Sunday, August 5, 2012


Hi everyone, this is Mr. Bubblegum!  Things are crazy around here.  My lovely wife accepted a 5th grade teaching position and she is super busy.  By that I mean I am on a first name basis with the pizza delivery guy and I am currently wearing my last pair of clean underwear.  But that's okay because she is super excited about this venture!  After working in the curriculum department for the last few years she was itching to get back in the classroom and took this position with only 15 days to get ready for her students!  The kids come Thursday and she has been gluing, cutting, printing, planning and creating things for her new room.  She will be posting pictures soon but until then, I'm doing a guest post!  

I'm having a big back to school sale.  Stop by Teacher's Notebook and get 20% off all Hoot and Crow clipart. Come check it out and while you're there be sure to download the free owl image! 

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Nonfiction Fun

I have been working on putting together some activities that focus on nonfiction texts.  One area we I want to focus on is text structure.  I found a great site called Literacy Leader with tons of great resources for teaching text structure.  They have a great poster of signal words and questions.  Click on the picture for a link to the pdf.  Be sure to check out all their other GREAT resources here.
For Comparing and contrasting I love the hula hoop Venn diagrams I have seen out in the bloggy world but I wanted one my kids could to take back to their desks.  I headed to the Dollar Tree and found the perfect thing for making desktop version!
A snip here and a snip there..
and viola! the perfect portable venn diagram!
Here are some of the books I'm going to put out for the kids to use.
I whipped up an activity sheet and put it all together in a gallon bag to use as a literacy center.  

Click the picture to get a copy.  Now your ready for some nonfiction fun!

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Must Have Picture Books Linky!

The Teacher Wife is hosting a must have picture books linky party and you've got to check it out!  If you are addicted to picture books ('re a teacher) this will be a great resource!  If you are a husband of a teacher you might need to hide the debit card.  I've posted before about my serious addiction to picture books.  It's a real problem.

This summer I have been working on building up my collection of mentor texts for comprehension strategies.  I have sooooooo many favorite picture books it would be hard to pick just five so I narrowed it down to these five picture book mentor texts.  Click the pictures to get your own copy!

Making Connections - The Big Orange Splot
In the book Reading Power Adrienne Gear says, "an important thing to make make children aware of is the individuality that comes from making sense of text."  I think this picture book does a great job helping my kids see that we are all unique and that our different experiences will cause us to make different connections with the stories we read!
Visualizing - The Storm Book
This book is PERFECT for introducing how to visualize.  The text gives very vivid descriptions of each setting in the story.  The best part is that the pages rotate from text only to picture only so the kids have to make the picture in their mind first and then turn the page and compare what they visualize to the illustrator's picture!
Questioning - The Magic Fan
This is a little gem I found at Goodwill!  It will keep your kids guessing and questioning with each page.  
Synthesizing - The Snowball
This might seem like an odd choice but it's fun and quick to read aloud.  The giant snowball collects things on it's way down the hill including people!  This is a great way to start a discussion about how stories change as they "roll along" and how they might look a little different in the end.  I like to type the text up and put the "poem" in our reading notebooks as a reminder of how we pick up new information as we read.
Inferring - The Gardener
I found this book through Ms. Bonger over at Life in 4b.  If you have not visited her amazing blog you are in for a treat!  I would love to just sit in her class and watch her in action.  She is truly inspiring!   On her resources page she recommends a book called Interactive Read Alouds (Grades 4-5) by Linda Hoyt.  It is loaded with mentor texts for comprehension strategies and writing.  This sweet story is suggested as a mentor text for inferring.  It's also a great reminder that one person with a positive attitude can make a difference no matter where they are "planted."

I could go on...and on...and on...what a GREAT idea for a linky party!  Head on over an link up your must have picture books. 

 I can't wait to see everyone's list!  I've got some major blog hoppin' to do.  I think my Amazon wish list is about to go into overdrive!

Saturday, July 14, 2012

Library Craftivity

You know what it's like.  You're trying to find the "just right" book.  One catches your eye.  You eagerly take it off the shelf.  You flip through the pages and realize it doesn't fit the five finger rule {gasp}.  You look down at the shelf and your heart starts to race...oh no!  Where does it go?  The Librarian starts to give you the eye and with sweaty palms you shove the book back on the shelf somewhere and make a bee line for the exit.  Okay...maybe you don't have that problem but your kids probably do and I have the perfect solution.

Say hello to my little friend.
This little bookworm craftivity is just what your kids need to help them select their "just right" book and they are so easy to make!  

