It's my last day of spring break....BOO HOO!!! The week went by way too fast! Well when we get back we are in the last quarter. It's all downhill from there, right?  June 6th is right around the corner. I have such a fantastic class that I will be sad for the year to end!

Here is my Five for Friday....Spring Break edition!

#1: On Tuesday I returned from a weekend trip to St. Augustine. It's about a 4 hour drive north of me. If you have never been, and live nearby, I highly recommend a visit especially if you love history. It is a wonderful city for families or a romantic get away for couples.  When I taught 4th grade I went on MANY overnight trips there. I think about 10 years in a row. You would think by now I would never want to go again. To go there with my own kids was different though. My son is in 6th and my daughter is in 4th and she is currently studying Florida history.  I  thought this was the perfect time to take them. (I'm not into sending them on overnight school trips, but our school doesn't offer this trip anymore so I was saved.) My hubby couldn't go this trip (had to watch our dogs) so I invited my mother and my sister (also a teacher). We had a great time. I love that my kids can spend quality time with the family. It's important to me that they have those memories. Here we are visiting the landing place of Juan Ponce de Leon, the old jail, carriage ride around the city, and we took a stop at the beautiful beach (notice daughter's sassy pose! WHY?? LOL!).  It was chilly last weekend, so no swimming. We took a ghost tour and visited all the historic sites. The kids loved it!

#2: On the way home, we took a stop in Cocoa Beach. This is the place where I was born and lived until I was 8. I showed my kids the hospital I was born in and the house my parents built for us, and my elementary school from kindergarten to 2nd grade.The school has never been updated, so it really did bring back memories seeing it. 

#3: When we got home I sat on the couch ALL day on Wednesday watching movies with the hubby. We just couldn't get up and get going. I can only handle that for a day and then I need to move around! LOL!

#4: Spent time organizing TpT/blogging/FB stuff/ideas! This is really like a second full time job and, like with my life, I have to feel organized. Someone else might not think my scribblings and random thoughts are organized, but for me they are.

#5: Lastly...get ready to do some spring cleaning!! Some bloggy buddies and I are having a Spring Cleaning Sale on TpT. Check out all these FANTASTIC stores that will be on sale March 30-31. So clean out those wish list and save some money! 

I'm linking up today with Jivey for Workshop Wednesday. She is showcasing mentor texts to teach author's craft. I ♥ this topic!

Now what book to showcase? There are so many wonderful uses for picture books as mentor texts that it's hard for me to choose. I finally settled on one of my favorites (their all my favorites!), The Important Book by Margaret Wise Brown.

I love the vintage feel of this book. The artwork goes from color pictures on one page to black and white illustrations on the next. There is so much you can do with this classic. I always read if for pleasure first, then we come back to it later and examine the author's craft.

Here are a couple of excerpts:

Over the years, I have used this book for many concepts. It's great for a Mother's Day or Father's Day project. Choose a topic from science or social studies or student's can choose their own expert topics to write about. Thinking about the DETAILS of a subject/person is what this lesson is all about. Students have to really zoom in on their subject and get specific! Hard to do sometimes! This is a great time to pull out the thesauri or thesauruses (yes I looked up the plural forms, both are correct! LOL!) 

In my class, we always write a whole group sample first. I usually choose a topic like candy, since most every student has eaten it. (I have even given them a piece of candy to examine and eat while we write.)  They can't tell me "it's good" or "I like it", which is exactly what they try at first. They need to come up with descriptors for the candy: sweet, sour, tickles my taste buds, chewy, sticky, square, etc. We look at the book again, this time for author's craft and style. I ask the kids to tell me what they notice (first and last lines repeat, she doesn't always use periods after every idea, she writes in a list, use of commas, etc.) We write a final draft together about candy trying out different crafts we noticed.

When it's their turn, I ask the students to write a topic in their writer's notebook that they feel they know a lot about and brainstorm everything they can think of to describe it (thinking of 5 senses, adjectives, verbs, etc.). We look at the book again and I let them decide how they will write their piece.  I don't like to give them a preprinted form for this activity because for some kids they won't try different styles or put their own twist on it. I like choice! For your really good writers, they might feel restricted if they have to write in a specific format given by the teacher. (Again, it's about choice!) Once these are revised and edited, you can publish in a class book or create a gift for a parent/relative.

There are a multitude of uses for this book! If you have used it or can think of a topic you would use it with, please leave a comment. I love to hear new ideas!

I'm so excited to be linking up with Latoya at Flying Into First Grade! I've been reading everyone's getting acquainted posts and I decided to join the fun.

Today (I'm a little late, sorry) is the NOUN GAME, favorite person, place, thing, and animal. Here we go...

