Spring break means spring cleaning, right? Yesterday, I took down all my curtains and sheers and washed them all. Ugh, what a dusty, dirty job that was! And I was totally shocked at the number of dusty cobwebs hiding behind those curtains! What did I expect with a dog and two cats, though?

Well, in addition to spring cleaning our homes, I am (with several other bloggers) having a spring cleaning sale at our stores starting tomorrow, March 3o and ending Sunday at midnight.  I’ll be offering 15% off every item in my store, so now is a great time to get those items you’ve wishlisted and check out the newest products I’ve added to my store, such as…

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Updated moon unit activites

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Story Box Retelling and Sequencing with Goldilocks and the Three Bears

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Long E anchor chart with included sorting center

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120-chart, one more, one less, ten more, ten less braintwister pictures

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Sorting Sentences by Statements and Questions

Be sure to check all these out, as well as my other resources.  And then click through to Dilly Dabbles blog to find all the other stores holding a two-day spring cleaning sale as well.

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Have a blessed Easter and enjoy your spring break!

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Make It and Take It Linky Party with Second Grade Pad

I’m very excited to finally have a make it and take post to link  up with Second Grade Pad.  Every  Thursday, Cynthia hosts a linky party with really cute make and take crafts for classroom, home, and/or every day use.  Today, I am linking up my Story Cube post.

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 Be sure to head over to Cynthia’s blog and check out all the other great ideas!

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Click here to visit Second Grade Pad Take It and Make It Linky party. If you’ve got a make and take, be sure to link yours up as well!

Tonight we are dying eggs at our house.  I love doing this every year.  It’s one of the traditions that I look forward to.  This year, we will have a few extra people joining us. My son has a girlfriend this year, so I assume she’ll be joining us.  And my nephew and his wife are expecting their first child!  Yes, I’m going to be a great aunt!  Can you believe it?  So my new niece or nephew will be joining us, in utero, of course!  We wind up dying about 4 dozen eggs!  Egg salad sandwiches for lunch for the next two weeks!

What are your Easter traditions?

ELA Common Core Make It and Take It Story Cube

I have got a really cute make and take idea for you today!  It is a story retelling cube, somewhat similar to the inflatable ones, but better!!!  Why better, you ask?  Well, besides the fact that you will get much satisfaction out of making it yourself in all your free time (ha!), it is customizable!  With a few – okay, one – clever design twists, I have taken that generic story retelling cube and made it completely customizable to your needs!

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 To begin, gather up the following materials:  a square tissue box, glue, scissors, packaging tape, velcro, blank paper of any color, printed out sides.

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Gather all your materials.

Trace the sides of your tissue box on your blank paper and glue to all sides.

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Trace and glue blank paper to cover the sides of the tissue box.

Wrap the box with the clear packing tape for extra strength and durability.  Remember, our little munchkins are not always the gentlest of children!

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Wrap all around with packaging tape for strength and durability.

Cut out and laminate the six labels, one for each side of the cube.  I used the packaging tape to laminate my labels since my laminator was at school when I made this box.  Add velcro to the labels and to the sides of each box and stick the labels to your story box.

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add velcro to each side of the box and to the label.And voila! Your own story box, ready to be customized, is done!

And voila!  Your very own customizable story box is ready to use!

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The generic version is perfect for retelling any story!

I use this box in various ways.  Sometimes we roll it like a die, and a child tells about whatever part of the story is showing on top.  Sometimes I use it in a small group and  give it to one child to start, and we go in order with characters, setting, beginning, middle, end, and my favorite part.  As one child finishes his part, he passes it to the next person. This way, everyone in the group gets a chance to (is forced to) participate.  Sometimes I switch out the labels for beginning, middle, and end with problem, solution, and this reminds me of . . . if the story lends itself to this.  And finally, I switch it out with pictures that go along with a specific story, such as “The Boy Who Cried Wolf”, and the children use it to summarize and retell the story.

It took me about 20 minutes to make the actual box.  Once it is made, swapping out your side panels is very easy with the use of velcro.  I made a second one to put in my library center after the children became familiar with using the story cube.

Click the picture below to download the labels for the sides of the boxes.

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click here to download!

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Click here to visit my TPT store and look at the Goldilocks and the Three Bears packet.

I also have completed Goldilocks and the Three Bears story panels for the story box.  You can find them by clicking on the picture below.

Keep an eye on my store for upcoming stories to switch out on your story cube.

Have a great day!

Happy Easter and a 2-day freebie

During this time of preparing for Easter, when our little ones are so focused on the Easter Bunny and the treats that he will be bringing, it can sometimes be hard to help them focus on the true meaning of Easter.

A long, long time ago, I was introduced to this little gem of a book that ties the first Easter Bunny into the suffering, death, and resurrection of Jesus called “The First Easter Bunny”.   The little rabbit tells the Easter story through his eyes as he follows Jesus through the events of Holy Week.  At the end, it beautifully ties the duty of the Easter Bunny to Jesus.

