Discovery Kids world map

I was at bed bath and beyond today and they had this great fabric map for sale. It was normally 19.99 and was half off. I just tested it out and it looks like it will work great in the classroom. It has a ton of pieces for the kids to identify countries, oceans and even put animals in their proper locations. They sell it online but it’s much more expensive. Hope you can find it at your local store!

I noticed one other deal in the paper today – Staples has sharpie (black or assorted colors) 12 packs for $3.00. I’m convinced that teachers cannot have too many sharpies!!

Arctic Animals & A Giveaway!

I’ve just finished adding some animals to my Arctic Animals Research Pages Unit!  It now has 24 animals.  These are research papers that are written in an easy-to-read format making it easier for our beginner readers.  My kids do an Arctic animal research paper every year and I was having such a difficult time with teaching them how to look for information while not finding the basic information in multitudes of books and the students having difficulty with the reading level.  It still is a challenging task, but these papers make it easier!  We actually begin by having all the students write a mini report about the polar bear.  This one is easier because we are all learning the information together.  Some of them freak out when they hear they have to write it twice!  They don’t like the idea of a “rough draft” much!  Then each student chooses an Arctic animal.  The way I do this is I put everyone’s name in a bag and draw a name.  That person then gets to choose their animal.  I have all the animals pictures (included in this kit) printed out and placed on a board.  I just put a sticky note on the animal once it is “taken”.  Before they choose, I tell them an interesting fact about each animal.  There really are an abundance of fantastic animals in the Arctic.  I stress that they all are interesting animals so there isn’t a bad choice.  If you have more than 23 students, you would need to let them choose an animal more than once.  I have a small freebie for you from this unit.  It is the research paper and the polar bear page.  Click here to download.

The entire unit can be purchased at Teachers Pay Teachers:

Click here to view this item at TPT

I also want to share with you a HUGE giveaway by Jessica at Second Grade Nest.  My Arctic Animals Research papers are part of the giveaway set #4.

I hope you are having a wonderful holiday break!  I don’t know what I’d do without these big breaks during the school year.  I have so many things to get done around the house!  Thanks for visiting!

Sandy Hook Elementary Memorial Project

There are no words at this time.  As we think about heading back to the classroom, I’m sure you are all thinking about what to say to your students.  I’m not going to bring it up to my firsties, but I feel pretty certain that at least a few of them will have heard and will have questions.  I’ve been looking at what others advise saying and I am planning on saying that
“yes, a bad man hurt some people.  He can’t hurt anyone else now. There are some amazing teachers, policemen and pastors who are there to help the people.  We will keep them in our prayers.”

I am planning on having them complete this Sandy Hook Memorial Project which has free instructions at


Pinned Image

I’m not necessarily going to focus on why we’re doing it, but just how important each person is to God and that we need to show kindness. 

Tomorrow, I’ll be joining in a teacher blogger day of silence in memory of these precious little ones.

Praying for God’s peace in the midst of this darkness.

Love, Melissa

Books for Boys

We just finished conferences (yeah!!!) and I was talking to one of the parents about good books for boys.  Specifically, books for accelerated first grade readers.  I told him a few of my favorites (Spy Guy, A-Z Mysteries, Nate the Great, Capital Mysteries, Bad Kitty, Stink, Magic Treehouse) and am compiling a list.  So, this linky party from Swimming into Second caught my eye:


My own boys have always been a good resource for me to find books that were interesting.  Now that they’re getting older, I’m going to have to do more looking on my own!   As I was browsing, I saw that there are a lot of book series out for boys that I want to preview (Frankie Pickle, Dragonbreath, Ninjago).

I’m going to submit Capital Mysteries by Ron Roy as a good series for boys.  I like that they have some
history and geography built in and they have plenty of action.

Capital Mysteries #1: Who Cloned the President? (A Stepping Stone Book(TM))
Amazon link

I also found this great blog post at Funky First Grade Fun.  She talks about the book Best Books for Boys by Pam Allyn and gave some pointers on adding materials to your classroom library that will appeal to boys.  I found lots of great ideas like using baseball cards!  I’m also thinking I need to bring in my boy’s subscription to the lego magazine.  It’s free and I know that they also have a classroom version, but I found that one not as interesting.  I’ll have to see if I can sign our class up for the regular version.  Anyway, click on the above link to read more of Kimberly’s suggestions!

