Friday, August 10, 2012

BINGO Behavior

I came across this amazing idea my first year of teaching. We were required to visit another teacher's classroom to get tips before our first year began. This little gem caught my eye the minute I walked into this incredibly organized yet vibrant classroom. BINGO!
After talking with the owner of this brilliant idea, I came to realize that the BINGO board on her wall was a reward system for her students. Each afternoon, the students that have maintained good behavior throughout the day (determine by your behavior system... tickets, color cards, etc.) get to sign the BINGO board. On Friday afternoons, you can draw a letter and number from a bag and whichever student signed that line will win a prize. If the student has had good behavior all five days of the school week, then their name will be on the board 5 times and their chances of winning will be higher.
To create my BINGO board, I took a piece of gridded poster board and glued cut out letters for "B" "I" "N" "G" "O" across the top of each column. I then labeled each row with a number 1-25 (dependant upon how many students you have.) I then laminated the poster.

At the end of each school day as the students are packing up, I call student numbers to come up and sign the BINGO board. The student can sign any line under one letter and in one numbered row. I use a Visa-V marker on my board so that it can be erased each Monday morning to start anew. I also was given a BINGO wheel by a co-worker which actually has the labeled balls inside (ex: G12) but before I received it, I cut out small squares of paper and label one bag of squares with the letters B, I, N, G, and O. Then I labeled another bag of squares with the numbers 1-25. Each Friday I would pull one letter and one number. Voila!  

With Brilliant BINGO Behavior,
The Penny Pinching Teacher

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Classroom Decor 101: Strategy Posters

My classroom is not overly decorate for the single reason that I hate clutter; but I have managed to create and borrow ideas for strategy posters to decorate my blank white wash walls. These posters not only look neat and nice on my classroom walls, but they are constant reminders to my students to use their strategies on a daily basis.
The reading strategy which I modge-podged last year is TURNS. The steps are: 1. Read the TITLE and make a prediction, 2. Read and UNDERLINE key words in the questions, 3. READ the entire passage and use strategies, 4. NUMBER in the passage where you found your answer, 5. SELECT the correct answer.

The math strategies in the following picture are borrowed from a co-worker.

I also created another math strategy for solving multiple choice questions. CUPS... short and sweet and to the point. The steps are: CIRCLE the numbers in the problem, 2. UNDERLINE code words, 3. PICK a strategy, 4. SOLVE.

What are some strategies that have made it to the walls of your classroom?

With Acronym Happy Walls,
The Penny Pinching Teacher

Friday, August 3, 2012

Give With Target

I know that many of you are educators and some of you are not. This one is for everyone. Target is working on their goal to give 1 billion dollars to education. One way that they are going about this is through a Facebook voting give away. Certain schools across the country are able to participate in this "vote-athon."
I'm asking you to help... how? you might ask... here are a few ways:

1. If you're an educator, go to the following link and search for your school. Then start voting and getting everyone you know to vote. You can vote once a day until September 8th or until $2.5 million have been given away.

2. Those that aren't educators... I have a school for you to support. Click the above link and vote for my school. This money will be put to great use with school supplies and more.

Happy Voting!
The Penny Pinching Teacher

Sunday, July 29, 2012

Penny School Supplies Begin- Folders

Yes, I know that the back to school specials have now been going on for several weeks and I've not quite kept you as up to date as I did last year. But that was partly on purpose because I was holding out for the best deals. Staples frustrates me in more than one way but the biggest is the fact that they set a minimum purchase on their penny deals... and I'm not spending $5 just to get 10 items for a penny.
But man do I love me some Office Depot!!
This week is my favorite penny deal: pocket folders (with and without fastens!) If you are a teacher, you can get 30 folders each visit instead of the typical limit of 10. I drag my mother along, of course, because she also works for a schools. We hit up 2 stores today and bought 120 folders for a grand total of $1.24! Now you cannot beat that.
I'll definitely be going to get 30 more each day this week only because I pass an Office Depot on my daily deposit route for my summer job. **You can never have enough folders and your friends will love you if you share!**
Mom and I also stopped by a yard sale quickly after church and I hit the jackpot with a purchase of 6 Expo Dry Erasers for.... wait for it..... 50 cent!
With the Beginning of Penny Sales, (and a Happy Wallet)
The Penny Pinching Teacher

Saturday, July 14, 2012

What to do with wine corks?

Now that I stumbled upon bags of wine corks this past weekend, not only am I not going to have to drink a bottle of wine a day to save up corks... but I now have an excuse to craft again. What better way to spend my Memorial Day morning than creating a new masterpiece for the wall.

