Valentine's Day in the classroom with Oriental Trading Company!

 I love shopping at Oriental Trading Company !  It really is my go-to place for FUN inspiration!  If you're a regular reader you know that I've written about them before (1st Birthday, Christmas) and today I wanted to tell you all a little bit about what Oriental Trading Company has to offer you for Valentine's Day.  They have so much awesome and affordable Valentine's Day related products!  They have everything you could possibly need to celebrate the holiday- decorations, crafts, candy, toys, party supplies, and of course, valentines. I regularly shop at Oriental Trading Company for so many different things that I use at school and at home!

Oriental Trading Company is the nation's largest direct merchant of value-priced party supplies, arts and crafts, toys and novelties, and a leading provider of school supplies and affordable home d├ęcor and gift ware.  They serve tons of customers through colorful catalogs and the Internet and offer more than 40,000 products to meet the needs of all kinds of businesses, not-for-profit organizations, individuals, schools, churches and teachers.

Oriental Trading Company sent me several items for review to use with my students this Valentine's Day.  Even though, nowadays, there is little time in the classroom for crafts, we still do get to do a little celebration for Valentine's Day (although it does help that it's on a Friday this year).  One of the main thing that my kiddos need for Valentine's Day is a place to put all of their valentines to each other.  I chose the Owl Valentine Box Card Holder Craft Kit for my students to make this year.  I just couldn't pass up how cute these are!  

One thing I love about crafts from the Oriental Trading Company is that each one come individually pre-packaged with all of the pieces, which makes it super easy to prepare for each student.  Plus, a lot of their foam crafts come with self adhesive pieces.  So much easier than that messy Elmer's glue!  Only the wings needs to be glued separately.  Hot glue or even those glue dots would work really easily to stick those one.


Each owl craft came with a sturdy bag for collecting valentines that measures approx. 6" x 2 1/2" x 8 1/2".  I know my kiddos are going to love making these to collect all of their valentines this year!

 I also got some fun Valentine's Day owl and monster pencils to pass out as treats and these super cute valentine bear sucker covers to cuten up even more treats!

Last, but not least, I received these Valentine Monster Sticker Scenes.

These are seriously fun and adorable!  They are the size of a regular sheet of paper (8.5x11).  These packs come with 3 sheets of four different monster design backgrounds and 12 sticker sheets so the kiddos can design their own monsters.  The stickers are even repositionable and acid free.  I am positive my students are absolutely going to adore having fun designing with these!  You can see my example below. :)

Hope you got a few fun Valentine's Day ideas!  

Disclosure: I received free samples in exchange for my honest opinion.

Five for Friday (on Saturday)!


Today I'm linking up with Doodle Bugs Teaching for 5 for Friday!


We continued our work on poetry this week.  We really got into discussing how rhyme, alliteration, repetition, and onomatopoeia can help show meaning and provide rhythm.  I used this anchor chart (which I found on pinterest!) for my kiddos to keep referring back to.

   We read Shel Silverstein's Picture Puzzle Pieces and dove into alliteration and what it is.  The kiddos made some name alliteration (Cutie Kim cuts cabbage.)  I was totally not remembering to take pictures this week, so I apologize.  They really loved this activity though!

We had a Teacher Planning Day on Friday, so I actually got to spend some time working with my partner and organizing our classroom space.  Boy, did we need to do that!  We moved the kiddos desks for new groups, organized some new literacy centers, organized ALL of our guided reading books and teacher time spaces, plus got all the grades ready for report cards!  At least knowing that that is all done makes going to work on Tuesday a lot easier. 

This week we worked a little more on our math centers.  We used my Winter Story Problem task cards and one of the activities from my Pirate Measurement Adventure.   I also introduced regrouping with addition.  What are some of your favorite regrouping centers?

I spent a little time today time today working on a couple of different TpT products.  I finished one- a special FREEBIE for all of you all!  

Here's a little practice with addition and subtraction math facts:


Spent a little family time today walking through a local preserve.  It was definitely a chilly Florida morning, but a great sunny day to be outside!


Erin Condren Designs Life Planner Review & Giveaway!

It's a New Year and a new you and, of course, that means a new planner people! So, where else could I look for my new planner than!  

 If you've never visited Erin Condren Designs than you are seriously missing out.  Ring in the new year and get personalized, stylized, and organized!  Erin Condren Designs offers everything from  invitations, address labels, gift labels, custom business cards, life planners, lesson plan books and even acrylic designs and they can all be customizable to fit YOU! Her designs are so amazing and colorful- I mean just visiting the website cheers me up! 

Here's a little sample of what you can find there:

I recently saw a review of her life planner on another blog and I was so smitten.  I knew I had to have one for the new year!  I thought about ordering a lesson plan book, but since I now do most of my planning online and typed up on the computer I knew I would get far more use from a life planner. generously sent me a $25 gift code to help offset the cost of my planner for my review.  After a long time narrowing down the decision I decided to order the 2014 Classic Life Planner in Fleur Feliz- Rainbow.  I personalized my planner with my name at the bottom and I love how it turned out!

