Monday, March 31, 2014

Monday Made It, Freebie and a Giveaway!

Happy Monday!  I'm glad you are here because I have some VERY exciting news! If you checked in with me on Friday, you probably know that I recently purchased the program I had been using on my Fiance's computer to create products.  This is super exciting because now I don't have to wait to post products until the weekend anymore AND I can share them with you immediately! YAY! 

This weekend I posted two BRAND NEW products! I have my First and Second grade Dolch Sight word BANG games into on GIANT K-2 Bundle! If that isn't enough, I have also included and EDITABLE version of this bundle so you are able to add any other words you may need! HOW AWESOME IS THAT?!?!?!

Click Image to check it out in my store!

I also have a brand new FREEBIE that is just a little taste of an awesome package that will be coming your way soon! 

"TAP IT OUT" is an addition strategy I developed in my classroom to help my firsties that are still using all of their fingers and toes to complete basic addition problems.  The idea is fairly simple, but the outcome is amazing! Students use their "TAP" button to represent the larger numbers they have in addition and subtraction problems. Students "TAP" their button while they say the larger number from a problem which then leaves their little fingers open to count and represent the smaller number from the problem.  My students have LOVED using their buttons and I have LOVED seeing their confidence grow! Like I said, this is a trial run of what is to come, so please leave feedback so I can make sure my package is perfect! 

Phew! Now......

I know that those products may have made you excited but, hold on to your hats ladies and gents, that isn't even the most EXCITING news I have for you! 

DRUMROLL please.........

A New Box of Crayons is officially on Facebook and to get things rolling I'm having a Facebook Follower Giveaway! One winner will receive my BRAND NEW K-2 Dolch Sight word bundle just for following my TPT store, Facebook and leaving a comment on this blog! How easy is that?! Hurry, the giveaway ends this Friday!

I wish you the best of luck! 

I hope you have a wonderful week! 

Thanks for stoppin' by! 

Sunday, March 30, 2014

Facebook Follower Giveaway!!!

You heard it right! A New Box of Crayons is now on Facebook!
In honor of my new Facebook page I'm having a Follower Giveaway! 
That's right you could be the lucky winner of my K-2 Dolch Sight Word Bundle!

Earn three entries by entering below! Best of luck!  

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Thanks for stoppin' by! 

Friday, March 28, 2014

HAPPY....Five for Friday!

Congratulations for making it through another week, it sounds easy when you think about it, but in reality we all know it can be quite tough.  Let's get started with my FIVE FOR FRIDAY!!! WOO!!!

For starters, how about that weather?! I mean, really, what is going on?!  Now, I know Nebraska is known to have some crazy weather every now and again, but this week was just insane! You would have sworn my firsties were on some kind of sugar rush had you walked into my classroom. Needless to say, this week was a long one and by Wednesday my friend "Lynn" and I were ready for a little R& we treated ourselves to a lovely mani/pedi.  I decided to go with bright spring colors in hopes that it would bring warm weather soon, and then something AWESOME happened.  The lady that was painting my toes offered to make a design, which of course I whipped out my phone and brought up a cheetah design I have been dying to try. Now, I had asked many other places to try this adorable design and had been denied every time, BUT this lady took on the challenge and CHECK IT OUT!!!!!! 

They look GREAT! My cheetah toes definitely brightened my day, and I'm holding out hope for a day that I can wear my cute sandals to school and show them off! I know the warm weather may be wishful thinking on my part, but hey, a girl has got to dream, right?

This week has definitely been exhausting and to be honest my mind has been stuck in San Antonio.  I often find myself daydreaming of the warm sun, beautiful River-walk and the soft sounds of a Mariachi band playing in the background.  For those of you who didn't stop by last week, you can check out my blog post about my trip to San Antonio here!  Here is just a little taste of the Mariachi band we heard, quite frequently while we were there.

These guys were a lot of fun! Excuse the poor video quality...I was passing my phone across the table to my fiance to get a better angle. I also was not expecting him to get me in the video either.

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While on vacation I took some time to pick up a book and read for my own enjoyment.  I loved The Hunger Games and wanted a book or series that was similar, so I picked up Divergent.  I was totally against them in the beginning simply because I felt like they were a watered down copy-cat of The Hunger Games series, however, I was wrong.  I LOVE THESE BOOKS! Granted, there are some similarities between the two series, but they still are just as fun to read.  I loved them so much that I read the entire first book on the 13 hour ride home from San Antonio and started the second book on Tuesday and I am already half-way through it! Yup, that is my NERD statement of the day, but I don't mind! I strongly suggest this series for anyone who wants to read for some enjoyment this upcoming summer.

