When the weather gets cool (yes, even in Hawaii!), my kids love to bundle up with a hot cup of cocoa.  At my new school, my teammates love to introduce and review math skills with craftivities, so I had to make one using hot cocoa mugs for the winter season!

The students will create a cocoa mug craft, then decide how many marshmallows they want to be inside the mug and how many they want dripping down the side.
Then, they will read the word problem and write their numbers into the blanks.  At the end, they will write a subtraction sentence that matches the craft.  On my sample, I had 7 marshmallows in total, with 4 in the mug and 3 melting down the side, so 7-3=4.  On Joshua's mug below, he had 9 total marshmallows, with 5 in the mug and 4 melting down the side, so 9-4=5.  


My school is big on including rubrics and descriptive feedback on student work that is hung in the classroom.  Because of this, I included rubrics with I Can Statements and a place for comments.  This can go below the mug, or even on the back of the work.

The I Can Statements are included for kindergarten, first grade, and second grade. 

My class has been working on Lisa's Print Think and Color no-prep winter pack for extra homework or quick center reinforcement.  And I stumbled on this page - it's a perfect follow up sheet for my craft! The kids color the mugs, then solve the problems on the marshmallows, color them, and glue them on the mug that is the answer.  As students finished up their mug crafts, they worked on this page.  It was perfect! Lisa and I must have been on the same wave-length! :)


Do you have any fun winter projects planned for when you get back from break?

I love giving and receiving gifts - most people do! This year I am participating in 5 different gift exchanges.  It's a lot! And some of the people I've never bought gifts for before, so I'm not entirely sure what they would want.  I could go the easy route and choose something off their Amazon Wish List, have it shipped to their house, and call it a day.  But I don't like the easy route! 

When I'm buying for someone that I'm not too sure about what to get them, I either do one of the following:
  1. Buy them something unique, like from Etsy, the Museum of Modern Art, or Uncommon Goods
  2. Buy them something unique to Maui, where I live
  3. Buy them something I would want, like a makeup set from Sephora or a scarf from Anthropologie
  4. Or make them something
My "make something" repertoire isn't that amazing.  I like simple projects that don't take a whole lot of time.  And I LOVE using materials I already have on hand.  That's bonus points in my book.

Here are some real gifts I've made for people.  They are functional, pretty cute in my opinion, don't take forever to make, and are fairly easy.  
 Cloth napkins

Coffee Cozy

Cork frame

Silhouette ornament of a friend's dog

Oven mitt - this one was probably the hardest, but I've gotten better at it.

Simple tote or reusable shopping bag

A painting I'm working for a friend this year! Can you tell what it's going to be?


But what if you are still stuck on what to get someone? Luckily, Coupon.com's blog The Good Stuff has 3 gift guides:
  • Budget-Friendly Gifts 
  • Gifts for Enthusiasts
  • Hostess Gifts
And while you're checking it out, you can enter the sweepstakes that's running from today until December 25th! There will be one $100 winner per week and one $500 grand prize winner! 




What are you planning to give this holiday season? 

Disclosure: This post was sponsored by Coupons.com.  However, all ideas and opinions are my own.  
My school, the entire state of Hawaii actually, has adopted the Reading Wonders basal program this year.  My school is in full swing of implementation and we've gone through a little trial and error figuring it out.

The writing component has been the hardest for me.  I feel that my kids need a lot more than what is presented in the book.  We started the year having to teach the program with fidelity, so I started making units to supplement but that aligned.


We also need to have a focus wall.  I wanted to incorporate pocket charts so I'm not putting tons of holes in my boards or holes in my posters and cards.  You can see that I started off by hand writing my spelling cards and the essential question.  I also used the sight word cards that came with my materials, but I didn't like that there wasn't picture support or a sentence for context.

 Here is my focus wall after I made things the way I wanted them.  I still hand write my essential question just because of space.  But I like that element of non-laminateness.  That's a word, right? ;)

I'm happy that I'm able to re-use some of my old materials from 2nd grade, like my schedule cards.

And my jobs chart.

I also put up my 1-4 assessment posters to help introduce our writing rubric.  The kids were able to catch on a lot faster with these visuals of what writing looks like at each level.

My writing and Word Work materials for Daily 5 are below this wall.  In the drawers, I have various Word Work materials, such as play dough sight words.

And sight word stamping sheets.

For writing, I have staples and date stamps in the bottom bucket, and word cards in the top bucket.  The kids can practice the words on whiteboards, use them to help get ideas, or use them to help spell correctly.

