Monday, September 7, 2015

LaborLESS Learning, Work Smarter, Not Harder

Hello everyone!

Main Graphic Laborless

It is Finally here!

Today I am linking with Laura from Where the Magic Happens, Krista from Teaching Momster, and Lisa from PAWsitively Teaching! I have joined forces once again with my bloggy friends to bring you the best, most amazing giveaway on this Labor Day weekend!
All of us have been thinking about  good ways in which to treat our readers and followers.   We thought hard, and I mean it! Really, really hard… and decided that  we can treat you to our best ideas to work smarter rather than harder… at school and home!
I know what it takes to be a great teacher, the stress, the time, the energy… I could go on and on! I also know that we crave time to ourselves and our families.

So here I go!


Some of you have not yet ventured back into the classroom yet. For some of us, we are already beginning our fourth week of teaching this year. In the spirit of Labor Day in which the country honors the American labor movement and contributions made by workers to this country, a number of your fellow teachers are bringing the LaborLESS Blog Hop to you! We've done most of the work so you you have LESS to do if you like our ideas.

Each of us is sharing a way for you to work smarter, not harder while teaching this year.

I have an amazing new co-worker named Eddie Moral this year. He has taught kinder like me for years and I am really excited about learning some new tricks of the trade from him. Most of the ideas I am sharing here have come from him. We do our lesson planning together midweek and can decide what we would like to put up on our boards.

One idea he brought is to have a "highlight" board for just about anything we teach in the classroom. Initially, it "may" be a little more work, but in the long run, everything can be saved for the next year. 

First, create borders for each board. I used my favorite KG Font and printed them this way and pasted them onto black paper to make them pop a bit more when I put them onto my boards. I chose colors that would go well with all the paper I put on my boards.

When school began, I didn't have anything hanging. As we learned, I had the students help us to think about the vocabulary and topics we we were learning about. I wrote each vocab word on a sentence strip and let the students share the word and tell what they knew about the word. If they could give me an example using the word, we went with that too.
Just add vocab words and anything else that can be a visual for what you are learning about.

Eddie's Math board

Eddie's Science board

my Science board

We then added those words to our learning boards. We added posters and anything we were working with that could be a good visual to remind us about what we were learning about for that day/week. 

Eddie's Phonics board

Two really neat things came out of doing our boards like this. 
One, as the students are leaving for the day, one of the last things we can quickly do is review the vocab that is on each board. That, coupled with the visuals, help the students to be able to remember what they learned. Hopefully, when they get into the car and someone asks them what they learned, they will be able to remember.
The other great thing that happened as a result of doing out boards like this is that now, when parents come into the classroom, they can SEE what their child is learning about in each subject.

Now, every week, when we change what we are doing, we can take down the sentence strip vocab words, examples of work we hung up, and anything worth saving like poster pieces and place them in a file for next year. Your new students can still generate vocab, but chances are, a lot of it will be the same and you'll already have some of it written.


I tend to get home REALLY late. I tutor after school most days. It doesn't leave much time for unwinding. At this time of the year, the clouds that never seem to drop any water on us in California put on a beautiful display, so I like to sit out front and check out the sunset at the end of my court.

On the weekends, I love to unwind by spending time with my family out in nature. My youngest loves to go places to shoot photos with his camera around the San Francisco Bay Area. He takes beautiful shots. These ones were only taken with my cell phone.


Now for some REAL LaborLESS work for you. I have created a number of items that we use in our classroom that I'd like to share with you for FREE!

This is a 22 page vocabulary development packet. It includes 5 pages of short vowel words to read, write, and draw. It also includes 5 pages of long vowel words to read, write, and draw. It includes 5 pages of short vowel words in a word bank that are used by the student to write a creative sentence and space is given to draw a depiction of that sentence. 5 more pages are included to do the same with long vowel words. 1 page includes all 50 vocabulary words used in the packet.

This is a five page compound word activity sheet. There are 3 sets of words on the first four pages. The last sheet has space for the student to come up with three of their own compound words. Each page has a word to read, a space to write the word, and a space to draw the word. The blank page can also be used to program compound words you may want to introduce or work with.

This is a 16 page journal style packet. It has a cover and 16 pages of writing prompts to be finished and space to draw a depiction of each prompt on each page. This would be a great book to keep for the end of the year Open House!

