Did Anyone Happen to Notice??

Sunday, August 26, 2012
Look who appeared in the TpT newsletter!! What a smile I woke up to :) BTW thanks to each and everyone of you that has downloaded freebies and/or purchased items and left feedback! My ratings are increasing and it's all thanks to each and everyone of you!

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Friday, August 10, 2012
May I just tell you how excited  I am for this post!? I absolutely love Cynthia and her adorable blog!! If you don't already head on over there and check her cutsie self out!! 

Hi Everyone!
I'm so excited to be guest blogging for Jessica today. Her blog is one of my favorite reads!
Let me introduce myself...
I am Cynthia Vautrot (pronounced Vo-tro...long o sounds).  I am a veteran teacher beginning my 24th year.  I have taught kindergarten, first, and second grade.  My heart will probably always belong to kindergarten, but my body and stamina does much better in 2nd grade!  lol
Welcome to 2nd Grade Pad
Today, I have decided to condense my summer series that I did on my blog.  I'm sure there are many of you that did not read these (or at least not all).  I felt that it's a timely topic since it is back-to-school time for most of us.

In my many years of experience, I have always found the beginning of the school year to be the busiest and most tiring part of the year.  My motto is "Work Smarter, Not Harder."

I hope some of these ideas will help you to do the same:

1)  Map out your "Year at a Glance."  Click on the below picture to get yours for free.  It is in Word so that you can edit it to fit your needs.

2)  This one won't take you but a couple of hours TOPS and will put you so far ahead of the game. Whether you do your lesson plans on the computer or you write them by hand, simply going ahead and filling in all the weekly dates, special days, holidays etc. will make it so much easier when it comes time to do those mundane type of things.  If you teach special themes add those into the months you teach. ANYTHING you add now, will be that much less during the busy school year. 
3)  Utilize 3-ring binders.  I'm sure you have a few extra in your classroom!  ;-) 
I have four binders labeled Q1, Q2, Q3, & Q4.  Inside each of these notebooks, I have the months listed and the standards taught that month.   When I print a worksheet, lesson plan, activity, etc.  I save the original.  (Be sure you use a YELLOW highlighter and write ORIGINAL across it.  When copying the yellow does not show.)  Place in the correct place in your notebook.  You can even use a pencil and write yourself notes on the back if needed.  The next school year, you have these at your fingertips.  Just take out of the binder, place in your "to copy" folder and you are ready to go.
Click on the picture to download some binder covers for FREE!
4) Using a Shared Folder - If your school doesn’t utilize a shared folder, consult with your tech person about placing one on everyone’s desktop. Now, let me stop and clarify right here, that shared folder and tech person are as savy as I get. I so wish I knew more about computers, but alas, I do NOT! All I know is that we have one placed on each teacher’s desktop of the teacher computer. In this folder, our morning announcements (which are videotaped by the students) is placed so that we all have access each morning. In addition to that, our 2ndgrade level has a shared folder. In it we place our lesson plans, ideas, websites, etc. so that we all have a chance to utilize the wonderful ideas we have. If your school is like mine, good intentions fall by the wayside, when you don’t have enough time to meet as a grade level. By having this shared folder, we can just shoot each other an e-mail stating what we’ve placed on the Shared Folder. 

I hope these tips will help you get your school year off to an AWESOME beginning and help you Work SMARTER Not Harder!  Please click on my button at the top of this post and visit my blog to read the entire series for more tips.  I hope you'll become a follower while you're over there!



Back to School Blog Hunt

Thursday, August 9, 2012

When I think back to school I (and probably some of you) start getting nervous about everything there is to get ready! I wanted to help you out by offering some of my freebies that I use to keep me organized throughout the year (especially in the beginning!!)


Mandatory Sight Words!?!

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Well as some of you know, and some of you feel my pain, summer is over.  Don't get me wrong... I love teaching, but aren't the summers getting shorter and shorter?

Well as we returned we found out that although sight words are not part of our curriculum, we must teach them. Well duh right? Anyway... I always have so I couldn't understand the teachers that were upset! I always have and the more I push them, the better my readers are! So I shared a few of my creations with my fellow teachers and they were so excited! The best part?? These products can be used prek-3 with no adjustments at all :)

First to organize what words I'll use when....

The sight word race consists of 30 lists with 10 words on each. I send these home each Friday for the students to practice for their test the following Friday :) What forms of practice do my students use you ask??


These adorable flash cards are labeled with the week to match the sight word race lists. They also fit the size of our sight word keyboard and our bingo game that are included in this pack.
The students absolutely love this! I have printed and laminated each child their own keyboard and when we are practicing each day they pull out their keyboards and type their sight words!

