Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Free PaperMate Pens at Target!

I just learned that the PaperMate Target coupon is still available on the Target website. Go there and print the PaperMate coupon up to twice per computer if you are going to Target. At Target, this coupon is good for $1 off any PaperMate product. PaperMate Eagle ballpoint pen 10 packs are on sale for $1 now making them free after the coupon!

This coupon may be only available for a limited time so if you want this deal, you will probably want to print the coupon soon.

Sunday, July 29, 2012

Back to School Deals & Steals - 7/29 - 8/4

Here are some of my favorite deals from this week on school supplies!


Items using a coupon from the weekly ad:
 Hard handle scissors - $0.49
 Pencil or index card case - $0.39
 Pack of 100 index cards - $0.39
 Mini-highlighter - $0.15
 2 pocket portfolios, with or without prongs - 3/$1.00

Items on sale with no coupon needed:
 12 pack colored pencils - $0.69
 3 pack glue sticks - $0.49
 96 sheets construction paper - $0.99
 Keychain calculator - $0.99
 Lockmate clip-on sharpener/eraser - $0.99


With a $5 minimum purchase you can get:
 100 pack paperclips, $0.01 - limit 2
 2 pocket folder, with or without fasteners, $0.01 - limit 10
 Pocket tissues, $0.01 - limit 6
 1 inch Avery binder - $1.00 - limit 2

Deals Under $1.00
 12 pack Prang colored chalk - $0.25
 5 pack Bic mechanical pencils - $0.25
 Staples composition book or one subject notebook - $0.50
 Roseart 24 pack crayons - 2/$1.00

One Dollar Deals
 Staples ream multi-purpose paper - After $5.99 easy rebate
 Staples memo book with magnetic closure
 Mini 4"x6" poly snap envelope
 Box 10" envelopes
 Staedtler compass or protractor
 Staples dry erase board eraser
 6"x 9" writing pads
 Assorted patterns composition book
 15 pack Roseart colored pencils
 Staples photo supreme 50 pack paper - After $13.99 easy rebate

 Deals for $5 and Less
 Scotch expressions tape - 2/$3
 Expo neon dry erase markers 5 pack - $5
 Magnetic dry erase board with marker and eraser - $3
 Lysol santizing wipes 35 pack - $2
 125 Staples pushpins in a jar - $2
 50 pack Staples clear sheet protectors - $5
 Swingline compact stand up stapler - $5

Office Max

With a $5 minimum purchase you can get two of each of the following items for free:
 24 pack crayons
 Wooden ruler
 Hand held pencil sharpener

Deals Under $1.00
 4 pack Office Max glue sticks - $0.50
 Office Max ply 3 fastener folder  - $0.50
 Clear zipper binder pocket  - $0.50
 10 pack Dixon pencils  - $0.10
 10 pack Papermate ball point pens  - $0.10
 College or wide rule filler paper 100 pack  - $0.50

Deals $5 and Under
 1 hole or 3 hole notebook punch  - $2.00
 Office Max notebook or 2 pocket folder - $1.00
 Package brown paper lunch bags - $1.00
 8.5" x 11" dry erase board - $2.00
 1" Office Max durable view binders - $3.00 - Must buy 3
 Clorox 35 count disinfecting wipes - $2.00
 Reams of Office Max paper - $3.00 - Must use coupon from ad
 24 pack assorted ball point pens or mechanical pencils - $5.00 - Must use coupon from ad
 PaperPro compact stapler - $5.00 - Must use coupon from ad

Max Perk Deals - Get money back on items with Max Perk rewards. You can save your rewards and 'roll' them by buying new Max Perk items with the rewards to save you money.
 Swiss Gear backpack  - $0.01 after $69.98 back in Max Perk savings
 White laser mailing lables, 3,000 pack - $0.01 after $29.98 back
 Duracell batteries - $0.01 after $9.98 back
 Multi-purpose paper ream - $1.00 after $5.99 back


$1 Deals
 10 or 12 count USA Gold pencils
 Maped hand held pencil sharpener
 3 count Pink Pearl erasers
 8 count RoseArt washable markers
 16 count RoseArt watercolor paint tray
 10 count Papermate pens

$2 Deals
 1 inch clear cover binder
 College ruled fashion notebooks or composition books
 Fashion pencil cases or pouches
 48 count Crayola crayons

$3 Deals
 12 pack Pentel colored pencils
 Mead 3 subject notebook
 12 pack Elmer's glue sticks

 Office Depot

Deals Under $1
 Office Depot brand folders - $0.01
 Personal hand sanitzer with clip - $0.25
 10 pack Office Depot ballpoint pens - $0.25
 24 pack Scholastic crayons - $0.25
 Office Depot composition books - $0.25
 Office Depot acrylic ruler - $0.50
 Office Depot 12 pack eraser caps - $0.99
 12 pack Office Depot wood pencils - $0.99
 Office Depot filler paper - $0.99
 Space Saver pencil box - $0.99

