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Five years ago, I was contacted by Jim Banks, owner and founder of KidCarpet.com. He offered me the chance of a lifetime! He said I could look through his large selection of beautiful, colorful, and up to code carpets, and choose one for my classroom. In return, I promised to write an honest review of how I felt about the carpet and he allowed me to give away a FREE carpet to one lucky teacher. You can read all about it here.

 I decided on the Let's Book It Story Rug because it was perfect for my classroom library.

My school administrators loved my new library carpet so much, that they purchased classroom carpets for many of the teachers in my school. Now my classroom had two beautiful carpets! This is the large carpet I chose:

The carpets have held up nicely all these years and I am excited to, once again, offer one lucky teacher, an opportunity to win a FREE classroom carpet for your very own classroom!

KidCarpet.com has such a BIG selection of classroom carpets in different sizes, colors, themes, and shapes. There is something for every classroom. The only issue you'll have is figuring out which carpet to get! They are very well made, up to code, and make any classroom cute and cozy.

The lucky winner can choose any preschool rug that is 7'6"x12' or smaller. This prize is valued at $279! This giveaway is only open to educators in the continental United States, since it is too costly to ship outside of the USA. Please do not enter if you do not live in the United States of America. 
Please be sure to read the terms on the rafflecopter. All entries will be closely monitored and anyone who does not enter with integrity will be disqualified.

Please tell your colleagues about this contest and share it on as many social media sights as you can. I really want to help spread the word about KidCarpet.com. They are the only "place where you can buy directly from the factory". Because of this, they offer HUGE savings on classroom rugs and carpets. They even offer 3-5 day shipping on select carpets.

Good luck to everyone!

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Ringing in a New Year is always cause for celebration.
It's a time of new beginnings and fresh starts.
And, it's a time for reflection.

As we head back to school after winter break, most of us are armed with fresh new ideas, procedures, and goals. It's out with the old and in with the new!

As Oprah Winfrey once said, "Cheers to a new year and another chance for us to get it right."

To help you plan for the second half of the school year, my whole store will be on sale December 30-January 1.

Now is a great time to grab some new activities, to help you and your students reach your goals. I'll highlight a few of my favorite resources below, or, you can click here to see all my resources!

Need an easy way to incorporate fun and exciting writing activities into your daily routine? 

Children love to voice their opinions!
 Here is a great way to combine that with writing!

Another great way to easily incorporate many different types of writing into your daily routine.

Here's a wonderful way to incorporate science and language arts!

If you're not doing interactive notebooks with your students,
 now is a great time to start!

Building words is an engaging way for students to practice decoding and blending individual sounds in words.

Word sorts help students organize and classify words
 so that relationships among words can be seen.

Really maximize learning by combining sight word, grammar, handwriting, letter formation, spacing, and punctuation practice.

Digital resources are highly engaging and keep students
 motivated and focused on the subject.

Looking for fun whole class games or literacy centers?

In addition to the sale, as a thank you for putting your trust in me and my resources (and for reading through this incredibly long post!) I am giving away TWO $25 GIFT CERTIFICATES TO TEACHERS PAY TEACHERS! You can use them to purchase anything you want from anyone you want. There will be two winners chosen.

The winner will be notified on January 1, 2019, in the morning, in case you want to purchase anything from my sale!

Enter the giveaway using the rafflecopter below. There are lots of ways to enter. The more you choose, the greater your chances are of winning. Please enter with integrity. All entries will be verified before the winner is announced.

Good luck to everyone!
Wishing you a Happy New Year with the hope that you will have many blessings in the year to come!
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This is a post sponsored by the National Fire Protection Association and SparkySchoolhouse.org.
However, all of the opinions stated in this post are my own.

October is Fire Prevention Month and October 7-13 is Fire Prevention Week. It's time to start gathering resources to help teach all about fire safety and prevention. This all-important subject should never be skipped and ample time should always be set aside to make sure you cover all the important topics.

Did you know that the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) has a ton of resources for educators and families? They have exclusive, instructive fire prevention week materials that will surely excite and engage all children. All of their resources and materials are geared towards preschool through primary elementary school-aged children. They have videos, apps, lesson plans, and more and they are all easy to find, fun to use, and will surely make a lasting impression on children.

So, where do you find all these goodies? The first place you need to visit is Sparky School House. Sparky School House is the NFPA's teacher portal for fire safety education. Here you will find music, videos, games, and lesson plans. Just choose your grade level and have fun exploring all the fun materials.

Here's a music video called NFPA Firefighters on Their Way.
It's really cute! It teaches kids about the job of a firefighter and the role they play as community helpers and does it in a very catchy way.

