Friday, November 30, 2012

'Tis the Season for FREEBIES and Giveaways!

Merry Christmas to all my sweet followers!  Let the fun begin... the excitement of our little ones, holiday baking, shopping, decorating, the carols, and the movies! As usual, I'm lovin' the 25 Days of Christmas movies and the ones on Hallmark channel!

I have a few quick things to share with you today.  I know that bloggers usually put their freebies last, but I'm writing about mine first.  Last August I wrote about my "Lunchbox Love Notes" that I made for my young sons at the start of the new school year.  You can read that post here.  I just updated these little notes to include ones for Christmas, winter, and Christian-themed ones. October and most of November got away from me and I wrote my notes on a napkin with a sharpie.  After my 7 yr old son asked me last night if I was ever going to put more "fun" notes in his lunchbox, I decided to create a few more.  

Use these little notes to let your sweet ones know that you are thinking about them throughout the day and to offer encouragement on the day of a test.  Teachers can use these too. Use the notes as a reward or as a motivator along with a chocolate kiss, lollipop, or candy cane!  You can grab this ten page FREEBIE here.

My 7 yr old son, likes to write me notes back... check out the note he left for me and his father (top, right of pic).  Awwww... what a sweetie pie!


Next, don't forget about my Samson's Classroom giveaway!  What a great Christmas present this would make for you and your students.  You can read about this giveaway and this on-line reading software here. My students love this reading site and it makes learning sight words and word work so much fun!

Last, here is a huge giveaway that you don't want to miss!!!  Help my bloggy friend Melissa from Don't Let the Teacher Stay Up Late celebrate *100* followers! Prizes range from a very cool pencil sharpener (I have this sharpener from Classroom Friendly Supplies!) to math, literacy, and holiday resources!  Some very generous store owners are allowing you to choose your own prize!  I am very happy to help Melissa celebrate, and I'm offering my best selling item-

and a fun holiday nonfiction reading packet-


Click the button below to visit Melissa's blog and enter this  giveway!

Have a wonderful weekend!

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Samson's Classroom GIVEAWAY!!!

Last August, I was thrilled to learn that I had won the Samson's Classroom giveaway contest hosted by Angie at Rulin' The Roost!  As a reading specialist at a private school, our funds are very limited for resources. A new Smart Board had just been installed in my classroom, so the timing to try out this reading software was just perfect!

The day after I won, Jessie, Samson's marketing director, contacted me, and I had instant access to this incredible reading resource!  Since then, I have had an opportunity to explore this on-line reading software resource with my students and with my own young sons.

 Spelling with Samson 2

Let me share with you some of the highlights of this program and then I have some incredible opportunities for you!

First, Samson's Classroom  offers three different products in their package:  Sight Words, Spelling, and Reading.  All are for learners from kindergarten to grade 5.

Sight Words: This part of the program offers 224 commonly used words.  I have used this with individuals when tutoring and in my small intervention groups. There are five different activities:  learn the words, build words, identify words, spell the words, and find the missing words.  I like the progression of the activities and how the student hears and gets to use the words in context.

Spelling:  I have used this part of the program the most.  At the beginning of the week, I add my little one's spelling words to the program.  Then, throughout the week, we take a few minutes to play one or more of the games to review the words.  There is a Study Zone, Karate Chop, Spelling Scramble, and Wally the Walrus.  My students love, love the Karate Chop game, and come in begging me to play!  They are just now loving Wally the Walrus, which is a bit more challenging as they have to spell the entire word and race to keep Samson from falling off the ice and into the cold water!

 Reading:  This part of the program includes leveled reading passages and comprehension questions that promote critical thinking.  The activity is timed so at the end, the student and the teacher can see how long it took the child to complete the activity.  I have used this exclusively with the students I tutor after school.  Sometimes we read the passage together and other times they read by themselves.  After a long day at school, they enjoy reading and answering questions on my Smart Board.

