How many of you participated in Black Friday or Cyber Monday??  I definitely got in some good Christmas shopping from Amazon!


As for teaching materials, I stocked up on some really exciting things from my fellow bloggers and TpT sellers!  I've also linked up with Stephanie from Falling Into First Grade for a fun linky party!

I'm also linking up with all the lovely bloggers over at Blog Hoppin'!


  1. Kwanzaa Unit for Young Learners by Latoya Reed
  2. Techy Santa by Reagan Tunstall
  3. Jingle All the Way - Christmas Math Centers by The Bubbly Blonde
  4. Parts of Speech Mystery Pictures by Mr. Hughes
  5. Subtraction Sleuths by The Teacher's Cauldron
  6. Reindeer Holiday Party Pack by A Modern Teacher
  7. Elf on the Shelf Literacy Unit from Krista Wallden
  8. Baking for Santa by First Grade and Fabulous
  9. The Busy Teacher's Best Friend from Katie King
  10. Jolly Santa Craft from A Cupcake for the Teacher

What goodies did you stock up on?  Only things for December, or things for the whole year?  I'd love to hear about it!

I am over at The Cornerstone for Teachers today, writing about tips for including ELL students in all lessons.  Check it out!

Also, make sure to check out the Cyber Monday sale over at Teachers Pay Teachers.  Today is the last day!

I am joining some of my favorite bloggers for a link up!  All of these stores are participating in the sale.
Congrats to Hilary for winning the comb binder from My Binding!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Even though there was only one winner, we can still get some great ideas from everyone!  I've compiled the list of ways to use a comb binder in the classroom, and I have to say that it is one great list!

  • Class-made books
  • Lesson plan books for yourself, a teacher's aide, or a volunteer
  • Doodle books
  • Student published books
  • Morning work books
  • Student of the Week books
  • "My Letter" books for each letter of the alphabet
  • State books for each State
  • Personal spelling books
  • Sight Word books
  • Fluency Books
  • Song Books
  • Poetry Books
  • Leveled books for students to read
  • Science themed journals
  • Individual writing journals
  • Calendar journals
  • Vocabulary journals
  • Phonics journals
  • Picture dictionaries
  • Student portfolios
  • Handprint Calendars for parent Christmas Gifts
  • Year-long scrap book to keep as a momento at the end fo the year
  • "My Year of Progress" books for parents
I'm throwing a sale in my store today through Wednesday in honor of Thanksgiving! My fall and Thanksgiving items will be 20% off!

You can get my best selling pumpkin science unit

My new Thanksgiving Feast unit

Or my Turkey Talk graphic organizers!

Don't forget about my Pumpkin Chiffon recipe from DeAnne's holiday recipe linky!  There are some Yum-o things added!

I'm over at Classroom DIY this month with a post about making doodle books for a student gift.  You'll want to check it out!
Classroom DIY

To make my doodle book, I used the Paper Monster comb binder from  I love it!  It punches up to 8 regular pages at a time, or 1 piece of clear plastic (for a report cover).  It has a tray below that collects the little pieces of paper so it doesn't make a mess.  The handle locks when it's not in use.  It's super lightweight and is easy to store.

Here are all the goodies Tarragon and the My Binding team sent me.  I got the comb binder machine, plastic combs, plastic sheets for report covers, and a pack of textured polkadot paper for report covers, as well.  I got the hook up!  It may have been because they are headquartered in a suburb of my old town: Hillsboro, OR! :)

To use, you insert the paper into the machine and push down on the handle on top to punch.  The stop guide is ajustable, but I just left it alone, since I would be cutting regular-sized copy paper.

Here is my paper, perfectly cut!

I messed up punching my cover and had to re-print it.  That made me mad!

I made sure to stick the paper in ALL the way this time and it cut perfectly.

Now it's time to open the comb.  You stick it on the bottom with the tines (not sure if this is the right word) facing towards you when they open.

Pull the little lever on the right to open the comb.

Insert your paper.  This blue sheet is my back cover.  Push the lever back up to close the comb and take the book off the machine.

Ta-da!  All done!

I also made my teacher assistant a lesson plan book to go with a component of our reading program.  In Houghton Mifflin Reading, the Phonics Library book lessons are in the teacher's manual.  I like to teach these in small groups, not whole class.  I copied each of these lesson plans, added some directions that I pieced together from resources shared with me from my fabulous friends Laura (from Teacher Laura) and Michelle (from Third Grade Al Dente).  Thanks ladies!
Click the picture to download my covers and plans from Google Drive!

I made a 5 day plan.  This will be easy for an aide or parent volunteer to follow.

Here is the inside, copies of the Phonics Library teacher guides, shrunk down to 85% to fit on a regular size page.

There are millions of other things that I plan to comb bind.  You can make: 
  • poetry books for your students
  • vocabulary books 
  • science observation books 
  • monthly writing journals
  • comb bind your lesson plan book 
  • daily plans for a teacher's assistant for RTI or intervention reading groups
Now for all of you - a giveaway to win your very own comb binder!  
a Rafflecopter giveaway

Don't forget, you can tweet or FB share this giveaway everyday for an extra 10 points!  The contest ends next Friday, November 23rd!

I can't wait to see the ideas you come up with for using comb binds in your classroom!
Thanksgiving is just around the corner!  Here is what I will be teaching for the next couple of weeks!

First up, I sent home the parent letters, graphic organizer, and turkey outline for Gladys from Teaching in High Heels' Turkey in Disguise project.  This project is just too cute!  I can't wait to see what the kids bring back to school!

Next, we'll be working on some how-to and persuasive writing with Mrs. Wheeler's Thanksgiving Writing Pack!  There are seven different writing activities with multiple paper and font choices.  Everyone will be happy!