Here are some of the lesson plans you'll find.
(Scroll all the way to the bottom of the page.)
You'll find a teacher guide to Teaching Fire Prevention Week, and a how-to and design template for students and families to create a home fire escape plan. There's even a parent letter you can send home, which is offered in English and Spanish. Children are asked to assist their parents in finding the smoke alarms in their home and to test them to be sure they are in good working condition.

Interested in web-based apps for your students?
You'll find two here and here!

Help Sparky the Fire Dog® practice his home fire escape plan before going to the carnival! It's interactive and exciting, even for adults! LOL! There are even spelling and math lesson plans you can download that correlate with the app!

Another fun place to visit is Sparky.org. This is the NFPA's site for kids to learn on their level through activities, videos, and web-based games. Here you'll find printables for all ages and grade levels. I'll highlight a few of my favorites...

Teach kids how to prevent wildfires!

Here's a great way for students to practice their ABC's!

Everyone loves to find hidden pictures!

You'll also find an interactive way to learn all about firetrucks!

And tons and tons of videos!

This video teaches children how to make a home fire escape plan.

Here's a peek at the apps students can play.
Two of them are web-based and the rest can be played on a device.

There's so much I could show you, but my post would be way too long! I encourage you to click on the links in my post and explore on your own. I know you'll be as excited as I was to find these treasures! Please share the links with your teacher friends so everyone can enjoy them.

You can find Sparky and the NFPA on social media...

NFPA on Twitter
Sparky_Fire_Dog on Twitter
theNFPA on Facebook
SparkyTheFireDog on Facebook
NFPAdotorg and #SparkytheFireDog on Instagram
NFPA on Pinterest
Happy Fire Prevention Month!
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My laminator and I have been best friends for quite a few years and I definitely cannot live without it. Sadly, it stopped working a few weeks ago and I was just about to purchase a new one, when, out of the blue, Mead contacted me, asking me if I'd be interested in trying out one of their personal laminators. They just came out with a brand new line of affordable laminators for the back to school season. Well, of course, I jumped at the chance for three reasons:

1. I needed a new laminator.

2. I wanted a really good, durable laminator and Mead® is a name-brand I trust.

3. Mead® is allowing me to give away a brand new laminator to a lucky teacher!

So, needless to say, deciding to review the laminator was a no-brainer for me!

Disclosure: I received compensation and/or products in exchange for writing this review, however, all opinions are my own. 

My new laminator arrived recently, and I was very excited to start using it because I had just created a new game and it was waiting to be laminated. I received the Mead® 12.5" HeatSeal® Pro Thermal Laminator.

Mead® also makes a 9.5" HeatSeal® Thermal Laminator, and a 9.5" HeatSeal® Pro Thermal Laminator.

My first impression was that it was a well made, attractive looking, white and gray laminator. No need to put this one away when not in use! I love the size and the fact that it is very lightweight. 

Inside the box was an instruction manual and a few Mead® EZAlign™ 3 mil Thermal Lamination Pouches. You can also use 5 mil lamination pouches, but I find 3 mil is sturdy enough for even my youngest learners.

See the grid lines through the plastic? Those really come in handy when you're trying to laminate in a straight line. Once the sheet passes through the laminator, the lines disappear. Poof!

The laminator I chose has a maximum document width of 12 1/2", which is perfect for laminating letter sized documents.
 The laminator itself is 18 1/2" x 5 x 3".

It isn't very wide, so it doesn't take up a lot of desk space. 

The on/off switch is in the back, along with the switch for the 3 mil, 5 mil, and cold settings. The cold setting is for the cold adhesive or pressure-sensitive pouches (not included.) There is also a jam release lever to quickly clear jammed or misfed pouches.

So, let's see how well this baby works!

The laminator heated up in about three minutes, which is way faster than my old laminator. I once owned a laminator that took so long to heat up, I'd plug it in and do some chores around the house while it heated up. With this laminator, I don't have to do any chores! Woo-hoo!

The outside of the laminator didn't get very hot, so I was able to laminate on my table without worrying about damaging it. 

Once the green light came on, I was ready to start laminating some gameboards from my Spin-a-Word Family game.

The document passed through nicely...

and looked smooth and felt very sturdy, when it was finished laminating.
 No bubbles. No flaws.

Time to laminate some of the playing cards and the spinner!

See the grid lines below? It's so cool how they just disappear!

*Laminating Hint: Make sure that there is plenty of room behind the laminator for the newly laminated document to come out.
 Now that's a mistake you only make once! #guilty

Here are some of my laminated game pieces!

Have you ever laminated something and when you cut it out, the laminate peeled away? That is a laminating nightmare! Well, no worries here. Everything I cut out came out perfectly!

Who's ready to play Spin-a-Word Family?

I am incredibly pleased with my Mead® laminator and I'm sure we will be best friends for a long time!

