Saturday, June 29, 2013

Time for a One Day Sale!

I can NOT believe we are at the end of June already!  Back to work in July for me.  In fact, I spent all day Friday in my classroom moving furniture back to the right spot and unpacking totes.  I have to say that the floors look nice and shiny {and bright orange} after their summer waxing.  We officially start back on July 29th but I'll be busy jumping from workshop to workshop in the weeks leading up to our grand return.

What better way to commemorate the end of June than with a one day sale?  My friends and I will have our stores on sale for June 30th only to help you get a head start on your back to school purchases.  I'll be shopping too.  Time to dust off the laminator!

Click the button below or {here} to head on over and snag some goodies for 20% off.

Make sure to check out these stores as well!

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Mathematical Practice Standards {Free}

I've been attending full day trainings all week and I have been totally worn out.  It feels like the first week of school again!  I'm not going to lie...I've come home and taken a nap every day this week!

All of this training reminded me of an in-service I did back in February.  I was re-delivering information on Common Core Math Practice Standards and ELA Shifts.  I created a poster of the Mathematical Practice Standards in kid-friendly language and I don't believe I ever got around to sharing it here. So sorry!  I attended a TNCORE training last year in Nashville and the idea of representing each standard with a community helper was shared with me.  It makes them easier to understand and remember!

Grab your freebie {here} so you can display these standards in your own classroom for reference.  The small pocket charts from the Target Dollar Spot work perfectly!

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

New Teacher Tips!

I'm linking up with Freebie-licious for week 2 of their summer linky party!

I keep waiting for the moment when I will feel totally prepared for the beginning of the year.  I don't think that is ever going to really happen.  I'm sure teachers that have been teaching for.e.ver will tell you that they still get anxious at the beginning of the year!  It seems like we are alway wanting to rework something or implement something new.

I'm one of those teachers that plans all year round (no, I am not at a year-round school) and I am always looking for a better, more efficient way of organizing or teaching something.  Have you seen my Pinterest boards?  I'm pinning ideas constantly to them!  I am definitely no expert when it comes to setting up a classroom or creating classroom routines but I do have a few words of wisdom when it comes to classroom success.

1. Let your students interact with each other!

An old professor once told me that a noisy classroom was a sign of an excellent learning environment.  It took a little while for me to understand this but I totally get it now.  My room is definitely alive.  At any point during the day you can walk in and see children engaged.  Of course, you have to have some down time, but my kids spend a lot of time collaborating and working in groups.  Give them a task and let them talk it out.   It is amazing how much they can learn from each other!

2. Play some tunes!  

I LOVE using music for everything.  My kids will tell you that I sing constantly.  Truth be told, I'm not a very good singer.  My kids think I have a lovely voice, though, and it sure gets their attention! I like to make up my own little jingles that fit whatever is happening at the moment.

Here's what we use for transition music:
You can view my previous post {here} for details on this and the songs I use.

Here is my favorite "let's get motivated" CD:
{Click to view on Amazon}

3. Relate it to real life!

I know this is nothing new but I have found that my kids always get a better understanding of whatever it is I am teaching when I relate it to them and real life.  I love to use realistic images and videos to teach concepts.

Here is what I use for my alphabet that is posted above my board.  There are so many cutesy patterns these days that really tempt me {hello! chevron!} but I'm sticking with my environment print because my students really connect to it.

Click {here} for a previous post with freebies.

Not only is this a Common Core skill but it makes learning shapes fun! :)

Grab a free activity in the preview file {here}!

I hope these 3 little tips were helpful to someone.  :)


Friday, June 14, 2013

Are you one of the people I'm looking for??

Happy Friday!  I absolutely LOVE reading all of the feedback I receive on TpT products! When I saw Christina Bainbridge's feedback linky I knew I wanted to join in!

I randomly chose 2 people who left feedback that was really helpful to me.  If one of these sweet friends is you...please e-mail me at mary.lirette(at)  I would like to send you an item of your choice from my store for FREE!

Thanks to everyone for leaving feedback for me!  I plan to join Christina on the 2nd Friday of every month so look for more feedback winners in July.  Don't forget that you earn points towards future purchases when you leave feedback on any of your purchases (even if it was from a while ago!).  :)

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Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Awesome Website for the Classroom or Home Practice!

I am so excited to share this with you!  I came across a new site that is absolutely fabulous!  It is called Recess Room and has a multitude of math and reading games for various skills!

I'm linking up with Tessa from Tales from Outside the Classroom to help spread the word about this site.

I have actually been in contact with the creator of this site.  He is super nice and down-to-earth.  He is an elementary school teacher who creates and codes these games in his spare time.  They are all educational and FREE to play!

