Classroom Volunteer Gifts

I love my classroom volunteers! They support both my students and myself in so many ways every single day! This year I am lucky to have a classroom volunteer every day (parents and grandparents)! I even have 3 Art Docents (also parent volunteers) signed up this year... some classrooms have no volunteers!

I wanted to send a little Thank You Christmas gift to each volunteer. I searched Pinterest :) and this is what I came up with.

That is a bottle of the foamy Bath and Body Works hand soap with a tag that reads:


you are the

Click the picture to download a free copy of the tags!


It's almost here...Cyber Monday!

So this year I planned on avoiding the Black Friday madness... then many stores decided to open Thursday night (Grey Thursday?) and my husband talked me into going out. What for? The StarWars blue ray box set... yes... we finally found it at the second store we went to, but the line was waaaaaay too long for a one-item purchase!

So we went home (after I rummaged through Bath and Body Works!) and I got online. I was pleasantly surprised at all of the online Black Friday Deals! That got me even more excited for the upcoming TPT cyber Monday deals!

I have been adding items to my cart for over a week! I am so so excited! 

All items in my store with be 28% off--don't forget the Promo Code: CYBER!

Here are some of my most popular winter products!

$2.00 = regular price

$3.00 = regular price

$4.00 = regular price
**I am working on updating this product to include an Array-hunt game 
and more real-life story problems that involve using arrays.

Always free :)


Columbus Wrap Up

My students and I had a lot of fun learning all about Christopher Columbus this past week.

First, we watched a quick video from Discovery Education that highlighted Columbus and what he is known for. 

Next, because we have been working very hard on complete sentences, after we completed this chart, each student chose one statement to write about Columbus...and I taught them how to draw a ship!

Then, we read a Scholastic Weekly Reader magazine dedicated to Mr. Columbus. Each student in my class has a subscription to the Scholastic Weekly Reader. We LOVE our magazines! They are filled with fun facts, current events, and TONS of non-fiction text features!!!

In our magazine we learned that one of the treasures Columbus took home with him was pineapple! Interesting, right!?  One of my wonderful parent volunteers comes once a month to bake something with the birthday kids for that month so I found a pineapple sponge cake recipe for them to make us!

While the birthday kids are learning about measurement, following directions, and baking safety, the rest of us are reading the recipe and predicting what the final product will look like!

I was a little worried that my 2nd graders wouldn't enjoy pineapple cake, but they LOVED it!!! Well, all but one little guy loved it :)

Next month I will add in a data collection piece and create a graph that shows who loved it and who didn't so much.

I had sooooo many kiddos tell me how excited they were to have the recipe so they could go home and have mom make it :)

Last week was a really great week! I don't think they will ever forget that Columbus treasured pineapple!

This week we are having our Halloween celebration at school and the following week is Fall Conferences. 

Pumpkin carving and pumpkin seed roasting at the Helm house this weekend!

Thanksgiving is just around the corner! What better way to get your kiddos to practice their math facts but to put them on a Thanksgiving Placemat?! Be sure to check out this {FREEBIE} at my store:


Vowel Posters

Happy Friday! Oh, this weekend couldn't have come soon enough! My husband was out of town for three days this week on a fishing trip for work... why doesn't teaching come with perks like that?! :) Oh right, we get every holiday off... and summer... :) But I still missed him, and it made the week seem so much longer!

Well, all of my reading stations are allllllmost up and running. 

We have been doing RTS, RTSo, LTR, and Work on Writing... we have spent some extra time on these four rotations because that RTSo station is just so hard to keep at a whisper level.  And I am determined to make stations work this year... so I am putting in my time to set expectations!

As I began introducing the Word Work station this week I realized I needed some vowel posters. Most of my 2nd graders know their vowel "lickety-split!" as one of my sweet little girls would say.

But for the few who are still working on this, I felt posters would be helpful.

I couldn't quite find the ones I wanted on TPT, so I created my own!

Click on the pictures or {here} to download your free copy!

What do you think? Helpful?


Week One: Check!

Well, Week One is officially in the books. And it was a great first week!

I made a promise to myself that this year I would not rush into curriculum, but rather, I would spend more time setting up routines, procedures, expectations, and I would build our classroom community.

We did just that! 

