Read Around the Christmas Tree

It's Right to Read week next week and that means it's time to get the library all decked out!  This morning I spent some time with the help of several students creating out Reading Tree!   Love it!  I'm not sure of it's orignal source, or where I found it really?  Maybe Pinterest? 

Hands down the best part is watching the student's reaction when the walk in= awesome.  We are celebrating all week next week.  

Monday is Christmas Shirt/Sweater day
Tuesday- Green and Red Day
Wednesday- The spirit of giving (instead of picking a theme we are focusing on giving to local nursing homes both in donations and in handmade Christmas cards.  
Thursday is Christmas Hat Day 
Friday (early dismissal day!) Crazy Christmas Sock Day

Get excited!  And more importantly get reading!


Potential Life Changing Video about Poop and a Fun Chicken One too!

Today at school, several middle school students were raving about the YouTube Channel "Learn Something Every Day".  I can't miss something like that so I had to check it out!  I loved it!  Check out this potentially life changing video... probably not in the way you are imagining but interesting and enlightening nonetheless.

Don't lie.  It made you think didn't it!  Want to be further amazed?  Check out this chicken video.  I must be honest, next time I see a chicken it better watch out because this is now on my bucket list.... well maybe!  :-D

If you watched videos, did you learn something????

Happy Holidays Dollar Days

Molly at Classroom Confections is having a linky party- just in time for the holidays! I just linked up my Set of 20 Christmas Themed Lined Paper to the site!  Take some time and check this out, right now there are 38 different items $1.99 and less!  AWESOME!  Thanks for doing this Molly!  :-D

Amazing Collection of Old Newspapers

Have you seen this yet?  The Library of Congress's Chronicling America website is digitalizing newspapers from the past.  The description from the website says: "Search America's historic newspapers pages from 1836-1922 or use the U.S. Newspaper Directory to find information about the American newspapers published between 1690-present.  Chronicling American is sponsored jointly by the National Endowment for the Humanities and the Library of Congress.

Locally in Ohio the newest additions include The Dayton Daily Empire (Dayton), Hancock Jefferson (Findlay), Findlay Jeffersonian, Jeffersonian Democrat (Chardon), Stark County Democrat (Canton), Tiffin Tribune (1848), Tiffin Weekly Tribune, and Tiffin Tribune (1868).

I first learned of this site from the Ohio Resource Center- another amazing must see site!

My very own handwriting font!!!

I can finally cross this off of my bucket list!  I now have a font of my very own handwriting!  And, it was way easy.  I will hopefully take the time very soon and do a nice copy, but I did this one very quickly just to see if I could and I can!  Holy Smokes!  I have my very own handwriting as a font!  :-D Just to show how excited I am, here's a screen shot!

Crazy isn't it!  Want to make your own font?  I did it through the app iFontMaker.  It is a $6.99 purchase but so far it has been worth it.  :-)  Check it out!  And let me know if you like it!

Draw A Stickman

This has very little educational value but man is it fun!  I love doing it in those extra few minutes of class before the bell rings- it is also really good for helping young students learn mouse control.  Draw A Stickman takes your stickman drawing and brings it to life!  Seriously, take a minute and play you will be glad that you did!

Math Common Core Guides K-8

Classroom Freebies Manic Monday

It's Monday and that means freebies!  Wahoo!  One of my favorites.  :-)  This weeks freebie is something every parent and teacher needs!

Preparing for the Common Core is a huge task as any teacher can tell you.  Sometimes, even understanding what the standards are trying to say can be a big problem.  In collaboration with several others we have created 9 different math common core guides.  These guides would be a great resource for parents to understand what is being asked, what developing, proficient, and advanced skills look like.  You can grab all of these at on the Common Core Resource Page or by clicking the links below.

Kindergarten Math Guide
First Grade Math Guide
Second Grade Math Guide
Third Grade Math Guide
Fourth Grade Math Guide
Fifth Grade Math Guide
Sixth Grade Math Guide
Seventh Grade Math Guide
Eighth Grade Math Guide

While you are here, take a minute to link up your teacher page if you are interested!  :-D  Have a great day!

Ribbon Hero

Remember clippy?  You know that little pop up paper clip that was always giving advice while using Microsoft Office?

Clippy is getting a second chance!  Microsoft has created a game atmosphere to learn all of the hidden features of Office.  This is a FREE download and runs on Office 2007 and 2010.  I've always considered myself a proficient user of Office but I learned a ton!