Top all these great tips and ideas  with these top-notch prizes!

A $100 gift card to Amazon

A $50 gift card to TpT


2 $25 gift cards to TpT

1 $10 gift card to TpT

Thank you for reading! And now don't be silly and get your hands all over this awesome giveaway!!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Hop on over to these other blogs. These teachers have all shared LaborLESS ideas to make this your most LaborLESS school year yet!

When you visit their blogs, enter the Rafflecopter for a chance to win these amazing prizes!


Monday, August 3, 2015

Back to School Deals and FREEBIES!

If you haven't heard yet, Teachers Pay Teachers is having a 2 day Back to School sale. Tons of sellers are participating in the sale. Many of the sellers also offer lots of freebies in their store, so this is a terrific place to find tons of great products to use for your upcoming school year. 

If you head over to my store, I am offering 28% off of EVERYTHING in my store. Click on the picture above to check out my store. Remember to use the code BTS15 to receive your full discount. Below are a few of my best sellers and some FREEBIES for you too!

On sale for only $2.40
Sheets that help your student to learn how to work with 1/2 fractions include:
Coloring half a shape according to location (right, left, top, bottom)Identifying shapes that are divided equallyIdentifying shapes that are not divided equallyWord problems with 1/2 fractionsLooking at half a shape and completing the shapeIdentifying how many squares are in half a setThese can be completed as worksheets or laminated and used with colored whiteboard markers.Sheets that help your student to learn how to work with 1/4th fractions include:Coloring 1/4 of a shapeIdentifying shapes that are evenly divided by 1/4ths and ones that are notLearning to divide the same shape two different ways to still get 1/4ths with a circle and a squareIdentifying what area of a shape a 1/4th is located in (upper right, lower left)These can be completed as worksheets or laminated and used with colored whiteboard markers.Common Core Math Standard Geometry 1 G. 33. Partition circles and rectangles into two and four equal shares

On Sale for only $2.80!
52 pages total.
26 pages of initial sounds phonics morning work!
For each letter of the alphabet as it introduced:
Identify capital and lowercase letters.
Identify key words that begin with given initial sounds.
Color key word pictures that begin with initial sounds.
Write capital and lowercase letters.
Trace keywords for fine-motor practice.

26 pages of more morning work!
Each time you introduce a new letter in phonics, you can use one of these pages to reinforce the letter sound with a keyword and picture of that keyword. Students trace the initial sound letter, trace the word, and further develop their fine-motor skills through coloring a picture of the key word. All 26 letters have their own page.

On Sale for only $2.40!
15 pages of school memories to create. The packet begins with the student drawing their self-portrait in August and signing their name. Each month, there is a journal prompt for the student to tell something about the school year and a space for the student to draw it. In December, the student will again draw themselves and sign their name to show growth in both areas. The packet continues through June with the student drawing themselves and signing their page with their name one last time. Topics covered in the packet are:
Favorite things done, new things learned, favorite parties and field trips, things done with friends, favorite part of the school year and more!
This is the perfect packet to include in a year-end portfolio to show parents growth in both penmanship and fine motor drawing skills as well as newly learned attention to details and descriptive writing capabilities. It includes a cover without a colored background for those who want to save on ink or print the cover on their own colored background.


This is a 22 page vocabulary development packet. It includes 5 pages of short vowel words to read, write, and draw. It also includes 5 pages of long vowel words to read, write, and draw. It includes 5 pages of short vowel words in a word bank that are used by the student to write a creative sentence and space is given to draw a depiction of that sentence. 5 more pages are included to do the same with long vowel words. 1 page includes all 50 vocabulary words used in the packet.

16 pages of journal prompts about your children. Each page includes a space for the student to draw about their writing. 

It is my hope that some of the creations I made for my students can help to make your lives easier. I wish all of you a great BACK TO SCHOOL!


Saturday, July 4, 2015

Classroom Management Sit Spots

How would you like to win an amazing classroom management product, created by a teacher FOR teachers? Joyce Buehler has created an amazing product called "Sit Spots" and you could win them!! The best part is, If you win and IF you are going to Vegas, you could pick them out in person at the vendor booth. If you are not going to Vegas, you can pick them out online and Joyce will send them to you. I call that a win-win.

