Sunday, December 13, 2015

My Favorite Things Blog Hop & Giveaway 2015

Hello, Teaching Friends!

Favorite Things Graphic

Today we are throwing  a big, humongous bash to celebrate YOU!
Last year we blogged about our favorite non-school related things. This year we have decided that we will share with you our favorite school things! So here we go:


I am probably the wrong person to be part of this hop, because I have a dreadful time choosing favorites.
Favorite color?  Blue. And green.
Favorite season?  Fall, definitely. But I seriously love spring, too.
Sweet snack or salty? Ummm, yes, please!
See what I mean? The problem is real.

I saw this at Hobby Lobby. With the exception of swimming pool and bees (seriously?? somebody must have grafittied that one in...), this pretty well says it for me. Just don't push me to name my favorite kind of milkshake, okay?

Favorite #1, Tip for Classroom Tech: Reading A-Z

When it comes to technology in the classroom, I have two favorites (big surprise, eh?), BrainPop Jr. and Reading A-Z.  Do you use them?  Let me tell you a bit about Reading A-Z!

If you're looking to build your collection of books for guided reading (and who isn't?),  I think you're going to love this subscription service.   If you're willing to put in some time copying and assembling the books, the savings over the cost of buying books from publishers is amazing!!

Here's a sample of the books available - over a thousand leveled books, lots of genres, and all with lesson plans to use as you choose, plus assessments and all kinds of other extras.  I found these plans to be an easy way to prep lessons for a substitute teacher. You'll save lots of time by just highlighting what you want your sub to focus on.

Sometimes we'd use the projectable versions of the books together and then I'd have individual copies of the same book for my students to keep in their book boxes.  These books are also super for a home-school connection. If the occasional book goes missing, it's not a real big deal. Just print up another!

Would you like to try some samples from Reading A-Z? Click here!

I know you'd love a free one-year subscription, so Reading A-Z can become one of your favorite things, too! Be sure to enter the giveaway below!


Favorite #2, Tip for Classroom Organization: The Compliment Jar

One of my favorite class management ideas is using a marble jar.

There are lots of variations on this, ranging from fuzzy pompoms to sparkly gems (you can find more here on my Classroom Management board on Pinterest).  The twist is that there's opportunity in this version for working as a class and for developing positive character in addition to good behavior.
To put a marble in our Compliment Jar, the class had to receive a compliment from another teacher besides me. The compliment could be for anything from a particularly cooperative day with a special area teacher, to a nice note from a sub about class behavior if I was out, to a custodian noting how quietly the class was walking in the hall. AND, of course - begging for compliments was a no-no!

The jar would be considered full when it contained a predetermined number of marbles. There was great satisfaction in periodically counting the very satisfying plink-plink-plinks aloud as a class as I dramatically dropped the marbles into the jar.

Give it a try! I'd love to hear how it works for you!


Favorite #3, Tip for Holiday Entertaining

Here's my favorite appetizer for holiday parties. This is so easy and soooo good, it's a no-brainer for holiday get-togethers.

There are just three ingredients needed for Crockpot Kielbasi Bites.

2 pounds of kielbasi, cut into bite-sized pieces
1/2 c. dijon mustard
1 cup apricot preserves

Mix the mustard and the apricot preserves in a bowl. Add the cut up kielbasi, mix together, and put it all in your crockpot on low for four hours. That's it. Seriously doesn't get any easier.

This doesn't taste like mustard OR apricots. Usually people have no idea what's in it when they taste it. But it never fails to be a hit!

So now it's time for the giveaway!!

Once again we want to treat you all to our favorite things!!! Check out these great prizes!






Enter the Rafflecopter to win these prizes!!!
a Rafflecopter giveaway

Come and visit my other teacher friends' blogs for their favorite websites, organization tips and much more!

Happy Teaching!


  1. I enjoy reading all of your blogs.

  2. Linda, I'm like you - it's hard to choose just one favorite! I love the marble jar! Thanks for sharing! Merry Christmas!

    Peggy @ Primary Flourish

    1. Thanks for your sweet comment, Peggy, and Merry Christmas to you!

  3. I think you are my second sister. I, too, can't pick one favorite for anything! Love the appetizer recipe, and of course, you know I love Reading A-Z...such a versatile program.

  4. Haha, Carla... I tell myself it's not that I'm indecisive. I prefer the term "eclectic"! :)
    Thanks for your comment!

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