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This week my students have been talking NON-STOP about the movie Frozen.  I told them they couldn't tell me what happens because I am hoping to talk my fiance into watching it with me this weekend. They were all a little bummed that they couldn't tell me EVERYTHING about the movie so we compromised and listened to the sound track all week.  Holy cow! The music for the movie is AMAZING!  I loved it so much that I kept is playing during all (and by all I mean the few minutes I have between making copies and running to the bathroom) of my planning periods...shhh! {another nerd statement}. After listening to the soundtrack I am probably even more excited to see the movie than I was before!  Hmmm...maybe I can bribe my fiance with food...I'll have to work on that.

I left the most exciting news for last!  As you know, I have a fairly new store on TPT and I have been working really hard on brainstorming and creating products to post to share with all of you. Well, I was becoming a little frustrated with my inability to convert my products on my own laptop due to the fact that I didn't have the correct program to secure them.  I have quite a few products just sitting on my computer waiting to be converted and pushed out to the rest of you, but didn't have access to my fiances laptop (who lives an hour away and has the program I use). SOOOO....I bought it! Which means I will be creating and converting like a mad woman tonight and all weekend! YAY!  Be sure to stop by my store or Instagram to see what brilliant products (or freebies) I will be posting!

Well folks, that's all I have for this Friday. I hope you have a wonderful weekend and I am go glad you stopped by! I hope you have a very HAPPY weekend!

Thanks for stoppin' by! 

Monday, March 24, 2014

Liebster Award, San Antonio and a Made it Monday!

Hey there! What a crazy week it has been already...and it's only Monday! This blog post is going to be jam packed with lots of fun information, so I hope you're ready! Let's get it rollin'....

To start things off let's talk about my mini vacation to San Antonio! My fiance, his roommates and I made the 13 hour drive to San Antonio to watch our beloved Huskers play in the first round of the NCAA Tournament. Yes, they lost, but the trip was a blast and the weather was gorgeous! We mingled with people on the river walk, visited the Alamo and had a great time. Here are a few photos from our excursions...

My fiance and I at the Husker get together the day we arrived in San Antonio.

WOOO! Go Big Red! Huskers warming up before the game. The outcome wasn't what we would have hoped for, but it was an...umm...intense game to watch. 

One of the many gorgeous mosaics you can find along the river walk. It's even RED! GBR! 

The Alamo in all its glory. This has to be one of the neatest places to visit. The line was always wrapped around the building, so we didn't make it in, but still a beautiful piece of history. 

All in all, it was one of the best road trips I have been on in a long time. San Antonio will definitely be a place I want to visit again, but maybe this time I will take a plane instead of driving :).

After returning from San Antonio I immediately checked up on my blog. While reading through my comments I found one from Language Arts Bliss that said she had nominated my blog for the Liebster Award! I cannot tell you how humbled I feel to have been nominated, so thank you!

In short, the Liebster Award is a great way to grow your audience, find some great blogs to follow, and become more familiar with 5 great teachers out there.

There is a process that goes with hang with me, folks! Here we go!

Step 1 Answer the 11 Questions your nominating blogger provides:

1. What is the best teaching tip you have ever received?
The best teaching tip I have received so far in my career was actually given to me last year by my building Administrator. I am known for over-thinking things and spinning my wheels, so when I heard him say this to me I had an epiphany.  He simply said :"Keep it simple". Sometimes I let my imagination get the best of me and my ideas of extravagant classroom decor and lessons stress me out more than they help me.  Since, I was given this tip I have felt much more relaxed and have become a better teacher because of this simple reminder. 

2. What is the story behind your blog name?

Well, let's be honest, who doesn't love a new box of crayons!?  I originally started this blog as a place for my reflections during my Student Teaching. In fact, you can find my first post here and read more about my Student Teaching experiences! Since I have continued with blogging the name of my blog has grown to represent much more. For me, it is a constant reminder to bring fresh ideas to the world of teaching and making learning fun (or colorful)!

