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My humorous thoughts about life.

"My Humorous and Helpful Thoughts About Teaching / Educational Resources for Your Classroom / Music and Random Fun"

Monday, December 30, 2019

Dollar Deals and TpT Money!

Look at this!

I've joined in with some fantastic sellers to #RingIn2020. Just go to Teachers Pay Teachers, tomorrow and search the hashtag #RingIn2020 for fabulous sales!

Here's what I have on sale for just $1:

Also, be on the lookout for a HUGE giveaway starting January 2nd.

$550 to Teachers Pay Teachers is insane, and you don't want to miss it! 
Stay tuned for this upcoming chance to win big!



Can you believe it? I feel like my life is speeding up and perhaps it is. After all, a year is an eternity for a toddler. Looking at a year as half of your life is huge. 1/58th of it, not so much. The older we get, the faster time flows. It's Einstein's theory of Relativity.

A new year's clipart by Ron Leishman
by Ron Leishman

So what are you going to do to make this year better than the last one? We always resolve to lose weight or get healthy, don't we? I wonder how many people I've lost and gained in my lifetime. That means, looking at weight loss and comparing it to the poundage of a human. I've certainly lost and gained many chihuahuas in 2019 alone.

How about the kindness resolution? That's a good one. It's often difficult to ignore stupid comments on Facebook, but I'm trying. I think I'll resolve to spend less time on FB to begin with. It certainly is a time suck that steals from my business. As a self employed person, the more I work the more I make. So, that's it. Time limits on Facebook.

As a former teacher, I know that teachers need all the time they can get to work on lesson plans, evaluations, grading papers, and everything else that goes along with the thankless job. So here you go! Resolve to spend time wisely.

Finally, here is a favorite song from a favorite scene from a favorite movie, 'It's a Wonderful Life.'

Also, I have two new products that I've listed within the last week.

math activities for winter season

2nd grade logic sudoku math writing

Monday, December 23, 2019

Happy Chanukah!

Last night we gathered at my sister-in-laws house to celebrate Chanukah with family. Here are some songs just for you!

Sunday, December 15, 2019

Dollar Deals are Here with Great Music, Too

Dollar Deals

There is nothing more difficult than being in a classroom right before Christmas except being in a classroom right before summer break! Let's face it. All kids are nuts, right now, and teacher are becoming crazy, too! So to make life easier for teachers, I am participating in TWO dollar deals on TpT.

#happyholideals takes place today and tomorrow. Just visit Teachers Pay Teachers and search #happyholideals or click:

My next group has a secret code and the sale starts, tomorrow. Just click on the link below!

I assume most of you only have a week or less until break. If it's more than that, your school board will probably be visited by ghosts because that's cruel!

Musical Monday Moves Me

Now, it's time to rock on with another group of fun bloggers who post music every Monday! This month's theme is Christmas music, which can sometimes be tough on a Jewish gal who doesn't celebrate Christmas. However, I always told my kids that when you go to a birthday party, it's not YOUR birthday. Same with a Christmas party. Nothing wrong with wishing a Merry Christmas for those who celebrate. I'll post my Chanukah music next Monday, since December 22 is the first night of Hanukkah. (Notice the change of spelling? It doesn't matter!)

Merry Christmas!

Did you know you can watch a fire and listen to music continuously on a YouTube station? You can comment on the song played, but it will probably be a different one for each of you because this is like a radio station that plays live all the time. Pretty cool. Enjoy your holiday! 

Monday, December 9, 2019

How about a Little Christmas Math?

Seems like this time of year, all kids want to focus on is Christmas. With that in mind, we can adapt any subject to the holiday season. I find the easiest way to teach with a Christmas theme is with math word problems. You can take just about any word problem and adjust it to Christmas.

For example:

John visited the candy store. While there, he bought 8 Jolly Ranchers at 15¢ each, 6 packs of M&Ms at $1.25 each, and 3 packs of bubble gum at $1.45 each. If he handed the cashier a $20 bill, how much change did he get?

Abra Cadabra Chrismafy:

John visited the candy store to buy Christmas presents for his friends. While there, he bought 8 red or green Jolly Ranchers at 15¢ each, 6 packs of holiday M&Ms at $1.25 each, and 3 packs of Santa Bubble Gum at $1.45 each. If he handed the cashier a $20 bill, how much change did he get?

