Year in Review: Puzzle Breakers | FREEBIE!

As the year winds down in May or June, it’s especially important to keep our students engaged and one way to do this is with puzzles! This fun activity has kids become puzzle breakers to decode the question using the numerical key. Each number relates to a specific letter and once completed a question asking students to reflect on their year is revealed! This makes for a fun morning work activity (there’s 5 puzzles included!) or handouts that can be completed after students finish early. 

Be sure to grab this activity for FREE over at my TpT shop!

How do you like to keep your kiddos engaged up until the last day of school?

How To Be Successful In School | End of the Year Prompts!

How to be Successful in ____ Grade!

I am so excited about this writing prompt resource for the end of the year. After testing has finished and the school days begin winding down, I’ve found it so important to keep our little learners engaged and practicing the very skills we worked hard to teach them.

These prompts ask students to reflect and share their year in the form of a ‘How To’ piece of writing. They are writing for the students who are coming up in their grade the next school year and sharing their advice on what made them successful and how these new students can be too. The final product can be hung in the halls the following year to greet the new class or be made into a bound book for the classroom library. They can even be sent home with your kiddos!

Here’s what’s included!

 Kinders Who Write!

When I taught Kindergarten my first year teaching writing, as well as reading, was a major objective. At times it really seemed like a challenging goal - to get these little people writing - but by the end of the year I was amazed at the level of work my little kinders were putting out!

The end of the year is no different than the first day. It’s important to keep our little ones writing and practicing those skills and even into the summer months. This download is differentiated for these little kindergarteners with simple, but easy to follow, prompts and guided lined paper both for brainstorming and publishing. I even made the introductory sentence traceable for these little guys using common sight words they would have learned throughout the year! Easy peasy!

Engaging Primary Writers

Our kiddos in first- sixth grade are given prompts that require a bit more detail to their answers. This is so that when they go to begin their first drafts they have some meat to include in their paragraphs. For example, they are asked various questions like reflecting on a meaningful memory from the year or their favorite topic that was studied. 

Each brainstorming page comes with boy and girl templates as well as the option for 2nd-6th grade to use guided lines or regular lines for their publishing paper. I like providing choices for my young writers and I’ve seen that many can determine for themselves when to use the guide lined paper or not.

I hope you all have fun with this activity and find that it helps keep your kids engaged and writing up until the last day of school! Be sure to also check out my other End of the Year resources here on the blog and over at my shop!

End of the Year Awards | 2017

It’s already May, which means this is when many teachers are beginning to plan and prep their end of the year festivities - including their student awards. The end of the year is an exciting time, for both teachers and students alike. It’s a time where the school year starts to wind down, testing is either close to finishing or just getting started, and students begin their month of review material. In the middle of all of this are the coveted student awards.

Every school does something a little different, but for my old school we always had our grade level awards held inside our classrooms and invited our student’s families to be a part of this special day. Although prepping these awards (and the subsequent class party afterwards) can be tiresome, it’s nonetheless exciting to recognize each of my kiddos and the hard work they’ve put into the school year. It’s also a great time to gather parents and have them acknowledge their child’s hard work as well.

You’re Invited!

For any party one needs good invitations! This download comes complete with editable invitation templates that are easily copied and sent off with your students in advance. It’s a simple invite that outlines the ceremony date, time, and location. You can also hand sign it yourself before copying! This allows parents to easily tack onto their fridges and keep an easy reminder at home or to share with family members.

Close to every award under the sun!

There are a lot of reasons for a child to be recognized on awards day - and it goes beyond just ‘class clown’ or ‘best dressed.’ I’m sure those are acceptable things to acknowledge, Lord knows we have those students in our classrooms, but I think it’s really important for our kiddos to know they have contributed to the class and themselves in meaningful ways - not just because they’re funny.

In my awards resource you will find a variety of superlatives that can relate to your students. From the ‘Lover of Learning’ to that child with an ‘Inquisitive Mind,’ you’ll be able to easily find the right award for each little learner.