You get points for completing tasks, using shortcuts, and learning more about the ribbon at the top of the screen.  You travel through different time periods and interact with the data that you are given.  If you are ever in charge of teaching computer literacy to late elementary, middle school, or high school students this would be an AMAZING activity!  Seriously.  Everything is laid out.  It's fun.  It's competitive.  And you can show document progress of your learning!  What more could you ask for!

When I teach Microsoft Innovative Educator classes it is always one of the favorite activities among teachers.  Check it out.  You will be glad that you did and surprised at the time it will save you doing day to day tasks!  Let me know what your high score is!

Watch Santa feed his Reindeer via Live Feed

The spirit of Christmas is in the air!  Check out  This site features a live feed of Santa's Reindeer!!!  Everyday between November 16th to December 24th you can watch Santa himself feed the Reindeer at 11am, 6pm, and 9pm EST.  There is also an app so you can watch Santa on the go, for only $1.99 you cannot go wrong!  I'm downloading it right now!

I'm so excited about this!  It is only a minute or two until 9 so I need to go so we can watch Santa!

New Blog Design...

This blog has been eating up crazy amounts of time lately, not writing it or preparing it.  No, not that at all.  I keep playing with the blog design.  I know they say pick something and stick with it but nope, not me!  I fiddle with it almost every day.  As I'm sitting here at 12:25 in the morning and my family has been sleeping for HOURS I think I'm going to call it quits- at least for now.  :-D  So I'm dying to know, what do you think of it at this point?  I know it has lots of work to be done but I would LOVE some feedback!  :-)

Silly Dance Contest

I LOVE Jim Gill!  He was a favorite of mine when I was teaching preschool.  Now that my daughter is in preschool he is resurfacing!  I have used him with students all the way up to third grade and everyone loves him!  One of my personal favorites is the Silly Dance Contest.  (The song starts at the 30 second point.)

What are your favorite songs of his?  Do you have any others that are awesome for brain breaks?  

Liebster Award

Holy Smokes!  I've been nominated for the Liebster Award! Three Times!   Thanks to Kindergarten Faith, A Basket Full of Apples, and Mrs. Payton! In German, Liebster means dearest and this award is given by bloggers to up and coming bloggers who have less than 200 followers.  It is to show new bloggers that they are appreciated and to help spread the word about their new blogs.

The Rules:
-You must post 11 random things about yourself.
-Answer the questions that the nominator set for you.
-Create 11 questions for the people you nominate
-Choose 11 blogs you love (with less than 200 followers) and link them in your post.
-No tag back (but please leave a comment on this post with the URL to your Liebster post so I can learn more about you!)

Random Facts
  1. This is my 8th year in Education!  I have been at three different schools in four different positions.
  2. I LOVE, LOVE, LOVE doing Professional Development!  My goal is to one day provide professional development full time.  
  3. I have two amazing children!  The are even more ornery than their father!
  4. St. Patrick's Day is my favorite holiday
  5. When I read a novel, the world stops- laundry piles up, dishes don't get done, and I don't even check my e-mail.
  6. I am a huge Apple nerd.  I would be lost without my MacBook.  :-)
  7. I am a Google Apps for Education Certified Trainer, Microsoft Innovative Educator Master Trainer, and a SMART Exemplary Educator.  
  8. I love web site development.  There is nothing quite like it- I love the ability that I can create something that anyone worldwide can visit at any time and get a glimpse into my world.
  9. I would like to become a Master Teacher one day.  Has anyone done this?
  10. Up until this award, I thought I was the only one visiting my blog.  :-)  

11  Questions from Kindergarten Faith

1. When did you start blogging?
October of this year.  I have a goal of 50 posts by Christmas... I'm almost there!

2. Why did you start blogging?
I find amazing things online and wanted a place to share my ramblings about what I find.  I keep track of all of my favorite websites and activities on  and wanted somewhere to talk about what I have found.

3. If there was one thing that you could share with new teachers what would it be?  
Do not spend your life savings on materials for your classroom that first year.  I inherited a ton of amazing material from retiring teachers, garage sales, and from my own children.  I cringe when I think about how much I spent that first year.

4. What is your favorite thing to do?
Learn.  Dorky as it sounds, I love learning something new tech wise everyday.

5. What is your favorite kind of ice-cream?
Ummm... I guess vanilla.  

6. Would you rather snow ski or swim in the ocean?
Swim in the Ocean. Hands down.

7. What is your favorite book?
Can I give a top ten list?  Recent favorite- 13 Reasons Why

8. What is the craziest thing a student has ever told you?
Great question and I have no idea.  I'll come back to that... hmmm.....