Want to know the answer?

If so, you need to sign up for my email and get a FREE Christmas math problems worksheet (on Wednesday) along with a lot more! . . . or hey, do the math!

Guess what! 

I have joined with some talented teacher-authors to give a few FABULOUS gifts for you this December. We all can use a little break this month, right? We gave you freebies in November along with a $400 giveaway. Now we are giving some of our best resources to you for ONLY $1.00! Many of these you won’t see at this price again.  We appreciate you and the hard work you do. Enjoy!

                                                     Dollar sales for teachers around Christmas season

Please click on the link to find all sorts of deals for only $1!

Here's what I have for only $1:
link to Dollar deal items for teachers

Want to find math word problems? Here's a link to a plethora of challenge for your kids!

Want to find lessons with a holiday theme?

Sunday, December 8, 2019

Gifts For You!

Dollar resources sale for teachers

I have joined with some talented teacher-authors to give a few FABULOUS gifts for you this December. We all can use a little break this month, right? We gave you freebies in November along with a $400 giveaway. Now we are giving some of our best resources to you for ONLY $1.00! Many of these you won’t see at this price again.  We appreciate you and the hard work you do. Enjoy!

Now for Monday Music Moves Me.

Monday, December 2, 2019

TpT Sitewide Sale, Inferences, FREE Resource, #MMMM

We just got back from my brother's home. Getting together every Thanksgiving with all of my siblings (and now their families) goes back to our childhood! Though we're sad that our parents are no longer with us, we now enjoy multiple children named after them. We had a great Thanksgiving, and I hope your holiday was wonderful, too.

TpT Sitewide Sale

In case you didn't know, today and tomorrow is the Cyber Monday TpT sitewide sale. Everything in my store, and many other stores, is 20% off. If you add the code CYBER19, you will gain an additional 5% to receive 25% off, with the exception of my new Who Was Frederick Douglass? Book Studies which are at 50% off.

Complete book unit for Who Was Frederick Douglass?


What is it about making inferences that is so difficult for kids? I wish I had the answer. I've found the best way to achieve this skill is to constantly model and practice it. Give your kids reading passages in which they are asked to draw conclusions from the story. Next, follow up by saying, "What makes you say this?" You will find that soon your kids will answer questions by stating their thoughts and give reasons behind those thoughts.

The reasoning behind thoughts is important because every time you or one of your students tells how they drew a conclusion, it models the skill for the entire class. Therefore, you are actually accomplishing more than just making inferences. Students are drawing conclusions using textual evidence, too.

Inferences Through Photos

You can also teach inferences through pictures. Why does this puppy have so many toys in his mouth?

Making inferences or drawing conclusions article

Your kids imaginations could go wild as to the reason! Actually, when we got home last night, we brought my daughter-in-law's grandmother's dog's toys. Jack has too many toys and doesn't play with these anymore. Benny had no stuffed animals because he ripped them up. Don't get me wrong, he loves stuffed animals but is still a chewer and a puppy. He was so excited to have new toys and put them all in his mouth at once. That is not to say that a child can't think of another reason for the toys. Even a creative answer would work. Maybe, Benny is cleaning up the place by carrying his toys to the bin. Yeah, right. Or, he could be grabbing all of them so that the other dogs can't have them. That last one could actually be right. ;)

I have a new freebie for you on inferences.

Free Christmas resource on making inferences for kids

If you download this, please leave me feedback so that others can find it.

Music Monday Moves Me

The theme for this month is Christmas music, so I will post one song for you and you can ask your students to make inferences about it.

So kids, why did this happen? What conclusions can you draw from the song? Have fun, and I'll see you next week!

Monday, November 25, 2019

Creative Problem Solving about Toys

In the gifted and talented program, kids were often asked to problem solve. This too is a skill that can be taught. Let's start with a problem about a toy. Suppose Honey Bear, a golden retriever, has lost her ball under the television set. What can she do to retrieve it?

Teach creative problem solving activities in your gifted and talented class.

In order to retrieve her ball, we must go through the steps of creative problem solving.

