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It's that time again!

Today I have marked down one of my first grade and one of my second grade emergency sub plans.

These are print and go and great for when you have to be out unexpectedly (or unexpectedly).
Let's look inside.

These plans have an editable section for personalizing notes to your guest teacher and a page for your guest teacher to leave a note for you.


 There are enough materials in here to cover two full days.


There are also a few pages for your early finishers.

Now, let's check out these fabulous products from these amazing sellers.

It's time for this week's edition of steals, deals, and bargains.

This week I'm highlighting 2 products from a growing bundle. 

If you own any of my products from the Explain It All series, these are very similar in style.
Check out all of the activities included. Something is certain to fit your teaching style and your students' learning style. 
(Click on any of the pics to take you to these products.)








Now check out these other products that are on sale today!

I am going to preface this with the following:
This is my story. It is my personal experience and not meant to give advice in any way, shape, or form.

I wish as we were wrapping up this past school year, someone would have presented me with this sign. I had no idea what was ahead, just a few days into the summer.

First, a little background. I have only taught at two schools, which is unusual in my enormous district.
At my current school I have:
  • Given birth to my son (not actually at school, mind you).
  • Watched him as he attended kindergarten through fifth grade there (minus second grade).
  • Made countless, life-long friends.
  • Taught three different grades (1-3).
  • Loved countless children and watched them grown up.
  • Learned a lot!
  • Mourned the loss of a sweet friend and coworker's baby, Chloe.
  • Mourned the loss of a wonderful coworker.
  • Grew friendships with families of students.
  • Received over 20 grants. 
  • Discovered and opened a shop on TPT.
  • Learned a LOT!
  • Helped pilot the Accelerated Learning Model for our district.
  • Taught numerous siblings from the same families.
  • Survived numerous program changes (report cards, grade books, Common Core).
  • Been supported by friends and coworkers as I was lucky enough to survive breast cancer.
  • Learned a LOT!
  • Helped plan countless events from family nights to carnivals to parent involvement activities.
  • Aged 16 years.
  • Attended quite a few retirements.
  • Decorated and redecorated my classroom 15 times.
  • Taught in 5 different classrooms in three different great rooms.
  • Attended more trainings and staff meetings than I can count.
I always envisioned myself having a nice little retirement celebration attended by former students and coworkers...right there...right at my little school (which actually wasn't so little anymore as we topped over 800 students last year). A little cake, a little reminiscing, and then an endless summer vacation.
Did I mention that Tough Decisions sign? Yep! Little did I know just a few days into summer break, literally as my friend and I were hashing out plans for me to work with her primary teachers to implement the ALM program in her new school, she would receive an email that would make that sign post get planted right in front of me.
You see, turns out, she had an opening at her school...a second grade opening...implementing the ALM program...less than 10 minutes away from my current school.
It actually was a third party who was sitting there with us that suggested me taking the job.
What? Me? But I can't!
"Why not?" asked the third party.
Because...because...because... (Refer to that list above.)

When the job was offered to me I walked around with a huge knot in my stomach, didn't sleep, made lists, and cried countless tears. You see, my school...my school was as much a part of me as I was of it.
How could I leave my amazing team?
I mean, look at these ladies...they're the best!

 Plus, I had a few long-time friends that were still at my school that would be so hard to leave.
(I mean who plans a vacation with a group of people that you work with the day school gets out?) That must be true friendship!
I cannot even tell you how much I labored over this decision. Even writing this post, my stomach is in knots. But I am thinking of it as therapy...hoping it will help.

All of this was compounded by the fact that the window to hire someone for either school if I should stay or go, was closing quickly.

My son, who was growing tired of listening to me labor over this decision, offered up flipping a coin. Oh, to be a 14 year old boy when decisions are so easy. 

Ultimately, I decided that the excitement of the new job was too enticing to resist.
I have always wanted to leave a mark on my district in some way. I had always hoped it would be opening a new school, but as you know we don't always get to choose our paths, sometimes they are chosen for us. I often think of that when I think how this new position literally fell into my lap.
So I decided to accept.

 I set upon the unimaginable (to me) task of telling my coworkers, friends, and admin.

My wonderful friend Carina sealed her fate as my life-long friend (Sorry! But you're stuck with me!) when she put all of her concerns aside and only thought of my new adventure, and said this:

I could not love that more!
I also had to take on the enormous job of packing up 27 years of teaching.
It is official...I have collected a LOT of junk important teaching materials over the past 27 years. 
Take a look.

