Budding Bloggers Showcase: Pixy Stix and Teacher Tricks

Happy Halloween!!  Boy, do I have a TREAT for you today...another budding blogger.  Ash is way ahead of the game....read on to find out why!  Have you entered my Weekend Wishlist Giveaway for a little something for yourself?  Don't miss out!

Hello new friends! I am so excited to share a little bit about myself with you all! 

My name is Ash and my blog is called: 
 (Click button to visit my blog)

Personal info: I am a youngster in the blogging community. I am only 20 years old. I am a junior in college majoring in early childhood education and minoring in special education. I have always felt way ahead of my time. I am so ready to enter the "real world" and start teaching!

I live and go to school in lovely New England and if you haven't visited you have to come check it out! It is one of the most beautiful places around however I might be a little bit biased! I spend my weekends shopping for teaching supplies - especially children's books. I need to build an addition just to house all my future teaching supplies. I also love watching reality tv, nail art, polka dots, playing board games, baking, and crafting. Pinterest has sparked a serious crafting obsession in me! Why pay for it if I can make it myself? Here is my new crafting obsession: nail polish rings. They are so simple yet gorgeous!

Grade You Teach: My dream job would be to go back and teach kindergarten at my old elementary school. However, teachers can't be choosy. I would be content in any grade, but kindergarten just holds a special place in my heart. I just love watching them grow during that first year of schooling.

How long have you taught?: I have been working with children in a school setting for 8 years now from preschool to second grade. I have always been in and out of the classroom since my parents both work in education and I am beyond ready to have a classroom of my own!

What is your favorite subject to teach?: My favorite subject to teach is math. I loved math all throughout school. I know math is a feared subject for many but it was the subject that just made sense to me. I loved that there was always a right or wrong answer yet there are so many ways to derive at that answer. I hope to instill a love of math in all my students!

What would we likely see if we popped into your classroom unannounced?: If you popped into my classroom unannounced you would see a very active group of students. I love to mix it up with lots of brain breaks and songs and dance. You would also definitely see a theatrical read aloud at least once a day. Reading to children is very important to my teaching.

What gets you through one of “those” days?: I will let you in on a little secret. I do not drink soda or coffee. It's like I am breaking an unwritten teaching rule for getting through the day. What gets me through one of "those" days is this poster:
It is such a great reminder that teachers are the world's unsung heroes of the world. The days may be tough but I am making a difference in a child's life and that is all that matters.

What is one “can’t live without” teaching resource?: One teaching resource that I can't live without are teacher blogs and TPT. Being a soon to be 1st year teacher seems daunting. I know that through TPT and the wisdom of veteran teacher blogger ideas I will have all the tools I need to teach! However, I am hoping when I teach to have a smartboard and ipad and I'm sure those will be "can't live without" resources. I am a techy person.

Give us a glimpse of your teaching style by sharing a brief summary of a favorite classroom activity/project: I love making learning very fun and hands on! I love mixing games, movement, and songs through teaching. One of my favorite lessons is using foam alphabet letters and hiding them around the classroom. I then have the children go around on a scavenger hunt and try and find all the letters. They then have to put them in order from A-Z to make sure they have all the letters. It is a great way to mix learning and fun and the children just love it! We play this game over and over all year long! You can mix it up with lowercase letters or numbers too!

What is one of your blogging goals for this year?: One of my blogging goals for this year is to take more pictures to share with you all. I tend to just post without taking pictures. This is something that will definitely get easier as I go into the classroom more. And once I am in my own classroom, watch out! I will be a picture posting fiend!

I just want to say thank you to Amanda for allowing me to share my blog with you all. I hope you enjoyed getting to know me! Stop on by my blog! I'd love to hear from you!

Can you believe that Ash already has a blog?? Just imagine the amazing resources and ideas she'll have compiled (to use AND share) by the time she has her own classroom! 


Sundays in the South: Raceday!