$1 Deals
 Office Depot adult scissors
 Scholastic book covers
 Erasermate pens 5 pack
 Mini metal storage bins
 Foray erasable highlighters (are these new? I never heard of erasable highlighters!)
 3 pack Pink Pearl erasers
 Really Useful storage boxes
 Stainless steel 12" rulers
 PowerHouse antibacterial wipes
 2 pack School Works 5" scissors
 Office Depot poly index card box

$2 Deals
 12 pack wood pencils
 Prang watercolor set
 Super sticky dye-cut Post-It notes
 100 pack Office Depot sticky name badges
 200 pack Office Depot reinforcement stickers
 Liquid Paper correction tape 2 pack
 PaperPro mini stapler

$3 Deals
 Energizer AA/AAA 4 pack batteries
 28 pack Bic mechanical pencils
 Five Star reinforced filler paper
 Office Depot clipboard
 5 pack Sharpie markers
 Magnetic dry erase board
 4 pack Office Depot invisible tape
 10 pack Post-It flags

$4 Deals
12 pack Junior writing pads
300 pack Art Street construction paper
Office Depot multipurpose paper bonus ream
 12 pack Office Depot low odor dry erase markers
 PaperPro compact stapler
 Office Depot 3 hole punch
 Really Useful 3 L. storage box

Friday, July 27, 2012

Fabulous Friday Freebies: Summer Olympic Educational Freebies

Since the opening ceremonies for the 2012 Summer Olympics is tonight, I thought it was only fitting to post free lessons and educational tools with a summer Olympics theme. Here is a list of some great Olympic freebies.

I am offering a freebie with a summer Olympics theme. Included in this packet are five puzzles and five creative drawing fast finisher pages with a summer Olympics theme. It is perfect for fast or early finishers. Check out my free packet here!

I have posted before about this free summer Olympics memory game but wanted to remind you that it is still available. The graphics are so adorable and well-done!

Tinyme.com is offering some free Olympic games and activities including an opening night ceremony bingo game among others. The flag activities on the website would also be perfect for a social studies lesson.

Cooperative Learning 365 is offering a free Olympic games activity pack. It includes some history about the Olympics and has some activities to help students become familiar with the countries participating in the games. Six total activities are included. Activities are recommended for grades 3-8.

Education World has some great summer Olympic lessons ideas for a variety of subject and grade levels. Check out all of their interesting lesson ideas! I especially love the idea of creating a summer Olympics game in your classroom.

CurrClick is offering 12 free country studies lessons from countries that are participating in the summer Olympics. Check out this post to see where you can find all of them.

Lastly, PreKandSharing has a nice collection of free Montessori inspired Olympic math activities. Students will really get into the spirit of the games with these activities!

Do you have a free summer Olympics activity? Let me know below!

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Back to School Deals & Steals

When I'm not teaching I'm often looking for ways to stretch a buck and get the most for my money. With all the back to school sales, this time of year is most often the best time of year to buy school supplies and get a great deal on them. Here are some excellent deals you can get this week on school supplies.


You may or may not know but you can use up to two coupons when buying things at Target. You can use one manufacturer coupon and one Target store coupon per item. This can make for especially good deals! Here are my favorite Target school supply deals this week.

Use the $1/1 Target PaperMate writing utensil coupon to get $1 packs of pens for free! ($1 cost - $1 Target coupon)
96 count construction paper - $1
40 sheet drawing pad - $1
2 count kids scissors - $1
2 count pink eraser - $0.50
24 count pencils  - $1
100 index cards - $0.50
1 hole pencil sharpener - $0.50
6 pack of Elmer's glue sticks - $0.99
12 pack Crayola colored pencils - $0.99
8 count Bic mechanical pencils -  $0.99


There are some hot school supply deals at Walgreens this week! Here are my favorite picks.

Using coupons from the weekly ad:
Highlighters - $0.19
Two pack erasers or 15 pack cap erasers - $0.29
Mini composition books - $0.20
School supply box - $0.69

Items on sale no coupon needed:
Sticky notes, Sharpie marker, bottled glue, or jumbo glue stick - $0.39
Flexible ruler or protractor - $0.50
50 sheet legal pad - $0.33

 Office Max

After purchasing a minimum of $5 from Office Max, you can receive up to 20 #2 pencils for FREE!

