I have been a bad summer blogger. Oops. I have a good excuse though. I have been making many home improvements, working on fun stuff for school, and just overall enjoying summer. :) I wanted to FINALLY join up with Tara’s Made it Monday Linky Party to show off some of the fun things I have actually accomplished. If you want to see some really fun projects teachers across the web have made, click the button below and visit Tara’s 5th Monday Made It. Don’t forget to look at the first four posts also. Amazing!

Okay, let’s start with my new TEAM gift. I’m hoping to pass these puppies out at the first team meeting of the year. Gifts make meetings way more fun, don’t you agree? I found this idea on Pinterest (of course) and made it work for me. Here are the ingredients:

I have 5 baby bows, 5 picture frames, and 5 teacher To Do Lists

First things first, I printed out 5 personalized copies of a To Do list each is 5×7. Then, I went to Wal-Mart and bought 5 picture frames and 5 baby bows. I was going to tie my own bows, but for $1, I got 5 perfect bows that I don’t have to fight with. Here’s a close-up. I literally found them in the baby section.

Then, I cut the lists and put them in each of the picture frames. I glued a bow in the corner, and viola!

Adorable Dry Erase To Do Lists:

And, a close-up of mine. Yes, I made myself one :)

I am still going to attach a dry erase marker with it, but haven’t figured out the best way to do this. But, other than that, they are ready to be wrapped!

Next up, my first summer home improvement project: My deck

Here’s the story… I decided to prove to myself that I could re-stain my entire deck by myself. I thought, hey, I don’t need a man, I can do this myself. Since I live alone, I tend to ask for a lot of help from my parents. In fact, this was originally going to be a 50/50 project with my dad.  Last July I started to stain. I did all the spindles, the posts, and the handrails. My dad was going to stain the floor of the deck while I was in the Bahamas. Unfortunately, he got very sick and went into the hospital and wasn’t able to finish the staining. Well, life happened, and my deck stayed 1/2 stained until this past June. Literally, the day after I got out of school, I went to Home Depot, bought more supplies, and went to it. About 4 hours later… it was done!

After the staining was done and TOTALLY dry, (and done 100% by me!) my dad and my sister’s boyfriend came over and put up the 2nd half of the project… my gazebo. During the day, my deck gets ZERO shade. Yes, it’s nice for tanning, but not nice for just enjoying the outside. With our over 100 degree temps lately, shade is hard to come by. Here is my deck finished. I still want to add more decor (plants, tables, re-staining the furniture) but it is a nice get away for both Lillie and me.


So, there you have it… two of my summer projects. I have several more I’ve been working on. Both school and home. Here’s a teaser…

This is shot from my VERY disorganized (hiding in shame) garage. No, I’m not doing anything with the snow blower, gas can, salt shaker, air pump, or Halloween blow up. It’s the black file cabinets. Just wait. I love what I’ve done with them! And, for the record, my garage is much cleaner now that I’ve started working on the cabinets.

And, FINALLY, and most exciting… if you live in the Chicago-land area and would like to meet some fellow area bloggers, head on over to Lesson Plans SOS to sign up for…

Melissa, Nicole, and yours truly would love to meet up with you! It doesn’t matter if you do or don’t have a blog!

 If you are a teacher and a reader, we would love to have you join us for a late lunch/early dinner!

If you are interested, please email Melissa and Nicole at:
teachers (at) lessonplansos (dot) com
We will send you an Evite for the blogger meet up!
Til next time! Have a fabulous 4th of July!!!





Freebies, Updates, and New Products

by becky on June 10, 2012

Hi Everyone! I am officially on summer vacation and I am LOVING every millisecond so far! I do have a meeting at school next week and I’ve been giving myself pep talks about NOT going into my room. If I go in my room, I’ll want to take my bulletin boards down. If I go into my room, I’ll want to bring home my extra desk pockets to make a new job chart with. If I go into my room, I’ll stand there and think about how I want to rearrange my classroom to fit my new White Sox bench a student gave me on the last day of school (whoo hoo). Sooo, my plan is to walk in, sit down at the meeting, and then LEAVE as soon as my principal says we are done. Self control Becky. Self control. It’s going to be hard because for some reason I’ve been back to school shopping already. I mean, I haven’t even been out of school for a week yet, but I already have my newish theme bought and have been cranking out all sorts of signs for my classroom to bring the theme together. It might look like a hot mess when I’m done, or it might just be the most awesome room I’ve ever taught in. We shall see. I do have to say, I’m excited. Thing is, it’s not even a big deal theme. But, just the newness and brightness of it makes me excited. Oh, and I went to three Hobby Lobby’s this week to get enough of the same fabric for my new curtains that I am OH SO EXCITED about. Only Teachers can get excited about classroom curtains. But for real, they are going to be so cute! :)

