Sunday, November 22, 2015

A Little Decorating Fun

Aloha friends! Where has the time gone?  It is literally flying by! It's already the end of November and I have so many things going on this week besides Thanksgiving!

This is just a quick post today to share with you a fun little item that I received from Chalk Ola.

This summer I painted my desk with chalkboard paint and it was quite a hit.  I found I could write on it with regular chalk, but it was pretty light and would wipe off.

Well I received an email from Chalk Ola asking me to review their wet wipe markers and write a review.  I am so glad I did.  My first project was decorating my desk for Halloween.

I kept it simple and it was easy to write with them.  I had to use water and a little bit of elbow grease to clean it off for my next project. It says you can use Windex too, but I didn't have any on hand.

This month I got a little more creative with this one.  My kids loved it and it got us into the Thanksgiving mode.  I had so much fun with them that I decided to bring them home and play around with them here.

My good friend Stacy over at Funky Fresh Firsties is quite the artist.  She wrote this on her classroom window.

So fun and easy to do.

I wanted to put something fun for my daughters up on our bathroom mirror.  I thought they would love this.

My youngest already walked in and went right back out to take a picture and send it to her friends. I think I'm going to enjoy changing it up every week!

I have two sizes that they sent me.  The Bullet Tip and a Jumbo size.

You can use them on any non-porous surface. If you are the artsy type and looking for something fun to use on your chalkboard you should definitely check these out!!

Saturday, October 17, 2015

Healthy Halloween Goodies

Aloha everyone! My Fall break ended quickly and I realized that there are only 2 weeks until Halloween!!

If you follow my blog then you know Halloween is one of my favorite holidays.  I love everything about it, including eating my favorite candy!

This is the worst part of Halloween for me.  I eat so much sugar especially at school and crash when I get home.

I have been really good about changing up my diet and not eating so much processed sugar.  In fact since doing the Whole30 diet in June I have kept up some really great habits and passed them onto my family.

I want to continue with this for my class party this year.  If I keep it a free for all I will be bombarded with sugary treats and that's not healthy for anyone.

So I found a few healthy, affordable and easy alternatives for our class Halloween party.

How cute and fun are these orange pumpkins?! 
Put out some Sharpies and have your students decorate their own!  

These String Cheese monsters are fun too,
and kids could again decorate their own!  

Another quick and easy idea that kids would love to make!

Pumpkin Quesadillas will be a hit with many of my students!!

These Banana Ghosts and Pumpkins are so fun and
I am sure will disappear very quickly!

Mummy Dogs are too cute!!
As a mom I would probably substitute with lower fat turkey dogs.  
I don't think the kids would notice.

I know many of my parents are busy like me and most of these snacks take some prep time.  I plan to even ask parents to send in healthy alternative snacks like veggie chips or popcorn.  

I was checking out one of my favorite sites, and found a great page for all kinds of healthy snacks.

I may or may not have loaded up my cart with lots of snacks for me and my girls!

I know many schools now days have rules about parties and not even allowing cupcakes for birthday parties.  Hopefully some of these ideas will help to create a fun and healthy Halloween in your classroom this year.  Check out my Pinterest page Kids Cooking for even more ideas!

Thursday, October 8, 2015

First Grade Morning Work

Aloha everyone!  I am on Fall Break right now and enjoying my down time.  My girls and I headed to Waikiki this week and enjoyed the beach, eating out and just messing around in general.  It's fun to be a tourist.  I never get tired of the amazing sunsets here.

Many of you know that Hawaii adopted the Reading Wonders series last year.  Our school didn't receive much training and last year I really just had to dive in and use what I thought was doable in my classroom.  

One thing that was a bit overwhelming was all the grammar, phonics and skills review they want you to cover each day.  I wasn't exactly sure how to fit it all in easily into the day.  I decided to create a morning work pack that covered each of the skills in the units.

It has turned out to be a huge success in my classroom and one of my best sellers!  Thank you all so much for all the great feedback.

I had many requests to create a 1st grade version.  I enlisted the help of some of my first grade buddies and came up with my first pack for Unit 1 Grade 1.

Each page has two days worth of skills.

You could copy them front to back or just cut them in half and make a weekly booklet.

The format is simple and repetitive.  With guided practice students should be able to complete it independently in about 15 minutes or less.

I am so glad I finally completed these.  I find that the first grade skills align well with 2nd grade.  I will be using this version with my Sped kids and my struggling readers to develop more confidence.

You can download the preview in my TpT shop for a free sample.  Morning Work Grade 1.

I hope this is helpful to you or someone you may know.  
I always love getting your feedback! Mahalo for stopping by.

Tuesday, September 29, 2015

Games To Teach Place Value

Aloha friends! Many of you know I am part of a collaborative blog called The Elementary Chalkboard (formerly known as the Primary Chalkboard).

I recently created a post on how I use different games to teach place value.

It has some fun simple games to help you teach this important skill.  Make sure to click on the picture above to head over and check it out!

Monday, September 28, 2015

Bouncy Bands

Aloha friends!  I hope the weekend is finding you well rested and ready for a new week.

This year, like most years, I have some wiggly boys who have an incredibly hard time focusing and finishing their work.  They are highly capable, but spend more time out of their seats getting drinks, going to the bathroom and wandering around the room.

I came across this site for Bouncy Bands and read all the information about this simple tool that could help my students stay seated and focused.

I spoke with Scott over at Bouncy Bands and he sent me a set for a 
chair and a desk to try out and review in my classroom.

They were super simple to install and I had them on each one in less than 5 minutes.

The rubber band is pretty thick and I can see that they are very well made and will hold up a long time.

When my kiddos came in the next day they immediately sat down and started bouncing their feet on the bands.  I didn't say anything, I just watched them play around with them at first.  

