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Friday, 29 June 2018

Independence Day Giveaway


Happy Father's Day! Myself and a team of amazing teachers have grouped together to gift an awesome teacher with a TPT gift card to show them how appreciative we are!

1 x $150 TPT Giftcard

#1 TAG your teacher friends by adding their names in the comment section

REMEMBER: each entry counts as ONE entry, the more links you complete, the higher your chances of winning!!

Raffle CLOSES: Saturday 7th July 2018 12am


Friday, 15 June 2018

The Unexpected and Fascinating Joy of Making a Sand Castle

Sandcastle Delight

I went to the beach last week, and for the first time in 70 years, I made a sandcastle, with lots of help from my family!  I never knew what important skills it would involve.

This post is for all teachers and adults,  who go to the beach, enjoy the surf, walk the beach, collect sea shells, and just sit in the sun. 
 It is for all adults who think building a sandcastle is only for kids.  😎
That was certainly how I always felt, that I would look silly playing in the sand!😚😅

My first visit to the beach was when I was 14.  Then, it was not expected for a teenager to play in the sand.😞

Next visits to the beach came throughout my adult life.  Every time I walked a beach, whether on the Atlantic Coast or Pacific Coast, I would see families making sandcastles, and admire their work.  Never did I think I could make one. 😫

Adults didn't play in the sand.😭

Therefore,  at the young age of 70, I found out that it is hard work to make a sandcastle.
 Luckily, my grandchildren took me  in hand and showed me how to play in the sand. 

 (I wasted so many years.)

Tools Needed!

It helps to have a bag of sand toys!  If not use any container for a mold.  But first, wear a sun hat, sunscreen, and sunglasses.

  •  My grandson said," Just fill this bucket with sand, and then pour water in it."  So we did.  We found out that made the sand in the bucket like cement.😞

  • Next, my granddaughter said,"No you have to dig down into the sand and make a hole.  Then fill the hole with water."  We did.  We then found we made a form of mud.

Still Building!

  • An older granddaughter, who is in college came along, and sat down, and showed us what to do.  We dug away a space.  We added wet sand to molds, flipped them over, and sometimes we made a great cast, but sometimes it was a do over.😀

Insights From Others!

  • It didn't matter what we created.  It was the challenge of making anything that would retain it's shape, while we discussed ways to make it better. 😁 


  • Our sandcastle at the end, wasn't outstanding, and certainly didn't look like what I have always have seen in pictures.  😅


It was our creation! 

 It was PRICELESS to us!

The best part of this exercise was that we were all involved.  A grandmother, her daughter, and her grandchildren having a memory together at the beach!😉

So follow my suggestion, if you go to the beach, be silly, play, have fun and make memories. 😁

That is what is IMPORTANT!

Personally, now I know that I will have to take some sand tools with me on subsequent beach visits, and HAVE FUN IN THE SAND!  😀


Saturday, 19 May 2018

Every Child Deserves An End Of The Year Award!

End of The Year Awards?

    I have a personal bias about End of The Year Award Ceremony.  I feel that every child deserves at least one reward.  They couldn't have spent a whole year with you, and not done at least one thing right.  I do know it is hard to smile and give an award to the difficult trouble maker in your class, but you as a teacher could be the one to acknowledge this child, that does need emotional support!

Two reasons for this bias:

First:  My children went to a school that only gave two good citizenship awards for each class.  One for a girl and one for a boy.  Because I focused my energies during that time at the urban/ low income school where I taught, I was not the P.T.A mother who showed up each week.  Of course, those children of these parents were always the ones recognized.  My daughters, who were good in school (alas, not angels at home) never understood this.  I think all good kids should be recognized for being a good citizen if they deserve it,not a select few.

Second:  I was teaching in a school in which the students were called forward to receive their awards. Every child who went forward, was able to stay up front, until everyone was recognized. They had smiles from ear to ear. 😀  
     I looked over where the pre-school children sat. Their teacher had given awards to all of her students, but one.  He was left sitting all by himself on the gym floor, while everyone else in his class was up front. 

