Sunday, July 29, 2012

New Products!

Blogging and creating products is like eating Oreos, I can't stop at one!  I need to walk away from my computer, but I keep getting ideas and find myself saying, "Just one more..."  So now there are images from Boston for a classroom theme (pictures to follow shortly), and materials for teaching Westward Movement.  Feel free to check them out in Kara's Store, and be sure to look at the great beginning of the year activities and math vocabulary game in Jill's Store.  We hope you find them useful!  And now, I think I'll treat myself to an actual cookie and get off this computer!

Saturday, July 28, 2012


Products for the beginning of the year (free!) and explorers of North America are now available!  Just click on Kara's Store!  Enjoy!

"You must love having the summer off!"

I think that only other teachers can appreciate how "having the summer off" really just means we go to our classrooms in yoga pants, and with a bit of a tan.  While I appreciate the flexible schedule and ability to eat lunch at whatever time I feel, the summer is often anything but a "break."  I find myself always thinking about the upcoming year, students, and ways to reorganize my classroom.  Even when I want to shut my brain off I find ideas popping into my head (and sometimes I wish I could just ignore them!).  As a result, I've been revamping my beginning of the year activities and a unit of European Explorers.  Feel free to check them out under my products!  And now I'm going to try and turn off my brain and just enjoy watching the Olympics...though now that I think about it, wouldn't that be a great classroom theme?!


Tuesday, July 24, 2012


Check out my products at Jill’s Store.  I have a great math vocab product that is free.  Enjoy!  -Jill

A Rant and a Rave

I am certainly not one to complain, however, is it me or is it annoying that stores like Target and walgreens have school supply lists by grade level available to parents?  I spend a lot of time putting together a school supply list that A. meets the students’ needs and B. doesn’t cost parents an arm and a leg.  Sorry just had to vent a little!
    As I continue to “patiently” wait for my little one to arrive, I have had a chance to work on some school stuff.  Every year, my colleague and I put together a slide show for Back to School Night.  In the show, we talk about our policies and procedures, curriculum, and assessments.  Then we send home a copy of our Homework Policy, our Behavior Plan, our Bully Prevention Rules all individually to be reviewed, signed and returned.  Getting these slips back is like pulling teeth yet, we like the documentation of having them signed.  So, this year I decided a Grade 5 Handbook would cover all areas that need to be reviewed at home and the last page could simply state that it was read.  How easy!  If you are interested in seeing what our handbook looks like feel free to email me at  -Jill

Monday, July 16, 2012

Class Tour

Science Board- The Very Busy Scientist, look for unit on Simple Machines in Jill's teacher store coming soon.

Reading Board- Read, Read, what do You See?

Calendar Board- All in a Day, Classroom job signs, descriptions and Application for Employment will be found in Jill's teacher store with other back to school activities.

Homework Board- Without a Smart Board one has to get creative!  Electrical tape on a white board and there you have it!

LIT. Folders- I love, love, love these!  Take a regular pocket folder with prongs and a divider pocket with holes and attach.  Then label however you’d like.  Examples WIP- work in progress, done, fix and writing.  

Math Board- The Mixed Up Math Minds

Writing Board- The Very Hungry Writer, Use clothespins to keep track of things.  A great trick is to print the writing stages on cardstock and students move their clip as they move through the writing stages.  Also, have a purpose for writing poster with an arrow that moves with each purpose.

Summer Thoughts

School has not even been out a full month, and for some strange reason I am okay with school supplies filling the aisles of my favorite stores.  I remember the days where as a child, my best friend and I would trade some of our favorite pencils and erasers for fun.  My best score was one of those highlighters shaped like a triangle with 3 different colored markers tips! 
    This year is going to be a little different than years past.  I will be on maternity leave to start the school year.  As prepared and organized as I am, my nerves are still getting the best of me.  Routines in the upper elementary grades are just as important as in any other grade.  This control freak is hopeful that the correct routines and rules will be established from the beginning.  If not, I am going to have my work cut out for me when I return!
    This upcoming school year I wanted a classroom theme that was colorful and youthful, but not too primary for 5th graders.  I decided to work with Eric Carle, because really who doesn’t enjoy looking at a picture of his hungry caterpillar!  Enjoy some of the pictures of my classroom and feel free to send some more ideas this way! -Jill