On the subject of books, I wanted to share a fun technology tool with you!  Your Next Read is a website that generates book recommendations.  You just type in a book title and it will give you several book suggestions in a graphic organizer format!  I love the visual aspect of the site!  When you click on a book cover, it becomes the focus book and other similar titles are shown.  The focus book is also linked to amazon reviews for that title which are shown on the side.  It makes it super easy to see a few reviews and decide if it’s one you need to read.  It seems to do a better job at matching content than reading level.  A magic tree house book about pandas quickly linked me to some books for older readers that had a a similar panda theme.  Regardless, it’s a fun way to browse for books!


Happy reading!

My new BFF & Reading for fun

So, this week was conference week.  In the midst of all the busyness and long days, I woke up on Wednesday to find the nicest email from Patricia saying that she downloaded one of my free Christmas Math worksheets (Mrs. Claus’ Workshop) AND that she posted some pictures to her blog of her kids using them!  It was the A-MAZE-ING to see my items being used by someone else.  I felt like a proud parent!  You can see the post here.   So, thank you my new BFF, Patricia, for making my week!

I am SO ready for Christmas break!  My to-do list is very long, but I’m hoping to actually have some time to read books for me. Not that I don’t love children’s books, but occasionally I feel the need for some variety!  If you are looking for some free kindle books to download for the holidays, I have a few sites to share with you. 

Inspired Reads – I just found this one today!  It has free and discounted Christian Kindle books.

Books on the Knob Blog – This is one I’ve used for a while.  Advance Warning:  They post every type of book!  Definitely not a site for kids!  I wish I didn’t have to sort through junk, but they really cover the deals on kindle and also for the Nook.

Overdrive – Your local library!  Don’t forget that you can download free kindle books from most (all?) public libraries.  If you want a popular book, you might want to login now and put a request on it so you can possibly get if for the school break.

’tis the season for giving!

As the holidays quickly approach, I have a few giveaways to share with your and free e-books from Teacherspayteachers!

Last year, TPT put out a holiday e-book with 50 free holiday items.  Well, this year TPT has grown so much they decided to put out 3 books and divide it into various grades.  Teachers had to submit items for consideration into the book.  We knew the competition for the PK-2 book would be tough.  It turns out that they had a hard time deciding and decided to choose enough for 2 books at this level!  Yeah!  So, there are LOTS of freebies in this e-book collection!  I submitted Mrs. Claus’ Workshop – 11 Math worksheets and Christmas Cactus – a compound word game.

My products are in the 1st-2nd grade edition.  Here are the links to the 4 TPT e-books:

PK-K Edition
1st-2nd Grade-Edition
3rd – 6th Grade Edition
7th – 12th Grade Edition

BTW, if any fellow bloggers are looking to post pictures side by side, I’ll share a tutorial I found.  I was so glad to finally find one that had easy to follow directions and pictures!  This is the “magic” code:


You place this in the html section and then click on insert a picture.  You’ll cut and paste ALL of the picture code that is generated and replace the FIRST PICTURE text.  Repeat for second picture.  I’ve found that if you want to type under the pictures you’ll need to start typing in the html screen and then after a few words you can go back to the compose screen (WYSIWYG – what you see is what you get).  If you try to type in the compose screen it’s difficult to get past the pictures to start typing.

How to Post Side by Side Pictures – A Crafting Journey

Last, but not least, I’m a part of 2 fantastic giveaways! Math Coach’s Corner is having a huge giveaway to celebrate a million views of her blog!  Congratulations, Donna!  What an amazing accomplishment!  Mrs. Jones’ Kindergarten is having a fun holiday giveaway.  Wow!

Click here to enter!

Click here to enter!

Whew! This is a long post, but I really wanted to share these opportunities! I’m off to check out the TPT e-books and start some serious downloading! Enjoy! ~Melissa