I started with a frame that I bought at a tag sale this past weekend. After taking the glass out of the frame, I returned the cardboard backing to the frame and then had a base to hot glue my corks to.

I began with a pattern; exchanging the direction of the corks after every two corks. I laid the corks out at the top of the frame to make sure they fit snug, then I transferred them to the bottom of my base and hot glued them one at a time.
This only took about 20 minutes and was extremely simple. Now to find some empty wall space in my house to hang this gem.
With a glass of wine in my hand and the cork on the wall,
The Penny Pinching Teacher

Friday, July 13, 2012

Free Starbucks Refresher

Friday Freebies are here! What better way to celebrate this crazy Friday the 13th than with a free tall Starbucks refresher drink. The drinks come in two flavors: Cool Lime and Very Berry Hibiscus. The only problem I have with this freebie is my indecisiveness over which flavor to choose!

Have you tried the Starbucks refreshers?
Let me know what you think!

With Friday Freebies,
The Penny Pinching Teacher

Free ChickfilA!

Happy Cow Appreciation Day!
If you haven't already stopped by your local ChickfilA in cow gear to grab a free meal... what are you waiting for!?! Dress head to toe or if you're not so daring... add a few black construction paper spots to your shirt like I did on my lunch break at work and pick any meal for free. (I've already grabbed breakfast and lunch... we'll see if I'm still in a chicken mood for dinner HA!)

Enjoy and let me know your successes!
With a belly full of CHICKEN,
The Penny Pinching Teacher

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Bargain Bonding

Saturday morning yard sale-ing has now become a mother/daughter tradition in my family. Mom and I wake up bright and early and hit the road with our strategically planned list of sales and handy dandy google maps app. What are we looking for? That's a good questions...

The whole yard sale tradition began when I was decorating my new house a year ago and now it has become a hobby. We never set out to find anything in particular but always end up finding the best deals. And this past Saturday morning was no different.

We found a few odd and end yard sales where I picked up a new wicker basket for a guest bedroom trashcan and some vintage books... nothing too exciting but we knew that our jackpot was the tag sale at 9am. When we arrived, the cars were lining the streets for blocks and we could hardly make our way into this gorgeous house. Everything... and I mean everything... was for sale. From fine china and cookware to furniture and a lawnmower. But I managed to find this gems in the basement (it immediately became the envy of everyone when I got in line to pay... which I was in this line for 45 minutes so there was a boat load of envy.)
$5 20" cork wreath

I've been planning to make a cork wreath of my own but I never realized exactly how much wine I would have to consume all by myself to make this lovely piece. Now I can enjoy my glass of wine without worrying about the daggum corks. I plan to make a "cork board" for my kitchen with the two bags of corks I snagged for $5.

I also picked up 4 gold frames at $1 a piece and bought fabric to fill them. They are now hanging in the guestroom in my house. Not a bad price at only $7 a picture after the price of expensive fabric. I'll post a picture of the new guest bedroom wall next week...before and after.

Its amazing what you can do with a staple gun.

I'm OBSESSED with the bumble bee fabric... it reminds me of Slane&Slane

Overall it was a successful trip and I'm sure there will be many more to post about.

With a bargain of traditions,
The Penny Pinching Teacher

Sunday, May 27, 2012

Closed-Toed Shoes Dilemma

Last summer, I enjoyed my months of vacation work free. I slept in most mornings then spent my days crafting, shopping, lunching with friends, and planning for my move into my very own house.
Now, a year later, I am missing those stress free days. This coming summer will be much different as I take on the dreaded SUMMER JOB... dun, dun, dun...

I actually lucked out on a great opportunity to work at the recreation center a block from my house as the co-directer for the summer. I wasn't quite aware of how tedious the job was going to be until I started training every day after teaching this past week. Training from 3:30-8:30pm after teaching for the whole day can really take the energy out of you. But, I have enjoyed the job so far and will be starting full time as soon as school is out.

And that means no break for me...but the thing that I'm most distraught about is the fact that I have to wear CLOSED TOED SHOES all summer long! Who does that?!? I'm a sandal wearing southern gal and live in my Jack Rogers... now my poor toes are going to be cramped in shoes every day for 2 whole months!