Also, most of the awards are complete with a boy and girl template! I wanted to make sure that each award is customized for the needs of most classrooms. However, you may use these printables in any way you want - boy, girl, or both!

These awards also come in a .zip format which includes a PDF for those wanting to just print and write in their own names - or if you’d like to edit them, to include your own fonts by using a text box over the PowerPoint version. 

Either way, these awards are virtually the easiest thing for you to prep!

 Preparation hasn’t been easier!

We all know that with the end of the year comes a lot of busy work to keep our kids’ minds engaged all the way up to the last day. This also means teachers are looking for resources that take minimal effort in preparing - I mean, we’re just as ready for the summer as our students!

So this resource couldn’t be more easily prepped! 

That’s it!

With the prep work out of the way for your class awards you can spend your cherished time on other more important things! So hopefully this resource will make your days easier!

Teacher Appreciation Sale 2017

It’s that time of year where all teachers should be appreciated for their hard work and dedication (although it shouldn’t take one week out of the year to recognize them) to these little humans in their care. That also means it’s time for Teachers Pay Teachers to recognize this special week and for the next two days my shop, along with all of the other fabulously talent teacher-authors, will be on sale! You can get my entire store up to 28% off May 9th-10th only! What an awesome deal!

Here are a few of my favorite products that are on sale!

Prepping reading centers are easy peasy with this Daily 5 resource! 

Guided Reading Made Easy - Part 1 & 2
One of my most popular reading downloads are these guided reading packs! They provide teachers with easy to use templates and printables for organizing and keeping track of your lessons and student progress. Much of this is adapted from Jan Richardson’s text and can be used regardless of your reading curriculum or state standards.

Matter is always a fun unit with this complete resource - a workbook for the kids that take them step-by-step and incorporates discovery. This download also uses information from videos such as Brain Pop and Scholastic’s Study Jams, which I’ve always used to introduce new topics. 

Another hit in my classroom has always been when I get the chance to bring candy into a lesson. This bundle gives you all kinds of fun ways to use candy and treats to teach or reinforce the skills related to fractions!

At the beginning of each year, and amongst the first math units to be taught, we start with counting in doubles and this resource blends the story Two of Everything with counting skills!

THE most popular products ever uploaded into my shop are my Think Sheets! Such a simple concept, yet the most helpful in getting conversation going from in the classroom and taking accountability at home. These little sheets have helped my students recognize their behavior and explain what they need to do, or be mindful of, next time meanwhile giving them the tools to discuss the incident with their parents at home.

I can’t believe the new school year will be upon us in a matter of months and why not begin thinking about all the paperwork and organizational tools to help you? One of the easiest things to prep for back to school is this complete parent pack! This download has everything you’ll need in getting information from your parents about your new kiddos as well as important information you want to convey to them!

Every year I always need a good set of schedule cards and this download includes practically every subject cards you’ll need! See them all over at my shop!

Be sure to stop on by sometime today or tomorrow to receive your 28% my entire shop - you’ve got about 30 hours to do so! Happy teacher appreciation, my friends!!


30 Before 30 | A Bucket List

[Originally posted at my lifestyle blog, Primarily Inspired]

Happy Birthday to me! Guys, I am officially within the last year of my twenties and I’m not quite sure how to feel about that. There’s a strong part of me that looks back and is quite proud of the woman I’ve become, knowing there’s always improvements to be made. Then there’s another part of me that still finds the big 3-0 to be a little scary. I suppose it’s the uncertainty of what turning thirty will bring. However, it’s coming regardless of how prepared I am for it and something I do that helps me keep focused are making little goals to achieve before my next birthday.

