Have you heard of Gallopade? Win a Product of Your Choice

Oh my word!  I had so much fun posting and looking at teacher pics on Instagram today!  If you've joined the fun, leave your Instagram name for me to follow.  You can find me at http://instagram.com/teachingmaddeness

I have a feeling I'll be posting pics daily!

I love when I come across one of those "rare-never-heard-of-before" teacher resource companies.  Especially when it's a gem like Gallopade.

Earlier in the year, when we were doing biographies, I was searching for some age-appropriate books for some of the famous people my students wanted to learn about that I didn't already have books about in my classroom library.

Let's face it.  It can be tough to find age-appropriate biographies that have enough information to be valuable.  I find that most books are geared toward K-1 or 4+.  Upon my Google search, I stumbled upon these wonderful little books from Gallopade.

I love that they contain so much good information, but at the perfect reading level for most of my kiddos.  I also love that they include a glossary and a "pop quiz" at the back.  Each page also has a puzzle (word searches, codes, scrambled words, etc.) to keep students engaged and to teach them additional information!

The great news is that they are only a couple bucks a piece since they are consumable!  And, they have them on TONS of people - I'm talking the traditional people studied in classrooms (Amelia Earhart, George Washington, etc.) to more recent and/or rare biographies like Michelle Obama, Harry Connick Jr., or the Ringling Brothers).  Click here for the 1,000 Readers List.

As if that isn't enough...they also have amazing Digital Readers available for biographies.  These are awesome for whole group lessons during your biography study - a book for your interactive board!  They combine digital books with video clips (of kids just like your students giving important facts) and the puzzles/quizzes that similar to those in the 1,000 Readers.  The Digital Readers also have a Vocabulary Builder Section and a Pop Quiz.

Don't take my word for it though, try it out yourself!  Gallopade has been kind enough to let me offer you a FREE Digital Reader of Benjamin Franklin.  Just follow the directions below to access it!

To access a trial digital reader (Benjamin Franklin), just go to http://www.mywowboard.com
Then, click the "login" tab at the top.  

Enter the username (case sensitive): DRdemo12
Password: readerdemo12

Next, look to the left in the "My Programs" sidebar and click on "Ben Franklin Demo" (but notice that there's an activity sheet you can print, too!)

Try it out with your kids and see how much they love it!

Of course, after this discovery, I had to search their site a bit more.  That's when I discovered some of their awesome Mystery Series.  Always, looking to expand my genre possibilities, I wanted to test out the "Masters of Disasters" series - what a great way to combine this genre with our study of weather!  These chapter books are perfect for my higher-leveled readers and I think they'll really engage those students who prefer non-fiction over fiction....they'll still get a bit of those "facts" hidden in the story!

One of my favorite things about these books are that they include TONS of valuable information at the back to use in the classroom, like...

1) Book Club Questions
2) Ways to Bring the Book to Life (project ideas)
3) Scavenger Hunt
4) Pop Quiz
5) Glossary
6) Trivia

If you spend a little time browsing around this site, you'll see lots of other amazing resources!  And, be sure to check out their CATALOG to find new resources, like their cool write-on/wipe-off United States maps!

You can win any of the products listed above - you choose....
1. 1,000 Reader Biographies
2. Digital Reader
3. Masters of Disasters Mysteries
4. Write-On/Wipe-Off U.S. Maps

To enter, simply follow Gallopade on Facebook by clicking HERE.   Then, come back and leave a comment with the following....

1) Your product of choice
2) Your email
3) Your Facebook follow name

I'll select the winner on Saturday! 


Sundays in the South: Resolutions, Instagram & Giveaways!

Wow!  Where did our beautiful summer weather go?  It is rainy and in the 50s here today...brrrrr!  I had to pull out the skinny jeans and boots again!

The mister and I trudged out in the rain to do a little shopping today.  I was looking for a few specific items and, well, you know how that goes.  I did find the robin's egg blue placemats I needed to match my new tablecloth for the dining room, but no such luck for a new shower curtain and/or dishes that have been on my "want" list forever!!  :(  I sooooo wish I could just hire someone to keep my home decor current.  I love for it to look nice, but I'm not a fan of finding all the pieces and putting it together myself!

Anywho....we also went to Costco today.  Surprise!  Somehow we always end up there on Sundays even though I always vow never to go there on Sundays and fight with the food-samplers!  Ugh!  But, that is where I buy some of my favorite snacks and a girl can't be without her snacks!

