so much fun doing this with my kiddos! I will have to type-up my whole unit plan, we watched some fun videos, performed some short skits, kept a journal of our learning, and had some really great conversations. This is the book that sparked many of those great conversations!

The kiddos especially loved the illustrations and captions in the margins, this is where most of the conversations came from. For the most part we shared-read the text, but by the middle/end the kiddos were partner reading and discussing. If you teach the American Revolution and haven't checked this book out, take a peek! And link up with girls at Collaboration Cuties!


Five for Friday/Saturday

I really need to make a conscious effort to take more pictures at school to make these linkies a little more exciting. I am linking up with Doodle Bugs Teaching Five for  Friday.

1. This was our first week back from spring break and it was week one of three before the rest of our standardized testing. I am trying to get in as much as math in these next three (now two) weeks as possible. I am a little worried freaking out that the kiddos won't be ready for the test. This year was tough with CCSS and our MCAS test not being completely aligned yet. We aren't sure what to expect this year so it will be interesting.

2. My kiddos shared their completed animal research reports in small groups this week. Last month, they presented their biography projects to the whole class, so we switched it up a bit this time. 

3. On Thursday I got to babysit my favorite 8 1/2 year old cousin. He is the best kiddo in the whole world! I took him to baseball practice, he got his uniform, and I was pretty excited because he got the number 13 which just so happens to be my favorite number (it was his mom's field hockey number too)! Anyway, I put him to bed and shortly after that he called downstairs to me to have him leave his mom and grammy a note. I said that I would and said good night again. Logan said "Good Night...oh and I love you!" He is the sweetest kid, made my night! :o)
4. Our plan books were due at school yesterday. That always stresses me out because I am a procrastinator, slight over-achiever, and bit of a perfectionist, so I have to go back and clean it and make sure it's "perfect" before handing the plan book in. 

5. Finally, I bought a pretty neat little nail polish this week. My new love is OPI Liquid Sand. So cute! :o) Not the greatest picture but it is matte and glittery! Very fun!


Peace, Hope, Love, and Kindness Linky (A Day Late) and Freebie

As I sat reading all of the great posts linked up with the Peace, Hope, Love & Kindness Linky, I was a little disappointed in myself for not doing something really meaningful this week that I could blog about. I had such high expectations when I read the initial post about the linky and then the week happened and here I was wondering what I could post. So I sat here and channeled my inner third grader and wrote some acrostic poems. Well, my wireless was a little fuzzy, as I was babysitting and not at home, and my post didn't save. It finally dawned on me that I could just create acrostic poems for my kiddos to complete and include them on this thoughtful, positive idea. So I checked with Stacia and Amanda, Joanne, and Jessica to see if they would mind if I posted my acrostic sheets as freebies, and given their permission, here they are...enjoy! (Click on the cover below and it links to Google Docs.)

So I went into school today and I told my third graders about the linky, of course, they had no idea what I was talking about, but I tried to explain. We brainstormed thoughts about "peace" and then we read the book "Listen To the Wind" by Greg Mortenson and talked about how Dr. Greg promoted peace in Pakistan and added to our brainstorming list.
 The kiddos then began working on their PEACE acrostics. They are not quite finished yet, hopefully I'll be able to share some on Monday. I'm hoping that when we have completed all 4 poems, I will be able to use them to create a class book or really great bulletin board. We still have 43 more days of school and I think this will be a great reminder for the kiddos on how they should be treating each other!

If you haven't linked up with Collaboration Cuties, Head Over Heels for Teaching, and Ideas By Jivey, head over now!


These are THREE of My Favorite Things

Today I am linking up with Latoya over at Flying into First Grade for her Let's Get Acquainted Linky Party! This week, the topic is your 3 favorite areas in your classroom. Here goes:

#1. I love my classroom library! I only wish I had more room for it, but I love buying new books for my library and sharing them with my kiddos! And yes, that "pillow" is a dog bed from HomeGoods. The kiddos don't know that, but it works out so well!

#2. This photo is a little dark...but I love my windows. Although I complain about the heat in my classroom, I love this time of year when I can open all of my windows. And I get the sun for most of the day, so I typically leave my lights off and we just enjoy the natural light! Also, my picture books don't fit in my "library" so here they are on the windowsill!

#3. Last but not least, my Smart board! I have had this for about 4 years now, but I was one of the first six classrooms in my building to get one :o) Just this past summer the rest of classrooms got interactive white boards, and that made me appreciate mine even more. The Smart board is so much more user friendly than the Epsons. I don't know how I ever taught without it! 

