Tuesday, December 25, 2012

The Best Day!

Merry Christmas everyone! 
Today is my favorite day of the year! I am sure a lot of you feel the same way about today. I don't know about all of you, but we are seriously into Christmas! Of course, the morning was full of family, opening presents, breakfast, and more food. We actually ALREADY took down our Christmas decorations because we are all traveling up to the mountains tomorrow, until after the New Year! 
It is crazy to look around and all of the decorations are already gone! So sad :(

My sister and I in front of our neighbors' lawn decor...... haha

I guess these are the only presents left to open! If only...

We all have a lot to be thankful for in the New Year! I am most thankful for my family! My four sisters are the best anyone could have! I am, of course, so happy to be starting a new year with my husband!!!

I am looking forward to a lot coming in 2013 - a niece from one sister and a wedding for the other! YAY!

I hope all of your are enjoying your break. Remember to REST and enjoy every minute! 

I hope everyone has a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!

Sunday, December 16, 2012

Sandy Hook - In My Thoughts and Prayers

Thank you to Michelle, the 3AM Teacher, for creating this great image for today.

Today, Teachers Pay Teachers has announced that 10% of sales will be going to Sandy Hook Elementary School. If you would like to donate, you can by sending donations to:

Sandy Hook School Support Fund

c/o Newtown Savings Bank

39 Main St.
Newtown, CT 06470 

You or your students can send kind words to:

Sandy Hook Elementary

12 Dickenson Drive

Newtown, CT 06482

Sunday, December 9, 2012

Entertaining at Home for the Holidays

So I have never EVER thought of myself as any sort of good cook - I am a "kids menu" type of eater...mac-n-cheese, cereal, mini corn dogs... haha

So...I can say I was a little bit stressed yesterday when I hosted about 12 people at my house for the very first time since we have moved in! I was not so nervous about everyone in the house...it was the food that worried me! Good food makes all the difference when having people over...if the food is gross, who would want to stay over for dinner?

So I made a few things that seemed really simple and I want to share them with you! 

We started with a few easy finger foods out on the counters when people were arriving...

1. Pizza Roll Ups
(I give credit for these to the amazing teacher I work with who talked about them at lunch this week)
To make these, use Pillsbury croissant triangle. Roll in a few pepperonis (I used 4 thin pepperonis for each one) and then break up cheese. Roll it up, cook it for the time listed on the croissant can, and DONE :) Have some spaghetti sauce for dipping and it makes a great meal starter!
(I used 3 different cheeses...it really is just whatever is your preference)

2. Strawberry Jam and Brie on a Baguette
This is the most amazing finger food EVER! These were a huge hit and there were not any left after the gathering! So delicious!
I learned this from a woman at Publix who had them created and was giving them out near the deli when I went food shopping. SO perfect for a party!
All you do is buy a deli baguette and have them slice it at the store for you. Then I used strawberry (seedless) jam and a fresh cut piece of brie cheese. I put a small amount of jam on each piece of the baguette, then scooped another small amount of brie on each piece (be sure not to use the hard outside portion of the cheese). Place on a cookie sheet and in the oven at 350 degrees for just 5 minutes to warm them! These even re-heated really well later on after they had gotten a bit cold when sitting out.

3. Sloppy Joe Under the Bun
"Classy Joe"
Credit to my mom, who taught me this recipe!
So I made 2 of these, but really only needed one because of all of the finger foods we had.
Use a 13x9 inch pan
Cook about 2 lbs of lean chopped meat. Strain and mix a 15.5 ounce can of the sloppy joe sauce in with it. Spread the meat mixed with sauce in a thin layer over the bottom of the pan. Then use 2 cups of Bisquick baking mix, 2 eggs, and 1 cup of milk. Mix these in a separate bowl. Once mixed up, pour this directly over the meat. Place the tray in the oven at 400 degrees for about 20-30 minutes (depending on your oven - ours was 30 minutes) or until the top is golden like the picture above.
This is a great dish for when you have to feed lots of people because it is filling and tasty! It also reheats really well if you have leftovers!