Here's what I love best about it:

It's small and lightweight.
It's very attractive.
It heats up quickly.
The outside of the machine doesn't get very hot.
The sheets go through at a nice pace.
My laminated pieces are smooth and sturdy.
The laminate doesn't peel away when I cut out my pieces.

You can find the laminators on amazon.com or mead.com.

Mead® 9.5" HeatSeal® Thermal Laminator

Mead® 9.5" HeatSeal® Pro Thermal Laminator

Mead® 12.5" HeatSeal® Pro Thermal Laminator

So, now that you've heard all about my new best friend, I'm sure you are ready to try and win a laminator of your very own. 

Actually, the lucky winner will also win a box of 50 Mead® EZAlign™ 3 mil Thermal Lamination Pouches. Not only do the pouches have the grid lines, but they can also be cut to size and the remaining laminate can be saved for future lamination needs!

Enter the giveaway using the rafflecopter below. There are lots of ways to enter. The more you choose, the greater your chances are of winning. Please enter with integrity. All entries will be verified before the winner is announced.

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Good news! Mrs. Wheeler's First Grade is also giving away a Mead® laminator! Head on over to her blog to enter her giveaway and double your chances of winning this great prize!
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Looking for a simple way to incorporate labeling, drawing, and writing in your kindergarten or first grade classroom all year long?

How about a way for you to integrate science and language arts all year long?

If you answered yes to these questions, keep reading!
If you answered no to these questions, keep reading! ;)

Integrating science and language arts has never been easier!

Let's Label, Draw, and Write is a series that encourages young learners to label, draw, and write about all kinds of animals and insects.

Students will label, draw, and write about...

Farm Animals
Zoo Animals
Forest Animals
Arctic Animals
Ocean Animals

Here's an in-depth look at what's included in this bundle!

As you can see, this resource will give your students a plethora of labeling, drawing, and writing activities during the entire school year. They are fun and engaging for the students and easy to prep for you!

Don't need the entire bundle?

No problem! You can purchase just the packs you need!

I hope you enjoy this resource as much as I do!

PS: If you grab the bundle now, you'll save 50%!
That's a HUGE discount!

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How exciting is it to begin a brand new school year?
It's time to sharpen those pencils, organize those bins, and welcome a new group of eager learners.

If you're anything like me, right about now, you're probably thinking of some new ways to excite, engage and challenge your students. If so, you surely don't want to miss the TWO DAY Teachers Pay Teachers sale.

Are you currently using interactive notebooks in your classroom? They are a very valuable learning tool. Click here, here, here, and here, to read my blog posts about them. 

If you're a kindergarten teacher, looking for some exciting activities, you may want to check out some of these...

If you're a first grade teacher, looking for some engaging activities, you can check out some of these...

Shopping during a sale is a great way to score some really good deals. My whole store is 20% off on August 1st and 2nd. And, TpT is giving everyone an additional 5% off if you use the promo code: BTS2017. Don't forget to use it!

And, because we ALL love gift cards, I am giving away two $10.00 gift cards to Teachers Pay Teachers. You can use it to purchase some of your new goodies, whether they come from my store or someone else's. Not ready to shop during the sale? No problem! You can use this gift card any time you're ready. They never expire.
I'll choose two winners before the ONE DAY sale is over, and email you the code to your gift card.  Good luck everyone and happy shopping!

Enter using the rafflecopter below!
Contest will end at 12:00 PM EST on August 2.
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 I firmly believe that teaching character education is as important as teaching reading, writing, and math. Character education should be a daily part of everyone's classroom. Learning how to be a good citizen, and to be responsible, and trustworthy, is just as important as learning how to read and write.

In my classroom, we honor one student a month in a school assembly. First, I introduce each monthly trait, we read books about it, discuss it, and write about it. My students write about what each trait means to them and how they feel they best demonstrate the trait. This is an image of the writing template.

Then, the voting begins!

My students privately fill out the ballot and put them in our classroom mailbox for me to tally. The student who gets the most votes, is the one honored at the school assembly. Then, we have runner ups. Could be one, two, or three runner ups, depending on the number of votes. We honor these students in our classroom.

I have these cute character trait posters hanging in  my classroom. 

They make a beautiful display and the children refer to them often. They really come in handy when we are talking about character traits in the characters we read about. They like to compare themselves to the characters in our stories.

Along with the posters hanging in my classroom, I have a bulletin board display in the hallway to honor the winners each month. The winners fill out this writing template...

I hang their finished writing activity and a sign that says the name of the trait and their name. For example, if I won for caring, the sign would look like this...

These signs are editable so you can easily type in the names of the winner(s) each month.

I always discuss with my students that not everyone is going to win a character award, and that does not mean that they don't exude good character. I don't want anyone to feel sad or excluded if they don't win. 

If you would like to hang these posters in your classroom, you can find them here or click on the image below.

I hope you and your students enjoy them as much as we do!

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