Product Swap S’More

Why is it called Product Swap S’More?  Well, because after you see all the great products reviewed, you’ll definitely want S’MORE great reviews on other products!  And, this is not the only product review going on!  You can see S’MORE great product reviews by my bloggy pals by clicking on the little blue froggy at the end of this post.  Get it?

smoore product swap

For my first product review, I picked the fabulous, funky, tie-dyed 70s-inspired unit “Peace on Earth” by Merinda Nunez Powell, also known as Pirate Girl.  I picked this unit because we started a bullying prevention program in our school after Christmas, and we have weekly meetings to learn about bullying, responding to bullying, and alternative ways to settle differences.  This unit, with it’s Biblical-based teachings about Peace, was a perfect fit into those weekly meetings.

peace on earth 1_01

Look at all the fabulous activities you get in this comprehensive packet!

peace on earth 1_03

I used the first activity cold-turkey, just to get an idea of what the children thought “peace” meant.  I displayed this poster

peace poster

We read it together, and then I passed out the writing and illustrating activity ”

What is peace 1

It is being friendly to other people.

What is peace 2

What is peace? I say that peace is the peaceful resolution.

what is peace 3

It is silence and calm.

I was pleasantly surprised at the prior knowledge the kids displayed in their writings about what peace is.  Then we took a look at Bible verses that refer to peace to get a better understanding peace.  We discussed the various verses using the task cards that Merinda includes in her packet.

peace on earth 1_21

There are 9 total bible verse/picture match up task cards.

The next group meeting, we read the beautiful storybook from the hymn “Let There be Peace on Earth.”

peace on earth cover

The book includes the first verse of the beautiful hymn “Let There be Peace on Earth.”

reading book

Two of my angels getting inspiration from the book for their own illustrations.

full idsplay w catholic social

The peace booklets and the “What is Peace” writings, along with the Key Verse poster became a bulletin board display to go along with our Catholic Social Teachings poster.

In the next meeting, we reviewed everything we learned about peace and tied it into bullying prevention by making a plan of action, what “I can do to promote Peace.”  Again, the children had some really good ideas of what they could do to promote peace, and their reflections showed that they understand that peace begins with them and the best way to promote peace is to treat other people kindly, help other people, stick up for other people, and generally to live the way Jesus taught us to live.  Some of the kids mentioned praying for leaders of countries to work together and stop fighting as well.  We took all their writings and combined them into a class booklet for our library area.

promote peace 2

helping other people and take care of people and don’t leave anyone out of a game. Yeah, Jesus said that, too.  Really, He did!

finished peace book

Our finished class booklet.

Included in this packet are also a peace word search, peace bookmarks, a peace and love page to color, and a section that covers names of God that include the word “peace.”

As I said, this is a complete package.  It would be awesome for Christian, Catholic, CCD, and Sunday School teachers.  Public school teachers would even be able to use parts of it as a morals-based or character education lesson.  It is well worth the $4.50 because you will get so many weeks of use out of it!

Now comes the fun part.  Merinda has graciously said I can give away one copy of this unit for free .  Unfortunately, my free site will not allow me to post a rafflecopter (grr),  so I have to do this another way.

If you leave a comment on my blog, that will be  your number.  At the end of the giveaway, I will use a random number generator (my daughter) to give me a number, and that person will be the winner!!  You can start leaving comments on Sunday, April 7, and I will pick a winner at 10:00 AM on Saturday, April 13.

Although I can’t require it (no rafflecopter — grr), Merinda and I sure would appreciate if you would follow our blogs and/or TPT stores.

Me –

My blog – just hit follow on the side!

Merinda –

Merinda’s blog –

Good luck!

(Don’t forget to check out the other product reviews by clicking on the blue frog face.)


A Miracle for Miracle

Hi everyone!  Please take the time to read this and donate if you would like to.

Mrs.  Smarty Pants is having a fundraiser over at her blog for a little girl in her school who went in for a routine physical and came out with leukemia.  The little girl’s name is Miracle, and her family is struggling to make ends meet.

The staff at Samantha’s school put their heads together to come up with ways to raise money, and Samantha called on some wonderful TPT blogging friends for a product donation.  She wound up with 31 awesome St. Patrick’s Day and spring products (an approximately $110.00 value) that she is selling for a donation of $25.00

I’m going to send you over to her blog for the complete story, to see exactly what products you’ll be getting when you donate,  and details on  how to donate and receive your package of products.  I hope you will consider donating!

Have a great evening and count your blessings when you tuck your healthy children into bed tonight.  I know I will be.

Stepping Out of my First Grade Teacher Box

I was browsing my Facebook homepage when a friend of my son posted this link to

2011 Catholic Heart Work Camp – Dayton, Ohio (Video Highlights)

If you are involved in any way with Catholic youth, and you don’t know about this program, you must find out about it.  It is a fantastic opportunity for our teens to unplug for a about 6 days, provide service to others, and connect with other teens from around the country.   My son has been involved for the past two years, and it has been wonderful to see his spiritual growth after each trip.  My son is 18 now, in  his senior year, and leaving for the Marines on June 17, so he won’t have the opportunity to attend this year.  And it makes me sad.  I can only hope that the lessons he learned while at work camp will carry  him through the challenges he will face as a Marine.