PERSON: I couldn't possibly narrow it down to one person in my life. My hubby, kids, siblings, cousins, parents, nieces, nephews, and every member of my family are important people in my life. My friends also play a significant role. I love them all dearly!

PLACE: If you've read my blog before you know that Disney is one of my most favorite places. The Happiest Place on Earth is truly that for us. From camping in Ft. Wilderness to ESPN Weekend to Star Wars Weekend to Christmas at the parks to fun at the water parks to watching my daughter dance in parades, we have created so many family memories there and we plan on creating a million more!

THINGS: My laptop and iPhone. I love my electronics. Is that bad? Talking on the phone with my sister is one of my favorite things to do. We can talk for hours! My laptop holds all my photos, music, and school life. Emailing and Facebook help me to keep in touch with family and friends.

ANIMAL: DOGS! I have 10. YES. 10. They are all rescues and they all have a story. (They all have Disney names, too!) The whole family helps to take care with feeding, cleaning, and loving. The work it takes to care for them is worth the love they bring to us!
 Currently, our newest guy, Bullseye, has had some really bad tummy issues. He's getting better and we are thrilled we can give him a home.

So there you have it...a little about me! I look forward to blog surfing today and getting to know some of you!

Today is my birthday and I'm thrilled to announce the winners of my birthday bash giveaways!! Thank you to all that entered. Some of you won twice!

Giveaway #1 A choice of a product from Sunny Days:
Yvonnee Gaynor

Giveaway #2 Number of the Day Display from the Sister Teachers:
Mandy Breton

Giveaway #3 A choice of any product from Collaboration Cuties:
Sarah M.

Giveaway #4 A choice of any product from Coffee Cups and Lesson Plans:
Lori Raines

Giveaway #5 Understanding Place Value from Teaching Maths with Meaning:
Lori Raines

Giveaway #6 Beach Bucks from Surfin' Through Second:
Jennifer Agolino

Giveaway #7 Sparkling String Digital Paper from My Journey to 5th Grade:

Giveaway #8 Weekly Reading Records from Sparkling in Third Grade:
Yvonnee Gaynor

Giveaway #9 Fraction Identification Pack from Sun Tan and Lesson Plans:

Giveaway #10 A product of your choice from Third Grade Doodles:


Tomorrow I will be heading up to St. Augustine with my kids, my mom, and my sister. Looking forward to 2 nights away and the rest of the week off. Thank you again for visiting me here. Enjoy 15% off in my TpT store today and tomorrow! Have a wonderful weekend!
Happy Happy Happy Friday! It has been a long week, even though we had early release on Thursday and planning day Friday. The kids and I are ready for spring break to begin! I'm ready for my five for Friday!

#1: It has been a busy blogging week. My birthday bash raffle ends March 22 at midnight. If you have not entered you won't want to miss the fantastic prizes being given away. I posted 6 days of giveaways and I will post the winners on Saturday, March 23. Click DAY 1, DAY 2, DAY 3, DAY 4, DAY 5, and DAY 6 to enter!

#2: This week is the end of our 3rd quarter. My class has finished up our study of nonfiction. The students have spent the last several weeks researching and reading about topics of interest. They have become experts! We ended the quarter by creating concept maps. On a poster, they had to put the topic in the middle, 3-5 vocabulary words and 3-5 amazing facts around the outside. They also needed to include pictures, diagrams, charts, etc. with captions. Each student presented their findings.  I think they did a nice job.

 I have some amazing artists in my class!

#3: We are also spending a lot of time on research skills, especially on the internet. I think that parents feel their kids know how to use a computer because they can do "stuff" on it. What they don't realize is that they don't know how to navigate through the monumental amount of information on the web. Students don't know how to use it strategical. I know my kids tend to scroll through information without reading it. They don't understand how to decipher credible sites from not so credible. When my third graders are working on a specific research topic, I will usually find the sites I want them to use and bookmark those sites onto This is great tool because kids can access it from home, too. You can choose the sites you want them to visit and you will know they are getting credible information.

#4: We have been researching great ladies and great men this month. Using my "All About" Posters, my kids randomly chose a famous man and woman to research. *Here* is a freebie of cards you can use for research selection. After I modeled some internet research strategies in the classroom, I took them to the computer lab where they conducted their own research. They are not finished yet, but they have done an excellent job so far.

#5: Last, check out these Post Its (sorry for the blurry pic):

How cute are they?? I love Post Its. I have them in all colors and shapes. I especially love the Post It chart paper. That sticks to anything! I have never seen these watches. I think they would be great to use for reminders. Write a note on them and the student can wear it home! Cuteness!!