We talked a lot about our school rules (SEARCH Guidelines... we are the Explorers)

Safety for all
Eager to Learn
Accountable for actions
Respectful to all
Cooperative with others
Have a Bully Free School

Mostly we talked about what this looked like when we are in the classroom, hallway, lunch (gym), and at recess.

We talked a lot about my behavior management system. 

I have never had so many students end their day on pink!!! I loved signing the "Outstanding" notes each day, too!

I loved getting to know my students this week. Each day I had a "get to know you" activity planned. 

We talked about our First Day Feelings with the help of Nemo

We shared interesting information about ourselves with M&Ms :) thank you She's Crafty for this great idea!

We practiced being Bucket Fillers! Thank you Alisha {Bubbly Blonde Teacher} for the freebie!!!

My 2nd graders are awesome bucket-fillers so far! They totally get it!! Tomorrow we are making our Bucket-filler book, I can't wait to hear their ideas!

We also made our All About Me pennants :) They turned out great!

Click {here} for the freebie!

Whelp! I am ready for this coming week. Plans are made and I am ready to take on our first full week!

But I'm not going to lie... I am ready for next weekend, too :) 

I love having so much time with my husband... love it!


And the winner is...

Thank you to everyone who entered this super fun giveaway! I wish all of you could win. But there can only be one, so congratulations to....

Rafflecopter randomly chooses one person from all of the entries. It looks like Emmalee was entry #155 and chose the option to "Follow my blog".

Congratulations!! I have your email address (blacked out above for privacy). I will send it to Katie at Wise Decor and she will be contacting you soon!

Let me know which Wall Word you choose! :) 



I am so excited to be hosting this giveaway for all of my blogger friends and followers!

Katie at Wise Decor Decorating contacted me asking if I would like to do a Giveaway and product review of their Wall Words products. This family-run business has been creating custom decorative wall decals, words, and quotes to help us decorate our homes since 2003. 

I jumped at the chance because let me tell you...my friends and family are obsessed with vinyl decals like the Wall Words and Wall Decals! 

In fact, about two years ago I somehow talked my husband to let me put a huge vinyl "wish" on our old bedroom wall :) It is beautiful and I am secretly hoping we have a baby girl one day so we can keep it up since that room would be the nursery. 

Katie was kind enough to let me choose the Wall Words I would be reviewing :) This was a difficult yet easy process. 

Difficult because there is SO MUCH TO CHOOSE FROM...and I wanted to choose just the right one! They even have a special spot dedicated to classroom-perfect Wall Decals

On the other hand, choosing my Wall Words was super easy because their selection, editing, and ordering process is fool-proof! There are many colors, fonts, and sizes to choose from that make it all that much more fun and personalized to you and the space you intend to place the product!

So here is the quote I chose

Students may forget what you said, 
but they will never forget how you made them feel

I decided on this very special quote because I felt like I might need this reminder throughout this school year in particular. Being a National Boards Candidate I have been told that I will be overwhelmed, stressed, unsure of myself, and constantly challenged, busy, out of time...I don't ever want to lose sight of why I am teaching nor why I am going for my National Boards. I believe in the power of quotes and positive thoughts, and this one is perfect!

FYI: I chose purple... my favorite color :)

When I received my package (YAY!) I was a little nervous because applying the "wish" in my bedroom was extremely challenging (not a Wise Decor Decorations product). At one point I wanted to just rip it all down and throw it away! Thankfully my husband is much more level headed than I am and was able to help me get it on our wall. So I was a little apprehensive to be applying these Wall Words all on my own. 

Included in the package were step by step directions and a little squeegee to help support me.

All I needed was my Wall Words, masking tape, pencil, ruler and the squeegee. Five easy steps later...voila!  It was on the wall! I love it!!!! 

It is in the perfect spot... my work space at home. I spend A LOT of time in that chair!

Now for the Giveaway! You have many chances to enter (using the Rafflecopter below) and win your own $75 gift certificate to Wise Decor Decorations! Hurry, hurry! You have until Sunday (8/25/13) night to enter! I will announce the winner Monday morning!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Good luck!


TPT B2S Sale

I know you already know, right?! Well here's one more reminder. 

Get to TPT right away! August 18th and 19th are two of the biggest TPT days of the whole year. We all look forward to this time! Absolutely everything in my store is 28% off, even the items that are only a dollar!

