Sunday, July 13, 2014

Big Giveaway with Searching for Teacher Balance!

Good morning! As teachers, we always get excited when a fellow colleague reaches a goal or a milestone... and it's no different in the blogging world! Sweet Marcy over at Searching for Teacher Balance is celebrating her 1 year Blogiversary! Yay! She's throwing a huge giveaway with tons of amazing bloggers who have some incredible items up for grabs - many of them winner's choice! The giveaways are broken down by grade level - you can enter one, or ALL! If you enter the kindergarten giveaway, you could win my Summer Lovin' Sentences pack:

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Read the post from Marcy's blog below to enter and WIN! Good luck!!


I seriously can't believe it has been a whole year since I decided to join this amazing teacher-blogger community.  This year has taught me a ton about challenging myself as a teacher, while staying true to myself.  There have been plenty of hurdles which we know are far too normal in our profession, but it is readers and bloggers like you that have allowed me to keep going.  As a way to say thank you for all of your support I am hosting a huge giveaway, which is only possible because of the amazing bloggers below.  Be sure to enter and tell your friends to enter; there are so many amazing products being given away.

Winner's Choice from:

Specific Products from: 
Positively Learning - A Sentence A Day
The Kinder Garden  - Summer Lovin' Sentences
Wiggling Scholars - Review Writing Units  

The giveaway is broken down into grade levels/bands.  You can enter 1, 2, or all of them.

Thank you again for all of your support this year!  Here is to many more!

Saturday, July 5, 2014

Time for School! {Predictable Sentence Builders for Little Learners}

I'm excited to say that I just finished my August/September sight word sentence builders pack just in time for back to school!

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Click on the cover page to go to the product in my TPT store!

This pack is slightly different from my other sentence building backs in that it is specifically designed for beginning of the year kindergarteners. At the beginning of the year, we teach them how words make up sentences and how they can be put together using capital letters, finger spaces, and a period at the end. Predictable sentence activities are perfect for teaching these concepts!

Predictable sentences are sentence stems that use the same words every time with one different word that changes to make a new sentence. For example:

This helps students create a sentence that makes sense using repetitive words to help them get their sentence started. It also helps them gain confidence to write their own sentences during independent writing.

In this pack, there are 2 different versions of sentence building activities that you can choose from depending on your students' needs. The first version has each word split up into separate cards for your students to put in order to create a sentence, like you see my students working on here in the photo below:

The other version has the entire sentence in order on strips where the students will put the sentence stem in the pocket chart first and then add the picture and punctuation cards at the end; as shown in the sample below:

Pocket Chart clip art by Teacher Laura!

This version can be very helpful to students who struggle with putting the words in order!

Each set has multiple printable recording sheets for your students to complete once they have built all of the sentences. There are differentiated options that will fit most of your students' needs!

Also included in this pack are 20 different Read It, Write It, Build It, Draw It! mixed up sentence printable activity sheets! My students absolutely love completing these and love to show me their detailed illustrations! Here's a sample of one of these from my Snow Many Sentences {Sentence Building Activities for January} pack:

Want to check out Time for School in more detail? Click on the preview picture below to go straight to the product in my TPT store and you can see exactly what you'll get with this pack! These sight words fit exactly with the HM Journeys program... but you can use them with any curriculum as they are words from the Dolch list as well!

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And guess what? My entire shop is on sale for 20% off through today... including this brand new pack! I'll be adding it to my Sight Word Sentence Builders for the Year BUNDLE next week... that's where you can find all of my sight word sentence builder packs for a discounted price! It's the lowest price it's ever gonna be right now... after I add this one, the price will go up a bit! So feel free to check it out and see if that floats your boat! 

Friday, July 4, 2014

Five for Friday and a 4th of July Sale!

Happy 4th of July, friends! I'm linking up with Doodle Bugs Teaching for Five for Friday!

I signed up at the gym this summer because I am determined to tone up and lose a few pounds over summer break! The great thing about the gym I go to is that a bunch of friends go, too, so we are keeping each other motivated and going together! The photo below is from one of my favorite classes... we always end up using tons of different pieces of equipment so it keeps it fresh and fun!

One of my favorite things in life is hockey... specifically Phoenix Arizona Coyotes hockey! They threw a big NHL Draft Party at the arena and it was super fun! We all got to go on a behind the scenes locker room tour, sit on the benches, go in the penalty box, sit on the zamboni... etc! 

I was blessed to attend an Arizona teacher blogger meet-up this week! It was so great to meet all of these wonderful ladies. Callie from Teach-a-Roo made us all these adorable nametags and we went to the cutest little restaurant downtown! It was fun chatting and getting to know everyone!

I finally bundled all of my Sight Word Sentence Builder packs! Each pack includes monthly themed sentence building pocket chart centers, predictable sentence activities, multiple printables and recording sheets for both, and tons of Read It, Write It, Build It, Draw It printables for every sentence! It's a $54 value... but you can get it for just $30 right now - the price will go up gradually as I add the last 3 units, so grab it now for super cheap - I'm adding August/September this weekend!

