Category Archives: literacy

Don’t Be An Angry Bird: Free Printables

I have been working on some printables to go with our angry bird/ anger management lesson (read more about it here) and thought I would share them with you all! I am SO thankful for all those that have left comments, sent me emails, and pinned this idea. It means so much to me. I just love it when I can share something that inspires and helps others. In a silly way I feel like a teacher again, with the world as my classroom…. cheesy, I know. But that’s just who I am! 😉
Clicking on the printable book picture will take you to our site’s wiki, where you can download each of the four pages. This is not designed to be a worksheet for a child to fill out on their own. Read the book with your child, and discuss the questions on each of the page. The goal of this book is to help your child UNDERSTAND their anger and learn some appropriate strategies to DEAL with it.


To download the posters, just click on the picture. For a black and white version, or the download isn’t working, check out our Angry Bird page on our site’s wiki. And make sure you read our original Angry Bird post to learn more about each of the angry birds and their role in helping kids understand and deal with their anger.

I hope these help you deal with your little angry birds at home! Don’t forget to comment and let me know how this is working out for you!
Happy Teaching!


Click HERE to download the Angry Bird PDF pages 

Quiet Kits: Digraphs Sort

Awhile ago I posted about our Sunday Sorts (sorting folder activity- perfect for quiet kits or just plain educational fun!). These sorts are simple, and only require the cards and a folder. We like these parent/teacher communication folders because of the clear inside and outside pockets!

I created this sort on the computer awhile ago- haven’t printed it yet due to low ink – and for that reason I have been putting off this post. So I apologize that there are no darling pictures of my girl playing with these cards…. maybe when I get around to buying ink (it’s so dang expensive!) I will have to update this post!

To download the free sort, click here: Digraph Sorting Folder Cards and Instructions

These cards took a long time and I am hoping that many of you out there in the blogosphere are able to use them!!

Happy Teaching!

Noteshelf App: My New Digital Home Binder

I am addicted to binders. I have a house organizational binder, a binder with my daughter’s curriculum ideas, a binder with our FHE plans (just realized I am 2 weeks behind on those… nice!), a binder with baby educational ideas,  … you get the idea. And then there are all the countless notebooks- containing everything from my daughters journals to the 10 I have stashed everywhere for my to do lists.

My organizational bliss needed a makeover.

And I think I found the answer in the form of an iPad app. Noteshelf.

Let me first tell you that I was not compensated for writing this review- I think this app is so amazing that I want to shout about it from the rooftops.
Noteshelf is an app that was designed for, well, taking notes! But it goes to the next level, with the ability to create custom pages (you will see much more of this feature throughout my review), exporting finished notes as pdfs, and it has the all important cute factor. Which is a big deal!

Ability to sort notes into notebooks. And notebooks can be grouped together. Think of it this way: the groups are like your binders. And the notebooks are like the tabs within those binders.

My “Home Planner” group of notebooks
Noteshelf app front page
For example, all the items in my old home binder were sorted by tabs….now they are individual notebooks, under the “home planner”group. I can easily open up the home planner group and pull up the January notebook to see what we have going on during the month, just as easily as the old tab/binder system. 

My daughter has her own notebook group. Within her group she has two notebooks: her chore chart and journal.

My daughter’s notebooks are grouped together in her own collection.

And do I worry that she might accidentally delete all her cute journal entries, since she has easy access to her notebook? No, and here’s why:

Noteshelf has the ability to easily copy pages. And not only copy the page into the current notebook, but I can move the page into any other existing notebook that I created. So in my personal notebook group I have a copy of all her journal entries, safe and snug.

In the finder view you can easily see all the pages in your notebook. You can copy, move, delete, and export pages from the finder!

Boo’s journal is one of my favorite notebooks. I love that she loves to write in her journal now, she has access to several ink colors/pen widths/stickers, and I can quickly type a description on the same page. I love that I can now email her journal entries- so if there is an especially cute one about grandma, I can send her a copy right away. And for those that have the iPad2 (so jealous!) you can take a pic and insert it right into the note.  Those of us with a regular iPad can insert pics from the photo album. I think my days of binding notebooks for my daughter to use as journals (and end up only using half of the notebook because it gets lost) are over. At least for now. I just love the idea of having an instant digital copy of my daughter’s work. How cute would it be to make a shutterfly book of all her journal entries! Ahhhh I am rambling- back to Noteshelf….
I LOVE having my daughter’s chore chart on Noteshelf. As I mentioned earlier, you have the ability to add custom pages by importing jpgs. I used the GIMP to save all my pdfs to jpgs and I was good to go! After creating the chore chart custom page, I added it to her notebook. Now she can immediately add a digital sticker to her jobs as she completes them, and when we are done for the week we can clear the page and start over! (Once you create a custom page, you can easily insert it at anytime into any notebook) No money spent on stickers- or time spent searching for those aforementioned stickers… I love it. This also works for our scripture reading chart as well!

