Tuesday, July 21, 2015

My Favorite Planner...Ever! {From the Girl Who Loves Office Supplies}

Hi. My name is Lynda.... and I am addicted to office supplies! If there is a pen, pencil ...notepad ...paperclip ...marker ....watch out! I am all about it!

I am super picky about my selection of planners, calendars and notepads. So when I say that this is my favorite planner of all time....you know I am serious! Finding the perfect planner can really be a difficult task and let's face it, your planner is your life! So it's important to find the perfect one....


And this is it....


April's planner is perfect for all my needs- both teacher and personal! 

The planner begins with the monthly tabs. This is where I keep all my important dates and meetings for school and for my crazy busy life as a momma too. I love color coding everything, so the pages are great for including all of the days' events, whether personal or professional. 


{A pretty place to put your name}

{Monthly tabs to make everything easy to find}


{A convenient place for notes- 
I love to use post-its so that I can continue to add and change 
notes through out the month,} 

{Weekly page for all your planning needs}


The At-a-Glance is my favorite way to keep organized! I use this part of the Life Map to plan ahead for the year. I am able to add information such as admin contacts, schedules, student names and contact information and student birthdays.


 {Admin, substitute and teammate information}

 {Student contact information}

{Don't forget your sweet kiddos b-days with this great page!}

{This is perfect for place for your weekly sticky notes}


The very best part...there are pages, organized by week, for long term planning!!! This is one of my FAVORITE features and makes planning so much easier!

{These are my favorite pages!} 


There are some wonderful pages for notes and ideas. 
It's great to have free space for all life's little notes!



April is amazingly talented and has done a beautiful job of creating a planner that meets all my needs and is OH SO PRETTY to look at! The bright colors and great organization are just what I need and allows for a perfect blend of my school life and my Mama life...I couldn't ask for more!

Now...for  a little surprise...

Are you in love and want the chance to win this awesome planner? April has kindly offered one lucky reader a planner!!!  All you have to do is check out the rafflecopter below to enter! We will have a winner on Sunday.....I am so excited!!


a Rafflecopter giveaway

Saturday, July 18, 2015

Bright Ideas: Twitter for Teachers- Getting Started

This summer, my eyes have definitely been opened to the power of Twitter. For many years, it has been just another place to post about my blog and resources and maybe read a little something about current events.

I had no idea how powerful a tool Twitter could be for me as a teacher!  So I am going to share a few bright ideas on how you can get started on Twitter and begin to change the way you think about professional development. 


1. First, set up your account. A great app that answers a ton of  Twitter questions and gets you started is TweechMe. It's a perfect little manual for the big wide world of Twitter!

2. If you don't already follow your favorite blogs and educational publishers, that is a great place to start! There is a world of ways to find resources and learn more about educational subjects just at the tip of your fingers!

3. Follow your favorite educational authors! Twitter is the most amazing way to interact with and learn from the best! You can find book studies and twitter chats that are based on the author's writing and allows you to connect with wonderful teachers from around the world! There is nothing like tweeting with author's and asking them your burning questions! Best professional development around!

3. Lurk...then plunge! Hashtags (or as some of us remember, the pound sign...LOL) is a great way to see what people are saying about just about anything that you might be looking for and is a perefect place to start when looking for Twitter chats. There are some great hashtags such as #edtech and #edchat that are full of fabulous tweets and people to follow. 

Once you have found a Twitter chat that you want to explore, don't feel bad for just watching the chat happen! I was pretty intimated the first few times that I joined in on Twitter chats and I think the only thing I am have said was HI! When your ready...JUMP IN! Have fun, share your thoughts and don't forget to add your hashtag to your response (so everyone can see your tweet)!

4. If you want to watch and participate in more than one chat...and yes, you will become addicted and become a pro and want to join every chat you see...LOL....

Tweet Deck is a great website that will allow you to view and participate in several chats in a super easy, organized way! More to come on that next time...

