Sunday, 29 December 2013

Special "Half-Over" Sale

Seems like a good time of year for a sale. As you prepare to go back, just think, some of you are already half-way done another great school year! That's what makes me so happy to be participating in a special "Half-Over" Sale to celebrate the half-way point in the school year.

Here's how the sale works:
Save 20% off everything in my store on Monday, December 30
Save 15% off everything in my store on Tuesday, December 31
Save 10% off everything in my store on Wednesday January 1

Looking for something in particular? Make sure to check out these other great TpT authors who are participating in the sale as well. Just keep in mind, some percentages may vary by store.

Happy shopping and Happy New Year! I wish you, and your families, all the best in 2014!


Monday, 23 December 2013

How I survived the last week...

I hope everyone survived those last few days of school, and you are already enjoying the first few days of your holidays.

To say last week was a little crazy, would be an understatement! I don't think I even got a chance to sit down! The week started with our cocoa in a bag fundraising sale. In an attempt to raise money for our Brick by Brick campaign to build a school, we made our Rudolph and Santa cocoa bags.  I set up an assembly line production and we were able to get quite a few made in a short period of time. The kids loved making them and I think they turned out adorable!

Before we even held our sale, I had staff members placing orders, so we were already ahead of the game. The students even managed to get the majority of the supplies donated from some local businesses, so we were hardly any money out of pocket.

This sale ended up being far more successful than I could have predicted. We actually sold out the first day, so we decided to make more and sell for a second day. In the end, we made over 200 bags and  I very proudly wrote a deposit for over $325!! Every staff member I passed in the hall was telling  me how impressed they were with how much money my homeroom had managed to raise! Definitely a good feeling! I'm pretty sure we are going to win the prize for most money raised as a class, and the kids are super excited.

However, no matter how fun it was to make the bags and to make the most money, I still want my students to be aware of why we are doing what we are doing. There are far too many children that do not have the opportunity to go to school, and our main goal is to give all children the chance for an education. I want to make each of my students aware that they have made a difference in the life of another child in this world and they should be very proud of that fact.

The things you do for yourself are gone when you are gone, but the things you do for others remain as your legacy.
 – Kalu Kalu

Now that the craziness of the sale is over, we put or focus on getting our holiday baking done. As a culminating activity to multiplying and dividing fractions, I told the students we would be making cookies. Before they were able to make the cookies, they had to show me that they could increase and decrease the recipe correctly using what they learned about multiplying fractions.

To make this activity a little more manageable, I split the process over a few days. Day 1 - we made the dough, day 2 - we baked, and day 3 - we decorated! It was a great way to end the week and the cookies looked great. I think I might have a future "cake boss" in my class!


...and that folks, is how I survived the last week of school.

Enjoy your holidays and Merry Christmas!


Monday, 16 December 2013

Gift #5...and a little holiday baking

4 more days!!!

This is the last week until Christmas break and I am sure most teachers are entering survival mode right now. It can be a challenge getting through these last few days. The kids are ready for the break, and you are most definitely ready for a break, so how do you keep them engaged?

I find the best way is to keep them busy with some fun, hands-on activities. We have been busily making our cocoa in a bags for the brick by brick fundraiser... it was looking like Santa's workshop in my room this morning. Tomorrow is our big sale, so I will update you on how much money we were able to raise.

We have also just finished up a unit on multiplying and dividing fractions, so what better way to increase their knowledge of the concept than to do some holiday baking!

I provided my students with a basic gingerbread and sugar cookie recipe, then gave each student a "real-life" scenario for them to solve.

In each scenario the student is required to either increase or decrease the batch depending on the amount of cookies they are required to make. How do they do that? Multiplying fractions of course!

Here's an example of a scenario...

Each student was responsible for completing two scenarios (one where the ingredients were increased and one where they were decreased). I selected which scenario each student received based on their abilities. Providing six different scenarios allows for a bit of differentiation.

Each student was then responsible for showing all their work in their math scrapbook. Once they had determined the new amounts, they were asked to re-write the recipe, using the new amounts, on a recipe card, and glue it into their scrapbook.

Now that they have shown me that they can do the math, I promised them we would actually bake the cookies. Wish me luck tomorrow. We are  making the dough and baking the cookies, then decorating on Friday morning!

If you are interested in doing this activity with your students to survive this last week, you can download your free copy here.

Now for your final gift of the season. This one will only be available for a short time so make sure you get it right away.
Click on the gift below to open your present!

Enjoy these last few days!


Saturday, 14 December 2013

We remember...

As educators, we remember and honor our fallen colleagues and their students from Sandy Hook School.  We honor them each day in our classrooms in which we continue their dream of teaching our children.  We honor their memory with our service.  Join with teachers everywhere in committing random acts of kindness to show our love for Sandy Hook.
Special thanks to Krista Wallden for the beautiful  image.