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To celebrate the 4th of July weekend, I'm throwing a big sale in my TPT shop! Everything is 20% off through tomorrow - including the sentence builders bundle! Just click on the picture below to go straight to my store. Everyone have a safe and fun Independence Day!

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Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Feeling Productive! {Workin' on it Wednesday}

As sad as this sounds, one of the best things about summer break is... I have time to work on more school stuff! I know, I know, it doesn't sound like the most ideal way for a teacher to spend her summer break - doing more work - but in reality, it's the best time to get ahead of myself and create some new projects that I just don't have much time to complete during the hustle and bustle of a school year. I'm linking up with Kim Adsit over at KinderGals to share a few of the things I've been working on for Workin' on it Wednesday!

Today has been quite the productive day! I've updated two of my current units for sale on TPT. One of them is the very first product I ever posted in my store, ABC Order Picture Sort & Literacy Game Pack, back in 2011. Needless to say, I've learned a lot about creating products since then! Just look at the picture below. The left is the cover page before (avert your eyes!!!) and the right is the cover page after (much prettier!). I'm still putting the finishing touches on a few of the pages, so I'll blog again when it's all ready to go.

One of the other products I added to is my Wood and Paper FOSS Kit Observation Journal. When I made it for my class, I simply made it to go with some of the wood experiments because that was all that we had time to do. I didn't create it with the intent to ever put it in my TPT store, but after using it with my students, decided to include it in hopes that others would find it useful. To my surprise, it has become my 3rd best selling unit - and it's the smallest of them all! I was so grateful that other teachers were using the journal to supplement their FOSS kit. I began to have multiple requests to add pages for some of the paper experiments as well, but never had time to create any...until now!

If you're anything like me, you know that the FOSS kits, while they come with a lot of great materials, lack anything quality to use for response sheets/journals/etc. much less something that is kindergarten appropriate. This journal is something that my students love using and it couldn't be easier to put together. Each page of the unit has 2 copies of the book so that you can simply just print it, cut it in half with a paper cutter, and staple it together. No having to shuffle through all of the pages to put it in order!

Click on the cover page below to go straight to the FOSS Kit journal in my TPT shop. You can grab it for just $2!

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Don't worry, my summer hasn't just been spent working so far, though I do love having the extra time to devote to it! It's been a few weeks spent with family, friends, working out at the gym, relaxing, visiting with out of town relatives, and going to baseball games. I intend to fully enjoy this summer... and I hope you do too!

Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Creative Teaching Press giveaway winner!

Congratulations are in order for Amy M.! She is the big winner of these 7 products from Creative Teaching Press. They will be contacting you soon to get your shipping information! I hope you enjoy them, Amy... all of these things put together created an absolutely beautiful bulletin board in my classroom. Thank you so much to Creative Teaching Press for being so generous in letting me both review these products as well as give them away to one lucky winner. They are an amazing company that truly has teacher's needs at the forefront of their minds!

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Friday, May 23, 2014

Saying goodbye to my class... and Five for Friday fun!

School is officially over! My last day with students was yesterday. This actually was one of the saddest goodbyes I've ever had to do...this was the absolute best class that I have ever had and there were so many amazing kids in my class. I had kids sobbing and crying that they didn't want to leave me... it broke my heart! I've had a couple parents e-mail me as well to tell me that their kids were crying about missing me at home after school... and I had just said goodbye to them that day! You can't tell me that that's not what teaching is all about... making those kinds of connections with your students and investing in their lives. They just want to know that you care and will give them a safe environment to learn in. I also had a parent text me a photo of a sentence their son wrote at home... it said "I like Ms. O'Bannon" in dry erase marker, and she said he was sobbing and said that he was going to keep writing the sentence again and again whenever it started to fade. Oh my word. Talk about ripping my guts out with that heartbreaking little story! I do love my kiddos so.

With that being said, it was a VERY busy week! I'm linking up with Doodlebugs Teaching for Five for Friday!

I teamed up with the great people over at Creative Teaching Press to review some amazing products from their Mustache Mania and Chevron classroom decor lines! I absolutely LOVE how my student survey bulletin board turned out! And I have to tell you, my students loved this activity.

The best part is... Creative Teaching Press has offered to let me give away all of these items for FREE to one lucky winner!!! The bundle includes 2 borders, jumbo library pocket charts, accent squares, punch-out letters, punch-out mustaches, and mustache sticker labels! The giveaway goes until Saturday... click on the picture below to go and enter! Hooray!

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One of my favorite things about kindergarten is their writing... it's amazing to see how much they grow. And I love their illustrations... they alway impress me! I love what one of my little guys wrote in response to the question, "Which community helper has the most important job and why?" His response: "Police officers are important because they can rescue you and don't want bad guys to rob banks." And his picture of the 'bad guy'... LOVE!!!

