Paper Bag Reindeer

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Aren't they cute??????
Yeah, I now that I'm a few days late with this one.
But this is how my students wrapped their presents to their parents this year.


I know these have been all over pinterest in the last year.  But I made my own template.
and it's free!!!!


to get your own template.


This set has an easy cut template for younger children


and there'a template for older children with better fine motor skills.



And remember you can get your own copy from my TPT store


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How was your 2014?

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So I found this little linky party and decided to join in.
What really caught my eye was the fourteen.  
You see, fourteen is my lucky number.


I absolutely love this quote,


Shoes, shoes, shoes - I just can't narrow it down.
A girl can simply NOT have too many shoes.
Mind you, sometimes I don't remember to wear a matching pair - see number 4 below!



 If you have children of your own, you will understand that when you finally get a babysitter and manage to get your hubby out on a date night, the last thing you want is to be around other people's children in the theatre.  We have found the PERFECT solution to this here in Vancouver.  
Check out the photo below.  You have to be 19 plus years old to get in - that's the drinking age here in BC, and you get food and drink service in your seat until the movie starts.  Check out the photo below.  The middle armrest folds up and you can snuggle your honey during the show.  It's only a few dollars more per ticket too.  



They were my favourite books when I started teaching 20 years ago.  In fact, I originally borrowed them from a colleague.  If you haven't managed to watch this series yet, you don't know what you are missing.

My favourite restaurant experience this year was for my anniversary.  We were in Palm Springs and we went to Spencers.  It was outside in the courtyard in the desert.  TOTALLY ROMANTIC.  My hubby definitely can plan a date!




We went to Disneyland with another family.  I have to say that it was the BEST way to see Disneyland.  I highly recommend travelling with another family whenever possible.  There was always someone who wanted to go on a roller coaster, and always someone available to go see a Princess or two.  And at one point, the boys were in line for a roller coaster, the girls were off in Ariel's Grotto, and I found myself alone in Disneyland.  Talk about a dream vacation!  I sat down somewhere in California Adventures with a Beer and a Hot Dog and nobody talking to me, or arguing with me, or whining, or shouting, or screaming and I enjoyed the solitude in a park for of thousands of people.  It was heavenly!





Isn't he adorable?  
Last summer I lost my little buddy.  He didn't come home one night, and was probably dinner for a coyote, or some other predator - we live on the edge of the forest.  Anyway, a few months later, my hubby brought home this adorable little guy.  His name is Cola - like the drink - and he's totally absolutely the most affectionate cat I've ever met.




I have this image pinned to a board called "Memories from my Childhood".  
This image reminds me of being cozy and happy.
It reminds me of long hours of playing with my Little People.
It reminds me of my old house.
It reminds me of my childhood.



I wrote a guest post for Rachel Lynette's blog Mind's In Bloom.

to check it out.  I agonized over this post, and I'm pretty proud of the result.



I slaved over my blog, my store, and my products this summer.  I've been a TPT seller for a few years now, but this year I decided to try and make some money.  We were on strike from mid- June to the end of September so money was tight/  So I had lots of time, and a very supportive hubby and I spent 14 hour days at my computer and my TPT sales responded appropriately.
Check out my sales graph.




I am a full-time teacher, full-time mommy, and now trying to be a full-time TPT'er - does that sound right?  Well, some days I get a bit scattered.  Here's a photo of my feet - at the Mall, no less - that I took last summer.  I have walked out with two different socks before, but two completely different coloured shoes is a complete first for me.  I can't believe I made it to the mall before I realized my mistake.





One word...

DINSEYLAND.

But the best memory was when my daughter got completely tongue tied after waiting 45 minutes to meet her favourite fairy "princess" - Tinkerbell.





to get 
HEALTHY

My hubby has been on this track for several months now and has lost 50 pounds.  I have decided that now I am ready to follow him on the road to better health.  I'm not just talking about food, but also about exercise, sleep, and more face time with my own children.




