Happy Leap Day!

Happy Leap Day! My TPT store is 20% off to celebrate. The sale will run from February 29th – March 1st.

Congratulations to Lisa who won a $25 TPT giftcard just by being a subscriber to the Teacher Treasure Hunter newsletter. If you want to make sure you’re on the list to get the next newsletter and be entered in the monthly drawing, just click here to sign up!

I’ve listed several new QR code story collections lately. Here is a quick peek at a few of the new packs:

Happy Leap Day! I hope you have a fantastic day of fun and learning!

Subscribe to the Newsletter and you’re entered in a drawing!

Are you a subscriber? Subscribers to the monthly newsletter have a chance to win a $25 TPT gift card! Of course, you can just read it online and enjoy the tips & ideas…but then you won’t be entered in the drawing. Just click on the subscribe link in the top left corner of this linked newsletter. Then confirm your email. The drawing will be near the end of this month. Good luck! Here’s a link to the February newsletter.  FEBRUARY FINDS
Happy February!

Favorite Things Giveaway and Blog Hop *Gift Cards *Memberships

Hello everyone!!!

Favorite Things Graphic

Today we are throwing a big, humongous bash to celebrate YOU!
Last year we blogged about our favorite non-school related things, this year we have decided that we will share with you our favorite school things! So here we go:


The first FAVORITE THING that I’m going to share with you is an awesome reading app for iOS devices. This app is a must-have for kindergarten teachers and for 1st grade teachers at the beginning of the year.

Kindergarten teachers, this is a great resource for the classroom or to recommend to parents. It has 20 little stories that each feature a word family. It also features sight words that students should be learning at this level. I love the option to click on the word and hear it. This really helps the students improve their skills and practice new words.

First grade teachers, remember those first few weeks of school when it seems like your students didn’t even go to kindergarten. They’ve forgotten how to form letters and they definitely can’t remember the sound each vowel makes. My phonics curriculum assumes that they remember all of this like it was yesterday. So, it does a quick 2 page review of short vowel sounds and then jumps right to the long vowel sounds. What?? Welcome to reality! I have to pause the curriculum and spend a few weeks of solid short vowel instruction. This is a GREAT time to utilize the Rhyme to Read app! It will give your students extra practice and build their confidence as beginner readers.

There is even a sale going on right now! It is only $4.99. You can find it here in the app store.


My second FAVORITE THING to share with you – binder rings! These things are so great to keep little cards together. I’ve used them to organize sight words, spelling word lists (keep the list with your word work centers), QR code stories and more! Here they are holding together sets of QR code stories.

I’ve purchased these rings at Amazon and Staples. It is so nice to have a big box of them. I’ve found them at Wal-Mart, but they are usually different sized rings and many different colors. 
I’ve also used them to make “books” using multiple sheet protectors and some of these rings.
I mentioned QR code stories. Do you know what those are? Students scan a QR code that has been programmed to play a video when scanned. I have many of these sets in my TPT store. My codes use safeshare.tv links so that when a video plays the students don’t see other youtube videos that are around that one or any comments. The videos are all of someone reading a book. Many times the video shows the pages of the book (pictures and text) so that the student can follow along as they listen to the book. These are great for Daily 5 rotations (listen to reading). Here is a picture preview of the Winter Stories QR code collection.

My 3rd FAVORITE THING is apple cider! I have had this love/hate relationship with apple cider in the past. I always think it sounds like a wonderful idea. I worked in a restaurant when I was a teen and loved making hot apple cider there for a treat on a cold day.

So, I buy a box of the single serve packets. I might even make a packet. It just tastes OK. The box of cider packets just sits in my pantry until it is eventually thrown away. The next winter this process is repeated.

This year, I passed by a box of K-Cups of Apple Cider and it sounded so good. I thought it might be a repeat of my previous experiences, but decided to just give it a try. I loved it! I don’t know why it would taste so much better than the packets. Hotter water? Better ratio of water to cider? More evenly mixed? I don’t know. I just know it is totally worth it to buy the K-Cup versions of this cider! I use 8 oz. of water. I am so happy to have finally found a delicious apple cider!

Thanks for joining us to hear about our favorite things. Now, on to even better stuff – great prizes to win!!

Once again we want to treat you all to our favorite things!!! Check out these great prizes!






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Come and visit my other teacher friends’ blogs for their favorite websites, organization tips and much more!

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Holiday Cookie Hop 2015 & FREEBIE!

I’m excited to link up with some fabulous bloggers at Classroom Tested Resources to bring you some delicious cookie recipes!

