Monday, July 15, 2024


Hey everyone!  Hope you are all having a fantastic summer.  It's hard to believe we are in July already.  Time is definitely flying!  

Today's post is all about a product that I recently had the opportunity to test out.  I am working with AnthroDesk US.  I was able to try out their AnthroDesk Sit to Stand Electric Standing Desk.  The AnthroDesk is just as it sounds...a versatile, electric desk that allows you to sit OR stand!  In today's world, it's easy to get sedentary...It seems as though we are all trying to become more active and get more movement in.  

Personally, a healthy lifestyle and movement are not only important to me; they are vital.  I suffer from Degenerative Disc Disease and Rheumatoid Arthritis.  I HAVE to keep moving to keep my body in good working condition.  Sitting for hours in front of a computer or tv is uncomfortable and painful. I love the versatility of the AnthroDesk.  I'm able to change positions frequently, with ease.

The AnthroDesk is adjustable, with the shortest height being 72 inches and the tallest height being 120 inches.  It can truly accommodate anyone!  The desk features up/down arrows, as well as 4 pre-set settings.  

The AnthroDesk gives me the option to lower the desk to use with my chair.  When I'm tired or uncomfortable from sitting, I can raise the desk up and stand.  I find that standing helps my posture, as well!  It's easy to slouch in a chair.  *Fun fact-I'm currently standing as I type this!  Placing a walking pad under the desk would be an excellent addition, and a way to get more movement in while working/browsing the internet.  Hello, healthy lifestyle!

The worktop of the desk is large (120x60),  providing plenty of room for a laptop/computer, and much more.  

My husband easily assembled the desk in approximately 20 minutes.  The desk was well-packaged.  All parts were included and the directions were simple to follow.  The desk came with two Allen wrenches.  In addition to those, my husband did need a Phillips screwdriver.  

The AnthroDesk would be perfect for an office or classroom.  I plan on taking mine to my classroom in the fall! 

If you're looking for a new desk for your office space and/or classroom, I highly recommend the AnthroDesk Sit to Stand Electric Standing Desk!  


I did receive this desk in exchange for an honest review.  All thoughts and opinions in this post are accurate, and my own.

Sunday, December 10, 2023

Inexpensive Student Gift Ideas

Good morning, friends!  We are knee-deep in all things HOLIDAY!  I'm wrapping up (literally) my Christmas to-do list this weekend.  On Friday, I stayed after school to assemble my kids' Christmas presents and I thought I'd share what I am giving this group of kids.  Each year, I try to think of something simple and thoughtful that doesn't break the bank.  Teachers spend enough on their classrooms/students throughout the year!  This year, I wanted my budget to be between $30-$40.  I was able to make that happen!  

Scholastic Book: "How to Catch a Gingerbread Man"--I used my bonus points, which I save throughout the year to get these for free.

Pencils and Erasers: Purchased two sets of each from The Dollar Tree.

Gingerbread Erasers: These were leftover from a Kindergarten Crate subscription.

Snowman Soup Hot Chocolate Bags: Purchased a bulk box of Swiss Miss from Costco last year and had plenty extra for this year's class, as well.  Marshmallows were around $1.50.  I only needed one bag.  Mini candy canes were around $3.00.  You can find free labels on TPT; just search "Snowman Soup Tags."

Christmas Plush: Grabbed these at The Dollar Tree.  My teammate gave them to her students last year and I thought they were so cute.  At $1.25 each x 20, they were my biggest expense.

Poly Mailers: Many years ago, I stopped wrapping presents for my students.  I got the poly mailer idea off of Instagram (from A Teeny Tiny Teacher) and never looked back.  I buy these in bulk every few years.  Grab yourself some HERE and enjoy the convivence of this!  

In years past, I've done Holiday Tic-Tac-Toe Boards with holiday mini erasers as the game pieces.  I've also given homemade crayons, trinket/treat bags, coloring books, personalized bookmarks, and personalized, homemade dry erase boards.  

Please know that whatever you decide to give your students, they will love!!



Monday, November 6, 2023

Election Day

Tomorrow is Election Day!  While we obviously aren't voting for a president this year, it's still great to teach children about the election process.  Below are a few activities I've done over the years.  The kids always have a blast with them! 