9. What is something you have learned from your students?
It's the little stuff that matters the most.  Say thank you.  Listen to their story.  Care

10. What do you look forward to the most about blogging?
Hopefully meeting new people and having a record of all of the new discoveries.  :-D

A Basket Full of Apples

1. What is your favorite place to travel to?
Boston!  I love that place!

2. What is your favorite thing to do when you are not at school?
Play with my two sweet babies!

3. What is your favorite blog to follow?
Free Tech For Teachers

4. What is your favorite thing to do with your class?
Dr. Jean's cheers

5. What is your favorite Christmas song?
Grandma Got Ran Over By a Reindeer

6. What is your advice for a new teacher?
Do not spend your life savings on materials for your classroom that first year.  I inherited a ton of amazing material from retiring teachers, garage sales, and from my own children.  I cringe when I think about how much I spent that first year.

7. What is your favorite site to get cute clipart?
Maree Truelove off of Etsy

8. What is your favorite children's book?
Pete the Cat or the Hunger Games

9. What is your favorite grown up book?
The Help

10. What is your favorite food treat?
Resee's Pumpkins at Halloween

11. What is your best accomplishment?
Becoming a Google Certified Trainer!  Wahoo!

Mrs. Payton Precious Kindergarteners

1. Why did you start blogging?
To keep a record of my learning and teaching throughout the year.

2. If you didn't teach the grade you taught, what grade would you teach?

3. What's your favorite thing about teaching?
The kids!

4. Favorite place to shop?
Target!!!!  The best place ever!

5. Favorite drink?
Dr. Pepper

6. Favorite sweet food?

7. Favorite place to vacation?
Punta Cana for our honeymoon was AMAZING!

8. How long have you been teaching?
This is my 8th year.  I honestly cannot believe it has been that long!

9. What job would you have if you weren't a teacher?
A computer programmer!

10. What is your least favorite thing about teaching?
The never ending piles of paperwork.  :0

11. What is the best thing that has ever happened to you?
My two sweet little kids!

My Liebster Award Nominations!

Using My Teacher's Voice
HI Tech Coach
I Dream of First Grade
Motivating Middle School Students
Mindful Rambles
Multiage Days
The Juggling Teacher
Learning Required

My Eleven Questions

1. Favorite Source for Clipart
2. Favorite Web 2.0 Tool
3. Do you have children?
4. Tell something about your most memorable student
5. What position would you like to retire in?
6. What state/country are you in?
7. What technology do you have in your classroom?
8. What piece of technology would you like to have?
9. Do you have a classroom theme?
10. What is your number one selling item on Teachers Pay Teachers if you sell?
11. What is your favorite freebie you have found on TpT?

Christmas Time is Almost Here!

As I'm watching Rudolph the Red Nose Reindeer with my daughter who is in LOVE with Christmas movies, I just realized I haven't posted my Christmas resources yet.   The month of December is always so crazy- with music practices, assemblies, parties, and just general craziness and with FOUR FULL WEEKS until Christmas I feel as though the bag of tricks needs to be especially full this year!  I have compiled several Christmas games and activities to help fill those little bits of time.  Check them out on 

A bit of shameless self promotion.  I apologize in advance, I won't make this a habit.  I have been spending YEARS creating and sharing resources on various sites at no cost, anyhow I joined TeachersPayTeachers and only posted free items for a very long time but I have just posted my first paid items.  I know a huge step... I'm sure I won't get rich but hopefully I sell something to at least put a little dent into my monthly clipart bill, or the costs of keeping running.  So here are my first resources available for purchase!

PowerPoint of Fry's Third Hundred Words

Fry's Second Hundred Words PowerPoint

Fry's First Hundred Words PowerPoint

Thanks so much!  :-D

Manic Monday Freebie!

Classroom Freebies Manic Monday

It's Monday and that means a freebie.  In this case several!  I have shared 5 math PowerPoints including addition, subtraction, multiplication, division, and basic geometry.  These are a great addition to any classroom- knowing your math facts can really make all of the difference!  :-)  

You can get all five of these downloads on I have been working on this site for about 5 years.  Whenever I find a resource that I don't want to loose I put it on here- almost like Pinterest before Pinterest!  However, these are all kid appropriate resources- something that I would feel comfortable sending home with students to practice at home.  :-)  Check out these games to help support your math instruction.

Be sure to like on Facebook to stay updated on all of the latest additions.  :-)  Please feel free to share this resource with your students and parents!  If you have any other ideas for more of these type PowerPoints/Resources please let me know.  I enjoy making them!