4. Pretzel and Peppermint Bark
In a Ziploc bag, break up salted pretzels into smaller pieces. In a different Ziploc, crush peppermint candy canes into very small pieces (the smaller the better, because it is hard to bite into larger pieces of candy cane). Melt 2 or 3 bags of white chocolate chips in the microwave. Mix all of these items in a mixing bowl. 
Place parchment paper over a cookie sheet. Once everything is mixed really well, pour the mixture over the parchment paper and spread it into a thin layer over the cookie sheet (on the parchment paper). Place it in the refrigerator to harden. 
Once it is hard enough (about 45 minutes is usually enough), take it out of the fridge and break it up in to smaller pieces. 

Tie it up in a gift bag with a ribbon as a great holiday gift!

Well I hope you find these useful as the holidays are coming and you may have some dinners to host! :) These are all super easy, I promise!!! 
Let me know if you have any questions about how to make these dishes above.


Saturday, December 1, 2012

Getting into the Holiday Spirit!

I love this time of each month...
Time for December Currently :)

I did a little bit of Christmas shopping today and I did the "one for you, one for me" rule...haha! I have three sisters to buy for, and I like to focus on one at a time when I go Christmas shopping. It makes it easier for me to find things that they will like when I only think about them that day!

Today I thought about my sister Caitlin! She is my favorite blogger ever, duh, over at Kindergarten Smiles. While shopping for her today (or should I say "While shopping for YOU today" because I know she will be reading this?) I got myself two items...hahaha! Oooops!

I have to share one of them because I am so excited about it! It is the cutest thing ever, and as I type, I am staring at its cuteness....

I just LOVE it! Kate Spade :) 
Now my finger is wrapped in the cutest bow ever! It reminds me of the idea that you tie a string around your finger when you are supposed to remember something....now what am I forgetting? Oh yeah, to buy things for OTHER people and not myself!

(and NO Caitlin...that is NOT a hint as to where 
anything I got you is from...I just love love love this store!)

Head over to Oh Boy 4th Grade to visit all of the others who linked up with December Currently, as well as the wonderful Farley who has the cutest blog ever

Thanks for reading!
Happy Holidays to all :)
Time to go to Walmart!

Sunday, November 25, 2012

Metric Caterpillar Craftivity

I am super pumped to get back to school tomorrow!

huh? What did I just say...?

I mean it! I am so ready! :) We are going to start metric conversions tomorrow 
and it is my favorite craftivity of the year!

These cute caterpillars are also HELPFUL

This little guy is labeled:
Kilo   Hecto   Deka/Deca   Unit   Deci   Centi

I use the phrase: King Henry Doesn't Usually Drink Chocolate Milk
to help us remember the order in our metric units.
The "U" in Usually stands for unit, which can be liter, meter, or gram depending on what you are measuring.

We use this little guy to help us convert with the metric system...for example, if I am given 1.2 centimeters of string, and I need to know how many meters that is...I would have to move over two parts of the caterpillar's body to the LEFT... so.... now I just move the decimal over that many spaces in the same direction on my given number:

1.2 centimeters becomes .012 meters

How easy is that?

This little pack comes with the tracing pieces and the explanation (with a picture of the final product). 

I have this product alone or bundled in a pack of other craftivities on sale in my TpT store!

I can't wait to make these caterpillars tomorrow!

Saturday, November 24, 2012

New and Editable!

I tackled my first editable product over this Thanksgiving holiday break, and I am super pumped that it is up on TpT and ready to go for the Cyber Monday and Tuesday SALE - 28% off everything in my store, as well as many other TpT seller's stores!

So..about this new, editable product...

A HUGE binder packet, all wrapped up so that you can have everything with one purchase!
...and it all matches :) of course, I love that!

I tried to get most of the pages in these four thumbnails, which can also be found on my TpT page
but there are over 100 pages you can choose from to create your binder, so it was hard to fit them all!

My favorite part about this is that it is EDITABLE! I have not tackled an editable project until now, but I really feel like if I were a buyer, I would love to be able to personalize a binder!

It starts off with different choices of covers you can use for your binders. You can either keep it ALL in one large binder (which is what I prefer, but it gets heavy!) OR you can separate the documents and dividers into smaller binders (as seen in the first picture above).

