I had the wonderful opportunity to write a review for MPM School Supplies.  I had heard about them from other teachers who said they have cheap prices and fast shipping.  For me, living on a small island with a tiny school budget - cheap prices and fast shipping are the main criteria whenever I buy something for my classroom!

With $25, I was able to get (click on the image to go to the site):

Calendar Circles
Mr. Sketch markers

 Book of Vocab Games - perfect for our Marzano Vocab program

 Three little jars of glitter in silver, gold, and multi

And I checked the sale section - construction paper for 60 cents!

 Here are the calendar markers on my calendar.

I ordered everything on January 17th, it shipped on January 21st, and I received it all by January 24th!  Mind you, I live on a tiny, isolated island and things tend to take a LOT longer to get here.  Not from MPM!  I was very impressed by the quick shipping!

Between January 17th and January 21st, I had to correspond with a customer service agent.  She noticed that my sale construction paper wouldn't work with my gift card and she went ahead and fixed it for me.  Score!  Not only did she help me save that 60 cents, but she found the error, fixed it, and then emailed to let me know.  So nice!  I seriously don't remember getting better customer service!

All in all, my experience with MPM was awesome and I will for sure be ordering from them again!

Here is a little goody for you - 10% off the first 10 orders!  Go fast, so you can get the deal!

I have teamed up with some amazing bloggers over the entire United States to bring you Booking Across The USA!

Here are all of the bloggers who are participating!
Alabama: Everyday Snapshots Alaska: Little Wonders’ Days Arizona: Simply Kinder Arkansas: Homeschooling in Arkansas California: Juggling with Kids and The Outlaw Mom Colorado: Learners in Bloom and Living Montessori Now Connecticut: The Teacher Park Delaware: Mama Miss Florida: Teaching Stars Georgia: Fabulously First Hawaii: Teaching With Style Idaho: True Aim Education Illinois: Growing Book by Book Indiana: Teach Preschool Iowa: Surviving a Teacher's Salary Kansas: KCEdventures Kentucky: Chicken Babies Louisiana: New Orleans Moms Blog Maine: Maine Adventure Mom and Country Fun Child Care Maryland: Picture Books and Piourettes Massachusetts: Mama Smiles Michigan: Play DrMom Minnesota: The Wise Owl Factory Mississippi: Hey Mommy, Chocolate Milk Missouri- Ready. Set. Read! Montana: The Honey Bunch Nebraska: The Good Long Road Nevada: Boy, Oh Boy, Oh Boy Crafts New Hampshire: Elementary Matters New Jersey: The Pleasantest Thing New Mexico: Enchanted Homeschooling Mom New York: What Do We Do All Day North Carolina: Realistic Teacher Blog North Dakota: ND HealthWorks Ohio: Smart Chick Teacher’s Blog Oklahoma: Herding Kats in Kindergarten Oregon: Journey of a Substitute Teacher Pennsylvania: Land of Once Upon a Time Rhode Island: Smiling in Second Grade South Carolina: Cookies and Kiddos and JDaniel4’s Mom South Dakota: The Wise Owl Factory Tennessee: No Monkey Business Texas: Curls and a Smile and Kid World Citizen Utah: Teach Beside Me Vermont: Burlington Vt Moms Blog Virgina: Once Upon a Story, and The Freckled Homeschooler Washington: Home Learning Journey and Boy Mama Teacher Mama West Virginia: This Week @ Great Peace Academy and Mamas Like Me Wisconsin: Reading Confetti Wyoming: No Twiddle Twaddle USA: The Corner on Character

Does this make you want to sing the Fifty Nifty song?  A little bit?  Ok, here we go!

Most of you know that I am now teaching in Hawaii.  I am loving learning about the Hawaiian culture of my state and also the Filipino culture of my island.  I've already blogged a bit about it.  You can catch up by going here, here, and here.

For my book, I chose a Hawaiian folktale that is modeled after the traditional story of The Pied Piper.  

Get the book from BeachHouse Publishing or Amazon

The story is very cute and includes tons of nods to authentic Hawaiian culture, not just stereotypical lu‘aus, surfing, and hula - which I still love, but I want to read about other aspects of the culture, too!  It is about a boy named Maka who loves to make people happy by playing his ‘ukulele and singing his song about the shaka.  But one day, a wild boar comes in his village and chases everyone away.  He climbs a tree to hide and sees that his baby sister is still on the ground in a basket, so he plays his ‘ukulele to calm the boar and saves his sister and the village.  