These boxes are just the books. (Can you say hoarder!?!?!)

(I had to throw this one in, because he was so proud of his box fort!)
So now that the decision has been made, I am still awake at night. It's been a long time since I was the new kid on the block. My brain is excited, and my heart is a sad.
My brain is also full of a million questions.
Who will I sit with at lunch?
Will my new coworkers like me? 
Will they put up with my crazy, hair-brained ideas?
Whose room will I walk through every.single.morning?
How will it be to have a friend as my new admin?
What are the "rules" at this new school?
Will the office staff, librarian, art teacher, volunteers, custodial staff spoil me like I'm used to?
What am I going to do when I can't check in on my previous students so easily?
What will everyone at my former school be doing every.single.minute?
Will there be a Leticia to make me laugh and have the occasional lunchtime meetings?
Will there be a Lindsey to bring me a smoothie and listen to me go on and on?
Will there be a Kristena who can rock RTI like nobody's business?
Will there be an Erica to tell us about her wild and crazy adventures?
Will there be a Liz to make everyone know that everything will be alright?
Will there be a Kristin who is so eager to learn everything and listen to me go on and on?
Will there be a Carina to lean on when it gets too tough; to help me see things from a different perspective; to make me smile and cheer me on?
Will there be a Becky, Caron, and Laura to share life-long memories with?
Will there be a Grace to solve my computer woes?
Will there...? Who will...? What will...? How will...? Why will...? Where will...?

No, I am not leaving these ladies. They know better! We will ALWAYS be friends, but what a difference it makes when you know you won't see them every day.

This is definitely not good-bye. 

It's time for

 This week I am sharing two of my favorite products.
Warning! There are tons of interactive notebook activities ahead and some of them include those three dreaded words...Back to School! (EEEEK!)

This is a great product for the first week of school. It covers so many essential back to school components. It works great if you staple a few pages together and then send it home so parents can have the much needed information that you provide.

This is one of my favorite products that is featured in my store. I love it because the students have to do a lot of thinking, plus this can be used all year long...and it has a ton of activities!

Plus several more activities!

Now check out these fabulous products from other amazing sellers.
You can also search TPT using #2for Tuesday.

Well, I'm no Justin Timberlake, but...I am good at hunting down bargains.

Whether you're a person who thinks about curriculum and classrooms all summer long, or one who puts your brain on summer hiatus, (I confess I'm a little of both) you will want to pop in here each Tuesday and check out the linky party happening.

Each week, sellers will put two of their amazing resources on sale and all you have to do is pop in here, check them out, and grab some great deals. You can also find the products directly on Teachers Pay Teachers by searching

So without further adieu, here is this week's linky of fabulousness!

On Friday, we had Staff Development...yes, a day and a half before the school year is out, and the Friday before a three day weekend. :)

Let me preface this with the fact that we are far from traditional on our 
professional development days.

To start our day, we did a little warm up with Sid the Sloth from Ice Age.
Such and fun and easy one to do with your kiddos if you haven't already checked it out.

We Built This City
Our first real task of the day was to build a city. But of course, there were rules.
There were 200 sheets of paper (which we saved to use with our classes).
      • You could fold the paper, but you couldn't tear it.
      • You could not use anything else (tape, scissors, etc.).
      • Each city had to have two roads that connected with another city.
      • It was timed, but I can't remember how long we had (maybe 20 minutes?).
      • One person in the group had to be the recorder and tell WHY we included each building.
Here is our creation. I think we did a pretty good job.
We had all of the utility buildings (water, power, gas), a campsite, a dump, homes, schools, and of course, a Target and Starbucks! 
The best part was the collaboration and the laughter that happened while getting the job done.

Save the World
Our second task was to take a box of junk...and I mean junk...and create a contraption or device that would save the world. 