3. If you were not a teacher, which other profession would you choose?

I honestly don't think I would want to be in any other profession. If I had to be, I would wind up being a crazy dog lady. I love dogs and spending my days with them would probably be the only thing that could provide me with as much happiness as my current profession. :) 

4. What is your favorite dessert?

OOO! This is a tough one, but I'm going to have to go with pie! I LOVE pie! Mainly fruit pies and, of course, French Silk pie. MMM! I get hungry just thinking about it! 

5. Big plans for the summer?

Well, my summer is a little shorter compared to you "normal" calendar folks. I only have about 5-6 weeks off and at least 3 of those I plan to be teaching in a Summer Reading program. The other three will be spent creating items for TPT and my classroom. 

6. Describe what you do when you have 30 minutes of free time:

Well, I mean, I know what I SHOULD do with 30 minutes of free time, but those things don't always happen.  I typically end up talking, a lot, with my co-workers and friends. If I'm not talking I can be found creating products or grading papers...oh, and blogging. :) 

7. What is your favorite childhood movie?

That's easy! My favorite childhood movies is "All Dogs go to Heaven"! Maybe I was meant to be a crazy dog lady!:) 

8. What item can you not make it through the day without?

My phone! Not because I call people or text constantly, but because it helps my life run smoothly.  I have quiet a few kids that leave for interventions at random times throughout the day and I have timers set for each one of them. It is a HUGE life-saver! 

9. Share your favorite quote:

I have many quotes that I love, but one of my all time favorite quotes is from Hiam Ginott and it goes like this:  

“I’ve come to a frightening conclusion that I am the decisive element in the classroom. It’s my personal approach that creates the climate. It’s my daily mood that makes the weather. As a teacher, I possess a tremendous power to make a child’s life miserable or joyous. I can be a tool of torture or an instrument of inspiration. I can humiliate or heal. In all situations, it is my response that decides whether a crisis will be escalated or de-escalated and a child humanized or dehumanized.”

10. Beach or mountains? Which do you prefer?
Well...this is a tough one, but I think I am going to have to go with mountains. The beach is great, but eventually I would get sick of sand being everywhere. :) 

11. Describe the view outside of your classroom window:

The view outside my classroom window is filled with bright playground equipment and smiling faces!  

Almost there.. Step 2- Here are 11 random facts about me:
1. My favorite color is blue...
2. My car is my favorite color
3. My dog is named after the dog in Despicable Me (Kyle)
4. I've always wanted a tattoo but can't decided what I want and if I should do it.
5. I am a Gemini and you can tell :). 
6. I love to dance! I started dance when I was 3 years old and continued all the way through college. 
7. I look nothing like my sister :) 
8. I have a younger sister
9. I make a lot of facial expressions when I talk or even listen to conversations. 
10. I have 3 favorite animals: Dogs, Cows and Zebras
11. My birthday is on the 11th. 

Phew...Step 3- Present the Liebster Award to 5 new bloggers with less than 200 followers:
Here are 5 blogs that I think are great! Go check them out for yourself! 

Principal Principles Live...Lead...Learn

rockin' in Resource Room

Just Keep Teaching


Hey, it's a button!

Here are your 11 questions:
1.  Who was your favorite teacher?  How have they influenced your teaching today?
2.   What is the best part of your teaching day?

3.  What is your funniest school memory?
4.  What are your hobbies, or how do you unwind after working all week?
5.  How do you spend your summers?
6.  What is your favorite dessert?
7.  What new instructional practice have you found success with?
8.  Do you love and use technology in your classroom, or are you sometimes intimidated or frustrated by it?9.  What is your favorite children's book?
10.  What is the most exotic place that you have traveled to
11.  Do you have pets?  If so, what kind?

Last, but not least...a new product is up in my store! So I give you one of my latest products for my Made it Monday! 

TA-DA! I give you my Scan it!: QR- Rainbow Reward cards! 

I love this product and use it daily in my classroom.  I have wanted to give my clip chart a little bit of a punch to keep my kiddos driven to keep clipping up and that is where this product was born.  It contains 24 different rainbow rewards that cost you NOTHING...well, except buying and downloading the product.  In my classroom I clip random QR codes to the top three colors of my clip chart. When students reach that color they get to scan the QR code with our iPad or my phone (they love using my phone). The rewards range from moving your seat next to a friend and eating lunch in the classroom to reading a story to the principal or helping another teacher in their classroom for 20 minutes.  There are quite a few teachers in my school that use these QR codes in a multitude of ways to keep their students engaged. Here are some ideas: Putting them up around the room and having kiddos scan rewards when they earn them, placing the cards inside a treasure box and much more! The possibilities are endless, so what are you waiting for!? Click the image to hop over to my store and check it out for yourself! 