Here are some pictures of them in my classroom. Click on the word "Sit Spots" above to be taken to their website to learn even more ways to use them than I currently use them for.

Sit Spots do not stick well to the cute, colored, soft plied classroom rugs. Luckily, you can order a sample from them to see if the product will work well on your carpet. I do like to use them on the carpet where they won't stick so that the students can easily move them around to practice patterning and sorting. 

The Sit Spots stick SUPER well to our regular carpet and made a drab area look really bright and fun. The colors really POP and people often compliment me on these simple velcro color spots. Sometimes, I like to teach with the students up close to the board. Typically, I had them sit in this spot near the board and they would fight over who would sit the closest to the teacher. Another problem we USED to have was that they would take a favorite spot or sit too close to another student. When I introduced this product to the classroom, students chose their own color and placed it where I assigned them to sit. They have velcro on the bottom, so they can be placed AND MOVED as needed. These stick very well to the carpet and are easily vacuumed over.

Here, my students stand at their spots. When I ask them to, they each sit on their own spot, territorial provocations disappeared immediately!

One more thing I really love about this product is how easy it is to clean. A simple wipe over with a wet rag can bring the product back to look like new!

Enough about my classroom. How can you win them for YOUR classroom? It's easy! You can enter this Rafflecopter. But hurry! The Rafflecopter opens late tonight and you only have two days until a winner is chosen!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

If you see your name and won the Sit Spots, I have emailed each of you with directions for how to get your product. Congratulations and thank you to everyone who stopped by to enter.


Tuesday, June 23, 2015

How to Tie Shoes

Teacher, can you tie my shoes?

If this kindergarten teacher could have a dime for every time I hear that question during the day, I might be able to retire early. 

I participated in an amazing program called MERIT (Making Education Relevant in Technology) at the Krauss Center of Innovation and learned an easy way to teach my students how to tie their shoes. What's the magic trick? 

Wait for it.............

Other students!!!

As part of the program, Rushton Hurley, the director of the program at the time runs an amazing website called Next Vista for Learning. It is a library of videos that are free for you to use and share. They are made by and for teachers and students. All of their content is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution which means you can freely share their creations! 

This is a really cute video created by a student from Fairlands Elementary School. It won an honorable mention award in one of the many video contests the website hosts. Click on the picture above to watch it and then check out some of the current contests coming up to see if you'd like to have any of your students create a video to share!

For more tips, follow me on Facebook and Teachers Pay Teachers.


Saturday, June 20, 2015

Fractions for Lower Elementary (1/2) and (1/4)

TPT Seller Challenge Week 1

Make Over MADNESS!!!!

We all like to send our students out the door with plans for how to avoid the "Summer Slide". We want them to keep up with the skills we've worked on all year. Thanks to the awesome teachers below, I'm on a path to not hit the summer slide with my creativity. They have set up a four week challenge. The challenge this week was to "makeover" a product that really needs a lift.

I originally created a fractions packet that provided simple activities for little ones to learn how to identify HALF FRACTIONS. It was wildly popular and others were asking if I had anything for other fractions. Since I teach kindergarten, I like to create things that I might use in my own class, so I also created a small packet to learn how to identify ONE-FOURTH FRACTIONS.

Here is what the face of those looked like in my store:

They both sell well. However, often times, I notice a seller will buy one and then come back and possibly buy the other one at another time. I have been meaning to combine them as one packet for some time, so the challenge came with a good motivation for me. Below is the new cover with both products combined and updated with thicker lines and newer fonts.

I have also been working at adding a preview to each product in the store so people can see what will be offered prior to a possible purchase.

This packet will be on sale until Monday, June 22nd, 2015 for just $2. If you would like to purchase the product, you can click on the preview picture above to be brought to the store.

In light of the makeover madness, I've finally added my blog to Bloglovin' too. Follow my blog with Bloglovin

If you would like to be part of the challenge this month, click on any of the buttons to be taken to the blogs of the teachers who are sparking an awesome challenge this summer! #tptsellerchallenge

For more tips, follow me on Facebook and Teachers Pay Teachers.


Sparkling in Second
Peppy Zesty Teacherista
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