Here are a few reminders:

1. Go give your feedback for items you have already purchased!!! Feedback = TPT credit toward your next purchase!

2. Don't forget your Promo Code: BTS13 to enjoy the entire 28% off!

3. Think in the future... not just BTS items, but what about your winter stations, or Halloween stations... are you ready for that? Wouldn't you love to get something now that you can tuck away until later then pat your self on the back and say "Oh yea! Remember how smart I was when I bought that on sale way back in August?!"  :)

Have fun! 


Teacher Week: Day 4, Taming the Wild--Classroom Management

Linking up with Bloghoppin again! I missed yesterday but it is ok, I don't quite have my first month or week figured out yet :) I really appreciated being able to take a sneak peek into all of your planning though!

In my classroom I use a color system and it looks like many classrooms out there use a similar classroom management system. So you know how it works!

There are a few things about this system the I love:
*All students start each day on green "Ready to Learn!"
*Students not only work to stay on green, but they work to move their color up! If they make it to the top of the chart then they get to choose  special take-home note letting their family know that they had an "Outstanding" day!
*If students move their color down, they can earn their color back! They still have a chance!

At the first school I ever taught at we used a school wide color system but students could not move their colors up, and they did not have the chance to earn their color back.

I had an extremely challenging student that year. I mean, he made me question why I just spent 4 years in college preparing to be a teacher... it was that bad. But the color system did not work for him! If he had to move his color down he would just come undone! I tried to get him on his own system but was not supported by my principal. So I proposed letting him earn his color back and she agreed to that! 

It made all the difference. When he moved his color down he didn't go into a tail spin. He would actually talk with me about what happened (or just listen) and then I would suggest things he could do to earn his color back. I watched him like a HAWK to catch him doing something, anything that could earn him his color back!

So when I moved to a new school the following year I designed (or so I thought) this new color system! I seriously did think I was the only genius out there to give students the opportunity to move their color up and to earn their colors back. My teammates at the time thought it was great and innovative and all that jazz....

...then Pinterest came along! hahaha :) I quickly learned that MANY teachers use a very similar system.  But it is good to know that it works with other kiddos, too!

At the beginning of the school year I always tell my students that it is my goal that by Spring Break no one will be moving their colors down, at least not past yellow "Slow Down". This ends up being a great challenge for my students and I can honestly say that we don't have students moving to orange or red after January usually! They just get it. 

I spend so much time going over expectations every single day.

I make a conscious effort to give praise and positive reinforcement to the students who are following expectations rather than scolding or managing the few who are not following expectations.

I watch for my class leaders to emerge. It makes my heart happy when they encourage each other and keep each other accountable. Plus it makes my job easier, too!


Teacher Week: Day 2: Classroom Tour

Well, my students don't come until September 4th...we have open house August 27th which is also our first contracted day back to work. I have been in my classroom for two half days this summer but only because I moved classrooms at the end of last year and I am revamping my classroom theme.

This year (and hopefully I won't want to change it again next year...) my theme is bright chevron!

I created a Classroom Basics product that includes:
Welcome Banner 
Student Name tags
Supply Labels
ABC display posters
Number Posters
Daily Schedule Cards
Word Wall Letters
Mini Flags
Birthday Display
Days of the Week
Months of the Year
Table Numbers
Pencil Exchange

I LOVE this product and can't wait to get it all put together in my classroom! I have a few pictures I can share with you... but not many, sorry!

Word Wall

Please revisit me in a few weeks to see more! I am completely redoing my Writer's Workshop area and I am super duper excited about it!

Link up!! I love seeing other classrooms, you are all so creative and push me to keep decorating mine :)


Teacher Week, day 1: Let's Talk about me!

Welcome to Teacher Week, 2013! This week the lovely ladies over at Bloghoppin are hosting an awesome link up!

I am loving all of the blog posts today! Getting to know the people behind my favorite blogs is interesting and fun! I am linking up with Bloghoppin' too!

1. I am training for a half marathon. Ugh, I said it now I really have to do it! :) I have been training since May. When I started I could BARELY run a mile without stopping. Now I run 4 without stopping, then 2, rest, 2, rest...and so on. That is my running plan! But can I tell you a secret. I am not really loving it. I mean, I like running every now and then, but the pressure to run 3 - 4 times a week which adds up to nearly 25 miles a week... I am just a little over it. Maybe I shouldn't have started training so early, or I should have chosen a sooner half marathon. After September 17th, I am taking a running break!

