Calling Tokyo...with the greatest tip ever!!

This week, my students got their first letters from their pen pals....

from JAPAN!!!!

They were super excited to read them, they were talking about them to their groups and sharing all kinds of details that were in the letters...

It was so cute!!

So, we got write to work planning our response letters...

I'm stickin' with the format I learned from Lori...

I share these template freebies in my visual plans last weekend, but click the pic to get them here too

Then, they took what they wrote in the bubbles and wrote their sloppy copies...

We conferenced....

I helped them with what they needed help on..

circled the word wall words that needed to be spelled right...

talked about what goes at the end of EVERY. SINGLE. SENTENCE.

and then what begins EVERY. SINGLE. SENTENCE.

But I have to say...

they are getting SO MUCH BETTER!!!

Their writing from the beginning of the year to now has TREMENDOUSLY improved!!

I'm finding that my lessons for the actual planning and sloppy copy writing isn't taking NEAR as long.


After they wrote their neat copy on THIS paper, 

and added color to it, they drew a self-portrait so the kids could "see" what they looked like.

I also did a lesson on addressing an envelope

(my Florida teachers - the FAIR test?? vocabulary word - address??? yeah...)

And here is THE greatest tip EVER for you!!

I learned this from our VPK teacher (who I LOVE and want A to be in her class)

She asks the people at Publix ( aka, the BEST grocery store) and Hallmark and other places if they have any left over envelopes that weren't matched up to cards...


I have been doing that for a few months and have an AWESOME stash of envelopes!!  Some places try to SELL them to you, but if you play the
 "poor- teacher- trying- to-teach- kids- the -art- of- writing- actual- letters -so- that- art-form- doesn't -die" card, then that usually works to get some free envelopes... haha!!

And, on another note,

but the same tune....

our school is getting ready for our annual Holidays Around the World!

Each grade level picks a country to represent, and guess which country we're going to do???



How perfect is it that our pen pals are from Japan???

I'll be back to show you some of our CUTE reindeer we did.

Freebie Fridays


Word Hunt Freebie!

Today, we had early release....

it's only an hour early.

But hey, I'll take it!

Because that's an hour more that we can sit around and talk with our teammates and become better friends collaborate with our team.  We planned - I promise.

In fact, I'm pretty much planned up for next week!  I have SOOOO much stuff for this time of year that it is SOOOO hard to decide which ones I want to do...

And even when I DO decide what I want to do, I come up with activities on the spur of the moment and don't get to do what I actually had planned....ha!

Case in point...

Yesterday's activity was NOT in my original plans.

I just kind of made it up.

Their morning work when they came in was to walk around the room and find some verbs and write them down.

Now, some of my friends and I were having a debate on what to call this.

Do you call it "Read the Room" or do you call it "Write the Room?"

I don't know.

So I changed it to say "Word Hunt" - haha!

You can click the pic to get the freebie - there is one that says verbs, and one that just has a line so you can print it up and just write one the line what you want them to find.

NOTE - I've also had them go on a word hunt while they are reading....  

They use post it notes to find skills (this one was the /ou/ sound)...
Check out THIS post to read more that one...I did a whole week series on it.

Anyway, then we sorted the verbs into a tree map - past or present.

Then they had to pick one verb from each branch of the tree map and write a sentence on a light bulb.
(I just quick drew it up and cut some out for them)

Then we made a present tree and a past tree.

Go see more ideas for grammar activities at Lori's Linky!

Also - one of my new favorite things to do is the Estimation Station.

I first saw the post on Denise's blog (LOVE her!) 

and then Reagan did it too (I'm a regular stalker of hers...)

I realized how much the DON'T know how to hopefully this will help! 
I'm super excited about it!

I will be back tomorrow to show you some of the FUN stuff that I grabbed during the sale!!


So... What did I do over the break???


a little bit of this...

and a little bit of that...

Worked out a little bit...

In fact, I'm so sore from the workout on Saturday that I'm STILL hobbling around and crying every time I sit

Played with this little one...

Rolled around a little

MADE the hubs take a family

He hates taking pictures.

For Thanksgiving, my grandparents came up and had dinner...

HAD to get a picture with girls and their GREAT-Grandparents...

FOUR generations

Then it was time to decorate for Christmas!!!


NO, that is not a real fireplace...

well, it is, but not built into the house. We bought it at a garage sale...

And I think it was my FAVORITE find ever.

JUST so we could hang our stockings on the mantle.

I've never been able to do that before. EVER.

I'm so in love with it.

AND the Rooster.

Rooster-maitre d'

Hubs won't let me pack him up for the holidays.

I tried telling him that you have to pack up stuff when you decorate with more stuff so it doesn't look so crowded...

BUT he refuses to let me pack the rooster, which is where I wanted to put a snowman.

So, I slapped a Santa hat on him and called it even. ha!

AND LOOK what I got in the mail today!!!

I'm super excited about the curling gel....I have yet to find my GO-TO product for keeping my curls in all day...and the lip gloss too!

I was almost scared that I wasn't going to get it this month because hubs lost his wallet a while ago.

Which means we had to cancel all the cards that were in there.

And my Birchbox account was attached to one of those cards.


Forgot until I got an email saying they couldn't process my payment....

ugh! I'm going to buy him a "beep-beep" thingy for his wallet for Christmas with how often he loses his wallet.


Please tell me he's not the only husband in the room that loses his wallet so much.

Oh. The kicker???

"A" came running up to us a few weeks later...

"Here's your wallet, Daddy!!"



All you can do is laugh, right??


Wanna check out Birchbox???

Click HERE!!!

And don't forget!


TpT Sale is going on right now!!

I've already bought some good stuff....might need to go back for more!


Reindeer Visual Plans with Freebies!

Ok friends...

