Saturday, April 19, 2014

Stitch Fix Number 2 And A Giveaway!

Christmas comes once a month for this mommy-teacher-blogger!  There aren't many luxuries I afford myself, but for $20 a month, I get to have someone else do my shopping for me.  Stitch Fix is my monthly Christmas!  

I absolutely LOVE getting my box with the STITCH FIX tape and blue circle on it each month.  The anticipation of opening it and seeing what's inside nearly kills me.  

For someone who hates shopping and loves having the luxury of someone else shopping for me, this monthly 'fix' is such a gift.  I like to make it last as long as possible.  After all, I only get this special treat once a month.   

Eventually, though, I need to dive in and see just what my stylist has picked out. 

Here's my first peek at what was waiting for me inside this month's 'fix.'

First up on my fix list was this striped top. My stylist suggested wearing it with jeans and a low boot but since I had just come from school with jeans and tall boots, I gave it a try together.  I really liked the weight of this top. It is warm enough for Michigan's cool spring mornings, but not too heavy.  

Next in my box was this sleeveless tie-neck blouse.  I absolutely love that this blouse was ivory and not white. As a redhead, ivory is always a better color over white for my skin tone.    

My stylist card suggested I try this with black pants, so I gave it a try.  I really couldn't see myself wearing this blouse though.  In addition to looking like a leopard (yes, I really am that freckly) I could just imagine that tie dragging into a pot of paint as I leaned over a kinder kid.  Or worse yet . . . can you see that getting caught in a laminator?   That would be the end of that tie!   But I wanted to keep an open mind.  

My stylist had suggested I try it on with a sweater that was also included in this month's   fix as well.  So, I took her advice and gave it a try, but still couldn't see myself in it. 

I LOVE LOVE LOVED the sweater though.  It's great that my stylist sends me colors and things that I would never normally pick for myself.  This sweater is one of those things.  While I wasn't a fan of it paired with the blouse above . . .
I kinda fell in love with it paired with a simple pair of of jeans and a white fitted t-shirt.  The color is fabulous and the weight of the sweater is light enough that I can use it even on a cool summer night or into the fall.  The best part . . . it has POCKETS!!!! 

My next item in this fix was a simple pair of black trousers.  I don't know about you, but I have about 20 pairs of black paints in my closet and with my recent weight loss, none of them fit me correctly.  First of all, I'm short . . . 5'2" on a good day.  So finding anything that fits my short legs and long torso is a challenge.  Then there is the fact that I hate to iron, I like a little stretch and I'm a low maintenance kind of girl.   

Well these pants and I are a match made in Stitch Fix heaven.  The length was PERFECT.  They feel GREAT and the added stretch gives right where it needs to give.  Yes, I even gave you a butT shot, because I wanted you to see that they didn't ride too low and that the waist band was very forgiving of the three, fat 9 1/2 pound babies I carried. 

If they made these pants in brown, grey and sand . . . I'd buy one of each color.  That's how much I love the fit.

The final item in my fix was this 3/4 sleeve, navy embroidered blouse.  I'm not a huge fan a navy blue, because it really does nothing for my coloring.  Funny, I love love love black, but I always feel like navy just washes me out.  But I gave it a try anyway.

While it wasn't my style, it sure did have beautiful detailed embroidery and the material was heavenly. 

So all in all a great fix this month.  I was so happy to have everything 'fit' me.  That has been a moving target during my weight loss, and I think my stylist has done a better job of it than I have for sure.  I am also delighted by the new colors that she is introducing to me. I think I learn something new about myself and what looks good (or what doesn't look good) on me with every 'fix.'   

And the best part of all of this is that it's FUN. For $20, I can have someone pick out clothes for me, suggest items from my own closet that I can wear with them, and send it to my home for me to try in the privacy of my own bedroom. I only keep what I like, and they even give me a prepaid, self-addressed package to return what I do not want to keep.  All you have to do is fill out a personal style profile and wait for your fix. Once your fix arrives, you have 3 days to decide what you would like to keep and what you would like to return.  The $20.00 'fix' fee goes towards your purchase, and if you purchase everything in your fix, you get a 25% discount.  Use this link to check Stitch Fix for yourself.  