As I was writing my unit to go with this story, I obviously saw the text-to-text connection to The Pied Piper, but I also saw opportunities for classrooms and children to discuss nonviolent conflict resolution, text-to-self connections, and also diving more into Hawaiian culture and language.  The book also includes a CD of the song Maka plays and also a page in the back with lyrics and music.  I'm thinking about having my husband come in and play the song for my class!  

You can now find this unit in my TpT shop! :)

In my unit, I included:
  • Vocabulary cards, worksheets, and a journal
  • Two non-fiction passages with comprehension questions to practice writing in full sentences and finding information in text
  • Writing prompts with graphic organizers to plan out essays or paragraphs
  • Two types of writing paper for each activity and answer keys where needed
I hope you get a chance to teach your class a little about Hawaii.  I bet they will love it!

Do you teach about the different states in your classroom?  Which state are you most excited to learn about?
I'm linking up with my friend Reagan at Tunstall's Teaching Tidbits for her Hall Pass linky!

I just uploaded this mini-unit that I used a couple of weeks ago when I taught States of Matter!  My kids loved the mini-books, teacher book, and most importantly, the art activity!  I also did the art activity with my son's first grade class, since they are learning about matter, too.  The kids really understood the molecular composition of each state of matter after getting dirty with paint! :)
I also added in some OCDE Project GLAD® (Guided Language Acquisition Design) strategies:

Observation Charts - pics from Google Images and vocab cards from Jen Ross' awesome unit on Matter.


T-Chart for Social Skills on Cooperation.  My kids needed a healthy reminder :)

Cognitive Content Dictionary - this strategy ties in nicely with our Marzano Vocab books.  We would predict, read about it, write the final meaning,  then write about the word in our journals.  Multiple exposure to the words and definitions!  Score!

I also used The Bubbly Blonde's massive Matter unit - it has some great experiments that my sub was able to do with my class.  Keep reading to find out why I needed a sub ;)

My desk area is slowly becoming my favorite.  I have a tiny desk, but a ton of stuff, so I've been trying to find creative organizational solutions!  I bought that toolbox thingy that's all over Pinterest, I just haven't spray painted it or made cutesy labels for it yet.  I also made a desk skirt so I can hide stuff under my desk and no one will ever see it!  I wrote a tutorial for it on Classroom DIY - check it out if you want to make a no-sew skirt, too!

I used to say "3-2-1, Hands on your head!" and kids would stop what they were doing and put their hands on their head.  But, after attending a Daily 5 conference and hearing how lovely their chimes sounded, I went straight to Amazon and ordered a set of Woodstock Zenergy Chimes.  I love how they sound, how they are easy to carry around, and just like my pal Hadar, when I'm frustrated and hit them really hard, no one knows ;)  

My sanity is of course my beautiful family,
 My beautiful home in Hawaii,
 And my amazing network of teacher bloggers!  I went to Cincinnati this past weekend to meet up with some of my favs!  Here is the whole group at Rock Bottom Brewery downtown.

At lunch with the infamous Missy Squirrels!

At dinner with Susan from TGIF!

My bunk-mate Tessa and I - driving from Chicago!

I feel so lucky to have these amazing ladies in my life and so blessed that I got to mean them IRL! 

I can't forget my giveaway winner!  Check your email, Dana!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Have you ever wanted to download YouTube videos so you can watch them later?  Or maybe you are like me and your school blocks YouTube?  I have a great solution for you!  Watch my latest video and I'll teach you how to do it - it's really so simple!  Just ignore all my umms and the strange ads at the bottom of one of the screens!

Did you see those ads?  Sorry about that!

Here is that Apple VGA connector from Amazon that I use for my iPhone and iPad, if you are interested.  It helps me show PDFs from my iPad or phone on my projector all the time.

If you are interested in learning about saving files to Dropbox, you can sign up here!

I'm linking up with Katie from Queen of the First Grade Jungle!

I have hit some pretty incredible milestones over the past month: 500 TpT followers, 2,000 FB likes, 4,000 Pinterest followers, and almost 1,000 blog followers!  I'm hoping to make it to 1,000 blog followers soon, because I have an amazing giveaway with some amazing prizes up for grabs for you!

But in celebration of Valentine's Day, President's Day, getting to meet one of my blogger besties this weekend, and just plain 'ol fun, I'm throwing a quick giveaway from today until Monday, the 18th!  3 winners will get to choose anything in my store!