I feel like I've been in the car all weekend long!  Just today, we traveled from  SC to VA and back!  You see, I am a huge race fan.  I do live in the South and racing is big here, but I did not grow up in a racing family or watch races at all.  But, in the early 90s I went to Darlington with my sister and her husband (who was a race fan) and I was instantly hooked!  After all, I am an adrenaline junkie.  The speeds of the cars flying by, the rumble of the engines that you can feel through your body....but most of all, the family atmosphere and fan friendliness of the sport is like no other sport.  It's not like other sports, where your "team" is playing a different team each week.  Instead your favorite driver is racing against the same 42 other drivers week in and week out, so you feel like you get to know ALL of them.  It really is like one big family and though you root against your opponents, deep down you love them all because you see their families, their teams and their passion on a weekly basis.

My husband and I attend several races each year.  We've been to most of the tracks within a day driving distance of us - Charlotte, Atlanta, Darlington, and Bristol, but one track stole my heart.  Martinsville.  From the first time we went to this track and there were neighborhoods of people sitting in their lawn chairs to "greet" the race traffic coming into their small town, I knew it was like no other.  Martinsville is the oldest track on the circuit and it sits right smack in the middle of a neighborhood.  So quaint and cute! And, not to mention the BEST side-by-side racing around!

For years now, we've attended both the spring and fall races at the track.  They should just go ahead and put our names on the seats because I plan to be there every year!  We also buy garage passes so that I can pretend to be racing paparazzi...trying to get up close and personal with some of my favorite people in the sport.  Here are some of my favorite pics from this year...
Jimmie Johnson, 5-Time Champion and today's race winner!
Chad Knauss....soooo nice and one of the smartest guys in the sport! ;)
Martin Truex, the hubby's favorite driver.
Brian Vickers - LOVE this guy!  So glad to see him back...healthy and happy!
Richard Childress - car owner
Jeff Gordon, my favorite driver, but a hard man to catch! ;)
The King, Richard Petty, always takes the time to talk, sign autographs, and take pictures.
I'm always so surprised at how up close and personal they let you get with the cars right before the race.  I was looking for an opportunity to climb in! ;)

Well, that's what I've been up to this weekend!  Hope you've had some time to relax and enjoy something you love.  Don't forget to enter my GIVEAWAY for some handmade goodness from Grace and Lace!

Weekend Wishlist GIVEAWAY: These Boots Were Made for Walkin...on the Runway

So, you all know that I like to get a little more personal on my blog on the weekends.  I already have my "Sundays in the South" series that shares a bit about what's going on outside of my teaching life.  Well, now I'm starting a "Weekend Wishlist" series on Saturdays and let me tell ya, I'm so excited about it!!  I will be sharing some items that I've discovered and fallen in L-O-V-E with....hopefully unique items that may be new finds for you.  Let's face it, we may be teachers, but most of us are also girls - and in my case, a girlie girl.  I love to shop and find treasures - now, I'm going to share those finds with you.  And, when permitted, I'm going to be GIVING away these fabulous items I've found!!!!

So, let's get it started....

It's fall.  Y'all know it's my favorite time of year.  Boots and college football.  Need I say more?  Last year, I stumbled across this little gold mine of a find on Etsy....Grace and Lace Boot Socks!! 
Oh. My. Word.  I think I actually first saw these black and white chevron leg warmers on Pinterest and knew they had to be mine.  Love at first sight. A little chevron peeking out of the top of my boots with antique gold medallions - yes, yes, yes!
 Take a look at some more of this hand-made cuteness from Melissa....
All of this goodness almost makes me wish I lived in a colder climate. ;)  And, new for this year...collegiate socks!!  HOW PERFECT FOR GAMEDAY!!  Unfortunately for me, she doesn't have licensing for Gamecocks, but she might have your team so check them out!
So, what do you think?  Do you love these as much as I do?  It has certainly been a BIG week around Grace and Lace, as just THIS WEEK Melissa's creations were featured on The TODAY SHOW!!

