Creative Reuse: Snowflakes

Howdy y'all! So as you can see going back into the classroom after 16 years has seriously cut into my time to blog and create product.  The good news is I've got lots of things to share if I can ever find the time post about it.

Are you looking for creative ways to encourage recycling and upcycling in your students? Check out this super fun upcycle activity using all those catalogs you get in the mail druing the holidays! Creative Reuse: Snowflakes

Here quick fun project I did with my students before the break that would be a fun one to do in January also.  You can make some great use of of Christmas catalogs and wrapping paper too!

One of our units this fall focused on sharing the planet and we spent a lot of time discussing how our actions can shape the future.  For 2nd graders much of the conversation revolved around recycling and reusing. Our current unit focused on creativity as a tool of expression and thus this project beautifully tied both units together!

All you need for this is a pile of old catalogs, some colorful junk mail or even used wrapping paper. I opted to use my gazillions of Christmas catalogs.  I tore out the most colorful pages and then used my paper cutter to trim them square.

My inspiration for the idea came from this fantastic pin from the blog Michele Made Me.

I also used the printable from this pin to teach  my students how to fold and cut properly.  We did a practice round on white paper and I used these decorate my classroom door.  Then, students went to town with my stack of catalog squares.  Everyone made at least two.  We glued them to white construction paper to make curtains for our cubbies for our Creativity Cafe....which I will hopefully find time to blog about soon!

Are you looking for creative ways to encourage recycling and upcycling in your students? Check out this super fun upcycle activity using all those catalogs you get in the mail druing the holidays! Creative Reuse: Snowflakes

Holiday Cookie Hop: Mexican Wedding Cookies

I've always known these to be called Mexican Wedding Cookies, but I've discovered after a few years on Pinterest that they go by many other names. Italian Wedding Cookies, Snowballs, Southern Pecan Butterballs, and Russian Tea Cakes are just a few of the names I have heard them called.

No matter what you call them, they are truly simple and crazy delicious!  My kind of cookie!  I am not an elaborate baker.  As a matter of fact, the kitchen and I are not great friends.  I do however have a few things I love to make and these have become a holiday tradition in our house.

Carving Out Our Futures- Red Ribbon Week Door Decoration

We needed a simple quick idea for our Red Ribbon Week Door Decorations.  We went with the theme "Carving Out Our Futures". I gave each student a half sheet of orange construction paper and had them tear out a pumpkin shape. You should have seen their eyes go wide when I said no sketching and no scissors!

My monthly post is up on Classroom Tested Resources today.  Be sure to check it out for some fun pumpkin ideas for art and literature that can be used in both October and November!

My New Favorite Time Saver - Symbaloo

Have y'all tried Symbaloo yet?  I am loving it! It's a great time saver and super handy too. To find out more about it be sure to check out my post today over at Classroom Tested Resources!

Back in the Classroom Again!

Yipes! While I never completely left the education world, I have not taught in my own classroom for 16 years! That is a crazy long time.

So here I am about to wrap week #4, and as you all know the exhaustion level is high. To complicate matters, my father passed away the first week of school. I waited to travel to be with my family until after curriculum night. So I wrote 3 days of sub plans and my back to school night presentation simultaneously!

Getting To Know The Teacher

Howdy y'all!  Sorry I've been MIA.  In case you haven't heard I returned to the classroom for the first time in 16 years!  I had 2 weeks to set up my room before school started and much of that time was filled with PD.  As you can imagine it's been a bit crazy around here.

I do have a short post up today over on Classroom Tested Resources about a new first week of school activity I tried this week.  Be sure to pop on over there and check it out.

I do hope to find time to post more soon!  Good luck all on the start of a brand new year!

Do Pirates Teach?

One of the best books for inspiring and motivating teachers! You must read this book and be inspired to teach like a pirate! Great PD book for educators!

My post on Preparing to Teach Like a Pirate is up on Classroom Tested Resources today.  Be sure sail on over and check it out matey! 

Summer Vacation: New Orleans

When my girlfriend from California told me her girls were playing in the USA Volleyball Jr. Nationals in New Orleans this summer I knew we had to make the trip. We are in Texas and it's a lot closer to NOLA than it is to CA. Besides, we'd never been to New Orleans and neither had they, so we could explore it together. Plans were made.  We would meet them in NOLA for some sight seeing, memory making and volleyball!

