Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Read, Draw, Write! Fry Sight Word Books

I'd like to introduce to you my newest labor of love - my sight word books!

These booklets would be perfect to practice sight words over a few days in your classroom to help build recognition of the words in context.  This set I created contains half of the first 100 Fry sight words and I'm currently working on the second half.

What I love most about each of the books is that each book is 15 pages in length.  10 of those pages contain a short 10 sentence story.  The sight word is used at least one time per page.

Let's take a look and see what exactly the books look like.  :)

You can find them in my TpT store HERE.

Thursday, April 10, 2014

April Stitch Fix

I think my husband is officially tired of hearing about Stitch Fix.  I'm always counting down the days until my fix arrives.  :)  If you'd like to learn what stitch fix is all about, go back and read about my first Stitch Fix box that I received last month.

I opened my box and immediately read the note from my stylist.  She mentioned going back to look at my Pinterest board that I created with styles I like.  She even had a shirt that I pinned in stock and included that in my box!

When I unwrapped the paper, all my clothes were neatly folded and tied creatively tied together with the sash to the dress.  In this fix, I received 4 clothing items and a blue polkadot canvas bag.  I decided to keep everything except the bag since I already have way too many canvas bags and totes.

Here is everything that I decided to keep!

1)  Moni Horseshoe Print Stuf Detail Top - This was actually the style I had pinned on my board.  The original I had pinned was actually a light pink pattern while this has small horseshoes.  I wore this shirt out to dinner with my husband that same night and he commented that he hadn't even noticed that the pattern was a horseshoe until I pointed it out to him.  The stud detailing and the way the sleeves lay on my arm both really unique and make this shirt stand out.

2)  Hailey Geo Print Tie-Waist Dress - I love this dress and purple is my favorite color!  The tie waste actually has loops a few inches lower than where it is in the picture.  That's not a great spot for me, so I plan on cutting off the loops and putting in a few stitches on the side seams to keep the tie higher.  I actually do this with a lot of dresses because it flatters me better.  It's the perfect dress for me to wear while I'm teaching in the warmer months.

3)  Noelle V-Neck Tribal Print Tunic - In my last fix, I asked for tunics I could wear with leggings, but everything I received was too short.  I noted this to my stylist and this month I received two tunics that are long enough for me!  Being tall makes it difficult to find tunics long enough without being too big.  I love the chevron pattern and the colors.  It's super comfortable and something I can just totally throw on in the morning while still looking put together!

4) Giovani Beaded Neckline Tunic - This was the most expensive item this month, but I love the way it looks.  I'm usually afraid to wear whites, but it's really nice to have a white shirt as an option.  It's difficult to see, but the neckline is completely beaded and the fabric does have a slight texture to it.

Basically you can see that I have kept each piece of clothing that was sent to me in my last 2 fixes.  Because there was a mixup this month and I was sent a bag that I didn't request, I was still offered the 25% off deal for buying all of the items in my box, but I did send back that bag.  The customer service team is wonderful!

I definitely encourage you to check out their website and see exactly what they have to offer!  If you decide to sign up, I'd really appreciate if you'd use my referral link!  Stitch Fix

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Jamberry Nails

Do you love to have great looking nails but ruin the wet polish because you can't wait long enough  for them to dry?  Do you go to nail salons, but are turned off by the price? Ok, me too.  100%. That's why I'm a Jamberry Nail addict.  :) You can take a look at my Jamberry Fan Page on Facebook to see what it's all about!

Jamberry nail wraps can be applied right over your natural nail at home.  You can also put them over polish, acrylics, or gel nails.  The special material is activated by heat and pressure to achieve a quick and easy manicure that you would never get if you tried with polish.  These wraps are nontoxic and latex-free and have never been tested on animals.

These nail wraps are Buy 3 Get 1 Free.  Each set can be easily used for 2 full manicures and up to 2 pedicures if you cut them correctly.  This makes each application just a few dollars!

It typically takes me about 20 minutes to apply a full set.  I use a blow dryer to heat the wraps and then a rice bag to really apply some direct heated pressure to create a tight seal. (see application videos at the end of this post)

There are SO many different colors and patterns of the wraps.  You will find some subtle designs as well as some that are bright, graphic, and even with holiday designs.  They also come in junior sizes you could match your manicure with your daughter.

