End-of-the-Quarter Sale! + Autism Awareness Month

"Hoppy" Easter Y'all!

See what I did there? How creative am I, right?

I am throwing a Last-Minute: Get Your Stuff and Teach, End-of-the Quarter Sale! Hop over to my store to stock up on some last minute items you have had your eye on - everything is 20% off! Make sure, if you do purchase something, you provide feedback so you can earn TpT credits toward future purchases :)
Thanks to Creative Clips for the great border, and to Kevin and Amanda for the adorable fonts!


I'd also like to remind you that April is Autism Awareness Month! On Tuesday, April 2nd, its Light it Up Blue Day to celebrate World Autism Awareness Day. On this day, please wear blue clothing, and encourage your friends and families to do the same. Considering purchasing blue light bulbs from Home Depot or Walmart, to really light it up blue! Also, you can blog, tweet, and/or Facebook about it! Maybe change your profile picture to the Light it Up Blue logo. Grab yours below!

CHeck out these great resources for ways to incorporate Autism Awareness Month into your classroom:

Also, in September, I will be running to Allstate 13.1 Marathon for the Team Up! with Autism Speaks Team! I did this last year, my first half marathon ever, and it was an amazing experience! I raised over $500 for Autism research!
2012 Allstate 13.1 Marathon! Note the Team Up! for Autism tank! 
Now, I gotta go get ready for my Easter dinner with the fiance's fam. Enjoy your holiday if you celebrate!


Sweet Specs {A Review} + Special Offer for YOU!

Happy Saturday!

I'm so excited to share my latest review with you. It is from the company Firmoo, which provides people all of the world with inexpensive eyeglasses or frames. You can choose prescription eyeglasses, reading glasses, or nonprescription frames to accessorize your favorite looks :)

I saw a review from another blogger about Firmoo, and was eager to check them out. So it was much to my surprise that Antonio from the Blog Team at Firmoo contacted me regarding doing my own review for the company! After confirming my interest in doing a review for them, Firmoo sent me a special link so I could pick the frames/styles I wanted. They have a terrific feature on their site called the Virtual Try-On System, in which you can view what the frames look like on many different types of models, or you can upload your own picture to get an idea of what they would look like on you! I uploaded a photo I took with my webcam, and got a pretty good idea of which frames complimented my face, and which did not.

After I chose my frames, I had to input my prescription. This was a painless process, once I got my prescription from my eye doctor. It was a nightmare to get them to release my prescription (trying to get me to come back in and purchase glasses from them). After a couple of weeks (yes, weeks!), I was able to finally come back to my saved frames on Firmoo, and input my information. This was very user-friendly. I was a little intimidated when the site asked for my Pupillary Distance (PD), because that wasn't on my prescription. However, they provide you with a little link so you can figure this out on your own (provided you do not need bifocals or progressive lenses, as they recommend having a professional measure this for you). I measured it in front of the mirror, and was nervous that I wasn't exact, but since I have received the glasses and have been wearing them non-stop, nothing is amiss.

Once I input all of the necessary information, I responded to Antonio to let him know that I had input my info, which he had asked me to do. Within a week, I had my new glasses in hand! I was so excited to come home yesterday to a package waiting on my door step! I immediately ripped the sucker open and tried them on.

This is what came in my package (minus the glasses tool, because I accidentally left it in the box until after I took this picture and uploaded it!)
At first glance:
I thought they would be a bit bigger on my face, but I really like how they look now that I have gotten used to my new look. I looked back on the website at the Virtual Try-On System, and realized that the glasses looked the same on my face in the picture, as they did in real life, so that was my bad.

I bought the matte finish on the frames, which the image of this does not do its justice. I wasn't sure what I was purchasing when I decided to go for matte, but thought I'd give it a whirl. I wasn't sure how I felt about it when I received them. I second-guessed my decision, thinking I should have gone with the traditional glossy finish. However, after wearing them around last night and throughout the day today, I realize how much I like them. I think they look unique and stylish! I'm sticking by my decision!

The frames themselves, just due to their shape, are bulkier than my previous frames. I think this will take some getting used to. Also, the top curvature of the frames are not as close to my face as my previous frames, so I can feel more air traveling through toward my eyes. However, I don't think this is any fault of the design, nor the frames themselves. I think I just need to get used to these frames.