So, I took this dilemma and turned it into a perfect excuse to buy myself a pair of TOMS which I've been contemplating for quite some time now. After visiting 6 different store (the sad thing is that I'm not exaggerating) I finally settle on a the burlap canvas TOMS... and I'm in love with them already. *Bonus: they were worth the $46 I spent because now I actually have comfortable teaching shoes too!
Have you jumped onto the TOMS bandwagon?
With a stylish closed-toed shoe-wearing summer,
The Penny Pinching Teacher

Saturday, May 26, 2012

Food Makeover Success

I realized today that life has been so overwhelmingly hectic the past two weeks that I've neglected my blog stalking and writing. After spending hours catching up on my favorite reads, I figured I would update you on my last post about the healthy skin diet.
It has been almost two weeks since I started my new diet and I am shocked at the results. Now I'm kicking myself for not taking a before picture of my skin so that I could show the difference after only a few weeks of changing what I eat. I've had several people (including my mother) comment on how great my face looked this weekend... and that is without makeup which is more than a big deal for me!
Over the past two weeks, this has been my daily menu:
  • Starbucks Iced Coffee with Non-Fat milk and lightly sweetened (I need my caffeine!)
  • Kashi Almond Flax Chewy Granola Bar (300mg Omega3s!)
  • 1/4 cup of raw unsalted all natural almonds
  • Fresh fruit: pear, apple or orange
  • 8oz. water
  • Spinach salad with fresh mushrooms, almond slices, craisins, avocado, and light raspberry walnut dressing
  • OR cottage cheese and pineapple
  • Diet Caffeine Free Coke
  • Grilled Tilapia or Cod
  • Beans or Zucchini
  • Spinach Salad with almond slices and vinaigrette
  • 8oz water

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Skin Healthy Diet

Today, I began my skin healthy diet. After years of struggling with constant breakouts and unpredictable skin, I've resorted to solve my blemishes with a new diet. I've tried every face wash on the market from expensive monthly delivery systems to doctor recommended products and nothing seems to have a long term effect. I spent hours researching food to add to and eliminate from my diet to help purify my skin.

Foods to Add:
1. Almonds
(Vitamin E source: Now my pre-lunch snack. I bought a huge bag of all natural/unsalted almonds and put 1/4 cup of them into snack bags. I replaced my candy bowl with these healthy little snacks to go.)
2. Avocado
(B-vitamin source: Fresh avocado is a great addition to a salad. I recommend adding lemon juice after cutting and if you plan to store some for later, keep the pit in the container with the remaining avocado.)
3. Fresh Mushrooms
(B2 source: Another great addition to a salad.)
4. Flax seed Oil
(Omega 3 source: I'm hooked on Kashi's Almond and Flax seed bars.)
5. Cottage Cheese
(Selenium source: Antioxidant)
6. Fish
(I prefer salmon and cod.)

Foods to Eliminate:
1. Caffeine
(Thank goodness for Caffeine Free Diet Coke!)
2. Processed Sugar
(No fruit juices, alcohol, vinegar, chocolate... no fun!)
3. White Flours
(No pastas, bread, cake, cookies... that included wheat.)
4. Dairy
(No milk, cheese... I'm struggling here!)

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Freebie for TV!

A little over a week ago, I learned about a new App for my iPhone that I have now fallen in love with instantly. For those Foursquare lovers out there (such as myself) you will get hooked the minute you check in to this new App for the first time. But instead of checking in to different locations to earn points to compete with your friends; Viggle allows you to check in to TV shows that you are watching and earn points to redeem for gift cards. Yes, you heard me right. You can earn gift cards by merely watching your favorite weekly shows. I was a skeptic of this App when I first heard about it, so I wanted to put it to the test before sharing it.

The App is FREE and it is available for iPhone4/4s, iPod, and iPad. After you have downloaded the free App and set up your profile, you will see a screen similar to the one below. To earn points, you need to click on the "Check In" tab and a large V will appear on your screen. With your favorite show streaming from your TV, hold you phone up and press the "V." The App will then listen to a short clip of the show that you are watching and identify the show. Then you can click "Check In"... and voila... you're earning points. There are select bonus shows each day that will give you extra points for just watching. (An average TV shows that is not a bonus show is worth 45-60 points.)
 There are numerous rewards that you can redeem your points for and these rewards are updated daily. I successfully earned 7,500 points in less than one week and earned a $5 Starbucks gift card. Now I have my eye set on that Kindle Fire but I don't think I have enough will power to wait until I have 350,000 points (that would take my a year people!) ** Note: if the reward you want goes away, wait a few days and it will reappear**

 I have successfully loaded my Starbucks gift card onto my account and IT WORKED! No longer am I a skeptic of Viggle... I'm now addicted!
With a Free Coffee for watching Grey's Anatomy,
The Penny Pinching Teacher

Monday, May 7, 2012

Oh to be Appreciated

Happy Teacher Appreciation Week!
This week could not have come at a better time with our End of Grade testing beginning tomorrow for our Extend 2 students and continuing into next week for all other students. We are down to the wire and giving our best to make sure that everyone's hard work pays off.
I did a little self appreciation today and made a trip to Target after tutoring over cupcakes (sidebar: if you take a tutoring job, why not pick a location with amazing cupcakes... Genius!). Have you been to Target and seen The Shops yet? If you haven't, head on over to your nearest Target store or check out these new Shops online. I'm already falling in love with The Webster collection and Privet House collection.

