Back to School Basics Giveaway

29 July 2012
My friend Cheryl is hosting a Back to School Basics giveaway on her blog.  I donated a ton of items and so did my blogging buddies.  Please, click the picture above to check it out and enter the contest everyday this week!

Polka Dot Galore!!!

22 July 2012
I am almost polka dotted out!  I still have a B&W line to finish and my Primary Polka Dot Classroom Library Packet...but I see the light at the end of the tunnel.  I have been working like a maniac to get all these packets done/updated for you.  Don't be mad, but I am going on vacation again!  I will be back Friday, so please hang tight.   Read below to find out about the updates and my new Primary Polka Dot Classroom Decor sets which are available now in my TpT store.

First up, the new Primary Polka Dot Classroom Decor packets.  Last year, I made the bright sets for my own classroom and I received so many request to make them in primary colors.  I usually don't take requests to create things that I would not be able to use in my own classroom, but I received some really sweet emails that convinced me to create these.  I have one more packet in the line left to create, the classroom library labels.  I apologize for making you way, but if you follow my store you will be the first to know of updates.  Click the covers to go directly to the item in my store.
This packet includes a link to an editable Power Point doc.  

This packet includes a link to an editable Power Point doc!  

This packet includes a link to an editable Power Point doc! 

*If you purchase any of these packets, I would love to see pictures of them put to work in your own classroom.  

I created my bright polka dot decor packets last August when I changed my whole theme from cows to bright polka dots.  I lucked out and found a ton of great bright items at Big Lots.  This year I bought some new borders, a calendar, circular calendar numbers, and adorable file folders from

I updated many of the bright files so that they now include a link to an editable Power Point file.  If you have already purchased, you can re-download for free by going to your "My Purchases" page. 
This packet includes a link to an editable Power Point doc! 

This packet includes a link to an editable Power Point doc! 

This packet includes a link to an editable Power Point doc! 

This packet includes a link to an editable Power Point doc! 

Again, I would love to see pictures of these packets in action.  Please, email them to me.  Also, the first three people who comment, get either decor line for free :)  If you miss out on this one, subscribe to my posts via email - that way you don't miss out on the next time I do a sneak giveaway. 

My Favorite/Must Have Picture Books

19 July 2012
The Teacher Wife
Lindsey is hosting a Must Have Picture Books linky over at her blog, The Teacher Wife.  I love picture books and I love Ms. Lindsey, so here I am linking up with my top five :)

1. First, I agree with Lindsey, Enemy Pie is an awesome book.  I love the message and the twist.  You have to read this to your students.  Mine love it.
 Enemy Pie 

2.  The Little Green Goose -  Mr. Goose longs to be a parent, but he does not have a Mrs. Goose, so he adopts an egg.  This egg hatches into a little dinosaur.  The book shows that love is not blood, love is a family and that families come in all different combinations.   This is also a great book to use for a visualizing activity.  While reading, hide the pictures.  Have your students draw what they think hatches out of the egg. 

3.  Help Me, Mr. Mutt! -  In this letter writing book, Mr. Mutt is an advice columnist for dogs.  The problems and Mr. Mutt's solutions are hysterical.  A cantankerous cat adds her two cents, too.   This book is a perfect example of letter writing and a great example of "voice."  Click here to see the follow up activities I do with this book.  

4.  Wemberly Worried -  I was Wemberly as a child!  I worried about everything.  I would get in trouble at sleepovers because before going to bed, I would have to go over our escape plans, for let's say there was a fire or an intruder.  Thus freaking out my friends.  So, if you cannot guess already, I use this book for "Text to Self" connections and "Prediction."

5.  Don't Let the Pigeon Drive the Bus -  Sarah Cooley introduced me to this adorable book in her Pigeon Perfect posts.  My students were hooked, as was I.  Pigeon has the personality of a demanding and persistent six year old - my first graders instantly related to him! I bought every pigeon book out there!  I also bought the DVD's and every other book I could find by Mo Willems.  Click here to see my students' Pigeon Perfect work.  They wrote persuasive letters to the bus driver pretending to be pigeon.  My favorite was a little girl who wrote: "I know all the traffic laws: green means go, red means stop, and yellow means go faster."  

Um...I could really go on and on!  Please, check out Clever School Teacher for books listed by writing trait or click the covers above to hop over to  

Back from Italy

14 July 2012
Hello Blogging Buddies!  I am back from my trip to Italy!  Did you miss me?  I felt naked without my Iphone and constant internet access.  Unfortunately, Verizon does not have international plans.  I guess it was a sign that I needed a break from all things work related.  
I went to Italy with my mom and her cousin, Bernadette.  We started in Rome and saw all the classic tourist attractions and like a gazilion churches!  I am Catholic but not that Catholic.  Still I trudged on for my mom and Bernadette.  

The Holy Stairs/Scala Sancta- These are supposedly the marble stairs that Jesus walked up in Pontius Pilate's castle before being put to death.  St. Helen brought them back to Rome and they are currently covered in wood.  You are supposed to go up them on your knees and say a prayer on each step, we did not know that and were wondering why everyone was taking so long.  It hurt!
Bernadette and me at Trevi Fountain

My mom and me at St. Peter's Basilica 
My mom brought back a water bottle filled with Holy Water!

Vatican City, St. Peter's Basilica

I managed to find a cat sanctuary in Rome.  It is in the Torre Argentina, the place where Julius Cesare was murdered. 

After Rome, we took a high speed train to Naples.  From the Naples train station, we took a local train to Sorento.  I loved Sorento.  From Sorento, we took a half day trip to Pompei.  We also took a ferry to Capri.  After Sorento, we went to Positano and stayed for a few days.  Then we took a ferry to Salerno and then a train to Sicily where we stayed with Bernadette's in-laws.  My mom and I had hoped to visit where her father is from, but it was not close by and our Italian was not up to par for trying to find our way around non-tourist areas.  Next time!  



On my way into the Blue Grotto, Capri
The Blue Grotto


The train getting on the ferry going to Sicily!

Lipari, Eolie Isolde, Sicilia

Italy was beautiful and it was amazing to see, but I am glad to be back.  I missed my dogs so much!  I hope everything is well in blog land.  Ciao for now. 

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