Friday, August 30, 2013

Five for Friday

I'm linking up with Doodle Bugs Teaching for Five for Friday for the first time this week! If you want to join in, all you have to do is grab the button for your post, blog about 5 things from this week (anything goes!), and link up on her blog!
It's tough to believe it, but we're already 4 weeks into a new school year! After talking several times about how to set good goals for ourselves, this week my students set their goals for fifth grade. I was so impressed that they were able to use the guidelines I gave them to set SMART goals for themselves!

The adorable goal pennants came from Fifth in the Middle's TPT Store, if you want to grab a set for yourself. Today I was fortunate enough to have a wonderful parent come in to string them all on the ribbon and help hang them for me. I love this display!
Tuesday was NOT fun! We had an unannounced lockdown, which was really scary! Thankfully, it ended up being a false alarm, but we had zero info about why we were in lockdown until it was over, so it was a very long 20 minutes.
I know it's been blogged about before, but oh.em.gee I am in love with my new Frixion erasable pens! They write well, and they really do erase completely. I have a set of the marker pens on the way from Amazon. No more embarrassing mistakes scratched out on my graded papers! Fun fact- on the barrel of the highlighters, it says they erase by friction. Guess that's why they have that little rubber part instead of a normal eraser. 
I did the Daily 5 shoes lesson this week for finding "good fit" books, and my kids loved it! You could see their little confused faces when I first started pulling out shoes..."um, Mrs. Doyle, were supposed to be doing reading right now..." Then there were all the "ohhh"s when I got to the part about how shoes are a lot like books, and we have to choose the ones that fit us and serve the right purpose. It was great! Plus, added bonus, I earned cool points for my motorcycle boots, and three of the girls want to borrow my wedding shoes! 
On a personal note, I am one happy mama this week. My little guy (at 17 months) is finally calling me mama! After months and months of "dada," "bye bye," "please," and even "light" he has finally decided it's time to say "mama"!

Sunday, August 18, 2013

BTS Sale Starts TODAY! - and a Giveaway!

I'm sure by now, many of you have already emptied out your shopping carts and saved a bundle at TpT's big Back to School sale today! If not, don't forget to head on over and save up to 28%! (promo code BTS13)

Just in time for the sale, I have a brand new product up that I am so excited about! After several requests for a dated weekly planner, I finally decided to create one. This is my Teacher's Weekly Calendar for school year 13/14, and runs August 2013-July 2014. (I will be creating a calendar year 2014 version also for those on a calendar year schedule instead of a traditional school year.)

With it's editable sections for each day, this calender is versatile enough to be used as a family/life planner or as a lesson planner! And it matches perfectly with my Colorful Quatrefoils Teacher Planner that I blogged about a couple of weeks ago.

There are two cover styles, one for an actual cover, and a divider for use in your Teacher Binder or Planner. Both styles are available in 5 colors. The cover page is editable for your name and year.


The interior pages have four sections for each day Monday-Friday. Saturday and Sunday split one column.  The headers on each section of the weekday pages are customizable to meet your needs. Some suggestions are included on the preview pages. Added bonus - when I added the editable fields, I created them so that you enter all 12 fields on the first page, but that's all! They automatically copy onto the rest of the pages for you!

Pin it to Win it!

If you'd like to snag a free copy of this planner, pin it to one of your Pinterest boards, and comment here with the Pinterest link. You can find my original pin HERE or create your own.

I'll use to choose 2 lucky winners tomorrow morning while my kiddos are at PE (9:40am central time). I'll post the winners in a new blog post so everyone has a chance to see!

Thursday, August 15, 2013

On my wishlist

It's here! TPT's annual Back to School sale is this Sunday and Monday. I've been loading my wishlist all summer with fabulous products to buy once they all went on sale! In fact, it's gotten so big that I really can't shouldn't buy them all. But we all know I probably will anyway. What do teachers love more than shopping for our classrooms?

I'm linking up with some lovely ladies to share my top two wishlisted items and one item on my wishlist. Join us by linking up with some of your favorite TPT products! Without further ado, here are my top two...Click the pictures to check them out!
Turquoise Dots Teacher Toolbox Kit - this was actually my first product! It's been updated recently to add a page of small labels for those of you using the 39-drawer organizer instead of the 22-drawer. Although I have this product in over a dozen colors, this one is by far my best seller!

Teacher Binder in Chevron - (Although this was a close tie with the same product in the Turquoise Dots theme.) Lots of editable pages!

