If you've been around a while, you know I'm a big fan of bringing learning to life with the wonders of candy and cookies. If you feel inclined to wag your now-now, there's a healthier alternative finger at me, go ahead. You are probably right. But since I can't actually see you...I shall continue, ha!

One of my very favorite activities for the past few years has been participating in the annual O.R.E.O Project. The concept could not be simpler. The basic idea is that the kids attempt to stack Oreos in a tower. You keep track of the stacking data and then enter it into a database with all of the other classes that are participating. You can then compare your results with classes all around the world who are all stacking during the same general time frame. Cool right?

Well, it gets cooler. The project has evolved over the years to include a voice thread component, an icing sculpture gallery and lots of related science and math activities. In my class we make a week out of the whole thing and complete lots of experiments with those sweet little circles of tastiness.

This is the data collection sheet that I use with my second graders during the week. We complete all of the activities together - tons of fun and super bad week for the diet. I touched upon it in this thread with a bunch of other Oreo-ness but it was a while back and lots of new friends have joined us since then.

Search around on the site page and you'll find lots of other teacher created resources too. At the end you'll even get a fun certificate of participation to proudly display in your classroom.

Visit this year's Oreo Project at Projects by Jen to sign up - and then keep your eye out for Oreo coupons. You're gonna need them!
P.S. Click here to see which TpT teacher authors are offering discounts of up to 30% starting today through August 6th!
For this fantastic milestone, I reached out to some of the best bloggers and Teachers Pay Teachers authors I know, and they were so incredibly gracious! They have each offered up the following units to the winner of this giveaway! I'm sure you will recognize the names of these incredibly talented ladies. Each of them has donated the prize pictured which you can check out at their stores (links to follow-trust me they are pure awesomeness!!)
I've tried to simplify the entering process a little more too. This time you only need to enter twice. Leave a comment that says, "I follow all 6 blogs" or "I follow all 6 stores". That's it! I also still have the typing test word verification feature turned off. I kinda hate that feature. I've also added a way to enter without even really entering! Blog, Facebook, Tweet or I guess you could actually tell them by speaking (how old fashioned!) about the giveaway and ask your friends to tell me that you sent them. If they win and mentioned you in their comment, then you will both get a prize package! Contest ends Wednesday August 3rd at Midnight EST.  So, here's the same spiel again, but way cuter:
Links you'll need - these will take you right to the prize product. Just click on the seller's name to get back to their home page so that you can follow them :)
Mrs. Tabb's Blog (Another Day in First Grade)
Jodi Southard's Blog (Fun in First)  

My blog buddy Jennifer at Empowering Little Learners is having a great linky! She recently entered her new classroom and is a bit overwhelmed. We've all been there, right? This is what I usually walk into about 2 weeks before school starts (we're pretty much banned from the school over the summer):
Can you see me?

teeny little drawback to being team leader: getting EVERYONE'S books delivered to my room.
Somehow in record time that mess turns into something a little better, so I invite you in to see what I manage to do with my little school spot.

CLICK THE PIC to get a copy of this poster!
Now, keep in mind that we are under the supreme ruling of the Fire Marshall from H-E-double hockey sticks! Notice the absence of fabric and bare walls -me no likey the Fire Marshall. But, welcome anyway, hope you see something that might help you set up this year! (These are pictures from several years clumped together. This year I'm moving across the hall and can't get started until August 8th! Bigger mess than usual, but I'll take more before & afters!)


Merry Christmas!

Brrr...I hope you are all finding a way to keep warm in the midst of this winter chill! What's that, you say? You are warm? It's 115 degrees where you live? Oh, yeah, me too. It was nice to pretend for a bit though, right? Well, even though we're downing gallons of Slurpees instead of sipping hot cocoa, just thinking about the holidays makes me feel as warm and fuzzy inside as I'm feeling outside. So in grand Christmas in July style I have a cute activity for you today. It's a gingerbread glyph. I mean seriously, is this guy cute or what?
I don't have any pictures of real samples to share, this being July and all, but I'll re-post this with some kid made cuteness in six months or so *adding to calendar...now*

Here's the glyph direction sheet. I usually try to make my printables easy on the ol' colored ink cartridge I mean seriously, I think ounce for ounce that ink costs more than gold! So for things like this I'll just print two or three and laminate or stick in a page protector and have the kids work together in small groups.