Easy to use
Lots of options
Virtual Try-On System
Comes with two cases, an eyeglass tool, and a cloth for cleaning

Picture of frames does not really match the real-life image

Overall, I would highly recommend this company to anyone looking for inexpensive, fashionable frames. I have been wanting a second pair of eyeglasses, for those emergency situations in which I can't find my other ones, and I have always wanted a pair in this style! I will absolutely be using this service again in the future for my own glasses as well!

Here are some more pics of me in my new specs. Tell me what you think!

Looks good for a night on the town, and for a morning of Vinyasa yoga! And no, I can never just smile.

Now it is your chance to check out this great service! Due to my participation in this review, I am able to offer the First Pair Free Program for my readers! Just click here and you get to try your choice of glasses for FREE by paying shipping only!


Tried It Tuesday: New Linky!!

Good evening!
Hope all is well. I have decided to link up with a new linky from Fourth Grade Flippers. This linky, Tried It Tuesday, is about posting things you have tried in your teaching and/or personal life, to share with the world!

My Tried It Tuesday is about something I implemented earlier this year, after seeing it on Pinterest. I had been struggling for years to figure out how to get my students to consistently write their names on their papers. I'm so glad I found this great idea! I decided to try it in my own classroom :)

Here is how it turned out:
This is where we pass in our work - note the school bus bucket containing the highlighters. Oh, and do you recognize that little blue pencil sharpener?!

This is the sign on the wall above the finished work bin and highlighters.

A close up. Click the above picture to find the original freebie from Khrys Bosland. I just tweaked it a little :)

I add this little label to my shelf as another visual prompt.

And of course, I have to label my highlighters

I will never go back! I love this easy-peasy system. My kids never forget their name, and I never have to try to decipher handwriting or get out my magnifying class to find their name written in the margin in  white crayon. I highly recommend implementing this into your classroom. It is so easy and effective!

Anyways, I'm highly distracted by the Jim Norton stand-up currently on my T.V. so I should log off. Make sure to check out some other Tried it Tuesdays on Fourth Grade Flipper's blog, and link up!

What have you tried?


Do You Love Technology?

Happy Monday!

I hope your weekend and first day back at work went well today (unless of course you are on Spring Break, in which case, I hope your first day of break went well...but I'm sure it did!). I'm counting the days until our half day on Friday as it gives me something to look forward to! We were supposed to have Friday off, but since our school district has had so many snow days this season, the district decided to attend school this Friday, instead of our new projected last day on Monday June 24. Oh well... at least it's a half day?

Think back to your days in the classroom. Do you visualize computers, laptops, tablets, and/or interactive SmartBoards? Of course not! Not that long ago, the terms "school" and "classroom" conjured up images of chalk boards (maaaaaybe a white board if you were lucky), dusty textbooks, and hand-cranked wall pencil sharpeners. But now, the integration of technology is seamless and adequate for our ever-changing technological society. It is now easier than ever to incorporate all types of technology into the classroom, with increased options and feasibility. As you will find out below, tech-teaching is the way of the future, and you will understand, if you don't already, why teachers love it!

I was recently contacted by a woman named Allison, via email, to view an Infographic she helped create on technology and its role in teaching. I was immediately drawn to the sincere and personal email I received from Allison. She mentioned a specific blog post I had written regarding my future goals of incorporating technology in the classoom, and seemed genuinely interested in my feedback on the graphic. After close review of the Infographic, I would love to share it with you!

Please Include Attribution to OnlineUniversities.com With This Graphic What do we Know Infographic

I was surprised by the statistic of the number of classrooms with Smartboards, or similar interactive whiteboards. I am unfortunately in the 4 of 10 without this resource in my room. That is my number one resource on my wish list for the upcoming school year - although it is really out of my hands. 60% seems so high to me, but that is great! I'm so glad to see that percentage!

I was also pleasantly surprised at the statistic of tablets in the classroom. Did I read that correctly - over 1/3 of teachers reported having a tablet or ereader in their classroom! Again, my classroom is lacking this :(

It was no surprise to me to read that many teachers find the integration of technology in the classroom to be beneficial to their teaching and students' learning. It really inspired me to push for more technological resources in my classroom, and to think more creatively to allow more access to the technology I do have in the classroom. It also inspired me to create my own survey, which I embedded below, with many of the questions relating to this great info graphic. If you have time, I would LOVE to read your responses to the survey.

Create your free online surveys with SurveyMonkey , the world's leading questionnaire tool.

If you are interested in reading the full article accompanying this Infographic, you can find it here.

I would love to know your thoughts about how you incorporate technology in the classroom. Any advice for a newbie tech-teacher?


Quickie Post: Giveaways!

