Friday, August 22, 2014

5 Super Goodies and Some Freebies!

This is my MOST LOADED POST yet! News, tips, freebies, funnies, links... it has it ALL! Read, Read, Read! Thanks Doodle Bugs and Teaching Blog Addict for help spreading the news!

1.  Closer... closer... we are just ten, ten, ten days away from the launch of Lilybell magazine. This is the new magazine app for kids which is featuring my short story series The Shenanigans of Bean and Boggin. The stories are based on my chapter book manuscript The Fairies Come In. This is my editor Sara.

What do you think about an editor who works with a chicken on her shoulder??

And this is Jonathan's illustration for the launch issue.

That's Boggin...Jonathan captured him perfectly. I love him... Boggin that is. (Well, Jonathan, too, of course.) Is it weird to be in love with a fairy that comes from your imagination?... better call me weird! You can check out Lilybell's facebook page by clicking on either of those photos up there... and, of course... more will be found right here on this little blog soon!

2. 'Tis the Season to share reveals and classroom set-up tips. My room is not anywhere near ready as I've been focused on some district work for the last couple weeks, but I will share with you this little tip. Standard magnetic letter boxes fit per-fect-ly into Sterlite drawers!!!!

See this box by clicking on the picture!

I have several of these sectioned boxes of magnetic letters which I keep in my carpet area for whole group instruction, and in my reading group area, too. I think these boxes are actually sold as tackle boxes, but they have twenty four little compartments which house magnetic letters beautifully when you double up the 'w' with the "x,' and the 'y' with the 'z.' The lid of one of my boxes had a broken hinge. The lid still fit, but not right, and it bugged me. I considered throwing it away... for about two seconds... before starting to think of how I could make it work better. I had these sets of drawers in my guided reading area, and the box without the lid was an exact fit! All I have to do now is slide the drawer out, take the letters I need, and slide it back in. YESSS. I love when necessity is the mother of invention.

3. Like those of us on the edge of a new school year, I've been thinking of room updates and rummaging through old school stuff. I came upon some old boxes in storage and remembered when I used them in the classroom as private D.E.A.R. spaces.

I got my hands on them when our district got new computers years ago... never put such prize "junk" in front of a kindergarten teacher! They were a great size and super sturdy, and they stored flat, which is why I still have them. The kids LOVED them. D.E.A.R. was never so popular, or quiet! They would throw in a cushion, grab a half dozen books and spend as much time in their cozy reading nooks as I'd allow. I don't really have enough space in my new room, but I share this because they worked so well. If you can get your hands on some big boxes you might give it a try. And, hey, maybe I'll find a way to use them again.

4. Freebies Ahead! The first two in a series of Parent Relations Forms are available for free download on today's post. Each year before school starts I send home an information card that is just for me. This is separate from the card found in the school enrollment pack. Over the years my cards have become invaluable to me and I carry them around in my school bag all year.

Unlike a general student information card, my card prompts parents to share with me the name the child goes by and the name the child is to write– as we all know after making the name tags for the classroom, a student might be named William, go by Buddy, and write Bud! Better to know student and parent preferences soon. My card also prompts parents to let me know about unique family situations such as when students live in two households, eat vegetarian, or any number of details that will in some way affect my interactions with them.

I send my student info card home to parents before school starts and I ask them to bring them to our Meet and Greet Event that is held the week before school starts, or to get them to the office before the first day. The cards could also be sent home once school starts as this information is useful all year long.

You can download my completely editable student info card. When you go to download it it will look like it was made in a really cute font, but it is just good old Chalkboard, a standard font on most computers. Each card is run front and back, and two cards fit on one sheet of paper, so the finished size  of each card is 8.5 by 5.5. I suggest you run them on card stock for durability, and I use bright green card stock, so I can refer to them as my green info card when talking to parents. Again, these are completely editable, though I hope you won't have to do anything except add your name.  Click on the thumbnail to get this little Freebie. Be forewarned– when you view it on dropbox the line spacing might look funky, but when you download it, it turns out right.

AND that's not all. I am also making available right now my "Wild Waver Student Letter." This personalized letter goes home to students before school starts to set the stage for a great year.  It is also completely editable in Word. In fact you have to edit– you don't want your students receiving a wildly waving Mrs. Wright! This is just a simple idea share and you can easily do it all on your own, but it makes it easier if you start with mine.  Both of these forms have become popular in my own district for building teacher-family relationships.  I hope you enjoy them... would love to hear your thoughts and get some love in the comments! Click on thumbnail to download.

5. And NOW, since it is Friday after all, it's time for Funny Kid Friday.

Today's story is directly related to my Mad Waver Student Card that I've sent home for years.

One year a little punkin had received hers and was pretty thrilled. As she came in my classroom door on her very first day of school with a beaming smile, she greeted me with, "You're on my fridge!"

Fame doesn't get any better than that! About the time this little one graduated to middle school her mom told me that my smiling face had graced their fridge door for years. Ai-yi-yi! Hope you can handle this celebrity status when you end up on refrigerators!

Be sure to link up your funny school story below, and grab my button up there to link back from your post... or just leave word in comments. Sorry for the late link-up, but it has been just one crazy week! Remember you can post another day and link up all week. As you know, Five for Friday and Freebie Friday posts get more reads than others.

Special thanks to Doodle Bugs Teaching for one of our favorite linkys! Click for more bloggers!

And thanks to Teaching Blog Addict for another favorite linky. Click here for more FREEBIES!

NEWS FLASH BONUS!  Check out this Great, Funny back-to-school parody and tribute to teachers! JUST found it! Thanks Holderness Family! Teachers love you xoxox


  1. Kathleen, thank you for the freebies! And I cannot wait for your stories. How exciting! Keep us posted!!! :) Love the MAD WAVER, too! :)

    1. Thanks, Carolyn! Always love your posts, too! And your funny kid story is terrific this week! Kathleen


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