 Among many games included in this pack is the sight words mystery bottles. All I use are empty water/pop bottles and add tiny flashcards and rice/noodle/glitter or whatever else I have laying around. When the students find a word they add it to the list :)

For bellwork/home practice students use the 

I use these packets in numerous ways in our classroom! I have sent them home copied front to back (the backside one has to be copied upside down so that they can cut out the words on each side) so that they can practice 2 words a night before their test of 10 word each Friday.

I've also printed them into journals and bound them together for my students to use for bellwork. This not only works on independent skills, but also alphabetical skills. When you print the packet will come out in alphabetical order... not the sight word race order, so the students are able to find the words by learning alphabetizing skills. 

Each day they practice handwriting, cutting, pasting, and creating skills. My students absolutely love them and ever since I've implemented these sheets I have seen a large increase in their memorization of their words!

I hope that seeing a little explanation of these products has intrigued you to check them out! Maybe enough to add them to your cart or at least your wish list!!


Deanna Jump's Common Core Standards Poster for 1st Grade

Wednesday, August 1, 2012
Thanks again Michelle from The 3am Teacher for our amazing button!! 
If you don't already follower her check her out {here}

I want to thank each and every single one of you that has participated in this first swap! I have been honored to 'meet' and work with each of you! I hope you all enjoyed your swap and I hope you will want to join us again :) Don't forget to hop around and check out everyone else's!

On to business:
I had the honor and privilege of working with Deanna Jump of Mrs. Jump's Class!!
If for some crazy reason you don't already follow her you definitely should {here}

Deanna is an amazing woman with a heart of gold! When I brought up the idea of this swap with her she had 1,000 things on her plate and without skipping a beat she made her list 1,001 things long :)

Just like everyone else did with their partner,  Deanna let me choose one product of my choice from her TpT Store to review. I chose her Common Core Standards Poster for 1st Grade. She immediately told me that she would send me the posters AND her Essential Question Posters for First Grade. (see what I mean by a heart of gold???) These products are also sold in Kindergarten versions {here} and {here}

I was so excited to get to work! I've never taught first before so this was my first project to get me geared up!!
*warning picture overload*

As you can see I was SOOOOO excited that an idea of mine was a success with other TpT teacher/bloggers!!! Not to mention my partner is awesome!

These products are definitely worth your $$! They contain a lot of pieces!!!

Another shot....

Deanna Jump added so much in these products I needed to call in Ms. Jones from The Joy of Educating for reinforcements lol jk but she was a ton of help!!

Laminating at lakeshore is amazing! I laminated all of this for under $15!! Not to mention I got a free lesson planner! SCORE!

Now to my favorite part *paaaaaause NOT*

Please ignore my corniness lol I was excited about cutting the last piece!
OK... ok.... back to Deanna's amazing products.... as you can see EVERY standard card is labeled with the Common Core code (down in the bottom right hand corner) and you as the teacher has the choice of either I can statements or We can statements for your class (both are included :]).... as you can see I use the I can's.
Here are the cards that she threw in :) These Essential Question cards will be amazing this year due to the fact that we are a Project Based Learning school! These also have the Common Core Standard Code in the bottom corner!

and for the Subject boards they come in a few different styles and you just print the heading style that you prefer... of course I picked this cutsie! :) I personally use the reading, writing, la, math, science, and social studies up in the front of the room for my objective board and the workshop boards over in those particular areas. This way if you enter my classroom and walk to an area you will know what my students in that area are working on by looking at the board for that area:)
I know that many of you use velcro, but I found these cutsie little guys at staples and thought they'd be something different and add a little color... not to mention it was 1/2 as much work as velcroing each and every card :)
Then of course I needed my handy scissors and crazy glue. (I used crazy glue because after laminating it's hard to get things to stick)
and last but not least an adorable patterned ribbon to bind with!
I set the subject boards to the side and my OCD kicked in... I had to make sure each ribbon was the same length....
and in the same location, hence the amazing hot pink yard stick! *note: not promoting dollar bank, it was free at a country concert* and yes I could have used a regular ruler, but remember I can from Kindergarten, standard measurement wasn't on the list hehehe
and again my OCD...
After attaching all of the boards I let it sit for about 10 minutes to make sure it wasn't tacky....
Jake came over to make sure they were dry... <3
Then I simply used my scissors to cut a slit for the adorable Klix that I was going to add.
and simply slide the Klix in....
Added a few standards to show you what they would look like :)
and it was love at first sight!!!

I also repeated these steps for the Essential Questions Product, but I didn't want to bore you with 100 more pictures :) I hope that this swap has convinced you to go add this to your cart (or at least your wish list) for this upcoming year!

Deanna has a ton of amazing products in her TpT Store ! Don't forget to check them out and follow her for upcoming products.
 Common Core Standards Poster for 1st Grade
Essential Question Posters for First Grade
These products are also sold in Kindergarten versions {here} and {here}

Don't forget to check out what she swapped from my store!!

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