How perfect would these be for Christmas gifts or stocking stuffers?  But, let me tell you, I've been following her on Facebook since last year and these socks sell out shortly after she restocks, so you've gotta move fast...especially now that the whole world knows about her!

Now, ready for the good news?  I've been given permission to give away a pair of Grace and Lace Lacey Lou Legwarmers in your choice of color!!
You can enter below for your chance to win these and they'll be shipped directly to YOU from Grace and Lace!  Best of luck!!  Don't forget to link up your classroom activities from this week to my Friday Flashback linky, while you're at it!  I'm off to the game.....GO COCKS!!

a Rafflecopter giveaway


Friday Flashback Linky and a Surprise!

Woohoo!! I am back with Friday Flashbacks so we can take a glimpse back at our week and share some of our best activities.  But, before I do, I just want to let you in on a little surprise....I'll have a new Saturday series on my blog starting tomorrow that's a little more personal (think for the shopping lovers and fashionistas) and it will kickoff with a fabulous giveaway, so be sure to stop back by tomorrow and check it out!!!  Now, back to the flashback....

We were learning about birds this week in our animal study and students worked through stations to learn how different birds' beaks help them find/catch food in their habitats.

Here are some pics of the kids trying out some of the various tools that represented birds' beaks.

Here's what you would need to do these stations in your room:

Station 1:

Place erasers in a container of water to represent fish in water.  Students will use needlenose pliers, eyedroppers, and a slotted spoon to try to catch the erasers.  Students should come to the conclusion that the needle nose pliers work best. (Birds with fish-eating beaks similar to pliers are the great blue heron and the kingfisher.)

Station 2:
Toss mini-marshmallows in the air to represent flying insects.  Students will use a large envelope, tweezers, and chopsticks to try to catch the marshmallows.  Students should come to the conclusion that the envelope works best.  (Birds with insect-catching beaks similar to an envelope are the swallow and whiporwhill.)

Station 3:
Shelled nuts to represent seeds with hard coverings.  Students will use nutcrackers, tongs, and a slotted spoon to try to open the nuts.  Students should come to the conclusion that the nutcrackers work best.  (Birds with seed-eating beaks similar to a nutcracker are sparrows and cardinals.)

Station 4:
A bunch of grapes hanging from a string to represent fruit hanging on a tree.  Students will use tweezers, an eyedropper , and a nutcracker to try to remove the grapes from the tree.  Students should come to the conclusion that the tweezers work best.  (Birds with fruit-eating beaks similar to tweezers are the hawk, owl, and eagle.)

Station 5:
A large container with tiny marshmallows to represent aquatic plants and animals.  Students will use a slotted spoon, chopsticks, and eyedroppers to retrieve the marshmallows.  Students should come to the conclusion that the slotted spoon works best.  (Birds with mud-sifting beaks similar to the slotted spoon are  mallards and Canadian geese.)

Station 6:
Rice in a container with a small opening to represent insects in a hollow log or tree.  Students will use tweezers, an eyedropper, and pliers to try to retrieve the rice.  Students should come to the conclusion that the tweezers work best.  (Birds with chisel beaks similar to tweezers are the woodpecker and brown creeper.)

Station 7:
Large pieces of bread to represent a mouse or other small animal.  Students will use pliers, tweezers, and a slotted spoon to try to capture the animal.  Students should come to the conclusion that the pliers work best.  (Birds with preying beaks similar to the pliers are hawks, owls, and eagles.)

Station 8
A bowl filled with dry oatmeal and gummy worms underneath to represent worms buried in mud.  Students will use tweezers, eyedroppers, and a screwdriver to try to retrieve the gummy worms.  Students should come to the conclusion that the tweezers work best.  (Birds with probing beaks like this include the sandpiper and snipe.)

It was a great, hands-on activity to show students how adaptations help animals survive in different environments!  We'll move on to other animal groups next week, and I'll be back to share more!

Link up to share your favorite activities from this week!  I can't wait to read about them!


