Still blogging from the middle of nowhere, USA. Our trip across the country: "Destination Grand Canyon", is quickly coming to a close soon and I'm sad to see it go... Arizona is one beautiful state. 

Monday is back to reality and I'm kinda looking forward to it. I'm not someone who can relax and do nothing for 10 days straight. Am I the only crazy one like that?

Here's a lil freebie I made up to share with my sweet followers. Click on the picture to download.

While your there, enjoy 15% off everything in my TpT store. Don't be a 'fool'! Sale ends April 2... Go spend those credits!! :)

No, I didn't' fall off the face of the earth... however, I got pretty stinkin' close! Check out this view...
Grand Canyon Sunset {no.words.can.describe}

I love Spring Break!!
Needless to say, I haven't been able to get as much done on my "teacher to-do" list as I'd hoped during this 10 day road trip {who knew there wouldn't be good internet signal in the middle of nowhere}... but I was able to mark one thing off the growing list! YAY!
Check out this lil guy...

 With Common Core right around the corner for Florida, I've been busy making the transition. This packet will be great to help build addition fact fluency in first and second graders! It's perfect for allowing student's mastery at their individual levels in just one minute a day! Quick and easy- just the way teachers like it, right?!?

Check it out in my TpT store!

I'll be sending you your double winnings shortly! Thanks for playing ya'll.
The best holiday EVER is just 4 days away. It's the first day of spring AND it's my birthday!! There's no better way to celebrate than by having a TpT sale AND a giveaway! But that's not all, there's a freebie too! Tell me if that's not 10 kinds of awesome?!? :)

From now until March 20th everything in my TpT store will be 15% off! Don't miss it! I just posted my newest spring unit: Ready, Set, Grow!: A Plant Observation Log and Science-Literacy Packet
Click on the picture to grab your copy!

...and here's a lil freebie for my sweet blog stalkers...
Click on the picture to download

...and now for the giveaway...
TWO WINNERS will receive these TWO packets:

Step 1: Follow my TpT store by clicking here(one entry)
Step 2: Follow my blog. (one entry)
Step 3: Like my {newly created} facebook page by clicking here. (one entry)
Step 4: Leave one comment for each entry and tell me what you love about springtime.

Refer a friend to follow my blog and when they leave your name in a comment, I'll DOUBLE both of your entries and your friend's entries too!

The giveaway will end at 5:00pm on Wednesday March 21st. Winners will be chosen by a random number generator and announced Wednesday evening.

Happy {almost} Spring!

Our writing skill this week is all about asking good questions. I don't know about ya'll, but I was having nightmares about this topic. Don't laugh, it's completely logical. What usually happens after a guest speaker says, "Are there any questions?"...I can almost GUARANTEE that there's a handful of students that raise there hand to say, "one time..." and they proceed with a story about a related experience. Bless their tiny little hearts, they just don't quite grasp HOW to ask a questions.

We started our writing block today by interviewing each other. This got their juices flowing! We then did this little writing activity.You can grab it for free from my TpT store!

I was inspired by the greatest website known to man  women: PINTEREST (duh.)

I found this cutie and knew I wanted to make it my own...
Pinned Image we made wee little leprechaun men...
They're so darn cute!! Right?!?

Here's a few of the best questions from my kiddos...

Goodbye nightmares! My little people really got it today {PTL!}

Grab your freebie here!

The strangest thing happened today-I got the "I need to," itch. Does that ever happen to anyone else? I'm not the queen of clutter busting unless I get "the urge" and today- for whatever reason- I.had.the.urge. I totally blame it on my expensive , spontaneous journey into the almighty IKEA yesterday. I walked through the mecca of organizing and FELL.IN.LOVE with these fab lil guys...
They come in loads of different sizes, colors and patterns. And talk about easy assembly! I had 6 boxes built in less than 6 minutes. is throwing a linky party and I've jumped on the bandwagon! Check out the blog- it's FILLED with some of the absolute greatest organization tips ever! LOVE!

So, here's the before pictures from my head first dive into "project: organize now"... I must warn you, if you're weak at heart, you may want to turn away- this is about to get ugly.
...just one side of my closet. Trust me, you didn't want to see both sides... 2/3 crafts, 1/3 school supplies cabinet...

...scary, I know...

But, here's the results of my hard work:

       (both sides)

 ...the 2/3 craft, 1/3 supply cabinet...

There's something about being organized and purging those pesky dust collectors that just makes a girl sleep peacefully at night.

Happy Tuesday ya'll!
Spring Break: 8 days and counting!!

**If you purchased my "There Was An Old Lady Who Swallowed a Clover" unit, my kiddos found a typo during"rehearsal" of the reader's theatre today. Head over to my TpT store to re download your copy!

Chelsey Merkel!


A big thanks to everyone for playing along! If you didn't win, you can still grab my "There Was An Old Lady Who Swallowed A  Clover" packet on sale through Tuesday, March 13th! Don't miss it!

Also, I just updated my "Lucky With Numbers" math packet to include recording sheets. It's on sale through the 13th as well!