PATIENCE

I am working hard at TPT, and my sales have improved, but I am not where I want to be yet.  But I plan to perservere and be PATIENT.  All the feedback seems to say that this is what I need to work on next.


Here's to a fabulous 2015!!!!

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A few days late...

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We hope you all had a fabulous holiday no matter what you celebrate this time of year!


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Candy Elves

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So this year, I decided to make something super cute with my class.  I had these 1" by 8" glassine bage from Stampin' Up! that I bought a few years ago when I was a Stampin' Up! Demonstrator.  I'm not even sure if they still carry them.  Because I have 9 kids in my class from last year, (because I had a 1 - 2 split last year) I knew I needed to make something that I didn't do last year, and seeing as my memory isn't the greatest, I decided to make something that I have never made before.


to go to a detailed tutorial on how to make these.

Let me just say, they are totally cute, but very difficult to make.  Basically I did all the work attaching the bags and hands and feet.  I punched out all the shapes at home because I have all the punches from my time as a SU Demo, and I showed them how to fill the bags, but they still needed a lot of help.  I helped them put on the gooly eyes, and the ribbon at the top.  So, I don't think I'll do this one with a class of 2nd Graders any time again soon, but aren't they absolutely adorable?????

I hope your christmas is going well.  We have just come home from too much turkey at my Mom's for Christmas Eve (which is the big celebration in Scandinavian cultures) and we have the visit from Santa tonight - almost ready, and the inevitable screaming and excitement tomorrow morning and then the traditional British Christmas dinner tomorrow night at my In-Laws.

Thanks for stopping by again today!
Happy Holidays to you all!

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Quick and Easy Snowy Winter Owls

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Here's some more hallway art I found around the school this week.  This was made by a Grade 2 class.  All you need is blue construction paper, white paint, a sharpie, and maybe a bit of yellow paint for the moon.

Paint the ground
paint the tree
Thumbprint owls
Add falling snow
Add moon

let dry

trace over owls and add details with a sharpie when dry.

for a link to the original tutorial for more information.

Thanks for stopping by today!

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This picture just made my day...

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Super Cute and Super Quick Santas

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 Here's a super cute, and easy to prep activity for the last week of school this December.   My Grade two  class were able to do the coloring, cutting and gluing activities very easily, and I twisted the arms and legs for them.  It would be an easier activity with older students. 



And just look at them.  Aren't they adorable?
I just couldn't resist taking a few closeups.


CLICK HERE

to get the template and step-by-step instructions at krokotak.com
Remember, it's in Hungarian, so click on the British flag on the upper right hand corner to translate the site to English.

When I was prepping for this post, I started thinking about all the little personalities that shine through with each individual Santa.   Maybe I'm going crazy because of how high and excited all the students are every day.   They can sense the anticipation and are ready for the holidays.  So if you'll bear with me here,  I'm feeling a bit giddy, and silly.  Perhaps its the holiday cheer I partook of last night at the staff Christmas party!??!  

    Surprised Santa????
Yeah, I know, they're all surprised.  This one just seems particularly so.

Angry Surprised Santa?
(aka Stunned Santa)
I'm not sure why, maybe it's because of the particular child that made this one, but he looks a bit angry to me.  Maybe he's angry because his ears were chopped off?

Dandy Santa!  
(aka Santa Dandy)
This one took extra time to curl that beard this morning.
And he even applied extra color to his ruby lips.


Too Much Holiday Cheer Santa.
Check out that red nose!  
And my goodness, Santa is looking a bit pale here.  Perhaps his Christmas party was as fun as mine was last night.  Even the photo is out of focus for a touch of extra artistic flair.  And his beard is a bit scrunched.  Maybe Santa tripped and fell on his face?






Embarassed Santa.
(aka Red Faced Elf)
This ones a bit red in the face.  Did someone find him 
"kissing Mommy underneath the mistletoe last night?"
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Cute Christmas Freebie

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This is what I tried with my class today.
It's super easy and terribly cute.


