The Teacher's Crate Review

Being a teacher is hard.  Our hours are long, our feet hurt by the end of the day, and our job is never ending.  It's the most rewarding job that you could possible have, but it can also be very difficult to find some work-life balance and time to treat yourself. As teachers, we deserve to be spoiled every once in a while.  We're constantly doing for others so when someone does something for us, we appreciate it even more.  

That's exactly how it felt like when I received my first package from The Teacher's Crate. As a longtime fan and admirer of Birch Box and Stitch Fix, when I heard of this subscription box JUST for teachers, I knew it would be something special!  When I saw the package sitting in front of my door with that cute little owl on it, I got all kinds of excited.  Who doesn't love coming home to multiple gifts picked just for you?!  

When you first open your box from The Teacher's Crate, you're immediately giddy with excitement.  The first thing you see is the careful packaging and personalized note waiting for you.

The note details The Teacher's Crate philosophy and how they're dedicated to giving teachers something they will love.  Ummmm yes please, I thought FINALLY a company gets it!  The note continued to detail the different items found in the crate and why they were chosen just for teachers.

Each item in the crate was cuter than the last.  I loved the bookmark and put it right into my book as soon as I got it.  And who doesn't love a large stack of adorably designed post-it notes?!  Not this teacher!  Not to mention as a first grade teacher obsessed with all things craftivities, I knew the sparkly red border was bound to come in handy.  It's evident that every item inside The Teacher's Crate was carefully chosen with an on-the-go and dedicated teacher in mind.  I couldn't wait to put my new greeting stickers and mousepad to good use at school.

But, the one thing I was most excited for was this "TOTES" adorable tote that couldn't have come at a better time.  My teacher bag was on the fritz and I knew this tote would definitely come in handy. You know you're a teacher when you can't have enough tote bags!  Am I right?!

I can't wait to receive my next subscription box from The Teacher's Crate and find out what super cute items they've chosen for the next month.  I will definitely be recommending this subscription service to all of my coworkers and am going to gift my mentee a subscription for Teacher's Appreciation coming up!

Are you interested in trying out The Teacher's Crate for yourself?!  I would think so!  I'm so excited because this fantastic company has allowed me to give a one month's subscription away for free to one of my readers!  Just leave a blog comment below telling me what makes your teacher heart happy and enter to win your own package of happiness.  Giveaway will close on Tuesday, so don't miss out!

I can't wait for you to receive your own little package of teacher happiness with The Teacher's Crate!  If you're a subscriber, I'd love to know how you've liked it too! 

Enjoy your weekend lovelies.  And as the bookmark says, Keep Calm and Teach On.

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Pebble Go Research Reports for the Primary Classroom

Happy Saturday everyone!  I'm so excited to be popping in today to share about a fantastic resource that helped my first graders complete their first research report.  

In first grade my students are responsible for completing a shared research report using technology.  When my team and I first looked at this standard we were weary.  Researching in first grade?!  Could our little ones handle this?!  Were we capable of releasing so much of our "teacher power" and letting them run the show?!  The answer to all of these questions were obviously YES.  With a little research, I came across this fantastic resource that my school had just purchased, Pebble Go.  If you are unfamiliar with this site, I HIGHLY recommend you looking into it.  It's an emergent reader research site that provides access to several different databases.  My school only purchased the animal database but there are several more to choose from such as biographies, science, social studies, dinosaurs, and animales (a Spanish version).

After looking through the animals on the database, I saw that it would be easy to separate the animals into different habitats and create a report template for all of the first graders to use.  I compiled a list of animals that live in four different habitats and provided each first grade class with animal reports in their assigned habitats.

My class chose to research animals that lived in the Rain Forest.  The animals that they could choose from included:

After we assigned our students animals, it worked out to be two students working on the same animal.  Some classes chose to have those students work together, mine worked independently.  

Each student was given three papers to use during their research time.  The first page perfectly lines up with the Pebble Go site.  Each tab of information for their animal had a circle for them to record their information on the workmat.  The second sheet was to be used when students watched a video on their animal from the site or learned some new fun facts that didn't fit on the other sheet.  The last page, students will use in the next few weeks to create a paragraph summarizing all of their information that they learned about their animal.

My students were each given their animal on an index card and shown how to search for their animals on the site.  Once they found their animals they quickly got to work!

Having the notes template match the format of the Pebble Go site really helped my little ones research successfully and with complete independence. With only a little bit of encouragement the kids really really off and running on their own!  Here are a few action shots of my little ones researching.  I love how engaged and determined they all are!

Researching the gorilla

Serious panda concentration

This little one loved the video of the frog!

A little orangutans research. 

How cute is that panda bear?!

I had to take a step back and watch my kiddos for a little bit.  They were so engaged and working completely independently.  It was definitely a proud teacher moment.  This was so eye-opening to see how capable kids are when you give them the right tools!

If you're interested in doing an animal research report in your primary classroom with Pebble Go, you can find my Animal Reports Packet in my TpT store here!

Teacher and student directions with visuals for easy use!  As well as Common Core State Standards for grades K-2.

Class book covers for each of the four habitats and lists of animals included in the packet.

Three different report templates for each animals.

I hope you give Pebble Go a try!  My kids really enjoyed it and can't wait for their next research report.  Thank you so much for stopping by. 

Five for Friday...On A Friday!