I want everyone to have this experience, because it really is that much fun.  So I'm having a giveaway for a Stitch Fix Gift Card of $20 which would cover the cost of your first fix.

 I am sure you would love move chances to win, so head on over to my pals, Maria and Mary, and enter their Stitch Fix giveaway too.  Just click the buttons below:

I am so hoping that my next fix will correspond with my friends here in my home town so we can do a Stitch Fix party.  That would be so much fun.  

Until then, you can go check out  and sign up for a fix of your own by using my referral link.  Just click on this link to
and please please please come back and share your Stitch Fix experience with me.  I'd love to know if you've had as much fun as I have.

If you would like to see more Stitch Fix fun, you HAVE to head over Maria from Kinder-Craze's recent Stitch Fix post and linky.  Go see what she had in her box and check out the other posts that linked up to her.

Saturday, April 12, 2014

A New Spin on Differentiated Instruction

I'm teaming up again for with the Bright Ideas teachers for another Bright Idea Link Up.  This time it's all about spinners and how you can use this simple tool to differentiated your instruction quickly and easily.   

Spinners!  One of the best tools for differentiating around.  Really! I'm not just pulling your leg.  At any given time, I can guarantee you that there is 3-4 activities available in my classroom for students to utilize that involve the use of a spinner of one kind or another.

Students love using them (Engaging!!!) and they are easy to use.  Better yet, if you use them like I do, they can be easily used to tier an activity so simply and quickly that differentiating becomes painless.  I promise!

Let me show you.  First of all, you need to set up your spinners so that they are user friendly.  And by user friendly I mean that you can change out the 'spinner card or data' quickly and easily.  .  . so easy that any kindergartener could do it.

How do you do that?  Get your basic transparent spinner and tape it using invisible tape to the top of a CD case.  

Now your CD spinner is ready to go. 

Now for the differentiating part.  When I select an activity, it is always my goal to be able to meet my students at their own readiness level and not just to aim for the middle and hope for the best.

These three spinner cards are an example of one way I can make this happen. I use them in an Easter bump activity, but by replacing an addition spinner for a subtraction spinner or a mixed operations spinner, I can completely differentiate the activity to cover different skills for different groups.  By changing out a 0-5 addition for a 0-10 addition spinner, I can quickly make a game a bit more interesting for students who are ready for that challenge or vice versa. 

This mixed addition spinner may be just right for one group of students but too challenging for the next group with whom I will be working.

Presto chango . . . by changing the spinner card to a subtraction from 5 card, I can quickly assure that the activity will be neither too challenging nor too easy for my next group of students.

This system is so easy that even my kinders can change these out to differentiate their own literacy and math stations.  No paperclips and brads to mess with, no plastic spinners to put together or to tape and retape, simply change out the card.  Spinners are versatile and cheap.  Definitely one of the BEST tools for differentiating around. I use them for math, literacy, making words, writing activities . . . you name it and I can find a way to use a spinner with it.  So there you have it  . . . my Bright Idea for April.

If you enjoyed this Bright Idea for differentiating your instruction, please consider following my TpTstore for great activities and freebies, follow me on Twitter and on Facebook.

For many more Bright Ideas from nearly 150 bloggers, check out the links below:

Monday, March 31, 2014

More Differentiated Word Family Word Work With CVCe Words and a Giveaway!

There's a new addition to the family!  The Word Family Word Work Galore family now includes CVCe long vowel word families.

And the first of many bundles is the Long A CVCe Bundle (also available individually).

Like the original Short Vowel Word Families, these new sets include many familiar features and a TON of NEW activities and extra fun items.

