Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Ms. BBZ's MEGA Giveaway!

Editing to add: THANK YOU everyone for your entries. Three winners have been selected:

  • Dina
  • Linda
  • Bethany
They have been e-mailed and sellers will be contacting them to deliver their prizes. If you're stopping by, check out my store or any of the wonderful sellers below! 

- Ms. BBZ

I am SO SO excited to share this giveaway with y'all.  There are more than 70+ Teachers Pay Teachers sellers signed up to offer you all - my store and blog followers - THREE different prize packs. There is a K-1 pack, a 2-3 pack AND a 4-6 pack (don't stop scrolling ... it's there!!). In addition to each grade level pack, you'll  be entered to win anyproduct from my TpT store ... WOO HOO! 

All you have to do to enter is sign in with the Punchtab gadget, and click "actions" to gain entries!  Happy entering  --- let's get started!


I am officially OBSESSED ... with Instagram. Follow me! I'm @ashleybbz. :)

Monday, April 29, 2013

It's coming - May 1 - 8 ... MEGA Giveaway!

Shoo! My little fingers are tingling because I've been working all night on setting up this MEGA giveaway ... more than 70+ wonderful, darling, fabulous TpT sellers have donated to the giveaway. I cannot WAIT to have it go live THIS Wednesday. Come back soon! 

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Teacher Clothes: Amy from Eclectic Educating

Today I have an adorable teacher outfit from Amy over at Eclectic Educating.

I LOVE her black and white striped top, and with skinny black pants and flats, you can't go wrong. She says:

Let me just say that those skinny leg dress pants were the best purchase I ever made! They are so comfortable, but still look dressy!

I TOTALLY agree. Fitted black pants make anything look a little nicer. I might have to go dig my pair out of the back of my closet and bring them back for spring. Thanks for sharing, Amy!

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

ENERGY! Kinetic. Potential. Light. Heat. Motion ... And Beyond!

WHEW! We have finished our big energy unit, and I'm delighted with how it turned out {and it's up on TpT for you to use, if you're looking for some energy fun!}. The kids really got into sources of energy, types of energy - and we had some fun integrating reading and writing all the way through.

We started with hula-hooping, of course. {way back when I had the old header, remember?}  - We talked about kinetic and potential energy, and how we transferred energy from our bodies to the hoop!

We learned about several different types of energy, like light, heat, motion, gravitational, electric and chemical, and searched through several magazines to find different types of energy. We even discovered that energy can take multiple forms!

Soon we took things up a notch by learning about the Law of Conservation of Energy. We read a non-fiction passage {included in the unit on TpT} and made a quick anchor chart ...

Then began crafting our energy chains, to show the transfer of energy from one thing to another!

Then we started wondering ... how do we even know energy is out there? We can't see or feel it, most of the time. Enter ... ENERGY DETECTIVES! 

 I gave the kids bags with several items that related to one another (i.e. a sleepover). The kids had to use their inferencing skills to figure out a) what activity was being described, and b) why those items proved the existence of different kinds of energy. The kids had a blast, and then they created their own energy mystery bags! :)

Finally {we actually completed this project throughout the energy unit, but I think it'd be a great culminating activity}, we worked on some problem-based learning projects to sum-up what we know about energy. There were two different (differentiated) problems. First, the President of the Energy committee contacted our class with a unique problem ... 

What should we do? Create public service announcements, of course! The kids had to read a non-fiction passage {included in the unit}, and persuade their peers that kinetic (moving) energy is better for their bodies than potential {stored} energy.

It was a great way for them to practice more persuasive writing, AND they had the choice of how to do it. Several kids chose to write a script for a commercial, but many chose a poster. Here are a couple examples of their adorable work ...

The other group had a slightly more complex task - they were contacted by the President of the Energy Committee about the problems we're having with energy sources that pollute the earth. They were asked to pick an energy source, read a non-fiction passage {included}, complete a Web Quest, and design a persuasive PSA recommending more or less use of that particular energy source. They were also given choices of their presentation style. Here are two excerpts from their PowerPoint and cartoon presentations.

They did a great job, and I'm so proud! We had a GREAT time learning about energy, and integrating several other reading and writing skills into our work as well!

If you're interested in purchasing this unit, you can pick up the bundled resources here. The resources for this unit, sold separately, include:

Thanks for stopping by! 

Sunday, April 21, 2013

Hello TpT Friends!

Hello TpT friends! If you're stopping by to learn more about my peace window, welcome!

The peace window post is located here.

Also, feel free to check out my posts on several other character education and problem solving techniques I use, here with my Motivation Madness blog post and TpT item, and my "Choose Your 'Tude" post and Maya Was Grumpy Read-Aloud craftivity. There's also a fun little activity I spotlighted that uses "The Crayon Box That Talked."

Poke around, leave a comment and "follow" me here (using the Google Friend Connect widget in the sidebar) or on TpT (by clicking the red star) if you'd like - I'm glad to have you!


Thursday, April 18, 2013

WD40 and Whiteboards - It really works!