Maybe you need some new cards for your reading center rotation chart:
Or a packet to use in the classroom or as homework to practice handwriting:

Or you may need to spruce up your computer area or lab with some shortcut posters:

Enter below!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Go check out all my other bloggy friends who are having a giveaway, too!
Are any of you procrastinators like me?  If so, you are in luck!  If you have the supplies to make cute little crayons, I have cards for you!

Click the picture to download in Google Docs

If you don't have time to make cutsey crayons, you could even just rubber band together 3-4 crayons and give those with the cards.  I'm sure the kids will still love it!

I love making crayons and have done so plenty of times before: birthday parties, student gifts for Christmas or end of the year, even in the kid goody bags at my brother in law's wedding!

You can see a tutorial I did over on Classroom DIY.

Well, this time around, I wanted to try a different technique that have been all over Pinterest - using silicone ice trays in the oven.  You see, I usually melt the crayons in an old double boiler and pour them into candy or soap molds. I've even poured the liquid crayon into silicon molds before, and it worked great.

Making Crayons, Oven and Silicon Mold Technique 

1.  Gather supplies:
    • Silicon ice cube molds (I have a heart one from Ikea)
    • Crayons (I used super cheap ones I got for free at an educational conference)
    • Cutting board
    • Cookie sheet

 2.  Peel crayons and sort by color.

 3. Chop crayons into little pieces.  I actually could just break mine, since they were the cheap kind.  If you are using Crayola, you'll have to chop them.

4.   Place crayons inside the mold, mixing colors that you want.

5.  Put the mold on top of the cookie sheet and bake at 350 until you notice they are melted.  Crayons have a pretty low melting temp, so they don't need to be in there long.

6.   Cool, pop out of the mold and enjoy!!

All in all, I think I will actually stick with my original technique of meting in the double boiler.  For the second batch, I left them in the oven a bit too long, and the mold started to warp.  Also, my mold will not come clean, even after scrubbing several times.  I think a combo of being cooked together in the oven caused more stains.  It worked, but I won't be making crayons this way again.

Once all my crayons were made, I used cute patterned Washi tape to attach my crayons to the back of the cards.  Then I plopped them all in my students' Valentine's bags today.  Easy, peasy!  

What fun things do you give away for Valentine's Day?  I usually give away playdough, but I didn't get on the ball quick enough this year to get it ahead of time.  I'm liking these crayons though, I might need to start a new tradition!

I started off my new year with a calendar makeover!  I began the school year with a lonely, blue pocket chart and it needed some love!

My old school had a specific calendar program, but my new school does not.  I struggled the few months coming up with a routine that worked for me, met the needs of my kids, and was fun an engaging.  I created this Calendar Starter Set to share with you what I've created so far!  The starter set helps get your calendar all ready:

  • Week day cards
  • Month cards with and without pictures
  • Year cards
  • Number cards to correspond with the month (1 for January, 2 for February, etc)
  • Holiday cards
  • No School cards
  • Birthday cards  

Then are are other printables for activities that go along with the calendar:

  • Songs
  • Weather graph
  • Today's Date cards and sign
  • Daily News chart for writing a daily message
  • Days in School chart to count up each day and practice place value

I started this new set on January 3rd, our first day back from Winter Break and the kids are loving the new look and new routines!

I also updated my Place Value calendar pieces and my 3-D Shapes calendar pieces.  Check them out, too!

When you look at the Calendar Starter Set, make sure to download the Preview.  I included a freebie calendar song just for you!

What do you do for calendar?  Does your school have a calendar program or do you make yours up like I have?
Teachers Pay Teachers is offering 10% off tomorrow, February 3rd, with the promo code: SUPER!  In addition, I am throwing a 20% off sale on Sunday and Monday!

That means, if you shop on Sunday and use the code, you will get 28% off my store!  If you are busy watching the Big Game on Sunday and shop on Monday instead, you will still get 20% off!

To celebrate, I am giving away one item from my store!!  Head over to my TpT store, pin the item that you would want to win, then come back here and leave the pin url and your email in a comment.  Pin as many things as you want, just leave a different comment for each.  I'll pick a winner tomorrow morning at 9am Hawaii Standard Time!

****Giveaway is over - thanks to all who entered!***

Help me congratulate the winner - #6 Cecilia, who wanted my Pumpkin Science unit!

Check out all my friends who are throwing sales, too!