Thanks Latoya, for another fun linky. I love learning fun facts about everyone and getting to share some about myself. If you haven't linked up yet, don't wait any longer, head over to Flying into First Grade right now! 


Mustaches and Teachers For Boston

Yesterday I linked up with A Teacher Without A Class and shared my mustaches and glasses that I picked up at Michael's. I mentioned that I was looking for something to do with them, possibly for Mother's Day/Father's Day. So after posting, I headed to bed, where I had an idea for a Mother's Day Mustache Simile Book which I of course had to start typing into the notes in my iPhone. So this afternoon instead of cleaning up my plan book (it gets turned in on Friday), I made my first real TpT product, my Mother's Day Mustache Simile Book. I'm so excited to start taking pics of my kiddos with the mustaches and getting them to work on their books. :o)

Also, I just made a GREAT purchase. Michaela over at The Center Based Classroom organized a Teachers For Boston fundraiser. Of course, I HAD to purchase. As you all know I have posted my feelings on being a Massachusetts resident and the events of this past week. You have two choices, for your $20 donation, you can choose either a K-2 pack (valued at $150) or a 3-6 pack (valued at $170). I can tell you from my own purchase that there are some absolutely amazing downloads in the 3-6 pack, and I haven't even had a chance to check them all out yet because there are just so many! Thanks Michaela and everyone that donated their wonderful products for supporting Boston! If you haven't popped over yet, you definitely need to check out

Finally, tomorrow is Wednesday! :o)


First Day Back and Dollar Days Linky

I must admit that being the first day back from spring break, today wasn't terrible! I am beginning to think that I am living in the twilight zone or something. My 2 behavior kiddos, who were sending me home half-dead every day from about November through March, are both doing so well suddenly. I mean, no behavior charts, no checklists, no nothing. I don't really know what is going on, but I am LOVING it! I am very proud of them and I am crossing my fingers and toes that this great behavior keeps up for the next 45 1/2 days!

Most of my kiddos completed their animal research reports today, finally! They are pretty cute, if I do say so myself. I have seen some much fancier ones, but this was just supposed to be a week-long culminating activity at the end our 4th reading theme, Animal Habitats. It has taken us nearly two weeks and some kiddos still have not finished. We will be sharing in small groups tomorrow, regardless, because I need to hang these puppies up and get them off of my table, desk, chairs, etc. Here are a couple of pics of the kiddos' masterpieces!

Now, I have been trying to come up with a fun post for A Teacher without a Class's Dollar Days Linky for awhile now. This is a pretty nifty (wow, I haven't used that word in a very long time) idea; you just link up with anything you can purchase for one dollar, digitally or in a store. Seriously, what teacher doesn't L-O-V-E dollar deals?! On Friday I stopped by Michael's and picked up these guys:

It is hard to tell on the black background, but the felt glasses and moustaches come on little black sticks, photo booth ready! They were $1 each! I just love them and think I am going to try to integrate them into a Mother's Day project! Any and all suggestions welcome! :o) Aren't they just the cutest?! So if you haven't done so yet, definitely head over and link up, it's totally worth it! 

Finally, I have to share a fab little present that my wonderful "little" brother gave me this weekend. I have a small obsession with travel-style drink containers (water bottles, cups, Tervis tumblers, etc). I also am a huge fan of the Mason Jar comeback. Look at this guy (with ginger ale inside):


Five for Friday (A Little Delayed) and I'm A WINNER!!!

I am so excited to be sharing my first Five for Friday...even if it is Sunday! It won't be very educational because this is my last day of spring break. BOO!! I am trying very hard not to throw a small HUGE tantrum right now! It  wouldn't be so bad if our last day of school wasn't June 26 and just in case you're wondering, that's 9 weeks and 3 days or 47 days...YIKES! Alright, I must stop complaining, no one needs to hear it, so without further ado I join Doodle Bugs Teaching Five for Friday linky!

1. I know I have already posted about living in Massachusetts, but here I go again. What a week it's been. Like everyone else in the area has said, being on vacation we were glued to our tv's. I will be interested to see if my kiddos have questions/comments tomorrow. If this had to happen, I am grateful (not sure I can think of an appropriate word to use here) that it was over vacation. I can't imagine sitting in school wondering what was going on and having to address it daily with the kids, especially when we didn't have answers ourselves. This is one of my favorite inspirational posts from the past week. 