1.) Brainstorm - In a group, students will think of as many ideas as possible. Accept any idea given, even if it seems silly. Sometimes bad ideas have a way of sparking good ones from a team member.

2.) Evaluate - Is this a good idea or not? Students must decide if it will work, is easy or possible to do, costs money, or if it is safe.

3.) Decide - Which idea is the best way for Honey Bear to get her ball back? Looking at the criteria, the group decides on which strategy to use.

4.) Act - The group will put on a skit showing Honey getting her ball.

I have two packets that present problems for practice in creative problem solving.

Creative Thinking Exercises for Gifted and Talented students. #TpT

Creative thinking activities about famous women in history.

I send these posts to my mailing group; however, they get free resources along with the article. You can, too. Just join my group by clicking below!

You will also receive a FREE No Prep Problem Solving Pack!

Now for Music

Since we're talking about dog toys, I've got to include my favorite song about dogs! After all, without dogs, there would be no toys under the television. Also, my dogs ARE my toys!

Next up, "Barbie Girl" by Aqua

Friday, November 22, 2019

Last Day to Win & Friday Freebies

LAST DAY.... We are thankful for teachers! A group of thankful teacher-authors have come together to help one lucky school employee or homeschool parent win...
💚 a $400 Teachers Pay Teachers OR an Amazon gift card. Yes, you read that right! You choose!
No photo description available.
Today, is Friday, so you can find a lot of freebies on Teachers Pay Teachers! I'm focused on free reading passages. Just go to TpT and search #fridayfreebie3!

Wednesday, November 20, 2019

Teachers: Enter for a Chance to Win $400 Gift Card to TpT or Amazon

Link to a contest to enter and win $400 in TpT or Amazon Gift card for teachers.

Because we are thankful for teachers, several Teachers Pay Teachers sellers and myself have gathered together to offer an amazing contest. Just think of all you can buy for your classroom with $400!

Please clip on the link provided and enter this fabulous contest, today!

Monday, November 18, 2019

Creativity in the Gifted Classroom with Creative Music

Not only is creativity a part of most gifted programs but also creativity can be taught. The best way to teach creativity is to give kids prompts and have them solve these creatively.

For example: What if everyone is asked to pose multiple ideas for the design a coffee cup and the best creative thinker wins!

Blog post on teaching creativity in the gifted and talented classroom. #iteach

The $1,000,000 Question is, "What makes a specific coffee cup the best?" The answer guides students in the creative process.

A. Originality - To receive the most points, students should come up with ideas that no one else has ever thought of. If more than one person has the same idea, maybe it's not so unique.

B. Flexibility - How different are student ideas? You could mention having a golden retriever on the cup for one idea. If your next idea is to place a labrador retriever on the cup, is that a different idea or the same idea with a slight tweak? Flexibility means that your students should devise ideas unlike their previous ones.

C. Fluency - How many unique ideas can each student think of? The more ideas the better. This is a numbers game that relates to flexibility because if the ideas are not new and different, who cares how many they come up with?

D. Elaboration - This is the skill of going into details about a given idea. For example, I would draw a picture of a bright red golden retriever retrieving a coffee cup with another golden retriever on it. Both retrievers would be wearing green Santa coats and hats with dog bones where white fur would usually be. Is this enough detail to picture the cup in your mind? Is this idea original? If so, award points.

With these guidelines, students are ready to engage in a creative activity. You might want to put a time limit on the students brainstorming ideas and then have them go back to revise these before sharing with the class.

I have two lessons that relate to this topic.

Creative Thinking Exercises for Gifted and Talented students. #TpT

Creative thinking activities about famous women in history.
I send these posts to my mailing group; however, they get free resources along with the article. You can, too. Just join my group by clicking below!

You will also receive a FREE No Prep Problem Solving Pack!

Now for Music

Since my post was on creativity, I'm posting creative songs for this Monday Music Moves Me blog hop

First up is an oldie with a new twist. Watch Crazy Frog in "Popcorn" by Gershon Kingsley. This song was written in the early days of the Moog Synthesizer.

Next up is a strangely unique song, "Blue" by Eiffel 65

Finally, how could a post of original songs not be complete without the classic "Bohemian Rhapsody" by Queen?