Here are pieces that have caught my eye:

Racerback Tank $19.99
Sheath Dress $39.99
Flats $29.99
Jacquard Tunic $29.99
Sugar Sack Pillow $24.99

Dinner Plate Set $15.99

Wicker Caddy $16.99

Storage Box $34.99

With Self Appreciation,
The Penny Pinching Teacher

Sunday, May 6, 2012

Seis de Mayo

This year's Cinco de Mayo was much different from the past years'. It sadly did not involve any chimichangas or margaritas. Instead, I was teaching science all morning to 24 5th graders and babysitting for a sweet 1 1/2 year old all night. Oh how life has changed. Needless to say, I did earn some extra cash and finally bought a new lawn mower. I never thought the day would come that I would be more happy about a new lawn mower than new shoes!!
But I am making up for my lack of celebrations this weekend and am treating myself to a margarita on this Sunday afternoon while I indulge in hours of One Tree Hill reruns and catching up on my new favorite show Scandal.
I hope you've had a fabulous margarita filled Cinco de Mayo weekend... Cheers!
Happy Seis de Mayo,
The Penny Pinching Teacher

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Ten Ways to Have a Good Day


a large vanilla latte in hand
music filled mornings (Pandora!)
a splash of color in your outfit
phone date with a friend
4 mile walk after work to release
an unexpected “I love you”
constant browsing on pinterest
well spent time in a great book
organizing your planning over a sweet treat
to top it all off… a nice glass of wine

Monday, April 30, 2012

Oh to be 21...

Today is a day that I never saw coming... my little brother is turning 21!?! 

Happy Birthday JCM!
Cheers to the best little brother that a big sister could ask for!

Sunday, April 29, 2012

The Ultimate Brain Drain

Please forgive my previous venting about the upcoming doom of testing. Sometimes you just need to get a few things off of your chest and everything seems to be so much better. And things have become much better now that I have received a card from a new vendor near my house for 30 days of free coffee drinks (yes you heard me correctly... FREE... and 30 DAYS!) I always tell my students that "a happy teacher is a caffeine filled teacher." With my coffee in hand, I'm set to hit the ground running at 7:50 on the dot when announcements end and we are going head strong until that dismissal bell rings. With new found hope and energy, I've come back to my senses and begun to push my students to their educational limit before their testing begins.

This week we started memorizing our math "Brain Drain" (this nifty little sheet lost it's old name, "cheat sheet," after realizing that maybe cheating didn't sound so good when it comes to testing... ha!) Each student has their own copy of the brain drain to study at their own will and then I challenge them in different ways every day... and yes, these challenges result in prizes!

**I've taught my students in the past to begin copying their brain drain from memory onto their scrap paper as soon as I tell them that "testing may now begin." This way, the students are able to gather everything that they've learned onto one sheet before beginning the test.**

1. Speed Drill- Each student races to rewrite their brain drain on a blank sheet of paper and the first student to hand me a perfectly correct brain drain wins a prize (usually candy)
2. Relay Race- I divide the class into two teams and line them up on opposite sides of the room. Each team has one sheet of blank paper and one pencil. Each member of the team has exactly one minute to write everything they possible can on the brain drain and then they move to the back of the line and it is the next person's turn to write for 1 minute. This continues until the team thinks that their brain drain is perfect and they all sit down to have their brain drain checked. (I use the stop watch on my iPhone to time the students for the 1 works perfectly)
3. Pop Quiz-ical- This challenge was renamed for the pure fact that it does not count for a grade. During the week, I will randomly stop teaching (no matter the subject) and say "BRAIN DRAIN." This is the students' cue to whip out a sheet of paper and begin writing their brain drain as quickly as possible. I set my timer for 10 minutes the first day, 8 minutes the second day and so on. After the timer goes off, students are to put their pencil inside their desk and I check each student's sheet. Every student that has a correct brain drain gets a prize (homework pass, candy, pencil, etc.)