You should note that that was the extent of our plan. You should also know that going anywhere or doing much of anything without a plan is generally unheard for me.  I deserve points.  Lots of them.

I lugged my camera everywhere and I did get a few opportunities for good shots, but we were on the go. I did the best I could and ended up using my phone when there just wasn't time for the "real' camera.


I could have snapped photos of the balconies all day long. Here are a few of my favorites.

Classroom Wish List

Be sure to stop by Classroom Tested Resources today to find out what I've got on my summer wishlist!  My list is growing by the minute! 

Be sure to follow my Pinterest Boards for more classroom set up finds!

Visit Mom2punkerdoo's profile on Pinterest.

Prepping For Job Interviews: Teaching Resume & Portfolio

I left the classroom 15 years ago.  My last job interview was several years before that.  So that means it has been almost 20 years since I've updated my resume, let alone sat for an interview! I've had my toes in the education world all along, but rusty would be an accurate term when it comes to describing how I feel.

Favorite Things Linky Party: Knock Knock Products

Are you familiar with Knock Knock Products? Some of their products are a little more "colorful" than others. but almost all of them make laugh!  I picked a few of my favorites to share with you today.

June Pinterest Pick 3

It's time to link up with June Pick 3 Pinterest party! This month I picked a few art activities that I think would make fun challenges for kiddos over the summer break.  A few of them could keep them engaged for quite some time.  Hope you enjoy these creative ideas.

Everyday objects blended with drawing
Click to View Pin

End of the Year Fun!

Keep the learning fun through the end of the year with these fun ice creamed themed review activities!

Be sure to check my post over at Classroom Tested Resources for some ideas for scooping up fun at the end of the year!

Five Favorite Classroom Organization Tips + A Freebie

5 great organization tips to start the new school year off right! Nothing fancy just simple tips plus a fun freebie!

I am always looking for new organizational tips and tricks for the classroom.  Pinterest has a wealth of great ideas and I am constantly finding new things to try.  However, my tried and true top 5 tips & tricks have been around long before Pinterest. As you sail into summer consider using some of these tips to help start next year off right.  A few of them can be easily prepped in the summer months.

Summer Reading Suggestions

We all want to keep students reading over the summer.  For those avid readers finding books is never a problem, but there are always students who struggle with choosing books to read. To send them off on summer vacation with a few new suggestions have your students get recommendations from each other.

student book suggestions

Favorite Things Linky Party: TPT Clip Artists

Hard to believe another month has flown by already! Linking up again with the Teaching Trio to share a few of my favorite TPT clip artists.  There are many great clip artists out there, but recently these three have had sets that I have both needed and loved. Two of them even helped me out with special requests!

May Pinterest Pick 3: Saying Thank You

As we head into the home stretch it's time to say thank you to those who have helped us along the way this year.  Whether it be a fellow colleague, a parent volunteer, or your own child's teacher it's always nice to send a little something to let them know they are appreciated.  

I am sure y'all have seen some of the jokes going around about how your teacher really doesn't want some crafty idea you found on Pinterest, what she really wants is a gift card.  I have to admit this made me chuckle, and depending on what crafty thing is given, it could be very true.

However, I do think there are some clever ideas to be found on how to say thank you without breaking the bank or taking tons of time.  Here are a few of my current favorites:

I love this idea and it includes a tutorial and a free printable! How perfect is that! If you don't want to sew a key chain you can just grab a cute one that represents something the person likes and use that.  I don't recommend anything with apples though.  ;-)
teacher appreciation you are the key to my success free printables
Click to view Pinterest Link

Tips For Teaching ABC Order

Teaching ABC Order occasionally brought frustration to my students when they would miss or skip a word and then need to erase or fit the missing words in somehow.  As a result I've tinkered with a few different ideas on how to help them learn this skill with less frustration.

Half Marathon # 2

Last Saturday I ran my second half marathon.  It was not nearly as rewarding as the first for a couple of different reasons.  The big ones are:

#1 It was 60 degrees and 94% humidity when I woke up. UGH! We trained all winter in the 30's-40's.  I like running in the winter. It's cold. I wear tank tops to run if it's anything above 40.  It was too HOT.