Budding Blogger Showcase: Lovely Little Learners

Today I'm showcasing the Lovely Nina's blog!  She is a first grade teacher with lots to share!  Be sure to become a follower of her blog so you don't miss any of her great ideas!  Now, let's meet Nina....

Name: Lovely Nina
Blog (include button, if you'd like):
Lovely Little Learners

Personal info (state/family/pets/interests): Originally from Long Island, New York, living in sunny Florida. I have a wonderful family which include mom, dad, and an older sister. I love to make crafts (pottery paint, DIY projects, craftivities), go shopping, watch movies, bake (when I have time), and go to Zumba.
Grade You Teach: First Grade
How long have you taught? This is my 6th year.
What is your favorite subject to teach? I love teaching Reading. I love integrating technology into my lessons and having the kids be hands on with any activity I teach.
What would we likely see if we popped into your classroom unannounced? Students inquiring about topics being taught. Students being on task. Students using manipulatives/tools. Students enjoying the activities they are working on. 
What gets you through one of “those” days? Prayer, knowing that tomorrow is another day, hot green tea, and going to bed early.
What is one “can’t live without” teaching resource? I "can't live without" a laminator. It just makes everything pretty and last long.
Give us a glimpse of your teaching style by sharing a brief summary of a favorite classroom activity/project. One of my favorite classroom activities was last year, when I thought about making inferences. I brought in a mystery box and had the students first guess what was inside by using their senses. Then after giving out clues, students wrote their guesses/changed their minds on paper. After all 5 clues were told, students wrote about what they thought was inside, why they thought it was inside, and drew a picture. It was fun to see the "light bulb" moments from my students, after the 5th clue. I then revealed what was inside the box. I discussed the what making an inference was and the need for details, when reading or writing. Together we agreed that  when reading, we see clues in the story that help us figure out what the author is trying to say and when writing we have to be more descriptive, to better express ourselves. I loved that lesson and can't wait to do it with this year's class.
What is one of your blogging goals for this year? Being more consistent with my posts, even if I am busy with my job and life, and I want to host a giveaway in the future.

Thanks for sharing with us Nina!  I look forward to more posts from you on your blog this year!  Click below to follow Nina, as well.

Lovely Little Learners

Teaching Tip Tuesday: Color Code Your Classroom Games!

Do you love to have your students play games to reinforce concepts you've taught?  Who doesn't?  The kids are having fun and learning at the same time!  But, we all know those games take us quite a while to make.  We have to print them, laminate them, cut them, assemble them, bag them, etc.  Then we hand them over to our kiddos and before you know it, they've left pieces around the classroom during "clean up time" and now our games are missing pieces!  We could go through all the games to try to decide which piece goes where, but that could take hours!

Teaching Tip:
Color Code or Number all of your classroom games!  Before bagging game pieces, put colored-dots on each piece in a set (pink dot set, blue dot set, green dot set, etc).  Or, if you don't have access to enough colors for all of the games in a set, you could number the backs of each game piece (game #1, game #2, game #3, etc).  Just be sure to number all cards, game boards, and the baggie that holds them.  Now, when pieces are left out, it takes just a second for the students to return them to the correct place!  Labeling all of the game pieces is a great job for a volunteer and it will pay off BIG TIME for you in the long run!

If only I had used this system from the start of my teaching career! #hindsightis20/20

Do you have any other tips for organizing your classroom games?


Sundays in the South: October is My Favorite Month

It's been a while since I've had a chance to just "sit" so that's what I'm enjoying at the moment! :)  There's not much that I love more than the month of October!  Pumpkin Spice smells, slightly cooler temps, boots, college football, and Halloween...what's not to love? 

I must admit I've not been loving these past two weeks of college football as much.  It seems my Gamecocks can't win without me :)  - thankfully, they'll be back home next weekend!  But, this weekend was fun anyway.  We had our annual Halloween Bash and although many of my friends couldn't make it this year, it was still a FUN time with the ones who came.  My husband and I totally love Halloween and I have already said that my next house MUST have a costume room....yes, I've accumulated too much for a closet.  This year we were zombies (for our party anyway...you'll have to wait for Halloween for my next costume reveal).