 A couple of years ago I wrote something called 28 Before 28, which was a list of 28 goals that I would like to have accomplished before turning 29. Unfortunately I could only cross off a few things and found, upon closer inspection, that my goals were a touch too broad. I also got pregnant that year so the whole hot air balloon ride thing and traveling didn’t really happen. I knew I had to reevaluate the goals I originally set and adapt them to be more realistic and manageable - especially now with a one year old in tow.

So, in celebration of turning 29 today I thought to take a look back on my old list and be more specific with my new goals as I head towards thirty. This time I reflected on where my life is in this moment and where I would like to be next year. A lot of my goals have a lot to do with travel (we just updated my passport and got Greyson his first one!), creating memorable experiences, and a sprinkle of a few personal little goals in between.

Here are my 30 goals before turning 30!

  1. Live more minimally by ridding of material things once a month for a year.
  2. Take Greyson to an aquarium.
  3. Create more photo books of our travels and milestones.
  4. Travel somewhere outside of the U.S.
  5. Visit/discover Northern California.
  6. Visit/discover San Diego.
  7. Volunteer at least once a month at church.
  8. Join a small group at church.
  9. Create and run a successful linkup on the blog.
  10. Keep up with vegan meals during the week.
  11. Finish the Harry Potter series before the 1st day of Summer (June 21st)
  12. Invest in and use an editorial calendar for both blogs!
  13. Take more photos of Greyson and us as a family.
  14. Print and display photos of us and our travels in our home.
  15. Send more happy mail or letters to friends and family.
  16. Take a picture every day for a whole year.
  17. Have a 'movie on the lawn' night once this summer.
  18. Enjoy sip & paint nights often.
  19. Actively put into savings.
  20. Learn to trust my intuition & God when He speaks to me.
  21. Keep weekends as sacred time - unplug and enjoy.
  22. Participate in a local 5k.
  23. Visit/hike The Channel Islands.
  24. Purchase bikes and go riding at least once a week.
  25. Begin a personal journal this year.
  26. Get my nails done and #treatyoself this year.
  27. Watch Casablanca from beginning to end.
  28. Spend less on toys for Greyson and more on family experiences.
  29. Do something spontaneous!
  30. Live each day with meaning and purpose.
After drafting up this list I’m actually pretty excited to see what I’ll be able to accomplish. I know I want to do a lot this year and gain more experience in this life I have. I am grateful that I get to spend it with my wonderfully amazing husband and beautiful baby boy, which makes checking off these things that much more enjoyable. So, thank you for being on this wild ride with me and fingers crossed I can get to all 30!

Grab 20% off my entire TpT shop this week only!

If you could create a bucket list for yourself (whether it be for a birthday or just overall in life) what would be in your top 5? Share with me in the comments!


Sweet Treat Fractions!

It’s that time of year again where fractions begin to make their debut in classrooms and today I am so excited to share with you how I’ve taught this unit to my kiddos. Fractions can always be tricky for some kids because it’s the concept that a whole object can be divided into parts and how we label those parts. I’ve found that introducing money (a dollar is divided into quarters, etc.) or time (half past, quarter past, etc.) makes fractions easier to grasp because students have that schema from earlier lessons in the year.

It goes without saying that I LOVE to incorporate stories and reading skills into other subjects and math is no different. There are all kinds of fun read alouds out there that touch on fractions! These are just a few of my all-time favorites!

Study Jams by Scholastic is another great resource to add to any lesson. They provide wonderful visuals and they’re completely free! Scholastic provides a ton of videos for multiple math and science topics, which helps make teaching these tougher concepts a breeze.

Introduction (via)

After reading one of your favorite books on fractions, I recommend Eating Fractions since it goes with the “sweet treat” theme. After reading and discussing with students what a numerator and denominator represents, discuss how to write a fraction and use examples from the book to reinforce these ideas.

Using jellybeans, pour 20 onto a desk in front of the class so everyone can see. Invite a student to come up and count each jellybean - this will be the denominator. Encourage your class, or student, to explain back to you that this number represents the “whole", or the total number of jellybeans. Repeat this step with each same-color jellybeans on the table and practice writing the various fractions that are found. Students can watch or you can incorporate class whiteboards!