I have this rolling whiteboard/easel that I use for carpet time - I love it, but it's seen better days. Recently I began getting really frustrated because it started leaving gross black residue every time I tried to erase, making mini-lessons SUPER difficult. Turns out I'd stripped all the special wiping properties away when I used my {very, very favorite cleaning tool} Clorox Wipes on them. OH NO.

But, have no fear. Googling saved my whiteboards, and it can save yours too! Google/Pinterest told me that WD40 would revitalize my white boards. Most of the sources I found were slightly iffy Yahoo! Answers-type things, so I figured I'd weigh in as an actual, honest-to-gosh teacher ... it works. A little smelly, so do it one afternoon so it can air out a little, but it works like a charm. Hallelujah!

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Teacher Clothes: Spring Clothes

I WILL post about teaching soon {lots of fun stuff going on in the classroom right now}, but I just cannot wait to post these fun spring outfits .... 

Everyone at work was wearing their cuuuttttteeee little spring clothes. Little cardigans and scarves, and colored pants that make me want to run home and pack away my winter clothes. {I should have probably done that already.} 

To make matters worse,  today was kind of a "meh" clothes day for me. I woke up late and wanted something I didn't have to iron, so I went with a version of this outfit. The only difference is ... now it's 80 degrees outside, and I was H-O-T all day. The kind of hot that makes my face feel greasy and my hair poof out.  I felt like I needed a shower all day. You know? Whatever, enough about me.  

Check out these PRECIOUS co-workers! 

Anna looked so spring-y and fun today, and reminded me I have a white pair of pants I need to pull out and hem. :) Her pants are J. Crew, top is TARGET {oh yes it is!}, and that necklace {can you see that cute peachy-pink color?} is from Forever 21 {done and done}!  

I totally forgot to ask Amy where she got everything, but that cardigan ... oooohhh my gosh. It's hard to tell from the picture, but it's a deep navy blue. The dots! And those shoes! Can you see they're a woven shoe? So fun. 

Melanie's outfit is what got us talking in the first place {she always looks cute}. This woman has the best collection of scarves, she's never had a bad hair day and she has NO problem pulling out the color. Those pants {Target}! The shoes! The scarf! The hair! Sign me up for all of it. 

Tomorrow: teaching and a cute clothes pic of my own. I'm trying something new with the pictures, wish me luck! 

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Teacher Clothes: Shoe Round Up

I stood so long today I had to bring a chair out to recess. My legs were sooo tired and I have sort of, maybe, possibly signed up for a triathlon {WHAT, who am I?}. My point is: shoes are important, especially to teachers.

With that being said ... a quick round up of my favorite shoes, and a tip from Sam on how in the WORLD she manages to wear heels to school more than one day per year.

A few details - 

1. {Fry boots} I love boots. They look cute with dresses, with jeans and with dressier pants. They have just enough heel that they're not flats. Full disclosure, my boots aren't Fry. They're Steve Madden and cost about 1/3 the price. But I wear them so often, I wouldn't be opposed to spending the money on these the next time around {maybe}. See me wear these here and here

2. {Minnetonka moccasins} These are SO comfortable, they feel like slippers - but look better! They're also the only shoes I have that I can wear without socks and they don't get stinky. See me wear these here, here and here

3. {Nine West Wedges} I bought these for a summer job that was going to need a slightly more professional look. I can wear them all day AND run errands after work. Priceless. See me wear these here

4. {Crochet TOMS} I sometimes feel a little iffy when I'm wearing my regular TOMS to school - like I'm skirting the dress code. These are slightly dressier, and the navy color goes with everything from jeans to dresses. See me wear these here

5. {Seychelles Wedge Sandals} I don't personally own this pair, but I was looking for a dressier nude wedge to complete the line-up. The Seychelles brand is so cute, and their shoes are SUPER comfortable. 

With all that said, my favorite spring pick ... the crochet TOMS, of course. They're new! They're flats! They're dressier than my old TOMS! They go with everything! 

My friend Sam's pick? Her wedge heels.

She has a good point - wedges are more comfortable than heels, and having a platform in the front AND back makes them infinitely more wearable.  

And there you have it! Shoes for spring - bring on the next two months. When summer starts, I'll live in sandals. :) 

Geologist Clothes: Kathryn

I have a friend who's a hot-shot geologist {HOW COOL IS THAT?!}. She was kind enough to send me pictures of her adorable outfit for work the other day. {Okay, it was a couple of months ago; I'm behind.}

I thought it'd be cool to re-create her look in a teacher outfit, just for the fun of it.

First, the geologist look ...

No, just kidding. That's her "in the field" {again, SO COOL!}. Can you imagine if I'd re-created her field outfit, and told the kids we were going rock climbing? My kids would love it. I do wish she lived closer so we could work her job into my classroom somehow. Maybe the next career day?! We do have Skype ...

Here's her description: 

So here is a picture of me, (poorly) attempting to blend into the business world filled of oil tycoons. You’ll notice my high end jeans(Old Navy) and my 2 yr old TOMS that are falling apart.

She makes me laugh, and I'm jealous that jeans are everyday attire! :) Here's my version:

I found that top at Marshall's on a trip with my mom. It's great because it has three-quarter sleeves, but is light and airy so I don't get too hot on the playground. :) Those GAP cropped black pants are my go-to in the spring. The crochet TOMS are a new purchase, and go with EVERYTHING. I like them because they're a little dressier than normal TOMS, so I don't feel like I'm narrowly skating the line between following the dress code and not.  I'll be posting a little later tonight with more teacher shoe options, but suffice to say ... they are THE BEST.

There you have it! Geologist to teacher in three easy pieces. :)

Monday, April 15, 2013


My thoughts are with all those in Boston {and their families} today.

Thursday, April 11, 2013

Choose Your 'Tude: Neutral or Happy

As I've shared when I introduced my "hook" for motivating boys with "Motivation Madness," character education is on my mind as we roll into the end-of-year festivities.

I wanted to share two things I use that work pretty well for me. First, "neutral or happy." This is a fairly simple concept, but it really cuts down on something that all second graders need help overcoming: the pout. You know ... the bottom lip pokes out, the nose wrinkles, eyebrows lower ... feet stomp, shoulders slump ... etc. I help my kids understand this with a simple phrase - "neutral or happy." 

I explain at the beginning of the year that it's totally okay if we don't feel happy all the time. In fact, *I* don't feel happy all the time! {Especially when I don't get my cup of tea in the morning ... not nearly as cool as coffee, but it's my jam, man.}

Rather than pout, I keep a neutral or happy face and voice. If I am upset and need a moment, it's okay for me to close my eyes and count to three, but then ... neutral or happy. If I'm upset with a friend, first I get to a neutral or happy place and then I can use the peace window. 

Here's a little {FREEBIE!} poster I made up for the classroom - grab it from my TpT store if you like it, and leave some feedback for me! :) 

The second thing I wanted to share - morning meeting read-aloud. Every day in morning meeting we have a different topic (math, grammar, character ed., etc.). Wednesdays are the read-aloud days, and I try to make them books with a strong theme - if I'm really on top of things, a theme we're struggling with in class. Common Core Standard RL.2? BAM. {Ha. Too much?}

This week we'll be reading Maya Was Grumpy by Courtney Pippen Mathur to discuss ... grumpiness. We all get up on the wrong side of the bed sometimes. {Especially when it's light for so long and our bodies don't let us get enough sleep. ahemMs.BBZahem} This is the story of a little girl named Maya who just wants to be grumpy ... until her grandma comes up with a funny way to get her out of her funk.

The illustrations are BEAUTIFUL, and there are quite a few examples of alliteration and personification {what.do.you.know.that's.what.we're.studying.right.now} ... #integration. 

Add in a little watercolor technique and a craftivity? #doubleintegration


Annyyyyway - the whole lesson plan set, art cards, templates and response sheets are up in my TpT store, so if you're so inclined - grab it! Either way, I highly recommend the book to chase away those grumpy days! :) 

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Teacher Clothes: Guest Post From Sam the Sassy Teacher

Remember my post from yesterday - where I revealed my teacher clothes inspiration, Sam? I think I used the words, "defies logic," because she always looks soOoOOoO CUTE.

Welllll ... she's agreed to send me updates now and then, with her own sassy teacher tips. I heaved a HUGE sigh of relief and did a little happy dance, because she is WAY more fashionable than little 'ole me. I can't wait to share!

Off we go ...

I continued with the purple hue today. I took a the top and made it into my version of a peplum - created with a loose fitting, boxy top and a wide belt. I paired my "peplum" with a classic black pencil skirt - a must in my work day closet.

{Thanks Sam! Can't wait for your next tip! - Ms. BBZ}

Monday, April 8, 2013

The Crayon Box That Talked

On my visit to my former school, I walked through the halls and admired some of the leftover decorations from the International Festival they hold each year. Every classroom picks a country and studies it for a week (or more, depending on the teacher). On the last day, there's a big festival with food, celebrations and people from the community. Classrooms rotate around the "booths," learning about a different country every year. Among other things, last year we ate Eritrean cake, learned about steel drums from Jamaica and tried on wooden shoes in Holland.

I *love* some of the fun character and and multicultural education lessons they do as a lead-up to the festival. One great lesson is the integrated literature / character education / art lesson from the {wonderful} art teacher. First she reads The Crayon Box that Talked by Shane Derolf - it's the *cutest* poem about diversity, with the crayons all learning that they work together to create a bigger picture, and ask, "What would happen if there were only one color in the crayon box?"

Then she teaches them the basics of a self-portrait, and they draw themselves on a crayon that they add to a big crayon box she's made for the wall. The result is beautiful!

The {wonderful} art teacher also makes other beautiful displays. Check out her Pinterest account if you want to see more of her inspiration ...  Here are a few of my other favorites from around the school ...

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