SPINNING Over A Good Book!

I seem to have been M.I.A. since the start of school! I keep making a list of blog posts and then get overwhelmed with my day-to-day and end up putting off blogging for another time...Well, that stops, today!! 

I can hardly believe we are into October already! This is a busy month for me as my daughter will turn 5, and my baby sister gets hitched!  Speaking of busy, October seems to be one of the busiest months of school too!

So, you need to change out that back-to-school display in your room or the hall; you want something cute but that also shows the kiddos' work! I have the answer for you! Book reviews with an October theme! (I am thinking of adding all seasons to this set before too long!) 

You have been working hard at setting an environment in your room where students are excited about reading. Your students have built up STAMINA and you are so proud!  What better way to have students write a summary about what they are reading than to write book reviews on whatever book they are currently reading.  Students can pick a book review sheet from the following list:
-I'm SWEET On This Book...(candy corn stars!)
-I'm SPINNING Over This Book...(spider web stars)
-A SPOOKTACULAR Book...(jack-o-lantern stars!)
-BREWING Up a Great Story...(Cauldron stars!)
-FLYING High With This Book...(Broom stars!)
-A BOOTIFUL Book...(Ghost stars!)

Included in this bundle is a page to guide students in writing a great book review.  Review sheets each come in three formats to suit writers at all levels! Students really like to share their reviews with others, and they are a great display for your room and/or hallway.  

Keep reading and reviewing! Happy October!


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TPT Milestone and a B2S GIVEAWAY!

Goals. As teachers, we all have goals.  When I started on my TPT journey, I set some personal goals, and today I have been recognized with my first TPT Milestone! I am so excited! Because of this, I have some exciting news!

First of all, I have decided to throw a sale in my TPT store to celebrate my recent milestone! All of my math products are 20% off through August 27th! You can find some of the following products on sale! Hop on over!!

Next, to celebrate, I have combined my B2S GIVEAWAY with the milestone achievement to offer TWO huge Prize Packs!

You will find a K-2 prize pack and a 3-5 prize pack! All you need to do is follow my blog (preferably through bloglovin') and enter to win!! You can enter each day!  This GIVEAWAY starts today and will end this coming Friday! Rafflecopter entry at the end of this blog post:-) 

This marks my first week back at school, and I just had to celebrate with some amazing resources! Each prize pack is over $100 in value! Each pack has an Amazon and iTunes gift card as well as the STUNNING 3D Fiber Lash Mascara! There are some wonderful educational resources included as well! Please share this post with your friends! Enter away! Here's a peek at what you will find...and the AMAZING blogging buddies that contributed to the GIVEAWAY... 

A special thanks to the following blogs for their WONDERFUL Donations! 
Mrs. Beattie's Classroom
Teaching in the Fast Lane
Mrs. MeGown's Second Grade Safari
Buzzing with Mrs. B
Learning to Teach in the Rain
Ideas by Jivey
Learning 4 Keeps
Fabulous Fourth Grade Froggies
I Want to be a Super Teacher
The Learning Chambers
Sunny Days in School
Kindergarten is Great
Who's Who and Who's New
Glitter Meets Glue
Curls and a Smile
Teacher Tam
Roots, Wings, and Other Clever Things
Fisher, Reyna Education

ENTER to win HERE!

a Rafflecopter giveaway a Rafflecopter giveaway

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Over 1,000 Facebook Likes and Discounts!

Woohooo! It made my day yesterday to see that I hit over 1,000 likes on At Whit's End Facebook Page! If you aren't following, you totally need to! I think that over 1,000 calls for a celebration, so...I just *MAY* have left my newest product, At Whit's End Binder and Yearly Printables, as a FLASH Freebie for...oh, you know...a little while:-)
At Whit's End Binder and Yearly Printable file has a ton in it! There are so many wonderful organizational tools and resources for teachers out there, yet many of them are very pricy!  I wanted to make this file all customizable so that you can make it what YOU need it to be.  Why should I make a ton of binder covers and dividers when you only need just a few? Also, I have included lesson planning templates, calendars, week-at-a-glance, table tents, educational quote mini-posters, candy toppers, popcorn toppers, water bottle labels and much more in this file! It's almost COMPLETELY customizable!
In case you are looking for something a bit bigger in scope, I am marking my Teacher Binder & Meet the Teacher Bundles (all have been updated for the 2014-2015 school year), classroom decor and a few other resources down for the next 24 hours! Click on the resources below to jump to my TpT store!

Happy 1,000+!!!

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Obedience: An Issue of the Heart {A Mommy Post}

"Please don't do that."

"How many times have I asked you to start on your homework?"

"You did not follow my directions."

"Cleaning your room means picking up everything, including the closet."

"If you had done what I asked you, you would already be done!"

Sometimes life as a mom is really hard.  Do you ever feel like all you have said is "NO!", "Stop!" or "Don't do that!"  Sometimes I wonder how many different ways I can say the.same.thing. Sometimes I get tired. Sometimes I just let the eye-rolling happen. Sometimes I roll MY EYES! Sometimes I just want {*sigh*} to sit on the couch without correcting anyone or anything.  Yes, these two cuties can test me big time {but aren't they CUTE?}

Teaching and expecting obedience from our kiddos is not easy and it is something that I am continually refining day in and day out.  It is so easy to get frustrated.  Several months ago I heard something that caught my attention from a good girl friend.  We were chatting about kids, parenting, school and there the line was...right in front of me...

"OBEY right away, all the way, in a happy way." 

The first time I heard this phrase, I knew it was GOLDEN.  As a parent {and teacher} I am always looking for those simple, yet effective things we can do to help our children understand what we are asking of them.  After further research, it seems that this phrase was originally, "Obey right away, all the way, with a happy heart." It is a quote from author, Ginger Hubbard, who wrote Don't Make Me Count to Three and Wise Words for Moms.    

YES! This is it! Once I incorporate this saying into my parenting, my kids will totally obey everything I say {lol.} I came home, pulled my two kiddos together, and we discussed the phrase and what each part meant.  I was READY to start using this phrase that was perfect for my KIDS! That night, before I fell asleep, I felt a nudging..."Whitney, do you practice what you are preaching to your kids....Do you obey Me right away, all the way, in a happy way?" OUCH.

"....BUT, Lord....This is great for the kids, I am going to teach them scripture, we will talk about having a happy heart and learn more about You!..."

Don't ya just love it when a great plan you believe as "yours" was really God's all along?  He pointed it out loud and clear! So, I am here to testify that obedience is a HEART issue. It is constantly a struggle for me and not just my children.  Doing what God asks of me right away...I can manage that, but all the way and in a happy way...let's just say it is something I have to give over to Him many times when he calls for my obedience.  

Several years ago at church, we has a series on "Authority Issues."  We all have them in one form or another, and I love what our pastor challenged us with...
The activity pictured above is a tangible way for my kiddos to see the different authority roles around them.  Obviously, there are other people placed as authority figures in all of our lives, but I kept it simple and had my kids tell me their authority figures.  I LOVE the quote from Ed Young about getting under what God has placed over us...that was really what HE was telling me that night I felt him nudging.  Only when I am fully under the authority of his will, can I be the mom that my littles need me to be.  

So, since I have learned that obedience is a heart issue, every time my littlest love obeys in a happy way she gets a sticker for her Heart Chart! {I think I need a Happy Heart Chart too!}

 I have created several printables to help teach my own kiddos about obedience. The resource includes mini-posters, handouts with scripture, and a reflection book that has two forms {for older kids and younger kids}.  The reflection piece has the kiddos analyze what obeying right away, all the way, and in a happy way LOOKS like and SOUNDS like! I hope you will find them useful too for your kiddos or your Sunday School class! You can get them from my google doc or over at my TPT store

Jesus says, "My sheep listen to my voice; I know them and they follow me." My greatest desire for my children is to KNOW His voice and follow Him.  Teaching and expecting obedience in our home is a way for me to help train them to hear HIS voice and HIS heart.   

Thanks for letting me step out of my teacher role and into my mommy role to share this post with you!

Get the resources here!

Growing Character from Leaving Your Children an Intentional Legacy Blog has info and scriptures about obedience.  She also gives lots of crafts and conversations starters for you and your kiddos.  I have some of her ideas pictured in my above post.


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Place Value Bundle GIVEAWAY!

I am so happy to announce that I have REVAMPED one of my favorite units! Understanding Place Value is one of my best-sellers, and I have added to it greatly! So, for those of you that have already purchased this file, go back to your purchases page on TpT and download the new file! I have added an INTERACTIVE journal component for teaching place value for those of you that math notebook or use journals! Also added are five new station activities to use during fall, Christmas, and winter! Whew! Take a peek below at what is included...and ENTER to WIN IT!

Do you want to WIN Understanding Place Value?  You can right here through my Rafflecopter Giveaway! I also have it marked down to celebrate the fun!  a Rafflecopter giveaway

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Two Back-To-School FREEBIES!

Can you believe we are close to halfway through JULY?! Where has the summer gone?  I spent part of last week in Las Vegas at the TpT Convention and Blogger Meet-Up! I had a great time and learned a lot!!  I made some new friends, and am excited to collaborate with them in the upcoming future! 

As many of you start thinking about getting organized to go back to school, I wanted to offer you two of my freebies for being such fabulous followers! 
 Sunrays: Editable Tags & Labels are so versatile! I hope you can use them as you get back and geared up for school! Make name plates, locker tags, bin labels...the possibilities are endless!  Happy Labeling!

My #meetmyteacher templates are a great way to introduce yourself to your new students and parents! #meetmyteacher is perfect for the first day of school, meet the teacher night, supply drop of night, or back to school bash! Celebrate going back to school in style!


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Back2School Bash...SHOW Off!

Hello fellow teachers, SLPs, principals! I am working on something H.U.G.E. I cannot wait for us to start collaborating on it! What do you feel that teachers MUST have from your TPT store in order to have the very best start possible? Let's collaborate! I am really excited to put together some product packages to DROOL over! If you would like to submit one (or more) of your products for consideration in my Back2School Giveaway, fill out this google form! Let's do this!

Also, if you have something else that is not a TPT product that you would like to add to a package of goodies, let me know. Do you have an Etsy shop? Are you a craft master?  We already have some amazing new lip gloss and the 3D Fiber Lashes! Have you guys seen the 3D Mascara? Seriously like crack for your eyes! So cool! 

Fill out the form or leave a comment if you have any questions or further ideas for our Back2School Bash!

It will be here before we know it...we better get rolling!

Check out my TPT store here!

Can't wait to see many of you in VEGAS this week! Woohoo!


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Persistence in Problem Solving: Student-Led Math Moments

Problem solving.  Teaching kids to have persistence to prevail.  This is so very hard! Are you with me on my thinking? We all have those kiddos who read through a word problem one time and expect that they will just *know* how to answer it.  Then there are the students that read the problem multiple times, use all the strategies we have taught, and still have a hard time getting started.

My district utilizes a time called Intentional Problem-Solving.  At first, I thought...well, I am getting problem solving in during my lessons, guided groups and stations.  And...that was the truth.  I could point out weekly where problem solving was happening within my math block.  Then, I decided to implement the time for problem solving....stand alone time! Nothing else going on except thinking, talking, modeling, explaining and solving.  Wow! What happened in my room was crazy good:-)

As we transitioned to math and my kiddos took bathroom breaks, I would pass out the prompts.  I preferred to type up the prompts and put 25 prompts to a page.  Then I could cut them out quickly for distribution and kids could get them taped/glued into their journals.  They looked like this...
Students would work anywhere from 2-5 minutes on their own solving the problem (or setting up to solve).  I also had students write out their thinking.  I encouraged them to tell what they know, and how they solved by walking through the process in their writing.  They also needed to answer the question in written form.  After working independently (and some times we went 8-10 min.) students collaborated and shared their thoughts with a partner or table group.  This time allowed students who were struggling to hear about the steps a successful student worked through to come up with a correct answer.  I usually then picked two students to share their thinking and work via our document camera.  

Looking back, and why I think students grew so much with our student-led math moments, has to do with the fact that we focused more on the math process and explanation in writing than on the correct answer.  We were always looking for students who solved the problem differently than the way their neighbor solved.  Students knew that we as a class were looking for math language, vocabulary, and/or symbols in their explanations as well as using strategies or giving/drawing a representation/model, etc.  It became this healthy competition where students were excited to share their work.

Each student grew, and by the end of the year, students were doing a great job with the written explanation piece.  I did not grade each entry. (Can you imagine? lol.)...but these were truly a treasure for parent conferences and also for RtI.  It made certain conversations easier because the proof was definitely in the pudding!! :-)  

When I did take a grade, students knew ahead of time and we discussed what I would be looking for in assessing their problem solving.  I developed the following rubric...

I really believe that the persistence in problem solving grew as student stamina grew. My students needed time, led by other students, to gain confidence in what I knew they could do.  We still have a log way to go, but I am so proud of the growth I've seen since utilizing this approach in class.  

As I went through the year, I developed many word problems that I have now bundled in my new Student-Led Solutions package! Word problems come in full page print outs (for binding weekly or for a folder with brads).  Problems also come 25 to a page for teachers who utilize the math journal approach, as I do in my classroom.  Here is what you can expect to find in the bundle.  

Grab the 50 math journal prompts HERE!
What do you utilize to teach problem solving? I can't wait to learn from you.

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