A little over a month ago, I set the wheels in motion for a family "weight loss" challenge.  You see, I always seem to put on 10 pounds over the winter that I need to shed before bikini season rolls around.  Anyone else do this????  My mom and I always get the pounds off by summer, but unfortunately my husband and dad always seem to put on the pounds with us, but are never too concerned about swimsuit season.  I guess that's because they spend ALL day EVERY day on the golf course instead of the beach during the summer. ;)

But, this year, the entire family jumped on my family fitness challenge.  So far, between my husband and I and my parents, we've lost over 60 pounds already!  Whoot! Whoot!  The men are taking it pretty seriously, so I think it's going to be a win-win for everyone!

The guys have really just been changing their diet, but you know that's not enough for us women.  So, my mom and I have definitely been keeping our New Year resolution of getting back to our running routine PLUS we've been adding a couple of miles of walking to our daily workouts.

Of course, you can't deprive yourself from everything so I thought I'd share some of my favorite snacks for those times when I want something "bad" - you know, not fruit, yogurt, or rice cakes....although I do love a chocolate rice cake with a little peanut butter!

My absolute guilty pleasure (and the purpose for my mandatory Costco trip) are these....
Now, I can't really say these are healthy after reading the ingredients, but they sure do satisfy my chocolate craving.  I immediately come home and portion them into 23 ziploc baggies so that I only eat one serving at a time.  But, I do have a portion almost daily!  You can find these at Wal-Mart even, but Costco has the best deal with a 2 pound bag for 9.99.  I may have bough multiple bags today...don't judge.

I stumbled across those after my Trader Joe's was out of Power Berries for months!  I think the Power Berries may be healthier, but when the warehouse is out and they don't know when they will get them back in, what's a girl to do??
Sometimes, I get a really big craving for something salty.  I'm a BIG chip/cracker girl, but not those healthy tasteless crackers.  Blah!  So, here are two of my favorites to nip that salty craving....

 I love, love, love some Pop Chips - but only the barbecue ones!  I first saw these from Jillian Michaels promoting them.  I usually pick them up at Publix, but guess what?  They have huge bags at Costco now!!  I just portion them into small bags as soon as I get them home.  Perfect for a grab and go snack!
I'm also a big fan of these!  Think those orange cheese puffs that you ate when you were little....you know, the ones that got the orange powder ALL over your fingers?  Well these taste just like those, but without the orange fingers....and better for you!  There are 32 of these little puffs in a serving at just over 100 calories....that's a lot of puffs!  I find these at Bi-Lo on the chip aisle, or a Publix on the organic snack aisle.  Unfortunately, my husband tasted these for the first time last week and was shocked that they tasted just like the originals - now I have to share.  sigh

What are some of your favorite "healthy" snack options to satisfy those snack cravings?

On another note, I took the plunge!  I've been on Instagram for a while with a personal account, but I don't really use it THAT often, so I decided I would probably use it more as a teacher.  So....I jumped on the bandwagon and created an Instagram account for my blog!!  Look for "teachingmaddeness" on there, or click the image below to follow me (and then I can find YOU and follow you back!)

 I've only added a few (old) pictures since I just created the account today, but I can't wait to get back to school on Tuesday (we're out of school on Monday since we didn't use our snow days this year! Yippee!!)  You know what they say....a picture is worth a thousand words!!  I hope y'all will join in for the new "Teacher Talk Tuesday" on Instagram!  Just snap a pic and hashtag it with #teachertalktuesday so we can all find each other!!


And, now for some fabulous giveaways from a couple of  MY FAVORITE 2ND GRADE TEACHER BLOGGERS!

Linda over at "Around the Kampfire" is starting a series on Tomie DePaolo and she's starting it off with a bang with a giveaway of her precious unit and 10 of his books that you can use with the unit!!  WOW!  Click the button above to head over and enter her giveaway!  If you're not already following her blog, one peek around it will convince you to click that "follow" button - she seriously has PRECIOUS ideas!!

Then, head on over to visit Rachel at "The Tattooed Teacher" for her spectacular birthday giveaway!  She celebrated her 16th birthday all over again yesterday with a SWEET deal!  You can win a $50 TpT gift certificate!  And, when I told her that I was celebrating my 16th birthday again this year, she didn't even question it (even though I'm wayyyyy past that)....just another reason why I love her! ;)  Hop on over and enter to win...just click the image above.

Friday Flashback: Winners & a Peek at our Week

Congrats to Kiah for guessing correctly that my LEAST favorite thing about spring is the smell of fresh cut grass!!!!  There were so many good guesses, and lots that are true, but fresh cut grass is my least favorite.  I despise it.  I've even had to take my class in from recess before because the grass had been cut recently and I was totally gagging and about to be sick.  :(  I also hate that my husband smells like grass after playing golf - ugh - that's probably why I never stuck with that sport despite being decent at it and getting cute pink clubs and all. ;)

And, the Rafflecopter random winner is.....Amy W!!

Congrats, gals!  I'll have the new Poetry Pizzazz Unit sent your way asap!!  Hope your kiddos love it as much as mine did!