Below you will see the documents that are in the Substitute packet portion of the binder
-Safety procedures
-A thank you note
-How we get home
-Class schedule
-Student behavior log
-and more!
 You can also see (above) that there are different documents pre-made for you to use in your student information binder pack. This includes a form for you to log your students' birthdays, contact info, etc.

The many dividers follow in these next two thumbnails...

Remember, ALL of this can be PERSONALIZED to fit your needs! 
You can add text boxes wherever you need them AND there are blank divider pages and binder spines so that you can even create your own dividers/spines to match!!! YAY!

I have been using my Chevron binder this year, and I have been loving it! This included the same content, but it now editable and in a different print/background :)

I just love this bright, animal print! 
In the spirit of Thanksgiving...and animal print...I will be giving this product away to those readers who can name one of my three favorite animals! This means THREE people can win this :)

Dont forget...all of my items (as well as many other seller's items) will be on sale for 28% off on TpT this Monday and Tuesday! Read below, in an older post, for more information about the sale. You can also check out the linky party on that post below to find other stores that are having Cyber Monday and Tuesday sales! 

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Cyber Monday & Tuesday!

It is that time of year again for Teachers Pay Teachers!

I cannot wait to avoid lines and get the things I really want this year by celebrating 
CYBER MONDAY AND TUESDAY with Teachers Pay Teachers!!

I don't know about all of you, but there are some items I have had sitting in my cart on Teachers Pay Teachers. I really just have not purchased them yet because I am waiting until closer to the time when I will be teaching that specific skill...however, I am definitely going to purchase them throughout Cyber Monday and Tuesday on Teachers Pay Teachers!! 
Hooray for sales!!

I will be having a 28% off sale in my ENTIRE store
Little Lovely Leaders, on Monday and Tuesday!

Some of my favorites that you can get for 28% off are...
Yearly Binder for Organization

Items for the Leadership Classroom!
Student Data Binder created for independent students to monitor grades, as well as Classroom Jobs that work well in a classroom where the students are leaders of their own actions!
Created to be used on a white board/dry erase board
Create a calendar large enough so that you can write in the squares. Students will get to view the whole month at once, rather than just the weeks like in their planners. Comes with all holidays, all dates, and some school-specific holidays, as well!
Two of my favorite math units!
Patterns and Functions Algebra Unit (my newest item on sale!) and the 

Common Core Hot Seat Game and a pack containing 

Something I am really excited to 
purchase from another teacher blogger...

There are so many great activities and resources out there, being shared by some of our amazing teachers!

Thanks to Michelle, The 3AM Teacher for setting up this totally fabulous linky party!
Check out all of the other teacher bloggers who have their items on sale for Cyber Monday and Tuesday! Just check out all of the blogs below to see what the other teacher's are talking about buying this Thanksgiving!

Monday, November 19, 2012

Algebra, Chalk, and a Giveaway!

I have been dealing with what most teachers are dealing with at this time of the year...
a bad case of "overwhelmed"!

Thank goodness for the week long vacation we get for Thanksgiving break! I am so THANKFUL for this time I am spending......
sitting on the couch 
with my cat
by the fire
drinking hot tea
and looking out over the mountains!

How perfect?! I went for a nice, mountainous run this morning with my mom...which is much different than the flat roads of Charleston I am used to! I definitely need to work on my up-hill running. Whew! 

I have finally started to tackle some of the things I have on my holiday "to do" list. One of those things is this new unit - Algebra: Patterns and Functions Unit
I am extra proud of the completion of this unit because it has been 2 weeks of creating activities each night for my students as we explore patterns and functions. I am really excited about the activities in here, and I know I will use them later this year again for test practice! Below is a quick glance at some of the 45 pages included - you can also click here to visit my TpT page and read a more detailed
The day before the test, we went over the study guide inside the classroom, and then we went outside and PLAYED WITH CHALK! 
Well...we studied with chalk! :) We had so much fun on such a beautiful day. The students worked in pairs to create geometric patterns, number patterns, and function machines. This was one of my favorite days this year :)
Above: The number pattern created was 3, 5, 7, 9, __, __
The other student filled in the 2 blanks with 11 and 13, and then found the rule: x + 2 = y

Above: The number pattern created by one student is 8, 16, 24, ___
The other student filled in the next blank with 32, and then found the rule: n + 8

I mean, who doesn't love chalk?