Hi Y'all,

So I intended to blog yesterday about my super productive wedding-related day that I've been avoiding for months (registering for wedding gifts!), but ran out of time! I had a lot of work to do for the upcoming week, so,  obviously I spent my time doing that.

I do, however, want to update you on some terrific giveaways going on right now. Click on the images below to find out more:


Race Review {Spoiler Alert: Not Good!} + Giveaways

Happy Saturday!

Let's start this post on a happy note. This wonderful picture came from one of my students. It really made me smile, especially since he told me that he made it at home.

Though it doesn't make a lick of sense (I will mustache you a question), it is so adorable and I love that he created the letters into little men with mustaches!

Now, onto my day:

It started out as a happy Saturday for me. That changed quickly... I am being very dramatic...I know. It really isn't cause for such dramatics. My day has since gotten better, and this day will not go down in history as particularly bad. But this race will!

I was SO excited for this 5K. This was the first official one of the year. As you may recall, one of my New Years Resolutions was to run a race every month for the year. I had to settle for virtual 5Ks for the months of January and February. So you can imagine my excitement for this one; the real deal. I have run many, MANY races before, especially 5ks, so it really wasn't that big a deal that I was running one this weekend. But, I like to look at all of my races as personal accomplishments, no matter how slow r fast I complete them. It's about proving to myself what my body can handle. It's about the atmosphere, the cheers, the excitement. It's not really about the course, the winnings, the free loot. But that certainly doesn't hurt!

Today's race was a real bummer. While I still proved what I am capable of to myself, I did not find the "experience" to be enjoyable.

I was so optimistic when I woke up this morning! I woke up with enough time to eat a good, hearty, race-appropriate breakfast (my go-to breakfast? steel-cut oats, blueberries, and flax seed. Mmmmm...), allowed myself time to check my email, and ensure I knew where to park, and got myself dressed in my racing best. It was a windy day, but not too cold for an outdoor run (40 degrees). I wore a long sleeved technical-tee, shorts, and my Newtons! Even though I really shouldn't care about the loot I receive at the finish, I was eager to see the running gloves, hat, and long-sleeved tech-tee promoting the race. I knew the race was going to be small -- it's a local race, just down the street from my house. Last year the race topped out at 300 runners, so I wasn't expecting a huge expo, or even really any freebies from sponsors.

I was pleased to find that, when I arrived, there were a couple of booths offering some freebies (VitaCoco and a MuscleMilk type beverage). I made a mental note to stop there after the race to refuel. I arrived inside the school cafeteria, where the race sign up and registration was taking place. I already registered on Active, so I walked right through to the pre-registered table. The whole registration space was pretty disorganized, but I didn't look at that as a major fault. I was a little late, so I chocked it up to less helpers being present due to the diminished crowd. After not being able to find my last name for a couple of minutes, I was found on a separate page for those who registered on Active (with only 3 other names on this list, I wondered: there is another place to sign up for races?). No big deal. I retrieved my race bib, without further discussion from the race helpers (note: remember this later on) and headed on my way.
A nice woman at the VitaCoco booth agreed to take a picture of a lone runner. 
At this point, I remembered, that since I pre-registered, I was to receive that loot I was talking about earlier. There were no signs posted and no one looked out of the ordinary, in terms of uniformed workers, so I just kind of meandered around, searching for a sign. I wanted to proudly display my race T-shirt, and use those gloves and hat for my Tough Mudder in June! Because I am no novice to New England races, I spotted the bright yellow Marathon Sports bags - a sign of a sponsor! I don't know how many times I have received a race T in one of those bags :)