Monday, November 11, 2019

Logic Puzzles & Music

Are you looking for a fun way to make your kids think? I've found that my students always loved logic puzzles. What makes logic even better is that kids have a sense of accomplishment when they finally find the solution. Furthermore, logic puzzles come in all types from the little students to adults. I've even bought a few logic puzzle magazines in the drug store for a fun break!

To get started with these, I introduce my students to the basic puzzle just to get the feel of what I want them to do.

gifted and talented, bright kids

I'll treat the rows of the grid as ownership. For example, Aundrea owns all of the boxes next to her name; however, ownership is shared with the colors. Blue owns all of the boxes in the column below the word.

teaching logic, education

Next, I'll point to different boxes and ask, "Who owns this one?" Once the kids understand how the grid works, we move on to the symbols.

I will ask a child, "When you make a mistake on a paper, how does your teacher let you know something is wrong?" I am looking for the idea of an /X/ to show incorrect. Once that is understood, I introduce /O/ to show that something is right.

We will then work a puzzle together.

logic problem, puzzles
If your student is an older child, you'll need to challenge him or her with a multi-grid puzzle. These work just as the basic grids, except students are solving three puzzles at once. Also, kids will need to look at the other grids to solve the one they are working on. I call this feeding off of the grid.

matrix logic grid

Sometimes, I will use side notes to help organize my thoughts, too.

logic instruction, how to logic

Once your kids get the hang of it, logic puzzles make for great centers, work for early finishers, or just a fun and challenging reward for the students. Logic puzzles involve higher level or critical thinking skills and may be worked independently or in cooperative groups. Also, we all know the boy or girl in class who is brilliant, finishes everything early, and constantly needs something to do, so here you go!

If you'd like some free puzzles to try out your students skills, I have a lot at my store. Click HERE to check these out!

I also have a lot of logic bundles: Click HERE for logic bundles!

I once had a friend refer to me as the logic queen. LOL!

Since it is Monday, it's time for a musical selection. Our theme is Native American music.

First up is Cher with "Half Breed." If the kids were against Cher when growing up, they shouldn't be now!

Since we're talking about Cherokees, here is another favorite of mine from Paul Revere and the Raiders, "Cherokee People."

Monday, November 4, 2019

Accountable Talk

Can you believe it's already November? With the new month comes a new blog topic. This month, I will focus on those higher level thinking skills that gifted and talented students love and those in the regular classroom need.

There is nothing like an active discussion in a classroom. I love seeing every kid excited and hands raised. Of course with the excitement comes those who can't wait to be called on, too, but that's okay. At least they're engaged. I have found the secret to how to get kids talking. The first step is to arm them with key phrases that you want to hear, such as: 

I agree with ____________ because . . . 
I disagree with ________________ because. . . 
In addition to what ______________ said. . .  
Can you tell me more? 
And my favorite, "What makes you say that?" 

All of these sorts of phrases enhance accountable talk. The next thing needed is that topic that not everyone agrees on. In this political climate, you can easily find this, but you may not want to. How about a story where the character is faced with a challenging decision? You can follow these with your lively discussions on whether or not the right thing was done. This works well with just about any story or novel.

To help you have fun getting your kids talking, I have many short passages that are purposely written to be vague!

Here is a free product that will get kids talking. My only request is that you leave feedback so that others can find it.

Free resource for educators to enhance accountable talk

Are you thirsty for more? Please find the bundle. All of the resources in the bundle can be purchased individually as well.

Money saving bundle for gifted and talented classroom

And now, for musical selections!

First up is Bonnie Raitt with Something to Talk About.

Remember Tears for Fears? Here is Shout.

Those who have been with me for awhile, may have seen this one on my blog, but it's worth posting, again. Two of the greatest musical talents of all times have joined together, Paul McCartney and Michael Jackson are classic in Say, Say, Say!

Monday, October 28, 2019

Good Bye Wish Bracelet / Hello 20% OFF SALE

Back in July of 2018, I attended the Teachers Pay Teachers (TpT) conference in Nashville. While there, my friend Kathy Simpson of Sunshine and Lollipops gave me a "wish bracelet."

#TpT, #TeachersPayTeachers, #iteach
Although I must admit, when I got it, the star was not tarnished and worn.