Jamberries don't chip and you don't have to wait for them to dry.  You can take a quick grading break and go right back to it without fear of smudging your polish.

Here are some pictures of my nails the past few weeks.  The wraps last up to 2 weeks on fingers and 6 weeks on toes, but I end up changing my fingers every Sunday night with a new fun pattern.

In this picture, I'm enjoying my coffee at school with my Jamberry accent nail.  The purple nails were painted with polish.  You can see how nice the plaid wrap looks in comparison to the polish after a few days of wear.  They are beginning to chip on the tops and bottom near the cuticle.

This is one of my favorite styles.  I used the Raspberry Sparkle wraps with the black and white chevron accent.  The sparkle is so eye-catching in person, and better yet, so much easier to remove than sparkle polish!

I love these Gray and White Dots with the Funky Cheetah accent nail.  the accent nail adds pop of color.

This last one is a bit difficult to see, but I used gray polish as a base and placed the lace wrap on top (it's clear so anything you have on below will show through).  Then, on my accent nail, I have the Midnight Celebration wrap.  It was difficult to get a good picture of it because of how shiny the silver dots on the bottom are.

If you'd like to see additional pictures you can go to my Jamberry Fan Page on Facebook to get some more ideas.

So now what?

<----- Click here to take a look at all the designs Jamberry has to offer.  Remember to take advantage of the Buy 3 Get 1 Free promotion!

http://melissamazur.jamberrynails.net/join/Default.aspx<----- Click here if you want to host a party.  The hostess rewards are excellent and you have the opportunity to earn a bunch of free wraps! You can set up a party at home or online.

<----- Click here if you want to become a consultant.  It's definitely a great way to earn some extra money, while getting discounts on your own wraps.  I'll definitely help you with each step of the way!

If you decide to join my team you'll purchase this kit for $99, but it comes with way more than it's cost in product (4 sets of nails, the heater, and the application kit alone would cost $85 and it also comes with 50 sample sheets and a lot more)!  Then you can use your kit to start hosting your own online, catalog, or home parties.  You can send me an email at commoncoretpt@gmail.com if you want to talk more about it.  I made my initial investment back within a few weeks!

And lastly, here are some application videos to get you started.  I use a combination of the heater (you can use a blowdryer instead) and rice bag applications.  Sometimes, I even heat up my hair straightener, let it cool down a bit, and run it along the tips of my nails to really seal it in.

Sunday, March 9, 2014

Student Grouping Ideas

Welcome to another Bright Ideas Blog Hop!  I really hope you enjoyed reading my idea from last month and I think I have some new fun ideas for you to read about today!

Do you ever need to pick students to work with partners or in groups, but get tired of pulling sticks or having them find their own partners with a handful never being able to find someone to work with?  I have three fun ideas for you that my students love!

I think you won't have a problem figuring out why my students like to be partnered with candy.  I use Dum Dums because I got this tub with 16 different flavors and it has enough to put my students with a partner.  I take a few minutes before school and select 11 different flavors and when it's time to get the students a partner, I pass one randomly to each student.  They have to find their partner by matching their flavors without talking.  While they work, they are allowed to eat the candy.  I have also done this by taping Starbursts to the bottom of their seats while they are out of the room and when they come in, they look under their seats for their flavor and then find their partner.  Taping it under their chair allows me to teach for a bit without them knowing they have candy waiting for them.

My next example is of Inside Outside circles.  I select half of my class to stand in a tight circle facing outwards.  The next half stands in a larger circle facing inwards so they are facing another student.  Now, I can do two different things.  I can have them meet with each student to share something they wrote by rotating the inside or outside circle one student at a time.  They will be able to share their idea with each student in the opposite circle.  I also will use this to group students by practicing clockwise and counterclockwise movements.  I will have the inside circle rotate ____ students clockwise, then the outside circle rotate ____ students counterclockwise.  I keep doing this a few times mixing up the direction and number of students.  Then, whoever is in front of them after the last movement will become their partner.  

This last grouping strategy is one I use most often because it is so easy and quick.  Go to this Random Student Generator and enter your students' names.  You only have to do this once since the website saves this information.  Then you can select to put the students in groups.  The generator will create the amount of groups that you selected.  My students would actually rather have me find them a partner this way instead of picking partners themselves.  What I like about this website is that you can also just choose one student at a time.  I use this in class to call on students if I see they are starting to zone out at the end of the day.  It keeps them on their toes and encourages them to listen because they don't know when the computer will choose their name.  