1)  Grab a set of paint sticks from a home improvement store.  My store gave me a class set.  
2)  Spray paint the front and back.  Any light color will work.
3)  Let your kids finger paint the bookworm's body using green acrylic paint.  
4)  Once it's dry, make two white dots for eyes.  I do this part myself.  I dipped the end of a little paint brush in white acrylic and made two dots for eyes.  You can use google eyes but this way is super quick and easy.
5)  When the white paint is dry let your kids use a sharpie to finish the eyes and make the rest of the face.
6) I print this little poem on two labels and stick them on the back.

7)  Now you are ready to head for the check out counter (no more duck and run to the exit!).
Happy book hunting!

Friday, July 13, 2012

Get Fired Up About Reading

At the end of the school year I like to talk about using the library and encourage my kids to check out books over the summer.  I want them to read, read, and read some more!  To get them fired up about summer reading I share one of my favorite books.
This is a great story about the library and how a character can change! 
When they are headed home for the summer I send a Get Fired Up Reading Record home with them along with an addressed envelope so they can mail it to me along with a letter about their favorite summer book.  

When I get their completed form in the mail over the summer I put together a little treat for them. 
 I stick a note in a box of Hot Tamales, tape it shut,
slap a label on the back, and drop it in the mail 
just like that!
And yes, yes-I-did make a teeny, tiny sticker to cover up the words on the hot tamale...
because I'm OCD like that.  The laundry might not be done but there MUST be a cute little sticker on the hot tamale.  Priorities people, priorities.

Here's a freebie!  Click to download.

I'd love to hear how you get your kids fired up about summer reading!

Thursday, July 12, 2012

SUPER Grammar

I've been taking a little summer break from blogging which has given me plenty of time to blog stalk and surf and pin and pin and did I mention pinning?  I found some great ideas for the classroom out there and I just had to share one of my favorites with you!  I was working on a new grammar curriculum and the lessons were...well...a little dry.  So I was looking around for something to pump up the lesson on fragments and I came across this guy.
Oh. My. Word!  Will the kids love this guy or what!?!?  
Talk about making grammar (excuse-me-did-I-just-yawn) fun and exciting!  There is a Super Grammar book coming out in September and I promise you it will be in my Amazon cart.  
On top of the SUPER fun book they have a SUPER helpful blog.  
It is loaded with pictures and information about their characters and how to use them.  You are going to love this.  Your kids are going to love this.  You have to go check this out.  Right now.  Seriously.  Click on the pictures above to check out the book and the blog!  

Sunday, May 13, 2012

Love and Best Dishes

We are servin' up some love over here ya'll, so pull up a chair and get ready to sink your teeth into some gifts that will leave a lasting impression!  Between teacher appreciation and Mother's Day there are warm fuzzies all over the place. 

First up is a fingerprint flower platter that I made (with the help of lots of little fingers) for my own son's teacher.  I used Pebeo Porcelaine 150 paint to make the flowers and leaves and a paint pen by the same company to write the verse.  I LOVE this paint because once you bake it you can eat on it, wash it, and it doesn't come off.  I had each kiddo in the class "fingerprint" a flower and then sign the back.  It is the perfect keepsake AND it can actually be used.  
Practical + sentimental = Love.
Once you're platter is done and you've spread a little teacher love you can move on to some momma love.  One of my absolute favorite things to do at the end of the school year is host Mother's Day Tea!  Pampering the moms who have helped us out all year long is so much fun.  I pull out the paint and let the fingers fly!  We have a garden themed tea and my super, amazing, Martha-ain't-got-nothin'-on-me teamie that I worked with when I first started teaching came up with this design.  
I know, it's like the cutest thing ever. Sometimes I put the verse and sometimes I put "this is your special day."  Since the paint is permanent the plate can actually be used for birthday cake and Mother's Day dinner and you-rocked-your report-card pancakes!  So don't walk, run to the nearest Blick Art Supply or click here and get yourself some paint.  After you get your paint you can stop by the Dollar Tree for a set of plates.  If they don't have enough you can order them online here and have them sent to a Dollar Tree near you.  Did you know you can order in bulk at  It's not good for the budget that I found this out...not good at all.

And then there's this plate.  
The plate that reminds me I have the best job ever!  


Saturday, May 5, 2012

Mix & Match

The countdown is on and with only a few weeks of school left everyone is getting antsy.  It's a great time to get those bodies moving!  I use this Mix & Match activity all year to practice different skills and it's perfect for reviewing at the end of the year.  
This set includes 30 cards each for synonyms, antonyms, homonyms, compound words, common and proper nouns, multiplication arrays, and place value.  