I made a wish that I would hit a monthly sales goal for my Teachers Pay Teachers store. With an overabundance of confidence, I figured I'd be meeting that goal come September or October, 2018. Little did I know, I'd be wearing a tacky piece of string with a tarnished star for 15 months straight! The goal was a bit unrealistic in the short run, but I am happy to say I made goal, today!

The bracelet is supposed to fall off and then the wish comes true. Not exactly how it went. First, I reached my goal, and then I cut it off.

#teachers, #education, #wish

Notice the "Daily Goals" book? That is from another friend named Cindy Martin who has a wonderful store called Teacher's Brain. She's given me the motivation to keep working on my store to achieve my goals with her Confidence Tool Box.
                                                                                                                             The bottom line: 

#iteachgifted #iteach345, #edu
Now, this bracelet is gone!

To celebrate, my entire store is 20% off for, today only. Be sure to check your wishlists to see if there is anything you want at a reduced price.

Woo hoo! I feel like I've waited forever for this day, so please stop by Catch My Products to help me celebrate.

TpT store, #sale

Sunday, October 27, 2019


I love Halloween. Unfortunately, not everyone shares my love, so my advice for this time of year is to proceed with caution. Early in my teaching career, I got into trouble. My first grade class and I made a witch's brew. It contained a lot of spicy good ingredients like cranberry juice and cinnamon sticks, but I went too far with my class.

     For example, I said, "Here is cranberry juice . . . or is it blood?"
     The kids all giggled.
     Then I said, "Here are cinnamon sticks . . . or are they bones?"
     Once again, the room echoed with the giggles of small children.

However, when the kids got home, their parents weren't laughing, and I was called under the carpet! This was over thirty years ago, at a time when few thought to question the fun of Halloween. Today, making a Witch's Brew would only be worse. So before celebrating witches and goblins in your classroom, you must make sure the principal and school supports this. Many Halloween parties have been replaced with Harvest parties, which could also spell a good time.

Halloween has certainly changed in other ways, too. Years ago, our doorbell used to ring nonstop with trick-or-treaters from the wee little ones to the teenagers. We'd make sure to buy lots of candy so that we wouldn't run out. In fact, once my brother ran out of candy, so he gave each trick or treater a can of Coke. This was a big hit because the same kids kept coming back.

Last year, we only had one trick-or-treater, so I didn't buy as much candy, this year. I hope we don't run out. I bought a six pack of small Cokes in case we do.

If you're looking for classroom fun, I have Halloween resources and Fall Resources. Here are a few possible buys for your kid's. They will love these!

#iteach123 #iteach345, #teach

Halloween Activities for Primary Students

#kids, #teacherspayteachers #edu

Halloween Logic Puzzles and Brain Teasers
#TpT, #iteach, #education

Autumn Logic Puzzles

I send these posts to my mailing group; however, they get free resources along with the article. You can, too. Just join my group by clicking below!

You will also receive a FREE No Prep Problem Solving Pack!

Now, since it's time for Musical Monday Moves Me, here are some fun Halloween tunes.

Here's a fun song from a fun movie! GhostBusters

I love the spooky music that goes with this video. HA! HA! I recently watched Halloween, with a young Jamie Lee Curtis, for the first time. This is a hoot.

For this last song, I figured I needed to post the entire sketch in order for you to appreciate the song. Plus, this was my son's, daughter-in-law's, and grand dog's Halloween costumes. Any questions?

Halloween Lessons and music


And finally, here is my very own Halloween commercial, designed by my son. You'll be sure to get a chuckle.

Sunday, October 20, 2019

Red Ribbon Week

A red ribbon to encourage kids to remain drug free
Ribbon by, Kate Hadfield Designs
Red Ribbon Week falls during the last full week of October and has been a tradition since 1988 to teach students about the dangers of drug and alcohol abuse. This annual tradition is marked by school assemblies, 5K races, bracelets, and other trinkets to remind students about the dangers of using drugs. Most importantly is a pledge which students sign to agree to be drug free!

I was once a sponsor of the Pride Team at our K-8 school. Upper grade Pride students were typically the middle school leaders. They were the kind of kids who could step into an elevator, face the back wall, and have all the other kids follow their stance. They would sing and put on skits to remind all to be drug free. Also, several of these kids attended national Pride meetings.