**Afterwards, add up each of the numerators to demonstrate that it will equal 20, which is your denominator or “whole”. I always share with my kids that adding the numerators is a great way to check their work before handing it in!

At this point you can play the Study Jams video on fractions or head straight into the craftivity!

Independent Practice:

Gumball Machine Fractions

I love doing this activity with my kids and they love it too! It’s so easy to throw together and helps kids understand how they can create fractions.

I Scream For Ice Cream!

Another fun activity to do with the kids is fraction sundaes! It’s another popular way to have kids demonstrate their understanding of fractions by choosing their flavors and writing out the fractions. The key to this activity (and the gumballs) is to limit the number of flavors your students can pick. 

The first time I did this activity I kept it open-ended to see where it would take them, but reeling it in helped my kids focus on just a few flavors at a time and focus on writing their fractions correctly. Those higher achieving students can always complete a second sundae in their math notebooks when they finish.

Cookie Fractions

The Doorbell Rang is a fun story about diving cookies so that all the kids can have an equal amount. This story is a great introduction to this activity where students have their cookie to divide and represent the fractions they create. I’ve made templates for halves, thirds, fourths, sixths, eighths, and tenths as well as a blank one. Students represent fractions both in numerical form as well as tracing the word form too.

Marshmallow Fractions 

I tried this activity a few years ago and I absolutely love how engaged my kids were throughout the entire thing! It was so easy to prep - you just need pink and white marshmallows (or use mini to large) and place them in the baggies that will represent different fractions. I prepped these ahead of time and even created a little cheat sheet that had the fractions I created recorded so it made checking their work even easier.

Fractions can be so much fun and I’m excited to share these activities that have been proven to keep kids engaged the entire unit! What fun activities do you plan for your kids for teaching fractions?

Styling With Stitch Fix | February + Gift

Styling With Stitch Fix | February | |
Referral links are used within this post, but all opinions are 100% my own.
This month was a fun fix because my amazing stylist, Whitney, was able to find a number of pieces that I have had my eye on for a while. Due to the weather beginning to feel a lot like spring during the day I am in need of new knitwear both in the form of dresses and tops. My capsule wardrobe already has jeans accounted for, so finding new tops that fit well and are lightweight is the name of my game. I told Whitney that I wanted to begin to look ahead to spring with this fix and she found me the cutest pieces. Let’s take a peek!

Oh! But before we do Stitch Fix has a gift for you!

Stitch Fix is providing all of my friends (guys and gals!) who use my special link here to $25 off their first fix. This means your first fix is on them! So, if you were ever looking for a time to try it out FREE of cost to you, take advantage of this opportunity today! Just sign up and schedule your fix before 2/21/17 to receive your $25 off!

Loveappella - Madras Embroidery Detail Knit Top | ??

Loveappella - Madras Embroidery Detail Knit Top | |

I was very excited to see this item in this months fix considering I had pinned a top very similar! It’s sleeveless, which I love because it makes layering easy without a fear of getting too hot. The material is super soft, another quality I really enjoy. My wardrobe palette tends to stay pretty neutral so I like the prospect of adding something with a pop of color. The embroidery detailing adds a fun touch to the top and makes it unlike anything else I own. I do wish the top was a bit more flowy or lightweight since it’s slightly more snug than I was expecting. Nonetheless I enjoyed the top - just not sure whether or not I want to keep it. What do you think?

Loveappella - Madras Embroidery Detail Knit Top | |

Loveappella - Madras Embroidery Detail Knit Top | |

Paired my top with items from previous fixes for the complete SF outfit! This Pixley open cardigan was from one of my maternity fixes (and received it in burgundy in November), these jeans from my very first fix, and the shoes were included in this month’s fix!

