Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Wordless Wednesday July 29th: Crafting Craziness!

Thanks for joining me for another Wordless Wednesday! I LOVE looking at all of your pictures each week! If this is your very first Wordless Wednesday, I'm going to post the rules again.  Remember, your picture can be about anything and all you need to do is post a question that your followers can comment on. :)  

And now for my Wordless Wednesday picture of the week:

By the end of the week, I may very well give my husband an anxiety attack with the amount of glitter that is currently covering our kitchen table.  I've been crafting up a storm this week!  I'll be blogging about all of my creations on Friday. I can't wait to show them to you! :)

My question: If the sky was the limit and you could make anything you wanted for your classroom, what would you make?! (Mine would be a colorful coffee bar, complete with a barista and chai tea lattes during Writer's Workshop.) #agirlcandream

Link up your picture with us below! :)

Sunday, July 27, 2014

Sample It Sunday! {New Blog Series!}

Hi everyone! I'm excited to introduce a new series on my blog: Sample It Sunday! I think you are going to l-o-v-e it because you get to try out a FREE page from one of my products every Sunday! Yayy!!  The free page will only be available for a limited time on Google Docs. So....grab them while they're hot!!

Along the way, I'll also share some inside tips, activities, and ideas on how I use my packs and/or how I teach various concepts to my kiddos. Okay, enough chit we go!

This week's featured product is my Word Family Warm Ups pack: 
If you are like me, word families are *super important* to K-2 students in the fall.  I start teaching the word family "at" to my firsties right away and before you know it, we are off and running with our reading abilities! These word family "just print" pages are the perfect partners for your phonics lessons, morning work, center or review work, small group instruction, or even homework! 

Each page includes:
A Key Picture that Matches the Word Family
Trace, Read, Draw
Word Search
Nonsense and Real Words Color Coding
A Short, Decodable Passage for Fluency Practice
An Area to Illustrate the Passage for Comprehension Practice 
The pack also includes a colorful, appealing poster for each of the 35 word families! 

Soooo are you ready for a free sample page?!
Click on the picture below to download your Sunday Sample from Google Docs. 

Remember, it will only be available for a limited time, so grab your sample page today! :)

In addition to our Word Family Warm Up page, we also use poetry to reinforce the word family.  I use LOTS of poems in my room.  Whenever I talk about my poetry binder, I always have people ask me for a link of the place I get my poems from.  I don't have a link because I get them from ALL over the place. :) Different teacher resource books, Pinterest, nursery rhymes - I want my students to experience a diverse amount of poetry to enhance their fluency. 

But here, friends, is always, always, always our FAVORITE poem. It's the first poem we add to our binders!

There is a catchy song to this poem that will be stuck in your head the entire first month of school.  Don't say I didn't warn you!  Our dear friend Rat-a-Tat comes from the following Scholastic resource:

After we study a word family and use our practice page, we go back to our poetry binder. By this point, we can recite the poem by heart because we have read it over and over again and their teacher has sang the song in lots of crazy voices.  We highlight the word family words with our highlighters and practice our decoding and fluency skills again. 

Thanks for stopping by today and joining me for my first edition of Sample It Sunday. I hope you enjoyed it and stop back next Sunday for another featured freebie page! 

Friday, July 25, 2014

Five for Friday with a Freebie!

I need to rewind summer. Please?! I spent the entire day working in my classroom because school starts...soon.  I'm not going to say exactly how many days away it is. It will make it too real. So you'll have to take my word for it. It's soon. Very very very very very soon.

I'm linking up with Doodle Bugs Teaching for another Five for Friday! Here's a look at my week in pictures! :)

The biggest thing that happened this week was the two day, full day class that I taught on Monday and Tuesday. The sweetest group of K-2 teachers signed up and we had a blast together! I wanted the class to be engaging, hands-on, and practical for teachers! Needless to say, I think it rocked! I never thought I'd be teaching an all day class to other teachers but I had! Take a look! 

