Gingerbread Man Anchor Chart and More!

27 November 2011
Thank you for all of your purchases yesterday, Cyber Monday.  I am home sick with the flu, but I am excited to check out my sales and respond to the feedback.  My sale is still going on as well as many of my blogging buddies.  Click {here} for my post on the sale and links to stores having sales until December 1st.

The feedback I am getting on my Common Core Gingerbread Unit is amazing!  Gingerbread seems to be all the rage right now.  I love the theme and the plethora of books out there (click {here} for my list of books)!  I also love how it is not full-on Christmas.  I have mostly students who celebrate Christmas in my classroom, but I have few who also celebrate other holidays.  I like to hang something in the hall for December that does not favor one holiday over another, so gingerbread men are perfect.

Click on the pictures to grab some freebies from my Common Core Gingerbread Activities Packet:
I thought I would share some of the other awesome activities I have found through blogging and Pinterest.  I waited until I finished my Common Core Gingerbread unit to start looking,  I did not want to be influenced by anyone else's creativity.  And well, these ladies have some super creative ideas!  Click on the pictures to check them out.

Melanie of School Girl Style has created an awesome Gingerbread Party Pack!  I was so excited when I saw that she shared my unit on her facebook fan page.  Click on the picture to check it out.  I plan on throwing a Gingerbread Party this year!

Michelle Oakes of Fabulous in First just posted some awesome freebies from her packet!

Babbling Abby of the Inspired Apple has an awesome and free science experiment in her TpT Store:

Check out Deanna Jump of Mrs. Jump's Class.  She has an adorable Gingerbread Experiment!  
She is just amazing!
Thanks for stopping by!  If you have an awesome link you would me to check out, please leave it in your comment.  I love comments :)

Common Core Based Gingerbread Unit

I love all versions of the gingerbread man.  Who doesn't?!  It took me forever but I finally finished my 108 page Common Core Based Gingerbread Activities packet and it is for sale right now on TpT!  Just in time for the big sale tomorrow (click here for more sale info).  The activities all state the Common Core Standards addressed for grades K, 1, and 2!
This packet contains the following math centers/activities:
Gingerbread Ways to Make Five Using a Five-Frame
Gingerbread Ways to Make Ten Using a Ten-Frame
Gingerbread Make Ten to add Using a Double Ten-Frame
Gingerbread Domino Fact Families
Gingerbread Land Find the Missing Addend Word Problems
Gingerbread Where We Took Our First Bite Graphing

The packet contains two art activities:
The Gingerbread Baby
Gingerbread Paper Plate Face

The packet contains the following literacy activities:
The Gingerbread Boy Story Retelling/Sequencing
"No One Can Catch Me" Writing Prompt/Class-made Book
"Our Favorite Gingerbread Stories" Writing Prompt/Class-made Book
"Can't Catch Me" Writing Prompt/Class-made Book
How to Make a Gingerbread Boy Recipe Writing
2 Phonic Sorts
The Gingerbread Cowboy Fantasy or Reality Sort
The Gingerbread Pirate Listening Response Sheet
Sight Word Work Sheet
Writing Workshop Ideas
Writing Workshop Printables
Gingerbread Buddy Reading Log
Gingerbread Book Venn

Other Resources:
Gingerbread Book Bibliography
Gingerbread File Folder Word Wall
Gingerbread Recipe
Parent Letters
"Your Teacher Thinks You're Sweet" Certificates

Click {here} to purchase this packet or add it to your cart!

Here are some great gingerbread themed books:


Happy Holidays TpT Sale!!!! Cyber Monday!

26 November 2011

Are you ready for an awesome Cyber Monday sale on TpT?!?!  Many bloggers, including myself, are offering 20% off the products in our stores on top of the TpT 10% discount (use promo code CMS28 at checkout-valid only on Cyber Monday)! You can also enjoy 20% off our products from November 29th- December 1st!!
Happy Shopping to our Sweet Customers!!! 

Graphic and Font Sales!

25 November 2011
The following graphic and font stores are having fabulous sales.  These are my favorite places to purchase graphics and fonts!  Click on the pictures to go directly to the stores.

Pixel Papers

Scrappin Doodles
After Saturday you can still save money for the rest of November by using our November Coupon.  Save *15% off orders at Scrappin Doodles over $5.00 by entering coupon code:

Whimsy Doodle Graphics

Lettering Delights

Happy Shopping!