Digital chore chart

With the ability to create custom pages, I have been able to use all my old binder planner pdfs. So nifty! My monthly menu plan, my special days lists, my birthday calendar,… everything! Just think of all the money you could save by not printing a gazillion lists! And you never have to reprint… its all digital. And no more lugging around your 2 pound binder everywhere.

The finder view of all the pages in our January notebook. You can see the variety of pages! 
A close up view of our weekly cleaning page in our January notebook. (You can download this for free- scroll down to the bottom of this post!)

Other pros: you can tag pages, so if you are looking for a page in a notebook and you don’t remember where it is, you can search by the tag. And I do believe you can do a search for text, if it has been typed. You can export pages to evernote/dropbox. I don’t use these services so it doesn’t mean anything to me, but I know a lot of people might find this feature useful! You can send a page directly to facebook, and that might be of use someday…. Another pro is that it offers wrist protection- which basically means you can set your wrist down on your ipad while writing and the app won’t think your wrist is writing too. You can password lock notebooks and notebook groups- PERFECT for your personal journal, or any notebook entitled “Gift Ideas”.  You can also zoom in on your notebook for more fine tuned handwriting.

Zoom feature for handwritten text

And those lucky ipad2 folks can take pics of children’s calendars from school or other important notes and send them directly into a notebook so you can truly be paper free!

Cons: I have to mention a few. First, I would love the ability to import pdfs directly, instead of having to save them as a jpg. I don’t mind the extra work because I love the result, but it would make life a bit easier. I would also love to see the ability to insert links and images directly from the internet. I created a Pinterest page with the projects I want to work on during the month, but I had to save the pics of each project to my ipad before importing them into the notebook.

Pinterest notebook page- A great place to add pics and text of potential projects for the month.

Also, I would really like to be able to make custom notebook covers. And it would be cool to have that handwriting to text conversion that I have seen in other notebook apps. None of those are deal breakers for me- it is pretty nitty gritty stuff.

Here is a free download you can import right away as a custom page in your Noteshelf app(or you can print it, I won’t mind)

When all is said and done, this app is a must have. Let the trend of digital binders begin!!!

Happy TECHing! (and yes, I left the “a” out on purpose!)

Big Pumpkin Printables

One of our most favorite Halloween stories EVER is Big Pumpkin by Erica Silverman. We have probably read this book at least 50 times this year (if not more!) We love the silly storyline, the flow of the text, and the lessons on cooperation. Those who embrace literacy know that when you find a book you love, you just don’t read it… you celebrate it!
I put together some fun learning activities that go along with Big Pumpkin that I wanted to share with you. Just click on the titles of each activity to download the file. Enjoy!!

Big Pumpkin nomenclature cards– This was one of our favorite activities! Recently we tried our hand at some pumpkin nomenclature cards, and while they were fun- they were also frustrating (lots of words that looked very similar, small font, too many cards). This time we played it like a game.

First, my daughter picked three cards (with both pic and word) from the pile.  It was her idea to turn the cards face down- to give it an element of surprise.  She also wanted to sit on her pink stool during the game which meant a lot of bending down…silly girl! Then she found the picture card match. The last step was to find the word match. I love that she had the decision power to pick her cards. And there were less cards to match. And of course it went with one of our dearest Halloween books!

To make the game- print out two copies of both sheets. Cut out the pics and words together on one copy, and cut the pics and words separate on the other copy. Then you are ready to find the matches!

Big Pumpkin pocket chart cards. This is a great way to look at how individual words make up a sentence as well as becoming familiar with punctuation (we had fun reading sentences with a “period” voice and an “exclamation point” voice). My daughter was able to switch out the witch/ghost/vampire/ and mummy cards on the chart as we talked about each of the characters trying to get the pumpkin off the vine.


Story summary paper book– Just a simple retell of the story as a printable book. There are no pictures so your kiddos can create their own illustrations!


Trace & Write word boxes– These boxes are great for kids learning to correctly write short and tall letters. I created these pages to go with Big Pumpkin because handwriting is a big focus of our “school time”.

Halloween Word Ladder- A very simple word activity where the word “bag” changes to “cat” (one letter at a time) in just two steps! Like I said, very simple….


Retell cards (no file here, go to the clipart site to download images and print)- I am in LOVE with the cutest Halloween clipart from Phillip Martin. It is adorable! Not only have we used it in our activities above, but I printed out each of the images on card stock as a visual aid while telling the story. (It’s destiny that Phillip Martin has super darling clipart for all the characters of Big Pumpkin!)


Fun story retell with pumpkin basket, paper bat, ghost potato head, and witch, vampire, and mummy rubber duckies. And the Little People house is the witch’s house, where she goes to make the pumpkin pie. 🙂

Happy Teaching!


Bat Words: Playing with the -at Word Family

Have fun learning all those -at words with these fun Halloween bats!

Playtime ideas:

  • Place bats around the room. Shout out one of the at words, and have your kiddo run and find the bat with that word. If your child found the correct bat, do a happy bat dance! If not, encourage and cheer them on until they do!
  • Play a batty game of I spy.  “I spy a word that begins with c  and ends with the -at sound. Can you find it?”
  • Once your child has mastered a word, hang that bat from the ceiling above their bed. Praise your little one for reaching to the sky! And just think, they will be waking up to -at words each morning! Yay for literacy!! 🙂
Happy Teaching!