The other thing I wanted to share with you is this.  National  Catholic Youth Conference 2013.  OH. MY. GOD.  And that is a prayer!  As a Catholic,  I have never experienced anything like this before or since.  I attended in 2011, and I still don’t have the words to describe it.  The energy.  The emotion.  The joy.  The love.  The connection.  How could I have been a Catholic for 46 years and not known about this?  How could I have been a mother of a Catholic teen and not known about this?  Why isn’t the Church shouting from every pulpit, “Get thee your youth to NCYC?”

You can watch the promo for NCYC 2013, but it won’t do the experience of actually being there justice.

Here’s a clip of one of the many amazing things tht happened at NCYC 2011.  Can you imagine it?  Can you envision 22,000 people joined together in song and prayer at this moment in time? I still get chills and am moved to tears when I think of it.

Here is the Facebook page for National Catholic Youth Conference if you’d like to find out more.

So again, if you are in any way involved in with Catholic teens and you don’t know about these events, you owe it to the youth you work with to find out about them and do everything in your power to get your teens there.  It is well worth the effort.

Project Snowflake

Earlier this week, the National PTA sent out a memo about making snowflakes to decorate the new school that the students of Sandy Hook Elementary will be going back to when school reopens in January. They want to make it look like a winter wonderland.

Today, the students at my school spent all morning making and decorating snowflakes of all shapes and sizes. Our first graders teamed up with fifth graders, who helped them make their snowflakes.


Give kids scissors, paper, gluesticks, and gllitter and watch what happens!



It was a beautiful, beautiful morning of children eagerly performing service for children they have never met!

5th graders use precision glittering techniques, unlike 1st graders, who go for the overall shake and dump.

5th graders use precision glittering techniques, unlike 1st graders, who go for the overall shake and dump.

 After two periods, the whole school gathered in the gym, along with the priests and many parents.


At 9:30, as the church bells rang, we observed silence and prayer.


Then Father blessed the snowflakes.


After closing prayers, we packed up the snowflakes.  The local UPS store boxed and shipped the snowflakes off to Conneticut this afternoon at no charge to us!  All in all, it was a perfect start to our Christmas vacation.

I leave you with one of my students’ writing from this week about the true meaning of Christmas.


This is wath I thinck the True meaning of Christmas is. It is note abowt presis. It is abowt Jesus Brthday. We have to celebrate!

I hope your celebration of Jesus’ Birthday is filled with much joy and love and hope!

Teachers for Teresa

One of our teaching colleagues at TPT is critically ill and in need of a hand.  Spearheaded by Cynthia at 2nd grade pad, the sellers have donated items and are selling a packet worth $115.00 for only a $25.00 donation!!  I”m goint to link you to Cynthia’s blog since I can’t get the Paypal donation button to load on my post.  Please click on the picture below to read more!

Please add your prayers to ours for a complete recovery for Teresa and prayers for strength and peace for her family.

Teachers Helping Teachers

Never have I been more proud to be a part of the teaching community at TeacherspayTeachers than I am at this time.  One of the sellers who was moderately affected by Hurricance Sandy has put together this incredible drive to donate teaching resources to those teachers who lost everything in their classrooms due to the storm. If you would like to help out, click on the picture below to got to Laurah’s blog, The ESOL Odessy, for more information on how you can help.  I thought back to setting up a classroom from scratch and donated two of my resources that I thought would be most helpful:  Monthly Newsletter Templates for the Busy Teacher Vol. I and II; including monthly blank calendars and Helping Hands Job Chart.

If you are a teacher affected by the storm and would like to request help, please click this picture. It will take you to a form to fill out requesting help.

God bless all of you.  Your road to recovery may be long, but know that the teaching community will help you any way we can.

Grateful for the Little Things

Today is the Feast Day of St. Therese of Lisiuex.  You may not know much about her, but she entered the convent at age 15 in the late 1800s.  She dreamed of being a missionary, but she was too tiny and sickly to travel.  So she decided that she would do simple, everyday things to the best of her ability, and offer them to Jesus as a prayer.  She died at age 24.

As I looked around my classroom today, I found so many little things to celebrate.  First, there were 16 little faces looking at me, wondering what we were going to do next.   Then there was the awesome job the children did on their Johnny Appleseed collaborative book.  Wow, I”ve never had a class do such a nice job illustrating the words!  In honor of St. Therese, and the little things in my classroom I’m grateful for, I’m giving you my Johnny Appleseed Unit as a freebie. Put it away for next year!  Click on this link, Johhny Appleseed Unit to download it.

I hope you find many little things to be grateful for each day as well.