Cyber Monday Sale on Teachers Pay Teachers

Have you heard?  On Monday and Tuesday there will be a huge Cyber Monday and bonus Tuesday sale where stores will be discounted up to 30%.  That's huge!  Everything in my store will be 30% off!  :-)  Get your wish lists ready so you will be able to quickly find what you are looking for.  Very exciting!  On a side note I had my very first sale!  WAHOO!  Tons of downloads on the free material but a sale on a paid item!  Awesome!


Facebook. 5 years ago.

Remember this?  It is amazing how quickly things change and how easily I forget what things used to look like!

This is from BuzzFeed's article of 48 things that will make you feel old.  Check. It worked!  How long have you been on Facebook?  Do you like's facebook page?

Mr. Sully's Demonstrations

Have you seen this YouTube Channel yet?  Mr. Sully is a Chemistry teacher that I have had the extreme pleasure of working with.  He tapes all of his experiments and posts them to his own YouTube Channel.  It is amazing the amount of demonstrations that he does with his students and the are loving it.  I love that he explains not only what is happening but also the why.  These videos seriously make me wonder why I didn't take Chemistry in high school! Take some time and look at these, there is no shortage of flames and explosions!  While you are there, be sure to become a follower of his YouTube Channel!  Check out this and other Chemistry resources here.

Do you Wordle?

Wordle? Wordle? Anyone? is one of the very first web 2.0 tools I fell in love with.  You enter a bunch of Words and it displays the words that are used the most the biggest and those that are used the least the smallest.  I really like to use this with students because it not only doesn't require a username and password but it can be quickly be used to see if what you are trying to say is what you are really writing about.  For example, as you will see in the video below I entered the URL for this blog and it took the word that was mentioned the most the biggest.  Unfortunately, this word is NOT what I want to write about... well I guess it is sorta but I need to be more specific in my posts.  Want to know what word it was?  Well, I'm not telling because it will make that word appear even bigger!  (If you watch the video you will see the word).  :-)  Here is a tutorial of how to use Wordle

Interested how you can use this in the classroom?  Here are 46 (and growing) awesome ways to use Wordle in the classroom!  Amazing!  :-)

Check out other Web 2.0 Tools on  So will you Wordle?

Thanksgiving Games and Resources

Even though my very last post was about Christmas, I'm going to back up a little and talk about Thanksgiving.  I have compiled several games, information, and a video about Thanksgiving.

I have gone through all of these games and activities and all are very student friendly.  :-)  You can check out these activities here

Common Core Resources

If you are anything like me, you are a little bit panicky about this whole common core thing!  ;-)  I've been trying to add all of the quality resources that I have found to one central location.  I haven't really added anything with people selling stuff because there is nothing worse than finding something amazing and then realizing that it costs more than you make in a week.  :-)  I know it is a necessary evil, but see what you can get for free before you buy lots of things!  Check out these resources and let me know the ones that I need to add!  


Creating a strong passwords is extremely important today.  With so much important information linked to all of our accounts we really need to keep them straight.  However, if you are anything like me sometimes, it takes quite a while to get logged onto some of my lesser used accounts.  This comedians video seriously cracked me up.  :-)

Hope that you were as amused as I was!  On a side note, here are some helpful tips to create a strong password that is easy to remember. 

And here is the list of the 370 most common passwords used on Twitter, but I imagine that the list fairly universal.  If yours is on the list, I would strongly consider changing it!  Do you have any helpful password tips?

Spell with Flickr

Have you heard of this site?  It is seriously one of the easiest sites ever to use.  You type in any word that you would like and then click spell.  The site then pulls images of letters off of Flickr to make your word.  You can click each letter to change how it appears in your word.  Awesome!  I made a quick tutorial video that is embedded below you can also view it on on the Technology Page.

I'm hoping to make this a regular thing so if there are other sites you want covered first let me know!  

What Do You Love?

What Do You Love? Is a Google Sponsored Site where you type in what you love and you are given a quick overview of what is on the web in regards to your topic.  Results include: Translations, Popularity, books, Explore in 3D, videos, pictures, alerts, find nearby, patents, debates, e-mail, earth, events, blogs, and several more.  This would be a great way for students to select a topic- they are able to see just at a glance if their topic is what they think it is.  It would help to eliminate things that are not interesting to them right off of the bat.  

You can find this site along with many others on on the Technology Tools Page.So, What is it that you love?  Where you surprised to get the results that came up?  


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