 Tell me that that four year old child didn't feel upset!    😞  

 Later I offered to give that teacher a certificate to give to him, so at least he could go home with some recognition.  She responded, "He doesn't deserve anything.  He was always bad and I am glad he is moving along!"

 As teachers we are suppose to teach the whole child.  I think this teacher, missed the memo about every child. 

  I hope he found a better, and caring teacher in Kindergarten.

So what to do with the child that has plucked your last nerve all year.  


Here are some ideas!

  • Fantastic Story Teller
  • Most Expressive!
  • Creative in Cleaning Up the Room
  • Fastest Runner
  • Lunch Room Enthusiast
If you get stumped on what to give ask a colleague for a suggestion.  

Even if it is "Happy to Have Had You In My Class!  Good Luck in the Next Grade!

Organizational Tip!

Put certificates either in a file folder or large envelope for each child.  Then on the front write the name of the certificate for easy recognition. That way you only have to hand out the one envelope or folder.  Saves time and keeps the certificates neat.  

I always collected them as they sat down to hand back out in the classroom to be put in book bags.

If your school doesn't do a big assembly.  Then invite parents for a grade level assembly, or one for your own class. 

Great parent involvement and PR!

Here is a free sample!

Check out the 34 awards for this set!


Saturday, 14 April 2018

Are you Ready to Empower Your Students? Earth Day 2018!

It is hard for me to believe that is it now Earth Day 2018. 

A little background: 

 48 years ago Earth Day started in 1970.  (This was when I began teaching.)  With it the Clean Air Act, Clean Water Act, and Endangered Species Act was implemented. 

   I have seen many of the benefits from these in our environment.  One that personally I felt was the Clean Air Act.  I grew up in a steel mill community, with high air pollution.  Everything was covered by graphite.  When the Clean Air Act was instituted, we saw grass grow and clear skies.  

A picture book written by Anna Egan  Smucker, correctly portrays what happened in my hometown of Weirton, WV.   It is called: No Star Nights.  

You can find it at and it is now in paperback. 
Pollution reversal has been one of the  mainstays  I used in teaching.
 With another teacher, Jim Mullins, in the early 1980's we wrote two plays about pollution: Ecology Works, about cleaning up parks of paper.  And Papertron, Pollution Solution    

We won Keep America Beautiful Awards for the presentation by our classes.  A proud moment for all of us.

Throughout the years, we recycled paper in my class, and then it became school wide.

Two environmental Educational Programs you might want to check out for year round curriculum are:

Earth Day 2018 motto/ 

 End Plastic Pollution

With the advent of plastic, many oceans, animals, and our land environment has been compromised.  Many people don't recycle or reuse the plastic, as you can see on your daily travels.   

When I was in Haiti, they use bottled water, because the rivers and streams are polluted.  The people do not have recycling implementation, and as I traveled I could see mounds of bottles everywhere.  

In America, we are fortunate that we can recycle, but students must be made aware of how they can help. 

 You can go to  to find information and lessons which involves students, at any grade level.

Some simple ideas:

  • Have the students list at least ten items made from plastic in their homes.

  • Count how many plastic bottles they have in their home.

  • Brainstorm ways they can reuse the plastic containers they found in their homes.

  • Locate on a map Recycling Centers in which they can take plastic, cans, and paper.

  • At lunch one day, count how many plastic items they throw away.  Decide if they could have washed and reused them. 
These are just a few ways to involve students next week.  Throughout the school year revisit, not only plastic pollution, but air, water, and paper. 

Use some of the resources I suggested in this blog.  

Happy Earth Day!


Monday, 26 February 2018

note to followers feb 2018

It is hard to Believe that Spring will be Here in less than a month!

Where I live in Virginia we have had a very mild winter.   Daffodils are blooming and robins are returning!

During February I have offered a collection of Winter Love Freebies! 
 I just added the fifth one.
 I hope that you were able to take advantage of them. 