Picture books are a fantastic way to teach kids about elections.  Below are a few of my favorites.  You can check out all of my favorite picture books by clicking HERE (affiliate link).

Having mock elections are a MUST!  I set up a ballot box and we "vote" on all sorts of things...foods, animals, sports, etc..

Using mini-books in the classroom to teach about special days is a favorite.  With kid-friendly language, and pictures, it makes learning about holidays and special days simple for kids.

We usually watch "You're Not Elected, Charlie Brown" at the end of the day to wrap up the day's learning!  Grab it HERE (affiliate link).  

Click HERE (or the cover picture below) to grab all of the above Election Day activities!  Have fun!


Sunday, October 29, 2023

Classroom Tour 2023-2024

Hello, friends!  It's been a while.  Life has been going and the blog has taken a backseat.  Hopefully you are following me over on Instagram (@mrswheeler44), where I share a lot.  

Today's post is a wee bit late, but here it is-a tour of my classroom for the 23-24 school year.  I've tried to link things you may be interested in.  *Anything that is in bold font is linked to something.  As always, if you see something you'd like more information about, please email me at or send me a DM on Instagram!

First up are two "before" photos.  I always snap some of these the first time I walk into my classroom after summer break.  Sidebar--that first walk-through feeling is so great, isn't it?  I just love the feeling of newness and a fresh start.  

My animals are freshly washed and in position to welcome a new group of students!  I wash them each summer (because DUST).  I take them home in garbage bags and place them into garment bags.  I wash on warm and gentle and then air dry them in the laundry room or outside.  Most of these are from Kohls, Barnes and Noble, or Amazon.  I've been collecting them over the past 20+ years.  I began collecting during student teaching.

Here's our shoe-tying area.  I love how I have it set up this year.  Students can visit it to practice.  As students learn to tie, they get to put their name on a shoe cutout (shown below) and I tape it on the wall.  Currently, we have about 6 students who can tie!  The rest are eager to learn and have been practicing!  Click HERE to grab my shoe-tying pack.  Grab the wooden shoe HERE.  

I never open my classroom library right away because I have to teach my students all the things regarding use.  In the meantime, I request a teacher collection at the library (back to school theme) and have those books on hand in bins for students to browse as they finish assignments.

These are my skill tubs.  I sort my materials by skill.  That way, when we are working on something, I can grab all of my activities that coincide.  It makes finding things SO easy.  I have done this for probably 15 years and can't imagine organizing any other way.  *I don't include holiday activities in these bins--read why down below!  Grab the editable skill tub labels HERE.  

My holiday-themed activities are located in these file box bins.  Inside are hanging file folders labeled with holidays or themes.  When a holiday or special time of year approaches, I check my bin and pull out what I have.  This makes finding things so simple!  The labels I use are linked for you HERE.

Here is our classroom library.  I sort books by theme, so students can browse by their interest.  Grab the labels HERE.  Read about how my students use the library by clicking HERE.  

This is our SEL area.  We use the PATHS program.  We are also a PBIS school.  My sticker chart is something I use for PBIS.  Students earn blue tickets for good behavior, being responsible, respectful, etc...On Friday, they trade their tickets in for stickers, candy, trinkets, mechanical pencils, erasers, or a larger prize (visit an old teacher, etc...).

Here is my Math area.  The giant number grid is from TPT and at the moment I can't think of who made it.  I've had it for many years now.  I do know she is a kindergarten teacher.  The Math strategies poster is linked HERE.  


This is the front board.  Grab my birthday straw printables HERE and my noise-level visuals HEREI would die without the noise level lights.  They have been so great over the past few years.

I'm a quick and easy hallway decor kinda gal.  This welcome back sign is available HERE.

That's it!  Hope you enjoyed my tour.  Hope to see you back next week for all things back to school!

Wednesday, August 9, 2023

10 Tips for Using the Fundations Phonics Curriculum

Hey everyone!  Today's post is to share a few tips and tricks that I've implemented while using the Fundations Phonics program over the past 7 years.  While I LOVE the program, its components and materials can be very overwhelming for someone just starting it.  I hope this post is helpful.  