Here are my visual plans for next week...


REINDEER!!! the picture of the plans, and it'll take you to a PDF document to download...when you download the PDF, you can click on all the pictures and links to take you where you can find all the activities (TpT, blogposts, websites, or Freebies!)

I wanted to share with you my newest math unit....

For the next few weeks, we're going to be working on Subtraction with Regrouping - eek!

It's done in the same format as my Addition Strategies and Adding Tens packs...

Here's what's included..

I have made this pack In Black and White for ease of printing. I copied off each center onto different brightly colored cardstock. 

In this pack, there are four games, or centers, to reinforce subtraction with regrouping. Each center has a recording sheet for the group to do, which can also be used as “informal assessment.” I have also included posters for you to use to teach whole group or to put at the centers for the students to be able to refer to while working at that center.

“Read the Room” - finding the math problems to write out and answer

“Subtraction Sleuth” decide if they need to regroup or not and sort them. There are two different activities that can be used for students to complete as independent work.

“True or False” - sort the subtraction sentences under the header cards and correct the false problems on the recording sheet. For the independent work, the students will make a foldable book and sort the math problems. 

“Flip It!” Use a deck of cards or the supplied page of numbers that you can copy off a few times to use for the activity.

Get it for the next 24 hours for HALF OFF!!

Also, I am going to be doing my Reindeer Freebie activities this week!

(this little freebie started out as like 6 pages....and has grown to be 24 pages!'s still a freebie for ya! Soooo....if you downloaded it before, go back and redownload it - because I added more to it since I posted it last.)

and we're FINALLY starting our pen pal letters to our pen pals in...


Last year I called out for help on this lil ole blog - we needed a pen pal class, and I had all kinds of offers, but the most exciting offer I got was from Suzy over in Japan! 

She's so awesome to work with - and I've been a total slacker and haven't been able to start yet (for various reasons, I guess). But we just got our letters from her students right before the break, so now we HAVE to write them...

To get the freebie planning and writing template, download the lesson plans and click the pictures of them!


I wanted to share with you some of the things that I couldn't put into my visual plans...

Everyday, for 30 minutes, we do Steps to Success, which is when we switch our lowest kids into a Tier 2 remediation group. Each teacher gets a group, all at different levels.

Well, this week, I'm going to be starting with my new group of kids - and they are on Skill 2, which is short vowel sounds.

Yes, in 2nd grade, we have kids that STILL have troubles with their short vowel sounds.

Those poor little kiddos...

and these are the kids that are slipping through the cracks because the system isn't working for them, especially since it takes FOREVER to go through RTI...ugh!

Anyway, I enlisted some help from friends....

DeAnne, has this really good pack where they "Read" the sentence, then Draw the sentence that they read (which shows comprehension), then they have to write their own sentence, using those same vowel sounds...

And I'm also going to be using Gladys' pack for short vowels. This one is a freebie!

She has some short vowel units in her store too...she has the short u to finish, then I'm snatching up the whole bundle! woo!!

Ok...I'm off to start decorating the house for Christmas - yay!!!

Don't forget...

Going on now....

Starting tomorrow....


What's in your wishlist??


Sale Time!

Are you ready for the sale??

(hehe - I posted this on my FB page.)

(look how stinkin' cute - thanks for the button Ashley!)
Yes, I have TONS of Ashley's clip art in my cart

So here are a few of my favorite things that I've made....
(and some of my most popular) 

(graphics by KPM)


Make sure you enter CMT12 when you check out to get TpT's 10% off my already reduced sale prices!! Check out some of my other friends below who are having a sale!

And TODAY starts the sale for Teacher's Notebook!

TN is giving 10% off the already reduced sale prices - NO CODE NEEDED!

Tomorrow, I will be back with my visual plans for next week! I am waiting on a few products that are in the works - and I can't wait to get them!!

I'm also finishing up my Subtraction Regrouping activity pack, which is in the same format as my Addition Strategies and 2-Digit Math Centers packs, which are some of my best sellers.


Thankful overload

So I'm FINALLY linking up with Lindsay's "Thankful" party.

First and foremost...

I am thankful for the ability to take pictures!!! haha!!
(that wasn't really my first one on the list, but I realized, that without pictures, I would NOT be able to properly show you everything that I am thankful for)

Ok, NOW, first and foremost....

I'm thankful for my hubs...he puts up with a lot, what can I say?? lol

He also gave me my two girls, which I'm SO thankful to have...

My little B <3

Here's A so excited that she did her first school work 

I am SO thankful for all my friends!!

(who I also work with!!)

I am SO thankful that I live near a beach....

Where I can go at anytime to just chill and relax and let my girls play....

I am thankful for my momma...our relationship is stronger than ever.

And I am so thankful that she tries to be as hands on with my girls as she can (even though she lives across the country - boo!!)

Which leads me to this....

I'm thankful for texting!

hahaha...yes... I am HORRIBLE at calling people, especially now the kids are always screaming in the background, so I am thankful that I can send a quick little note to my momma or send her one of the BAJILLION pictures I have taken for that day so she can keep with what is going on in our life.

And of course, I am SO thankful that I started this little blog. I have learned so much from blogging and blog stalking. I have formed some AWESOME friendships and "mentors" that have helped shape me into the teacher I am today.
(I would LOVE to name drop right about now, 
but I would be DEVASTATED if left anyone out, so I can't do it!
But I hope that you know who you are!)


And I'm very thankful for all my blog followers.

I love EACH AND EVERY comment you take time to post, and I have received some personal emails from followers that have just blown me away. I am so thrilled that I have been able to help ANYONE out there - and I'm amazed by it at the same time. 

So thank you!

To all of you who have supported me by your friendship, your "mentoring," or by supporting my TPT/TN endeavor, you have no idea how thankful I am!!

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