My entire goal with making Word Families originally was to offer other teachers my weekly schedule and plan for introducing word families.  My personal goal for these units has always been to provide my kindergarteners with developmentally appropriate and engaging activities that would give them TONS of practice with these 'oh so important' word families.  After they have that practice, I wanted to have consistent and familiar printables that they could use to show they're mastery.  The short vowel word set has been such a great resource for me that I also have started a CVCe for long vowels.

I always start out each week by making words with large placards.  I love it and they love it because it's a great interactive, kinesthetic activity to get them thinking about their new word family.  Students who aren't holding the placards, are recording the new words in that week's word family on their recording sheet. 

Just print, cut them apart and have your kinders record the words they make.

Once the placards are used, the word family goes on my wall.  This is the focus wall for word work in my classroom.  It never ceases to amaze me how much my students use this wall as a reference for writing and for completing so many of their word work activities.  My Ball Words (sight words) are placed under my letter cards, and I put my word family words above those.

I also place a set of these words in my writing center for quick, grab and go reference if a students needs them.

There is a set of sorting cards for each family as well.  Before my students use these independently, I always introduce the words and pictures in my small reading groups during Daily 5.  Some students need more reinforcement than others, so some will get to practice these words in different ways several times before I expect them to work with them on their own.  Other students need just a quick introduction and are ready to go.

I always want the activities to be fun and engaging so that my students look forward to each new word.  Paint color chips are a great way to have students practice writing the letter for each box.  

And sorting the pictures by family using my 'Mr. Munchie Mouth' is always always always a classroom favorite.  (Of course, I give him a special voice, he sometimes burps when he gets an especially tasty word family word or sometimes he may even try to nibble their hand a bit when they feed him . . . it's fun  . . . it's kindergarten . . . it needs to be engaging.

One of my new activities I have included in these word families is a Word Family Story.  Students can either read the story independently, or you can read the story with them.  Then on their own, I have them highlight all the word family words in the story, count them up and record that number at the top.  Then, because I have several differentiated versions of this activity, they complete an activity on the bottom of the page.  They might unscramble a sentence and write  it or answer a question about the story depending on their readiness level.  

There is also a write the room activity for each word family.  These are, as well, differentiated so that students can merely write the word, write the beginning sounds of the word family or finish a sentence and read their sentence to a friend upon completion.  I love that all my students get the opportunity to write the room . . . get up and move . . . and yet, complete an activity that is right at their level of ability rather than having it be too difficult or too easy for some and only 'just right' for a few.
Independent practice also means that they can use interesting materials in meaningful ways to produce their word family words.  And because this activity is self-correcting, they get immediate feedback as to whether they are doing it correctly or not.

These self-correcting mats are very versatile.  You can use them with letter beads . . .

 . . . play-doh stampers . . .

 . . . or magnets . . .  the idea is to get a ton of practice . . . so these are great additions to add my Work with Word Stations in Daily 5.

My kinder friends also always enjoy making their words with letter links as well.  They like that it's something different . . . I like that it is developmentally appropriate and kinesthetic while giving them that extra reinforcement and familiarity with these new words and their spelling.

For times when you want to add a homework piece or morning work piece to for these families, each package  also includes an interactive and differentiated word family slide printable . . .

 . . . a differentiated Say, Make and Write printable . . .

. . . a differentiated I-Spy printable . . .
 . . . and a differentiated Color, Count and Write printable. 

Once students have a couple of word families under their belts, I have a few extra pieces that I have included in each set that will help with sorting between families.

These include games and several printables that will help you extend your word work study.

Of course, if you would like to learn more about these word family packets just click on any of the pictures here.

And if you would like to learn about my Short Vowel Word Families just click on the picture below.  

And by the way, I'm giving two of these bundles away, all you have to do is leave a comment below before I wake up Wednesday morning or for a second chance to win, leave a comment on my Facebook post.  Just click the link below to find it.  Don't forget to leave your email address.


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