In reading, I'll be introducing some poems from Tanja from Journey of a Substitute Teacher's Gobble It Up Thanksgiving Poems.  She wrote them herself and they are so cute!  A perfect tie into what we are learning about being thankful, but also some history of the first Thanksgiving!

Also in reading, we'll also be reading some fun Thanksgiving stories and doing my Turkey Talk Graphic Organizers.  We did one last week and the kids loved it!  I plan to do the realistic/fantasy and the problem/solution ones this week!

In math, we will be doing some fun center work for the next couple of weeks.  I've already printed and laminated DeAnne from First Grade and Fabulous' Don't Get Cooked math fact game (a FREEBIE!).  The kids are going to love it!

Another math center we will be doing is practicing adding 3 addends with Sandra from Sweet Times in First's Stuffed Like a Turkey Thanksgiving Pack.  We've been working on double digit addition and subtraction over the past couple of weeks, but I still have some kiddos who need help with the 3 addends.  This game will be perfect for some guided center work!

I just prepped this awesome place value center from Fern Smith: Thanksgiving Place Value Race!  My kids definitely need some practice with place value since we've moved on to double digit addition and subtraction.  This game is great practice!

If you are looking for the mother load of 2nd grade math centers, Jen Ross from The Teacher's Cauldron is all over it!  Her Turkey Time Math Centers pack is Ah.Ma.Zing!  There are 8 different math centers for students to practice skills in a fun way!  I can't wait to start using it!  Just got to finish laminating!

I teach art to my son's first grade class on Fridays (his teacher does writing with my class).  I plan to do Michelle from Apples and ABC's fun Turkey Time Craftivity!  We'll read a book, make the adorable turkeys, and if time, do one of my graphic organizers.  I can't wait!  Those firsties are going to love this!

Next week, my class will be having our annual Thanksgiving Feast!  I'm sending home the parent letters this week asking for food donations and we'll be making Corn and Bean Stew in the classroom in my crock pot!  We will also be making turkey hats and fun placemats while the children wait for their food to be served.  This is a great way to pass the time for kiddos who have a hard time waiting their turn :)

Here are my kids and me modeling our hats!

If you have a parent volunteer or instructional aide, I would suggest mounting the placemats on construction paper ahead of time.  It's no fun coloring on wet glue! 

My son made me a wonderful sample of the writing project.  He is the most thankful for our new home and new friends here in Hawaii.  Love that boy!

And because I love you all so much, I'm sharing my mother-in-law's infamous Pumpkin Chiffon Pie recipe.  It is sooooo good!  I'd love to hear if you end up making it and what you think!  It is a staple on the Heinlein family Thanksgiving table!
Click the picture to open in Google Drive and grab for free!
And because you have all made it this far and read all about the fun I get to teach over the next two weeks, I uploaded this freebie for you on Google Drive: Fact and Fiction Turkey Talk Graphic Organizer!  I hope you enjoy!

I'm linking up to DeAnne from First Grade and Fabulous' Holiday Recipe Linky Party!

How do you plan to celebrate Thanksgiving in your classroom?  Will you be using any of the same lessons and activities as me? I'd love to hear all about it!
This year, since I'm in a new state and a new school, I decided to start doing Whole Brain Teaching!  My school does not do PBIS (Positive Behavior Interventions and Supports), like I am used to, so I needed something to teach expectations.  This is it!  That kids really love it!  I found a teacher who has the awesomest (is that a word?) YouTube videos of her class and WBT.  She is so inspiring!  She seems so fun, laid back, but on top of things.  I aspire to be like her!

Check her out here:

Here is her website.  I just love her! I hope she creates a teacher blog soon!

One problem I've been having with doing Whole Brain Teaching is that the cute signs out there all have way more white kids on them.  My school is 90% Filipino.  I literally have 2 white kids in my class of 27.  If I post pictures of white only kids in my room, I am not representing my class - I am representing me.  Once I looked around and noticed this, I felt awful.  I want to celebrate my students' heritage, not make them feel bad that they don't look like me.  So, I decided to make my own set!  It is for free on TpT, so you can go over and snag a set for your self!  Included are two options for each rule, and four options for the teacher.  I hope you can use it in your classroom!  If you can, please leave me some feedback on TpT.  I love hearing from you all!

How do you teach expectations in your classroom?

Freebie Fridays

This weekend the Na Pua No'eau program, a non-profit organization that provides Hawaiian studies for  school age children, did a fun art project with the kids of Lana'i.  I signed my son up to participate and since I want to learn as much about the Hawaiian culture as possible, I volunteered to help!

The class focused on the definition of symbol, motif, and pattern, and how Polynesians used these in their art and designs.

We attached foam stickers onto tongue depressors for kids to use as stamps.

Here are native Polynesian stamps, carved out of wood:
We put the paint on the plates flipped upside down, to make it easier to stamp.

Kids stamped on crumpled paper bag paper, since real tapa (or kapa, depending on which part of the Pacific you are in) is super hard to make.

Here's a tutorial for making it from sacks:

Here is my finished wall hanging for my classroom!

Next, kids made a tapa paper bag cover for the folktale Maui: The Proud Kitemaker.  You can read the story here.
Kids glued their tapa cloth onto a piece of cardstock.

Then they glued the story inside the cover.

Here is my finished story.  I stamped some squares and leaves on it.

If you want to teach about art from around the world, I highly suggest teaching about Polynesian and Hawaiian art!  The wall hanging and book were fun, used materials you should already have lying around, and taught the kids some great art skills!

If you do decide to teach about Hawaiian art, head on over to my TpT store and snag my freebie Hawaiian Song Book:

What do you like to do for art time in your classroom?