I will be giving this unit away FREE to anyone who can guess what hilarious TV show I am watching as I blog....Just comment below and leave your e-mail! 
Feel free to try up to 3 guesses! :)

Sunday, November 4, 2012


I am a little late to this November Currently Linky Party! I was out of town this weekend and I am certainly glad to be home! It is always such a great feeling to get home, get the laundry done, clean the house...and get into the down comforter! Life is so great!

I am currently completely obsessed with the new Taylor Swift CD
I just love the music...especially number 4

I need Thanksgiving Break sooo much! I feel like this year has started and I still have not caught up to it! I am, however, very excited for this weekend because I will be seeing my amazing family, one of whom is my very pregnant sister! Baby shower weekend! YAY! 

I hope you all are enjoying November!
Head on over to read what other amazing teachers are currently 
up to...or join the Linky Party at Oh Boy, 4th Grade!

Tuesday, October 23, 2012


We have completed our properties unit! Yay! 
Props for Properties!
Each unit completed is another week closer to summer!
...or just Thanksgiving break for right now...

I have kept the items that I use for teaching the properties of addition and multiplication all together, so I created a pack with all of them included! I have a class work and home work for each property, as well as two games/activities included. We also create a foldable for this unit using the definitions and 'memorization tricks' I have for each property (which you can find on the class work pages).

To get this unit, click HERE!
But because I <3 to love on those who read Little Lovely Leaders...
download the first day of this unit by clicking the image below! Hooray!!
Thanks for reading :) 

Sunday, October 14, 2012

Decimal, Percent, and Fraction Fun!!

I have been using my thinking cap for ways to make my converting decimals, fractions, and percents unit FUN, while still giving the kids plenty of practice...and I think I succeeded with this activity pack! My students had so much fun with it, and I had some of the best quiz scores I have had so far this year! The key to these great quiz scores...games, record sheets, and partner discussions!

I am sorry in advance for some of the old, dark photos in this post! I took updated photos and I can't find them all! Only some are showing up...ugh, technology!

My new unit on Teachers Pay Teachers is my
Comparing and Converting Decimals, Percents, and Fractions activity pack.


 Copy the cards on colored paper to ensure that students don't see through the paper during the Memory and Go Fish games. Students cut out the cards and turn them upside-down in rows/columns, just like the old fashioned memory game we all know and love :) The great part about this is that the cards are already mixed up on the cut out sheet. This way, you can give the sheets to the kids to cut out without worrying that they are already seeing the given answers. Since these are partner games, it works perfectly that it is two sheets to cut out. Each partner can cut out a sheet and then the kids are ready to play!

     Students can use the instructions sheet given in the pack (in color and black/white versions) at a math center, or you can play this whole group by partnering up your students and simply explain it out loud to everyone. I do it this way usually, and then I leave the written directions under my document camera so that the kids can refer to it if there is a misunderstanding about the rules.

        Use these record sheets to have the students fill out their matches/pairs. You can each walk around, observing your class while they play, and see the pairs they have found so far to make sure the students are playing correctly without having to interrupt them. It also makes sure that the students are always paying attention to the pairs their opponent is finding, as well! Holding them accountable for their pairs, as well as their partner's, is so important in math. Details can easily be overlooked and if they trust their partner, they may just "believe" them when they say they found a match...if they are forced to write it out, then they will be more active in making sure their partner is correct.
        I just LOVE watching the students play this game because they have great conversation about why certain cards are matches, or why other cards are not matches! Meaningful conversation is a HUGE reason why I feel the kids did better than usual on their quiz scores this week. Because of the practice discussing the topic aloud, they reeeeaally know this topic frontwards and backwards! You know how they say that those who know a topic really well can teach others? This goes with that idea. Because of their deep conversations (sometimes they felt a little more like arguments, haha) they have really put this new skill into their long term memory and can explain it to others.