My recipe will be one that is super popular in my house! They are a sweet no-bake cookie and they are really easy to make! You just make a cookie “dough” and shape it into logs that you wrap in waxed paper. The joke at our house is always that we each need a whole roll to ourselves – forget slicing them into cookies! We will come to mom’s house and see the rolls and comment “here is my roll – I don’t know what the rest of you are going to eat!” They are addicting!

This recipe is from my Nana. We started calling her Nana Betty when my mom became a Nana and there were two Nanas around. Her real name was Marjorie, but she went by Betty. She grew up in New Zealand — hence our name for the cookies. I have no idea if they are common there or just a family recipe. 

Nana married and moved to Minnesota where she raised 3 children. When her oldest grandchild – me! – was born, she moved to Las Vegas to be close to us. My dad was stationed in the Air Force at the time. I was a completely spoiled grand-baby and was always telling her I needed a trip to K-Mart to fix some boo-boo — real or imagined! 

My family ended up moving to Washington state and Nana stayed in Las Vegas. We visited there often while I was growing up. Eventually, she moved to Oregon and later moved into my parent’s house. That was the best because I was able to see her more frequently. She played UNO games with us — and usually won even when she appeared to have no idea what was happening! We took her with us on trips with all the cousins (her great-grandchildren) for things like Pioneer Farms where she watched as the kids milked cows and cut wood with an old fashioned saw. She was 92 when she passed away. Days before, I was able to leave school and drive 3 and a half hours to spend time with her in the hospital and hold her hand. I miss her and think of her often. I was so blessed to have such a sweet Nana!

The main part of this recipe is a “dough” made of crushed vanilla wafers and sweetened condensed milk. You only need a small amount of the other ingredients. The recipe is at the end of this post. 

First, you crush a box of vanilla wafer cookies. I use a rolling pin, but a food processor makes this even easier. 

Next, you mix the crushed cookies with a can of sweetened condensed milk. Then, add some mini marshmallows (colorful ones make it look nice), raisins, chocolate chips, chopped maraschino cherries and chopped nuts. I use walnuts and chop them a little finer than the chopped walnuts that you can purchase at the store. I love this little chopper by Pampered Chef. It’s perfect for little jobs like this. 

It looks a little messy at this point. It should be a moist mixture that can easily be molded into logs. 

Separate the mixture into 3 piles and roll each one into a log. Then roll each log into coconut. *Hint: roll them on a counter top or plate – not the waxed paper like I did. It’s too sticky so I had to discard this waxed paper and get another piece to wrap them.

Wrap the log in waxed paper and refrigerate for several hours. These can also be placed in the freezer and then refrigerated to thaw a bit before slicing. Slice each log into individual cookies. Enjoy!!

New Zealand No-Bake Cookies

I hope that you enjoy this recipe! Check out the other bloggers for recipes that look absolutely delicious. Many bloggers have also included freebies. 

I’ve made a SCOOT multiplication freebie for this blog hop. Scoot games are great because the students move (scoot) from desk to desk so they get to move. If ever there is a time that students need to move – this is it! This freebie can help you (and your students) make it to winter break! Just click on the picture to go my TPT store and download the freebie. I’d love for you to leave feedback and follow my store!

 Multiplication Freebie

So, make some great cookies, a mug of apple cider (my latest favorite beverage — try the Keurig pods!) and find a quiet place by the tree to just chill this week-end. You deserve it!


Teaching About Owls

I have a post today on Classroom Tested Resources (our fabulous collaborative blog — I hope you are following it!) and it has some good tips for teaching about owls. It includes some easy to implement tips for teaching symmetry and comparing owl wing spans. It also tells about dissecting owl pellets and has some free resources and a link to a site that provides small grants for classrooms to get owl pellets free. You can read about it here.
Another helpful resource is my Owl Unit on Teachers Pay Teachers. It includes:
*Vocabulary Cards
*Owl Read the Room (vocabulary activity)
*Owl Memory Match
*Owls Here and There (an original non-fiction book)
*All About Owls (an original non-fiction book)
* Anchor chart titles for KWL and/or can-have-are
*My Owl Book (mini book for students to record what they’ve learned)
*Measurement Activity
*Owl Facts mini poster – 4 designs
*Label the owl worksheet
*2 student worksheets (Where do owls live? & Birds of Prey)
*List of additional resources

Have fun learning about these amazing birds of prey!