Speaking of it, here are some of their finished products from this unit...

We also FINALLY wrapped up our money unit and were able to start our MEASUREMENT UNIT today!!  I LOVE this math unit!  Here's how I start it off....

The week before beginning this unit, I read How To Eat Fried Worms to my students.  Then, I tell them that since we've just read a book about worms, we're going to be using WORMS to practice our measurement skills.

I tell them that I am going to give everyone a worm to measure today so that I can make sure they know how to use a ruler properly.  I have them close their eyes....I mean, they can't SEE where I keep my worms hidden.  Then, I have them OPEN their eyes and when they do, I'm standing in front of the class dangling a fat, juicy worm above my open mouth.

Their little mouths drop open in awe.  Sometimes I even lick it.  You won't die from licking a worm.  Even if it is just a clay worm.  hehehe....I finally let them in on my secret, but I do keep them thinking that we WILL use real worms soon.  I just can't let them use them on the FIRST day.  We have to make sure they can use these rulers properly first!

So then, I give everyone a clay worm.  These little clay strips are perfect for this lesson.
I get them from Dollar Tree every year...of course! :)  Once each child has one, I have them "roll" the worms to different lengths to practice using the ruler correctly (starting at the end and reading it to the nearest inch).

We practice....
and practice....
with both inches and centimeters....
And then of course, they all want a picture of themselves "eating" a worm.
Oh, if they only knew what I have in store for them next week! :)  I have some new ideas for this unit, too, and can't wait to work on them this weekend!


Putting Pizzazz into Poetic Devices! {Win This New Unit}

Have I said how much I love teaching poetry?  I may let my ELA block go a little long these days....just sayin'!

I'm linking this post up for...


I created some new activities to try in the classroom this year to teach poetic devices, such as alliteration, similes, personification, rhyming, and onomatopoeia - and boy, have they been a HIT so far!  AND they sure are making our classroom and hall look like SPRING!  Double whammy!

We hold a celebration after each reading/writing unit and we're inviting parents to a Poetry Picnic soon, so these items will be perfect to help with our decor!

Here's a look at some of the new activities we're working on this week...

Simile Sandwiches

After all, you can't have a picnic without sandwiches.  And, speaking of sandwiches....
Sandwich Poems
Have you ever heard of a "sandwich poem"?  There are two options when writing them - a rhyming pattern, or a syllabication pattern.  We had to write these fun poems...and of course, giant ants tried to carry them off! ;)

These adorable picnic baskets are on our to-do list for tomorrow.  Students will each be given an overused word and will fill their baskets with more vivid words to use instead.  We'll leave these on a bulletin board so that students can refer to them throughout the rest of the unit!
 Our "alliterainbows" for practicing alliteration are included in this unit, as well as...
Poetry Pops
our Poetry Pops to show that students' poems are "popping" with onomatopoeia (or any poetic device you choose!)
Personification Garden
Later this week, we'll create a Personification Garden - can't wait to get these colorful flowers on the wall!

And finally, you can't have a picnic without WATERMELON!  We'll review rhyming words with these fun "Watermelon Rhymes" before tackling our couplets/quatrains.
Watermelon Rhymes
In addition to the activities above, this new unit also includes writing a Pyramid Poem (we're going to publish them on triangular napkins, of course) and a Metaphoric Family Poem (that I'm going to laminate and have as a little gift for parents when they visit), as well as publishing pages for 10 types of poems and a cover for having your students make their very own Poetry Book!

You can snag the unit over at TpT for just $4.99.....but TWO LUCKY people will win it for FREE!  One winner will be chosen at RANDOM from the Rafflecopter below.  The other winner will be the first person to comment below and guess my LEAST favorite thing about spring.  HINT: It's probably some people's favorite thing.  Remember, I'm quirky! ;)

The winner will be chosen on FRIDAY, so enter now!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Author Studies {Freebie!}

I could read all day long.  To myself.  To my kiddos.  I just LOVE reading!

I try to sneak in teachable moments at every possible opportunity I can.  That includes read-aloud time.

I "map out" (loosely) my read-alouds for the year on my planning calendar so I have an idea of what I want to read when.  I include one chapter book per month.  The rest of the month's read-aloud time is devoted to a particular author.  This gives me the best of BOTH worlds.  An opportunity to share those GREAT can't-wait-to-read-the-next-chaper-to-find-out-what's-going-to-happen BOOKS, as well as digging into an author's craft.

When we get to our author-of-the-month, I like to provide my students with a little background on the author.  They love to know that he/she used to make books with paper and yarn as a child, or that he/she couldn't read until the fifth grade, or that he/she NEVER thought they would grow up to write books!