Funny Story and Thank You For all The B-Day Wishes

24 November 2011
First, I want to thank all of you for the birthday wishes!  I am so touched.
Sophie, the great hunter!
My birthday started off at 2:30 am with my dog, Sophie and a possum!  Sophie has Poochie Bells on the back door that she rings to let me know she has to go outside.  So at 2:30 am, she rang the bells and I got up to let her out.  I opened the door to see a possum slinking by under the bird feeder.  I thought it would just run up the fence, like the squirrels do to escape Sophie.  Despite her size, Sophie loves to stalk and chase squirrels, cats, and birds.    Sophie jumped off the steps in one leap and was on the possum in two seconds.  Patting him/her with her feet!  The thing flipped on it's side and was stiff as a board with its eyes closed and mouth open!  At first, I thought it was dead, but then I remember reading books like Don't Laugh Joe, that possums play dead.  I ran out in my pj's to grab her and get her away from it.  It could have fleas or some sort of disease and what if it came back to life and bit her?!   So finally, I caught her and brought her back inside to wait for it to come back to life.  It did and scuttled on to what I thought was under the fence where the squirrels escape.  Instead, as I found out upon letting Sophie out again, it just went two more feet and played dead in the garden.  Ugh!  I had to catch Sophie all over again.  Back to the house, to wait again.  So this time we waited until I was sure it had left the yard and escaped under the gate.  Sophie was having a heart-attack that I was letting this varmint get away.  So once, the coast was clear, I let her out again.  She still had not gone to the bathroom!
I waited by the door for her and after a few seconds, I realized I did not see her in my yard.  She had squeezed her 8lb body under the fence to hunt down the possum!  I ran out again in my pajamas.  This time I was chasing her all over the neighborhood.  Luckily I was wearing my faux Ugg leopard slippers from Target, with their rubber soles.  My pajamas were not matching, with cat fleece bottoms and a red sweatshirt top.  All I could think as I chased her around the neighborhood was that someone was going to call the cops on this crazy lady running around the neighborhood at 2:30 am!  As I chased her around and she seemed to laugh at me as I did, I was hoping someone would call the cops!  Maybe they could help me catch her.  I tried everything: "sit," "want a treat," "look who's here," and "that's it I'm leaving you out here alone, bye!"  The little snot checked the front of my house saw no one was there and kept running.  Finally, I got some freeze dried chicken and threw it into my backyard.  She went for it and I shut the gate and shoved old Ugg boxes against the gap under the fence.  I was frazzled and she probably had the best night of her life!  Some start to my b-day!

Despite my bad start to the day and afternoon and evening parent conferences, my birthday was not as horrible as I thought it would be (see my What I'm Thankful For post)!  I was overwhelmed by flowers from family, friends, and my class parents.  So sweet of them to think of me!

I got this letter in my inbox, that I just had to share.  It made my day.  This person went out of their way to show their appreciation for me and what I do here on this blog.  I am truly touched!  Thank you Roxann!

Dear Erica,

I wanted to wish you a Happy Birthday. I have been meaning to express to you how much I enjoy reading your blog and using your products. It is a little crazy how happy a few polka dots can make me.  I was giddy cutting out all of the words for my word wall. I really enjoy the way my room looks now. The colors are just exactly what I love.

I found these blogs by searching activities one day last year and I came across The First Grade Sweet Life.  I loved the way her activities were right on for what my kids can do and like to do! She moved grade levels and so I searched out other blogs.

I found your blog and I started reading your blog regularly. I don't follow because I don't really check my email that much. I can tell you that I have told every teacher that I come in contact with about your blog and your awesome products.

So you have basically changed my life!!! I needed a community of people who were positive about teaching and happy doing it.  I am so much happier at school and my kids are benefiting tremendously.
I am proud of many of the things I am doing with my room and my students that I am just swiping from you.

I appreciate the Thanksgiving card that you made and I gave them out yesterday.  You even gave ideas for what to write on them which was very thoughtful of you because when you are bogged down with testing and reports and all the less awesome stuff that needs to be done you don't always have the time to think of those things. I felt so good about giving them out.  They are really great looking, too!!!