In other news, my email has been blowing up lately which I love. If you “know” me, you know I’m not huge into followers, gaining followers, or competing with other blogs and teachers. I’m truly here because I have so many ideas that I bore my friends with that I needed an outlet. But, truth be told, sometimes I do wonder if anyone actually visits my blog. I don’t know how to check my stats, and honestly it’s probably a good thing, but there are times where I sit there and think, “Wow, I thought that was cool. I guess no one else did.” So, as I’ve been getting more emails it gives me hope that I am inspiring and helping others out there. The point of me telling you all this is because several emails have sparked new products or additions to current products on TpT.

Let’s start with the Freebies. :)

A follower on TpT recently asked me if I have any Genre Posters. If you read my post about my focus wall, you will see that I use Beth Newingham’s posters for my Focus Wall. However, I added a few extra posters that are part of the Treasures Reading Series. I had originally posted them on GoogleDocs. Well, after I was asked this question this week, I decided to upload my extra posters to my TpT store because let’s be honest, sometimes GoogleDocs is just a pain. If you downloaded my previous posters, get ready to download again. I have added 2 more posters to my already posted set. When you click the picture below, you can download the posters for Folk Tales, Humorous Fiction, Legend, Narrative Nonfiction, Photo Essay, and Play.

Okay, moving onto Updates. Recently, I had another customer ask me if I would be willing to make a Visualizing and Story Structure Poster for my Reading Skills and Strategies set. I gladly obliged and added them to my current listing. Click below to re-download (sorry for the 2nd update, but now you have 23 posters instead of 19) :)

Now onto new Products.

I recently received an email asking if I had created spelling lists for the Fourth Grade Reading Street Series. Since my district uses Treasures, I hadn’t. But, about 2 hours later, I had these created. They turned out very cute if I do say so myself. If you are a fourth grade teacher using Reading Street, then you might be interested in purchasing these for your classroom. Click the picture below to see if you are interested.

Okay, now for my favorite part of this post. I FINALLY finished my Wizard of OZ unit. I have to give Abby a shout out. When I saw her unit last year on Teachers Pay Teachers, I knew it was for me. I LOVE the Wizard of OZ and she has some really cute ideas. I decided that I needed to add more activities for my 4th graders since they flew through all the activities Abby created. I also created my own directed art projects for the four main characters. I remember the day I finished them. I ran down the hallway showing anyone who would listen/look because I was so proud of myself. Dork-I know. Here is a close up of the projects:

Here is a breakdown of everything included in the Unit…

If you are interested, click the picture below and visit my store.


If you are still reading, thank you! Have a great day/night/week/weekend! Enjoy the sun and your time off!


1 hour 40 minutes

by becky on June 3, 2012

That’s all I have left with my 2011-2012 goobers. It is SUCH a bittersweet feeling. I honestly feel like it was just yesterday that I was helping Nicole and Melissa paint, or that Melissa and I were the only fools at school the Sunday before school started. Now I’m saying goodbye to a whole new group of friends I’ve spent the last 9 months with. Here is a break down of some of the highs and lows of the school year.


Endless meetings. When you have a high-anxiety class and you are being pulled out for constant meetings, administrators forget how hard it is to keep everyone calm and comfortable. I can’t tell you how many days I had to do damage control because of crazy subs who upset my classroom dynamic.

Coming back from a long weekend where a school carnival was held. This was the first year that activities were put in the classroom. I was SOOO nervous. I mean, I have (honestly) thousands of dollars worth of materials I have bought and/or made. I came back to stains, broken furniture, and this:

I do have to say, my kids were AMAZING when they saw this. They walked into the classroom and didn’t say a word. They knew I was upset. They were upset. They felt like someone violated their room. We pulled together as a team, cleaned it up, and then a few kids decided that if we ever have to have events in our classroom, they are going to take shifts to “watch” that everyone is respectful. Can you say Love? Truly.

Highs: (In no particular order)

My sweet class throwing me a surprise “Pink” birthday party. They had been planning it for a few weeks before the day of. I kept messing up their plans because of the endless SpecEd meetings and trainings I kept getting pulled out of class for. They made it work, and I felt incredibly loved. These were the delicious cupcakes we ate.