2. I received a very thoughtful and so-very-appropriate birthday gift from one of my best friends. She knows how much I LOVE the beach and that two of my favorite accessories are flip-flops and sunglasses, so here it is:

3. I have spent the last year or so contemplating getting my hair cut, short; short for me anyway. In the past couple of months I have decided that I really needed to do this, so I called my friend (she's an AMAZING hairdresser) and made an appointment. She was just as excited as I was when I told her what I wanted to do. So here is the before and after!
4. I am being a terrible blogger right now, my excuse is that I'm new, and not giving credit to the people who gave me this idea. I saw two separate posts, I think in blogs, not on Pinterest, over the past week or so and now I can't find them again to credit their creators. One post was about finding lapdesks at Michael's for $5 and using them for literacy centers. The other was having a special desk with brand new supplies for well-behaved kiddos to sit at. I combined these ideas to create these lapdesks for my kiddos to sit at when they are being especially good. Each desk has a different quote on the top and the both say "STAR STUDENT" "SMART STUDENT" on either side. The kiddos love to sit on the floor and this way I will be able to accomodate two of them at once. If you are the creator of one of the other ideas, please remind me and I will give you create by linking to your post!

5. I found these little cuties at Michael's as well and cannot wait to find a way to use them with my kiddos! 

Finally, and most exciting of all, I won my very first giveaway! Upon waking up this morning, I got right up and started my very productive last day of break I rolled over, grabbed my phone, and checked Facebook. Much to my surprise, Theresa and Robyn from Pinkadots Elementary had posted their winner for the 100 Follower Giveaway...and the winner was yours truly! I cannot tell you how excited I was/am to win my first giveaway! And what a giveaway this is...I am loving receiving all of the emails from the amazing contributors sharing their TpT products with me. I will write more about them later as I begin using my TERRIFIC new products! If you haven't been over to Pinkadots Elementary, you should check it out now, Theresa and Robyn are wonderful! Thanks again ladies! 


Massachusetts Blogger

I was just noticing that many of my posts have been noneducational. I apologize, but in my defense, most of my posts have occurred during spring break. As my week is coming to an end, you can expect more information/educational posts in the near future!

Also, being a new blogger, I'm a little late in joining Fifth In the MIddle's Blogs By State. It is really neat to be able to link up with other bloggers from your state and surrounding states.

With the events of the week, this was a perfect time for me to let it be known that I am from Massachusetts and Boston Strong!


Math Freebies

As I have said already, I am on spring break this week! I have enjoyed bonding with my new MacBook, seeing some friends, relaxing, starting Couch to 5K (eeek! I have never been much of a runner, we'll see how this goes), and getting some school things done. I have always created worksheets of my own for school, but they usually aren't very cute, just basic and to the point. Seeing everyone else's great products and freebies has inspired me to do more creating and sharing. I don't feel that anything is exciting enough to try to sell yet, but I am happy slightly nervous to share a couple of math freebies with you.

Again, I think I have already mentioned that my third graders have to take the math portion of our state test (MCAS) about two weeks after we return from break, so I created a couple of review items. Our district, in aligning to the new CCSS, aligned some old MCAS questions for us, so we have done most of those already throughout the year and I was trying to come up with something different. I saw a post about a week ago from Dana at 3rd Grade Gridiron about Math Review Books that she made with her class as test prep. I LOVED her idea but I got to thinking and decided to create a more structured review book; I'm hoping it will be a little easier for my inclusion class to follow along with. So thanks Dana for the great idea! Then I created a checklist for students to assess their own knowledge of the skills we have actually "learned" so far this year. I left off skills that have just been reviewed or "touched-upon". This is not the whole math curriculum for the year, it is simply the math curriculum that we have COMPLETED, in depth, so far in my classroom. If I add to this later on, I will be sure to update everyone! My hope is that between recent test prep homework and these two little goodies, I will be able to review in small groups whatever the kiddos need!

Math Review Book

Math Memory Checklist


Kelly at First Grade Fairytales has a great giveaway underway! Head over and check it, it's so worth it! Thanks Kelly and congratulations on 400 followers! :o)

The Sweetest Fundraiser

I just joined the sweetest, most thoughtful fundraiser that Abby at Third Grade Bookworm has organized. Last year, Abby lost one of her prior students to leukemia and this fundraiser is to help the brave little girl's family purchase a headstone. Like I said, sweetest, most thoughtful fundraiser.

If you donate a minimum of $20 to this very worthy cause, you will also be lucky enough to receive so many amazing goodies! Please head over to Abby's blog to help her, help this little lady's family!

Abby, I hope that you are able to raise enough money to bring some peace to this family!