Phew...that's all I've got folks! Thanks for hanging with me and I hope that you have a fantastic week! 

Thanks for stoppin' by! 

Monday, March 10, 2014

Workin' on it Wednesday!

Hey, there! I'm so happy you are here!  Today I am going to be sharing a Workin' on it Wednesday!  Now, I haven't had a chance to make it to Hobby Lobby or the craft store to begin my "crafting project list" (I hope to get to it this summer when my fiance can help..hah), but I do have some TOTALLY AWESOME things to share with you!

Let's get started!

As some of you may know, I recently started creating for Teachers Pay Teachers and I am completely addicted!  My idea notebook as found its way to my bedside table just in case I wake up in the middle of the night with any earth-shattering ideas.   Here is one of my FAVORITE ideas, so far, is my "That's a Fact Jack!"-Differentiated Fact Family Math Centers...and you best believe it has the Robertson Clan involved!

Click on the image for a direct link to this product. 

I have created these math centers into 4 differentiated groups: Below, On, On/Above and Above.  Here is how it works:

The kiddos take the number sentence cards and sort them below the correct houses/roofs. They know they are close to having a complete fact family when they have all of the Robertson men under the house/roof with Miss Kay! 

Look at them go! The chimneys have numbers so my kiddos could figure out where to record each fact family on their recording sheet. 


I've got some serious smarties in my classroom. This center took my kiddos about 20ish minutes to complete and some of my "extra careful" kiddos took a little longer. All of them LOVED the center and keep asking me if they can do it again! It honestly, is one of my favorite centers to put out because my students really have to think and double check their work before they begin recording. I also heard a lot of "Oh! It's just the backwards fact!", which maybe a simple thought, but it means that they have had that "Light-bulb" moment!

Do you want to know the best news? This unit is on SALE!! You betcha! This Math unit will be on SALE for this week ONLY!!! You have until Friday folks to join in on the Fact Family madness! 

Now, if that doesn't tickle your fancy, no worries! I have another unit coming your way and it is just in time for St. Patrick's Day! 
Click on the image for a direct link to this product.

Here is my "Luck of the Irish" pack.  Some of you may have seen the Freebie version of this pack that contains an Addition Color by number page.  This pack contains both math and literacy worksheets!  From addition and subtraction to ABC order and creative writing pages for your work on writing area, this pack will definitely make you want to do a jig of joy! 

There ya have it!  My lovely creations for Workin' on it Wednesday! I hope you found something that caught your eye or that will help spice up things in your classroom a little! I hope you enjoyed your little stop here and I can't wait to see you again...don't be afraid to click that button and follow this blog! 

Thanks for stoppin' by!

Friday, March 7, 2014

My first...Five for Friday!

Hey there! Happy Friday! You made it through another week and I am here to share a few things I have been working on during my week off. Sit back, relax and enjoy my weekly endeavors.  Here we go!

My boy and I started off our week attending a Huskers Basketball game! We love our Huskers. On Wednesday night the Huskers beat the Hoosiers and are now in the running to play in San I hear a possible vacation ? I'll be keeping my fingers crossed. GBR! Please excuse the look on the boys face... he couldn't take his eyes off the game which resulted in him looking like he has a lazy eye and I promise he does not have a lazy eye...he just stinks at taking photos. :) 

As some of you may know, I have been on break this whole week which means I have spent my days curled up with this fur ball creating items to put into my TPT store! I must say Kyle definitely has an eye for design (hah!). Most of the time I am creating with one hand and playing fetch or tug-of-war with the other. He has really put my multi-tasking skills to the test this week, but I would say I still have made some decent progress on products for my store. 

I just opened my TPT store last month and I am so excited to have fulfilled a goal of mine.  I love creating things to use in my classroom and then sharing them with all of you! Since it is still VERY new I have found myself filling up pages of blank notebooks with ideas instead of sleeping. This whole "lack of sleep" thing may be what some people call insomnia, but I can't sleep with these ideas running around in my head! Besides, who needs sleep when you can be creating?!  I mean, I can't be the only one addicted to creating, right?! Please tell me I'm not totally losing it! HA! Feel free to hop on over to my store and check out a few of my late night me, there will be many more to come!