I'm definitely tweaking things as I go, as I learn more about my students, and as I grow more familiar with the program.  So far, though, this is what has been working for me.  I'm a little slow to get my weekly units up, but that's only because I'm a perfectionist and it takes me forever to create things! So please be patient with me :)

If you are interested in any of the units above, here is where you can find them:
Wonders Unit 1 Focus Wall
Wonders Unit 2 Focus Wall
Schedule Cards
Jobs Chart
Assessment Posters
Wonders Unit 1 Printable Bundle (also available by week if you don't want to commit to the whole bundle at once)
Caitlin's FREE Word Work and Writing Cards
Stephanie's Flash Fluency Bundle


And here's a freebie for all my Wonders peeps - Editable Newsletters! I've only created up to Unit 3 (remember, I have to create as I go) but I'll upload the new templates as soon as I make them for you.  I hope they help you stay organized and connected to your students' parents!


Are you gearing up for an awesome Cyber Monday? I just love sitting in my pajamas and getting everything I need for Christmas taken care of on one day!

Coupons.com has awesome savings with all the retailers I love!  First up, I plan to type my way to Toys R Us and scooping up some toys for my kids.  Right now, Audrey is into princesses and Nathan loves all things Harry Potter.

Next, I have to get something for my husband.  We are working on fixing up our new-to-us home right now, so I'll head on over to Home Depot and pick him up some tools.  

I also will need to get some gifts for my co-workers.  I love the little gift sets from Sephora, especially from my favorite brands like L'occitane, Bare Minerals, and First Aid Beauty! 

And I can't forget myself! I'll go to Gap and scout out some new school clothes! 

Don't forget to head on over to check out Coupons.com's Cyber Monday Sweepstakes!  There are also informative Cyber Monday savings articles on The Good Stuff.   

What's on your list for Cyber Monday?

Disclosure: This post was sponsored by Coupons.com
Are you an avid crafter like me? I love creating things for my home, classroom, and as gifts.  But one thing I hate is cutting things out.  It takes forever and makes my hand tired (I'm a lefty, so I blame all those non-left handed scissors I've been forced to endure! :)

Thank goodness Silhouette is having a Black Friday sale! Here are the sales they have going on, then scroll to the bottom to see my first project with my new Silhouette Portrait machine!

Bundle #1: a Portrait machine with 1 free year to Club Silhouette for $179.99

Bundle #2: Cameo machine, Designer Edition software upgrade, Dust cover, 4 tools, and $25 download card to the Silhouette Design Store for $269.99

Bundle #3: Cameo machine, Design Edition software upgrade and 1 free year to Club Silhouette for $299.99

Bundle #4: Cameo machine AND Portrait machine (one for you and one for a friend! ;) plus 2 $25 download cards to Silhouette Design Store for $299.99

Maybe you are like me and already have a Silhouette machine.  There are great deals for you, too! Use my code (TEACH) to receive 40% off at SillhouetteAmerica.com! Machines, design downloads, download cards, subscriptions, and gift cards aren't included, sorry! But, there is free shipping on all orders over $25 in the continental US.  If you are interested in designs, you can get 50% off all designs at SilhouetteDesignStore.com and there is no code needed! Woot!

Here are the deets:
The sale lasts from Thursday, November 26th at 10pm MST until Monday, December 8th at 11:59pm MST.
Code for sale prices: TEACH

The kind people at Silhouette sent me a Portrait machine to play around with and I'm in love! I already have a Cricut, but I feel so stifled by their design cartridges.  I've made some cute things, but I'd rather be able to cut the clipart and fonts I already own on my computer.

When I read about Denise's Student of the Month hanger, I knew I needed to make one for my room! My Star Student fills out an All About Me poster each month that I hang up.  But it keeps blowing off the wall from the fans in our room.  This hanger was brilliant and a perfect first project for my Portrait!

First, I got the Portrait machine all set up and downloaded my free images it comes with.  I even watched the instructional DVD! #nerdalert

Then I started playing around with the software.  I LOVE that I can see how it will cut on the page and that I can use my own fonts.

 Here is my completed hanger! I prepped (wiped with liquid deglosser, then sanded smooth), and painted with acrylic paint (Liquitex Bright Aqua Green mixed with a little white).  I rubbed the metal part with some steel wool because it had some rust on it.  Then I cut out my words and the stars with blue and gold vinyl that I already had.  The way the Portrait works is the same as the Cricut, but I feel like I have more control.  With the Cricut, I never knew how much paper it would use or how the letters would sit on the page.  With the Portrait, I get to choose.  I love it!

What would you make?

Disclaimer: I received a Portrait machine for free, but the ideas and opinions are entirely my own.  
Who else is teaching this week like me?

My class went on a field trip yesterday, so we only have two days to squeeze in some Thanksgiving stuff.  Being in Hawaii, the kids have a hard time making real connections to the Pilgrim and Native American traditional Thanksgiving story.  As an educator, I'm not even sure I want to teach that story since it's not entirely factual (see this National Geographic Kids article).  But I'm not here to argue that, I'm here to show you what we did instead!

I love using the book The Most Thankful Thing.

It talks about things in the mom's life that she is thankful for.  But in the end, she is most thankful for her daughter.  It's so sweet and I cry reading it every.single.year! You'd think after 11 years I'd pull it together? Nope! 