I have set up a Pinterest board- Twitter for Teachers for my new fave way to connect with tons of tips on how to become a Twitter master! 

I truly hope that you enjoyed this bright idea and I would love for you to  joining me on  Facebook, Instagram  or Pinterest for more fun ideas! 

Check out the other amazing authors in our link up this month:


Saturday, June 20, 2015

Bright Ideas Blog Link Up- Quick and Easy Station Rotation Chart {All Grades}

Yes! It's that time again!


This monthly blog link up is one of my favorites! There are so many amazing ideas shared by so any talented and creative teachers and I can't wait to check out their ideas!

So this month, I have something that you are going to love! As we all know, station or center rotation charts can be a  little expensive and hard to manage. I am the first to admit that it was a class job for my kiddos because I would get so into my small group lesson that would never get to the chart to rotate the stations.  This was something that worked out perfectly for me and I hope that you can use it too! 

Using Power Point, I created a slide for my rotations. Each kiddo was assigned their small group number and this was on a dot on their desk. The great thing about the sticker dots, is that if I wanted to change their group, all I had to do was drop another sticker on top! Yay for super easy!


Once I created the first slide, I changed the group numbers on the rest of the slides and then put it on a timer. 




Every 20  minutes, the PowerPoint would switch and a new rotation would begin. My students had fun putting in sounds and music to transition the slides and loved getting to change the sounds as a reward!

This worked out so well for my kiddos and for me too! The benefits of having this was that it was easy to make and easy to manage. The slide show took me about 10 minutes to make and can be edited very easily. I can change the theme of the station chart (this one was a beach theme for our last few days of school) quickly, edit it from home and can make changes to the stations in a click of the mouse!

After trying several different ways of organizing my stations, this is by far the best system that I have used and I can't wait to make more templates to add to our themes throughout the year!

(Want to save this for later? Here is a Pin for you!)

I truly hope that you enjoyed this bright idea and I would love for you to  joining me on  Facebook,  Instagram  or Pinterest for more fun ideas! 

For more bright ideas from a variety of other bloggers, please browse through the link-up below and choose a topic/grade level that interests you. See you next month!


Saturday, May 23, 2015

Bright Ideas- Summer Reading List

I can't believe that the school year is wrapping it! This year went by so quickly and I have been so lucky to have one of the best classes in my 15 years of teaching (and I was able to be their teacher twice...woohoo!)



As the summer approaches, I love to spend time thinking about what I can improve on for next year. Planning begins quickly and the search of new strategies, techniques and approaches are necessary for making next year great! So for this Bright Idea, I thought I would share a few of the great books that I have planned to read this summer....#booknerd...

I am a huge reader and have a large list of books to read that will help build my teacher toolbox for next year. This summer I have the following books that I think are going to be AMAZING!




I will just let you know that this list is ever growing! Two other great books that have made my list are....



I love to be collaborative so you know that I will be planning several conversations about these to get tons of  POVs!  Another great thing about these books is that there are awesome Twitter chats that will get you involved, thinking and sharing in 140 characters or less! How fabulous is that? Make sure to check out each of the authors on Twitter so you can also get in on the conversation! 

You can chat with my on Twitter too! My twitter handle is @curlsandasmile and I can't wait to connect and share ideas with you! This is going to be an awesome summer! 


If you enjoyed this bright idea, please consider joining me on FacebookInstagram or Pinterest for more great ideas.

For more bright ideas from a variety of other bloggers, please browse through the link-up below and choose a topic/grade level that interests you. Thanks for visiting!


Saturday, April 18, 2015

Bright Ideas Blog Hop- Quick and Easy Dry Erase

Whew! It has been CRAZY these last couple of weeks with our second ground of state testing coming up next week! I am so happy to take a break from all the madness to share with you another one of my little tricks of the trade and join the lovely bloggers in the Bright Ideas Link Up this month!