What a week, woh!  It feels good to kick my feet up after this long one.  It was a great week with my littles but my first FULL week of work in way too long.  Between snow days, sick days, and professional development days, I haven't had a full week with my first graders in I can't even remember how long.  So, getting everything (almost everything) accomplished with my first graders this week felt oh so good but OH.SO.EXHAUSTING!  I'm so excited to be joining Doodle Bugs Teaching for her Five for Friday linky party on an actual Friday!  I'm not sure the last time that happened either!  Let's dive right in!

We're at the tail end of our nonfiction chapter books unit in writing workshop.  Which means, before we can "fix up and fancy up" and get ready to publish we have to gasp...EDIT!!  It's a difficult transition from revising to editing so I wanted to provide my firsties with some additional tools to help them focus and make the switch.  I found these adorable editing checklists from JD's Rockin' Readers and they were a huge help to my students.  Partner that with the chance to use brand new green editing pens!  My students fell hook.line.sinker.  I want them to be able to see the changes they're making to their writing as part of the writing process.  The different color pens always help (thank you Lucy Calkins).

This week I received my first The Teacher's Crate package and I was so excited to open it!  I'll be blogging more about the adorable goodies that came in my first shipment in another blog post but I couldn't wait to share this little tote that was part of the package.  How perfect is that?!  I couldn't wait to bring it with me to school the next day!  Check back soon for a full post on the fantastic other teacher themed goodies that were part of my teacher's crate package.  It's a monthly present for teachers, what could be better than that?!

We started a new topic in math this week and I always love finding good literature to introduce new concepts to my firsties.  There is definitely a place for good books in math and I love that they show students how these abstract concepts are used in daily life.  Some of my favorites are by Stuart J. Murphy and the Math Start series.  This book, A Fair Bear Share is the perfect book to introduce place value and breaking a part a ten to younger learners.

I live a pretty decent distance from my school that I work in, so I like to leave my house anywhere from 6:30-6:40 in the morning.  Teachers don't have to be at school until 8:25 but we all know how that feels to get there with mere seconds to spare!  The roads were VERY bad this morning but with no early morning phone call I figured I'd be white knuckling my way to school.  Little did I know that our emergency phone system was down and there was a delayed opening!  So when you never get the phone call for a two hour delay and show up to an empty school, what do you do?!  You enjoy the peaceful moments in the copy room ALL.TO.YOURSELF! #teachersilverlining

Monday is a professional development day for my team.  As much as I am excited for this out of district PD (the woman is a literal math genuis) I DESPISE sub plans.  Since it's a Monday there is just so much that needed to be organized and written out.  This is teacher ocd in all its' glory! Side note: TGFTPT (thank god for teachers pay teachers) check out all those TpT goodies in that pic!

Ok, now that I have officially done all that I could do on this Friday, I am calling it a night!  Thank you so much for stopping by.  My little pup is already calling for bedtime.

Enjoy your weekend!

February Currently

Happy February sweet friends!  I think I've made a New Years plus one month resolution this year and February is looking like the new January.  Maybe it's the start of a new month or one that's filled with hearts and and all things love, but I've decided that I would like to roll over some goals and positivity into this next month.  Who's with me?!  Let's get a January do-over!  In honor of some do-overs, I'm so excited to be linking up with the always fabulous Farley over at Oh Boy...It's Farley!  Her new blog design is GORGEOUS btw you must head over and check it out!  Anyway, here's what I'm currently up to this month!

Listening: Early Tuesday mornings means time in front of the TV with my favorite special victims detectives.  I could watch the same episode over and over again.  I don't know what it is but this show gets my attention every time.

Loving: I was a caffeineaholic!  For the last two months I have been trying desperately to cut my caffeine intake down from 3 gasp 4 cups a day to a measly one!  I've been trying to trick myself into thinking I'm drink two, by having a cup of half caff in the morning and another in the afternoon.  It's only one day's worth of caffeine but my tastebuds don't seem to realize that!  I hope it stays that way!

Thinking: Ohhhh math centers how you seem to be evading me this year!  I have tried THREE different structures so far this year and nothing seems to fit the bill with my schedule or kiddos.  Make way for B.U.I.L.D. and Kickin' It In Kindergarten's fantastic math centers.  The structure of B.U.I.L.D. and the free choice that it's allowing my students (much like Daily 5) seems to be really working for us!  I admire every teacher who is able to successfully do a guided math approach.  However, with my time constraints as an inclusion teacher and our curriculum (enVisisions I'm looking at you!) it just hasn't been possible.  I can't wait to continue with B.U.I.L.D. and hope to have a blog post coming up soon about how it's working in our classroom!

Wanting: I love to cook.  But, my Pinterest file of dinner recipes has been used and abused.  I need new ideas!  I don't eat red meat (much to my husband's disappointment) and I think I'm in a dinner rut.  I'd love to hear some new ideas in the comments!

Needing: I need more time in the day.  Exercise, Blog, Clean, TpT, Cook, Teach (oh you make sure to do that!), and spend time with family and friends.  Oy with the poodles already!  (Gilmore Girls fans anyone?!)  I just haven't been able to get it together yet.  I'm hoping to find some balance soon. Anyone have the magic trick or is this just the constant balancing act of adulthood?!

Swooning:  Last week and this weekend, I had my third cold of the year.  Yes, third!  I thought after 5 years of teaching that my immune system would rally behind me but it seems to have lost some soldiers this year.  I am welcoming this warmer weather with open arms in hopes that it helps soothe some stuffy noses and coughs that has circulated throughout my classroom for far too long.

Well, that's about it for me!  Thank you so much as always for stopping by! Make sure to link back to Farley's blog to read about what more teachers are currently up to!