Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Monday, June 29, 2015

Flippin' For Summer Fun Giveaway

Are you enjoying your summer? Resting and relaxing or planning and prepping? I am doing a little of both! So far I have spent a lot of time at workshops/PD/meetings but also a lot of time soaking up the sun! I am trying not to think about the fact that I start Summer School this week!

To celebrate summer, I am having a
  Flippin' for Summer Fun Giveaway

A couple of fellow bloggers are joining in....Leslie from First Grade and Flip Flops and Alisa from First Grade Fun Times.

Let me tell you, there are FOUR FAB prizes so you REALLY want to enter!

Enter Here:

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Happy Summer!

Sunday, June 28, 2015

Wonderful Weekend....and a NEW BLOG DESIGN

Did you notice by new blog design???? I just LOVE it. The colors, the font, the buttons, my signature...ALL of it!!! Megan from A Bird in Hand Designs did it for me. She is amazing and a doll to work with. If you are in need of a new blog, button, etc. go visit her!
A Bird in Hand Designs
So this post was titled Wonderful Weekend. Obviously one of the reasons was MY NEW BLOG!

Another reason was I had a fun-filled weekend. (And not teacher fun-filled, real people fun-filled, ya'all!)

I mentioned last week that I live very close to the beach and that my school is a block off of the beach. I am a beach girl. I love looking at the ocean, listening to the ocean, watching the sun rise over the ocean, I even like soaking up the sun at the ocean, but.....I do NOT like getting IN the ocean or getting all sandy. This weekend I had family visit from out of town. They stayed at a hotel on the beach. I got to spend Saturday and Sunday lounging with them by the pool ON the beach. I could see the waves,  hear the ocean and feel the ocean breeze but did not get all sandy. (I might have even sipped on a sangria while soaking up the sun and LOOKING at the ocean!) It was like a mini-vaca without having to pack or find a petsitter!

Saturday afternoon I went on a Wine Walk with some friends. A Wine Walk is just what it sounds like. You walk around a cute little beachside town and drink wine. It was sooooo much fun. It was very, very, very hot but we had a blast! We went late in the day but are going to make a whole day of it next time so we can stop in and shop at  all of the cute little local shops. They have them monthly so we thought it would be wonderful to go in the fall or winter when it is cooler. Here is a pic of us at our first stop. (Our plan was to take a pic at the last stop as well, but, ummmm there were 12 stops and like I said, it was hot. That picture would have been scary!)

My teaching besties and my mom!

Like I said, I had a Wonderful Weekend. Now it is back to reality, I start Summer School this week!

Thursday, June 25, 2015

Crazy for Colors

Last year I spent 2 weeks doing a Color Unit. Read a little bit more about it {here}. I created a unit to go with it. Click the picture below if you want to check it out!

Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Combo Class Tip #3

Tip #3....
This is an easy but VERY helpful tip! Not only will it help keep you organized, it will give each grade level their own identity. { And most importantly it is an excuse to buy more bins and baskets! One can NEVER have too many color coded bins and baskets, right?!?! }

Monday, June 22, 2015

TPT Seller Challenge #2

Challenge #2.......
I am sure I am preachin' to the choir here, but those are my TPT dreams. While I do love creating, sharing and helping other teachers, my dreams are ultimately financial dreams! My goal for the summer was to expand my TPT store, blog, etc. This challenge was perfect timing. {Maybe even a sign!}

Not Pinch Every Penny-
This one explains itself. I am a teacher, a single teacher. Even though I am a very practical, frugal person, it would be nice to see something I want and simply get it without thinking about my budget or feeling guilty. Classroom things, clothes, purses, home stuff, the expensive wine...you get the picture!
For The Record I am not one to complain about a teacher's low pay. I choose to be a teacher and could be making twice my salary in a different career (goal #2 will explain).  Since I choose to be a teacher because that is what I am passionate about, I don't complain about my pay. (Just sayin' a little breathing room would be nice!)

Pay Off Student Loans-
This is my ultimate goal. Right now there is no end in sight. I went to college twice. Yup, twice! My first degree is Business Administration with an emphasis in Management and a minor in Health Care. I would LOVE to get my masters in education but I know that is not a choice until I pay off my first 2 loans.

Put in a Pool-
I live in Florida a few blocks away from the beach. My school is a block away from the beach. I am lucky, I KNOW. But....the beach is messy and a lot of work to just relax and soak up the sun for a couple of hours! Unless you are on vacation, of course!