BOSTON....and Made It Monday with a freebie

I don't know where to even begin tonight. I can link up with Tara's Made It Monday for the first time and share my first freebie, but I completed all of this while watching the coverage of the explosions at the Boston Marathon. I live in Massachusetts, a couple of hours from Boston, and have always thought about going to the marathon. I have friends and family that live and work in Boston, friends and family that were in Boston for the marathon, and friends that were in Boston at the Red Sox game. One of my cousins lives very close to the marathon route (thankfully she is close to the beginning), a cousin that works in the Prudential Center in Copley Square, a cousin that usually runs the marathon, and cousins who were in the city with their darling kiddos! Luckily all of those people are okay, but how scary?! What should have been a fun and exciting Patriots Day and Marathon Monday in Boston turned out so terribly tragic. My thoughts are, have been, and will be in Boston. <3

As I said, while watching the marathon coverage I was working on my Brain Bug creation. I cannot even name all of the pinners and bloggers that inspired me to come up with this idea. I have seen so many great motivational ideas for standardized testing and some very cute "love bug" ideas; I decided to combine all of these ideas to make my own little creation. Thank you all for the inspiration!

I used foam hearts to make the feet, fairly large pompoms for the bodies, googly eyes, pipe cleaners cut in half for the antennas, and mini pompoms on the antennas. I purchased all of my supplies at ACMoore and used my handy dandy hot glue gun to put them together! I can't wait to give these little guys to my kiddos!

For more Made It Monday fun check out Tara's blog 4th Grade Frolics. It's worth your while!

Student Motivation, Getting Acquainted, and Another Great Giveaway!

Good morning and Happy Marathon Monday! Hmmm, nevermind the student motivation, I should be having everyone post motivating ways to get me to the gym...people are running 26.2 miles today and I'm trying to force myself out of this chair to go spend 26 minutes on the elliptical.

Ok, now back to the real reason I am posting, I am linking up with Head Over Heels For Teaching's Spark Student Motivation Saturday Linky! Coming back from Easter weekend and the end of our state ELA testing, I wanted to try to motivate my kiddos to complete some chapter books (the way they abandon books just kills me)! I came up with a "Carnival Day" idea. We are in school until June 26th this year, so I figured having a little fun during the last week wouldn't hurt. For every book that the students complete from now until the middle of June, they are able to earn a "ticket" for Carnival Day. Upon completing the book, they also have to complete a short Bloom's Book Review. I have this saved on my computer at school, but I just typed up a few general questions at each level and the kiddos have to answer three questions, each from a different level...nothing too crazy! They are aware that my events are not set-in-stone yet, we are waiting to see how many participants there are, but many of my ideas are pinned on my School's Out for Summer board. 

I also use ClassDoJo in my classroom and the students can redeem their points for coupons. I have decided to add Carnival Day tickets as a coupon that points can be redeemed for. I hope that most of my kiddos will somehow get to participate in these events! I just created a poster that is being printed at Walgreens that I plan to hang up after break to remind the kiddos of the fun they can expect from Carnival Day. 

Next, I am excited to be linking up with Flying Into First Grade's Let's Get Acquainted Linky Party! 

Latoya's fun Linky this week is: 

TOPIC - Skittles Game
Here is the code:
Red- Favorite Ice Cream Flavor
Orange- Favorite Memory from College
Yellow- Favorite Sports Team
Green- Favorite Fast Food Place
Purple- Wild Card(Tell anything about yourself)

Red- Favorite Ice Cream Flavor - Currently, my favorite would have to Friendly's Rockin' Poppin' Cotton Candy! 

Orange- Favorite Memory from College - Senior Year 5 of my friends and I went on a cruise to Key West and Grand Caymen. We drove from MA to SC, cruised, and drove home! We had the best time! 

Yellow- Favorite Sports Team - I am YANKEES fan! The only one in my family...and amongst MOST of my friends. 

Green- Favorite Fast Food Place - I suppose I would have to say Dunkin Donuts. I am not a huge fan of donuts, but I'll take all the iced coffee bagels I can get! :o)

Purple- Wild Card(Tell anything about yourself) - I joined the gym for the first time since college over February break and I went about 5 times. It is now April break and I MUST go back! Hopefully if I tell all of you that I am going to the gym, I will really go, because I can't lie!

I am so sorry about this marathon post (although I guess it is appropriate on Marathon Monday)! Finally, I want to share Ideas By Jivey's great giveaway with you! Everyone's giveaways just amaze me! This one is jam-packed awesome goodies! Head over and check it out for yourself!