The rules for this project were:
      • You couldn't add anything else, but you could use tools (scissors, rulers, markers, and thankfully they gave us tape).
      • This invention had to have a positive impact on the future.
      • You had to try to use everything in the box.
      • We had 40 minutes to complete our task.
      • We had to work in areas away from everyone else.
So, I do not want to brag, and while the other creations were quite clever, ours truly was the best. 
Are you ready for it?
It's a time traveling utility belt! 
You can see some of the "junk" that was included in the box (which we also used) a flag, straws, file folders, pencils, cut pool noodles, string, paper plates, a stuffed fish, a water bottle, a duck necklace, masking tape, and two blue spheres. There were also cotton balls which we applied to the back so she could have a soft landing. Each group had similar items. 
And obviously this led to A LOT of laughter and collaboration.

On a side note, this amazing lady is my sweet friend Liz. She is relocating and won't be back next year. Liz, you have no idea how much your grade level is going to miss you! 
Here are two other creations that were presented.

This is a positive vibe catcher. It even had a scrolling screen in the front that turned sad thoughts happy. I thought that was pretty clever.

Oh gosh! Now that I look at this one, I'm not 100% sure that this is the food changer, but I think it is. I definitely have end-of-the-year teacher brain.
Anyway, one group created an invention that made healthy food taste good an unhealthy food taste bad. Can you imagine how skinny we would all be? LOL

Not only are we armed with some great ideas for the last day of school, but we also had a ton of fun and got to do some...dare I say it...team building activities.

This all took place in the morning. The rest of the day was filled with lunch at Panera and long range planning, which was fun, but not quite as fun as this!
Hi everyone! Well, are you still in school or have you started your summer break?
We are on the final countdown at our school!!

If you've already celebrated your volunteers this year, feel free to tuck these ideas away for next year.

So we know schools work on a very limited budget, but we also know the tremendous effort that our volunteers put in, and that they deserved to be recognized.

Every year for as long as I can remember, I have been in charge of our 
Volunteer Appreciation Celebration.

Now, I'm a theme girl...always have been, always will be!

We have done so many themes: garden, superheroes, Hollywood, Hawaiian...you name it, we've probably done it!

This year's theme...apples and chalkboards. It worked really well with our budget, too, and most of the items will be reusable for back to school or Teacher Appreciation week next year.

So, first we printed out these apple shaped invitations. My sweet son helped me cut them out. I tied them with baker's twine that I got at the Target Dollar Spot.

This year we tried a new way of keeping track of who actually showed up to the celebration and it was genius. (I'll give my principal credit for that for sure, since it was all her brilliant idea!)
I had everyone email the names of the volunteers, and what they had done to help our school. I made a master list with all of the names and the blurb that each teacher had sent. Then we made a sign-in sheet. As the volunteers signed in, I highlighted them on the master list. My principal just had to go down the list and read all of the names.

For the centerpieces, I grabbed mason jars from Amazon and just used double stick tape to wrap ribbon around the neck of each jar. We raided the supply cabinet and filled the mason jars with rulers and pencils. Super easy and super cheap.

If you mull things over long enough in the aisle of Joann's a fabulous manager may come along and offer you a discount if you say it's for your school. That's how we ended up with the chalkboard. Times like this though, I need my friend Stacey from Funky Fresh Firsties around to apply her amazing chalkboard artistic skills. Our volunteers had to settle for my slightly pitiful attempt.
For other decorations, I grabbed red lanterns from the Target Dollar Spot and following an idea I found on Pinterest, turned the lanterns into apples using construction paper for the stems and leaves. My amazing friend Carina came to my rescue when the lanterns kept tipping over, with a black "chalkboard" base made out of construction paper, and added writing with a white chalk pen.

For gifts we ordered small mason jars and filled them with caramel sauce, added an apple on top, put them in a bag and tied them up with a little note that I printed that read, "Thank you for being SWEET to the CORE!".

My amazing grade level helped get all of these ready...even when suffering from end-of-the-year exhaustion. THEY DEFINITELY ROCK!

Apple gifts as far as the eye can see!

Now, we have some above and beyond volunteers that were given an additional award. Our assistant principal's husband happens to own a trophy shop which helped save us money, but these adorable apples were only $10...not too bad...depending on the number of volunteers you have.

We grabbed all of the food and drinks from Costco. 
Apple pic, of course, brownie bites, and cookies. We just had water to drink,
 because normally it is so hot here in Las Vegas.

My principal prepared a PowerPoint with several quotes about volunteers. My class, along with my friend Carina's class, and some members of the choir were led by our fantastic music teacher in a super cute song about volunteers.

That's it!
Super simple!
Pretty inexpensive!
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