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Zeus on the Loose

I hope everyone has had a wonderful Christmas and is enjoying their time off!  We actually had a white Christmas this year which is extremely rare in Texas. 

I came across a neat little game for addition practice that I thought some of you math teachers would be interested in.  I wasn’t familiar with it until my daughter received it from Santa in her stocking this year.  My family has already played this game a zillion times this week so I know it’s a keeper.
http://www.gamewright.com/gamewright/index.php?section=games&page=game&show=203


Zeus on the Loose is recommended for kids 8 and up.  The object of the game is to be the person holding Zeus when the total on Mt. Olympus reaches 100.  Players take turns adding cards to Mt. Olympus.  As each card is placed on the pile, the person who plays the card must mentally add the value of their card to the value of the pile and announce the sum. The primary math skill needed for this game is addition, but it also includes: subtraction, rounding, and multiples of 10.  Even though there is plenty of math involved, this game’s primary focus is strategic thinking.  You have to play your cards right in order to steal Zues from your opponents and be the one holding him when Mt. Olympus reaches 100.  For a more detailed description of the game, download the instructions from Gamewright’s website.

This would make an excellent math center or a great rainy day indoor recess game.  I’m going to buy a set to add to my classroom.  Since I know some of my 3rd graders will have difficulty with the mental computation, I’m going to allow them to use a 100s board as a reference.

Has anyone else played this or other Gamewright games before?  Zeus on the Loose is my 1st Gamewright game but I’ve read great reviews about their other games.  I’m definitely going to be getting more!

I hope you’re having a relaxing and peaceful winter break!
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The Grouch Who Stole My Christmas Fun!



I’ve received a few emails about the lapbook that I recently posted on TpT. I decided to write this post to explain why it is suddenly MIA.  Even though I did not copy any graphics or text from How the Grinch Stole Christmas, TpT pulled my lapbook from the listings due to the fact that “Grinch” and “How the Grinch Stole Christmas” are both trademarked items.  Apparently that means that those terms cannot be used in a published format without written consent despite the fact that my lapbook was intended to promote literacy and was not created for profit.  I’m in no way blaming TpT.  They are trying to keep us little people from getting into hot water with the big people with the well-paid attorneys and I can appreciate that. 
I have thought of a couple of alternatives to this trademark conundrum.

PLAN A is to change all the character names but make the file editable so that others could change the names to whatever they wanted.  For example, I could use “Grouch” instead of the “G” word.  Then teachers could change “Grouch” to something else.  This might be get kind of complicated and I wouldn’t feel comfortable posting this version on TpT.

PLAN B is to offer the lapbook with completely blank templates in an editable format.  This option would allow teachers to use this activity with any book.  I like this idea but not sure others would.  A lot of us just don’t have a ton of free time to create our own materials.

If you have any thoughts or suggestions concerning PLAN A or PLAN B, email me or leave a comment.  In the meantime, for a limited time I’m posting the original lapbook (but with a different name) here.  It won’t be up for long, so if you’re interested, grab it while you can!

I’m very sorry for the inconvenience this has caused. It’s pretty embarrassing to have a product that no longer exists in the TpT holiday ebook. Despite my embarassment, I’m treating this as a “live and learn” type of experience.
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I Love the Grinch!

I love the Grinch. I really do. I mean, who doesn’t?  He’s green, fuzzy, and awfully cute.  I adore this little guy so much that I wear Grinch Tshirts to school.


This past week we made Grinch shrinky dink ornaments at school.  You can get more details on how I do this here.


I’ve even decorated my door Grinch style.  Please pardon the eyebrows, they still need some work!


I combined my love of foldables with my love of all things Grinchy and made a How the Grinch Stole Christmas lapbook.  My class will be spending next week reading this classic Dr. Seuss tale and reviewing a variety of reading skills.  If you’re interested in making Grinch lapbooks, you can get a free copy here.



 I’m thrilled ecstatic that this lapbook activity was included in the 2012 Winter Holiday Tips and Freebies ebook from TpT!!!
https://www.teacherspayteachers.com/Product/2012-Winter-Holidays-Tips-and-Freebies-Grades-3-6-Edition-438678


You can download a free copy of the 3rd-6th grade edition here.  There are more than 50 free holiday activities included in the book from some really great teachers.  Thank you Rachel Lynette for all the hard work you put into creating this ebook!
There are 4 editions to the Winter Holidays ebook.  Click on the pics below to see them all.
https://www.teacherspayteachers.com/Product/2012-Winter-Holidays-Tips-and-Freebies-PK-K-Edition-438650

https://www.teacherspayteachers.com/Product/2012-Winter-Holidays-Tips-and-Freebies-1-2-Grade-Edition-438656


https://www.teacherspayteachers.com/Product/2012-Winter-Holidays-Tips-and-Freebies-Grades-7-12-Edition-438800

I hope you enjoy reading through these great ebooks. Have a great weekend!
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We have a winner!

