Happy Weekend, y'all!  I wanted to take a sec and show you how I'm using the Mystery Word of the Week in my classroom this year.  Since I'm in a year round school, I have to track in and out of my classroom this year.  That means that my displays need to be easily removable so I can carry it to the next classroom.  Here is the weekly display in my classroom, under the board.
Mystery Word of the Week under the board in my classroom...  I used sheet protectors to easily change the clues.

Mystery Word of the Week on display in Denise's classroom at Sunny Days in Second Grade.

Mystery Word of the Week above the board in my teammate's classroom.
 I'm so impressed by the reaction the Mystery Word of the Week sets have gotten from teachers around the country.  I always found them effective to use with my own students, but I am blown away by the feedback on TpT.  Here are just a few of the comments:

  • Rschu64: A great product! I'm looking forward to using it in conjunction with my Expand Vocabulary board during CAFE.
  • Cyndi: It's perfect!! This is exactly what I was hoping for. Our school has a superhero theme this year with the tag line, Super Kids Out To Save The Words! Thank you so much for this quality product that will certainly increase vocabulary in a fun way!
  • earth1mother: This is everything I was hoping for and more! I plan on using this as part of our morning meeting ritual. This will be a great way to work on vocabulary skills.
  • PVWendy: My students love this every week!

If you are interested in trying this out with your class, please visit TpT (here) to download a week free to try in your class.  Be sure to leave feedback and consider "following" me to learn when new products are posted and when items go on sale.  If you'd like to see the Mystery Word sets available for purchase, click (here) for TpT .

On a personal note, thank you all for your support, comments, and feedback.  I have been having a difficult time personally since the school year began back in July, and I can't express how much you have helped me through the difficult times.  Thanks so much, blogging community!!  Here's a little chuckle for y'all...

Here's an inexpensive way to create chair pockets for your classroom with minimal sewing skills (4 straight lines per seat cover - promise!)  You'll need an iron, scissors, measuring tape, and some fabric.  Warning - lots of pictures ahead!!  :)
Alright - in the interest of full disclosure - I am not very crafty.  I typically leave that to my teammates, including Casey and Cassina.  My mom was a Home Economics teacher for years, and taught many young ladies and gentlemen how to sew, cook, clean, etc.  Not me; I had no interest at all... until I moved out, got a job, and bought a house.  Since then, I've learned how to follow a recipe, clean the house enough to make sure I'm not attracting critters, and sew straight lines semi-straight lines.  I never appreciated how amazing she is until I moved out, and now I'm asking for her help all. the. time.  She's probably getting tired of it, but she really comes through for me, and I love my momma.  Dontcha' just love this pic?
Me, Mom, and my brother
Step 1: Score some fabric.  I visited my local thrift store and bought sturdy tablecloths, fabric shower curtains, and curtains.  If you want to be all matchy-matchy, this approach won't work for you... Bear in mind that I created 25 of these for less than $20.00 using the thrift store fabrics (and a few yards of fabric from my mom).  The key here is to make sure the fabric isn't frayed and that it looks like it will take the abuse of a 7 year old jamming a pencil in with their journals without popping a hole in the fabric.  Wash and dry the fabric so it will go ahead and shrink if it's going to.  :)

Step 2: Measure twice, cut once.  For reals.  (Don't use your favorite fabric on your first attempt.  Trust me! The first one I made was hideous, and I had forgotten a step somewhere along the line.  The first one took me about 30 minutes.  Now I can make one in about 5 minutes.)  We use "standard" metal/plastic student chairs... please make sure to adjust the measurement if needed to fit your chairs.  I cut the fabric into rectangles 17 1/2" wide x 45" long.
17 1/2 inches wide
45 inches long
Step 3:  Fold over the short side about 1/2", iron it flat, and fold it over again.  Sew a line close to the folded edge.  I use zigzag stitches on my sewing machine; I think I heard somewhere that a zigzag stitch is a bit more durable.  If that's not true, you can correct me!!  Repeat the fold, iron, fold, iron, sew a line on the other short side.
Fold over the short end 1/2" twice and iron
Sew a straight-ish line to secure the end.
 Step 4:  Lay the fabric flat, wrong side up.  Fold the first short side in 1/3, then fold the other short side in 1/3.  It will look a bit strange, like it only makes 1 pocket.  This is the step I messed up the first time I made a chair pocket.  Trust me.  You only have 2 more lines to sew - almost there!
Fold the short side in 1/3 of the way.
Then fold the other side in 1/3 of the way.
It will look like it only makes one pocket.  Trust me - this works.  :)
Step 5: Sew a straight line across the top and the bottom.  For added durability, serge or zigzag stitch twice to keep the sides from fraying.  Just sayin'. 
Zigzag stitch along the top and bottom.
Step 6:  Lift the top of the pocket and look inside.  See the little flap inside?  Grab it and gently pull it out.  This turns the pocket inside out, allowing for "both" pockets - one to slide over the back of the chair and the other to store supplies.
Peek inside and see the little flap.
Gently pull the flap out and turn the pocket inside out.
It'll look like this.  :)
The "wrong side" is showing, but that part doesn't show when the chairs are pushed in (or kiddos are sitting in them!)
You're done!  :)
I hope this helps you utilize chair pockets in your classroom instead of having to pay so much out of pocket.  I made the set in my classroom almost 3 years ago when I decided to go back in the classroom, and I can't imagine teaching without them.  We only have tables in our classroom (no desks!) and I love having a spot for my green beans to store journals, their math workbook, and their pencil pouch.  The original set has held up very well.  I take them home during each track out (at the end of each quarter) and run them through the washing machine.  Make sure to shake them out well, so you don't have a crayon in the wash.  :)  The striped ones I made today will go at my small group table to hold dry erase boards and supplies.

