Trade and Grade Blog Hop!

It's time for another Trade and Grade! I love having the opportunity to try out amazing products in my classroom so that I can share them with you!

Today I am sharing a product from one of my favorite bloggers, Laura from Differentiation Station Creations! Her Long and Short Vowel Sorts with Abby the Alligator and Jake the Snake are a huge hit with my students!
First of all, Laura is the most creative person with figuring out how to turn old containers into fun learning tools. She created adorable Abby and Jake containers for the long and short a sort. You don't HAVE to make these for the activity, but how could I resist?
They are made from the containers from Cascade dishwasher packs. If you have some craft foam and a hot glue gun, you are good to go! I whipped these babies up one day after school, and set them on my desk. My students were BEGGING me to tell them what they were for, but I made them sweat it out for a couple days. They were jumping up and down when I finally shared the activity!

This pack has colorful sorting mats for each vowel, which also come in black and white for those of you watching your printer ink! We have Abby and Jake:
Ellie and Ethan:
 Izzy and Ivan:
Ollie and Opal:
and Umberto and Unity
These sorts are absolutely wonderful and motivating to the students. One of my students even pointed out that the long u word she was decoding in guided reading had a "u like Unity!" Love! But that's not all! Laura has included even more great practice opportunities in this packet. Your students can also record the words after sorting them on this recording sheet, where they can then write a sentence or two incorporating the words.
And there is this great flip book too for more long and short vowel sorting!
This is really a great pack for practicing those short and long vowels! Thank you so much for letting me test this out, Laura!

CLICK HERE for a freebie!
CLICK HERE to purchase!


Look for me at The Primary Gal!

I'm guest blogging today over at The Primary Gal about doing author studies with my students! Stop by and check it out!


All my peeps are on pinterest!

I am obsessed with pinterest! I know I'm one of many--but I feel so much happiness upon pinning a great new idea! All my peeps are on pinterest too! Check out the link-up hosted by SmartKids to find your favorite peeps!


I Love Sharpie Paint Pens!

I first discovered Sharpie paint pens this fall while searching for an alternative to nameplates for student tables. I was determined to find something that wouldn't peel, become soggy, or be a big distraction for my students. A quick Google search led me to this post about using the Sharpie paint pen on desks instead of name plates.
I went straight to Hobby Lobby the same day to get a pack...and they didn't have any. So off to Michael's I went. Success! Here is the result:
Months later, my students' names look exactly the same. I've removed some to switch seats a few times and the paint comes right off with a little alcohol-based hand-sanitizer or by covering the paint with expo marker and wiping clean. Disclaimer: Be sure that the surface you are working with will not be damaged my alcohol before using. I live on the wild side and it's been fine for me, but some surfaces lend themselves better to this than others!

Since the success with the student names, I have used these markers on just about every surface imaginable in my classroom. Goodbye label maker! I don't need you anymore. Here are some places I've used them:

My "In" and "Out" buckets for drawing students's names
My students' book baskets
On my Author of the Day chair
On my book bins
On my planning binders
On my drawers for weekly materials
On a Clorox Wipe bottle that holds pointers
On old coffee cans for holding dull and newly sharpened pencils
On my filing cabinets
To beautify clothespins for clip cards
I wish I had discovered these before I had used a label maker to mark my students' cubbies and mailboxes. That didn't stop me from testing it out on a few! I plan to use the paint pens next year instead of the labels, which are now peeling and gross looking. 
I just have so much fun with these! Have you tried them? What do you/would you use them for? 
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