Staccato - Alun Woven Hem Knit Top | KEEP

Staccato - Alun Woven Hem Knit Top | |

This is by far my F-A-V-O-R-I-T-E top because it takes the peplum and opens it up just a bit, which makes me feel 100% comfortable and confident when wearing it. The shirt overall is billowy but fitted in the arms and bust, which is a perfect fit for me since I’m looking for pieces to hide my trouble areas, but are still cute for spring. I also love this top because it covers my tattoos, so it would be a fun top to wear when heading back to work in the future.

Staccato - Alun Woven Hem Knit Top | |
Apologies for the wrinkles as it’s straight from the box!
The back is just as flowy and the lightweight material makes it the perfect top for this transitional spring weather we’re having.

Le Lis - Kano Textured Knit Dress | KEEP

Whitney did a fantastic job finding me this textured knit dress as it was one of my favorite pins from my style board. I’m loving the deep blue color and the fit is exactly what I requested. I paired this dress with my favorite knit cardigan from my December fix. The length is modest, the fabric is comfortable and the fit is flattering. What more could you really ask for in a dress? I like that this dress can also be worn more casually or dressed up for more special occasions!

Le Lis - Kano Textured Knit Dress | |

Le Lis - Kano Textured Knit Dress | |

Le Lis - Kano Textured Knit Dress | |

Le Lis - Kano Textured Knit Dress | |

Market & Spruce - Nic Knit Dress | RETURN

Market & Spruce - Nic Knit Dress | |

When I pulled this dress out of the box in this months fix I was excited about the pattern, but noticed the fabric (although very soft and comfortable) appeared to be more fitted than a fit and flare. I asked for fit and flare knit dresses because I needed a lightweight fabric that hugged me in all the right places and hid my tummy without looking drabby. Unfortunately when I tried it on it wasn’t a flattering fit at all. I’m still carrying a bit of baby weight and self-conscious about my midsection and this dress, although cute, didn’t work for me. However, I still wanted to share a few photos to show you all how cute it is!

The criss-cross of the horizontal lines is flattering, but perhaps on a slimmer frame. I also wished the dress itself was cut more modestly to fall about knee length. When it comes to dresses, especially ones I’d like to wear when going back to work as a teacher, I need them to be longer and not as fitted. However, if you have legs for days and have a smaller frame this dress may be perfect for you!

Market & Spruce - Nic Knit Dress | |

Franco Sarto - Alora Strappy Sandal | KEEP

Franco Sarto - Alora Strappy Sandal | |

Franco Sarto - Alora Strappy Sandal | |

Yes! I was patiently waiting for my stylist to include a shoe in my fix and these Alora strappy sandals were exactly what I wanted to add to my closet. I’m in desperate need for new sandals and Whitney found me a perfect pair. I wore them out the first night of having them and I swear they’re the first pair of new shoes that I didn’t feel like I had to break in or risk blisters all over! A huge plus!

And apologies for the much needed pedicure! #momproblems

Franco Sarto - Alora Strappy Sandal | |


One of the ways I love communicating my style needs with my stylist is through my Stitch Fix Pinterest board. It gives her a chance to see what styles or particular pieces I’m looking for and writing a quick note tells her what exactly about the photo I love and would like to see in a future fix. Here are a few of the pins I’ve added before scheduling my February fix: embroidered loose tops, knit peplum tops, fit and flare knit dresses, and strappy sandals. As you’ve seen, my stylist picked up exactly what I wanted and came through with some fun pieces to try on! So if you’re questioning how much your stylist uses Pinterest or whether or not it’s worth having a board dedicated to your style inspirations, question no more!

  Styling With Stitch Fix | See how using Pinterest helps my stylist find the perfect pieces each month! | |

So, what is so great about Stitch Fix?