#2 I've been eating Whole30 and Paleo this training cycle. Training pace has been slower as a result.

#3 I waited too long to eat.  We usually eat at the 6.5  mile mark, but for some stupid reason I thought I could go a little further and eat at mile 8.  That was just dumb, especially considering the heat. Lesson learned.

Planning For Success

Some of you know that I've recently joined a new collaborative blog.  Classroom Tested Resources launched last month and each day a different teacher-blogger is sharing resources, ideas and tips to help you in the classroom.

Today, it's my turn.  Head on over to check out my post on setting goals with your students and helping them plan for success.

You will also find a new free set of posters with some of my favorite inspirational quotes to download!

Earth Day: Sharing The Planet

Earth Day Sharing The Planet

The first time I heard this quote I immediately wrote it down. I am the type of person that can get easily overwhelmed.  These words really help me put things into perspective.  There is much to be done, but each of us can do our part and it will help!

One important message to share with students is that their actions and choices today help shape the future. One way to help students start thinking about their choices is to get them doing something that will lead to a change or make an impact.

Having students choose and action that they can do, repeat, observe and reflect upon is one way to get them thinking more about how they can help shape the future.

The Winner is...

Thanks to all who stopped by to help me celebrate the new blog design! I hope you visit regularly! The winner of the giveaway is Carla from Comprehension Connection.

Happy Easter everyone!

Checking For Understanding

With my blog redesign I wanted to come up with a tag line.  This was WAY easier said than done. My list of potential tag lines got a little out of hand and even quite comical at times.  A few of my ideas were more like paragraphs than tag lines, several of which are too embarrassing to even share.

Anyhow, after a few months of brainstorming I settled on "Checking for understanding one day at time."  Why?

In thinking about the classroom, and life in general really, I strongly believe that checking for understanding is critical.  It's all well and good to teach a great lesson, give specific directions, and regularly communicate to parents or your family. However, if you haven't verified that they actually get what your teaching, or how you want them to do something, or if they even heard you then it's really all for nothing!

The reverse is true also if you don't check to make sure you understand what's being shared or communicated then that's a problem too.

For those who were trained to write 7 step lesson plans following Madeline Hunter's Model of Mastery Learning you will know that step 5 is "Checking for Understanding." I wrote so many 7 step lesson plans back in the 90's that it is ingrained in my memory. Even my husband will joke with me that I am checking for his understanding when I verifying things with him.  We've recently discovered that we need to revisit this with our son now that he's gone all teenager on us! ;-)

If you need some ideas or new tricks for making sure you are checking for understanding with your students take a look at these resources:

Thanks for joining me on this journey as I continue to check for understanding!

If you haven't already entered the giveaway for my Blog Reveal Celebration be sure to do so today. Today is the last day to enter and to save 20% off everything in my store!
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April Pinterest Pick 3

Spring is here and the days are finally warming up!  I always smile a little brighter with the warmer temps and longer days.  The end of April brings Earth Day and an opportunity to share with students the need for proper care and keeping of our precious planet. This month my April Pinterest Pick 3 pins are all from my Earth Day; Sharing the Planet Pinterest Board. 

Click on Image to View Pin

I simply love this idea!  For use in the classroom you could break your students into smaller groups or you could do a large one whole class, but not worry about keeping track of the fingerprint colors.

Recycling Facts | by Kelly's Classroom | $Free
Click on Image to View Pin

This fun freebie from Kelly's Classroom includes 30 printable fun facts about recycling. These can be used as flipbooks, included in science journals, or just used as discussion starters.

Earth Day poster!
Click on Image to View Pin

This last pin from First & 2nd Grade Fever shows a simple way celebrate Earth Day with your students.  Brainstorm with your class ways they can pledge to take care of the Earth and make a poster to display all month.

For additional Earth Day ideas be sure to check out my Pinterest Board,

Follow Mom2punkerdoo's board Earth Day: Sharing the Planet on Pinterest.

And if you haven't already entered the giveaway for my Blog Reveal Celebration be sure to do so today.  Contest ends soon!
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