$1 Office Max Deals:
Plastic pencil case
Kids scissor
.14 Liter Storage Boxes - 2/$1!
Two pocket folders
35 count resealable sandwich bags


With a $5 minimum purchase at Staples you can purchase items for only a penny! Those items include:
Pink cap erasers
Index cards

Using rebates, get these items:
Zebra mechanical pencils - FREE
Pentel RSVP ballpoint fine pens - FREE
Ream Staples white copy paper - $1
HP Everyday Photo paper pack - $1

Only $1
RoseArt markers or watercolor paint
Brown clipboard
Dry erase calendar

Only $2
Clorox wipes container
Staples Accel notebook
Staples graph ruled wireless notebook
 100 sheets filler paper

What back to school deals have you scored or seen this week? Fill us in below!

Saturday, July 21, 2012

Checks for Understanding

In order to gauge whether or not your students are meeting the objective before you get to the final assessment, it is important to check for understanding along the way.  There are several ways to do this, but here are four of my favorites....

1) White boards are fun and highly interactive.  I use them regularly.  Each student gets a white board and dry erase marker.  They are prompted to respond on their white board.  After the alloted amount of time you've given them to respond is up, you have them hold up their boards so you can see at a glance if they understood or not.  Another variation of that is to have them write on sheet covers.  This is especially helpful if you want them to fill in a template/graphic organizer or complete a process.  The guide goes into the sheet cover and they fill it in with their answers on top of the sheet cover so the answers can be erased and they are able to do multiple problems.  Keeping a seating chart inside a sheet cover handy allows you to mark which students might need more direct support.

2) Physical cues allow you to check in very quickly, just like with the white board.  They can be done in a variety of ways.  For example, thumbs up/thumbs down is a quick check for understanding.  Teach them how to sign the alphabet and they can sign their responses to multiple choice questions.

3) Stop and jot is good way for students to quickly process what they are thinking and give you feedback.  I like to pass out post-its to my students.  They write down a brief answer to a question and I collect them.  I am then able to look them over in a matter of minutes to see where there are gaps in understanding.

4)  Manipulatives are great ways to engage your students while you go around to check for understanding.  Because they are working through problems with tangibles, it is very easy to see whether or not they are following along.  In math there are endless ideas (counting pieces, tangrams, etc.)  In reading I like to have them do word/idea sorts.  I will give them a set of words printed on slips of paper and have them categorize them.  I'll also do this with pro/con debates.  I'll put paragraphs on slips of paper, some for and some against a set topic.  Then they sort them accordingly.

Checks for understanding are crucial.  If we wait until the end of a lesson or unit to see if our students understand, then we are losing valuable time with the students who are confused.  There is too much ground to cover to go back and re-teach everything the next day or next month.  Being strategic about finding out where there are gaps in understanding is crucial in helping to make sure our students do not fall through the cracks.

Fabulous Friday Freebies: Becoming More Digital

So, it's Saturday and I'm just now getting around to posting this week's Friday Freebies.  What can I say?  It has been one of those weeks...one of those months.  My apologies.  

Anyway, I wanted to take the time this week to blog about making part of your classrooms and class procedures digital.  There are several ways to do this, but I have found that students really appreciate it. They talk about how much they like being able to find and post assignments online.  If they lose something or are absent, they are able to find out what they missed/need without hassle.

Edmodo is a website teachers and students can join for free.  Teachers are able to post readings and assignments online.  Students are able to create accounts and submit work. It is a great way for students to keep track of their assignments.  If they lose handouts or forget what the homework is, they can look it up.  It is easy to navigate and provides students with the practice they need to help them navigate the requirements of online courses.  

Sunday, July 15, 2012

Fast Finishers Art Packet On Sale

If you are looking for something for your students to do when they are finished early with an assignment before others, consider my Fast Finishers Art Activities packet. Included are 50 printable pages with a variety of creative drawing activities. All your students need to complete these are a pencil and something to add color such as markers or crayons.

Check out a few examples of some of the pages that are included below:

From now until Wednesday, July 18th this packet will be on sale at 15% off. That's less than 10 cents a page! It's a great bargain so check it out today.

Friday, July 13, 2012

Fabulous Friday Freebies: Free Team Building Activities for the Beginning of School

After seeing the school supplies start to fill the stores this week when shopping, it reminded me of one thing: back to school time. This was especially depressing to me since I haven't even finished teaching summer school yet and have several weeks left! However, back to school time got me thinking about team building activities and how to create a community atmosphere in your classroom.

Having students that support and encourage each other and work towards a common goal make a happier school year for both you and your students. Team building activities are on of the best ways to build that atmosphere and are perfect for doing at the start of a new school year. At my school we don't stop at the start of the school year, we do weekly team building activities to encourage our students to work together to succeed. Here are some links to fabulous free team building activities.

  • Wilderdom has some links to fun team building activities that mostly involve movement to work together. There is a nice sized list of team building activities to choose from and links to other sites with more. The Amoeba Race sounded especially interesting to me, and educational at the same time!