I then told them to get started on their morning work and they did as their feet kept wiggling the whole time.

I talked with them both later and I told them the bands were there to help them wiggle and move while they were working.  I wanted to see how they used them throughout the week.

On Friday I asked them if they liked the bands and they both said yes. I'm not sure they knew that the point of them was to keep them both in their seats, but I noticed they didn't get up as much as usual.  They also didn't tip their chairs like they always do. I don't think anything could keep either of them in their seats for a very long time, (maybe duct tape) but they were both definitely more focused!

The kids around them were a bit jealous and they all wanted to have bands on their chairs too.  I am planning to write a Donor's Choose project to get bands for all of my chairs.  The Bouncy Bands site has a sample application to make the process really simple.

They also have some great statistics on how the bands have helped teachers and students across the country.

139 Teachers and 686 K-12 students from throughout the U.S. completed online surveys asking them about their results with Bouncy Bands. 
  • 88% of students reported that Bouncy bands helped them focus in class.
  • 84% of students stated that Bouncy Bands made it easier to do their work.
  • 87% of students felt calmer when they took tests. 
  • 92% of teachers reported that Bouncy Bands help students release energy.
  • 76% of teachers stated that students using Bouncy Bands tend to stay on task longer. (17% didn't know)
  • 91% of teachers said that Bouncy Bands are quiet. (6% didn't know)
  • 71% of teachers reported that students using Bouncy Bands tend to be calmer when they take tests. (24% didn't know)
  • 87% of teachers stated that movement helps students focus better. (10% didn't know)

I would definitely suggest checking out their site and finding out if these little bands could help some of those active students in your classroom. ----> Bouncy Bands

If you decide to order you can use the code 15OFF to receive 15% off of your purchase for the next 7 days!

I'm looking forward to using these for the rest of the year and hoping to help my students get their wiggles out while they work!

Monday, September 21, 2015

Surfin' Through Second

Aloha friends!  I was just looking through some old blog posts and noticing how much I used to blog.  I shared so many things that were going on in my class and I seemed to have an endless amount of ideas to talk about.  My last post was exactly a month ago.  I have been so incredibly busy that I haven't even thought of blogging.  I really love to write and get my thoughts and ideas down. I have missed it.  So here is a summary of my school year so far.

My class started out pretty rough this year.  I had a lot of criers the first few weeks.  I usually have one, but we are talking 5!!

Seriously, the counselor was living in my classroom for those first few weeks.  I felt like crying a lot of the time too.

Our school also began the year with no principal.  Our last principal (who was awesome) transferred to a local high school and we were left with no one at the helm.  We held our own, like we always do and finally received a new admin the second week of school.

Let's just say we had a lot of changes and we were very overwhelmed with what was going down.
Morale has been low and many of us feel over worked and exhausted.  The fun beginning of the year feeling that I aways have had just hasn't been there.  To add to the mix I also have a lot of behavior issues this year.

I have the reputation for being calm and patient and great with boys who need a little more structure.  This is true to an extent, but it is wearing me down.

So with two weeks left until Fall break I am really working on staying positive, calm and happy in my classroom.

The balance here is that my personal life is wonderful!  I am spending more time with my daughters and we have such a close relationship right now as they head into their teen years.  I love talking with them and seeing how they are maturing into amazing young women! 

This summer right before school started my neighbor dragged me to a casting call for Hawaii 5-0.

She didn't want to go alone so I went with her.  There were hundreds of people there waiting in line and I just wanted to leave.  After a few hours I finally filled out the paper work, took pictures and got the heck out of there, lol.  Two weeks later they called me to be an extra!  What? Little 'Ole me out of all those people? It was so fun and I got to see McGarrett up close as I walked by him in my scene. I didn't mind when they yelled "cut" and "reset" ten times!  I will be in the season premiere this Friday! Last week I got another call from them and I will also be in Episode 6.

I have also been spending more time with friends, getting back out in the ocean and I have even started dating.   Honestly, I haven't been this happy in my personal life in quite awhile. 

Things in life are thrown at you for a reason.  It all unfolds and comes together into a bigger picture later on.  So I am holding strong and walking in my classroom every morning with a smile on my face and a positive attitude.  The waters may be rough right now, but soon it will be smooth sailing again.

Friday, August 21, 2015

Personalized Lesson Planners

Aloha everyone!  The end of summer is approaching and many of us are back in school.  I know that many of you don't start until after Labor Day!  (Jealous!)

Recently I have been getting many questions and emails on my Personalized Lesson planners.  Most people want to know how to set it up, how to print it and where to get it bound.  I decided to put together a post today so that all that information is on one place.

All of my planners are editable in Powerpoint.  Here is a video explaining how to open your file and set it up how you want.

After I get my planner together.  I print it out on my home printer.  I have this HP PhotoSmart 6515 printer that I bought from Costco for about $80.

It has a feature that allows me to print double sided copies.

When I select print this is what I see.  I check Two-Sided.  The preview shows me that the page is not to scale.  So I select Paper Size-US Letter.

I click on US Letter Borderless.  This will scale it to fit the paper with no white lines around it.

Now the preview shows me that the entire page will be printed without the white border around it.

The paper I used is a heavier weight paper than just regular Xerox paper.  It is a 24lb inkjet paper.

I got a ream for pretty cheap at Costco and I have also ordered it on

I print the whole thing and then I take the cover and the back and laminate them both.  I use my home laminator and trim the excess off.

 I take it to Office Max and have it spiral bound.  It costs $3.

I love my new planner and have gotten tons of compliments on it from my co-workers.
I have lots of designs to choose from in my TpT shop.

Hopefully this post will help you with all of your planner needs.  Now you're set to create your personal planner to get you ready for a fantastic new year.