There are SO many things on my wishlist right now in my cart already that it's hard to choose just one, so I'm picking two. I'm really excited about implementing interactive notebooks in reading this year, since I loved them in math last year. I've been eyeing interactive notebooks by Nicole Shelby Lovin Lit, and I can't decide which one I like best, so I'm getting them both!

So head over to TPT on Sunday or Monday to clear out your cart at up to 28% off! Don't forget to use promo code BTS13 to get the TPT discount on top of the seller discounts!

TpT's Back to School sale!

That's right,'s that time again! TpT is having its annual Back to School sale Sunday and Monday, August 18-19, and everything is 10% off! On top of that, many sellers, including me, are offering additional discounts of their own, so you can save a ton on all those fabulous products you've been adding to your wish list all summer.

Everything in my store will be 10% off on top of the 10% that TpT is offering!

Click the link above to visit my store. Don't forget to use promo code BTS13 when you check out to get an additional 10% off from TpT!

Happy shopping, everyone! I know I'm headed over to clear out my wish list!

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Tried It Tuesday - Saving YouTube videos

I'm linking up with Fourth Grade Flipper today for Tried It Tuesday with a tip for YouTube in the classroom!

I am so excited to share the YouTube solution I discovered in the Interactive Reading Notebooks from I'm Lovin' Lit's TPT Store! At my school, students can't access YouTube, but teachers can, so I've been able to show videos. The problem is always the ads that show up on the sides and sometimes pop right up on the videos! Sometimes they are SO inappropriate! is a site that allows you to save videos from YouTube directly to your computer, so you can play them when you don't have YouTube access! It's a little complicated, but I figured it out pretty easily.

FIRST, you have to make sure you have the latest version of Java installed, or it won't work. Download it here if you need it.

Next, copy the web address for the YouTube video you want.

Then, go to There are a lot of annoying ads, but just ignore them. All you need to do is paste your YouTube link into the box and click VID for a video file. (If you only want to save the sound, you can click MP3 to do that.)

On the next screen, choose which type of file you want. I chose MP4, and it worked fine. Then click save, choose where you want to save the file, and you're done!

In order to get them to school, I'm going to attach them to my lesson plans on

No more going home and praying that I won't get fired over the ad my kids saw after our Water Cycle video on YouTube!

Sunday, August 11, 2013

Monday Made-it! Teacher Toolbox re-do with Mod Podge

I'm linking up wtih 4th Grade Frolics for this week's Monday Made-It with a project I did a couple of weeks ago... my updated Teacher Toolbox!

I made my first Teacher Toolbox last year, and LOVED it! In fact, my first TPT product was the label set that I had created for my toolbox. I wish I knew who to credit with the original idea, but I have no idea (aside from that it was on Pinterest). The original directions I read said to use double sided tape to attach your labels inside the drawers, so that's what I did. It worked fine for a little while, but by the end of the year, my toolbox looked like this:

As you can see, the tape definitely lost its stickiness over the course of the year. One of my labels was actually lost!

I kept reading that people Mod Podged theirs on, but I was worried about the ink bleeding since I printed on my inkjet printer. A little internet research was all it took to find an easy, and FREE solution!

HAIRSPRAY! Yep, the solution was right on my bathroom counter. If you spray the entire page with a light coat of aerosol hairspray, it will seal in the color.

The rest of the process is really simple:

Cut out your labels, and get your Mod Podge and brushes together. I used an old envelope to paint on, since it was what I had handy.

I found that the trick is to use a thin, light coat of Mod Podge on each label. Then press it onto the inside of the drawer. Don't worry if it doesn't go on straight, you have a couple of minutes to reposition the label before it starts to dry.

I love how it turned out! Probably more than the original. And I'm so excited that I figured out how to mod podge over printed papers without ruining it!

If you like my Teacher Toolbox Labels, both of these and a dozen other color/pattern options are in my TPT Store. Click on the photo below!

Friday, August 9, 2013

Freebie Friday! Stoplight Check

I created this Stoplight Assessment tool to use for formative assessment. I used it primarily in math last year.

At the end of the lesson, students wrote a quick note to me on a sticky note about how they were doing with the concept and put it on the correct spot on the stoplight. It makes a really quick and easy way to get a snapshot of how the class is feeling before you decide to move on to something new.

To make your own, just cut out red, yellow, and green circles (I used scrapbook paper) and arrange them like a stoplight. Then grab the freebie labels from my TPT store, print, cut, and attach!

Thursday, August 8, 2013

A Liebster award! Who, me?