Above: Students playing memory

My students really loved playing memory! But the next day, I introduced a different game with the very same cards...Go Fish!! There is a record sheet and instructions for Go Fish included in the packet, as well. Most of the kids had played Go Fish before, but I have a few extra rules to make sure they are practicing the skill properly and fully. 
 Above: Students playing Go Fish

Additional rules I require when the students play Go Fish:

1) When they first sort their cards between the two players, you'd normally find any matches you have in your hand and put them to the side quickly before playing. With our decimal/percent version, students must stop and log their matches and their partner's matches right away before beginning the game. (Once the game starts, they will continue to log any matches)

2) For example: if they have 0.25 in their hand, then that means they need 25% to get a match. They must not say "do you have twenty-five hundredths" to their partner; instead, they must say "do you have twenty-five percent" because that is the card they are looking for from their partner.

3) ALL matches must be logged by both the student who made the match and their partner throughout the entire game. The person with the most matches at the end is the winner. (I do not give any sort of prize, but usually have winners from different partnerships move around and play other winners).

Another activity included is a decimal, percent, and fraction sort and glue
Students cut the cards out...
 Then sort them into the three columns, and glue! :)
Great way to introduce fractions into the mix

There is also a homework sheet for decimals and percents included in the packet! Some years I use this for homework, simply because I run out of time during the day and would love them to practice quickly at home. It shouldn't take them more than 10 minutes - it is just a half sheet of paper. Other years, I use this as a quick check before the kids leave my classroom...like an exit slip! 

Basically, this pack is everything I used to teach converting! :) My students really loved it! Also, now that they have learned how to play these games, I plan on using these games at math centers in the future, as well as before the state testing for review :)

Find this unit HERE ...Enjoy! :)

Monday, October 8, 2012


What have we been up to this week?
Decimals and more decimals! 

Starting with ordering decimals least to greatest and heading 
into converting decimals to percents and/or fractions :)

Below is the item I will be sharing with you in today's post
Click here to download
This is two games in one! 
1. Ordering - I will share with you how I played this game in this way in my class.
2. War! - Old fashioned card game turned into decimal comparing! Students cut up all three sets of cards, pass the deck out to two players, and then flip over their cards to compare whose decimal is larger. That player gets to keep the cards! Keep going until someone runs out!

To play this game the "ordering" way:
I copied each of the above sheets on different colored sheets of paper. Each group of 6 was originally set up into 3 pairs. Each pair of students got a colored paper (so each of the pairs were working on a different set of cards). The students worked with their partner to organize their card set into order from least to greatest. Once we did this, we all checked our work to make sure we ordered our cards correctly. I challenged each group to combine their cards and make a long strand of least to greatest order using ALL of their cards at their group! They had so much fun doing this! I was not planning on this, but we ended up taping the cards together afterward so that I could display these long strands on the back of my classroom door! I really enjoyed this lesson! The kids had a great time, and so did I! I really enjoyed watching them learn, as well as listen to their discussions between their groups. There was actually A LOT of meaningful conversation going on! My favorite quote of the day that I overheard was one boy trying to explain to his group that 0.9 was greater than .09 -- he said, "a hundredth is less than a tenth. Think about cutting a cake into a hundred pieces or ten pieces...wouldn't you rather have one of the ten pieces?"
YAY! :)

The photo below shows the students attaching their long strand:
Taping the cards together from the back:
I extended this lesson by writing MANY numbers (and I mean a lot of numbers! I used a WHOLE stack of index cards!) on the backsides of index cards. I even included some challenging equivalencies (decimals, percents, fractions) just to test their knowledge. This was so much fun because we went out into the hallway. The class chose 2 captains that were the only people who were able to talk out loud...everyone else had to remain silent! Everyone had about 5 random cards in their hands that they were in charge of placing. Watching them develop strategies in order to sort these cards from least to greatest was so interesting! I loved every minute of watching them! All of my classes were able to complete this task, and I am so proud of them! They worked SO WELL as a team! 
I hope you can find a way to use this little ordering lesson with your students! It was so much fun, built team work, and helped them practice ordering decimals! A major bonus was being able to get up and move around! WOO HOO!