I do a whole big gingerbread unit which includes lots of yumminess like gumdrops and marshmallows, which of course I sample for freshness and safety. I'll post more on that as the holidays draw closer, but this is one of the centerpiece activities. Each child traces & cuts out a gingerkid and then uses scraps to decorate theirs according to the glyph directions. The file I'm sharing with you includes the directions, a sample to show the kids what a finished product might look like and one gingerbread shape that you can use as a guide to make patterns for the kids. Click here to get your copy and click on the Sweet Glyphs pic below to get a bulletin board title :)

Click me!

P.S. Just found this super cute Facebook Mixer Linky! Stop by and link up!

P.P.S. My blog bud Diane over at LuvToEduc8 is having a contest to celebrate 100 followers. Stop by and say hi!

P.P.S.S. (is that right??) Another awesome contest alert! Head over to Pocketful of Kinders!

P.P.S.S.S <--- I know that's wrong, but whatev! Here's another great contest - head over to Frogs in First to win a $25 Amazon gift card!

Oh Boy 4th Grade is having a contest that literally has me drooling! I am a serious clipart hoarder collector and I thought I knew all the best places to shop, but somehow I've been missing some freakin fabulous places!!  She is giving away $850 worth of digital scrapbooking kits that you can use to create cool things for your classroom or blog! I debated even sharing this contest, because I really want to win it myself, but I'm taking the chance that by doing the right thing and sharing, the Universe will send good clipart vibes my way. Click on the pic below to check it out. Ok, I've had my fingers uncrossed long enough to type this post. Now off to find that lucky rabbit's foot...

Just added! Another great giveaway at What the Teacher Wants~$25 to School Box Supplies. Click on the crayon head kid to enter!

I love my team - plain and simple. I work with some of the best people you could ever imagine. As the team leader, I always like to welcome them back with a little gift. Our team varies from 9-12 people in any given year, so little gifts can add up fast. A few years ago I put some heart shaped sweet-tarts in a clear baggie tied with a ribbon and a tag that said "Wishing You a Class Full of Sweethearts!" I've made journals and clipboards and teacher survival kits among other things.

One year I scoped out the sample size aisle at Target and picked out some things to work with. I ended up with a bottle of Dial hand sanitizer, Shout wipes stain removers, lotion and Downy wrinkle reducer. I put them in a colored lunch bag with this tag on the front. I wanted to share this in google docs, but it gets a little wonky and distorted for some reason. If you want a copy, leave me a comment w/ your email and I'll send it :) You may just be able to snag it right from here too. On a Mac just click and drag to your desktop. PC peeps, is there a way to do that?

Here's last year's & my personal fave so far. I printed the poem below on little tags. Then I added a magnet to the back of a seashell and put it in a little organza bag. It was fun to try to pick out a shell that matched each teacher. I gave our supported teacher an otherwise beautiful shell that had a big chip missing and for our art teacher who was temporarily reassigned to 2nd grade, I found a really pretty pearly one with all different colors. One of our teachers is crazy about animal print (hi Laura!) so hers had a leopardy-spot look to it.  It will make sense when you read the poem, which I LOVE! I went all sentimental-dork on them and gave them all their shell while I read the poem out loud. We had a moment. It was like a little secret we all shared whenever we saw one of the magnets on each other's boards the rest of the year (see - sentimental. dork. If the shoe fits...)
I just had to play around with my fancy Picnic collage program...

This seashell is a gift to help you reflect 
on another gift you are about to receive...your students. 
What can this shell can tell us about them?
Maybe your shell is fragile, delicate, and easily broken.
So are your students. Handle them kindly and with care.
Maybe your shell looks beautiful. Each student in your class 
has a special beauty. Discover it and help others to 
notice it and appreciate it.
Maybe you noticed that your shell has pieces chipped away or 
broken off. Some students have had difficult experiences 
that have chipped away their self-image and broken their spirit.
Help to rebuild their self-image and rekindle their enthusiasm.
The shell you have in your hand is unique.
It was carried to shore by the ocean just for you.
What will you do with it now that it is yours?
Each student in your class is unique, too. 
Each one is in your hands now.
What will you do with your students 
now that they are yours?
   -adapted from Mary Madden’s “Seashell”

 Click here to get the poem.