The lucky winner of the TpT gift certificate is…


Congrats Mrs. Phillips!  I’ll be emailing your gift certificate sometime tonight so check your email before you start shopping tomorrow.

I enjoyed reading all the comments that were left.  It’s good to know that I’m not the only one with a TpT fetish!

I hope you all have a great Cyber Monday.  I know many of you are returning to school after having a week off.  If you’re like me, it didn’t take long to get out of the school routine.  Here’s to hoping that Monday will be a quick and painless transition back into the real world!
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The Countdown is On



Cyper Monday and TpT’s big sale is almost here.  I have my wish list and credit card ready.  If you’re like me, a TpT gift certificate would come in real handy.

I’m giving away a gift certificate to one lucky person.  For more details, check this post.

Good luck and happy shopping!
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It's time for some shopping!


I love this time of year!  After spending time with family enjoying some amazing food, it's time for some serious shopping. If you're like me, you have a few things on your TpT wishlist.  Honestly, I have more than a few (77 to be exact) and it's time to take care of that. TpT is hosting a sale and many sellers are joining in on the fun (including me!). Be sure to drop by and start snagging some great products.  To sweeten the deal, I'm going to have a drawing for a $10 TpT giftcard.  Leave a comment below with your email address so that I can contact you if you're the lucky winner. You have until 5 pm Central time on Sunday to enter the drawing. At that time I'll use a random number generator to pick one lucky winner. How many items do you have on your TpT wishlist?  What's the best thing you've bought from TpT?

 I'll race you to the checkout!!!
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Happy Thanksgiving!


I'd like to wish all my bloggy friends a Happy Thanksgiving!  This is a great opportunity to enjoy your time with friends and family and to count your blessings.  I hope you have a wonderful time and are able to find some time to relax.
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Turkeys, Turkeys Everywhere!

I can’t believe it’s almost Thanksgiving!  It seems like this school year is whizzing by. At the rate we’re going, it’ll be Valentine’s in a blink of an eye!
We’ve been busy with our turkey activities and I thought I would share a few with you.  I don’t usually decorate my door, but I had so much fun with the Halloween doors that I’ve now planned out my door decorations for the rest of the year.  I plan to go with a simple design each time.  If you missed our Halloween doors, you can check them out here.

Here’s my door. As you can see – it’s pretty simplistic.


Here’s Liz’s door. 

We added a hat to Brenda’s door so her little monster would be ready for turkey day.  I think we’re going to add a Santa hat next month.


One of our annual projects is to have our students disguise their turkeys so they can hide from the hunters.  We always have really cute creations.  Here are a couple of my favorites from this year.





We have AR celebration every Friday for those kiddos who have met their reading goals.  We give the kids 3 activities to choose from and then let them sign up for the activity they want to do.  Liz’s group made toilet paper turkeys and they turned out adorable!


I have 2 more days before my Thanksgiving break begins.  I think I might just make it!  Enjoy the rest of your week!
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Paper Bag Matter Book Revisited

Hey, everyone!  It’s been awhile since I’ve posted.  I’m still here but I’ve been uber busy working on a few projects.
I recently updated my Matter Book that I posted about here.  It’s now bigger and better than it was before!



Here’s an example of a Sink or Float foldable I use every year.  I used to have the kids draw their own chart but too many of them have difficulty organizing their work space.  To preserve my sanity (what little bit is left), I created this chart.  Click on either pic below to get your own copy of my Sink or Float Recording Sheet for FREE.


https://drive.google.com/file/d/0B1xk-q-bbknYMTlSMS1rMHBkYkk/view

https://drive.google.com/file/d/0B1xk-q-bbknYMTlSMS1rMHBkYkk/view


If you’re interested in the entire Paper Bag Matter Book file, you can find it in my TpT store.
If you haven’t seen this yet, then you need to go check it out.  My bloggy friend Megan at I Teach. What’s Your Super Power?  is having a humongous 500 Follower giveaway!  There are a lot of awesome prizes to win but it ends this weekend so hop on over.

Have a great weekend and good luck in Megan’s giveaway!
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Scarecrow Art

Pinterest has made teaching much more interesting.  With one quick visit to Pinterest, I am overwhelmed, but in a good way, by the all the possibilities and I love it!

I recently did a crayon resist water color painting with a group of 3rd graders.  I found the idea on Pinterest, but the original idea came from Art Projects for Kids.  This site is wonderful for non-artistic types who want to come up with a classroom friendly art project.  I don’t have an artistic bone in my body, but I was able to walk my kids through this project with ease and the pictures turned out GREAT!




