Thursday, July 2, 2015

Create a Pal

When I attended the Nashville Teacher Blogger Meet-up in June, I met Lauren, a talented little lady from Polka Dots and Pals.  I learned about her cute Polka Dot Pals {how had I not heard of them?!!}. As soon as I got home, I knew I wanted Lauren to create a pal for me, and she did.  Isn't it so cute!?

A few weeks after I received my pal, Lauren told me that she was thinking of making a "Create-a-Pal" set, where people could design their own pals!  I was so happy to try the set out for her and see how user-friendly it was!  The directions were simple and clear.  It was so much fun playing around with all the pieces...took me back to my Color Forms and Paper Doll days!  Below is the girl I created...white skinny jeans and a tunic!  Hahaha!

Lauren's Create-a-Pal set will be available SOON {TOMORROW}!  In the meantime, head over to her blog and check it out!  


Wednesday, July 1, 2015

Word Books

During Writing Workshop, kids will often ask me how to spell tricky words, particularly proper nouns.  I typically teach my kids to stretch out tough words early on in the year, when we're working on narrative writing.  However, with proper nouns, I tend to assist them with the spelling.  In the past, I've just written the word on a sticky note or the white board.  This was temporarily effective; when the word came up again in a story another day, the sticky note was long gone and the board was erased.  I knew I wanted to create something simple that my kids could use to keep those "special" words members, places they visit frequently, friends, etc.  because I teach authentic writing and they write about those people and those places. 

I developed my Word Book as a simple solution.  To create the books, just print off a set per child. Print the cover on a colorful piece of card stock {card stock will help the books last all year}.  Bind the books together using a book binding machine, binder rings, or staples...whichever you have readily available.  I believe you can also have them bound at an office supply store, but you might pay a lot.  I got my binding machine from Amazon.  It's the one shown below.  It's a little tricky to have to slide the top handle across to punch the holes.  I was expecting it would have a lever or something to pull up and punch down like the one at my school does.  I'm sure this one was much less expensive than an industrial one.  

I am really excited to introduce these word books to my first graders in the fall.  If you want to take a look, click the cover below.

*This is included in my "Writing Workshop Resources" pack and also my "Writing Workshop Bundle."  If you have either of those, please head to TpT to re-download and grab this for free!  Links to both below to save you time!*


Monday, June 29, 2015

BOB Books: First Stories

Hi, friends!  If you have followed me for awhile, you know that I am a big fan of BOB Books!  BOB Books has such a sweet beginnings story.  The first books were handmade and inspired by two dolls purchased at a craft fair by Bobby Lynn Maslen.  She named her dolls Mat and Sam and created stories about them.  The stories were customized for each of her students.  Eventually, it became too time-consuming to create books for each student, so Bobby convinced her school to print copies. Word began to spread about Bobby's books and they grew and grew!  Children, parents, and teachers continue to enjoy BOB Books to this day.

I've had the opportunity to review a few different sets of BOB Books.  I like to use them in the following ways:
  • As a tool for my parent volunteers/tutors to use with students 
  • As an early finisher activity during Guided Reading
  • As books for students to select for their book baggies
Today I am reviewing the latest set of BOB Books, "First Stories."  The set includes 12, easy-to-read and funny stories.  Each book progresses through Guided Reading Levels A, B, and C...perfect for kindergartners or struggling firsties.  The progression is very developmentally appropriate and I am so excited to use this set with my kids!  

"First Stories" features one-syllable words and short vowels with corresponding illustrations for lots of decoding practice.  The set also comes with a card with helpful hints for teaching children to read. This card is especially helpful for parents who aren't sure how to help their child.  

If you haven't had a chance to check out BOB Books, I recommend that you do!  You can purchase BOB Books directly from their website.  You can also find them on Amazon, Scholastic, and in some retailers.

Saturday, June 27, 2015

Summer Fun Giveaway!