I did a little shopping this week to prep for my next week of teaching our Extended Learning Opportunities for Kindergarten and First grade!  I have been searching for these animal plates since last summer and I finally found them at Target (god bless you, Target!).  So, since it took me forever to find them I stocked up so I can use them in my math centers.  They are perfect to use as addition or subtraction mats and since next week is totally animal themed they are ABSOLUTELY PERFECT!  My kiddos are going to get WILD about math next week! I think the sloth is my favorite. :)

Here is what I am working on today!  A brilliant idea came to me last night just as I went to lay my head down on my pillow (let's face it, that's when all of your greatest ideas come to you).  I introduce you to my "Luck of the Irish" Math and Literacy Pack. Again, it is still in the works, but lucky for you (see what I did there) I am sharing with you a FREEBIE of one of these pages! All you need to do is hope on over to my TPT store and download  your very own copy! While you're there be sure to follow my store to keep up with all of my late night product posts. 

I hope you have a FANTASTIC weekend!  Relax, cruise TPT and enjoy life.  Before you go, be sure to click that "follow this blog" because I'd love to see you back here! 

Thanks for stoppin' by!

Monday, March 3, 2014

Parent Teacher Conferences and Break!

Hola, folks!  I'm glad you stopped by today, because I have some fun things to share with you.  I just finished up with our second round of Parent-Teacher Conferences. {Remember: I run on a 'year-round' schedule so if you are finding this to be just may be for you "normal calendar" folks}.  As I was preparing for conferences I ran into the common questions of "what do you share at conferences?" and "how do you share it with parents?".  

Now, I have done my share of searching for tools on Teachers Pay Teachers and I have tried asking those "well seasoned" teachers, but haven't found something that accomplished what I was looking to do in my conferences.  I wanted something that held my students accountable, but also showed parents that their child was aware of what they needed to work on.  So, I started asking some of my teacher friends I work with to see if they had the same dilemma I was struggling with. Needless to say, they were having the same question, but we determined that it was one of those things we would just "get" over time.  Well, that answer made me feel a little bit better for about five minutes and then I decided to take matters into my own hands. One of my friends, "Lynn" (name has been changed), has mentioned she just wanted a letter that her students could fill in the areas they felt successful in and the areas they felt they needed to work on to be successful.  This was a BRILLIANT idea, so I text her and asked if she would be okay with me creating a letter for her to use and potentially share with the rest of you! She was thrilled and was relieved to know that 1) she wasn't going to have to hand write a letter to photo copy and 2) that her students parents would be able to see/hear from their child about their feelings of themselves as a learner. 

I got straight to work and developed a letter for myself "Lynn" and "Amanda" ( another teacher friend whose name has been changed).  Each of us tried it in our classrooms and found that it was a great addition to conferences. We had parents tell us how much they enjoyed seeing their child take ownership of their learning and our students even enjoyed being able to share the areas they felt successful in and what they felt they needed to work on! 

Here is a picture of the Conference letter I made. Hop on over to my TPT to download it and keep it for your future conferences! Please be sure to let me know what you thought of it so I can improve or alter anything that didn't work out! I greatly appreciate your feedback! 

Phew, now that conferences are over I have a week break and then I'm teaching our "Extended Learning Opportunities" next week! I have been making a list of projects/goals for my summer break and here is what I have so far:
1) I need to paint more buckets to store my Guided Math Stations (this will also be something I work on over the summer). {see my buckets here}
2) Attempt to make crate seating for my Guided Reading table! Have you seen these things! They are absolutely adorable and also can be used as extra storage...who doesn't love storage? If not, pop on over to my Pinterest page a take a look at my "First grade Ideas" board. 
3) Find a Guided Math Stations to create for my potential Guided Math Groups. 
4) Hang out with my adorable schnauzer, Kyle. 
Just look at that face! He is very fuzzy right now, but it sure is keeping him warm during these crazy Nebraska freeze-outs! 

Alrighy folks, I think I'm going to keep working on some of my TPT products that I hope to share with you soon! In the meantime, hop on over to my TPT store or check me out on Pinterest. Don't forget to hit that follow button so you don't miss any freebies or products! 

Thanks for stoppin' by!