You can find these free printables over at Krokotak.com
It's an adorable site.  I highly recommend you take a lot around
It's in Hungarian, I believe, but you can translate the site to English.  
Just click on the British flag on the top right corner of the page.


to download the printable template.

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Christmas Shape Booklet - Fun and New Product at Teachers Pay Teachers

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I don't usually post only about new products, but I've been so busy lately with new ideas buzzing around in my head.  Here's my latest.  It's a multi-leveled shape booklet which is so easy to prep and super motivating for the kids.  They really love shaped booklets.  This one comes in a Christmas Tree shape.


to get your own copy.


There are three different levels


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5 Principles for Using Playing Cards, Dice, and Money Effectively in the Classroom

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Math Games with money, dice, and playing cards – My students love playing math games with dice, money and playing cards.  Here’s some classroom ideas and management tips for using these materials efficiently and effectively and still have fun!

An essential step in learning is making connections.  Cards, dice, and money provide connections to real life.  Sometimes struggling learners wonder why they need to learn something because they can’t see the connection to their life outside of school.  Cards, dice, and money are all thing which they might see in the real world; on TV, in a computer game, or in a book, for example.  Whether I am teaching Kindergarten, Grade One, or Grade Two, I often use all three of these materials while teaching Math.  Sometimes I add a recording activity using pencil and paper, marker and small whiteboard, or chalk and small chalkboard.   Over the years, I have developed some underlying principles which I feel are essential to using these items smoothly and effectively in the classroom.  Things can be very unstructured when kids are working individually, so prepping them clearly maximizes learning through play without creating chaos.

Math Games with money, dice, and playing cards – My students love playing math games with dice, money and playing cards.  Here’s some classroom ideas and management tips for using these materials efficiently and effectively and still have fun!


    Connect the lesson to a child’s life at home:  I believe strongly in using hands-on activities when teaching math.  But something that I find equally valuable is to use manipulatives that children might experience outside of school.  There’s no denying that fancy math blocks, cute little bear counters, and brightly colored linking cubes definitely have a place in the classroom, but not only are they expensive, they rarely provide a connection to a child’s life outside of school.  And I believe that making this connection is extremely important.  I have written extensively about this on my blog here

Math Games with money, dice, and playing cards – My students love playing math games with dice, money and playing cards.  Here’s some classroom ideas and management tips for using these materials efficiently and effectively and still have fun!

       Children need to “get the play out of their system”.  Children innately want to play.  It’s the best tool to help them learn.  I strongly believe that much like an adult’s “job” is where they work, a child’s “job” is to play and learn.  In order to maximize the learning with any manipulative, children need time to play freely with it.  Once they are used to playing with a manipulative, you can provide more structured lessons with clear expectations on how the children can play with them, but first they need time to explore, or else your may find a lot of your children are off-task and playing freely with the materials anyway

Math Games with money, dice, and playing cards – My students love playing math games with dice, money and playing cards.  Here’s some classroom ideas and management tips for using these materials efficiently and effectively and still have fun!

    Mix it up and use a variety of manipulatives to teach the same concept over and over again.  Children usually need a lot of practice with a new concept.  In order to maximize learning, if you switch up the manipulatives they use each day, this increases their chance of making those important connections to the concept you are teaching.  I start out teaching two digit addition with chalkboards, chalk, and money (dimes and pennies).  We draw a place value frame of tens and ones and put the appropriate amount of money over the numbers we are adding.  I have a more detailed description of that lesson here. My point is, after a few days of teaching with this, I introduce the use of cards, and a few days later introduce dice to the mix.  Once the children become competent with the concept of addition and don’t need to write it down, we remove the chalkboard from the lesson.  Eventually they can play a game with only cards involving 2 digit addition.

Math Games with money, dice, and playing cards – My students love playing math games with dice, money and playing cards.  Here’s some classroom ideas and management tips for using these materials efficiently and effectively and still have fun!