Just click the pic to download and get your kids moving!  Pass out the cards for the skill you are working on and have your kids "mix" until they find their match.  Once they find their partner have them stand together and when everyone is paired up they can share their match with the class.  
For more great ideas to help you get your move on check out the Get Those Kids Moving Link Up at Minds in Bloom.  

And since you are on the have to check out the Teacher Idea Factory!  She is having a great giveaway when she reaches 100 followers, but hurry she's almost there!  Head over and share some bloggy love.  You'll be so glad you did!

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Breakin' It Down

Laura Candler over at Corkboard Connections is having a link up!

She has great tips on organizing and running your math centers. You will also find tons of great freebies to fill your math station so head on over and check it out!

Using math stations has really helped my kids have fun while they master their facts.  They love the play and I love the practice. Here's a freebie pack of activities based on some addition strategies to get things rolling in your math stations!  Just click the pic to download.
Speaking of rolling, if you are like me and the thought of dice ricocheting off the ceiling (not that I've ever experienced anything like that) makes you break out in hives, I've got the perfect solution! 
Drop your dice into clear travel containers and be rid of renegade dice forever!  Be sure to use foam dice unless you want to integrate a music lesson involving maracas into your math stations.  
 I found these eraser dice at Target in the back to school stuff and they work perfectly.  Leave these in a basket with the Shake, Rattle, and Roll recording sheet and your kids will be ready to shake away!

I use addition strategies when it comes to tackling the math facts because my kids can get easily overwhelmed.  Quite frankly, so can I.

 Their eyes get glazed over as they stare at the huge deck of flashcards that need to be memorized.  

That's why I like to break it down.  I like to give them a small set of facts and a strategy to use.  This gives us the chance to master a small set, do the happy dance, and move on to the next set while we are in the groove.  If we have to wait until we have memorized this

to do the happy dance...there's not a whole lot of dancing going on and  A LOT.  Like I said, break-it-down (totally said in my best rapper voice...and yes I'm wearing gold chains).
In addition to visiting math stations, my kids love to play Around the World.  I used to try to pick out all the cards that went with my strategies, but that made me crazy since the cards are two sided.  I ended up making my own sets based on the strategies I use.  Click the pic below to download the Doubles, Doubles +1, and Make a Ten strategies set.  If you don't know how to play Around the World you can find the directions on this great site along with other games that can be played to practice math facts!  

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Does Your Pup Measure Up? intention was to join Soaring Through Second's 
and tell you how cute and sweet this little pup is...
but then I found this
and this
and you know how teachers feel about their toilet paper rolls.    They must be hoarded collected and preserved and repurposed into amazing craftivities.  
So the words cute and sweet were not coming to mind. 

Christmas before last I had a moment of weakness...and her name was Izzi.  Just as I had planned the kids thought she was the BEST Christmas present ever.  And just as I had planned it has really helped them learn some mean you didn't see them in the picture cleaning up after their beloved pet?  Oh I'm sure it's because they were busy doing homework or cleaning their bedrooms. 

Puppies may not be great for collecting crafting supplies but they are great for measuring!  Especially after reading Measuring Penny.
Have you read this great book to your class?
It's perfect for getting your students pumped up about measurement because everyone loves puppies (well almost everyone). I created an activity pack that's a great follow up to this book. Click the pic to check it out. 

This activity covers five 2nd grade CCSS for measurement and data.  Have your kids bring their favorite "stuffed' pet and let the measuring begin!  


Thursday, April 19, 2012

My Heart's a Flutter!

It happened again...I went in for milk.  JUST milk.  Then suddenly, the buggy was being guided by some invisible force.  I struggled against it (I promise I did) and I tried to get back on course.  I mentally repeated my mantra.  I just need milk.  I just need milk.  I just need milk.  And somehow I ended up in theTarget  Dollar Spot {GASP}.  I know.  It's shocking.  
But since I was there I had to look.  
And when I look I always find something.  
And when I find it...well, you know what happens then.  SO, I ended up with
I was so excited about my finds that I almost forgot THIS.
I waffled a little on the butterfly catchers because I didn't know exactly what I needed them for and those dollars add up (not that I ever have a problem with that happening).  I'm so glad I got them because they are just perfect for "catching" compound words!  Really they could catch all kinds of things, vowel sounds, sight words, antonyms...the possibilities are endless so head to the dollar spot and grab some!  
Click the pic to check out Capture the Compound.

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