I can hardly believe it, but after just a couple of weeks in the blogosphere, I've been nominated for a Leibster award! And not just once, but TWICE!! I feel so honored! Big thank you to Laurie at Special Education Love and Nicci at Chalet Re for making my day today!

In case you don't know, Leibster awards are for up and coming blogs with less than 200 followers. There are a few things I have to do to accept the nominations:
  1.  Link back to the person that nominated you.
  2. Answer the questions from your nominator.
  3. Share 11 random facts about yourself.
  4. Nominate 5 more blogs with less than 200 followers.
  5. Pose 11 questions for your nominees
Since I have 22 questions to answer, I'm going to save them for last.

I'm nominating...

  1. T-Share
  2. Peaches & Palmetto Trees
  3. Fancy in Fourth
  4. Teaching with Class
  5. Swashbuckling in Seventh

My questions for you...

  1. What do you teach?
  2. What school supply do you love most?
  3. What is your guilty pleasure?
  4. What's your go-to caffeine fix on sleepy mornings?
  5. What are you most excited about this school year?
  6. Who is the teacher who inspires you most?
  7. If you were giving your students a wish list for Christmas gifts, what would be the #1 item on it?
  8. What's your favorite Pinterest recipe?
  9. If you could go anywhere on vacation, where would you go?
  10. What time do you wake up in the mornings?
  11. If you had a day off, and nothing to do, how would you spend it?

My answers...

  1. When did you decide to become a teacher? 
    • When I was 15, 16, & 17, my youth group traveled to an inner city area in DC and did Vacation Bible School for some very needy kids, who stole my heart every year. I knew after the first trip that I wanted to be a teacher.
  2. What is your favorite meal?
    • Anything that involves pasta, tomato sauce, and cheese! Lasagna, ziti, spaghetti, you name it, I love it!
  3. Is this your first blog?
    • Yep! Sure is!
  4. Do you have any pets? Tell me about them.
    • I have an 8 year old Boxer named Lulu. Poor baby hasn't been getting as much love lately though, since our little man was born. Even at 8, she's still a puppy at heart and plays too rough for him.
  5. Name a blog you go to for inspiration.
  6. What's your favorite Pinterest creation?
    • I'm going ouside the "teacher box" with this one...Banoffee Pie! Bananas, caramel, graham cracker crust. Yum! And it's super easy, to boot!
  7. What lesson are you the most proud of?
    • That's a tough one! It was nothing fancy, but a couple of years ago, while discussing with my 5th graders the reasons the colonists were unhappy with England, we had the best class discussion. At the end of it, they could (almost) all tell me why we started the war, and not just "because they weren't fair to us," but specific reasons. It was exciting to see all the lightbulbs going off!
  8. What do you teach?
    • 5th grade. It's been my home for four of the five years I've taught, and I love it!
  9. If you could go anywhere in the world, where would it be?
    • I've been to the Caribbean several times, so next on my list has to be Europe. Italy, France, Germany. (I think I'm going to need to spend the whole summer!)
  10. What has been your favorite summer vacation?
    • Jamaica! We loved it so much on our honeymoon that we went back this year! We stayed at Couples Tower Isle in Ocho Rios the first time and Couples Negril the second. If you go to Ocho Rios, you have to climb Dunn's River Falls, and if  you go to Negril or Montego Bay, you have to zip-line!
  11. What is your number one goal for the upcoming school year?
    • My team is implementing a handful of new things this year (Whole Brain, ClassDojo, Edmodo), so my goal is to keep up with all of them, and implement them well!
*I'll be back for the other 11 questions later!

11 Random facts about me...

  1.  I started water skiing the summer before I turned 3. Since I've always been on the petite side, this gathered a LOT of attention from other boaters!
  2. I love Papermate Flair pens, maybe more than is natural, even for a teacher!
  3. I'm in grad school right now, and it's keeping me CRAZY busy, especially on top of going back to school and my TPT store.
  4. My little man said Mama to me yesterday for the first time, without prompting! Squee! #onehappymama
  5. I have a very musical memory. I'm pretty sure I can remember all the words to every song I've sung more than once.
  6. I love Criminal Minds, even though it totally freaks me out and I can only watch when my hubby is home.
  7. I am mildly obsessed with polka dots and chevron right now, preferably in turquoise, lime, and red.
  8. My sister is deaf, so I've been signing since I was a kid.
  9. I love football more than my husband does, and I'm counting the days until football season!
  10. I could eat chocolate until I turned into it. Picture Violet from Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, only chocolate instead of a blueberry. This could be me.
  11. I just got an Erin Condren Life Planner and I *big puffy heart* it.
I think that covers it for now. Thanks again Laurie & Nicci for nominating me!

