Monday, September 26, 2016

Oriental Trading Wishlist Goodies!

Raise your hand if you love Oriental Trading!!! I know I do!! 
I love looking through the Oriental Trading catalogs that I get at school and my students do too! I usually order arts and crafts projects and student gifts for the holidays and end of the year. When Oriental Trading contacted me about making a wishlist, I had the opportunity to really take my time and look at their website ... and oh my goodness there are SO many things that are useful in our classrooms!

To create your wishlist, first make sure you have an Oriental Trading account. Once you are logged in, you can click on Wish List to view your list.

When you are browsing the site and find something you like, just click the little heart to add it to your wishlist! Easy peasy lemon squeezy!

Here are some items I put on my wishlist and just had to have!

Check out this pillow! Yes, Oriental Trading has pillows!!! I love that there's a zipper on the cover so I can take it off and wash it... because we all know that Kinder kid germs are the worst!

This pillow comes in several colors and is perfect for your classroom library or to be used with some flexible seating options!

I shared this timer on Instagram a few weeks ago because it was my favorite find while creating my wishlist! It's a 3-minute timer, and it's absolutely perfect for transitions and letting my students know how much time is left during an activity. Sometimes I forget to flip the timer and a few minutes later someone will tell me, "The timer ran out!" Love it!!

A photo posted by Elyse Rhodes | A is for Apples (@peaceloveapples) on

These ten frame trays are perfect for math stations and all those cute erasers that I buy from the Target Dollar Spot!! These will be a year-round staple in math stations for sure!

Do you struggle to keep your treasure box stocked?? My students don't go to the treasure box every week so my items last a bit longer. Now, I'm fully stocked with this bag of goodies from my Oriental Trading wishlist!

If you are looking for nametag necklaces, these neon necklace badge holders are just what you need! (Plastic badges not included.) We're over 30 days into the year and not one broken necklace! They are also a good length on the kids!

From comfortable pillows and toys to learning tools and necklaces, Oriental Trading has it all!!! Make sure you head over and make a wishlist right away! Don't forget to share it with your parents, too! You never know who wants to buy a gift for you and your classroom!
*I was provided these products from Oriental Trading for review purposes, but all opinions expressed are mine.

Wednesday, September 7, 2016

Fun Activities for Color Words (and a FREEBIE!)

It's been almost 20 days of school and I'm loving my class this year! They are hard workers, and we've been having lots of fun with back to school activities. One of the topics I like to cover during the first month of school are color words. I love showing them that since they already know their colors, they can learn to read the color words and become readers!!

We used one of my favorite read alouds and an activity of mine to practice our color words! We started off by reading and listening to Pete the Cat I Love My White Shoes. (I could listen to those Pete the Cat songs all day...they are so catchy!!) YouTube is sometimes blocked depending on how the WiFi in my building is feeling that day, so I found this video version of the book on TeacherTube.

Reading Pete the Cat to practice color words

After Pete the Cat, I pulled up my colors emergent reader on my interactive whiteboard, and we went through the book together. We practiced pointing and reading each sentence and used the picture clues to figure out the color words. I had them put a dot of that color in the hand.
Once we finished reading the whole book, they had to go back and write the sentences. There are 5 different versions of the emergent reader in this pack depending on your students' writing needs.
This year, I chose to use the book with boxes for each letter. It helped them with the sizing of their letters. (I have some kids who are writing really huge and all over the place!)
I did have a couple students who used the tracing version since they are still struggling with their fine motor a bit. All they had to do was trace each sentence instead of write it on their own.

Using emergent readers to practice reading and writing color words

Once the writing was done, we got to coloring!!! Since we already went through the book together, they knew all of the colors for each page and could fill in the rest of the pictures. This activity did take awhile, so I let them leave the books at their seat all day if they didn't finish or if they just wanted to read it again.

I love how these readers work on so many important, beginning of the year skills! We can practice one-to-one correspondence by pointing and reading the text, review color words, and practice handwriting. I told my kiddos to take this book home and read it to everyone in their house!!

Click HERE to see these in my store!

Colors Emergent Reader

I created a freebie to go along with the emergent readers. This book is in color so it can be printed, laminated, and put together to go in your classroom library! Students can also take it home to practice reading it. You can reduce the size when printing to fit 2 pages onto 1, so students can take it with them! Grab it HERE!

Another activity I'll be using for color word review are my Read-Trace-Write-Glue sentences. Just like the emergent readers, these cover so many skills - Reading, handwriting, and sentence structure (plus cutting and gluing!)
Once we review how to complete this activity, I like using these sentences as a warm up during morning work time before they have some independent reading time.

We will continue our color word review during literacy stations by using my Colors Write the Room activity! There are 3 versions of this activity included in the pack so you can practice color words again and again! Tracing pages for recording are included, too.
I also like to keep a set of these cards in my writing station to give them extra practice.