Halloween Montessori 3-Part Cards

From the time I first learned about Montessori nomenclature 3-part cards, I have wanted to try them with my daughter. For those that don’t know, this is an activity where kids take one card with both a picture and word label, then find and match the picture card AND the word label card. A great way to get kids looking at word similarities and differences. And I thought what better way to sneak in some learning then during a Halloween game! 

I searched online for free Halloween 3 part cards. I was lucky enough to find these pumpkin cards from Kidsparkz. While they were made for a concentration activity, they work great as nomenclature cards! I just printed two copies and cut the words and pictures apart on one of the sheets. Very simple. We did this activity as part of our pumpkin day festivities, and while it was a little difficult because we had never done anything like this before, my Boo did a great job. Hint: for those kiddos trying this activity for the first time: start with a small amount of cards. Please learn from my mistake!

I also found some Halloween cards that would work well as nomenclature 3 part cards from Have Fun Teaching (don’t you love the name of the site!) This link will take you to all their holiday cards- so if you want to do Thanksgiving, Christmas, Valentines Day, St Patricks Day, Easter, or birthday 3-part cards…. this is the site for you! The only thing with these cards is that they are designed differently than the typical Montessori nomenclature cards. Instead of the word label being directly below the picture, it is found to the right of the picture. BUT I still think they will work just fine. I don’t think the Montessori police will come after you if the activity looks a little different…..

Check out The Little List for more sites with free nomenclature 3-part cards! I especially like the farm cards from Montessori Moments.

Happy Teaching!

Quiet Kits: Uppercase and Lowercase Letters Sort

Awhile ago I posted about our Sunday Sorts (sorting folder activity- perfect for quiet kits or just plain educational fun!). These sorts are simple, and only require the cards and a folder. We like these parent/teacher communication folders because of the clear inside and outside pockets!

You can download the cover for our Sunday Sorts HERE.

The first sort was healthy and unhealthy foods. I think I mentioned in that post that my daughter LOVED it. (Click HERE to download that sort!) Something about holding a card and figuring out where it goes….. simple organization at work! 🙂

Our next Sunday Sort is capital and lowercase letters. I have all the letter cards and folder labels available for download HERE (can also be found on our wiki). You can also change it up a bit by sorting vowels and consonants (easy since all the vowels are in red!), letters in name and letters not in name, letters I know and letters I don’t know, etc…. It’s all about becoming familiar with the alphabet!

Happy Sorting and Happy Teaching!

On a completely random note- my husband and I watched the first episode of Walking Dead (well, I actually only watched the very beginning before a near panic attack)…. now I am paranoid of a zombie attack! Augh! Scariest show EVER!!

The Little Old Lady Who Wasn’t Afraid of Anything

This scarecrow story is becoming one of our family’s favorites! For those unfamiliar with the book… a little old lady is returning home only to find parts of a scarecrow following her! It’s darling! One of my favorite sites, Making Learning Fun, has a whole section on teaching ideas for this fun Halloween story. We especially like the story figures which work great for flannel boards or as a retelling tool. (The word tool sounds so workish!)

I thought it would be fun to compile a list of other great scarecrow activities!
Happy Teaching! And YAY for Fall!

my I CAN DO book

Like all parents, I want my daughter to have confidence in herself. I want her to go through life with the attitude that anything is possible and that she can do anything! Unfortunately I have already seen the beginnings of frustration when my Boo realizes that there are things that she can’t do (yet!). Dr. Michele Borba- an author, parenting expert, and educator- has outlined eight tips to cultivate that can-do attitude in our children. Two of those tips- Celebrate the special achievements and efforts and Accentuate the positive tie in directly to that confident attitude I want my three year old to develop…. as well as our latest Mommy & Me made book: My I Can Do Book! And the book is shaped like a can! 🙂
I just finished the template today and would love to share it with you all! Just right click on the image and save to your desktop. Or for larger files, click here for the cover and here for the blank pages. You will only need to print one cover, but print several of the blank pages. I plan on cutting out the can and binding the book on the side.
I hope this book will not only help my kiddo, but your little ones as well!
Happy Teaching!!

Vowel Party!

To get my daughter familiar with the vowels, we had a little vowel party! First we played this fun game with the Education Cube letter inserts. 5 sides of the dice were the vowels a,e,i,o and u. The sixth side was a chicken. We rolled the dice. If the dice landed on a vowel,we would say both the long and short sounds. If it landed on the chicken, we did the chicken dance. The chicken dance provided enough silliness to keep my daughter engaged in the activity for a long time.

We also added vowel stickers to our exploration journal, played with the vowel foam letters in the bathtub, and made vowel puppets.

Some things we didn’t do, but would be fun, would be to make letter pretzels with the vowels, and go on a letter hunt for the vowels. There are also some cute videos and online games at star!

My favorite part of our little party was when my daughter told me some of the letters were crying because they wanted to be vowels. My Boo has such a tender heart for her ABC’s!

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