Posts made in July, 2013

Top 10 Favorites for Back to School from My TpT Wishlist

Posted by on Jul 31, 2013 in vocabulary | 0 comments

“You did everything penguinly possible.” –Happy Feet 2006

Top 10 Favorites for BTS Wishlist

I am really gearing up for “Back to School.” Yesterday I shopped online for new shoes, a penguin t-shirt for “Meet the Teacher”, a penguin mug for my classroom, penguin magnets, and penguin decals. I went to Walmart for folders , crayons, markers, notepads, pencils, pens, and Sharpies. I still need to find composition books. I can’t believe I forgot them.

I have created all new penguin decor for my classroom and it seems like everyday I think of something else to make. I have also added to my wishlist almost daily when I read about new products from the sellers I follow on TpT.

I thought today I would share my Top 10 newest picks. (I have over 170 items on my wishlist.) 5 will be freebies and 5 will be paid. I put freebies on my wishlist all of the time. That way I can find them when I want them. I have never saved an item (freebie or paid, except for clip art) onto my computer. I feel like I wouldn’t know how. (Silly, I know.)

Anyway, here they are, freebies first:

1.  Laura Santos has speeding tickets for students who rush through their work too quickly! I think this is an excellent idea and would be effective for those who really don’t care about quality.

Here is what she says about her product, “If you notice your students are having trouble remembering to take their time, write neatly and edit their final product, you can give them a speeding ticket. Not only will they be required to correct their “violation”, they are also required to pay a fine, further motivating them to avoid future violations.”

2.  The “Voice Level Posters” from TheHappyTeacher  are awesome. They are in the popular chalkboard style.

She includes these levels:

Voice Level 0: Silent
Voice Level 1: Whisper
Voice Level 2: Partners
Voice Level 3: Group
Voice Level 4: Presentation
Voice Level 5: Outside

3.  Ciera Harris provides a great product for those early finishers. It is called “What Do I Do When I Am Done?” She includes 16 task cards, plus blanks for writing your own.

4.  Weather Task Cards from The Science Penguins will add to my weather unit. I love that it will make a complete science center.  This free file includes 12 review task cards about weather map symbols, tools, and climate. A student recording sheet and answer key are included.

Weather Task Cards

5.  This persuasive writing activity is genius. You ask your students to persuade you to let them do something special in the classroom. It is by Third Grade Galore.

Persuasive Writing Activity Freebie

These 5 are paid items that I REALLY want!

6.  Little Red’s Informational Reading Passages are all over my wishlist! Todays Product Update included this one (okay so actually three – I just love her!):

Informational Reading Passages with Comprehension Question

She has at least 6 packets available with plans for 8. Each one has 20 passages, so it will be enough for the entire year! I love how she includes vocabulary!!

7.  Laura Santos is back on my list with a Brain Break Bucket. She includes 25 ideas that can be done in 3 minutes or less.

Brain Breaks Bucket

8.  MrHughes has the coolest dodecahedron projects! Maybe I love them just because I love the word “dodecahedron”! Here is one I plan to use to help promote mastery of multiplication facts. I think the kids will enjoy this.

Math Facts Mastery: Multiplication Edition Dodecahedron Kit

9.  The Science Penguin returns with Primary Science Notebook Activities. I am having a difficult time choosing between this one and her other sets! They all include amazing foldables!

Primary Science Notebook Activities


10. I am in love with Lovin’ Lit’s Ultimate Interactive Notebook Template Collection! This set can be used for any subject AND she gives permission for sellers to use them in their own products! This one is a MUST have.

The Ultimate Interactive Notebook Template Collection (Bla

Okay, now that I have 10, I can’t believe some of the things I missed, for example:  The “Tower of Books” Challenge {An Independent Reading Challenge} by Michael Friermood Landforms Task Cards – 110 task cards for 11 different landforms – common core by Tiny TOes

Oh, and anything by Rachel Lynette.

There’s so much great stuff available! Please share some of your favorites and must haves! Or join my Linky Party!





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Help, I Need a Name!

Posted by on Jul 29, 2013 in Freebies, general school | 2 comments

Help, I Need a Name!

I’ve a grand memory for forgetting.

– Robert Louis Stevenson

I have a fun plan for those pesky “No Name” papers. I am going to put this poster on my whiteboard and keep some penguin magnets nearby. I will attach the papers under the sign for the students to claim. The penguin clip art is from The font is KristenITC.

Help! I Need a Name!


Penguin Name

I have been searching for some new magnets for this plan. I just ordered these:

I made these for those of you with an owl theme or an ocean. I used an owl and a fish by My Cute Graphics and the font is by Miss Galvin Learns, MGL Writes Well.

"Owl" need a name on this, please!


Owl name

Please "hook" a name to this paper!


Fish Name

Well, back to creating my amazing penguin filled classroom! You can find my completed items here:


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Helping Kids Remember

Posted by on Jul 28, 2013 in Freebies | 0 comments

Helping Kids Remember

“If you wish to forget anything on the spot, make a note that this thing is to be remembered.”
― Edgar Allan Poe

Each day as we teach our students, we are hoping they will remember the important things we are telling them. Teachers use many devices to help kids remember. When we present something in a unique way, it sets it apart, makes it special, makes it memorable.