Stitch Fix first began as a skeptical leap of style faith. I wasn’t quite sure that some stylist over the internet could really find 5 pieces that would not only fit me, but be looks I’d actually want to wear. For a $20 styling fee I received my first fix and was initially so impressed with how my stylist heard exactly what I was looking for and delivered on it. I still wear a number of those first purchases today (and that was over 2 years ago) and enjoy adding new and fun pieces along the way.

 I’ve journeyed with Stitch Fix through the ups and downs of my weight and even through my pregnancy with their maternity styles. Since it’s been a couple of months since my last fix, I was so excited to see that they offer shoes now in addition to a new mens line. This just proves to me that Stitch Fix has a finger on the latest trends, but also keeps the needs of their customers in mind. I can only imaging how they’ll grow and expand into the future!

What about those referral links?

Because I created a free style profile I now have the ability to share my love of Stitch Fix with others. A referral simply allows me to earn a credit of $25, which essentially covers my styling fee for the next time I schedule a fix. Once you create a style profile you are given a special referral link and begin earning your own credits. Why not get a credit for something you use anyways? I am so appreciative to those who use my link because it helps me as a SAHM enjoy the little things. So, thank you.

Don’t forget to you grab your first fix for free during this special promotion!

Five For Friday {Feb 10th}

Linking up with Doodle Bugs Teaching today for her Five For Friday linkup and this week has proven to be quite the whirlwind - yes, even for this SAH(teacher)M. I’ve been busy creating some pretty exciting resources, enjoying family time, and gearing up for our big trip back to D.C. in a couple of weeks. 

Here’s what’s filled our week!

ONE | Greyson turns 11 months old!

This sweet boy mine turns 11 months old today and over at my lifestyle blog I’m sharing what has made this past month one of the most exciting yet! He’s just beginning to walk on his own and absolutely loves his Pout Pout Fish book (can you sense reading is huge here at home, haha).

TWO | Greyson also begins at My Gym!

Since Grey is up and moving around more than ever these days, my husband and I decided to enroll him at our local My Gym! It’s a pretty fantastic place where once a week he gathers with babies his age to participate in fun activities, learn gross/fine motor skills, and socialization. With him being an only child (and most likely will only be an only child) it’s up to us as parents to provide Greyson with plenty of opportunities to interact with other children. We loved our first class and can’t wait to continue taking him every weekend!

THREE | All About Math!

This is the newest product I put into my Teachers Pay Teachers shop and I’m so happy with the update! I first created an ordinal number resource a couple of years ago but knew that I needed more than just posters for my room. So, I decided to spruce it up and make some necessary changes to make it more useful not only in my classroom but other classrooms as well.

I knew I wanted to incorporate more hands-on learning whether it be for independent practice or skill review. These handouts use those unifix cubes, wooden shapes blocks, and those fun Do-A-Dot paints!

FOUR | My Teacher Is Missing! ELA Substitute Plans

Miss Nelson Is Missing is always a fun story to read and incorporate into sub plans whenever I find myself out for the day. However, the actual act of pulling sub plans together...I’m going to say it...SUCKS. So, to make this necessary task easy for the next time I’ve put together an easy ELA lesson plan that covers all the important Common Core reading standards.

FIVE | A Unit On Famous Americans

I love teaching our Famous Americans unit because I can always see my kiddos minds growing as they learn about the people of the past, their struggles during their lifetime, and how they’ve impacted our country (and world!). Every year I’ve always wanted something that made my lessons more engaging and kept my student’s desks clear of unnecessary handouts or notes. Thus I created this fun flip-book style of notes for each American we covered.

Oh and just for fun...does anyone else other than me (and secretly my husband) watch The Bachelor? Last week’s episode had me like, whaaaat? And even though Corinne is ridiculous and not at all wife material at this point in her life, she does make for entertaining TV. However, Nick is starting to get pretty annoying with how unsure he is about any of the girls - I mean, who sends a girl home who just said she was beginning to fall in love with him?! I’m starting to understand why being on this show never worked out for him!

What are your thoughts about this season so far??

A photo posted by Kelly Daniel ( on