Wednesday, December 31, 2014

A Collection of New Year Resources

Winter break is *almost* over. If you are anything like me then that means that you have already been planning, prepping, and creating lots of amazing resources, lessons, and activities for the first few weeks back to school.

My district starts school on Tuesday, and a four day week is a great opportunity to start fresh, review routines, and get ready for an amazing second half of the school year. 

There are a ton of great New Year's Resources that I like to use in my classroom. I don't use the same one every year, and educators are always adding more. Here are a few of my favorites(free and paid) resources that I want to share with you! 

(Photo from her blog)

I just love this activity! Lindsey has some great ideas about how to incorporate this New Year hat into  your classroom curriculum! Check out her product in her TPT store here

I am BIG on having students write goals. What I love the most about this awesome freebie from Victoria Moore is that there is a sheet that lets students brainstorm about their goals before adding them to their bracelet! This visual reminder is a great way to help students set and accomplish goals for the new year!

Check out her product in her TPT store here

Mr. Hughes has a great New Year's Resolutions Mobile! These can hang from student desks, classroom ceilings, wall displays, or students can take them home to display. 

You can snag his freebie here

This cute foldable is one that I do use every year! It is quick, simple, and straight to the point. The students love it, and we can include it in our writing notebooks!

Get Rachel's freebie foldable here

Are you looking for a rigorous writing and thinking activity? If so, then this free packet from Tracee Orman is going to be a great addition to your first lesson of the new year.

You can get it yourself here

Do you have other suggestions? I would LOVE to hear them! 

Happy New Year! 

Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Grinch Day at the Cottage

The Christmas holiday may be behind us, but I still have a few holiday posts to add to the blog. I know that it is too late to use them now, but save the photos and ideas for next year. It will be here before we know it! 

This year was my first year celebrating all things "Grinch" with my kiddos. We read the book, wrote about random acts of kindness that we could provide for the Grinch to make him happier, drank some awesome Grinch punch, and finished out the day with my FAVORITE NEW ACTIVITY EVER! 

It is a well known fact that I can't draw. However, that hasn't stopped me from doing it all.the.time-especially now that I am in the classroom! A lot of my students love to draw as well. Their drawing is more than just "doodles". It is art, and it is beautiful. So, when I came across a post on Instagram from Rachel at The Tattooed Teacher that showed a kid's step-by-step video on how to draw the Grinch, I knew I had to check it out. 

Art for Kids Hub's website gives simple, fun, and engaging step-by-step tutorials on how to draw popular characters. I spent over an hour trying out several on my own and knew that this had to be something that I incorporated into the classroom. 

The students had so much fun following along the tutorial in the video. The steps go by pretty quick so we ended up watching the video once before we attempted any drawing. Then, I paused it after each major drawing step to give students time to work on their art. Here are some snapshots of our Grinch drawings! I am so proud! 

 Isn't that impressive? This unique Grinch Day activity was a blast, and I know that it is one that I will use in the future! We can't wait to try out some of the other video tutorials. There is one on penguins that would go perfectly with our penguin unit coming up! 

And, I am thinking that we might try water color on our next drawing. Isn't this grand?!

Sunday, December 14, 2014

Do You Have Your Glasses?

My classroom has a simple, yet consistent morning routine. Every morning, I stand at the door with my classroom greeter, and we welcome everyone into the classroom. The students hang up their backpacks, find their seats, and begin their morning work. I tackle lunch count and attendance while the students wrap up their morning activities and responsibilities. 

We have worked very hard to establish our routines and to maintain that consistency. However, even though it is December, there are still little things that I am having to remind the students about. The number one reminder that I seem to give my students on a daily basis is "Where are your glasses?". I either get a smile from a student as he/she heads back to the backpack cart to retrieve the forgotten glasses or a frown because the student didn't remember to bring the glasses to school. 

Finally, I decided that something had to be done. My sweet kiddos NEED their glasses, and I want them to be responsible and learn to get their glasses out without me having to remind them. I won't be with them forever, and I can't promise that someone will always be there to remind them to wear them. 

I was sitting in the middle of my fiancé's high school swim meet this last week and realized that we needed a classroom glasses sign. The annual TPT sale had just finished, and I snagged some adorable clipart from Melonheadz that I was dying to use. We use signs for tons of things in the classroom so why not use one to help the students remember their glasses?

Here is the finished product. There is a sign hanging over our classroom sink, one that is attached to our backpack cart that is literally RIGHT there in front of them as they walk in the classroom, and the students who wear glasses have one taped onto their desk. 

I am happy to say that we went 6 days without me having to remind my students to wear their glasses. I have one kiddo who constantly forgets to even bring the glasses to school. Because of this, I didn't tape a sign to his desk area, and he asked me why he didn't get one. My response was "Oh, you wear glasses? I forgot because you never bring them". He just smiled. He proceeded to wear his glasses for the next two days so I gave him a sign on his desk. #whateverittakes #littlebattles #theywanttosucceedtoo

Do you think that these posters could be a good classroom management resource for you as well? Then, head to my TPT store to grab yourself a free copy or click on the picture below! 

Tuesday, December 2, 2014

Spreading Christmas Cheer...with a Giveaway!

 LAST FALL, my adorable soon-to-be-aunt made me a pencil scarf. I fell in love with it and wore it everywhere. I begged her to make me one to give away on my blog and then life kinda got in the way. 'Cause that happens. Life happens. Stuff happens. 

Ya know?

So..the good news is that THE TIME IS HERE for me to give away this adorable gem to one of you just in time for the holidays! Think of this as a sweet little teacher-y Christmas present from me to you. 

Because I love you, and you DESERVE a cute scarf! 

The length is perfect to wear in so many ways. 

It is long enough to be wrapped, too! You will seriously be the coolest teacher out there when you wear this. We can be twins, now. 

Obviously, you more stylish folks will want to wear it with something more than my awesome testing  t-shirt, but I literally wear t-shirts and yoga pants all day..every day so what better way to model the scarf than in "real life"!?! #keepinitreal 

I totally wish I could be Oprah right now and do the whole "You get a scarf, and you get a scarf...Hey! Everyone gets a scarf!", but that would take a lot of yarn and my dear aunt may not like me anymore. 

So....make sure you enter the Raffelcopter below. I will pick a winner December 7th and get this cute winter accessory in the mail to you pronto!

Monday, December 1, 2014


I am SOOO excited that it is December! This is suppose to be the most wonderful, most magical, and straight fantastical time of the year! So let's make the most of it!

It is an honor to link up with Mrs. Farley from Oh' Boy 4th Grade for her Currently Linky. Here we go!

Listening- For the first time ever, I MAY have had Christmas music playing since last Monday and I just. can't. stop. Oh the horrors of having access to Sirius XM radio!

Loving- I am loving the warm East TN weather that we are experiencing right now. It was down right chilly during November, but the 50/60 degree weather on the forecast for this week looks nice! Recess outside!!!!!

Thinking- I have a few last minute touches that I need to put on my lesson plans before school starts this morning. It is fraction time in the Learning Cottage! Woot!

Wanting- I want to continue to fill up my Cyber TPT sale cart! Any more suggestions before I check out?! My store is on sale, too!

Needing- I need to finish cleaning my house. I bought an awesome rug during a Black Friday sale, and I can't wait to add it to my home office!

Giving- Starting tomorrow, I will have a giveaway on my blog. You could get this adorable pencil scarf! Isn't is just the cutest thing...EVER?!?

Happy December to all of my blogger/educator friends. We are going to have an awesome month!