There were a couple of young girls sitting on a cafeteria table, surrounded by these bags. I asked if these were the bags for the pre-registered runners. They looked at each other, said something I couldn't understand, and handed me a bag. This was not an unpleasant experience, just a confusing one. I opened the bag for a quick glimpse and saw the runner's gloves and a white T, along with some coupons. I happily jogged it back to my car before the race start. As I was headed down the street, I saw a group of runners heading up the start. I had a mild freak out (But, it's only 11:40!), and asked one of the other runners, who was NOT standing at the start, if this was the 10k start. He assured me that it was (even though they were supposed to have started at 11), and that I had time. A race official spoke about the race briefly into a microphone, explaining the route, and after-race lunch. It seemed more official than I had anticipated, so I was excited. They counted down from 30, and at 1, they were off!
A pic of the race officials above the runners
making announcements!
A pic of the start (though it says Finish) of the 10k racers!
I stayed a cheered while the wave of 10k-ers (I want to estimate about 100), ran past. After this, I quickly returned to my car to drop off my wallet, keys, and goodie bag. I jogged back to the start just as people were moving AWAY from the start! I ran faster, hoping I wasn't too late (But, it's only 11:45!). Someone who clearly recognized the "panic face" told me they were moving to the 5k start, which I didn't realize was different. No matter. I joined the group of walkers to the 5k start. We poked around for about 7 minutes, waiting for the start. This time, there was no microphone, no platform for the official, and no countdown (that I could hear). All of a sudden, I heard the word "go" and the mob started moving. Overall, the run was fine. It was windy, but not too hilly. In fact, it was pretty flat. However, the race course was very confusing. Since the 10k-ers started at a different spot, and was obviously running twice what we were, their course was a little different. Understandable. However, mid-race, some of the 10k-ers joined our course, then left, then rejoined. Whatever, as long as I knew where I was going, it was going to be fine. Until I saw runners splitting into two different directions - some taking a right, and others taking a left. There was another kid (not a "kid" maybe like 19) at the corner of these streets, pointing runners in different directions. Because I had my headphones in I couldn't hear who should go where. I pulled out my headphones and asked him to repeat. I was able to keep myself on pace and join my rightful group, but thought to myself - there has got to be a better system for managing that!

At the first mile, there was a sign indicating it as such, and a water station. I always grab water at these stations, as I don't run with a hydration pack. Plus, it's only a 5k, so I know I will survive! I continued on my way, keeping track of my pace, time, and distance on my Nike+ app. At around the 2 mile marker (according to my app), there was no sign, no station, no nothing. Oh well, I bet there will be one at the 3rd mile. Nope. I only had my Nike+ to guide me on when I should pick up the pace, but even that wasn't super helpful because at 3.16 miles, I was STILL not at the finish. I ended up just taking a screen shot of my app at 3.16 so I could at least gauge for myself my pace, if the app wasn't calibrated to the race course!
Andrew W.K. pumps me up!
As the finish line approach, I hauled rear! I sprinted past many runners (is that mean?) to the finish chute. I was so in the moment that I forgot to look at my time. Oh well - they will post the race results. As I filed through the chute, there were 2 young women guiding 10k-ers and 5k-ers in different lines. I got yelled at for not being in a single-file line (oops!), and was then prompted to give them my chip timer. 


"Your chip timer. It was attached to the bottom of your bib."


Well, as you may have guessed, I didn't have it. That flap at the bottom of the race bib was supposed to stay on my person. I have NEVER had a race that actually requires that. There is always a bar code on the actual race bib itself that registers my run at the finish. So, out of habit, I tore the sucker off and put it in my goodie bag. Some swears were uttered to myself. I got REAL grumpy. I stormed off to get some free drinks. I tried a yucky one, that put me in an even grumpier mood (can you see I don't handle disappointment well), and stormed into the cafeteria in search of some water I could grab. THERE WAS NONE! I had to drink from a grimy middle-school water fountain! I'm not a diva - I actually didn't care that much, but it certainly added to my frustration. I walked back to the race in search of one of the racers I sprinted past. I found one and asked her for her time so I could at the very least, keep track of it myself. She didn't know, because she was too in it as well to check, but told her name so I could look online at the results to figure out where I fall in the runnings. I thanked her and jogged back to my car. I didn't feel like being around for the post-race lunch (which wasn't free anyway). I was certainly not being a very good sport, but I mean c'mon. I paid money for this event! I would have at least liked to have had my name on a list of results. It's like I didn't even run!

I guess technically it is on the tag, but it always says that on race bibs and it never means anything!
When I got to my car, I remembered my free loot. At least it wasn't all in vain! I opened the bag and looked at the gloves. They'll do. I searched the bag for the cap. There was none. Ugh. Then I pulled out my usually favorite piece of loot - the technical T. You can never have enough technical Ts, especially long sleeved if you are an outdoor winter runner! I put it up to my body and saw how ENORMOUS it was. I remember putting down small on the registration form. Hmm...? I looked at the tag and saw that it said XL. le sigh...

All in all, my race experience was less than enjoyable. I was really looking forward to this one. Needless to say, I will not be signing up for this one again. Or maybe I will...and this time I will at least be prepared for disappointment. 

