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Thursday, July 5, 2018

Forest Friends' Classroom Decor 30% Off!

It's about time that I refreshed and refurbished some of my TpT store products.  I've been hard at work this summer doing just that.  

To celebrate finishing the updates on these products, they are currently 30% off.  


I still have products in the bundle to update, but I decided to offer the bundle at a discount, too.  If you opt for it, you will receive notices as I update the remaining components.

Friday, June 22, 2018

Big Birthday Bundle Bash!!

Help me celebrate!  I have dozens of bundles and they are all 50% off through 6/25/18.  As an instructional coach, I have products for all elementary grade levels.  

Here's the link to my store

Sunday, June 10, 2018

What are Hink Pinks?

It's about time, teachers, for Hink Pinks!  If you have ever used Hink Pinks in your teaching, you know how much kiddos love them.  If you are new to Hink Pinks, you are in for a treat!

  • Hink Pinks are word riddles.
  • Hink Pinks are fun word riddles.
  • Hink Pinks are fun word riddles with rhyming answers.
  • Hink Pinks are word play.
  • Hink Pinks are fun word play that expands vocabulary.
  • Hink Pinks are fun word play that expands and extends students' vocabulary.  
  • Hink Pinks are fun critical thinking exercises.
  • Hink Pinks are fun critical thinking exercises that help students learn to interpret data.
  • Hink Pinks are fun critical thinking exercises that help students make inferences.
  • Hink Pinks are fun critical thinking exercises that help students draw conclusions.
  • Hink Pinks are fun critical thinking exercises that teach students to analyze new information.
  • Hink Pinks are serious learning disguised as fun.

  • Read the clues.
  • Think of a 2 word answer.
    • The answer words must rhyme.
    • Each answer word must have just 1 syllable.
For example:
Did you figure it out?  The answer is barn yarn.

  • as a literacy center
    • Place several Hink Pink cards at your literacy center.  Direct your students to work cooperatively or individually; whichever works best for your group.  Encourage research by placing dictionaries and thesauri at the center.
  • as a warm-up activity
    • Settle your group and direct their focus by collaboratively solving several Hink Pinks at the outset of your lesson.  This works particularly well if you are conducting a pull out or push in program.
  • as a sponge activity
    • We all face those awkward few minutes when our lesson ends early and we cannot move on to the next part of our schedule because of time constraints.  Or we arrive early at a special class and must wait patiently for a few minutes.  Carry a few Hink Pink cards with you and use the time to challenge your class.  Any time is a good time for critical thinking!
  • as an anchor activity
    • Engage your students' brains the moment they enter your classroom by posting a few Hink Pink clues each day.  Train your students to work on solving them while you take attendance, lunch count, etc.  Then discuss the answers at your morning meeting.
  • as a fast finishers' challenge
    • The biggest disadvantage to this use is that the children love them so much, they may rush through their work just to get time to solve these riddles.

  • CCSS.ELA-Literacy.L.2.5 Demonstrate understanding of word relationships and nuances in word meanings. 
  • CCSS.ELA-Literacy.L.3.5 Demonstrate understanding of figurative language, word relationships and nuances in word meanings. 
  • CCSS.ELA-Literacy.L.4.5 Demonstrate understanding of figurative language, word relationships, and nuances in word meanings.
    • CCSS.ELA-Literacy.L.4.5c Demonstrate understanding of words by relating them to their opposites (antonyms) and to words with similar but not identical meanings (synonyms).
  • CCSS.ELA-Literacy.L.5.5 Demonstrate understanding of figurative language, word relationships, and nuances in word meanings. 
    • CCSS.ELA-Literacy.L.5.5c Use the relationship between particular words (e.g., synonyms, antonyms, homographs) to better understand each of the words. 
  • CCSS.ELA-Literacy.L.6.5 Demonstrate understanding of figurative language, word relationships, and nuances in word meanings. 
    • CCSS.ELA-Literacy.L.6.5c Distinguish among the connotations (associations) of words with similar denotations (definitions).
You might have already guessed that I have a few Hink Pink products in my store.  If you want to try them before you buy them, several sets are FREE!  


If you like Hink Pinks, I have dozens of them and most have been combined into money saving bundles.  Check them out!