I absolutely love to see my students demonstrate their thinking while we are working in class. It is such a powerful tool and it allows me to check in and see what their understanding of the concept is at different moments of learning. With that being said, my kiddos write on their desks all the time! But there are times when I want them to move freely, group with students that are not at their table or maybe just work independently...but away from their desks.  

So my kiddos and I love to use this super easy and quick way to have an instant dry erase surface. 

Here is what you need: Clear View Binder (I bought mine at the Dollar General...happy dance!), dry erase markers and white paper.


The beauty of this little trick is that it is so versatile. All you have to do is out the paper into the clear sleeve on the cover and then write away! 

It has been such a easy way to give students another writing surface. The best part is that you can out anything from passages that students can use to provide text evidence to math word problems! It works great in stations and best of all, the kiddos have a writing space when they are doing their homework. That alone won me some major cool points with my fourth graders!


Don't you just love it?

If you enjoyed this bright idea, please consider joining me on FacebookInstagram or Pinterest for more great ideas.

For more bright ideas from a variety of other bloggers, please browse through the link-up below and choose a topic/grade level that interests you. Thanks for visiting!


Saturday, March 21, 2015

Bright Ideas March Blog Hop

am so excited to be joining so many wonderful bloggers this month for the Bright Ideas Blog Hop! 


I don't know about you but my kiddos are always losing supplies. From pencils to crayons, it is so hard to keep supplies in order throughout our super busy day. The ones that go missing most often...lids for our glue sticks and markers!

So I decided to try a little trick...and it has helped! I set up two little baskets near my trash can. When kiddos go to throw away their empty glue sticks and dried markers, they are asked to drop the kids in my baskets before they throw them away.



Now, when students can't find the lids to perfectly good glue or markers, they can go to our recycled tops basket! They can replace them easily and the life of our supplies is extended! It's simple but it has helped keep our supplies in our school boxes and out of the trash can. It has been a great lesson on recycling and the importance of taking care of our supplies so that they have the tools they need to learn in class. 

If you enjoyed this bright idea, please consider joining me on FacebookInstagram or Pinterest for more great ideas.

For more bright ideas from a variety of other bloggers, please browse through the link-up below and choose a topic/grade level that interests you. Thanks for visiting!


Saturday, February 14, 2015

Deep in the Heart of Texas Blog Hop


Howdy! Welcome to the "Deep in the Heart of Texas" blog hop! I have teamed up with over 40 bloggers from all over Texas to share fun facts, freebies and a giveaway just for you! We will be sharing about what we love about our state, as well as engaging and fun activities that you can use in your classroom. At the bottom of this post, you will see all the awesome bloggers that are participating and the rafflecopter for a super giveaway.  So, grab a cup of coffee, get comfy and have a wonderful time traveling across Texas!



My name is Lynda and I write this cute little blog! I have taught for 15 years, most of which were in first grade. I now currently teach fourth grade and absolutely love it! They are so fun to be around at this age and are truly becoming independent learners. I'm a momma of a beautiful daughter and my furry baby of 13 years. I leave in a small town just west of Houston.


One of the things that I love most about my town is the small town feel that it has. I have been teaching at my school for 11 years and I have seen siblings pass through my classroom and families continue to grow. For many of my students, I have known them since they were little and have had the opportunity to watch them grow. 




I am always looking for something fun and engaging that will allow me to teach the content that I have in a way that is exciting to the kids. Using technology in the classroom is essential. Most recently, I have started using KaHoot with my students and they love it! It's a fast paced and entertaining way to practice just about any skill that you can imagine! It's been such a success and I have written a little more about it on Blog Hoppin'.


Here are a few of the freebies that I have shared on my blog about Texas... just click here and here for the posts about our great state of Texas! 


Last, but certainly not least is our awesome giveaway! All you have to do is use the rafflecopter to have a chance to win and don't forget to check out the rest of the terrific blogs that are in this blog hop!


a Rafflecopter giveaway
a Rafflecopter giveaway
a Rafflecopter giveaway
a Rafflecopter giveaway
Click on the buttons below to visit some other awesome Texas bloggers!