Saturday, February 28, 2015

EdExpo 2015: Top Ten List

You might have seen on my Instagram account that I was presenting at the 2015 EdExpo. What you might not have known was that I joined 50+ other bloggers to find the TOP 10 must have educational products that are debuting or are already out!

The following are the top 10 products that our blogger team decided are must haves! 

There was a tie for #10 between Kapla Blocks by Kapla 

Circuit Sticker Books by Chibitronics

Pencil Grips by The Pencil Grip

Busy Fingers by Fiddle Focus

Math Bands by Learn in Style


There was another tie for #4. Fidgets by Endless Possiblities, Inc

and the class set of Goldiblocks by Goldiblocks

Say It by FeliX Ltd

The Reading Game by The Reading Game

Touchtronic Numbers and Letters by Junior Learning

You might have guessed by the product selection that most of the bloggers teach in primary.  Don't despair!!  I will have several posts coming up that feature MY favorite products. I will also have some giveaways to go with them, so stay tuned!!

To find all of these wonderful products and more, visit ED Market Dealer to find a store near you or to purchase on-line.

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Book Review Tuesday: The End of the Line by Sharon McKay

The End of the Line by Sharon McKay

From the publisher:

Ordinary citizens risk everything to save a young Jewish girl in wartime Holland. 

Five-year-old Beatrix looks on in horror as the soldier forces her mother off the tram. It is 1942 in Amsterdam, and everyone knows what happens to Jews who are taken away by the Nazis. The soldier turns his attention to Beatrix, when suddenly, the ticket-taker, Lars Gorter, blurts out that she is his niece. With his brother Hans, the tram conductor, they manage to rescue the child from the same fate as her mother. 

The two elderly brothers realize that they are now in charge of the little girl. They are at a loss -- after all, neither one has ever married, let alone has children. They know that harboring a Jew could cost them their lives, but in desperation, they turn to a neighbor, Mrs. Vos, for help. But even these kindly rescuers cannot shield Beatrix totally from the horrors of war. 

Based on real events, this suspenseful novel vividly portrays the fear, uncertainty, and terror of the Nazi occupation in Holland. It is a story that reflects both the worst and best of humankind. A worthy addition to children's books about the Holocaust, The End of the Line will leave young readers to ponder how the most dreadful conditions can lead ordinary citizens to perform the most heroic acts. People like Lars, Hans, and Mrs. Vos, who risked their own lives to save Jews in wartime Europe, were later recognized and honored as "Righteous Gentiles."

Interest:  Ages 8-11

My Review:

I don't teach about WWII, so it's not been a priority on my get to learn about it list. I know that I learned something about it in high school, but it obviously didn't stick.  Years ago, I visited the Holocaust museum in Washington D.C. It has a lasting impression on me, but really didn't peak my interest. I didn't want to go out and learn a lot more about the war. But ever since I returned from my cruise this summer, I'm been rather fascinated with reading stories about WWII. While we were in Berlin, we went to Sachsenhausen Concentration Camp. Since then anytime I see a book about the war, I look to see if it might interest me.

As soon as I read the write-up of this story, I knew I wanted to read it.  When reading about stories of people that helped the Jews during the war, you don't often hear about what happened in Holland. At least I've never read anything. This was a fairly short story, it took me about an hour to read but the story was very well written and definitely gave me an idea of what the people of Holland had to go through to survive the war. I will say that there was a surprise at the end of the story that had me in tears.

This is definitely a story I would recommend to my students. It tells the horrific story of what happened to people of the Jewish faith, but in a way that a child would understand it. If you cover WWII in your classroom, this is definitely a story for lesson plans!

You can find more information about the book, including lesson plans on the publishers website.

You can get the book at the following retailers:

Thanks go out to Annick Press via NetGalley for a copy of the story in exchange of an honest review.

Saturday, January 17, 2015

Classroom Organization: Daily Work

As most of you know, I teach two different grades. I need a way to keep all my papers organized and I think I finally found the way!

I found this Rubbermaid organizer on clearance at Staples, but it was the only one they had. An associate looked in the system and none of the other local stores had any. So I hunted on eBay and found another one (LOVE that place!!).

I wanted to decorate the front, so I created a sign to fit across the front.  The front is about 13.5 inches, so I had to print two pieces of paper and glue them together. I didn't want a create in the top layer, so I have to make it 10.5 inches to leave room around the edge where the ink wouldn't print.

I glued the label on to the pattern paper and then cut out the dip on top.

I laminated it and then used double sided tape to adhere it to the organizer.

Inside the colored folders are classwork papers and homework.

I put the student's papers in horizontal (since there are more of them) and the answer key behind the papers going vertical. This helps to separate the papers within the folder.

Behind the colored folder is a manila folder that holds my unit tests.

 If you enjoyed this idea, please consider following me at Teachers Pay TeachersFacebookBlog Lovin'PinterestTwitter or Instagram.

For more Bright Ideas, be sure to check out the linky below!

Wednesday, January 14, 2015

The Real Teachers of Blog County

When you go to blogs you usually see classrooms that look perfect! We'd all like you to believe that our classrooms look that way all the time. Ha ha, I wish! Whenever I take pictures of my classroom, I make sure to straighten everything up so it looks perfect!  I've even gone back into my classroom during a school break to take a better picture of something because I didn't like the way it looked.

This is the way my classroom normally looks...

This is my teacher area. I try to keep myself organized with all my binders,  but I never find time to re-file my papers. This picture was taken the first day of fall break when I took 2 days to straighten it all back up again.  I don't think it has been this bad only took me a couple of hours to straighten up during winter break.

There is hope for me yet, with 1.5 weeks into this quarter everything still looks pretty good!!

If you want to see more "hidden secrets" go to Second Grade is Out of this World and check out what everyone has posted!