Why I'm Lovin' This Software:  
  •  The graphics and games are appealing and fun for students and they love Samson, the mascot!
 Sight Words with Samson 2
  •   I can customize the spelling words by creating word lists each week
  • Once your register your students, the program keeps a record of games and activities they played and their scores.
  • Activities can be played on an interactive white board or P.C.
  • Students can use the program at home! Samson's even has customized letters for parents you can print out with their log in information. Parents have thanked me for offering this for them to use to support their child at home.
  • Students receive immediate feedback and praise as they play the games.
  • The software automatically updates so no new downloading is needed.
  • Jessie, the marking director, is very supportive and offers immediate help via email, should you have questions or need assistance. 
You can check out the program yourself by watching this short video:

Ok, if you made it this far (can you tell I just love this product?), then here is the really fun part!  Samson's has graciously allowed me to give away one classroom account for FREE!!!!!  All you have to do is enter below and you and your students will have the second half of the school year to explore and have fun!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

But wait, there is one more opportunity for you if you don't win the giveaway!

Between now and December 24, visit Samson's Classroom and enter the promo code  AMAZON12 to purchase a one-year subscription at $15 off (a 50 percent discount on the single-user plan) AND get a $10 gift certificate to accompany the subscription!   

After placing your order (using the promo code), you will receive an email containing your Amazon gift card plus a printable holiday card to present to the child.  It’s a great way to show children how important reading is and give them the ability to purchase their own books.

Enjoy and all the best to you!

Sunday, November 25, 2012

Reindeer? Really?

My oldest son is now nineteen years old and a freshman (gulp!) in collegeMy two youngest are 7 years and almost 6 years old.  It's like having two different families and for that I am blessed.  I have always thought that having children made me a better teacher and that being a teacher made me a better mom.  When my oldest was in first grade, I was working on my Master's degree in reading and working toward my reading specialist certification.  That poor child was so patient as I administered many a running record on him!  When he was diagnosed with Obsessive Compulsive Disorder and later Asperger's, it brought a new-found empathy for the students and their families I was teaching that suffered from similar disorders.

Fast forward to the present. My youngest has Selective Mutism and is in speech therapy.  Although I have never taught a student with S.M. I have had many students over the years with various anxiety disorders.  Christopher was my inspiration for starting this little blog last May.  I wanted a way to reach out and network with other parents and teachers who were working with S.M. children. As Christopher struggled with his speech therapy sessions and homework, I knew I needed to create interesting activities for him. I am not a speech language pathologist, but with Christopher's help, I create speech therapy packets for therapists and parents to use at home. He helps me select clip art, helps with the design, and offers his five year old wisdom as to whether an activity is boring or not!

I mention all of this because my children have inspired me and motivated me to be a better mom and teacher.  The youngest two are my guinea pigs when creating new items for my students.  Recently, when I realized that they thought reindeer were imaginary creatures, my latest product was born!  Now, not to dis Rudolph, but I thought it would be fun to create a nonfiction packet about these very interesting creatures.  We all know that boys love nonfiction reading and all students, at least mine, enjoy reading about animals.

My Reindeer Reading packet includes an original three page nonfiction article about reindeer:  what they look like, what they eat, and where they live. My children were excited to learn they live in Alaska.  My husband went to Alaska last fall on mission's trip with our church. Sadly, he did not see any reindeer in the wild!

My boys were peeking over my shoulder as I created this packet that is filled with graphic organizers, vocabulary cards, and writing activities.  Although the reading level is too difficult for my youngest, the oldest (reads at Guided Reading Level of H/I) was able to read it with support.

It is now on sale at my Teacher's Notebook shop! Today and tomorrow you receive an additional 10% off at checkout and can grab this packet for less than $3!

Now, as I often like to do, I will give away this packet for FREE to the first two sweet followers who leave a comment about their favorite holiday theme to teach in their classroom. Don't forget to leave your email address!  

Have a blessed day! 



Mega Cyber Monday {and Tuesday} Sale!!

Pilgrims, Turkey and Harvest 

 First things first, from my little family to yours, we wish you a very blessed Thanksgiving filled with laughter, love, special family memories, and of course lots of turkey and pumpkin pie!

After you get your shopping on during the Black Friday frenzy, don't forget the mega Cyber Monday (and Tuesday!) sale at TpT!

I'm linking up with Michelle, the witty and whimsical, and oh so creative artist appropriately known as The 3AM Teacher.  Click the link above to visit her award-winning blog! 