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I was shocked at how expensive it is through Amazon.  Of course, it is the hardback version, and I have the paperback version.  I found it in a Catholic bookstore in my community, so maybe you can find it in a Christian or Catholic bookstore near you.  If you can find it, this book is well worth the money, whether you share it with you class, your Sunday school or CCD class, or your own children.

On a different subject, I just finished my newest resource to help my children remember the most common ways to make the long E sound.

Long Vowel Combination Anchor Charts

Click here to visit TPT and download this within the next 48 hours for free. 48-hour freebie will end April 1 at 12:00 AM.

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Assemble the anchor chart two ways, in one long line of four or 2X2, for the best fit in your classroom. I chose the 2X2 for my classroom.

This will be free for the next 48 hours, starting now and ending at 12:00 Midnight on April 1.  It will last the duration of the Spring Cleaning sale!

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Have a great day and a very happy Easter!

The Luck of the Irish!

Happy St. Patrick’s Day to all of you!    I have not one little drop of Irish blood in me.  Not even a smidgen.  And yet I have two kids, one named Sean and one named Colleen Erin.  Can you get any more Irish than that?

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Sean and Colleen, 17 and 7.

I hope you had a chance to hop around the blogs, pick up the St. Patrick’s Day freebies, and make good use of them the past two weeks.  Today is the big day, the day that the $100.00 TPT certificate is awarded.  And the winner is — drumroll please —

Aanika P!

Congratulations to Aanika for being the grand prize winner!  You can go to Mrs. Fultz’s blog to claim your prize.

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click to Visit Ms. Fultz’s Corner and claim your prize!

Thank you all for playing along with us!  We had so much fun and got to meet so many new teaching friends!  We certainly feel like the Luck of the Irish shone on us!

For those of you who are a little bummed because you didn’t win, I have a consolation prize.  My store is on sale today and tomorrow for 10% off!

Enjoy your Sunday.

A Mundane Life – It’s a Blessing

Happy Saturday, everyone!  I’m finally getting a chance to sit down and put up a post for you all!  It’s been a wonderful Saturday morning.  I   took my daughter to her colorguard practice.  She’s learning to use the silks, now, as well as twirl.  While she was busy at colorguard practice, I met up with a good friend I don’t get to see nearly enough ( which is sad because she lives 3 houses up from me) for coffee and girl talk.  Now, I’m watching the Penguins/Ranger hockey game and typing.  (Go Penguins!)  Do I ever get to stop multitasking?  Later this evening, we’re taking my parents to my daughter’s cheerleading banquet.  Just the mundane details of my life.  I’m sure many of you are doing the same types of things today.  Just another day in paradise, right?

Speaking of paradise, don’t forget that Saturday means Primary Paradise’s Top Five Freebies of the Week.  Click on the button below to check out her site and see what she’s picked for you this week.

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Click to see Top Five Freebies

Speaking of freebies, don’t forget today is the last day to hop around the blogs for the St. Patrick’s Day freebies and the chance to win $100.00 TPT gift certificate.

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Start your leprechaun’s gold blog hop here.

I recently had this one-page sample from my newest resource, Numbers and Operations in Base 10 Common Core Braintwisters Springy Thingies, up as my fan only freebie on my Facebook page.  I have since put up a new freebie there (be sure to check it out if you haven’t), but if you didn’t get Springy Thingies, you can download it by clicking below.

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Click to download your sample of Springy Thingies.

If you haven’t discovered Crayonbox Learning yet, you have to check out her blog and this super-cute activity.  I can’t wait to make this for my own class to use!

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Click here to get to know Danielle and see her fabulous work!

As you go through your mundane life, running your kids around here, there, and everywhere, washing, cooking, cleaning, and whatever else you’re doing today, take the time to count the blessing of having healthy children and consider checking out Life in Special Education’s post about Cole, a teaching friend’s child recently diagnosed with brain cancer.  It brings tears to my eyes to imagine what this family is going through, and if my donation of $25.oo for over $160.00 worth of teaching resources can make a small difference to this family, I’m more than happy  to cook at home one night this week instead of eating out.

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Click here to visit Karla’s blog and learn how to help Care for Cole

Enjoy your Saturday, everyone!

To Pick a Pope and Caring for Cole

As you probably know, the papal conclave begins tomorrow to pick a new pope.  I have created this free resource to use with your class to explain how the cardinals go through the process of picking a pope.

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Click here to get your copy of Picking a Pope

Even if you aren’t in a religious setting,  it is still a historical event that you can discuss with your class.

Also, a  bloggy friend has put together an incredible package of tried and true resources resources to help raise money for the son of one of her teacher friends.  Her son, Cole, was diagnosed with an aggressive and rare (in children) type of brain cancer.

The package has over $160.00 worth of resources, all yours for a minimum donation of $25.00.  Please head over to Life in Special Education and read Karla’s post about Caring for Cole.

Click here to see how you can help Care for Cole.

Have a great Monday evening.