Getting my teammate back. RIF smif, she was a good sport, re-interviewed for her rightful job position and hands down, was the star of the interview show. I’m just thankful and grateful to have this amazing teacher (and friend) working next door to me. I feel like you can get through anything as long as you have one other person on your side. Dannie, Thank You for being such a supportive teammate and friend this year. I honestly couldn’t have survived without you. (P.S.- Dannie, we need to take a new picture, lol)

Getting to know these 24 amazing children who have changed my life. They make have given me gray hairs (our class joke) but I would NOT change our memories for anything. I love each and every one of them and will truly miss them when they become stinky 5th graders. (another class joke). Here we are ringing in the new year!

I’m getting pretty choked up writing this. I know they will take the lessons that I taught them (both academically and socially) and do great things in their lives. I feel special that I was able to be their 4th grade teacher. There are no other students I would have chosen for my 2011-2012 school year. :)





can/have/are in Room 19!

by becky on May 28, 2012

Sometimes being an “intermediate” level teacher can be a bummer. When I look at all the adorable projects that so many primary teachers post, I get a little jealous. I feel like sometimes I push the envelope with the units I create because I know some of my coworkers may feel it’s “fluff” rather than “meat”. However, I know that even though I may have my students create projects, it is only AFTER we have researched, discussed, and thoroughly learned about a topic. And, to be honest, the majority of my students LOVE to create projects based on what they are learning. I also feel that students do NOT get enough opportunity to explore their creative sides. I love the excitement that they have when they create something they feel super proud of. It is also good for their fine motor skills. I was amazed a few weeks ago when we did one of the projects below and when I instructed my students to fold a sheet of paper in half and then cut out ½ a heart how many students didn’t understand how to do this. It was actually a little sad. Luckily, I had plenty of extra paper so several of my friends were able to work until they felt good about their product.

On that note, if you are like me and you visit primary blogs even though you teach an intermediate grade, I’m sure you look at the Can/Have/Are brace maps and feel like you can’t use them in your own classroom. I felt that way until a few weeks ago…

If you follow my blog, then you know my grade level took a field trip to see Oscar. OMG, even if I didn’t have a huge love of great apes anyway, I still would have loved this movie. It’s happy, sad, inspiring, funny, tragic, and loving. I will be purchasing this movie once it’s out. Before we went to the movie, though, we learned about Chimpanzees in order to have background knowledge. After reading several picture books my students and I learned all about these fuzzy apes. Enter Can/ Have/ Are…

To save trees (chimpanzee homes), we discussed and wrote our ideas on the board . They could have gone on forever but as you see, I ran out of room. :)

Then, because they loved my Oscar I had created ( I have to admit, I loved him too. I’ve gotten so much better at creating projects on the fly… definitely attribute this to blog stalking), after we saw the movie, I had students answer a few reflection questions about the movie and then they created their own Oscar. Well, some called theirs Freddy, while one friend created Scar. :) Freedom to create, what can I say?

Cuh-ute! :)

Then, about two weeks ago, I was  planning for the last story in our basal (back-flips, cartwheels, etc…) and it’s the following story:


It’s a very informative story about (go figure) The Life and Times of the Ant. I knew I wanted to incorporate a group work activity so I did what I do best… blog stalk. Thank you Pinterest. I found this brace map and immediately downloaded it. :)

Jackpot! (THANK YOU, Cara!)  I put my fourth grade friends into cooperative groups and instructed them to fill in each category. They had a great time!

I liked how they worked together, but I wanted to extend the activity a little more so while they were working I created this guy:

Then, I passed out colored index cards to each group and instructed them to pick their favorite “Can”, “Have”, and “Are” statement. Not surprisingly many groups had the same favorite facts. Then, they wrote them out and after we shared our ideas, I hung them up in the hallway to share with our other school friends. They did ask if they could make their own ant and had I had more time and planned better (there’s always next year :)) I would have let them create their own.

Not the cutest bulletin board idea I’ve ever had, but definitely informative!

So, what is the moral of the story? The moral I learned was that even though they are “big” kids, fourth graders can still benefit from the basic skills they learned and applied in the primary grades. Lesson learned!


End of Year Reflection

by becky on May 16, 2012

Hi! I still can’t believe we are in the final stretch of the school year!!! I don’t have an official countdown going, but I do know that I don’t have too much time to squeeze in all the activities and projects I want my kiddos to complete. I have been going through my end of year files and I remembered that I had had a request to make an end of year form similar to my Time Capsule form for students to reflect on their school year. You can read more about my Time Capsule project here. I realize many of you are finishing up soon. Some even this week-WOW! I hope you can use this End of Year Reflection with you class. If not, tuck it away for next year. If you’d like your own copy, click on the picture below and you can download both forms for free from my Teachers Pay Teachers store. Enjoy!