I especially like to use songs to help students learn. My classes have loved the multiplication songs we’ve learned. For example (sung to Jingle Bells):

3, 6, 9

12, 15

18, 21

24, 27, 30 Oh, what fun.

33, 36

I heard my students singing quietly during work or test time to find the right answer.

Chants are also a fun way to introduce and remember new information. Chanting has many of the benefits of song:
It uses rhythm and rhyme in an enjoyable way.
It provides patterns that can make learning easier.
It builds children’s confidence in oral language.
It can promote a sense of community, which is conducive to learning.
It provides a change of pace and mood to improve student motivation.
It offers opportunities for repeated readings, which build fluency.
It can serve as a writing prompt, offering students the chance to write new verses.

I make a big deal about key words, especially for math. “Each and every” help students know to multiply, while “how many more” tells students to subtract.

Word Walls are a current method which displays words as an interactive tool for teaching reading and spelling to children.

Word walls have many benefits. They teach children to recognize and spell high frequency words, see patterns and relationship in words build phonemic awareness skills and apply phonics rules. Word walls also provide reference support for children during reading and writing activities. Children learn to be independent as they use the word walls in daily activities.

Word walls can also be used:

  • To support the teaching of important general principals about words and how they work.
  • To promote independence on the part of students as they work with words in writing and reading.
  • To provide a visual map to help children remember connections between words and the characteristics that will help them form categories.
  • To develop a growing core of words that become part of a reading and writing vocabulary.
  • To provide reference for children during their reading and writing.

Desk charts are a similar device. These are especially helpful for students who have difficulty transferring words on a wall to their own work.

I LOVE mnemonics!

My students remember the spelling of many words by using memory aids. When dealing with homophones, we discover that the hear you do with your ear has the word ear in it. The meat that you eat contains the word eat. The there that can be replaced with the word here (Put the package there – Put the package here.) contains the word here. This also works with the word “where”. Where is it? Here.

We find that together is spelled with to-get-her and that there is “a rat” in separate.

Another great memory tool is acronyms. FANBOYS  helps us remember the connectors; for, and, nor, but, or, yet, so.

ROY G. BIV gives us the colors of the rainbow. HOMES remings of the names of the Great Lakes.

We also have sentences to remind of us information or spelling.

For example, “My very excited mother just served us noodles (or nine pies)” can help us remember the order of the planets. And “Big elephants can always understand small elephants” can help us spell the word “because”.



Please join the discussion and share some ideas you use for helping kids remember!



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Family Time

Posted by on Jul 19, 2013 in scavenger hunt, Uncategorized, vocabulary development | 0 comments

We are on a family trip for a nephew’s wedding and my mom’s 89th birthday. As my husband was driving, I alternated between reading and writing ideas for projects. I am most excited about the two new scavenger hunts I am ready to make on vocabulary development! I am considering making one of them my Featured Freebie as the 4th of July one is rather dated at this point.

I have also planned out one or two scavenger hunts for the younger grades. The antonym one is ready for me to make. The synonym one needs a little more thought.

so far, I have not heard from the winner of my Giveaway. if I do not hear from hear by the time we return home, I will post a new giveaway. I really want someone to win the prize.


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A Group Discussion

Posted by on Jul 16, 2013 in example non-example, vocabulary, vocabulary development | 2 comments

A group of penguins is called a waddle of penguins. Yes, a waddle. Unless they’re in a nesting group, that’s a rookery. Or a group of penguin babies, that’s a creche. Or, if it’s a group on water, that’s a raft.

Animal group names are so much fun, who doesn’t like a gaggle of geese for instance. Isn’t it cool that fish go to school?

Here’s a little test for you:

Group Names; 3 Facts and a Fib

I love these names. It would make a great vocabulary lesson finding out how the name fits the animal’s personality. Each child could research the meaning of the group noun and, if needed, learn some more about the animal in order to explain how the phrase may have come about and why it fits. Here are some more that would be perfect for the lesson:

A flutter of butterflies

A train of camels

A float of crocodiles

A murder of crows

A congregation of eagles

A charm of finches

A flamboyance of flamingos

A skulk of foxes

A tower of giraffes

A cloud of grasshoppers

A cackle of hyenas

A smack of jellyfish

An exaltation of lark

A leap of leopards

A pride of lions

A barrel of monkeys

A romp of otters

A parliament of owls

A pandemonium of parrots

A rhumba of rattlesnakes

A scurry of squirrels

A knot of toads

A wisdom of wombats

Many more group names can be found here:

The names I’ve chosen lend themselves easily to differentiation. Some students need to think about “a tower of giraffes” while others are ready to understand “a pandemonium of parrots” or “an exaltation of larks”.

Oh, and it is actually a congregation of alligators.

Announcing the Winner!

Diane has won the Penguin Products or any $25.00 of items from my store. I’ll let you know her choices!


Here’s a Fun Linky party.

Linda at Primary Inspiration has a linky with free classroom decor printables. Go find some ggod stuff, or maybe even add your own link.



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