Wednesday, 11 December 2013

I remember...

Almost year ago I remember scanning my newsfeed on Facebook, and coming across a few teacher bloggers who had written something about being saddened by the event that took place in Newtown. Not sure what they were referring to, I quickly turned on CNN. I sat there in shock, not able to look away, as my then 1 1/2 year old son napped soundly in the next room.

The events of that day shook everyone to the core, I am sure, but being a teacher, it certainly effects you in a whole different way. It happened in our "home".You start to question yourself, "What would I do?", What if it happened here?", "How can a school, of all places, not be safe?", and the question that I'm sure came to every parent's mind, "What if it had been my child?"

I thought of all the families whose babies wouldn't be coming home from school that day. The absence of the excited voices telling their parents about their day and the things their teachers had taught them. I thought about the teachers who made the ultimate sacrifice, because their immediate instinct was, and always will be, to protect their students...their children.

I would never pretend to understand what the staff, students and families of Sandy Hook Elementary went through that day, and continue to go through. It is such a unimaginable tragedy, that we hope never happens again.

So what can we do to show our support to the victims of Sandy Hook? It's always something that starts out small that can often make the largest impact, and I love how the people of Newtown have asked people to show their support.

The people of Newtown, CT, have asked  people to commit  random acts of kindness on December 14 to honor their teachers and students.

What will your random act of kindness be? I would love to hear about it.

Be safe, and keeping doing what you do.


Monday, 9 December 2013

Gift #4...and helping to build a school

Seeing that it is the season of giving, I've decided to help build a school...well my school has decided to help build a school. After a group of our students attended WE day this year, we have decided to start a school wide fundraising campaign, called "Brick by Brick", through the FREE the Children organization.

In many places, education is sadly taken for granted. I know most of my students would be ecstatic if they were told that they no longer needed to attend school, unfortunately for too many children around the world education is a luxury that is simply not available. There is no school to attend, no books to read, and no pencils with which to write.

"Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world."
- Nelson Mandela

By raising money, we are hoping to provide an education to children in impoverished countries, by helping build them an actual brick at a time. To provide a visual for the students there are posters all over the school stating:

1 brick = $20,
500 bricks = 1 school

Each homerooms' goal is $120, but seeing that I am very passionate about this cause, and also an extremely competitive person, I want to surpass that and win the prize for most money raised by one class.

So here is the plan we came up with to meet/surpass our goal:

Donations - I asked each student to write on a piece of paper, how much money they thought they would be capable of bringing in. I told them it did not matter how much, just to be honest. I totaled up the amounts at the end of class and they claim they are willing to bring in $224 as a class! I also told them I would personally match their donations! I find getting them to put it in writing puts the responsibility on them and they are more likely to bring in the money. I also want them to see that I am also dedicated to making a difference through donating my own money.

Fundraising - We brainstormed as a class some easy ways to raise money. They came up with everything from a bake sale, dance, movie in the theatre, craft sale, hot lunches, and much more. We also got on the phone and contacted local businesses about the cause to see if they were willing to help us out.

So now that we have a plan, we need to put it in action. This week we are making hot cocoa in a bag to sell next week.

*Note - it is currently -40 degrees Celsius with the wind chill, so we thought hot cocoa might be a good seller.

I found some cute ideas online for reindeer hot chocolate and Santa hot chocolate.  Hopefully ours come out just as nice.

I'll let you know later in the week how our crafting went, and how our fundraising efforts are going.

So, in the spirit of giving back, here is your gift for this week. Click on the presents to discover your gift. Hopefully you can make use of them in your classroom.


Friday, 6 December 2013

It's a Frenzy...a Facebook Frenzy!

Are you ready for a little frenzy?

I'm super excited to be joining up with a group of teacher-authors to bring you an amazing assortment of freebies, exclusive to Facebook only! These freebies are geared for grades 6-12 and cover all the core subject areas.

This is my first time taking part in a Facebook Frenzy so I am very excited to see how it all goes, and am especially excited to see all  the awesome teacher-created resources I am going to collect along the way.

So, without further delay, let's start the frenzy...

Head on over to my Facebook page and click the tab at the top that says "FB FRENZY". You will be led to my freebie, once you download the freebie, you can "hop" to the next page by clicking on the snow man, collecting your freebies along the way.

Just a heads-up, these freebies cannot be found anywhere else, so you will want to take advantage of this, as they are only available for the next 4 days!

Enjoy the frenzy...and all the FREEBIES!


Thursday, 5 December 2013

Christmas came a little early this year...

Some amazing teacher-authors from TpT have put together a little something for you to celebrate the holidays...and it's FREE!

This is the 3rd annual TpT Winter Holidays Tips and Freebies Book. There are 4 versions and I am honoured to have been chosen to be a part of the grade 7 - 12 book. Within each book you will find a compilation of 50 teacher-authors who have graciously provided you with a holiday teaching tip and holiday freebie spanning a variety of subject areas.

