Sunday, July 27, 2014

Smooth Sailing: Organizing Reading Strategy Manipulatives!

Okay, so maybe I just miss being self-contained sometimes.  Maybe I miss teaching math and science because of how inherently hands-on those two disciplines are.  Maybe I miss teaching little people sometimes.  Just a tad.  In all reality, I LOVE my departmentalized position, and I am excited to go back to a third and fourth grade (quasi-split) position to teach ELA and social studies.  I LOVE this position!  I just really LOVE incorporating fun props and manipulatives a whole heck of a lot.  So, I try to find ways to make my lessons concrete and kinesthetic whenever possible.  This means that I have a ton of tools to make this happen, and they need a place to live.  To function like a well-oiled classroom machine, everything must have its place.  There has to be a method to your madness.  Right?!  So, I am here to share how I store all of my reading strategy manipulatives.  It's certainly nothing revolutionary, but it works well for me, and I hope I can help a person or two by sharing how I organize my resources.  My hope is that it well set you up for SMOOTH SAILING as you begin a brand new school-year!

Okay friends, I really have to level with you for a moment before we delve into the topic at hand.  I am a HUGE proponent of matching your storage materials to your classroom color scheme.  I settled on bright colors nine years ago, and I have stuck with that basic color commitment ever since because I love it.  It's so cheerful and lovely!  Aside from a few themed activities like my Testing Tailgate, I intentionally do not let any primary colored items (aside from splashes of yellow) into my room.  Maybe you aren't as sensitive to shades and color families as I am, but I am the kind of person who fixes pictures frames at restaurants when they are slightly crooked.  I notice when a sconce is 1/8 of an inch higher than the matching sconce on the wall.  I just have OCD sensitivities, so for me, matching tubs is a must.  Notice that all of my tubs are the same color too.  Even though I have pops of pink, purple, black, silver, white, and lime green throughout my room, my tubs are all consistently colored.  It's less abrasive that way.  It creates a more calming effect, and it becomes part of the background instead of competing for attention with more meaningful classroom items.  As it should be!  Now, I have a basic metal bookshelf.  Nothing snazzy.  To jazz it up a bit and to cover some of the tubs to simplify this area further, I hung simple white curtains on a tension rod.  As an extra bonus, they make the classroom a little cozier too.  Notice how I number each tub with matching labels.  Yes, I could inventory my goodies that way, and it makes it easier for me to tell a student to grab tub number three, it also unifies the collection and distracts from the items inside of the tubs.
If you look at the second photo, you can see how I stash some of my larger props at the top of the stack out of sight.  I want them to be in a convenient location, but I don't want to see them.  :)

Let's take a peek at some of the contents, shall we?  I try to group similar items together according to reading strategies/purposes.  The first tub is full of items I utilize when I am teaching visualization.  The second container contains metacognition goodies.  The third tub is stuffed with sticky notes I've collected from the Target Dollar Spot over the last few years.  The fourth tub contains answer buzzers and the frames I use to label each answer choice to use with the buzzers.  As you can see, they are not organized haphazardly.  I can go over, grab the visualizing tub, and be ready to rock and roll in a small group instantly without wasting time digging through cupboards or sorting through objects.

Now I know that my post is all about organization, and I know that you are spending cash left and right as you prepare for the new school-year.  I am willing to bet that plenty of people reading this have not bought a single thing for yourself.  You might want a new skirt or bag, but you are stressing about buying it because you are spending money on setting up your classroom.  I know that guilt well, so I want to offer a chance to win a gift card for Ann Taylor LOFT.  I LOVE that "LOFT LOVES TEACHERS", and their style is perfect for the classroom.  It's one of my favorite stores... partly for the pretty clothing... and partly because they know how to have a good sale!  I am such a sale shopper, and they deliver on a regular basis.  They also offer a teacher discount when you show your ID badge.  (#winning)  So, are you excited yet?!  Enter to win below!  The giveaway will end on August 2nd.  In the meantime, let's get this party started!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Do you want to hear something else that's exciting?  I am teaming up with a bunch of intermediate sellers to offer a big jackpot prize as well!  I'm offering my newest...Stop, Collaborate, & Listen: Speaking and Listening Like Rock Stars! Speaking and Listening skills are becoming increasingly more important inside of school and in the workplace. I believe that it is so important to lay the foundation in elementary school, to teach accountable talk, and to give my students plenty of opportunities to collaborate, share, and integrate technology! This packet is packed with 173 pages of activities that foster discussion, critical thinking, debate, and more! Of course, it's just one small piece of the pie! I will be choosing one person from the Rafflecopter to win the jackpot bundle too!  Yay!


Are you ready to hop around and find out what other goodies are being offered at my bloggy buddies' blogs?!  Click through below to enter to win more prizes and learn more about the products that are up for grabs!

Monday, July 21, 2014

Rounding Out the Christmas in July Sale!