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

In the Midst of EOG Madness

Being a fifth grade teacher and preparing my students for the upcoming EOGs has got me in a funk... and when I get in a "funk" I resort to a bottle of wine, hours of Bethenny Ever After, Gossip Girl and Grey's Anatomy, and unended Pinteresting. I sometimes get beyond frustrated at the fact that I spend the entire school year teaching my students content that I want to help them for the rest of their lives and then I spend 5 weeks cramming every bit of information possible into their brains so that they can take a state mandated test that supposedly tells how well I taught them.
I've come to the conclusion that time well spent is better than answers memorized. I've started spending more time with my students on a one on one basis to help them with curriculum that they feel that they are struggling with. I've given up my lunch time, planning and mornings to spend an hour with one student to give them that attention that I know they deserve.
Are you getting consumed in the EOG blues? If so, take a moment and step back to look at how far your students have come this year and praise them for the progress they've made. Oh and enjoy a glass of wine every once in a while!

With Happy Moments in the EOG Madness
The Penny Pinching Teacher

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Products I'm Loving

1.New Aveeno Pure Renewal Shampoo

(My new life saver. It is sulfate free, smells great, a little goes a long way and it's panthenol free! I recently realized after a lot of research and self-testing of products that I have allergic reactions to products with panthenol.)

2.Nimbus Microfine Toothbrush
(I've been using these toothbrushes for years now only because they are the toothbrush that my dentist gives you at each visit, but I swear by them now! I went to the dentist a month ago to get two cavities filled and come to find out that brushing with this toothbrush and flossing made them go away... yes I said my cavities went away. They healed fully and that meant no fillings for me!)

Have bags or dark circles under your eyes due to lack of sleep... here's your solution. I've been using this magic mix for years now and it does wonders. Just put a dab under your eyes before bed or if you're getting stressed about signs of wrinkles or sagging skin, then apply it to your whole face before bed. And NO I'm not a MK rep... just fell in love with this product!
**Don't let the price scare you... $30 for one bottle but the bottle lasts me for a year!**

4. Esse Boat House
No better way to celebrate spring time than a new Esse polish. I'm loving Esse Boat House with its perfect shade of coral. Bright enough for spring but subtle enough to keep on for a while. What color are you wearing?

5. Curel Fragrance Free Lotion
I'm in love with the perfume that I use and I hate for my lotion's smell to interfere with that. Curel's lotion is beyond fabulous and eliminates the small eczema patches on my arms.

What products are you loving?

With new and old loves to share,
The Penny Pinching Teacher 

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Target Dollar Delights

Yesterday, I was once again captivated by new things in the dollar section at Target. As you saw in an earlier post, I've begun collecting Thank You cards because of course every southern belle knows that no deed goes un-thank-you-ed. You cannot beat these prices. $1 for an 8 pack of thank-you cards... and their gorgeous with an array of spring colors.
I also picked up a few must haves. A new notepad in what might be my new favorite color combo... grey and yellow. Also I got a small notebook to keep my quick on the go to-do lists in my purse and an adorable luggage tag (which will come in handy with my traveling to weddings this summer.)
However I did pass up on some other amazing dollar finds today... which might find their way into my cart on my next visit. Target Dollar Spot also had packets of napkins with single initials, beautiful Mother's Day cards, gift bags (small 2 pack, large and wine), Happy Birthday and Congratulations cards.

With Colorful Dollar Finds for Spring,
The Penny Pinching Teacher

Monday, April 16, 2012

Timeless Piece on a Dime

For Easter, my mom bought me a gorgeous new watch which I've been flaunting every day since... even with my tshirt and Nike gym shorts. I've been talking about wanting a Michael Kors watch for months now but I could never bring myself to pay more than $200 for a watch when there are bills to be paid. So when my mom and I were shopping the week before Easter, my jaw dropped to the floor when I spotted what looked like a gold Michael Kors watch in... wait for it.... New York & Co.
Now I've seen many MK knock offs but this one was too good to be true. This knock-off-perfection was proven true when a good friend of mine complemented my new "Michael Kors" the next day at which point I flaunted my new watch and the amount I paid for it.
The next case of mistaken identity happened when I was shopping in boutiques on our mountain day trip. I was gawking at a case display of Michael Kors watches when a sales clerk informed me that all of the watches were indeed Michael Kors. Upon seeing my new watch glistening on my wrist, she said, "Oh, but you already know that by looking at your Michael Kors." HA! If only she knew!
Finally, today I was paying for my Monday bottle of wine at Harris Teeter and the young girl checking me out said, "I love your Michael Kors!" I smiled so big, you would've thought my wine was 50% off. I proceeded to tell the clerk that my watch was actually from New York & Co. and only cost me $13! I'm more than sure her first stop after work will be the mall.

New York & Co.

Michael Kors $250

Vernier $34

Michael Kors $275

New York & Co. $26.95

Michael Kors $225