As my birthday bash giveaway comes to a close, I wanted to add one more gift. March 23 and March 24 my TpT store will be on sale. Enjoy 15% off as my birthday gift to you!! Don't forget to enter all of my birthday raffles that end tonight at midnight!!

Today is the last day of the big birthday bash giveaway! Boo hoo! It's been fun writing up these posts and especially fun reading all the comments  you all have left.  I'm happy to be able to give away such awesome products on behalf of some wonderful bloggers. If you missed out on entering during the week, click HERE, HERE, HERE, HERE, and HERE. The raffles close Friday at midnight. Check back on Saturday to see if you are a winner.

Last, but certainly not least, in the spotlight are two of my third grade bloggy buds. Third is my favorite grade to teach, so I especially enjoy reading blogs from other third grade teachers.

First, is a fellow Florida blogger, Jenny from Sun Tan and Lesson Plans. Jenny lives nearby and I am anxious to meet her!  I am hoping for a Florida blogger meet up this summer. (If there are others out there let me know!) Besides sun tans and beach sand, I found that Jenny and I have something else in common. We both have wanted to be teachers since the second grade. I remember when I was little and just knowing this is what I wanted to do. Please check out Jenny's store and blog. I love her idea of musical scoot games. Never thought of adding that fun twist. Jenny recently wrote about using QR codes in the classroom. So interesting and fun for the kids!
Jenny has donated her Fraction Identification Pack to the raffle. This is something I could really use since we are studying fractions right now. It contains 20 pages of activities aligned with CCSS. Check it out!
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Meet Kathy from Third Grade Doodles. Kathy is a Michigan blogger who longs for a beach vacation! (Florida is not far away, Kathy!) She enjoys teaching writing and has created some fantastic products to enhance your writing lessons. Her Writing Informational Text pack is FULL of resources. She has also created resources for teaching essays, personal narratives, and realistic fiction. You will need to visit her store! She is giving away a product of your choice! There is a lot to choose from!
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a Rafflecopter giveaway

THANK YOU for stopping by this week and entering! 

Day 5! Whew! IF you missed the raffles on Days 1-4, click HERE, HERE, HERE, and HERE to enter those! Remember to visit tomorrow for the last raffle and check on Saturday to see if you are the winner!

Today I'm spotlighting two more bloggy buddies. First is Julie from My Journey to 5th Grade.
My Journey to 5th Grade

Julie was a middle school teacher, but has since made a move to 5th grade. (Welcome to elementary!) She shares tons of math ideas on her blog and has created some wonderful products and Common Core resources. (I love the I Can Statement Packs). I also discovered that she is a very creative clip artist 9is that a word or did I just make that up?) Julie has some beautiful digital papers and frames. You have to check out her store and blog!

For this giveaway Julie is graciously donating her Silly String Digital Paper Backgrounds! How fun are these?! (I might have to enter this one! LOL!) Be sure to enter now! Think how amazing your products would look with these crazy papers??!!

Second on the list today is Stephanie Ann from Sparkling in Third Grade! (I just adore sparkles!)

Sparkling in Third Grade
Stephanie Ann lives in Washington state...the total opposite corner of the country from Florida. Our locations may be opposite, but we share the same ideas about teaching. Every time I check in at her blog she is writing about the same concept I'm teaching at the moment or she offers a freebie or idea that is just right for my class! I have enjoyed getting to know her as a third grade teacher and fellow blogger. I am in love with the products she is offering for this giveaway. (I'm telling you I just might enter today! LOL!) These are her Weekly Reading Records for Fiction and Non Fiction. (The first set has been in TpT's top 100 selling items list. FANTASTIC Stephanie Ann!) These look perfect for reader's notebooks and CAFE/Daily 5 work. You will not want to miss this giveaway! Please stop by to visit her at Sparkling in Third Grade and her TpT store! You will not be sorry!

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a Rafflecopter giveaway

Remember that tomorrow is the last giveaway! There will be 2 more products and bloggers to meet! Hope you are having fun!! Happy Wednesday!

Here we are on Day 4 of my week long giveaway. If you missed the first three days it's not too late! Click HERE, HERE, and HERE to enter the other raffles.

Today I'm spotlighting 3 blogs which means 3 different giveaways! All of these bloggers live somewhere I've been or REALLY want to visit!

First, let me introduce Michele from Coffee Cups and Lesson Plans.