If you are interested in using this book, maybe my Thanksgiving Feast unit would be helpful.  


I did find a 190 Lexile reading passage on ReadWorks called The Pilgrim's Path that the kids will read.  We're going to practice marking the text and answering text dependent questions.  I love ReadWorks for that! 

We'll also make a cute book that I used to do at my old school in Oregon.  

The kids cut out each page around the design, then stack and staple.  They practice reading for fluency.  I re-made the wording (the original was in Spanish and Russian).  This time, your students will get to copy the message and practice writing.  


Do you have any non-traditional Thanksgiving activities that you love? 


Welcome to November's Bright Ideas! This month we are rounding up all our best posts into one!


I'm sharing some fun ideas for Guided Reading and small groups!

First up, I love to open my groups with some warm-ups.  Sometimes I use slinkies to practice stretching out the sounds in a word for phonemic awareness.

 Sometimes I do some dictation and have the kids practice writing and then blending CVC words on whiteboard dots that are stuck right on my guided reading table.

Then you'll want to see how I level books and organize my take-home books.

And lastly, kids will need to reference the word wall.  See how I set mine up to be interactive!

Do you use any of these ideas in your classroom? Make sure to check out all the other amazing ideas in the Round Up below!
Are you as excited about Black Friday as I am?? I love saving money on things that my family loves.  Stocking up on Christmas gifts is a bonus, too! 

I remember the first time I went shopping on Black Friday.  I was home for Thanksgiving when I was pregnant with my son.  My mom and I got up at 5 am and headed out to my small hometown to scour for some deals.  We hit up Walmart and got my son a Nintendo DS on super sale, as well as a digital camera for our family.  We also went to Staples for some computer accessories (and teacher stuff!) and Sears for some tools for my husband.  Another year my sister in law and I woke up super early and headed to Target, it was a madhouse! We also waited in line for over an hour at Old Navy just to save extra money on clothes for our families.  Even though it was busy and we had to get up early, we were able to snag some awesome deals and made our dollars stretch extra far for Christmas those years.

When we were on Lanai for the past two years, I couldn't participate in Black Friday because there is no where to shop there! Literally! But now that we are over on Maui, I'm excited to go out again, get all my Christmas shopping done, and save some money while I'm at it!

A funny story - last year we actually spent Thanksgiving weekend on Maui.  We stayed at a hotel, played in the pool, and went to a Luau that served traditional Hawaiian food, as well as a Thanksgiving feast.  It was awesome! My husband worked in the purchasing department of a hotel on Lanai and they had ran out of Snapple.  Since the island is remote, it was hard to get things out there last minute.  Even though he was on vacation with his family, he had to run out to Walmart on Black Friday, buy Snapple, then drive it 30 miles away and put it on a ferry for Lanai.  My husband hates traffic and general busyness.  Let's just say that he was not a happy camper!

This year, I'm going to use Coupons.com to make sure I save even more money! While over on their site, make sure to check out Coupons.com Black Friday Sweepstakes!

Also check out the Black Friday articles on The Good Stuff.  It's the Coupons.com magazine where you will find everything you need to know for Black Friday shopping!



What things are you excited about snagging on Black Friday?

I was compensated for this post by Coupons.com, but the opinions are my own. 
My new school has an amazing amount of technology in each classroom.  So much so that I needed to find creative ways to organize it all!

In my Classroom Tour post, I showed you my set up: 6 desktop computers (with dust covers that I sewed), a large rolling cart full of drawers to store tech stuffs, and a counter top with shoe organizers to hold and charge the laptops.



I've finally had time to sit down, organize, and label all the stuff in those drawers.  It looks great!

I made my labels for my TpT store, too! Mine have paper from Schoolgirl Style's Bugs decor pack that match my classroom design.  I made the ones for all of you with a slightly different rainbow background.  They actually match my Schedule Cards.  You'll love them! 

Click the picture to head to my TpT store

For my listening center in Daily 5, I use iPods with 5 audio books on each.  I label the book bags with the iPod color so students know which bag to grab.  

Click the picture to see my iPod Organization Labels on TpT

I wanted to organize my iPads with similar labels.  I have 6 iPads that I keep in a letter sorter thing from OfficeMax.  I plan to tape labels to the back of these covers.  I think it will help me identify which ones have been charged and which ones still need to be charged.  Right now, with 4 red and 2 grey, it's hard to keep straight which one is which.  I'm all about simple organization!
Click the picture to see my iPad Organization Labels on TpT

Are you thinking that maybe all these items would be good in your classroom? I just bundled them, along with my Keyboard Shortcuts for both PC and Mac and my Home Row Keyboarding Posters! My very first bundle! Woot! 

It's over 20% off the cost of buying these items individually!
Click the picture to see my Teaching With Technology Bundle on TpT

How do you organize your technology?

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