He just added a new Tic-Math-Toe math fact game this week!  {AND he was kind enough to cater to little folks too so you can choose a grade level K-5!}
Oh, and it is for 1 or 2 players.  If you are by yourself you can play against the computer.  Or you can make it a partner game.  How fun would this be as a math center? Love it.

Here are a few more of the games he has available- don't forget they are all free!

You can check out all of these games as well as the many others he has available for play {here}.
I'm sure he will be steadily adding more games!

I can't wait to use this as part of my math block this year.  I'm thinking whole group on the Promethean Board, partner practice, enrichment....  :)

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

End of the Year Luau Party (Sniff, Sniff)

A sweet Mom of one of my students posted a few pics from the last day of school on our class Shutterfly site.  Things were so crazy on that last day (it was a 1/2 day that consisted of recess and a party!) that I didn't even get a chance to take any pictures of my own.  I totally teared up looking at all those sweet faces again.  It has only been a couple of weeks but I miss them all terribly!

I thought I'd share some of the pictures with you.  I'm linking up with Mel D of Seusstastic Classroom Inspirations and Freebie-licious.

My parents wanted to totally be in control of this party themselves which was fabulous considering it was the last day and I was already stressed, overwhelmed, and emotional. (Every teacher is on the last day, right?)  They sent the kiddos and me outside for a morning recess while they set up our classroom luau style.  As my kids re-entered they gave them leis and hair clips.  Too cute!

We started with an assembly line of beach ball signing.
Then the kids got a little energy out with some sack racing and a hula hoop contest.
Next it was kids-gone-wild with shaving cream.  Actually, they were pretty tame considering I've drilled the rules for shaving cream into their little heads all year.  One of the moms wrote "Have a great summer!" across the tables in the shaving cream and the kids went for it.  I wasn't too opposed since it was the last day and they were helping me get a head start with the table cleaning.  :)
After eating pizza we chowed down on this beautiful cake.  I wish you could see my kid's little faces underneath those yellow smileys...but...
In the last few minutes before dismissal my kids actually begged me to read one more story to them.  Bless them!

I love all those little learning detectives!

Monday, June 10, 2013

It Really Works!

First of all I need to begin by confessing that I have been using this pencil sharpener all year....and am just now posting about it.  The fact that I'm writing about it months after I received it for a review should tell you that (I'm obviously a horrible procrastinator) I love this thing immensly!

I keep my extra pencils for small group in a straw dispenser on my guided reading table.  Here's a rather embarrassing picture of last month's stock of pencils:

Gross, right?  I ditched the whole lot and started fresh.    
(I usually have to do this once a month or so.)  I used to spend half an hour huddled over my classroom pencil sharpener to get all of the pencils nice and sharp.  Ugh. But check this out:

In half the time I have perfectly sharpened pencils that ended up nice and sharp the first time!  None of that breaking the tip stuff to try again like I used to have to do.  :)

Here's what I love about this thing:
1) It is really quiet!
2) It is small so you can move it around as needed and put it pretty much anywhere!
3) It gives the sharpest points I have ever seen on a pencil!
4) It was created by a teacher for teachers!

Here's another confession.  I have always been the type of teacher who prefers to sharpen all of the pencils myself.  I have a hard time letting the kiddos use my sharpeners...they end up broken!  I did use this new sharpener exclusively until about 2 months ago when I finally relinquished control and allowed my kids to use it.  Guess what?  The kids loved it too and it still works! :)

Thanks to Troy, the owner of Classroom Friendly Supplies, for sending me this pencil sharpener to review (and for waiting patiently for me to post about it- so sorry!)

If you haven't checked it out yet I highly recommend it!  You can learn more about it, watch videos, and order your own at!

Sunday, June 9, 2013

End of the Year Student Portraits! {Parent Gift Idea!}

Hi everyone...I'm back! :)  I've been out of school for 2 weeks and just got back from a family vacation.  I've been meaning to post pictures of the portraits my kids did last month.  My school's kindergarten has been doing these for years as Mother's Day gifts in the spring.  They always turn out adorable!

We start by having each kid paint a canvas a solid color of their choice.  Then, after several practice rounds, we have the kids draw themselves on a piece of skin-toned cardstock.  It is important that you teach the kids that all of their body must show thickness.  No stick arms or fingers!  Let your kids color themselves using sharpie markers.  I suggest doing this in small groups so you can help them.  I like to go over the sharpie and fill in any areas needed and outline in black.  Next, we cut them out (teachers, assistants, volunteers- not the kids!) and we Mod-Podge them on to the canvases.  Put a coat of Mod-Podge over the entire thing and it makes it look like their is a sealant over it.  After they are dry we wrap them up in colored butcher paper and add a bow.  Beautiful.  I must admit, I was nervous about a few of mine that just couldn't get their bodies looking proportionate in any way, shape, or form...but their pictures turned out super cute just like all the rest.  Everyone's was unique.  :)

What do you think?