At least one good thing came from this race - as I am writing this negative review, I have a little friend hanging out with me, making me smile. Fred always knows how to cheer me up :)

On a more positive note, check out these fabulous giveaways, courtesy of some amazing bloggers!
 Rachel at A-B-Seymour is hosting a great Blogiversary Giveaway! Check it out now and wish your a happy one!
 Pam from Mrs. O's Rockin Resources is hosting an amazing 100 Follower Giveaway!

Tori from Tori's Teacher Tips is hosting a HUGE 600 Follower Giveaway in honor of her HUGE accomplishment!

And now I am off to enjoy the rest of my Saturday. The fiancé and I are going to dinner with his high-school friend and his fiancé! Planning on turning this day around :)


Last Chance Giveaway + Freebie!

I'm so excited! I just finished my Desk Fairy cards for my students. It really only took me about 10 minutes to create, but it has been on my mind for weeks! I just never got around to purchasing the clipart to make my idea into a reality! A special thanks to Scrappin' Doodles for the fun fairy clip art,
Creative Designs by Marisa Anne for the fun glittery borders, Glitter Meets Glue Designs for the sparkly stars, and Kevin and Amanda for the fabulous fonts!

The fiancé and I came up with this poem. Sooooooo creative, right?

Also, this is your last chance to win something from my store! The giveaway ends in less than one hour, so skip along! Check the requirements to enter here.


Visual Plans, Products + Sale!

While I may look Irish, I don't have an Irish bone in my body. I hate beer and "Irish" food. I don't really care for bagpipes or Irish step-dancing either. Sorry. It's the truth. One of my classroom team members hates St. Patrick's Day, because of the historical untruths it tells about the Irish people (he's one of 'em), and how people honor St. Patrick, but apparently, he wasn't such a good guy. I dunno, all I know is that, as a result, I agreed not to celebrate anything St. Patrick-y this year (at least while he was around!). Plus, it worked out anyways, because I was sick Thursday and Friday, so St. Patrick's Day wasn't celebrated at all! Oh well... onto the next holiday that we can actually celebrate...Earth Day I guess?

Regardless...I'm throwing a sale, in honor of St. Patrick's Day! Click the image below to go to my store.

A big thanks to Creative Clips for the adorable Leprechaun clip art, and Mrs. D's Firsties for the great digital paper!

For now, I will be focusing on Springtime activities. I just went on a mad TPT shopping spree (mad for me is like, 4 products), and of course I decide to do it the day before people throw sales, because I don't plan ahead. No matter, they are fabulous products all the same and deserve my extra money :)

Yesterday, I looked through my Wish List on TPT and purchased the following items:

 This wonderful book study on the first book of the Magic Tree House series is fab-u-lous! I'm so excited to use this when we start our novel study unit! Storie from Stories by Storie really worked hard on this book study, and it shows! Check out here!

Who doesn't love Knuffle Bunny?! Mo Willems is such a treat, and my kiddos love his humorous wonderfully illustrated books as well! Hope King of 2nd Grade Shenanigans made a wonderful book study with some adorable craftivities to use with this book! Check it out here. My only question is: Do you pronounce Knuffle as "kuh-nuffle" or "nuffle?" I pronounce is "nuffle" but my assistant teacher pronounces is with the K. Hmm...

 Love, love, LOVE this product! I plan on using it next week when we discuss more about quotation marks in reading and in our writing. Catherine from The Brown Bag Teacher certainly put a lot of time and effort into this product. I just adore it! Check it out here.
And finally, a product I have been coveting for a while...Digging Through the Dictionary! I think understanding how to use a dictionary is a lifeskill. The skills used to use a dictionary are skills used across our lives, such as when we are searching a telephone book (which, yes, may be obsolete soon...), or when we are trying to find something in a library (I'm hoping this won't be obsolete soon...), or in a job, in which we are asked to alphabetize something, or find a name in an alphabetized archive. I mean it! These skills are important!! And, Tama of Across the Pond really nailed it! Anyways, please check it out -- you won't regret it!

I've also linked up with Mrs. Wills again for her fun and fabulous Peek at My Week Linky! I'm still working out some kinks with clickable hyperlinks on my pdf of the calendar, so for now, it is still in a word doc format. That means that the formatting is CRAZY off on my google drive...sorry! I suggest you really take time to look at the plans below closely, so you know which ones you want to click, because you can't see the same format when you click on my drive. SORRY! If you have ANY advice to help me with this, I would much appreciate it!
The images are clickable from my Google Drive once you click the images above.

In other news, check out First Grade Friendly Froggies' birthday giveaway!! Three chances to win fabulous prizes! Who doesn't love that?!

Now, I'm off for my run!

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