I'm running out of time for this year's little gifty, but I've been doing TONS of "research" on Pinterest. I'm sure I'll stumble upon something sooner or later!
 I have a feeling you are going to like this one based on the response from the Ready Confetti activity. Again, this is not my original idea. I saw it, spruced it up and I now present it to you to enjoy. This is one of my very favorite first day activities. It's a glyph necklace! The kids follow a glyph to pick beads and then create a necklace with them. Then, as they are all wearing their necklaces they use the follow up activity to learn some things about each other. Cute, right? Here's a glimpse of the glyph and follow up activity:

In the glyph above, I used sports beads, stars and letters. In the past, I've altered the glyph directions and used smiley faces and other assorted shapes along with the regular ol' plastic pony beads. It kind of depends on what I find at Wal-mart or Dollar Tree. Here's a pic of some of the most recent fancy beads I've found. This is what I have left over after using it with my class. You can see there are plenty to split with another teacher peep to keep costs down. There's an example of the necklace in there too. The big plastic letters are my fave.

If you don't dig the necklace, you can always make bracelets, keychains or zipper pulls for backpacks. 
I stick to necklaces and the kids wear them FOR-EV-ER! 
This link will take you to the directions in a PDF just the way you see them above.
This link will take you to a copy in Word that may funkify the fonts so you might have to fix it up.

I hope you enjoy this one and I thank you so very much for hanging out with me in my little corner of this big, giant blogosphere~it means the world to me!

Check out this great linky for more Back to School Ideas hosted by my blog buddy Jodi @ Fun in First:

I have been cooking up this scrumptious surprise for a little while and I'm so glad I can finally spill the beans! I have been trying to think of a cool way to celebrate each time I reach another hundred followers. Thanks to you all, I've had to come up with the ideas pretty quickly! This time I think I may have outdone myself!! So, I present to you my Freakishly Fabulous Four Hundred Follower (Plus It's My Birthday) Giveaway Contest!! Ok, I know that's not so catchy, but my friends - truer words were never spoken.

One lucky reader will win a Teachers Pay Teachers shopping spree of epic proportions! The TWENTY-SEVEN sellers below and I have all agreed to let a winner choose an item of their choice from their store. That's right - if you win, you get to shop till you drop and receive an item of your choice from each of these amazingly generous seller's stores! Twenty-eight free items will be yours! I wish I could say that's one for every year of birthdays I'm celebrating, but I'd need 13 more prizes for that. Hey - stop doing math - now! You will definitely recognize some of these names if you are a TpT shopper.  Even if one of the shops is not quite your area, you can always shop for a friend!

Feast your eyes on this and then scroll down to enter!

Here's the how-to. You can earn one entry by doing each of the following:
1. Be or become a follower of my blog.
2. Be or become a follower of my TpT store.
3. Blog about this contest.
4. Post this contest on Facebook. 
Bonus Entries:
Earn one entry for each TpT store and/or blog you choose to follow from the list below. I removed the word verification thingy so you won't have to type in "stinkus feetosis" or something similar each time you enter.
Leave a separate comment for each of the ways you decide to enter. Enter once or use every entry choice, it's up to you! I'll leave you alone now, you've got a lot of clicking to do!
Contest ends Thursday, July 21 at midnight EST. I'll choose a winner with the random number generator using the numbered comments. Good luck Friends!

Rachel Lynette's TpT Store & Blog
Victoria Leon's TpT Store & Blog
Lesson Plan Diva's TpT Store & Blog
Charity Preston's TpT Store & Blog
Deanna Jump's TpT Store & Blog
Ashleigh's TpT Store & Blog
Lisa Pagano's TpT Store
Vintage Teachers TpT Store & Blog
Brain Bender's TpT Store
First Grade Brain's TpT Store & Blog
Rundes Room's TpT Store & Blog
Shelly Gray's TpT Store & Blog
Krystal Mills TpT Store
Wise Owl's Factory's TpT Store & Blog
Brooke Beverly's TpT Store
Teacher Tam's TpT Store & Blog
Science Etc's TpT Store & Blog
Effective Teaching Solution's TpT Store & Blog
Karla Banks TpT Store & Blog
Science Stuff's TpT Store & Blog
Secondary Solutions TpT Store & Blog
From the Pond TpT Store & Blog
Masketeer's TpT Store
SciPi's TpT Store
TchrBrowne's TpT Store
KinderKay's TpT Store
DijoBaker's TpT Store & Blog

Can you hear it? There is a faint, "Ho, ho, ho..." off in the distance. That's because Christmas is coming! Christmas in July! Have I got a sale going on for you in my TPT store...

I am offering 20% off of my ENTIRE store!
And its not just me! Check out my sale first, and then check out the other over 30 sales happening today only - you're sure to find something you'll love. Click any button below to visit a participating sale! (Oh, and be sure to stop back here tomorrow for a super incredible contest announcement!)

 Happy shopping and Merry Christmas (in July)!

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