I loved the fact that we had step by step directions to follow, and yet, there was opportunity for the kids to add their own personal flair to their artwork.


As you can see, the kids are definitely proud of their art.






If you haven’t been to Art Projects for Kids, you should definitely go.  Soon.  You’ll be amazed at what you’ll find.  In fact, you’ve probably already seen some of Kathy Barbro’s projects on Pinterest.  Kathy Barbro’s Scarecrow Portrait can be found here.
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There’s a Nightmare in My…

Are you familiar with Writing Fix?  It is an amazing collection of writing activities that are easy to implement.  Not only do Writing Fix writing ideas come with graphic organizers and student samples, they use children’s literature as a starting point.  If you haven’t checked this site out yet, click on the graphic below.
http://writingfix.com/


I recently had my kids write their own nightmare stories based on Mercer Mayer’s There’s a Nightmare in My Closet.  I got the idea from this activity from Writing Fix.  I started off by showing a video I found on YouTube with Billy Crystal reading the book.
After the video, we brainstorm a list of the different things we have been scared of.  I included some of my own childhood fears which the kids got a kick out of.  I then showed the class the student writing samples from Writing Fix.  At this point, I turned them loose to start writing and they were definitely enthusiastic about this project.
When they were finished with their writing, they created their own monsters by coloring on coffee filters with markers.  I sprayed the coffee filters with water and the colors bled together which gave us some interesting effects.  Once the filters were dry, the kids added details.


Here are some of the more interesting stories that were written.

The Monster in My Potty


The Monster in My Desk


Ghost in My Attic


Here are some nightmares that I just HAD to share!






I’d like to hear about your favorite writing activities.  Leave me a comment about which picture book is your favorite to use as a springboard for writing.
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200 Follower Giveaway!!

I’m amazed to know that I have over 200 fantastic people following my blog!!   This calls for a celebration!  Instead of having the typical giveaway with only one winner, I’d like to show my gratitude by making everyone a winner.  Keep reading to find out what you can get.

I have 4 versions of BOOM! available in my TPT store – addition, subtraction, multiplication, and division.  The kids get a kick out of playing this game because the container looks like dynamite.


The container is super easy to make.  I made mine by covering a Pringle’s can with red Contact paper.  The hardest part was eating enough Pringle’s for a class set of these games…yeah, right!
https://www.teacherspayteachers.com/Product/BOOM-Addition-Fact-Practice-Game-257623


The addition version is a free download.  Click on the pic above if you haven’t already grabbed it.

UPDATE: This giveaway has closed.
Now, here’s the good part:
I will give all my awesome followers their pick from my other three sets.


https://www.teacherspayteachers.com/Product/BOOM-Subtraction-Fact-Practice-Game-367456

https://www.teacherspayteachers.com/Product/BOOM-Multiplication-Fact-Practice-Game-257627


https://www.teacherspayteachers.com/Product/Boom-Division-Fact-Practice-Game-366597


All you need to do is leave me a comment with the name you’re following under and your choice of one of the above sets.  Please leave me your email addy so I can send the file to you.  I’ll send the file as soon as I can, but you might want to make a run to the store to get some Pringle’s while you’re waiting.
Please spread the word if you know anyone who might be interested.  This giveaway will close Sunday night (10/21/12) at midnight.
Thanks for following me!
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I’ve been BOOed!

I’ve been busy and got a little behind on my email, blog, etc.  Eeek!  When I checked in, I noticed that I had been BOOed – twice! 



I’d like to thank Leah from Learning 4 Keeps and Holly from Fourth Grade Flipper.  Thanks ladies – you made my week!

I’m a book nerd so I’m sharing some of my favorite read aloud Halloween stories.

Seinfeld’s Halloween is hysterical!  I LOVE it!!  It’s not necessarily appropriate for younger kids but it’s a fun read.


This is one of my old favs, but I think it’s out of print which is too bad.  It’s modeled after the 12 Days of Christmas.  My kids always have a hoot singing along with me.


I read this one for the 1st time a few days ago.  Scarum Fair is a book of poetry so I wasn’t really sure if I would like it.  My class loved it and described it as being disgustingly funny.  I’ll be sharing this one again next year.


Hallowiener is my all time favorite.  It’s just a cute story about acceptance. Dav Pilkey does a great job with this one. 
Now I’m off to BOO some bloggy buddies.
Melissa at More Time 2 Teach
Krista at Stellar Students
Katie from Rock and Teach
Mrs. G at Teach on a Limb
Brittany at Stickers and Stamps
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