By the way, not long after updating my Fun with Frogs unit, I sold one! Yea!


Sunday, June 21, 2015

TPT Seller Challenge Week 1

I made it {JUST} in time...it is the last day of Week 1 of the TPT Seller Challenge! (I was in Orlando all week for the SDE Reading, Writing, Math and More conference! I will tell you more about that later. I have some exciting news to share!)

For Challenge #1 I updated my Fun With Frogs Nonfiction Unit! No content change, just made it a little prettier! Click the pic below if you want to check it out!
I am anxious to see what Challenge #2 is tomorrow!

Those crayons are at it again....

Last year I did a 2 week unit on colors. (I am currently working on a unit for TPT to share with you!) My kids LOVED The Day the Crayons Quit by Drew Daywalt. I was so excited to see that he has a companion book coming out in August. It can be preordered now through Amazon. Click the pic to take a closer look!

Wednesday, June 17, 2015

Combo Class Tip #2

Here is my second tip for a Combo Class!
Here are two teachers who make FANTASTIC units that have multi-level passages! Clink their name for the link to their stores!

Teachers and Tapas
24/7 Teacher

Do you have any favorite multi-passage products?


Monday, June 15, 2015


New Product = Flash FREEBIE!
I uploaded a new product last night...Ocean Animal Research with QR Codes. It will be free until I get home from my PD this afternoon. Grab it quick and leave some feedback!

Click the picture for the link!


Sunday, June 14, 2015

Ocean Animal Research

We ended the year learning about Ocean Animals. It was definitely a favorite unit for both my first and second graders! The highlight was when we used iPads to scan QR Codes. Each code had a link to a Learning Poster about an Ocean Animal. Students recorded what they learned in a book.

If you are interested in checking out my unit, click the picture below! There are regular and easier versions of each animal included!
I am currently working on a similar unit for Coral Reef Animals!

Friday, June 12, 2015

The Constitution for the little guys!

Our Social Studies curriculum asks students to identify the Constitution, describe its purpose and relate the information in the Constitution to the functions of the American government. This is a lot for the little guys to grasp and shhhhhh.....{not so exciting to them!}

After searching Pinterest, blogs, and TPT, I came across the Diary of a Not So Wimpy Teacher's blog.  I used her idea and tweaked it a bit for the little guys.  (She teaches third grade.) Here is what I ended up doing to introduce The Constitution:

First I told the students we were going to play a new math game and I had them choose a partner. Next I gave them a brand new math game that they had never played before with NO DIRECTIONS.  When they had the paper with the game on it and a pair of dice, I sent them on their way!

I wish I had video of them. All of the groups tried so hard to figure out how to play the game! While a couple of the groups did come up with a way to play (not the correct way), most were not successful and got pretty frustrated. 

This is what I heard while walking around.
"This is so hard!" 
"I don't know what to do!" 
"Maybe we should just..."
"Lets do this. No that won't work!"
"Ms. Gilbert, PLEASE help us!"
"We could just try rolling the dice and then see what happens."

After about 4 minutes, I called them back to the carpet and gave them the rules and directions to the game. All groups were then able to go back and play the game successfully!

I let them play the game (the correct way) for about 10 minutes. I asked them which way was better and to describe the differences between the two ways. You can imagine the discussion! They all decided it was much easier and much more fun with the rules. I then explained that this was kind of how it was when America was just getting started. There were no rules or directions so there were problems. That is why they wrote the Constitution. 

My students really "got it" with this introduction! How do you teach the Constitution? 
Ms. Gilbert

Wednesday, June 10, 2015


When I was given a combo class the week before school started last year, I did what most teachers would do.....I started searching for ideas on blogs, Facebook, Instagram, and Pinterest!  Unfortunately I didn't find many. Even though I started out last year being a little worried and a little overwhelmed, I can honestly say it was one of the BEST years of my teaching career so far.  And....I GET to teach a combo again next year! I am very excited. (Mainly because I have all summer to plan and prepare instead of only a few days!) 

This summer one of my goals is to share a Combo Class Tip with you each week. {Now that it is in writing, I HAVE to do it, right?!?!?!}
First up....Planning Ahead and Making Copies!
Okay, I admit I didn't start doing this until January{ish}. I am a planner. I plan ahead. I know...this is a GOOD thing. However, when I would get things back from copy center or pull things out of my filing cabinet, I would have to remember what I was planning and for which grade level. Writing the grade level at the bottom was a life saver. And SO simple!
Any other combo/split/multi-age teachers out there?