We had our Kindergarten promotion ceremony on Wednesday, and ours is always luau-themed. We sing Hawaiian/luau themed songs and give our kids certificates and leis. We have our students make their own decorations for the backdrop and it always turns out adorable. This has been a tradition of ours for years and it has become a favorite event of parents, students, and teachers!

I got this book for my students as an end of the year gift. It was only $1 in the Scholastic book order this month! I used bonus points to buy one for each of my students and I wrote them each a personalized message inside. 

This week was exhausting, but wonderful. I'm glad for summer break to be here so I can relax and have some time to myself! But first, my classroom calls... I've got a lot of cleaning, sorting, and putting away before I can officially "check out"! Hope you'll link up with Doodlebugs for Five for Friday too! Have a great weekend!

Sunday, May 18, 2014

Mustache and Chevron Love from Creative Teaching Press GIVEAWAY!

This is the blog post that I have been looking forward to writing for a couple of months now and I am so honored to say that I have partnered up with the fine folks at Creative Teaching Press to review some incredible items from a few of their amazing new product lines! They sent me some fabulous products from their Mustache Mania and their Chevron decor lines and I knew exactly how I wanted to put it all together. I could hardly contain my excitement when the box arrived at school; and this is what  I found when I opened the box! Amazing!

Here's a detailed look at what was inside:

This AWESOME mustache border arrived a few weeks later - it was on backorder, because hello, who wouldn't want such an amazing border set, so much so that it completely sold out?

I decided to make an interactive bulletin board for my students to complete surveys in the mornings...appropriately titled, "I Mustache You a Question..."

Don't you love how all of Creative Teaching Press' products go perfectly together, even when they are from two different decor collections? You can't go wrong!

Let's dive in and take a closer look at each piece...

I layered the two borders to make a cute frame around the bulletin board. Love! The great thing is, the mustache border would look great with any color of their Chevron border in their store... they have every color you could ever want!

Creative Teaching Press sent me a couple of packages of their Fancy Black 4" Designer Letters, which were perfect for the header of my bulletin board. The quality looks so nice!

For the interactive part of the bulletin board, I wanted to make a defined space to show where that day's survey question was clearly posted. I used two of their yellow chevron backgrounds from their set of Chevron Solids 10" Jumbo Designer Cut-Outs. Each pack comes with 12 different jumbo cut-outs in 6 different chevron colors.

I also added two mustache cut-outs from their Mustache Medley pack as accent pieces at the top, which I also used for the big mustache in the title.

One of the best things about the mustaches that come in this pack is that they already have provided a slit in the side for you to put them on a stick or a rod! Perfect for a fun photo booth session! I used these cut-outs for my student response sticks. I wrote their names on a popsicle stick and then stuck the popsicle stick into the mustache slit. It fit perfectly! I stuck them all in a little cup and set them next to the bulletin board so the students could easily find theirs when they went to answer the question.

When planning out how my survey board would actually function, I knew I needed some kind of pocket, envelope, or pouch that would hold all of the mustache sticks for each of the response choices that would be large enough to hold multiple sticks without falling down or becoming too full. Creative Teaching Press' Chevron Solids Jumbo Library Pockets were the PERFECT choice! 12 different pockets come in 6 different colors. Since they are the jumbo kind, they easily held all of the popsicle stick mustaches. They were durable, too, because even with my kids pulling on them a bit to put their mustache inside, they held strong and didn't rip! I put two more of the square Chevron designer cut-outs behind those to create two more defined spaces.

When planning out my mustache survey board, I knew that I always wanted my students to have two answer options to choose from for each question. This needed to be something that could be easily changed out each week. I used these Mustache Sticker Labels (adorable) and laminated them so that I could write on them with a dry-erase marker. It made it so simple to erase each option and write the two new ones each week.

Once I finally got all the pieces together, the survey board was ready for student use! They were already super excited to know what it was going to be as they saw the step-by-step process of me putting the bulletin board together, but to make them even more invested, I chose a question that I knew they would all flip out about: Which Superhero Do You Like More? And I picked the two class favorites: Batman and Spider-Man. I knew it would be a tough choice between the two!

My students took turns making their selection and put their mustache stick into the pocket of their favorite superhero.

After we answered our survey, I wanted the kids to analyze our class data. I whipped up these little response sheets and we completed them together. They always love to see if their choice was "the winner"!

I didn't want to create a separate paper for each survey question, so I typed out the question on a little strip and the kids glued it to the empty question space on their paper.

They had to draw a picture of the option they chose; then we used tally marks to count up how many people chose each one. Then we recorded which option had the most, least, and whether or not their choice won the class vote. They absolutely loved every second of it!

Now we already know how amazing Creative Teaching Press is... they always seem to make the perfect classroom products that teachers love. But do you know what makes them even more incredible? They are giving one lucky winner EVERY SINGLE PRODUCT I told you about in this post! That's right, every last thing. Here's the bundle of amazing-ness you can win:

Enter using the Rafflecopter below! Good luck!

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