Hey, hey!  Good gravy, friends!  I have been spending WAY too much time working and doing stuff on the computer lately, so I am going to try to simplify things for the next few days.  I desperately need to UNPLUG, but I also want to be able to offer Christmas in July savings in MY SHOP, so here's how the rest of the sale will unfold.  Have a great week, friends! :)  I hope you find some time to unplug and enjoy the rest of the summer too!

Sunday, July 20, 2014

Vegas Teacher Blogger Meet Up!

Oh my goodness, I cannot even adequately express how honored I am that I got to be a part of the Vegas Teacher Blogger Meet Up!  My friends have organized it for the past three years, but this was my first year as an "event planner" so to speak.  It was so much fun working together to accumulate tons of fun prizes, but it was SO much more fun meeting everyone in attendance.  It honestly blew me away to see a room so stuffed with passionate educators.  I seriously get a little teary eyed when I think about teachers giving up their precious summer vacations to network and attend conferences to keep growing and adding to their proverbial tool belts.  It made me all goose-bumpy being in a room FULL of people just like that.  For real. It's such a neat experience when you can literally FEEL the energy that permeates through the space.  I'm an emotional girl... if you couldn't already tell.  ;)

In all seriousness, I am so glad that I was working by the door passing out raffle tickets because it was a packed house!  I actually got to meet people as they shuffled in through the door, and although I was slightly concerned that I would lose my voice before presenting the next day, and although I did feel a little bit like a broken record, it was all 100% worth it.  I had SO much fun chatting with everyone and putting faces with names and blogs.  Thanks for coming, friends!  I am already looking forward to next year!

We took over 200 pictures of the event and there's no way to showcase them all, but here are a few snapshots of the night.

It was so fun getting to meet some of our online bloggy friends for the very first time! Plus, we got to meet so many teachers from all over the country - we even had teachers from across the world!!
(Shout out to our friends from Spain and Australia!)

*To see more pictures from the meet up, visit the 

Here are the wonderful ladies who made this meet up possible and helped us line up such amazing sponsors.

(Not pictured: Kathleen Pedersen)

Besides meeting such amazing bloggers and teachers, the best part of the meet up was all of the amazing prizes that were donated from our sponsors! 

Here are all of our generous friends who offered prizes for our meet up:


Thank you to everyone who came to this event! We appreciate everyone who was able to come and mingle with us. We're already thinking about next year's meet up, so start saving your money for next year's Vegas meet up!!

Feeling sad that you couldn't join us this you? Wishing you could win some of these fabulous surprises? 

Well... as a special treat, we are giving away two Erin Condren gift cards!! Enter the Rafflecopter below for your chance to win!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Saturday, July 19, 2014

Stop, Collaborate, and Listen: Speaking and Listening Like Rock Stars!

Hey, friends!  Speaking and Listening skills are becoming increasingly more important inside of school and in the workplace...rightly so!  I believe that it is so important to lay the foundation in elementary school, to teach accountable talk, and to give my students plenty of opportunities to collaborate, share, and integrate technology!  Practicing speaking and listening doesn't have to be basic or boring!  This packet is packed with 173 pages of activities that foster discussion, critical thinking, debate, and more! Here's a little sneak peek!

 If you're wanting to revolutionize your speaking and listening lessons AND get a head start on the new school year, this file is on sale today and tomorrow as part of Christmas in July!  :)

Thursday, July 17, 2014

Christmas in July- Presentation Products!

Well, it's no secret.  I have had quite the busy summer, and it's not slowing down any time soon. It is CRUNCH TIME at the Nickerson residence.  I am working, working, working  like a busy little bee trying to finish grad school assignments, a new resource (gasp!),  and trying to get work on some SDE handouts before next week.  So, I am going to take the easy way out today for Christmas in July.  Everything I mentioned in any of my sessions in Vegas or New Orleans will be on sale for 20% off today and tomorrow!  These are some of my favorite products!  You'll have to scroll through my store to check them out, but the big red sale tag will help you know what is marked down!  Think of it as your road map.  ;)  I don't have a lot of extra time today to make a big fancy post, but I know that what really matters is marking my stuff down to help my cyber-friends prepare for the new school year.  :)  Just click on MY SHOP to check out the sales! 

My Expanding Vocabularies Pack is on sale, and so are my word work packs!
Dictionary Dig & The 'Saurus

Expanding Vocabulary

Expanding Vocabulary

Expanding Vocabulary

Word Warriors- Greek & Latin Word Work Pack
My Close Reading pack is also marked down! 

All of my Test Prep resources can be snagged at low, low prices! They are great for football season too!

Okay, so that's the gist of it.  Like I said, you'll want to poke around the shop a bit to see ALL of the related goodies that are on sale besides the features products.  :)  In the meantime, I am going to keep busy with this guy.  I am hoping to post it tonight!  Yes, after a long hiatus, I actually made something new!  #stoptheworld #backwithabrandnewaddition #justdatedmyself   Have a fab day, friends!