Want to download the tutorial as a pdf?  Click the picture to download for free from Teachers Pay Teachers.  Don't forget to leave feedback.  :)
Download from TpT for free here
Does this look like too much for you to tackle today? Click on this link to see reasonably priced durable Seat Sack from Amazon. {affiliate link}
Do you already use chair pockets in the classroom?  What do you like/not like about them?
Lazy day at the beach today, and the most exciting thing to happen is we had a tree cut down.  Oddly enough, when I saw the tree truck, I started taking pictures...
Yep.  It's a ladder truck, now used to cut limbs off trees.
Since the tree was so rotten, they couldn't use ladders or climb the tree to cut it, so they brought the ladder truck.  My kiddos, my mom, and I pulled up lawn chairs and watched the show.

Best part?  After they finished they asked if anyone wanted to ride in the ladder box...
There was a rush get on!

Fun Times!

I got to ride, too!
That's all the excitement we had today, but it was plenty.  Other than that, it was just deciding where to eat.  :)  Also, I worked on my Context Clues task cards, available now on TpT.  (I'll add TN tomorrow...)
Context Clues Task Cards on TpT
Don't you love the graphics from The 3AM Teacher?

Found some more Amazing Resources for y'all!  Enjoy!

Reading A-Z.com - I know this is nothing new for most of you, but trust me - you want to read this tip!  Did you know that you can print books in multiple languages from Reading A-Z?  This saved me last year...  I had a student who did not enjoy doing his nightly reading.  His uncle, who didn't read/speak English, would tell him to read and ask him questions about his reading.  My student would pretend to read and then make stuff up to tell his uncle.  Uncle was frustrated (rightfully so!), and I began sending home Reading A-Z books in both English and Spanish.  Problem solved!  I love when there's a simple solution.  {Subscription service}

Free Common Core Posters for K-5 - Really.  There are printer-friendly *free* posters for ELA and Math for grades K-5 available for download from Core Common Standards.  At the home page, select your grade, add the free posters to your cart, and check-out.  They don't have the super-cute clipart we are used to from TpT and TN, but they are free.  {Free -Registration required}

Content Trailers - The West Baton Rouge Parish Schools website has a series of "Content Trailers".  These are free mini-videos to spark an interest.  The best part is, there are hundreds of them!  They are categorized by grade level (Pre K - Secondary) and by topic. (Literacy, Math, Science. Social Studies).  The videos are simply photographs or graphics, accompanied by music.  They give the children a "taste" of the topic, just enough to increase interest and begin activating schema.  {Free}

Quietube - This came to me from the Music teacher at my school, and it's too good not to share.  If you want to show a YouTube video, but you think all the stuff happening around the edges is distracting. You can remove them:
1. Bring up the video you want to watch.
2. Paste this in front of the URL: http://quietube2.com/v.php/ (so your URL will end up looking like: http://quietube2.com/v.php/www.youtube.com/watch?v=BLOEq...
3. Hit enter. You'll remove all the extra stuff.

Have y'all used any of these resources before in your classrooms?  Do you have any others to suggest?   :)
Ahoy there, mateys!  I'm in a fine mood tonight, since I only have One. More. Day.  That's right!  One. More.  Day.  I had a difficult time adjusting to the new curriculum and expectations so far this year, and my upcoming track out makes me positively giddy with anticipation.  I'm going to visit here...
Emerald Isle Pictures
This photo of Emerald Isle is courtesy of TripAdvisor

And do a bit of TpT/TN work, and rest and recharge!  Most importantly, I'm going to be a mommy, wife, and friend.  I'm looking forward to taking a nap in the afternoons again!!!  :)

Arrgh!!  I'm an East Carolina girl (we're the ECU Pirates!) so I have a soft spot for using pirates in the classroom.  I {finally!} finished my Mystery Word of the Week All Year Long - Pirate Theme!  I had so many requests for this, and I hope y'all enjoy them.  Here's some pics...  Click to learn more if you are so inclined!  I've included this set with my Superhero theme, so you can choose the theme that best suits your classroom and students.  :)
Click here for TpT, here for TN!
Click here for TpThere for TN!
Click here for TpThere for TN!
Click here for TpThere for TN!
Arrgh!!  {Pirate talk for "See Y'all Later!"}
It's the beginning of a new year for many of y'all, so I wanted to share my updated "What's Your Graduation Year?" poster. Enjoy!!
Download free from TpT here!
Doncha' just love the frame?  It's from The 3AM Teacher, naturally!  :)
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