We learned about small groups, organization for small group literacy, how to look at your data and determine your next instructional steps for your small groups, interactive notebooks, writing, and more! It was truly a hodge podge of fun and learning for two days! 

 We learned a lot about small group math, math games, and about independent math practice! We even played my Back to School Write On/Wipe Off Math Games & Centers with a partner! How fun to get to play during a PD day! :)

I got to work today covering all of my bulletin boards.  I'm sticking with the same theme and decor that I had last year,. I'm only adding a few little extras.  Here's a little sneak peak. :)

 I shared this picture on my Facebook page but I need to share again because I'm excited about my find! How cool are these photograph stickers?! I found them at the United Arts & Education store. Grab the freebie in #4 for a response sheet to use with photograph stickers! I am so excited to use them for informational writing with my students! :)

Here is a little freebie to go with the picture in #3 this week!  I think writing facts and simple sentences about the animals the kids see in the sticker will spark some writing enthusiasm at the beginning of the year. :) You'll need some photograph stickers like the ones I'm holding in the picture above for this writing activity/center.  Have the students use the sticker in their illustration. They can add illustrations and pictures around the sticker to provide more detail  if they choose.  Then, students will write facts match what the kids see and know about their new sticker! Super fun. :)

Click on the picture below to download this FREEBIE from Google Docs! You can also click HERE to download it!

 My husband helped me put up my word wall this week. Do I need to say more?! 

That wraps up another Five for Friday! :) 
Thanks so much for joining me. :) 

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Wordless Wednesday: July 23 "Color Me Teal"

My sweet hubby painted my bookshelves last night.  It was the only major thing I planned on doing to my room this year. I'm trying to get rid of so much "red" in my room and using my blog colors like I did last year.

What colors or theme are you doing this school year OR are you sticking with the same decor as last year?

I would LOVE for you to link up below with a fun picture to share with us! :) Grab the button above and post a question with your picture. Please link back! :)
Have a Happy Wordless Wednesday!!

Friday, July 18, 2014

What Are Your Teaching Ingredients? {A Linky Recipe!}

The other day I had someone ask me what my blog name meant or stood for.  It's not a question I get very often but I always have fun explaining the meaning behind it, so I thought I would write a blog post about it!

When I first opened the Blogger screen on my computer almost three and a half years ago, I stared and stared at the URL line.  A non-teaching friend tried to help me come up with a name and asked me a simple question: "What is the most important thing a teacher needs to have?"  If you are a teacher, you know how hard that question is to answer.  THE most important thing?! We need a  bazillion qualities or characteristics to be a successful teacher.  

"I don't know... there's a lot of things that you need to have, all mixed together," I told her. That was when my blog idea hit me - a teacher mixes in TONS of ingredients in order to get the perfect "recipe" for success.  The ingredients for teaching is like baking a cake. If you put in too much flour, the cake will be too dry.  If you have too much sugar, the cake will flop.  Similarly, if you leave "fun" out of the classroom, your students will miss out on understanding what it feels like when learning and joy collide.   If you spend too much time directly teaching your students, your students will find it difficult to think for themselves. Teaching is a delicate balance and a lot of love definitely needs to go into each and every child's individual "learning recipe." 

Teaching is a mixture of carefully selected ingredients that, when put together, create an unimaginable impact.  There are lots of sweet and sugary things about teaching - the kids, that moment when we see light bulbs of understanding go off, and those days we see a child rise in their confidence level.   There are also times when we need to add a little spice to our classroom in order to keep our kids on their toes and keep us energized as teachers and students. When I thought about teaching in this way, my blog name, Sugar and Spice, was "baked" and born!  

So what ARE the ingredients to teaching? It's a different recipe for everyone.  I thought long and hard about some of the ingredients that are important to my own teaching and came up with these:

What are YOUR teaching ingredients? What are the important pieces to your recipe for a successful classroom?  I would love for you to join me in sharing your special recipe for teaching by participating in a linky party! Grab the two buttons below for your post. Link back to my blog and use the template to have fun designing your own "teaching recipe" of success.  