Read Across America Day is This Week! 
I have a Class Book called,
Oh, The Places You Can Read that I used in my class! Of course, it can be used any time of year.
This product does come in edited and unedited versions.  
I also included a Family Project with it!

Happy End of February! 
Look for more products coming soon!


Wednesday, 14 February 2018

Easy and Amazing Ways to Empower Students Utilizing Sight Words!

Happy Valentine's Day!

Lots of Love to Great Teachers Out There!

Valentine's Day is a wonderful way to have students reading.  They love looking at their cards, reading them, and having fun with them.  Students  actively engaged in reading is what teachers want.  A simple, and easy strategy.

When I started teaching in 1969, (yes, I am closing in on 70 years young) reading was taught using sight words, and very little phonics.  

In the ensuing years, I taught Language Experience, in which we would engage students in an activity, and they would write and read sentences about the experience.  This was fun, but challenging at times.  

Example, they had to learn the word want, so every child wrote a sentence about what they would want to get for Christmas.  Then, I had to make copies of the story, and they would spend time finding the word want, circling it, highlighting it, and spell it using clay or other materials.  It was fun for them, and they learned the word want. 

Years passed and the focus became teaching reading with the 220 Dolch Words, plus 95 nouns.  Then, phoneme awareness became the norm.    Words their Way was a great way to teach reading using word families.

So, I continued on, utilizing these methods, and then, Dr Edward Fry developed a list of sight words.  In 1996, he published a book with   1000 sight words for students to learn through elementary school, commonly known at the Fry Words. 

As good teachers, you knew all of this, but sometimes it can become a little overwhelming!  

What do I teach and how!

How do I integrate sight words, with the phonics and word families? 

 Students learn at different rates, some easily, and others struggle. 

 But, having the command of sight words, helps all of them feel confident in reading.

What are easy ways to practice sight words. 

First, it has to be fun!  

Second, Students need to be able to use all their modalities. 
 See, hear, feel, and move to be able to  own the words.

Here are some suggestions you might try in your class for the study of sight words!

  • Write the words in color using crayons, colored pencils, and pens.
  • Write the words using water and a sponge.  Great outdoor activity.
  • Act out the word, such as jump! Say the word, spell the word, and JUMP!!!
  • Use different voices to read the words, loud, whisper, high, low, angry, happy, etc.
  • Clap and Tap out a pattern using several words.  Have the words in a line, so they can read as they tap and clap a pattern.  Such as:  down, downarounddown, downaround.  Let them make their own patterns.
  • Use technology to flash the words quickly for them to read or highlight.
  • Have a set of words, and put them in alphabetical order.  (This is one of my most successful methods.  Easy to use, and they practice reading while arranging the sequence.)
  • Cut out letters to make the words you are focusing on that day or week.  This helps to pattern their brain to remember the word when they see it in other print material.
  • Make up songs, rhymes, or chants using the words of the week.
  • When they come in each day, have words around the room that they need to walk to, read the word, and jump or clap after each word.  It doesn't have to be many, but get them moving.  (This could be a job for two students to arrange new words each day in the selected spots in the room.  They can do it for a week, then two more students can be the ones to make sure the words are posted.)
  •  Homework, have index cards for parents to put around their home, and every time the child passes the word, they have to touch the card and read the word.  Only do three to five words at a time.
  • Let them look in books to find the word.  If it is a word in your reading series, they can use the various tones of voice every time they see it in the story.
  • Remember, when standing in a line for lunch or the bathroom, always have some flashcards with you to for them to read.

Technology is wonderful, but students still need to use their hands and bodies.  Let them come up with new ways to learn their sight words.

  They might want to paint the word, make it in clay, draw the word, write it on paper, read the word, then scrunch up the paper into a ball, and throw it into the trash can, like basketball. 

These are just a few suggestions, I know you have many more ideas. 

 Get with a colleague and actually take ten minutes to make a list of ways you can get the students reading, while being engaged.

To help you along, here are two activities you can use for beginning readers.  Just click on the link, and enjoy!

Have a Great Valentine's Day!  


Monday, 12 February 2018