You can find some of my author background PowerPoints here for FREE - just look for the "FREE SAMPLE" buttons!  I also like to create a little bulletin board area/space to hang a picture of the author, display some of his/her books, and have an area where we can track the author's "fingerprints" - you know those things that he/she does that sets him/her apart from other authors.

I adore how the kiddos gobble up the author's books from there on out!  I revamped my author signs and thought I'd share them here as a freebie in case you wanted to use them, too.

This is just the first round - more to be made...if you would like to request one for a specific author, leave a comment below and I'll try to include him/her in the next batch!

Click below to download the FREE Set of 10 Author Signs.  
Feel free to pin them so others can find them to download, too!
*UPDATE* 4/23 A typo was found and corrected*

**UPDATE: A 2nd Author Signs Pack has been created and is available HERE.**

Classroom Freebies Manic Monday

Sundays in the South: Carrie Underwood & The Coundown Is On!

Oh, Sunday - can you just last forever? :)  It's definitely been a typical Sunday around here....breakfast at Cracker Barrel - check, trip to Target - check, trip to Lowe's - check, a little racing - check, me doing computer work while hubby works in the yard - check! 

I FINALLY got my Poetry Pizzazz unit finished up....it's a little something to add some pizzazz to teaching those poetic devices during your poetry unit - it just might be one of my favorite all-time units.  Or perhaps I'm just excited about having lots of craftivities to keep students motivated these days!  Either way, they are going to be FANTASTIC for our end-of-poetry celebration!

Here's a sneak peek at one....

I hope to have this unit proofed and up THIS WEEK so that y'all can grab it for your poetry units, if you want! I'll keep you posted!

Amidst this crazily busy week, I did sneak in time for a concert!!!  It was here in my hometown....Carrie Underwood and Hunter Hayes!  I've always loved some Carrie, but I am officially obsessed with her now!

Seriously....like, I want to BE Carrie Underwood.  The hair, the legs, the skin, the wardrobe, the VOICE, the sweetness, the humility.....she's flawless y'all! 

And that little Hunter Hayes....no wonder those teen girls were going crazy.  He's a cutie and he's totally bringing ROCK to country music!
I'll admit, I went for the FASHION SHOW just as much as the music. :)  Do you notice that she is wearing fingerless gloves with every outfit??  I'm dying to help her bring those back! #80s #madonna
One of the coolest parts was when part of the stage lifted up and these hot air balloon-type balls carried it across the entire floor of the arena so that everyone had a close up experience!
She may be a little "glam" for country normally, but she still rocked her Willie Nelson T-shirt and daisy dukes! ;)

If you get a chance to see her live, I highly recommend it.  I'm totally convinced that she has the BEST VOICE in all of country music!  It was AMAZING!

How many does of school do YOU have left?  We're almost ready to start our ABC Countdown which starts with 26 days left!  We start with the letter A and do a little something special all the way until the last day, Z!  Most of the activities only take a few minutes, but boy do the kids look forward to them!  This unit has a calendar to send home with students with each of the activities listed, as well as activity pages that are needed for some of the activities - many of them don't require recording sheets.  I'm looking forward to getting this started this year!  What do you look forward to at the end of the year?


Friday Flashback Fail - Poetry LOVE

So, I failed to get the Friday Flashback Linky up yesterday.  What can I say?  I didn't get home until 8:00pm yesterday and the brain was officially fried!

If you were in the same boat, I hope you'll link up today!  Here's a peek at our week...

We've been LOVING poetry in room 205!  This week we made these precious Poetry Pops to show that our Poetry is popping with onomatopoeia!!

And, to review alliteration, we created these Alliterainbows!

We've had a lot of fun locating these literary devices in poems that we're reading and also learning to use them in poems that we're writing!  Both of the above activities will be in a new Poetry Packet that I'm finishing up now (as in today, I hope!)

We've written a LOT of different types of poems over the last two weeks using our Poetry Styles #1 Unit and being inspired by authors that we've read.  Here's a look at a few that are ready to be published.
We've got even more styles to learn about and write next week, but once we're finished we will be publishing them into hard-bound books.  They are always SUPER excited about this!  Here's a look at a few of their covers that they worked on designing this week...
I got a TON of these hardcovers from a grant I wrote YEARS ago and they have been fabulous.  Unfortunately, I have now almost depleted my supply!  {Maybe another grant needs to be in my future?}  They are from Lintor Publishing if you're interested in them.  They come with the binding paper to use with them.

Poetry + Music (see my last post about my new Kidz Bop CDs) = student love....
This one put a BIG smile on my face because it was from a student who is not prone to writing "love" notes.
And this one was extra special because she referred to a poem we studied in class about question marks being sea horses.  And, well, because she loves me like her mom.  Boy, do they know how to make you feel better after a L-O-N-G rough week! :)

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