Check out the grade 7-12 book here.

Special thanks to Addie Williams for putting it all together for us to enjoy!


Wednesday, 4 December 2013

Math is Real Life - December Edition

It's that time of the month again, and I am eager to once again join up with the fabulous linky hosted by Miss Math Dork, 4mulafun, Fourth Grade Studio, and Teaching to Inspire in 5th! 
So here we are, the first Wednesday of December and I am definitely in Christmas mode.

Shopping season is upon us, and no matter how much I try to get things bought ahead of time, I am usually scrambling at the last minute to pick up those last few gifts. Christmas can be a very stressful time, especially on your wallet!

I've already informed you of my bargain hunting abilities, and the variety of ways I have discovered to save money. But one of the best things I learned about while researching ways to save money while I was on mat leave, was to take full advantage of any reward programs out there. Almost every store offers points for this and points for that, and I admit it gets annoying carrying around 10 different cards in your wallet. However, I came across one in particular that is an AMAZING program. It's called the Shopper's Optimum Program and it is run through Shopper's Drug Mart. Now I actually had one of these cards in my wallet since I was 18, but never thought much of it, until I starting seeing people post about $200 shopping sprees for free! That's right, I said $200...for FREE!

Normally, collecting enough points to really get anything substantial can take years. The average way to earn points is 10 for every dollar spent. However, if you keep an eye on the flyer, once a month they offer a one day special of 20X the points. If you shop on these days you can rack up enough points with a only a handful of shops in a year. This has been one of the best things I learned from all the other cheap mommas out there!

So I am here to say that it is possible to get something worthwhile from rewards cards in a short amount of time, you just need the right strategy. This is the third year in a row that I have gone on a shopping spree for FREE and I am hooked!!

Now normally this is the points redemption they offer:

But every year before Christmas, they offer a "Super Spend you Points Event" and they increase the amounts. I had over 100 000 points, so I was at the max redemption, which is normally $170, but for this weekend only they were bumping it up to $210!

So here I was holding the flyer in my hands, getting excited for my shopping spree, but before I could do that I needed a plan.

In order to redeem my points I needed to have at least $210 in products before taxes, so I needed to compile a list including prices...and of course I want to get the biggest bang for my buck so I also had to subtract any coupons I could find to match-up with the items I was buying.
I learned the need for a plan from experience. The first year I was all excited and thought I would go in and wing it. Needless to say I am standing at the till $40 short while my husband is throwing me anything he can find, and the line grows behind me. Not my finest moment.

So, the day of arrives and I have my shopping list in hand, my coupons organized in my purse, and an empty shopping cart. It's time to shop!

Normally most people use the points to buy electronics, but there was nothing in particular we needed, so I opted to fill my pantry instead and pick up a few presents at the same time.

So here is what I got..

A few items are missing, as they went straight into the fridge or freezer.

Now that I look at the picture, it doesn't look like a lot, but the best items were a few Christmas presents, including this digital camera for my 4 year old nephew and a cookbook for my sister-in-law.

...and here is what I spent...

The total cost of the items before taxes was $210.58 (we had to throw on a pack of gum at the end to take me over)

The total with taxes was $227.24

I redeemed 95000 points totalling $210.00

I paid.............. $17.24 (which I had a gift card for, so it really did feel FREE)

So there you have it, another example of one of my favourite ways to use math in my real save money!

Happy shopping this holiday season, remember to keep an eye out for those deals!


Sunday, 1 December 2013

Gift #3...and a BIG sale!

So, I feel like I have a lot to be thankful for this week. First off all, conferences are over, second of all it is officially December. There is only 3 weeks left until I am on winter break, and I am soooooo looking forward to it.

The countdown has begun! As of today, there are 15 more school days!  
Of course, that is not the countdown my son is concerned about, he's not thinking about when mom and dad get to be home with him, but more about when Santa Claus is going to come down the chimney.


This is the first year he is able to understand the concept of the advent calendar. I am so excited to finally put it to use. I actually made this one a couple years ago in anticipation for the day my child would be counting down the days until Christmas. I told him that each day he can open a tin and find his treat, and on the last day Santa would come. I quizzed him on the concept afterwards, and I think he's got it! :)

So, on to the next little surprise I have in store for you.
Click on the present below to discover this week's gift! Enjoy!
Stay tuned for a blog post on how I use this particular "gift" later in the week.
...and of course, yet another reason to celebrate... tomorrow (& Tuesday) is the big cyber sale over at TpT. Everything in my store will be 20% off, plus save an additional 10% at checkout with promo code "cyber". Time to empty those wish lists. After all Christmas is just around the corner, so now is as good a time as any!
Happy shopping!