These life planners aren't cheap- you can expect to pay around $50 or more depending on the style and extra options you choose.  But, they say you get what you pay for and that's definitely true with this Erin Condren planner.  The 2014 Life Planner is loaded with tons of special extras you will love!  First of all, the cover is heavy duty laminated for protection from everyday wear and tear because you know you're going to want to carry this stylish planner everywhere!

Throughout the planner you'll find fun inspirational quotes to keep you going each day.

The monthly tabs are also laminated for extra durability.

There's two page monthly spreads, as well as to-do lists and goals space for every week and month.  The weekly spread pages are divided into morning, day, and night to help keep you extra organized.  There's even a meal/exercise/lists/etc. section for highlighting daily notes & activities.

All of the extras include a snap in page holder that doubles as a ruler, 20 pages of lined and designer blank pages for notes in the back, 2 pages to keep important numbers and contacts and  240 colorful stickers to help you highlight and keep track of birthdays, appointments, and special events.

There's even some pockets and a zip lock pocket with 12 extra gift labels.

Your planner is even sent to you beautifully packaged with some fun complimentary extras.  Who doesn't love that?

I love the design of my planner so much I even ordered some notebook notepads to match. :)

I'm in total love with my new planner! Anything from Erin Condren would make such an excellent gift!
I'm already thinking of what to order my sister for her next birthday.
And I may be thinking about what to order for my next birthday too!  

You can connect with Erin Condren on Facebook, Pinterest, and Twitter.
Visit their website to shop for yourself.

Erin Condren Designs is going to help one of you get personalized, stylized, and organized this year!
Enter to win a $25 gift code to shop at!

Giveaway is open to US only and ends 1/29 at 11:59 p.m.  Good Luck!

*Disclosure:  I received a gift code to help with part of the cost of my life planner in exchange for a review of my honest opinion.


Poetry, some freebies, and my latest products!

Hi everyone!  Boy, has it been kinda hard getting back into the groove this week! 

We started our Poetry unit on Monday when we started back to school and I thought I'd share a little about what we are doing.  On Monday, we discussed what we thought of when we thought of the word poetry and how we thought poetry was different than other things we read.  Then, we listened to three different poems about rain that are in our Houghton Mifflin reading series and discussed our visualizations while listening and the descriptive language used in the poems.  

Later on, we read and discussed all the poems in our genre study from our Reading books and made an anchor chart about different poetry characteristics based on this one I found on Pinterest.  (Gotta love Pinterest!)

Wednesday, I used one of the graphic organizers from my Reading Literature Graphic Organizers Pack and read a poem from one of my favorite poetry books, Giant Children.  

After reading the poem, we discussed the beats, rhymes, and if there was any alliteration or repeated lines.  Then, we charted them on the graphic organizer.  I actually numbered each box and then numbered the lines to tell what was important about those words or phrases.  Then, each pair of partners got a poetry book and chose a poem to read together and recorded the special words and phrases in the poem on their graphic organizers.  

They did pretty well, but I plan on practicing this more with different types of poems and giving them more independent practice as well.  

You can find a really similar graphic organizer to the one I used in my freebie sampler pack.

I also just downloaded this awesome freebie from Tamara from Mrs. Russell's Room!  (If you haven't checked her blog she has some fabulous ideas!) These January poems will be fantastic to use next week as we continue discussing poetry in my classroom.

On another note, I wanted to tell you all a little about some of my latest products.  If you follow me on Facebook, then you may have seen them.  (I like to either have a giveaway or offer my newest products for free for a limited time for my awesome fans!  So, if you don't "like" me on Facebook yet you should!)

My Winter Story Problem Task Cards are perfect for centers or just for use in class for your kids.  It includes 2 sets of addition and subtraction story problem task cards. Each set contains 12 story problems and a recording sheet. One set includes problems with and without regrouping. The second set include identical stories, but no regrouping- great for differentiation! 

My February Math Worksheet Pack is out now too, so you can get ready for Valentine's Day early.  I have a 1st Grade and 2nd Grade set available.  These are great for review and practicing skills and are aligned to Common Core standards! 

And now I leave you with an adorable picture that shows the love of reading in our family!  My brother, Uncle B, reading to my little guy.  So cute!


January Currently

Happy New Year Friends!

Today I'm linking up with Oh' Boy 4th Grade for January Currently...

These are all pretty self explanatory!  I'm hoping to share a little bit about how I get my math centers going once school starts in January, so be on the look out for that later!  I don't know about you all, but I am not ready to head back to school on January 6th!  But, this year my one word is going to be "RELAX" because that's exactly what I need to do!  I'm a worrier and I'm sick of spending my time worrying about needless things.  I'm sure a lot of you out there know exactly what I mean!

To help you all get ready to go back my store will be on sale 15% off Thursday and Friday! 

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