So I am thankful for you and all of your creativity, hard work, generosity, and the love that you pour into  teaching. The world is a better place because you are in it. I am just one faithful follower among many and there will be many more to come as word spreads.

Happy Thanksgiving!


I hope all of you have a fabulous Thanksgiving!  Anyone planning on doing the midnight shopping?  I get such a thrill out of it.  I go with my godmother/aunt every year.

Birthday Sale!

22 November 2011
My birthday is today 11/22 and I decided to give you a 20% discount on a few items in my TpT store.
The following items are 20% today:
Thanksgiving Art, Literacy, and Math Activities
Birthday Take Home Pack
Letter Writing Unit

Snowman Poop and Magic Reindeer Food

21 November 2011
I just uploaded free Snowman Poop and Magic Reindeer Food labels and directions.  Click on the picture above to go to my TpT store and download for free.  My students think the Snowman Poop is hysterical and love to give it to their dad's for Christmas.  I hope your students or even your own children will enjoy these.

If you are not a member of TpT, click {here} to download from Google Docs.

What I'm Thankful For

20 November 2011
I am linking up with one of the sweetest bloggers out there, Rachelle from What the Teacher Wants to tell you what I am thankful for.  She was inspired by my best blogging buddy, Cheryl Saoud's blog, Primary Graffitti.  Cheryl has been a good blogging friend of mine since I started blogging, she even mentions me in her day two post!  Cheryl I am so thankful for you, too!  

What I am most thankful for:

1.  What are you thankful for in your classroom?
I am thankful for my classroom aide Tammie Wolf.  She is my right hand and is so dedicated to her job.  She is a hard worker and is going to school herself for early childhood education.  I don't have to tell her what to do, she just does.  She reads with students, reviews their word rings, pulls small groups for extra math support, helps me set up my centers, helps with so much paper work, my list could go on and on!  I don't know what I would do without her.

2. What person are you most thankful for?
I am most thankful for my mother.  She is my rock and my friend.   She is so supportive and can find the good in anything.   She is a teacher and instilled in me the work ethic I have today.  She inspires me to do my best and always lets me know how proud she is of me.  She is always there for me when I need her and she is a shoulder to cry on.  I call her all the time.  One time, my cat got spooked by the dogs and hung herself from the Roman shades upside down by her claws.  My instinct was to just grab the cat and help her off, the cat's instinct was to bite down hard on my wrist.  I was squirting blood everywhere.  I started to panic and my vision began to blur.  I called my mother and told her the cat bit me and I was going blind.  She very calmly told me she would be right over and she was.  Turns out I was having a panic attack, not going blind from blood loss.  My mom came over and dressed my wounds, she asked my aunt, a nurse practitioner, for advice and I needed a tetanus shot and antibiotics.  We still laugh about how I almost went blind from a cat bite.

3. What 3 blogs are you most thankful for?
I am thankful to all the blogs out there and all my followers but these blogs helped get me started.
Ladybug has great techy tips and those have helped me with my blog.  I would not have know how to tag posts if it were not for her!

I am thankful to Deanna Jump's blog.  This is the first blog I ever went to and inspired me to start my own.  Not only is she a power seller for TpT, but she is also a kind person.  I feel like a celebrity is emailing me when I get a message from her! 

I am thankful for What the Teacher Wants!  I love how they list all of the blogs they follow.  It is so nice to see a blog with so many followers go out of their way to add bloggers like me to their blog roll.  I also, love how Rachelle is so on top of all the blog posts and always has such nice comments.  I hope one day to meet up with her!

4. What guilty pleasure are you most thankful for?
I agree with Rachelle and love, love the Hunger Games!  But I think reading is not a guilty pleasure, I think reading great literature is good for you and pleasurable, so I am not listing it here.  I count TV watching as a guilty pleasure and reading US Weekly!

My new favorite show is Once Upon a Time.  I have always loved fairy tales and happily ever after.  

I cannot wait for my US Weekly to arrive in the mail each week.  I love all the gossip and photos!