2. I am in love with my first nephew, Nolan. He is just over a year old now and is the most perfect little boy ever created! I always thought that I would be heartbroken if I had a boy first but even though Nolan is not "mine" he has totally changed my feelings on all of that. He is so sweet, funny, curious, and suuuuuper cute! And I love that he is getting to the age where he recognizes me!

Here he is being my ring bearer... he fell asleep before his duties :) Oh well :) Still love him to pieces!

3. My husband and I LOVE cupcakes! We are kind of cupcake snobs actually. We found the best cupcake shop, Celebrity Cakes, and lucky us it is only 5 minutes from our house!!

 YUUUUUUUMMMMM! I love the Pink Champagne and anything chocolate. Josh is adventurous and always gets their new seasonal/special flavor :)

They made our wedding cake, too! Simple but yummy!

4. I made our wedding invites and programs! Since blogging and making products for TPT I have become obsessed with fonts! What better way to explore more fonts then to make our wedding invites and programs :)


I also made a story board that gave a timeline of our life together. I love this and just can't throw it out!! It is leaning up against a wall in the upstairs "big room"... I just don't know what to do with it!

5. My husband introduced me to Theater shortly after we started dating in 2010. We have seen Wicked three times! Once in New York, and twice in Washington state. It is our most favorite show to see! We have not seen it in 2013 yet... it isn't coming anywhere close to here :(

These are the shoes Josh surprised me with the night we went in 2012!  He said he just had to get them for me because they were green and sparkly! :) So sweet :) I had to bring flats to change into because that heel was so tall! Such a sweet idea, but my teacher feet are not used to heels!

 6. We just finished a HUGE renovation at our house. We started in December and are pretty much finished. We have little things to do like we want to buy a new front door and I still need cupboards in my new laundry room, but for the most part we are finished! My dad has worked in construction all of his life and we were VERY lucky to have him pretty much build our entire addition himself. He needed help from time to time but he did it all :)

We took off the back 6 feet of our old house (it was a really old addition) that had a laundry room, bathroom and mudroom. We added on 20 feet and a second story! We added a master bedroom (with walk in closet), master bathroom, 2nd bathroom (YAY!!! We are no longer a one bathroom household!), laundry room, and an upstairs room, which we call the "big room" because it is big and empty right now. One day it will be Josh's game room.

SHHHHHHHH! I am saving my TPT money to buy him the new Xbox One when it comes out in November :) It will be perfect for his game room!

Day one of demo (December). The roof coming off the back of the house is the top of the old addition that came off that day.

About a month in (January)... my dad and brothers finished the subfloor and are working on the walls for the first floor.

A few weeks later (Feb) ... the bottom floor has walls, we have a second story floor and the trusses are up! Now they are sheeting the roof so we can have the roofers come. Windows don't go in until the roof is on just incase something flies off the roof we wouldn't want it breaking a window!

Working on the inside. My dad taught me how to waterproof the walls in the shower and then how to tile! That was way more work than I thought it would be! 

FINISHED! (April) The top picture shows the back of the house and the bottom picture shows the back yard looking from the back of the house. That is our mini garage back there :) Josh's next goal is to expand that! Notice that I changed the color of our house slightly. Josh had painted the trim black before we met... and it just didn't seem welcoming to me. He was kind enough to agree to change it to white and the tan/yellow shingles to a light sage green! Looks awesome I think! He does too :)

7. I wasn't a huge dog fan before meeting Josh and his dog Malone. Now it is safe to say I wouldn't feel complete without my buddy. He follows me around everywhere, even to the bathroom... He sits at my feet (well off to the side...) when I work on my computer. I just love him to pieces!

8. Washington state (the Pacific Northwest) is the most wonderful place to live! We live moments away from the water and just a short car ride away from islands (via ferry) to go exploring for whales! We have gone to the San Juan Islands every summer since we met. Josh took me kayaking for the first time and now we do it every summer! 

9. I believe that the crockpot is the best invention out there. ever. enough said. 

10. I am working toward my National Board Certification this school year. Is anyone else out there???!!

Alright friends! If you are still reading I applaud you! That was much longer than I anticipated! 

Link up! I want to learn about you, too!

Here's what's coming up for the rest of the week!