TIP #1: Dry Erase Bags

Your students will be using dry erase markers and erasers almost daily.  You'll want to think about where they will store those items.  I decided on these zipper bags a few years ago and I'll never go back.  I used number labels from Just a Primary Girl.  I laminated the numbers, hole punched them, and attached them with small binder rings.  Inside the bags are these erasers and one EXPO marker.  The erasers, bags, and markers are all numbered.  I'm not a huge fan of numbers, but for times sake, numbering these materials was much faster than names.  Find a marker on the floor?  Who is number ___?  Find a pouch on the floor?  Who is number ___? 

In addition to daily practice for Fundations, we also use our dry erase materials for our Math curriculum, Illustrative Math.  Having the pouches makes carrying these supplies around the room a breeze!


Fundations takes a multi-sensory approach to teaching Phonics.  Magnet boards are a big component of this.  Our TITLE I dept. created these cookie sheet magnet boards vs. purchasing the Fundations mats.  This is a good thing, I've heard, because the mats that come with the program don't hold up.  You want to get cookie sheets large enough to fit all of magnets, as well as ones that provide a little space for building a word).  Storage for these cookie sheets is simple: stack them in a central location in your classroom.


If you're familiar with Fundations, you know that there are one million magnet tiles!  Hahaha!  Seriously, there are a lot of magnets.  Distributing and collecting them can be daunting.  Grab a box like this one and sort your magnets.  This makes the process so much smoother.  


You'll want to find space for an interactive word wall and/or sound wall.  Both of these walls are huge and take up a lot of space, so it may be a challenge.  These walls are not decorative; you should be referring to them and your students should be using them daily.

My mom evenly spaced this beautiful trick words wall for me 7 years ago, and you best believe its never coming down!  Haha!  Wall space is very limited in my classroom, so this huge bulletin board serves as my word wall.  I start the year with all of the Level 1 trick words up.  As I introduce them, they are flagged with a colored sticky tab.  I use different colors to help students find the words (This is an old picture from the first year, and I used all green for some reason).  


In addition to the word/sound wall, you'll need space for supplemental posters.  Fundations provides posters but they are GIGANTIC.  HUGE.  If you have enough wall space to display these posters, you get a round of applause!  As mentioned above, I don't have much wall space (praise to all the cabinets), so I created a few smaller versions of the posters to display.  

I will say that when I'm first introducing a new concept, I do get out the giant poster and keep it up for a few days, but there is no possible way it can stay out all year long.


Fundations is a fantastic program, but it can be a bit dry.  I absolutely love supplementing with products that align to the skills I'm teaching.  Check out my favorite supplemental activities HERE.


Fundations introduces new skills throughout the entire year.  While each skills is taught explicitly and systematically, cumulatively, it can be a lot for beginning readers.  

Providing a "center" or "work station" time for students to practice skills that have been taught helps them retain the information.  Students LOVE working in small groups with their peers!  During this time, I pull a group to my table to work on orthographic mapping and beginning Phonics/Phonemic Awareness skills.

To check out my top-selling, Level 1 Fundations game and activity pack, click the cover below.


Within most units of Fundaitons, there is a "story" included.  The stories contain previously taught trick words and word patterns.  They are supposed to be used to practice decoding and fluency.  To me, reading the story once or twice throughout the unit wasn't enough, so I created fluency folders.

To make the folders, grab a class set of 3-prong folders.  Place sheet protectors inside of each (one per story).  As a story is introduced, students mark it up and put it inside a sleeve.  As the year progresses, students add more and more stories.  

We love going back and practicing fluency with old stories.  We also love partner practicing our stories!  I use the stories as a quick check for oral reading and take notes of how each child does with each story as they are introduced.


As mentioned above, the trick word wall should be interactive and you and your students should be referring to it daily.  One way I like to do this is by giving kids their own copies of the word wall.

Inside the fluency folders, I place one extra sheet protector.  I place an individual copy of our trick word wall in it.  As a new trick word is introduced, we color it with a yellow crayon.  Students use their folder/personal word wall daily, during dry erase practice and during assessments.  


This post may have overwhelmed you, so my final tip is to choose one or two things to implement for the upcoming school year!  Personally, I gradually incorporated the above tips throughout my seven years teaching the program.  Problems arose and I came up with solutions.

I hope this post was helpful!  Feel free to email me at with any additional Fundations questions!