Thanks for reading!   If you have any questions about grouping, or have other ideas that you really enjoy using, please leave them in the comments.  I'd love to read them!

http://t11w.blogspot.com/2014/03/bright-ideas-blog-hop.htmlNow for your next stop on the hop...visit Tara's blog, And They All Fall Down, to read about some easy art ideas for your classroom!  If you'd rather search by topic, you can browse them in the link up below.  Have fun!

Friday, March 7, 2014

My First Stitch Fix

Well, it's official.  I'm addicted to yet another online service.  As my husband said, "This is going to be dangerous."

I just got my first Stitch Fix which is a personal styling service.  They have an online portal where you tell them your style, size, and budget, and one of their stylists puts together a box of 5 items that are specially picked for you!  They charge you a $20 styling fee which is refunded to you in the form of a product discount if you make a purchase.  You can also get a 25% discount if you buy all 5 items.  If you happen to dislike anything, or the fit is wrong, send it back within 3 days in a free prepaid envelope and you will not be charged for it.

At first, I was a little nervous because I'm usually really particular about the fit and style of my clothes, but I must confess...I purchased everything!

I was so excited to come home from school today.  My husband texted me a picture while I was at school to show me my fix arrived.  As soon as I walked in the door, I dug right in.  When I opened the box, there was an envelope that contained styling cards that give me ideas of how I could wear each item.  For this fix, I asked my stylist to give me loose fitting blouses that I could either wear with leggings or under a cardigan.  I didn't get anything long enough for me to feel comfortable wearing it with leggings, but it didn't matter after I tried it all on.  Scroll on down to see everything I got!  The lighting in my house was horrible at this time of day, so the color of the tops don't look great when I'm modeling it, but I was able to get some good pictures of them on a hanger so you can see what they really look like.  :)

My first item was the McKenna Printed Button-Up Tank.  You can see the color is much better on the hanger, but I wanted to show you how it actually fits me.  I actually really like this, although my husband and mom both said it was their least favorite.  I really like that the fabric is thick and it would look nice as I wear it teaching in the warm months paired with capris, pants, or jeans on casual days.

The next item is this Roxanna Chevron Open Knit Cardigan.  I'm obsessed with chevron, so I was excited to see this!  What I really like about this is that the color is pink and white.  When I typically buy cardigans, they are gray, black, or white.  It's probably not the color that I would pick out on my own, but that's what I like most about it.

I love the pattern and color of this Camillia Floral Print Sleeveless Blouse.  It's so light and airy and I can imagine myself staying cool while I'm in my 2nd floor non-airconditioned classroom.  It could also be something I could wear in the fall with a cardigan on top.
I really like peasant tops, but I don't have one that looks quite like this.  The Garran Paisley Key-Hole Blouse has a print I wouldn't normally gravitate towards, but it's actually really pretty, especially up close.  I like all the different colors and I could wear a lot of different colored bracelets, necklaces, or shoes with it and it would just look great!

The last item in my box is this Judson Silk Layered Split Back Sweater.  When I took it out of the box, I instantly loved how soft it felt, but wasn't sure how it would look on me as it doesn't have much shape to it.  After I put it on, it instantly became my favorite piece, even if it was definitely way more expensive than the rest of the items in my box.  I told my stylist that I have really long arms and these sleeves are actually the perfect length for me.  It's just so soft and the split back is something that one wouldn't expect to see.  

Overall, I'm extremely happy with my first Stitch Fix!  I really recommend this service for anyone who either doesn't have time to shop, doesn't like to go shopping, or is just looking for something new that you wouldn't try on your own.  What is also great about it is that you can try on all the clothes from the comfort of your own home and you can get to see what it looks like with the rest of your wardrobe and accessories.   I would say that the quality of the clothes is what you might get at a Macy's or Dillards.   If you're interested in looking into it some more, you can visit the Stitch Fix Website Here to get some more information.  Of course, if you have any other questions about this, feel free to ask in the comments!

Monday, February 24, 2014

A Big Sale and Gift Card Giveaway!

Hi Friends... I hope this post finds you all well.  Did you hear the incredible news???