Tuesday, August 6, 2013

Tech Tip Tuesday: Student Emails

Today's tip is going to be super quick, because we started school yesterday, and I am one busy lady!

Have you ever found a really cool website you wanted to use with your class, but it required individual student email addresses? I found the answer last night. 

Step 1: Go to and create a Gmail account for your class. (I used

Step 2: When signing up your students for whatever website you are using, enter this email address followed by + and a number. (For example,,, etc.)

Gmail ignores anything after a + in an email address, and sends all correspondence to the original email address.

Easy as pie! 

Saturday, August 3, 2013

Currently...running behind!

It's 2 days before school starts, and I spent the last two days prepping my room and meeting my students & parents. I'm super excited about the new year, and my new bunch. But is it August already? And can someone tell me what happened to my summer? I swear it just started last week!

Anyway, here's my August Currently...


Seriously, is there any better sound in the world than your husband reading to your child? Not in my book! Right now, I'm laid up in bed trying to keep from getting the two of them sick. Hubby is in the living room reading Llama Llama to little man, and I'm loving hearing the two of them play together :)


This is the first year, in 6 years of teaching, that I haven't had to move classrooms. It has given me so much more time to catch up on my professional reading, and to make some significant changes to the HOW of my teaching instead of always needing to deal with the WHERE.

Last year, I went full-on with Dots on Turquoise. I even made a slew of signs and labels to match (They're in my TPT store if you're using the same theme). This year, I decided to keep most of it, and incorporate some new colors and patterns. I'm using mostly the things I've added to my TPT store this summer...birds, chalkboards, chevrons, & quatrefoils. I'm loving the way it's all come together. I can't wait to do my classroom tour post!


Not much to say here...I have more important things to do, but this is what makes me happy. I'll get to the Grad school eventually (like, before 11:59 PM tomorrow when it's due!). Lesson plans are taking priority since I'm starting school in just 2 days!


Summers are getting shorter and shorter, amiright? We've been busy travelling this year, which was great, but it makes the time just fly. Between 3 separate trips in June and grad school both months, I feel like I've been working all summer. On the plus side, those dreaded furlough days do mean a couple five more days off are in my future. Our first furlough day is during my week off of grad school, so I am officially going to relax all day!


I don't know how it happened, but I caught some kind of cold the week before school starts. I've been dealing with it all week, but yesterday, after talking to parents for 2 hours at open house, my voice was gone. Seriously, I HAVE to be better before Monday.  I can't do the first week of school with no voice! Thoughts and prayers are much appreciated!

B2S Must-Haves...

  1. New teacher bag - Last year, I used a Thirty-one tote with a file box inside, and LOVED it. Honestly, the plan for this year was to keep using the same bag. But then we went to Jamaica, and I saw a cute tote bag in the Harley shop in Negril. Seriously, if I have to bring work home, at least it's coming home in a bag that reminds me of two things that are NOTHING like work - riding on the back of Hubby's bike, and our amazing vacation in Jamaica! Added bonus - my file crate still fits inside :)
  2. Purple Expo markers - It's the simple things. I don't even use them that much now that I rely more on my SmartBoard, but purple Expos make me smile!
  3. Cherry Coke Zero - My school fridge is all stocked with my caffeine of choice for those bright and early mornings :)
  4. (I know, there were only supposed to be 3) Flair pens! My go to pens for grading. They're nice and smooth, they don't bleed through, and they come in so many cute colors! I pick up a new pack every year for back to school.
So that's it for me this month. Head over to Oh' Boy 4th Grade to join in the linky fun! Don't skip over reading her explanation of her Currently. She has a great idea for how to use "Currently"s with your students!

Friday, August 2, 2013

Freebie Friday! Computer rules

It's Freebie Friday again! We have open house today and go back to school on Monday, so I am just popping in quickly to share these computer rules signs I made for my classroom. The file includes half and whole page signs, and there are 10 rules...
  1. Ask permission before you print.
  2. No food or drinks near computers.
  3. Clean up before you leave!
  4. Do not change computer settings or backgrounds.
  5. Never give out your username or password.
  6. Save your work onten! (ctrl+S)
  7. Undo is your friend! (ctrl+Z)
  8. Surf safely.
  9. Work quietly.
  10. Log off when you finish.

Grab  your freebie in my TPT store by clicking the picture!

Hope you love them!