Michele and I started blogging around the same time. We found each other through blog hopping, of course. The more we got sharing and "talking" the more that we discovered we have some things in common. We both love coffee! LOL! THEN I found out that Michele lives in my parents' hometown of Syracuse, New York. I still have many family members living there. I used to spend summers there when I was growing up. In fact, I have family that works in the Syracuse school system. Just a few days ago I found out that Michele lived in Cocoa Beach, Florida which is where I spent some of my childhood!  It's funny when you meet someone from a place you know it seems to create an instant connection. Michele will be heading down Florida way this summer and we hope to meet up while she's here. I can't wait!
Please visit Michele's blog and her TpT store. She is giving away a product of your choice. So check out what you might like if you win. She creates some wonderful math and reading resources!
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Second in the line up today is Alison from Teaching Maths with Meaning
Alison comes to us from the other side of the globe (from me anyway). She is from the beautiful country of Australia, a place I would LOVE to visit someday (not sure I could handle the plane ride though!) It is so incredible to connect and "meet" teachers from all over the world and to share ideas with each other. I'm happy to "know" Alison. Visit her blog and her TpT store. She has created so many math resources there is sure to be something perfect for your class. In this raffle you could win Alison's best seller, Understanding Place Value. WOW! This set is full of so many activities. 

Last, but not least, is a blogger from a place I have dreamed about going and I know I will get to someday! Introducing Corinna from Surfin' through Second Grade

Surfin' Through Second

Corinna is from Hawaii! She surfs after school! How cool is that?! I also love that her kids wear flip flops to school and they take them off before they enter the classroom. Don't believe it?  Check out this post. (I live in flip flops when I'm not at work) Enough of my jealousy! LOL! Corinna creates some incredible resources and clip art. She has many product for the Common Core classroom and I love that she offers them in different themes. For this raffle, she has generously offered Beach Bucks. Read this post to find out more about this awesome product. 

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What is your dream vacation spot?? Leave a comment and let us know! 

Two days left!! The raffles will close at midnight on Friday! I will pick the winners on March 23rd! Good Luck!

Day 1 and 2 have been very busy! Again, if you have already stopped in, thank you! If you are a new follower, welcome. Click HERE and HERE if you have not entered the first two raffles.

Today's blog spotlight goes to two gals from Georgia. These girls have been supportive since day one. I can always count on them to visit me and leave thoughtful comments. I love visiting them in return! They are so generous with their creative ideas and freebies. Meet the Collaboration Cuties!

Collaboration Cuties
Their name fits them to a tee! Stacia and Amanda blog together and create wonderful products together. They are the definition of collaboration (and they are adorable!). Visit their TpT store and you will find high quality products to cover a wide variety of subjects. You can find units for mentor texts like Enemy Pie, I Wanna Iguana, and Stellaluna (some of my most favorite books). Studying the water cycle or fossils? What about the Revolutionary War? These girls have it all! If you do not already follow their blog or TpT store, you will want to get started.

Enter today's raffle for a chance to win your choice of any amazing product from their store! Visit them today and choose your product in case you are the winner! Good Luck!!

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a Rafflecopter giveaway

Remember the fun is not over! Visit the rest of the week for more chances to win wonderful products and to meet more bloggy buddies!

I'm so glad you are here for Day 2 of my birthday bash celebration giveaway (is that title too long?). If you did not enter the Day 1 raffle, click HERE and enter now! I am HONORED that so many of you visited Day 1. I read each and every comment. I appreciate your kind words!

Today I would like to showcase my bloggy buddies from right here in my state of Florida. Presenting Jackie and Danielle, the Sister Teachers.
Sister Teachers

Last summer (before blogging and my own TpT store was part of my life) I spent a lot of time on Pinterest. The more I pinned the more I started noticing the Sister Teachers pop up everywhere! Soon I was a follower and then I was hooked! They pinned the coolest stuff. I wasn't into blog stalking too much then, so I didn't really connect them with their blog. Well, the summer ended and around October I decided to start my own blog/TpT. As I got more into blog surfing guess who I ran in to? The SISTERS!! I was so excited. They were my Pinterest rock stars and now I was their blog stalker follower! AND then they visited me!! Now we're friends.

These girls rock! They teach together and even ride to school together. How cool is that? I am SO happy that they are part of my giveaway and I'm even happier that we are blog buddies! I hope one of these days we can have a Florida blogger meet up (what do you think girls?).

These gals create wonderful products together, too. They are "famous" for their Magic Tree House Units and they have just started creating clip art! How talented! Today's raffle is for this wonderful Number of the Day display pack. Check out their post about them HERE. These packs come in different themes and if you are the winner you will get your choice of theme! Be sure to check out their TpT store, too!

Enter today's raffles and be sure to come back everyday this week to enter a new raffle and meet one (or two or three) of my bloggy buddies! All raffles will close at midnight on March 22. Winners will be selected on March 23.

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