Hi Everyone~ Happy Teacher Appreciation Week. I have to say, this year I was really spoiled by one of my students (and his mom) :). I wanted to share her sweet ideas because honestly, they made my day each morning, and it was really nice to feel so appreciated.

Here is a breakdown of what special suprise was found on my desk each day:

Who doesn’t love a box of donut holes on Monday morning?

A delicious basket of fruit!


I LOVE m&m’s

Delicious and seriously addicting cookies!

I appreciate all the time it took to buy, make, and put together each gift and I LOVE how creative each gift was. When I tried to hug the little guy that gave me each of these, I thought he was going to jump on the ceiling. He is one of my few goobers who does NOT like girls. lol. He did give me a solid handshake. I’ll take what I can get! :)

In other news, Mother’s Day is quickly approaching and I wanted to try a new craft with my kids this year. In the past my students have created poems, framed scrapbook pages, bracelets, and decorated candles. This year, I wanted my students to make a personalized soap dispenser for their moms.First, I had the students write a message with a sharpie on a full sized bordered sheet of computer paper. They could create their own message or use a poem I found and tweaked for the ocassion. They added their own special touches and made sure to wish their mom’s a Happy Mother’s Day. Then, I used the school’s copy machine to scan each page. I took each scanned picture and resized  them to 3×2 to fit the soap dispensers. Next, I printed the labels on good old overhead transparencies. I only needed three sheets for all 24 labels. The trick is to make sure you use a laser printer. If you use an inkjet printer the ink runs as soon as it gets wet. After that, I took cut each label and put them in the newly softsoap label free bottles of soap. Thank you Goo gone. After a little adjusting, each label looked amazing. (You may be thinking that I should have let the kids do more, and next year, I will, but I wanted to make sure the projects turned out well and I was having a little bit of a control issue.) The next time I have my class do this project, THEY will use their tiny fingers to get the labels off. Definitely my least favorite part of the project.

When I showed them their soap dispensers they were soooo excited. They picked out cute ribbon and wrapped their gifts. Then they made adorable cards where they listed the top 10 things they love about their moms. Here is a shot of some of the finished projects…

and here’s a close-up of one of my kiddos bottles

The  poem reads:

This isn’t just a soap dispenser, as anyone can see.

It was made with my own hand, which is a part of me.

It comes with lots of love, especially to say,

I love you very much, and Happy Mother’s Day!

I’m hoping they love them as much as I do! Happy Mother’s day to any and all the mom’s out there (including the mom’s of fur-babies!!!).


Masters of Division

by becky on May 8, 2012

This past Friday I introduced my class to a new math game that I created. I wanted to make a game that incorporated both multiplication and division but I wasn’t sure how to do that AND keep my class interested. Enter clip art. Probably 6 months ago I bought a couple sets of clip art from MarloDee Designs. They have been sitting pretty on my computer waiting to be used. Then, I started seeing previews for The Avengers and I had my inspiration for “Masters of Division”. The focus of the game is for students to practice their basic multiplication and division facts for 2-12.

Here you can see my kiddos playing the games. They couldn’t wait to finish one board so they could get another board with a different character on it. It’s amazing how exciting clip art can make an activity!

Included in the 39-page download:

  • 11 games boards- 2’s through 12’s (each with a different superhero)
  • each game board comes with 48 game cards. 24 multiplication fact cards and 24 quotient cards (there are doubles of each fact to lengthen the game and to have more practice with each fact)
  • 2 multiplication tables for your kiddos who need extra support
After my class played the game I asked for their feedback. I asked them to be “totally honest”. Out of 24 students, 23 students wanted to play it again because it was “really cool”. My last kiddo, well, he wants “harder questions”. Fair enough~I asked. :) I’ll still consider the game a success. If you are interested in purchasing this game for your class, click the picture below and it will take you to my Teacher Pay Teachers store.
Have a great week! Happy Teacher’s Appreciation week to you ALL! Your students are lucky to have you as their teacher. :)

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Pinterest Inspired Post

by becky on May 3, 2012

Remember how I said I’ve had “idea block” lately? Well, luckily we all have Pinterest to keep the ideas flowing. I’ve recently completed a few pinterest inspired crafts and I thought I’d share. Honestly, what did we do before Pinterest?

Project 1 – My teammate recently gave birth to a beautiful baby girl and I had been hounding politely asking her what the little girl’s name was going to be. She stayed strong and didn’t tell anyone until the pumpkin was born. I have to say, I LOVE her name so I wanted to make her a pretty picture to highlight it. I LOVE glitter!