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Wordless Wednesday: July 16th - Always Prepared

Now that I'm home from Vegas and vacations are over for the summer, we can continue our regularly scheduled program....aka...."life." :)

Here we go!

If you have a blog, link up with me by putting the linky button above in your post, linking back to my blog, and sharing an interesting photo with us! Don't forget to ask your blog followers a fun question that they can answer by leaving you a comment! :)

I packed a glue stick in my suitcase to Vegas.  

What crazy thing do you bring with you on a trip or have in your purse that screams, "I'm a teacher!!"??

P.S. My name tag fell apart before the blogger meet-up.

Share your teacher travel item below and link up your Wordless Wednesday picture with me! :)

Monday, July 14, 2014

Impact, Heart, & Gratitude

On Tuesday morning, I set off to attend the 2014 First Annual Teachers Pay Teachers Sellers Conference.  It would be the first time that TpT sellers and TpT staff came together as a corporation to celebrate everything this website has accomplished.  To say it was "an amazing week" is quite an understatement. 

Although I could tell you about what I learned from a business standpoint at the conference this week (and I learned a lot), that's not what I want to write about. That's not why I blog. It's not why you read blogs. So I'm going to write this post from an emotional perspective because that is what is in my heart right now. <3 :)
I started my blogging and TpT adventure in 2011.  Over the past three and a half years, it has become quite a big part of my life.   It has enabled me to grow as a teacher.  It has raised the achievement of my students. It has challenged me professionally and personally. Through being a seller, I have been able to provide tablets for my students to help with their technology skills. I am able to provide materials, supplies, and books for my classroom and kids without putting financial stress on my family. But all of that is not why we sell.  The true meaning to why TpT sellers do what we do was evident this week - we do it because we love kids and we love teaching. We also love each other. These fellow bloggers and sellers from all over the world  have become some of my very best friends.  It is not unusual for us to text each other ten or so times a day, call each other up with a question, or be there for each other when we need support and encouragement. 

There are three main words that came to my mind this week as I thought about what Teachers Pay Teachers stands for to me: Impact, Heart, and Gratitude.
It's no question that TpT impacts teachers around the world.   There is one special person who has made a BIG impact on my life.  His name is Paul Edelman and he is the founder of Teachers Pay Teachers.  I had the opportunity to meet him this week. I can't remember what I said to him. I was too overwhelmed...and shocked...and emotional.  I don't think I really made sense, but getting to hug him and tell him "thank you" was perhaps the greatest moment of this whole week. Because of HIS dreams, he has caused a ripple effect in helping others reach their dreams. He is humble, brilliant, and passionate about students,  teachers, and the TpT mission. You could feel the compassion he has for TpT all the way across the conference room and I cried as I listened to his speech and tried to take in everything that TpT has done for me, my family, and my students. He has truly changed my life and I am so thankful!

I finally got to meet the adorable Deanna Jump from Mrs. Jump's Class. She is just as precious and sweet as she looks! Deanna was the keynote speaker for Friday's conference and she did an amazing job. As she shared her TpT story and journey with us, we laughed, cried, and cheered. Her message was powerful and clear: Dream as big as you can, work hard, be patient, and stay humble. What a wonderful message for ANY career. <3

Amy from TpT! She is simply awesome! She cares so much about TpT and about us! And we all just love her!!

I wish I could show you a video of what it looked like when we all met.  We would walk through the hotel and someone would notice a fellow seller and you would instantly hear shrieking and squeals.  Hugs, hugs, and more hugs would follow.  It was like finally seeing your very best friends for the first time in years - or in many cases, the first time ever.  I discovered that TpT sellers have so much HEART. We all know that teachers have special hearts. We would not have gotten into this career if we didn't. So can you imagine putting 800 of them together in one room to join in collaboration and celebration?!  Oh.My.Word.  Amazing is the only way to describe it.

Here are some pictures of some of the wonderful TpT friends that I got to meet this week and some of my friends who I got to see and hang out with again!

 My sweet friend Sarah from Sarah's First Grade Snippets. I was so, so happy to meet her. She is just as bubbly and positive as she is on her blog. She was a JOY to be around! :)
Jen from Out of this World Literacy, Jessica from Second Grade Nest, Heather from 2 Brainy Apples, and myself!  These three girls were awesome. We got to hang out a lot over this past week and they are so sweet and fun! Jen and Heather were on my flight from Atlanta to Vegas and we had so much fun chatting on the plane. When I heard them tell the flight attendant that they were headed to Vegas for a one day conference, I shrieked, "Are you girls from TpT?!?" It was instant friendship from that point on! :)
I got to catch up with Jodi from Fun In First. We hadn't seen each other since a blogger meet up in Kentucky a year or so ago. She is adorable!

Kelley from The Teacher Idea Factory. Kelley gave an awesome presentation Friday! I learned so much from her and I about died when she told me she uses my sub plan pack in her classroom. :) I was honored! I'm updating that pack this week, by the way! Kelley gave me the kick start I needed to get movin' on revisions to old products! :) 

Cara Carroll from The First Grade Parade

Haley from My Silly Firsties. We got to have dinner together and finally get to know each other "in real life." :)
One of my FAVORITE bloggers, Kristin from A Teeny Tiny Teacher. She is kind and just as sweet as she is on her blog! In this pic we were trying to stand up as straight as we could and see who was taller haha. 
Jessica and I! We were really good at always locating the nearest Starbucks. She quickly became such a great friend this week! We laughed until we cried! (And yes, Heather...we see you back there!) <3

Lisa from Growing Firsties and Laura from Peace, Love, and First Grade were SO sweet! I had a blast hanging out with them at the SDE I Teach 1st conference! We learned so much and I'm excited for all of the new tricks and tools I gained to bring back to my classroom.

Of course I had to take a pic with Cyndie from Chalk One Up for the Teacher. We talk and it was amazing to get to finally meet her! I cried when she left. That is not an exaggeration - actual tears when we said goodbye. <3
 Greg, me, and Amanda!

I also got to meet Farrah Shipley who brought Whole Brain Teaching into my classroom! She was just as spunky and spirited as I pictured her being in my head! :) <3

During the I Teach 1st conference, I had the wonderful opportunity to meet one of my blog followers, Heather! Heather was SO sweet and she taught me some great new web resources that I can't wait to try out this year. Heather, if you are reading this - it was a joy to meet you!

This piece of art was presented to Paul from all of us at TpT.  It contains a thank you message and everyone's store logos. We also gave a version to the TpT staff.  Special thanks to Rachel Lynette from Minds in Bloom and Michelle, The 3am Teacher,  for making this gift come to life.

The sheer gratitude that we all felt after the conference was hard to put into words. I am so thankful and so grateful for having this opportunity this week. It made TpT/Blogging REAL to me. We were no longer these little square blog buttons that we talked to over our computer screens. We were friends and family.  There were many of us in tears during the keynote speeches. These were tears of happiness and gratitude. From being able to purchase school supplies for our classrooms, to building or buying our first homes, to being able to bring a baby home after an adoption - the stories of gratitude were endless this week. Many of us had met before, but it was a different feeling when we were all in the same room for the same purpose. We came together to celebrate what TpT has done for our students, our schools, our teaching professions, our personal lives, and the many teachers/kids that our products reach.

During his keynote speech, Paul Edelman mentioned that this conference and where TpT is at today has been "8 years in the making."  If this company has touched this many lives over the course of 8 years, I cannot even fathom the sheer amount of impact it will have on the next 8 years. <3 I am so grateful to be a part of the TpT family! As a blog follower, thank YOU for being a part of this experience as well! :)

--I did not put all of my Vegas pics in this post. You can check out more of my Vegas pictures by following me on my Instagram account @missdecarbo.  

:) I hope you have a happy, happy week!  

You can read other bloggers' Vegas experiences by visiting A Burst of First's linky party!