Sunday, August 14, 2016

Best. Pencil. Sharpener. Ever!

Hey all!! I'm coming to you today with a bit of advice for a school supply that I think you'll absolutely LOVE!! You may have already heard of the Quiet Sharpener from Classroom Friendly Supplies, and I'm here to tell you that it really is the BEST!!

I've been back in school for a couple weeks already, so I brought my sharpener in to test out on all those new pencils I've been getting. I also had my co-worker try it out to make sure I wasn't the only one obsessed with this sharpener... After trying one pencil, my co-worker ran to get a whole container of pencils to sharpen!!!

This sharpener is super simple to use and comes in several brilliant colors! It comes with a little hook so you can attach it to a counter or shelf. I think I'll be leaving it on my desk for a little while because I love looking at it and hogging it!

Just 4 simple steps and you'll get a nice sharp pencil with no loudness involved!


Step 4: Once the pencil is in, just turn the handle! The metal piece that you pulled out will slowly move in while you sharpen. Once the handle becomes too easy to turn, that means your pencil is sharp and ready!!

I seriously recommend that you check this sharpener out and get one for yourself! Just head on over to Classroom Friendly Supplies to get one in your favorite color!

Look at how sharp it makes the pencils! I found that if I don't want my pencils so sharp, I just stop turning the handle a little early. It still sharpens quietly and works perfectly!
A photo posted by Elyse Rhodes | A is for Apples (@peaceloveapples) on

Wednesday, July 27, 2016

Florida Welcome Social at the TpT Conference!

The Florida bloggers had a great time welcoming everyone to Florida to kick off the 2016 TpT Conference! We want to thank everyone for coming out and joining us as well as our amazing sponsors and donors!!
Mary, from Full of Smiles Photography, did a fantastic job of capturing the event!

First, we must thank Adam, Amy, and Paul for coming to our event!! Don't they look great?!

A huge thank you goes out to Sarah from Educlips for making this amazing clip art!

But for real... Thank you to Team TpT for coming out to the event!! It was so awesome for them to come and help us welcome everyone to Florida!

BIG thanks to Tabitha Carro from Smartphone Marketing for all her support and fun giveaways throughout the event!

Another huge thanks goes out to A+ Images for sponsoring our event and giving away a class set of shirts!

We hope everyone enjoyed all the great stuff they found in their swag bags! These were packed with goodies from the Florida bloggers and donors!

Thank you to the amazing sponsors above as well as these great sponsors and donors for helping to make our giveaways and prizes the best!
A Modern Teacher
Safari, Ltd
Seat Sacks
Simple Soap
The Fit Teacher
Denise Boehm: Sunny Days in Second Grade
Amy Labrasciano
Cara Gingras: Kindergarten Boom Boom
Kimberly Solis: Elementary Antics
Your Thrifty Co-Teacher
Ta-Doodles Illustrations
Alexis Sanchez: Laugh Eat Learn Designs
Meg Anderson: The Teaching Studio
Teaching in the Tongass
Lyndsey Zurawski: Speech to the Core
Fern Smith's Classroom Ideas
Lovely Leaders
Kristin Bowers
Meg's Crayons
Learning Harbor
We hope you'll come back to Florida and the land of palm trees very soon!!

Saturday, July 23, 2016

Create Your Own Amazon School Supply List!

Did you know you can create a school supply list on Amazon??!!
This is a brilliant idea because SO many people order things from Amazon... so what's to stop them from adding a few things from your supply list to their order?!

4 easy steps to make an Amazon school supply list

First, head to Amazon and make sure you are logged in. When you hover over "Wish List" you'll see an option for "School Lists" at the bottom. Click it!

Amazon school supply list - Step 1

Next, click on "Start a new list."
You can come back to this screen later and click on "View/edit existing lists" to find your list and add more items to it.

Amazon school supply list - Step 2

Then, start adding things to your list! You can search for items, click on categories, and search by grade level suggestions. Just click on "Add to list" and it will get added to your supply list.

Amazon school supply list - Step 3

Last, when you are done adding items, click on "Publish & Share." (Don't worry, you can still add more items to your list even after you publish it.)

Click on "Share" to see ways that you can view and share your list - email, post a link, print, etc!

Amazon school supply list - Step 4

I'll be putting the link to my Amazon supply list in the back to school brochure [from my wonderful friend Katie of Simply Creative Teaching] that I'll be handing out at parent orientation. I'll also email it to my room mom so she can help out with getting some supplies/wish list items!!

Have fun with this!! It can't hurt to add something to your list. Lots of people order on Amazon, so it may be an easy way to get some things for your classroom! If you have any questions, just leave it in the comments and I'll do my best to answer them!!

Click on the image below to PIN IT for later!
4 easy steps to make an Amazon school supply list