5. What are you most thankful for?
I have so much to be thankful for and I have to remind myself this everyday.  This week has been hard on me as I turn 33 on Tuesday and will celebrate another birthday alone.  I have watched almost all of my friends get married and move on with their lives.  It is frustrating and lonely.  But I cannot allow myself to wallow in self-pity.  I have so much to be thankful for.  I have great friends, who are there for me no matter what.  I have two adorable dogs that light up my life.  My family is close and so supportive and wonderful.  I have my job; when so many teachers in my district, who are just a year below me in seniority, have lost theirs.   I have a love for the gym and the way I feel after working out.  This keeps me going, up to six times a week!   I have my health.  
I am especially thankful for this blog, the blogging community, and Teachers Pay Teachers.  Pre blog, I was not making that much on Teachers Pay Teachers.  Once, I started blogging my sales picked up.  I also learned about the best places to get graphics and fonts from my fellow bloggers.  I picked up marketing tips and my sales have never been better.  Teachers Pay Teachers has allowed me as a single homeowner to start spending money without feeling guilty.  Shopping makes me happy and it used to make me sad too when I realized I was putting myself into dept or those new boots would cost me a week of not eating well.  So thank you Teachers Pay Teachers and Paul for providing me the platform to sell my products.  My students love when I make a new product and are excited about learning.  I love that I get to share that product and learning joy with all of you and your students.  
Niles and Sophie, my dogs!
We all got Snuggies for Christmas!  *You are probably saying, "hmm, after seeing these photos, I know why she is still single."

Now what are you thankful for?

Common Core Based Thanksgiving Math Centers

17 November 2011
Our new math program is aligned to the Common Core Standards and my students needed fun math centers to reinforce the concepts taught our math lessons.  The new math program contains mostly word problems and asks the students to use ten frames, find missing addends, and utilize fact families.  These concepts were not taught as early in the year as they are now.  So, my old math centers had to be tweaked and/or totally changed in order for them to align to the Common Core Standards.  I created Thanksgiving themed math centers that align to the Common Core and reinforce the skills taught in our math program.  All the centers featured in this post are available in my Thanksgiving Art, Literacy, and Math Activities packet through TpT (click {here}).
This is a photo of my sample Turkey Feather Math Center.  The students (with help) read a word problem and found the missing addend.  Each student had a different word problem, so all the turkeys ended up looking different, with different feather/color combinations.  This
center aligns to the First Grade Math Common Core Standards 1.OA.1.  and 1.OA.8.  This center also aligns to the Second Grade Common Core Standard 2.OA.1.  I have also include a version of this activity that aligns to the Kindergarten Common Core Standard K.CC.5. and a version that aligns to the First Grade Common Core Standard 1.OA.3. 
 This is a photo of my Turkey and Cornucopia Sums of Ten Math Center.  The students find all the ways to make ten using the counting chips.  This center is aligned to the First Grade Common Core Standard 1.OA.6. and the Kindergarten Grade Common Core Standard K.OA.3.  I have also included a version with a five frame.
This is a photo of my Turkey Domino Fact Family Math Center.  I wanted a fun way for the students to work on fact families without me having to print a ton of fact family cards.  I made a work mat for the students to place their dominoes, that way I only had to print six color work mats and use the dominoes.  This center aligns to the First Grade Common Core Standard 1.OA.3. 
I hope you check out my Thanksgiving Art, Literacy, and Math Activities packet.  I also hope that these centers give you some ideas for Common Core Math Centers that you can do in your classroom.  Stay tuned for Common Core Gingerbread Math Centers and a general packet of First Grade Common Core Math Centers.  For more on the Common Core Math Standards, click {here}.

Thanksgiving Free "Your Teacher is Thankful For You..." and Walnut Turkey Craft

14 November 2011
To show how much I am thankful to you, my loyal followers and customers,  I am posting two free activities from my Thanksgiving Art, Literacy, and Math Activities packet.  Just click on the pictures to download.  (It will say "no preview" because the file is so large.  Just click download file, it should be in the top right corner.)

I have added a few new things to my Thanksgiving Art, Literacy, and Math Activities packet.  So, if you have purchased already, please, re-download.  If not please check my packet out, it is 127 pages long and is a cornucopia of engaging activities.
If you like these downloads, please check out my packet by clicking the picture below!!  I hope you and your students have a Happy Thanksgiving!

Christmas File Folder Word Wall - FREE!