I used to commemorate Red Ribbon Week with a door design. I would post pictures of witches and ghosts at the top and drugs on the bottom, "Witches and ghosts give me a chill, but DRUGS are really scary!" I would also have my kids sign pledges promising to remain drug free and hang these on the wall. Did this work? With some, maybe even most, but not all, for sadly, I do have a few former students who have died from drug overdose.

To help you teach drug awareness, here is a free product from my store that I hope you will download and leave feedback!

#TpT product for anti-drug #iteach

Click HERE for FREE Red Ribbon Week Reading Passage.

And now, since it's Monday, here are my Monday Music Moves Me songs.
They are all about anti-drug topics, so have a listen to:

Neil Young, "The Needle and The Damage Done"

Next up, Lynyrd Skynyrd, "That Smell"

And finally, here is Red Hot Chili Peppers, "Under the Bridge," about Heroin addiction.

Tuesday, October 15, 2019

October Research

When a new month arrived, I'd find a lot of tidbits about the month through research. Why not have your kids research people born in October? They may choose a celebrity or famous person and write a report about him or her.

In searching October birthdays, I found the following people:
  • Buster Keaton
  • John Lennon
  • Eleanor Roosevelt
  • Molly Pitcher
  • Bela Lugosi
  • Pablo Picasso
  • Mahalia Jackson
  • Teddy Roosevelt
  • Sylvia Plath
  • Emily Post

Perhaps your kids don't want to research these "old" people, even though it might be a great challenge for them. If that's the case how about researching the current celebrities listed below? If you're over 30, you've most likely never heard of most of these kids, but your students probably know them. Most are Gen Z stars through youtube or young pop culture.
  • Brie Larson
  • Alex Guzman
  • PewDiePie
  • Cardi B
  • SSSniperWolf
  • Queen Naija

Famous people born in October are not the only research possibilities. How about looking into famous historical events? Your kids could research the following:
  • 1636 - Harvard was founded
  • 1793 - Queen Marie Antoinette was beheaded
  • 1871 - The Great Fire of Chicago started
  • 1881 - shoot-out at the O.K. Corral
  • 1884 - Greenwich began universal standard time zones
  • 1908 - Henry Ford's Model T first went on sale
  • 1927 - First full length "talkie" film, The Jazz Singer, opened
  • 1929 - stock market crashed starting the Great Depression
  • 1946 - Twelve Nazi leaders sentenced to death in Nuremberg, Germany
  • 1957 - Russians launched Sputnik, first Satellite in space
  • 1967 - Thurgood Marshall sworn in as first African American on the Supreme Court
  • 1973 - Yom Kippur War against Israel started when Egypt & Syria attacked

Find products related to October below:

                                          The Great Chicago Fire historical fiction story

Also, find enough Fall Activities to keep your kids engaged and challenged throughout the month of October.

Autumn activities in multiple subjects to engage and challenge kids

I send these posts to my mailing group; however, they get free resources along with the article. You can, too. Just join my group by clicking below!

You will also receive a FREE No Prep Problem Solving Pack!

Monday, October 7, 2019

October Fire Prevention Week

Fire Prevention Week is here and definitely a good thing to teach in the classroom. I'll never forget when my son came home from a fire assembly worried about being on the second floor of our house. We bought him a flexible ladder to keep by his window, and that helped him to sleep well. That ladder has never been used in over twenty years, but it still sits below his upstairs window. I'm just thankful he never used it to escape out of the house during his teenage years. At least we think he didn't . . .

My best year in teaching fire prevention was when we entered our city's video contest. My kids had a blast making a movie about fire prevention. It won a prize and was shown to the school, so it may be worthwhile for you to search the local fire department to see if any contests are in place. If they aren't, there is nothing wrong with putting on a skit for another class. The kids will love it and learn about staying safe, too.

Chicago Fire historical fiction story & questions

Also, find enough Fall Activities to keep your kids engaged and challenged throughout the month of October.

I send these posts to my mailing group; however, they get free resources along with the article. You can, too. Just join my group by clicking below!

You will also receive a FREE No Prep Problem Solving Pack!

Now, for a song!