Zombie Officer and Prisoner....Zombies never smile
MAC does my Halloween makeup every year and it doesn't matter if it's 80's glam or zombie death, they do a FANTASTIC job!  I wish you could see my lashes (top and bottom lashes were added for an amazing effect!)

So, if you've followed my blog for a while, I'm sure I've mentioned that I DO NOT cook.   By cooking, I mean cooking, baking, boiling water, entering the kitchen....yeah, you get the idea.  I actually did cook ONCE when my husband and I first got married and he kindly asked me not to do that again.  Well, I was more than happy to oblige!  Luckily, he is a wonderful cook...even though we mostly eat out.  Anyway, since I love this holiday so much, I'm always inspired ONCE a year to attempt some Pinterest recipes...only Halloween could inspire me to do this!  Now, by recipes, I mean very simplistic projects that even my 2nd graders could accomplish, I'm sure.  However, last year, I learned that I can't even melt chocolate *sigh* and ended up with a trashcan full of perfectly fine Oreos in my frustration. 

That didn't deter me though.  This year, I decided to try again!  I think this year was much more successful...and by successful I mean that it was somewhat presentable....by no means should my creations be compared to the original pins!

Raspberry Jello Worms
Gross, right?!  You can read about how to create these jello worms using STRAWS at the original post here.  They were actually simple to make and I think I will definitely make them for my students this year - either when we use "worms" during our measurement unit, or I'll read "How to Eat Fried Worms."  Wouldn't that be fun? :)

Dirty Witch Fingers
These didn't turn out nearly as realistic looking as the pin and during the making of these I swore, "Never Again" would I enter the kitchen, but the hubs said they tasted good so maybe there's hope yet!  Of course I used Pillsbury cookie dough that was ready-to-go...I'm pretty sure I hate cooking because of the mess.  I don't like to be dirty and I had to wash my hands in between rolling each finger because I couldn't take the gritty dough all over me!   :(  Here's the much better, original post, but in my defense, it seems she is a teacher/professional baker! It's just not fair for one person to have that much talent! ;)

Halloween Apothecary Jars
Now, this project was much more my speed!  I can definitely shop for candy and pretty jars! :)
I loved the creative names for all of the candy!
Zombie Teeth (candy corn), Bat Guano (raisinettes) and Decomposing Eels (chocolate twizzlers)
Ghost Droppings (white cheddar popcorn)
Dragon Eyes (malted milk balls)
Night Crawlers (gummy worms)
Warty Toad Eyes (spearmint gumdrops)
Ancient Crow Bones (yogurt covered pretzels)
Deadly Edibles (cherry sours)

You can find most of the labels that I used at the original post here

Skeleton Party Favors
This was probably my favorite food item!  So simple, cute, and no cooking required! :)  I'll definitely make more of these to hand out along with candy to my "past students" who trick-or-treat at my house.
I bought the brownies (base) from Strossners, a local bakery, and then slid about six white fudge Flipz and a large marshmallow onto a baker's stick to insert into the base!  I drew the skeleton face with "edible markers" that I finally found in the cake department of Wal-Mart.  SUPER EASY!  You can read more about these at the original post here.

That's my weekend in a nutshell.  I feel like my life is now back into it's routine (only takes a couple of months, right?) so I'm planning on getting back into my blogging routines this week, too!  Look for "Teaching Tip Tuesday" and "Flashback Friday" to reappear this week, along with "Budding Blogger Showcase."

Speaking of budding bloggers I've showcased all of my original requests, so if you are a blogger who has fewer than 300 followers and would like to be showcased in this series, just send me an email to let me know!  I'd love to have you participate! :)

This is my student teacher's last week of teaching.  I have BIG PLANS of things I need to accomplish this week, but I'm also very eager to dive back in with my kiddos next week!  It makes for incredibly L-O-N-G school days when you're not teaching! ;) 
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