Have a "lucky" week sweet friends!

Hey folks! Happy Saturday! Today's the start of my very first giveaway! I'm excited to share with you my best selling packet from my TpT store! If you're a K-2 teacher, your little people will LOVE this pack! My students are over the moon about the reader's theatre that's included... we plan to have a few "special visitors" come watch their performance on Friday!! They are all kinds of excited!

All you have to do is follow my blog and/or follow my TpT store...

Then leave ONE comment on this post and tell me why you feel "lucky" to be a teacher! A winner will be chosen at random on Sunday evening! Make sure you leave your email in the comment so I can contact you if you win!!

You get one contest entry per "follow"- so that's a possible 2 entries if you follow my blog and my TpT store!

Spelling is such a tough piece of the puzzle for developing readers. If your little ones are lacking strong phonological awareness skills, phonics becomes a bigger mountain to climb. I'm sure you know what I mean. As a primary teacher, we get "da" (the) and "chrubl" (trouble). They write what they hear.

So our team shook things up a little this school year. We decided to throw spelling out the window from August to January {2nd grade teachers, please breathe!}. Instead, we did weekly sight word tests to grow confidence, exposure and fluency. Our team adopted a "600 word challenge" last year {but that's a post for another day}. Basically, our little ones have to learn 600 sight words by the end of the year and having weekly goals really helped our little people.

So what happens to those weekly sight word tests come January? I'm glad you asked. We transition into spelling instead. It's about that same time of year where we hit Unit 7 in our SRA Imagine It! reading program. If you're a first grade teacher using this program, you're aware of the "great transition". It's the point in the program where our kiddos go from "learning to read" to full blown comprehension strategies and assessments. This transition also includes spelling words that go along with the weekly phonics skills.

I knew that I HAD to find a way to motivate my newbie spelling testers, since the rate of returned homework is minute at times. I've found through experience {particularly this year} that my class needs competition to light that fire of desire.
I often hear "You're at_____?!?" and it sparks something in the boys my students to push themselves harder. It's twelve kinds of awesome.
A perfect example of competition/motivation would be my tracking system for guided reading levels.

...Or this little tracker for the 600 Word Challenge...

So, I set out on a hunt to change up the predictable Friday spelling test. And here's my final product...

Don't judge. It's not the cutest thing in the world, but it really seems to be working!! 

Basically, if a student gets 100% or higher on their spelling test{because of bonus words}, then they get displayed on our Star Speller board for the week.
Now, let's be honest, time is not in abundance during the school day so I've made this about as "teacher time friendly" and I can. What's the secret?? POST-ITS!! They make these cuties in all kinds of shapes and colors these days!
(My fav? The apples!! Have you seen them?? Adorable.)

But anyway, I'm using these guys as a short cut... and I'll tell you the best part... I don't have to rewrite names every week. My students just pull their name off and stick their post-it on the back of the chart pad or vise versa!


My "Star Spellers" get to write (with GEL PENS!) on brightly colored notebook paper for their next selling test!! Now that's some serious motivation in first grade world. I'm tellin' ya'll, the power of  colored paper and pens!

How do you motivate your spellers??

Happy Wednesday ya'll {insert angels singing here}!

Just wanted to to do a quick drop by to tell you about my latest unit and give you a little freebie too!
My kiddos are currently working on number order and comparison, but still struggle with odd/even, tally marks and basic addition. Because our district makes our pacing guide, and because our whole team stays together with the plans- it's harder for me to go back and review with my littles as needed. I find myself incorporating fun little centers or math tubs for my early finishers. Some days our math lessons are shorter or easier than others, which also lends itself to flexibility and I can squeeze in a review activity here and there. So, here's my latest math unit...hopefully your firsties could use a review on a few basics too {I hope I'm not the only one out there ;)}. This unit would also be PERFECT for end of the year Kinder kids! Click on the picture to grab your copy!

Click here to get a free writing prompt AND a  free luck charm sort (for some reason, blogger won't let me upload them...but you can grab it from my TeachersPayTeachers store by clicking on either title) Sorry!

And then check out this adorable craftivity idea I found on molliemoo!
Aren't they both just the cutest!


 Count down to Spring Break: 13 school days!! :) :)

Do your littles just LOVE the "There Was an Old Lady Who Swallowed A..." series? It's something about being allowed to yell out  choral read during a read aloud that just pushes their excitement to the limit! So in an effort to nurture their sweet love for these stories, I introduce to you my newest unit inspired by the darling little Irish tale: There Was An Old Lady Who Swallowed A Clover by Lucille Colandro.

Click on the picture to get your copy!

This 29 page literacy packet includes loads o' fun:

*Sequence Cards
*Reader's Theatre Character cards
*Original Reader's Theatre script
*Label a Leprechaun
*Leprechaun Brace Map
*Leprechaun Tree Map
*Alphabetical Order sort
*Alphabetical Order recording sheet
*Noun and Verb Sort
*Noun and Verb recording sheet

Hope you find it useful! Let me know what you think!

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