    Don’t spend a lot of money.  You don’t need to spend a lot to get manipulatives.  Ask your local casino for their used decks of cards. I got 25 decks of cards from our local casino 10 years ago, and I’m still going strong with them.   If this doesn’t work for you, you can get decks of cards relatively cheap at the dollar store.   You can also buy dice at the dollar store.  The only thing that might cost you a bit is the money.  I use real money in my classroom, and I teach in a poor part of town.   The kids are highly motivated, and make solid connections with real money. You get 2 rolls of dimes and 5 rolls of pennies and you are good for the year.  In 10 years, I’ve added another roll of dimes and 2 rolls of pennies to my collection.   I got the idea from my Mom who started teaching in 1958, when a penny was actually worth something, and she felt that although some of it would “disappear” into children’s pockets most of it did not.   If you lose a few dollars of money each year, that is an acceptable loss.  These days I tell the kids that you can’t buy anything with a penny or a dime, and it’s really not a lot of money.  I find that they rarely steal it. Even though I teach in Canada, where pennies have been discontinued, kids still make connections to them, and I still use them.

Math Games with money, dice, and playing cards – My students love playing math games with dice, money and playing cards.  Here’s some classroom ideas and management tips for using these materials efficiently and effectively and still have fun!

    Prepare the children on how you want the classroom managed.   I find that if I use the same management techniques with every lesson, my expectations are clear, and the kids’ behaviour is better, thus I can teach more in a short amount of time.  Whenever I am introducing a new manipulative I demonstrate how to distribute the manipulative, and from then on I always distribute the manipulative in the same manner.  In my classroom, my cards are all mixed together in a big bin.  The kids know how to “grab a stack” and make sure that it is no fatter than their finger.  This eliminates kids with huge thick stacks of cards and ensures that there are enough cards for everyone.  I also always teach some sort of “ready position” for each manipulative.   Ready position with dice and cards means the kids put everything down on the table, and their hands in their lap.  With chalk and chalkboards, ready position means the board is wiped clean, the brush and chalk are beside the board on the table, and the children’s hands are in their lap.  This prevents kids from playing with things while I am talking.

So these are my 5 principles for using Math, cards, and dice effectively in the classroom.  There are hundreds of resources out there with math games and ideas.  Here’s a link to a free resource from me.  I find that my 5 principles allow me to teach with intent – I know why I am teaching this way.  They also allow me to teach fun lessons which are engaging, efficient, and effective.


Math Games with money, dice, and playing cards – My students love playing math games with dice, money and playing cards.  Here’s some classroom ideas and management tips for using these materials efficiently and effectively and still have fun!

If you are interested in learning more about teaching math with playing cards, dice and money, try out this freebie from my store, and have a look around at the other products for Grades K to 3 while you're there.


to get the Freebie


Math Games with money, dice, and playing cards – My students love playing math games with dice, money and playing cards.  Here’s some classroom ideas and management tips for using these materials efficiently and effectively and still have fun!



Sandra Farrell has been teaching for over 20 years in a Canadian urban setting in Canada.  She has a Masters’ of Education and a Post Graduate Diploma in ESL (ELL) Instruction.  Sandra spent a year teaching Kindergarten in New Zealand many years ago.  Sandra lives with her teacher-husband and two school-aged children who are often used as guinea pigs to try out her latest product for sale.  Sandra is an award winning papercrafter and avid ice-hockey player.  She is the name behind Sandra’s SavvyTeaching Tips and also Papercrafting Teacher.
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Interactive Notebook Templates

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I finished up a huge project of mine today.  I have 7 new packs of Interactive Notebook Templates in my store - and a mega BIG BUNDLE at a hugely discounted price.  I specialize on interesting and unique shapes.  Most of these templates you won't find anywhere else.

Check out the details by clicking on each of the photos below.

You can get a little taste with a cute little freebie HERE











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