13 November 2011
My Christmas File Folder Word Wall is FREE from my TpT store!  Click {here} to download your copy today!
I wish I could say I am so organized that I am done with all my Christmas/December creating, but I'm not.  I am still wrapping up my Thanksgiving ideas.  I actually, made this file folder word wall last year.  My students used it with all sorts of writing activities.  I printed two so that two students could share one in a center.  I would love to hear how you use the file folder in your classroom.  I heart comments!

*The graphics are all from Microsoft Word.  The snowflake font can be found here and can only be used for items which are not meant for profit; hence the word wall is free :).

My First Grade Plan Book

12 November 2011
Update on 5/2/16:  
I have added the following updates to this post since the links below are no longer available.   I modified Ms. M.'s template and sent it back to her.  She now sells the "Erica" template in her store.  You can get it here.   

I also sell a PowerPoint version of my plan book file here:

Original post from November 12, 2011:

A few weeks ago, I shared my plans for the week of October 17th in my Bats Acrostic Poems Post (click {here} to check it out).  Well, I have gotten so many emails asking me to share and editable version with you.  Unfortunately, I cannot do that because I cannot share the Scrappin' Doodles graphics in a non-pdf file and my plan book is modified from a model purchased from Ms. M's store, A Teacher's Plan.  Fortunately, you can purchase the graphics yourself from Scrappin' Doodles by clicking my link to the left and searching for "school stick kids" and "my favorite teacher."  You can also purchase the lesson plan template "Is Everything Here?" from Ms. M. by clicking the picture below.
I hope this helps!  Please, tell Ms. M. I sent you.

Thanksgiving Art, Literacy, and Math Activities

09 November 2011
My Thanksgiving Art, Literacy, and Math Activities packet is now posted on Teachers Pay Teachers.  This 118 page packet is a cornucopia of Thanksgiving activities. There are three different types of math activities aligned to the common core standards. One activity comes in three levels of vary in difficulty. Another activity comes in a five frame or ten frame version. All activities can be used as math centers and math center cards are included.There are three different Thanksgiving themed crafts/art projects. There are 15 literacy activities and four file folder word walls with pictures. Also include are three forms to help you set up a Thanksgiving Feast and "Your Teacher is Thankful for You" certificates. Also, included is a bibliography of Thanksgiving themed books, student direction pages, and photographs.  Click on the pictures below to purchase from TpT!

Turkey Feather Math - Find the missing addend
There are three versions of this activity with this one being the most difficult.  The easiest is a counting center/activity and the middle activity has the students completing fact families based on the feathers.
Fall Acrostic Poem Printables and Thanks Acrostic Poem Printables are also included.
 Pilgrim Face Art Activity
I plan to post more photos as I do the activities with my students.  Keep checking back.  If you purchase this unit and post photos on your blog, please send me your link in a comment!

Caught You Doing Something Nice! & Character Education

01 November 2011
Caught You Doing Something Nice Cards
Positive reinforcement goes a long way in promoting good behavior.  I  recognize students who have done something nice by presenting them with a "Caught You Doing Something Nice!" card.  Sometimes, I like to note the positive behavior on the back of the card.  I also allow the students to get a ticket.  In my classroom, five tickets can be cashed in for a prize from the prize box.  Click on the picture to download these cards for free!
Bucket Fillers and Character Education
My school's new principal would like to implement some sort of character education program and I think it is a wonderful idea.  She already recognizes students who "do something nice" by making an announcement over the loud speaker and by giving them a "Caught You Doing Something Nice!" pencil.  I recently had her announce one of my students, who went out of her way to be a good friend.  My class was so proud and the student was beaming!

I remember seeing some beautiful "Bucket Filler" bulletin board displays on blogs and decided do some research using Google Reader.  Through Google Reader, I was able to search all the blogs I follow for the term "Bucket Filler."  I took a screen shot of the website/blog's button and attached a direct link to their "Bucket Filler" posts.  I plan on sharing these links with my principal and colleagues.  Here are some great posts I found:
After exhausting my search for "Bucket Fillers," I searched for "Character Education."  These websites/blogs had great posts on Character Education:

Great Read Aloud Books to Promote Character Education:

Please, comment below with an idea or a link to a post/website on "Character Education," "Bucket Fillers/Bucket Dippers," and/or "Bullying."  
*Don't forget to fill the buckets of the bloggers you check out for ideas!

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