How I Survived the First Day of School + Blog Hop + FREEBIE

I’m so happy to be a part of the Fall in Love with Teaching Blog Hop. Please read to the end to find a FREEBIE, giveaway from me & the blog hog giveaway! 
I’m sketching out this post a month before it is due. It is currently 8/24 and I have a week until school starts. I am hoping for that blog post title. Being ready for the 1st day of school & surviving are seriously in question right now!! Not only am I moving to a new grade (1st to 3rd), our school decided to renovate right before school starts. We were in desperate need of new paint and carpet and it was provided by a generous donor. The downside is that I am not in my room yet, and I’ve only been able to prepare some things at home. If I were still teaching 1st grade, I could go into auto-pilot and make this work. It is an extra challenge to figure out a new grade level when my room (as of tonight) has unassembled furniture and all of my things are in another space and can’t be accessed. 
15 days before school!!!
My online teacher friends (you all are awesome!) have been encouraging me with talk of a “blank palette”. My mind is simply on surviving Orientation (the night before) and the 1st day of school! I am mostly trying to not to think of all the details and keep moving to accomplish something – by the yard it’s hard, by the inch a cinch – right? 🙂
10 days before school!!

Carpet & pain completed – no furniture and can’t get to all my boxes 🙁
Some year, or perhaps this year, you will find yourself in a difficult situation which may even seem impossible. New administration/office staff/teachers, renovations and new grade level are the ones I’m dealing with this year. I want to pass along to you some of the great and encouraging tips that I received from my online friends. Of course, I will also have some teaching goodies along the way so make sure you read through to the end!
1. “This year my room may not be all that I want it to be. But, next year, it will be amazing!” – LOL! This comment made me laugh and think. It was posted by a teacher who will be moving her classroom after school starts. It always helps to know that you are not the only one. Other teachers are dealing with all kinds of situations and we are a strong and creative bunch who know how to make things work. Sometimes you just have to hold on loosely to your dreams and ideals and be willing to let some things go. 
2. “The students will love to help their new teacher set up parts of the room. Bonding experience!” So true! Anything that I can do together with the students will really help build our classroom community. I am likely going to go this route out of necessity. I am looking forward to having an older grade. I’ve made some lesson plans for the 1st week – can we really call it a plan for that 1st week? It may be more like lesson thoughts, hopes and ideas! I put in a time that first morning for them to sort through the supplies with me and label things and put them away. That will be a first! In 1st grade, you need everything setup and ready-to-go! 
3. “All that room needs is a motivated teacher to love on those students! You got this!!” My favorite comment! This is something that I just need to post above my computer this year. It helps to focus on what really matters – the students. We’ve been given a gift to have a part in these young lives. I’m so excited about the lessons that I have planned for this year – – both academic skills & character development. We truly have the opportunity to make a difference. These children are the present and the future! Find a way to encourage and inspire your students each day. Those are the lessons they remember long after they’ve forgotten how your room was setup or the little things that you wanted to get to and just couldn’t get finished. Let it go. Focus on the big picture.
BTW, these are all comments from some wonderful Instagram followers. It is such a fun way to share pictures. I am so inspired by the teaching ideas that I find there and obviously the teachers are so encouraging. You can follow me at TeacherTreasureHunter.
A work in progress…
pretty new bookcases
1st day of school! I made it this far. 🙂 Parts of the room look good!
I wish that I had some beautiful pictures for you of my entire completed room. Nope! It is getting close, but still a work in progress. The whiteboard (that I use for everything) was leaning against the wall for the 1st week and little things are being added all the time (new desk chair today and hanging pocket by the door). I’m still waiting for a place for the students to put backpacks and book bags. However, the parts that are finished are looking very good!
**Scroll down to the end of this post to read an update – How I’m Surviving After 4 Weeks!
I hope you found these comments from my online friends inspiring. If you need some practical tips to survive your teaching year, you may enjoy my FREE Classroom Planning A-Z Guide
I will continue to make materials that are suitable for 1st grade since that is where I have the most experience (and it will always have a piece of my heart regardless of other grades that I teach!). I will also be making more products for 3rd grade. I already have several animal products that are a great fit for both of those grades. I’ve used my animal research packs with groups of 1st-5th graders at the end of the year and they’ve all enjoyed the researching and writing. I’m going to give away 2 animal research bundles ($20 value each). Just join my email list to be entered into the contest. 
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UPDATE: After 4 weeks of teaching, I feel like I might survive! 🙂 Honestly, it has been a difficult experience but it does help to focus on the big picture. Here are some amazing things that have happened in the last few weeks:

*My new students are totally fitting into the class. We have a small school and it is a family like atmosphere. It’s so wonderful when they make new friends right away and feel like they belong. 
*One of my students told me right away that they don’t like to read and they only like Minecraft. I tried to suggest some great books and even mentioned Minecraft books. Nope! Fast forward to this week…that student has recorded the most reading out of all the 3rd graders (over 500 minutes) and won a special bead for the reading chains (see picture). He told me “I am so, so proud of myself!” THAT is worth so much!!
*I’m starting to figure out the 3rd grade curriculum and ways to incorporate the kinds of hands on teaching and activities that I love. Yesterday, the students pretended to be parts of the ear (2 students were the outer ear (arch for the sound to enter), the aisle was the auditory canal, 1 student was the ear drum, 3 were the bones of the middle ear (see the stirrup – triangular shaped hands), 1 was the cochlea (those curled up hands are supposed to look like a spiral!) and 2 students were the nerves. Of course 1 student had to be the sound and another the brain! They had so much fun bouncing the sound off the eardrum and through the middle ear and eventually to the brain. 
So, we are getting on to the important work of teaching. I still have a few bulletin boards to put up and some blank spaces on my walls. The kids have never once commented on that! Those aren’t the things that matter a whole lot to them. 
One of my sweeties wrote on the back of her paper – I love Mrs. Michael and Lizzy so much! I now rank up there with the classroom gecko – I’ll take it! I’m so glad that the students are learning and enjoying the process.
Click on the picture below to go to Jennifer’s post at The Blessed Teacher. She has some great tips for teaching grammar!

Labor LESS blog hop! Time Saving Tips + FREEBIE

Hello everyone!


Main Graphic Laborless

It is Finally here!

Today I am linking with Laura from Where the Magic Happens, Krista from Teaching Momster, and Lisa from PAWsitively Teaching! I have joined forces once again with my bloggy friends to bring you the best, most amazing giveaway on this Labor Day weekend!

All of us have been thinking about  good ways in which to treat our readers and followers.   We thought hard, and I mean it! Really, really hard… and decided that  we can treat you to our best ideas to work smarter rather than harder… at school and home!

I know what it takes to be a great teacher, the stress, the time, the energy… I could go on and on! I also know that we crave time for ourselves and our families.

So here I go!

Here are a couple little tips (and a freebie!) that can save you time in the classroom.

Do you have students borrow pencils all the time and suddenly find that all the pencils at your desk or reading table are missing? A simple solution is to add a little flag to each pencil. Use a small piece of washi tape to wrap around the pencil until the two sides of the tape meet and stick to each other. Trim the tape into a point or just make it easy. Voila! Super easy pencil flag. There are so many patterns and colors of washi tape. You can even choose to use different patterns for pencils that belong in different areas. You can find washi tape at craft stores and even at Wal-Mart for a good price.

I love binders! I would much rather have my teaching materials in binders than in filing cabinets. I like to keep worksheets pages, printables and other ideas separated in monthly theme binders. I just type a list of the included themes on the front of the binder and use tabs to separate the sections.

I’ve included a free download for you to create your own monthly binders. You can edit the box on the front of the cover to make a list of the included themes. Just click on the picture above to download.
Two of my favorite ways to spend my free time are spending time with my family and reading. Our family loves spending time together. We went on a few trips this summer and that is all my boys can talk about. They can’t wait until next summer so they can get out of school 🙂 and spend time camping and relaxing with the family. One is a teenager and one is a pre-teen so I’m grateful they still want to spend time with us! The time is passing way too quickly! Facebook just showed this picture from 8 years ago on Labor Day weekend.

What??  It’s hard to believe they were that little. Such precious memories!

Another favorite thing is reading. I have been teaching 1st grade for 7 years and I’m teaching 3rd grade this year. It’s only been 4 days of school so far, but I have to tell you that it’s been like a vacation! I was shocked that I could actually read with them during the free reading time and they don’t need my constant attention. I can actually get lost in a book and share with them afterwards while we talk about what we read. It’s wonderful! I finally had a chance to read Wonder (R.J. Palacio) this week. Such a great book! I love this quote from the book…

I stopped at a thrift store today and of course I had to buy even more books for my classroom! A few of these are for my boys, but most are for the class.

BTW, I share these type of pictures on Instagram. I’d love for you to follow me. I’m @teachertreasurehunter
My most popular products at this time of year are my QR codes. They really do make reading centers a breeze. If you do Daily 5 or want to have your students listen to reading – this is the answer. Students can scan a QR code and listen to someone read the story. The links are of people (usually teachers & librarians) reading the stories on YouTube. The links do not go directly through YouTube, but are SafeShare links so that students don’t see other videos, adds or yucky comments. My students love these! Click on the picture below to see a bundle of QR packs. They are also sold individually and there is a free pack (Mercer Mayer stories) so that you can test them and make sure they will work in your classroom.

*Follow my TPT store so you don’t miss out on freebies and new products. Newly listed products are 50% off for the first 24 hours! 🙂

Thanks for reading! Enjoy your long weekend!

Top all these great tips and ideas  with these top-notch prizes!
A $100 gift card to Amazon

A $50 gift card to TpT
2 $25 gift cards to TpT


1 $10 gift card to TpT
Thank you for reading! And now don’t be silly and get your hands all over this awesome giveaway!!

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