TPT is now 3,000,000 Teachers Strong!  WOW!!  What a milestone!  And the best part about this is that I am a little part of it.  I have found tons of amazing resources on TPT that I use in my classroom every day! I love creating resources for the teachers on TPT and for my own classroom.

Some of my good blogging buddies and I decided to get together and have a fun little giveaway to celebrate this huge milestone!  We will be giving away 4 TPT Gift Cards that are $25 EACH!  So...4 LUCKY winners will have a GREAT time having a fun little shopping spree over at TPT for the HUGE SALE!  The sale will take place on February 27th and 28th and most stores will be discounting items up to 20% off.  TpT also provides another 10% if you use coupon code TPT3 at check out.

Here is just a little bit about the four of us...and don't forget to complete the Rafflecopter at the end of the post and there might be a fun little FREEBIE there for you as well!  If you'd like to visit our TpT store, just click on our bios below!

So... Are you ready to try and win?  If so, complete the rafflecopter below and it may be your LUCKY DAY.  To make your day even LUCKIER... Below the Rafflecopter is a Fun little flip flap book FREEBIE for St. Patrick's Day!  Good Luck!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

And..here is your LUCKY FREEBIE....

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Close Reading Strategies

With the push for common core and the strive to have students dig deeper within a text.  Close reading requires the students to develop their own thinking while reading while learning to engage with the text in the process.  Specifically, the common core standards state that students must "read closely to determine what the text says explicitly and to make logical inferences from it; cite specific textual evidence when writing or speaking to support conclusions drawn from the text."

Over the past few months, I have been using close reading in my classroom almost daily and I've seen students improve significantly in the way they read.  So you might be asking....what is close reading?

  • Close reading involves the reading short passages - not whole texts.  In primary grades, short picture books may be used.
  • The text should be complex.
  • Students should read the passage multiple times for different purposes.
  • Questions should be text dependent and focus on vocabulary, details, text structure, inferencing, author's purpose, main idea, and forming opinions.
  • Students must interact with the text by coding it with various symbols that have meaning.

Now, there are various sources that give a specific sequence and structure that one should follow when doing close readings with your students, but I have adapted it just a bit to fit the needs in my classroom.  I have students in literature centers each day and am able to meet with every group for about 15 minutes.  During this time, five days a week, I work on close reading, and really, 15 minutes a day is all that my students really need to be successful.  

  • On the first day, the students set a purpose for reading.
  • I read the text aloud.  While I'm reading, students must interact with the text by marking it using the symbols I provided them.
  • Students briefly summarize the passage with a partner.
  • We complete one reading strategy page that relates with the text.

  • We preview the vocabulary activity page for the day.
  • The students reread the text with a partner.
  • While reading, students continue interacting with the text.  Perhaps they found a new vocabulary word they'd like to circle.
  • We complete the vocabulary page.  Students choose their own words to use.

  • We preview the comprehension questions for the passage.
  • Students read the passage on their own silently.  I encourage them to put a star (important information symbol) for answers they find while they are reading.
  • After reading on their own, students can easily go back in the text to find their stars and answer questions.
  • We discuss our answers as a group.

  • The students take a look at the activity page for the reading strategy they will focus on today.
  • We read as a group.  Students rotate reading paragraphs.
  • Depending on the nature of the page, students will fill it out on their own, with a partner, or we will discuss as a group.

  • The students take a look at the activity page for the reading strategy they will focus on today.
  • The students will whisper read the passage for the purpose we set.
  • Depending on the nature of the page, students will fill it out on their own, with a partner, or we will discuss as a group.
  • At the conclusion of the group meeting, students discuss how they liked the passage, questions they still have, connections they made, etc. 

Now, if you have 15 minutes a day to work with small groups, you can definitely use the model I suggested above.  If not, this works well as a whole-group activity as well. The first week I did close readings, I actually did it in place of morning work so I could model the process to the whole class.  This worked well, but I really like the nature of small groups so each child is able to contribute to the conversations we have.
Would you like to try close reading in your classroom?  I have this FREEBIE that you can download to test it with your students.  The free passage and five activities is part of a larger unit I have for sale in my TpT store.

I am currently selling monthly bundles of 4 texts that range from a 2nd-4th grade reading level.  Each text is paired with 5 pages for students to use to dig deeper.  You can find the monthly units HERE.  I am currently working on creating them for each month students are in school.  I hope to be finished soon!