Whew!  I finally finished the most recent addition to my Teachers Pay Teachers store, Rainbow Phrases!  I am super excited to share them with you today.  First, a bit of background...

Y'all know I was a Literacy Specialist for years in my district, and I use this system (though it din't look so pretty then!) with my kiddos in grades 2-5 who needed fluency interventions and already knew their sight words.  Teachers in my district have been using Rainbow Words extensively for years, and I thought that Rainbow Phrases were the next logical step.

My at-risk kiddos loved these!  They each got a "book ring" with their phrases on them, and as they passed each "level" they received more phrases in another color.  The parents (who were typically the ones who weren't sure how to help their child at home) raved about how easy it was to help their child learn their phrases at home.  Then I moved back into the classroom, and these fell by the wayside as I was inundated with the everyday challenges facing classroom teachers... y'all know what I mean!  ;)

Last year, I had a 1st grader who came to my classroom several days per week, as she had mastered all of the Rainbow Words, but needed help with fluency and comprehension.  To help her comprehension, I used many resources, including my Higher Level Thinking Questions for Reading Comprehension.  For her fluency, I swept the dust from my Rainbow Phrases, and we were off!  One of my students saw the rings, and asked if he could use them, too.  Um, yeah.  Sure!  Since then, I've been using this in my own classroom with students struggling with fluency in addition with my regular fluency practice, which I always try to make as fun as possible.

Over the past month, I've spent tons of time (just ask my hubby!!) making this look suitably fancy for teachers to use from Teachers Pay Teachers.  I hope you enjoy how easy it is to use!

I am a part of a giveaway by Jessica at Second Grade Nest!  Go visit her blog to enter; there are a ton of great prizes to be won.  :)  May the odds be ever in your favor!

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~2nd Squirrel!!~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
You've still got a few days left to enter the Samson's Classroom Giveaway!  Have you entered?
As a teacher, y'all know I'm kinda broke, and you may have figured out by now that I love, love, love anything that helps my kiddos with reading, so this was a fabulous opportunity for me!!  The day after Samson's marketing director contacted me, I had access to this incredible reading resource!  Since then, I have had an opportunity to explore this on-line reading software resource with my students and with my own green beans at home.

Here are the highlights of this program and then I have an incredible giveaway for you!

First, Samson's Classroom  offers three different products in their package:  Sight Words, Spelling, and Reading.  All are for learners from kindergarten to grade 5.

Sight Words: This part of the program offers 224 commonly used words.  I plan to use this with targeted 2nd graders, as many of my kiddos already know their sight words. There are five different activities:  learn the words, build words, identify words, spell the words, and find the missing words.  I like the progression of the activities and how the student hears and gets to use the words in context.

Spelling:  This is pretty cool!  At the beginning of the week, I can add my spelling words to the program.  Then, throughout the week, we can take a few minutes to play games to review the words.  There is a Study Zone, Karate Chop, Spelling Scramble, and Wally the Walrus.  My daughter loves the Karate Chop game, and I love that she is practicing her Spelling skills!  

Reading:  This part of the program includes leveled reading passages and comprehension questions that promote critical thinking.  The activity is timed so at the end, the student and the teacher can see how long it took the child tocomplete the activity.  I have used this exclusively with the students I tutorafter school.  Sometimes we read the passage together and other times they read by themselves.  After a long day at school, they enjoy reading and answering questions on my Smart Board.
Why I'm Lovin' This Software:  
  •  The graphics and games are appealing and fun for students and theylove Samson, the mascot!
 Sight Words with Samson 2
  • You can customize the spelling words by creating word lists each week.
  • After you register your students, the program keeps a record of games and activities they played and their scores.
  • Activities can be played on an interactive white board or computer.
  • Students can use the program at home! Samson's even has customized letters for parents you can print out with their log in information.  I emailed the information to the parents, and have had a positive response, thanking me for this resources to support their child at home.
  • Students receive immediate feedback and praise as they play the games.
  • The software automatically updates so no new downloading is needed.
  • At the time of this review, the customer service was outstanding, should you have questions or need assistance.
By now, you all know how much I {heart} Vistaprint!  Today, I wanted to share another resource I use for printing in the classroom - Zazzle!  They always run great deals for business cards, mugs, t-shirts, etc.  If you sign up for a free account, they will send emails (just like Vistaprint) with deals.
A bit of advice: use a "throwaway" email account for the emails from both companies.  That way you just check it when you feel like shopping, and don't have clutter in your inbox.  My most recent email was $10 off any order of $10 or more!  Love it!!
~~~~~~~Back on Topic~~~~~~
Here are a few things I've created for my classroom with Zazzle.  Feel free to pin, or hop over to Zazzle and check them out yourself.
Skinny Business Cards make fantastic bookmarks!
You can even customize the back with no additional charge, and skinny cards come in a cute little plastic dispenser.
Assorted Business Card Designs for the classroom...

Congrats Card - Front
Congrats Card - Back

Daily 5 Bookmark - Front
Daily 5 Bookmark - Back
Getting close to Christmas around here...  I got a set of 100 of these gift tags, and they lasted us for 2 years!!  I just ordered more today!
Family Christmas Gift Tag - Front
Family Christmas Gift Tag - Back
 I've been tracked out for a while, but I'm going back tomorrow to move into my "new-to-me" classroom.  How many days do you have left until Christmas Break?

Omigoodness, y'all!   I know I've got some issues with my clipart addiction, as I'm looking for clipart instead of Christmas shopping!!  :)

I just had to share this very cool freebie I found from the blogger Crunchy With Ketchup.  {{Love the name!!}}  He is a self-proclaimed Monster Wrangler (5th grade teacher) who is sharing some of his cool clipart with the blogging community.  Go visit to snag this super-cute multicultural clipart.
Krista Walden has a fabulous set of Doodle Borders - love these!  I could use these borders on everything!! :)  

What fabulous freebies have you found lately?

I get asked this a bunch - "How did you add that cool link to your comment on my blog?"  Well, here's the trick...
(Doncha just love the graphics from The 3AM Teacher!?!)
Here's what it looks like when I leave a comment:

Here's the code:


Happy Blogging!!  :)
It's officially December, since Currently is here!!  I seem to be addicted to ellipses lately, so...

My family is amazing.  Right now my kiddos are running around giggling like mad.  It can mean they are playing... (fingers crossed) or they've just done something I'm not supposed to find out about...  I'll just believe they are giggling because they are playing!!  ;)

My awesome team mate, Casey, is the person who single-handedly saved me yesterday.  Thankfully, she planned an amazing afternoon of craftivities for our classes to do as we became "roomless" before dismissal.  {I work at a year-round school, and I had to move out to give the next teacher an afternoon to move her stuff in... make a seating chart... ya' know)  It was awesome!!  All activities came from the unit by MOM Printables.  I can't tell you how great it was to sit back and watch over 40 kiddos work away at this.  :)  Highly Recommended!!

I'm trying to think of some additional fun activities to do with my family this month... every year we do an activity advent calendar in our home, with some silly activities (dance to Christmas music!) and some service activities (buy gifts for a family in need) and some old favorites (drink hot chocolate and watch a Christmas movie).  Ideas, anyone?

Wanting - a new cell phone...  Specifically, an iPhone.  Issue - they are crazy expensive, and I'm kinda broke cheap frugal.  My phone still works fine.  Oh, well...  Maybe it'll stop working one day and I'll need a new phone.  What I really need right now is to spend some quality time with my neglected coupons, and save some money on the grocery bills.  (Maybe enough to justify a new phone...?)  What are y'all up to CuRrEnTly?
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