Hi, friends!  Today I am happy to share an awesome giveaway with you that my friends and I over at A Spark of Inspiration put together!  It's a summer fun prize pack and it's LOADED with lots of goodies!  I had so much fun shopping for all of these things!  Someone is going to be ONE LUCKY dog!  To enter, complete the Rafflecopter below.  Good luck!  *U.S. residents only.*

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Sunday, June 21, 2015

Capture Summer Camera Giveaway!

Hi everyone!  I hope you're having a great weekend so far!  I'm hoping this constant rain that we've been experiencing in Ohio will come to an end soon!  I have been out of school almost 3 weeks and haven't been to the pool once!  The only plus to all of this rain is that I've been super productive with my TpT products and around the house, and have been able to visit my friends and family a lot!

Today I am teaming up with some phenomenal bloggers and friends to give you a chance to win a Canon Rebel T5 camera, a matching lens, and a Jo Totes camera bag!  This would be a great win for just about anyone...blogger, photographer, or just for personal family/vacation use.  Isn't it awesome?!?!  What's even more exciting is that all you have to do to enter is complete the entries on the Rafflecopter below!  Want to check these gems out?  Click each image below.  Giveaway ends Sunday, June 28th at midnight.  Good luck!

a Rafflecopter giveaway


Friday, June 19, 2015

5 for Friday 6.19.15

Hi, friends!  It's time for another Five for Friday!  Thanks to Doodle Bugs Teaching for hosting again! 

Mr. Wheeler and I celebrated 9 years of marriage on Wednesday and his parents got us bikes!  We've been riding fools ever since!  Who knew bike riding could be so fun?!!?!

I updated ALL of my Writing Workshop covers!  They were due, as these are the first products I ever created in my TpT shop years ago.  I like how they turned out.  To view the Writing products I have, click the cover.
Speaking of TpT, I've been working on finishing my Growing Guided Reading Bundle.  I just finished up Level E.  I have 3 units to go!  If you are interested in checking this phenomenal resource out, click the cover!  *Units can be purchased individually if you don't want to get the bundle.*

So this one counts for 4 AND 5 because it's SUCH A BIG DEAL!!!!!!!!!!!!!  Long story short: I was supposted to get my braces off 5 weeks ago, but when I got there, the dr. said they "weren't quite ready" and he wanted me to wear a different rubber band combo.  So I was sad but I understood and left, with my new appointment being 3 weeks later.  It was for the day after the Nashville Blogger Meet-up.  I set my alarm for 7:00 am {appointment at 8:00}, got up and showered, and hit the road for the removal.  About halfway into my drive, the phone rang.  Here's how the convo. went down:

RECEPTIONIST: "Megan, this is dr. ___ office.  You missed your appointment."

ME: "What?  I am on my way right now.  It's 7:45."

RECEPTIONIST: "No, it's actually 8:45.  Your appointment was at 8:00."

ME: {Super confused at this point} "OMG.  My phone never switched back to Ohio time after our trip to Nashville.  What the heck?!"

RECEPTIONIST:  "I am so sorry.  We will have to re-schedule.  Unfortunately we can't get you in until July."

ME: {sobbing}  "How is this possible?!  Not until July?"

RECEPTIONIST: "Yes, no one ever cancels removals.  I am so sorry.  I will call you if anything would come up but it's highly unlikely."

ME: {still sobbing}.  "OK, thank you.  Goodbye."

So I drive home, hysterical, wake Mr. Wheeler up, and tell him what happened.  Seriously, Iphone? What's the deal?  Crushed.   Sidebar:  This is the 4th time I've had braces.  I am destined to have crooked teeth.  I am over all of the braces, retainers, rubber bands, etc, etc, etc!

A week later and I was ok with waiting until July.  It was out of my control.

Then yesterday, at 11:00 a.m.-------the phone rang.  It was the dr. office.  I KNEW IT HAD TO BE GOOD!  They had a removal cancel at 1:00 and would I take it??  DUH!  I couldn't even focus all day yesterday b/c I was so excited!  So I went, and 2 hours later, this was the end result:

Thrilled!  Have a great weekend!