Inspiration Photo


My Project

Project 2- Again, a project for Lillianna. This way she has a set that are hopefully wall-worthy. :)

Inspiration Photo


My Project

Project 3- I LOVE the Wizard of Oz and if I ever get my act together I’ll finish up and post my unit I started last year. I was so inspired by Abby’s unit that I wanted to make a unit that my 4th graders could complete. Anyway, I am seriously in need of wall art and when I saw the inspiration picture below, I knew I could create something to hang on my wall. It’s going to look perfect in my gray/yellow guest bedroom!!!When you see my photo below, you’ll understand why I’m giving you all this Wizard of Oz background info, ha.

Inspiration Photo


My Project

I’m pretty happy with what I’ve made so far. Maybe all this creative energy will go back to my classroom one of these days! Hope someone found some of their own inspiration. :)


A Whole Lot of Random Catching Up…

by becky on April 29, 2012

Wow! It’s been a while. I don’t know what it is, but ever since Spring Break I feel like I’m just going through the motions at school. It’s funny. At lunch the other day a few teachers were talking about how this is such a busy time of year, and I started thinking, when is it not a busy time of year for teachers? Right now my district is in the middle of contract negotiations and many teachers have been Rif’d for next year. One of them being my close teammate. I know that everything happens for a reason, and I feel SUPER confident that she’ll be back in 4th grade next year (I’m a bit psychic, lol), but still just the drama of worrying about what will happen next year has really taken the wind out of my sails. I know education is under huge attacks right now (again, when is it not?) and unfortunately I’ve let that energy get to me.

ANYWAY… pity party over!

I wish I had a lot of new ideas to post but I’ve had horrible idea block and have several projects started but not finished. So, instead, I thought I’d post some pictures of finished projects we did in class and hopefully it will send some inspiration out into blogland.

Several weeks ago, my students and I were learning about the United States Government and when we learned about the Executive Branch, I had them complete an “If I were President” poem outline. Then, they created themselves as the future president. Hint-I used most of the dimensions from the awesome and free TLC directed art project for Barack Obama. You can find the directions {here}.

Here is a shot from our final ADORABLE projects. My favorite part is the girls with their diamonds. Lol, they love using gems. :)

For Earth Day, I decided to try something different. In the past I’ve had students create their own Earth Day Haikus. Here is a shot from last year’s projects.

This year, I found this sweet idea on Pinterest and tweaked it with my students.


I beefed it up by turning it into a paragraph writing prompt where they explain how they plan to Handle the Earth With Care. I have to say, my student have HUGE hearts for the earth and their ideas were not only practical but incredibly thoughtful. Here are a few shots of our finished projects.

This week we are going on our last field trip of the year and it’s to go see this cutie…

Stay tuned for some SUPER cute craftivities!


Google Docs and Plant Life Scavenger Hunt

by becky on April 12, 2012

Hi Everyone! I’m officially on Spring Break and I couldn’t be happier! I miss my kids believe it or not, but not the actual act of teaching. It was definitely time for a break.

Random question blogland… has anyone else who uses Google Docs had a lot of email requests to send items uploaded on Google Docs? I have had a TON of people email me and say that the site won’t let them download. I have checked from several computers and everytime I check the links they work. Any idea why it works for some people but not all? I’m baffled. Oy, computers!

Since I’m on vacation, but not really doing much (which I honestly do NOT mind), I’ve been cleaning up my files and planning. I have my math lesson plans written in my plan book for the REST OF THE YEAR. Whoo hoo! Science, however is tricky. It’s my district’s second year of this particular textbook and it’s definitely still a work in progress. One of the last units my grade will cover is Plants. I have done some TpT searching and there are some really good units that I have put on my wishlist. I had originally planned to create my TpT unit for Plants and I actually started working on it last year, but after looking up what’s already on TpT, I decided just to focus on Plant Cells. Why reinvent the wheel when there is already great and way similar products already created.

Since I won’t be making my own unit, I decided to share some files that I had made since I won’t be selling them. My loss is your gain-ha. My class has LOVED doing scavenger hunts so I of course had to cutesy this Plant Life one from here. Included in the download is also a song that I found last year that teaches the parts of a plant.

I hope someone can find it useful. Since I don’t know how else to share this, I am going to upload it to Google Docs. Hopefully it will work for you!

Click on either of the pictures below to grab your own copy. Have fun! Let me know if you know anything about Google Docs. THANK YOU!!!