Monday, June 4, 2018

10 Reasons You Should Use Poetry in Teaching

10 reasons you should use poetry in teaching:
  1. Poetry enables educators to teach their charges how to find meaning in any text. Figures of speech and literary devices are more readily identified and understood when introduced through poetry (think ELL).
  2. You can teach grammar by parsing a poem.  Students can more readily find and identify parts of speech, inflectional forms, syntactic relations, structure, and morphology when working with a brief poem.
  3. By examining how poets deviate and/or corrupt the use of punctuation, teachers can draw attention to the power of punctuation (think e e cummings).
  4. Poetry facilitates the teaching of writing. Skills such as precise descriptions and economical use of words can be honed through poetry (think Mark Twain's famous quote, "I didn't have time to write a short letter, so I wrote a long one instead.")
  5. Because poetry eschews rules of grammar, otherwise reluctant writers may be more inclined to express themselves in this genre (think song lyrics and rap).
  6. Poetry can give students an outlet for their emotions. Judith Viorst's poetry is excellent for demonstrating this.
  7. Reading poetry aloud can build trust and empathy in the classroom.
  8. Reading poetry aloud promotes speaking and listening skills. Poetry is widely recognized as an efficient means of promoting fluency.
  9. Through poetry, teachers can foster creative expression. In the age of CCSS and multiple choice, standardized testing, creative expression is too often sacrificed.
  10. You should teach students to love literature and this is easily accomplished through poetry.  


You may be interested in these products that will help you use poetry in teaching:

Sunday, May 20, 2018


It's about time, teachers, for a flash freebie!

Today, for a while, this product is absolutely free.  Grab it while you can.  Then, please leave feedback on TpT.  TYIA.

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Friday, May 11, 2018

Unbearably Cute Critical Thinking Puzzles

It's about time, teachers, for a new product.

If you are looking for a challenge that is beary good for promoting problem solving, honing critical thinking skills, and increasing stamina, this is it!

Bears Square Puzzlers are unbearably cute and differentiated. They are perfect for enrichment, fast finishers, centers, and are especially helpful at times when the class may be restless (think end of the year, holidays, field trips, etc.). The attention and concentration required to solve these puzzles will settle any group.

✔ Three bear themed Square Puzzlers
    ✓ The 2x2 square is perfect for introducing the task. It is also most appropriate for K - 2nd grade students. 
    ✓The 3x3 square is quite challenging and can be used successfully with 2nd – 5th grade students.

      ✓ The 4x4 square is for experts! 
 Labels for your center storage envelopes.

 Centers or work stations
 Fast finishers' challenge
 G/T students
 Critical thinking exercise
✔ Individual, partner, or small group collaboration

And, for the first 48 hours, Bears Square Puzzlers are 50% off!  So hurry on over and scoop it up.

In case you find these brain teasers as engaging as I think you will, I have just finished updating and refreshing all of the square puzzlers in my TpT store.  There are square puzzlers for most holidays (the Christmas version is FREE).  Moreover, there are square puzzlers for each season, a bundle of the season puzzles, and several square puzzlers that pertain to a theme.

Remember, square puzzlers require time and concentration to solve.  They are the perfect activity to settle a restless class as the end of the year.

Update 5/12/18:

I just completed a bundle of the Holiday Square Puzzlers.  It is now available in my store at 50% off through Sunday night (5/13/18).  

Friday, March 30, 2018

It's About Time, Teachers, for Spring!

Just in time for spring, I have finished updating and refreshing these spring products:



  • Spring Square Puzzlers - an excellent activity for exercising your students’ problem solving and critical thinking skills. These puzzles provide a quick and easy activity for teachers looking to challenge fast finishers, create differentiation opportunities, and provide enrichment exercises. The challenge with these puzzles is to reconstruct the square so that all of the images match on every interior side.
  • SCRATTLE: Spring Edition - a learning center activity that combines word work with computation; individual effort with competition. As in Scrabble™, students use a set of letters to create words. After recording their words, they calculate each word’s score using the letter values. Then they engage a friend in a battle wherein they compare their scores using >, <, and =. The pupil with the most >s wins the battle! (SCRAbble + baTTLE = SCRATTLE!) This product offers instant differentiation in that it provides 3 different recording sheets. SCRATTLE can be played by students with basic addition capabilities. This makes it useful for primary teachers and as an RTI resource. Students capable of advanced multiplication will be best served by the second recording sheet. Those skilled in solving mixed operations in complex equations will enjoy the third option.
  • Poetry Possibilities for Spring - a collection of 20 poems about spring celebrations and activities with custom designed skill lessons. This poetry unit incorporates poetic elements, poetic forms, writing, grammar, multiple subject areas, and craftivities. There are even directions for a class play! 
  • Poetry Possibilities for Animal Poems - a science and literacy unit incorporating multiple subjects through poetry. This collection of 12 animal poems provides teaching points, skill lessons, and activities custom designed for each poem. It masterfully combines language arts with science.  It even includes center activities.
If you already own these resources, please download the new version.  You'll be glad you did.  If you don't have them, try them!  I think you'll like them. 

You may also like these resources: