Sunday, September 30, 2012

Bedtime Math

I just found this great website called Bedtime Math that features a new math problem every day!  I really love that each problem comes with it's own background information and three levels of problems.  For example, last night's problem was about the Full Moon yesterday.  They provided information about how often full moons occur on Earth, along with information about the moons on other planets.

They then gave three levels of math problems related to the full moon for Wee ones (counting on fingers

), Little kids, and big kids. And the best part, it is FREE!

Head on over to sign up and make bedtime mathtime!

2013 Traceable Calendars

Free printable monthly calendar pages  that have traceable numbers.


Saturday, September 29, 2012

Read, Give, and Share with We Give Books

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I just found an amazing free resource and I wanted to pass it on to all of you. We Give Books is a free online library of children’s books that enables your kids to help other children around the world while they’re reading. Whenever you read a book at, they donate a book to a child who doesn’t have one, and it doesn’t cost you a thing. Their tagline says it all, “combining the joy of reading with the power of giving.” It’s the perfect tool for parents, teachers, caregivers, and anyone who loves children’s books!

When you go to, you’ll be able to read a special selection of books without a We Give Books account, but you have to sign up to access their full library. It’s definitely worth it, though. It’s just a quick form, and once you’re signed up, you’ll have access to over 150 quality children’s books! There are a lot of familiar classic titles, and even more new ones for us to discover. You can sort the books by age level, genre, author, and seasonal selections in the “editor’s pick” section, so everyone can find something they like.

On the Causes page you can learn more about where your donated books are going. This fall, We Give Books is focusing on early childhood literacy across the United States and supporting great causes like Jumpstart for young children. In the winter, you’ll be able to read to support global literacy and give books to non-profits like Room to Read. They also give you the option to donate to help your book donations reach even more children.

We Give Books is a program of the Pearson Foundation and Penguin Group. Penguin works with its authors to provide an outstanding selection of online books while the Pearson Foundation donates print books to charity partners. We Give Books is a great way to get your children excited about reading and to teach them about the importance of helping others.

Saturday, September 15, 2012

International Talk Like a Pirate Day Lesson Plan Ideas

Did you know that September 19th is International Speak Like a Pirate Day?  Here are a few ideas to help your little mateys celebrate the day!

How I Became A Pirate is a great read! 

Here are a few questions to ask your child:
  • Would you want to be a pirate? Why or why not? 
  •  Does Jeremy Jacob seem afraid of the pirates? Would you be afraid?
  • Describe some of the pirates Jeremy Jacob meets.
  • What soccer team is Jeremy on?
  • What things make Jeremy not want to be a pirate? 
    After reading, have your child complete the activities to go along with it in this packet.
     Here are some great writing activities to go along with the book as well.            

Friday, September 14, 2012

Out of This World Similes

I love this adorable simile packet from The Peanut Gallery! Not only is it cute, but it contains tons of activities to teach your child about similes. 

The pages included are:

1. Simile Definition Poster
2. I Sense a Simile- student activity and sample
3. It Came From Planet Simile- simile/art activity (includes three different versions to suit grade/ability level)
4. Simile, Sweet Simile- identifying similes
5. Simile Haiku Poetry- writing haiku
6. Strange Similes- correcting mixed-up similes
7. Simile Scrambles- two different versions included

Sunday, September 9, 2012

UnReal Candy Review

Bad parent confession alert!  I feed my kids candy. (Don't judge) Well, not all the time, but probably a little too often.  I have an incredible sweet tooth - and I tend to eat sugary goodies whenever I feel even the slightest bit stressed, so it is also hard for me to tell my kids they can't eat candies when they see mom munching away on some.

That is why I was excited to hear about the new Unreal Candy which are similar to many of the candies we all love eating, but without the junk - no artificial sweeteners, no corn syrup, no preservatives.

I must admit, I was also a little nervous about it because most of the candies that are good for you - well, they just don't taste as good as the real thing.  Let's be honest, they just don't taste good at all.

I tried the Unreal 41 first and I have to say any fears of it not tasting good were completely eliminated!  Yummy!  They don't taste exactly like M&Ms - but instead have a bit of a darker chocolate taste.  They are made with milk chocolate, but it is a richer taste.  They are also surprisingly filling, so I wasn't able to eat the whole bag in one sitting which was nice because it saves me calories and money!  And the kids could actually share a bag.  What a concept!

The kids loved them too - so I am happy to say that I can feel better about being a parent because I now have a healthier option to give them a sweet treat!

Disclosure: I was provided with samples to facilitate this review as a BZZAgent

The Quietest Pencil Sharpener Ever!

I have a few pet peeves in life - you know those scratching on the chalkboard type things? One of my biggest ones is the sound of a pencil sharpener!  I don't know why, but I hate that sound! When I was asked to do a review on the Quietest Classroom Pencil Sharpener, I wasn't 100% convinced, but I was willing to give it a try!  It was invented by a classroom teacher who must also have the same pet peeve as I do.

Well, let me tell you, it absolutely passed the test - it is very quiet and FAST!  I also love that you can move it around as well, it attaches to a table or shelf so you don't have to permanently attach it to a wall. It is very well made and durable, which has been another one of my pet peeves,.  it is so hard to find pencil sharpeners that don't fall apart after a few uses.  It has been very kid proof and is holding up like new!

Definitely worth the money!  You can order one from Classroom Friendly Supplies, but you have to act fast as they sell out quickly!

Saturday, September 8, 2012

Free Phonics Lessons

If you are working on reading skills with your child, and want a free phonics program, you will want to check out Free Phonics Lessons.  The site features over 60 free phonics lessons at a variety of levels with printables, reading lists and more.

September Highlights Hidden Pictures

Highlights Hidden Pictures are always a great go to when the kids start to whine about nothing to do!  You can download Septembers Hidden Pictures here for some extra fun.

The Itsy Bitsy Spider Video and Math Freebie!

Here is an adorable video version of the Itsy Bitsy Spider for your little ones to enjoy:

When they finish watching, print out this fun spider and fly number matching game to play!

Friday, September 7, 2012

Become A Tax Preparer

In my former life, I worked as an accountant in a CPA firm.  My job was primarily as a tax preparer and I really enjoyed it.  I wish that I had known about Fast Forward Academy back then, particularly when I was preparing for my CPA exam and other tax courses.

Tax preparer jobs are a great way to either make a full-time living, or add some extra part-time income to your budget. I am still often asked to prepare several tax returns during tax season, even though it is no longer my primary job.  It is always nice to earn a few hundred dollars per return (especially right after the Christmas Season).

If you are interested in making some extra money this upcoming tax season, or are looking for a career change, you should definitely check out the many resources available from Fast Forward Academy!

Long Vowel E Lesson Plan

Tell your child, "We are going to work with some long-vowel e patterns. The way we’ll do it is we’ll learn a set of clue words, and we’ll use those words to read other words. Your clue words today are eat, bee, and thief. (Write underlined words on a board or print them out on cards). They all use patterns to spell the long e. In the word eat, the letters ea represent the long e. In the word bee, the letters ee represent the long e.In the word  thief, the letters ie represent the long e."

Say: "I am going to show you a new word. I want you to point to the clue word with the same pattern and then say

“I know                                    . This must be                                                   .”

Show your child various words with these patterns, either written on the board or on index cards.  Have your child practice reading them several times.


Sunday, September 2, 2012

Watch a Butterfly as it is born! Plus a freebie!

Here is a great time-lapse video of a butterfly as it is born.

After your child has watched it, they can complete this fun life cycle of a butterfly craft.

Apples, Apples, Everywhere!

Fall always reminds me of apples and lots of them!  Here are a few great activities for incorporating apples into your daily lessons:

Give your child a large sheet of construction paper folded in half and the sequencing sheet below.  They cut out the pics, label each one, and glue it inside their folded piece of construction paper. 

Make up some yummy homemade apple sauce with this recipe below:

Here are a few more apple activities to try:

Apples Graphing

Apples in Boxes Counting Activity

Color the Apples AB patterns

Apple Number Order

Saturday, September 1, 2012

Watch an Egg Hatch and Free Emergent Reader

Many kids don't get to see eggs hatching in real life, so here is a great way to help your child experience just that!

After watching the video, have them practice their reading skills with this great emergent reader.