I have a few new products listed in my TpT store that you may want to browse and add to your wish list!

First is my graphic organizers with a Christmas theme that is perfect for all of your holiday nonfiction reading!  Use for reader response, independent reading, in the listening center, for small groups, and more!  The packet is Common Core State Standards aligned!

Next, is my Christmas Penguin speech therapy activity packet for the sounds /k/ and /g/.  Because it includes Christmas word cards and a printable book, it can also be used for word work or in a literacy center!

I have lots of other goodies that you can snag for a whopping 28% discount when you use coupon code CMT12 at checkout.  Remember, the sale starts Monday, 11/26 and runs through 11/27.  Click the penguin above to visit my store!


Sunday, November 11, 2012

Thanksgiving With Jack Prelutsky!

One of my favorite Thanksgiving traditions is to read It's Thanksgiving by Jack Prelutsky, a little book stuffed with (12) holiday poems. Who doesn't love his witty, silly, clever, and down right entertaining poems?  Plus Prelutsky is the first Children's Poet Laureate!

 Kids love them and so do parents and teachers. This little book of (12) poems is very special to me.  My parents bought the book for my oldest son (who is now a freshman in college- YIKES!) w-a-y back in 1996.  Ever since then, I have been sharing Prelutsky's holiday verse with my students and more recently with my two youngest sons.
 It's Thanksgiving! (I Can Read Book 3)

One of my favorite poems is "The First Thanksgiving".  Filled with rich vocabulary and a bit of humor, this poem is perfect for comparing with nonfiction texts about Pilgrims and Native Americans!  Illustrations by Marylin Hafner are appealing to kids and complement the poems beautifully.

Many aspects of Thanksgiving are covered in the poems:  special activities at school, parades, the wishbone, football, and leftovers!  I have used this little book with kids from preschool to grade 6 and they loved it!  It's great for a read-aloud with preschool and primary kids; older kids enjoy shared and choral reading.

 Click the pic below to grab a FREE handout you can use with students for visualizing.  During and after a read-aloud, have students draw their "mind pictures".  It is fun to share these pictures with the class and then compare to the illustrations in the book.

 Adorable graphics by KPM Doodles.  Fonts are by Rowdy in Room 300.  I just downloaded her cutie fonts for FREE yesterday!

Be sure to check out Jack Prelutsky's fun, fun website

Are there any other Thanksgiving poems you read and recommend? I'd love to read your suggestions!


Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Every Vote Counts! {Plus Some FREEBIES!}

So, the last two days at school have been all about the election!  It's really neat to see primary students so interested in current events and to begin to understand the importance and responsibility of voting.

In kindergarten and first grade we read the printable book I wrote titled "My Vote Counts".

I projected the book onto the Smart Board for a read-aloud for kindergarten.  For first grade, I did the same but we did a shared reading for the first read.  For the second read, my "reader-leaders" read the story for the purpose of finding details to determine main idea.
After the read-aloud, some of my kindergarten friends donned my very special patriotic reading glasses to help them search for the lightning words in the book.  They had so much fun and had no idea that this was actually an informal assessment activity! Here they are on the Smart Board circling the lightning words they found.


Aren't those glasses cool?  I purchased them at the Dollar Store for my son to wear on July 4th, but he didn't like them.  So, they got stashed in my gadget bag!

I sent the printable books home for students to read to and with their parents.  Plus, my little cuties like to color the books and then reread throughout the year. 

I am soooo looking forward to President's Day since my students are really excited to learn about our government and our leaders, both past and present!

If you need a last minute activity for tomorrow, you can check out my 24 page packet by clicking the pic below.


Now, we're off to read and talk about Veteran's Day tomorrow and I can't wait to use Jodi Southard's Thanksgiving and Veteran's Day Fluency packet! You can see the packet here.  I know if Jodi creates it, my students and I will love it!

Thanksgiving is two weeks away... yes two weeks!  YIKES!  On Sunday, I made a few Thanksgiving posters to display in my room.  You can grab all seven for FREE by clicking the picture below!

Graphics:  KPM Doodles
 Have a great evening!  I'm off to watch some election coverage and work on newsletters for school. My family is still praying for those of you affected by Super Storm Sandy!
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