  • eThemes by the University of Missouri has a list with an enormous variety of team building activities. Team building activities on the site range from writing activities, discussions, kinesthetic learning, posters, and more. Most of their team building activities focus on elementary students grades 1-6.

  • Oak Harbor Cheer also has a list of more than 25 different team building activities. While the activities are described for cheerleaders, they really can apply to a variety of students. There are many kinesthetic and discussion based activities that need little to no prep work.

  • For creative students, check out the Insight's list of activities. There is a huge list to choose from including some artististic activities, discussions, and more! It is easily available in a PDF format. There are many unique ideas there that I have never considered. I am definitely keeping this one on the burner for fall.

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Technology in the Classroom: Fun Photo Editing Project Idea

One lesson that after trying one year, has remained and been adapted and warped ever since was a photography editing project I did with my students one year during summer school. Most students love to take or be in photos so using a camera was a high interest lesson to them. Photography is also a concept that can be applied to a variety of subject areas.

The first time I had students do a photography editing project, our school's theme was community service. My students selected a community issue and took and edited photos to create a display to showcase that issue around the school. Students became invested because they could select their own issue and they enjoyed taking and editing the photos. Since then I have used this project in different ways but the high interest and excitement of my students remains.

This unit could easily be adapted to almost any subject area. For history, students could photograph and create a document of current history to show future students or capture the past of an area. For math students could identify and photograph mathematical concepts such as symmetry, angles, etc... that occur naturally and document their findings. For language arts, students could reenact scenes from their latest novel and create a photo-graphical storyboard of their current book.

This project doesn't take a lot of equipment and is fairly easy to do:


  • Digital camera - I brought in my own camera from home or your school may have one you can use. I tied a large piece of yarn around it and instructed students that they must always have the yarn around their neck when handling the camera to prevent falls. I also asked them to hold it with two hands when passing it to others. Since they knew they were using my own personal camera they were extra careful with it.
  • Access to a computer lab - I used Phixr as a free, no registration necessary, site for students to edit their photos.
  • Ability to print photos - Since we do not have a color printer at school I saved all the photos to my USB driv and printed them at Walgreen's. Checking online I found a 40% off code so each photo was only 12 cents. You may be able to find even a better deal!
  1. Before starting the project, I discussed photography with my students and showed them some examples of effective photos. We talked about ways to take good photos such as angling the camera and looking at things in a new way (looking down or up at a subject, for example), and using shadows to your advantage.
  2. Students selected their issue they wanted to display in their photos and they brainstormed ways they could display that issue in a photo. Some students brought props in to use in their photos and some used things they found around the classroom or outdoors.
  3. We took some photos of still life objects we set up in the classroom and took photos outdoors as well. I encouraged students to take multiple photos each, so they had many to select from.
  4. After taking the photos students went to the computer lab and edited photos. It is a good idea to try the editing device ahead of time since students will have a lot of questions!
  5. After photos were edited, I printed them out and students created frames and poster displays for their work.
 My students greatly enjoyed this project and I hope it gives you some ideas that you can use in your classroom.

Have you used digital photography in your classroom? Please share your tips or lesson ideas!

Sunday, July 8, 2012

An Excellent Resource for Writing Teachers...

Writing Fix is a website with some excellent writing resources.  There are...

  • writing prompts
  • materials for teaching various genres
  • resources for teaching writing across the curriculum
  • information on the latest authors
  • strategies
  • and much, much more

There is something there for everyone and it is free!  Check it out!

Friday, July 6, 2012

Fabulous Friday Freebie

One of the best sites for comprehensive teaching strategies across the curriculum is www.achievementstrategies.org. This website has a variety of free resources for you to use and share.

There are graphic organizers and frame paragraphs for teaching reading and writing skills and strategies. They include text structures for fiction and nonfiction passages along with guides to help students write concise summaries.

There are quick reference lists of high frequency vocabulary to teach in a variety of content areas.

There are professional development tools, templates for long term planning, information on Response to Intervention and so much more!

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Some Summer Reading Suggestions

The school year is so busy, that it is difficult to find time to get to all those back-burner items on your to-do list.  You know what I'm talking about....all those things you tell yourself you'll get to next week and never do.  One of those for me is getting through my teacher reading list.  If you have one, great.  If  you'd like to create one, but don't know where to start, here are my top five suggestions for authors to read that address some of today's most pressing educational challenges...

1. Ralph Fletcher has written a number of books on how to run writer's workshops, engage your male writers and how to make writing matter to students.

2. Alfred Tatum has written extensively about how to teach so African American males are successful in classes that teach literacy.

3. Jawanza Kunjufu has written over 30 books on the education of African Americans.

4. Jeffrey Wilhelm has researched and written extensively about how to educate struggling readers.

5. Richard Allington has looked at Response to Intervention and writes about what he believes must really be done to help close achievement gaps.
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